This is a Destroyer / Buffy The Vampire Slayer
Knowledge of the Destroyer
novels by Murphy and Sapir is helpful, but spoilers have been avoided; it may be apparent to experienced readers that the author prefers the characters as they were portrayed in the earlier novels to some of the later interpretations. For those who are unfamiliar with the series, the Masters of Sinanju are the world's greatest martial artists and assassins. Remo is the first non-Korean to be instructed in their arts, and has somehow become occasional host to the spirit of the god Shiva, whose power sometimes helps him.
Knowledge of Buffy the Vampire Slayer
is also more or less essential. There are minor spoilers for Seasons 3 and 5. The story can be set almost any time in Season 6 or 7. For those who are unfamiliar with the series... oh come on, guys, it's on TV pretty well everywhere in the world. Watch a few episodes.
All characters are the intellectual property of their respective creators and publishers; this story may not be sold or distributed on a profit-making basis.
By Marcus L. Rowland
Copyright © 2003 by Marcus L. Rowland
The small blonde woman walked across the park towards them, and Remo took the time to admire her beauty and grace. There was something about her he had seen in only a few others. Even at this distance Remo could tell that her breathing was close to perfect, the sign of formidable strength. A redheaded girl followed a yard or so behind; physically she seemed perfectly normal, but somehow she had an aura of power. They stopped a few yards away, and the redhead looked at him with dark penetrating eyes. She muttered something and spoke to the blonde, who came on alone.
She stopped near the wooden table, and said "Okay, I got your message. Who are you, and who's your friend?"
Chiun was curled in lotus position on the grass a few yards away, so motionless that most people would have never noticed him. He uncurled, almost levitating to his feet, and bowed. "I am Chiun, Master of Sinanju, and this is my apprentice Remo."
"Buffy Summers, and that's Willow Rosenberg."
"Please join us. We mean you no harm."
"Good to know. Willow?"
"They're both human, Buffy. The younger guy is something more though; there's something riding him, a ghost or a spirit. No... 'I am created Shiva, the Destroyer; Death, the Shatterer of Worlds.' That can't be... Okay. Yeah. Wow. Lord Shiva, greetings and salutations. It's an honour."
"I guess he thanks you," said Remo, "Damned if I know, he never tells me anything. How did you know he was there?"
"Okay... Chiun, were you expecting this?"
"I had expected the Slayer to be full of resource, as was ever the case. Ladies, pray join us."
"Slayer?" asked Remo, and was ignored.
They sat on a bench facing the men, and sat silently for a moment. Eventually the blonde woman said "You said Sinanju, I think. It rings a faint bell. Martial artists?"
Chiun smiled. "Sinanju is the Sun source of the martial arts. All others are pale reflections. More importantly, we are the oldest house of assassins in the world."
Both women seemed unpleasantly surprised. Eventually the redhead said "Assassins? Like the order of Taraka?"
"Those butchers!" said Chiun; "They are monsters, who would destroy a village to murder one man. They are vile hell-spawn!"
"Can't argue with that,” said Buffy. "The ones I killed certainly weren't human."
Remo blinked. "Chiun? Is this something else you didn't bother to tell me about?"
"Later, Remo." He turned back to the woman. "You are to be congratulated. The Order are tenacious in the extreme."
"Wasn't hard. I just kept killing them until their client ran out of money."
"Remarkable, but inefficient. You would have done better to kill the client."
"It's a long story. What can I do for you? I can tell you up front, we don't want anyone assassinated."
"Of course not. We are not here to solicit new business. We are here to renew my house's oldest contract."
"I'm sure that this is going to make sense sooner or later..."
"You are the Slayer."
"You already said that,” said Buffy.
"I know. I have met two others, in 1937 and 1954. It is always a pleasure," he bowed slightly "to meet our oldest clients."
"What?" asked Remo. "I thought you said Persia were the first."
"Persia was our first government. The contract with the Slayer is much older,” said Chiun patiently. "It is also our oldest active agreement."
"Okay," said Remo, "That's three times now. What the hell is a Slayer?"
"Please excuse my apprentice,” said Chiun. "He is here to learn, and although he could express himself more tactfully, I must instruct him. If you will permit it?" He nodded respectfully at Buffy.
