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Author Topic: El-Hazard Round Robin, Part 2  (Read 9762 times)
MrWhat
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« Reply #105 on: January 26, 2004, 06:45:27 PM »

OOC:  Angst alert!



Bill, anonymous lowly young Phantom Tribe minion, was greatly troubled.

He had just passed clone-Kauru in a hallway near the main research labs in "Kingfisher."  And he was greatly troubled to see the young clone girl stumbling along, feeling her way against a wall, hanging her head, wearing a heavy bandage over her eyes, breathing raggedly with shock and pain-- and weeping tears of blood.  Her hands were stained with her own blood.  She was unknowingly painting the wall with her own blood.

Bill didn't know that she was the backup copy clone of Kauru.  He also didn't know that Nahato's clone-Kauru had just died.  But it was just as well that he didn't know those things, because they would have only troubled him all the more.

He suddenly made a decision.  A few minutes later, he was knocking at Alyssa's door.

He found Alyssa sitting on her bed, holding the lifeless but still warm body of Nahato's clone-Alielle.  Alyssa closed clone-Alielle's eyes, carefully set the body aside, and arranged it on the bed.  Then she stood up, went to Bill's side, and softly cried into his shoulder.

"Alyssa?" said Bill.  "It's not your fault."

"I know," Alyssa sniffed.  "But I am a Tribesman.  My Tribe did this.  They created her, only to leave her to die, within hours.  If she had not come to me again, she would have died alone and forgotten...

"Oh, Bill.  I don't want to do this any more.  I know we would have killed all the humans and the Bugrom, if their Makoto had not repaired our damage to the Eye of God.  But... to hold that poor little girl in my arms, and watch her die... and for what?  It's senseless, Bill!  It's stupid!"

Bill held Alyssa tightly.  "I know.  They're torturing the water priestess clone.  They put out her eyes.  It's madness."

"Bill?  I don't care if our ancestors were wronged, thousands of years ago.  I don't care if we're heretics.  I don't care if all the rest of El-Hazard fears and hates us.  None of that justifies any of this.  And we can't stop it, but we don't have to be a part of it.

"Let's leave, Bill.  Just you and me.  Let's find someplace far, far away from this madness.  Someplace where She Who Seeth Through Our Illusions will never go.  Someplace where we can use our illusions to become permanently human, and then never use our illusions again.  Someplace where we can live in peace."

Bill smiled, and tenderly kissed Alyssa's forehead, and brushed away her tears.  "Oh, Alyssa.  You read my mind."



The Other was not good.  However, like many antagonists, it was not all bad, either.

It cared little for Nahato, and it cared not at all if Hassad and Khamid brought about the Cloud of Tears instead of Nahato.  And it cared little about the clones-- to its minds, they were only tools, and some tools would be damaged or broken.

And yet, some of the individual minds within The Other had once been young, and in love.

The Other quietly resolved to let Bill and Alyssa leave in peace, and even to mask their escape, if needed.  They were not crucial to The Other's plans.  And there truly was too little happiness in the world.



The candidates' debate was winding down.  Makoto's Ifurita had come to the party late, due to Makoto's troubles with his new flying carpet.  She had greeted her other friends in the audience just after Shayla had stepped away for a moment.

Shayla was alone in the Mice Wearing Hats Party's back room.  She paced to and fro in the small room, and she nervously fingered the Love potion that Millie had given her in return for her public endorsement.

According to Millie, it wasn't a love potion.  It was a Love potion, with a big 'L'.  Certainly, sweet sweet lovin' the whole night through was part of the package.  But this was far more than that.  This was bigger, and deeper, and a whole lot more scary, than anything Crayna had mixed up for sale without a prescription.

This was profoundly emotional Love.  This was spending every moment of your lives together Love.  This was accepting your partner, and sharing yourself with your partner, until the Two become One forever, Love.

This was soul-mate Love.

Of course, Shayla had been thinking of using it on Makoto, and on herself.  But that raised two important questions.

Was it right to use it on Makoto?  She was sure that Makoto was fond of her, at least, as a good friend.  But this would sweep all inhibitions, all reservations, all rational thought, aside.  If she used this potion on Makoto, he would Love her, with a big 'L', and he would instantly forgive her for using it on him.  But... that still wouldn't make it right.

Less importantly, but more selfishly, was it right to use it on herself?  Was she sure, was she really sure, that she wanted this?  She literally held her fate in her hands, and for all she knew, there was no turning back.  She was still so young.  Life still had so much to offer her.  And she still had doubts.  She was constantly doubting herself.

And as for Ifurita...

"Shayla?  Hello?  Shayla?"

Shayla turned with a gasp, to see Makoto's Ifurita looking back at her with concern.  "Are you alright?  Pardon the idiom, but you seem as if you have the weight of the world on your shoulders."

Shayla laughed nervously.  "Oh, uh, just thinkin' 'bout stuff.  You know how hard it is, to get somethin' through my thick skull."

Ifurita put a suprisingly soft and warm hand on Shayla's shoulder.  "Oh, Shayla.  Do not say things like that."  

Shayla involuntarily winced.  Ifurita quickly pulled her hand away.  "Oh.  I am sorry.  Are you injured?"

"No, no," Shayla said with another nervous laugh.  She stuffed the Love potion deeper in her pocket, praying that the damned machine couldn't detect it.  "You just startled me.  I'm... sorry, Ifurita.  I guess I'm just a little off today.  Uh, where's Makoto?"

Ifurita smiled a surprisingly impish smile.  "He is attempting to learn how to control a new artifact.  It appears to be some sort of flight device.  Makoto declined my help, just before he disappeared over the horizon.  But I am sure that he is alright."

Now, Shayla thought.  Say it.  Say it now.  For once, just once in your sad little life, be honest with yourself, and accept what you really want, and act on it.  Say it.  Say it.  Say it...

Shayla stammered.  But, for once, she said it.  "Uh, Ifurita?  Could I ask you a, uh, personal question?...  Are you and, uh, Makoto, uh... alright?"

Ifurita raised an eyebrow.  "Of course.  Why would we not be so?"

"Uh, it's none of my, uh, business, but, uh, I, uh, heard rumors that, uh, Makoto, and, uh, the other Ifurita, uh--"

Ifurita held up a hand to cut her off.  "Do not trouble yourself, Shayla.  I know what has happened between Makoto and my younger sister.  We have yet to discuss the matter, but rest assured, it will not come between Makoto and myself.  I know it was not truly of their doing.  I love him too much to let such a minor thing divide us."

She already knows, Shayla thought.  She knows about the other Ifurita.  And she must truly love Makoto, to forgive him so quickly.  She must love him so much.  I would have already torn his still-beating heart from his chest.  But Ifurita the demon god, the damned cold soulless machine, loves him so much that she's already forgiven him.

And she must know about me, Shayla thought.  She must have already forgiven me, too.  Oh, God...

"Uh, 'scuse me," Shayla suddenly said.  "I gotta... go talk to Af'ra 'bout somethin'."  She abruptly turned away, and strode out of the room.

Ifurita watched Shayla leave with a sad little smile.  She wasn't absolutely sure, but she could guess what Shayla wanted to talk about with Afura.



Bill and Alyssa stopped, and turned back, and looked behind them.  They both looked back at Kingfisher, with unreadable expressions on their faces.

They both stood in the flat barren lands at the edge of the Great Desert of Bleached White Bones, in a world that was not their own, and looked back at what was the closest thing to a home that they might ever have in their lives.  A full moon cast a long cold shadow behind Kingfisher.  But they had just come out of the dark shadow.  And the night was still young, and warm.

Nahato's clone-Ura was with them.  The degenerative disease that had claimed Nahato's other two clones had not affected it.  Perhaps its feline genetics were immune to the disease.  Or maybe it truly had nine lives.  It had begged Bill and Alyssa to take it with them, and they had quickly agreed.

Bill and Alyssa finally turned their backs on Kingfisher, and on the Phantom Tribe.  Clone-Ura jumped up, took its armor form around Bill, and extended one long paw around Alyssa's shoulders.  Bill felt for Alyssa's hand, took it and squeezed it.  Alyssa squeezed back.

