Other Fan Fiction ❯ KISS Next Generation ❯ Tiara ( Chapter 13 )

[ T - Teen: Not suitable for readers under 13 ]

By StarbearerTM
Disclaimer: KISS belongs to themselves, as do the terms
of the Elder, and the likenesses of their makeup and persona. The concept of the Four who are One
belongs to Psycho Circus. Mona, Elliot, Tyler and Jeannie are my own creations, and are my attempt
to create a next generation of KISS. This means no harm to the organization or the band, and
represents a tribute to a rock and roll legend.
"Kelsey," she moaned, and turned over in her sleep. Tears seeped from between her eyelashes.
"Tiara, Tiara wake up," he whispered, holding her on his lap. The Champion, once only a Boy urged her awake, knowing through his Dream sight she had seen a glimpse of another place.
"Kelsey," Tiara whispered, blinking awake. She peered up into the star-eyed face of the champion, and sighed deeply. He helped her to sit up; amethyst robe spilling over what must have been beautiful knees.
"It's all right... you were asleep for so long..."
"Who what..." she gasped, and placed him again. He was the Champion, or must be a Champion for he bore the mark of the Star. Only sacred Champions and Novices were allowed to wear the sacred face paint. A few days ago she had gone to the Citadel in search of her sister Kelsey, hearing a rumor that the prisoners had been freed from Blackwell's island. Amnesty had been granted, for they were all found faultless.
A letter had gone out to her that Kelsey was chosen as a Destroyer. The Elder employed Destroyers to guard their Citadel, usually warriors and mages trained personally by the Elder themselves. Secretly she hoped that Kelsey had been chosen as a Destroyer. It brought great honor to their families.
Tiara was an older warrior of the Fireflash, like her sister Kelsey. However, her specialty had taken her into the arts of the Range. She missed her sister much, and when she had heard of her arrest, had gone straight to Domino to find out if she could be rescued. Unfortunately Domino too had been sent away. Then there was rumor of four Champions who had been spotted in the world of Astron Tellar. Two stormed the Citadel, only to e taken inside, while the other two were imprisoned on Blackwell's island.
Then the one Champion, Star Bearer Elliot had shown up to make the quest. He had gone inside, and never returned. Not until a few days ago when she had traveled to the Citadel to visit Kelsey.
He had emerged on the road, lost and confused, as if disoriented. She had found him, and brought him to the Inn at Coriaken, to nurse him to health. His fever broke by the third day, and he was most determined to join her at the Citadel.
Unfortunately, the Gate Mages told them that Kelsey was no longer at the Citadel. Any other information was not yet released, but they would see if the Elder would grant her an audience. They were told they would be summoned when it was time. Unfortunately Tiara could not wait, and begged Elliot for his help. Her worst suspicions were confirmed when she entered Dream sleep. Star Bearer had used his powers to bridge the gap between Astron Tellar and the other place, for an instant.
"You saw didn't you?" Elliot whispered, at her bedside.
"Yes... for an instant. Then blackness..."
"She is in my world," Elliot whispered.
"What if she's in danger! I saw her fall..." Tiara despaired. "My sister..."
There came a knock at their chamber door, and a commanding voice rang out, "You have been summoned. The Elder will see you now..."
Elliot wandered over to the door and opened it wide, admitting the Gate Mage. He gestured for them to come. Tiara rose, and followed the guards and Elliot. They made the long trek to the Gatehouse, where the way would be opened for them.
Two mages, Jafar and Sirensi waited. They raised their hands in salute to the Champion and the Lady of the Fireflash.
"Send us through... with compliments of Lord Cynar, I who will take them before the Elder," said Cynar. They stepped into the well, with Tiara on his left and Elliot on his right. Jafar and Sirensi waved their arms and spanned wide, speaking ancient incantations of transit. Between them they spun the Portal and opened the way to the Citadel.
Elliot felt the snatching sensation similar to Mona's teleporation, and slowly plunged into the green disk. When it passed over them, they stood in a grand space he recognized from mere dreams. Tiara gasped, her knees shaking when she realized this was the Citadel's main chamber.
"Accompany me," Cynar commanded with a gesture of his green robed arm. They strode after him along to the huge double doors guarded by two Ogres. They swung wide the doors at the behest of Cynar's barked command. Following the Elf lord, they strode after him into the vast space. A dais at the end of the hall held a table with four carved chairs, all empty.
"Milord's, I humbly request your audience..." Cynar called in a clear voice. Tiara drew in her breath sharply, grabbing Elliot's amethyst robe sleeve as energies surged. Mighty chikara crackled, into four figures upon their thrones.
The Elder peered down with bright eyes, mystical holders of knowing. There was a great sadness among them, of loss, especially from Demon and Celestial. Were there tears present in their eyes?"
"Lady Tiara of the Fireflash, sister to Kelsey you have been summoned here to learn the fate of your beloved sister," the Demon rumbled. "Attend us..."
Gasping, she strode forward. Demon rose from his throne, spreading his robe aside. He towered over her, stepping down from the dais to stand at her side. She gasped, for her head came barely past his codpiece and armored belt.
"Please... what has happened to Kelsey," Tiara begged. "Milord..."
She fell on her face, terrified. Elliot rushed over, in concern for his friend, peering up at the Demon with a mix of fear and anger. Star Bearer rose from his throne, and threw aside his cape. Unlike Demon, he wore long mage robes, belted at the waist with the front of the robe open to his muscled chest. He moved over to Elliot, laying a hand on his shoulder.
"Come here and let them be. Your grievance will be dealt with later... in a moment... Champion..."
"Please... we must let the Lady Tiara know of her sister..."
"But Kelsey's in my world!" Elliot blurted out.
"How is this so?" Tiara demanded of Demon. He gently raised her up, his hands caressing her arms.
"I am sorry. Blackwell's trickery knew no bounds. Both she and Shandi, Apprentice to Celestial were absconded to the world of the Champion..."
"A place called Earth, by its inhabitants," Celestial added, wiping tears from his eyes.
"No..." Tiara cried. "My dream was true!"
"And I was cast out of that world," Elliot hissed. "And if I don't get back...Jeannie, and my son could be killed!"
"We know..." Star Bearer told him. "Which is why you will be returned. But not till the proper time..."
"Can't you send my spirit back?" Elliot demanded.
"But with no body, you would be a ghost, a phantasm. You need a host..."
"Can you not give bodies, because Kelsey and Shandi are there in bodies... how is this so?"
"I have studied this," Celestial said slowly. "And at the exact moment of transference, there were two survivors... who were close to dying."
"I managed to take the souls of Kelsey and Shandi and put them in the bodies of two girls close to death, and their spirits inhabited the vacant bodies." Star Bearer said.
"Can't the same be done for me?" Elliot asked.
"Yes... but to find a body suitable..." Star bearer said. "So far the only one I have found close to death's door is another woman, barely alive in a shelter. Her spirit is bound for what is called heaven by those..."
"You mean I can't inhabit anybody?"
"No. Only one of your own gender. One that is suited to your abilities and rhythms. We have tracked this one so that we might place Tiara within it. But you will also be sent through, at the appropriate time..."
"There may soon be a body you can inhabit, Star Bearer Elliot," Demon sighed. "If Tiara can convince your host Sean to return to the ways of light..."
"Then you can once again pass into the world of Earth," Star Bearer added.
"I will make the way," Celestial sniffed.
"You mean you will send me over," Tiara asked.
"Yes. You must find the one called Sean... and convince him to return... so that Elliot may return..."
"But can't I go... with her in spirit?" asked Elliot.
"You may go, but you will have little power. She will not be an appropriate focus for your powers..." Star Bearer warned him.
"And if you are not careful, you might not find your way back here even, Elliot," Demon warned. "Be careful..."
"The time is now," Beast King whispered. "Open the way Celestial..."
"I'm scared," Tiara whispered.
"Hold her hand Stanley, and guide her through..." Star Bearer bade him. Before them Celestial rose from his table place, spanning his hands. Between outstretched fingers, he molded a sphere of blue chikara. It swelled to the diameter of his outstretched arms as he pulled the astral threads into place. Within they saw the whole world of Earth spinning, then zooming into place. Star Bearer's eyes blazed amethyst, sparkling as he reached out a hand and grasped Tiara's.
She felt herself pulled forward and hurled into the blue sphere. Elliot cried aloud, pulled along with her like a paperclip caught in a magnet's pull. Inexorably they were spun out of Astron Tellar's sphere into another. Glass seemed to shatter around them as the gray reality of this world called Earth was thrust upon Tiara.
Slowly Tiara blinked, and sat up. She felt completely alone, in a strange dimness. Tears flowed down her face when she saw the dreary and disastrous dawn of a blood red sun creeping between clouds and the ruined shells of upright bones. At closer sight she saw they were not bones, but twisted bits of strange metal, she knew not the composition of in her world. All was so strangely cold and real in this place, alien chikara buzzing. Yes she was a warrior, but Tiara knew how to sense chikara in weapons and in natural sources. This world seemed to scream with a pain all its own, its chikaras dangerously loosed and unbalanced.
"Kelsey, where are you?" she wailed. Unanswered her voice echoed, and she wiped a tear from her eyes. Suddenly her ear heard a dry crackling, and she snapped to attention. Fireflash warrior training kicked into play, and she held up her hands to defense position one.
"Approach me and fight coward!" she shrilled, in a tongue alien to her ears, but the words of which she could understand.
"A woman," came one astonished voice. "Another woman alive..."
"Good. Bring her... we need every female," came the voice of a girl, crisp and matter of fact. She saw no one, but sensed chikara screaming in defiance.
"I will not be taken like chattel!" Tiara shouted, more bravely then she felt. Out of the midst of the metal bones stepped a warrior, in Elder paint, but in no configuration, she recognized. Long blond hair spilled over her shoulders, blue eyes masked by kohl, and the mark of Power on her brow. Suddenly it dawned on her whose brand it was. An ancient order, many thought dead from Astron Tellar. To one side stepped one with a Mask of black and silver upon white, clothed in shiny animal skins. Upon his shoulders, he bore a woman's shape, carrying her carefully in his arms.
"She's scared to death," came the voice of the third, his hair of flame over black. His eyes were kind, masked by the V of blackness. She knew the marking well, of the Fox Lord. She had thought him long extinct. He was kin to the Beast Lord, a younger brother long dead in the ancient Feuds. Why was he here?
