THE BEAST WITHIN
Disclaimer: Ranma 1/2, Darkstalkers, Hellsing and whatever else I decide to add to the insanity belong to their respective creators.
The Tokyo Museum shuddered as two of the most destructive vampire lords on Earth battled it out.
Demitri bit down on the pain as another one of Alucard’s silver rounds shot through his left arm. He hissed as he levitated himself above his opponent, then disappeared in a cloud of mist.
Alucard smiled as he used his own vampire senses to search for his opponent. He was enjoying this fight. He hadn’t been so entertained since that confrontation with Incognito. Demitri was not like those Freak Vampires, or else Alucard’s explosive, blessed silver bullets would have torn him apart on impact. They were doing damage, but weren’t killing him... yet. It would take many shots to destroy the bloodsucking noble. That suited Alucard just fine. That meant that the fun would last all night!
Demitri reappeared just above his foe and dived down feet first. His bat wings surrounded this lower trunk like a drill and he smiled evilly as he dug into Alucard’s chest, causing gore and fluids to splatter all over the exhibits.
However, the Hellsing agent had been waiting for such a move. At this range, he couldn’t miss. Raising his gun and pointing it at Demitri’s face, he pulled the trigger.
Demetri shrieked as his face exploded into flame, forcing him backward. As for Alucard, he staggered slightly, but stood on his feet, with a huge, bloody hole in his chest. He disregarded the injury as a minor annoyance. In seconds, the gaping tear sealed itself up. His opponent however, was not quite as fortunate. His face was now disfigured with frayed and burned flaps of skin hanging off it. However, his rage made him ignore the injury as he glared at the undead warrior in the red trenchcoat.
“You will pay for that!” The vampire noble roared.
“I’d like to see you collect!” Alucard retorted.
With another roar of fury, Demitri suddenly transformed into multiple red bats and swarmed Alucard with a vengeance. Numerous slash marks appeared all over his body as the Demon Horde technique threatened to cut him to ribbons.
The bats reunited together to form Maximov again, but this time he was behind Alucard. Not giving him a chance to recover, he focused his power and let loose with a HUGE fireball.
The blast caught Alucard squarely in the back, sending him flying forward several meters, causing him to crash into several display cases. When he got back to his feet, Integra’s dark servant looked down at his gun and saw that the slide and barrel were cracked and useless. With a sigh, he threw the broken weapon away, while Maximov began to taunt him.
“Oh, did I break the toy that your human master gave to you?” He laughed mockingly at his foe.
Alucard was not amused as he held up both gloved hands, and displayed the mystic seals imprinted on the back of each hand. “I liked that gun. It let me deal with minor annoyances without having to soil my hands with their filth. Then again, I suppose there is something to be said to working with one’s own hands.” The symbols on his hands began to glow as Alucard began to grow in power. “Release Limiters...Level 3.”
Maximov laughed even harder as he continued to mock the other vampire. “Hah! You even let your human master restrain your true power!”
Alucard however, grinned at Demitri’s ignorance. The younger vampires never did respect their elders. Demitri was a mere eight centuries old. Alucard had already been ancient by the time Integra Wingates had found him in her family’s cellar. (1)
“Actually, I find it rather challenging to defeat a powerful foe with a minimal amount of power. It is SO boring to crush your foes with overwhelming strength. I believe Level Three should be sufficient.”
“You should fight me with ALL your power, if you think to defeat me! You needed the help of that werewolf, the last time we met!” Demitri powered up for another assault.
“How very little you know, Maximov. I wasn’t exactly myself, ten years ago. However, I won’t need Talbain’s help this time. And you should know better than to disrespect your elders.”
At that moment, the vampire lords let loose with massive blasts of dark energy. Demitri fired off another Demon Flare, but Alucard released a wave of darkness that snuffed out all light, including the evil energies of Demitri’s attack. The Demon Flare was swallowed up into the shadows, and the vampire noble realized that he was up against a foe that was far more fearsome than he imagined. The darkness that Alucard summoned up was much colder than even he had ever experienced. In moments, he was enveloped by the shadows and it felt as if an infinite number of fangs were digging into his body, draining the essences he had stolen from others and sapping his power. In a sheer twist of irony, one vampire was sucking the other dry.
Outside of the museum, Seras Victoria and the other Hellsing troops were busy taking care of the remaining ghouls that were lurking about. They had been ordered not to enter the building until Alucard had dealt with Maximov.
As the disciple of Alucard blew away several of the Freak Vampires, her supernatural senses detected two presences making their way away from the museum via the rear exit. Her night vision made out the form of a teenage girl and a certain werewolf leaning against her. Seras recognized the injured form of Matthew Talbain. She considered calling in some of the troops to help them, but all hands were busy dealing with the undead. However, she made certain that the two would get away, by laying down a barrage of covering fire.
Nabiki strained hard as she continued to help her potential love interest to safety.
She found it a bit odd for her to think of him as such, especially after all she had seen this night, and yet it felt right for some reason. So he becomes more hairy during a full moon. That made him more... interesting and she was beginning to like men with hairy chests, especially well-muscled ones. And he did fight to protect her from those other monsters. In this form, he had even more animal magnetism about him and his exotic appearance was curiously appealing. Forget those fake movie werewolves. Being this close to the real thing made her heart beat like a jackhammer, but not out of fear. His scent was like a heady musk aftershave and it tingled her nose. His fur was lush and almost silken in texture.
