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Author Topic: El-Hazard Round Robin, Part 2  (Read 9934 times)
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« on: December 10, 2003, 11:08:50 AM »

*OOC*

Since the old Round Robin thread was starting to get really, really ponderous, I thought I'd start a new one. Still the same storyline, though.

*IC*

Had Over-Run been aware of Rune Venus's fantasies, he would have started crying. Sadly for the Mini-Con, years had NOT passed, and he had NOT managed to transform back into his original form. Instead, he spent most of his time propped against a wall in Ifurina's palace quarters, gathering dust and being bored out of his mind.

Then, the door popped open, and Over-Run's current master pranced into the room. As loathe as he was to admit it, he was happy to see Ifurina, as the girl was currently his only source of excitement. "Hello, Staff-chan!" the girl called happily.

"Hello, Ifurina," the staff answered. He had long since given up trying to break Ifurina of the habit of calling him "Staff-chan".

Ifurina happily launched into a discussion of her day, which mostly included sweeping the palace hallways, sweeping the throne room, and many other varieties of sweeping. It was mind-numbingly boring, but still better than the oppressive boredom that dominated Over-Run's life. "Man, what a wretched way for my crossover appearance to turn out," Over-Run thought to himself glumly.

"Oh, and guess what?" Ifurina said. Over-Run perked up. Could she actually have something non-sweeping-related to talk about? "I saw Mr. Fred in the palace, today!"

"Uh... Mr. Fred?" Over-Run queried.

"Oh, right, I didn't tell you about him. He's this guy I met in the Desert of Bleached White Bones! He's the one that..." Ifurina paused, eye moistening, "...the one that told me about how Katsy-Watsy died..." Then cheering slightly, "Anyway, it turns out that he actually works here in the palace, installing hexagons, or something!"

Over-Run pondered this. "What an unusual coincidence. The odds that you should find that a total stranger who you met in the middle of a vast and inhospitable desert also happens to work here in the palace are quite astronomically slim."

"Yeah, that's what I thought! Small world, huh?" Then, conspiratorially, she murmurred, "And you know something? I think he likes me! He was giving me all these weird glances, and talking about how glad he was that I was safe..." Ifurina giggled. "He's kinda cute, too!"

"Am I to understand that you wish to engage in a courtship ritual with this 'Fred'?" Over-Run asked, still curious about the vagaries of the human mating process.

Ifurina sobered at that. "Um... I don't know. I mean, he's nice, but I still miss Katsy-Watsy so bad... Fred kinda reminds me of him, in a weird way."

After a silence, Ifurina spoke again. "Anyway, it doesn't really matter! We both work here, so I'll have lots of time to decide, and see if he's really interested. So, how was your day?"

If Over-Run had had eyes in his current form, he would have stared flatly at Ifurina.

***

Dr. Schtalubaugh and the leader of the resistance stood quietly in solemn thought. The situation looked bleak, indeed. With both princesses unqualified to assume the throne, what hope was there?

Then, the doctor's eye twitched, as an unexpected thought came to mind. "Let us review the current situation... Why is it necessary for Princess Rune Venus to resume the throne?"

The resistance leader looked at Dr. Schtalubaugh oddly. "Well, that's simple. Only she and her sister can... control... the Eye of God..." The leader paused, eyes widening.

"Which is currently in pieces, with little hope of ever being repaired," the doctor nodded.

"You can't possibly be suggesting...?"

"I am," Dr. Schtalubaugh nodded.

"But where in the world will we be able to find blue latex pants in Rune Venus's size on such short notice?!"

Dr. Schtalubaugh and the resistance leader stared solemnly at one another for several tense seconds. Finally, "What?" Dr. Schtalubaugh asked.

"I... uh..." the resistance leader stuttered.

"What I was suggesting," Dr. Schtalubaugh continued pointedly, "is that we need not restore the princess to the throne. Any capable leader will do just as well. It is merely a matter of selecting the right candidate!"

"Oh, of COURSE that's what you were suggesting!" the resistance leader chuckled nervously. "Knew it all along! Naturally you weren't thinking of taking advantage of the princess's catatonia to act out various long-repressed fantasies! And neither was I! Eheh..." He reddened under the suspicious eye the doctor was turning on him. Then, Dr. Schtalubaugh's words sank in. "Any capable leader? But the Royal Family has led Roshtaria since the days of the Great Holy Wars! For another to assume the throne... it would be unthinkable!"

"Londs..." Rune Venus mumbled then. "It is to you... old friend... that I pass the Roshtarian Pendant of Leadership..."

The two glanced at her, and then back at each other. Gravely, Dr. Schtalubaugh sighed. "For the sake of the Alliance, we will indeed have to think about the unthinkable..."
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« Reply #1 on: December 12, 2003, 04:33:29 PM »

A small road-worn and oft-repaired cruiser drifted along one edge of the Desert of Bleached White Bones, at a leisurely pace.

Ishiel Soel, Rogue Priestess of Earth, was at the controls.  Parnasse had draped himself over the edge of the cruiser near her, hanging his arms along the side of the cruiser, and staring down at the ground.  A heavily bandaged (in a Rei Ayanami kind of way) Kauru drowsed on a comfy cushion, not far behind them both, and a well-petted and happy Ura was purring in Kauru's lap.

Ishiel yawned, without releasing the controls of the cruiser.  She had insisted on driving, and after putting up a token protest, Kauru was actually relieved to let her drive.  Kauru's cruiser was relieved too, as much as an inanimate object can be relieved.

Ishiel glanced at Parnasse, and noticed that he seemed to be counting out loud to himself.  "One hundred forty-two thousand, eight hundred fifty seven... One hundred forty-two thousand, eight hundred fifty eight..."

"What are you doing, Parnasse?" asked Ishiel pleasantly, making conversation to pass the time.

Parnasse pulled his head up, back over the edge of the cruiser, and regaled her with a look of complete boredom.  "I'm counting grains of desert sand."

Then he grimaced, realizing that he'd just lost count.  He turned away from Ishiel, hung his head back down, and started over.  "One... two... three..."

Ishiel was puzzled.  "Uh, Parnasse?  Why are you counting grains of desert sand?"

"Because there's more of them to count than anything else around here," Parnasse said, without turning away again.  "I could count something else, like the pretty girls in this cruiser.  But that wouldn't kill much time.  One, two.  See?  Now, if you'll excuse me-- you've already made me lose count twice.  One... two... three..."

Ishiel raised an eyebrow.  "But there's far too many grains of desert sand around here to count.  It's like, well, counting the grains of sand in a desert."

"I know that," Parnasse said impatiently.  "That's why I'm only counting the grains of sand that I like."

Ishiel was even more confused.  "The grains of sand... that you like?" she repeated dumbly.

"Yup."

"How do you decide if you like a grain of sand?"

"I carefully evaluate each one that I see, based on cut, color, clarity, and--"

"Parnasse?"

"Yes, Miss Ishiel?"

"You're talking crap.  Stop it."

Parnasse suddenly jumped to his feet.  "But I'm bored!!  I'm bored stupid!!  I mean, El-Hazard is supposed to be a world of endless adventure!!  But here we are, drifting along one edge of the Desert of Bleached White Bones, at a leisurely pace, in a completely, utterly, and mind-numbingly boring way--"

Ishiel brought the cruiser to a smooth halt, in order to better pointlessly bicker with Parnasse.  "Look, you little twerp.  You volunteered to come along on this fishing expedition, just like me.  And it's time for you to grow up, and to learn that life isn't all giant robot battles and gratuitous fan service--"

Kauru opened one eye, and regarded both Ishiel and Parnasse with uncharacteristic annoyance.  "Please.  I've asked both of you nicely to stop your pointless bickering.  If you can't learn to get along, I shall have to--"

Ishiel turned on her in anger.  "You'll have to what!?  I'm not your servant girl, girl!!"

Kauru gulped.  She was still convalescing, after all, and the powerful and muscular Ishiel had repeatedly defeated Afura when Afura was healthy.  "I shall have to... ask you nicely again," she said meekly.

Ura, displeased with the utter pointlessness of the current scene, and annoyed that Parnasse had got so many lines again, decided to take matters into its own paws.  "Nyah!  Girl-that-smells-nice, look!  Big rocks!"

Kauru looked past her bickering cruiser-mates, to a huge red and blue sandstone formation in the medium distance, ahead and slightly to the left of the cruiser.  Her eyes widened, and she gasped softly.  "Great Googly Moogly!" she said, in reverent awe.

The suddenly-not-pointlessly-bickering Ishiel and Parnasse both turned to look.  "What is it!?" Parnasse asked, suddenly hopeful that something was about to happen.

Ishiel's face fell into an expression of awe, just like Kauru.  "Oh my.  You're right, Kauru.  Great Googly Moogly!"

"WHAT!?" yelled Parnasse.

Ishiel sighed.  Rather than try to explain, she reached to her right, opened the cruiser glove compartment, and pulled out a big heavy book titled Fujisawa's Guide To El-Hazard's Really Big Rocks.  She flipped through the book, found the page she wanted, and held the open book out to Parnasse.

Parnasse looked down at the book, read the open page for a moment, then looked back up and blinked.  "Oh.  Great Googly Moogly."




Great Googly Moogly!!  (It's the middle-sized tower in the center.)
(OOC:  One fun way to brainstorm for fan fiction is to enter random words into Google Image Search  ;))




Parnasse looked down at the book again, and read a little further.  "'Great Googly Moogly' is part of the 'Fisher Towers' formation, located in the natural bowl underneath the 'Kingfisher,' to the left of 'Putterman's Pile'."

He looked up again, and studied the red and blue sandstone formation.  "Huh.  I guess 'Putterman's Pile' is that smaller tower to the right."

Ishiel grinned.  "Cute li'l stubby thing, ain't it?  It somehow reminds me of you."

Before Parnasse could respond to that insult, Ishiel slammed the book shut, nearly taking Parnasse's nose off in the process.  "Since the formation is a natural feature of the earth, and since I'm the 'Rogue Priestess of Earth' now, I propose that you and I let Kauru rest in peace for awhile, and--"

Parnasse blanched.  "And climb Great Googly Moogly!?  Great googly moogly!!"

Ishiel grinned wider.  "No, no.  Not that."

Parnasse breathed out in relief.

"The big one behind it," Ishiel said, pointing out 'Kingfisher'.

Parnasse blanched again.  "You mean, you want to climb the highest rock in that formation for no good reason!?"

Ishiel grinned even wider.  "Of course not."

Parnasse breathed out in relief again.

"I want to climb the highest rock in that formation for three good reasons," Ishiel said.

Parnasse whimpered.

"First," Ishiel explained, "that biggest rock, the one that Fujisawa-sensei called 'Kingfisher', is an ancient and sacred place in Phantom Tribe lore.  There may be some lost secret to be found at its summit-- something that Fujisawa-sensei missed, but that I can find with my half-tribal abilities, or my Great Lamp of Earth.

"Second, even if it's nothin' but a really big rock, it's the highest point for dozens of kilometers.  The view from its summit should be spectacular, and we may see someplace more interesting to try next.

"And third, and most importantly, the idea of climbing it seems to terrify you, and that's a good enough reason for me, just by itself."

Parnasse hung his head.  "Y'know, I'm not paid nearly enough for this 'comic relief' job."
« Last Edit: July 01, 2004, 10:58:57 PM by mrwhat » Logged
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« Reply #2 on: December 12, 2003, 09:09:45 PM »

OOC:  Here comes a new challenger!
IC:

It started, like very few things do, with a grave.  As a matter of fact is started quite some time ago, back when Ishiel was the one with the elemental talismans.  When the second Ifurita left her post to deal with a greater evil.  Before everything with Arjah and the Bugrom conquest and whatnot.  And as for what "it" was, well, "it" was a new flavor of bad.  Of course.  This was El-Hazard after all.

So anyway.  A grave.  A very beautiful and well-maintained grave.  With fresh flowers.

A hand.  A gnarled hand pushing through the topsoil of that grave, withering the flowers with a touch.

A body.  A body emerging from the grave.

A smile.  A smile several factors more insane than any seen in this story so far, which, all things considered, was really quite an accomplishment and should probably be applauded, at length, while standing.  

The simple fact of the matter was that nobody out-crazied Kalia.  No way, no how, no sir.  A thin line separated most people from madness, but Kalia was so far gone she couldn't see sanity with a telescope.

She looked around, quite confused, and then took stock of the situation.  And it was quite an odd situation.  For one thing, this was not her body.  It was quite clearly that of Yuba, the old human she had encountered a few minutes ago.  Or what had felt like a few minutes ago... judging from the changes in her surroundings, more time had passed than she knew of.  What was the last thing she remembered?  Her fight with Ifurita.  Infecting Ifurita with her nanites...  

Ah.  She understood now.  Yuba had interfered, taking the nanites into himself to save Ifurita.  Apparently his strange command over machines had produced this unexpected side effect.  Which would explain why she now looked like a cross between her old self and a zombie Yuba.  No doubt it would take time for her nanites to finish converting the body to her needs.  Still, she should be able to sense the Trigger of Destruction...

