A Ranma ½ / Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon crossover story
by Josh Temple
Naturally, I own neither Sailor Moon nor Ranma. So here's the disclaimer: Ranma ½ and its characters and settings belong to Rumiko Takahashi, Shogakukan, Kitty, and Viz Video. Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon belongs to Naoko Takeuchi, Koudansha, TV Asahi, and Toei Douga, and DIC.
C&C requested as always.
Chapter 12 Revival and Renovation
Akane smiled. She could feel mother's presence. She had been saved from that horrible monster that had taken her. She and her mother would get revenge on the creature that had tried to change her. She froze after she opened her eyes.
"You're absolutely right, Dear," Alexia grinned as she ran a hand across the younger demon's cheek. Both of them were on a large bed, but Alexia was leaning over the other demon.
"No…." Akane wanted to get up, to attack Alexia, to run, to do something, but there was a… presence that was keeping her from moving.
"Don't worry, mother's here and everything's going to be okay," Alexia reassured. "You're safe from the Traitor."
Akane whimpered as the presence in her mind increased. She could feel it snaking around in her brain. She flared her eyes and growled as she used every ounce of her will to lunge at Alexia. "Stop it!"
The blonde demon intercepted her and embraced the younger succubus. "Are you done playing?" Alexia laughed as she watched the hatred drain from the girl's face. She then reached up and gently stroked one of the girl's horns.
"Please… just stop. I want my Mommy," she whined.
"You'll have her," Alexia gently said as she nudged the girl.
"I will?" the teen asked as she leaned onto Alexia.
"I know it's painful, but I have to break the spell the Traitor put on you. It was an awfully cruel trick she did to you."
"Trick?" Akane asked despair leaking into her voice. Her wings dropped.
"Why yes, she made you think you were some weak human." Alexia said as she removed her hand from the girl's horn and gently hugged her.
"She tried to turn me into someone else?" The young demon asked. "No! She didn't! She loved me! She was trying to help me!" She tried to work up the resolve to fight it, but her memories were fuzzy. Then suddenly one came into focus. She remembered slapping a redhead away and crying about being controlled and manipulated. It was clear in her mind what happened next. The redhead had exerted her control and punished the younger succubus for her impudence.
The teen's eyes hardened. "Yes, she did do that." Other memories and slights of the redhead's were becoming clearer.
"It's okay," Alexia repeated. "You're with me now. Mother's here for you, my dear Eclipse."
"Eclipse?" the young demon asked as she looked into Alexia's eyes.
"Yes, that's the name you were born with. Don't you remember?"
"I…." the teenager paused trying to sort her memories out. "I remember being shot," she whimpered again. "I'm sorry I failed you." Tears started to from at the corners of her eyes.
"I know. It's not your fault," Alexia said as she continued to hug her spawn. "Don't worry, I'm setting things right."
The younger succubus nodded. "You're helping me aren't you?" She could still feel the presence, mother's presence, in her mind, but it was reassuring now.
"Yes, Eclipse. I'm peeling away the damage the Traitor did you. It'll restore you back to your old self," Alexia promised. She was very pleased with Eclipse's response. Unlike Aurora, this girl already was Eclipse. She just needed to be reminded.
"Good," Eclipse purred as hate for the Traitor welled within her. That human-loving redhead had tried to ruin her and it had almost worked.
"Let's get you properly dressed," Alexia said as she led Eclipse to the same set of mirrors that gave Aurora her first view of herself.
Eclipse gave a seductive smile at her reflection. Long metallic blue hair spilling down her back complimented her deep blue and silver-gray wings and tail. She concentrated and shifted her clothing to a pair of tiny leather shorts and a top that had less material than the bras she used to wear. This style would do… for now.
The succubus laughed as she made her clothing vanish entirely. There was no need for such human trappings here. "Thank you Mother. Thank you for saving me," Eclipse said as she bowed before Alexia, adoration and awe in her voice.
"Stand up," Alexia laughed, quite pleased with Eclipse's respect.
Eclipse got back up, blushing slightly in embarrassment.
"Glad to have you back, Sis," Aurora smiled as she walked over to her sister.
"Thanks for your help in saving me," Eclipse said as she hugged the orange-haired succubus.
Alexia's smile soured when her daughters decoupled. The cord around Aurora's neck was empty. "Where's your phone, Aurora? Did you lose it again? There was a reason I told you to wear it around your neck."
"I'm sorry mother. One of the Traitor's spawn stole it from me." Aurora knelt as she gave her apology.
"That's not good," Eclipse said as she resumed preening in front of that mirror. Her new hair color was quite appealing to her.
"Explain daughter," Alexia asked, her tone sweetening.
Eclipse smiled. "The humans working with the Traitor are rather clever, in their own way. They will be able to find out all the numbers Aurora has called. Maybe even their locations."
Despite her artificial tan, Aurora's face paled. "No…"
"This house is no longer safe," Alexia announced. She sighed. This had been a comfortable lair, but thanks to Aurora's incompetence it was useless.
Aurora wanted to ask why they weren't staying and fighting, but she knew it was not her place.
Communications and Cryptography agent Maya Iverson looked over the cell phone that had been transferred to her and another Forensic Pathology agent.
She frowned as she started to examine the cheap, pink phone. "At the very least we can get some phone numbers from this thing," Maya said as she started accessing the call records. They were surprisingly sparse. It looked like the phone was recently purchased.
"When you get the numbers see if you can get any locations from them," Kasumi briskly said before turning back to Ranma.
The redhead was staring at the far wall of the mall shop as she hugged her two children, who surprisingly enough were starting to fall asleep.
"Uh… Red? We're getting some numbers. It looks like we've got where Alexia lives." Kasumi paused, amazed that her statement had not resulted in more than a slow nod from the succubus. "You should come with us. We're organizing a rescue mission now."
Ranma blinked and got up, gently raising her kids with her. She checked to make sure she and her remaining children looked passably human before following Kasumi out of the mall and into a waiting Company Van.
Kasumi watched her fiancé as the vehicle drove to WIC Toronto-B. Despite Ranma's human form it was abundantly clear that she was not human. A powerful and angry predator was thinly contained just under the surface.
"Mommy?" Nariko asked as she leaned onto her mother.
"Yes?" Ranma asked. She smiled slightly, but her eyes still kept their distant look.
"We're going to get Akane back. Alexia deserves whatever you do to her," Nariko said simply, her eyes glowing evenly.
"Yes," Ranma repeated, her voice disturbingly calm.
"What's wrong?" Ami asked as she watched her female friend slump into her room. She noticed that Janet had not even removed her school uniform.
"It's Mom," Janet sighed and loosened the knot on her tie.
Ami's eyes widened. "Does she know… I mean… about us?"
Janet gave a defeated shrug. "She notices that I'm up here a lot, and our late night outings are starting to make her suspicious."
Ami nodded as she walked over to Janet. "There's no getting around that. We have to do what we have to do."
"Sometimes I wish we were like Sunny and her family. Things would be much easier. She doesn't have to hide what she is from her parents."
"Don't worry," Ami said as she gently hugged the other girl. "We'll get through this. Do you want to talk to Usagi about it?"
Janet nodded. "Yeah, this concerns her. She's experienced this before right? Hiding the truth from her parents?"
"Yeah, her parents are around more for her than the rest of us." Ami's face soured briefly. At least she still had parents, unlike Makoto or the late Mamoru.
"I'm not going to lose Mother. She's the only family I have," the adopted teen promised.
"You won't. We'll take care of everything," Ami reassured as she broke their hug.
"I understand," Kasumi said into her cell phone. She then turned to the other occupants of the vehicle. "They've tracked down some of the locations in Aurora's phone. Frequently called is a landline to a residence in Pine Gove, not far from that Alexia's warehouse in Vaughan. It's a good-sized mansion. The owner is a younger woman. I wouldn't be surprised if she sported horns now though, or was connected to the fake company that owned Alexia's other lairs."
"That figures," Ukyou noted. It made sense. Alexia could find a rich woman or two and turn them into her minions. That would give her plenty of resources for her plans.
Kasumi communicated with command a bit more. "So far, forward observers haven't detected anything conclusive but they're not on position yet. Regardless we're bringing in jamming equipment and setting up a full quarantine anyway."
"Good." Ranma kept her eyes closed. She reached out to her remaining daughters and kept them close.
Eyes glowing, Ranma spread her wings and flexed her talons.
"It's a good thing this place is on an isolated property," Lt. Tendo remarked before organizing her men.
"I can feel that the jammers are up. I'm going in." Ranma strode forward.
"But, can you feel her?"
"No, I don't. Just some fodder. Can your equipment pick her up?"
"We're getting the same on our scanners. Though she might be able to fool them," Kasumi agreed
"I thought so." Ranma motioned to her kids and the trio extended their wings and rushed the building.
Kasumi sighed and using her headset told command that the demons had started. She then watched as a pair of armored vehicles broke from the quarantine line and rammed the mansion. Their travel was uncontested and two squads came out of the back of the vehicle and secured the main foyer.
Lt Tendo and her team did not see this; they were in another vehicle that was making a run at a side entrance. Several fireballs thudded onto the roof. They flared harmlessly on the armor. Coaxial-controlled machinegun fire from the APC hit the window where the attack originated. It was joined by a guided-missile launched from the quarantining troops.
The troop carrier stopped at the door and the ramp went down. The team of agents breached the door and found nothing. "Reading anything Gabe?" Kasumi asked as she went forward.
"I see a cluster of seven no… five… um… three Pattern D's. One is a pattern silver. There might be one or two more down this corridor and above us. I'm not sure."
"We'll go to the hallway just on the other side of this kitchen and secure a choke point first," Kasumi said as she led her troops down the room. The walk-in freezer and pantry were both quickly examined. Their contents were unsurprising and ranged from mundane to horrifying.
Their task was to rescue Akane and clear the building. The detailed search and analysis of the contents of Alexia's lair would be the job of Forensic Pathology Section. The team made its way down an adjoining corridor and, after killing a succubus in a maid's uniform with a single shot to the head, met up with a team that had breached the front doors. They went up the stairwell and found an irate redheaded succubus.
"You didn't find anything did you? The bitch just bolted. She didn't even take her whole family. She left us to clean up her trash…." the redhead's eyes narrowed.