<I wonder what kind of conditioner he uses? What am I thinking?>
Matthew was lighter than she had expected, despite the increase in height and musculature. They managed to get more than a block away from the museum, when it suddenly exploded in a pillar of dark energy. The shockwaves of the blast caused nearby store windows to shatter and the ground to tremble.
Nabiki stumbled and nearly fell flat on her face, when a strong, furry arm snaked around her waist and braced her. She looked to her lycanthrope date as he smiled at her, showing some impressive fangs.
The werewolf nodded. “Thanks for getting my furry butt out of there.” His ears then twitched as they picked up the distant sounds of police sirens and fire alarms. “Uh, I know this our first date, but would you mind if I took you to my place?”
Normally, Nabiki would have slapped a boy for suggesting something like that, but in this case she made an exception and nodded.
Feeling some of his strength return, he immediately swept her off her feet, and leapt up to a nearby rooftop. In mere moments, he was bounding across the tops of buildings and houses and was gone from the scene.
Jon Talbain was getting worried as he had not yet heard from his son. Matthew had promised to return before nightfall, but it was getting very late. He was about to go out and look for him when he heard a light knock at the front door. When he opened the door, he was quite surprised to see his son, in hybrid form, being supported by a short-haired girl. She timidly waved at him, and it didn’t take a genius to figure out that she knew about the family secret.
“Hello Mr. Talbane. I’m Nabiki Tendo.”
A few minutes later...
“Tea?” Jon offered as he and Nabiki sat in the living room. Matthew was in his room, resting up from his battle with Anakaris.
“Uh, thank you.” The girl nodded as she held up the cup to her lips, and took a sip. “This is a very nice blend.”
“I picked it up in Brussels last month. Now then, I would like to know just what kind of impression you made, for my son to have revealed our family secret on the first date.”
Soun’s daughter gulped as she looked into Jon’s eyes. This was not like talking to her emotional father or one of Furinken’s teachers. She could see some of Jon’s features in Matthew as they both emitted a kind of feral presence that warranted extreme caution. You did NOT want to get them mad at you.
Jon noted that her hand was slightly trembling as the cup rattled against the saucer. That was to be expected. She kept on gazing at him, as if she was waiting for him to grow another head... or in his case, sprout fur, fangs, claws and a tail. He could practically SMELL her anxiety.
His expression softened as he said in a more comforting tone, “I’m not going to bite, Ms. Tendo... unless you GIVE me a reason to. I just want to know what happened tonight. And to answer the questions running about in your mind, yes, I do change with the full moon, and no, I’m not like those things that are shown on the late-night horror channel.”
This assurance got her to calm down as she began to slowly describe the events of the night. When she finished fifteen minutes later, Matthew’s father nodded and sighed.
“Well, I suppose Matthew had no choice, especially going up against an undead Egyptian king. And you say that you saw two vampires?”
“Yes.” The girl shuddered as she remembered how close Demitri’s fangs were from giving her the nightmare of all hickeys. Then she remembered glimpsing that other bloodsucker with the trenchcoat. “I’m not sure which one was scarier. The one that almost bit me or the one with the big gun.”
“The one with the big gun, definitely. I should know. Alucard’s a friend of mine.”
Nabiki’s eyes widened at his casual comment. “YOU’RE FRIENDS WITH A VAMPIRE?!” When Jon gave her a cynical expression, she immediately bowed her head. “Sorry. After all I saw, that was a stupid question...” She became silent for a very long time, as her mind took in all that she had witnessed and tried to make sense of the whole thing. Werewolves, vampires and mummies... oh my! She smiled a bit as she heard Kasumi’s catchphrase in her head. Now the big question was, what was she going to do?
She finally looked up to face Matthew’s father again and asked. “So... are all of your family...?”
Jon held up a hand as his sensitive hearing picked up a sound coming from his son’s room. “I believe that I will let my son answer all the questions you may have about our family... if he so chooses. Now the only question I have for you, Ms. Tendo, is what are you going to do, once you know?”
Nabiki gulped again as she considered her options.
Now the Tabain family represented a potential goldmine. With the money she could make off two actual werewolves, she could set herself and the Tendo clan for life. The near-infinite possibilities had her mind almost spinning. Scientists would pay through the nose to experiment on their transforming ability and hybrid forms. Contracts in the movie business would be very lucrative. Then there were thoughts of commercial endorsements, publicity stunts and entertainment possibilities. She could make more yen in a month than all of her other businesses could in ten years!
Then her reasonable side began considering the more realistic aspects of her situation. Two powerful, supernatural beings could mean instant death for her, if they did not wish to be exploited. Though Matthew’s father had assured her that she would not be harmed, he had also told her that he wouldn’t bite unless she gave him a reason to. Then there was the fact that Matthew had risked his life to save her. She couldn’t just use him like that after he had fought to protect her from those monsters. And there were her feelings for him as well. He was the only boy who had ever paid attention to her and...
Nabiki blushed as she remembered how... (okay she admitted it), sexy he looked in his hybrid form. That exotic and feral body had really given her libido a charge. She liked how fine his fur was, and those muscles underneath...
