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This is a work of fiction. There should be no way that these characters are like anyone else, but if that isn't the case, it has definitely been unintentional. The pictures used are those of Zhang Ziyi, used without express permission. Quotes from the Tao Te Ching are from the Stephen Mitchell translation. Also, if you happen to find that your life is represented in these pages, I'll be impressed.

A Whateley Academy Story

Chou 3 - Panty Raid

by Heather O'Malley

The Tao doesn't take sides; it gives birth to both good and evil.
The Master doesn't take sides; she welcomes both saints and sinners. 
  -  Tao Te Ching, Chapter 5


Wednesday, 1 November 2006

Chou awoke and stretched. Her muscles were sore and she ached everywhere from the battle last night. What a bad Halloween it had been. Her Tenchi Muyu costume had been nice but having to fight against gun totting psychos had been a pain. She was also upset because it ruined her Kiyone costume. Molly had looked cute in her cat girl get up. The ears and the tail had been nice. Apparently it had been Rythax's idea. Sometimes she loved that big black fur ball.

Someone had tried to kill Sara, and they had used a lot of firepower to do it. There were several different types of armored thugs involved and they were well armed. Chou was still uncomfortable about the demon girl but they were almost friends. Someone had tried to attack one of her friends and she wanted to know why. Sure Sara was a demon and she was supposed kill demons, but Destiny's Wave had admitted that Sara was not a threat and would not be attacked unless she had turned. Who could want her dead?

She pulled on her workout clothes that she had left hanging over her desk chair and padded outside. She would loose herself in Tai Chi and forget about the worries for a little bit. Ayla was breathing softly in her bed.

She met Fey who was walking out side as well. The girl was burning with the heat of something. Her Chi had deepened lately and it felt like cool water. Fey was doing well, and coping with her change as well. She liked working out with the almost Faerie Queen. It was always fun, especially when they practiced with their swords together. It did make her feel better to get the better of the Faerie Queen.

Fey smiled and waved absently. She was obviously feeling quiet like Chou. That would be good. Hopefully Boudacia was feeling that way as well.

When they walked outside the older girl was already there, stretching. The ground was frosty but the three of them ignored the slight chill. Chou started them moving through the Long Form, definitely wanting to spend more time in the embrace of the Tao. Chou slipped right into the sensation and felt her breathing deepen. She became the motions and slid smoothly from one section to another. Fey was doing alright but Boudacia was still a little shaky on the Long Form. Over time she would get better.

Fifteen minutes later, Chou finished the form. She then moved into the Eight Pieces Brocade. The Chi Gung warmed her body more and she could feel her Chi strengthen. Every day the Chi Gung helped her strengthen her connection to the Tao and the flow of Chi. From there she led them in a few more Chi exercises. After the chaos of the Halloween party the calm felt good.

Classes had been canceled for today. The Dean had announced that last night after the battle, so that repairs could be made and people treated. The counselors were also supposed to be working overtime to help people through this if they needed it. This had been the first real assault on the Campus since its inception. A lot of people were shaken up and not just amongst the students. Chou could still feel the attacks after effects rippling through the energy of the school.

Chou could also feel something else, something different, like there was a small shift in the current of things here at Whatley. It felt to her like something big was either beginning or coming, she wasn't sure. She wanted to find it and stop it, shift the current back but she had no idea what it could be. Maybe it would become clearer in time.

They finished up their exercises and the three girls smiled at each other. Chou was beginning to accept her new status as a woman and she could feel a difference in her self. She felt more confident and more centered. The three walked into the building together and headed off to get ready for the day.

Ayla was still breathing softly and deeply as she walked into the room. Chou smiled. Ayla was a sound sleeper. She grabbed up her shower stuff and her robe and headed for the showers. Two showers were already going. She recognized Nikki's towel and she figured the Hello Kitty towel was Jade's. She grabbed another stall, disrobed and turned on the water. Once it was the right temperature she got in.

She had gotten used to the feel of this new body so she didn't feel weird bathing anymore. The first few months had been a bit awkward. it had felt so weird to run her hands over a body she didn't know. But now it was simply her body.

She washed her hair and then shaved the little hair she had on her legs. She had gotten used to the feel of smooth legs. As Alex, he had a little hair on his legs and arms; mostly he had been getting sprouts of body hair. Chou had to agree that as a girl she definitely looked cleaner. She took more time on looking good now, not just for Molly but also for herself. It made her feel good.

She finished up and turned off the water. She toweled herself dry vigorously so that her skin almost throbbed. She grabbed her robe and pulled it on. The silk robe felt nice against her skin.

She finished up her morning routine and headed back to her room. Ayla was still sleeping. Chou smiled and went to her drawers and opened them up. She looked over her panties. Toni had talked her into getting some nicer panties. Fey had almost gotten her to buy some silk panties butToni had talked her into the more comfortable and durable microfiber. They felt like silk and wicked away moisture really well. She had a few cotton panties still for her periods but she now had soft silky ones for herself. She was glad at the purchase. Some of the girl stuff wasn't that bad.

Toni had even gotten her to buy some skirts and more girly clothes. Molly had said she had liked them and she had caved in to Toni's reasons. She only wore them occasionally, but she was coming to like them. That was odd realizing but she was getting okay with it.

She pulled out a red pair and slid them on. They fit her nicely. She grabbed a matching bra and put it on as well, the cups holding her breasts in place. She had to admit that the other girls had been right, nice clothes did make you feel better. She pulled on a pair of brown jeans and a brown turtleneck. She wanted to be warm. It hadn't been too cold outside but she wanted to be comfortable. She also grabbed a cap she had bought in Boston. She looked in the mirror and saw that she really was cute.

In a lot of ways she was still dealing with that. She really wasn't used to looking good. Fourteen years as a male geek, with little regard for fashion still left its mark on her picture of herself. Her counselor told her it would take some time for her to be able to see herself accurately. She sighed. Maybe some day she could see herself as she looked and not tainted by how she had looked.

Ayla began making the sounds of waking up and the bed creaked a little as she sat up. The girl stretched widely and yawned. The yawn looked as if it could swallow her whole head. She blinked bleary eyed at Chou. "Ugh...'mornin Chou."

"Good Morning Ayla. How did you sleep?"

"Hard. I ache everywhere." Ayla again stretched, pulling her nightgown tight against her chest.

Chou liked the view but didn't linger. Her roommate was attractive, but she had all she wanted in Molly. The mousy girl was cute and desirable in a way that Chou didn't know how to deal with, simply being around Molly made her feel warm and tingly inside. Holding Molly's hand was electrifying. When the Molly smiled at her it made her melt. She really felt that she was in love with Molly. Which was odd, considering they had only known each other a month. But that really didn't seem to matter much to her. Molly made her happy so Chou was just fine with that.

She grabbed Destiny's Wave and put her in the carrying bag. Bunny was working on a way to hide it or store it in a fashion that kept people from seeing it. There were too many questions and the administration had made it clear that nothing out of the ordinary was to leave campus. An ancient magical Chinese sword qualified as out of the ordinary. She snuck it out anyway, but all the tags she had to have on it weren't fun. And the police inevitably questioned about the sword.

The strap went over her shoulder easily and she grabbed her book bag as well. She was going to spend the day with Molly and reading some of the other Chinese texts she had been given. She had made fairly good progress through them and talking with Destiny's Wave cleared up some of the odd points of things. It seemed simple to her, mostly.

"Take a hot shower, Ayla. It'll help a lot. I also have some of that muscle balm I made last week if you want?"

Ayla's eyes lit up. "You still have some of that stuff. Oh bless you. That stuff helps so much and doesn't smell like all the other muscle creams."

"No problem. The jar is in my upper left desk drawer. Don't use it all up. I need to get more ingredients before I can make more. That may be some time next week."

Ayla smiled. "Sure. I'll help you hoard this."

"Hey now, you can share with the others. They would like it as well."

Ayla pouted a little bit at that, then they both smiled broadly.

"I'm heading off to breakfast. See you there."

Ayla yawned in response.

Chou walked out of the room and closed the door. She didn't really want to share full views of Ayla with everyone. And Ayla would probably agree. Despite everything, Ayla didn't like letting everything hang out.

Toni was in the hall not looking as chipper as her usual self. It looked like last nights events had even managed to dampen her spirits a little. The attack on the school and Sara was really something. And whatever had made them woozy and sick hadn't helped either. But everyone made it through and the dean had saved the day. So that was good.

"Good morning Toni. How are you? You look a bit down."

"I'm pissed off. Dammit, what IS this? What happened to Security! What's next? Motorcycle gangs roaring through? Invading armies? Demon hordes? I just wish I could have done more last night."

"Toni, we were all screwed up by that device. None of us could do anything. Even the seniors were knocked for a loop. Don't be so hard on yourself. You did great."

"Yeah. I just wish..."

"I know. That was fucked up. I can still hardly believe that happened. I'm surprised I was able to sleep. I would rather not stress about that now. Hey, let's go get breakfast. And then we have a day to goof off before classes." Chou smiled and tried to lighten the mood. "It's like the weekend, only during the week."

Toni hugged her and the two girls headed out. Toni was still a little grim but she was calming down some. Crystal Hall was a little empty at the moment. There didn't seem like a lot of people wanting to eat. The two girls spotted Sara at their usual table. The empty cage near her was big, large enough for a sheep or a goat. She was turning it in and getting another. This one was smaller, a dog.

Chou swallowed hard. It was easier for her to deal with Sara eating plants or things that were going to be food anyway. The dog whimpered a little. She closed her eyes and took a deep breath. She knew Sara had a right to stay alive and the girl wasn't hunting people. Destiny's Wave had said that her actions didn't disrupt the life cycle, as the food was already slated to die. Chou wasn't sure she liked that.

She headed for the line to get herself some food. She could deal with Sara fine, except for meal time. It upset her to watch things die. And Sara had to kill to live. Everyone did but not that graphically. It was getting harder for her to deal with it. She was starting to agree with Destiny's Wave about the demon girl. And the fact that a few weeks ago someone cut off her head and last night tried to kill her only made things worse. She was forced to admit that Sara was doing the best she could.

When she got to the table with her tray Sara was pushing away the cage. Dust covered the bottom of the cage. Sara still had black circles under her eyes. The demon girl looked tired. Not much of a surprise after the events of last night. She smiled faintly at Chou. Chou smiled back. "You okay Sara?"

"Well, I was attacked last night, but other than that... I guess I'm okay. That was very irritating. We were sounding so good."

"Do we know who did this? Or have any ideas?" asked Toni.

"No, not really, but I have to talk to lots of people today, police, admin all of that. This is not going to be fun." Sara frowned.

"Hey. At least you have friends."

Sara smiled weakly at that. "Yeah. I know. But sometimes that's little consolation, especially after something like that."

With that Sara got up and walked towards the administration building. Toni and Chou watched her go. The two girls frowned at each other. "What was that all about?"

Chou shrugged. "I guess she just feels bad because of last night. There wasn't a lot we could do and she might feel like we didn't do enough. That and its not like she made it out unscathed."

"Do enough? We fought as hard as we could once we could get that machine broken. What the hell does she want from us?" Toni fumed.

"Toni, someone just tried to kill her last night. You'd be grumpy too. I am not surprised about her being short with us. We just have to give her time to relax. She is still in shock. She is our friend as we are hers." Chou smiled faintly and picked at her breakfast.

Toni grumped a little more and worked through her own breakfast. Some of the others started showing. The crowd filtering in was subdued almost in shock still. The Headmistress had said the counselors would be available all day and that others had been brought from off campus to help deal with the attack. Chou was doing alright so far, but she knew she could go see her counselor if she needed. However, Destiny's Wave seemed to be handling that okay.

Molly headed over to the table with her tray, her head bowed. Her eyes brightened when she got closer and she spotted Chou. Chou shifted over a little to give Molly more room next to her. Molly sat close and turned to her breakfast after saying Good mornings. Chou could feel the warmth of Molly's body through her clothes. It was comforting and distracting. It also made her feel more centered. She wondered why that was. It was a little weird and she had never heard anything that made sense of what she felt.

Erin headed over with her tray, piled high with various types of meat. There was ham, steak, venison and chicken. The girl was not big on her vegetables. Probably had something to do with the fact that she was a predator, first and foremost. Chou liked her, there was something deep and resonant in her Chi, despite Destiny Wave's warning about watching her. The sword mentioned that there was something in the girl that might be balance shifting. Chou was still unclear as to why something like that mattered.

Chou finished up and Molly quickly followed. The two headed off together, their breath fogging in the cold. Molly had found several out of the way corners in the library during her questing around for various books for classes. That's where they were headed. They just wanted to spend the day together, without anyone bothering them. Since classes had picked up they hadn't had enough time to spend with each other. But then again they never felt like they spent enough time with each other. The magic of just touching and holding each others hands was still there.

The campus was still very quiet. There was still a faint pall of smoke over where they had danced and been attacked. A few cranes and trucks were there to help haul away the rubble. Chou felt a little down just looking at the remains. Last night had not been all that fun. Molly hugged her quickly and she felt a bit better. The two of them smiled at each other.

Their footsteps echoed a little as they entered the library. Molly led the way past Miss Henderson, the librarian. Chou wasn't sure if she ever left the library and there was something about her that seemed off. Chou was a little nervous about getting caught just sitting and holding each other, but the two girls needed the comfort each provided for the other. Chou didn't want to be caught and have trouble come down on Molly, as the girl wasn't much of a fighter.

