Act 1, Scene 5: Thor and Raiden Present:
Lessons on Why It's Bad to Play With Electricity
A Ranma ½/Avengers fusion by DB Sommer
Disclaimer: Ranma ½ owned by Rumiko Takahashi and whomever
she sold the rights to. The Avengers are owned by Marvel Comics.
Yes, the superheroes, not the British TV Series.
As always, all C&C appreciated. You can contact me at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Avenging is also being kept on DB's page at: http://angcobra.jumpfun.com/dbsommer.html
This might feel a little rushed. Not sure, myself. If so, I apologize
for it. Also, if you want to preread for this series, let me know,
and I'll put you on a list.
The blue corona of energy around Raiden faded as he drew nearer
to his Asgardian opponent. Rather than simply vanishing, the glowing
force moved from his body and gathered around his hands while more
electricity flowed from his eyes, a sure sign that he was losing
what tenuous control he had left over his anger. "I warned
you never to set foot upon my island again, yet you have brazenly
disregarded my warning, all but begging me to come. Well you have
succeeded. This trespass will not be forgiven. In years past we
have clashed, without a clear victor, conceited one. Now we shall
have one last duel and show these mortals that even a god may die."
Upon Raiden's initial appearance, and learning who he was and that
he was angry, Thor had intended to apologize and explain that no
insult had been intended. But Raiden's arrogant boasts and slurs
dismissed that notion. How dare he call her conceited! Just because
she was three times the god of thunder Raiden could ever hope to
be was no reason for him to behave in such an offensive manner.
It was jealousy. He had always been envious of her superiority and
handsome features. Several times in the past they had clashed because
of his inability to deal with how much better she was than him.
Well, that and her dalliances with Kitsune, whom Raiden fancied.
But it wasn't Thor's fault that her godly form was so irresistible
to the self-proclaimed Goddess of Foxes.
Thor recoiled at that memory. Not the specifics --thankfully those
seemed to have been lost-- but there was one disturbing fact that
was inescapable: Kitsune had most definitely been female. Very fox-like,
but also definitively female.
"But I'm not a pervert!" Thor shouted to herself.
Raiden sneered. "What you are is an overbearing, arrogant,
self-centered, egotistical, womanizing meddler that has challenged
me for the last time."
The concerns brought on by the contradictory memory were forgotten
as Thor prepared herself for battle. Fights were better than trying
to deal with such things. You simply fought your opponent with all
you had and either won or lost your fight. A good thing for Thor
she never lost.
The next exchange the two deities of thunder shared was one of
blows rather than words. Raiden connected with a fist to Thor's
gut first, moving far more quickly than the larger Goddess of Thunder.
A gasp of breath escaped Thor's lips from the force of the punch,
but it was far from enough to prevent the retaliatory punch from
her as she successfully landed a blow in Raiden's upper chest. The
Japanese God of Thunder was sent back several feet from the force
of the impact.
The rain seemed to increase in direct proportion to Raiden's darkening
mood. "I see that you are as strong as ever, despite your obvious
weight loss. I shall not underestimate you again."
"Flattery will achieve naught for thee," Thor said as
she charged her opponent. The quick knockout she had hoped for never
came as Raiden blocked her incoming blow with a wide arc by his
right hand. That left Thor's midsection briefly open as Raiden used
his blinding speed to strike his opponent dozens of times. Individually
the blows had little force behind them, but the sheer number of
hits, and the nerve centers of the body they struck, caused Thor
to recoil back. Raiden was quick to follow up with a more powerful
flying leap kick that centered again on Thor's chest. This time
Thor was propelled through the air and across the street, completely
destroying the door of the car that arrested her flight.
"Hah! I am more powerful than you after all. You're already
finished." Raiden paused a moment to laugh at his fallen opponent's
An uru mallet flew forth from the wreckage of the car, sailing
through the air leaving a dull orange trail of energy full of power
in its wake. There was the sound of thunder as the hammer struck
Raiden full in the chest, driving him back into the wall of a nearby
store and through it.
"Finished by you? Mayhap when icicles ornament Surtur's fiery
realm." The hammer flew back through the air to its mistress.
Thor stood proudly, enjoying her handiwork for a moment before advancing
towards the fallen god.
Raiden appeared less self-assured as he pried himself from the
wreckage of the store. He had forgotten how powerful Mjolnir could
be. But he was not without weapons of his own. Summoning the power
of the storms, the rain increased a five-fold, becoming such a torrential
downpour that Raiden almost seemed to disappear behind the falling
sheets of water. Only the azure glow that still emanated from his
eyes was bright enough to cut through the rain and show that he
was still there.
With the tempest as its peak, Raiden caused twin bolts of lightning
to strike the sidewalk before him. Rather than dissipating, they
remained embedded in the remains of the walkway until Raiden removed
them. He spun the twin shafts of azure energy, solid in his hands
as they would be for no other. "Now we are more evenly matched."
"Only if there are other gods from thy pantheon about to join
Raiden's lip involuntarily curled at the insult. He gave a battle
cry and leaped high in the air. For a moment it appeared as though
Thor would remain where she was, but at the last second she leaped
back. Raiden's twin shafts of lightning struck stone rather than
"I see you are not so brave after all," Raiden boasted.
"The mountain never learned to step aside." Thor brought
Mjolnir into the pavement, causing a shockwave that shattered even
more of the street into rubble and knocked Raiden off his feet.
His grip on one of the shafts was loosened, and it went flying well
out of reach. Once out of contact with the Japanese deity, it dissipated
into thin air.
"Now dost thou understand?" Thor asked as she stepped
towards her opponent once again.