The girl sighed as she realized that her emotions were heavily involved in this matter, which of course, upset her usual calculations. So, she decided to take the more, conservative approach, which was to gather more information. Above everything else, she had to know everything about her... boyfriend.
<Boyfriend... I like the sound of that.>
At that point, Jon’s son entered the living room. He was back in his human form and nearly all of his injuries had healed. He was currently only dressed in his pants with his chest bare. As he stood at the doorway, Matthew gazed upon Soun’s middle daughter for a long time, then spoke to his father.
“Dad? I think it’s too late to take Nabiki home, so why not let her spend the night here?”
Jon nodded as he addressed her. “I think that would be best. We should call your home and tell your family, that you’ll be staying here.”
“Well, I...” Nabiki began, but Matthew's father cut her off.”
“We INSIST, Ms. Tendo. The streets are not exactly what one would call safe at night. Especially after what you two had just went through, wouldn’t you say? It would be best that we wait until morning.”
She had to agree with him on that point. With vampires and ghouls roaming about, waiting for daybreak would be the most sensible thing to do. Still, that would mean that she would be in the same apartment with two werewolves for the night, and that made her very uneasy. Then again, given the choice, she’d rather be with two werewolves, than with two vampires and a horde of bloodthirsty ghouls. She nodded as she was directed toward the phone.
Speaking of vampires...
The Tokyo Museum had been totally demolished, as the Hellsing troops searched the rubble for any surviving ghouls, or signs of the vampire noble Demitri Maximov. They were also in the midst of creating a cover-up to fool the authorities, destroying all evidence of what had occurred this night. The lie was that burglars had tried to rob the Egyptian Exhibit and had set a fire to make it look like arson.
Standing nearby with his disciple, Alucard surveyed the carnage he had wrought and chuckled. Though the fight had technically ended with no clear winner, (Alucard’s opponent had escaped), the Hellsing vampire had enjoyed the battle. He was looking forward to going up against Demitri again, once Maximov recovered from being nearly annihilated. That’ll teach him to respect his elders!
Flying above Tokyo, a battered and nearly dead bat struggled to keep aloft. Demitri was in serious pain! He had not expected his opponent to be so formidable! For a vampire to have achieved THAT level of mastery over the dark forces meant that Alucard was indeed older than Maximov. A LOT older!
However, Jon Talbain’s arch-enemy was not going to forget this insult. Older or not, he WILL have his revenge upon the Hellsing agent. If he could not attack Alucard directly, then perhaps he could strike through his human master and others close to him.
For now, he needed to find a place to recover... and replenish his power.
“I’ll be fine, Daddy!” Nabiki assured, as she spoke to her father on the phone. “No, you don’t have to come pick me up. Besides, it’s much safer if I stay here. Daddy! I’m a big girl now! Besides, Matthew’s father insisted and says that he’ll bring me directly back home first thing in the morning. Don’t worry! But...”
“Allow me.” Jon said as he took the receiver from Nabiki. “Hello? Mr. Tendo? I’m Matthew’s father, Johnny Talbane. Yes, my son and I had decided that it would be too dangerous for Nabiki to return home tonight. I’m certain that by now, you’ve heard the news about the museum exploding. Yes, a terrible thing and it was fortunate that our kids got out before it happened. No, no, your daughter is safe. In fact, she was the one who helped my son when he was injured, and in return, I’m offering her the hospitality of my home. Would you please calm down, Tendo-san? Don’t worry! I promise you that my son will be on his best behavior, and that Nabiki will retain her purity.”
The middle Tendo daughter blushed as she heard that part of the conversation. Okay, she was a virgin, but her father didn’t have to embarrass her like that! She could only imagine Soun going into his Demon Head right now.
“Mr. Tendo! Nabiki will be safe! So drop it!” Jon’s voice became lower and lot more forceful. He also growled... like a wolf. This caused the other man on the line to squeak meekly. Nabiki was quite surprised to hear her father suddenly go from emotional ranting to absolute compliance, just from a change in Jon’s voice. It was then that she noticed that Matthew’s father looked more agitated, like a wolf that was about tear into an annoying pest.
“Thank you Mr. Tendo. We’ll bring back Nabiki at around 7:00 AM tomorrow. Good night.”
Jon sighed as he hung up the phone. Just before the receiver came down on the hook, Nabiki caught some snatches of someone else screaming angrily. She could guess who that was.
“Well, now that we’ve settled that,” He turned to Matthew, who was now dressed for bed and had some spare clothes for their guest. “Son, is everything ready?”
The younger werewolf nodded as he led the girl to his room.
“So this is the room of a werewolf.” Nabiki commented as she looked about Matthew’s room. She then gave him a smirk. “Or should I call this your den?”
“Ha-ha.” Matthew retorted as he showed her a pair of futons laid out on the floor. The room itself was utilitarian, with very little to show in the way of the personality of its occupant. There was a closet, a desk, and a small dresser-drawer. As Nabiki sat down on one of the futons, he handed her a set of clothes. “Here. I hope these will fit.”
She took the offered garments and looked them over. They consisted of a pair of flannel pants and shirt, which she could use as temporary sleepwear. She assumed they were his, considering they were larger than what she normally wore to bed.
Matthew then gestured to the bathroom. “You can go wash up if you want to.”
“Thank you, I think I will.”
