"Is everyone ready?" Kay, Battousai no Miko, and her seven Seishi looked at Ryuuen no Miko and nodded. They were finally going to do it. After months of agony and torture, they were finally getting the chance for revenge. "Remember. You have to act quickly. The writers and animation crew are on lunch break right now, and they've left their posts unguarded. You must go in and destroy their current storyboards. Make the message clear. No more fillers!" Everyone nodded once more and moved restlessly, eager for the coming battle. "Remember your assignments. Giullia and SaitouSano, your job is to hold off all attacks while the rest of us strike the targets." Giullia laid her hand on her sword hilt, and SaitouSano clenched his hands into fists, prepared to fight. "Danielle and Hikaru, your job is to get to the computer system and erase all existing files on the fillers." They both nodded, matching looks of determination on their faces. "Okita Soushi no Miko and Ketsukei, find all the cels you can, and hide them." "Right." "You got it." "And Kaoru-chan. Leave those sticky notes in every possible location. Make sure to put them where they will be found. Do you have them ready?" Kaoru-chan held up the pad of sticky notes, all carrying the same message in bold letters. NO MORE FILLERS! "Then everything is set. Kay, are *you* ready?" "I'm a little nervous, but yeah, I'm ready," she replied. "Good. Then let's get go-" "Um, excuse me, Ryuuen no Miko," piped up Kaoru-chan. "Why are we doing all of this? I mean, why can't we just summon Battousai here and now and have him do all the work?" As Ryuuen no Miko was thinking about her answer, SaitouSano spoke up. "Well, it's because we all want a part of the action." "Oro?" Kaoru-chan gave him a puzzled look. "Yeah," added Danielle, seconding SaitouSano's claim. "I mean, you've got to admit. We're ALL sick of the fillers, and what better way to show our dissatisfaction as fans than to let them know once and for all that we want to see the Revenge series animated already!" Ryuuen no Miko nodded, satisfied with their replies. "Yeah, all of that. Plus, there's not enough dramatic tension right now." "Okay. Well, I was just wondering." Kaoru-chan beamed happily, pleased to know the answers. "Well, it was a good question," stated Hikaru. "I had been wondering the same thing myself," chimed in Ketsukei. "Me, too," added Okita Soushi no Miko. "And me as well. I wanted to know," said Giullia, not wanting to be left out. "Okay, then," said Ryuuen no Miko. "Let's go. The fillers are waiting for us at Entertainment X." "Wait a minute!" burst out Kaoru-chan. Kay and the rest of the Seishi stifled groans and impatient sighs, but Ryuuen no Miko looked at Kaoru-chan and waited patiently. "You said 'Entertainment X'. I thought we were going to So-" She was abruptly cut off as Kay clapped a hand over her mouth. She laughed nervously as she explained, "Um, yeah. We are going THERE, but if we use THAT name, we could get into trouble, hence the name Entertainment X. Okay?" Kaoru-chan smiled happily once more and nodded. A muffled "Mm-hm" sounding from behind Kay's hand. "Alright then," said Ryuuen no Miko. "Let's go." In a flash, the group was transported to the darkest region of Entertainment X, the dungeon. Carefully scanning their surroundings and alert to any danger, the group traversed through the bowels of the studio, seeking the hidden room where all fillers were made. "Oh, man! I hope there are no spiders down here!" Ryuuen no Miko worried aloud. "Spiders!" exclaimed Giullia. She immediately drew her katana and searched anxiously for signs of the small animals. "Oro. This place is really creepy," said Kaoru-chan. "Everyone, stay on guard," warned Kay. "You never know what'll pop out." "Hey, I see something!" yelled out SaitouSano. He pointed to the large set of iron double doors that were ahead. Instantly, everyone dropped into position, ready to complete their mission. SaitouSano slowly approached the doors. Giullia waited nearby, her katana ready. He reached out to open one, his hand touching the handle. "I wouldn't do that if I were you." Everyone froze at the sound of the new voice. The stranger chuckled in amusement as he explained, "You see, I know what you Seishi are up to, and I'm afraid that I can't allow you to proceed." One by one, they slowly