A Tantalizing Gallery of Talent

Discussion in 'THREAD ARCHIVES' started by IceChateau777, Jun 20, 2014.

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  1. Hello!

    I'm one of the quiet members of this forum, trying to look for a game that does not require much concentration. I would like to show off some of my literature, if you don't mind.

    Feedback via PMs or on this thread is appreciated.

    The Last Fortress: Toride (M-Rated Language) (open)

    THE LAST FORTRESS TORIDE

    Warning: Before reading this book, there may be content disturbing to some readers. If you cannot take violence and drama, stop reading now. If you don't care, don't say that I didn't warn you! Read at your own risk!
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    Four hundred years back, a beautiful land was deserted in the city of Beijing. Many people thrived in its secular environment. Several of its tourists and scientists comment of its beautiful color, beauty and wealth.

    Trade was revived throughout the fortress. Their products included food, clothes, bamboo, spices, and sugar. Apparently, the nation was quite improved, making houses and other furniture out of gold, copper, bronze, and bamboo. No other nation was as advanced. They learned Mandarin Chinese, and their silks were the finest of them all.

    Despite these happy conditions, human sacrifice was common. This unknown land mimicked the Aztecs, ripping out the hearts and sometimes eating the dead. It scared many who witnessed the practice. it promised to scare away minors. Robbers, liars, and cheaters of wives were immediately put to death. Sexual intercourse and homosexuality roamed around as well.

    By 1543, however, the fortress was abandoned, and large forest areas covered the fortress from top to bottom. After that time, no news of the Last Fortress was heard. No architects know or heard of its magnificent beauty that was killed. No archaeologists know of its beauty, or of the people that survived there.

    Since its debut in history, civilizations such as Teotihuacan, the Mayas, Toltec, and the Aztecs had vast information pasted in the history books worldwide. Secular information has since sprouted from those four nations. Why not the fortress called Toride? Scientists say that it hasn't existed. If it did, it was probably sacked and burned down by the samurai.

    The last fortress was huge and vast with information archaeologists could have recorded. Like some might have said, time skips. It only lasted from 1509-1543. It thrived with so much, some history teachers worldwide talk about it with little or no information about their sacrifice rituals.

    This is the story of several young adults seeking its golden history. They are brave, scouting in clear to stormy days and nights. They'll go all over the world to seek this beautiful piece of treasure archaeologists failed to piece together.

    ==PROLOGUE==

    January 15, 2011

    London, England

    It was a frigid, snowy, Monday morning. Everyone wandered around the London University. Even though it might have been something in the air, many didn't feel like attending class (like they were supposed to each and every business day). It wasn't a surprise the day was full of snoring, coughing, and sniffles. Many students called in absent because of the bad conditions.

    Many professors wished to cancel all classes. By the headmaster, today was their first snow day. Some college students frolicked in the snow, throwing snow balls at each other and making snow angels. Others lounged in the building or drove back home. There was an ongoing weather advisory to watch for ice. The freezing rain made it so fogged, it was dreaded that accidents may occur.

    One student named Vash Kingston was hanging at the library and researched for long hours. He was up since yesterday morning doing his forgotten research on "Lost Worlds". His bluish-black hair and dark blue eyes gleamed at the computer's screen. He was writing all that he could copy and what he could summarize from nearly twenty encyclopedias, a thousand old notes, and about 200 websites (including Wikipedia & citations). Vash also researched the Meso-American civilizations, nearly tiring himself of sleep deprivation. By 11:30, he got all he could (maybe except one civilization) and headed out the library doors to wash up, eat, and sleep.

    "God... all this research's messin' with me head! GAWD!" Vash laid his head down on his desk. He could still see images of the blood-red moon and green leaves sprouting at his hands. Angrily, he got out a envelope opener and slashed at his left arm. The blood splattered on his desk and on his floor. When he realized what happened, he was too worn to take himself to the nurse.

    His thinking was interrupted by a sudden presence in the room. "Kingston, how many times have I told you not to be slashing yourself!?" It was Waverly Toltec, his long-time roommate. She immediately threw her spell book directly at Vash's head. Her amber eyes showed great dismay for the man. She had back-length orange-colored hair tied in a braid with two side fringes. She had 36-C breasts. She measured about 5' 3", and had a pale but healthy complexion.

    "Jesus! What the hell are you doing here?!" Vash angrily threw the book back with his free arm. His left arm was bandaged.

    She waved a naughty finger. "No, no no! You can't go in the middle of somewhere and use violence. I thought you HATED violence."

    A visible vein popped on his head, "I... do..."

    "Don't worry, hot-head! I'll get something to save all this work!" Waverly got out a green and black tote bag and put all of Vash's books in the bag. "There! Now it doesn't look like a pig's sty!"

    <<"Why the hell is she touching my shit?!">> Vash's lopsided smile did nothing to erase the anger etched on his face. After what seemed like an eternity, Waverly was already gone. Vash heaved a heavy sigh. Suddenly, Waverly rushed back into his room.

    "Wow! What's this?" Waverly was shocked at the old print. "My goodness! You've stayed all night working on THIS?!"

    Vash nodded and let out a long yawn. "Yes... I have, now stop sniffing my shit..."

    Waverly stared at Vash's three-subject notebook. She saw "toride" written in all caps on the bottom right of his notebook. "No, no, Vash... What's this 'Toride' at the bottom of your notebook?"

    "Oh, that... er... I'll tell you later... Why don't you go to bed?"

    Waverly disliked Vash's sudden tone of voice. He sure didn't sound in the mood for chess or Japanese mah-jong. She quickly retorted, "I'm not tired!"

    He jutted an index finger towards the top bunk bed, "Go to bed. That's final."

    "Ugh! I hate your attitude!" She screeched, quickly flipping herself in the covers.

    "Can you quiet down there, Screech!?" A neighbor yelled across the halls.

    Vash just screamed, "SHUT UP!" Everyone was quiet. Vash growled under his covers.

    "Jeez! What's your problem?!" Waverly hissed at him.

    "I dunno... maybe your yapping and tantrums?"

    "Ooh! I want to kill you right now!" Waverly half-joked.

    "Stop being a bitch. It's almost midnight. It hasn't stopped snowing since eight!"

    "Ah... sorry, Vash!" She got up to see Vash's face. "You have to tell me about your secrets!"

    "Don't worry about it. Just get some rest." And with that, Vash fell into a deep slumber.

    "Such a man..." Waverly mumbled before staring at the cold snow that danced in the wind. She finally went to sleep at three. Ironically, the weather sirens blared through the night.

    By five in the morning, the crescent moon illuminated through the windows. It happened to be partly clouded, not fully clear. Clouds were spreading out to make room for the moon's glare. The moon was brightly lit with beauty. It almost rivaled the sun's harmful rays.

    By six, Waverly got up to be nearly blinded by the moon. She checked on her phone. She tapped the icon for "flurries: 23 degrees F". After ten seconds, it changed to "clear: 12 degrees F". Waverly immediately jumped, for she HATED to see the moon as dark as her suede shoes. Luckily, she just got her phone two days ago. She knew the moon was made of ROCK, but STILL!
    She silently climbed out of her bed to wash and brush her teeth. She sang to an old song called "Clear As Can Be" by Memory Echo. She got in the shower and washed her hair, still singing to the song on the radio. By the time she was finished, the song stopped.

    "Ah! And I was JUST getting started! Ha ha!" Waverly pranced around the bathroom when an ominous knock sounded on the door.

    "You there. Get out!" A low-pitched voice crept behind the door.
    ==CHAPTER I==

    Waverly was scared for her privacy. "Mister, what do you want? I'm naked!" She screamed out.

    "A man I am not. Just please make room for me..." The voice sounded nowhere to normal.

    "What do you mean?" She screeched yet again.

    Out came a young woman named Ginger. She had medium brown hair to her lower shoulders and bright, blue eyes. She was about 5' 11", and seemed to have a nice body for her age. She was in her bathrobe.

    "So you're in the bath this morning? I need to take a bath, too."

    "But why? I JUST finished washing my hair, Ginger. Please come back!"

    "All right... do what you want..." With that, she left Waverly to herself.

    Ginger walked to Waverly and Vash's room and knocked violently to wake the solid sleeper Vash from his deep slumber. When he didn't answer, she tried the handle. She grinned an evil grin as she pushed into the room and saw his sleeping figure still on his bed, snoring away.

    Ginger crept over to him and jumped on top. She was locked on top of him as soon as he woke. He clamped his arms around her waist. She tried sliding out of his grip, but she was tickling herself on his fingers as she slid up. She managed to get herself sitting on his stomach and she hopped on his stomach.

    "Let go of me Vash! I'm not trying to kill you, just wake you up!"

    "Oh, thought you were Waverly. Why are you on top of me in your bath robe?"

    "Waking you up. Waverly kicked me out of the washing room."

    He shook his head and pushed her off. She caught herself before crashing to the floor.

    "Don't be so rough all the time! You'll never get a girlfriend with how you treat Waverly and me."

    She pointed at him accusingly, "I'm sure you can honestly say you are not gay! You are never happy after all."

    He crawled out of the bed and went back to his desk, piling up his notes and placing his notebook with "Toride" written on the bottom right corner. He left Ginger in the room and walked through the halls.

    He walked to the library where he continued to jot down information flowing through his brain about Toride. He was excited to have found something he wanted to pursue. He wouldn't let anyone else know he was excited, but he might want others on the journey.

    The eyes of an old adventurer watched as Vash sat down. The adventurer knew that some day in the future, they would meet in drastic circumstance. He could feel it on his tongue as he said the age old name, "Toride".
    ==CHAPTER II==

    Vash let out a long sigh. He knew he had to tell Waverly somehow, and maybe somewhere isolated. He didn't feel any more comfortable than he did while in his room.

    The snow resulted in little or no accumulation, so classes were in session. Vash immediately gathered all his things in that black and green "Ecology Plus!" handbag and threw on his Black-and white blouse (a part of a King of Fighters cosplay--his favorite shirt). He also threw on some vivid black pants to go with the outfit.
    He immediately went to the wide hall to be greeted by a monotonous "Hey, Vash!" Vash looked at Mr. Faustus Roland with a disgusted scowl and took his seat in the far right of the class. Even after that, Mr. Roland was still looking with his blue, wide eyes.

    He was known for giving these scary, long-winded speeches of his acts and his adventures "In The Closet". He thought the History of Lost Worlds 101 was going to be great---as did a bunch of other people. When they met this "specially engineered" educator, the class turned from better to worse in a matter of seconds. After Mr. Roman Benton left for Boston, Massachusetts, a psycho HAD to take his place. He wrote on the board "Bring me brains!" and "Lost Worlds 101-REPORTS DUE TODAY!"

    A fellow student named Brandon Kirkland blurted, "Oh, the wallowing pits of Hell!"

    "They'll be more Heaven!" Mr. Roland looked up in the air, his crooked teeth like that of a shark.

    "Vash! Long time, no see---Whoa! You must have been working ALL night! Let me see... 'Toride'? What is that place? Maybe we should go together~!"

    "Yes. It's a place, but unfortunately, I don't know where it is."

    "Where's Waverly?"

    "I... don't think she has---!" Without warning, Waverly came with an "Aztec" poster. It seemed like she'd get a 100% on it. Sure, she dreaded coming to this class. To get her required college credits, she needed to pass this course.

    "Hey, Vash!" Waverly looked at the blue-headed loner with the jazzy red head. They looked at her with amazement. "What is it?"

    "Maybe it's your clothes. You look nice with that blue sweater." Brandon complimented on how flippy her hair looked.

    "Thank you!" Waverly commented as she walked to her spot, just behind Vash. After ten minutes and fifty students, the tardy bell sounded.

    "Okay class! Have a seat!" Mr. Roland looked at the students calmly. "Now, let's read a little bit of 'In the Closet' before we get started."

    "Guh... not this again..." Vash wished to melt away.

    "'My life was a-torture. It was desperate, and boring. When I raped my wife, I died. When I fucked a little boy in the park last night, I was saved. I dismembered and ate my tabby cat on a frying pan. The testicles were the best. Mmm, Mmm, GOOD!'" Waverly didn't want to hear his lewd speech. She just turned her MP3 up high.

