Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Insert Randomly-Numbered Kakugane Here

Shirley trotted through the library hunting for Ben. It had been a couple of weeks since his disastrous battle with Neb and once he got back he had been confined to bed until he was fully recovered. However, after the first few days, Ben had become restless and attempted escape more than once, only to find that his diminished energy levels made it much harder to flee from his muse-slash-caretaker.

When Shirley had returned to the hospital wing after being gone for who-knows-what-reason she had found Ben's bed empty, prompting a search for her wayward charge.

She couldn't be too angry at the heavy metal nerd though. Beating up on him while he was bed-ridden and immobile had it's perks, but it lacked the thrill of a life-or-severe-maiming chase through the library's endless rows of bookshelves.

As she turned a corner, she spotted Marcus approaching in the opposite direction.

"Hey!" She called out. "Have you seen Ben anywhere around here?"

Marcus jerked his head behind him. "Last I heard he's in one of the training rooms. I don't know why, all he's doing is blasting that metal crap of his."

Shirley considered giving him a few crippling injuries for his comment on her beloved metal, but decided to let it go, she could always lacerate his scalp later.

As she drew near the training rooms, Shirley could indeed hear a very loud amount of metal pulsing and wailing from behind one of the closed doors. She waited for the final power chord to fade away before banging on the door.

"Come in!" Ben called from the other side.

Shirley opened the door and walked in. "I was looking for you. I-what the heck happened here?"

The room was in shambles. Deep gouges and scorch marks scoured the walls and floor. A series of targets and punching bags had been snapped off their ceiling hooks and lay scattered and demolished about the room.

Despite his heavily bandaged leg, Ben stood tall with a triumphant smirk on his face.

"Shirley," He said. "I'd like you to meet my new weapon, Bahamut."

The weapon that Ben cradled in his hands was an SG-shaped electric guitar made of a silvery metal. Except for two black swooshes on the top and bottom of the instrument's main body, it was completely undecorated.

"So what happened in here?" Shirley asked again.

"This would be the intro to Dio's "Holy Diver", the solo from Grip Inc's "Built to Resist", and the outro of DragonForce's "Through the Fire and Flames" Ben explained.

Shirley chuckled. "So that's it. You're using your music as a weapon. David Draiman would be proud."

Ben nodded, running his fingers across the steel strings. "I got Camille and that one kid Sue to help me make this. That kid is actually pretty good with gadets and stuff. What was her name again?"

"Emily?" Shirley supplied.

"Right, right." Ben nodded. "I realized after my little run-in with Neb that I can't just rely on my powers anymore."

He turned the silver guitar to catch the light. "I don't ever want to be caught off guard like that again." He said softly.

Shirley nodded. "I can understand that. Oh, by the way, I've got news on Bella."

Ben raised an eyebrow. "Oh, really?"

"I've located her in the Buso Renkin fandom."

"What's she doing now? Pairing herself up with Kazuki? Or is it Captain Bravo this time?"

"No, actually, she's not doing anything."


"She's just standing around on the roof of Gensei Academy. She hasn't used her Sue powers or warped the fandom in any way, so the Society hasn't detected her yet."

"Then how come you know where she is?"

"Because you mentioned it in your ending Authors Note about 6 stories ago."

Instantly the Library began to shake, sending several of the demolished targets sliding around the training room.

"ASTER!" Adrian bellowed from somewhere deep in the Library.


Ben picked himself up from where he had dove to avoid half a sawhorse. "You really are evil, you know that right?"

Shirley snickered.

"So nobody knows she's there except for you and me?" Ben asked.

"And her."

"Well, duh." Ben pulled his Plothole Generator from a holster at his side. After his encounter with Neb, Ben was loath to leave his Generator anywhere out of reach, so he had created a holster for it out of a handful of leather straps.

"You coming?" He asked Shirley.

The Cliche Stick shook her head. "I've got a hot date tonight."

Ben laughed, swinging his guitar over his back so that the neck of the weapon-instrument pointing down and to his right.

"A hot date? Who's the lucky branch?"

"A lady does not kiss and tell." Shirley said demurely.

"It's that one Ent from the Lord of the Rings Fandom, isn't it?" Ben folded his arms.


"Shirley, that guy's like four thousand years old!"