"Face me... are you foe to the Elder or friend?"
For a moment, their leader the one with the mark of Power considered this. She looked from one to the other, and cleared her throat, "Friend. We are friends. You will be safe if you come hence with us..."
"Don't be afraid," the Fox Lord said, holding out a hand to Tiara. "What is your name, girl?"
"I am Tiara of the Fireflash. I seek the one called Sean..."
"I am he," Sean said. "Why do you seek me?"
"To turn you from Evil," she whispered.
"I have already been turned," he smiled, indicating the hand of the lady beside him. "By the Princess of Gold, Vanessa."
"Do you know where I can find my sister Kelsey?" Tiara asked.
"She is captive of the Destroyers of this world. The Four who are one..." said the Golden Princess. "We fought them to rescue the true love of Sean, the Dragoness. If you wish to be safe, come with us..."
"Come... we will give you food and shelter," the Fox Lord urged. He held out his hand to Tiara, who shivered. Slipping off the vest, he placed it around her. She let him slip an arm around her waist and lead her. Against him, she collapsed, all strength gone.
"Easy," he urged, slipping a hand under her knees and carrying her. "I am here..."
"Come Darryl. We must return to our roost," the Golden Princess said. They strode on, the Fox Lord carrying Tiara safely in his arms, as Sean carried the Dragoness.

Later, she felt herself resting on a soft surface. She blinked awake, feeling someone's hand clasping hers. There was warmth and light in the small space, illuminated by a glowing source of power. On a cot she lay, beside which the Fox lord sat.
"Great, you're awake. Are you all right?" he asked in a kind voice.
"Yes... milord..."
"Hey, just call me Darryl. Everyone else does," he said, taking her hand in his. His grip was kind, as were his soft eyes.
"I am Tiara..."
"Pretty name," he nodded. "You're not from around here are you?"
"No. This world is strange and scary..."
"You're not alone," he whispered, stroking her hand. Down from them the Golden Princess sat cross-legged by the source of energy and light, a large floating sphere suspended in the small chamber. Nearby, in another cot lay the Dragoness, weary.
"Jeannie... wake up... it's Sean..." he whispered, leaning over her. "It's okay..."
"Her mind will be cleared," Vanessa whispered. "When she beholds the light of the Orb..."
A loud growl split the silence, and Tiara grabbed Darryl's hand. He held her close as the figure leapt off the bed, spilling Sean to one side. On golden Dragon boots, she crouched, her eyes flaring red with anger.
"Now! We must free the Dragoness!" Sean cried. Lavender chikara crackled from his eyes, spilling over into Jeannie's mind. She fought hard, struggling as she was pushed into the Orb's radiance.
"What are they doing?" Tiara cried.
"Freeing her," Sean cried. "She is possessed by Evil..."
"Look into the light Jeannie..." urged Vanessa. "Feel its warmth! See that you have been betrayed! Even now, your child is held prisoner..."
"No... you lie!" Jeannie cried.
"Trust me," Sean said. "Elliot is here... and he bids you welcome..."
"But you cast him out!" Jeannie cried.
"But Elliot came with me!" Tiara cried. She felt a strange presence fill her as she beheld the light, so warm and reassuring. It was the only warmth this world offered, connected to the Golden Princess Vanessa. Radiance swept the room in a single flash that seared its message on their brains in an instant.
"Jeannie, join us," the light implored. "Join us. Destroy and be free... destroy and be free!"
"Destroy and be free," she repeated.
"Destroy and be free," Tiara whispered.

It was so easy to think now that everything had made sense. The light had opened her mind and reduced all her doubts to nothing. Sean had rescued her, hadn't he? Where was her child?
"Our baby," Jeannie asked, gripping Sean's hand.
"Was taken from you while you slept. It is being held now, by those who are now our enemies..."
"Who?" she asked.
"Who do you think? Now that they are young again, they seek to usurp that position you wanted to take. Your own father has turned against you, hogging the power of the Dragon talisman. It should be yours by right. If you fight by us, we will rescue our children, and convince your friends to join us. We will create a New World!"
"Paul... and Ace and Peter..." she whispered. "I can't fight them..."
"They have been corrupted by their own hungers," Vanessa said firmly, approaching Jeannie. "That is why they must be defeated."
"I will not kill another," Jeannie said firmly.
"Who says you have to. To humiliate them is enough. They are no heroes, but men with powers. Ones who let their powers corrupt them from the true purpose. All they care for is having their women and you, their children as their slaves," Vanessa explained.
"Where did you get your powers?"
"I too am from that world," Vanessa explained. "The Elder lied to you when they said there was no way for Elliot to return. By possessing the body of another, it is possible to stay as long as you want. That is how he is here with you... in Sean."
"Jeannie... I want you with me..." Sean whispered. "I love you. Join us, and free our child, and our friends..."
"But those men you want me to fight... are my family. My own father and his best friend!"
"You only need immobilize them. So that you can take the Talisman from them and hold them for yourselves..." Sean said, stroking Jeannie's hair. "With us you are free..."
"Moni and Ty?"
"They will join us, they must," Darryl whispered, leaning over her cot as well. "Jeannie, we need you."
Paul, Peter, Ace and Gene soared out over the ruined cityscape, each aware of the strange irony. Twenty odd years ago, almost thirty that painting had been done of this exact scene, and it was them that were the "Destroyers".
"This is too freaking eerie," Peter muttered.
"You're thinking it too, aren't you?" Paul asked Gene.
"You tell me, you're the mind reader," Gene shot back.
"Ace, any idea where they are? I smell their chikara all over the place, but it suddenly stops in this area," Peter muttered.
"I'm getting the chick. She's Air like me," Ace nodded. "Almost like she's mooning us with her damn powers!"
"Stupid kids can't' cover their trail..."
"Unless they want us to find them..." Paul muttered.
"Gene, something else here. One of them... my outer space senses is telling me that there was a reality rift..." Ace reported.
"Reality rift?" Peter asked. "What the hell does that mean?"
"What it means I suppose," Paul muttered. "Like when the girls came through, only a little weaker... right Ace?"
"More visitors from that dream world," Gene muttered. "But we'll worry about that later. We have to find Jeannie!"
"Gene I hate to say this... but I'm getting Jeannie's scent...."
"So, that's good! Let's go!"
"No..." Peter shook his head. "It's mingled right in with theirs."
"They've got her prisoners, those little shits," Gene growled.
"They were once fans," Ace said slowly.
"Only children," Paul reminded him.
"So, we kick their asses, but we don't' pulverize them," Peter said. "Just enough to put them out of commission, get Jeannie, and get the hell outta here!"
"That Vanessa bitch is MINE!" Gene growled.
Darryl wrinkled his nose, and Sean tensed up, his grip in Jeannie's. They looked to Vanessa urgently, and she asked, "You sense them right?"
"Yeah... right above us," Darryl nodded. "All Four of them... maybe we should get away."
"No, we must stop them," Sean hissed. "We have powers..."
"Hello... that's KISS up there, in the prime of youth, at the peak of their powers! They'll kill us!" Darryl objected.
"Not the children, my friends?" Jeannie asked. "It's THEM?"
"Yes... now is the time to stop them!" Vanessa laughed.
"But... our enemies..." Darryl asked. "They are our enemies?"
"This way we will cause the children no harm," Sean said eagerly. "Don't you see Jeannie... our child is nowhere with them. We can stop them, and find him!"
"Him... you know it's a boy?" Jeannie asked. "Our child..."
"Our son..." Sean nodded.
"Jeannie are you with us?" Vanessa asked.
"Absolutely. I want to make them pay for trying to brush us aside," Jeannie snarled.
"But what about me?" Tiara asked. Darryl moved over to her, and stroked her hair.
"It's all right. You're safe here. We'll be back soon..."
"Tiara, stay here. Guard our base. We have a little extermination to do..." Vanessa shouted. Waving her hands, she chanted a spell of Transit. In golden sparklers, they all vanished, to rematerialize nearly a half-mile away.
"Darryl!" Tiara gasped, as he vanished. She was again alone.
Ace gasped, hand to his head as he sensed the Transit. Four signatures exploded into the air, into a power signature much like his own.
"Watch out!" Gene shouted. A huge blast of fire slammed into the midst of them, scattering the men of KISS into four different directions. Ace barely erected a vibratory shield in time to ward off the fire from Peter and Paul.
Gene was impervious to the blast, and sailed right through the fireball. Circling around, he saw the distant figures suspended in the air. One of them dropped to the ground, astride a red haired beast.
Paul aimed a laser blast toward the Princess. She countered by throwing up an invisible barrier. She chanted ancient words of power, sending a shimmering gold chikara in Ace and Peter's direction. Paul moved past the barrier to see a black shape circling overhead.
Jeannie slammed them again with fire, and a hail of small sharp objects hurtled toward them. Gene circled back, slamming them with a curtain of fire to melt them to slag.
A laser bolt zinged past Paul, singing his arm. He circled around, seeing a creature bearing the Bandit astride him. Bolt after bolt connected Paul barely dodging the Bandit's laser assault.
"Little shit," Paul gritted.
Gene circled around, blocking his friend's view with a Ring of Fire. He circled around and around, following his own daughter's flight. He had to admit she was damn good and far more maneuverable then he expected.
"Jeannie, what the hell are you doing?" he roared.
"You have the nerve to ask me that!" came her answer.
"I don't want to hurt you!" he cried.
"Oh, but I want to hurt you, Father of mine!" she roared, turning to face him.
Vanessa suddenly began to chant a new spell, and Ace turned his head to block the lightening blast. Peter dodged out of the way, trying to think how he could get to an effective place to fight. He soared around behind Vanessa, as quietly as he could while she and Ace exchanged lightening blasts.
"Oh, I have you two right where I want you," she laughed. "Now... let's even the odds shall we..."
"Ace! What the hell..." Peter gasped, as a golden mist surrounded him and the Space Ace.
"Shit..." Ace gasped, feeling his powers choked off. "Not again..."
"Ace, get us out of here!" Peter shouted.
Paul swerved left and right to stay ahead of the Bandit's deadly volley. Although he could not fly, the Fox's dexterity and leaps enabled him to keep a good bead on Paul from the ground. He glanced anxiously toward Ace and Peter, wrapped in Vanessa's mist.
