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The End of the Circus: A Tale of the Yizibajohei

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DISCLAIMER: Concurrent with fair dealing clauses of the Copyright Act (R.S.C., 1985, c. C-42) of Canada and fair use clauses in copyright legislation in other nations, this is a work that was created solely for entertainment purposes. Furthermore, it is posted freely on the Internet without expectation or requirement of remuneration.

 

****

 

The Tomobiki Ginza, a Thursday afternoon in late November after school...

 

Sitting at a window booth in Tampopo's Rāmen and Beefbowl Bar, Moroboshi Ataru could only smile in amusement as his hearing picked up the grumbling of several people from outside the front door. A glance into the main street of the shopping district in this part of Nishitōkyō revealed the core members of that moron's brigade calling themselves "Lum's Stormtroopers" as they scanned around, looks of righteous outrage on their faces. Shaking his head, he turned back to his tea as he waited for supper to be prepared. It had been child's play to ditch his so-called "wife" and evade her latest attempt at trying to cook for him. If Redet Lum — Ataru refused to use that stupid patronymic version of her name, "Lum Invader", when he thought of the warlord's daughter — hadn't realized by now that she simply couldn't cook, nothing he could do would ever persuade her. Having had to deal with all the Oni's eccentricities since she lied to him about their being "married" at the end of the Tag Race over a year ago, Ataru knew that once Lum fixated herself on something, you needed an anti-matter bomb to shake her out of it.

 

And while their "relationship" had been amusing and quite stimulating in many places, it was time to forever skip this stupid scene and get on with more vital things.

 

"Oi! Ataru! Where you are, a-ho?!"

 

Oh, joy! There was Lum's cousin Redet Ten on his rubber ducky-shaped hoverscooter floating over the street as he scanned around for his "cousin-in-law". Wonder what he'd think if he learned the truth of what happened between Lum and I in the Tag Race, Ataru mused as he concentrated, intensifying the metaphysical notice-me-not screen he placed over the restaurant owned by one of his few true friends in this pit of chaos, Kamekichi Tampopo, to ensure the Oni child wouldn't be able to spot him even if Ataru was relaxing at a window seat. Considering how much Ten (as he preferred to be called given what his full name "Jariten" meant in Japanese) cared for Lum — an admirable trait in the end — Ataru knew that if he learned that Lum's claim of marriage over the child of Moroboshi Muchi and the former Yamaguchi Kinshō was illegal under the laws and traditions of her people, he would probably still accept it. Given how much the spoiled brat loved to cause trouble, then claim innocence of it...!

 

He sighed. No, no sense in blaming Ten for wanting attention. Being the son of a widowed firefighter who had a visceral hatred of arsonists like the one who set the conflagration that killed her husband — and her son later developed combustive halitosis capabilities — it was no wonder that the effectively orphaned child acted like he did. In her attempts at trying to insert herself into every aspect of Ataru's life, Lum pretty much elected to be a normal high school student at Tomobiki Senior High School, which wasn't ultimately necessary save for things like history and geography courses to learn the local lay of the land; in the Urusian education system, Lum was effectively ready to either join the Union Defence Forces or move on to some form of university. That left Ten pretty much all alone in the Moroboshi home...and while Kinshō was happy to dote on him — like she had done to Lum to the complete detriment of Ataru — she didn't do anything at all to instill some sense of proper self-discipline in the poor kid. The results of same had been seen on several occasions since he came, especially when it came to one poor swallow who had eaten some space candy and wound up the size of Gojira!

 

Oh, speaking of which...

 

Ataru snapped his fingers.

 

****

 

The Moroboshi home, that moment...

 

"Ooh! I wish I never had him! Where is that stupid...?!"

 

KLONK!

 

A scream escaped Moroboshi Kinshō after a fair-sized cinder block was smashed on her head, driving her into the floor of the kitchen of the Moroboshi home. As blood began to leak from her nose from the impact — unlike Ataru, her mother had not experienced the hellish physical punishments he had endured whenever things had got out of control and people blamed him for it regardless of whatever caused it — an envelope fluttered down onto the floor beside her.

 

"Okā-san! You okay?!"

 

Lum flew into the kitchen, then stopped, gaping at the site of her mother-in-law knocked out on the floor thanks to a cement cinder block. A glance around the room revealed no point of origin for the moulded bit of stone and mortar, which caused the Oni to blink in confusion. Hearing Kinshō groan as she tried to pick herself from the floor, Lum then saw the envelope. Kneeling down, she picked it up, seeing there was nothing on it. Curious — she was quick to suspect some strange entity had teleported the block in and dropped it on her mother-in-law's head — the warlord's daughter opened it to pull out a single sheet of paper. Before she could unfold it to read, Kinshō moaned, "What...?"

 

"Someone dropped that cinder block on your head, Okā-san," Lum helpfully said as the older woman shook her head clear. "It delivered a message."

 

That made Kinshō freeze as she robotically turned to look at the block of cement nearby. As an icy vise of fear snared her heart, she snared the letter from her future daughter-in-law, then opened it.

 

Message from your son:

GROW OLD AND DIE ALONE!

By the way, that's 2,427 times you've said 'I wish I never had him'.

Your friendly neighbourhood Coyote

P.S. Tell the Oni that her "husband" knows of the lie now.

 

Kinshō shuddered, then she screamed in mortal agony, jets of tears shooting out of her eyes, "WHO'LL TAKE CARE OF ME WHEN I'M OLD AND GREY?!"

 

Lum blinked, then she glanced at the message...

 

...before she paled as the postscript leapt out at her.

 

"Darling...!"

 

****

 

The End of the Circus: A Tale of the Yizibajohei

by Fred Herriot

 

With characters and situations created by Regina Magia and Dr. Tempo. Some scenes written by the 17th Immortal and Dr. Tempo.

 

C&C by Rose Ash.

 

Aces in Exile (2010), composed by Joakim Brodén and Pär Sundström. Daisy Bouquet (2001), composed by Nezu Yōko and Mitsutome Kensuke. Glass Shatters (2007), composed by Jim Johnston, David Draiman, Dan Donegan, Steve Kmak and Mike Wengren. All Over The World (1980), composed and produced by Jeff Lynne. Sundown (1974), written by Gordon Lightfoot.

 

Based on characters and situations from Bible Black, created by ActiveSoft; Mahō Sensei Negima, created by Akamatsu Ken; The Seventh Carrier, written by Peter Albano; Azumanga Daiō, created by Azuma Kiyohiko; Koihime Musō, created by BaseSon; Kamichu!, created by Besame-mūcho; Mass Effect, created by BioWare; Spaceballs, directed and produced by Mel Brooks, written by Mel Brooks, Ronny Graham and Thomas Meehan; Alpha Flight, created by John Byrne; Cyborg and its associated television series, created by Martin Caidin; MegaMan, created by Capcom; Men In Black, created by Lowell Cunningham; KimiKiss, created by Enterbrain; Colourful Kiss, created by Giga; Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, written by Seth Grahame-Smith; My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, created by Hasbro and DHX Media; Black Lagoon, created by Hiroe Rei; Kantai Collection, created by Kadokawa Games; Maria-sama ga Miteru, created by Konno Oyuki; 2001: A Space Odyssey, created by Stanley Kubrick and Arthur C. Clarke; Sayonara Zetsubō-sensei, created by Kumeta Kōji; Read Or Die, written by Kurata Hideyuki; the Indiana Jones and Star Wars series, created by George Lucas; Zenkoku Seifuku Bishōjo Grand Prix, created by Lyceen; characters created by World Wrestling Entertainment and its predecessor organizations, founded by Jess McMahon and Toots Mondt; MC Gakuen, created by Mizuryū Kei; Sherlock, created by Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss (based on Sherlock Holmes, created by Arthur Conan Doyle); RWBY, created by Monty Oum; Captain Marvel (AKA Shazam), created by Bill Parker and C.C. Beck; Sweet Valley High, created by Francine Pascal; the NOëL series, created by Pioneer LDC; Harry Potter, created by Joanna K. Rowling; the Super Real Mahjong series, developed by Seta; The West Wing, created by Aaron Sorkin; The War of the Worlds, created by Greg Strangis (based on The War of the Worlds, written by H.G. Wells); Urusei Yatsura and Ranma 1/2, created by Takahashi Rumiko; Suzumiya Haruhi no Yūutsu and its sequels, written by Tanigawa Nagaru; Sister Princess, created by Tenhiro Naoto and Kimino Sakurako; Mary Poppins, created by P.L. Travers; The Guns of the South, written by Harry Turtledove; normalman, created by Jim Valentino; Buffy the Vampire Slayer, created by Joss Whedon; Dial "H" For Hero, originally created by Dave Wood and Jim Mooney, with follow-on stories by Marv Wolfman and Carmine Infantino, based on characters created by multiple fans; Stargate SG-1, created by Brad Wright and Jonathan Glassner; and Mai-HiME, created by Yoshino Hiroyuki and Sunrise.

