Author Notes: Another old oneshot from a forum post. This will almost certainly remain a oneshot, but I figured I'd repost it here for consolidation's sake.


Halkeginia: The Magnificent World

Everybody has their own Makoto Mizuhara.

Your Makoto Mizuhara might be the upbringing you've always blamed for your failings. If you're a little more socially conscious, maybe your Makoto is war, or discrimination, or capitalism, or the Establishment, or the immigrants who took your job. Or the NHK.

Perhaps you're even one of the paranoid few whose Makoto has woven himself into the very fabric of reality itself. You can practically hear him giggling his metaphysical ass off every time he lets somebody cut you off in traffic. Or when he makes the ketchup stick in the bottle. Or when he makes you nick yourself while shaving. And the little bastard does. Just pay attention. You'll see.

…But whichever version you've encountered, mine's worse. I've got the original.

Incorruptible, indefatigable, utterly intolerable Makoto Mizuhara. It's as if his image has burned itself into the back of my eyelids: unkempt hair, slovenly school uniform, vapid grin and all. You might even say that my Makoto is the nexus; the Platonic form from whence the other Makotos seep like sludge from a broken sewer pipe.

Nobody less impressive would suffice as the mortal enemy of Lord Jinnai, Prophet-General of the Bugrom Empire, Future Ruler of El-Hazard and erstwhile Dictator of Shinonome High School.

…But back to the present.

I was sitting in a field.

A group of European teenagers had gathered around me. Their hairstyles were normal by El-Hazard standards, which is to say that they ranged from ankle-length magenta pigtails to turquoise bob cuts. The girls wore short skirts not unlike Japanese school uniforms. Both sexes wore button-up shirts and capes with brass pentagram-inscribed buckles.

That's when it started to get odd.

At their sides stood overgrown salamanders, eyeballs with wings, dragons, and giant moles (the mammal, not the skin discoloration, although you could be forgiven for making the mistake in light of the eyeballs with wings).

Oh, yes. There was a castle behind them.

And I knew that somehow, somehow, SOMEHOW, Makoto was responsible for all this.

A girl with pink hair stepped out of the crowd. She was wide-eyed. A wand twitched in her right hand, which had dropped to her side along with the rest of her arm. Her shoulders slumped. Terrible, terrible posture.

"Who are you?" she said.

French. She'd been speaking French. Thank you, accelerated language classes. Though this probably wasn't the "international business career" that my father had imagined.

I smirked and patted her head indulgently.

"I?" I said. "I? HAhahahahahahahahAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHhahAHAhAAHAHAhA! Little girl, you have summoned Lord Jinnai—"

"I'm fifteen years old."

"…Conqueror of El Hazard in General and Roshtaria in Particular, Discoverer of the Eye of the Ancients, Vanquisher-Of-Makoto-Mizuhara-If-He-Wasn't-Such-A- Cheating-Sonofabitch, Consort to Empress Divah of the Bugrom Empire, and through her, Father of the Bugrom Imperial Army (Both Figuratively And Literally), Humbler of the Phantom Tribe, Wolf of the Desert, Last King of Scotland, Lord of the Rif, Not A Big Fan Of Rune Venus Either, Kidnapping Expert, Snappy Dresser, Rightful Dictator-In-Exile of Shinonome High School, and Lukewarm Marx Brothers Fan."

"WHAT?!" she said.

"…Though I accept 'Divine Lord Jinnai'."

The pink-haired girl was clenching her fists and trembling. Fortunately, this was not an uncommon reaction to my speeches, and I was prepared.

"Tell you what," I said. "I'll give you a couple minutes to get your feelings of awestruck worship under control, and then I'll—mrrghlfff!"

It wasn't a kiss, exactly. More like the girl mashing her lips against mine. While it didn't hold a candle to Diva's surprise mating sessions, I still couldn't avoid a sense of violation. And this girl didn't even have adorable little antennae to compensate.

Something burned on the back of my hand. I yelped. When I finally got the pain under control, I noticed that an intricate-looking mandala-circle-thingy had etched itself into my skin. It glowed green.

"Huh…"

The next few hours were annoying.

I spent most of them familiarizing myself – no pun intended – with the building. It was named the Tristain Academy of Magic, and was run by magicians. Wizards. Whatever they called themselves. They were a bit like Shayla, Miz & Co. back on El-Hazard, except that some of them were intelligent.

Sanitation was primitive, but that wasn't much of a problem. I'd roughed it for months with the Bugrom armies. In a world without Laundromats, I'd kept my school uniform unblemished through mud, rockslides, Acts of Makoto, submersion in seawater, more Acts of Makoto, and getting set on fire. I could do unsanitary.

The problem was the insane little girl. She had a rebellious streak a mile wide. Wouldn't wash my clothes. Wouldn't fix my meals. Had no idea how to apply shoe polish. (She appeared to think that it was hair gel, and had applied it there when I'd demanded a shoeshine). Refused to vacate the bed when I wanted to sleep. Couldn't follow orders if her life depended on it.

...In fact, if I hadn't known better, I would have begun to suspect that she'd summoned The Divine Lord Jinnai to serve her.

Her attempted whippings gave me that impression, anyway. Though my experiences with Diva suggested another – albeit more disturbing – possibility.

I shuddered and walked onto the terrace. Finally. Peace and quiet. This world – "Halkeginia" – had two moons. They illuminated the castle's ivy vines in blue and pink light, respectively.

Something buzzed by my ear. It was red and pill-shaped. I held out a finger, and the ladybug alighted on it.
"Bzzgh blrzzb bzbb?" said the ladybug.

I raised an eyebrow.

"Bzzrghlb blzzzb? Bizzbrrzh?"

"Why yes," I said. "I do have a job for you."

The insect wiggled its abdomen. Its shell gave off a sheen not unlike a waxed car. Quite pretty. Female, judging by its voice. Hm. So my "language" skills had carried over, eh?

"Start recruiting," I said.

"Yrrzhzhzp zpprffzh?"

"I'm going to need all the eyes and ears I can get."

She clicked her carapace once, airing out her wings. A moment later, she buzzed off.

I breathed deeply. Along with scents of spring grass and dirt, the air carried a rather different tang that night. I'd caught it once before, when I'd arrived in El-Hazard. It was like tasting blood and caffeine.

Opportunity.

"Katsuhiko Jinnai," I murmured. "Lord Katsuhiko Jinnai. God-King of Halkeginia."

I paused, savoring the words. The conquest would be easy enough, if the intellectual wattage I'd witnessed thus far was any guide. And if these people could create dimensional doors, it would only be a matter of time before I could open one to El-Hazard. I let myself dwell for tantalizing minutes on images of Diva's legions flooding through this new world. She would be so very pleased.

A familiar twitch ran through in my stomach and chest. Building. Everything shuddered.

"HahahahaHAHAHAHAHAHAHahahaha!" I mused. "HAhoohoohoooHOOHAHAHOOAHAHAHAHAheeehoo! AHAHAHAHA! HAH! HAH! HAH! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! AHahahahahahoohoohooHAhaahahaha!—OUCH! Ow! Enough with the whip, you berserk preschooler!"