The oni floated on the air currents, looking for another ripe target. Not another one of those schoolgirls though. There had been two many close calls with getting discovered in that group. The next thing after he was discovered would be another round with Ranma Saotome and his companions. That had gone badly enough the first time, he didn't want a second time really.
~What do we have here?~ The oni stopped and hid in the folds of the tree watching a dark haired girl sparring with a bespectacled young man. It seemed more like a training session than a full out spar actually. The girl's style was on the verge of an artistic nature, usable if not overly efficient in full combat. That wasn't what attracted the oni's attention to her, however. ~She's completely open.~
The oni smiled, well smiled wider anyway, and considered the possibilities. A host that he didn't just direct, a host that he controlled! A host that had no way of fighting back against him. Most importantly, a host that it would be impossible to just kick him out of by hitting them. This was a wonderous discovery. He noted a flash of chi as she turned and then frowned, or at least adopted a less silly smile. Now all it had to do was get that amulet from around her throat.
~Well, I have a solution for that.~ He giggled madly as he drifted down and popped into Mousse's head as the two leaped past each other in an attempt to reposition.
As usual with martial artists, and that damn schoolgirl for some reason, the oni found himself having to work to break into the young man's mind. It took a full second during which Mousse looked blankly into space and tried to locate the hostile spirit in his head. The oni found the martial artist's subconscious before the man's active defenses could find him and effect a real fight.
A low evil chuckle escaped Mousse as he turned to face Kodachi.
"Kodachi, did you know how beautiful you are," he asked. "I can hardly
"I'm over here, Baka," Kodachi snapped angrily. Then she blinked as the giggling beach ball left Mousse's head and floated away. "What by the heavens is that?"
~Damn it, now he's an unusable choice as well.~ The oni snarled, though in its current state the sound came out a giggle. He had perhaps another day to get that "Kodachi" girl to take off that amulet, after that her chi flow would heal and she'd be like anybody else.
Mousse got back up in time to catch the silly image of the oni drifting away. He considered the evil thoughts that had just been running through his head, and a story he had heard about a possessed Kasumi. It did not take him long to figure out what had occurred. Then he remembered what Dr. Tofu said about the state of Kodachi's mental defenses, making her a ripe target.
"This is going to be fun," Mousse sighed.
"It would be convenient for someone to, inform me as to the nature of that
object" Kodachi noted. Mousse walked into his trailer and came out with a book apparently written in Chinese.
"That's a pretty neck
urk!" the oni floated out of the now unconscious bystander. Kodachi regarded the man under the training potty curiously.
"This demon dares to press a claim on my
" Kodachi looked at the amulet, losing her illusions hadn't done much to alter her mode of speech as it turned out. Meanwhile, she still had a headache, which was only manageable because said amulet kept her free-flowing thoughts under control. She was moderately irritated. "Hmm
this could cause complications."
"This is getting very tiresome," Kodachi said as she thwapped the most recent possession victim. "Is that contraption of yours almost ready?" She shifted the unfortunate off to the pile of recoverees and prepared for the next one.
"Yes, I got it!" he shouted. He then brandished the box in his hands. "All we have to do is catch him coming out of the next victim and get him in this box."
"Will these charms work on a Shinto demon?" Kodachi wondered.
"It should," Mousse said doubtfully. Another formerly average person sporting horns appeared. "Use the ribbon!"
"Do you not believe that I can figure that out for myself?" Kodachi asked calmly as her ribbon whipped out and pulled in the oni-possessed person. "Why aren't you doing any of the fighting?"
"You need the work." Kodachi arched an eyebrow and rubbed her head, she couldn't wait for her chi flow to heal itself so all these memories and the accompanying headaches would leave. Well, she hoped the memories didn't leave, she just hoped they returned where they belonged. If they left again she'd be left with those
"I want that necklace, it's so COOL!!!" the horned teenager declared.
"Ready?" Kodachi asked, Mousse nodded. The gymnast struck the other kid on the head and then waited for the oni to pop out. As it did, Mousse and Kodachi looked up, and up and up and a rather large, red monster. It looked sort of a like a brain with huge arms, stubby legs, big horns, and large bulging eyes. Oh yeah, teeth, lots of sharp, pointy, white teeth in a huge gaping mouth.
.not ready for that," Mousse swallowed.
"Now, I shall have that girl's body as a vessel for spreading chaos and evil, and you cannot stop me! Try and fight me if you will, it shall do you no good."
Kodachi and Mousse blinked and used the Saotome school of anything goes final technique. The oni watched confused as the dust clouds departed.
"Hey where do you think you're going!"
"What is that thing?" Mousse demanded as the buildings began to thin around them.
"You're the master of dark magic, don't you know an oni when you see one?" Kodachi asked.
"Its a Japanese demon, Koda," Mousse noted. "Why didn't you recognize it before?"
