Act 8: Fun and Games
“So your emperor of your own realm?” Tizen looked to The Duke as Ashi, back in human form, gently petting a sleeping Chaki who was passed out in cat form and lying in her lap.
Everyone, even the cloaked Kuros, looked wrecked and worn leaving Jii to care for them all, even Rinna and Mayday's teams were resting at the Royal Palace, In fact only White Rose had returned to her realm after the great battle.
The Duke sipped at his tea with a smile looking to Jii before answering, “Catnip Tea?”
“I was at a lack of idea for something a cat would like I hope your not one of those catnip drunk kinds of cats.”
The Duke smiles, “On the contrary it's my favorite tea, but good to know a human is aware that catnip is not a one size fits all herb for felines.” then he pauses, “Though Kandy seems to be of the drunk type..in fact most human born catgirls in my experience seem to share their trait, regardless of the origin of their transformation. I believe it's a flaw in their human halves.”
Jii nods, “Good to know.”
“Anyway back to your question I prefer Duke but yes my position is akin to a king or emperor, and there is none in my realm who holds a position higher then me. Not that others haven’t tried to claim their position was higher then mine and enforce my fealty to them on those grounds,” he pauses in thought, “I remember one try about 3 of your human lifetimes ago that was particularly creative yet ill informed in their attempt. But that is the story for another time.”
He smiles as he looks to Ashi and Chaki, “I'm sure your far more curious as to story of how you found me in such an embarrassing situation after you and Kandy had death with the Undead menace and were ready to return home.”
Ashi chuckles, “You were in a cat carrier naked!”
The Duke sighs, “Yes well giving Kandy back her magic drained me to the point of exhaustion,” he begin as he opens his paws to create a flaming representation of himself in a cat carrier surrounded by a number of humans playing with his boots, gloves and cloak.
“I'm telling you there has to be some magic in these things we just have to figure it out.” One of the men pulled the cloak about him just before one of the other 2 pulled out off him, he was wearing the duke green boots as well.
“No arguments here, these boots fit like a glove and that that cats feet were way to small for that cloak to fit each of us so well. Maybe they only work if you have all three.”
'As I awoke I found the trio arguing over my vestments, that was their first mistake. You do not steal a man's clothes, nor those of the Duke of Meowchester.'
“Hey Joey give me the gloves.”
“Hell now man you give me the Boots and Cape!”
The Duke smirked, 'Whoever these men were they clearly had trust issues with each other, issues I could exploit.'
The man in the boots and cloak suddenly winced and stumbled backward as the gloved man, Joey, brushed him off.
“Woah man did you just hit Jake with a spell?” The unadorned man gasped, “How you do that.”
“I dunno,” Joey shrugged as he waved his hand, “I just waved my hand to get Jake to back off.”
'While not as flashy as Balefire I am also well versed in illusion magic, notable among them was a spell that inflicts phantom pain on the target, it is only temporary and in a few moments this 'Jake' would feel good as new. It's a useful distraction, or as a final attack against a strong foe for if the body believes one is dead and the heart stops reversing the damage will not start back up a stopped heart.'
Jake and the Unadorned Man leap back defensively, with Jake using the cloak as a shield. In reaction Joey was knocked off his feet.
“Give me that before you kill us all!” The 3rd man grabbed Joey hands as he struggled to wrest free the gloves before he could recover.
“Hey no fair deflecting back my spell!” Joey protests as the gloves are forcefully removed, meanwhile the Duke suppressed a chuckle.
Hey guys I think the cat woke up,” The new gloved man spoke as he rushed to the carrier and shook it angrily, “Talk!”
“Dude it's a cat, cat's don’t talk,” Joey pushes to his feet as he grabs the new man's shoulder “Relax Alex.”
“It's a cat with magical gear, how do we know it can't talk!”
The Duke hissed and clawed at Alex as he shook the cage again.
“I said talk!” Alex growled as he shook the cage again.
“Dude relax, you think he's going to cooperate if you keep shaking him like a soda can?” Jake made his way over as he wrestled for control of the cage.
“No!” Alex slapped them both away angrily which Joey reflectively threw up his arms in defense as Jake one more pull the cloak about him in defense.
His eyes went wide as he did so, “Shit! Sorry!”
But the moments peace gave the Duke his opening blasting Alex and Joey with the phantom pain spell which made Alex drop his cage reflectively as the two picked themselves up off the ground.
