Princess Tutu Fan Fiction ❯ The Madrigal: Princess Tutu and the Secret Six II ❯ Chapter 22

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Chapter 22
Slade did not understand why Luthor would have wanted to go for such a grand display, considering that there were many better ways that were not as loud and vulgar. What he was doing at that point was a far better method. Kidnapping and ransom are far more effective. He could not believe the opportunity that presented itself when he stumbled onto the White Swan he had heard so much about and there for the taking. Her back was turned as she was entangling and crushing robot after robot in the foliage that seemed to spring up out of nowhere. A simple blow to the back of the head was all that was needed, and that was that. Once he had her somewhere, he would then set up the terms about shutting down the school, as well as the fundraiser money going to him, and it would all be done. Of course, he knew they would be out for her in force, but once he had a defensible position, he would make it impossible for rescue. In that time, he would do all he could to warp the girl's mind and get her to serve him. He knew that there was the danger of her making flesh on flesh contact, because she could then pick his mind and subdue him. However, he would wear the armor around her and make it impossible for that to happen.
As he moved along in the forest, Slade came across what looked like a cave, but by the looks of it, it looked like that theater of which Luthor spoke, and considering how things were in there, it would be the perfect place. He saw the marquee which read, “Opening night December 12th for the Kinkan Christmas Spectacular: Grand Opening.”
“It looks like the premier is going to be a bit sooner,” said Slade as he came up to the doors. After a moment or two of investigation, found the security systems, disabled them with the devices in his armor, and then entered. He saw that everything was indeed set to go, and he took her to the auditorium. Once on the stage, he made his way up to the flies, and loosed one of the ropes. To the end of the one over the stage he tied fast one Princess Tutu, and then dangled her about fifteen feet above the stage. He then would wait to ambush the initial rescue unit. Once they were vanquished, he would then set up the defenses for any further attempts to rescue her. “Luthor, you have much to learn,” said Slade, as he began to ponder how he was going to find the dirt on him and then hold that for ransom and get more out of this deal than Luthor thought he was going to make. He would be soon to learn that Slade was not some hired thug, or that he felt any need to feel any kind of brotherhood with any other so-called villains. He was out for himself—pure and simple.
In the woods now tailing Slade were at least three possibilities for rescue. The first was White Knight, Batman, and Nightwing. Not too far behind them was the Magpie, and unseen by any of them was the Shadow. White Knight was following the emotion patterns of Slade. Slade had no idea that an empath was tracking his every move, and he said, “You will not believe this, but I believe he is heading right for the new theater.”
“That would be about his speed,” said Nightwing, “He likes trying to mentally torment his foes before he does so physically.”
“It sounds like you have dealt with him a lot,” said White Knight.
“When I was still the original Robin, and leader of the Teen Titans as Tim is now,” responded Nightwing, “I had to tangle with him more than I would have cared. He indeed only cared about himself, but he was all about trying to turn to evil those that chased him, rather than just defeating him. In his way of thinking, it was a sweeter victory, and it made him feel powerful.”
“In other words,” pondered White Knight, “He does not see himself as a crook as much as he sees himself as a demigod.”
“That's about the size of it,” said Batman, “However, I am the last one he hopes to see there.”
“I sense in your emotions a rush of satisfaction,” said White Knight.
“That's because I would love nothing more than to show him that all he is, is an overgrown bully,
answered Batman, “He goes after weaker and younger targets, not just because he feels it's easier to defeat them, but also because he figures it's easier to bend their minds. All he tries to do with someone like me is defeat me, because he knows such silky and sinister words would be lost on me. Don't get me wrong, he's a hard fighter, almost on par with me, so remember that. However, do not let him mess with your head, because it's all a deception: many lies mixed in with enough truths to get you to believe that he is right and you are wrong.”
“That would be difficult with me,” said White Knight, “Because I can sense when someone is feeding me a line. No matter how hard he tries to subdue his emotions, he cannot hide them from me—guaranteed.”
“Then let's be ready,” said Batman, “And use that sword at full strength. He wears body armor, but that does not mean that strong blows with it will not rattle him around in it and do some damage that way. You may be able to disrupt some of his sensors that he uses to aid him in the fight.”
Magpie was not too far behind, and he figured that he was undetected, and indeed he was. However, White Knight took a second to rest his mind and picked up Magpie's patterns. White knight then said, “We're being followed.”
Magpie knew that he could not remain hidden, so he moved along through the trees above them and landed in front of them. Batman was on the move quickly, yet the Magpie was fast proving that he was equal to the task of tangling with Batman. After about 30 seconds of sparing, Batman pulled back and said, “You have no intention of hurting us.”
“Of course not,” said Magpie, “Besides, what told you that?”
