"We must have one who is pure of thought, pure of deed, and pure of heart, one who is from the right bloodlines," the old man read from the ancient book. "There is a genealogy table here so we may be able to figure out which families this esteemed line ended up in." He closed the book carefully, looking at the men staring at him. "I have done some of the beginning research on the families. There are two good candidates. One who is impure of deed and probably thought, but may still be pure of heart, and one who is impure of deed definitely in most senses of the word and impure of heart most likely, and impure of thought almost assuredly." They groaned in unison. "I can continue to research but there may not be many good candidates and we are running out of time."
"We should gather them," one of the men decided. "You keep searching. Perhaps another one will come up while we are retrieving them. Give me the names and I will have someone search for them."
The old man handed over two slips of paper. "That is their workplaces, and in one case school."
"Is either female?"
"Yes, the less pure one is female," he agreed. "She is barely the age of consent and is closer. The other travels extensively for his work. She would be easier to capture. Possibly also more pleasing to the creature as well."
"We'll see once we find her. Why is she so impure?"
"She's a thief from a great line. She already has many thefts to her credit. I'm not sure if she is pure enough for the creature or not."
"Is older, has been married in the past, but has been celibate for a while now."
"Hmm." He nodded. "We will go for the girl first. It would be classical and more practical. The creature has always preferred women." He handed the slips to two of his people, nodding at them to go. They bowed and left, going out on their sacred mission to save their people's lives from the creature. He looked at the old man. "Find other targets. Neither of those is ideal."
"I know, but it may be the best we can have this generation." He shrugged. "There have been many dead ends in the lines."
"Fine, try anyway. Maybe a sideline? We don't want to involve other lines, just in case the creature is displeased." He walked off, going to contemplate the possibilities. It would be very bad if they didn't placate the creature and everyone died because of it.
Ray Vecchio looked up as Ray Kowalski, fellow detective and pain in his ass roommate, walked into their shared office, grunting in displeasure. "What did you do now?" he asked when he saw the confused look.
"Someone outside asked if I was boinking Bix," he said, shaking his head hard. "I don't know why, but he was really odd. I need a drink sorta odd."
"Why would they care?"
"I don't know," Ray admitted, sitting down behind his desk. "This is the sorta thing that I'd usually call Xander and whine about."
"Then do that. Maybe he's got a clue. He deals with the strange and odd."
"He's still mad at us."
"So? This would end up being something he'd have to deal with if you don't."
"Bet me," Ray said dryly. "Why would he have to deal with someone wanting to know my sex life? Maybe it's just a reporter or something. I'm bein' paranoid."
"Maybe," Vecchio agreed, going back to his email. "Then again.... Better safe than sorry."
"Better safe from botherin' Xander and alive than botherin' him and bein' dead."
"True," Vecchio agreed. "Where's the power couple?"
"Court. Then we've got a meeting when they get back with the commissioner about the newest threat. We just added one to the list."
"Wonderful," Vecchio drawled. "Just what we need, more creeps to chase around the world."
The door opened and all they got to see was some fog as it slowly drifted in and knocked them both out.
The two men in robes walked in and gathered their target, taking him back to their lands. It was time for him to be tested to see if he was the one they needed.
Arsene looked up as Ishi called her name, grimacing at him. "You look like hell, dear. What happened?"
"Girlfriend problems." He sat down next to her. "Why is it that no woman wants to date me, they only want to sleep with me? I would much rather have something meaningful than something tawdry and meaningless."
"You sound more and more like your pop every day," she said dryly, smirking at him. "They only want to sleep with you because you've got a hot ass and cute hair. You've also got some good muscles according to some who've seen you work out shirtless in the past. Then again, some of the girls and boys coo because you're so deadly and that makes you very hot to them. You really do need someone with a mop to follow you around, on days that you practice especially."
"I'll keep that in mind," he said bitterly. "I wonder if my father has these problems."
"No, but Lotus sure does."
"Hmm. That's a thing to stop and to take our attention," he noted dryly, watching his sister work out on the blindfold course. She was hitting each target, knocking out each obstacle as they came for her, and she was doing very good. Only a few things had hit her and nothing had knocked her balance off truly yet. "I do wish she would wear a proper bra."
"They throw her off balance, Ishi. It's not her fault your mother's breasts mutated and gave poor Lotus a G cup." Ishi shuddered. "I know, but as soon as she quits growing all the fathers have promised reduction surgery so she doesn't look like a stripper anymore. Until then, we may want to use her as a distraction now and then."
"I heard that," Lotus snapped, defeating the last obstacle, the teacher, before jumping down and taking off her blindfold. "Only if you make Melissa do it." She brushed her hair back and bowed to her teacher. "I was faster this time."
"You were. A bit less careful as well," he chastised.
"Yes, but I didn't lose my balance."
"I am impressed with that, Lotus. Are you ready for your tests next week?" She nodded. "You do know that your father may be up to watch?"
"Can I do mine without him? He makes me nervous and fluttery."
"You won't be able to see him. If he does show up, I'll make sure he does not watch yours. There will be other Masteries that he'll need to watch, including your brother's. Therefore we'll put them at the same time as yours." She nodded, grinning at him. "Now, go cool down and relax. Do you have another class today?"
"No, but we were going to suntan on the top of the West tower."
"Even better. You are a bit pale, Lotus. Take your brother with you. That way the girls will find all new things to go gushy about." She giggled and nodded, jogging off to take them with her, going up to shower and change, and probably shave since she needed to. She walked into her room, smirking at her roommate. "Hey, Miriam, are you done for the day? We're going to suntan up on the West Tower."
"I can be," she offered. She stood up and grabbed her modest bathing suit, looking at Lotus' suit. "Don't you have to shave everything to wear that since it's white?"
"No, but I probably should," she admitted. She shrugged. "I guess I can try it. I do have that herbal stuff for my legs." She grabbed it and went into their shared bathroom, closing the other side. "I'm shaving," she called when she heard the outer door open.
"Fine, Lotus. We'll air out the room later." They had gotten used to Lotus and her funny smelling goops and potions since the two rooms shared a bathroom.
Lotus slathered the thick syrup over all her body, getting every nook and cranny of it. Then she waited the usual ten minutes and got into the shower to rinse it off. She squeaked when she saw how good it worked on her mound, then smirked. That was just an odd sight on her own body. But she rather liked it. She carefully wiped herself with a washcloth to make sure it was all gone, then did her hair and got out, putting on the oil before her suit. It was easier that way. Her white bikini went on next, then she stepped out to find sandals and a towel, putting her hair up with two hair sticks. "There, I feel better now," she decided, making Miriam giggle. "Come on, or else we'll have to make due with a corner spot." They hurried up to the top of the boys' tower and found only Melissa had made it up there. Of course, she probably hadn't had to shave. She had very little body hair. They stretched out, Lotus putting the oil above her head in case Arsene forgot to use any this time, and closed her eyes so her back could tan first. Her front didn't need quite as much color.
Ishi joined them and grunted in displeasure at his sister's suit. "That is rather thin, Lotus."
"It's not like the boys are watching and if you're getting hard from staring at me, your sister, then you're a sick human being, Ishi," she said quietly, smirking at him. He spanked her, making her yell, but she kicked him back, driving him against the low wall. "Remember, father has other sons and Yu is young enough to rename," she pointed out meanly.
