THE KEY TO VICTORY

a story written by

DELICIOUS GEARS


EPISODE 01: It's No Game


The massive man gazed up at the even more massive computer in the bowels of the flagship of the Oni Invasion Authority's main fleet. Even so, "massive" was a word that couldn't do justice to the absolute hugeness of the thing in front of him. It could take up the space of the average high school classroom and ask for seconds. And every part of it seemed to glow, or blink, or make various sounds.

It was the definition of the words "big and important". And because of that, it gave the somewhat small in comparison Oni a kind of comfort. There was the gnawing feeling that it might spit out the name of some moron to be champion of the small, populated planet below them. And some lame idiot to face off against his beloved daughter in her first Tag Game would be such a shameful thing.

But the Oni man still gripped the huge red knob that capped the huge golden lever in front of him with a fat hand capped with black claws, and pulled hard. He expected nothing less than the best of what this planet offered.

Almost instantly the machine whirred into life. The sounds of gears and engines churning and whirling inside the computer vibrated through the housing of the computer, making the teeth of everyone present shake. In front of them, three gargantuan tumblers whirled in front of him.

The Oni watched anxiously, as the tumbler on the left suddenly stopped with a reverberating clang. On the front, dead center, a number seven coloured red, trimmed in gold was shown.

A moment later, the second also stopped with a clang, also showing a number seven.

The Oni watched the last tumbler, his eyes burning as it slowed down gradually. The other symbols on the tumbler were visible as it slowed: a cherry, a tiger striped star, a black bar with BAR written on it, and one of the ugliest looking faces the Oni had ever seen: blad, wrinkled, impassive, but with eyes that seemed to be judging. He knew that if the tumbler stopped on that face, the result was practically a curse on his beloved daughter.

The Head Oni's heart froze as the tumbler slowed down with the ugly face on it, the eyes staring mockingly at him. He tried his best to glare back at it, even though he knew it was only a picture.

For a moment, it was almost sure that the thing was going to land on that ugly face. And then, in the blink of an eye, the tumbler suddenly jumped a space, to stop on one last red number seven.

Suddenly, the massive supercomputer metaphorically exploded into an orgy of bright flashing lights, like a discotheque was experiencing a manic episode. An obnoxious sounding fanfare exploded from the mainframe's speakers, reverberating throughout the chamber and almost blowing out the ears of everyone present. And then the computer vomited forth a sea of change onto the chamber floor, about two thousand ryou by the Head Oni's estimate (which probably would be enough for a nice Post-Invasion Celebration).

"The champion of Earth has been chosen!" A voice cried out, followed by cries of joy from the Oni gathered around the computer. "The Game is on!"

And all the Head Oni could do was hope that it just wasn't some random idiot.

Finally, the machine's light and music show died down. Holographic projectors rose out, and burst into life, sketching out a face for the Oni to see. It would be the face of the one who would face the Head Oni's daughter in her first Game to decide the ownership of planet Earth.

The face that was assembled, to the Head Oni's relief, showed some promise. It was the face of what looked like a random teenager, a boy with oddly androgynous beauty to his features. He had black hair that was somewhat short, but with a fringe that swept down to a single point on his forehead. The face had a defined look, a strong jaw without being chiselled, a proud looking snub of a nose. But the Head Oni noticed the eyes, the most steely, determined looking eyes he'd ever seen.

It was the face of somebody who was born a fighter.

Perfect.

"Let's see here…" A wizened general said, as he peered down at a printout of the details for the champion of Earth. "Our latest opponent is about sixteen years old. And he currently resides in the country named Japan, in a city named Kamogawa in Chiba prefecture." He pulled out the printout to read more. "His only known family is his father, and they've been known to wander from place to place in the vicinity of the country's capital."

"Businessmen?" The Oni said, his teeth curling back. "That doesn't sound like any fun to me."

"Not exactly…" The general replied. "These people apparently run a business on the local beach, but don't have much income to go by."

"So a salt of the earth type, then?" The Oni asked. "Sounds interesting. What's our champion's name, then?"

"Fujinami, sir." The general said. "Fujinami…"


"RYUUNOSUKE! GO NOW!"