And they left the Phantom Tribe to its madness, never to return.



Shayla stopped, and turned back, and looked behind her.  She looked back at the debate hall, with an unreadable expression on her face.

She heard a round of applause.  Guess the debate is over, she thought.  I wonder how it came out.  Ah well, it don't matter.  Any one of the five of 'em is as prone to screw the place up as badly as the others.

It don't matter anyway, Shayla thought.  With luck, I'll be outta the former Alliance in a few days.  Heh, Afura just had her journey of self-discovery not too long ago, and who knows where that drip of a water priestess has got to.  'Bout damn time I went on walkabout myself, I guess.

I wish I could have talked to Afura.  I guess I should've at least said goodbye.  But she an' Ishiel were half-asleep, leaning against each other, with big stupid smiles on their faces.  They looked so happy together...

I hope Ishiel is a better best-friend for Afura than *I* was, Shayla thought.

Shayla tossed Millie's still-capped Love potion through a sewer grate at her feet.  Won't be needin' that, she thought.  Maybe someone who truly deserves Love will find it and use it.  God only knows, *I* don't deserve it.

She turned her back on the debate hall, and on Floristica, and on her friends.  Shayla would probably return sooner than she expected, seeing as how the Round Robin had a way of pulling background characters back in without warning.  But maybe she could still get a few days of self-indulgent drunken lonely self-pity in, first.
« Last Edit: January 26, 2004, 09:56:24 PM by mrwhat » Logged
rowan_a._seven
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« Reply #106 on: January 30, 2004, 09:40:35 PM »

Makoto's magic carpet ride came to an abrupt end as the flying object in question entered a cave at blinding speeds, zigzagged over and under legions of stalactites and stalagmites at frightening speeds, twisted and turned through the rocky maze of tunnels so many times that even Groucho's navigational sense gave up trying to keep track of their path, and finally jerked to a near instantaneous stop in the middle of a chamber illuminated by glowing minerals.  Jinnai, Makoto, and Groucho were hurled from the carpet and crashed into a wall, landing on the ground in a ludicrous pile of tangled limbs.

"Owwww...my head..." Jinnai groaned piteously, mind spinning as she tried to collect herself and stiffening in fear when it dawned on her that she had no idea who she was.  Opening her eyes in panic, the first thing the amnesiac, aquatransexual despot saw was the reassuring visage of Makoto's apologetic but kind face.

Fortunately, before this horrifying scenerio could go anywhere, Groucho accidentally bopped the tyrant on the head, completely restoring her memory.

"Ow, my head!...Again!  Gr, Groucho you idiot!  What did you do that for?!" Jinnai screeched, glaring at her faithful servitor and squirming as she attempted to extricate herself from the heap of bodies.

Now it was Makoto's turn to have a horrible realization as it occurred to him that the female wriggling against him was none other than the President of Shinonome High.  "Jinnai?!" he yelled in equal parts disgust and surprise.

Jinnai froze and slowly refocused her vision on Makoto.  "Mizuhara?  What are you doing here..."  The despot trailed off as it sank in that her destined rival's body was pressed rather tightly against her own.  Needless to say, she wasn't pleased about this.

"Pervert!"  

SLAP!

BAM!

Jinnai's 'Love Hina' reaction violently removed Makoto from the human/bugrom mound and sent him careening into another rock wall.  The female Jinnai then untangled herself from Groucho and stood up, dusting herself off and fuming.  "Gr!  How dare you molest me like that, Mizuhara!  I knew you were a base, detestable, parasitic creature, but I see now that was only the surface of your depravity!  When I get back to Florestica I'll throw you in a dungeon so deep that you'll never see the light of day and have the chance to perform your perverted antics again!  Grr...I shudder at the thought of the things you've likely done to my sister!  I'll have to commit her to a psychiatric ward to undo the damage you've inflicted upon her mind!  Mark my words, Mizuhara, I'm going to-"

"What's...that?" Makoto interrupted Jinnai's rant, weakly pointing at what looked like an inscription carved in stone as he attempted to ignore the pain he was in and staggered to his feet.  "It looks like...Ancient El-Hazardian script, but unfortunately that language is lost.  Not even Dr. Schtalubaugh knows how to read it."

"Which only goes to _prove_ my superiority, Mizuhara," Jinnai spoke haughtily, smirking smugly.  "Translating this inscription is child's play for me."

Makoto blinked, stunned, and turned to face his enemy.  "Jinnai, do you mean to tell me that you know the language of the Ancients?"

Jinnai laughed maniacally.  "Of course I do, Mizuhara.  What, did you think I spent _all_ my time *shudder* recompiling Bugrom forces, training the Bugrom army, rebuilding the Bugrom Empire, concocting schemes to conquer the world, and torturing you vicariously via a voodoo doll?  Ha!  Ancient artifacts and technologies are resources I'd be a fool to overlook, so in between my other duties I spent the time and effort necessary to decipher the language by pouring over the runes and texts found in Kalia's tomb."

"Zroot ka bina adi go," Groucho piped up helpfully, earning another glare from Jinnai.

"Yes, Groucho, thank you _so_ much for reminding me about the translation program the tomb's computers had installed on them," Jinnai muttered sarcastically.  "Honestly, whatever would I do _without_ you?"

"Bebop," Groucho replied gratefully, taking Jinnai's words at face value as he was wont to do.

Makoto shook his head and sighed.  "Regardless, if you really _can_ understand the Ancient tongue, then what does this inscription say?"

Jinnai, unable to skip the chance to show Makoto up, grinned and translated the stone carving.  "Enter ye who seek knowledge of this world for within this mountain's heart lies the Atlas of El-Hazard.  Therein all mysteries are answered and locations revealed, from the Palace of Infinity to the Holy Seminary's secret, second retreat that is even more fan-servicey than the Spring of Arliman.  However, beware the Black Beast of Aaauugh."

"That's an odd way to trail off," Jinnai commented before shrugging and smirking triumphantly at Makoto.  "Well well well, who's the smarter one _now_, Mizuhara?  I think this shows beyond a doubt once and for all that-"

The ground shook, and the sound of giant, booming footsteps drawing closer could be heard.  From the entrance the carpet had flown through emerged a monstrous, terrifying scaled beast, draconic in nature and drooling hungrily.

The Black Beast of Aaauugh had awakened.

******

"Coffee," Dr. Semimad nearly spat as he set down his mug.  "I'm actually drinking _coffee_ now.  Oh, how the mighty have fallen..."

Sighing, the Minister of Highly Unusual but Surprisingly Effective Tortures, Campaign Manager for Rune Venus' election bid, and now part-time psychologist examined his office, making sure everything was in place before his patient arrived and running through several mental exercises to keep his mind awake and alert.  It wouldn't do to fall asleep during the first session, no matter how tempting it might be to drown his frustrations and exhaustion in the land of dreams.  At least after tomorrow's election he should have some time off and be able to relax for a bit and maybe even take his wife out for dinner.  He'd been hearing great things about this new restaurant lately...

The sound of the door opening halted his musings, and Dr. Semimad smiled kindly as a shaky Ifurita-3, wearing Diva's white outfit from OAV2 that she had loaned her out of compassion, entered his workplace, making sure he kept his eyes on her face.

"Greetings, Ifurita.  Empress Diva has informed me that you could use some counseling right now, and I will do my best to help you work through your trauma and despair.  Now, this will likely be a lengthy process, requiring much time and effort, but rest assured that I won't give up and abandon you.  As a doctor, I take my responsibilities _very_ seriously.  And don't worry about the bill.  It's been waived, courtesy of Empress Diva," Dr. Semimad said gently and reassuringly.  "Would you care to lie down on the couch so we can get started?"




Edit:  I finally figured out how to insert hyperlinks (and am now thoroughly embarrassed at how easy it is), so I figured I might as well replace the made-up on the spot Guardian of Aaaaaagggh for the Python's Black Beast of Aaauugh.
« Last Edit: February 01, 2004, 02:06:04 PM by rowan_a._seven » Logged
MrWhat
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« Reply #107 on: February 01, 2004, 07:24:53 PM »

Ifurita-3 sat on Dr. Semimad's office couch, but she did not relax, much.  She still held her arms around herself nervously, and she shyly folded her legs under herself, to curl up on her side.