"I'm a little busy Paul!" came Gene's voice. Jeannie's kick landed sharply in his gut, winding him. He had no idea she was so strong. Into her face, he slammed a blast of fire, knowing it wouldn't hurt her. To his astonishment, she devoured his blast, absorbing it into her own mouth.
"Shit," he muttered, realizing she could not only breathe fire like he, but eat it!
"Leave Jeannie to me!" Paul shouted.
"What, are you nuts?" Gene asked.
"She won't hurt me... I know it!" Paul telepathed. "Help Ace and Peter!"
A blast zinged past Jeannie, and she felt rose petals raining on her. Growling she turned to see the Star Child zip past, rhinestones flashing red in the fire blaze.
"Cant' catch me!" he shouted.
"You son of a bitch, you'll pay for that!" she roared, and turned her attention from Gene. The black and amber shape of her soared up and after the Star Child, leaving Gene free to act. From below the Bandit's lasers zinged harmlessly off his thick armor.
Gene aimed a fire blast directly at Vanessa, soaring right toward her. Concentration disrupted, she turned to face him. The golden chikara faded from around Ace and Peter, and both of them found themselves losing altitude.
"Hang on Ace!" Peter said, righting himself as he shifted into another form. From pile to pile he leapt, while Ace teleported himself towards the ground safely. Rolling over, the Space Ace landed only with the impact of falling from nine feet instead of a thousand. Still it stunned him. Peter bounded over to help him, standing between him and the Bandit astride the lupine figure.
"That bitch bollixed our flying, man!" Peter snarled.
"Shit..." Ace shook his head.
"RAAAAGH!" Gene roared, swooping directly toward Vanessa. Barely did she manage to erect an invisible barrier of hardened air to stop his dragon boot from kicking her in two. Repeatedly he hammered at the force, each blow sounding as loud as thunder.
"You brute you have no idea how to stop me," she taunted.
"All I've got to do is wait honeybunch," Gene snarled. He knew if he hammered hard and long enough he'd get through.
Meanwhile, Jeannie streaked up after the amethyst radiance blazing ahead. Fire blasts rained against Paul, but he just managed to evade them. He knew he was facing an opponent who was close to invulnerable, and who could tear him to pieces easily if she got hold of him. Even in his, own Chikara enhanced form he had strength and resistant to physical damage, he could not risk heavy damage from a Demon or Dragon.
There were other ways to fight, he realized. Secretly he prayed she would not be able to resist a mind attack.
Paul stopped full, and veiled himself. Jeannie gasped as she saw the Starchild blur and seem to vanish before her eyes. Her senses told her it was an illusion, but did she see him suddenly behind her and in front of her? She stopped, and spun about, arching a breath of fire. From the side, a laser zinged past her, but did not touch her.
"There you are!" she hissed. Spiked objects spun from her gauntlets in another semicircle. Paul gritted as one of them contacted his arm, biting into his costume.
"Shit, time to change," he muttered. Concentrating, the Star child willed up a modification. Suddenly his costume merged and blurred into another configuration most fans would recognize as Love Gun era.
Rose petals slammed into her face, disorienting Jeannie. Angrily she burned them away, turning the fragrance to ashy smoke. Another hale of fire torched the illusions into stardust that shimmered in a lingering cloud.
Circling back, Jeannie reached for something from her back, and moved her hands together quickly. A sharp two-handed Claymore whistled down toward Paul. Quickly he put his hands together, willing up his own blade to block her attack. Fire met water in a force of wills as he parlayed her slashing thrusts. She was damned good.
He twisted the sword under, but she parlayed, and kicked hard. He grunted as her dragon boot just nicked him in the gut, twisting out of the way. Whirling around in mid flight, he soared off with Jeannie in hot pursuit. Eventually he would tire, for she was fast gaining.
Far below, the Bandit leapt off the Fox, tumbling to face Peter. Snarling, he pounced toward the Bandit, knocking him off balance as he cannoned into the Fox. In a snarling mass of fur the Cat and Fox batted each other in their alternate forms.
Ace staggered to his feet, raising one hand to zing a lightening blast to meet the Bandit's laser assault. Harmlessly the bolt was deflected back. Ace jerked his thumb, vanishing much to his relief out of the way of the next volley. Everything else worked, except flight, he realized.
The Fox wriggled from Peter's grip, merging and blurring into humanoid form. Peter was stunned to see the dark masked figure facing off against him, and shifted to human form as well temporarily. He threw himself at the kid, knocking him flat with a ram of his shoulder to Darryl's stomach.
"I don't wish to hurt you," Darryl gritted. "But I cannot let you win..."
"Feelings mutual kid," Peter gritted back. "Why the hell are you fighting us?"
"You seek to destroy the future and take the power for your own..."
"No freaking way kid," Peter snarled back, pushing Darryl off him with a silver platform boot. The Fox blurred and merged into his alternate form, landing on all fours. He shrunk down to the size of a little fox and scampered away. Morphing also, Peter shrank to the size of a normal alley cat and skirled off after his wily opponent.
Above them, Vanessa hovered, struggling to keep up her barrier. Gene had summoned his massive axe, slowly hacking away with stroke after stroke. He would not cease his relentless assault. Vanessa felt her head pounding. She had to stop this brute force once and for all.
Ancient words of power she wrestled and spat, gesturing her other hand. As Gene's axe slammed down, she slammed upwards with a burst of golden light. Sparks exploded in the Demon's face, but he ignored them. A blast of fire belched from his throat, almost singing her before she could levitate backward.
"Brute I'll kill you!" she screamed.
"Shut up and fight then!" Gene taunted. "What's the matter baby, can't handle a fair fight?"
Vanessa screamed, slamming him full with a blast of lightening. Over Gene's armor it skittered harmlessly, and he merely laughed at her. Drawing back his fist, he punched her in the gut. She sailed head over boots backward toward the earth.
Even so, she judged he had pulled that punch. It was a mere fraction of what his true power must be. Crossing her hands over her chest she uttered, "Winds of Set, grind him to sand!"
Howling winds twisted up as she spun around faster and faster. Particles of fine sand stung Gene's face, howling winds battering him as dust blocked his vision. For a moment, he closed his eyes, trying to concentrate what power he had into the pit of his being. Slowly he exhaled a low burst of flame, heating up the air around him. Ever hotter he increased his flame, melting sand into a fine sheet of glass that built up around him into a hollow shell. Vanessa's howling sandstorm continued to hammer into him relentlessly, but he had time to catch his breath.
The busted hunk of glass plummeted to earth, Vanessa eagerly watching it fall. There came a shattering crunch as the Demon hit the ruined city below. She levitated over him to see her handiwork.
Landing, she walked over to where he lay, motionless, and spread eagle atop a pile of rubble, his axe askew of his grasp.
"Foolish man, I have defeated you," she laughed. "As my father was spurned by your ego, so I will kill you now... brutish monster..."
Into her hand, she summoned a spear of pure gold power, raising it high over the Demon's chest to drive it in. With a cry of triumph, Vanessa plunged the spear home.
A dragon boot clipped her in the chin sharply, knocking her flat onto her backside. Stunned, she shook herself off as the Demon rose and strode over to her, laughing. He brushed broken glass from his armor easily as he licked his lips.
"So... wanna talk about just what your daddy said I did?" he asked.
"I underestimated you," Vanessa spat at him. Drops of poison venom flew through the air toward him, landing in his eyes. He blinked, cursing as he was blinded shortly.
However, he kept advancing. Vanessa chanted another spell, levitating to her feet. Energy surged in a maelstrom of lightening toward the Demon. Taking his axe in hand, he battered back each stroke, still advancing as she backed away.
Ace materialized behind The Bandit, who whirled about in anger. He threw himself at Ace, his silver boot poised at Ace's jaw. Backward Ace flipped, cart wheeling over hands and platform boots out of the way. The Bandit landed short, rolling over. Ace slammed a kick into him, followed with a punch. Blow for blow they rolled over, till both parted, panting.
"I didn't think you'd have the guts to fight me hand to hand," Ace said. "C'mon kid, show me what you've got..."
"You fool... it's your funeral..." the Bandit laughed. A spew of roses flew at Ace, their thorns razor sharp. Ace easily blasted the missiles away with a stray bolt of lightning. Another bolt slammed into Sean, and he convulsed with the crackling power.
Ace cautiously strode up, to see if the fallen figure was merely playing possum. Lavender energy surged forth over Ace, drilling into his mind to those dark places he kept hidden.
"What is your worst fear, Spaceman?" he asked. "I will burn your mind..."
Peter chased Darryl, through narrow holes in the piles of rubble and over steel beams. The bright red of the Fox's fur did not help conceal it from his sight, or his smell. Peter heard Ace's cries of anger, smelling lavender chikara, but dared not lose his quarry. As much as he wanted to help his friend, he knew Ace could handle Sean. Especially when he came to the top of the pile and saw Ace's silver chikara surging around the lavender, pushing it back.
Sean's probes reached deep into Ace's mind, pulling up a confused mass of images. The Spaceman let him have it all, slamming the strangest of recollections into Sean's inexperienced mind. Violent drug trips, fights in bars, nightmares all channeled into Sean's brain with the force of a comet. He screamed, struggling to sort through the nightmarish reality impinged upon him.
"That's what you're up against kid," Ace told him. "I was your age once, full of piss and vinegar. Thought I knew it all man. But you know what, you're just another kid who has a badass attitude. All talk and no balls."
"I will know your fear," the Bandit gritted more confidentially then he felt.
"Here you go kid. Here's the Ace, the other side of the coin. Read it and weep!" Ace taunted back. Screaming, Sean clamped his hands over his ears and crumpled at the barrage of images flooding him. The strangest of reality distortions and recollections of emotion strung him out on a whole spectrum of high and lows. All Ace's memories of cocaine and drugs, and the abuse of them slammed into him at once. The terrible hunger to get high as a planet and the anguish of streaking back to earth like a shooting star haunted him. Strange phantasmal dreams of alternate realities curled and spilled into an endless debate. His mind expanded at the speed of light, crashing into doubt and an imaginary haze of reality that was not reality. Was he from Earth or from Jendel?
"I'm sorry kid," Ace said. "But you wanted it, and you got it."
