The Beast Within
Disclaimer: Ranma ½, Darkstalkers and Hellsing belong to everyone else but me.
< >: Thoughts
[ ]: Cantonese and Mandarin
Curse of the Chinese Ghosts
Both members of the Talbain family immediately sprang to their feet ,while taking out their nunchakus and headed toward the exit of the cave. Matthew leapt to the left while his father took the right flank. The two lycanthropes took ready stances as the ghosts of Hsien Ko and Mei Lin appeared before them.
The blue-skinned sister of the spectral siblings nodded to the two male fighters. [“Oh look sister. They have sent us two more to amuse us.”]
[“Yes, but this time, they are very handsome.”] Mei Lin agreed as she pointed to Jon. [“Especially this one. Reminds you of the Beloved One, do you not think?”]
[“Indeed. However, the Beloved One is no longer here and sadly, we must fight these two now.”]
<Beloved One? Who are they talking about?> Jon thought as he listened to their conversation. Then he tensed up as he noticed that Mei Lin was about to merge with her sister.
The former Saotome nodded as he powered up his ki and threw his enchanted nunchakus at the weaker half of the Kuang Shi sisters. Mei Lin screamed as the chained clubs, inscribed with magic runes, actually impacted against her and prevented her from transforming into her Mystic Seal form. Matthew pressed the attack as he charged in with the Beast Cannon, forcing her to retreat away from her sister.
[“Mei Lin!”] Hsien Ko cried out as she tried to aid her. However, as she threw her sleeves forward and let loose with a barrage of chains and sharp blades, Jon intercepted the attack with his own nunchakus.
With a practiced ease, he deflected each of the projectiles, causing them to fly away and disappear in clouds of smoke. As he took a ready stance for the next attack, he was bit surprised as Hsien Ko stood motionless and in total confusion.
[“Well?”] Jon asked.
Hsien Ko remained silent for a long moment before replying. [“How do you know of that technique? Only the Beloved One used it.”]
This got Jon even more confused, then he began to piece it together. [“Huh? What do you mean? It’s one of our family moves. Wait. Hold on a minute… are you saying… this Beloved One was…”]
The ghostly scream caught both of their attentions as they turned to see Matthew chasing Mei Lin about. Clearly, she was not as powerful as Hsien Ko and was faring badly against the younger werewolf. She was just barely deflecting his attacks and she was on the verge of being overwhelmed.
The blue-skinned ghost girl thrust her sleeves into the ground, and sent a sneak attack toward Matthew.
Jon’s son had to break off his assault on Mei Lin as huge, pointed blades appeared out of the ground, almost skewering him. He barely managed to dodge them as he backed off.
This gave Hisen Ko’s sister the opportunity to disappear into a cloud of smoke. She reappeared as a scrap of paper on Hsien Ko’s forehead, completing the union. As a result, Matthew and Jon’s opponents’ power increased exponentially.
Throwing her sleeves skyward, Hsien Ko sent a mind-boggling amount of blades, chains and other implements into the air. This caused a virtual rain of weapons to come down on top of the two Talbains. The werewolves had to swerve and duck for cover as the metal storm would have turned them into pincushions. When the last of the weapons clattered on the ground and disappeared, the lycanthropes decided that it was time to up the ante.
With simultaneous howls, father and son shifted to their hybrid forms, while taking opposite sides of the combined ghost. It was at that moment that their opponent suddenly stopped as the two specters got a good look at the transformed Jon Talbain.
At that moment, all thoughts of battle left their minds, as Mei Lin inexplicably changed back into her ghost form and appeared beside her sister. Then the two addressed Matthew’s father simultaneously.
[“The Beloved One!”]
Jon’s intelligent response to this development was, “Huh?”
What happened next was even more bewildering as the two ghosts immediately tackled the head of the Talbain Family and hugged him tightly. Due to their mystical auras, they actually became solid to the touch.
“JACOB!” Hsien Ko and Mei Lin cried out in unison.
Jon could only stand in silence as he gave his son an expression of total non-comprehension. Matthew shrugged in response as the two girls continue to lovingly embrace his father.
<First there was that succubus, then Mom, now a couple of kuang shi. Sheesh! Dad certainly knows how to charm all kinds of women!>
A few minutes later…
[“You are not the Beloved One?”] Mei Lin asked as she and her sibling were finally pried away from Matthew’s father.
Jon shook his head as he explained. [“If you mean that this Beloved One was Jacob Talbain, then no I am not him. I am Jon Talbain.”] He gestured to his offspring. [“And this is my son, Matthew. Jacob Talbain was our distant ancestor.”]
