Fanfic by Steven Biggs
Chapter Five – Finale
Tsuruko stands next to the hot spring, searching the area for any sign of Motoko's return.
"Urashima-san, I do not like this plan of yours. If you fail, no, I could not describe the horrors that will befall the land if you do not succeed. I ask that you reconsider this course."
Shinobu looks over at the sword master.
"This offers some hope for all of us. If it screws up, we can limit the losses to only four people."
Keitaro, sitting on a boulder nods his head.
"Listen to her; she is the key to our hope."
Tsuruko nods her head.
"At least let them reform your protective barrier. It may be the only thing that saves her. It risks losing you both"
Shinobu shakes her head.
"No. Let her come. I'll deal with her myself."
Keitaro looks up at her.
"You are a much braver person than I. I have been happy to know you."
The young cook reaches up and scratches her head.
"The pleasure's been all mine!"
Keitaro stares at the remote control that is clipped to his shirt.
"How were you supposed to operate this again?"
He turns it over with one hand. Handing the sword to Shinobu, he unclips the remote and studies the device. Tsuruko grips her sword and stands over him.
"What is wrong?"
"I do not know how to work this."
"Did not, Shinobu, tell you?"
Keitaro nods his head and looks up at her.
"She told me to just press the big red button."
He tenses as he sees Tsuruko glance sharply to her left. He nods his head. The sword master, her strike already prepared, turns and launches a vortex of chi at a window on the third floor. Motoko leaps into the night sky, darkness against darkness. Claws extended she hurls waves of dark mists towards the hot spring, shrouding Keitaro, Shinobu and Tsuruko. Using her sword, Tsuruko creates another vortex, which begins to disperse the dark cloud.
"She comes! Guard yourselves!"
Motoko swoops down and flashes through the group. A scream echoes as the darkness lifts. Tsuruko blasts another wave, its bluish light revealing that Motoko has captured Shinobu once more. Keitaro points the remote control and slaps the big red button. Gliding swiftly in from all directions, the Mecha-Tamas converge on their target, lighting the night with brilliant flashes of fire. The demon veers frantically, until one blast hits, knocking her towards the ground. Still grasping Shinobu's neck with her left hand, she flings her right, shooting dark spears towards the automatons. They explode, one by one, as the daggers find their targets. Rising into the night again, she pulls the Hina Sword from Shinobu's weakening grip.
"Victory! I reclaim my power and I now possess the one thing that could stop me! This land shall pay for denying my will and the Shinmei School will burn! Kappa! I will destroy that which defeated even you! And then I will raze every pitiful shrine with your name upon it!"
She clenches her left fist and Shinobu's eyes close as her head droops forward. The two figures blur and melt into one another, becoming one being once more. She lifts the Hina Sword and pulls it from its scabbard. Pointing the blade at Keitaro, she snarls, drool dripping from her lips as she savors her victory.
"And now, Urashima, you shall die! You shall die at the sword of your very own ancestor!"
Tsuruko places herself in front of Keitaro as the demon dives towards them.
"Urashima-san, you must survive! Flee, and I will hold the demon here!"
Keitaro looks past Tsuruko and whispers.
"Now, do it now Sempai.
Motoko halts, her breath panting as she stares at the Hina Sword. The hand that holds it turns the blade towards her bosom. She grips her right wrist with her left hand.
"No! It, it is not possible! I have won! No!"
The demon screams, terror and rage combined as the Hina Sword begins to pierce her chest. Dark tendrils tear from her body and flow into the blade.
"You vile, deceiving, treacherous male! NO!"
She plunges the sword though her chest and screams again, a hideous, inhuman shriek. The blade falls to the ground, the last wisp of darkness flowing into it as it rolls to a stop. Tsuruko leaps over and stands over the sword. Lifting it quickly, she slides the scabbard back in place. She turns and looks at Keitaro.
"He has done it. Let us hope that it does not result in his own destruction."
Keitaro bows his head as light emanates from his body. When the light recedes, Shinobu speaks.
"Sempai is much braver than I am. I feared Motoko's wrath, and would not openly disobey her while we were one."
"I hope that he will be okay, now that he is in the demon's prison."
Somewhere, in a place where light is forgotten and night is all, a small light appears. Keitaro looks around at the unfathomable night, his eyes unable to focus on the infinity of nothingness. He raises his hands, which are clearly visible, but his light touches nothing else. A chill, which permeates him without any noticeable breeze, causes him to shiver. He listens for any sound, but nothing reaches his ears. Slowly, he takes a step, his feet seemingly upheld by the nothingness itself.
Keitaro spins around, but nothing indicates where the speaker is located.
"You vile, puny male! You may think this a victory, but it shall not avail you. Even now, I am striving to regain my freedom."
Keitaro shakes his head.
"You'll never get out of here. Shinobu-chan and Tsuruko-san will not allow you to escape. Shinobu-chan is ready to re-enter this sword and the Shinmei School will end your existence. Forever!"
