Xellos grinned as he finished setting up the boxlike device in the
center of the clearing. Satisfied, he walked to the stump of a nearby
log, and with a wave of the hand turned it into a comfortable wooden chair.
Lina watched Xellos closely, wondering what he was up to. She still
couldn't fathom the purpose of the box with the glass front, one that
couldn't be peered into. After much internal debate, she decided to go
with the direct approach. Sometimes Xellos was straightforward, when it
suited his purpose. "What is that thing?"
"A magic box," Xellos explained.
"What does it do?" Amelia asked.
"It entertains by showing images of far off places." Pulling out a small
rectangle with a number of buttons on it, Xellos pointed it at the magic
box and pushed a button. Suddenly the glass showed a snowy background
and made a fuzzy noise.
"I don't feel entertained," Zelgadis said dryly.
"It's poor reception. Gourry, pull out your Sword of Light."
Gourry did so.
"Now put your hand on the television set."
"The what?" Gourry asked.
"The magic box."
Again Gourry did so. Instantly an image started to form and voices could
be heard through the fuzzy noise.
"Hold it high above your head," Xellos instructed. "More to the right.
More to the left. More to the left. Just a little more. There!" Finally
the image came in perfectly. "Stay right there."
Gourry couldn't help noticing everyone had sat down to watch the magic
box, all except him. He stood on one foot, leaning so far over he was
ready to topple. To compound the matter, his arm started to ache since
the Sword of Light was pointed in a different direction than his body.
"How long do I have to do this?" Gourry asked.
"Until the show's over."
Act II, Chapter 7
Hercules: Prince of Power
(Not a Sam Raimi Production)
Any and all C+C appreciated. You can contact me at:
All the previous chapters and my other works are stored at:
Larry F's new address at:
And newer works at Mediaminer
Standard disclaimer: I don�t own any of the Marvel characters or other
characters from the numerous animes which are within.
The smell of decades old wood, worn smooth from bare feet moving across
it thousands of times, permeated the air of the dojo. Light filtered
through a handful of windows set high in the walls, bathing the room in
sunlight from dusk until dawn. Racks of martial weapons, some practice,
some not, lined the walls. The center of the dojo was empty for one
purpose: combat. Currently two fighters faced off against one another in
aggressive stances, each eager to fight. A palpable tension filled the
air, lending seriousness to the duel that was about to take place.
Off to the side, Ranma stood next to his father. Watching intently as
Soun and Nabiki kept their eyes riveted to one another. The older man
was dressed in his standard brown gi while Nabiki�s was night black,
embroidered with sinewy golden dragons on the front.
"Are you ready?" Genma asked, hand raised high above his head.
The pair continued staring silently at one another, as though to blink
was to admit defeat.
"Begin!" The hand dropped.
The two charged one another.
Soun lashed out first with a hard right intended for his middle child's
chest. Nabiki shifted to the side, the fist close enough to brush
against the material of her uniform. Lightning quick she lashed out with
a punch to Soun�s jaw while he was off balance.
Soun took the blow and tried spinning around with a kick that would have
come close to taking Nabiki's head off if it had connected. Instead she
ducked under the kick, lashing out with a foot of her own at her
father's leg, the one supporting him. It struck squarely behind the
knee, causing him to collapse on his back. She followed with an axe
kick, raised high above her head, before bringing it crashing down on
his stomach. Soun *wuffed* as all the air was driven out of his lungs.
Nabiki fell on her bottom, next to her father's arm. "Time to practice
joint locks." She grabbed his arm with her hands and scooted her body
toward him on the floor, locking her legs around his chest and grabbing
fully onto the limb. She twisted it in three different directions, none
of them in the way they were meant to bend.
Soun slapped his free hand madly on the floor, babbling, "I yield!"
Nabiki continued bending Soun's arm in ways that would make a
contortionist envious. "Oh come on, Daddy, I need the practice, and it's
not like I've broken anything� yet."
"Get off him." Ranma moved forward toward the pair.
Just before he could lay a hand on her, Nabiki finally released the hold
and rolled to her feet. "Don�t get so worked up. Besides, he's the one
that was asking for it. I never wanted to learn martial arts. He made me
do it for the so-called 'family honor.' So if he ends up with a few
bruises� let's just call it reaping the whirlwind."
Ranma scowled in disapproval as Soun rose unsteadily to his feet, Genma
lending a helping hand. The Tendou patriarch bowed before Nabiki. "It
has become evident I have taught you all I can."
Nabiki's attitude suddenly brightened. "You mean I can quit these stupid
"It means you'll be training with Ranma from now on." Soun breathed a
deep sigh of relief and walked to the sideline, still trying to catch
Nabiki's ire returned, doubled. She snorted disdainfully at Ranma.
