As Namek Turns
Ryven suddenly sat up and gasped, sweat standing out on her forehead. She had kicked all of the covers from her simple bed again, and they all lay in a pile at the end of it, white in the dim moonlight that shone through the window. Her breath grew slower and slower, until finally she let out a long shuddery breath and attempted to calm herself. Standing up in her three-room cottage, she paced the floor and tried to make sense of recent events.
"Why have they been coming so often? Why? Why must they taunt me?" she said aloud to some unseen antagonist. She stopped and looked outside and made a face. " I know things haven't felt right lately, but still ... what does that have to do with my dreams? Why must they bring them back?"
She sat down in the middle of her floor and tried to sort things out, but only frustrated herself to the point of tears. She wept quietly on the floor, afraid that her sensei Piccolosan would hear her, even though she was at home, and he was far away meditating. In a way, she hoped he would, and come to her and tell her it was going to be alright, but she knew he wouldn't. Inwardly, she ached for him to be the parent she never knew. She knew he understood her completely, and could relate, but he refused to. He was a cold man outwardly, and Ryven was, at one time, almost convinced he was cold on the inside too, if it hadn't been for the immense time they had spent together. But she knew that he would never succumb to being a "father figure"; never. So she was content with being with him, and calling him Sensei.
Eventually she went to bed and fell back to sleep, but the flames of her dreams licked at her mind like real fire; the anguished screams seemed to echo throughout the room. But, as Ryven was used to it after all these years, she ignored the flames and voices and slowly drifted to sleep as the morning star came up over the horizon.
Piccolo felt some kind of change in the air as he meditated on his high peak, and it made him nervous. He had never felt a disturbance as strange as this one, one with so much force and strange aura it gave off. He opened his eyes and looked to the sky, seeming to search it for any sign of the cause of the strange new feeling. Upon finding nothing, he grunted and closed his eyes again, but kept an open channel in case the feeling stronger.
As he closed his eyes, he saw flames and heard screaming, and he suddenly knew that Ryven was having one of her dreams again. He had monitored them for some time now, concerned that they would inhibit her ability to focus, and eventually drive her insane. He knew that the following day would be trying for them both once he received the vision of the dream. Inwardly, he felt sorry for the girl, but knew that her anger and grief would deep down become a driving force.
The strange feeling was back again, stronger this time. Piccolo noticed that they came in waves, and that this time, they indeed came from the sky...
"Camm227, are you in position?"
Cammy White, Delta Red operative, slapped one black-gloved hand up to her earpiece. The volume was low enough even the most sensitive listening equipment in the world couldn't pick up on it, but nevertheless, this was a vital mission.
Silently she dialed in the confirmation code on her other glove, and the voice on the earpiece came back.
"Good luck Cammy. We're all counting on you."
Cammy frowned. Just what she needed; MORE pressure.
Silently she slipped along the roof of the Shadowloo C-Lab Beta 9. Here, the last 2 years of intel came to fruition: Here, M. Bison himself would supervise the reactivation of the HyperDrive. Here, she hoped, she would put an end to his mad experiments. Here, it would all end.
A bead of sweat dripped down her brow as she stealthily fell to one knee, her black stealth gear protecting her from the sharp gravel of the roof as she brought her sniper rifle into position.
The door at the far end of the lab opened and she silently pulled the firing pin into position. One bullet and it would be all over. She could go home, and he could never haunt her dreams again.
She placed her finger on the trigger, pressing just enough to ready the shot, right on the threshold, as the first guard passed. She got ready, as a second guard passed....
She tried not to notice the resemblance to Juni and Juli, to focus on her mission. The fate of the world rests on her aim being true...
Bison entered. And looked directly at her.
Cammy froze as their eyes met, the gunsight wavering. Too late, she fired the shot, and it passed harmlessly past Bison, crashing through the width of the door and embedding in the wall.
Cammy slammed down on the key for "ABORT", threw down her rifle, and turned to run.
And ran right into Vega, his claws gleaming in the moonlight. She had just the time to wonder how he knew before he clocked her hard in the head, Cammy's unconscious form slumping against the broken skylight.
"Good morning, my cute little assassin."
Cammy cracked her eyes open, blinded by the light. As her eyes adjusted, she found herself bound to an operating table, her stealth suit shredded around her, leaving her in her fighting suit: the familiar green leotard, green body paint, red gloves and beret. Sagat amused himself in the background by disassembling her gear, giving important chips to a technician behind him.
Cammy moaned and thrashed in her bonds. "Bison, you sick bastard! What are you going to do to me?"
As predicted, Bison stepped forward from behind the light, smiling his evil smile. "Why, I only want to repair a defective unit." He ran his hand along the side of her face, fingertips brushing her scar as she winced at the touch.
"You were always my greatest experiment...a few minutes in the HyperDrive, and you'll be mine again." He nodded to another technician, and an electrical whir filled the room as her table was lifted towards the massive, pulsing column.
"You won't get away with this Bison! I'll never serve you! Never," Cammy shouted as she thrashed in her bonds. She looked up to see the HyperDrive drawing nearer, and decided there was no turning back. She moved her tongue back in her mouth, behind the right top molar, to loosen the cyanide cap...
"Oh, and in case you were thinking you could get out of this," Bison taunted from far below, waving a small object, "I took the liberty of removing your suicide pill."
Cammy groaned as the HyperDrive drew nearer. She couldn’t let him do this to her...not again...
She flattened herself against the table as it was tilted vertical, bringing her face to face with the HyperDrive, just inches from the device.
"Do it," commanded Bison, and she was suddenly thrust into the chamber, the restraints falling away as she was buffeted by the intense power, spun around and around in a dimensional vortex, her mind and body feeling as though they were being torn apart and reconfigured at M. Bison's whim.
Cammy flashed back on the first day Colonel Wolfman found her on the doorstep to MI6...to her first birthday with Delta Red...to her cat, waiting for her back at base...every face she'd grown to love at Delta Red...clinging to the memory desperately, refusing to turn against the life she knows....
"Sir! Something's wrong!" shouted the technician, gesturing towards a monitor. M. Bison bent low over the console, various bars spiking red.
"What have you done? Was the HyperDrive reconstructed wrong?"
"N-no sir! It was built to your very specifications! It's as if she cannot be reformatted!"
"IMPOSSIBLE! I built her; she is mine to command! Increase the power!"
"DO IT!" M. Bison slammed down a glowing fist to punctuate the statement, and the technician hurriedly increased the output, the HyperDrive glowing a violent red as the silhouette of Cammy huddled in a fetal position within the column....
And then was gone.
Ryven flew through the air into a large rock, sending a shower of pebbles and dust into the air. But out from the dust she leapt, powered up and snarling at her opponent floating across from her. She gathered enough ki to build a large purple ki blast in her hand, waiting just long enough for Piccolo to notice. He began to anticipate the move, but to his surprise, the beam moved with him. His face was a mask of surprise at it plowed into him, sending him flying into a stand of trees. Ryven shot after him, preparing to attack him with a barrage of high speed punches when he came from the fallen trees and blew her away with a close range ki blast to the body. Ryven let out a cry of surprise as she was blown away, riding on the blast until she was able to get out from in front of it, panting and singed. Piccolo let down his defensive, signaling that the spar was over for now.
"Where did you learn that move?" Piccolo asked.
"I've been working on it. I figure that I could try to build up a blast and control it with my mind. I guess it worked, finally." Ryven panted, tired from the spar already, due to the night's disturbances. Suddenly Ryven looked to the sky, messing up her face in a combination of annoyance and curiosity. Piccolo saw it.
"You felt it too, then."
"Yeah, last night too."
Piccolo nodded as the wind picked up a little over the land, sweeping clouds of saffron colored dust into the air. Suddenly the sky grew dark as a multicolored hole opened up in the sky, spiraling inward like an inverted tornado. Lightning flashed from inside it, it's bolts reaching to the outside and striking the clouds. The sky suddenly flashed red, then, as suddenly as it had appeared it was gone. Ryven made a sound in her throat.
"This doesn't feel good, Sensei-" Ryven began.
"Hush! Listen!" Piccolo ordered sharply, holding his hand out to silence her. Ryven nodded and irritably listened, cursing whatever had come to interrupt her training session. On the wind came a shrill screaming, and as Ryven squinted her eyes she made out a thin figure falling from the sky. She could tell right away that it was female, partly because of the long blonde pigtails flowing out behind her as she fell.
"Shimatte!" Piccolo swore, then zanzoken-ed to catch her from a would-be fatal fall. She landed in his arms with a loud "oof", her pigtails splaying out everywhere before the hung limply to the ground. Ryven ran up to where Piccolo was standing and stared at the newcomer. The newcomer briefly opened her clear crystal blue eyes before letting them flutter shut again, passing out with a grimace on her face.
Ryven made a face. "Whoever she is, she obviously works out. An enemy, perhaps?"