Ace's fist flashed out and cracked into Sean's jaw. Blackness mercifully halted the onslaught of memories dredged from the Spaceman's mind. Leaning over, Ace picked up Sean and hefted him over one shoulder. "C'mon, let's get you outta here," he muttered. Peter emerged from a ruined building, carrying Darryl over his back. The Fox was out cold as well; his eyes fast shut while Peter joined Ace.
"You okay man?" Peter asked him. "That was one hell of a scream..."
"Kid thought he could read my mind," Ace said. "So I let him..."
"He's not the sharpest pencil in the box," Peter shook his head, laughing sadly. "If anyone tried to make sense of your mind Ace... God bless em!"
"Too bad for him... now let's see if Gene and Paul need their asses saved," Ace nodded.
"Speaking off...I smell 'em... but since we can't fly..."
"Leave the kids here. You scout 'em out, and I'll keep watch," Ace suggested. Peter morphed to Cat form, bounding off after the scent of Gene while Ace reached out with his thoughts to see if Paul was still getting the upper hand.
Overhead the chikara sparked, scarlet against purple as Star Child and Dragoness fought. He felt her punches and kicks whiz past him with her blade as he tried to keep from being hit. His mind reached out, struggling to drill into her brain. However, it was so hard to concentrate to break through when she was trying to kill him.
"Jeannie... please, this isn't you!" Paul shouted at her. "Why are you trying to kill me!"
"You want the Talisman for yourself! You hog the power when it is rightfully ours!" she snarled.
"That's not true!" Paul cried. "We didn't ask for it anymore then you! But we have more experience and you guys don't!"
"You are all arrogant fools!" Jeannie snarled again. "Has-beens of a time long past! It is time to remove you from the spotlight forever!"
Screaming, she hurled herself on to him. Paul grabbed Jeannie around the waist, twisting the sword out of her grasp as he slammed his wrist into her elbow. He caught her against himself, holding her tightly. She tore at his grasp, wriggling but Paul held on for grim death. Jeannie roared, throwing herself into a fast climb, then plummeting to the ground. Wrapping his arms around her he hung on desperately, as she whirled and corkscrewed into a series of stunts. Try as she might she could not throw him off.
Paul relaxed, clearing his mind as he struggled to reach past the black barrier. He smelled Blackwell's chikara clamping down on her brain. Curse it, for whatever he had pulled her out of had taken root again in the new soil of her anger and resentment. He could not reach her through her primitive anger and hate.
"Jeannie, I wanna know... why do you hate us?" Paul shouted.
"You are arrogant fools! How dare you presume to know what is best for us!"
"We know because we're your parents, your family!" Paul shouted back over her roar, and the whistling of the air around them. "We're your family..."
"You hate me. I let your son die," Jeannie cried.
"That's not true," Paul said, grabbing and twisting himself around so he gripped her arms. He forced her to stare into his face, wrapping his legs around her waist and grabbing her wrists. She kicked and thrashed, but his own levitation flying kept them aloft.
"You hold my child prisoner, and kept me from my mate!" she howled.
"No Jeannie! You left your egg behind. It's safe, safe at home, which is where you belong!"
"Let me go!" Jeannie screamed. "I'll kill you if I have to!"
"You can't kill me," Paul said slowly, his eyes glowing soft purple. "I know you won't..."
"Don't you dare try to charm me, you..." she gritted, forcing back against his power. Against him she grew ever warmer, her skin white-hot. Paul wrapped himself in purple chikara, his radiance seeping over Jeannie with a soothing force. With all she had, she fought against him. Paul seized her face and pulled her lips to his, wrapping himself around her to hold her close. The contact of his lips surged through her with hot fire, his mind reaching out to touch hers through the black miasma.
"I will never let you go, Jeannie," his thoughts echoed into hers. "I will fight for your soul. I won't let Blackwell have it!"
Against his throat, she roared in protest, as Paul continued to deepen his kiss, hands stroking over her lovingly as possible. The touch of his hands was gentle sweetness, his emotion reaching out to fill the horrible emptiness she felt. Jeannie shrank away from the soothing affection, tears streaming down her black and white cheeks.
"Let me go, Star Child," she pleaded. "I cannot go back..."
"Yes you can," his thoughts answered hers. "I won't leave you. I promise..."
"I'm so alone..."
"You are not. I am here baby, and I'm not going to let your soul be claimed by him."
"I want to fight, but I cannot..." came her pleas.
"Help me help you. Give yourself to the passion, and accept my love. I love you baby, I always have. Not just the way an uncle loves a relative, but as a man loves a woman. I won't leave you, ever..."
Jeannie tore her lips from Paul's, emitting a loud roar that shuddered them both. Her eyes blazed crimson, fire spreading out from them into the cold night. It seemed the blackness fled from her body to the soothing amethyst light that she let permeate her soul. Paul loved her, and he used that love to fill the horrible empty places filled with fear. "I've got you... shhh... easy now..." he soothed, hugging her tightly against him.
Burying her head into his shoulder, she cried. Paul held her close, levitating with her in midair as he kissed her again. The pain ached worse them before, but it was now starting to heal.
Below, the Demon raised his axe and swung blindly. Vanessa ducked under the arching blow, only to have a dragon Boot trip her and knock her flat. Gene pinned her under his other boot, leering over her as he waggled his tongue at her.
"How's that baby?"
"Let me go, despicable thing!" Vanessa hissed. Grabbing Gene's dragon boot, she channeled a last spell into him. Energy, gold surged over him in massive waves, but Gene's armor held fast. She was doing exactly what he had expected, expending all her chikara into her magic.
"Now, you're going to pay for what you did to my daughter," Gene said, as her energy faded, and she went limp.
"Got to... get away," she groaned. Whispering, she chanted one last spell. Gene grabbed her halter and lifted her over his head. Suddenly she flared into a black smoke, dissipating into a cloud of locusts that flapped and flittered around his head. Cursing, he battered them away.
"Shit, you little bitch," Gene gritted. Nothing but black smoke puffed through his fingers.
Peter rushed up, bones and fur morphing in a green aura into the familiar features of the Cat Man. "Gene... you all right?"
"Fine Peter, just fucking fine," Gene gritted. "She got away..."
"Man that sucks. But Ace and I kayoed the kids..."
"Jeannie... is she..."
"Look!" Peter pointed. Two black shapes grew in size, slowly drifting toward them. Hand in hand, Paul and Jeannie came to a landing before them. Jeannie could not look her father in the face, looking down at the ground instead.
"Jeannie... thank God," her father said. "Paul... is she..."
"The spell's broken, Gene," Paul said. "She put up a helluva fight though..."
"She's a chip off the old block. Damn stubborn," Peter laughed.
"I'm sorry Dad I just... lost it..."
"It's okay, sweetheart," Gene said, holding out his arms to her. She went to him, burying her face in his chest as he hugged her tightly.
"We all screw up," Paul said, rubbing her back.
"I almost killed you... I..." she sobbed. Gene held his daughter close, shushing her against him.
"You didn't," he said. "And that's to your credit. I love you kid, and I wasn't about to let you get away... now or ever..."
Ace suddenly appeared out of nowhere, in a flash of glitter. "They got away... shit they got away..."
"What?" Peter asked. "How?"
"Little creep was playing dead. Darryl that is. He leapt up and hit me when I wasn't looking. Then some chick rushed outta nowhere and knocked me on my ass!"
"Damn... what chick?" Peter asked.
"I dunno! But she was dressed like a groupie!" Ace shook his head. "Why would a fan attack one of us?'
"Maybe she's with Vanessa?" Jeannie suggested. "Oh shit... the children..."
"What about them?" Peter cried.
"We have to get back! They want the children!" Jeannie snarled.
"Ace... get us back there pronto!" Gene bellowed.
Tiara helped Sean to stand, as Darryl boosted them onto his back. He had morphed into a
large wolf shape, managing to carry them both.
"Hold on... I'll get us out of here..." he urged. "Good thing you showed up to knock that guy
"I didn't' want to hurt him... but I heard Sean's scream..." Tiara whispered. "But he looks like
"I know... that's the problem," said Darryl. It was only a short run toward their hideout, where
Darryl morphed back into his regular shape, and Tiara helped him wrestle Sean into the large ruined
"Man, he needs to lose weight," Tiara grunted. They set Sean down on one of the cots, and she
turned to Darryl.
"Baby, we have to go after Vanessa..."
"Where is she?" she asked Darryl.
"That's what we need to find out."
"But Sean might need someone to help nurse him. He's in a bad way," Tiara shook her head. "I could
stay with him..."
"Good... but I hate to leave you alone..."
"Why don't we wait a bit and find out if Vanessa will come back?" Tiara asked. "Or else I can go out
and lead her here..."
"But you don't even know this place..."
"I can fight," Tiara said. "I have powers. They don't know it. And I must find Kelsey."
"What powers?" Darryl asked.
"I have command over fire," she said. "And over green earth. I can make things grow, and I can sense
life. Heal people even. But I can also fight..."
"Can you heal him?" Darryl asked.
"I can show you how to. You are Earth as I am. In addition, you can heal him. Stay with him and give
him your chikara. I will be back soon..."
He grabbed her for a moment, and held her close. She pressed a kiss to his lips, and slipped away,
taking a piece of piping for a weapon. Soon she was gone, and he was left alone now with his
Nathan and Susan failed to notice the locusts that fluttered into the window of the
guesthouse. They swirled into the garden, and formed into the girl Vanessa. Slowly she crept around
to the window and looked inside. There was Mona, with the kittens. Her chikara burned low, and
she knew that there was no way she could get them now. However, in the house she could sense Shandi,
the magic user. Ace was gone, and the others were mere humans.
Vanessa sneaked in, breaking a side window. She had used what power she could muster to levitate
upward to the second floor. Down the hall she crept, sensing the power of the chikara burning inside
of her. Even at its low point, she could muster enough for basic spells, including the one she would
use to escape with the baby.
Shandi lay on the bed, her child slumbering in a dresser drawer. Very close. Slowly Vanessa summoned
a khephesh, and slit the hinges on the door. Very stealthily, she crept across the floor. Shandi
turned over, frowning as Vanessa reached the baby. Reaching under she picked up the child in her
arms. She carried the baby toward the window, and was all set to break the glass.
