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<?php function htmlWrapThing($str, $size){ $html = false; $i = 0; $chars = str_split($str); $return = ""; foreach($chars as $char){ if($char=="<") $html = true; if($char==">") $html = false; if(!$html) $i++; $return .= $char; if($i==$size){ $return .= "\r\n"; $i=0; } } return $return; } $str = "<b>~Here you go, off to compete~ <p style=\"margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;\"></p>~Nerves stack up inside of you, getting closer and closer to bursting~ <p style=\"margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;\"></p>~Will you pop? Or will you get yourself evened out?~ <p style=\"margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;\"></p>~*~*~*~ </b><p style=\"margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;\"></p>The bright sun rays slipped through the octagon shaped windows and shined right into my eyes. I woke up <p style=\"margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;\"></p>squinting with an explosion of bright orange and red colors behind my eyelids. This is why I should sleep with a <p style=\"margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;\"></p>pillow over my head. I quickly took the pillow out from under my head and slammed it over my face. \"Five more minutes,\" I grumbled. <p style=\"margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;\"></p>It only took a mere five seconds before a distinct sinking feeling shot down my spine. I shot out of bed, my pillow flying somewhere in my room. \"The sunrise!\" I shrieked. <p style=\"margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;\"></p>Oh no, no, no, no, no! <p style=\"margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;\"></p>The sunrise is supposed to be the start of the training day. All the students wake up, eat breakfast in the <p style=\"margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;\"></p>Mess Hall, and are expected to be lined outside in the grass field by the time the sun is up. Here the rays have just blinded me and I'm still in bed and my pajamas. In other words, I'm not just late, I'm super late. <p style=\"margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;\"></p>The morning gong rang, sealing my fate. A gong sounds off to signal the start and end of a training day, <p style=\"margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;\"></p>without fail, every single morning. The fact that I'm still in my disheveled state when I heard the gong means how badly things will be for me later on. <p style=\"margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;\"></p>I quickly rushed to my dresser and tried to keep it together while I changed into my workout clothes. The <p style=\"margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;\"></p>Kitsune Clan assigned every student an outfit to train in... and a purple nightgown wasn't part of the ensemble. <p style=\"margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;\"></p>\"How can I be late?\" I shrieked to myself, \"I've never been late before! This is impossible!\" <p style=\"margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;\"></p>Once I was dressed in my proper clothes, I skidded out of my room and down the hallway of my sector <p style=\"margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;\"></p>house. \"Cassie-Chan! Yami-San! Luna! Are you guys here?\" I cried out. <p style=\"margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;\"></p>Where were my teammates? Surely they didn't just leave me alone. Cassie or Yami are always the ones who <p style=\"margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;\"></p>wake me up, it's been that way since day one. I've only been at this clan a month, just like my other four teammates. The five of us are considered 'fresh meat' in the clan and if a fresh meat is late for training... <p style=\"margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;\"></p>I remembered the punishment that Kuroi once told me about: <p style=\"margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;\"></p>\"One time I saw a kid do eight-hundred push-ups,\" Kuroi said gravely. <p style=\"margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;\"></p>He's my sector leader who has been here the past three years, the only senior member among us in Sector 7. \"Eight-hundred push-ups?\" I questioned back to him. <p style=\"margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;\"></p>Kuroi nodded. \"He had to do two-hundred of them on his tongue.\" \"No way,\" I gaped. <p style=\"margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;\"></p>\"That's physically impossible,\" Yami then stated. <p style=\"margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;\"></p>Kuroi shrugged his shoulders. \"Hey, I'm just telling you fresh meats what I saw.\" <p style=\"margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;\"></p>\"What happened to the kid who had to do it?\" Cassie inquired, joining in my curiosity. <p style=\"margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;\"></p>My team leader threw both his hands up. \"I'm pretty sure he's dead.\" The memory ended. Oh no. I'm gonna die. <p style=\"margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;\"></p>Forget calling out for my teammates. I ran to the front door, slid it open hastily, and nearly tripped out the <p style=\"margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;\"></p>door. Maybe if I make it to the grass fields in time, I can just stand there I've like been there the whole time. But this is a shinobi clan, which makes all my teachers highly trained warriors themselves. There's no way I'm gonna slip past people of their level. <p style=\"margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;\"></p>The brisk fresh air hit my face and sent a layer of goosebumps down my arms. It was the beginning of September, the month where summer bids farewell and autumn says hello. <p style=\"margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;\"></p>I bounded down the steps of my sector house and skidded to a stop. In front of me were all five of my <p style=\"margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;\"></p>teammates, just standing there on the front lawn of our sector house. There was Sector 7's leader, Kuroi Kaze, Teruko Cassie, Hanran Nigaru, YamiTsuki, and Yami's little sister, Luna. <p style=\"margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;\"></p>Speaking of Luna, the little kid was the first one to notice me. \"Morning, Tabby-Chan!