In answer to the Asgardian's question, Raiden hurled his remaining
bolt of lightning. Thor brought her hammer up, allowing the shaft
to strike the head of the mallet. The bolt of electricity was instantly
absorbed, neither hammer nor wielder showing any ill effects from
"Thou dares to use the might of the thunderbolt against the
mightiest god of thunder? Truly thou hast lost thy capacity for
thought, no doubt due to mine most savage beating." Thor again
stalked forward towards her opponent, the advantage clearly hers
Cloaked in shadows nearby, Xellos found himself agreeing with the
Goddess of Thunder. It had been his dearest hope that Raiden, whom
he had warned of Thor's presence through an anonymous message delivered
to his castle in the realm above, would prove more than sufficient
to finish off Thor. After all, was not the Japanese god fighting
within the lands where he had been worshipped? Surely upon his native
soil he would be at his most powerful and would easily finish off
the Asgardian, but instead the buffoon was managing to lose despite
the advantage. Still, perhaps the blame did not lie at the Japanese
deity's feet. Could it be Thor was more powerful than before, thanks
somehow to the lame mortal he was connected to?
It was time to even the odds, and insure the outcome of the duel.
Dropping his cloak of shadows and globe of silence, Xellos cast
a spell that caused the ground beneath Thor to sprout moving black
tentacles of eldritch energy. The thick, powerful magical appendages
entangled Thor's arms and legs, halting her in her tracks.
"What base sorcery is this?" Thor cried out as she dug
in and prepared to rip the tentacles from their earthy grasp.
The diversion distracted Thor and allowed Raiden a chance to recover.
Seeing the opportunity before him, Raiden shifted the godly energy
within his body, causing a blue aura to form around him once again.
Mentally forcing the energy from him, Raiden shot forward and into
the air, defying gravity as his body flew parallel with the ground
like a living shaft of lightning,
Thor had only managed to tear a couple of the tentacles from the
ground when Raiden's powerful attack struck her squarely in the
jaw. What she had been unable to accomplish yet with her strength,
the force of the blow did as her form was broken free from the tentacles
grasp and sent sailing through the air just as far as Raiden had
flown earlier from the results of her hammer strike.
"As with most braggarts, you caw until forced to coo by one
more powerful than you." Raiden rushed forward again to engage
his opponent in close-quarters combat once more.
A small smile broke across Xellos' face. Now this was more like
it. Several more attacks like that and the fight would be over.
And with Xellos casting spells, Raiden would assuredly have the
opportunity to connect with such blows once more.
Xellos' hand began to give off a yellow glow as he prepared a particularly
vicious spell that would cause Thor's body to be wracked with intense
pain for several moments, when an arrow struck the ground in front
of him. The instant the head of the shaft made contact with the
pavement, it exploded in fury, knocking the sorcerer off his feet
and disrupting his spell. Xellos was quick to recover as he shot
to his feet. "Who dares interfere with me?"
Hawkeye blinked some of the water from the deluge out of her eyes
as she kept her next blast arrow trained on him. "The name's
Hawkeye, pal. I don't know what your game is, but that gaijin goddess
over there is in a fair fight and seemed pretty okay to me. That
means you're keeping your nose out of this and telling me what's
going on or the next arrow goes someplace less pleasant than the
Much to Hawkeye's surprise, Xellos seemed completely unconcerned.
His fingers made a series of intricate gestures, though they didn't
glow this time. "Arrow? I see no arrow. Only a poisonous snake
that's lashing out and trying to bite you."
Reflexively Hawkeye looked down at her arrow only to see that the
man had spoken the truth. Somehow her shaft had transformed into
a green serpent that was even now going from a long, rigid line
to a loose wiry thing that attempted to coil itself around her arm.
Hawkeye shouted in surprise and tried to throw the creature away,
but was too late as it wrapped around her arm and began to slither
its way up the appendage. Hawkeye fell to the ground in a desperate
effort to pry the creature off her and cast it away.
"Mortals," Xellos shook his head sadly as he watched
Hawkeye fumble her arrow around in her hands. Mortals were so susceptible
to illusory magics. But the purple-garbed hero would never have
a chance to learn the truth of that as the sorcerer's hand glowed
crimson, and he summoned the power of a bolt of destructive energy
with which to incinerate his foe.
Just as Xellos was about to unleash the bolt, a large circular
disk crashed into his wrist, nearly breaking it and causing the
blast to fly up into the rainy skies. Xellos looked in the direction
the weapon had come from. "This is getting monotonous, and
who are you, girl?"
The disc whirled through the air and returned to its owner's hand.
"The guy who's going to kick your butt, you squinty-eyed jerk."
Xellos evaluated his opponent. A fighter of some kind. Female and
by all appearances powerful, at least by mortal women's standards.
That meant she was of no concern. There was no need for Xellos to
sully his hands with such a brute. He had made other arrangements.
"Somehow, I doubt that."
Xellos widened his hands, creating a glowing golden circle in the
air that was three times as large as Bucky's shield. Within it,
the redhead could see something moving, as though the circle was
some sort of viewscreen instead of just a glowing… whatever
The high pitched cry of Xellos' melodious incantation filled the
air as he cried out, "I summon the most powerful of Trolls,
he who was once the bane of Asgard and who did nearly destroy even
the mighty Thor in personal combat. Prepare for your death, mortal,
as I summon he who will rip the flesh from your body and grind your
bones into powder. I call forth Ulik The Mighty!"
With the crescendo of Xellos' incantation complete, and one last
elaborate wave of his hand, the glow within the disc disappeared
and the scene in it became clear. Bucky could see that beyond the
edge of the circle was what appeared to be an enormous cavern that
was larger than any that could possibly exist on Earth. Stalactites
and stalagmites seemed to be as gigantic as small houses, and there
was the movement of many squat, powerful-looking orange-skinned
creatures within the caverns. The most prominent of these beings
was the individual standing right next to the portal; the creature
stood about five feet tall and was nearly as wide as he was across.