"Forget it. I don't fight, or spar, for no reason."
"Oh, afraid you'll lose?" Ranma asked haughtily.
"No, I'd win. I have nothing to prove, and there's no profit in it for me."
Unflustered, Ranma smirked at her. "I see. You're one of those people
who cover up their insecurities with bravado."
Nabiki suddenly mirrored Ranma's attitude, right down to his posture.
"Like you can bruise my ego with your transparent ploys." She was about
to say more when she snapped her mouth shut with an audible click. Her
eyes traveled over Ranma's form, and a smile returned to her lips.
"Okay, I'll fight you under one condition. If I win, I'm no longer a
contender for the engagement."
Soun was quick to add, "And if you lose, you agree to marry him."
"No way." Nabiki crossed her arms under her bosom and half-turned away.
Ranma made a choking sound and looked like he wanted to bolt. Of course
he'd defeat Nabiki. It was a foregone conclusion, but no way was he
marrying her or anyone else. He had to come up with some reason to
change the stakes before the fathers blackmailed him into the fight, and
he ended up an unwilling husband. "We, ah, can't do that because it, ah,
wouldn't be fair to Akane or Kasumi."
Soun's eyes widened, then narrowed in consideration.
"A date, then," Genma suggested.
Soun rubbed his mustache thoughtfully, then nodded to his friend's
Nabiki weighed the potential losses versus gains and said, "Fine."
"I agree too," Ranma said. He could live with a date. He had even gone
out with the other girls already. At the same time, actually. It had
made for an interesting time, and a good one since neither girl could
put the moves on him without offending the other.
Nabiki brought up her fists, setting her legs as though she might attack
at that moment. "Get ready to make it a two girl fianc�e race, Ranma."
Ranma tensed up slightly. "The only chance you have of winning is if I'd
gone ten rounds with the Hulk beforehand."
There was no more banter exchanged as Nabiki inhaled deeply. She
intended to end things quickly using whatever means necessary. Once she
was out of the running she could help marry off Ranma to either of her
sisters, have him carry on the Tendou school, then drop this whole
martial arts crap. It was obvious he was overconfident. Many of her foes
took that attitude since she didn't like martial arts. But not liking
something didn't mean one wasn't good at it. On the contrary, she was
very, very good, as Ranma was about to discover to his eternal regret.
Nabiki mentally pictured her first two attacks and calculated all of
Ranma's potential defenses against them. She settled on one that she was
certain would be effective against the big lug and prepared to take the
battle to him. An early critical blow could end things quickly.
Just then a small red blur shattered a window and shot into the room,
attaching itself to Nabiki's breasts. She froze in place, statue still.
Slowly she looked down to the new growth snuggling against her bosom.
A mostly bald cranium with a ring of white hair was there. The head
turned upward to reveal a repulsive visage so wrinkled it looked like
someone had tried to dehydrate a prune. It grinned broadly, flashing
perfect white teeth, even if the smile itself could curdle milk.
"Sweeto!" the elderly ball of perverted energy declared.
The voice shocked Nabiki into action. She gave a shrill cry of "Get off
of me!" and slammed her fist into the elderly man's face.
The force of the blow knocked him from his perch, but rather than
resulting in injury, he simply bounced upon hitting the floor. His
upward arc took him between Nabiki's legs and behind her. His tiny hands
firmly attached themselves to her derriere, where he began rubbing
against her bottom as he had her top.
Nabiki screeched in terror. She began spinning around, trying to figure
out how to dislodge the ugly man, when the matter was taken care of
courtesy of a roundhouse punch from Ranma. It hit the pervert solidly,
driving him to the floor. This time the old man lay there, groaning in pain.
Genma shouted, "Don't let up, boy!"
"Yes, kill it before it has a chance to recover!" Soun seconded.
Momentarily taken aback by the men's bloodthirstiness, Ranma hesitated,
allowing the little man to return to his feet unharmed, despite the
force behind Ranma�s punch. Idly the pervert pulled out a pipe, which
began smoking despite not being lit.
Surprised by the little creature's resilience, Ranma went to attack him
again. The old man caught Ranma's fist in the crook of his pipe and
casually used it to toss Ranma into a far wall. The impact shattered
boards and shook the walls.
"It'll take more than that little tap to finish of Happosai, you young
punk," Happosai boasted. He then turned to the pair of cheerleaders.
"And you two. How dare you show such disrespect to your master."
Both men prostrated themselves before Happosai.
Genma said, "We're sorry, Master."
"The only thing you're sorry about is not using more dynamite," Happosai
By then Nabiki had fully recovered and was angry, angrier than she had
been in years. "No one touches me like that and lives." She lunged for
Happosai, aiming a chop at his skull, one that could shatter bricks into
Happosai leaped out of the way, using Nabiki's head to vault up into the
air. He dropped straight down as Nabiki passed under him. As he landed
on the floor, he caught the waistband of her pants and pulled them down,
revealing a black thong underneath.
