BigCloset Classic

Angel Fire -3- Ball and Chain
Date: Thursday, March 20 @ 15:35:59
Topic Big Closet TG Stories

Ball and Chain

By Griever

Episode Three: Ball and Chain

Jin sighed as he tried to move forward through the press of the crowd. It was just like his professor to require them to attend the rally that was being held in honor of the visiting Nel Royalty, and to prove they were there by writing a paper about it. He'd attended a few of these kinds of rallies before, and they were just propaganda machines, and excuses for people to get out of their houses and have a good time - free food and drinks were almost a given in those rallies. The topics and form of such rallies varied, but one thing thy had in common was a crowd of noisy, jubilant supporters of the Nel who gathered together to celebrate just as Catholics gathered to celebrate the mass.

Not this time though. Instead of a festive atmosphere, the air hanging over the crown, that morning seemed to have an element of discomfort, of agitation - the feeling one gets when one is in the awkward position of being in the same room when someone is being punished and humiliated in class. As he jostled with the crowd he heard snatches of conversation here and there, something about the Nez'zaraingra'ad, and local boys, and the High Lord's daughter. Jin wanted to hear more, but he didn't want to be too obvious about his prying, so he ended up just catching bits and pieces here and there.

Finally, after a few minutes, he caught sight of a rare thing - a friend. Yukio To-masu one of the few people who were still speaking with him nowadays. A cynical part of Jin reasoned it was because she had come to Sakura High after the 'incident' with his father, so he wasn't as much of a pariah in her eyes as he was for the others. Still, regardless of the reason, he was glad to be friends with the bespectacled, purple haired girl. He gave her a wave as he approached, and she smiled shyly in his direction.

"Prof required you to come eh?" she said in greeting as he reached her.

"You think I'd be anywhere near here otherwise?" he said. "Don't tell me you came of your own free will…"

The girl tutted in mock displeasure. "Jin, Jin, Jin…" Yukio said, "How could you not find the Nel interesting? They use magic for Celestia's sake! In fact, I'm thinking about making them the subject of my thesis paper in senior year…"

"Thesis paper?"


"Yukio-chan, we don't _have_ a thesis requirement 'till college."

"So? This way I get a head start."

Jin sighed, and muttered something about having no life, but Yukio continued on gamely. "Besides, with all that happened yesterday, I want to see how the Nel are going to react."

"What do you mean?" Jin said. "I feel a bit out of the loop here - what happened yesterday anyway?"

"Didn't you know?" Yukio asked. "There was an attack on the High Lord's daughter last night - some local boys actually managed to slip past the wards and try to rape High Lady Shaina!"

"Wow…" Jin whistled, "That's an… utterly _stupid_ thing to do…"

Yukio nodded. "Still, these bozos actually managed to slip past the magical wards, so they must have had some talent - maybe they thought they could get away with it."

"Apparently they thought wrong eh?"

"Yup. And odds are the Nel are going to announce their punishment today… We might get to see some actual magic!" Yukio enthused.

Jin was less thrilled. "But don't you feel sorry for the guys? I mean we could know these people if they're from around here, and the High Lord isn't exactly known for mercy..."

The girl gave him a strange look. "They're rapists Jin-kun - I wouldn't care if they were incinerated."

"But - "

A roar from the crowd drowned out further conversation as the people caught sight of a few members of the Nel Royal Guards. Though Jin had seen them often enough on TV, and even up close one time, he did a double take when he saw what they were wearing. Aside from the movies, he had never seen the Guards in full battle regalia before - but here they were, complete with staffs and helms in the shape of various beasts, real and imaginary. Each one was scanning the crowd with the eyes of a hawk, their heightened senses not missing a thing. Yukio must be right - something definitely must have happened to put them all on their guard.

"This all seems a bit excessive…" he murmured.

"Lord Dantayn takes matters of honor very seriously - and he's got quite the sadistic streak to boot…" Yukio informed him, then stopped to point at the stage "Look, here he comes now…"

Dantayn was a distinguished looking man in his late forties, all the more imposing while wearing the ceremonial robes of his office, glowing with magical symbols woven into the cloth.