He pouted as he spread his towel out. "I'm going to tell Uncle Lupin you said that and take a picture of you in that...." He paused when she stood up. "Why did you shave there?"
"Because it shows if I don't according to my roommate," she said patiently.
"Why are you looking at that area of her body, Ishi?" Miriam asked.
"Because he's always been Lotus' behavior monitor," Melissa told her, turning her head to look at her. "He's always been like this. It's like she's a delicate little person and he's got to protect her, no matter how many times he sees her kicking everyone's ass. His dad's the same way about her."
Lotus nodded. "Unfortunately true." She laid down again, getting comfortable. "Did Lupin have to shave?"
"Yup, she sure did, and she got stopped and asked for fashion advice," Melissa said smugly. "No one ever asks me."
"They probably wanted to talk about skirts and stockings, not something you usually wear," Ishi noted.
"Very true," Melissa agreed happily. She turned her head in the other direction. "Miriam, did you put on oil? Remember, you burn, sweetie."
Ishi snorted, coming over to grab his sister's oil and put some on her back. "Here, let me."
"Thanks, Ishi. We love you like our brother." She grinned up at him. "And I don't even pick on you."
"No you don't. Thank you for that. It's nice in a sister-figure." He got her legs next, then moved to get her arms. "Here. Anything on your front you'll have to get." He went back to his spot next to the wall. He didn't really need much sun. He was already fairly well tanned just by working out without a shirt on. Which, of course, his father would stop if he knew about. After all, Goemon Ishikawa the Thirteenth hated that his first born son was a sex object to so many girls. He grunted in great displeasure at them whenever they tried to approach him.
A few hours later, when Lotus woke up on her back, she looked around. "Hey, Jigen?" Melissa grunted. "Where's Lupin?"
"I guess she got involved in her stuff," she said tiredly. "Why?"
Lotus checked her watch. "Lupin may like clothes as much as the next girl, but not three hours worth," she noted calmly. Ishi hopped up, so she did, and then they hauled Melissa up and down the stairs. "Miriam, we're going looking for Lupin. Want escorted down?"
"No, I'm fine," she said sleepily. "I'll get one of the nicer boys to do it."
"Sure," Ishi called. "I'll send one." He walked into his common area, weathering the groans of longing. "Miriam, Lotus' roommate, is up on our roof suntanning. She'll need an escort back down." One of the gayest of the gay assassins nodded at him. "Thank you. You might also want to help her with the oil problem she's having. She's already red." One of the non-gay assassin candidates leered at the stairs. "She's sworn to protect her virginity, guys. If you try, that'll upset Lotus." They all shuddered. Lotus had nearly killed a boy for trying to cop a feel about a week earlier, they weren't going to upset her any more than they could help. "Thanks." He strolled off, going to the girls' side. The monitor gave him an odd look as he walked past her. "We were suntanning. Lupin never showed up. They're looking for her now."
"Would...you...mind terribly..putting on a shirt, Ishi?" she said, hesitant pauses where she was biting on her lower lip. "You'd be quite a distraction for those poor girls after all."
He gave her an odd look. "Unless they get past my sister, Jigen, and Lupin, I'm not allowed to date."
"Pity," the monitor muttered as he walked off. "I wonder if Goemon looked like that when he was younger," she mused as she walked off.
Ishi walked into his sister's room. "That's it, I want to be a scrawny nerdly boy," he announced, slamming the door. Lotus gave him an odd look. "Your hall monitor just drooled on me." He wiped at a spot of drool on his shoulder. "See!"
"Well, you are cute in an annoying way. Turn around so I can finish changing." He sighed but did so. "Thank you." She slid into her top and buttoned her jeans, then turned back around. "Okay, I'm decent."
"You'd better put on a bra," he noted, blinking at her. "Lotus, you can clearly see that you aren't participating in any form of restraint on those things. Please put on a bra?" She sighed but nodded, digging one out. He stepped outside so she could do that, weathering the stares. "Has anyone seen Lupin? She was supposed to tan with us and never showed?" he asked the staring girls. At least they could be of *some* use. They were all too young for him.
"No, but I saw her heading for her room earlier," one offered with a shy smile. "You look like you've been working out again, Ishi. Are you lifting weights?"
"No, only doing my katas and training," he admitted. He gave her an odd look because she should know that with as much time as she spent watching him. "No one saw Lupin after that?"
"She got a message at the gate," Melissa called as she walked up the stairs. "Ladies, Ishi is not a piece of art to stare at. No matter how sculpted you think he is." She knocked on Lotus' door before sticking her head in. "Lupin may have went off campus. She got a message at the gate."
"Fine. I'm putting on real clothes. Go make my brother put on more than spandex panties."
"They are not!" he said hotly. "Lotus!"
"They looked like them," one girl offered, starting to giggle.
"But we'd think you'd look great in a thong, Ishi," another added, breaking out into giggles of her own.
"I tried them, they're uncomfortable," Ishi told her. "The same way loincloths are." He stomped back to his room to put on clothes, running into the headmistress on the way. "Where did Lupin go?"
"I was going to ask one of you the same question," she admitted, looking at the girls following him around. "Is there a problem, ladies?"
"No, I just wanted Ishi's opinion on my new dress," one of them asked, holding up a flimsy piece of lingerie.
"If you wear that outside, you'll probably look like a whore," Ishi told her. "It's much too thin to be a real dress. Try for something classic. The men in my family like women who have class, taste, and look very hot in their clothes." She nodded, going back to find something better to tempt him with. He stepped closer to the older woman. "One of the hall monitors drooled on me," he said quietly. "Is there any way I can get Lotus to do a repulsion charm?"
She giggled, patting him on the back. "I doubt it would work, Ishi. This is one of the beauties of being cute and popular. Go change. If you're going to find her, I want to know in advance."
"Yes, ma'am," he agreed, going to change into something more suitable for being off campus. He could probably walk out this way and stun a great many women, but that wouldn't get much done. He came out in time to find the girls heading his way and nodded at them. "The Headmistress wanted to know why Lupin went off campus too."
"Fine, then we'll get the Fiat out of the garage. I need to put a thing of oil in it but it shouldn't take more than a few minutes." They nodded, heading to pick up equipment from the infirmary and the weapons cabinet. They'd probably need it, unless Arsene had been offered a chance to go shopping again with one of the local boys who she thought was cute and hot. Then they'd only need a stick to beat him with.
Lupin looked up as his computer beeped, smirking at the heading of the new message that had been sent to him. He pushed the intercom button for the house. "Guys, we got new pictures of the kids," he called. He let the button go and opened the email, staring in open- mouthed shock at the pictures it contained. So when Goemon came in, he could only whimper and point.
Goemon walked around to look at the pictures, stunned by the first one as well. His daughter was very well built in that bikini. "Is it my imagination or is she missing a suspicious amount of hair?"
"No, she shaves," Jigen noted as he came around to look. "Holy Mother of God," he hissed, blinking a few times. "Wow, Goemon. We've got to find someone to do that girl's reduction surgery."
Goemon grunted in displeasure, moving down the list. Melissa's was enough to make Jigen choke on his current cigarette when he tried to swallow it. "I see your daughter went to the same store to get her bathing costume."
