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A Whateley Academy Tale

Blade Dancing

By Heather O'Malley
and help by the rest of the Whateley Gang



Knowing others is intelligence;
knowing yourself is wisdom.
Mastering others is strength;
mastering yourself is true power.   -  Tao Te Ching

Disclaimer: 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. Also, if you happen to find that your life is represented in these pages, I’ll be impressed.

Whatley Academy Monday October 9th, 2006

Chou slammed into the mat again, hard. She bounced a little. She spun to her feet and lashed out with some kicks to slow her attacker. The first three didn’t connect but she felt the solid impact of the fourth and the grunt of the hit. She found herself spinning through the air and rolled to her feet, leaping over a flurry of punches. Her attacker spun and launched a kick. Chou twisted to avoid it and cartwheeled away. “Stop!”

Chou backed into the ready position, facing her opponent. She was breathing a little heavily; sweat staining her sports bra, visible through the open gi top. Her opponent was barely sweating, barely breathing hard despite all they had done.

Sensei Ito stood impassively as did Sensei Tolman. “Class what have you seen?”

“That Toni is best in the class?” responded a boy from the third row, unsure if that was the right answer.

“Wrong! Toni is skilled and her power gives her a powerful edge but when she loses her head she cannot win clean. You!” Ito pointed to Jade, “What was the lesson?”

“That if you can evade an attack you can find an opening?”

Ito nodded. “Chou is more skilled at evading. She uses her Chi to watch Toni. She guides herself around the attacks. Toni is better but Chou lasts longer than others. If Chou were more skilled in attack she could win. Return to your positions!”

Chou and Toni bowed and scrambled back to the lines. Chou had found, to her surprise, that she had been moved to the front row of the class, with the senior students. Apparently the martial arts knowledge that Destiny’s Wave had given her were very good. While she had barely enough training to deal with the Demon Lord, she could easily deal with other students. That had made her feel good. She just wished she could keep up with Toni. That girl was amazing.

Class finished up and Tolman Sensei gestured for her to remain. Chou headed over towards her and bowed, waiting. When the class had filed, with Toni and Jade looking worried, they turned to face Chou.

“Chou, we have been talking about it and we figured that you are ready for sword classes. You have a good basis in movement and fighting and we think the sword class may even help.” said Sensei Tolman.

 “I have found you a teacher for the type of sword. Sensei Fitzgibbon who teaches the Shaolin Kung Fu is familiar with that sword style.” added Sensei Ito. “Your classes start tomorrow.”

Chou smiled and bowed. “Thank you.”

“Now go get cleaned up.” said Sensei Tolman.

Chou hurried after the others. Toni and Jade were waiting in the locker room for her. She passed on the good news as she washed the sweat from her body. They both seemed excited for her. She was as well. The thought of getting better with Destiny’s Wave really appealed to her.

They all split off to head to other classes. Chou waved bye and grabbed her school bag and sword. Again she spotted the mousy haired girl with glasses, who turned and disappeared into the flow of students. Chou wanted to race after her but she had to get to class. She spotted the girl three more times that day before classes let out.

After classes she wanted to look for the girl but she had an appointment with Dr. Bellows. She sighed in frustration. There was something about the girl that was bugging her. He...uh she wanted to meet her. Besides the girl was cute.

Chou’s thoughts followed that line of thought. She was dealing with the fact that now she was a girl, thanks to the Demon Lord destroying the box, and she felt an attraction for a girl. Was that normal, since she was a boy in a girl’s body? Did that make her gay or a lesbian? Chou wasn’t sure and walked on, a bit befuddled. She made her way to Dr. Bellows office without noticing the two pairs of eyes that were following her.

Dr. Bellows noticed her preoccupation and let her settle herself before he really started in on her. “How was your day?”

“Interesting so far. I was told I can have sword lessons. That sounds fun. My friends in team Kimba have been busy so I haven’t really been able to spend a lot of time with them, though they just finished detention.  We got to know each better over the weekend. Lilly, one of the transfer students seems nice, but she is a bit busy with a play. I think its Othello. I think. I’m not sure. I just am trying to catch up with everything and make friends and get settled.”

“Keeping busy. Good. I bet that keeps you from thinking too much about the past.”

“It does.” she said quietly.

Dr. Bellows sat there waiting for her.

“I think I am getting better about my dad. It hurts but I’m not crying all the time. I miss him and when I think of him I think of being Alex and then I start crying.”

“Well, you still are Alex.”

“What do you mean? I’m not Alex. Look at me!”

“I am. You are still Alex. Your memories and feelings are tied to being Alex, a boy. You now have this new body, a girl, to deal with. It doesn’t mean that Alex is gone. You are still you, just with some changes.”

“Changes?! I’m a girl now. I was a boy. Everything has changed!” Chou was getting agitated. “I bleed monthly. My emotions are all out of whack. I have breasts. I’m a freak.”

Chou started to cry. Dr. Bellows handed her a box of tissues. “Okay, first off, you are not a freak. Half the world deals with this as do your friends in Poe hall. You are no different than them. You are a teenager who is dealing with some really serious issues. We can try to help you find a way to turn back to Alex or you can deal with the fact that this is the situation you find yourself in and overcome it. I can help you do either. What do you want to do?”

Chou stopped and listened to Dr. Bellows. She hadn’t thought about the situation that way before. She had been lamenting or hiding in silence or work. What did she want to do? “I just want to be happy. I feel like my options have been taken from me. I just want to be happy.”

Dr. Bellows nodded. “Well, if that is the case I think we can manage that.”

Chou looked up, her eyes red and tear stains trailed down her face. “Really?”


Chou was smiling a little when she left the office. Dr. Bellows had managed to point out a number of things that were really positive. That helped to start her thinking about the good things she actually had.

The leaves were beginning to turn, a few here or there turning from green to red or orange. The campus was beautiful. They pathways were laid out like a park. Tree lined trails moved between the buildings, hall and some of the fields where they practiced things like flying or jumping. She did like being here. The school and teachers were better than what she had had back home. The classes were also cool, at least those dealing with being a superhero.

Chou smiled and spun in a circle to get a good look at things. She caught sight of some boy heading towards her. He seemed irritated at something and was definitely focused on her.

Chou stopped and turned to face the boy. He was older than her, looked to be about sixteen. He had blond hair in some sort of braid. He was wearing sweat pants and a t-shirt with a Dragon on it. He started glaring at her when he noticed her watching him.

She noticed that his Chi was strong and that he moved well. She wasn’t surprised about that, being that this school had lots of that sort of people, but still. She waited.

“Is that Destiny’s Wave?” His voice stabbed at her, accusingly.


‘Why do you have it?”

“Because she is mine. What sort of question is that?” Chou was starting to get a little angry. He was trying to make her feel as if she had stolen the sword.

“Did you earn the right to the blade? Did you train to be worthy of carrying a sacred Taoist relic? Did you spend your life preparing for the arrival of the sword?” He stalked towards her, angrily.

She shifted into a fighting stance, the sword behind her back, held by one hand. “What is it to you? Destiny’s Wave is mine, for good or ill. Back off!”

For a moment the air filled with pressure as his Chi pressed against hers. She shifted her stance slightly and the force of his Chi slid off of hers. Her breathing slowed and she was ready to move. He glared at her. “Give me the sword and I will not be forced to take it from you.”

“No. She is mine. Besides she is keyed to me. There is no way to change that.”

He smiled slowly, evilly. “Yes, there is.”

He shifted his own stance and was getting ready to attack. As the energy was building and the air was beginning to crackle a voice called out and distracted him. “Chou...Hey Chou!”

Chou could see Lily heading towards her, her hair pulled into a ponytail through her ball cap. The girl smiled and waved. The boy spat angrily at her feet. “This isn’t over.”

Lily walked up as the boy stormed away from Chou. “Who was that?”

Chou shrugged, watching him leave. “I don’t know.”

“Any way...I was wondering what you were up to?”

“I just got out of a meeting with Dr. Bellows.”

“ weren’t in trouble or anything were you?”

“Not yet. I was just heading back to the dorm and was going to see if we had any plans for dinner. I mean, were we all going to eat together or what?”

“Good point. I was going to eat with my friends, but this way I can eat with everyone else as well.” Lily seemed happy. “So you look worried. What’s up?”

Chou snorted. “Oh...the usual. I am not pleased to be a girl and my dad’s dead. I am at a superhero school in a body that wasn’t mine to start with. Just your usual growing pains.”

“Well, do you have any way to change any of that?”

Chou stopped and looked at her. “Huh?”

“I mean, it isn’t like you planned any of this right? If you can’t change it than why obsesses over it?”

“I don’t know. I have just been...You know you might just be right. Maybe I should stop stressing over things I can’t control.” Chou smiled. Between Dr. Bellows and Lily she was starting to feel a little better about life.

“Good. No need to add to your problems with stress you don’t need. Just relax and work on what you can change. Easier.”

“I’ll do that. Thanks Lily.”

The two girls walked back to Poe, while another pair of eyes followed Chou.

The other girls were fairly excited, as detention was over. It was time off from all the extra work they had been conscripted to do after their fight with the Alphas. Chou found herself being caught up in their excitement. Toni was interested in hearing about the boy who had bothered her. “Sounds like he is one of the Dragons. They’re a group of Martial Artists with powers. I heard that they have a bit of an attitude.”

“Swell. More fights.”

“Hey it could be fun. Think about how glorious it would be, fighting a horde of martial artists, the sword glowing with power.” Toni’s eyes shone happily.

“Toni, you watch way too many bad kung fu films.”

“There are good ones?” quipped Jade.

Toni looked insulted. “There are good ones. Really.”

They all got a good laugh at that. Dinner was fun and they ignored the glares coming from several tables, most notably the Alphas. The girls from Poe hall plus Hank and Lilly’s friends were enjoying themselves, much to the consternation of several of the groups of watchers.

