Chaos Lord Productions Brings You.

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The No Life Queen

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Written by Chaos Lord

Disclaimer: All entities and devices in this story belong to their respective owners.

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Chapter 7 - The Oncoming Storm

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After the second meeting at the shrine, relations between the Sailor Senshi and the two new fighters, Terra and Earth, greatly improved. With the knowledge that only the couple could truly harm these new Youma, both groups began coordinating their strikes around having either one at a given battle. Sometimes more than one creature would attack the city. More often than not, when a strike team reached one of the multiple attack sites, they would find either Anderson or Alucard engaged in combat with the beast.

Whenever they stumbled across one of the vampire's battles everyone, no matter how battle-hardened, felt ill. Since the Youma had a highly advanced regenerative capacity, the No-Life King took unholy pleasure at ripping them limb from limb only to watch it renew so he could torture it further.

Anderson's battles though, they were always a treat for those who witnessed them. The man was a flurry of razor-sharp knives and paper. As always, Ami recorded the battles for future study. Though she knew everything about the Paladin's weapons when they where actually in use, it was their storage that confounded her so. Somehow, he managed to pull a seemingly endless supply of the blessed blades and holy pages from, what appeared to be, nowhere. Even the Senshi, who held items in, for lack of a better term, the magical equivalent of an ACME black hole, had a detectable signature. As far as her sensors were concerned the Father's weapons came into existence from absolutely nothing.

Though the stream of Youma was fairly constant, each attack transpired at a predictable cadence. Initial theories had attributed the predictability of the attacks to some quirk of the creature's construction. It was Usagi who suggested that it was a sign from Beryl indicating that, though the attacks would not stop, the dark queen would make sure the Senshi had a hope of blunting their effects. The others, having not a single contrary theory, rapidly accepted Usagi's supposition as the the only plausible one.

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As one particularly difficult Youma was reduced to its component atoms via a Terra-induced stream of lava, the female Earth guardian growled in frustration. "How many of these things are we going to have to kill before we do something?!"

With her usual cool precision, Ami answered as she typed away on the Mercury Computer. "At the current rate, I estimate it will take five more attacks before I have a complete model of the energy patterns."

Landing beside her blue-haired comrade, Makoto asked, "What are you talking about Mercury?"

"I'll explain at the shrine. Can you tell the others to meet us there?"

"Sure," replied Jupiter as she followed her friend across the roofs of Juban. By the time the trio reached the shrine, Makoto had made contact with everyone. Some, like Haruka, were reluctant to leave what they were doing. A few choice words from the brown-haired woman though, and the layabouts were convinced.

A short while later, the Senshi and their allies were assembled at their unofficially official base, the Cherry Hill shrine. "Okay Ami, we're here," started Usagi with a smile. "What's up?"

The sound of keys clacking was Ami's initial response, as the Senshi of Mercury was in the midst of an exceedingly complex equation. A minute later though, she looked up into the inquiring faces of her compatriots. "Oh! I'm sorry. I was working on an energy balance equation," she said sheepishly. "But as to the reason I called for you all, I have made some discoveries concerning these new Youma."

"Do tell," replied Naru as she leaned against Umino leisurely.

"Well, as you may or may not know, several weeks ago I was filling Luna in on our current situation when she made a suggestion regarding altering our powers to match those wielded by Umino and Naru."

Immediately, all eyes turned to said Mooncat. Under the sudden gaze of the others, Luna could not help but blush. "Well I just wished that we could alter your powers to give us more options," she said meekly.

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After Mamoru essentially defected to Beryl's side, Luna had gone to Usagi. With tears of shame rolling down her tiny cheeks, the cat detailed all her sins to her ruler. She started in the distant past with her shameful actions in regards to Endymion. Then her tale came forward into more present day situations; such as her constant nagging and then her leaving of Usagi when the girl's current plight was revealed. Having outlined the entire cavalcade of her malfeasances, Luna offered herself up to her Princess' judgment. Though she knew Usagi would never kill her, Luna had expected to be stripped of her position and exiled at the very least. And if Usagi was really infuriated then maybe even her personality would be denied her. She never, not in her wildest dreams dreams, did Luna anticipate the young woman to pick her up and hug her tightly. That embrace had made the Mooncat feel more loved and welcome than she had in many a year.

After that incident, Luna did everything in her power to ingratiate herself in the eyes of the others. This included holding her tongue when they said or did things contrary to her sensibilities. But the biggest act of contrition was the one she performed for Artemis; she gave him his due. For so long she had denigrated him for his laziness. Once she really took stock of the white-haired tomcat, Luna had been forced to admit that he had his fair share of exceptional qualities. After all, he was the one who had guided her own actions for months as the enigmatic Control. And, with this new appreciation came a reluctant admittance of her own attraction to him. Of course, Artemis had nary a clue of that. The perpetual smirk that adorned Setsuna's face whenever the Guardian of Time looked at her led, Luna to believe that Pluto was aware of said feelings.

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"Still," replied Ami. "That comment got me thinking. Why was it that only Umino, Naru, and Mamoru can do any lasting damage to the Youmas?"

"We use the power of Earth," answered Umino. "For some reason they don't like that."

"Yes. But what bothered me was the reason for that particularity of their makeup. When we faced Beryl before, the Youma did not posses such immunities to Senshi Magic and Weapons. So, Artemis and I began to think about the differences between the old and new Youma. The most obvious is that these more recent models absorb energy via blood."

"Aye," nodded Anderson. "Like ah Vampire the lot o' them."

"Exactly," replied Artemis. "After some study into Usagi, Alucard, and Seras' vampiric powers, we discovered that they all work within a certain energy spectrum."

"The Youma exist within the same region of magical frequencies," continued Ami. "The astonishing thing is that our magic is, point for point, at the exact opposite end of the spectrum. The result is that the Youma are effectively immune to our power as the magic forces cancel each other out."

"Were are we on this continuum," asked Umino.

"Much, much, closer to where the Vampires and Youma are." To forestall any negative thoughts in regards to Umino and Naru, Ami made sure to quickly clarify that statement. "That's not to say that the power of Earth is evil. But if we were to look at the line between good and evil, Earth would be dead center."

"And since its there," muttered Umino as Ami's analogy worked through his mind. "Earth energy can directly interfere with the Youma's energy matrix."

"That, and the big rocks we throw at them," quipped Naru wryly.

"That's true," chuckled Ami. "But the net result is that we know why. Once Artemis and I figured that out, we decided to see if we could retune our spells to work in a similar spectrum."

"Can we," asked Usagi. All this science jargon war starting to give her a headache.

"Its been harder to crack the coding on some of us than on others."

"Why," asked Rei.

"Well as Naru pointed out, they use their powers to manipulate actual elemental forces. Minako, Hotaru, Haruka, Setsuna, and Usagi all use tuned magical energies. The rest of us use our magic in a way that is similar to Terra and Earth. For us, the magical adjustment should be fairly simple; as we use elemental magic. The others though, are proving to be much more difficult."

