Buffy Z

Hera Saga

Part 2: The Journey to the West

Episode 66 - 72

Author: 3D Master <3d.master[at]chello.nl>

Website: http://members.chello.nl/~jg.temolder1/

Rating: NC-17

Keywords: X-Over Dragonball/Z/GT, Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Angst, Drama, Action.

Summary: Death and clarifications.

Disclaimer: Buffy the Vampire Slayer and its characters do not belong to me, but Joss Whedon and Mutant Enemy Productions. Dragonball Z, its characters and the concept of the Saiyan race belong to Akira Toriyama.

Author's note: Okay, this is going to be my most ambition part/saga/story/string of eps I have yet written. I had the basic concept for this part of the saga planned, and then I started reading the /actual/ Journey to the West. All 100 chapters of it. It was great, and completely unconventional, and then I decided to slightly alter this part. It would actually be /named/ 'The Journey to the West', meaning that the Hera saga had to be split in two parts, hence 'Part 1: Death'. Further, I decided I was going to try and copy the style of 'The Journey to the West' without sacrificing my own style. It's been a while since I read it, so I hope I can still channel the feeling of it, but I'm confident I can. One of the interesting things of the 'The Journey to the West' and other Chinese stories of that era is that they place poems right smack in the middle of it. Sometimes just for the heck of it to describe an environment, and sometimes have the characters make them up as part of the story. I'm going to try and do that myself, even though I used to hate poems; the ones in 'Journey' were simply so different and integrated into the story they just seem to fit. So, here I go trying this, wish me luck (and thus yourself :D ).

Shantia's theme: Apocalyptica - Hall of The Mountain King

Xander SSJ4 theme: Rammstein - Ich Will

Rising Fighting Spirit: Toshiru Masuda - Strong and Strike (Genkito Geki)

Oozaru theme: Mike Oldfield - Moonlight Shadow

Super Saiyan theme reminder: Rammstein - Weißes Fleisch

Episode 66
But It's Just a Peach!

The Legends Begin

Light pierced the heavens, as a round ship entered the atmosphere. People, demons and gods alike easily spotted the uncommon event. Some worried the world would come to an end . . . again. Others just hoped for the best, and more, especially gods, just shrugged and moved on with their business. The fireball streaked down and steadily lost most of the light and fire as it slowed down, and landed on a rock outcropping on the west China coast - or more accurately the coast of what would one day be China.

Some human hunters watched hidden in the forest close by, shocked at the odd egg that came falling from heaven. A few moments later the egg 'cracked', revealing a ramp, and some people, a male up front coming down it. The male suddenly looked directly in their direction, and afraid they scampered off.

"Ten thousand years in the past, huh?" Xander asked with anger boiling just subdued beneath the surface as he walked down the ramp of the interdimensional ship.

"Yeah," Willow said, following right behind him. Behind her came Tara, Buffy and finally Faith. Once they were down at the ramp they all took a look about.

The sun was shining,

Bathing the world in a golden light,

Evening was upon the world soon,

The ocean gently washed ashore,

The sounds of surf eased the mood

The birds had quieted upon their noisy arrival,

Slowly birds' nerves were eased,

Their whispering whistles calmed the mood

The forest was dark and foreboding

But it will not deter our heroes,

Their shining light will pierce the trees

"You know, nobody will speak English here," Buffy commented with a frown, realizing the difficulty in that. One of her classes in her chosen direction Germanic languages was about translation, and deciphering new languages.

"We can do a translation spell," Tara supplied slightly nervous at what they had gotten themselves into now. "It won't work on brand new languages, and alien beings, but if the minds are similar enough, and the language related enough, like an ancient precursor, it should allow us to understand everyone here, and they should understand us."

"Do it," Xander said deceptively calm.

Tara nodded and went to work. She pulled out of a few ingredients from a bag on a belt around her waist, and drew a decagram. Everyone waited patiently as Tara sat down in a lotus position and chanted serenely. Several moments later there was a light flash, and then it was over. "Okay," Tara said, dressed in a white dress. "That should do it."

Xander nodded, and took in his 'crew'. Buffy wore black pants and a light brown, short-sleeved shirt, and a short light jacket. Faith wore dark-brown pants, and a black t-shirt over which she wore a dark-blue coat. Willow, finally, wore a dark-green-and-red dress, a long dark coat over it. "Okay," Xander said thinking out loud. "We better walk, if we fly we might alter history in such a matter when we come back, nothing we know will still be there."

"But couldn't that bitch change history all on her own?" Faith asked taking a few steps forward. "We might just have to get to her as fast as possible."

"Do you feel her?" Xander asked them. They shook there heads. "Exactly, we don't know where she is yet. And since we can't sense her, she's either hidden her power, or went somewhere lined with lead or something else that blocks most energies, which means that as long as we can't really feel her, she isn't doing anything we can't stop later, everyone agree with my logic?"

"Yeah, I do," Buffy said, nodding her head, and the others joined in.

"That really only leaves, which way to go," Xander said, looking around. "West, North, or South, or anywhere in between."

"I think that was Hera," Willow supplied, and everyone looked at her. "Her appearance is like the myths you know, and a few spell books. Hera and Hecate are the same."

"Well, I guess, we're heading toward what will be Greece then," Xander commented thoughtfully.

"Wouldn't she stay away from the obvious place?" Buffy wondered.

"Somebody sane, probably," Faith answered with a smirk. "But she didn't seem to be working with all her marbles to me."

"And she was in pain when she entered the vortex," Tara added in slowly calming down a bit. "That wasn't a nice passageway designed for people to pass through, she might be very hurt, perhaps even dead already."

"If she's incapacitated, it would also explain why we can't feel her, and then someone might just have brought her to where he or she thought was the right place. We'll have to find out," Xander finished, and everyone nodded, decision made. "West it is then," Xander said. Willow and Tara turned west, and everyone started walking in the same direction.


The five of them had been walking through the forest at a brisk, but casual pace. They had kept a basic field of chi up to ward off any poisonous animals that they didn't know of and had gone extinct in the intervening 10,000 years.

"Isn't China supposed to be warmer?" Faith had asked once, at which time Tara had quickly explained about the ice age, and climates slowly changing.

"I'm getting hungry," Buffy complained after a few hours, when things quickly got darker, due to the sun setting. "It's already evening, we need to eat something," she added in some annoyance.

The five of them stopped, and looked around. "Buffy's right, I'm starting to get hungry too," Tara said, looking around. "I think we should start looking for fruits to eat, water to drink."

"Yeah," Faith said, while Xander looked up at the sky. He saw the full moon rising, and quickly looked down.

"There's somewhat of a road over there," Xander said pointing to his right where he had spotted it and forward, extending his senses. "It leads to something of a town, I think." The others followed his point, and then put there senses in that direction, also finding the larger concentration of human, and non-human energy sources.

"They might help us with food and lodging, we probably have to work for it, but . . ." Willow trailed off and looked around at her companions.

"I'm all for it," Buffy said with a grin, after which her stomach rumbled. She blushed, which ended when Xander's stomach rumbled even louder.

"Well, that's three votes already, I guess the town it is," Faith said, smiling at her sister Slayer and the Saiyan. Willow and Tara agreed to, and with smiles on their faces they walked over to the dirt road.

After another half an hour of walking they reached the village they had detected. The forest cleared revealing the first of quite a large village. They walked along the main road taking in the occasional taller building. The village was circular from what they could make out, and from the time they took from the outer edge to the very center, they had the vague idea at least 20,000 people had to be living in it, which Tara figured silently was quite a lot for all the back . . . now. Really, the following testimonial poem exists:

Centered in town the fountain was,

A tree with peaches within its center,

All the buildings blue with night,

The flickering lights in the windows even,

Could not change that - candle light too little

Circling outward was this town,

Several dirt roads leading to unknown,

Trees and bushes and other plants

Amidst buildings they grew without burden

Such is the paradise-like town of Eikaan

"Have you seen anyone yet?" Willow asked as she looked around. The stone buildings seemed very well made, meticulous round shapes, broken with right angles. One building was long, and only half of it had a second level, with a lovely round roof. Light flickered in the window of the second story as with the others. There was a stone line leading from the fountain, undoubtedly it supplied the water for the fountain that tranquilly sprayed water upward within it's confines. The fountain was a large stone, circular pool, with dry ground in the middle where the peach tree stood. One stone small bridge leading to the tree was right in front of the five time travelers. A beam of water spurted gently up every meter around the circle except where the bridge stood.

"No," Tara answered. It wasn't too unexpected, it was night after all. In these times there was really nothing to do after nightfall.

"I'm hungry," Buffy whined.

Faith grinned and said, "Yeah, let's knock on a door already and get some food, and a bed if possible."

"You hungry, Buffy? Hold on," Xander said with a grin, and quickly crossed the bridge. He checked the peaches up close and he was right; they /were/ peaches (in the dark he couldn't have been sure), and they /were/ ripe. "Like peaches?"

"Uhm, Xander?" Tara stated nervously, plucking peaches from a central town tree seemed a bit not right to her. "Should we really do that, perhaps- . . ."

Xander floated in the air a bit and pulled a peach from the branch, then interrupted Tara, "It's just a peach, Tara, hanging from a public tree. If it's really, really worth something we'll pay for it. We can always negotiate a price, I'm certain with our strength and abilities we can be useful." Tara had to admit, he had a point, and a peach would really go down the gullet nicely now; she was starting to get thirsty too, and peaches were always nice and juicy. "Catch, Buffy," Xander said and casually tossed the peach, even as he pulled off another one. Buffy caught the peach, licked her lips and hungrily bit into the juicy fruit. "Willow," Xander warned tossing the second peach as he reached for the next one.

"Mmh," Buffy moaned out in delight as the juicy flesh hit her taste buds.

"Tara, Faith," Xander said the name to whoever he casually tossed the peaches over his shoulder to, finally taking one for himself. Willow bit into the fruit with relish, just as Faith caught her peach. She brought the fruit to her mouth, taking a bite as Buffy started to ravish the fruit. Xander took a big bite as he walked back to his friends. Tara finally overcame her hesitation, and bit into the hairy skin of the fruit, and deeper into its juicy innards. "Mmh, damn that hits the spot," Xander said, and took another bite.

Faith answered with a full mouth, "Oh, yeah."

Buffy nodded hastily, almost gulping down the entire fruit. Soon after while the others were still savoring their fruit, having lots of it to go, she was had only the stone left, and tossed it into the water. "Mmh, that was tasty, but by no means enough," Buffy said with a grin.

While most of the gang was still busy eating their peaches a man came running up to them with a terrified look on his face. He was wearing a brown rag and some form of collar on his neck. He had a bucket in his hand; apparently he had been sent here to get water. "Wh-what are you doing!? You're eating the peaches. How can you be eating the peaches!? You /can't/ eat the peaches!" he exclaimed, growing louder and more hysterical by the moment.

Xander casually took another bite and said with his mouth ful, "Would you calm down? We'll pay for them if they are so important to you."

The man paled, and shook his head, "No! Only gods may eat the peaches! They'll know! They'll punish you, they'll punish us!! Put them down, and hope for mercy. Don't you have this rule where you come from?"

Everyone looked astonished from the man to their half-eaten fruits, except for Buffy who had no more fruit, and Xander who took the last of the flesh off the stone and tossed the stone in the fountain. "Nope," he commented and then swallowed his well-chewed fruit, "and what gods?"

Hoping to diminish the punishment to himself and the others in this village, the man ran as fast as he could back to his house, screaming out, "Mistress Theas! Mistress Theas!!"

The Scoobies looked at each other, and Xander said, "Just finish the peaches." After a moment's hesitation they did.

A moment later a blond-haired, blue-skinned, red-eyed female in white came flying from the building. "*You insignificant mortals*!!" she thundered in anger. "*How dare you eat from the divine peaches!? They are reserved for us gods!!*"

Her thundering alerted other gods, and several more came from their houses to see what was going on. The Scoobies looked at them, and Faiths wondered, "You're gods?"

"Xan, they're pathetic," Willow told her life-long friend, indicating the few gods floating around, then took another bite. Now they understood they were the non-human presences they had felt earlier. Back then they had assumed they were some alternate species of human that had died out, or something like that. For although these gods were more powerful than an untrained human, a human could equal and surpass them without ever needing to set foot in a gravity gym.

"*YOU INSIGNIFICANT INSECTS!!*" Theas screamed with a booming voice that had many humans come out and look scared at what was happening. Theas fired an energy ball down. Xander grinned and with an almost disinterested, casual flick of his right hand squatted the ball aside, sending it careening down the street they came from, until it crashed somewhere in the forest, felling a tree. Faith gulped down the last of her peach, as Theas looked shocke. Willow and Tara too hurried with their peaches so they could have their hands free.

As Faith tossed her peach's stone into the pond, Xander took a few steps forward and spoke with an enraged and bloodthirsty grin, "Sick bastards, displaying the juicy peaches in the middle of town, and not letting them have one while they slave away for you . . . and /you/ call yourselves gods? Call yourself powerful? You're weak, but if you want power so much, I'll give you a taste." Xander then looked up and right, directly at the full moon, and relaxed.

[Play Oozaru theme]

Xander's chi flame suddenly burst around him, and he groaned. He slowly hunched over, his fists clenching. He groaned more as the transformation took hold. His tail uncoiled of its own accord and started twisting about. His muscles twitched as they slowly started to grow.

"Xander?" Buffy asked in shock. "What's going on? Xander?"

"Xander?" Faith tried as well, when a growl issued from his throat. The gods themselves too looked uncertain about what to do.

"Uhm, that sounded familiar," Willow muttered surprised, and the other girls noticed the same similarities. Black fur started coming from sleeves and where Xander's clothes had openings. "That looks familiar too, and that," Willow said, backing fearfully up as she saw Xander's face elongating into a snout. "But it can't be, he wasn't bit by a werewolf, and he would have transformed the moment the sun set, not after looking at the full moon," Willow said in confusion. "Xander?"

"Xander?" Faith tried, and then Buffy and Tara said so again as Xander's clothes tore and fell away, and a louder growl sounded. The girls started backing away a little, uncertain of what was happening.

Xander's eyes turned completely red, and he was already growing. The girls, the gods, and the humans brave enough to stay watching noticed that despite still hunched over he was at the same height he was standing up earlier. A dangerous growl sounded from deep into Xander's body and then he rapidly grew and grew and grew. Soon a giant, black-furred, red-eyed monkey was standing in the middle of the town, outer left foot hanging over the edge and into the water of the fountain. The beast raised his hands above its head, opened its mouth and roared. The sound was so powerful, so primal, the air itself trembled.

"Holy shit, this is new!" Faith exclaimed in shock at the thirty story tall giant ape, having a little difficulty staying upright.

"Hey, damn, he's not that powerful," Willow observed in shock. "He's just big, but he's nowhere near as powerful as his super transformation."

"Thank god for small favors," Buffy said, carefully keeping balance as the ground and air shook as a result of the giant monkey slamming his fists on his chest.

Suddenly the Oozaru looked down, its big red eyes looking straight down at Theas, and he gave a low growl. The beast then lifted his feet and crashed it down. The god's only response was to open her eyes before being flattened - too scared and shocked to do anything else. When some of her insides splashed out from under his foot, the monkey roared in approval, once more making the entire village tremble. The impact of the foot on the ground made it crack open, including the stone circumference of the fountain. The water rushed out, into the cracks to the shallow crater filled with a dead goddess.

"THEAAAASSS!!" A male voice screamed in grief and rage. "YOU KILLED MY WIFE!!" the god roared shooting forward. The monkey twisted its head with a grumble, and opened its mouth. A devastating white beam of raw energy blasted forth from the beast inner furnace. A moment later the husband was caught in the beam and screamed out his pain as he was disintegrated. The remainder of the beam then crashed into the ground and exploded, not harming anyone or anything apart from the ground. After that the giant monkey roared and swung its right arm from left to right in a backhand. The gods finally woke up and moved aside, but one more got hit. He was simply launched away, and out of the village, his life force snuffed out soon after.

The gods fired energy attacks, but they simply crashed against the monkey without making him feel much. The monster brought his fist rapidly down, smashing into the soil, leaving a hole several meters deep. A god had only barely managed to fly out of the way. The monster monkey looked up, opened its maw and fired another intense beam. It turned his head right, arcing the beam across the sky and killing seven gods with a single attack. With a roar it then swung it's right hand around, destroying the top half of a building. It then smashed both its fists down destroying the lower half as well. With a growl it took several steps forward and kicked out, obliterating another building, while the gods futilely tried to stop the monster.

The girls watched dumbfounded at the spectacle. This was not normal. A giant, monster, monkey? "Shouldn't we stop him?" Tara asked the others. They looked at her, as their brains slowly got back in gear. "I-I mean the gods okay, and the last two houses didn't have any humans in them, but how long till he squashes them. Does he seem in c-control to you?" They looked back at the Xander-monster, and debated Tara's point in their hands.

The point just came up, as the monster yanked the roof off of a building that still contained a human slave. The monkey then reached inside, and grumbled out, "Don't worry, I won't hurt you." A moment later he lifted a hysterically shrieking woman above the house, and then put her gently down on the ground, before tearing the house apart in glee.

"Okay, I guess he is in control, somewhat," Tara muttered with large eyes. The others just nodded in agreement.

"MY HOUSE!" a god screamed and prepared a devastating attack. Xander-Oozaru suddenly turned around, and grabbed the male god. He looked afraid at the red eyes of Xander, and the huge-teeth as the giant grinned. The monster-Xander chuckled once, and then simply squashed the god by squeezing powerfully. He then let the god go, not really caring much about the energy attacks that kept raining on him.

One god had been busy trying to find weak spots, firing his attacks there, but had no luck finding one till now. He decided to go low, instead of up, and fired at the tail. Xander growled and looked back. Apparently that had only pissed him off, but that would mean he might have something. The god swung about and fired a continuous beam of energy at the start of the tail. A roar! Oh, he got the beast's attention alright. The god kept swinging along with the monster's movements, and with the tail's attempts to swat him, and then the tail came off. Hopefully that did- . . . The god's eyes widened in shock. The monster shrunk and shrunk, and suddenly the man was back, lying exhausted it seemed on the ground.

[Stop Oozaru theme]

The gods gathered around in anger, and the successful one said, "You damn mortal, you will /pay/ for this!" For a moment Faith, Buff, Willow, and Tara were concerned, they shouldn't have needed to be.

[Play Super Saiyan 1 theme]

Xander simply laughed as he slowly pushed himself upright - naked. "Fool, do you think that was all I have?" With a roar his hair turned golden and stood upright - all over, and his eyes turned coldly green. "I'm a hundred times more powerful now than as Oozaru, and I haven't lost any speed and maneuverability," Xander said with an evil grin at the astounded gods. Then with a roar he powered up further, the energy blasted away from him, bathing the whole village in golden light. A lot of the gods were simply blasted away from their position, tumbling about, and lightning struck from on high.

"Xander is seriously pissed off," Faith said as he watched the Super Saiyan slowly rise in the air, putting true terror in the gods after simply being blown off like some annoying insects, some of them couldn't even do that with humans. Most of the gods started fleeing, and Xander laughed out loud. He then blinked out - to the Gods and the normal humans it seemed that way at least - and reappeared before one of the fleeing gods who looked at him in shock and surprise. Xander chuckled and then killed the god by tearing him apart. A moment later he blew away a goddess, and he simply continued to do that, finishing with a wide beam, fired one-handed, that wiped out the last.

[Stop Super Saiyan 1 theme]

Xander then returned to his friends, landed, and said, "That's one hundred and seven gods who like to enslave humans dead."

The girls took in his naked Super Saiyan form, and some of them blushed. Buffy did. Faith didn't, but looked away after taking him in very good, and said, "Go put something on, will ya? Wesley would kill me if he found out I ogled you naked."

"Yeah, so would Chris," Buffy said, finally looking away herself.

Willow was blushing too. Tara wasn't, and the blonde witch took in Xander's muscular form gently, feeling no sexual tension, but admired the aesthetics and warrior's muscles nonetheless.

Xander looked down at himself, and muttered, "I need to find a way to get Saiyan stretch armor to work in this dimension."

"You lost your tail, is that bad?" Buffy asked Xander .

"Not really," Xander commenting, thinking about his tail, and feeling sad it was once again gone.

One, and then many more humans arrived around them. The first was the guy who had told him and his friends they couldn't eat the peaches. He sank to his knees, then further, hands behind his neck, face in the dirt, and shaking he whimpered, "Great, almighty, Monkey God. Please forgive my infraction upon your being, but if you feel you must punish me, or kill me, please do not harm the others."

Xander, and his female companions too, looked with shock at the man's form and his words, and the fearful look in the other humans. "Get up," Xander said suddenly, somewhat annoyed at getting something he didn't deserve. "Get up," Xander repeated a bit more command in his voice, and shaking the human got up. "Never kneel to me again, you understand? I don't deserve it." All the humans looked at him, then at each other, and back at him. "I will not tell you what to do, I won't even stay here. You are free now, you can do whatever you want - in fact . . ." Xander ran at the peach tree, while the humans looked uncertain. He grabbed a peach and tossed it to the first guy, then plucked another and tossed that one to a little girl. "Eat up!" he said with a big grin, and starting plucking more and more peaches and tossed them over his back into the crowd, which now went wild cheering and whoever caught them eating the fruits. Then some of them started pulling off their collars, and more and more of them followed.

The girls looked at the spectacle with a big grin, until a lot of needy haggard humans who hadn't as yet had a peach hopelessly stretched out their hands. "Uh, sorry," Xander said, lowering himself and walking back. "That's all of them. You'll have to wait till more of them have grown, plant some of those so more peach trees grow."

The ones who hadn't had any yet looked disappointed. Willow and Tara looked at each other, and then nodded in agreement. They went over to the water, and with a little magic lifted the stones out of it that they had thrown their. Then they asked for the stones of the people who just ate a peach and once they had about twenty of them they stepped back. They muttered some spell and their hands and the stones started glowing. Then they threw them into the air, and the stones flew away, landing in soil in places throughout the village where there was place for a tree, and there they burrowed into the ground. A crossroads here, a large empty garden there, and more places. As the thunderclouds Xander had summoned with his power up broke, and water splashed onto the ground and onto the stones, the glow around them intensified. Several moments later a small baby tree sprung up from every stone. The humans could see it happening to two trees, and looked in astounding.

"Take care of them, and they'll grow you peaches," Willow said with a big grin, matched by Tara's.

"H-How can we thank you?" one Human asked.

"You don't have to, it's our pleasure," Xander said with a big grin.

Faith took a step forward and added in, "Although some new clothes for him, some food and lodging for tonight, some travel tips or maps toward the west, and perhaps some water and food supplies for our travels would be much appreciated."


The next morning the five of them waved at the crowd of grateful people, who were saying their goodbyes as loudly as possible. Xander was wearing a shirt, and a tiger skin coat and tiger skin pants they had raided from one of the gods’ clothing closets. They were on their way, up a small hill, with forest all around their little dirt road, and would soon be out of sight once on the other side of the hill. Once donkey packed with supplies was walking amidst them. The people of the village were very grateful.

Finally once over the hill and out of their sight, Buffy - not having much of a chance, or mind before - was the one to ask, "Giant monster ape?"

Xander grinned at her and said, "Oozaru, when a Saiyan with a tail looks at the fool moon he transforms. The sight of the full moon triggers a reaction in our brains, which in turn activates a gland in our tails after absorbing some of the moon's energy and voila. Most Saiyans can't control that form, I couldn't until after Anya . . ."

"Why didn't you tell before?" Willow asked Xander intrigued.

He shrugged and said, "No tail, no transformation, there seemed to be more important things to talk about. And when it grew back, Anya, and . . ." Xander sighed deeply, the pain of his dead wife palpable.

They nodded, and gave him several supportive pads on the back. Tara realized something, and asked, somewhat nervous after he was obviously hurt, "Say Xander, I-I thought we should keep to ourselves, n-not show our powers, to keep the timeline intact. Wh-what was that?"

Xander actually grinned. He looked back at the blonde in white, and told her, "Because the moment the guy was talking about gods and not allowed to eat the peach, I realized we were here all along, and we were already eating the peaches. As long as we don't seriously, seriously go out of our way to try and screw things up, everything should be alright."

"Huh?" Willow wondered.

"Willow, you should definitely know. Name me a famous story about a fruit being forbidden by gods, or a god," Xander explained with a grin.

"What? Genesis with the apple and the sna- . . . whoa! You think /we/ are Adam and Eve?" Willow exclaimed in utter shock, reflexively looking back at the invisible village, only a few high tops of buildings still visible after the decline. Xander nodded with a smile. "But that wasn't an apple!" Willow added, while Buffy and Tara looked ahead with equally large eyes.

"Yeah, I noticed it too," Faith said with a smile. "The Apple of Knowledge of Good and Evil a.k.a the Greek Golden Apple of Immortality, a.k.a the Asian Peach of Immortality. The golden flesh of the peach makes it pretty much a golden apple apart from the hairs on the skin, same shape and colors, more so if you would cut away the skin." They looked at her. Faith shrugged and said, "I had to do report for school on it after I opened my big mouth mentioning that." Xander laughed softly and smiled at her, locking eyes. Faith lifted her arms and let them drop in frustration and she said, "Fine, okay, I admit it; school is good."

They all laughed a bit, and then suddenly Buffy piped up, "HEY! Adam here ate the apple first, and we didn't need to persuade him, Tara even tried to persuade him /not/ to. We're /framed/!"

"What we did wasn't a sin either," Tara observed as they walked onward. "Hell, it was a heroic deed, we saved those people from slavery - okay, Xander saved them from slavery, while we watched."

"Like the Asian story of Sun Wu-k'ung," Faith said with a grin. "The monkey king stealing the peaches there is ultimately considered a hero for not following every little law to the letter."

"Monkey?" Xander asked.

The girls looked at him as they walked onward, and Faith said, "Shit."

Episode 67
King Alexander

The Legendary Monkey King

"I'm hungry," Buffy commented as the group walked along the road due west.

"You're hungry?" Willow questioned her best friend disbelieving. "It's not evening yet; we had lunch."

"I'm a Slayer, I burn a lot of energy," Buffy protested, as they continued walking.

"Just keep walking, B. Diner time will be here soon enough," Faith told her fellow Slayer. "And you seriously need more training in walking if you get hungry so quickly."

Buffy shrugged, and then looked down in annoyance. Part of her wanted to beat the crap out of Faith for her criticism. She caught Xander who had walked in front of them just a little bit in her eyes, and she asked, "Say, Xander, how's the clothes they gave you?"

"They itch like hell," Xander said, twisting his body uncomfortably. He looked over his shoulder and said, "Stupid tiger must have had flees or something."

Tara mumbled several words. Her right fingers glowed blue and she fired the slow ball of energy. A moment later it enveloped Xander, glowed brighter for a moment, and then disappeared into the tiger clothes and Xander. Xander smiled suddenly, tested out his movement, and then turned to look at Tara, "Thanks, Tar."

"No problem, Xander," Tara said with a smile.

They looked up as their senses picked it up. First there was their sixth sense, then came their ears. Several moments later small horse carrying an heavy-breathing Asian man appeared from forest growth. He most certainly did not come from any road, he came crashing straight through the wild forest. He took in the group, and his eyes widened wide with delight. He got off the horse, and breathing hard he prostrated himself in front of Xander, and he said, "Great Monkey God."

"Aargh!" Xander hissed out, and pulled the guy to his feet by his left arm. "I'm not a god, are you from . . .?"

The man shook his head hastily, recovering his breath slowly and explained, "I'm from a village near the falls, at the river. One of those who you left behind came to us on horseback and told us how you destroyed the gods and freed our fellow humans. If you free humans from gods, do you free them from demons as well? A powerful, ancient demon king has taken over our town, and is enslaving us. I snuck off - the demon does not know I left. Please help us."

Xander looked at the guy for a moment. He turned around to regard the girls, most of them gave their approval without even saying a word or making a gesture. Their eyes alone told him their answer. "Lead the way," he said, and their impromptu guide nodded and pointed in the direction, of north west.


It took them three hours before they came to the village; they had eaten some of the supplies around diner time, and now stood in the forest near the village. They looked around, having their power hidden, taking in the spectacle.

Whips flashed,

Slaver demons barked,

Men and women dug,

Men and women dragged,

Men and women pulled,

Men and women carried.

Village green, and white,

craftsmanship of human ingenuity,

but their work not for village now.

A throne they built for demon big,

green eyes, and massive arms,

grey skin and red horns,

tall as two stories, his sword 'only' one,

square head and wide cheeks,

Demon like big hairless ape,

with extra fangs, gleaming sharp.

Village stretched out,

once calm, now upturned,

sand where no should be,

houses torn and broken,

all for demon king throne

King's helpers small and large,

whipped man to greater efforts,

horned here, other demons there,

demon king ruled them all,

The throne half finished,

completed, jewels would shine,

so man was digging even in mountains,

mining jewels was the demon's creed.

Nearby across village the falls came rushing down,

Thundering roar washed over the village

A soothing reassuring sound,

The river rushing onward,

added its own majesticness

to Rivierval village

Xander grimaced, his almost perpetual anger and hate over the killer of his wife now growing to focus on the demon and his slave drivers. "I take the big one, you take the little ones, agreed?" Xander asked with a growing battle smirk.

"Agreed," Tara answered for the girls and they nodded.

Xander nodded and they walked out of their hiding places. Their guide made several motions that perhaps they shouldn't make it so obvious - they ignored him. As the Slayers killed the first few demons, and the witches set a few ablaze. Xander reached the big demon, and grinned.

"What the hell!?" the demon said in shock as he noticed the human that simply smirked up at him. He could squash the bug, and yet the insect had the audacity to simply walk up to his throne, and smirk at him. The demon then spoke, "How did you get here!? Why aren't you working? I'll kill who's supposed to be watching you, you stupid monkey!"

"I'm not human, nobody is supposed to be watching me, and I came here on foot to kill your ass, I'm Xander Littica," Xander said with a grin, as the sounds of hopeless battle, and screams of pain an despair became audible behind Xander: the girls were obviously doing their job very well.

"WHAT!?" the demon said and peered at Xander. "NO, IT ISN'T!" the demon boomed with humor, "IT'S ALEXANDER LAVELLE HARRIS!? What kind of name is that!?" the demon yelled out. The moment Xander felt the demon's telepathic presence - even before the monster blurted out his given human name - he immediately raised his mental shields all the way up. It was time to do that as a standard if this big belly-laughing fool had the time to rummage into his mind a little while a simple mental shield was up instead of everything Xander had. Near to him, countless human slaves watched and heard the name, confused.

"The last name you'll ever hear!" Xander raged, and a moment later he slammed a fist in the massive demon's gut. The demon doubled over, shocked at the power. He had been able to see glimpses of the man's power in his mind before he slammed it shut, and had decided to get him worked up with using the his human name, but he had no idea the guy was /this/ powerful, and he had yet to turn into that golden version he'd seen. He better kill this bastard before he transformed.

Staggering back, the demon brought up his massive sword and sliced it at Xander, who simply flew a bit lower, making the sword swish overhead. Xander shot forward, but the demon's massive left hand connected, and Xander was launched backward. Xander caught himself, and quickly shot forward. He ducked beneath the next swing of the sword, and gave the demon a devastating uppercut. Despite the fact that Xander was about the size of a mouse in comparison, the punch was hard enough to make the demon stagger back, and draw a gusher of blood. Xander followed up with a giant amount of energy balls that exploded, drew more blood and sent the demon staggering back further. Fed up, the demon roared and let his energy out, protecting himself from more energy balls. He swung the sword again, and this time Xander attack the demon's hand. Then with a powerful kick to the sword, the demon let go and the sword swivelled through the air. Human slaves ran, and avoided getting squashed, as the sword stuck into the ground and stayed standing.

"Rah!" the demon yelled in anger, blasting a powerful wall of energy, pushing Xander back.