"That's a bikini, Goemon, you can't swim in something that tiny, it comes off," Lupin told him, shaking his head as he paged down. "Oooh, and look at the Ishi son." He smirked at his friend, who slapped him across the back of the head. "I'm betting he's got some girls following him around."
Jigen took the keyboard to page back up to the text, snickering at what it said. "Yeah, Ishi's being drooled on by the girls. This is from when they were tanning on top of the boys' tower last night. Hmm. There's no picture of Arsene?"
"No, there's not," Goemon offered. He looked at the pictures again, shaking his head. His son and daughter needed to wear more clothes. Melissa definitely needed to wear more clothes, her top barely covered her nipples. He saw the name signed to it and smirked. "I do believe that Wyatt is pouting about something."
"Yeah, that he can't be as hot as Ishi or score with Melissa or Lotus," Lupin put in. Jigen got him this time, swatting him higher up, which messed up his hair. "Hey!"
"Tough, deal with it," Jigen told him. "Quit staring at their boobs."
"Yes, please quit staring at their boobs. Why is there not a picture of Arsene?"
"Maybe because she's not wearing a cute bikini to tan in?" Jigen suggested.
"She tans naked, guys. She said so in her last letter. She got caught by DeMarllion on his second day back and had to turn him into a soprano." The other fathers grunted in displeasure at that. "I'm calling the school."
"Fine," Goemon agreed, going to sit down and wait. Lupin would tell him if something was wrong with his children. Or else. Though he knew that already.
Jigen called Xander's phone, getting the happy, sated sounding Xander nearly immediately. "We've got pictures of Melissa, Ishi, and Lotus suntanning. Which addy do you want them sent to? No, Wyatt did. They've been tanning above the boys' dorm again." He smirked and moved Lupin to send it to that address, which made Alan choke on the other end. "Did he see Lotus or Ishi? No, look at Ishi's, man. He's being drooled on again." He chuckled and hung up. "Alan said that he might try girls for Lotus, Goemon."
"I'm not letting her share lovers with Xander," he said firmly.
Lupin hung up from his conversation. "Arsene got a message at the gate, went to get it in her bathing suit, and then disappeared," he said calmly. "The others went after her a few hours later when they realized she hadn't shown up to tan yet, and took the Fiat with them. They haven't gotten back yet either." He stood up and picked up Xander's special phone book, looking up a number in it, then dialed it. "Vecchio, is Kowalski there?" he asked patiently. "Because he's got a tracker on the Fiat and the kids are somewhere looking very hot. Yes, our kids. Jigen, send Vecchio a copy of those pictures as a bribe," he ordered, leaning back to listen to him rant. "Now then, where is Ray?" he asked patiently. He sat up suddenly. "What do you mean someone gassed you and took him? Who'd be that stupid!" He snorted. "No, Xander's in Australia fucking Alan stupid. This is their special weekend." He burst out in laughs. "Ray just checked his email through his phone and choked," he told Goemon. "Yeah, I know he does. Because we've had to use it before to find Xander and Melissa. Thanks. It used to be in his desk drawer. It's a blue one if that helps. Even better. Sure, we can meet you in Italy if they're there. If not, give us a country." He hung up. "He's finding it and telling us where it is because Ray got stolen too." Goemon glared at the opposite wall. "Someone walked into Interpol headquarters, smoked them, then stole Ray from headquarters. In the middle of the work day and no cops said anything about it."
"Interesting," Jigen agreed. "If it's the same person, why would you need Kowalski and Lupin the Fourth together?"
"Something that takes brains and skills, but some patience?" Goemon suggested.
"No, I'm having one of those bad feeling moments about this, like there's a tingle in the back of my head about something and I don't know what."
Goemon pulled his sword to look at it. "There's a very faint shadow of death," he admitted, putting it back. "It's not very strong."
"Could that be because it's the kids?" Jigen demanded.
"No, when Ishi was nearly killed, the shadow was very strong and then it stopped suddenly before I could call and warn you. It's possible it's the inspector that's in mortal danger."
"Okay, let's head to Italy, guys." They nodded and went to pack, then headed out to the car. Lupin also ducked into the library, finding his grandfather's journal in there on the table for some reason. He ignored how it got there, sometimes they seemed to have a helpful ghost so he'd trust it this time as well. He went out, hopping in to drive, letting Jigen hold the journal. "Find the danger in there," he ordered. Jigen nodded, opening it to flip through.
Arsene woke up and shivered, looking around the stone room she was in. "Who decorated? Frankenstein?" she said bitterly. She started to move but a shout stopped her.
"Don't get out of the box," Ray called. "It'll shock you. Tried that one already."
"Thanks for the warning," she called back. "Got any idea why they wanted *us*?" He shook his head so she grimaced and looked down at herself. "Hey, it's not nice to redress a girl without her permission!" she yelled.
"You are quite loud," a male voice said as it came down the stairs.
"Yay me. My sister's a cheerleader, since we're twins I guess it runs in the family. You are?"
"I am Maral Cortez. It is written in my family that there are times when certain extremes become necessary to save the entire world. This is unfortunately one of those times. Though, we do have one too many sacrifices. As one of you is pure of deed, it should be her. Though the male is the better purity choice overall."
"You're still a virgin? I thought for sure you had snuck off by now," Ray said dryly.
"I almost did and then I remembered my sister's horrible example," she retorted, smirking at him. "You know, you're kinda too old for me, but hey, any port in a storm to keep myself from being killed."
"The creature would not kill you, sweet one. He merely needs the flesh of a female to be his so we're left alone. Then again, there are some rather nice and tempting ones outside of the family. In the past we have had to move outside the family lines, but it has brought the creature's visits closer together. It is a hard dilemma on our parts."
"You fucking sicko," she stated. "If you've touched any of my family, I will get out of this box and kill your ass in many bad and nasty ways."
"Such language," he said, glaring at her. "You will do no such thing, young lady." Ray groaned, he knew better than to challenge a Lupin. "What?" he demanded.
"This," she said, getting the anklet free and jumping him, beating him with the iron thing until she could clamp it around his wrist and shove him into the box. She walked over to where Ray was, tossing him the keys she found on the table. "If those aren't it, I'll pick it in a moment." She looked around, watching the guy as he tried to get the shock bracelet off, but did find a very old book. "It's the story of Andromeda."
"What?" Ray asked, finally getting free and coming to join her. "It is." He frowned as he looked it over. "This is a myth."
"It's not," the man insisted. "The creature comes every so often and we must prepare a sacrifice, or else we will all die!"
"Dude, my mother's a prince of hell and a consort. I'm sure we can stop a monster once and for all. There's no way he's getting me or Lotus."
Ray nudged her. "You forgot one."
"The same reason you got Brad, she got Brad," she said dryly. "Daddy said it was extenuating circumstances so she didn't have to marry him. So, no, Melissa's not that innocent anymore." She tugged on his arm. "Come on, let's go, before he finds a way out. Got a weapon?"
"Fuck no. I'm in, I'm guessing, the 'classical costume' of a pretty bra top that's basically pasties over my nipples with a chain between them, and a thin piece of fabric that's not even thick enough for a loin cloth covering each side of my ass. I don't have anywhere to hide one, unless you think I commonly put weapons up my ass?"
"You did say you were a Highlander fan," he said dryly, heading up the stairs first.