When Molly showed Chou the hidden corner, the girl smiled. It was a small reading corner with a few comfy chairs. It looked inviting. Chou plopped down in one of the chairs and pulled Molly into her lap. The girl giggled a little and then nestled down into Chou. She then readjusted her glasses. Molly kissed Chou on the nose.

The two sat there and held each other for a while, letting time slip by. There were very few noises in the library and no one seemed to be walking in their area. Molly was very cuddlable, since she had some curves and her chest had filled out some more in the last month. Molly was a bit embarrassed about her growing breasts but Chou liked them. Molly did her best to hide them with a larger vest and bulky clothes when not in class. Molly was still painfully shy. Getting better but only with people she actually knew.

Chou hugged her tight again and kissed Molly on her nose. Molly giggled and blushed a little. She then grabbed Chou's head tightly; her fingers tight in the black hair and kissed Chou firmly on her lips. Chou's eyes and mouth opened in surprise. Molly's tongue slid in and the kissed turned deeper and hotter. The two clutched each other tight as they kissed almost frantically. They both broke apart gasping for air, panting a little, bits of saliva wet on their lips. Their eyes were both filled with desire and want.

Molly dived back in again. Chou kissed back, trying to keep up with the mousy haired girl. Again they broke for air and Molly hugged her tightly. She whispered in Chou's ear, "I love you."

"I love you too." muttered Chou. Molly leapt up and took off running leaving Chou to sit there confused and panting. Her heart was racing. That had been her first real kiss. And the first time someone had said that they loved her. Her and not him. Chou sat there holding her knees, shaking a little.

Chou walked slowly from the library. Her thoughts were a whirl. What was she going to do? She was in love with Molly, she knew that. Molly filled something deep within her; some hollow she hadn't known was there. She didn't know what to do with love and she didn't know who to talk to. She felt lost and alone again.

She felt something approaching, pressing on her Chi. She turned, eyes scanning. Forty feet away this blond girl was heading her way. When she noticed that Chou had spotted her she waved.

Chou narrowed her eyes a little and scanned the area more. The girl seemed to be alone. The girls Chi was very focused and direct, narrowed in on one thing, her. She turned to face the girl.

"Hey, are you Chou Lee?" the girl's voice was upbeat and cheerful, reminding Chou of a cheerleader.

"Yes. Why do you ask?" Chou slowly began shifting her stance to a more combative one. if the girl attacked she wanted to be ready.

"My name is Sarah Gardener and I wanted to ask you to join our club. You kill demons, right?" She stopped in front of Chou smiling broadly.

"Well, yes. I kill demons. And anything else that really needs it. Again, why do you ask?"

"Well, my club is all about killing the monsters that prey on humanity. We find and kill the baddies."

Chou looked at her. Could this have been one of the people who had attacked Sara before, chopped her head off? If so, she needed to know more. "Okay. I can understand that. Killing baddies is good."

"Cool. So you agree. Neat. So, do you want to join?"

"Let me think about it a little."

"Sure. Think about it and I'll talk to you later." The girl smiled and bopped away, as if she was listening to music in her head. Chou watched her leave, carefully reading her energy. There was strength there; she would definitely have to be careful.

She headed to Crystal Hall, hoping to grab some lunch before she did anything else. Maybe Molly would be there.

Molly was no where to be seen when she entered and grabbed a tray. No one was at the table as well. Chou grabbed some rice and steamed vegetables, with a little bit of baked chicken. She was hungry and wanted something to help ground her thoughts. Should I go see Dr. Bellows? She wasn't sure.

She finished fairly quickly, since there was no conversation to get involved in. She headed back to Poe. She wanted to get out of the cold and maybe have some tea or maybe some hot chocolate and just sit. Molly would be able to find her there.

As she walked down the path she kept her awareness up to sense any potential attacks or her stalker. She hadn't seen him in a few days so another attack was imminent. They seemed to occur when ever she had Destiny's Wave with her. It was getting annoying and the swords advice about killing him was starting to sound better and better. He also changed his mask with each attack, like a different color was going to throw her off. What would it take to get him to leave her alone? Maybe if she gave him Destiny's Wave? She shook her head chuckling a little. Nah!

She reached the dorm without incident. She sighed a little, part of her had hoped for a bit of a fight to let her tension out. She spotted Hippolyta coming up out of the basement. She looked sweaty and flushed. Maybe she was working out again. She looked a little pink when she spotted Chou looking at her. Hippy scuttled away nervously. Chou watched her go, confused

Coming down the stairs was Sharisha Kincaid, who glared at her. Apparently, since she was a close friend to Toni, the enmity Sharisha had flowed onto everyone associated with Toni. Chou smiled. "Afternoon Sharisha."

"Well if it isn't one of the Nighty Nightingales! How are you Boys doing?" The African American girl's voiced dripped with venom. "Still tucking yourselves up to pretend to be a girl?"

"Sharisha, get over yourself. We are girls, bodies just like yours."

"Fuck off Slope!" With that she stormed out of the dorm. Chou watched her go and sighed. Maybe her overtures of friendship were not going to be accepted. Maybe she should stop trying to make friends.

Toni was coming out of the bathroom as she reached their corridor. "Chou, what's up?"

"Not much. Just said hi to Sharisha and got the usual response."

"Girl, why do you keep doing that to yourself? She doesn't like us. I don't know why, but she does." replied Toni as she stretched towards the ceiling, exposing her belly button. "Just leave her alone and let her stew in her own anger."

"I'll try." Chou sighed and headed into her room. Ayla wasn't there. Maybe she was using the free day to work on her intelligence network. It was building ever so slowly. Maybe after a little bit the networks would be enough to warn them of potential attacks. Nothing had warned them of the attack when Rythax showed up. That had hurt a lot. She still found herself still thanking Molly about that. Whoever it had been hadn't left any clues or tried again, yet. All they had were a list of powers to go by. They didn't even have any names.

She picked up Destiny's Wave and sat on her bed. She hugged the blade, scabbard and all. She then drew the blade and set it down on the mattress.

"Chou, what is wrong?"

"I just am feeling a little down. I just had what had happened to me thrown into my face."

"Your transformation?"

"Yeah. It's just hard to deal with sometimes. I used to be a boy and I was happy about look at me."

"Chou, it's okay. Life is what it is. Just breathe and let the Tao guide you. I am here to help you. Breathe."

Chou closed her eyes and started breathing, steadily deeper. She relaxed and let her tension flow out of her.

"Feel your connection to your the Tao. Let the water fill you with calm and certainty."

Chou felt something fill her and she felt cool, and calm and relaxed. She just drifted with that for a while, lost to the current. Things simplified and she felt recharged. Her breath felt smooth and easy. She opened her eyes and everything looked different, full of energy, like eddies in a stream. She could see the bonds in the Chi of things. She reached out and felt, actually felt the current of the Tao embracing her. She smiled and let the feeling hold her.

It slowly trickled away from her and as she tried to hold onto it the current unraveled in her hands. She got frustrated. Destiny's Wave chuckled. "Chou, you just have to let it be. Eventually you will live in the flow. Relax."

"But it was so nice. I want to feel that way forever. It was nice."

"Chou, you will get there. Let the Tao flow and don't force it."

"It's just so hard."

"I know. But that is why you do the Tai Chi and the Chi Gung, to let yourself flow naturally. The Tao is about just being natural, to let yourself flow under its power and not fight against it."

"Okay. I'll try. It isn't easy."

"Actually, it is. But society and all of that conditioning keeps you from feeling the natural within yourself. It is hard for people to just feel, and flow. Think of the work necessary to get a person to breathe naturally? They have to unlearn bad habits and that is the tough part. Once you have gotten past the habits you find that it is easier and less stressful. It is the same with feeling the Tao. Let it come and don't force it."

Chou was nodding along. "I'll try."

"You don't try, you just do."

Chou started laughing.

"What?" asked Destiny's Wave, confused.

"Nothing. It's just; you sounded like a green Muppet there for a moment."

"What's a Muppet?"

This caused Chou to laugh harder. "Don't worry about it."

"Alright. So let's continue with the commentary on Chapter 17 of the Tao Te Ching. What do you think is meant by the idea of governing people without their realizing it?"

Chou groaned and the two started to talk about the complexities of Taoist philosophy.

Jade was beaming. Everyone smiled and patted her on the back. "Great job Jade!"

"Thanks, but it was mostly the administration saying that enough time had passed and that I had shown that I can still carry one responsibly." She patted the pistol happily. "I get to practice more, and I can better protect myself."

There was great rejoicing. Everyone wanted to see the pistol that had been gone for so long. Jade glowed under all the attention. Chou watched and smiled. None of them felt the eyes on them from the outside.

The window slid smoothly upwards. It made no sound, silenced by a simple powered word. He chuckled and muttered. "Ci shi qing er yi ju!"

He moved into the bedroom and slid open the drawers gently. He found the panty drawer and rifled through it. He tossed them behind him as he searched. He held up a pair of rich green satin panties and looked at them. "Zhe cha yao ye."

He tucked them into his bag and moved to the other girl's dresser, where he repeated the process. He pulled out a pair of black panties with pink lace trim. "Yin ren zhu yi!"

He smiled and managed to keep from laughing, with some effort. He leapt out the window and onto his cloud and moved on to another room.

Thursday 2 November 2006

Chou awoke and stretched. The movement felt good despite her arms hitting Ayla's bunk. Her sleep had been a bit disturbed, but from what she couldn't tell. Something was nagging her, like an itch on your back that you can't reach. It was making her a bit uncomfortable. More than the paper she needed to write for English class, and she really wasn't looking forward to that. She did think it was sad that Chinese was easier than her English class.

She sat up and looked over at her sword in the stand. The faint light coming in the window played over the scabbard. The chestnut wood seemed to glow and the silvery caps at both ends shined. It almost seemed as if the waves set in there were moving. She could feel the Chi in the room swirling around the blade. It drank in the energy from around them. She ran a hand along the scabbard softly, smiling faintly. Ayla snored faintly behind her.

She dressed slowly, taking her time and savoring her morning. Though something was nagging her she still felt pretty good, all things considered. She was getting better at detaching from thing, not letting things control how she felt. Her emotions were deepening and growing calmer. It made her happy. She was starting to get used to smiling all the time. That and Molly.

Chou headed outside. She was outside before the others. The air was crisp, cold. Chou altered her breathing slightly, like Destiny's Wave had taught her, as had the various texts. She was nice and warm and did a round of Sun Salutations to warm up her muscles. Boudacia had showed her some Yoga stretches and they had helped a bit more with her muscle tone and flexibility. She rolled her shoulders and felt the approach of the other two.

Fey glowed with the rich depth of nature. It flowed through her Chi and sang. Its touch was soft and cool against her skin. It swayed and felt solid, like a deeply rooted tree. The magic she wielded sparkled.

Boudacia on the other hand, felt different, her Chi burned strong and bright. It was warm on her skin and its temperature fluxuated with the girl's emotions. It flowed out of her when she moved, extending from her arms and legs. Chou thought it was different, but it seemed to work.

They mover into the beginnings of the Chi Gung warm up and Chou lost herself to the flow of Chi.

The girls waved goodbye as they headed off to get ready. As they headed in Chou glanced towards the front of the school and saw the flags were not flying. There was something else hanging from the flag pole. She shrugged and went in to get ready.

Crystal Hall was abuzz with the events. Someone had broken into the bedrooms of all the girls in Melville and there were several pairs of panties hanging from the flagpole. There were at least several pairs missing from each girl. The Melville girls could be heard angrily talking over on the other side of the hall. There were several glares over at the table where Peeper was sitting. Peeper was busy scribbling notes, oblivious to the muttering. He kept glancing at Fey and Sara.

Chou and Molly were smiling at each other as they were eating. Toni was glancing over at them, trying to figure out what was going on between the two of them. There was obviously something but she just couldn't put a finger on it. Something Fey said distracted her and she turned away. They all headed out when it was time for class.

Lunch was more of the same, this time with the added bonus of people complaining about all the unfair schoolwork they had been given. The Melville girls were getting even more riled up about things. When Peeper strode by with his crony carrying both their trays he was hit with a roll to the back of his head, and when he turned a deluge of food. The Kimba girls were surprised and then collapsed in laughter as Peeper stood there dripping green beans and pudding and several other items from the lunch menu. It was the high point of Fey and Sara's lunch. They both smiled happily and headed off to class laughing.

By the end of the day, Chou had forgotten all about the whole panty thing. She was busy trying to figure out a paper she had to write in English. She had read the book, but just couldn't think of anything to say. She had never liked writing, as either Alex or Chou. She wasn't pleased.

Chou felt something itching her back, so she turned. There was no one there. She looked at the small section of trees, expecting her attacker to leap out at her, again. But the trees were silent. She did however feel something tugging at her pants leg.

She looked down and saw what looked like a black cat, only with a few differences that caught her attention. The eyes were solid cobalt blue and looked up at her unblinking. "Rythax?"

The cat leapt up and landed softly on her shoulder. He perched himself perfectly on her. "Yes. Molly wanted to see you, so she asked me to find you."

"Uhm....where is she?"

"She said to meet her at the library, in your favorite corner, what ever that means. Now that I have discharged this task I am going." Rythax leapt down and landed softly. "There is a small black kitten I have seen a few times that I am going to talk to. Good day."

"Good day." She watched as Rythax headed towards the forest calmly. She shrugged and changed direction towards the library.

Molly was indeed in their corner. Something felt odd when she rounded the last row of stacks and headed towards the overstuffed chairs. The air tingled along her skin as she walked closer. Molly smiled broadly when she saw Chou and watched her notice the field. "Like it? It's a no-see-me field spell. I got it from a friend. I still can't cast it on my own but I can activate the charm holding it."

