The following chapter was meant to be a Birthday present for datenchi, but for some reason, FF wouldn't let me post it.
Thankfully, it's up now, and better late than never right?
In any case, Datenchi? Hope it was worth the wait.
In a world that knew neither daylight nor justice, where the skies were darkened by perpetual storm clouds, lit only by the occasional flash of ominous lightning, there stood a tower.
Now normally this wouldn't have caused much of an issue, as towers were pretty much a must have in the underworld, hell you couldn't call yourself an evil wizard or whatnot if you hadn't had at least ONE tower in your lifetime.
The difference between the traditional towers that graced the land and the giant, spiraling obelisk that now graced the darkened, storm-wracked skyline, was that despite its ominous presence, it was relatively new.
That, and it came fitted with indoor plumbing and electrical lighting.
The tower had been erected under orders of the new, undisputed, at least not to his face, Master of the Underworld, who in a short period of time had not only toppled the vampires, lords of the undead, from the top of the food chain, but had actually brought their Queen under his heel as a servant, though he preferred the term 'employee'.
"I'm surprised at you, Natasha." The overlord noted, his features drawn back into a fleshless smile, as his 'face' consisted of little more than an ominous skull, topped by a crown as he watched the former queen of the undead enter his office, a shambling wreck of a creature following brainlessly at her heels "you ACTUALLY accomplished a task!" he continued, his tone laced with derisive mockery as he gave the impression of quirking an eyebrow at the Vampire "I was expecting you to return in failure again."
"Hmmph!" Natasha sniffed, glaring balefully at the Lich, for that was what he was, wishing with all her non-beating heart that she could vaporize the bag of bones where he stood for his mockery, only to still herself, as it would only end in her being reduced to dust on the carpet, AGAIN "I still don't see why you asked me to fetch this…THING." She muttered, her lips curling in distaste at the shambling lump of flesh she'd led out of the silver-lined prison. It looked little better off than a zombie, worse actually, as at least zombies had the decency to not decay all over the freshly waxed marble floors.
"That creature is a Lycanthrope, Natasha." The Lich-King replied, in that insufferable tone that implied he was speaking to a child "A WEREWOLF to be precise." He nodded to the shambling lump of flesh "His name is Brendan, and he is the BEST tracker in this or any other reality."
Natasha eyed the shambling creature before her, clearly unable to accept the things reputation at first glance. 'It doesn't look like it could find a corpse in crypt.' She muttered balefully.
"His current condition is the result of a…misunderstanding, between him and a necromancer of…lesser skill." The Lich King continued, in a tone that implied he considered all of his fellow practitioners to fall into that category, even as he eyed the vampire askance "Really Natasha, as the 'Queen of the Vampires'," Natasha bristled at the mocking usage of her title "and my personal secretary, you should be in the know of such trivia." He turned to face the creature "And to answer your query, I need him for a job, heal him and make him comfortable in a guest suite…I shall tell him what his mission is tomorrow."
He turned on his heel, making his way down the corridor to his office, his hands clasped behind his back, only to pause and look over his shoulder "Oh yes, and be in my office with your Steno-pad in one hour."
"As you wish…master." Natasha muttered, fighting down the urge to grit her fangs at having to refer to the creature as such as she began healing up his little tracker, her brows narrowing in suspicion as he walked off "By the way, oh gracious Lich-King." She allowed herself the slight inflection on the creatures title, halting the walking corpse in his tracks "I noticed you planning a new campaign this week. Is this…creature, part of your 'Grand Design'?" he gazed at the Lich's features "And do these plans of yours concern you Son and his Daughter?"
The Lich's eyes glowed ominously, and Natasha wisely decided to avert her gaze and resume her ministrations to the lycanthrope, a shiver washing over her as she listened to his footsteps retreat.
Keitaro smiled, the Ronin playing patty-cake with Thabian and Jetta's son Pojo, the little lycanthrope giggling in glee at this new, interesting game, the Ronin trying to wrap his mind around the current situation.
It had all started with a trip to Ireland, Gina having uncovered an ancient stone tablet, carved with some ancient, druidic script, that gave the location of a mystical stone that turned water to metal.
Now the Ronin couldn't see the use in such an object, after all, what would be the point? But Brianna had been getting a little…frisky lately, so he'd jumped on the chance to tag along, for at least while Gina was in 'treasure hunter' mode, he didn't need to worry about waking up to find her in his bedroll. Sure she'd probably make up for it later, but even a few days peace was welcome.
