The Beast Within

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Chapter 18

World Tour Part 7

The Big Gamble at Area 51

The Sea Wolf II made its way into the hidden port at Castle Talbain. As it pulled into the repair dock, Grom the Gargoyle was waiting for it, along with several other members of the Old Races. The caretaker to the Talbain Family Museum gasped as he saw the large patched-up area on the side of the sub near the center.

As Jon Talbain and his group disembarked from the damaged craft, the gargoyle quickly walked up to them and pointed to the spot on the hull.

“Jon! What happened! What did this to me clan’s hard work?”

Grom took another look at the sub and noted that the flag bearing the Talbain Family Crest was being flown at half-mast on the conning tower. He wondered why it was in that position as he addressed the werewolf again.

“Jon? What ye be not tellin’ me?”

Matthew’s father simply shook his head without answering and walked off. Grom was about to go after him, but was stopped when Kalesse put a hand on the gargoyle’s shoulder.

“Leave him be for a while Grom. He’s been through a lot. We’ve all been through much on our trip to Atlantis.”

“What be happening in Atlantis lass?”

The undine warrior took a deep breath before replying. “There is no Atlantis… at least not anymore. And… we lost Rikuo.”



 Word about Rikuo’s demise spread quickly among the non-human residents of Castle Talbain, causing some initial dissent and accusations that Jon’s family had in fact murdered the ruler of Atlantis. However, once video footage from the Sea Wolf II’s computer was released and shown, it was agreed by all that Jon Talbain acted in pure self-defense, and that the merman had gone insane during his final moments. A memorial for the underwater king would be held after the quest for the medallion fragments was completed. However, Jon was still uneasy over the whole affair and had some doubts. He decided to seek out advice from some of his wisest and trusted friends at Castle Talbain.


“Where are we going?” Nabiki asked as she followed the werewolf father and son team through a part of the castle that she had never been before. They were currently in their human forms. She was also a bit shaken over the past events and felt a bit responsible for Rikuo’s end due to her quest to become a full lycanthrope.

Matthew had assured her that it wasn’t her fault or anyone else’s. It just turned out that way and they should not let dwell on what could have been done. However, he too was feeling somewhat saddened over the senseless loss of the last Atlantean merman. He shook his head back to the present and replied to her question.

“We’re going to get some advice for the next medallion fragment and maybe some insight on what to expect from this quest.” He turned to his father. “So we’re going to see Kismet, Chance and Providence, right?”

“Correct.” Jon replied. “In hindsight, I think I should have consulted them before we started looking for the fragments. We might have been able to avoid that disaster in Atlantis. But there’s no sense in mulling over it now. In any case, here we go.”

The trio stopped in front of a pair of elaborate doors as Jon took hold of a large knocker and rapped three times on it. There was a long pause as they waited for a response. Then the doors opened by themselves, as a shining light was emitted from within the chamber. Then a female voice was heard.


The master of Castle Talbain and the two teenagers passed through the doors and entered the place known as the Oracle Sanctorum. Within the gigantic room, at its center, a huge, multicolored crystal shard levitated above an elaborate pedestal. Standing in front of it was a very tall and voluptuous figure, wearing a Chinese-style dress and brown sandals. She had golden hair and a pair of foxlike ears. Behind her were nine, flowing foxtails.

“Hey there!” The fox woman greeted in a seductive tone. “What brings you hunky werewolves down here?”

“A rhetorical question, Chance.” Jon replied knowingly. “I’m certain that you ALREADY know why we’re here.”

“Chance!” A new female voice cried out as someone else came out from a side door. “Must you always greet everyone like some wanton harlot?” The second of the Oracle Trio was a middle-aged woman with flowing robes and carried a gnarled cane. She also had a white headband wrapped over her forehead. Her hair was brown with streaks of gray in it.

“I agree with Providence.” A third voice said as it came from above. Everyone looked up to see a birdlike figure coming down toward them. She was basically human, but had crow wings instead of arms, and her feet had talons. At the end of her wings were clawed hands. She had short, black hair and wore ceremonial clothes, similar to that of an onmyouji from the 7th century. She made a light landing to stand with the others.

As the three stood before them, the elder Talbain introduced them to Nabiki.

Nabiki, may I introduce you to Castle Talbain’s Oracle Trio? This is Kismet; a Crow Tengu.”

“Greetings.” The bird woman said as she waved one of her wings.

He then gestured to the fox woman. “And I’m certain that you recognize Chance as a nine-tailed fox or kitsune.”

“Hello.” Chance greeted in a very sexy voice.

“And this is Providence, from the country of Tri-Clopea of the Makai.”

Nabiki nodded to all three and was about to speak when Providence held up a hand and addressed Jon. “We know why you are here and your answer is yes. You must find all 13 of those fragments. The tragedy of Atlantis could not have been averted. However, I sense a much greater tragedy that awaits us if you fail to find them in time.”

“H-How did…?” Nabiki began but was immediately cut off by the kitsune.

“… we know about the quest?” Chance cut in playfully. “Oh please! The probability of you coming down to see us after Atlantis fell was at least 95 percent! It was a sure thing!”

Matthew nodded as he explained to his confused girlfriend. “Chance has the ability to sense minute changes in a person’s aura and shifting Ley Lines. This makes her very good at calculating the odds and probabilities of events. Her accuracy is so good, she could predict the next winning lottery numbers if she wanted to.”

“Of course, I leave a little uncertainty in all my predications.” The kitsune added. “It makes things more interesting.” She then leaned toward Nabiki and gave her a wink. “Those betting pools of yours were nothing but peanuts. I could have won the entire peanut farm.”

Nabiki blushed as she couldn’t believe the fox woman knew about her past activities.

“Now then,” Kismet said as she flew up and circled the huge crystal. “Let us see where the fifth and sixth fragments are.”

“How did you…?”

“… know that you’ll be going after two fragments this time?” The bird woman said. “Because my power allows me to measure the mana levels of mystic objects. I am also very good in terms of astronomy and astrology. I can sense that the incomplete medallion that Jon is carrying in his back pocket is about to reveal more than one of its pieces this time.”

As if validating Kismet’s prediction, the medallion let off a flash of light, causing Jon to take it out. At the same time the huge crystal let off an eerie glow.

“You shall not need the Luna Eye gem or the Locating Map this time.” Kismet assured. “The Great Crystal Shard of Destiny shall provide you the location of the fragments.”

The entire ceiling of the room lit up, displaying various constellations of stars. Then the crystal shot forth a beam of light, resembling that of moonlight, striking the ancient medallion. The artifact let off another flash of brilliance, causing the patterns of stars to twinkle. On the floor of the chamber, a line map of the United States appeared at their feet. Two small dots appeared closely together in a state called Nevada.

“So that’s where we’ll find our next fragments?” Soun’s daughter asked.

Matthew pointed to one dot. “If I remember my geography lessons, that’s the Nevada State and… I think that’s the city called Las Vegas.”