Immediately Artemis explained for those with looks of utter befuddlement. "Since Terra and Earth use elemental magic, we have an example to follow when we change your powers. We don't have something like that for the others, so its been slower going."

"But what about our weapons," asked the soft voice of Hotaru. All eyes turned to the young woman. "I mean I have seen the Silence Glaive carve up pretty much everything, yet I have to put everything into it in order to make the smallest of cuts. Don't I use the Silence?"

"Good question," replied Ami. "As you know, one of the Serenitys used her power to chain up the being called Silence within the planet of Saturn. And when they made you, Hotaru, it was a further level of containment while also allowing the destructive energy of the Silence to be used constructively by the Moon Kingdom."

"There's nothin' about nuking planets I'd call constructive Ami," drawled Haruka sarcastically.

Ami had to laugh at that. "You're right, it does seem insane in retrospect."

"But remember," continued Artemis, "Hotaru is the Senshi of Death and Rebirth. Death is brought solely by the Silence. Rebirth is a product of the planet Saturn. It is Saturn's energy, harnessed by Moon Kingdom mages, that allows her to heal and erect the Silence Wall. Saturn's power is also woven intimately throughout the Glaive."

"You see," added Ami, "the Silence is a powerful thing, but at the same time they worried that too much use may let the creature break free. So, it is only used for her really dangerous attacks."

"The ones I wouldn't use until there was no other way," finished Hotaru with dead seriousness.

"Right. So until you actually launch one of those spells, the Glaive is only filled with Saturn's power. And thus Senshi Magic."

"So thats why I couldn't kill the damn thing," grumbled Haruka angrily.

"How long till you figure it out," asked Usagi wearily.

"That is the good news. We are almost there. Artemis and I only need two, maybe three, more attacks to get all the information we need to make the conversions."

"Why don't you just change us now," asked Makoto with something of an expectant grin. These new Youma were seriously hampering her innate desire to clobber things.

Artemis shook his head. "No can do. When we unlock one of you it will hit you all."

"So you have to change them all at the same time," surmised Umino.

"Exactly," replied the moon cat with a smile. "Otherwise we would have to keep on changing their programing. And quite frankly, no one has done it once. To say nothing of multiple times."

"Will it hurt us," asked Hotaru softly.

The cat shook his head. "While no one may have done it, there was some initial research into the possibility. According to the files in the Mercury Computer, it shouldn't feel bad at all."

"So all we have to do is wait out a few more battles," asked Minako authoritatively. Since her temporary split with the Senshi, Venus had reverted to her more militaristic persona. Sure, when the topic of boys came up she was still just as flighty, but when it was business time she became a consummate professional.

"Unfortunately, yes." Ami's tone was one of regret. Despite her desire to delve into the secrets of the Senshi, Mercury realized that time meant more civilians hurt in the crossfire.

"Okay. Until then, we keep up the patrols as we have been," ordered Usagi. "Alucard?"

From the dark corner of the room, a legion of lidless eyes opened up. "Yes?"

"I thought you were listening in," said Usagi with a smirk. "Can you tell Integra about the time table?"

"I suppose I could," muttered the shadows as the eyes closed once more.

"Ah don't know why ye put up wi' him," complained Anderson. "Why can't Ah just be rid o' him?" Thanks to Usagi, he and the No-Life King may be working together, but it didn't mean he had to like it.

Among the Senshi, there was a chorus of agreement. Not a single one held a shred of love for the man-shaped monster. And though his prowess in battle could not be taken lightly, their senses cried out for his destruction.

Usagi emphatically shook her head. "No. No one here will be killing Alucard. I've looked into his heart and I've seen a spark of goodness there."

The ex-Iscariot agent snorted in disbelief.

"I know," laughed Usagi. Looking to her friends, her eyes silently pleaded with them. "I can feel it too. Probably more than the rest of you, his evil grates on my nerves like an acid. But, something tells me that he wants to change."

The Senshi all shared a look. They had heard this sort of thing from their leader before. And though Usagi's unwaivering optimism, even in the face of evidence to the contrary, was somewhat annoying, it had saved them more times than they could count. "Okay, Usagi. If you say he's going to change, that's good enough for us," announced Rei confidently.

Looking her friends in the eye, Usagi took strength in their smiles and nods of encouragement. When she got to Minako, that jubilant feeling staled momentarily. She knew that Venus had the most experience with the living dead, and while the girl showed outward support, Usagi needed to know that she had Minako fully in her corner. "Are you you okay with this Minako. I mean really?"'

The blond-haired Senshi of love sighed. "Usagi, I'm not going to lie to you. I will never trust him. You can't give an old dog new treats. But, I trust you with my life. So, I'll work with him, just don't get angry when I watch for betrayal."

It wasn't the stirring answer she had hoped for, but it was enough for Usagi. "Okay. I can live with that."

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Within the dark confines of Hellsing's Japan headquarters, Seras Victoria was enjoying the dubious pleasure of restlessness. For the last hour she had tried desperately to get to sleep. Her efforts were for naught. With sleep being more elusive than a straight answer from her master, the young Vampire decided to get some shooting practice in. Firring her Harkonnen usually was enough to calm her blood. And it was blood, her water of life, that was boiling in Seras' veins. "Something big is coming."

"How right you are Police Girl," purred the voice of her master.

"Master?"

"Come to her office. We have much to discuss."

"Yes sir!" With glee filled bounce, Seras turned her course away from the shooting range and towards the lair of her master's master.

Within the aforementioned lair, Integra looked less like the head of an ancient order and more like a bureaucrat. "I hate bureaucrats," she muttered around her cigar.

"Yet you play the part so well."

Looking up from the seemingly endless mound of papers, she suppressed a smile. Though she may not like the owner of that voice, Integra welcomed any distraction from her work. "Not by choice dammit. Its the bloody Cataclysm Division."

Out of nothingness a gleaming white Cheshire's grin materialized. "The idol squad? Is keeping the populace complacent too challenging for them?" It was clear that Alucard felt that the "elite" police of Tokyo was nothing more than a joke.

"No. Since we are a paranormal operation we fall under their umbrella. And it seems that they have a form for everything."

Suddenly, a knock sounded through the room. "And that would be Police Girl," quipped Alucard sarcastically.

On queue, Seras poked her head into the office. "Am I supposed to be here?"

"Come on in Police Girl."

Integra cast a glare towards her vassal. "What is she doing here?"

"I told her to be here for our little meeting."

"Then what is so bloody important?"

"It appears as if the pieces are beginning to fall into place."

The blond-haired leader of Hellsing sighed, "Alucard, I am not in the mood for double talk and cryptic nonsense."

Alucard shrugged with disappointment. "And yet it looks so good on you. Oh very well. As you know, my master, I have been listening in on the meetings of the Senshi."

"Yes yes, what have you learned?"

