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Final Wordcount: 50,500/50000

There was something to be said about the nature and tension of a final battle. A confrontation born of nothing but the immense hatred of another side. There could be respect shared, there could be a genuine admiration for the tactics and strength the other side displayed, no matter how long the war went on or how long it dragged out or what crimes the opposite side had committed to humanity and their own history. Bodies would pile up on either side so that their chosen representative, either predetermined or fate picking out one hapless fool out of a bunch as it so often did, and eventually even words would fall by the wayside as the two just hit each other with everything they could muster into their fists and their feet and blades and bullets, with bones and sinew cracking and limbs flying off and eventually nothing more left of one by a pounded mist of crimson claret left smeared on the earth that once bore them proudly. Whether it was the right or wrong choice was not always immediately clear, and sometimes it could take centuries for humanity to wise up to one man or woman’s victory and what it meant for them now, but it was far too late to do anything about it now but try their damnedest to not repeat anything.

That’s where these two stood now is one side refused to let one who should be dead and have stayed down make a fool of herself again on the face of their planet, free to taint the living and the dead realms and manipulate it and craft it as she saw fit and claimed was her right to inheritance as a human being, and the other was the forbidden inheritor, hoping for all her might and all the ill will she summoned between the two sides she could taint history and taint the earth enough to mold it in her image forever more, the forbidden queen, the dark ruler, a most hated entity but she knew hate would be what would feed her, the strongest and easiest of human emotions to manipulate. Until the sun went out, until the Earth itself went black and icy and floating in its grave, until the stars burned and fizzled, until entropy itself swallowed all save the few creative forces left in the universe to go “Damn, guess it’s time to reboot the modem on this bitch huh” and start things anew regardless of if we’d all remember it or not, it would just be Rand on the throne. Rand at command. Rand all the time. It was a fate worse than death for most, a ruler evil and everlasting, who believed that this was her destiny and that she was the peak of human evolution.

It was something that had fascinated Atma. Katsuragi and her both had to study things like world history and religion and philosophy to become the warriors they were now, leaders, instructors, mentors, true guides of women and humanity and protectors of life, but Atma was always the one who took it a bit more seriously, with Katsuragi preferring to draw boobs on the togas of paintings of women and give them crude speech bubbles that said things like “more like Moan of Arc am I right in this supposition” and therefore ruined the quality of her textbooks forever outside of being a curious relic for whatever frat member borrowed it next.

But outside of bad jokes and a desire to do every shieldmaiden that they read about, Atma and Katsuragi diverged in the fact Atma was more willing to study this on her own. It was the samurai lineage in her. Shinobi got shit done at a rate more efficient and through than them, but when it came to thinking about it and what it could possibly mean down the road, the samurai had that route dominated. But what was curious to her was the need for all the great and genuine villains of history to always paint themselves as some kind of end or peak point of evolution. They were obsessed with the notion that history and science and religion had all been speaking of and preparing for their arrival, and that there could be none better, none more great and none more strong than them, that they were just that damn perfect and absolutely nothing could cause their downfall. Sure, Atma was a narcissistic being, but most of it was in jest and to keep a cool image and to inspire others around her to greatness. Katsuragi had a similar aura to her, putting on a great show to inspire the shinobi around her and after her to work hard and outdo their predecessors and keep the line of inheritance and technique both as strong as it could be. Neither would ever be able to believe in the concept of them being the peak end of things, not with their flagrant behavior and misbehaviors and immense hedonistic need to give into the most base of human pleasures and instincts. If anything, they were the most simple of creatures on the evolutionary chain, no more than hunters and protectors who brought home the bacon and then got to pork their women as well. And so it goes, the women would thank them for their protection, and the protection of the children they themselves wished not to bear, and all was good and alive and just as it should be writ.