“Ooh! Las Vegas!” Chance exclaimed. “A place where you can beat the odds and make it big! My kind of town!”

“Isn’t that where Felicia said she was performing?” Nabiki asked.

“That’s right.” Jon affirmed then pointed to the second dot. “And if I remember my geography, the second location is north-northwest of Las Vegas. Uh oh!”

“What is it Dad?”

Jon shook his head and let off a sigh. “It figures that a fragment would be in one of the most heavily guarded areas on Earth.”

“And where is that?” Matthew asked.

“There’s only one place of interest in that spot. Even the MIB steers clear of it. We’re looking at Area 51.”

“AREA 51?!” Both teen werewolves exclaimed.

The master of the castle nodded. “This is where the U2 and SR-71 Blackbird spy planes were built. There have been reports of reverse-engineering of alien technology. The MIB limits all contact with this place since they’re close to the truth and the Men in Black don’t want to lose anything to them. Luckily, the MIB has been able to keep the existence of aliens, and Old Races from going public. This is going to be tricky. Most likely the fragment was picked up and deemed as an alien artifact. That’s not too far off. Best guess as to where it is, I’d say the Black Box warehouse where it is said that they store all alien objects and the rumored alien bodies. But for now, let’s go for the easier fragment first.”

“So we’re heading to Las Vegas?” Jon’s son asked.

“That’s right. Looks like we’ll be catching an encore performance of Felicia’s show.” Matthew’s father then turned back to the oracles. “Got any other advice for us?”

Chance peered into the surface of the Crystal Shard of Destiny, and then nodded as her eyes glowed with an eerie light. When the light faded she replied, “Look for the number fifty-seven.”

“That’s it? Look for the number fifty-seven?” Soun’s middle daughter asked. “You’re not going to tell us anything more than that?”

“I told you that I like to keep a LITTLE uncertainty in my predictions.” The kitsune pointed out with a mischievous smile.

At that point, Providence gestured to the werewolves as she removed the headband, revealing a third eye. Unlike the other two, this eye was a brilliant sapphire color with no pupils.

“Jon Talbain, beware the symbol of three, or you will suffer the same fate as Atlantis.”


“So what was that all about?” Nabiki asked as she and the Talbains were heading toward the hanger to use one of the family’s private jets.

 “Providence happens to be a Tri-Clops.” Jon explained. “As you saw back there, that extra eye allows her to see things that two eyes might overlook. In rare cases, some of her people develop a special ability in that third eye called Prophecy Sight. However, it’s more of a curse than a gift. They can only foresee tragedy and misfortune. And one day, she will see her own death.”

“Whoa. That’s one kind of fortunetelling I wouldn’t want.” The female Secondary Lycanthrope remarked. “Kind of ironic that her name is Providence.”

“Yeah, well in a way, she is providence because she uses her ‘doom-vision’ to help us avoid the bad stuff.” Her boyfriend pointed out.

“Indeed. She’s helped us avoid many obstacles and sticky situations.” Jon agreed as they reached the hanger. He noted that one plane was missing and assumed that it was the one the Amazons took.

“It’s time for us to hit Vegas!”


In Japan…

“Tendo! Do you have any of that French wine that Nabiki sent to you? I could use a couple of shots after escaping from the Master.”

Soun let off a sigh and shook his head as his family finished setting up their new campsite. “I’m afraid that I don’t have any.”

“What?!” Genma cried out. “Why not?!”

“I found out early on that my smell causes all liquor to turn and go sour. The local convenience stores and liquor stores won’t let me come within a hundred feet of them unless I get rid of my odor. Even the cheap beer wouldn’t hold up as soon as I opened it. I couldn’t risk my only bottles of imported French wine, Chinese rice wine and English champagne. I’d also spoil all my stores of sake as well. So I have to leave them behind. A pity since I didn’t get a chance to taste any of it yet.”

“What?! We have no booze?!”

“Don’t worry my friend. As soon as we get rid of our stench, we shall have all the sake and wine we can drink once we come home!”

Genma grumbled as he really needed a drink at this point. Unknown to both of them, Happosai had already guzzled the entire contents of Soun Tendo’s liquor cabinet.

Nearby, Akane kicked a few defenseless rocks in her way as she continued to vent about her encounter with Happosai.

“Ugh! I still can’t forget the feeling of that toad touching my chest! I swear, the next time we meet, I’m going to pound him into goo!”

Akane, please calm down.” Kasumi soothed as she prepared to make dinner. “And would you please not stand so close to the fire?”

The youngest Tendo was too caught in her anger to listen as she paced about and planned how to make the little pervert pay. However, she didn’t realize that her unintended hex had another effect on her. It seemed that the strength of her stench was directly connected to her strongest emotion, which was of course, anger. The angrier she got, the stronger her smell became.

As she radiated an angry aura, the Tendo family and Genma began to step back.

<Kami-sama! Now she smells like a whole truckload of skunks and jasmine!> Genma thought as he plugged up his nose.

As Akane’s smell became more potent, it also became more flammable. Once her odor reached certain level, its proximity to the campfire, caused it to ignite.



Kasumi and Nabiki’s sister went running about like a chicken with its head cut off, as her clothes and hair was set on fire. It took her several seconds before she finally realized to stop, drop and roll to put out the flames.

By that time the damage was already done.



“There, I think you look good with short hair.” Kasumi commented as she stepped back and assessed her handiwork.

Akane stood up and grumbled. The fire had burned off a good portion of her recently restored hair. As a result, Kasumi had to cut what was left into a boyish, cropped-up hairstyle. Her younger sister had taken great pride in growing her hair and now it would take her even longer for her to get it back.

“Stupid smell!” She growled. “Whoever wrote that stupid Anti-Hair Grow Formula didn’t know what they were doing!

“I beg your pardon.” A new voice rang out. “That formula has worked flawlessly for centuries.”

Then Soun cried out as he saw a small form come out from the shadows. He immediately assumed it was Happosai.


Akane swung about and charged toward who she thought the ultimate pervert. However, her attack would be cut short as she threw a hard right. She only saw a purple blur as something impacted hard with her stomach and made her sink to her knees. She let off a pitiful groan as she clutched at her abdomen.

Shampoo stood in front of her great-grandmother in a defensive posture. Even though Cologne didn’t need any protection, it was still the teen Amazon’s duty. However, punching out the person you were supposed to be curing wasn’t the best first impression.


A few minutes later…

“So you know about our dreaded Master Happosai?” Soun asked after introductions and explanations were made.

 Currently, he, Genma and Akane were sitting on one side of the campfire, while Cologne, Shampoo, Kasumi and the Talbain house staff were on the other side. Small pots of incense burned nearby as Cologne had set them up to ward the unearthly stench away from her and her great-granddaughter.