Fujinami Ryuunosuke burst out into a dead sprint towards the receding tides, trying to keep up with her father as they both dashed into the breakwater. Once again, she had to follow her father in this stupid training session, that she could never really figure out the point of.

Sure, he was training her at all hours of the day, striving to import her the ability to carry on the "beloved" Hamachaya teashop that he owned. But that still didn't explain why they had to run in after the tide and yell insults at it.

"STUPID SEA!" They both bellowed out. "USELESS SEA!"

Then Ryuunosuke turned as the next wave rose upwards, surging forward towards them. She ran as fast as her legs could carry her, trying to keep ahead of the wave. She wouldn't dare turn her head to look behind her, not now. She can still remember the last time she did that during one of these exercises, and saw the wall of water looming just inches above her, before it dropped down on her head.

Instead, Ryuunosuke continued to sprint for the sands, almost feeling the lip of the wave hanging just above her head. As the dry sands came closer, Ryuunosuke leapt forwards like she was shot out from a cannon, clearing the wave just as it broke, and fell onto the sands behind her.

She slammed into the dry sands, the waves brushing the cracked soles of her feet. Once more, she had made it out relatively dry. She rose her head up and looked behind her, where she could see the prone body of her father floating amidst the waters. The sight made her smile somewhat; serves him right for making her do such stupid training. What kind of teashop owner try and taunt waves?

"Fujinami-kun?"

Ryuunosuke blinked, and turned her head back to see three men standing over her. Three rather large men, all dressed in formidable black suits and dark sunglasses, glaring down at her.

"Fujinami-kun," the suit in front of her said, "we need you to come with as soon as possible. This is a matter of the utmost urgency."

Ryuunosuke wanted to ask the man what kind of emergency, or maybe just what he was doing here and how did he know her name. Frankly, she had a lot of questions to ask, but her father had decided that would be the perfect moment to stomp on her back, squashing her against the sand.

"You worthless boy!" Her father said as he tried to grind Ryuunosuke into the sand. "How dare you leave your father behind like that!" Then he noticed the three men standing before them, and immediately changed his tune, putting a sickeningly ingratiating smile on his face. "Ah, welcome to our humble Hamachaya! What would you like?"

"We want to speak with your son," the man said stiffly. "It is a matter of the utmost urgency..."

"Oh, nonsense!" Mr. Fujinami suddenly said, cutting the man off. "You can't possibly have anything to do with my idiot son! He is a kind, and caring boy, he is just a little bit brain-damaged, that's all!"

"Of course we do," the man replied, "this is a matter of the utmost-"

Mr. Fujinami shoved him and his two compatriots backwards, towards the rickety shack sitting just behind them. "Of course you don't, you're here for some food and tea! I know your type! There is absolutely nothing that we cannot handle!" Then he turned towards Ryuunosuke. "Boy! Get on over to the Hamachaya! We have customers!"

Ryuunosuke groaned as she picked herself up once more. Trust her father to completely get the wrong idea and run off with it. And if anything goes wrong, she'll get the blame, as usual. He'll probably find something to blame her with, as usual.

Ryuunosuke rose up to her feet once more, brushing the sand from her shirt, and sprinted off towards the Hamachaya, as fast as her legs could carry her. Her father was taking the long way around, as a small mercy to her, allowing her to beat him to it, and clean the place up a little. It would've been pretty easy, considering they got pretty much no customers 'round this time.

Ryuunosuke quickly slipped into the Hamachaya, the floorboards creaking beneath her feet. But she stopped short a couple of steps from the entrance, when she saw the rather ominous looking figure sitting in the back of the teashop, silhouetted by the light coming in front the wooden slats behind him.

"So you must be Fujinami Ryuunosuke, huh?" A rather avuncular voice called out to her. "Pleased to meet you, kid!"

Ryuunosuke nervously approached the large man sitting at the table. Well, to call him large was an understatement: Ryuunosuke could tell that, even while he was sitting down, this man would probably be much taller and wider than most human beings can possibly be. The massive size would've been threatening by itself, but she could make out the man's features, with rather beady looking eyes, a large snub nose, and a wide grin with sharp fangs.