 

 

Also including characters and situations from Urusei Yatsura: The Senior Year, created by Mike Smith and Fred Herriot.

 

****

 

Tomobiki, the Moroboshi home, after dawn on Friday...

 

A tired yawn escaped the preschool-aged Oni-Urusian boy as he lifted himself to sit at the side of the kotatsu his best Earth friend had placed in the middle of the bedroom of the man who had saved the planet from invasion by the Union of Uru the previous October.

 

My last day on Earth...!

 

Rubbing his eyes clear, Redet Ten then smiled as a cup of hot tea was placed down before him by the giant mi-ke cat ghost that had moved into the Moroboshi home the previous December, much to Ten's personal delight and the constant annoyance of the person whose room this actually was...

 

...even if it hadn't been used by the child of Moroboshi Muchi and his wife for over eleven years.

 

"Dōmo, Kota-chan! How are you feeling?"

 

Kotatsuneko sighed. Taking the silent communication from his friend, Ten nodded before sipping his tea. He quickly noted that his cousin hadn't slept in her futon; no doubt, she had stayed on her ship in orbit a kilometre above the Moroboshi home in a vain search for her now-missing "husband". Who no doubt had slept in his new home on Ōmure-jima off the coast of Odawara in the Sagami Sea south of Metro Tōkyō itself, spending the first night of true freedom from the madness that haunted his and his effective twin sister's life for over a year, not to mention being united at last with twelve wonderful and near-perfect younger half-sisters, plus get a chance to be with the girls his sisters approved of as potential girlfriends, beings who had been literally reborn thanks to the youngest of the sisters and an ancient weapons project that predated the Dawn of Power by several thousand years.

 

"Yeah, it's kinda sad. I'll miss you."

 

A smile crossed the cat-ghost's face before he took a puff of his pipe.

 

"Yeah, I'll miss Ataru, too. And I really wanted to get to know Tariko-onēchan and all the sisters, too." Ten sipped again from his tea as he heard movement downstairs indicating that Ataru's mother was now up and preparing breakfast. "I just wish it didn't have to happen THIS way. But if Chikage-anekun is right about those spirit oni and everything else that was trapped in this town when those mean creeps trapped Tariko-onēchan here, turning her INTO Ataru like that..."

 

A nod answered him...

 

"WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAT...?!"

 

Ten jerked on hearing that howling shriek from downstairs, then he smirked.

 

"MY MONEY! HOW DARE THEY TAKE MY MONEY AWAY FROM ME?! I WISH I NEVER HAD HIM!"

 

KK-KLONK!

 

"Honey, stop shouting like that! The neighbours will start to complain again!"

 

Hearing the voice of his cousin's would-be father-in-law, Ten groaned before turning back to his tea...then a churlish smile crossed his face. "Taeim letam...!" he whispered.

 

Let the Show begin...!

 

****

 

Dear Diary,

Today is my last day living on planet Earth.

I'm really relieved at that fact. Much that there were a lot of fun things to do since I came here to check up on Lum-chan last fall, I know now that it's best for all of us to go back to Uru and let everyone here in Tomobiki go on with their lives.

Especially Ataru.

Much that I still find it hard to believe how DIFFERENT Ataru became after that whole thing with Queen Elle that finally got Ayumu-onēchan in to rescue Tariko-onēchan from being married to Lum-chan, I guess this is just for the best.

Too many people have been hurt since we started living here.

Even by me.

Much that I was really scared living close to Mom after my flame-breath developed, I never really realized how much I ended up hurting people because I just didn't understand how things really worked on this planet.

I'm glad that Tariko-onēchan's sisters understood what was going on.

Now that they'll be together with her and Ataru, things should be alright.

I just hope Lum-chan will understand...

 

****

 

The Moroboshi home, after breakfast...

 

"...do this to me after all I've suffered for him?! I wish I never had him!"

 

"If you don't like it, go get a job."

 

"PAY ATTENTION!"

 

"Ooh! That stupid Darling! Where is he?! I'll zap him black and blue when I find him! He's probably chasing after some girl again...!"

 

"Can't you find him, Lum-chan?!"

 

"No, Okā-san! All the tracers I put into Darling's clothes were on his desk when I tried to track him down after I saw he moved all his stuff out!"

 

"ARGH! I BET IT'S THAT COW THAT DID THIS...!"

 

"Honey...!"

 

"WHAT?!"

 

"Okā-san's been dead for five years...!"

 

"IT'S STILL HER FAULT! AND YOUR STUPID SON'S FAULT! I WISH I NEVER HAD HIM!"

 

KK-KLONK!

 

"OKĀ-SAN!"

 

Ten groaned as he secured his riding helmet in place, then slipped himself onto his duck-shaped hoverscooter, now parked on the front lawn of the Moroboshi home. Ignoring the shouting from Moroboshi Ataru's parents and his cousin as they looked over the various legal decrees that declared the Terran tag race champion an emancipated adult and not obliged to honour any claim of marriage to the warlord's daughter from Uru, he powered his scooter on, then allowed the anti-gravity systems to lift it into the air before he gunned the drive thrusters forward to go on one final flight around town.

 

Avoid the area of the Ginza after nine o'clock, Ten. Don't go near the borders of the town around that time, either. Stay close to the school...

 

Remembering the warning from the second-oldest of Ataru's half-sisters — and the wisest of them all in Ten's eyes even if she was kinda creepy and gothic — the firefighter's son from Onishuto turned to head towards the town park north of the grounds of Tomobiki Senior High School. He knew that the papers officially removing Ataru from the roster of students at that place of education would be found by the secretary as soon as she came into work. Much that Kotatsuneko did suspect that the elderly principal of Tomobiki High would instantly raise a snit after seeing those papers, the young Oni hoped that the older man wouldn't make noise about it. Even if he was annoyed by all the weird incidents that had haunted Ataru for over a year, the Principal also knew what might happen if Ataru found some way to permanently escape the school. Given who and WHAT Ataru's sisters were...!

 

Ten giggled as he looked down, quickly noting the stream of students making their way towards the rustic Taishō-era schoolhouse a few blocks away. Spotting some of his favourites such as Miyake Shinobu, the young Oni sighed before he blinked back tears that were forming in his aquamarine eyes. Much that he knew that this was the best thing for both his cousin and the people of Earth, it hurt...!

 

"Ah! Aria's umbrella!"

 

Ten gasped on hearing that beautifully accented voice, then he looked around...

 

...before squawking on seeing a pink umbrella lifting high into the air thanks to a sudden gust of wind. Gunning his hoverscooter's engines, Ten raced off after it, catching the runaway portable canopy before it drifted way out of anyone's reach. "I got it!" he whooped out loud before moving to collapse the umbrella, then he looked down to see where the second-youngest of Ataru's sisters was now...

 

"Oi! Ten-chan! Down here! Down here!"

 

Ten looked at the park, then he smiled as he gunned his machine towards the ground and the group of five young women standing there...

 

****

 

Tariko-onēchan's half-sisters are all so neat!

And like Tariko-onēchan, they're all Gifted thanks to the Great Crystal of Power on Yiziba, the Forge of the First Race where the Power Jewels were made.

Yeah! I can say the name of the "scary place" and even the name of the "scary people" without being afraid. That's thanks to Ayumu-onēchan when she came to the Onishuto Cathedral back in April (Earth-time) to rescue Tariko-onēchan — when she was magically frozen as Ataru — from being married to Lum-chan.

Much that Tariko-onēchan and Ayumu-onēchan do care for Lum-chan — after all, it was because of them that Lum-chan would never have lived as a cripple even if Lum-chan refused to get a Gift and be like Lady Danu over two centuries ago during the last decades of the Imperial Age — they're more worried about Earth.

I just wish that the dorks that made Tariko-onēchan forget about living on Yiziba before the Tag Race would have realized that.

Even if it would have scared Lum-chan and her dad, Earth would be safe from invasion by the Ipraedies or the Seifukusu.

They're not so dumb as to take on the Yizibajohei!

Especially given what Tariko-onēchan was going to become...

 

****

 

Tomobiki town park...