'It was becoming clear my current tactics we're gonna see me free anytime soon so while I had the moment I upped my assault weaving pain after pain, which only served to turn the trio faster against each other as they felt Alex was being too reckless and Jake to quick to deflect, before I knew it the three of them had fallen unconscious but I was still locked in my cage and no closer to escape, and they would wake up in a few minutes anyway.”
Ashi chuckles, smiling widely, “Which is when we arrived!”
The Duke sighs, “Yes, to my chargrin.”
Ashi picks up the thread laughing, “It was so funny, after Kitty and I picked up Godfather's scent we kicked down the door only to find those guys unconscious wearing his stuff while he pawed at the door of his cage! It was so funny!”
“I was trying to open the lock!”
“It was still funny!”
As Ashi laughed the others joined in as the duke crossed her paws and huffed, “Anyway once you released me and we recovered my clothes I wrapped us in my cloak and teleported us back here as quickly as I could manage.”
“Which was around the time of that Oni attack right?” Rinna wonders, “Cause it Kandy showed up to join the others for the fight right?”
“Sounds about right.”
“So do you your clothes have any enchantments?” Kotoha wonders.
The Duke smiled, “Nope. I just didn't want to leave then with those idiots.”
“I feel kinda sorry for them, by the sound of it they weren’t bad just desperate for some way to survive the zombie invasion.”
“Oh, I wouldn’t worry about them,” The Duke smiles, “before we left I left them a little something.”
The young cat girl tapped her fingers annoyed on the table as Joey and Jake sat opposite her staring at her ample chest, “Rowl, will you two tomcats stop staring at my chest, it's embarrassing.”
“We can't help it,” Jake protests.
“Especially when you dress like that.”
Alex stood up hissing as she motioned to her tight pants and midriff, “Nya! It's that damn cat I'm telling you! I put on a turtle neck and sweat pants after we raided the mall for food and it turned into this!”
“Yeah we get that,” Jake drools, “and what we are saying is we can't keep our eyes off you.”
“Come to think of it,” Joey tilts his head in thought, “Neither could the zombies, made getting the food so much easier with them all chasing you.”
“Myowbe for you, I was running my cyte little ass off!”
“You seemed to be holding them off pretty well with that pain spell of yours and your acrobatics.”
Alex sighs, “Yeah but...look at me!”
“Oh believe us...”
Alex hisses and crosses her arms, “Purrrrverts.”
“So Ryo is your Dragon Badge really that special?” Mayday looks to him curiously, “I mean in the fight it looked like Venus was the really important part you were just a leg.”
“Jii seems to think so.”
At his mention Jii pulls a scroll out of the sleeve of his gi unrolling it across the table, “We used to count 10 families for the ten elements, and each wielded a legendary beast that stood above any normal beast,” His gaze turning to Kotoha and Ashi as he motioned to the first of the great beasts depicted on the scroll and then in turn to Venus, Tizen, Chaki and Ryo, “The Earth clan wielded Minotaur, Venus Wind clan used Tiger...”
“That's some big ass tiger,” Calamity notes, “I mean look at those fangs.”
“Looks more like a Sabertooth,” Vira, the newest of the Magicla Girls, Princess, commented.
“I can see how one might draw that conclusion and it would fit the theme,” Jii explains.
“The 10 great beasts are all clearly based on prehistoric or mystical beasts, Wood is a Gryphon, Phoenix is actually the true emblem of Fire not Dog or Lion.”
“Kitty's going to be so mad your hiding another badge from us when she wakes up!” Ashi teases.
Tizen sighs, “I've already told her that we are looking for others we cant control the element that is bound into them.”
Hanran coughed, “I...uh...might be able to help with that...you see I'm not exactly a Magical Girl.”
Before Holding up her Pain Spider Badge.
Jii quickly snatches it from her before comparing it side by side to Tizen's Fire Badge, “What in the world, this is a one of ours, but this is a Oni spirit not a natural one.”
Hanran flusters, “Yeah the thing about that is theres this entire underground thing, its how I met the Maidens of Justice and Chaki. Before that I had been hunting Oni on my own to grow my collection. We uh….kinda use them in duel with other hunters.”
Tizen crumples the hem of his gi, “I've heard rumors of such a group, but I never though it could be real. The idea is just so...”