    <"Feel the burn, Vash?"> Brandon whispered in Vash's ear. He nodded and put his head down. He immediately felt a chill down his spine.

    "'I CAN SEE IT ALL! I HAD A-RABIES! I AM ALLLIVVVEEEEE! My wife was a dish washer, and my son, a rake. I enjoyed the taste of her beautiful tongue. I loved to bite her up.'" When it got to Mr. Roland's climax, he amplified the microphone to the podium to as high as it could go. The students groaned, screamed and moaned as they awaited the climax (or so he thought). "'Then! I went into my daughter's bed and made her go 'Oh! Oh!'. I put her in a neck hold, and rocked her ass off her bed. The soda was too bland, so I pissed in it.'"

    "YOU SICK PERVERT! YOU DESERVE TO DIE!" A girl interrupted his story.

    "That's it! I'm done. Go and turn in your projects. After that, you must leave, demons! LEAVE NOW!" Mr. Roland screamed towards his students. Everyone started coming up one at a time to turn in their projects and reports. As soon as the bell rang, they left like buzzing bees in a hurry.

    It seemed that every class you'd go would contain some maniac. "That story was horrible and nonsense!" Brandon followed Vash, "I miss Mr. Benton! He'd call that CRAP!"

    "Agreed, and I don't think a teacher should even allow nature of that kind in there."

    "You betcha. I almost threw up at the cat part." Suddenly, Brandon heard a scream, incoherent blabbing, and swearing. <"Sounds like Mr. Benton's back... so soon, too...">

    "You've read that disgusting crap, among other students! This is porn, not an assignment!"

    "I love it. I kill you." Mr. Roland replied.

    "Hey, what are you doing with that knife? Don't you---!" Mr. Vixen Benton was flushed, his ice blue eyes showing fear. "Kids! We'll watch this inflammatory sheet burn tomorrow~! Bring your textbooks! We'll start on Chapter Seven! Make sure you turn in your projects!" With that, he immediately ran from the classroom.

    "Oh, thank you!" Brandon felt his heart go back to normal hearing the rushed, cool voice. "I love Mr. Benton. He was a fun teacher, huh?"

    "Still is..." Waverly smiled back at Brandon, still rubbing his red, curly hair.

    "Well! I'll leave you guys alone!" Brandon went towards his dorm, and closed the doors behind him.

    "Waverly..." Vash trembled in a deep, gruff whisper.

    "En?" Waverly looked up at Vash.

    "May we go somewhere? Tonight? Right now?"

    "Well... okay..." Waverly was violently taken by the hand to the library. It was now getting cloudy and snowy again as They went from the classroom to the library. Vash found a scented candle, and lit that up in the darkness.

    In their secluded section of the library, Vash made sure that no one was in there while they settled.

    "Don't go getting all mushy on me with that scented candle Vash..."

    "I don't see you like that...just look at this a moment, please."

    Vash placed down his polished copy of notes on Toride. The notebook was almost glistening with the perfections he made on the studies.

    "There were a lot of awry details on the place, so I made it my personal project to make sense of it all. I think this place, The Last Fortress, is still standing. It's just hidden."

    Waverly looked through the notes, stunned.

    The old adventurer that had been watching Vash finish up the polishing watched from the top of a book case, out of sight to the two of them below him.

    "You only have clues here. Why would you make me look at clues?"

    "Clues point somewhere right? Work with me. We could find Toride. Do you think it would be worth it to go off of the clues and see what we find?"

    She stood up from her seat with Vash and pointed at him accusingly. Vash felt very taken aback with deja-vu from that same morning with Ginger.

    "College comes first. I don't really want to go anywhere with you, but this place seems very fun. Maybe..."

    Vash liked maybe. He reluctantly hugged her, immediately regretting it when Waverly punched him in the gut and shouted at him forgetting they were in the library, "I said no mushy stuff, retard!"

    She was hushed and the old adventurer left them to do their college stuff. He would take the first steps to Toride. Hopefully they would catch up to him and prove to him that young adventurers held promise.

    Vash groaned in pain from the hit, but ignored Waverly's words. He felt something about her though. He wouldn't admit it, but the pain was like a cauterizing over old wounds.

    Vash smiled when Waverly stormed off in a huff back to their room.

    "You really should have taken her warning," Ginger cheeped in. "Stu-pid."

    Vash shook his head just before Ginger smacked him upside the back of his head. He glared as she left him alone with his notes on Toride.

    "She better not have seen any of that. Aside Waverly hitting me of course..."

    He grabbed up all of his things and went back to his dorm room, dreading how Waverly would react to his quick recovery. He was strong, but he would never hit a girl back.

    ==CHAPTER III==

    It was a clear night once again, and Waverly powered up her computer. She then looked up "Toride". There came a MAME download for it. "So it's like a Mah-jong game."

    It took her several hours before she found a document that said "Toki-Doki". She immediately opened it and found "Toride". She was amazed at how accurate Vash was. The place looked downright beautiful. That "maybe" she once said before slowly turned to a definite "YES!" Waverly looked through all the documents and photos. They were pouring with waves of vibrant, rich colors. She was overjoyed, and saved the URL as a bookmark.

    "I bet Vash looked at this, too. I want to go someday. They don't tell you where it is, though. I'm up for a long journey any day." With that, she took a shower, slipped on her gown, and went to bed peacefully.

    By the next day, Waverly let out a long yawn. "Ah, man..." She checked her clock. "8:53 AM" was lit on her clock. "AAH!" She ran in her gown with her books to class. As soon as she got in Lost Worlds 101, she was so tired out, she instantly fell asleep with her head down.

    "Look who's sleeping now..." Vash looked at the sleeping Waverly.

    Waverly got up, rubbing at her eyes. "Wha... What is it...?"

    "Whatever, I've no business with you." Vash went to his spot. Waverly immediately got up and went to the washroom. She took a shower, brushed her teeth, and immediately got on a green "Witchy Doing" shirt with a pleated black skirt. Her hair was tied in colored rubber bands (they were like braids). She also wore some bat-patterned stockings with black boots. When she got her books, she was already three minutes tardy.

    "Miss Wisteria Elena Toltec, it would be an honor if you had ears to hear the tardy bell. Please take a seat." Mr. Benton was in the middle of a presentation about Pluto.

    "Yes, sir..." She slumped back down in her seat.

    "Okay, now who wants to see 'In the Closet' get burned?" Mr. Benton's eyes went wild with excitement. Lots of hands raised up in the air.

    "Ah!" Waverly was still tired, despite the shower and change.

    Vash couldn't stop thinking of Ryuto when he saw the devious Brit burn the paper like a flash. Vash's head hurt at the thought of Ryuto, who was all the way in Japan. <<"'Kingston!'>> Ryuto's voice echoed in his flashback. <<"'Have you lost your mind? Get out of my way!'">>

    <<"'Maybe it's you that I want..."'>>

    <<"'... Kingston... What have you been up to?'">>

    <<"'Maybe I want to announce the day you die, Ryuto!'">>

    <<"'Well, why do you want to kill me? What did I ever do to you?'">>

    <<"'After all the years of your rocking in my chair, you deserve to die!'">> With that voice resonating in his head, he pictured bashing Ryuto with a meat tenderizer. He began to have a little chuckle, and then it exploded to jolly, maniac laughter.

    Everyone looked at him as if he'd gone mentally insane. "Mr. Kingston, do you find any humor in this? If it does not have to do with the class, happily share it with us." Mr. Benton went through his unkempt bedhead.

    "I find your presentation wonderful, but the fact that somebody said aliens lived there... I find that humorous!"

    "OH... well that makes sense... anyway..." And Mr. Benton went on talking about Pluto's status. After what seemed like an eternity, the bell finally sounded. Waverly decided to walk with Vash.

    Vash suddenly spotted her. "Stop sneaking on me like that."

    "I was not... I wanted to talk to you..."

    Vash turned his head at her. He adopted those scary eyes. "What do you want?"

    Waverly took an involuntary step back. "...about that laugh... what were you really laughing at?"

    He mumbled, "You don't need to know." and walked away.

    "What was that?"

    "There's nothing you need to know. I was just happy." With that he walked with a fast pace to his dorm.

    "...What's up with him?" Waverly turned around and went to the lobby to get a Cherry Snapple.

    By 2:00 p.m. there was a dismissal bell. Everyone scattered out of the classrooms. Waverly went back her dorm. She immediately went on to Toki-Doki. They reported that the site will be down permanently due to some stupid copyright, so she did her best to print the pages. After she did so, she stapled about 27 pages and left it on the table for Vash.

    When Vash entered his room, he found a stapled packet that Waverly was nice enough to whip for him. He sat down to look at it. He smiled a bit when he realized that she whipped up some documents of Toride.

    "Hello, Vash..." Ginger was standing by the doorway sipping some English tea.

    "Ugh... at least knock first..." Vash growled under his breath.

    "Is that Toride again? Why are you so obsessed with it?"

    Vash threw the packet on the floor, and retorted, "Maybe it's because I like it."

    "You know... I'm interested..." She sat down beside Vash's bed. "If you wish to explore this world, I shall go with you."

    "Really? If you wish to go, we might plan our educational adventure in about two months or so."

    Ginger looked at her phone. "It's Wednesday... and mostly cloudy... so you'll need to reserve a bed early..."

    Vash immediately blushed, "Stop your random yapping!"

    "Oh, it was only a suggestion..." With that, Ginger left Vash to himself. He really, really wished to go. He had enough college credits to graduate early. He didn't know that Waverly was 14, but hey! He probably knew it from their conversations.

    Tired from studying and free time, he went into a very deep sleep in his school clothes.
    ==CHAPTER IV==

    Paris, France

    It was a cold, rainy day in Paris, France. The Corbeaus were getting started with their royal party. After everyone on the guest list arrived, they sat at the golden table. Lord Augustus Corbeau began his prayer. "Our Holy Father... Thank you for providing your treasures of gifts. Thank you for making this tired man to be present at this wonderful party. You have brought blessings to this family. If my son and daughter hadn't made it in the rain without illness, it'd crush my heart. Please provide a wonderful feast to this castle tonight."

    After an echoing "Amen", everyone began to chow down on honeyed duck, peas, mashed potatoes, mussels and honey rolls. Lord Corbeau brought sparkling juice for his guests who couldn't tolerate alcohol. The rest were provided cherry wine in golden flutes.

    Alexander and Alexandra were the two angels of the Corbeaus. They both had straight, golden blonde hair reaching to the lower back and blue eyes of the blue sapphire. Alexander was a tall, 5' 10". Alexandra was a nice 5' 8". They were both 19 years of age.

    "Thank you, Father. You have made quite a dinner. I'm proud of you." Alexander smiled at his father.

    "You have seemed to forget table manners, my boy."

    Alexander looked down at his blouse to find it dribbled with potatoes. "My apologies, dear father." He got his napkin and immediately dabbed the potatoes off of his white shirt. Alas, it left a noticeable stain.

    "Oh, dear brother... you're always like this when it comes to dinners, are you not?" Alexandra shook her head.

    Alexander was too busy wolfing down the last of his duck. When he finally gulped it down, he nodded. "This is the best dinner I've ate!"

    "I suppose it is..." Lord Corbeau complimented to his wife, Lady Helena Corbeau.

    "Merci." Lady Corbeau nodded as she ate a part of her roll. As the dinner continued, it happened to be a beautiful time that lasted forever. Music from the great hall sounded rich and beautiful as always.

    After dinner, the children were getting ready for bed. When Alexander looked for his Bible, he found a peculiar artifact just deep inside his vault (where he kept his jewelry and money). He sneezed at the dust that resided deep in his wardrobe.

    "That sneeze. I worry that you've caught cold, brother."

    Alexander continued to search between sniffles. "No, Lexi. I've an allergy to dust, remember?"

    She laughed joyously, "Ah! But what makes you dig your face in your wardrobe? Your shoes?"

    While his upper body was in his wardrobe, he was struggling to look for his black shoes. When he finally found them, he took attention of the artifact. "What is this?"

    His sister asked to see the golden artifact. "Looks like a bunch of hieroglyphs---and Latin!"

