THE BEAST WITHIN
Disclaimer: Ranma 1/2, Darkstalkers, Hellsing and all the others belong to the ones who created them.
< >: Thoughts
The school cafeteria...
The middle daughter of Soun Tendo and two of her friends sat at a table at lunch. As other students milled about toward the lunch counter to eat, the three girls excited talked to one another about a certain somebody, namely the son of Jon Talbain.
“Come on, Nabiki! Tell us about what happened last night!” Yuni asked.
“Yeah! How was he? Was he gentle?” Ashura pressed.
Akane’s sister smiled as her two cohorts continued to bombard her with questions about her date with Matthew Talbain. It was the simple act of girls gossiping among each other about boys.... and she was loving every minute of it. For the first time in her life, she was living as a normal teenager, without having to worry about finances and such.
“Come on Nabiki! Give us the details!”
“Yeah! Did he kiss you?”
<Well, actually I kissed him...> Nabiki’s smile became wider as a slight red tinge formed on her cheeks. Then out of the corner of her right eye, she saw the object of their discussion in line to get his lunch. Her friends saw him as well and took on dreamy expressions. Both let off sighs of longing as they watched him.
“Ooh, you are SO lucky!” Ashura commented.
“Yeah, I am SO jealous!” Yuni agreed. “I mean, the ONLY boy in the school who’s not after your sister, and YOU get him! And he‘s a real hunk too!”
“Ooh, doesn’t he have the dreamiest blue eyes?”
“Yeah, and that silver streak in his hair makes him look so... wild, you know?”
“You don’t know just how wild he can get.” Nabiki said softly as she mentally chuckled at the private joke. As she watched Matthew take his tray to the cashier, she noted something odd. He reached into his pocket and pulled out a few yen notes... plus some coins to pay the cashier. Now she wasn’t a metallurgist or worked at a mint, but she knew that loose change contained some amounts of silver in them. Considering her beau’s aversion to such metals, she wondered how he could touch those coins.
She decided to go ask him as she got up.
“Where are you going Nabiki?” Yuni asked.
The short-haired girl gave her friends a smile as she simply pointed toward the table where Matthew was heading toward. “I’ll see you in math class, girls.”
She then left to go join up with Matthew, leaving her friends to sigh in disappointment and envy.
“Hey Nabs! How’s it going?” Matthew greeted as Nabiki came to his table.
Nabiki smiled at the affectionate nickname ‘Nabs’ as she decided to give everyone present something to gossip about. She immediately leaned over and gave him a very sweet peck on the cheek, then snuggled up next to him, while taking his arm. This immediately got many of the females present in a bit of a snit as they began chatting among themselves and rumors began to circulate.
Well let them spread rumors. Nabiki was used to such and she could always turn a tidy profit from them. Besides, Matthew was interested in HER, and not her violent maniac of a sister. She was the only girl in Furinken who wasn’t going to have lonely nights on the weekend anymore.
“I’m fine Matt. Couldn’t be better.”
“Yeah, especially since most of the girls here would like to be where you are now. You wouldn‘t believe what some of them are saying right now. Some of them think that you’re blackmailing me to be your boyfriend.”
“Oh? And how do you know that?”
Matthew tapped the left ear with his left index finger. “I’ve got a pretty good ear... you know?”
“Right. Well, I can’t really blame them... you see, I’ve got kind of a reputation.” She became somewhat uneasy at this confession and was a bit afraid that the truth about her would drive him away.
“Yeah. I know.” Matthew then smiled at her while giving her a playful wink. “A girl’s got to make a living, right?”
“You... don’t mind?”
“Why should I? I know that you’re doing what you do for a reason. My Dad’s always told me to give people time to show themselves and not to jump to conclusions. After all, he’s friends with a vampire and used to date a succubus.”
“That’s another story. In any case, I’d like to think that I’m a fair judge of character, and so far, I like what I see in you. You’re smart, decisive, not afraid to ask questions, independent and you’ve got some integrity, since you haven’t told anybody about my family secret. And I’d say that you’re the only one in your home with any sense of the real world. No offense intended.”
“None taken. And that’s pretty much how it is at home. Kasumi, bless her heart, is always looking after us after Mom died. She’s a good person, but I really think she should get out more often and start living her own life. She can‘t keep caring for us forever. Akane REALLY needs to have that temper checked and maybe a few... hundred lessons in humility would do her good. Daddy needs to stop being so emotional and grow up. I wish he would get back to teaching again or at least get a job! And that friend of his...”
Matthew felt a twinge of anger as he thought about Genma and that poor sap that he gotten to pose as his son. He then went back to the subject at hand.
“Well, in any case, one the main reasons why I like you Nabs, is because you’ve set up your own rules and you don't let anyone try to control your destiny. I like that in a girl. And it doesn't hurt if that girl happens to be cute.”