Chou spotted the girl with glasses again and she hurried over to her before the other could get away. She reached her just outside of Crystal Hall. “Excuse I know you?”

The girl squeaked and hopped in surprise. “”

“Oh...I thought you did, since you have been watching me. Are you sure though...I feel as if I know you?”

The girl shook her head and her slightly curly hair bounced off of the sides of her face. She looked as if she were blushing.

“Any name is Chou. What’s yours?”

“Molly.” the girl barely spoke above a whisper. Chou could feel her Chi swirling in nervousness.

“Nice to meet you. I’ve seen you around, between classes looking at me, and I just wanted to get to know you.”

“I...erm...uh...okay?” Molly blushed.

“Want to go some where and talk?” Chou asked, hoping for a yes. There was something about Molly that pulled at her and she wanted to figure it all out.

“Errrr....okay....where?” Molly could barely meet Chou’s eyes, despite the fact that the two girls were practically the same height. Molly also was trying to hide behind her hair.

Chou looked around quickly. There was a bench a little ways away. That could work, especially since people were dispersing from dinner. It could end up private fairly soon. “There?”

Molly nodded, her hair bouncing.

The two of them headed over to the bench. Chou felt the area between them acutely, and wondered why. She wished she knew what was going on. The two sat down one the far edges of the bench and were both too embarrassed to look at each other. They both started to say something and stumbled over each others words. They both blushed and waited for the other. After the second time of this Chou spoke up. “ were you looking at me?”

“I don’t know. I just couldn’t take my eyes off of you. And that felt funny.”

“You to? I just seemed to be everywhere and I just wanted to meet you and talk to you and...I don’t know.” Chou blushed again.

“Really? I thought I was just being weird again.”

They shared a laugh at that. The tension dropped a little.

“So Molly, what dorm are you in?”

“ Chou remembered the stories about Tansy and the Alpha’s. Wasn’t she in Dickinson “Do you know Tansy?”

Molly shook her head. “I stay to myself pretty much. No one bothers you that way. It’s safer that way.”

Chou scooted closer and reached out to comfort the girl. Her hand touched Molly and a wave of emotion hit her. She felt her breath catch and her eyes go wide. All she could hear was this single tone ringing through her body. She felt all fluttery, like parts of her body were flying. It made her head spin. She dropped her hand and started panting, trying to breathe again. She barely noticed Molly doing the same thing.

Chou’s hand itched to touch Molly again but Chou could control that. It took a great deal of concentration, so she didn’t notice the movement until Molly touched her arm.

Chou felt like she was spinning with someone and that this was fine and perfect, like the way things were always supposed to be. The feeling slowly settled and the spinning stopped and her breathing resumed. It was then that she realized that she and Molly were hugging and that her nipples were hard and tight. They ached.

The two girls opened their eyes and looked at each other. Molly eeped and scooted away, blushing furiously. Chou just sat there stunned. What had just happened?

“Molly? Are you alright?”

The girl only nodded as a response. “What was that?”

“I don’t know. I felt all funny. Did you do that?”

“No, I thought you did.”

The two of them sat there silently, on the bench, almost unaware of their surroundings. Chou felt dizzy and warm. It was as if there were a fire burning in Molly that warmed her. She wasn’t sure how to deal with that.

Molly looked up at Chou. “Ehrm...what dorm are you in?”

“Poe.” At that Molly blushed and turned away from Chou. She barely squeaked out. “I’ve heard that the kids in Poe were weird? Like almost Hawthorne weird.”

Chou nodded and then realized that with Molly facing the other way the girl wouldn’t be able to see that. “Yes. I mean no. It’s complicated. We’re just like everyone else. Besides there are weirder people in some of the other dorms. Really.”

“So...any you like me?” The voice was plaintive, wanting. It made Chou’s heart ache.

“Yes. I do. I’re cute and uhm...nice...and..uhm...a girl and everything.” Chou felt like an idiot. That had made no sense. Molly must think that she...he was an idiot. Her heart was pounding furiously, harder then when she was sparing with Chaka.

As she was berating herself she barely caught the nearly whispered words. “But you’re not how I dreamed you?”

Chou ignored that, unable to make any sense of it. “Does that mean you like me?”

Molly was quiet for a moment. Her voice was almost unsure. “Yes?”

Chou blinked. “Is that yes you like me or yes was I asking a question?”

“Uh..yes, yes.”

The two actually seemed to hear each other and started giggling. It didn’t bother Chou nearly so much now. Maybe this girl thing wasn’t so bad after all. “ you want to go out some time? Like on a date?”

Molly was again hiding behind her hair. She slowly lifted her face, eyes downcast, her face bright red from blushing. Her voice was a little hesitant. “Okay.”

Chou felt her heart soar.  A girl wanted to go out with him...her. That was a first and it was great. Chou wanted to get up and dance but was almost embarrassed out of the action. Almost.

Chou heard the giggle after she spun. She stopped and looked at Molly giggling at her, her eyes bright behind her glasses. Chou quickly grabbed her hands and pulled her up and into the spin. There was a brush of electricity, or something like that, like a circuit closing. They spun happily, laughing. Eventually they tumbled to the grass, staring up at the clouds as the world spun under them.

“That was fun.” said Molly, brushing some of the hair from her eyes. “I haven’t done that in years. Thank you.”

“You just make me want to sing and dance. So I just spun instead. My life is odd enough without being in a musical.”

“I wish I knew what was going on?”

“What do you mean?” asked Chou.

“Well, there is that odd feeling I get when looking at you, the other one from touching you, and the fact that this feels so right, despite the fact that I have never liked girls before now.”

“Really?” asked Chou, as she sat up to get a better look at Molly.

“Really. I’ve had lots of crushes on boys and none on girls. Ever. But with you it’s different. So I wish I knew.”

“Is it a bad thing?” Chou’s voice was a little worried.

“No silly. It’s just different. If only you were a boy this would be perfect.”

Chou went quiet. There was something about this girl that made her want to tell her everything. It would be a risk. What is she were rejected? Molly looked at her oddly. “Chou, what’s wrong?”

“I used to be a boy. Now I’m this.” Chou was now nearly whispering.

Molly gasped a little and leaned in closer. Chou could feel the heat of Molly’s skin, and her breath. “Really? But you don’t look like a boy?”

“My sword changed me. So now I’m a girl.”

“That’s okay. I like being a girl, usually. I’m sure you will like it as well.” Molly sounded happy, like something was confirmed for her. “I can get used to this. Besides you’re cute and everything.”

Chou blushed. “Thank you.”

Molly smiled. It made her face light up. “You’re welcome. Oh goodness, Look at the time! I have homework. Sorry Chou. I’ll see you in the morning. Promise.”

Molly scampered to her feet and started to run off, thought better of it, came back and kissed Chou on the cheek. She ran away while Chou rested her hand on the spot where she had been kissed.

"Ahh... c'mon Colin, give us a break!"

"MY NAME IS THUNDERDRAKE!!" He turned and readied himself for combat, shifting into a better position.

“That is enough!” Zhong Lau rumbled. The two members of the Dragons split apart, not exchanging blows. They glowered at each other angrily. Zhong Lau ignored them. “So, Thunderdrake, what is this about finding a sword? You mean Destiny’s Wave?”

The boy ran his hand through his hair nervously. There were times when the Dragon spirit was closer to the surface than others. This was one of those times, and it would be bad to upset the leader of their group by being stupid. “Yes. I found the sword I have been searching for. school.”

“Good. That will make you happier. So, where is this sword of legend being kept?” An eyebrow quirked at that.

“Some new girl has it.”

“Pardon? I thought I heard you say someone has it.” Zhong Lau cocked his head questioningly. His voiced rumbled a little deeper.

“I did.” Thunderdrake shifted a little, nervous. Fighting the Dragon was no high on his list of fun things to do.

“I see. Well, we won’t interfere but we won’t help either. This is on you. If you can get the sword you’ll be fine. Don’t get caught. If you do, take your punishment.”

Thunderdrake nodded and bowed. The Dragon had spoken.

October 10th

Chou scooted over so Molly could join them. The girl was looking nervous as she sat down with the infamous Team Kimba. Molly looked very self-conscious. The other girls looked around at each other, but accepted her. Chou smiled at that.

The conversation was wild as usual. Molly and Chou’s knees were touching. When they first touched it was like that circuit completing now it just felt warm and comforting. It felt like they were keeping a really good secret. Molly started to talk up by the end of breakfast, which Chou felt was probably a definite change for the girl. She seemed to be opening up, just a little. That made Chou happy. She really liked Molly and wanted to see her smile as much as possible.

Last night she had dreamt of Molly. She was much older, as well. The two older versions hugged her and told her it would be alright. She had no idea what was up with that dream. There had been others. Those she understood and blushed over. She blushed at the memory of those and took a quick glance over at Molly. She was busy talking to Jade.

Toni leaned over and whispered into her ear. “I like her. Good choice.”

Chou blushed again.

Toni chuckled. “When is sword class for you?”

“This afternoon. Hopefully it will be fun.” Chou was a little nervous. She hadn’t really heard about Sifu Fitzgibbon. The only thing most people knew was that he was trained in Shaolin. She was worried about going in without knowing anything. The day should prove to be interesting.

Barbara shut her locker and almost ran over Gwen Ingleside. The smaller girl didn’t flinch. “So,” Gwen started, “I saw you sitting with SilverRose and Farrago at breakfast. Did you have a lot to talk about?”

