The Beast Within

Disclaimer: Ranma, Darkstalkers, Hellsings, and whoever and whatever else is mentioned in this story belong to others, so get off my back already.

< >: Thoughts

[ ]: Chinese language

{ }: English language

Chapter 9

Dragon Vs Wolf

Quing Hai Province, 15th century…

The Chinese Amazon village was on high alert, as scouting parties returned with news that a large Musk Dynasty War Party was approaching their gates. This was unlike the usual skirmishes on their borders and the warriors prepared for the assault. All children and non-combatants were ushered into safe-houses, while every able-bodied woman and their male counterparts picked up their weapons and readied for battle.

Looking from one of the towers near the village fence, Jacob Talbain, Gel and Rouge surveyed the approaching fighting force. The lycanthrope estimated their number to be at least over three hundred warriors. He took special note of the center, which seemed to be protecting some kind of royal procession. Then he saw him.

The man was well over six feet in height with an impressive build. He was dressed in elaborate, white garments. He wore a long-sleeved tunic, matching white pants, and brown boots. He had a white, silk cape, embroidered with gold trim, attached to stylish epaulets. His long, black hair flowed over his back and was tied at the end with a decorative band. He was mounted on a black stallion, and was bracketed by several of his guards, both on horseback and on foot.

However, what really caught the werewolf’s attention was the amount of ki and magical energy emanating from this man. Jacob Talbain had no doubt that this was their leader.

Lord Fire Wind, Dragon King of the Musk Dynasty.


As his entourage neared the Amazon Village, Fire Wind surveyed the warriors who were manning the gates and the towers. His dragon eyes gave him extraordinary visual acuity and allowed him to see even the smallest of details at great distances. He let of a snort of disdain at the warrior women.

The history between the Musk Dynasty and the Joketsuzoku had been long and bloody, as each side refused to submit to the other. For the ruler of the Musk, he considered women to be no more than containers to carry the seed of the bloodlines. He allowed his warriors to take as many females as they wished, since they never lived long after giving birth anyway. Only a few women were allowed to live to help raise the young. The females were expected to bow down to them, and these Amazons had the gall to challenge their superiority. And now, they had killed a large number of his subjects and they would pay. It was a matter of honor to put these women in their place. That was the ONLY reason why the King of the Musk would even venture from his lands. He was so certain of his victory, that he boldly led his forces to the front gates.

At that point, his dragon eyes locked with a pair of lupine eyes. For the first time in his life, Fire Wind found himself in a state of surprise, as he felt the raw power emanating from one person.

Jacob Talbain.

At that moment, he knew who had killed his men.

Standing beside his liege, was one of his mightiest warriors, who went by the name of Blood Claw, which described the hulking brute perfectly. He was a formidable eight feet tall, and acted like an irate grizzly bear. In fact, he was the elder sibling of the late Bear Twins, and he was none too happy to have learned that an outsider had killed his only relatives. Like his brothers, Blood Claw possessed the raw power and fury of an angered bear. He had heavy, bulky armor plate covering his arms, legs and torso. He has short black hair that was wild and untamed. His face seemed to be fixed in a permanent scowl. His dark eyes reflected the murderous intent in his soul. Of all the Musk Warriors, Blood Claw was by the most savage and merciless. He held the highest record of raping and slaying Amazons.

As the war party stopped some two hundred meters from the front gates of the Joketsuzoku, Blood Claw let off a growl as he addressed his king.

[“Lord Fire Wind! Why do we not advance? Should we not just eradicate these Amazons and be done with it?”]

The Lord of the Musk gave his subordinate a harsh glare, silencing the brute, before replying. [“You will attack ONLY on my command and NOT BEFORE! We shall put these women in their place soon enough, but they are still needed by us to continue our bloodlines. However, I will see to it that our Musk brothers are avenged. The outsider that dared to kill our kind will suffer, and he shall be made an example to those wenches not to cross the Musk Dynasty. I can see him from here.”]

[“You SEE him my Lord?”] Blood Claw exclaimed.

[“Indeed. He is very hard to miss. He looks to be someone from the far West and he is standing in that watchtower over there.”] Fire Wind pointed toward the tower on his left. [“I believe he was the one who split your brother Snarl’s head and…”]

That was all Blood Claw wanted to hear as he ran off to the side toward a large group of boulders. Letting off a war cry, he hefted a huge mass of rock and using an overhand throw, launched the 10-ton projectile toward the village.

Unfortunately for the Amazons, Blood Claw shared the same weaknesses as a real bear. Though he aimed for the tower Jacob was on, his eyesight was poor, and the trajectory of the boulder headed toward one of the safe-houses, which was full of innocent children.

Jacob jumped down from tower and ran at full speed toward the safe-house. He knew that he only had seconds before the young ones were crushed by the enraged Musk warrior’s attack. Knowing that he couldn’t catch the boulder in time, he opted to divert its path. Letting off a shrill howl, he shot upwards, surrounded by a corona of light. To the amazed eyes of the villagers, it seemed as if Talbain had become a living comet.

It was one of the signature moves of the Talbain Wolf-Fist Style… The Beast Cannon!

The boulder was only a few meters away from crushing the safe-house, when it was suddenly struck by the technique and deflected away from the building. The rock landed hard on the ground and broke apart into smaller fragments. In a single heartbeat, a potential disaster had been averted.

However, that only triggered an even bigger disaster as the Amazons retaliated.

Near the front of the village, the defenders started launching their own attacks as huge catapults began to sling stones and flaming projectiles at the Musk Dynasty. This only enraged Fire Wind’s troops as they went charging toward the gates. Though the Musk ruler tried to get his men back under control, it was already too late.

Jacob Talbain now found himself in the middle of a war.

As the warrior women began to mix it up with the Musk fighters, Matthew’s ancestor whipped out both of his broadswords when three of the attackers leapt over the walls. Knowing that he had to defend the safe-house, he immediately put himself between the innocent children and those who would harm them.