The difference between Atma and Katsuragi’s egos and the ones that people like Rand and the other great badguys of the ages displayed was Atma and Kat kept going. Knowing very well their fate as the beginning point of the chain, they instead worked up and always striving to do a bit better than they did the day before, a bit faster, a bit stronger, a bit louder, a bit more brave or perhaps eat a bit healthier. Take a step further down the road more than anyone else. They were forever outdoing themselves and each other, not fighting against each other or with, but for each other, striving and spurning the other on so they could keep their respective lines of both shinobi and samurai as strong as ever. Without it, they would surely perish in the coming generations, and without them to exemplify that so strongly, they’d inspire no new women to take up the mantle as it so desperately needed, perhaps now more than ever in their respective histories. Ayame was just one example of the next generation, someone coming up fast on the tails of both of her mentors, having been tasked with the ever important job of guarding the school and getting it ready for their safe return. That’s how you knew they trusted her, is if they didn’t make it back, then they knew the school and army would be in good hands and they could perhaps retaliate someday. Someone had to. Not taking her to the front lines and giving her the hard clerical work was perhaps the biggest sign of respect they had ever shown her. It was their way of passing things on to the next generation without ceremony or pomp and circumstance surrounding it. It just was, as it should be, done through a simple gesture in a time of need. The chain and the cycle continued forward just as Katsuragi and Atma had walked it, and had now set forth in motion for Ayame and the others to do so. They could only pray now that they could trust her to outdo them in passion on some level, despite her more shy and sweet personality, and lead on a woman to greatness after her, just as she had looked up to her two mentors, so she knew someday a woman would look at her with those same eyes, round and full of hope.

Hope. That was now where all things lay. On the shoulders of a goddess born of the love between two, a unity of strength and experience and a shining beacon of those that wished and desired for nothing more than an end to this nightmare, as the fog around them from the barrier swirled at their feet and through the air in silver plumes, the cheering from the nonexistent crowd growing louder with each passing moment and movement of the deity that now protected them and everyone real between this dimension and all. The scroll was real. The magic was real. It was in them all along. They were hope, and the darkness before them should quake and should cower, but she didn’t, and instead, watched quietly as she reconciled the fact that her end now faced her in the form of a woman of all, armed in every possible way, with divinity and destiny on her side, the ability to save without destruction that Kagura and the other shinobi had sought to find a solution too for almost a millenia, the perfect fusion of the shinobi spirit and the samurai’s soul, mixed and mingled into a flawlessly strong and agile form, beautiful as she was gracious, bloodthirsty as she was righteous in boobage. Rand’s mooks fell by the dozen with each swing of her blade, creating life where their bodies would drop, springing forth flowers and water and grace and light wherever they fell, no matter how many times they got up or how many Rand could summon forth, they were cut and cut again with flawless form and without an ounce of energy wasted on the enraged deity’s behalf.

This would call for one last desperate measure, and she growled and yelled and raged at the Heavens that bore the being now blocking her path to conquest, and called forth the power of the Embers she had brought with her. “Back, back to me! It will all be for nothing if you don’t swear eternal allegiance to me! I will bring you back and back again! But now, you must die again for me! For me!” she screamed as she commanded a bolt out against both Hearst and Nixon, shooting them through whatever bits of demonic heart and soul they had left and taking them into her, making the Captain and the Colonel both stop and back off, everyone retreating a bit save for the goddess, commanding that their women take the swords and protect those fighting alongside them, but that this was to be her fight.

Rand drank up the souls of the evil she had brought with her back to Earth and became unto a giant Hellspawn deity herself, as twisted in appearance as The Boobhisattva was beautiful, with wrinkled and gross skin, monstrous arms and legs, a blade of nothing black black lightning that was not to be wielded with care or precision. Gnarled teeth and great height and blackened eyes met the keen, sharp, clear ones of the goddess, who could not give a tinker’s damn what kind of expression or form she chose, instead just snorting and slinging her sword up against her shoulders. It was sad, really, that a woman of this level of ambition and thinking power and a want to write and a drive to teach and lead would be lead down this kind of path instead. Women get a bad rap in history, but she was one of the few deserved ones, and perhaps if she had used this time instead to wrap her head around becoming a force of good, the world would flourish a lot more equally a lot quicker. But instead we were left with this mess, this mass, and it was all that The Boobhisattva could do is pity her. Not feel anger or rage or remorse or disgust, but simple pity. That’s all hope could do in this situation when it had to cut potential down so that the path forward be not strangled by those blocking progress and claiming themselves the be all end all of things. It was always sad to see such energy put to such a horrible caused and use, and the dark Hellspawn now raged with a great effort and struggle against the goddess.

“Die! Die! Let me rule! I have power supreme and a mind unlike any other on our Earth! Whores of Babylon! Let us be and thrive! We will lead humanity to ten thousand generations of prosperity and productivity and be a force in this universe unlike that anyone had ever seen before!” Rand screamed and spewed forth a sludge of evil at them, which the goddess flicked off and sighed, wherever she stepped now purified by her spirit and her presence. It wasn’t behooving of a benevolent deity, no matter how sexy or righteous she was, to let someone struggle like this. All she could hear was a cry for help. She screamed at them to die, but she knew only their death would bring about the peace and prosperity she longed for.