“No.” Barbara grated through her teeth, “You’d think that a bunch of goddamn sophomores wouldn’t be so fucking pissy!” SilverRose and her boyfriend Farrago were tertiary members of the Alpha clique at Whatley Academy. While they weren’t in Don Sebastiano’s ‘Inner Court, they were accepted as part of the most powerful and influential group of students in the entire school. And it seemed that they were all too happy to use that meager amount of power to squeeze ambitious Froshes out. “And what about you and Glissade?”

Gwen looked up with her big violet eyes. “Nothing! That girl’s has the sensitivity of a SUV!”

Barbara carefully regarded the smaller curvy girl, not sure what to make of this. They were both the same type of girl: relentless, dynamic, eager for as much power as they could get, willing to do whatever it took to get it, and all too willing to let others pick up the tab for it. They’d seen each other for what they really were under their facades, the second that they laid eyes on each other. They were the sort that would either be the very best of friends or blood enemies. They just hadn’t decided which. Carefully, Barbara turned to go to her Freshman Chemistry class. Gwen fell in beside her. Interesting.

Gwen flipped her long raven’s wing black hair. “You’d think that the Alphas wouldn’t be so High and Mighty, after Don Sebastiano’s ‘Inner Court' got their asses handed to them by that batch of weirdoes from Poe.”

“Yeah,” Barbara snickered “did you hear the latest? Not only did they get their butts kicked, but everyone except for Don Sebastiano got Detention!”

“NO!” Gwen grinned, her violet eyes sparkling like amethysts, “I thought that Alphas didn’t GET Detention!”

“Not any more! This is a MAJOR setback for the Alphas! Especially this early in the school year!”

Gwen clutched her books to her chest coquettishly. Barbara wished that her frame, as powerful and impressive as it was, would allow her to pull off such girlish- but effective- tactics. Barbara envied Gwen her ability to be coy and seem have such a sweet disposition. She’d open a vein before she’d admit it to Gwen, though. “Maybe…” Gwen hesitated, as if reluctant to broach the topic, which was only yet another tactic to get the listeners’ attention, “the Alphas might appreciate a little something to help them regain face?”

“Such as? Having the Major Players put on Detention is a big slip-up.”

“Well, what if something happened… to this ‘Team Kimba’- Good God, what kind of name is ‘Team Kimba’?”

“You’re a fine one to talk, ‘Sweetheart’.” Barbara wasn’t being cute or flirty- ‘Sweetheart’ was Gwen’s code-name, as Barbara’s was ‘Bombshell’. “You’re talking about arranging some sort of ambush? Nah, that’s mug thinking. Just jumping up and down on their pointy little heads wouldn’t say ‘these two are Alpha material’. Unless…” Well, a good bit is a good bit.

“Unless..?” Gwen echoed.

“Unless,” Bombshell continued, “we manufactured some sort of context, where Team Kimba was to blame for all of it.”

Sweetheart grinned, “You mean, if we can kick their asses and everyone knows it, but THEY get sent to Detention, and we DON’T?”

Bombshell grinned back. “Of course! It’s the Alpha Way, now isn’t it? Not only do we show that we’re tougher than the oh-so-hot Team Kimba that everyone’s so impressed by, not only do we show that we have what it takes to be Alphas, BUT, if the Alphas want to glom onto the glory for it, then they HAVE to let us in!”

Gwen’s eyes went from twinkling to stone hard. “There’s no way that we can pull this off by ourselves. You’re tough, Bombshell, but Team Kimba’s strongman, Lancer, is just as tough.”

“Not quite,” Barbara huffed, “our power classification is almost exactly the same: Non-ranged Psychokinetics, but I’m more powerful. Besides, he wouldn’t dare hit a girl!” Still, Barbara set back and thought. “But you’re right. We’re going to need more hitters.”

“But how?” Gwen wondered. “The kind of guys who would go for something like this wouldn’t be all that hot to take orders from a couple of girls.”

“So, we find one guy who’ll go for the idea, and let him round up a squad.” Bombshell snapped her fingers. “Got it! Shadowolf!”

“;Sherman” Gwen paused to consider a boy of their mutual acquaintance. He was fast, aggressive, strong, he had interesting shadow-casting powers, and he was really into the martial arts, but- “Nope. There’s no way that Shadowolf would take orders from us. He’s such a control freak, he’d insist on being the one giving the orders.”

“So what?” Bombshell dismissed, “LET him play General! If anything, having him act as our front man would make us look better to the Alphas who REALLY run things. And the boys we get will probably look to him anyway. So, Shadowolf will give the orders, I’ll be his ‘trusty lieutenant’, and you will be by his side, offering comfort and support.” Barbara grinned. ‘Sweetheart’ was a ‘package deal psychic’, with clairvoyant, psychokinetic and telepathic abilities, but her forte was playing with people’s emotions. She could have Shadowolf dancing to any tune they wanted. Barbara paused again. “Y’know, if we do this right, we don’t even really have to BE in the fight, if it goes wrong. If our boys clean up on them, we can come in for the kill, and take our fair share of the credit. If they get their asses handed to them, we just sort of fade into the woodwork, and no one has to know. And even if things go really wrong, we can always say that we were trying to break up the fight.”

Gwen grinned evilly. “Good thinking. I’ll warm him up for you, and you can pitch the idea at lunch.” She stopped in front of her American History class. She stuck out her crooked little finger, which Bombshell hooked her little finger on. It was settled. They’d be best friends and partners, and God help anyone who got in their way.

Gwen watched Barbara as she continued on her way to Chem. Gwen envied Barbara’s ‘force of nature’ style, which sort of demanded things as her due, but somehow never really appeared to be pushy or bitchy. She’d open a vein before she’d admit it to Barbara, though. It was a good thing that Barbara had agreed to their pact, since Gwen had been trying to affect Barb’s emotions since the first time they’d met, and couldn’t budge so much as a twinge of anything.

Chou closed her locker in the dojo complex. She was going to be meeting her new Sifu for the sword and she was nervous. She had changed into her exercise clothes and grabbed her sword. Her palms were sweating a little.

She headed towards the training area where the Sifu taught his classes. She stopped at the door and opened it. She let out an ooohhhh as she looked in. The room looked and smelled like a Chinese training hall. There was an altar to Buddha up front with incense burning in front of it. The floors were wooden with not mats. They looked worn and well cared for. On the walls near the altar were wall hangings written in Chinese, about focus and character.

On a cushion in front of the altar sat the Sifu. He looked to be pretty big, with broad muscular shoulders. His long red hair was held back in a braid that hung to the middle of his back. He seemed to be meditating. Chou bowed and entered the room.

She stood at the back of the class, near the door waiting. His voice rumbled out, thick with a Scottish burr. “Close the door lass.”

Chou complied. He stood and turned in one smooth motion. He appeared to be over six feet tall. “You would be Chou Lee, my new jian student.”

“Yes, sifu.”

He nodded. “Good. We shall spar so I can figure out what you know and do not. Prepare.”

Chou drew her blade as he moved to the altar and took hold of his own blade. He drew the blade cleanly. The blade was of the same style as hers, though made of steel and not jade. It seemed wavy, like the steel was oily or something. She moved into a ready stance.

He watched her, his sword tucked against his back, blade pointing up. Chou could feel his chi filling the room, sensing everything. Chou followed suit stretching her perception as much as possible. Even with that she barely felt the first stirrings of his movement.

His blade came in low, arching from his shoulder, twisting with wrist and elbow. She deflected it and made a quick slash for his head. He spun out of the way, moving down and cutting for her ankles. She leapt over the blade, spinning into another slash. He spun upright deflecting the attack and sliding into another. Their blades clashed against each other. They slashed and counter slashed furiously, blades ringing with the strikes.

Suddenly the Sifu was holding two swords. She redoubled her blocking, feeling herself being driven back by the whirling pair of blades. Chou started letting more of her chi start filling Destiny’s Wave, trying to get the blades to stick to hers. It started working, as she could feel a vacuum beginning to form. Sifu Fitzgibbons nodded and twisted his blades, popping them free.

His blades burst into flames and he continued his assault. Chou’s eyes widened in surprise and found herself backing again. She dove past him, twisting into a strike. He lifted the leg out of the way, like a serpent recoiling. He then flipped through the air attacking her suddenly from above.

She twisted her blade deflecting and leapt into a hook kick. It slid through the air of where he had been a moment before. They broke into a complex dance of kicks and sword strikes. The flow was getting more complex. Chou lost herself in the flow of Chi and motion. She only became the dance of sword, body and energy.

“Enough.” Sifu Fitzgibbons moved back from her, lowering his blades. “You have a good basic proficiency with the blade and some knowledge beyond that. You are Wu Dan trained?”

Chou nodded. “That is what Destiny’s Wave told me when she put the skills in me.”

“I see. And you wish more knowledge?”

“Yes sir. If I do not train I will not get better. She, uh...Destiny’s Wave, said that I got the basics but the more skill would have to come from work.”

“Good. I think I can teach you. Shaolin is different than Wu Dan, I do not know anyone in this country who could teach you Wu Dan sword.”

Chou nodded. She was afraid that would be the answer. Maybe the Book of Forms would have some clues. Some of the ideas in them so far had been useful. And at least she had a teacher who could help her get better at this weapon.

“Now, let us begin. We will start with this form....”

Chou stood under the shower letting the hot water pour over her and her body. She ached from the workout. Sifu had really pushed her and made her do flips and rolls with the sword in hand. Her back ached and her sword arm was really tired. The sword started to get really heavy there at the end.

Classes were over and she would be able to go and start on her mountain of homework. She might be able to catch up by mid-November if she really worked at it. That would help. And she also had to come up with a code name. She had no clues on that one. She was still getting used to the new name she had chosen. Now she needed another one? She would ask the Team Kimba girls if they had any ideas.

She dried off and pulled on her uniform. She found a note inside her skirt. It was from Molly. “Can’t wait to see you tonight.” All the i’s were dotted with hearts. Chou smiled and blushed a little. She dressed quickly and hid the note in her books.