"So, you're way too old for him!"

"That's not what he said the other night." Shirley snickered.

Ben rolled his eyes. "Cougar..." He muttered.

Shirley shrugged. "Well, have fun with Bella." She slipped out the door.

Ben chuckled as he spun his Plothole Generator around his finger a few times. So nobody else in the Society knew about Bella yet. That should make things interesting. He fired the Generator, opening a rift into the Fandoms.

Let's finish this once and for all Bella...


Ben emerged from the Plothole onto the roof of Gensei Academy. The sun was low on the horizon and on the ground below, the cherry trees were just beginning to blossom.

Bella stood several feet away, her green hair and dress blowing gently in the wind.

"Hello, Ben." She said simply.

"Bella." Ben returned the greeting. "I'm surprised you haven't started work on this fandom yet, twisting it to your will and whatnot."

Bella shrugged. "If I did, you'd just come along and undo everything, so I figured 'why bother'"

Ben frowned. That didn't sound like the Bella he knew. He took a step forward to say something, but he put his injured leg down wrong and his face twisted into a mask of pain.

"Are you OK?" Bella asked.

"What do you care?" Ben gritted out. "As I recall, you were the one who sent Neb after me in the first place!"

"I'm... sorry about that." Bella said.

Ben looked up from where he knelt, rubbing his wounded limb. Was he going nuts or did Bella actually sound... sincere?

"I didn't know Neb was going to attack you." She continued. "I met him in a different fandom and I mentioned you when I was talking to him. Next thing I know, he's rushing off after you."

Ben just looked at Bella, who was staring at the ground, digging the tip of her foot into the floor.

"There's something I've been wondering." Ben said at last, standing.

Bella looked up. "What's that?"

"Why do you Sues insist on taking over fandoms? Why do you always have to interfere with the plot?"

"I told you before." Bella said. "We just want to make the universe perfect, we want to make people's lives perfect."

Ben folded his arms. "From what I've heard from some of the other Agents in the Society, not all of you are out to better people's lives."

Bella shrugged. "That may be true, but not for me. All I ever wanted to do was to spare the people of the fandoms all the pain and suffering they're inevitably bound for. Is that truly so wrong? You tell me why? Why do you keep on chasing me?"

Ben didn't reply for a long moment. "This is probably a very appropriate analogy considering the Fandom that we're in but... Have you ever seen a butterfly emerge from it's cocoon?"

Bella blinked. "What?"

"You heard me. Have you ever seen a butterfly emerge from it's cocoon?"

Bella shook her head.

"It's a struggle." Ben said. "An intense struggle, I remember when I was a kid, just watching it almost hurt. The thing has to fight and claw it's way out into the world. But if you would try and help it to open it's cocoon, then it's wings would come out all crumpled and ruined. The only way a butterfly can fully develop it's wings is by struggling. The same goes for the characters of a fandom, the only way they can achieve true perfection is through their struggles. All that pain and suffering you want to spare them, is the only way they can realize their own true beauty. And the more you try to help them, the more you end up ruining their wings."

Bella said nothing, just stared at the ground for several minutes.

"It doesn't have to be like this, you know." She said eventually.


"We don't have to fight." Bella mumbled. "We could just, I don't know, take off together or something."

Ben raised an eyebrow. Was Bella actually suggesting what he thought she was?

He shook his head. "I couldn't do that. You may not be out to cause others harm, but many of your brothers and sisters are, so I've got to stick around to do whatever I can to stop them. And besides, I couldn't just betray my friends like that."

Bella nodded. She looked disappointed, but not entirely surprised.

"Why don't you come with me back to the Society?" Ben offered. "I mean, it's not like you're the first Sue we've taken in."

Bella frowned. "You mean Palm Tree?"

"We call her Emily now, but yeah. So why don't you join us? I'm sure a person with your abilities would be invaluable to our cause."

Bella shook her head. "I couldn't betray my kind either. And do you honestly believe your superiors would allow me to join you? And even if they did, I doubt the rest of your friends would accept me. A young Sue like Palm-Emily may be one thing, but a fully developed Sue like me is quite another."

Ben grimaced. "Point. So there's no other way then, is there?"

Bella shook her head.

Ben nodded and reached down with his right hand, pulling Bahamut around to his front.