Sadly, however, their expedition was cut short after several days worth of fruitless hiking, as Gina's rival, Penny 'Pincher' Pincer, had intervened, tricking a clan of leprechauns into believing the trio had come after their treasure, and we weren't talking about lucky charms.
Now normally, Keitaro would have laughed at the idea of being threatened by little bearded men in green suits, knickerbockers and galoshes that barely came up to his shins. But then normally the little buggers weren't packing silver-plated, armor piercing ammunition, nor did they ride around in Soviet-model tanks.
Needless to say, after a mad race across the forests of the emerald isle, Gina had finally had enough of dodging potshots and hit the turbo, only to be completely blindsided by a tree going the other way.
Remember kids, in the UK and Europe, you drive on the left side.
Needless to say, like most of her crashes, the Gina mobile was a total write off, Cheetah barely managing to haul their assess out of the blast range before the turbo-charger detonated, blasting the hotrod to smithereens, which meant they'd be walking back to their hotel. Now while Keitaro was no stranger to long hikes back to civilization, he'd once been punched all the way to Okinawa after all, he wasn't to keen on hiking through the woods filled with trigger happy leprechauns.
Fortunately, the matter proved moot, as if there was one thing the Leprechauns, or anyone native to that patch of woods knew it was to never stumble into a wolves glen, and ESPECIALLY not a glen habited by Werewolves, silver plated ammunition or not.
Cheetah, despite her reconciliation with Jetta, had naturally gone into panic mode, and it had only been through Keitaro's presence that she'd avoided lashing out at the pack, the leader calling out to the Ronin in greeting.
He'd identified himself as Sander, Jetta's younger brother and caretaker of the clan in her and Thabian's absence, and had invited them to their den, on a matter of mutual importance to both Brittany and themselves.
Brendan, Jetta and Sander's father, and the former leader of the clan, who had wiped out Brittany's clan and attempted to sell his own into slavery, had apparently escaped from the prison his master, whom hadn't liked being cheated, had locked him in, which pretty much ruined everyone's day.
It certainly didn't put Jetta in a good mood, Sander having teleported them all to the sanctuary to inform his sister of their sire's escape, the leader of the wolves only held back from going after the traitor by her mate's insistence and cool logic.
Not for the first time, Keitaro found himself glad that Thabian was on their side, as the larger, stronger werewolf was often the only thing that could keep his volatile mate under control. He'd greeted the Ronin warmly on their arrival, and had even permitted him to play with Pojo while Jetta taught Brittany the finer points of transforming without waiting for the full moon, a strange, paternal look in his eyes.
"I can understand why." Sanders assured the Ronin, as they prepared to send the trio on their way home "You put your own life at risk to save my nephew, despite having no reason to do so. It's one of the reasons we were glad to see you at the glen."
"I only did what anyone else would've done." Keitaro stammered, rubbing the back of his neck in embarrassment as he handed Pojo over to his mother.
"I doubt anyone else would have thrown themselves out a tower window to save a child that wasn't their own." Thabian countered, smiling at the Ronin as he spoke, patting the man on the arm "Know that you'll always be a friend to the Wolf clan, Keitaro, if you need anything, just give us a howl."
"Uh…sure…" Keitaro stammered, shooting a hurt glare at Gina, who was giggling at how flustered he was, only to blink as the weird, water-drop teleportation washed over them again, cutting off Pojo's gleeful farewell as he stumbled forwards, his face planting between two soft mounds.
"Well hello!" Brianna purred, the startled Diggers sibling smiling down at the equally startled Ronin, ignoring the bowl of popcorn he'd spilled out of her lap as she hugged him to her bosom "Missed me that much Kei?"
"Uhm…well…" Keitaro stammered, blinking up at the woman like a deer in the headlights, ignorant of Cheetah rolling her eyes at his antics, or of Gina's mild frown of disapproval at how close they were.
"So how was your trip to Ireland?" Tark asked, the elf lounging on the floor, reading a newspaper "I thought you were coming back by plane?"
"Flight got cancelled." Brittany muttered, shaking her head as she watched her elder and younger siblings squabble over who got to treat their favorite Ronin like a plushy "Penny Pincer sicced a pack of leprechauns on us, then we ended up bumping into the werewolves again."
"Say what?" Brianna exclaimed, turning to Keitaro in concern, patting the Ronin down and looking for injuries.
"Relax, nothing happened." Gina assured her sibling, surrendering the battle, for now, before grinning teasingly at a flustered Keitaro "Though I think I saw a few of the ladies checking you out Kei."