"A k'shara," Yukio breathed out in reverence, "They say those robes are as old as Atlantis…"

Jin grunted noncommittally."Must be hell to dry clean…"

Dantayn looked out haughtily at the crowd, then raised his arms for silence. Immediately the humming of the crowd died down, replaced by rapt attention. In the near total quiet, Dantayn's firm voice rang out clearly.

"People of Sadamoto! You have welcomed me and my brethren into your midst and for that I am grateful. Be sure in the fact that the Council will hear favorably of my visit, and of the noble people I have come into contact with.

However, I fear it is my duty to let you know of the lawless elements in your midst. Just last night, three of your fellow citizens broke into my home and attempted to commit unspeakable acts with my beloved daughter. Fortunately, they were easily overcome thanks to the valor of my Royal Guards."

For a brief moment, the murmuring picked up again. "So it's true," Yukio whispered. "I wonder who they could be?"

"Shhh," Jin replied. "Let's just listen for now…"

" I do not hold you responsible for the actions of such ruffians. In fact, I desire to grant you a boon - tonight I shall rid you of these base criminals, and at the same time set an example for those bad elements who yet roam free."

With that, the Nel motioned towards the rear of the stage. At his gesture, three young men were brought forward, naked save for each having a piece of white cloth obscuring their faces. They followed behind the guards, seeming to struggle against some unseen force which compelled them to movement. At the Guards' command, the three took kneeling positions before Dantayn, facing the crowd. Coming forward to stand beside them was a young man who resembled Dantayn, his son who Yukio called 'Sarda'. When the boy stood beside the three, his father spoke again.

"The Nel are a fair race - but we are not to be trifled with. The movements of the Balance force us to respond in proportion to crimes committed against us, and crimes as grave as that which was attempted last night should result in the most extreme of punishments - death.

But it is against the movement of Balance to waste anything - for even sludge and refuse may be put to some use. So it is with these three criminals - they shall not be executed, though they so richly deserve it. But lest those like them think I am being soft - look hard on what I am about to do. For theirs will be a punishment most severe - and most fitting.

By my authority and my power, I do hereby declare these youths guilty of attempted rape on a member of the Royalty. As punishment they shall be rendered female and servile, bound to obey the word of my eldest son Sarda, as his newest wives, now and forevermore. Such is the movement of the Balance, such is the word of the Nel. Let it be so!"

With that the High Lord stretched his arms out to the heavens, and screamed an indecipherable syllable. Instantly the hairs on the back of Jin's head began to stand on end, and a crackling magical aura began to form around the Nel. Before him, smoke was beginning to form around the bodies of the three, who had suddenly gone as still as death. Then, at a nod from the High Lord, the Guards drew back the cloths to reveal the faces of the perpetrators.

"Oh my god…"

There was a collective gasp from the members of the audience who belonged to Sakura High, most especially from Jin. For though it had been a long time since they had been friends, he'd recognize those three anywhere.

"Akira… Ken… Reiji…!" Yukio whispered, in a shocked tone, "What's going on? How could they be involved in this?"

"There's got to be some mistake," Jin said. "There's no way any of them would do something like this… Especially not together. We've got to do something!"

"I - I don't know what we _can_ do…" his companion admitted. "This is bad Jin… Really bad…"

Jin rounded on her quickly, frightening the girl with the intensity she could see in his eyes. "It's going to be worse for them if we don't do _something_," he railed, "We can't just stand here!"

Before Yukio could stammer out a reply, a voice from behind him interjected. "Do you really want to help them?"

At those words, Jin turned around to find himself facing a robed figure, almost as tall as he was. The robe was large enough that he could make no assumptions as to the body underneath, but the voice and what little he could see of the face made it apparent he was talking to a woman.

"Excuse me?" Jin asked as he tried to get a better look at the stranger, "Were you talking to me?"

In response, the hooded girl merely shook her head. "You don't have much time Jin Kizuna, if you want to save your friends… Do you really want to waste it asking questions?"

- - -

Despite the situation, despite his wrath, the High Lord couldn't help but smile as he began chanting the spell, calling upon the powers that were his heritage. The symbols upon his k'shara began to glow as he spoke, shifting and writhing across his robes as they took on a life of their own. He felt the magic flow through him, and once more his very being sang with the joy that rendered all other pleasures mere pale shadows in comparison. Dantayn wished he could hold onto the rush, the power forever - but greater mages than he had been burned to a cinder when they tarried too long beside the flame that was magic. Besides, he had called it forth for a purpose - he had a job to do, and justice to dispense.