Nabiki found herself blushing furiously at his compliment, then decided to ask him a few more questions about his lycanthrope heritage. “I never knew a werewolf could be such a flatterer. Speaking of which, I was wondering about something. You can't touch silver, right?”
“Yeah, pretty much.”
“I saw you hand some coins to the cashier. How did you do that?”
“Oh, that’s simple enough.” He reached into his shirt and pulled out the wolf-head pendant he was wearing. “This talisman not only keeps me from spreading lycanthropy through bites, but it also gives me limited protection against small amounts of silver. The metal won’t burn me as long as I wear this and I only make brief contact. My ancestors wanted to fit in with normal society, and it was a real problem not being able to handle money, silverware and jewelry.”
“What about the money in your pockets? Aren’t those coins hurting you?”
“Well, coins these days don’t have much silver in them, and I try not to carry too much loose change with me. As long as that money doesn’t make contact with my skin for too long, then it’s no problem. I just got to make sure that my pockets never have any holes in them.”
“Okay, I get it.”
“Now mind you, that this pendant won’t protect me against silver that’s been enchanted or blessed. I can’t touch things like holy crosses, magic weapons or things like that. It’s kind of ironic though.”
“What do you mean?”
“The thing that werewolves fear the most is also a large part of the Talbain wealth.”
This certainly caught Nabiki‘s attention. She hadn‘t thought that Matthew and his father had any considerable means. Their modest apartment had not shown any indication of immense prosperity. “Wealth?”
Matthew smirked. “Oh, didn’t I tell you? My family’s stinking rich.”
The young werewolf shrugged. “Hey, we’ve been around the world. Plane tickets and travel arrangements don’t come cheap. And making these enchanted gold pendants aren’t a drop in the bucket. And didn’t you notice that there wasn’t anyone else at the apartment complex watching me and my Dad train this morning? That’s because Dad rented the entire place and the surrounding buildings so we’d have some privacy.”
“Now that I think about it... there wasn’t anyone else. I didn’t even see a landlord. So you and your Dad are...?”
“Wealthy, rolling in it, loaded, in the chips, swimming in it, well-to-do... I think that covers it. Dad’s got at least a dozen secret Swiss Bank accounts, and several dozen land titles in Europe and America. He‘s also got the Talbain Ancestral Estate in England.”
“I don’t believe this! And you just live in a small apartment?”
“We don’t want to draw too much attention to ourselves, especially with our family curse. Besides, the world believes that the Talbain line died out sixteen years ago, hence my false name of Talbane.”
“All right. So you said that the Talbain family fortune is mostly made of the thing you fear?”
“Yep. Call it one of life’s quirks. The Talbains happen to own five very lucrative silver mines. Two of them are in England, two in Africa and one in America. They were another reason why the pendants were made.”
Nabiki giggled at the irony. Then she realized that she had hit the jackpot. Not only did she have a handsome, strong werewolf for a boyfriend, who understood her, but he was rich too! Let’s see Akane’s fiancé top that!
Wherever he was...
“Excuse me, but where is Furinken High School?” ‘Ranma’ asked as he held up a map.
The man looked at Genma’s ‘son’ with a confused expression. Why was this nut asking him for a school in Tokyo, when he was in Kobe?
Matthew and Nabiki continued to chat, when a large crowd came into the cafeteria. The middle Tendo daughter was quite surprised to see that most of the group consisted of die-hard Akane admirers. They were now following the new girl Lilith like lovesick puppies. They were practically tripping over themselves, trying to get closer to the slender female. Their eyes were fixated on her petite body, while at the same time, making the other girls in the cafeteria seem... inadequate. Jealousy began to run rampant among the throngs of females.
She was stirring up a LOT of hostility with the other girls. It was bad enough that most boys followed that beat-Akane-so-you-can-date-her decree, and that Nabiki had snagged the only available male, but now this scrawny newcomer was picking up prospective suitors as if she were collecting stamps. What did those boys see in her? She was literally swarmed as they continued to proposition her.
“Can I buy you lunch?”
“What’s your favorite color?”
“You want to go out after school?”
“Do you have a boyfriend?”
“I think you’re really cute!”
“Please! Go out with me!”
“Hey! I asked her first!”
“She’s going out with me!”
Lilith smiled cutely while giving her suitors a playful wink, making their hearts skip a beat. “Now, now! There’s no need to fight! Oh dear! I feel so thirsty. I wish I had something to drink...”
In an instant, the boys began mobbing the lunch counter, thrusting handfuls of yen notes at the cashier, and grabbing sodas, milk cartons and juice boxes. A moment later, they were pushing and shoving each other as they raced to be the first one to present Lilith with a beverage.