"My name's Invader, kid" The man said, presenting a business card to Ryuunosuke. "You already thinking that I might not be from around here?"

"The thought hadn't crossed my mind yet," Ryuunosuke said, turning the card around in her hand. The words were written in a script that definitely didn't look like anything she was familiar with. On the reverse side was a rather adorable drawing of the man in front of her, all chibi and cute looking. "Is that what most people tell you when you meet them?"

"Quite a few, actually," Invader replied.

Outside, Ryuunosuke could hear the voices of her father growing louder, as he tried his best to talk over the pleadings of the suits he was escorting with him. Ryuunosuke groaned, and stepped aside as her father all but dragged the man inside.

Mr. Fujinami strode inside, grinning from ear to ear. "Welcome to the Hamachaya! What would you like?"

"What we like is for your son to answer our challenge!" Invader bellowed, making Mr. Fujinami flinch and turn around. "I don't know what kind of game you're playing at right now, but I figure it's not half as important as the one we got here!"

Mr. Fujinami looked up at the man-mountain, his face rigid like stone. But even though his face showed no expression, Ryuunosuke could tell that the man was very intimidated. "What kind of game is it that you're planning, then?" He said, trying to hide the tremors in his voice, and not being entirely successful.

Invader just grinned. "Just a custom that our race likes to practice every once in a while." He pointed a single thick finger upwards. "Right now, we got about four of our super-carriers hanging up above this planet right now. Judging from our observing your radio and satellite transmissions, I figure we can take over this planet in about..." He hummed for a moment, counting off his fingers. "...six hours, give or take."

The suit that Mr. Fujinami dragged into the Hamachaya looked down at him. "This man met us just this morning, claiming all this. And he isn't kidding; we checked." He looked over at Ryuunosuke. "The only reason why they haven't attacked us yet is because they need you for some kind of challenge they need to go through."

Invader nodded, grinning widely. "One of us will play the Game of The Oni with you, boy. And if you win, we'll leave your planet in peace."

Ryuunosuke shrank back from the man-mountain. She was almost sure she was dreaming, or this was some elaborate prank that somebody, maybe her father, had dreamed up. This couldn't possibly be real!

"You gotta be shittin' me!" Ryuunosuke answered. "This is the stupidest thing I've ever heard!"

The head suit collapsed forward onto his knees. "You have to believe us, young man!" He crouched down lower, his head practically resting against the wooden floor. "You have the entire fate of the human race in your hands!"

"He's right!" Mr. Fujinami shouted, pointing at Ryuunosuke. "How dare you refuse this calling, even before we can properly negotiate the movie and book rights?! How could you pass up such lucrative opportunities?!"

"I ain't letting myself be sold out," Ryuunosuke shouted, "not here, and not now! I don't care if my life depends on it, I'm not letting you sell me out again!" She quickly ducked a beer bottle being tossed at her head. "What, no rousing speech for that?"

Mr. Fujinami just snarled and tossed more beer bottles at Ryuunosuke. "You dare throw away a father's love like that?! You're a disgrace to the human race!"

Mr. Invader watched as Ryuunosuke dodged beer bottles being flung at her with no degree of interest. Already he was getting a good feeling about this one: strong, self-reliant, with a powerful instinct for survival. In the years before, Invader had heard from his fellow Oni, champions for the tag race were usually handpicked by computer using a number of physical and mental examinations. It was a perfect system, designed to keep the tag race interesting.

However, there had been too many uprisings from the vassal states, which prompted an examination on the champion selection process, which led to the now current random draw selection that the champions had now.

Invader, of course, disapproved of such a system for the invasion process. His worry was simple: randomly selecting a citizen would lead to some weakling or malcontent being selected as champion. That would lead to more competent people under occupation deciding to fight back, which would lead to more needless violence and deaths at the Onis' hands.

But Invader's hands were tied, as the rest of the invasion council ignored his warning, and went ahead with the invasion on schedule. But at least the newest Champion looked like a promising candidate to give his daughter some challenge on her first tag race.