"No-see-me field?"

"Yeah. If someone came by they wouldn't see us here. Neat, huh?"

"Are you sure about this Molly?"

"Well I am sure that is what the spell does. I had Rythax check it out. And I still can't cast spells on my own. I don't know why. I test high on ability but I can't do anything."

Chou hugged her. "It's okay honey."

"Thank you. It's just that I am having trouble in gym as well."

"The survival course?"

"Yeah. I need to get into better shape supposedly and I tripped over a jump rope. I hate it when they laugh at me. Mr. Anderson gets them to stop really quickly, but they still laugh. He's scary. He made them run ten laps for laughing at me. They glared at me and I was called names while I was changing. So I needed to see you."

Chou hugged her tighter. She summoned her courage and bent down and kissed Molly. It started as a little peck on the lips, but she lingered and the two of them pressed their lips tighter together. Molly opened her lips and Chou got more serious about the kissing. Chou lost track of time in that moment. She also was unsure, looking back, just when they ended up in one of the chairs. All she knew was that when she felt a hand or arm brush one of her breasts she lost track of things.

She did hear the clock chime, and that brought her back to reality. She broke off from kissing Molly to look around. She spotted a clock and her eyes widened when she saw what the time was. "Uhm, Molly. It's dinner time."

The girl looked up and saw the clock. "Eep!" I was going to get some homework done before that. Uhm....I guess we go eat?"

The two of them hurried out of the library and were heading towards Crystal Hall. No one really seemed to take notice of them which was good. They grabbed their food and made it to the table. Tennyo looked over and smiled, "Why do you two look sweaty and disheveled?"

This comment grabbed the attention of the other girls at the table. Chou was blushing furiously when Molly spoke up. "I was helping her with her English paper when we noticed the time and ran over here."

The girls all looked at each other and looked back at Molly and Chou. They all then broke into smiles. Chou just looked down at her meal. Molly finished and stood. "See you tomorrow everyone."

Everyone replied and Chou looked at her, wishing she could stay. Where had Molly gotten the confidence to say that and not end up crawling under the table? Of course, the ribbing began when Molly had just gotten out of earshot. Fey started it, "So, just what were you researching?"

"Uhm...researching for my paper." stammered Chou.

"On what, kissing rituals of the Upper Nile?" asked Toni, elbowing her gently in the ribs.

"I...uh...don't know what you're talking about." Chou could only manage to look down at her food.

"I think she was studying French." added Jade.

That one broke up the rest of the table. Chou stood and grabbed her bags and tray. She dropped off her trash and headed out. She stopped when a voice called out to her. "Hey, Chou!"

She turned to look and there was Boudacia waving from another table. She was waving her over. Chou veered and started heading that way. Soon enough she was at the girls table. "Hey Chou, these are my friends in the CapeSquad. Guys, this is Chou Li. She's the one teaching me Tai Chi."

"Pleased to meet you." "Hello" came various replies.

"Let me make some introductions. This is Lady Liberty." A Chinese girl, with short hair and an American Flag t-shirt looked up and waved and went right back to eating. She didn't seem to want to make any friends.

"You know Hippolyata." Hippy looked up and smiled slightly. That confused Chou for a second. She didn't really remember seeing the Amazon smile. "And this is Saladin."

The Arabic boy looked at her with piercing blue eyes. He had a strong nose and a well trimmed goatee. He smiled in a friendly manner and extended his hand. "Ahlin wasahlin."


"Please join us." Saladin's voice was smooth and very pleasant to hear. It shivered up her spine. She was starting to think things that brought how she felt about Molly slightly in question. She sat. "I am sorry our groups esteemed leader isn't here. He and his lady rarely deign to eat with us mere mortals."

Chou was confused but the others laughed. Boudacia answered the question on her face. "Pendragon and his lady actually eat dinner by themselves a few times a week. They are terribly in love and Sal here can't help but take shots at them."

"Well, it's the golden sword and shield that bug me more than anything else, so I joke with him." Saladin's accent was nice to listen to. "That and he is so the western crusader. I am just trying to help him get over that."

"Any way....I was wondering if you might like to hang out with us occasionally, when you're not with your team." said Boudacia.

"Really?" Chou was surprised. She had heard that the Capes were very selective about things and they were a group the Alphas rarely wanted to tangle with. It apparently had something to do with the fact that the Capes had some of the most powerful people on campus as members.

"Certainly. We have heard good things about you, and have seen you fight a time or two. You can take care of yourself and seem serious in being a hero." replied Saladin.

"Wow....uh...thanks. I'll have to think about that. Thank you for asking." Chou stood and walked away in a bit of a daze, the teasing by her friends forgotten. The Capes were respected since Pendragon and group were nice and trying to be the perfect future heroes. That and most of them tended to actually be friendly.

She made it back to her room and dropped her backpack with all her school books. She sighed and pulled out her homework and began. She started with things in costuming class. She was still trying to design a uniform for herself and it wasn't going well. Several other designs had already been used or were from Japanese anime. She had never heard of Devil Hunter Yohko, but felt like she was being stolen from by the anime. The design thing was hard. She had settled on something green, which was a start. Now she was trying to come up with a symbol or something, maybe a design on the fabric. She was busy going through her reference books when there was a knock at the door. "Come in?"

Jade walked in, wearing her bathrobe and carrying a do not disturb sign. "Hey Chou. Ready for another treatment?"

Chou blinked for a minute and remembered that she had planned this several weeks ago. "Sure. Come in. I was just working on my costume."

Jade walked up and took a look at the pages of sketches. "Well, you have some good ideas. They just don't seem to be leading you anywhere."

Chou sighed. "I know."

"Hey, I'll help you after we do this."

"Thank you Jade."

"No problem. What are friends for?"

Chou took the sign and put it on the door, closing it. Jade had finished taking off her robe and lying down on the bed face first. Chou took down Destiny's Wave and unsheathed the sword. She then began working with her breathing, building up her Chi for the treatment. She did a few rounds of PushMountain to fill her hands with energy. The spots of Jade's body that needed to be manipulated lit up and she got to work, pressing the acupressure points and pushing energy into her. The framework of energy was building in Jade, but little was happening to her body.

Jade turned over and Chou began working on the front of her body. Chou could feel the Chi flowing into Jade and slowly shifting things, but it was a fight. Sweat beaded on her forehead as she focused and concentrated on keeping the energy matrix in the correct format. She also sensed that Jade was starting to get a cold and wiped that out.

She stopped and wiped the sweat off or her with a towel. "There you go. We'll do more later."

Jade smiled up weakly at the Asian girl and pulled her robe on.

"Don't worry. You'll get there Jade." remarked Chou, putting a hand on the smaller girl's shoulder.

"Yeah. That's what everyone says." Jade still looked a bit glum.

"Things that are worth it take time. We are all trying to help you get to where you want to be."

Jade smiled faintly. "Thanks. Now let me help you with this homework."

He looked in the window at the faint web of glowing lines of energy crisscrossing the window. He cocked his head and got a good look at them. They only seemed to be on the window. He smiled. "Jiao mo shu."

He reached into his bag and pulled out a sheet of rice paper with some sort of writing on it. He chanted softly and placed the sheet onto the window. The lattice of energy moved back and rose to the ceiling as he opened the window soundlessly. "Bu fei chui hui zhi li."

He looked over at the sleeping girls and smiled again. Then he turned. "Shemma ta ju you?"

The drawer slid out silently and he looked in at all of her panties. He picked up one pair and rubbed in between his fingers. "Chou. Piao liang."

He collected he load and left the room, the energy lattice settling over the window as he closed it and pulled off the sheet of paper. Flakes of snow swirled as he left.

Friday, November 3, 2006

Tai chi was cold that morning. Over the night about three inches of snow had fallen. Chou was practicing some of the Chi Gung techniques to stay warm when Fey came out, bringing a field of warmth she had generated with her magic. It made practice a bit more fun. The three of them tromped back into the hall and headed off to get ready for classes with a wave.

Chou relaxed under the hot water, feeling her muscles relax. Today was another sword class and she wasn't really looking forward to it. Lately she had not been doing as well in class as she had earlier. It felt like what he was teaching her wasn't right. In free sparing she was fine, but the forms seemed too static for her. They just didn't seem that alive to her.  It was really frustrating. She sighed, finished up and headed back to her room.

Ayla was sitting up, blinking her eyes and yawning. "Morning."

"Morning Ayla."

"Murf...." Ayla grunted and hopped down from the top bunk. She looked tired still and her hair was a mess. She stumbled over to where her towel was and headed out to the bathroom. Chou smiled after her.

Chou looked over her homework that was due that day. Jade and the others had helped her with stuff a lot and it did make classes easier. She just wished she were as smart as the others, though she was helping Jinn with Chinese.

She put the paper in her bag and got dressed. She put on warm clothes and grabbed a coat she had bought for the weather. That would help. She wasn't really good with the breathing technique yet. She was getting better but it was taking some work. She was looking forward to being able to stay warm in any weather. She wanted to get to breakfast early, so she would have time to enjoy a cup of tea before the hordes descended.

There were a few people in there, the early risers. They were scattered about the room and in small groups. She went up, grabbed a mug of tea and headed over to the Team Kimba table, or at least the one they had claimed. She sat and looked out the windows at the snow. Things seemed so quiet and calm. There was still the undercurrent of a building impending doom. She had no idea what it could be.

The tea was warm, and soothing. She breathed in the steam and let the flavors roll over her tongue. She liked how having a quiet cup of tea helped her to keep from rushing about all day. It helped her keep her sense of peaceful abiding that was growing daily. She let her breath out slowly and let her self drift.

There was something about the attack on Sara that was bugging her. Whatever the sense of impending doom was it was tied either to that event or to Sara herself. She could feel that, but it didn't help. Sara didn't feel like a target. Something or someone was but she couldn't tell who. Perhaps it was too new, too soon for her to really get a good feel on what the problem was.

As people were trickling in she could tell something else had happened. A number of the Whitman girls were now grumbling about someone stealing their panties. Their whole dorm had been hit, just like the night before with Melville. And there had been no sign of any forced entry. Even some people's magical defenses hadn't gone off. Chou looked around after hearing that, looking for someone. The only problem is that she had no idea who it was she was supposed to find.

The other girls made it to breakfast in small groups. Fey waved at Chou as she was sitting there. When they arrived Toni said. "Hey, Chou. We were thinking of having a sleepover tonight. Sara got it cleared with Mrs. Horton so we'll invite people. I figured we would ask Molly and maybe a few others. You in?"

"Sure..." she responded absently. Who was here and why did she think she knew them? What the hell was she feeling?

"You okay?" asked Jade.

"Uh...sure. It's just that Whitman was hit last night."

"The panty thief?"

Chou nodded.

"I wonder who's next?" asked Hank.

The girls turned and looked at him. "I mean think about it. Two of four dorms with girls have been hit. All that's left is ours and Dickinson. One is going to be next."

Fey growled. "They better not try my room. I'll have a surprise waiting for them."

"Fey, at least one of the girls had magical defenses up and the person bypassed them without deactivating them." said Chou.

They all sat there quietly. Toni spoke, "Damn, maybe we need to get Bunny to make some panty defense devices."

The other girls nodded and then began giggling. "I don't believe you said that so seriously." said Tennyo, between giggles.

Toni blushed a little. "Well I meant it. Really. Stop giggling."

That of course didn't help matters. Finally they all broke up and headed off to class laughing. Chou sighed, time for more not fun.

Chou ached everywhere. That fight session had hurt. She had told Sifu Fitzgibbons about her concerns and the session of free sparing had been her reward/ punishment. It had been hard. He had pressed her so fiercely that it had been difficult to stay within the flow of the moment. She also had trouble focusing past the two nagging sensations. She had paid for it that's for sure. Suddenly she shifted to the left.

A figure in white flew past in a jump kick. They landed lightly and spun on the balls of their feet. Chou sighed and rolled her eyes, her mystery attacker. She dropped her book bag and freed Destiny's Wave from her carrying case, rolling her shoulders to loosen them.

He attacked savagely, launching a series of punches and kicks. Chou dodged a few punches by swaying and then stepped back away from a kick. She ducked under the follow up and got out of the straight line of attack. He spun, using his foot in a rising kick, throwing snow into her eyes. He landed the kick as she blinked. "Give me the sword!"

She spun out of the way and did a back handspring to get more room. She gripped Destiny's Wave more tightly. He threw himself into the attack again. This time she used her sheathed blade to block the punches, hitting the inside of his wrists with the wood.  She blocked the kicks with her shins or sidestepped them entirely. As he threw a long line strength punch she spun Destiny's Wave, hooking into his chi. He spun and his eyes got wide as he realized that she was controlling his attacks, that whatever he threw was being used against himself.

Chou was working him towards one of the trees, planning to throw him into it if the opportunity arose. As they headed in that direction, under the branches, he let loose his shout and she stumbled back. The snow that had been hanging heavy on the branches fell onto the two of them, drowning them momentarily. When she pulled herself free he was gone.  She sighed again and stomped over to her bag, shaking out some snow that had gotten down her collar.

She was really hoping her books hadn't gotten wet. That would really just top this day. She headed closer to Poe, wondering just who her mystery attacker was. So far they hadn't been able to find out who it could be. They knew it had to be either a Tiger or a Dragon, but neither group was talking to them right now. That was thanks to Toni and her talent for starting fights.  As she turned the corner, heading towards the front door she stopped and looked at all the activity.