    "No, I believe that's Chinese. 'Qǔshǒu' means 'Toride'... a lost city... It appears to be derived from an ancient scribe."

    "How do you know that!?" Alexandra's eyes were like bowling balls. She was quite impressed at how Alexander had the amazing ability to decode Chinese. The Chinese, "一個失去了城市黯然萬元武士拆卸,它仍可能在未來蓬勃發展。" is all she could see.

    He smiled at her, "Perhaps of our previous excursions 'round the globe."

    "Oh, I get it..." She was still angry that her father failed to take notice of his only daughter. She HATED how haughty he sounded when he talked of his knowledge. She could still hear Alexander decoding it in French. Finally, when he got finished with the first paragraph of the writing entry, he was tired enough to fall into a deep slumber.

    BACK IN LONDON...

    Ginger was at the library on a school computer, and she found a text on her iPhone from her friend, Alexander. She and Lexus knew each other from some boarding school down in Paris. He was ALWAYS that edgy, daring man with a thing for women. His text said, "Do you know anything about 'Toride'? I found this weird artifact yesterday night."

    Ginger texted back "Yes. My friends are trying to get the pieces together. My other friend's so psyched about it. We plan to go there soon."

    After five minutes, Alexander replied with a heart emoticon. "Cool~<3 I actually thought about doing so. Father's overreacting about our safety right now."

    "Does he think you can handle it alone?" Ginger texted back to Lexus's message.

    "Yes, he says as long as it's safe. I told him it's perfectly safe."

    Ginger gritted her teeth at the text. "I'm not so sure. Don't get too excited."

    "Well, if you wish to go, I'll gladly help you on your quest someday."

    "As will I. I look forward to seeing you once again."

    "A pleasure... You too!" And with that, the conversation between them ended just in cue for her leave. She didn't have class now that she was a senior, hanging out. When she walked from there to the washroom, she bumped into Waverly.

    "Hello, Waverly. Nice to see you." Ginger tucked the stray fringe behind her ear.

    "You, too. What are you doing this late?"

    "Might I ask the same for you?"

    "I don't know, just whipping up treats for Vash."

    "Oh, notes for Toride? Well, I think I'll need to share something with you."

    "Me? But why me?"

    "It about this text I got. A guy from France found an artifact in his room yesterday."

    "What does that have to do with anything?"

    "Well, does asking about Toride ring a bell to what we've dealt with?"

    "Yeah! I'm glad we're not alone!"

    "As am I, Waverly. In fact, Vash wanted you and I to go with him. Since he wishes to do it so much, I planned that we head out on January 23."

    "What's today?"

    "January 18, so we got roughly a week to prepare before we set off."

    "Sounds kind of rushed. Maybe February 4... or something like that..."

    "How about January 27?"

    "Sounds like a lot of time to prepare." Waverly smiled as she left.
    The old adventurer had left the campus grounds the day that Vash and Waverly had their conversation about Toride and whether or not she would go with him. He was curious on whether they would be leaving soon. His first place to head on his clues, was to a villa in the outskirts of Paris, France. He stood outside the villa in the rain, and saw as a candle lit room housing two young adults very similar in appearance. He saw a tablet with familiar inscribing, and saw a few things he hadn't seen along with it.

    "Aha! My next clue."

    The adventurer left the villa, his next destination barely even known to him, but his travel fully comprehended.

    BACK IN LONDON...

    Vash was tired, looking through his notes. He was ready to go to sleep when the door to his room opened. He usually waited for Waverly to get back before he went to bed. He was surprised when she had someone along with her. His surprise vanished when he saw that it was Ginger.

    "Why did you bring Ginger? Having a sleepover tonight?"

    His voice was dramatic and monotone at the same time, the girls always wondered how he did that.

    "Toride," Ginger said calmly. "We know you plan on going and want people along."

    Waverly was on the same page as Ginger as she spoke up, "I want to go, and you're not stopping me. You asked me already and I'm telling you now I'm going with you."

    Ginger chimed in, "I also have some special information that you might not yet have. You have to let me go too though or you won't get it. It's about Toride of course."

    Vash went from tired enough to be considered dead, to awake and alert in seconds. "You two can come along. Of course you can. What's this new information on Toride?"

    "Oh, just a little tablet a friend of mine found in the bottom of his closet. We have to include him and his sister too if you want to get anywhere with Toride."

    "The more, the safer. Of course they could come along."

    A knock at the door, and Vash had an unwelcome feeling rubbing on his conscience.

    Ryuto tried the door and found himself in the room in a second. Vash's jaw dropped, and Ryuto was smiling like a maniac.

    "You aren't leaving without me Vash! You need someone capable of handling adventure. You're too much of the book worm!"

    Vash was disappointed yet happy at the same time. He also wanted to clobber Ryuto with a meat tenderizer like before...but he was past that knowing that a strong rival was offering help on the adventure.

    "You can come along, but don't forget that I'm the one who beat you!"

    Vash had the energy back and the attitude he needed for the adventure.

    Waverly chimed in again, "Ginger and I have already planned out a day we can leave and start looking around to follow your clues. The 27th!"

    Vash smiled and nodded his head. Suddenly, sleep was the last thing on his mind.
    ==CHAPTER V==

    It was past ten o'clock, and it was pouring like crazy. There were no classes today due to the inclement weather and the winter break 2. Ryuto looked forward to being on the trip, but rather reluctant with Vash. You see, he and Vash were enemies. Vash just hated his rival's guts. He didn't like how his black hair was to his neck (yes, like a girl). Vash didn't like Ryuto's Goth and his skull earring. Sure, he might be distant, but he wasn't sure if he had a girlfriend. He was quite hyped to prepare for Ryuto's early grave. He loved it, his mind created a mini-clip of stomping a thousand ants representing Ryuto. He liked Goth too, but hell, it was an excuse of hating him!

    A knock sounded on his door. "Come in," he mumbled as he read through his papers. It was Waverly. It was strange, for she was usually happy. Now, she looked extremely sad and her eyes seemed to be swollen from crying.

    "What's up?" Vash peered at the sad Waverly, still crying.

    "I'd rather not talk about it, but it goes like this: Boyfriend, Abuse, dog dies..." and she flopped herself on the bed and began to bawl.

    "What Boyfriend? Did he abuse you or something? And your dog rests in peace."

    "Vincent and I broke up and he said scathing words. I told him about 'Toride' and he said it was stupid. He didn't care for me after all..." She continued to cry as hard as she could. She was so saddened she could hardly talk.

    "Well... get out if you want to cry. It's hard to watch you be like that."

    "Sure..." With that, Waverly left the room and began crying in the washroom. Vash went back to work on his research before leaving campus. By one o'clock, Vash left London University to get something to eat at McDonald's.
    He got him and Waverly two double cheeseburgers with French fries. He also bought two frozen mocha lattes from a local Starbucks. By the time he got back to the dorm, Waverly was conversing with a friend. She was feeling a bit better, her eyes still red. She sipped her drink and she felt much better. "Thank you..." she whispered hoarsely as she took the drink.

    "We'll eat at the lounge. Go ahead and bring Ginger." But Waverly didn't wish to be with anyone right now. She didn't even feel like eating. All she could think about was Vincent. Vash only took the food and put it in his fridge. Now, Waverly found herself alone for about thirty minutes. She cried and cried until 12:30, and she went to wash her face.

    After that, Waverly went in the dorm room. Vash was reading manga on his phone. When she looked at her pink bulletin by her computer, she saw several pictures of Vincent.
    Angrily, Waverly took the pictures down, cut it up and threw it away. She stabbed the pink and green teddy bear Vincent got her for her 12th birthday. Vash got up from the bed and went to the lobby. as soon as the door shut behind him, she was crying as hard as she could. "I hate you, Vincent!" She choked between rocking sobs.

    Suddenly, she could see a figure with a man's dress shirt atop a white jacket to go with her white bell-bottoms. "Ginger! What are you doing here?"

    Ginger looked at the saddened girl. "Vash said you needed comfort."

    "...Yeah, but I... I can't talk to you about it."

    "Why not? Personal?" With that, Waverly slowly nodded her head.

    "Say, why does Vash acts the way he does?"

    Waverly wiped her tears. "I don't know. He's always been like that."
    Ginger tapped her toes against the floor beneath her feet. "Look, I know this might go against whatever you two have going on, but I can tell that your pain is just as hard for him. He's not pissed off right now, studying his brains out because he'd die from it. I could tell if he was pissed off. He was frustrated, which is probably from something you told him about your problems. I wouldn't cut him short, but at least he considers you a friend."

    Ginger walked out of the room before Waverly could further question her.

    Tears still dripping down her face, she considered it. Vash had always been quiet, but never really angry with her. She wanted to know then how he really felt. She didn't want to rebound to him, and she felt sick at the idea, but she felt like she needed someone who cared to comfort her until she was ready.

    Waverly wiped the tears from her face and pulled herself together as much as possible. She walked down the silent dormitory hall and then to the lobby. She saw Vash sitting there rubbing his temples in his frustration. She couldn't help but wonder if she had caused his frustration that time.

    She walked past him and sat beside him on the other side of the couch.

    "Something about Toride frustrating you now?"

    He considered it a second, or at least he seemed like he did. "...Yeah."

    "What is it? Maybe it'll get both of us off of my PMS."

    "That time of month? Oh right...anyways, this thing with Toride. There are a few places that are very vague. There are only descriptions of the places that the clues are. I'm hoping that the lead in France can pinpoint the locations to at least a city, because the descriptions are mostly barren sandy wastelands or hills of lush green grass."

    Waverly looked down at the page that was sitting on top of the pile. Something jumped out at her. She saw something about buildings in the writing, at least what she thought meant buildings. All of the writing on that page was in Old Latin.

    "What does this word mean?" she said when she pointed out the word she thought meant building.

    "That's in the reference to the barren wasteland...hold on."

    Vash looked closer at the page, trying to decyfer it a different way by how Waverly could see him looking to another of his pages.

    "The word means city, not buildings. It's a city in the middle of a continuous sandstorm, or a dust bellow. Often, people mistake it for a patch of sink sand, but it's really a path to an underground city. The city is referred to in many different ways, Necropolis the most common, but the placement throws it off."

    "Can you tell where this one is?"

    "Between Cairo and the Nile. There are maybe two in that region from what I last remember seeing."

    "So, from looking at them, you should know which one is the path that leads to the city, right?"

    "The best way to find out, is to go at night, when the one that doesn't lead to the city would stop turning, and the one that continues to turn leads to the city."

    She seemed excited as much as he was. He couldn't wait to see where the path led to. Only a week, and they would be gathering the first clue and searching for the second.

    "It's been nice talking to you tonight Vash. Now let's get to bed sleepyhead! You look more tired than an old man off caffeine!"

    With Waverly in higher spirits, and Vash happy, Vash watched her with his interested eyes as she danced down the hall to their dorm room. He followed, knowing that she would definitely follow him to Toride and back.
    ==CHAPTER VI==

    MEANWHILE

    A beautiful moon rises in the cold Paris skies. Alexander has already done some daily cleaning. He rubbed furiously at his nose from the dust that forever resided in his closet. As soon as he got out a maroon outfit, he sneezed three times. "Damn dust..."

    "Get out of there! You'd sneeze your nose off looking for it again!"

    Lexus wiped his runny eyes with the back of his hands. "I'm fine! I need to look for that damned artifact! It was JUST here a few hours ago!"

    Lexi cleared her throat. "Father took it and kept it in his archives."

    "Oh, Lord! I need that!" Lexus looked at the desk and under the drawer to see it gone.

    "Is that maroon outfit for tomorrow?" Lexi looked at the golden buttons and emblems that decorated the coat and pants. "It looks like dad's soldier outfit."

    "It IS his outfit. He lent it to me after seeing that I could wear it."

    "It looks dazzling on you, brother. You should wear it."

    Lexus sniffed at it. He let out a huge sneeze. "It's all dusty. It needs to be washed."

    "I am not sure if father would approve of you wearing it in that condition."

    Lexus threw his hands in the air. "OF COURSE HE WOULDN'T!"