Except she didn't.  The Trigger was gone.  Not just gone from the hidden valley, gone from the entire world.  By all rights she should be furious, her sensors were taking in so much data she didn't have time to react.  Vast amounts of energy  were being thrown around.  Perhaps that was what had activated her nanites after all this time?  Whatever.  More importantly, she sensed that a number of the ancients' war machines had been activated and destroyed.

But something else was different.  Something she couldn't quite put her finger on.  Something...

She smiled impossibly wide as she realized what it was.  She had Yuba's power as well as her own.  Technology was her bitch.  It was a plot twist worth swearing about, so there.  

Who needed the Trigger?  Who cared what happened to her previous body?  She had a wide selection of spare parts to choose from, and the power to understand their workings with a touch.  She'd just build a new doomsday device.  And, y'know, destroy everything that ever existed.  

And thus she set out on a little sub-plot haltingly titled "Night of the Living Zombie-Yuba/Kalia-thing."

~~~~~~~~

While Doctor Schtalabaugh was pondering what to do about the actually-fairly-decent-Bugrom-occupation, other forces were at work.  For instance, in a dimension far removed from his own, there was suddenly a very strange sound, sort of like someone being fried to fine black soot and impaled upon a large spike, only in reverse.  This sound accompanied Galus being fried to fine black soot and impaled upon a large spike, only in reverse.  

Galus collapsed, steam pouring off of his body.  He looked around, taking in his surroundings.  They were utterly unfamiliar and confusing.  On front of him was a strangely dressed young boy with black and yellow hair, his garb somewhat like that of Makoto and his fellow humans.  Galus, perhaps remembering his last few experiences with adolescents, wanted to know one thing immediately: "Where are your parents, boy?"

The spiky haired youth was a bit overwhelmed by all this, but nonetheless answered:  "Erm.  The're nowhere near here.  Because I collect these Egyptian playing cards."  He held one up.  Regaining his confidence, the boy continued, "Duh.  Everybody that collects these things does it alone!"

"And how many... children... collect those... cards?" asked Galus, wondering why the boy wore so much eyeliner.

"Gee... pretty much all of them, I guess."

Galus brightened.  It may not have been his homeworld, but it looked like it was pretty close to paradise-gi-oh.  He didn't even notice his nose bleeding.

Why was he there?  Eh, random fluctuations in space time that had been brought about by the approaching Instrumentality.  That and the collective hatred that a number of alternate realities had for the dimension Galus now found himself in.

********

So, long story short, Parnasse and Ishiel climbed the rock.  They took the long way, actually, and saw all the curious outcroppings that Fujisawa's book mentioned, even the one that looked disturbingly like unmentionables.  Parnasse, clearly more suited to palace life, had quickly shown tremendous skill at falling, so after a few minutes they had gone back and gotten Ura to help him before attempting to climb again.  They really deserved the uplifting sensation most people get when reaching the top of the mountain, especially since Ishiel had insisted on carrying her lamp the whole way, and it was a damn shame that it was spoilt.  When they got to the top, someone was already there, sitting on the edge, dangling her legs over the side.  It's hard to do a victory dance on front of a stranger, no matter how much the situation warrants it.  Especially when the stranger is pointedly being unimpressed at the situation.  And this person wasn't even turning around to look.

"Hey!" said Ishiel as she pulled herself up to the top. "Who's that?"

Parnasse managed to pull himself to the top, but chose to lay down, gasping for breath and thanking all the gods he knew of.  Ura bristled, smelling something not right.

"Bad smell.  Bad bad smell.  Smell like dead.  And metal."

"Yeah?" muttered Ishiel, frowning and looking at the stranger carefully. "No kidding?  Like dead, huh?"  The Priestess of Earth, feeling a bit like John Wayne (not that she'd understand the reference) unslung her lamp, cautiously moving toward the unfamiliar person.  "Excuse me?  M'am?"  She was quite unprepared for the way the stranger summersaulted backwards, spinning in midair.  The stranger landed almost nose-to-nose on front of Ishiel, on tip toes.  Oddly enough, while the body was unmistakably female, this person had the face of a wizened old man, complete with beard.  And a very unhealthy shade of gray skin.  Very unhealthy.  Like that of a very dead person.

Ishiel was also unprepared for the way a mesh of red circuitry seemed to sprout from nowhere, covering the person's face and remodeling it into something much more... familiar.

"Hey!" squeeked Kalia cheerfully.  "You look just like me!  Neat!"  The demon god's mad eyes moved from Ishiel to the figures behind her.
     
"Kalia!" hissed Ura.  "Demon God!  Bad!  Bad!  Bad!"
     
Ishiel took her cue and thrust the lamp of earth into the ground.  A pillar of stone sprung up between herself and the Demon God.  "Demon God?  Ha!  I've got the Lamp of Stone!  No Demon God is going to scare me... not anymore!"  Great ribbons of earth began to surge from the ground, like angry snakes, rushing toward Kalia.  Kalia smiled, held up her hand... and watched as the ribbons were suddenly pulled into a glowing dot on front of her palm, like water vanishing down a toilet.  Ishiel blinked.  "How in the world?"

     Kalia held up her other hand.  Ishiel didn't even had the time to scream as a second dot appeared, sending her own attack back at her, magnified.  She was knocked clear off of Kingfisher, her eyes wide with pain, disbelief, and fear.

     "Ura ura ura ura ura!"  yelled the armor cat, leaping after her.  In a second it was wrapped around her.  In another second the cat's claws were stuck into the mountain, slowing and stopping their decent.

     Back at the top, however, Parnasse was staring in wide eyed fear at the strange demon god that looked so much like Ishiel.  Kalia ignored the boy, picking up  the Lamp of Stone where Ishiel had dropped it, admiring it.  "Interesting.  But why is a mere lamp so powerful?"  She felt it with Yuba's power, and smiled.  Her hand reached into it, feeling around, and drew back holding a small piece of circuitry.  "An amplifier.  How nice."  She flicked the part into her mouth like a peanut, and swallowed.  Then, still smiling her mad little smile, she threw the Lamp at Parnasse, hard enough to leave it half buried in the ground between the boy's legs.  Unsurprisingly, Parnasse wet himself.  Kalia began to float up into the air.  "Now then.  Where would the Lost Tribe have put their demon gods?  Jinnistacia... Ibn Al-Zahad... where are you?  I know just the place for you in my new doomsday device - But I think I'll get some other parts first.  The Mantle of God?  The Hammer of God?  The Armor of God?  The Worm of Wrath?  So many parts to choose from.  Must thank whoever unearthed them all.  Well, no, I think I'll just destroy everything that exists instead."  Still talking to herself, the Demon God leisurely floated away.  She was taking her time.

Leisurely or not though, she'd have been annoyed if she'd known that she was floating right past the only living link to the Lost Tribe's demon gods, and all their other creations.  D'oh indeed.

*****

"So tell me," asked Diva chattily, "if you knew about the demon god factory and the Lamp of Stone, why didn't you use them when it looked like the Phantom Tribe were going to destroy the whole world?"

"Oh that," replied Londs.  "My girlfriend had just broken up with me to date a bread vendor.  I was suicidal at the time."

So it all made sense then after all.

*******

"You do it,"  whispered one.

"No you,"  whispered the other.

"Fine.  We'll both do it at once."

The Phantom Tribesmen glared at each other before yelling as loud as they could.  "Excuse us?  We'd like some food!  Please?"

They were still in the dungeons after being caught all the  way back in post 54.  Straightjacketed (Fatora bought bulk and saved Big Bucks).  Nahato was still seething from the way Princess Rune had yelled at him.

"We're really sorry..."

"We're cold... and there are rats in here."

"And bits of masonry keep falling in the corridor.  I really don't think this place is safe."

"...You don't think they just forgot us, do you?"

There was a drawn-out pause.  Then, improbably, a wolf could be heard howling in the distance.
« Last Edit: December 13, 2003, 05:29:31 PM by d.t. » Logged

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« Reply #3 on: December 13, 2003, 02:08:52 AM »

Mr. Fujisawa was confused. He stood at the busy marketplace in Florestica. All around him were happy, smiling people. They were excitedly buying from the vendors, who were very happy to sell their wares. All seemed right with the world.

"This shouldn't be happening, should it?" asked the history teacher. "The evil Bugrom have conquered the country. They're the bad guys, so why is everyone so happy?"

Fujisawa had taken his family to a small rural village as soon as news of the Bugrom invasion was heard. After assuring a worried Miz that he would return, the Earthling went back to the city to do some recognissance. Instead of findinga downtrodden, oppressed population though, he was met with smiles and good cheer.

"This is fuckin nuts," he muttered. "I need a drink." He quickly left the cheery marketplace and entered a seedy looking bar. He flinched at the scene inside.

Bugrom soldiers, those who were taking a break from their hard work anyway, were inside the establishment having a drink. What was puzzling to Fujisawa were the throngs of people with them, talking friendly to their conquerors and buying them drinks.

"Whatever." The teacher shrugged, then strode over to the bar and ordered a jug of wine. "The whole world is nuts..."

"Gimme another drink!" slurred a familiar voice right next to him. Fujisawa shrieked when he looked towards its source, and found the Supreme Bugrom Commander sitting on the neighboring stool.

"Uh, sir," said the nervous barkeep, "don't you think you've had enough?"

"I said GIMME A DRINK!" shouted Jinnai. He slammed his glass atop the counter, making several of the Bugrom and humans around him jump.

"Fine, fine..." The barkeep sighed before pouring him another drink.

"Lousy... stupid... peon," murmrued the thoroughly sloshed conqueror. Jinnai took a long gulp of his glass before slamming it back down against the counter. "I'm the Lorrd God Ji -hic- Jinnai, fer cryin 'loud.... he doesn't know what I'vre been through..."

Fujisawa's shock at seeing the dreaded enemy of Roshtaria quickly wore off as his teacher's sense of propriety took hold of him. "Uh, Jinnai... don't you think it's time you stopped? I think you've had enough. Besides, you're not old enough to drink!"

The former Demon God was't listening though. The rather dishelved young man quickly drank the remaining liquor in his glass before holding it up to the barkeep for a refill. The man sighed and poured him another. "Damn it," Jinnai gurgled when his glass was full. "I shoulrd be harppy... the world ish under my con-control... I beaat that wimp Makoto finarry... I -hic- got every thing I could everrr want... well, almosht everything..." Ifurina's image suddenly came to his mind, causing a gush of tears to spurt from his eyes. "Dammit! I hate love! It sucks!" Jinnai growled, then drank the contents of his glass in one gulp. He coughed for a bit before holding the empty container up to the barkeep.

"Oh, whatever. Not like this crap's the expensive stuff," said the man as he poured.

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« Reply #4 on: December 13, 2003, 10:39:16 PM »

"Like a dream from a time faraway,"

Dreams and nightmares go hand in hand.

"The bad news," Ishiel told Parnasse, Ura, and Kauru as she reconnected to her lamp on the hoversled, "is that the Great Lamp of Earth has been downgraded to the Lamp of Earth and can no longer hold its own against demon gods...at least not without going critical and blowing up everything in a mile-wide radius."

"And the good news is...?" Parnasse asked hopefully.

"The good news is that it's still more than powerful enough to wipe the floor with Afura's scrawny back," Ishiel informed him happily, savoring the mental picture and unaware that the currently warped Afura would probably enjoy such an experience.

"Be that as it may," the still bandaged Kauru began, deliberately ignoring the harmful intentions Ishiel appeared to hold for the Priestess of Air despite her recent reformation, "an incredibly powerful demon god that, according to Ura, is insane and tried to destroy the world is now on the loose.  We should warn the other priestesses about this."

"Yeah, and Ifurita and Pretty Magical God Nanami too," Ishiel agreed, nodding her head.  "If we're going to take this Kalia down we're going to need all the help we can get."

"Ura confused.  Why crazy Kalia look like Rogue Priestess?" the armor-cat asked, mind puzzling over this oddity.

"Maybe Kalia was once human with a family, and one of her relatives had offspring that survived the Holy War and continued the genealogy until finally one generation bred with a member of the Phantom Tribe, producing Ishiel whose phenotype just so happened to be nearly identical to Kalia's," Kauru suggested thoughtfully.

"Or it could just be one huge coincidence," Parnasse muttered under his breath.

"Regardless, we'd better send a message to Shayla and Afura," Ishiel spoke up, perhaps preferring not to dwell on her physical resemblance to the mad Demon God.  "Kaura, could you help me with this?  I haven't had to send an elemental communication since Seminary."

"Of course."  The two priestesses closed their eyes and began to chant as a pale glow entered their lamps.

"What are they doing?" Parnasse asked curiously.

"Ura think they do ancient priestess communication technique.  Know that they can send messages over great distances through their elements," Ura replied helpfully.

Parnasse stared at the cat.  "Um...Ura, don't you think it's just a little convenient that this ability is suddenly being mentioned now even though there were dozens of times it would've been useful in the past, and just how do you know all this anyway?"

"Ura eavesdrop on Londs," Ura explained patiently.