He turned to the first boy, and his mortal eyes saw brown hair and a fair face. But with the magic infusing his veins, his sight was no longer limited to the physical. He saw ambition there, a thirst for power - a boy who was used to authority. One of many talents, who genuinely cared for others, and yet who also was accustomed to using them for his own ends. Strangely, he saw no indication of the boy's carnal heart, his beastly desires that would drive him to assault the High lords daughter. But then, it was as if a veil had been placed over parts of the boys essence - a shroud which his magical senses could not pierce. For but a moment he doubted his course - perhaps these were innocents after all? But no - this had to be a trick. These three had possessed the power to break through the best of his wards - surely they were strong enough to shield the proof of their guilt. Satisfied with that explanation, his thoughts of vengeance burning a hole in his heart, he let the magic engulf the boy, spinning him up into the air. As the spell began to smoothen the skin, and grant the fair face another kind of beauty, the High Lord wondered if the boy had felt powerful when he had stood above Dantayn's daughter… Well from now on, it would be this Reiji Nanizawa who would obey - obey all the commands of her new husband…

- - -

Reiji dreamt…

He dreamt he was standing before a crowd of people, all of them cheering his name, singing his praises. Some of the women were reaching out to touch him, but they couldn't reach him, for he was standing on some sort of podium. He leaned down and wiped the tears away from their cheeks, and they wept all the more from happiness. Then a silence engulfed the crowd and he realized - they were waiting for him to speak. Then he realized: this was the moment he had been preparing for all his life, when he finally won his way to the top, to where he could actually make a difference, where he his dreams would begin to come true. He stepped forward and smiled at the ground…

Then suddenly, a wave of strangeness surged through him, and the scene seemed to shudder before righting itself. But Reiji felt... strange… He tried once more to speak, but before he could do so, he felt someone take his hand. He turned and found himself looking up into the eyes of a taller man, who was smiling down at Reiji with the strangest look in his eyes. It was the man who turned to address the crowd, without releasing his hold on Reiji's hand.

"Thank you all for coming! I really can't tell you how much this means to me… Y'know, the media used to go on about how my ascendance to the post of Prime Minister was a life long dream, but really that's nothing compared to today…"

With that the man turned to the confused Reiji, who was getting increasingly disturbed by the look in the man's eyes, and the fact that no matter how he tried, he couldn't free his hand from the others grip. "Today - the day I marry the most beautiful woman in the world…"

Reiji gasped in shock and looked down - saw the beautiful, snow-white gown that he was wearing, saw the curves and shape of the body it was covering - and he began to scream…

- - -

Jin couldn't see what was going on. The spell-induced smoke had completely obscured the three - the last he had seen of the three was that they had begun to rotate in mid-air, then they had been hidden from view. Since then the hooded woman had refused to answer any of Jin's questions, and the boy was just about to give up the entire thing in frustration when he heard Reiji scream. At least he thought it was Reiji at first… a short while later he wasn't so sure…

"It has begun," the strange girl said.

"What do you mean?" Jin asked. "What has begun?"

"Ohmygod," Yukio whispered, "That's a girl's voice screaming Jin - Jin they're changing them already!"

Jin turned to the stranger. "Make them stop! If you know how to do it - make them stop!"

The hooded girl shook her head. "That's not my task - that is your own. Your own destiny, your own burden - if you choose to accept it. But you're running out of time."

- - -

The second boy was large and broad shouldered - he was not a pure Asian, that much the High Lord could tell at a glance. His magical sight told a similar story - Ken Terrik was an athlete, but more than that, he was a competitor. Life was a game to the boy, an enjoyable one and one which he was good at. Dantayn wondered if it had been a game to Terik when he had pushed Shaina down unto the bed… As the spell caused the boy to grow ever smaller, ever more delicate with each passing second, the High Lord allowed himself a smile. When the spell was through with the boy, he'd be playing by an entirely different set of rules - and maybe he'd realize the hard way that the world wasn't all fun and games…