Speaking of which, Invader thought to himself, as a soft tremor ran through the floorboards of the Hamachaya. "Well, well, well, it looks like your opponent has arrived, kid!"

Ryuunosuke would have asked what the large man had meant, but the soft tremor soon built up into a teeth-chattering roar that made the bottles and crockey rattle around.

For directly above the Hamachaya hung a massive starship, a massive wedge of metal and plasma, painted in yellow with black tiger-stripes across the hull. The other beachgoers quickly fled screaming from the massive ship, the repulsion thrusters pushing down on the sand and the waves, forcing them down into a massive crater centered directly on the Hamachaya.

Then suddenly, yellow light flashed from the underside of the ship, before arcing down, striking the Hamachaya directly, punching through the rickety roof and blowing all the walls out. Ryuunosuke threw her arms over her face as the concussive force shoved her backwards, and sending her father and the suits flying backwards.

Ryuunosuke blinked away the rainbow scorched across her eyes, rubbing them against her arm, before opening them to see... a girl, standing in the centre of the room. A girl that looked to be around her own age, maybe younger, with dark green hair that reached down behind her back, a pair of stubby little horns sprouting from the crown of her head. A girl wearing a yellow tiger-striped bikini and boots, and little else.

The girl smiled at Ryuunosuke brightly. "Sorry to keep you waiting! I'm Lum, your opponent!"

It took several minutes before Ryuunosuke realised that her jaw was hanging open. She clapped her hand over her mouth, trying to regain her composure, before turning to Invader. "This is still some kind of joke right? Are there hidden cameras around here or something?"

"Nope!" Invader was grinning from ear to ear. Ryuunosuke could see massive fangs jutting out from his mouth, to match the sharp looking horns rising up from his head. "If you tag my daughter's horns in the next ten days, Earth wins its freedom, and we'll leave your planet in peace. Simple as that." He rose from his seat, standing to what looked to be ten feet tall. "So, kid, what d'ya say?"

"Ryuunosuke accepts!" Mr. Fujinami said, somehow standing in front of Invader before he could blink. "Leave the defence of this fair planet to my son!"

Ryuunosuke's jaw dropped once more. Around her, a sudden phalanx of journalists, cameramen, reports and photographers surrounded her, dazzling her with flashing bulbs and barrages of questions. But all of that seemed to recede away, fading into the background, as the fate of the world came crashing down on her shoulders.


Eventually, the media firestorm receded, and Ryuunosuke was left standing stupidly in the wreckage of the Hamachaya. Lum sat at one of the tables still standing, while her father returned to his starship. Ryuunosuke's father had gone off to do... something, leaving both of them alone on the beach.

Slowly, Ryuunosuke turned to look at Lum, sat with her legs crossed at the knee, staring at the reddening horizon. And slowly, the realisation of everything that was happening hit her all at once.

"What the hell is going on?" Ryuunosuke asked slowly.

Lum blinked, and turned to look at Ryuunosuke. "Oh, nothing much. Your father's off somewhere, Daddy's helping prepare for the game tomorrow." She gave Ryuunosuke a smile. "I thought you were going to be like that for hours!"

Ryuunosuke walked numbly over to the table, and sat herself down opposite Lum. "Are we seriously going to do this? You and me?"

Lum blinked once more. "Of course! To be chosen to play the Oni Game is a great honour to us Oni! Even if we lose, our names are written down in inequity!"

"Don't you mean antiquity?" Ryuunosuke asked, her brow furrowing. "Besides, that doesn't even make any sense!"

"You should still be so honoured to face me!" Lum said, plucking out a can of cola from a nearby cooler. "You were randomly selected by our computers to be my opponent, to face me in glorious competition. Doesn't that move you in any way?"

Ryuunosuke ground her teeth in the face of Lum's unrelentingly chipper expression. "So there's a chance that I'm probably gonna get lynched if I lose!"

"Maybe," Lum said, "but to be honest, it's probably better than the life you've been leading up until now, from the looks of it."