"Nice taste in panties." Happosai leered.
Nabiki made a wholly girlish screech and pulled her pants back up.
Before Happosai could say anything further, he narrowly avoided a fist
intended to crush his entire body. He looked at his attacker. "Say, kid,
you're pretty resilient. Who are you anyway?"
"Ranma Saotome, the guy that's going to kick your ass."
"Only after I do," Nabiki said, moving alongside him.
Startled by her willingness to stand at his side, Ranma said, "I thought
you didn�t fight if there wasn't something in it for you."
"Revenge is always worthwhile," Nabiki said in deadly tones.
Happosai ignored their conversation and turned to Genma. "He's yours?"
Genma nodded in pride. "Yes. In fact, we decided he's the one to carry
on the Anything Goes legacy."
"We did?" Soun asked, then a knowing light came on in his eyes. "Oh yes,
we did. He's much better than us and there's nothing else we can teach
him. He is the one to carry on the art. He should be your student
instead of us." He had a near pleading tone.
Happosai looked Ranma over, then nodded. "Very well. He shall become my
student. I can tell he's got more potential than both of you put together."
The two men shouted, "Free!" and hugged one another, tears rolling down
"What in the hell is going on?" Ranma bellowed.
Genma detached himself from Soun. "Ranma, meet Happosai, the founder of
the Anything Goes School of Martial Arts and your new master."
Ranma recoiled in disgust at the little man. "You've got to be kidding me."
"Nope. It's all true," Happosai assured them. "I was your parents'
teacher until they got me drunk, tied explosives to me, and sealed me in
a cave." He shot his two former pupils a dirty look, showing the matter
was far from over even if they weren't his students. "Since I'm your new
master, you need to show me some respect."
"I'll show you my fist!" Ranma shouted.
"And mine!" Nabiki seconded.
Both ran to attack the diminutive man. He taunted, "Catch me if you
can!" and darted out of the dojo with the pair hot on his heels.
Soun watched the events develop, tears flowing from his eyes. "Saotome,
is it true? Am I seeing what I think I'm seeing?"
"Yes, Tendou. Our children are working together. The future of our
families is secure."
Akane used her cane to support her as she made her way through the home.
It was a bad day for the leg. Worse, she had overheard her father
talking about training with Nabiki and had avoided the dojo. She hated
watching anyone performing the art; it was too heartbreaking. And she
hated Nabiki for wanting to reject the very thing Akane would have given
anything short of her soul for. At least she had two bright things in
her life: Dr. Tofu and her alter ego. She could go on like that. In
fact, maybe she should go out and change now. There was nothing quite as
exhilarating as not being a cripple.
She considered locating Kasumi and letting her know she was going out
when a red blur landed right in front of her. An elderly face looked up
at her and bowed. "Hey ya, Babe. The name's Happosai. You wouldn't
happen to be Soun's youngest, Akane, would you?"
Akane's eyebrow twitched. "Od's blood. A troll on Midgard. And it knows
"Don't even think about touching her, you lech!" Ranma shouted as he ran
into the room, trying to kick Happosai, who darted out of the way. Ranma
followed hot on the little man's heels as they left the room
Before Akane could think, Nabiki shot past. She paused long enough to
say, "Don't worry, Sis, we'll kill that thing before it tries anything
else, like breathing." And then exited the room.
Akane considered everything that just happened. Yes, it was definitely
best to head for Avengers Mansion. She'd just leave a note to say she'd
be out until the evening.
Kasumi toiled away in the kitchen, making lunch, when the red blur shot
into the room and firmly attached itself to her bosom. Like her younger
sister, she froze for a moment at the sensations coming from a body part
that was not used to stimulation of any kind.
Happosai looked up from his perch. "Say hello to your uncle Happi!"
Kasumi screamed at the top of her lungs and slapped him across the face,
unleashing a full power 'sting' at the same moment. Happosai went flying
into a wall, cracking it before landing hard, a smoldering handprint
left on his cheek.
Ranma and Nabiki ran into the room. The instant they spotted Happosai,
they stopped in their tracks. Both of them looked at Kasumi in surprise.
Nabiki said, "Whoa, Sis. What did you do to him?"
Kasumi, surprised at being able to unleash her blasts at full size,
thought quickly. "I slapped him."
"He's smoking," Ranma pointed out.
"I must have hit a vital spot."
Nabiki picked the unconscious little man up. She shook him once,
disappointed to note he was still breathing." Let's throw him out in the
garbage before he comes around."
"Good idea." Ranma grabbed some garbage bags and went to locate for some
heavy duty chains.
