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Events of a Lifetime

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This story is No. 3 in the series "Chaotic Circumstances". You may wish to read the series introduction and the preceeding stories first.

Summary: Part of the 'Chaotic Circumstances' universe. On that fateful night of All Hallows Eve, four friends gathered in their favorite anime costumes and were changed forevermore.

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Anime > Multiple AnimeEvilguyFR18112,776142,8853 Dec 063 Dec 06Yes
The events of a lifetime

 

A Chaotic Circumstances sidestory by Enterprise1701_d

 

Disclaimer: Yet another post-Halloween costume AU BtVS crossover. Many of the following characters are taken, in one form or another, from a large number of other fictional sources that were created and distributed for public viewing by people other than me. Neither Enterprise nor The Evil Guy own the following characters, except maybe Enterprise with Dex and friends *before* Halloween starts. After that we can calim nothing.

 

Story:

 

Dexter Lee stood up as the doorbell rang. Without thinking about it, his hand slid down the blonde-dyed hair at the front of his head. Somehow, it felt unnatural to him, even though he knew that hair didn’t have nerves, and thus couldn’t feel anything.

 

He glanced in the mirror on his way to the front door, making sure his green contacts were in nicely. He hiked his jacket up, and nodded to himself. Perfect image, he thought to himself. Let’s see if the others can guess this outfit.

 

He opened the door, craning his neck slightly to look up at the slightly taller girl standing on his doorstep. He grinned as his eyes slid down the schoolgirl uniform. His eyes rested for just a second on the weird katana in her hands.

 

“Welcome… Saya,” he said, grinning evilly. The girl smirked, and for just a second he noticed she was wearing contacts too. Red ones. The next moment, the bent Katana was resting next to his face.

 

Her grin intensified at the startled look on Dexter’s face. She leaned in, removing the katana from the place she had held it, and breathed hotly in his ear. “It’s good to be here… Hikaru.”

 

He grinned a little wryly at her, then stepped back. “You look great, Sandra. Spitting image. If you hadn’t held that katana, I wouldn’t have known who you were.”

 

“The green eyes and the bi-colored hair gave you away, Dexter,” the taller, raven-haired Sandra Thompson said as she stepped inside, moving her hand through her shortly cropped hair self-consciously. “I still can’t believe I cut it, though. It took me years to get it down that long.” She put the weirdly shaped katana against the coffee table before sitting down in the first couch in Dexter’s living room.

 

“I can’t wait to see what the others came up with,” Dexter said as he sat down on the second couch, right after pouring them both a helping of Mountain Dew. “I still can’t believe that Ethan guy. He actually had costumes like these.”

 

Sandra nodded. “He even had Saya’s katana, complete with bend so she can cut herself and use her blood…” the girl’s voice trailed off. “Anyway, I liked the character enough.”

 

Dexter grinned at her. “I’m probably the only one who hasn’t gone for a fighting character.”

 

“Must be your chess club-geeky persona.” Sandra smirked at him.

 

“Watch it, miss cheerleader,” Dexter returned with a smirk.

 

“Touché,” Sandra returned, still smirking. “You know, I can not imagine talking to you in school… but somehow, in here, it fits.”

 

“Because the Anime Club doesn’t exist in school,” Dexter answer levelly, not insulted at all. “In here, we’re four friends who enjoy anime. In school, I’m the nerd, you’re the cheerleader, Lance is the basketball star and Lindsey is the math wiz. Come to think of it, I can see Lindsey going for a non-fighting character, too.”

 

“Oh, I think you’ll be surprised,” Sandra answered with a straight face. “I think I caught a glimpse of her on the way over…”

 

“Oh, do share,” Dexter said, sitting on the edge of his couch. “I’m supposed to be her boyfriend, but she hasn’t told me anything.”

 

“Then who am I to ruin the surprise?” Sandra said, grinning evilly, sitting back and ostentatiously taking a drink of her Mountain Dew. Dexter sat back, and glared at her.

 

The doorbell rang. Dexter stood up, and walked to the front door, glaring angrily at Sandra all the way. He opened the door to find an almost two-meter tall man. Lanky and agile, Lance Wolfe was the star of the basketball team.

 

The man was dressed in a black kimono, carrying a huge katana in an equally huge scabbard thrown over his shoulder. And wearing red contacts, too.

 

“Dear god,” Dexter muttered, taking a step back. “You came as him?”

 

Lance smirked. The very act of seeing that character smirking sent shivers down Dexter’s spine. His friend had the role down, pat. “You make a great Kyo,” Dexter grunted, stepping aside.

 

“And you’re an ideal Hikaru,” Lance replied with a smirk. Dexter grunted.

 

“Will everyone guess it?”

 

“Because it’s the only one that fits, nerd-boy,” Sandra said, grinning, appearing in the hallway. She threw one look at Lance, and her grin grew wider. “And you make a great Demon Eyes Kyo.”

 

“I so thank you, Lady Saya,” Lance returned, bowing with a flourish.

 

“And he just dropped out of character,” Dexter said, grinning at the glare Lance shot him. Sandra burst out laughing. “And so have you,” Dexter said, addressed to Sandra.

 

The cheerleader shrugged. “Like I would care to actually play a timid little schoolgirl with a father’s complex.”

 

“Careful,” Dexter said. “Saya may be timid and shy, but she wasn’t always like that. And she’s scary when she cuts loose. Almost as bad as Kyo,” he finished, looking at Lance, who had sat down next to Sandra in the same couch she had taken up earlier.

 

“And you need to take this a little less seriously,” Lance admonished. “We may all like anime, but you are the one who takes all of this so seriously.”

 

“Must be because it’s all I have. Apart from Lindsey, I don’t really have friends, so anime characters became like my friends.”

 

“We’ll always be friends,” Sandra said, levelly.

 

“Just not in public,” Dexter said, sighing sadly. Before any of his friends could answer, he held up his hand and stopped them. “I know, and it’s okay, really. I know you guys don’t want to lose what you have. I understand, believe me.”

 

The doorbell rang, interrupting an awkward moment. Dexter got up, a big smile plastering on his face as he tried to imagine Lindsey dressed as various female characters. All of them proved tantalizing to his imagination.

 

He opened the door.

 

His jaw hit the ground.

 

“Oh… my… God.”

 

“Good to see you too. Hikaru,” Lindsey Cook replied, grinning.

 

Dexter shook his head. “Okay, it’s official. I need to find me a new character.” His eyes roved down the various armored pieces that adorned the usually-blonde Lindsey. “KOS-MOS.” His eyes went down. Then up. And stopped at the long blue wig the girl had pulled over her blonde hair.

 

“Affirmative, Shion,” Lindsey replied in a straight android-like voice.

 

Dexter shook his head, and stepped aside, letting the girl in. “I don’t want to know the psychological implications of being called after the gorgeous, genius, female designer of the last defender of humanity.”

 

“You are already messed up, Shion. I shall endeavor not to damage your fragile mind further.”

 

“Ha-ha, very funny, Lynn,” Dexter said, smirking.

 

“I thought so too, Dex.”

 

They walked into the living room, where Lance gave a very un-Kyo-like cat-whistle. “That actually suits you, Lynn. You know, if you dressed like that, I’m sure you can get a better boyfriend than the president of the chess club,” the basketball player joked, grinning at Dexter.

 

He was met with a pillow. Meanwhile, Sandra grinning wolfishly. “You make that suit of armor look good, geeky girl. I doubt the real KOS-MOS would look better. And that long blue wig takes the punch!”

 

Lindsey grinned, twirling around to make the long blue wig fan around her, while her lanky body displayed its skin underneath the armored bodysuit, the almost-shoulder-high armored gauntlets, and the thigh-high armored boots. All were colored very light blue and white, while her bodysuit had golden trims to it. Meanwhile, over the blue wig, the girl was wearing an open helmet, currently protecting her forehead.

 

Lance shifted his Muramasa so it wouldn’t take up too much space, while Sandra took her bent katana and placed it against the armrest of the couch. Lindsey sat down next to Dexter. “I was really insecure about this. Thanks, guys,” the math-girl said, smiling at them. “I really didn’t think I had the figure to make this look good.”

 

“Hey, you may not have an anime girl’s perfect body, but you really do make it look good, Lynn,” Dexter said, draping an arm around her shoulders. At the same time, his mind couldn’t help but note that he was putting his arm around one of the most dangerous females in all of anime. Just knowing what KOS-MOS was capable of, and the fact that he had an arm around her… not to mention the fact that she was beaming a smile at him… it sent his teenage hormones into overdrive.