[“But you look like him!”] Hsien Ko insisted.
Matthew’s sire nodded. [“Yes, the family resemblance to our ancestor is strong and I have been told by others that I do resemble him. However, I’m afraid that the Beloved One that you knew six hundred years ago is long gone. We came here due to the Pact, when you started to haunt this quarry…”]
[“Yes, we know of the Pact.”] The younger of the kuang shi siblings said. [“We were there… when you… I mean, the Beloved One set up the Pact with the Elders.”]
[“Ancestor Jacob Beloved One? Why?”] Matthew inquired. His Cantonese was still imperfect, but was understandable.
Both ghost girls blushed a bit as the aqua-skinned one replied, [“It wasn’t a secret that many girls wanted to marry him, so we called him the Beloved One.”]
[“All right.”] The older werewolf said as he posed the ghosts another question. [“But that still doesn’t explain why you two are haunting this quarry, and preventing your sister Amazons from mining those mystic stones. You are aware that they are the key to keeping the Musk Dynasty away from the village, right?”]
Both of the spiritual Amazons nodded as Mei Lin explained. [“We know that, but we have no choice. We are under... a curse and… it’s because of that Pact, that we are in this situation.”]
[“Please tell me the whole story.”]
Back in the village…
“Here is old story of tribe.” Shampoo said as she showed Nabiki some old scrolls and books in her hut. She proudly showed off a section of the text which had rough images of Jacob Talbain.
The middle Tendo daughter nodded as she looked over the ancient texts, which were surprisingly well maintained for their age. Naturally, she couldn’t understand Mandarin or Cantonese, but she immediately saw one particular detail about the scrolls. She pointed to a picture on a page.
“Is this Jacob Talbain? He looks a lot like Matthew’s father, except for the hair color.”
The purple-haired girl nodded. “Very handsome, yes? Some say Jon is Beloved One reborn.”
“That what they call Jacob Talbain. Many Amazons tried to get werewolf as husband, but never got him.” She let off a sigh, remembering how her ancestor had failed to snare the lycanthrope.
It was then that Nabiki noticed a list of what appeared to be names. “What’s this?”
Her Amazon host nodded as she replied, “That is list of people who lived in village long time ago. Is what you call... registry?”
“Oh. Say, why is there a gap right here? It looks like a couple of names have been erased or something.”
Shampoo took a closer look at the section and shrugged. “Shampoo not know. Asked great-grandmother about it, but she never say.”
Back at the quarry…
[“It happened about two years after the Beloved One… I mean, Jacob Talbain came to our village.”] Hsien Ko began as she and her sister explained.
[“Every year he would come to check up on the Mystic Seals and to train. Since he was exempt from the Outsider Marriage Law, it was very hard for anyone to get him.”] Mei Lin said in a slightly disappointed tone.
[“When my sister and I failed to get Jacob before he left on that second year, we… decided to try to get him by… unfair means.”]
[“You tried to cheat... using magic, right?”] Jon guessed.
Both girls nodded in shame as the blue-skinned girl continued. [“We are very ashamed to admit it, and we paid dearly with our souls for our mistake.”]
[“What happen?”] Matthew inquired.
Hsien Ko‘s sister answered as both noted that Jon‘s son was also quite attractive. [“Our mother, Lo Shien, was the creator of our family’s fighting style, the Art of Hidden Weapons. She also had access to many of the tribe ancient scrolls of magic. We took one of those scrolls, believing that it was a summoning spell for a love spirit. Unfortunately, we had misread the scroll and we ended up summoning… a demon of destruction.”]
[“The demon began to rampage throughout the land, killing many of the villagers. Since we felt responsible for his release, my sister and I went to fight the monster. After a long battle, and with the help of the village shamans, we managed to contain the demon in this quarry. However… there was a price.”]
[“Your souls?”] The elder Talbain asked.
The two ghostly siblings nodded as Hsien Ko continued. [“In order to seal the demon, two life essences were needed. So we gave up our souls to complete the seal. And so our lives ended that day.”]
The other sister then took up the explanation. [“Since we brought great shame upon our family, it was decreed that our names were to be struck from the village registry, so that our mother and all our descendants would not be held responsible for our mistake. No one was to speak of our crime, and eventually… we were forgotten.”]
[“Until now.”] Matthew’s father added.
[“Yes. Those miners broke the Primary Seal, releasing our souls. However, we did not pass on into the afterlife.”]
[“Wait. Not get it. If seal broken, where demon?”] Matthew pointed out.