The building referred to as Avengers Mansion had been formerly known as
the Kunou ancestral home. The building itself was large, able to
comfortably house two dozen family and staff. The grounds surrounding
the building took up a number of acres, a sign of old money given its
location in Nerima. However, anyone approaching the mansion would be
most surprised by the lack of activity in the buildings surrounding the
That silence was due to missing Kunou patriarch, who had purchased the
surrounding land, not for developmental reasons, but because he found
his neighbors 'too noisy'. So now every building surrounding the estate
lay vacant, making things very quiet indeed.
Along with serving as the headquarters for the Avengers, the mansion
held but one servant (Kodachi preferred to live in an apartment near her
lab) an individual known simply as 'Sasuke,' the Kunou family's faithful
As far as Sasuke, was concerned, he had landed the best job in the
world: butler to the Avengers. It was like heaven. For the first time in
his life, he felt like he was making a difference. True, he was still
doing the same things he did as a normal butler, but it was for super
heroes who helped protect the world from bad people. Since he made a
difference in their lives, that meant he made a difference in others
people lives. It was like an indirect kiss, which were the only kind he
Besides, he was a ninja, and he was certain once he impressed them with
his ninjalike abilities, they'd put him on the team and then he'd be
able to land the babes. It was only a matter of time before they
acknowledged his talents, then he could choose a name. 'The Ninja'
sounded pretty good to him.
Currently only the Hulk and Thor were in residence. He had already won
over the Hulk with his sneakiness, even if the green goliath insisted on
referring to him as 'Small Mouse Man'. One day he would earn the title
of 'Small Sneaky Man.' Someday.
Sasuke was still in the midst of pondering his super hero name when his
communicator beeped (and it was an official Avengers communicator, too)
His communicator was tied directly into the house's central computer, a
device designed by Kodachi. The whole house could be controlled via a
computer that could see to its denizens' needs (which was how Sasuke was
able to maintain the sizeable mansion on his own). Nothing but state of
the art for the Avengers. It alerted Sasuke to the exterior defenses
having been activated. That meant an intruder of some kind. Luckily, the
numerous protective devices hidden throughout the grounds were
non-lethal in nature. Already they had neutralized a number of
prospective thieves and the occasional low-powered super villain: the
Grinder, Mister Fish, and Kangaroo had been laid low on separate
occasions by the defenses. Personally, Sasuke felt they didn't need the
defenses and he could have defeated them all on his own to prove his
worth, but his mistress wouldn't hear of it. Obviously she valued his
butler skills highly to want him to stay out of danger. But the
beckoning call of heroism couldn't be denied. It was in his blood.
In any event he had to see who had tripped the defenses and alert the
proper authorities to round them up.
Sasuke opened the door to find himself confronted with a very large male
gaijin. He was huge, taller than anyone other than the Hulk, and his
musculature was incredible, more so even than Captain America. His
costume consisted of little more than a short skirt with a wide belt,
boots, and a leather strap that fit over one shoulder and served as
additional support for his skirt. He had a beard and a friendly smile.
More disturbing was the path of destruction that lined the walkway to
the door, and that the man showed no sign of being affected by them in
anyway. No, that wasn't exactly true. There was a torn mechanical arm
wrapped around his ankle. It was composed of titanium and could confine
For a brief moment, Sasuke envisioned defeating this intruder to prove
his worth to the Avengers. Then he decided being a manservant was a
perfectly reputable job. They also serve who only stand and wait, after
all. Words to live by, which were infinitely better than words to die by.
The stranger said in archaic Japanese, "Greetings, and Manservant. Is
this the domicile that Thor doth reside in?"
"Yes, it is," Sasuke said meekly.
The man looked the mansion over and muttered. "Truly mine friend is
doing what the mortals refer to as slumming." More loudly he said, "I am
the Thunderer's comrade of old, Hercules. Dismiss your awe and announce
"You can come inside," Sasuke offered.
Hercules shook his head. "Nay, I would prefer to remain without and play
with more of these entertaining devises that line thy yard."
"I see." Sasuke closed the door and had the computer locate Thor.
Hopefully this being was a friend of the Goddess of Thunder, because he
didn't like the idea of being near a villain who thought the house's
protective devices were a form of entertainment.
The butler found Thor in the main meeting chamber of the Avengers,
tapping an impatient finger as she watched the trouble monitor.
Employing his ninja skills, Sasuke was about to sneak up on Thor when
the goddess in question asked, "What dost thou want?" without turning
Sasuke shrugged off the failure. She was a goddess, and he but a mortal.
No contest at all when it came to stealth and detection. "There is an
extremely large man outside that claims to be an old comrade of yours. A
Thor shot out of her chair, a bundle of eagerness and delight. "Mine old
friend! Where is he?"
