Gender Bending 2
Disclaimer: All characters and places mentioned are property of Namco.
Hey everyone, welcome back. That was some hiatus, huh? Okay, okay, don't attack me just yet. I've got some announcements at the end of the chapter you should take a look at when you're finished.
Partygoers screamed and ran as Lloyd and the Kratos wannabe continued their duel. Lloyd barely noticed, completely embroiled in the fight. As he blocked another strike with Flamberg and saw the sparks fly, he flashed back to their previous battles. This Kratos certainly had a similar fighting style, but Lloyd still found it slightly more reckless and unrefined. That said, the man clearly knew what he was doing, and with Lloyd's balance issues recently, he was in for a tough fight.
As their duel continued, the guests who didn't flee formed a (very) large semicircle around the two, viewing the fight in a sort of paralyzed awe. They were right to be shocked, as Lloyd and the man fought absolutely flawlessly, striking and parrying expertly.
"Super Sonic Thrust!" Lloyd shouted, thrusting Flamberg forward.
"Guardian!" 'Kratos' countered, creating a circular barrier around himself, and then jumping back. "You certainly know how to fight," He began, as a red magic circle appeared on the ground at his feet. "however, I am still at another level than you. If you just answer my questions, I'll let you live."
"Oh shut up, old man!" Lloyd countered, having reverted back the way he was back when Kratos was his foe. He didn't know who this man was, but his hatred for 'Kratos the Angel' had resurfaced at the appearance of this antagonistic version of his father.
"Take this! Explosion!" Kratos shouted, as a large fire blast fell from the ceiling.
"W-what?" Lloyd shouted. There were innocent people here! If any of them got caught in the explosion... He turned his attention from Kratos and shifted his perspective towards the partygoers. However, before he could warn them to leave, he heard another voice yell, "Aqua Laser!"
Lloyd once again wheeled around and saw Genis, wielding his kendama and firing an aquatic beam which diverted the majority of the blast. Unfortunately, it also blew a large hole in the ceiling of the dance hall. Even less fortunately, the distraction gave the Kratos impostor an opportunity to attack. However, before he could land a strike, he received a quick kick to his chest by Regal. One by one, Lloyd's team members began to congregate on the scene. Even with their wackiness, it shouldn't be hard for them to defeat the fake.
"Kratos, what are you doing?" Raine shouted in her teacher voice. "I thought I told you to not make a scene!"
"Professor Sage, this isn't the real Kratos!" Lloyd shouted back.
'Just what are you inferior beings babbling on about?" Kratos yelled as well. "And you think you can defeat me with mere numbers?" Kratos began a familiar chant as a white aura surrounded him. "Sacred powers, cast thy purifying light upon these corrupt souls..."
Lloyd's eyes widened with shock. He didn't even have time to question how this impostor knew angelic spells "You can't do that! There are civilians here!" However, it didn't look like Kratos was going to stop. Lloyd needed to draw him away before he could finish the incantation. Hmm... if this Kratos can use angel spells, then maybe... "Hey Kratos, you don't like numbers? Then follow me!" In an instant, his multicolored spectral wings appeared from his back. Lloyd took to the air, and flew out the gap in the ceiling and into the night.
That got the other Kratos' attention. "Those wings...!" His own blue set of wings appeared from his back, and he took off after Lloyd, leaving both the heroes and the partygoers dumbfounded.
"What did I miss?" The tuxedo-ed, and still tipsy Kratos asked, stumbling into the hall.
After a few near-misses against his opponent, Lloyd quickly realized that aerial combat was certainly not his specialty. He grimaced as he barely dodged an attack by the other man and received a large gash through the front of his Nobleman clothes. "Hey! This was custom made!"
The other Kratos smirked. "Heh. You sound like a woman."
"What was that?" Lloyd yelled, dive-bombing the man, who expertly dodged. Argh! Who the hell is this guy? He's got all of Kratos' moves, and even his wings! Lloyd knew at this rate, he didn't have a chance, so he flew back towards the dance hall and landed on the roof, making his wings vanish in the process.
'Kratos' did the same, landing on the other side of the putting his wings away as well. "You don't seem to know how to use those wings properly, boy." Kratos said as the two moved closer and began to circle each other. "Just who do you think you are?"
"Give me your name and I'll give you mine!" Lloyd spat back.
'Kratos' grit his teeth at the boy's impudence. "You seem to already know my name, but for an angel, you seem to know little else."
"What was that?" Lloyd growled back.
The other Kratos leaped forward and swung his sword. Lloyd blocked, but he was knocked backwards. "I am Kratos Aurion." He struck again. Once again, Lloyd was surprised by the ferocity and barely blocked. "I am one of the four Seraphim who guides this world!" He stuck again. They were at the edge of the roof now. "Who the hell do you think you are, with those wings, and that sword!" He tried to strike again, but Lloyd parried the attack and began forcing the man backwards.