A number of people were building snow forts, having snowball fights and making snow angels. The whole front yard was full of people having fun and laughing. Chou smiled. They really looked like they were having fun. She was going to head upstairs and drop off her books and come back to join in. It was then that the snowball hit her.

She wiped the snow from her face and saw Tennyo laughing and pointing. She growled, dropped her bag on the sidewalk and charged towards Tennyo. Tennyo yelped and started running, still laughing. Chou batted another snowball from the air with Destiny's Wave. She caught up with Tennyo and tackled her, rubbing snow in her face. Tennyo bucked up while laughing and Chou found herself flying into the air. Tennyo eeped at the sight but Chou just concentrated on what Destiny's Wave had taught her and she landed softly by using her Lightfoot kung fu. Another snowball hit her from behind and it was Toni this time.

Things descended into a massive snowball fight, involving everyone, including onlookers. Erin had run amuck in wolf form and Lily had done a good job staying out of sight for the most part. Jade was declared the team Kimba winner when she awoke several selves, gathered several dozen snowballs and fired a deluge on the field. Everyone fell over laughing. Most of the Poe kids were out there, laughing as well.

Chou got up when she could feel the melting snow really start to soak into her clothes. Mrs. Horton had gathered a lot of towels and mugs of hot cocoa for everyone. The front hall filled and dried people moved upstairs, talking happily.

Chou got into her room and stripped out of her wet clothes. She toweled herself down and then looked at her naked body in the mirror. This was her body now and she had gotten used to it for the most part. There was nothing of who had been, except for his eyes. The curves and feelings of this body, his body, were familiar now. She sighed and pulled on some warm, dry clothes. The fabric felt good against her chilled skin.

Ayla walked in shortly. "That was fun, eh?"

"Yes it was. So many people. I had never had a snowball fight against that many before."

"Yeah, I think that's what made it so much fun."

Chou smiled and climbed on her bed. "Could you get me for dinner? I want to do some meditating before then."

"No problem roomie."

Chou sat in full lotus, with her pillow under her butt to make it more comfortable. She settled in and then drew in a deep breath and blew it out slowly, closing her eyes. She dropped into a meditative state within a few dozen breaths and drifted away with the current of the Tao. She felt it fill her body and mind, dissolving her into its force. She felt at one with things and separate at the same time. It was comforting. She noticed that there were several threads, or currents connecting her to other things. The widest and strongest she followed to Destiny's Wave.

She followed another one nearly as wide and deep to Molly. That made her feel happy. These connections might be important. There were many others there. She followed a few to Toni, Fey, Sara, Ayla and others. Her current to Jade was also strong. She checked another thread and that one ended at her father. What?!

She was thrown out of the current and jerked from her meditative position. She lay back, looking at Ayla's bunk, panting. What the hell was that? Was he alive? Was that what it meant? Was he dead and it linked to who he had been? Chou didn't know. She got up and drew Destiny's Wave.

"Is my father still alive?" asked Chou.

"You saw the current I see."

"Answer the question." Chou was getting angry with the sword not giving her the answers she wanted to hear.

"Chou, listen to me. I am not going to answer that. The current is there for you. If I told you then I would have to interpret everything about it for you. Living or dead all things are part of the Tao. Find your own answers through experience."

Chou growled and slammed the blade into the sheath. She grabbed her coat and headed for dinner. She wanted to be alone for a little bit.

As she headed back up the stairs the other girls were getting ready for the sleep over. She watched several people rush between their rooms getting stuff from the safety of the stairwell. She could actually feel people getting excited about this. She sighed. Maybe she would go for a walk tomorrow to clear her head and try to get answers from Destiny's Wave. Maybe she could get an answer from Sara? She turned and headed down into the basement. No time like the present.

She got to Sara's door and knocked. The sound was odd, almost hollow this time. She shook her head, confused. She heard Sara's voice call out to come in. "Hi Sara."

Sara looked surprised to see Chou. "Uh...hi. What can I do for you?'

"I have a question about demons." replied Chou.

"And you didn't want to ask your sword?"

"My sword isn't answering me." griped Chou, frowning.

Sara kept looking surprised, which looked odd on her face. "Okay. And what is your question?"

"Would a demon capture a human and not kill them?"

Sara started thinking. "Well it is possible. I can't think of a why, unless the demon has a plan that involves them in some way."

Chou nodded. "Okay thanks. I think that may actually answer my question."

As Chou turned to leave Sara spoke up. "Chou?"

She turned back around. She looked quizzically at the demon girl. "Yes?"

"We are still friends right?"

Chou looked confused. "Uh...yes. Nothing has changed and I am still your friend. You aren't trying to consume the world or try to corrupt everyone around you. Those are what I have been told are the criteria of going after you. You have to actually go full demoniac."

Sara nodded. "It's just you have been a bit distant."

"Sara I am still trying to cope with the fact that you are a demon. Hell, I am still trying to cope with myself being a girl."

"Fair enough I guess. I am sorry." Sara came up and hugged Chou. Chou hugged the demon girl back.

Together they went up to the common room where everyone was gathering. They were both looking forward to the slumber party, for very different reasons.

Saturday, 4 November, 2006

Chou woke slowly to a warm presence lying next to her. She turned and looked over at Molly, who was cuddled against her. She smelled Molly's mousy hair and smiled. Last night had been fun.

They had all stayed up late, watching movies, telling ghost stories, drinking hot chocolate and talking. Destiny's Wave and Sara had dueled in telling progressively scarier ghost stories. It was pretty amazing. Everyone had been scared after that. Ayla had smiled and agreed when she had asked if it was okay for Molly to sleep in their room. Ayla crashed out with the others. The two of them had each held the other while they had slept. It had been nice. Better than the teddy bear Alex had often brushed off as an old toy.

Chou extricated herself from Molly's arm slowly and got ready for Tai Chi. She kept pausing to stare at the sleeping girl. She left, only after kissing Molly on the cheek. She felt better than she had ever in her life. Sleeping next to Molly had filled something inside her.

Her Tai Chi flowed better than it had ever before. Her movements were soft and strong. She felt warm and comfortable even without Fey there to raise the temperature. She all but danced back into Poe Hall and up the stairs. Molly was still asleep when she got into the room. Chou smiled down at her as she grabbed her shower stuff.

She showered quickly and got back to the room. She dressed warmly and grabbed Destiny's Wave. She leaned down and kissed Molly on the cheek. "Hey there sleepy head."

Molly woke slowly and looked around, trying to see things without her glasses. She was blinking owlishly. She turned to face Chou and smiled, one hand trying to rub the sleep out of her eyes.

"I am going to go for a walk. Take your time here and I will see you for lunch, okay? Ayla said you don't have to rush out of here."

Molly nodded and turned back over. Chou could hear her girlfriends breathing deepen back into sleep within a few moments. She walked out and down the stairs. It was early and others weren't up, she liked it that way. She headed into the woods, out past the borders of the school. She felt compelled to move in a certain direction, so she followed that compulsion. Destiny's Wave had told her to follow those urges, as it was the Tao urging her in a direction.

The forest thickened and Chou could feel an odd undercurrent. There was something strange about the woods where she was and she couldn't feel out what was the problem. When things started to entangle her legs she drew Destiny's Wave in a flash. The forest had come alive. She swung the blade to free herself from the underbrush and to keep back other plants reaching for her. The blade spoke in a different language as she cut herself free, not really caring what the sword was saying.

As Chou was hacking herself out of the underbrush that had come to life, it suddenly went quiet. The air was still. There was a heaviness to the silence, oppressive. The underbrush went utterly still and unwound from her, let her loose. A voice filled the air, there was no obvious source. "Very well. You may advance."

Chou raised an eyebrow in confusion, looked around and moved forward on the trail that was now appearing before her. She still had the blade at the ready, unwilling to lower her guard against this unseen potential enemy. Something didn't seem right. She scanned the area while asking Destiny's Wave. "Uhm, what was that about?"

"There is something here that I have to show you and I had to get you in. Once I informed the Grove who you are he let us pass." replied the sword.

"Destiny's Wave, I am nobody special." objected Chou.

"That is not true. And today, in this grove I will let you know who you really are, your history and what you are here to do. You are finally ready to hear this and take up the mantle of who you are."

A shiver ran up Chou's spine that had nothing to do with the cold. That sounded ominous. What was there to know now?  "What do you mean?"

"Wait until we get into the Grove. It will be safe to talk there."

Chou looked behind her nervously. The trail was disappearing behind her. What the hell was that supposed to mean? How could a living section of forest be safe? They entered into an opening within the trees. The trunks looked old and gnarled, the boughs heavy with age. The whole area felt other worldly, or like belonging to an older world, heavy with secrets. The air vibrated with the question, "How did you know of this place?"

"The Scourge." replied Destiny's Wave.

"I see. What do you need?"

"I need my charge to look into the waters and for them to share secrets with her in a place heavy with the weight of kept secrets."

The air was still for a moment. Chou could feel eyes watching her, measuring her. It was judging something. "Very well."

A path opened up to her right. She hesitated for a moment until she felt the sword tug at her to move. She walked forward hesitantly. Chou could feel the current of the Tao running deeply through here. She drank the energy of the grove in like cold water from a mountain stream. She walked slowly along the path until they came upon a still pool. Chou looked around. Destiny's Wave was no longer tugging at her. "Here?"

"Here. Sit."

Chou sat upon the mossy ground, an area untouched by the fall of snow. Destiny's Wave kept talking. "Chou, to better help you understand who you are, I want you to see the life of another wielder of me."


"To show you what some of the larger issues are at stake here. You are not just simply a hero. You are here in this time and this place for a reason. My presence in this time shows that the Tao called. I have mentioned that you are to fight for the balance?"

Chou replied slowly, unsure of where this was going. "Yes."

"You are who is known as the Handmaid of the Tao. You are a servant of a task greater than the gods. You keep the balances of life and death, of light and dark, of heaven and earth. You are a tool for the Tao to keep things balanced, for life to keep flowing. As such, you, the Handmaid can, at times, embody the full might of the Tao."

Chou's eyes got wide and she started to stammer, but nothing came out. Having touched only a small part of that power, the idea of embodying it's full power scared her.

"You are here to kill those who need to be killed, to save those who need to be saved and to create that which needs to be created. You serve the Tao to make things happen."

"What the hell!!" exclaimed Chou.

"Chou, listen within yourself, and you will know it for the truth. It is there, singing within your spirit. Once you could feel the currents that are linked to you the Tao and to others it was time to tell you these things."

"Why me? Why the hell me?" cried Chou. "I never wanted this."

"The Tao chooses as it will. The Tao chose you, that is a certainty and you have brought something different to the role. You yourself are a blend of the male and the female. That has added to your power. You have a stronger tie to the Tao due to being a man in a woman's body. That is why demons will hunt you and try to kill you, to take me from you. They want to kill you and feast on your soul because of what you have the potential to become." said Destiny's Wave.

Chou gaped like a fish for a moment and then bowed her head, tears falling to the ground. It felt like she was being tumbled over by waves, like those pools and the water parks he had played at. She didn't know what to do to find air. "What do I do?"

"First I will show you one of my wielders and why it is important to not fight the Tao. She did and the cost to herself was great. Her name was Wei Pi Wan. The scene I want to show you is the result of her not wishing to kill when it was necessary. She fought against the role of Handmaid for a while, and it ended with her failing in her task. Look into the water and touch the surface with the blade."

Chou slowly did so, feeling as if she were covered in lead. Moving was difficult. The tip broke the surface of the water, which swirled and the world fell away.

She looked back and forth, blinking at the change of scene. She was trying to figure out where she was for a moment. Men and women scurried about a poor looking village, holding spears and farm implements. Their faces were set with determination, some with fear. Something was wrong and something was coming. The villagers were still trying to get barricades set up at the entrances to the village, tipping over carts and piling on tables. Children were drawing buckets of water and preparing them or helping the old into one of the houses in the center of the village for safety.

"Pi Wan, you know this battle is due to your inability to kill him two months ago. You could have prevented this."

"Thank you Destiny's Wave, I did not need that reminder. I know. I didn't know then what I know now." she growled.

"Not every one needs to embody the compassion of the Bodhisattva Kwan Yin."

"I know. I'm sorry" she sighed. "I was a fool."

"As long as you can defend this village and keep the boy alive, it is okay."

"That is my intention. I have ordered him to help protect the old and infirm. That should keep him safe."

One of the watchers perched high in a tree called out, pointing towards the north. "They're coming!"

Wei Pi Wan stood there, directing others in their tasks, letting her senses feel the whole of the village. She could feel the currents of the villager's nervousness. She could also feel the enemies focus on the left wall. "To the left!"

She could hear the sounds of battle coming to where she was. The battle for this village had started. She waited. Suddenly arrows started to fall, coming from the front. The lookout plummeted to the earth, screaming. Villagers fell shrieking with wooden shafts sticking from them, a few terminally wounded. She spun Destiny's Wave and sent up a gust of wind to deflect the arrows.  They spun in the air, caught in a tornado she had generated. The arrows fell harmless to the ground, most of the shafts broken. Some of the children did as they were told and began dragging the wounded from the areas where the fighting was to take place into the safety of some of the houses.

When she felt the tide of battle shift from the left to the front she knew he was bringing his horses. The tide shifted and there was a rush towards the barricade. Horses and Infantry. "Here comes the cavalry!"

The thunder of their hooves echoed in the valley as they charged. The spears of the villagers stopped some but a few leapt the barricade and moved into the village, slashing at anyone they could. The infantry moved up to help the cavalry get through.