"You didn't take any alive did you?" Kasumi asked. "They might know—"
"They weren't told anything." Nariko frowned. Once Mother ascertained that Alexia's minions were useless they were disposed of. At least that part cheered her up slightly.
Ukyou nodded slowly. It was strange. Before, she wouldn't think twice of killing such weak demons. Ones that were scared and abandoned by their mistress. Now… it almost made her feel dirty.
"How did she know to leave?" Ranma demanded, as violet fire flickered down her arms.
"She might have figured out what us having Aurora's cell phone meant." Ukyou suggested.
"Fucking bitch!" Ranma summoned a fireball.
"No!" Kasumi said, careful to keep her weapon pointed away from the succubus.
"Yeah, Mom. Alexia probably left important stuff written around here. Other places she's been to, accounts she uses, things like that," Ukyou said.
Ranma's eyes twitched.
"Calm down Mommy," Nariko said as she hugged the other teen. "I want Akane back as much as you do but destroying this place won't bring her back any faster."
Ranma returned the hug and her expression softened. "I know, Honey." She turned to Kasumi. "I want a team of agents with a powerful scanner thingy and a list of all the places you think Alexia could be. And update me with everything you find out here."
"You're giving orders?"
"I want Akane back, and I'm more than willing to use you guys to do that."
"I just find it a bit strange. You moved from not trusting the Company at all, to ordering agents around."
"It's that or I fly house to house all over town," Ranma said before brushing past Kasumi.
The officer nodded. It was not a hard decision. Take orders from a brood mother that made sense and would be sent for approval with command anyway or let a demon work her way from one end of the city to the other.
"I can't believe Aurora's incompetence cost us so dearly," Eclipse sniffed as she looked around the suite where Mother had taken them.
"I said I was sorry," Aurora pouted.
"That's not good enough." Eclipse walked over to the other succubus and glared. "I see why Mother saw it fit to bring me back."
"You're forgetting mother had me rescue you," Aurora countered.
"Which you screwed up!" Eclipse extended her claws.
"That's enough you two!" Alexia shouted. Her daughters immediately stopped and bowed their heads. "Good, why don't you two play with each other nicely while Mother thinks things over."
The two girls nodded and started practicing on their clothing and hairstyles.
Looking out the window, Alexia planned her next move. Losing that lair was a blow, but it was just a building and money, such things were easily acquired. More importantly, she had her daughter back.
She could guess how much the Traitor was hurting from this. That redheaded upstart was weakened and emotional now. Alexia considered her resources. A plan formed in her mind. It was risky and it would require some last-minute adjustments but either way it would work.
Alexia smirked. The Traitor would either lose outright and die or lose another one of her beloved pawns.
Ranma closed her eyes as she sat on the toilet. Her daughters, the two that remained, could be felt outside the bathroom. She concentrated and tried to control herself. She remembered what Alexia did… and it seemed like a useful technique… if only to allow her to regain some scant sanity. Their search had been fruitless. Most of the places on their list had been dead ends. A few had a couple clueless minion succubae but nothing more than that.
She could feel her emotions bubbling within her, occasionally forming as ghostly waves of flames that danced over her. Her experiences as a human and especially as a teenage boy were completely inadequate to deal with the righteous, raw, vengeful rage that came from having her child stolen from her.
Ranma had to get control back… she could feel it slipping away as the phantom flames of white and purple pulsed faster. Her violent urges had to be controlled, not stopped. She was going to devour Alexia. Things had to be contained; so she could get to Alexia and unleash them fully on her.
Sitting at a table near the bathroom, Ukyou and Nariko tilted their heads as they felt mother's energy… diminish. Their connection to her was still there, but the power that mother normally radiated had been deadened.
The two girls went back to sampling their meals. "We should be on base," Ukyou said as she sat in the darkened street in front of miniature mall that contained the fast food establishment.
"We're hungry now, Sis. We spent all night looking. Besides once Mommy's done we'll be back in the van. Those agents do want their food." Nariko pouted. She felt she could almost feel Akane, but she dismissed it as her longing. A part of her was missing and she wanted it filled again.
"I'm worried," Ukyou's eyes traced back to the van parked across the street. There was a fully armed squad in the vehicle, the same one that had been providing direct support. They had been assigned to them after they had cleared Alexia's former lair.
A block away a trio of demons landed on a rooftop. The tallest started scanning the nighttime cityscape. Her attention eventually fell onto a specific building. She alerted her companions and they began to watch the building. The two younger ones raised issues about the black van's presence but the elder assured them that they were no concern.
Alexia refocused her senses. She could not believe her luck. It was too far for her to identify the scent of the succubae in that building, but she knew there were around two young ones in that building.
A building that was being watched by those meddling humans. Even if the succubae inside the building were not members of the Traitor's brood, they were still succubae. Ones that could be recruited to her cause.
The important thing was that the Traitor was not here. Alexia strained her senses to confirm it. The Traitor was irritatingly powerful for such an insignificant upstart. Alexia smiled to her daughters.
Both would have their chance to redeem themselves. Alexia watched her daughters prepare themselves and fly off. She would be with them shortly, there were just a few things she needed to do.
A Communications and Cryptography agent noticed one of their flagged phone numbers activate. The conversation was brief and seemingly harmless. Institutional paranoia dictated that it was a code for something.
The agent alerted his supervisor and a generic warning was dispensed to the relevant units.
"That's just great," Lieutenant Patterson said when he received word. He turned to his team "Al, Rich, I want you two to get to those girls now," The agent looked out the back window of the van then back at the pattern scanner. It showed the three demons in the room but Sunshine's signal was… strange; it seemed faded. Patterson's sensor specialist said it might have something to do with interference from being a pattern silver too.
The two agents were just about to leave when a messy streak suddenly arced across the scanner's screen.
"Shit," Patterson muttered. "Alert base, we're going to need backup. Suit up, men."
"Akane?" Nariko asked with worry crossing her face.
"Oh, damn it," Ukyou said as she looked around the mini-mall.
"Hello girls," Aurora said as she strolled into the mini-mall's lobby through the back door.
"Still wearing mall-rat grade crap I see," Ukyou sighed. "You gonna try to take another one of us?"
Aurora laughed. "You always were perceptive Ucchan."
"She will make a fine addition," another teenage woman said from behind Aurora. She had long metallic blue hair, and was wearing leather hot pants and a bikini style top. Her eye makeup was overdone and even accounting for the proximity to her tanned companion her skin seemed much paler than normal for a succubus. The face was familiar but the expression was alien. It was a crude parody of Ukyou's sister.
"Akane…" Nariko's voice was despondent. She knew this was what had to have happened to her. She had helped save Akane before, and this time she was stronger.
"The name's Eclipse," the blue-haired demon corrected as she slinked over to Nariko. "You two can give up now. Mother would be so much better to you than the weakling of a demon you're serving now." Eclipse reached out to caress Nariko but was knocked over by a punch to the side of her head. She quickly fell to the ground and was momentarily dazed
Eclipse snarled as she pulled herself up. "You'll pay for that, bitch. I'll make sure of that."
"You have no idea what you morons walked into do you?" Ukyou laughed.
Eclipse and Aurora's eyes widened. She was here. The Traitor had been waiting for them.
Ranma charged into the lobby. She had gotten out as quickly as possible. Her pants were the longest part, being something she could not simply force through.
"Well… it's good that you're back Akane. Aurora, I'd like to think that you returned my daughter out of some hope of mercy, but I'm just happy that I can kill you now." Ranma's smile showed her fangs but Aurora's attention was on the redhead's eyes.
"Saotome! Need any support!" Patterson said as his men breached the lobby and took position.
"Let me think," Ranma said keeping her attention on the two wayward demons. Aside from the agents, the only humans she could feel were the staff to the fast food place, the only open shop in the mall at this hour. It would be nice to have the agents take care of that, but that would put them too close to Aurora… and Akane.
"Ucchan, get those humans outta here." Ranma did not want to have to deal with protecting civilians or explaining to them what happened. "Agents, cover us. Don't hit the blue-haired one that bad though."
Ukyou nodded and ran into the restaurant. As a succubus she could be quite persuasive, especially to a group of night shift fast food workers. It did not require much in the way of fear pheromones or physical damage to get them out the loading door in the back.
Ranma studied Akane's form. "At least you're not wearing a bottle tan. Akane, you're gonna fight this, but that's okay. It's not really you. In the end you'll thank me." The redhead's eyes glowed softly and her claws started to slide out.
From her perch, Alexia's eyes flared in anger. The Traitor was there all along. The redhead had hid herself and had used her minions as bait. Normally, Alexia would have been angry at falling for such an obvious honey-pot. Her smile returned. It was fortunate that she had planned on something like this happening. She vanished from sight with one final glance at that building. It looked like she would have to take care of things herself.
The magical output from a teleport and a large use of demonic energy was something that several powerful computer systems were tailored to detect. One of which was already trained on the area and instrumental in the sending in of troops to reinforce the area.
The other, a much smaller but much more advanced computer, had picked up on the disturbance and had sounded a shrill alarm. However, the computer's owner ignored the alarm. She had more important things on her mind and in her hands.
The more primitive, but at this moment, more effective computer system had shown a sudden shift in the number of demonic signals. The technicians operating these computers knew what that meant and kept their superiors updated on the situation.
Something that the operator of the other computer system was quite remiss in.
"My name is Eclipse," the blue-haired demon spat. "It was always Eclipse!" Fire flared around her and she shifted into her true form.
Ranma's eyes, violet with streaks of blue, darted between the twisted form of her daughter and that of Aurora. Elation filled her at the knowledge that Akane was alive. Though she was depressed that Alexia had warped her daughter, but Ranma expected that Alexia would do something like this, but not that Alexia would work quite this fast.
She finally settled on the blue-haired demon's form. "Young lady… we are going to talk about that nonsense you're wearing."
"You're not my mother… You never were!" As Eclipse looked into the Traitor's eyes she could almost feel her will being sapped.
"Honey, you've been brainwashed. You sound like you're in a bad movie," Ranma's eyes flashed as she stepped forward. "I wonder if you lost your fighting skills when you lost your fashion sense." The redhead smirked slightly.