 

"Ohayō, Ten-chan!"

 

"Ah! Cute alien boy checky!"

 

"Yotsuba-chan, stop that! You already have enough pictures of Ten-chan!"

 

"Ten-chan got Aria's umbrella..."

 

Hearing that from the ten year-old girl with the glittering silver-blonde hair tied in four buns at the base of her skull — with long wavy bangs falling from her temples down almost to her waist — Ten smiled as he parked his scooter in hover mode, then floated off to hand the umbrella over. "Here ya go!"

 

As most of the other younger sisters now surrounding him cheered, Aria des Beauchamps smiled, her royal blue eyes glistening. "Kusun...!"

 

****

 

This is Aria Claudia Jeanne Michelle des Beauchamps, from Paris.

Wow! Why is it people from France always stick so many names on their kids?!

Like I said, she's Gifted. That means she's a metahuman, like the people who worked with Earth's Power Jewel Warrior back during their second world war. She got her Gift from the Great Crystal of Power, which means that even if Aria-nēya is only ten — she had her birthday at the start of the month — she has memories of many past lives that were preserved in the Great Crystal that stretch all the way back to the darkest age on Yiziba, the Dawn of Power.

Even if a lot of people in the Federation and all our neighbours are scared of the Yizibajohei thanks to what those Imperial dorks tried to do to Lady Danu after the Tag Race she lost against the local champion, Aria-nēya shouldn't scare anyone.

After all, she's a trofikinetic!

That means that she has the psychokinetic power to literally turn any bit of organic matter into edible food for people to eat.

Aria-nēya told me that her first-self — the first person to use the power of her Gift — was able to keep people fed during the aftermath of the Dawn of Power, a really bad time there they call the 'Starvation Times'.

How bad was it?

Well, before the Dawn of Power, Yiziba had two billion people living on it. At the end of the Starvation Times and the start of the Great Show of Life, the population dropped like an asteroid to six hundred million !

Even if remembering her first-self's life makes her really sad, Aria-nēya is really proud of the fact that she could stop people from starving.

Though Aria-nēya normally concentrates on making sweets.

That's why on Yiziba, she's called Tamkuo , the Candy Lady.

But since people on Earth wouldn't understand that name, she makes use of the French term Douceâtre when she has to go into costume.

Even if she really doesn't do fight scenes, she's always around to help people calm down after there's a bad disaster.

Like this Voldemort dork that's starting to cause trouble again among the magicals in the United Kingdom like he did over a decade ago.

I hope Tariko-onēchan's friends there can handle that creep...

 

****

 

"Hai!"

 

Ten gushed as Aria psychokinetically produced a beautiful kimch'i lollipop out of the nearby soil, handing it to him. "Ah! Arigatō, Aria-nēya!"

 

Aria smiled as the Oni took the offered treat, then began to eagerly lick it to get the necessary spices into his body since most Earth cooking didn't give him the right nutrients Urusians needed. "Kusun..."

 

"Ah! Ten-chan's sad!"

 

Ten looked at the sandy-haired eight year-old standing close to Aria, a look of understanding on her face. Like the other sisters who had come here today, they were in their normal civilian clothing in lieu of their very form-fitting Yizibajohei battlesuits. Showing that right now would pretty much spoil the surprise, especially when one factored in Lum's childhood "friend" Aruka Ran. A quick glance towards the main street that passed down in front of Tomobiki High some blocks away revealed said rose-haired Seishin-Urusian teenager calmly walking down the street as she greeted classmates, a normal mix of air-headed playfulness with the simmering calculating eyes of someone who liked hurting people on her face. The other sisters were quick to notice, then they looked in that direction. "Poor Ran-san," Saeru Hinako breathed out, her own amethyst eyes glistening with sympathetic tears. "How could her mama do all those awful things to her like that? Didn't she see how bad Lum-san behaved?"

 

"Doubtful," Susumu Marie, the eldest of the half-sisters of Moroboshi Ataru and his twin sister/other-self Tariko Katabarbe present, said with a shake of her head, her grey eyes flashing with repressed anger at the idea of her dear brother being targeted by Ran in her quest to avenge herself on Lum.

 

Ten nodded as he slurped his lollipop...

 

****

 

The youngest of Ataru's sisters is Saeru Hinako. She's from Niigata.

A lot of Ataru's sisters were raised by their mothers and stepfathers in their family homes even if it didn't become apparent until very recently as to what happened when the mothers were magically enticed to go to Ōmure-jima; sleeping with Ataru's dork dad to create baby girls to give the Moroboshi Clan potential new matriarchs. I'm glad that Hinako-onētama's stepdad understands.

She's not that much older than me; Hinako-onētama just had her eighth birthday in August, right when everyone in Tomobiki had to deal with that memory-thing that was under Mendō's stupid cherry tree which tried to make everyone in Tomobiki forget Lum-chan ever existed. She really wanted to celebrate her birthday with Ataru and Tariko-onēchan and the other sisters on Ōmure-jima, but had to help out in getting the Niphentaxian creeps in and around Tomobiki off the planet and back to Phentax Two where they belonged, not to mention remove that 'last solution' that dork Ōgi put in the town's Ginza to make sure that the 'great evil' would never succeed in overcoming his precious 'goddess', Lum-chan.

I bet that Hinako-onētama sure helped out in dealing with those creeps.

After all, she's the Living Spirit of Innocence, Lomroer'bem .

On Earth, she uses the Japanese term Suiki instead of calling herself "Pureheart".

Hinako-onētama's a cosmic metahuman. That means her power could reach out beyond the range of a planet if she really pushed herself. But since she's pretty young still and hasn't really grown into her Gift, she can only affect people in a range that could cover all of Metro Tōkyō if she really went all-out.

And what does her power do?

Wow! You'd be amazed at what Hinako-onētama could do with her Gift!

She can make bad feelings go away, stop people from feeling stressed or depressed, remove any sort of 'evil' taint from anyone close to her — did you know that she has the power to bring a vampire back to true life with just a KISS?! — and just make people remember being in more innocent and nicer times.

No wonder she feels sad for Ran-chan.

Yeah, Lum-chan sure did a lot of bad things to Ran-chan...

 

****

 

"Oh, don't worry about it, Hinako-chan," Marie said as she adjusted the straw hat she had placed over her long raven hair, styled in a French braid down to her waist. Even if she had been cured of her respiratory ailments when she was Gifted four years ago, the teenage special agent of the Kokuritsu Kokkai Toshokan in downtown Tōkyō — she often worked to keep away other metahuman agents from trying to pilfer Japan's national library of any "special" publications, especially if said agent came from the special operations division of the British Library in London — she suffered from lingering hypochondria; she normally wore heavy shawls even when the weather was warm. "Even if Lum-san's heart is going to be badly shattered today, Ran-san's pretty much secured Rei-san's heart."

 

"Yeah, doing that through the guy's stomach really does wonders, doesn't it?" Yotsuba Dunn mused as she glanced at the passing students, a critical look crossing the half-English teenager's face.

 

Ten nodded. "I'm sure all the restaurant owners in town will be happy," he mused before slurping his lollipop. "Especially Tampopo-san." He perked as something came to him. "Um, what do you guys think might happen once Ataru moves down to live on Ōmure-jima? Will she go down there, too?"

 

Marie shook her head, her reading glasses sparkling as if in reflection of her own amusement. "No, Ten-chan, she'll just move on and find another abused child to dote on as her 'special customer'. After all, Aniue-sama will have Shirayuki-chan to cook for him from now on. He won't ever be starved."

 

"Or be poisoned!" Eigo Kaho mused. "Kaho sure wishes Lum-san will finally learn how to cook."

 

"Hina wants that, too!" Hinako added.

 

****

 

Susumu Marie comes from Hakodate on Hokkaidō.

She's one of the sisters who's suffered the most because of what was going on with Tariko-onēchan's family here on Earth while she was living on the northern continent of Yiziba on her quest to get pretty girls Gifted.

Marie-aneuesama was born with chronic bronchitis, which kept her bedridden for years; she had to do most of elementary and junior high school from her hospital bed. It's a good thing she was really smart. Not as technologically smart as Rinrin-aneki, but Marie-aneuesama is the smartest of all the sisters.

After all, it was Marie-aneuesama who discovered who were all of Tariko-onēchan's sisters living in Japan over the last couple of years.

Sadly, she lost both her mother and stepfather in an auto accident about four years ago. Fortunately, the special trust Tariko-onēchan's late grandmother put into place for her other granddaughters was able to see Marie-aneuesama treated until she got Gifted as the Paper Sorceress, R'behim . Here on Earth, she uses the Irish term Leabharlann to address herself. Given how much she loves books and loves to put herself in a library to read, that makes sense.