******

Using the ancient technique of the priestesses, Ishiel and Kauru first sent their message to the sleeping Afura and, elemental communication being what it is, ended up in her dream as observers.

Ishiel casually tossed the Great Lamp Of Earth aside, ran at Afura and tackled her, and brought her down in a wide area of mud churned up by the brief but heavy rainfall.  Afura's lamp of wind was thrown from her body by Ishiel's tackle.

Ishiel wasted no time going to work on Afura.  The impossibly beautiful priestesses bodily grappled with each other in the shallow mud pit.  Their badly-torn and barely-still-decent uniforms were soon obscured as they were completely covered with thick smooth creamy rivulets of mud.

But, more importantly, Ishiel's mysterious cloaked but shapely female figure was of a more muscular build than Afura's willowy frame.  Afura quickly realized that she had only bought herself a little more time, at best.


"I remember this," Ishiel said, equal parts embarrassed and gleeful.  "Though I am a bit surprised that Afura would dream of it.  Eh, this must be a nightmare."

Kauru was frowning.  "Odd.  Where is everybody else?"

Afura, bruised, bloody, and beaten, sank into the mud, defeated, humiliated, and totally naked, her clothing having finally decided to give up its futile attempt to remain on her.  Ishiel, a crazy gleam in her eyes, leapt upon her, grabbing Afura's arms and pinning her to the ground.

"I've finally beaten you," Ishiel hissed, her hot breath harshly caressing Afura's face as she painfully tightened her grip, "and now you are mine.  You are going to pay for what you did to me, Afura Mann, and in addition to punishing you I'm going to break your will.  When I'm done with you you'll call me master and serve my every whim.  I'll dominate you so completely that your every thought, every desire will be centered on submitting to me and you'll lose all sense of pride and self-respect.  You are a dirty, filthy, pathetic animal, Afura, not fit to be anything but my slave, and I'm going to make sure that's where you stay for the rest of your meaningless existence.  Doesn't that sound like fun?"

Afura, completely at her enemy's mercy, whimpered as the smirking Ishiel descended on her, kissed her roughly on the lips, and proceeded to have her dasturdly but disturbingly pleasant way with the Priestess of Air, putting her through incredible, ecstatic, pain.


"Gah!  My eyes!" Ishiel screamed, horrified, as she watched her dream-self utterly subjugate Afura in the mud who, despite the circumstances, actually seemed to be enjoying it.  "Somebody please, make this nightmare stop!"

"...I had no idea Sister Afura was into that kind of thing," Kauru said levelly, her innocent mindset allowing her to remain relatively unaffected by the scene before her.  "It appears that we'll have to send our message to Sister Shayla instead."

"Yes, please, the sooner the better," Ishiel whimpered, turning her back on the vision that would probably haunt her for the rest of her life and shuddering as rapturous moans reached her ears.

******

"A sweet memory lingers from the distant past,"

The legacies of the past threaten to destroy everything.

Kalia hummed a happy tune as she dropped off another load of salvaged ancient technology at her tomb.  She still hadn't found the Phantom Tribe's cache, but with all the doomsday weapons that had been destroyed lately she had managed to gather more than enough parts to construct her own 'annihilate-the-entire-universe' machine.  However, even as she arranged the mechanical scraps according to their functions, Ishiel's eerily similar face continued to pop up in her mind.

"Surely it isn't mere coincidence that the two of us share a remarkably comparable appearance," the crazed Demon God mused to herself, thought processes momentarily clear.  "Perhaps we share some common ancestor or relation, and if we do then fusing with her will restore me completely and boost my power to new, previously unattainable levels.  Nothing will be able to defeat me!...not that anything can now, mind you, but it never hurts to be safe."

Kalia shrugged and threw a chunk of metal over her right shoulder.  "But first, the doomsday device!"

******

"Like a kingdom that you reach,
After many years of Dreaming,"


The kingdoms have been asleep for far too long.

Near where the Holy River of God ends, a dark portal suspended in mid-air opened.  Dozens, and then hundreds, appeared within the next few moments, and out of them came pouring a swarm of sleek, black vessels armed for war.  

On the bridge of the largest ship, a young man wearing emperor's robes and looking like a cross between Dall and Gilda stood regally and surveyed the world of El-Hazard as presented by his viewscreen.  A pleased, ambitious look settled on his face.

"At long last, we have returned to our rightful home.  Little did the Ancients know that when they banished us at the end of the Holy War that we'd stolen the blueprints for the Eye of God and constructed our own exact duplicate.  Now, generations after its reunification, we shall retake what should've been ours in the first place and exact vengeance for our long exile, and I, Emperor Dall Narcis III of Creteria, shall lead my people and country to victory!"

He turned around and gestured at an armored lieutenant.  "Send the order to the other ships in the fleet that we fly immediately for the capital, and tell Dr. Yume to prep our demon gods for battle.  I want all opposition to our invasion to be eliminated immediately."

******

"El-Hazard is the eternal homeland,
And the land of never-ending adventures."


A world of adventures is a world of conflict.

Deep within her laboratory, the small, feline, and furry humanoid known as Yume smirked.  "So, the talents of the greatest super genius in the whole universe are finally being called upon, eh?  Well, my next generation demon gods and I won't disappoint.  Ryoko, Hishima, awaken and come to your master!"

"I can't believe I'm sharing my cameo with two characters from the manga series," Ryoko complained as she phased through the floor and assumed an upright hovering and slightly bored stance.

"Don't disparage Master Yume, Ryoko," Hishima spoke ominously as he stepped out of the shadows, cloak hiding his mechanical features.  "Her genius brought the Empire of Jurai to its knees."

"Until Tenchi defeated you and Tsunami saved the universe," Ryoko retorted smugly.

Pitch not changing by the slightest degree, Hishima turned a cold, calculating gaze on Ryoko.  "Need I remind that I was winning against Tenchi until he did that whole 'lend me your power' routine and received a power boost from the regular cast?"

Yume rolled her eyes.  "Honestly you two, this is not how one leaves a good impression on the next writer.  Do you want to wind up like Pixy Misa and Mara?  Now then, Demon God Ryoko, Demon God Hishima, you have been ordered to eliminate any opposition to the advance of the Creterian Empire.  Any questions?  No?  Good.  Begin!"

Hishima bowed and left, followed by a reluctant Ryoko.  Yume, meanwhile, reclined in a chair and grinned.  "Soon, this world will know my genius...and hopefully somebody will be convinced by this cameo to write a good fanfic about me.  The ratio of Washu-centric fics to the Yume-centric is so overwhelming as to be virtually nonexistent!"

******

"As long as there is a challenging spirit,
And a readiness to fly into infinity,"


Sinners are emboldened to reach new heights.

One of the female Phantom Tribesmen imprisoned with Nahato freed herself from her straight-jacket in a fan-servicey way, utilizing the same Phantom Tribe contortion techniques that Ishiel was familiar with.  Within moments she had also liberated her compatriots.

"The humans will pay dearly for this indignity," Nahato vowed as he dusted himself off.  "It is time we use our ace and activate our cache of weapons hidden within the rock known by the Alliance as 'Kingfisher', and then absolutely nothing will stand in the way of our vengeance.  Hahahahaha!"

"Um, Lord Nahato, I hate to interrupt you, but how exactly are we going to get out of this dungeon?" the same female Phantom Triber asked politely.

"Oh, I'm sure we'll think of something," Nahato answered confidently.

Five minutes later they were out of their cell.

"How did we escape again?" a Phantom Tribe guard questioned, puzzled.

Nahato shrugged.  "Does it really matter?  Now then, let's get out of here and destroy the world!"  

They left and began their journey to 'Kingfisher'.

******

"The gate to El-Hazard shall be opened for you,
Across millions of nights!"


Whether destruction or salvation comes through these gates remains to be seen.

Ishiel, Kauru, Parnasse, and Ura stood at the top of Kingfisher, gazing speculatively at the entrance to a cave they'd just noticed after Ishiel used her Phantom Tribe heritage to dispel the illusion.  Where it led none of them knew.

"Are you ready?" Ishiel asked her companions, a trace of concern in her voice as she eyed the injured Kauru and nervous Parnasse.  "Somebody can remain behind and get help if the rest of us don't return after 24 hours."

Kauru shook her head.  "No, we're in this together.  Sister Shayla has received our warning about Kalia, and now there's nothing we can do on that end except hope.  Here, though, in this mysterious cave, could lay the deliverance of El-Hazard.  For the sake of the world, we must endure this risk and bravely go...where no priestess has gone before!"

"Whatever," Ura said as he skipped into the cave.  

Parnasse shrugged.  "What he said," the attendant muttered as he followed after Ura, not about to let himself be outdone by an armor-cat.

Ishiel and Kauru exchanged a look, came to an unspoken agreement, and entered the cave together.




For a brief (and slightly inaccurate - A different creation of Yume's sacrificed himself, for example) overview of Yume and Hishima, this link should suffice.

http://groups.msn.com/TheMrsTenchiMasakiShrine/specialyumegallery.msnw
« Last Edit: December 13, 2003, 11:06:01 PM by rowan_a._seven » Logged
MrWhat
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He's so excitingly bold!

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« Reply #5 on: December 14, 2003, 08:48:22 PM »

Makoto had finally got out of bed, to find the others still in the Muldoon temple kitchen.  He noticed how Nanami and Shayla had looked at him, and realized that Ifurita must have been talking about him.  He meekly sat at the temple kitchen table, with a very, very, very red face.

As demon gods, neither Ifurita nor Nanami actually needed to eat.  They both had eaten only a token breakfast.  And Makoto seemed content with one serving of Nanami's delicious pancakes.  It was late morning by now, and he knew that Nanami would be sure to cook up a wonderful lunch as well.

Shayla, however, was a different story.  She had eagerly gone to Nanami's griddle for yet another serving.  After sitting back down with her full plate, she had just picked up her economy-sized bottle of maple syrup, when a distant look suddenly came to her face.  She turned to the window, almost as if she were trying to hear something.

"Shayla?" asked Nanami.  "What is it?"

Shayla hissed.  "Sh!"

"But--"

"Sh!"

"I'm--"

"Sh!"

"All I'm say--"

"Sh!"

"They're gonna get a--"

"Sh!"

"I'm--"

"Sh!"

"I'm just--"

"Sh!"

"Would--"

"Sh!"

Shayla came out of her reverie, and turned to Nanami.  "Knock-knock."

"Who's there?" asked Nanami.

"Sh!"

"But--"

"Let me tell you a little story about a man named Sh!  Sh! even before you start.  That was a pre-emptive 'sh!'  Now, I have a whole bag of 'sh!' with your name on it."

Then Shayla turned to Makoto and Ifurita, with a heavy sigh.  "That was an elemental communication from Ishiel and Kauru, from some really big rock at the edge of the Desert of Bleached White Bones.  As if we didn't have enough to worry about, that little biatch Kalia has somehow come back to life.  When we're not busy with Lord God Loser, we'll have to try to stop her, before she annihilates the entire multi-verse."

And then, Shayla turned back to Nanami again.  "Now, then.  WHAD'YA WANT!?"

Nanami also sighed.  "You had just started to pour the maple syrup when you spaced out.  I was trying to tell you that you were getting completely drenched in syrup again."

"Aw, nuts," Shayla said.  She set down the now-empty syrup bottle, peeled herself away from the table with some difficulty, and trudged away to the temple showers, making sticky squishing sounds with each step.

Ifurita noticed how Makoto had ogled the fire priestess' shiny golden-brown sticky body, in a predictable heterosexual male kind of way.  But, rather than become jealous, Ifurita selfessly made a mental note to stock up on corn syrup before Makoto's next injection of Bugrom serum.  Corn syrup should go better against my pale complexion, Ifurita thought.



Urd had given up trying to find the love potion thief, due mostly to her rather short attention span.  She was now drifting through the skies high above El-Hazard, wondering why she was still here.  She couldn't shake the feeling that the current writer had brought her to this world for a reason... and yet, she somehow knew that it might be awhile before her purpose could be fulfilled, what with the recent dramatic upswing in plot complications and further gratuitous cross-overs.

She was preoccupied with all these thoughts, and so she was surprised to suddenly find herself in the "Night of the Living Zombie-Yuba/Kalia-Thing" sub-plot, by means of colliding with Kalia in mid-air.

Kalia dropped some hideously evil bits of ancient technology, meaning to collect them later, and grinned her creepy insane grin.  "Well, well.  Another demon god, perhaps?  No matter.  Time to say goodbye, super-model."

She held her Fist O' Death out towards Urd, and began to make her Giant Sucking Sound.  But she was shocked when, instead of easily draining all the power from her victim, she was suddenly overwhelmed with more power than she could imagine.  She dropped her fist, went even more green, and made sad little choking sounds, as if she had just eaten too much at a buffet, and she was dangerously close to tossing her cookies.

Urd took a moment to pull herself together, after Kalia's admittedly formidable attack.  But then, she looked up at the ack'ing Kalia with a very dangerous expression.  Her fists began to spark, in preparation to unload a big hearty helpin' of Urd Lightning Strike.

"Ho ho ho," Urd said snarkily.  "So, Little Undead Nanite Girl wants to play, eh?  Well, Urd-oneesan is more than happy to oblige."