\" she exclaimed with a smile on her face. <p style=\"margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;\"></p>I looked at Luna with widened eyes. \"What are you so happy for?\" Surely she knows that our whole sector <p style=\"margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;\"></p>was late for training and now we're all gonna die. Surely! <p style=\"margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;\"></p>Luna blinked a few times, even scratched her pixie-cut head of jet black hair. \"I guess I'm happy because I had egg drop soup for breakfast,\" she then answered, \"and I'm happy that Cassie-Chan let me brush her hair, 'cause it's really soft and stuff. Oh, and I'm happy that the bruise on my arm turned purple because I love purple! Yeah, all these things are great.\" She smiled. <p style=\"margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;\"></p>I smacked my palm to my forehead. \"No, Luna. We're all gonna die!\" I hissed. <p style=\"margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;\"></p>She looked left, looked right, left again, and back at me. \"Right now?\" <p style=\"margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;\"></p>\"Don't you see? We're late for training, Luna! It's way past sunrise. Now we're gonna be punished by one of <p style=\"margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;\"></p>the teachers, and it'll probably be Sensei Akira because she's the scariest.\" I huffed out a big breath of air. Why do I have to explain this stuff, she should know what her fate is. <p style=\"margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;\"></p>Yami, Luna's older brother, stepped over closer to his sister and myself. \"Um, Tabby-Chan, you didn't see the <p style=\"margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;\"></p>note I left you, did you?\" he asked me. I shook my head no. \"Oh, well I left you a note explaining that Sensei Akira left our sector a note,\" Yami explained. <p style=\"margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;\"></p>\"Ha! You left a note about leaving a note! You're so funny, bro,\" Luna chuckled. I don't recall ever seeing a note. \"I never saw one,\" I told him. <p style=\"margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;\"></p>Yami bowed his head once. \"My apologies, Tabby-Chan. I thought you would see it. Nigaru-San was the first <p style=\"margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;\"></p>one to wake up and he saw that Sensei Akira put a note on our door. She told us not to show up for training and <p style=\"margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;\"></p>to meet her outside the sector house at 6:00 sharp.\" <p style=\"margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;\"></p>My eyes drifted up to the skies overhead. \"That's like, forty-five minutes away,\" I awed. <p style=\"margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;\"></p>Yami nodded. \"This was the first morning ever where you could have slept in. I thought you would have <p style=\"margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;\"></p>wanted to. Sorry for making you panic.\" Yami was genuine, as he always was. <p style=\"margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;\"></p>He was my best friend in the clan, only a year younger than me at twelve compared to my thirteen. He was a <p style=\"margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;\"></p>great companion, even if he was a little odd at times. Yami had bright silver hair and pale white skin. The best thing about him were his chocolate brown eyes; they always gleamed with care and concern. <p style=\"margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;\"></p>\"It's okay,\" I finally sighed, remembering how to breathe at the same time. \"I was just scared, that's all. But <p style=\"margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;\"></p>it's alright.\" <p style=\"margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;\"></p>\"Scared? Ah come on, Tabby-Chan!\" Luna exclaimed. She began to bounce back and forth on her heels and balls of her feet, until Yami held her down by putting a hand on her head. <p style=\"margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;\"></p>The little girl was the youngest member of this clan at eight years old. She was Yami's sister, however, the two <p style=\"margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;\"></p>looked nothing alike. Where Yami was pale, Luna's skin was a dark tan. She was short and on the scrawny side, <p style=\"margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;\"></p>with wild hair that went in every direction. It was always amusing to see the two stand side-by-side knowing that they're related. <p style=\"margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;\"></p>\"So what if I had written a note about Yami writing you a note?\" Luna then asked me. \"Then that would <p style=\"margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;\"></p>mean that I wrote a note about writing a note. Ooh! And Sensei Akira wrote the original note, so that's three <p style=\"margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;\"></p>notes.\" <p style=\"margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;\"></p>Yami patted his sister's head. \"Sorry sis, but that's not our biggest concern right now,\" he said. He turned <p style=\"margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;\"></p>back to me, \"So what do you think is going on? I don't see any other sectors waiting outside, I think we're the <p style=\"margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;\"></p>only ones Sensei Akira wanted to see.