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# 23

A mystery fusion
by Brian Randall

Disclaimer: Moved to footer.

Chapter One: Onnanohito Muyo

"Ow… ow… ow… ow…" Otaru rubbed at his head, wincing as he disentangled himself from the pile of broken boards, wiping fragments of wood from his clothes and coughing at the dust.

"Man…" he grumbled, staring upwards and narrowing his eyes at the distance he had fallen. "Maybe there's another way up…"

Of course, there was the question of where he had fallen… Eyes squinting, he peered into the darkness. "Hello?" he called out curiously, shuffling his feet forward slowly, weary of walking into something in the gloom. Something not too far away glowed faintly, shedding only the softest illumination into the area surrounding it.

Shuffling forward slowly, he approached the beckoning point of light in the darkness, blinking at it curiously when he approached. It looked much like the handle of a sword, three faintly glowing gems imbedded in the hilt. Tentatively, fearful of some retribution, he grasped the handle, giving it a gentle tug. It slid free in his hand, coming clear of the object it was imbedded in.

There was no more to the sword than the handle, and the three gems flared brightly, illuminating an area around him with a soft, amber glow.

"Neat," he mumbled, glancing up as something before him that had previously been hidden came into view. A massive, capsule-shaped container against the far wall, that slowly and with much rumbling, opened up, allowing much brighter light to spill out, washing across and nearly blinding him. Squinting, raising one arm to shield from the excess light.

Smoothly illuminated by the brilliant light, a figure stepped forward slowly, eyes narrowed. Short, black hair, swept downward in curls to neatly outline a serene, blank face, eyes resonating with too much of the capsule's own light for Otaru to discern a color. Her right hand bore a sheath, though the handle for the sword that it looked to carry was obviously incomplete, comprising only of a short, flat piece of metal, keyed and notched in some fashion he couldn't understand. However, the figure wore only an abbreviated one-piece — much like the swimsuits that marionettes wore.

Otaru took an involuntary step backwards, taking in the curves of the figure before him. A marionette, obviously, but… who did it belong to? Raising her head slightly, glowing eyes meeting his, the marionette said, "You have the key."

Staring dumbly for a long moment, Otaru realized that he was indeed still clutching the sword-less handle in his hand. "Um… is this yours?" he asked, fear and apology accenting his voice thickly.

She stared impassively, until he handed her the object, which she lethargically accepted, snapping it onto the sheath as though to complete a blade there with methodical, slow precision. Raising her head to meet him again, she asked, "Who are you?"

"Otaru," he said quickly, worried at the oddity of the situation. "Mamiya Otaru."

"Ma…mi… ya… Otaru. Compliance check complete. Activating maiden circuit," the marionette announced in a practiced, mechanical voice. Eyes dimming, the marionette managed something that almost looked like a smile, and added, in a much more tired, but human voice, "I am Tenko."

With that, the marionette collapsed into his arms, sending him crashing to the floor for the second time in the same hour.

"Oh boy," he managed, wondering what he had gotten himself into.

Stay tuned for later installments, such as:

Chapter Two: Revolutionary Android Kanako

For all your aspiring college-student turned female-android needs!


Chapter Three: Ruranko Kenshin

More red-haired swordswomen than you can shake a sakabatou at!

Coming never to an FFML near you, it's:

Saber Maiden K


Author's notes: I would appear to have lost my edge… My keen wit fails me, and I grow rusty in my old age.

… don't ask.

Saber Marionettes J belongs to Satoru Akahoru and Studio Junior. Tenchi Muyo belongs to Pioneer. Love Hina belongs to Ken Akamatsu and TV Tokyo. Rurouni Kenshin belongs to Nobuhiro Watsuki.

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Last revision: January 7, 2006

Old Gray Wolf