“It was the fact that you took no offensive stance, and contented yourself on merely parrying my attacks,” answered Batman, “Who are you?”
“I am called the Magpie,” he said, “I am a bounty hunter.”
Batman took a second, and said, “Ah, I know Oracle, and she has spoken of you.”
“Not to much and nothing bad, I hope,” queried Magpie.
“Are you out for one now?” asked Nightwing.
“It seems that all the ones I could have taken were subdued before I could get to them,” responded Magpie, “He's the only one left.”
“Do you think you can take him?” asked White Knight.
“For the million dollar bounty on him, I can climb Everest!” boasted Magpie.
Batman smiled and said, “Well, stick with us, and then you can see if you can prove this.”
Tutu came to feeling sore and groggy. However she was feeling disoriented, because she could feel nothing underneath her, and her arms and ribs hurt. She finally and fully came to, and then she realized what had happened. She was tied from shoulder to wrist tightly, and hanging over a familiar stage. Once she realized what was happening, the blue and purple lights came up on the stage, and she realized that she was in her own theater. A voice came over the sound system saying, “Well, well, well, isn't this ironic: the likes of you held hostage in a place that is essentially your throne room—the stage.”
In her way of being stern, (which was not often too intimidating,) she said, “I demand you let me go!”
A soft chuckle was heard, and then Slade said, “I find it odd that you make such demands when you are not exactly in a position to demand anything.”
She was about to plead, but before she could, he said, “And now here comes the part when you plead for release, and next you will beg. It's all the same, and I would hate you to waste your energy.”
Now Tutu was becoming cross, and she was about to speak again, but again she was cut off as Slade said, “Next, you're going to say, `My friends shall come and stop you,' but I was expecting that. In fact, I want that. Before you say, `I have powerful friends,' have you ever considered my power? No one usually does.”
“What do you…?” Tutu started to say, but Slade interrupted and said, “…want with you? That could be simple, but that depends on you. Consider for a moment your so-called friends.”
Tutu started to struggle, but all it did was cause her to start to rotate. However she was facing the main cyclorama and Slade was now putting up slides of both the Pas De Six and the Secret Six, saying, “You think these dancers even care about you? They're famous dancers who only care about money.”
“That's not true!” she screamed now, “Be quiet.”
Slade would not relent. He then said, “And do you think that your team even care. Look at you!”
Slade had brought along news clips of their exploits in case he was able to capture one of them, and now he had the chance. He had analyzed what he could use against each one, and it seemed that Princess Tutu would be the easiest. “Look at how you hold yourself when you fight,” he said, “You stay to the back, and you are reluctant to fight. You only do so when you are pushed. How do you expect to fight and stand against the likes of me?”
“SHUT UP!” she was saying, and she desperately wanted to plug her ears, but that was out of the question. She was starting to cry, because, despite how much she realized what he was trying to do, there was a ring of truth to it. “Watch, dear princess,” said Slade, “How much longer would your friends tolerate such a weakling around who tries to dance her foes into submission, and does nice little plant tricks? How much longer would they tolerate a team member who could not pull her weight?”
Another soft chuckle was heard, except this time it was from right underneath her. Slade had made his way to the stage, and changed the light hues to yellows and pinks. “My dear child, did you ever consider that you would be wasting your time with them?” asked Slade, “Consider this: with you as my apprentice, you could learn how to use your abilities much more effectively. I sense that you have power that you haven't even yet tapped into. I can bring that out. I sense by the way you are that, as your alter ego, you have been a weak, awkward girl, but you have your strength through a way that I have yet to understand, but accept nonetheless. Join me!”
She was desperately in tears at this point, wishing him to be silent. She knew all that had to be lies, but how could she deny the things she knew to be weaknesses for her? She suddenly wished that she had the ability to teleport like Claire or Raven, but she was stuck. “Trust me, princess, I can give you all that they never could.”
“You can't care,” she said, “You're evil! You don't have a caring bone in your body!”
“Oh, you know that can't be true,” said Slade, in a tone that sounded consoling, “If that was the case, I could have done away with you a long time ago.”
His tone turned a bit more firm, and he said, “I am giving you a grand opportunity. Join me, and put all your so-called friends behind. Show them that you are not to be underestimated any…”
It was then he was cut off by a sword blow to the face, followed by a familiar voice declaring, “That was a gift to her from her so-called friend!”
Slade's ears were ringing with the blow off the mask, and he grunted in pain as the White Knight stood before him. “Silence, idiot!” exclaimed White Knight, “Do you even think she would believe your pack of lies?”