She was tickled by the fact that Molly liked her but was unsure how to go about things now that she was trapped in this girls body. She felt awkward whenever she thought of Molly. The sensations she felt rolling through her body were similar but different enough to confuse her a bit. She grumpily realized that she would have time to get used to this as this body was going no where.

Classes had ended and there were students everywhere. Chou decided to go for a walk to let her mind clear. The woods were good for that. it reminded her of the time she spent traveling here. The quiet woods and her alone. It helped her fill with a greater sense of peace, let her regain her center and be more herself.

She missed Caihe and Xiangu. They were both smart and nice and treated her well. This school was odd and she felt alone sometimes. Not the good alone but the bad alone. The girls of Team Kimba were nice and everything but she wanted her dad or his friends from back in Tennessee. The two immortals were almost like replacement parents. Though they had spent only a little time with her they had been utterly present with her. That had filled the space more than anything else she had ever experienced. She had actually felt like the two of them cared for her.

She could feel the bustle and chaos of the campus fade as she entered the soft embrace of the trees. The flavor of the Chi was different her, cool and soft, not like the maelstrom of being around people.  She drank it in like cool water. It soothed her. She moved deeper into the trees.

She wandered aimlessly through the trees, with her backpack and Destiny’s Wave. She felt a thrust of Chi and spun out of the way as a masked figure in red attacked. She spun and dodged as the attacker blazed through a flurry of punches and kicks. Chou was barely able to avoid them. She was shocked at being attacked and only moved to defend herself. She used her sheathed blade to deflect some attacks. She kept falling back, driven by the masked figure deeper into the trees. Suddenly the attacker shouted and the noise echoed like thunder.

Chou was momentarily stunned and was knocked back by a series of hits. A crescent kick dropped her to the ground. She saw stars before her eyes from the force of the hit and her face ached. A hand grasped her blade roughly and tried to pull it from her grip. She tugged back, holding on. She kipped up and swept the feet out of her attacker. He landed hard but did not let loose his hold on the weapon. The battle dissolved into a series of kicks while the both of them held the blade. The strikes thudded solidly into each other.

Chou pushed up into one of her leaps and this pulled the weapon free from his grasp. She flew through the trees, using the branches to stay aloft as her attacker followed her, cursing. He followed her every move. She didn’t want to return to campus and have the fight continue there. Chou’s mind raced, who was this?

She turned and fell to the earth facing the charging opponent. He launched a jump kick at her, seeming to move faster than his speed should allow. She spun in a circle and brought the sheath of the blade across the back of his head. He stumbled clumsily as he landed. He recovered swiftly, turned and faced her, his eyes blazing a yellow white color. He seemed to be moving faster than his earlier attacks. Chou could feel his Chi building, bouncing and arcing like electricity through his body. He shouted his battle cry again and the thunder shook her ears, stunning her again, her vision going momentarily white. She felt her self flipping over and braced for impact.

She used the force of the throw to help her bound up to her feet as her body slammed into the ground. She spun up, sweeping her attacker from his feet again in the process. He quickly kipped up and resumed the attack, his punches and kicks scoring more often as she was still a bit dazed. Chou drew quickly and used the naked blade to keep her attacker off of her. With her blade out he couldn’t seem to close, though he tried to force an opening. Destiny’s Wave mentioned to her, “Kill him.”

The figure gave a start at the voice and backed off a little. Chou pressed the attack herself, finally on the offensive. She used the blade without edge to hit him about his body. She figured she might be able to win, unmask the figure and find out who it was. She had a guess but she wasn’t sure. He gave another thunderous shout that stunned her and took that moment to flee the battle losing her in the tangle of trees. She scanned the area, blade in hand trying to find her attacker. The woods were again quiet. She heard nothing moving except the occasional animal.

Her heart was racing and she ached where she had been hit and kicked. She wanted to ice her face where the kick had smacked her. She backed out of the forest and didn’t sheath the blade until she was nearly out. She rushed back to the dorms at a near sprint.

No one had returned to the rooms yet so she was able to be alone. She didn’t want to answer any question from anyone at the moment. She sat on her bed, folded her legs into meditation pose and unsheathed Destiny’s Wave. “We need to talk and you need to help me figure out how to heal.”

“What is it?”

“You wanted me to kill him?” Chou stated accusingly.

“Yes. What of it?” replied the sword.

‘I couldn’t kill him.”

“There are times when killing will simplify your life. Whoever that was tried to take me from you. He will try again and again until he is stopped. Stopping him would be a good first move.”

“But killing is wrong!”

“Is it? It is an action, nothing more. And dead in body is not dead in soul. The body is a vehicle like this blade is a vehicle. I gave up my body to move into the blade. To do that I had to die, by this blade. There is nothing wrong with that. It’s just death, it’s not like you are destroying them.” replied Destiny’s Wave calmly.

“I don’t really understand. I don’t want killing. My father is dead because he was killed and my mother is dead because she was killed. I don’t want to be killing anything.” Chou began to cry, tears falling onto the jade. The salty liquid was drawn into the stone.

“I do not understand either, but I am realizing how different our worlds are. I am sorry about dragging you into this. Perhaps you should have given me to the Immortal. This is not my world and my advice has done little to help you and I cannot give you advice to help you move through this world.”

Chou wanted to hug the blade, but that seemed too weird so she just gripped the handle tightly. “You have helped. You may not be able to tell me who to call or who I can rely on but your advice kept me alive long enough to get here.”

The blade was quiet. Chou could hear the sounds of the others filtering in. The girls of Team Kimba were very close. Sometimes she felt like an outsider intruding on them and sometimes not. If she had still been a guy she would have gone after a large number of them. As it was, here he was, Alexander Farshine, trapped in the body of a fourteen year old Chinese girl. He wanted to go back to being his old couch potato self and not have to worry about swords, demons, Immortals, superheroes and all of that.

But then he wouldn’t have met all of these people. They were really cool. He really liked Toni. As a guy they would have gotten along. Trapped as a girl he loved hanging out with her as she reminded him of why he liked being a guy. But if Toni had heard her say that, she would have been in trouble.

Toni seemed to love being a girl. She was almost perpetually excited about it. The others seemed to be coping or not as the case might be. Jade was upset because her body was lagging behind her power. Destiny’s Blade said she might be able to help with that, but that Chou would have to do all of the hard work.

And then there was Molly. Alex would never have gotten to this school without the intervention of Destiny’s Wave. Whatever there was between them it pulled at her powerfully. She could almost feel Molly over in Dickinson Cottage. It was odd. It was this constant pull or awareness. It was also comforting, like a missing body part had shown back up. She wished she knew how to deal with it. Was this love?

“What are you so happy about?” demanded Rachael, as she used her Telekinesis to put her books away. The girl was tall, athletic and nature had blessed her with plenty to draw the drooling stares of the boys. How she had gotten stuck in a room with such a mouse was beyond her.

Molly was smiling and writing M Heart C all over one of her book covers. She looked up at Rachael and blinked behind her glasses. She wasn’t sure what to say so she smiled a little and said, “Nothing.”

Rachael looked over at what she was doing. She grabbed the book with her TK and pulled it to her right out of Molly’s hands. She looked it over quickly and saw the various hearts and the way they were drawn. “ little Mouse Girl getting a crush?”

Molly blushed. “Can I have my book back?”

“No. So who is C? Is it Chris, that attractive Energizer? Oh, wait it is probably Charles of the nerd brigade.” With that Rachael tossed the book, grabbed it with her TK and dropped it in Molly’s hands. “Who cares if nerds date any way.”

Molly smoothed out the book cover lovingly and went into the common room to study. If she got there early she could get the comfortable chair in the corner, curl up and hide. She was beginning to realize that she didn’t like many of the other girls in the dorm. There were a few she liked, such as Theresa Solla and the other girls in the Power Cats. There were a few other girls that were nice but Molly tended to stay to herself.

Because she stayed out of the way, she had gotten a better feel for the powers that be in this school. Several of the junior and senior girls were some of the most powerful and popular girls on campus. They didn’t seem to worry about people like her. As long as she stayed out of their way she would be able to avoid problems.

She kept one eye on the clock as she wanted to make sure she would get to the cafeteria in Crystal Hall in time to be there when Chou arrived. She wanted to see her again. She had barely managed to catch a glimpse of the cute Asian girl during the day. She longed to see Chou and to touch her. Everything seemed to be better when they were touching, like there was a rush of energy and love. She only wished there were a way for her to transfer over to Poe, so she could be closer to Chou.

Ayla came in a dumped her books. “Hey there! How was your day?”

Chou didn’t answer. She was so busy thinking that she had barely registered Ayla’s entrance. Ayla turned and looked at Chou. She could see evidence of fighting and crying on Chou’s face. She walked out of the room and summoned as many of Team Kimba as she could find. Chaka was there as was Tennyo. “Hey, something is up with Chou. It looks like she was in a fight and has been crying.”

Chaka looked surprised. “Tennyo, you and Ayla get everyone else. I’ll go talk to her and find out what’s up.”

They nodded and headed off. Chaka moved down the hall and peeked around the corner of the room Chou and Ayla shared. Chou was sitting on the bed, looking a little worse for wear. There were obvious tear streaks running down her face and what looked to be slight bruises on her face. By the shape, Toni guessed they were from kicks. Toni remembered that today was also Chou’s first class in sword. Chou seemed lost in thought. This would take special care.

Toni bounded into the room. “Hey girlfriend what’s up? Did you kick ass in your sword class or what?”

Chou blinked and looked up at Toni, who was pouring Chi off herself as usual. The girl was doing handstands on the back of her desk chair. “How can you do that? If I did that I’d fall.”