"Okay, I'll tell you when you get it wrong."
"Thank you. Remo, I have told you of the Master Pak, he of Sinanju who first met the Drinkers of Blood."
"Master Pak learned how to kill them, but as you know it is not easy, even for Sinanju. The killing of a vampire is something that we do only when we must, if there is no alternative. You have done it yourself, you know of the dangers."
"If you mean getting my ass kicked and nearly getting killed, yeah. I know okay."
"Master Pak the Younger, grandson of the first, was the next to face the Drinkers. He was defeated, and nearly killed, save for the appearance of a rescuer. A maid, lithe and strong beyond any normal mortal, who defeated the monsters with weapons of wood and bronze. A Slayer."
"Here we go..." muttered Buffy to Willow.
"In every generation there is a Slayer. She that is chosen...."
"Please," interrupted Buffy, "I've heard that before, and it's wrong."
"Enlighten us please, mistress Slayer." said Chiun.
"The way it works is like this. There's some sort of mystic power that doesn't like vampires and demons. Back in the dawn of time it decided that the way to deal with them is to give a girl the power and strength she needs to fight them, and have her kill them until one of them gets lucky. Then the next girl is activated. And the next. It's not once in a generation, sometimes it's two or three ugly deaths a year. There have been thousands of Slayers, maybe tens of thousands. Sometimes I dream about their deaths. I've been doing it for nearly eight years, and I've lasted longer than any Slayer since records began. I've fought vampires, demons, devils, giant bug people, Inca mummies, a hell goddess, and a slug from outer space."
"And you keep doing this until you die?" asked Remo. She seemed calm about it.
"I've died twice. The first time I was sixteen. One of my friends bought me back with CPR. The second time they had to use magic. Sooner or later it'll be final. That's what being a Slayer is about. Fighting until you die."
"Is that all?" asked Chiun.
"No... Protecting my friends, my family, and the world. Someone once told me that death was my gift. I eventually realised what they meant."
"Your death," said Chiun, "No, your life, is your gift to the world."
"Something like that." she seemed embarrassed. "Now, that's enough about me. What did you want?"
"The contract. Once Pak the Younger learned of the Slayer, he studied her methods, and those of the woman who took her place, and realised that there was a service which might one day be needed. He approached her successor, and they came to an agreement. Both haggled hard, but eventually they agreed terms. And so it has been for more than three thousand years. Once in a generation the Master of Sinanju and his apprentice must find the Slayer and renew the arrangement. When it is necessary we will perform as specified."
"Perform what?" asked Willow.
"A swift and if possible merciful death."
"I said I don't want anyone killed," Buffy said coldly.
"You misunderstand. The contract states that if necessary we will kill the Slayer."
"And why would I want that? Why would anyone want that?" asked Buffy.
"Because there are worse things than death. Five times now, in three thousand years, we have acted to end a Slayer who was crippled and in her enemies' power. Twice we have ended a Slayer who had become a Drinker of Blood. Most recently, in 1645, we ended a Slayer who had become insane."
"With modern medicine..." began Willow.
"Believe me when I promise that these things are not done lightly. There must be no alternative."
"This contract... it's not committing me to anything new?"
Willow looked at her friend, and said "Buffy, no..."
"It has always been there. If you renew it, things will go exactly as they would have done if we had talked to the previous Slayer, or the next."
"Okay... One more question. How much does this cost? 'cos money's a little tight right now."
"Alas, Pak the Younger haggled well, and agreed a high price. Unfortunately he also agreed that it would be a fixed price, and there has been some inflation. That is why he is known to us as Pak the Foolish. If my calculation is correct the current renewal fee is six dollars and forty-seven cents."
"Okay. Willow, got change for a ten?"
A few hours later Chiun left Sunnydale with his usual half ton or so of baggage. Remo stayed on; Chiun looked at him sadly, and said "You must see for yourself, of course, as I did when I first met the Slayer. And when you have seen, come away."
That night Remo watched a slim blonde girl dance the dance of death with monsters, and dance it with perfection, and knew that she did it for love of the world, not for money or a cold dream of expertise. And inside him he felt Shiva stir, and knew that he wanted to join her. So he left Sunnydale, and the Slayer, and never returned.