“Unfortunately, I do know of him, and I am displeased to hear that he’s still around.” The Elder said in a slightly perturbed tone. She made a note to investigate Nerima more thoroughly once they got back to Tokyo. Only Happosai could have caused those sudden chills. She quickly composed herself and said, “However, the reason for our trip to Japan, concerns the favor to the Talbanes and your daughter Nabiki.”

Like a few others, Cologne was already aware of the reason behind Jon’s name change.

Nabiki sent you?” Kasumi asked.

“Indeed. Since our tribe is associated with the Talbanes, and that your sister is an honorary member, we feel obligated to assist you in this particular matter, especially since it concerns our Amazon Miracle Hair Grow Shampoo, and Anti-Hair Grow Formula.” She then directed her gaze toward Akane and Genma. “Apparently, there are SOME people who cannot follow instructions properly.”

Matthew’s former father winced at the insinuation, but Akane instantly went into denial and blame mode. She stood up in a huff.

“I didn’t make any mistakes! I followed the recipe for that Anti-Hair Grow Formula exactly!”

This caused Shampoo to stand up in retaliation. “What you talking about? You one who cook this mess!”

“You wrote the recipe wrong!”

“Shampoo not write recipe wrong! Was same recipe as always! Monkey could follow easy!”

“Are you calling me a monkey!?”

“No. Shampoo say monkey could make easy! You no can do it, so you MORE stupid than monkey!”

“Why you! I’m gonna…!”


“OW! OW!”

Both girls rubbed their heads after being bopped by Cologne’s cane. Both turned their attention to the Amazon Elder as she glared at them. First she turned toward her relative.

“Shampoo, compose yourself like a true Amazon. What’s done is done and there’s no sense in arguing. We’re here for a reason, so we are going to do what we came here for, understood?”

“Yes great-grandmother.” Shampoo nodded as she sat back down.

Cologne turned her attention towards Akane. “And you, Miss Tendo, should learn to take responsibility for your actions. There’s no one else here who could have caused this problem, and you would best benefit from this experience, by admitting to your mistake, learning from it, and NOT repeat it. I am most disappointed that you have NOT been disciplined in the most simplest of life’s lessons.” She gave Soun a look of disapproval which made him shrink away.

Having never been spoken to in this manner, not even from her father, Akane was at a loss of how to respond for a long moment. Finally, she simply turned in disgust and walked off.

“I don’t need to hear this!”

As she went off to sulk, Cologne let off a tired sigh as she addressed the Tendos and Genma. “As I have already explained; what your daughter had inadvertently created was in actuality, a self-inflicted hex, and we shall need some preparation time in order to undo it.”

“When you say hex, you’re referring to magic?” Kasumi inquired.

“Of a sorts.” The Elder noted the slight disbelief in Kasumi’s eyes and added, “Come now. You live with a couple of people cursed by Jusenkyo. If you are able to accept that, then the existence of magic shouldn’t be THAT hard to swallow.”

“Point taken.” The eldest Tendo daughter amended as she realized her question was a silly one.

Cologne then turned back to her great-granddaughter. “Shampoo, I need you to prepare all of the ingredients to the counter-spell. I shall begin drawing out the magical circle.”

“Yes great-grandmother.” The purple-haired girl picked up the backpack and headed toward the table where Kasumi had been preparing dinner.

As Cologne stood up, she was approached by Genma.

“Uhm… excuse me… ma’am?”

“Yes, and what do you want?” The matriarch said with a slightly suspicious tone.

“Well…” Genma scratched the back of his bald head. “… since you are the same Chinese Amazons who created the shampoo… I was kind of wondering if…”

“No, I do not have another bottle of Miracle Hair Grow Shampoo.” Cologne said with a bit of disgust. “I would have thought you’d have learned your lesson from the last time. Akane Tendo may have inflicted you with that foul stench, but I understand that YOU were the one that started the whole mess, when you didn’t read the warning label.”

“I learned my lesson!” Genma quickly insisted. “This time, I’ll just put on a little bit at a time and…”

“No. I already told you that I don’t have another bottle. If you want some more, you’ll have to go to China and get it yourself.”

Genma grumbled slightly, and then changed tactics. “Say, you wouldn’t happen to have…?”

“No, I do not have any Spring of Drowned Man water from Jusenkyo either. I may live near the Cursed Training Grounds, but taking any water from there is forbidden unless under very special circumstances. Besides, mixing in cursed water with an anti-hex spell is just begging for another foul-up. Now leave me to my work, or I shall tell my great-granddaughter to dump out all the ingredients, and let you or that foolish Tendo girl figure out the cure by yourselves.”

Those last words made the greedy Saotome back off immediately. As soon as he was gone, Colone began chanting her incantations as she started to draw a large circle in the ground with her staff.

“"Yu... mo...  gui... gwaifaidizaoyu… mo… guigwaifaidizao… (1)


Meanwhile at the dinner table…

Shampoo began to take out various herbs and other ingredients from her backpack, and lay them on the table. She also set up various laboratory equipment that was provided to her by the Grimbard Witch Sisters. At that point, the only sensible member of the Tendo clan approached her.

“May I help?” Kasumi asked. Her main reason to offer her assistance was to cure her family and their guest, but she was also curious as to how magic was invoked.

The younger Amazon looked upon the eldest of Soun’s daughters with an assessing gaze. She noted the calluses on Kasumi’s hands, which indicated long experience with hard work and food handling. She looked over to one of the Talbain maids, named Helen, and she nodded her confirmation of the Tendo girl’s skills. Deeming Nabiki and Akane’s sister as more than competent with basic spell ingredient preparation, Shampoo nodded as she pointed to a small bowl that had a pestle and several green leaves in it.

“Please make leaves into powder, yes?”

The brown-haired girl nodded as she began grinding the leaves down. As she did so, Cologne’s great granddaughter added several measured quantities of various liquids into a large glass beaker. As the mixture turned red, then to blue, she nodded and turned toward her helper.

“Is done now?”

Kasumi nodded as she handed the bowl to the Amazon. Shampoo marveled how finely the leaves had been ground down and in so short a time. She added the contents of the bowl to the beaker, and the base potion reacted flawlessly, turning a deep purple.

She then gestured to a cutting board with several strange-looking plants that resembled scallions, but were colored black.

“Cut into very, very small pieces. Cut smooth and no big pieces.”

The gentle Tendo girl took a knife and began dicing the plants. As she did so, the purple-haired teen started up a portable Bunsen burner, and began to slowly heat up the base potion. When it started to bubble, she gestured to several small, colored, test tubes in a nearby rack.

“Please give red, blue, black, yellow and green one. No mix order.”

Kasumi finished off dicing the plants and handed the tubes to Shampoo in the correct order. As she did so, the warrior teen added their contents to the beaker, and then pointed to the cutting board.

“Put in potion, but VERY slow! No fast!”

Soun’s eldest child did so by picking up the cutting board and tilting it slightly toward the bubbling beaker. She carefully added the diced herbs to the concoction, as Shampoo watched with approval. The herbs dissolved evenly in the mixture as a light, pleasant fragrance was emitted from it.