"It appears that we were correct in our assumptions. They have been unable to adequately deal with the threat due to certain issues with the energy they use. Their scientist is working on the problem and should have a solution after a few more attacks."

"Good. Do we have an idea as to their plans?"

The No Life King couldn't help but chuckle at the plans of others. "The general consensus seems to be that they will go in and blast everything in their path."

Integra raised an eyebrow at the strategy. "An interesting approach. Though it lacks a certain finesse. How many of our forces do you suggest we commit to the operation?"

"Police Girl and myself should be enough."

"Are you sure Master," asked Seras wearily. Though she was itching for a fight, going up against a whole dimension didn't seem like an activity conducive to maintaining her unlife.

"I have heard the song of your blood. Bring your toy if you wish, but you will be ready."

Seras was giddy. It was so rare for her master to hand out compliments, at least in her direction. That he chose now to do so must mean that he truly meant it. "Thank you Master! I'll go make sure everything is ready."

Watching the draculina run from her office, Integra couldn't help but chuckle. "How much of that tripe was true?"

"Every word," replied Alucard as he stared at the spot Seras had occupied. "I sense that she is on the cusp of becoming."

"Even if she does gain her full power, how much use will she be?"

"Honestly, I have no idea. But," he added with a toothy grin, "its sure to be truly magnificent."

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In a darkened room far removed from the machinations in Tokyo, a cabal began to gather. Suddenly a shaft of light streamed down from above a console, illuminating the previously obscured individuals.

"Are you sure this room is secure," asked Mamoru, his body once again clad in the gleaming armor of the Earth Prince.

"Yes my lord," replied Kunzite. "This room is protected by the best wards known to magic kind. Only God could possibly hope to spy on us."

"Excellent." The primary leader of the cabal finally spoke. Walking into the light, Beryl looked to one of her generals. "Nephrite. What is the status of the evacuation?"

The brown haired general stepped up and began imputing information into the console. Above its surface a hologram of the castle crystallized. "According to Jaedite's plan, I have ordered the guards to evacuate the civilians within a twenty mile distance from the castle. Unless Saturn performs any attacks, the populace should be safe."

"Good. Jaedite. How is the Youma solution coming along?"

"Most stunningly, if I do say so myself."

"What're you planning," asked Mamoru with a suspicious smile. Over the last couple of weeks he had come to know the general pretty well. While Jaedite may be a crafty creator of plans, the man also had a warped sense of humor. Some of the tricks he had preformed against others bordered on the inhuman. The evil grin the man currently sported told Mamoru that whatever he had cooked up, it was down right mean.

"Well, under the guise of an invasion to Earth, I have the Youma creating a portal for the entire force. Unfortunately, it seems I gave them the wrong coordinates for gateway."

"Where are you sending them," Zoecite asked in anticipation.

"Approximately fifty feet above and active volcano."

"Splendid," exclaimed Beryl with a smile. "What do you plan to do about the Youma who realize the betrayal?"

"That would be Zoe's department."

Zoecite cast a baleful glare in Jaedite's direction. "You know how much I hate that name." Though his fellow general had called him by that in the old days, the moniker was especially annoying in the light of the unfortunate gender difficulty he was faced with.

"But it suits you so well," laughed Jaedite.

Attempting to ignore the laughter of his cohort, Zoecite turned to address Beryl. "As captain of the guard, I have had our forces training night and day. Still, they are very green. The hope is that the Youma will not realize that anything is amiss. Should they, I have positioned the guards to maximize their effectiveness."

"Good. It appears we are as ready as we possibly can be." The prospect of freedom for her and her people made Beryl almost giddy.

"When can we expect the Senshi to attack," asked Mamoru.

Jaedite's laughter came to a screeching halt. "The question is problematic my lord. As you know, due to the nature of the new Youma, they are practically immune to Senshi magic."

"Yes, only the Earth magic wielded by myself and those two new fighters seems to harm them."

"Since we made the Youma, we know why the immunity exists. The question becomes, do the Senshi know. It is conceivable that Mercury has already figured out the cause and is working on a counter."

Mamoru couldn't help but smile at the thought of his former comrade. "Yes, it is."

"Unfortunately, we can not be sure of their progress in this field."

"We need someone to go and coordinate with them," stated Kunzite succinctly.

Zoecite stepped forward, his face a mask of determination. "I'll go."

"Are you sure Zoecite," asked Beryl with concern. Of all the generals, it was Zoecite she felt the most responsible for.

"Sure. I mean it makes the most sense. As the one who coordinated the guards I am the perfect person to make sure they and the Senshi will be able to work together."

"It does make sense," offered Kunzite with approval. "But what of your condition?"

The afflicted general simply shrugged. "Its not like I'm ever going to be cured. So its either go out and live, or stay in here and hide."

"If it is your wish, then I approve of your plan," nodded Kunzite.

Zoecite returned his former friend's nod and smiled at the assembled group. "Great! Now, how do we get me there without pissing off Metallia?" A dark chuckle from Jaedite made a deep pit form in his stomach.

"Heh heh. Oh I think we can come up with something."

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Alexander Anderson was a man of contradictions. A man of the cloth, he was kind to his fellow human beings, yet he harbored a deep disdain for non Catholics. Gentle and loving to the world around him, the Father could become a bloodthirsty killing machine should the need arise. Currently, this man of many faces sat at the edge of a pond in one of Tokyo's many parks.

The sun was warm today, and its rays warmed his heart. He could feel the gentle pulse of life beating silently all around him. As couples conversed softly and children played games of their own design, Alexander simply took it all in as an affirmation of God's love for his children; no matter how far from the flock they may have strayed. But, as he followed a father and his son flying a kite through an open field, the ex-Iscariot agent felt a dark and terrible presence encroach upon this tranquil display. "What are ye doin' 'ere vampire?"

"Can I not partake of this weather," asked Alucard mockingly.

"Ye shouldn't be out 'ere at all, beast."

"Now now Anderson, is that any way to treat an ally?" With a preternatural grace, the Vampire lord sat down next to his former foe.

"Ye, and Ah know what will happen when this is all done." Though they fought together under Usagi's banner, there was nothing more he wanted than to shove a knife into the fiend's dessicated black heart.

"Really Father," laughed Alucard. "Do you think Usagi would approve our fighting ever?"

"Nae. A good lass she is. But she doesn't understand beasts such as yerself."

"Yes, yes, I am sure we could go on this way all day. But my master has some information she would like you to provide."

"Go on." Though he would never admit it, Anderson was intrigued at the possibility that the Hellsing wench needed his help.

"When will the dogs at Iscariot attack?"

"Ah have been asking myself the same thing. Ah resigned a long while ago, Ah would have thought assassination teams would have been sent ta terminate me."

"Perhaps they fear the Vampire who quelled the mighty Father Anderson."

"Now listen here ya monster! Iscariot does not run from evil. We face it head on."