"Hey, I'd love to learn the trick to pulling a sword out of nowhere like Methos and Duncan. If we can find a con they're at, I'll ask." She got around him and picked the lock on the door, listening before opening it. She had to duck someone trying to grab her, but the next one got it in the nuts since she was at the perfect height. Then she stood up and used her Goemon-given training on these cretins. "How dare you decide to have my ass raped by a dragon!" she shrieked, attacking another one. "My daddy said I can't have sex until I'm sixteen or I'm going to be married to some gross, disgusting human! I'm not breaking it with a non-human, he won't be that understanding!" She saw one last one with a gun and ducked, coming up on the side so she could get him too, letting Ray grab the gun when it fell. She sighed as she looked around, pushing back some of her hair. "I'm tired now. Wanna get a sundae?" He looked at her oddly so she smirked. "What? I'm a teenager. If Ishi can eat his weight in food each day, so can I." She stole the gun and walked out, using it on a few people who were in their way outside. She saw their rescue party and whistled. "Ishi, get Lotus out of here! It's Andromeda, not the ship!" she yelled as she ran toward them. "Come on, Uncle Ray!" she yelled when he stayed there.
Ray jogged to catch up to her, not staring at her butt any longer. She was kinda cute, in a kiddy sort of way. He pinched himself for that thought, not wanting to have it again. He got smooshed in the back seat between Lotus and Melissa and whimpered. "Why me?"
"What is going on?" Melissa demanded.
"They're doing a re-enactment of Andromeda and the serpent. Apparently we're of the right bloodlines."
"Fuck me," Melissa said in awe. "Okay. Ishi, go, before they come out with weapons. If we scratch the car, mom's gonna be pissed."
He nodded and took off, glancing at Arsene now and then. "Are you all right?" he asked quietly.
"Fine. They took my bathing suit."
"We'll get you a better one," Lotus promised. "It'll be on the way back to the school, sweetie."
"Thanks, Lotus. Um, Uncle Ray, breathe," she instructed. "Otherwise we'll have to drop you off somewhere and make you hike home." He nodded quickly, panting some.
"Is this a panic attack?" Melissa asked.
"No, he's horny, you've got nice tits, they're pressing against him."
The girls both hit him, making him groan and relax. "Ow."
"Good," Lotus told him. "We're still teenagers."
"I told you that top was too tight," Ishi said as he shifted up, heading out to the main roads.
"Bite me, Ishi. It's not too tight."
"Lotus, you're very pretty and smart and all that good stuff," Ray told her calmly, "but when guys see a pretty girl like you, they lose all higher reasoning and turn into cave idiots. So please, do us all a favor and wear clothes that are just a bit more loose? Please?"
"Hey, at least it's not Dawn's catsuit collection," Melissa said dryly.
"No, but you would look stunning in them," he told her. She blushed. "I know you dress a lot like your old man, but it's not hiding it, Melissa. You've got a great shape under those pants and t-shirts." She blushed harder. "I'm going to be killed for this, but you're all stunning children."
"Arsene, are you feeling like you were drugged?" Ishi asked quietly.
"Noooo, why?" she asked. "He's just appreciative. I'm appreciative too. They've very pretty and Lotus is one of the most snuggly people I know."
Ishi groaned. "He's not the sort to say such things, Arsene. Mom would kill him for that." He pulled out his phone and called the school. "It's Ishi, we found them, they were kidnaped, they're probably fine. No, Inspector Kowalski was as well. No, he just told Melissa that she'd look great in Dawn Zenigata's cat suits." He winced at the choking going on. "I take it the 'rents are there? Hi, dad," he said grimly, glancing back at them, then at Arsene. "No, we'll be fine to come back, but Arsene needs some clothes. No, they were replaying Andromeda and the serpent." Lupin choked. "Really?" he asked dryly. "Want to explain that again? Let me pull off to the side of the road." He pulled off and leaned on the steering wheel. "What do you mean it's real?" He listened to Jigen quoting from some book written by someone long ago by the words being used. "Okay. And we do what? Of course I have my sword. Did you want me to turn this thing into sushi?" Arsene giggled. "No, she's wearing metallic pasties connected by a chain and some sort of gauze flaps that are thin enough to tell she shaves. Uncle Ray is presently wearing clothes that may be his. Or maybe not, they're kinda thin too."
"Tell daddy that they wanted the snake to bugger us," Arsene told him, giggling at the look he gave her. He handed over the phone. "Hi, daddy. No, they wanted the snake to have us as fun playtoys. They said that the snake didn't dine on the victims, only had fun with them. So I'm supposing it's a buggering snake. Or dragon, whatever. Why? No, I'm fine, daddy, just giggly. It was Uncle Ray who begged Lotus to wear less tight clothes and suggested Melissa get into Auntie Dawn's catsuits." She giggled again. "Calm Uncle G down, daddy. He's behaving. He's just squeezed into the back seat of the Fiat with them. Sure, I get it. It's fine. But we're not supposed to be bringing cops back there, daddy. Sure, where are we?"
"Greece, on the coast. It'll take about a day, unless we can find some sort of ferry," Ishi said dryly. "And you're not getting out of the car dressed like that!"
"Of course not." She listened to her father have a word with the Headmistress. "Where is it from?" She nodded. "Okay, we can do that. As long as the dragon thingy won't attack a boat?" She nodded once and handed the phone back. "Here, directions to the ferry."
"Thanks. Please take a nap. You sound like three cheerleaders on crack, Ar." He listened to the quiet instructions. "I'm not letting her get out of the car in that outfit. I'm sorry but I'm not being arrested for pimping her. Yeah, she does." Arsene giggled again. "You ever see the nearly pornographic pictures of Andromeda? That's her. Yup, that exact same outfit. Sure, how far is it from where we are?" He groaned. "That's where the lunatics live. Is there another spot?" He nodded and started the car. "Okay, we're heading there. It'll take probably three hours. Sure, check back often. No, giggling madly. Thanks, Uncle Lupin. I promise, I won't make her ineligible." He got them heading forward again, taking them to the second dock. The ferry ran overnight so they'd be there in the morning without having to switch drivers, which would mean they'd have to get out of the car. "Did we bring any spare clothes for naked girl?"
"Nope," Melissa told him. "She won't fit into ours. She's got bigger hips."
"I do not!"
"You do, but you've got a flat ass," Lotus said dryly. "We'll find her a t-shirt or something, Ishi. We won't let you get arrested for being her pimp."
He groaned but sped up. He wanted off this rescue now.
Lupin hung up from calling Vecchio and looked at the group. "Okay, they're on their way back. The ferry will land in Italy at about nine in the morning." The other parents nodded. "We can deal with that then. Arsene is nearly naked. Ray was saying how pretty the other two were. Vecchio will stay out of this one because he doesn't want to know how to kill a sea serpent. Arsene said it was a sex offering." Goemon groaned. "I'm sure they'll be fine, Goemon. Lotus isn't of the blood line, and Ishi's already immune if it's looking for virgin sacrifices." He shuddered. "Which is a nasty thought, but my daughter is practical so I'm assuming if necessary she'd use someone available to save herself, probably Ray. At least he'd be gentle with her." He shuddered again, noticing the other winces. "Melissa's already safe, Jigen."
"The diary said pure of word, deed, and heart, Lupin. If they took Kowalski they must have known he was married before."