turned around to face the unforeseen threat to their plans. Before them stood a slim young man, a charming smile on his face, but that smile and his casual demeanor belied the danger that simmered beneath the surface. For behind that friendly facade, lay a cold, ruthless streak. Hikaru gasped in shock when she saw him. "What is it?" asked Okita Soushi no Miko. "Do you know him?" "Yes," she grimly replied, locking gazes with him. "That's Dan Green." "Oro!" "Dan Green from the ML?" "The Dan Green, who knows everything about RK?" "The genius?" "The one who never shuts up?" "The very same," replied their foe, sweeping them a gallant bow. "Hello, Hikaru-chan. It's always a pleasure to see you. I just wish we could have met under nicer circumstances." "Why, Dan-kun? Why are you doing this?" "Why? That's a really funny question," he chuckled. "You know the answer to that one." "Well, for the benefit of those of us who don't know, why don't you tell us," demanded Kaoru-chan, scowling at him. Dan smiled at her. "Well, basically, I can't let you destroy the fillers because I intend to do that myself." "What!" gasped Kaoru-chan. "How dare you!" fumed Danielle, taking a threatening step towards him. Dan laughed in the face of their outrage. "You Seishi are so cute, standing there and glaring at me like that. I'll remember this moment always. Now, step aside please so that I may claim my prize. I, Dan Green," he proclaimed, striking his chest, "will crush Entertainment X, and the glory of obliterating the fillers and commencing the animation on the Revenge Arc shall be MINE!!" He laughed once more, this time a hint of mania present in the sound. Ryuuen no Miko leaned over to Hikaru and whispered, "Has he lost it, or is he always like that?" "Um..." Hikaru scratched the back of her head and laughed nervously. "Let me at him!" growled SaitouSano, advancing angrily upon Dan. "Wait!" yelled out Hikaru, grabbing his arm to stop him. "You don't know his power! He's dangerous!" Dan's laughter died down to a soft chuckle. "She's right. It wouldn't be wise to attack me, especially when you're so obviously outnumbered." As he spoke, several hulking forms detached themselves from the shadows surrounding him. The Seishi's horrified gazes traveled up and up and up. Dan's minions grinned vacantly at them from their great height, their ugly visages made even uglier by the gaps in their rotted teeth. From among them stepped a smiling young boy wearing an "I Love Enishi" t-shirt and happily waving a pair of pom-poms. He giggled merrily as he sashayed to the sideline and cheered, "Dan-san, Dan-san, he's our man! If he can't do it, no one can!" He bounced around, kicking and giggling. Dan smirked at the Seishi, his eyes cold as he regarded them. "Still eager to take me on?" "Feh." SaitouSano glared at his smug foe and cracked his knuckles. "I'll take down your ugly pets," he spat out, "and then I'm coming after YOU!" With a fierce battle cry, SaitouSano launched himself at the nearest of Dan's minions and landed a mighty blow on his chest, knocking him down instantly. The other Seishi watched in amazement as the hideous creature fell with a resounding thud. Their amazement quickly turned to confidence as they rushed the remaining minions. Kay and Ryuuen no Miko looked on proudly as the Seishi fought. SaitouSano proceeded to take out five more minions. Giullia made quick work of four with her sword. Ketsukei and Danielle pounded on another with their fists while Okita Soushi no Miko perched on his massive shoulders and beat his head, and Kaoru-chan kicked at the kneecaps of first one minion and then another. All but Hikaru battled ferociously. She simply remained behind and glared at Dan, who continued smiling confidently despite the fact that his forces were being soundly trounced. Hikaru suddenly turned her fierce gaze upon Dan's cheerleader and slowly advanced upon him as he began a new chant. "Give me a D! Give me an A! Give me an N! Give me an-" Hikaru reached him, pulled back her fist, and punched him hard, hitting his nose. He clutched at his face, wailing pitifully, and collapsed to the floor. As he lay moaning and sobbing, the rest of the minions scattered, howling in pain, sobbing in harmony with Dan's cheerleader, or simply cowering in a corner. SaitouSano cracked his knuckles again and smiled