"We can't be sure. I'm taking her to your place for the time being, until she wakes up. Come." Piccolo stated solemnly, turning toward Ryven's cabin with a flapping of his cloak. Ryven nodded and proceeded to follow Piccolo, walking beside him and eyeing the stranger with wariness.
"I don't trust her, Sensei; she's got bad vibes." Ryven informed him in a low voice. Piccolosan flicked his eyes toward her.
"Don't judge so quickly."
Ryven nodded and left it at that, making the walk absolutely silent until they reached Ryven's home. Piccolo kicked the door open and walked inside, laying the pigtailed stranger on the small mat under the window.
Ryven's familiar, who was sleeping in the corner, lifted his white wolven head and sniffed the air, starting to growl deep in his throat.
"Snowblind, stop it." Ryven hissed, not taking her eyes from Piccolo and the girl. She looked a little older than Ryven, but no more than a good
5 years ahead of her. Her body suit was skimpy, but allowed for, Ryven noticed, optimum allowance of movement. She wore a red beret and huge boots, red gloves and socks. And paint. She wore camouflage paint on her legs.
"Not much on color coordination, is she...?" Ryven mumbled as Piccolo stood up and turned to Ryven.
"Now what?" she asked.
"Now we wait." Piccolo replied. Ryven nodded and turned to the hearth to start some water for tea, thinking that the wait was going to be a long one.
Little did she know that the pigtailed wonder was already opening her eyes...
Ryven turned at a slight moaning behind her. Cammy was lying propped up one elbow, her other hand on her head as she bathed in the sunbeam.
"Who the hell are you?" asked the stranger, scowling.
Ryven opened her mouth in shock. Who was SHE to ask questions? And in her house!
However, she decided to restrain her impulse to throttle the girl and instead sighed heavily. "Just get some rest. We can talk in the morning."
Cammy looks around...it only looked to be midday, but after all that...that...what happened, anyway?
She decided she didn't care, and rolled over to go to sleep.
Guile walked into the control room, pulling off his flight helmet and clapping a nervous little man on the shoulder. He jumped, and took off his headset with a speed and power that belied his slight form.
"Oh. Hello Guile," he mumbled darkly.
Guile nodded solemnly. "The mission was a success."
The controller closed his eyes tight, rubbing his temples. "Any sign of her?"
"The compound was leveled. There was no sign of her...but nothing could have survived that. I'm sorry, Tyhm."
Tyhm sighed and dismissed the pilot with a wave of his hand. He had a lot of cleaning up to do....
Ryvenblade rose from a fitful night and stretched in her bed, her eyes crunching shut as she yawned. Reluctantly she got out of her sheets, and walked to the door, only to find it blocked. She pushed hard against it, and it slid open, pushing a three-foot drift of wet towels and smelly socks.
Cammy walked by casually; wearing one of Ryvenblade's oversized tunics and a pair of socks low around her ankles. "Oh, hi there. Hope you don't mind, I had to go through some of your things. So what's for breakfast?"
Ryvenblade snarled as Cammy hopped effortlessly onto the counter, upsetting a neat stack of notepaper she had been compiling.
"What's for breakfast, huh?" Ryven repeated Cammy's question irritably. "Let me get a few things straight. I'm a generally easy person to get along with, so here are a few rules for however long you're going to stay here: This is my place. Mine. Therefore, you will not go through my things and you may not make my place a mess. And you find your own things to eat. Understand?"
The stranger thought about it for a few seconds, then nodded. "Seems fair. Okay then. Now, here's the second thing: What am I supposed to call you? You look like Mr. Spock with those ears of yours."
Ryven could already tell that they were going to go around and around. But, she bit her tongue and smiled forcefully.
"I have no idea who that is, but oh well. My name is Ryven. What would yours be?"
"Cammy. Cammy White with Delta Red." Cammy replied, her voice seeming to lower an octave to make it seem more serious. Ryven raised an eyebrow.
"You have no idea what I'm talking about, do you?"
"Not a clue." Ryven confirmed. "Now, if you'll excuse me, I'll be finding my breakfast. You should do the same; Piccolosan would be disappointed to see any one of us falter in our pace because we were foolish enough to skip breakfast." With that, Ryven walked out of the door. Cammy planted her hands on her hips as she watched the little elf girl leave, and smiling rather smugly at that.
"Well fine," Cammy mumbled to herself. "I'll have to see what I can find around here then. She's got to have bread or something stashed around here somewhere..." Cammy went to digging though the large wooden cupboard, looking for something to eat. She found a small loaf of bread, but it was obviously stale, and merely thrown in there to save space. Cammy frowned and walked across the room, kicking around the fallen paper, which she had neglected to pick up. But then, a sudden glow caught her eye. Acting on instincts, she reached for a sidearm that wasn't there. Cammy looked down at her hip and swore under her breath, then merely tensed up, preparing for a fight. Slowly she opened the door to Ryven's room, gritting her teeth in a slight snarl before pushing the door open fully.
The room was empty except for a bed and a nightstand, a shield on the wall and a few trinkets lying about. Cammy frowned and stepped into the room, and her eyes were instantly drawn to a glowing thing on Ryven's bed. As Cammy drew nearer, she made the thing out to be a sword, silver and cold looking, pulsing a bright blue. The room was colder, and, as Cammy noticed, it made a strange, almost musical sound, like the wind.
"What the Hell...?" she said, kneeling down next to it to get a closer look. "It's glowing - radioactivity?"
~What are you doing in Ryven-chan's room?~ a male voice shot through her head. Cammy whirled around to see a white wolf in the doorway, his lip turned up in a snarl. Cammy screamed and flew at the wolf, attempting to deliver a powerful kick from the air. The wolf barely dodged her, and came at her with a frightening growl. Cammy leapt back and nearly fell upon the sword on the bed. As she missed the sword, though, it began to rise from the bed and float in the air.
~Hah, you're in for it now, you nosey Human.~ the wolf laughed in her head, stalking nearer to Cammy. Cammy snarled too, but watched the sword.
But as she watched the two, the both began to fly at her at the same time!
"This is too much for me. I'm outta here!" Cammy grumbled shakily, and leapt from the bed through the window. The sword followed her, and close behind was the white wolf, snarling and snapping as she went. Cammy ran to the forest, knowing that she could get the advantage there with the cover, but almost tripped over Ryven. The elf was in a laughing, hysterical pile, holding her gut as she laughed, her face beat red. Cammy huffed at her, looking over her shoulder.
"There's a wolf in your house, in case you didn't notice! It tried to eat me!! Stop laughing, it isn't funny!" Cammy insisted while Ryven picked herself off the ground. The white wolf came from the bushes slowly, and, upon seeing Ryven, it began to stalk toward her. Cammy saw what was happening and grabbed Ryven by the arm.
"C'mon! Don't just stand there like a dumbass! He's coming for you, girl!" Cammy shouted, yanking at Ryven's arm. Ryven pulled her arm from Cammy's hand and knelt down, receiving the wolf. Cammy watched in horror as she expected for the wolf to rip into her, but to her surprise, he didn't.
The white wolf merely padded over to her and licked Ryven's face, sitting down next to her. Ryven grinned as she held up her hand, and the sword was suddenly flying through the air into her open hand.
"You see, Rookie, they were merely trying to get you out of my room, to scare you, you know?" Ryven explained with an amused smile. "Snowblind is very protective, as we're linked together. If he dies, I die, and vice versa. And my sword ... well, she doesn't like anyone period. No one but me. Not even Piccolosan."
"What- how- I don't wanna know." Cammy sighed. "I just want to know what happened to me, and why I'm here. And while I'm at it, where here is."
"That may be explained soon enough. Come on you two; stop acting so foolishly and get moving. You're both late." A voice suddenly said. Ryven turned her head to see Piccolo standing a few feet away from them, scowling at them with his arms crossed. Cammy smiled.
"And you must be the much talked about Piccolosan." Cammy said, sauntering over to him, saying his name in her soft British accent. Piccolo merely nodded, not showing any change in emotion.
"Yes. And you're Cammy, am I right?" Piccolo replied. Cammy smiled and nodded.
"Why yes. How did you know? No wait, don't tell me, she told you telepathically." Cammy guessed. Piccolo nodded.
"Right again. Now let's go, we're wasting time." he stated, then turned and flew out of sight. Ryven shrugged and started to take off, but then remembered that Cammy couldn't fly. Grudgingly, Ryven stayed on the ground with her and walked her to the training grounds.
"You know…Piccolosan’s kinda hot…" Cammy commented off-handedly, Ryven snapped her head in Cammy's direction and raised an eyebrow.
"Hot? As in handsome? I never thought of him like that before ... " Ryven replied, not liking where this was going. Cammy nodded.
"Yeah. The whole stone cold emotion thing is just sooo Angel," she said. Ryven merely sighed and walked the rest of the way to the training grounds in silence...