"What?" Keitaro yelped, only to flush as Brianna leaned, in, her nose twitching furiously as she sniffed him over, growling as she detected several foreign scents on his person "I didn't do anything!"
"Didn't stop them from walking pretty close to you…" Gina teased, giggling as Keitaro flailed in Brianna's grasp, the composite diggers trying to remove the foreign scents in a manner similar to what Brittany had with Stripe a few weeks back "I'm gonna hit the showers now…"
"Oh, by the way Gina." Tark called out, the elf averting his eyes from Brianna's 'marking' her territory, heedless of Keitaro's protests, chuckling at his friend's misfortune "Your father's here, he's with a guest."
No sooner had the elf's warning been delivered when a redheaded blur lunged into the hallway, embracing the startled blonde in a tight hug, before lifting her off the ground and twirling her around like she weighed nothing at all.
"Oh Gina!" the assailant cried, revealing herself to be a mature, but undeniably pretty redhead, pirouetting gracefully in the middle of the hallway as she held the surprised blonde in the air "Oh I haven't seen my little girl in so long!"
"M-Mom?" Gina cried, her surprise giving way to glee as she returned the woman's embrace, Brittany coming out of the room to gape at the woman in joy, even as Doctor Diggers stepped in, smiling warmly at the sight of his girls rejoicing "Dad! Mom's back!"
"Surprise!" the Archmage called out, smiling as he watched his wife lift Cheetah as effortlessly as she had Gina, pirouetting gracefully all the while "I was worried that you'd forgotten that today is the day she returns each year, I was actually about to go out and look for you." He nodded at a beaming Brianna, who was hugging a stunned Keitaro "I've already explained Brianna's origins to Julia. Truth be told, she thought she was YOU at first."
"I did not!" Julia countered, fixing her husband with a reproving glare as she hugged Cheetah to death, though the mischief in her eyes belied any true ire "I knew it all along!" she blinked at the sight of Keitaro in her youngest's embrace "Oh, are you Keitaro?"
"Uh, Yes ma'am…" Keitaro stammered, Brianna releasing him as he bowed to the woman, recognizing her as an older, though not unduly so, version of the woman from Dr. Diggers wedding photo "K-Keitaro Urashima…at your service."
"Oh Theodore you didn't tell me how adorable he was!" Julia chuckled, startling the Ronin as she embraced him, a chaste, motherly hug that was surprisingly strong despite her slim, if toned, frame "Theo's told me all about you," she admitted, smiling gratefully at the Ronin as she spoke "thanks for looking after my girls for me."
"Your…welcome?" the Ronin stammered, looking up at the rest of the Diggers family in confusion, noting the warm smiles they were sending his way in surprise, a warm feeling of belonging washing over him as he returned the hug hesitantly.
"You okay there, Kei?" Gina called out, the blonde having broken away from the traditional perusal of the Diggers family photo album in search of Keitaro, who'd excused himself to prepare some snacks in the kitchen.
"Hm?" The Ronin looking up from his preparations to blink dazedly at the woman "Oh! Yes, I'm fine Gina san." He assured her, smiling kindly at his friend as he resumed his task "I was simply…thinking…"
"It's a lot to take in, I know." Gina admitted, recalling how Dr. Diggers had brought the Ronin up to date on the facts behind Julia Diggers' banishment to the realm of jade "It was hard…growing up without my mom."
"I can relate." Keitaro admitted, earning a look of confusion from the woman "Well, you see, my mom never could accept being second best to my aunt Yoko, at least that's how dad always put it." he grinned guiltily "Anyways, she was always hard one me and dad, it got worse after my first 'accident'."
"Accident?" Gina repeated, wondering if he meant his near-brushes with death, or his bouts of klutziness that landed him in compromising situations.
"I was around four at the time." Keitaro admitted, looking into the distance "Me and a friend were playing in the street when I got hit by a car." He waved a hand reassuringly at her look of shock "I survived without even a scratch on me." He assured her, only to slump, his eyes downcast "But sometimes I think it would've been better if I'd gotten hurt…at least then mom wouldn't have gone out of her way to avoid me."
Gina's heart went out to the Ronin, her baby-blues lined with sympathy as she reached out, one hand going for his shoulder, only to pause as he smiled at her, chuckling slightly. "Well, one good thing came out of it I suppose." The Ronin noted, a self-mocking grin on his gentle features "My parents adopted Kanako-chan, so I finally got a little sister to look after."
