"Well there's always been groups of people who could never see eye to eye, but I always thought if they ever had a chance to talk face to face, they may realize they had a lot in common." ~ Chris LeDouz 'This Cowboy's Hat'.


"Like fucking what? Killing Humans?" ~ John VaSilas, in response to hearing the above for the first time.

He was running, as far and as fast as his super-Human body could carry him. John VaSilas had, indeed, ran farther and faster before, but the reason for his last flee led into the reason for this one.

John - or, 'Silas', as he preferred to be called - was a Conduit, and in this world, that was far worse than being black in nineteenth century America, or being of Jewish faith in Nazi Germany. The difference between Silas and the aforementioned minorities, however, was that Silas wasn't entirely Human. Conduits were essentially the next step in Human evolution, with each awakened Conduit having super-Human abilities that ranged from the comic-book common, to the weirdest of the weird. Silas had come across 'normal' conduits who could fly, or had telekinesis, and he had come across 'odd' conduits, who could control - of all things - odors, or neon energy, whatever that was. Silas, however, was a unique Conduit - in far more than just one way - he was what he knew as a 'Leech' conduit, or a Conduit that could absorb the abilities off of other conduits, like how a leech could steal the blood of a living being. Silas had exercised these powers three times, before, each time in the very city that introduced Conduits to the greater world.

Empire City, the city of commerce, it had been the teenager's home for as long as he could remember. But on that fateful day, not one year ago on his fifteenth birthday, no less, The Blast changed everything. His mother, a firefighter, had been vaporized in the initial blinding blast, and his father, a former Ranger turned SWAT Technician, had soon been killed by the gangs and chaos that followed. Silas had been alone for weeks, until he had - by pure happenstance - bumped into a Conduit, who could manipulate smoke, another odd power that Silas had only encountered a few times post-Empire. It had tth aken Silas weeks to master Smoke, and to evade the Conduit who had given him the power, but the mastery came with a sense of freedom he had never experienced before. While Smoke was certainly less lethal than his other two powers, it was certainly good for travel.

Silas' newfound Conduit powers had let the then-fifteen year old teenager survive more or less unchallenged in the fading city, because the focus of the Gangs was more on the more recognized of Empire's conduits: Cole MacGrath, the Electric man, and the source of his second set of powers. MacGrath had just crossed over into the Warren, but had been shot to hell and back and was in desperate need of medical attention. Silas knew of MacGrath's exploits because of his friends over in the Neon district, and thus, knew of how good and benevolent a man he was. Silas had assisted MacGrath and given him shelter for a night, before finding him a source of electricity which healed the conduit. The two had shaken hands as a result, which had given Silas his powers. A shocked - no pun intended - electrokinetic Conduit had given the Leech a quick run through on how to control his electric powers, before he had to go off and continue his work, cleaning up the city and hunting for something known as the 'Ray Sphere'.

Months would pass, and though Silas would meet up with MacGrath twice more, he would more or less refuse to become the Hero Cole was turning out to be, instead choosing to use his powers not selfishly, but more simply to keep himself alive. Then, of course, Fate had to be a cruel bitch, and it sent him the mother of all curve balls when a Beast of a conduit gave him his third set of powers. Perhaps, however, the proper term was The Beast.

After MacGrath's highly televised but extremely classified duel against the Beast, it had caused an explosion that glassed the entire city, but Silas - utilizing his smoke abilities - had managed to survive it, though not without incurring many injuries. The massive Titan had noticed him, before it had continued down its path of destruction to the Southern United States, and Silas could only guess as to why what happened next, happened next. Silas assumed the massive conduit had deigned him a threat and wanted to kill him, because it had picked up the small Human like it was nothing, like a person would pick up a stick, or a pencil, and the Beast had tried to break him just as easily as one would break said objects. However, Silas had abilities the Beast hadn't seen coming, most likely hadn't even known existed, and by sheer luck, when Silas' hand clenched the hand that held him in a vice grip, he had absorbed the very powers that fueled the Titan conduit. The resultant explosion had stunned the Beast and had knocked Silas unconscious, somehow sending him halfway across the continental US.