In the far-off village of Hemmoyre, the peasants had far more on their mind than the incessant babbling of a whiny British girl. They had but one thing on their mind: Surviving the wrath of the twin Furies.
One old woman tore through the burning square, her vision failing her as she tumbled headlong into a dark figure. The slender figure did not move, not even flinching at the collision, as the crone fell back in terror. Slowly, menacingly, the younger Fury steps forward into the light, the flickering flames casting dancing shadows across her smooth, but surprisingly hard visage.
The old woman stares in terror at the girl standing before her. She might have been beautiful, once, long ago. But that time was far behind her...her eyes, it seemed, was the source of her terror. They were hazel, and hard as steel, seemed almost inhuman the way they stared through her. The hair that framed it was a ruddy brown, short and thickly matted in a cruel mockery of dreadlocks. Her build was slight and curvy, yet her apparel was that of a warrior twice her size: battered shoulder armor, dripping with blood, hung over her own narrow shoulders... mismatched gauntlets covered both hands.
Her torso covering looked as though it once was a black, tight blouse of some sort, but that too was hardly recognizable. It had been patched with bloody rags over the years, and two solid leather straps crossed her chest, supporting a veritable medieval arsenal across her back. Her leggings were sparse, a battle-skirt of a horseman and some knee-boots of raw hides, but no more.
"Well well well, what have we here?" said a voice behind the fury as her older sister stepped forward. The old woman started and backed away on her elbows, her eyes darting from one to the other, her jaw slack in terror as they slowly circle her as a vulture does its prey. She made a quick mental note of the older one: not quite as slender, and better endowed...her armor was in better shape, but exactly mirrored that of her sister...her hair was darker, longer, and better kept, and her eyes were darker...but the same hideous, inhuman cruelty was mirrored in them.
If the eyes truly are the gateway to the soul, the old woman muttered to herself, then she had been met by the devil's harem itself....
The younger sister cocked her head to the older, and the older returned the look automatically...no communication had passed, and yet they seemed to know the others thoughts. In perfect harmony, they smile; a cold, humorless smile, such as could strike terror into the minions of Hades.
They each reach back and draw two bloody, curved blades from their back scabbards, circling the terrified crone in a deadly dance....
Ryven pushed through the brush, relieved to see Sensei Piccolo hovering in the air at the clearing, an irritated look on his face. Cammy giggled at his stern posture, and Ryven thought she saw a slight break in his countenance, but in a flash it was gone. Ryven hovered up to meet her master, and he patiently waited for Cammy to join them. The Elven girl frowned at this: Piccolo never waited patiently for anything.
"She can't fly, you know." Ryvenblade spoke it aloud, fully intending Cammy to hear it.
Piccolo scowled. "Then we must teach her the basics," he muttered under his breath as he floated back to the grass, Cammy rushing up to great the Sensei, a mischievous grin on her face.
Ryven watched Piccolo float to the ground with knitted brows, noticing right away that Sensei was not acting like himself. She floated down next to him and started to ask of the training, but thought better of it.
*I don't want to sound selfish in front of him. I'll let it slide. Its probably just a phase.* Ryven thought, trying to be as rational as she could at the moment. But just watching Piccolo with Cammy made her boil over with anger. Cammy was sauntering up to him, lacing her hands behind her back and looking coy and naughty all at the same time.
"So, are you going to spar with me too?" Cammy asked, her British accent heavy upon her words. Piccolo merely frowned.
"No, not yet. We have to teach you a few things first." he replied solemnly, but a small, barely noticeable smile crossed his face.
Ryven's voice carried loud and clear upon the wind. "No, you can train her. You're the teacher. I'd just get in the way." Piccolo turned his head to give her a slightly confused look.
"You sure?" he asked, stone faced. Ryven nodded.
"I'll just sit here and watch until you're done, and then we can train." she replied, making sure Cammy heard the part about the training.
Piccolo nodded and turned back to Cammy.
"Cammy, the first thing we- er- I have to teach you is bakujuso."
Piccolo told her, but only got a blank look from Cammy. "The art of flying."
Cammy's eyes widened at the mentioning of flying. "You're gonna teach me to fly?!?"
Piccolo grunted in response. "Yes. Are you prepared?" Cammy nodded vigorously.
"What do I have to do?" she asked. Piccolo merely stepped behind her and picked her up by the waist. Cammy giggled a little as he lifted her into the air with ease, holding her so that she was two or three feet off the ground.
"Now, I want you to close your eyes and concentrate really hard on levitating." he told her. Cammy nodded and closed her eyes, a small smile playing on her lips as he held her higher in the air by her waist. She squeezed her eyes shut and made small noises in the back of her throat. She clenched her fists by her sides as she tried to lift herself, but failed. Piccolo frowned.
"No, you're doing it wrong ..." he said.
Ryven fumed on the sidelines. grasping her sword's hilt with white, tight knuckles. Her breath came in short, quick gasps now as she watched the two on the field.
*Who does she think she is?!? Piccolosan never did that with me! He merely threw me off a cliff and told me to learn, or die! It's not fair! What's wrong with him? Why is he being so patient with that little trollop?!?* These thoughts raced through her mind as she glared at Cammy, boring holes through her pigtailed skull.
Piccolo, meanwhile, had set her down gently on the grass. "No, watch this. You see, you have to tap you inner energy to get the levitation you need." he explained. Cammy nodded and tried again, sitting upon the ground and closing her eyes. She made a good effort this time, and, after a few minutes Cammy began to rise a few inches into the air. Piccolo knelt down next to her.
"Don't look now, but you're floating." he said close to her ear. Cammy suddenly let her eyes fly open as she gasped, her head snapping down to see herself floating.
"I am! I'm floating!" she squealed excitedly, but then fell down. Ryven stifled a few cold laughs as she watched Cammy fall, hiding her face deftly in the palm of her hand. Cammy was undaunted, however, and stood up, bouncing excitedly next to Piccolo.
"I was floating I was floating I was floating!" she squealed. Piccolo crossed his arms.
"I am quite aware that you were floating." he replied. "Now calm down so that you can try again."
"Ok, I'm calm ... I'm settling." Cammy stopped bouncing long enough to get a grip on herself before allowing Piccolo to continue. She smiled up at him and reached out, fingering the cloth of his cape. "So, what're we going to do now?"
"You know, if you're gonna flirt with Piccolosan, why don't you just tell him?" Ryven called out suddenly, getting a small jump from Cammy. The British girl whirled around and gave Ryven a poisonous look, but Ryven merely smiled up at her innocently.
Piccolo cleared his throat. "Um ... why don't we skip this and go straight to the spar. What do you know about martial arts?"
Cammy smiled, and leapt up into the air, rolling into a cannon-ball form. Piccolo watched mutely as she rose, almost in levitation, then rolled out and kicked at him with both feet, driving the tacitly startled Namek backwards, then lifting him into the air as she braced her shoulders against the uneven ground and kicked him again in the chest with both feet. He began to recover when Cammy threw herself past him, zipping between his legs, then rebounding twice in midair to attack from an opposite angle.
Piccolo tried to dodge the next few, but Cammy steered her path with an eerie accuracy, crashing into him a few more times before wrapping her legs around his neck, locking her ankles together, and driving him headfirst into the ground.
Ryven stared wide-eyed in disbelief, as Cammy hopped to her feet and brushed off her hands. Grunting, Piccolo popped his head out of the ground, and shook some of the dirt off.
"Impressive," Piccolo thought to himself, just loud enough that Ryvenblade can hear. "Her power level, it's like nothing I've ever seen. She'll be more powerful than any of us, if she can learn to control herself..."
Piccolo swirled his cape around himself and adjusted his turban as Cammy stood with her back to him, head lowered. With an almost undetectable smirk of satisfaction, Piccolo began a Makankasappou, just as Cammy perked her head up. At the exact moment the fireball left his palms, Cammy twirled on her toes, and backhanded the projectile, extinguishing it on her knuckles.
This time, even Piccolo's eyes widened in shock: that attack was powerful enough to have destroyed a mountain, even deflected, and this girl just destroyed it with ONE FIST.
Before he can regain his composure, he noticed Cammy winking at him.
"CANNON DRILL!", she shouted as she spinned towards him again, kicking both feet up towards him as she twirled faster than the eye can follow, drilling him back with both feet nearly a mile before he crashed into a bluff, burrowing deep into the stone. Cammy nimbly leapt out of the new cave before it collapsed, leaving Piccolo to blow his own way out.
Cammy rushed towards him for a Cannon Spike, but ended up kicking air as the Sensei Zanzouken-ed out. In midair, Piccolo caught her with a flurry of punches to her chest, driving her back. Cammy uses the little levitation she's learned to float even with him, blocking his attacks as best she can. When it became evident she couldn’t block forever, she smashed him across the jaw with a fierce uppercut, her gloved fist glowing with a violet blue flame as Piccolo was thrown across the clearing, crashing to Ryvenblade's feet.