"Who do I think I am?" Lloyd struck, and Kratos barely blocked. "I am Lloyd Irving, the Eternal Swordsman who reunited the world!" He struck again. "I am Lloyd Irving, who once before defeated Kratos Aurion and received his sword!" He struck again. Now they were at the edge of the hole above the party. "And although you may look like him, you are not Kratos Aurion! You are not my dad!"
"-Dad?" 'Kratos' gasped out as Lloyd hit again, and caused him to fall through the hole back into the large dance hall. Kratos activated his angelic wings at the last second, which slowed his fall, but he was still unable to catch himself. When he struggled to his feet, he saw himself, standing in a tuxedo, and looking at him quizzically.
"What?" The two Kratoses said in unison.
Lloyd flew back in and landed. "This man here is the real Kratos Aurion. The one who's actually my father. Now I don't know who you really are, but I defeated both the real Kratos, and Yggdrasil, so an impostor like you doesn't scare me!"
"...what?" The mercenary-clad Kratos gasped out again. "...You beat... Yggdrasil?" That might explain the wings... This young man also called himself the Eternal Swordsman... and was the world really reunited? Clearly he needed to investigate. Regaining his composure, this Kratos' blue wings flapped for a second, and then he turned into a small blue ball and teleported away. Let's see this strange boy do that!
Lloyd, of course, could not do so, and was forced to watch as the Other Kratos vanished.
"Okay, I'm clearly missing something. What are you guys talking about?" The Kratos in the tuxedo asked, completely lost.
It was at this point when Lloyd actually looked around the dance hall, and was appalled at what he saw. The whole place was wrecked!
"Great, there goes peaceful relations between the reunited worlds." Genis said, running up. "And who was that guy? He looked just like Kratos!"
"Yes, I was thinking the same thing." Raine said, approaching the spot where the Regeneration Heroes seemed to be gathering. "What happened, Lloyd?"
"I don't know." Lloyd said truthfully. "But that guy seemed to have the same attacks as the real Kratos. He could fly, and I think he tried to cast Judgement at one point."
"Wait, wait, wait." Kratos said. "I can fly? Why didn't anyone tell me this before?" He was about rush off to find some stairs, but he was stopped by Sheena and Yuan, who were making their way to the group as well. Both Sheena and Yuan had strange expressions on their faces, and Lloyd wasn't sure what either was thinking.
Zella reappeared next, followed by a dutiful-looking Presea. "Genis! There you are!" She made a beeline for Genis, but Sheena conveniently stepped towards Raine, which cut off her path. Zella pouted angrily.
"Raine... I think you need to check us for pollen." Sheena cut to the chase. It was a tough thing to admit, but if old effects truly were resurfacing, she might become a danger to the others, especially Lydia. Plus, having kissed Yuan, they needed to seek some sort of treatment right away.
"Why?" Raine said, cocking her head to the side.
"I... I just have a hunch that the Gardens might have effected us more than we thought." Sheena said.
At that point, Collete came running up. She was eying Regal interestedly, but she seemed even more intrigued by Lloyd's chest, exposed by the rip the other Kratos made in their fight. "Lloyd... you're... you're back to normal!"
Lloyd shrugged sheepishly. "Well, kinda. See, I-" But he was cut off by Colette, who let her impulses take over and started kissing Lloyd much more spiritedly than anyone would have expected. Lloyd quickly pushed her off, however. "Colette, no! I was trying to tell you that..." But he already could feel the effects. The entire room started spinning, and Lloyd felt his whole body go numb. "Not... again..." He fell to his knees, but didn't lose consciousness this time. Instead, after a few seconds, feeling returned, and Lydia struggled back to her feet. Ignoring the completely dumbfounded expressions of her team, which was understandable, considering they had just watched the transformation, to an extent. "I was going to say that kissing changes me back and forth between the two."
"Um... I think we should talk about this more at Zelos' house." Genis said, suddenly bright red.
"Zella." Zella corrected him, but she too was distracted by something other than Genis for once.
"What is it?" Lydia asked.
" 'Lloyd.' " Raine began, eying the guest who were approaching. "You might want to... cover up."
Lydia looked confused. "What do you..." She then realized that Kratos had ripped a hole in her shirt, hadn't he? "O-oh!" She quickly grabbed the material and pulled it over her chest. "Y-yeah, I agree, let's go back to Zella's house."
"Interesting." Raine said, training her specially modified Magic Lens on Sheena. "It seems you were correct, Sheena. It's less plentiful than the substance that was in us last time, but there is a substantial amount of pollen inside of your body."