\" <p style=\"margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;\"></p>I looked around me to see if he was right. The Kitsune Clan is a huge school that goes on for miles and miles, all surrounded by a jutted stone wall. There are thirteen sector houses, each built with pagoda-styled roofs and <p style=\"margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;\"></p>wood and bamboo. The Kitsune Clan divided their students up into thirteen sectors, each sector with seven members each. All the houses are lined up in a row, therefore I would have seen if any other students were standing outside. <p style=\"margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;\"></p>Yami was correct, the only ones out here were the six of us. We were Sector 7, one member short of a completed team. I thought about my answer to Yami's posing question. <p style=\"margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;\"></p>\"I have no idea,\" I yawned. Yeah, I didn't think about my answer for too long. Luckily, it didn't take long for the answer to present itself. <p style=\"margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;\"></p>There was a shift in the morning air. I don't know what exactly changed, I just know that something in the <p style=\"margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;\"></p>present atmosphere wasn't the same as before. There I was, standing outside with my heart racing and <p style=\"margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;\"></p>tiredness still in my bones. Yami and Luna were standing right in front of me, with Cassie not too far off, and <p style=\"margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;\"></p>Kuroi standing with his legs apart and arms crossed like some big shot. <p style=\"margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;\"></p>The only one who was quite a distance away was Hanran, the middle boy of our sector. Hanran was the type of guy who not only liked his space, he demanded it. He was farthest away from everyone with his back to us. <p style=\"margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;\"></p>Actually, Hanran is what tipped me off in the first place. He turned his head and looked in Cassie's direction. <p style=\"margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;\"></p>\"Nigaru-San?\" Cassie asked after a long moment went by with Hanran still staring at her. Like me and Yami, Cassie and Hanran were close in age as well. She was sixteen and he was seventeen. <p style=\"margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;\"></p>Hanran continued to be silent, however, he began to take slow and cautious steps towards us. \"It's time,\" he said in a very low voice. <p style=\"margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;\"></p>Before I could ask what Hanran meant, Luna threw her arms in the air and exclaimed, \"I've got it!\" \"Got what?\" I asked her. <p style=\"margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;\"></p>\"I remembered the real reason why I'm so happy! It's because Nigaru-San caught a frog and he let me hold it. <p style=\"margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;\"></p>It was all slimy 'n stuff and squishy,\" Luna answered. Her brother shook his head. <p style=\"margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;\"></p>\"That was three weeks ago,\" Hanran merely pointed out. <p style=\"margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;\"></p>\"I know, I've been happy about it ever since,\" Luna grinned. <p style=\"margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;\"></p>That was all there was to say about that subject. What Hanran was referring to became obvious; Akira <p style=\"margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;\"></p>appeared before us, the teacher we were waiting on. Just like that, our Sector 7 was in the presence of the <p style=\"margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;\"></p>Kitsune Clan's second-in-command, Akira Miyamoto herself. The woman had her fighting uniform on; a black cat suit with a crimson red sash, and two matching red straps over the shoulders to make an 'X' shape. These were not her usual clothes. She was dressed for battle. <p style=\"margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;\"></p>Oh no, I realized, she's dressed for battle! <p style=\"margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;\"></p>\"Hey Sensei, whaddya doing here so early?\" Kuroi then asked. For the first time that morning, I heard my <p style=\"margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;\"></p>sector leader speak, and he still had the same brash and rude tone as last night. <p style=\"margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;\"></p>Akira merely lifted an eyebrow. She slid a hand into her red sash and showed a silver kunai was between her fingers. <p style=\"margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;\"></p>Kuroi cleared his throat. \"I mean, uh, morning Sensei.\" He knew that kunai threat was for him. I smirked on the inside; my team leader always tries to act like a big shot. <p style=\"margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;\"></p>Everyone else was polite with their greetings, all except Hanran who chose to stay silent. Big surprise. \"I'll <p style=\"margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;\"></p>make my point right now,\" Akira then said, her voice loud and clear. \"You're all coming with me to Viper <p style=\"margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;\"></p>Country, we're going to the Black-Sho Clan for Battle Month. We depart in fifteen minutes. Pack light and take <p style=\"margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;\"></p>your weapons with you. Once your fifteen minutes are up, meet me at the front gates of the school. Do not <p style=\"margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;\"></p>make me wait on you, Sector 7.