Dr. Semimad settled into a comfy chair at the head of the couch, and took up a notepad and a quill pen.  "Now then, my dear.  Why don't you tell me a little about yourself.  Your fan-fiction origins make you something of a mystery to me.  Why don't you tell me a little about your family."

"I never had a family," Ifurita-3 said distantly.  "I was created in a laboratory.  The other two Ifurita units are my sisters, but I did not meet them for thousands of years."

"Oh.  Er, I'm sorry.  What kind of a childhood did you have?"

"I never had a childhood," Ifurita-3 said.  "I came into this world full-grown, albeit naked and covered with sticky semi-transparent goo, in a requisite fan-servicey way."

Dr. Semimad sighed.  "Perhaps this isn't the best approach.  I understand that you are upset because of a tryst with a young man, and that you still feel strongly attracted to him.  Perhaps you might feel like talking about your past relationships?"

Ifurita-3 sniffled pathetically, and began to cry.  "I never had any other relationships!  I have always been alone, and I shall continue to be alone!"

Dr. Semimad groaned.  He made a mental note to put on another pot of coffee.  This was going to take awhile.



"A greenhouse?" Dall asked.

"Yup."  Ryoko ushered him into a large wide building a few kilometers from Floristica.  It was in disrepair, with many windows broken out, raised plots of dirt churned up or cast aside, and plants either long dead or growing wild and unpruned.

Ryoko flew through the building, found a flowering plant, and hovered over it.  "We can buy this place for a song, Dall.  And the Bugrom are tireless construction workers, but they don't have much talent at landscaping.  If the economy doesn't collapse, we're looking at a real opportunity here.  And if the economy does collapse, well hey, we can grow our own food, and be self-sufficient until things get better."

She plucked one flower and put it in her hair, then drifted back towards Dall.  "It won't be easy, hon," she said.  "Even with a demon god to help you out, there's a lot of hard work to be done here.  The building needs lots of repairs... all these raised plots have to be put in order... and we'll have to haul our own water until we can afford to repair the irrigation system.  And you're have to learn how to run a business, Dall.  You'll learn how difficult it can be to earn a living."

Dall was thoughtful.  "And the benefits?"

Ryoko drifted back to Dall's side, put her hands on his shoulders and hung against him.  "Why, you get to work in a peaceful, quiet and beautiful place, with your very own demon god at yer side.  And you'll become a productive member of society, and a better man, to boot."

Dall grinned at her, and with a nod, he accepted the challenge that Ryoko had laid out for him.  "Life is good in the greenhouse," he said.



There was only one tavern that was good enough for Crayna-Crayna, retired High and Mighty Great Priestess of Fire.

That is to say, there was only one tavern that had a sufficient supply of alcohol to meet her advanced needs.  Only this tavern, which happened to be within a few kilometers of several vineyards, three major distilleries, and a few dozen moonshine stills, was up to the challenge.

But today, this tavern was to be tested as never before.  It also happened to be in a small rural village along the main route from Floristica to the Damn Volcano.  And so it was that Crayna came in, on her way into town, at the same time that Shayla came in, on her way out of Floristica.

Nanami parked Crayna's hovercraft (which had been repaired off-scene since it had broken down), then came in, to find the two fire priestesses sitting at the bar, sadly staring at each other.  Neither of them had said a word.  They both recognized the look of a woman who had lost her man-- albeit an alien goody-goody teenaged boy with harem-ic powers, in Shayla's case, and an ancient and incredibly powerful male demon-god boy-toy, in Crayna's case.

Without saying a word, they both turned back to the bar.  The bartender, realizing that two fire priestesses were about to try to get blind stumbling drunk at the same time in his tavern, sweat-dropped.

"Two beers, bartender," Crayna said.

"I'll take two beers too," Shayla said.



A small dimensional portal appeared near the illegal Creterian road-side dump.  A rather frazzled Peorth stepped through the portal, and closed it behind her with a sigh.

She had just been through an ordeal that would have broken many women.  And even the Splendiloquent Peorth had her limits.  And yet, her opponents had greatly under-estimated her.

After the half-a-dozen Yume robots had had their fan-servicey way with her, she had carefully read over the standard babump.com filming release forms before signing them.  And she had bargained with the dophin-bear cameraman for a higher modeling fee, and gotten it.  Peorth was worth it, and she knew it.

And then, after the dolphin-bear cameraman had left, Peorth had turned the tables on her abductors, and exacted her terrible fan-servicey revenge.

As a wacky Yggdrasil goddess, Peorth was able to draw on many obscure branches of knowledge.  For example, she had a complete working knowledge of Bat-Traps, from her extensive study of 1960s TV shows.  And she had used this knowledge to trap the half a dozen wacky super-genius robot cat-girls in a hideously fan-servicey Siamese Human Knot.

Peorth smiled to herself.  It should take those Yume robots thousands of years to wriggle free, she thought.  And they're harmlessly sealed away in their own little pocket universe now, to wriggle to their fuzzy little fan-servicey hearts' content.

Well, what now?, she thought.  Perhaps I should try to find the Doctor, to try to redeem myself, after failing him so badly before--

Peorth heard someone clear their throat.  She turned, and gasped, to see what could only be the new Eleventh Doctor, with a rather frazzled Tina at his side.  The poor Time Lord must have regenerated again, she thought.  But... this new regeneration is très bizarre!!
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« Reply #108 on: February 11, 2004, 11:38:31 PM »

"Run...*pant*...away," Jinnai gasped, chest heaving and clothes soaked with perspiration as she ran around the chamber for what seemed like the thousandth time.

"We are and...*hack* have been for the last...*cough*...hour or so," Makoto choked out, body screaming with exhaustion as he forced himself to continue through sheer force of will.

"Zoot kaba," Groucho commented calmly, not looking the least bit winded and easily keeping pace with his master.

"Good...for you," Jinnai muttered sarcastically, glaring at her servant.  "Remind *pant* me again why *gasp* I'm not riding you?"

"ROAR!

As one, the group of three turned their heads around and stared at the horrifying (and frighteningly nearby) visage of the Black Beast of Aaauugh.

"Oh yeah...that's *cough* why," Jinnai said, desire for survival enabling her to speed up slightly.  A devious look crossed her face.  "Remind...*pant* me again why I *gasp* don't trip Mizuhara so that *cough* I can escape while the monster is *pant* chewing on his bones?"

"Because...I'm the only one who can *gasp* control the carpet that *cough* brought us here?" Makoto pointedly reminded his arch nemesis.

Fortunately for the two wanderers and Bugrom, as the horrendous Black Beast lunged forward and escape seemed hopeless, the Black Beast of Aaauugh suddenly suffered a fatal heart attack.

"Roar."

The dragon toppled over, dead, and its would-be victims collapsed, pleased to finally have a chance to catch their breaths.

"Hahaha...*cough* Hahaha!  No mere monster can defeat *gasp* me!  I've got God on my side!  Bwhahaha *gasp*!" Jinnai weakly crowed.

"I think it's *pant* far more likely that *hack* all this running around was as hard on *gasp* the dragon as *cough* it was on us," Makoto suggested tiredly.

"Aznot bau mi," Groucho piped up, adding his own two cents to the conversation.

Unfortunately for them, the aforementioned running around and sheer force behind the Black Beast of Aaauugh's fall were also very hard on the ground, as evidenced by it cracking and breaking apart around them.

"Mizuhara, I'll get you for this!" Jinnai screeched as the unlikely trio fell through a dark abyss.

"Zoot!" Groucho shouted.

"I'm going to die!" Makoto wailed in his typical trademarked fashion.

Darkness rushed up to meet them.

******

Deep within Bugrom territory, two Phantom Tribe scouts entered the Dollmaker's last laboratory and whistled in wonder at the sheer destruction that greeted them.  To say that a tornado had come by and wrecked everything would be an understatement.  

"I do say, my friend, that it'll be a miracle if we find _anything_ useful in this mess," the first scout mentioned nonchalantly, taking out a scientific scanner and taking some readings.  "Whatever happened to this place certainly did a thorough job."