    Lexi laughed quite hard at her brother's sudden drama. "Oh, Alexander... You never cease to amuse me!"

    Lexus laughed with her, "Then I'm a good brother!" Thy both laughed into the night while trying to look or the artifact.

    MEANWHILE

    Back in London...

    "What about Vash?!" Ryuto was angry enough to bash Ginger's head in.

    "I only wish for peaceful endings, not some horrifying yelling!"

    Ryuto gave a mean glare at Ginger. "Why'd the hell you force me to something I'd rather die going!?"

    "Well, let's just say it's a vacation."

    Ryuto let out an exasperated sigh, "DAMN IT! WHY DO YOU HAVE TO BE LIKE THAT?!"

    "Like what, young man?"

    "You know why the HELL you're so damn kind?!"

    "I don't want to yell at you, but if you're going to be defiant, we might as well leave you be."

    Ryuto sighed, "Sorry, thought you were Vash... had to take my anger at someone."

    "Well, you just did! I think you owe an apology!" Ginger pointed angrily at Ryuto.

    "...forget it, lady. I don't apologize..."

    "Well, then. You can just jut your ass out that little window there and shout 'Mommy! Mommy! Mommy!'"

    Ryuto gave an angry stare that made Ginger step back a bit. "... don't play like that. We're not in kindergarten."

    "Of course! I was only kidding!" Ginger laughed loudly before turning back serious. "Why don't you sympathize to Vash?"

    Ryuto's brown eyes became wide like bowling balls of flaming anger. "WHAT!? SYMPATHIZE!? After all those years of him torturing me with his crap, he'd better pay me back with a fight for all I care!"

    "Well, if you're going to act like a baby when against Vash or anyone else, I might as well leave you to yourself."

    "That's fine, but watch where you're gong when you're across me!"

    "Jeez, fine! I will!" With that, Ginger walked out just in time to dodge an alarm clock.

    "So immature..." She scoffed. When she returned, she saw Vash and Waverly fighting over something silly: a cheeseburger. She knocked on the door. Vash quickly stuffed the cheeseburger into Waverly's mouth.

    "What is it?" Vash pushed Waverly down from the top bunk. The bean bag chair beside it cushioned her fall.

    "... I've had an argument with Ryuto just now. Mind if we talk about that cheeseburger we call 'Angel'?"

    "What cheeseburger?" Vash looked to see Waverly tearfully eating the burger. It appeared that she had bruised herself from the impact of the fall.
    "Are you hurt?" Vash asked.

    Waverly continued to eat away at the cheeseburger. She was crying, but it seemed the cheeseburger was soothing her at that moment.

    "So what was with the cheeseburger? Last one?"

    Vash nodded his head.

    "I wasn't hungry any longer, so I told Waverly to have it. She wouldn't take it at first of course, but now as you can see she is very much enjoying it."

    Ginger shook her head. "About Ryuto...do you think we'd be able to trust him on our adventure? He said that he wouldn't be able to contain his rivalry to you. Will that get in the way?"

    "Likely, but his skills would be needed at some point," he looked at Waverly to see her finish up the cheeseburger and start rubbing her head.

    "You didn't have to push me off of the bed! My head's feeling like it was caught in a tornado."

    "You have a migraine? Don't tell me I gave you a concussion?!"

    Vash calmed himself, normally not being the type to speak up so much.

    "No, there's not the heat that usually gathers when a concussion starts. It just hurts."

    Ginger shook her head at them, giggling.

    "You two act like a pair of love birds."

    Vash threw a pencil and Waverly threw a pen at Ginger, and she managed to dodge them just barely, getting out of the room.

    "If my plan works, those two will be a couple at the end of this journey. Ryuto just needs to man up and be a little more responsible."

    Vash and Waverly stared at the wall where their writing utensils stabbed up to the middle of their lengths.

    "Are you sure you're okay Waverly?"

    She nodded her head, but Vash hopped down from his bed and checked her temperature, and felt around her head for any damage.

    "You're running a bit of a fever, but otherwise, you are fine. The fever could be the cause of your migraine."

    "I have been feeling...hot tonight. Maybe it finally got to my head."

    Vash left the room a minute, returning with a glass of water and a small white pill.

    "My special migraine medication. You need to let it dissolve in your mouth first before you swallow it though. It tastes disgusting but it works and you had the cheeseburger. The taste shouldn't be that bad with that remaining in your mouth..."
    ==CHAPTER VII==

    As soon as Waverly took the white pill, her mouth was seized by a disgusting taste. It reminded her of the smell of Vash's old shoes. She let it dissolve a bit before gulping the substance down. She grimaced to the aftertaste and went to the lounge to buy some Twix bars to eat. As she ate the first half of the candy, she was looking at her phone and tapped the yellow ball of sunshine on her phone. She gulped down the water to make the chocolate go down a bit easier. After she was mostly finished, her phone finally updated to "rain; 34 degrees F". She knew it was nighttime, and her phone flashed "8:35 PM". She could now hear the pattering of the rain on the windows. Tired and sleepy, she curled up under the covers and went to sleep. She knew this was unusual for her, for it was about a quarter to nine, and she was already going to sleep like an angel.
    Vash looked at her, and scoffed with a smile. "Out like a light." Vash whispered as he pranced to get his winter coat and umbrella. After fifteen minutes of preparing himself, he walked to a bar off-campus. Along the way, he was quick to get a vanilla cappuccino, a dozen of apples and oranges, six Kleenex boxes, some spices (for the kitchen), a Memory Echo CD (for Waverly), three boxes of allergy pills, a case of bandages, a dozen purple pots and pans (for Waverly and Ginger) and some stay-awake pills. He was still bent-on about searching for Toride in its entirety. With all that he had, he repeatedly studied and studued until midnight.

    "Bonjour, Monsieur Vash..." A familiar voice came up to him. He thought it was Ginger, but it happened to be none other than Jean Vamiere, the youngest-looking teacher of the school. "It seems that you've been studying a bit." He looked as he was cleaning a glass.

    "Yeah, I have."

    "What is it that intrigues me so much!?" Jean's aqua blue eyes were like diamonds.

    "You don't need to know that." Vash immediately got up and left to go back to a drug store to buy a pack of salt-and vinegar Pringles, some strawberry flavored gum, some apples and oranges, some Butter-Finger candy, Twix, Twizzlers, Original Sun-Chips, and Reese's peanut butter cups (of the king-sized brand) before heading back to campus. By three o'clock in the morn, he immediately put all the candy in Waverly's fridge. He groaned loudly enough to wake a bear from hibernation, yet it didn't deter Waverly.

    MEANWHILE, THE NEXT MORNING...

    It was the early morning, and Vash was visibly confused with his fortnight shopping. He didn't know why in Gods he git the stuff. All Vash knew was that he and Waverly needed a couple of things.

    "A waste of fucking money." He mumbled as he looked at all the chocolates he went to get for Waverly--some for himself. He was dead-tired, and immediately took a stay-awake. As soon as Vash got on his blue sweatpants, a "Dead-Lock" T-shirt and his black tennis shoes, he immediately headed to the gym to work out.
    Even if the special migraine medicine did its trick, Waverly's head was hurting. She was so sure that her period hasn't started yet, and went to the bathroom. To her utter dismay, the blood seeped onto her pantyliner. She felt her eyes turning black, for it was only twenty days since her last period. Maybe THAT'S why Waverly was too sick to get her cheeseburger.

    "AH!" Waverly screamed.

    Ginger had a palm to the side of her face and shook her head. "She's on her period, I see..." She walked to the little fridge and found an abundance of chocolate candies.
    Vash got back from his morning work out to find Ginger snooping around in the fridge. When he closed the bedroom door behind him, she closed the fridge door with a twizzler hanging from her mouth with a confused look on her face.

    He shook his head and went to his desk, putting all of his papers from his studies into his book bag. He made sure everything was bound, and he knew it looked fascinating as the olden style of twine binding wrapped the spine together, making a giant book.

    "Getting ready for the trip?"

    Ginger was eyeing up his book bag. He had never intentionally shown it to her, and she never really noticed it until then. With Black Butler and other animé stickers and pins covering the outside, she wondered if he really liked any of it with all of the time he spent being so serious and studying.

    "You're into animé Vash?"

    He shrugged his shoulders.

    "I watched it while growing up. I can't say it has stuck with me, but once in a while I'll watch it if I have time."

    "We still have close to a week for the trip right? Are you so eager already?"

    "I'm finished gathering information...I don't think I could find any more information to be honest. Not until we leave. I was going to talk with you and Waverly tonight in the library to get some planning done. We need to hit as many places as possible in order to get what we need on info for Toride. We won't be getting there this trip, but we might just get all of the pieces together."

    Ginger nodded her head, shaking the twizzler that was still hanging in her mouth. She pulled the rest of the twizzler into her mouth and stuck another one in.

    "Waverly's on her period. I don't think she'll be out of the wash room any time soon."

    Just then, Waverly walked out of the wash room. She looked more healthy than the three of them remembered.

    "That pill really did work. On everything. It's surprising what medication can do. I don't feel like my insides are rebelling any more."

    Waverly looked at Ginger and saw the twizzler hanging from her mouth.

    "My twizzlers!!!"

    Waverly jumped at Ginger, tackling her to the floor.

    "Give me my twizzlers!"

    "There's more in the fridge! Vash stocked up last night and I wanted to see what he got. There's lots in the fridge."

    Sounding like Golum from Lord of the Rings, Waverly gave a menacing look to Ginger, "My precious twizzlers..."

    Vash and Ginger stepped away from the ravaging Waverly.

    "We were going to go to the library and discuss our plans for the trip to Toride. Are you more interested in your twizzlers, or Toride?"

    Waverly perked up when she heard Toride. "What just happened?"

    Ginger stared at Waverly, astonished. "PMS. You're lucky we love you."

    Vash chuckled and they left for the library.
    ==CHAPTER VIII==

    MEANWHILE

    Paris, France...

    "YOU TWO plan for a FEAST!? How dare you not tell these visitors of our plans of Church!" Lord Corbeau scowled at his two children. They both had these anticipatory smiles on their face that suspected a scene.

    "Good father, our feast is not until two days short. Today's a Friday, and we get the maroon shirt for morrow." Alexander reassured his steaming father.

    "Right you are, my boy! And what mischief dost thou plan for Sunday?"

    "All but none, my awesome father." Alexandra cheeped in, but she felt herself getting angry as a volcano when Lord Corbeau pretended she was dead & invisible. He went to Alexander and petted him as a master would to his dog. This made her want to yell "Over here, bastard!!" towards her father. Her mother seemed to pay attention to her. However, she was sick, so she couldn't care for her at the present time.

    Suddenly, Lord Corbeau spied Alexandra. "O! Sweet daughter! Why have I not seen you, my angel? I am dearly sorry for my negligence!"

    "Father, I have tried to please you. Have I pleased you not?" Alexandra was past activating tears. She began to burst out, "I love you Lord Corbeau! I DO wish to be repented of sin! You gave utmost loyalty to my brother--such a funny and wise fellow! But why do I feel green of envy?! WHY!? WHY!? WHY!?" She then knelled on the floor and cried.

    "Father, I know you gave loyalty to me. You should also try and shed some of that light to dear Alexandra. It seems wrong, and not right in any way possible..." Alexander shook his head in agreement. "It shows that you love only one of us, and not the other. We ARE twins, do you know not?" He said softly, trying to be honest.

    "...I WILL NOT ALLOW YOU TO COOK SUCH FRAYS IN THIS HOUSE OF CORBEAU! TO ROOM FORE I GET MAD! TO ROOM FOR I GET MAD! HIE YOU TO BED!" Lord Corbeau jutted an index finger to the upper stairway, his face full of anger. The two complied, going upstairs with disappointed faces. They didn't dare to tell him of their hungry souls. They hurried to wash their faces, brush their teeth, use the restroom and go to bed. Alexander forgot to change his bed, so his pillow was teeming with dust mites. He sneezed in eight fits of six sneezes starting every thirty seconds after he went in the bed. Sure enough, he couldn't go to sleep until eleven in the evening.

    "God bless you, Alexander!" Alexandra handed him a box of tissues.

