Laurence in the Land of the Kami

By Rolland Therrien


"So, this is the land of the Kamis," thought Laurence as he slowly stepped closer to the outer borders. He had to admit, it was an interesting sight, blending the calm, feudal beauty of Edo-Era Japan with ultra-tech and High Fantasy elements here and there, including the capital city of the Kamis, Neo-Tokyo, and on the nearby hill, Empress Amaterasu's Sun Palace, his destination.

"Truly, this is a beautiful land... I don't know if I should thank God the Purity Crusade ended before we reached it, or curse Hell for claiming a hold on it afterwards..." He walked closer, having left his new Ethereal companions back at the campsite, wanting to do this on his own. As he approached the boarders, he wondered why he had yet to see any guards...

...Then, as he heard the mighty roar, he remembered the Outer Boarders of the land of the Kamis already had four mighty guardians: The Dragon of the East, the Phoenix of the North, the Tiger of the East, and the Turtle of the South. He drew his sword and readied himself for battle, when he turned Eastward...

...And was most surprised to saw the "Dragon" he expected was over 50 feet tall, walked on two legs and reminded him of a few posters Eli had shown him once...

"Yes, Christian, that IS Gojira." Laurence turned around to see a man in a strange, military looking orange jumpsuit, who had appeared right behind him, while a small child with a crystal necklace kept to his right and a large butterfly carrying two faeries hovered to his left.

The man held up a crystal rod in his hand, and pointed it at the Archangel. "The envoys from the Lords of Yama warned us of your coming, Celestial. But we assure you, the Four Guardians will not let you pass unchallenged!" He then turned to the child and nodded, and she closed her eyes, her necklace glowing with red light as he turned to the two faeries, who began their song as he held up his crystal Rod:

 "Mosura, ya, Mosura,
 dongan kasakuyan in doo mu
 rustoritoradoa hanba hanbamuyan
 radabanuradan tonjyu kanraa
 kasaku yaanmu"

Suddenly, from the South came a circular UFO, resembling a blue Ofanite, landed on the ground in an explosion, uncurling in the large, fire-breathing turtle beast known as Gamera, as from the North the Immortal Moth-Goddess known as Mothra flew down from the Ethereal sky. The man, as for himself, disappeared in a flash of light, reppearing covered in a costume of red and blue stripes and slashes, Ultraman, a strange tiger walking like a man, who soon held up his arm and grew to giant size.

Laurence lept away as Ultraman stomped his foot where he stood, and pointed his blade at the giants who began surrounding him. "I must admit, I had not expected you all to have used the Media to alter yourselves so. But if you think you have me beaten, I assure you, I will not be defeated so easily!" He then held his sword and closed his eyes, and began to concentrate.

In the Marches, perception of the mind is far more important then perception of the senses. This is why travel by walking sometimes took forever, or but an instant, even within relativly similar distances. It was also why time seemed such an inconsistant thing there. Laurence knew that such things as size and shape held little meaning in the Marches, except for the meaning one assigned to them. He was an Archangel, they were Guardian Spirits. He was a Celestial, they were Ethereals. They were giants... So he to, had to be a giant.

Needless to say, the Four Giants were quiet stunned when Laurence suddenly turned himself into a giant version of himself, his features concealed in Gold and Black armor, his wings folded on his back as he raised his sword to fight again. Godzilla, Ultraman, Mothra and Gamera fought valiantly, but ultimatly, without the illusion of titanic power of their giant size, they could not challenge the power of an Archangel in combat.

Still, Laurence could read the honor and loyalty in their fight, and held back from killing them, only subduing them as he continued towards the city of Neo-Tokyo, keeping his giant size as he expected more trouble. Which he soon found, as large, robotic giants approached the city from both all sides.

Mazingers, Grandizers, Valkyries, Gundams and even the loathsome Evas, all were readying their firearms and other weapons, facing him threateningly. Laurence soon saw they were all ready to give their lives in the protection of their homeland, like Holy Samurai in Ultratechnological Armors.

