• Published 12th Apr 2016
  • 14,955 Views, 12,558 Comments

Three More Things! - Tatsurou

Uncle Chan tries to balance running an antique shop, fighting demons, and being a Chi Wizard with being a loving Uncle to his nephew, his somewhat removed niece...and three little ponies who drive him straight up the wall.

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Viper sighed softly to herself as she followed Jackie down the ancient tunnel underground, the only source of light the flickering of his torch, the only sound the splash of water around their feet and the occasional hiss of a snake or skitter of a spider or mouse. "I didn't think I'd freak you out that badly..." she grumbled finally.

"Huh?" Jackie asked in confusion.

"With the toys, I mean," Viper continued delicately. "I mean, they were pretty basic. I didn't think you were that much of a virgin before meeting me..."

"I'd seen toys before," Jackie responded readily. "Just...never any that wriggled like they were alive." He shuddered visibly.

"But Animate Object is the simplest of cantrips!" Viper pointed out. "You don't even need to have magic to draw it, and you can power it with even the smallest mana crystals. You can pick those up in any store, hanging right next to the double A's."

Jackie blinked in surprise. He had a lot to get used to as far as this world of magical normality. He'd just have to deal with it as he went. "I forgave you for that as soon as I was me instead of we again," he pointed out softly.

"That's what I thought, too," Viper agreed. "Especially when you asked me to go to Venice with you. But...I wasn't expecting this. Though it's you, so I should have expected it to be an expedition."

"What were you expecting?" Jackie asked curiously.

"A romantic trip with just the two of us," Viper responded ruefully.

"You don't find this romantic?" Jackie asked in surprise.

Viper stared at him, completely flummoxed. "In what world could trudging through a partially flooded tunnel filled with snakes, spiders, rats, and cobwebs with a torch possibly be romantic?" she demanded.

"I suppose it's all in how you look at it," Jackie allowed happily. "A trip by fire-light along a secluded waterway, the only company the weather and the wildlife...just the two of us in the heart of adventure together, with only each other to rely on..." He suddenly stepped back, pulling Viper out of the way as a brief rockfall almost struck them. "...with just enough of a hint of danger to get the blood pumping," he concluded with a soft smile.

Viper did her best to slow her breathing. "...okay, whoever wrote that line for you, get him to write more."

Jackie hung his head. "And now I'm worried about Jade again."

Viper's eyes widened in shock. "Hsi Wu wrote it? Damn, her boyfriend's good. She's going to have her hands full..." Frowning thoughtfully, she glanced down at her phone. "Oh, that's why she hasn't called. No signal."

"And cut off from the rapid communication of the rest of the world, letting us slow down and enjoy," Jackie added warmly.

Viper chuckled softly. "Okay, I guess this can be considered romantic," she allowed as they reached the end of the path, where a wall full of ancient carvings greeted them. "As long as you pay more attention to me than the ancient ruin," she added as Jackie knelt to start copying the carvings.

Jackie chuckled nervously as he finished filling the carvings in...only for them to glow as the wall opened up, revealing a stone statue wearing a golden necklace. "Treasure at the end of the adventure?" he offered hopefully, quickly moving to grab it.

"Jackie, watch out for-"

As Jackie grabbed the necklace, the statue's eyes glowed red. The floor around the statue collapsed into a pit of spikes, forcing Jackie to cling to the statue for dear life.

"...traps..." Viper concluded lamely. "And where does this fall on the 'romantic getaway' plan?"

"Uh...role reversal where you get to rescue me?" Jackie suggested uncertainly.

Viper smirked as she rested her hand on her cocked hip. "I certainly won't say no to that..." Her voice trailed off as she spun, lashing out with her foot to knock a bullwhip off course before it could reach Jackie. "Especially now that you're here, Vanessa."

A tall woman who looked to be about Viper's age stepped out of the shadows. Her skin was tanned, her blonde hair tied in a straight horsetail. She wore a yellow blouse, grey pants, and a long red jacket. Her bronze eyes flashed as she pulled the bullwhip back. "Viper," she began, a strong English accent in her voice. "I didn't expect to see you here. I'd heard you'd been defanged."

"You heard wrong," Viper responded coldly as they began to circle.

"Uh...friend of yours, Viper?" Jackie asked curiously.

"I've called Vanessa Barone a thief, a mercenary, and a treasure hunter," Viper explained calmly, not taking her eyes off the woman. "But one thing I'll never call her is 'friend'."

"Aw, I'm hurt," Vanessa responded playfully. "And after all those times we worked so well together..."

"You mean the times you used me as a decoy to get away with your prize, blowing my op?" Viper snapped angrily.

"Temper temper, Viper," Vanessa chided superiorly. "You know what happens when you lose your cool in a fight." Without warning, she lashed out with her bullwhip, only to be forced to drop it as it came alive in her hands and lashed back at her.

"Care to try that again?" Viper asked callously as she lunged in to grapple.

Jackie watched as the two women began to fight. Viper was obviously superior in strict hand-to-hand combat, but the fight would still plainly take a while...and be pretty entertaining to watch. He sighed as he slipped the necklace into a pocket. "Where's a popcorn vendor when you need one?" he murmured thoughtfully.

A goblin held a bag of popcorn out to him. "Hmm...Venice," he murmured in a thick Scottish brogue. "That'll be six euros."

Jackie stared at the goblin in shock. "Where did you come from?" he asked in shock.

"Niche marketing," the goblin replied, pointing to the sign on his stall.

The Vendor That's Always There When You Need One

Jackie blinked in shock for a time, then shrugged and handed over six euros. Taking the bag, he began to munch. "This is good!" he proclaimed in surprise.

"Ya danna think ah keep this niche wit' bad popcorn, do ye?" the goblin countered before vanishing, stall and all.

Shrugging, Jackie returned to eating his popcorn and watching Viper kick ass...all while wondering if the torn clothing - in both directions - was intentional on her part.

Author's Note:

The other half of this episode - Jade in the Buttercup Scouts - is being skipped over because it happened due to Jade becoming a couch potato...which is plainly not happening in this timeline.

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