Matthew’s eyes narrowed as he watched Morrigan’s ‘daughter’ continue to lead those poor fools. Though she didn’t have Morrigan’s well-developed figure, Lilith did have the same power over the opposite sex as the Aenslade heir. It was a kind of sexual magnetism that all succubi possessed, which allowed them to seduce and entrance men in their dreams, then devour their souls. Apparently, the girl was exerting that ability to gather followers and devotees. That could only mean trouble.
“Matt?” Nabiki looked on with concern, as her boyfriend continued to gaze at the new girl. She was beginning to worry that he might be falling under Lilith’s spell. She breathed a slight sigh of relief as he turned back to her and nodded reassuringly.
“Nabs. You better be really careful around her. She’s trouble, and I mean BIG trouble.”
“What do you mean?” She asked. “How can she be any trouble? She doesn’t look like much.”
“Looks can be deceiving.” The werewolf warned. “She’s very powerful. She’s a succubus.”
“The female counterpart to an incubus. They have the power to entrance humans of the opposite sex. They generally visit humans in their dreams and give them a night of pleasure... while devouring their souls.”
“You mean... she’s some kind of vampire?” Nabiki shuddered as she remembered her encounter with Demitri Maximov and how he had entranced her.
“In a way. Of course, like vampires, not all succubi and inccubi are evil. They simply hunt to survive. They don’t HAVE to devour a person’s entire soul and they thrive on pleasure. There have been instances in which they have influenced human history.”
“You’ve heard of King Arthur and Camelot right? Merlin the magician was said to be the son of a demon and a mortal woman. Well, his mother had been seduced by an incubus.”
“Whoa. And you say that this new girl is a succubus?”
“Most definitely. She’s got the same aura as another succubus I know. In fact, she’s got the same last name as the one my Dad used to date.”
“Long story, but the thing is, Lilith Aenslade is using her power over men, hence her new fan club. The more a man is susceptible to his primal urges, then the more she will be able to influence him.” (1)
“Hmpf! If what you’re saying is true, then I’m not surprised that those boys are falling for her. They’re mostly from the usual horde that attack my sister every morning. They just can’t keep control of their hormones and their brains are usually in their pants.” She then met his eyes and smiled a bit. “You don’t seem to be affected though.” <Thank goodness!>
Matthew smirked. “Well, I’ve got a lot more control over my hormones... and let’s just say that my primal urges happen to be focused on someone else.”
Nabiki blushed as she glanced back to the mob. “With all those boys, I’m surprised that Kuno hasn’t shown... well, speak of the devil.”
Almost on cue, Kuno appeared at the cafeteria, hoping to catch a glimpse of his one true love, Akane Ten... and who is this vision of innocent exquisiteness?
In a flash, Kuno rushed forward and knelt down in front of Lilith while pulling out a bouquet of roses. He knocked over several other rivals in the process.
“My love! Your humble and noble servant has come! Will you accept this modest token of my undying affection for thee?”
Lilith giggled as she took one rose and daintily sniffed it. This buffoon was so easy to control that it was laughable. In fact, nearly all of her followers were influenced by emotions of lust, and cravings for attention and affection. She didn’t need to exert a tenth of her attraction aura. The only male that wasn’t responding to her, was a certain werewolf that sitting nearby. She smiled as she thought of him as the challenge she was looking for to relieve her of boredom.
Just then, a certain sister of Nabiki’s entered the cafeteria with two of her friends.
“Ugh! It figures that Kuno would be so fickle.” Akane’s sister said with disgust.
“And it looks like things are about to get worse.” Matt said as he pointed to where Akane had just spotted her former fans, now drooling over the new girl. Suffice to say, she was not happy that someone else was stealing away the attention.
“What is going here?!” Akane asked as she saw the very same boys she had fought this morning, were now fawning at that skinny little transfer student. She had been expecting to be swarmed by her many admirers as always, but now they weren’t even aware that she was present. This got her temper boiling. She hated the morning fights, but she hated being ignored even more. Even that moron Kuno, her most persistent suitor, seemed to have dropped her! How could that be? She was supposed to be the most popular girl in school! Just what did those morons SEE in that skinny little... STICK?!
Seeing only red, she began stomping toward her.
“Excuse me, Nabs. I’ve got to stop your sister, before Lilith splatters her all over the cafeteria.”
“Is she really that dangerous?” Nabiki was still unbelieving that someone so frail could be any threat to her smash-first-and-don’t bother-to-ask-later sibling.
Matthew nodded as he got up and headed toward the impending conflict.
“You disgust me!” Akane cried out as she pointed a finger at the succubus.
Still maintaining her innocent act, Lilith demurely glanced toward the furious girl and shrugged her shoulders in mocked confusion. “I beg your pardon?”