"They don't look like giggling beach balls in the plays," then Kodachi blinked. "Did you just call me 'Koda.'"
"Uhh..sorry," Mousse made a sheepish attempt at apology.
"FOOLISH MORTALS!" the thundering voice shouted behind them. "YOU CAN RUN BUT YOU'LL ONLY DIE TIRED!"
.Pay no mind, now is not the time to be concerned over such things," Kodachi declared. "What remains of our options?"
"Well demons are creatures of unbalanced chi," Mousse noted. "Can you do any chi tricks?"
"Of course I can do 'chi tricks,'" Kodachi hmphed. "Any martial artist worth the name has at least one 'chi trick' and the black rose of St. Hebereke IS worth the name!"
"Anything of significant power?" Mousse asked, noting that they were entering the woods outside Nerima.
"Ranma or Ryouga." Kodachi glanced back at the pursuing oni, looked at Mousse, and arched an eyebrow.
"I do hope that was some attempt at humor and not a serious inquiry."
"Didn't think so," Mousse said. "What do you know about this forest?"
"Really, a lady like me, wandering around a wilderness like this one."
"HAHAHAHAHA!!!! I'LL PLAY WITH YOUR SOUL THROUGH ETERNITY LITTLE GIRL!! GIVE UP NOW AND YOU I MIGHT JUST TAKE YOUR BODY!"
"Hentai!" Kodachi stopped and turned to give a piece of her mind to the pursuing demon. "Why I would ever want
Unhand me!" The last was directed at Mousse who had returned to snatch her up before running on.
"He's talking about possessing you, Kodachi, not sleeping with you."
"Oh, that's all right then."
"Is that a body of water of there?" Kodachi looked about, finding it difficult to know which direction Mousse was talking about considering his hands were occupied in carrying her. Though she did see a shimmer of reflected sunlight.
"Its a satellite dish on some cabin," she said dryly.
"What's that in front of us?" Kodachi looked in that direction as Mousse ran between the trees, out into mid air.
"It appears to be a cliffside," Kodachi said unnecessarily, as ribbon and chain extended to find holds, swinging the two martial artists safely to the ground below. They had managed to find a gully with a fairly wide stream running through it.
"This is what I was looking for!" Mousse shouted cheerfully.
"Might I ask why?" Kodachi demanded.
They both looked up as the oni appeared on the cliff above them, still laughing at their efforts.
"Just run upstream!" Mousse shouted as the oni slowly began to float down to meet them.
"Running anywhere seems to be nothing more than a delaying tactic," Kodachi noted before taking off a little before Mousse.
"Could you have found a more humid gully to trap us in?" Kodachi demanded, wiping away another sheen of sweat.
"That would have been nice," Mousse said, Kodachi blinked. "But this is the only one I know about."
"DO YOU THINK THIS WILL SAVE YOU MORTALS?" The oni shouted behind them. "THIS IS NOTHING." Kodachi looked behind her confused. The oni sounded as loud as ever, but now it sounded like it was tiring.
"The steam does something to that monster?"
"Well if it were a Yang demon it wouldn't bother to try to possess any body and would just be going around burning things."
"Excuse my confusion, but what does that have to do with why the oni started getting tired as we hit the steam?" Mousse smiled, but she couldn't see that.
"Yin demon, Yang chi flow." Kodachi arched an eyebrow. "Hey, what's that in front of us?"
"I can see naught but an ever thickening cloud of steam," Kodachi answered, shortly before tripping over a tree root and landing in pool of hot water.
She quickly set her feet down on the bottom of the pool and launched upward through the water. She landed on the bank of the pool, facing a sheer rock wall.
"Hey Kodachi, how'd you get so wet?"
"If we survive remind me to introduce you to Mr. Turtle." Mousse swallowed at the mention of an introduction to Kodachi's alligator.
"Come, mortals," the oni called from beyond the veil of the steam mists. "Come and meet your dooms, show me a little bravery and I'll make your deaths quick."
"Afraid to come after us puny mortals?" Mousse asked, Kodachi stared at him in open shock.
The oni growled in irritation. The oni considered the waves of yang chi that whipped to and fro among the steam and hot-springs of the cul de sac he had cornered them in, and it considered the prize it sought.
"Can you hold me off long enough mortals?" the oni smiled hideously.
It stepped forward into the mists, a discordant aura surrounded the beast as it appeared through the mists
"Are you ready?" Mousse asked. Kodachi chuckled and brandished her ribbon.
The oni lunged forward at Kodachi, growling as the girl dodged out of the way. A flurry of stings in its side were the oni's first warning of the chi-charged throwing knives. The chi in the blades left gaps that the yang chi of the steam drove forward in an attempt to balance the unnatural yin of the demon. The oni took a moment from its pursuit of the girl to charge the hidden weapons expert. Mousse ducked under the huge fist that drove into the rock.