With a great sigh, the goddess spoke again, gripping her free hands on the throat and body of Rand’s hellform and pinned her to the ground, snorting. “A pity. All I feel for you is that. You speak of hope and progress, but know nothing of the struggles of the common man and common woman of which you wish to enslave and make the cogs of your machine instead of being what the machine strives forward to protect and improve upon. You are not the all being righteous path, you are not the spiral forward, the march to infinity and all our inevitable death and reset, for even that too is a form of progress. Every time we will be reborn and this universe tries again, we will get better. And within each cycle, we will get better every millennium, every century, every decade and year and month and week and day and hour and minute and second. Nothing can be stopped, nothing can go in reverse. No matter what you would do, your hold would break, and I strive now to break it from you. Let my purifying grace release you from the madness that now long taints your mind. I am sorry it has come to this, but you belong not in this world anymore, and had no right coming out. Take you and your soldiers, take them back to the Embers, and think, reflect.”

With that, The Boobhisattva raised her All Creating sword above and severed the head of the hellspawn she had pinned down, pulling her head up as the last moments of life choked out of it and raised it above, in the sunlight, letting it rain down on her as the last words of the goddess graced her ears, the nonexistent crowd the only other thing anyone could hear. “And in the next cycle of the universe, let it be said that I wish you luck in becoming the person you perhaps were meant to be beyond the tortured and tainted soul I see before me now. If not, I will be back to stop you. This is goodbye, Rand, from all of us on the mortal and immortal plane. May your eternal imprisonment bring about the peace of mind and the progress you dream of, and may entropy be your forgiveness and the price you pay for the sins you have committed so gracelessly against your fellow beings here.”

All said and done, the body of Rand went first into a plume of black smoke, flying off into the distance as the skin and bones rotted to dust and dirt, the energy surrounding her and her weapons fidgeting and spasming as it shorted out and dissipated back into the ether from whence it was born, and her head burned off in the new sunrise, as the crowd gave its final cheering and the goddess sheathed her blade and sighed. “Rest in peace.”

The barrier began to slowly fade away, the cheering going off into an echo as it grew quieter and quieter and then it went quiet with a hush sudden and without fanfare. The fog that had encircled the bodies of the goddess and the Hellspawn both had begun to lighten up into a fine, thin mist and then not at all once the sun shone on it, and the bamboo withered and dried and dug itself back into the earth from whence it sprang and at once, the Colosseum had crumbled back into the realm and time between times and dimensions where Yoma and others sat ready to threaten those but knowing that the forces of good could come back and enter that arena anytime to stop them from doing their worst.

But what now of the goddess, the immense and beautiful being that stood so strong and beautiful and had saved them all without going off and taking countless lives and buildings with her, as a Kagura would? How would she get back to normal? What was written on the scroll that they had forgotten to do to unlock their bodies? Was this why nobody else wanted to do it, they were now stuck like this forever? They couldn’t quite read their own sash, and pouted a bit as they blushed, looking at their women. The army hadn’t started cheering yet, despite their victory being assured. It wasn’t until their now guardian deity spoke that they realized it was all over.

“Ahh, well, now that that’s all good and done, what’s say one of you comes over and reads what’s written on the end of this thing? We done forgot to do so before we did this, and aren’t quite unsure how to unstick ourselves, or if it’s even possible. I mean, if we’re stuck like this, how’s we gonna marry our girls or anything? Who gets to share us? Do we trade days on and off and on Sundays we take care of ourselves? Should have thought of this before we did it, but hey, at least California can be golden again and America is still home of the brave?” The Boobhisattva tried to keep a positive demeanor about this, although doubt did sit in their heart that this could be easily resolved.

“Yeah, yeah.” Hikage sighed. “Of course you didn’t read the manual.” She turned to Koshka and made the universal sign for “Didn’t fucking read the Ikea instructions that came with the hilariously badly foreign named project” which was just more gagging and shrugging and throwing her hands up and putting her fingers to her palm like she was writing something. You know, the general look anyone gets trying to handle Ikea shit.

Koshka imitated the other shinobi and got on over, sitting behind their giant, lovable, fused woman and prodded at them, beckoning Hikage up to help her transcribe it. That’s when the two got an idea and got down, Koshka passing a quick note to the green haired one to read to the goddess.