\" <p style=\"margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;\"></p>Once Akira finished speaking, she turned on her heels and started to walk in the opposite direction of the sector houses. <p style=\"margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;\"></p>\"Wait!\" Yami shrieked. <p style=\"margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;\"></p>Akira turned her head around and eyed him. \"What?\" <p style=\"margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;\"></p>Just one look from our teacher, and Yami was frozen with fear. \"U-uh-um,\" he stammered. He shook his head <p style=\"margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;\"></p>and got himself together. \"Sensei, what exactly is Battle Month? I've never heard of this.\" <p style=\"margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;\"></p>The shinobi woman didn't even blink. \"Kaze-San knows,\" she answered simply. \"Let him explain it.\" <p style=\"margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;\"></p>After that, Kuroi came undone. \"Oh spirits, why do I gotta explain it?\" he growled, \"I mean, it's enough that <p style=\"margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;\"></p>I've gotta mentor these fresh meats, now I've gotta clue them in on the obvious, too?\" <p style=\"margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;\"></p>Whish! <p style=\"margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;\"></p>Kuroi fell to the ground with a loud bang... a kunai jammed through his shirt and keeping him pinned to the <p style=\"margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;\"></p>ground. He thrashed about, trying to loosen the kunai from the compacted dirt, but it wasn't working very well. <p style=\"margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;\"></p>I had to stop myself from laughing out loud. This was too rich! <p style=\"margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;\"></p>\"Now you six only have ten minutes to pack,\" Akira then stated. She eyed Kuroi especially, \"Better talk fast.\" With that, Akira walked off. <p style=\"margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;\"></p>\"I swear!\" Kuroi hissed from the ground. He was a big guy; 5'10\" in height and built like a bear with all his <p style=\"margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;\"></p>muscle. It was funny to think that a simple kunai from Akira's belt could keep him on the ground. But that <p style=\"margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;\"></p>wasn't a surprising occurrence for Kuroi Kaze. He was the one at this school with a \"bad boy\" reputation; he <p style=\"margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;\"></p>used to be the only one in Sector 7 until the rest of us joined about a month ago, after all. The only thing Kuroi <p style=\"margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;\"></p>cares about is being badass which means he's a guy who just wants to fight and brawl all the time. He's so <p style=\"margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;\"></p>annoying! <p style=\"margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;\"></p>Kuroi did manage to get himself unstuck. Except, now his shirt has a big hole in it. Just like all the other shirts he's had on when Akira threw a kunai at him. <p style=\"margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;\"></p>~*~*~*~ <p style=\"margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;\"></p>We made our way back inside the sector house without a word. Once we were inside, it didn't take long for the chatter to start. <p style=\"margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;\"></p>\"Are you gonna tell us about Battle Month?\" I asked Kuroi. <p style=\"margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;\"></p>He scoffed, \"Do I look like I wanna waste my time explaining stuff to you?\" <p style=\"margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;\"></p>\"You had no problem popping off to Akira,\" Hanran then commented. He spoke with his same indifferent <p style=\"margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;\"></p>tone of voice. <p style=\"margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;\"></p>Kuroi ignored the middle boy. \"Yeah, whatever. Battle Month is the biggest waste of time, ever.\" <p style=\"margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;\"></p>\"Yes,\" I said, \"but what is it?\" <p style=\"margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;\"></p>My team leader probably figured that we weren't going to stop pestering him. He went into his room (which <p style=\"margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;\"></p>we separate by room dividers) and chose to talk when he wasn't in the open with the rest of us. \"Battle Month <p style=\"margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;\"></p>is like a tournament. It's held by the thirteen ancient clans spread across the five countries that make up Shaaku <p style=\"margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;\"></p>Den.\" <p style=\"margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;\"></p>I exchanged looks with Yami. We both had no idea what he just said. <p style=\"margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;\"></p>\"Wait, I'm confused, is Kaze-San telling us a story? 'Cause so far it's pretty dang boring,\" Luna commented. <p style=\"margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;\"></p>She looked hopelessly lost. <p style=\"margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;\"></p>Yelling came from Kuroi's room. \"I'M TELLING YOU LOSERS WHAT BATTLE MONTH IS!\" he shouted defensively. <p style=\"margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;\"></p>Luna didn't know why he was upset. \"So tell us, old man!\" <p style=\"margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;\"></p>Kuroi stepped back out into the hallway with a new shirt on."; echo htmlWrapThing($str,10);
based on hCG82
Output for 5.3.9 - 5.4.45