Several golden earrings adorned one of his ears and he wore the
thick leathery hide of some creature that served as ragged pants
and a vest. He wore no shirt underneath, and Bucky could see a hairy
chest dominated by powerful muscles underneath. The being didn't
look quite as powerful as the Hulk, but he appeared plenty strong
The creature stepped through the portal and onto the street. He
looked around, then proudly announced, "I am here to kick the
hell out of someone's ass!"
"So you're the Mighty Ulik?" Bucky said as she prepared
herself for a fight.
"No. He isn't." Surprisingly, that came from Xellos,
who waved a hand, banishing the glowing portal. He moved in front
of the troll, his eyes fully open for a moment. "Excuse me,
but who in Hela's deathly realm are you and where's Ulik?"
"Ulik was busy, so he asked me to fill in for him." The
troll beat his fist proudly against his chest. "My name is
Ulos, The Pretty Damn Powerful. I'm Ulik's little brother."
"I didn't want Ulik's little brother. I wanted Ulik himself,"
Xellos pointed out.
"Big Bro was in one of his moods and didn't want to come.
If you had dragged him here, he'd have probably ripped your arms
off for trying to force him to bend to your will," Ulos explained.
"But don't worry about it. I'm almost as strong as my brother,
and a little faster in the head, if you know what I mean."
Xellos seemed to consider that. "True. Ulik is nearly as thick
as the ground that he lives under. How do you feel about killing
In response, Ulos pulled out a set of huge metal knuckles from
a pocket on his vest. He put them on, then beat them together, producing
a shower of sparks and a resounding ring that was loud enough to
be heard over the peals of thunder. "Would you like them dismembered,
pulverized, or torn in half?"
"Your choice." Xellos indicated the redhead before them
was the target.
Ulos nodded in approval. "Right. Easiest money I've ever made."
Ulos moved slowly as he prepared to attack Bucky, amused that all
he had to do was kill a single mortal for some quick cash. He would
be able to take Alonacha the Most Beautiful out tonight. She had
expensive tastes, but would put out at the drop of a hat if one
spent lots of money on her. She was exactly the sort of girl a troll
Almost casually Ulos drew his fist back, confident that the mortal
would be too terrified at his fearsome presence to move. So slow
was his blow that Bucky was able to throw a punch of her own first,
connected directly with Ulos's face. He paused after the blow landed;
his own fist still raised in mid-air. Bucky leaped back out of reach
to survey the damage she had inflicted.
Ulos blinked. "Hey now, I actually felt that." His face
scrunched up in irritation as he moved towards his agile opponent
"Oh boy," Bucky moaned as she prepared herself for yet
another titanic battle against a huge and very powerful foe. And
to make matters worse, his breath smelled ten times worse than the
Raiden rained a blinding series of blows upon Thor. From the moment
he had connected with his human missile attack, he finally possessed
the advantage in the fight. The sheer number of his blows was wearing
her down, and Thor found the pain starting to affect her. Truly
this fight with a fellow god of thunder was the mightiest battle
she had found herself in since the recovery of her hammer. As painful
and difficult as the battle was, there was a certain amount of joy
in it as well. As the mere Akane Tendou, she had never experienced
the delight that accompanied the knowledge that one was pressing
herself to the limit of physical endurance in combat. In that confining
past she could only live vicariously through the accomplishments
of others, such as Nabiki when she won the occasional tournament
she entered, and that caused more envy than anything else. Martial
arts had been one of Akane's favorite things before the accident
and to be denied that joy for nearly a decade still made her bitter,
despite her newfound godhood.
But not at this moment. This was what life was meant to be like.
The smell of sweat and blood as the rain poured down and the heavens
roared. This was a battlefield, and to the winner would go a richly
deserved victory against a worthy foe. It was something Thor desperately
wanted to achieve, having tasted so little of it in her life as
the much more mundane Akane.
Thor watched as Raiden broke off his attack and instead seemed
to leap directly at a wall. For a moment, Thor was confused, until
she sensed the buildup of power in his body and realized what the
god was planning. Very clever, trying to use the wall as momentum
for another one of his human missile attacks. But only if he had
been able to sneak it past her, which he wasn't going to do.
Raiden bounced off the wall, glowing blue again as he became a
blur and headed straight for his opponent even faster than he had
the first time.
The increased speed threw Thor off for a moment, and she barely
got her hammer up in time to allow Raiden to crash into it instead
of her own immortal form.
The impact sent Raiden back to the ground, the god somehow managing
to land on his feet. A second blow from Mjolnir sent him flying
backward again and into a fire hydrant. The geyser of water that
shot into the air was only slightly more powerful than what was
Xellos watched in disgust as the red-haired girl punched Ulos in
the jaw again. The battle was going poorly for the troll. He might
have been lighter and faster than his brother, but his speed was
nothing compared to that of the mortal girl. She was bouncing around
faster than a hungry Volstagg looking for food or Amelia on a sugar
rush. And the few times Ulos managed to get close enough to land
a blow, the girl's shield would block the blow, the piece of metal
somehow withstanding the raw power unleashed by the troll. So much
for the Ulos, the Pretty Damn Powerful.
Xellos returned his attention to the only fight that truly mattered
to him. Thor had retaken the advantage again. It was that damn hammer.
Without Mjolnir, the tide of battle would shift and it would be
Raiden who would have the advantage. Then things would go Xellos'
way at last.
