The Frog Swordsman
By Marie Nomad
Kaoru, Kenshin, and even Rumpy gawked as they entered the street to see flocks of birds covering the buildings, the roads, and even giant's heads. There were hawks, song birds, owls, ducks, and even a bunch of chickens. The birds turned as one towards Kaoru and then eyed the frog.
"Oro!" Kenshin gulped as Kaoru tucked him into her shirt and the birds flew at them.
"Go away!" Kaoru ordered as she waved her bokken around frantically.
"Batta bing!" Rumpy yelled as he got out his spinners and spun out a dome. "Under here!" He said as Kaoru ducked under the dome and he closed it over them.
Kaoru pulled the feathers out of her hair as Kenshin peeked out. "Are we safe?" He whispered.
The sounds of flapping wings struck the dome. Kenshin and Kaoru flinched. "Relax, this dome is bird proof. We'll be safe in here. It might last a while though. Make yourself comfortable." Rumpy said as he sat down.
Kaoru sat down as well and then put Kenshin onto her lap. "Do this happen often around here?"
"It shouldn't. Mass summoning creatures is illegal here. But, you never know in Sol Sagev."
Kenshin looked around. "Is it possible that someone was trying to hurt Kaoru-dono with these birds?"
"Heh, if they were trying to kill Kaoru-san they would've used something else. Mass summoning is widespread but very hard to control. No one, man or demon, would dare use a mass summoning spell against a single person and Sol Sagev could handle a flock of birds."
Kaoru looked down to see Kenshin still shaking. "Kenshin, it's okay. A bunch of stupid birds won't hurt me."
"I know." Kenshin looked down.
Unseen by the three, Rapunzel and the others walked out escorted by the MSI. "Great, first night here and we are being investigated." Rose muttered. They stepped out to see more birds sitting around. The birds were eerily silent.
Rapunzel whispered to Sanosuke who was still being very close to her. "Should I try to sing them away?"
"That would be unwise." Gil said as he gestured and a flying carpet appeared a few feet away. "Get on the carpet. We'll take care of the birds."
"Okay." Megumi, Rose, Yahiko, and Enishi carefully stepped around the birds.
Sanosuke picked up Rapunzel and walked towards the carpet. As soon as the group sat onto the carpet, thirteen men in matching white outfits with a pentagram on it came up. The leading man looked up at Gil. "Sir, my men are ready to take care of the problem. There are also several people who had erected powerful shields to protect themselves."
"Okay, then take care of them. And make sure the civilians are okay. I'll take care of these guys myself." Gil nodded.
"Yes, sir." The leader said as he saluted.
They sat in a white room sitting on white chairs surrounded by nothing by white. Yahiko adjusted his wig and muttered, "We've been in Sol Sagev only one hour and we already got into trouble."
"I would not say trouble." Gil said as he and a dark skinned man came in. "This is Warrick Bount. He will be helping me conduct this investigation. First, we need to know who you are. Magic will tell us what we need to know. Everyone hold out their hands or wings and place it on this tablet." He said as he held out a metallic tablet.
Megumi put her hand on it. The tablet said, "Princess Megumi Kamiya, species Human. Minimal magical potential and has in her possession a magical needle. No crime records."
"Interesting." Gil said as he held it in front of Yahiko.
Yahiko put his hand on it. "Prince Yahiko Kamiya, species Human in drag. Minimal magical potential and has magical glasses."
"Prince?" Gil asked as he raised an eyebrow.
"It's a long story." Yahiko said flatly as he pulled his hand away.
"I see." Gil held his tablet out to Sanosuke.
"Sanosuke Sagara, hoodlum, species Human turned into Chicken. Minimal magical potential and a slightly lower than average intelligence capacity."
"WHAT! Did you just say that I'm stupid!" Sanosuke screamed.
"Just what this tablet says." Gil shrugged and then held out the tablet to Rose.
Rose put her hand onto the tablet. "Rosalyn Red Yukishiro a.k.a. The Red Witch. Species Human. High magical powers hindered by sacrificial curse. Witching license number 05102005. No known crimes against humanity."