"How dare you! You won't harm me. You want your little slave of a daughter back."
Ranma smiled thinly, and stepped forward. "Your sister shot you three times just to save you. What do you think your mother will do?"
Seeing that their enemy's attention was distracted and irritated at being ignored, Aurora extended her claws and tail filaments. She folded her wings back and charged in to Ranma's side.
In a deceptively lazy motion Ranma's tail flicked over and up nearly cutting off half of Aurora's tail before embedding into the green-eyed girl's right hip. As that happened Ranma turned her arm and, in a blur no one could track, captured Aurora by the wrist. There was a brief battle between Aurora's green aura and Ranma's violet but they ultimately canceled each other out.
The redhead then twisted the rival demon's arm, extended the claw on her thumb, and ran it from Aurora's wrist to between her middle and index finger.
Ranma swirled her tail with a degree of macabre panache and ripped it out of Aurora's side. The ragged wound erupted in a crimson fan. The droplets from the spray that landed on the redhead's lips were quickly licked up.
"I've haven't forgotten you Ryoga, dear. You'll get your turn," Ranma laughed. A pair of narrow beams shot out of her eyes and sliced through Aurora's legs.
The orange-haired demon had managed to dodge enough to prevent her femurs from being cut, but there was enough muscle trauma to be a problem. Not to mention the hole in her abdomen and the loss of her right hand.
Eclipse's eyes glowed. Her sister had been hurt and the Traitor had turned away from her. She focused onto the Traitor and came in with a low kick…
… just as Aurora moved and pressed her own attack with the claws in her still functional hand extended. Ranma saw both of them move and stepped into Eclipse's attack
She caught Eclipse's leg and flung her right into her sister. Panicked, Aurora was forced to adjust her attack. Instead of decapitating Eclipse, her claws merely sliced through the demon's hair.
"Sorry kiddo, I'll train you better once this is over, I promise," Ranma said as she retracted the claws in one of her hands and punched Akane in the jaw, resulting in a brittle crunch.
Nariko narrowed her eyes. This was much worse than what had happened to Akane the last time Eclipse took control, but she trusted mother. "Akane… just stay down," she whispered. It looked like Mother's strength and will had beaten her lover's twisted hate.
"Monster!" Aurora cried as she held Eclipse's unconscious form.
Ranma laughed. "Please, I'm saving her. You've taken worse. Remember Assemblyman?"
"Don't call me that!" Aurora snarled.
"Like you could stop me," Ranma shrugged. "Now get up and fight. You've still got all your limbs. Heal your wounds and fight! Where're your fireballs? Where's your eye beams? No glowing sword?"
"Yeah Ryoga. Maybe you can stand and die with some shred of honor." Ukyou added. "I mean you spent months talking about what you were gonna do when you got Mom. Well, here she is."
Ranma sighed. "You know. Maybe I should just tell the Company team watching us to kill you. I think it'd be fitting to have you killed by humans. It's your choice."
"Ma'am?" Lt. Patterson asked as he kept the orange-haired succubus targeted with his HOG. He had a clear shot… for now. But if the demons started fighting again it would not last.
"Sir, something strange is happening!" Patterson's sensor specialist shouted to Morrison as the display on his pattern scanner changed.
"Oh good… she's finally showing her face," Ranma smiled. She would be able to end this mess. She summoned her power and quickly shifted her clothes.
Ukyou and Nariko stiffened slightly, though they kept their stances. Mom was here and mommy was stronger than that monster.
Aurora smiled. Mother had arrived and she would personally kill the Traitor.
"Not just going to stand by and lose these minions?" Ranma taunted as Alexia's form crashed through a skylight in the strip mall's lobby. The redhead looked the rival brood mother over and smirked. "Somehow I hoped you'd be more impressive, but you look just like what you are. A petty thief who has to steal everything, even the home for her brood."
Alexia glared; it would be a pleasure to… correct this Traitorous upstart. Her daughters had seemed to be able to hold their own… if not for that redhead. She appraised the humans. There would be no interference from them
They were in for a rude surprise. It had taken a lot of her energy and had used the last reserves of her brood, but it was worth it.
"This is Green Team! We need a jamming team at our location ASAP! Alexia has been spotted!" the Company officer requested into his headset.
"It ends now, you human loving—" Alexia paused. The redhead seemed to be whispering something under her breath. Why isn't she cowering in fear, and what is she wearing? Alexia thought just before the redhead's hands suddenly went horizontal.
The blonde brood mother's thoughts were cut short as an obsidian orb slammed into her chest. It sent explosive shards racing through her torso. Narrow fans of blood and bits of minced organs sprayed out of her back.
Alexia blinked and saw that the redhead had closed the gap between them. The blonde summoned a shield and put her power to repairing her torn organs. "As I was saying before I was rudely interrupted. Your human flunkies won't save you now."
"Wow… I didn't believe it when Akane said you looked like a carrot, but there you are." Ranma laughed at the tanned succubus as she folded her wings and went on the offensive.
"Fuck! Sir, we've gotta mess of incoming pattern D's!" Morrison shouted.
"What direction?" Patterson asked.
"Um… everywhere sir. At least a few dozen. They'll be in the building in no time." Unknown to the agents, Alexia had teleported her minions to a staging area outside of range and then ordered them to split up and approach the building from multiple directions.
"Sir," Patterson said into his headset. "Alexia's brought the remnants of her brood." He paused. "Yes Sir. We'll hold things until you arrive." Patterson turned to his team and roughly quoted Colonel "Chesty" Puller USMC. "Men, the enemy's in front of us, behind us. We're flanked on both sides by an enemy that outnumbers us over ten to one. They can't get away from us now!"
The officer then turned to Ukyou and Nariko. "Would you two girls mind covering our backs?"
"That and we'll take care of Aurora," Ukyou promised while Nariko nodded.
"Good, come on men. Red can take care of herself. Stevenson take point, we'll take the front entrance. Henderson, Morrison you take the back," Patterson ordered.
A Company agent fired down the length of the alleyway behind the restaurant. A burst from his smaller barrel dropped a demon that tried to land in the narrow passageway. He pulled a pair of grenades off of his belt and lobbed them onto the roof of the building where that demon had come from.
" Fred that's enough!" Agent Morrison shouted as he tapped onto his comrade's shoulder.
"That got 'em mad!" Fredric Henderson agreed as he and Morrison retreated to their position inside the building. "That got a third of them… maybe," the soldier said as he looked at his pattern scanner.
The door suddenly burst open as a swarm of succubae ran through the opening and right into the agent's fire. If he had the time to think it, Fredrick could almost pity the things. At this moment all he had time to do was kill them.
20mm rounds made short work of the first wave. Then came a pair of fireballs. One splashed just above Fredrick's helmet setting the fabric on the outside of it on fire. The other hit square onto Morrison's chest armor, knocking the agent over.
"Rich!" Fredrick cried as he fired the last round in his 20mm magazine. It killed one succubus and maimed another, but another pair slipped in after that. One was felled by a precise burst of 7.62mm to the head by Fredrick, but the other slipped by and pounced onto Morrison. Fredrick had to deal with another group of succubae that came through the door.
The succubus sunk one of her claws into the shoulder of the prone human she straddled. The fire on his chest had already snuffed out but she would make short work of him. Though whatever he was wearing did prove tough for her flickering claws.
Her eyes widened in shock when she saw movement behind the human's goggles. The human's arm then jerked and a bit of cold metal slid across her neck. Then there was nothing.
The demon gasped and flailed, splattering blood onto the agent. Despite this, Morrison flipped the demon off of his body. With his right arm now free, he pulled out his sidearm and placed a pair of fifty caliber rounds into her skull. He flicked the blood off of his k-bar and slid it back into it's sheath.
His breathing ragged, he briefly looked down at the deep scorches in his ceramic-composite chest-plate and the bleeding cuts in his shoulder. He then turned to his partner. "You okay Fred?"
"Me? I'm not the one who a demon pounced on." Henderson said as he put a new fresh 20mm magazine into his HOG
"Yeah, I've gotta thank whoever came up with this new armor we got," Richard said as he flexed his shoulder and decided not to switch guns. He would be better off to not try the HOG.
"Lieutenant, the delivery door's secure. What's the ETA on that backup?" Henderson asked.
"Get back here!" Ukyou shouted as she dived after Aurora. The orange-haired succubus was becoming a real pain. Ukyou could not dish out damage like her mother, and Aurora was able to heal faster than she got hurt.
Alexia looked at the reforming stump that was her right arm in horror.
"Man… have you ever fought hand to hand?" Ranma said before she took a bite out of Alexia's forearm. "Hmm… from this soft muscle I'd say no."
Alexia snarled as she kept backing up. "You'll pay for defiling my body!"
"This from a woman that coats herself in orange coconut sauce? You're just begging to get eaten," the demonic Senshi laughed as she charged up and released another DarkStar Burst, knocking Alexia into a wall.
Nariko was killing any demons that had slipped past the agents at the doors, and was using her considerable spare time to watch her mate. She was therefore the first to see what was going on. "Mommy! Stop her!"
"What the?" Ukyou said as Aurora straightened up and shot a fireball at her. She then swooped down to Eclipse whose eyes quickly opened. Her jaw was still misshapen but she rapidly got to her feet.
"Mother?" the blue-haired succubus asked in a distorted voice, her eyes trying for focus on Ranma's form.
Ranma turned to look at the demon, with a guarded look. Maybe she knocked some sense into her.
"I'm sorry, Mom… Alexia… she was strong… she.." The girl's speech, already mangled by the state of her jaw line, degenerated in sobbing.
Ranma leapt over to her. "It's okay, Mommy's here," Ranma comforted, before she was punched in the nose, which broke in a wet crunch. The force from the impact knocked her over.
"Hah! I can't believe you think I'd turn against my mother so easily," Eclipse taunted.
"Akane! No!" Nariko yelled as she swooped in.
"Don't you see! She broke my jaw. That proves she just wanted to force me back when I was defenseless. Come with me, Alexia will let you into the brood."
Ranma had spun around and swept Eclipse's feet out from under her and then pounced onto the prone form. "You should have followed through with your attack, instead of gloating." Her voice was sad she should not be forced to do this, not to her own daughter, but this was how things were.