The sibling specters let off a sigh as Hsien Ko clarified the reason. [“That is our curse. Our souls form the basis of the seal that is holding the demon at bay. We are unable to leave this place, and the mystic barrier is already weakened. There is a possibility that the demon may escape and we cannot endanger our sister Amazons.”]
[“So that’s why you’ve been haunting this place.”] Jon snapped his fingers in comprehension. [‘You weren’t trying to hurt anyone, at least not seriously. You were trying to keep them away for their safety. You were protecting them.”]
[“Yes. And so we must stay. We can never leave.”]
There was a long moment of silence as Jon considered what could be done. However, the decision was taken out of his hands as the entire area began to rumble. At first he thought it was an earthquake. However his mystic senses, as well as his son’s and the two ghost sisters’, began to detect high amounts of evil energy being emitted from within the cave. Large boulders began to fall all around them, forcing the Talbains to run for cover. Lo Shien’s daughters didn’t even bother to flee. After all, they were already dead. Debris and sharp fragments of rock simply passed through their intangible forms.
Then, a huge explosion rocked the quarry as a geyser of fire erupted from the cave. A huge, dark shadow emerged from the newly devastated landscape and towered above the four. It had two, crimson eyes that glowed with a bloody aura, and its overall shape was that of a gigantic, reptilian bird. It was like the shadow version of Rodan. It let off a blood-curdling howl, then took to the air, heading toward Jusenkyo.
Matthew swallowed hard as he addressed his father. “Uh, Dad? I hope that wasn’t what I think it was!”
“I’m afraid so, Son.” Jon then turned to the two ghosts who appeared before them. [“When you said that you summoned a demon of destruction, you weren’t kidding! That thing is known in the Makai as a Death Wing! I don’t know what spell you used, but somehow you had pulled that thing from the Dark Valley of Lost Souls. It happens to feed on chaos and life essences. And there’s no greater concentration of chaotic magic and soul energy in this area, than the Cursed Training Grounds! If it absorbs all that power, then the Joketsuzoku, the Musk Dynasty, and eventually everyone else on the planet will be wiped out!”]
The two ghost girls gasped, as they realized that the horror they had originally summoned, had been re-released into the world.
The lycanthropes began racing across the ground, making a beeline for Jusenkyo. No longer bound to the quarry, since the beast had escaped, Hsien Ko and Mei Lin followed by taking to the air. Time was of the essence.
In the village, the Amazons stopped in their daily chores, as the sky suddenly darkened, and a very ominous feeling washed over everyone present.
In the Main Council Lodge, the Amazon Matriarchs became extremely tense as their senses picked up the malevolent power that emanated from a nearly-forgotten evil. The current leader of the village and eldest of the Amazons, Gloss, turned to her colleague Cologne.
“Did you feel that?”
Shampoo’s great-grandmother nodded. “It would be impossible for anyone here to miss that! I have never felt anything so dark... and deadly.”
At that moment, hundreds of screams and shouts were heard from outside. The council of Elders made their way to the front door and looked upward to see a giant, winged horror as it flew overhead. As it passed by, a hurricane-like gust of wind blew through the village and nearly knocked down several of the buildings. Just about everyone fell to the ground. A few moments later, Jon and Matthew were sighted at they approached the main gates.
Then they saw… them.
Hsien Ko and Mei Lin beheld their former home after 600 long and lonely years. Though they did feel a sense of joy from this impromptu homecoming, they were also met with fear and hostility as several of their sister Amazons immediately picked weapons and prepared to attack.
“NO!” Jon cried out as he and his son stood between the specters and the villagers. At that moment, Cologne and the other Elders approached the two lycanthropes. They were closely followed by Nabiki, Shampoo and several others.
“Jon! What are these two doing here?! What is going on?!” Cologne demanded.
“There’s no time to explain!” Matthew’s father said. “Hsien Ko and Mei Lin are not here to hurt anyone! Right now, there’s something even worse than the Musk Dynasty heading toward Jusenkyo!” He then addressed Elder Gloss. “Great Elder Gloss! Please give me the key to the Spirit Barrier!”
The oldest of the Amazons gave her people’s eternal ally a puzzled look. “The Spirit Barrier Key? Why would you need that? It’s already been weakened since we’ve been unable to mine new Spirit Gems to replace the old ones.” She gave the two ghost girls a harsh glare.
“Please give me the key!” Jon insisted. “If we are to save everyone here, I need to stop that thing from reaching Jusenkyo!”