Pi Wan launched herself into combat. The screams of soldiers and horses filled the center of the village as she moved in to stop them, the hard packed dirt softening under the blood. As she cut down the last of the soldiers she heard the splintering of the barricade. She closed her eyes. the battle was not going they way she had hoped.

She looked up and watched the lines of fire arrows fly through the air and hit the tops of the houses. As she got ready to do a spell to stop the fire, troops rushed into the square distracting her. The villagers were pouring in from different directions, the barricades forgotten in the urge to fight the enemy. Pi Wan growled and fought against a few soldiers who came straight for her. She spun under one attack to cut her opponents legs off. Blood splashed her face, and she spat out some. All who stood against her fell. Smoke from the fires started to fill the area making it more difficult to see.

She broke the swords and shields of her other attackers and cut them down without mercy. She drew out a piece of rice paper with writing on it, charged it and flung it towards the approaching soldiers. The air flashed and the advancing troops slowed, the bloody mud gripping their feet. She yelled out for the last of the villagers to arrive. "To the center of town!!"

Another voice broke over the line of troops hacking their way into the village. The voice was loud and commanding. "Find the girl and kill her! Leave no one alive!!"

A path opened up in the line of troops and the Warlord's eight bodyguards leapt forth, running towards her. She smiled thinly and turned into the fray. She broke the hafts of their spears and still they came, drawing swords. She spun, and slashed, using her Lightfoot kung fu to fly over the enemy. She felt a blade nick her side. She cut down the offender, Destiny's Wave going right through the upraised shield.

She never stopped moving, evading and countering attacks coming from all sides. The numbers fell slowly, until she was faced with only two. She launched a kick, powered by the Tao. The bodyguards raised his shin to block. Bone snapped under the force of her kick, twisting the leg unnaturally. He dropped, still swinging. She disarmed him and lopped his head off. It bounced over the ground.

The other guard leapt at her exposed back. Pi Wan took a step back and to the side, the sword missing her by inches. She drove Destiny's Wave through his back and out the front of his body. Blood and entrails poured out as she twisted the blade free of his body, splitting his body. She no longer heard the screams of the injured and dying as she focused on the flow of the Tao.

The warlord stormed forward, the Dragon Spear he wielded crushing any villagers who dared to challenge him. He swung the green and black spear at her at chest level. She blocked it with her blade, the force of the blow sending her stumbling to her knees. He then kneed her in the face.

She tumbled back, rolling smoothly to her feet, and her blade at the ready. He stormed in again, thrusting rapidly, the spear moving faster than the eye could follow. She used the Tao to flow around his thrusts, slowly spinning closer to him, using her blade to protect her side as she turned. A burning branch fell nearby. With her foot she hooked the burning branch and kicked it towards his face.

It hit him on the side of the face as he was not fast enough to fully evade the attack. He swung the spear again and she dove over it, managing to cut his thigh as she tumbled by him. New screams filled the air, children's. She took a quick glance and noted that one of the homes where the children were hiding was being consumed by fire. It was also where the boy she was supposed to save was in. The smoke took on a foul smell and an oily touch. Bodies were burning. The Warlord laughed and then he screamed a battle cry and yelled as he jumped forward, "Thousand point attack!"

The Dragon Spear seemed to be everywhere at once. She blocked as best a she could but one hit took her in the leg. She stumbled back, working to evade the spear as warm blob spilled down her leg, pooling in her shoe. He kept driving her backwards as he pressed the attack. She finally saw her opening and spun to the right and the point of the spear cutting through her hair where she had been. As she came to her knee she drove the blade deep into his side, straight through the meat of his body. He punched her off of him and spun his spear after her. She blocked again, but the force of it threw her back and off her feet.

Another tumble brought her to her feet. She drew out a piece of rice paper charged it and flung in out. The flash blinded the warlord and he stumbled backwards, swinging the spear defensively. She launched herself up and sprung off of the spear's shaft and over him in a twisting layout flip. As she dropped down behind him she cut his head from his body with a powerful slash the tore through his armor. His body crumpled to the ground, the green and black Dragon Spear rolling from his now limp hand.

She turned and looked over the remains of the village. The screaming has stopped, all the homes engulfed by flame. Bodies of dead soldiers, men, women and children were scattered about, bloody gashes breaking the sanctity of their bodies. Broken weapons and people lay twisted in the mud. The smell of burning flesh filled the air. The dead glared at her with white, unseeing eyes.

Tears streamed down her face as she looked at everything, the death and carnage. Some horses, who still lived, screamed in pain. There didn't seem to be anybody left alive. The soldiers and villagers had killed each other, some of the dead embracing their enemy. The boy she was supposed to protect had made it out of the burning house, only to be cut down by one of the soldiers. His back had been opened by a sword slash.

"NO!!!!!" she yelled out and flung away the blade, staggering away sobbing, feeling like her heart had been crushed. She had failed utterly.

Chou snapped back to the now, shaking and trembling uncontrollably. She turned and vomited the little breakfast of a granola bar she had had. She was crying uncontrollably, the despair of Wei Pi Wan still filling her.

Destiny's Wave spoke slowly and precisely to the sobbing girl, now dry heaving. "This is what we fight. All of their lives, that whole village. All of the Warlord's men. For what? If he had died earlier, before the tide became too strong, all those people would have lived. One of the descendants of the peasants, that boy, was destined to become a soldier, rise to the rank of general and become emperor. His actions would have brought peace to China for over two hundred years. The balance was lost that day. All for the lack of a single death when it was needed."

"What can I do?" sobbed Chou.

"Kill. When things need it, kill. Without hesitation or regret. Sometimes the balance is best served by death. The Bi nu tao kills, creates and saves in the name of balance. The balance is greater than mere good and evil. You must become the Handmaid of the Tao fully, or else all is lost. The tide is starting to turn again and you need to fix it. Or the world is doomed."

Chou grabbed a handful of snow and wiped her mouth clean. The bitter taste of vomit still lingered after the snow. "Alright. Alright. I'll do what I can. I'll kill."

"It is okay, Chou. Relax and breathe. You'll be doing it to help the balance and keep people alive. If the balance gets out of whack, the world will descend into chaos. Your job is to stop that. And I will be there to help you know who needs to die and who doesn't."

Chou nodded. The sensory images of that vision were still shaking her. She could still smell and hear things. She shook her head to try and clear it. "Are we done here?"

"Yes. That was all I wanted to show you and tell you. And Chou..."


"I'm sorry I had to put you through that."

Chou sighed. "It was important. I can see the point you were making now, and I just didn't get it before. I understand the killing thing. I will do what I can to follow through with that."

"I can ask no more of you than that."

The Grove let them pass without an incident. As Chou stepped back out of the confines of the Grove she noted that the world felt dimmer, paler, washed out. There was something about the Grove that seemed more alive, brighter, that touched her more. Things got better the farther she walked away from the Grove, as if her life were returning to normal. But that will never happen, she mused.

She crunched in the snow, brooding over the events she had witnessed, more like experienced. Thinking of them made her stomach clench again, wanting to vomit again. She hoped she could forget those smells and those sounds. She shuddered, and not from the cold.

She looked around at the trees and the snow. She could see where patches of it had built up from the wind. Everything was quiet, soft. She had always liked the quiet of snow. When she was Alex, he had gone out and just listened to the silence of snow. It made her melancholy. That, on top of everything else, made her hang her head and cry hunched against a tree. At times this life was just too much. It hurt all the time.

Her sobs were all that filled her ears. They sounded odd, muffled by the weight of snow. She quieted after a bit, feeling something press against her chi. Chou turned and looked in the direction of the pressure.

The flash of the claw was all that her vision caught. She spun away and she heard the sounds of wood tearing. She twisted to her feet with Destiny's Wave drawn and pointed at the attacker. Again the thing was on her in a flash with almost impossible speed. She spun around the attack and got a good look at what was attacking her.

The things flesh was a sickly greenish yellow, with a thin torso that looked twisted like a corkscrew. It had long arms that ended in claws, which glistened wetly as if covered in some sort of slime. It had two legs that were bowlegged and thick, moving swiftly like an insects. Its head looked as if it may have once been human but had been terribly changed. The mouth opened vertically with fangs instead of teeth. The eyes were a mix of colors swirling, no pupil. It hissed at Chou with something rolling under its skin.

Chou's eyes widened and she felt her mind want to deny the things very existence. This couldn't exist. It looked like something out of a nightmare, something unnatural. Her mind wanted her to curl up in a ball and wait for herself to awaken from this frightening dream. It lunged for her again.

She leapt up and back, flowing gracefully into a back flip, landing lightly on her feet. The creature, demon, whatever, ran towards her, using its arms to help move it, almost like an ape. It hissed angrily again and flung itself at her, stretching out longer than the body should be able to. Chou grabbed its left arm and turned downwards, driving it headfirst into a tree. Snow fell on her, breaking her eye contact with the thing.

She rolled backwards and shoved up with her hands, landing on her feet. the creature exploded out of the snow at her, maw wide, screaming in anger. She swung her sword in a circular arc, catching an arm as she turned out of the way. The blade bit through the flesh, the severed portion falling to the snow. Its green ichor splashed over the white, staining it.

She slashed out again, trying to cut the things head off. The thing dodged the blade and spat at her. She dodged that attack and heard the wood sizzle behind her. Great, acidic spit, griped Chou. Its blood also smelled funny and she felt herself growing lightheaded, dizzy. She used her Lightfoot kung fu skills to bound through the trees to get some distance from it and clear her head. That helped, but the creature was keeping up with her, still trying to hit her with its spit.

She changed her angle and bounded from a tree at the creature's exposed flank. The thing slid on the snow, trying to change directions as fast as she had. Chou was able to slice a huge chunk out of its back. A tentacle shot out of the wound, with a tip like a lamprey's mouth. She yelped and twisted out of the way. The tentacle glanced off of her chest, almost catching her coat with the teeth at the end of it.

Chou spun behind a tree, as another swipe of its claws tore through the air, catching only bark. She used a sweep kick and knocked it from its feet and onto its back, the body pinning the tentacle to the snow. She pivoted to her feet and drove the blade into where its heart should be as fast as she could manage. And with a quick flick of her blade she removed the things head. It glanced off a tree and sank into the snow.

The body shook and began to bubble. Chou scrambled behind a large tree as the body exploded, its blood and ichor and saliva burning the snow and trees. The smell was foul beyond description. Chou jumped into the upper branches of the trees and sped for home.

She didn't notice the calls from several people as she headed into the bathroom and stripped as quickly as she could. Once down to her underwear she stumbled into the shower, with the water turned hot and she scrubbed herself and Destiny's Wave. She was crying and dry heaving through the whole process, her head spinning. She barely registered the concerned voices beginning to fill the bathroom.

   When the water began to turn cold she shut of the water, hunched down, almost on her knees. She was still shaking when the curtain opened. Ayla draped a towel over Chou and Toni was trying to pry Destiny's Wave from her hand. They were making soothing sounds and Chou looked at them without comprehending. She didn't really know who they were at that moment. All she could really see were replays on the vision and the horror of that creature.

She was picked up and carried to her room by Tennyo, placed under her covers, sword still in hand as Toni had given up trying to free it. Someone was running their hand down her head, trying to gentle her shaking. She lost track of time, blinking in and out of the world.

She felt something warm touch her, touch her heart. She opened her eyes weakly and looked up at Molly. The girl's concerned smile filled her. Chou sighed and relaxed, wrapping both arms around Molly, pulling her close for comfort. Molly blushed as Toni said, "Hah, I knew it."

"What happened?" asked Tennyo.

"I went for a walk and ended up at that grove you and Fey here mentioned. It was really odd. Destiny's Wave got me in and took me to this pool. I saw an old wielder of her. It was a lesson in something I hadn't grasped yet. It wasn't pretty. I really don't want to talk about that part of things. Then as I left and was trying to get home some sort of demon attacked me." said Chou, her voice stronger, between sips of tea. The warmth of this mixture she had made several weeks before was really helping her head to clear and the weight of her heart to lighten.

"Demon!" exclaimed everyone.

"Yeah. It was nasty looking. Its smell, or the smell of its blood made me dizzy and my mind also didn't want to accept it as real. I wanted to curl up and wish it away but as it was attacking me I was able to ignore that for the most part and just fight. I remember it exploding and jumping away and then looking up at Molly."

"I figured that Molly would help, so I ran over to her dorm and got her. She had left an hour or so ago. I am so good." stated Toni.

A couple of people snickered, including Toni. When that died down, Chou said, "Anyway, that's what happened. I just need some time to think about things. Another fun filled day at the Academy."

Everyone nodded and headed out of the room. Molly sat there still holding Chou. "Are you okay?'

Chou nodded as she looked up at the girl. "I think so. The thing didn't hit me and I feel okay now. Thank you for coming over."

The two hugged tightly. Molly kissed Chou softly on the lips. There were several awwwww's from the doorway. Molly and Chou blushed brightly as they turned and saw their audience. Toni laughed again, "It is so hard to be this good."

They others closed the door and left the two to look up shyly at each other. They held each others hands tightly.

"I love you Molly."

"I love you too, Chou. You make me feel happy and complete."

Chou blinked, "You do? That's just how I feel. Don't you think that's odd?"

Molly looked a bit confused. "What? Loving you?"

"No, that we both make each other feel complete." replied Chou, looking thoughtful.

Molly hugged Chou and kissed her again. "I don't care, as long as I have you. I love you Chou, in a way I have never felt before. It feels real, solid within me. I feel like I have just started to wake up and see the world. Thank you for giving me that."