Kalia gulped.  She was still confident of her status as the most powerful being in El-Hazard... but there was simply no way that her creators could have anticipated a cross-over with an Ultimate Force wielding Yggdrasil goddess.  

And, while Kalia was the most insane being in a fairly large subset of the multi-verse, she somehow realized that Urd was quite capable of being seriously loopy in her own loveable way, when the story-line required it.



Afura sat up, stretched and yawned.

She smiled as she got out of bed.  Her head was feeling all better, and she had had the most wonderful dreams.  And, lo and behold, her precious Great Lamp of Wind was waiting for her, along with a note from her dear friend Nanami.

Afura dressed in a fresh uniform that had been inexplicably provided for her, in a way that the current writer can't explain.  She held her lamp to her cheek and sighed happily, and put it away in its pouch.  Then she opened the unlocked door of Fatora and Alielle's supply room, and happily skipped away, in an innocent yet naughty little girl kind of way that, frankly, was starting to creep-out even the current writer.  Not that it was an entirely unpleasant kind of creep-out, but, still.
« Last Edit: December 14, 2003, 09:29:59 PM by mrwhat » Logged
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« Reply #6 on: December 15, 2003, 02:07:58 AM »

OOC: Typed this in a word processor.  Then when I posted it, the punctuation was large chunks of gibberish, and the spacing was all wrong.  Had to manually fix the punctuation, so there may be some problems still.  And the spacing I couldn't get right.

IC:

At that moment, however, the royal skiff of Emperor Dall Narcis III of
Creteria appeared on the scene.  With a gesture, the Emperor signaled for the
skiff to come to a halt.  The considerable number of vessels following him followed suit.  
     With a disdainful sniff that would have done Dall himself proud, the young
would-be-despot took in the sight.  "Are those the sorts of demon god left in El Hazard?
Children and old women?"

     Urd had extremely good hearing.  And while she certainly did want to slap Kalia
around a bit... well, some things just demanded immediate attention.  "Hold that
thought," she growled to the demon god, directing a very angry look at
the Creterians.  As Kalia watched in amazement, Urd stomped off toward the
Emperor's cortège.  Or, well, she would have, but stomping is difficult in the
air.  "Someone needs punishment way more than you," snarled the goddess.  Then, without
knowing exactly why, she added, "and I don't mean happy fun Fatora and Alielle
kind of punishment."


     Kalia summed the event up with a succinct "Huh?"


**********

The cave stretched straight forward and downward, illuminated here and there
with faintly glowing blue disks that were pressed into the wall.  The
priestesses ventured on and on, not entirely sure what they were looking for. It
had been a stroke of luck that, while falling from the top of the kingfisher,
Ishiel had seen and recognized a very unusual rock formation... one indicating
that a Phantom Tribe cache was within.  Now and again they found themselves
stooping, crawling, jumping over narrow gaps.  All fairly standard fare for
secret mountain lairs.  But as they progressed they sensed something was wrong.
Great holes seemed to have been torn into otherwise smooth
passageways.  Soon they began to find broken bits of machinery.  It was Ishiel
that voiced their suspicions.
"The bloody witch was in here!  She took everything!"

"Kalia sucks.  Sucks lots," added Ura

"Um… what are these?"  Kauru asked, pointing at one of the blue disks lining
the walls.  Ishiel glared at her.

"They're lights.  You tap them, they turn on.  You tap them again, they
turn off.  Yes, truly some of the most advanced ancient technology the Phantom Tribe ever found."
She was feeling more snarky than usual.

     Kauru frowned.  "I don't think these are just lights," she whispered, looking
closer.  She could almost make out designs in the disks. Circles and diamonds.
Like the crystal found in the Eye of God, or the strange object Arjah had been
imprisoned in.  "I think this goes... like this," she continued, tentatively touching one of
the discs.

     Ura watched in amazement as a semi-transparent man-sized blue neon circle appeared in the air,
on front of the disc.  Strange blue neon markings rotated along its edges:
elaborately decorated circles and diamonds, and the occasional scrap of writing in the
language of the Ancients.

     Perhaps it was because they had so recently used their communication technique.
Perhaps it was just an after-effect of the near instrumentality that had
occurred.  Perhaps it was a ripple in the primal ethers, producing a stochastic
synchronicity due to the deus ex machina effect.  At any rate the Elemental
Priestesses suddenly found themselves seeing what Kauru saw.
     And what Kauru saw was this:
___________

A blue haired man, incredibly handsome, dressed in clothes not entirely unlike
Kauru's.  He was smiling as he spoke.  A smile that rivaled Fujisawa-sensei's.

"This archive includes confidential documents and information not to be removed
from the premises, except in accordance with the security policies and
procedures of the Northern Weaponers' Commission.  They are not to be reproduced
in any way, under penalty of death.  If in any doubt as to how to manage or
secure sensitive material, please contact a- "
there was a flicker as the damaged
disk skipped forward.  The man looked considerably more tired than before.
Apparently this was a very long disclaimer.  "-not available in the
state of depression.  The Southern Weaponers do not advocate armed
conflict in any form, and are in no way affiliated in any way with any National Alliance.
If rash occurs due to use of this docu-technology, discontinue use.  If rash
persists, consult funeral homes..."

*The Record Skipped

Seated behind an elaborate desk was a strikingly beautiful woman, with long blue
hair in a very similar style to Kauru's.  "Blue" just about summed her up, from her
blue eyes, to her blue clothes, to the prevailing color scheme of her office.
Another blue haired man stood at attention behind her.  Through the massive
window behind them both it was possible to see The City.
     The City was a paradise.  In harmony with nature, tastefully ornate, colorful,
supremely artistic, and breathtakingly, achingly, painfully beautiful.  Living
in a city like that, you would surely believe that all was good and right in the
world.

At the other end of the table, talking to Ms. Blue, was Arjah.  He was a little
younger, and somewhat more human in appearance, but there could be no mistaking
him.

"Mister Arjah," Blue was patiently explaining, "I'm afraid what you're
proposing just isn't economically feasible.  I'm speaking from experience.  The
Northern Weaponers produce the finest weapons on the planet.  Our scientists
were consulted in the construction of the Demon God Ifurita.  We also assisted
in the designs for the Eye of God, and are taking a major role in finishing its
construction.  We know weapons.  It's our business motto. 'The Northern
Weaponers:  Boy do we ever know weapons'.  So when I say that demon gods have
made lamp technology obsolete, I know what I'm talking about."
     Arjah glowered.  "But this is not a lamp like the others!  It would tap into
dimensional energy..."

"Which your colleagues in the priesthood think is dangerously unstable.  Pass all the same.  
We'll happily sell you the parts you need, but we're just not going to waste any
of our consultants on this.  You'll have to build it yourself."

     Arjah glowered.  "I will build a lamp of dimensions," he hissed, "and then I
will show you!  I'll show you all!"

     *The Record Skipped

"Well, he sure showed us, didn't he?" Blue was looking out her window with a
frown.  Many of The City's structures were in ruins.  It was still breathtakingly beautiful, but you got a sense that it would never quite be the
same.  "Still, the technology we developed to defeat and imprison him should
make us more than enough money to repair the damages.  And build some new public
works.  Commission some art."  She looked at some blueprints on her desk.  They
looked exactly like the diamond device and strange dimensional portal generator
that Makoto had found.  "It's even helped us solve some problems with the Eye of
God.  So, tell me about the Ifuritas."

     The aide nodded.  "We have concluded that it's not economically possible to construct another Ifurita unit, much less all the units we've seen.  No nation could have afforded it.  The original practically bankrupted its Tribe.  So we're probably looking at inferior models, made to look like the original. Heck, they're probably just low-grade nanite-altered humans."

"But who's going to take the chance that they're looking at an inferior model Ifurita?  They could have the original in mothballs, and who would know?  I have to admit, it's brilliant."

     *The Record Skipped

     Blue stared at the blueprints.  "This is just grotesque.  What's this thing
called again?"
"LE TOILETTE DE DEVESTACION Miss."
"We're charging double our usual consultation rates.  And I think I'll take a
bath.  Bloody Frenchians."

*The Record Skipped

     Blue was angry.  The City had definitely seen better days.  There were more
buildings, each of them achingly beautiful.  But the skyline just didn't
work they way it used to.  Each part was perfect, but it didn't come together.  "So.  You're telling me that there's Arjah
Defeating class technology in a demon god... and we have no idea where the demon
god is, or how it was made?"
     The aide smiled weakly.  "Well... we were only consulted on Kalia's weapons
systems.  They're the only Arjah Defeating class technology in her.  But we
don't know how she was built.  Except that she isn't a nanite altered human, at least not like any we've ever seen, or standard cyborg, or an android.  Er..."
"Go on."
"Well... she was only sent on one test run, Miss.  Um... she was apparently... I mean
there were some... That is to say... look, she's a bloody-minded gibbering psychotic loon.  Mad as a
bag of mice with hats.  Miss.  We have no idea how they constructed her neural
pathways, but they really made one crazy assed demon god.  And now they've got
her hidden away.  And they're going on about this "Trigger of Destruction" thing
they say they made.  Miss."
"But the Armor of God defense shield should protect us from any attack, right?"
"Well..."

*The Record Skipped

Blue looked down at the designs.  "What..." She paused and pinched her nose.  She
looked up.  "This... weapon... we're being consulted on.  What's this monstrosity
called again?"

"Erm... The Panda of God, Miss."

"That's what I thought you said... those bloody Frenchians must be infecting their
neighbors with their insanity.  And this one?"

"That's the Worm of Wrath, Miss."

"It's hideous."

"Well, worms often are, Miss.  Or so I'm told.  I’ve never seen one myself."

"I'm beginning to hate this job."

"Yes Miss."

The City was definitely beginning to look a little frayed around the edges, even
though, theoretically, more fantastic pieces of art were in it than ever.

*The Record Skipped

By now The City was looking a bit frayed around the middle.  The less said about
the edges the better.

Blue smiled widely.  "But this is wonderful!  The design for the Ibn-Al Zahad
and Jinnistacia units is nothing short of revolutionary.  The Ifurita unit's
ability to learn and amplify attacks has long been seen as the apex of demon god
technology - but no more!  These units not only learn their enemies' attacks...
they can also analyze the scientific basis for their opponents' weapons.  They
can use this knowledge to develop entirely new applications!  Even if someone
did pierce the Armor of God, these demon gods could never be defeated.  The
Northern Weaponers are safe."

*The Record Skipped

"So, you're telling me we're utterly doomed?"
"Yes Miss."
"But we only just built our new demon gods!  They haven't even had a test run!"
"Bit irrelevant Miss.  The enemies used a plague.  Went right through the Armor
of God, and while the demon gods won't be hurt... we're buggered.  Miss."
"This isn't fair!"
"No Miss."
Well do something about it."
"Yes Miss.  Erm... any ideas as to what, Miss?"

The City... well the sight of it was enough to break your heart.  It really was.

* The Record Skipped

"She's perfect," Blue murmured.  She looked at the sleeping child closely,
poking and prodding as if she was examining a lab animal.  "Has it been
confirmed that she can withstand the memory implants?"

"No, she cannot," the aide replied. "At least, not at this stage of her physical
development. A lock will be needed. We are considering introducing a phobia to
her psyche, to seal the knowledge away until she has developed to the point
where she can handle it."

"It is good to know that our Tribe's knowledge will not be lost," Blue mused.
"The world may well depend on it one day... And with the plague that ravages our
people, none of us will live past this girl's tenth year."

The aide shook his head sadly. "At least the genetic modifications we've made to
this one and her brothers and sisters will allow them to survive. Still, it
pains me to know that our only progeny to survive will not be quite human..."

"Hush," Blue reprimanded. "Beggars cannot be choosers. And you must be careful
what you say around our young ones. They may be infants still, but the changes
we have made to them are not completely predictable. They may remember..."

"Their descendants may too," pointed out the aide.  "The memories of this first
generation will be passed down to all subsequent generations."

"And one day, when the time is right... we will be able to rectify this horrible
horrible mistake we have made," said Blue sadly. "They will not be able to
fight it?"

"Oh no, Miss.  Once the implants are activated they will be drawn to our
technology.  Even if the world is reduced to a dark age, enough technology caches should
remain.  And they will have an innate affinity with all the Arjah Defeating
class technology.  Well, except that Kalia unit.  Wherever that is.  Too much foreign muck in it.   But they will conquer the world, Miss, because they could no more
stop themselves than they could stop breathing.  It's in their genes.  We put it
there."

Blue looked at the child sadly.  "One world under one rule.  That will stop the
wars, won't it?  This is right, what we're doing" isn't it?"


*The Record Jumped