Months had passed, and Silas had spent each waking moment of them trying to learn to control the awesome, deadly beyond belief powers that the Titanic Conduit had given him. In the end, however, it was like controlling a Demon: He could do it, but not for long. Thus, he had resorted to forcing himself to learn how to keep the Beast within him locked up, and thankfully he had done so. But then, of course, the Department for Unified Protection came into existence, and Conduits all over the world were suddenly free game for their concentration camps. Silas had been able to avoid the DUP for a period of several months, but now, they had found him. They knew of his powers, not just of his Smoke and Electrokinetic Powers, but of his powers over the Beast within him. From what he had gathered, the original Beastial Conduit had been a direct result of a fusion between him and his powers, and the device that birthed all Conduits: The Ray Sphere; in essence meaning that the long-since dead Beast, and still living Silas, had control over an organic version of the device that could create, or - god fearing - enhance any Conduit in existence.

Thus, had begun Silas's flee from modern society, but the DUP wouldn't let him have it so easy. They wanted his powers, and they were ready, willing, and able to bomb entire towns to do so. He found himself stopping for just a moment in the woods outside a nearby city, he didn't know which one it was and he didn't care, to be honest. He gave himself a once over, as was his custom all he was wearing was his running shoes, a non-descript black T-Shirt, a white, unzipped hoody, and his weathered but reliable jeans. In his pockets he felt his MP3 player Zippo lighter he'd stolen out of some store in Iowa. On his back, Silas had a simple sling-bag, packed with a change of clothes, batteries, a lighter and several sheets of thick paper. He wished he had a better weapon, but the only one he had he'd had to leave during his escape.

A rasping Silas swiped his hand through his short, jet black hair and took a deep breath, before he let it loose, and continued running, he heard dogs barking behind him, and the cracking sound of concrete breaking ground as well, meaning that the DUP had sent their forced-Conduits after him. Silas sprinted faster, the feeling of his feet silently slamming into the ground beneath him was all but unfamiliar to the Conduit, Empire City had taught him to be as mobile as possible, and while he was no professional, Parkour and Free-running had been skills that had been bred out of necessity.

Silas broke through the treeline and saw the city off in the distance, however, in his immediate area, he saw what could be his salvation. A bus, sitting nonchalantly right next to a tunnel leading into a small mountain, was waiting for its passengers, which looked nonexistent. Silas knew many things about the DUP, but chief among them: Only a select few of them were smart, and almost all of the rest of them were about as stupid as people who worked in fast-food joints. Silas knew they would expect him to keep running, to ignore the bus, because it was such an obvious ploy.

So Silas, against his own instincts, ran straight for the bus.

If he asks why I'm running... Thought the wheezing Conduit, I'll tell him I thought I was late. He reasoned with himself, before he sprinted across the street.

Silas rounded a corner and saw the bus was still there, but the Driver was beginning to move. Desperately, Silas waved his hands, trying to get the bus driver's attention. Miraculously, it worked, and the Driver stopped the enormous, yellow vehicle so Silas could board it. Huffing and puffing, Silas got into the vehicle.

"You the guy I was supposed to be picking up?" The Driver asked, giving Silas a once over.

Silas, in turn, gave the Driver a once-over. He looked odd, his eyes seemed to have a sort of glowing look to them, and he was chewing - literally chewing - on the lit cigar in his mouth. Silas ignored both of these, he could see the flashlights of the DUP Runners just beginning to reach the forest's edge.

"Yup!" Said Silas, his normally deep voice light with forced friendliness, "how much do I owe you, again?" He asked.

The Driver looked at Silas a moment, but said, "this is a school bus, kid, you don't owe me squat."

Oh... Damn it. Silas only briefly thought bout taking his chances with the outside world, but decided that, in the end, school couldn't have been worse than running from the DUP, so he took his seat and drew his hood, casting his entire face in shadow. The bus started up again and put-putt-putted along the road, towards the tunnel.

"So... Were you running from something, or for something?" The Driver asked, Silas only now realized how slithery and snake-like his voice sounded.

Silas cleared his throat and leaned down in the chair, beneath the window. "For something." He said, confidently, "I didn't want to be late." Though, late for what, he had no idea.