The Musk fighters charged at the lycanthrope on three sides. The first swung an axe at his head, only to barely miss as Jacob leaned slightly backward to avoid the blade. The second lunged at him with a spear, which he twisted to the side to evade. The third swiped at his head with a sword, that Jacob avoided by ducking. Then the werewolf fought back, as his blades let loose with blinding flashes of deadly light.

The trio of Musk warriors screamed in horror and pain as their weapons and bodies were cut apart. The sword wielder stood in total shock as both arms fell off, leaving bloody stumps. He was mercifully put out of his misery as Talbain’s right leg came up and smacked into his head. The man would be unconscious as he bled to death. His companions were granted even quicker ends as the axe user was instantly decapitated, and the one with the spear received a blade through the throat.

Though Jacob preferred to refrain from killing in battle, unless it was the absolute last resort, the Musk were not showing any mercy whatsoever. To prevent them from slaughtering innocent children, Matthew’s ancestor knew that he had to put down his opponents permanently.

This scuffle did not go unnoticed by the ruler of the Musk as he watched the stranger cut down some of the best warriors of his tribe. Ever since he witnessed the raw power of the Beast Cannon, Lord Fire Wind began to suspect that the outsider had mystical ties, perhaps linking him to the magic of Jusenkyo. If so, then he might be a valuable asset to his people. Fire Wind was always on the lookout for new ways to strengthen the bloodlines and Jacob Talbain provided an opportunity…

It was then that he noticed a hulking figure rushing toward Jacob.


Blood Claw roared as he charged toward the wolf fighter. His keen sense of smell had detected the lingering scent of his brothers’ blood on him and he was going to make his siblings’ killer pay with his life. He readied the clawed gauntlets on his hands as he intended to rip Jacob in half.

However, his target for his rage had no intention of getting torn apart. Immediately detecting his approach, Jacob pivoted on one foot and deflected the claws with the flat of his blades. With several quick swipes, he slashed through Blood Claw’s pitiful defenses and inflicted a series of bloody gashes on the chest and arms. The clawed gauntlets were reduced to scrap metal fragments.

Blood Claw ignored the pain as he lunged forward with surprising speed and managed to ensnare his foe in a crushing bear hug, (pardon the pun). He hefted him up and began to exert a pressure that would have reduced granite boulders to powder. A normal man would have perished immediately.

The only problem for the hot-headed Musk warrior was that his hated enemy was FAR from normal. The lycanthrope’s superhuman strength allowed him to withstand the bear fighter’s attempt to squash him. Immediately dropping his swords, as his arms were pinned to his sides, Jacob reared back with his head, then slammed his forehead against Blood Claw’s. The sudden blow was enough for the larger man to loosen his grip briefly. This was sufficient time for the wolf warrior to burst free.

Blood Claw was not going to let his chance at revenge slip away as he lunged toward Talbain again. At this point, Matthew and Jon’s ancestor let him have it!


The strongest of Fire Wind’s elite fighters was given a savage demonstration of the Talbain Wolf Fist as his body was pummeled with high-speed punches and kicks. Each blow’s impact was equivalent to being hit by a speeding bus, while the movements of the strikes were simply too fast for the human eye to follow completely. Blood Claw’s bones were considered to be comparable to steel girders, but even they crumbled before the fury and power of Matthew’s family martial arts.

The large Musk warrior was then sent flying backward as Jacob delivered a mighty blow to the gut, nearly causing Blood Claw’s kidneys and intestines to burst out of his back. The broken and bloodied form landed on the ground at the feet of his king.

Fire Wind considered the pitiful, quivering mass before him, then raised a hand upward. His fingers glowed with a soft, crimson light, which let loose with a ball of energy toward the sky. This signal was immediately noticed by all of the Musk members, who quickly disengaged from battling the Amazons, and reformed into ranks before their leader.

The Joketsuzoku became confused at the sudden stop to the hostilities, but kept their guards up as they formed up a defensive line opposite to that of their enemies. At that point, there were thankfully few casualties, as wounded and dead were hurriedly pulled toward their respective sides.

There was a long moment of silence as the two tribes faced off against one another. Not a word was spoken as everyone waited for the carnage and bloodshed to begin anew. It would only take the slightest provocation to start the conflict all over again.

However, everyone became surprised again as the lines of Musk warriors parted to allow Fire Wind to approach the front. In his right hand, he causally dragged the broken and bloodied Blood Claw as if he weighed next to nothing. When he got to the front of the line, he nonchalantly tossed the near-dead man out toward the front lines of the Amazons. He then pointed toward one person in particular.

Jacob tensed up as he was singled out. He took a quick glance at the crowds of warrior women, who held their weapons at the ready. His eyes found those belonging to Elder Rouge and her great-granddaughter Gel. The expressions on their faces were hard and determined and they silently let him know that they would back him up when the fighting started up again. He picked up his swords and began to make his way toward the front of the Amazon lines.

When the powerful fighters faced each other off in the space between the two forces, everyone held their breath in anticipation. Each locked their gazes upon the other and nothing was said for a very long time. Then Fire Wind decided to speak first…

{I am Fire Wind… Lord of the Musk Dynasty.}

Jacob was slightly surprised that his opponent spoke English, but tabled that thought as he replied. {“I am Jacob Talbain, Heir to the Talbain Wolf Fist.}

{“Wolf Fist? So that is the name of your fighting style? I must say, that it does indeed suit you. You are just as deadly as a wolf. Blood Claw was no match for you. Speaking of whom…”}

Before anyone could even react, Fire Wind thrust out with his right hand and sent a blazing hot blast of ki energy at his former subordinate. The bear warrior screamed out in horror and anguish as he was instantly incinerated. His scream died away as his body was turned into ashes.

With a look of shock on his face, Jacob glared at the Musk ruler. His hands tightened their grip on his swords’ hilts.