"I thought so." Sheena said with a grimace. "Everyone," She began. They were back at Zelos' mansion and were standing in a circle for Raine to examine. Wanting to keep their conditions (especially Zelos') secret, they dismissed the staff for the night. "...I think the Gardens somehow started to bring back the pollen effects from last time."
"Wait, wait." Lydia began. "Does that mean that you're..." She stopped, trying to find the right way to say it. "You know..."
Sheena turned red and nodded sheepishly. "Yeah. I'm sorry, Lydia. Right now it's still much less crazy than last time. I haven't had many plots to seduce you or anything like last time."
"'Many'?" Genis repeated, but Sheena continued.
"I think the effects are gradually growing, though." Sheena said, avoiding Lydia's gaze. "It's getting harder for me to control my... um... urges."
Lydia gulped, flashing back to the embarrassing incident in the Gardens. Well, that would explain her weird actions in that pond. When I was affected, I didn't fight her advances, but I suppose they had to come from somewhere... Then she flashed further back to the dangerously obsessed Sheena in Altamira. "Wait, what do you mean by 'urges?'"
Sheena blushed. "Is it really that hard to figure out?"
Kratos raised an eyebrow. "Okay, I'm not quite sure what's going on, but I'm liking the sound of it!" He flashed a lecherous smile that would have made Zelos proud.
"Are you forgetting that I'm you daughter?" Lydia snarled at Kratos.
A look of comprehension flashed across Kratos' face, and he immediately grimaced and shook his head. "I forgot about that. Ugh, never mind!" He looked at Sheena. "Of all the people for you do be lesbian for, it had to be my kid? Why couldn't it have been Zella or Raine? Or even Colette? Maybe then I could actually enjoy it!"
"Idiot Chosen!" Sheena shouted and clocked Kratos, not even realizing that her habitual statement was incorrect this time. She was clearly uncomfortable at the large amount of attention being given to her predicament and tried to change the subject. "Look, Raine, can you just examine everyone else?"
Raine nodded. "If effects from last time are resurfacing, and if it's only due to exposure to the Gardens, then Colette, Lydia, Kratos and myself will all need to be examined. However, I believe that it would be in our best interests to do so to everyone."
And so Raine set about examining everybody in the room. The half elf was shocked at the amount of people affected by some sort of magical plant or other. Some she expected, like Sheena, but others were far more surprising, namely Yuan, who hadn't even been to the Gardens with them! In fact everyone was infected to some extent, save for Genis and Regal. What surprised Raine, however, was what she saw when she examined Zella. Unlike everyone else, who seemed to only have magical pollen in their systems, the former Chosen had something else. Yes, the pollen was present, obviously from the same plant that changed Lloyd and Yuan's genders the last two times. Interestingly, though, there was some sort strange liquid present in Zella's veins. It was a pinkish color, but far to fluorescent to be natural, and it worried Raine to think what sort of effects it might have on her. That said, she didn't want to cause Zella to panic and bolt, so she kept the information to herself. She then looked over to Yuan, who had been surprisingly silent the entire time, acting strangely dazed. Raine worried it might be the result of some plant, but they didn't have time for that. "Yuan!"
Yuan looked as if he'd forgotten where he was, but he quickly recovered and turned to Raine. That shout was getting dangerously close to the sound of Ruin Mode. "Yes, what is it?"
"I want you to use Divine Purify on all of us, like last time." Raine explained.
"Wait a sec, Sis." Genis began. "That didn't even work last time, remember?"
Regal stepped forward. "While that may be true, it did help alleviate some of the symptoms while we searched for a real cure. Perhaps it will help us again this time." He looked at Raine, who was now noticeably shorter than she used to be. "I assume that was your logic."
"That's right." She affirmed.
Thus the heroes all began subjecting themselves to Yuan's spell, which, like last time, consisted of a powerful hit to the abdomen charged with mana. He moved around the circle of heroes, casting it on each of them, before laying them down onto one of Wilder Mansion's various couches. Colette and Raine went easily enough. Colette was considering resisting, but she was quickly knocked out by the spell before she could really do anything. Raine, of course, volunteered easily and Kratos didn't even know what was going on, but he did like the idea of curing his amnesia and therefore he was willing. Zella was next, who tried to get away, but was stopped by Lydia and Regal. It was Lydia's turn, but as she started to mentally prepare herself, the mansion doors swung open, loudly banging on the walls. The six remaining people swung around to see Neil, Governor General Neil from Palmacosta, of all people, standing at the doorway completely out of breath.