A loud scream from the infant in her arms shattered the silence. Shandi woke up, blinking in
confusion. Her eyes registered her baby, in the arms of the enemy.
"Leave my daughter alone!" Shandi cried.
"Oh no... I can't do that!" Vanessa cackled. "If you move, or breathe wrong, the baby will be hurt.
Will you risk her life?"
"Give me my baby!" Shandi screamed. Vanessa laughed, kicking open the window, and stepping out into
the night with a screaming Kiara.
Suddenly a shot zinged up in the night, and she cursed. The baby squirmed out of her arms, and fell.
For a tense moment, it seemed she would crash into the cold ground, but Tyler intercepted the
infant safely in his arms in a splendid jump. Twisting in midair, he landed on three limbs, the baby
clutched in his other as a true cat would.
"Stop right there, bitch!" Nathan shouted, aiming another shot at her. Shandi reached the window,
and breathed a sigh of relief that Tyler had Kiara safely.
Vanessa summoned another burst of power, and hurled her last bolt at Nathan. He rolled out of the
way, as she descended. Tyler backed away with the baby in his arms.
"Stay there Shandi!" he cried to the mage.
"All right, this is enough!" Kelsey yelled. Leaping out of the door, she punched Vanessa in the jaw.
The girl crumpled.
Repeatedly they rolled, Kelsey punching and kicking Vanessa. Vanessa pushed her up off with a booted
foot, and they parted. She panted, raising her hand to throw a bolt, but was astonished to hear a
fizzle, then nothing.
"I think you forgot to pay your light bill," Tyler said, cradling Kiara.
"Need any help?" Nathan asked, getting up.
"Oh no... she's all mine." Kelsey laughed. Her hand flashed out, followed by a roundhouse kick to
Vanessa's jaw. As Vanessa reeled, she followed through with a sharp punch to the girl's stomach, and
kicked her legs out from under her.
Vanessa struggled to get up, but another punch slammed into her jaw with a sickening crack. Blood
dribbled from her lips as she shuddered.
Just then, they saw KISS appear out of nowhere, in a blast of silver sparklers. Shandi reached the
bottom floor and rushed over to Ace with glee. Gene was all set to attack Vanessa, but found her
limp in Kelsey's grasp to his astonishment.
"Damn... looks like we missed the action," said Peter.
"The cavalry arrived, after the fun," Paul muttered.
"Dad, you ok?" Tyler asked. He handed Kiara to Shandi, still in Ace's arms.
"The kid's okay..." Shandi breathed. "Thanks to Kelsey..."
"Jeannie?" Nathan asked, rushing over.
"I'm okay... I just... flaked out a little." She sighed.
"Good. Susan's egg sitting. And I think Jennie and Mona..."
"Are right here," said Mona, striding out with one of the kittens in her arms. Jennie came with
the other, both walking over to where Tyler and Peter stood.
"Good job, Kelsey," Gene grinned. "You kicked her ass..."
"Because you drained her chikara dad," Jeannie said. "Not that I have any less faith in your skills
as a warrior, Kelsey."
"No offense taken. I had a good time," Kelsey grinned.
"But what do we do with her?" asked Mona.
"Good question," Gene said, licking his lips. Slowly Vanessa blinked, and stared at the faces around
her. Blood and anger glinted in their eyes.
"Now... you're going to do some talking," Jeannie hissed, reaching for her.
"No... I..." she panicked, glaring at them wildly.
"You're trapped, and dried out," Gene said. "Now... why did you try to destroy us?"
"I owe you no explanations...." Vanessa spat blood at them. Dropping to the ground, she dissolved
into a black smoke, which blew away on the breeze.
"Shit, I hate it when she does that!" Gene growled.
"Saves us trying to figure out what to do with her," Peter muttered. "But the other two..."
"At least we showed them a thing or two," Ace said.
"Yeah, piss off KISS, and face the consequences," Gene nodded.
"Whatever they may be," Paul nodded.
"I don't know about you guys, but I want to see my child," Jeannie said.
"Let's go in and get some rest. I'm freaking tired," Peter nodded. "After that stunt I wanna sack
out for six days straight!"
Susan woke up, and blinked in Jeannie's bed. They had replaced the shredded comforter
with a new one, and lay four pillows to make a nest for the egg. It still was necessary to have
someone lay alongside the egg, Kelsey had explained, to keep it warm and rotate it every few hours
for even heating. Susan had gone to sleep stroking her hand over the curved surface and talking to
"Sis," Jeannie said, striding in, still in full armor.
"Jeannie! You're okay!" Susan cried, sitting up. Paul and Gene also entered, with Nathan. Jeannie
lay on the bed near her sister, and stroked her hand over her egg affectionately.
"Thank you for taking care of him... when I..."
"Flaked out?" Susan completed.
"You scared the s... I mean the crap out of us," Nathan told her. "We thought you'd gone psycho,
and Kelsey said it was because you were going into some 'blood fever'"
"Because you were a Dragon," Susan shook her head.
"I am sorry," Jeannie apologized.
"Give it a rest, ok?" Paul suggested, sitting next to her. "I forgive you, so why can't you forgive
"Paul's right. Stop the blaming, and spend some time with your son," Gene told her. "Better yet,
take a nap. And that's an order."
"Yes Dad, "she groaned. "Damn, It's bad enough to have Paul nagging me..."
"It's their job," Nathan said. "Remember?"
Jeannie willed her armor away, revealing the black bodysuit only beneath her armor. She grabbed a
robe from Susan, and lay alongside her egg. Wrapping her body around it, she hugged it close to her
chest. Soon she was making strange noises akin to a low rumbling in her throat.
"Let's leave her be," Gene suggested. He leaned over and pressed a kiss to his daughter's cheek.
Draping a comforter over them, he turned away. Susan and Nathan exchanged looks, and followed
their father out of the room.
"Paul?" Gene asked.
"You coming or going?"
"Shouldn't like someone stay with her? I mean..." he asked.
"Good idea, Paul. You do that," Gene nodded.
"Yeah Paul, make sure she stays there," Nathan added.
"We don't need any more runaway dragons..." Susan couldn't resist a last verbal jab.
"Uncle Paul's got babysitting duty. So let's let him alone..." Gene joked. He ushered his other
children out, before closing the door.
"Shouldn't that be grandpa duty?" Nathan' last comment rung out.
"Yeah, lucky me," Paul muttered. Sighing, Paul willed away his Lovegun costume, leaving himself only
in a pair of spandex leggings with stars down the sides. He pulled off his boots, and lay down next
to Jeannie under the comforter. Close to her he wrapped himself, resting his arm overtop of her.
Lightly he reached out with lavender chikara, expanding it over them both so they could sleep.
Jeannie sighed, snuggling into the curve of his body and fell fast asleep.
"Kelsey, you saved my baby," Shandi laughed, hugging her friend. Ace held Kiara, who
was cooing softly as she grabbed his halter. He rocked her in his arms, continuing to make funny
faces to amuse Kiara.
"Yeah, but who's gonna save me?" Kelsey joked. Mona sat down on the sofa, holding Kathryn as her
mate and husband Tyler held Leo. Both kittens glanced around with inquisitive eyes at the others
"I believe I have that privilege," said Gene, striding up and putting his arms around Kelsey. She
squealed with delight as he caught her up and kissed her. Shandi backed away, almost knocking Ace
over off his platform space boots. He put an arm around her to steady them both, and she
"Looks like she's suffering gravity effects just like dad is," Mona giggled.
"Need a babysitter?" Peter asked Ace with a knowing wink, holding out his arms. Ace handed Kiara to
him, and she went to him readily without too much fuss.
Kelsey pulled away from Gene, rubbing her head all of a sudden. Concerned, he glanced down at her
and held her out at arm's length, "Kelsey, you okay?"
"I feel... someone familiar. Someone I haven't felt since..."
"Say what?" Ace asked.
"What do you feel, Kelsey?" Shandi asked her.
"It's impossible but..."
"Peter..." Gene asked automatically.
"I smell someone Dad," Tyler muttered. "Just outside, creeping around."
"Here, take her, kid," Peter said, handing Kiara to her mother. "I'm gonna investigate. You guys
hang tight..."
"Dad?" Tyler and Jennie asked together.
"I just wanna make sure..." Peter muttered. "That my family is safe..."
"Stay here, I'm coming too," Gene nodded. "Kelsey?"
"I'm with you," she said. They strode out of the guesthouse, leaving Ace and Shandi to glance at
each other.
"Be careful dad!" Jennie called after him. He held up a hand and cautioned his daughter to remain
where she was. She knew Nathan and Susan remained in the main house, keeping watch as they had
come to do often.
Familiarity flooded Kelsey. She felt Gene's hand closing over hers protectively as they strode out
together. Peter moved quickly ahead into the growing dimness of night. Day and night were not easily
differentiated, except for the disastrous red glow that spread during daytime around sunrise. When
the glow faded, it would be night.
"Wait here," Peter hissed. There came a snapping of twigs, and Kelsey jumped, Gene crashing into
her. Peter tensed, and stopped. Suddenly he leapt up and spun out of the light of the main house,
into the darkness.
There came a scream and a yowling. "Peter!" Gene shouted.
"I got it!" he grunted. "Shit..."
"Or it's got you..." Gene muttered.
"Peter... wait!" Kelsey cried. There came a woman's screaming and kicking, and grunts from Peter as
he rolled into view, someone grabbing his neck.
"Get off me!' she screamed, as Peter grabbed her wrists.
"What the hell..." Gene almost laughed, because Peter looked so comical wrestling with the slender
figure with light brown hair. She looked remarkably like Kelsey, wrestling and pinning the Cat man
under her.
"Tiara?" Kelsey asked.
"Kelsey...." The woman asked, jerking her gaze up to meet Kelsey's. "Is that you..."
"Tiara... I felt you... what... how..."
"Wait you know her?" Gene asked.
"Yes... I do!" Kelsey squinted. Still Tiara kept a grip on Peter's neck with one hand, and his wrist
pushed to the ground.
"Uh... could you get off of me?" Peter asked. "Not that I mind a pretty chick on top of me... but
not choking me!"
"He's a friend!" Kelsey cried. "Let him go!"
"Tiara, now," Kelsey scolded her. "If you really are my sister!"
"Sorry," Tiara apologized, getting up off Peter and releasing her hold. Gene grabbed Peter's hand
and pulled the Cat Man up to his feet.