“It’s not so hard. Just takes practice, or my infinite skill.” Toni smiled broadly, sowing all of her teeth. “What’s up with you? You look like you were in a tussle and then a cry.”

“I was. Some guy with a mask jumped me and tried to take my sword.”

“Wow. A guy with a mask here? In this school? Wait, what color was the mask? It might help us identify the culprit.”

Chou giggled in spite of herself. “If you must know it was red.”

“ mask. How many guys could that be here? We’ll find him and then pummel him. Was it a good fight?”

“I guess. He fought really well. He had a stunning shout like yours only not as good. That was the only time he was able to hit me. Sparring with you has helped. The biggest problem came when my sword wanted me to kill him.”

“What?!” Toni rocked back at that one. Killing someone over a fight was something she didn’t think was worth it. Killing was wrong.

“Yep. But I didn’t and then I got here and Destiny’s Wave and I had a talk. I was just lost in thought.” Chou smiled a little as Toni moved from a handstand to a lay over to collapse into full lotus. In a way it made Chou sick.

“Well then, we need to get you to cheer you up. I mean it does make sense that the sword is interested in killing. It’s a sword, duh. So let’s get you dressed up for dinner.”

“What’s wrong with what I’m wearing?” Chou gestured to her exercise clothes.

“You are dressed for working out, not eating and teasing. So we need to fix this. Let’s go. You’re a cute girl, we should work on this.”

Toni dove into her closet and was going through things. She found the mandarin tops and pulled out the blue one. “This is cool. Do you have a black skirt to go with it?”

“Huh? What?”

“A Black Skirt? A section of fabric that encircles both legs? Preferably one that shows a little leg? Do you have such?” Toni dug through Chou’s wardrobe. “Guess not. I think one of the other girls is close to your size. Let’s go.”

Chou found herself being dragged out into the hall, Destiny’s Wave falling onto the mattress. Toni led her about the hall in search of a skirt that would go with the top. They eventually found one in Nikki’s room. It was black silk and went marvelously with the top. Toni took the clothes and shoved Chou into the showers. “Get clean! I’ll get the rest of the outfit ready. Hurry, we don’t want to be late for dinner.”

Chou showered, wincing a little from the sore spots both where Sifu had hit her and from where her attacker had. She figured she would be a little sore for the night and be better by the morning. It would be nice.

Toni had set out some nice underwear and the clothes, along with hose and some heels. Chou just stared at the pile and the girl beamed at her. “I’m supposed to wear this?”

Toni looked a bit crestfallen. “Well, yeah. Don’t you want to look good?”

“I am still not too keen on being a girl Toni.”

“So, all the more reason to dress the part. You are a girl, for good or ill. It’s cope or go nuts. So relax and get dressed. I think you’ll look great in it.”

Chou sighed and looked over the outfit that Toni had grabbed. It wasn’t the top and skirt but rather a floral dress in grey. It looked to be made of silk. Chou thought it would look great on someone other than her. She got dressed and slid the dress over her head. She brushed out her long hair and put on the heels. She guessed she looked silly. Toni fussed with her face using some makeup, cursing about needing different colors. She sighed again and waited for the indignity to stop. Toni yelled for the others to come see while she turned to the mirror.

She looked amazing. The look took her breath away and she was having a hard time dealing with the fact that she looked utterly a girl. Her hair fell softly over her shoulders. Alex had a difficult time registering this. He was a girl, but not a beautiful girl. Or was he. He didn’t know anymore. He just stood in front of the mirror and stared.

A sound made him turn and he was blinded by the flash of a camera. Jade was looking wide eyed and desirous. Nikki was whistling appreciatively. The others were standing there mouths agape at how she looked. Toni was taking pictures muttering, “Man, I’m good.”

Chou couldn’t think. She looked back and forth between the mirror and her friends. She saw Sara, looking at her with some amount of lust carrying over to her senses. It was too much and she collapsed crying.

Toni caught her before she hit the ground. She hugged the girl tight. “It’s okay girlfriend. You look good. Nothing to fret about.”

The rest of Team Kimba entered the room and also make soothing sounds. Toni ran a hand over her hair. “Let me guess. I did too well and you aren’t ready for how you really look yet?”

Chou nodded, tears soaking into Toni’s top. They all helped get her onto the bottom bunk. “Here, lets get you dressed in something less wow. How about a top and some jeans? Is that okay?”

Chou nodded again, starting to get herself under control. Sometimes this body was too much to bear. Being very emotional was not easy for Alex to deal with. He felt that he was crying all the time as Chou.

Nikki handed her a cold washcloth. “Here you go. Wipe the makeup off and let that cool your face off. It’ll be alright.”

Chou did as told and her breathing calmed down. She felt a little stupid about this scene. Toni looked a little abashed a she handed Chou a different outfit. “We’ll be outside waiting for you. When you’re ready we can head off for dinner.”

Ayla was still in the room as the door closed and Chou started changing. “Are you okay?”

“I should be. I’m still dealing with this change. It’s hard thinking about the fact that I used to be a boy and now I look like this.” She waved a hand down her front.

“Yeah, I guess we are all trying to deal with this. I didn’t really want this either. It hasn’t really made my life easier as well. I guess you had this thrust on you and all it’s really brought is loss. That would make anything hard to deal with.”

Chou buttoned the top of her jeans and pulled on her top. “I know. It’s just that I am always crying. It’s making me crazy.”

“Well, that’s what we get for being girls. Hormones.”

The two of them laughed and after both were changed they headed out. The group of them headed out towards Crystal Hall and dinner chatting about the day. She caught up with the others and told them about her attack. This caught the others interest and they all planned on being even more attentive.

Chou started smiling when she saw Molly looking around Crystal Hall for them. They waved at each other and Molly grabbed the groups table for them as they headed through the line. They all crowed around and added Molly and Harry to the conversation. A couple other friends showed and joined in. The talk was lively and fun.

Molly and Chou kept their knees touching and it felt like there was something inside them building, growing, filling them. It was electric and it made both of their faces flush a little, but neither wanted to move away. It felt magical and it was comforting. No one seemed to notice this.

“So let me get this straight. We jump some of the Kimba girls and beat them down like they deserve and we get what again?” said Grenadier as he brushed his hand on his slacks, trying to wipe of the sweat and grease from them.

Shadowolf glanced at Bombshell briefly, “We get connected to the Alphas. Gwen and Barb pulled you all together because we all want to be winners, all want to be Alphas. But we aren’t. Since we are all freshmen it’s too early for membership. But....we can be of service to them and make them notice us.”

Sweetheart and Bombshell smiled from either side of Shadowolf, where they had placed themselves. The two girls had discussed things and figured Sherman would be a great visible leader for their little group and take the heat off of them should things go down hill. At five foot nine, he was imposing enough. He was also a near perfect leader as he took their ideas well and ran with them as if they were his own. Gwen barely had to tinge his emotions for him to accept things.

The others in the room nodded, agreeing with everything Shadowolf said. There was Grenadier, a young thuggish boy with black greasy hair. Behemoth was a short little boy who could grow up to 25 feet tall. Accelerator was a speedster and a bit of a wiseass. Swoop could manifest parts of the eagle spirit, so she could fly and stuff. Dr. Goodvibes was a geeky devisor who made things that sent out ultrasonic waves that effected emotions, usually making someone feel good. The two girls had been sure they would make a good team of flunkies to their hand picked leader. This plan should get the two of them into the Alphas and maybe a few of the others as an added bonus.

“I have a plan that keeps us off of securities radar and enables us to really batter them. Bombshell and Gwen are going to make contact with the Alphas to get some info and to let them know our plan. It keeps them from scrapes like earlier this year and they won’t have to deal with those below them. We can be their muscle until we can join, and not have any direct connections to them. We all win.” They all nodded along with him again. Barb smiled to herself. They were like stupid puppets.

“Now let’s work on this plan. Let’s get the info we need and plan our attack route. Swoop, you and Accelerator are responsible for getting their schedules. Just watch them, especially where they are at the end of classes.” The two nodded.

 “Behemoth and Grenadier, you will scout out the tentative attack route. We need to know how far we must move them to be out of sight. That will also give us an idea of how to use both of your skills.” Those two grinned evilly, with Grenadier chuckling madly.

“Once we have that detail and that of our targets we can plan how to use everyone effectively. I have no intention of failing or getting caught. Let’s get to work people!”

Barb and Gwen smiled. It looked as if things would be able to go as planned for the two of them.

Chou and Molly had parted a little sadly. Neither really wanted to be apart from the other, but since they weren’t roommates nor even in the same building it made things a little difficult for them.

Chou headed back to her room grabbed her books and went to the study corner. She was glad that the group of them was helping her catch up on her work. There was something to be said about sharing classes with others. Alex had never had any friends that he could have counted on for help, but that was because he generally hadn’t met anyone that he could stand to be around. The Team Kimba girls were different, he got along with them, especially Toni. They made her feel welcomed and accepted. Alex had never felt that. Chou was starting to get used to feeling this way.

When she finished up her work she gathered up her books and headed back to her room. Jade followed silently. When she had gotten to her room Jade made a sound and she turned. “Chou, can you help me? You said you might be able to find a way to help me.”

Chou nodded and the two girls entered the room. Chou drew Destiny’s Wave and rested it on her legs as she sat there. The sword spoke up. “Is this about helping Jade fix her Chi?”

“Uh...yes. You said that you had some ideas.” Chou looked at the sword and then at Jade, who looked nervous.

“Please have her hold me.” Chou complied.  Jade held the sword awkwardly. She shuddered a moment and then the sword spoke again. “Jade, your Chi is severely blocked. As it is, you have been trapped in one form while another manifests as you should be. There are several meridians that are moving the wrong way and must be fixed. If Chou here were skilled with acupuncture and herbalism this would take very little time. But we will have to work with acupressure and I will try to help her with the herbs that you need to take. This will take a while to correct in this manner. Perhaps several months at least. It also depends on you.”