Apparently Raiden felt the same way. As Thor attacked with her
weapon, the Japanese god struck the Asgardian in the arm, forcing
the hammer from her grasp and making it fly from her hand, several
feet away, causing a small splash as it landed in a pool of water
that had formed in a basin formed from the wreckage of the street.
Having put everything into disarming his opponent, Raiden let himself
open to a counterattack by Thor, which consisted of a meaty fist
impacting with his jaw and sending him to the ground. Seeing her
opponent stunned for a little while, Thor ran over to regain her
hammer. As she bent down to retrieve it, the weapon seemed to melt
into the earth, as though it was immaterial and gravity had taken
over. Looking down, she could see no opening, nor even crack, to
indicate that it had fallen into a hole; the hammer just seemed
to have vanished.
Xellos smiled when he saw the panicked expression on Thor's face.
He snickered aloud as the goddess wailed in impotent rage and smashed
her fist into the street, shattering even more of the pavement in
an effort to retrieve her weapon. It was a waste of time. Xellos'
magic would ensure that it remained out of her grasp for the duration
of the fight.
Shaking his head clear of pain, Raiden saw Thor bent over, smashing
the street up for some reason he couldn't comprehend. Her reasons
mattered little to him. Now he had an opportunity for a free shot
at his foe, and it was one he would not pass up. He formed a shaft
of pure electricity in his hand, similar to the ones he had wielded
earlier. Seeing Thor had yet to return his attention towards his
opponent, Raiden moved quickly.
Centuries of battle-honed senses made Thor look up at the last
minute, just in time to partially brace herself for the impact of
the blue staff as it struck in the center of her chest. Without
the immunity to lightning conferred by Mjolnir, she felt the full
effects of the weapon that knocked her to the ground and stunned
her, leaving her at the mercy of her opponent.
Mercy was not the first thing on Raiden's mind, falling somewhere
after 'Making Thor into tiny pieces that aren't recognizable as
being organic material anymore.' Centuries of the wrongs the Asgardian
had inflicted upon him, from romancing his love interests to claiming
Raiden was nothing more than the 'God of Light Dew,' all bore down
on him and powered his arm so that he would smite Thor with a blow
that would end once and for all their rivalry.
Just as the staff was about to hit, the blue glow emanating from
it highlighted Thor's features as the Asgardian lay on the ground,
staring at Raiden while preparing himself for the blow. For the
first time since the fight had begun, without a battle rage, darkness,
or rain obscuring the distance between them, Raiden saw Thor, truly
saw the Asgardian, for the first time.
"You're a woman!" Raiden gasped as the staff's course
was arrested directly above Thor's prone form.
Whereas Raiden was surprised by Thor's current gender, the goddess
was not as she rose to her feet and smashed Raiden in the face with
Sensing a clear advantage, and the opportunity to finish the overlong
duel, Thor attacked again, relentlessly driving the Japanese god
back with each blow, not giving him the opportunity to recover.
Every fist and kick met solidly with flesh, swelling Raiden's right
eye shut, splitting his lip, bruising his ribs, and giving him a
host of other minor injuries.
She drove her opponent to the ground, deflecting what pitiful attacks
he could mount. The punch she had hit him with while he stood in
wonder at her gender --which was most peculiar, since he knew very
well what it was-- had obviously been the telling blow in the conflict.
She almost felt sorry for him having left himself so ridiculously
open, but it really was his own fault. A true warrior needed to
be prepared for any eventuality.
The near slaughter went on until at last, Raiden, his wide hat
having long since been knocked from his head, looked through his
swollen eye as he found himself hoisted in the air by his collar,
too weakened to resist. Thor was smirking at him as she --and it
truly was a she-- boasted, "Truly a magnificent duel, but at
last it must draw to a close."
Raiden firmed his resolve to meet his fate with his eyes open.
He saw Thor nod once, perhaps in honor of her foe, and draw her
free hand back. Just as the fist reached the apex of its arc there
was a flash of light, and Raiden found himself no longer suspended
in mid-air. Instead he fell, Thor having released him. His beating
had been so severe that he landed on his posterior rather than his
feet. His godly stamina quickly allowed him to recover enough to
regain his footing, only to discovered that his opponent had vanished,
the Goddess of Thunder now replaced with a young Japanese girl,
who seemed to be looking at her hands in surprise.
A quick glance around showed no sign of either a male of female
version of Thor around. All that remained was the girl. He listened
to her say in shock, "Why did I change back? I didn't tap Mjolnir
again, I didn't even have it in my hands, so why I did I change?"
The words sent Raiden's mind racing. There was a trick he had learned,
from a mortal mage of all people, which enabled him to see auras.
Narrowing his vision, Raiden squinted at the obviously mortal girl
and saw the multitude of auras that surrounded her. After a moment's
pondering, he believed he figured out what had happened and smiled
inwardly. This was going to be good. Shifting his vision back into
its normal spectrum, he approached the girl with a slow but steady
The girl cowered back at his approach, but almost as though sensing
it would do no good, stopped. Her jaw set itself with steely resolve
as she stood as proudly as she could, despite only reaching the
height of Raiden's chest.
Raiden gave her a menacing glare, saw her flinch a little, and
then smiled. He was barely able to contain his mirth as he said,
"This new form of yours is disgustingly appropriate, oh Goddess
of Thunder. I now give you permission to operate in my lands at
your leisure. I will raise my hand neither to oppose nor assist
you. You shall meet only silence." He turned to leave, but
then gave one last glance over his shoulder towards Akane. "As
much as I am inclined to doubt it, perhaps you will actually learn
something from this ordeal, but I would not bet on it."