"He was?" Goemon asked. "To who?"
"To some tough bitch attorney who dumped him for not being self-sufficient and able to do it all on his own after a few too many undercovers. A real career over love sort." Goemon frowned at that. "So that may not help them."
"No, but my next call is to warn Xander, who can," he pointed out. "If anyone can kill the big snakey demon, it'll be him. Right?"
"If it's something like a dragon or a serpent, it may not work on his tattoos," Goemon offered quietly.
"No, but if it comes down to using a sword to kill it and chop it into little bits, I'm sure Xander can at the very least do a lot of chopping." He pulled out his cell, dialing Xander's from memory. "Hi, Alan. Is Xander awake? No, the kid was kidnaped to reenact Andromeda and the serpent. Yeah, that kid. Yup, that's why we need Xander. Yeah, he is actually a master of the sword." He smirked. "Ask him, maybe he'll tell you about all that stuff he hides from us. We had to find out by figuring out he'd been teaching Ishi to know he was so good." Goemon groaned, rubbing his face, while the Headmistress giggled. "He did," he told him, leaning against the edge of the desk. "Xander, how good's your mythology. No, Greek. Andromeda." He smirked. "No, not the ship with the guy who used to play Hercules. Mythology. Draw your mind away from Alan's cuteness for a moment. The other kids had to rescue Arsene and Ray from the cult who thinks it's coming back and they needed a sacrifice of the bloodline. Yeah, the both of them."
He covered the mouthpiece and snickered, shaking his head. "No, but I don't think Alan needs to go to a ferry between Greece and Italy to protect the kids. Oh, you *might* want to either bring a camera or some extra clothes. Arsene's in the less than clothed version of the sacrificial outfit and she's giggling. Only Ishi and Melissa and Lotus." He smirked. "I thought so. Yeah, that ferry. Thanks, Xander. Welcome. Yeah, you can have a few extra days off." He laughed as Alan begged to be let free because he was too tired to continue breathing. "Tell him he wanted you, he can deal with you. We did." He hung up and shook his head. "Apparently he's worn Alan out so much that he's too tired to sleep now."
"How does Xander do that?" the Headmistress asked.
"Practice. Lots and lots of practice," Jigen told her.
She blushed and nodded. "Did he teach Ishi that technique? Because there've been some girls who would gladly wear a fanclub button for him if he'd authorize one and sleep with them as a membership due." Goemon blushed at that. "We've even had some of the staff drooling over him, Goemon. Your son is very handsome, very fit, and very much a stud. He works out without a shirt on and we had to move one class away from the practice ring so they couldn't stare and watch. The math teacher wasn't teaching, she was staring too hard. The hall monitors drool on him too. They're almost as bad as the girls and boys who look at Lotus and want to take up breastfeeding." Goemon groaned a bit louder at that. "I don't know what you fed those four, but they're devastating on the other students. I'm really glad the days that Lotus doesn't wear a bra to practice. Most of the guys get tired too quickly and go wank off, then go back to class. We've got to do something. Maybe some ugly makeup?"
Jigen snorted. "Think about how we feel. Lotus is bigger than her mother ever was."
"Plus more innocent, which is why we nearly got invaded over Xander because of Mark," Lupin reminded them. Jigen shuddered. "Does it help the days she wears a kimono?"
"No, then they coo over how cute and precious she is, and how they'd like to collect her like some doll." She smiled at them. "It's honestly very funny, guys, but it's getting to the point where Ishi's starting to look a bit distracted and desperate. As Miriam, Lotus' roommate, was heard saying, he needs a janitor with a mop to follow along behind him and his entourage of drooling women."
"That would be dishonorable," Goemon stated.
"He's not encouraging them, Goemon. He just can't get them to stop. Have you ever seen that picture of the succuba sucking up to a victim? The one where he looked really desperate and they were clinging to his feet? They're a lot like that. He's ready to bolt or hurt someone."
"I'll talk with the boy when he gets back," Lupin promised. "The girls too if Xander doesn't." The other fathers nodded to show their support. "You two are like bobblehead dolls," he said sarcastically. "Brainless now?"
"It was the picture of Lotus in that white bikini," Jigen admitted. Goemon hit him, making him wince. "It was! Gods, man, if she wasn't my niece and Goddaughter, she wouldn't be safe in the house. You know Lupin wants to pant after her!"
"Perhaps, but he knows better and knows her true age," Goemon said firmly.
"Plus, you know, virgins aren't my thing anymore," Lupin said dryly, shaking his head as he looked up. "Why me?"
"It's payback for all those years you chased Fujiko around," Jigen said smugly. "We tried to tell you she was bad for you."
"Yeah, well now she's gone," Lupin said firmly.
"She is?" Goemon asked.
"Goemon, did you not hear where your son stuffed her?" Lupin asked.
He sighed and shook his head. "No. Where?" Jigen leaned over to whisper in his ear, making him shudder. "My son was intentionally that cruel?"
"She's the one who handed Xander to Wesley and Angel," Lupin told him. "I'm assuming we could go rescue her once she was sane again."
"How would we know?"
"Well, we could call David and have him release her and put her somewhere," Lupin admitted.
"Where is she?" the Headmistress asked. "If I can get that personal?"
"He put her in a glass coffin with an airhose under LA Harbor," Lupin told her. She shuddered. "Exactly. After her stunning example of trying to sell Lotus and trying to get Xander killed, then her stunt here, then trying for Xander a few more times, he decided she needed a time-out." He shrugged but smirked. "It efficiently got her out of the way and she'd have some of the things she needs to survive."
"Get her out of there," Goemon ordered. "It is not right. She will slowly starve to death."
"Fine, Goemon. She's your wife," Lupin agreed, calling the number he had listed for David. "Hello, is David there? No, tell him it's Lupin's secretary." He smirked as he redialed, getting someone different this time. "Ah, the lovely Fred, I remember your voice, my dear. Is David there? Please. No, it's Lupin. I need him to go rescue someone." He smirked harder as Fred yelled for David and someone in the background started to complain about thieves and bad guys being too universal. "David, I know you know where Fujiko is. Goemon wants her rescued before she starves to death. No, go ahead and commit her if you want. Yeah, that's fine, my man. Just get her up and leave her somewhere. Sure," he agreed happily. "We'll even call Vecchio to have him come help if you want," he offered, looking at Goemon, who frowned but didn't say or do anything else. "Sure. You go down and check on her, then drag him. Thanks, David. Sure. What did you need? The key? Um, maybe you should call Dawn since that's her? Yeah, thanks, man."
He hung up and called Vecchio back. "Hey, it's me. David's going to be pulling Fujiko out of LA Harbor tonight. Want her? No, Goemon's not looking like he wants to rescue her at the moment and we know the kids won't. No, she's been down there since a few days after Xander had to have his knee replaced. She should be. I'm guessing there's some limited food in there with her. Sure. Nope, David. He's at Angel Investigations in LA. Yeah, him, Ray. Sure. Have fun in the land of pretty people." He hung up and looked at Goemon. "David's fairly sure she's still alive. He's went down to taunt her a few times. He put that picture from the wine tasting over her coffin at one point, which made her scream about her daughter being so cute and hot. Good enough, Goemon?"
Goemon nodded. "Yes, it is. Were they charmed somehow?"