    "Th--Thank you..." Alexander tried to get a tissue from his sister. Unfortunately, his efforts didn't come in time. He sneezed wetly on the cover. He sneezed again into his sleeve. He sneezed another time on his tissue. "So much for telling the truth, dear sis..."

    "Yeah, and he usually takes that as an apology. Did he really care for me in the end?" Alexandra asked her brother, still trying to wipe his runny eyes and nose.

    "I bet he did, but takes little notice of you since you're so small." He joked, laughing quietly in his sheets.

    "Peace!" She whispered almost sharply before going to sleep.

    MEANWHILE

    LONDON, ENGLAND

    Ginger was getting ready to look out for the plans. She knew it was only four days before setting off to Paris for the feast. She was prepared to spark Lexus to see if things were prepared yet. When she did, she received a text that they were not to do so until Monday, the 23. She replied, "We'll probably be there by then. I hope your father says a lot about us!"

    "Well, father's planning a feast on Sunday, so we can't plan a feast for you guys. He still considers you strangers." Lexus replied back.

    "Crap... we'll be getting on the plane tonight in that case!" Ginger knew it was no or never, for there were crazy plans. Ryuto was back in Osaka, Japan. Vash was... well... sleeping like the bear he was.

    "That'd be extraordinarily wonderful!~<3 See you there!~<3" Lexus seemed to hug her with these kisses on the phone.

    <"Oh, man... I'd have to tell Waverly and Vash quickly! We have a change of plans!"> She immediately rushed to the library. Luckily, Waverly was there, reading some of "Fruits Basket" manga.

    "Hello, Ginger. What's the rush?"

    "Change of plans... Pack up now!" Ginger gasped in a rushed voice.

    "Why, Ginger?"

    "Lexus and them offered us a feast on Monday. I bet Vash would be happy to hear us going now."

    Vash was looking crazed, coming through the doors. "Going where. Ginger? You said the 27, NOT TODAY!" He was getting angered. He was excited, for it was about time to do something special.

    Ginger sighed as she went through her brown, silky hair. "It was a change of plans. You're already packed, so we might as well head off tonight. Did you already pay for the tickets?"

    "Already taken care of. I got about a hundred thousand pounds left. It should take care of he flights we might have to make. I'll actually try to buy a canoe while at the store getting supplies."

    "Wow, look at you! And you were just a sloth a couple minutes ago!" Waverly joked.

    Vash growled under his breath, "SHUT UP! I've had good reasons for my sleep!"

    Ginger chuckled, "Well, come on now... time's a-wasting. We'll need to tell Mr. Benton about our 'educational' excursion."

    "YAY!" Waverly smiled as she went along with Vash and Ginger. They were like her second set of parents--and siblings. They were on their way to Mr. Benton's room when they realized he was out.

    "Hmm... he's out... Let's just go then... the teachers wouldn't mind!" Ginger whispered.

    "YIPPEE!" Waverly was too excited when they were in the dorm rooms.
    Still steaming from being called a sloth, Vash grabbed up all of his stuff. He ushered Waverly through he packing, managing to get everything together very fast. He sneezed at the ridiculous amount of dust that was on some of her stuff.

    "How could your stuff have possibly gathered so much dust?!"

    "It's been a couple of years since we've settled in and I never unpacked some things..."

    Vash shook his head. Once Waverly had everything out on her bed, underwear included, Vash started rifling through the clothes, showing her something whenever he picked it up if she wanted to take it along, he stuffed everything into the suitcase folded nicely and compacted in a way that he had learned from his old school excursions.

    Vash picked up some panties from the bed by the crotch and Waverly smacked him across the face.

    "I'll put my underwear in the suitcase! Don't touch my crotch!"

    Vash rubbed his face and continued, stuffing the panties into the suitcase. He then proceeded to grabbing bras. He wasn't looking at anything he grabbed, but he felt the soft cushioning material for the breasts.

    Another smack to the face, and Vash stuffed the bra into the suitcase.

    "Stop touching my underwear you pervert! Just because it isn't on me doesn't mean it's okay!"

    "You're so damn slow at packing, just tell me whether or not you want to take something along."

    "Get out of here and finish up the shopping. Ginger and I will meet you at the airport."

    Vash shook his head and rubbed at the smack marks on face. Waverly sure did hit him hard. He went through the halls and to Mister Benton's office, knocking before letting himself in.

    "Mister Benton, I have come here to inform you a rushed flight me Ginger and Waverly will be taking to Paris. It is for educational purpose."

    "What? Are you not having fun in my class?"

    Vash shook his head. "This is for our history project. Would you allow us to go on this excursion?"

    "By all means. Just be sure you're back after the school holiday!"

    Vash nodded his head and turned, leaving Mister Benton alone in his office. The sound of opera echoed out with the crackling of fire and Mister Benton singing to the music. Vash cringed and said, "That is something that I certainly will not be missing."
    ==CHAPTER IX==

    By the time Vash was finished with the packing, Waverly wished to say sorry for the slapping. Vash bopped her in the back of her head, saying, "Don't forget this is for your own good, girl."

    "Why... I ought to..." She raised her right fist with an evil glare at Vash. Suddenly, a knock came on the door.

    It was Jean Vamiere, teary-eyed with a tissue in his left hand. He sounded like a woman when he sneezed and spoke. "I would like to tell you to have a nice trip" He sneezed between his words. Vash could tell that it was just plain allergies. Jean bonked his head against the door on his way out. Waverly began to laugh.

    "You LOST your shit, Jean?" Vash gave a demonic glare at the teacher. "Seriously, we do not have time to mess about."

    "Oh, sorry... I just took the dog out... " He let out a huge sneeze into his tissue, bonking his head yet again. It was enough force to fall backwards and get caught in the increasing amount of trash.

    "He strangely reminds me of Lexus..." She said to herself.

    "Who?" Waverly stood, flabbergasted on what Ginger said.

    "No body worth knowing but when introduced yourself." Ginger answered with a wink.

    "Wow..." she turned back to Vash.

    "The man's lost his shit. Let's get out of here before everything gets worse, shall we, Ginger?" Vash coughed at the dust on Waverly's stuff.

    "I'm sorry, Vash. If it harms you, you're well-acquainted with the cotton swab full of dust!" She held out a Q-Tip close to Vash's nose. He swatted it out of her hand.

    "Don't do that to me, Waverly. I'll have you called a piggy if you dare to do that again." He warned, his silver-colored nails pointed towards Waverly's nose. She shoved the hands away.

    'Don't glare at me like that! It's scary!" Waverly screeched as she attempted to zip up her purple suitcases. Ginger began to zip her bag up before it was finally time to go. While they were out, it was quickly getting dark. The sky was flashing with lightning bolts, strange for January weather in London. They decided it was only good to wait for Vash to head off to Paris. As a result, Ginger and Waverly had a talk about Toride and Lexus.

    "There's this boy named Lexus, and he's from France." Ginger told Waverly, whispering so that others wouldn't hear.

    "Go on... he sounds awesome..." Waverly was now interested in what Ginger was saying. She was utterly amazed to meet the guy.

    "I heard he owns some kind of 'Golden Villa'. I don't recall what he speaks of, but I am sure it's just a fancy mansion."

    "WOW! I wanna see!" She raved on like an impatient child.

    MEANWHILE

    Charlie's Marine

    It was a rainy, stormy night. Vash was determined to get that canoe for their trip, since it might cause them a bunch of travelling. Additionally, he didn't know if he could pay 2800 pounds for a good canoe. He went in the shop. "Hello, young man! What can I do for ya today?"

    Vash slammed the bag down on the counter. He demanded in a low, ominous voice. "Give me the best canoe 2,800 pounds can buy!"

    "Okay, son... let me see what I got." The store clerk, Mark, went to look in the section of the Fireboats. "How about this Fireboat 3X? It holds up to 400,000 kilograms. It includes a nifty speed engine to it."

    Vash smiled at the look. He HAD to have it. It was a combination of silver and a burning gold as the lightning patterns. It looked perfect, but a tad bit showy. Nonchalantly, he asked, "Anything a bit basic?"

    "Sure!" Mark went to the "Adventurer's Section" of the store. He found a boat that Vash had his eyes fixated for so long. It was a basic Rider 2, and it included some steel oars with some plastic at the ends. It looked cheap, but it was worth getting. "Although it's dull and grey, it's still pretty durable after a long expedition!" Mark gave a hearty laugh. "Marco Polo could have used this baby for his trip round the globe!"

    "I'll take it. By the way, how much is that?" Vash asked, a bit curious.

    "It's on clearance for 600 pounds. I'd consider you lucky for bringing all that change with enough to save for a hotel!" Mark joked with Vash, who smiled a bit.

    "Yeah, I know. It's a bit crazy... and I need to save up on some stuff anyway." Vash smiled a bit.

    "I see! Well, you have a good day! Try not to stay in the rain for too long!" Mark called out as Vash left the store. He replied with a gesture that signaled "goodbye" before finally taking his leave.

    Meanwhile, Vash went to the drug store to buy some more Kleenex for the trip, just every freaking over-the-counter medicine the drug store could offer--about three each, and about three survival kits. He probably got a year's worth of medicine with him as he got home.
    Vash met up with Waverly and Ginger. While he got close, the canoe on a small trailer he was pulling behind him, Waverly and Ginger looked from each other to the approaching Vash.

    "Took you long enough."

    "More supplies most likely going to be needed with the klutzes coming on this journey. Plus, the canoe. Don't tell me I don't know how to shop. I'm a saver and proud."

    Ginger and Waverly gave Vash a look of disappointment and disgust.

    "Lets head to the airport! We only have an hour to get there before our flight gets called!"

    "We're not that far, we should get there in ten minutes if you two can keep up with me without wiping out. Watch your feet."

    Vash turned and started pulling the fully loaded canoe trailer toward the airport. He was doing so effortlessly, and Ginger and Waverly were huffing trying to keep up with him.

    "How are you able to do that Vash?" Ginger asked.

    "Old training and rivalry with Ryuto. Believe me, if he never challenged me, I would never have tried it. Quiet relaxing if you do it often enough."

    Ginger huffed some more in response, trying harder to keep up.

    Waverly was the next to ask a question.

    "So you only think that we'll be gathering information on Toride during this trip?"

    "We're definitely not going to reach Toride during this trip. The best thing to do is take this steps at a time and proceed when we're fully updated on the information we get from following the clues."

    "Do you think that the tablet we're looking for in France will help us?"

    "Honestly, no. No tablet is mentioned anywhere in the studies. The only thing I can think of that relates the tablet to Toride, is if the tablet came from Toride. We can't use that unless we had a chemistry lab at our disposal."

    "But we're still going to Ginger's friend's place in France right?"

    "Why are you so interested in the place Waverly? Did Ginger tell you that someone was eager to meet you?"

    "As a matter of fact, yes! Don't be so surprised!"

    They arrived at the airport, Vash looking very out of place while dragging the trailer behind him. He walked right up to the first employed counter, and he put down the tickets previously obtained.

    "You may proceed to the checking bays. Your...extra large luggage is allowed special this time, and when you come back, but beware, we are not usually supposed to fly large luggage such as canoes in our hangars. You're just lucky you have night flights when the planes have nearly empty hangars for the passengers."

    Vash nodded his head and led the girls through the security to the checking bays and from the deposit bay for luggage onto the plane. Ginger and Waverly were very tired and eager at the same time to get onto the plane. As soon as they saw the plane, Ginger got even more excited, and Waverly felt sick again.

    When they sat down in the plane, the stewardess walked up the aisle to check on them.

    "Have the three of you been on a plane before?"

    Vash nodded his head, Ginger nodded her head as well. Waverly shook her head violently.

    "You look very ill...I'll take you to the restroom aboard the plane. We must get you ready within ten minutes before the plane takes off."

    Screens on the commercial aircraft blinked on and showed news casting and weather and plane positioning. The soft crackle of the speakers in the plane sounded, then was followed by a low monotonous voice.

    "Hello passengers, this is your captain speaking. Be sure to follow the safety procedures and be seated within the next two minutes. When I have been informed by my stewardess you are ready for lift-off, we will be departing for Suburbia France."
    ==CHAPTER X==

    THE AIRPORT

    Waverly was feeling better after a little persuasion to get on the plane. Luckily, Vash didn't run out of the excessive medicine. He gave her two of the motion sickness tablets for her to take. She swallowed them down with her water.