Even more so because Marie-aneuesama is a chartikinetic.

That means that she's a psychokinetic who can manipulate paper or any other form of wood products to create anything she wants, even synthetic beings that would be as human to the touch and feel if she pushes herself.

Because of that, she ended up working for the National Diet Library as a freelance agent, protecting the secret and magical stuff inside its restricted sections from being pilfered by magicals or metahumans who'd want that knowledge. Crazy as this sounds, she often ends up fighting against agents of the British Library, who have seemed to forgot that the days of their empire ended decades ago.

Which is really sad since Marie-aneuesama is good friends with the British Library's best field agent, another chartikinetic — not from Yiziba — who's half-English just like Yotsuba-anechama is.

 

****

 

"Ten-chan! What are you doing here?"

 

Everyone perked on hearing that concerned voice, then they turned to watch as Ataru's former girlfriend came up to join them, she accompanied by the tomboyish "heir" of the Hamachaya. "Ah! Shinobu-onēchan! Ryūnosuke-san!" he called out as Miyake Shinobu and Fujinami Ryūnosuke came to a stop before them. "I'm just meeting up with some friends I made after the Pseudo-War, just before Oyuki-chan came and took Lum-chan and Ran-chan back to Uru! They came to see Ataru."

 

They blinked. "Why would they want to see Moroboshi?" Ryūnosuke asked, doubt flooding her voice.

 

"Maybe because we're his half-sisters and we've become more of a family to Ani-chama than those dorks he was born from," Yotsuba dryly noted.

 

That made the older girls gape in shock...

 

****

 

Yotsuba Nemain Dunn is from London, of course.

And she's best friends to Britain's two smartest people, Mycroft and Sherlock Holmes.

Yeah, the fame of Earth's best detective sure got out throughout the Galactic Federation and all the neighbouring states. I know that Nassur-chan would like to get a chance to work with Sherlock-san in case some bounty that Nassur-chan has to chase to Earth winds up in London.

Though with Tariko-onēchan's friend from California, Miss Elizabeth Wakefield, about to close off the whole of the inner part of the Sol system from trespass from anyone from the Federation powers, that shouldn't be too much of a problem.

I hope.

Anyhow, Yotsuba-anechama got the urge to be a detective like Sherlock-san became some years ago all the way back when she was MY age — she's thirteen now — long before she was Gifted to become the Master Interrogator, Nyuosyo'o . Like Marie-aneuesama, Yotsuba-anechama uses an Irish term for her battle name on Earth, Bleachtaire . This makes Yotsuba-anechama a high-level telepath and empath, which helps her in sniffing out lies whenever she investigates a crime. Which is way better than what her first-self was like before the Dawn of Power. Back then, that creep had been a military intelligence officer in one of the nasty dictatorships on Yiziba who loved to really rip secrets out of prisoners' minds. I'm glad that Yotsuba-anechama doesn't do that unless you really make her mad!

I still snicker every time I remember what Marie-aneuesama told me after that stupid 'pseudo-war' in August about a competition Yotsuba-anechama had with Sherlock-san when it came to investigating a crime that Jim Moriarty creep tried to unleash to drum up customers for his 'consulting criminal' business.

'Consulting criminal'?! Maidens, that's really weird!

According to Marie-aneuesama, Sherlock-san won.

But I think Yotsuba-anechama intentionally lost to Sherlock-san.

I think she's got a crush on him.

Don't tell her I said that, please!

 

****

 

"You're...Ataru-kun's...half-sisters...?!"

 

Shinobu looked as if she had just lost the last element of her innocence.

 

"Hai, Miyake-san, we are," Marie answered as Ten quickly sensed that Hinako was reaching out with her cosmic empathy to keep Ataru's former girlfriend calm enough in the face of such a shocking revelation, which was just a first step towards things that would completely wreck the worldviews of many in Tomobiki when it came to its most infamous "resident". "We're actually just five of TWELVE such sisters to both Aniue-sama and his TRUE twin sister, Tariko-aneuesama."

 

"Moroboshi has a twin sister too?!" Ryūnosuke demanded.

 

"Checky!" Yotsuba asserted with a nod; she was using her own empathy to back up what her youngest sister was doing. "Turns out that Obā-chama hated Ani-chama's and Ane-chama's mother so much, she didn't trust them to make the right choice as to who would marry Ani-chama. Since Sakuya-chan — she's Ani-chama's oldest half-sister — is now the Matriarch of our clan, what she says goes. Since Lum-san lied to Ani-chama when she said they were married last October, Sakuya-chan said that she wouldn't recognize their 'marriage', no matter what those dorks living up the street from here think!"

 

Shinobu recoiled; even if she was feeling quite calm, such harsh terms used to describe Ataru's parents were never heard from ANYONE. "I assume it's Ataru-kun's father who's also your father, right."

 

"Checky!"

 

That made Ryūnosuke moan. "Shit! He got it from his fa-...UURRK!"

 

That was thanks to angry glares from the sisters. "You shouldn't have said that, you dumb tomboy!" Ten warned as he crossed his arms, outrage crossing his face.

 

"Ryūnosuke is no girl!" Aria hissed before turning her back on her. "Kusun!"

 

As a tsunami of guilt warped across the tomboy's face, Yotsuba snorted as she crossed her arms. "Yeah! Can't understand why Ane-chama thinks this lunkhead is worthy of being Gifted! Way she stumbles about all the time, we should LEAVE her in her father's tender 'mercy'!"

 

"Indeed, she has much to learn about what being a real woman is all about," Marie stated as she caked Ryūnosuke in a pile of mud from the scornful look the young metahuman librarian was now giving her.

 

"Oh, Marie-chan, stop that!" Hinako protested. As Ten tried not to smirk at the "good cop, bad cop" routine the sisters were now playing on someone who interested Tariko Katabarbe very much, the Spirit of Innocence added, "Ryūnosuke-san doesn't understand what being a girl's all about! As long as she lives with that dork dad of hers, she'll never learn what it means! Onē-tama wants to save her from that, just like she's saved hundreds of girls since she moved to Yiziba...!"

 

A blood-curling howl of bone-chilling fright echoed through the air!

 

Everyone blinked, then they turned to see a wide-eyed orange-furred ushitora — the form Redet Lum's former fiancé Seq Rei often took when he got upset — standing nearby, caught in the middle of trying to seize some bentō from students wearing the uniform of Onigakkō Public School. As Rei wildly looked around, wondering who had spoken the dreaded Scary Name, Marie sighed. "I've got this."

 

She concentrated as her clothing instantly melted and morphed into a beautiful dark red-and-black plaid jumpsuit with a halter-top design and exposed sleeves, it topped with a black pouch-filled belt and black buccaneer boots. Her glasses morphed into a perfect set of black-frame safety goggles. A open book viewed from the bottom served as her primary identification symbol above her cleavage. As Shinobu and Ryūnosuke gaped at the sight of something that hadn't haunted Terran society since the Second World War, the Paper Sorceress gestured with both her hands, allowing a stream of liquid-like paper to leap out of the ammunition pouches on her belt. As a crowd of people came over to watch what was going on, Marie sent one stream to snare the wailing tiger-cow around the waist as the other stream morphed into a massive spatula. A second later, said spatula began SPANKING the transformed Rei on the butt, causing him to howl with pain and embarrassment at such an act while others watching this all cheered. As Marie's sisters all laughed at what she was doing, Ryūnosuke could only goggle in disbelief at such a display of power while Shinobu looked a little conflicted; much that she knew how much Aruka Ran liked the man, Ataru's old girlfriend had once been attracted to the frontier pilot based out of Toshitto before his gluttony turned her away from him. To see him humiliated like this...!

 

"HEY! HOW DARE YOU ATTACK REI-SAMA?!"

 

As running footfalls heralded the arrival of Rei's would-be fiancée, Yotsuba sighed as she relaxed herself. "Yotsuba will take care of her!"

 

Her own clothes then morphed into a jumpsuit design matching Marie's, though Yotsuba's came with silver epaulettes that stuck out from her neck, they complete with frilly fringes that covered her deltoid muscles. Her uniform was matte black overall with a dull silver belt — lined in pockets — and boots. On her chest was a human eye symbol embossed with what looked like a target icon. As the Master Interrogator moved protectively in front of Kaho, an outraged scream escaped the rose-haired Seishin teenager as she whipped out her personal anti-fortification missile launcher, her pretty face morphing into her birth form with tapered ears and fanged canines. "DIE!" she screamed as she aimed at Marie.