The darkness crashes against Keitaro, throwing him to the ground. Tendrils wrap around him, trying to crush him from existence. As he screams, light burns from his body, dispelling the bands. He gets to his knees, panting.
"W-Was that, that light from me?"
He clenches his fist and a globe of light forms. Motoko lunges at him once more, knocking them both across the unseen floor. She slashes with her claws, swiping them through his chest. Keitaro scrambles away, pausing to look at his wounds.
"What? I, I felt her strike me, but there isn't even a cut!"
Clawed fingers wrap around his neck from behind.
"Stupid male! Spirits do not bleed. However, they can feel pain! And yours will be exquisite agony!"
Keitaro tries to drag her fingers away, not wanting to pass out and leave himself completely vulnerable. As he struggles, he discovers that here, he does not need to breath. Bolstered by that insight, he drops his arms and falls to his knees. Motoko, believing him to be weakening, releases one hand and draws it back for a thrust through his back. He falls to the ground, drawing the demon above him. Raising both hands, he clenches them into fists, causing the light to appear once more. Motoko hesitates.
"What . . ?"
Lifting his right leg, Keitaro smashes his foot into the demo's face, causing her to reel backwards.
"You dare strike me! I will destroy you!"
Darkness lances out from her claws, piercing Keitaro. Pain knits his brow. His screams again, bursting light from his body. The demon's tendrils fade in the brightness, freeing Keitaro. While the light lasts, he can sense Motoko's exact movements. He finally realizes that, even though this is a prison, he is still the master of the Hina Sword. Rolling over, he pushes himself to his feet.
"You can't stop me, not in here, Motoko-chan! I am the master of the sword, and in here its power is ME."
Standing once more, he lifts his arms. Light, blindingly bright, leaps from him, beating back the darkness. Slowly, like a stream trying to wear down a mountain, the light bites into the night. With each shred of darkness that falls, his light becomes stronger, consuming the gloom. The demon hurls gouts of darkness at him, but they fray and dissolve into his light. Summoning all her power, she tries to beat back his light with her own impenetrable darkness. Keitaro's voice echoes as the light gains ground.
"A single light in the darkness is a beacon! But, a dot of darkness in the light is but a shadow!"
Motoko screams and tries to flee, but the light spreads, denying her any escape. She falls from the brightening sky and crashes to the ground.
"No, please, I cannot stand the light! It burns me, it hurts!"
Keitaro walks over, kneels next to Motoko, and places a hand on her shoulder. Instantly, smoke rises from his touch. The demon rolls away from him.
Keitaro stares at his hand.
"M-Motoko-chan, I'm sorry. I didn't mean to hurt you."
She snarls at him like a wounded animal.
"Do not toss your compassion at me, Urashima! I spit at the light!"
He sits back and looks at her.
"Is the light so bad? Why would you always want to be in the dark?"
"Spare me your inane drivel! Darkness is the only true power! I curse you and everything the light stands for!"
He bows his head for a moment and then looks at her.
Waves of light buffet the demon, hurling it an untold distance. It comes to a stop and leaps to its feet, but Keitaro is already standing before her. She turns and flees, but he is before her even as she turns. Motoko hisses at him.
"Away from me, you loathsome creature!"
Motoko leaps into the sky, but he appears before her once more.
"You can't get away from me, not in here, Motoko-chan. I am the light and the light is me"
"I am not Motoko! I am, I am . . ."
She tries to raise her darkness, but the tendrils fade as soon as she lifts them, unable to survive the light. She falls to the ground and drops to her knees. Realizing that there is no escape from his light, the demon bows her head.
"Finish me then, Urashima!"
He is silent. After a few moments, the demon lifts her head.
"Do you wish to gloat? Then do so and be done with it!"
Keitaro shakes his head. He smiles and holds out his hand. The spirit stares at him.
"I told you that I do not want your sympathy! End this game and destroy me!"
"That's not why I'm here, Motoko-chan."
"I want to make a deal."
"I told you that I will not rest until the threat of this vile sword and it's owner is ended. I would rather you destroy . . ."
He silences her with another flash of light.
"I want to give you the sword!"
She steps back.
"What vile trickery is this?"
Keitaro shakes his head.
"It's not a trick, Motoko-chan. You said that you didn't want to be imprisoned anymore. If I gave you the sword, then you would be its master. That would make you safe, wouldn't it?"
Motoko looks around, squinting into the light.
"I, I do not know. Only the master may command the sword."
She stares at him suspiciously.
"You said a deal. What is it that you want in return? Am I to be your slave, subjugating myself into servitude once more?"
He shakes his head.
"No, you'll be free. But, there is a price that you must pay."
"You desire my power, is that it, Urashima? You wish to rule!"
He smiles at her.
