Author Note: Well, that was a nice break while it lasted… but my inner writer has recovered. Here comes the next story. Ready?
Oh, and I believe this is the one hundredth story to be submitted in the Darkstalker section. Darkstalkers forever!
Disclaimer: All characters, titles, etc are (c) to their lawful owners.
Episode One: Six Months Later…
The mild spring weather was thrown out of the city as summer arrived with the first thunderstorm of the year. Several lighting strikes had knocked down numerous trees and taken out the power to large sections of the city. The family of cat women decided to stay at the chaotic human's home until his return. Six months have passed since Joe began his training with Donovan.
Guess we aren't getting any business today. Jeff sighs as he wipes off dust from the cash register. Even though the restaurant has gained more popularity with its feline waitresses, no one dares to venture out in the strong storm. Might as well close up and head home early. I hope we aren't having fish for dinner again…Just as Jeff reaches for the lights, someone walks in triggering the hanging bell on the door.
"Sorry, but I'm closing now." The figure pulls off a large rain soaked cloak drenching the human and the floor. "I just finished washing the floor!" The figure turns out to be Donovan carrying a sickly looking Anita in his arms. "What are you doing here and where's Joe?"
"He's busy… right now I need your help."
After closing up, Jeff took Donovan to the house and checked on Anita's condition with a handheld scanner. The young psychic coughs violently as Felicia places a blanket over her shaking body and a wet rag on her forehead. "She's got a bad cold and a high fever… a few days rest and she'll be fine." Not satisfied with Jeff's analysis, Felicia knocks him aside as she stands up to the Darkstalker hunter. The size difference is apparent as the seven foot hunter towers over the just under five foot, five Felicia.
"How could you keep Anita out in this weather?" fumes Felicia as Donovan walks into the living room paying no attention to Felicia's question. "Answer me!" Donovan's right eye turns yellow as he stares down the angry cat woman. "You are lucky I promised your mate that I would not harm you Dark One." Lucy comes storming into the room and points a finger at the powerful hunter. "If you're talking about that Joe, he's not her mate!" The hunter takes a seat on the couch and leans his sword against the wall. "Besides, where is that pathetic human anyway? I guess he wasn't able to survive your 'training'."
"You are mistaken. That human is still training alone in the mountains to the north." Donovan's statement about Joe's lack of attendance silences the room. "You see, he chose to remain even after he completed my requirements."Flashback to a few days ago
An aqua eyed Joe gasps for breath in an open field of the forest as Donovan summons his fire spirit. Joe's clothes are barely hanging onto his body as he blocks the wave of flames with his arms. The intense heat breaks through Joe's defense and sends the tired human flying through the air to a hard landing on the grassy fighting surface. "You've improved, but it still isn't enough to defeat me!"
As Donovan's fire spirit vanishes, Joe rises to his feet and wipes away the built up sweat from his face. A sharp pain from Joe's hands reveals slight burns from the last attack on the palms of his hands. Hey, I'm getting better at blocking. I can remember when that attack would burn the skin right off of my hands… To relieve some of the pain, Joe rips off the remainder of his shirt's sleeves and wraps his hands tightly to cover the wounds.
"Are you finished human? Has your body and spirit given up yet again?" A small smile comes out from Joe's face. "No way! Let's go, just one more time…" While preparing to strike again, Donovan notices something about his trainee. Strange… even with his body and energy in shambles, this human continues to fight. The hunter rests the super-sized sword over a shoulder and looks at his opponent. "We are…"
"We are done." The chaotic human lands on his face as Donovan returns the sacred sword to its place on his back. Joe jumps onto his feet and runs up to his teacher to demand an explanation. His eyes have returned to their peaceful brown color as Donovan looks down at him. "What do you mean 'We are done'? I don't feel any different from the first day we started."
"Do you know why I told you not to transform into your fighting form?" Joe scratches his filthy hair as he tries to understand Donovan's message. "It is because of the Pyron creature's ability to adapt to its enemy in a split second. If you had crossed him in your previous energy wasting condition, you would have definitely been destroyed." The human is left speechless as Donovan changes the subject. "However, that form only multiplies the current level of strength, speed, and power that exists in you. By training your weak human self, you have given yourself a better chance to survive."
"Donovan…" Anita walks over to where Joe and Donovan are talking and collapses on the ground. Joe checks on the little girl and pulls his hand away from her head. "She has a fever Donovan." The hunter picks up the child and wraps her in his cloak. "Go to my hometown. I'm sure my brother and the others can help her."