With a roar of his own, Xander flared his own chi and pushed back against the wall. He drew forth more energy, and forced the wall back, eventually crashing against the demon. Xander grinned at an idea and quickly went over to the sword, grabbing the handle with two hands and not quite able to reach around it. It didn't matter, he had enough leverage.

When the demon regained his composure he looked in shock. Xander flew at the height of his head, and was holding his sword backward ready to pull it forward in a huge hack. With an angry roar Xander did just that. The sword came up and over his head, and sliced down. With a scream of effort the sword cut through the demon's head, and then further down, until it came out the lower end. The demon's eyes were still wide, just raw shock. Then both sides slowly slid down, then split apart and fell to either side. It crushed one house, and the other side crushed the half-throne. Humans ran away screaming in fear. Before the demon halves could crush any people though, Willow and Tara arrived and kept the demon-halves up with a magic spell. Then set about vaporizing the halves so they didn't have to keep it up. Xander grinned, then tossed the sword up with some effort, and obliterated it with a Tanekakosa. With a lesser energy wave he sent the pieces away from the village so they would do no more damage, or take more lives.

Xander then lowered himself to the ground, as did Willow and Tara. Faith and Buffy arrived soon after, and Faith reported, "All the little ones are dead."

"Good," Xander said, as he watched the people getting steadily closer. Once the statement was made, the people burst out in screaming of joy, jumping around, celebrating their freedom.

Their guide joined them and he said, "You are even greater then they said you'd be."

"How come? I showed a whole lot less than I did facing those gods," Xander said with a shrug, but the guide didn't really seem to care, he just joined the celebration.


A large fire was in the middle of table; what was burning was the half-finished, huge throne, which was now a half destroyed throne. Around the fire was a huge circle of tables. The tables was filled with all kinds of delicacies; fruits, vegetables in sauce, and lots of meat, with lots of sauce.

Xander and co were sitting on a raised table, as the guests of honor. The human leader of the town had given a short, thank-you speech earlier, but now everyone was eating, except a few musicians who were providing the music, and those who were right now dancing to that music. Willow and Tara were two of the dancers, and the eaters sang encouragements, at the dancers.

Faith ate leisurely, while Buffy and Xander gobbled down pieces of meat after another. Obviously Xander ate a lot faster. Both were quickly reaching their fill though. "This stuff is /goood/," Buffy commented before digging back in. Xander nodded and hummed his agreement.

Faith chewed her meat, and then swallowed it down. She turned her head to look at Xander and Buffy. "Since when do you eat like that?" Faith asked her sister Slayer.

"Since I tasted this, and there are no utensils anyway," Buffy answered with a full mouth, and handed some of the dish over to Faith. "You have some this yet?"

Faith blinked for a moment, and then took the piece of sauced meat and put it in her mouth. Faith's eyes widened, chewed, gulped, and said, "More." Buffy nodded with a grin. Faith took the big dish where more of the food was on and grabbed with her hands. She didn't care that they got dirty, everyone ate with their hands here, she'd just have to wash them later. Taking a good amount she dumped it on her plate, and ravished the food with the same crude manners and relish as Buffy and Xander did. All three super warriors gulped down more of the stuff for the next ten minutes or so, and then one by one they finished eating.

"Great savior," the leader of the village said, arriving near Xander, as he took a crude, metal cup with wine and gulped the liquid down. The leader smiled and continued, "You have killed the demon, and although this banquet is great, the value of our saving is far greater. I regret to inform you that we do not have the means to properly thank you."

"Aah," Xander said, putting the empty cup on the table, and told the man, "No problem, your freedom is reward enough for me."

"I feel the need to tell you of a nearby magical weapon though," the man continued.

"Magical weapon?" Xander wondered.

The man nodded, and said, "In the Water Curtain Cave, where the demon came from, there is hidden a great weapon. We have a map if you wish to go get it, that can be our reward. Sadly, the cave is also where many more demons, and at least one bigger, more dangerous one reside. Some of us fear they might come for us now that their brethren is dead."

"Really?" Xander stated, thinking.


Xander looked at the map, and smiled. "All right, guys, you wait here in case some of those demons come out, while I go find the big one, okay?" Xander asked his friends.

They nodded, and Tara said, "Okay, hurry back."

Xander smiled at her, and then looked up at the massive waterfall. Xander then flew up, passed the water on the side, minimizing contact with the liquid, and into the cave. The cave was damp, drops of water falling from the ceiling regularly, forming pools of water. It was not surprising given that a large river was flowing down the mountain right above. Xander grinned and walked deeper inside, soon finding a split up in eight different directions. He took out the animal-hide map and studied it. They had warned him they had only had a half-complete map - compiled together by efforts of extremely brave and sometimes stupid explorers. It showed all eight corridors, but two quickly ended behind the start, proving that no one had gone into those. The rest of the map showed different winding corridors, and large chambers, two ending eventually. Xander had taken something to draw with him, and was thus ready and able to add to the map. He found the weapon room on the map, where eventually an explorer had reached, but had been unable to get to the weapon he had seen. The weapon the villagers had said had an illustrious legendary history spanning back a few centuries.

He quickly identified the path he needed to take, and entered the third cave arm from the right. He knew he had to be careful at first; the road came quite close to a few things designated as demon lair. Once he had ascertained the threat level of the demons here, he would decide what to do with them. It was annoying that either this mountain had natural energy blocking and thus energy sense blocking materials, or it was given those properties, possibly by magic. Once inside the third corridor from the right, light became an issue. Xander charged a small ball of chi that produced enough light to allow him to see, and made it float beside him.

He moved onward, turning a corner, and then another. At that point he became fully aware of the demon presences. He snuck onward, peeked around a left corner, and saw no one. The weapon lay further straight onward, but he decided to check up on this first. He went into the side corridor, and went down it until he came to a crossroads. Left was no one, right was an ugly green-skinned demon, and light beyond him. As the demon came closer, Xander suddenly shot from behind the corner, and wrapped his hands around the demon's head, one hand over the demon's mouth, so he couldn't scream. With a quick yank Xander broke the demon's neck, dragged him back, and held him to see if the life force was flowing out; proof of death. When indeed it was leaving the demon's body, Xander quickly cut open a piece of the wall, dumped the demon in, and closed the wall back up again. That done, he returned to the right corridor and moved cautiously over.

What he found was an entire village, hewn out into the rock walls. A street was down below, and all up walls of the large cave, and built high in between were houses. A nesting ground. All kinds of demons were everywhere, while Xander kept his power masked so as not to be detected. In the distance there was a large stairs, with a - from this distance - small throne on top, on which sat the demon lord: a large dark-blue-skinned monstrosity, of which the details eluded Xander, being to far away. Having seen the place, so he could think strategy, Xander left and returned to the road leading to the weapon.

He made several more winding turns, while the echoing sound of falling water droplets made the place sound spooky. Closing on the treasure room, Xander sensed two demons. Guards apparently, it seemed the demons had found the room and decided to keep it for themselves. He wondered if they already took the weapon. He'd just have to find out. He reabsorbed his ball of energy that had been doing duty as a lantern so the guards wouldn't be alerted when he saw light coming right from the corner leading to the treasure room. He reached the corner, and debated for a moment.

Having made a decision he nodded to himself, and simply turned the corner. Indeed, two demons were in front of the locked door. A door that was elaborately decorated, with a lot of jewels encrusted on it. That was one hell of a door. The torches hanging on either side provided an eery, and low light. The demons looked surprised at Xander's arrival, but since he walked in as if he owned the place and the light wasn't very good, they didn't immediately react. That changed once Xander grinned and charged energy balls in both his hands which he had down around his middle. A moment later Xander put his hands forward and fired the balls. The demons tried to move, but the narrow corridor didn't allow them much. A moment later they were torn apart by small explosions.

Xander reached the door shortly after and looked around if there was a way to open it. He looked back down on the map, and read the cryptic description. Xander smiled and felt across the door. After finding the few buttons, and making sure they were the right ones with the map, Xander pushed the square fields, and then the door audibly unlocked. Xander grabbed the handle and opened the door. He entered the room and his eyes widened.

A few chests on a raised rock ledge were overflowing with jewels, and were of no interest to Xander. The cave room seemed more natural than the corridors, as if someone, or the demons had been smoothing out the cave corridors. Some kind of stand in the back was shining out blue shimmering light. To the left the ceiling slanted down sharply. To the right there was raising, and a lowering of the ceiling like two hills, one upside down. In between them a stick was wedged. The ceiling, though, didn't seem solid rock, but more like a collection of rocks put together, only staying like this because pressures kept them from dislodging. Trickles of water flowed from ceilings, and down walls anywhere; they reflected the shimmering light, adding even greater beauty to the scene. Xander felt like he had stepped in a fairytale cave.

Turning to the right, Xander found that against the front wall, a whole string of different, sometimes shiny objects were placed. Some were simply eating utensils, others were tools it seemed - one axe - and finally there were objects Xander didn't recognize.

So? Where was the weapon? Xander didn't really see any weapon. If the demons had gotten it, unless . . . Xander picked up the map again, and read some of the words Willow had thankfully magically translated for him. He read it again; some of the information seemed more legend than eye witness information - perhaps it was, perhaps the explorers had entered to go look for the legend and had placed the legend on the map, not reality. Xander looked back up again, and at the stick in between ceiling and raised floor. Xander started his walk toward the rod, being extremely careful. He found one trap that he didn't step on, and a few more magical ones, that luckily could be disarmed quite easily with a chi surge. Xander finally reached the rod, and studied it closer. It was a dark grey, close to black with dark green flecks. The outer edges had a different color though, being a deep, dark blue.

"Compliant Rod?" Xander muttered again at the name on the map. He raised his eyebrows, and tried to ascertain whether or not it was booby trapped. It didn't seem that way. He then grabbed the rod, and pulled, then pulled harder. He groaned with the effort, and even put his foot against the ceiling for extra leverage. Xander stopped his pulling, afraid he'd tear the weapon apart instead of dislodging it. Xander took a better look, and indeed the rod was actually imbedded /in/ the rock. He grinned, grabbed the rod again with his left hand, and charged an energy ball with his right. He pointed the ball at the ceiling, and he said, "All or nothing." Then he fired the ball, obliterating large parts of the rock ceiling, and instantly the rod came free.

At the same moment, more of the ceiling came down, the cave groaned, and water came pouring down the destroyed ceiling. The rumbling became louder, and Xander blinked looking up. He grinned self-consciously, and said, "Oops?" Quickly he left the room, being careful not to trigger the traps; although they would soon be triggered anyway, because the rumbling continued to grow, and more rock and stone came falling into the cave. One of them indeed triggered a trap, but Xander was already out.

"Better hurry, this whole place is coming down," Xander told himself. He walked onward with a brisk pace, charging a new energy ball to form a lantern. Then he started experimenting with the rod, wondering what was so special about it. Xander noticed that some parts seemed to be made to grab a hold of. He did, and something told him to make a movement with one of the grips. Suddenly the rod lengthened, crashing into the ceiling and floor alike, cutting into the stone almost like it wasn't even there. Xander was startled, and that made the rod stop expanding. With a few more tests, he noticed how he could control the length, and a horizontal test made him find it could become thirty meters long at its max, and it could lengthen on both sides simultaneously or only one side. Some more experimenting and the rod suddenly thickened, as if new layers just grew, or folded out from the inside out. A quick test found the rod could acquire a diameter of about a meter before it stopped. Another bit of testing revealed the tops of the rod could fold in forming razor sharp points. Along with his weight, of at least a thousand kilograms Xander guessed, this was one hell of a weapon. In the meantime the rumbling grew, and water now flowed down the cave arm. Xander had to hurry.


The moment the first rumblings occurred after Xander freed the compliant rod, the demon lord sitting contentedly on his throne jerked up. He immediately understood, bellowing, "The treasure room! Somebody must have . . ."

"You four, come with me. You get the queen, and prepare her in case we have to leave," the demon lord ordered rapidly, and jumped up, flying rapidly across the village, his four minions following close behind.

They were almost to the exit, when Xander emerged from it. He grinned, swiveling the rod casually. He suddenly jumped forward, past a few demons. The rod shot out suddenly with one demon, smashing through its skull spilling its contents to the ground. The demon then slumped to the floor. This happened on either side, a total of six times, very rapidly. "Compliant indeed," Xander muttered, and then reached the demon lord.

"You /dare/ take that rod away from there!?" the blue-scaled demon screamed. It's blazing yellow eyes, and rows of teeth were frightening to any normal man. Xander wasn't normal.

"I /dare/ kill your subject outside, and I /dare/ kill you!" Xander called, and flexed the rod once more. The rod curled around the demon lord four times, killing his minions as easily as the earlier killed, demon subjects.

The demon roared and attacked. Xander jabbed the rod at the demon lord, but he blocked it with his right arm. Obviously the demon king was made of sterner stuff, although he obviously had pain in his right arm. Xander swivelled the rod, ramming it down upon the demon, who avoided the blow this time. Xander blocked the demon king's next kick, and suddenly elongated the rod. The king just barely avoided the blow. With a roar it unleashed a giant flame from its mouth, coming directly at Xander. Xander thickened the rod, and made it rapidly spin in front of him, deflecting the flame. Xander pulled the thick rod back, elongated it and lashed out a horizontal swipe with all his might. The dragon demon screamed in pain as he was unable to avoid the blow, or raise a defense on time. He was launched away from Xander, who shrank the rod and blasted after the king. Several more powerful hits followed, the demon fighting back, and then Xander finished the fight with a powerful energy ball, tearing apart the demon with the explosion. He then took the head of the monster.

There was a screech then, and startled Xander looked up into a female dragon demon. "YOU KILLED MY HUSBAND!!" she screamed and then pointed at Xander. "KILL HIM! KILL HIM AT ANY COST!!"

Xander smirked at her, pointed behind her and as he started to leave said, "You better get out of here, follow me or something." Xander then blasted off toward the exit, while far behind the female demon the wall collapsed, houses too, with the power of the river. "Follow him!! Kill him! Everyone out!" the demon woman screeched in anger, and sped off after Xander, with many more demons following him out.


Xander flew through the corridors now, as the rumbling of stone and water became louder and louder. Finally he shot out of the Water Curtain Cave, through a much less powerful waterfall. He turned aside, and a moment later water spurt powerfully out of the cave, and then the waterfall collapsed, making the drop much more shallow. Xander quickly flew over to the village, finding his friends with the male villagers behind them.

"What did you do!?" Willow demanded at the still rumbling as the cave was remaking itself.

"Nothing, I just took this," Xander said with a grin, presenting the compliant rod, and making it change shape a bit. "It was rather keeping the ceiling up."

"They're dead?" Faith asked.

Xander dropped the head of the demon king, and said, "The king is, but I don't doubt for a second that his queen and inhabitants of the demon-village will make it out." Indeed, with a thundering sound a side cave wall blew as the queen shot out from it. Hordes of small demons followed her out. The human villagers seemed scared, and Xander asked, "Well?"

Buffy answered, "They're as well trained as they'll ever be before they get here."

Xander nodded and turned to the villages. "Listen, people of Rivierval! Leave the big ones to us, but you are ready and able to take on the small ones. You can either sit in your homes afraid, or it's time to fight back! What do you say!?" The villagers then roared their support, lifting rakes, shovels, and other tools to be used as weapons high in the air. Only a very few had an actual weapon. Xander nodded, with a grin. A few moments later the demon army appeared, and said, "Spread out! You know what to do!" The villagers quickly obeyed, going into the nearby woods, or into the village. Xander and co entered the village themselves.

The demons, so many they might as well be called an army poured into the village.

Snarling and growling,

Angry at the devastation to their cave,

They entered, intent to kill and maim,

Truly a frightening sight to behold

The monkey king took the air,

Taking on the queen, he did,

Twisting dangerously,

The new rod came down,

The queen's orange eyes blazed,

Deflecting the rod, blue-scales bristled,

Twenty times as large as the monkey,

Twice as large as tyrant demon,

One and a half of the demon king,

Ahead a difficult battle lay

Truly, the rod swivelled, and grew,

The rod struck and parried,

The rod thickened and narrowed,

But still the Queen flew firm,

Energy sparked when scales touched rod,

Blasts like fireworks deflected on both sides,

Sky turned to distracting colors

Villagers fought villagers, demon kind,

Shovels decapitated, claws gutted,

Teeth tore green flesh,

Fangs entered pink flesh,

Forks gutted, rakes punctured.

The battle raged across the village,

Women and children safely underground,

The men showed their true mettle,

Demons went down, men stayed standing;

Witches and Slayers helped fulfil this goal,

Where they went, demons feared

Willow had just wrapped one demon in a magical glowing web, which shrunk with the demon's struggles until it cut through its flesh and it died. A whole horde, and three more from either side tried to take down the witch en masse. Willow simply flew up. Then with a mumble her chi-flame ignited in flame, her eyes turned black, and with another spell she fired a massive stream of flame down. The flame licked at the demon's skin, burned it off, liquids exploded out the bodies with the heat. Humans across the town looked back for a moment at the dying screams of the demons, witnessing the flames pouring down from the airborne witch. Then she lowered herself down, firing several more individual flames to a few demons. Then she ran to where more demons fought.

Tara had found herself at the riverside of town. Amongst humans she fought against a growing tide of demons, who still poured from the cave. Tara calmed down, and stood still, focusing her power. A moment later tree roots blocked the way of the demons to the humans, who backed away in surprise. Tara's blue flame of energy erupted, hair flinging around wildly by electricity. She opened her eyes and they were glowing blue, as she spoke her spell. Leaves that had been cut during the battle suddenly were whisked up, the sound of a powerful wind accompanied it. Then suddenly a whirling, powerful, loud tornado emerged on the other side of the roots. The demons screamed as they were pulled up into the tornado, leaves and branches of trees were torn off and pulled into the tornado as well. Water from the river soon joined the tornado, creating a typhoon of raw destructive power that tore demons limb from limb as they were yanked into the sky. Once the demons were defeated Tara let the typhoon disappear, but the water that had been flung around had made Tara and most of the men fighting with her thoroughly wet. No one minded, especially not when her white dress became slightly see-through, and showed her breasts, unknown to herself. They quickly shifted direction, to go help out elsewhere.


Buffy faced a bigger, Bordeaux-red-skinned demon with a whole lot of smaller minions. The village around her was still standing in most of its glory, but if the demons weren't dealt with quickly, that wouldn't stay true. With an energy ball she destroyed a minion, even while she avoided a blow of the bigger one. She landed a solid punch to the two-meter-fifty-tall demon that made him stagger back. The demons piled on top of her, or at least they tried. She quickly jumped back, and looked back, seeing the barn she was standing in front of. She blinked and watched the demons get back up, a few were being lured away by humans, who fought them, but most of them including the bigger one stayed focused on her.

The demons surged forward, and Buffy entered the barn, deciding to diminish the number of demons that could come at her at once . . . unless of course they blew up or burned down the bar. Buffy shook that thought away, as she looked around. Taking these demons on without transforming, and without tapping into enormous amounts of power was taxing. Xander and Tara of all people had come up with the idea to teach the humans how to fight themselves, and make effective weapons out of ordinary tools. To do that, she pretty much had to take them out, one at a time. She had seen Willow and Tara change that tactic a bit, but Willow had been alone, and Tara needed to stem the flow of demons for the time being. From her sixth sense she had gathered though that Tara was now urging the humans on to fight themselves. Buffy needed something that allowed her to kill these demons quickly, without having to charge large amounts of power, and bash their bodies to pieces with fists. An example was needed.

Her eyes suddenly widened when she saw the perfect solution. A few cows mooed, a few chickens scurried about, a pig was nursing a few babies, and there were some goats in the corner of the wooden building, which wasn't what had drawn her attention. Tools were hanging around; none useful - they were already in the hands of the humans - except one. On a hook a large rake hung. Quickly Buffy walked over, blasting away a demon that came charging at her. With a grin she grabbed the rake, absentmindedly counting the prongs: there were nine. Buffy whirled around, letting the rake twist and turn, and she grinned. This thing felt good. She charged her life force, and quickly used it to sharpen the prongs into sharp points.

The demons were coming at her from two sides: the barn had a back exit as well. With a quick swing nine sharp prongs slammed into the torso of a demon, which then bubbled away in a purple slime. "Let's go," she said with a feral grin at the demons, who just growled while they charged her. She hooked her rake into another demon, and twisted around. She tossed the demon off and into an onrushing one, making the corpse and the live one crash to the ground. Over the tangle other demons stumbled. Swinging the rake behind her, she blocked a blow with the handle, and kicked another demon viciously in his stomach. As the demon doubled over, Buffy swung the rake around, raking open nine wounds on three demons in one go, who dropped to the floor. She twisted back to where she had entered, smashing the prongs into a demon's head, while blocking a kick from another demon with an upraised leg.

With a quick burst of chi, Buffy flew over the demons, back out the barn. One demon flew as well, but she blew him away with a small energy ball. With a smile and a vicious roar she brought the rake down upon the bigger demon. The demon with equally red-eyes as his skin blocked the rake, and put a fist in Buffy's stomach. Buffy let out an oof, but didn't let it deter her. She brought the rake back for another spin, but this time it was a faint, and she landed a solid kick to the demon's left thigh. The demon groaned and staggered back. With a roar her chi burst around her, and she swiped the nine-pronged rake - now enveloped with her energy - from left to right. The energy-charged rake crashed through the demon's own flame of energy and penetrated the flesh of his right side. The demon screamed, and staggered back, nine holes with light-emitting green blood oozing from them were clearly visible. As the demon tried to catch himself, Buffy surged forward, a rapidly spinning ball of energy in her right hand, the rake in her left. She rammed the ball into the demon's stomach, and shredded flesh, in a nice neat round hole. She then fired the ball away, sending the demon flying, and twisting around, and then the ball exploded tearing the demon apart, pieces of him flying everywhere.

Buffy rapidly turned around, smashing in the skull of a demon that was trying to attack her from the back. The horde of demons was coming at her again, or rather still, she had just finished off the bigger demon before they could get to her. The humans that had been fighting with her before, and a new contingent of them joined. She didn't know where they came from, but she guessed it were humans who had defeated their own demons, or one of the present configuration of the Scooby Gang had defeated the demons for them. A shovel slammed into a demon's head, making him stagger back, and Buffy grinned at the Asians, and ordered one new contingent, "You circle around, surround them. Let's kill us some demons!"

The humans cheered with enthusiasm and with a bloodthirsty roar all of them charged into the demon horde, except the group that was circling the demons. Soon the demons were forced to fight humans all around them, making the demons standing in the middle of the horde rather useless. With relish Buffy smashed her nine-pronged rake around, puncturing torsos, or tearing off heads with an upward swing that dumped the prongs through the chins of the demons. When a man was about to be killed, Buffy fired and energy ball to kill the demon, and another man dragged the brave, injured fighter just out of harm's way before taking his place.


Faith crashed through a wall, and landed in a primitive bakery. Three powerful demons landing a hit simultaneously was quite something, if she couldn't release all she had. Several minor demons came in through the hole in the wall, and the side entrances. Without thought Faith grabbed a spatula, made from bronze, with a wooden handle. It was about the length of her torso, to allow the baker to reach deep into burning hot ovens. The end had a circle with a hole so it could be hung up. Now it had been lying on the wooden counter, against which Faith had been a standing. With a vicious swipe the spatula end sliced through a demon's neck. Blood spurt forth, but Faith was already out of way, kicking a demon coming to her from her left. The first demon sank to her knees, then to her stomach bleeding to death. The second was launched off his feet, crashing against other demons who fell to the floor.

Faith whirled around, letting the spatula decapitate a green-scaled demon with red horns coming through the hole she had made - for a moment her breath had caught, imagining she had accidentally killed Lorne, but then realized this was a demon, not a souled alien. She continued turning onward till she was facing right, and then thrust the spatula-turned-crude-staff into a demon's gut. He dropped to the floor gurgling. A punch sent a second crashing to the floor unconscious. Blocking a punch with the wide end of the spatula, she turned half around, her arm further onward, and fired six quick energy balls at her former left side. After a few explosions, nine demons were dead, and two more lay groaning on the floor.

Faith then flew back out the hole, crashing in and pulling several demons in the process and crashing into one of the more powerful ones. With a kick the bigger demon crashed into another big demon, and one of average human length that was still powerful. All three demons were green. Around Faith, men faced off against the minor demons. With a roar Faith flew forward and then rammed the spatula through the downed demon's neck, which instantly started vaporizing steadily. The other demons attacked as one, one on either side. Faith placed her left hand to the left demon, charging an energy shield at her hand, while using the spatula to deflect a click, then route aside a punch, blocking a second, and then slamming the flat side into the demon's face. As the demon staggered back, Faith turned to the left demon, and was just in time to smash aside an energy ball. She charged a destructo disc, and a moment later the demon was cut in two. She turned back to the right demon, who had just finished getting a hold of himself. He started firing energy ball after energy ball at her, but Faith simply gathered them in her hands, the spatula awkwardly stuck into the ground, and fired it back. A moment later the returned energy exploded against the demon, and shredded it to pieces.

"Just send the powerful ones to me, guys," Faith told her male, fighting companions with a smile, and swivelled her new chosen weapon rapidly around her wrist. An attacking demon had the unfortunate honor to have his right lower arm hacked off before being killed; and their battle continued. The men grinned at her, and fought on.


"DIE!" the demon queen screamed in anger and emotional pain, missing Xander by a hair. Her massive tail hanging behind lashed out, and Xander avoided it. He smashed his rod into it though, making her pull back. Her long neck lashed out, and her teeth snapped out. Xander twisted to the right, rod locked beneath his left arm pit, firing an energy ball with his right. The ball connected to the dragon queen's belly, and exploded. She screeched in pain, her whole body undulating around. He let the rod thicken and shoot out, but the queen bashed the long pole aside. The rod shrunk rapidly again, and the demon rose higher, and fired a massive ball of energy at Xander.

Xander charged his rod with energy and used it as a baseball bat, smashing the ball in outer space. He shot up, lengthening the rod, and starting a flurry of blows on the demon that was so much larger than him. The growing rod certainly came in handy. It twisted and turned, struck and parried, elongated and shrunk, but the demon queen blocked or parried all of its moves.

The queen then opened her mouth, and like the king she fired a massive storm of fire down at Xander. As before, Xander elongated and thickened the rod, making it swivel rapidly. He also knew this fire storm was much hotter and more destructive than the king's, and so he charged his chi into the rod. The flame hit, and Xander reflected it right back at the demon queen. She screeched for a moment as her own flame singed her, but she was fire inside, and so she was very well protected against flame. "You bastard!" she screamed, and fired energy beams from her eyes.

Xander raised a shield and took the beams to his being, groaning at the strain, and told her, "Yep, and worse."

She screamed in frustration, shifting her entire body and let her tail descend on him. The movement had been fast, and Xander keeping his power deliberately down so the villagers wouldn't look at him again like a god, and give them the consideration they could fight themselves, was too slow to react. The long and think tail was heavy, and thus hurt Xander a lot when he was launched away from her, toward the river. The enraged queen came after him, her long neck and pointed head made her look like an arrow, or better like a spear that was intended to impale the Saiyan.

Raging she opened her mouth, and prepared to fire a new blast of flame, thinking Xander was out of it, and wouldn't be able to react in time. Nothing was further from the truth. Xander quickly righted himself just above the swirling river. He pointed his rod horizontally down at the water, and made it twist even more rapidly than before. The water directly below started turning, becoming a whirlpool being pulled up a little. When Xander charged his rod with chi a moment later, making it glow white, the water was yanked up. The waterspout that formed continued to twist around, and launched up at the demon queen. It splashed into her wide open mouth just as the fire was about the arrive, and flushed down the third pipe in her throat. Growling in rage she was forced to snap her mouth shut, and swallow once. It was too late though, the cold water down the third fire pipe made breathing more fire impossible for the time being.

Xander flew upward, and rammed his rod with all his might on the top of the coughing demon's head. She yelled out in pain, several trickles of blood oozing down her angular face. It angered her. She grabbed for him, and managed to snatched him. "I will squeeze you to death," she growled low, and started doing exactly that.

Xander struggled for a few moments, seeing the demon queen's head taking him in with relish, anticipating him going splash. With a little effort he wiggled his rod arm free, and with a quick motion, elongated it and turned the tip to a point. The rod tore through the demon's left eyeball, and she screamed in pain. The rod continued, but because of the size of the monstrous queen, the rod came just short of her brain. No matter, the demon let Xander go as she grabbed for her eye. Xander shrunk the rod back, flew forward suddenly, and made a devastating uppercut. His arm and hand glowed Super Saiyan golden the moment he made the attack, and he tore through the dragon demon's head. The angular beak completely tore off, and then the rest of the head splattered open. The painful scream ended, the body shuddered once, and then while the chi stopped flowing she dropped down to the floor, crashing down onto the ground with a thunderous sound and stayed there.

When the villagers noted the demise of the great dragon queen, they cheered loudly, before renewing their attack. With the villagers having a second wind from the euphoria, and the demons the exact opposite from the demise of their queen, the demons no longer had a chance. They were slaughtered left and right, and the smarter ones who had the opportunity fled into the woods.

Xander and his friends gathered together on the ground, the Slayers still carrying their acquired 'weapons'. Around them the villagers screamed out with joy, dancing around, except those that lost friends and loved ones. The women and children were then brought up from their hiding places underground and all cheered and danced.

Soon though, they paused for a moment to honor their saviors. Before they could do so however, Buffy said loudly, "Uhm, to who belongs that barn? I borrowed this." Faith said about the same about her spatula.

Two men came forward, and the first told Buffy, "Keep it, great warrioress, it has worked well for you."

"Same here, oh, dark one," the second called to Faith. Buffy and Faith were a little confused.

The leader of the village then stepped forward, and spoke, "Great heroes, all. Saints and saviors, and a true leader, a king." The Scoobs looked with wide eyes when that announcement came. They had so tried not to look like gods, so they had become this instead, not a particular better scenario. "We wish to honor you, and place you on a pedestal, make your our great leaders and saints . . ."

"Ah, ah, ah!" Xander called out quickly. "We can't stay, but even if we could, I'm not that much of a nice guy. I'm just me; I've screwed up, been bad, neglected friends, I might neglect you - not me . . ."

The whole throng of people looked at the four. Faith quickly spoke up, "I even killed a person. I was evil and psychotic once. I'm just a flawed fallen girl struggling to get back up, inspired by better people to do so, so I don't deserve to be a saint, uh, uh, no way am I one."

Buffy quickly realized too the people were about to embarrass her, particularly with her sordid last year, so she quickly told the villagers, "I'm bad too. Thought I was better than everyone else, didn't think I needed to work much; even slept with demons to prove it, I'm really, really bad." Indeed the people looked disgusted when she revealed the sex with demons part. "I too am just busy becoming a better person, don't look at me for a saint!"

Willow gulped with a similar realization, and protested, "I'm no saint material either. I let the power go to my head: let it corrupt me, tried to mentally rape my girlfriend, and tried to kill my friends. I too am trying to better myself!"

There was a moment of silence, and then all four of them pointed right, directly at Tara, and spoke together, "Her you want. /She's/ the saint. Never did a wrong thing in her life. Gentle, forgiving, humble - one giant saint."

Tara had listened to her friends like a dear caught in headlights, and more so when the villagers turned to her. "Huh what?" she managed before the crowd surged toward and several picked her off the ground. "Aah, put me down!" Tara said weakly as she was lifted on a man's shoulders.

As they paraded the distraught girl around the town, the people yelled, "Great Saint Tara! Long live saint Tara!"

A second group suddenly surged forward, and lifted Xander up similarly, "Hey, no! I'm not- . . ."

"Long live King Alexander, the Monkey King!" the people yelled out enthusiastically. "King Alexander! Alexander!"

"It's not Alexander, it's Xander . . . and we leave!" Xander called out with annoyance, trying to crawl off without hurting anyone.

"We know, just for tonight!" a few yelled, and then the whole crowd went, "King Alexander! Our great protector! Our king!"

"No, no, it's Xa- . . . ah, forget it!" Xander exclaimed and resigned himself.

