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Hybrid Theory Emerald Version: Electra's Tale

Hybrid Theory Emerald Version: Electra's Tale

By shadowlugia249

 

Have people ever told you that you're... "Different"? "Strange"? Even "weird"? I know that feeling. I was born weird. They said that from the moment that I was delivered. Even so, I've learned to deal with my "abnormalities" from day one. However, my condition had its benefits. Whenever I wanted to get a discount at the store, all I had to do was...

Wait! I'm getting ahead of myself. I should probably tell you what all the fuss is all about. I guess I should start when my life took an unexpected turn...

 

"Oh... my... God..." The doctor was completely dumbfounded when he delivered me.

"What is it?" said my mother, Fauna. "Is there something wrong with her?"

"Uh... yes and no. The good news is that you have a very healthy baby girl. The strange news is..." He handed me to my mother.

I had been born with a birth defect that doctors classified as "Hybrid Syndrome". Every case was different, but most of the cases had similar effects.

I had a thin layer of smooth, green fur and elongated fox-like ears in place of where normal people's ears would be. Along with that, I had a pointed growth sticking out of my skull. To the normal eye, it looked like I had three long "hair spikes" when you looked at my ears and the growth together. Several yellow marks lined my "spikes", face and... "muzzle"? I also had a short, furry, green... tail... that was yellow on the tip. My hands only had four fingers on each one and my feet were like padded dog's paws except for the claws and I only had three toes on each foot.

I swear that if my mother hadn't been so dedicated to having a family after my "father" left, she might have sent me away on the spot. However, she was still concerned when the power surged when I cried.

"Have you seen this before?" said Mom, rocking me in her arms. She seemed to like the feel of my fur on her skin.

"We've seen a variety of outcomes, but it's all one condition. Are you sure that you want her?"

She could have slapped him if she wasn't so tired. "Of course I want her! What kind of question is that?!"

Unfortunately, she woke me up and I began crying again. For some reason, the power seemed to surge when I reached a certain "pitch".

This was the beginning of a very strange mother-daughter relationship.

 

For the first three years of my life, my mother studied everything that she could about Hybrid Syndrome. She attended conferences, checked out books from the library and even went to a lab in St. Cloud, Minnesota called "MetaboAnthro" to do research. However, since there were so many random cases and since each case was unique, there was very little hard fact on the topic.

She did, however, learn that Hybrid Syndrome occurred before birth which was caused by a rare, random, freak gene in the father of the hybrid, which was like finding a needle in 10,000 haystacks. She also learned that hybrids each contain on of 17 known powers that ranged from fire manipulation to wind control to even rare telepathic powers. She just wondered which power I possessed. Hybrid Syndrome was incurable, so it was something that she would have to deal with.

Don't get me wrong; she loves me very much. She's just not sure how to deal with having a hybrid as a daughter.

One day while we were at home, I suddenly sneezed and the power in the whole house went out. At first, she thought that the fuse box had blown, but then I sneezed again and the power was restored along with the activation of every electronic device that had a battery or was plugged in at the time.

Mom looked at me and saw, to her amazement, that my already light-blue eyes were glowing a brighter blue color. When they dimmed, the power suddenly went out again.

"Ashley? Are you feeling alright?" she asked me.

She picked me up and received a shock... literally! My body had built up a static charge and it was all discharged into her body at once, stunning her.

It wasn't a powerful charge; it was like touching a wire charged by an electric fencer. She suddenly dropped me and backed up as if she had just been kicked in the chest. I landed on my feet and looked up at her curiously.

"Ashley... did you just...?"

But I looked like I hadn't felt a thing. I saw that she was looking scared and took her hand. Fortunately, the charge had been released, so I didn't shock her a second time.

"What's wrong, Mommy? Did I hurt you?"

"I... don't know. You didn't feel anything?"

"No... I just felt a little tingle."

Mom was looking me straight in the eye as she stroked my spikes.

"I think there's something special about you. I knew it from the moment that I saw you. You've just given me an electrifying experience." She thought for a moment. "How do you like the nickname "Electra"?"

"Electra!" I said happily. "I like it! I'm Electra!"

"Then from now on, I'll call you "Electra"!"

"Yeah! I don't like Ashley anyway."