As Nabiki stood in the shower and let the warm waters wash away the tension she had built up during this night, she let off a contented sigh, and began to think about the boy who was waiting in the next room. She had so many questions and didn’t know where to start. She was in the home of real werewolves! She had seen actual vampires, ghouls and a walking mummy! She wondered if reality had decided to leave the world and turn fantasy into fact.
As a little girl, she had always stood by reason and logic. There was no time in her childhood for play and imagination. Not after her mother had passed away. She had been forced to grow up, when her father reverted to being an immature crybaby. With Kasumi wrapped up in the household chores and Akane wrapped up in her martial arts, it was up to her to manage the finances and keep them from ending up on the streets. She had been too busy with facts and figures, to enjoy playing make-believe with the other kids. Her mother’s life insurance policy ran out when she was twelve, and being too young to get a job, and her father losing all of his students by that time, Nabiki had to resort to less than honorable ways to earn income. She wasn’t proud of what she had done, but it was something that had to be done, and at least she could control it. And in order to do those things, she had to suspend her sense of morals. Emotions would only hamper her, and to keep the family going, she could not let things such as guilt get in the way.
Now, things had gotten more serious and she wondered if she could actually go through with this...
Demitri couldn’t believe he was going through with this. To think that a vampire lord would be reduced to these desperate measures!
His battle with Alucard had nearly depleted all of his power and he needed to feed! However, he was so badly injured and powerless that he couldn’t even entrance a victim and drain his or her blood. And so he was forced to resort to other means to sate his bloodlust. To that end he managed to break into a hospital’s basement through a broken window, and was now just entering the building’s Blood Bank.
The bat shivered in the cold storage unit, as he looked up at the rows and rows of containers filled with whole blood and plasma. Though the precious fluids would replenish his power, he hated the idea of taking the blood from this place. He wanted to sink his fangs into the warm throat of a victim, not the cold, sterile bags that were kept here. He could have attempted to sneak into a patient’s room and pounce upon a sedated victim, but in his weakened state, he couldn’t risk discovery by a nurse. The other option was to drain the cadavers that were in the morgue, but who knew what kind of preservatives and chemicals were tainting the blood in them. The idea of sucking blood from corpses was repugnant to him. He wasn’t like those mindless ghouls and Freak Vampires that he had heard about.
With a sigh of resignation, Demitri flapped up to the nearest shelf...
Taking a deep breath, Nabiki came out of the bathroom and entered Matthew’s bedroom. The makeshift pajamas she wore were somewhat baggy on her more slender form, but they would suffice. She saw Matthew in his human form, sitting near the doorway to the apartment’s balcony, and staring absently up at the stars and the moon in particular. The werewolf seemed at peace as he gazed at the orb in the sky.
Nabiki slowly walked toward him, then quietly sat down opposite to him. Nothing was said between them for the longest time, then she opened her mouth to speak. However, Matthew beat her to the punch...
“Yes, it’s all true Nabiki. I’m a werewolf, my Dad’s a werewolf, and so have all my male ancestors for the last two thousand years.”
The Tendo girl tried to think of how to break the tension between them. There was just so much she wanted to know. “All of your... male ancestors...?”
“Uh huh.” Matthew continued to look up at the sky while answering her. “That’s the power... and the curse of the Talbain family. If you’re a boy, you’re most definitely going to grow fangs, fur and claws, not to mention have a deadly allergy to silver.”
“Talbain? Don’t you mean Talbane?”
“Nope. I’m talking about my real family name. The Talbain’s have been around for a long time.”
At that point, Matthew began telling her about the history of the strongest lycanthrope clan in the world.
“My old man told me about our family. Around the year 50 BC, a member of a noble family of Great Britain had become saddled with lycanthropy, while trying to find a cure for a strange plague that was sweeping the nation. None of the healers or mystics at that time could find the reason for the sudden sickness. The only thing they could determine was that the plague was somehow connected to phases of the moon.”
“The moon?” Nabiki asked.
Matthew nodded. “You may think of it as just a big hunk of rock circling the Earth, but it happens to represent a LOT more. It’s a source of power, reflecting light off the sun and stars, as well as being a place in which other supernatural forces tend to congregate, depending on its position from the Earth.”
“You don’t really expect me to believe...” Nabiki then stopped as Matthew looked at her with a cynical expression. “Right, I keep forgetting who I’m talking to.” <And then again, there’s those Jusenkyo curses of the Saotomes...>
“Uh huh. Well, anyway my distant ancestor was a herbalist. He came across a very rare plant, which seemed to thrive in moonlight. It had very sharp thorns and amazingly, its flowers bloomed only once a century, during the time of a full moon. He thought it may hold the secret to a cure to the plague. And so he used some of the plant’s thorns in a potion, along with some other ingredients... and tested it on himself.”
“He used it on himself?”
“He too was affected by the plague. He had hoped that his mixture would work, and it did... too well.”
“He was cured?”
“In a sense. He was rendered forever immune to the plague, but in doing so, he sealed the fate of the Talbain family forever. The plant he used was a rare vegetation that was later named as the Luna Thorn. It was highly affected by the light of the full moon and it now ran in his blood.”
“And that’s what turned him into a werewolf?”