Rina smiles, “Yeah it's stupid and dangers, does it really surprise you people are like that?”
Tizen sighs, “I guess not.”
Hanran coughs, “A-Anyway I can contact my vendors, seen if there are any animal badges floating around, of if they know players with them then...I dunno...I really don't want suggest we beat up players and steam their badges but...”
Tizen, Venus, and Kotoha tense Jii smiles, “While the elite guard may have lost a lot of political power we are still the Royal Defenders, we have the resources, leave the details to me, if we run across players who refuse to sell we can deal with them one on one but the it is my duty to handle the small details like this.”
“I still don't like the whole idea of it,” Tizen scowls.
“Hey how do you think I feel,” the Duke glares at Hanran, “Her kind don't care about what realm you hail from. I though they we're just ignorant zealots not kids playing a game.”
“You have cross paths with these Hunters?”
“I've lived over nine lifetimes, I've seem many a thing,” the Duke smirks, “I fact I started making a list of things I have done just so I can say i've experenced everything,” his grin broanded, “its one reason I help you out back there,” his ton softening as he looks to the sleeping Chaki, “Being part of a giant warrior fusion was one of the fewy thing I have yet to experience along side being baked into a pie and being female.”
“You WANT to be baked into a pie?”
“You WANT to turn into a woman?”
“I never said they were things I wanted,” The Duke smirks, “I just said they are things I haven’t experienced, you start running out of ideas for your bucket list after a while. Oh and I said being female, not human...thought now that you mention it I've never been a human before...”
This draws a chuckle from everyone present.
“When nine hundred years you surpass, new experiences you try to find,” the Duke ends with his best Yoda impression.
Which even draws a chuckle from the sleeping Chaki.
“Anyway,” Jii continues as he points to the next beast on the scroll, “As you can see Water Ryo's Element is a dragon, followed by the lost tribes Stone Tyrano, Steel Ptera, Shadow Mastodon, Light Triceratops, Lightning Pegasus.”
“Ok so then what makes them so special?” Calamity once again asks, “Your big fancy Dragon and Phoenix mad a leg and wing pack respectively.”
“From what I've been able to find in my research what made the great beasts so special was two fold. The first first is that they took a lot more Chakra control to manifest and as a result make Great Shinobi much tougher. The Second is that unlike normal badges they carried 2 abilities not just one.”
Hanran took back Pain spider as she turned it over curiously, “So like your saying instead of just my Pain Blades I had say Pegasus I could what...fly and fire magic bolts?”
Jii sighs, “Unfortunately that is the limit of what I have been able to find. Aside from Bears Healing ability I really don't even know what the abilities of our current crop are behind their function in giant battles. Not even Lion, Dog, and Phoenix which Tizen has been practically with for the better part of his life.”
“The Black Hand might have records?” Mayday strokes her chin curiously.
“Their a Ninja Clan my Brothers May, Jane, and I took control of back in New York after the defeat of their leader who has stolen control from my brothers Sensei,” Venus explains, “We have a ton of records on ancient magic and tools might be something on these Animal Badges.”
“If you were part of them for so long do you know what turtle can do?” Ashi asks innocently.
Venus loos away which quickly prompts Mayday and Calamity to flank her and offer their comfort, as her voice gets low and hollow, “Y-Yes. It's why they used me in their experiments when I was a child. How I wound up bound to it permanently...”
Then Ashi laughs nervously seeing the reaction, “N-Nemvermind.”
“N-No, it's alright...It's been years.”
“You don't have too...” Mayday says softly.
“N-No it's good to talk about it,” Venus' voice cracks, “T-Turtle protects the user from even the most extreme environment.”
“Wait hold up!” Calamity cuts in, “Is that how you survived the sky King kicking you out of a plan into a volcano? I just thought you landed on your shell!”
Venus smiles at the memory, “Yeah that's right. But man when I pulled myself out of the lava and surfed down the side to confront him and just just stood there slack jawed before peeing his pants, that was so worth it!”
“Right I saw the pictures, that was priceless. Really brew the Sky King's image as a super tough bad ass out of the water with his pants stained while a turtle girl caved in his face!” Calamity laughs followed shortly by Venus and then the rest.
“Well it has been an education,” The Duke levitates as he wraps his cloak around him, “But I do have a Duchery to run so I must be off.”
Tizen nods, “And it is getting late we should all get some rest.”