"Irrelevant.  The Cloud of Tears must be here somewhere.  Otherwise Lord Galus never would've commanded we search for it.  We shall find this Ancient weapon and finally have our revenge on all those that have wronged us!  Glory to the Phantom Tribe!  Bwhahahaha!" the second scout retorted enthusiastically, a tinge of madness in his voice as his eyes danced around their surroundings, thoroughly examining every nook and cranny.

"You always have been a zealot," the first scout muttered under his breath, rolling his eyes and then blinking as his scanner picked up something.  "Hey, I'm getting a reading.  Apparently there's still an active power source coming from that direction," he reported, pointing at a nearby heap of shrapnel.

"Excellent.  Vengeance is only a matter of time now, and soon the humans will know our pain!  Let's go!" the second Phantom Triber commanded, hurriedly bounding over to where his partner had indicated and stopping in horror as he laid eyes on what was on the other side of the shrapnel crest.

The first scout joined him and likewise blanched.  Silence reigned as the two Phantom Tribers took in the awful sight before them and realized that there were things even too awful for them to contemplate.

The mutilated, disfigured, and lacerated skeleton of the Demon God Kain (or at least what remained of it) greeted them, a mute testament to the terror and ferocity of a berserk Ifurita unit.

"I...think I'm going to be sick," the second scout said after a long moment, turning an unflattering shade of green.

This snapped the first Phantom Triber out of his stupor, and he looked at his scanner again.  "Well, at least this isn't the power source I was picking up.  That still lies ahead of us.  C'mon, let's retrieve this 'Cloud of Tears' device before we're traumatized any further and have to seek psychological counseling."

******    

Author's Note:  Since this round robin seems to be dragging again, would anybody mind if I ended the election?  I think I've figured out a way to resolve that particular subplot in a way agreeable to the "heroes", and then we can focus more on the Phantom Tribe and Palace of Infinity (hopefully).
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« Reply #109 on: February 16, 2004, 09:55:28 PM »

He probably would never have admitted it to himself, but the truth of the matter was that Makoto was starting to get a little accustomed to the weirdness going on around him.  On some unconscious level, in fact, he thought that he wouldn't be too surprised by whatever he saw when he opened his eyes, no matter how horrible it was.

That was a very inaccurate assumption.




Millie stood in a vast auditorium on front of an enormous picture of herself, beaming at the cheering crowds.      

Millie grinned at her audience.  "It is no secret that I entered upon this campaign with no thought that I could be elected ruler of Roshtaria!  It is now no secret that every straw vote, every independent poll, shows that I will be elected."

The crowed roared.

"I began this campaign with only one purpose:  to point out and make public the dishonesty and downright villainy of Boss Queen Diva, now in control of the Allied Kingdoms.  I made no campaign promises because until now I had no hope of winning.  Now I have something more than a hope... and Boss Queen Diva has something less than a chance.

"And I repeat to you - my first official act as ruler will be to appoint a special council of Bugrom demon gods to arrange for the indictment, prosecution, and conviction of Boss Diva!"

The audience supplied a standing ovation on cue.


"Good Grief," exclaimed Makoto as he opened his eyes, "what a strange place!"

"Strange place!"

"Strange place!"

"Strange place!"

Makoto just about jumped out of his skin at the echo.  He made a mental note to keep his voice down.

The only other person nearby sighed a long-suffering sigh.  "Just once," he muttered, "I would like a guest that says 'oh, this is exactly what I expected'."

They were in a vast chamber that seemed to go on forever in all directions.  Somewhere far above there must have been light sources, but Makoto couldn't make them out.  

The primary feature of the chamber was the shelves.  Oh, there were beautifully tiled floors, and pillars decorated with wondrous mosaics and arabesques, but the shelves were what caught the eye.  It was impossible to ignore them for the simple fact that they were everywhere.  There were more shelves than Makoto could ever have hoped to count, as far as the eye could see.  And on each shelf there were boxes.

Makoto gulped as he looked at the person on front of him.  The stranger looked a little bit like a cross between Londs and Dr. Schtalubaugh.  There was something very academic about him, but at the same time he gave off Londs' aura of extreme tidiness, right down to the perfectly groomed beard.  Along with his vaguely Arabian clothing, the stranger wore a nametag with his photograph on it, held a clipboard with a checklist on it, and was apparently pushing a cart piled high with the same type of boxes that were on all the shelves.

Makoto strongly suspected he wasn't human, because he had four arms.  Two were being used to put a very large box on a shelf while another two were marking the checklist.

Makoto unsteadily rose to his feet, and looked around for Jinnai.  But he was nowhere to be seen.  "I am very sorry if I offended you," apologized Makoto.  "Who are you?  Where is this place?"

The four-armed man began to push his cart in Makoto's direction, looking at the shelves.  Makoto followed his gaze and noticed that each shelving unit had a number written on it up high.  "I am Dao," said the stranger.  "This is Stores.  Storage.  How did the Beast of Agggh die?"

"Heart attack, I think."

"Ah.  It's that stupid high-fat low-carb diet it was on.  Awful for the heart."

Makoto looked around.  He really didn't want to be rude, but he wanted to get back to Ifurita.  "Can you tell me how to get out of here?" he asked.

"Probably," said Dao, lifting one of the boxes up onto a shelf.  "Here in Stores you can find the answer to just about everything.  But you wouldn't like how I would answer you."

Makoto frowned.  "Why not?"

Dao sighed and pulled at his beard.  "Because I can only answer you in one of two ways.  I can either give you information that is essentially useless to you, like pointing out that Dao refers to earth, Efreet to fire, Djinn to air, and Marid to water... the Palace of Infinity is upside down for some reason... Mice with hats like having their ears scratched..."

"Or?" supplied Makoto.  He made another mental note about this 'Palace of Infinity' place he kept hearing about.  In all honesty though, he had absolutely no reason to want to know about it.  All he cared about was getting back to Ifurita and making sure all his friends were okay.  He wasn't about to go off on some quest without good cause.  

"Or I can give you information by saying stuff like 'beware the eight' or  'the answers you search can come from the stars above'.  You know, speaking in riddles.  Then when you figure it out you'll be like 'Ohhhhh, thaaat's what he meant, stars abooove'."

"I only want to get out of this place!  Can't you give me any useful information" replied a slightly exasperated Makoto.

"Sorry, I'm only allowed give the kind of advice that makes you frustrated.  My creators had a mean sense of humor.  For instance, they made me want to be a gardener.  Huh.  Think you can grow any plants in this place?  Not likely."

Makoto looked around, trying to see something, anything, that might indicate a way out.  Unfortunately there were only shelves and boxes.




"You know how we were sent here to retrieve the Cloud of Tears generator?" asked the first Phantom Tribe scout.

"Yep," said the second.

"You know how Nahato wanted us back, as soon as possible?"

"Yep."

"You know how we've got that massive flying skiff to carry it on?"

"Yep."

"I don't think it's gonna fit."

The second scout lay down on the floor and looked as far down into the darkness as he could.  The bottom of the generator was just barely visible.  The rest of it filled the deep chasm right up to his eye level.  "No, I don't think so either."




"What in blazes?" growled Jinnai as he opened his eyes.  "Where am I?  Groucho, get your chitinous behind off my face!"

"Braglogawancha."

"Behind, thorax, abdomen, whatever!  Just get off me!"  Jinnai unsteadily rose to his feet, and looked around for Makoto.  But the accursed saboteur was nowhere to be seen.  

Jinnai took in his surroundings.  He was in a vast low-ceilinged chamber that seemed to go on forever, covered in stalactites and stalagmites .  He was also damp... from warm water for that matter, which explained his current shape.

The primary feature of the chamber was the water.  Oh, there were beautifully tiled floors and pillars decorated with wondrous mosaics and arabesques, but the elegant pools of water were what caught the eye.  Light sources were apparently under the water, illuminating the chamber with soft soothing light.  There were more of these pools than Jinnai could ever have hoped to count, as far as the eye could see.  