Sasuke was relieved the man was who he claimed. He didn't want to know
what sort of damage Hercules could inflict on the manor, or the ninjas
serving in it. "He wanted to wait outside so he could� test our defenses."
Thor was off like a bolt of lightning, which fit well with her status as
Goddess of Thunder. It had been centuries since she had last fought
alongside her Olympian comrade-in-arms. While they were from differing
pantheons, they got along infamously. Well, after they had nearly beaten
each other to death thanks to the machinations of Loki and Ares. But
they had discovered the plot to set one against the other (technically
it was Sif and Hermes who had uncovered it, but Thor would have done it
eventually), and soundly thrashed the Gods of Mischief and War. Since
then they had undertaken grand adventures, like defeating the Egyptian
Death God, Set, recovering the Cask of Ancient Winters, and destroying
that self-proclaimed angel, Adam, in the Antarctic. Larger than Fafnir,
still the creature had fallen to the gods' combined might. Well, it had
taken Odin to prevent catastrophe by impaling the beast with his spear,
Gungnir, to keep him from exploding and destroying most of the southern
hemisphere, but how was Thor to know 'Angels' were so volatile?
Ah yes, many a fine adventure had been experienced with Hercules. Many
unending nights of drinking and debauchery to be had. Like when they
raided the hundred woman harem of that mad shiek, Abdul Azzurah. By the
time he and Hercules were through with them, they had shown the women
what there was to 'immortal might' indeed�.
Thor felt a heat rush to her cheeks. No, that was not right. She had not
done any such thing. She couldn�t have. It was a mistake. Yes, that was
it. Her memories were scrambled for some reason. She wouldn�t do *that*
sort of thing with a woman, or a dozen women to be more accurate, skin
gleaming in oils�.
Thor shook her head free of her erroneous thoughts and rushed through
the house and arrived at the entryway. She took a moment to compose
herself, then opened the door to greet her old friend.
And there he was, standing in the doorway, wide smile on his face. Thor
returned the smile with one of her own. "Greetings, my fr--"
And then Hercules drew back his fist and struck Thor with all of his
There was a resounding boom as Thor was belted through the entire length
of the mansion, destroying wall after wall with her immortal body, until
she went through the last wall. Momentum finally killed, she skipped
across the ground several times before skidding to a stop.
Hercules was in motion so quickly that he was halfway through the house
by the time she landed. He spotted her on the ground, and rushed up to
her. He gave a jovial, "Greetings, my old comrade. It hath been too many
centuries since last we met."
Thor had just gotten up on all fours when Hercules kicked her in the
stomach, punting her through a fountain lined with plump granite
cherubs, and a stone retaining wall. He followed quickly behind her once
Thor lay on her stomach, trying to collect herself. As she tried to
rise, she unhooked her hammer from her belt, but before she could do
anything she was picked up by the back of the neck and pulled a foot off
"Thou hast lost much weight, Thunderer. You are as light as Artemis
now." He drew back and threw Thor like a football, her hammer slipping
from her grasp. She flew like a javelin straight into one of the large
buildings surrounding the mansion, collapsing most of the five story
structure right on top of her.
Rather than chase after his old friend a third time, Hercules waited for
Thor to reappear, but no one emerged from the wreckage. The Olympian
held his hand to his chin in thought. "Hmm, perhaps I greeted Thor too
enthusiastically. The might of Hercules is not to be trifled with, and
the Thunderer was always weaker than mineself."
Hercules was about to walk over to see if Thor needed excavating when he
became aware of an aura of anger the likes of which had not been felt
since Zeus heard the Titans were being considered for parole. He turned
around, only to find himself having to look up into a ton of emerald fury.
The Hulk shouted, "You hit Hammer Girl, now Hulk hit you!"
Hercules had just enough time to brace himself for the blow, which is
why he only flew to the edge of the grounds of Avengers Mansion instead
For a moment, Hercules couldn't think. It was then he realized the blow
had rendered him momentarily senseless. He slowly rose to his feet,
looking around to see he was lying in the center of a pit nearly ten
The emerald goliath leapt into view, landing a handful meters away from
Hercules, a distance that could be crossed in a second with his
prodigious might. The Olympian examined his new foe in a new light. "By
Hades, thou hits with the might of Zeus's thunderbolts." Rather than
being angered, Hercules appeared excited.
The Hulk shouted, "Hulk not hit like thunderbolt. Hulk hit like Hulk."
And Hercules proved he could hit nearly as hard as a Hulk as he leapt to
the attack, landing a punch that sent the Hulk sailing away back into
the partially destroyed fountain, making it completely destroyed..
The Hulk rose to his feet, angrier than ever.