"Quite possibly. It has been a while since she went down there," Jigen offered. "If you have to, we can sneak you into her room in disguise."
"That won't be that hard," Lupin assured him. He looked at the wall clock. "We should do something to take our minds off the kids. They'll be fine. They should be getting closer to where the ferry is."
"Well, we did want you to talk on disguises," the headmistress offered, "and some students do need Jigen and Goemon to look over their formal qualifications for graduation."
"Good enough," Goemon agreed. "How is my daughter?"
"Very good, Goemon. She's excellent. The only reason she hasn't been approached by any of the boys and girls who pant after her is because she is so skilled. She's easily Ishi's level, but in your own family style." Goemon nodded at that. "The teacher has many tapes of her working on her skills. You'll find him in the practice area, as always." He nodded, and they trailed out to go find their respective areas, Lupin going to the Practical Skills class since that's what disguises really were. She let out a deep breath. Those three could easily have destroyed someone or the school for what the kids were going through.
Xander landed on the boat, looking around at the quiet deck. Then he headed for his car. He knew it was his car, it had Ishi sitting on the hood of it. He grunted quietly. "It come yet?"
"No, not yet," he reported, looking at him. "Did you bring Arsene something?" Xander shook his head, holding up the camera. "Go ahead, she's probably still vibrating in her sleep. She was when I came out here." He looked back out at the sea. "I do not know if it will or not, but I have a very bad feeling about this."
"Could that be because your father had his wife rescued and put into a mental hospital?" Xander suggested.
"Quite possibly," he said dryly. "When?"
"This morning. He had David go down to get her and handed her to Vecchio." He hugged him. "I saw the picture of you in your trunks. Not too bad, little man. Do we need a repellant for girls?"
"Please," he groaned, shaking his head as he looked at his lap. "I can't seem to find one who wants more than a quick bout in bed. The only girl I thought wanted more only wanted two of them and she didn't want an immediate second round when I tried. She said I was too tiring."
"It happens to the best of us. That's why I've got to pay extra for the pros," Xander said wisely, leaning against his arm, looking around the sea. "Where's your sword?"
"In the car, I nearly lost it once when the boat hit a rough patch so it put it back on my seat."
"Okay. What's that?" he asked, pointing at the water where there was a large wave- looking thing coming toward them. "Is that a wave?"
"Hell no," Ishi said in awe. "It's real?"
"Apparently and it wants it's dinner."
"She said it wasn't going to eat them, just play with them." Ishi tapped on the window to wake up the others. "It's here!"
Arsene got out and weathered her father taking a few pictures. "Thanks, get my good side?"
Xander smirked. "Like you have a bad side?" he teased. He tossed the camera into the car, then grabbed his sword, watching as Ishi grabbed his and Lotus stepped out of the car. "Lotus, I'm not sure it won't come for you, stay with Arsene this time," he ordered. "Especially since you're not armed." He stood up, facing the serpent when its head popped over the railing. "Hi. Did you need something?"
"Mine," it hissed. "Where's mine?"
"Yours is not yours, it's mine." The serpent glared at him so he smirked. "What? Don't believe me? Ask her yourself."
"Yeah, he's mine," Arsene agreed quickly. "Sorry, but you can't have me and I didn't agree. Neither did Uncle Ray." She crossed her arms, but it only made her chest stand up better, which made the serpent stare at her. "Not working. I'm more than used to horny creatures staring at me."
"You and me both," Lotus said dryly. The serpent looked at her and opened its mouth again. "Eww! Go away! I'm not breaking myself in on a *creature* like you! Puhleaze!" She rolled her eyes. "That is so gross!"
"Geez, Lotus, surfer girl much?" Xander complained. He looked at the serpent again. "I could always kill you."
"Mine," the serpent hissed.
Xander glared and stuck his sword in one nostril, slicing into it. "Really? I could have sworn they're all mine, bitch. You'd better back down, you buggering snake." It reared up and Xander glared at it. "Yay, you're huge, you've still got no dick and you're still not human. Why would these humans want you?"
"Mine!" it demanded.
"Enough talk, killing it is easier," Ishi decided, taking a swipe at it. He cut through some of the scales, making it howl. It lunged at them so he and Xander attacked it together, making it retreat when it got too injured. It still wasn't dead but it was bleeding around the neck. It retreated, sliding back into the sea. Ishi looked at his sister. "If that thing comes for you again, I want some serious artillery."
"You want? What about what I want?" she shrieked. "I am not becoming food for a perverted snake!"
"No, you're not," Xander said calmly, looking at her. "It shouldn't come back tonight. Go back to the car and rest," he ordered. He looked at the captain, who was staring at them. "It's gone for the night," he called. "It shouldn't come back." The captain nodded and went back to the wheelhouse. "Get dropped off as soon as you can and haul ass back to the school. Call on the way to see where you're to drop Ray." They nodded. "Good kids." He disappeared, going to clean his blade and change clothes. The hotel's maid gave him an odd look as he walked back into the foyer so he shrugged. "I was attacked by a big snake. I won," he said, sounding calm to his own ears. He went up to clean up and call Ethan. There had to be something to get rid of the thing for good. Once he was clean and his sword was burned clean, he sat down with his cell to call Marcus since he was usually there. "Marc?" he asked patiently when the phone was answered. It was turned off. "That's right, he's got class today." He dialed Ethan's house directly, getting a sleepy sounding grunt. "How do we get rid of Andromeda's serpent? It wants Arsene and Ray K." He chuckled at the sleepy complaint. "It's not demonic, it didn't react to me. It's a big sea snake and it kinda wanted Lotus too." He smirked. "Well... if you do, I might find my way fit to send you some new pictures of the kids. Oh, really? Because Lotus is very well built. So is my baby girl. She looks a lot like a pinup now. No, you haven't seen them in years," he said smugly. "Sure." He opened his laptop and forwarded that email to Ethan and Marcus. "Check Marc's email. Now, how do I kill the serpent?"
Lupin looked at his email phone, then hit the buttons to get into the new message. He whimpered and handed the phone to Jigen, who shook his head and handed it to Goemon. "My poor baby. I thought Ishi was being over dramatic again."
"No, apparently not," Goemon said, staring at Arsene. She was better built than one thought. He handed it back. "Hopefully she'll be in appropriate attire when she returns."
"Probably not. Ishi just wants to get back. I don't think he's stopping to get them anything but drive-thru."
Jigen coughed. "I heard from Marcus for some reason. He said the key to killing it was a poisoned sheep."
"Which would be wonderful, but we don't have one of those either," Lupin noted. "I don't want to stake one of the kids out to draw it either."
"How often does this thing come back?" Goemon asked. "I had this horrible vision earlier about the creature showing up some day while the children were sunbathing on a beach."
"Every eighty years," Lupin told him. "Which explains why it skipped me."
"That's fine then. We'll have to tell the grandchildren."
The others perked up at that thought. They didn't have to deal with this. Xander would be and then their grandkids. They had missed another emergency of the strange and unusual.
Xander put the two girls on the beach with the sheep he had stolen, waiting while the serpent came up to where they were. It had followed them all day. Now they were ready for it. The serpent reared up and snapped the sheep to make it quit screaming in fear, then turned color and spit it out. Xander smirked at it. "Yeah, it was poisoned, yeah, it's deadly for you guys, no, you're not getting the girls." They pulled out weapons and the snake seemed to sigh before heading off. "And don't go trolling for another one either!" he called as it backed off.