“Yes. You must work on trying to integrate yourself, to get your body and spirit to merge. That will require meditation and focus. Can you do this?”

“Yes. Oh yes. It will help me be a girl fully? Yes.” Jade smiled broadly. Chou smiled as well. If she could help Jade she would feel better about things.

“Good. Then we can begin tonight if you want.”

Jade nodded. “Yes.”

“Then you will need to disrobe and lie down on the bed.”

Both Chou and Jade stared at each other. “What?”

“In order for Chou to get to the spots and manipulate them correctly you will need to undress. She does not have to be naked for this first treatment but she does need to undress down to her panties.”

“ guess.” Jade took off her clothes down to her underwear and lay down on the bed. Chou and Jade’s faces were both red with embarrassment.

Little circles of light began to appear on Jade’s body. They were spinning in different directions. “Use your thumbs to press straight down on these spots and move in the direction of the turning.”

Chou began to do this and her breathing deepened. She moved slowly from Jade’s shoulders and neck to her feet. She began to heat up and sweat. This wasn’t all that easy. Once she had finished up her back Destiny’s Wave said, “Now turn over Jade.”

Jade turned and the circles appeared over her front. Chou started on those from the feet up. Sweat started dripping from her forehead and she brushed it away with the back of her hand. She reached up to the area around Jades undeveloped breasts. She started working on those when the door opened and Ayla walked in.

Jade yelped and tried to cover up. Ayla squeaked and went back into the hall, slamming the door. Jade dressed quickly as Chou started to snicker. Jade punched her in the shoulder. “This isn’t funny.”

“I’m sorry Jade. You should have seen Ayla’s face.”

Jade smiled a little. “Okay. I guess it is a bit funny.”

Destiny’s wave spoke up. “We must do this twice weekly. I will also help Chou make the herb mix for you to take daily. This should help your body fix itself in a few months.”

“Months?” Jade sounded a little sad by this.

“It is not some sort of miracle cure Jade but rather a type of healing. You will get better but it will take some time.”

Chou hugged Jade. There was a knock at the door and Ayla opened the door slowly. “Is it safe?”

October 11th

Chou had gotten up early, again, and was doing her Tai Chi forms in front of the building. The grass was wet with dew and a little cold. Whisps of fog filled the air. She could make out the shapes of deer moving in the distance. She moved slowly from one pose to another, smoothly. Her breath was deep and even. She felt at peace and almost complete. She had what seemed to be love, acceptance and she was learning interesting things. Life was not all that bad overall.

The air tingled along her arms as she drifted them about. She could feel the Chi building within her, slowly gaining in strength and power. Destiny’s Wave told her that in a few years her Chi would be very powerful, if she kept to her exercises. She fully intended to do that. The Chi Gung also made her feel more alive and she liked that. The air was crisp and she liked that. It almost never got this way in Tennessee.

She completed the Tai Chi forms and drew Destiny’s Wave from where it was slung across her back. The jade blade rang like steel. She then began one of the Wudan sword forms she had gotten from the Book of Forms she had been given. These movements were a bit different as they also dictated how her chi should be moving with them. That was how she had been able to try the trick with her sword against Sifu Fitzgibbon. If she got better at it she was sure there were more things she could do with the move.

She was very focused on her actions trying to learn so that she could simply relax into them. They were getting better. Some of the moves like the Xiang Piu move, which was a dodge, were a bit difficult. But she was beginning to get the hang of them. According to the books, she had to develop her Chi along with the physical or the moves would have no use. For the Wudan stuff she really needed control of her Chi and to work with it like her body, to get used to the feel and interplay. Her favorite exercise was compressing the chi in her bones. Since chi moved like water, to narrow the channel only strengthened the flow. It felt funky but she could feel the difference already.

She finished up and headed back into the dorm. Ayla would be waking up soon and she would be able to get into the showers before almost anyone. Chou grabbed her robe and moved into the shower area. The hot water felt good and helped warm her toes a little. She breathed in the steam deeply and enjoyed the feeling. After she had washed her hair and shaved her legs she finished up with some cold water. It made her skin tighten and tingle.

She rubbed herself dry and then used the moisturizer on her whole body. It smelled like green tea and she loved that scent, more so since the change. She also liked how it made her skin feel smoother and smell good. Nikki had been right when she had suggested some lotion for her skin.

She pulled her robe on and headed back into her room. Ayla was stirring and looking up blearily. Chou smiled at her. “Morning Ayla!”

Ayla grunted and looked at her with one eye barely opened. Chou headed to her dresser as her roommate flopped from the bed. Chou was almost confused as Ayla had not turned completely into a girl. She looked the part, but something remained and it had awakened as well this morning. Chou gasped and looked away. Ayla grunted confused and looked down. The blush covered her face and down onto her chest. She grabbed her shower stuff and ran from the room.

Chou chuckled a little. That had been cute. Ayla was certainly having a tough couple of hours with her blush reflex. It had tented nicely and Chou had almost been able to feel the heat of that one. Ayla was certainly a fun roommate.

Chou dressed in her uniform and put her hair into two pony tails. She thought she would try something different. She had even borrowed some blue ribbons to tie her hair up. She wanted to see if it would help her adapt like Toni and Lilly had suggested. If she was stuck in this body she had better get used to it and become the girl she had become. Otherwise she might end up freaking out more, and she really didn’t want that. She was still Alex only with a few differences. She could do this.

She gathered up her school supplies and set Destiny’s wave on the sword stand. She wouldn’t need the blade until tomorrow and it was a bit frowned upon for students to go around armed. She sighed and ran her hand lovingly over the sheath. Was the change worth the cost?

Again Chou was paired against Toni. She was fine with that as the other girl gave her a great workout and helped her get better at her fighting. But it was exhausting. The work out had helped her to work out the last of the aches that she had lingering since yesterdays fight.

The rest of her classes were going well and she was slowly catching up with the other students. The help she was getting from the others was certainly part of her success. She was doing well in both normal classes and hero classes. She figured she might be able to get decent grades for a change.

She headed back to her room. She wanted to get some work done before dinner so she could hang out with Molly. She wanted to get to know the girl better and was going to ask her to come to the library with her so they could do some school work and talk.

She entered the lobby of Poe hall and there was Sara. Chou stiffened a little. The Demon Princess was a little unnerving. She was still trying to get used to the energy she gave off and how creepy it was when she fed.

Sara noticed her come in and smiled. She looked so sweet when the tentacles were not bursting through her skin. “Chou, could we talk a little?”

Chou nodded. She wasn’t sure what the other girl might want. “Sure.”

Sara smiled. “How about in your room?”

“Okay.” This made Chou feel better. With Destiny’s Wave there she could fight off the Demon girl if it came down to it. She wondered what she wanted as the headed up the stairs.

After she had gotten into her room Sara grabbed a chair and sat down. The thirteen year old had eyes that looked older than they should. They made Chou a bit nervous. When she had Destiny’s Wave across her legs as she sat on her bed, she felt less tense.

Sara smiled. “I just wanted to get to know you a little better. You haven’t been here long and I can tell you don’t really feel comfortable around me. So I thought we could talk.”

“Okay.” said Chou, noncommittally.

Sara sighed tiredly. “Have I done anything to you? Have I threatened you in any way?”

This caught Chou off guard. “ You haven’t done anything like that.”

“Have I done anything like that to anyone?”

“No. Not that I have seen or heard of.”

“So why to you treat me like I am a threat?”

“Uh....” Chou wasn’t sure what to say. She thought about it for a second and realized her answer. “Well, your energy feels weird and Destiny’s Wave thinks you’re a threat.”

Sara nodded. “That’s fair. Can I talk to Destiny’s Wave?”

Chou drew the blade slowly. Once it was clear she felt an urge to attack Sara. She tightened her muscles and talked to the sword. “Destiny, Sara wants to talk. Relax. Please.”

Sara merely sat there unmoving as Chou struggled with the sword.

Finally the sword quieted down. ‘We should kill the demon before it corrupts those around it!”

Sara sighed again. It seemed as if she was getting used to these conversations. “Destiny’s Wave, I have not done anything of the sort. I had no choice as to my being what I was born to be. I am trying to find a way to walk a path of little resistance. From what I have heard Chou say to the others you are a Taoist sage from long ago. Is that correct?”

“That is correct.” replied Destiny’s Wave stiffly.

“Then tell me this. I am attempting to correct the imbalance in myself. I could easily be a demon of lust, ravaging those around me, but I want a different path, more balanced. Could you help me in this rather than be my enemy?”

The blade was quiet for a long moment. “If it is true what you say, and you want to walk the path of balance I would be remiss if I did not help you.”

“Thank you.” Sara sighed. “I do not want to be your enemy but rather your friend. Same with you Chou. I just want to have friends. There are things about me that make that difficult, like the fact that to stay alive I have to eat living creatures. At least most of you have the luxury of eating them after their dead. And to the being a demon princess and not many people want to be my friend. It seems as if most people expect me to let loose an army of Demons or to just suck their souls in the middle of class.”

Chou looked abashed. She had some of those thoughts as well. “I am sorry about that, especially what I have done to add to the situation.”

Sara smirked a little. “That’s okay. It’s not like you have had the opportunity to deal with a demon before.”

Chou laughed and extended her hand. “Good point. Friends?”

Sara smiled and took her hand. “Friends.”

They both hugged. Chou yipped as something, most likely a tentacle, pinched her butt. Sara smiled, “What, I’m a Lust Demon and you’re cute.”

They laughed some more and Chou resheathed Destiny’s Wave and Sara headed downstairs.