Gloss paused for a moment before reaching into her robes and drew out a small, metallic object. It was nothing more than a thin piece of gold-colored metal, shaped in the form of old-style key.
Jon quickly took it and raced into the Main Council Lodge. He was followed by his son, the Elders, Nabiki and Shampoo. When they reached the center chamber, he approached a very large stone tablet, set in the far wall. The tablet depicted a carving of Jacob Talbain in his hybrid form. Inserting the key into a hidden slot near the base of the carving, he gave it a quick turn. The eyes of the carving glowed with an eerie blue light, as the giant slab of stone moved on hidden tracks. As it slid to the side, it revealed an elaborate array of colored gemstones, set in a circular pattern and etched with ancient rune symbols.
Nabiki watched in fascination as Jon began to manipulate and alter the rune symbols. She then asked Shampoo what was going on.
“It is ancient magic barrier given to Amazons by Beloved One, Jacob. It keep away Musk Dynasty and also protect from other magic too. See gems there? Normally, they very bright. Now very weak. Need new ones. Couldn’t get them since ghosts appear.”
Jon nodded as he completed the alterations to the mystic inscriptions, then stepped back as the gems glowed with a slightly brighter hue. The new spell was cast.
The lands around the Amazon village suddenly flared with a dim light, then faded back to normal. The immediate area around Jusenkyo however was suddenly bathed in a bright luminescence as a huge, circle of light appeared. Just as the Death Wing dived down upon the Cursed Training Grounds, it suddenly stopped as it impacted hard against an invisible barrier. It tried to push through it, but the mystic wall would not budge.
Hiding in his hut, one of the many Jusenkyo Guides shivered in terror as he watched the Death Wing continue to pummel against the barrier. For the moment, Jusenkyo was safe.
In the Main Council Lodge, Jon let off a sigh and turned to face the others.
“That barrier won’t keep that thing out of Jusenkyo for long. I’ve only bought us an hour or so. Once those Spirit Gems give out, then that Death Wing will suck up every last drop of spirit essence and magic there. We have to put that thing away… for good!”
At that moment, Hsien Ko and her sister appeared before them. Both girls knelt before him while bowing their heads.
[“Honored descendant of the Beloved One!”] Hsien Ko began. [“We wish to atone for all we have done against our Sister Amazons.”]
[“My sister and I offer our souls once again to seal the Death Wing.”] Mei Lin said.
There was a long moment of silence, before Jon shook his head. [“Rise you two. I shall not condemn you to an eternity restraining that monster. What I had in mind is a far more lasting solution to our current dilemma.”]
“What can we do, Dad?”
The head of the Talbain Family nodded to his son as he replied. “This all started six hundred years ago, when that Death Wing was pulled from the Makai. Our best answer would be to send the Death Wing BACK to the Makai.”
“Send it back? How are we going to send it…” Matthew snapped his fingers in realization. “Wait a minute! Jacob Talbain came to China through one of the portals from the Makai, right? So does that mean…?”
“That’s right, Son. And it just so happens that a portal to the Makai will open up within the next couple of hours. The location is near Jusenkyo and it DOES lead to the Dark Valley of Lost Souls. The only hard part is to subdue that monster long enough to force it through the portal.”
“Then we shall aid you and your son, Jon Talbain.” Cologne said. “Your family has assisted us for centuries. It is now time for us to return the favor.”
“No! I cannot allow you to endanger anyone from this village! That Death Wing will feed on life essences, and will suck anyone dry of his or her soul if he or she touches it. Matthew and myself can withstand its power. I’m afraid that we must fight that thing alone.”
[“We shall also aid you, Jon Talbain!”] Hsien Ko declared as she and her sister stood up. “My sister and I understand Japanese. We will come with you and your son to battle the beast!”
“What?! You can’t be serious…”
“We are very serious.” Mei Lin insisted. “We have very little to lose now. After all, we’re already dead. Please! Let us help you as your family has helped our people! At the very least, let us redeem ourselves!”
The elder Talbain considered the two for a very long while, before finally nodding to them.
Things were about to get intense…
Meanwhile, in Japan, at the Tokyo HQ of Hellsing…
“Are you certain of the reports?” Sir Integra asked as her butler brought her nightly cup of tea.
Walter nodded as read the latest news concerning Hellsing’s rival, the Iscariot. “According to our operatives in the Vatican, there has been a… complication concerning the revival of their agent, Paladin Alexander Anderson.”
“What kind of complication?” The leader of the organization inquired as she sipped her cup of Earl Grey.
“It seems that Paladin Anderson… has gone berserk.”