"Shit, you have one hell of a grip, little girl," Peter rasped, coughing.
"She's a warrior like me," Kelsey nodded.
"Then what's she doing in a KISS T shirt, huh?" Peter asked.
"That's what I wanna know," Gene muttered. Indeed Tiara wore a shirt with Farewell Tour across it,
and the four makeup faces they knew so well. She had on jeans and a rhinestone belt, her ears
pierced with multiple rings. The blue jean jacket was covered in patches that said KISS Army, and
KISS THIS among the Rock and Roll Over patches and Dressed to Kill.
Leftover smudges of white and black still covered her face, her hair tousled into a mess as if she
had been in a fight. She grabbed Kelsey's arms, and stared at her with shock and confusion.
Especially at the rhinestone baby doll shirt Kelsey wore with those strange letters that matched
those on her shirt.
"You look like her, and you aren't her... but the feeling..." Tiara muttered.
"What the hell is this about?" Peter whispered to Gene. "Another KISS groupie, and she smells like
she's not from our world, and she is!"
"It's me. Lady Kelsey. How did you get here?"
"Celestial and Demon sent me! But these false ones..."
"No this is KISS I mean they are the Four... oh shit... I mean they are the Elder's counterparts in
this world..." Kelsey tried to explain. "They're friends!"
"But the others I left behind..."
"Who?" Gene demanded.
"The Fox Lord, the Princess and the Bandit..."
"Shit, she's a spy!" Gene growled.
"Bull!" Kelsey shouted, putting herself between Gene and her sister. "She's my sister damn it! I
"How?" Gene demanded.
"Uh Gene... she smells like a groupie, but she smells like Kelsey," Peter interjected. "I don't'
think she's a threat..."
"But Darryl I left him all alone... and Sean..."
"Are they still alive?" Gene asked.
"Whoa, hold on," Peter held up his hand. "Let these two get caught up."
"But..." Gene protested.
"Gene, back off!" Kelsey shouted. "She's my sister!"
"C'mon, why don't you girls come in and I can get you some food," Peter said. Gene let out a low
growl and Kelsey glared at him.
Peter moved over to Tiara, and rested a hand on her shoulder, "Look I don't understand all this...
but I believe you. So why don't you two girls talk a little while and we can all cool off? I'll make
sure she doesn't' blast us to dust Gene..."
"All right, but I'm watching you," Gene growled. He strode after the two sisters, still wary. Kelsey
glared back at Gene with anger. How could he be so insensitive?
Ace sighed and stroked his hand up Shandi's leg. He knew she had just delivered a baby,
but he was certain she would be amenable to a little horsing around. After all, he guessed she was
hot for him.
She giggled, and jumped a bit. He moved his hand a little higher, but she grabbed it. At first Ace
though, "Uh oh... she's gonna be pissed."
Yet, when she moved it up under her skirt he grinned. She positioned it in the place she most wanted
him to touch, and sighed. He knew very well how to touch and she liked the shivers creeping over her
skin as a result.
Just then, Kiara let out a cry. Ace groaned, and got up, but Shandi stopped him. "I have a secret,"
she grinned. Getting up she moved over to the crib, and whispered an incantation. A silvery mist
shot over Kiara, and the baby yawned and gurgled, falling asleep quickly.
"Damn, why didn't you do that before?" Ace asked.
"I can't do it every time she cries, because she'll get used to it. But it doesn't hurt once in a
while... when I want to have a break..."
"I like your style," Ace grinned. She was about to sit next to him, but Ace pulled her down to sit
in his lap. She giggled and felt his arm wrap around her waist. He played with her soft brown hair,
and stroked her cheek. Gently he kissed her ear, making her sigh. It seemed like forever since
Celestial and she had made love. Her body ached for a man's touch, and she was recovering from the
trauma of birth.
Gently he kissed her, brushing his blue painted lips over hers. Shandi sighed and relaxed into his
gentle touches. His hands felt so good on her body, and he ran his hands over her breast, to feel
their weight and shape. She sighed again, slipping her hand under his halter to his bare chest
"I think you're a little overdressed, Ace," she giggled.
"Uh huh, I concur," he grinned back. "And I think I can find another locale where we can... continue
this experimental interaction between two non native life forms..."
"What?" Shandi asked.
"Well your from another planet, and so am I,' Ace grinned.
"Where are you from?"
"Jendell," he answered, picking her up and carrying her over to the bed effortlessly. She kissed him
as he carried her the short distance, burying her tongue between his lips. They tasted much like
Celestial's, the shape of his face familiar and pleasing.
"Where's that?"
"Light years away from here," he whispered, laying her down. He tugged her skirt up, and she raised
her arms to let him pull her dress over her head and shoulders. He threw it down, and focused on
her body. She liked the way his eyes examined every line and curve of her form, as he began to tug
at his costume. Grumbling he finally gestured with his thumb, banishing the outfit completely. He
lay down next to her, stroking his hands over her body hesitantly, yet with a slow steady touch that
drove her wild.
"Mmm," Shandi sighed. "You're so much like Celestial..."
"I was hoping you'd say that baby," he smiled. "And I was also hoping we could continue
He pulled the blankets aside, and pulled her under them. They lay on his bed, cocooned in soft
warmth as Ace pressed his body to hers. Wrapping his arms around her, he kissed her gently. Shandi
moaned as he kissed down her neck, and ran his lips over her bared breasts.
Paul blinked, feeling the burst of sexual energy flooding him unawares. He cursed that
he had left his guard down so carelessly! Shandi's scream rang through the house, followed by Ace's
slow moan of release.
"At least he's having fun," Paul muttered. He sensed a tension between Gene and Peter downstairs,
and the source. Tiara, her name was Tiara. He focused his thoughts just enough to sense she meant
little harm. Even if Gene's thoughts suggested otherwise.
He could eavesdrop with none of them knowing, but at that moment, he didn't care. He was tired, and
achy, and it was so difficult to sleep with the woman lying next to him.
"Shit, this is perfect," Paul muttered.
"Paul, are you all right?" Jeannie asked, turning over to face him.
Sighing, he backed away a bit from her, "Jeannie, I... well... I don't know how to say this..."
"Say what?" she asked.
"This is killing me," Paul groaned.
"I'm sorry..." she sighed. "Perhaps you should leave... if you do not wish to remain..."
"I don't want to leave... that's the problem..."
"Why is that a problem?" she asked.
"Because... I shouldn't... but I can't help myself... damn..."
"Why not let yourself go Paul?" Jeanie whispered.
"Because... you're my best friend's daughter... and Gene will fucking kill me..."
"So? From where I see it, you're a man, I'm a woman, and you're physically younger."
"Aww shit," Paul groaned as he felt her tongue lick down his ear, and flicker inside. "Ohhhh..."
"C'mere..." she whispered, pulling him down into the bed.
"The child..."
"Will be all right," she whispered. "It has four pillows around it. C'mon..."
She got up, and pulled the comforter and pillows on the floor. Lying down, she pulled Paul down on
top of her, folding him in her arms. She buried her tongue between his lips, tasting him for the
first time since the fight.
"Ohhh god," Paul groaned again, surfacing for breath.
"Shh, we must be quiet," she teased. Her hands reached down and gently squeezed his shapely ass,
pulling him into her as she rocked her hips against him.
"Jeannie... you naughty girl," he whispered.
"Hmmm hmm," she laughed, flickering her tongue down his neck. Paul judged that it must be as long as
Gene's, and just as talented. The possibilities flooded his mind, and he groaned again.
"Are you sure... this is what you want?" he whispered.
"You want a woman, Paul," she whispered. "Your body cries out for someone to love it. You ache for a
woman's touch. Let me fill your hunger... let me be that woman, Paul..."
"Ohhhh damn..." Paul groaned, and pressed soft kisses to her lips and nose. "Make love to me, Star Child," she whispered.
"Don't' you want me?" she begged.
"Yes..." he cried.
"Don't hold back, lover," she whispered.

"You can't seriously expect me to..." Gene started, but Peter kicked him in the shin to
shut him up.
"Excuse me, can I have a word with you?" he hissed.
"What the hell are you..." Gene hissed.
"Stopping you from making an ass of yourself in front of your woman Gene, not that you give a
fucking shit right now..."
"Peter, we don't know that girl is safe..."
"She smells like Kelsey, that's good enough for me," Peter snapped. "Now back off Gene or so help
"You really wanna take me on, kitty?"
"I can and I will pound you flat Gene," Peter snarled back. "And Kelsey will mop your sorry ass off
the floor when I'm through!"
"You wish, pussy boy,"
"You two shut the hell up!" came a shout from upstairs. Paul was in his purple bathrobe, snarling
down at them both. "I can't fucking sleep with that racket!"
"Paul..." they both asked, hands around each other's throats.
"You want me to use a relaxation ray on you to put you down?" Paul asked. "It's that simple... you
"Paul, what's crawled up your ass?" Gene asked.
"Well you told me to make sure your daughter was asleep, and she can't sleep with all the
testosterone flaring down here," Paul said. "So I'm just doing my duty, got it?"
"Uh huh," Peter said, nostrils flaring.
Paul glared at him, dark eyes widening as they projected a warning to Peter's brain. The Cat Man
nodded and slowly grinned. To remain silent would really burn Gene, especially more so then him
finding out immediately. Star child knew that he could smell the pheromones and scent of Dragoness
all over Starchild. It was painfully obvious what had happened.
*Peter, don't' tell him man...
*I won't, Paul. This is too fucking good! Gene's gonna kill you, but its worth seeing the look on
his face. You've got yourself a deal, Paulie boy.
"Paul, don't you have some egg sitting to do?" Gene asked coldly.
"Uh... depends on whether you two are gonna stop this pissing contest," Paul snorted.
"Get in that room dammit, now!" Gene growled.
"You sure you want him to?' Peter couldn't resist teasing.
"Now Stanley, before I knock your star spangled ass into there," Gene continued, his eyes flaring
"Okay Gene, whatever you say," Paul laughed, pretending to blow a kiss to him. Laughing he strutted
off to Jeannie's room.
"He's a bigger pain in the ass then before," Gene shook his head.
"He's not the only one. Look in a mirror, Demon boy... What the hell is happening to us?"