 

I will never forget my first day of school. I felt like a freak as I rode the bus to the building. Nobody had ever seen a hybrid before and I got quite a number of funny looks as I took my seat. Nobody knew quite what to make of me the first time that they saw me, but it soon became irrelevant. When I got off the bus, two large third-graders tripped me up and I fell face-down on the concrete.

"Hey, Greeny! Watch out for that first step!"

He high-fived his friend and watched me get up. Once I did, the other one grabbed me by my spikes and twisted it hard. Tears came to my eyes as his friend took a small, green, drawstring bag from his pocket and used it to tie my legs together.

By now, a bunch of other kids had gathered around us to witness the beating of the new kid. I was helpless while the boys stretched my arms and legs out between them. They were making my life a living hell and I was letting them do it.

But not for long. I took a deep breath and an electric charge began building in my body. I can't explain the chemistry behind it, but my body could build up a lot of static electricity in my blood without short-circuiting my heart. My eyes glowed a bright light-blue and I unleashed it all out through my hands and feet.

I could have sworn that the boys flew a good ten feet in either direction. They dropped me and I landed rather uncomfortably on my tail.

I seemed to have gotten my point across because everyone backed off and left me alone from then on.

While I was in kindergarten, I didn't exactly make any friends -- they were too afraid of my electric abilities to approach me. I kept the green drawstring bag as a memento of that day and almost never went anywhere without it. However, I never did it again since my mother nearly maliced me with a shoehorn when she heard about my bully incident.

"You could have really hurt them!" she yelled with tears in her eyes. "I told you not to use your powers unless you were in danger!"

"I was getting bullied, Mom!" I retorted. "They were hurting me!"

She seemed to understand this and let up on the yelling. We kissed and made up and put the whole thing behind us. From then on, I never used my powers except on... ahem... "special" occasions.

 

Come to think of it, those "special" occasions started when I was 10. By now, most people knew who I was, but not a lot of them knew about my electrical abilities, so I had a slight advantage in this situation.

Why? It all started while Mom and I were out at "J.C. Penny's" one day. I had gone out shopping with her for the first time. Mom had picked out an expensive dress for a wedding that we were going to that wasn't a penny lower than $199.99. I chose a green kid-sized dress that was at least $149.99 in my size.

However, when the cashier rang up our purchases, the computers seemed to malfunction and our prices came up to 58.54 and 35.41. The man at the register thought it was a malfunction and re-scanned the tags. Meanwhile, Mom shot me a funny look but I was clueless as to what was happening and shrugged. Finally, the man figured that the clothes were on Clearance and dismissed it as he rang it up.

While Mom and I were riding home, the radio seemed to glitch and some static sounded before it intercepted a signal not unlike a satellite signal.

"Electra?" she asked me. "Are you messing with the radio again?"

"No." I shook my head and fidgeted with my tail. "I'm not doing anything."

"Are you sure? Because lately whenever we're near anything electronic, it seems to start acting up."

"I swear I'm not doing anything."

I didn't know what was going on, but after some more incidents, we figured that the static field around me was getting stronger as I grew up.

 

Thankfully, I managed to keep my static field in check until I was 16. Mom and I used my electric abilities to our advantage and got pretty good discounts whenever we were out shopping. In order to keep the clerks in the dark, we spaced out the times that we went to certain stores. For example, we only went to J.C. Penny's once every six or so months.

I was in my sophomore year in high school when I came home one day to find a man I had never seen before talking with my mom in our living room. He wore a gray suit and had well-groomed... silver hair? Its luster was too shiny to be gray. He had a large ring on his right hand with what looked like a broken star symbol on it. He had calm, navy-blue eyes unlike any I had ever seen before. When the man spoke, he spoke in a calm, collected sort of voice.

"Hello, Ashley. We were just talking about you."

I frowned at this man. He obviously preferred to call me by my first name instead of my nickname. I wasn't sure that I liked him.

"She prefers to be called "Electra"," said Mom, sticking up for me.

"I know. I just have a tendency to call people by their real name."

"Electra, why don't you sit down?" Mom asked me, patting the seat on the couch next to her.

I did, feeling slightly uneasy about this man. I had a feeling that Mom had revealed some very personal information while I was out.

"Electra, this is Professor Johiko Darck of... Where were you from again?"

He nodded. "I am the headmaster of Johiko's School for the Gifted -- a private campus for individuals like you."

"Huh?" I didn't think that there was such a place for hybrids like me.