{“Why did you kill him!? He was your own man!”}

The leader of the Amazon’s eternal enemy shrugged as he answered. {“He disobeyed me. That offense cannot be forgiven. I expect absolute obedience from my Elite Guard. Those who disobey are of no use to me.”}

{“So that’s it? You just kill them if they get out of line?”}

{“Indeed. However, for those who follow my commands, they are richly rewarded. And now… I am extending that opportunity… to you.”}


{“I have seen you in battle and I am most impressed. You are superior to these women and to many of my best fighters. It would be a waste to kill such potential. So I decided to give you a chance. Join my Elite Guard and I will even pardon you for all of the men you had killed, thus far. Refuse my generous offer, and I will not only destroy you, but I will execute every man, woman and child in this village. None will be spared. So… what is your answer?”}

There was a long moment of silence between the two powerful beings. However, the reason behind the pause wasn’t because Jacob was considering Fire Wind’s offer. Rather it was due to reigning in his anger over the Musk ruler’s arrogance. Finally he gave the Dragon Lord a snort of contempt and replied.

{“Do you have ANY idea how stupid that offer is?”}

{“What?”} Fire Wind said in a clearly insulted tone. No one had ever spoke to him in such a manner, and lived long afterward.

{“You expect me, to turn my back on people, who have shown me nothing but courtesy and warm hospitality, and join a group bent on destroying them? As I said before, that’s a REALLY STUPID offer.”}

{“I would advise that you choose your words carefully, Jacob Talbain. You know not who you are dealing with!”} Fire Wind warned with a hiss.

{“Oh, I know EXACTLY whom I am dealing with. I happen to be dealing with an arrogant, self-absorbed bastard, who seems to think that his words are the law of the land. You threaten to kill everyone here, unless I join you? What’s to stop you from carrying out that threat AFTER I agreed? I can see it in your eyes. So why don’t we don’t we just drop all pretenses and settle this matter with honor? Unless of course, the so-called great and powerful King of the Musk is nothing but an honor-less coward as I think he is?”}

{“You DARE to question my courage and honor?! Your life will be forfeit for that insult!”}

{“Fine. Then you will accept my challenge?”}

{“You wish to personally challenge ME?!”}

{“Damned right I do. This is all began when I helped out the Amazons and killed your men. You took it as an offense to your honor and used it as an EXCUSE to attack innocent villagers, including children! You have no right to punish them for something that I had done! Therefore, I demand the right to prove my convictions through trial by combat!”} Jacob pointed a finger directly at Fire Wind. {“Since, you were the one who ordered this attack, therefore you are the one that I challenge! Now do you accept my challenge, or will you hide behind your army?”}

Fire Wind growled as he knew that refusing Jacob’s challenge in front of his men would be seen as cowardice. {“Very well. It is true that you are the main offender and therefore, I shall punish you with my power alone! Your death shall not only serve as a warning to those who cross me, but also to prove that that the Musk Dynasty is second-to-none!”} He then gestured to the Amazons. {“And we will deal with these people later. I shall give you some time to prepare before I pass final judgment upon you, Jacob Tabain. You have three weeks, until the sun sets at the end of this month! At that time, I shall send you to your ancestors!” }

{“Where?”} Jacob asked.


There was a collective gasp among the villagers as the Musk army turned about and headed back toward their territories. The werewolf fighter stood in deep contemplation as he was approached by Elder Rouge and her great-granddaughter.

{“That was a very noble thing you did for us, Jake.”} The elderly woman remarked as she watched her people’s eternal enemies depart. {“You made Lord Fire Wind and the Musk concentrate their vengeance upon you, in order to spare the innocents in our village.”}

{“It was... the only thing I could think of.”} The lycanthrope admitted. {“Fire Wind is powerful… extremely powerful. I could sense it.”}

{“Yes, and I’m afraid that you had signed your own death warrant when you challenged him. Not to be insulting, since I consider you to be a very strong fighter. However, Fire Wind and his kind draw their strength from Jusenkyo itself. And the time in which he chose to fight you, tips the odds further in his favor.”}

{“What do you mean? What is Jusenkyo?”}

The Amazon matriarch took a deep breath and replied. {“Jusenkyo is a cursed training grounds where there are hundreds of springs, each with their own tragedy. Whenever an animal, or person drowns in a spring, whoever enters its waters next will take the form of the drowned individual. The Musk have taken advantage of this by forcing animals into the Spring of Drowned Woman and mating with them, thereby gaining the powers of those beasts and other creatures. Fire Wind will undoubtedly use the magic emanating from those springs to increase his own Jusenkyo abilities. And the time he chose will make him even stronger.”}

{“How does that help him?”}

{“Is time of full moon.”} Gel answered. {“Legends say that Jusenkyo’s magic is strongest at that time.”}

{“Really?”} Jacob said with a smirk. {“Then this WILL be a very interesting duel indeed.”}

Both women were left in a state of puzzlement as Jacob walked off to help those who were injured in the battle, as well as tend to those who were beyond any mortal help. Then, after a few minutes, they too went to help their fallen comrades.


Back to present day China, the Amazon Quarry…

“So great-grandfather to the 20th power challenged the king of the Musk Dynasty?” Matthew asked as he continued to listen to his father’s retelling of their family history.

Jon Talbain nodded as he continued. “Even though Fire Wind was unaware that setting the time of the duel would also work in Jacob’s favor, our ancestor decided to expand and improve on our fighting style and the weapons he used. He was a master of the Fang and Claw sword techniques, but then he got an idea…”


Six hundred years ago, two days after the battle with the Musk…

{“What ARE you doing?”} Rouge asked as she came across Jacob practicing behind her house. He was currently dressed only in long, loose, silk pants. He was barefoot and bare-chested. Although she was in her nineties, the Amazon matriarch still appreciated a well-toned and physically fit male body. She suppressed the urge to let off an appreciative whistle at his magnificent physique.

Jacob nodded to her as he took a neutral stance. His brow had a thin sheen of sweat glistening in the sunlight. In his right hand was a strange-looking device.