at the still undaunted Dan. "Now it's your turn," he said menacingly. Unfazed, Dan responded, "Hmph. Do you really think I'm finished so quickly?" His smile widened. "Think again." From out of nowhere, a giant Iwanbo outfit appeared, and Dan nimbly sprang into it. "Now you Seishi will discover my true power!" "Watch out!" cried Kay as Iwanbo's massive arm lashed out, sweeping towards the Seishi. Everyone leapt out of the way, unharmed. Hikaru stood up and faced Dan. "You guys go. I'll take care of this." "But, Hikaru, you can't," protested Kay. "I have to. I'm the only one who knows his secrets," she replied, determination rippling through every fiber of her being. "But it's dang-" "Go! The fillers must be destroyed before the workers come back! Hurry and go!" Kay looked anxiously at Ryuuen no Miko, who nodded grimly. SaitouSano kicked the doors open, and Kay, Ryuuen no Miko, and the other Seishi filed into the room that lay beyond, casting a last, worried glance at their comrade. The two combatants faced each other. "Aw. How cute. The little heroine stays behind to fight the big bad meanie," mocked Dan. "I *will* beat you," she replied calmly. "Hmph. You can try." As he advanced on her, she dropped into a defensive battle stance and awaited his attack. "Stop right there!" "Huh?" "Who?" In unison, Dan and Hikaru swung their heads towards the sound of the newcomer's voice. Before them stood a young man, who had the look of a martial artist. The young man approached the pair and introduced himself. "I'm Daniel. I heard a rumor about the fillers being destroyed by the Seishi and figured I'd help out. And what do I see but this big bad meanie picking on this little lady. That really made me mad. So..." He dropped into his trademark Senjitsu stance. "Little lady, go on and help out your buddies. I'll take care of him." Hikaru smiled happily. "Just be sure to leave some for me." With that, she winked and rushed off to join her friends in arms. Daniel smiled at her remark and then focused all of his attention on Dan. "Come on. I haven't got all day." Dan produced his ever-ready smirk and marched towards him. Unaware that his cheerleader lay in his path, Dan approached Daniel. Without warning, Dan tripped over the prone figure on the floor and fell crashing to the ground. Daniel blinked in astonishment. "Well that didn't take long." He walked over to Dan and crouched next to him. "You alright?" Dan gnashed his teeth in frustration. "All my plans ruined! I would've gotten away with it if it hadn't have been for you and those pesky Seishi!" He waved one angry fist in the air, cursing his foes. His battered cheerleader renewed his sobbing, and Daniel merely scratched his head in bemusement. Meanwhile, the Seishi had completed their tasks, all except for Kaoru-chan, who was placing the very last sticky note on a stapler, when suddenly the Entertainment X workers returned from their lunch break. Everyone stared at each other in surprise. After a moment, the Entertainment X employees frowned, taking in the sight of their workplace. Sticky notes littered every imaginable surface, nook and cranny. The scripts were gone. The cels were missing. And in a far corner, smoldering ashes were all that remained of the storyboard. The employees' frowns deepened as they surveyed the damage that had been done to their precious plans. Angered that their attempts to produce more fillers had been foiled, the Entertainment X animation team furiously charged the Seishi. The Seishi employed the same tactics that they had used earlier against Dan's minions, this time Hikaru helping Kaoru-chan kick kneecaps. Finally, the last of the animation team was defeated. Dusting her hands, Ryuuen no Miko said, "Well that's that." The Seishi and Kay laughed and congratulated each other, but unbeknownst to them, a lone, determined animator was slowly dragging his broken body to a hidden button in the wall. As he reached up with a shaking hand, Ketsukei spotted him out of the corner of her eye. She shouted out a warning to everyone. "Hey, that guy is setting off an alarm!" Okita Soushi no Miko and Giullia started out to stop him, but it was too late. As a loud, angry buzz resonated through the building, the man smiled triumphantly. "That alarm will summon the president, and when he arrives, you'll be sorry you ever