• Published 12th Apr 2016
  • 14,858 Views, 12,522 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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Enforced Insanity

Tohru sighed to himself as he followed along behind Finn, Chao, and Ratso. Valmont and Shendu were very upset with their failure to acquire the Rat Talisman or eliminate Jackie Chan. As such, they were tasked to wander around the city of San Francisco - on foot - with the Talisman Tracker in the hopes they might stumble across the Talisman. On top of that, Shendu could track the movement of the artifact as long as it was intact, and would know if they stayed in one spot for too long. If they did so without calling in an explanation, they would be in trouble.

At this point, Ratso was the only one who still had a smile on his face. Finn was surly as usual, and Chao was still nursing a sore shoulder from the Fort Knox incident, and winced every time his foot came down on the pavement too hard. Tohru was already feeling a little winded from hefting his body so far. Even if the vast majority of his bulk was pure muscle - his last physical showed him with only a 15% body fat index, very good especially considering his size and weight - it was still a great deal of effort to move it long distances without taking a break. He could manage a surprising sprint, but he was no marathon runner...although he still remembered the one time he'd tried to run a marathon and technically won by rolling. Ratso, on the other hand, was irrepressibly cheerful and saw the whole thing as a relaxing outing. As such, the others had stuck him with artifact duty.

"Whoa!" Ratso suddenly murmured, coming to a halt as the artifact started shaking in his hands, all four heads illuminating in sequence. "What's this mean?"

Tohru stared at the artifact for a time, then decided to ask. Pulling out his communications device, he made a phone call. "Master, the artifact is...behaving oddly."

As the screen showed Valmont and Shendu, Valmont spoke up, plainly irritated. "How so?"

Deciding it was more efficient than trying to describe it, Tohru pointed the camera at the artifact.

"I suggest you all take several steps back," Shendu spoke up. "The Talisman is either above or beneath you, and approaching rapidly, under the guidance of some other form of magic."

All of them immediately backed away. The artifact continued to shake, but now only one head was illuminated. The pavement in front of them began to crack, and unearthly chanting began in a low murmur. A black shape about the size of a Great Dane burst out of the ground, all writhing tentacles and oozing flesh. In appearance, it seemed to be a nightmarish fusion of octopus, man, and dragon.

"Aww, it's a tiny Cthulhu!" Ratso cooed happily. "It's so adorably unholy!" To the shock of his companions, he reached out and attempted to scratch it on one side of its squishy dome head, only for it to writhe and lash at him. "Huh, guess he's not friendly."

"Cthulhu?" Shendu demanded, his voice somewhere between angry...and terrified? "How do you know that name?"

"Oh, I've read all of Lovecraft's books," Ratso admitted happily. "They're really funny, especially when you know enough about his psychological problems to recognize the derivation of the ideas that went into the story and contrast that to just how many people take the stories at face value as a genuine mythos instead of recognizing it as a look into the mind of a suffering madman-" He stopped as he realized everyone was staring at him. "...what?"

Shendu seemed to sigh. "Why are mortals always opening the doors to their own undoing?" he grumbled ruefully.

"Wait a minute!" Ratso suddenly interrupted. "If this is Cthulhu, shouldn't we all be going mad now?"

"It is not the true Ruler of R'lyeh," Shendu corrected. "It is only a facsimile, likely created from the Rat Talisman falling into one of this...'Lovecraft's books. Because of the nature of the Old Ones, any tome containing knowledge of them will have enough of a connection to them to act as the mental aspect of a spell, if the proper other elements are involved." His statement was greeted with silence, and he sighed irritably. "All spells are made of physical, mental, and spiritual components. One must have all three for a spell to work properly. The Talismans act as shortcuts when used individually, as they possess a great store of spiritual energies. When activated, they use the chi of the wielder to provide the physical aspect - however large or small - and the shaping of the wielder's thoughts as the mental aspect, triggering the spell form. This is why they activate more readily when one knows what they do. In the case of the Rat Talisman - which brings motion to the motionless - the shaping of the object provides the mental aspect, and the energies of its manufacture provides the physical."

"So...this is not the true Cthulhu, but the Rat Talisman animating a book?" Tohru clarified as the creature lunged for a car, tearing it apart and hurling the chunks aside, slowly growing as it did so before racing away, too fast to follow.

"For now," Shendu hissed. "Because of the nature of the Elder Ones' connection to this plane of reality, the mental aspect draws from them. The Rat Talisman provides more than enough spirit...but if it causes enough destruction and death to absorb sufficient body magic, the summoning ritual will complete itself, and the spirit of the Lord of R'lyeh will be called from his sleep to infuse the facsimile, and it will become the true Elder King. And then he will tear open the veil that keeps his brethren from entering this world, and they will battle here to determine who shall rule anew...and that battle will consume this world and more."

"I don't think we want that," Finn murmured worriedly.

"The mission in this case has changed," Shendu hissed out. "Your priority is to get the Rat Talisman out of that facsimile, using whatever methods you find viable. If this means joining forces with Chan and his Qi Lin, so be it, even if it means they leave with the Talisman at the end of this. There will always be another opportunity to recover it if they take it. There will not if the ritual completes itself."

Tohru and the others looked surprised, but Tohru couldn't say he wasn't pleased inside. It was an opportunity to maybe get to know the little ponies, instead of always having to battle them. "It shall be as you say," Tohru confirmed.

"One more thing!" Shendu hissed. "So long as that thing is active, you are not to speak my name. Speaking my name will bring me to its attention, and my destruction would instantly provide it with the necessary body element to complete the ritual. As well, you are not to speak my name where that chi wizard might learn of it."

"Understood," Tohru confirmed as he hung up. As the group now made their way to the antique shop, he made a mental note of that discussion. Apparently, Shendu's name would somehow provide the chi wizard with an advantage against the Demon Sorcerer. Tohru did not like the statue creature, and only did his bidding because Valmont willed it, as he was the present client. However, should that ever change...Tohru now knew a way to spoke the stone dragon's wheel.

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