<b>~Here you go, off t o compete~ <p style="margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;"></p>~Nerves stack up inside of you, getti ng closer and closer to bursti ng~ <p style="margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;"></p>~Wil l you pop? Or will y ou get you rself even ed out?~ <p style="margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;"> </p>~*~*~*~ </b> <p style="margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;"></p>The brig ht sun ray s slipped through th e octagon shaped win dows and s hined righ t into my eyes. I wo ke up <p style="margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;"></p>sq uinting wi th an expl osion of b right oran ge and red colors be hind my ey elids. Thi s is why I should sl eep with a <p style="margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;"></p>pillow over my he ad. I quic kly took t he pillow out from u nder my he ad and sla mmed it ov er my face . "Five mo re minutes ," I grumb led. <p style="margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;"></p>It only took a mere fiv e seconds before a d istinct si nking feel ing shot d own my spi ne. I shot out of be d, my pill ow flying somewhere in my room . "The sun rise!" I s hrieked. <p style="margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;"> </p>Oh no, no , no, no, no! <p style="margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;"></p>The sunrise is supposed to be the start of t he trainin g day. All the stude nts wake u p, eat bre akfast in the <p style="margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;"></p>Mess Hall, and are expec ted to be lined outs ide in the grass fie ld by the time the s un is up. Here the r ays have j ust blinde d me and I 'm still i n bed and my pajamas . In other words, I' m not just late, I'm super lat e. <p style="margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;"></p>The m orning gon g rang, se aling my f ate. A gon g sounds o ff to sign al the sta rt and end of a trai ning day, <p style="margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;"></p>without fail, ever y single m orning. Th e fact tha t I'm stil l in my di sheveled s tate when I heard th e gong mea ns how bad ly things will be fo r me later on. <p style="margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;"></p>I q uickly rus hed to my dresser an d tried to keep it t ogether wh ile I chan ged into m y workout clothes. T he <p style="margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;"></p>Kitsu ne Clan as signed eve ry student an outfit to train in... and a purple n ightgown w asn't part of the en semble. <p style="margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;"></p> "How can I be late?" I shrieke d to mysel f, "I've n ever been late befor e! This is impossibl e!" <p style="margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;"></p>Once I was dre ssed in my proper cl othes, I s kidded out of my roo m and down the hallw ay of my s ector <p style="margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;"></p>ho use. "Cass ie-Chan! Y ami-San! L una! Are y ou guys he re?" I cri ed out. <p style="margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;"></p> Where were my teamma tes? Surel y they did n't just l eave me al one. Cassi e or Yami are always the ones who <p style="margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;"></p>wake me up, it 's been th at way sin ce day one . I've onl y been at this clan a month, j ust like m y other fo ur teammat es. The fi ve of us a re conside red 'fresh meat' in the clan a nd if a fr esh meat i s late for training. .. <p style="margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;"></p>I rem embered th e punishme nt that Ku roi once t old me abo ut: <p style="margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;"></p>"One time I sa w a kid do eight-hun dred push- ups," Kuro i said gra vely. <p style="margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;"></p>He 's my sect or leader who has be en here th e past thr ee years, the only s enior memb er among u s in Secto r 7. "Eigh t-hundred push-ups?" I questio ned back t o him. <p style="margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;"></p>K uroi nodde d. "He had to do two -hundred o f them on his tongue ." "No way ," I gaped . <p style="margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;"></p>"That' s physical ly impossi ble," Yami then stat ed. <p style="margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;"></p>Kuro i shrugged his shoul ders. "Hey , I'm just telling y ou fresh m eats what I saw." <p style="margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;"></p> "What happ ened to th e kid who had to do it?" Cassi e inquired , joining in my curi osity. <p style="margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;"></p>M y team lea der threw both his h ands up. " I'm pretty sure he's dead." Th e memory e nded. Oh n o. I'm gon na die. <p style="margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;"></p> Forget cal ling out f or my team mates. I r an to the front door , slid it open hasti ly, and ne arly tripp ed out the <p style="margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;"></p>door. M aybe if I make it to the grass fields in time, I c an just st and there I've like been there the whole time. But this is a shinobi c lan, which makes all my teache rs highly trained wa rriors the mselves. T here's no way I'm go nna slip p ast people of their level. <p style="margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;"></p>T he brisk f resh air h it my face and sent a layer of goosebump s down my arms. It w as the beg inning of September, the month where sum mer bids f arewell an d autumn s ays hello. <p style="margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;"></p>I bound ed down th e steps of my sector house and skidded t o a stop. In front o f me were all five o f my <p style="margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;"></p>tea mmates, ju st standin g there on the front lawn of o ur sector house. The re was Sec tor 7's le ader, Kuro i