"I shall request help from your human brother. But I will not be as kind to your cat friends." As the Darkstalker hunter walks away from Joe, a strange feeling runs through his body. What is this power…? Donovan turns around to find Joe holding his palms together aimed directly at him. Joe's hair and eyes begin to change as energy begins to gather in his hands. "I want you to swear on your life, that you will not harm any of the people living under in my home."
The gathering amount of energy quickly grow s into a force to be reckoned with as Donovan attempt to find a the reason of Joe's power. Could it be that this human as grown fond of the catwoman? His energy is far too low to gather so quickly… he must be taking life-force energy directly from his body!
A sphere of energy begins to take shape in Joe's hands as he tries to keep his focus on the attack at hand. "Alright human. I will not harm the catwomen or anyone you claim to be an ally." Satisfied with the agreement, Joe stops gathering energy and lies down for a much needed nap. "He's willing to sacrifice himself to protect a Dark One?" The story ends as Lucy contradicts Donovan's story.
"Oh come on! That human is a pathetic, pervert who just likes having us around." Donovan stares into space as the cat woman turns on the storyteller. "Are you listening to me?"
"Say what you like. But the human is correct on one thing. The creature known as Pyron will arrive in about ten days." Silence grips the house as Donovan explains Joe's prediction of doomsday. "While this creature is the same as the one I destroyed, it is also different."
"Different how?" questions Felicia.
"This creature is not here to finish its original mission to judge our evolution. It is coming to destroy the ones responsible for his destruction." The hunter grabs his cloak and sword and heads for the door. But Felicia cuts off Donovan from leaving. "What do you want cat?"
"You're just leaving Anita here?"
"She'll be safer here while I go and do some "extreme" training." The hunter pulls a large hat out from under his clock and enters the darkness of the driving rain. Donovan slams the door shut rattling the house down to the foundation. Jeff walks out of Anita's room to locate the source of the noise and get the info Donovan delivered from Joe.
"WHAT? Pyron's arriving in ten days!" screams Jeff as Felicia restates Donovan's message. The human folds his arms across his chest and stares intently at the ground. "This isn't good. My satellite did find something coming at the earth but I can't get in contact with Phobos to prep a counter-strike." Guess I won't get to use that new piece of equipment for when I link with Phobos… Jeff whines to himself. It's not like I can call the military and say, "Hi, there's an evil being of unstoppable power coming in less than two weeks, can I borrow a few nukes?"
With no one paying attention to her, Felicia sneaks up to Joe's room where she has spent the last six months sleeping and looks at the photos on his desk. The pictures range from his days playing football in high school to his graduation day. "Joe may seem like a tough guy but he shows a different side when he's around me… could he be?" Felicia's face starts to turn red as she slaps some sense into herself. "I've only know him for about a year, so there isn't a connection between us."
The emotionally confused feline turns back the clock in her mind to remember the past year with the chaos endowed human. From the day they first met when Joe fell out of the sky to Gallon's, Jon's dark half, attack and defeat to the time he dueled Bishamon to rescue her up to the day Joe gave Felicia her necklace. Felicia takes her necklace in hand and looks into the emerald stone as a faint image of Joe appears in it. A smile appears on her face as someone breaks the silence of Joe's room.
"What are you doing in here?" Felicia nearly jumps out of her fur as Lucy catches her by surprise. "You're thinking about that guy again aren't you? Haven't I told you that humans are always going to hurt us?"
"Yes, like a thousand times Lucy."
"Then why are you so concerned about him?" The super star neko wanders over to a window and places a paw on the glass. The falling rain splashing against the shut window sends a cool sensation to the pondering cat woman. "Lucy, you cared about humans at one time. What made you turn against them?" The head band wearing cat clenches a fist as she remembers her hurtful past.
"They killed the only person that cared about me! And I…" Caught in Felicia's trap, Lucy turns around and grabs the door as she walks out of the room. However, she stops to give her friend one last piece of advice. "Even if he does have feelings for you, what makes you so sure he'll stick by them?" As the door shuts, it echoes through Felicia's mind.
Meanwhile, Joe is busily mediating in the rain logged forest as the rain finally comes to an end. With the physical part of his training complete, now comes the hard part of trying to remove the seal on the Chaos Stone. As the storm clouds move out of the area, the blue sky turns red as the space traveling Pyron closes in on the little blue planet.
So, he's almost here… I'm beginning to feel his awful power even at this distance. But even if I get rid of this damn seal, I cannot involve myself in this battle for Dami is my only real enemy. The memory of the training warrior breaks away for a second as Joe remembers the strange dream he had before Donovan's training began. According to that voice, should I involve myself in this upcoming battle; someone close to me will get hurt.
