Chapter: 21

 

Kasumi stretched, sighing as her shoulders cracked,
and slumped comfortably in her chair. Finished. She stacked
her papers neatly and dropped them in her book-bag,
frowning as she had to shove a small package aside. *Got to
remember to give that to Ranma
* she thought, then promptly
forgot about it as she slung the bag over her shoulder and
headed out the library by a side door.

"Let me get that for you."

Kasumi's automatic thank-you cut off with a gasp as
she took-in the figure in bulky robes and beehive straw hat
standing in the dimly lit stairway.

"Who----"

A broad strong hand clamped a cloth saturated in a
sweet-smelling liquid over her mouth. Her involuntary gasp
of fright filled her lungs, there was a brief burning sensation,
then nothing.

****
****

Kasumi woke with a groan, feeling as if the entire
Russian Army had marched across her tongue in their
stocking feet. Obviously she'd forgotten her vow to _never_
play drinking games with Nabiki. She started to sit up, and
found she couldn't move. Twisting her head to one side she
looked through bleary eyes and saw her arm was fasted to
the head of a bed with broad silk bands. Lifting her aching
head she saw her ankles were similarly secured. Around her
the dirty grey walls of a warehouse disappear into the
shadows.

"Awake already?"

Suddenly sober she tried to jerk away from the voice,
but the soft bonds held fast.

"Where is Saotome Genma?" The bed sagged as the
figure settled beside her. "Where is his son Ranma?"

"I . . .who are you." Her voice broke and she closed
her eyes, hoping this was all a nightmare. Things like this just
didn't happen to people.

"I'm a dutiful son to my mother, loyal to the memory
of my father." Anonymous in the beehive hat and shapeless
kimono the figure was inhuman, and frightening, the large
double row of pom-pom's running down the front and huge
coloured neck ruff giving him the appearance of a monstrous
clown. "Where is Genma?"

"I don't know." Kasumi whispered, frightened at
being in the hands of a madman. She'd never seen a costume
like his outside of an historical drama.

"Once there was a man," the voice took on the
cadence of a story-teller. "He wasn't rich or powerful or
perhaps even very smart. But his wife loved him and his son
adored him." Shifting slightly, the featureless straw face
turned directly toward the bound schoolgirl. "One day a
_friend_ persuaded the man to invest in a business -----"

Kasumi paled at the venom that suddenly infused the
voice.

"-----salvaging precious metals from discarded
computers. They were going to get rich mining garbage
dumps for gold and silver and platinum. But the man's friend
vanished, and his life's savings with him. So the man lost his
home, his honor and all hope, until . . ." the voice grated to a
halt, then continued after a pause. "His wife went to live with
relatives and his son . . . his son went into the mountains of
Iga and learned things." He place a hand under Kasumi's
chin and tilted her head back until all she could see was the
smooth blank surface of his beehive-hat. "Wonderful things."

Kasumi shrank back, pressing deep into the mattress.

"Has your memory improved? Do you know where
Genma is hiding," he whispered. "Where to find Ranma?"

"I don't know, really I don't."

"I see I'm going to have to persuade you." A slender
knife appeared in his hand and Kasumi whimpered in fright.

"I don't know, Please." Tears welled up in her eyes
and ran down her cheeks. "I don't know where Genma is.
Please don't cut me."

"Cut . . .?" He sounded shocked, then chuckled.
"This?" He waggled the blade, pulling a sausage out of a
hidden pocket and slicing off a piece. "I missed lunch,
waiting for you to finish up in the library." With surprising
delicacy for such a broad scarred hand he shaved off paper
thin slices and fed them through a slit in his head covering.
"I'd offer you some," he said apologetically, "but the drug I
used makes your stomach sensitive."

"Thank you," Kasumi whispered, politely. "But I'm
not very hungry."

"Now then," he folded the empty wrapper and put it
neatly into the trash. "I would really appreciate it if you
would tell me where to find Saotome Genma and his son."

"I really don't know," Kasumi choked out. "Genma
ran away weeks ago, and Ranma comes and goes. But I
don't know where he stays or when he'll come by the
house."

With a heavy sigh the man rotated his shoulder to
loosen them and flexed his fingers. "I'd like to believe you, I
really would," he reached into the hidden pocket and
produced a leather pouch. "but I need to be sure."

"What . . .what are you going to do?" Kasumi asked
in horrified fascination as he pulled a silk scarf from the
pouch.

"I'm just going to ask you some questions" her
captor replied, trailing the end of the scarf across her bare
shoulder and between the valley of her breasts. Kasumi
gasped at the feather light touch. "And you're going to
answer them."

"Wh . . .wh . . .what are you _doing_!" She
squeaked, trying to suppress a giggle that seemed horribly
inappropriate.