Laughing, Raiden summoned a bolt from above that struck the ground
with only the softest of sounds. It remained where it was, extending
down from the clouds above. Raiden shot one last, derisive smirk
towards the girl, then placed his hand on the bolt. It instantly
began to retract, taking Raiden along with it until it disappeared
into the clouds again and took the god out of sight. The moment
he disappeared, the storm seemed to abate somewhat, becoming half
the elemental force it had been but moments before.
"What did he mean by that?" Akane wondered aloud.
A frown creased Xellos' features as he watched Raiden fly up to
the clouds on his pole of lightning. How dare that arrogant Japanese
god refuse to be manipulated by him into killing Thor! That arrogant
popinjay was going to ruin everything. It had taken Xellos nearly
three weeks after learning of Thor's predicament before he was able
to come up with a plan to eliminate the god-become-goddess without
his hand showing in the machinations.
Recovering the Masques of Hagalla had taken nearly two months on
their own, and now it was all about to come to an end with that
damnable Thor coming out of it none the worse for wear.
But there yet remained one way of salvaging everything and still
be able to pin Thor's demise on Raiden. The air was still tinged
with the duo's battle, and even Thor's mortal form would still be
charged with Raiden's unique godly magics. Xellos' hand glowed blue
as he magically prepared to summon a blast of electricity to complete
the job Raiden should have finished on his own. Death by lightning.
Assuming Odin or some other god investigated the demise of Thor,
they would immediately assume it was the Japanese god of thunder's
work and would seek vengeance upon him rather than the true culprit.
Xellos' hands would be clean of any wrongdoing. He aimed his hand
at Akane's unprotected back. It was perfect.
Or it was perfect right up until the moment a powerful hand clamped
around his throat from behind and threw him hard into a wall, disrupting
the spell. Xellos turned in anger toward the figure that had molested
him. "Who do you think you are laying hands upon me?!"
"You know who I am."
Xellos' eyes widened in disbelief for exactly one second before
a back fist caught him across the face. The blood roared in his
ears from the blow. He loathed physical combat to the extreme. He
never was one to withstand much physical punishment, and the blow
scrambled his thinking enough to prevent him from casting any kind
of spell. Instead, he began babbling, trying to buy himself some
time. "Now wait just a Urk!" Xellos found a very
long and very sharp blade poised at his throat. "Can't we talk
this out, Sif?"
"Enough talk, trickster." The tall dark-haired goddess,
who stood a good six inches above Xellos, spat as she kept the blade
pressed against his flesh nearly hard enough to draw blood. "Should
thou attempt to cast even the simplest of enchantments, I would
be more than pleased to part thy head from thy shoulders. And unlike
when Balder last did it, I should be mindful to make certain that
thou dost not have enough left of thy body to reattach it to."
"Very well, you have my complete and utter attention,"
Sif's blade remained where it was. "Thou dost know the All-Father's
edict that none of the Realm might interfere in the current matter
involving Thor. Any who do would find themselves in direct violation
of that order and would be punished most severely. Even those that
are considered of royal blood, Lo-"
"Please call me Xellos for now," he quickly interrupted.
"I wouldn't want it to get out who I really am, and you never
know who might be listening. Some that know me in this form might
not take kindly to my real identity."
"I care nothing of thy devious schemes," Sif said contemptuously.
"But let me assure thee that no matter what punishment Odin
would give, mine would be a thousand times worse. Death be not the
end, as thou well know, and if thou wouldst dare to raise even the
slightest finger against Thor, thou wouldst be marking thy moments
till the end. Thou would not be counting for overlong."
Seeing the look in Sif's eyes, Xellos decided that he had better
things to do with his time than to continue plaguing Thor. The trickster
enjoyed his life more than he hated the God now Goddess of Thunder,
especially since he found that fun group or mortals to play with
in that other dimension.
Besides, being a woman was truly a fitting punishment for the oaf,
as well as being cursed to be mortal at least part of the time.
And since Thor apparently was at least partially mortal, who was
to say some other accident might not befall him and end his annoying
existence while leaving Xellos' hands clean? Yes, many bad things
happened to mortals, and there was no reason to believe Thor was
immune to such possibilities. Xellos could live with keeping an
eye out to dance on Thor's grave should such a time come.
"Time to go." Xellos was annoyed to discover the blade
still pressed against his throat.
"Release Mjolnir," Sif reminded him.
"But of course." With a wave of the hand, Xellos canceled
his spell. There was no need for the goddess to worry; once he departed,
the spell's effects would have ended on their own anyway.
Finally Sif removed her blade from his throat, while keeping it
ready to wield against him should it be necessary. But it was not,
as Xellos formed another glowing disc in mid-air, this one leading
to an open field in some far-off countryside where no buildings
were immediately present. Xellos stepped halfway through the portal
before turning to confront Sif once again.
Sif cocked her head quizzically at the man she trusted the least
in all the universe. "Yes?"
There was true curiosity in Xellos' voice as he asked, "Why
did you choose to interfere now and save Thor's life when he so
unceremoniously dumped you without a second thought all those years
ago? One would think you would want to see the oaf get his comeuppance."
A look of anger crossed Sif's face, though whether it was from
the question or the memories that would have undoubtedly have been
dredged up by it he could not determine. "My love for him is
not dependent upon his love for me. I am not so petty as to wish
to see him harmed because of the events that transpired between
Xellos' gave a sad shake of his head, and for once seemed genuine
in his emotion as he fully opened his eyes. "Such ridiculous
sentimentality. It pleases me that I have never fallen for this
detrimental feeling others term love. It gets them into far more
trouble than I ever could, even at my best." With that declaration,
Xellos turned back to the glowing gateway and entered with a flourish
of his cape. Once inside, the portal collapsed after him.