At the moment, she was sitting on a table with her legs crossed, and was daintily sipping on a soda. Around her, the throngs of lovesick boys continued to sigh and gaze upon her with blissful ignorance. She was seemed unaware, or more accurately, unconcerned with the potential of violence that Soun’s youngest daughter represented.
Her air of superiority made Akane’s blood boil. Didn’t this girl know that she was the most popular girl in school and the best martial artist in Nerima? What was it about Lilith Aenslade that was making her so irritated?
“Look at those perverts hanging all over you! Don’t you have any self-respect as a girl?! You‘re nothing but some cheap, skinny floozy twig!”
Akane’s outburst made the boys begin to growl and become restless. Even Kuno began to become irritated at his ‘beautiful tigress.’ How dare she insult their pure, sweet, innocent Lilith? It was a crime to slander her like that!
Nabiki’s sister became a little confused at this turn of events. These were the same boys that attacked her every day to date her. Sure they were enthusiastic, but they had never shown such animosity against her, especially Kuno, and he was usually the most tenacious of her would-be suitors. They all looked as if they were about to tear her apart.
Lilith then finished off her drink and stood up while giving her devotees a small wave, instantly cooling their tempers and got them all lovey-dovey again. She then faced off against her rival with an air of indifference that made Akane’s temper rise a few more notches. “Now, now boys! She’s not worth it. Ms. Tendo’s words are only her poor, pitiful attempts to hide her inadequacies as a girl.”
“I mean, why ELSE would she make a scene, when it’s OBVIOUS that she’s just jealous?”
“WHAT?! WHY WOULD I BE JEALOUS OF A SKINNY LITTLE TRAMP LIKE YOU?!”
“There, you see? The green-eyed monster rears her ugly face and... oh, I’m sorry Ms. Tendo. I though you were wearing a mask, but that’s really your FACE!” Lilith let off a girly giggle, that made every heart of the Horde of Hentai skip a beat.
Of course, this only made Akane‘s temper reach near-critical. “WHY YOU...!”
“I’ve heard that these boys USED to meet you every day in order to win your heart. And every day, you beat them up.”
Some of Akane’s ego as a martial artist came back as she gave a smug smile and said, “That’s right! I happen to the best marital artist in...”
“And that only proves what a naive, little child you are.” Lilith said with a carefree wave of her hand. “Because it’s OBVIOUS you wouldn’t know what to DO with a boy.”
Lilith giggled again before continuing. “Akane Tendo, GIRLS are supposed to attract BOYS. It’s just nature. And just think of all the YUMMY things that can done with them.” She then stroked the bottom of Kuno’s chin, making the kendo fighter all hot and bothered. If the succubus had asked him to sit up and beg, Tatewaki would have done so and howled. “Only someone who is uncertain of her own femininity would be so... oh, I don’t know, be like you. Instead of ENJOYING what boys have to offer, you simply break them. And you accuse ME of not having any self-respect as a girl? At least I know the facts of life and I won‘t be destined to be lonely.”
Akane was about to explode when Lilith put in the final barb.
“You KNOW I’m right, don’t you? You LIKED the attention that these boys gave you, but only as a spoiled little brat, and NOT as a female. However, whenever they got too close, you would beat them up, because you are so un-feminine. They probably thought that once they beat you, you would give to them the kind of affection that only a REAL girl can. However, the way I see it, you’ll probably end up as an OLD maid before you get a husband. I mean, what do you have to offer as a wife? There’s the shortest marriage on record. You‘d probably kill your husband on your wedding night.”
At this point, Akane couldn’t stand any more of Lilith’s words, especially since they had the sting of truth in them. So what was her answer to something that she couldn’t understand or liked? Violence of course. (2)
Akane began charging with the intent of snapping Lilith in two, but a powerful arm thrust out before her, stopping her from reaching the object of her rage. She looked over to her right and glared at Matthew Talbain.
“Get out of my way!”
“Let it go, Akane Tendo.” The werewolf said firmly.
“Let it go.”
“This isn’t your business!”
“No, but it’s also NOT your business to start a fight over something like this. As far as I can tell, Aenslade wasn’t doing anything wrong, and YOU were the one screaming out and looking for trouble. If you were truly the martial artist you CLAIM to be, then you should have had more control over your temper. Lilith’s words were only her opinions.” <Even though she may be right.>
“Get out of my way!” Akane threw a punch at Matthew's face, but the son of Jon Talbain simply caught the incoming fist and with a simple twist, had the girl wincing and trying to pull free. She found herself being brought to her knees as she looked up and saw into his lupine gaze.
“I’ll say this one last time, Akane Tendo. Let it go.”
The Tendo girl struggled for a few more minutes, then finally relented under his crushing grip.
“All right.” She hissed. “For now.”
With those words, Matthew released her hand and stepped back, ready to counter any attack if she lashed out. However, with her pride wounded, she decided to withdraw and stomped away, silently vowing that Aenslade would pay for her insults.