- - -

Ken dreamt…

He was in the dugout with the others, and Coach was going over their plans once more. It was their final game, _the_ final game, the one for the prize they had all been hoping and striving for. They had had a magnificent season, surprising their opponents and the media and even themselves - but they knew that if they didn't win today, all that would be meaningless. For one final huddle, the Coach gathered the players and the trainers and even the cheerleaders together for a final prayer and a final cheer, and then with whoops of joy they headed off to the Court. Ken felt the adrenaline rush of competition flow through his veins - this was what he lived for, to face a challenge and defeat it. He smiled as he was bout to walk out onto the hardcourt - he'd been waiting for this day for so long…

Then suddenly, a wave of strangeness surged through him, and the scene seemed to shudder before righting itself. But Ken felt… strange… He tried to shake it off, but before he could take another step towards the court, he felt a hand grab his wrist. Suddenly he found himself swung into someone's arms - someone massive from the looks of it, for Ken's face only reached the other boy's chest. When the embrace slackened he found to his shock that he was staring _up_ at Hideo's face - Hideo, who was at least a full head shorter than he was! And why were there bodies touching in such odd places…

"Take it easy babe," his erstwhile assistant captain said, while holding a shocked and confused Ken close to him, "I know you want to help me with the game, but you'll be able to do that right here at the sidelines. Don't worry - we can win this!"

But Ken was no longer paying attention - instead his mind was on Hideo's hands on his butt, and of the short skirt that was the only thing keeping them off his skin… On the swell of his chest beneath what was undoubtedly a cheerleaders uniform and the ease with which his teammate swung him around… When Hideo's face leaned towards - trying to kiss him! - Ken's fear and confusion emerged from his body in a long, high pitched scream…

- - -

Ken's scream prevented Jin from pursuing the girl's cryptic comments any further. One this was definite, and that was the fact they were running out of time.

"Just tell me what to do damnit! If it will stop this insanity then I'll do it, I'll do anything!"

"Careful Jin!" Yukio warned, taking a firm hold of his arm. "You don't know who or what this girl is - she could be a faerie servitor for all we know. Think twice before you promise her anything!"

"Damnit Yuki!" Jin spat as he broke free of her grip. "I can't just let them do this! I have to stop them!"

"They're not even your friends anymore Jin!" his friend cried out. "How can you be willing to do anything for them after how they've treated you?"

In response Jin just shook his head - then, to his surprise, the hooded girl placed a hand on his shoulder.

"Your friend's caution is commendable, but I assure you, I'm no faerie. I swear to you on my life that I am not a faerie, and that I will ask no price from you - merely instruct you in what you must do," the strange girl turned to Yukio then. "As you know, if I were a faerie, that oath would bind me as well."

Jin turned to Yukio, who reluctantly nodded, then turned his gaze back to the hooded girl. "That's good enough for me - tell me what I have to do…"

- - -

The last boy had pain stamped all over his body - his well muscled form was a mass of scars and bruises, indications of battles fought and fought to the death. And yet, the outer scars were nothing to what lay within, and deep inside the boy known as Akira Tenkawa, was a festering, open wound lying atop the memory of his mother. But this pain was wrapped in layers and layers of anger, and in his own wrath, that was all the High Lord saw - an angry, violent youth more than capable of using force against a helpless girl. Dantayn remembered his daughters blood on her face and his rage towered even higher. Dantayn watched in grim satisfaction as hardened muscles melted into soft, sensuous curves - all the better to please his son. He would make sure that this one would never be in the position to use strength against another, ever again…

- - -

Akira dreamt…

He stood stoically beside the ring, heedless to the dull roar of the crowd behind him, thirsting for more blood. He had given them blood - and more, in the time he had fought here. But soon that would come to an end… The prize money from this tournament was so large that it would be enough - finally, finally enough - to get his mother the treatment that she so desperately needed. No more fighting, no more stealing… Both he and his mother would have their lives back… All he needed was to win this one last fight…

He looked up as his opponent stepped into the ring, and when he saw who it was he felt his heart soar. The boy looked to be roughly Akira's age, but with none of the scars, nor the experience that went with them. Akira was hard pressed to remember his name, but he had fought with him a few times, and knew that although the boy was fairly strong, they were nowhere in the same league. The money - and thus his mothers life - was within reach. Akira stepped into the ring…

Then suddenly, a wave of strangeness surged through him, and the scene seemed to shudder before righting itself. But Akira felt… strange…Akira raised a hand to his head and tried to clear it, but without warning, his opponent rushed towards him, fists raised in an attack. Accra dodged the blow easily and lashed out with a punch of his own, hitting the other right across his jaw - but the boy merely laughed, as if Akira hadn't hit him at all! Stunned, Akira tried again, and again - but his blows were weak, ineffectual… and his hands - why were they so small? His arms - so rounded and delicate?