Hercules appeared even more delighted. "And thou has the endurance of
Typhon. Truly thou art a worthy challenge to the Prince of Power."
The Hulk responded with an articulate, "Hulk Smash!"
And then the fight was on.
Matsui Tanaka of the Tokyo Seismic Institute shot out of the chair he
had been leaning back in and shot to his feet as the sensor he had been
staring at suddenly registered a tremendous shock. As he rubbed his eyes
to make certain he wasn't dreaming, a second tremor was recorded. A
third and fourth followed as he dialed up his supervisor.
After misdialing it twice, Matsui shouted, "I think a big one is coming!
We're getting a number of hits, increasing in intensity." Panic seeped
through his statement, despite his attempt at professionalism. His
entire family lived in Tokyo.
"Calm down," his supervisor soothed. "Determine the epicenter and we'll
work from there."
Matsui went over to the proper computer and used a program to determine
the location. "It's� Oh, it's the Avengers' Mansion."
"See? There's nothing to worry about," the supervisor said in a tone
identical to a parent assuring a child there was no boogeyman under his
Matsui hung up the phone, suitably humiliated. It was all the fault of
those damned superheroes. As far as he was concerned, anyone that
pretended they were a natural disaster should be treated as one. Someone
should do something about them.
He had dark thoughts regarding them for the rest of his shift.
Yusaku Hino (aka The Crusher), stood outside Avengers Mansion, eager to
show the world his anger by crushing all of the overrated superheroic
scum (hence his super villain name. Well, that and the fact he possessed
superhuman strength due to his being a mutant), and he was starting with
Like many mutants, his powers had been triggered through adolescence and
a traumatic incident. In his case it was learning the love of his life,
Haruka Hiyama, was in a lesbian relationship with Madoka Ayakawa. The
shock had proven too much for poor Yusaku. From that day onward, he
became a walking testament to self-pity, excessively melodramatic
misery, and a propensity to whine about how no one could understand his
Basically, he became a full-fledged teenager. Except for his ability to
bench press fifteen tons.
Yusaku stood on the periphery of the estate grounds and shouted, "Come
out, Avengers, and prepared to be crushed by� The Crusher!" He flexed
his arms to show off his impressive physique.
In answer a huge boulder came hurtling through the air. Yusaku had just
enough time to register it before it landed on him. Unfortunately for
him, the boulder weighed sixteen tons. It broke all of his limbs and 23
out of 24 ribs. When Yusaku was dug out by emergency crews later in the
day, the headlines would read 'Crusher Crushed by the Avengers'.
Akane Tendou grimaced at the scene of destruction wrought by the
Hulk-Hercules fight. Nearly half the buildings surrounding the mansion
had been leveled, and the grounds had been forever altered. Only the
mansion had escaped damage, at least more damage than what Akane had
inflicted when her old comrade had used her as a human missile. Despite
the signs of intense battle, the pair attacked one another just as
viscously as at the start of the fight, even if both sported a number of
bruises. It appeared they could go all day long. Not that the area could
Akane probably could have stopped the fight earlier, save Mjolnir being
knocked from her grasp by Hercules' final blow, the one that had brought
half the building down on top of her. By the time she had unburied
herself, a minute has elapsed and she had reverted back into her mortal
form. Now she was forced to limp across the battle zone, trying hard to
keep from becoming collateral damage as she sought her stick. As intent
as both men were upon beating each other to death, she doubted if a
cruise missile could catch their attention. A high school girl stood
even less of a chance of being noticed, at least until it was too late.
She had to find her stick. Then the fight would end. Cruise missiles had
nothing on Thor.
Luck was with her for the first time all day. The area she had dropped
her hammer looked like a demilitarized zone, but her stick lay unharmed
between two newly hewn craters. Akane had just grasped the handle of the
stick when the giant torn up tree came hurtling through the air straight
toward her. Two sets of lives flashed before her eyes as she reflexively
brought her arms out in front of her.
Hercules pounded away at his emerald foe, delighted at the fight. While
in the beginning he was stronger of the two, now the tables seemed to
have turned as the creature was hitting for far more damage than perhaps
even Hercules himself could inflict. Truly it was amazing. Not that
brute strength was the difference. While Hercules relied on his
strength, his skills in battle were unmatched after centuries of
fighting. The emerald one lacked even the basic rudiments of trained
combat, simply opting to 'Smash, smash, and more smash' as his
technique. Still, between that and his ability to absorb literally godly
amounts of punishment, it proved an effective strategy. Hercules would
win, of course, but he would have to earn this one. He wouldn't have had
it any other way.
Lust of combat clouding his senses, Hercules leveled the Hulk with a
divine fist. As the Hulk went down, he brayed to his foe, "This contest
is magnificent! Not since I last strove against the Destroyer have I met
a being of thy mettle. Let this be a fight to the finish, so that bards
may sing of it for the centuries to come."