Ranma was then hit by a pair of fireballs.
"Take your own advice," Alexia smirked. "Well done daughter."
"Isn't it odd in the slightest that Ranma would be fooled like that? You do think she just enslaved you," Ukyou asked while she fought Aurora.
DarkStar pulled herself up. Deep purple flames surrounded her burned body. Her eyes glowed angrily as she charged at the rival brood mother.
Confidently, Alexia fired off some more fireballs that were simply absorbed by the redhead's fire. Anger clouded her expression which was then mangled by a pair of purple beams that were only partially reduced by her own aura.
Alexia recovered, turned, and ran to her daughters. She grimaced when she felt a pair of claws and fingers sink into the bones of her wings and hold fast. With a scream Alexia flipped her tail up and severed her wings where they joined her back. If she had more time and energy she would have made them vanish, but things were dire. She had to get out.
Eclipse looked at her… mate and sniffed. "I'm sorry… mother needs me," she said before Alexia grabbed her with her remaining arm. Aurora leapt down and hugged her mother.
"No you don't!" Ranma snarled as she dropped Alexia's wings and rushed in. She grabbed Alexia's other hand and snapped the forearm trying to pry the appendage off of her daughter.
"Aurora cut it!" Alexia ordered.
Aurora nodded and used a claw to slice her mother's hand off. Alexia screamed, but the Traitor was no longer attached to her and she was finally able to escape. With hardly enough energy, she teleported away.
Due to the sudden release, Ranma tumbled back. As she watched her daughter get stolen from her again the demon formed a fist, crushing Alexia's fingers. She blinked and could suddenly hear the steady bursts of gunfire. She could also sense a handful of other demons.
"Not again! Not again!" Ranma chanted as she kept crushing Alexia's arm. She slowly stood, separated the appendage and gave the halves to her children.
"Come on Mom, let's see how those agents are doing," Ukyou delicately said as she led Ranma to the back of the building.
"Yeah, we've got some agents to save," Ranma admitted. As the three succubae approached the nearest exit, the gunfire suddenly stopped.
"Heya Red, how'd things go for you?" Henderson asked as he turned from his position behind a mound of succubae corpses that had massed near the door.
"I don't see anyone else back here. I think that's the last of it. Good thing we got the bottom of the barrel," Richard added as he looked over the scanner before carefully checking down the alleyway.
There was the sound of gunfire before that of boots hitting the roof as a squad of agents rappelled down from a helicopter. The Company Blackhawk's door guns quickly dispatched the straggler and leftover demons. After that a team had rappelled down and secured the roof.
Ranma looked at the dead succubae. Naturally, they all had gunshot wounds, but one had something else. "Who knifed this one?" she asked looking at the demon with the slit throat and not much above the jaw.
"That was me, Ma'am." Morrison said as he exchanged hand signals with the reinforcing agents. "I got hit by a fireball and that thing pounced right on me and it was the fastest thing I could draw."
"Impressive." Ranma nodded. "About fucking time," she grumbled as she felt a WIC jamming equipment enter the area. "You guys are too late!"
"Ma'am?" Morrison asked. He looked away briefly. The succubus' form unnerved him. The blood and gore on her were normal, but the healing wounds that dotted her form and the torn uniform were distracting.
"Not you. You guys held on. Though I'd look at your shoulder. It's these other guys that came in late…" She glared at the fresh Company troopers that had arrived on scene.
"About time you got here, Jarvis," Ranma stated.
"Sorry for the delay," the officer replied. His tone sounded sincere, but his features were obscured by his balaclava.
"I won't lose her again."
Nariko and Ukyou flanked their mother and tried to keep even expressions.
Ranma looked to see a medic start to work on Morrison's wounds. "How did the other guys make out?"
"Agent Stevenson's being evacuated by helicopter right now. He might lose that leg."
"Will he live?"
"Most likely, unless there are complications."
"Good." The succubus made a note to meet this Stevenson as soon as possible. She added another name to the list as she watched a bandaged Morrison make his way towards the front of the building. The agent had retrieved his rifle and had removed his goggles and slid down his facemask.
"Is that our food?" Morrison asked as he looked at the bags scattered across the lobby. He knelt down and felt one of the bags. It still had a tiny bit of heat. The agent glanced at his watch. It had been less than ten minutes. "Quick."
"It always feels longer," Ukyou mumbled. Her attention went from the spilled food to the carnage that surrounded her. Her Assembly experience deadened her to the smears and streaks of blood, the bullet holes and scorch marks, and even the torn bodies and scattered limbs. At least the fact that she found the charnel tableau appetizing still disturbed her, but she had missed her meal.
She remembered happily eating Alexia's arm with her sister. The blonde's nose was filled with the aromas of the room, many of them quite enticing. If the agents were not here she would consider having more to eat, but she was still a bit self-conscious.
Her eyes widened when she saw her mother flick out a claw, disembowel, and cut out some liver from a nearby corpse. Ukyou should have known better. They were all injured and could use some more energy, and eating their kills was the normal for them.
"I suppose Forensic Pathology doesn't need yet another complete succubus cadaver. Perhaps we would freeze the choice cuts after autopsy," Jarvis remarked dryly.
"Not a bad idea," Ranma allowed as she sectioned the organ and feed some to her kids. "But I don't want you guys to be our personal butchers." She cracked open a ribcage and deftly removed the heart. "Also these things are so much better when they're fresh."
"I see," Jarvis remarked. He looked to see a pair of large wings that were not attached to anything. "Do those belong to Alexia?" the agent ventured.
"Yeah, the bitch was more than willing to cut herself up to escape." Ranma growled. while taking a bite. She then noticed the reactions of the men around her. "Wow, you guys seem to taking our little snack fairly well," Ranma remarked as she hugged Nariko, who was munching on a piece of heart.
The captain looked to see that his men were avoiding looking at what the demons were eating while keeping their hands a bit closer to their guns. "We are experienced in this," he replied, as usual, maintaining full eye contact with her.
"How often do you see us eat?" Ranma asked after she finished chewing.
"I've seen more disturbing," Jarvis said, though that was before he had joined the Company.
"So did you guys get a trace on where they went? Or maybe you got another lead on Alexia's hiding places?"
"Somewhat, though if I may make a suggestion," Jarvis offered.
"Go home, talk to Major Saotome, Lt. Tendo, her other sister. Get some rest. I know you want your child back, but you look a bit… manic. Even for a demon."
Ranma's eyes narrowed and she gritted her teeth. Sometimes she really hated Jarvis' ability to stare her down. They both knew what she could do to him but that did not stop him from talking to her like this.
"How can I go home, and walk into that house without their sister?"
"It's your choice, but you have a family that loves you and supports you," Jarvis's eyes looked wistful. "Take advantage of that. At the very least, sleep when you get fatigued. Even your kind needs sleep."
Eclipse frowned at her shortened hair. It was the only damage left. Her face had healed but the hair was still ruined.
"I'm so sorry sister. The Traitor tricked me and—" Aurora's apology was cut short as the other demon spun around and jabbed her fist into Aurora's side. The orange-haired succubus gasped as the hit opened up barely healed wounds the Traitor had given her.
"I don't need your excuses. I was there," Eclipse snarled. Unlike Aurora, the Traitor had avoided killing blows on her, but the redhead has still wounded her. They had fought well against the Traitor's spawn, but then she arrived and they were forced to withdraw. If mother had not been there to allow them to escape…
Eclipse snarled. She did not want to consider that possibility.
"I'm sorry," Aurora bowed as she held her side.
"Yeah, I'm sure you are," Eclipse smiled. She then returned to the mirror and looked at her ragged hair. "Perhaps a style change was in order. Long hair did remind me of… her." The demon's eyes narrowed in remembrance of a life that was all lies.
"Hmm… let me see first," Aurora said. She was curious who her sister was talking about, but knew she could not ask.
Eclipse eyed her tanned sister's teased, permed hair, and slinky evening wear. "I'm not exactly your style."
"I know," Aurora reassured. "I've been thinking about something that matches your personality."
"It could help my hunting," Eclipse allowed. It had annoyed her that her little sister was more proficient at enticing and harvesting humans than she was. Though in all fairness, Eclipse did just have one night of hunting under her belt. It was another thing the Traitor had ruined for her.
"Don't worry sis, " Aurora said as she led Eclipse over to her makeup table. "If you don't like it we can undo it."
"What are you girls up to?" Alexia entered the room her two daughters shared.
Eclipse and Aurora fell silent and bowed their heads towards their mother. They had already been punished for their failure, and they knew they were still on thin ice. Neither really minded the first half of their punishment. It was an honor to serve mother until she regenerated from the damage she had taken to protect them, though the forced abstinence was incredibly cruel.
"I was going to give Eclipse a makeover," Aurora quietly said.
"Oh wonderful," Alexia smiled warmly. That fight had been sobering. The traitorous bitch had actually hurt her. The thought of that redhead devouring her arms sickened her. It was clear that merely sending her children to fight for her was not enough. She was essentially out of minions too. It would take time until she was ready to make her next attack. It would also take more sessions with Eclipse. That girl knew much about the traitor and some of the things could be… useful, but she had to be careful she did not want to probe too deeply into those memories.
"I do regret that you failed to ask me for my advice," the blonde pouted while
flexing her recently regrown hands. Her current plans were not working. Something more had to be done. She smiled warmly at her daughters and left them again. She might as well let them have their bit of fun
"I would love to have your help," Eclipse said in a forced happy voice. She was a bit worried as to what her sister would come up with, but if things got out of hand mother would make everything better.
'Trust me," Aurora smiled as she started to work. A half hour later she had finished and let Eclipse to a mirror. It was largely for presentation. Eclipse was an integral part in generating her accessories and borrowing the jewelry from Alexia's supply.
"Wow… you really did a good job," Eclipse cooed as she looked over herself. She was wearing her slightly more elaborately detailed and embellished black hot pants and micro-top, but they were just the underbase. She was wearing stylish platform boots with a heel that helped her tower over Aurora.
Her short hair had been gelled, shaped, and spiked at the ends. Her eyes were heavily made up with heavy black eye-liner, mascara, blue eyeshadow that almost went to her temples, tiny arched eyebrows, and long, intense eyelashes. Her cheeks had been powdered to a pallor that somehow was pale even for a succubus. Black lipstick adorned her lips and matched the black talons her nails were shaped into.