Ryuunosuke glared at Lum. "When you put it like that, you have a point." She jabbed a finger at the Oni girl. "Alright then! I'll play along! I'll face you in this Oni Game, and I'm gonna win! It's either that, or die, right?"

Lum smiled at Ryuunosuke, brushing back her hair. "I should warn you, I'm not that easy to catch!"

Ryuunosuke's gaze hardened, a dangerous grin forming on her face. "That just makes it all the more interesting!"


There wasn't a cloud in the sky above Shibuya's scramble crossing on the day that the fateful game for the fate of Earth would begin. The city was teeming with people, kept off the roads only by the efforts of the JSDF, who were trying their best to keep the roads clear for the game to carry on. Every car in the Shibuya ward was directed elsewhere, turning the streets into a strange arena for the two youths standing in the middle of the scramble crossing.

On one side stood Ryuunosuke, wearing a blue tank top with black spandex shorts, and a pair of running shoes. On the front of her top, someone had printed a big blocky number "7" in red. She stretched out on the tarmac, trying to prepare herself for the game to start.

As she stretched, she kept a close eye on Lum, who was bouncing up and down a few metres away from her, dressed in her usual tiger-skin bikini and boots. It looked less like she was warming up, and more like she was dancing her way across the road, with not a care in the world, looking like she was floating with every step.

Ryuunosuke could only wish that she could be as blase about anything as Lum looked like she was at that moment. She didn't have to worry about her father pulling deals on her behind her back, or constantly lying to her all the time, or trying to beat the shit out of her on a regular basis. If she thought she was just going to sleepwalk her way to victory, then Ryuunosuke would make sure that she would have another thing coming.

"On your marks!"

Ryuunosuke approached the starting marks, trying to tune out the noise and fervour of the crowd as Lum hopped back up opposite her.

"Ready!"

The crack of the starting pistol could barely be heard over the crowd, their excitement reaching fever pitch.

Ryuunosuke burst forward, charging headlong towards Lum. She outstretched her arms, ready to grab at her, who was still standing there in the middle of the street, like she was...

...like she had some kind of trick up her sleeve...

Almost abruptly, Ryuunosuke tried to decelerate before she almost ran smack into Lum. Well, she would have, if Lum didn't suddenly spring into the air, soaring over her head. And then continued to rise upwards into an impossibly long arc, before gliding down to ground on her toes.

Ryuunosuke turned around to face Lum. "You didn't tell me you could fly, you alien bitch!"

Lum just started giggling. "You just didn't do your homework, boy!"

Ryuunosuke charged forwards once again, roaring as she sprinted headlong towards Lum. She knew that Lum would leap out of the way once again, but this time she would be ready.

Sure enough, Lum leapt over her head once more. But Ryuunosuke leapt upwards with her, bouncing off a signpost to try and grab her. But Lum rose too quick; she fluttered just out of her reach. Ryuunosuke ended up plummeting into a crowd of people, barely being caught and crowd surfed around.

Ryuunosuke squawked as she landed hard on the road once more, getting herself tangled in the rope being used for the police cordon. She growled as she untangled herself from the rope, gathering them around herself. Well, she didn't hear any rules against using foreign objects in this game...

Ryuunosuke ran back after Lum, tying a discarded traffic cone to her rope. To her relief, Lum seemed to still be within reach; maybe there was something in the Oni side of the rules keeping her from just flying high above the city, out of reach of anyone.

Ryuunosuke gathered some slack in her hands, and swung the cone around in a circle. Lum floated above her blissfully, apparently not realising just what she was planning. That was good enough for her, of course.

As Lum descended, she turned and noticed Ryuunosuke, finally. That was the cue for Ryuunosuke to toss the cone right at her.

The shot was true, the cone flying past Lum's shoulder, and dropping down behind her. Ryuunosuke grabbed the rope and yanked back as the cone fell, causing it to jerk around and wrap the rope around Lum's body, binding her arms together..

Got her! Ryuunosuke grinned as the crowds around her erupted. Now all she had to do was get up to Lum and tag her horns! She yanked Lum down as hard as she could, pulling her in like she was an unruly dog on a leash.