Before he could do anything else, the boy grasped him by the hair and flung him to the ground as if Akira weighed nothing at all. Akira hit the canvass hard, and before he knew it, the boy had him pinned down, and no matter how hard Akira struggled, he could not break free. He felt so weak… so… soft - what was going on?

Then the boy leered down at him, malice in his eyes - and something else - something Akira had never felt directed at him before… No… it couldn't be… He couldn't be…

"You never should have joined the tournament girlie - this is a MAN'S fight. Now - it's time to claim my prize…"

With that the boy grasped Akira's shirt and ripped it away, and as the cold air hit his chest, and foreign sensation filled his body, Akira couldn't help it… he threw his head back and screamed…

- - -

"That's it? All I have to do is get to the stage and shout 'Iz meccondam detrus Dantayn…;" Jin began but the strange girl cut him off.

"'Daerus' _not_ detrus," she hissed, "You don't want to tell him he looks like a chicken - You have to get it right or else this all falls apart."

"You say that as if it were easy… okay, 'Iz meccondum daerus Dantayn nalus grinden werr' - what does this mean anyway?"

The girl gave him a small smile. "It means you get to save your friends…" Just then Akira's scream cut through the air and they all turned serious. "Hurry, to the podium! You have to say your piece before he completes the ritual!"

Before Jin could move however, Dantayn raised his voice. He was holding what appeared to be three glowing rings of magic, looking almost like collars, "Behold!" the High Lord proclaimed. "The price for the crimes of the flesh!"

With that the mist disappeared, and the crowd could clearly see the bodies slowly rotating in the air. Three beautiful, _female_ bodies…

Jin stood, stunned and aghast, until the hooded girl gave him a push. "Go! If he places the collars on the girls and links them to Sarda, he will own them forever!"

After a moments hesitation, Jin darted forward, Yukio's shouted 'Good Luck' barely making it to his ears. He roughly pushed aside people who were in his way, ignoring the inevitable cries of 'demon spawn' that followed his passage. Luck - or something like it - was on his side as he hauled himself up unto the stage just as the High Lord was attaching the final collar around Akira's neck. As soon as he did so, streams of light streamed from the collars as Jin's former friends still continued to rotate in the air. The light gathered itself in Danatyn's palms until he was holding a pulsating orb of golden light. Just as the High Lord was calling his son forward, Jin evaded the grasp of a Royal Guard and shouted out:

"Iz meccondum daerus Dantayn nalus grinden werr!"

For a few long moments nothing happened, and Jin was convinced he was going to die as the Guards closed in on his position. But just before they reached him, the High Lord barked out a command in some language unknown to Jin, and the Guards pulled back, with puzzled looks on their faces.

Leaving Jin to face the burning stare of Lord Dantayn.

"Who are you boy… And how do you know the tongue of Chaos?"

Jin stared at the menacing figure of the Nel High Lord, his mind in a panic. He hadn't known this would be a dialogue! Before he could think of anything to do though, he heard a familiar voice in his mind…

_Tell him 'D'jure t'nkada reiye'…_

_What? Who said that?!?_

_No time,_ the voice replied, and he recognized it as belonging to the hooded girl, _ Say it!_

Having no other option, Jin did as he was told. Dantayn's eyes narrowed at his reply, and he could see the Nel's fury was reaching a boiling point. Whatever it was Jin had said, it hadn't pleased him at all…

_What the hell are you making me say? You'll get me killed!_

_I'm helping you save your friends - now shush! He's about to say something in the same language - hold out your hand and tell him 'Bolayn grissyn alea…"_

Dantayn's response to Jin's words was instantaneous. The large Nel let out a below and held the globe of light protectively to himself. "No! You will not have them! I will not be denied my justice by a long forgotten debt - choose another!"