"I wouldn't even know where to start if I had your power. I'd probably end up blowing my hand off every time I tried to use it."
Unbidden, laughter escapes from the demon.
"That is true."
She forces a scowl back onto her face.
"What then, is your price?"
"Remember what you felt when you laughed just now? That's part of my price."
The demon glares at him.
"You, you wish for me to return to the world as Motoko?"
Keitaro nods his head.
"That's what I wanted from the first. For everything to be like it was."
"You, you would accept a demon into your home, knowing what I really am?
He tilts his head.
"It couldn't be any worse than when you allowed, and I quote, 'that perverted, deceiving, loathsome, vile, male' into Hinata-sou. If you have the power, I'll leave it to you if we remember what you were. The choice is yours."
"That part of me that is Shinobu shall still retain her power. I do not want to exist if she is to have dominance over me."
Keitaro smiles again.
"She'll be joining us in here soon. She just wants to be plain Shinobu again. She'll leave her part of your power sealed away in this sword."
Motoko looks at him.
"And, I suppose that it is your wish that I restore Naru-sempai as well."
He nods his head.
"If it's not too much trouble."
He reaches a hand out to the demon once more.
"Take my hand, Motoko-chan."
She shakes her head.
"No, your light burns me."
Motoko continues to look at him. He sighs.
"Look at it this way. You'll have me around to beat up whenever I do something wrong."
She bows her head. When she looks up, it is with the face of the Motoko that he knew.
"Urashima, even a life a Motoko is preferable to nothingness. However, the Shinmei School will not allow me to exist in any form."
He shakes his head.
"Tsuruko-san knows what I am doing. I will not destroy you if there is any other way. The Shinmei School will have to be happy with a compromise, if you accept."
She smiles and slowly touches her hand to his.
"You drive a hard, yet equitable bargain. However, there is very little light in me. Kappa was, a cruel master."
He nods his head sadly.
"I know. Tsuruko told me about what happened to you. If you chose not to stay at Hinata-sou, then I can understand."
The demon concentrates, and her form returns to that of Aoyama Motoko. A smile lightens her lovely face.
"What would there be for me anywhere else? At least here, I can continue tormenting, uh brining justice to you when your perverseness raises its vile, treacherous, deceiving head."
He hugs Motoko.
"That's enough for me, Motoko-chan."
After a few moments, she slowly wraps her arms around him.
"I will make an exception, in this case. But, be warned, if you attempt to hug me when we return, I shall have to punish you."
Motoko leans back and looks at him.
"Thank you, Urashima."
In another flash of light Shinobu appears, holding a hand to her chest. She looks at Motoko and Keitaro.
"I hate it when you stick a sword through your own chest! Sempai, I sensed that your mission here was completed, and I returned to the Hina Sword. Are you ready?"
He nods his head and takes Shinobu's hand. He holds his hand out to Motoko and she places her hand in his. Standing between the two spirits, he smiles.
"Let's go home!"
A few days later, Keitaro walks home to Hinata-sou, having just seen Naru and her sister Mei off on the train. Kentaro drives by, taunting him until Tama-chan leaps over lands on the front window of his car. The vehicle careens out of control and heads directly for the manager.
"I'm, I'm gonna die!"
A figure dressed in white and red leaps in front of him. Drawing her sword, she slices the car in two. Keitaro stares at her.
"That was the Rock Splitting Sword technique! Thanks for saving me, Motoko-chan!"
The woman turns and lifts her straw hat as a bird lands on her shoulder.
"Excuse me young man. But, did you say, Motoko-chan?"
Thirty minutes later, Motoko slides open the door to Hinata-sou and places her pack by the door. Kitsune looks over at her.
"Ya'll have a guest, Motoko-chan!"
The sword master walks into the common room and spots her sister, Tsuruko, sitting on the couch. The older woman looks up and smiles at her.
"It has been a long time, Motoko-chan."
Backing away until she crashes into the front door, cracking it, Motoko sputters.
Motoko cautiously moves towards the common room once more.
"Wh-what are y-y-you d-doing here?"
Tsuruko continues smiling at Motoko while reaching out with her chi.
("The evil presence is no longer with her, and it is obvious that none of them remembers the events of a few days ago. The power of the demon is sealed away. It is still hazardous, but it will never threaten the land again. That is well.")
"It is time for you to return to the Shinmei School and assume your duties. I have come to take you home."
She drags her younger sister towards the door. Looking around, Motoko locks her gaze on Keitaro. Pulling free, she rushes over and grabs his arm.
"I c-cannot return with you! The, the truth is sister, is that this man and I are to be wed!"
Su, Kitsune, Shinobu, Keitaro, and Haruka look on in varying degrees of shock or disbelief. Tsuruko looks between Motoko and Keitaro and thinks to herself.
("You are lying, Motoko-chan. However, this could prove amusing and I shall play along, for a while. You truly are happy here, my dear sister!")