Her ears had extra piercings added to them that were filled with alternating hoop and dangling earrings with gemstones. Her belly button had been pierced and had a stone in it that Aurora had convinced Eclipse was not too gaudy. The chain anklets, silver bracelets, and satin choker seemed like a bit much, but they did look good on her.
Eclipse drew the line at the tiara. Though it was fun to wear it in private when it was just the family. "You might not be so useless after all," Eclipse complimented as she rubbed one of Aurora's horns.
"I know how much your mate laughing at your clothing hurt you and I wanted to do something about it," Aurora said after she finished purring. "Especially, after you showed me and mother how I had damaged things." The hardest part for Aurora was keeping a straight face. Though she doubted Eclipse would have noticed. She was too busy preening in the mirror. The best part was that her big sister actually liked her new look.
"I hope mother will have us rescue her next," Eclipse sighed as she looked at her reflection.
"What do you think you're doing?" Major Saotome inquired as she blocked her daughter's progress. The Saotome women were in one of the corridors of the subterranean WIC Toronto-A base.
"I wanna go back out. Akane needs me…. Alexia…" Ranma's eyes flared angrily. "That bitch ruined my daughter."
"I know. Captain Jarvis told me about it."
"Then why did you order me back here? I thought you guys had something. A lead on where they were hiding," Ranma asked, the glow in her eyes flickering.
"We're going over what we found in Alexia's mansion. We will get something. She's too flashy of a demon to stay hidden for long. Hell, she just tried to attack you."
"More reason for me to go back out there."
Ranma looked to see that Nodoka was looking her in the eyes. Unlike when Jacob or Jarvis did it the redhead lowered her own gaze. "Mother… I'm going back out there."
"No, you're not." Major Saotome carefully stated. "You're going to get some sleep." Nodoka reached out and grabbed her daughter's arm.
"Uh… " Ranma looked down at her wrist, the grip was light but substantial. She could just walk out, but that would be going against Mother. The young succubus bowed her head. "Please…"
"You need rest." Nodoka said as she looked at her daughter. The succubus' skin was not it's normal alabaster pale. It was tinged gray and her eyes were less focused. "You can go right back out in the morning."
"Yes mother," Ranma said as she clutched onto her mother.
"Wow, so that's what we're like," Ukyou mumbled to her sister.
"It's cute, Mommy really loves grandma," Nariko said as she and Ukyou followed their Mother and grandmother.
Nodoka put her arm around her daughter who was trying to burry her head into her mother's side. "It's okay, Honey."
"I… I have to be strong, I have to get her back." Ranma's voice hitched as she started to sob onto her mother.
"I know dear. I know," Nodoka soothed. She then felt Nariko and Ukyou join in and start to comfort their mother. Nodoka smiled at the warmth and ran her hand through her daughter's hair. In the middle of a group hug, the officer led her family to her office and lab where a couch with a folding bed had been moved in.
The officer's eyes raised as she watched the succubae strip. She had somehow forgotten that part of how they worked. "You're sleeping with us? Right Mom?" Ranma asked when she was down to just her bra and underwear.
"Of course, Honey." Nodoka said. She could not say no to that expectant and scared face. Her daughter might be a lethal demonic cannibal, but Ranma was still her little… girl.
"You let her use your couch," Stillwater stated to Jacob as the two watched the Saotome family fall asleep. The commander looked to the bare spot in Jacob's office where the couch normally was.
"It was the only hide-a-bed on base. Aside from yours, Sir." Jacob smiled.
"Good initiative. I am impressed by what the Major is willing to do for family."
"Indeed. We can also see where Miss Saotome gets her figure from," Jacob said as he turned off the monitor. It was still being recorded of course. And they were being watched by the surveillance teams, as were the agents guarding the door.
"I see Miss Saotome was more than willing to… make use of our resources. It appears that your plan is working." Stillwater's tone was cautious.
"Miss Saotome is irreplaceable. If we betray her trust we'll never regain it, but—" Jacob smiled. "—if we maintain it. We gain something very useful."
"I hope your optimism in her part during the tasks ahead is not misplaced."
"She is a pattern Silver that has proven herself resourceful, strong, and willing to work with us. Once this Alexia mess is cleared up we can move forward. She has been a costly distraction."
"One that has forced changes in Miss Saotome however." Stillwater scanned through Ranma Saotome's file. "It's cumulative. Every battle she fights… "
"You're not worried about those eyes are you? We have plans in place. Besides every indication we have shows her brood is getting closer to us. Having them mix with our agents has been quite successful. "
"Aren't you worried about things being too successful?"
"There's no such thing," Jacob stated.
Stillwater paused to think. "I want increased surveillance on Miss Saotome. The pressure she's under now is immense."
"That should be easy enough. Since her daughter's abduction she hasn't been more than a hundred feet from an agent."
"Good. Moving on." Stillwater took a sip from his mug. "Has there been any progress on that potential leak?"
"Jarvis has eliminated several agents and associates who knew enough to be a risk, but today's events have delayed his investigation." Jacob said as he displayed a new file on his computer.
The senior officer frowned at the report. "I want an independent investigation on Jarvis too," Stillwater ordered.
Jacob blinked "Yes, I'll contact Command and have someone sent in. Sir, do you suspect him?"
"No. If I did I would handle it personally, but we can't leave things to chance. We are trusting him with a great deal of responsibility."
"He has been an exemplary agent, family history aside."
Stillwater chucked. "That actually relieves me. A man with skeletons in his closet is less suspicious than one who's record is lily-white."
Jacob nodded. He was aware of Jarvis' feelings and knew where the man's loyalties lay. "You are aware that such an independent investigation would look into our own actions?"
"I fully expect that, and they should. The importance of our work warrants it."
"Maybe General Anderson should just come for an inspection," Jacob sighed.
"Now, that's a bit harsh," Stillwater laughed. "We need verification of ourselves and our officers not what he'd put us through.
"True." Jacob said as he scratched the scar on his hand. "In other news we're running down the records that we found in Alexia's mansion. It looks like the heiress who officially owned the building, who we found turned into a succubus and wearing a maid's uniform, had a fair number of holdings.
"Most of them we've cleared and we're running down the last few. Though if Alexia goes to ground she can just mesmerize or turn some homeowner and live there."
"She's not going to hide. She'll lick her wounds and maybe rebuild her forces but she wants Miss Saotome. Alexia will attack again."
"Alexia was eager to attack tonight. I guess she wanted to show off her new toy." Jacob took a long pull from his mug. "According to Green Team, Alexia only escaped by cutting off parts of her own body."
"Reminds you of the good old days doesn't it?" Stillwater smiled.
"Well Nabiki, you're not making demands on when we'll get Akane back? You're not asking for an update" Kasumi asked as the remaining Tendo girls walked down an aisle in the grocery store.
"Would it accomplish anything? She's been gone for over three days. I know what happened when she was gone for a couple hours," Nabiki turned to eye the agent who stood back and watched their movements.
"We're doing the best we can. I mean Ranma's—"
"—crawling up the walls. I didn't really believe she was a mother. Not until I saw…" Nabiki trailed off as she looked at a cereal box.
"Ranma gave up her humanity and her manhood for them. She won't fail," Kasumi replied.
Nabiki looked at her sister critically. It was clear as day now that gentle, distanced Kasumi was a killer. Naturally, it was her eyes. Nabiki turned and looked at the pair of agents that were following them. Gabriel still looked awkward and geeky, but Nabiki knew it was all a lie. It had to be. The female agent that was next to him was unfamiliar to Nabiki.
"I know it's hard. I know what it's like to have your world turned upside down, but you have to be strong," Kasumi offered.
"We can't all be good little soldiers. Some of us are normal," Nabiki snapped back. She noted the slight smile that formed on Gabriel's face.
"At least you're not avoiding your protective detail," Kasumi allowed.
"I'm not a moron, sis." Nabiki sighed. "I can't stop you guys."
"But you did demand that it be reduced."
"I want to have something of a normal life. It's not like I'm a real target. They don't care about me. It's Ranma or her family, people that are close to her. I'll just take the minimum. Besides, every agent watching me is one less that's looking for Akane." Her gaze hardened and she laughed bitterly. "Though Dad and Mr. Saotome are clueless. You guys can keep them supplied with food and booze and they'll happily stay in the house."
"Yes, they're happy being waited on. They don't demand to go out and shop."
"I know bad stuff's going on but they're not really after me. You don't have to sugarcoat all this. I could handle this."
"Honestly? You've only seen one side of this," the officer stated.
"If you say so," Nabiki dismissed. She wondered what Kasumi was planning. There had to be more to this. Kasumi was busy. Why was she here?
"Are you okay?"
"What? Fine. I'm fine." Nabiki looked to the front of the store. "Everything's okay."
"No, it's not." Kasumi said as she drew her sidearm with one hand and pulled out her phone with the other.
"Huh?" Nabiki asked as she watched an orange-haired young woman walk into the store. She was elegantly dressed and had a nice, if slightly suspicious, tan.
"Gabe! Get Nabiki out of here! Now!" Kasumi ordered as she and Sophie fired their guns.
Aurora smirked as the bullets impacted her flaming aura. The green flames glowed brightly and blocked them both. The grin reduced when another round was fired, and another.
She gritted her teeth as the strain on her aura increased. It was getting harder to generate enough power to shield it. The demon leapt to the side and tried to flank the agents.
Aurora almost grinned at the respite, but was then knocked down by a sequence of carefully aimed shots at her chest. She almost made it. However the barrage was just too much. Most of the rounds made it through the weakened barrier. The momentums of the bullets were greatly reduced. Though there was still enough damage to put the succubus down.
Kasumi frowned. She would have preferred to hit her in the head but she did not want to miss. The agent strode forward.
Aurora looked at the mess that was her abdominal cavity and smiled. She could feel her organs healing already. "You really think I came alone, human? This is all going to plan," she stalled. Eclipse should come in any minute and take her out.
The officer heard a young woman scream. "Sophie, go support the others, I'll be done here soon enough," Kasumi ordered as she increased the pressure on the trigger. She shot her last round into the demon's head and then did something she had never done before.