"There's nothing worse than a perverted creature," Ishi said sadly. "I'm assuming it started out eating women, then decided to play with its food." He shook his head. "Back into the car!" They scrambled in, but kept the knocked out Ray there on the beach.
Xander tucked Ray's ID case into his pocket then stood up with a smirk. "There, very nice. Go ahead, I'll call the local cops and make sure he's found." They nodded, taking off again. He made sure he had the camera this time so he could send one of those to Ethan and Marcus as well since they had been so helpful. He flagged down an on-coming car, pointing at Ray. "That's an Interpol inspector. He's unconscious, can you call someone?" She nodded, calling on her cellphone in rapid Italian. He went back to check on him. He'd been a bit heavy-handed with the drugs, but that would be fine. "Remember, do not drool over my kids, Ray, or else I get mad," he whispered as sirens approached. Xander disappeared, coming back for his sword before disappearing again.
One of the cops glared at the spot where the man had been. "Who is this?" he demanded. "And who was the one who was here?"
"The one who called it in said a man with silver hair found him," one of the cops reported. He pointed at the carcass. "I'm wondering about that, sir."
The man looked at the sheep, then nodded once. "There are rumors about what comes out of the sea. Including what attacked that ferry. I'm assuming he was protecting them. Who is he?"
"Inspector Ray Kowalski, Interpol, Special Targets Project, sir. He works with Zenigata if this is correct."
"Fine, I'll call their office, get him to the hospital. Do the standard bloodwork." They nodded, taking the poor man to the people who could help him. He would ask this Inspector later about the silver haired man, though it could only be one person. Only one thief had silver hair. Then again, the ferry captain had said that the up and coming Lupin the Fourth had been on that ferry and dressed as a sacrifice. He looked out onto the sea. "Do not come back here again," he warned. "We will protect our own." He stomped off, heading to the hospital. He had to have a talk with this inspector.
Arsene got out of the car and groaned as she stretched. "Finally!"
"Go put on some clothes!" Ishi yelled as he walked off. "Before you get attacked again."
"Bet me," she said bitterly. "Why can't I have a nice chest like you two?" she complained to Melissa.
"Feel lucky. We both need to have ours cut down. You've got just the right size. Lotus looks like a blowup doll some days." Lotus let out a bitter sounding grunt behind them. "It's Tuesday. We should head to classes." Lotus sighed and headed for the practice area. That's where she should be. "Go change, Lupin."
"Fine, Melissa." She headed up toward the dorms, weathering the stares from the people in the halls going to their next classes. "I was just kidnaped, they didn't bring me any clothes," she said firmly.
"Daughter, I can see the crack of your ass, that is not appropriate," Lupin called from a classroom. She squealed and ran in to hug him, stunning him. The pictures didn't do her justice. "Wow," he said in awe. "You're definitely too grown up to run around naked. Please go change?"
"Where's the others?"
"Jigen's on the range. Goemon's talking with the martial arts teacher about the trials." He patted her on the shoulder. "Go change, please?"
"Can't I show them first?"
"Sure," he agreed, nodding. "I'll even escort you." He winked at the teacher. "Be right back. She's going for shock value." He walked her off, watching as the other kids stared at her. "Well, you're certainly going to have your pick of people to let drool on you," he said fondly.
"Yeah," she agreed happily. She tapped on the range and walked in, hugging her uncle. "I came to get a hug before I changed. Melissa headed for the gadgets area."
Jigen looked down at her and squeaked. "Go change," he ground out.
"I'm headed up there after I get my hugs," she reminded him with a grin. She gave him another one. "Thank you for teaching everyone so well, Uncle Jigen." She grinned at the other teacher in there. "I'll be back in a while to work with him."
"Sure, Lupin. Just put on a real shirt first. That violates about every single rule of the dress code."
"I didn't dress me like this, the funky cultists who wanted me to be the sextoy of the big sea snake did," she reminded him. She heard Goemon and jogged out to give him a hug, making him blush very brightly. "Thank you. I used a lot of what you taught me to kick the cultist's asses. You're a very nice Uncle, Uncle G." She headed up to her room at a light jog, going to change now. She really was kinda chilly in that outfit.
Goemon calmed himself down again and looked at Lupin. "She doesn't like that look, correct?"
"No, I think she was cold," Lupin admitted with a smirk. "Have you seen the others?"
"Not yet, but I was going to watch one of the mastery tests," he admitted. "Coming?"
"Indeed," Lupin agreed, following him. He had always wanted to see the kids in action. Jigen could handle his daughter's marksmanship tests. Now if only they could pass their other two classes. They sat down in the darkened area, far away from where Lotus and Ishi could see or hear them, and watched as the kids went to work. Ishi was doing a warmup series of katas shirtless so Lupin leaned closer to the father. "No wonder he gets drooled on," he whispered.
Goemon hit him on the arm. "Behave." They both stared in shock as Xander came out and bowed to Ishi, who broke his routine to bow and grab his sword, his real sword. Goemon hissed as his son attacked, and his other student defended. It was a good test. Xander and Ishi were evenly matched and Xander was still very strong and good. Clearly the best of his students. Xander did nick Ishi a few times, but Ishi got him back for them. It continued for nearly the whole class, then the teacher called a halt. "I would pass him," he muttered.
"I'd pass them both," Lupin admitted in awe. Xander was stunning like that. The two combatants bowed to each other.
Ishi bowed to his teacher, then to their area since he knew someone was watching. "Was this my mastery?"
"It was the combat part," his teacher agreed. "The next one will be coming soon. You should prepare for the other course." Ishi nodded and went to prepare himself for the blindfold course while the other students came out to do their own battles, but Xander sat down until Lotus came out.
Goemon groaned, watching as his daughter picked her sword and bowed to him, then attacked without a word. He was staring at her, she moved just like him. He was in awe, his daughter was excellent. Xander tried to get her for real and she ducked, losing a few locks of hair, but she got him back, stopping herself from stabbing him in the stomach.
"Match," the teacher intoned. "Lotus Goemon."
Xander bowed and grinned. "Sneaky. Very well fought, Lotus Goemon. You took advantage of the opening your brother created."
"Thank you, Lavelle." She bowed back then bowed to her teacher. "Am I due on the other course as well?" He nodded once, so she headed that way, putting her sword away. The teacher on that course looked at her. "It's my turn next?" He nodded. "Fine." She accepted the blindfold and climbed up onto the starting platform, putting it on. The whistle blew so she walked out onto the balance and distraction course, centering herself with her breaths. She could feel her father was somewhere close by, but she could also feel Melissa and Uncle Jigen around too. She had one bobble but managed to turn it to her advantage, getting the person attacking her and knocking them off. She finished the course in silence, then took off her blindfold to look at the attacker. "Is he dead?"
"No, just unconscious," he admitted. "You pass."
"Thank you, sir." She came down and bowed to him. "Do I have a third?"
"I will not force you to do a hunting test," he admitted. "Your other sensitivities have been noted, Lotus."
"Thank you, sir." She bowed again, then headed over to hug her Uncle. "I felt you guys," she told him with a grin. "You might as well come out, dad and Uncle Lupin." They came out of the shadows. "I felt you guys, that's why I was so nervous."
