• Published 12th Apr 2016
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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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And He's Not The Only One

The chamber was strange. It was rather small, yet conveyed a sense of enormity. The furnishings were bare and spartan, and yet conveyed a sense of wealth beyond imagining. It was neither light nor dark, yet felt both blinding and consumed in shadows. To mortal eyes, only three chairs were visible behind a simple desk, and yet there was an overwhelming sense of observers just beyond perception. Then again, the identity of those sitting in the three chairs gave an indication of why the chamber defied mortal perception.

The Jade Emperor carefully straightened his stack of papers, pushing glasses up the bridge of his nose. "This meeting of the Triumvirate of Balance is now in session," he declared softly. "We are investigating the case of one Valmont, newly ascended Demon Sorcerer of Light, regarding a rules violation."

"Let's get on with it already," Oberon growled irritably. "Where is the defendant?"

"Due to...certain circumstances, he is unavailable to represent himself," Lucifer observed idly. "However, he has selected a Second to present his case in his stead."

"Oh?" Oberon asked carefully. "And who..." His voice trailed off as he saw the mortal who entered. "Of course," he growled irritably.

"Nice to see you too, Oberon," Xanatos offered with a warm smile. "Nothing personal about this."

"It never is," Oberon groaned, rubbing his forehead. He then sighed. "Very well. Let us hear this...case of yours."

"First, I'd like to actually address the regulation in question," Xanatos spoke up as he lifted some documents from a suitcase. "As I understand it, the reason the regulation is phrased that way - as far as setting foot in Australia - is because there was heated debate over exactly how much airspace Australia could claim as inviolate, leading to that specific wording." He folded the papers. "Now, I won't argue that Valmont did not violate the spirit of the regulation by entering Australia to make use of one of the artifacts stored there. That is not the defense he would make either. However, the wording of the regulation - and the punishment - is very specific. As he did not violate the letter of the regulation, I would like the Triumvirate to acknowledge that, were they so inclined, they could chose a more merciful punishment for this situation than destruction of the soul. There are quite a few precedents regarding merciful ruling in regards to spirit but not letter violations, so it would in no way present weakness on the part of the Triumvirate..." He began to pull out massive packets of documents from the suitcase.

"There is no need to list all the precedents," the Jade Emperor spoke up softly, his eyes amused even if his voice didn't show it. "I shall accept the stipulation to their existence, and that the merciful option exists."

"I, too, shall accept the stipulation," Lucifer agreed. "The point is well made."

Oberon growled irritably, but eventually sighed. "I accept the option exists," he allowed. "Doesn't mean we're at all inclined to choose it..."

"Of course," Xanatos agreed before either Lucifer or the Jade Emperor could call Oberon on being out of order. "As I said, Valmont in no way seeks to argue innocence. He freely declares his guilt. This defense is to convince you to choose the merciful option...in essence, to convince you that there are better ways to handle the present situation, and that he has something to offer worth choosing the merciful option."

"Something to offer?" the Jade Emperor inquired curiously. "And what does he have to offer?"

"While there are many things available, the primary offer is this," Xanatos spoke up, holding up a curiously configured device. "I understand this is a four-dimensional projector, used by the Council for many things?"

"That is correct," Lucifer agreed. "I assume the offer is recorded there?"

Xanatos nodded. "Incompletely, but yes. I have been led to understand that the primary goals of this Council and the motivations behind all regulations is, specifically, to allow humanity to develop unhindered enough that a defense against the Old Ones be created for when they eventually return. Thus, Valmont offers this device from the other timeline he created that failed...the Elder Trap."

The blueprint displayed itself into the air and ether, the four dimensions plainly visible to the entire Council. Gasps and murmurs of amazement raced through the shadows and light until Oberon eventually banged his gavel for silence. "...does it work?" Oberon asked finally.

"I'm afraid it's beyond my understanding," Xanatos allowed. "However, Valmont revealed the blueprint entire to four different Forge Beings, and all four attested that they could find no flaws." He held out four signed testaments to the blueprint's validity, signed Hephaestus, Brokkr, Ptah, and Vulcan.

Lucifer took the papers and examined them. "You speak of the blueprint entire?" he asked curiously.

"Yes," Xanatos confirmed. "You see, the full design is in six dimensions, and the technology to record such information currently only extends up to four. As such, the only complete copy of the blueprint...is in Valmont's head."

"This would consume a great deal in terms of resources to build," the Jade Emperor spoke up softly. "Not to mention how it would be explained..."

"Valmont offers to put his own financial empire towards said project," Xanatos spoke up. "As his Second, I would be willing to do so as well. We would also cover the public perspective in order to keep things to the present status quo."

"And if all your money is going into such a project..." Lucifer spoke up with a wicked grin. "Then where does the money that comes out of it go?"