Kasumi turned, reloaded, and ran in the direction of her sister's scream, all without making sure that the demon was not regenerating the wound, or exactly where the wound was.
Nabiki felt herself being pushed by a strong arm.
"Move it!" Gabriel shouted as he led her to the back exit. His sidearm was out and he was shouting the situation back to base. "Davenport! Bring the van to the North side of the building! I'm evacuating a civilian!" Gabriel shouted into his radio.
"Okay, okay," Nabiki said as they went through a stockroom. It was easier to go with the flow than question the man with the gun.
"Turn here!" Gabriel hardly had time to think about the lieutenant's orders. He should have stayed with her. Unless the lieutenant thought that more Pattern D's were coming. In that case it was still… questionable, but Command's orders confirmed things. He was to get Nabiki out of the combat zone and to safety immediately.
Gabriel opened a side door and checked to see if it was clear. Gabriel spotted the company van idling a dozen feet away, with a combat-ready agent at the wheel. A delivery truck had prevented Davenport from pulling up right next to the curb. He then shoved the teenage girl and ran with her to the vehicle.
As Nabiki ran to across the pavement she felt a surge of wind on her back and felt the other agent's hand slip out of her grip. She looked down to see Gabriel's body sprawled on the ground, and crouching on his back was a garish Goth girl. It took Nabiki a moment to see through the heavy makeup and spiked-hair, not to mention past the large wings and tail. "Akane…"
"I don't see what Aurora's problem is with these guys," Eclipse snorted, as she dug her heel into the human she had landed on. It was not terribly hard to land on one while delivering a blow to another. She turned to see that the driver of the van had pulled out a gun and was raising it. Eclipse quickly formed a small fireball and launched it into the side window.
The orb shattered on the window and broke into globs of napalm that stuck to the interior of the van and Davenport. His armor and goggles protected him but he was unable to make out anything.
"What did they do to you?" Nabiki asked as she backed away… away from the demon and the burning person "God… just look at you. I liked you better when you were a nudist."
"You'll regret saying that." Eclipse narrowed her eyes and stepped off the unconscious agent.
Nabiki looked at the jeweled demoness for a split second before turning and running to the burning van.. It was a futile effort. Eclipse easily caught up to her and Nabiki screamed as the demon pounced on her.
"I was planning on helping Aurora get the Traitor's little girlfriend, but you'll do," Eclipse smiled as she ran a finger across Nabiki's chin, and studied the human.
"I'm your sister!" Nabiki said, trying to regain her will.
Eclipse chuckled. "Not yet, but soon."
Jarvis frowned as he watched a medic look over Agents Gabriel Smith and Robert Davenport. Smith was lucky that he only had as little damage as he did, and Davenport was lucky that he had been able to use the van's fire extinguisher as fast as he did and had the foresight to slip on his armor beforehand. His attention returned to Lt. Tendo who was standing before him. She had explained the situation, not just to him, but to Colonel Edwards.
The captain made a few more inquiries. It was frustrating that Aurora had gotten away, and that Public Relations section now had do deal with the shoppers and staff that had seen a glowing woman get shot repeatedly and get back up.
It was Sophie who confirmed that Nabiki was taken by Eclipse. She had arrived just in time to see Nabiki being carried over a nearby rooftop off by the winged demon.
"Aurora was a former Assembly acolyte. An acolyte with superior regenerative abilities. I should have finished her but I felt that aiding Nabiki and Specialist Smith was more urgent," Kasumi admitted.
"However, Eclipse had already made off with her." Jarvis allowed himself to sigh. Nabiki had requested less agents surrounding her. Her reasoning was approved by command, however Eclipse was still on the loose and Nabiki was now taken.
This was why the Company normally separated agents from their families when they were on duty. It made for complications. In Willard International Consulting's long history situations of this nature had taken place before.
There was training for this, but it was easier to simply kill a possessed or turned family member than what the lieutenant had to deal with. Jarvis suspected that tonight's incident would shortly become another field example for young recruits to be trained on.
The captain brought his expression back to its normally adamantine rigidity. Lt. Tendo could not see him look amused, especially not at this. He could sympathize with her. One by one, she was losing her family. At least she still had some hope of getting them back.
"Sir?" Kasumi inquired.
"The men will get the same orders about Nabiki as they did Akane," Jarvis briskly replied. He put his hand on her shoulder. "We will get them back Lieutenant. The Company takes care of its family."
"We have found them," a pale man said as he showed his companion the image capture. It was a blurry shot but they could make out enough details to make the twilight photo seem viable. Neither was an expert in photo manipulation, but they had some practice. The relevant area of the shot was cropped, zoomed in and the contrast was increased.
It was pixilated and the face was hidden in shadows but they cared about the uniform. The shoulder pads on the uniform were different, but the skirt, collar and bows were unmistakable.
"When and where was this taken?" the elder inquired. Just after they had gotten their logistics in order and were ready to move their operations, their quarry had vanished. Everyone suspected a leak… or a more sinister form of surveillance. After a shakedown in the organization their efforts were redirected to finding their quarry again.
"About a week ago and… in Canada, Toronto." The man leaned back in his chair. "What the hell are they doing there? The prophecy has their rule elsewhere." He specifically avoided names. Names had power; names drew unwarranted attention.
The elder stroked his beard. "There had been rumors speculating around that area."
"The collaborators?" the pale man whispered. They were almost as bad as the prophesized ones. "But, they only care about…"
"They care about continuing their own power. And they'll work with anyone that will ensure that. They are no different from that collection of false priests." The man absently rubbed his neck. Once long ago, before the Master had saved him, he had been lost, but now he was on the Path of the Will.
"But the prophesized world has no place for their kind."
The elder-man smirked. "Of course. No doubt the collaborators think they are doing what they have always done. Dividing those that prey on humanity against each other."
"Perhaps they plan to use them and destroy them."
"I would not like to trust the fate of the world to people such as that. I am sure that in reality it is the collaborators that are the ones being used."
"The prophecy does say that the rule of purity can be defeated."
"Yes. 'And there will arise a weakness in distant lands. If the will exists to use innocence as a lance then the new moon will set.' "
"We always assumed distant lands referred to where they would takeover…" The younger looked back to the screen. Despite it being a blurry image, he found it hard to look away. "We must tell the Master, he will know what to do, and when to act."
Nabiki groaned as she was dumped before a tall blonde succubus. "So you're Alexia," she managed before the demon's green eyes locked onto her.
"You're perceptive at least," Alexia smiled. "It seems that you managed to get something useful out of Aurora's failure."
"Thank you, Mother," Eclipse beamed. "At least my dear sister was still alive. Though when I found her, the poor thing was delirious and stumbling."
"I was shot in the head," Aurora replied as she fluffed her hair. It was a small miracle that the bullet was offset just enough to allow her brain to stay largely intact. "But thank you sister. I did need your help. It was rash of me to think that I could take that human alone." Aurora bowed her head.
"It's okay," Eclipse smiled as she rubbed her sister's horns. "You now know what happens when you're left to your own devices. Don't worry. I'll be the one in charge now."
Nabiki frowned as she watched her sister dominate and pleasure a purring demon. "Of course. I wasn't even the target. You wanted Kasumi," the brunette clenched her fists. "That redheaded slut comes here and everything falls apart. It's not enough that I lose my sisters to her. No, I get pushed to the side."
"Are you through, human?" Eclipse inquired. "You should be grateful that I brought you before Mother, instead of just ripping you open."
"That's enough dramatics." Alexia dismissively waved. "From both of you." She inspected Nabiki. At first she tried to resist the demon's touching, but she found herself rapidly overpowered both physically and mentally.
"Not a bad find, Eclipse. She has… potential." Alexia turned back to Nabiki and pouted. "You're right to feel bitterness against that redhead. Don't worry, you'll get your chance against her," she whispered as she sunk her teeth into the human.
"How are you holding up?" Ranma asked her fiancée.
"I've lost both my sisters, how do you think?" Kasumi said before returning to the reports she was reading. The mansion had been cataloged and almost all of the leads from it had been run down. They were running out of places to search.
Ranma sighed. It was easier to comfort Ukyou and Nariko. She could just hug them and listen as they poured their hearts out. With Kasumi, the redhead did not want to risk touching her. The agent probably could not handle that. She also refused to talk about it.
"We could go back to base. Would you want to talk to my mom?" Ranma offered. It was a hassle to visit sometimes but Ranma was relieved that her mother had not left that facility since Akane was taken.
Ranma was… unsure of how she would handle losing Nodoka, or another one of her kids.
"No, I'm fine."
"You're not. I know. I see my own grief in you." Ranma leaned a bit closer to Kasumi.
"I can't stand it. I lost Nabiki and I can't even save her. Not in the end." Kasumi's hand flexed. "In the end you're the only one that can save her."
Ranma nodded slowly. She knew what she had to do, and accepted that. It was good that Kasumi did too.
Kasumi looked the brood mother in the eyes. "I know what you'll have to do. And it's better than what Alexia's doing to her. I just wish…" Kasumi closed her eyes. "Why wasn't it me?"
Ranma thought for a few seconds. "It was supposed to be you, but… you fought back. Alexia wants to hurt me not you."
"And taking Nabiki doesn't do that?"
Ranma decided to go with honestly. "No, not as much as if she had gotten my fiancée. She has Akane; she knows that. She knows my feelings."
Kasumi's expression closed any further discussion along those lines. There was only so much the agent could handle at a time.
"I'm just saying that Aurora attacked because you were at your weakest, then, not Nabiki."
"Then why was she taken?"
"They didn't want to come back empty-handed? Maybe Eclipse remembered Nabiki. What I don't get is why Eclipse didn't help Aurora. Both of them could have taken you."
Kasumi's gaze hardened. "Maybe they don't get along. Maybe Aurora was supposed to take me alone and Eclipse was there to watch her."
"I'll be sure to ask before I tear into Aurora," Ranma promised
A silver and blue haired demon smiled as she looked over her body. "I take back everything I said about demons, Akane," she laughed, her sky-blue eyes twinkling. She was then knocked down to the ground by a blow to her back.
"Don't call me by that name," Eclipse growled.
"Know your place, little sister," Aurora added.