{“Just limbering up and working on some new moves I’ve been developing.”} He then held up the things in his hand. {“I also came across an idea with some possibilities.”}

{“What is that?”} The old woman asked as she looked upon it. To her eyes, it was merely a pair of wooden rods, each about 10 inches in length Both rods were connected by a silken cord between them. {“Is that some kind of rice flail? That’s a pretty small tool for threshing rice.”}

{“Actually, I got the idea when I saw someone use a similar tool for crushing beans. I’m not quite sure what to call this, but I think it could give me an advantage in making quick strikes and for defense. So far, it seems to move pretty well with a lot of my circular motions. Watch!”}

Jacob immediately went into a kata, swinging the new weapon about in graceful, arcs and rapid flicking moves. Rouge immediately saw the advantage the clubs gave in both reach and striking power. However, she also saw that the new weapon was hard to control, and one had to be careful, otherwise...


The werewolf fighter immediately stopped and rubbed the top of his head where the end of club had hit him by accident. Though it didn’t really hurt since his werewolf abilities were already healing the bump, he still gave the Elder a sheepish laugh.

{“Ah… heh, heh, heh…. What can I say? It’s still a work in progress.”}


Present day…

“Whoa! Hold on a minute! Are you saying that Jacob Talbain was the one who invented the nunchakus? I always thought that the weapon came from Okinawa during the 17th century.”

Jon shrugged at his son’s surprise. “Well, that’s one of the theories. However, our records does list the usage of these weapons by our family line since that time period. Jacob’s journals also indicate that his great-grandson Michael Talbain made a visit to Okinawa during the early 17th century. It could be, that the Okinawans were influenced by him.” (1)

“So what happened at the duel?”


In the Amazon Village, Shampoo continued to tell her version of the story to Nabiki…

“Musk Dynasty King was in for very big surprise when time of duel came around.”

“I’ll bet he was.” The Japanese girl remarked as continued to listen.

“For three weeks, Talbain trained hard for fight. Finally, one day before the time of duel…”


Flashback to the past…

Jacob sighed as his sat on the roof of the guest hut and looked up at the evening sky. In addition to the multitudes of stars, the light of the near-full moon shone brightly upon him. He could already feel the power of the moon flowing through him, though it wasn’t enough to trigger his transformation. The next night however, he would have the full might of his lycanthrope heritage at his disposal in his duel against the Musk Dynasty ruler.

But with the increase in strength, speed and healing abilities, there was also the fact that he would be forced to fight Fire Wind in his true form. There was just no way around it. And that bode the question of whether the Amazons would accept him, when they find out that he wasn’t human. In a way, he was very similar to the warrior women’s sworn enemies.

He hoped that they would not reject him. During the last month, he had gotten quite fond of the Joketsuzoku and their quaint village. Their marital arts techniques were most impressive and training alongside them had greatly expanded on his family’s fighting style. What had initially been a wrong turn had actually become a boon. The villagers had become like an extended family and they liked having him around, especially from much of the unmarried, female populace. Although Jacob was bit uneasy at all the overtures they’ve made toward him. Coming from a more conservative society in England, he never knew women to be so… enthusiastic.

Now, all the lives of the village depended on his victory against the Musk Dynasty’s king and his tremendous power. There was the real possibility that his life could end the next night. Fire Wind, though arrogant, had the power to kill Jacob. In addition to the vast amounts of ki energy that he sensed in Fire Wind, Matthew’s ancestor also detected certain magical aspects, which could also affect him.

Fire Wind would not back down, nor listen to any attempt at a peaceful solution. There would only be one way to settle things.

This would be a fight to the finish.

At that point, a certain someone leapt to the top of the hut. Long sensing her approach and recognizing her scent, Jacob turned to face her. He gave the visitor a nod invited her to sit with her.

Gel nodded as she mentally prepared herself. This would be her only chance.

As the two gazed upon the star-studded skies, the ancestor of Shampoo and Cologne started to converse with the lycanthrope warrior.

{“Jake is nervous about fight tomorrow?”}

Jacob gave the girl a slight nod. {“Only a fool fears nothing, and I’m not going to lie. Fire Wind is no pushover.”}

{“Is good Jake know opponent.”} Gel said with an encouraging tone. {“Is good warrior who not think he win all time. No be careless in battle. Is ancient Amazon wisdom.”}

{“Good advice.”}

{“Is also ancient Amazon saying… “} The warrior teen blushed slightly. {“… that good warrior who know this… also make good husband.”}

Jake stiffened at the not-so-subtle hint Gel had given. It wasn’t the first time she and the other girls had tried to seduce him. Some of their attempts had been more daring than others, which included sneaking into the hot springs while he was bathing. More often than not, the werewolf had to keep his senses on alert as he washed up, lest an ambitious Amazon suddenly appear naked before him. Other incidents such as drugging him, sneaking into his hut while he slept and outright ambushing him were tried, without success, though Jacob took a LOT of dips into the icy stream near the village afterwards. He shuddered a bit at Comb’s attempt, which included trying to chain him to the bed, while wearing nothing but that very provocative nightdress.

He had made certain not to hurt or outright defeat any of his would-be suitors. Jacob had come across a copy of the Book of Amazon Law in the guest hut. Though his mastery of Mandarin and Cantonese was far from perfect, he had been able to roughly translate certain chapters, especially those concerning outsiders. Though he admitted that many of the Amazons were strikingly beautiful, he wasn’t looking for a wife, especially now that the fate of the village rested on the outcome of the duel.

Taking a deep breath, he addressed the green-haired girl with a gentle, but firm tone. {“Gel, don’t take anything I say the wrong way. I think you are very pretty and you’d make any man lucky to have you as his wife. The thing is… I don’t think that I’m that man.”}

Gel’s expression turned from hopeful, to disappointment, then to slight panic, as she tried to convince him otherwise. “{“Why you say such thing? You strong. You good-looking. You brave. You saved Gel’s life. You have good heart. What more Gel want in husband?”}

{“It’s really… complicated. Although, you may think, that I’m everything you want in a husband… there a couple of REALLY BIG… things about me that you may not want.”} The lycanthrope twiddled his fingers a bit as he tried to think of a way to explain.