"Oh Kei…" Gina sighed, reaching out and hugging the surprised ronin, holding him tight, her hand at the back of his neck as she shook, heedless of the Ronin's attempts to find out why she was crying.
In the living room, the usual chatter had fallen silent, as the rest of the Diggers clan were paying rapt attention, Brianna and Brittany's superior hearing allowing them to listen in on the conversation, whilst Theodore and Julia shared a knowing look.
'What kind of mother would abandon her own child for another?' Julia wondered, her hand clenching into a fist as her infamous temper flared at the Ronin's words, wishing she could meet Mrs. Urashima to give her a piece of her mind…preferably with a weapon in hand 'I only get to see my girls one day out of every year, but I wouldn't trade it for anything!'
The redheaded Arms Master blinked, looking up at touch of her husbands hand on her own, her anger dissipating in the face of the Archmage's caring baby blues locking onto her own, looking up as Keitaro and Gina walked in, her baby looking a little red eyed, but smiling at the tray bearing Ronin nonetheless.
"Sorry it took so long." Keitaro apologized; smiling as he held up a tray of freshly baked chocolate chip cookies "Help yourselves."
"Will do." Julia chuckled, grapping a cookie that Brianna and Brittany had been arguing over and taking a bite before they could complain "Mmmm!" she praised, actually closing her eyes "Keitaro you've got a gift at this!"
"My family run a bakery and sweet store." The Ronin admitted, missing the Diggers siblings' flinch at his words, "Mom was always insisting I help out, even after I started taking entrance exams." He chuckled "Come to think of it, me and Dad always used to see who could come up with the latest confection."
'Well at least one of his parents had his head screwed on right.' Was the general thought of the Diggers' females, though they held their silence, Julia trying to feed Dr. Diggers a piece of cookie whilst leaning against him, the doctor managing to fend her off barely, though he had the decency to look embarrassed.
"Mrs. Diggers?" Keitaro asked, the redhead looking up, blinking as he shuffled uncertainly from foot to foot, "Um…if it's not too much trouble…how'd you meet Dr. Diggers?"
'Oh he's so adorable!' Julia chuckled, smiling kindly at the boy as she hugged her husband, the Doctor smiling down at her as he began their tale.
"It all started during my final year of studying on jade…"
An undisclosed location...
"Aoyama, you have a visitor." One of the guards muttered, Motoko opening an eye to glare balefully at the woman. The guards had learned that Motoko wouldn't struggle as much if at least one of the guards monitoring her was female, and the kendo-ka reciprocated this consideration by at least being civil to the quack, that is the psychiatrist, that they made her see almost every waking moment.
Sitting up straight to compose herself, the younger Aoyama turned to face her supposed visitor, only to blanch as her elder sibling glided into the room, her usual enigmatic smile on her face. "Well now Motoko-chan…" the elder Aoyama greeted, her smile to all outside appearances warm, though Motoko felt a chill wash over her "This is quite the mess you've landed yourself in."
"A-Aneue…" Motoko stammered, trying to back away into the wall, her arms secured by her straight jacket, internally weeping at the absence of her sword "W-what are you…?"
"Do I need a reason to come visit my sister?" Tsuruko asked, smiling coyly at the younger kendo-ka's look of surprise "Oh? Did you think I came here to punish you?" she chuckled at Motoko's look of terror "Normally I would, but I do believe the past few months is more than enough."
"Y-You knew?" Motoko stammered, her eyes widening as she realized that there was no way in hell she COULD'NT have known. Why else would she have been left to rot down here, than if Tsuruko hadn't given her consent?
"I believed it was an appropriate course to drive home the consequences of your actions." Tsuruko explained, her hands folded serenely at her lap, though Motoko knew that at the slightest moment she could have her naked blade at the girl's throat "Now that you've experienced it, however, I think it's time we got down to the truth."
The air around the woman turned cold, her smile vanishing as she opened her eyes, no longer Aoyama Tsuruko, the retired house wife, but Aoyama Tsuruko, the Demon Sword of Kyoto, one of the most dangerous women to ever walk the earth, and certainly never lied to.
"Motoko." She began, the girl flinching at the drop of the honorific, noting the occasional flash of gold in her sister's stare "The truth now…WHAT happened the day that Keitaro-kun disappeared?"
Motoko flinched, as this had been asked of the Hinata girls several times already, or at least she suspected as such, as she hadn't had any contact with the others since she and naru had been moved into solitary. "I…I cannot say…" she replied, averting her eyes from her sister's piercing stare, shivering as the intensity seemed to increase.