Sif stared at the residual glow until it vanished, then turned
her attention back to the street. Even from her position in the
side alley, she could see the lame mortal discover the enchanted
walking stick among the debris of the street and caress the wooden
staff in ways that reminded Sif of a much taller man who had caressed
her with much the same affection. Who could tell what remained of
her beloved and what did not? Only the All-Father knew for certain,
and he had made it clear he would tell no one what the truth was.
The goddess turned to leave, fearful of what she might do if she
remained. She only hoped the one she still loved would weather this
trial somehow, even if it meant they would never be rejoined.
"Stand still, you hopping rodent! Ow!"
"Wow! Even with all of this rain you still stink like five-day-old
roadkill. Do you have to try to smell that bad, or does it just
come naturally to you?"
"When I get my hands on you, mortal, I'll show you foul odor
when I force you to eat your own dung! Ow!" Ulos shouted again
as Bucky darted in again and struck him in the nose with her fist.
The fortieth time she had done so without him laying a hand on her.
The few times he came close with his attacks, the damnable little
gnat kept blocking it with her shield, which refused to give under
his blows. What was the thing made of anyway?
Another blow connected with Ulos' stomach this time. This was becoming
ridiculous. Here was he, Ulos the Pretty Damn Powerful, being made
a fool of by a flimsy little mortal. And a female one at that. If
Ulik ever found out, Ulos would never hear the end of it for the
next millennium. He had to figure out a way to end it fast.
Bucky felt pleased with the way the fight was going. The poison
from Wolf Mask's bite had long since faded and now she was kicking
the ugly guy's butt, although it was taking a while to do it. Still,
she was winning. Her fight against the Hulk had served her well,
even if she hadn't exactly won that (but Bucky would be quick to
point out she hadn't lost it either). It had taught her how to fight
a MUCH larger and stronger foe, especially one with the IQ of a
pea. This Ulos character might have been a bit smarter than old
Greenskin, but all the other rules applied. Ulos wasn't anywhere
near as strong or as powerful as the Hulk. Only his fighting skills
were better, and they weren't enough to counter the hit and run
tactics Bucky was employing. Slowly she was wearing the ugly guy
down. With her super-soldier-enhanced body, she would outlast him
She threw her shield at him again, and though it caught Ulos in
the face, he managed to bat it down with his hand. Upon seeing her
weapon lying on the ground, the one she kept hitting him with quite
effectively, he picked it up, smiling at his opponent the entire
time. "Now I'll show you what I intend to do. First I'll break
the shield, then I'll break you."
"Don't try it or you'll be sorry," Bucky warned.
"Ha! Your pitiful attempts at saving your weapon will avail
you nothing." He held the shield in two hands, then brought
it over his knee in an effort to snap it in half.
"ARGH!" he cried out as it felt like he nearly shattered
his shin. The shield fell to the ground as the Rock Troll hopped
up and down, holding his leg in pain.
"Toldya so." Bucky smirked as she hopped up and down
while holding the same leg as Ulos.
"Die!" the troll shouted as he forced himself to fight
through the pain and charged forward. He was going to grind her
into paste and then give the remains to a Bordargua.
Bucky waited until the last second before leapfrogging over his
head and allowing him to continue on through with his charge right
into a light pole. The force from the impact severed the pole in
two, Ulos draping his form across the bottom half of the shattered
instrument of light.
The part that still had a bunch of live wires that had been ripped
open… Ulos was shocked for nearly ten seconds before his body jerked
hard enough to break the connection. He stood up, then stated boldly,
"That didn't hurt."
A thrown shield struck him right in the face.
"That did." Ulos's eyes crossed.
"If you thought that was something, wait until you get a load
of this." Bucky leaped up into the air, bringing her fist back
as far as she could. It was time to end it all on one of the newer
techniques her father had made her learn in his efforts to create
the 'Heroic Icon of Superheroism'
She shouted, "Saotom…err, Bucky Anything Goes School
of Superheroic Combat Final Attack: Haymaker From Hell!"
The redhead connected with a mighty roundhouse right to Ulos' jaw.
Much to her amazement, the troll stood there. He laughed, then fell
face forward to the ground.
"Yeah!" Bucky gave a 'V for Victory' sign with her fingers
as she stood over her fallen foe. A clean victory. It felt good.
Real good, especially with how miserably her fight with the Hulk
had gone. The five idiots in the masks she could have taken if Nabiki
That errant thought reminded Bucky of who she had been protecting
in the first place. After looking around in a panic, the masked
heroine found Nabiki lying on one of the few unbroken portions of
the street, along with the five members of the Mask Gang. All of
them appeared unharmed save for a little singeing upon the various
members of the gang. Bucky considered them lucky for getting off
The fallen girl's breathing seemed regular and besides a few bruises,
appeared fine. Gently, Bucky sat the unconscious Nabiki up. "Nabiki,"
she said softly.
Nabiki's eyes remained closed.
"Nabiki," Bucky said even more gently.
Still, there was no response.
"WAKE UP, DAMMIT!" Bucky shouted as she shook Nabiki
like a rag doll, but still there was no response. The redhead was
going to try to revive the girl by slapping her in the face until
something about Nabiki's behavior beforehand stuck in her mind.
Looking through a small pocket sewn into the waistband of the costume,
Bucky fished out a ten yen coin. She held it up in the air, then
The instant the coin hit the pavement, Nabiki's eyes flashed open.
"What was that?" she said panicked as her head darted
back and forth --and felt for her money pouch-- as she tried finding
the source of the disturbance.
"Some debris falling over," Bucky said quickly as she
grabbed the ten-yen piece before Nabiki spotted it. The redhead
might not have been the cheapskate her father was, but she was not
the sort to give money away without good cause.