“Oh my! I never smelled something like that before. It smells very nice!”

“Good smell mean good potion.” Shampoo explained as she gestured to a small basket of colored berries. “Please get berries…”

At that point, Akane came up to the table. She gave Shampoo a bit of a glare before addressing her sister.

“Let me help you with this Kasumi.”

Aiyah! Is you crazy?!” Shampoo exclaimed as she swatted Akane’s hands away when she reached for the table.

This got Akane growling, as Kasumi tried to defuse the situation. “Akane I don’t think your help is necessary and…”

“No want help from you!” Cologne’s great-granddaughter roughly pushed Akane from the table and stood between her and the ingredients. “You no learn from before?” She turned back to Kasumi. “Now Shampoo want you add five blue berries, three red ones, four orange and… “

Akane tried to push her way back in and made an attempt to grab the bowl of berries. “Just add all the berries! It would go much faster and…”



The short-haired and shorter-tempered girl winced and pulled back after her wrists received two sharp, stinging blows. Shampoo twirled a ladle in her right hand and gave the rude girl a very disparaging glare.

“You no listen? Open ears! Shampoo say go away! No need you! Big trouble if more-stupid-than-monkey girl spoil potion with pretend-cooking.”

“What do you mean ‘pretend-cooking?!’ I can cook!” Akane said in outrage. Who did this big-breasted Chinese bimbo think she was to judge her?

“You no follow recipe. You no use right ingredient. You no watch when hot. You call cooking? I call new way to kill someone. Maybe use instead fighting skills. Better chance to win. Shampoo no even ask for help from more-stupid-than-monkey girl!”

At that moment, Akane let off an anguished cry of anger and was about attack, but was immediately stopped as her sleeper point was hit. As she collapsed to the ground, Colgone stood behind with her cane extended.


The Elder gazed at the unconscious girl for a moment, shook her head and then addressed her relative. “Shampoo, is the base potion ready?”

“Is almost done.”

“Good.” The three-hundred-year-old woman laid Akane aside in a safe spot under a nearby tree, and then addressed Kasumi. “Miss Tendo, it is not my business to interfere in your family’s personal affairs, but I must say that I find your sister’s behavior to be most childish and reprehensible. Did her mother not teach her the proper manners?”

 “Our mother… died more than ten years ago.”

“I see.” Cologne turned back toward her great-granddaughter. “Shampoo, please finish the base potion. I would like to speak with Miss Tendo for a few minutes.”


More than 5,500 miles to the west…

“Here we are in Las Vegas.” Jon said as he exited the cab and paid the driver.

Both teens looked about in awe at the sheer magnitude of neon lights, displays, hotels and casinos on the Las Vegas Strip. Even though it was only around noon, the city was bustling about with huge crowds. Nabiki then pointed over to a large billboard which read;


“Well now, looks like we’ll be able to catch Felicia’s show before her troupe moves on.” Jon remarked. “But as long as we’re here, we might as well kill some time and get a little training for the both of you.”

“Training? What kind of training can we do here?” Nabiki asked. True she was very excited to be in one of the most famous gambling places in the world, but what kind of martial arts could she practice in this place?

Jon smiled as he gestured to a nearby casino.


Several hours later…


Nabiki gasped in delight as her seventh jackpot payoff slid into the tray. She had no idea that being a werewolf would make gambling so easy! In fact it was so simple to beat the odds, that it wasn’t even considered as gambling.

Jon had decided to test out his son and girlfriend’s enhanced senses by challenging them to break the bank of every casino they visit. Since they were both underage, the elder Talbain made an arrangement with every casino owner to allow them to play, on the condition that they give back their winnings along with a large donation. Any losses they incurred would be covered by Matthew’s father.

 Of course, he did not tell the adolescents of this deal, in order for them to use their senses to their fullest potential. It was an exercise to sharpen their hearing, smell and visual prowess, which was very important when facing off against an unpredictable foe. After they left each establishment, Jon would simply give back the money and wrote a check with a sizeable amount.

Nabiki soon learned that her vision was quite acute and could catch even the smallest movement or detail of an object once she focused on it. This was due to a wolf’s predatory nature in hunting down a fleeing prey, and anticipating its next move. Following a little ball on a roulette wheel was child’s play and she was hitting the big numbers each time. She couldn’t even be fooled by sleight of hand tricks when a street hustler challenged her to a game of three-card Monte. After she was finished with him, he had practically lost the shirt off his back and the shoes off his feet. Jon didn’t bother to reimburse him.

Matthew also taught her to use her sense of smell to detect that which didn’t belong or what was altered. As such, they were able to detect several of the casinos’ cheats. They could tell if some dice were loaded by detecting different metals inside the cubes. With a little sleight of hand trick on Matthew’s part, they were able to beat the crooked craps table.

However, it was the slot machines that Nabiki excelled at with her enhanced hearing. By putting in a few coins to test out the one-armed bandit, she would hear how the reels and tumblers would align themselves. With a bit of trial and error, she would get a feel of the patterns of each machine until she was able to hit higher and higher jackpots with just a pull of the lever or push of the button.

After a while, it began to get boring, as constantly winning was losing its charm. There was no challenge any more. A game was only fun when there was a chance of losing. As she thought about it, she realized that it wasn’t too long ago that she would have killed to have the gambling-winning abilities she now possessed.

As she was about to get up and bring her winnings to the front desk, she detected a familiar pair of scents approach her. She turned around in her seat to see Matthew and Jon standing next to her.

“Time to go Nabiki. We’ve got about an hour to make Felicia’s show.” Jon said.

Nabiki sighed as she got up. “Might as well. I’ve pretty much cleaned out all the slots on this side of the casino.”

“Oh, about that Nabs.” Matthew pointed out. “Dad just told me that we’re not going to be able to keep any of our winnings.”

“What?” The middle Tendo daughter said in surprise and disappointment.

Jon shrugged his shoulders as he explained. “The only way the casinos would allow underage kids like you to gamble was for me to agree to give back your winnings, plus a little extra. In any case, it’s not like we NEED the money. Remember that this was supposed to be a training exercise to sharpen your senses. Considering that you both won a combined total of fifteen million American dollars, I’d say that it was a success and…”


The three werewolves turned toward the sudden shout of anger, and saw an obese and greasy-looking fellow as he kicked a nearby slot machine. In one hand, he had a heaping plate of ribs from the casino’s all-you-can-eat buffet. There was a bottle of steak sauce on top of the slot machine. He continued to vent his frustrations over not winning the jackpot, kicking the device violently. It wasn’t long before the security team came in and hauled him off.

Matthew was about turn his attention back to his girlfriend, when he noticed something very special about that slot machine. He pointed toward it and addressed his father. “Hey, Dad! Look at that machine over there. You don’t suppose that’s what Chance meant, do you?”