“Not quite. There was a second catalyst that was needed. A few days later, my ancestor had been attacked by a pack of wolves, while walking through the forest. Several of those wolves managed to tear and bite into his flesh, before he was able to drive them away. However, that was during the night of a full moon and the Luna Thorn potion he had taken began to react, along with the wolf bites and claw marks he had sustained. On that night, the Talbains became a werewolf clan when that member transformed into something that was part man... and part wolf.”
“And the plague?”
“Now that’s a bit of irony.” Matthew said with a snort. “After the moon had gone through its lunar phases, the plague disappeared as quickly as it had started. All those who had not died, soon recovered. If my ancestor had simply waited, he could have gotten better and the Talbains would never be carrying the wolf-curse to this day.”
“So now you change during the nights of a full moon?”
“Well, in a way. Over the centuries, we Talbains have learned to control the beast within.” In demonstration, Matthew triggered his transformation to his hybrid form. This startled the girl a bit, but she soon became very fascinated by his larger, exotic body. When Matthew changed back, he continued on.
“Though we eventually learned how to control the transformation, we still needed to harness the animalistic urges that came with our new forms. To that end, we began to study the martial arts, eventually creating the school known as the Talbain Wolf-Fist.”
“Okay.” Nabiki nodded as she took in the information. “So you said before that only the males of your family become werewolves?”
“Pretty much. The werewolf traits were passed down from generation to generation, and every male descendant have always become werewolves.”
<Hmmm, it could be because the werewolf traits must be somehow connected to the Y-chromosome...> Nabiki thought.
“Usually the werewolf thing starts when the boy turns thirteen or so.” Matthew added.
<Around puberty. Makes sense. Hormone changes kicks in and... instant werewolf. Interesting...>
“In my case, it happened a lot sooner.”
“What do you mean?”
“I was six when I first became a werewolf.”
“I’d... rather not talk about that.”
Nabiki could tell by the look in his eyes, that it was a sore subject. She then changed to another topic. “So, what’s being a werewolf like?”
He shrugged as he replied. “Well, it can be really cool. I mean, I’m stronger, faster and I heal real well. I can see, hear and smell things that you can’t.”
“I figured as much.” Nabiki nodded as she remembered back to that time in the museum. “Three dimensional memory, my butt. You can see in the dark, right?”
“Uh, sorry about lying to you about that. I wasn’t sure if you’d accept my... you know?”
“Okay, I’ll give you that. But it’s not like I don’t believe in magic, especially when I’ve got a couple of really weird people living in my house.”
“Huh? You mean the Saotomes?” Matthew asked. <That would explain that weirdness I sensed from that guy... Ranma.>
“You got it. You see they when they came to our place...”
“THIS IS YOUR FRIEND?!” Nabiki asked with shock as she and the rest of her family stared up at a soaking wet, giant panda, who happened to be carrying two large backpacks with one arm and a small piglet in the other. The oinker was squealing and tried to get himself out of the panda’s grip, but the panda held on, even when the porkchop began biting. Outside the Tendo home, the rain continued.
Akane stood with some relief. Apparently, her father’s friend and that... BOY, had decided not to come and fulfill this stupid pledge business. Well that suited her just fine. She then decided to take a bath. She had worked up quite a sweat in her training and then noticed the cute little pig in the panda’s arms. The poor little thing was soaked to the bone and looked downright miserable. She decided that a good hot soak was what it needed.
“Oh come on P-chan! Don’t be afraid! I’m sure that a nice hot soak will do us both a world of good!”
The piglet struggled in Akane’s arms as she was about to disrobe and enter the tub. It most definitely did not want to be immersed in the hot water, but...
End of flashback...
“It turned out that Akane’s little pet P-Chan was actually her future fiancé and well... she reacted. Now we got to pay to have the roof fixed.”
“So let me get this straight. This... Ranma person changes into a piglet with water?” Matthew asked. <Hmmmm, that would explain that extra scent I smelled when I met him.>
“Yeah. Cold water turns him into a pig, and hot water changes him back. He and his father have some kind of curse from a place called... Jus... Jus... something...”
“Jusenkyo.” Matthew supplied.
“Yeah! That’s it. It was some training ground in China they went to. How do you know about it?”
“Well, me and my Dad have been around the world too. We made a stop in China to train under an old friend of my Dad’s and we’ve been to Jusenkyo.”
“Do you have a curse too?”
“Nope. We didn’t know what the springs did, but my Dad and I decided to listen to the guide and avoid them.”
“Heh. That’s a lot more than I can say for the Saotomes. Ranma’s father didn’t even bother to learn why Jusenkyo was called a cursed training ground. He didn’t even bother to learn to read or speak a word of Chinese when he dragged Ranma there.”
<Hmpf! Sounds like Pops all right. I pity that poor guy who’s supposed to be me.> The werewolf then noticed that it was getting late and decided to turn in. He let off a yawn and motioned for the futons. “Well it’s getting late so I think we’d better go to sleep now.”
“But, there’s still so much I want to know and...”
“We can talk some more in the morning, okay?”
The next day...
Nabiki awoke early and looked about the room to see Matthew gone. His futon was rolled up and put away, and there was no sign of him. It was then that she heard the sounds of fighting behind the apartment. She walked over to the balcony and saw two figures out in an abandoned lot. The location was surrounded by other buildings, shielding it from sight and giving the two the opportunity to spar in privacy.