“This seems to be their schedule and this seems to be a route they often choose to go from place to place.” Accelerator said, trying to speak slowly, as he used a pointer to map out the routes. “It takes them about 1.2 minutes for them to cross this distance when they are walking slow. They reach this point here about 43 seconds after crossing this point. On the way back from classes they usually have several bags over their shoulders or in their hands. From what I have seen the fastest of the ones we are after has a reaction speed of 1.43 seconds. That means that there is a window of about 2 seconds to hit them and send them into the combat area.”

Shadowwolf nodded and took some notes. “Good info. Bombshell, your info?”

“Gwen and I talked with one of the Don’s Lieutenants. No connections to them and we can get some support if our plan works. It will all be subtle. It was said that the Don will be interested in this, if we pull it off. He might actually have some work for us.” She smiled broadly. She liked it when things came together. Her and Gwen’s plan was working nicely.

Their leader nodded again and took more notes. “Behemoth?”

“If we can get them to this point in the trees, 250 yards from the path, then we will have a good fight area. It is a clearing in the forest and Grenadier will be able to mine the area well. There is space for me to get to about half size or possible more. If we get them into this area, Dr. Goodvibes should be able to lower their defenses for a bit. That is if that is your plan.”

“It’s not, but it is a good approximation of my plan. Nicely done. I think we will be able to make this work. Accelerator, start working on extraction routes. If we have to pull out then we need good routes to get out. My analysis of all the other fights against Team Kimba seems to show that no one had a plan to disengage from them if the tide turns or if security is enroute.”

The other Turks nodded. Shadowolf seemed to have thought things through well. They didn’t want to make the same mistakes that others had made.

“Chou, I have to talk to you.” Destiny’s Wave talked quietly. “I need to give you some information.”

Chou replied, “Okay.”

Chou checked the door to make sure she wouldn’t be disturbed. She drew the blade again and waited. “What is it?”

“If Sara turns, if she cannot stop the demonic force within her from taking over you will have to stop her, either by killing her or by using a spirit binding. At that point she would become a danger to everyone. We would be obliged to fight and kill her. A large part of our job is to fight against demons. Sara is being honest and sincere with us, but if she turns we must take care of her.”

“Why would I have to kill her?”

“Chou….Alex….sometimes you have to kill. It’s okay. Hopefully, you will not have to until you are ready. This time doesn’t seem to need people to be ready to kill to defend themselves as it had in the past. But kill you must, when the time comes. And demons need killing. They are not human, so don’t worry about that. Demons feed on humans and other living things; they don’t just consume the flesh but their souls as well.”


“Exactly. You wield me. I was made to fight demons and other things that disrupt the balance of Tao. The Balance is precious and is always in danger from either the light or the dark. It must be protected. That is your job now.”

“Why me?”

“I do not know. The Tao obviously chose you. The Tao flows in its own ways. To move with the current is what is best. I do not know what the future has in store for us. All we can do, to best dance around the situation is to be centered and ready, to train and practice, to live and enjoy life. The Tao is everywhere and surrounds us. If we can just relax and let it move through us we can achieve anything.”

“I still don’t understand why I had this happen.” Chou was getting sadder by the moment.

“That is what all the girls have said. There is always this lull in the battles and learning and survival where they realize that this may be too unfair, too difficult for a girl to handle. Sometimes these things are too much for an Immortal to deal with, let alone a girl with a sword. But the Tao flows on. You either stand and walk on, step by step or you lie there feeling sorry for yourself until the wave rises up and destroys you. I would prefer you to stand, but that’s just me. You are one of the better girls that I have had as wielders.”

“Except, I’m a boy.”

“Boy…girl….who cares. The Tao doesn’t. I don’t. You are skilled and were chosen to wield me. I have never found the Tao to be wrong about who wields me. You just need to remember that you have been doing this only a few months. Relax. You have a life time to learn things.”

Chou relaxed a little. Destiny’s Wave was right; she did have a life time to learn things. She looked up at the clock and noticed that she needed to get ready for dinner and she was planning on spending some time with Molly at the Library afterwards. They were going to do some of their homework together. She smiled at the thought of spending time with her.

Ayla came into the room cautiously, opening the door slowly. “Any surprises in here?”

Chou laughed. “Not today.”

Ayla walked into the room and quickly changed out of her school uniform and pulled on a pair of jeans and a t-shirt. She was wearing a nice lace bra. She ran her hand through her hair, trying to reshape the spike that had drooped a little during the day. She turned to Chou, “Ready to go eat?”

Chou hopped up. “Yeah. I am actually getting hungry. Shall we?”

Chou picked up her book bag and Ayla raised an eyebrow. “What’s with the bags?”

“I am going to the library with Molly after dinner to do some studying.”

Ayla nodded. “Okay. Just don’t be in too late.”

Chou smiled as the two girls walked out into the hall where the others were gathering for dinner.

Chou was skipping on her way home from the Library. She and Molly had spent two hours together talking and doing homework, though it was more of one than the other. They had been playing footsie in the table in the back, away from other people’s eyes. Miss Henderson had checked on them twice, to make sure they were not causing trouble. There were a number of students there studying, but mostly they were in the tables closer to the front of area.

Molly was going through some book she had been assigned in her Principles of Magic Class. She was also preparing a report on some old tome on the effects of herbs as catalysts for spells. Chou could barely grasp some of the stuff that the books were talking about. It didn’t sound like anything she had been taught by Destiny’s Wave. Molly was also frustrated since she had developed little control over her magic. A large number of spells just wouldn’t work for her. Molly had complained about the fact that she didn’t know why she couldn’t do any magic, despite the fact that she was supposed to be a mage.

The pile of books also worked well to build walls around the two of them so they could whisper softly to each other. They had both confessed that they really liked each other and felt really good when the other was about. It had made Chou feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Chou had not told her that she felt like she was falling in love with her because it was probably too soon for such a statement. She didn’t want to scare Molly away.

She saw a fight taking place by one of the other halls as she was heading back. Four people seemed to be really going at it with each other. She could also see the shapes of security moving into place. She figured that some people would soon be doing detention. She giggled a little and it didn’t feel as awkward as it had earlier. Maybe she was getting a little more used to being a girl. Maybe, just maybe she might be able to live with this.

From the bushes along the route Thunderdrake watched her, this time wearing a black face mask. Surely no one would know it was him. He was getting ready to attack her when he noticed that she wasn’t carrying ‘His’ sword. All she had were her stupid school books. How could her beat her up and take the sword if she didn’t have it? He moved back into the shadows and pondered this. When he looked up again she was gone. He cursed loudly and shrunk back when he spotted a security officer turn his way.

Thunderdrake vowed that he would obtain Destiny’s Wave for himself or die trying. He shook his fist to the sky making his vow. The clouds rolled on, not paying any attention to the boy.

Meanwhile Chou had gotten back to the dorm. The others had finished up their homework and were lounging. When Chou walked in they waved her over. “What’s up?”

Nikki spoke up, seemingly as the leader of this horde. “We realized that you didn’t have a code name. So we have been working on it, unless you managed to come up with one already?”

“Uh…no…not yet.”

“Cool!” exclaimed Toni. “So where were we? Ah yes, votes for Jade Dragon?”

Only Tennyo’s hand went up. “What? I thought it was cute?”

Jade replied. “It’s too close to my name and it makes it sound like she is going to join the Dragons, rather than hang out with us.”

“Hey, do I have a say in this?” asked Chou.

“No.” said everyone sitting around the table.

Chou smiled and sat as they started throwing other names around the table.

“Asian Hurricane?”

“What? She has no weather powers?”

“Uh…how about Iron and Silk?”

“It makes her sound like she is two people!”

“Should it be something Chinese or what?”

“I don’t think it has to be.”

“Sword Woman?”

“Isn’t that a girl in one of the groups in Chicago”

“Is it? Erm….Sticky Pokey Girl?”

“No.” barked Chou. “Please, no.”

“What about Bladedancer?”

Everyone at the table stopped and mused over that one. “I like it.”

Everyone nodded. They started chattering and hugging Chou now that she had her very own Team Kimba approved code name. She said it a few times and decided that it did fit. Maybe the code name would be good for her.

October 12th

Chou again practiced her Tai Chi forms in the morning, working on a few more moves from the Book of Forms. She was really beginning to enjoy the movements of Tai Chi. They were very freeing. She was also finding herself becoming even more limber and graceful. It was also very warm. Despite the almost cold air in the mornings, she was very comfortable only in her workout clothes. Destiny’s Wave had pointed out that as her Chi grew stronger she would be able to resist the effects of the cold.

As she started her stretching and cool down, another girl came out of the dorm and headed her way. Chou kept stretching and began her Chi Gung exercises, doing the Eight Pieces Brocade. The other girl, a tall red head with what looked like bright green eyes was almost to her. She didn’t say anything but joined in with the Eight Pieces Brocade.

The other girls form was a bit different from his, but the basic exercises were the same. If Alex had ever seen a girl like this he would have been in love. Her movements were more graceful but Chou moved with a bit more comfort and familiarity. When they stopped the sequence the girl smiled at Chou, “Hi, I am Boudacia. I am glad to see someone else doing Tai Chi. Is it okay if I join you?”

Chou smiled. This girl seemed really neat. “Sure. Company would be fun. My names Chou, or Bladedancer. That was the name the others voted for me.”

“Great name. I think it fits. I saw you doing this from my window there on the third floor yesterday. I thought it would be great to come down and join you.”

“Thanks. It should be fun. I do this every morning. But I am almost finished today. Two more Chi Gung exercises and then in an get ready for classes.”

The girl frowned slightly. “Aw, I was hoping for more. Oh well. Tomorrow you say? I’ll be waiting. Talk to you later.”