Laurence nodded and lowered his blade for a moment; "I have to admit, I'm impressed. Not by your weapons, mind you, but by your courage. Even though you will not stop me, you are more then ready to give your lives in an attempt to do so. Your valor speaks volumes of you."

One of the Mecha-Warriors, in a winged blue, red and white suit lowered his large twin-barreled rifle and pointed his finger at the Malakite, activating his loudspeaker to warn him, "Get out now, Archangel! You may have gone through the Guardians somehow, but you won't get past us. We were made to outpower the likes of you, and the Evas alone were made to fight Angels!"

Laurence frowned and readied his blade again. "I warn you, Ethereal, do not dare compare those... "things" from that Blasphemous show to those of my kind." He then glared in the direction of the purple, blue and red Evas. "And don't think your "AT Fields" will keep me from destroying those abominations you pilot. If I were you, I'd eject now..."

The only response Laurence got for his warning was a barrage of weapons fire from the Mechas. Gatlings and Blasters, guns and rayguns, and even more baroque weapons, all fired with the intent of killing him. Laurence simply raised his blade, and suddenly turned into a blur of movement, dodging, parrying and deflecting every blast as it hit him, moving like a whirling dervish as he inched slowly closer, until he was finally in Melee range, when he grinned and swung in front of him, disarming many of the Mechas by cutting their weapons. As the mechas stumbled backwards, Laurence grinned. "Good... Now we do things my way..."

The Mecha Melee lasted as long as the Giants battle did, with the Mechas putting up a good fight, but not enough to prevent Laurence from prevailing, as he quickly disabled one Mecha after the other, sparing their pilots as he nonetheless plowed right through, until only the annoyingly insulting Evas stood in his way.

He soon looked at them, and was not surprised to see these things were Vapulan in design, with the Forces of an Imp in each one, cloaked with the Ethereal Forces of the "Parents" of the pilots, in order to decieve the innocent Ethereal Youths. This one would be trickier then the others.

As the Evas raised their AT Fields (actually Songs of Shields) and drew their Vibro-Knives (actually Unholy Blades), Laurence steadied himself for a maneuver of great precision, and both sides charged to strike!

With a few swift movements, Laurence dodged the Evas' knives and swung his blade at them, the AT Fields only stopping him for a second, as he tore through the combined field and stroke their weapons with his sword, disarming them as he raised his free hand and closed his eyes, humming softly as he Sung the Corporeal Song of Harmony, draining the aggression out of the pilots, causing the titanic monstrosities to fall on their knees as the Children within felt at peace, perhaps for the first time since they had taken on the daunting task of piloting these Demonically-created monstrosities. Laurence simply reached behind them and pulled the plug connecting the Evas to their Essence-Guzzling Power-Source, and soon the Titanic things fell down in shutdown mode, as Laurence shifted back to a more normal size to check on the poor children.

As he finally placed the boy Shinji Ikari down on the ground, next to his friends, Laurence resonnated the lad and made a mental note to refer Gendou Ikari to Archangel Christopher. Ethereal or not, there are some things you don't do to Children, after all. But as he stood up to continue, he felt the presence of more warriors, these ones more his size.

He turned around to see himself surrounded by men and women in fighting gear of different kinds, from warriors in astrologically-themed armors to women in common comfortable street garb. But, as he quickly resonnated them, he found them to be all dedicated martial artists, each one in their own special field of expertise. One of them, a boy in a red chinese shirt, his hair in a poney tail, stood before them and waved the Malakite off. "Go away, Celestial. We, the Fists of Amaterasu, are masters of the Fighting Arts. Your Angelic Tricks will not save you here."

Laurence actually smiled at the boy's insolent courage, and simply sheathed his sword, folding his wings up to form a cape. "Oh, have no worry... I won't be using anything but my hands and feet in this battle... I so rarely get a chance to practice my Martial Arts."