As the duke vanishes Jii turns to Rinna and Mayday, “We have some spare rooms and I'm sure Venus and Sukio would love to catch up while your here so your free to stay.”
“Thanks but now that we know Venus is alright we really should get back to the boys, lots of trouble still in the Big Apple we have to deal with after all. But we'll visit.”
“Awe come on May lets at least give them the night, we can head back to the hotel in the morning and arrange a flight back.”
“I don't want to impose.”
“No imposition,” Ji smiles, “The Royal Grounds were constructed to house the ten branch Families and the Royal Family, as well as the staff, we have dwindled to five, Including the Royal Line, we have room to spare.”
Mayday, and Venus, smile, “Alright then, we'll spend the night.”
“And what of you girls?” Jii turns to Rinna and her team.
“We'll stay, we still really haven caught up with Chaki after all.”
“I kinda wanna stay and help,” Hanran sighs, “But who's gonna protect our home town?”
“As the Royal Protectors we have access to all records on all teams currently operating out of Japan,” Ji exclaims, “If you really want to stay i'm sure we can have your Japanese counterparts reassigned to your old territory. That way you can stay close to Chaki.”
“You can do that?” Vira whistles.
Jii smiles, “Just leave all the details to me,” before standing and offering his hand to Rina, “If you'll follow me ladies, and Calamity Jane, I'll show you to your rooms.”
“Why you got to single me out? Huh?”
“Well you are the only man among our guests.”
“Somehow that feels like the set up for a joke, or some crazy adventure.”
“Well your code name is Jane,” Rinna chuckles.
“Wasn't my choice! The Media burdened me with it! I've never looked like a girl a day in my life.”
“It's true,” Mayday laughs, “I used to work for Channel 6, tried to convince them to use something else but everyone just thought the name sounded cool, historic, all that, despite the obvious gender incongruity.”
“And it has been nothing but trouble ever since.”
“Though when Titan tried to win your affections it got really weird.”
“I turned that tights wearing weirdo down at every turn, told him I was a guy and he just refused to believe me, you playing the jealous lover didn’t help!”
“He sent you roses and all kinds of expensive gifts, I thought you were cheating on me!”
“They were clearly marked 'From Titan with love,'” Jane protests as they follow Jii down the halls to their rooms.
“That doesn't mean anything! Beside it all got cleared up in the end! Poor guy was hear broken!”
“Would you have preferred I started wearing a wing and fake boobs and date the guy?”
“Wouldn't be the first time,” Mayday teases.
“Love you too babe, Love you too.”
Chaki opened his eyes slowly to find he was not in the Royal Ground but back in his old bedroom, what's more it became obvious fairly quickly there was one other great change.
“I'm a boy again?” Confused at first Chaki could not help but smile, and then jump for joy, “I'm a boy again!”
His revere was interrupted though by a knock at his door.
“Come on in dad.”
But as the door opened it was not his father that entered, but instead it was his other half Sukio.
“What the...” Chaki's revere started to fade as he backpedaled, “Y-you stay away from me I don't want to be a girl! I don't want to be a girl!”
Flailing he stumbled back in his sheets and fell into his bed the material enveloping him like a serpent as he seemed to fall into nothing. Falling, Falling as the sheets fought him until finally he found himself landing on a strange, except the sheets had become an elegant dress and he had become Sukio once more. Her hear raced as she looked around in panic, hundred watching until a strong hand took her and lulled her into a pirouette and into a dip, their lips meeting. The face was familiar, Erin, her first crush after she had retired from being a Maiden of Justice. But as she got back to her feet blushing a veil dropped over her vision as her clothes changed again, to a white gown the glint of her wedding band catching her eyes as Erin transformed from the cute young boy she fell for to the monstrous form of Nishin and she found her body tingling as a pastor announced them man and wife, the Oni lifting her veil and she leans forward to kiss him.
'Stop! Stop! Stop!' her mind howled as their lips grew closer and closer, her eyes shutting tight. 'Please Stop.'
Chaki awoke with a start back in his bed, back home.
“It was all just a dream,” he said relived.
There was a knock at his door.
This time it was a face he only knew from old faded photos, “M-Mom?”
She smiled as she took a seat next to him, “It was just a nightmare.”
He rolled his eyes even as he filled with water, he never knew his mother and seeing her here brought up emotion he didn't even know he had as he wrapped his arms around her, “H-How are you here y-you died.”