"Did you think I would try to beat answers out of
you?" he said conversationally, as if Kasumi were a chance
acquaintance and not a kidnap victim tied naked to a bed.
"Or perhaps thumbscrews and hot irons?" At the expression
of Kasumi's face he chuckled, the sound oddly distorted by
the heavy straw hat covering his face. "The human body is
built to fight pain. And with enough pain I could get a stone
to confess, though not necessarily the truth."

The scarf continued it's maddening, endless journey,
like a thousand butterfly kisses across her breasts and belly.

"But _pleasure_," he switched tactics, trailing the
very tip of the silk across her breasts. "The body craves
pleasure." Kasumi moaned at the teasing sensations, flushing
in mortification as her nipples stiffened, like little soldiers
coming to attention.

"I am a master of Tantric Zen," he continued, pulling
out a second scarf. "And your body _burns_ like a furnace
with sexual energy. I can see your meridians of power, the
excess of Yin, how your body cries out for Yang."

An anguished mewling sound was forced from
Kasumi's lips as the second scarf carressed the delicate
junction between her legs. Involuntarily her body arched off
the bed, straining against her bonds in an effort to deepen the
contact.

"Within an hour you will tell me everything you know
about Genma and Ranma. Within two . . ." he stopped his
delicious torture and a hoarse cry of loss was wrenched from
Kasumi's throat. "You will belong to me body and soul." He
teased the silk along the inside of her knee and the bound girl
wept with frustration. "You will then willingly betray Genma
to me."

Kasumi gasped as he pressed a Ki meridian, flooding
her brain with endorphins, making her feel deliciously
helpless and feminine. As she sank into an erotic haze she
knew she would betray Genma, Ranma, her father and
sisters. She would do anything to ease the fire his touch had
ignited.

"Of course, repeated treatments will leave you a
mindless zombi, so lets hope you find Genma quickly."
Manipulating Ki points he watched her eyes turn black as
they dilated. In a few moments they would contract and at
that moment she would imprint on him, like a baby chick,
and slavishly follow his every-----

The massive steel loading-dock doors crashed open
under a tremendous blow. One hung drunkenly by a single
twisted hinge, the other hit the ground with a thunderous
crash and skidded across the dusty floor.

"My lady!" Kuno Kodachi stood frozen in the
doorway, long cape swirling around her ankles, huge two-
hand flamebard clenched in one steel gauntleted hand. Blood
thundered in her ears as she saw the stranger lay profane
hands on the sacred person of her Kasumi-sama. Without
hesitation she charged the monk, death in her eyes, forty-six
inches of steel in her hand. "You fiend."

The monk flung himself across the room and
snatched his staff from where it leaned in the corner.

"For God, Kasumi-sama and St. George!" Kodachi
roared, spinning her flame-bladed pike-breaker in a viscous
cut that would have bisected the monk like a soggy loaf of
bread if it had connected.

Lunging aside, the monk snapped the concealed blade
into place with a flick of his wrist and lunged for Kodachi's
belly in one sinuous movement. Twisting away, Kodachi felt
a tug as the razor-sharp steel ripped through her doublet.
Shortening her grip on the flambard, for better close-quarter
work, she whirled her cape around her left arm to use as a
cape-main-gauche or sword-tangler. Stepping back she let
the point of her sword almost touch the ground, just behind
her leading left foot in a modified Fools-Guard, deliberately
presenting herself as a target. The monk took the bait and
Kodachi demonstrated why it was called Fools-Guard,
snapping her cape like a whip to tangle his spear-arm,
dragging him off balance as she stepped back sharply to her
left, at the same time raking the heavy blade diagonally
across his abdomen in a powerful back-swing.

With a shout the monk spun right, moving away from
her blade while yanking hard on the entangling cape, trying
to turn her move against her. But Kodachi had learned from
a master of Medieval fence, who believed that blood and pain
were the best teacher and taught her the dirty back-stabbing,
eye-gouging, nut-kicking tricks that kept you alive in
combat. Almost before the monk had started his move she'd
spun the cape loose from her arm and jumped back, sword
pommel low against her right knee, blade angled to stab
upward from her Ox-Ploughs guard.

More cautiously now the monk circled slowly to
Kodachi's left, puzzled by her fifth-century Great-Sword
technique, but instinctively trying to force her to expose her
unguarded side.

Kodachi recognized his ploy and instantly countered
with her own attack, striking hard and low at his legs,
forcing him into a low guard with his staff. The instant she
felt her blade hit his staff she stepped forward, slamming the
cross-guard into his temple. Reeling from the smashing blow
the monk stumbled back, losing his distinctive head-
covering.

"What sorcery is this?" Kodachi gasped, sword
wavering as she stared at the monks opaque, film covered
eyes. "Thou 'rt blind!"