Rouge‘s great-granddaughter shrugged her shoulders. {“Is no problem. No one perfect. What? You snore in bed? Gel no mind. You terrible cook? Gel can cook.”} She paused for a moment, then said in a none too tactful way, {“Maybe you is… (What you call in English?)…. is you virgin?”}

Jacob’s face turned bright red at that suggestion and shook his head. {“No! It’s nothing like that!”}

{“Then no problem! Gel’s great-grandmother want to see great-great grandchildren soon and she like you too. Gel decide that Jacob would make very good husband? You… no like Gel? You no want Gel as wife?”}

{“No! No! It’s not that at all!”} Jake said quickly as he didn’t want to offend her. {“Look… I’m really flattered that you think I’d make you a good husband. And if it weren’t for certain things.. I might have just taken you up on that offer. Besides, I’ll probably be moving on after all of this is over. Maybe I’ll head back to England for a while.”}

{“Then Gel will go with you!”} She insisted.

{“Gel please! This is all coming too fast. And right now… it’s not a good time to talk about things like this. You understand?”}

Gel was silent for a moment, then nodded. {“Is okay. Gel understand. Is very important for Jake to win tomorrow. Can talk about it later... yes?”}

{“Yeah… sure.”}

There was another long pause before the girl decided to take the initiative and leaned forward. In a moment, the two briefly touched lips in a light kiss, before she stood up and jumped down from the roof. She quickly ran off, leaving the werewolf alone with his thoughts.

<Though once you see me as I really am, you might not want to talk to me at all.”>


The next sunset, in Jusenkyo…

Jacob Talbain walked toward the Training Grounds of Cursed Springs. He was dressed simply in a pair of loose, black pants, simple kung fu shoes and was bare-chested. He wore his short swords in their usual scabbards and harness on his back. Walking behind him was a small group of Amazons, who would bear witness to the duel. Among them was Gel and her great-grandmother Rouge. She would be the only Amazon Elder present.

As they approached the hidden valley, which was littered with over a hundred pools of water, the werewolf martial artist’s senses already detected the high amounts of chaotic and wild mystical energies emanating from it. The landscape also had dozens of bamboo poles of differing lengths sticking out of each of the pools. The outer areas were lit by lines of lanterns, which would ensure that the spectators would be able to see the battle, even at night. He looked toward the horizon as the sun began to dip toward the ground and the skies darkened. It would only be a matter of time before the full moon would appear.

It was at that time that he caught sight of his opponent. Fire Wind stood proudly at the center of the Cursed Training Grounds. Though he stood by himself, he was far from alone. Watching from overhanging ledges and crevasses in the valley were at least a hundred Musk Dynasty warriors, each armed to the teeth and dressed in armor. However, they would not do battle this day. Like the Amazons, they would serve as witnesses to the impending conflict that was about to take place.

Giving the warrior women a friendly smile of assurance, Jake walked ahead of the group and toward his opponent. There was no turning back.

He came to the center of Jusenkyo and faced off against the king of the Musk. A mere twenty feet separated the two and one could feel the tension in air.

Finally, Fire Wind broke the silence.

{“So you came. At least, you are honorable enough to face your inevitable defeat and death. And it is a pity that a warrior such as yourself must perish by my hand. So I shall give you one last chance to consider my offer to join my Elite Guard.”}

Jacob let off a snort of disdain. {“I’m not even going to dignify that offer with a response. I came here for one reason only. So let’s get started. And when I win, you will leave the Amazons in peace... or in pieces! Agreed?”} With those words, he unsheathed his swords and held them out at the ready.

Fire Wind smirked as he made a five-foot long staff appear in his right hand. {“Impatient to meet your doom, aren’t you? Very well then. If by some miracle you manage to kill me, then you have my word that we shall leave the Amazons alone... for a time. Perhaps I was foolish to think that you would even consider my generous offer. So you prefer the company of the Joketsuzoku, eh? After I am done with you, perhaps I will let you live long enough so you can watch me slaughter every one of them and burn their village to the ground. After today, their accursed existence shall cease, as will yours!”}

In an instant, Fire Wind attacked, letting loose with a massive blast of ki that resembled a huge gout of flame. Jacob deftly avoided the stream, which would have incinerated any other fighter into a pile of ashes. He could plainly see why his adversary was called the Dragon Ruler of the Musk Dynasty.

The lycanthrope immediately went on the attack and let loose with a fury of swipes and slashes with his swords. Each blade flashed with arcs of blue, deadly streaks of light.


However, as fast as Jacob was, Fire Wind was just as agile. Each thrust, swing and slash was countered, as the Musk King matched his opponent’s moves with his staff. After an incredible exchange, the two backed off.

{“Hmmm, I am slightly impressed.”} The Musk Ruler said with a bored expression on his face. {“Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire, if I’m not mistaken. A very quaint Amazon technique, though I can see that you’ve adapted it to your sword-fighting style. Even so, it is nothing for me to be concerned about. No blade forged on Earth can withstand my staff, which has been tempered by my finest blacksmiths and…”}


He stopped in his gloating as he heard a piece of metal striking the rocky ground of the valley. His eyes widened as he noticed that one end of the staff had become five inches shorter. Looking down at the ground, he saw a small length of metal and realized that it was the missing piece. He then gazed upon his opponent and considered the swords.

<Impossible! My staff was forged in the depths of mystic fire and yet he still cut through it?! Who IS this man?>


[“I can’t believe it! He actually cut Fire Wind’s staff!”] Rouge remarked with awe. As an Elder, she was familiar with the legends of the Musk Dynasty and their secret metal-smithing techniques, which was said to be able to forge weapons that were near-indestructible and heavily enchanted. Those belonging to their king were said to be the mightiest of them all .


Jake smiled a bit at his opponent’s shock. In his hands, the Orichalcum blades glinted in the fading light of the setting sun. Due to the metal’s properties, the mystic seals on Fire Wind’s staff had been canceled out. The staff was no longer strengthened by magic and therefore could be damaged. For the moment, Talbain had the advantage.