Someone suddenly leapt from one of the pools, somersaulting (narrowly missing one of the dripping stalactites [or was that stalagmites?] that covered the ceiling) and landed right on front of him.  She was quite beautiful, and clothed in... well, streamers of water that seemed to be floating around her, occasionally coalescing into vaguely-Arabic garb.  

"Hello," she purred, leaning against a stalagmite (or was that stalactite?) languidly, her voice and gestures utterly fluid.  "Welcome to Files and Records.  I am Marid."

"You're a demon god!" exclaimed Jinnai, thrusting a finger at her accusingly.

"What gave that away?" she responded as a streamer of water briefly formed a veil over her face.

Jinnai ignored her question and looked around.  "Why are these pools here?"

"In those pools I can show you almost anything.  Almost anything.  They were built with almost none of the filters that prevent you from seeing everything.  Almost none of the filters, not like a certain know-it-all showoff bird..."

The finger once more thrust in her face.  "Anything?  Then show me weapons!  Show me the secrets of the ancients!  Show me-"

Marid languorously moved his finger aside.  With her exceptionally long leg.  In a way that would have resulted in a lethal nosebleed in most heterosexual males.  Dictionaries would have done well to include a picture of her beside the word 'seductress'.

"Jinnai," she breathed (not bothering for him to introduce himself), "I'm afraid it doesn't work that way.  I was only programmed to give you riddles or useless information.  For instance..."




Makoto was hitching a ride on Dao's trolly.  The demon god apparently didn't mind, or at least he hadn't said anything yet.  There were only a few of these boxes left on the trolly, which meant that Dao would have to get a fresh batch soon.  And, Makoto hoped, that might mean that Dao would go somewhere that had a way back outside.

As a matter of fact Dao would be heading back to Files and Records for more boxes, and there was a way outside there.




Nahato sat quietly in his throne.  He was an assassin... he had killed before.  He had seen death many times in his brief lifetime.  But not like that.  Never like that.

His eyes betrayed him, drawing his gaze back to the figure shrouded by a thin white sheet.  Nobody had come to collect the clone-Kauru's body yet.  The Phantom Tribe were not used to dealing with bodies - they normally turned to vapor upon death.  But apparently the clone's body contained just enough alien DNA to prevent that.  It was so very different to watch someone that looked like one of his own people... dying like that... and remaining after death.  Horrible.

He tore his gaze away from the awful sight and shuddered.  His clone-slaves seemed similarly distraught.  Perhaps moreso, thought Nahato.  After all, they had never had any training to deal with death.  And she was much like them...

His ruminations were broken as Hassan and Khamid entered the room.  Nahato leapt to his feet angrilly.  "Do you see what you've done?  What went wrong?  There's a demon god that knows we're here, and he's going to want to know why his master is dead when he arrives!  I want answers, now!"

"Answers," grinned Hassan.  "Very well.  But I don't think you'll like them."

"No," agreed Khamid as Ibn Al-Zahad and their clones filed into the room, raising weapons and pointing them at Nahato.  "I don't think you'll like them at all."
« Last Edit: February 19, 2004, 01:42:12 PM by d.t. » Logged

"You're going to dump me, your childhood friend, for a little chippie with a precocious set of melons?!" -Nanami
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« Reply #110 on: February 20, 2004, 02:12:18 PM »

Garbed in a cloak of pitch blackness and chuckling maniacally, Princess Myuun marched regally through the back alleys of Florestica with an ax slung over her shoulder, every stride radiating confidence and burning purpose.  Had anybody stayed around long enough to identify her instead of running away in fear, she honestly wouldn't have cared.  At this point in the game her chances of winning the election were scarcely worth mentioning, and losing a few votes here and there because people thought she was crazy wouldn't change the outcome.  Her next actions, however, would.  

Reflecting on her scheme, Myuun smirked predatorily.  She'd done the calculations, fixed the end result, and now she only had to set the chain of events in motion.  Best of all, though, the Guide wouldn't be able to prevent it.  With the future blocked, one could only make predictions based on probability, but in a field of absolute uncertainty everything was equally probable and thus totally unpredictable.  True, she'd still lose the election, but so would Millie, and that was a trade off she was willing to make.  In her own way, the bratty war orphan was even more dangerous than the Bugrom Army and the Demon God Ifurita, and she posed a threat to Baron's well-being that could not be ignored.

Stanley Spadowski looked up as a dark shadow fell across him.  "What do you want, lady?" he questioned cautiously, a protective grasp on his mop.

"A bright future for this world and my country," Myuun answered with a wry chuckle.  "However, for the present, I'll settle for this."  With surprising strength and speed, Myuun slugged Stanley in the jaw with her free fist and grabbed the mop as Spadowski's grip weakened.

"That's my-" Stanley protested but was silenced by Myuun's piercing glare.  Looking into her red eyes was like looking into an endless fiery abyss, and for one moment his courage was burnt to a crisp.  A moment was all Myuun needed.

"Sleep," she commanded in a soft, musical voice that evoked the pleasures of sleep and the wonder of dreams.  Stanley drowsily nodded his head and laid down on the ground to rest.  He wouldn't get up for some time.

Looking around one last time to ensure that she was safe, Myuun set the mop down in front of her and hefted her ax above her head.  "What I do, I do for Baron!" she shouted as she swung the ax down hard and chopped the mop in two.  She then repeated this action again...and again...and again...and so on until finally, after what may have been hours or minutes, she stopped and surveyed her handiwork.

"This gives an entirely new meaning to the term 'swing voter'," Myuun commented with a laugh.

A veritable army of mops with arms responded with silence.

Something Good Had Come of This, after all.



******

Within the relatively safe confines of his office, Dr. Semimad reviewed his notes one last time and came to a conclusion.  Wearing a grave expression, he focused his attention on his patient who was still lying on the couch across from him and gave her an answer.  "Ifurita, I think I know what's wrong with you.  To be blunt, you have no life experience and thus no coping mechanisms for dealing with your own long suppressed humanity."

Noticing the irritation on his patient's face for making such an obvious statement, Dr. Semimad smiled in what he hoped was a reassuring manner.  "Please, hear me out, Ifurita.  What you need more than anything else right now is self-identity.  Who are you, really?  The Demon God Ifurita?  Ifurita the woman?  Ifurita the child?  All and none.  In order to effectively deal with your past, the world around you, and your own conflicting, overwhelming emotions, you must first learn who you truly are.  Unfortunately, confused as you are and with your lack of personal experience, you have no place to begin your journey of discovery.  A crash course in humanity is needed, and, fortunately, I believe I know of something that can help you.  Tell me, Ifurita, have you ever heard of Mr. Roger's Neighborhood?"

******

A public servant climbed the stage that had recently been erected in front of the royal palace and turned to face the crowed assembled before him, basking in their anticipation and expectant faces.  In his hand he held the latest and (with the election scheduled to end in five minutes) most likely conclusive election results.  The candidates were assembled behind him, waiting to hear the verdict.  Diva and Rune were worried, Ura was taking a nap, Millie was smirking confidently, and Myuun was grinning knowingly.

"My fellow citizens," he began excitedly, addressing his audience, "with polls scheduled to close in minutes and most of the votes counted, it gives me great pleasure to announce that, barring a miracle, the winner of this historic election is Mi-"

"Walking mops are swarming the booths en masse and voting!" interrupted another public servant who had just arrived, having run all the way to this gathering to inform his coworker of what was happening.

A murmur of confusion swept through the crowd, and the Guide nearly had a facial reaction.  Myuun suppressed a chuckle.

"Is...is that even legal?" the first public servant inquired after a few minutes of stunned incredulity.  "I mean, since when are walking mops registered voters?"

"Since the 25th year of the reign of King Azos Venus nearly 500 years ago," Londs asserted, forcing his way to the front of the crowd.  "If you investigate Roshtaria's civil code, you'll notice it is stated on page 5,891 in the second paragraph that walking mops possess full voting rights.  Granted, many accused King Venus of either being drunk or mad when he made these additions to the civil code, but as the rightful monarch his word was - and still is - law."

Another public servant arrived on the scene and calmly handed the first public servant a white envelope.  "The votes are all in and counted, sir.  In your hands is the final result."