“How is that any different than his previous behavior?”
“He is not only killing his foes… but also his friends. The reports indicated that once he fully regenerated, he mercilessly slaughtered the entire lab staff for no apparent reason, then went on a bloody rampage as he escaped from the facility he was in. Some witnesses said that he went about as if… he was possessed. They also reported that Anderson wielded his blades as if he was holding a pair of katana.”
Integra stiffened slightly for a moment, then put her cup down. She remained silent as a dark shadow appeared behind her. Her eternal vampire servant appeared and nodded to his master.
“Alucard… do you think that Anderson is possessed? Perhaps… by a certain bloodthirsty samurai spirit?”
The fanged individual smirked and replied. “That is quite possible, Sir Integra. We never did find the essence of Bishamon, since Jon destroyed the cursed sword, and we disposed of the armor. That murderous ronin may have found a suitable host in Anderson. So, do I have your permission?”
“You do. This time, we shall not leave any loose ends. Take Seras with you, and destroy Anderson.”
“A pity I do not have the superb tracking skills of my old friend Talbain. Nevertheless, I shall carry out your orders.”
With those words, Alucard disappeared from sight.
Back in China…
The Death Wing was knocked off-balance as twin living comets struck its head near the right temple. High above, Hsien Ko, with her sister now a magical seal on her forehead, let loose with a barrage of sharp projectiles, followed by several dozen blunt objects. Again and again, they repeatedly assaulted it. The attacks hit the beast on the tip of one wing, distracting it from its intended target… Jusenkyo.
Currently, the barrier that was keeping the beast out was holding, but just barely. The Guide who was managing the training grounds, continued to quiver and tremble within his hut, as he watched four inhuman beings battle it out. Then he noticed a certain someone approaching the gigantic monster near one of its feet. He wondered what kind of idiot would be crazy enough to come close to the thing.
“MOUSSE! YOU COME BACK HERE!” Shampoo called out as she and Nabiki went after the near-blind Hidden Weapons Master, (though nowhere near Hsien Ko and Mei Lin’s abilities).
“Just you watch, my Darling Shampoo! I will show you the true power of the Hidden Weapons and destroy this monster!”
Ever since Matthew had arrived in the village, Mousse had been totally ignored by his beloved Shampoo, (though in normal circumstances, he was ignored by her any way). He had a long-standing grudge against the younger lycanthrope and was dead-set on proving that only he was worthy of Cologne’s great-granddaughter. He would unleash his most powerful techniques and defeat the Death Wing, proving to all, especially to Shampoo, that he was no joke and that his family’s fighting style was the mightiest of all.
In actuality, Mousse’s Hidden Weapons techniques were from a minor side branch of the founding school, which came from Hsien Ko and Mei Lin’s mother, Lo Shien. As a result, the near-sighted boy’s attacks lacked the true striking power and mystical energy of the originals. The ghost sisters were actually hurting the Death Wing, causing it to feel substantial pain. As for Mousse’s attempts…
“TAKE THIS! FIST OF THE WHITE SWAN!”
Nabiki and Shampoo watched in total disbelief as Mousse attacked the Death Wing‘s big toe… with a duck-shaped training potty.
The Death Wing, not even noticing the assault, shifted its foot to one side, then suddenly raised it up, before bringing it down... on top of Mousse.
Both Shampoo and Nabiki gasped in shock after seeing the foolish boy seemingly get crushed underneath the monster’s foot. As The Death Wing moved off to get away from the attacking werewolves and kuang shi, they both ran to where they expected to see the gristly sight of a pulverized Hidden Weapons fighter.
Amazingly, they found out that Mousse was still alive and intact, though in no shape to fight. He had just managed to pull out a large, metal shield to cover himself with, before the foot came down on him. Now his body was flattened into a deep, Mousse-shaped hole. His face had a dazed expression on it and his eyes were seeing stars.
Shampoo could only shake her head while pinching the bridge of her nose. She let off a sigh of disgust.
“Aiyah! Stupid, stupid Mousse!”
Nabiki could only shrug in agreement as she and the Amazon worked to get him out of the battlefield.
At that point, the barrier around the Cursed Training Grounds flickered and died as the Spirit Gems burned themselves out.
Sensing that the obstacle was gone, the Death Wing let off a horrendous roar and turned back toward Jusenkyo. As a result, one massive foot thundered toward the girls and the unconscious Mousse. It looked like the end, until they heard a shout.