Chou sat wide eyed through that, amazed that anyone could feel that way about her. She felt the exact same way about Molly. And that seemed a bit odd to her.

"Get some rest sweetie. I'll see you at dinner." Molly kissed Chou's forehead and stood up, turning slowly away from her. She blew a kiss from the doorway and was gone. Chou sat there grinning like a drunk person. She felt drained and blissful. What a day.

Sunday, 5 November 2006

Molly gently but insistently pulled the sleep shirt over Chou's head. Chou relented, smiling, helping to ease the material off of her and from under her butt. Chou ran her hands through Molly's hair. She leaned in and started kissing Molly's neck softly. Molly sighed and ran her hand down Chou's arm. Chou shivered in pleasure.

Molly pushed Chou down onto the bed and began to kiss her. Their tongues entwined. Chou could feel Molly's hands slide down her body. One hand stopped at her breast and started running lightly around her nipple. She could feel her areolas tighten and her nipples engorge with blood, getting almost painfully hard. Chou gasped and arched her back. This all felt so good.

Molly kissed her way down to Chou's breasts and ran her tongue in circles, flicking occasionally over the erect nipple. Chou moaned and ran a hand through Molly's hair, holding Molly to her breast. Molly sucked and nibbled on the breast, her other hand rubbing the other breast. Chou's other nipple hardened under the attention, reaching out for more. Chou's head was spinning in building pleasure.

Molly moved back up and kissed her passionately, fiercely, biting her bottom lip, pulling it softly. Chou leaned forward and kissed her back. The long haired girl then kissed her way down Chou's belly and stopped to tongue her belly button. Chou giggled and moaned as Molly kissed and nipped her way farther down.

Chou spread her legs as Molly settled down there, both of them looking lustily in each others eyes. Chou could feel their love physically, as if it had an actual physical presence. It burned inside her as something else burned warmer in her belly. Molly lowered her head and Chou gasped again, as waves of pleasure ran up her spine as Molly flicked her tongue up and down. Chou clawed the sheets, arching her back, trying to force more of herself into Molly's mouth.

The tentacles helped pull her down to the sheets and hold her there, trapping her in this moment of pleasure. The struggle against them only served to heighten her lust. As the tongue was running up and down she felt another tentacle nudge against her, slowly getting ready to enter her. Chou moaned and felt the nails on the girl's hands softly trace patterns over her skin. The tentacle pushed against her hymen. Chou wanted it inside her.

Chou's eyes snapped open in realization of what she was feeling and a white fire surrounded her body. Sara leapt backwards surprised, looking around eyes wide, yelling, "Oh Gods Chou, I'm sorry....I didn't mean to..."

Chou kicked herself back up to her feet, breaking the tentacles hold on her as if they were nothing. Her body matured and she shot out a hand to grasp Sara's throat. The now taller woman held the thirteen year old looking demon girl out at arms length with her left arm. Sara's tentacles couldn't find a way to grip on to Chou's burning body, as they disintegrated on touching that white fire. They thrashed around, trying to find something to hold on to that wasn't Chou. Chou's angry gaze burned into Sara's eyes. The demon girl looked surprised and contrite, continuing her apologies. She wasn't scared as much as surprised at Chou's reaction.

Chou growled and drew her right arm back, as if preparing to swing. Destiny's Wave appeared there in her hand, unsheathed. "Kellith, daughter of Gothmog, you have violated my trust and have earned my condemnation. Prepare to be brought into balance demon!"

"Chou, I'm sorry. I thought I had stopped doing this. I'm sorry. I didn't mean to. Stop" Sara could feel the fire on her skin, burning where the fingers held her. She needed to get out of Chou's grip and fast.

"Good bye Kellith!" Chou started the swing. Sara tried push off of Chou's body with her legs, her hands trying to wrench her loose from Chou's hand. She was almost there.

Chou's arm locked and the voice of Destiny's Wave barked out. "Chou, let her go! Sara has done nothing to you. It would not serve the balance to do this thing."

Chou glowered and struggled against the hold Destiny's Wave had on her. Sara held her action, watching nervously at the blade. She moved her hand into position to better open Chou's hand if the blade continued down. Chou hissed out, "She defiled my dreams!"

"And she is apologizing. Let...her...go!"

Chou opened her left hand and dropped Sara. The girl landed on her feet and stumbled back, out of the way. She stood there looking at the Asian girl worriedly. She didn't want to have this fight, but she would if she had to. "Chou, I'm sorry. I have been working on trying to keep from invading other people's dreams, trying to stop doing it. It was out of my control. I thought I had gotten better. I didn't mean for this to happen. I am so sorry. Please accept my apology."

Chou grimaced and turned away from the demon girl, lowering the sword. "Just go."

Sara vanished from Chou's dream. The dream itself melted.

Chou sat up in her bed eyes wide and heart pounding; Destiny's Wave was in her hand, unsheathed. She sat there panting there in the dark, blinking, trying to sleep out of her eyes. What the hell had that been? First there had been Molly, and then Sara. She remembered and blushed fiercely, her anger building again.

Destiny's Wave spoke softly. "Chou, let it go. This was not an act on purpose. She has not turned and does not need to die. If anything the pattern is starting to reveal that Sara has an important purpose to serve and must be kept alive. She is sorry for doing this thing. That was plain in her voice. You need to apologize for overreacting. She is trying to learn to shield herself from people's dreams. Part of her demon nature does this. Her control failed and the nature of your dream drew her there. It is okay."

Chou started crying. "All I ever wanted was a normal life. I found someone to love, and then Sara.....she violated me!"

"Did she break your hymen?" asked Destiny's Wave.

" But still...."

"But nothing. If she had entered you, things would be different, but she didn't. Let it go. Sara is your friend and you do need to protect her. You can feel the Tao flowing in that way if you listen."

Chou slowed her breath and reached out for the river as the sword suggested. She felt the flow of the current and saw what Destiny's Wave was saying. She sighed and let the image fade. "Fine. Fine. I can see I am going to lose this argument."

"I am not saying what she did was right but when she caught on about what was happening she backed off. That is the sign of someone who did not mean to hurt you. I can understand you being upset over this. This was unfortunate, but not a final act. She apologized for her part of things and you need to apologize to Sara for trying to kill her."

Chou nodded. She got up and returned her sword to the sheath. She turned and looked back at the bed. Ayla was snoring softly on the bunk above. Sometimes the girl seemed able to sleep through about anything. Her sheets were turned back when she had gotten out of bed. How had she gotten her sword?

Thinking on that she turned over and went back to sleep. It took her a while to relax enough to fall asleep.

Lunch with Molly was nice. Chou was obviously upset as she sat there barely eating her lunch. Molly just sat there, next to her and was just being there, comforting Chou. Chou's eyes were haunted. Chou was really trying to avoid Sara until she felt ready to apologize for her actions. It was not something she felt comfortable doing. She did not want to see the demon girl but she knew she had to. She tried to stretch out her sore back by arching backwards.

The events in the dream had really shaken her up. Not just the events with Sara but also the situation with Molly. She wasn't sure what she felt about Molly, but she was getting sure it was love. And not the kind of love you only saw in the movies. There was something deep and resonant about it. She realized that her feelings for Molly were why she got so upset at Sara. Chou hugged Molly good-bye and started heading back to Poe. She really needed to talk to Sara and get this over with. As she walked past the little grove of trees a voice called out her name.

It was the blond, Sarah Gardener. Chou stopped and waited as the girl almost bounded towards her. The standing still did not really help with how sore she felt after the fight. "Chou, have you thought about what I mentioned earlier? About joining my group?"

"You said you fight demons?" asked Chou, trying to work out what Sarah really wanted.

"Yep, and vampires, werewolves, all kinds of baddies." The girl bounced a little on her feet.

Chou thought quickly. This could be the group that had gone after Sara. And if Sarah Gardener was in that group, that meant they had gone after Sara a few times now. If she had to help protect the demon girl she had better get a feel for any potential opponents. "Sure. That sounds fine."

"Oh, hey, you looked really good kicking the demon's butt yesterday."

"How do you know about that?" Chou asked surprised and a little suspiciously. Where the hell had this girl seen her fight with the demon? She was sure there had not been any one around when the fight had happened.

"It was picked up by security and our group has hacked into it for a link. Impressive, hunh? You were great. That fight was totally five by five."


"Don't worry about it, I can introduce you to everyone later. I'll send you an email or something about a time and place."

Chou nodded. That sould work out. "Okay sounds good."

"Well I gotta go. Bye Chou!"

"Bye Sarah." Chou waved as the blond girl turned away and headed off. Chou watched the blond walk off and she turned back towards Poe. Yep, she had to talk to the demon princess.

When she finally reached Sara's door she was getting really nervous. She reached out and knocked softly. Chou was really hoping that Sara would not be in so she could avoid the embarrassment. She had no such luck. "Come in."

Chou opened the door slowly and entered the room.  She turned and closed the door. "Hi..."

Sara looked wary, looking to see if Chou had her sword. "Hello."

"I...I just wanted to come by and tell you...that I'm.....sorry." Chou was doing a lot of looking at her shoes.

Sara looked surprised. This was not what she had expected. "You're sorry?"

"Well, yes. I shouldn't have overreacted and tried to kill you. I'm sorry."

"I'm sorry that I ended up in your dream. I didn't mean to and it seemed like you were having such a good dream, the kind anyone would be irritated to be knocked out of."

Chou blushed and Sara grinned. Chou asked shyly, "Friends?"

Sara nodded. "Friends."

The two of them hugged. "Oh, and to let you know, I think I am going to be joining the group that attacked you. That way I can find out who they are and how to beat them. So you don't get hurt."

Sara looked confused again, Chou hadn't been completely clear. "What?"

"Well, someone invited me to join their group, where they kill demons and other bad things. I figured it might just be that group that has attacked you twice."

"Nice plan. And that should help us figure out who is really behind these attacks."

"Yep." They both grinned at each other.

"So, what are your plans for working with that group?" asked Sara.

"Uh...I don't really know." said Chou. "I hadn't really thought that far."

"We'll, we have to be sure that they know you and I know each other. The odds are that they will try and get you and I to be pissed off with each other. That means that they probably won't let you in to the actual main group until they are sure of you. That means we will have to look like we are slowly loosing our friendship."

"What? I don't want to stop being your friend."

"I didn't mean you have to stop being my friend, only that we'll have to look that way."

Chou looked a little embarrassed at that. "Yeah, okay. That makes sense."

"If Reverend Englund is involved, like I think he is, watch out for people trying to convert you. Faith can be a powerful weapon, and a great blinder. He may try to work for the position that you are a Christian and you only need guidance to see what is right." said Sara.

"I don't think I am a Christian any more. I think Destiny's Wave and all of this has succeeded in making me a Taoist." replied Chou.

"All to the better. Taoist ethics are a lot more complex than Christian, since they don't say that this is what is good and this is what is bad and those two positions will never meet. Englund will not really be expecting that. You will also have to sound like you really hate demons."

"I do hate demons." objected Chou.

"All demons?" asked Sara, raising an eyebrow.

"Well, no. I like you."

"Thanks. We'll have to go over things a lot while you are doing this. You and I can talk about it whenever. This will also be a good practice for the plan for us to get more strategic. Thank you for doing this Chou."

Chou blushed a little at the compliment. "Your welcome. Well, I need to get a jump on my work for next week. Homework calls. Ugh."

"Well, at least we should be able to avoid killing each other. I will try a lot harder to keep out of dreams. Especially yours."

"Thank you. And if you do show I will try to avoid being as much of a bitch."

"Also, what did you mean I don't get hurt?" asked Sara.

" to go." redirected Chou, as she edged for the door.

"No please, what did you mean?"

"Well, Destiny's Wave said I had to help keep you alive, that you are important to the future course of events. So my job is to protect you, to keep you safe until you do what you are supposed to do." Chou smiled awkwardly.

Sara looked over at her, "Really? The sword said that?"

"Yeah. I don't know how, only that the flow of the Tao wants you alive. So part of my job is to keep you that way."

"Makes me wonder what that special thing is." replied Sara.

"Same here."

"Let's see that again."

"Certainly Reverend." The film started over, showing the Asian girl spin out of the way of an attack, drawing the sword in a continuous fluid motion.

"It looks like she realized that some thing was attacking her, just before it hit her. Her file says nothing about that skill." stated Reverend Englund, his eyes never leaving the screen. The way Chou Li moved as she fought was almost hypnotic in its smoothness. There were no pauses or hesitations. She fought like someone many years older than she was.

"There is a mention that there could be potentially more powers." replied his assistant, flipping through the file. "Yes, the doctors mentioned it here. There is in fact a good sized list of potential powers. If she achieves those powers she will be impressive."

"She moves almost better than Nightbane, actually she probably does move better. Just look at her. If we can get her onto our side then we can certainly eliminate that demon. She would be a powerful ally in our fight. Do we know what her faith is?"

"The file says undetermined."

"Where is she from?"

"Knoxville, Tennessee."

"Really? Hmmmmm.....interesting. We can work with that. That is very firmly Christian country. Look at that. Her form is magnificent. You say Nightbane has got confirmation of her interest?"

"Yes sir. She talked to Miss Li not two hours ago. She said the girl was interested."

"Good, good. Make sure to keep her with the main group until we get a better feel for her. I wouldn't want her to end up becoming a liability and knowing our secrets. She would not be someone we want for an enemy."

"What about this thing with her tuition being paid for says the Eight Immortals?"