Blue looked at the city.  Through the Armor of God shield system she could see
the demon gods fighting, the Eye of God firing, the war machines laying waste to
the world.  Armageddon had come, and her people were safe within their shell.
Except that, within a year, two at most, the Northern Weaponers would all be
dead.  All except a handful of children meant to be their future.

She watched a giant lizard fighting a swarm of demon gods in the distance.  And then the leader of the Northern Weaponers, the head of the wealthiest of all nations, the greatest artistic patron the world had ever known, whose DNA had been used to create Kauru's ancestor, had a revelation.
"Son of a..."
"Yes, Miss?"
"You know what we are?"
"No Miss."
"We really are a bunch of shi-"

*The Record Ended.

****

And on a lighter note, elsewhere on El-Hazard some girls were learning that allowing clones of Fatora join an all-female priestesshood may not have been the brightest of ideas.
« Last Edit: December 15, 2003, 06:34:21 PM by d.t. » Logged

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« Reply #7 on: December 15, 2003, 06:09:46 PM »

Shayla had just washed off the maple syrup, again.

As she stepped out of the Muldoon temple showers, wrapping a towel around herself, she noticed a huge plastic bucket full of varnish, precariously perched on a step ladder.  Oh yeah, she thought.  Afura and I were doing some remodeling before all this nonsense started--

Oh no, she suddenly thought.  Not that.  Please.  Anything but that.

Unfortunately, Kauru's telepathically shared reading of the Northern Capitol records suddenly overwhelmed and disoriented the nearly-naked Shayla.  She lost her balance and fell against the ladder.  Then she slumped to the floor, too disoriented to roll away and avoid being completely covered with varnish.

After she came to her senses, Shayla was almost moved to tears, truly humbled by the living history that she had telepathically experienced via Kauru.  She could only pray that, someday, men (and women) would learn to put down their swords (and lamps) and embrace their brothers (and sisters).  And she could only pray that she, a high and mighty Great Priestess of Fire, could use her unique abilities wisely enough to help bring about the 'Golden Age of El-Hazard' that Rune Venus occasionally prattled about.

But first, she had to deal with being completely covered in varnish while wearing only a towel.  She quickly realized that the varnish was much stickier than the syrup.  Her entire body was practically glued to the floor.  Even worse, her mouth was varnished shut, which made shouting for help rather difficult.

"*mmmph*," Shayla shouted.



Urd floated down through the air, towards the royal skiff bearing the Emperor Dall Narcis III of Creteria.  She had a get-ready-to-die expression on her face, and a barely-contained Urd Lightning Strike in her fist.

Of course, Dall-3 promptly did what every great military leader had done, in all the tragic histories of the entire multi-verse.  He ordered someone else to risk her life in fighting his battles for him.  "Demon God Ryoko!  Take care of this nuisance!"



The space-pirate-as-demon-god Ryoko and the Yggdrasil-goddess Urd hung in mid-air, staring at each other at length.  Then they both hung their heads and sighed in unison, as they wondered (also in unison) just exactly what the heck they were doing here.

Since neither of these lovely thousands-of-year-old ladies actually have anything at all to do with El-Hazard, the current writer suddenly felt free to break the fourth wall in an even more gratuitous way than usual.  In fact, by the time he had written out the current scene, he had metaphorically smashed the fourth wall with one of those big balls on a chain, and then swept up the bits of gravel and dust into sad little piles and stomped on them.

"So," Urd finally said.  "Here we both are, in El-Hazard, of all places.  Life is a funny thing, ain't it."

"Yup," Ryoko said.  "But I guess we gotta fight now, huh."

"Yup," Urd also said.  "Of course, you realize that I am still a Yggdrasil goddess, and I was lucky enough to come here in one of the rare times when my license wasn't suspended.  I'm afraid that the final outcome of our titanic battle is clear."

"Yeah, that's fair," Ryoko said.  "Although, what with me being a loosely-interpreted combination space pirate and demon god, I'd like to think that I could offer you a pretty good challenge.  I could probably fend you off for quite a while, before you could take me down."

"That's fair too," Urd said.  "But, you also realize that, what with this being a Round Robin with practically no rules, and practically no limits on fan service short of NC-17 explicitness, we'll both just wind up in some incredibly demeaning and exploitative fan-servicey cat-fight.  I mean, you can practically hear the fan-boys drooling over a Ryoko x Urd scene."

"Yup," Ryoko said again.

They both hung their heads and sighed in unison again.

"Well," Urd said, "why don't we just skip to the fan service, and get it over with?"

"'Kay," Ryoko said.  "So... whad'ya think?  Mud wrestling?"

"Nah.  The current writer already used that.  Say, I could have Skuld bring her game of Cosmic TwisterTM from the 'Sympathy For The Devil' manga..."

Ryoko frowned.  "No, let's not over-do the contortion jokes, either.  But that does remind me... If I get the chance, I'll have to ask Fatora where she buys her lovely straitjackets."

"Yeah, me too," Urd agreed.  "They do look nice and comfortable, don't they?"

Then Ryoko scratched her head.  "Well, *I* dunno.  Y'wanna just have a tickle fight?"

Urd rolled her eyes.  "Oh, please.  Belldandy and Peorth might have been willing to do that, but *I* still have some pride."

Ryoko apparently hadn't been keeping up with the Oh My Goddess! manga.  Her jaw fell open, and, although she didn't swing that way, her nose almost started to bleed.  "Y'mean, Belldandy and Peorth!..."

"Don't ask," Urd said.  "Look, we're not getting anywhere here.  What say we try to work this out over a few dozen bottles of sake?  I don't know about you, but I could use a little pick-me-up."

Ryoko grinned.  "That's the best suggestion I've heard since my cross-over started."



"*mmmph*," Shayla shouted again.
« Last Edit: December 15, 2003, 06:57:11 PM by mrwhat » Logged
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« Reply #8 on: December 16, 2003, 09:39:34 PM »

      A flock-nest of bird-snakes undulated through the skies and observed the following:

     Kalia, whose questionable grasp on reality enabled her to disregard the whole Ryoko-Urd thing quite quickly, made her way over to the Creterian fleet.  Curious, she kicked one of the ships and listened to the sound it made.
     "Stop that at once!" fumed the Emperor.  "Who are you?  Who is your master?  Who was that demon god, and how did she steal my demon god!  This means war!  Even more war than I had planed before!  Our honor has been-"
     Kalia interrupted, laughing childishly.  "You're Creterians, aren't you?  We thought you'd never come back, not with the big scene you made running away."

The Emperor bristled at that, drawing himself to his full height.  "How dare you?  A mere demon god speaking in such a manner about my ancestors?  I'll have you destroyed for that.  My ancestors were wrongly exiled from El Hazard!"  The Emperor's demon gods, who had very sophisticated sensors capable of detecting just how powerful the Kalia-Yuba-Zombie thing was made absolutely no moves to attack.  

Kalia giggled.  "No they weren't, you big silly.  They got all afraid of all the big weapons everyone had, and they stole plans for the Eye of God, made something called the "Platform of Infinity", and hightailed it to some alternate world."  She beamed.  "But everyone hated the way they weren't going to share that dimensional travel technology.  Getting some more breathing room might have saved everyone a lot of trouble.  So they sabotaged your guys' technology to self destruct once you left El Hazard.  Wow, it must have taken you guys years to get back to this level of technology!"

The Emperor, reeling from this history lesson, didn't tell Kalia it had taken a lot more than just "years".  He wasn't sure he believed this child-like demon god, but he didn't feel like embarassing himself either.

Kalia was already getting bored.  "Well I've wasted enough time.  Nice to see you've come back to El Hazard.  I was always a bit worried that you might not get destroyed with everyone else," she cheerfully remarked.  "Bye!"  

And with a friendly wave she was gone, the spare parts of ancient technology in tow behind her, moving at speeds greater than anything the Creterians could match.  One of the Emperor's attendants moved up to him.  "Sir!  Should we follow?"

The Emperor frowned thoughtfully for a moment, then shook his head.  "We follow our plans.  Continue on to what we have calculated to be the area with the greatest population density.  Onward to the verdant valley!"

And the crafts resumed their course to what was now called the desert of bleached bones.

****

Babump.com was raking in money.  They had installed a webcam in the temple that the Fatora clones had gone to.  The temple filled entirely with women.  But more on that later.

****

If you'd asked Urd who was the greatest expert on love potions currently on El Hazard, she would have replied herself.  It would be a reasonable assumption, since she was a goddess, and had lifetimes of experience on the subject.  It would also have been an incorrect assumption.  The greatest expert on love potions in El Hazard was, in fact, in a small hut at the base of one of the El Hazard's few known active volcanoes.  It was a nondescript hut, very rustic, with a surprisingly limited supply of hot water,  poor air conditioning, and a remarkably slow DSL connection.  The current occupant of that hut (for this was a hut that was passed on to others at fairly regular intervals) was fairly content.  The scenery was pleasing (if you liked volcanoes, which the occupant did), and a man from a nearby village came by once every two weeks with food, water, and several crates of sake.  In order to pay for this, the occupant  ran an online business.  That's where the knowledge of love potions came in.  She was behind one of the few successful spam campaigns offering "supplements" and other such substances.  The reason her business was successful was because her products did exactly what was asked of them.  And the reason she was a better love potion expert than Urd was that, well, the things some utter weirdoes felt they could ask "supplements", when guaranteed the anonymity of the internet, were far beyond anything Urd had ever dreamed of.  Or indeed beyond anything any sane person reading this could imagine, so don't even try.

The occupant was looking out the window, smoking a long thin pipe, when Kalia paused in the air on top of the active volcano.  The occupant dropped her pipe in shock.

****

Kalia frowned.  She had been flying along randomly, searching for more parts for her "destroy EVERYTHING that exists EVERYWHERE" machine, when she had detected a strange, very faint, energy signature.  But this made no sense.  The lava was at least 2000 degrees Fahrenheit, far in excess of anything even the toughest of demon gods could handle.  What could be stored in a volcano?  And who would store it there?

Luckily for her curiosity, Kalia was just insane enough to try and find out.  A red mesh of circuitry flowed over her body again as she absorbed some of the pieces of ancient technology she had been carrying, using them to beef up her defenses while diverting almost all her energy reserves into heat shielding.  She dove into the lava.

And emerged a moment later, as all her systems screamed warnings and her defenses came dangerously close to failing.  Whatever was in that volcano, she had no way of reaching it.  She was a little disappointed, but tried to cheer herself up.

"I guess it won't matter when I destroy everything anyway."

****
"Fokin' 'ell..." whispered the occupant of the hut, watching Kalia fly away.  After all these generations, someone was trying to disturb the volcano!  "Fokin' 'ell!" yelled the occupant, finally noticing the small fire that had started when she had dropped her pipe.  She stamped the flames out as quick as she could, glancing back into her hut.  On one of the walls was a blue disk, very much like the archive disks that Kauru had found in the Phantom Tribe's cache of Ancient Technology.  It looked like it was time for her to pay a visit to her favorite pupil.  

"Jus' as well," she added, looking at her supply of alcohol, "Roshtarian sake's much better 'n this swill. Jus' 'ope 'at bloody gobshite lissens to 'er ol' teacher this time..."  She threw a few bottles of sake into a travel bag, along with some smoking weed, her pipe, and the archive disc.  Then she lifted a bottle of sake in toast.  "Ere's to yer, Shayla-Shayla... 'ope y' manage t' do somethin' right this time... an' not flush generations o' fire priestesses' work down t' tubes."

And with that, Crayna-Crayna, mostly sober former holy priestess of fire, set off to hitchhike to Roshtaria.

****

Lying deep within the volcano, shielded by some of the most advanced technology El-Hazard had ever seen, the demon god Al Zahad slept.

OOC:  Apologies to Chynna Clugston-Major.  I was reading her comic "Blue Monday" today, and was inspired to give Crayna a Dublin accent.  I wanted to spice the character up a bit from the Wanderers version.
« Last Edit: December 16, 2003, 11:13:12 PM by d.t. » Logged

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« Reply #9 on: December 16, 2003, 10:56:23 PM »

The Grand Empress of All El-Hazard, Diva, was relaxing comfortably on her throne getting her hair done when her Chief Domestic Advisor (and nightly boy toy) rushed into the throne room with a worried expression on his face.

"Your Majesty!" cried Londs. He bowed before his Empress before continuing. "Several of our scouts have spotted an alien warfleet appearing within our skies. They number in the hundreds and look very advanced!"

"Oh dear," gasped Diva.

"Not only that," continued Londs with a gulp, "but the scouts also report that these ships contain flying humanoids, most likely some type of Demon Gods."

"This sounds serious!" Diva began to nervously rub her hands.

"There's more," Londs wiped his sweaty brow with a clean hankerchief. "I went to Grand War Marshall Jinnai's room to inform him on the subject, but he is nowhere to be found!"