Xanatos shrugged his shoulders. "I don't see why that's a matter for this council, sir. That should definitely be left up to attorneys."

Five demons floated in the Netherrealm, patiently waiting the turning of eternity. Their hopes of escape were almost nil, and their bonds of brotherhood were strained. Words had been traded that had wounded hearts, and only the absence of anywhere to go had kept them from scattering to the four corners.

As such, all were caught off guard as a loud noise heralded the arrival of two figures who most definitely were not demonic and did not belong. The first figure seemed to rise out of shadows, and had a body made entirely of a mix of black and white barely containing his musculature, with a red cape that flowed around him like it was alive. The second figure rode a motorcycle out of fire, and appeared to be a human clad in far too much leather until one saw his flaming skull.

Spawn carefully pulled papers from his cape. "This is a case review for the Demon Brotherhood," he stated flatly. "New regulations regarding your recent 'parole' have led to certain decisions being made. Behave, and we can get through this quickly."

"All decisions are final and immediate," Ghost Rider hissed out as he stepped off his motorcycle, a burning chain slipping back and forth between his hands. "So think carefully before speaking."

"We shall go from least action to most," Spawn stated softly. "Xiao Fung, approach."

Swallowing nervously, Xiao Fung made his way before the two figures. Each had been empowered - in different ways - by Lucifer himself, and were more than a match for any of the Brotherhood when they did not have access to their elemental powers in the netherrealm. "Y-yes?"

"By our analysis, you took no actions during your parole to warrant its being revoked," Spawn observed calmly. "The action was a result of miscommunication on the parts of Tso Lan and Jackie Chan, and arrogance on the part of Shendu. Once a Parole Officer is selected, you may be released anew on parole. We will discuss that further later. Tso Lan, approach!"

Tso Lan floated over calmly. "Yes?" he asked softly, keeping his composure.

"Your case is similar to Xiao Fung's," Spawn observed. "However, your crimes prior to being sealed the first time were far greater, as you sought destruction on a planetary scale. There are still 300 years remaining on your original sentence. You have a choice between serving that time out as is...or 150 years parole acting as an assistant to your daughter Luna."

Tso Lan winced. "I...shall take the 300," he offered sadly. "Neither Luna nor I are ready to reconcile-"

"May I take part of his sentence?" Xiao Fung asked softly.

Spawn turned towards Xiao. "I beg your pardon?"

"May I take part of his sentence?" Xiao repeated. "Is there any way I can reduce his sentence by serving it with him? We are brothers, after all...and it would do him good to have company that, if nothing else, can play chess without throwing a fit because castles don't shoot lightning." He shot a dirty look Tchang Zhu's way, who snarled defiance at him.

Spawn and Ghost Rider exchanged a glance. "This is acceptable," Spawn stated calmly. "This will mean you each serve out a 200 year sentence as cell mates at an Element-null maximum security facility. Amenities include meals, cable, and being allowed visitors."

"Thank you, brother," Tso Lan offered softly as the pair withdrew to allow further work.

"Dai Gui, approach!" Spawn ordered.

Dai Gui grumpily came forward.

"You showed no willingness to change when your parole was granted, and acted on violence," Spawn stated flatly. "However, we have received testimony from Hsi Wu and Poseidon indicating this may be due to an inability to change in a vacuum on your part, rather than unwillingness. As such, it is the decision of this board that you have two choices. Permanent housing at the element-null facility, or having your power and body reduced and being assigned as a familiar. Choose wisely."

Dai Gui was silent for a time. "...Hsi seems to like it..."

Spawn swept his cape out, and Dai Gui vanished. "He shall be assigned presently," he observed calmly. "Tchang Zhu, approach!"

"Don't order me around!" Tchang Zhu snarled angrily as he floated over, gathering electricity to himself.

"Our findings indicate that, like Dai Gui, you showed no willingness to change," Spawn observed idly. "However, there is no evidence to indicate you lack the ability to. As such, you have the choice of remaining imprisoned here eternally, or cycling. Choose-"

"You will not cage me!" Tchang Zhu roared out, drawing back his fist.

Ghost Rider's chains lashed out, burning into Tchang's body. He screamed in agony before his body exploded, leaving behind a glowing blue sphere crackling with lightning. Spawn calmly collected the soul. "Returned to the Cycle it is. Better luck next time." He then turned. "Po Kong, approach!"

Po Kong slowly moved to where she could see the pair. "Y-yes?" she asked nervously.

"Your case is unique," Spawn spoke calmly. "Your actions while paroled shows that you have learned your lesson, and are more than willing to adapt to the new world without conquest. You also showed a willingness to sacrifice yourself for others. In any other circumstance, this would be enough to wipe your record clean and grant you full freedom. However..."