_Move closer to him and keep your hand extended - just tell him 'Alea' over and over - shout if you have to…_

_This is insane! I can't threaten a High Lord! He'll incinerate me!_

_Jin - if he could kill you, you'd be ashes by now. He is bound by something even more powerful that he - now do it!_

"Alea," he said as he took one tentative step towards Dantayn.

"They belong to my son," The High Lord hissed. "I have other ways of repayment…"

"Alea," Jin said softly, advancing yet another step.

_Damnit Jin! Shout it - scream it! He has to know you mean business!_

_It's taking all my courage just to stay up here damnit! I can't do this - I can't!_

_Jin … Do you know what they'll do to your friends if you don't rescue them? They're girls now Jin… Do you really need me to spell this out for you?_

Images began to fill his head then: Of Akira, Ken and Reiji, female and helpless, stripped and ravaged by vengeful Nel, Dantayn laughing all the while. The images played in his head over and over again, no matter how hard he tried to shut his minds eye, or turn away…

"Stop it… Stop it! Get out of my head! Make them stop!"

_Say it Jin! Say i-_


Jin could almost feel the power in his veins as he screamed the words, not knowing where they came from, and yet at some level, knowing exactly what he said. Give them to me… Or the oath that binds us shall sear your flesh and devour your soul… Give them to me or die…

_Not bad…_ he heard the strange girl say, _I couldn't have said it better myself…_

_Wha- What did I…_

_Some other time Jin. Right now you have more important concerns - Dantayn is about to give you what you want._

The High Lord had a stricken, almost frightened look on his face - but fear was not the only emotion present. There was hatred, and loathing as well - but for now it looked like somehow, Jin had managed to cow the Nel into doing what he was told. With a growl of intense anger, the High Lord raised the ball of light high above his head…

_So he's going to change them back?_

_No - that would require more magic than he posseses - it takes more power to undo this spell that to do it. He's already moved to the next step - the collars and that ball of light were the means by which he was going to bind your friends to his son…_

_But - but you said he would give me what I asked for… Didn't I ask for their freedom?_

_Actually no. You asked that your friends be bound to *you* instead…_

_Na- NANI?!?_

At that point Dantayn hurled the ball at Jin, and before the boy could move away, it caught him full on the chest. Jin screamed, as a thousand needles pricked his skin, as the magic worked its way into his blood, his flesh, his bones… The pain was intense - but beyond it he could sense something else - three somethings in fact. And then, without warning, his mind began to fill with thoughts, memories, sensations that were not his own, from three different sources at once - scenes from childhood, from adolescence, emotions both good and bad, seen and experienced as if he were no one person, but three-at-once. And just when Jin thought he would go insane, it stopped, and he found himself retching on the platform. Above him, he was barely aware of the Guards and the Nel rushing away, the High Lord himself retreating from the scene. But before the older man had fled, he turned to glare one more time at Jin.

"I will not forget this spawn of Coryn…" the High Lord hissed, and Jin could feel his hatred. "And you would do well to remember this - though you have deprived me of my slaves using my oath, you yourself have been bound today by a bargain. Under the laws of the Nel, if you do not adhere to the terms of our bargain, I have the right to retake my possesions - and you may trust that I will treat them all the more harshly for having lost them once - and that I will have something special in mind for _you_. You may have saved your friends from my vengeance - but there will be no one left to save _you_!"

With that the High Lord was gone. In the distance he could hear sirens approaching, and the crowd was quickly dispersing, not wanting to get caught up in the investigation that was sure to follow. By the time Jin staggered to his feet, he found himself virtually alone…

Except for three still forms lying on the platform.

He approached them gingerly, afraid to touch them, afraid to even look at them. That the three were female was indisputable - he doubted that from what he had seen of their new bodies, anyone would ever mistake them for males. But he recognized each one still, from their hair and from their faces, which to an extent remained the same, save for the fact that no one would ever have called them 'beautiful' before.

Jin stood there for a moment, dazed and overwhelmed, scared and uncertain as to what he had gotten himself into.

_Congratulations,_ said the voice in his head, _It's not everyday you get to marry three beautiful ladies…_

"You!" Jin shouted, whirling around, but the hooded girl was nowhere to be seen. "You tricked me!"