"It's us, Peter. We're full of youth, flaming youth. Back to the ages when we were at our first peak
rocking the world. And because of all that hormonal energy we're either wanting to tear each other
apart or fuck our brains out..."
"That's you Gene. What I wouldn't do for a decent beer, damn it," Peter shook his head. "I know
that's the last thing I need..."
"What you need is a good screw, Petey," Gene whispered. "And there's a willing recipient..."
"I thought you said Tiara was a threat..."
"Since you wanna protect her, you watch her... and do so with my blessings," Gene winked. He strode
over to Kelsey, hand on his hip.
"Well, are you going to be civilized?" Kelsey asked.
"Yes. Peter and I... we've worked out our differences. I want to start by saying how sorry I am for
"An asshole?" Peter asked.
"Thank you, Peter," Gene gritted. "What he said. And I want to let you know it was merely out of
concern for my family... considering recent circumstances..."
"So, you're admitting you were wrong?" Kelsey asked, a wicked gleam in his eyes.
"Yes..." Gene sighed. "I'm sorry, Tiara. Peter... will make you feel at home for the night... and
show you where you'll be staying..."
"Oh?" Kelsey asked.
"I don't mind," Tiara nodded.
"Cmon kid, let's get you upstairs in a room," Peter nodded. He extended his hand, and she took it
shyly. To think the Beast Lord himself would chose her as a sleeping companion. This would be a most
pleasant night indeed. Gene nodded to the upstairs when Peter led Tiara up after him, and said his
"What are you scheming?" Kelsey asked Gene.
"Oh, just making sure your sister gets a good welcome. You don't mind do you? Peter will go easy on
"If she's willing, that is," Kelsey said slowly.
"Peter will make sure nothing happens to her..."
"You mean that she doesn't try anything?" Kelsey asked.
"C'mon, see it from my pov, ok?" Gene begged. "I just..."
"She's my sister, Gene..."
"I know... I just... shit... I'm sorry ok?" he held up a hand. "Can we just go to bed now... and
resume this debate in the morning?"
"That's the best idea you had all night, Gene," Kelsey nodded. So saying, she sat on the sofa,
curling up on it.
Gene asked, "What are you doing?'
"I'm sleeping down here tonight," she said casually. "Good night, Gene..."
"Good night Gene," Kelsey repeated again. "See you tomorrow. Hope you get some rest... to improve
your disposition."
"Shit," Gene muttered to himself. Sighing he wandered upstairs, knowing this was going to be a very
long night.
Nervously Tiara let Peter lead her upstairs to one of the vacant rooms. He wanted to
keep an especially close eye on her, knowing that Tyler was watching Mona carefully back in the
guesthouse with Jennie and the twins. He was sure Gene wouldn't mind, considering the Demon would
be feeling sorry for himself sleeping alone.
"Don't be nervous little girl, I won't bite... not as hard as Gene..." Peter joked.
"Am I a prisoner?" she asked.
"Mm, only if I say you are. And as far as I'm concerned if you are, I'll be your jailer...'
"You wish me to keep you company this night then," Tiara smiled.
"I believe you're Kelsey's sister. Don't mind Gene. He's just an asshole sometimes..."
"Strange words, but I know their intent... I suppose asshole means clod... ruffian...
"Something like that..." Peter laughed. "Man, you sound like something out of a renn fair... but hey
it's refreshing..."
"Renn fair?"
"Never mind," Peter said, and led her to the far end of the hall. Opening the door, he peered
inside. Good, Ace's reprogrammed drones had fixed every room in the house to its original
configuration. Gotta love nanotechnology, Peter decided.
Tiara breathed a sigh of relief at the softness of Peter's hands slipping around her waist. If she
was to perform for him, she heard that the Beast King was kind and gentle, even if wild. If Kelsey
was with these warriors, then perhaps she had been tricked. For the Elder had sent her to this
world, and she sensed that Peter meant her no harm.
"C'mon in... and relax," Peter suggested, letting her walk in. Closing the door behind her, he
locked it carefully. She drew in her breath at the soft carpet underfoot, and the strange globes
that glowed of their own light. Especially when she sensed no illumination chikara, but another
lifeblood, as alien to her as her world's chikara was to Peter's.
"You are the Beast King, are you not? In this world?"
"I guess. But I prefer it if you call me Peter," he said with a laugh. "What's your name?
"Yes," she flushed.
"Don't be scared Tiara. I said I'd watch you, and I keep my word. I won't hurt you or force you to
do anything you don't want."
"But what about what I might want?" she asked, running her hand over his vest. She had longed to
have communion with the Elder, as Kelsey did. Her heart ached for the Fox Lord, and she felt so
empty in this lonely world. Warmth was something a warrior found when she could, and the need for
companionship was often a necessity and a precious commodity. Especially since he bore the Beast's
mark. Such men were legendary lovers.
"And what would that be kid?" he laughed. She turned and ran her hands up and down his vest, feeling
the muscles through it. Peter smiled and slipped his hands down her body, to her shapely hips and
rubbed lightly.
"Mmm," she sighed, as he rubbed up under her jacket, and clenched her ass. He was bold, wasting no
time, she smiled to herself. He slipped her jacket off her arms, and let it drop as she released her
grip on his body for a moment.
Leaning forward, he sniffed her neck, nibbling along it lightly. Her scent tingled his nose, of
ancient wars and green earth. He smelled green, like clover, and the ozone scent of lightening for a
moment. It had been a long time since he had felt the touch of a woman, and he planned to enjoy
"You bear the markings of a warrior," she said, running a finger over the clover on his chest that
was exposed, through the freckling of his skin. He laughed and purred in his throat as she slipped
her hands between his chest and the fabric of his bodysuit.
"Really? And what are your markings, kiddo?" he asked, tugging at her T-shirt. She lifted her arms
to let him peel off her T-shirt and toss it aside. Running his hands down he shoulders, he narrowly
avoided her breasts. She wrapped her arms around his neck, and he folded her in strong biceps that
trapped her as a rabbit entangled in a snare.
He rubbed his cheeks and nose against her soft face, absorbing her scent and taste on his tongue. He
kissed her softly at first, then with ever increasing hunger as he felt her tongue slip into his
mouth. Her nails clamped down and raked along his back, trying to find the fastenings of his
costume. Growling low under his breath, he crooned a mating call. With but a thought he willed the
top vest away, leaving his chest gloriously bare, all his markings visible. Parting from him, Tiara
ran her fingers along the many symbols of power.
"You are a warrior indeed, so many victories emblazoned on your body... if you were to see the
markings I bear... but not in this body... of your world..."
"I like this body," Peter laughed, rubbing her breast and teasing her nipples as he licked her
chest. "It suits you well..."
"My thanks, Beast KI... I mean Peter..." she corrected herself. For a few minutes, she lost herself
in the sensation of his hands caressing her body, and peeling of the strange clothes of this world.
Growling softly he lifted her up and carried her to the bed. Peeling back the sheets he lay her into
it, and moved back. Gathering himself at the foot of the bed, he playfully pounced on her nude body.
She rolled out of the way at the last minute.
Three out of four had their hunger satisfied, Paul smiled to himself when he felt the
gentle hiss of the stars fade into the glow of the sun. Even though he could not see them behind the
veil of dust overhead, he could feel their chiming. Much as Ace felt the celestial bodies, Paul felt
the soul of the stars singing to him. All the morass of the others thoughts dreamed on toward sleep
and sexual fantasy. With the exception of Gene, who tossed and turned in his bed alone.
"You win some, you lose some," Paul laughed telepathically. After all, he had made a fool of himself
in front of Kelsey, and blood was thicker than water in her case. She missed her Demon badly, and
the feel of her astral self slipping away told him where she was bound that night. Because of her
Draconian nature, it was easy for her to slip from one dimension into the other. Jeannie had the
natural talent herself, having been the first of the children to visit Astron Tellar. Mona had
been next, because the Star Bearer had desired her as the Phantom of the Opera desired Christine
Daae. Ironic, because phantom of the opera was Mona's favorite musical, and she had once had a
tremendous crush on him when she had first met Gene and Paul.
Snuggling up to Jeannie, he let himself dream a bit more, allowing his astral self to glide out of
his body somewhat while the basic functions continued. Jeannie was warm and heat producing, her own body afire with the draconian nature.
"I know it's wrong," he told himself. "But I love her. And my son loved her... I only hope Elliot
won't kill his own father..."
"I know Dad, and understand," came a whisper. Paul shifted out of his body to see the lavender shape
of his own son, Elliot drifting in the gateway between their realities.
"You're here," Paul whispered. "Oh God... I had thought you'd been taken to Astron Tellar... the
"I was there. I tried to go back with Tiara...Kelsey's sister, but I couldn't' make it. I've been
trying to get back in..."
"I've missed you son," Paul whispered.
"There are others..." Elliot whispered. "Is yet alive..."
"What?" Paul gasped. "Alive... where?"
"They cling to life tentatively... Dad... there are places where true fans have survived. You ever
realize what happened to those fans that were coming to see KISS in LA?"
"I had scanned the city for days to find any survivors..." Paul admitted.
"Blackwell is here, growing ever stronger on Earth," Elliot whispered sadly. "I have seen them,
imprisoned. The True believers are alive... but they are captive, and their bodies locked in
enchanted sleep. Where else did Kelsey and Shandi come from?"
"Astron Tellar... their souls... but their bodies..."
"Are KISS fans," said Elliot slowly. "Ironic isn't it? The only ones who can channel the specific
chikara of anyone from that world are your own relatives, or true believers. As you created your
fandom on earth, so you were incorporating the ancient preparations into disciples..."
"Come again?"
"I've been seeing so much lately between. Star Bearer has taught me to move within the astral
planes, to see through the eyes of others. I saw the whole world in the blink of an eye. They took
me from Sean when he cast me out, and brought me to the Citadel. I have been training..."
"That was why you were silent till now?" Paul asked. "I knew you had been there safely, but why here
"Like a sword I am forged in flame, fiery hot... the boy went in and the man returned," Elliot
answered. "I am a Champion, and a Destroyer. They lost Kelsey and Shandi to gain Tiara and me. But
the time approaches when Shandi and Kelsey must return..."
"But Gene and Ace... and Kiara..."
"They will return. When you find the True Believers, Dad," Elliot whispered.