 

“Think we should go trick-or-treating?” Lance asked, chuckling. “I bet I can scare a good many people into giving us candy. And if San an I glare at them, drawing those swords we carry, I bet they’ll give us even more!”

 

Sandra laughed. “Too bad Saya’s too much of a nice girl,” she commented while Dexter and Lindsey just laughed, commenting on the fact that she was wearing the schoolgirl outfit Saya had worn when in still school.

 

Lance shrugged. “Hey, if we’re going for the characters themselves, Kyo would kill the people and just take the candy.”

 

“He’d kill the people, and take out half their house doing so,” Dexter said, laughing. Once again, his nerves rattled moments later when his three friends laughed along with him. Somehow, seeing Kyo and KOS-MOS laugh rubbed him the wrong way.

 

He stood up with a wry grin. “I really should have gone for a different character,” he said. “I’m feeling left out, with all of you having red eyes and all.” He turned to the kitchen. “Anyway, what do you guys want to drink?”

 

The sitting threesome chuckled. They knew just how little it took to rattle Dexter’s nerves. He always did take anime too seriously. “Mountain Dew will be fine,” Lance said, doing his best to grin insanely, the way Kyo always did when he was allowed some good old fashioned mayhem and destruction. Dexter managed to grin. Barely.

 

Sandra asked for the same, while Lindsey batted her long eyelashes at him, trying her best to look seductive. It was working, obviously, as Dexter swallowed. “That’ll be fine for me, too,” she said in her best seductive voice. Dexter nodded, and vanished into the kitchen.

 

“That’s too easy,” Lance said, grinning widely, yet normally.

 

“Dex needs to learn not to take things too seriously,” Lindsey answered, fingering the long white-blue boot on her left leg. “And no matter what he says, Dex is right about one thing. I should have chosen a different outfit. These things are uncomfortable. No wonder KOS-MOS is an android. If she were human, she’d kill Shion for putting her in these.”

 

Lance and Sandra chuckled. “Actually,” Sandra said, fingering the knee-length skirt of the Japanese schoolgirl uniform, “this is pretty comfortable. As much as it surprises me to say that.”

 

“I’m not surprised this is comfortable,” Lance said with a straight face, letting his hand trail over the black silky material of his kimono. “Kyo wouldn’t stand for it otherwise.” He looked from Sandra to Lindsey. “I’m surprised you two walked outside like that. Any man with a pulse would come after you.”

 

“I was carrying that sword, remember?” Sandra asked, grinning. “And no matter how much they color the world, these red contacts scare people off pretty easily.”

 

Lindsey groaned. “You were lucky. I practically had to beat them off of me. Too bad my arms don’t change into weapons, like the real KOS-MOS.”

 

Dexter returned with the drinks. All three looked at him, then burst out laughing, forcing Dexter to a standstill, standing there with a tray with four Mountain Dews on it. “Okay… what?”

 

“You’re the only one who can go out on the streets without drawing attention,” Lindsey said in between hiccoughs of laughter. Smiling wryly, Dexter sat down, handing out drinks.

 

“Sure, rub it in. I’m the only one who picked an intelligent character,” he said, sulkily draining half his drank.

 

“Hey now,” Sandra interrupted. “Saya’s a model student.”

 

“And KOS-MOS’ artificial mind can run laps around that feeble organic mind of yours,” Lindsey butted in.

 

“Not to mention the fact that Kyo would kill you for pointing out the truth,” Lance deadpanned.

 

“True enough,” Dexter grunted. “But Hikaru’s the only one of us with an actual tactical mind,” he said, trying to defend his choice. “Just because he doesn’t have red glowing eyes like you three freaks doesn’t mean he’s any less of a character.”

 

“Freaks, are we?” Lance asked, in his best ‘Kyo’. Sandra’s blank face with red eyes settled on him, and started reaching for the bent katana. Lindsey just grinned, flattened herself against him, and let her gauntleted hand trail over his cheek.

 

“Of course not, honey,” she breathed. “Just because you don’t have a large weapon doesn’t mean you’re any less of a man.”

 

Lance and Sandra shot out of their best character impressions, and burst out laughing at the red face on the boy, as he tried to keep himself contained with Lindsey draped all over him, breathing seductively in his face.

 

“R-right. What you said,” he managed to stammer out, not even bothering to pretend he had understood anything she had said. He reached for his Mountain Dew. “Anyway,” he went on, catching himself. “To Sunnydale’s hidden anime club, and its wildly different members.”

 

“I’ll drink to that,” Lance said, reaching for his own drink. The two girls agreed totally, and soon, four glasses clinked against each other.

 

The moment the four drained their glasses, something seemed to blur and shift around and within them. Four glasses shattered on the ground, at the same time.

 

The next moment, four very different people were sitting in the living room.

 

Kyo wanted to groan. Once again, he found himself inhabiting another’s body, and once again, he was in full control. For one moment, he wanted to curse the fates, the gods, the entire universe for putting him through this! Last time, his body had been taken from him, and he was forced to live as a spirit inhabiting the body of his greatest enemy. That they had managed to come to a truce… that they had actually fallen in love with the same woman… was besides the point.

 

She had chosen the other him. He blinked against the tightening in his new body’s chest. He was Kyo. The Slayer of a Thousand Men. The man known as Demon eyes Kyo. He did not wallow in self-pity, not even at the heights of a broken heart.

 

With one ruthless shove of his inhuman will, he banished all thoughts of her from his mind, and looked around the room. It was unlike any room he had ever seen. He relaxed imperceptibly at the sight of his Muramasa, the lengthened Katana forged by the Muramasa Master Smith, the blade that could not be broken. Not as long as he himself didn’t break.

 

Ignoring the room, he focused on the people in it. One of them was a shaking boy of about seventeen, Kyo guessed. Green eyed, bi-colored hair, weak as a kitten. Next to him sat, straight and at perfect attention, a blue-haired female with a total blank look on her face, with eyes as red as his. But, at the same time, they were also different. Cold, and dead, devoid of life, that’s what those eyes were. Kyo suppressed a shudder. The blue-haired female felt strong to Kyo’s sharpened senses, honed in battle all his life. They rarely spiked like this.

 

He forced himself to look away from the blue-haired woman and focused on the brunette sitting next to him. This one was strange. She looked like she was scared, her eyes darting around the room, from person to person, never staying long on one person or object. Yet, at the same time, Kyo could feel a hidden strength lying dormant within her, just waiting to erupt, gathering strength. The brunette had gentle brown eyes, he noted, and he found himself calming. Strangely, he thought of that woman. He banished the thought. Females were not important. Even if she had brought out strength he had never known he had. He banished the thought again. The brunette next to him stared back at his inscrutable gaze.

 

“It’s impolite to stare, you know,” she managed without stuttering. It was obvious it took her a great deal of strength. Kyo shrugged.

 

Saya swallowed as the strange, tall, powerful man next to her kept staring at her. His eyes were dead, literally, and it was impossible for her to determine what was spooking through his mind. She tore her mind and gaze away, forcing herself to look at the others in the room. She obviously wasn’t in Russia anymore. Last thing she knew, she was in Yekaterinburg, searching for more of her past, hunting the Diva, which was somehow responsible for the outbreak of Chiroptera all throughout the world.

 

She suppressed a tremor. Chiroptera drank blood, spewing horrible death and destruction wherever they went. They were immune to bullets, healing from anything short of total obliteration. She frantically looked around. She didn’t know where she was, but she needed it if she were to… she smiled when she saw her bent katana. She edged towards the edge of the sofa, to be nearer to it. She hated the sight of it, yet, at the same time, she could not survive without it. To Saya, the weapon reminded her of the past she did not know, that horrible strength to lie dormant within her, the part that reveled in strength and speed, raging against Chiroptera whenever they came near her.

 

The weapon was safe. So was she. So looked at the others. One was a strange boy of the same age as her adopted brother, Kai… he didn’t seem to be taking the situation very well, though. The boy was visibly shaking in his seat, yet was too brave to scream or run. It was strange… if she hadn’t seen what she had seen, she would have run from the room at the merest glance of the strange, tall man sitting next to her. Now she had calmly engaged into a staring contest with him. Granted, she had lost, but still…

 

The other female had strange, neon-blue hair, radiant red eyes, and sat in total silence at straight attention. Where the dark-haired man’s eyes were dead, the strange woman had no emotions whatsoever. In one way, she could almost be perfectly innocent, but then again , Saya’s instincts warned, there was incredible power within that strange body. Saya ignored her instincts. She smiled slightly at the strange woman. The woman ignored her.