Bella reached into a pocket and pulled out a hexagonal piece of metal about six inches across, a Kakugane.
In the world of Buso Renkin, warriors known as Alchemic Warriors used Kakugane to create one-of-a-kind weapons modeled on their fighting spirit, a Buso Renkin. The Buso Renkin were the only things capable of destroying alchemic monsters who fed on humans known as Homunculi. There were around 100 Kakugane in existence, all stamped with roman numerals from 1 to 100.

The one Bella held up however had no number on it, merely the mark for infinity.

"Buso Renkin!" She called out. The Kakugane glowed for a moment, then there was a flash.

"Buso Renkin of the Arsenal." Bella continued. "Legion!"

When the flash died down, Ben observed her new weapons.

Angel Gozen. Ben thought, eyeing the bow in her left arm. The Buso Renkin of Archery that fires arrows formed and shot by an automaton attached to the bow, allowing it to be wielded with one hand.

Ben's eye strayed to her right hand, now encompassed by a large glove. Peaky Gulliver, a Gauntlet Buso Renkin that can grow to mammoth porportions and deal devastating blows.

Next there were four three-foot long blades attached to mechanical arms on Bella's thighs. The Valkyrie Skirt, four blades that can move independently on robotic arms controlled by the users mind.

And then there were the black butterfly wings sprouting from Bella's back. Near-Death Happiness. A pair of wings made up entirely of black gunpowder than can be remotely directed and ignited at will.

Finally there was the silver dress Bella was now wearing. Last, but definitely not least, Silver Skin. The instant the surface senses an attack, it forms an impenetrable layer of metal over the target point to absorb the blow. The scales are then shed, rendering any attack next to useless.

"Five Buso Renkin in one." Ben said. "A battle style truly worthy of a Mary Sue." He smiled wryly.

"Thank you." Bella said. "Shall we?"

Ben nodded. "No running away. Don't hold anything back."

Bella returned the nod. "Likewise."

Ben didn't bother with any warm-up, instead choosing to launch directly into a spiraling, blazing series of notes. His fingers danced across the strings as bolts of bright green energy blasted from the body of the guitar streaking towards Bella.

Bella's eyes narrowed. The Valkyrie Skirt twitched.

The four blades were everywhere at once, swatting the energy bursts aside.

Bella brought her left hand up in retaliation and the small cupid automaton attached to the bow opened fire. A machine gun burst of arrows shot towards Ben.

Ben didn't bother with any with any fancy note progression this time, choosing instead to slam his fingers across the strings in a power chord. A shockwave of energy ripped out, catching the arrows in it's wake and knocking them out of the air.

Bella lept high into the air, the bottom tips of Near-Death Happiness catching fire and propelling her higher up.

Ben grimaced. I forgot, by burning a minuscule amount of the gunpowder in her wings, Bella can achieve thrust and fly!

Bella's next action jolted Ben out of his thoughts.

She had remotely laid a trail of gunpowder around him and with a snap of her fingers, set the powder ablaze. Ben swore as a column of flame rose around him, and crashed out another power chord, the shockwave blowing the flames away.

Bella meanwhile had taken to flying in a circle around Ben in an attempt to disorient him.

Ben fired another wailing note at her, then reached for the whammy bar and began to work it back and forth. A sparkling black stream of energy beamed out, writhing and twitching like electricity from a severed wire.
Bella moved to avoid the beam, but Ben turned, raking the sky with the energy stream.

The tip of the energy beam finally connected with one of the wings of Near-Death Happiness. The gunpowder comprising the wings caught fire instantly.

Bella somehow managed to swear and scream at the same time as she plummeted to the earth. She quickly discarded the blazing black butterfly wings and crashed to the ground, planting the four blades of the Valkyrie Skirt in the roof to support her landing and keep her upright. Meanwhile, the still blazing powder rained down gently around her like flaming snow.

Suddenly, Ben was right there, not a foot in front of her. Bella's eyes widened. Ben was too close to bring either Peaky Gulliver or Angel Gozen to bear. She quickly tried to pull the blades of Valkyrie Skirt out of the ground, but they refused to give, stuck deep into the roof from the impact of landing.