crossed us!" He threw back his head and let out a deranged laugh. That, combined with the noise of the alarm, caused everyone to cover their ears, grimacing. The man continued to laugh as, seething, Danielle stalked towards him and kicked him in the head. The man stopped mid-laugh and collapsed to the floor unconscious, a demented smile fixed on his face. Just as abruptly, the alarm ceased. "What do we do now?" asked Kay worriedly. Everyone looked to Ryuuen no Miko for guidance. She looked at each one of them and replied, "We summon Battousai." The Seishi hurriedly began setting up for the ceremony as Ryuuen no Miko counseled Kay. "You know what to do, right?" "Yeah. I'm just kind of scared right now. You know? I mean, I didn't expect so much stuff to happen!" Ryuuen no Miko placed a comforting hand on her shoulder and smiled. "You'll be fine. You've all done a great job so far. Now you've just got to see it through." Reassured, Kay smiled and nodded. As the Seishi completed the preparations, Ryuuen no Miko announced, "Now, everyone get into place and focus your ki on summoning Battousai. Kay, once you have completed the incantation, throw this into the fire." She handed Kay a copy of the Shonen Weekly Jump in which the first issue of the Revenge Arc appeared. "This act will complete the summoning." Kay accepted the Jump issue, stepped up to the platform, and taking a deep breath, began. "From the mind of Watsuki-sensei, To the furthermost reaches of the globe, We call upon you, Himura Battousai, Fierce hitokiri of the Bakumatsu, Staunch defender of the new era, Master of Hiten Mitsurugi Ryu, Come to us NOW!" But before Kay could throw the Jump issue into the flames before her, a jarring voice sounded from the entrance of the room. "Cease!" Everyone whipped around quickly and located the source of that command. A grim, stout figure with a shock of white hair and wearing a dark gray suit loomed in the doorway. "Who's that?" whispered SaitouSano, pointing to the man. "That's President X," whispered back Ryuuen no Miko. "He runs this whole place." "What have you done here?" President X asked in a low voice. Kaoru-chan stepped forward, hands on hips, and announced proudly, "We trashed your lousy fillers! And you know what? We'd do it all over again!" "Yeah!" shouted Okita Soushi no Miko. "You tell 'im, Kaoru-chan!" cheered Hikaru. "Fools!" boomed President X. "Do you realize what you have done?" "Um. Yeah," answered Danielle. "We got rid of that garbage you were feeding us instead of getting to the real RK stuff," responded Ketsukei. "You have stopped nothing," he declared. In the silence following that bold statement, President X proceeded to explain his Master Plan to the stunned group. "All you have accomplished is to delay the inevitable." "What are you talking about?" demanded Giullia. President X continued. "Those which you so assiduously attacked and mangled-" "Oh, them. Don't worry. Your employees will recover," Hikaru assured him. "The fillers!" growled President X, gritting his back teeth in an attempt to maintain control of the situation. "You have not fully destroyed the fillers!" "Ore?" Shocked and puzzled, SaitouSano sought clarification. "We kicked your ass and trashed this place! So quit jerking us around, old man, and tell us what you mean!" "Do you see these pitiful creatures before you?" he asked, gesturing towards the battered and bruised animators. "They can be easily replaced by another team." He snapped his fingers, and suddenly, a new animation team appeared, complete with art supplies, scripts, and everything else necessary for their nefarious deeds. "The fillers will never die," announced President X. "They will continue until every home, every town and city, and every country in the world is saturated with our rendition of Rurouni Kenshin!" He withdrew a remote control from a pocket within his jacket and pushed a button. Several large viewing screens dropped from the ceiling, displaying scenes from filler episodes. The sumo wrestler. The circus. Shura. The ring. Amakusa. Kay, Ryuuen no Miko, and the Seishi were aghast. "You monster!" yelled Kaoru-chan in outrage. But President X wasn't done. He had one last horror to bestow. Pushing another button, President X gloated over his secret masterpiece as an enormous screen dropped right in front of the ceremonial