Jon Talbain took another glance at the indicated gambling device and his eyes narrowed a bit in thought. He replied to his offspring, “It could be Matthew. It would be just like her to give us a clue like that.” He then addressed his son’s girlfriend. “Nabiki, would you please demonstrate to us, your method of beating the slots?”

Soun’s daughter shrugged her shoulders as they walked over to the machine and sat in front of it. She put in a quarter, pulled the lever and closed her eyes. Matthew’s father noted the slight twitching of her ears as she listened to the reels and tumblers. She made the machine stop by pressing the center button. She opened her eyes and noted the pattern she received, which was one cherry, a jackpot symbol and a banana. A few coins dropped into the payoff tray. She took a coin from the tray and fed it through the slot. Pulling the lever down again, she listened for the reels and tumblers again. When she stopped the machine again, she nodded and turned back to Jon and Matthew.

“This one seems to be set to the same pattern sequence as half of the other machines on the other side of the room. It’s a fairly complicated sequence, but it’s close to its winning combination. I’d say that I could hit the jackpot in about four or five tries.”

“Please do it.”  

Nabiki shrugged her shoulders again and did as she was asked. In four tries, the machine let off an alarm as the payoff tray overflowed with coins. She had to jump back to avoid touching them as a large pile of coins had a considerable amount of silver in it. Then she caught a glint of gold and her eyes widened as she saw it. The object was no bigger than a quarter but it was unmistakably what they had been searching for.

The ancient medallion had been broken up into 13 pieces, which consisted of 12 radial sections and a center, circular piece. So far, they had collected four radial parts. Now they were amazed to find the center fragment in a Las Vegas slot machine of all things!

“Someone must have thought it to be a metal slug or something, and used it to try and cheat the machine.” Jon suggested as he put on a glove to retrieve the fragment. After picking it up, he took out the incomplete medallion and attached the newest piece to it.

“Chance sure called it right on this one.” Nabiki’s boyfriend remarked.

“What do you mean? She told us to look for the number fifty-seven.” The middle Tendo daughter pointed out.

“And that’s where we found the fragment; under the number fifty-seven.”

He pointed to the top of the machine. Nabiki looked up and saw that a bottle of steak sauce was there. She assumed that it belonged to the sore loser with the plate of ribs. Her eyes widened as she read the label on the bottle.

“Heinz 57 Steak Sauce?”

Matthew chuckled a bit, as he took the bottle off the machine and held it in his right hand. “Chance always did have a weird sense of humor, but her predictions are always right. Heck, she’s really popular on the psychic hotline.”

“She’s got a psychic hotline?!”

“Yeah. We allow her to talk on the phone on Sundays, so she can get more insight on human culture and stuff. Her line is ALWAYS busy those days, because her predictions are always right. Maybe you’ve heard of her American number; 1-900-FOX-TALE? She’s also got a webpage with more than a million hits every day. You can find her at”

Nabiki could only gape in disbelief that a member of the Old Races could be found so easily on the Internet or a hotline. Just goes to show how unaware the general human populace was of their existence.

“I can see her sneezing right now.” Jon commented.

“Sneezing?” Nabiki repeated in confusion.

“You know that old wives tale about suddenly sneezing, when someone else is talking about you, behind your back or when they’re far away? That’s especially true for psychics and oracles. Since we’re talking about her, she’s probably reaching for a handkerchief right now.”


In Castle Talbain


“Gesundheit.” Providence commented as Chance rubbed the bottom of her nose. “You think the Masters found the fifth fragment?”

The sexy fox girl nodded. “Judging by that sudden sneeze, I think they just figured out that number fifty-seven clue. Hmmm, I think I’ll check out my website.”


Back in Japan…

“Now, do you understand?” Cologne asked as she and Shampoo were about to perform the counter-spell to remove the unearthly smell of the Tendo family and Genma Saotome.

“I wouldn’t mind if you explained it to us, one more time.” Soun said nervously as he, Genma and Akane stood in the center of a large, elaborately-drawn, mystical circle. There was a multitude of ancient symbols drawn into the ground, and several dozens of Chinese spirit wards inscribed on parchment and stuck to the surrounding trees. Standing opposite to them was the Talbain house staff and Kasumi. Shampoo stood opposite to her great-grandmother, on the other side of the circle, with a small bottle of potion in her hands.

Cologne shrugged as Soun Tendo was understandably uneasy about this entire affair. After all, she was going to attempt to remove a half-baked hex caused by his youngest daughter. A daughter who made two more attempts to ‘help’ with the counter-spell. It was the kind of help NOBODY wanted.

When Akane regained consciousness, she tried to interfere with Shampoo and Kasumi’s potion-making again. The eldest child of Soun Tendo had an extraordinary talent for mixing and preparing ingredients that would have impressed the Grimbard Sisters. In fact, Cologne insisted that Kasumi continue helping in making the potions needed to undo the hex. She had seen how the gentle girl handled herself with cooking-related skills and thought she might make an excellent alchemist and herbalist under the Salem Witches’ tutelage. 

 The youngest child of Soun Tendo however, had zero talent in cooking and the Elder’s great-granddaughter made it clear that she didn’t want any of Akane’s so-called ‘expertise.’ The easy to anger girl was almost sent back into an unconscious state, courtesy of a light tap from Shampoo’s bonbori.



“Shampoo already told you! No need help from more-stupid-than-monkey girl!” The Amazon teen said as she firmly blocked Akane’s path toward the preparation table. Currently they were at a very important stage in the potion-making process and they couldn’t afford to start over or risk another unintentional hex.

“What do you know, you floozy Chinese bimbo! Just let me make the stupid potion!” Akane said as she was determined to show everyone that she could cook and make potions as well as her sister.

Shampoo did not yet know of what the term ‘bimbo’ meant, but she was pretty certain it was an insult judging by how the angry girl said it. However, it would take more than insults to get the adolescent warrior to step aside. She simply stood her ground and said the following.

“More-stupid-than-monkey girl stay out! Leave potion to expert!” She gestured back to the table with a thumb as Kasumi continued to mix the proper ingredients. “Older sister much better! Good help! More-stupid-than-monkey girl not know how to cook! Shampoo no trust to boil water!”

That last jab got Akane’s TEMPER to boil over as she let off an incoherent scream and charged the purple-haired girl. Shampoo retaliated with a simple move.


Akane ended up flat on her back and seeing little birdies. The Amazon put away her weapon and walked back to the table, just as Kasumi finished with the extra additions to the potion. She had it gently simmering over the Bunsen burner.

“Is Akane going to be all right?” She asked with concern.

Shampoo waved her off. “Shampoo no hit hard. She wake up later with headache. No understand she no punished for bad stuff. Great-grandmother hit hard on Shampoo’s backside if Shampoo do that.”

“Oh, I could never strike my sister like that.”

“Maybe should start. Sore backside hard lesson, but also hard to FORGET lesson.”

At that point, Kasumi started to think about her sister’s behavior and how bad it was.