She became fascinated as she watched Jon Talbain and his son exchange blows and move with unbelievable grace and speed. She noted that Matthew was not showing any signs of the injuries he had sustained the night before. As he had told her previously, his recuperative abilities were phenomenal.
The Talbain fighting style seemed to resemble acrobatic martial arts such as kung fu. The Talbains fought with an emphasis on mobility, speed and quick strikes. They were not above using weapons as Jon pulled out a pair of nunchakus, which his son followed suit. Each maneuver was precise and designed to be effective and direct, using only enough power to do the job. They didn’t care for flashiness and each move wasted no energy.
She could even see some similarities to the Saotome Anything Goes Martial Arts, which focused on mid-air combat, especially with Matthew. She found it odd to see him move with some characteristics of Genma and Ranma’s fighting style. Her eyes then widened as the two decided to kick it up a notch, by switching to their hybrid forms. It was unusual to see werewolves in broad daylight, but she became even more intrigued as the Talbains demonstrated the full extent of their fighting style, moving at even more insane speeds and exchanging kicks and punches. To Nabiki, it looked as if they had become two furry streaks of lightning.
The battle neared its climax as Matthew blasted forward in his Beast Cannon move. However, Jon easily anticipated the maneuver and countered with his own. The elder werewolf hit his son’s attack head on, then redirected his momentum upward. The sudden change in motion caught Matthew off-guard as he was sent flying skyward. His father pressed the attack by rocketing up, then changed direction several times, bouncing his offspring about like a pinball. Matthew landed hard on the ground on his back, and his father came down to end the match.
Nabiki winced as she watched Jon slam his knees into his son’s belly. She reasoned that in their hybrid forms, they could dish out and take more damage. If Akane had received such a blow, then she’d be out like a light.
Jon sighed as he helped his son to his feet. “Son, I’ve told you time and time again, the Beast Cannon can be used for more than just a frontal assault.”
“Yeah... I still need to work on that...” Matthew agreed as he changed back to his human form. His father did so as well.
Both looked up toward their apartment and saw Nabiki quickly going back into Matthew’s room. They smiled as they headed inside for breakfast.
Later that morning...
Matthew and Nabiki headed back to the Tendo home and continued their conversation from the previous night.
“So, is it true that when a werewolf bites someone, then he or she becomes a werewolf too?” Nabiki asked.
“Well... yeah, but it’s a little more complicated than what you’ve seen on TV.” Matthew replied as he reached into the front of his shirt and pulled out a small, decorative pendant. “But, as long as I wear this, I don’t have to worry about it.”
“Can I see? What is it?” With his assent, she reached out and held up the pendant for a closer look. She was very interested in the gold-colored piece of jewelry, which was shaped like a wolf’s head.
“Well, it was discovered early on that the curse of lycanthropy can be spread through a bite, but the victim becomes a weaker, more unstable version of the original. At times, the person can lose himself in the animalistic urges of his form. Those affected tend to become nothing more than mindless beasts. There were a rare few that did manage to retrain their humanity, but those were under very special cases. My ancestors developed special talismans to keep ourselves from carelessly spreading the curse of the werewolf.”
“Oh.” The Tendo girl had briefly entertained the thought of becoming an exotic she-wolf, but if she had to risk losing her humanity, then perhaps it would not be a good idea.
The teen wolf then chuckled at a memory. “There were times, in which a few people asked me and my Dad to bite them.”
“Oh yeah. You see, there are a few people who are already aware of the existence of werewolves, and some have requested to be bitten in order to gain a portion of our power...”
Somewhere in China...
(translated from Mandarin)
In a small, rustic village, deep in the Bayankala Mountain Range, a group of warrior women were discussing a problem, which had recently come up. It was a problem of a supernatural nature, and they only knew of a certain family of werewolves with experience in such matters.
“We cannot allow this condition to continue.” An Amazon elder known as Mascara declared as she and the other members of the council sat in the main conference hut. “That spirit is causing havoc around the quarries.”
“Indeed.” Another elder by the name of Cologne remarked. “However, that ghost has resisted all attempts to contain it. Spirit Wards have proven to be ineffective and our strongest warriors cannot fight against such a foe. We should have known better than to have ignored the ancient warnings and dug into that area.”
“It was an accident!” A third elder named Lotion claimed. “The miners did not know that the Ancient Seal of Hsien Ko and Mei Lin was there. The records to its location had been lost for centuries.”
“Now is not the time to lay the blame on anyone.” Cologne pointed out. “The real issue is what to do about this problem. Hsien Ko has hampered work in the quarries by her haunting that area, and we need to mine out those mystic gems in our defense against the Musk and the Chinese Army. Despite the fact that we possess formidable magical lore, we are still relatively inexperienced in directly dealing with supernatural foes.”
It was then that Cologne’s great-granddaughter Shampoo decided to make a suggestion. “What about the Talbains? Maybe they can help? I mean, they must know how to deal with ghosts, demons and things like that, right?” She then turned to look at a heavily-bandaged individual with thick lens glasses. “They certainly can’t do any worse than SOME people.”
“What did you say, Shampoo my darling?” Mousse asked. He was nearly as deaf as he was nearsighted, after trying to take on the twin apparitions...
Mousse was ready to prove his love for Shampoo, and what better way to do it than by defeating the legendary Hsein Ko and Mei Lin? Not only would he finally win the heart of his beloved Amazon, but he would be heralded as the hero of the village! What spirits could withstand the mighty skills and weapons at his disposal?