"You did excellently," Goemon assured her. "Much better than I had ever hoped for, daughter. You do the family name proud. We will find you a sword worthy of your skill during the holiday." She beamed at him so he bowed to her, deeper than usual to show his respect for her skills. She bowed back, then hugged him. "Daughter, I do love you," he said happily.
"Thanks, daddy. I don't have to do the hunting test."
"Then I'm doubly pleased." He patted her on the back, then smiled at his son. "You also did excellently. That was a very long fight, longer than most of mine have been in recent years." His son smirked at him. "You have one left."
"I've already done it," he admitted. "I did that while Lotus was doing her course. She gets nervous when we're there."
"He passed with spotless skills," Jigen reported. "Him, Arsene, and Melissa, plus Wyatt decided to try and he passed with a good enough rating he won't have to retake it."
Lupin smirked. "I'd say this warranted a celebration, guys." They cheered. "Let's see if we can take you off campus for this." He turned and found the Headmistress watching them from an open window. "They all passed with distinction. Lotus actually beat Lavelle in sword combat."
"I saw. Get them back tonight by curfew, or dawn if there's a problem, Lupin. Jigen, if you could stay? We do have a few more who need to do their senior testing."
"If I can't, Xander may be able to."
"I hadn't thought of that. Thank you, Jigen. Have a happy celebration, children." She closed the window.
"Go change, kids." They ran for their rooms, going to put on their usual clothes. "I'm in awe," Lupin said happily. "I had no idea we'd done that good of a job with them. Goemon, Arsene said she used some of the skills you taught them too."
"She told me. I can only hope my other sons turn out as good as my daughter did."
"They will, man. We've got your back with them." Jigen lit up and headed into the school, going to start the cars. Lupin gathered the kids, letting his daughter pick which one she wanted. She chose the roadster this time so they got the Fiat and Xander, who was napping in the back seat. "You tired, Xan?"
"Yeah, kinda. Alan kept me up," he said with a goofy grin. "He starts taping today on a new project so I won't get to see him for a few days."
"They need someone to do mastery tests," Lupin offered as he got in to drive. "Melissa said she felt like she should be wearing a hat at the moment," he joked.
"She's my kid," Jigen said proudly. They followed the kids out, letting them pick the restaurant. They knew the area better at the moment.
Vecchio looked into Fujiko's special cell, then back at his boss. "She's still ranting and raving about her daughter's breasts, sir. Should we break into that again?"
"Yes," Zenigata said grimly, walking inside to hand her the pictures of her daughter in a bathing suit. Fujiko let out a wordless scream of rage. "They're getting her reduction surgery." He sneered down at her. "They won't come to save you this time, Fujiko Mine."
"Yes they will! Lupin will save me! He had me saved from that torture device!"
"No, Goemon had you saved from there," Ray said as he walked in with the nurse. "He had Lupin call. I talked to him right after he talked to David. Goemon decided your son was too cruel this time. He's the reason David saved you."
"Goemon had me saved?" she asked weakly, staring at him, then at Zenigata. "Really?"
"Apparently he still feels something for you," Zenigata sneered. "That won't matter where you're going. I'm sure he'll be allowed to visit now and then once we capture him."
Kowalski limped in, handling his crutches like a pro. "There's new news." He handed over his phone with the text message still on it. "They passed their masteries last week." Vecchio smirked at that. "Including Lotus doing her martial arts one and stunning her father. She won against Lavelle in sword combat."
Zenigata looked at him. "Which crook told you that?"
"Lupin the Fourth. She called to check on me when she heard I fell. She also apologized for her 'any port in a storm' rant while we were held together. She said she didn't mean to be insulting."
"That's one of those situations where no one could have blamed you," Vecchio offered. "Not even Dawn." He looked at the message. "Top honors?"
"Top honors," he agreed happily. "Ishi just barely topped Lotus. She had a bobble on the balance course according to Arsene. One half-point higher. So as long as they pass their two remaining classes, they're free of the Academy as of this spring. They're doing their first formal job this August or September so they have the summer off. They said we needed the tan."
"But they're not old enough yet," Fujiko said, sounding confused.
"They'll all be sixteen by then," Ray said with a shrug. "They've been doing stuff since they were eight, Fujiko."
"Melissa went to solve the blood debt on her father's head," Vecchio told her. "She solved it like her old man woulda."
Fujiko shook her head. "No, Melissa doesn't like guns."
"She came in tied with Lupin and Ishi for top in marksmanship," Vecchio told her.
"My son's a samurai."
"Your son's a samurai with a gun too," Zenigata corrected, rubbing his last scar from the kid. "He's too damn good already."
"We need to figure out what to do about that group," Kowalski said. "I don't wanna die from chasing the kids. The commissioner is already scared of them. Lupin sent him an announcement about their mastery attainments."
They all shuddered. It was a bad omen if Lupin was bragging already.
"But they're just kids," Fujiko said sadly.
"They'll be fine," Vecchio reminded her. "They're very well trained kids and another generation to go."
"Two Goemons and Fred," Ray agreed. "Sarah's still being looked at for the kitsune if they and Xander ever make up. Alex is still a white knight in training."
"Fine, then three left," Vecchio agreed. "One's barely three?" Ray nodded. "So we've got time before we see Fred?"
"Fred's eight now and he's already pulled his first plans and hired his first hookers," Ray warned. "He still needs validation from his sister and daddy though. He told me that he was going to have his sister check his plan when I caught him heading to the school to deliver her guns." He looked at his boss. "I didn't get a chance to tell you. They gave Arsene the two forty-eights they had, sir."
"Fuck me," he said in awe.
"Fred was given a third one at the airport, that's when I caught him," Ray finished. Zenigata's mouth fell open. "Plus, Xander was up and wandering around without pain the last time I saw him. Looked like his old self, back when we first met."
"Hell," Zenigata said, starting to scowl. "That's not a good sign either. Okay, men, let's up the security on this room in case we get anyone coming in to free her. If Goemon still cares for her, Lavelle will try for her to help his friend." They turned and found the bed empty. "Crap, crap crap! What happened!"
"I don't know," Vecchio admitted.
"We're blocking the door," Ray said dryly. "She didn't sneak past us."
They all looked up at the open ceiling tile. Then they went running to sound the alert and searching the building, even though it was a fruitless one this time.
Lupin the Fourth looked at her rescue, then at Lotus. "You're sure about this?"
"I'd rather see her rot in hell but Father said he wanted to see her one last time before she went to prison."
"Fine." She started the car and drove them off, heading to the hotel room Goemon was in. They walked her up there, handing her over then going for a milkshake.
"Fujiko," Goemon said, looking her over. "I have chastised the son. He was not to torture you that way. I did not want him warped that way."
She burst out in tears and hugged him. "I'm so sorry, Goemon. I'm a dumb bitch and I'm sorry."
He slowly moved his arms to hold her. "I know. That is why you are here." He patted her gently. "Sit, we will talk once you're calm. Would you like some tea?"
"No thanks." She sat down, staring at him. "You look good."
"Janus had a small fight with Xander and he deaged us by a few extra years," he admitted. "It helped Xander's knees again." He stared in her eyes, seeing the remorse. "We will talk," he decided. Maybe they could work it out. Then he would tell Lupin what was going on.
To Part 53