She smiled, “Oh come now Chaki, I raised a smarter boy then that.”
He paused, slowly pulling away, “This is a dream.”
She smiled, “Hard times are coming Chaki, and this is the limit of my influence.”
Chaki tilted his head as he inspected his mother, her fears melting away to those of a woman with blond hair in her mid thirties. “White Rose?”
In an eye blink they were downstairs having breakfast across from each other, even in a dream the waffles and syrup were divine drawing a small purr that startled Chaki as he made it and left him quickly searching for a tail and ears.
“You won't find them,” White Rose said calmly, smiling, “This is my domain after all.”
Chaki relaxed, “These waffles are really good...but how it's just a dream.”
White Rose smiled, “I was human once too you know, I wasn't born of the dream. So I knew how some things should taste like, and thus can recreate them in a dream.”
Chaki smiles, “Cool.”
but it quickly faded as his gaze fell to his chest and two small mounds pushed forward, “But it's all fake isn't it, when I wake up I’ll be back to being Sukio...”
“You could use your mask.”
“Yeah but that's not the real me anymore,” Sukio sighs softly. “Besides it doesn’t change who I am on the inside. I still have my periods, still think boys like Erin and Tizen are cute, it's superficial.”
White ruse lifted Sukio head as she appeared next to her and stared into her eyes, “All flesh is superficial, what really matters is the soul.”
“So tell me Chaki,” Suddenly the two girls were walking through downtown, “Have you figured out your feeling for the Duke?”
Chaki tensed, “That old tomcat, he's the bane of my existence! It's because of his magic I cant stop thinking about getting mounted like some mangy alley cat and having a dozen kittens!”
During the exchange Chaki had shifted to cat form but White Rose had changed along with him and the two now found themselves in a field of dandelion seeds.
“So you do have feeling for him?”
“Their not real!” She hiss swiping at one of the stalks and sending the seeds flying in a dance of white.
As she watched them fly she sat transfixed, purring, “Ashi would love this.”
The field faded to the dark red sea of the Sansu, Back to a boy Chaki floated in the air as he watched all the Oni gather around Sukio in a blooded dress as she and Nishin drew closer.
He shut his eyes tight, “Make it go away! Please!”
White Rose held him softly, “I can only hold so much power over memories.”
“M-Memories...so then...” Chaki paled as he ran a hand over his lips and then his stomach, “And I really...”
White Rose nodded as the scene shifted back to the island, even watching it from outside every time Sukio pushed and that Nishin grew closer to emergence Chaki flinched in pain, “O-Oh gods.”
But then the scene shifted back, back tot he crutil moment of the wedding, and the arrival of an uninvited guest. A guess that drew a surprised yelp and a purr from Chaki, “Duke?!”
Chaki reverted to cat form as she dropped into the Sansu and watched the battle unfold, her purr growing in resonance as her tail waved excitedly, “My mate is so cool! I don't know any one who can just invade the Sansu.”
“It was not easy,” White Rose explained as she lifted up Chaki and they transitioned back to the field, both in cat form now as White rose drew Chaki's gaze to the silver band that hung tingly around one digit of her paw. “And the threat still lingers as long as you wear that band.”
Then they were in the hospital, floating above Ichiboku the duke and Ashi, “But like with Ashi and her oldest sister The Duke has promised to use his considerable resources, experience, and connections to free you of it's curse just as he diagnosed Ichiboku's illness and is working on a cure.”
“A-A cure? Seriously?”
White Rose nods.
“How do you know all this? This is all a dream right?”
Ashi and the Duke appears as specters flanking them as they transitioned back to the field of dandylions, “Al dreams are connected here, and all dreams draw from our wishes and memories. I know these as facts because I saw them in the dreams of Ashi, Ichiboku, and the Duke. For even great rules of mighty realms must dream at some point.”
“I don't get it, why does he even care, he has like a dozen concubines, a dozen mates, what makes me so special.”
White Rose smiles, “Who can ever really say the reason one hearts cling to one person over another? I may be the Light of Love but I only know the power love brings not all its nuances.”
Chaki chuckles, “Y-Yeah I remember you mentioning that at the battle, you were really a super hero? A Space Marine? I collected their comics for years, loved the tv show as a kid, that was all real?”