“Oh, but they are not…” but White Knight hit him in the mid-section with the sword, followed up by a leg sweep. However, Slade kipped up rather quickly, and he said, “Ah yes, the White Knight—foolish boy! You have got to be the most taken for granted on that team of yours. They have no idea how valuable you are. Why do you…”
Slade was cut off by the bright flash of a magnesium flare pellet, and this was followed up by several blows of sword and feet, as White Knight said, “Your emotional shift in your words speak of ulterior motives. You care NOTHING for ANYONE—only what you can get out of them!”
It was then, as Slade was regaining sight that he remembered that White Knight was an empath, and there was no pulling the wool over his eyes. “Fine then,” said Slade, “Then I guess I am going to have to show you how to fight. Do you think I cannot handle the White Knight?”
Before he could answer, White Knight saw behind Slade, knowing the tactic had worked. A voice came from behind him saying, “Then how about the Dark Knight?”
When they had entered the building, they heard the speaking over the sound system and her cries as the acoustics of the theater and cave carried well. They then set up the plan: White Knight keeps him busy, Batman strikes from behind, and Nightwing and the Magpie loose Tutu. Now the plan was going forward, but Slade was not going down that easy. Rather than waste words on someone like Batman, he just did a counter maneuver and threw him over at White Knight. However, White Knight rolled with it and monkey flipped Batman in such a fashion that he landed on his feet. Before Slade could act, Nightwing dropped down in front of him, and said, “And now it's time for paybacks!”
“Do I know you?” asked Slade.
“Better than you think, and more than you care to know,” said Nightwing, as he pulled out his Escrima sticks and started in on Slade. After some exchanges, Slade figured out the style standing before him, and he said, “Ah, you must have once been Robin,” said Slade, “I recognize your fighting style, and your all grown up! I say, you have improved, but not as much as you could have under me. I could have loved you like a father!”
Suddenly, Nightwing ducked as a large boot impacted his mask, and he went flying off the stage into the orchestra pit. Nightwing shouted down, saying, “No thank you—I already have one!”
Slade was aslo able to see up above them, and that is when he saw that someone had freed Tutu. He jumped out of the pit into the audience area and saw that the Magpie was ushering out Tutu. “NO!” he thundered, and he said, “I have no time to play with you three. He is making off with my new apprentice!”
At that, he then demonstrated that the other three were not the only ones with a bag of tricks. He used his armor to set up a smoke screen, and he was quickly off to try to intercept his prey.
After they finished choking, they immedately headed out the door, trying to get a bead on him. White Knight said, “He is going that way, but from what I can also sense, I would not worry too much. He's heading into some dark woods, and there are about three that are going to give him headaches.”
“Three?” asked Batman, “But I saw...”
“I sense three,” said White Knight, “The Magpie, Princess Tutu...and one very determined Shadow.”
Batman knew that name, and wondered if this Shadow was as good as the other, because if he or she was, Slade was in for the fight of his life. Batman then said, “He's soon to have four. You two stay here if he decides to come back this way. I'm going after him.”
Slade was trying to get a bead on his target, when a black and white blur came out of nowhere and hit him with both of his feet. Slade had never seen this one before, and he then said, “Do you people produce superheroes by the sackfull?”
They started to engage, and Slade soon found himself with his hands full. This person was hitting him with a quick and efficient style of fighting that did not indicate any one style, which made it harder for Slade to counter. Because he was wearing the armor, it made it easy to endure the fight, but that did not mean he was not getting rattled around in it. That in itself was as good as the blows that struck him. Finally, Magpie left Slade an opening, and he caught Magpie with a hard one to the stomach. Magpie went down in pain, and Slade moved in to try to finish him off when he was tackled by Batman. “Now we find out just how good you are!” snapped Batman, and they went at it. For about a good ten minutes they clashed, neither one getting the better of the other. While that was going on, Magpie started to fade back into the woods again, hoping to use his knowledge of how the wilderness works to his advantage. While he was doing that, another drama was playing out.
Tutu was told to head back to the others, but something Slade had said hit home. She knew she was not weak, and she did know, however, that she was sometimes reluctant to fight. Yet, she knew that he was trying to get her to hate her friends, and one thing that got her goat was when someone tried to play mind games with her. It was time for her to go back and make a point. As she was heading back, from her point of view, the Shadow appeared in front of her. “Good, you're okay,” she said, “Did he hurt you?”
“There is nothing bruised beyond my pride,” she said, “But now I go to help those that have helped me. If they think me helpless, they shall soon find out otherwise.”
“Hey, you're far from helpless!” said Shadow, “You can trust me on that. However, if Slade thinks you're helpless, then let's go prove him wrong!”
Tutu smiled as they headed off into the woods to find Slade.