"I figured." The Bus Driver shifted his blue hat, and gave Silas a quick look over his shoulder. "Why'd you enroll at Yokai Academy?" He asked, innocently enough.

The hell is Yokai Academy? Silas thought, before he shrugged. "Didn't have much choice, given the world I live in." He said, not exactly lying, but not really telling the truth, either.

The Driver laughed, "ain't that the truth." He said, as the bus entered the tunnel and was sheathed in darkness. "In any case, you'd best prepare yourself." The Driver started twitching, as if he were chuckling silently.

Silas gave the Driver a look, "why's that?"

The Driver looked at Silas over his shoulder, as a light could be seen at the end of the tunnel. "Because, kid. I don't know what you've seen out there, but in here? Yokai Academy... It's a school for monsters." He laughed maniacally.

Silas stared at the crazy man, blankly. Is 'monster' another word for 'conduit', or am I going to a cripple school? A cold feeling went down Silas' spine, he couldn't help but wonder if he'd fallen into a DUP Trap.

"Right." Said Silas, "you on anything, old man?"

The Driver laughed, as he came to a halt on the other end of the tunnel. "All off." He said, in an ominous tone.

Silas shrugged and got off the bus. He found himself on a cliff overlooking a blood red lake, with a crucified scarecrow, with a pumpkin head, standing right next to him. The bus drove off a few second later, and after Silas flipped it off, he looked out over the lake. It was early in the morning, far earlier than any sane school would be open, but with the sky above him being almost as red as the lake below him, Silas couldn't help the sneaking suspicion that this was a school that was far from sane. Silas sighed and looked at the scarecrow next to him, which was looking right at him, its rotten pumpkin face holding the stereotypical jack-o-lantern pose.

"I'm glad I'm not the only one creeped out." Silas said to the pumpkin, "what do you say, stay here a few weeks, head back out when everything with the DUP has calmed down?" He asked it.


"Yeah, I'm thinking the same thing... Any idea where the school is, from here?" He asked.


"I'll just..." Silas looked at its chest, which had only an arrow pointing to the north. Looking past the arrow, he saw what he could only describe as a series of gothic castles, all joined together to make one small community. "Go that way." Silas started walking, entering the forest next to him just a few minutes later.

The environment around him was, in a word, dead. The trees were blackened, as if they'd been set on fire, the ground beneath him had a fine layer of dust and sand, underneath which was dead, thick rock. And the air smelled like something was burning, it smelled like charcoal, and smoke, and there was a hint of dead body hidden underneath it all.

Creepy place... Thought Silas, as he walked down the path. It's nothing like where we just were... The hell am -

"Out of the waaaaaaaaay!" He heard an ungodly girlish voice screech.

Silas whipped around to see what he could only describe as a pink cannonball speeding straight for him. That was all his instincts needed to kick in, and in an instant he was no longer Human, but rather a collection of smoke. He smoke-dashed straight through the cannonball, who he saw was not a cannonball, but rather a girl, and once he was past her he reformed into a Human, staring blankly at the rapidly descending bike-riding girl.

"The fuck was that?" Silas asked himself, before he blinked, shook his head, and followed the path the girl had taken.

Silas found himself sitting in the Academy's gymnasium, it was a large thing, but instead of being the enormous room dedicated solely to the overfunded basketball program, as he was used to, he was in an actual gymnasium, a room dedicated primarily to physical education. After a few minutes of searching, he'd found himself a small section in the bleachers that was empty enough for him to be alone, with his thoughts.

Chief among his thoughts were his glee at escaping the DUP, his preconception that this had been a trap had been wiped away when he'd seen actual students wandering the halls and roads around the school, and a few of the friendlier looking teachers had even waved at him. Second among his thoughts was the bitter sweet realization that, if he stayed here, he would be going to school. He didn't really mind that part, school had never been something that was tough for him, he was an A and B student, but the lack of difficulty in any school he went to always led him to one conclusion: School sucked. As much as it would help him and benefit his future, it was beyond boring to have your work finished with still a half hour of the class left. Silas had always liked learning new things, Physics had been an avenue he'd considered, but then Empire had happened, and education was very far from his list of priorities.

"Excuse me."