Matthew charged in at full speed, striking the Death Wing’s ankle and diverting the path of the limb away from them. However, this caused the beast to react out of pain and lash out. The sudden kick impacted hard against Jon’s son, sending him flying toward a large pool. There was a huge splash as the lycanthrope disappeared beneath the waters.
Shampoo had to physically restrain Nabiki from diving in. Though she too wanted to go after him, she knew what would happen if she went in. She soon found it extremely difficult to hold back the Japanese girl as she displayed a kind of strength that rivaled the strongest of Amazons. Just who was this girl?
She could only pray that Matthew’s new Jusenkyo curse, whatever it might be, would be something he could live with. She also prayed that he would come up soon.
In the depths of the pool, Matthew hit the muddy bottom with a hard thud. Realizing that he just been knocked into a Cursed Spring, he immediately tried to get out. He wasn’t all that certain how the magic of Jusenkyo would affect a werewolf, but he needed to escape before he perished and turned the pool into the Spring of Drowned Lycanthrope.
Just as he started to make his ascent, he noticed a glint of metal on the pool’s bottom, near the center. Swimming toward the light, he saw what appeared to be a handle. Then he noticed another handle and found himself drawn toward them. Grasping them firmly with both hands, he yanked hard and pulled both objects from the mud. Then his eyes widened in shock as he realized what he had just discovered.
<NO WAY! I CAN’T BELIEVE I FOUND THEM!>
Jon gritted his teeth as he was clenched hard within the Death Wing’s talons. After seeing what appeared to be his son’s demise, he had gotten reckless and was now having the life crushed out of him. As he started to black out, he heard a shout.
The monster then let off a shriek of pain, loosening its grip on Jon, allowing him to break free and drop to the ground. Shaking his head to clear it, he looked up and saw that the Death Wing was now nursing a very serious wound near its left ankle. Standing in a ready stance some fifty feet away was his son, dripping wet and… uncursed. His eyes widened in even greater shock as he beheld what was in Matthew’s hands.
The weapons had not changed in the slightest, since their last usage six hundred years ago. The blades had neither dulled nor rusted. The metal gleamed as brilliantly as it did long ago. On each hilt, near the crossguards, was the crest of the Talbain Family. Each measured two feet in length, and was constructed of Orichalcum, one of the few substances that could seriously harm the Death Wing.
The Swords of Jacob Talbain. By sheer luck, Matthew had landed in the same spring they had been lost into, more than half a millennium ago.
Jon immediately began running toward his offspring as he sloppily swiped and slashed at his gigantic opponent. However, the beast retaliated and knocked Matthew back again.
Making a backflip, he landed on his feet and prepared to charge, when he felt a gentle hand on his shoulder. He turned to see his father give him an assuring smile and nodded to the swords. The younger lycanthope paused for moment in protest, then nodded in understanding as he relinquished the weapons to his sire.
Jon motioned for his son to stand back as he held up the swords, and crossed them against his chest. His aura suddenly appeared in a bright, blue-white corona of brilliance as he prepared to deliver the final blow. Unlike his son, Jon was also a master of Jacob’s techniques in the Fang and Claw style.
This was not lost on Hsien Ko and Mei Lin as they separated and floated above the Cursed Training Grounds.
“Look sister!” Mei Lin remarked.
“Yes! It’s almost as if the Beloved One has returned! And his son was also magnificent when he wielded the swords!”
Jon let off a battle howl as he charged in with aura blazing and swords flashing. The Death Wing made one final lunge toward its attacker. Jon evaded the beast, then leapt up with his Beast Cannon technique. He then delivered the final blow to the monster’s head.
“SUPREME RAZOR SLICE!”
Twin streaks of deadly light cut into the Death Wing, causing it to shudder and thrash about. Multiple gashes appeared all over the monster’s body, as it cried out in pain. Finally, the body of the horror stiffened, then came down in a thunderous crash. The entire area trembled from the impact, with shockwaves rumbling throughout the valley. Finally, all was still as Jon stood triumphantly near the fallen Death Wing.
Matthew came running up to his father, then stopped as he noticed movement from the shadow beast. However, his father waved to him, indicating that it was all right. As he approached, Jon’s son noticed that the Death Wing was not dead, but merely unconscious.
“You didn’t kill it?”
Jon shook his head. “No. This thing is not here by choice. It belongs in the Dark Valley of Lost Souls. And that is where we‘re going to send it.”