_On the contrary - it was the only way to save them. There was nothing to be done when they were made into women, but at least you prevented them from a life of abuse and slavery…_

Jin took a calming breath. Maybe the girl was right - maybe it had been the only way. Then again, maybe this girl had set the whole thing up - he had no idea who she was.

"So how do I get this 'marriage' spell dispelled? How do I change them back?"

The girl however, ignored his questions. _You'll need a crash course in your new obligations as a husband under Nel law. First off, you're required to live together. Second is the yearly pilgrimage to -_

"What the hell are you talking about!" Jin interrupted. "I'm not planning to stay 'married' or whatever it is this was about! Just tell me how to get them changed back!"

_You can't,_ the girl answered, _At least not yet. Right now you have bigger concerns - like not breaking the marriage contract - that was what Dantay was referring to. See, technically, he's the 'father' of the girls -since he's the one who 'gave' them to you - and under Nel law, that means he has a right to kill you and retake the girls if you don't fulfill your marital obligations - and you can bet he'll be waiting for that to happen. If you do break the contract, not only does he get the girls back, but he also has a legal reason to kill you._

Jin blanched. It was beginning to dawn on him just what he had gotten himself into. "That's - that's insane! I can't… I mean they're - I … They…"

He heard laughter in his head then, and for a split second, the voice sounded even more familiar. _Cheer up Jin Kizuna! This is supposed to be the happiest day of your life - and remember, stay in the same house if you want to keep out of Dantayn's clutches… I'll be watching…_

"Hey! You can't just leave me here! I don't even know who you are! Hey!"

But the girl's voice had gone silent, and after a while Jin gave up. The sirens were getting closer and Jin knew that there was no way he wanted to explain what had happened to some cluless police officer.

Taking one last look at the naked girls lying unconscious in front of him, he sighed, then began rummaging around for something that could serve as clothing, all the while thinking the same thought over and over again…

What the HELL had he gotten himself into…

- - -

"It worked… I still can't believe it…"

"As I said it would. Let me commend you on your performance though. You actually seemed to be enjoying yourself."

"I… It's been so long… It was good to be near him…"

"Well, you might be having more opportunities to do so in the near future."

"Think Dantayn will try something?"

"Perhaps. It's best to be cautious. We are playing a high stakes game after all…"

"For the record, I still don't think that this is going to get us a 'child of love and passion'… Last I checked, all three of them were straight males."

"No one said our work was at an end Azumi-chan."

"You can't force love Commander, no matter how hard you try."

"Of course not… but even the most delicate rose can bloom in the desert. All it needs is the right soil…"

- - -

Miko Kizuna was bored. Her brother was unusually late, and there was very little to do at home without Onee-chan to take care of. Sure it was fun to run along the halls of the mansion, or even occasionally trying to clean some parts that had fallen into disrepair. But no matter what she did, it was always more fun when she did it together with nee-chan.

That was why the moment she heard the door bell, she leapt to her feet and raced to the entrance, already excited to tell her brother about her day at school, and the friends she'd met and the bullies she'd punched. Then onee-chan would tell her about his day - thought undoubtedly it was more boring than hers - and they'd have some canned goods for dinner and fall asleep singing old songs. Sometimes, Miko would even have a friend over, but Jin never did anymore. Sometimes it made her sad that he had so few friends nowadays… But, even if it was just the two of them living together, she never got sick of being with Jin.

Imagine her surprise then, when she opened the door to find her brother standing outside, each arm wrapped around a pretty girl, while he carried another on his back. Jin had a harassed, apologetic look on his face.

"Gomen Miko-chan," he said, "I think we're going to have to clear some of the guest rooms - we're going to have some visitors for awhile…"

to be continued…

Some notes from Griever: And away we go… That ends the prologue to my story. I really hope you guys have enjoyed it so far - it's been a blast to write ^_^. Things started out serious because it would have been hard to do it any other way, but I'm going to try to do an anime style mix of comedy and drama here, with maybe a little angst - no wacky moments yet next chapter, but I think the tone gets lighter somewhere around chapter 5, though drama and action will never be far behind.

Feedback as always, will be both helpful and encouraging. It's easier to write when you know people like what they see - so drop me a line if you do 'kay?

TG Scifi teenagers transformation mind altering illustrations Rated-PG Click on illos to see larger version

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