 

«YIZIBA!»

 

Silence.

 

More silence.

 

Still more silence.

 

Then...

 

A now-frozen Ran turned ash-grey as she seemed to teeter before she collapsed onto her knees, her weapon dropping off to one side. As people gasped on seeing one of the known aliens residing in Tomobiki be brought down by that incredible shout they heard in their brains, Yotsuba marched over to place herself directly in front of the quaking Ran. The rose-haired girl blinked before her chestnut eyes went as wide as saucers before she turned to look up into the face of a girl younger than her with wavy sienna hair tied in twin ponytails at her temples, her face pierced with now very cold caramel eyes.

 

"Aruka-beni..." Yotsuba then purred with a much more mature cant to her voice as she leaned down to glare into the other girl's eyes. "You KNOW how much I can make you TALK..."

 

Ran shrieked as her bladder let go, then she collapsed unconscious on her back. As the crowd gasped on seeing her taken down, Yotsuba winced, waving the air over her nose. "Pew! You stink, umale!"

 

Seeing that, Kaho looked to the east. "AYUMU-CHAN! WE NEED YOU!"

 

A human-sized flash then appeared behind Shinobu and Ryūnosuke.

 

"O-ha!"

 

****

 

Eigo Kaho is from Kyōto.

She's Tariko-onēchan's third youngest sister; she turned eleven back in January.

Kaho-onēchama is one of the really lucky sisters; she's always been loved and cared for by her mom and stepdad even if she only recently learned that she was actually the daughter of Ataru's dork father. She's really genki, always willing to do anything to show her love for people she cares for. She really liked it when she learned about Ataru and Tariko-onēchan, then moved down to Ōmure-jima back in the summer so that she and the other sisters could be there for Ataru when he left Tomobiki once and for all and put everything here behind him.

Kaho-onēchama is a little clumsy at times, but she really tries when does things like cheerleading or play sports. She's lucky that her teachers in Kyōto and down on Ōmure-jima understand she just wants to do her best.

She only recently got Gifted as the Maiden of the Parade, Tyuohuo Nokuoti . On Earth, she goes by the battle name Baton Dancer .

Kaho-onēchama is a ki mistress, but since she's a little young, she uses a focus for her powers. In her case, she makes use of a marching baton, which allows her to focus her energy to make an honest-to-goodness sabrestaff — yeah, just like what you see Darth Maul use in The Phantom Menace! — to duel people with. That's not a normal thing for ki masters on Yiziba to do. One of the people that Tariko-onēchan helped get Gifted from America years ago, a really nice guy named Xander Harris — he's Suoti; Hyena as he would be called on Earth — focuses his power through his fingertips to make long ki claws that can cut through almost anything!

I guess that when Kaho-onēchama grows up, she could do the same thing.

I know Ataru's going to encourage her really good!

 

****

 

"Ah! Ayumu-chan!" Hinako cheered.

 

Shinobu and Ryūnosuke turned around as a rather spacey-looking girl their age walked up to join them, she dressed in casual civilian clothing composed of a skirt, blouse and shawl. "Hey, Hinako-chan!" Kasuga Ayumu called out as she raised her hand in greeting. "What's going on? Lucky thing that we all got school off today! If Kaho-chan called out to me when I was in class...!"

 

"Kaho knows, Ayumu-chan!" Kaho asserted, then she waved over to where Yotsuba was standing over the unconscious Ran. "But Ran-san's being stinky!"

 

The brown-haired native of Wakayama near Ōsaka blinked before she focused her brown-grey eyes on the alien teen at the feet of one of her best friend's little sisters, then she shook her head on seeing that Ran's seifuku skirt was quite soaked. "Oh, man! Yotsuba-chan, what did you do to Ran-chan?!"

 

"Yotsuba was making the stupid umale realize she can't fire an ANTI-TANK WEAPON in the middle of a residential zone, Ayumu-chan!" Yotsuba sternly replied as she looked at the older girl. "You know she's almost as bad of a shot as that space-biker idiot Lum knows! Given what her anger issues are like, Yotsuba's sure people in town wouldn't want to be hurt by this umale!"

 

"Hey! Ōsaka! How the heck did you just APPEAR like that?!"

 

People turned to see a rather handsome young man standing at the stone fence marking the park's borders. Ataru's sisters instantly recognized him as Mifune Hideyuki, a former classmate of their sibling from before April, when he was moved into Ran's homeroom on everyone advancing to the second year of high school. Before anyone could ask what was going on — the fame of the girl often nicknamed "Ōsaka" by her peers at Azuma Senior High School in nearby Itabashi had spread far and wide thanks to her being best friends to the most famous high schooler in Japan alive today, eleven year-old Mihama Chiyo, the first person in Japan to advance FIVE SCHOOL GRADES due to the sheer level of her intelligence! — Aria humphed as she looked away from Hideyuki. "He is not a nice boy!"

 

As Hideyuki gargled on hearing the Parisian's denouncement of him, the other sisters all gave him disapproving looks. "He's just as dumb as those creeps who always pick on Onii-chama because they want to take Lum-san away from him!" Kaho snorted as she looked away from the older boy.

 

"Yeah, you gotta be really, really, really dumb to not know Ayumu-chan's real name!" Hinako added. "Hina really, really, really doesn't like what Tomo-chan always calls her!"

 

"True," Marie stated as she allowed her paper sculptures to disperse, sending Rei smashing head-first into a handy rock to knock him out. As many boys seeing this whooped on seeing the "walking beef-and-noodles shop" brought down like that, she added, "How on Earth Ayumu-san got a nickname like 'Ōsaka' when she was born in Wakayama and spent primary school in Kōbe utterly escapes me."

 

"DAMN IT, ŌSAKA! JUST BE ŌSAKA!"

 

As everyone looked around for the source of that shout from Ayumu's hyperactive classmate Takino Tomo, the native of Wakayama looked to the east, eyes sparkling with mischief. "Tomo-chan, how can I just be Ōsaka?" she called out. "Marie-chan's right! I was born in Wakayama and raised in Kōbe!"

 

As an outraged scream echoed from the direction of Itabashi, Yotsuba moaned. "Oi, Tomo-baka! Volume, huh?! They can hear you over in Diagon Alley!"

 

"OI! WHO YOU CALLING A BAKA, DUNN?!"

 

"No nookie with Ani-chama!" Yotsuba then sing-songed.

 

Silence.

 

More silence.

 

Still more silence.

 

Then...

 

A pained wail echoed over the scene. "Nookie...!"

 

«Tomo, shut up please!»

 

Marie moaned. "Arigatō, Yomi-san!"

 

«Anytime, Marie-san!»

 

Shinobu and Ryūnosuke blinked, then they gazed at Ayumu. "Um, Ōsaka-..." The former then caught herself. "Um, Ayumu-san, are you a mystery man, too?!"

 

That made Ayumu blink before she chuckled. "Oh, no, Shinobu-chan! There's no mystery men on Yiziba! We're just metahumans!"

 

"Show them, Ayumu-chan!" Hinako urged.

 

"Hai! Hai!"

 

A brilliant flash of energy then encompassed the girl, causing people to blink before the radiance faded, revealing her now in a slate-grey uniform of the exact same cut as Marie's, with white belt possessing just two pockets on her hips and white boots. A white lemiscape insignia was on her chest over her cleavage. Once the transformation of her clothing was complete, Ten whipped out a megaphone, flicking it on. "Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, children of all ages! The Great Show of the Free Planetary State of Yiziba proudly brings to you the one and only Infinite One, the First Child of the Forge of the Seekers, the Goddess Who Walks Among Men...INFINITY!"

 

Ayumu blinked as a sweat drop appeared in her hair while the younger sisters cheered and Marie and Yotsuba shared an amused look...

 

****

 

Ever since I learned about what Tariko-onēchan was trying to do to protect Earth from invasion, I always wanted to do that for Ayumu-onēchan!

And why not?!

Sure, Yizibajohei are the scariest people in the galaxy, even more so than the Seifukusu, the Ipraedies, a lot of Yehisrites and those stupid Goa'uld COMBINED!

Especially when you consider how powerful Ayumu-onēchan IS!

Why do you think people call her ' the Goddess Who Walks Among Men '?

She's the TOP reality warper on Yiziba!

Hah! You thought that magicals are powerful?! Uh-uh! They're practically 'slights' in Yizibajohei eyes when you compare them to her!