The near-blind teen strutted toward the place where the ghosts were said to be seen and shouted out his challenge.
“I am Mousse! Master of Hidden Weapons and future husband of Shampoo! Come face your defeat, you cowardly spirits! Aha! So there you are!”
Almost immediately, the two ghosts in question appeared before him, though they were a little confused to see their challenger shouting at a boulder.
Hsien Ko was blue-skinned, dark-haired, and wore very elaborate, colorful robes, with long, flaring sleeves. She wore a fancy hat on her head and a mischievous expression on her face. Beside her, Mei Lin wore similar garments, but were less decorated and she had pale skin and brown hair.
“Well sister, what do we have here?” Mei Lin remarked.
“He claims to be a master of the Hidden Weapons Style. This should be amusing.” Hsien Ko agreed.
Mousse realized that he wasn’t facing his adversaries and turned toward their voices. When he saw two very light blurs, he pointed to them and declared, “Aha! So you cowardly wraiths have finally decided to face your doom! You shall fall before the might of Mousse!”
“The fool believes that we shall fall before him, sister.” Mei Lin remarked.
“Only if we fall down LAUGHING.” Hsien Ko smirked as she gestured to her sibling. Mei Lin nodded as her body was suddenly engulfed within a cloud of smoke and vanished. A moment later, a strip of parchment appeared on Hsien Ko’s hat, inscribed with the kanji that spelled her sister’s name.
At that moment, Mousse let loose with his secret weapon. Making a crossbow appear, he took aim and fired at the blur, which was Hsien Ko. The arrow had a Spirit Ward attached to its head. It was the strongest spell that Mousse could get from the village mystics, and he was certain that it would work.
Such was not the case for the sibling specters. Just as the arrow came within a foot of Hsien Ko, the parchment on her hat glowed, causing the arrow and the Spirit Ward to disintegrate harmlessly before her.
Thinking that the flash of light was the Spirit Ward taking effect, Mousse threw his sleeves forward and launched a barrage of knives and chained weapons at his foe. However, the blades simply passed through Hsien Ko without any damage whatsoever. Then the spirit suddenly vanished from sight only to reappear behind Mousse. Incredibly, she made a huge metal gong appear and then brandished a large mallet. She made a grand show of winding up before saying to Mousse...
The Reflect Gong’s shockwaves sent Mousse flying forward several meters, before landing flat of his face. When he got up, his sense of balance was off and his ears were now echoing in his head. He was in no condition to fight, especially when the apparition decided to show him just who was the TRUE master of Hidden Weapons.
The phantom threw out her sleeves, making a set of wicked-looking chained blades appear.
Then she threw out a spiked ball and chain.
Followed by some HUGE scissors.
SNIP! SNIP! SNIP!
Then came a pair of spinning blades.
WHIR! WHIR! WHIR! BUZZ! BUZZ!
Then a really, REALLY big mallet. (What else?)
WHAM! WHAM! WHAM! WHAM!
And then, a small, round object... with a fuse.
“Huh? What’s this?!”
End of flashback...
Shampoo shook her head again. What was that idiot Mousse thinking? Normal weapons do not work against ghosts. Magic defeats magic. (2) Even she knew that! And since the only supernatural allies they knew of were the Talbains, it would make sense to enlist their help.
She then looked back at the council as they continued discussing the idea of contacting Matthew’s family. The werewolves were acquainted with the Chinese Amazons and some members had trained in the village over the centuries. On several occasions, a few of the Amazons had attempted to induct the Talbains into the tribe. Such strong, mystical blood would have been a welcomed addition to their gene pool.
The Elders began to discuss the possibility of enlisting the help of the most powerful lycanthrope clan. In the background, Shampoo smiled as she thought about seeing Matthew again. Maybe this time, he would bite her! She could just imagine herself running through the forests, faster and stronger than ever before. And running by her side would be her husband. Wolves mated for life after all...
Back to Tokyo...
“So, there haven’t been any female werewolves in your family?”
Matthew took on an introspective look. “Well, that’s not entirely true.” He admitted. “It’s just that boys are known to be sired and they all become furry and fanged eventually. Dad said that on really RARE occasions, a girl born in our family is able to become a werewolf, without having to be bitten by one. Dad’s not too sure how it happens and there haven’t been many she-wolves in my family tree.”
“So if you and I get married, then we don’t worry have about our daughters shedding on the carpet.”
Nabiki smirked a bit at his shocked expression. “Just kidding.” (Though a part of her played with idea of being married to him). She then noticed that they were approaching her home and decided to stop for a moment. She looked up and gazed deeply into his gray-blue eyes and decided.
She would keep Matthew’s secret. She could make a lot of money off him, but to have someone this special all to herself, was something that she could not put a price on. This was a thing she had never experienced before and she wasn’t going to let it go so easily.
Deciding that a simple goodbye would not be adequate, Nabiki went for a more intimate way of saying ‘see you next time.’ Before Matthew could react, she reached up with her hands, framed his face and brought it down. Their lips met in a very soulful kiss. When they parted, the werewolf was dumbfounded at her sudden boldness.
“Uhm... I didn’t think you were the type to kiss on the first date.”