Above her, Lum struggled and jerked around, fighting Ryuunosuke every step of the way. "You're not getting me that easily!" But even as she fought, Ryuunosuke kept dragging her in, pulling her closer.

"I'm not gonna let you go!" Ryuunosuke snarled as she dragged Lum further down. Just a few more tugs, and she would be within reach! She would be able to win!

Lum suddenly whirled around, managing to untangle the rope from around her body. "Ha!" Ryuunosuke's eyes bugged out as she begun to slip out from inside the rope. In desperation, she launched herself forward, making a grab for the oni girl before she could fly off once more.

Ryuunosuke grabbed hold of Lum's bikini top just as Lum began to lift away, yanking her back down to earth. She looked up, just as Lum was giving her a glare that could curdle milk.

"Let go of my bikini!" Lum's foot slammed into the side of Ryuunosuke's face, sending her reeling backwards. She skidded across the floor, rolling to a stop. Around her, Ryuunosuke could hear the crowd reaching new heights of hysteria, but with her vision blurred from the impact of Lum's kick, she wasn't sure what they were cheering about.

When Ryuunosuke's senses finally returned, she raised herself up once more, expecting to see Lum somewhere over the horizon. She was somewhat surprised, however, when she saw Lum still standing in the middle of the road, her arms about her body, a terrified look on her face.

And then Ryuunosuke looked down, and found that she still had Lum's bikini top firmly held in her hand. Her stomach dropped out from under her as she realised that Lum was probably fully exposed, worldwide.

Ryuunosuke looked back up at Lum, and her blood froze as she noticed the savage look on her face. And that she was looking directly at her.

"Gimme that back! That's my only outfit!"

And now Lum launched herself at Ryuunosuke, much faster than she expected. She barely had the chance to roll out the way, and sprint out of Lum's reach. This was a horrible irony: the hunter becoming the hunted! Even the crowd seemed to be laughing at the both of them, now.

"I said give me that back!" Lum shouted, the desperation in her voice coming through loud and clear. Even so, it didn't stop the crowd from laughing at her.

Ryuunosuke felt sicker than ever. Even Lum didn't deserve this kind of humiliation. She wanted to end this match now, before the whole thing got any worse.

The statue of Hachiko, on the front of Shibuya Rail Station stood out amongst the people and police. For some reason, the police managed to block the public from around the statue. That meant, as far as Ryuunosuke was concerned, it was fair game.

Ryuunosuke slowed her pace slightly, allowing Lum to draw in closer. She could tell, because of that odd sound she made growing louder as she flew in closer. But as Lum was getting closer, they were also getting closer to Hachiko.

Ryuunosuke sprinted forward, and leapt upwards, planting one foot on the head of Hachiko, before springing off backwards, right at Lum. The Oni girl barely had time to react before Ryuunosuke slammed into her, and caught her in a vicious bear hug.

Lum squealed in indignation as Ryuunosuke clung on for dear life, dangling from her from several feet off the ground. If she fell at the wrong time, she would probably risk a broken leg or two, at the best.

"Get her, Fujinami!" A voice in the crowd bellowed out. "Get that alien bitch good!" The crowd exploded into a roar as Ryuunosuke clung on, the ground slowly receding away from her.

The hard part was over. Now all she had to do was touch her horns.

Lum and Ryuunosuke twisted around in the air, as Lum tried to shake Ryuunosuke off her. But all she managed to do was get Ryuunosuke to hold on tighter, wrapping her legs about the other girl's thighs to keep herself on her.

"I said let me go, already!"

Lum twisted her body once more, and then suddenly dove through the air, slamming Ryuunosuke back first into the window of a building. It was an impact hard enough to create large spiderweb cracks in the glass. But all it did was knock the air out of Ryuunosuke, and cause her to tighten her grip on her.

"I'm not... letting... go!" Ryuunosuke gasped out, black dots swarming her vision, as she slowly dragged herself up along Lum's body. Lum could only squirm and scream as Ryuunosuke forced herself further up.

"No! Let me go!"

And the next moment Ryuunosuke knew, everything was pain. Lum's lightning wracked through her body and arced across the air, striking the building next to them. Glass shattered and exploded as the lightning hit it, electronics went dead, the people inside were sent flying as they got hit.