"Ah but you are no longer an agent, remember," laughed Alucard.

Alexander nodded proudly, "Aye. But Ah will always remain true to its ideal."

"Even if it contradicts Usagi's wishes," taunted the Vampire.

As he opened his mouth to issue a rebuttal, a bullet slammed into Anderson's forehead. Throughout the park, people screamed in horror and desperately ran away from the supposedly dead body. For his part, Alucard simply withdrew his Casull and lazily began pulling off shots in the direction where the assassin was located. "Well," he said between shots, "it seems as if Iscariot sent agents after all."

Rising up like some sort of zombie, the paladin grinned wickedly. "Aye. It looks that way." In the center of his forehead the dull gleam of a bullet slowly came into the light. Behind it, flesh and bone mended together in an accelerated recreation of God's design.

Suddenly, a flash of silver caught the bright sun as a gleaming katana cut through the air and bit into Anderson's shoulder. A normal man might have cried out as the blade rended his flesh. Alexander though, was a different beast entirely. Having been delimbed in the past, he accepted the nerve impulses as if they were any other. With a manic smile, he stared down the length of the blade at the nun who impaled him. "Ye took yer time," he quipped.

The young woman growled and pulled her blade free. "You fate was sealed the moment you left God's light. Alexander Anderson, for crimes against the Holy Sea, your sentence is death."

"I believe he already knew that," offered Alucard between shots. Though the humans ran in a blind panic, the No-Life King was only slightly amused. As far as battles went, the two Iscariot agents were quite boring. Ribbing Anderson though, that was a most gratifying pursuit. "How long should I allow her to live," he asked idly.

Anderson deflected the katana with one of his own diamond sharp blades. "Nae! These girls are following orders."

Alucard laughed darkly. "Ah yes. I just love getting shot at." As if his opponent had heard him, several more blessed, silver, bullets impacted his frame. The damage was easily ignored, the No-Life King's body repaired the damage as it was being caused. As for the blessings, those too did not faze the unholy juggernaut; the blood of Usagi had remedied that particular weakness.

The paladin gave little thought to the beast's quips. The entirety of his concentration was occupied instead by the crazed nun. "Yumie girl! Cease this foolishness at once!"

"Only when you DIE," she roared.

"Ah hafn't turned from the side of God," countered Alexander as he danced around precise strikes. "I only tread a different path."

"LIAR! BLASPHEMY! There is but one path of God!"

There are few people on the planet capable of repelling the crazed woman's assault. In prior engagements she had ruthlessly slaughtered any and all who her heavenly superior had deemed a threat to God's work on Earth. Father Alexander Anderson was not a regular man though. The science of man and the grace of God had been married in his flesh so that he could vanquish creatures far more powerful, and terrible, than any normal human. With unparalleled grace and speed he wove his way through Yumie's strikes. One deft maneuver allowed Anderson to get in behind the berserker and restrain her. Though she writhed in his arms and clawed at his flesh, the paladin forced the woman's gaze onto Alucard. "Look! Damn ye, look! Use the eyes God and Iscariot gave ye!"

For a few moments more, the young woman raged. Eventually, her eye caught sight of something in the dread creature that froze her thrashing heart. Gone from her eyes were the outrage and mania. In their wide place was the personality known as Yumiko. She stared at Alucard with horrified wonderment. "It can't be," she gasped.

"There are more things in heaven and Earth, than dreamed of in your philosophy," quipped Alucard.

Anderson ignored the fiend. "Ye see, that is why Ah left Iscriot. Ah met the source and my duty to God and my duty to the group had to diverge."

"T,the source? God?"

"Nae, but a child of our Lord. As surely as Jesus is o' the father, so to is she."

Tears of joy began pouring from Yumiko's eyes. "M,may I p,please meet her?

"My lady is a sensitive soul, she will not appreciate attempts on her life. Nor the lives of her associates."

Yumiko gasped. "Of course! I will let no harm come to her. I swear upon the father."

The paladin loosened his grip, but did not fully let the woman go. He was rather certain that Yumiko wouldn't try anything, but Yumie was another story entirely. "Good, now please, call off Heinkel. Ah'm not sure how much longer Alucard will refrain from killing her."

Quickly, the nun nodded. She had heard all too well about the fiend's lack of patience. The last thing she wanted was her gun-toting friend to face the ivory fangs of that demon. With some force, Yumiko worked her arms free of Anderson's hold. Nearly quicker than the eye could follow, the young woman went through a series of hand gestures. Just to be sure, she repeated them three more times, lest Heinkel missed the first signing.

One more gunshot rang out through the park before an oppressive silence blanketed the area. For several minutes the two humans and one vampire stood quietly. They awaited the arrival of the assassin who had unloaded many a round into both men. Eventfully, their assailant came into view. While Yumilo was an unassuming nun, Heinkel appeared as a priest. Her long blond hair and dark glasses belonged to no order that most Catholics knew of. Neither did the guns that sat ready in her hands.

Eying both man wearily, Heinkel spoke, "You okay Yumiko?"

"I'm fine, but we must stop attacking them," answered th nun desperately.

"Yeah, I got that. The question is vy."

Alucard smiled evilly at the woman's bravado. "Oh we have so many things to tell you."

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While a park was plunged into terror by gunfire, an alley in another part of Tokyo was experiencing its own oddity. In the center of the dim, dank, place a point of rippling space burst into being. With a violent tearing sound the point exploded outwards to form a dark, swirling, maw. From the maw issued forth a terrible kreening reminiscent of a legion of cats in a blender. Amid the cacophony of wails, one could barely make out a different, more feminine, wail.

Slowly, that sound gained in intensity until a shape was launched from the center of the vortex. The gray mass flew across the alley and hit the wall with a meaty thwack. On closer examination, it was a singed woman wearing a still-smoking gray uniform. After a few moments of motionless, she groaned painfully. "Dammit. Note to self, kill Jeadite."

She made a half-hearted attempt to push herself up before groaning and giving up. "If the Senshi want you Zoecite, they can come and get you," she moaned as a particularly deep breath pulled some bruised muscles. Having decided on a course of action, Zoecite slipped into unconsciousness' sweet embrace.

The man turned woman did not have to wait long. A Senshi team landed in the alley less than five minutes after Zoecite's arrival. On the team was Mars, Mercury, and Uranus. Other assets were further away, but in route.

Uranus surveyed the area wearily. The corners of the alley were rather dark, perfect places to hide for an ambush There were no signs of the portal though, so the Youma could be gone by now. "See anything Mercury?" While the younger woman was nowhere near the warrior the Outer Senshi was, Uranus had grown to respect her calm in combat.

Said young woman stood behind the fighter, her visor out and scanning the alley. No crevice was obscured from her vision. The device detected the remaining fissures in reality, but those were rapidly fading into the background. Fortunately, there were no residual signs of Youma activity. Though she was grateful to not have to deal with those bloodthirsty creatures, it was also puzzling; as were some of what she was seeing. "This makes no sense."