Faith, Buffy, and Willow looked at the scene, and then Willow said, "Phew."

"Yeah, that was close," Faith added, looking at the partying people, one group yelling for 'Saint Tara', the other for 'King Alexander'.

"I'm hungry," Buffy pouted.

Faith and Willow turned their heads to Buffy, and Willow said, "What? Again?"

"I didn't have breakfast, and there was no lunch waiting for Xander to return and giving these people a quick training," Buffy defended herself.

"Why didn't you get breakfast then?" Faith said exasperated.

"Nothing that looked or smelled good," Buffy pouted again, which reminded her. "HEY! WHAT'S FOR DINER!?"

"Dragon!" a few people yelled back, pointing at the dead demon queen.

"Dragon barbeque, could be tasty," Buffy thought out loud, and Willow and Faith groaned. "What?"

Episode 68
Trapped Beneath a Mountain

Golden Armor Saves the Day

The five of them walked through the mountainous region, two donkeys with supplies dutifully trudging behind them. They were at a height that trees didn't really grow anymore, except for the occasional one. The rest was simply either sand, grass, or bushes. The place was rather depressing really; best explained with the following poem.

Dark it wasn't,

Bland it was,

Creepy it wasn't,

Empty it was,

Dangerous it wasn't,

Brownish it was,

The grey sky completed it all.

The few sounds of animals,

Added no spice to the flavor

"I'm bored," Faith complained, as they were walking close together in a group. "We've been walking for hours. Isn't there something one can /do/ while walking? Something to break through the mind numbing boredom?"

For a few moments everyone just continued walking, then Tara said, "I spy with my little eye, something that is . . . grey." Everyone turned their head to look at her. "Ok, n-nobody in the mood for childhood nostalgia, I see."

They walked onward some more, seconds turned to a minute, then two. Buffy - unlike Xander and Faith who had their weapons on their backs - placed the back end of her rake's in the soil with every right step, and spoke, "I spy with my little eye something that is green and brown." They looked at her and she shrugged.

"The trees," Willow answered with a slight smile. Buffy nodded grinning. Faith turned her head away with disgust. Xander just continued to look forward, angry. Tara started smiling, and Willow said, "I spy with my little eye, something that is grey."

"The sky!" Tara answered immediately, having said the same thing earlier.

"Nope," Willow said with a smile, and Tara looked disappointed.

"That rock," Faith said reluctantly.

Willow scowled at Faith, that /she/ of all people had to guess right! "Yes," she said.

Faith couldn't believe this. Why had she answered? She couldn't help but picture Zoey and Archie loving this game, and she smiled a bit. "I spy with my little eye, something that is white."

"Tara's clothes!" Buffy guessed with a big grin; this was getting fun.

"No," Faith answered.

"The snowy tops," Tara answered quickly. Faith nodded.

The five of them reached a narrow passageway between two mountains. It was really just a quick meet of the mountains. They crossed and looked down in a wide green valley, with a river running through it. In the far distance a small village was barely visible to all of them. "Wow," Buffy said in amazement.

"I spy with my little eye something very, very beautiful," Tara said looking around with large eyes.

The others smiled, and Xander said for the first time in quite a while, "Yep." He jumped, and landed a kilometer further in the high grass. The others landed next to him soon after. He gave them a smile and they continued walking, looking around the valley.

"Wow, almost makes you say, let's stay and not go back, eh?" Faith commented looking at the beautiful scenery. Tara nodded.

They all looked up when they felt it, and were just in time to see two beings teleport in. Xander grinned upwards, even as one of the two evidently gods spoke, "*Alexander Lavelle Harris . . .*" Xander's already angry look became much worse after that. The gods didn't care, the one simply continued speaking, "*. . . the mortal who would call himself the Monkey God, the one daring to defy the gods, crowning himself king of mankind. I, Bhima, command you and your companions to come with us, so you will be punished for your crimes.*" The god was dressed in a shiny armor, had green skin and the teeth of a crocodile.

"*I Vayu, lord of the wind, command the same,*" the second god, seemingly perpetually covered in a tornado, having glowing blue eyes added.

Xander laughed; laughter filled with scorn, rage and anger. The gods seemed perturbed, and even shocked at it. Xander's companions looked at each other, as Xander lifted laughing into the air, to the gods' even greater surprise. "I think he'd like to take this alone," Buffy commented, and the other three nodded, silently agreeing to leave them to Xander.

Xander in the meantime reached the gods' height, pulled his rod from his back and said, "You arrogant little pricks, you actually think I will just come with you?"

The gods looked at him somewhat surprised, apparently this turn of events wasn't exactly in the planing. It seemed the two gods and whoever was with them considered themselves so well known and fearsome nobody would dare defy them. "*YOU WILL COME WITH US NOW, OR SUFFER THE CONSEQUENCES!*" Vayu thundered with a hollow wide-spreading voice.

Xander chuckled while he swivelled his rod. "Well, then, show me the consequences," Xander said with a grin. With roars of outrage the two gods powered up - Bhima gaining a powerful green chi-flame, Vayu a white one. Xander powered up himself, gaining a white chi flame himself.

With an angry rage Vayu send a powerful whirlwind at Xander. Xander swivelled his rod after lengthening it and powering it with chi, and the resulting airstream cancelled out the tornado. At the same time he made a quick kick to Bhima's face which connected. The god groaned and flew backward. Xander twisted and fired an energy ball. The ball connected and the resulting explosion obviously hurt the wind god. Vayu charged with a roar, hitting Xander across the face. A little blood shot from Xander's mouth, but his right foot smashed into the god's abdomen - it was rather difficult to get past the whirlwind, but Xander managed. He groaned, doubling over a bit and tried straightening up.

Xander got caught in a powerful beam of energy coming from Bhima. Xander was forced back under the onslaught, but quickly freed himself. Xander fired two destructo discs at Bhima, who was forced to avoid. The discs though turned around, and returned, while Xander focused on Vayu. He thickened the rod and brought it down. The god deflected the rod, and was shocked at the power and weight behind it, so much the hit actually hurt his arm. Xander immediately switched the rod and attacked Vayu sideways. Vayu quickly went higher, letting the rod go beneath him. He fired balls of wind down that upon impact actually cut into Xander, much to his surprise. He flew up after Vayu, trying to avoid the balls, but not succeeding with all of them. He finally landed his rod on the god's head that sent it reeling back, groaning in pain and grabbing his cheek.

Meanwhile Bhima had managed to blow away the cutting discs, but not before they made a cut on his arm, and one on his chest. Less positive was that they were already healing, albeit slowly. With a yell he fired four bolts of energy from his eyes, two pairs. Xander got hit with the first, but with some difficulty he managed to avoid the second. He backed up a bit as the two gods prepared a new coordinated assault. Xander grimaced at the pain of the energy bolts attack, but ignored it. When the attack was started, Xander attacked himself. He simply moved straight forward, right in between the two gods who looked surprised - interrupting their attack. Xander suddenly lengthened the rod on both sides, forming to points on either side. A moment later the rod, surrounded by some of Xander chi, sliced through the gods' energy fields. It penetrated Bhima's armor and Vayu's stomach.

Powerful yells, and groans of pain came from both gods - Bhima's much less than Vayu's - and Xander grinned. He had effectively stopped their attack and was now in the advantage. He started twisting, turning, and swiveling the rod in every direction. The gods screamed. Sudden Xander launched Bhima down, followed by Vayu. The dizzy gods managed to stop themselves, and then looked up, feeling their slowly healing wounds.

"*We heal,*" Vayu commented.

As he shortened his rod to normal length again, Xander grinned, "You can't hurt me."

The gods looked mightily angry, and then their power rose with an enormous burst. Xander raised eyebrows in appreciation of the new power. The sky darkened, lightning flashed and a massive tornado touched down right next to Xander. It headed straight for him, and he looked at it. A moment later he was engulfed twisting and tumbling around by the air currents. The gods grinned with satisfaction, until two bright white explosions exploded within the tornado and it was dissipated. "You'll have to do better than that," Xander commented angrily, his teeth bared, then he shot down at them.

Bhima moved aside, as Xander went for the wind god. His devastating, angry punch crashed against Vayu's chin and the god twisted aside with the impact, groaning in pain. Both gods suddenly fired huge balls of energy at Xander. The balls exploded on the Saiyan, tearing at his being and flesh, making him yell in pain. He was flung aside and then the gods shot forward landing two fists simultaneously in Xander's gut. The finished up with a downward elbow straight against Xander's head. Xander suddenly shot downward diagonally with enormous speed until he crashed into right mountain, a quarter up from the foot.

Vayu, still looking hurt and angry from hits Xander had landed, roared. The black clouds reformed a tornado, a massive one this time and it touched down upon the top of the opposite mountain. The tornado intensified, and grew bigger. Multiple lightning bolts came crashing down from the clouds and horizontal from the tornado itself. The upper two hundred meters of the mountain started cracking and bursting. It then blasted apart, large boulders being sucked into the tornado, which changed orientation and a moment later the entire upper two hundred meters of mountain were brought powerfully down upon where Xander had crashed into the opposite mountain. When done Bhima fired beams of energy from his index fingers, directly where the rock had gone.


Buffy, Faith, Willow, and Tara looked rather shocked. The donkeys had long stopped bleating once they realized the humans were too powerful to escape from and weren't listening, but still look terrified, breathing heavily, audibly. The dust cleared, and it revealed Xander stuck beneath the mountain just dumped on him, which had been fused together by Bhima. Only Xander's head, his hands, his feet and ankles, and a piece of the rod were out in the open.

"Where is the finesse? The strategy? The subtlety? His enjoyment in the fight?" Faith wondered out loud.

"It's gone," Buffy said sadly.

"There's only the anger," Tara said sadly, looking at Xander trapped beneath the mountain.

Willow nodded, and said, "Before he tortured Anya's killer to death I didn't think he could be like this."

"Same here, but with that demon of the same species," Faith muttered in shock.

"Should we help out?" Buffy pouted.

"Nah, I think Xander needs to release some more steam," Faith replied, and Willow and Tara nodded in agreement.


Xander pulled and shoved, but the rock wouldn't move. He was starting to get pissed off.

"*Foolish mortal,*" Vayu stated with thundering voice as the storm continued to blow above him. "*You never stood a chance.*"

"*Indeed,*" Bhima's divine booming voice added.

Xander stopped struggling and closed his eyes, angling his head down. He started a soft chuckling which steadily formed into a loud laughter. "You fools, you don't think a little mountain will stop me, do you?" Xander said, and looked up, showing the gods his green pupil-less eyes. The gods actually shivered at the cold, ruthless rage they could see in there. With a roar of anger, bolts of golden energy flashed around Xander. His hair waved up, turned golden, and then with an explosion his golden chi-flame erupted around him, exploded rock and debris upward. A fountain of the pebbles and bigger rocks spurt upward, as Xander shot into the air, finally stopping at the gods' height.

The two gods looked with shock at the teeth-bared rage on the now golden figure. And the power . . . they powered up to their max determined to fight him to a standstill. Xander shot forward, and crashed his fist across Vayu, who was launched away from him, shooting across the valley. Bhima shot backward away from Xander and fired five powerful energy balls at him. To the god's shock Xander simply emerged from the explosions unscathed. The angry face, obscured by the golden energy that circled and swirled around who the mortals had dubbed 'the Monkey God' had absorbed the blasts, like an impenetrable armor. With a roar the golden being powered up even more, his hands and rod up with the rage, a sphere of energy blasting outward. Bhima felt it wash over him, and was shocked at the power. No mortal should be able to wield such power. Xander turned to nothing but a blur and shot at Bhima. The crocodile-face god was astonished, and then yelled in pain when the rod was rammed straight through his armor, through his stomach and out the other side. He doubled over at the pain of the impalement.

"HOW DO YOU LIKE THE POWER OF THE SUPER SAIYAN!?"" Xander yelled out in anger as a bugged-eyed from pain Bhima was hardly able to move.

Xander laughed, then grinned. A lightning bolt struck him then, followed by a second. He screamed in pain and looked over at the wind god who had recovered enough to put the power of the storm to work. The wind god flinched at the rage-filled face, giving Xander a chance to attack. With a roar Xander flew back a bit, pulling the rod back out and yelled, "TANEKAKOSA!" The beam shot out and engulfed Bhima, obliterating the god a moment later, sending only parts of the lower arms and the feet flinging away. The rest was vaporized.

With a roar Xander shot away toward the Vayu. The god's eyes widened, then he disappeared in a sparkle of energy. When the god was gone, the storm slowly died down. "Bastard, better stay away if you know what's good for you!" Xander hissed with anger. A few moments later he calmed down, letting his chi-flame die out and he returned to his friends.

"Feel better, Xan?" Willow wondered.

Xander looked at her, and then broke in a small smile, shrugging, transforming down. He returned the rod to his back, shortening it, and said, "Let's just say it relieved some stress."

The other three girls looked with a little concern at the seeming perpetually angry Xander, but put it behind them. Buffy was the one to suggest, "Let's trek on, perhaps we can reach that village before nightfall, and have a nice bed or what passes for one in this time instead of hard ground with a bad excuse for a pillow." So decided, the fivesome walked onward. The donkeys followed.

Episode 69
At Spear Mountain They Are Captured

The Fiendish Fillet

The fivesome and their donkeys reached the edge of a forest and looked around. Not too far into the forest - about three kilometers they estimated - was a rather odd-shaped mountain. It was a rising hill, and on top if it there seemed to be a whole range of rock-pillars. A lot of them seemed to be coming to a points. Quite frankly it didn't look exactly natural.

"That looks kind of artificial," Willow spoke up examining the odd mountain.

"Yeah, I'm hungry though," Xander commented looking at the forest. He looked back as his sixth sense told him something. "So are the donkeys. Thirsty too."

Faith walked over to one of the two and stroked him over his nose has he breathed hard. "They're tired too," Faith said then looked up at the others. "A little rest, food and drink would do all of us good, or not?"

"It's close to sunset too," Tara observed as the sun steadily went down, nearly reaching the horizon.

Buffy nodded, and she and Willow simultaneously extended their senses. Soon they looked to the south, and Willow announced, "There's something of a small collection of houses that way. Perhaps we should ask if they are willing to offer us some food and lodging; and if not, we could trade."

"I'm all for it," Xander said.

"Me too," Buffy added. The others added their agreement, and then they changed direction and began walking.

Tara went to the other donkey and stroked it too, saying, "Good girl, just a short distance more and you'll get rest."


Fifteen minutes later they reached the collection of six houses. They was made of branches and mud, and some more things put together. Truly primitive houses, especially compared to the ones they came across the villages earlier. Each house had a second similar structure standing near the first. Further there were patches of land not much more than small gardens; in which some vegetables were planted. To the east of the collection of houses was a larger patch of obviously farm land. One part of it was empty, another had small starting to grow grain stems in it. The small collection of houses worked the bigger patch together and equally shared what came from it.

The fivesome went over to the door of the first house and Tara knocked on it. A moment later it opened revealing a suspicious man and a small child that crawled over and took a hold on his lower right leg. "Hello, sir," Tara said with a smile, give a light bow of respect. The man looked strangely at her for a moment, and then decided to return her the bow. "I am Tara. Me and my friends are travelers, and we were hoping if you would give us lodging, some drink and food for the night. If necessary we have some things we could trade for it."

The man looked at Tara, and then from her to the other four, who offered him a smile. His face brightened when he saw the tired donkeys, and he said, "I'm Miang. I don't have room in the house, but the barn could do, if you don't mind sharing it with my animals and your own."

"That's not a problem, sir," Tara said with a smile.

"Sleep is for free, food and drink I will bring later, but I have to demand something in return for it, we do not have that much, and can't afford to give it away," Miang added.


Half an hour later they were lying in the small barn. All of them had made themselves a pillow from straw and were resting their heads on it. The price for the food they were chewing, and the water in the small bucket, which they were sipping from thin tin cups without a handle, had been reasonable they guessed. That was the problem with not knowing standard prizes. There were three goats and a donkey in the small barn, not counting their own two donkeys. The animals too had water and food.

When all had lain down to go to sleep, Buffy asked, "Xan, how long do you think it's going to take to find her?"

"However long it takes; I'm guessing a few months or so," Xander answered, and everyone listened closely.

"Is it dangerous to the time line?" Buffy wondered, getting doubts about this whole ordeal. They had already become biblical it seemed, but what of the other things they'd done since then?

"As long as we don't do some things we know are blatantly impossible to have happened, it shouldn't be a problem, seeing as we were here in our known history as well, we just didn't know it was us. Hera being here though, that's more dangerous; she knows the exact future, and what did or didn't happen," Xander commented with a thought.

"In how many more myths and legends do you think we'll end up in?" Faith was the one to ask.

Xander sat up a bit, his silhouette only slightly visible in the dark, except to Slayer night sight. He grinned and said, "Knowing us, thousands." Silence greeted the announcement for a little more than a second, then four female chuckles were returned as answer.


Deep inside Spear mountain, at the same time, something sinister was occurring. On four thrones - positioned in a square, each throne directly on the four wind directions - four large demons sat. Each was around two and a half meters tall. They wore crowns, and shiny armor. In the middle of the thrones there was a fifth one raised higher than the others, and a fifth larger demon sat there; wearing an even bigger crown, and an even shinier armor. They were truly worthy of song and poem, and so they existed:

The saber-toothed devourer of the West;

How terrifyingly magnificent he was:

His saberteeth a foot long,

His extendable claws equal in length,

Found in feet and hands,

Black-spotted, green fur camouflage,

Purple slitted eyes, and black horns,

All were only outdone by his armor,

Magic imbued, and jewel encrusted,

It was a mighty armor indeed,

His matching magic spear,

His fearsome image finished:


The hawk-eyed destroyer of the North;

How deadly were her razor-sharp, rounded teeth,

Her beak with them even more fearsome,

Powerful claws meant to kill,

Contrasted wings meant to fly,

Oppression and freedom in one,

Body covered in ringed armor,

And mighty sword sheathed next to her in stand,

She was ready to kill always:


The purple-skinned death-bringer of the East:

How fearsome were his muscles,

Deadly spikes from his elbows,

A hundred horns from his head,

Another thousand down his back

Eyes as cold as ice,

Eyes as white as ice,

Armor paling the sun in splendor,

Matching halbert let's not forget,

A proper addition indeed:


The armored devastator of the South:

How icky was her natural armor,

Six black limbs in all,

Composite eyes to boot,

Vision infinite,

Claws adorned limps,

Mouth could spew,

Energy and acid,

Second shiny armor to be certain,

As weapons four curved daggers

Deadly and strong:


Snake in the middle and nowhere:

Three long necks,

Three heads,

Three sets of fangs,

Different purpose each,

Deadly all,

Brown hide scaled and tough,

Arms like concrete pillars,

Legs no less so,

He was an engine of destruction:


The demons were just finishing a feast, while below them their subjects were still heavily having theirs. The room hewn out of rock, with many decorations and furniture was filled with demons sitting at tables, gnawing through flesh: beef, pork, chicken, human - they ate it all. Sharp teeth, fangs often, helped with eating the meat. There were two thousand of them in this room alone, and undoubtedly there were more. Some of the future meals - human slaves, some sex slaves - were filling up cups and delivering more food to the demons. The humans were retched beings who had lost all hope long ago.

With swirling energy a goddess appeared before the kings. "Sissaksron," the goddess greeted bitterly. Most of the little demons stopped their food, and eyed the goddess. Those with the least training or common sense were wondering if she was food.

"Cawun Yinas," the main king stated looking her over. "You have a lot of nerve coming down here. I could kill you."

"You could try," the goddess in see-through garbs, her hair in a bun, replied. She had an Asian complexion, and was wearing a jeweled girdle, a brassiere made from silver, platinum, and gold, a set of skimpy panties and finally two large beautiful earrings. "But you'd miss what I'm about to tell you." All three of the snake-like heads of the king grinned an evil smile, baring its fangs, and it sent a shudder through the goddess. The king then made a gesture for her to go on. "A new power has arisen, he came from space . . ."

"We've seen the ship entering the atmosphere, and we felt glimpses of his power," Shinshirra slithered out of her insectoid mouth, impatient.

"He and his companions are hiding most of their power, unless they're fighting," Cawun spoke with determination. "He's destroyed the gods of Eikaan, only just killed Bhima, and injured Vayu in the process, although Vayu's healed by now."

"Good riddance," Sissaksron said with an amused smile, or rather three amused smiles. "I think I like this guy."

"He's also killed the demons of Water Curtain Cave," Cawun told him, and the snake-demon was no longer so happy. "Not so confident now, eh? He's a mortal, and he seems not to like either side. He's trained the apes of Rivierval some basic defense techniques, taught them how to forge weapons, as well as some basic magic by one of his companions. Those stupid monkeys consider him their king, the Monkey God they call him. He says he's a Suder Soiyan or something like that, said Vayu. And oh yeah, he's about ready to enter these woods."

The goddess and the demons took each other in, just looking at each other for a moment, and then Sissaksron, said, "Go on."

Cawun smiled, and said, "Obviously this 'Monky God' needs to be punished for his crimes, and you don't want to be killed by him, so we- or rather I, devised a plan." Cawun held up her hand and a cannister appeared in her hand. "It's gas, it should put them into unconsciousness, but not affect you and your demon minions. I want him alive so I can make and example out of him, you can do with the others as you wish."

The king grinned, chuckling, and then said, "Why should I engage him? He might not detect me, and if he does, pass me by. He seems to be heading somewhere, perhaps he won't notice me, and perhaps if he does he won't care."

"Can you take that chance?" Cawun asked him with an angry grin. Sissaksron hissed, three tongues slithered outside his mouths. One head suddenly shot forward, neck elongating and took the cannister it its mouth, bringing it back to him. Cawun smiled, and tossed a small ball to Tarron. The furred demon grabbed it, and the goddess told them, "Contact me with that device once you have him." The goddess then disappeared in another sparkle of light.

"First thing in the morning," Sissaksron hissed annoyed, "we work on anti-teleportation shield. If she can barge in, all the gods can, and I hate it when my dinner is interrupted. Then we'll capture ourselves a monkey."


The group of five had entered the forest a while ago, and Willow noticed Xander's uncomfort. "What's wrong, Xander?" Willow asked, but was mostly drowned out by the donkeys' bleating loudly.

Xander looked over, while Buffy and Faith started checking up on the donkeys, since they had been bleating for a while now and were getting fed up and concerned. Willow yelled out her repeat of the question, and Xander said, "My intestines are rather upset. Uncomfortable sensation, and the occasional bowel movement."

Faith and Buffy felt along a donkey each, letting their senses feel around the animals. The donkeys lifted their tails and squirted out powerful, thin, liquid almost, poop. The donkeys seemed to settle down, but only a little bit. They were obvious still in discomfort and possibly even pain. "Urgh!" Xander exclaimed and then took a jump away. An 'aah', a moment later from a distance away told the girls that he too had an attack of the runs. They looked at each other rather dumbfounded, and a moment later Xander returned, saying, "That's better, but I definitely don't feel okay." He felt his gut gingerly.

"What is it?" Tara asked Xander. "Poison? Magic spell?"

"Not cooked water," Faith supplied her own theory. "I think there was just something bad in the water or food. The people we stayed with don't seem to cook their water first. There were probably bacteria."

"Why weren't we affected?" Buffy wondered.

"Where we stayed don't seem to be affected either," Xander added, still holding his gut. "Humans must have gotten an immunity to the bacteria a long time ago, even from this time perhaps; me being Saiyan and only having had sterilized water on another continent, 10,000 years in the future . . ."

"That sucks, it can't feel good," Willow gingerly said taking Xander.

"Let's just move on, the donkeys and me will live," Xander said, turning around and starting to walk again. The girls nodded and continued, leading the donkeys along, trying to sooth the smarting animals.

A short while later Xander was holding his stomach and farting regularly, as were the donkeys, apart from holding their stomachs of course. The four girls were swinging their hands in front of their noses to try and get the stench of three beings having diarrhea away from themselves. "Ugh, Xan, how can you smell so bad," Faith muttered in disgust.

"I'm sick, it's not /my/ fault," Xander answered annoyed. "Oh!" he suddenly exclaimed, blinked twice and then quickly ran into the forest away from the path. The girls looked astonished and the donkeys started fart-shitting more.

"Ugh, that smell," Buffy complained, "Don't either of you have an air freshener spell?"

Willow and Tara looked at each other, and the latter said, "We could try."

While the Slayers stroked the donkeys heads, the witches joined together, discussing a way to do it; while all breathed through their mouths as much as they could. Suddenly out of nowhere green gas suddenly came surging up out of holes in the ground. The holes were in a wide area. Occupied with the spell and soothing the animals, non of the four were prepared for the sudden gas. With demons suddenly jumping out of the woodwork, freeing themselves of their energy concealment, the suddenness and confusing aspect of the attack was complete. Buffy, Faith, Willow, and Tara didn't know where to look first, so they breathed in several lungfuls of the gas and promptly slumped to the ground unconscious. The donkeys soon followed.

"Can we eat them?" one demon with sharp fangs asked with a wide grin.

"No, you doofus, the masters wanted them alive, remember?" another small demon told his companion.

"I meant the donkeys, idiot!" the other demon yelled back.

"Let's take 'em with us, our group will have a feast tonight!" another demon said, and they all cheered on their victory, as one of them walked over and started shackling the four girls.


Meanwhile Xander was busy crapping his guts out, groaning with the effort. Quite a bit of thin excrement was splashed against the tree. After feeling the bad full feeling in his intestines, Xander muttered, "Damn, at this rate I'll be at another tree in no time." He thought for a moment, and thought, *Perhaps if I put some chi into it, I'll be able push out more, right.* With a powerful moan Xander pushed, pushing his chi out and down, making him glow. He indeed succeeded in pushing out more the thin goop that was his excrement during this infection. Just when he was busy with a good crap, green gas sprouted from holes in the ground around him. He looked up in shock, and reflexively formed the chi he had been using to take a good shit around him in a shield.

The green gas rapidly formed around him, as demon signatures assaulted his senses from all around him. Almost automatically he stood up. They had to have been hiding their power or he'd have known they were there. He raised his power rapidly, and reinforced his shield just as the first demon apart from the gas just before him and crashed painfully into his shield, and bounced back. Visibility was obviously pretty much zero, Xander observed. So too did he observe he had felt the demon impacting on his shield. They were quite powerful, nothing like him of course, but sheer numbers could overwhelm him at the power Xander was now. He raised his power more when easily twenty demons came jumping at him. With a roar he shot forward, and crashed with his shield against a demon, sending him away. He turned around and fired an energy ball, making sure it was with the same frequency as his shield, and obliterated another demon. The cold rage in his being was growing, but he put a lit on it. He landed, took a step, and with a yell he stumbled over his own pants. Angrily he pulled some leaves off a bush, dumped it in his underwear so he could clean his ass properly later, pulled up his pants. He didn't know about his friends, apart from the fact that he felt no significant power increasing meaning they weren't fighting, thus simply powering up, transforming, and releasing everything he had would undoubtedly allow him to dispel the gas, but risk harming his friends himself, or by however was doing this. Now that that option was out of the way, he realized there wasn't that much breathable air in his little safe bubble, so he blasted away, up into the air, avoiding the demons. Once above the gas he flew off to the north until he was well clear of the sleeping gas. He'd have to think of a plan.


"Did you get them?" Cawun asked once she materialized, after the demons called her.

"We got his friends, he formed a chi shield around him, keeping the gas from getting to him," Sissaksron told her steadily.

"YOU IDIOTS!!" she yelled out in anger.

The snake's middle head suddenly elongated, curled down, and stopped right in front of her face. "Do /not/ forget yourself," the snake hissed out angrily with his on head. "You think you're strong, but you're not strong enough for all of us. We're not your subordinates; one more peep, and you'll wish you never came here." The demon king and the goddess stared each other angrily in the eyes for a few moments, then she turned her head away in disgust. "Do you have more of the gas?"

"That won't work," the goddess said in frustration. "If he couldn't be surprised the first time around, he'll never fall for it now. Even if he just got lucky, he'll be on guard now . . . waiiit, I have an idea. I'll be right back." The goddess sparkled out of existence. The demon lords looked at each other for a moment, and then Cuwan returned the same way she left. Then she tossed something to Grendor. The purple demon grabbed it, and held it up for his companions to see. It was a small round band; a fillet for around the head. It was however not made of metal, but energy. It was purple and it constantly swirled as it flowed through a non existent tube.

"What's this for?" Grendor rumbled.

"It's a fillet, put it on his head, and say this Tight-Fillet Spell: 'Tian, tight, ting, dano, min', if you do so, the fillet will contract; stop saying it and the fillet will go back to its previous size, continue to say it and it will continue to contract: it will cause him unbearable pain and submit, if he does not, it will eventually crack its head," the goddess with an evil grin. "It can't be broken, he won't be able to get this off, he'll be at your mercy."

Sissaksron was angry at that, and spoke, "And how do you suppose we get it on? Ask him? This is even more difficult than the gas I say."

"Your wrong about the last, how to do it though is your burden. Now capture him," the goddess spoke, and then sparkled out of existence.

"That bitch," Shinshirra spoke with a grimace. "Anyone have an idea? I doubt we can trick him in putting it on."


With a groan Buffy awoke, and looked around. Where was she? The room of stark rock, and the barred door quickly identified it as a prison. Her three female companions were scattered around the place, and slowly coming to. All their arms, like her own, were shackled on their backs, their feet bound as well, and they were wearing a collar. The shackles and color were made of the same material: a metal substance, but they felt warm, and prickling to the touch.

"Where are we?" Tara asked no one in particular.

"In a prison, I'm guessing in the mountain with all those spear-shapes on it," Buffy answered, and then went about struggling against the shackles. Her power should allow her to break it, if not, going Super would most definitely allow her to do it. She put all her effort into it, groaning, and struggling. Next to her Faith was doing the same thing, neither could even strain the shackles it seemed, and the Slayers soon realized why.

"Fuck, I can't access my chi," Faith said in frustration, and then screamed out trying to transform. Willow and Tara looked at it for a moment, lying in the right direction, and then went about their own attempts.

"No magic either," Willow said sadly, "these shackles, they're emitting an energy field, it's messing with our energy."

Faith stopped screaming, unable to transform either. Tara, Willow and Buffy stopped their struggling as well. Faith said, "Damn, I guess we have no choice but to wait till Xander rescues us."

"Huh? What? No, no!" Willow exclaimed in annoyance. "There's got to be another way, perhaps a rock protrusion that allows us to destroy these things, or used as a lock pick, there has to be a way. We can't give up! What are we? Female-empowered super heroes, or stupid damsels in distress?"

For a moment there was silence, and then Buffy said with hunched eyebrows, "At the moment . . . kinda both - except for stupid."

More silence when they pondered that statement. "This sucks," Faith commented. The other three silently agreed.


Xander had hid himself behind a bush, looking at the foot of the large mountain. He had rightly theorized that the demons were holed up inside, and had taken his friends alive, hopefully. The problem now of course was: finding the way inside, and saving his friends. With whatever magics or materials that shielded the insides, and whatever illusion or other method of hiding the entrance, that wasn't going to be easy. He absentmindedly pulled his rod from his back and gently tapped the ground, thinking of a possible way his weapon might help him.

Soon it was no longer necessary, since a piece of the mountain shimmered away, revealing an entrance, and four large powerful demons emerged, along with a lot of smaller demons - almost an army's worth. "Lets find him!" one of the large demons, a winged, hawk-like one spoke, and the army then spread out.

Xander hid further, and watched the demons fan out, and disappear into the forest. Once they were gone the entrance disappeared again, and Xander went over. He could simply transform several times and blast everything aside in his way, but he might hurt his friend accidentally, or they might hurt his friends intentionally as hostages. Didn't they say, 'find him'? Not 'kill him'? Xander smiled, the plan was extremely risky, seeing as Buffy and Faith obviously couldn't power up - and he guessed whatever kept them from doing that, also kept him from contacting them telepathically - but . . . right.