Fire Wind increased the distance between them as he fired off a volley of ki blasts at his foe. Moving with incredible agility, the lycanthrope fighter either dodged or deflected the attacks with his weapons. In a heartbeat, he closed in on the Dragon Ruler and threw a trio of slashes, followed by a roundhouse kick. The Musk king blocked the swords, but was a hair too slow, receiving a hard impact to the gut by Jake’s foot.

Making a flip backward, while clearing several pools, Fire Wind sneered at his opponent as he rose above the ground and hovered some fifty feet in the air.

{“I must admit, you are formidable... on the ground. But how will a wolf fare against a dragon in the sky?”}

Jake growled slightly as he leapt toward one of the nearest pole. Using it as a means to propel himself higher, he rocketed upward as his right foot glowed with an eerie light.


Fire Wind immediately recognized the danger if that attack connected and floated off to one side to avoid it. The energized kick sailed past his face, missing it by millimeters. While the foot was still extended, he grabbed the ankle with his right hand. Applying a crushing force that made even Jacob wince in pain, the Musk ruler began swinging him about like an Olympic athlete in the Hammer Throw event. After several rotations, the lycanthrope was hurled down toward the pools.

Knowing that he couldn’t risk falling into one of the cursed springs, Jacob managed to angle his body toward one of the overhanging ledges of the valley. Thrusting out with one of his swords, he drove the blade deep into the rock. Using the weapon as a kind of brake, he swung about and rebounded off to the right. He was able to barely clear a large body of water, landing on dry land.

However, Fire Wind was not going to let his foe rest for even a moment as he came down in a diving attack. Jake raised his swords just in time to avoid a thrust from Fire Wind’s staff. However, unlike the last time, the werewolf’s enemy was now fighting more seriously. The Musk Dynasty fighter’s weapon glowed with ki as he forced Talbain backward.

The pair began exchanging blows with increasing speed. At this point, the sun had disappeared beneath the horizon and the moon started to rise. The training grounds began to glow with a strange light as magical energies increased in waves. Those who had connections to Jusenkyo immediately felt the influx of power coursing through their bodies. The Musk warriors secretly readied themselves to follow their leader’s orders to attack the Amazons once Jacob Talbain was destroyed. With their powers at their peak, they would have the prime opportunity to wipe out the Joketsuzoku once and for all.

Jacob found himself being pushed to his limits as his antagonist began to get stronger and faster with each passing moment. What was even worse was that the Musk King had managed to get in several, ki and magic-infused strikes, causing substantial injuries. As he saw the glowing tip of Fire Wind’s staff streaking toward him, he instinctively raised his swords to block.

However, his opponent anticipated the move, and turned the thrust into a feint. With a precisely aimed swing, he knocked both swords out of Jacob’s hands and sent them flying away. He followed through with a series of thrusts and swings. The ancestor of Jon and Matthew managed to counter most of the attacks with his arms and legs, but a few penetrated his defenses. Then a sickening sound was heard.


He immediately realized that his swords had landed in one of the cursed springs, but he couldn’t spare the time nor the risk of retrieving them. It was then that Fire Wind glowed intensely with a fiery aura.

{“Yes! At last, my power has peaked! FIRE BLADE!”}

Swinging his staff in a wide arc, Fire Wind made a huge, crescent-shaped wave of energy appear. The attack arced toward the heir to the Talbain Wolf-Fist Style and impacted heavily against him. An intense burning sensation was felt, while a huge, bloody gash appeared on Jake’s chest. He was sent flying backward and tumbled to the ground. Then in an instant, the Musk Ruler was upon him and began to beat him savagely.

The sounds of metal striking flesh, and bones near to breaking echoed throughout the valley. With every hit, the hopes of the Amazons diminished.


On the sidelines, Gel had to be physically restrained by her comrades as Jacob was being mercilessly pummeled.


She would have broken free, but she suddenly stopped in her struggles when a gnarled staff was thrust out before her. She looked toward her great-grandmother, who had a stern look on her face, though her ancient eyes reflected signs of sadness and regret.

[“I’m sorry, Gel. We cannot interfere. We are honor-bound to witness this match... to its conclusion…”]


Jacob was now a bloodied and bruised mess on the ground as his foe prepared to deliver the killing strike. With his staff held up high, Fire Wind smirked.

{“You fought well, though your defeat was inevitable. I now send you to join your ancestors! Farewell, Jacob Talbain!”}

It was at that moment that the full moon reached its zenith.

The staff came down in a deadly strike, meant to impale its victim through the chest. However, it would not find its target, as Matthew’s ancestor suddenly rolled to the left, then came up with his right fist aimed at Fire Wind’s chin.


The impact of the uppercut thundered throughout Jusenkyo as the Musk Dynasty king was lifted off the ground and sent flying more than fifty feet away. He barely managed to roll safely and get back to his feet. It was then that his eyes widened in complete shock as he and all those present witnessed Jacob’s transformation.

The Wolf-Fist fighter let loose with a bone-chilling howl as his body began to grow in size and muscle mass. The bloody gash on his chest sealed itself up, before his torso became covered in a thin coat of fur. His hands elongated into claws, while his feet burst out of his sandals. His head morphed into that of a wolf’s while his teeth became ferocious fangs. . All other injuries he had sustained rapidly began healing themselves. A bushy tail sprouted out from the small of his back, completing the metamorphosis.

The playing field had just been leveled.


Gel and all the other Amazons, as well as the Musk Dynasty warriors, stood with their mouths open and in complete awe. Never in their lives had they ever witnessed such a transformation. And even from a distance, they could feel the raw and awesome power emanating from Jacob.

[“I… don’t believe it! What has happened to Jake? How can this be….?”]

[“Hmmm… so that explains it.”] Rouge remarked while deep in thought.

[“Explains what?”]

[“I’d say that Fire Wind is now in VERY… BIG… TROUBLE!”]