The laugh hadn't changed, Mousse noted as Kodachi's ribbon slashed at the demon. It seemed that her 'chi trick' was basically the same as his own. A basic trick of any weapon's centered martial artist, connected the weapon to your chi so that it becomes a living part of you. "You have made a very final error, demon."
"I shall not be defeated by a pair of mortals!" The oni kicked at the rolling Mousse, propelling the Chinese martial artist into the rock wall. That would stun the boy long enough, he assumed, turning his attention back to his true target.
Kodachi found it easy to dodge the pain-wracked oni's attempts to grab her. If it had been intent on killing her, on the other hand, she thought it might have been a different story. Unfortunately, she was too close to use her ribbon, and she had quite a while ago lost her other weapons.
"No more laughter girl?" the oni chuckled, despite the shimmering waves of darkness she could see bleeding off of it.
The oni's presence made the chi flow of the place successively more and more visible as the natural yang fought the beast.
"No more shouting fiend?" Kodachi smirked, rolling under the beast and leaping away, slashing out again with her chi charged ribbon. New streams of darkness leaked out and was destroyed by the surrounding Yang.
The demon roared, charging forward, forgetting, in its rage that it wanted Kodachi's body for a host. Thick talons slashed across her side as she swung around the beast's right. Kodachi landed roughly, recovering her balance from the impact, on the edge of the hot-spring's main pool. The glowing pool, she noted with a viciousness that the Nerima crew was well acquainted with, but which most demons only associated with their own kind.
"Mousse what would about the water?" she shouted, noticing that the hidden weapons expert was standing up and ready to fight again.
"That fool mortal can't help you now, girl," the oni smiled. "I'm weakened, but I'm more than enough for the two of you."
Kodachi watched as the oni made its way carefully around the pool, moving slowly to torture her. She recognized the tactics.
Kodachi stood up, apparently without pain. Not that there was no pain, but the process of pain messages tended to take the following route. Injury reported to mind, mind files it away to check later, mind instructs body to continue what it was doing. The oni noted this action and paused in its approach. Long enough for Mousse to make a re-entry into the fight, slashing across the front of the beast with a clawed glove.
"We're not going to get it in the water," Mousse shouted. "So just keep hitting it!"
Mousse dodged the oni's counterattack and then slashed again.
Kodachi took long enough to notice that Mousse was doing better than she had been when the thing had been just trying to catch her. He could hold it off long enough for what she had in mind. Heedless of injury and fatigue the gymnast dived back into the water of the main pool. Swimming along the bottom she narrowed her eyes and smirked as she found the source of the hot spring.
"The girl is hiding in the pool, mortal," the oni smiled. "And she'll probably bleed death waiting for the yang flow to kill me after I finish with you. Then I'll just return to what I've been doing for centuries, such a pity to miss the opportunity she presented, but I offered you a chance."
"Don't be so confidant," Mousse snickered. "You are a minor spirit compared to some of the things I've seen."
The boy tossed a series of eggs in the demons face as he dodged another attack. The natural chi of the resulting explosions gave the demon only minimal pain, but the smoke did aid the steam in obscuring Mousse's motion for a moment.
"I've seen a mortal tear a god limb from limb!"
The oni growled as Mousse whipped around behind him slashing down with his claw again. The oni whipped around, catching the martial artist on his landing. Mousse's claw blocked the talons, but shattered under the strain and still propelled Mousse against the cliff wall.
"But you are not Ranma Saotome," the oni smiled as Mousse stood up again.
No room to leap, no room to dodge, a large demon that had been getting slashed for the past five minutes without much visible sign of fatigue, his glasses were shattered and Kodachi still hadn't come up from underwater.
Mousse was preparing for a last charge in at the oni when the rumbling started. The oni lashed at in the moment Mousse hesitated at the new factor. Mousse felt ribs cracking as he was crushed against the wall, the oni's talons pressed in as the rumbling grew. The oni was preparing to rip the martial artist in two when the hot spring erupted into a geyser. The cul de sac was bombarded in Yang energies, made visible by the demon's unwelcome presence.
In the flash of chi neither Mousse nor the oni could see Kodachi, but the source of the geyser was quite obvious by the laugh. The oni wasn't in much of a condition to sense anything, the darkness of its essence was thoroughly and utterly destroyed giving one final wordless cry of disbelief. As the demon was obliterated the natural chi faded again into invisibility.
"It did not understand whom it was facing."
.are you okay?" Mousse asked, the gymnast smiled and virtually bounced her way to where Mousse was leaning against the wall.
"You don't think I'd let such a disgusting beast touch me, do you?" she asked, sitting down next to him.
"Mousse smiled, trying to pull a breath through cracked ribs and leaning his head back. Kodachi leaned her head against his shoulder and relaxed.