White Rose's smile fades, “It hurts to imagine our adventures would be forgotten so quickly...”
White Rose smiles, “It's alright, super heroes have been active longer their either I or our parents have lived, in all the chaos of demons from other realms, zombies from the grave, and monsters from space it must all blend together. History becomes fantasy and fantasy becomes memory, and memory becomes...”
“Dreams!” Chaki laughs.
White Rose smiles. “Exactly.”
Chaki fell silent, lowering her head, “S-so you were trying to warm me about hard times coming.”
The scene now shifted back to the Royal Grounds, where Chaki in cat form slept peacefully on Ashi's lap.
Chaki lowered her head, defeat in her voice, “I'm not changing back...am I?”
“No,” White rose said sadly, “Unfortunately.”
Chaki took a deep breath and rose her head, with a smile, “Well I guess the Duke will be happy.”
“You're not angry, or heartbroken?”
Chaki took another breath, “I kind of expected it, all that cat magic poring into me so I could become Kandy again, that couldn't have been healthy...still...I'm not ready to settle down, become the Dukes mate, pump out litters, all that.”
“You still wish to fight?”
Chaki sighs nodding, “Crazy I know...what can a little house cat do, I can't even hold a brush in these paws.”
They were now in Chaki's room, she could hear the others relating their stories from the main room as the Duke appeared in balefire and few around her room checking every little drawer and container.
“What is he?” Chaki wondered.
White Rose smiled as the Duke found the small box, opening it was the Totemic pendent, her Power Pendent from the Maidens and her hair clip.
“Ah just as I thought,” The Duke smiled as he turned each over in his paws starting with the Totemic pendent, “There is enough magic in this devious little toy to start a new chapter in my sweet Kandy's life.”
The Duke paused as all three levitated before him and he sighed, “It's a pity though, she is so beautiful in her true form...but...”
He shook his head, “She would not be satisfied, this chapter of her life is not about the love and luxury of being my mate, about being Duchess of Mewochester. No she is a fighter and there is still one more enemy she needs to put down.”
The Totemic Pendent exploded into light, the multitude of particles flying into the hair clip and pendent which gave a soft pink glow before returning to their box and then their resting place in the drawer, along with a note.
“What's that note say?” Chaki asked but the dream was fading, she was waking.
Chaki the cat yawned and stretched out as her eyes adjusted to the dark.
Just as he foot gently kicked something large in her stretching, turning over she found the face of Ashi lying next to her.
Chaki purred as the gently licked her face getting a soft giggle from the young girl, “I love my human.”
Carefully extracting herself from the sheets, and Ashi's arms Chaki leaps to the dresser, carefully reaching over and struggling to open the human contraption before falling into its opening atop some folded blouses with a soft yowl of distress
'Stupid human deathtrap,' she hissed as she angrily clawed at the blouses, 'What do they need with clothes anyway! Fur is so much better! And it doesn’t cost any money! I could have used that money on fish, milk, and video games!
Before catching her words and blinking, 'I really am thinking more and more like a cat aren't I?'
The chuckling softly, 'Well a cat that like video games, but still.'
'Focus Chaki,' she admonished herself as she returned her attention to the box and fumbled with the latch before eventually getting it open.
There it was, the note, folded expertly atop the hair clip and pendent. Carefully she pulled it free and unfolded it.
“Kandy my love,” it started.
“I know you too well to hope you would pout asides your dreams and duties and return home to Meowchester,” there was no paused in the letter but Chaki could also feel that the Duke had paused for a soft chuckle and a smile. “Though how can I blame you for putting the safty and peace of others above your own. It is just one of the many reason I have fall paw over paw for you...despite our less then glamorous first meeting.”
Chaki remembered it well The others had gone their own ways, called to different areas of the magical real by their own magical natures. Chaki the Cat had found herself instead following her nose. Finding a pie cooling on a window and before she know it she was covered in blueberry goo ling on her back in a pie tin with an overstuffed belly. When the owners found her she tried to talk her way out, but it was quickly devolving into a situation that wound see her sold off as a pet for payment, or worse. They didn't seem like bad people but they did not see her as a person just a mischievous talking cat that could fetch them a bit of coin. That wound have been the end of it too if there wasn't a know at the door and when they answered there he stood the Duke of Meowchester.
“Excuse me,” he said calmly, “But I do hope my wife has not caused you too much harm.”