Dear Xander! Grinning he powered up and blasted into the forest. Soon he found his first small demon and blasted him to smithereens before he even knew what was happening. Another followed, and another before the larger demons arrived close to him, as did a large amount of the smaller demons. "COME ON THEN! I'LL TAKE YOU ALL ON!" Xander yelled, his white chi flame burning brightly around him. He fired several blasts up at the demon-kings, and watched how they were easily bashed aside. *So far so good,* Xander thought, as he killed another smaller demon - female this one.

A bunch of the smaller demons revealed a bunch of different kinds of shackles, and Xander could feel the energy it gave off. He grinned: those were the things that kept Faith and Buffy from tearing the whole mountain apart. He zipped to one demon, who fearfully held up shackles for Xander's ankles, and Xander destroyed them. A powerful gust of wind assaulted Xander from the winged demon, and it blasted aside a few of the warriors, but not Xander. An energy blast followed from Tarron, and Xander destroyed another of the chi suppressing restraints. Shinshirra came charging in, letting her two left hands come down holding her curved daggers. Of course, daggers for her, were full fledged swords to Xander. The swords came slicing down for Xander's neck and torso. In an instant Xander had out his compliant rod, which had grown to a good length and thickness. The weapons met and clanged. Xander pushed the daggers aside, and moved the rod up. The rod shot forward, and with sharp point it rammed into the insectoid demon's armor. The armor glowed with energy when it absorbed most of the impact, but not all of it. The insect hissed out pain as she doubled over a bit. Xander angled up the rod and let it lengthen rapidly while he pushed it up. With a yell of pain the rod finally reached the tall demon's chin. It penetrated, but since the demon shot up and flew back in pain it only chipped of a piece of its exoskeleton.

With a roar Tarron attacked with his spear, and Xander moved aside a bit, blocking the spear with his rod. As they came together both weapons shimmered with magical energy. Xander let the rod lengthen at the demon, who blocked it with his weapon in turn, making sparks fly. Xander then flew backward and flung a destructo disc at the saber-toothed demon. Tarron avoided the disc, but could not save his spear the same way. The disc impacted and cut with some difficulty through the magical weapon, which then exploded, taking the disc along with it. "My spear!" the demon yelled in horror.

With a yell Dagella attacked, and Xander parried her sword with his rod. From his right, the purple Grendor sliced down with his halbert, and Xander quickly blocked the slice, while Dagella fired an energy bolt from her eyes. Xander reshifted the shape and position of the rod instantly into a short thick one, which he used as a bat. He smashed the energy ball right at Grendor, who was forced back as the attack exploded on him. While that happened Xander already landed a kick to the hawk-demon's gut, making the large demon bend over in pain. At the same time Xander looked down, and let his rod shoot downward. It crashed through a demon's neck, and another shackle. Xander shot down a bit, avoiding an energy ball that Shinshirra had sent at him. Rapidly Xander let his rod shoot out several more times, taking out a few more of the small demons and more of the energy repressing shackles.

Dagella returned with a vengeance letting her sword do the talking. Xander blocked the blows, but that was all he could do as the large demon continued to speed, and power up. It was obvious Xander wouldn't be able to beat her without transforming, but then he wasn't planning on beating her. Xander shot backward at the last energy signature consistent of a chi repressing shackle. He turned around, and shortened and thickening his rod. With a roar he let the rod come down straight at the flying demon's head, who just looked astonished. A moment later the rod slammed down upon the demon's head, which promptly splattered apart. Xander didn't stop there, he let the rod continue downward until the restraint was destroyed and its signature was gone. The meat patty that had been the demon before, dropped to the ground.

Multiple energy attacks came at Xander in a half circle, and he flew backward. The attacks missing, except for a few that changed course and came after him; those Xander blocked or bashed aside, sometimes with his rod. As Xander flew back at the large amount of coordinated energy attacks, Xander thought, *Perhaps they're trying to kill me after all.*

There was a poof sound, and a sudden appearance of an energy signature, and Xander whirled around. A demon had just teleported in right behind him, and holding some kind of purple energy band. Too surprised to do anything, the demon rammed the band down and fitted it neatly, but forcefully around Xander's head. "What the . . .?" Xander started, but came no further.

"Tian, tight, ting, dano, min!" Dagella's voice sounded as she and the other demons neared.

The fillet immediately contracted powerfully, and Xander screamed at the pain. Dagella continued to intone the Tight-Filled Spell. Xander continued to scream in pain as the fillet dug into his head. He tried prying it but it wouldn't come off.

Tarron spoke with sadistic glee, "As long as the spell is being spoken, 'Monkey God', the fillet will continued tightening until your brain explodes. You surrender, she stops reciting it, and the fillet will go back to its original size."

Xander roared with the pain and anger, and transformed into the Super Saiyan. Golden glow, cold green pupil-less eyes, and a golden aura that surrounded him widely. The shockwave of energy coming from him surprised them all, and more so the powerful golden energy that now danced around. But transforming didn't do anything for the fillet, which continued to tighten. Xander grabbed it tighter and pulled, and pulled. He started rolling around in pain, continued to scream, and then he called, "I give up! I give up! Stop this!"

Dagella spoke the spell one more time, and then stopped. The fillet returned to his original size, and Xander stayed defeated on the floor, his transformation going away. "Take the little bastard," Grendor spoke with an evil smile, "he's done for."

A small demon walked over, and tried to pick up Xander's rod, being unable. More angry he kicked Xander powerfully in the gut, saying, "Get up, monkey, or do you want one of them to recite the spell again!" Slowly Xander subserviently got up.

Tarron walked over, picked up Xander's rod, and told him, "Since you destroyed my weapon, I'll take yours as replacement." Xander glared at him.

"Master, all the energy restricting shackles are destroyed," one minion told Grendor.

The purple demon god looked over to Xander, grinned, and said, "Doesn't matter, the fillet will keep him restrained."


With a rough shove and hateful laughter Xander was pushed into the cell where Buffy and the others were being held. They looked at his defeated and bruised entrance, but saw none of the energy restricting shackles. What was going on?

Shinshirra walked into the cell and ordered Xander, "Get on your knees, monkey, and tell me how much superior and sexy I am." She and her minion demons laughed. Xander turned around and glared at her. "Ah, ah, don't want me to recite the spell again, do you?" she told him with an evil smile.

Xander let out a small growl and then to his girl friends' shock he knelt down, and said, "You are the great and superior insect, to have defeated this lowly monkey, oh, great demon goddess." Shinshirra nodded with a smile. "You are so amazing, you turn me on, can't I spend the night with you?" Shinshirra laughed out loud, as did her minions. The girls looked in utter shock. Was Xander really defeated? What could they do if he was?

The insect the told him, "You really were an arrogant little thing, imagine, you beating the gods, and destroying the demons. You'll make a fine example, after the goddess comes for you and executes you in public . . ." She bent sideway a bit to look at the girls behind Xander, and told them, "We haven't quite decided what to do with you two, me, I'm rather partial to making you sex slaves for the best of my and my companions' men. Have fun together in your last moments." She then turned around and walked away.

Xander glared at the exit, seeing two demons stand guard right behind it. He sat further down and looked around in irritation. The large dungeon irritated Xander greatly. "Xander? Why don't you fight back? And what's that purple band?" Tara asked deeply concern.

"Some kind of fillet that tightens upon reciting a spell; hurts like hell, and can squish my brain if it continues to long," Xander told them defeated.

"Xander? Can you remove our shackles?" Faith asked quickly.

Xander looked over, and shook his head.

"Why not?" Buffy asked.

"Too close," Xander pointed at the exit and one guard watching them like a rock. "The spell can carry from that room to here easily. One peep from the guards and I'll be rolling on ground in pain a moment later."

The women looked at each other with greater concern; they needed to free themselves, but how? They had tried rocks and protrusions but had been unable to even budge the shackles. Thus, captured, they waited for the inevitable . . .

Which occurred only a short while later, as Xander had expected. The moment he felt the goddess materialize a short distance away Xander grinned at the guards, and got up instantly, laughing. With a yell he transformed into the Super Saiyan, much to everyone's surprise, grabbed the energy fillet, and started pulling with everything he had while he continued pumping out energy.


"WHAT!?" Cawun yelled in surprise, along with the demon lords. All six of them, and their minions looked back at where the sudden power came from.

An instant later a few of the demons yelled out the Tigh-Fillet Spell. With a gesture, Sissaksron sent Grendor and Dagella to go to the cell, and they took a large contingent of their army with them, most of them leaving behind because the corridor wasn't that wide.


Almost instantly after Xander transformed pain racked through his being as the fillet started tightening. He screamed out with the pain, and his legs started buckling, as he continued to pull and power up. The guards opened the doors, and charged Xander, shocked that they were pushed back with a simple pulse of the golden energy.

The pain became worse, but he had the frame of mind to generate a shield from wall to wall, behind which he and the girls would be safe. He continued to scream with pain, the pain making it more difficult to power up, but he wouldn't back down. The ground beneath his feet cracked open, and then his knees buckled, but he reset himself. Blood started oozing from his head, as the fillet started cutting in his skin. Xander continued to power up, as more blood flowed from his wounds and the pain worsened. The girls looked on with intense gazes, willing Xander to win the struggle.

Grendor and Dagella arrived, looking at the violent display of power, just as the mountain started shaking. The walls cracked, and in the distance the sounds of falling rock could be heard. Dagella kept reciting the spell, and the fillet kept getting tighter. It should have cut through his head already she considered, but apparently the golden being was keeping it from tightening with its full capacity. The two demons lifted off the unstable ground, and Grendor fired an energy ball, which got absorbed mostly by the shield Xander was generating.

[Start Xander SSJ2 theme]

Great first king of mankind! Dear Littica! Never been so close to death and defeat, and if it occurs mankind would go down with him. The blast on the shield was enough to unbalance him. Unwilling to give up, and unwilling to lose, instead of letting the pain and everything overwhelm him he grew enraged rapidly. With a roar of anger he stood back straight, his power skyrocketing, the mountain trembling, electricity crackling though his golden aura of chi, and his hair standing up further. With a final push the transformation to the second level was complete, and a shockwave of energy blasted out from him.


The mountain shook with even greater force, and cracked in many places, walls exploded inward, ceilings caved in, and when the shockwave blasted out the mountain's top it brought down all the spear-shaped pillars directly above and a lot of them further out. When Xander's shockwave raced through the main hall of the large mountain dwelling, both Sissaksron, Tarron, Shinshirra, and Cawun twisted their heads in shock. "No way, he can't have that kind of power," the goddess muttered in shock, especially since his power was still rising.


Indeed, Xander still couldn't put enough force on the fillet to break it, but the tougher body of the second level meant he could hold out longer. He continued to power up while he pulled harder and harder, ignoring the pain and the blood smearing his hands and hair. Finally with a last effort, before the demon gods could recover from the shockwave that sent them staggering back, Xander did the impossible and broke the fillet. It sprang apart, the energy bursting free . . . and instantly exploded.

[Stop Xander SSJ2 theme]

So close to his being, there was hardly a defense. Xander groaned in pain as the powerful explosion sent him tumbling back until the crashed against the wall behind the women, head first. Xander slumped down, his shield disappeared and, his hair turned to his normal black. With his vision swimming, Xander put in a last effort before slipping into unconsciousness. He lifted his right hand, and pointed his right index finger at Willow's restraints, which he was looking at since her back was facing him. One small energy blast formed at his finger and he fired it, then he did it again, and finally a third time, then he was out.

His aim was true. While the others felt hope dwindle Willow's eyes widened with relief, when she first felt her leg shackles be destroyed and fall off, followed by the cuffs to her hands - a spark of pain accompanied the event as the small explosion was just a bit too big - and finally the one around her neck.

A wide grin adorned her face as she started getting up, feeling control over her magic flooding back instantly. One small demon came charging the room, undoubtedly to finish off Xander before he'd wake. He stopped in his tracks when he saw her black eyes settle on him, as she rose to her buttocks. "*Ignis!*" she intoned darkly, and the demon was consumed by fire, screaming as it staggered back. Willow got up, charging nine small balls of fire, each one at one of her fingers. She fired them, and each ball found one of the restraints around her friends. All of them either groaned or yelped at the sharp pain of burning heat, but they all gladly payed the price for the freedom it afforded.

The three girls got up, the Slayers with one graceful motion, and Tara a little slower, even as her deep-blue energy charged around her, her eyes glowed dark blue, and electricity crackled in her hair, making it whirl about. She noticed Dagella's eyes glowing red, and with a concentrated mumble, the walls of their prison breached open at the cracks Xander had created earlier, admitting powerful bursts of water. The water washed around the three women and one downed man instantly, and then solidified into ice. A moment later there was a powerful impact and part of the newly formed ice dome exploded and revealed the outside. The hole instantly refilled with water and froze close once more. "Hurry," Tara simply told the Slayers who were enveloped by white chi flames, but not the blue ones yet. As Tara spoke, water vapor came from her mouth, showing the cold she was generating.

[Start Faith SS Theme]

Buffy and Faith gave the witch a grin, and roared as they started their transformation. Electricity started crackling in their hairs, which whipped up and about by the energy. A swirl of black disappeared their irises into scary, black holes. A new explosion was audible, and this time almost the entire dome was blasted away. The water flow from the holes in the walls had stopped at Tara's command. The slayers, fists at their hips, looked over at the demons, who took an involuntary step back at the terrifying eyes. Buffy and Faith grinned at them, and then screamed as they powered up to finish the transformation. Once again the mountain shook, and walls cracked open, more rock could be heard falling in the distance. The two shockwaves from the Super Slayers made each other stronger as the unified, and when they crashed out of the mountain on top, they destroyed the last remaining spear-shaped pillars.

Buffy made a first move, she zipped forward and landed a punch on a minion, that simply went through and splattered the minion apart. She zipped to the right, directly in front of the open doorway, and started the Kamehameha. Faith joined her, and place her hands along Buffy's, and both yelled, "KAMEHAMEHA!!"

The god demons had widened there eyes the moment they saw it coming, and rapidly blasted down the corridor to the main hall. The massive beam that was a double Kamehameha shot out from both Slayers' hands. The minions that were in the corridor were completely vaporized as the beam of raw power shot past, cleaning the entire corridor in an instant. When it arrived at the main hall, the beam was opposed by the five large demons and the goddess. All five needed to use their power to deflect the beam up and away from the mountain cave. The beam crashed into the mountain sealing, and passed through, before exploding devastatingly on the other side. A large part of the ceiling collapsed, creating a hole, while a giant mushroom cloud formed overhead, and a shockwave of destructive energy leveled a large part of the forest into all directions. Most of the double Kamehameha's energy though, disappeared up into space, making the explosion not big enough to reach any human inhabited settlements.

The two groups of super powered beings looked at each other across the twenty-five or so meters that separated them. "You guys take the gods, we'll take the minions," Willow decided, her blazing black eyes angry.

"Five by five," Faith said with a grin, and turned around for a moment to encase their unconscious savior in a chi shield. "Let's go kick some ass, B." Buffy nodded, and the Super Slayers blasted forward.

The witches were right behind them, although the distance rapidly grew wide. Willow and Tara was fast, but they couldn't keep up with Super Slayers. The moment they were out the door, Tara slammed the bar door shut, and with a quick mumble a new wave of water came from the cracks behind her, gathered in the doorway and froze solid. As long Xander was unconscious he'd be doubly safe, and once he woke up, a little chi-shield and an iced bar door wouldn't hold him for a moment.

By the time the witches arrived in the main chamber, the Super Slayers were already in a huge fight, outnumbered three to one. With another spell Tara made branches grow from the ground to grab and kill demons, while Willow fired powerful fire balls around, after which some implosion bombs followed. The minions died by the dozens, but there were thousands, and on top of it all, there were the human slaves that Willow and Tara were now aware of and had to avoid killing whenever they could at the same time.

Meanwhile Buffy avoided a decapitating blow from Dagella's sword, and fired a powerful energy ball at Grendor. She rapidly turned around and charged a ball of rapidly twisting in many different directions discs of chi in her right hand - the same one she had used to destroy a big demon with earlier. She thrust it at Cawun, but the goddess quickly charged energy in her hand and blocked it with that. Instead Buffy twisted around and landed a powerful kick to the female's head, sending her flying away, and crashing into the mountain wall. Buffy then caught Dagella's blade between her hands, and pulled it and the demon-hawk toward her, using it to block a blow from the purple demon's halbert.

At the same time Faith avoided another one of the insect's curved blades, and fired a destructo disc at her, forcing the demoness away to avoid the deadly disc. Then Faith avoided one of the snake king's snaps, while the bite entered the rock wall below her. Out of the corner of her eye she saw the head pulling back, the rock discoloring and then exploding outward; a nice meter wide hole. "Shit," Faith muttered, while dropping down, and twisted around her axis, avoiding Xander's, now Tarron's lengthening rod from hitting her. The king's left head then sprayed something from his fangs, and Faith quickly raised her chi flame around her. The liquid stuff crashed against her flame, leaked down, but a bit went wide and splashed against the wall, where it immediately sizzled and started eating the rock. While Faith moved and did a mid-air split to avoid the now really thick rod. She made a somersault using her chi, to avoid one of the insects blades, only to use chi-enforced hands to land on another one coming at her, and using it as a jump point to jump away from them. "Four arms, three elongating necks, and an elongating rod, this is so not fair. Time to change the odds," Faith muttered as Tarron swung a freakishly long rod at her. She grabbed a hold of the once again thin rod, and with a roar she twisted around, pulling the surprised Tarron along. "Buffy! Switch!" Faith yelled, completing a circle, and slamming rod, with Tarron still holding on into Shinshirra. The insect groaned and was launched away, while Faith with a vicious yank liberated the rod from Tarron's grasp.

Buffy give a rapid look at Faith, and seeing the insect coming toward her. She took an energy ball from the goddess - blocking it - but still doing damage, making her grimace in pain. Then she rapidly turned around and sent Dagella flying toward Faith with an extra powerful kick.

Faith swivelled the rod, shortened and thickened it, then smashed it like a baseball bat against the flying Dagella's head, while saying, "Now that's a more even distribution." The hawk-demon goddess groaned in pain as the rod slammed across her beak, and she dropped unceremoniously down to the floor, not quite unconscious but not really among the active for now. With a grimace and the rod, Faith blocked a powerful blow from Sissaskron, then angled up rapidly, slamming a foot against the roof of it's open mouth, which had been intending to bite Faith. The snake king staggered back, while Faith turned back around, then got fully caught in a powerful, and big energy blast of Tarron. Faith screamed in pain as she defended herself from it as good as possible, and was launched backward, slamming through wall and out in the open burning forest and barren land beneath her. With angry growls and hisses Tarron and Sissaksron shot after her, while Faith tried to recover. She quickly returned to in the confined quarters of the mountain by charging straight at the onrushing demons, and when they slowed to prepare for a strike, she quickly sped up further, and dipped below them. Out in the open they'd be much better able to make use of their number advantage.

At the same time, protecting against a wave of energy shot from Grendor's halbert, and parrying one of Shinhsirra's curved blades, Buffy got a powerful kick from Cawun in her stomach. With a painful groan she was launched backward until she slammed through a throne and into the wall, then fall from it to the ground, leaving a good hole in the wall where she crashed. She got back to her knees and shook her head. "Buffy, are you alright?" Willow asked her friend concerned, seeing a bloody hole in Buffy's side where Grendor had gotten in a lucky shot with one of his elbow spikes. Obviously though, he hadn't hit anything vital, because Buffy was still very much fighting.

Buffy looked up, anger etched in her face, and saw how Willow casually squeezed the life out of a minion; beams of deadly red energy slicing it to pieces from the inside out. She also saw Faith's spatula, and her rake standing against a wall behind Willow. "Not quite, but I will be," Buffy hissed out, jumped over and took her rake back. She then charged back into the fight with everything she had, and Tara continued her fight against the overwhelming numbers of - but much weaker than her - minions.

Buffy blasted several powerful balls of energy at Cawun, while kicking aside Grendor's halbert, and then hooked her rake behind one of Shinshirra's wrists. She twisted around, bringing the rake down, catching another arm. With a yank the insect was tossed aside, losing grip of the two blades in those hands, which were flung away. Tara had to dodge one of them, before encircling a hole group of demons in a green, magical energy ring, and let it squeeze the life out of them.

Grendor fired a large flame from his mouth, that Buffy went straight through after reinforcing her chi. She crashed the end of the handle, enveloped with her chi, hard into Cawun's stomach. Buffy then twisted around and hacked the prongs of her rake into Grendor's stomach. She had timed the hit exactly right, and her chi pushed past his, to let the prongs penetrated his flesh. The purple, multi-horned demon roared in pain and staggered back a bit. Buffy's own scream of pain followed after that when two, then four, energy balls of the insect demon smashed in her back, flinging her forward. Soon they were followed by several balls of energy from the goddess, and finally Buffy slammed into the ground at the foot of one of the mountain walls. With a groan, Buffy turned around, and looked up at three angry gods looking down at her, the Goddess to the left, and Buffy didn't know what that meant. This was really unfair, three against one was just one too many. Buffy grimaced, preparing for some desperate move she hoped would come to her.

[Stop Faith SS theme]

[Start Xander SSJ2 theme]

Her eyes widened then, and the demons and goddess suddenly jerked. A moment later Faith jerked as well, and only a quick reflex allowed her to put the rod in between the Sissaksron's snapping mouth, making him unable to sink his fangs into Faith. At the same time there was a crash, and an onrushing sensation of energetic doom. A moment later the goddess was too late to turn around, as Xander's Super Saiyan 2 fist smashed through her back, and out her stomach in the front, spraying pink blood and guts everywhere. Buffy looked both relieved and astonished.

A seriously pissed off Xander said, "I was hoping for Hera, but you'll do just fine." Xander pulled his hand free, and gurgling in pain Cawun twisted around to face her new attacker, looking in shock at the enraged green eyes and standing high hairs of Xander. The power coming off him was more than she had every felt before from the 'Monkey God'.

Her wound though was already knitting back together, and she hissed, "I will destroy you, and launched an attack." Xander turned sideways a bit, pushed the attacking hand aside and rammed his fist onto the goddess' tender area. She doubled over groaning in pain, meeting up with a knee to her face. Xander grabbed her by the collar and turned her to his right.

"TANEKAKOSA!!" Xander yelled, and fired one of his most powerful attacks at point blank range. Cawun screeched in eternal pain as the beam engulfed her, vaporizing most of her body, before it exploded, sending only a lower arm, a hand, two lower legs, and a few pieces of internal organs careening away. The massive energy wave shot up through the earlier created hole, and disappeared harmlessly into space. Xander looked over to a once again standing Buffy, picking up her rake, and said, "I'll go help Faith, she's got thr- . . ."

A few moments earlier Faith landed a punch into the demon's gut to avoid one or both if its other two heads to sink its fangs into her. Then it looked at her captured head with a grin, twisted the rod, and a moment later the ends turned into points and both lengthened. The demon king hissed, and yelled out with its other heads, in pain. With a grin, Faith then yanked the rod around, so also the snake demon's head was twisted and twisted. Then she kicked viciously just under the twisting point, and the demon was sent back, tearing off the head. The demon's roar of pain was amazing, stopping everyone it their tracks, and with a grin Faith shortened the rod, making the severed head drop to the floor. At the same time she said, "One down, two to go."

Then the most amazing thing happened. The neck that had its head severed started splitting apart, while the other two continued to roar with the pain. Faith looked dumbfounded when new heads grew rapidly from the two necks. "Oh, not again. You have /got/ to be kidding me!" Faith said in irritation.

"You /will/ pay, *bitch*!" the demon king, now with four heads, hissed and charged.

Avoiding the snake's first charge, Faith suddenly remembered something. "Tara, firestorm, right here!" Faith said pointing with the rod.

"But, y- . . ." Tara started to call out.

"Now!" Faith yelled, avoiding another snipe, and charged a pink ball of energy with both her hands. "Eat my Shield Buster," Faith said and fired the ball at the king. Just before it reached the king it split up in six smaller balls - five circling one in the middle - and then they all rapidly shrank. While below Faith and the king a stream of fire arrived, which quickly surged upward in a devastating and wide tornado of fire. The balls - so small they were invisible now - slammed into the snake king, and ripples of energy washed through him. Specifically designed to disrupt energy harmonics in shields, it did its job almost as well against a chi flame and the flow of it in a persons body. The snake growled in frustration as he couldn't compensate for the chaotic distribution of energy, most of his chi falling back into his body. Faith zipped forward, turned upside down and with a kick sent the demon down into the tornado of fire that rapidly came up. Then Faith put all her speed in avoiding the fire tornado herself - she could survive it no doubt, but such a fire storm could hurt her and she was hurting enough as it was.

The demon king though, still not able to compensate, had no defense against the flames, that immediately started consuming the new fuel eagerly. It screamed audibly, and trashed about invisibly - blocked by the violent raging fire. A hand came out the fire - burning - for a moment, but flailed back inside. The screams became almost unbearable, a head came out, a silhouette amidst flames. There several more screams, which then stopped. A moment later a flaming head - the head barely more than a silhouette - dropped unceremoniously to the floor, and stayed there. A few moments later the fire tornado died down, revealing a blackened demon corpse. Part of it cracked open, and half liquified insides came sliding sluggishly out.

Faith grinned in triumph, and then told Xander, "I'll never mock school and reading again, guaranteed. If I do, slam me a few good ones on the head, will ya?"

Xander grinned, as slowly the inactive room returned back to activity. Xander moved a bit, facing Tarron, who pissed off and angry, was also realizing that the tables had turned. Perhaps only half-way, but they were turned. They still outnumbered them, so they had a chance. Xander grimaced, and told him, "You took my rod, now you pay." Tarron growled, and then roared out, the equivalent of adrenaline generated by the danger sending his energy way up, higher then ever before. "Is that all?" Xander asked with a grin, and then roared out himself, his chi flame burning brightly once more, powering up and letting his energy wash out. With a smirk he then beckoned Tarron over with a motion of his right index and middle fingers. A moment later the two clashed together.

Xander's new release of power, and turning of the tables gave both Super Slayers a second wind. They screamed out, as they powered up more, and when they were done, Willow and Tara returned to their task at hand, truly venturing deeper into the mountain now. Faith engaged Dagella, sword and rod clashing, and Buffy faced the other two. As she slowly raised in the air, she told them with a smile, "Come on, let's see how well you do when it's only two against one."

The insect and the purple demon powered up themselves and shot forward. Buffy rapidly shot around them, surprising the two with her new speed, and she crashed a foot into the insect's head. She turned onward, and slammed her muckrake into the back of Grendor. The demon's chi kept the rake from penetrating, but that's not what Buffy wanted. With a scream she yanked the rack downward. The prongs caught behind Grendor's many spikes, and pulled them along, pulling them free, or pulling skin along. Thus Buffy tore open the demon's back revealing his flash underneath. With a sadistic grin she once more charged her very own made spinning attack, and rammed it into the demon's back, not firing it away this time, she kept it up. The twisting energy of the ball, flung aside chi with some more difficulty than matter, but it managed. Then it penetrated the flesh, and simply shredded it aside. A nice round hole formed where the ball of energy went in, and Buffy backed away once it was fully through. Gurgling up yellow, fluorescent blood, Grendor breathed with great difficulty, sucking in air. Apparently the demon was resilient, and after avoiding on of Shinshirra's energy attacks, Buffy fired a good sized energy ball at Grendor's back. Unable to defend himself, the resulting explosion tore the demon apart. Its legs dropped down, while a head and arm was flung through the air.

Buffy twisted around her axis, and hooked her rake behind an energy ball. Grinning she pulled the ball along and flung it back at an astonished insect demon. Shinshirra blocked the ball, but it exploded and tossed her about anyway. With a yell, Buffy brought the rake down upon the insect's head, but she blocked it at the beginning of the triangle with her two remaining swords. With an angry hiss she rammed two of her tentacles in Buffy's gut, who doubled over and was launched back. Angrily Buffy stopped her motion and twisted around to meet Shinshirra head on. The insect brought her two curved daggers to bear, and Buffy suddenly twisted around, within the insects reach. She let the underarms of the demon slamm against her chi-enveloped rake, and continued her twisting. Buffy perfectly used her smaller size to her advantage, twisting the arms onward. After gripping the arms with her chi the arms twisted beyond their turning ability, and the insect hissed out in pain when her exoskeleton cracked. The daggers entered her own shoulder on the other side, and then Buffy twisted back in the opposite direction. Rapidly going onward, she cracked the exoskeleton the other side and the left lower arms came free, making the insect yell out louder. With a quick kick Buffy moved the demon in front of the hole, and she fired a Kamehameha, vaporizing the head and shoulders, and then the rest of the carcass dropped to the floor with a crash.

Xander and Tarron traded blows rapidly. Tarron lunged and tried to bite out Xander's neck, but the Saiyan twisted back, going in a backward flip, kicking the furred demon once, then twice in his stomach. With Tarron groaning in pain, Xander suddenly punched on the demon's left sabertooth and it cracked. A moment later the demon had only one and a half saberteeth left. "BASTARD!" Tarron screamed out and fired a beam of energy at Xander, who deflected it with some effort out the hole.

"Solar Flare!" Xander called making the move directly in Tarron's face.

"AARGH!" Tarron called out, grasping for his now temporarily blind eyes. A moment later Xander had grabbed his head and yanked powerfully to his right. There was a scream of pain and a crack indicating a broken neck, but Xander twisted onward because he didn't know if a broken neck was enough to kill his kind. Then he twisted the head viciously back the other side, and then holding onto the head, kicked the demon down. With a ripping sound the head was liberated from his body, green blood splashing about. Xander held the head and checked the demon for chi signature: it was rapidly going up! Green energy started crackling around the head and body, and Xander's eyes widened in understanding. Being quite sure the human slaves wouldn't survive, Xander tossed the head out through the hole, then flashed down, grabbed the body and did the same with it. Several moments later the sky became green as the demon god's energy was released consuming his body. Then the sky went back to its normal blue color.

At the same time Faith was pulling Dagella's wings back while standing on her back. Thus she slammed the hawk-demoness face first powerfully into the ground, making her yell out from the pain from the strain in her wings. Instantly Faith brought up the rod, and slammed it down, point first, ramming it through the demoness' head. The scream pitched and then silenced as all the demon did was twitch. Faith flew up, and making sure, she fired a powerful energy blast down, sending bits and pieces of the demoness flying everywhere.

[Stop Xander SSJ2 theme]

Xander grinned at the carnage, and the shambles to which the lair was reduced to. He lowered himself to the ground, transforming down. He briefly checked on Willow and Tara with his sixth sense and found out all the minions were dead now. Xander walked over to Faith who had landed and transformed down as well. Buffy joined the two a few moments later, and she said, breathing hard, "We did it."

"Yeah, we did," Faith said with a large grin. Several moments later Willow and Tara arrived, with a large amount of previously human slaves kowtowing behind them. The two witches shrugged at the questioning raised eyebrows, indicating they couldn't keep the humans from doing that.

"This was a close one, Xander," Willow told him with a smile.

"Close, but no cigar," Xander with a grin, as the girls refocused on his bloody head.

"We have to look at that," Tara spoke concerned, taking a step forward and went to stand on her toes. The other girls stepped forward to and started fussing over him.

"Yeah, yeah, yeah," Xander waved them off slightly annoyed, "but later with some hygiene okay? I hate to survive that damn thing and these bastards, then die because of an infection." The girls stepped again, nodding, and Xander pointed to the exit. He started walking and the others followed, enjoying a comfortable silence, apart from the many human footsteps behind them.

Once they stepped outside, the sun slowly setting, Xander looked around at the devastation. "Oh, damn, there goes our luggage," he commented with annoyance.

Buffy and Faith looked at each other, and said, "Oops."

"Luggage right here," one braver ex slave said, and our five heroes turned around, looking at how the humans carried along the luggage. More then one human held up some of the pieces together.

"Huh? How did you get it?" Willow wondered dumbfounded.