    Even though Waverly was overly excited about going to France, she was scared on a plane. Luckily, Ginger was next to her, and did her best to calm her down.

    When the plane took off, Waverly felt her ears pop a bit. She felt her heart racing through the trip. She didn't dare to look down. She knew there was no safe river to cross to get to France.

    "Ginger? Have you been to France?" Waverly peeped quietly.

    "I've been there a couple of times in Paris. I was also raised in Brittany and went to school there, so it was like my comfy home. I see you never moved out of London?"

    "Well, I remember having to go to Edinburgh to see Aunt Castle. Other than that, I haven't moved out of the United Kingdom." Waverly finally admitted. She wasn't used to going on a plane at all. She really stayed in dreary London all her life.

    Vash knew quite well that the trip to Toride might not end as thought. He had other plans if the trip was extended. He made sure Vixen Benton knew where they went. Vash knew if they were gone for an extended period of time, he'd have to make up a load of homework, tests, and notes. He took out a white binder with "TORIDE" wildly written with a purple Sharpie. Vash read through the information that came from Toki-Doki. He planned on going to the site. Much to his stupidity, he had an ironic look. The site was already taken down. Now, the only thing to do was to wait to find any other leads in other countries.

    Ginger and Waverly shared the last of their Twizzlers before the package was empty. To Waverly, it tasted of an iced strawberry, for it was in the freezer for a prolonged period of time.

    Even though it might have took a minute to plot the direction from London to Paris, it took about five hours to finally reach their destination. When the plane skidded on to the pavement, Vash, Ginger, and Waverly sat until the plane was fully emptied of people. Luckily, Vash sat by the window and was able to get the miscellaneous items that were in a blue backpack. He had to be careful, for the zipper of the third compartment was broken. He got the big, grey boat.

    "That boat might break..." Waverly looked at the big boat. Vash gave her a stare that made her step back a bit.

    "It's made from steel and rubber. I had to get a cheap boat. I'm running low on pounds for other things, too." Vash sighed and continued to gather the belongings from the hangar. Ginger and Waverly struggled to help with the heavy bags.

    Ginger barked, "Hurry and grab a bag! We need to get going!" Waverly obeyed and with effort, she put the backpack against her back. She had to sit down to keep her balance from the weight. First came the boat and its oars. Then came the backpacks, boxes and laptops.

    When they were finished unloading their extra luggage, the three were off to find a body of water. Ginger found her cell phone and turned it back on. She remembered to grab the chargers from the outlets at the last minute from London. Sure enough, it was charged on full battery. "Let's hurry on. We only got tomorrow to get there." Ginger huffed as she jogged in her heels.
    ==CHAPTER XI==

    Vash found a nice, glistening river ahead. After a long walk from the airport, they were finally able to see some water. Waverly took a picture of the faraway Eiffel Tower.

    "Oh, man... HOW ARE WE SUPPOSED TO GET THERE?!" Vash screamed in anguish. "All this for nothing! Crap!"

    "No... we'll find some help to get across. I'll just call my friend." With that, she called Lexus.

    "Bonjour, Ginger. How can I help you?" Lexus's voice was rather cheerful for a dreary Sunday.

    "We don't know how to get to your... castle. We have a boat, so we need you to tell us where to cross."

    "You should see the Seine River. Your boat should be where you see some water. Be careful, though. A famous boat may be in your way. As long as it's clear, try and paddle quickly."

    "I thought you were right by Seine River, right?" Ginger was a little rushed. She could tell Vash was growing impatient.

    "Yes, but if you're in Ill-de-France, your trip might take a bit longer..."

    "That's where we are. Do you have any solutions?" Ginger asked, growing a bit worried.

    "Hmm... you should plop the boat down to where you see the Seine River, turn left and head westbound." Lexus directed her. With that, Ginger went to Vash.

    "What, you finished flirting?" Vash looked with an annoyed face.

    "Well, I was asking for directions. I can't do that?"

    Vash sighed to himself, "Yeah. It's just you two take an eternity on the phone."

    Ginger then saw he hung up. "He told me to take the Seine River, turn left and head westbound. I heard that we should just plop the boat somewhere."

    Vash smirked, "You should try to look on a map, Ginger. We're at the middle of Paris, so the Seine River should be... in about five kilometers..."

    Waverly panted, angered, "WHAT? We gotta walk?!"

    "Hold daughter, I spy a kind of hope." Ginger found a waterway that was about 15 steps away from them. Vash dragged the steel canoe and plopped it in the water.

    "Wow, that's right on the spot. We shall row backward and turn to go forward." Vash commanded. Since Ginger was rather knowledgeable of the route they would take, Vash let her row first.

    "No..." Waverly slowly moaned.

    "Waverly, shut it already!" Vash barked at the girl.

    "Vash, you should be mindful of your companion. She wasn't used to the plane, so don't expect everyone to be used to everything." Ginger looked at Waverly. Waverly closed her eyes as to avoid seeing the spiraling that continually pranced as Vash was canoeing.

    "Fine, it's not like she's going to be gagging her guts out."

    "It seems that you've gotten immune to motion sickness. Waverly, try to take some medicine before we depart, okay?" Ginger was too tired, and Vash had to take the job.
    ==CHAPTER XII==

    It was still a clear night in Paris, now getting closer to Versailles, where the moon shined with utmost beauty, even bringing tears to some visitor's eyes.

    "Monsieur, Vash..." Ginger panted, "YOU take the oar...." She fiercely handled the oar to the tired Vash. He growled at Ginger, obviously not wishing to test the oars.

    "Woman, can you NOT see that I'm tired of rowing the damn thing! Fuck, Ginger! I'm already tired by myself and this red bitch so SHUT UP!" He was red-faced and was quite angry that he grew angry with the girls even before getting on board. Without warning, Waverly got out a Ziploc bag from the book bag and threw up into it. Ginger was well away from the seasick girl.

    "Are you all right now? Wave? Wisteria?" Ginger tapped the shoulder of Waverly, still throwing up.

    When Waverly finally stopped throwing up, she was pooped out, and it was only an hour since they were on the oars. She was feeling her throat burn from all the gagging and retching, and she eventually had to lay down. She could only moan out, "No... No more..."

    "TOLD you she'd have no stomach for the adventure. If you'd just START listening to me instead of being a hard-ass fool all the time, we wouldn't be in this shitty mess!" Ginger yelled at him.

    "I have told YOU to SHUT UP from time to time, have I? WHY don't YOU do what I asked?!" He screamed at Ginger, and she immediately batted him with the oar. Without warning, Vash slapped Ginger across the cheek.

    Ginger gasped, sitting on her knees aghast, tears now streaming down her face. The pain still made her wince, She grabbed a tissue box, ripped it open and wiped where Vash hit her. To her luck, there was no blood. If there was, a bit came from her mouth. She bit her cheek at the time of the blow. "DAMN YOU, VASH! I THOUGHT YOU WERE A WIMP TO HIT A WOMAN!"

    Vash held out his claws to Ginger, "DON'T MAKE ME SLASH YOU AGAIN, BITCH!"

    Ginger gave an annoyed huff, "JUST ROW THE DAMN CANOE! THE MORE WE ARGUE, THE MORE WE HAVE TO MAKE UP FOR LOST TIME! UNDERSTAND, VASH?"

    Reluctantly, Vash grabbed the oars and began to row the canoe. The sky was so clear, it was seemingly a blanket of darkness--Minus the full moon and the stars.

    After an hour and a half of rowing, it was Ginger's turn to row. Soon, Waverly was feeling a lot better, and felt the vomit she threw up a while ago. She grimaced at it and put the bag in the back of their canoe.

    Still scratchy from the vomiting, she groped for some water. She drank nearly all the condiments in the jug, and felt better. "Hey, Ginger?"

    "Hmm? What is it, my dear?" Ginger suddenly looked at her friend.

    "Why was I just throwing up, and not guiding? I wanna go with you and stuff. I'm sorry for barfing all--,"

    "Waverly, it's not your fault that you grew seasick. It's normal for one who hasn't experienced such action."

    "Will it happen again?!" Waverly suddenly grew scared, but Ginger tried to soothe her.

    "Most likely, since you're not used to such adventure, but I promise all will go away later on." Ginger smiled as she rowed with ease.

    After seven hours of Vash and Ginger taking turns using the oars, they saw a forest-like area.

    "I think we're stranded." Ginger looked at the sleeping Waverly and the moon that lit up the sky. Suddenly, she found a golden castle in the middle of the trees.

    "That HAS to be the castle of Corbeau... in such a secluded area..." Ginger looked at the castle. To her, it was very different from what she saw five years ago. Slowly, they eased up to the lightly lit castle. Finally, they found themselves under the bridge.

    "Waverly, time to get up..." Vash poked her to get up.

    Waverly was so close to closing her eyes. "Uh.. Where are we? Holy smokes!" She was fascinated at the luxurious castle.

    "No way would the Corbeaus rip francs from their pockets to make that!" Vash repeatedly rubbed his eyes. The castle came back. It was real as can be. It definitely looked like a building seen on faerie tales. Vash quickly got a rope that was attached to the rocky wall. He hooked the canoe to the rope, anchoring it safely.

    "Good thinking... now let's unload our canoe," Ginger started putting the candy wrappers in the last compartment of the bag and walked up the square logs.

    Vash, Ginger and Waverly got all of their stuff and climbed out of the steel boat. Even if they were only going to stay for a week or two, they still wanted to crash and get settled. Once the luggage was with them, the oars stayed on the sides of the canoe. Ginger texted to Lexus, "Well, we made it... we're tired and quite dirty..."

    Immediately, the bridge folded down, extending to that big, gaping hole. Out came a long haired man with a lady looking near-identical to him. "It seems that you came for feast and a stay for a week?"

    "Of course! Why wouldn't we?" Ginger smiled as she walked through the doors.

    "Well, well! Come on in! The house of Corbeau welcomes you three!" Alexander had this pearl-white smile that made Waverly step back a bit.

    <<"I wonder how much money he got to spend all this golden shit...">> Vash thought to himself, careful of Mr. Corbeau standing less than a feet away from them.
    ==CHAPTER XIII==

    PARIS, FRANCE

    It was now about 10:00 p.m. on a wonderful Sunday night. It was still gorgeous and clear as it has always been on these kind of nights.

    "Welcome to my house, young adventurers..." Lexus smiled at the grown Ginger. "Somebody's getting older and thinner, I see..."

    Ginger playfully retorted, "Hey! Watch your mouth, Lex. You're the one eating on that honey duck every night!"

    He laughed and did the "shame on you" finger sign. "HEY! We don't eat just fowl around here! We also have some traditional goodies around, too!" Lexus brushed back his hair with his right hand as to see better.

    "WOW! I love your mansion! Does it have room service?!" Obviously, Waverly's curiosity got to her mind. Ginger and Waverly were interested in the wonderful house of Corbeau.

    Vash only gave an exasperated sigh at his female friends. "Know our purpose for coming here, all right?"

    Ginger gave a playful laugh, "Don't be such a spoilsport, Vash! At least try smiling for once!"

    Vash didn't respond to that jovial laughter. He only growled a bit. "Hmph... fine..." With that, he left to his own place close to the den.

    Alexander saw the Gothic nerd by himself. "Aw, poor thing! Why are you here by yourself?"

    Vash gritted his teeth and said, "... I dunno... I guess I should go with my two stooges...." With that, he trudged up the stairs to what seemed like the guest room. As it was with the other rooms of the Corbeau house, the room was very capacious.

    "You've got quite a tone, Vash. I suppose the devil's been with you." He laughed at his own remark, although he was only half-joking. "Well, I'll be more than glad to show you about..." His long hair seemed to flow like a golden cape around his body as he went up the stairs. The golden door gave a near-deafening slam of the door as he left.

    Vash sighed heavily as he got up the stairs. "What are you two twats doing up the stairs?"

    Waverly stuck her tongue at Vash. "Cause you're too slow! Last one in bed's a rotten egg!"