Two hours later…
Jon nodded as he, Matthew, Nabiki, Hsien Ko, Mei Lin, Shampoo and Cologne watched from a cliff that overlooked a small valley near Jusenkyo. As the mystic portal began to open up, several of the Elders used the newly mined Spirit Gems to make the portal even wider. When it was large enough, some of the villagers undid theenchanted ropes which held the Death Wing down. Sensing that its home was nearby, the gigantic shadow beast took off through the doorway to the Makai. Once it had crossed over into the alternate realm, the Elders immediately sealed up the portal.
The danger was past. There was only one thing more to do…
Some time later…
“Shampoo no understand. Why Matthew no have curse?”
Jon’s offspring, in his human form, shrugged as he leaned against a pillar outside the Main Council Lodge. At the time, he, Nabiki and the Amazon were waiting for his father to finish his business with the Elders and to decide the fate of the kuang shi sisters. A very large crowd of villages waited outside as well.
“From what Dad told me,” Matthew explained, “Jacob’s Orichalcum swords had canceled out the magic in the spring they were in. Lucky for me they did. According to what the Jusenkyo Guide told me, that was the Spring of Drowned Cat. Can you imagine me, a wolf becoming a cat?” Matthew shuddered slightly at the memory of the Neko Ken training.
“You were really lucky Matthew.” Nabiki remarked then turned to the purple-haired girl. “By the way, how‘s that guy... what was his name again? Oh yeah, how‘s Mousse doing?”
Cologne‘s relative nodded in satisfaction. “Stupid Mousse will be in… what you call… traction for very long time. At least Shampoo finally gets peace.”
Soun’s daughter nodded as she addressed Matthew. “So what do you think will happen to Hsien Ko and Mei Lin?”
The teenage werewolf shrugged and replied, “All depends. They really didn’t mean to harm anyone and I think they’ve suffered long enough for what they did six hundred years ago. We just have to wait and see.”
Just at that moment, the front doors of the Main Council Lodge opened up. Out strode Matthew’s father, also in human form, along with Cologne and the rest of the Council of Elders. On the lycanthrope’s back, were Jacob Talbain’s swords, once again mounted in their original scabbards and harness, in which their previous owner had left behind. Finally, the two kuang shi came out of the building and stood before the waiting crowds. There was a long, pause as nothing was said among those gathered there. Finally, Jon Talbain announced the decision of the Council.
“The Joketsuzoku welcomes back its long-lost Sister Amazons, Hsien Ko and Mei Lin; daughters of Lo Shien, and Masters of the Art of Hidden Weapons. Their names shall be reinstated in the village registry, and their feats of heroism in defense of their home shall be recognized.”
A huge cheer erupted from the gathered villagers as dozens of men and women surrounded the two and voiced out their approval. After spending centuries alone, the sibling specters welcomed the adoration. The entire village was engulfed in a huge celebration of the return of two its members.
It was then that Matthew noticed something about the sisters. They were actually solid! The villagers were hugging and patting them without passing through their ghostly forms. He turned to his father with a questioning gaze, which Jon immediately understood and explained.
“The reason why we were able to touch them is due to their ghostly auras interacting with our own mystical power. However, during the debate, they asked for me to use Jacob’s swords to remove the remainder of the seal magic that was keeping them bound to the mortal world. I warned them that they might cross over into the afterlife.”
“So they agreed?”
“They accepted that risk and said that they wanted to see their mother. I used the swords. To my surprise, they didn’t disappear, but their ghostly forms took on true substance. Apparently, they’re alive now.”
“I suppose the best way to describe them is alive with ghost powers. They are now what would be termed as ‘living kuang shi.’ They’re sort of like the banshee and the yuki onna.”
“I see. Whoa! Wait a minute! If they’re technically alive now, does that mean…?”
“Yes it does. That means that those girls will age normally and can even have children. Basically, they‘re just teenage girls now. Oh and they did tell me that they thought you were a very handsome young man.”
<Oh boy!> Matthew gulped as the two ghost girls waved to him and gave him a bit of a mischievous look. Jacob Talbain and Jon Talbain might be out of their reach, but Matthew was fair game…
This of course, didn’t sit well with Shampoo and Nabiki…
Later that night…
At the Amazon cemetery, where the cremated remains of those who had passed away were interred, Hsien Ko and Mei Lin knelt before the grave marker of their long-departed mother. Both prayed in front of the marker and promised that they would eventually meet with each other in heaven.
Once their prayers were finished, the two left, not knowing that Lo Shien’s grave marker started to glow with an eerie light. A moment after they were out of sight, an apparition appeared before the marker and took the shape of an elderly woman with long hair and elaborate, long-sleeved robes, which were similar to the two sisters‘. The ghostly image of Lo Shien smiled at her daughters before disappearing.