That statement made Nabiki look more closely at the world around
her. Her eyes widened as she saw the condition the street, and many
of the adjacent buildings, were in. "Did I do this?!"
she shouted out, panicked.
"No, no," Bucky assured her.
Nabiki's whole form seemed to slump from the built up tension.
"Thank god. That means no one can sue me for this."
Bucky began to sweat at that. Could a superhero be sued for trying
to serve the public trust and save lives? That seemed wrong in some
way, but who knew. Then her eyes turned to the fallen Ulos. Oh well.
They had a decent scapegoat, at least. "Are you all right?"
she finally asked Nabiki.
"I think so."
"Absolutely." Nabiki sat up and moved around a bit, only
a few aches and pain from the bruises she had endured at the hands
of the Mask Gang. Slowing her down "See. I'm fit as a…"
Nabiki trailed off as she saw Hawkeye hurtle past in a life and
death struggle with her arrows. "Okay. Maybe I did get hit
in the head a little hard."
Bucky stared at the archer's odd behavior. "Hey! Aren't you
supposed to use a bow to shoot them instead of throwing them arrows
around by hand?"
The question intruded on the illusion and snapped Hawkeye out of
her panic. She paused, and in so doing, reexamined the 'snake'.
She couldn't believe it. Her shoulders slumped as the energy seemed
to leave her body. But that lasted only a moment as anger began
to fill her. "That guy must have done something to my mind
and made me think my arrows were snakes. That jackass!" she
Bucky flinched. There was something about the way the archer said
that that scratched at a memory in the back of her mind. She looked
the superheroes over more closely. He didn't seem familiar. "What's
your name, pal?"
Hawkeye was taken aback by how intently the redhead in the odd
costume was looking at her. Still, as somewhat rude as the question
was, they had saved each other's lives, and taking offense at that
would seem a bit uncalled for. "The name's Hawkeye."
"Hawkeye," Bucky said slowly. No way! It couldn't be
him. That was too much to believe. It had to be a coincidence. Before
Bucky could think more on the subject, another person approached,
her manner indicating some degree of agitation.
After discovering her walking stick amongst the rubble of where
it had melted into the street before, she had moved as quickly as
she could behind an overturned car and hid. Given how terrible the
storm had been, it was unlikely anyone had seen her change from
Thor to her more mundane form. But now that the storm had abated
somewhat, there was a chance someone would spot her if she tried
switching into Thor once again. So she hid, making certain no one
was around as she pondered her situation. Why had she changed back?
It made no sense. The only thing she could figure out was perhaps
it had something to do with Mjolnir. It had been swallowed by the
ground, and she had been out of contact with the hammer for a short
length of time. That seemed to make sense. Since she had first stumbled
onto the power within the stick, she had always kept it with her,
especially in her godly form. It sounded like the most likely probability;
some sort of restriction on the enchantment.
Now came the second important question: could she change back?
Her heart raced as the possibility of losing her godly form and
its power reared its head. Giving a cursory look around to see if
anyone was watching her, she tapped her walking stick into the ground.
In a flash of light, Thor, Goddess of Thunder, walked the Earth
"Praise the All-Father," Thor softly intoned as she made
certain every part of her was there and that she had suffered no
ill effects from the previous forced transformation.
Satisfied she was in perfect health, she turned her attention to
other concerns. Such as the condition of her sister and the others
that had been present at the start of the fight. Almost immediately
she spotted the trio of people talking together. As she drew closer,
she saw that the red-haired harlot was examining the one called
Hawkeye closely. Too closely for Thor's tastes. A bit startled by
the anger in her breast, Thor stalked towards the redhead.
Bucky could feel the hostility radiating from the goddess, and
tensed up in response.
Thor stood next to Bucky, placing herself slightly between the
redhead and archer. "Thou should keep thy tempestuous ways
to thyself, harlot."
Bucky was confused by the accusation. Did the goddess think she
was coming onto her in some way? They hadn't said two words to one
another since the fight started. "What's that supposed to mean,
"Mine name is Thor!" she corrected loudly and with a
wave of her hammer.
Hawkeye couldn't understand why the two were suddenly so angry
with one another. In an effort to placate them, she gave them her
winningest smile and said, "Look, we've just been through a
really tense situation here. Let's calm down and talk rationally
Bucky was basically unaffected by the gesture and just spun on
her heels and crossed her arms. Thor was more easily swayed. Truly
this Hawkeye had a most dynamic smile that served to put the goddess
in a good mood. Since the archer was trying so hard, Thor let go
of her anger, and said, "Very well."
Since Thor seemed to relax somewhat, and having no desire to continue
an argument she hadn't started, Bucky said, "Okay. I have to
get going anyway." There was a limited amount of time she had
in which to get her normal clothes back, get some hot water, and
come up with an excuse as to why Ranma Saotome had not made his
way to the fight in time to help Nabiki like he had said he was
going to do.
"Ah, I have other appointments as well." Thor hurled
her hammer in the air and followed its passage by hanging onto the
leather strap that hung down from the weapon. She had to turn back
to Akane and be waiting for Ranma and Nabiki when they went to get
to find her.
"I suppose I ought to hit the road as well," Hawkeye
said. She had intended to go out on a brief afternoon patrol right
after school to blow off some steam, but the battle had taken a
while and it was starting to get late. She had to get ready for
the evening crowd at her cousin's restaurant that she worked at.
It was a pity she was so miserable at okonomiyaki style martial
arts that her father had refused to give her a loan to start her
own restaurant, but being a super hero was cool and realistically
ate up too much time to allow her to run her own business anyway.
She had her hands full just trying to keep up her grades, work,
and go out on nightly patrols. But it was a juggling act she was
determined to keep up for as long as she could.