The Boy simply leapt into a fighting stance in front of Laurence, grinning. "You should've retreated. I'm Ranma Saotome, Undefeated champion of the School of Anything Goes Martial Arts." He then swung his fists at high speed, yelling "CHESTNUT FISTS" as his hands became a blur of movement, seemingly striking a thousand times...

...Each time, his blows deflected by Laurence's arms, until the flurry ended, with Laurence unharmed, still smiling. "Sorry, boy, but your Martial Arts is no match for the Seven Styles of Celestial Glory." Laurence then shifted, becoming a blur of circular movement as he took down Saotome and the other swift fighters through the quick blows of Blazing Wheel Style. Then, Ken the Fist of the North Star charged him, ready to use his lethal Pressure Points technique, which proved futile as Laurence's mastery of Relentless Perfection Style rendered him immune to his strikes, leaving the Ethereal very susceptible for an old fashioned Malakite haymaker.

As the Astrological Knights of Athena came foreward and rained their blows at him, moving at incredible speeds with every strike, utilizing the awareness of Hundred Eyes style to keep track of each Knight and deflect their blows, before using the precise blows of Plumed Serpent style to knock them out, as the Street Fighters and the Kings of Fighters approached to attack as well. He shifted to Furious Guardian Wolf style as they closed in and struck, forcing him to dodge and parry more blows before striking.

All in all, Laurence was attacked with more Ki, Psi, Shadow and Magic techniques in one fifteen minute back-alley brawl then he had ever seen in his entire career. And, as he used The Art of Eternal Friendship to effortlessly dodge the kicks and handstrikes of an exhausted Ryu, Laurence smiled from the vigorous work-out and decided to give the Ethereal a break, shifting to The Way of Divine Equilibrium to turn the Street Fighter's next blow into a throw, knocking the Shotokan fighter out by tossing him unto the ground, hard. Laurence simply smiled as he dusted himself off, then bowed to his incapacitated opponents and walked towards the palace.

As he slowly left the city limits, Laurence found once more his way blocked, this time by children and teens, these accompanied by odd, yet cute-looking Monsters. Laurence winced inwardly, as he thought "Oh great... Not THESE, Lord..."

One of them, a young dark-haired boy, turned his cap backwards as he stepped forward, a large yellow mouse leaping to the ground in front of him. "You may have gotten through the others, but you're not getting past us, the Beast Tamers!" The Electric Mouse at his feet yelped a "Pikachu!" to emphasize the point, as the other children stepped forward, their own monsters advancing, some ready to fight as is, others ready to Evolve to battle.

Laurence took a hard, long look at them all, Resonnating them purely by habit, and found them all to be honorable and loyal to their partners and friends, be they Ethereal Child or Ethereal Monster, and decided to keep this simple. "Very Well, Children... If you insist in trying to stop me, then the least I can do is give you all a sporting chance. You all get one shot."

The Monster Handlers blinked at this sudden turn of events, but their team leader simply drew out a ball and opened it, unleashing his large dragon-like Charizard, and pointed at the Archangel, calling out "Charizard, Flame-Thrower!" As the Dragon obeyed and engulfed Laurence in flames, the other children drew closer... only to see the flames die out, Laurence absolutly unscathed!

The other children called out their own Monster Friends, Digivolving them to Ultimate or Mega, but to no avail. Laurence simply stood there and let the Monsters attack him, standing unharmed as each Nova Blast or Meteor Comet exploded off him, until finally the Monsters were out of attacks and Evolutions, at which point Laurence simply uncrossed his arms and spoke again. "Now that you've seen my resolve and strength, may I assume you realize how futile it is to fight me?" The children and monsters simply nodded and stepped back, as Laurence continued on to the palace.