The celebration of the return of Hsien Ko and Mei Lin went on for the next few days, but eventually, things began to come back to normal as the Spirit Barrier was restored, thereby keeping the Amazon mortal enemies at bay. There had been some sightings of Musk warriors in the area, but they soon departed as the restored barrier drove them away.
Eventually, the Talbains and Nabiki had to prepare to leave. They had to get out as soon as possible, since the full moon was coming and the enchanted pendant Nabiki wore, would not be able to stop her transformation. It would be best for everyone if they left immediately.
“So sorry you no can stay longer.” Shampoo said as she hugged her honorary Amazon sister Nabiki.
Over the last few days, she and the Tendo daughter had gotten on closer, friendlier terms. Though both considered each other as rivals for Matthew’s affection, each respected the other and promised to fight fairly for him the next time they met. And that would happen sooner than expected, as the purple-haired Amazon announced that she would be part of the foreign exchange group, and would be attending school in Japan in two weeks.
Meanwhile, Jon, (both he and his son were in human form), nodded to Cologne and restated his family’s promise, that they would continue to assist the Joketsuzoku, though now they had two new protectors in Hisen Ko and Mei Lin.
“It is good to hear, though I wish you would tell me more about that Tendo girl.” Cologne said. “She has a great power within her. I can sense it.”
“That is HER business and I’m afraid that will have to wait for another time.” The elder lycanthrope said as he gave the matriarch a small bow.
The crowds waved to the departing group, as they headed out toward the forest and the Amazon border. When they were about ten miles away, Matthew began discussing the next leg of their journey.
“So where to now?”
Jon nodded as he replied. “We’ll be heading to Hong Kong for a short stop, then catch a plane to England.”
“England? We’re not heading back to Japan?” Nabiki inquired.
“We came here to help the Amazons with their ghost problem, and now that it’s settled, we still have to take care of the issue of your Secondary Lycanthropy. I’ve been in contact with a friend of mine, and she says that she might have something that could help.”
“She?” Matthew said in confusion. “Who are you talking about... ?” He then took on a slightly pale expression as he realized who his father was indicating. “Oh no! No! We are NOT going to HER! No way!”
“What’s wrong?” The middle Tendo daughter asked.
Matthew, who didn’t seem to have noticed the girl’s question, continued to argue with his father. “Dad! It was bad enough I ALMOST got cursed to being turned into a cat! You know how I feel about seeing her!”
Jon sighed as he tried to calm down his only child. “Son, I know that you’re…. uncomfortable about this, but it will only be for a few days.”
“Uncomfortable?! That a mild way of putting it!”
“What’s wrong? Who is this person you’re talking about?” Nabiki interrupted.
Jon acknowledged her with his response. “I’m sorry for not answering you sooner, Nabiki. You see... my son has a bit of an issue concerning cats, or anything that has to do with felines. And I’m afraid that you can’t get any more feline than Felicia. She’ll be doing a show in London in a few days.”
“I don’t understand. What do cats have anything to do with my problem, and Matthew not wanting to see this Felicia person?”
The older Talbain looked at his son, and considered his pleading expression. He let off a small sigh and said, “I’m sorry, Matthew. But I’m afraid that Nabiki will have to know the entire truth. Since she’s already aware of our family secret, she might as well know the rest of the story. Right?”
The younger werewolf let off a tired sigh before nodding. “Okay Nabs. If you really want to know why I’ve got a thing against cats, it’s because… I was almost killed by a bunch of cats.”
“Do you remember when I told you that I became a werewolf a lot sooner than normal?”
“Well, it was because I was forced into the transformation, in order to save myself. You see, I was thrown into a pit of starving cats when I was six, by my father.”
“Your father?!” Nabiki gasped in shock as she looked at Jon. “You did this to him?!”
“No, he didn’t!” Matthew said quickly. “What I meant to say, was that I was thrown into a pit of starving cats by my father... at that time.”
“What are you talking about? You’re not making any sense!”
“What I mean is this. Jon Talbain is my biological father. He named me Matthew Talbain. However, I was also known by another name for the first six years of my life. My name was… Ranma Saotome.”
To be continued….
Wow! I can’t believe how fast I wrote this chapter. In any case, we’ll be seeing Felicia in the next chapter, (yes, I know you’re jumping for joy Alex). Plus we’ll be seeing a few other Darkstalkers, plus some more of Alucard’s battle with a Bishamon-possessed Alexander. We’ll also be seeing some special guest stars as well. See you there!