Nabiki watched the three heroes depart and sighed. That had been
a complete waste of time. She was beat, her clothing torn, and now
she had to find Ranma and Akane. The only useful thing that happened
was meeting those superheroes. They seemed relatively nice, even
if they had been a bit destructive. Although now that she thought
about it, there was something about them that was nagging her. She
was pretty sure that Bucky girl had called out her name, but Nabiki
had forgotten to ask her how she knew it since Nabiki hadn't given
her name. Could she really have been someone Nabiki knew? Now that
sort of knowledge could be useful.
The wheels of Nabiki's mind began turning as she went to find her
sister and the boy who would never be her fiancé.
The rain had finally stopped as Bucky found her father waiting
for her several blocks away. One costume change and kettle of hot
water later, Ranma was back in his uncursed form. Now it was time
to discuss how to solve the final problem with his father.
Ranma finished up saying, "So you see, Pop. I need a reasonable
excuse as to why I wasn't there in time to help them."
*I agree wholeheartedly,* Genma-panda signed.
Ranma's eye took on a sinister gleam. "I think I've got something.
How about we say I got jumped by a sixth member of the Mask Gang?"
*Sounds reasonable,* Genma-panda agreed.
*Works for me.*
"And I beat him up, which was what took me so long."
*A terrible plan boy. They'll never buy it.*
"Oh, I think with a little 'proof' they'll believe it."
Ranma cracked his knuckles for emphasis.
Genma-panda backed away in fear. *Wait a minute. Let's put our
heads together. We'll come up with something else.*
Ranma continued to stalk menacingly towards his father. "Now
come on, Pop. Aren't you the one that's always going on about how
there's no sacrifice too great for me becoming a super-hero?"
All Genma-panda could do was whimper about traitorous sons who
knew no concept of honoring their fathers. Though later on, he was
able to live with the consolation that when Ranma showed Akane and
Nabiki his mud covered form (from the pounding into the soft earth
he got courtesy of his son), which they mistook for a brown bear,
they believed his son's story and didn't arouse their suspicions.
The trio had departed, leaving Genma's animal form wallowing in
the mud. It was undignified, but it had worked just like they had
And when all was said and done, Genma found himself hoping Nodoka
appreciated the sacrifices he had undergone. Being a superhero's
sidekick was tough work.
The man sat back on the lounge chair, enjoying the rays of the
sun beating down upon him. Truly that travel agent had been correct
when he claimed this Rio De Janeiro beach was magnificent. He had
been here nearly two weeks, enjoying the delights this city had
to offer: both those that took place during the daytime and those
that could only be done during the night.
But now something had happened to disrupt what was otherwise a
luxurious vacation. Somehow, someone had tracked him down and delivered
a telegram to him. To his knowledge, no one knew where he was vacationing.
And yet still, there was the telegram before him. His eyes looked
over it once again, their enigmatic words filling his mind.
My Old Comrade.
It is with great pleasure that I inform you that I am back among
the world of mortals. I know I have been absent overlong, but
am feeling well and ready to renew our friendship, which I pray
will grow in new directions. I will let you know that I have undergone
significant changes, changes that I hope will spur a change in
our longtime relationship and make us closer in ways that it could
never be before. I am now based in Nerima, Japan, and look forward
to seeing you once again.
Truly an unexpected event. Rumor had it something happened to Thor
while he was in Asgard a while back, and no one had heard from him
since. There was a lot of speculation as to what might have happened,
from some sort of disfigurement, to a scorned woman, to some kind
of law broken for which he was on the run. He asked around, but
had been unable to uncover any precise information. Though he and
Thor were friends, and at time rivals, they were not really all
that close, and since he had other important things to do, and Thor
had not been gone for more than a hundred years, a virtual eyeblink
for immortals, he pushed the thunder god's absence from his mind
and went back to the thing he enjoyed most: living life to the fullest.
But now Thor was back, and it was just the sort of thing to liven
his day. It would be good for the two of them to reunite and make
many more memorable events between them. Thor was always good for
a round of heavy drinking and the occasional wenching. Sometimes
a friendly fight or two. He wasn't as good as the man was at it,
but then no one was. It would be good to hang out with a fellow
immortal once again. Yes. Thor would be in his near future.
Just as he was about to get up and arrange flight reservations,
Hercules eyed several shapely forms saunter down the beach, one
of the vixens lowering her sunglasses as she walked past, obviously
basking in his godly presence. As he got up, he decided he would
visit Japan once he was done with a few more parties. Then he could
meet his old comrade-in-arms and they could renew their association
once again. There were such things as priorities, after all. But
soon he would head out for that little island in the Pacific.
In a dimension not so far away, Xellos laughed long and hard. True,
he had promised to not meddle in Thor's affairs anymore, and in
the best interest of his health he would do so, but it had been
impossible to resist causing that little inspired bit of trickery,
and all it had taken was a telegram. Maximum effect with a minimum
of effort. Truly it was one of his better works. And it wasn't as
though this encounter would prove physically harmful to his moronic
stepbrother, sister, sibling, or whatever term now applied. Who
knew, perhaps the Goddess of Thunder would enjoy the company of
her old comrade in arms.
Xellos burst out laughing again.
"What's so funny?" the short red-haired girl that was
standing a few feet away asked.
Xellos turned to her direction, opened his mouth, then placed a
single finger to his lips and said, "That is a secret."
"Ohh, I hate it when you do that!" Lina stomped off without
another word. And Xellos continued laughing in amusement.
To be continued.
Author's notes: A little shorter than the others, but it was a
good place to end it. Going back to work on the next chapter of
'Should Acquaintance' next, but am planning to come back to Avenging
after that. Hopefully I will keep this up for a while.