"T-there you all are." He panted out with a relieved expression. He barely even seemed to notice the four unconscious people, nor the blue-haired man about to strike a woman dressed suspiciously like Lloyd.
"Neil?" Lydia stepped towards him. "What's wrong?"
"Here, come sit down." Regal said, leading Neil towards a nearby armchair.
"No! There's to time for that!" Neil said, beginning to regain his breath. "I just received word from Palmacosta. We've been attacked!"
"Attacked?" The group gasped out.
Neil nodded furiously. "Yes! Reports seem to say that Magnius has returned!"
The room was silent as everyone gazed at Neil strangely.
"I know it sounds crazy, but that's what I've been told." Neil added.
"But that's impossible!" Genis exclaimed. "We killed Magnius! How could he be back?"
"Oh no." Presea said, far too calmly for the current situation. Everyone turned to her. "In the commotion I'd forgotten, but in the Gardens, Colette and I discovered replicas of the Grand Cardinals. But they were all unconscious, so I have no idea how Magnius could have gotten all the way here."
"We'll handle this, Governor General." Lydia said, heading out. "Genis, Regal! Since you two aren't infected by any plants, you should come with me. Presea, since you actually know about what's going on, you come along too so you can explain it to us."
"Who's this girl?" Neil whispered to Regal, subtly gesturing at Lydia. "And where's Lloyd? We could really use his help."
"I have a feeling Lloyd will be there to help as well." Regal answered cryptically. Then, he put a hand to his chin. "Interestingly, it seems Lydia is a better tactician the Lloyd was anyways." I wonder why that is...
"I'll come with you guys." Sheena said, stepping towards the group."
"No, Sheena, you probably shouldn't." Lydia said, trying not to sound awkward. "I mean, Presea probably shouldn't be coming either, but what she knows could be important. Just focus on getting yourselves cured, and then you guys can meet up with us, okay?"
Sheena clenched her fists, but nodded and said, "Okay."
With that, Lydia, Genis, Regal, and Presea ran outside, took their Rheairds from their wing packs. As they climbed aboard, Neil ran after them.
"Wait!" The man said. "Let me come with you. I need to get back to Palmacosta to help the citizens."
Lydia nodded understandingly. "Alright. Climb on to my Rheaird. Now let's go already!"
Sheena and Yuan were now alone in the mansion, with a plethora of unconscious party members, and the employees nowhere to be seen.
"Well Sheena, you're up." Yuan said, getting in his stance to cast the healing spell. "Ready? Divine Puri-"
"Wait." Sheena said, and Yuan stopped like a dog would heel at its master's feet. Something had just occurred to her. She slinked up close to the Seraph, putting her arms around him and keeping her lips just parted from his. She hadn't forgotten their accidental kiss with the magical lipstick. Yuan had been controlling it well, but he wouldn't be able to disobey her like this. "Maybe... maybe you shouldn't cure me. Not yet. You know... I kinda like it this way."
Kratos Aurion couldn't believe his eyes as he flew through the night sky. The world was reunited? How did this happen? The entire planet once again resembled how it looked all those years ago. Additionally, he could no longer sense the mana of Derris-Kharlan. It was like the whole planetoid had vanished! Furthermore, despite being Origin's seal, he couldn't contact the summon spirit, nor could he find Mithos or Yuan! Speaking of Cruxis, the Tower of Salvation had somehow crumbled... And now there was another him and a boy with strange wings who claimed to be his son? I don't have a son... do I?
This was pretty plot-heavy, wasn't it? I'll try for more funny next chapter, I promise! Also, next chapter will be out one week from now! (Wait, an actual deadline? What is this?)
Now, on that note, I've got some announcements of some things I'm going to try out here. First of all, I'm attempting (emphasis on attempting) to instigate a schedule here in order to prevent long amounts of time without updates. From now on, I'll be posting chapters bi-weekly (with the exception of the next one, which will be posted in only one week in order to make up for the wait), so we'll see how that works out. Furthermore, I've removed the subtitle from the story's title simply because it's been bothering me for a while. If enough people want it back I guess I'll restore it, but I don't really see a reason to at the moment.
Finally, I'm thinking about getting some beta-readers, because, frankly, my stories are often peppered with stupid errors that just come from me rushing. If you're interested in beta-ing this, any of my other fics, or a super-secret upcoming Haruhi Suzumiya fic (been working on it on my spare time, but it's pretty short so it shouldn't interfere with this too much at its current stage), send me a PM. Of course, I'd be looking for a more in-depth look than a regular review, and, if you're up to it, I might request a look over of my earlier chapters, but on the bright side you'd get to read chapters early and maybe even get a say in the plot developments. Not sure if anyone is interested, but let me know if you are.
Oh, and don't forget to review!