"Fast too," Ryven muttered.
Piccolo nodded, and rose as Cammy drew near. Cammy giggled as he straightened his turban, and sauntered seductively up to the Namek.
Piccolo grunted. "That's enough for today. Both of you, go home and get some rest."
He floated off to the horizon, leaving a mental message for Ryven to follow once Cammy settled down.
The two Furies surveyed the wreckage of the village, broken bodies littering the streets. Already the carrion birds were tending to the first casualties; women, children, and the elderly, all those who they could not use for their twisted enjoyment. The others, young men, and the occasional woman they took a liking to, were closer to the center, in various stages of dismemberment. Those that served willingly were the most intact, and those that struggled were missing the odd limb. All of them bore the same lengthwise cut from the legs to the neck, showing when one or the other Fury grew tired of them. Slowly the sisters’ gazes look to each other, that same menacingly cold stare in their eyes, the same mischievous smirk on their faces as they stand in the flickering firelight.
As the last of the houses falls smoldering to the ground, their ears perked up simultaneously, listening beyond the noise of the wrecked village, nearly to the other side of the world, where a single shout is carried on the wind...
The two furies stood at perfect attention, arms clasped tight to their sides, as their lips formed another man's words in perfect time:
"Target CAMMY Located.
Orders: Destroy with extreme prejudice."
"Unit JUNI ready!" shouted the younger Fury, her voice becoming her own again, with a slight metallic cadence.
"Unit JULI ready!" shouted the older Fury, her voice carrying the same tone. The smirk gone from their faces, Juni and Juli rose up from the ruins of the village, zooming across the planet to where their enemy waits.
Ryvenblade stepped around the jagged boulder to find her Sensei hovering in meditation before her. Piccolo made no move to acknowledge her presence, floating silently as his cape billows in a slight breeze.
"Piccolosan. I am here."
"It took you long enough. And the girl, Cammy?"
Ryven frowned. He said it as if he forgot her name for a moment, but it certainly wasn't like him to forget even that....
"Yes...Sensei, I'm worried. You've been acting odd lately..."
Piccolo grunted his agreement. "Do you remember, some time ago, when I gained that power level?"
Ryven nodded silently.
Piccolo opened his eyes, landing softly on the grass. "As it is with Saiyans, it seems I too have grown a tail with this level."
"Oh..." stammered Ryven, confused.
"And as it is with Saiyans, I fear if it is not removed, I will become a monkey."
Ryven nodded silently again, trying hard not to giggle at the thought of Piccolo swinging from tree to tree. Piccolo picked up on the thought and grunted.
"Quickly," Piccolo growled, "draw your sword and cut it off. I don't want Cammy to find out about it."
Ryven slowly drew her blade. "But Sensei, are you sure it's wise? I mean, you're a Namek, it might not be the same thing..."
Piccolo grunted, his brows pinched in thought. "True, it does not look like Gohan's...and it is on the wrong side...but I do not want to risk it. Quickly!"
Piccolo began to work his belt sash as a voice croaked from behind them, "Stop!"
They both turned to see Cammy tiredly clawing her way up the boulder to roll to the ground on the other side, a bead of sweat trickling down her face.
"Trust me, green one," Cammy pants, "you don't wanna do that."
Ryven and Piccolo both arched an eyebrow at Cammy.
Cammy grinned mischievously, not unlike a cat that's cornered a canary. "Send the elf-girl on home, and maybe I'll show you what your 'tail' is really for," Cammy cooed into the Namek's ear.
Piccolo looked from one to the other, then nodded. "Ryven. Go home. I shall see you tomorrow."
Cammy giggled as Ryvenblade floated off, cursing under her breath. All the way home, she muttered her hatred of that English girl, as the howls of Piccolo's training echo in the wind.
Ryven stormed into her house and slammed the door, making the dishes on the counter rattle and threaten to fall to the floor. Ripping her sword harness over her head, she tossed it on the mat where Cammy slept the night before and kicked her bedroom door open, not acknowledging the fact that it had slammed into the wall behind it.
"Gotta calm down ... It's his choice, I can't do anything about it ... calm down." Ryven breathed under her breath as she crumpled onto the floor in a cross-legged sit. She breathed deep and closed her eyes, attempting to calm herself before she caused any major damage. But she could not get over the fact that those two were…were…
"Arrgh!" Ryven growled. "What, am I all of the sudden *stupid*? Do they think I don't know what was going on?! I know what's going on! And that little tramp is taking advantage of it!! OOOh Kame I HATE HER!!" Ryven let out an angry cry and destroyed her nightstand, letting a small ki blast fly into it. Snowblind crept into the room and licked her hand, seeming to try and make amends for something he didn't do.
~Whatever it is, I'm sorry.~ he told her. Ryven smiled down at him.
~I'm losing him, Snowblind. He's slipping away from me. Pretty soon he's going to tell me that my training is complete, and he'll start training her~ Ryven replied in her head. Snowblind whined.
~You know he won't. You two have a special bond, remember? Remember how you saved his life against Al'Thor, and he saved yours?~
~Yes, of course I do. But he doesn't seem to care right now.~ she partially whined. ~I fear that he's going to slip away. Maybe it's for the best. Maybe it's the Fate's way of saving him from me.~
~Oh, you're not going to start *that* again, are you?~ Snowblind moaned. Ryven frowned down at him.
~I'm serious, Snowblind! Every time I get around someone, and I start to care for them a little bit, they get hurt or die. It's a curse. It comes with the blood, I think.~
~For the last time Ryven, it is not a curse, only coincidence.~
~Che. Some coincidence.~
At that moment Cammy came through the door, glowing and flushed with the night. A small smiled graced her lips as she seemed to float into the cottage, absentmindedly pushing Ryven's sword aside as she sat on the mat.
Ryven looked from her room at her and growled, her eyes narrowing in pure hatred.
~Can I kill her?~ Ryven asked in a growl. Snowblind merely sneezed.
~Can I hurt her then?~
~No, it wound prove that you are no better than she.~
~Sure it would.~ Ryven mumbled in her head. Then she got an idea. On a whim, she stood up and walked out into the main room, bending down to stir the coals in the fireplace. Cammy waved a little as she saw the elf girl come out into the room, reclining on the mat and staring dreamily up at the ceiling. Ryven smiled evilly as she poked at the coals. Snowblind whimpered.
~What are you going to do? I hope you don't plan on using that poker to-~
~Of course not. Just listen.~ Ryven replied, a small smile playing on her face. Snowblind whined again and laid down, putting his nose between his enormous paws. Ryven stood up and faced Cammy for a second, then turned to the hearth again.
"So, was he good?" she asked nonchalantly. Cammy sudden shot a look over to the girl, her eyes wide for a moment with surprise. After a moment's pause, Cammy smoothed over her expression to a look of casualness, equaling that of Ryven's remark.
"He's an excellent fighter." Cammy replied glibly. Ryven chuckled a little bit.
"No, I mean the other good. You know, when you showed him how to use his tail...?"
"I showed him that his tail could be used as a formidable weapon-"
"Oh please Cammy, don't insult my intelligence. I know what you two were doing, so don't lie to me." Ryven suddenly snapped. "I knew you were attracted to him ever since you got here."
"Oh, a bit jealous, are we?" Cammy sing songed, her brow raising mockingly above her blue eyes. Ryven let out a choked laugh.
"Of you? No, I don't want his body. I love Sensei in a way you couldn't fathom, Stripling."
"Stripling, huh? Well, sorry to break it to you, young one, but he doesn't have time to baby-sit." Cammy shot back.
"I was taking care of myself long before you were born, Cammy. Can you guess how old I am? C'mon, guess."
"Alright then ... 15." Cammy replied.
"Heh. wrong on both counts. In human years, I'm 124. In Elven years, I'm 18." she replied smugly. "So don't take me for a young, ignorant fool."
Cammy looked astonished for a moment. "Well then, I guess I should tell you that maturity doesn't come by how many birthdays are celebrated, but by the experiences you have."
"If you only knew-"
"Look, I don't have time for this nonsense. It's way past your bedtime." Cammy sneered, then went outside for a walk, leaving Ryven to fume in the cottage. Snowblind watched her go and snarled at her.
~You can kill her now.~ he said in a low voice. Ryven merely looked down at him and sighed, whirling around on her heel and stomping into her room. Snowblind followed her, watching her as she slipped into her nightclothes and flounced into bed. She laid there for a few minutes, her arm hooked over her eyes as she seemed to think hard about the day's events.
Finally she rolled over on her side and slid her arm under her thin pillow, closing her eyes and attempting to sleep.
The dreams came again that night, seeming to rage on and on with fury unknown to Ryven. Everything seemed more realistic and more intense than before, as if she were standing in the middle of the village again. She tossed and turned for most of the night until finally she shot up in bed for the eleventh time, wide-awake and unable to get back to sleep. She sat up and held her knees to her chest.