The human kowtowed extremely deeply, and said, "No disrespect meant, great saviors, the former masters brought donkeys for food. We had to prepare them."

"WHAT!?" Faith yelled out in shock. "Who the /hell/ eats donkeys!?" All the humans at once kowtowed and begged for mercy.

"Apparently these demons," Tara supplied Faith sweetly, the Slayer glared at Tara before the two smiled at each other.

Xander stepped forward, muttering, "Great, now we have to carry all of it ourselves." Once closer to the humans he spoke, "Listen, stop bowing down. We won't hurt you, from now on you are free! So get out of the cave, found a village and live together in freedom!"

The humans looked at Xander silently for a few minutes, and then cheered, running away. Resigned to her fates, Buffy came forward and poled two pieces of the luggage with the handle of her rake and slung it over her shoulder. Seeing that, Faith handed the rod back over to Xander, and flew over the out storming throng of people. Xander put his rod back on his back, and then slung one straw bag over one shoulder. A few moments later Faith returned as Willow and Tara each put a bag on them like a back pack. Faith hooked her spatula through the remaining bag, and put it on her shoulder as well.

The Scooby Gang waited till all the humans had left the cave, and then Xander fired a Tanekakosa wave into the cave. A moment later with loud rumbling the entire cave and a piece of the mountain collapsed, ceiling the cave.

"Alright," Xander said, and then turned around, smiling at his companions. "Let's move on, huh?"

"Yeah," Tara said, then they started walking, onward to the west.

"Hey, Faith, you got to teach me that Shield Buster move, that's awesome," Xander suggested with a grin.

"No, problem, Xan, and it /is/ a wicked cool move," Faith told him with a smile.

After a few more meters of walking Xander farted again. Apparently his diarrhea wasn't quite over yet. The four girls groaned.

The fiendish fillet,

The fiendish end,

Almost the same,

But did the Monkey King give up?

Never would he do that,

Never would his friends,

And so the five heroes, victorious once more.

Episode 70
Accidents Happen

The True Evil of Gods

The five of them had a week of uneventful travel. That day they reached a desert - a plain of dead grass and dead trees turning into a desert more accurately. After making sure they had plenty of water for quite a long while, they ventured into the dead place.

After an hour of walking, both Willow and Tara felt a rather odd sensation they couldn't place. They gave each other a look, and then Willow asked, "Do you guys feel it too?"

"Feel what?" Buffy requested, poling the luggage along on her rake.

Faith and Xander walking a little ahead turned around and regarded the witches. "Something bad?" asked Xander, "Should we hold?"

Willow and Tara looked at each other. They spoke in subdued tones. They shook their heads, and Tara said, "Nah, it's nothing we can't handle. It's just an odd sensation, but since we know it's here we can examine it as we go along."

"Going on will we better, we get to feel it in more different positions," Willow explained to the others.

"Then we move on!" Xander said, and they turned back around, and walked onward, each holding at least one piece of luggage.

It didn't take long before on the horizon the first signs of buildings could be seen. Not long after that it became apparent there was a big city ahead. Finally the five of them reached the city, ringed by a high powerful wall that would keep all but beings of their caliber at bay. A set of high - almost three meters - double doors was slightly to their right, and so the five of them walked over. High on the tower built around the doors a man could be seen standing at the battlements - undoubtedly a guard - leaning on a spear. "Hey! Guard!" Xander called automatically.

Slowly, as if just breathing was difficult, the man turned and looked down. The girls waved up with a smile - the man didn't react, much to their disappointment and shock. Girls smiling at a man usually got at least /some/ response. Xander called, "Can you let us in?"

"Just go around; you don't want to be in this cursed place," the guard weakly spoke.

The five looked at each other, and then Faith picked up where Xander left off, "In case you haven't noticed, your city is rather big, going /through/ it would save us hours."

"Why would you want to enter here? There's not food, no water, nothing, just death," the man said lifelessly.

The five of them looked at each other again, and Faith continued, angrily, "*To /go/ /through/ it!* Like I just said, damn it!"

"Through it? Oh," the man said, and stomped with handle of his spear on the floor he was standing it. Nothing happened. The man repeated his maneuver, harder this time.

A very muffled, "Wha!?" came from behind a narrow slit in the wall.

"Open gate!" the guard managed to call out, but only barely it seemed.

A few moments later there were creaks and grumbles. Slowly, /very/ slowly the doors started opening. Once the doors were finally open enough for them to slip through, they did. Once they were through Faith turned to a few men who had been pulling the doors open. Having lost her patience she angrily shouted, "FINALLY! WHAT'S WRONG WITH YOU PEOPLE! CAN'T DO IT FASTER!?"

The men jumped back, and then one weakly said, "Exactly."

Faith felt a tap on her shoulder, and Tara's hand pointed along her head to the city. Faith turned around, and saw what the others were staring at with open mouths: the place was a hell hole. People were barely walking, some crawling. Their eyes were laid into their skulls. Faith now took in the men pulling again, and a girl closely staggering along: their lips and skin was dry and ready to crack if they hadn't cracked already. 'No water,' the guard had said, it seemed he wasn't overstating things. People were drying up. Not to mention the city seemed mostly deserted - apparently those who had seen it coming and had the resources to do so had fled the city, or they hadn't fled and were already dead. To the Scoobies' shock, a young girl sitting in the shade of a house lulled her head, and then her life force turned random unfocussed before going down: she had just died of thirst. "Mother of god," Faith muttered in shock, and the others nodded in agreement.

"What the hell happened here?" Buffy added, looking around.

"It stopped raining - almost eight months now," a guard said from the right - his voice raspy from lack of moisture.

"You don't have wells?" Xander asked softly.

"Dried up," the man answered, and gave a morbid smile. "Eight months, just this heat, not a single cloud in the air."

The Scoobies looked up, taking in the blue, blue sky. "That can't be, even deserts get more clouds and more water," Willow said in horror.

Xander started walking, deeper into the city, his companions followed him. "This makes no sense," he muttered, as they past more people ready to die; women, children, geriatrics, men, it didn't matter all were thirsty and hungry.

Soon they arrived in the center of town, where most of the people had gathered: praying to their god or gods. The temple in the middle of the city was overflowing, and so the rest were perched on the square in front of it. Of course, even with the temple overflowing and a lot of people gathering on the squares, the people were nowhere near the numbers they could have been judging by the size of the city.

Xander walked by the people, and he and his companions watched in shock as a praying woman burst into tears and crying; cradling a just died baby. "That's it," Xander hissed out. "I'm going to make it rain, even if I have to scoop water out of a river and dump it here." He started charging his chi . . . and nothing. Xander blinked, looked at himself, tested his internal chi levels. When there was nothing the matter there, he tried again - still nothing. Buffy and Faith tried, and their energy too didn't respond.

"What the? This can't be . . ." Buffy said in shock. "I don't understand . . . Xander?"

"Our magic is gone as well," Tara said, making the others look at her for a moment.

Xander shook his head. Angrily he jumped, and reached the entrance of the large temple in a bound. Even if his chi was gone, he was still very strong with his raw muscles. Buffy and Faith followed suit, and so did Willow and Tara who needed three jumps instead of just one. The people watching barely noticed them - either to far gone, or too far in their prayers. The few who did, quickly resumed their praying. Xander charged into the temple, yelling, "God, damn it!"

The people all looked shocked at him, but he ignored them, and they continued with even greater fervor. The priest of whatever god was worshiped here, came toward him, saying, "You can't say that! Don't make the punishment of our god worse!"

"Fuck it!" Xander said, getting angry. "This kind of punishment is something no good being would inflict upon others - and no crime could be so bad to incur such punishment! If this is punishment, do you know what's going on? Why we can't access our life force? Why did you get this 'punishment'?"

"No, no idea, if I did, we would have made amends with the great Varuna already. The one who covers knows all, I do not understand this, perhaps something is blocking him, some demon perhaps," the priest - just as dehydrated as everyone else - spoke.

"We know what's causing it," Willow said, and everyone looked over at her; not just the Scoobies, but the priest and the people inside.

"It's what we felt when we entered this region, Xander," Tara said in explanation, her white dress making her look serene. "It's an energy field that blankets the city and a large region around it. It's going through us, and although not enough to make us drop dead, it's inhibiting our life force, and Willow's and my magic. It also disrupts the natural balance of things, clouds can't form, water drops are immediately vaporized and / or pushed away."

"Do you know where it comes from?" a grim-face Faith said, seriously disgusted with what was happening.

"Sorry, no, and we still can't avoid, or get rid of it either," Tara added with a little frustration.

Xander was getting seriously angry, taking in the beautiful temple. Large round pillars, a domed roof, marble statues, and people having built such a magnificent building on their knees begging an evil thing that removed the rain - and he unable to do anything about it. With mounting frustration he walked over to the altar, and with a powerful kick he destroyed it, sending pieces flying.

With a sparkle of light, a god emerged next to Xander. His face was bluish, and he had red hair. His clothes were odd and seemed to move of their own accord. "*You foolish mortals!*" the god boomed angrily, startling everyone. "*First you destroy the sacrificial urn, don't apologize about it, don't make sacrifices for it, now you outright destroy my altar? You think this will alleviate my wrath? Or make it worse?*"

Everyone looked at the god in shock, and disbelief. "Varuna, I take it," Xander whispered angrily.

The priest then spoke, "We've done naught but pray and sacrifice." The humans looked with shock, not knowing whether to get angry, or grovel.

"*In general, not for it specifically, until you acknowledge your transgression and apologize for it, you will feel my wrath,*" Varuna boomed.

"What transgression, great Varuna? I don't understand," the priest spoke in hushed tones. "I accidentally pushed the urn over and it fell to pieces on the floor. It's already repaired."

"*You must pay for your sin,*" Varuna said again, making a hand gesture.

The Scooby Gang looked in shock at the god, which quickly turned to an angry glare - except for Xander. Xander's anger - already heightened by the hate for the bitch that had his wife killed - was burning through him. His right fist was balled, and his eyes squinted closed, with his rage. "*You*," he growled. "You sickening, evil . . .! You fucking . . . I /cannot/ believe this. Apart from the bitch that killed my- . . . no, not even /her/. /You/ are the most /sickening/ evil thing I've ever come across. You killed, murdered, destroyed countless innocent people, babies, children even, just because he /accidentally/ DROPPED A STUPIDURN!?!"

"*How dare . . .!?*" Varuna started, but it was stopped when he saw green, pupil-less eyes glaring back at him. Xander's anger had reached a peak, a peak that could only be serviced by transforming, and not even Varuna's energy dampening field could keep it at bay. With a primal scream golden energy flickered around Xander, bolts of it flew along him, and then his hair raised on its own. A moment later it turned golden, and with a rush a powerful golden flame of energy burst around Xander; the energy whirled around him, and he immediately burst forward. Caught of guard Varuna was unable to avoid the devastating uppercut, and was launched up through the roof with Xander close on his tail. Debris dropped down and a few people jumped back from the falling rubble.

Buffy and Faith watched astonished as some of Xander's golden energy was sucked away from him, flowing in between Tara and Willow where it formed into a large golden sphere of energy. When they saw Tara's angry look, they actually took a step back. They'd never seen Tara so angry, and in fact, they didn't think the sweet girl could /get/ that angry.

"Get them out," Willow told Buffy and Faith, indicating the people. The two Slayers quickly nodded and walked to the frightened, or uncertain, or angry people.

"Get out! Move, inside here isn't safe anymore, come on people! You too Mr. Priest," they shouted herding the people out of the temple, who complied.

With a burning rage Xander fired a few energy balls that Varuna had difficulty protecting himself from. It was followed up by a few devastating punches, and a Tanekakosa wave that Varuna barely avoided. The beam turned back to the god however, but he fired several lightning bolts against Xander. A few of them Xander bashed aside, but a few hit, and so he lost full control of the wave. Varuna fired a beam of his own against the Tanekakosa, and then with some difficulty sent it away out of the atmosphere. He turned around and blocked one of Xander's punches, and then landed a devastating one of his own. "Fool, it's impressive you managed to overpower the dampening field, it's impressive you have this power at all, but it is already sapping your power," Varuna told Xander angrily and rammed a fist in his gut. Then a right cross across Xander's cheek, and with a double-handed hammer he sent Xander careening back down to the temple. Xander's golden glow disappeared, then his transformation did too, and he crashed painfully through the remainder of the round dome, then even more painfully into the ground where he created a small crater.

Varuna looked down with satisfaction, and then realized with shock his temple was empty, except for two angry witches with a golden ball of pulsating energy in between them. "What?" the god muttered and then watched in shock as the two young women rose from the floor and soon joined him.

"Thank you," Tara told him darkly, her glare directed at him. "While you fought Xander, we learned from you how to avoid your dampening field for the most part, and now it ends. Willow."

"With pleasure," Willow said and they moved their hands around the ball which suddenly started pulsating powerfully.

"NO!" Varuna exclaimed, ready to attack them, but he was just too late. With a subdued pop the ball of energy explosively expanded into a sphere of energy that went through anyone and anything.

When it went through Buffy and Faith they jolted for a moment, and then with a grin their chi flames burst around them. Xander, half back up, too jolted, and then with a similar grin his chi flame burst around him as well. The people just shuddered for a moment and looked at each other in confusion.

Once finished with that, Willow eyes turned black, electricity crackled in her hair and a dark white chi-flame of her own surrounded her, while the same happened with Tara, only with her it was completely blue. "You wanted things to stay dry, then it's time for a flood," Tara snarled - snarled! Even Willow was rather surprised Tara could get this angry, but then what this bastard had been doing was truly sickening.

Varuna looked around and saw black clouds forming everywhere. His field had kept the area around the city from discharging its electric energy and its excess water, and now, with only a little nudge from Willow and Tara, nature took over. There was a flash and then the sound of thunder. More flashes and thunders followed rapidly all around, and then as if someone tossed over entire bathtubs, rain came splashing down in enormous quantities, while the thunderstorm continued to rage all around.

Down below the people looked around in astonishment for only a moment, then they screamed with joy and opened their mouths wide, catching the water. A moment later most ran back to their houses, screaming joyfully. There they gathered pots, barrels, pans, buckets and whatever else they could find and stormed back out of their houses. There they placed it all down to catch as much water as possible. Done with that they started dancing around, screaming with joy and relief, and in worship of the newly arrived saviors.

"You will pay for this," Varuna hissed, and attacked with several balls of energy. Willow and Tara worked together, forming a net of energy between their hands, chanting a spell loudly and moved aside. The attacks hit the net, caught in it, and then the witches quickly neared each other again, wrapping the net around the powerful energy blasts. Once done, the two of them reformed and pointed the energy into one powerful attack with blasted away from them at the god. Shocked at this unprecedented turn of events Varuna was far too late to defend himself. The massive blast slammed into him, and exploded, shaking him through, harming him and tossing him backward.

"You stupid magic users," Varuna yelled, obviously hurt and fired a lightning bolt from each of his hands. They hit and the witches shuddered with the power, as around them the black clouds continued to rage.

Both witches chanted a loud protection spell and the lightning bolts were dispelled. They surged forward then, their fingers glowing. Varuna rapidly moved aside, laughing at their pitiful attempt at speed. He moved straight into a magical, blue, spider web that wrapped around him. Thus restrained, and in pain as the web continued to shrink, Willow and Tara continued their glowing fingers attack. When it hit, Varuna screamed in pain, and shuddered around as if hit by a hundred bullets, or ten electric currents. While it happened Varuna's defense against the shrinking net was virtually not existent and the energy wires cut into what went for flesh with the god, and on top of that drained his energy. His scream intensified because of it, and Willow and Tara backed off as more lightning flashed around them. They were by now soaking wet from the rain, which turned Tara's white dress see-through, but Willow was too preoccupied by the dangerous god to notice right now.

With a scream of effort the god freed himself from the net, but the cuts and damage done to him were obvious. He fluttered backward. His wounds were healing, but it was obvious he was very vulnerable right now. He started to teleport, and Tara yelled, "No!" With the god charging himself with energy, it was an easy thing to let one the storms electric feelers make contact with some positively charged energy from Varuna. As usual when such a thing happened, the storms energy discharged down the created path. Ten lightning strikes blasted into the god - so fast to the human eye it seemed one strike that just flickered dimmer and stronger. The god's teleportation was instantly disrupted. From Varuna onward the lightning struck further down, finding a few dried out trees and some other targets to discharge in.

Willow started to chant loudly enough for most of the people down below to here her, and a moment lather four, green plasma rings wrapped around the god. The rings were such that it contained enormous amounts of energy, removing most of any captive's strength. "Let's see how you like it," Willow hissed in anger at the sickening god. The witches though felt Varuna's power starting to overpower the rings. So with some more chanting and an outstretched arm, Tara made the sand - now mud - surge upward, and wrap itself around the god. The mud formed hard spikes and with a closing of Tara's fist the spikes rammed through the god's body. More of the mud pored in the god's mouth and nose obstructing his breath. Still it wasn't enough, the god was by no means dead, seeing as he was practically immortal, and his power continued to rise.

"I have enough of this," Tara snarled enraged. Dear, sweet, and now extremely pissed Tara! Holding her hands in front of her she started chanting a spell, rising in volume, "*Nature, energy, thunder and lightning - here my call, be contained no longer, join me in my fight!*" Ten lightning blasts came down between Tara's hands - which made them a hundred for real. They formed a devastating, one-meter-in-diameter ball of crackling electricity. Tara then brought her hands over her hand, and with a vicious roar she threw the ball at the still-trapped Varuna. "PAY!" Tara screamed and the lightning ball charged across the distance, slamming into the doubly trapped god. The electricity immediately surged through, turning the mud to glass and disrupting Willow's plasma rings. A moment later the glass splintered as lightning struck out from Varuna to all sides, some slamming into the houses below. The god screamed in pain as the massive amounts of electric energy surged through his entire being. His entire body was surging and crackling with visible electricity. His body was then torn apart - vaporized - starting at Varuna's belly and moving outward, consuming everything of the god.

With a vicious look Tara turned around and looked down at the temple. She made a fist, and with a growl she brought it down. A lightning strike came down, and then another, and another, over and over, each crashing into the temple, destroying it more and more until finally it loudly collapsed. "NO MORE!" Tara called out loudly. "NO MORE! IT'S OVER! YOU ARE FREE! THIS GOD WILL TERRORIZE YOU NO LONGER!" The people cheered loudly, dancing in the rain, rolling around in the mud, and basically extremely happy.

"Wow, Tara," Willow said, and then looked at her girlfriend. "Tara," she repeated lustfully taking in the soaked and see-through vision of beauty. Faith, Buffy, and Xander joined the two witches then, rather stunned, as the witches powered go down.

"I didn't know you could get that angry," Buffy said with a smile, and then raised her eyebrows at the eye full she got.

Tara was about to embarrassedly wrap her arms around her exposed parts, but Willow stopped her. "No, leave it, what do you have to hide?" Willow said with a smile, and blushing Tara put her arms down.

"Do you really think I should?" Tara asked, looking shyly at Buffy, Faith and Xander.

"We were naked when we blessed Xander and . . . their union, weren't you?" Willow asked, and all of them looked at Xander, who looked down for a moment, but then looked back at them.

"But no strangers then," Tara said, feeling her gained confidence over the past year flooding back to her. Willow simply gave her a deep kiss, which she returned.

Xander looked down, and then grinned. "Wait here, be back in a few hours," Xander said suddenly transforming to Super Saiyan. He blasted off, and transformed with a quick yell to level 2.

"Huh?" Buffy wondered as she saw Xander disappear. After a moment of silent wondering by all of them, they lowered themselves back down. Down to the now thoroughly drenched and happy people on which rain still crashed down.

Tara smiled at the happy people, and Willow then proudly announced, "This is Tara, my girlfriend! She's mostly the one who beat that evil bastard calling himself a god."

"Tara! Tara! Tara!" the people chanted with gratitude and happiness.


Meanwhile Xander was racing back along the path he came; eventually reaching Rivierval village. He came down, all golden making the people who were out jump back a bit until they recognized him. A few people approached him, and spoke, "Great king, why have you returned?"

"I need some help guys! There's a city out there with fellow humans who had a god inflict an enormous drought upon, until just now when we stopped it. They have no food, their crops long gone. If you would be so kind to pack up some excess unneeded food you might have, and seeds. Nothing more then you can spare of course - I'm asking, not commanding," Xander asked them, still all golden.

"Not a problem, King, we'll get started right away!" the leader of the village told him.

"Good, I'll be back in an hour, I'm going to Eikaan to ask the same thing there - the city is huge," Xander said, and then sped off toward Eikaan. There too he asked the same thing, and there too people gathered up what they could spare. Indeed, an hour later Xander returned, carrying along in his chi flame several wagons full of food and seeds. Xander thanked the people of Rivierval as they too had gathered up two wagons full. "I am grateful, and in your debt," Xander told them, meaning it.

"No you're not, this comes no where close to covering our debt to you, King Alexander," the leader told him.

"It doesn't feel that way," Xander spoke, and then waved them goodby saying, "I have to get going, people are hungry, goodbye!" The people cheered him off as he lifted in the air with the two additional wagons, and then flew away with a steadily growing speed.


Xander returned to the now soaked through large city. It had stopped raining by now, and he landed in the main square in front of the remains of the temple on top of the first stairs leading up to former actual building. He put the wagons down at the bottom of the steps, not wanting people to fall down in the coming surge. His friends went to him. They saw the full wagons, as did the people. "I brought food; some people I know were gracious enough to help out, dig in!" Xander called out, and the people once more screamed with approval. Indeed they dug in, pulling out fruits, vegetables, breads, and whatever they could get their hands on in an frenzied eating feast.

A few hours later, after - with some intervention and dividing by the Scoobies - everyone had had something too eat, including themselves, Xander pulled out several large bags with seeds and other things that could be planted. "I have another surprise," Xander announced, and they all went to the edge of the city and went outside

Xander looked at Willow and Tara, and after a nod he opened bag after bad, tossing the seeds all around over the wet plain, using his chi to make sure they didn't land it the city but all around. Willow and Tara then knelt down, but their hands flat against their own, and started a chanting. Then they broke their hands apart, and placed them flat on the ground. Pink energy shot out from both sets of lands, and it moved rapidly along the soil. A few moments later the plants - of all useful food sorts - emerged an quickly grew to three quarters of their eventual full height. Once more the five of them were heralded as heroes, saints, and more. They spent the night in the most lavish bedrooms the city had to offer, and left in the morning: the people screaming and waving them off.

Once they were well past the newly brought to life agriculture fields, and done with their idle chitchat, Tara commented, "That felt good, really good. Those people really needed our help, even more so than the previous villages. Before Sunnydale, I've never thought something so evil could exist."

"Yeah, this was one sickening bastard, alright," Faith said, thinking of the horrific actions of the god. Starving and thirsting his own people to death because a priest accidentally dropped an urn - truly sick.

"These bastards and bitches need to be stopped, permanently," Xander growled out for good measure. And so our heroes left behind another ordeal, walking onward as they searched for one specific killer goddess.

Episode 71
Tara Is Getting Married!?

The Marriage License from Hell

"Do you know just how wrong this is?" Willow asked the others as they trudged through the densely grown forest: a small worn out sand path the only thing showing there was some human life around somewhere close.

"What is?" Buffy asked as she shifted the weight of the luggage on her shoulder a bit.

"Well, us and Hera being here, in the past, and making history, becoming the legends and religions of our present," Willow offered with wide eyes. "There's got to be something wrong with that, right? It's odd the universe isn't snapping us back to our proper time . . . right?"

Faith shrugged, making Willow glare at her. Xander said, "I don't care; I just want that bitch, and tear her apart before vaporizing her."

"I think we should just leave the implications to when we get back and to the philosophers," Tara suggested with raised eyebrows. "Just keep our minds on zero, do the job, and disturb as little as possible in the mean time? I-I mean, that was the plan right?"

"Do you know how much we've already disturbed?" Willow spoke with hunched eyebrows. "I'm not saying they aren't good things to disturb, but still . . . we're biblical figures already . . . and probably a whole lot more."

"Just like Xander said," Faith butted in sourly. "I don't care. I just want to find the bitch, put her on ice, and then get home. I miss Wesley."

"Don't you mean, 'miss the sex he can provide'?" Willow returned darkly.

"And I miss Chris," Buffy said looking dreamily up to the sky - whenever the tree tops allowed her.

Faith chuckled, and repeated, "Don't you mean, 'miss the sex he can provide'?" Willow glared at the joking Faith, while Xander and Tara laughed.

"Yeah, that to," Buffy replied absentmindedly. The laughing immediately stopped and they all turned to look at her. Buffy looked innocently at them when she noticed the stares, and requested, "What? Did I say something?" Faith burst into laughter and giggling, and then Xander and Tara joined in, while Willow couldn't help but repress the smile. Buffy just looked at them cluelessly.

"Your priceless, B," Faith managed to spit out during her giggles.

"What?" Buffy asked with a patented Summers pout.

Willow was the most in control, and she said, "You just basically said you missed . . . uh . . . the bodily stimulation Chris could provide."

Faith and Xander laughed harder at Willow's euphemism, so much so that Faith was forced to hold onto Xander for support or she'd fall over. "I did not," Buffy answered feeling her face slowly grow red. "I didn't, did I?"

"You did," Tara sputtered out through her laughter.

Buffy's face became redder than Willow's hair, and looked away in embarrassment. "Well, he /is/ damn good at it," Buffy mumbled quietly thinking nobody could hear. Not used to another Slayer around, she forgot about Faith's sensitive hearing.

The dark slayer lowering laughter broke down in another giggle fit, and Xander who just recovered held onto Faith in order to keep her from falling to the floor and rolling around. Everyone looked at her not comprehending - except Buffy who grew even more red than she already was. Finally Faith recovered and said, "I can't believe it. Hell must have frozen over; B's loosened up - incredible."

Everyone except Faith looked at Buffy, and she - still red - said, "Nothing, let's just walk on, okay, guys?"

A short while later, once Faith had recovered, they were walking on again. Faith though, continued to give a few chuckles and a shake of head once in awhile; at which times Buffy would look away to the suddenly interesting growth of the leaves. It was during one such time that Buffy looked to her right, and said, "Hey, guys, look at that." Everyone looked right and saw a stone building stand a few ways of in a clearing. The building seemed like a temple or what passed for this time's (farmer's) mansion of sorts. A few battlements on the two corner towers also gave it slightly the air of a medieval castle, but the domed roof and the further very eastern building style very much negated that. What was more interesting were the horse-drawn chariots not quite visible in front of it. The undergrowth was dense enough that only the tops of the men on the chariots were visible.

"Let's go check it out," Xander suggested, and then pointed at a t-split up ahead in the road, with the stand of the 't' going right toward the house.

About a minute later they arrived, and they could make out the lead males words: "Shinia, daughter of Miran, come out now, you're sovereign ruler demands it!"

"No!" came the loud answer from within the building. The group of five heroes looked at each other and then looked back trying to figure out what was going on. Was the woman who had shouted out a criminal? An exotic head peaked out from a window, and yelled down, "Lord Dirkan has no right to demand I marry him."

"He's just choosing! He probably doesn't want a loudmouth bitch like you anyway, so just come along so you, like every unmarried woman, can be there!" the man shouted back.

"He could have just added one word to his 'request': "willing"!" Shinia shouted back in anger.

"If you don't come out of there, we'll come in and drag you to the choosing ceremony!" the man shouted, pointing behind him.

He looked behind him in the process, as from above came, "You would defile a holy place!? A temple of the goddess Anumusti?!"

The soldier noticed our four lovely heroines, and soon did his companions. "My," he said with admiration, "if our lord doesn't choose one of you, I'll be more then happy to! You'd all make a fine second wife. The lord will be pleased to see you, unless of course they are married to you sir."

"/Married/!?" Buffy exclaimed.

"/All/ of us!?" Tara did the same.

"To /him/!?" Willow finished the threesome in shock. Their exclaims made the girl inside peek out of the window in the second floor with interest.

"Hey! What's wrong with me?" Xander wondered with a pout.

"Nothing stud," Faith said with a wide grin, "I wouldn't mind being married to you." Xander gave her a look, then smiled.

One of the other soldiers backed up his leader, "Wow, then you must all be going to the ceremony." He focused on Buffy and said, "Sir, if she doesn't get chosen, I wish to negotiate the dowry." Buffy's jaw dropped. Tara looked shocked.

Willow said with some vehemence, "We're not going to any /ceremony/. We're not going to be married off like some cattle."

The men looked annoyed, when the girl shouted from above, "Hear! Hear!"

The men looked even more annoyed, "If you will not come, we will be forced to take you as we will her."

"I went into service of goddess, didn't the damn order say, we're exempt!" Shinia shouted again from above.

The leader looked up at her again, and yelled at her, "At time of writing! Quickly joining the temple order to avoid your duty won't work! And the same goes for you four, if that was what you were trying to do here."

Faith seethed in annoyance, her dark look making the men take an involuntary step back. "Listen!" she hissed, "we're not going to marry anyone, we're not even going to let some egomaniac choose. We're with her on the subject, like so!" A moment later Faith rapidly fired four energy balls. Each impacted on a soldier, and they all slumped into unconsciousness.

The girl's eyes widened in shock. She obviously went to kowtow, her head lowering till just her eyes looked over the edge, and she exclaimed, "Are you Anumusti? Are you here to guard one of your followers from the likes of Lord Dirkan?"

"No!" Faith yelled up angrily and walked to the large double doors of the temple. She banged on the doors, and waited for someone to open it, while simultaneously yelling, "I am /no/ goddess!"

The four looked at the sudden pissed off Faith. Apparently the treatment of the women had hit her harder than she had initially let show. "Say, Xander? Why didn't you say something to the soldiers?" Buffy asked the Saiyan.

Xander grinned at her, and said, "And get yelled at for being no better than they are, because you can handle yourselves? Don't think so."

The doors to the temple slowly opened showing a very old woman who seemed still very much capable of doing everything. The woman took in the unconscious soldiers for a moment, then turned to the fivesome, and spoke, "Although were going trample upon this holy sanctuary, we do not like troublemakers."

"We're not troublemakers, ma'am," Xander answered her politely. "We just defended ourselves from their malicious intent. We would like to talk . . . Shinia, was it? And store these men for the time being, then we can go and figure out what's going on, and decide our course of action - we don't want to run into more people who think my friends should be married off. Unless you . . ."

"Sorry," the woman said declining her head, "We do not concern ourselves with politics, and whatever ruler has decided now. I can tell you are no demons though, so . . ." The woman then let the five of them in; Buffy dragging and carrying the men inside. After asking for some rope and getting it, the blonde Slayer tied up the soldiers. The insides of the temple were as amazing as the outside; beautifully decorated pillars, an equally impressive altar, and fantastic statues of the goddess worshiped here. The woman introduced herself, and Xander returned the introduction of himself and his friends. "You know, Willow," Tara whispered to her girlfriend while Xander did the introductions. "All this kind of screws up established ideas of history, doesn't it? I mean, we've seen several towns, and even a few cities, while it's said we didn't get that stuff until four thousands years from now."

"Yeah, but then we mostly already knew that, with the whole 'contrary to popular mythology' bit, right?" Willow answered equally subdued as they looked around in awe at the splendor, and the ten or so white-robed female followers of the goddess.

The older woman started speaking, two words were understandable and then her words turned to gibberish. Willow and Tara looked at each other, and the other three looked at them. "Spell wore off," Willow said sheepishly, and the two quickly redid the translation spell.

"Could you repeat that?" Faith asked the woman with an annoyed tone.

The woman looked slightly surprised, and then said, "Shinia is up the stairs, and then second door on the right."

"Thank you," Xander said, and the five of them went to do exactly that.

They found the exotic girl pacing her room. The main window where she had leaned out earlier they had passed by on their way here. The girl looked at them, not quite knowing what to do. In the end she opted to say, "Hi, I'm Shinia . . . uh . . . if you're not gods, are you demons?"