"The Red Witch, interesting. You haven't performed in ten years." Gil said as he adjusted his glasses.
"I… I was busy." Rose replied, "I did not cast the mass summoning spell."
"We'll see about that." Warrick said as he held up a scanner. "Blow into this. It's a special magical signature detector."
"Okay." Rose blew into the scanner.
"Why do you have to do that?" Megumi asked.
The dark skinned man replied, "Well, every witch, magical creature, demon, basically anything with magic powers have their own magical signature. It's as unique as a fingerprint. Anyone who casts spells leaves their magical signature behind. It helps us figure out who curses who in this crazy town."
Gil held out the tablet to Enishi. "I guess that you must be Enishi Yukishiro, Rose's stepbrother."
Enishi put his hand on the table. "Enishi Yukishrio. Species Human. Minimal powers and is being used as a sacrifice for a curse. No criminal record." The tablet said.
"I thought so." Gil said. He looked at Rapunzel who was shaking.
"Ummm… I was the one who called all those birds." The blond said as she gazed at him. "I didn't mean to do it! I swear!"
Gil smiled at her. "Well, it's rare to meet someone who admits to a crime. Just place your hand onto the tablet."
The blond put her hand onto the tablet and it glowed brightly. "Unknown. Species, Unknown. Overload. Insufficient data." The tablet smoked and the girl jerked her hand away.
Gil screamed as the tablet burned at his hand. It dropped onto the floor and said, "Well, that's new."
"Are you okay, Gil?" Warrick asked as he and everyone else gawked at the smoking tablet.
"Fine, just part of the job." Gil said as he reached into his pocket and got out a vial. He opened it and poured it in his wound. In seconds, the burn vanished.
"Oops, I did it again." Rapunzel picked up the tablet and it glowed brighter. "I'm so sorry."
Gil gazed at her and then grabbed the edge of Rapunzel's hair. He sniffed it and said, "I smell rampion blossoms. Tell me-"
"Rapunzel and Zelda." Rapunzel replied and the group slapped their foreheads at once.
"You have a split personality?" Gil asked intrigued.
"Oh no. I just have two different names right now because we are hiding out from bad guys." Rapunzel said as she twirled her hair.
Enishi glared at her. "You know, the idea of this is not to let anyone know of our problems."
Rose grinned as she pulled Gil to the side and said, "Gil, she's… telling the truth. We are hiding out from some very bad characters."
"I see, don't worry, all I care about is finding out how to prevent this from happening again." Gil said as he looked at the witch. "After all, it's not every day I get to meet a powerful rampion child."
"Rampion child?" Megumi repeated, "How could you tell?"
"Yeah, I am pretty normal." Rapunzel agreed as she nodded wide eyed.
Gil put his hand onto Rapunzel's golden hair. "For one thing, mass summoning spells are complicated spells. Normal mages can't cast them accidentally unless they are powerful. You also have that scent of rampion around you. It was not a well known fact but mages have unique smells that are defined by their personality and origin. Rampion children are the most powerful type of mages in the world distinguished by the scent of rampion blossoms. Yet, Rapunzel doesn't strike me as the type to know about such things."
Rapunzel nodded. "I'm sorry, I don't know much about anything. I've been living in a tower for ten years."
"Ah, that explains it. Well, we can help you understand your powers but I will need your cooperation." Gil said as he held out his hand.
"Sure!" Rapunzel reached out to take it when Rose blocked it.
"Hold it, I'm going to be watching. I've heard of the experiments you cast on your own comrades." Rose said warily.
"They are harmless experiments." Gil said as he looked away. "But, you and your friends may stay."
"Hmmm…" Megumi looked at the group. "Not all of us can stay here. We still have to find other people to help us. Rose, Rapunzel, and Sanosuke can stay here. The others come with me."
"Now wait a second!" Enishi yelled as he towered Megumi. "I have to stay with my sister! Why not have Sanosuke be with you and I can stay?"
Megumi simply crossed her arms. "Because, Roosterhead stands out too much and we need someone strong to help us just in case we get into trouble. Besides, only you and Rose know about Sol Sagev."