 

KOS-MOS ran a system’s check. Her artificial body was operating within acceptable parameters. She surveyed her location with a single sweep of her sensors. The database confirmed her reports. Late 20th century, early 21st century. There was a 75% probably of being in the United States, mostly determined by the English magazines, and analysis of the patterns in the written words.

 

Analysis of the present people proved… elusive. The tall, dark-haired man was linked to the larger-than-usual katana, as he kept looking at it. His body was strong and powerful, hidden from visuals by a kimono. KOS-MOS accessed her database. The clothing was 17th century. She filed the query of conflicting timelines for later. Next to him, teenaged female. Female School Uniform hid her from visuals. KOS-MOS’ sensor penetrated without difficulty. Late 20th century, early 21st. Timeline collaboration with surrounding room. This female was linked to the second, strangely-shaped, katana. Powerful body, hidden strength, KOS-MOS’ senses reported.

 

Third person in the room, sitting next to her. Strange boy, normal, 20th-century clothing. Collaboration with surrounding’s timeline. No hiding strength, although senses indicate that he is of above-normal intelligence. She felt her mechanical body stir.

 

She checked her diagnostics, and confirmed an anomaly. She was not in her own body. Yet it reacted as her own would. Curious contradiction. She filed the query for later. Her new body stirred again as she checked the boy again. She recognized the stirring. She ignored the smile from the brunette female in the uniform. She had other business.

 

The boy was Shion to this body.

 

KOS-MOS analyzed the data. No, not quite Shion. Not the builder and the creator. Different. But still, Shion. Primary directive, protect and obey. She turned to the boy, startling all the people in the room with her movement.

 

Hikaru practically jumped through the roof when the strange, beautiful, blue-haired woman turned to him. He had glanced at all the people in the room, and had long since determined that the best course of action was to keep quiet as a mouse and hope to God they didn’t end up cutting him to ribbons. It was obvious he wasn’t in Japan anymore, and whatever this place was, these people were either his kidnappers… or fellow kidnappees. He wished he could be back behind his go-board, in his room in Japan.

 

Hikaru tried his very best to remain silent, not offend the people with the dead eyes and the big swords, when the blue-haired woman… the gorgeous blue-haired woman… who he now saw had strange, red-glowing eyes, like that frightening guy on the couch opposite him.

 

“Are you alright, Shion?” the woman asked, her voice level and calm.

 

Hikaru swallowed. “A-are you talking to me?” he asked in what he hoped was a tone that didn’t offend her.

 

“Affirmative, Shion. State your present situation. Is something causing you distress?”

 

Again, the flat voice. Hikaru swallowed. “M-my name is Hikaru,” he whispered, once again hoping he didn’t offend her.

 

“Affirmative, Shion.”

 

Hikaru swallowed. “I-I’m fine, though,” he managed to answer her earlier question. He looked around the room, and the other two people. “A-are you guys?”

 

The brunette girl smiled. “I’m fine. Startled, though. I swear I was in Yekaterinburg.”

 

“I was in Japan, myself.” Hikaru answered.

 

Kyo grunted. “I was in Japan, too. Last thing I remember is dying.” Everyone stared at his antiquated mode of speech. “And you’re all talking weird. Speak like normal people.”

 

“You are speaking in the dialect of Kyoto, three hundred years before this period of time,” KOS-MOS stated, calmly. “It is you who are out of time with the period of this room.”

 

Kyo grunted, and remained silent. “S-so,” Hikaru ventured. “Now that we see that we can all talk to each other… and I’m reassured none of you are going to kill me…” he smiled in answer to the smile the uniformed girl gave him, “My name is Shindo. Shindo Hikaru. I’m from Japan, and I’m a professional go-player.”

 

Saya dipped her head. “I’m Saya. From Japan, too, at least, that’s what I think. I woke up there three years ago, without memories of my past life.” She looked at the sword. “I think I’m supposed to be a fighter… fighting demons called Chiroptera.”

 

“Ew,” Hikaru whispered.

 

Kyo grunted. “Kyo. I fight.”

 

“Obviously,” Saya answered levelly. Kyo shot her a glare. She glared back. Kyo grinned. Megalomaniacal.

 

“Identification is KOS-MOS,” KOS-MOS answered, having determined that her new Shion wished for them all to introduce themselves. “I am an artificial construct, developed as the ultimate weapon against an alien invasion force known as Gnosis.”

 

“Oh, wow,” Hikaru whispered. “A fighter from 17th century Kyoto, A demon-fighter from today, and a defender of humanity from some way far in the future.” He stared at his hands. “All I can do is be very good with tactics in general and Go in particular…”

 

“Hey, using your mind is a good thing,” Saya replied earnestly. “At least you don’t spend your entire life in mortal danger.”

 

“Huh. What use is a life if you can’t face death?” Kyo interjected.

 

They all stared at him, nobody really knowing what to say. He grinned his pointed teeth bare. Just as Hikaru was about to offer a tactical change of subject, noise penetrated the house from outside.

 

“Fighting,” Kyo said, grinning, standing up and grabbing his Muramasa as he did so. Nobody else moved for five long seconds, at which time they heard Kyo kick the front door. At once understanding that a 17th century demon fighter had no idea what a modern front door was, nor how to open one, they stood up and rushed after him.

 

Hikaru managed to get Kyo outside without undue damage to the house they had found themselves in. For some reason, Hikaru felt protective of the place, a fact which he found very curious, but had forgotten about the next moment as he surveyed the scene outside for the first time.

 

He stood there, jaw open, watching as a bunch of pint-sized demons attacked an unfortunate woman. He just identified them as demons, unable to assign any other term.

 

“Sensors indicate curious energy readings within the unidentified life forms,” KOS-MOS reported levelly. “I would advise caution, Shion.”

 

Hikaru just nodded dumbly, which seemed to placate KOS-MOS, who returned to watching the scene unfold.

 

Kyo, meanwhile, scowled in disgust, letting his sheathed Muramasa’s tip rest on the ground. Saya looked from one to the other.

 

“I can’t believe you guys! You’re just going to stand there, and do nothing!?” the brunette schoolgirl screamed, drawing her weird katana. Suddenly, her brown eyes started glowing a bright red.

 

“Again with the red eyes,” Hikaru whispered in shock, his battered mind focusing on the tiniest details to avoid having to look at the bigger picture. Saya turned, her entire posture changed and her face cold as ice. This wasn’t the girl they had met half an hour ago. This wasn’t the girl they'd had a conversation with… this was Saya’s hidden energy, now coming to the surface, and KOS-MOS reported as such.

 

Kyo grinned. “The girl’s finally showing her colors,” he muttered darkly. “Let’s see how she fares.”

 

Saya didn’t say anything, didn’t give an outward reaction of any kind. She just… charged with unbelievable speed, the katana held high, and in an attack position. At once the little demons saw her advance, and backed away from their target. Saya flew after them.

 

It was too fast for Hikaru to be able to process, but next to him, Kyo grinned with glee, and KOS-MOS impassively recorded the fight for future reference. Her sensors registered a blip. “Further unknown life forms,” she reported. “They are moving, yet at an ambient temperature and with extremely unusual energy readings.”

 

The moment the gray-skinned adult demons appeared on the scene, with their glowing eyes, ridged foreheads and large teeth, Hikaru shuddered, instinctively grabbing KOS-MOS’ arm, and trying to fold himself around it as closely as possible.

 

“Do not worry, Shion,” KOs-MOS replied levelly.

 

Saya, meanwhile, halted mere millimeters from decapitating the first of the pint-sized demons. Something within her held her back… this didn’t feel like any chiropteran she had ever fought. It didn’t even feel evil, just… confused, as if it wasn’t sure of what it was supposed to be.

 

Her instincts went into overdrive at that point, screaming at her to watch out for herself. Saya ducked, waving out of the way of one of the adult demons that had tried to sneak up on her from behind. She didn’t smile, but she felt relieved. These were evil.

 

These, she could kill.

 

The katana reversed its angle, severing the demon’s arm as it rushed past her. She hissed. It didn’t die, just snarled at her in pain.

 

Anything that didn’t die when its arm was severed… her eyes’ glow intensified.

 

Chiropteran.