"No, just travelers from a distant land who can wield a lot of power," Buffy answered her with a smile, letting her rake and the luggage gently sway up and down. "I'm Buffy. That's Willow, Tara, Faith, and Xander."

"Wizards," Shinia said in awe.

"Uh, well . . . yeah, ok," Xander muttered except the depiction.

"And us too are witches, similar, but slight different," Willow explained to the girl, indicating herself and Tara.

"You're witches?" Shinia asked in even greater awe. "Guardians of nature? One with nature's gods, understanding plants and their medicinal properties, as well as wielders of nature's magic?"

Willow and Tara give each other a look, and the latter said, "Yes, that would be us."

"So . . . back on topic," Xander interrupted the gushing, "this ceremony? Any idea what is? Why it's done? If possible - and I stress /if/; we're bound by some rules - we'd like to teach this Dirkan a bit about respect."

Shinia bowed and said, "I - and many others here, especially the women - would greatly appreciate that, Great Wizard. I however have no idea; the moment I got even a tiny hint of this event and what it meant for me, I fled here"

"Exactly why are you so determined not to go there? From what the soldiers said, it seems most women like to go there?" Faith asked the girl with interest.

"Because 'Lord Dirkan' is a pig, who would only think of his own little ego and desires, and not care how much he'd hurt me or any other woman . . ." Shinia started to rant.

Buffy interrupted her and said, "Yes, I know the type, always thinking of how good their hair looks, how the woman's actions and abilities reflect upon them, always looking for the next big score . . ."

"Those are the boyfriends /you/ chose, Buff," Xander commented with a sly grin.

Buffy glared at him, and finished, "But what I think Faith meant was why you're not all, 'Yes, sir. Of course, sir. No problem, sir.'"

"I was born and raised a far distance that way," Shinia answered, pointing to the east. "There women were revered as the life givers and nurturers of the world, while men were revered for their strength, and fighting capabilities. Decisions on war, and hunting were made by the men, and decisions on taking care of the land and the villages were done by women. Everyone could be something; then my father died, and a short while later a traveling merchant came along and my mother thought it was a good idea to marry him. They took me along to here, where he was born and lived. And here, women are barely more than an object; a thing to be used and discarded. If I were to be Lord Dirkan's first wife, I'd have a lifetime of beatings and rapes to look forward to . . ." Shinia trailed off, looking angrily.

The exotic girl suddenly took a step back when she looking into the menacing face of Faith. "I know bastards like that," Faith hissed, cracking her knuckles. "If I get my hands on him . . ."

"Well, thank you for the information," Tara said smoothing over Faith's anger. She made a light bow, much to Shinia's surprise. A witch would bow to her? "I think we've heard all we need, except I take it the Lord has a palace? A city?"

"Just follow the road; you will go to him? You will stop him?" Shinia asked hopefully.

"We'll see," Xander answered quickly. "We can't just go around killing people, we'll do our best." Xander then ushered his girls out the room.

Halfway back to the stairs they came across the oldest priestess again, and Xander made a light bow to the wise woman. "I apologize for what I'm about to ask, but we are going to the city and find out more about this ceremony. We'd like to see if Lord Dirkan has some humanity in him and convince him to let the unwilling ones go. Until that time, we'd like to put the soldiers in you care and great hospitality."

"That will be fine," the old woman said, returning the slight bow.

"Further, if we do not return until after the ceremony is over, you can let the soldiers go; it means we will have solved the problem. We are in quite a hurry to our ultimate destination, and we might feel the need to move on quickly," Xander explained calmly.

"That won't be a problem. I hope you succeed in your endeavor, the goddess Anumusti holds women in high regard, and although she teaches humility and politeness from women to men; saying 'no' is not considered impolite, or not being humble, and being forced to do something against ones will is something she considers a big affront," the woman spoke gently. "Perhaps she has even sent you here because she trusts you to make things right."

"Nobody sent us here, Elidabe," Willow said politely.

"None that you know of at least," the woman answered with a smile and then led them back to the entrance.


An hour later they reached the edge of the forest, and about two hundred meters away the city wall started. In the middle - clearly visible from here - there was a /huge/ tower. It reached well above the rest of the city, and must have been fifty meters tall easily. "That's a large tower," Willow commented as everyone looked at it. Since there were only two or three more buildings that were only a little tall - about fifteen meters - the contrast was striking. Indeed, it was such a powerful sight, many poems were made about it, like this one, a testimony across time:

Tall like a mountain peak,

Majestic like the eagle,

Powerful like the gods,

Such was the palace tower.

Envy of the gods even,

There is none like it,

Pride of the people,

Seat of the king.

High over Iridan,

The palace tower stands,

Shiny white like beach sand,

None can deny it's beauty.

Dominating far around,

None can deny its power,

None can approach unseen or not see,

The tower awes all.

"Yeah, let's go," Xander said, and beckoned hi friends, all carrying luggage, onward.

Getting past the gate and the guards wasn't so tough - the moment they saw the girls and ascertained they weren't married or priestesses they let the whole group pass, which seemed pretty odd. Thus they entered the city easily, and left the grey surrounding wall behind. The houses were built from mostly the same stone as the wall. The main road was stone, but side roads were simply sand. Greenery was around everywhere, until they reached the inner city and the large central tower. The central plaza was fully of stone as well, and was devoid of trees, or bushes: one big gathering place where the people could listen and watch the royalty, as well as the place to receive high ranking guests.

When the five of them reached the central plaza it was filled with girls and women. They weren't quite packed so close together they couldn't move, but it was definitely an amazing sight. Almost all of them were screaming to be picked as the new queen, begging even. "Whoa!" Tara said in shock, "Not of even the Backtreet Boys, or Micheal Jackson ever managed this."

"Yeah, makes you wonder if they brainwashed them, or if he isn't quite as disgusting as Shinia made him out to be, eh?" Faith said, taking in the throng of women.

"Come on, let's join them. No doubt they're about to explain this stupid ceremony, and then when the dumbos all disperse we can go have a talk with 'great lord'," Xander said, and the girls silently agreed. They walked forward, stepping onto the plaza where the throng wasn't quite as thick yet. They managed another five meters, still a 90 meters away from the entrance to the tower palace, and that's where they stayed to wait, while the women around them seemed to be going crazy.

Suddenly the women's yelling and screaming increased in pitch, and all of them were looking up. So our five heroes too looked up to see what was going on. In the highest window stood a man, holding a red ball. "What's with the ball?" Buffy wondered, but no answer came. Her four friends didn't know either, but the women around were too busy going mad to notice her question. Then the guy lifted the ball, and with a small toss sent it flying.

"And why is he throwing it down?" Faith wondered just as dumfounded.

The ball sailed through the air, going down ever more rapidly, quickly coming closer to our five heroes positiong. Once it was considered low enough by some women they jumped, reaching for it. One only hit the ball's underside, and it bounced up. This happened a few more times: girls grabbed for it, tried to catch it, but every time they either missed, were bad at catching, or throng of girls pushing against them made them fail to get a hold of it. It bounced up, going just over the fingertips of two jumping girls, and suddenly angled sharply down . . . going straight for Tara's face. In reflex she brought up her hands and caught the ball. She then looked at it with a surprised face.

The girls around her were livid, or just desperate and started assaulting her to get the ball. Willow got angry out of protection for her girlfriend, and made a quick energy field to ward them off, and push them back. "Stay away from her!" she hissed.

"*Do /not/ bother,*" a voice boomed over the people - a voice as if coming from a horn to increase it's volume; it seemed the tower itself had several such pathways built in to allow for easily understandable communication, "*Only the one who /caught/ the ball will be the Lord's wife, /not/ the one who has the ball!*"

"Right, see, back- . . ." Willow shouted at the frenzied girls, and then screeched, "WHAT!?" Tara looked with even bigger eyes at the ball, as the large palace gates opened up and a regiment of palace guards of perhaps even soldiers came charging out. They quickly pushed the women to either side, and they came directly for Tara and the others. Xander, Buffy, and Faith looked just as dumbfounded. "WIFE!?" Willow screamed out again.

"Willow? Xander? " Tara asked with a mixture of confusion and fear.

"Uh, uh, well," Xander started, usually sharp, but taken off guard by the sudden turn of events. The soldiers in the meantime had covered the distance and surrounded Tara, and with her, her friends who had already made a protective circle around her, the moment the women came at her for the ball.

"We'll take it from here, sir," a palace official who had come protected by the soldiers along said. "Congratulations, the dowry the lord will pay for his soon to be wife is substantial. And congratulations to you as well, future queen, may we have your name?"

"Uh . . . T-tara?" Tara answered nervously.

"Future queen Tatara," the man said making a bow and went over to the blonde.

Willow placed herself in between her girlfriend - still holding the ball - and growled, "It's Tara, and she's not going anywhere."

"Of course not, she's staying right here to marry our Lord Dirkan," the man said stepped forward, reaching over to Tara.

"Xander, I d-don't really w-w--wanna . . ." Tara whimpered, looking back at the guy. Buffy and Faith were about to back up Willow, when Xander pulled them, and Willow back a bit.

Loudly enough to be heard over the disappointed yelling women still standing around them, he spoke, "Go along with them, Tara, and don't worry. We'll come get you later, this place is just too chaotic to start fighting, we'll hurt innocents."

Tara looked back at her friends as she was ushered through the path created by the soldiers, who were standing shoulder to shoulder on either side, and gave a last whimper, still clutching the red ball in shock. Buffy, Faith, and Willow in the mean time turned around and looked angrily at Xander. The palace official in the meantime handed Xander a letter, and said, "It's fortunate for me you came with your woman, sir, saves me from having to get your address from the girl and sending this over. Tomorrow morning you will be expected at the palace to meet Lord Dirkan so you can pick up the dowry, show this paper and the guards will let you in."

After that he and the soldiers retreated back. "Xander Littica!!" Willow screeched out in rage. "You just let them take my girlfriend away to be married off to some piece of scum. Explain yourself, NOW!"

"Look, we could starting fighting here, hurt the women, and still not get any closer to the Lord to talk some sense into him: after all he probably won't respond well under threat, or we can have ourselves a calm conversation at his invitation, which I knew he would give me, since how else could I get the dowry?" Xander explained to Willow. An angry Buffy and Faith calmed down some, but Willow still seethed. As the central plaza started to empty from disappointed women and girls, Xander added, "Willow, I have no intention of letting Tara marry the creep, okay? But I thought we'd try a calm solution before violence; these are humans after all, not demons or gods."

Willow then slumped and groaned out in frustration. "You're right, you're right, so now what?"

"The priestess seemed friendly and hospitable, I bet we can crash there for the night; then tomorrow we go have ourselves a serious talk with this Dirkan fellow," Xander suggested to the remaining three Scooby girls.

Buffy slung her arm around the distraught Willow, and she said, "Yeah, Willow, this is best. And don't worry, Tara can handle herself; she fought you to a standstill remember? And that's before she took a lot of your power, she's more powerful than you are." A sad, pouting Willow nodded.

"Don't worry, Red," Faith added for good measure. "Tara is a rare gem, I'll level the palace with the ground if it's necessary to get her back."

"Let's go then," Xander said, and they indeed started on their trek back to the temple.


Tara was lead through the palace. Carpets and iconic flags hung on walls, as did paintings and other, no doubt, ritualistic art, but Tara had no clue to the religious or cultural meanings fo them. Some seemed antiques even all the way back here. The walls were white, while the floor was a dark brown stone, only occasionally covered by a small decorative carpet. Quite frankly, it was lavish for these times, for western, twentieth century standards it was rather crude. The ceiling was quite high away, at least two and half meters, and probably close to three.

The blonde witch was nervous. She didn't quite know why. She was certain Xander and especially Willow would never allow this farce of a coupling procedure to result in her being married to some sexistic pig, and even if they did, she had enough power to level the entire palace with the ground and then some, but somehow she was till nervous.

Finally they arrived in an even bigger, and cavernous room. The ceiling here was as high as five meters. The room was even more decorated than the halls, and in the middle in the back - or front Tara guessed - was a throne on which sat, undoubtedly, Lord Dirkan. Tara had to walk another twenty meters flanked by soldiers on both sides before reaching the throne and the ruler of this city and country. The man was handsome, incredibly so. His skin was smooth, his jaw firm, but not a log. He had thick stubble, and his golden brown, shoulder-length hair was so smooth and shiny even Tara wondered what it would feel like running her fingers through. He wore clothes, more like a uniform, with a flowing cape that showed off he had muscles - not to mention made his position as leader of this city obvious. For those who didn't get that, a small crown - more like tiara - finished his apparel. Next to the throne, to Tara's left, there was a standard, with a cushion upon which sat a small and a larger, much more elaborately-decorated crown. Tara could understand a small crown so one didn't have to where the heavy, large crown constantly, but why a third? To Tara's right of the throne, and a little further back was mounted a decorated, but small stool. Lord Dirkan seemed a little flushed though. Then Tara remembered to ball being thrown. If that was him, and he had to climb all the way up there, and then back down here, and in time to receive her, she understood that. Two guards holding a spear stood on either side of the throne.

Lord Dirkan smiled at her, and stood up. He walked over, while saying, "Welcome, future wife. You are beautiful, I am truly blessed. What is your name?"

"Tara," Tara answered, her nervousness very slowly going away. She decided not to tell her family name; that might not go over well in this time.

"Daughter of . . ." Dirkan prompted with a smile.

Tara swallowed, and using that time to think quickly she answered, "Xander."

Dirkan then slowly circled Tara and examined her completely, licking her lips at her curves. Tara was never quite as skinny as Buffy - especially in her darker days, she was putting on pounds again - or even the well-proportioned Faith, or god forbid even the downright petite Willow, and in this time that made her much, much more attractive than the others. Tara was a woman, with all the curves needed, with childbearing hips and foetus-feeding fat during less fortunate times. With the white dress she was wearing - that during the long trek, often trough densely foliaged parts had gotten torn in place allowing some skin including glimpses of her breasts to show - she looked like a perfect sex goddess to Dirkan and the other men. Tara swallowed, now she became aware of why she was so nervous. She was used to the occasional guy or girl looking at her with great interest, but not to hungry looks almost like that of a predator looking at her. And now she had a whole regiment of soldiers, a lord, and his two personal guards looking at her like that.

"You are so incredibly beautiful, the gods have truly blessed me," Dirkan told her with a smirk that sent shivers down Tara's spine. "You will make a fantastic queen."

"I will not marry you, you cannot marry me," Tara had worked up the nerve to tell him. Despite his darkening look, she added, "I'm not from this country. We didn't know the ceremony was being held today, or what it entailed, I wouldn't have caught the ball if we did."

Dirkan looked at her, and then said, "Are you married?"

"No," Tara replied.

"Then are you a priestess, or otherwise in service of a god?" he asked in addition.

Tara looked around the dangerous-looking soldiers, and her nervousness made her answer truthfully, "No."

"Then I you will be wed to me, Tara. All those within my borders, was told me, not all those /born/ within my borders," Dirkan spoke, and then smiled at her. "Come along," he ordered like he was expecting everyone to follow it. When Tara didn't come immediately, he said, "Come, I'll show you to a guest room. Our wedding will be two days from now, and till then you will be groomed and prepared."

"But . . . you cannot just- . . ." Tara was cut off by one of the soldiers pushing her along after the lord. Tara looked a little surprised and then fell in step, repeated, "You cannot just do this against our will." Dirkan grabbed her forcefully but without pain and pulled her along up the stairs.

After several minutes of arduous stair climbing, and another minute of walking they arrived at the door and her room. The insides were similar to the throne room, and there was a large bed. There was a window which was open, no glass or anything else in there. There was also a door that led out to a balcony. There was a third door in the right wall, but Tara didn't know where that went. There was no fear of anyone going out via that though, it was simply too high up. No way anyone could tie the sheets together and climb down. Of course Tara could just fly out, but nobody knew that. She wasn't afraid of cold either, not after sleeping out in the open for most of her duration here in this time.

Two women, servants - trusted servants - arrived behind Dirkan and they entered the room with them. Dirkan then told her, "These two are Jaina and Marid. They will prepare you for the wedding. They will take your measurements so the dress can be made, and also they will teach you what you need say, and rehearse the wedding ceremony and the timing. A wrong word on the wrong time can be disastrous. You can walk through most of the palace if you want to and Jaina and Marid are satisfied with your progression. Two guards will be posted at your door though, and they will come with you when you do. They are dare to protect you in come unforeseen event, keep you from going into a restricted room, and from leaving the palace. Any questions?"

"Uh, yes, what if I need to poop or pee?" Tara asked nervously, worried.

One of the women giggled and went over to the door in the right. There was a good size stark room beyond it where a wooden tile. Further there was a rope against the wall, that went up and then down through the floor. "When you've relieved yourself in the tile, pull the rope and someone will come with a clean tile and will dispose of your deposit," she explained, giggling again. "Except at night when everyone but guards will be asleep, pull the rope in the morning after."

Tara was really starting to hate this. Even the women servants talked to her like she was a little girl that needed to have everything done for her; like she was stupid and couldn't do anything. She briefly considered just flying away off of the balcony, but decided against it. She knew Xander and the others; at least one of them must have had an idea or a plan. She turned back to face Dirkan, and remembered what the palace official had said to Xander out on the plaza, and asked, "When my brother comes to pick up the dowry tomorrow, may I be there to talk to him?"

Dirkan smiled warmly at her and said, "Of course, we will soon be family, and family can ask me anything. I might not grant his request, but he and your sisters I take it will be able to come here whenever they want to. Now, be a good girl and listen to my servant wenches, Tara. I will see you at the latest tomorrow." He then turned around and walked away, taking his guards outside along with him.


Back in the temple, that night, Tara's friends and girlfriend were lying together in a room. The captured soldiers they had set free upon their return, and now they were all looking at the ceiling trying to get to sleep.

"Xander . . ." Willow whimpered.

"Tara won't marry the guy, Willow, we'll get her out. It isn't like anyone here stands a snowflake's chance in hell to stop us," Xander reassured his childhood friend without a hint of annoyance. "We just have to play this smart."

"Yeah, don't worry, Will, she'll just be away for a night," Buffy reassured her friend as well.

"But we've had nothing but these bastard gods around, what if- . . ." Willow started.

"We'll kill them if they show their ugly heads," Faith interrupted the redhead vehemently. "They won't lay a finger on Tara, believe me. I'll go through an entire army of them to save her."

"Me too," Xander added.

"Me too," Buffy finished the line.

"Thanks, guys," Willow said with a smile, and then tried to get to sleep, after saying, "Good night."


The next day, right on time, Xander and his remaining three companions had arrived at the palace, and they were allowed into the throne room. Tara sat on the small stool, a rather degrading position in her opinion: the queen, but still very obviously on a tiny little stool, below and behind the king. Guards were all around.

Buffy and Faith, and even Willow to a certain extent, looked with wide eyes at Dirkan. "Now I know why all the women were so eager to be his wife," Faith muttered gently.

"Yeah," Buffy responded softly and smiled, "if I didn't have Chris, mmh."

"And if I weren't gay with and he wasn't holding my girlfriend . . ." Willow muttered with a secret smile.

"Hey, what am I?" Xander asked them with a low voice and a smile.

"Sorry, Xan, you're hot and all, but we're used to you, he's just a shiny new toy," Faith replied under her breath with a grin. Buffy and Willow nodded in agreement.

"Wonderful," Xander muttered jokingly. "Men are reduced to shiny toys, and you say we're bad." Xander then took another two steps forward so he was in front of the guiltily grinning girls, and greeted, "Lord Dirkan, my name is Xander."

"Yes," Dirkan stated with a smile, "I believe I will be very pleased to have you in my family. Your sister is a very beautiful woman; she will make me a great wife. This is the promised dowry."

Three men came walking in from a side door, each carrying a sack. The sound of things solid colliding together inside could be heard. The three sacks were put onto the ground in front of Xander, and Dirkan said, "One sack of gold, one sack of silver, and one sack of jewels." The sacks were opened, showing one filled with gold coins, one with silver coins, and finally one filled with jewels of all shapes and colors.

"Ah, that's nice, but- . . ." Xander started.

"I will /not/ give you more," Dirkan interrupted.

Xander waved his hands, and shook his head when he said, "That's not what I meant. You see, we, that is my girls here were never /meant/ to enter this ceremony. We're not from- . . ."

"Like I told your sister, whether you are from my country or not, doesn't matter. That you are here, and she caught the ball is," Dirkan explained getting testy. "You see, the law here states that no man without a wife can be king, and if I don't marry fast enough someone else will take my place. I needed a quick way to choose a good queen, and I prayed to the gods for a solution. Vayu give this way; he said if I gathered up all the women between twelve and thirty years old within the boundaries of my domain, and I tossed a ball down from my tower, that the gods would choose for me. Whoever caught the ball, or had it in her grasp first, would be my queen. He has kept his word, I could not ask for a more magnificent bride. Your sister has already told me she is neither married, nor in service of a god, and she's obviously not younger than twelve, or older than thirty. That means she will be my queen, I would not dare defy the gods, nor do I have the time and luxury to look for another wife."

"Our custom is that women can decline a marriage partner, lord, they are considered quite equal to men. We consider it wrong to force any human to do something against his or her will. I would like you to c- . . ." Xander spoke, trying to reach the man with words.

"Enough!" Dirkan called, and the soldiers and guards went on alert. "That is not so here. Now, you can either take the dowry, except this turn of events, and leave here as friends and family, or you can be banished from my kingdom, and be my enemy forever."

Xander looked coldly at the man, and asked, "And if I told you we and others of my country will find this so horrible we consider it an act of war, and we have no choice but come back for my sister with an army?"

"I'd say, 'Bring 'em on,'" Dirkan told to Xander.

"I see," Xander said, thinking over the situation. He smiled then, and asked, "May I talk with my sister in private at least?"

"Of course," Dirkan answered with a smile, that was somewhere in the middle of a false one and genuinely happy things were going well. He probably wasn't quite certain.

Xander walked forward and took Tara along by her arm. Once they were in a side room with no one present, Xander placed her against the wall and leaned over her. He placed his arm against the wall obscuring their faces so no one could even read their lips if that was somehow possible with the translations spell. Probably not, but who knew if the lord had a sorcerer of his own in use who could translate it. Xander whispered in question, "Are you doing alright, Tara?"

"Uh, yeah," Tara answered him, looking up in his face. "They aren't treating me bad, and they aren't beating me either or anything. He only dragged me along by my arm once yesterday to get me going. The bad thing is being a prisoner and treated like barely more than cattle, you know?"

"Yeah," Xander whispered, nodding. "Is your room on the outside."

"Yeah, fourth floor, no window coverings either - I guess they didn't think it necessary so high up," Tara returned with a small smile.

Xander smiled and then said, "Listen, I know you'd much rather put everyone here against the ceiling and walk out, but can you hold on for today? We'll come get you tonight - we can just leave under the cover of darkness and they'll never we're gone till it's far too late."

Tara smiled - a beautiful smile of relief, and answered softly, "Yeah, sure, I can handle being a prisoner for a few more hours. There are two guards at the door of my room though, but if we're quiet they should not hear us flying away."

Xander nodded, and then got a little nervous. "Uhm, you're not going to like this, but . . ." Xander trailed off and Tara looked questioningly at him. "This might not be for me, but it's a pissing match for him. If I just back off, he might think the east or some countries there are easy to conquer. Again that's not my problem, but it will be for the east, so I'm going to have to tell him you decided you wanted to marry him . . ." Tara's eyes widened at him, and he added, "and you have to convince him that's true."

Tara waited for a moment, and then her shoulders slumped just a bit. "Okay," she said, just a bit annoyed.

"All right, let's go back," Xander said, and they returned to the throne room. Everyone inside looked at them returning, questioning silently.

Tara returned to the queen's stool, and Xander said, "Buffy, Faith, grab a bag." Xander's three companions looked in shock as he came over. "Now," he added with just a hint of command, and picked up a bag himself.

"What!?" Willow asked in shock, as Buffy and Faith did as told.

"You're in look, brother Dirkan," Xander said, and Willow's eyes widened, and then narrowed angrily. She was about to shout, when Xander clamped a hand over her mouth and out came only a mumble. Xander looked at Dirkan though, and told him forcefully, "Tara has decided of her own free will to marry you, if she hadn't . . . well . . ."

Dirkan smiled. He looked back at Tara for just a moment, who smiled and nodded at him. Then he turned back, and said, "I understand, I would be angry too if my sister would be usurped from me by a man I know very little about. You are forgiven, and I hope we shall be long friends."

Xander bowed lightly. "As do I, prince Dirkan, and for now I bit you goodbye. Let's go girls," Xander said and started walking the way back.

"I bid you goodbye as well," Lord Dirkan greeted back.

Buffy and Faith followed Xander with questions on their face, while Willow was half dragged along. Once outside Xander let go of Willow's mouth, and the witch screeched out, "YOU LET THAT BASTARD GET AWAY WITH BRAINWA- . . .!" Her screech turned to loud mumbling as Xander's hand clamped back on her mouth. After a moment the mumbling stopped, and Xander let go. "YOU KNOW TARA WOULD NEVER- . . .!" Willow screeched out and once more Xander's hand clamped around her mouth.

Once she stopped this time, Xander kept his hand clamped as he explained, "He did not brainwash her, I just said she decided that, and she's just busy convincing him she did to keep from seeming like the east is weak and a prime target for conquest. We'll go get her after dark tonight, we can just fly away and nobody will notice because everyone will be asleep, all right?" Xander looked into Willow's eyes. When they flickered and she nodded, he removed his hand from her mouth.

"I hate you," Willow muttered with annoyance. Xander just grinned.

"What about these?" Buffy asked pointing at the bags.

Xander put his down, and opened it, revealing the jewels. "If we each grab two handfuls of this, we shouldn't have to depend on hope and charity anymore. The coins I'll bet will be useless in other countries. So we first go buy supplies for the journey ahead, then toss the coins across the city, and give what remains of the jewels to the priestesses at the temple as a thank you. Agreed?"

Faith nodded, "Yeah, that'll be great."

So said, so done, and a half an hour later, a large part of the city's foundation were diving happily for coins that landed on the ground.


Later that day a few hours after sunset, there was a knock on Tara's door. Nervously she went over and opened it. Dirkan stood on the other side. He smiled and came in without asking if he could. He took in Tara's white dress, and looked in the corner at the elaborate wedding dress that had been made for her that hung on there on a special holder for the big day tomorrow. He looked back at Tara and said with a smirk at the visible skin and curves, "I must admit, I think I like this dress better."

"Ah, well, ah, thank you, I guess," Tara answered nervously. She really did not like the look on his face. He wasn't as bad as Shinia had made him out to be, Tara had realized quite some time ago, but he definitely saw her as a piece of property, and not much more. "Why did you come here?" she asked.

"Oh, don't worry," Dirkan replied with a grin, looking at her breasts, "I'm not here to rape you or anything . . . I'm not allowed to have sex with you until we're married."

"I have eyes," Tara said with mounting annoyance.

"Huh?" he said looking up a bit.

"Eyes," Tara said, putting her right hand under his chin and pulled his head up. He was slightly taller then her, so he was still looking downward, but now in her eyes. Her left hand she moved from her eyes to his, and back again, repeating, "Eyes. Looking into them makes talking much more interesting." She then pulled her right hand back.

She watched with interest at his face. He was angry, yet embarrassed, annoyed, and yet there was a hint that he knew she was right. "You are not allowed to touch me until we're married," he said with a growl. "Didn't they explain?"

Tara blinked, and took a step back from him. "No," she answered. "And why not?"

"I'm not only a man, but also a prince. You are neither. It's unseemly for a woman that is not married to me or my mother to touch me," he told her, but calmed down. "I will forgive you, because you did not know, otherwise you would have gotten fifty lashes with a whip."

"You can't be /serious/!" Tara exclaimed in shock, backing another step away to make certain she couldn't touch him again. She didn't know if she would prematurely show her power if she'd be let to some sadist with a whip or undergo it for the sake of the plan, but preferred not to find out.

"That's the penalty," Dirkan answered her solemnly.

Tara eyed him suspiciously and answered, "And if I were a man?"

"A fine," he answered.

Tara looked at him with distaste. "Perhaps choosing to marry you wasn't such a good idea after all; that's barbaric," Tara said disturbed and a little angry, walking closer to the bed.

"DAMN IT!" Dirkan yelled angrily. "You are a woman, tomorrow /my/ woman, I'm a man. That's the way things are."

Tara felt something boiling in inside her. His words hit close to home, /far/ too close to home. It was almost like being back home with her father and brothers - and that was getting to her even more than all the leers. "/Not/ where I come from. Where /I/ come from men and women are equal, and if you think I'm going to be nice obedient, keep my mouth shut all the time, just sitting there like a priced artifact on display to show off your importance, you can forget it. I will do stuff, I will make a difference."

"You are /not/ a man!" Dirkan yelled in anger. "You can't make a difference, you do not have the ability! You will be mine, and you will realize men are superior to you the easy way, or the hard way. And when you do, you will understand my way is better."

Tara laughed bitterly out loud. It was something she never did, something completely uncharacteristic to her, but she had had it. This time she would /not/ fall for the lies, and manipulations, and the talking down. It took several friends and a girlfriend to drag her out of her self-esteem devoid pit, and there was no way she was going back there. Especially considering she could squat this 'man' aside like he was a pesky fly. "And exactly what made the men think they are so superior, hmm?" Tara said, breathing heavily as the adrenaline induced by the situations burned through her veins, while she clenched her hands into fists.

"The gods of course. Vayu himself has taught us the superiority of men; we are tougher, we are stronger, we are more level handed, we do not cry about every little setback, we- . . ." Dirkan trailed off, jaw dropped. He took a step back in shock, for Tara's eyes were glowing a deep blue, and she was showing her teeth with an angry grimace.

Tara had had it, completely. A vortex of air and energy whirled around her, whipping her hair up, in which electricity crackled. A lightning bolt left her and crashed against the ceiling and out, and then more followed. Dirkan back up more at the angry witch, but he didn't know that. Perhaps she was a goddess. Dirkan's mention of gods had finally broke the damn in Tara. Her father and his forefathers had used the bible and god as a reason for making the women in their family think they were demons. Xiara's attack, Hera / Hecate continued trying to kill them, succeeding with Anya which had hit her hard. She had liked Anya, considered the girl a friend, but she had been mostly busy with helping and comforting Xander to really grieve over her, then the enslaving of humans by the gods back in Eikaan, the true horror of what Varuna had been doing to those people back in the desert city, and now this, this. This close to home occurrence.

Tara's anger went up and up, and with it her power. She hated this, hated the oppression, hated the gods. Those evil things. Lightning bolts were now regularly flying around. Her whirling hair made her look like an angry medusa, and was putting the fear of the gods in Dirkan who just looked shocked. "*The gods!*" Tara snarled out. "*The gods and their oppression, their manipulations, their terror, I /hate/ them! I HATE THEM!*"

Dirkan was nailed to the wall, looking at his future wife, shocked at her words, more shocked when very slowly the color of the light she was emitting began to change. Tara was exuding so much power the energy she was giving off couldn't quite stay at the same frequency, and as it slowly changed to accommodate her still steadily growing power. The blue glow of her eyes slowly turned to a deep purple. "*I /curse/ them!*" Tara hissed out as her energy flame too turned to purple. The bolts of energy that came from her, as the electricity in her hair steadily turned purple as well. "*I /curse/ them all!*" Tara growled, as outside dark, dark clouds formed. Since it was night, the only real indication was the covering of the stairs, until the first lightning strike crashed down, followed by the role of thunder. The light from the massive bolt of energy made the clouds very apparent. "*I /curse/ them with death and pain,*" Tara continued to growl, fists just in front of her, looking blindly half down as the energy grew around her. Outside, normal lightning bolts were joined by purple ones, and they crashed down. Others simply arced through the clouds, again others lashed out from Tara though the building - making holes where it crashed through - and they stayed put, forming a continuous feedback loop from Tara to the thunderclouds and back again. People in the city looked with shocked awe, and fear and the unnatural storm.