"The price of my art," the monk grated, grasping his
rosary and focusing his power. "The light of this world for
sight in the next." The air shimmered as if from the heat of a
great fire as he hurtled his rosary at Kodachi shouting a word
of power. The mystic beads struck with a tremendous
explosion that blew out the windows and hurtled Kodachi
against the wall like a rag-doll. The dust cleared to show her
crumpled against the wall, sword still clenched in her fist.
The monk took a step forward, then froze as Kodachi rose to
one knee with a groan. Driving the point of her great-sword
into the floor she pushed herself up along the wall and faced
the monk.

"Know that your foul magiks have no effect against a
Knight of Christendom." Beneath her smoldering doublet
could be seen the shattered remains of a mail shirt, red-
enameled sterling-silver Templar's cross now visible, hanging
about her neck. "I fight in Gods name and that of my good
lady, his hand shields me and her pure love sustains me." She
shrugged and the ruined mail fell to the ground with a thud.
"I fear not your satanic master, for he can give me no hurt."
Cracked ribs protested as she straightened up and she bit
back a moan of pain. "He can give me no _significant_ hurt."
she corrected, incurably truthful as all faithful Knights of the
Temple must be. Grasping the amulet about her neck that
held within a piece of the True Cross, she muttered a brief
prayer, then brought her great-sword above her head in the
"Wrathful Guard", right hand on the pommel, left against the
hilt with the blade angled behind her back.

"I am Kuno Kodachi, daughter and grand-daughter
of Samurai," he eyes began to glow as her body swelled with
power. "Knight protector of the Lady Kasumi, last of the
Temple Knights," her teeth bared in a snarl, "and your
DEATH!"

The monk barely had time to bring his staff to high-
guard position before Kodachi was upon him, great-sword
moving as if it were a willow-wand, not seven pounds of
steel. The warrior-monks first counter was nearly his last as
the flame-like ripples of her blade set up a fierce vibration in
his staff that nearly wrenched it from his hands. Letting the
blade slide down her gauntleted hands Kodachi spun it like a
staff, catching him behind the knees with the guard and
jerking him off his feet. With lightning speed the monk rolled
aside, his spear stabbing upward like a striking snake.
Spinning left Kodachi felt the blade grate along her side.
With an internal howl of triumph she clamped her arm
against her side, twisting left, binding his blade.

There was an instant of shock on the blind-monk's
face as he realized she'd used her body to trap his weapon,
and in that instant Kodachi whirled her blade up and down in
a one-handed 'Cut from the Roof' that would have sliced the
monk from crown to crotch if not for his supernatural
quickness and Kodachi's injuries. The blade caught him on
the shoulder, biting deep as he rolled away, abandoning his
weapon. With a shout he kicked out from where he lay on
the ground, smashing Kodachi savagely in the knee. As she
fell heavily to the ground he scrambled out the door, trailing
blood and curses.

After a moment Kodachi struggled to her feet, biting
back a surge of nausea as her abused knee protested.
Distracted by the throbbing joint, which felt like someone
had been sawing at it with barbed wire, she forgot about her
side. Until the took a step, and the pain almost made her
throw up. Clenching her teeth until her jaw hurt she hobbled
over to the bed, using the flambard like a crutch and sliced
Kasumi's bonds with her dagger.

Settling on the bed with a groan, she examined the
long, shallow cut along her side. Calling on her Templar
training she forced back the pain, slowing the flow of blood
to a sluggish trickle.. Raising Kasumi from the bed she patted
her face gently. "My Lady, ar't well?"

Kasumi opened her eyes and Kodachi swallowed
hard as 'Her Lady' stared back at her with eyes that were all
whites, except for tiny pin-point pupils.

"My . . .My Lady?" Kodachi said hesitantly, slightly
unnerved by Kasumi's fixed stare.

"Kodahchi," Kasumi breathed.

"Thank G . . .Gahhhh!" Kodachi squeaked as Kasumi
wrapped her naked length around her savior. "My LADY!"

"Kodachi!" Kasumi seemed to be trying to disprove
the law that two bodies couldn't occupy the same space at
the same time. Kodachi's ribs were beginning to protest and
she was finding it hard to breath, as her face was pressed
firmly between Kasumi's breasts.


"My lady," Kodachi gasped, struggling to free herself
from Kasumi's prison of flesh, "this is not seemly . . .my
shirt!" Kodachi grabbed for the disappearing garment, but
found that Kasumi seemed to have grown several extra arms.
Without really knowing how, Kodachi suddenly found
herself the one in need of rescue, as Kasumi, gently but
ruthlessly divested Kodachi of her clothing and used it to
secure her to the bed.

"Please my lady . . .hehehe . . .that tickl----NOoooh.
No you must not . . .whoooop . . . my pants!" Kodachi
squeaked breathlessly. "Stop . . . Oh my!"

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