Kaze, Te ruko Cassi e, Hanran Nigaru, Ya miTsuki, a nd Yami's little sis ter, Luna. <p style="margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;"></p>Speakin g of Luna, the littl e kid was the first one to not ice me. "M orning, Ta bby-Chan!" she excla imed with a smile on her face. <p style="margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;"></p>I looke d at Luna with widen ed eyes. " What are y ou so happ y for?" Su rely she k nows that our whole sector <p style="margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;"></p>w as late fo r training and now w e're all g onna die. Surely! <p style="margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;"></p> Luna blink ed a few t imes, even scratched her pixie -cut head of jet bla ck hair. " I guess I' m happy be cause I ha d egg drop soup for breakfast, " she then answered, "and I'm happy that Cassie-Ch an let me brush her hair, 'cau se it's re ally soft and stuff. Oh, and I 'm happy t hat the br uise on my arm turne d purple b ecause I l ove purple ! Yeah, al l these th ings are g reat." She smiled. <p style="margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;"> </p>I smacked my palm t o my foreh ead. "No, Luna. We'r e all gonn a die!" I hissed. <p style="margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;"></p> She looked left, loo ked right, left agai n, and bac k at me. " Right now? " <p style="margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;"></p>"Don't you see? We're late for train ing, Luna! It's way past sunri se. Now we 're gonna be punishe d by one o f <p style="margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;"></p>the te achers, an d it'll pr obably be Sensei Aki ra because she's the scariest. " I huffed out a big breath of air. Why do I have to explain this stuf f, she sho uld know w hat her fa te is. <p style="margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;"></p>Y ami, Luna' s older br other, ste pped over closer to his sister and mysel f. "Um, Ta bby-Chan, you didn't see the <p style="margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;"> </p>note I le ft you, di d you?" he asked me. I shook m y head no. "Oh, well I left yo u a note e xplaining that Sense i Akira le ft our sec tor a note ," Yami ex plained. <p style="margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;"> </p>"Ha! You left a not e about le aving a no te! You're so funny, bro," Lun a chuckled . I don't recall eve r seeing a note. "I never saw one," I to ld him. <p style="margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;"></p> Yami bowed his head once. "My apologies, Tabby-Cha n. I thoug ht you wou ld see it. Nigaru-Sa n was the first <p style="margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;"></p>on e to wake up and he saw that S ensei Akir a put a no te on our door. She told us no t to show up for tra ining and <p style="margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;"></p>to meet her outsid e the sect or house a t 6:00 sha rp." <p style="margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;"></p>My eyes drift ed up to t he skies o verhead. " That's lik e, forty-f ive minute s away," I awed. <p style="margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;"></p>Y ami nodded . "This wa s the firs t morning ever where you could have slep t in. I th ought you would have <p style="margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;"></p>wanted to. Sorry for making you panic ." Yami wa s genuine, as he alw ays was. <p style="margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;"> </p>He was my best frie nd in the clan, only a year yo unger than me at twe lve compar ed to my t hirteen. H e was a <p style="margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;"></p> great comp anion, eve n if he wa s a little odd at ti mes. Yami had bright silver ha ir and pal e white sk in. The be st thing a bout him w ere his ch ocolate br own eyes; they alway s gleamed with care and concer n. <p style="margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;"></p>"It's okay," I finally si ghed, reme mbering ho w to breat he at the same time. "I was ju st scared, that's al l. But <p style="margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;"></p>i t's alrigh t." <p style="margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;"></p>"Sca red? Ah co me on, Tab by-Chan!" Luna excla imed. She began to b ounce back and forth on her he els and ba lls of her feet, unt il Yami he ld her dow n by putti ng a hand on her hea d. <p style="margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;"></p>The l ittle girl was the y oungest me mber of th is clan at eight yea rs old. Sh e was Yami 's sister, however, the two <p style="margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;"></p> looked not hing alike . Where Ya mi was pal e, Luna's skin was a dark tan. She was s hort and o n the scra wny side, <p style="margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;"></p>with wil d hair tha t went in every dire ction. It was always amusing t o see the two stand side-by-si de knowing that they 're relate d. <p style="margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;"></p>"So w hat if I h ad written a note ab out Yami w riting you a note?" Luna then asked me. "Then that would <p style="margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;"></p>m ean that I wrote a n ote about writing a note. Ooh! And Sense i Akira wr ote the or iginal not e, so that 's three <p style="margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;"> </p>notes." <p style="margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;"> </p>Yami patt ed his sis ter's head . "Sorry s is, but th at's not o ur biggest concern r ight now," he said. He turned <p style="margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;"></p>back to me, "So wh at do you think is g oing on? I don't see any other sectors w aiting out side, I th ink we're the <p style="margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;"></p>only ones Sens ei Akira w anted to s ee." <p