"This fight is finished!" a feminine voice shouted out behind him.
Before Hercules could react, a hammer thrown with the full fury of the
Goddess of Thunder struck him squarely in the back. It was bad enough
that the attack caught him unaware, preventing him from bracing for it,
but the blow threw him straight into a full strength punch of the
enraged Hulk. A fist nearly as large as Hercules� skull met his
unprotected face, throwing him through the air and destroying yet
another section of the forest. When his aerial journey finally came to a
stop, he lay on the ground, unmoving.
Seeing his foe beaten, and that Thor was in good health, the Hulk began
to calm down. He turned to the goddess. "Hulk did not need help smashing
"The blow was to restore my pride," Thor assured him. "Besides, he did
not truly intend me harm. Hercules is merely� exuberant in his
greetings. Now it is time to deal with the muscle-bound dolt."
Consciousness returned to Hercules, and on its heels, the memory of what
he had been doing. "The fight!" He tried to rise, but found himself
unable to move, his arms and legs bound to a chair he was seated in. He
found himself in what appeared to be a meeting chamber. He was poised
next to a huge table with an 'A' enclosed by a circle in the center of
it. Seven chairs, some quite large, surrounded the table. Hercules was
in the second largest one. "Who tempts the Fates by daring to bind the
Prince of Power?"
Hercules turned to see his former foe and Thor standing side-by-side,
Seeing his old friend, Hercules's mood changed as fast as Hermes as he
gave a cheerful smile. "Thor, mine old friend, how good it is to see� you?"
Thor suddenly became uneasy as she saw Hercules staring at her chest. He
had never looked at it like that before, she was certain. She�d have
remembered, even with a memory as full of holes as hers was.
Exerting his full godly might, Hercules snapped the cables snaring him
and shot up from the chair. He rushed up to Thor and grabbed her
breasts. "Zounds, they are real!"
Thor grabbed him by the wrist and twisted his arm backward, "Ware thy
hands, else comrade or not, thou shall be taking the place of Prometheus
on his stone of woe. And I will see to it the vultures pick at things
other than thy entrails." She stared meaningfully at his groin.
Hercules stared at her, stunned. "How can it be that thou art a woman?"
Thor stared at him, bewildered. "I have always been a woman."
"Nay. While much time has passed since last we met, I distinctly
remember thou being a man, as many a wench can attest to," he assured
her. "Of all mine companions not Olympian, thou were easily the only one
almost capable of keeping up with mineself. Remember that time we
fornicated with Indra's wives? The ones with four breasts?"
Thor smirked. "Truly that was�" The goddess turned green. "Nay! I never
did such things! I am not a pervert!"
"I concur!" Hercules said, a lascivious leer on his face. "There is
nothing perverted about wishing to indulge in pleasures only women can
experience. And I would be honored to be the one to initiate you in such
pleasures." He grabbed her in his arms and bent her low, as though about
to kiss her. Thor was so stunned she froze in place.
Before Hercules could lower his lips to hers, his head was engulfed in a
giant green palm. "Hulk will not let Muscleman kiss Hammer Girl."
Hercules released Thor, who landed on her bottom. He effortlessly batted
away the Hulk's hand. "So, it is a challenge then. To the victor shall
go the Goddess of Thunder."
"I don't!" Thor shouted.
A pair of eyes peered through the walls of the mansion, seeing all,
hearing all. This was bad. Extraordinarily bad. It was a good thing he
had come to Earth to personally supervise the matter regarding Thor. The
Enchantress� breaking the Imperial Edict prohibiting contact with Thor
had been bad enough, but by some miracle neither Urd nor Skuld had said
anything to upset the plan. Hercules was another matter altogether.
Being Olympian meant he could ignore the edict, and already he had given
Thor too much information. Another word might upset everything, and that
could not be allowed to happen. Too much was at stake.
Stretching out with senses far beyond those of mortal or god alike, he
searched the dimensions for anything that could be used to remove
Hercules from Thor's presence, anything outside of having to intervene
personally was acceptable. Almost instantly he discovered a solution.
All he had to do was plant a little information in the leader's head,
and then reach out and guide them right in the heart of the room.
Just as Hulk vs. Hercules Round 2 was about to begin, a swirling vortex
of sparking light filled the far side of the room, taking up nearly the
entire wall. All three occupants stopped their argument and tensed up at
the unexpected display.
Emerging from the vortex were a dozen women, each nearly as tall as
Thor, and every one of them a testament to human beauty and perfection.