A spike of worry lanced Uranus' heart. As a rule, it wasn't good to have Ami confused, at least not in battle conditions. "What doesn't?"

Mercury continued her scan, her fingers running over the controls of her computer like quicksilver. "The portal wasn't like the ones the Youmas have been using. It was almost like the ones the Negaverse used to use back in the old days."

"Well there was that note from Beryl and the generals asking for our help. Could that be it?"

The Senshi scientist was about to discount her comrade's suggestion when her visor detected a familiar signature in one of the dark recesses of the alley. In an instant, the device relayed the full extent of Zoecite's injuries to her. "Oh god," she exclaimed. As she rushed to towards her former foe, Mercury looked back at Uranus, "Quick, get Saturn and Moon, we need their healing!"

Broken bones, bruised organs, torn muscles, there was not a place on Zoecite's body that was undamaged in some way. Plus there was an apparent gender change that baffled her sensors. What was even more troubling was the concussion that her visor picked up. Mercury knew from her mother, and from texts, that such trauma could lead to permanent damage if not properly dealt with. Kneeling next to the fallen General, Ami gently turned the woman over and tilted her head up. "Uh Zoecite . . . you need to wake up."

Within the swirling kaleidescope of colors and sounds, Zoecite desperately tried to right himself. He felt as if he were in the middle of a great maelstrom and at any moment he would be pulled down into its depths. Just as he was about to surrender to the void, the blond man heard a voice call out to him. It was one that he had not heard in a long time, but, just as it had all those years ago, it roused a need in him. Straining from the effort, Zoecite fought his way out of the storm and into the world of consciousness. Slowly, the mass of lights coalesced into a pattern that was somewhat recognizable. Focus came only after, and even that was poor, but he was able to make out a face, one that linked to the voice in a way that made the man's heart stop, "Delphina?"

Like a bolt of lightning, Zoecite's muttered speech, caused shock to travel through Mercury's body. Suddenly, she was bombarded with a multitude of images detailing a life long since passed. Ami saw the older man enter her life, his presence warming a heart that had turned cold under the weight of loneliness. The pair danced the night away at one ball after another. Summer days were passed away on the plains of Atlantis. Those morphed into winter nights on Mercury ice skating. All of these and more flowed through her heart and soul like a raging torrent. Distantly, she felt her body fall backwards, but it was quickly lost in among the river.

Uranus was in a position that she did not like at all. On one hand, her ingrained warrior instincts were calling for her to blast Zoecite with World Shakings until there was nothing left of the general but a greasy smear on the ground. The other hand though, was telling her to leave the beaten former foe alone and deal with Ami, who was now slumped in Mars' arms. Finally, she decided that combination of the two could be done. So, not too kindly, Haruka nudged Zoecite's form with her boot before hurrying over to her team mates. "How is she?"

Mars looked up from the stiff form of her friend worriedly, "I don't know. She just knelt by him and then she jumped like she was hit by one of Jupiter's attacks."

"You can't feel anything," asked the blond awkwardly. Though Rei's heightened senses had come in handy on more than one occasion, they still unnerved Uranus.

The younger woman shook her head. "No, what ever happened, it didn't leave any dark traces behind."

Not a minute later, Sailor Moon came rushing out of the dark recesses of the alley way. As her blond hair bounced with every step, her beautiful face was frozen in a worried stare. Her pace increased when she saw one of her oldest friends laying stiffly in Rei's arms. Rushing to their side, she said, "Is she all right?"

"We don't know."'

"Kinda hoping you could tell us your worshipfulness," added Uranus weakly.

Despite the situation, Usagi couldn't help but chuckle at her subordinate's words. "I'll give it a shot." Above Ami's still form, the Silver Crystal appeared in a nimbus of white light. Slowly, radiant motes floated down from the crystal to land on the fallen Senshi.

As her friend and leader concentrated on Mercury, Rei shifted her concern to the blond. The crystal, while a powerful force for good, was extremely worrisome. It could harm Usagi just as it was helping another. And though Moon had gotten more proficient in its use, Rei would not be her if she didn't worry. To her relief, Usagi was giving no signs of strain.

It did not take Sailor Moon long to determine the reason for her friend's ailment. Withdrawing her mind from the woman's, Usagi looked up at Rei with a smile. "She'll be fine, but I'll let her tell us what happened."

Rei nodded in acceptance, "What about you?"

"I'm fine Mars," replied Usagi with exasperation. They had had that conversation many times over the years and the future wasn't interested in having it again.

As Usagi was being fussed over by mother hen Rei, Hotaru landed in the alley. Over the communicator, things had sounded urgent, yet there was none of the bloodshed she had expected to witness. Sliding up to Uranus, the Senshi of Silence asked, "Where am I needed?"

"Over there," grunted Haruka as she pointed to Zoecite's still form.

Not needing to know anything else, Hotaru rushed over to the general. She didn't need Ami's computer to know that the woman was in bad shape. In moments, Sailor Saturn and Zoecite were surrounded by a golden nimbus as the former attempted to heal the latter. Though she had gained greater amounts of stamina since she had first become a Senshi, the damage was greatly taxing to her improved power. Just as she felt she could go no further, Saturn gasped as a wave of power filled her being. Looking back over her shoulder, Hotaru saw a smiling Usagi who glowed with her own white light.

After several minutes Zoecite's breathing grew steady and strong. All who watched could tell that the general was going to survive her injuries. With a sigh, Hotaru slumped forward. Before she fell all the way Haruka caught her. "I thought you were doing better," muttered the blond worriedly.

Though her face was filled weariness, Hotaru smiled at her 'father.' "I'm okay. She just needed more than normal. Papa . . . I think I'm going to sleep now."

Despite the tinges of worry on her face, Haruka looked at the three unconscious people and sighed. "Well great! Now what do we do with them?"

Rei looked at her friends and nodded. "She's right. We can't really carry them all the way back to the shrine."

"I have a way," answered Usagi softly.

For a moment, Rei was ready to inquire into her friend's announcement, but once she took a look at Usagi's face the fiery Senshi knew. The blond was going to use her Vampire powers to get them there. "You sure?"

"Honestly, I've never done it. But it can't be much harder than going alone."

"Famous last words," thought Haruka wryly. Still, she saw little recourse and nodded. "Okay, your worshipfulness. Need any help."

Usagi smiled at her friend's levity. "Just bring Ami over here. Its dark enough that I should be able to do it."

Stifling her objections, Mars retrieved the catatonic Ami and moved her over to Usagi. "There. Need anything else?"

"Nope. Just start heading back to the shrine. Okay?" The two soldiers nodded and jumped away. As she watched them leave, Usagi sighed. "Come on, -sagi. This is just like always. Nothing to be worried about." Her words didn't exactly cheer the woman up, but she schooled her features and summoned her power and sank into the shadows.