Ben brought up a finger and pointed directly at Bella. "Don't mess with Nukes." He said quietly.

Bella's eyes widened even further. Ben glanced up. Sure enough the warhead was right on schedule. He bent his legs and sprang back as far as he could.

The nuke connected directly with Bella, creating a small mushroom cloud and sending smoke everywhere. As far back as Ben was, he still wasn't far enough away to avoid the explosion.

He was knocked back several more feet and fell over. As he got up he noticed a red stain on his bandages.
Not good, looks like it's started bleeding again. I've got to stop jumping around like that!

Clouds of smoke still hung heavily around the roof.

There's no way Bella could be standing after a blow like that. If nothing else, I've got the advantage for now.

Suddenly Ben heard a noise. He strained his ears. It almost sounded like rain, but there wasn't a cloud in the sky.

Suddenly a hail of arrows shot from the smoke.

"What?" Ben segued into the first few steps of the Fast-Step just in time to avoid the barrage.

The arrows had blown the smoke away, revealing Bella, still standing tall, the last few protective metal scales formed by Silver Skin sliding off the dress to form a pile to the ground.

Ben growled. "Looks like I underestimated the Silver Skin."

Bella smirked. "Quite. I must say, I'm surprised at the potency of your weapon. What's it's name again?"


Bella smiled. "King of the Dragons. How appropriate,"

"I thought so. So, round Two?"

Bella nodded. "Let's go!"

Bella wasted no time, inflating Peaky Gulliver to gargantuan proportions. Instead of swinging it at Ben however, she punched the ground as hard as she could, the impact lifting her up into the air.

Ben staggered as the ground shook. If we keep this up, we're gonna demolish the whole school!

Before Ben could recover his footing, Bella caught him with a backhand from Peaky Gulliver.

Ben was sent flying across the roof. Only the metal railing around the edge kept him from flying off. Ben crashed into the railing, bending it badly. Unfourtnately for him, the railing had struck him right on the spine.

"Aaarghh..." Ben gargled in pain. He leaned backwards over the railing, eyes closed, Bahamut dangling from the black leather strap around his neck.

Bella walked towards Ben as he continued to moan.

Almost regretfully she raised the four blades of the Valkyrie Skirt. She didn't want to kill the Society Agent, she honestly liked him, but she was left with no choice.

Just as she entered striking distance, however Ben's head snapped up and his eyes popped open.

"-Computers!" He spat.

The two floodgates, with nowhere to stand behind him, now appeared above Ben instead. Bella froze as she realized just what Ben had been mumbling.

The floodgates crashed open and the dark flood poured out. Fortunately for Ben, the flood passed over him so he was mostly protected from the onslaught.

He hauled himself off the wrecked railing, and gritting his teeth, fired off another blazing series of notes. The green energy blasts shot through the wall of coffee and continued on. Ben kept up his assault, trying desperately to keep Bella off guard as he wracked his brain for a solution to her Silver Skin.

Think, think, think! There has got to be someway to beat that thing! It's not like she's invincible! Nobody's invincible! Well, maybe except for Chuck Norris...but still! Well, at least she doesn't have Kazuki's lance Buso Renkin, then I'd be even more screwed. Wait, Kazuki! That's it!

By now the flood of coffee had abated. Bella was on the other side of the roof, trying to keep her balance on the wet tiled roof, her soaked with coffee.

When Kazkuki and Captain Bravo were in training for Kazuki to become an Alchemic Warrior, he hit Captain Bravo so hard that he actually blew the Silver Skin right off of him! All I've got to do is hit Bella with everything I've got, then, while the metal is still forming, hit her again. The armor should be dispelled for a just few seconds, but that should be just long enough for me to get a note in. Do that, and this battle is mine.

Bella finally recovered her balance. She jumped into the air towards Ben, pushing off the ground with the Valkyrie Skirt, Peaky Gulliver growing to a ridiculous size as she did so.

Ben narrowed his eyes and moved forward to meet Bella as fast as his injured back and leg allowed him. As Bella came down he gave one last leap of desperation and Bella overshot him, Peaky Gulliver smashing through the demolished railing and obliterating it.

As Ben landed, his bad leg gave out and he crumpled to one knee, his bad one. He ignored the shrieking pain of his leg's protest and the trickle of blood oozing from the bandages, instead he jammed out a power chord.