“Wife!” Chaki remember her incredulity and her outburst, after everything that had happened prior she was no ones wife! No way no how!
It made her chuckled just a bit now as the same words brought a fond tear to her eye, 'Maybe being a wife and mother wouldn’t be so bad.'
Chaki chuckled, she had indeed gone native, Hanran would be proud.
The Duke crooked a smirk as he threw a handful of silver coins at the woman's feet, “I do hope that will covered the inconvenience.”
The woman looked down, collecting the coins as she set Chaki free, though bloated as she was with pie she was unable to walk but strangely the Duke had no trouble lifting her into his forepaws.
“Come dear, let's go home.”
Chaki blinked in confusion as she was carried, “Uh...thanks?” not even noticing as the Duke slipped a collar with a silver bell around her neck and then gave her a light kiss.
“No problem my dear, now let us return home.”
Chaki's gaze drifted to the Wedding band stuck to her paw, in retrospect the collar was not too different, it dulled her senses and reason, and filled her with a sense of bliss, 'I suppose the Duke though it was a kind give for all his mates, a collar to wash away all your troubles and drift into a warm oblivion of sex, catnip and luxury. She didn't need to think, to reason, in her new life as the Duke's fifth or sixth concubine.'
'In the end it was Rinna who saved me,' Chaki stopped reflecting and returned her eyes to the letter.
“I saw that determination to protect my godchild Ashi, a tale for another time, and so give of you all I had, all my magic funneled into you. I wanted to make sure there was no mistakes, no sudden loses, you would be able to fight for as long as possible even if it left me vulnerable. And in the end even after my capture you and Ashi came to my rescue, so thank you.”
Chaki laughed, 'Some rescue, those idiots were already unconscious when we got there, all we had to do was open the cage.'
The letter continued, “You exhausted you magic some time ago but infused with mine your body's ability to regenerate it, and to store it has been fundamentally changed. On their own however you would not be able to tap them for long which is why I need to take the Device's energy and mix it with my own to restore your powers as a Maiden.”
Chaki fell back into her blouses in shock the letter falling to the ground, by the time she untangled herself all that was in the box was the hair clip and pendent which brought a tear to her eyes. “So Kandy is back? For good? This had to be a dream!”
Chaki decided to test that by leaping from the draw to the letter on the floor intentionally fighting her body so as to not land on her feet. As her tail pinched as she landed on her rear she fought the urge to yowl out in pain, Ashi was still sleeping after all.
'Not a dream' she groaned as she got her feet under her and started down at the letter.
“You have no doubt discovered the cost of this resurrection though, it is no dream, no passing echo, the body you wear now is what you will wear until...” the letter paused her intentionally, again she could feel the Duke smile, “I've lived long enough not to suggest forever, or even till the day you die but until some other force plays it's hand in your life this is your true form.”
Chaki nods, 'Yeah I kinda already assumed that.'
“And I realize just how hard that will make your fight against the Oni of the Sansu, but for as long as your new magic lasts when you transform you would once again be human, one still half feline but human none the less. You can use that time to train with your friend, and to fight, as either the Green Samurai or a Maiden of Justice. But once the magic is exhausted you will revert to, what I consider, the far more lovely of your three forms.”
“So fight, win! Save the world. I've waited 9 lifetimes to find the one feline who could capture my heart. Even if she was born a human boy, I can wait another lifetime for you to be ready to settle down and com home. All my love, The Duke of Meowchester, Your husband...Mittens.”
Chaki fell backward at the last bit laughing, 'His real name is Mittens? Mittens! No wonder he just gos by the Duke.'
But then she quickly got over it as her eyes went wide, 'H-He told me his real name…'
He mind flashed back to thew wedding in the Sansu, Sho and the other demons smiling, “we wouldn’t want to sign a contract of marriage without true names right, Chaki, my dear?”
'True names hold power, Mit...the Duke wound know this better then anyone. And he confided his to me.'
Quickly unsheathing her claws she shredded the letter into a fine mist as tears fell from her eyes, 'I would have preferred to save the letter but Mit-” she caught herself again, “The Duke deserves better. Now forget the name! Forget it! You are the last person anyone should trust with a true name!”
After pounding her head for a bit Chaki sighed as she looked up to Ashi and made her way back into her arms, “It's late, I should get back to sleep...i have training in the morning.”