Of course, he had thought about enrolling in a high school once he'd escaped Empire and that colossal Conduit, but those thoughts had been dashed by the Military's capture of any and all Conduits, and his resultant Beastial powers. Both of those together had told Silas he would have to subsist on his half-high school education for however longer he lived.

"Excuse me?"

It had slightly disappointed the Conduit, after he'd gained a slight control over the Beast, and had learned how to squash it down within him, that he wouldn't be able to learn anything new. He loved learning things, and now, thanks to the DUP and the Modern Segregation, education and learning -

"Excuse me?" Silas felt a hand press against his shoulder, shaking him from his thoughts.

Silas looked at the person who was speaking to him, he was able to see her past his hood, but he knew the woman in question couldn't see his face. The girl standing in front of him was probably a half foot shorter than him, she wore a simply skirt and shirt, underneath a sweatshirt. On her legs were no jeans, unlike Silas', she wore stockings that had stripes of varying shades of purple running up them. Her hair, an odd shade of purple, reached down to her shoulders, not at all unlike Silas's, but hers was a neatly styled do, while his was unkempt, only kept in its blast-back style by frequent passes with his hand.

"Yeah?" Silas asked, unable to ignore the chill in the wind that followed the girl.

"Is this seat taken?" She pointed to the empty spot next to Silas.

"Nope." Silas scooted over, and the girl sat down. Several minutes passed by in silence, the orientation went by about as mundanely as Silas had expected it to go: A whole lot of absolutely nothing had gotten done. He had considered breaking the silence with the girl next to him a few times, but in the end he'd decided there wasn't any reason out there dictating he break the silence, the only thing she'd said to him was whether or not a seat next to him was taken, if one continued a conversation from that, then Movie Theaters may have well been places to make new friends.

But, that didn't mean she hadn't spoken to him, so Silas felt he had to get in at least one snarky comment; if anything, it would help make him feel normal, which, hopefully, this school would help restore a sense of: Normality.

"Well... That was fun." He said, looking to his right and seeing the girl blankly staring at him. He blinked, "is there something stuck on my face?" He asked, itching at his poorly shaven chin.

"You smell funny." The girl said, bluntly.

I have been playing Rambo for about a year and a half. Silas thought, "doesn't everyone on the first day of school?"

The girl looked at him for a moment, "that is true." She paused, then extended her hand, almost timidly. "Mizore Shirayuki."

Silas accepted the hand, "John VaSilas... My friends call me Silas."

Mizore nodded, and after shaking Silas' hand, left without a word. Silas blinked, he hadn't expected such an anticlimactic exit.

"Okay." He said, before he began walking, the principle wearing the odd clothes - which had reminded him of the higher ranking Reapers, back in Empire - had said class was starting soon, so Silas decided it best to make his way there.

After a quarter of an hour searching for a classroom, Silas picked the first one he found after the bell rang. Class 3-2 was what was written on the post-it above the door, Silas found himself a seat in the rear corner of the class, and sat down. Two more minutes passed before the teacher, a pale skinned woman wearing glasses, entered the room. She sat at her desk with a slight smile, eyes closed as she reached for her rollbook, as if memory alone was enough to look for it. She opened it up and, with eyes open, she read through the names on the list. Several people called that they were present, one or two were missing, and when she was nearly finished, Silas was surprised at what he heard next.

"VaSilas?" The teacher called out, her voice light in tone but still womanly.

Silas stared at her for a moment, waiting to see if there was another VaSilas in the room.

No one answered.

"John VaSilas?" The teacher looked up.

"Err... Here." Silas raised his hand, silently trying to figure out how his name had been on the roster for a class he had no business being a part of, and had literally chosen at random.

"Oh, good!" Silas heard her say, he thought he heard her muttering something else, but he was too far away to hear her.

Several more minutes passed as the teacher - Nekonome, was apparently her name - called out names. Finally when she was finished, she stood up and grabbed her chalkboard pointer. "Alright, now, welcome!" She said, cheerfully, "my name is Shizuka Nekonome, I'll be your homeroom teacher, this year." She greeted, a smile on her face before she gave the class a quick bow. "Now, I'm sure all of you are aware of this, but for those of you who aren't... Yokai Academy is a school by monsters, and for monsters."