"I'm not letting go!" Ryuunosuke ground out, as she dragged herself further upwards. "I'm NEVER letting go! I ain't EVER gonna let you go!"

With one sudden motion, Ryuunosuke reached out and roughly grabbed Lum's horns.

The last thing Ryuunosuke heard before she fell into blackness was the roar of the crowds below. And the last thing she saw was Lum's face staring up at her, eyes wide and innocent, like nothing that happened in the past hour or so had even mattered.

It was the most beautiful face that Ryuunosuke had ever seen.

"Ryuunosuke? Ryuunosuke!"

The next thing Ryuunosuke knew, something struck her face so hard that her vision exploded into white light. That first impact was followed by several more, a barrage of slaps around her face like it was a ball of mochi.

"RYUUNOSUKE!"

On instinct, Ryuunosuke swung out her fist as hard as she could. Satisfaction filled her as she felt it strike flesh, and whatever was grabbing hold of her had let go.

Then there was the feeling of her body landing hard against something soft.

And then Ryuunosuke opened her eyes to see Lum staring down at her.

"Darling...?"

Another face loomed into her vision: the face of Invader, Lum's father. "You sure got a lot of spunk in ya, kid! The way you walloped your old man like that!" He grinned even more widely. "That takes me back!"

"Darling!" Lum said happily. "You're awake!"

Ryuunosuke blinked as she raised herself up slightly in Lum's arms. "Darling? What?" Confusion started to swirl in her as Lum wrapped her arms around her neck, pressing herself against Ryuunosuke's chest. Wait, did she not put her bikini top back on yet, or...

"You gave my girl a pretty good game back there, kid!" Invader went on, seemingly unaware of Ryuunosuke's confusion. "You're gonna make one hell of a match with her!"

"Match?" Ryuunosuke asked. "But didn't we already have one?"

Then her father's hand slapped her back like a meteor falling to earth. "He means a wedding match, my boy! Those words you said to her when you were fighting for the Earth, they struck a chord deep within her! So she and her father came up to me with a proposal!" He clapped his hand tightly on Ryuunosuke's shoulder. "You and Lum are going to be married!"

Ryuunosuke blinked. She looked over at Lum and blinked. Blinked again. She hoped that any moment, she would wake up, and find herself in her ratty futon in the Hamachaya. Somewhere, anywhere, other than right here in Shibuya, right now.

"You gotta be shittin' me!" Ryuunosuke shouted, springing up to her feet. "I can't marry her!"

"Darling!" Lum said, leaping up to cling to her once more. "On my planet, marriage proposals are a sacred bond! I'm going to devote the rest of my life to you!"

"You can't do this to me!" Ryuunosuke shouted.

"I can!" Lum said, a dangerous tone to her voice. "'Cause if you try and cheat on me...!"

"That's not the problem! I'm A WOM-AAARGH!"

Ryuunosuke jerked and screamed as several hundred volts of electricity ran through her, along with her father, who still was hanging on to her. Everyone around her was shocked into silence as the lightning flashed, leaving Ryuunosuke and her father blackened and smoking.

"You must be so happy right now, Darling!" Lum beamed as she cuddled close to Ryuunosuke's barely conscious body. "You're so sweet! We're going to be so happy together! I just know it!"

Somehow, Ryuunosuke couldn't quite see it Lum's way. At all.


to be continued


NOTES: I should probably explain what I'm doing right now.

Probably something like eight years ago, I wrote and published my first UY fanfic on . This was back when there was barely any UY fanfic on the net, at least to my limited perspective. I wanted to write something that I wanted to read, because I wasn't sure that there was anyone out there who would do it for me.

Now, eight years later, I look back on that story and I feel somewhat embarrassed by it. It feels like it's trying a little bit too hard to be funny and provocative, when in the end it didn't need to be either of those things. But considering that I occasionally get people who tell me that they love the story, I feel like I need to bring it back somehow, so this is my attempt at that. I'll probably add in the occasional chapter or two, every now and then.