"Hmm?" Joe breaks out of his meditative state in time to avoid a large ninja star that has sliced the stump he was sitting on in half. The training human looks up to find the blue skinned hunter Hsien-Ko and her sister Mei-Ling standing where his seat was just destroyed. "We finally found you!"
"So? Can you ladies come back later? I'm a little busy with my training at the moment and I can't play with you right now." Hsien-Ko reaches into her sleeves and pulls out a set of six knives from under her clothes and hurls three of them at the demanding human. Joe avoids two of the sharp weapons, but the third slices a small cut on his right shoulder.
"I thought you said he'd be a much better opponent if we let him train sis." The dark hating hunter looks over to find her twin sister staring up at the sky. "What's wrong sis?" While his attacker his preoccupied, Joe runs up to the blue skinned ghost and reaches into her garments. "What are you reaching for pervert?" Joe pulls out a set of Hsien-Ko's anti-Darkstalker chains and tightly wraps the hunter from head to toe in her own equipment. The chains pin the female hunter's arms against the side of her undead body causing her to drop her knives. "What the hell? Hey, are you going to help me sis?"
"Very well." Before Mei-Ling can complete the hand signals to finish her Talisman transformation technique, Joe appears like lightning to pin Mei's right arm behind her back while holding a knife to her neck. "I know the two of you can't feel pain, but I bet you can't keep living without a head."
"So why don't you just finish us off?" asks Mei-Ling. "You have the upper hand."
"True." Joe releases his captive spellcaster and hurls the knife at Hsien-Ko slicing the chained hunter free. "But, I'm not your enemy now am I?"
Night fell onto the mountainous forest as Joe blew out a pit in the ground with a small energy burst and filled it with the scrap wood of hid former meditation stump. "Nice, but how are you going to start a fire?" mocks Hsien-Ko as Joe simply snaps his fingers and the pit instantly ignites into a roaring fire. "Showoff." The hunter uses the fresh fire to repair the broken chains as her sister is questioned by their prey. "So, you can sense it too?"
"Yes. The evil light is returning and we must be ready to…" A low growl coming from Joe's stomach interrupts Mei as he asks the obvious question. "Sorry to change the subject, but do you guys happen to have any food on you?"
"Food?" scoffs Hsien-Ko from her welding pit. "We haven't eaten in over three hundred years, why would we have a need for something as useless as food?" Joe sits down on the wet ground while looking over his raggedy clothing as his stomach growls in anger. "Hsien-Ko, that's not very kind."
"Well it's true."
"If you guys don't have any food… can I request something else since you owe me for not killing you?" The two sisters give each other a nervous look as the fire crackles in the night.
"That's right, keep training human. It doesn't matter how much you grow, as long as that seal remains in place… you can never defeat me! Let alone that Pyron creature." Dami continues to watch his rival strengthen himself as his black cat strolls into the room. "What is it?" The black cat morphs into the cat woman Helicia and the transformed creature hangs off of the shoulders of her master. "It's late Master Dami, can't you forget about that human and focus on me?"
"Leave me be. I shall have my way with you at another time."
"But Dami…" purrs the dark furred neko. "I said leave me!" Dami blows the girl away from him and pins Helicia against the wall with his power. The evil being releases his forceful grip on his plaything's body and returns to watching the everyday life of his rival. "Let that be a warning to you. Now get out."
Defeated by her master's lack of interest in her, Helicia walks out of the room dragging her tail behind her. As the cat makes her way down dimly lit hallway, a familiar voice calls to her. "So, the Master even refuses the service of his personal pet?" The voice belongs to Gallon as the black werewolf steps out from the shadow of the torch lit hallway and faces the cat woman who has the same figure as the girl he has been after.
"What do you want wolf?" Gallon limps over to Helicia; his body is still injured from his last fight with Joe. "Why must you constantly give yourself to the Master? He doesn't care about you, so why do you…" The "evil" Felicia turns and lands a hard punch to the still injured Gallon's ribs knocking the proud warrior to his knees. "He is my Master and I will never go against his wishes." The pissed off cat woman walks out of view as Gallon regains himself.
"You say that, but I can sense that you're emotions are waning…"
To Be Continued!
Trailer for the next episode:
With the news of Joe's return, the gang decides to throw a special party. But there are some problems… and Pyron isn't the cause!
Jeff: His phone call said he'd be here in a few hours and… where is Felicia?
Lucy: She said that she had to go get something. I don't know what that "something" is, but if she's…
Jeff: Don't worry about it. My bro isn't "that" kind of person and neither is Felicia, right?
Next time… Episode Two: Felicia, Catnapped?
Jeff: They must be…nah! Are they?
Author Note: Whoo! The first chapter to a new story is done and now it's time to slack off before I start chapter two… maybe I can finish this story before another year passes.