“Okay, so, we know how to get you out of this. But first things first. Um. Well. We’ll be honest. We kind of would like to see how that form of yours performs. In bed. We’re all kind of wound up and let’s say we get back to the school, drag that horny student of yours in, and have ourselves a big ol’ fashioned thank you orgy? It’s Koshka’s idea more than mine, but I think I could do with the stress relief, if you know what I mean. What can I say? Danger turns me on. We wouldn’t be with you two and your giant...well, you-ness if we didn’t find that aspect interesting, now would we?”

The poor, poor Boobhisattva blushed hard. Neither Katsuragi nor Atma was good at receiving affection, especially like this, and especially in public, so the combined form was interesting to get to consent to this. The Envoys always figured they could stick around and see how a deity worked that way too before they went back. Rand wasn’t going to escape again, at least not anytime this century or so, so why not stay behind another evening and celebrate? The sunset had given way to sunrise and the sun was now well overhead as they made their way back home to be properly and thoroughly thanked.

* ~ * ~ * ~ *

“Good evening, this is Terisa Estacio, here with KRON4 news.” A familiar voice came on the TV the next day. “So, uh. A lot has happened and we owe a lot of different people apologies for the hysteria of the past week, but most of all, we are sorry to the Kings for ever doubting you. We’ll cover more in depth tonight. Just for now I’m tired. I’m so tired. I need a break.”

Everyone laughed at that one. Things were slowly returning to normal, and people thanked the new goddess that watched over them for all she did and how much she had come to embody California and it’s new spirit. Ayame got a new teaching position out of it, the Envoys got to return to the Heavens knowing well that the true spirit of America was protected, Ryobi got some of her probation shaved off for her good work, the Crimson Squad went back to lazing around their weed and melon ranch, and Koshka and Hikage got a new fuck buddy out of it.

The sun began to set as The Boobhisattva stood outside the school, sighing a bit. It wasn’t like they were stuck like this now; they were in this form again by choice, deciding to learn to use it to their advantage, but mostly because they knew the secret to undoing it now and they couldn’t complain about the methods even if they wanted to try.

Hikage and Koshka stood at the doorway to their secret chambers, beckoning them back in and snorting at how red they got, even as a goddess. Some things never change, nor did they need to. “Come on in, girls. Or girl. It’s time for, ah, the de-unification process. If you know what we mean.”

Who knew the way to getting their screws unhinged was to get a good screw in them?

They laughed and were lead in to their bedroom, feeling like the luckiest being alive, mortal or immortal, moral or immoral. The sunset was a beautiful array of blues, reds, golds, and whites, as the song had foretold in ages past. California was once again the Golden State set amidst its golden backdrop and the golden sun seeing its golden goddess and protector off to sleep once more.

That is, if they got much sleep.

And in the distance, if you listened closely, you could hear the Colonel and the Captain humming and singing on their harmonica, a familiar tune playing in every inch of the state’s infinite and rich golden fields, etched in our hearts forever on more.

“So shine forth of blues and reds and of greatest golds
Come forth from the peasants to the kings in actions bold
From thrones ascended do the twin peaks do our rulers watch
Protecting us and our lives, for all the riches we sought
Shared freely ‘mongst the crowds they always did give
And from darkest depths did they pull us out to yet live
Let no devil from below take what belongs to you and me
Let no devil from below take our lands and our seas
Take ye not from me the spirit of California so free
As gold shines true, and let freedom ring again unto thee

So shine forth of blues and reds and of greatest golds
Come forth ye kings to rise above and all behold
From ascension to the sky and stars above shining bright
Protecting us and the sunrise beyond our darkest night
Shared between you shall you become from two to one whole
And from darkest depths, entwined shining as one soul
Let no devil from below take what belongs to you and me
Let no devil from below take what we've earned so free
Take ye not from the queen of all born of kings united as one
As gold shines true, let freedom ring as the war is won

So shine forth of blues and reds and of greatest golds
Come forth ye queen of all, with fist and sword sharp and bold
From under your rule shall tyrants run and cowards flee
Protecting us all, from the eastern hills to the western sea
Shared power birthing a mighty warrior goddess fair and wise
And from darkest depths of two kings shall the queen arise
Let no devil from below think of victory as their right
Let no devil from below be spared this goddess' might
Take ye not from me the spirit of Her Highness so free
As gold shines true, and let freedom ring again unto thee”

As gold shines true…

...Let freedom ring again unto thee!

And long live the Kings of California! Hail, and we’ll meet again!

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