Slade and Batman were clashing hard, and neither could get the better of the other. However, Batman always lived by the code of “fight smarter, not harder,” and led the fight into the brush. Using that to his advantage, he started to cause Slade to make mistakes that were getting him riled. Yet, just before Batman could put the finish on him, Slade decided to try to turn the thing around and headed into the woods himself. He wasn't running away, but he was going to try to set something up. He had not gotten far when he came to a clearing, and there stood Tutu with both her fans out, angry and determined. She did not get like this often, but there was one thing about Princess Tutu—she had no quit in her. She was the kind of person that had enough optimism to be able to find the solution to anything if she set her mind to it. This would be no different. Before Slade could speak, she said, “There is one thing that is partially right in what you said—there are powers that you do not know about, but powers with which I am greatly familiar.”
The area then began to glow like day as the astral swan began to form around her. She then said, but not in the way she normally would, “Dance with me!”
Her eyes also began to glow brightly enough to where pupils and irises were no longer seen. Slade moved in, but he fast found himself fighting for his life. Combining the Tai Chi and Aikijutsu that Claire had taught her with this state, she was a formidable opponent, and something Slade found out too late. He tried to move in, but he was being rattled and made to stumble around like a fool, combined with fan strikes that were leaving gashes in the armor. In short, she was hacking him up, and for the first time in his life, he actually began to fear for his life! He did not want this fight anymore, and charged down a path, and suddenly began to feel like he had been struck by lightning. He screamed, and a voice spoke right into his head, “Scream all you want, Slade—no one is coming to your rescue!”
“You again!” he said, extremely frustrated that he could not find her. He tweaked and fine tuned his sensors as to where he thought he could detect her, but he had no clue that the problem had nothing to do with his equipment. There was nothing he could do to tweak his brain for this. He tried to take a couple more steps, but he was hit again with the shock. “I don't care how much you think times have changed, Slade,” said the sinister voice, “When will you learn that no matter how powerful you think you are—crime does not pay!”
He started to swing wildly, but he might as well be trying to fight a dust devil, because there was no way he could keep up with her. She was also being more careful after what she had learned with the twig. He was actually now quite terrified. He had the ballerina who fought like an archangel behind, him, a ghost tormenting him with no way to lash back, the Batman down the road, and a crazed bounty hunter somewhere around lusting for his blood. He tried to turn and run, and ran right into Magpie who was giving him the fight of his life. Because of his panicked state, this time the Magpie was pummeling him! His armor had come off in places now, and now exposed flesh was getting struck. He laid out another smoke screen and ran back to the clearing. However, when the White Swan dropped down, the smoke instantly dissipated, and she was beating the tar out of him, every blow empowered by her doubled strength in the form of Tutu, and the empowerment of the astral swan. A spinning kick sent Slade reeling right into the Shadow, who now pressed both tazers on him and kept them there. He screamed like a woman as Magpie came over the top with a flying kick. He staggered back into the middle of the clearing, where Tutu flung her astral attack at Slade as she said, “Say `good night' Gracie!”
He did a flip as he flew through the air about ten feet and landed hard, and unconscious. Tutu collapsed with a massive headache, and she was exhausted.
Batman came with Nightwing and the White Knight in short order. When they saw the glow, Batman asked what was going on, and White Knight smiled as he told Batman what that meant. They all headed in that direction in time to see Tutu's final attack, and the Magpie restraining him. Batman then came up to search Slade thoroughly to ensure that he had no tricks that would free him, and he then looked at Tutu. “Are you okay?” said Batman.
“Just give me a few minutes, and I'll be fine,” responded Tutu.
Nightwing then said, “Well, I guess someone else has learned not to underestimate the strength and ferocity of a swan when she has something to protect.”
Batman then said to the Magpie, “Well, it looks like you have your payday.”
“True,” said Magpie, “And with the money I already have, I could get out of the game, but…”
“But what?” said Batman, with a crack of a smile on his mouth.
“Yes, I could retire and live off the interest of the investments I will make with it,” responded Magpie, “But after tonight, I see the higher cause better than I ever have. You almost want to make me do this for fun!”
“You are certainly welcome to join the team,” said White Knight, “You are also welcome, Shadow.”
“I'll consider it,” she said, not sounding too comittal.
“What would we call ourselves?” asked Tutu.
“In truth, with Raven joining us, we really have two teams in one,” answered White Knight, “We would have the Secret Six...”
“...and me, Magpie here, and the Raven could call ourselves the Sadow Force,” said the Shadow.
“Nice you name it after yourself, kid!” laughed Magpie.
“Hey, if my neck is on the line, you'b better believe it!” said a confident Shadow.
“Then I guess, in keeping with things,” said Tutu, “We could call ourselves `The Madrigal.'”
Batman smiled and laughed, saying, “I couldn't have thought of a better name!”