Collecting himself, the first public servant readdressed the audience.  "Well, folks, looks like a miracle did happen after all.  This time, for certain, the winner of this historic election is...drum roll please..."

Somebody played the obligatory percussion sequence as the public servant tore open the envelope and removed the enclosed slip of paper.  A shocked look crossed his face.  "There is no precedent for what I'm about to announce, but seeing as how this election is also unprecedented, I suppose it all works out.  The _winners_ of this election are...Empress Diva and Princess Rune Venus by a tie!  You all know what this means, don't you?"

Ignoring Millie's look of outrage, he turned to face the two winners.  "Empress Diva and Princess Rune Venus, since the votes are tied, the new ruler of Roshtaria shall be chosen through the ancient Roshtarian Rite of Ascension.  Passed down to us from ancient times, this ritual pushes the mind, the body, and the spirit to the breaking point, and only the strongest will survive.  You two will compete against each other, and the winner will receive the mark of the gods and be appointed our new absolute leader.  I wish you both good luck."

The public servant made a hand gesture, and a tub with a radius of ten feet and height of three feet was carted out of a nearby building and brought to a stop in front of the stage.  It was filled with mud.

"Yes, folks, the ancient Roshtarian Rite of Ascension, dating back to the Ancients, is mud wrestling!  Now then, let's get it on!" he shouted enthusiastically as a gong rang out.

Diva looked at Rune.

Rune looked at Diva.

They both looked at the tub of mud.

As one, they pushed the public servant into the tub of mud.

"...How does a coalition government sound to you?" Empress Diva asked the Roshtarian monarch after a pregnant pause spent contemplating one another.  The public servant flailed wildly below them.

Princess Rune Venus spared the fuming Millie and the arena of mud a glance.  "Compared to the alternatives, it sounds wonderful...on the condition that I get my balcony back."

"Agreed," Diva concurred, offering Rune Venus her hand.  She accepted, and their pact was sealed by a handshake.  Together, the two joint rulers of Roshtaria waved to the crowd, thanked their supporters, and then headed for the palace to plan for the future of both their peoples.

Millie turned on the Guide, her eyes flashing with anger.  "You!  This is all your fault!  You promised that I'd win!"

"Let's not be hasty, Millie.  This only a temporary set-"

There are some laws that even beings who exist on twenty-two dimensions can't break.

POW!!!

The Law of 'Love Hina' punches is one of them.

And so it was that the Guide disappeared over the horizon, fading away in an anime cliche twinkle of light.

Myuun was able to refrain from laughing hysterically...for a full five minutes.  

« Last Edit: February 20, 2004, 02:20:52 PM by rowan_a._seven » Logged
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He's so excitingly bold!

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« Reply #111 on: February 23, 2004, 06:30:13 PM »

Dall-III was struggling with a tangled problem.  He was tangled up to his neck in thick vines that had grown wild along one side of the run-down greenhouse.  Ryoko had rolled her eyes and sighed, then flown in to help him.  But she quickly found herself as overwhelmed as Dall.  The vines seemed to have a mind of their own.

"Ryoko?" said Dall.  "I know I've been complaining constantly... but still, this place might be too much work for just the two of us."

"*mmmph*" said Ryoko.  She spat out a vine to agree with him.  "Yeah, maybe we could use some help--"

"Hello?  Excuse us?  Is there anyone here?"

Dall and Ryoko both looked behind them, and saw a disguised Bill, Alyssa and clone-Ura.

Ryoko's eyes narrowed.  As a True Demon God, she was able to see through Phantom Tribe illusions.  But she decided to see what the two Tribers wanted, before showing her hand.

Bill smiled, and held up a hand in greeting.  "Sorry.  We thought this place might be abandoned.  We're travellers, and we were looking for a place to stay for the night."

"'Ask and ye shall receive'," Dall said.  "We were just wishing for some help.  What say, you two give us a hand here, and in return, you can stay as long as you like."

Bill glanced at Alyssa.  She agreed with a nod.  "But," she said out loud, "may I ask what you two are doing?"

"We're trying to pull out these vines," Dall said.  "Why do you ask?  Do you have knowledge of these clinging vines?"

"Will all respect, apparently, more than you," Alyssa said.  "That's poison Roshtaria creeper.  Assuming you just started handling those vines?  You've both got about fifteen minutes to tear off those clothes and burn them, soak in a steaming hot shower, and then smother each other in calamine lotion.  Otherwise, you'll have a rash that itches so badly, it'll literally drive you insane."

"Oh, nut bunnies," said Dall and Ryoko.



Fatora and Alielle had returned to the seminary with Gatora and Hatora.  After Fatora had overheard Myuun's campaign pledge to throw Fatora in a dungeon for the rest of her natural life, she had petitioned Gatora and Hatora for political asylum.  (In her fear, Fatora had forgotten that, given her private toybox and a willing Alielle, Fatora could have passed the rest of her natural life in a dungeon quite happily.)

The fab-Fatoras' footsteps echoed in the empty seminary halls.  The female ninjas had not yet returned from their campaign of tackling hapless villagers and sitting on their heads.  That is to say, even though the threat of the white Bugrom had passed, the female ninjas were still tackling hapless villagers and sitting on their heads, now for the sheer hentai fun of it.

"You are now our guest, Sister Fatora," said Gatora.  "What would you like to do first?"

"How 'bout a snack?" Fatora asked.

"An excellent suggestion," Hatora said.  "Shall we adjourn to the ice cream bar?"

"Another excellent suggestion," Gatora said.  "Say, let's make Alielle a sundae!"

Alielle smiled in gratitude, but demurred.  "Er, thank you, Miladies, but I'm not hungry--"

"No, no," Gatora said.  "You misunderstand me, my dear Alielle.  I want to make you a sundae.  You should just about fit in our biggest bowl.  Then we'll smother you in chocolate syrup and whipped cream, and then..."

The fab-Fatoras, suddenly of one mind, advanced on Alielle as one, arms outstretched and open hands twitching.  Alielle trembled, partly in mild nervous fear, but mostly in happy excited anticipation.



Makoto still rode on Dao's trolley.   A single middle-sized nondescript box remained on the trolley in front of him.

"Mr. Dao?  What's in that box?" Makoto asked.  Dao did not answer him-- he was engrossed in reviewing the shelves, partly to find this box's place, and partly to make sure the shelves were in order.

Makoto couldn't abide a mystery.  He opened the box, reached into it, and somehow pulled out a second box that was somewhat larger than the first box.

Puzzled, he held up the second box, turning it in his hands.  Then he opened the second box.  It suddenly folded back on itself and disappeared into itself.

Makoto gulped.

He reached into the first box again, and pulled out a third box.  This box was much smaller than the first box-- it was only about the size of an engagement ring's box.

Makoto opened the third box, and he suddenly disappeared into it, in an impossible kind of way.  The tiny box then fell back into the first box, and the first box closed by itself.

Dao paid little attention to all of this.  He was only responsible for storing the boxes.  He was not responsible for safe-guarding the boxes' contents, and certainly not for safe-guarding anyone who was stoopid enough to actually go and open one of them.



Jinnai was doing his best to formulate a question that would force Marid to reveal the powerful weapons that obviously had been hidden in this place.  But, even with his pure evil genius, it wasn't easy.  He was singularly obsessed with conquest, but he was a healthy young heterosexual male, and prone to certain distractions.  And Marid persisted in exactly such distractions, doing incredibly distracting things with her arms and legs that would have given a circus acrobat a nosebleed.

Jinnai finally had had enough.  Desperate times call for desperate measures, he thought.  He suddenly ducked down, thrust his hands into one of the pools of knowledge, and splashed some cold water on himself.

Jinnai stood back up, and straightened her suit over her alternate shapely female figure, as best as she could.  "That's better," she said.  "Now, about those weapons--"

Marid smiled a wry smile.  "Oh, how fascinating!  You poor little fool, you must have been tinkering with a dreaded Demon God Factory.  Well, two can play at this game..."

Marid's aquatic clothing suddenly coalesced around her, in a small waterspout.  After a moment, the spout dissolved to a loin cloth,  revealing a male Marid-- a Marid so handsome that he made Ibn Al-Zahad look like Steve Urkel.