 

Her free hand reached down, pressing against the curve in the katana just above the hilt. Her skin cut, her blood flowed, filling the sword’s veins with her blood. She charged the chiropteran, severing its head as she flashed by him. It crumbled into dust immediately.

 

Saya looked in confusion at the dust. This didn’t look like a Chiropteran… Chiroptera transformed into hideous creatures, taller than any man, able to lift a tank, resisting all sorts of damage.

 

And they died from her blood, not from something like mere decapitation.

 

Not that she had ever been able to decapitate one with a single stroke. She sighed, looking at the two remaining adult pseudo-chiroptera. They, in turn, stared back, their eyes showing just a hint of fear. They felt like chiroptera. Plus, they had large canines, and she could smell blood on their breaths, even from here. Her hands clenched on her sword. Time for a test, she decided, and flashed to the two frozen demons.

 

The next moment, her blood-filled sword drew three long gashes in the first one’s chest while severing the legs of the second. She turned to look at them, having finished her attack with her back facing them.

 

Slowly, the demons’ bodies seemed to turn to stone, screams tearing from their throats as her blood made its way through their bodies. Finally, they let out a single, long, wail, before their bodies turned to stone completely, before vanishing into dust.

 

“Huh,” she grunted coldly. “Not even worth getting pissed off for.” Then, she let out her breath, the glow in her eyes died down, and she checked her clothes and arms.

 

No blood. Good… Saya smiled shyly. She hadn’t hurt or killed anyone. The pint-sized demons had vanished, as had the unfortunate woman they had attacked.

 

“You’re pretty good,” Kyo grunted as he walked up to her. “But those targets weren’t exactly good, either.”

 

KOS-MOS joined them, a shaking Hikaru still clenching her arm. The android didn’t seem to mind or notice, and Hikaru was content to remain attached to that powerful arm for as long as he could get away with it. “The database confirms, those were creatures matching the classification ‘vampire’,” the neon-blue-haired weapon said.

 

“Vampire…” Saya repeated, mulling it over. “That makes sense… Chiroptera share many of those characteristics, but they’re a lot stronger.” She looked up at the night’s sky. “Would it be possible… that they’re related somehow?”

 

“Whatever,” Kyo grunted in reply. “Let’s find ourselves some real enemies to fight. This seems like an interesting town, if demons run free to be killed.”

 

“Classification, town called Sunnydale,” KOS-MOS reported. “This world possesses a primitive global computer network, which I have accessed. We currently are in the year 1998, the United States of America, the town called Sunnydale. According to the global network, this town is built on top of ‘The Mouth of Hell’.”

 

Hikaru clenched harder on KOS-MOS’ arm, drawing a look from the android that could have been interpreted as reassuring, but he wasn’t really sure. Saya just shuddered. Kyo grinned.

 

“Neat. I don’t know what a global computer network is, or where this ‘America’ is supposed to be, but this ‘mouth of hell’ thing is my kind of deal,” he said, his grin intensifying as he spoke. “You people stay here if you want… I’m going to find me some demons to kill.”

 

“Do you think that’s wise?” Saya asked his retreating back. Kyo stopped, and glanced over his shoulder. “Shouldn’t we stay together? I-I mean, whatever brought us here may still be out there. And with all these demons running around… maybe we should stay together.”

 

Kyo shot her a truly evil grin. “Do what you want, woman,” he stated coldly, turned, and resuming his walk. The three others stared at each other.

 

“We should stay together,” Hikaru whispered. “I-I don’t know how much protecting a house is against demons. And with the three of you there, I won’t be in any danger, right?” he asked, trying to sound hopeful, but looking straight at KOS-MOS.

 

The android nodded. “Affirmative, Shion.” Saya shrugged, then nodded, and the three of them jogged to catch up to the walking Kyo.

 

“So, any ideas on where to go?” Saya asked sarcastically.

 

Kyo grinned, and pointed to a large group of people that raced past them. “All these people are running from something. I’m betting that whoever’s scaring them at least knows something about what’s going on.”

 

Saya muttered something under her breath, an resumed walking next to Kyo, with Hikaru and KOS-MOS bringing up the rear. Now that they were moving instead of being attacked, Hikaru had released KOS-MOS’ arm, yet still remained close to her. Somehow, he just knew the android would protect him. Something he wasn’t at all sure of with Kyo. Perhaps Saya too, though she was definitely in the ‘maybe’ category. All in all, Hikaru figured, KOS-MOS was his best bet. 

 

Following Kyo, they ignored the people that were now running in ever greater numbers in the opposite direction. Suddenly, they halted as Kyo froze, staring up in the skies. “What is that?” he asked in a tone of voice that would definitely have contained at least half a dozen curse words in any modern language.

 

The other three stared up as well, seeing two globes of golden light flash through the skies, striking at each other, making the ground shake slightly with the force of the impacts.

 

KOS-MOS’ sensors kicked in. In less than a second, they had filtered the excess light out of the picture, and her eyes had zoomed in, providing her with a picture with a magnification factor of four hundred eighty-five. “It is two warriors, fighting,” she reported. “Their energy signatures are impressive, but below the threshold for danger levels.” She looked away, returning her vision to normal amplification and magnification. “I am able to counter any such forces quite easily,” she went on, looking directly at Kyo. After a few seconds silence, she looked in the, now empty, direction they had been heading. “I am, however, reading an energy signature that way. It is not as large as the two in the sky, but it is targeting innocents.”

 

“How do you know all this stuff?” Kyo asked, growling as he did so. But he still resumed walking, as did the other three.

 

“I am an advanced weapon created for the protection of humanity and the annihilation of Gnosis,” KOS-MOS replied, as if that answered everything. Kyo growled, but remained silent. Hikaru didn’t care, he was just glad that she didn’t mind him hanging close to her. Saya was silent, too, but her mind was thinking about different things than protection.

 

For Saya, the question remained.

 

What kind of enemy required the construction of a weapon the likes of KOS-MOS?

 

“How much further?” Kyo finally asked, after having turned twice on KOS-MOS’ advice.

 

“The energy signature is quite close, Kyo.” The android’s right arm came up. “It is approximately three hundred meters in that direction. The building it is hiding in would be cataloged as a ‘villa’.”

 

“Rich boy, huh?” Kyo grunted, grinning. “Never mind, as long as he’s strong!”

 

“Or a rich girl, perhaps?” Saya asked, sounding slightly peeved. Kyo grinned over his shoulder at her.

 

“As long as it can hold a sword and fight me, I wouldn’t care if it were an octopus, girlie,” he answered with an insane tone to his voice. Hikaru shivered at the voice, and pulled closer to KOS-MOS, who, as per usual, ignored his close proximity.

 

Feeling reassured once more, the boy looked around. “T-this looks like the richest part of town,” he finally said. “M-maybe we want to be careful… not hurt any innocents.”

 

“What this ‘we’ crap, boy?” Kyo asked, his red eyes glistening dangerously in the moonlight. “You can’t hurt a fly!”

 

Hikaru shivered, and drew away, actually grabbing KOS-MOS’ arm again. He knew he shouldn’t let Kyo get to him like this, but something grated on the boy’s instincts, and it overrode any and all common sense that he tried to exert over his composure.

 

“In this house,” KOS-MOS reported, quite superfluously, as the house’s front door was torn off its hinges, and blood filled the walkway up to the house, and was splattered all over the walls around the open hole were a front door used to be.

 

“And you’re sure it’s targeting innocents?” Kyo asked sarcastically.

 

A scream penetrated the unholy nightly calm of Sunnydale then, a female voice howling for salvation. “I am quite sure, Kyo,” KOs-MOS replied on her emotionally deprived voice. The effect was rather comical, and Hikaru would have burst out laughing if he hadn’t been gripped by the ghastly sight surrounding the front lawn and front door of the beautiful mansion. Kyo, however, was neither affected nor gripped. But he did grin at KOS-MOS.

 

“For a cold woman, you have a nasty sense of humor, girlie,” he said, his grin widening. “Come on, let’s go inside and kick us up some mayhem.”

 

Saya swallowed, drew her sword, and let her blood flow into its veins. She closed her eyes briefly, and when she reopened them, they were a bright, burning red. KOS-MOS remained silent, and stayed next to Hikaru until the boy finally brought up the courage to walk after the two sword-fighters.

 

“KOS-MOS?”

 

“Affirmative, Shion.”

 

“You will protect me, right?”

 

“Understood, Shion,” she answered levelly. Once again, the impassive android did not react when Hikaru drew in close. She did react when he grabbed her arm. “My combat effectiveness is reduced when you hold my arm, Shion. I will not be able to move freely.”