As he watched her depart, Matthew let off a sigh of relief that he had been able to diffuse the situation. Nevertheless, he knew that he would have to keep an eye on things.
“I hope you don’t think I was too hard on your sister.” Matthew said as he and Nabiki walked home from school. “I just wanted to make sure she DOESN’T try to fight Lilith.”
“It’s okay.” Nabiki replied assuredly. “I’m just glad that no one got hurt. And Akane does need to put that temper in check. I swear, she’ll lash out for any reason.”
“Yeah well, she may think that she’s a great martial artist, but her skills wouldn’t mean squat against Lilith.”
“She’s that powerful?”
“Well, I haven’t seen her in actual combat, but I could sense her power levels. She’s WAY beyond your sister’s abilities and if Lilith’s anything like Dad’s old flame, then Akane would have ended up as a bloody smear on the ground. Dad told me about how powerful Morrigan was. It’s a whole different ballgame when you fight a Darkstalker.”
“That’s the general term for all supernatural beings of the Old Races. Vampires, werewolves, that mummy from last night, and stuff like that. Me and my Dad have made several trips into the world of the Makai.”
“What’s the Makai?”
“It’s also known as the Demon Realm. Dad thought it would be best that I get experience with dealing with otherworldly beings and if necessary, fight them. In any case, Akane wouldn’t have lasted two seconds against Lilith, and I have a feeling that she’s not going to forget this.”
Nabiki nodded in agreement. Once Akane’s pride was challenged, she would go all gung-ho about being a martial artist. She hoped that her sister would not pay for her arrogance.
The Tendo Home...
“I’ll SHOW HER WHO’S THE BEST! JEALOUS OF HER? HAH! SHE’S GOING TO SEE WHAT A REAL GIRL AND TRUE MARTIAL ARTIST CAN DO! I’ll SHOW EVERYONE!”
Akane then finished the Challenge Letter with a flourish.
That was when Nabiki came home.
Meanwhile in China...
Cologne sighed as the last group of warriors came back, with every member either limping or being supported by their comrades. Apparently, they had the same lack of success as all the others before them, including that idiot Mousse. The mystics of the village had made stronger Spirit Wards and magical spells, but still the ghosts of Hsien Ko and Mei Lin persisted.
Things were starting to get desperate. Without the mystic gems from the quarries, the spiritual barrier which kept the Musk Dynasty at bay would eventually weaken. The Amazons needed to mine those gems quickly and to do so, they would have to stop those specters from haunting the areas. Since all other methods had failed, there was only one other recourse.
The elder went into her house and entered her bedroom. She knelt down toward a hidden panel in the floorboards and opened it. Taking out a small, decorated box, she unlocked the lid and pulled out a golden pendant, which was shaped in the form of a wolf’s head.
Cologne smiled at the memory of the last time the Talbains had visited the Joketsuzoku.
Flashback to four months ago...
(translated from Mandarin)
Cologne sighed as she watched her great-granddaughter get thrown several yards. She winced slightly as Shampoo came down on her rear with a thump. She sighed again. The elder made a note to improve on her heir’s lack of grappling skills, which Matthew was taking full advantage of, by tossing her like a flapjack.
Behind her, Jon Talbain smiled as he watched his son continue to wipe the ground with his sparring partner. He had to admit, though the Amazon teen was severely outclassed, especially when fighting Matthew in his hybrid form, Shampoo was no quitter. The purple-haired girl got up again, and tried to attack with a flying kick, but his son easily caught the extended foot with one hand, swung her about in a helicopter spin, then sent her airborne again.
“I have to admit, your great-granddaughter has gotten better.” Jon admitted. “I think Matthew’s actually trying this time.”
“Yes, but it seems that my great-granddaughter was a bit too overconfident in her improved skills.” The matriarch said. “She shouldn’t have insisted to spar with your son in his strongest form. Then again...”
“This may have an unexpected dividend.”
“What do you mean?” The elder werewolf asked.
THUMP! WHOMP! THOOM!
“I may not have to subject Shampoo to the Backusai Tenketsu, if she keeps this up. The endurance she gains from this may be just the same as being repeatedly hit by boulders, perhaps even better.”
“Provided she survives.”
“Ow!” Shampoo winced as Matthew applied some healing salve to her arms. Both were sitting on her bed as the Amazon’s sparring partner tended to her injuries.
“Sorry. I not mean throw so hard.” The young lycanthrope's Chinese was passable. He wasn’t as well-traveled as his father, but he had picked up enough of several foreign dialects during their journeys, to make a decent conversation.
“It’s okay. I was asking for it, when I said I wanted to fight you in your hybrid form. I bet I could really give you a fight if I was a werewolf.”