The broad-shouldered, muscular and breath-takingly handsome male Marid advanced on the female Jinnai.  "Now then, where were we?" he asked, in a deep seductive male voice.

Jinnai whimpered.  She suddenly found herself wishing that her female heart wasn't beating quite so fast...



Hassad and Khamid, Al-Zahad and the evil clones closed in on Nahato.  But Minagi suddenly stepped in front of Nahato.  She brandished her energy weapon, assumed a fighting stance, and growled in a cute yet dangerous kind of way.  "Stand back!" she said loudly.  "I serve Nahato, and I shall not allow you to harm him!"

Nahato gasped.  No one had ever cared what might happen to him before.  "Mi-- Minagi?..." he whispered.

Minage glanced over her shoulder, and gave Nahato a sweet big-sister smile.  "Fear not, Master.  These villains shall not-- *eep*"

The tall and muscular Al-Zahad walked up to the slight and suddenly trembling Minagi.  He had an expression that was partly sympathetic to Minagi, and partly annoyed with his own situation.  But his current allegiance to the blind clone Uruak, and to her masters Hassad and Kalid, was clear.

Al-Zahad held out one hand, extended his pinky finger, and, so gently, he pushed Minagi off her feet with a single finger.  She fell to the floor, collapsing into a fan-servicey pile of female demon god parts.  "Forgive me, Master Nahato," she whimpered face-down into her own chest.  "I have failed you."

"Now, then," Hassad said, a bit impatiently.  "'Lord' Nahato, we--"

"LORD NAHATO!!"

Everyone turned to an open doorway.  "Oh, what is it now?" Khamid snapped.

The two scouts had returned from Bugrom territory.  They were pulling a small machine on a hand cart between them.  "We have found the Cloud of Tears generator!" the first scout proclaimed.

Nahato gasped again.  "Is that it?"

"Er, no," the second scout said.  "The generator is a device larger than the Eye of God was, and it is buried more deeply than the Trigger of Destruction was.  But we have studied its construction, and we have produced this working model.  Of course, it is greatly limited in power and range.  But we assure you, it is fully functional."

The first scout gestured back to the machine.  "Behold-- The Lawn Sprinker Of Tears!!"

An uncomfortable silence fell over the room.

Hassad sighed.  "Don't those two idiots realize that the Phantom Tribe has finally moved past comedy relief, and returned to its bloody-minded and destructive evil ways?"

Nahato drummed his fingers.  "They must have been left out of the routing list on that memo."



The door to Crayna's hut opened, and the child-Creterian-Deva peeked in.  "Deeeeeva?" she said, in a small scared voice.

She had wandered all the way there by herself.  (The female ninja had tackled her and sat on her head once or twice, but quickly released her when she began to cry pitifully.)  She was now very alone... but something in Crayna's hut had beckoned to her, across the kilometers.

Chibi-Deva saw the insectoid-Kauru in a corner of Crayna's hut, still asleep, curled up and lightly buzzing to herself.  She sat at Kauru's side, rested her head on Kauru's shoulder, and went to sleep with a happy little smile, in a genuinely heart-warming kind of way.



A blind stumbling drunk Shayla and Crayna had left their bar-stools to take control of the bar.  Their bartender had decided to return to his much safer day-job of testing war munitions with a hammer in a Bugs Bunny kind of way.

Crayna offered Shayla a glass of something that was a road-construction danger-sign fluorescent orange color.  "Thish ish a li'l somethin' I learned ta make at volcano-watchin' school."

Shayla took the glass from Crayna, and downed it in one gulp.  "Ooooh!  It tingles!--"  Her eyes rolled back, and she fell flat on her back.

Crayna wobbily leaned over Shayla.  "Hey, kiddo, ya alright?  Yer not passin' out on me already, are ya?"

Shayla wobbily stood up again.  "Nah.  Jus' practicin' fer later.  Heh.  Heh heh.  Ha!  Ha ha!  Ha!..."

Crayna and Shayla hugged and laughed together, exactly like two old friends laughing at a joke that is much funnier when blind stumbling drunk.

Then Crayna gestured to the room.  "Itsa shame theresh no one else left ta drink wit' us..."  The few patrons that had not fled with the bartender had long ago passed out.  None of them had finished the first mixed drink set in front of them.  In fact, there was only one other conscious person left in the bar.

Nanami suddenly felt the hot eyes of two drunken fire priestesses on her.  She shrunk down behind her table, trying to hide behind the glass of water with a slice of lemon in front of her.

Shayla jumped over the bar, but tripped and fell flat on her face.  She quickly got up again, and stumbled towards Nanami.  "Oi, 'nami!  Yer not drinkin'?"

Crayna came up behind her, carrying another mixed drink that looked unusually potent.  "C'mon, hon.  Join th' party.  We won't drink alone!"

Nanami smiled a very nervous little smile.  "Um... I'm the... designated driver?"

"Aw, whad'ya talkin' bout?" Shayla said.  "We're spendin' th' night in th' back room.  Anyway, ya don't gotta drive nowhere.  Ya still gotcher axeily-pink battle-key plastic power staff."

Crayna frowned.  "That ain't right, hon.  Itsa 'powerful-axe battily-staff plastic pink key..."  She and Crayna both burst into drunken laughter again.  Nanami breathed out in relief.

But then, Shayla and Crayna both suddenly stopped laughing, stood over Nanami, and growled.  Crayna swept Nanami's glass of water aside, and pushed the mixed drink at her.

"DRINK," said Shayla.

A whimpering Nanami held out a trembling hand, took up the mixed drink, and took the smallest sip.  She slowly lowered her glass.

Nanami's eyes lost focus.  Her short spikey hair curled up a little, and steam cartoonishly blew from her ears.  She suddenly raised her glass again and drained it.  She held the empty glass out to Crayna, silently demanding more.

Crayna laughed with delight.  "Atta girl!  One refill, comin' up!"

As Nanami quickly "caught up" with her blind stumbling drunk friends, her plasticky pink battle-axe power-key-staff began to glow, in a soft and warm yet eerily dangerous kind of way.
« Last Edit: February 23, 2004, 08:44:04 PM by mrwhat » Logged
MrWhat
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He's so excitingly bold!

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« Reply #112 on: February 23, 2004, 08:44:43 PM »

OOC:  Continued from previous reply.  "Your message is too long. Please go back and shorten it, then resubmit."



Londs escorted the new co-rulers Rune Venus and Deva to the Floristica palace throne room.  The three of them sat on comfy cushions, breathed out and relaxed, and looked at each other expectantly.

Londs looked from his beloved Princess, the girl he still loved like a daughter, to the alien Bugrom Queen, the female humanoid that he most certainly did not love like a daughter.

In the uncomfortable silence, the three of them suddenly noticed the sound of crickets from the royal gardens.

Londs hung his head and sighed.  "Well.  I don't know how this could be any more awkward..."

Dr. Schtalubaugh came into the room, carrying a folded stack of cleaned and pressed white cloth taller than he was.  "Milady Deva?  Where did you want these Bugrom diapers?  And isn't it almost time for your next, uh, breeding session with Londs?...  Oh, hello, Milady Rune.  If you'd like to slip into something more comfortable, I've dry-cleaned your straitjacket."

Londs held his face in his hands and groaned.



A dejected Millie trudged back down through the sewers, to return to Gan-chan's throne room.

"Miss Millie?" asked Gan-chan.  "Did we not win the election?"

In a sudden burst of bratty anger, Millie bodily grabbed Gan-chan, held him up and glared into his beady little eyes, while squeezing him hard enough to pop his Hat off.  "Gan-chan?  Inform the Mice Wearing Hats and Giant Sewer Rats that I wish to launch an all-out attack on the Floristica palace in forty-eight hours."

"*ack eep*" said Gan-chan.

Millie gently tossed Gan-chan back to his throne, in a way that was more dejected again than angry.  "*hack gasp choke cough cough*" said Gan-chan.  "We prepared ourselves for all outcomes, Miss Millie.  We can begin military operations immediately."

Millie's shoulders slumped.  She answered without turning.  "No.  Give me a couple of days first, Gan-chan."

