Shulato #13

"Sudden Change! The Beast-king Mandala"

synopsis by Arcadia

Ryouma decides to fight Gai. Since it would be too hard for Shulato to kill his best friend, Ryouma will do it himself. He start to chant a spell, but Shulato begs him to stop. He tries to tell Gai the truth about what happened to Vishnu, but it makes no difference. Gai already knows, and he doesn't care. He starts to attack, but stops when a feather hits his hand. Reiga and Hyuga have arrived.

The four tell Gai to surrender, thinking there's no way he can beat all four of them together. Gai refuses, and attacks Shulato. The others run to help, but Shulato yells for them to stop. He's convinced that Gai has been tricked by Indrah, and can still be saved.

Hyuga insists that they don't have time. Unless they defeat Gai, they won't be able to get into Genbuden and finish activating Heiseimon, and unless they can get through Heiseimon, Tenkuukai will be completely destroyed, and the human world with it.

Still convinced he can help Gai, Shulato takes off his Shakti, intending to fight using the martial arts they both learned together. Perhaps that will make him remember what he was, and turn him back to normal.

Needless to say, Shulato is no match for Gai unarmed. The others try to help, but Shulato just runs around them. Reiga realizes that Shulato has to do this alone, and keeps Hyuga and Ryouma from interfering. Perhaps Shulato can do what they couldn't- end the fight without having to kill his friend. As they remember the fights with Dan, Kuuya and Renge, they realize Reiga is right.

A well-placed kick from Shulato knocks Gai's sword out of his hand. Gai grabs Shulato by the neck and tries to strangle him. Shulato still hasn't stopped trying to make Gai remember.

Flashback to when they were in grade school. Shulato has been locked out of his house as punishment for something he did. He bangs on the door and promises not to do it again, but his mother won't relent. Fed up, he decides to just run away from home. Gai, who was watching the whole exchange, follows. They end up at a playground. Shulato tries to get Gai to go home, but he won't. When Gai pulls out a box of cookies, Shulato remembers that he's hungry (as always), and they eat the cookies together. Gai even lets Shulato have the last one.

Unfortunately, even that memory has no effect on Gai. Shulato is losing rather badly.

Another flashback, this time to when they were in high school. Shulato and Gai are walking down the street, talking about food and girls, when Gai sees a puppy about to be run over by a truck. He jumps into the street to save it. The truck passes and Shulato think Gai was hit, but when the dust clears, both Gai and the puppy are safe at the other side of the street.

The evil look in Gai's eyes looks nothing like before. Shulato plays the scene over in his mind, but this time, after the truck is gone, the dog starts struggling and barking at Gai. Gai crushes the animal with his bare hands.

Finally, Reiga intervenes. Shulato can't win, so there's no other choice but to use the Beast-king Mandala. Reiga, Hyuga and Ryouma get into position for it, but Shulato hesitates, not wanting to hurt Gai.

Gai fires a Shippu Marouken, but Reiga, Hyuga and Ryouma manage to block it. Shulato watches. At Lakshu's insistance, he finally realizes that the Gai he knew is no more, and the possibility of getting him back is not worth sacrificing his three friends. He puts his Shakti back on, and gets into position for the Mandala, although he says he still hasn't given up on saving Gai.

The four warriors chant the Beast-king Mandala spell together. Gai fires another Shippu Marouken, but it is blocked. Reiga, Ryouma, Hyuga and finally Shulato cast their parts of the Mandala. With each attack, Gai's spells are less able to block them. Shulato's part of the spell completely destroys Gai's Shippu Marouken and sends all of them flying. Genbuden's door flies open.

Gai drags himself to his feet and walks toward Shulato. Instead of attacking, he offers to help him up. The Mandala purged the dark Sohma from Gai. He's himself again! However, Shulato's happiness is short-lived. A pillar of black Sohma descends from the top of Tekuuju and takes Gai back up with it.

They enter Genbuden and find the crystal sphere. All five of them (including Lakshu, to her surprise) fire Sohma into the sphere and the fourth pillar of light shoots into sky. Outside, the giant Heiseimon door slowly rises from the sea.

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