 

He jumped back, stumbling into the wall as he released her. “Sorry.” Immediately after, he felt his throat constrict and his stomach try and heave as he realized his clothes were now wet with the blood that coated the outer walls of the mansion.

 

“Remain close, Shion. The situation is unsafe,” KOS-MOS resumed, seemingly not noticing the emotional distress Hikaru was in. He swallowed the rising bile, and forced himself to follow. Once again, he cursed himself for tagging along. He should have stayed by himself. He lost the thought when his tactical mind told him he probably would have died by himself, too. At least now, he had a chance.

 

He entered the house right behind KOS-MOS, every two seconds shooting a glance over his shoulder to make sure they weren’t being followed… or ambushed.

 

“Stop,” KOS-MOS stated in her cold voice. Hikaru felt himself freeze at the order. Saya as well, shuddered and froze. Kyo merely halted leisurely, and glanced over his shoulder, as if to say ‘what now?’.

 

“Conversations,” the android muttered. “There is a conversation going on in the main living room. It is in English. One moment, I will translate.”

 

The next moment, masculine voices came from KOS-MOS’ mouth as she translated the conversation in real-time, relaying it in the people’s own voices.

 

 

 

Three rooms away, on the other side of the mansion, the four people sitting in the comfortable living room were unaware they were being overheard. One of them was a bleached blonde man in his early thirties. The three others were nowhere near human in form.

 

One was a huge, green beast of some kind, sitting relaxed in the plush seat, very much in charge of the entire operation, calm and composed as his two subordinates argued with the bleached-blonde, who was presently sipping a large pint of blood-color liquid.

 

“You know, Spike-kun, it is most certainly not cool to kill people just for sport,” the green man interjected into the conversation as the bleached blonde man took another sip. He glanced around the house. “Although the house you procured is most definitely worthy of my great intellect. I will enjoy learning from your world.”

 

Spike grimaced, but managed to keep his tongue. He felt it, something brewing underneath the exterior of the green monster sitting opposite him. Used to dealing with vampires and demons, Spike the Bloody trusted his instincts when they warned him about the danger level of the people he was dealing with. “I’m glad you like it, Master Grunide,” Spike replied with a calm look on his face, although inwardly he was seething about the fact that he was forced to subjugate himself. “As to the sport… it’s not sport, I’m afraid. I’m a vampire, I need this stuff to survive,” he grunted, as if hating to admit it as he dipped his head at the pint of blood in his hands.

 

Grunide remained silent, shaking his head instead. “I-is there no way home, then?” the third person interjected. He barely reached the height necessary to clear Grunide’s hips, yet with eight arms and his body was covered in a shining black carapace. The thing looked like a spider.

 

“Not at the moment, Benchura-kun,” Grunide replied calmly. “Although this world, without us Vandels here to rule it has a lot of possibilities. If we do end up stuck here, I am inclined to treat it as an excellent opportunity.”

 

“I agree with Grunide-sama,” the last person said. As tall as Grunide, this humanoid monster was completely pink, but with a single black-within-black eye. The socket where the other eye would have been was empty, and scarred over, evidence of a wound received from Grunide long ago.

 

“Like that’s a surprise!” the small spider-like creature yelled, immediately slamming four hands in front of its mouth, and slinking back into its seat. “With respect, of course, Rozzgoat-sama,” it groveled. The black spider, Benchura, turned to Grunide. “Of course, if Master Grunide says that this is an excellent opportunity, than I of course agree with him! But I also urge Grunide-sama to think about our home world, and all the hard work we’re leaving behind there!”

 

“Benchura-kun has a valid point,” Grunide replied. “We must first try and find a way home. If we can not, then we will make this world our own, defenseless as it is without a single Vandel Buster.”

 

Spike remained silent, just sipped his blood, feeling nerves creep over his spine. Which in itself was unsettling enough, seeing how he hadn’t used his spine since he had been turned into a vampire. Spike shuddered as the feeling increased in strength. He remembered vividly how easily Benchura and Rozzgoat had eradicated the dozen vampires Spike had thrown at them. And noticing the fact that Grunide held seven silver orbs in a tattoo on his arm, Spike had gotten the point. After all, Benchura only had three, and Rozzgoat sported five.

 

And his vampires hadn’t been able to move. They had just been eradicated, as if meaningless.

 

Spike knew when he was beaten, and decided to trust his instincts, grovel, and try and stay out of their way when and if things turned south.

 

Because that too was something Spike knew. Something always popped up to screw things over, and more often than usual, it was the Slayer and her damned white hats!

 

 

 

“I’ve heard enough,” Saya interrupted KOS-MOS. “They are planning global domination.”

 

“It’s only four of them,” Kyo grunted.

 

“One of them is of the same ‘vampire’-classification as the ones we eradicated earlier,” KOS-MOS reported. “Slightly more powerful, however, meaningless. The three others are definitely not human-based. The first is a spider-humanoid, power levels at least three dozen times the one of the ‘vampire’-classification. The second one is humanoid, unknown base. Power levels at least one hundred times the ‘vampire’-class. The third one is an enigma. His power levels are in flux, meaning it is diminishing them consciously, apparently in some manner of power-control technique.”

 

“Don’t you have any other information?” Hikaru asked. “Can’t you give us an idea?”

 

KOS-MOS was silent. “Power level is at least two hundred times ‘vampire’-classification.”

 

Kyo just grunted. “And you can see that from here, can you?”

 

KOS-MOS nodded once. Kyo replied with yet another grunt, turned, and started walking again. “Let’s go find these guys and see how right you are,” he said coldly as the rest followed him.

 

As they were about to push open the door to the kitchen, KOS-MOS pushed to the front, opened the door, and stepped through. Kyo and Saya, who were in front, looked angrily at the robotic girl as she pushed them aside. A second later, when three creatures jumped her, they understood.

 

Saya felt her internal energy well to the surface at the exact same moment that Kyo started drawing his long sword. KOS-MOS, however, seemed perfectly calm as the three creatures reached her, grabbed her, and tried to kill her.

 

KOS-MOS’ right arm came up, regardless of the creature hanging off of it. The next moment, her right hand came out of the back of the second creature, the first one letting go mere fractions of a second before being sprayed with the blood of his dying comrade. She jerked her arm free, sideways, practically cutting the creature in half. Her left arm seemed to explode into brilliant lights, before coagulating into a large bladed weapon.

 

The android spun around, dragging the third creature, which still hung on, around like a wimple in the wind. Her blade-arm severed the first creature’s head from its shoulders. The third creature let go as the force of KOS-MOS’ spin increased, practically bouncing off the wall it was thrown against, managing to land on its feet out of immediate reach of her blade arm. KOS-MOS’ left arm morphed back into an arm. Her right arm came up, shifting as it lifted, changing into a tube of some kind.

 

A flash of light caused them all to avert their heads, while the resulting thunder-like sound slammed through them, rattling the very bones in their bodies. When they looked back, the creature was gone, a impression had been made into the ground, and a perfectly circular hole was cut in the wall… and subsequent walls… all the way out to the streets, where it had taken out a car, before finally dissipating.

 

“Subjects terminated,” KOS-MOS stated calmly. She turned, and walked back to her spot next to Hikaru, all three of her companions staring at the android in awe and fear. 

 

“That’s just freaky,” Saya whispered.

 

Kyo snorted again. “The girl’s good,” he stated, coldly. “But that blast probably attracted all of them. I think we should be ready to fight.”

 

“I agree,” KOS-MOS replied. She turned to Hikaru. “I should have used bladed weapons and remained silent. My apologies, Shion.”

 

Hikaru startled, for a few seconds unable to speak, not even knowing what to say. “Tha-that’s alright,” he finally managed to get out.

 

Just in time for 4 creatures to come rushing through the door leading to the living room.

 

“Who killed my monsters!?” Benchura screamed, his large number of eyes blazing in fury. After which he collected himself hurriedly. “I-I mean, who dared to kill Master Grunide’s monsters!?”

 

“English,” KOS-MOS replied, translating immediately into Japanese for her companions. “I shall translate immediately from now on,” she stated, looking at the black spider-like creature. “I have terminated your subjects.”

 

“Then you’ll die!” Benchura screamed, lifting four of his arms, spreading his hands, and throwing some kind of webbing at them, like a spider wove its web. KOS-MOS grabbed Hikaru, and flashed out of the way, dragging the boy to safety, while Saya and Kyo drew their swords with incredible speed and accuracy, managing to cut themselves free within seconds.