    "Don't play like that anymore. We're not in kindergarten." Ginger added as she went back down the steps to get Vash. "As for you, it's time for bed--and it wouldn't hurt if you'd wash your body every day!"

    Vash immediately snatched his hand away from Ginger. "Really? You've got some nerve, girl. I can do it myself."

    "Really? Well, hurry up. We've got something planned tomorrow morning."

    Vash reared his head towards the informative Ginger. "That feast he planned? I'll be there, no doubt."

    Ginger walked towards the guest room while chuckling to herself. "Well, then. Get up in time. I don't want to be dragging you and Waverly out of bed."

    Vash smiled a bit. "Oh, no... I surely won't do that... but I'll wake up myself, thank you."

    Ginger heaved a sigh of relief. She didn't feel like going out to lecture him today. "Good. I expect you to be dressed by six o'clock."

    "I can meet that requirement." Vash trudged up the stairs to the guest room with Ginger. However, Ginger wasn't too sure of that.

    MEANWHILE

    MOSCOW, RUSSIA

    "It's been a while since we hand our first experiment with this strange creature." Said a scientist near the Moksva University.

    "Yeah, and it's been plenty of years to see something frozen near China... so long..." Said another scientist.

    Then, stood a girl about 5' 9", tired and under the weather. She let out a long, audible yawn. Her brown eyes were hardly open at all during the experiment. She then had an unsatisfactory feeling in her nose. Now, they had the ice drilling away to the strange species. She quietly sneezed three times onto a tissue.

    "Alyora... ALYORA! Are you feeling okay?" One of the scientists came to the freezing girl.

    "I... I don't know... I haven't slept too good..." She lied and put her head down. The scientist put down his drill and checked on the girl's head.

    "You have a fever. Get to bed quickly, and then I'll file you the results of our experiment."

    Alyora stood up and went for her dorm upstairs. She wobbled a bit as she staggered her way from the research facility to her room. When she got upstairs, she felt her head. It was indeed burning to the touch. She laid down on her bed in the covers. "That experiment... needs further research..." She shivered under her covers. "... I must research it... I know... where that thing's from..." Alyora coughed between her words.
    ==CHAPTER XIV==

    Vash and Ginger got ready to eat the marvelous food. Their stomachs growled in excitement. Even their sugary supplements did little to settle the raging monster that resided in their stomachs. Even after Waverly's seasickness took toll on her health, she was still healthy as ever.

    "When are we getting ready for dinner?" Waverly whined through the sheets of her covers.

    "Now, now... It's only morning. We WILL have to ask about that fragment He had." Ginger brushed her wavy hair intermittently with her pink brush. "It'll be crucial evidence in the long run, so don't you be touching it!"

    "Ah, all right..." Waverly heaved a huge sigh of anguish as she stepped down the steps to get that huge breakfast awaiting her at the brunch. Her stomach was playing these amazing circus trick, with the gurgling and the bubbling. Much to their surprise, the three saw the figure that was supposed to be Lexus come down the steps.

    "Guess you all were waiting for moi," Lexus smiled with his usual pearl-white smile.

    Starting from the beginning of coming to the Corbeau house, Vash grew increasingly disgusted at Lexus's cheerful demeanor. He pictured Lexus being grated in a 100-foot blender. <"That damn aristocrat...">

    Suddenly, Ginger took notice. "What did you say just now?"

    "What a good aristocrat..." He said, trying to hide his vulgarity.

    "Suppose I shall make you all breakfast now... a tick past six, thank goodness!" The three turned to face towards the cheerful man. Lexus had to change from his nightclothes to his regular outfit. By the time he came down, he was dressed in a Polo shirt with golden pants and black boots.

    Vash found Lexus annoying to the point where he wanted to bash his face in. <<"Hope he doesn't hear my voice behind these walls. It'd be dangerous to have one who can hear other's thoughts. I must be careful around his sister, too.">>

    A few seconds later, Lexi came to check in on the guests. "I hope you enjoy your stay." She smiled with kindness as she walked her merry way to the table. Waverly stayed with Vash for the first time in days.

    "I don't like them for some reason." Waverly artistically followed on Vash's opinions. "I'm sorry for doubting you. I must have gotten a bit over myself."

    Waverly understood the pain Vash intermittently overcame through the excursion to France, but she felt mortified that she'd ask to leave AGAIN after a couple of events right off the bat. Even though Vash was determined to go on this adventure for an educational cause, he couldn't find 100% faith in Waverly. She suddenly thought of how stoic she grew with Vash, and decided that it was time to apologize. "Well... we have to work together in this, right? Fining the facts of Toride would be hard if we don't put more of an effort." Waverly then began fighting back tears, "I should apologize for the same, but I can't do anything about it to change a negative to a positive. It's engraved in my history."

    Vash felt ready to tell Waverly how increasingly important it was to make sure of the decisions planned for searching Toride. Indeed, the search will take a long time. Vash also knew it'd piss off Mr. Benton, but if it was for a cause, he and his friends HAVE to take the final initiatives. "Well, don't worry about it; you're still new to the group. Though I don't know if these French weirdos are here to help or poison us, you need to start gathering information."

    After a monotonous *BANG!*, Lexus finally trotted down the steps. "I'm glad that you came here, you three. Please come along for breakfast." Lexus was now dressed in gold tuxedo with black dress shoes. His sister followed with a golden dress that really hugged her bosom quite well, with some dapper, white slippers.

    <<"What the HELL is this, Vash? TELL ME!">> Waverly began hissing at Vash, not usually accustomed to the Corbeau's style of dress. It was overly elegant with their pearls and diamonds tidied and sprawled all over the twins' clothes.

    Ginger, who was around the Corbeau house five times in her life found this a bit surprising. "I know you're probably going somewhere for breakfast, but where are we REALLY going?"

    Lexi's voice became ominously serious as sh faced towards Ginger. "It was a stylish plan; we're going to go to the King's court."

    Lexus stopped his sister and whispered at her harshly. "You know, why do you lie? These people are our guests, not our refuges!"

    Lexi began to clean up what she said, but Ginger immediately retorted, "Well, I suppose as you two are unprepared, I suppose a chat among yourselves would be delightful."
    ==CHAPTER XV==

    MEANWHILE

    London, England

    Mr. Benton was looking at the records of Waverly, Vash, and Ginger. Seeing that it was nearly a week since they didn't show up fr class, he eyed at the homework piles left for each of them. Mr. Benton sighed as she continued emptying out binders and folders. Mr. Roland committed suicide from ecstasy-induced rage, and Mr. Benton didn't truly see the need of another time with Vash, as he really didn't care of his studies. Ironically, Waverly, who was also a straight-A student showed better behavior in the classroom than did Vash.

    Mr. Benton felt like crying as he looked at the three of the students. Instead, he began to open a black drawer at the very bottom. Seeing a completely empty space, he decided to add Vash, Ginger and later Waverly into the (Come Back Soon) cabinet. As the World Culture teacher was getting ready to lock up the cabinet, a girl with spectacles an black hair arrived into the room. "Mr. Benton!"

    "Angelica?" Mr. Benton was looking into the cold, brown eyes of Angelica Germane Prazsky. "Is there something wrong?"

    "Do you recall to why the three students were missing?" Angelica looked fiercely with her light pale face aflame in fury. "THESE three idiots walked off to find a magical place! They're trying to run away from studies and find something in Asia."

    "Well, magic's key to history; if they were there to investigate alien landings, I'd give them extra credit!" Mr. Benton nodded in approval to his message.

    "IT'S BLOODY ILLOGICAL!! Can't you see?! They're trying to find unicorns!!" Angelica exclaimed in so much fury, the force of her outbursts came in shrill screams.

    Mr. Benton thought for a moment and then said, "Let me tell you what: why don't you track them down and join them on their mission yourself?"

    "That, I WILL DO! GOOD DAY, SIR!" She slammed the door behind her as Angelica left in emotional flames.

    MEANWHILE
    5;00 AM

    Vash, Waverly and Ginger made it to Paris with luck. Lexus and Lexi were still sleeping. Waverly looked at the exquisite mansion outside. It was still clear outside, but even that didn't dampen her mood. "Vash has all of this... and THIS~!" she cried out in a flurry of happiness.

    Waverly yelping for happiness stirred Ginger from her sleep. Ginger tried to recount all that happened during their time in Paris. A sudden jolt of energy propelled her to look into Vash's duffel bag. The woman was glad that they went to France. She didn't find the bag of vomit, and let out a sigh of relief.

    She knew Vash cleaned out his trash every night, even though it was a chore.


    Toride is a work in progress. The original (which is up now) was co-written by a fellow member of an old site. Sadly, the partner in question passed away in 2012 due to a surgery went wrong. Right now, it is incomplete in light of my partner's absence. Tears well in my eyes if I continue this wonderful work. That is also why it is on a hiatus.

    Battalion Wars (NSFW) (open)

    Prologue: In the Dust

    Captain Geese Donald was in charge of his army and his nation. The year was 2233, and the Nazis struck Austin, Texas once again. He wasn't all too concerned about the casualties, but the amount of people he had to be transported overseas. Sure, Geese might have been 56 years of age but he proved healthy enough to land planes--even in dismal weather.
    Captain Donald worried for his many soldiers and his Lieutenant Cairo Lovegood--who is currently on a mission in Perth, Australia. He shook his head to the fact so many soldiers failed to report to him. Now, Jesus was the one to guide and apologize for the casualties.
    Geese grimaced at this, and continued to keep his eyes on the sky. He heard a faint, but ominous thundering sound behind him. The ignition of the jet engine should have been fine; it was checked before he set flight.
    Geese squinted his tiny, blue eyes at the sky. It was quickly getting dark, dreary and stormy. Geese had to land the plane before the storm even took place. Otherwise, he'd be burnt snoot--his favorite food. The thundering became worse, and to his luck he found the headquarters. He passed the Twin Towers and the Statue of Liberty, and he knew his destination. He landed in New York City, New York. When he got out, the thunder boomed like a screaming God. He smiled, for he knew he had a group of soldiers to command and cater to.

    MEANWHILE

    Lieutenant Cairo Lovegood looked at his team members. His long, black hair framed the sides of his face. He saw faces of talented, young people before him. Cairo got to the upper post and talked. "Fellow, soldiers. We came at a time in need. We strive to help America and other nations that hold on to dear life. Help me, soldiers. We need a friend to lean on, and I want this to work for the team! This may be a mission you'll never forget. It may end in several casualties, but we can't back out now. We must follow the Code of Arms and live up to our reason to fight. Courage, Honesty, Opportunity, Respect, Effort, and Self-Discipline. That is the Law of C.H.O.R.E.S. Don't disappoint me, my soldiers!" With that, Cairo took his leave, smiling back at his soldiers who scrambled to safety. He liked how they helped him and several other people. Australia may be a harsh, hot place but he knew he had work to be accomplished.
    Out of curiosity, Cairo looked at his best female soldier, Kyoko Shigure. She appeared sad, and turned away from Cairo's glance as to hide tears. "What seems to be wrong, Kyo-chan?" He looked at her dark brown eyes. She involuntarily punched Cairo on the side of his face. <"Very powerful..."> he murmured as he wiped the mark. He found a bit of blood from the spiked knuckles.

    "Leave me..." she muttered, burying her face in her lap. Her face showed obvious anger, yet Cairo didn't let that get to him.

    "Kyo-chan... I know it's the first day of the migration, but you have some jobs to do. I expect you to do them when asked."

    She immediately got up, activating her electric powers. "Don't mess with me!"

    "Take it easy, now... I don't want you to be--,"

    "SHOVE IT. I wasn't here for some stupid talk. I was here to work!" Kyoko slowly edged to Cairo when he took off his glove and put his hand on Kyoko's head. Cairo activated some of his own electric powers, nearly boggling the woman's thinking. He put his glove back on, and frowned at Kyoko.

    "Shigure Kyoko, you have a warning. One more instance like this and I'll have you put in quarantine. Did you hear that clearly?" His face grew serious. He didn't have time to put up with people like Kyoko, especially if they went berserk for no apparent reason.

    She got up, and shook her head "Wh-What happened? I feel like I've been in some tornado..."