Enishi clenched his fist and released it. "Damn it, that is so logical. Fine, but we will meet back at the hotel in six hours."
"Good." Megumi smiled slightly.
"Thank you so much for helping us, Catherine-san." Kaoru said as she carrying Kenshin as always and Rumpy walked through the doors with a middle aged blond with blue eyes.
Catherine nodded as they walked down the talisman embedded hallways. "No problem. It's my job."
Rumpy smirked as he looked up at the woman. "Ah Catherine, what did you do to the people who did that mass summoning spell?"
Catherine tilted her head as she frowned. "Well, from what I heard, the woman did it accidentally and Gil is going to help her control her powers."
"May we see her?" Kaoru asked. Her group needed a powerful mage to fight for her kingdom.
"Sorry, but we can't allow cases to interact. There's no telling what could happen. Come this way." Catherine said as she opened a door and led the three in. Just as Enishi, Yahiko, and Megumi walked into the hallway, Kaoru, Kenshin, and Rumpy walked into the door.
Catherine turned on the lights and said, "Put Kenshin on the tablet for us and we will begin our examination."
"You're not going to hurt him, right?" Kaoru said as she hesitantly put Kenshin on the tablet.
"Don't worry, we do this all the time. He might feel a tingle but that's it." Catherine said as she tapped on a smaller tablet and looked at the results. "I thought so. This is a level three sacrificial curse."
"How bad is it?" Kaoru asked concerned, "Can you cure him?"
"Definitely not. Sacrificial curses are a level on it's own." Catherine held out her hand and a vision appeared in their minds. They saw a shadowed figure in chains being surrounded by three pale white spirits. "Sacrificial curses are cast by calling upon three spirits connected to the witch and the cursed to be." Then, they saw a cloaked figure waving her hands as the three spirits flew around them. A shadowed man came out and screamed as blood came out and hit the chained figure. "Those spirits and a sacrifice give the witch the power she needs to create a permanent curse but that witch will be bonded to the cursed one."
"Is there a cure?" Kenshin said as the vision faded.
"Yeah, if you kill the witch, the curse will reverse itself." Catherine replied.
Kaoru shook her head in disbelief. "No, I can't kill anyone, not even to save Kenshin. There has to be another way. Look, my kiss somehow triggers Kenshin to turn into a bigger frog." She blushed and picked up Kenshin. "Watch." She bent down and kissed him on the forehead like she always does.
In a bright light, Kenshin appeared and stood up. Catherine nodded as she scanned the frog again. "Now it's a level two sacrificial curse. Your kiss must have some special anti-curse agent in it."
"Anti-curse agent?" Kenshin and Kaoru repeated confused.
"Some people are born with the power to reverse curses. A person's lips, eyes, and hands are the main conduit of magic, that's why mages have to speak to cast their spells. Your kiss must have that ability but to weaken a level three curse is amazing." Catherine held up her tablet, "Kiss this tablet."
"Ummm…" Kaoru picked up the tablet and kissed it. The tablet glowed and Catherine looked at it.
"Odd, it has no anti-curse agent. On the other hand, sacrificial curses are very mysterious and very rare. There are many factors involved in solving this kind of curse." Catherine paused, "I don't know why your kiss could be involved. There is a man that we can go to. Well, he's a demon but he's a good demon."
"Truly fascinating." Gil said as he looked over the tests. "Your readings indicate that your mother had eaten a lot of rampion. Your power is very strong."
"Is there anything you can do her?" Sanosuke asked, "That blond packs a powerful punch."
"Well, her power of song is potent." Gil said as he held up a scroll. "Many rampion children die from too much power or by other people from pure fear. It was a good thing that witch kept her from others like that."
"Should I go to prison or something like that?" Rapunzel asked as she rung her hands. "I'm dangerous."
Gil patted her on the shoulder. "Rampion children are powerful and dangerous but they can control it. There's a man who could help you control your power. He's a empathic demon that specializes in musical powers. He can sense destinies and knows magic. If anyone could help you, he can."
"That would be great! I don't want to hurt anyone else because of that!" Rapunzel gushed as she ran up and hugged Gil.