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Neptune cursed as she dodged a vicious swipe from the latest Youma. "That was a close one." She had actually felt the claw scythe through bit of her fuku. Luckily, it had been so sharp that it sliced cleanly through the armor without slowing her forward momentum. Rolling forward, the aqua-tressed woman launched a quick blast of water at the ground under the creature.

Since their powers had proven practically useless against these new Youma, the Senshi were forced to get creative. Where once they would have unloaded enough magic to vaporize a few city blocks, if properly applied, now they were forced to fight smart. Her most recent strike against the ground was part of this new mindset. Several Deep Submerges had transformed the ground under Youma into a deep, muddy, quagmire. It wasn't enough to totally defeat the creature, but it slowed the beast considerably. Now all Neptune had to do was avoid the Youma's upper talons while staying close enough that it didn't try and pull free to get at her.

"Where are they," she muttered between dodged swipes. This battle been going on for several minutes now and she was beginning to tire. In her experience, this was the worst time in a battle. As fatigue set in, it became harder to keep one's mind on the fight. Instead of focusing on the job at hand, the strain of muscles, the aching of feet, even the sweat on her brow all became nuisances that grabbed for her attention. Even more pressing though, was the location of her fellow fighters.

When she had first engaged in combat with the beast, Neptune was expecting a quick arrival of reinforcements. Normally, from initial contact to the first signs of help took a minute or so. This time though, it was ten minutes of hard fighting and still no one was showing up. Even factoring the increased stamina given by the Senshi armor, she wouldn't be able to hold up this level of fighting for much longer. The Youma was scything closer and closer with each pass and soon her blood would food for the hell spawn.

Neptune nearly began to sob when she heard a voice cry out, "EARTH GYSER!" Despite her joy at those words, the aqua-haired woman didn't stop moving. With as close as she was to the beast, if she didn't get out of the way quickly she would be just as dead as the monster. So, with a great thrust of her legs, Michiru flung herself clear of the massive, razor-sharp, chunks of rock that erupted beneath the Youma. Unfortunately, she did not get far enough way to avoid the torrent of mud that she had created during her solo attacks.

Sailor Neptune's rescuer looked down at the mud soaked woman with a not small amount of embarrassment. "Sorry about that," said Earth as he offered the woman a hand.

"Don't worry about it," she replied with a tired smile. "You saved me, that's all I care about. Besides, I am rather certain that this will all come off when I transform back."

Earth's reply was cut short by a pain filled roar. It was the Youma. Neither defender knew that, at Metallia's command, Beryl and her scientists had been forced to construct newer, more intelligent Youma. These new creatures learned from the mistakes of their predecessors, albeit rather slowly. This one's slow mental faculties had noticed the cried attack and moved to avoid it. Fortunately, for Earth and Neptune, the creature's reasoning skills were so limited that it failed to fully escape the blast. The unfortunate side to that stroke of luck was that a wounded animal tended to be even more dangerous.

Though grievously wounded, the Youma was still blindingly fast. Like a freight train, it barreled out from the dust cloud of Earth's attack. Neptune began to jump away, but the ground beneath her was loose and, instead of supporting her weight, it slipped away, injuring her ankle in the process. As she fell, Michiru yelped both in pain and shock. That sound alone grounded Umino's flight as he moved to aid his comrade. Knowing that they were both now stuck, the young man and woman looked at the creature, that was scything towards them, with fear.

For a moment, Umino was frozen. All of his previous battles had been either himself or Naru just destroying a Youma with a singular attack. Never had he faced down one of those beasts as they were charging with the force of a large truck. The primal fear such a sight evoked froze every muscle in his body. The closer the thing got, the less willing his arms and legs were to move. "Is this it," his fear addled mind thought sadly. Suddenly though, before it became too late for action, a cool, calming, wave washed though his being. It was Naru's thoughts calming his own and in the placid waters of her mind, Umino saw a path to victory.

Moving almost too fast for the eye to follow, Earth raised one of his thickly muscled arms towards the oncoming creature. In the last instant before both he and Neptune were trampled, a dense metal shield materialized out of the bracer he had on his outstretched arm. With a deafening clang, the Youma slammed into the hastily erected barrier. Despite the screaming of both metal and monster, Earth held as firmly as his namesake.

Safely behind the barrier, Earth's eyes narrowed as he marshaled his strength. With a mighty roar, the titan pushed against the shield with all the force he could manage. Both he and Neptune could hear the Youma cry out in shock as it was hurled into the air. Umino knew that his opponent was at a disadvantage, so, with a thought, Crust retracted into its rest position. Even as the shield lowered, the male slammed both arms into the ground. So great was his strength, that a great channel of rock was blown into the air. It sped along, keeping pace with the foul Youma. When the two intersected, a massive explosion of granite and dirt consumed the wounded creature utterly.

Despite the fact that the Youma appeared to be dead, neither Umino nor Michiru celebrated the victory. Not two minutes ago they had believed that it was gone and the blasted thing came back. This time, they were going to save the partying for when they were positive. Slowly, the pair moved towards the blast site, each ready to run like hell should it attack once more. All they found, other than the debris that typified Earth's attacks, was the decomposing remains of a most stubborn opponent.

In a burst of victory adrenalin, Michiru whapped Umino's chiseled arm. "What took you so long?"

Though the blow was barely enough for him to register, Earth rubbed his arm with the same care a greater wound would warrant. "I got here as fast as I could," he grumbled. "Besides, it looked like you had things covered."

"Oh yeah, sure I did. Except for the part where I couldn't hurt the damn thing."

"Heh, heh, ha . . . ha, ha, ha, ha"

Neptune stared at the man as if he had suddenly gone insane. "What?"

"Ha, ha, too much, gasp, ha, ha, time around Haruka," after managing to get that out Umino was rendered useless by his own laughter.

For a few more seconds, Michiru kept up the evil eye as the man's words were being processed. Eventually a snort worked its way free. With its release, a whole torrent of laughter poured fourth from the Senshi of Neptune.

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Zoecite bolted up with a gasp. His heart pounded within his masculine chest as the demons of his sleep retained their potency. Like a caged animal, the blond's head whipped back and forth, desperately searching for the twisted fiends that had tortured him in his sleep. To his immense relief, there were no implements of torture, no dark monsters waiting to tear at his flesh, only the subdued earth tones of a traditional Japanese residence. The only other soul, demonic or otherwise, sat in the far corner of the room.

Having wild, raven, hair that seemed endless, the woman's blue eyes stared at him with electric intensity. She sat in a lotus position, yet the peace of that pose belied the wild energy that seemed to radiate from every pore of her being. Her huge frame positively dominated the tiny space of the room. And she was adorned in a leather suit that was both foreboding and alluring. To Zoecite's eye, she looked like some sort of amazon warrior, more beautiful and terrifying than any who had walked the earth in years.

"Welcome back to the land of the living," she said in a tone that made Zoecite wonder whether or not the nothingness he had seen back in the alley was preferable to his current place in the cosmos.