"I do believe that I'm going insane ..."
Piccolo's eyes suddenly snapped open from his meditations as intense visions shoved his consciousness into the real world. He let out a small breath as he floated gently to the ground, a few beads of sweat falling down his jawline as he stared down into the valley below him.
"Damn, that one was intense. How many of these things is that girl going to have ...?" he asked himself aloud, wiping off his brow. "This is definitely not normal, even for her. Maybe she-"
"Maybe she what?" a voice came from below him. He looked down and saw Cammy climbing up the hill toward him. She smiled as she reached the top and brushed herself off. Piccolo was a rock.
"Nothing. I was merely talking to myself." he replied. Cammy smiled seductively and swayed up to him, wrapping her arms around his neck.
"Well, maybe I could get you to talk to me," she whispered ...
"Dammit! I can't get a link to Piccolosan! He's not answering my sending!" Ryven exclaimed irritably. "Why won't he answer? I really need to talk to someone! I don't understand! He's never ignored me before, even if it was just a 'I'm busy'!" She stood up and paced the floor in an agitated fashion, then sat down and tried again. She called out to him mentally, searching for his familiar sense. When she found it, however, it was like hitting a brick wall. Ryven grunted a little and opened her eyes, biting back tears of frustration.
"Dammit Piccolosan! What's wrong with you?!?"
Ryven came from her room early the next morning dressed in the same clothes she had worn before, seeming to forget that she had other clothes in stock this time around. Cammy was lying on her mat in the main room, staring up at the ceiling like the night before. Growling a bit under her breath, Ryven wandered to the hearth and prepared her own meal, slamming it down on the table and collapsing in a chair.
"You look stressed, young one. What's wrong?" Cammy asked as she walked to the table. Ryven snarled at her.
"Don't ever call me young one again." Ryven growled. "And I'm fine, thank you."
"Well, I'm sorry. Is it ... insulting?" Cammy smirked.
"No, it's Piccolosan's name for me. Don't use it."
"I see. Sorry." Cammy yawned, putting her feet on the table. Ryven snarled again and began to eat her hot wheat cereal. At that moment Piccolo stepped into the cabin quietly, seeming to wait for the two to finish.
Cammy's eyes brightened as she was suddenly awake, a small grin touching her lips. She raised an eyebrow at Piccolo, and he merely gave her a look that Ryven couldn't really place. She looked from Piccolo to Cammy as they exchanged glances and looks, finally realizing what they were doing. Ryven pushed her bowl away and gathered up her sword.
"I'm sorry to interrupt your conversation. So I'll go." she told them, then left the house. Piccolosan looked after her, but Ryven didn't stick around to see what else he did.
It went on like this for almost two weeks, Ryven's sleep dwindling day by day and Cammy's visits to Piccolo becoming more and more frequent, and vice versa. Piccolo was increasingly easier on Cammy than he was on Ryven, and the gap between Sensei and First student was ever widening. He would spar more often with Cammy then Ryven, and the elf usually ended up sitting on the sidelines, watching them clash, her hatred festering inside her.
Then one day it happened. Ryven was sparring with Piccolo one late afternoon. The heat was sweltering, and it hadn't rained in days. The two figures picked up multitudes of dust, sending the grayish yellow clouds into the air like a thick fog. Ryven had not slept in almost 4 days, and she had eaten almost nothing that day. The heat wasn't making matters any better, and Piccolosan showed no signs of easing up, as usual.
Ryven came at Piccolo with a high kick, only to be cut down when Piccolo blurred from in front of her to behind her, kicking her legs out from under her and sending a ki blast down to greet her. Ryven let out a screech and barely rolled out of its way, only to be met with a barrage of punches as she attempted to stand up. Ryven blocked many of them, then sent a ki blast at him at almost point blank. Piccolo expected this, and dodged it with ease, moving up to kick her in the side. Ryven went flying, digging a small furrow in the ground as she slowed to a stop. She coughed a little from the dust and pushed herself up at arm's length, examining her abrasion-covered arms and sensing that Piccolo was behind her. She got up as quickly as she could, spitting a little dust and blood into the dry dirt next to her and fell into a defensive stance. Piccolo merely stood looking at her, his face reading disappointment.
"What's wrong with you? You could have anticipated that easily." he scolded in his usual calm voice. Ryven dropped her stance and stood straight, her hands behind her back and looking downward.
"If I told you it would merely be an excuse." she replied. Cammy came up beside him and acted disappointed as well.
"Well, if you still want to spar, Pic, I'll spar with you." she said loudly in her British accent. Ryven flicked her eyes up at her long enough to cast a cold glare at her.
Piccolo looked at Cammy. "In a minute." Cammy nodded and smiled softly at Ryven, turning and walked a few feet away. Piccolo turned back to Ryven, his cape flapping behind him slightly.
"Tell me now, young one. What's wrong with you?"
"I ... I haven't gotten a lot of sleep lately. I'm sorry. It's merely an excuse, Sensei. I'll try harder." Ryven replied respectfully, her mere voice sounding tired. Piccolo didn't look moved.
"Be sure that you do. I think that's enough for today. Go home and get some rest, young one. We'll start early tomorrow." Piccolo told her. Ryven nodded, and Piccolo turned away. Cammy, who had heard just about everything, smiled as Piccolo came toward her.
"Calling it a day...?" she smiled. Piccolo merely nodded and said something to her mentally. Cammy nodded again and watched him fly away, trotting to a rock where she had set her water and such. As she knelt down, she was suddenly spun around by the shoulder to face Ryven, their noses mere centimeters from each other.
"Now you listen here, you little tramp. I don't know who you think you are, but now you're going to prove it. You and me, one on one, in the woods. In one half-hour. Got me?" Ryven growled threateningly. Cammy snarled.
"Good. One on one, honorable, of course. Be there." Ryven smiled frighteningly and flew off, her Snowblind squawking at her since he was in his raven form.
Cammy watched the two fly off and smiled as well.
"Bring it on, Bitch ..."
Piccolo sat waiting for Cammy, deep in meditation and conversation with is counterpart, Kame. He often talked to the older Namek, and being as he was fused with him, Piccolo found it hard not to. As hard as it was to admit it, Piccolo found that Kame was a good source of advice when times looked bleak.
<Piccolo, I sense there is something troubling you.> Kame's old, wizen voice echoed in Piccolo's head.
Kame paused. < Would it be too much trouble to tell me ...?>
<Well, it's not like I can't just get into your mind anyway>
<I told you not to do that, old man.>
<Then tell me yourself.>
Piccolo sighed inwardly. <I'm worried about my students, alright ...?>
<Oh, that's just hitting the tip of the iceburg, I think. I know there's more than that. But I want to hear it from you.>
<Since when did you get so sadistic, old man?>
<Since I've had a sense of humor.> Kame paused again. <I'm sorry I didn't tell you earlier. I had no idea that you would reach that power level. No one has done that in thousands of years.>
<Yeah, well aren't I the prodigy ...?>
<Quit avoiding the subject and just answer my question, or I will search.>
<Fine! I think I ... like Cammy or something.>
<I think you can figure the rest out on your own, Wise one.>
<You don't know if it's love or not, don't you?>
<Well, that is something you must figure out for yourself, Nephew. But I think that after a time you will be able to distinguish between love and lust quite easily.>
Kame sighed. <Think Yamcha.>
<Oh.> Was Piccolo's reply.
<There's something else, isn't there?> A pause from Piccolo made Kame nod to himself. <That's what I thought. And from what I can see, it has something to do with another sort of love, doesn't it?>
<If you know so much about what I'm feeling, then why must you torture me so?>
<Because I don't know everything. What else is bothering you?>
Piccolo mumbled something unintelligible, and Kame merely laughed.
<You act as if I am trying to pull your teeth. Just tell me and be done with it.>
<Something's wrong with my other student, and I don't know what it is. She won't tell me, and I don't know what to do.>
<Don't patronize me, Old man.>
<I'm terrible sorry if it seems like I am. But, about that student... the younger one, or the new one?>
<The younger one.>
<Ah, I see. The one you've been training for quite sometime. What's wrong with her ..?>
<I don't know! If I knew, don't you think I'd be doing something about it?> Piccolo exclaimed. <She's been ... I dunno, different lately. She was taken out during the first five minutes of a spar today. The Ryven I know wouldn't have been taken out until at least the first half-hour. But it's like she's been somewhere else for the longest time. I guess that's what I've been trying to say. I ask her what was wrong today, and she merely told me that she hasn't been sleeping.>
<Well, that could be a variety of things, Nephew.>
<Sleeping! That's something else! She's been having her dreams again!>
<Well, maybe it's time you put this Cammy aside for a moment and had a talk about->
Piccolo suddenly snapped from his meditations and stood up, feeling two familiar powers flare up at once in the direction of the forest.
"What the Hell ..." he mused aloud. He then took off into the air at full speed. "Sorry Old man, we'll have to finish this conversation later..."