The Elder nodded as she explained, though she did not take her eyes off the battle. [“The Musk Dynasty may draw its power from Jusenkyo, but even that pales in comparison to what Jacob is.”]

Gel swallowed hard and tried not to show any outward signs of fear, as that was unbecoming of an Amazon. She then asked in a trembling voice, [“What do you mean? What is Jake?”]

[“He’s a member of the legendary Old Races. He’s a werewolf!”]

[“Werewolf? You can’t be serious! Werewolves are only legends… fairy tales… bedtime stories for children!”]

Rouge pointed a wizened finger at Jacob. [“Does he LOOK like a fairy tale to you? I always suspected that Jacob’s wounds healed too fast to be normal and I can now see why. It is said that lycanthropes have amazing healing abilities and cannot be killed by normal means. They are connected to the supernatural power of ancient times. Fire Wind may have just met his match… or perhaps… his better!]


Fire Wind trembled slightly as he beheld his rival in his hybrid form. Never before had he encountered such a being. The Musk may possess animal powers stolen from Jusenkyo, but Jacob’s bestial shape emitted a kind of feral presence that put them to shame. Then, in less time than he could tell, the ruler of the Musk Dynasty was introduced to pain on the most intense of levels.

In a heartbeat, Jacob flashed forward inside a comet of light, letting off a shrill howl. Fire Wind tried to block the charge, but the Beast Cannon split his staff in two and plowed into him like a runaway tank. Then the living comet changed direction, bouncing the Musk warrior upward. Then he changed again, and again, and again. The formally snobbish king was bounced about like a pinball, receiving massive damage with each blow. He was then slammed hard to the ground as Jacob landed some fifteen feet away and in a ready stance.

As Fire Wind unsteadily got back to his feet, Jake reached behind his back and pulled out an object. Swinging it about in graceful arcs, he let off another howl and charged in.


Moving with a speed that made the Amaguriken technique seem plodding, he let loose with thousands of quick strikes per second. Jacob’s foe was unable to block more than half of the attacks and ended up with an impressive array of welts and bruises. Then he received a hard blow to the chest, sending him backward again. He immediately got back into a ready stance, then gasped in surprise as he saw what his rival had struck him with.

The weapon was no more than a pair of black, wooden rods, each only ten inches in length and attached by the ends with a length of chain. He growled in anger at the seemingly flimsy instrument.

{“A rice flail?! You dare to attack me with a peasant’s tool?!”}

Jacob Talbain smirked, showing an impressive set of fangs. {“I think this is more than adequate for the likes of you.”}


The enraged Musk leader then let loose with another gout of flames, but this time, his target stood his ground. Swinging his makeshift weapon about while charging it with his own ki and mystical power, he caused the stream of fire to scatter harmlessly away from him. Then he stood in a wide-legged stance with his weapon held out in front of him.

{“Not bad. Let me tell you something. Your dragon powers are impressive, but they don’t come close to the real dragons, because I’ve fought them before.”}


{“Yeah, you meet a lot of them in the Makai. And I learned a couple of things from them too. You can dish out the heat, but let’s see if you can take it…. DRAGON CANNON!”}

With this cry, Jacob let loose with a huge blast of ki and magic, which took the form of seven fiery wolves, in a stream that resembled a dragon’s breath. His enemy tried to counter with his own technique, but as the two attacks collided, the lycanthrope’s blast overwhelmed his and the resulting backlash engulfed Fire Wind in searing flames. He let off a scream of pain as much of his body was badly burned.

Then his opponent charged in to finish him off. Letting loose with yet another howl, Matthew’s 20th great-grandfather readied his claws. His rival made another staff appear to block the attack, but it was not enough…


In a flash of deadly light, Fire Wind was disarmed... literally!

There was a long silence as the wind gently blew through the valley. Both men stood motionless, with the Musk ruler holding out his staff, while the lycanthrope stood behind him in a crouching position. Then it happened.


Fire Wind fell to his knees as his arms fell from their shoulders in bloody stumps. He slowly turned his head to face his conqueror with hatred in his eyes. Blood continued to gush from his severed limbs.

{“Damn you! You… will pay for this!”}

With rage and hatred driving him forward, Fire Wind made one final charge at his foe, despite the fact that he was armless. His attack was easily avoided and that was when Matthew’s ancestor got behind him and wrapped the chain of his weapon around the Musk Dynasty king’s throat. He started to tighten the links, causing his adversary to choke.

{“Do… you… yield?”} Jake asked in a deadly, quiet tone.

Fire Wind let off a snort of disdain and spat out, {“You have… forgotten what I said before? Only if you kill me… will the Amazons know peace… for a time.”}

There was a long pause, before Jacob nodded.

{“So be it.”}



The present time…

“So that’s how the duel ended?” Matthew asked, as he realized that his 20th great-grandfather had won the fight by snapping Fire Wind‘s neck.

Jon nodded. “Keep in mind son, that Fire Wind and the Musk would have not hesitated to kill him and all the Amazons, if our ancestor had not won. The village would not be here if it weren’t for his victory.”

“So what happened afterwards?”


The past…

The Musk Warriors remained silent as several of them carried the body of their fallen leader away. Then, after a long pause, the rest of their forces followed the makeshift funeral procession, as they headed back toward their lands. After a few minutes, every single member of the Musk Dynasty was gone from sight. At that time, Jacob turned to face the Amazons. He made ready to make a fast exit, should they start to come after him with torches and pitchforks. He was used to such things in England.

However, to his surprise, the warrior women began letting loose with thunderous applause and cheers. Almost immediately, a large portion of them came streaming toward him. Gel was at the front of the adoring mob, as she leapt up and tackled him to the ground. Jacob found himself piled on by a dozen women, as they hugged and kissed him with wild abandon.

It seemed that the werewolf had just won the admiration of the entire Joketsuzoku.



Jacob stood before the group of Elders in his hybrid form, as crowds of villagers surrounded the High Council Lodge.