"It's a school for hybrids, dear," said Mom encouragingly. "Everyone there has a "condition" like you."

"You mean a place for freaks like me?" I said, folding my arms.

Johiko Darck shook his head. ""Freaks" isn't exactly what I had in mind. It's more of a haven for people with... exceptional abilities." He rummaged in a silver briefcase that he had brought with and produced a DVD. "May I?"

"Uh..." stuttered Mom. "Sure, go ahead." He handed me the DVD and I inserted it into our DVD player.

After it loaded, a title screen came up that read: "Johiko's School for the Gifted -- A Place for Hybrids to Co-exist in Peace."

A short fanfare played followed by a gentle female voice saying, "Welcome to Johiko's School for the Gifted -- A Place for Hybrids to Co-exist in Peace."

The screen shifted to a woman that I immediately knew suffered from Hybrid Syndrome. She had short, black fur with a yellow ring mark on her forehead, her upper arms, her two long "ears" and her long, furry tail. Her face was muzzle-like almost like mine except she had a small, round black nose on its tip. I could see that her hair was dyed a violent bubble-gum-pink.

"Hello," said the hybrid with a sweet smile. "My name is Sharon Stone, but you can call me "Luna". I'm here to give you a short demonstration of the haven for hybrids known as "Johiko's School for the Gifted". For the past 50 years, we at Johiko's school have taken in people suffering from a rare birth defect called "Hybrid Syndrome" and given them a chance for a quality education."

Luna's image changed to a shot showing a magnificent stone mansion with an extensive garden including a hedge maze, marble ruins and even a large pool.

"Here at Johiko's, we pride ourselves on keeping our students happy and content." It changed again to show various rooms of the mansion. "Our campus includes comfortable dormitories, an extensive library, personal studies and much more."

The scene then did a short montage of hybrid students that attended the school. One of them had fiery-yellow fur and a red face, arms, legs and ears. One of them had red fur, brown, padded hands and feet and what appeared to be six curly red tails behind him. One even looked like a blue and red dragon with large magenta, spade-like wings and sharp claws on its hands and feet.

"Our campus accepts all different sorts of hybrids and gives them a chance to interact with others of their kind. Just ask these students."

A hybrid with jagged brown spikes all over its back complete with tan skin and a white belly named Mark "Sandslash" Phillips appeared on the screen.

"I used to be called a freak because of how I looked and being able to manipulate the ground, but this place is the perfect opportunity for me to feel "normal". I can't believe that I never knew about this place from the beginning! It's so wonderful here."

Another hybrid, obviously female, was mostly blue except for her white underbelly that ran from her throat all the way down to the tip of her long tail. Two blue "beads" were hooked on the tip of her tail and on a necklace around her neck. Her feet were dog-like and digitigrade and two small feathery "wings" were where her ears were supposed to be. To top it all off, she had a long, pointed, white horn atop her muzzled head. This hybrid's name was Melody "Dragonair" Reston.

"Life for me was difficult to deal with because I was an outcast in my school. Then I heard about Johiko's School for the Gifted and I was finally able to interact with people who understand me." She had a sweet, musical voice.

The screen then changed back to Luna.

"Thank you for taking time to hear about our exceptional school. We hope to see you soon and share our special knowledge with you."

 

When the movie was finished, I took it out of the DVD player and gave it back to Johiko, who put it back in his briefcase.

"Well?" he said, folding his hands. "What do you think?"

"I... like it," I said, looking joyful. "I can't wait to go!"

"Now, now Electra," said Mom with a sigh. "We don't even know how much it's going to cost."

"It's free," said Johiko simply.

"Say what?" Mom and I both wondered if we heard that correctly.

"It's an all-expense-paid school paid for by very generous donors. You don't have to worry about any financial problems."

This took a moment to sink in but Mom and I were soon looking at each other with joy. I get to go to school for free and it was full of people just like me... uh, in a way. I couldn't wait to go!

There was just one more question that I had to ask. "Mr. Johiko? If this is a school only for hybrids, where do you come in?"

"Electra!" hissed Mom.

But Johiko merely shook his head. "It's no trouble. I get asked that all the time. In fact... I am a hybrid myself. Would you like to see?"

We looked at each other again nervously and figured, "Why not?" We both nodded and hoped for the best.

Johiko smiled and stood up. He closed his eyes and started to... glow a bright white. It became so bright that the two of use had to close our eyes against the intensity of the light.