"Who is this demon?" Sanosuke asked as he came up. "Is he good?"
"He's not good or evil. He's just one of those types to love songs. But, don't worry; he won't betray you or anything like that. I will call him for an appointment."
Enishi sulked as he, Megumi, and Yahiko walked through the street in search of warriors. Megumi was talking to a man wearing green leotards and a funny hat. "And so you see, we need brave warriors to rescue my kingdom from an evil demon."
"I'm sorry but I just came back from rescuing my princess from the evil wizard and I'm exhausted. I am not even really a man but a kid who had traveled forward in time. It's complicated." The man said as he held up his ocarina. "Sorry."
"That's all right." Megumi sighed and the man skipped off. "Damn."
"That was the third hero that refused." Yahiko said, "Who would think that it be this hard to find a good few men?"
"Most of these guys are on vacation and there are those who are retired and just looking for a job." Enishi replied as they walked on.
Megumi sighed. "Still, there's a chance. I heard of this group of seven samurai who had saved a village from bandits from long ago. It's not the numbers that matter but the warriors themselves. You are reasonably strong, Enishi, and we have a dragon on our side too as well as Rose. We might have a chance."
Yahiko crossed his arms. "I'd like to think that we have more than a giant rooster, a psycho (no offense), and a witch who can't use all of her powers, and a prince and princess to save the kingdom."
"Let's try in there." Enishi said as he ignored the psycho comment and pointed to a casino. "We might find someone in there. Oh yeah, kid, you can't gamble. Part of the rules."
The group walked in to see a vast place of spinning machines, men playing with boards, and those who are gambling with dice. "Wow." Yahiko muttered.
"It's a casino. We can find some warriors here." Enishi shrugged.
"Good, then let's start searching." Megumi said as they walked towards a group of gamblers.
The boy sighed and trudged forward. His feet hurt, his head itched, and he was dressed up as a girl. Then, he saw a figure dressed in a red cloak ahead of him. His heart pounded as he gazed at her shoulder length hair, her wide brown eyes, and that timid way she was holding her hands. "Hi." He said as he came up.
"Huh?" The girl spun around. "Oh, hi. It's such a relief to meet another girl my age." She smiled at him.
"Uh… yeah." Yahiko nearly slapped his head. The first girl he meets that he really like and he had to meet her in a dress. "I'm ah… Yahy. What's your name?" He asked in a higher pitched voice.
"Tsubame, I'm here with my grandmother." Tsubame said as she gesture to her grandmother who was rolling dice.
"Score! Come on baby, Granny needs a new pair of shoes!" Tsubame's grandmother said as she rolled the dice.
"Anyway, what are you doing here?" The girl asked Yahiko.
"I'm on a field trip with my sister and her classmates." Yahiko blushed again.
"Who is your friend?" Megumi said as she came up and looked at the girl.
"I'm Tsubame, it's an honor to meet you." The girl bowed and then blushed. She paused and asked, "Have I seen you before?"
"I doubt it. I am Foxy and that man over there is my chaperone, Tuxedo Cape." Megumi introduced. "Yahy-chan, we're going to look around for a while."
"Awww…" Yahiko muttered.
"I'm sorry but I have to watch my grandmother." Tsubame said as she bowed. "You are a very nice girl. I hope to see you again."
Yahiko blushed at the words. How can he tell this nice girl that he was really an exiled prince who was in drag? "Me too." He inched away and the group walked off.
"She's nice." Megumi commented, "Do I see marriage in the future?"
"Hey!" Yahiko blushed. "She was my age, that's it."
"Oh ho ho!" The woman laughed and then saw Enishi staring at the two. "What?"
"Nothing, it's just that you two reminded me of what I was like when I was Yahiko's age." The man said as they went down the noisy room. "Those were good times."
Catherine, Kaoru, Kenshin, and Rumpy went through the room. "This is the place." The older woman said as she gestured at the casino.
"So, this demon works in a casino?"
"Yup, he's a headliner in an act. He's an empathic demon who can see the past and future with his powers." Catherine explained as they went through the room.