"Thanks," he said with as much warmth and friendliness as he could muster. "Can I ask your name? Mine is Zoecite."

Instead of answering, the woman stood; her height dwarfing his own. "I'll go get the others." With that, before the blond general could say a word, she was gone.

A minute or two later, a warmer face tentatively peaked around the door's edge. Immediately, Zoecite recognized the blue hair and inquisitive sapphire eyes. He almost called out the name he had lived for, but instead the man just said, "Sailor Mercury?"

The Senshi of Ice smiled, "Hello Zo-zo."

For the first time since he awoke free of the demon that had controlled him, Zoecite felt a ray of hope light his soul. Only one person had ever called him that. It was her personal pet name for him. The sounds of her screaming it in ecstasy had fortified him during his long imprisonment. Ignoring the tears that welled in his eyes, the sometimes female reached out to the woman before him. "Delphina? I,is that really you?"

Ami felt her own eyes watering as she walked towards her one time enemy. "I'm called Ami now. But a part of me does remember being Delphina of Mercury." With happiness in her heart and her soul, she took hold of the man's hand. "And I remember spending a week on the shores of Venus' eastern sea with the man of my dreams."

She was not the only one to recall that wonderful time. Fond memories of that coastal paradise played themselves out against a mental silver screen. "The heart blossoms were in full bloom."

There was no more doubt in her mind, this man before her was her Zo-zo. Not even the demon had acted so tenderly towards her. Without hesitation, Ami flung herself into his arms and a romance, dead for longer than recorded history, was made anew. For the most intellectual of Senshi, the experience was fantastically novel and wondrously familiar. She had long wondered how Usagi could fall so deliriously in love with Mamoru so fast. Now though, she no longer questioned it, instead Ami embraced the swell of emotion with as much fervor as her friend.

After several moments, Zoecite's duty reminded him of why he had come to Earth. Here, in this instant, though he was not one of Endymion's general. There were no helpless souls who desperately depended on the intelligence that he carried. He was just a man whose love for a woman ran soul deep. Duty would come, but it would do so later. For now, the moment was all that mattered.

Both the man and the woman soon found themselves deep in passion's silken embrace. With a forceful tug, Ami pulled her love's uniform open. As she ran her slim hands across his chest, Zoecite groaned, her touch igniting his blood like it had so long ago. Pleasure was quickly accompanied by a different, troubling, sensation. He could feel his body begin its accursed transformation. Even as he was luxuriating under his love's tender ministrations, Zoecite was tormented by his changing flesh. New pleasures vied for the old, and the man feared for his future with his Ami.

Beneath her hands, the sometimes Senshi of Mercury could feel something seriously amiss with her newfound love. Pulling away from him, she could see the changes being wrought across his body. When she had first examined Zoecite in the alley, it was clear that the he was a female. And a few seconds ago, he was most assuredly a male; the rod that had pressed into her thigh was ample proof of his manliness. Though she had held certain ideas of how such a change could take place, what she was seeing and feeling was definitely on the list of possibilities. "Oh my god," she gasped in absolute horror.

Zoecite lowered his head, he didn't want to see it when Ami made the logical choice and left him. "You don't have to stay," he muttered softly. There, he had done it, she had a way out. At least he could spare her the pain of making the decision.

The pain in those words struck Ami with more force than a hundred thousand Youma. It was the sound of someone who had given up completely. Her calling, both as a Senshi and a Doctor, cried out to right the terrible wrong laid down upon Zoecite's soul. With a slim hand, she reached out and gently pushed his chin up so that their eyes met. "I'm not going anywhere."

"B,but I heard you. You were horrified."

"Well of course I was. But it wasn't the change Zo-zo. I'm horrified that someone would do that to you after all you went through growing up." While women may have been the powerhouses among the planets under Serenity, on Earth men were very much the ones in charge. Just as beauty was held in high regard for the women, strength garnered respect from fellow men. Zoecite though, was more effeminate in appearance and was picked on all his life by bigger, burlier, males. When he came of age, his magic potential got him through the door and he proved himself quite capable in a fight. Still, he never fully escaped the stigma of his looks. For someone to turn him into a woman so thoroughly was most distressing.

"The Youma took a lot of pleasure from my transformation."

"You mean you felt it all," asked a shocked Ami.

Zoecite nodded, "On one level, yes. But all I could do is scream in a little cage in the back of my mind."

Ami shuddered as her mind recalled her own private hell. For years, she had lived in the world, but her life had been circumscribed by the edges of books. Life passed around her on its steady beat yet she had felt unmoved by it. She could dimly imagine such contrived boundaries becoming impenetrable walls, sealing her within her own mind. How would it feel to be truly isolated, screaming, begging, for death to take you as you saw your body commit atrocities beyond description? "That's terrible."

"I would rather not talk about it," he muttered.

Ami nodded, a weak smile on her face was an attempt on her part to try and lighten the mood. "You're right." Slowly, she leaned forward and placed a chaste kiss upon Zoecite's fuller lips.

For his part, the transformed male was completely shocked. As Ami's lips left his own, all he could say was, "What?"

This time, Ami's smile was most definitely real. "I love you dummy, not your body. And if that means that sometimes I am a lesbian, then I'm okay with that. So, I guess you need to ask yourself, are you?"

A smile as big as the sky split the blond's face wide open. "I think that is the nicest thing anyone has ever said to me."

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Integra's personal quarters was as stark as the woman herself. There were no flamboyances, only the real reality of her station. She was a noblewoman by birth and a defender of the faith by upbringing. As a Hellsing, she wielded a mighty sword against the night, an organization dedicated to defeating all that worked against queen and country. Events had lead her far from home, across oceans and continents, to a nation that seemed wholly incapable of facing the forces which assailed it. In the short time she had been in this country, her operatives had done more to further the cause than all of the blasted Cataclysm Division.

In this place, at this moment, none of those greater concerns mattered. She had vowed that the outside world would not intrude upon this place. Her room was her sanctuary. So, clad in a silk nightgown, the woman nursed upon a glass of brandy and immersed herself within the pages of the apocalypse; as viewed by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman. The humorous take on the end of the world was one of the few things that allowed her own perspective to remain steadfast in its battle against the shadow. The brandy seemed to help too.

Still, no matter how much brandy or how many Good Omens, no part of her world was free from one particular acquaintance. Into the calm quiet of her chambers, erupted a laughter of dark designs. Integra did not need to see the source of the interruption, she knew it all to well. "Alucard! What is the meaning of this? You know my rule regarding this room."

From the shadows, a white toothy grin and a pair of red irised eyes materialized, as if a demonic Cheshire Cat was on the prowl. "But my master," cooed the presence smoothly, "I have a piece of news that even you would enjoy."

Despite her natural curiosity, Integra sipped from her glass and made an effort of continuing her book. This was her realm, and her servant would follow the edicts she had set down.