At the gates, he found himself stopped by a few more figures, the Dragon Ball Z warriors. Laurence simply closed his eyes and muttered "For the Love of Mike...", before leaping into action...

Soon afterwards, The Palace doors (and the walls supporting them) exploded inwards, as Laurence tossed the unconscious bodies of Vegita and Piccolo inside, then stepped in and dropped Goku at his feet, then looked around and said "When he wakes up, tell him he was a more challenging opponent back when he still went by the identity of Monkey, the Sage and Warrior. He lacks cunning in this form." As soon as he said those words, however, he saw his next obstacle, Amaterau's personal handmaidens.

Sailor Scouts and Cardcaptors, Goddesses and Wedding Peaches, Miracle Girls and Nurse Angels... All Magical Girls, handpicked by Amaterasu herself in various avatars, all trained in the arts of magic...

...and all Maidens in potential distress, if he drew his blade to attack them. As a man of honor, Laurence couldn't, for all his desire to see his mission through, bring himself to attack these young girls, even as they raised their wands and began chanting their magical attacks. He simply stood his ground and sang the Song of Shields, extending it to the unconscious Z Warriors at his feet, and withstood the barrage of magical attacks, like a stone in the middle of a wind-storm, until it finally died down, the girls having apparantly exhausted much of their Essence reserves in that blast, as they closed their formation and prepared themselves to serve as human shields in defense of their Goddess.

Laurence simply lowered his song and stepped forward, then spoke out in perfect Japanese, "Is this how the Goddess Amaterasu defends herself? By hiding behind her handmaidens, like a child behind her mother's skirt?" He crossed his arms and stood his ground, waiting for an answer.

"Watch your Words, Malakite! I will not be judged by one such as yourself." As these words were spoken, the Magical Girls parted, revealing the glorious image of Amaterasu Omikami, dressed in bright golden robes and shining light, stepping forward to face the Malakite Archangel, illuminating his form with her brightness.

As he heard some of the Magical Girls comment "Hey, he's cute!", Laurence silently gave thanks that his dark skin didn't show his embarassing blush, then unclapsed his sword belt and placed it to his right as he knelt forward, kowtowing to the Divine Empress.

She blinked, then smiled and nodded as she came to him. "I am honored by your acts, Blackwing, and I am thankful you have not killed my People, dispite their futile attempts at fighting you."

Laurence looked up and nodded. "I could not bare myself to harm them, as I saw them to be honorable in intention and in behavior, their only wrong being their unwanted taind to the Media." As he said these words, the Archangel could feel more presences walking into the Throne room, as the mentionned warriors walked back in, some in pain from their fight, others merely feeling shame from their failure, but all alive and well.

Amaterasu nodded. "True, but the Media Lord of Yama has allowed us to acheive a new, strong Source of Essence, and the small tithe he asks of us is a mere pittance, compared to the flow of Essence we've managed to secure, right from under his nose. He thinks he controls us, but we have more then enough Essence to make our own way, whenever we feel it will be opportune for us to do so."

Laurence simply stood up to look the Goddess in the eyes, and asked "And do you think Nybbas will continue to protect you from Beleth, as soon as he figures out your game?"

Amaterasu pondered the question, then replied with a question of her own, "And What does Heaven offer us instead?"

"All the Essence you can collect, free reign in Blandine's side of the Marches, and protection from Beleth and Hell. And all we ask in return is your loyalty to Heaven, and obediance to God's Laws."

The Omikami nodded at the terms. "And that is all?"

Laurence nodded. "Indeed. And I assure you, none of you will be forced to participate in Saminga's Bloodbaths, or Andrealphus' depraved productions anymore."

As he said these words, a collective sigh of relief came from the Kamis, and Laurence felt he'd won the crowd. And, as Amaterasu smiled and knelt before him, he realized he'd won her over as well.

Laurence smiled in relief as he drew his belt knife and cut his finger open, preparing to convert Amaterasu and all her Kamis...


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