Ryven paced the forest angrily. It was well passed their appointed meeting time, where WAS she?
Suddenly she stood bolt upright, tuned to a power level no longer masked. She whirled just in time to get a boot in the mouth, Cammy's sneak attack nearly foiled by a loss of concentration.
Ryven reeled back and spits blood. "You vicious little brat! How DARE you!"
"One on one. I didn't break any rules."
Cammy laughed coldly at the elf girl. "What, you were expecting me to just walk into the clearing and touch gloves?"
"Well, yes! That’s what Piccolosan would have expected, at least-"
"When will you grow up?"
Ryven fumed and punched at Cammy. The British girl backflipped out of the way, and the shockwave explodes a nearby tree.
"Tsk tsk," Cammy chided, "wasting your energy like that, what would Piccolo say?" Ryven fired a few more shots at Cammy, and they all missed widely, Cammy deftly sliding past them all to kick Ryven again in the chin, sending her backwards through a tree.
Ryven howls in frustration and rage, loosing her enchanted blade. It glows a brilliant shade of blue, pulsing with her blind fury as she slashed out at Cammy, driving her back from the clearing, slashing down trees to either side until her adversary is backed up against a monstrous oak.
Yelling in fury, Ryven raised her blade to strike Cammy down, and the British girl winced for the final blow, when suddenly a green blur knocked Ryvenblade onto her back.
"What is the meaning of this?" asked Piccolo, his cape waving in the gust of wind that followed him there.
Cammy stole a quick glance at Ryven, then cried out in terror and wrapped her arms around the sensei's waist, sobbing into his chest. Piccolo scowled down at Cammy, then turns to Ryven and scowled deeper.
Ryven opened and shut her mouth, trying to form the words, but cannot find them. Finally, her eyes tearing with the final realization that there's nothing she can say, she sheathed her blade and flew off, as fast and as far as she can.
Behind her, too far off for her to see, Piccolo reached out one hand for his first student, an instinctive gesture that was lost on the retreating figure.
The two furies, Juni and Juli, glanced down at the terrain.
"Target lost. Break off pursuit," they say in unison, and relax into their normal postures. Juni pointed at a speck towards the horizon.
"A village. A new one."
Juli smiled coldly. "Sounds like fun...bet they haven't even heard of us there. Shall we?"
The two soared towards the village, streams of light as they zip past trees and mountains, finally touching down on the bank of a river.
"We should go on foot from here. Less likely to attract attention," Juli explained to her sister.
Juni nodded in agreement, and the two sauntered off into the forest, hungry for the thrill of the kill.
Ryven flew over the sea of green forest for what seemed like forever, trying to sort out all sorts of feelings she had built up inside her. She was outraged that Piccolo took Cammy's side yet again, and that Cammy would actually play Piccolosan against her like that. She was angry with herself for letting her pride get in the way of her clear judgement. Her head was muddled from the hits she had took in the fight, and she was sure that landing the way she did on one of the trees had either bruised or broke a rib or two.
Snowblind was flying behind her in his raven form, silently wishing that none of this had happened at all. His head felt just as muddled as his counter-part's did, but his sense of judgement seemed somewhat clearer. But all the while he remained silent and watched to see what Ryven would do.
Below them was a small village, one with a river flowing not too far away. Ryven spied it and started to descend, landing on the banks of the flowing water. Biting back a small cry of pain, she knelt down next to the water and tore a piece of her tunic, letting it soak in the river before applying it to a small cut on her forehead. She tended to herself silently, wrapping her chest up tightly in some rags and such. All at once her body seemed to sag a little as her chest was racked by a coughing fit, and in the end she spat blood.
~My god, Ryven! What the hell ...?~ Snowblind suddenly blurted in her head, feeling her pain as well. ~Why don't you just go back and-~
"He obviously doesn't want me to, so why bother?" Ryven croaked solemnly. "It's best to let the two be happy together. Besides, she's taken him from me. She's won. I lost."
~Would you stop feeling sorry for yourself and-~
Ryven merely ignored him and headed toward the small village not too far away, her mind on something else at for the time being. Snowblind, knowing her was being ignored, sighed and followed, completely anticipating her next move.
~Please don't tell me you're going to go and get drunk.~
"I need something to kill this pain."
Snowblind didn't say anything after that, knowing that the pain she needed to kill wasn't completely physical.
Piccolosan flew to the battle clearing and landed with a soft thump on the ground, unsettling a small amount of dust that layered the forest floor. In his way of thinking, this battle was one to be investigated, seeing as it didn't make sense to him. He wanted to badly to believe that Cammy was innocent, and that she had not instigated it. But at the same time he knew that Ryven wouldn't start something of this magnitude without a good reason.
~I wish I knew who's side to take, if any.~ he thought, letting out a little sigh. Then from the bushes came a small rustling sound, and a small crack of a twig. Piccolo turned to see Cammy step into the mottled twilight, looking curiously at him.
"What're you doing out here?" she asked simply, in a slightly seductive way. "There's nothing here to see."
"Trying to make sense of things." Was his simple reply. Cammy frowned.
"Make sense of what...?" Cammy inquired, knowing full well what he meant. Piccolo didn't reply, but merely stared off into the distance in deep thought. She stood behind him and crossed her arms, frowning a little at his silence.
~Maybe he knows about it.~ Cammy thought, growing slightly nervous. ~Maybe he's giving me the silent treatment. Hmm .. or maybe not.~
"Well, now that the little elf girl's gone, we can have more time to ourselves, eh?" she asked, trying to grab him around the waist and spoon him. But a subtle growl made her draw back and whimper a little.
"What's wrong? I thought that since you didn't have to baby-sit anymore that we could-"
"Enough." he simply growled.
Cammy bit her lip and suddenly delved. "OK! I admit it! I started the fight in way! Me! I thought it was funny to see her get all mad. I never knew that she would challenge me like this! Oh please forgive me!"
Piccolo let out a small sound in the back of his throat and whirled around to face her, his face a look of shock, then anger, and then blankness. His mouth opened for a moment, as if he were going to say something, but then closed. Whirling away from Cammy, he began to walk away toward the edge of the battle broken forest. Cammy, still thinking of a way to distract him, called after him as he left.
"Aren't you going to spank me? I've been bad!!" she called out playfully, cupping her hands around her mouth. Piccolo sighed and took to the air, flying away from her. Cammy let out a small choking sound and followed him, bound and determined to make him listen to her.
"This is all my fault. If only I had seen this coming.." Piccolo mumbled to himself. He looked at the sky.
"Damn, she should have been back by now. Something must have happened." he concluded ...
"Another!" Ryvenblade demanded to the bartender, a large and sweaty man who hurriedly brought her another mug of mead, before rushing to clean another glass. The elf girl knocked it back and wobbled on her stool, Snowblind watching her worriedly.
Two girls, looking remarkably similar, watched the scene from a darkened booth on the other side of the bar. A tall and muscular man wobbled up to ask the younger one to dance, only to have his nose broken and his groin smashed.
The older of the two glanced over as the man staggered off. "You're going to attract attention like that."
"He was obstructing my view."
The two nodded in unison.
"Her power level is impressive."
"As are her wounds. Whatever did that too her must be more powerful still."
"Do you suppose it could have been Unit Cammy?"
"If not, they may prove useful in her destruction."
The two smiled wickedly at each other, then rose in perfect unison and saunter over, taking up the barstools to either side of Ryvenblade.
"Hello stranger," said the taller one.
"Go away," Ryven hissed drunkenly, her bloodshot eyes glaring up at her dangerously.
Juli returned the glance impassively, and smiled slightly. "My, my...such a temper..."
The other girl fidgeted nervously at her stool. "Oh, let's just cut the crap Juli. Elf-girl, we noticed your power level...and your injuries. Who did this to you?"
"None of your business. Now bugger off while you still can."
Juni looked over at her big sister, who nodded.
"Very well. I suppose you don't know who Cammy is either. Come along, sister..."
"Wait," Ryven hissed. "You know Cammy?"
"Yes," Juli replied, smiling wickedly. Snowblind growled in warning, but Ryvenblade did not noticed. "She...took our father from us, long ago. We have been looking for her ever since."
Ryvenblade chuckled quietly into her mead. "That sounds like her all right."
"So you know of her?" asked Juni eagerly. Juli shot her a warning look, and she settled down.
"Yeah. Stupid little tart...when I get my hands on her, she's gonna...aw, what's the use?"
"We could help you. Get revenge," Juli suggested.
Ryven looked up at her again, then over to Juni, and chuckled softly. "Sure, why not. C'mon, I'll take you to her."
Juni helped Ryvenblade to her feet, while Juli cleared the way to the door.
Once on the street, an old man grabbed the hem of Ryvenblade's pants as she walked past, his eyes wide with terror.
"Miss...run away, while you still can! Do you not know those are The Furies you walk with?"