fire. "This is my best work of all. This is my pride and joy. This is my child, and with it, I shall be sure to spread my power over the viewing world!" He cackled evilly as images formed on the screen. Ryuuen no Miko, Kay, and the Seishi looked on in dawning dread, shouts of denial forming on their lips as they watched the antics of the caricatures on the screen. "There's nothing I can't cut with this sword." "Sayonara, samurai!" "Noooooo!!!!" Kay broke out of her paralyzed state. "I will stop you!" "There is nothing you can do," jeered President X. "I have already won." "I don't think so." With that, Kay threw the Jump issue into the flames, and a bright flash of light engulfed the room. As the light faded, the figure of a young man took shape. Visible were gleaming masses of red hair gathered into a high ponytail atop his head, a sharp katana at his side, and a vivid x on his left cheek. Sweeping the room with his penetrating golden eyes, he took in the situation and then shifted his gaze to Kay. In a soft voice, he spoke. "Are you the miko who summoned me?" Everyone stared at Himura Battousai with a mixture of awe and terror. This was the legendary hero of the Bakumatsu, and his lethal power was entirely at Kay's disposal. She gulped nervously and then answered him in a shaky voice, "Yes." She began to tell Battousai the entire story as he pinned his fierce gaze on President X. As Kay spoke, Battousai's expression became more dangerous. Feeling his battle aura grow, Ryuuen no Miko and the Seishi took an involuntary step backward. Battousai glared at President X and spoke one word. "Kisama." Aware that all his plans were about to come tumbling down about his feet, President X desperately tried to save himself. Throwing animators at the Seishi, he tried to make his escape. Unfortunately for him, his progress was impeded by Daniel, who entered the room at that moment, Dan slung over one shoulder and his cheerleader on the other. "Whoa there. Where are you off to in such a hurry? I think you should stick around for our party." Giving him a kick in the posterior, Daniel sent him flying towards the Seishi. Kay smiled into his terrified eyes. "Kaijin. Erase all presence of the fillers, past, present, and future, and," thrusting a finger in President X's face, she continued, "strip this man of all his power!" As Battousai withdrew his gleaming katana, Kay hastily added, "But please don't kill anyone!" "Hiten Mitsurugi Ryu! Ryu Tsui Sen!" Everyone stood in dazzled awe at the sight of Battousai at work. "He's SO gorgeous!" Hikaru exclaimed, drooling. "Yeah," Okita Soushi no Miko sighed dreamily. "Wow," whispered the awestruck Giullia. "I love him!" declared the starry-eyed Kaoru-chan. "Oooo, baby!" shouted Ryuuen no Miko. When he was done, ruins lay at Battousai's feet. His admirers shivered as his gaze passed over them. He sheathed his sword and walked over to stand before Kay, awaiting her next command. "What are you going to wish for now?" asked Kaoru-chan. "Ask for Sou-chan!" suggested Danielle. "No! For Sano!" yelled Ketsukei. Soon everyone started offering recommendations, including Dan and his cheerleader. "I want Tomoe!" "Enishi! Enishi!" Kay covered her ears and shouted to be heard above the noise. "Kaijin! Since your work is done, become the lovable, peaceful rurouni!" In an instant, Battousai's appearance altered. His hair was now tied loosely at the nape of his neck. His clothes were more relaxed. His katana disappeared to be replaced by a sakabatou. And instead of his frightening golden gaze, there was now a look of confusion in a pair of gentle violet eyes. "Oro?" "WAI!!!" Ryuuen no Miko leapt towards him and wrapped her arms tightly around his neck. "I love you!" "Ororoooo!!" "HEY!!" shouted Kaoru-chan, Giullia, and Hikaru in unison. They immediately launched themselves at Ryuuen no Miko, trying to pry her away from Kenshin. SaitouSano looked at Okita Soushi no Miko and asked, "Aren't you joining them, too?" She shrugged and replied, "He's not Battousai anymore." Kay marched into the fray and rescued Kenshin from the grasping hands of his admirers. "Hey! Cut it out! I'm his miko, so he stays with me!" "Aw! No fair, Kay!" whined Hikaru. "You HAVE to share!" "At least, let us spend five minutes with him," pleaded Kaoru-chan. "Yes!" agreed Giullia. "Pleeeeeeaaaasssse!!!!" begged