Shego looked out into the battle that was going on from a window in the castle tower. The Shogun’s forces were showering the castle with arrows, which was expected. Senior had a few surprises for them and was just waiting for a good moment to hit them with it. She figured things would be interesting when he pulled out the surprise since she knew what the surprise was, but for the moment things were boring.
She was actually hoping for the Shogun’s men conquer the moat around the castle and then to break through the wall. She wanted something to do, but she was not about to go outside of the walls for the sake of a fight. She was daring, not suicidal. She yawned while watching the field, wondering if someone was going to get the idea to set an arrow on fire before shooting it at the castle. But, that was probably too good an idea for someone to think of that on their own, she told herself.
She was suddenly very interested in what was going on outside when she noticed people lighting up their arrows. It would seem that someone had grown a brain out there. She wondered what Senior was going to do now. She decided to go see.
She left the room that she was in and went to the main room where the Seniors were with Drakken. The Seniors did not even bother to look in Shego’s direction, which was what she wanted. She was actually sick of them, having been stuck in a confined, though large area with them for a few days. Between Junior’s stupidity and his father’s devotion to him, she was ready to snap both of their necks to put them out of her and their misery. They were no fans of hers either, having grown silently hateful of her superior attitude and her ill habit of ordering them around as if she was the highest ranked among them.
“Shego, you showed up at the perfect time. They’re about to show these shogunate dogs my favorite weapon,” Drakken informed her.
“Oh, sounds promising,” Shego said honestly.
The pale woman was curious as to what Drakken’s favorite weapon was. He invented some dangerous and crazy things, so she wanted to see what he had come up with and if those idiot samurais working for Senior used the weapons right. So, she went and parked herself by a window that overlooked the battlefield.
Shego made it to the window just in time to see rockets being fired. She figured that they were like firecrackers, but when they hit, she saw that they were much stronger than fireworks. They exploded when they hit the row of the Shogun’s samurai.
“Whoa,” Shego muttered. That was…unexpectedly destructive.
“Whoa indeed! I’m brilliant!” Drakken declared with a crackle.
“What the hell!” Betty hollered as parts of her forces were hit by the rockets and blown away. She was even thrown back by the power from the explosion.
“Yori, you all right?” Ron called to his wife as they flung back by a rocket exploding too close to them. He landed on his chest, but did not even care about that. As soon as he could lift his head, he was looking for his wife.
“I’m fine, anata,” she replied with cough. She landed on her back a few feet from her husband.
“Kim?” Ron called.
“I’m fine,” Kim replied. She was lying on her side with blood coming down her face. She had been closer to the explosion than her friends, so she was now cut on her head, her eyebrow was open, and her nose was bleeding. She knew that could have been much worse than it was, though.
“What in the world was that?” Ron asked as he sat up.
“Looked like rockets,” Yori answered while sitting up too.
“Really? Looked like dirt from my perspective,” Kim remarked as she followed her friends’ lead. She wiped her face to make sure none of her blood dripped into her eyes.
“What are we going to do now?” Yori asked.
“Kim could always use her fox magic to help us win this fight,” Ron teased his best friend.
“Sure, right after you use your mystic monkey magic,” the redhead countered.
“Well, I got nothing,” Ron replied.
“Now, how about we try something realistic and that might work,” Kim suggested.
“You got something in mind?” the blonde young man asked.
“Of course,” Kim replied.
The redhead pulled out a small slip of paper and quickly jotted a message on it. She then pulled out a little whistle and blew it. She flung the rolled up note into the air and it was snatched up by a bird. She then turned to Ron.
“Now, what?” the blue-eyed male asked.
“Now, we wait and try to get this madness under control,” the olive-eyed warrior answered.
“Wait for what?” Ron wondered out loud.
Kim did not answer and they had to dive out of the way of another rocket. Betty ordered her people to take cover in some nearby trees, which they rapidly obeyed as rockets continued to rain down on the field from the stronghold. While they were regrouping in the cluster of trees around the back of the castle, Kim decided to have her wounds looked at.
“Who would have thought that they had such an arsenal,” Yori commented as she worked on Kim’s cuts since she was there.
“And to think, we could’ve gone home,” Ron pointed out.
“Well, we’re here now. We need to make the most of it,” Kim argued.
“You mean like go home?” the blonde warrior inquired.
“We’re not going home. I’ve got a plan…or sorts,” the redhead stated, which Betty overheard.
“You have a plan, Kim-dono?” Betty inquired.
“It’s not really a plan. I need to wait for someone first. So, if you’re going to do anything, do it,” Kim answered.
“I don’t have anything yet. I didn’t expect them to have rockets,” the one-eyed female admitted.