End of flashback…

Then Akane tried to offer her assistance to Cologne as she was drawing out the magic circle. The Matriarch soon saw that the Tendo girl’s drawing skills were just as sloppy as her cooking and martial arts. Shampoo’s great-grandmother had seen stick figures drawn by monkeys that looked better.

However, Akane continued to be stubborn and the old Amazon was about to resort to the sleeper pressure point again, when Kasumi intervened. Cologne was a bit surprised and very proud as the elder Tendo daughter grabbed her sibling by the ear and dragged her off some distance before chiding Akane on her childish behavior.

Cologne smiled at the memory as she remembered the talk she had with Kasumi.



“Miss Tendo.”

“Please, you may call me Kasumi.”

“Very well then. Kasumi, from what I can tell, it seems that you take good care of your family in terms of cooking, cleaning and other domestic needs. That’s very commendable of you and I must give you high praise for your dedication to your family.”

“Thank you.”

“However, at the same time, I must also judge as a failure to your family.”

“What? But I…”

The Elder held up a hand, indicating that she needed to finish. “Do not take this as an insult, but more as an evaluation. I was told by your sister Nabiki that you are the caretaker to your home, and I can understand why since you’ve had no mother for the last ten years. Have you ever thought about your future?”

“My future?” The eldest Tendo daughter asked.

“Surely you don’t expect to care for your father and Akane for the rest of your life, do you?”

“Well I…”

“You haven’t thought about it have you? Consider this then. Your father is a grown man, (loosely speaking), isn’t he? He should be able to take care of himself. Shouldn’t he have the responsibility to see to his children’s futures as well? According to what Matthew and his father told me, Soun Tendo owns a dojo, yet teaches no students. He earns no income and he does very little if any work to see that his school of the Anything Goes thrives.”

“Well, father has… uhmer… well, he did… ahh….”

“You cannot honestly think of anything can you?” Cologne pointed out. “Apparently, he seems to be content to have you care for all of his needs, and pin all his hopes on uniting his school with the Saotomes’, (yes, Matthew’s father told me about that too). That is NOT taking responsibility; that is foisting responsibility off to someone else. By the looks of things, Soun Tendo has abandoned responsibility as a martial artist and as a parent. I’m sorry to say this, but you are less his daughter and more his servant.”

“A servant? Father does not treat me like a servant.”

“Really? Has he ever offered to help you in the housework? Has he ever encouraged you to go to college or find a job? Has he ever encouraged you to get married other than as a means to unite the Anything Goes? At least the house servants of the Talbanes are paid for their work and given good benefits. What do you receive from working your hands to the bone and having to constantly care for those who will not care for themselves?”

This time Kasumi remained silent as she couldn’t answer any of those questions either.

“I suspected as much. Kasumi, technically speaking, it isn’t any of my business to interfere in your family affairs, but I simply cannot stand the sight of someone with so much potential go to waste like this.”

“I have potential?” Nabiki’s sister said in surprise. She had never been praised like that before.

“I saw you help my great-granddaughter mix that base potion. Your exceptional cooking skills can easily be applied toward magic and spell-casting. I happen to know of three distant cousins of mine who would snap you up as an apprentice in an instant, if they saw your ability. But in any case, none of that potential will be unlocked, until you take off that apron, and take that first step outside the kitchen.”

“But what about Father and my sisters?”

Cologne let off a sigh. “Kasumi, as much as it seems that you are doing the right thing, constantly caring for them is doing more harm than good. And it is especially not good for your sister Akane. Her rudeness, lack of manners and childish behavior are the result of not receiving the proper discipline and life lessons that all children should have. And I am certain that unless you put your foot down to slow or halt such bad habits, then someone ELSE WILL crush her under their foot, and they may not be inclined to let her get back up. Such bad behavior would not be tolerated by any responsible parent, and I would think that your mother would have agreed if she were alive today.”

Kasumi became somewhat alarmed, but then Cologne’s expression softened up.

“I meant no offense. If you feel that you cannot abandon your family so suddenly, then I would suggest a gradual weaning period and let them realize that they need to rely on themselves. Do not be so quick to comfort them or clean up their mistakes, as they will not learn from that. It will be a long process, as they are too used to having their own way, but I believe that it is possible. I hear that your sister Nabiki is becoming more independent, which is good. I think it is a lesson that you and your family should all learn and benefit from. Do not be afraid to point out their mistakes, if you also have a suggestion on how to correct them. This goes for your father as well as your sister. They have taken for granted all the things you have done for them, and they have to see you, not as their caretaker, but as a member of the family. They have forgotten that, so you must remind them.”

Kasumi remained silent for a long time as she digested all of the Amazon’s words. Finally she responded.

“I’ll try.”


End of Flashback…

It seemed that the elder Tendo girl was taking her advice to heart and starting on her own journey. Bringing herself back to the present, Cologne began explaining to the Tendos and Genma, the process of the counter-spell to the hex.

“Now please understand that this is a very complicated spell and I cannot guarantee the results.”

“I thought you were an expert!” Akane said with some bitterness in her voice.

Hmph! And you do better?” Shampoo shot back, but was then chided by her great-grandmother.

“Shampoo, shush! We must keep focused.”

“Hah!” Akane sneered, but then became shocked as another voice admonished her.

“That goes the same for you, Akane!”

Akane, Genma and Soun all looked in shock at Kasumi as she stood with her arms crossed over her chest and sporting an honest-to-goodness look of… irritation?!

“Kasumi?” The normally angry Tendo girl said in surprise. This was the absolute first her older sister had ever raised her voice against her.

Cologne smiled a bit before continuing. “As I was about to say, we cannot have any distractions as we cast this spell. Once we begin, we cannot stop for any reason. Above all, do NOT move outside of the circle. If all goes well, then you’ll be able to go back to Tokyo after today. Are you ready?”

“Ready!” Soun and Genma said simultaneously.

Akane snorted a bit. “Let’s just get this over with!” Then she added in a quiet whisper, “Probably won’t work anyway!”

The Amazon Matriarch nodded to her relative as she produced a bottle of liquid similar to one in Shampoo’s hands. She tilted the container over and slowly poured out its contents. The potion landed in the grooves of the magic circle and started to spread, following the lines and making them light up with an eerie glow. At the same time, she started to chant.

“"Yu... mo...  gui... gwaifaidizaoyu… mo… guigwaifaidizaoyu… mo… guigwaifaidizao…”

On the other side of the circle, Shampoo also poured out her bottle of potion while chanting the same words, synchronizing with her great-grandmother.

“"Yu... mo...  gui... gwaifaidizaoyu… mo… guigwaifaidizaoyu… mo… guigwaifaidizao…”

The Tendos, Genma and all others stared in amazement as the afflicted ones started to glow themselves. The entire area became thick with magical energy as a key Ley Line was activated.

This was the signal for another group of spellcasters to begin their part in breaking the hex.