"Why are you telling me this now... why can't you come back... I miss you so much," Paul
"I know... if there was but a way..."
"Are you needed in Astron Tellar?" Paul asked him. "And where are the others?"
"The answer to the first is yes, till Shandi and Kelsey have carried out their mission. And the
answer to the second is that Evan is in the hidden place, in sleep. With the other members of that
which you call KISS army who still live. Their souls were kept imprisoned on Blackwell's island.
Their bodies live in an underground bunker... beneath the stadium you were to perform in. An old
bomb shelter..."
"Shit... under our noses all the time..."
"Evan is among them. His soul is imprisoned with theirs on Blackwell's island."
"I thought Domino and the others escaped or were freed."
"They escaped and were brought to the citadel. But only two souls were freed with them. As soon as
they left, the island was left abandoned... and Blackwell's forces seized power..."
"Damn... but how... the Elder..."
"The Major domo's death alerted them. They mustered their forces and attacked, using those prisoners
we did not know about. I took those that could escape, two women."
"So all those prisoners on the island, that you did not know about... were KISS fans?"
"Enslaved by Blackwell to fight our forces. I was told when the two I rescued, with Domino and
Chrystine were saved. And Evan was among those enslaved."
"Oh God... Can we save them?"
"Yes. You must send Kelsey and Shandi back. They are the other two Missing Destroyers who can quest,
and free those trapped still on Blackwell's island. As you fight to survive here on Earth..."
"Why were they even sent here?" Paul asked.
"To give courage to you all, and so that Shandi might deliver Celestials child to be born in your
world... so that there might be the Hope that Kiara brings. Her power must be cultivated and
unleashed at a future time."
"So... let me get this straight, the souls of our surviving fans are on the Island in that world,
but their bodies are here?"
"Yes, except for two fans. Two souls were liberated... when Domino and the others left the
island..." Elliot whispered. "I have them here. They are the fans Shannon and Shandi."
"Why was Tiara sent?" asked Paul.
"She is the last chance to save the renegades Darryl and Sean. Vanessa escaped, but she will return.
She is the primary focus for Blackwell's power..."
"Yes. Tiara will try to go for them. You must not prevent what she is to do."
"Can't we save the others?"
"Only by letting Kelsey and Shandi return. Demon and Celestial wish them to come home..."
"Very soon... it's so hard to keep the channel open. I'm so tired."
"I have a solution. You don't need to wander anymore," Paul said slowly. "I want you with me, where
I can keep you safe. You have suffered enough, and so has Jeannie. And together we will bring Evan
back home where he belongs..."
"Come home with me, and we'll tell them..." Paul whispered, extending his hand to his son. "Come
"Shandi," the voice whispered, woven of silver threads.
"What... Celestial?"
"It is almost time to come home..." he whispered.
"Really?" she asked, blinking. Her mind slowly slipped away for a moment, the soul tether still
connecting her to the body below.
"Yes. We have found a Way. Elliot has revealed the answer to us..."
"What do you mean?"
"The Hidden ones have been found. Domino and Chrystine went to the island on their Quest... and they
found much resistance..."
"What happened?"
"They found that those jail keepers we thought loyal to us betrayed us. There were many that fought
them, many persons that we had never sent. A multitude... they barely escaped with two of
"I thought you freed all the prisoners."
"All of you were freed, and the Island was deserted. But then there were the Others. They are from
this world Shandi. They are the followers of the men called KISS, imprisoned there and thrilled by
Blackwell himself."
"How did he?"
"The one called Vanessa. She opened the Way. Under the shelter they were kept in enchanted sleep,
when he had made a toehold through another host, who hated the men of KISS. But his host died. So he
returned in that of his Daughter, Vanessa."
"Is that where this body I inhabit came from?" Shandi asked.
"Yes. The body you inhabit was that of a KISS fan of the same name and age. Kelsey and Tiara too, in
the bodies of women called Shannon and Lorie. Their bodies were found to be able to transfer your
souls too."
"Wait, why and how..."
"Blackwell captured you and Kelsey when you tried to peer into Earth. It was not a smart thing to
have done, for it strengthened his way to your world. After you left, Demon and I determined that
you were not dead, but in the bodies of two fans. Fortunately he had not tainted your souls yet,
because KISS found you before Vanessa could awaken."
"So... what now?"
"You can come home. Domino and Chrystine rescued the two souls that inhabit the bodies you do now.
We will return them to their mortal forms so that you can return..."
"But our baby..."
"Must remain. The one called Ace will raise her as his daughter."
"I can't leave our baby!" Shandi sobbed. "It's not fair!"
"I know... I cannot fight the will of Morpheus. He has commanded that you and Kelsey return to the
Citadel, so that Shannon and Shandi may live..."
"Can't I at least say goodbye?"
"You can... but they won't' understand..." Celestial sighed. "I miss you so much..."
"My daughter," Shandi cried.
"I am sorry," Celestial whispered. "It is the will of Morpheus..."
Shandi awoke with tears in her eyes. She had dreamed of Celestial again, and felt his
kiss lingering. His words drifted inside her head, and she shook Ace violently. Getting up she
crossed over to where her baby lay crying.
"What?" Ace asked, rubbing his eyes.
Just then Paul strode in, his purple robe draped about his form. Shandi looked up to him as she held
her baby close. He whispered, "You know, don't you?"
"It's not fair!" Shandi sobbed. Ace stumbled over to her and hugged her.
"What's up?" he asked.
"I have to go back and I don't wanna!" Shandi sobbed, into his chest. Ace glanced confusedly at
"Damn," Paul sighed. From down the hall, Tiara wandered, her hand in Peter's. Sleepily Peter rubbed
his eyes.
"What is all the racket," he grumbled rudely.
"We have to go back," Shandi sobbed, lifting her head from Ace's shoulder as he held her and the
baby close to him.
"No..." Tiara gasped. "I thought they sent me to find you guys..."
"Celestial told me it was time to go," Shandi cried.
"I'm getting Kelsey," Tiara snapped, pulling her hand out of Peter's. She rushed downstairs to where
her sister lay sleeping.
"Wait a minute, hold everything... what is going on here?" Peter snapped irritably.
"They have to go home," Paul said sadly.
"Shit.. Now?" Ace asked. "You mean..."
"I have to go back to my Celestial," Shandi cried. "And I can't take my baby!"
Kelsey came running in, her hand in Tiara's. She rubbed sleep from her eyes, and rushed over to
Shandi. Angrily she demanded, "You have to be shitting me sis!"
"I don't know what that is... but Shandi seems sincere," Tiara sighed. "I thought you should..."
"Shandi, I was in the middle of a very good dream with my Demon... what is this..."
"We have to go back," Shandi said.
"But that's terrific... wait... the baby..."
"Can't go," Ace shook his head. "What's up with that?"
"This isn't fair... they can't just..." Kelsey snapped.
"I know," Paul said. "I wish you could stay... I..."
Awkward silence fell in Ace's bedroom amongst the group assembled. Shandi held onto her daughter and Ace while Kelsey bit her lip, and folded her arms, and Tiara's eyes burned with tears. Peter sighed
and shook his head while Paul moved over to Kelsey.
"What does someone have to do to get some goddamn sleep around here," Gene grumbled, poking his head in the open door.
"We're leaving," Kelsey growled back. "So you won't have to be bothered with us..."
"What the f... when?" Gene demanded. "What's this all about?"
"They've been recalled," Paul said. "How long?"
"Soon," Shandi cried, wiping away tears.
"Why?" Gene asked, moving over to Kelsey. "How?"
"Tiara, did you know about this?" Kelsey asked her.
"No... only that Celestial was sending me through to find you. And that I was supposed to help the
one called Sean turn over back to good. But since that didn't happen..."
"Did they say anything about us going back?" Kelsey asked.
"No... but Elliot came with me... and... then he vanished..."
"I saw Elliot in a dream, telling me all sorts of things," Paul admitted guiltily. "That you guys had
to go back... so that you could save the souls of others... trapped on our world..."
"Wait a minute, backup..." Peter held up a hand.
"I don't believe this... what does this have to do with you..."
"Everything Gene," Paul snapped back. "You know the fans who were supposed to see us in concert
here? Well they're still alive!"
"Say what?" Peter demanded.
"How is that possible?" Gene demanded.
"Elliot told me that their bodies were left here, but their souls were stolen. And that's how Tiara,
Kelsey and Shandi were able to come here..."
"Is that why they're dressed as KISS fans?" Ace asked.
"Wait, where are the bodies?" Peter asked.
"The stadium..."
"Where we found Kelsey and Shandi but why..."
"Blackwell hid them all from us..." Paul answered Peter's question.
"Son of a bitch, this gets better and better," Gene growled. "So now what?"
"We have to go home, so we can free them in our world," Kelsey said, resting a hand on her hip. "So
this is goodbye..."
"But... I was just getting used to having you around," Gene protested. "Is this because I was rude
to Tiara..."
"No Gene, I wish it were that simple," Kelsey sighed, taking his hand. "I... wish I could stay...
but... my Demon needs me..."
"I'm sorry you know," Gene said, slipping an arm around her shoulders.
"I know," she said. "But we have to go..."
"My baby," Shandi cried. "I can't leave her..."
"We'll take care of her, don't you worry," Ace said. "Like my own daughter..."
"Shouldn't we wake the others to tell them goodbye?" Kelsey asked.
"There's no time," Shandi sighed. "Goodbye Ace. I love you. Take care of Kiara..."
"Gene... I'm slipping away... I can't..."
"Kelsey don't leave me," Tiara cried.
"I... can't stop it..." Kelsey groaned. Suddenly Ace felt the power buzzing inside of his mind. It
seemed reality itself shook from the foundations of their souls. Simultaneously Kelsey and Shandi
went limp in Ace and Gene's arms.
Paul felt the burning of souls aching to come through; two sparks that waited for a guide. Kelsey
and Shandi's spirits shucked the bodies they had come to inhabit for the last few weeks, and only he
could see them floating above. A chiming sounded in his heart, alerting him that they were being
called home. He could hear Star Bearer beckoning as Celestial opened reality itself. Ace felt the
silver rip shimmering in his own senses, blindingly bright.
It seemed an eternity to them both, but was in a reality two seconds to everyone else. For a moment
Shandi and Kelsey's hearts stopped, and a blinding flash seared everyone's senses.