Ryuuen no Miko. Their supplications soon escalated into another shouting match in which everyone once again threw out their own suggestions for wishes. "I want Sou-chan!" "Sano!" "Tomoe!" "Enishiiiiiiii!!!!" "Aaaaaahhhhh!!!!" Kay's scream cut above the din of noise, and everyone fell silent. "Fine! You all want a wish. You've got one!" She turned to Kenshin. "Kaijin. For my last and final wish, give everyone the ability to make a wish!" There were several excited shouts of "Wai!" and "Yatta!" as everyone prepared their wishes. "Kaijin. I wish for Tomoe." As the lovely brunette appeared, Dan scrambled down from Daniel's shoulder, sat her down on the floor, and placed his tired head in her lap. He sighed contentedly. Kaoru-chan marched over to the pair and frowned down at Dan. "Hey, you're not a Seishi!" Dan smiled and replied, "Ah, but Kay didn't specify that only you could get a wish. She said 'everyone'." "He's right," confirmed Hikaru. "It's open to everyone." But no one paid any attention in the frenzy of wishmaking. Danielle was happily ensconced in Soujirou's lap as they giggled at one another. Ketsukei was smiling up at Sanosuke. Dan's cheerleader was bouncing around Enishi. Okita Soushi no Miko was with her favorite captain of the Shinsengumi. SaitouSano and Daniel stood together watching the battle that was raging over Kenshin as first one girl and then another wished for him, cancelling out each other's wish. Kaoru-chan stomped over to the two and demanded of SaitouSano, "Have you used your wish?" "No." "Give it to me!" "Wish I could...wait a minute..." He smacked his forehead as he realized what he had said. "Hah!" crowed Kaoru-chan triumphantly. "I want your wish!" shouted Giullia, pointing her katana at Daniel. "Um. Sure. Okay. I wish for you to get my wish." "I wish to be Kaoru and live with Kenshin!" shouted Kaoru-chan. "I wish for you not to!" shouted Giullia. They looked at each other and wailed in distress as they realized that there were no more wishes. SaitouSano and Daniel shook their heads at them. Kay noticed Hikaru sitting alone, looking solemn and pensive. She walked over and sat down next to her. "What's wrong? Aren't you going to make a wish, too?" "Huh?" Distracted from her thoughts, Hikaru looked at Kay questioningly. Kay smiled and asked again, "Don't you want to wish for something?" Hikaru regarded the object of her affections and sighed dreamily, "Yeah." She stared at the smiling yet embarrassed rurouni a moment longer and then continued, "But as much as I'd like to, I can't keep him. So, I was trying to figure out the best way of wording my request." "Are you sure about what you've decided then?" Hikaru sighed again, this time a bit sadly. "Yeah." She smiled at Kay and stood up. Taking a deep breath, she spoke, "Kaijin. I wish that production on the Revenge Series begin immediately, that Kenshin and Kaoru marry, live happily ever after, and have lots of babies, and that Kenshin hug me goodbye." There were gasps of shock and sudden outbursts of "No fair!" and "I'm jealous!" Kenshin smiled as he approached Hikaru. She practically melted as he put his arms around her and said, "Arigato, Hikaru-dono." In a flash, he was gone. Hikaru remained where she was, dazed. Kay approached her and asked, "Are you alright?" All Hikaru could respond was, "Wow. Wow. Wow. Wow..." A goofy grin pasted on her face. Kay laughed. Suddenly, a crew of people entered the room and busily began working. Curious and a bit wary, Ryuuen no Miko, Kay, and the Seishi asked what they were doing. "We're beginning work on Watsuki-sensei's latest storyline," replied the director. "You mean, the Revenge series?" asked a stunned Kay. "Yes. Now if you don't mind, we have a lot to get done." So saying, he ushered them away from the animation team. Ryuuen no Miko, Kay, and the Seishi looked at each other and burst into boisterous cheers. The animation crew stopped for a moment and regarded the odd young people who were laughing, dancing, hugging, and congratulating each other. Shaking their heads at their strange antics, they returned to their work. THE END ********************************************************************** This story was masterfully written by Hikaru, who can be reached at: himurak@hotmail.com
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