At Castle Talbain

“Sisters! Behold! Our cousin has begun the spell!” Parelle exclaimed as she pointed to a large cauldron. The brew in the pot bubbled and gave off an array of colors, signaling that the Amazons were casting the hex-removal spell.

After discovering the means to remove the demon odor from the victims, the Grimbards and Cologne needed a way to dispose of the haphazard energies that caused the smell to cling to Soun and the others. So they came up with a way to have those energies transmitted down a Ley Line and into a portal to the Makai. Once in that realm, they would be dispersed within the fires of the Inferno Pits, like a piece of garbage in an incinerator.

While Cologne and Shampoo were busy accessing the Ley Line in Japan and moving the smell onto it, the Grimbard Sisters would open the portal to the Makai on the other end.

Speaking in a long-forgotten tongue, the witches started the process to open the doorway to the other realm.


In Las Vegas…

“Jon! Matthew! Nabiki! Great to see you guys again!” Felicia said as she greeted them in her dressing room. It was just after her troupe had finished with their show when the trio of werewolves was admitted backstage by Victor.

“Good to see you too, Felicia. Great show as always.” Jon said as he warmly embraced the cheerful cat girl. Nabiki also nodded to her as her boyfriend stepped back a few feet.

“Hello… Felicia.” Jon’s son greeted tentatively.

“Hey there you cute little wolf!” She gently disengaged from Jon and spread her arms out wide. “Give Felicia a hug!”

“I’d… rather not, thank you.” Matthew said as he took another step back.

The star of the show pouted a bit. “Awww, you still haven’t gotten over that pit of cats have you? Okay, if that’s the case, how about if I become less of a cat and more like a human?”

In less than a blink of an eye, Felicia displayed her power to change her form as her cat ears moved down toward the sides of her head and became more normal-looking. The sparse patches of fur disappeared into her body, leaving only smooth skin. Her tail retracted into her back, and her hands and feet lost their claws. Her catlike appearance became less pronounced. In an instant, Felica the Catgirl disappeared and Felicia the Human remained.

A naked human at that.

“How’s that?”


Matthew covered his eyes and tried to hold back a massive nosebleed.

“I think I prefer you as a cat!”

“Felicia! Have you no shame!” Jon chided his old friend, causing her to look down at herself.

“Whoops! I keep forgetting that this human body needs to wear clothes. Hang on a second!”

She immediately ducked behind a wardrobe and threw on a robe to cover herself, before rejoining the group. She invited them all to sit down and enjoy a cup of tea.

“Sorry about that.”

“I had no idea you could turn into human form.” Nabiki commented.

The catgirl shrugged her shoulders as she opened a bottle of milk. “I don’t change very often since I feel more comfortable in my true form. My fans think my real body is just a costume and think me as eccentric for ‘wearing’ it all the time. In any case, it’s good to see you all again. Tell me what brings you to Las Vegas. I thought you were busy putting together that medallion.”

“We still are.” Jon Talbain affirmed as he took out the incomplete medallion to show to her. “We’ve found four more pieces to go with the one you gave us. We found the center piece inside a slot machine of all things. However, we’ve also discovered that the next piece is only eighty miles from the city.”

“So why aren’t you out there getting it right now?”

“Going to its location is not the problem. Getting it OUT of where it is, THAT’S the problem. You see, the medallion fragment is inside Area 51.”


Back in Japan…

“Well, all things considered, at least we got rid of the smell.” Cologne remarked as she looked upon the end result of the anti-hex spell.

A huge, smoldering crater was all that was left of the mystic circle as three figures lay sprawled at its center. Their clothes and Genma’s, were tattered and burned, and each person sported an impressive array of burns all over his/her body.


At this point, Akane was in too much pain to react to the insult. Her mind went back to the incident.



As Akane watched the Amazons continue to pour the potion and chant while walking around the circle’s perimeter, she let off a bit of a growl. Not only did that uppity Shampoo refuse her help, but she insulted Akane’s cooking skills and had the nerve to compare her intelligence to a monkey’s! The Tendo girl had wanted to prove she was just as skilled as her older sister, but in the end, she would be taking no part in the counter-spell.

She wouldn’t admit it, but she was envious that Kasumi was being offered the chance to learn magic. Ever since she realized that magic did exist, Akane had been having some fantasies of casting powerful spells to go along with her great martial arts. She deserved it after all. She was the best in Nerima. And those Amazons had the gall to think that she wasn’t responsible enough for it.

She was responsible enough. So she skipped a few steps in a recipe and added a couple things that weren’t on the list. The way she saw it, she saved valuable time and improved on a boring recipe. It’s not like she made any major mistakes in cooking and any errors she did make was the recipe’s fault, not hers. Why couldn’t those barbaric Amazons see that? It just wasn’t fair!

After a few minutes of nonstop chanting, Akane got irritated and impatient. She decided that Cologne and Shampoo’s efforts weren’t doing anything and thought that she could do a better job on her own. With that thought she let off an irritated snort and started to move toward the edge of the circle.

“This isn’t working! It’s just a big waste of time! I’m leaving!”

As soon as she put one foot out of the circle, she set off a chain-reaction, which caused all of the Amazons’ hard work to backfire toward the victims of the hex; namely Akane, her father and Genma. All three let off a scream as they were suddenly engulfed in a huge wave of eldritch energies.


End of Flashback…

The end result was a massive backlash of Ley Line power. That caused the entire circle to explode in a contained but intense blast. The only good thing about that disaster was that the explosion had expelled the demonic odor and sent it down the Ley Line to be disposed of in the Makai.

The smell was finally gone, but that didn’t mean that the Tendo family’s troubles were over.


The next day…

“On behalf of all of us, I would like to thank you for your help.” Kasumi said as she and her family prepared to head back to Tokyo. With the demonic smell gone, there was no reason to stay away from people any more. The Talbain house staff would be accompanying the Tendos and Genma back to civilization before returning to Castle Talbain.

“No thanks are needed, child.” Cologne said. “Although, we will be observing your family for any signs of after-effects to the counter-spell.”

“What for? The smell’s gone, so go home to China already!” Akane said in a huff, as she continued to stow her things into her backpack.

“Actually, Japan is our home for now.” The Elder corrected.


The three-hundred-year-old Amazon gestured to her great-granddaughter. “Shampoo will be enrolling into a Japanese high school by the next semester, and we’ll be opening a restaurant in the Nerima district. We just haven’t decided which of the schools to have Shampoo attend.”

< Please not Furinken High. > Akane silently prayed.

Shampoo’s great-grandmother gestured for Kasumi to walk with her as she led them toward the crater where the unearthly smell had been eradicated. As they stood near the edge, they conversed over the past events and what lay ahead.

“So Kasumi, what did you think of your first demonstration of spellcasting?”

“It was amazing.” The Tendo daughter remarked. “I believed in curses because of the Saotomes, but I had no idea that real magic could be summoned and controlled like that.”