style="margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;"></p>I l ooked arou nd me to s ee if he w as right. The Kitsun e Clan is a huge sch ool that g oes on for miles and miles, al l surround ed by a ju tted stone wall. The re are thi rteen sect or houses, each buil t with pag oda-styled roofs and <p style="margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;"></p>wood an d bamboo. The Kitsun e Clan div ided their students up into th irteen sec tors, each sector wi th seven m embers eac h. All the houses ar e lined up in a row, therefore I would h ave seen i f any othe r students were stan ding outsi de. <p style="margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;"></p>Yami was corre ct, the on ly ones ou t here wer e the six of us. We were Secto r 7, one m ember shor t of a com pleted tea m. I thoug ht about m y answer t o Yami's p osing ques tion. <p style="margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;"></p>"I have no i dea," I ya wned. Yeah , I didn't think abo ut my answ er for too long. Luc kily, it d idn't take long for the answer to presen t itself. <p style="margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;"></p>There wa s a shift in the mor ning air. I don't kn ow what ex actly chan ged, I jus t know tha t somethin g in the <p style="margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;"> </p>present a tmosphere wasn't the same as b efore. The re I was, standing o utside wit h my heart racing an d <p style="margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;"></p>tiredn ess still in my bone s. Yami an d Luna wer e standing right in front of m e, with Ca ssie not t oo far off , and <p style="margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;"></p>Ku roi standi ng with hi s legs apa rt and arm s crossed like some big shot. <p style="margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;"></p>The only one who w as quite a distance away was H anran, the middle bo y of our s ector. Han ran was th e type of guy who no t only lik ed his spa ce, he dem anded it. He was far thest away from ever yone with his back t o us. <p style="margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;"></p>Ac tually, Ha nran is wh at tipped me off in the first place. He turned his head and looked in Cassie's d irection. <p style="margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;"></p>"Nigaru- San?" Cass ie asked a fter a lon g moment w ent by wit h Hanran s till stari ng at her. Like me a nd Yami, C assie and Hanran wer e close in age as we ll. She wa s sixteen and he was seventeen . <p style="margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;"></p>Hanran continued to be sil ent, howev er, he beg an to take slow and cautious s teps towar ds us. "It 's time," he said in a very lo w voice. <p style="margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;"> </p>Before I could ask what Hanra n meant, L una threw her arms i n the air and exclai med, "I've got it!" "Got what? " I asked her. <p style="margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;"></p>"I remembered the real reason why I'm so ha ppy! It's because Ni garu-San c aught a fr og and he let me hol d it. <p style="margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;"></p>It was all s limy 'n st uff and sq uishy," Lu na answere d. Her bro ther shook his head. <p style="margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;"></p>"That w as three w eeks ago," Hanran me rely point ed out. <p style="margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;"></p> "I know, I 've been h appy about it ever s ince," Lun a grinned. <p style="margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;"></p>That wa s all ther e was to s ay about t hat subjec t. What Ha nran was r eferring t o became o bvious; Ak ira <p style="margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;"></p>appe ared befor e us, the teacher we were wait ing on. Ju st like th at, our Se ctor 7 was in the pr esence of the <p style="margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;"></p>Kits une Clan's second-in -command, Akira Miya moto herse lf. The wo man had he r fighting uniform o n; a black cat suit with a cri mson red s ash, and t wo matchin g red stra ps over th e shoulder s to make an 'X' sha pe. These were not h er usual c lothes. Sh e was dres sed for ba ttle. <p style="margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;"></p>Oh no, I rea lized, she 's dressed for battl e! <p style="margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;"></p>"Hey Sensei, wh addya doin g here so early?" Ku roi then a sked. For the first time that morning, I heard my <p style="margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;"></p>sector l eader spea k, and he still had the same b rash and r ude tone a s last nig ht. <p style="margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;"></p>Akir a merely l ifted an e yebrow. Sh e slid a h and into h er red sas h and show ed a silve r kunai wa s between her finger s. <p style="margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;"></p>Kuroi cleared h is throat. "I mean, uh, mornin g Sensei." He knew t hat kunai threat was for him. I smirked on the ins ide; my te am leader always tri es to act like a big shot. <p style="margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;"></p>E veryone el se was pol ite with t heir greet ings, all except Han ran who ch ose to sta y silent. Big surpri se. "I'll <p style="margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;"></p>make my point righ t now," Ak ira then s aid, her v oice loud and clear. "You're a ll coming with me to Viper <p style="margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;"></p>C ountry, we 're going to the Bla ck-Sho Cla n for Batt le Month. We depart in fifteen minutes. Pack light and take <p style="margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;"></p>your wea pons with you. Once your fifte en minutes are up, m eet me at the front gates of t he school. Do not <p style="margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;"></p> make me wa it on you, Sector 