Whenever Nodim — that's how ' Infinity ' is said in Yizibajohei — goes, people tread VERY CAUTIOUSLY around her!

Given that she's said to be powerful enough to REBOOT the UNIVERSE if she lost control over herself, it's a smart thing in the end!

Still, Ayumu-onēchan and her past-selves have all been really cool and laid back people. They gotta be given that they're as close to the textbook definition of a major deity that can exist in this Universe. Not even the meanest 'demons' or other interdimensional critters like what Xander-oniichan and his friends in that Sunnydale place always have to fight want to mix it up with Ayumu-onēchan.

Besides, even before I actually met her after that whole stupid thing about Lum-chan being married to Tariko-onēchan back in April, Nassur-chan told me about the several times that Ayumu-onēchan really broke the mould when it comes to being the Infinite One in comparison to all her past-selves COMBINED!

Before Tariko-onēchan began her quest to get pretty girls Gifted, Yizibajohei always believed that everyone has to stand up for themselves. After all, their first-selves managed to survive pretty much on their own during the Dawn of Power and the Starvation Times. Save for the Nameless — they're people who don't allow themselves to 'resurrect' through the Great Crystal of Power even if they become metahumans from all the mesonium radiation in the planet's biosphere; one of them became Tariko-onēchan's mother after she moved there — even a basic concept like 'community' really never developed as people sought to live on their own.

That's part of the reason people elsewhere hate the Yizibajohei.

They all live in a state of perpetual ANARCHY!

But when it comes to Ayumu-onēchan, she'll surprise you a lot.

Just like her best friend Mihama Chiyo-onēchan found out last April.

Wow...!

 

****

 

"Uh...Ten-chan...?"

 

"Hai...?"

 

"Please don't do that again," Ayumu pleaded. "It's too blah...!"

 

The young Oni quickly nodded. "Poor Ayumu-chan," Hinako breathed out.

 

"TEN-CHAN!"

 

Ten yelped on hearing that frightened shriek, then he looked left and up...

 

...before he squawked as a wide-eyed Lum flew down to snare him in her embrace. Before she could make contact, Kaho grabbed the young Oni away from his cousin, dodging away enough to allow Lum to fly head-first right into the ground! As people winced and the teenage boys from Tomobiki High all screamed out on seeing their favourite classmate wind up in an accident like that, Ayumu blinked. "Gee, Lum-chan! I'm sure Nassur-kun taught'cha how to fly better than that!"

 

"Lum-san's so scared of Yizibajohei that she forgot to stop herself!" Hinako stated as she gazed with concern at the stunned Oni...

 

...who squawked as she bolted up, her head — with a face now quite dirty and streaked with grass stains — then snapping to and fro as she seemed to quake in the wind. Seeing that, all the natives gaped in disbelief. "Holy shit!" Ryūnosuke hissed out. "She IS scared to death of those people!"

 

"Do you blame her?" Shinobu asked.

 

"Huh?! What do you mean, Shinobu-san?"

 

"Don't you remember seeing the wreckage of the old part of Onishuto when we were forced to stay there for a couple of days after Lum tried to force Ataru-kun to marry her?" Shinobu asked. As the tomboy nodded on being reminded of that — she had joined Class 1-4 back in mid-February, then moved on to Class 2-4 at the start of April, a little over a week before the encounter with Queen Elle — Ataru's former girlfriend then added, "I asked one of Invader-taisa's crew about their encounter with the Yizibajohei. It was SUCH a traumatic event in Urusian history that people like Lum are sleep-trained to understand what happened when they're even younger then Ten-chan!"

 

The "heir" of Hamachaya hummed as she considered that, then she blinked as she stared at Ten. "Hey, how come you can say the name of that place, Jariten?! When people on Uru talked of that place, it was 'You Know Where' or the 'Unspeakable Place'. How come you're able to say 'Yiziba' like that?!"

 

"Oh, Ayumu-onēchan did that to me after she rescued Ataru from being forced to marry Lum-chan after that whole thing with Elle!" Ten immediately explained, waiving to the Infinite One in emphasis.

 

"WHAT?!"

 

Everyone turned as Lum spun around to glare murderously at the living goddess nearby...then she turned as grey as stone on seeing her uniform. "Now, Lum-chan...!" Ayumu then began, her voice sweetness and light...even if her eyes now sparkled with barely restrained malice. "You're not going to do something DUMB, are you?" she asked as she calmly crossed her arms. "Well...?"

 

Lum was now as white as a sheet, she slowly moving to back away from the other girl while she waved her hands in a warding gesture, obviously in a vain hope of stopping the current incarnation of the most powerful metahuman to rise on Yiziba from hurting her badly. As all the boys seeing this began to croak, moan and sob on noting that the seemingly invincible warlord's daughter from Uru was about to soil herself in the presence of the spacey native of Wakayama — for reasons that still hadn't sank into them — a growling voice then echoed from the street close to Hideyuki, one which made the sisters all groan. "Oh, spare us, PLEASE!" Marie snarled. "Ayumu-san, if you wouldn't mind...!"

 

"YOU BITCH! HOW DARE YOU THREATEN LUM-SAN LIKE...?!"

 

Ayumu snapped her fingers.

 

"...THAAWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOA...!"

 

Everyone spun around to look...

 

...then many girls howled on seeing the four core members of Lum's Stormtroopers be LAUNCHED into the morning sky on an artillery trajectory towards Tomobiki High itself. Seeing that, Ten whooped in delight as Lum gasped in horror on seeing her four closest supporters being treated like rag dolls by the most powerful of They Who Must Never Be Named for utterly no reason whatsoever. She then jolted as Yotsuba whooped. "Hah! Looks like the four chief TRAITORS TO HUMANITY are blasting off at last!"

 

"Now, Ayumu-san, PLEASE don't put them through their death scenes!" Marie pleaded, which made Lum gargle as she spun around to note there were two more of the Unspeakable Ones here today. "Remember, His Eminence declared a fatwā when it comes to Lum-san's 'fan club' here in Tomobiki."

 

"Yeah, yeah, Marie-chan..."

 

KK-KLONG! KK-KLANG! KK-KLONK! KK-KRRANG!

 

Everyone winced on hearing the sounds of people's skulls hitting something very hard and metallic from the direction of Tomobiki High School, that echoed with the crunching noise of wood being shattered and gasping yelps of four certain boys nearly getting their spinal columns crushed from being dropped head-first into the school clock tower and smash into the old bell that was contained in the very heart of that structure. As a faint gonging noise then echoed from that direction, many of the girls again howled with laughter on seeing Lum's most passionate supporters being put down like that while many of the boys like Hideyuki cringed at the idea of facing the wrath of someone like Kasuga Ayumu. As Lum collapsed to her knees in horror — not to mention disbelief on seeing how LITTLE people like Aisuru Satoshi and his friends were being supported by their peers — Ten was snickering. "Oh, Maidens! Wait until those lifeless dorks back on Phentax Two learn what you just did to their...!"

 

"TEN-CHAN! DON'T TALK ABOUT...!"

 

KK-KRACK!

 

All the boys present screamed in horror on seeing that a cinder block just smashed down on Lum's head to knock her out! As a barely-recovered Ran gaped in shock on seeing her childhood "friend" smacked down low like that — even if a frightened chill ran down her spine as memories burned into her brain back in her childhood about ONE of They Who Must Never Be Named who did something like that during the near-apocalypse called "the Mother of All Fight Scenes" that nearly destroyed all life on planet Uru twenty-seven decades before as a "joke" came back to her! — most of the girls began to appear hopeful that this "encounter of the third kind" would see the aliens that had haunted their lives for a year driven off the planet once and for all time. As Hinako and Yotsuba — not to mention Ayumu, who also was telepathic atop her galaxy-level reality warping powers and inherent omniscient meta-senses that gave her the ability to know anything no matter which planet, time period or dimension had attracted her interest — quickly sensed, few girls attending Tomobiki Senior High School really liked Redet Lum despite their depending on the warlord's daughter for several things, least of which to keep Moroboshi Ataru in line. In spite of that particular issue, they really didn't care for Lum, mostly due to the near-universal attraction many Tomobiki High girls — not to mention their peers in nearby schools in and around Nishitōkyō — possessed for one Mendō Shūtarō. As had been seen many a time over the last year or so, the scion of Japan's wealthiest family was just as willing to claim Lum for himself, which miffed Miyake Shinobu many times when she dated him before his planned engagement to the younger daughter of his clan's chief rivals, Mizunokōji Asuka, was announced in mid-March. And given that almost all the other boys at school also lusted for the warlord's daughter, the chances of any girl who might want to pursue one of her male peers for a date were well to the left of "nil".