When it cleared, we were looking at a much different Professor Johiko Darck. He had a tall, thin body with dark-gray hairless skin and a long tail with two gray spikes on the tip. He wore a casual attire -- an orange T-shirt and blue jean shorts. Johiko stood on two dog-like, digitigrade legs that bent in three places and had ten odd, rectangular red "plates" on his back that stuck out of holes cut in the back of his shirt. His hands, unlike mine were five-fingered, but they were smooth and had no fingernails -- that trait we had in common.

His head had a small, pointed muzzle with two small nostrils where the nose would be. Under his deep-brown hair were pale, gray eyes covered by two pointed gray flashes that looked not unlike a mask.

"You look... nice," said Mom, trying to be nice.

"What power do you have?" I asked simply, ignoring my mother's annoyed look.

I have the ability to read and manipulate minds, said Johiko's voice... in my head?! How was that possible? Otherwise, he had a more freestyle and free-minded voice just like a teenager.

"Did you just...?" I asked.

"Yes." He said this vocally. "But you'd be surprised to no end if you knew what I was actually capable of."

The both of us dropped the subject. "So, when does the term start?" Mom wondered.

"I can arrange for a bus to pick you up at noon tomorrow. You'd better start packing if you want to catch it -- there are two more students that will be joining you as well."

"We'll do that," said Mom.

"Good. Well, I'd better be going. I have other appointments to attend to." Johiko changed back to his human form, but this time he wore a black suit and tie instead. "Good day, Electra... Ms. Terra." He left.

 

For most of the next morning, Mom and I packed my suitcase for a long trip. Since it was a private school, I would have to take care of myself for a while. I packed my favorite clothes including a blue tank top and navy-blue jeans. Mom made a last-minute shopping trip to get me some decent clothes for school. It would take a while to cut new holes in the pants for my tail as she always did.

I included my lucky charm -- the green drawstring bag from my first day of school -- in the mix; it had served me well for the past ten years and I hoped it would still work. Along with that, I included a simple magnet that I used to charge up my electric powers when there weren’t any outlets around.

Some reading materials such as a few of my favorite Mary Higgens Clark books and some of my Teen magazines were also added to the mix. After all, the school was in Minnesota, so it would be a long road trip. Our last meal before I left consisted of grilled chicken and scalloped potatoes with ham and cheese -- one of my favorites. Mom wanted to send me out in style so that I had something to remember her by. When it was nearly noon, she broke down and cried into my shoulder since she wasn't sure when she would see me again.

"I'm just so proud that you're going somewhere where they understand you!"

"You understand me, Mother. You helped me live normally with regular people. I'd never forget what we went through. No school could ever teach me what you taught me in my life."

"I'm just so proud of you for your help. You never once wished that you could be... normal like everyone else."

"Didn't you see all the different hybrids that they had at Johiko's School? I'll finally be with people that are like me. It's probably the best place that I could be."

Mom smiled. It was for the best, but she would always be my family, no matter how alike the rest of the hybrids were to me.

 

At exactly 12:00, a horn sounded outside, signaling that the bus was here. I gave Mom a good-bye kiss and exited the house. The bus looked like a regular compact yellow school bus except for the words "Johiko's School for the Gifted" stamped on the side instead of "School Bus". The bus driver, however, was anything but normal.

She had the form of a creamy-yellow-furred cat complete with padded paws, muzzle, tail and pointed ears. The only difference was that she had a large crop of purple fur around her shoulders with pom-poms and lining the top of her head around her ears. She had the most adorable jet-black eyes to boot.

"Hi!" she said in a sweet voice. "My name is Karen "Delcatty" Byron. What's yours?"

I decided that I could tell her my full name. She did.

"I'm Ashley "Electra" Terra," I said, bowing.

""Electra"?" Delcatty giggled and shut the door. "Okay, "Electra". Have a seat."

I sighed and went to pick a chair in the middle row on the right side. Lifting my luggage onto the seat, I sat down next to it and watched my house roll away as the bus started moving.

I was the only one on the bus so far, but Johiko had said that there would be two other students coming to the school later on, so I merely took out my CD player and listened to Shania.