Ryven pulled her leg free violently and walked on.
As Juni walked past, her foot darted out silently, snapping the old beggar's neck as he slumps to the street.
"I told you already, go back to the cabin!" Piccolo growled as Cammy again pulled alongside him.
"I'm not gonna. Not until you talk to me!"
Piccolo suddenly stopped in mid-flight, Cammy rocketing forward a moment before floating back.
Piccolo scowled. "I have nothing to say to you. Go home. Now."
Cammy pouted, and floated back to the cabin, her shoulders slumped.
Piccolo sighed inwardly. He didn't want to tell her off like that, but it's for her own good...if Ryvenblade were to see her again, especially if she was already drunk....
Cammy opened the door to the cottage, a tear trickling down her cheek. She looked around the room, at all of Ryvenblade's stuff, and sniffles. "This is all her fault", she whispers, "she's the one that turned Piccolo...oh, who am I kidding? It's my fault." She sat down hard on an overstuffed chair, burying her face in her hands as she sobbed in the darkness. "I've scared her off, but now I'm going to lose my Piccolosan..."
Ryven set down, one foot first, nearly tipping over. Juni caught her, and set her upright as Juli landed on the other side.
"This is where the 'tart' is staying?" asked Juli.
Ryven nodded, swaying drunkenly as Snowblind alighted on a nearby tree.
"What a dump," Juni muttered.
"IT'S MY HOUSE!" Ryven growled, but Juli stopped her before she made too much noise. The three sat in silence a moment, listening intently.
"Sounds like she's crying," Ryven whispered, a maniacal smile on her face.
"Good, she's got it coming."
Juni and Juli smiled darkly. "I like the way you think," they said in unison, before straightening and walking to the front door.
Ryven leaned against a tree, motioning. "You two go in...I'm just gonna wait here."
Juni quickly opened the door and slipped in, Juli stepping in silently after.
In a moment the crying is replaced with a shout, and Cammy was hurled bodily out the front door, sliding to a stop on her shoulders, as Juni and Juli stepped out after her.
"You two," Cammy stammered, her eyes wide with fear. "Juni? Juli? What are you doing?"
"Unit CAMMY in range. Terminate," they said in robotic unison.
Ryven shook her head, trying to clear it. "THAT sure didn't sound right," she mused drunkenly, struggling to make the connection.
"No! No! Please, girls, don't..." Cammy pleaded as they drew their blades. Juli placed one booted foot on her chest, pinning her to the earth.
Just then, she caught sight of Ryvenblade, braced against a tree. "YOU! Why you conniving Elven bint! You did this!"
Ryven snarled in response. "Yeah, thrice-accursed homewrecker! Now you see what you get for messing with me!" She tried to step out to land a punch at Cammy, but stumbled back and punched wildly at the air, Snowblind shifting to wolf form just in time to catch her.
Juni stepped around to Cammy's head, looking down at her with both blades bared. "Good bye, sister," she said coldly, and raised both blades to strike.
Cammy flinched for the deathknell, as a green blur knocked Juni away. Cammy blinked in amazement as Juni's swords buried themselves in the dirt to either side of her head, then reached out with both hands to twist Juli's ankle, spilling her to the ground and disarming her before straddling the clone and pummeling her with both hands.
Ryven stared in disgust as the tables turned, her mind still groggily trying to make the connection, where she'd heard people like that before.
Dismissing it, she turned instead to the green blur, where she saw Piccolo knocking Juni back against a tree, pummeling her with both fists. "Great," she sighs, "He can't be bothered to come after me, but when his sweet Cammy's in trouble?"
Suddenly Piccolo and Cammy are thrown back, as Juni and Juli both stand with one foot raised in a powerful kick, their entire legs flaring with mystic energies. Cammy crashed into the cottage, and Piccolo slid to a halt at Ryven's feet.
"Sensei!" she cried, "Are you all right?"
Piccolo stood and dusted himself off. "Stay there Ryvenblade. You're drunk."
Ryven pouted as Juni and Juli converge on Cammy, their fists glowing with power, ignoring the various fireballs hurled at them by Piccolo as he rushed to stop them.
"GEMINI STRIKE!" the two shout in unison, as they draw back both fists for a finishing blow. As their fists come down, however, Piccolo Zanzouken-ed in and blocks, throwing them back and collapsing face-first.
"SENSEI!" Ryven howled, drawing her blade. "No...this isn't how it's supposed to be...Juni! Juli! What are you doing?"
"He was an obstacle to the mission," the two said in unison as they rose again.
"That's it," Ryvenblade hissed, charging towards them, "NOBODY messes with my sensei!"
Ryven charged at the two twins, a shrill war cry filling the air as she shambles toward them in her drunken, wounded state. She suddenly unsheathed her blade and held it over her head, about to bring it down upon the demented Bobsey Twins when a sudden uppercut from the older sister threw her backwards. Ryven flew through the air until she hit the tree she was leaning against, slamming hard into it on her back and shoulders. She slid down the tree and slowly wobbled to her feet, panting hard and wiping a bit of blood from her face with the back of her hand. She happened to look down at the ground and see Piccolo lying on the ground, taken out so easily on the first shot. On a whim, she knelt down next to him and started to take a visual survey of how bad he was, shaking him a little by the shoulder to try and rouse him. Upon realizing that she couldn't, she looked over to Cammy and decided that alliances were much better than enemies right now.
She had turned just in time to see Juni and Juli throw Cammy through a few trees, a thin smile on both of their stony faces. The elf zanzoken-ed away and was suddenly behind Cammy, catching her in mid air and setting her on the ground. Cammy was surprised at the move, frowning at her as she set her down.
"What do you have planned for me now?" Cammy snarled at her. Ryven merely flicked her eyes toward the British girl.
"Truce. For Piccolosan. You game?" Ryven spat out, equally vexed that she had to join forces with someone she had grown to loathe.
Cammy thought for a moment. "Fine."
"'K' then ... stay back." Ryven replied, and then ran forward at a high speed. She flew toward Juli and pelted her with a barrage of kicks and punches, driving her back quite a ways before being knocked back.
"Another obstacle. Ignore." Juni told her sister in a flat voice. Juli nodded.
"Heh ... I'll show you two an obstacle! Then you'll learn not to double cross me!" Ryven shouted, then powered up in front of them. Her powerlevel shot through the roof, a bright blue aura surrounding her as she unsheathed her sword. Cammy stood back and watched for a moment, then flew up to meet Ryven. The two stood side by side and glared menacingly at the twins.
"Target acquired. terminate."
Cammy and Ryven stood side by side, both of their mouths raised in snarls as the faced the clones across from them. The twins were stoned faced, their cold eyes giving nothing away but frightening concentration. There seemed to be a moment of cold silence as they stared each other down, trying to unnerve one another. Finally they all cracked at once, flying toward each other in a screaming melee. Cammy and Ryven broke as they reached the oncoming twins, Ryven taking Juli and Cammy taking Juni.
Juli struck first, swinging cold faced at Ryven with her double swords in a would be fatal face slice. However, the elf swung upwards with her blade and blocked the blow with some difficulty. As Ryven looked into her eyes, she noticed that Juli was a blank, not even making eye contact with her opponent. Rather, she was focused on something behind her. After the two had unlocked blades, Ryven took a quick peek behind her to see what Juli was staring at. Juni was going at it fervently with Cammy, the two fighting like starving wolves over a deer's carcass.
Suddenly there was a shout from behind her, and as Ryven whirled around Juli's foot planted itself in her shoulder. Ryven let out a cry of surprise that later turned to a cry of pain as she heard her shoulder break with an audible snap. Her sword fell from her hand as she fell over, holding her shoulder and fumbling for her blade with her left hand. She took it up unsteadily and lifted her head, only to see that Juli had merely stepped around her and was rushing toward Juni and Cammy. Ryven pinched her eyebrows as she shakily raised herself up on her left arm, struggling to her feet as she watched the twins mercilessly attack Cammy.
*They don't care about me .... it's her they want,* Ryven pieced together in a muddled sort of way, beginning to power up to heal herself.
*I'm merely in the way ....*
~Ryven! Don't heal yourself, what are you doing?~ Snowblind called out from the sidelines, where he was limping on his right shoulder. Ryven snapped her head toward him, a movement she regretted making, and gave her familiar a strange look.
~Why not? I need to heal myself if I'm to beat them~ Ryven countered. ~I don't have time for this, Snowblind, please stay out of this.~
~But if you use the rest of your power to heal yourself, how are you going to fight with no power, and then heal Piccolosan and Cammy?~ Snowblind asked shortly.
~You're right. But I can't fight with this broken shoulder~ Ryven said, almost to herself. ~Ah hell, damn it all. I'll fight with it anyway. But first ...~
Cammy was fending off the Twins' blows as best she could, but she could already feel her strength ebbing away.