The eldest of the Matriarchs, an ancient woman by the name of Perm, nodded to the lycanthrope. {“This village, and all those who reside here, owe you much for what you have done this night. Furthermore, we are privileged to be in presence of one of the Old Races.”}

{“No thanks are necessary.”} The Talbain fighter said. {“Although, I fear that the Musk will return soon to seek revenge for the death of their king.”}

{“Not so, Jacob Talbain.”} Perm assured. {“It is because of his death that we have been given a reprieve from our constant struggle against the Musk Dynasty. You do recall Fire Wind telling you that only through his death would we receive a measure of peace?”}


{“There was a meaning behind his declaration. The Musk Dynasty strictly follow the tradition of a lengthy funeral and mourning process when their king is killed in battle. It is their law that they do not wage war for one year, as a sign of respect for their leader. This has only happened once in their history, and they have always followed this law.”}

{“I see. Well, that gives us some time for their eventual attacks. What we need is something to keep them away for a lot longer than 12 months. I think I will be staying for a while longer. I have to resolve this matter before I move on.”}

{“Still, we owe a great debt. If there is anything within our power that you wish, we shall do so…”}


Several weeks later…

Gel let off a wistful sigh as she watched from her bedroom window. Jacob was just coming back from a successful hunting and training trip. He was currently in his hybrid form and had a large deer slung over his shoulder. Several of the eligible warrior maidens came up to him and made petitions to challenge him. The werewolf smiled and gently turned them down.

With the villagers gradually getting used to his more powerful form, Jacob had been receiving far more attention from the opposite gender. Though his human appearance was considered quite handsome, his lycanthrope side was downright magnificent. Many of the families urged their unwed daughters to capture the heart of the heir to the Talbain clan, in order attain prestige and to increase their bloodlines. Such strong mystical blood would be a welcomed addition to the gene pools.

And then there were requests for Jacob to bite them. The legend of the lycanthropes were known, and many wanted to become powerful beings like him. Matthew’s twentieth great-grandfather was especially adamant not to spread Secondary Lycanthropy. But still the suitors persisted. Some of them were especially determined.

Gel’s rival Comb had tried her hardest, either to challenge Jacob in order to marry him, or convince him to give her a bite. At one time, she tried to sneak into his hut and seduce him. However, Jacob had thwarted every one of her attempts.

The green-haired Amazon had to find a way to get him and soon. It would only be a matter of time, before either one of the other girls ensnared him, or before Jacob would leave the village, possibly never to return again.








The present…

“And in the end, Jacob did find a way to keep the Musk at bay indefinitely.” Jon explained. “After looking about the area near Jusenkyo, he discovered the mystic stones, which actually weakened those who derived their power from the Cursed Training Grounds. After setting up the seals that still surround the Amazon Lands to this day, he got set to leave the Joketsuzoku.”


Back in 1402 AD, two months after the duel…

The Amazons watched in awe as Jacob, in his hybrid form, hefted the massive timber above his head. With the full moon shining down on him, his strength was at its fullest potential, allowing him to easily move the multi-ton log into place. As the timber was fastened down, Jacob stepped back to admire his handiwork.

The new Challenge Log platform was complete and would be used to for the Annual Battle Tournament, as well as to settle disputes and other ceremonies. He then reached down and picked up his pack as he prepared to leave.

At that point, several Elders and a large group of young women, approached in order to see him off. At the head of the crowd as Rouge, along with Gel behind her.

{“Good evening, Rouge, and everyone else. It seems that it is time for me to say my farewells.”}

There was a symphony of groans and ‘aaaawwwws’ among the women as none of them had been able convince him to stay. And with the new Pact in place, they could no longer catch him with the Outsider Law. Gel was especially disappointed.

{“Are you certain that you will not stay?”} Rouge asked, though she already knew the answer.

{“My time here has been quite enjoyable and I learned a lot from your people. However, I do have responsibilities back home and I’m afraid it’s time for me to move on. However, as agreed, I will come back to check up on those seals, and the Talbain Clan shall always aid the Joketsuzoku in their times of need. In return for our assistance, any member of the Talbain family, (myself included), is hereby exempt from the Outsider Law.”}

{“A pity. I would have liked to call you Son-In-Law.”}

{“Heh. Well the Council did say that I could have anything for defeating Fire Wind. However, that doesn’t mean that I might not take an Amazon wife in the future. Who knows? But for now, I have to get going. Farewell!”}

The crowds cheered and waved to him as he headed toward the gates.


Back to the present…

“Wow. That was some story.” Nabiki remarked as Shampoo finished her tale of how the Talbains met up with the Amazons. “So I guess your ancestor didn’t get to marry Jacob Talbain, huh?”

“Is pity. But ancestor Gel later marry nice man and have many children.”


Back at the Amazon Quarry…

“By the way Dad, I wondering. What happened to Jacob’s swords? I mean, didn’t he get them back from the Cursed Training Grounds?”

Jon shook his head. “According to his journal, Jacob never retrieved his swords, since he didn’t know which pool they were in, and he didn’t want to risk getting cursed. As far as anyone knows, those blades are still there at Jusenkyo and…”

It was at that moment that both werewolves sensed the presence of something supernatural. Then, the pair of lycanthropes got into battle stances as a pair of ghosts appeared.

To be continued…

Wow, this took a long time to write, but it’s finally done. As for the battle with Hsien Ko and her sister, that’s up next and then we’ll be looking back at Japan where the spirit of Bishamon will rise to wreak new havoc. Plus we’ll be seeing our friends at Hellsing as they try to deal with a possessed Alexander. See you there!


(1) According to some accounts, the nunchakus came about in the 17th century when the Satsuma daimyo invaded Okinawa and imposed a no-weapons law against the peasantry. Some say that the nunchaku was inspired by the rice flail or the horse bridle, with some origins coming from China. Another theory is that the weapon was adapted from a night watchman’s signaling device and billy club. This is just my way of altering history to tell a story. You’ll see this a lot in future chapters.