Betty had thought that they would have guns because she remembered those in the crates of contraband that she had taken from the Seniors’ manor in Edo. She did not know those other things were exploding rockets. What other deadly weapons did those fugitives have at their disposal? She was not prepared for that. She could not even imagine that they would have such fantastic arms.
The chocolate-haired leader went to sit down and reconsider what she was going to do. She went over to Barkin Steve to see if he had any insight on what they should do. She respected his thoughts because he had been in many battles before. So, maybe they would be able to come up with a strategy to take the castle.
“We can’t cross the moat,” Steve pointed out, which limited the attacks that they could use on the fortress.
“Apparently the fire-tipped arrows didn’t have any affect on them,” Betty commented. She guessed that they were able to put out any fires that the arrows might have started since there were no signs of a blaze, like smoke, and she was right. The fact that the fires had easily and swiftly been put out told her that they had water to spare, so they might be ready to be there for the long haul and she really did not have time for such a thing.
If she took too long with the retrieving the traitors, questions about her competence would surely be brought up by her rivals, like her brother. And even though she had been loyal to the Shogun and worked extremely hard for him, he would listen to those people and he would remove her from her post. She could not allow that to happen because people would then talk worse about her than they already did. She would be a disgrace to her family. Her father, who had always shown such pride in her, would probably even shun her. She would not be able to live with that.
“We might have to wait for them to just come out,” Steve stated.
“We don’t have time for that. If we wait too long, I’ll have to go back to Edo and send in someone else and that’s just not good,” the one-eyed woman replied. She could not accept leaving with a stalemate.
“Thinking about your job now?” he inquired. It was very unlike their leader to worry about herself in such hard times.
“It’s all I have left,” she answered him rather honestly, which was something that she often did and that he respected.
He nodded to show that he understood that. “Well, I don’t see how we’re going to get in there. At least, not right now. Only one wave of those rockets and we scattered like rats when a cat shows up,” he pointed out. They had also fallen like rats when a cat showed up, he quietly noted since they had left some dead and dying out in the open field.
“We’ll have to wait for dark and then scout around,” she said.
Steve nodded because he thought that was a good idea. They needed to find out more about the enemy, so it would be good to scout around the castle and try to discover something about the building and the people inside without having to worry about them aiming exploding rockets into the ranks. It would seem that they were back-paddling for the battle.
“Did you see that?” Drakken asked in a cackling tone while pointing out of the window into the battlefield, which was devoid of human life for the most part. Some curious birds were starting to land into the meadow, though.
“That was good,” Shego commented with a nod as she looked down at the destruction that Drakken’s weapons caused. It would have been a sickening sight if she had not been a veteran of many battles. Bodies were blown open thanks to his rockets and parts were littering the field like so many fallen leaves.
“Good? That was great!” the blue inventor shouted with a grin. He jumped in the air with joy, clicking his heels together with pride. “And we didn’t even get the chance to bring out the big weapons!”
“Calm down, Drak. It’s not that impressive,” the pale woman said, if only to burst his bubble for the sake of having nothing else to do.
“What? That was brilliant!” Drakken defended himself while turning to face his bodyguard. He pointed out the window with gusto as he spoke.
“Ah, it was all right,” Shego said, getting a kick out of just discouraging him. He was the only person that she liked being verbally malicious to for no reason at all. Probably because if he was in the right frame of mind, he would defend himself to her and she found that entertaining.
“Whatever,” Drakken scoffed and then he turned his attention to the Seniors. “You two understand my genius, don’t you? You know that was brilliant, right?” he inquired, obviously needing his ego stroked.
“It was something,” the elder Senior agreed. He was not sure how to describe what he had just witnessed. He probably would have called it barbaric if it was not assisting his cause.
“It did make them run like the cowards they are,” Junior pointed out.
“Yeah, and you know a lot about cowards, right?” Shego remarked, speaking to the sapphire-eyed young man. She even smirked at him like the wicked demon he believed that she was.
Junior seemed to get that insult, which was something new, and he looked hurt by it. Hurt and upset. How dare she imply that he was a coward, he thought heatedly. She was merely basing her statement on an incident that he had a hand in that occurred in her room a few days ago and how he ran away like a weeping girl.
Senior noticed his son’s expression and decided that he was going to have to say something. He had been putting off confronting that irksome devil woman because he was focusing on fortifying the castle and preparing to be beset by the Shogun’s men. Now that he saw that they were well prepared for any plague of soldiers, he could address the issue of Shego. He could not allow that green-skinned harlot to think that she was in charge while in his castle, though.