Nabiki smiled as she headed toward the Tendo residence. “I only do that when I go out with werewolves. See you at school.”
Matthew could only stand and smile as he watched her go into the house. He lightly touched his lips with the tips of his fingers and nodded. He didn’t have to worry about his secret being revealed. He then turned around and walked back to his home to prepare for school.
“I would like to thank you for your part in saving Jon’s son last night.” Morrigan said as she spoke to Integra Wingates. Behind her, stood her faithful servant Walter.
The leader of the Hellsing Organization nodded. “I am pleased to hear that Talbain’s heir is alive and well. It would not do for us to lose potential allies. However, the person you should be thanking is Alucard.”
“Yes, well I can’t thank him until he comes out tonight.” Morrigan pointed out, then changed the subject. “Oh, I’d like to ask of another favor.”
“A certain someone will be coming to Furinken High today, and I would appreciate it, if you would keep an eye on her.”
Integra gave the succubus a slightly suspicious expression. “This wouldn’t happen to be a girl that looks to be 15-16 years-old, very slender, with short hair, and sometimes sports a pair of bat wings on her back and head?”
“Ah, so you know about my little Lilith? I must say that your organization is very well-informed.” Morrigan smiled.
Wingates nodded as she pulled out a file and read it. “A few years ago, some of YOUR excess supernatural energies took form and SENTIENCE, and became the being known as Lilith. She was very obsessed with gaining a real body... namely yours.”
“Yes. A very delightful child.”
“She tried to KILL you, then take over your body, destroying several villages and small towns in the process.”
“Tried, my dear Wingates. Tried. And no one was killed.”
“And things did turn out for the best.”
“Yes... due to some unknown event, (and I have a good idea you had something to do with it), Lilith’s body SOMEHOW gained true substance and she no longer stalks you. She is enjoying her solid body and you seem to have... adopted her.”
“Well, she WAS created from me, so I can claim to be her mother. And as her mother, I only want what’s best for my little girl, which includes an education.”
“So you enrolled a supernaturally powerful adolescent in a human high school?!”
“What’s the big deal? Jon Talbain’s son is at Furinken.”
“Unlike Matthew Talbain, Lilith Aenslade has a bad habit of causing mischief on a very destructive scale!”
“Yes, I suppose she inherited that from me.”
Integra Wingates sighed and shook her head. It was going to be one of those days.
Akane growled as she glared at Matthew. That pervert! Just what did he do to her sister?!
Nabiki came home this morning with a very goofy grin on her face and a bounce in her step. When she asked her what had happened last night, her elder sibling simply shrugged and told Akane that it was none of her business.
This was totally unlike the calculating, money-grubbing mercenary that Akane knew her to be. Conclusion... that baka Matthew must have done something to her to have turned Nabiki against her own sister! Nabiki was probably ashamed to admit that he had touched her and did unspeakable things! As she thought! He was nothing but a pervert, like all boys. Ooh, just wait until she got through with him. He’ll regret ever touching Nabiki and...
“Class, I would to introduce you to another foreign exchange student today. She comes all the way from Scotland. This is Lilith Aenslade.”
At the mention of Morrigan’s family name, Matthew’s attention perked up as he gazed upon the newcomer, who was dressed in the standard girls uniform.
She was a slim, almost frail-looking girl with short, lavender-pink hair. She was a really cute thing with a petite figure and a bubbly kind of air about her. However, the werewolf was not fooled by her seeming innocence. He could sense the same power within her as with his father’s old flame. She was even shorter than Akane, but could most likely splatter the Tendo girl all over the pavement, if the short-tempered girl got her riled.
Lilith cutely waved to her new classmates and her gaze lingered a second longer when she saw Matthew. “Hello! I’m Lilith, and I hope we can be very good friends!”
Matthew’s eyes narrowed. He would have to keep a close eye on her.
As for Akane, she was unimpressed. The new girl hardly had any figure to speak of and seemed so fragile that she would probably break apart in a strong breeze. She wouldn’t be a challenge at all.
At the front of the class, Lilith smiled as she sensed the emotions being emitted from the other students, especially from a certain heir to the Tendo Anything Goes. Such anger and pride! And then there was Matthew Tailbain. Her ‘mother’ had told her all about him.
She was going to have a lot of fun here!
To be continued...
Well, that takes care of this chapter as some of the backstory has been told, plus a few setups for some future plots. Yeah, I know Alex Burgos. More Felicia. Don’t worry, she’ll make her appearance, as well as other Darkstalkers.
Next chapter, Matthew will have his hands full as Lilith begins stirring up trouble and Akane will learn that big trouble can come from small packages. We’ll also see Ryoga... er, Ranma as well as the Blue Blunder as he stumbles across a certain suit of cursed samurai armor. See you then!
(1) If anyone ever saw the final episode of Hellsing, when Alucard released his full power against Incognito, then you’d understand why I would consider him more powerful than Demitri. According to Vampire Hunter D, a vampire tends to get more powerful the longer he lives. This would also explain the Rune Symbol Limiters on Alucard to keep him in check. Demitri’s history has been set around 12th century Romania, while Alucard’s history has never been fully revealed, meaning that he may have lived for well over a millennium, thereby surpassing Demitri’s power levels. And besides, it’s MY story.
(2) Jackie Chan’s Uncle then whaps me over the head with his two-fingered strike.