“Heh, you did good as you now. Not too many Matthew opponents last long as you did.”
“I’d do a lot better if a certain werewolf would do something for me.” Shampoo said seductively as she began to snuggle up closer to him.
Jon’s son inched away as he shook his head. “No. I not do it.”
“Why not? It’ll only take one little bite...”
“Already told so. Too dangerous. Shampoo may not be Shampoo any more if Matthew bite.”
“Come on... please?” The Amazon took on a really cute expression, making it difficult for Jon’s heir to continue refusing her.
In the kitchen, Cologne and Jon were sipping cups of tea as the Matthew’s father picked up on the teenagers’ conversation with his sensitive hearing. He sighed as he turned his attention back to the elder.
Cologne noted his expression and asked. “Something wrong?”
“I didn’t mean to eavesdrop, but your great-granddaughter is pestering my son to turn her into a werewolf again. Doesn’t she realize the dangers of secondary lycanthropy?”
“Actually, if she were to gain even a portion of his power, then it might be worth the risk. She would certainly benefit from your family’s miraculous regenerative traits and be healed by now. In fact, our whole tribe would benefit if you and your son were to bite a couple dozen of our best warriors. We would be able to hold out better or even defeat the Musk Dynasty, if we were to...”
Jon tiredly held out a hand and shook his head. “We’ve been through this before, Cologne. The risk is too high to experiment. In nearly all cases, those who are bitten lose their humanity and become mindless beasts. You would be forced to kill your own people, if they were to permanently sink into a feral state. They would become a danger to all and would have to be destroyed to put them out of their misery.”
“Ah, but you did say that a few HAVE been able to retain their humanity. Even if we were to have only a handful of such powerful beings at our disposal, then we would...”
“No Cologne. The matter is closed.”
“I see that you are adamant about this.”
“I will not unleash that kind of danger on the world.”
“Well then, there’s always that other option...”
Jon smiled whimsically while shaking his head again. “As I recall, those Amazon Marriage Laws do not apply to any member of the Talbain Clan, thanks to that agreement that was made six hundred years ago.”
“I truly wish we did not make that pact. The tribe would have benefited from such strong, mystical blood.”
“All of your MALE members, or have you forgotten the fact that the werewolf traits are primarily passed from father to son? You are not guaranteed any she-wolves if my son or I were to take an Amazon mate. We’ve only had six or seven female-born werewolves in our family tree. We have nothing against you warrior women. In fact, my family has always admired your people, and my son has made many friends here.”
“And so, the original pact must stand.” Cologne said tiredly.
“I think both sides have greatly profited from it.” Talbain pointed out. “My family have learned much from your fighting styles, and in return, we have aided your people in their times of need and will continue to do so.” He then took off his wolf-head pendant and handed it to the aged woman, which caused her to be very puzzled.
“Keep it as a memento. I have a spare in my bags. And this particular pendant has an extra enchantment. When it is bathed in moonlight, it will be able to contact me through my second pendant. It doesn’t have to be a full moon. Mind you, this power only works once a month.”
End of flashback...
Cologne nodded as she waited for nightfall. If ever they needed the help of the Talbain Clan, it was now.
“What?! Your sister is going to challenge Lilith?!”
Matthew gripped the phone receiver in his hand, threatening to crush it to pieces. He couldn’t believe that Akane would be so foolhardy.
On the other side of the line, Nabiki nodded. “I’m afraid so. I saw the challenge letter. She just can’t be reasoned with when she’s like this. It looks like Aenslade’s words really got to her. And the only way Akane knows how to fight back is with her fists.”
“Damn!” Matthew muttered as he knew that things were going to get very serious.
Behind him, certain people were listening to the conversation that was taking place. One was Matthew’s father Jon. Behind him were two guests who had just arrived for a visit, when he had come home from school, namely Morrigan Aenslade and her ‘daughter’ Lilith.
The younger succubus smiled as she heard the news. She just knew that she was going to have fun in Tokyo. When she looked up at Matthew’s agitated expression, she decided to feign innocence. She shrugged her shoulders demurely and smiled.
The Kuno Estate...
Tatewaki was currently in his quarters, working on an ink painting, when he turned toward the door and acknowledged the presence of his servant, Sasuke.
“Ah Sasuke. You may enter.”
And that was when a short man in ninja garb, fell from a panel in the ceiling and crashed down in front of his employer. This startled Kuno nearly out of his pants.
“I meant through the door, you moron!” Kuno raged.
The little ninja eeped in shamed and bowed his head. “My apologies, Master.”
The so-called Blue Blunder calmed down, (while making a mental note to string Sasuke up by his thumbs later), and then addressed him. “What news do you have for me?”
“Yes Master!” The toady replied. “The special package you had purchased some time ago has arrived!”
“Excellent! Have it brought to me at once!”