Chou waved at her and finished up. She headed in and got showered and dressed. Today should be fun. She was going to hang out with Molly after class and meet Fey and Jade and then head to Crystal Hall. It should be fun. She also grabbed her stuff for sword class. She was looking forward to seeing if the things she had been working on would work and wondering what Sifu was going to teach her.

“Hey Molly! How were your classes?”

Molly blushed a little at the sound of Chou’s voice. “Pretty well.”

They hugged quickly, acutely aware of the fact that a slow hug would not go unnoticed. They parted and turned and started walking in the direction of where Fey and Jade should be. They walked closely together, feeling the warmth of the others body through the nearness, though they were not touching. They were nearing the point where the trail neared the forest. Chou could see the two girls heading their way. Chou waved. Nikki waved back and then something burst out of the bushes near the trail.

Whatever it was it was difficult to see anything but a blur. It reached Fey and Jade and pulled them from their feet and headed swiftly towards the forest. Chou and Molly started running towards the trees and Chou noticed Toni heading that way from the other side.

Fey and Jade were surprised and in that moment they found themselves all but flying towards the trees. Fey started to regain her focus and get ready to draw on her power when she felt herself falling. Jade and Fey hit the ground and about the same time. The resulting explosion hurled them into the air and stunned them. They collapsed within a clearing about three hundred yards from the buildings.

Toni and Chou sped up as the sound of the explosions report shook the trees. The smoke and dirt that had been thrown up from the explosions were obvious to the both of them. Their faces turned grim as they moved, Toni in the lead.

Nikki and Jade struggled to their feet and then they looked around confused. There was this buzzing sound that they could hear but they didn’t know what it was. They were just standing there confused and starting to feel kind of happy. A smile touched both of their lips. They were no longer worried about the attack.

Toni crossed into the forest and sped towards the clearing. She was gathering her energy, ready to fight. She wasn’t sure what had happened but if someone had hurt Nikki and Jade they would pay. She never saw the large fist that slammed her into a tree.

Chou crossed under the trees, trying to keep up with Toni. She was gaining when she saw this huge figure hit Toni with a fist that was almost the size of Jade. She reached over her shoulder for her sword. A pair of hands grabbed her and sped her towards the clearing. She tried to twist her way out of the grasp but wasn’t able to. She found herself falling a few seconds later.

Toni kipped up, only to be hit in the face by the huge fist. She went flying into the clearing and she and Chou landed in about the same spot. The explosion also flung them into the air, their ears ringing and both of them dazed.

Molly followed as closely as she was able to. She looked into the clearing from the safety of the trees.

Chou and Toni stood again only to be hit by two glowing spheres of energy that exploded on contact. This hurled them backwards, towards the opposite end of the clearing from where Jade and Fey where. As they skidded along the ground another figure moved out from the trees and started punching and kicking them powerfully.

Across the glade a large, well muscled woman stepped out of the shadow of the trees and began punching and kicking Jade and Fey brutally. The tow girls were surprised and had a difficult time pulling their minds out of the blissful stupor that had enveloped them. They could barely to get their arms up in time to blunt the blows slightly. They still dropped them to the ground.

Toni blocked one of the punches effectively as her head was starting to clear. Then the large figure stepped into the clearing and punched her into a tree again. Chou also found herself kicked into a tree, bouncing off of it with her face.

Molly yelped as Chou’s nose started to bleed.

Another girl separated from the trees and started kicking the downed jade in the ribs. The larger girl sprinted towards Chou and close lined her as she regained her feet. Chou spun through the air and landed face down on the ground.

Toni yelped as the shadowy claws from one of the attackers drew blob from her right side as she barely twisted to the side. Chou struggled to her feet reaching for her blade. Before she could clear steel another of the plasma spheres hit her. The blast bounced her off of another tree.

Fey struggled to her feet and began to draw in her will. The air about her began to shimmer when the speedy figure sped past from behind, clipping her behind the knees. This caused Fey to slam onto the ground on her back really hard. The breath left her body in a whoosh.

Jade blocked of the kicks and made it back to her feet. She turned the incoming punch into a throw which sent the girl flying into a tree. Jade scanned the scene and was ready to charge her support gear when the flying girl kneed her in the head from above. Jade dropped again.

Toni was busy trying to avoid and counter the attacks of the figure with the shadowy claws. The speed of the attack kept her on the defensive. She was analyzing the attacker’s style. There wasn’t the same amount of training there that she had and she was beginning to see what she was looking for.

Chou was blocking the attacks of the large woman and was getting ready to counter them when a large fist slammed into her back. The woman grabbed her and spun, building momentum and flung her into another tree. She bounced heavily off of it, but turned the movement into a spin to return to the fight.

Toni reached out and grabbed an overextended arm and moved into a throw. This was going to feel good. Suddenly a blur moved and close lined her, ruining her throw. She flipped through the air and barely landed on her feet.

Fey regained her feet, swaying slightly and summoned her will again. She needed to work quickly before someone noticed her standing again. The buzzing sound grew closer and she felt that wave of pleasure build again. It was almost sexual and her body started to react to it. She turned towards the source and encountered a fist to her face, snapping her head back.

Molly screamed. The girls were getting beaten horribly. The odds were too much against them. She reached out with her hands and felt the air open to another place. “Help my friends!”

The air opened into a non-space and this huge Black Panther with cobalt blue eyes and wings leaped out. With a flick of a wing the blurry figure was bounced through a tree. The sound of the tree cracking added to the chaos of the scene.  The large figure was swatted with one broad paw and the panther spun and batted aside the combatants. The figures were flung about like rag dolls by the panther.

Fey regained her feet with a different look in her eyes. She was burning with power, and the respite from the attack that the Panther provided was enough for her to gather her will. Aughendhail yelled in a voice that would carry over a battle field, “Enough!”

All action stopped and the sound of booted feet rushing that way could be heard. Molly turned and saw the figures of security officers heading that way at a full sprint. They had weapons at the ready and had reached the edge of the trees.

The panther was huge, at least ten feet at the shoulder if not more. He turned and gazed about the clearing. He spotted Fey and bowed very formally to her. In a voice filled with rumbling r’s and an indistinct brogue he spoke. “My Lady, how are you?”

A look of surprise crossed Aughendhail and Nikki’s face. “Ambassador Rythax?”

The large head, with a flash of cobalt on his forehead, between his eyes, nodded in reply. “Yes Queen Aughendhail. I am surprised to see you here.”

Security forces filled the clearing suddenly and Rythax turned to face them. There was also a gaunt figure with them, wearing the severe clothes of a priest, black clothes and a priest collar of white. “You, Miss Reilley! How dare you summon a Demon onto this campus!”

Rythax faced the figure, with an amused expression on his face. “A demon? Me? I am afraid not good sir; I am an Ambassador and not a demonic fiend.”

The older man looked incensed.

Molly helped Chou to her feet. Chou’s head was spinning and she was having some trouble seeing out of one eye. Toni had helped Jade to her feet and the group of them all moved over to Fey, who was projecting an aura of strength and command.

The head of the security team headed over towards them, all but ignoring the staring contest between Reverend Englund and the panther. “Ladies, before we get you to the nurses office can you tell me what happened?”

“We were attacked and defended ourselves.” Responded Fey, slowly letting the strength bleed out of her.

“By who?”

“We don’t know, but they should be about here somewhere.”

The sergeant shook his head. “Sorry, there is no body here. There are signs of the fight but no one here but you ladies and the cat. Well, that’s enough for us to get started. I will have some of my men escort you over to the nurses office.”

The group of them nodded, sore and weary; at least they weren’t in trouble again. They limped their way from the forest.

“We failed.” Moaned Behemoth, as he was holding an ice pack to the side of his head.

Shadowwolf started to laugh. The other Turks stared at their leader as if he had been hit in the head one too many times. “Failed? No, we didn’t fail.”

Bombshell snorted. “And tell me how you see this as anything but a failure?”

“Our plan was going well, even with the introduction of two other targets. We had almost beaten them enough in my opinion. The little Devisor girl was out of it and the spell chucker was unable to engage. The two combatants were the only source of difficulty, but we stood as a team and whooped up on them. An unknown element showed up and it was something we were not prepared for. Sure, we got smacked around some, but we all got out. No one got grabbed by security or the Kimba bitches. It’s a success. Not a great success, but a success.”

The others nodded and a few smiled. “I’ll be putting an after action report together. You all do the same. Write up something about your point of view of the fight and your opinions of things. Go do that while you all have this fresh in your heads. I’ll go over them and we’ll talk later. Bombshell and Sweetheart, could you both stay for a moment?”

The two girls looked at each other apprehensively, and nodded. The others left the room and closed the door behind them. When he was sure they had all gone Shadowolf turned to face the two girls. “I guess I should be thanking you two girls for manipulating us all into this?”

Bombshell got stone faced. Sweetheart looked a bit surprised. “What?”

“You both worked really hard to create something that would impress the Alphas. I am glad you thought of me for the leader. But I wanted to make it clear; since I am the leader I am in charge. You both are my Lieutenants. The three of us will make it into the Alphas and maybe some of the others will as well. And Gwen, don’t mess with my emotions again. It would make me rather upset.”

The two girls both looked a bit surprised and nodded in agreement.

Shadowolf smiled in a predatory fashion. “Good. Then this means the three of us will have a beautiful friendship.”

“Are you sure about this Master Lao?”

“Yes Caihe, I am sure. Our plans require this sequence to be played out. Trust in the Tao.”

“She has also met the girl.” added Caihe. “I think they have made the connection.”

“Has she? Good to hear, good to hear. Perhaps things will speed up and we can help things regain Balance. For too long the tide has swung one way. Something is coming and unless we help the balance return everything will end. We will keep our newest sister safe until she realizes she has nothing to fear. Besides, she reminds me of what it was like being young.”

The various Immortals laughed, sipping their tea. This should prove to be very amusing and enlightening.