 

That was the point where Rozzgoat attacked. “I’ll take pinky,” Kyo grunted to Saya. “You take spider-boy.”

 

Saya just dipped her head, her eyes a blazing red as her blood filled the veins of the sword she carried. Immediately she rushed him, her attention focused on the one that was her target, instinctively knowing that Kyo would keep the large pink thing away from them. Neither paid any attention to the green monster that was the leader of this gang, nor the vampire who was shuffling quietly to the door.

 

Saya ducked aside to avoid yet another web-blast, before rushing in and severing one of the creature’s arms. It started sniveling immediately, looking between her and his green leader, as if undecided whether it should run or not.

 

“Huh. It doesn’t die,” Saya grunted as the creature cradled its wounded arm, starting to pull back from her, in a cowardly attempt to escape.

 

“I… I have a wife, and kids!” it sniveled. “Please don’t kill me!” It sunk to its knees, pushing two hands flat on the ground, two arms into the air, pushing its forehead against the ground, its wounded arm held against its stomach. “Please! I beg of you!”

 

Saya heard a distinct mutter from Rozzgoat, still fighting Kyo. A mutter that sounded a lot like ‘sniveling coward’. KOS-MOS was still translating from her position against the far wall, where she was protecting Hikaru.

 

Saya was silent for just a second longer. Then she lowered her blade. “Get away from here,” she growled coldly, KOS-MOS translating into English in the background. The spider creature got to its legs, and rushed to the door. Before it did, however, it turned, and rushed KOS-MOS and Hikaru, as if going to use them for human shields. There was no way it could know that KOS-MOS wasn’t as defenseless as her position away from the battle indicated.

 

“You will all surrender!” Benchura shouted as it reached KOS-MOS and Hikaru, flinging webbing out to capture both Hikaru and the android. “Or I will kill you – URK!” Its speech cut off as KOS-MOS changed her arm into a blade, and pierced Benchura’s throat with it, before ripping down, splitting the creature open from the throat down.

 

Death was nearly instantaneous.

 

“She’s really good,” Kyo muttered, ducking under a horizontal swing by Rozzgoat. He flung his sword out as he did so, but the dark-pink monster jumped back with surprising agility. Holding up one hand, it materialized a fireball, and flung it at Kyo, whose eyes grew larger than they had ever been, managing to duck. Two more fireballs joined the first, and explosions rocked the building.

 

Kyo grunted a curse under his breath, and brought his fingers to his blade. It started glowing a bright red even as he ducked yet another fireball. Rapidly moving his fingers across the weapon, its red glow spread from just above the cross-guard all the way to the tip of the blade. As he did so, black wind picked up inside the kitchen, obscuring him from view until only a silhouette remained. Rozzgoat snarled, spreading his arms, blasting some kind of energy through the building, blowing out the doors and windows, and even slamming additional holes in the walls.

 

A dark mist permeated the air, making it hard to breathe for Hikaru. Kyo was unaffected, the wind of his technique blowing the dark mists away, and KOS-MOS never needed breath in her life. Saya felt it too, but she ignored it, used to fighting under strange and unusual conditions, as well as feeling her internal energy fuel her. As long as she drank blood, she would be alright.

 

The blade fully powered, Kyo lifted it into attack position. Deep inside his throat, words rolled out of themselves. “Mymyou Jinpuu Ryuu… satsujin ken!” (a/n: roughly translated, ‘Black Wind of the God-Murdering Sword technique)

 

He flashed forward, throwing down the sword from its elevated starting position, a huge blood-red strike of pure energy flashing out and away from the blade, striking Rozzgoat dead-on. All the monster saw as the strike hit him were those two demon red-glowing eyes coming from the black silhouette that was Kyo.

 

Demon Eyes Kyo hadn’t stolen his name.

 

The wind died down, and Rozzgoat stared at his body, not a mark on it, and started to laugh as the last of the winds tugged and rolled gently across his body. “Was that the best you could do?” he asked, mirth in his voice, as he took a single step forward to attack Kyo.

 

“You heard it too, didn’t you?” Kyo asked, sheathing his sword as Rozzgoat halted, his single eye growing wide. “The voice of the wind…”

 

Rozzgoat screamed, his body falling into three large pieces as the Black Wind cut through him.

 

Hikaru suppressed a scream, containing it in the back of his throat, making his breath hitch in the most unpleasant manner. KOS-MOS shot a look over her shoulder, her medical sensors immediately recognizing that Hikaru’s body is completely okay, and refocused her attention on the battle.

 

Grunide clapped his hands. “Truly well done!” he complimented, sending shudders down Hikaru’s spine. The huge green…thing… had just witnessed the death of two of his comrades, and he applauded them for it!? “Even better than Beet-kun!” Hikaru swallowed again. The beast was speaking in Japanese now, negating the need for KOS-MOS to play direct translator. Hearing the beast speak in his native language only intensified Hikaru’s fear of him, and not for the first time, he started shaking and wishing for home. Even his most intense go-battles with his all-time rival Touya were preferable to this!

 

“You’re a strange one,” Kyo grunted, using the most direct terms his 17th-century Japanese could supply him with. And considering the age, that was pretty damn direct. He didn’t know who this Beet was, but Kyo assumed that he was someone who opposed this beast, from wherever he was from, and at this point in time, Kyo didn’t care.

 

Grunide’s eye twitched. “What did you call me?” he grunted, darkly. “You can’t even bring up a mediocre of respect!? Not the demise of my two henchmen, nor the betrayal of a companion can compare to this! How do you expect me to stay cool when faced with such disrespect!?” As the green hulk’s raging continued, Hikaru felt his breath constrict. Whatever this guy was… it was powerful, and the very energy of it constricted Hikaru’s throat.

 

Kyo just grinned. Saya inched closer to him, taking a flanking position, ready to back him up, her hands clenching on the hilt of her strangely bent katana.

 

“I can do this alone, girl,” Kyo grunted, his sword flashing out. A new burst of red energy flashed toward the green beast, which just slammed his fist into it, flinging it aside with the force of it. Kyo’s eyes widened slightly. “A challenge,” the dark-haired warrior grunted, starting to smile for the first time. “Finally…”

 

The green monster continued to rage, his fists balling and trembling with the sheer force of his rage, and Hikaru swallowed another scream when a horn started to twitch and grow out of the green beast’s forehead. The energy that made it difficult for him to breath was becoming visible now, waving in dark purple around the green form’s hulk, tugging at his clothes.

 

“Strength is increasing,” KOS-MOS noted. “The creature is releasing more of its hidden energy. Power level is currently at one hundred-fifty times ‘vampire’-classification. Hidden energy is substantial.”

 

IT!?” the beast raged. “MY NAME IS GRUNIDE! ADDRESS ME WITH RESPECT, OR I WILL ANNIHILATE THE LOT OF YOU!” Grunide’s eyes were bloodshot now, his horn growing ever-longer out of his forehead. “And this is definitely not cool!” he resumed, his voice not raging, but barely contained. “And I work very hard at being cool and composed. They call me the Dark Green Tactician. I think, I plot, and I execute. I don’t rage and scream and destroy things like the others.” His teeth bared, he snarled at them. “And you have made me lose my composure!” He screamed again, his voice exploding against Hikaru’s eardrums with such ferocity that the boy slammed his hands over his ears in an attempt to shield himself. How the others remained composed, he didn’t understand.

 

Kyo snarled, and charged, throwing two more energy slashes at the best, who, once again, just smashed them aside. But that very action was what gave Kyo the time needed to slip close enough to the green beast to attack him up close and in person.

 

Grunide screamed and howled, stumbling back as his hands grabbed for the two slashes that run diagonally across his chest and stomach. Kyo just grinned, pressing his attack, but forced to break it off as Grunide kicked him with all the power he could muster, throwing the dark-haired warrior through the nearest wall.

 

“How… dare you!” Grunide screamed, his horn reaching its apparent full length, and cracks started to run across his body. The raging Vandel continued to scream and howl unintelligible things as the cracks widened, and the deep-purple glow became a gust of wind that tugged at his opponent’s clothing.

 

It was at that time that Saya made the wrong comment. The only one that wasn’t out cold, cowering, or protecting anything, she was the only one who still faced Grunide. “Your mouth is way too big,” she grunted coldly, gripping her sword tighter.