Gan-chan raised a whisker.  "Why?"

"The current writer ages me forward to eighteen years old in his mind for this round robin," Millie explained, "but I'm still essentially an annoying brat.  I don't handle setbacks very well.  And I need a couple of days to pout.  I'll be in my quarters, in my pajamas and in bed all day, eating dry cereal out of the box, re-reading old comic books, and playing music with angsty no-one-loves-me lyrics."

"Oh," said Gan-chan.  "Well, have fun...  Wait!  Where are Ladies Afura and Ishiel?"



Afura and Ishiel were both standing in front of the Floristica palace debate/election stage.  They had both remained after everyone else had left, and even after Bugrom workers had begun taking down the stage.  They both vacantly stared at the portable tub o' mud, long after the hapless public servant had struggled out of it.

Ishiel finally sighed, and turned to Afura with a sad smile.  "Well, so much for removing Deva from power, and so much for serving the Mice Wearing Hats.  What shall we do now, Afura?"

Afura didn't answer.  She was still staring at the tub o' mud.

Ishiel remembered Afura's dream, grinned, and rested a hand on Afura's shoulder.  "I bet I know what you're thinking," she whispered into Afura's ear, in a sing-song tone.

Afura suddenly came to her senses.  "Oh!  I'm sorry, Ishiel.  Um, I-- uh, that is--"

"Aw, why not."  Ishiel gestured back to the mud.  "Y'wanna wrassle?"

Afura's face turned very red.  "Ishiel!  Wha-- why--"

Ishiel turned to push the portable tub back into its building, for her and Afura's privacy.  "You've been a naughty girl, Afura.  You've helped lose the election.  I'm afraid that I have to punish you.  Besides, it's been a few days since I had a nice work-out.  And, as the earth priestess, I have to say, it'd be a shame to let this lovely mud go to waste.  Its texture is simply exquisite."

Afura was so overwhelmed with strange emotions that she scarcely trusted herself to speak.  "Uh, Ishiel?  Now that, uh, we're, uh, friends?  That doesn't mean that, uh, you'll, uh-- hold back?"

Ishiel winked, just as she and Afura disappeared into the building.  "No blood, Afura.  No life-threatening choke-holds.  And not too much pain.  But have no fear-- I'm still gonna kick yer skinny butt."

Afura grinned as she closed the doors behind them.  "Kewl."



A wing thrust itself out of a large pile of rocks, near the base of Mt. Lilicoco.  It was promptly followed by a slightly bruised body.  The recently surfaced figure shook its head a few times, as if to clear it, and then looked up at the sky.

"I knew that was going to happen," the Guide mumbled.

Its eyes widened comically as a giant boulder rolled off the cliff above it and followed the laws of gravity to their natural conclusion.

SPLAT!

"Ow ow I knew that ow ow was going to ow ow happen too ow," the Guide said, from under the boulder.

It heard someone clear its throat.  For the second time, it thrust its wing out, shifting the rubble above it to one side.  And when it saw who had followed it from Floristica to this desolate place, it gulped.

Schrodinger's Cat-Girl Jinnistacia was poised over it, much like a cat over a wounded bird.  Jinnistacia's ears were laid back, her assimilated tail was twitching, and she was drooling from a cartoonish cat-fangy grin.  Her eyes burned with the feline desire to pounce on her prey, bite its neck in her mouth, and shake it until she heard lovely little bone-snapping sounds.

The Guide whimpered.  Thanks to Jinnistacia's new built-in Uncertainty field, the Guide had had absolutely no idea that this was going to happen.



"Ifurita?" said Dr. Semimad.  "You don't have to go out, if you don't want to.  Your therapy is still in its initial stages."

Ifurita-3 smiled sweetly.  She was wearing a new Ifurita outfit that had been kindly provided by the Floristica palace seamstress.  She almost looked like her old self-- although she was still wearing her ankh from her previous incarnation, and she was now experimenting with heavy black eyeliner and black fingernail polish, in a sad yet lovely art-goth kind of way.

"My dear Doctor," she said.  "I am only going out for a short walk, and a breath of fresh air.  I cannot hide away from the world forever.  And I am confident that I can greet my fellow humans with self-confidence.  I am good enough, I am smart enough, and doggone it, people like me."

She opened Semimad's door, only to collide with Demiigor.  Both she and the Doctor's assistant fell to the floor.  The box lunches that Demiigor had been carrying also fell to the floor, came open, and were ruined.

"You stupid worthless girl!!" yelled Demiigor.  "Why don't you watch where you're going!?  You're of no use to anyone!! If you're going to waste our time, our money and our food like this, you might as well go jump off the nearest--"

"SSSHH!!" Semimad hissed.  But it was too late.  As Demiigor stood up, Ifurita-3 curled up into a fetal position, lightly sucked the tip of her thumb, and softly wept in a sad yet lovely art-goth kind of way.

Demiigor and Semimad looked down at her, then up at each other.

"Demiigor?"

"Yes, Mah-ster?"

"She's my patient.  And you've just undone several hours of intensive therapy.  Please remember that when you find your Christmas bonus is greatly reduced this year."

"*sigh*  Yes, Mah-ster."



Ifurina stood in front of a small ice cream parlor at the edge of the public part of Floristica's royal gardens.  She stared at its closed door.  She bit her lip, trembled, clutched at her dear Staff-chan, and made sad little whimpering noises.

"There's all kinds of wonderful ice cream inside," Staff-chan said, in the kindest and most soothing voice it could muster.  "All you have to do is open the door, Miss Ifurina."

"But--" Ifurina stammered.  "But-- I don't wanna!  Doors are the only things that keep away the monsters and the creepy fan-service!  I mean, this might look like an ordinary ice cream parlor, but who knows what hideous secret lurks within--"

The door suddenly opened.  "AAUGH!!" said Ifurina and (despite himself) Staff-chan.

A cheerful Kalia held the door open for Ifurina with one hand, and held a double-scoop of Rocky Road in her other hand.  "Why don't you come inside, miss?  There's all kinds of wonderful ice cream inside.  I only just started my cone when I saw you from inside."

Ifurina smiled shakily.  "Um, thank you.  I'm Ifurina."

Kalia smiled back.  "I'm Kalia.  Would you like to join me?"



"I am begeeng your pardon...  Indeed, zees new regeneration ees très bizarre!!"

"Oui," Peorth said.  "I was thinkeeng ze exact same theeng, Doctor."

It was as if Peorth were staring at a mirror.  Unlike in The Curse Of Fatal Death, the Doctor had switched genders in her next-to-last incarnation, instead of her last.  And her clothing had mysteriously changed to match Peorth's splendiloquent bikini-n-belts, in the same mysterious way that it had earlier changed into an orange parka.

Peorth cocked her head to one side.  "And yet... I like eet.  Eet has ze je ne sais quois, ze savoir faire, ze... splendiloquence."

The Doctor blushed just a little.  "You are too kind, mon cherie."

Peorth hung her head.  "I feel zat I should apologize for failing your ninth regeneration..."

The Doctor rested a friendly hand on Peorth's shoulder.  "Non.  Eet ees my fault, for attempteeng ze cuneeng plan zat back-fired.  *I* should apologize for attempteeng to assimilate vous, and endangereeng ze multi-verse in le process."

"Well, shall we now work together?"  Peorth offered the Doctor a pair of cheap Groucho Marx glasses.  "Ze Mouth of God must still be closed for good, and zere ees still ze shadowy supaire-villain to defeet..."

The Doctor put the glasses on, and smiled warmly.  "Oui.  But first, perhaps, a light breakfast?  Ze regenerations, in le rapeed succession, take a lot out of ze Time Lord... er, le Time Lady."

Peorth put her own "cuneeng" disguise back on, and took the Doctor's arm.  "Zen let us go to ze National Cheese Emporium.  Or perhaps, ze Inter-Dimensional House of Pancakes, to partake of ze Belgian waffles with le heavy cream?"

Tina rolled her eyes, sighed to herself, and followed the twin Peorths, wondering to herself exactly why she was still tagging along.
« Last Edit: February 23, 2004, 08:46:19 PM by mrwhat » Logged
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