"Immortals? Right." scoffed Englund. "I don't believe that. I just wish we knew who they really are. They paid in gold, a lot of it." The Reverend shook his head. "Anyway, plan the meet for after Parents Day next weekend. We'll see how well she fits with the others."

There were a few lights left on in Dickinson. He flew over and glanced in to one of the windows. The lights were still on but the girls were sleeping. He smiled and got ready to enter. There was something odd about the window. He looked closer at the glass. There were several tiny beams of light on the glass. He snickered, "Ji liang."

He turned his head and thought for a second. The he smiled. "Qiang."

He pulled out a sheet of parchment and wrote his spell on it. He placed it on the wall next to the window and pushed his Chi into it. The wall shimmered. He slipped through the area and into the room.  He crawled under the beams and got to the drawers. He looked those over and noticed something odd there as well. "Gao ming." he looked and spotted another device keeping the drawers shut.

He plucked a hair from his head and extended it slightly. He used it to tap on the side wall of the drawer. No trap there. He smiled and opened that section of the wood. He pulled free the panties with a smile. "Wo kai xin!"

He moved over to the girl who had fallen asleep in her nightshirt. "Ji liang you nu."

With that he moved his hands quickly and plucked the panties from her sleeping body. "Huo gai ni quan li."

He slid out the wall and continued on his rounds, pulling the spell sheet from the wall, chuckling to himself.

Monday, 6 November 2006

The snow was slowly melting as Chou came out to do her Tai Chi. Some of the icicles from the roof had fallen. Fey came out yawning and stretching. The two girls smiled at each other. "Morning Chou."

"Morning Nikki. Ready?" asked Chou.

"Yes. It's warmer today."

"I noticed, its nice. It looks like the snow will melt today. I guess that means mud."

"At least we still have some snow to practice on rather than mud." The two of them laughed and moved into their stretching exercises.

Breakfast was filled with more gripes, this time from the girls of Dickinson Hall. They had gotten hit by the panty thief last night. One of the girls kept saying that he had taken the panties right off of her as she had slept, but the others were telling her to shut up. The only girls not giving Peeper dirty looks were the girls of Poe.

Chou ate her omelet and listened to the talk. Erin was talking about her classes with Ayla. Lily and Tennyo were talking about the panty thief. Bunny was busy talking about the defenses she had made to protect her underwear. Jade was talking to Molly and Fey about Rythax, and just what his knowing Fey meant. Sara finished her meal and recovered the cage that held the old goat. Chou kept her ears open to the various threads of conversation going on about her.

She heard a lot more about the protections others had taken to protect their rooms. Magic, devisor's gadgets, traps, many different things had been used to try and thwart the thief. If those had failed, what could she do?

Molly ruffled her hair. "You okay?"

"Just thinking about the panty thief."

"What about him?" Molly crinkled her eyes in consternation.

"How in the world can anyone stop someone who can get past magical and mechanical traps without setting them off?" asked Chou.

"I don't know. I am upset that I have to get new panties. All I had left were the ones I slept in. I had some nice ones as well." grumbled Molly.

"Really?" asked Chou, with an eyebrow raised.

Molly blushed. "Yes, but not anymore."

Chou chuckled. "I can help you shop for more, if you want."

Molly blushed an even deeper red. "Thank you. That would be nice."

Chou raised her eyebrows suggestively, "And maybe you could model them for me as well."

Molly just kept blushing and looked away, smiling.

Lunch was not much better. A number of the older girls, bricks for the most part, surrounded Peeper and were shoving him between them. Various foodstuffs were thrown at him and rubbed into his hair as lots of girls berated him, demanding the return of their panties. Security had to break up the escalating situation, escorting Peeper away from Crystal Hall. The talk turned ugly by many and the girls of Poe were getting worried. They were all that remained untouched by the thief. A few angry glares headed their way, accusing all the residents of Poe with being involved by the fact that they hadn't been stolen from yet.

Everyone was distracted in classes and no one seemed able to focus on the teachers. Chou headed back to Poe worried about the fact that they were sure to be hit that night. She was really not looking forward to that.

As she entered the lobby she saw a new girl or boy, she wasn't sure which, standing there with Mrs. Horton. They seemed to be Native American as far as she could tell. She was going to say hello but it looked as if the house mother were taking the new kid on the tour of the building. As Mrs. Horton and the new kid headed into the basement she turned and headed upstairs.

She sat down and started on her homework. The reading for Chinese was easy and she hadn't done to bad on her last essay in English. She had picked up some powers theory books, to try and better understand what she was feeling and experiencing. Some of the things going on with her seemed too odd to be normal powers.

She read through a chapter in one of those and rubbed her eyes. It wasn't helping. She turned from one opaque topic to another, pulling out one of the scrolls that she had been given with Taoist lore on it. She was currently reading some of the works of women Taoist masters. It was interesting and she understood why she needed to learn it now.

She started taking notes and lost herself in her work.

Jade knocked on Chou's doorframe. "Hey Chou, it's time to get dinner. The new kid is coming with us."

"What's her name?"

"His name actually. Jamie. He's pretty quiet so far. Hasn't really told us all that much. But we're going to help him because he's going to be on the floor with us."

"Really?" asked Chou, raising an eyebrow, aware of what being on this floor implied about the new kid.

"Yeah. He's Hank's roommate. So let's get going. Besides I know you want to see Molly again."

"Hey!" called out Chou indignantly. Jade skipped away laughing after sticking her tongue out at Chou.

Dinner was a fun affair. All the girl's took turns trying to pry information out of Jamie. She was rather shy, but they did drag out some of the information on her. Chou commiserated with her about losing her mom. That made Chou a bit sad to think that her dad was gone. But there was that thread in the current. It had to mean something.

Chou got lost in thought about that thread when she heard her name called, and saw a hand waving in her face. She blinked in surprise and jerked her head backwards. "Earth to Chou. Come in Chou."

"Very funny Tennyo." Chou glared.

"What? You spaced out there and we had said your name a couple of times."

"Sorry. I'm not really in the mood to talk right now." She got up and headed for the exit of Crystal Hall after dropping off her tray. Molly caught up with her and started walking along side of her. She took Chou's hand and said nothing, just walked alongside her quietly. Chou smiled faintly and returned to her thoughts, warmed by Molly's presence.

The lamps were spilling their light over the partially snow covered ground as the two finally parted. Molly kissed Chou, while they stood in front of Poe Hall and then she ran off, blushing and waving. Chou watched her go with a smile, happy to know she was loved.

Chou went upstairs lost to her thoughts. Her father, her life, everything she knew about her self was not what she had believed.

Tuesday, 7 November 2006

Chou nervously opened her eyes and looked over at her dresser. Everything looked alright. She got up and padded over to it. She pulled open the drawer and saw that her panties were all still there. She sighed in relief. She had actually been worried about that.

She took off her nightshirt and pulled on her workout clothes. She pulled on her shoes and stretched. The pull of her muscles felt really good. She opened the door quietly and headed out into the hall. She made a quick stop first, to use the bathroom, as her bladder felt ready to burst. That done, Chou went outside and took several deep breaths of the cold air, it felt good, invigorating.

Boudacia was already out there twisting and stretching. "Morning Chou. Sorry I slept in yesterday."

"No problem." replied Chou. "I do this for myself and you guys are joining me. It's not like it's a class."

They both laughed about this as Nikki exited Poe yawning. As she neared she asked, "Hey, does everyone still have their underwear?"

Boudacia and Chou both nodded. "Good. I thought I might have been the only one."

They started practice still giggling about it. It was a good session. Chou could feel the flow of the Tao deep within her. Her Chi was strong and moved with her, following the direction of her Yi, intention. She could feel that it was deepening.

When the girls from Poe arrived at breakfast there was a bit of anticipation. When none of them seemed outraged or upset the talk turned to who in Poe could be the panty bandit. There were a few who bandied about Hank's name, but most were focused on Flux and Risk who were both trouble makers. Risk, as a warper, could have gotten into the rooms without having to open things, like windows. But security had cleared everybody on campus who could have done it. But that didn't stop the glares.

The tension was building, like the feel of the air before a thunderstorm. Everyone wanted to figure out who was doing this and catch them. All but the girls of Poe were pissed off about the situation. The Poe girls were just getting nervous.

The talk in the halls was about the panty thief and who it could be. The teachers had a tough time keeping the students on task, all except Sensei Ito. After fourth period Sarah Gardener came up to her in the halls. "Hey there, Chou."

"Hi Sarah. What's up?"

"Just letting you know that our group meets next Tuesday. Can you make it?"

"Sure. Let me know the time later?"

"Will do." With that Sarah bounced away happily. Chou shuddered at just how much like a cheerleader Sarah was.

Chou watched her go, wondering how a girl like that could try and kill Sara at least three times. If Sarah was indeed the same girl? Chou really wanted to know if it was and if she needed to kill her. Sarah may be a threat to Sara. She snorted. That certainly sounded funny.

Molly and she hung out in the library after classes. Chou was really starting to enjoy the spell that Molly had found. Holding Molly and kissing her made Chou feel wonderful. They held each other and avoided doing homework until it was late. Chou was worried a little, as she had some homework that was due in the morning. But the kissing was worth it. Molly had apparently done all of her work between classes and before dinner.

The two of them left the library and parted reluctantly. Chou really wished there were some way for Molly and her to be together all the time. Unless Molly could get into Poe hall and made Chou's roommate there was no way. They kept looking back towards each other until they each turned towards their Halls. It hurt to be away from her.

Chou got ready for bed and lay down. She missed Molly, knowing that the morning of waking up with her had been the best in her life so far. She was looking forward to hopefully doing that for many more years in her life. She didn't know why she felt this way but she did. She loved Molly with everything inside her. Chou wished she could marry Molly, which would be so nice. She fell asleep thinking of Molly and dreaming of a future spent with her.

A noise roused her from her sleep. She blinked open her eyes and saw a figure hunched down across from her. The faint light from under the door gave her eyes enough to see the bushy hair and the flat face. He was also wearing odd Chinese clothes with a strange gold circlet around his head. He had a tail as well, sticking out the back of his pants. He looked kind of like one of the Planet of the Apes characters, only with a tail. He turned and looked surprised to see her looking at him, his brown eyes wide. "Oh, juh jen shi guh kwai luh duh jin-zhan...."

Chou screamed and leapt forward in a kick as the thief rattled off Chinese. Her foot hit the dresser as he rolled away. Ayla sat up. "What the hell?!"

The figure tried to make it to the window. Chou grabbed his tail and pulled him backwards a little, slowing his momentum. He yelled out, "Ai ya! Hwai leh!"

Ayla jumped down in front of the window and shoved him backwards. He stumbled back and hit the door with a solid thud. Chou reached out and Destiny's Wave was suddenly there in her hand. She bounded forward and led with a downwards strike. He shifted to the side and the blade dug into the wood. Ayla punched and he blocked it.

With a twist Chou tore her sword free. The door splintered from the effort. The thief spun and Ayla tackled him, increasing her density. Somehow he managed to turn the two of them so that Ayla was the one to hit the wall and crack the masonry. He bounded back to his feet, standing in front of the bathroom door.

Toni burst out of her door and tried to kick the thief. He stepped to the side and Toni went through the door. Everyone else burst into the hall, looking confused, doors slamming open.

"Panty thief!!" yelled Ayla, at the top of her lungs.

All the girls growled and leapt for the thief. He smiled and jumped up and held on to the ceiling with his spread legs and tail. The girls all ran into each other falling back onto the floor. He flipped to the floor just past them and began to bounce away. "Ni men dou shi sha gua!"

"Damn it thief, you aren't getting away." Toni ran forward and leapt into a jump kick. He laughed, slid to the side and his hands moved in a blur. He stood there spinning a single pair of white cotton panties around a finger while Toni landed awkwardly, desperately clutching her sleep shirt to her legs. She screeched and launched another attack, her fists and feet a blur of motion, trying to keep her kicks low and avoid flashing everybody with her naked butt.

The panty thief blocked every attack she launched, turning her in the process. With a swift kick to Toni's butt he sent her sprawling to the floor, her sleep shirt around her hips exposing her butt to the hall. She kicked herself to her feet and launched another flurry of blows, pushing her attacks with her Chi. He smiled and then blocked everything again. He was moving faster than he had been before. He leaned forward and kissed her on the lips. As she sputtered in outrage, he threw her to the floor again.

Fey was busy turning the energies she could grab from around her into a spell, something to stop the thief. The thief snapped out a piece of rice paper with his right hand. It flew swiftly towards Fey and snapped her in the forehead, sticking to her. There was a burst of light and Fey fell over stunned. The energy spun out of control and a bunch of paisley crabs wearing top hats sprung into life. The girls yipped from the pinching, distracted from the thief again.

A large number of the crabs were heading for Jamie, the new kid. When they reached him and touched him with their claws, he fell over as if he had just fainted. this action caught the thief's attention and he bounded over, kicking the crabs away from the boy. He turned a face a section of empty air and said. "I'm sorry. I'll try to avoid that next time."

As Hank tried to hit this monkey thief, the thief only did a back handspring out of the way. Hank felt like he was moving in molasses compared to the speed of his opponent.

Tennyo grabbed the thief and hurled him into the bathroom. The bathroom door slammed open and then banged shut loudly. As Tennyo stormed in followed by Shroud, a wall of bubbles streamed out. Jade and the others were busy trying to capture and destroy the rest of the crabs and take care of Nikki. The bubbles added to their troubles.