The new succubus stood back up to her full height. She looked at Eclipse's platform heels and smirked. "We're both demons now sis. It's a level playing field. And I always was smarter than you."
Eclipse's arms suddenly went out to the impudent girl. One grasped her by the neck and lifted her off the ground and the other gently rubbed at her horns. "Level?" Eclipse laughed. "You're a newborn, not even weaned from Mother."
The silver-blue-haired demon's sight dimmed as her body was assaulted from conflicting sensations. Her powder blue and white wings drooped as did her blue-finned tail.
Before her vision darkened completely, the new succubus lashed out blindly striking Eclipse hard against the side of a sensitive horn. Surprised by the unexpected and painful attack, Eclipse dropped Nabiki and fell sprawling onto the floor.
"Know your place little sister," the silver-blue-haired demon spat at Eclipse.
Eclipse rose, growled, and unsheathed her talons. "You're going to regret that you bitch," she said as both demons faced off.
"That's enough!" Alexia angrily shouted as she suppressed her glee. It was what she expected. Her new daughter's mostly unaltered mind was irritating her other daughters immensely. Perfect. She would be able to try a new track with this daughter. "Yuki! I expected better of you."
"Yes mother," Yuki bowed. She was not terribly keen on her new name, but mother had given it to her.
"Yuki," Eclipse smirked. "I see how that fits our little ice princess."
"You're making fun of the name our mother gave me." Yuki, who was still bowing, allowed a small smile to form.
"Indeed," Alexia noted as she walked up to Yuki. "However, she is right. You are the youngest of us, and yet… your body does not reflect this."
Yuki shivered when she looked up into her mother's green eyes. "I see."
"Soon enough you will," Alexia assured as she led Yuki over a bed. "We will correct this mismatch in your maturity."
"But mother—" Yuki started but stopped when Alexia glared at her.
"Defying your older sisters is one thing, but you will NOT defy me." Alexia growled. "I see that I was too lax with you."
Yuki froze. Instincts that she hardly understood were telling her to obey immediately and her intellect agreed. Anything to minimize what was going to happen to her.
"Good," Alexia laughed. "Don't struggle. You might damage something." She then flared with power and sunk her fangs back into the girl. The brood mother summoned her power and went to work.
Yuki cried out and lost consciousness as her body shifted and changed again.
Shortly, Alexia finished. She turned to Eclipse and Aurora who had been watching happily. "What do you girls think?" she asked as she caressed the slumbering succubus.
"She's now definitely the younger sister," Aurora noted.
"Can she be even smaller, Mother?" Eclipse politely asked. Yuki would need to be taught her place.
Alexia grinned, a daughter after her own heart. "Good idea. Yes, she can." She turned back to Yuki and made the adjustment's in the young demon's height.
"Perfect work Mother," Eclipse choked out. She was still blushing from the praise mother had given her.
"It's time to wake up Yuki," Alexia said as she kissed her.
"Mommy?" Yuki asked as she floated back to consciousness. She looked at her hands in puzzlement. They seemed smaller. She then noticed that her hair had somehow lengthened and was spilling in front of her vision. Her eyes went to the collection of floor-to-ceiling mirrors that covered one wall.
"Go ahead," Alexia encouraged as she helped the girl to her feet.
"I'm… I'm younger," Yuki said as she padded closer to her reflection. She looked similar to how she did just before she entered high school. Minus a few inches, she mentally corrected. She looked around to see her family towering above her. She briefly wondered if she was even shorter than the Traitor.
"Yes," Alexia laughed as she hugged her little girl. "You are my youngest daughter, and now you're in the proper body. Isn't this better?" She asked as she rubbed both of Yuki's horns.
Yuki nodded as she purred.
"Well, I have other matters," Alexia said as she kissed Yuki again. "Listen to your big sisters while I'm gone." She then turned and left the room for her own chambers.
Yuki turned to see her sisters advance on her.
"You heard mother," Eclipse coyly said. "We have to help you. I think you need a new style first off."
"Yes," Aurora agreed. "I have an idea for our little ice princess."
"I'm not going to be your toy," Yuki hissed.
Eclipse reached out and snagged Yuki's slim wrist. "You should listen to mother. ' Don't struggle. You might damage something.' "
Yuki slid out her own white-blue claws and barred her fangs.
"She's got spirit sis," Aurora laughed.
"You always had to be difficult sis," Eclipse sighed.
Lieutenant Richards looked down the hallway as he closed the door to Section Chief Tofu Ono's lab. He had been ordered to present his report to the Forensic Pathology head, but he was not in his lab at the time. In addition to dropping off the file, Richards used the opportunity to prevent his time from being wasted.
He almost allowed himself to be startled by Colonel Edwards and some Operations Major he did not recognize. The two men had a hushed conversation as they walked down the corridor. Richard's innate curiosity led him to eavesdrop on the two men. He only caught bits of their conversation, but what he did catch worried him.
"I am pleased at your promptness in arriving," Jacob stated.
"General Anderson insisted," Major Randal Koster replied. "This is an important facility, and your reports have raised questions."
Jacob nodded. "That's why you're here. To verify our activities and to check into that officer."
"From what I've seen the situation is… unorthodox but being handled properly." Koster allowed, he would have rather talked to Jacob in the privacy of his office, but the officer wanted to talk while they walked on the way back from Major Saotome's lab. That had been an.. informative meeting. More so than the videos he had seen before. "The situation is sensitive. Especially with this Alexia woman."
Jacob nodded. "And of the other issue?"
"It's a serious charge. That man, are you sure?"
"Only people you trust are capable of betraying it."
"Mother," Yuki whined as she clutched onto Alexia.
"What happened now?" Alexia asked as she soothed her daughter.
"Eclipse and Aurora keep dressing me up. They're mean when I don't agree." Yuki shuddered. The bruises healed fast enough, but when pain was used in combination with her horns it was… unnerving
"But you look so adorable," Alexia countered. The light blue cheongsam, with silver embroidery, she wore fit her body nicely and complimented her long hair, which was held back with a pair of ribbons.
"I guess so," Yuki relented, with an embarrassed blush. She did take pride in how she looked, and was pleased that Mother appreciated what she went through at the hands of those two. "They're so forceful and aggressive, though."
"You are younger, so sometimes they have to be more forceful when they know what's right and you refuse to listen. Besides, they're being nicer to you?"
"They liked my makeup today," Yuki noted with pride. Eclipse had actually given a begrudging compliment on it. She then got angry when Yuki refused to wear the right shoes. Yuki hated those strapped high-heeled powder-blue pumps; she felt that Chinese slippers would match the style thrust upon her better. Aurora and Eclipse had other ideas.
"But why do I have to do what they say?"
"They're your big sisters," Alexia hugged. "They're just helping you. They're only mean when you're stubborn and disrespectful to them. It's much easier when you just agree with them."
"I guess so," Yuki sighed. She wanted to ask when she would be able to decide for herself, but knew it was best to hold her tongue. It did not take her long to figure out how to avoid her sisters' ire, and more importantly, Mother's. She did not have to like the rules but she had to know them.
"Besides, you have me," Alexia smiled. "Remember when I punished Eclipse for throwing you against that wall, and for a silly thing like not cleaning her room fast enough."
"I know. I don't know what I'd do without you," Yuki purred as she reveled in Mother's presence.
"Good, I'm happy you girls are getting along," Alexia picked up a small notepad covered in neatly written letters and handed it to Yuki. "Now last time, you were talking about the Traitor and her relationship with this human?"
"Have you seen Sunshine?" Naoko asked the pony-tailed blonde after stopping her between classes
"Sorry, I haven't." Usagi blinked "Why are you asking me?"
"You were with us when Sunshine and us went clothes shopping. Remember your little white dress?" Samantha reminded.
"White dress?" Ami asked with a small smirk.
"So that's where you got that dress," Janet noted.
"We were just curious and thought you might know. You seem to be Sunshine's friend too." Naoko sighed
"It's not just her either. Nariko and Akane are gone too." Samantha absently looked at the cuffs to her uniform. "Heck, Akane's sister has been absent for a few days too now."
"I don't know what's going on," Usagi shrugged. "If you guys do find out, could you tell me?"
"Have you tried calling her?" Ami asked with flat tone. Her mind had returned to Janet's mother. That woman had no solid proof that something was up with her daughter but she was still suspicious.
"I did. Eventually, I got Sunshine. She sounded like she had been crying. She didn't say what was wrong. That was the day before yesterday, and the last I managed to talk to her." Naoko confessed.
"I see," Usagi stated. "I hope she gets okay."
Samantha and Naoko nodded and went on their way.
"Why hasn't she contacted us anyway?" Janet asked once Naoko and Samantha were out of earshot.
"I think something happened to her family," Ami proposed.
"Oh dear." If someone had done something to anyone that Sunshine had cared about… Usagi nearly stumbled as a graphic image entered her mind. There was blood… blood and violence.
Yuki smiled as she negotiated with the shopkeeper. The human found her simply adorable and her ill ease at the teen's older sisters was put to rest by her pleasant demeanor. "Thank you, I'm sure my sisters will just love the discount," she bowed as she walked back to the mirrored room where Eclipse and Aurora were primping.
"Wow, you look really great in that dress, Eclipse. Excellent taste. Did you pick it out yourself?" Yuki asked already knowing the answer.
"No… Aurora did," Eclipse replied.
"She's very good at fashion." Yuki innocently said as she smiled at Aurora.
Eclipse studied the diminutive girl. Her tone was respectful. "Why you…."
"Calm down, she just complimented me," Aurora sighed. It was annoying, if she didn't know any better she'd think Eclipse was jealous.
"I'm sorry," Yuki softly stated with her head down. "You picked out a perfect China-mini and accessories for me," she offered as she posed in her pink, silver-trimmed, miniskirt-length cheongsam, matching pink heels, and complimentary pink lipstick and blue eyeshadow.
Eclipse's glare softened. She was getting paranoid. Yuki had become such a simple girl, so eager to please and respectful. It was plain as day. "Did you get the discount?" she asked, hoping for a reason to correct the girl.
"Yup! I got forty percent off. I did just like you told me to." Yuki praised. Though I added some tips from mother and… before, she thought behind her vapid smile.