 

And that state of affairs had effectively begun when Lum followed her "husband" into Class 1-4 a little over a month after she first came to Earth.

 

"Ah! Ani-chama! Yah-hoo!"

 

That made the sisters' heads snapped over. "Onii-tama!" Hinako cheered.

 

"Nii-ya!" Aria gushed.

 

"Aniue-sama!" Marie breathed out in delight.

 

"Onii-chama!" Kaho echoed her sister before she blinked, then she whooped in delight. "Ah! Onii-chama is having his date with Jody-san!"

 

People blinked, then they spun around to gaze south...

 

...before gasping on seeing the most despised resident of Tomobiki step out into the open. As many blinked on seeing that Moroboshi Ataru wasn't dressed in his school gakuran, they then gaped on seeing the incredibly beautiful blonde Western girl appearing to be his age now at his side, one of her arms looped around one of his. As Shinobu instantly felt a flush of jealousy rip through her body on seeing that the man she still loved deep down was paying obviously close attention to another woman, the other girls just gushed as they took in such an image. Like Marie, Yotsuba and Ayumu were dressed now, the adopted native of Royal Leamington Spa in England's County Warwickshire — she was actually a native of the Isle of Anglesey off the northern coast of Wales — was in a battlesuit, overall black with dark ruby lines of runes shaped like Chinese characters in nine-fold script running down the sides of her body to the top of her deep burgundy boots; a matching belt was wrapped around her waist even if no symbol was on her chest. Draped over her shoulders was a matching hooded black cape that went to her ankles, it trimmed in the same sorts of runes that trimmed this woman's battlesuit. Her hair was a shaggy bobcut that went to her shoulders, with glittering turquoise eyes piercing out of a face that seemed far more mature than what her physical age would have projected.

 

"DARLING! WHAT ARE YOU DOING WITH THAT...u-urk!"

 

As the boys seeing this all croaked on seeing Lum nearly soil herself thanks to the lethal stare that was being fired her way by Ataru's companion, many of the girls found themselves grinning as they began to think that this was the woman who just put the warlord's daughter down low. "I would suggest, Miss Redet, you keep a civil tongue like your wonderful cousin is doing right this instant," she said in a voice that was pure West Midlands. "As you were effectively warned yesterday afternoon when my friend smashed in the head of that worthless piece of genetic refuse Ataru now sees as his mother only in GENETICS, he's fully aware of that LIE you spouted last October after you put him through ten days of solid humiliation just because he supposedly 'didn't do his homework'." Scorn dripped each of the woman's words as Lum rapidly began to shake her head. "Oh, no! Don't you dare try to LIE you way out to this one, you foolish child! The universe doesn't revolve around you! It NEVER has! And if you have to watch your culture be subjected to the Mother of All Fight Scenes AGAIN, it will be YOUR fault!"

 

As Lum and the recovering Ran gargled in horror on hearing THAT threat, Ataru took a deep breath. "Ayumu-chan, if you wouldn't mind, could you please teleport Seq-san and Aruka-san off the planet?" he calmly stated as he gazed on his true oldest friend. "Liz is about to close the system to outside intrusion. I can get Onē-san to teleport my so-called 'wife' and her cousin back to Onishuto."

 

"Sure, sure!"

 

Ayumu raised her hand, then snapped her fingers...

 

...and a gasping Ran and a howling Rei — not to mention their spaceships and all of their belongings — disappeared for the last time from Earth!

 

As the crowd gasped, Lum shuddered. "Darling, I don't know what these monsters told you, but...!"

 

"YIZIBA!" he barked.

 

Her voice instantly melted into a howling scream as she collapsed to the ground, tears flowing down her cheeks. As many of the boys started to bellow in outrage on seeing Ataru move to verbally frighten her to death, Ayumu gestured with her hand...which saw a shield rise at the park's boundaries, keeping the warlord's daughter's "fans" from charging in to get her vengeance. As many of the girls then laughed in delight on seeing the boys helplessly smash their fists into something that wouldn't give way, Shinobu shook her head before she gazed at Marie. "What priest were you talking about, Marie-san?"

 

The metahuman librarian perked. "What do you mean, Miyake-san?"

 

"What priest released this fatwā you just told us about?"

 

A cruel smile then crossed the younger woman's face. "His Eminence, Khalīfah Abū Bakr al-Baghdādī," she clearly called out, pronouncing the Arabic syllables as crisply as if she was a native of that region. As Shinobu's eyes went wide with horror, Marie looked towards the crowd of moaning boys who were being prevented from defending their favourite classmate's honour. "Who currently is in charge of Dawlat al-'Irāq al-'Islāmiyya." As people stopped in confusion on hearing that term, a cruel smile crossed her face. "'The Islamic State of Iraq'. Affiliate group to al-Qā'idah in that country." As the crowd then croaked on hearing that this particular priest was an actual ALLY to the maniacs who had launched attacks on America and other nations in hope of removing all Western influence from the Middle East over the last two decades, Marie shook her head. "You can guess what they decreed last October when those four fools Ayumu-san just sent into your school clock tower decided to go forth and effectively betray all of humanity for THIS creature!" She contemptuously waved at Lum, who winced; she herself had known of the maniacs who loved to use Islam as an excuse to kill people.

 

"Before you idiots decide to blame this on Ani-chama, here's a news checky!" Yotsuba added as she glared at the boys. As they shuddered while the metahuman detective used her empathy to make them pay attention and not fall back on normal responses in situations like this, she added, "Ani-chama was CLEARED of any fault concerning what happened last year! As Shinobu-san here can confirm, it was all provoked by Megane and his nerds, then they shoved off all the blame on Ani-chama's shoulders when that hack got his buddies down here to start stealing oil!" She waved to her brother's old girlfriend.

 

"LIES!" That was Koi Shinjin, the most passionate fan of Lum in Class 2-4 below the Stormtroopers. "ALL LIES! IT WAS ATARU'S FAULT THROUGH AND THROUGH! TELL HIM, SHINOBU!"

 

"IT'S TRUE, YOU STUPID, SELFISH FOOL! I WAS THERE!"

 

Hearing Shinobu's snapped reply, all the boys gaped at her while all the girls began to hiss at each other. "Oh, by the way, Miyake-san," Ataru said as he reached behind him to pull out a leather-bound book the size of a hotel bible. "I seriously think both you and Fujinami-san really need to see this."

 

Both girls perked on hearing that, they they turned to look at the tome in Ataru's hand...even if Shinobu had winced on hearing her old boyfriend address her by family name, which he NEVER did to any woman. Noting what it was by seeing the title on the front cover, Lum gargled. "NO...!"

 

KK-KRUNCH!

 

Everyone gasped on seeing yet another cinder block having smashed the warlord's daughter down. As guilt then crossed Ten's face, Shinobu blinked before she reached over to take that book out of Ataru's hand. Seeing the title in both Japanese and a strange script which reminded her of the Devanagari alphabet used in India and neighbouring countries, she blinked. "'The Book of Lum'?"

 

"Look at the index," Ataru advised.

 

Shinobu blinked as she did what he bade, then she stopped, her eyes shooting out of her head in disbelief. "'THE BOOK OF THE SINFUL DOUBTER, MIYAKE SHINOBU, FORMER BELOVED OF THE GREAT EVIL'?!" she shrieked before she then noted another entry. "'THE BOOK OF THE HOLY FRIEND TO THE BLESSED LIVING GODDESS REDET LUM, LADY FUJINAMI RYŪNOSUKE'?!"

 

"WHAT?!" Ryūnosuke screamed; she had moved over to look over her friend's shoulder to see what was going on. "WHAT THE FUCK IS THIS SHIT, MOROBOSHI?!"

 

"Copies of your diaries."

 

Silence.

 

More silence.

 

Still more silence.

 

Then...

 

"What...?" Shinobu gasped as she and her friend stared in disbelief at Ten.

 

Both winced on seeing his eyes flood with pained tears. "It's true! That creep Ōgi and his morons on Phentax Two think Lum-chan's a living GODDESS! Megane and his creeps and Mendō are her 'holy apostles'; I'm the 'holy cousin'; Sakura-nēchan, Cherry-san, Ryūnosuke, Benten and Oyuki-chan are the 'holy friends' and Ran-chan and you are the 'sinful doubters'. They even declared Ataru the 'great evil', their devil!" He waved to Ataru in emphasis. As the sisters all shook their heads, Ten then waved to Hinako. "What's Hinako-onētama gonna be?! The 'wicked sister' or something like that?! Huh?!"