"So it is games that you wish to play, eh my master? I had thought that you would want to know all about the goings on of Iscariot. But I guess I was wrong." Having been seemingly dismissed, the eyes and teeth faded into the shadows once more.

Integra was a woman who cultivated control like others do for fine wines. When she set her mind upon something, no matter the task, her self discipline allowed no deviations. Integra was still a human being though, and there were certain things that could bypass mental training and attack at the core of a person. For the mistress of Hellsing, the Vatican agency known as Iscariot was one such button.

In the secret war against the darkness, there were multiple players. Each fought following their own agenda. Though it was generally understood whom the bad guys were, sometimes zeal got in the way of common sense. Iscariot, named after the man who reported Christ's location to the authorities, took zeal to a whole different level. In all the times Hellsing and the Vatican's Special Section XIII had engaged one another, the results were less than salutary. Information on that accursed organization was needed as soon as possible, to save lives and maintain order.

"Alucard! Come back here and make your report."

Once again the grin manifested from the shadows. It was joined by the hauntingly beautiful face of Hellsing's chief assassin, the No-Life King, Alucard. "So, it appears that you do wish to hear what I have to say. Interesting." The fiend could tell that his words made his master's blood boil, and that knowledge made him happier than few other things.

"Several hours ago, the Paladin and myself were attacked in a park by two of the Vatican's agents. After a rather uninteresting fight, still, Anderson convinced them to convene with Usagi."

"How did that go?" Since their first meeting in the ice cream shop, the two women had developed something of a friendship. She was still a realist, and Usagi was ever the optimist, yet, somewhere in the middle, the pair had managed to find a balance that allowed for a fair amount of fun to be had.

000000000

Though they were guaranteed safe passage, both Yumiko and Heinkel were worried that they were walking into a trap of epic proportions. Things though, were not as they had first been led to believe. Anderson was not spouting satanic vices as he lapped at the feet of a Protestant whore. Neither was Alucard rending the flesh from their bones, though the looks he gave them told the pair that such a state was subject to his whim.

Even in Japan, where one minded ones own business, the quartet garnered a great deal of stares. Not only were they all giants in comparison to the local populace, each was dressed for a different era. Long coats, a habit, round rimed glasses, all stood out against the backdrop of normality that the Japanese so desperately attempted to maintain. Such was their presence, that all parted before them, no matter how dense the teeming masses became.

"F,father," asked Yumiko timidly. "When shall we arrive?"

Alexander Anderson smiled down at the nun. Though he had given up his position as Iscariot's assassin, he was still a man of the cloth. "Soon enough, sister."

Just as the priest assured them, they found themselves in among the pillars and trappings of a construction site. The place was empty of people, save one, a woman of long blond hair. Her features were obscured by some force that not even the gifts of Iscariot could pierce. The woman's outfit was a flamboyant thing, covered with a multitude of differently colored bows and ribbons. While neither Yumiko nor Heinkel could lock in on her face, she was awash in the presence of God. It was as Father Anderson had said, no devil from the deepest of hells could have faked such luminance. In an instant, both women were upon the ground, kneeling before God's messenger.

The first words that the pair heard were rather unexpected, "Why does everyone do that?"

Yumiko gasped, "To do otherwise would be blasphemy."

Though he too felt the desire to kneel, Alexander stood rigid. The smile on his face softened the hardness of the man's stance. "Our lady is a humble lass. She prefers ta be seen in the same light as us all."

Heinkel raised her head. Looking the radiant being in the general area of the eye, she asked, "Is this true?"

Usagi nodded her head with great speed. "Yes! Please, get up. I don't want anyone worshiping me."

"But it is oh so entertaining," chuckled Alucard.

Anderson growled, "Quiet you." Then, in a sudden shift of temperament, he turned a soft eye towards Usagi. "Ah was hoping that they could help during the final battle."

Now standing, both Yumiko and Heinkel tensed at the mention of fighting. "Vat final battle?"

Tears began to pool in the corners of Yumiko's eyes, "Revelations?"

Alucard rolled his eyes at the dramatics of the Catholics. "No you idiot. Anderson, was speaking of the ones that have been sending the Freaks and Youma."

With a shrug of her shoulders, Heinkel withdrew one of her guns and made a show of examining it. "Vatever. Var is var." Satisfied with her examination, the woman in priestly garb returned her weapon to its sheath. "My lady," she said with a bow, "if you do not mind, Yumiko and I vill report this to our superiors."

The paladin didn't know whether or not he liked that. As he slipped a hand into his robes, he asked, "Why."

Never taking her eyes off the radiant beauty before her, Heinkel answered the assassin's question. "God may be in his heaven, but Iscariot is his hand on Earth. If you seek to make var vit the darkness, then you vill need an army. Ve vill supply it."

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As his tale wound down, Alucard's grew in speed. "Can you see it, my master?" His tone was one of mania, the whole room filled with restless energy. "An army dedicated to God's word, led into battle by a Vampire, against a darkness that thinks itself a god. Can you see the terrible irony and the glorious conflagration that events are shaping around us?"

Integra did indeed see what brought Alucard's blood to a boil. She could see the banners streaming across the landscape, underneath which a vast horde marched through a battlefield made muddy by the blood of a thousand million dead. It was a terrifying site that sparked a certain primal wonder within her. "A new crusade," she gasped.

From every corner of the room, the Vampire's laughter echoed out. Throughout the halls of the Hellsing compound, Alucard's dark merriment gave all those who heard it a fright. Across the island nation not a single soul could not help but feel a measure of dread. Something terrible was coming, and heaven help those who stood in its way.

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Author's notes: Well, after nearly three years of dormancy, another chapter of this fic has found an end. I must appologize for the amount of time it took. Unfortunately, things weren't gelling for me in regards to this story. I've been puttering on it for a while, but my mind wouldn't let me stay on it for long. It was just start jumping up and down and screaming until I went and did something else. Finally, I decided to attack this story from a different angle, I went after the ending. After getting that out of the way, the chapter seemed to flow out more readily. Now, that is not to say that the next chapter will come tomorrow, or even a month from now, but it will be here eventually. On the safe side, expect another three years. That way, if I go short I'm awesome.

A quick note concerning the pronouns floating around Zoecite. As far as I am concerned, he is a male, in mind and soul, if not always in body. So, when he is thinking about himself, the pronouns will be male. When describing his current body, I try to use the correct terms. The confusion in the alley stems from the fact that the Senshi don't know that he is changing back and forth, so from their view point, at that moment he is a woman. I know it can be hard to keep track with, but I try to make it clear when he changes.

The scene with Michiru, Umino, and the Youma was put in there to show that the Senshi can learn to do more than just fire and forget. Further, I wanted Umino to have a set back, so he isn't an I win button.

Other than that, there's not really any more to say. The chapter was rather straight forward in my opinion, and I hope you enjoyed it.

Chaos Lord

King of the Wicker People