    "Let's just say that you were sleepwalking, and I accidentally woke you. For now, get some rest."

    "Thank you... I need rest. I feel like trash..." She mumbled sleepily, still trying to wonder why or how she got to this place.

    "No problem, Agent Kyoko. Hit the hay--but be up by morn! We have an important mission next week, and it will be overseas. I expect you to be at training sessions tomorrow morning, got it?"

    "Gotcha..." She nodded as she walked to the washrooms to take a shower. He was unsure if Kyoko was really worth replacing the best of the best. She was quite talented, but some things he saw from her were just troubling. he didn't know what the other team thought about her.

    <<"Well, it was JUST the beginning.">> Cairo thought to himself as he walked to his office.
    Chapter 1: Forgiveness Squared

    Geese was still tired from his mission to New York City. He wished other cadets could do better. he even wondered how Lieutenant Lovegood performed over in Perth. To him, New York preserved as much beauty as it did when he came as a little child. It has been two centuries since the 9/11 incident occurred. He could sense the scars from all the aftermath. Shaking his head, he left to his office and called Lieutenant Lovegood. Now, the call was no longer necessary. A spark was sent to his database. It said "Should I send Agent #27601: Kyoko Shigure?"

    Geese replied back, "Send the lass over. I want to test her strength. By the way, how's it going, Cairo?"

    Cairo replied, "It has been rather tough. I think you should reconsider the choice of testing Kyoko. She gave me quite a stir, for I seemed to wake her out of her sleepwalking. She almost killed me with her powers."

    Geese laughed, and replied, "Stop being a wimp, Lieutenant! I thought you were better than that! Should I come over to see her?"

    "Well, she is a lot more advanced than most agents her age. She has these electric powers and she knows how to use them well. I'd be careful when training her. You don't know when she'll go bonkers."

    "I'll tel you what: When I come over or when you're ready... I will need to talk to her."

    "Captain Donald, we have already arranged a mission in the U.K. this Tuesday."

    "What's today, Cairo?"

    "It is August 12... Friday..."

    "So the 16 then?"

    "That'd be correct sir. I've other things to take care of, so I will spark you tomorrow."

    "That will be fine. Good day to you."

    "You too." With that, the connection was disconnected. Geese felt like dancing and parading to hear of Kyoko. He truly wished to see her stuff, especially her movements. Of course, he wasn't all into porn and the like. To him, it wouldn't hurt to see her only clothed in under clothing.
    Right now, it was time to take care of some much-needed paperwork. Geese's head hurt, and he groped for the aspirin off the counter. He drank a shot of his water, and grimaced at the sudden metallic taste. The water in Geese's water machine was already good enough for a sewer, and it even had a green tint to it. It reminded him of the swamp.
    After getting done signing and filling out a couple of forms, he promptly went to dispose of the rancid water outside. He wasn't too sure if the water lived longer than he did, but God knew it probably did. His old crib was more run-down than the concentration camps and the Hoarder's homes combined. It was all moldy since his wife Anita passed on. Geese spent six, long hours of signing forms and sheets. By the time he was finished, he had a cramp in his right hand from all the writing. He was just finishing up the records that were just left out of nowhere. He made sure he didn't forget to sign or fill out any other forms. Then, he decided to take a rest for the day. He was overly excited seeing that one of the best agents might pay him a visit, for he'd have so much to tell them.

    MEANWHILE

    Cairo was in the middle of scheduling times for his cadets, soldiers and agents. He yet had to decide what to do with Agent Kyoko. She was already a pest, but he thought it'd be hurtful to tell her things like that. He knew it had to be mentioned or else she'd continue to be rebellious.
    Stressed, he walked back to his office and called Kyoko in. She was in her uniform, all ready to go for the training sessions. She was wide awake and her long hair was neat and in order. She immediately came to Cairo with a warm smile. "I'm ready..."

    "Oh well, look who's on time!" Cairo exclaimed, congratulating his agent.

    "I feel pretty good, too." Kyoko tested her legs to see if they caused pain. As they didn't, she performed a one-legged headstand. Kyoko was able to complete the headstand without any pain. She smiled and laughed.

    Cairo was surprised and in awe. He clapped for her. "Nicely performed, mon cheri!"

    "Thanks... I've gotten used to doing things like that, so I'll be good." Kyoko smiled as she looked at her lieutenant. Cairo might have been quite tough, but Kyoko was sure that he knew what to do at times of need.

    "I bet you have. Now go back to training, dear." Cairo flipped on his reading glasses.

    Kyoko's smile quickly faded, "Why? I think I'm strong enough to go to battle myself--,"

    "I'm sorry, but for a female like yourself, I think you will have to train twice as hard. I understand if you are strong, but you need to train very hard. This is the Army, not some playground.

    "So what else should I do, turn my uniform in?" Kyoko's eyebrows were arched, depicting some anger.

    Cairo turned away from her, and sat in his hover-chair. "At LEAST try to have a little fun in the training courses. I know you don't like Perth, for it's sweltering, and no air conditioner can tame this place. We have jobs to be taken care of, and expectations to live by."

    "I know, Lieutenant Lovegood. I am trying to have a bit of fun, but since our move, I kind of lost that joy and fun that went with it."

    Cairo took his glasses off, and looked at her. He squeezed his eyes tight, and wiped the resulting tears. "... I understand... Many lost the joy since our move. Many died here from the extreme heat. I don't want you to be on our Memorial list."

    "...Well, that wouldn't help me. It actually hurt me, and now..."

    "Kyoko, listen to me! Even if many people died in this 'desert', we can't have a team of slackers!"

    "What?" She unzipped part of her jacket, showing some of her cleavage, and zipped it back up.

    "Just go... I've said too much. Thanks to me mouth, you'll only have fifteen minutes to train for the morning. Then, we'll take a break, and eat. I expect you to be on time, Kyoko."

    "All right..." With that, she ran to the training areas.

    "Ah... she'll learn soon..." Cairo went back to his database, soon wishing for others to hurry and finish up. He slumped back in his chair, drinking the last of his coffee. Tired, he nodded and went back to sleep.
    Chapter 2: Lonely Old Voices Echoing (L.O.V.E.)


    The next morning was splendid and sunny for Geese. After the storm, the room sure smelled like moth balls and rotten cheese. Geese grimaced at the stench and went outside for fresh air. Once he was outside, he nearly threw up on the earth. He left the door open, so it resulted in a little bit of comfort when he got back in. Geese staggered back to find a swarm of rats running up and down his desk, his water machine, and his dingy house.

    He gathered up all the forms before the rats could get to them. Knowing that he was short on money, he wished to go to London. Geese knew he had to call someone, and he called Cairo.
    "Cairo, man... you there? Yeah, this is Geese Donald. I--I-I--I want you to initiate Mission #231 NOW. My house has been infested with rats.... What, what do you mean you can't come? Guess I'll be doing the mission myself.... Huh! I knew that'd get your ass up. See you there, buddy." With that, Geese quickly got his business bag and headed for his jet. He quickly operated the jet, getting used to its deafening motor. With the slow, gentle push from the parking lot of the garage, he gently ascended into the air.

    For New York, it was quite sunny and bright. Usually, it rained or became cloudy quite quick. Geese smiled, for there wasn't a single cloud in the sky. It was just plain sunny, a perfect weather for an aviator like himself.

    At his age, Geese was quite the pilot. He even performed a couple 360 degree twirls in the sky. After an hour of enjoying himself, his smile quickly faded.

    Without warning, Geese was bombarded by cumulonimbus clouds. He slowed down a bit. He glided down a bit to see what city he was in. From the looks of the clouded, rainy plains, he knew he was probably at the tip of Maine.

    After three, fun-filled hours and times of fear, Geese finally met his destination: London, England. He quickly skidded to the base, nearly denting the garage door of Cairo's old headquarters. He got out, exhausted from his 'round the clock excursions. He was quite ready for the mission, and from the looks of it, Cairo's plane didn't show up yet. As a result, he got back in his plane and took a long-awaited rest.

    After almost ten hours of sleep, he heard a faint, but obvious roar that sounded like puttering and a "Shhhh..." sound. From his expertise at identification, he knew it was Cairo coming with all of his agents and people. The blue plane gently rocked the concrete, and shifted towards Geese's 1942 war jet. The long-haired man popped out of the plane and out came his many agents.

    Geese was boggled from sleep, and was overjoyed to see grown up heroes from the plane. "Jesus Christ! What the hell's going on?! I see many, strong youngsters ready for a fight!"

    "My good soldiers came to help moi on me missions, no~?" Cairo flashed a wink at the old man.

    Geese closed his eyes in annoyance, "Shut it with the girl talk. I thought you came for an important reason, not for your effeminate swaying!"

    "Right! It's just my salutation to you, good sir." Cairo brushed his long hair back.

    "Yeah, whatever. Go get my soldiers and take role immediately. Wake any sleeping soldier as fast as you can, for this is an important mission."

    "I thought our mission wasn't till Tuesday." Cairo was a bit uncomfortable at this point.

    "That's when your mission to be done, not when it starts. There's a difference." Geese heaved an annoyed sigh.

    "I apologize for my ignorance of events, sir. I will immediately get to those." Cairo sighed as he turned around to his jet to get his bag of things out from his side.

    Geese laughed hysterically at the small, tiny window Cairo came from. "Jesus, that hole's too small! You a troll or something?"

    Cairo glared angrily at the man, "Captain Geese, it would be satisfactory if you hadn't even made fun of me plane! I spent over 300 pounds for the equipment to fix the jet!"

    "Yeah, yeah! It was about twenty bucks when I brought it for you on E-Bay! Stop your whining!"

    Cairo suddenly turned serious, "I do apologize for changing the subject, but I wish to talk of the mission plans."

    "Yeah, get to the filling already. I'm tired of you stalling before starting the mission."

    Cairo chuckled only slightly, "Yes, sir. It is a habit of mine that needs to be broken. I apologize, sir."

    "I know of your habit, so what shall the mission be?" Geese was suddenly weary and withdrawn. Perhaps he didn't get enough sleep in spite of the eight-hour snooze.

    "The mission is to try to find the bomb that threatened to set off prior to World War III. I heard it was somewhere close to here." Cairo sniffed loudly as he looked at the clouded skies.

    Suddenly, Geese took notice of Cairo's long, white and blue jacket. ""Say, why are you wearing that jacket?"

    'It's me favorite, and it woos the ladies!" Cairo laughed elegantly, holding his left hand to his mouth.

    "Of course... shouldn't have guessed. Now let us go to our headquarters and work together." Geese slapped a hand across Cairo's shoulder.

    "It would be an honor to get some work done here, sir." Cairo cleared his throat a bit, his British accent more noticeable.

    "All right! Now that's the spirit, man! Let's do it!" With that, Geese and Cairo were off to see their base they abandoned for such a long time.
    Chapter 3: Washed Away

    Cairo walked back to his base to calm himself from the sudden change of Geese's mind. He was obviously a maniac who couldn't make up his mind on what he wanted to do. Perhaps Cairo shared that trait of being lazy in some things. He wished to try to find another plan to wipe his fear away. He went to take a bath to calm down his nerves.

    As he stripped down to his trousers, he wondered if he was even ready to experience the militiary feeling once felt and solely cherished. He took off his rimless glasses and put it beside his clothes. He didn't even bother to put them in his clear case he always carried. While he bathed, a monotonous knock interrupted his train of thought.

    "Sire! Sire Cairo!" A familiar feminine voice squeaked behind the door. The owner of the voice sniffed feverishly as if trying to hoax a tickle or to alleviate a runny nose.

    "Phena? Ophena? Is that you, dear lady?" Cairo flipped on his glasses and squinted with his Asian eyes.

    "Yes, it's me. Sorry I had to come so late. How is Kyoko? She's been rather 'Unstable' during the last few days of our stay." Ophena reported through the wooden door.

    Cairo then had a bad feeling. "'Unstable' you say? I'll have a look as soon as I get through."



    Battalion Wars happened to be one of my darker stories, as far as my normal muse. I wrote this on whim and in honor of the Military for Veterans' Day. Feedback is encouraged, as always.
     
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