Two hours later, a second hybrid got on the bus. I guessed that it a guy... a very stern and handsome guy. This hybrid brought the word "chicken" to mind except he was anything but. He had rich, short, fiery-red fur that looked more like fine fuzz instead. However, his fur turned into a spiky yellow pattern just below his knees where it went down to hide his taloned feet. He had muscular red arms that turned to mimic a bird's scaled feet at his wrists and arms. Three powerful, sharp claws were on his hands that looked like they could easily break any bone in my body.

This man had a short, curved beak that blended with the rest of his stern face. His eye colors were a combination of yellow with blue pupils. A red V-shaped... something lined his eyebrows that turned into two short "antennae" above his head. He had a mane of white "hair" that split behind his head and went off in opposite downward directions down to his waist.

Even though this hybrid looked like a fierce warrior, I could tell that he was as gentle as a kitten. He wandered over to me with a large suitcase and spoke to me.

"Are you... going as well?" He had a deep, bass-like growl of a voice. He had obviously never talked to a girl before.

"Oh... yes."

"My name's Alex... but I call myself "Blaze"."

"I'm Ashley... but everyone calls me "Electra"."

"It fits your description." He was very handsome.

"So... what's your ability?" I asked him.

"Say what?"

"Oh, don't play dumb! Every hybrid's got a special power. Watch me!"

I looked over at the radio up by Delcatty. My eyes glowed a bright blue as they always did when I was manipulating electricity. I held out my hand and a tiny spark jumped between my fingers. The radio stations changed at my command until I found something that I liked. Delcatty looked confused as she fiddled with the stations. Somehow, she knew it was me and she looked back at us. I immediately lowered my hand and looked uninterested.

"Please don't do that," she said, looking back at the road.

Blaze looked at me in awe. "Nice."

I smiled and looked back at him. "I can control almost anything electrical. I used to fool the registers at the shopping mall because my staticy body would interfere with their computers."

"Did they ever figure out it was you?"

I shook my head. "We spaced out the times that it would occur. All I got was a bunch of strange looks."

"I guess that they're not really used to seeing a hybrid... like you walking around before, are they?"

"Not really." I was really starting to like this guy. "Speaking of which... what's your special power?"

"Oh!" He quickly looked around for a safe place to demonstrate it. "Hold on a minute." He obviously had a very dangerous power and didn't want to damage anything.

He opened a window and took a deep breath. He was obviously aiming for something to cause a little chaos and confusion. Opening his beak, he let fly a column of fire at an unsuspecting...

...mailbox. I knew that he wouldn't hurt a fly. Thankfully, there were no people close enough to get hurt and Delcatty didn't see it.

"Not bad!" I said, clapping proudly. He was obviously a Fire-type hybrid. "You possess some special skills. Tell me a little more about yourself.

It was well over six hours until we arrived at the school, so we had time to kill. Blaze and I talked about how we had become hybrids and what we had heard about Johiko's School for the Gifted. I told him that I had been born a hybrid. However, it turns out that Blaze had been "attacked" by a hybrid that looked just like him and he had transformed into one through an infection in his system. I found that unusual since Hybrid Syndrome wasn't contagious.

"There must have been something in his talons that infected me or something," he told me. "I should be able to find out why when we get to the school."

We were so occupied with our own stories that we didn't notice that a third hybrid had joined us until she spoke up.

She was a female as well, but due to a lack of... things, it was hard to tell from her rock-hard expression. Most of her torso and face areas were white but the rest of her smooth skin was a sapphire-blue color. She wore a white tank top tied at the top with a pink scarf tied around her neck and back. On the edge of her shirt was a pink lace lining and a couple of yellow bands were wrapped around her waist. An oddly-shaped root-like charm covered her white chest and was tied around her neck. Two unknown, yellow arm bands were tied around her upper arms.

This hybrid wore a pair of blue short shorts that blended perfectly with her blue thighs along with a leather belt, blue ribbons and a short blue "cape" that was tied around her waist. Blue and white patterns made up the skin on her legs just above a pair of long, skin-tight leather boots with rubber soles on them. For some reason, two unusual, long, white ribbons flowed around her as if they had a life of their own.

I had never seen anything like the headgear that she had on her head. It looked like a long, crystal-shaped, sea-blue horn that was hollow in the middle. Two shorter, pointed horns extended backwards from both sides of the larger one. Above an odd, nose-like muzzle were two piercing-red eyes that seemed to radiate power and strength.

The female hybrid tried her best to join our conversation.