“Indeed. Magic is quite a powerful force and can be used to benefit all, if used responsibly. So have you decided to begin your studies in the subject?”

“Me?” Kasumi said in surprise.

“As I had pointed out before, you have quite a talent for mixing potions. That counter-spell elixir you helped my great-granddaughter create was most potent and very high quality. The spell would have worked flawlessly, if your sister had heeded my warning and stayed within the circle. And I sense that you may have other abilities within the realm of magic. Therefore, I have decided to give you this.”

From her robes, Cologne produced a book which looked like a journal. It had a sizeable amount of pages and was bound in an old hardcover. It was aged, but still in decent condition. On the front cover was a line drawing of a pentagram, with a five-pointed star in the middle.

“What is this?” Kasumi asked as she held the book in her hands.

“That, my dear, is a beginner’s guidebook to spellcasting for all magic apprentices. My distant cousins gave it to me long ago, though I no longer have any use for it now. Within those pages, you will find all the basics for potions, charms, protection spells, incantations and a little bit on divination. All the charlatans and false prophets in the world would kill to get their hands on that book. I hereby entrust it to you, so please learn well from it.”

“But I’m no sorceress.”

“At present, no you are not. However, I am quite certain you will become a fine magic-user. In any case, my relatives and I are getting on in years, and we must pass on our magical knowledge, so that it is not lost. Shampoo is my apprentice, both in the martial arts and magic. And I deem you to be of sound mind and judgment. When you have mastered all that is within that book, I shall introduce you to three very excellent instructors.”

“But, I can’t lean magic.” The brown-haired girl protested as she flipped through the pages. “Besides, I can’t even read this. It’s all written in Chinese.”

“Not a problem. Repeat after me. Verto ut meus paternus lingua!”

Uhmvertout meuspaternus… lingua?”

The book briefly glowed with a white light as the symbols and characters rearranged themselves. When Kasumi looked down, she nearly dropped the book as she could now read the perfectly legible Japanese script.

Cologne smirked as she explained. “In Latin, the phrase you just spoke means, ‘transform to my native tongue.’ You shouldn’t have any problem reading it. And the fact that it reacted so well to you, indicates your potential.”

Kasumi stood in silent awe as she couldn’t believe that she had been given such a wondrous gift. She had never thought of herself as anything special, and now her mind flooded with vast possibilities, some of which she had never dreamed before. As she looked over the translated pages, she could barely hold in her excitement. Closing the book and holding it close to her chest, she gave the Elder a respectful bow.

“Thank you.”


Somewhere out in the Nevada desert, midnight…

Four figures lay prone on their stomachs on top of a mesa. Jon looked through a pair of binoculars and winced at what he saw 2 miles away. The Area 51 base was practically teeming with watchtowers, soldiers, patrol dogs, tanks and lots and lots of guns. The outer perimeter was surrounded by a large fence; most likely electrified. He was willing to bet that the areas around the base were minefields.

Getting the sixth fragment wasn’t going to be as easy as hitting the jackpot at a Las Vegas slot machine.

“What do you see, Dad?” Matthew asked. Though he had excellent night vision, he couldn’t see as far as the high-tech binoculars.

Jon shook his head as he put down the viewing device. “Bad news all around. There’s no way we could get within a mile of the outer perimeter before the patrols or watchtowers spot us. And I’m pretty sure they have booby traps and hidden sensors. It wouldn’t matter if we went in as humans or werewolves. Of course, if we were to blend in with the local wildlife, we MIGHT be able to get close enough to sneak in.”

The younger lycanthrope nodded at his father’s unspoken suggestion. “So we’re going in as full wolves?”

Jon nodded as he addressed Felicia. “That’s right. And I’m pretty sure that those soldiers aren’t going to shoot at a harmless cat, though I would advise you to stay out sight as much as possible. They might have orders to shoot anything they come across. You can’t heal from gunshot wounds as fast as we can.”

“What about me?” Nabiki asked. “I can’t turn into a wolf.”

Matthew’s father considered the daughter of Soun Tendo. “Hmmm, your Secondary Lycanthropy doesn’t have enough power for a full transformation. That could be a problem and we can’t leave you here. We run the risk of you being spotted by a patrol.”

Nabiki’s boyfriend pondered for a minute then snapped his fingers in realization. “Hey! What about the medallion? I know we don’t have all the pieces, but do you think it might have enough power to change Nabs temporarily?”

“Hmmm.” Jon took out the incomplete medallion and considered the idea. He then tossed it to his son’s girlfriend. “Take off your pendant and put on the medallion. We’ll see if it works.”

The short-haired girl did as she was told. As soon as she removed the pendant, her body shifted to hybrid form. She felt a slight tingle wash over her as she donned the ancient artifact. However, she remained in her werewolf appearance.

“So what do I do now?”

“Picture yourself as a wolf.” Matthew suggested. “And focus your inner energies like in those ki exercises we’ve been going over.”

Nabiki nodded as she had been getting preliminary training in how to generate and control her ki outside of her body. It wouldn’t be long before she started using the Beast Cannon and Climb Razor kick. She closed her eyes and imagined herself on all fours. She felt another tingle as her body began to change form. Her limbs shorted and became more suited for running. Her upper and lower body straightened out as her head and face elongated into a more lupine form. In less than thirty seconds, Nabiki the Werewolf became Nabiki the Wolf.

Jon smiled as he gazed upon the female wolf with light brown hair. He nodded to the others and triggered his own transformation. In a few heartbeats, three wolves and a cat headed out on their covert mission to find the fragment in Area 51. They had to get into the compound and quickly as they weren’t sure how long the medallion could keep Nabiki in wolf form. Since it was incomplete, Jon could only estimate that it would be able to keep her on all fours for an hour before exhausting its store of energy and required to recharge. The witch sisters at the castle had informed him that the artifact was similar to Nabiki’s wolf’s head pendant and had limited amounts of energy in each fragment. Only the completed medallion would give her the permanent boost to stabilize her lycanthropy.


The group split apart into two pairs, each taking one side of the compound. Matthew and Nabiki would come in from the west, while Jon and Felicia would work their way from the east. For the Tendo girl, this was her first time experiencing being a wolf. Her senses were at their peak in this form and she was going to need them as she followed her boyfriend through the first obstacle.

The minefield.

Like her current form, things were about to get hairy.

To be continued…

Author’s Notes

Since this chapter was getting long, I decided to end it here. In the next chapter, we’re going to find our heroes in really dire straits as they explore Area 51. The Tendos are going to get a shock once they get back to Tokyo, including their meeting with Happosai and Kasumi learning magic. As for the warning Providence gave to Matthew’s father? Well, just wait and see!


1)    For those of you who are wondering, yes these are the words used by Uncle in Jackie Chan Adventures. Its literal translation from Cantonese (妖魔鬼怪快) is “Evil demons and malevolent spirits, be gone!” It’s very appropriate for an anti-hex spell.