~Cammy! Cammy, listen, we don't have much time, so listen!~ Ryven's voice suddenly shot through her head most painfully. Cammy cried out and winced a little, opening her eyes in time to block a punching coming from Juni.
"Hey! Get outta my head, ya little brat!" Cammy hissed, kicking Juli square in the chin, only coming down to dodge a viscous kick from Juni. "I don't have time for this."
~No, you listen! And don't talk aloud! They'll catch on!~ Ryven hissed back. ~I need you as a distraction!~
~Distraction?! What do you think I'm doing now?~ Cammy exclaimed in a high voice.
~You're doing a good job; keep it up! I need a distraction until I can power up enough to get a decent attack off.~ she told her. ~Just hold out a little longer.~
~Fine, just hurry up.~ Cammy replied bitterly. Ryven nodded as she powered up, watching through slitted eyes as Cammy defended herself as best she could. She was amazed at how well the Twins' moved together, working as a team in almost perfect clockwork. Her thoughts drifted as her mind did back to a time when she was watching the village clock-smith carve out a cuckoo clock. After a time, her childish attention span made her eyes shift to identical clocks, watching as they moved in perfect synch. Ryven remembered being captivated by their movement so much that she had climbed up on a stool to touch the steady pendulum of the right clock. After touching it, it was thrown out of synch with the left one, and the two pendulums smashed into each other ....
"That's it!" Ryven suddenly burst out.
~Cammy! Here's what I want you to do ....~
Cammy smiled as she received the message, obviously understanding fully what Ryven had conveyed. Without warning, Cammy grabbed Juli in a headlock and held her there, taking the blows from Juni as she held her there. Juli kicked and screamed as she was beat along with Cammy, and she screamed even louder when she was flung around to act as a shield from Juni's attacks. Juni's flying fist hit Juli square in the stomach, making her double over and fall to her knees with pain. Juni stopped and looked perplexed, her confusion evident on her face. Suddenly she was grabbed by Cammy and thrown into Juli, bashing their heads together in a painful fashion.
"Now!" Cammy screamed, and the twins' heads snapped over to see Ryven fully powered up. She closed her eyes and pointed her sword in their direction, a somewhat melancholy wind-music coming from the sword and matched by the elf's voice as she sang along with it.
"Juli ....the mission!" Juni faltered, her head still muddled as they attempted to gather their wits about them.
"Abort!" Juli replied, but her voice disintegrated to a scream as a huge icy blue blast shot out from the sword, taking the form of a phoenix and headed their way. The twins stumbled to their feet, but it was too late. The blast caught them up in it's light, and they were carried far away, out of earshot.
Ryven pointed her sword and directed the beam for as long as she could, until finally she stopped to conserve what little energy she had left. Wobbling, she dropped to her knees and panted as Cammy watched the twins fly off over the horizon. Ryven watched Cammy for a moment, then shambled over to see if her Sensei was indeed alright.
"Sensei ..? Piccolosan, wake up, please!" Ryven wobbled a little on the balls of her feet.
~Why are you mulling over me? You should be helping Cammy.~ Piccolo's voice admonished through her head. Ryven winced a little at the voice as it made her sobering head throb.
~Because you're hurt.~ she replied. ~And the fight is done.~
~Che. You're drunk. That's the reason.~ he returned harshly, but then stopped and seemed to reconsider. ~But why are you drunk?~
~Don't worry about me. Where do you hurt?~ she asked, changing the subject quickly. A little blood from her torn, soaking bandage dripped on Piccolo's white cape and onto his arm. She held it a little absentmindedly as she began to unsheathe her sword to heal him.
~No, don't blow me off, Ryven. Why are you drunk? Why are you hurt, and you haven't healed yourself?~ Piccolo demanded angrily.
~Because I haven't healed them yet.~ Ryven was suddenly quiet and withdrawn, suddenly uncomfortable with talking with her teacher.
~Don't spout that nonsense to me, Young One. Talk to me, what's bothering you?~
~Nothing Sensei, I-~
~I know about your dreams lately, so don't try and cover it up. Tell me what's been going on.~ The anger from his voice seemed to fade a little, and its edge dulled. At his tone she began to think about possibly telling him about all the happenings in the last few weeks, but quickly decided against it.
~If I told you, you would only think me foolish.~ she responded reluctantly. ~Foolish, thoughtless and selfish. Now please, let me heal you.~
Piccolo growled inwardly. ~Ryven ...~
~I said NO!~ Ryven suddenly burst out angrily, then seemed to crumple. ~No ...~
~I won't be angry with you. Just tell me.~
~I was afraid I was losing you to some little tramp, alright?~ Ryven let forth angrily in one huge breath. ~I'm not stupid, you know. I'm not so naive that I believed all you two did was "train". And during all that time that little ... that dirty, funny talking tart was rubbing it in my face! And we never seemed to talk anymore, and you never answered my mental sendings anymore, and you always run to help her and leave me in the dust and ... and ... and it's all because ... because she was right. Who would want me around anyway? Not when they've got someone who can replace me.~ At the last thought she broke down into a sporadic coughing fit, hacking up more blood and crumpling little beside him. ~You're the only real .. real .. parental figure that has ever cared about me. You may not know this, or care, but I love you, and I don't want to burden you anymore with my troublesome, half-breed self. So let me heal you and let me leave in peace.~
Piccolo was silent for a few moments, attempting to take Ryven's sudden confession to heart. With an exception to her ragged breathing, Ryven was silent as well, looking down and away from her teacher as she felt somehow ashamed of her confession.
~I thought as much. I'll just leave now.~ Ryven said quietly, struggling to her feet. Suddenly his hand shot up and grabbed her by the arm, keeping her there. She looked back at him, looking at his hand, and then her arm.
~You ... don't want me to go?~
~No~ Was his simple reply. At that point, Ryven felt his normal composure replaced by something new: Compassion. ~I never realized what all of this was doing to you. It is my fault for letting my feelings and pride get in the way of things. You're strong, Young one, you can pull through. So stop punishing yourself, Ryven-chan. You know I ...love you too.~ He almost spat the word out, feeling the underused word out in his mind. Ryven, however, merely healed him quickly and stood up, turning away from him.
"How could you have any more room for me in that small heart of yours? You said so yourself, a while back. I'll leave you now...." Ryven told him flatly, almost no emotion in her voice as she spoke. On her way into the forest, she stopped momentarily to heal Cammy as much as she could, and then walked toward the forest again, attempting to keep her consciousness as long as she could. But as she neared the edge, she heard Cammy call out to her, as well as Sensei, to come back. Shaking her head weakly, she merely stumbled into the brush and into the darkness. Ryven fell over a fallen log and fell hard to the ground, and then merely laid there in mere lassitude, unable and unwilling to move. She opened her eyes for a split second to see Cammy kneeling above her before she slowly slipped into the dark, cool, restful recesses of unconsciousness.
Ryvenblade stirred again at the sunrise, her wounds throbbing painfully, but still feeling a lot more comfortable than they should be on the forest floor. Suddenly she realized a weight on top of her, and opened her eyes, thrashing violently to escape.
"Calm down, elf-girl," a familiar voice soothed, guiding her back down.
Cammy smiled gently as she tucked Ryven back into her bed, silently brushing her hair back.
"What...what am I doing here?" Ryven stammered, the events of the past battle dulled by alcohol.
"Shh," whispered Cammy, "you were wounded, and you needed rest. I bandaged your wounds as best I could, but that shoulder's going to require some bedrest."
Ryven looked up at her like she had gone mad. "But...why? I tried to kill you!"
Cammy smiled. "Hey, it happens. It's over, let it go."
Ryven closed her eyes and sighed. "Cammy...Thank you."
"It's alright, forget about it."
The elf smiled. "Where's Piccolo-san?"
"He left just a moment ago, something about how he hates the indoors. Claustrophobia, if you ask me."
They both giggled at the thought of The Great Green One being afraid of small places.
"I should say something to him..."
"C'mon, you need to rest," Cammy chided, standing over the bed authoritatively. "Tell ya what, I'll make you breakfast. Toast and tea sound alright?"
Ryven groaned in response.
"Oh please, gimme a break, it's the one thing I can't screw up!" Cammy laughed.
"It'll be fine."
"Alright, I'll be back in a minute."
As Cammy exited, Snowblind sauntered back in, bristling. ~I still don't like her.~
Ryven nodded. ~She grows on you.~
Snowblind stared up at Ryvenblade, then curled up at the foot of her bed in resignation as the two enjoyed some much-needed rest.
"This is the place?"
"Soon. I can sense his presence."
Juni nodded. "As can I."
The two stared up into the clouds, their battered armor glinting dully in the dawn light as the clouds flashed a brilliant red.
The Furies flew up to intercept the form falling from the clouds, catching it in midair and gently lowering the woozy figure to the ground.
"Lord Bison, units Juni and Juli reporting for duty."
M. Bison stirred and smiled darkly. "Excellent. Let us reestablish our empire."