"Hi." she said in a timid tone. "I'm Yuna "Suicuna" Kirasagi." She seemed nervous.

Blaze and I stopped talking and introduced ourselves. It turns out that Suicuna had been born a human had been turned into a hybrid by a twisted laboratory named "MetaboAnthro". They were creating their own super-hybrids in order to take over the world. Suicuna had somehow escaped and went into hiding until she was found by Johiko and was invited to his school. I understood her concern and paranoia. However, we managed to convince her to show us her power.

Suicuna pulled a water bottle from her suitcase and opened the cap. By focusing her powers, she was able to manipulate the water inside and move it using her hands. She did a simple movement not unlike a ribbon dancer, formed the water into a solid sphere in her hands and then shot it at Blaze like a water jet. When she recalled the water, we could see Blaze was steaming... literally! White steam clouds had formed where the water had touched his hot fur.

"Don't do that again," he said, shaking himself dry.

"Sorry," Suicuna smiled meekly. "I can only manipulate water. I can't create it."

(Author's Note: Sound's like the X-man Pyro's polar opposite, don't it?)

Suicuna also produced a second power -- something that most hybrids would only dream about. She was able to control the wind. When she did, her plum hair ruffled in a non-existent breeze and she showed her power by enhancing the air-conditioning into a blast as powerful as a skydiving gust. Delcatty chose to ignore us during this.

"Okay! We get it!" Blaze and I shouted over the wind.

Suicuna blushed, though it was hard to tell with her snow-white face. The three of us went back to talking about our stories and what we planned to do at the school. The rest of the bus ride was rather uneventful.

 

"It's not as bad as I thought it would be," I said, looking up at the school. "At least the brochure wasn't duping us."

The outside of Johiko's School for the Gifted matched the image on the movie. It had well-kept lawns and was built out of white sandstone and marble. Multiple hybrids were walking around the grounds and in and out of the building going about their daily routines.

"It seems to be more..." Suicuna shrugged. "Higher class than I'm used to. It certainly comes up to par with me."

"Just wait until you look inside," said a deep voice that sounded suspiciously like Blaze.

A hybrid that could have passed himself off as Blaze's twin was standing in front of the entrance, smiling as well as his beaked face would allow. I noticed, though, that his taloned hands were heavily wrapped in bandages.

"Hey Blaziken!" said Blaze, waving to him.

Blaziken tilted his head to one side. "Johiko must've told you my name, because I sure didn't."

"Johiko?" said Suicuna and Blaze at the same time.

"Oh. You probably know him as "Professor Darck"."

"Oh." They understood now.

"What're you all standing around for? Come on in! I'll give you a personal tour."

"What about our things?" I wondered, pointing to my suitcase.

"That's no problem." Blaziken waved a clawed hand in the air and whistled sharply. A hybrid appeared at our sides so suddenly that it nearly made me jump out of my fur.

The hybrid had puffy white fur that covered everything but his jet-black face. He had piercing red eyes, a black "third eye" on his forehead and a curved black horn sticking out of the right side of his head. A hooked, black tail grew from the back of his tattered black-and-blue shorts -- the only piece of clothing that he had on. The hybrid had wrapped his forearms and ankles in rough blue bandages. His four-clawed hands looked like long, sharp, black, fingers with another claw sticking out from his elbows and his digitigrade heels. His feet had three sharp black talons that looked like they meant business. Somehow, I felt that I shouldn't ever cross this hybrid or make it mad. Period.

"Absol, can you take these peoples' things to their dormitories?" asked Blaziken, pointing at our luggage.

"Yes, sir," said the hybrid in a quiet, menacing voice. He picked up mine and Suicuna's suitcases, hooked Blaze's on the horn on his head and carried them into the building.

"Tough guy," said Suicuna, obviously impressed.

"You have no idea. If Absol talked as much as he fought, he could rival most auctioneers." Blaziken sighed and shook his head. "Now, what about that tour?"

 

The inside of the building was more mansion-like than a school. There were strange, obviously rare and expensive artifacts on display throughout the building, an impressive library full of unusual books, multiple living rooms, dormitories, study halls and even a kitchen that rivaled most restaurants. There was nothing at all to suggest that we were inside a school.

"You would think it wasn't," said Blaziken when Suicuna voiced this opinion. "But we have a place where the REAL learning happens. This way."