"We're doomed!" cried Diva. She stood up from her throne and began to pace worriedly about, causing her human handmaidens to become terribly worried. "Alien ships, Demon Gods, and ancient prophecies we might have handled... if we had Mr. Jinnai. But if our Messenger from God has vanished! We can not possibly overcome this threat without him! Send out a search party at once!"

"Yes, My Lady," Londs bowed before exciting the room.

************************************************

Jinnai's head hurt. No, really. It hurt. It hurt like hell.

"Ow," he muttered, drawing his hand up to his aching skull. He slowly opened his dry eyes, wincing at the bright light in front of him. "Damn cheap sake... where the hell am I?"

A frightening bearded face was the first thing he saw, causing the young man to squeal in fright. "GAH! WHAT THE HELL?!"

"Calm down, tyrant," said Dr. Schtalabaugh. "You are safe, for the time being."

Jinnai glanced around the small, dirty room he was in. Along with the old man, there was Mr. Fujisawa and three gruff looking former soldiers of Roshtaria with him.

"What is going on here?!" snarled the Lord God. "As the Lord God of all El-Hazard, I demand to know what is happening!"

"It's quite simple," stated the doctor. "You, the hated enemy of all the free peoples of El-Hazard, are now prisoner of the Roshtarian Resistance. You will remain unharmed provided that you cooperate, and provided that the Bugrom give in to our demands."

"P-prisoner?" Jinnai glanced around, his face turning white with fright. "No! I demand that you release me at once!" The young man stood up in order to complain some more, but the leader of the resistance gave him a rough punch in the face. "Ow!" Jinnai fell to the floor clutching his jaw. "Dammit! What'd you do that for! You insolent, miserable peon! How dare you!"

"Shut up!" The soldier was about to strike the young man again when Mr. Fujisawa pushed him back.

"That's enough," said the teacher. "We don't torture our prisoners. There's the Geneva Convention to think about."

The resistance leader rolled his eyes at the Earth man before storming out of the room. The two soldiers followed him, as did Dr. Schtalabaugh. Before he left the room though, the doctor turned back to Jinnai. "You better hope that the Bugrom give in to our demands, young man. Roshtaria shall be free, no matter the cost." With those ominous words, the old man left.

Fujisawa looked down at his injured former student. He was beginning to wonder if bringing the boy to the resistance was such a good idea. "Hey, Jinnai... you okay, kid?"

"Leave me alone!" snarled Jinnai. He still clutched at his injured jaw, which was beginning to form a large bruise.

Fujisawa shook his head and sighed before leaving the room. The guards outside shut the door, then barred it.

"Stupid alliance nitwits!" grumbled Jinnai. "Do they really think to imprison the Lord God?! Fools... I'll find a way out of here... somehow..." He gulped.
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« Reply #10 on: December 16, 2003, 11:27:33 PM »

A plug of solid rock, about two meters in diameter and several meters deep, suddenly popped out from the base of the tall rock commonly known as 'Kingfisher.'  Ishiel had used her downgraded Pretty Good Lamp of Earth to create a more convenient exit, seeing as how Kalia had already plundered the ancient store of nasty bits of technology.  And none of her party were in the mood to climb all the way back up to the summit, and all the way back down the surface of the rock, after what they had seen.

Especially Kauru.

Her reading of the Northern Capitol records had been telepathically shared with the other great elemental priestesses.  The stoic Ishiel found herself deeply shaken by the sad story they contained.  Though her party didn't know it at the time, Afura had turned right round and gone back to bed after experiencing the records, hiding under her blanket, curled up in a fetal position and sucking her thumb again.  And even Shayla was almost moved to tears, despite her own frankly bizarre troubles.

But Kauru was by far the sweetest, the most innocent, and the most kind-hearted of the great elemental priestesses-- and she had experienced the records first-hand.

To say Kauru was crying would be like saying that water occasionally trickled through the Great Holy River of God.

Kauru was, in fact, bawling her eyes out.  She sobbed so deeply that she gasped for breath.  Her great wracking sobs shook her still-bandaged body, threatening to re-open her spire fail-safe injuries.

And Kauru was utterly inconsolable.  Even if Ishiel or Parnasse had had any words of comfort for the tortured priestess, they were afraid to embrace and console her, fearing that they might injure her even further.

So, the party returned to their cruiser, Ishiel leading Kauru and Parnasse following her.  They helped her back to her cushion, and gave her a big sad shiny-eyed Ura to hold.  Ishiel started up the cruiser, and took them away from the 'Fisher Towers,' never to return.

They drifted further along the edge of the Desert of Bleached White Bones for some time, in silence, except for Kauru's weeping.

At long last, Kauru calmed down enough to speak.  "Uh-- Miss Ishiel?"

Ishiel looked over her shoulder.  "Hey, sweetie.  Feelin' better?"

"A luh-- little," Kauru sniffed.  "Whuh-- what do you wuh-- want to do nuh-- now?"

"We should come to the next village in a few minutes," Ishiel said.  "I thought we'd stop there for the day.  I know it isn't even noon, yet, but I think we've all had enough for one day...  Uh, if you don't mind, I think I'll see if I can find another amplifier for my lamp.  Makoto 'taught' me quite a bit about this lamp, and I think I can fit a replacement into it myself, now.  And I think I'd like to, uh, take my mind off things..."

"Is there anything that you want to do, Miss Kauru?" asked Parnasse.

A still-sniffling Kauru thought for a moment before replying.  "I think... I'd like to buy some ice cream, and find a public park... and eat the ice cream while I look at pretty flowers."

Parnasse smiled sadly.  "That's probably the best thing for it."
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« Reply #11 on: December 17, 2003, 03:30:44 PM »

Crayna-Crayna had been walking for almost an hour when she suddenly realized that her journey would go much faster if she used her glider.

"Bloody 'ell!" the ex-priestess cursed, quickly turning around and running back to her hut.  

Within two hours, she was well on her way to Florestica.

******

Hishima, having been out scouting during the recent Kalia/Urd/Ryoko confrontation, returned and landed on Emperor Dall Narcis III's royal skiff, Ifurita-2 and Ifurita-3 draped across his broad shoulders.  Gently setting the two Demon Gods on the floor, he stood up and focused his vision on Dall.

"I ran into these two on their return from what was apparently a desert bazaar.  They were no match for my advanced systems, but do not let this make you overconfident.  My sensors indicate that they are merely copies of the original Ifurita and lack her legendary power.  Therefore, I propose you permit Master Yume to reprogam these duplicates and add them to our forces."

Dall nodded his head in agreement.  "I concur.  With Demon God Ryoko temporarily...neutralized and an unknown type of Demon God on the loose, we need all the advantages we can acquire.  What else do you have to report?"

"An advanced breed of Bugrom has conquered the human race of this world and now occupies the capital city which lies near our projected flight path.  A minor adjustment in trajectory will enable us to arrive there in under an hour, and neither the humans nor the Bugrom possess technology on par with ours," Hishima answered emotionlessly.

"Excellent," the Emperor replied, smirking as he steepled his fingers together.  "We shall strike the heart of our enemies before they have a chance to prepare themselves, and the people of Creteria shall at last see justice done.  Demon God Hishima, bring these two Ifurita units to Dr. Yume and tell her to reprogram them immediately.  Afterwards, prepare yourself for battle.  You shall lead the strike force."

"With pleasure, Emperor," Hishima spoke, a sense of eagerness and anticipation in his voice, as he promptly complied with his orders.

******

"Behold, Mos Eisley Trading Port.  You'll never find a more wretched hive and scum and villainy," Parnasse informed his travelling companions as they entered the village, deciding that now was a good time to perform his role as guide.

"Good," Ishiel commented.  "They should have everything I need."  Turning to Parnasse and Ura, she spoke in a kinder voice.  "Perhaps the two of you should take Kauru to the park and by her some ice-cream now?  There's no reason for her to accompany me to the markets here, and I think she could really use a break right now."

Parnasee and Ura looked at the still weeping Kauru and quickly agreed.

******

Nahato tensed in anger as he looked around the innards of "Kingfisher" and realized that the technology the Phantom Tribe had gathered, salvaged, and repaired over the past couple millennia had been ruthlessly pillaged.  "This place...has been...DEFILED!"

Not wishing to deal with a temper tantrum right now, one of his attendants rushed to reassure him.  "But, my prince, the inner chamber remains unpenetrated.  Our ultimate weapon is still within our grasp."

"You're right," Nahato spoke, calming down.  "Victory can still be ours, and once we unleash this horror nobody, not Makoto, not Ifurita, and not even a mad ax-wielding Nanami, will be able to stop us."

He walked over to one of the blue disks and pressed his palm against it.  "Computer, override security code NCC-1701.  Authorization OAV3."

"Processing...confirmed.  Authorization accepted.  Security disabled.  The Path of Twilight is open," a computerized voice announced as a nearby slab of rock disappeared, revealing a narrow hallway that was completely dark.

Nahato, his eyes used to the lack of light, had no troubles navigating the passageway which, after dozens of twists and turns, finally opened up on a circular chamber that was completely black except for an illuminated, translucent column in the center.  Within and suspended in mid-air was an elaborately clothed, impish female figure.

Nahato grinned, grabbed the nearby key-staff, and walked over to the sleeping Demon God.  "Awaken, Jinnistacia, and obey my commands!  Let the world tremble at your power and rue the day they ever heard of the Phantom Tribe!"

******

Londs, Dr. Schtalabaugh, and Mr. Fujisawa met in the middle of the Roshtarian marketplace, a sad look on the faces of all three as they all felt a twinge of regret and sorrow that things had come to this and that they were now on opposite sides.  However, it was quickly replaced by resolve.

"You know our demands, Londs," Dr. Schtalabaugh said evenly.  "Return Roshtaria to human control, and the resistance will release Mr. Jinnai."  

"You fool!" Londs exclaimed urgently.  "Don't you realize that your actions might doom us all?  Even as we speak, a fleet of alien vessels armed with advanced technology and demon gods comes closer to us with each passing moment!  If El-Hazard is to stand any chance against this invasion, we need Mr. Jinnai's tactical genius!"

"Look, pal, I wasn't born yesterday," Mr. Fujisawa said gruffly.  "Do you really expect us to believe that?"

In response, Londs pointed behind them, and sure enough a fleet of alien vessels armed with demon gods appeared over the city.

******

Magical God Pretty Nanami was out shopping when a menacing, cloaked figure dropped from the sky and landed in front of her.  Standing up straight, Demon God Hishima scrutinized her carefully.

"Who are you?" Magical God Pretty Nanami asked, taking out her key-staff ax and assuming a defensive stance.

"...Demon God, Class A, threat level...minimal," Hishima concluded before answering her question.  "I am Demon God Hishima, loyal servant of Master Yume and soldier of the Creterian Empire.  Surrender or be destroyed."

"Ha!  Like I would ever do that!" Magical God Pretty Nanami retorted.  "As a main character and warrior of justice, it is my duty to fight the antogonists!"

"It is also your role as a 'side-kick' to be brutally defeated by the antogonists in order for them to appear incredibly threatening and give the main protagonists increased motivation for winning," Hishima answered simply, preparing himself for battle.

"Oh shut up!" Magical God Pretty Nanami retorted, charging her ax and bringing it down in an overheard arc.

Hishima nonchalantly blocked it with a raised forearm.  "Master Yume has ordered me to eliminate all opposition, and I will not fail her.  Prepare to be annihilated."

Faster than her systems could react to, Demon God Hishima punched her in the stomach with his other fist and promptly repeated the action multiple times.  Magical God Pretty Nanami went flying backwards and crashed roughly into a wall.  Hishima lunged at his opponent, but Magical God Pretty Nanami evaded his attack by taking to the sky and shot a powerful beam of energy at him.  Hishima merely sidestepped it and launched himself at Magical God Pretty Nanami and released his own energy projectiles that Magical God Pretty Nanami barely managed to avoid by stepping through a portal.  She reappeared behind the surprised Hishima and struck him with her ax, sending the next generation Demon God crashing into the ground.  Magical God Pretty Nanami quickly descended and prepared a follow through attack, but Hishima sprang to his feet and grabbed her by the neck, tossing her into another wall.

"Interesting.  New ability acquired," Hishima announced, confidently eyeing Magical God Pretty Nanami as she levitated off the ground and cautiously circled her opponent.  A portal opened in front of Hishima, and he released a powerful blast of energy through it.  Simultaneously, more than a dozen portals opened around and surrounded Magical God Pretty Nanami, and she promptly found herself struck by the energy blast from all sides.

Left staggering from the attack, Magical God Pretty Nanami realized too late that Demon God Hishima had managed to get behind her.  "Die," he said simply as he reached out and touched her power circuit, draining her of energy.

"MAKOTO!!!" Magical God Pretty Nanami cried out in pain as her systems shut down and the world went dark around her.

******

"All done," Ishiel said happily as she inserted the recently constructed power amplifier into her lamp.  "Now I just have to find Kauru and the others."