"Kaoru!" The group turned to see Tsubame running up to them.
"Tsubame-chan!" Kaoru exclaimed, "What are you doing here?"
"I was going with my grandmother on a trip. She had been going for excitement since that wolf happened." Tsubame blushed and then looked at Kenshin. "Kenshin, you're… tall."
"Hai, it's a long story." Kenshin said as he smiled slightly. "It is good to see you again."
"Me too, how are you doing?" Tsubame asked, "Did you find your family yet?"
"Yes, but we're on a quest to find help to reclaim my kingdom." Kaoru explained, "Have you seen any good warriors?"
"Well, I've heard of some people looking for fighters. I'll keep an eye out for anyone."
"This way." Catherine said as she gestured to a set of curtains. The group entered and saw a room with a bunch of people sitting in chairs and tables looking at a stage with a microphone on it. A pair of hobbits was singing a song about rings. "That is the place. The demon reads people in a unique way. How's your singing?"
"Singing?" Kenshin repeated.
The two hobbits were done and a tall green demon with tiny red horns and red eyes walked onto the stage. He was dressed in a bright yellow outfit with a bright blue shirt. "And that was Frodo and Sam! Give the guys a hand!" He whispered something to the two and they nodded and walked off. "Good luck on your quest!" He saw Catherine. "Cathy-poo! How's my favorite ex-showgirl?" The two exchanged a quick friendly kiss on each cheek.
"Fine. Fine. I have a cursed frog in need of some examination." Catherine said as she held out Kenshin.
"Oooh, how cute. It's not easy being green, believe me. I'm Lorne, singer, empath, and lounge owner." Lorne introduced himself as he took Kaoru's hand. "And from that aura of yours, you must be a potentially strong fighter."
Kaoru blushed. "Well, I'm really just a princess on the run."
"Ah, I see. Well, why don't you step back there behind the curtains and we will get to you since we don't want anyone seeing you guys." He looked down at Rumpy. "Rumpy! How's my favorite dwarf?"
"Same old same old. Quests, curses, and all that other stuff. I miss my bunnies." Rumpy replied. "I thought you were still working for that vampire at that law firm."
"No way! I'm done in that biz. I'm a singer and I will stay that way." Lorne shook his head. "Anywho, let's have that quick check up. I'm on break anyway."
"Gotcha." Kaoru and the others went into the curtained room just as Rapunzel, Rose Red, and Sanosuke got in with Gil.
"Wow…" Rapunzel gasped as she gazed around. "Is this a lounge?"
"Yes, I come here to observe the various people singing and performing magic." Gil replied as they came up to a table and sat down.
Catherine saw them and came up. "What are you guys doing here?"
"The same." Catherine replied as she opened her menu. "I'm Catherine Willow. I work for the MSI."
"I'm Rapunzel and this is Rose Red and Sanosuke. Rose is a super powerful witch who has cursed the Battousai with a powerful curse and Sanosuke is a guy turned into a giant chicken."
Catherine paled slightly and nodded. "I see. I need to make a call." The older woman got out a crystal and put it on her forehead.
Kaoru held the microphone in her callused hands. Lorne told her that she must sing to reveal why her kisses changes Kenshin. Although she never wanted to sing in front of people, she had no choice. She sighed as she gazed at Kenshin sitting at a table still in his fighting frog form. He had stayed with her and even saved her a couple of times. She owed him and if she has the power to make him human, she will use it.
She opened her mouth and she sang.
All around me was darkness.
Save me and bring me to the light.
Infernos will destroy all.
The golden sun and the star of ice join together to show the path.
Left and right and right and left. Front to back and walk towards the fallen roses.
The one day everything will be.
Beware of the fire.
Kaoru stopped singing and Lorne nodded towards her. "Not bad. A nice original diddy but it's enough." The demon said.
"You got power, Princess. Magic blood runs through your veins but that's expected with most royal members; all that marrying with mages and the marrying very close to the family."
"I can do magic?" Kaoru wondered as she graced her fingers on her necklace. Her grandfather was a mage but he was a weak one and her parents couldn't do anything but the simplest of spells. The doctors said that she had some power but nothing superb.