After a brief sigh of disappointment Eclipse allowed herself to smile at the girl.
"D-did I do something wrong?" Yuki asked picking up on the sigh "What was it so I can fix it?" the girl's voice dripped with a desperate, eager desire to please.
"Nothing. Um, good job Yuki-chan. See how easier things are when you listen."
"Oh yes," Yuki agreed basking in positive reinforcement. Things were much easier when she obeyed them, especially given how clueless they could be.
Seeing Yuki's respectful eagerness, Eclipse continued. "It was like last night. You were worried about your first hunting night, but with your body and my advice…"
"Yes, it was very fun," Yuki blushed. Satiating her urges had been almost as good as the compliments her sisters had given her afterwards. Though she had no idea why they thought it was a great accomplishment. With her body it was easy to find someone up to standards and then relieve them of their money afterwards. But, it was the first time they had treated her like a… sister.
"Zip me up," Aurora ordered, but without venom in her voice.
Yuki happily complied. If her big sisters insisted on acting this way she would not stop their foolishness, besides she did enjoy being needed by them. "That dress really compliments your tan. You look like mother," Yuki gushed before she wandered off to the shoe section.
Eclipse tilted her head, but her gaze hardly lingered on her innocent little sister. "Mother favors me you know."
"Of course you are the eldest and strongest," Aurora replied, but her snide tone caused Eclipse to clench her fists.
Yuki hummed happily to herself while at the other side of the store her sisters argued. She was seeing if the store had her preferred style: fancy and cute, strapped, pumps. She decided on a white and coral pink set that fit her feet and walked back to her sisters. The money she had collected last night would allow for her extra purchase.
When she returned she saw that Eclipse had Aurora pinned on her knees and was applying pressure to her neck and where the girl's horns would have been. She remained respectfully silent and waited until Eclipse finished.
"It's a shame when the older of my little sisters acts more immature," Eclipse sighed as she let go of Aurora. "Don't you agree?" She asked Yuki.
"Of course," Yuki happily concurred. It was easy to just go with the flow of her role, especially when Eclipse was posturing like this.
Eclipse smiled. "At least one of my sisters knows her place."
"I'm sorry," Aurora said after she caught her breath. She would have liked to fight Eclipse formally, that way if she lost, which she doubted would happen, she lost with honor, but mother gave them orders to keep a low profile.
"Come on, we've got what we needed," Eclipse said as she gathered her items. Her sisters followed her to the counter. Their items were rung up at the reduced rate that Yuki had negotiated and paid for with a credit card of young woman who only went missing a few hours ago, except for Yuki's pair of shoes. That she paid for herself.
Yuki took the card back from the saleswoman and smiled when she returned it to her pink purse. Alexia's idea to use the credit and bank cards of their "recruits" was not a bad one, but Yuki recommended that they stop using them after a couple days. It would not do to help those meddling humans find them.
Mother agreed with the idea, and that Yuki was tactful enough to mention it when they were alone. She knew it would be counterproductive to make her sisters jealous.
Eclipse was walking through the door when she froze. Driving down the street was a plain black van. What she sensed in the vehicle was quite familiar to her. "Out the back! Now!" she ordered to her sisters.
"Humans?" Aurora hissed.
Eclipse nodded and turned back and walked to the back of the shop.
Yuki gave a brief glance at the street. The van gave no indication of slowing but she was sure that it was full of agents. Undoubtedly, they had called their masters and were waiting for the Traitor to arrive. She ran after her sisters. That they, of all demons, where this afraid was something she took to heart.
Eclipse led her sisters out the back door, down and alleyway and then found a young man more than willing to give three shopping girls a ride home. Later, Alexia would laugh at Eclipse's narrow escape and her method of procuring a new recruit After the brood mother converted the new minion, the car was dumped in a parking lot a few miles away as a precaution.
Alfred Stevenson lay in his bed lightly dozing. The door creaked open and the subtle scent of leather, fresh soap, and newly shampooed hair wafted into the room. His eyes rapidly opened and focused on the succubus at the door.
"You freshened up; I see," Alfred sighed as he leaned back again.
"I shower a lot," Ranma shrugged. "Besides, I don't want to scare the piss outta you and show up all bloody and smellin' like hellfire."
"I've had worse."
"I can imagine," Ranma could feel her kids walk into the room. She turned and saw Nariko wave at the agent.
Alfred coughed. "Sorry that you didn't get to your daughter in time, at that clothing store," He stated, anything to remove the awkward silence.
"It's okay. I came as fast as I could. At least we know more about them. What Nabiki looks like now for example," Ranma sighed. Kasumi was the one that confirmed the identity of the third demon. She recognized Nabiki's face from store's security cameras. Kasumi was horrified at what had been done to her, and Ranma was dumbfounded. What purpose was there to making her younger? Also, Alexia seemed set on spreading her terrible fashion sense to all of her stolen broodlings.
"So what are you doing here?" Alfred asked.
"I'm thanking you, you and Morrison. You guys…"
"We were doing our job, Ma'am." Alfred flexed his hand. "To be honest your daughter's help did help us."
Nariko smiled at the compliment.
"How's the leg?" Ranma asked after putting an arm around her daughter.
"I still have it. If that's what you mean." Alfred looked down at the bottom of the bed where it was clear that a pair of feet were under the covers. "I'll have to go through rehab, and there's still a chance I won't be able to go back to field duty."
"Well, if that falls through talk to me. I'm sure I can help get you back into the field," Ranma gave a fanged smile.
"Oh… uhh thanks." Alfred said after he figured out what the succubus had offered.
"Don't worry. There's more than one way to do it. Provided you're not dying of course." Ranma added.
"Good luck getting your daughter back," Alfred said after blinking. He should have known she'd make an offer like that. Even nice succubae that were good comrades and drinking buddies were still succubae.
Eclipse nodded in approval when she saw how clean her room was. Her eyes turned to her little sister who had curtsied and kept her head bowed in respect. The maid's uniform had been Eclipse's idea but having it white and pink and frilly and risqué, had been Yuki's. Eclipse had heartily approved of that. She found the whole process… empowering.
Yuki had put a lot of effort into the uniform, from the pink bustier, which was modified to allow for her natural form, to the tiny pink skirt that showed off her frilly white lace panties to her little white apron tied with in a big bow in the back. Eclipse was particularly pleased with Yuki's footwear selection.
Her little sister was wearing a pair of above the ankle dark pink, three inch heel boots with fur trim and shinny buckle accents.
Eclipse did not like the pointed toes or the spiked heal of the shoes, but she had to admit that they looked good on her little sister. Eclipse remembered the fun that Yuki had while deciding on which stockings to wear. Ultimately she went with white ones with little pink bows to hold them up at mid-thigh. The bit of taut tummy and narrow waist that the abbreviated top showed also pleased Eclipse. As much as she felt that those Chinese dresses suited Yuki it was a shame that she could not have a bare midriff in them.
"Are you satisfied?" Yuki softly asked as she clutched a duster in her manicured hands.
"Very much," Eclipse agreed after she inspected her room. She walked back to her little sister and gently rubbed Yuki's horns. "You did well."
"It's… it's my… pleasure to serve," Yuki gasped out between purrs. When Eclipse finished, Yuki looked reverently into her sister's eyes. Mother's advice had made her big sisters so much easier to live with. Now, they were nice. They looked out for her and only punished her because they cared.
Eclipse noticed something slightly odd. It was too cutesy to be out of place, but… "What is that?" she asked looking at the bracelet that Yuki wore
"It's a charm bracelet with Hello Kitty and Barbie and…"
Eclipse zoned out and nodded while her little sister listed each cute charm in nauseating detail.
"Isn't it the cutest thing?" Yuki squealed with delight. "Mother said she would buy me some plushies that match it, too!"
"That's… good," Eclipse smiled.
"There you are," Alexia said as she walked into the room. "Are you done with Yuki, Eclipse? I need to talk to her."
"Of course," Eclipse said as she released the little maid. She used to be jealous of the attention that Yuki received, but mother had explained that Yuki was simply being used as an information source, to help defeat the Traitor. Eclipse respected that, Yuki was too weak to be a full warrior, but she still helped in what ways she could.
While Yuki followed her mother her clothing shifted back into her preferred cheongsam. The maid's outfit was nice for cleaning, but it was not who she was. "Yes mother?" Yuki asked as she entered Alexia's suite.
Alexia put her arm around the smaller demon. "I must commend your performance. You're quite skilled. You became exactly what your sisters wanted while still serving me perfectly. Though it worked a bit too well didn't it?"
"I don't think it's an act anymore," Alexia said as she ran her hand through Yuki's long hair. She had been watching this one carefully and wanted her to come out perfect. "It felt too good, you were too happy. Is there anything left? Even a tiny core that's not the perfect little sister?"
Yuki leaned her head onto Alexia and nodded sadly.
"It must have hurt to lie to your sisters like that. To lie to me."
"I'm sorry mother," the young demon sobbed.
"Don't worry. I know you tried and you almost did it. I'll reward you with a little cleaning of my own," Alexia promised as her eyes glowed.
Yuki blinked when the tingling in her mind stopped. "But… I don't feel any different, Mother."
"Of course not. It was just a minor little thing. The part that thought it was acting."
"I always was Yuki. I was just blind. Until you showed me." Yuki hugged her mother and increased her sobbing.
"It was my pleasure. You deserve to be rewarded for your work," Alexia said as she led her daughter to the couch and handed Yuki's notebook to her. "Now you were suggesting an ambush against the Traitor?"
Yuki beamed. Both because she had worked so hard on the idea and that Mother had an interest in it. "Oh yes. Well, it's really yours. I just… helped." She blushed.
"Go on," Alexia coaxed.
"The key is to get it to be just you and the Traitor. Without her cheating allies you would be free to take charge."
"Yes, and the weaknesses you told me about would be exploited beforehand," Alexia nodded. "That could make things… fun."
"And big sisters' mates would be taken care of too," Yuki added with a smile. If things worked out as they should only one weak brood mother would need to die.
To be continued.
Special thanks to my prereaders: Trimatter, PyroRaven, Kevin Hammel, J St C Patrick, Wray, Mondu Quiambao, Truk. They read my most bonehead mistakes so you don't have to.
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