Tennyo and Shroud looked around the bathroom but saw no one. The source of the bubbles was a shower stall where they were pouring out of.  It was also the only shower where the water was running. The two moved to flank the stall hoping to grab the thief.

Tennyo called forth her blade, and the energy formed itself as she had willed. Jinn reached out and yanked back the curtain. There was a scream as if they had opened a stall on a girl showering but there was nobody was in there. A deep, amused laugh caused the two of them to turn and look behind them.

The thief reached into his hair and pulled out an ornate staff. It simply expanded into existence in his hand. He twirled it smoothly. Tennyo yelled a battle cry and lunged towards him. His staff blocked her blade. Tennyo's eyes went wide in surprise and thus caught a foot to the head, dropping her to the floor, her blade flickering out.

Shroud came forward and readied her punch. As the sledgehammer fist shot forward the thief simply put up his hand and stopped the blow. He smiled and spun the sledge head, twisting up the fabric and the frame inside, almost knotting the spirit girl up.

Tennyo swung for his ankle with her sword, the blade just inches off the floor. He slammed the staff into the tile, but didn't crack any. The blade again was stopped by the staff. With a flick of his wrist he knocked the sword from her hand. It spun through the air but dissipated before it hit anything. The thief reached down and grabbed one of her bra straps, snapping it. He laughed again and jumped backwards out of range, his staff shrinking.

He spun out of the room and barely evaded the tasers both Bunny and Jade had ready. He laughed, reached out and grabbed Jade.  The thief spun her in the air, as if they were swing dancing. Then he caught her, looked into her eyes and said, "You're cute, Meimei. Want to dance?"

He started waltzing up the walls and held her tight, upside down on the ceiling. He set her back on her feet fairly nicely and patted her head. Jade went for an Aikido wrist lock but had it reversed on her. He pushed her into the group trying to move back into the fight. With that he started running towards the end of the hall on the ceiling.

Erin had shifted to a panther form and jumped up, trying to rake the thief with her claws. He twisted out of the way and swatted her on the rump with a rolled up newspaper that he pulled out of no where. "Bad biscuit!"

Erin yowled and spun and jumped again towards him. The thief spun around her quickly and briefly landed on her back. Laughing, he jumped away from Erin leaving behind a big pink bow tied around the mountain lion's neck. It was very cute and Erin, even as a cat, looked disgusted with the predicament. He laughed like a monkey and threw her towards the others. She shifted back to human before impact with her friends.

Toni rolled under the flying Erin and came up fighting. She had pulled on some shorts under her nightshirt and was no longer flashing everybody. She launched another attack sequence, using everything she had ever learned about martial arts. The thief grabbed her fist and spun, tumbling her into Chou who was rushing up to support Chaka. As the two of them worked to disentangle themselves, he just started laughing, almost to the point he couldn't breathe.

The bathroom door disintegrated. Tennyo had an aura of energy around her and she was growling in anger. The others pulled away. The thief took one look at her and yelled, "Da xiang bao zha shi duh ld do to go!"

As he bounded down the stairs, Tennyo flew after him, "Get back here you bastard!!"

The others scrambled after Tennyo. Fey was a little wobbly after Bunny pulled the sheet from her forehead. She staggered behind then, her head slowly clearing from the spell that had hit her. All the girls were yelling, "Panty Thief!!"

The sounds of other girls filled the dorm. Lights blinked on everywhere. The front door slammed open as the thief fled outside. Tennyo blazed after him, gaining speed. He jumped and a small cloud flitted under his feet. Tennyo flew under him and twisted her arc to fly up after him.

Megs jumped from her window and tackled the thief, knocking him from his cloud. Again he twisted and Mega-Girl was the one slammed into the ground. The thief jumped off of Megs and right into a fight with Chou, who had closed into attack range. He dodged and spun, evading her slashes, finally making his staff reappear. Then he took the offensive and Chou was being driven back, as Destiny's Wave was unable to cut through his weapon.

Hippolyta roared forward to attack. The thief grabbed her hands and twisted her around into some sort of dance. She kept trying to over power the smaller figure and he just smiled and spun her out and back in. As she spun in she threw the momentum into a punch. He used the punch to overbalance her, pull down her track pants and exposed her Strawberry Shortcake panties to everyone. With that he then spanked her sharply a few times before bouncing away.

Hippolyta yelped and hit the ground, scrambling to pull her pants up. He turned and jumped into a back handspring to avoid a punch kick combination from Jody Cooms, Plastic Girl. He grabbed her arm and leg with his feet and spun his body, twisting them together. Jody pulled her limbs back and worked on freeing herself.

Chou swung the blade again and the thief kicked the blade from Chou's hand with a crescent kick and tossed her into Tennyo. Quickie blazed past and tried to clothes line him, hoping her speed would be enough. He blocked the speedster's attack and grabbed her by her nightgown and added Juanita to the pile of Chou and Tennyo. He added Evvie there just for fun, as she tried to punch him.

Beltane was busy gathering together all the magic users. They all linked hands and started chanting, working on forming a containment spell. Blackrose called forth a number of thorn vines and tried to envelop the panty thief. He laughed and called his staff forth and twirled it around, breaking the vines. He hopped on his cloud and zoomed over, grabbing Rosalyn, running one hand down her black hair and looking into her green eyes. She screamed and started hitting him. "My sweet, your lips say no but your lips say yes. Kiss me."

With that he kissed her firmly and dumped her on the three girls still working on untangling themselves. Rosalyn was busy spitting and wiping her mouth as she lay on top of them.

Suddenly a cage snapped around the thief. He banged against the walls for a second and then looked around. When he saw the girls chanting, hands held tight, sweat beading their foreheads he smiled and started applauding. He then reached into the magic, hooked his fingers into it and tore the spell apart. The girls casting the spell yelped and fell over holding their heads. He flinched a little seeing that and called out, "Sorry!"

He sped over to the fallen mages and picked up Fey. "Oh my most beloved Queen, I am ever so sorry."

With that he kissed her soundly, French kissing her with great passion. His tongue escaped her mouth just before her teeth snapped down. Her slap only hit empty air. Fey was getting even more pissed, and she could feel the essence of the Queen rising in her.

Troika shimmered and separated into three and began a series of coordinated attacks on him. She punched and kicked, covering almost everywhere around him. He spun and dodged and blocked each attack, almost as if he could read her attacks before she could throw them. He twisted her arms and then spanked each one of her separate selves. They all yelped in turn and he shoved her away.

Quake hit him with seismic waves. The forces shook him and he twitched in the air. He flung out his staff and clipped her against the side of her head. She dropped suddenly and the thief fell to the ground and kipped back up to his feet, his staff flying back to his hand. "Next?"

The door to Poe Hall burst open. Mrs. Horton stood there in her nightgown and robe, looking pissed off. The male onlookers tried to hide behind the bushes or their hands, hoping to be ignored and the girls looked sheepishly at the house mother. The field of battle was hushed and calm for a stunned moment. The panty thief ran up and threw himself at her feet. "Please, you must help me. These girls just attacked me for no reason."

He was crying, tears rolling down his face. "They're cruel and evil. I am merely a poor passerby falsely accused."

He pulled a pair of white granny panties from his bag and wiped his tears with it. He stopped, aware of his action and looked from the panties in his hand and then back at Mrs. Horton a few times. He sheepishly said, "Uh...these are yours. Oops."

Mrs. Horton screamed and punched the thief. He rolled with the force of the blow and came to his feet after pushing out into a handspring. Electrode tackled him low across the back, her Lady Lightening sleep shirt billowing as she dove at him. Shrike jumped from another direction and punched him in the back, driving him into the ground. Riptide hit him with the water she pulled from the wet ground, using its force to try and drive him into the mud. He pushed up from the ground and shook the water from his head. He didn't seem to be dirty at all.

Zenith rushed over tried to punch him. He spun her around and kissed her firmly on the lips. "You are beautiful. I would date with you!"

With that he produced a bouquet of roses, handed them to her and spun her high into the air. He didn't even try to catch her as she came down.

Zenith twisted enough to land on her feet. She landed and came after him, with Boudacia and Hippolyta merging with her. The freshmen students just stared as the speed and grace of the battle. The three moved together well, as if the were almost anticipating each others attack series. The thief was busy blocking their attacks, his smile growing broader as things continued. Suddenly he dodged under one of Hippolyta's punches and pantsed her again, sharing her Strawberry Shortcake undies with even more people. The boys cheered and jeered, and were suddenly silenced by a glare from Mrs. Horton.

Hippy was struggling to get her sweats back up as Zenith and Boudacia attacked together. The thief reached out and grabbed their wrists and twisted between the two and flipped them onto their backs. He turned their faces in towards each other and pushed their faces together. "Talk, kiss, enjoy!"

Gorgon focused her will on him and tried to get the thief to freeze up, stop moving. He turned and winked at her, ignoring her mental commands. Heyoka was over by the magic users, trying to stay out of the way of the others much more into the combat side of things. He tried to get hir spirit friends to go after him. They all politely declined, but Thunderbird did recharge with evergy, after the hobgoblins had stolen some of hirs. The thief turned his head and looked at her carefully. He ran over and tousled hir hair, even in spirit form, and gave hir a big, wet sloppy kiss. "Nice try kid. I think you'll be good at this."

Sharissa glared at him and shifted her will and her anger onto him. He ran over to her and grabbed her shoulders. "Why don't you try feeling better? Trying to foist your anger on me, not very nice."

She hauled back and swung a punch at him. He twisted her punch into a joint lock. He then spanked her and tossed her to Megs, who caught her. Sharissa shrieked in anger and stared at Toni, as if this were all her fault. Toni never noticed as she moved into another attack. She was getting frustrated. She had never had this much trouble in a fight ever before. He was throwing her around as if she were untrained.

She launched into a flying dragon kick, trying to keep as much of her chi hidden from the thief as best she could. He still turned and stepped to the side, sweeping one hand upwards. Toni spun in a circle a few times before she collapsed on the ground with a solid thud.

Erin had gotten behind him as he was dealing with Toni and shifted quickly into the form of a grizzly bear. He turned and looked at the huge bear bellowing behind him. Erin swung a huge paw and tried to connect with his head. He turned and preformed a shoulder throw on her. The bear slammed into the ground, shaking the ground with its weight.

Fey quickly shouted out a spell, her anger fueling her magic. Bursts of fire tried to envelop the monkey, who merely bounced out of the way. She was almost physically throwing them as she got more frustrated and angry with him. He spun and whirled through her attacks until he stood next to her. He licked her face and pulled her nightgown over her head, letting everyone see her green silk panties. With that he jumped away.

Electrode jumped back into the attack, with Hank and Punch backing her up. Troika joined in as well with Angel, Megs and Tennyo trying to keep him contained by air. Zenith, Boudacia and Hippolyta charged in as Blackrose worked on getting the grass to grab his feet and hold him in place. Bugs meanwhile had tossed out several of her special eggs designed to blind attackers. she had taken the time to upgrade them before acting.

Everything seemed to happen all at once. The flashes went off and blinded everybody. The coordinated attack turned into a massive uncoordinated dog pile on top of the thief. The girls lay there on top of him stunned, blinded by the flash. Toni ran and dove on top of the pile as did Jade, the other girls oofing under their added weight. The thief wiggled to the edge of the pile and got his head and one arm out.

Chou was standing there with Destiny's Wave held at his throat. Her eyes were hard and part of her wished he would do something to earn her killing him.  He looked up at her and smiled broadly. "Chou, there you are meimei. I've been looking everywhere for you. Ni hau?"

The clamoring voices paused and people looked blearily between Chou and the thief. It was hard to see the two of them through the spots in their eyes.

"I am Sun Wu Kong, the Monkey King. I did all this in order to meet you." With that he shrugged the girls in the dog pile off of himself, stood. He stepped forward and gave Chou a big hug. "It is so great to see the new Handmaid. You and your friends have fought well. I am impressed, especially with the Soke-no-Do. She isn't bad. She needs some work, however. Maybe the two of you should work out more. That is a bit of a hint. Any way, this has been fun but I have to go, however I will see you later meimei. Take care. Zai jian."

The Monkey King jumped up and landed lightly on his little cloud which seemed to obey his thoughts and he flew away waving at everyone. Chou just stood there watching, stunned, and unsure of what had just happened. This was the Monkey King she had been warned about? The bag of panties lay at her feet; a few of them had spilled out onto the ground.

The other girls stood up and headed towards Chou, some looked angry, some looked amused. Toni got to the bag of panties before anyone else and started to go through them. Fey walked up and put an arm around Chou's shoulder and asked her, "Do you know him?"

"I have no idea who or what that was. That was just so screwed up. The fucking Monkey King? Why me? Why did I have to buy that stupid sword?" moaned Chou, lowering her face into her hands, almost ready to cry with the frustration of her life. Fey hugged her, her own anger fading.

Toni's voice rang out, as she was holding a pair of panties aloft waving them back and forth, to draw everyone's attention. " 'ho-KAY, fess up! Who owns the teddy bear panties?"

Several hands went up. All of them were attached to blushing faces.

Wednesday, 8 November 2006

Sara sat up from her meditation and looked around the room. Someone had obviously been in her room; the evidence was hard to miss. In the center of her room sat a huge pile of panties sitting there with a note on top.

She got up and walked over to the pile. The writing on the paper was very neat and the paper was unwrinkled. It had one word written on it. "Enjoy." The letters MK were in the bottom corner.

Sara looked over the pile of panties and realized she now had access to the scents of every girl on campus. This could be fun and interesting. Her mind was a whirl with the possibilities. She smiled and mouthed "Thank you," to the ceiling.