“I have already taken the liberty of doing so, Master Kuno!” Sasuke gestured to a large crate that was sitting just outside the door.
“Well, what are you waiting for? Bring it in!”
The little ninja then walked over to the crate and pulled mightily on a strap. With some huffing and puffing, he managed to drag the large crate inside the room, then used a crowbar to pry open the lid. With some tremendous effort, he was barely able to open the top, which caused the sides to fall over. One side came down on Sasuke with a mighty...
Kuno’s servant was flattened under the heavy panel of wood and moaned.
“Oooooooooh! Do not worry... Master! I’m all... AAAAARRRRGGGGHHHH!”
Sasuke was stopped in mid-sentence as Kuno rushed over and flattened him by stepping onto the panel that pinned the ninja down. Not realizing, (or probably not caring), that he was squishing his loyal servant, Kuno gloated over his latest acquisition, which happened to be a set of grotesquely decorated suit of ancient Samurai armor. The protective garb was colored crimson and its mid-section was shaped like some fanged mouth. Even the helmet appeared to look like some monstrous head. What interested Kuno the most was the elaborately decorated sword that went with the armor.
“Ah! Here it is!” Kuno declared. “This is an authentic set of Samurai armor, which dates back to before the Tokugawa Era! What a rare find, eh Sasuke?”
“If... you say so, Master. URGH!” The obedient ninja managed to pull himself free from the panel and looked at the battle gear with some uneasiness. “Though I think we should take heed of the warnings the last owner gave to you, when he sold you the armor. He said...”
“I will not be intimidated by some nonsense about curses! He was nothing more than a superstitious, weak-minded fool! He did not see the TRUE value of this magnificent armor and he sold it to me for practically nothing!”
“But Master Kuno! The man clearly stated that those who have possessed this armor and sword have been known to have great misfortunes befall upon them. It was said that the spirit of Bishamon, the Demon Samurai, inhabits the armor and...”
“I will hear no more of this rubbish! This magnificent armor and sword are now mine! Ah! Perhaps I may impress my newfound love Lilith Aenslade, if I were to wear this armor, and show her my true, noble lineage!”
“But Master Kuno...!”
“Silence knave! I told you before, I shall hear no more of ridiculous tales of curses and such! Now, let us see this armor upon my noble self!”
“Yes... Master Kuno.” Sasuke said resignedly as he looked toward the armor and sword with a feeling of foreboding. Something about the ancient battle-garb sent shivers down his spine and made him wish he could bundle up the Armor of Bishamon in a gunny sack, encase it in concrete and toss it into the Tokyo Bay.
Deep within the crimson shell, an old spirit began to stir. Soon, it will taste the sweet pain of combat and the delicious flavor of blood.
The Talbain home...
“You KNOW you can’t accept Akane’s Challenge.” Matt said as he and Lilith spoke in the privacy of his room. Outside in the living room, Jon and Morrigan were discussing old times.
“Why not?” Lilith asked innocently, though something in her expression told the werewolf that she was looking forward to causing more mischief, especially with the youngest Tendo daughter. “She wants to challenge me, so I have to accept. I’m not to going to let her smear the Aenslade’s good name.”
“Lilith, you KNOW Akane doesn’t stand a chance against you.”
“If you’re afraid for that human’s life, then I promise to go easy on her. Will that all right?”
“That all depends on what your definition of ‘going easy’ is like!” The young Talbain retorted. “She’s just human!”
“Well, she claims she’s a martial artist, so she SHOULD be able to take a few lumps.”
“That’s what I’m afraid of! Even ONE of your lumps could really hurt her and put her into the hospital... or worse!”
“So? If there’s anyone to blame for this, then it’s Akane Tendo. She was the one looking for a fight. I was just minding my own business, then she accuses of me of being a tramp and now she wants to challenge me, just because I wounded her pride with my own opinions about her, which were merely statements of truth.” She then took on an introspective look and asked. “So why are YOU so concerned about all this? Is Akane someone very special to you, hmmm?” She reached out and traced a seductive finger on Matthew’s well-muscled pectorals.
Jon’s son flinched slightly and backed off a bit. Though Lilith’s seductive aura was nowhere near as powerful as her ‘mother’s,’ the werewolf was feeling somewhat... hot, due to his proximity to the young succubus. He shook his head to clear his mind and regain his focus. “No! I don't think of Akane like that! Personally, it might do her some good to take a few knocks, but she is Nabiki’s sister and she asked me to try and talk you out of accepting the challenge. Nabiki’s trying to talk her sister out of it too, since we both don’t want anyone hurt!”
Sure enough, at the Tendo Home...
“Akane, this is stupid! Challenging Aenslade like this makes no sense! She didn‘t do anything wrong!”