The shockwave caught Bella in the back, making her stumble and knocking her to her knees.

Ben still ddn't turn, instead he merely pointed behind himself and hissed "Don't mess with Nukes!"

Bella turned, just in time to catch a shot from Bahamut head on. The Silver Skin instantly formed a protective layer of small hexagonal metal plates to protect it's wearer.

Bella wondered for a split second just what Ben was up to, then the sparkling black ray from Bahamut's whammy bar struck her and she understood.

By ensuring that the Silver Skin was constantly generating more scales to protect her, the incoming explosive would pack more than enough of a punch to temporarily dispel her armor and leave her vulnerable.

She struggled to her feet, desperately trying to move out of the way, but she was too late.

The second warhead struck, sending up another dense cloud of smoke. Ben wasted no time, firing a barrage of blasts into the cloud.

Come on, come on! He gritted his teeth. At least one of these has got to hit.

Suddenly there was a bright flash of light and an oversized Peaky Gulliver came flying out of the cloud, palm first, fingers outstretched.

Ben barely had time for a shocked, "What?" Before he was slapped with awesome force into the ground.
Ben lay dazed in the palm-shaped crater. He shook the stars from his vision, and struggled to his feet just in time to see Bella emerge from the cloud.

As soon as he caught sight of her, Ben's breath caught in his chest. "No..." He whispered.

Bella's once perfect skin was now a glorious bronze, and her hair was a pale blue that glowed gently.
"You're-you're a-"

"A Victor." Bella completed for him. "Or a Victoria in my case."

Victors were a third species of being, somewhere between a human and a homunculus. In addition to the skin and hair changes, people who became Victors also possessed enhanced strength and speed, as well as regeneration, not to mention the ability to drain the life force out of anyone in the area around them.

Ben bent over, gasping for breath. He could feel the energy drain sucking his life out. If he didn't hurry, he was doomed.

"Give it up." Bella said softly. "I honestly didn't want to kill you, but I don't have a choice. There's no way you can win now."

She knelt down next to the gasping Ben and gently pulled his head up to face her.

"Wouldn't you rather die peacefully?" She whispered, tears forming in her eyes,

Ben let his head sag.

No... no, I couldn't do it! I gave it all I had but it still wasn't enough! We were fools, how could we ever hope to truly defeat perfect beings? Everyone, I'm sorry! Adrian, Tyler, Drake, Marcus, Tash, Aster, Willie... Shirley. No... no...


Frustration lent strength to his limbs. Ben shot to his feet, his eyes smoldering with impotent fury. His fingers wrapped around Bahamut's neck and he raised the instrument high over his head.

Bella fell backwards, eyes wide with shock and fear. What was he doing? He shouldn't be able to move! The energy drain should've rendered him weak and immobile!

With a wordless scream Ben fell to his knees, slamming the guitar into the ground with everything he had. The guitar's body broke in two pieces from the blow. As it broke, all the energy contained within the weapon was released in a single colossal blast. It was the last straw.

The poor roof had been stabbed four times, been punched with a metal fist the size of a dump truck three times and been nuked twice. The force of the blast from Bahamut's destruction blasted a hole in the roof, spilling Ben and Bella of them into the darkened classroom the next story down.

Bella's breif scream of shock was cut short as her head slammed into the edge of one of the desks.

Ben was more fortunate, he was unceremoniously dumped onto an empty space on the tile floor.
The shock of the blow to her head had negated Bella's Victoria transformation and Ben could feel his energy (such as it was) returning.

Ben yanked his flask of Firebrand Whiskey from it's hiding place, downed the entire contents in a gulp and tossed the flask aside.

Bella was stirring and trying to get up from where she lay stunned on the floor. She did not look good. The Angel Gozen's bowstring was snapped and the cupid automation sparked weakly from where it had been smashed open. The fingers of Peaky Gulliver twitched weakly as Bella tried to summon the strength to move. Several of Valkyrie Skirt's blades had been snapped off and lay scattered around her and a few scales dotting the floor around her was all that was left of the Silver Skin.

Bella stried to sit up, but was stopped by a quiet "Don't." from Ben.