7. " <p style="margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;"></p>Once A kira finis hed speaki ng, she tu rned on he r heels an d started to walk in the oppos ite direct ion of the sector ho uses. <p style="margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;"></p>"W ait!" Yami shrieked. <p style="margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;"></p>Akira t urned her head aroun d and eyed him. "Wha t?" <p style="margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;"></p>Just one look from our t eacher, an d Yami was frozen wi th fear. " U-uh-um," he stammer ed. He sho ok his hea d <p style="margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;"></p>and go t himself together. "Sensei, w hat exactl y is Battl e Month? I 've never heard of t his." <p style="margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;"></p>Th e shinobi woman didn 't even bl ink. "Kaze -San knows ," she ans wered simp ly. "Let h im explain it." <p style="margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;"></p>Af ter that, Kuroi came undone. " Oh spirits , why do I gotta exp lain it?" he growled , "I mean, it's enou gh that <p style="margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;"></p> I've gotta mentor th ese fresh meats, now I've gott a clue the m in on th e obvious, too?" <p style="margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;"></p>W hish! <p style="margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;"></p>Ku roi fell t o the grou nd with a loud bang. .. a kunai jammed th rough his shirt and keeping hi m pinned t o the <p style="margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;"></p>gr ound. He t hrashed ab out, tryin g to loose n the kuna i from the compacted dirt, but it wasn't working v ery well. <p style="margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;"></p>I had to stop myse lf from la ughing out loud. Thi s was too rich! <p style="margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;"></p>"N ow you six only have ten minut es to pack ," Akira t hen stated . She eyed Kuroi esp ecially, " Better tal k fast." W ith that, Akira walk ed off. <p style="margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;"></p> "I swear!" Kuroi his sed from t he ground. He was a big guy; 5 '10" in he ight and b uilt like a bear wit h all his <p style="margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;"></p>muscle. It was fun ny to thin k that a s imple kuna i from Aki ra's belt could keep him on th e ground. But that <p style="margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;"> </p>wasn't a surprising occurrenc e for Kuro i Kaze. He was the o ne at this school wi th a "bad boy" reput ation; he <p style="margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;"></p>used to be the onl y one in S ector 7 un til the re st of us j oined abou t a month ago, after all. The only thing Kuroi <p style="margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;"></p>c ares about is being badass whi ch means h e's a guy who just w ants to fi ght and br awl all th e time. He 's so <p style="margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;"></p>an noying! <p style="margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;"></p> Kuroi did manage to get himsel f unstuck. Except, n ow his shi rt has a b ig hole in it. Just like all t he other s hirts he's had on wh en Akira t hrew a kun ai at him. <p style="margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;"></p>~*~*~*~ <p style="margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;"></p>We made our way b ack inside the secto r house wi thout a wo rd. Once w e were ins ide, it di dn't take long for t he chatter to start. <p style="margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;"></p>"Are yo u gonna te ll us abou t Battle M onth?" I a sked Kuroi . <p style="margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;"></p>He sco ffed, "Do I look lik e I wanna waste my t ime explai ning stuff to you?" <p style="margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;"></p>"You had no proble m popping off to Aki ra," Hanra n then com mented. He spoke wit h his same indiffere nt <p style="margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;"></p>tone of voice. <p style="margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;"></p>Kuroi ig nored the middle boy . "Yeah, w hatever. B attle Mont h is the b iggest was te of time , ever." <p style="margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;"> </p>"Yes," I said, "but what is i t?" <p style="margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;"></p>My t eam leader probably figured th at we were n't going to stop pe stering hi m. He went into his room (whic h <p style="margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;"></p>we sep arate by r oom divide rs) and ch ose to tal k when he wasn't in the open w ith the re st of us. "Battle Mo nth <p style="margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;"></p>is l ike a tour nament. It 's held by the thirt een ancien t clans sp read acros s the five countries that make up Shaaku <p style="margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;"></p>Den." <p style="margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;"> </p>I exchang ed looks w ith Yami. We both ha d no idea what he ju st said. <p style="margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;"> </p>"Wait, I' m confused , is Kaze- San tellin g us a sto ry? 'Cause so far it 's pretty dang borin g," Luna c ommented. <p style="margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;"></p>She look ed hopeles sly lost. <p style="margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;"></p>Yelling came from Kuroi's ro om. "I'M T ELLING YOU LOSERS WH AT BATTLE MONTH IS!" he shoute d defensiv ely. <p style="margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;"></p>Lun a didn't k now why he was upset . "So tell us, old m an!" <p style="margin: 0px; line-height: 16px; min-height: 15px;"></p>Kur oi stepped back out into the h allway wit h a new sh irt on.