 

"Try as they might, they couldn't stop the mass copying of people's diaries that interested them...until we were able to expel the last of them off the planet during the Pseudo-War," Ataru added. "While I won't judge what the accuracy of your 'books' are, ladies, you can see it for yourself. Try as Ten and Aruka-san and everyone else affected by this insanity could to make someone plead to the lunatic who STARTED this madness to put a STOP to it, he simply wouldn't listen. What's worse, since he became the leader of the most powerful ally the Urusians could ever hope for, it was decided in Onishuto that a policy of APPEASEMENT way worse than what the Allies did to the Nazis before the Second World War would be followed with them!" He nodded to the dazed Lum. "She was ordered by her father to say NOTHING about this, even to ME!" He shook his head. "And she wonders why I HATE her at times?"

 

As Lum croaked on hearing that, Shinobu shuddered as a brilliant battle aura formed around her. "You...!" she growled as she stared at her former rival. "You...!" she hissed as she dropped the Book, her hands grasping for something nice and heavy so she could beat down the selfish monster that had ripped apart so many lives over the last year and more in mad pursuit of her "darling".

 

"Need this?"

 

That was Ataru's companion, who just conjured a very massive iron weapon shaped like a croquet mallet. Grabbing it, Shinobu snapped "Thank you!" before she charged at her formal rival, taking a swing that would have impressed any of the great baseball sluggers...!

 

KK-KRACK!

 

"PEG OUT!" Yotsuba screamed as the howling warlord's daughter was sent flying into the sky to the south towards Tomobiki High School.

 

"DAMN YOU, MOROBOSHI ATARU, YOU BASTARD! SAVE LUM-CHAN!"

 

On hearing Shinjin's enraged howl, all the boys bellowed before they raced off after their favourite classmate...just as the resounding sound of Lum's skull smashing into the clock tower echoed in the distance, that accompanied by a chorus of screams and wails from those Tomobiki High boys who were already on the grounds. As Ten winced on hearing that and the girls seeing this all whooped in delight on seeing Lum brought down low, Shinobu dropped the mallet before she spun and raced off towards her house. Before Ryūnosuke could go after her, she found The Book of Lum thrust into her hand.

 

"Tell her parents!" Ataru snapped. "They need to know everything!"

 

"And check the sky in about an hour!" Yotsuba added. "You're gonna LOVE that!"

 

The "heir" of Hamachaya blinked before she nodded. Moving to race off, she then stopped, looking at Ataru's sisters. "You're lucky, man," she whispered.

 

With that, she was off. Watching her go, Ataru smiled. "You'll be that way very soon, Ryū-chan," he whispered as his companion hugged his arm.

 

The sisters and Ten all snickered on hearing that...

 

To Be Continued...

 

****

 

WRITER'S NOTES

 

This story is another attempt at writing something concerning the Yizibajohei (pronounced /yɪ-zi-bɑː'-woʊ-heɪ/ in the International Phonetic Alphabet), which I first introduced in The Doctor Is In storyline when the late Anime Addventure website was active. For those who don't know about these beings, think of the Levramites from Jim Valentino's parody comic maxi-series normalman and you get the right idea, though my interpretation isn't meant as a straight-up parody; there are very dark implications as to how the Yizibajohei are governed. For those continuity buffs, this story is set neat the end of the Yatsura and Ranma manga series (before the "Boy Meets Girl" storyline in the former and the Saffron arc in the latter), during the time of Order of the Phoenix in the Harry Potter timeline, near the start of the third season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the fourth season of The West Wing, during second year as the characters of Azumanga Daiō experienced same and just before the start of the Mai-HiME anime series; those series will be the effective "anchor" stories of this work. For those personages from World Wrestling Entertainment, their timeline is the same as it was in real life. As I've done before when I've included Yatsura characters in my stories, the influences of The Senior Year are heavy; including in this are the names I've devised for Yatsura characters like the members of Lum's Stormtroopers. Notes about other series included in this story will be referenced to in these notes for your convenience.

 

A nod of thanks to Regina Magia and Dr. Tempo at the SpaceBattles website for inspiring this story and writing a few omake to it. I also acknowledge The Sage of Toads, whose stories Sempai and Sensei also helped inspire certain elements of this storyline.

 

For this chapter:

 

Tampopo's Rāmen and Beefbowl Bar and its proprietor Kamekichi Tampopo were first introduced in my first ever lemon story, The Galatea Syndrome. I brought forth this concept since I simply can't believe that Ataru's luck is so bad that there isn't ANY sort of place in Tomobiki where he can get away from the people who wish to influence his life in one way or another, especially Lum.

 

The common belief now that Lum's "family name" is "Invader" is not proven by the Yatsura manga. I don't believe Takahashi-sensei actually created a sort of clan/family name for Lum or her relatives. The clan name "Redet" was taken from one of the early fanfics written on the Yatsura characters, Just A Dream and its sequel Still Dreaming by Lew Burton. That was one of the series that influenced a lot of things in The Senior Year for both Mike Smith and myself.

 

Fans of Sister Princess will know that each sister has a different way of addressing their big brother (the player in the game, Minakami Wataru in the first anime series, an unnamed elder brother in Sister Princess Re Pure). Naturally, they modified their form of address to speak of Tariko Katabarbe on learning of her. Out of respect for the sisters, Redet Ten elected to use the forms of address the sisters use for Tariko for the sisters themselves. Of course, the family names used for the sisters here in this story are the ones I devised for them in Lonely Souls and other stories I used the sisters in.

 

The Senior Year character and situation notes: The Ipraedies Empire and the Imperial Houses of the Seifukusu Dominion were two of the antagonistic races that appeared in the series, as was the Union of Phentax Two; the Ipraedies were first mentioned in "Benten's Story", the Seifukusu in "Surprise, Darling! You're A Father!" and the Niphentaxians were hinted at in "Final Cinba" before appearing in "What Price For Love?". Mifune Hideyuki is a character from a side story to the series yet to be published. Lum's old combat teacher Nassur first appeared in "Revenge of Memory"; he was the series' second main male character after Ataru. Koi Shinjin first appeared in "Lum's Lesson".

 

As I've done with other alien languages I bring into my stories, I use a character encoding system to create words in Yizibajohei. Basing it on the Japanese translation of terms (or the on'yomi reading of Chinese characters if Japanese translations of terms is in katakana), it goes like this:

 

A and Y remain the same

VOWELS: I=E and O=U (the Ō, which is the Hepburn Romanization of either おう or おお, would be interpreted as it is in hiragana)

CONSONANTS: K=T or CH, G=D, S=R, Z or J=L, N=M, H or F=B and P=W

 

As a way of tossing in a "unique" sound into the language, I encode the consonant element of the "shi" () sound into Yizibajohei as "R'B", which is approximately pronounced /ɯrʔb/ in the International Phonetic Alphabet when it starts a word or is in the middle of a word after a consonant. The glottal stop between the first and second consonants would be a syllable break and the vowel before the "r" would be a sound like the onomatopoeia for a car engine idling, but uttered very briefly. Note the vowel would be dropped if the "r'b" combination appears in the middle of a word after a vowel.

 

Note however that there are times when the glottal stop is not indicated in writing this set of sounds as note the way the adopted name of Tuyuki (Tariko Katabarbe) is spelled in this story.

 

Translation list: Douceâtre — Sweet; Leabharlann — Library; Bleachtaire — Detective; Beni — Yizibajohei honorific suffix meaning "princess", normally used for women who are not Gifted; Umale — Same/Sameness; Fatwā — A religious decree or judgment by an Islamic scholar; Khalīfah — Caliph.

 

Yes, the friend Ten writes of when he speaks of Susumu Marie is Yomiko Readman from Read Or Die.

 

Yotsuba Dunn would meet Sherlock Holmes and his brother Mycroft Holmes well before the start of the Sherlock television series.

 

For those who know the hentai game/anime Bible Black, this is set during the time of the original anime series well before the climax of the series on Walpurgisnacht. However, I bring characters from Bible Black: New Testament such as Josephine "Jody" Crowley into this storyline.

 

As this story starts in late 2012, the organization first founded by Abū Bakr al-Baghdādī in Iraq has yet to transform into its well-known incarnation as ad-Dawla al-'Islāmiyya fīl-'Irāq wash-Shām (the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant), short-formed as Dā'ish (in English, ISIL). Such a transformation wouldn't occur officially until the April of the following year.