 

It was the wrong thing to say, for she had not used any means of respect in her statement. Grunide’s screams increased. “YOU!?” he raged, screaming about the offending word. The horn on his forehead twitched, as if to jump out of its socket, right before his entire body cracked, splintering away from what lied beneath.

 

“Warning,” KOS-MOS noted with cold detachment. “Power level is approaching five hundred times ‘vampire’-classification, and is still rising.”

 

Saya swallowed, feeling her dread increase at the cold numbers KOS-MOS read. When she heard stirring behind her, she knew that Kyo was starting to get up, and her relief at that notice was immeasurable. She had begun to fear that she would have to face this thing by herself…

 

Still, Grunide screamed as his skin cracked, before being blasted away on the purple energy wafting off of him, the scream one of pure rage and anger, as if his horrendous transformation cost him nothing hurt him not… to the contrary, the transformation he was undergoing seemed only to fuel his rage further!

 

Underneath the green skin, which seemed more and more like a mere shell, a horrible deep-red skin became visible, Grunide’s body immediately jumping out when the green skin vanished, bulging muscles making their horrible presence seen… and felt… as the purple energy waved over the small band, the pressure blowing out doors and windows and making the walls crack and splinter.

 

“I… hate… this form!” Grunide screamed. “It makes me… violent!”

 

“Like he wasn’t before,” Kyo grunted, getting to his feet and stepping next to Saya. “You’re ugly, demon,” he finished, addressing Grunide.

 

“Ugly!?” Grunide screamed, grinning like mad. “Yes, I’m ugly! And violent! I have worked so hard to hide this cursed, wretched form!” His blood-shot, horribly enraged eyes focused on Kyo, making the man shiver despite himself. “They call me… the Crimson Beast Grunide.” He growled low in his throat, the energy around him dying down as he seemingly calmed down a little. “I hate and detest that name almost as much as I hate and detest this form.”

 

“It was your stupid idea to come here,” Saya grunted, not knowing where she got the nerve from to talk so calmly to the Crimson Beast. Maybe it was because he seemed quite… sane… now?

 

“I was dragged here,” Grunide replied, grunting low in his throat. “Much like you were, I assume. But the point remains, you guys… thoroughly… pissed… me… off!” His arms started shaking, so fast that they seemed to blur. “And for that… I’ll destroy you!” His blurring arms came up, and the Crimson Beast screamed in rage, purple energy exploding around him once more.

 

“Warning,” KOS-MOS noted again. “Power level increase. Six hundred times ‘vampire’-equivalent. Seven hundred times. Eight hundred.”

 

Kyo and Saya felt fear. Saya had felt fear before, but it had usually turned quickly into anger… and for Kyo, the sensation was new, and not at all a likable experience.

 

“Don’t let him finish!” Hikaru screamed, somehow finding the nerve to scream.

 

Kyo and Saya burst from their fear-induced stupor, both at once recognizing the truth in Hikaru’s words, and charging accordingly. Kyo went high, the shorter Saya went low.

 

Kyo blade managed to cut Grunide, drawing a thin bloodless line down across the beast’s shoulder.

 

At the same time, Saya’s sword hit Grunide’s stomach… and shattered upon impact, its manufactured blade unable to cope with the power of the girl meeting the resistance of Grunide’s Vandel body.

 

“Damn,” she grunted.

 

“Even the Muramasa failed,” Kyo grunted, indicating the slit he had drawn on the beast’s shoulder, yet without the result the warrior had hoped for.

 

“Can you do something?” Hikaru asked, screaming to come out over the sounds of energy and the screams of the Crimson Beast.

 

“My internal energy stories are sufficient for annihilation. However, the discharge of my energy cannon would annihilate Shion and his companions. I am unable to execute,” KOS-MOS replied levelly. Before Hikaru could offer one of the meager curses he had learned in his short young life, the energy and the screams stopped abruptly as Grunide jerked his arms forward.

 

“And now… a hit from this form!” he screamed, a shudder going through the ground, right before it started to rip and shatter.

 

“Oh, crap,” Kyo screamed, grabbing Saya and making a run for it, just as KOS-MOS did the same with Hikaru. Together, they managed to clear the room, only just making it to the adjacent hallway that lead to the front door, when the walls shattered and fell away. The ground exploded upward, propelled by an ever-expanding circle of energy that washed up and away from Grunide.

 

The blast of energy tore through them, picking them up and tossing them like ragdolls.

 

KOS-MOS was unaffected, her internal energy stores more than sufficient to protect herself, as well as Shion and his friends. Hikaru was the second one to crawl to his feet, his proximity to KOS-MOS having protected him from the worst of the damage. Kyo was third, and Saya fourth, not near enough to escape all the damage generated by the blast wave, their clothes torn and bloody.

 

“What horrible power,” Hikaru whispered, surveying the elevated piece subsoil that sported Grunide, a small circle around him unaffected by the blast wave. All around him, whoever, the house, the walls, the floor, even the foundations, had been removed, ground into dust under the influence of Grunide’s powerful blast wave.

 

Even the houses of the neighbors had been removed, as had generous portions of the streets.

 

“That guy seriously pisses me off,” Kyo grunted, charging with the Mymyou Jinpuu Ryuu once more. Grunide just laughed at him, dodging the two strikes with pure contempt.

 

Once again, Kyo had taken the time it offered to get close, and charged with his sword directly. Grunide grabbed the blade on the down strike, abruptly stopping its descent, not at all concerned with the razor’s edge, and pulled the sword up. Kyo’s hand did not let go of the handle, and soon, Grunide had suspended the warrior in the air, holding the sword, and be extension, Kyo in mid-air, snarling at him.

 

Then he threw the warrior, back at his friends. “Pathetic! I had expected more of you!” Grunide screamed.

 

“We’re in luck he doesn’t have distance weapons,” Hikaru grunted as KOS-MOS dragged Kyo behind some section of outer wall that had been blasted away earlier, and where they were currently hiding. “Apart from that wave-thing, he fights melee.”

 

Kyo grunted something.

 

“Kyo’s right,” Saya said, apparently understanding the semi-conscious warrior’s grunts. “It won’t do us much good with all we have if our distance strikes are blocked.”

 

“Don’t you have anything stronger?” Hikaru asked Kyo. “Something other than that one strike?”

 

“Plenty,” Kyo grunted, returning to full consciousness with remarkable speed. “But it takes too much time for this kind of fight. He’ll get me before I get halfway there.”

 

Hikaru was silent for a few seconds, his go-installed tactical mind in overdrive, totally forgetting where he was and what kind of danger he was in. “KOS-MOS, can you distract him while Kyo does his attack?”

 

KOS-MOS nodded. “Understood, Shion.” She stood up, her arms morphing into energy cannons. “What are the mission restrictions?”

 

“Eh… get out of there when Kyo does what he does, and don’t hurt innocents?” the boy asked.

 

“Affirmative, Shion.” With those words, the blue-haired warrior-machine stepped up to Grunide, firing her weapons as she did so, pissing off the Crimson Beast once again, and forcing him to come after her. Kyo nodded, and stood up.

 

“My turn,” he grunted, holding the blade parallel to the ground, at shoulder height in front of him. “Mymyou Jinpuu Ryuu Ougi…” (a/n: ougi: secret technique taught only to the successor of a style)

 

His body slowly started to dissolve into orange-red energy.

 

Grunide noticed, turned, and started to advance on Kyo. At that moment, two balls of energy planted themselves right in his eyes, blinding the Crimson Beast, and forcing him to snarl in impotent fury as he tried in vain to reach and grab the incredibly nimble and fast KOS-MOS.

 

The warrior android was in a quandary. She knew she had the energy requirements needed to annihilate this beast, yet she also knew that the discharge of her energy cannon would cause huge damage to the surroundings. Orders from her previous Shion was clear: she was not to endanger innocents. For KOS-MOS, the case was clear.

 

However, her systems noted, this beast posed huge risk to her new Shion. Should she not resolve the primary directive given to her by Shion, and proceed with directive zero, the absolute protection of Shion?

 

Once again, hundreds of times a second, she went through the same logical process. Every time, the result was the same.

 

Allow Kyo his attempt to annihilate the opponent.

 

Kyo’s body vanished completely into the orange-red energy, and Hikaru felt him whisper. “… Suzaku.” (a/n: Suzaku: Chines God of the Summer and the South) The reddish cloud of energy that was Kyo dissolved quickly, reforming into a giant flaming bird.

 

“Phoenix,” Saya whispered, shocked beyond further words. Hikaru felt it, too… that awakening of something powerful, something dark.