Tara simply continued, as energy blasted around and lashed outward, "*I /curse/ those manipulative bastards! I curse their evil ways and their evil seeds! They shall know nothing but fear terror till the day they die! I curse /them/ /and/ their offspring! I /curse/ them. All shall be destroyed, and /all/ will fear their judgement day, for it /will/ come, as true as I /curse/ them! I /curse/ them! I /curse/ them with fear! I /curse/ them with terror! I /curse/ them! I /curse/ them /now/ , I /curse/ them in the /past/, and I /curse/ them in the /future/!! RAAH!*" Tara straightened up, and flung out her arms, opening her fists. With a small dull sound like a pound, a small sphere of white-purple energy blasted out from her, and raced up the purple arcs of energy leading to the thunderclouds. There it intensified the storm by a few magnitudes, and lightning - both white and purple - came crashed down in rapid successions. More bolts arced out from the clouds and then back up inside, and then more arcs shot out from the edge of the cloud cover in all directions except down and in multiple layers. Then a new sphere of energy burst out from the storm, and raced outward, along the arcs of energy, shooting up into the atmosphere and beyond, and also racing along the ground. Then Tara deflated and calmed down, her power going away, and with it the storm slowly calmed down as well.


At the temple, a short while earlier Xander and company came running out at the disturbance and the massive amount power that was being put out. Once the storm started raging, most of the priestesses came out as well, looking in awe. Soon purple bolts joined the white ones . The thunderstorm itself didn't quite reach the temple, but it was close enough to see it clearly. And the power kept rising and rising.

"Is that really Tara?" Buffy wondered in shock. She knew the witches were powerful, but no this powerful, and although Tara's very own power was not that of a Super Slayer, the power brought forth /by/ her power most certainly was.

"Yep," Xander answered wide-eyed. He turned his head to Willow, and asked, "And idea what she's doing?"

"Uh," Willow answered furrowing her brow. Also a witch, and Tara's girlfriend, she knew her the best, and so give a pretty accurate answer, with an uncertain face, "Being very angry?"

"She finally got fed up, huh?" Xander said in wonder.

"B," Faith spoke out, wide-eyed as well. "Remind me /never/ to piss sweet Tara off."

"As long as you do the same for me," Buffy muttered in answer.

"Deal," Faith said. Just then the sphere of energy burst up into the clouds, the bolts expanded, and moments later a big sphere rushed by them.

"Whoa," Willow said in shock at feeling the energy rush past her.

"Let's go get her, guys," Xander said, and burst into the air. The other three were soon on the tail.


"You cursed the gods!" Dirkan exclaimed in shock and terror.

Tara looked down at herself, breathing a little hard at the exertion she just went through, and told him, "Yeah, uh, I guess I did."

"I can't believe you did that! You! You!" Dirkan exclaimed, as Tara became aware of the guards staring at her with an open mouth from an open door. She gave them a nervous smile, and waved innocently at them, making them widen their eyes further. "How could you do that!" Dirkan called out once. "You cursed the gods! You cursed the gods! Why would Vayu choose a woman for me that would curse the gods! That's, that's . . . I can't marry /you/!"

"You can't?" Tara wondered in surprise.

"A union with a demon that would- . . ."

"I am /not/ a demon!" Tara told him angrily. "I'm a witch, a sorceress, a woman that can wield magic!"

"Whatever!" Dirkan yelled, more in anger then fear. "A union with you would bring the wrath of the gods upon me as they will bring their wrath upon you! /I/ and my kingdom would be cursed! Nothing but suffering! Get out! Get out now! Leave! I'll find another wife before the deadline in two days! Perhaps a ball at a small gathering of women when they least expect it, JUST GET OUT!!"

"Okay," Tara said, and levitated into the air. To the mens' even greater shock, she then flew out the window. "Cursing the gods?" Tara told herself, shaking her head. "I should have done that a long time ago, and brought a broom to make the image complete."

It didn't take long for her friends to join up with her in the air, and they looked at her with wonder, except Willow who immediately crushed Tara in a hug. "Uh-uh," Tara said, feeling herself go red, "I m-may have cursed the g-gods a bit . . . I-I w-wasn't bad, was-was I?"

"Who cares! Babe, you were fantastic!" Faith exclaimed with a huge grin. "All the purple lightning flashing, awesome, just don't get angry at me."

Tara blushed more and asked, "Th-that b-b-bad?"

"Nah, nobody got hurt, just a fancy light show," Xander said with a smile.

Willow loosened the hug a bit, and looked in her lover's arms, asking with a proud smile, "I guess they got afraid and let you go. My terrifying Tara."

"No, not really," Tara said blinking a few times. "They were more up-upset with me cursing the gods. If I had just said, 'I curse the gods,' when I first met him, he would have sent me away."

Buffy, Faith, and Xander looked at each other as Willow looked in wonder at Tara. Then the three super warriors burst out in laughter. After a moment Tara and Willow smiled. Once the three of them recovered, Xander said, "Come on, let's get our baggage, and then move onward." And so our heroes came through another ordeal victoriously.

Episode 72
The Great Sage Equal to Heaven!

Will the Gods Accept?

"Okay, let's see, if I'm right on that, then that female unfriendly place would be somewhere in western India, or Nepal," Willow said, looking up in the sky - and the top of the mountain range they were climbing - to access her memory and visual imagination, making a map appear in her head. "The horde of demons somewhere in our time Pakistan, and those people we saved from those lightning gods the east of Iran. Yeah, that means that water body we past yesterday really /is/ the Caspian Sea, Buffy's wild guess was right."

"I told you," Buffy said proudly, swinging her rake and the luggage around as she smiled broadly. "And it was /not/ a wild guess." Willow and Faith rolled their eyes, while Tara and Xander just looked amused at the bickering threesome.

"Yeah right, you- . . ." Faith started.

"Anyway," Willow cut in with authority and annoyance, "we're now somewhere in Iran, I think . . . or perhaps Azerbaijan . . . actually I think we're right smack on the borders of those two and Armenia."

"Noadria, and Khierubid," Tara spoke the names of the villages they had passed through, the people of which they had had conversations with. "Nod, the biblical land of Nod."

"You're right," Willow a wiccan these days, but raised a Jew and so she was quite familiar with the Old Testament. "One of those people could have been Kain!"

"Uh, doesn't he come after Xander?" Faith asked Willow, who furrowed her brown. "He's supposed to be Xander's and our son right, and he killed his brother, another of our sons, so Kain's banishing should still be coming?"

"Oh, yeah, we ate the golden apple against the wish of the gods. I forgot we're Adam and Eve," Willow said perturbed.

"We became Adam and Eve in China," Xander butted in. "Obviously the biblical narrative in position and time probably isn't exactly one hundred percent. They changed it to suit their purposes, we might very well come here /after/ Kain and his people it seems were banished, or perhaps not, we will probably never know."

Thus talking and discussing things they climbed higher up the mountain along a winding path. "Whoa," Xander said as his rose above a rather nice plane. A passage was between rock walls, and on either side was large, very large statue of a winged creature. The creatures were crouched low, wings folded half around them. Xander completed his though, "I never liked Gargoyles, nor the cartoon, they were understandable though. This, however, is ridiculous." Indeed, even in their crouched positions the statues had to be about four stories high.

"Kherubim, the guardians of the way to Eden, Cherubs. The garden paradise of Eden lies behind this passage!" Willow exclaimed in excited revelation. She practically bounced up and down with excitement, "Khierubid, the town of Khieru, the Khieru-people, the people and town of the Kherubim!"

"Those people were nuts to carve these things," Buffy said, agreeing with Xander's earlier statement. The ground suddenly shook, and everyone looked at the statues, from whence the sensation of life force suddenly arrived. "Or perhaps they didn't," Buffy added.

The eyes of the statues glowed golden yellow, and then:

Stone on their wings cracked and broke open

Fire burned around and through the wings

Leathery and of reddish color they were

Yet gleamed they did like metal made

With great roars thundering from their throats,

Rising to their full height were two kherubim,

Eight to nine stories - indeed hugely so,

Their curved swords revealed in splendor,

As the stone too broke away,

Powerful flashy flames licked gleaming swords,

Spreading their wings took mountain from sight,

Spreading their feet, and the ground boomed,

Left foot of one, and right foot of the other,

Blocked passage to heaven utterly so,

None could deny their frightening size,

Splintering rock far and wide,

Bore witness by covering wholly each,

Except the shiny armor unveiled to all,

Obsidian skin glistered shiny black,

Not to be pierced by any mere man,

Or gods alike true enough,

Teeth and fangs, truly sharp,

Don't be bitten, or your life is gone,

Claws like fork lifts horribly true,

Who would dare defy such monsters?

Whoosh followed, and rock did too,

Xander and friends all mighty fine,

Needing their power to stand true alright,

Hands in front guarding essential,

All that energy, white in color,

encircled Kherubim, fear-inducing

Sweet Faith! Shocked out of her wits, she could think of only one think to say, and called it out against the wind and energy blast, "I think I like the sweet babies in diapers and feathery wings and love arrows interpretation better than these!" Once she finished her observation, the blast settled down.

"I wholeheartedly agree," Tara answered with wide eyes at the huge demons.

"They kind of remind of that monster in the Lord of the Rings movie, Balrog was it?" Xander said with wide eyes, and a little bit nervous.

"I suppose Tolkien based his monster on the biblical kherubim, they /did/ have fierce fiery swords in the bible. I suppose he added more fire, and made the Balrog a little smaller than his bigger cousins," Tara said with nervous face, and swallowed away a lump of fear.

"None shall pass here!" one of the kherubim thundered, and then both slammed their fiery swords into the ground before them. The plateau shook, and Xander and co had some difficulty holding their balance. "None but the gods, or those authorized by them."

"I'm never going to look at that movie in the same way again," Faith said, looking back up.

The other kherub took over, speaking, "We are the kherubim, created by the gods, straight from heaven, we are the guardians of the passages to heaven. No mortal shall pass without invitation. Those who try anyway, will die by our hands. You now have a choice: leave or die."

Xander cracked his knuckles, and said softly, "All right."

"Hold on, Xan," Buffy said with a smart grin, letting the luggage slide from her rake, "let me handle this." She then stepped forward, and the others gave a shrug. Buffy walked a few more steps, placed the handle of her rake firmly on the ground, and then to the shock of everyone present, the blonde started reciting rather darkly:

"You would mistake me for mortal man?

Do my eyes not strike fear and awe in your heart?

Can you not sense my godly power?

I am Buffyn, goddess of the reeds.

Mortals die when they enter my marshes,

Except those I decree will be my slaves.

Not even the gods dare enter my domain,

Not without a pleasing present at least.

Do not irk my ire, for I will strike you down,

All I need is my right pinky.

/I/ not a god?

End this nonsense, before I destroy thee where you stand.

Do not mistake this rake for something of this world,

If that is what you judge me on;

For like the marshes, deception is my creed."

Buffy paused for a moment, charging her rake with her chi, making it glow. Messing a bit with her energy, she let it shine with many different colors, and then continued her recital*:

"This is fine steel colored like ice divine,

Polished so highly that it glows and shines.

Hephaestus himself wielded the large hammer,

Hell itself provided the fire, in Heaven it was cooled.

Five Kings of Five Quarters used all their powers;

Vayu and Bhima spent all their resources.

They made nine prongs like dangling teeth of jade,

And brass rings were cast with dropping gold leaves.

Decked with five stars and six brightnesses,

To four and eight seasons its frame conformed.

Its whole length and its proportions throughout

Conformed to Yin-Yang, to the sun and moon.

Six-diagram gods followed Heaven's rules;

Eight-Trigram stars stood in ranks and files;

They named this the High Treasure Golden Rake,

A gift for Zeus to guard his court.

Since I bedded the old father and was so good,

I was given this rake in a grateful mood.

When it's held high, there'll be bright flames and light;

When it's brought low, strong wind blows down white snow.

The warriors of Heaven all fear it;

The Ten Kings of Hell all shrink from it.

Are there such weapons among mankind?

In this wide world there's no such fine steel.

It brings down death where I wish,

Rising and falling after my command.

This rake can overturn sea dragons' and turtles' lairs,

And rake to pieces the mountain dens of tigers and wolves.

(Not to mention clean a mean swamp.)

All other weapons there's no need to name,

Only my rake is the most fitting one

To win in battle, for it's no hard thing!

And making merit? It need not be said!

You may have obsidian skin, a flaming sword, and impressive wings,

I'll rake till your soul melts and your spirit leaks!"

The kherubim seemed more then suitably impressed. They looked down at the small being who had dared to lay down such a decree, and look at that glowing rake! It just seemed they had made a mistake, these were gods after all, they better hope the goddess wasn't pissed off enough to let her ire out anyway.

"I thought you just found it in a barn." It was Faith who spoke that line, half confused, and half impressed at Buffy's recital, the last of which the other three said as well. Buffy hunched down, even as the kherubim's half-impressed, half-afraid faces hardened.

Buffy whirled around, took a step and let the blunt side of her rake crash down upon Faith's head, even as she yelled, "I . . .!"

[Bof!] "Ow! Hey!" Faith exclaimed feeling her aching noggin.

". . . cannot . . .!"

[Bof!] "Ow!"

". . . believe you!"

[Bof!] "Ow!"

"I just . . ."

[Bof!] "Ow!"

". . . had them . . ."

[Bof!] "Ow!"

". . . you stupid cow!"

[Bof!] "Ow!"

"They'd . . ."

[Bof!] "Ow! I said . . ."

". . . let us pass . . ."

[Bof!] "Ow! HEY!"

". . . or run away SCREAMING!!"

[BOF!] "OW! That hurts!"

Xander, Willow and Tara looked dumbfounded at the scene unfolding before them. Faith charged her chi with annoyance just in case, still tentatively touching where she had been being hit, and asked without thinking, "Since when do you write poems anyway?"

Buffy clenched her empty hand in a fist, growled, charged her rake with chi, brought it back for a massive horizontal swing, and screamed, "I STUDY GERMANIC LANGUAGES!!"

"Ah, now, B, that's really not- B!"

[BAF!] With a groan Faith was launched off her feet, made a neat A-team-crashed-car twist in the air, and smacked face first in the dirt where - after seeing a few stars, Tweety birds and other assorted objects - she slumped into unconsciousness.

Xander, Willow and Tara looked with even wider eyes at the downed Faith. Pointing at her, Xander then decided to ask, "Was that really ne- . . ."

"Don't you start too!" Buffy interrupted him, and with waving hands and a nervous face he took a step back. Buffy then stalked back to the position she had been reciting from, looked up at the kherubim, and hissed out, "Let me guess: this going to be the hard way, right?"

The kherubim growled, bringing up their swords when they realized they were going to try to pass no matter their demands. "None shall pass," they repeated.

[Play Buffy Super Slayer Theme]

"That's what I thought," Buffy growled out, her eyes going black. Her power rising, and the transformation starting: her hair whipped up as electricity started crackling in it. The ground beneath her feet cracked, and a blue flame of chi enveloped her. Instantly she shot forward and up, ramming her left fist in the right kherub's stomach. The giant demon groaned, even as Buffy shot up, and let her chi enveloped rake strike out. The chi-enhanced prongs slammed into and through the chin, chipping off a piece and sending it tumbling down. The kherub staggered back, and Buffy zipped over to the other one, and slammed her hand across its chin in a right cross. Buffy flew higher, and both kherubim followed her into the air. Both of the massive beasts fired two large energy balls. Buffy avoided both, her small frame much more agile than the kherubim, or the big blasts.

The kherubim, however, were fast. One shot directly for her and managed to hit her with its massive, rock-hard-and-more fist. Buffy was sent flying backward, and crashed into a mountain a few hundred meters away from the narrow passage. Angrily Buffy pulled herself free, and raced forward. She switched the rake to her left hand, and charged a very large, rapidly spinning ball in her right hand. The ball was almost half her size. She avoided a slice with the flaming sword and embedded the ball in the kherub's gut. The beast roared in pain as the ball started to shred its skin. The kherubim's skin however was extremely hard and fused with energy, so it resisted the shredding force very well; the ball shredding only slowly. Buffy drew her chi back into her and rapidly backed off before the demon's companion could successfully help him - instead its punch went wide. Angry at his miss he fired a massive beam of energy at Buffy, who in her turn fired a large Kamehameha wave. The two beams crashed into each other, and in the middle a big ball formed. Buffy noticed the second kherub readying to attack her - it made her both made as well as give her an adrenaline surge of urgency. With a pissed off scream, she sent a massive amount more of energy into the beam, and it overpowered the kherub's energy with a great amount. The ball of energy was pushed toward the demonic angel, and no matter how much it tried, soon after it was caught in the ball of energy. The resulting explosion sent pieces of its skin flying everywhere, and that was the only thing left of it.

Buffy twisted around, moved a bit to her right, and brought up her rake to block the sword coming down. The sword smashed onto the chi enveloped the rake, and the combination blocked the fire sword. Buffy looked into the monstrously large glowing eyes, and grinned at the massive beast. The angry demon growled, "You will die for killing my brother!" The sword then spewed forth giant flames, whose unnatural composition started burning Buffy's chi.

Buffy's grin deepened as urgency was required. She twisted around the sword, using the rake clinging to the blade as a swing. She unhooked the rake and flew upward in an upside-down roundhouse kick, quickly clearing the dangerous flames and sword. With a roar her left foot crashed into the kherub's cheek and its head snapped back as he groaned in pain. She continued twisting around and raked her raked across his cheek, giving him matching nine grooves - that is if his brother with the chipped chin had still been alive.

Down below three people watched the fight, and Tara said, "Wow, when Buffy really gets going, she's good."

Willow nodded, and said with a grin, "Yeah, it's really good to see her like this again."

"Absolutely," Xander answered with a grin as the blonde warrioress returned to the fold continued her fight.

The kherub sent a thick stream of flames at Buffy, and she was caught in the middle of it. Feeling her energy drain again, Buffy quickly flew out of the flames. She summoned a destructo disc and it crashed into, and then sliced through the fiery, curved sword. The demon let the useless remains of his sword fall a moment later and with its other hand the kherub fired an energy ball that Buffy couldn't avoid. She placed her hands against it and she was raced back. Soon she smashed painfully into a mountainside and the ball exploded.

The kherub looked with satisfaction, until a very angry Buffy, with even more violent look and more violently swirling energy came out. "That's it," she growled, and burst forward with incredible speed. She crashed her free fist into the demon's gut, and then flew up instantly making an uppercut that sent the giant monster upward. Buffy twisted around the winged creature and kicked it in its back, so a moment later it was going up horizontally. With another twist too fast for the demon to deal with even if he wasn't in pain, Buffy somersaulted around and let one foot stick out. Thus she kicked the demon in its stomach and he crashed down. Immediately Buffy grabbed her rake's handle with both hands and flew right after the demon. Right at the moment the demon finished crashing painfully into the ground, creating a big crater, Buffy's rake smashed into its chest as she screamed out her defiance. Having enveloped each prong with a miniature version of her very own creating Swirling Ball Attack, she raked back and forth. The kherub roared out in pain as his chest was raked open. Then Buffy pulled her rake up, and laid it against her left shoulder as she brought her right hand to point down at the demon. With a violent grin, Buffy charged an explosive energy ball and fired it directly at the kherub's chest.

Xander, Willow, and Tara watched as half the mountain a short distance off was blown to bits by Buffy. Along with the mountain, the kherub went the same way as its brother. "Well," Willow said with half a grin, and half a pout, "now we know why there are no more kherubim guarding this passage in the future." Tara nodded in agreement with a smile.

[Stop Buffy's Super Slayer Theme]

A few moments later Buffy returned, looking at the smile faces of her friends. "What?" she asked when nobody said anything, they still didn't, just smiling. "All right," she started a little disturbed, "can we get going now?"

"Sure," Xander said with a smile. "Just pole your luggage and pick up Faith." He himself picked up the luggage Faith was carrying.

Buffy indeed poled her luggage, while she protested, "Why do I have to carry her?"

"Because you knocked her out," Xander said with a grin.

Buffy grumbled in annoyance and hoisted Faith up in a fireman's carry on her free shoulder. Then the four of them started walking into the gorge, and Buffy complained softly, "Why don't we let the lesbians carry her? I'm sure at least they get a thrill out of grabbing a hot babe's ass."

"You think Faith is a hot babe?" Tara asked, and so did Xander by looking expectantly at her.

Buffy sputtered some intelligible things to explain that, before saying, "Just answer the question." Willow and Tara giggled as Xander grinned.

"They don't have the muscles to carry both the luggage and Faith," Xander explained to her.

Buffy grumbled in annoyance, and then said, "And what about you?"

Xander said, "I'm her father, holding her ass would be improper."

Buffy frowned at that answer, and asked, "What? Are you saying you'd get incestuous feelings for Faith if you carry her like this?"

"No," Xander told her.

"Yes, you did," Buffy pointed out perkily.

Xander looked frustrated at Buffy who looked innocently at him, and he said, "Look, it's not like that. You just started about . . . and implied . . . Aah, just keep walking!" Tara and Willow were in a full giggle fit by now.


Halfway the dark foreboding mountain passage Faith had awoken, demanded to be put down, after which Faith had sulked and complained. Now quite a bit further, a Faith walking with her hands folded defiantly across her chest, spoke, "I still can't believe you knocked me out."

"I had them whipped - with /words/!" Buffy exclaimed, a little angry. "And then you come along with your big mouth."

"Is not a big enough offense to get knocked out. I didn't even defend myself! You could have just kept with the small hits!" Faith exclaimed angrily, fully seeking the confrontation, her inner Slayer bubbling with enjoyment at the possible fight.

"Then you shouldn't have insinuated I don't have enough intelligence to write poetry! Like you don't know I get straight As studying Germanic languages!" Buffy told her angrily.

"Well, I /don't/ know, NOW DO I!?" Faith yelled right back, taking a step closer to the blonde. "/That's/ why I fucking ASKED!"

"That just goes to show how selfish you are, everyone else knows!" Buffy returned, taking a step closer herself.

Faith took another, not practically standing against the senior slayer, and shouted, "I know loads about Tara's and Xander's grades, quite a bit about Dawn's too! But you're living a three hour drive away from me, /and/ you hate me! You wouldn't answer me if I sent you god-damned e-mail!"

"Oh, yeah!? Well- . . ." Buffy was interrupted as Xander forced himself in between the two, and pushed them apart with a hand just above either Slayer's chest.

"Buffy, Faith, stop it! This is enough!" Xander commanded loudly.

"She's acc- . . ."

"Faith!" Xander warned shortly, looking directly in the brunette Slayer's eyes. She closed her mouth.

"That's telling he- . . ."

"Buffy!" Xander returned the same warning to the blonde. She looked up into his eyes and then backed off, folding her arms across her chest, and sulked.

"Thank you, Xander," Tara said subdued, putting her hands behind her backs. "My ears were starting to hurt."

"Yeah," Willow said, feeling her ears. "At least whoever thought Slayers up should have made sure their voices aren't super powered." Buffy and Faith looked away, pouting, a little embarrassed.

Xander looked from one Slayer to the other and asked them, "Can I trust you to not to try and kill each other again?" The Slayers stayed silent but after a moment they both gave a nod. "Good, let's move onward then."

The group of five continued their way, and soon reached the end of the mountain passageway. They stepped out passed the passageway and finally could look out over their destination: a most magnificent garden it seemed. Trees and bushes of all shapes and sizes grew everywhere. From their high position glimpses of a few rivers could be seen in the distance:

Paradise almost too little,

Apple trees to the right, pear trees to the left,

And none of it brittle.

Citrus trees forward, cherries in the middle,

All of it here, to the envy of all.

Surrounded by mountains on three sides,

Lake Eden on the fourth,

A true 'enclosed space', a true garden,

An easy to protect paradise.

Four rivers spring from here,

Water to irrigate most easy,

A fifth springs from Eden itself,

A most fertile promised land.

Lush plants left and right,

Enough water to still any thirst,

Shade to hide from burning light,

All was well in the garden.

People worked with ease,

Picking fruits right from trees,

Then there were bushes and peas,

Cabbage too, up to the knees.

As was beauty everywhere,

Plants, animals and mountains true,

Snowy tops the stir the soul,

Not that? The gods would from their lair.

All was well in Eden,

No one here was not fed,

Beauty to please the eyes even,

There was no want that wasn't met.

Except one, truly so,

The one desire they all shared,

Just one simple thing, yet so dire,

Freedom was the one thing lacked.

"A true earthly paradise," Tara said softly, looking in awe at the spectacle. The other four looked around as well. The place was warm and wet, and life was everywhere, from humans to animals. After standing there watching for a short while, Xander was the first to start moving.

The four girls soon followed, and Willow called, "Hey, Xander, wait up."

"Huh? Why?" Xander asked them a little confused, standing still halfway the small decline to where the garden actually started.

"We're in the garden of Eden!" Willow answered him exasperated, and looked around again in awe.

"So?" Xander asked her. Willow's eyes bugged out.

"This is Eden!" Buffy exclaimed in shock.

"Xander, this is the birth place of all we are," Tara said a little in disbelief as well at Xander's casual attitude.

Faith, suitably awed herself, but being less in the spiritual and / or religious, explained, "It's like going back in time and setting foot on Saiya itself, Xander."

Xander blinked, and then said, "Oh, yeah, I guess that would be suitably impressive, wouldn't it?" Xander waited to let them take things in, and then he said, "Come on, you can be impressed actually being /in/ Eden just as well as looking at it from here." So said, the five friends continued on, into the biblical Eden.

They looked around as they walked through the forest of trees. A lot of them were filled with edible fruits. Xander plucked an apple from a tree after jumping up. He asked the others if they wanted one as well, and they nodded yes. He quickly plucked four more and tossed them down one by one. Xander rejoined his friends and as they walked on they started eating the apple. Willow and Tara with greater reverence than the other three. As they walked they passed a few humans working. One of them took a good look at them, his eyes widened, and he ran away. For a moment Xander thought the young man thought they were thieves or other evil people, until he realized the human man seemed more to be running and occasionally shouting with joy. The wide-eyed, not-afraid look the others gave them confirmed that.

Xander looked at his companions and asked, "What do you suppose that's for?" None of the girls had a satisfying answer. As they walked onward through the large valley they came across many plants and trees. There was an abundance of everything. The people living here couldn't possibly eat all of it. When Xander was done with the apple he plucked a string of berries from a bush, and so did the Slayers. The witches just looked around with wide eyes. A little after the berries were gone, they came along place filled with banana trees, and after jumping up Xander pulled half of a banana-bunch from a tree. He shared them with all his friends. He and the Slayers ate more of them than the witches. This place was amazing: paradise indeed.

After an hour walk the forest cleared and they came across beautiful grassland, cows grazing on them. A bit further was the beautiful gold of grain. "Damn," Faith muttered, looking around. "This place really has everything." A gentle breeze even brought a little cool air under the hot sun.

In the distance they saw a small town, and glimpses of a road between the tall grass where the road angled upward across a small hill or bump. Xander gave his friends a look, and they silently agreed to go there. A short while later they found the dirt road and started walking, Willow and Tara looking incredulously at the dirt, both feeling shudders run along their spines. "Look at this," Willow said, and scooped up some of the reddish sand. She held it up, and they looked. "Red earth." The Slayers and Xander looked at her uncomprehending. "Adam means 'man from red earth'." A shudder ran down Buffy's spine as well, seeing as it seemed /they/ were Adam and Eve, the blonde had the distinct impression something very interesting was going to happen - and wasn't that a curse?

The fivesome stayed there, looking at the red dirt for a few moments, and then Willow dropped the sand once more. After which Tara said, "All we need is a closed container, and we can bring some as a souvenir." Willow beamed at the suggestion, and then they walked on again. Xander and Faith looked at the two and Buffy agreeing with them, and then shook their heads.

A little while later they arrived at the village, and to their surprise a whole group of people were waiting. They walked up and one nervous man took several steps forward. "Travelers, how may I ask, please, have you past the kherubim?" he asked nervously and lowly.

"I killed them," Buffy answered and folded her arms across her chest in satisfaction.

"Then . . ." the man hesitated, and focused on Xander, "are you the Monkey King that has saved many a man from evil gods?"

"Huh, well, kind of," Xander said, a little uncomfortable with the adulation, at least these people didn't see him as a god. "How do you know anyway?"

"There . . ." he looked back at his people, looked at Xander again, and finished answering, ". . . is a secret passage."

"Now they tell us," Buffy muttered.

Tara walked up next to Xander, and looking at the people she said, "It seems Xander, that hope travels faster then the speed of light." Xander looked at Tara who smiled up at him.

"Please, honored one, accept our hospitality," the man said once more nervously, and beckoning them into the village. The people parted with hopeful eyes.

Xander shrugged and walked forward, saying, "Thank you." Tara, Willow, Buffy, and Faith followed, thanking the man and the people themselves.

The man started speaking, explaining, "Great sir, we had hoped you would arrive via the northeast instead of the east. There are villages there along the Gihon river that are friendly with us, and know the secret passages. We hoped you did not have to face the fearsome kherubim that the gods stationed to keep everyone in and out."

"Ah, well, they weren't much of a problem," Xander said, a little nervous at this situation himself.

"Coming from the southeast would have been possible too. The Pishon there is a good path, has many people in village who mine the precious stone and gold there. Most goes to the gods of course, but they could have given you gifts for tribute, and they know the people in the northeast could have given you a safe passage - I ap- . . ." the man spoke, nervously feeling his primitive clothes.

"Uh, uh, uh, we don't need no gifts," Xander corrected the man, upon which Faith whispered to Tara she could use a few jewels to get her through college. Tara just barely kept herself from spoiling Xander's graduation gift to her. They reached their destination then. Near the center of the town was a table with many foods.

"We hope it is to your agreement," the designated leader spoke. The five of them, and Faith in particular focused on the middle square, where an ancient and large - very large - peach tree stood. It seemed to be actually /too/ big for a peach tree, as if it was artificially stimulated to form a large, founding, ancient, eternal tree.

Faith grew angry, glaring at the tree as she walked a short distance toward it. She still remembered the peach tree in the first village they came across, and since she hadn't had a satisfying release of anger of Buffy knocking her out, she got worked up very quickly. Her angry enraged look was enough to make the people look nervously at her. "How about one of those?" Faith answered with a nasty grin.

"We-we're not allowed. Those are only for the gods," the leader answered extremely nervous now. "They removed all the peach trees except this one, other peach trees only grow in the abode of the gods on the summit of Mount Saphon."

"Just like I though," Faith said, her face turning darker and she started smirking. "If I'm not allowed to eat them, I wonder how they think about cutting it down."

"Now, Faith . . ." Buffy started but it was already too late.

Faith fired a beam of energy at the foot of the tree, easily destroying the wood. A moment later the tree came toppling over, a few people running aside. Faith grinned darkly at the toppled tree, pulled three peaches from the branches. Two she tossed to a few people and told them, "Make sure you keep a few so you can plant them." The third she started to gulp down, once it was done she pulled off another and guzzled that up as well. The people looked shocked and fearful at the angry slayer, wondering for a moment if their hope wasn't worse than the problem.

Xander walked over and pulled multiple peaches himself. He tossed all but one to the people, telling them to eat up, and he started eating the remaining peach himself. A moment later a winged humanoid came swooping above, dark clouds gathering behind him, and the angel yelled with a much too loud voice, "What have you people done!? Cut down the sacred tree of life!? The gods' wrath shall be- . . ."

"Oh, shut you're yapping!" Faith yelled back, and flung three destructo discs in rapid succession. The angel, completely caught off guard, only managed to widen his eyes before the discs cut him to pieces. Said pieces casually dropped to the ground, much to the shock of the people in the village. But only shortly, a moment later they all burst into cheers at the power their hopeful saviors had.

Buffy joined Xander and Faith, who watched with satisfaction as the angel died. "Just great. Exactly how many do you think will be sent to avenge his death?" she asked miffed. Xander and Faith shrugged as Tara and Willow came around and plucked a peach for themselves.