"If this is about the oath of secrecy between the residents," Tsuruko began, Motoko jumping in alarm at her revelation "Then you have no need to worry, Maehara-san and Konno-san have already filled us in."
"But…" Motoko stammered, her eyes widening in shock and confusion as she turned to stare at her sister, she'd half expected Shinobu-chan to fold, the girl wasn't a warrior, but to learn that Kitsune had cracked was shocking "Then why…?"
"Because I wish to hear it from your own lips." Tsuruko replied, her tone firm, and her eyes as intense as ever as she trapped her sister's gaze with her own "Your own recounting. Only then will I pass judgment."
Motoko flinched, looking to the sword at her sister's side, before lowering her gaze in shame and defeat "Narusegawa-sempai claimed he was spying on her in the bath." She admitted, recalling that fateful day all to well "Shinobu-chan claimed that he'd put the sign up to let everyone know he was cleaning it, but Narusegawa claims it wasn't there."
"And was it?" Tsuruko asked, the elder Aoyama sitting quietly before her disheveled sister, hands on her lap.
"I…decided to look into the matter after Keitaro didn't return that afternoon." Motoko admitted after a moment "The sign was indeed still up, and apparently hadn't been touched in any way."
"And how did you feel when you learned this?" Tsuruko asked, her eyes never leaving her sister as she spoke, her tone almost hypnotic."
"I…" Motoko began, pausing slightly "At first, I simply thought it was Urashima's bad luck coming into play again…" she appeared withdrawn "However…as the days turned into weeks…with no sign of his return…everything just seemed to…fade, like it had lost it's meaning, it's energy."
"You missed him." Tsuruko cut in, Motoko's head snapping up in alarm "You had gotten so used to him being a part of your life that when he left, he took a piece with you."
"T-that is…!" Motoko stammered, only to pause, her eyes lowering as the image of Keitaro's goofy, smiling face flashed before her eyes. She recalled his childish pleas for mercy, his stammered apologies, and most of all, his kindness and resolve whenever she or the others needed his support. Even after everything she had put him through, when she was at her weakest, the Ronin had never claimed vengeance, though he'd have been more than in his rights.
"…It's true…" Motoko choked, her head lowering in shame as she fought back tears that were beginning to stream down her cheeks "I…I know I have no right…after all I've said and done to him…" she shivered "But…but without Urashima…without Keitaro…I don't think I can go back to the Hinata…"
"And that is the truth?" Tsuruko demanded, her tone firm, her eyes narrowing as Motoko nodded her head in shame "I see…"
Faster than the eye could track, Tsuruko's hand had drawn her sword, Motoko's eyes closing as she waited for the blow to land, to end her torment, only to blink as her straight jacket was shredded, falling around her in shreds.
"Well then!" the elder Aoyama chirped, her features amiable once again "That's certainly a load off my mind!" she smiled coyly at her dumbstruck sibling "Oh come now Motoko-chan, if I'd wanted to kill you, you never would have seen the blow coming." She chuckled as her sister shivered "Now come on."
"C-come?" Motoko repeated, blinking up at her sister in confusion, even as she held a hand to her breasts, her prison uniform having been shredded as well "Come where?"
"Why home of course." Tsuruko countered, smiling serenely as a door opened, revealing a female guard with a fresh set of bindings, hakama and uwagi "Oh not the Hinata." She assured the girl, who looked hesitant "Our home, after all, we have much to prepare for before you can return there."
"Prepare?" Motoko repeated, not liking her sister's tone as she accepted the clothes from the guard hesitantly.
"Why for Keitaro-kun's eventual return of course." Tsuruko chirped, winking at her sister coyly, her manner teasing "After all, it wouldn't do for you to embarrass yourself in front of the man you love, would it?"
Motoko's flush could have lit up the deepest, darkest hole in the world, which right now, the younger Aoyama wouldn't have minded crawling into.
"Wow!" Keitaro gaped, staring at the Diggers couple in amazement, having been regaled with several of their old adventures "So you really became arms-master of jade?"
"Don't ever doubt it." Julia smirked flexing a muscle, which was nonetheless comely on her trim frame, as she hugged her husband to her side "And my Theo here's got a lot of clout with the Archmage council."
"Nothing a little hard work and study couldn't achieve." The Archmage chuckled, nodding at the Ronin, who beamed at him "Something you're rather familiar with Keitaro."