“What do you mean?!” The short-tempered sibling said in a huff. “I’m a martial artist and I’ve got to uphold my honor! That little tramp insulted me!”
“Akane, you’re taking this WAY too seriously.” Nabiki pointed out. “So she’s picked up some admirers who used to chase you all the time. I would have thought you’d be glad to have gotten those idiots off your back.”
“This isn’t about that!” The younger girl denied. “It’s about honor!”
<Liar!> Nabiki thought. <I know you liked all the attention. You’re just using this honor thing as an excuse, just like Mr. Saotome and Daddy with this Unite the Schools nonsense. Hmmm, I wonder where Ranma is right now?> She then got back to the topic at hand. “Akane, I really think you should let this go. Someone might get hurt.”
“Someone’s going to get hurt all right, and I assure you that it’s not going to be me! I show that little twerp Aenslade that she shouldn’t mess with a martial artist!”
<Some martial artist!> Nabiki mentally snorted. <Can’t control her temper, can’t take it when somebody shoves the truth into her face, and her only way to deal with things is with violence.>
The middle daughter knew that she was fighting a losing battle and hoped that Matthew would be able to keep things from getting out of control when Akane faced off against the succubus.
The next day...
Crowds of people gathered around the soccer field after school as word of the impending duel between Akane Tendo and Lilith Aenslade spread like wildfire. On the sidelines, both Nabiki and Matthew sat and discussed the upcoming match.
“So you couldn’t talk her out of it?”
Nabiki sighed and shook her head. “I swear that it’s like talking to a tree stump. Once Akane is rooted into something, it’s hard to pull her out of it.” Normally, Nabiki would be taking betting pools and such, but since this event involved a family member and was of a serious nature, Akane’s sister was too concerned with her sibling’s safety to be making money. “So did you have a talk with Lilith?”
“Well, I couldn’t get her to refuse the Challenge Letter, but she did agree to go easy on her and not cause any lasting injuries. Now, I’m not too sure about her definition of ‘going easy,’ but I’ll keep an eye on things.”
She then leaned over and gave him an affectionate kiss on the cheek.
It was then that the crowds began cheering as the combatants appeared on the scene.
Akane was feeling confident as she faced off against her opponent. This was going to be too easy! Soon everyone was going to see that Akane Tendo, the heir to the Anything Goes Martial Arts, wasn’t someone to trifle with! Soon everyone will respect her again, after she put this little slut in her place! Just look at her! She was openly flirting with those stupid boys, in the middle of a duel of honor!
Lilith, on the other hand, was unconcerned with the hostility being directed toward her from her rival. She simply waved to her legions of fans and blew them all kisses, making the crowds of hormone-crazy adolescents go into a near-frenzy. It was clear to all who was the favorite, which made the former ‘most popular’ girl in school’s temper come to a fast boil.
“You little TRAMP! This is supposed to be a duel of honor, NOT a sideshow!” Akane screeched, while pointing an accusing finger at Lilith.
The young succubus shrugged her shoulders and replied. “Ooh, a threat! How very amusing! I can that this is going to be fun!”
“You won’t be smiling when I’m through with you! Let’s see if your fans will still be following you after I rearrange your face! You’re going to see what a martial artist can do!”
“By all means, show me, if you can!” Lilith taunted.
Akane charged in, not knowing that she was about to make one of the biggest mistakes of her life.
At that time, a certain ‘Lost Boy’ and heir to the Saotome School of the Anything Goes Martial Arts wandered toward the soccer field.
To be continued...
Yeah, I know I’m a fink for cutting the readers off at this point, but the chapter was so long, I had to make it into a two-parter. In any case, the fight between Akane and Lilith is going to leave Nabiki’s sister with one HELL of a lesson in humility, with the emphasis on HUMILIATION. We’ll also see the appearance of another Darkstalker character, Bishamon, and more on Hsien Ko and Mei Lin. Plus, I’ve decided to include Gold Digger, Street Fighter and King of Fighters to this fic in later chapters. See you then!
(1) Lilith may not be as sexy as her ‘mother,’ but remember that she is derived from Morrigan, and therefore, would have all the innate traits of a succubus. She would be able to use these powers, with her seemingly innocent and cute appearance to hold sway over the opposite sex, depending on the strength of influence of his primal instincts. You can think of it as a kind of mystical pheromone, or ‘love’ aura. And unlike most girls of similar physical and mental age, she knows just WHICH sexual buttons to push on men. She’s sort of like a chibi Urd from Oh My Goddess. She may not have the goods, but she has the style.
(2) Some readers, (and I’m NOT going to specify), have been complaining that I’ve been portraying Akane as nothing but a spoiled brat with no real reason. Well how about insecurity at being able to express herself as a REAL girl, coupled with wounded pride? Personally, I really don’t care much for her, but in this case, Lilith may have hit the head on the hammer with this one.