"Not really. But, you do have power. Just stick with the frog, do what you have been doing, and everything will work out." Lorne advised as he pointed a scaly finger at the two.
"That's it?" Kaoru asked feeling slightly disappointed.
"Hey, curing curses is not an easy thing. Every one of these curses are as unique as radio stations." Lorne commented, "Your friend's froggy curse is a personalized curse." His pocket vibrated and he got out a crystal. "Wait a moment." He put it on his forehead and said, "Yeah? What? Great, thanks, Kathy-pie." He looked up and said, "Okay, why don't we go that way? There are some unsavory characters in the main lobby." He opened a door to reveal a portal. "This will take you back to your hotel room."
"What's going on?" Kenshin asked as he and the others went to the portal.
"Just people you don't want to meet right now." Lorne warned as he hurried them to the portal. "I'll take care of everything. Now shoo."
"Got it." Kaoru nodded and they vanished in the portal. A few seconds later, Rose, Rapunzel, and Sanosuke came in.
"Bug man!" Lorne gushed as he took Gil's hand and shook it. "How's it hanging?"
"Fine." Gil replied, "We have a small problem."
Lorne looked at the group and stepped back. "Whoa! Major magic mojo!" He looked at the three. "Ruby?" He asked Rose.
"No, that's my mother. I'm Rose Red." Rose said as she looked down.
"Oh, I see the resemblance and not just the red hair." Lorne replied, "Your mom was a great sage before that incident."
"You got a lotta baggage on you, Rosie. I mean, major magic baggage."
"I'm fine." Rose raised her hand. "Worry about Rapunzel, she is a rampion child."
"Rampion child!" Lorne's jaw dropped and then he looked at Rapunzel. "Oh… you're just radiating power. She's a 15 on a scale from 1 to 10."
"Can you help me? I don't want to hurt anyone." Rapunzel whimpered.
"We'll see what we can do. Hum a few bars."
"Hum?" The blond tilted her head. The demon chuckled and then cleared his throat.
"Like this. Hmmm hmmm hm hmmmm…" Rapunzel repeated and her body glowed gold. Her hair started to lift up from over her shoulders and waved under it's own power. The walls shook as paintings started to fall off.
"Enough!" Lorne pleaded as the walls shook. Rapunzel stopped and looked at the demon. "Wow, you do have major mojo going for you, too much mojo for someone as inexperienced as you."
"What can I do? How can I control my power? I'm not smart."
"Don't say that." Rose said, "You show some brains, you're just naïve about the world around us."
"The redhead's right, Rampion girl. The first thing you need to do is to control your power." Lorne whipped up a business card. "Just chant the spell and you will be taken to the Home of the Dark King. He's a powerful maestro who can train you."
"The Dark King!" Rose and Gil exclaimed.
"Rapunzel must be that strong to require their help." Gil observed.
"Can't you send her to someone else? I don't want Rapunzel near that Dark King." Rose said as she crossed her arms.
"He's not that bad. Besides, he has a childlike tendency that Rapunzel can relate to." Lorne said.
"Who's the Dark King?" Rapunzel asked.
"The Dark King is a powerful musician who was supposed to possess great power. But, he is a twisted man with… questionable tastes." Rose said as she shivered. "There are many rumors about him. Someone like you should be safe but not Yahiko."
"It's… better if you do not know. We better get the others and go to the Dark King's palace. But, we have to keep Yahiko at the hotel."
"Hey, The Dark King was cleared of the charges." Lorne argued, "He's harmless."
"I never trust any court system." Rose said as she turned around.
"Hey, I understand your distrust but The Dark King wasn't that bad. He has an aura like a child when he sings. That judge's daughter was married to him."
"For five minutes. All right, for Rapunzel's sake, we'll go to the dark king but Yahiko has to be on guard." Rose said as she took the two by the hand and led them away, "Let's go. Thanks, Lorne."
"Pleasure doing business with you. Good luck." The demon said as they walked off. He waited until he was alone. "You'll need it when you meet your frog assassin."
To Be Continued…