"Aren't I ever…" Keitaro chuckled, having told them all about his attempts to get into Tokyo-U over the course of the evening, the tray of cookies having been devoured long before "Still, I doubt I ever had it as rough as you…" he looked down at the table "I mean…at least Julia-san is REAL, for all I know the promise girl's a figment of my imagination…"
"Always hold onto your dreams Keitaro." Dr. Diggers offered, the Ronin looking up at him in confusion "They're what make you the person you are today. The thing is to learn how to move on, and avoid being trapped in those dreams." He smiled at his wife "I may only get to see my wife one day a year…but that doesn't mean I lose myself in my memories of the past." He smiled at his daughters "My girls needed me, it would have been an insult to abandon them like that."
"Still…it hardly seems fair…" Keitaro muttered, the Ronin looking from the doctor to his wife in concern, "I mean, isn't there any kind of spell that could remove the curse? Maybe if we use the same thing from when Gina-san and Cheetah-san were cursed…"
"Mom isn't cursed." Brianna countered, the composite Diggers sibling leaning back in her chair as she spoke, shivering slightly at the memory of her 'birth' "She's just 'phased', and each time something from this dimension comes near her she'll 'phase out', today excluded." She grinned at Gina "We un-phase her, problem solved, simple huh?"
"Huh?" Gina stammered, blinking at her youngest sibling in confusion "How on earth did you figure that out?"
"I used the new scanner you got from the Amarans on mom this morning." Brianna admitted with a smirk "All I had to do was plug it into the Toroidal Magnetic Chamber to power it."
"My 'Tok Mak' Nuclear Fusion Generator?" Gina repeated in confusion, Keitaro, Brittany and Dr. Diggers stiffening slightly at the word 'Nuclear' "That thing NEVER works!"
"It does if you use Resistors as Terminators for your Thin-Coaxial-Ethernet-Card Networks." Brianna countered, not too smugly mind you "Y'see Gina, your problem is you never take the easy way out."
"I think my brain just went to sleep…" Keitaro muttered, smoke trailing out of his ears as he held a hand to his brow, unable to keep up with the duo's scientific jargon, a fact Brittany shared vocally, only to be politely silenced by her father.
"Gina? Brianna?" the Archmage asked, a ray of hope in his features as he regarded his eldest and youngest offspring "What is the conclusion to all this?"
"Well at first I thought that mom's 'curse' couldn't be removed…" Gina admitted, a calculating smile coming to her face "But now I'm beginning to think differently."
"Waitaminute!" Brittany called out, the were-cat getting to her feet "You're not thinking of sticking mom in that 'curse removing machine are you? The last time you tried that all HELL broke loose! No offense Bri."
"Brianna-san didn't mean it…" Keitaro offered, even as the composite Diggers beamed at him for his support, squeezing his arm gratefully.
"Besides, it isn't a curse Brit." She countered, looking at her elder sibling "It's just some weird 'warp' thingy." She nodded towards Julia, who looked as confused, albeit hopeful, as Brittany "With Gina's new equipment, we could come up with something to cure mom…at least I hope so…"
"If anyone could do it it's Gina-san and Brianna-san." Keitaro reasoned, only to flush as the girls looked at him "Well…I won't claim to understand what you're talking about. But Gina-san and Brianna-san always seem to come up with an answer when the chips are down…and I'll shut up now."
"Don't Kei." Gina offered, leaning in and pecking the Ronin on the cheek, a kind smile on her face as his lit up like a solar flare "That was just the pep talk we needed." She smiled at Brianna "You up for a little R&D, Bri?"
"I've had the Lab's computer-aided design workstations working on it since before you got back sis." Brianna replied, smirking as she got to her feet, the two of them walking off, though Brianna managed to slip in a pinch to Keitaro's rear in passing.
"He really is a keeper Theodore." Julia chuckled, watching the embarrassed Ronin yelp in surprise, flushing madly as her eldest and youngest disappeared off to their lab "I can see why you haven't used the 'skull' thing on him."
"Am I that easy to read?" Dr. Diggers chuckled, smiling warmly at the Ronin as he returned his wife's embrace, even as Brittany hauled Keitaro off for a quick spar, not wanting to be the only one not doing anything.
Sorry, no stand action this time either.
And Keitaro meets the women that gave birth to Gina...and lived to tell the tale.
Seriously his baby face is a leathal weapon.
Also, Granpa Litch is plotting...and Yes, he has a Stand, but I'm not spilling.