The screeching, the flapping and the sensation of power was obvious as a whole bunch of angels - and a few kherubim - were launched from the summit of Mount Saphon. Two-hundred in all came hurtling down from the slopes, intent on revenge, pain, and death. The sky turned dark with their number, and they aimed straight for the village. "Sir, great sir," the nervous man tapped Xander on the shoulder. Too afraid to talk further he just pointed at the sky.

"Oh, right," Xander said casually, and gave him his half-eaten peach. "Hold this for a moment, will ya?" The man fearfully took the fruit, and watched as Xander pulled his rod from behind his back. Buffy and Faith too took out their weapons, all three of them putting their luggage on the ground. All very casually, allowing the angels to come closer and closer - and making the people more fearful. Finally the three of them rose to the air, and Willow and Tara generated an orange shield around the village with a spell - Tara going blue, and Willow's eyes going black in the process.

Above the village Xander and the Slayers took in the onrushing little army. With a grin they transformed, Xander going to the second level. "Ready girls?" Xander asked with a smirk.

"More than, let's do it," Buffy answered.

"Five by five," was Faith's reply, that done, all three charged their energy waves.

"*Tanekakosa!*" Xander called.

"*Kamehameha!*" Buffy called out.

"*Galeck Gun fire!*" Faith yelled.

Three beams of raw energy leapt simultaneously from the three super warriors. The beams of raw energy collided against the mere minions of gods. The winged warriors in shiny armors just never stood a chance: the ones in the beams' path were disintegrated with ease. A moment later all three beams collided in the middle of the army sent after them, and exploded with a mighty shockwave and blinding energy. The army of heavenly soldiers were torn to shreds, none of them survived, save three kherubim, who were much more powerful than the normal angels. The three super warriors opposing them grinned ferally, and then shot forward at the monstrous, fiery, demonic angels, much to their surprise - the fearsome monsters were not used to people attacking them.

Xander was the first to reach his opponent, and simply slammed his rod through the monster's chest. The kherub looked shocked as the rod entered his chest, and more so when Xander smashed his fist after it, and - with some difficulty due to its size - tore out the kherub's fiery heart. Once outside the body Xander disintegrated the heart. He then pulled his rod free, and watched as the kherub fell from the sky. Smashing into the ground with an impressive crash.

Next to him, a kherub managed to grab Faith's spatula and sliced it in two with its fiery sword. "Oh, that does it!" Faith growled as she tossed the useless handle aside. With a mighty punch she doubled the massive, obsidian demon over. She blasted upward, smashing a devastating uppercut in the creatures, nobby nose. With a crunch its nose was broken. Faith moved up, hung just above the kherub, and then charged a powerful, but small, ball of energy between both her hands. "Annihilation Attack!" Faith called and sent the ball directly in the face. The attack exploded, briefly making everything white. When it was over the head of the monstrous angel was vaporized, and the upper half of its shoulders were the same, or heavily damaged. The kherub then dropped to the floor like a dead weight, forming a second crater next to its brother.

At the same time Buffy blocked a hack from a fiery sword with her rake. She hooked the prongs behind the blade and pulled the sword away, disarming the kherub. The huge sword flung lazily down to the ground, splitting a few trees neatly in two where it stuck into the ground. Then she slammed her rake into the monster's neck, making it spray orange blood. Buffy slammed her feet down on the chest, while yanking on her rake, in that way tearing off the kherub's head under a loud scream of pain and rage. Its body joined its brothers down below. "Shit," Buffy cursed as she swung the rake back and forth trying to dislodge the head. "Get off, damn it," she added and then gave the head a kick, and it was sent down below as well.

Xander and Faith joined her and the dark Slayer spoke, "I'm thinking, we're going to give the gods a visit?"

A dangerous smirk crossed Xander's face, which was answer enough, but he replied, "That would be the polite thing to do, wouldn't it?"


Mount Saphon, Throne room

"WHAT!?" the head god - Ellil - thundered in anger as the human slave who gave him the message cowered back. "/All/ /two/ hundred?" On the side, a god quickly slipped out the back.

"Yes, my lord," the human answered him with chattering teeth. "We think he's the Monkey God- . . ."

"*He's /not/ a god!*" Ellil thundered out.

"King, Monkey /King/ we've been hearing about, great lord," the human answered kowtowing quickly to appease his master.

"Prepare to breed more," Ellil spoke and rose, his white robes with golden embroideries ruffling softly as he did so. "I shall take care of this little upstart king myself."

"Not necessary to go after him, lord," the man spoke quickly. The god looked over to him sharply, and kowtowing again the man squeaked out, "He's coming up the mountain, lord."

"/He/ /dares/ a /lot/," Ellil hissed. "Very well," he added, smiling sickeningly, clenching his fists. "Let him come." He then sat back down, smiling.


The fivesome had traveled up the mountain steadily, quite enjoying the climb. It took them an hour, tapping into their power when on occasion a real climb was just too troublesome. So now they were here, Mount Saphon's summit, or more accurately, the crater of the sleeping volcano. One side of it was slammed, or blown away, allowing entrance into crater and what lay in it. The summit itself was covered in snow, but inside the crater there were lush trees, a lavishly decorated road - statues on either side. The road lead to large double doors, in a four-meter-high, white, stone wall. The wall didn't go all the way to the sides of the crater, but turned a corner about twenty meters away from it. In the distance, behind the wall, a large towering construction - the actual home - palace - of the gods no doubt. It seemed the volcano still produced - or was induced to produce - heat, and that heat was kept caged inside the crater allowing for the paradise-like covering: the actual heaven - Eden.

"Let's go knock," Xander said with a grin and he and his friends quickly went over the entrance of heaven - the abode of gods. Reaching it, they found the doors were a mixture of metal and wood. Xander slammed his fist against it three times, the knocks echoing around the crater. "You in there, open this damn door up! I came to have a word with you all!"

Above them two minor gods appeared, and looked down over the wall. "Who the hell are you!?" one of them questioned - obviously they hadn't been made aware of who was coming up.

"You don't seem like a god," the other added.

Xander feigned hurt feelings, and then spoke angrily, like a true god would, "WHAT!? You dare to tell me you do not know who I am!? /I/ am the powerful Xander Littica, god of the monkeys, the Super Saiyan! /I/ am the Great Sage Equal to Heaven!"

The gods looked at him angrily, one god or mortal or whoever daring to claim to be equal to all of the gods in this place combined? Instead of the expected angry outburst, the gods decided to play it differently. "/You/ equal to heaven? Don't make us laugh. I tell you what, we'll let you in if you promise to become our pi-ma-wên." The gods snickered and laughed.

"Huh?" Xander wondered, and looked over at Willow and Tara. "Translation spell going again?" he asked softly.

Willow shook her head as Tara performed a spell. Willow said, "I think it's a title or something that the spell doesn't translate."

Tara was done with her spell, looked up, and said, "It means something like barn boy, or stable boy."

The four girls immediately took a step back when they saw Xander's instant enraged face, his eyes turning green. "Those," he hissed, and transformed to a Super Saiyan. The soon power boost and golden glow drew the gods' attention, making them laughing. Xander rammed his fist forward with a roar, extending his chi outward across the doors so he wouldn't just slam his fist through one door making a small hole - he had bigger things in mind. As his fist hit, the doors were torn apart, and launched from their hinges away into heaven. The sound accompanying the even was a horrendous groan that only became worse as the wood splintered, and the metal plates were torn open. Gods and human slaves alike ran to avoid some of the debris that was once an almost impenetrable double door.

Growling deep in his throat with anger, Xander stepped through the hole he created. One of the gods came down from the walls, attacking him with a spear. Xander side stepped the attack, grabbed the spear and simply crushed it in his grip. The god looked shocked, more so when Xander grabbed his throat, and rammed his other hand - clenched in a fist - into his gut. The god groaned in pain, and then his eyes widened further as he felt Xander charging an energy attack there. The energy burst forth, and the god screamed in pain. Xander pulled him along, holding him up, revealing his legs, crotch and most of his ass lying on the ground. The god was squinting in pain as blood and guts came dripping from his severed torso. The wound was already healing though, but his legs weren't regrowing. Xander noticed a winged horse being led into a large splendid shiny white building - as they all were - grinned, and told the god, "This is what I think of your stable." He charged a powerful ball of chi, and fired it. The god watched in pain and shock as the stable was obliterated in a large explosion, killing all the abominations created by messing with animals' genes. The god gurgled in shock, and Xander asked him, "Still think I'm not equal to this sickening place?" The god's eyes widened further as Xander's free hand pulsing with energy point at him. A beam of energy later meant the end of the god.

Meanwhile, Buffy and Faith had transformed and Tara had powered up enough to gain blue eyes. Willow, with black eyes, had enveloped the other guard god in a inky black sphere that had been draining him of his energy. She then let the god's very own energy form into spikes and ram through him. Impaled by inky black energy, and the sphere gone, the god dropped to the ground dead.

Xander grinned at the coming violence, and said, "Get the humans to safety, destroy the buildings, destroy the gods. Keep the main building intact, I'd like a little with head honcho before we destroy him."

"You got it, Xan," Buffy said with a grin, and fired an energy ball exploding a building in which she had determined were no humans. Xander went to level two with a mighty shockwave. The minor gods in the outskirts of heaven never stood a chance.

Inside the throne room Ellil sat shocked when he felt the power of Xander's second level. The sounds of the explosions that made short work of the first two hundred meters of heaven reverberated within the palace. They were even more shocking sounds. In the thirty seconds the gods inside stayed put, the minor stuff outside, minus the humans, were completely destroyed.

Xander up front, our five heroes entered the palace and after taking care of the guards, entered the throne room through red doors. The room was amazing; two rows of statues of the gods residing mainly in the palace. The statues were decorated with jewels and gold. Two rows of pillars held up the curved ceiling, five meters higher. Stone carved equivalents of paintings, and even a few real ones hung on the walls, as well as a string of weapons: from swords to halberts, and from spears to shields and hatchets. The room itself was as a hundred meters long, and even the walls and the pillars were decorated with gold and jewels everywhere. It gave the place a shiny, divine, heavenly appearance, which was of course what they had gone after - or rather they made a room such an awe-inspiring thing so no one would ever question the builders' power, and over time through memories and retelling this look became synonymous with heavenly and divine. The throne of course, was even more lavish than the rest of the room, with a large shiny golden top that gave the appearance as if the god was radiating gold - no down the origin of later paintings with good people having a halo around their head, and the golden shiny floating ring above them to show a good deceased person. In front of the throne on the floor was red intricate circular pattern.

Six gods were present: Ellil himself, his wife Ninlil behind the throne, the mother goddess Ishtar, the moon god Sin, Anu the god of the sky, and Babar the god of the sun. Some of the most powerful gods ever. Xander and his friends walked into the great hall with cool confidence - their energy burning around them. Each of them was casually munching on a peach they had plucked from the peach threes they had found outside. Xander stopped on top of the intricate sign, looking at the gods here, and with a grin he said to the one on the throne, "Well, so you're the one in charge here, eh? You don't suppose you'd be kind enough to give me your name?" Behind them, scared humans peeked past the doors to see the outcome. Around the hall, more frightened human slaves that had been working in the palace too came to look from behind doors and windows to see what was happening. Finally there were the Angel guards and servants that were in the palace that came into the hall, ready to obey their master's commands. There were at least thirty of them.

Ellil, his white robes, and shiny armor ruffling fantastically as he had been clenching his teeth, exploded in anger, "*How dare you!? How dare you come in here with such an attitude! /I/ am your god! I am the ruler of heaven! I am Ellil, supreme lord of the sky! Lord of the volcano! None has dared do this, not even gods, and now you shameless mortal fool would dare!? And with such an attitude! You should be on your knees in shame, showing your respect!*"

"If you're so powerful, why aren't you stopping me?" Xander asked him with a smirk, taking another big bite of the peach and tossing the stone and a little remaining flesh disrespectfully aside to the floor. "Let me guess, you can't, because you're weak compared to me, right? Oh, you set here all arrogant in your knowledge, thinking this power came from multiple people, but it's just me. If you had been less arrogant, and considered I could be just one, you'd have run screaming like a little girl, wouldn't you have now?"

"*/YOU/ /LITTLE/- . . .*" Ellil started, hissing, growling, and screaming all at once, spittle flying from his mouth, with the other gods looking fearfully on.

"*Shut up!*" Xander commanded harshly, then grinned again. "It is you, who should be asked how you dare! How dare you trample upon humans? How dare you take these sentient beings and consider them less then you? How dare you use them as slaves? Well, it's over, humans are tired of it, so you die today."

His four friends nodded with conviction: this bastard was going down, and he was going down hard, and so they equally without respect tossed the peaches to the floor. From the back of Ellil's throat came a growl that sounded like a thunder storm. He spoke one word, "Fool." As he spoke it, he pushed a button on the armrest of his throne.

Instantly there was a sound, and Xander looked down in shock. The floor in between the intricate pattern had suddenly disappeared, revealing the lava of the volcano closely beneath. At the same time the red tubes of the intricate pattern had started to glow, and twist and turn about. A single moment later, as Xander's eyes widened a red force field, with arcs of red light enveloped him, even as the air inside grew red hot - both from the lava /and/ the red energy. As the girls watched in shock, Xander flared his energy, fighting against the shield and the arcs, as he noticed them constricting. But no matter how hard he pushed, even at the second level, they didn't budge one little bit. Ellil laughed as Xander raised his power, and raised it more, but the shield still didn't budge. Transforming to the third level, Xander realized with a shock, was impossible. Then he felt his power being drained away as things got hotter and hotter.

"Fool," Ellil repeated with an evil grin. "Do you understand yet? The shield drains your energy and uses it to power itself. All the energy you put into trying to break free, it will drain and use it to kill you. Even the energy you use to just keep yourself alive it will drain as well. You don't do anything, and it'll crush, and burn, and boil, and bake you only sooner. There is no escape, all you can do is delay the inevitable. Better yet, once its done crushing you, it will your power to /me/, and I will use your own energy to destroy your friends."

Xander growled as his second level transformation disappeared - the oven-trap having sucked the energy away to sustain it. Xander then pulled his rod from his back, held it horizontal and made it expand in all directions. "What?" Ellil said as he saw the rod expanding, growing longer, pushing against the shield, and growing thicker at the same time. Xander dropped his Super Saiyan transformation, and lowered his power to just enough to keep from being roasted alive - not wanting to give the shield the power to withstand the rods expansive capabilities. Everyone - god, or Scooby, or human slave - was engrossed in the spectacle; which was more powerful: the compliant rod or Ellil's energy trap.

The energy shield wavered and flickered, the intricate sign shuddered as the power of the half-magical, half-technological weapon was placed against it. The rod though bent, it was battle of titanic machines, and no-one was really sure which was going to win. Finally, it was the rod that gave in: the small bent suddenly became sharp one as the rod kept expanding, and then it exploded in a shower of pieces. Xander screamed in pain as some of the exploding parts past his chi flame and embedded into his flesh - he had the mind to protect any vital areas though, and together with his chi flame slowing the pieces down, he wasn't seriously injured. With a growl of anger Xander went back to the middle of the sign, placed his hands against the energy ceiling and exerted his energy.

Faith yelled out as she shot forward and landed a devastating punch on the shield. It, the sign underneath, and indeed the entire palace shuddered under the force. A moment later Buffy's fist joined Faith's, after which Faith's hit again. A ring of energy coming from Tara shot several magical anchors into the shield and started pulling, as Xander inside screamed with both pain and exertion.

"*KILL THEM!*" Ellil thundered pointing at Xander's friends, since he didn't want them freeing the Monkey King. All the five gods and the thirty-five angels - two more had arrived in the meantime - surge forward, attacking the Super Slayers and the two witches.

Buffy was hit first by a god charging in with a shoulder-dash. She was launched backward, and ten Angels blasted her with energy balls, that rocked her, but hurt the Super Slayer that much. The god's - Babar - powerful energy beam was another matter, and Buffy was quite hurt. She slammed her rake into a an angel and launched him into a few of his friends, and just barely blocked a powerful punch from the god.

Anu and Ishtar attacked Faith, along with another contingent of angels. Against overwhelming odds Faith too was forced into the defensive, taking out angels whenever she could, and hoping to hurt the two gods in shiny, magical armors whenever she could score a hit. Most of the time though she was forced to defend herself against the two might gods.

Ninlil had chosen to take on Tara, who had turned up her power so much it was all purple again. She brought down a lightning storm and powerful winds, that blew a few angels away from her. Ninlil though, tapped into her own power over the elements, and the storm quickly receded. Tara lashed out with several purple lightning bolts, killing several angels, and only just barely raised a shield to protect herself from the blue lightning bolts the goddess flung at her with a snarl. The followup punch of the powerful goddess though, passed through her shield, and she was launched backward smashing against the white wall. She groaned in pain, but forced herself back up.

That left the moon god Sin and a final bunch of Angels for Willow. The weakest of them all - but still extremely powerful, black-eyed witch - burned up several angels. The being running away, their wings on fire, screaming in pain. Other angels avoided them. She blocked an energy ball from Sin, and then conjured her plasma, energy restraining rings around the god, which to her shock were sucked away to the god's hands and he flung the energy as a destructive ball back at her. It hit, and the resulting energy sapping explosion rocked Willow to her core and sent her crashing back against the wall past the row of pillars. The sword mounted on the wall above her shuddered with the impact. She quickly forced herself back up, slamming a foot into an angel's gut, and swinging around a fist to hit one in the face there. Willow wasn't that strong to begin with, and having her own attack suck a lot of her energy away she weaker then ever, and panic started to take hold in her at the overwhelming odds.

As his friends battled for their and his lives around him, Xander struggled for his own inside the oven powered by a volcano and his own energy. He screamed in pain as he felt his body blister. He looked out with enraged eyes at the Ellil chuckling on his throne. "You're already dead, why don't you just give up? Spare your friends some pain," the god told him evilly.

Xander growled, hatred and rage flowing through his body. This bastard was about to deprive him of his revenge! Worse, this bastards was about to take more loved ones away from him. He pushed with all his might against the shield, roaring but it wouldn't budge, and the heat really started to roast him alive. Xander focused his rage upon Ellil, looking directly into the gods eyes. He saw red, literally, and Ellil saw it too. Shocked the god watched as from the depths of Xander's eyes a red light started and then grow to envelop his pupils and irises. It glowed and shone, seemed to twist and turn - like two small red diamonds. The blood veins in Xander's eyes became more pronounced, and then from the shiny red centers, going slowly outward, they started glowing the same red. It was as if the blood turned into an energetic plasma. A burning rage inside of Xander fueling it. It was observed by Ellil, most of the humans, and Tara too noticed, just as she avoided another lightning bolt and flung it back at Ninlil. For a moment Ellil became worried, but then Xander sank to one knee, the energy shield shrinking and forcing him down, and he screamed with the pain. Although the glow didn't disappear, it was obvious Xander wouldn't last much longer. Ellil grinned in satisfaction.

Willow's panic was growing; the powerful moon god had swatted her aside like she was nothing. She climbed back to her feet as she watched the god arrogantly and superiorly walked forward, vicious grins on the warrior angels around him. She banged her head on the protrusion of the wooden mount on which the sword was mounted. Without thought, the panicked witch accepted anything that might or might not help her, and she rapidly pulled the sword from its mount, having to do destroy the mount with a small magical ball of energy to get it free. She held the shiny sword fearfully in front of her, eying the god that took another step closer, and the angels behind him and further around her. Which to attack first that would save her life?

The god snickered and looked at the gleaming blade, the intricate silver-colored handle filled with jewels, a bigger one in the middle. As round and smooth as the leaf-shaped long blade was, the handle was jagged, with tiny protrusions usually depicting scenes of death, or skeletons or more - probably to allow for a better grip. In the middle of the handle, in front of the blade there was a bigger round crystal, or stone, or jewel - its dark, uncertain color made it seem like all it was all those at once. The ends of the guard were angled down and decorated the same way, the end of the handle was a skull, with orange jewels for eyes. Despite the jewels and the blade's gleaming metal, it seemed as though it was perpetually covered in a cloud of darkness and shadow, as if it sucked a certain amount of the light around it away. Sin's snickering turned into one louder laugh, and he told her, "Girl, look at me, I am a god. What do you think that tooth pick will do to me? A simple sword forged by a mortal man?"

Enraged and panicked Willow lunged forward, the sword's point going unerringly to where a human had his heart - Willow hoped it was there as well, and that the god's arrogance wouldn't . . . quite frankly she was hoping for a miracle. What she got, was not a miracle, but an ancient sword, even now.

The god abruptly stopped laughing at Willow's 'pitiful' lunge, as the sword cut through his energy and body like a hot knife through butter. He chocked, coughed up some yellow glowing blood, and then slowly looked down in shock, where Willow looked surprised at the event as well. The swords main jewel seemed to shimmer and flicker with energy, as did the blade. The god opened his mouth, groaned in pain as light started to emit from the one. "Im . . . possible," he groaned out, and then roared in pain and defiance. Small beams of light started shooting from all over Sin's body. Willow fearfully pulled the sword out, and held it protectively in front of. Then the god exploded with a small explosion, and his energy shot away via the beams of light that quickly disappeared then too. Willow looked astonished at the sword that seemed a little familiar to her, and then ferally at the suddenly fearful angels that took a step. If that sword could kill a god . . .

Tara fired a few balls of energy at Ninlil and then jumped backward, away from overwhelming numbers. With the jump she came closer to Willow, and looked back at her girlfriend with concern. She had some scratches and a few deeper wounds, but that didn't stop her from recognizing the sword in Willow's hand that she was now using to cut a swath through the Angels who no longer stood a chance without a god backing them up and Willow's power augmented by a god-killing weapon.

Across the throne hall, Faith was sunk to her knees, as two gods and about seven angels were holding her down. The gods' hands were glowing and energy and electricity crackled around and through the Super Slayer. Just as her transformation was going to fail her, she put in one last powerful effort and sent the angels and gods off of her. Buffy smashed in a wall behind her, being assailed by Babar and his squadron of angels. Everyone stopped then, as Sin was destroyed, and Willow started gleefully killing the angels around her. Especially the gods were stunned in shock as a simple sword from the mortals they had hung up as decoration just destroyed one of them. Faith would never forget the sword Willow was killing angels with - she recognized it instantly. "Methudei," she whispered in shock, looking at her non-transformed state, then remembered, 'it'll tell you that Adam has supposedly used it destroy the supreme God El, the Biblical Adam and the Biblical god El.' Faith looked over to Xander - they were in Eden. 'You think /we/ are Adam and Eve?' Ellil, El. Faith's eyes widened with hope, perhaps all wasn't lost after all. "Willow!! Throw the sword to Xander! Do it now! Hurry!"

Willow noticed Faith's yelling and looked over at her. "Huh? Why?" she wondered cutting off another angel's head while she ignited another, most of which decided to flee from the unstoppable sword.

"Don't ask! Just fucking trust me this once! THROW IT!!" Faith yelled, actually jumping up and down like frustrated, petulant child. The gods she had blasted off of her earlier getting their wits back, readying a new attack - one of them angling toward Willow and the extremely dangerous weapon. Babar was ready to attack Buffy again too.

"Willow, do it! Quickly!" Tara urged her girlfriend. Faith Willow would question, Tara she didn't.

"Xander, heads up!" Willow yelled, and holding the sword by the handle she tossed it like a spear to the energy cone slowly crushing and boiling Xander. An instant later Anu smashed into Willow, and pushed her along into the wall, at which time Tara attacked him.

Xander had turned around and watched, along with Ellil on his throne. The sword twisted around, and with a gentle arc flew through the air. The angels watched in surprise at the soaring sword. Methudei encountered the energy shield, and just like with Sin, it smoothly cut through the energy, leaving only the handle sticking out the energy cage. Ninlil jumped forward to try and grab the handle; Xander was faster. He reached the blade, and pulled it easily inside the catch. Ellil just sat watching in shock at the turn of events. Xander grabbed the handle of the sword with both hands, and jumping forward cut from left to right straight through the energy cage. The opening torn in it, was all Xander needed to reach freedom, not to mention Ellil. Nailed to his thrown in shock, he was focused on Xander's red, glowing eyes, only seeing in the corner of his eyes how Xander smoothly used his first cut to start the second. With a roar Xander brought the sword back, and cut off Ellil's head with simple ease. Without a sound the supreme god's head was flung off its body, golden glowing blood spurting from his neck. The head bounced twice - painfully - on the floor, before it rolled a bit and stayed quiet.

The energy cage collapsed, the intricate pattern of red beams shattered and fell down. The whole palace shook and shuddered as explosion came from below. Ellil still not completely dead, laughed, even as energy beams started coming from his body and his head. "I master the volcano, I and the device kept it under control - now that you killed me and destroyed it, the mountain will unleash its power. That's why no god has ever dared to attack me, fool! In killing me, you killed yourself!" Ellil laughed from the floor as his head was engulfed by the energy shooting out in all directions. Then his body and his head disappeared explosively. Xander took a step forward and looked down the whole on which he had been trapped. The lava below was boiling, and frothing, and gurgling. The gods had already flew up through the roof of the palace, letting debris fall dawn - flying away to save their own asses.

The angels followed as Xander said, "He didn't bluff, the volcano is going to blow!"

"Shit!" Faith exclaimed angrily.

"Get the people, and then we get the hell out of here!" Xander yelled at his friends and then at the humans. "Come on! Move! Run!"

The girls - except for Tara who stayed behind to get everyone as orderly and as fast as possible to the mountainside and then down it - and Xander flew up the stares into the higher levels of the palace, grabbing anyone still there and without asking getting them down. The whole process took less then twenty seconds, and now everyone was running out of the ruins of heaven. Soon they arrived at the winding road down, as behind them the palace melted and was engulfed in the fiery abyss, as lava spurted out of it. "We don't have time," Xander said, and extended his chi around the people - he didn't have enough for all of them, but his four friends immediately linked their power with him, and so like a lumbering transport vessel they sped down as fast as they could.

Good thing was with gravity on their side, going down went pretty quick, but no quick enough. The volcano rumbled and shook, and black smoke spewed high up in the air. Xander looked back - none of his girls had talked about the eery red eyes, they had more important things to worry about, but it was disconcerting. Then the true explosion came. A massive black column of smoke burst forth from the crater along with a massive explosion. The pyroclastic flow - a massively devastating black / grey cloud of many different volcanic gasses - came hurtling down the mountain. The explosion having the force of a thousand atomic bombs on Hiroshima - luckily most of that force was expelled straight up.

"In there," Xander called immediately moving toward a narrow gap with high walls on either side - it seemed like a tube that had ben melted out by lava in a previous eruption.

"There's no way out!" Faith exclaimed as they went there anyway.

"And only one real direction to defend!" Xander answered her and a moment later they put the people down, who scared to death ran inside the tube. Xander and his friends were last. "I hope you guys still have power left for a shield, because that damn thing drained everything I had," Xander said, instinctively bringing up the sword facing the onrushing cloud of death as the whole world seemed to rumble around them - and that sensation probably wasn't far off.

"Not super," Faith said as she put up her hands and placed a shield in the tube well below the entrance. "Those bastards did something with that last attack on me." Tara only managed to reach enough power to make it look blue, and Willow had black eyes. They charged shields as well.

Super Slayer Buffy charged her own shield to cover theirs, and said, "We don't have enough do we? None of us alone or combined have enough left to take a volcano!"

Xander still held the sword in front of him, and saw the cloud have closed to less then ten meters. Was this where it ended? To his shock he suddenly saw the jewel in Methudei swirl alive, he felt some of his energy being taken from him, and judging from the jerks and the energy flows the sword did the same with his companions and the humans to be protected. Then the shield his friends were generated collapsed and a new blue shiny bubble was placed in its place. The energy from the shield couldn't possibly be made only from the energy it took, or could it? A moment later the massive cloud of pure destruction crashed against the shield, and flowed around and over it. The impact make Xander lose his footing for a moment, but quickly steadied himself. Then the parts of the tube above the shield broke and collapsed, quickly covering the shield with debris. The shield collapsed then, and Methudei went dormant. The rock shield that replaced it protected.

There was a massive, enormously powerful explosion then, that rocked the hole mountain and thus also their tunnel. Some of their charges lost their footing but weren't hurt as they fell. "That's on the opposite side," Willow said in understanding.

Indeed, a second explosion destroyed a large part of the volcanoes out side. The pyroclastic flow choosing the easiest rout, chose the lower exit, rushed out over the land on the other side. A third explosion blasted that way too, engulfing all the angels - who had chosen the opposite direction to the direction the large hole was - considering it the safest direction. The angels never stood a chance to one of nature's biggest and most powerful unleashing of power. Only the much faster gods, and those with teleportation ability survived the onslaught.

The tube became mostly calm, and so Xander raced down to the other side, with his companions in tow. He reached the place and watched as the cloud rushed by, then stopped. He guessed the rest was flowing down the other side, and watched the weakened engine of destruction heading for the village. "Buffy," Xander said.

"On it," the Super Slayer said and rushed after death, soon overtaking the very weakened cloud - but still powerful enough to destroy a village. Buffy hung herself quickly in front of the cloud and charged her shield. Then she went to stand on the ground and forced herself against the cloud, who pushed her down, but ever slowly. Soon she gained help from Tara. The conditions were perfect and the white-robed witch called upon the clouds. Soon a thundercloud formed and lightning struck down into the cloud, pulling dust, and gas away - either up into the storm to be rained down later, or into the ground, where it wasn't vaporized. Several moments later the pyroclastic cloud was gone. The people in the tube screamed with joy at their newfound freedom.

Xander grinned and then turned to Faith, telling her, "This is one hell of a sword."

Faith nodded, and said, "Don't I know it."

She watched as the red glow in Xander's eyes was fading. "I better keep it for now until we're rested or we know for sure the gods won't be trying anything anytime soon while we're weak."

"Well, that red is luckily going away," Buffy commented as she returned from her mission to get rid of the remains of the pyroclastic cloud.

"Huh?' Xander asked.


The next day, after a good night's rest - but with changing guard to keep an eye on the volcano that was now calming down - Xander and his friends were ready to move on. The people of the village were a third relieved, a third happy, and a third uncertain, asking their new lord and king what to do, so Xander spoke to them, "The gods are gone! They will haunt you no longer! From this day forward, all the work you do will be for yourself. You can stay and reap this fertile land if you want to, or if you fear the volcano, or just hate here, you can leave. No god will tell you what to do anymore! So go forth and procreate, live your lives to the fullest! Take a wife or a husband, it matters not, and be free!"

The people cheered loudly at the rousing speech, and waved Xander and his friends out as they left. They followed the main middle river, that sprung from Mount Saphon an the nearby lake, coming together to form one. When they reached the lake, it was Tara who asked, "What will you do with the sword? Will you keep it too?"

Xander pulled it from his back, and looked at it. "Faith, it's got another illustrious history to go before you fight Glory with it, doesn't it?"

"Yeah, Viking gods, and- . . ." Faith started.

"Just as I thought," Xander said. "Well, then," he added, and jumped in the air, twisting with a random strength. When he landed, a random direction, he pulled back, and then threw it hard away, the sword quickly swivelling out of sight. At the same time he spoke, "Whoever will need it, will get it."

When that was done, the five of them continued their journey to the west, and now north.

To Be Continued . . .

Next time on Buffy Z: Willow and Tara's magical prowess spark a huge misunderstand in Buffy Z - Episode 73: Good vs. Good!? - Even Legendary Heroes Make Mistakes!

Author's notes:

Ah, done! Very long chapter, very cool chapter I think, I hope you guys think so. And for those on my yahoo group: why does nobody review Finding Balance? ::sniff::

As always: tell me what you think people! The more you critically review the better I can become; it's in your very own interests.


This poem almost completely comes out of The Journey to the West, Chapter Nineteen, out of volume 1 as translated by Anthony C. Yu. Only the things that would be discontinuous with the Buffy Z saga I removed or rewrote, simply because it is such a good and comprehensive description of the rake.