The woman in front, taller than everyone but the Hulk, moved boldly
forward. She wore a red bodysuit, with pieces cut out along the navel,
top, leg and arm. Yellow lightning ran up both sides and her yellow
ankle boots. On one of her arms was a manacle with a huge chain on it,
one that looked like it weighed two-hundred pounds and could be used to
break out of a prison rather than keep one in. She was the most
beautiful by far, with long strawberry-blonde locks that traveled
halfway down her back and carrying an air of authority about her.
The woman said, "Where is the one called Hercules?"
Hercules's tension disappeared and he shot the woman his most winning
smile. "I am, oh giantess of beauty. And might I ask your name?"
"I am Thundra, Queen of the Femizons." Anyone hearing her tone would
have no doubt she was not only a leader, but used to being obeyed. "I
shall speak plainly. I have come from a planet similar to this one,
though in a different dimension. On our world men have been wiped out.
Because of this we are forced to seek out virile males, the more
powerful the better, in order to have children. Sadly, since we Femizons
are incapable of producing male children, we must do this several times
a generation. Word reached us of the mighty Hercules and his legendary
prowess, and we felt drawn here."
Hercules laughed hard. "I assure you I exceed whatever rumors thou has
heard. I have little doubt I could satisfy whatever demands you have of
me." It appeared as though he was ready to pick up the lot of them and
drag him through the portal himself, but then he turned and gave a
questioningly look to Thor.
Thor's eyebrow began twitching. "Thou should go. It shall be infinitely
less painful than the course of action thou was about to take." She
fingered her hammer meaningfully.
"Then it is settled." The god turned to Thundra. "Now, how many women
Thundra said, "Currently the ratio is about 1000:1, which is why there
are other groups seeking out men as well. We should really bring back
more than just you." Thundra appraised the nearby Hulk, who stared at
"There is no need," Hercules assured her.
"I beg your pardon," Thundra said.
"I am immortal and have tremendous stamina. A thousand shall take but a
few months. A mere blink of the eye, as any god can tell you."
"I see," Thundra said, gazing upon him in a new light. "Very well, we
shall return to our homeworld now and you may begin aiding us with our
The group departed the way they had arrived, one extra member in their
ranks. The vortex closed behind them, as though it had never been.
"Truly a trying day," Thor said, collapsing in her chair.
The Hulk nodded. "Hulk is going to get Little Mouse Man to get him some
beans, then Hulk is going to sleep."
"Sleep well, mine comrade. There is much I must ponder." Thor held her
hand to chin in thought, trying to sort out the jumble of conflicting
and missing memories in her head.
It was a trying night as well.
The figure relaxed. That had been close. Too close, and it did not feel
as though it had been Fate that had dropped Hercules in Thor's lap. No,
this had all the earmarks of one whose primary goal in life was
mischief, and confounding Thor to the best of his abilities. Punishment
would have to come. Immediate punishment.
"Damn!" Xellos said, slamming his staff into the ground.
"What are you getting so worked up for? The show wasn't that
interesting," Lina said.
Zelgadis nodded. "Yes, I couldn't really get into it. I couldn't
sympathize with the characters because they were too unrealistic. I
mean, people running around with superpowers? It's completely ridiculous."
"True," Ameila seconded. "Maybe if they had used some magic in it, then
it would be believable, but as it is, no way."
�And I wasn�t amused at all,� Lina added. �I can�t see this catching on
as a form of entertainment. Doing things yourself is much more
interesting than watching someone else doing something.�
It was at that moment a swirling vortex of sparking light appeared in
the middle of the clearing. A number of incredibly tall, scaly, obese
women with yellow skin emerged from it.
The tallest and ugliest among them, who carried an air of authority,
spoke with a voice that sounded like nails being drawn across a
chalkboard. "Where is the one called Loki?"
"Never heard of him," Lina said, absently noting that Xellos was
beginning to back away.
The woman scratched her head, then snapped her beefy fingers. "Oh, yes,
he goes by the name of Xellos here."
"Squinty-eyed guy over there." Lina pointed at him as he had by now made
it to the edge of the clearing.
The woman said, "I am Ugley, Queen of the She Beasts," she said, and
anyone hearing her tone would have no doubt she was not only a leader,
but used to being obeyed. "I shall speak plainly. I have come from a
planet similar to this one, though in a different dimension. On our
world men have been wiped out. Because of this we are forced to seek out
virile males, the smarter the better, since we rate intellect more
important than mere muscle. Sadly, since we She Beasts are incapable of
producing male children, so we must do this several times a generation.
Word reached us of the trickster Xellos and his legendary mental
prowess, and we felt drawn here."
"He's all yours," Lina said casually.
"My thanks." Ugley pointed a large spear at Xellos. "Get him, girls!"
Xellos tried casting a teleportation spell, but found his abilities
blocked. With the She Beasts nearly upon him, he turned tail and ran.
And the race was on.
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