"Oh, I don't think you'll be doing that," Kalia uttered pleasantly as she descended in front of her, a crazed look on her face.  "You have much greater things to worry about now."

Ishiel took a frightened step back but soon collected herself.  "What do you want?" she asked.

Kalia shrugged.  "The end of the world, obviously, but right now I'll settle for you."

Remembering Afura's earlier dream, Ishiel blanched.  "You pervert!"

A surprised and then disgusted look crossed Kalia's features.  "I didn't mean it like that!  I'm still a child for crying out loud!  Regardless, my scanners have confirmed that you are a genetic match for me, and since I _really_ want to find out what's at the bottom of that volcano I'm going to need all the power I can get.  Therefore, prepare to be assimilated.  Resistance is futile!"

"Never!" Ishiel retorted, fully powered lamp humming to life as the ground rumbled.  "I think I've figured out your weakness, Kalia.  As long as I don't use energy attacks and stick to manipulating the earth, you won't be able to use my own power against me."

"True, but I have other abilities as well," Kalia replied cheerfully.  "As a matter of fact, I think I'll try my newest one out.  Kalia Lightning Strike!"

With that, the battle was joined.

******

"I wonder what's taking Nanami so long with the groceries," Makoto said worriedly.  "I hope the Bugrom aren't giving her trouble."

Ifurita smiled reassuringly.  "Don't worry, Makoto.  Nanami is a demon god now and more than capable of handling whatever comes her way."

Magical God Pretty Nanami's unconcious body suddenly crashed through the roof and landed in a heap on the floor.  Hishima landed beside her and, grabbing her key-staff, snapped it in two.

"Nanami!" Makoto shouted, running to his friend's side and attempting to link with her, hoping to find some sign of life but only seeing darkness.  

"What have you done to her?!" Makoto demanded, glaring angrily at Hishima.

For his part, Hishima looked down at the human and spoke in an even, calm voice.  "What I'll do to everyone who opposes the will of Master Yume.  Still, don't grieve.  My sensors indicate that your friend is still alive.  However, without an energy recharge, she'll soon revert to being human and pose no physical threat to the Creterian advance."

He then did a double-take.  "What's this?  Tech-touch ability acquired.  Harem-power ability acquired.  Boy, you are an odd one indeed."

Hishima finally focused his attention on Ifurita who was standing beside Makoto protectively.  "Ah, the original Ifurita unit I presume.  You are a legend even on Creteria, and I have heard much about your power.  Hopefully you'll put up more of a fight than your 'sisters' did.  Prepare yourself...for oblivion!"

« Last Edit: December 17, 2003, 03:43:54 PM by rowan_a._seven » Logged
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« Reply #12 on: December 17, 2003, 08:12:38 PM »

Ryoko partially phased up through the deck of Dall-3's cruiser, just behind where the emperor stood.  Her eyes were just above the floor.  She looked up at Dall-3 with a mischievous twinkle in her eyes.  Dall-3 had assumed a leaderly pose, one foot set against a railing, one hand cupped over his eyes, pretty-boy hair and long voluminous cape majestically waving in the breeze.

Ryoko phased the rest of her head up, and, with a manic grin, cleared her throat.  "*ahem*--"

"YEEEK!!"  Dall-3 shrieked in surprise, in a not at all manly way, and almost fell overboard.  "Ryoko!!  Haven't I asked you not to do that!?"

Ryoko giggled.  "Yeah, but it's just too darn fun."

Dall-3 glared at her as she phased her shapely female figure up entirely from the floor.  "Well, what is it?" he snarled.

Ryoko saluted, in a snarky way, though not quite snarkily enough to be punishable.  She was an expert at flirting with the fine line of insubordination, after centuries of practice.  "Yessir.  I just wanted to inform Yer Excellence that Urd is gone--"

Dall-3's face lit up in pleasant surprise.  "Why, Ryoko!  I'm pleasantly surprised!  Don't tell me you've already dispatched that foul creature!"

Ryoko sighed.  "Uh, no.  You do realize that she wasn't a demon god?  Or even a space pirate loosely re-interpreted as a demon god?  No, she was a gen-you-wine localized manifestation of a ten-dimensional Yggdrasil goddess.  Rest assured, if we had actually fought, she would have eventually taken me down, put me over her knee, and spanked my skinny butt.  Uh, so to speak."

Dall-3 contemplated the mental picture that Ryoko had just painted, and suffered a nosebleed.  Ryoko sighed again, produced a box of tissues, and handed a tissue to Dall-3 before continuing.

"Y'see, what actually happened was, me an' Urd had retired to this great little out-of-the-way bar-n-grill, in order to work out the details of my humiliating defeat and her only slightly less humiliating victory.  You gotta go there after you conquer this world.  I'm tellin' ya, they have the best complimentary buffalo wings--"

"Get to the point," Dall-3 said through his tissue.

"Oh, right.  Well, we were discussing possibilities for our ultimate fan-servicey duel.  We had narrowed it down to three choices:  strip Pettan; a double straitjacket escape race; or a contest where we would produce a bunch of duplicates of ourselves, oil 'em down, and see who could stuff more of 'em into a glass phone booth--"

"Okay, don't get to the point," Dall-3 said, as his nose continued to bleed heavily.

Ryoko sighed yet again, and handed the full box of tissues to Dall-3.  "Uh... yeah," she said.  "Anywho... Urd suddenly gets this sad look on her face.  And she says something like, another El-Hazard background character had just been introduced to the Round Robin.  This retired priestess type was actually a favorite of the current writer, what with her having got a minor yet poetically tragic role in his long-stalled El-Hazard continuation serial fan fiction.  And the character was given love potion abilities just like Urd's, only even better.  So, Urd kinda gets bummed out, and decides that there wasn't much point in hangin' around, especially since there's so many other plot threads for the current writer to try to keep up with, now--"

"You lost me," Dall-3 said, with remarkable honesty and humility.

Ryoko pulled a hand down her face in exasperation.  "Ngh...  Look, *I* understood it, so it can't be that complicated.  How 'bout the Cliff's Notes version, then?  'Pretty Lady Gone Home!!'"

"I suppose it doesn't matter," Dall-3 said.  "Urd is gone!  This is wonderful news!"

"Uh, sir?... No.  It isn't.  Sir."

Dall-3 sighed.  "Damn it!  I was hoping I could get one right!"

Ryoko smiled with sincere sympathy, and patted Dall-3's pretty-boy head.  "Don't let it get you down.  No sir, I'm afraid that it would have been a lot easier for all of us if Urd would have stuck around awhile longer.  She was the only character around here that could have easily put down that undead nanite psycho-biatch Kalia.  Unless we get another character in, like someone who could survive the white-hot lava in a volcano, or something?  Well, we're looking at yet another knock-down drag-out apocalyptic battle, where enemies are forced to work together as friends, to save the world just barely in the nick of time.  Only it's Kalia, so it won't be to save this world-- it'll be to save this whole freakin' dimension, all the way up to (but not including) Yggdrasil itself.  And at the rate that Kalia's collecting hideously evil bits o' technology, there's no way all you Creterians can run away and hide in time, this time..."

A damp stain appeared in the crotch of Dall-3's pants.

Ryoko raised an eyebrow.  "Uh, sir?  Y'know, they offer a wide variety of discreet sanitary products to help young adults deal with incontinence--"

"Thank you, Ryoko," said Dall-3, through clenched teeth.  "That.  Will.  Be.  All."

Ryoko grinned, saluted semi-snarkily again, and spoke as she slowly phased back down through the floor.  "Yessir.   I beg to remain, yer humble servant-- BWAH HA HA HA!!  Aw, I knew I couldn't say that with a straight face..."
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« Reply #13 on: December 18, 2003, 01:27:03 AM »

Nahato's triumphant grin remained frozen on his face.  Worry, however, was beginning to creep into the rest of his expression.
Eventually, with only the slightest of a quiver in his voice, the boy tried again.  "I said awaken, Jinnistacia, obey my commands, let the world tremble at your power and rue the day they ever heard of the Phantom Tribe!"
The obviously awesome power of the demon god Jinnistacia completely failed to make itself known in any way.  Amazing pyrotechnics were noticeable in their absence.  Her well toned limbs remained stubbornly unmoving.  Her beautiful but somehow chilling features didn't so much as budge.  Nahato twitched.  "Oh, come on!  Does nothing ever work for us?"  Beginning to get frustrated, the child kicked the demon god.  She did not respond in any way.
"If I could explain, sir..."
"Why not?" replied Nahato, throwing his arms up in the air in aggravation, "We've been drowned in exposition already".
"Sir... it took us years just to locate this demon god, deep in the frozen wastes.  And then it took us even more years to free it from its icy tomb.  The excavation cost many lives, and required the use of almost all the ancient technology we had found... much of that technology was lost due to the incredible demands of the mining operation.  We believe it would have been an enormous undertaking even for the Ancients.  Clearly whoever put this demon god in stasis did not want it to be easy to reach her.  We expected that there would be unusual difficulty in awakening her, but we feel we've made progress."
"Progress?"
"Erm... yes.  After 2 years of work we managed to understand enough of the demon god's programming to... make her tell us her name."  The underling had the good grace to look quite embarrassed.
"That's it?"
"And it moved once," continued the underling brightly, "to... er... kill one of our scientists."
"I was told we had a working demon god at this facility."
"And she does work!  Whatever it is she's meant to be doing... she's doing it now."
"I was made to think we could control her."
"Um... I think maybe someone fibbed to you a bit sir.  Possibly trying to get this facility better funded.  It is an important facility.  Well, was anyway.  It's where we made that half breed Ishiel, and programmed her memories.  It's where we made the technology to conceal buildings.  The scinetists here felt they needed stronger defenses."

All the Phantom Tribe members looked back through the doorway to the rest of the facility.  The only reason there weren't any Phantom Tribe corpses was because phantom tribe members don't leave corpses.
"Well, they may have been right about that," conceded Nahato, "but that doesn't change the fact that we're without a major weapon at the moment.  We don't even have people in positions of influence any more!"

Another one of the underlings smiled brightly and spoke up.  "It may be a good thing that we're not able to use any of our major weapons at the moment.  From what we've been able to make out since escaping, there's a lot going on at the moment.  People are on their guard.  We work much better in secrecy, tricking our enemies.  There are too many unknown variables at the moment.  And as for getting people into positions of influence again... there is one other thing that wasn't touched in this facility.  Perhaps the demon god felt it too low tech.  As you know, our greatest enemy has been the human capable of seeing through our illusions.  Scientists here worked day and night to find away around that weakness."  She held up what looked very much like a makeup case, because that's precisely what it was.  "Behold... the anti-Nanami defense screen."

****

The sensible thing would have been to call a momentary truce with the Alliance in order to deal with the much greater threat posed by Kalia.

The Emperor, unfortunately, was not a sensible person.  He was, alas, an Emperor.  And not one of the good ones that had to work hard for their position.  No, he was the sort that got handed the mantle of leadership just for being born.  He had been spoiled rotten all his life.  He still wet himself for goodness' sakes.  So he was much more inclined to be pig headed and continue on with his original plan.  Partly because he believed himself to be too powerful for Kalia to threaten.  Partly because he was a stubborn ass.

With a wave of his hand the demon gods were ordered to spread out and surround the city.  Of course this left them more vulnerable to being picked off one by one, perhaps by soemone with unique abilities for messing with demon god programming, but the Emperor couldn't have known about Mizuhara Makoto.  Couldn't have known that a mere touch from that earthling was enough to free a demon god from its shackles.  Besides, the boy had problems of his own.

*****

Speaking of people with problems, Jinnai was glaring at his guard.  "How much are they paying you?" he asked.

The red-haired guard jutted her chin out proudly, slamming the butt of her halberd on the ground.  "I'm doing this for the honor of the Alliance!"

"And?"

"Free meals at the Shinonome Diner."

Jinnai nodded.  That was a pretty good deal.  He'd have done it for less in her shoes.  "I can top that... how would you like to be... ruler of a whole cit... two cities?

The guard's chin remained firmly jutting out.  But she didn't say no...

"And you can have a bunch of Bugrom to order around," continued Jinnai, "how cool is that?"

She glanced at the door.  She had a calculating gleam in her eyes.  Jinnai recognized that gleam... he'd seen it in the mirror often enough.  "What's your name, little girl?" he asked.

"Millie," replied the orphaned street urchin.

****

It was a surprisingly good battle, Kalia admitted to herself.  The human might have been a very real threat to her... once.  But not any more.  Not with all the ancient technology she had upgraded herself with.  Not with Yuba's tech-touch making such technology grafts possible.

Ishiel was drenched with sweat.  This wasn't how it was meant to go.  She was confident in the power of her lamp.  But half the time she tried to hit Kalia, the great hunks of rock controlled by the lamp were sucked into one of Kalia's "dots" and sent back, magnified, attacking Ishiel.  And the one time she did hit the monster of a demon god, it didn't even seem to phase the witch.  In fact the stones seemed to shatter.