"Let me guess," Po Kong observed sadly. "The world as it is can't sustain a free demon my size and appetite..."

"That is correct," Spawn confirmed. "So if you will allow it, a large portion of your magic will be syphoned off and stored in a gem for you to wear, sealing you in a human form. You will then be placed where you can be adjusted to the new world, and find beneficial employment that suits you. We have several options in that regard...first and foremost, your brother Valmont is in need of a new personal bodyguard/chief Enforcer, as he has dispensed with the services of one Hak Fu."

Po Kong smiled widely. "That would most definitely be acceptable."

"This may sting," Ghost Rider observed as he swung a hook on the end of his chain.

Valmont woke slowly on Christmas morning. His beloved was in his arms, and they were wed by no less than Santa Claus himself. The edge of his sense told him that David had successfully defended his case with the Triumvirate, which meant he did not have to worry about anyone coming to try and kill him...well, anyone actually capable of doing so, anyway. He'd cleared his schedule for the day even before Santa's arrival the night before, on the assumption he would be worse than dead. He had no reason he could conceive of for why he would leave his bed and his love...

Which left him quite confused when he found himself walking out of the bedroom of his penthouse within the building and to the living room, where a Christmas tree he didn't remember setting up filled one corner. A box marked as being from Santa caught his eye, and he opened it up.

To his surprise, it contained instructions to a ritual, and a cryptic comment of 'wish granted'. For some reason, he couldn't put together what it actually meant...but he found himself setting it up anyway. All it really took was him placing a design upon the floor and energizing it, and the rest was apparently a...performance.

He felt a little silly dressing up in what seemed to be a cross between Arabian harem garb and the male version of a Gerudo outfit from the Zelda games, but he was beginning to get an inkling of what this was supposed to be. As such, he lifted his arms in the dance motions marked in the package as he began to sing. "Oh whoa ho, oh whoa ho, you didn't know that you fell..."

A burst of giggles distracted him, and he turned to see Bai struggling not to laugh. "Not a bad voice," she managed to say, "but what possessed you to try and use Siren magic?"

"Is that what this is?" Valmont asked in surprise. "It's a gift from Santa. Perhaps you can instruct me?"

Rolling her eyes, Bai made her outfit shift. In a moment, she was clad in a sea shell bra (more a Double-D shell, Valmont joked to himself) and a flowing, diaphanous gown in blues and greens that was almost entirely transparent, left her legs bare, was held on by golden bangles at wrists and ankles, and conveyed the impression that she was wearing a piece of the ocean. "Let me show you," she teased playfully as she pushed him into a chair, her back to the design...where he now saw a tiny seed of magic taking shape.

And then she began to sing.

Where his motions had been awkwardly copying a design on paper, her motions were smooth and sultry, her entire body swaying and amplifying the magic of her voice as she sang out. The longer the song went on, the more Valmont found himself bobbing his head, clapping his hands, and stomping his feet to the beat. Towards the end, he couldn't stop himself from leaping up and joining her, dancing and singing the last verse along with her before turning to spin her into a dip.

Bai chuckled as she held onto him. "Looks like you've got a natural talent," she purred, sliding her hands along his back sensually.

"And you weren't Queen of the Sirens for nothing," he agreed as his hand slid along her back.

"Sonata, what do you think you're doing?" a harsh voice suddenly declared, startling both of them and making Bai's eyes go wide in shock.

What had been a tiny spark had expanded into a full door, a door that was slightly creaked open.

"C'mon!" an upbeat voice whined. "We were just talking about how desperate we were for our situation to turn around and you said the only way that would happen is if magic literally dropped into our laps, and this door appeared to the tune of our song!"

"And you think that makes going through it a good idea?" a third, angry voice snapped. "Ugh, you are the worst..."

"But-" the second voice began.

"D'gi?" Bai gasped out in shock, despair, and a slowly growing hope. "A'ri? S...S'na?"

Three gasps echoed from the other side of the door, and then it was thrown open. "Mommy!" a blue haired girl called out despairingly as she threw herself through the door, flinging herself into Bai's eager embrace.

"Sonata, wait-" the second voice called out angrily, only for the anger to drain as a girl with purple and blue hair caught sight of Bai Tza holding the blue haired girl, Sonata presumably. She then staggered disbelievingly into Bai's outstretched arms.

"What are you two..." The third girl who stepped through had far too much fluffy yellow and orange hair, and her intense air went completely slack at the sight of Bai. "M...Mom...it...is it really y-"

A tendril of water grabbed the third girl and pulled her into the embrace as Bai wept tears of joy. "My babies...I have you back..." she sobbed bitterly, her tears soon joined by those of the three girls...who between them looked to be wearing the entire 80's.

Valmont smiled warmly, stepping up and pulling his love - his family - into a warm embrace. "I kept my promise, love," he whispered softly.

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