 

KOS-MOS reappeared next to the hiding duo as the giant flaming bird descended from the skies, flashing toward Grunide, hell-bent on ripping him to shreds. Grunide looked shocked. But not as shocked as the others, and he managed to slam his fists into the descending bird, just as it was about to hit him, crashing it into the ground instead. The bird vanished, its energies dissipating completely.

 

KOS-MOS’s energy cannons morphed, growing larger. The quandary was resolved. Kyo had failed.

 

“He… failed?” Saya whispered, shocked.

 

Grunide, meanwhile, was laughing. “What a glorious battle!” he shouted. “To annihilate one against one’s opponent! What a glorious battle! I commend your friend, for being willing to sacrifice himself…”

 

His words trailed off as the skies lit up, the giant firebird reappearing high in the skies, Kyo’s voice resounding over the battlefield. “You are weak. Suzaku is something that will freely revive. For instance, even if it's killed by the very manifestation of hell, it’s enduring power will revive any number of times.” His voice sounded quite even-tempered, as if reading a textbook explanation.

 

Grunide, lifted his fists, ready to fight again, even as the bird descended as its fiery energies expanded beyond its original size.

 

The next moment, Grunide vanished into a swirling firestorm, totally hidden from his opponent’s eyes by the storm of flames that was Kyo’s secret technique.

 

KOS-MOS’ sensors registered the incineration quite dispassionately.

 

“Death was not instantaneous,” she noted out loud. “However, the target has been annihilated, Shion.”

 

Kyo appeared out of the firestorm, and walked calmly towards them, letting the crimson hulk of Grunide smoke and burn behind him. “Then it’s over?”

 

“Not yet, young travelers,” a voice said from somewhere behind them. As one, they turned, finding only a short man, dressed in bright red. His white hair framed a balding head. “There is still one more task you must fulfill before you will be able to return to your homes.” He pointed in a certain direction. “If you travel that way, in short order, you will find your final objective.”

 

“Who… are you?” Hikaru whispered in shock.

 

“My name is Dungeon Master,” the small man replied. “And I am the guide of ones such as yourself, who find themselves lost in other worlds.”

 

Kyo grunted. “So, we go that way, and kill our final target. Fine. Let’s go. I’m starting to get tired of this world.” Saya just nodded, got up, and started to follow. Hikaru raced after them, and it was only after he moved that KOS-MOS followed.

 

It certainly didn't take them long. Barely five minutes passed, when they encountered something that made Hikaru’s neck hairs stand up straight: pillars of salt, shaped like humans.

 

“What the…?” Kyo grunted.

 

“Warning, Shion,” KOS-MOS stated, her cold voice suddenly sounding apprehensive. “Gnosis activity detected.”

 

“Gnosis!?” Saya grunted. “You mean those enemies that required you to be built? They’re here?”

 

“Affirmative, Saya,” KOS-MOS replied, her head scanning from left to right, aiming her sensitive sensor suite. “Gnosis located,” she said, looking at a nearby building, on top of which hung, for the lack of a batter word, a shapeless thing that vaguely resembled human form. ‘Human form’ meaning that it had two short legs, two huge arms that could have hung to the ground but were now held up, displaying the energy-weapon-like appendages in the direction of the small band.

 

“Commencing anti-gnosis combat,” KOS-MOS noted. “Shion, mission parameters?”

 

“Don’t hurt anyone, KOS-MOS,” Hikaru whispered, not as caught off-guard as he had been the first time.

 

“Understood, Shion,” the warrior android replied, taking three steps which accelerated to well beyond human speeds, before jumping up to the building. In mid-flight, a visor slammed down across her face, coming down from the open helmet that covered her forehead.

 

“Hilbert generator, full range,” the android said, spreading her arms, feeling the Hilbert Effect explode away from her, covering the entire planet and reaching into space, well to the orbit of the moon, reaching out and pulling every Gnosis from the astral plane down into ours, so it could be fought. And destroyed.

 

Something shifted. KOS-MOS ignored it. Her arm shifted into an energy weapon. Still in mid-flight, she tracked the materialized Gnosis, caught in the Hilbert effect of the only system known to man that could project a field of that size without the need of a huge amplifier.

 

The Gnosis vanished as KOS-MOS eradicated it. The blue-haired android fell back to the ground, sustaining zero damage. Her sensors tracked. No Gnosis detected.

 

Only then did she listen to the strange feeling. KOS-MOS would have screamed, had she been the type for it. Instead, she merely dropped into the darkness.

 

Lindsey opened her eyes, remembering… everything. “Oh… my god,” she whispered, bending over, and retching. A detached part of her mind noted that Lance, Dexter, and Sandra were doing the same thing. What they had done that evening, they would never forget.

 

KOS-MOS’ last act, the Hilbert effect, resounded around the world, and everywhere, its effects were felt. The closest thing to Gnosis on this planet, ghosts and spirits, were equally affected. Even though they were not strictly Astral beings, they were still affected, and they were still drawn, closer, to our realm. Especially in Scotland, where every house and castle was rumored to be haunted, ordinary people were actually starting to see ghosts for the first time.

 

 

 

The next school day, Dexter walked through the doors, and made his way to his locker, his mind still at large somewhere, trying to make heads or tails of what happened. He had run around as Hikaru for the night. His friends had run around as anime characters. They had fought an anime-style battle. And what was worse, they had actually killed. Granted, they were bad guys, Gnosis, Vandels, Monsters… but still… what if they had just been people caught in the same thing Dexter and his friends had been?

 

The very possibility that they had killed some innocent people caught up in whatever freakish thing had happened on All Hallows Eve made his mind reel and his stomach clench. He closed his eyes, trying to shake the nasty feelings away. Nothing he could do about them now anyway. And as such, he wasn’t paying attention where he was going.

 

He bumped into someone. Immediately, he reacted by sheer instinct as he hit the ground. “Excuse me,” he whispered politely, trying to pick himself off the ground.

 

And found himself dragged up by a meaty fist belonging to a football player who happened to have lost a couple of very good friends on Halloween and needed to take his anger and grief out on someone. And a chess club geek was all the target he needed!

 

His other fist started to descend, only to find it halted halfway to its intended target! He looked in surprise at the slender hand that had halted his wrist. He followed the hand to its arm, then to its owner. Long, blue, hair and a pair of red eyes were all he saw.

 

“Release him.” The Voice was a command. The pressure on his caught wrist increased. He released the geek, managing to keep his pain contained in a manly way.

 

“You will not hurt him,” the Voice continued. Suddenly, her second hand was behind his head. The next thing the jock knew, his head bounced off the nearest locker with such force that it left an impression. The world tumbled, spun, and turned, an overwhelming sense of vertigo almost forcing his stomach to spill its contents.

 

Lindsey, feeling KOS-MOS guide her actions, let the jock bounce off the locker door, before catching him with a single finger on his forehead, pushing him back-first into the locker door on the opposite side of the hall. All the students had stopped, and were staring at the neon-blue-haired girl that was holding a jock pinned to the lockers with a single finger.

 

He managed a grunt, and tried to move. He couldn’t, the pressure on his skull, keeping locked tightly against the lockers, were maddening. He didn’t even have the guts to think about using his arms or legs. He just stood there, fear in his rolling eyes, as she pinned him to the lockers.

 

“Hurt him again, and I will terminate your existence,” she stated in a flat, cold even, voice. Not a threat, but a statement of fact. She released him, and the jock fell to the ground.

 

Lindsey released her breath, feeling her hair shift back to its blonde state and her red eyes turned blue once more. “And that goes double for us,” a second voice grunted from the back of the crowd of students, who shifted and hurriedly cleared a path, letting Lance and Sandra walk up. Dexter gratefully accepted a hand from Lance. Somehow, seeing Lindsey turn into KOS-MOS and rip a jock to shreds, had stopped him from crawling up.

 

“Eh… thanks,” he whispered, unable to say anything else, the confusion plainly in his eyes.

 

“The transformation wasn’t completely undone,” Lance said in Japanese. “I can still feel Kyo.” He glanced at Lindsey. “Sandra can still feel Saya. And after what I just saw, Lindsey can still feel KOS-MOS, too.”

 

“So that’s why I had nightmares about Go last night,” Dexter whispered. “But… what about your reputations?”

 

“After what happened,” Sandra said, grinning, “my reputation can go to hell. The Anime Club just got a whole new level of importance.”

 

Dexter grinned. So it hadn’t been such a bad night after all.

 

The End

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