"Oh Blaziken?" Blaze asked him. "What happened to your hands?"

"Oh, these?" He held up his wrapped-up claws. "I had a little run-in with MetaboAnthro and they were injected with a toxin that transforms any human I injure with these babies."

Blaze looked alarmed. He had obviously realized the real reason that he had turned into a hybrid.

"But Johiko just had the toxin removed before you got here, so it's okay. I'm still recovering, though."

"How many people did you transform?" asked Blaze, worriedly.

"Just you."

"Oh... kay..." This was obviously a good thing.

Blaziken looked troubled, though. "Forget it. I'm not proud of what I did to you, so drop it."

"Sure," nodded Blaze.

Deep within the complex of the mansion was a maze of identical metal hallways that were most certainly not found in a regular mansion. There were large, circular, locked doors with various locking systems on them. In all, there were many different rooms and some of them read thus:

"Water Room -- Water, Ice and Dragon Hybrid Training Room"

"Rock Room -- Fighting, Ground, Rock and Steel Hybrid Training Room"

"Psychic Room -- Psychic and Ghost Hybrid Training Room"

There was even one that caught my attention. "Electric Room -- Electric Hybrid Only Training Room."

"Hey Blaziken, what's with all the different "Training Rooms"?" asked Blaze.

Blaziken stopped outside a room marked "Combo Room 1 -- One-on-One Dual-Type Hybrid Training Room."

"Every hybrid has one or two different "Types"," he said, pointing to him and Blaze. "These rooms are designed to help you harness your powers and focus them a lot better. You and I, by the way, are Fire-and-Fighting type Hybrids." He turned to me. "Electra, you look like an Electric-type, right?"

I nodded. "I guess so."

"And Suicuna must be a Water-type?" said Blaze.

"Maybe," shrugged Suicuna simply.

"Neat!" I said, heading over to the "Electric Room". "I can't wait to get started!"

"Hold on there, Jethro!" said an all-too-familiar voice. "You can't just use these rooms just like that! We have to register your... persona before we get to that point."

The four of us turned to face a familiar hybrid walking down the hallway. Johiko Darck, the headmaster, was meandering over to us, his long, spiked tail swishing from side to side.

"Headmaster!" said Blaziken, surprised at his sudden appearance. "I was giving a tour to our three new students."

"It's okay, Josh," said Johiko, smiling. "I was looking for you, actually. I need to speak with you about an important matter. Will you see these students to their room and join me in my study, please?"

"Yes, sir." Blaziken nodded and turned to the three of us. I managed to catch Johiko's eye and he gave me a quick smile. "Come with me, guys. Let's find you some spare rooms."

 

Most of the dormitories in the mansion had two hybrids in them. Blaze had been paired with a Dragon-and-Ground Type hybrid named Mike "Flygon" Gyro while Suicuna and I were paired together in a spare room. While the two of us unpacked, we talked about what Johiko's School for the Gifted had in store for us.

"What do you think is in those "Training Rooms", Electra?" Suicuna asked, putting her spare clothes in a drawer.

I shrugged. "Beats me. I'm guessing that it's some sort of machine to help us practice our powers."

"Like what?"

"I dunno. Maybe the "Electric Room" has a generator in it?"

"That's kind of dangerous," Suicuna said, flinching.

"That's why we're just speculating here. I really have NO idea what's in there."

"Oh." She quickly changed the topic. "Do you think we'll meet any cute hybrid boys?"

I looked at her and giggled. "Why? Isn't Blaze or Blaziken cute enough for you?"

She shrugged and put her water bottle on her bed stand. "I dunno. They're a little "hot-headed" for me. I prefer to find someone who's a little more like me. You know -- a Water Type."

I sighed and put my static rod in a drawer. "You're so picky! You'll never find a man with that attitude!"

Suicuna huffed and put her hands at her hips. "Well, what about you, chump? What do you plan to do with your life?"

I rolled my eyes and plopped down on my bed. "I've never been too interested in boys, hybrid or not. Who knows? Maybe fate will intervene someday."

"Whatever." She did likewise and looked out the window.

It was getting late and we had classes first thing in the morning. We both turned in for the night and I thought about all that had happened to me recently. Seeing Johiko's true form, meeting Blaze and Suicuna and coming to this school full of hybrids just like me. I had a feeling in my heart that my life was going to be very interesting from now on.

END