Kalia smiled and walked confidently up toward Ishiel.  Massive boulders were flying toward her, sending the people of Mos Eisley running.  The rock shattered as soon as it touched the demon god.  "I took parts from something called the 'Hammer of God' and put them in me," explaned Kalia, effortlessly destroying another attack.  "I'm currently creating a massive kinetic field.  One of my hairs could shatter a diamond just by brushing against it."  

There was a blur, and then Kalia was right next to Ishiel, grabbing hold of the lamp.  She was smiling, insane as ever.  "Just turned off the field."  Ishiel grabbed the lamp with both hands, holding on tight... and was lifted off her feet as Kalia smoothly swung the lamp around.  "It's a strong weapon... I noticed you found another amplifier.  But even without my new defenses, I'm fast enough to dodge."  A mesh of crimson circuitry passed over her face, replacing it again with the dead visage of Yuba.  The tech touch initiated... and the lamp was temporarily deactivated, a lock or two put in place.  Given time Ishiel could no doubt fix the damage.  Given time.

Electricity flowed from Kalia to Ishiel, a low power version of the lightning strike.  Ishiel passed out.  Kalia threw the priestess over her shoulder and began to fly back to her lair.

Truth be told... she should have just torn the priestess to bits right there, taking whatever she wanted to augment herself.  But there was something disturbing about their similar appearance.  Something that she had calculated could not be due to coincidence, nor due to merely being genetically related.  Something that...

Kalia was not permitted to remember her own origin.  She had no idea how she came to be, wasn't even meant to be curious.  And she never would have admitted that she was curious, or that she was taking Ishiel to try and learn more about herself.  It would have been ludicrous, in direct violation of her primary directive.  But perhaps something from Yuba had leaked into her... because that's precisely what she was doing.  Kalia wanted to know where she came from, and how Ishiel tied into that... as much as a being such as herself was capable of such a desire.

And once that was sorted out, she would use one of the Princesses of Roshtaria (it didn't matter which) to activate the part of the Eye of God she had used.  Which would initiate her machine, creating an antimatter universe slightly out of phase with El Hazard's.  And then move it in phase.  

If that didn't destroy everything, nothing would.

****


Kauru watched, horrified, as the demon god vanished in the distance.  She had tried to get to the scene of the battle... but the crowds had been moving in the other direction, and she was still so weak.  Despair came close to overwhelming her when she found her fellow priestess' lamp.

But no... something inside her would not allow her to lose.  Something inside her knew that she was strong enough to defeat Kalia.  Strong enough to do anything she put her mind to.

She did cry though.  A lot.  You can cry a lot without quite giving in to despair.
« Last Edit: December 18, 2003, 03:23:27 PM by d.t. » Logged

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« Reply #14 on: December 18, 2003, 03:25:33 PM »

"Very well," Ifurita said to her opponent, eyes glinting with anger. "As they say on the homeworld of my beloved, 'It is on.'"

Had Hishima had a face with a mouth, he would have smiled fiercely. "Excellent. I will take particularly relish in your defeat."

"Ifurita, please be careful!" Makoto urged. "I have a bad feeling about this..."

"Do not worry, Makoto," Ifurita smiled reassuringly. "Am I not the greatest of all Demon Gods? I will return to you, my love. For now, please watch over Nanami."

She nodded towards the door and spoke to Hishima. "If you have no objections, I would like to take this battle to a less populated locale."

"I have none," Hishima said, graciously opening the door for her. "I wish for you to be fighting at the peak of your abilities. If you are holding back for the sake of your loved ones, it might deprive me of what may well be the only challenge I shall ever face in my lifetime."

Ifurita walked outside, almost casually, and Hishima followed her. As the door closed behind them, Makoto ran to the window and watched as the two lifted into the air at incredible speeds. "Ifurita..." Makoto murmurred worriedly. He had a sudden strong urge to find a palace balcony and stand upon it, gazing up at the stars while wringing his hands, but quickly shook it off.

***

High in the air, and many kilometers away from any populated area Ifurita and Hishima regarded one another with cool caution. "Well, I suppose there's no point in delaying this any longer," Ifurita said. "Would you like to make the first move, or should I?"

"By all means, ladies first," Hishima bowed.

"As you wish," Ifurita responded.

BLAAM! A bolt of energy struck toward Hishima. The opposing Demon God made no move to avoid it, instead lifting his hand. Three vaguely wing-shaped, transparent barriers spread outwards from his palm much like the petals of a flower and rotated to incercept the blast. When the energy met the barrier, it deflected harmlessly away. Well, harmlessly for Hishima. The ground below was far less lucky, as it erupted in an enormous explosion.

"Interesting," Ifurita noted. "I had thought the Wings of the Light Hawk to be merely theoretical. It will take time to add them to my database."

Ifurita fired twice more, with no better effect. "Please, Ifurita," Hishima sighed. "You're not even trying. I don't want to be disappointed."

"It may surprise you to learn this," Ifurita responsed grimly, "but your entertainment is not my foremost goal in this fight."

"Very well. If you wish to be difficult, I suppose I will have to entertain myself." With blinding speed, Hishima blurred toward Ifurita, firing a barrage of energy bolts at her. Ifurita nimbly dodged each one, or occasionally swatted one out of the air with her staff, and prepared to intercept the onrushing Demon God.

Hishima's fist lashed out in a vicious punch that Ifurita was barely able to deflect. The next two, she was NOT able to deflect, and they caught her firmly across the face and stomach, doubling her over. She blocked the following kick, though, and it thrust her backwards. "Very impressive," Ifurita commented, recovering. "Your attacks are almost too fast for my sensors to track." Hishima unleashed another blistering combination of strikes - all of which were successfully deflected. "Almost," Ifurita reminded him.

Then, Hishima vanished into thin air. He appeared again a moment later, directly over Ifurita's head and descending rapidly, fist outstretched in what would be a devastating blow - had it not skittered off of Ifurita's ready staff. Somewhat startled at Ifurita's ready defense, Hishima muttered, "What? But how-"

His distraction was enough for Ifurita to smack him firmly across the head with her staff, sending the Hishima tumbling head over heels through the air. Ifurita followed, easily overtaking the out-of-control Demon God for another strike. WHAM! "I have had ample opportunity to study Nanami's abilities." WHAM! "Detecting where and when the portals will appear is a simple task." WHAM! "Now, die."

Ifurita fired another blast at Hishima, this time at point-blank range, only to find that Hishima had whirled around in time to hold out his hand again. However, this time he had no time to form the barrier, and the blast shattered his arm. "I missed," Ifurita scowled darkly, evidently considering Hishima's maiming to be inconsequential.

And, apparently, it WAS inconsequential. The shattered bits of Hishima's arm slowed from their various flight paths and stopped. Then, as though a video played in reverse, the pieces reversed their course and reassembled, leaving Hishima whole once more. Ifurita's hard glance showed that she was neither surprised nor particularly dismayed by this show of power.

Flexing his newly reformed fingers, Hishima gazed at Ifurita with respect. "It would seem that I have underestimated your abilities. In that case, I'm afraid that I must resort to an ability that I know you have no defense against. One that has overcome you in the past."

"Impossible," Ifurita said calmly. "No such technique exists. That is why I am still alive. I have faced the worst assaults imaginable, survived them, and grown stronger by them. That is what it means to be the most powerful Demon God."

"I beg to disagree," Hishima responded, a distinctly wry tone in his voice. "Behold."

The two Demon Gods stared at one another. If there'd been any crickets nearby, they would have been chirping.

"Well?" Ifurita asked impatiently.

"That's it," Hishima answered. "Please, feel free to counterattack at your leisure.

"I don't know what your game is, but I don't particularly care. Prepare to be deactivated." Ifurita lifted her staff and pointed it at Hishima. She began to will it to fire, but suddenly found herself oddly... reluctant.

Visage hardening, Ifurita tried again to fire, but found herself distracted. She had suddenly lost all desire to bring harm to the mysterious and... fascinating being before her. His masked countenance, his dark cloak, his piercing eyes all lent themselves to an intriguing enigma, one that Ifurita suddenly found herself wishing to unravel...

Suddenly returning to reality, but finding herself no less paralyzed by indecision, Ifurita asked, "Wh-what have you done to me?"

"I have defeated you," Hishima answered, moving slowly toward Ifurita. "Exactly as you were defeated before."

"I don't understand..." Ifurita protested. Hishima was now close enough for Ifurita to jab the tip of her staff into his chest, and she did so. Still, though, she could not make herself fire. Hishima gently grasped the tip of the staff and pushed it downwards. Ifurita did not resist.

Hishima moved close enough to be nose-to-nose with Ifurita had he had one. Ifurita swallowed, her heart thumping rapidly in her chest. "You feel it in your heart, do you not?" Hishima's deep voice rumbled. "You now feel for me what you once felt for that boy. You desire to know me better. To be with me. To LOVE me. The ability that Makoto Mizuhara has to charm and fascinate women now belongs to me. And you, for all your power, are still a woman."

Swimming in the dark seas of Hishima's eyes, Ifurita nonetheless managed to desperately gasp, "No! My love for Makoto has nothing to do with this ri... ridiculous ability! He is my Heart! My soul mate! He and I are, and will always be one!"

"Ah, yes," Hishima murmurred. "I nearly forgot about that. Let's take care of that now, as well, shall we?" He lifted a metal hand up to caress Ifurita's cheek. Blue energy coursed along his hand, and Ifurita went rigid.

***

Ifurita's systems were wide open to Hishima. He could see every circuit, every mechanism, and knew that he could adjust or destroy any of them with only a thought. "Now, where to begin," he wondered. "Perhaps I can save Master Yume some difficulty. It should not be too difficult to enslave this unit to our side. Ah, here we are... Her slave circuit has been destroyed, but it will be a simple matter to replace it, and to key it to Master Yume's genetic data." With something less than a conscious effort, Hishima reached out-

-and nothing happened. Annoyed and confused, Hishima concentrated. Still nothing. "This is impossible," Hishima protested. "I am thoroughly aware of the extent of Makoto's ability. And it SHOULD be working! Unless..."

With a vicious yank, as though pulling the tarp off of a hidden object, Hishima revealed the cause of his difficulty. "You? But how?"

"Ifurita DID tell you, didn't she?" Makoto calmly smiled. "She and I are one. I am always with her, even when we are apart. And you should have known better than to pit your amature ability against practiced experts."

Hishima growled, but then froze. "Where is she?"

Makoto smirked. "One guess."

"NO!"


***

Hishima tore himself away from Ifurita and hovered a few meters away from her. His body shook, and occasionally spasmed violently. After a quick internal diagnostic, he determined that it was quite bad. While he had been distracted by Makoto, Ifurita had ravaged much of his internal workings. His ability aquisition computer was hopelessly scrambled, and would take time to repair. His reflexes had slowed by forty percent seriously cutting into his hand-to-hand combat skills. His flight capabilities had been severely restricted. He would not be able to move very fast in the air. Fortunately, his energy attacks were still at full power, and he had access to his entire library of abilities.

"I am imp-p-p-p-p-ressed," he said. Mentally, he added a speech impediment to his list of current ailments. "B-b-b-b-ut you are still d-d-d-oomed. My harem ab-b-b-b-ility is still working. You c-c-c-c-c-annot harm me."

"Oh, I wouldn't say that," Ifurita smiled smugly. "If there's one thing that I've learned about Makoto, it's that the women who pursue him seldom have any reservations about beating the crap out of him. Prepare yourself."

Hishima's desperate attempt to fend Ifurita off with the Wings of the Light Hawk failed when Ifurita countered them with her own, cancelling them out. In his crippled state, the beatdown Ifurita administered to Hishima was quite brutal.

***

"Ifurita! Are you okay?" asked Makoto as Ifurita dumped Hishima's still body onto the floor.

"Yes, I have sustained minor damage, but will be fine," Ifurita answered. "My opponent was formidable. Still, I somehow have the impression that the author who added him to the storyline intended him to be much more difficult to beat than this."

"What?" Makoto blinked.

"Nevermind," Ifurita responded. "Now, please use your ability to finish what I started, before some unlikely twist of plot leads to his rescue. He needs to be disabled as an offensive threat. For reasons I'd rather not share, I was... unable to finish him myself." She gazed intently at the fallen Demon God.

"Right," Makoto said uneasily, and found himself oddly jealous of the way that Ifurita was staring at Hishima.

"How is Nanami?" Ifurita asked.

"I'm not sure," Makoto answered. "I covered her up after her clothes disappeared. And I think that she's almost back to being human. I tried to link with her, but couldn't." He sighed. "I hope she won't be too disappointed. She seemed to actually be happy to be a Demon God." Unspoken was the additional phrase, "And I hope that she doesn't go back to being an axe-wielding homicidal maniac."

Makoto prepared to administer his special touch to Hishima.
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