If anything, Ben looked just as bad as Bella. His curly hair was covered in a layer of dust and there were bits and pieces of the roof's tiling stuck in his curly hair. He was extremely pale and he was partially hunched over from where his back had collided with the railing. One his precious ear-buds were smashed and his glasses had been shattered when he was slapped by Peaky Gulliver. He was still gasping for breath and he favored his good leg as a steady trickle of blood flowed down the other.

What he did have that Bella didn't was a fire in his eyes that shone brightly in the dark room, and a steady finger pointed at her.

Bella half sighed, half groaned and tried to shift around to a more comfortable position.

Ben's eyes softened and he moved forward. "Let me." He said gently and carefully helped Bella up where she sat with a groan of relief against one of the desks.

"I guess that's it then." She said softly. "You beat me. No running away."

"Yeah." Ben said in the same tone of voice. "I honestly wish it didn't have to be this way."

Bella shrugged awkwardly. "There was no way we could've avoided it. The only true ends for us were either your death, or my capture."

Ben looked at Bella for a long moment. She stared at the ground, one strand of green hair falling in front of her face.

He'd never noticed it before now, but half the thrill of the chases and battles with Bella were simply being around her.

Ben wasn't entirely sure it wasn't her just Sue-ish effect on him, but one thing he did know, he couldn't bear the thought of Bella languishing in a dark prison cell.

He frowned as a thought occured to him.

"Maybe there's another way..." He said slowly.


Tash was furious. Not only had Ben left his bed when he was supposed to be resting, but he had gone out on a mission without confirmation or telling anybody where he went.

She was just about to give up the search when a plothole opened and an exhausted and thoroughly wasted Ben climbed through, the two pieces of Bahamut dangling across his back.

"There you are! What were you thinking rushing off on your own like that?" Tash demanded. "You could've gotten killed!"

"Not me this time." Ben muttered despondently.

Tash frowned. "What happened? Where'd you go?"

Ben looked surprised. "You guys didn't see anything?"

"How could we? We had no clue where you were! And you'd better have a damn good reason for having left like that or you're in trouble!"

Ben sighed. "I went to the Buso Renkin Fandom."

"Did you find Bella there?" Tash asked.

Ben nodded mutely.

"Did you catch her?"


"Oh, she got away again then."

Ben looked away. "No... she didn't."

Tash scowled. "Wha-?" Then the implications of what Ben said hit her. "Oh..." Was all she could say.

"I'm gonna go lie down for a while." Ben muttered.

"OK, fine." Tash said softly.

Adrian walked up as Ben walked off.

"What's wrong with him?" He asked.

"He killed Bella." Tash said softly.

"Oh." Adrain said, looking at Ben's retreating back.

"I wish there was something I could do to help..." Tash said.

Adrian shrugged. "It's been awhile since we've had to kill any Sues. It's bound to come as a shock. Just leave him be for a while. He'll get over it."

Tash nodded and the two went their separate ways.


Shirley was waiting outside Ben's door, fuming.

"There you are!" She said as he approached. "My date stood me up! Next time I see him, I'll turn him into fire kindling! How'd you do with Bella? Any-?"

"Not now, Shirley." Ben said quietly as he walked past her and closed the door, locking it.

Abrasive and violent as she may have been, even Shirley realized that there was something up, and all she could do for now was let Ben be.

Inside his room, Ben clicked on his desk lamp, and pulled a pen and several sheets of blank paper from his desk.

He leaned Bahamut up against the desk, eyeing the damage. The only thing connecting the fretboard and main body of the guitar were the strings. It was a miracle the blast released by it's destruction hadn't damaged it more. Ben sighed. He hoped he'd be able to repair it.

He turned back to the paper and putting his pen down, got to work.

Nobody at the high school knew where she came from, only that she was very beautiful. As time went on, she became one of them. She lived and laughed, and failed and cried. She her her own struggles and triumphs and her own failures and defeats. Together she grew with the friends she made at the school, growing with them and helping them, hurting them and being hurt by them. She was not perfect, but she was as close to it as any would dare.

Her name was Bella.

Several hours later, Ben took the filled sheets of paper and inserted them into a manila envelope. He then taped the envelope to the bottom of his desk.

"Enjoy your new world, Bella," he said, clicking out the light.

No comments:

Post a Comment