Silas blinked, a smile very quickly stretching across his face. Something inside him told him it was time to start laughing, that this was just a joke they pulled every year on the transfer students, but the same voice that told him which plain-clothed person was a DUP in disguise, also told him to shut the hell up and listen.

I thought the new name for Conduits was 'Bio-Terrorist'...? Silas thought, as the teacher continued.

"As you know!" The teacher continued, after she finished making some crude sketches on the chalk board, of the Earth and a stick-figure on top if it. "Planet Earth has come under the control of the Humans, their population of seven billion far exceeds our own, thus: They have the power!" She said, drawing out the last four words. "In order for us Monsters -" Silas noted that she continued to use the blunt word 'Monster', most Conduits referred to themselves as 'Conduits', there were only a few religious nut jobs that called Conduits 'Monsters', and this lady - with her slightly revealing clothing - was certainly no Nun. - " to continue to survive, we must learn to coexist with the Humans!" Silas knew, very soon, he would have to decide whether or not Human and Conduit were the same thing. "That, is why this school was created! The headmaster, whom you all met earlier this morning, created this school so Monsters could learn to coexist with Humans! So... It is for that reason, that during your stay at this academy, you will always be assuming your Human Form!" She asserted, despite the fact that Silas could easily recognize ears in the mess she called hair. "You see, this is a school rule because it is a matter of being able to disguise yourself well as a human! This is the foundation of coexistence." She explained, drawing out her words on the chalkboard.

Disguises are also the foundation of warfare, lady. Silas couldn't help but think. He still doubted the woman's sanity, but the absolute lack of bemused expressions around him told him to take everything this woman was saying as the truth, and it also told him to keep up his streak of keeping his hood drawn.

"Therefor, you are never to allow any of your fellow students to know your 'true form', understood?" She asked, cheerfully.

The class ushered forth a drone-like 'yes ma'am', save for Silas and one other kid, a burly looking teenager who probably could have taken some MMA Fighters on size alone.

"Hey, teach!" Speaking of the devil, the student raised his hand and spoke, not waiting for permission. "Wouldn't it be better if we just ate the Humans?" He paused, "well, the guys, at least... Use the women for... Heh, other things." He grinned devilishly.

Ever the snarky bastard, Silas was the one to respond to the guy. "Isn't that the same logic they used?" He asked the guy, causing all eyes to turn to him. "Kill the men, rape the women, salt the lands? If not for that mentality, why else do the Humans outnumber the Monsters?" He wondered.

The student growled - actually, growled - at Silas, but the Teacher interrupted his retort. "Incidentaaaallyyyy, Here at yokai academy, the teachers and students are aaaalllll monsters, so there are no Humans of any kind, here!" She explained, not knowing that the one paying most attention to her lecture was the one exception to her rule. "This is because the academy is hidden within a secret dimension. Any Humans who know of our existence will... Well be killed!... I think." Silas felt the blood slowly drain out of his face: Conduits had always been bitches to take down, but he always won out in the end, though he knew that wouldn't ring true in a school full of xenophobic werewolves, vampires, bigfoots and who knows what else. "And -" Nekonome was interrupted by the door suddenly crashing open.

"Oh, I'm so sorry I'm late!" Said an extremely effeminate voice, as a girl wearing the school uniform walked inside timidly, head bowed out of shame. "I got lost after the entrance ceremony." Silas thought he recognized the girl, but in the end decided he didn't.

The teacher looked at the newcomer with slight surprise, but let her off the hook. The newcomer - whose name, Silas found out, was 'Moka', like coffee - searched for a seat for a moment, but when she found the only available one, next to the student who had demanded all male Humans be eaten and all females be 'used for other activities', she almost pleadingly searched for another seat. Eventually she settled upon the seat next to the lecherous monster, who looked at her with a hunger in his eyes.

Oh boy... Silas thought, as the teacher began handing out assignments. He noticed how everyone else in the classroom was fawning over the newcomer, but they all seemed to back off when the lecher showed interest. This... Is going to be one interesting venture.


Now, A lot of you might be wondering just why I gave Silas The Beast's powers.
Outside of simple fascination with the implications of said decision, I have reasons for just about every single word in the above chapter.