“Now, see here, you need to show my son some respect,” Senior informed Shego in a firm tone. He was going to start out civil, but planned to tear into her soon.
“I don’t feel like it, so I guess he’s going to have to bear with it. Now, maybe you should worry about the troops outside the castle rather than worry about Junior’s little hurt feelings. He’s a grown ass man, after all,” Shego commented.
“That’s beside the point. He is my son and I am a lord—” Senior started, but Shego was not about to let him finish that one.
“Let’s get this straight, so everyone can stop acting so high and mighty. All of you are criminals. You’re nothing more than men that tried to overthrow the Shogun and failed. You’re fugitives with dogs of the Shogun barking at your front door. That’s all you are and when you’re all caught, you’ll be lucky if you’re forced to commit suicide like the honorable men you aren’t,” the pale woman pointed out.
“We won’t get caught,” Senior stated.
“You will if you focus on stupid things, like Junior’s hurt feelings. There are bigger thing in all of this. Now, how about focusing on all of the samurais hiding in the woods around here because they’re not going to stay in the woods forever,” she commented.
Senior yielded to that, as much as he loathed doing such a thing, because she had a point. He needed to make sure that they were ready for when enemy regrouped. He was going to see what other goodies that he had that Drakken made. He also had to make sure that his men knew how to use those weapons.
Shego walked out of the room and wondered what the samurais outside were going to do now that they had a taste of what Drakken had up his sleeves. Would the warriors try to starve them out? That might take a few months, she figured. She doubted that anyone wanted to be in or around the castle for a few months. She knew that she did not wish to be there for a few months. How long were they willing to siege the castle?
She guessed that she would have to see who was in charge. If Director Betty was in charge, she knew that the siege was going to be a short affair. Betty did not have the time or real option for a long siege. People were gunning for her job, after all. One slip up and she would be unemployed at best and dead at the worst. She hoped that it was Betty out there then.
Shego just wanted something to happen that she could be a part of. She could not and did not want to be a part of rocket launching war or whatever else Drakken had lined up. She wanted some face to face, hand to hand combat. Well, with a samurai, probably hand to sword combat. It would still be fine considering the hands that she had.
Until the outside forces breached the walls, she guessed that she was just going to be bored or watching what madness Drakken came up with. Well, there were worse options. After all, she could be out there and getting to meet with Drakken’s exploding rockets personally.
He really did top himself with those, she silently noted. They were powerful weapons, she would give him that. Maybe they would come out of things in tact thanks to those or maybe he would prove to be just as big a failure as he seemed to be and something would go wrong as it always did. She was leaning toward the latter since she knew the man and his “genius.”
As the night settled in, Betty sent off a team of ninjas to inspect the castle and see if there was a way for the troops to go inside. The team ran off and Betty hoped that things went well. She then looked around for the girl that could do anything since she claimed that she had a plan. She was also surprised that Kim had not volunteered to go in with the team. Will had even been prepared to argue with Kim over it, but Kim was not even trying.
Kim was sitting with Ron and Yori, who also opted to not even bother volunteering for the attempted infiltration because she would rather be with her husband at the moment. They were all leaning against a tree, actually enjoying snacks. Betty could not believe her eye; they were acting like they were on a campout when they were supposed to be helping out in a serious campaign.
“What the hell are you three doing?” Betty demanded to know, speaking to the trio while storming over to them.
“Four!” Rufus squeaked indignantly. He hated being forgotten, even if a scolding was coming to the group.
“I don’t care how many of you there are. Just tell me what the hell you think you’re doing,” Betty demanded to know.
“Eating,” Ron answered while shoving the rest of his food in his mouth because Rufus kept trying to steal his rice ball from him.
“This isn’t a picnic!” Betty shouted in a fury.
“Yeah, because we hadn’t noticed all the dead bodies and my injuries just disappeared,” Kim remarked sarcastically. Of course, they knew that it was not a picnic, but at the moment, there was nothing for them to do and they were hungry.
“Don’t kid around with me, Kim,” Betty growled.
“Calm down, Director-sama. You’re getting too worked up over something that’s out of your hands for the moment. We can’t do anything right now,” Kim pointed out.
“She’s right, Director-sama,” Yori concurred.
“What was your plan anyway, Kim-dono?” Betty inquired while trying to calm down somewhat. They had a good point, she told herself. There was nothing for them to do, so if they were hungry, they should eat.
“Still not here yet, which is why we’re just sitting here right now,” the redheaded warrior answered.
“Well, whenever you care to share, let me know,” the one-eyed woman stated. She had a feeling that Kim had something good in mind, but it seemed like it was taking a while. She was going to have to go forward with sending in some ninjas to at least get an idea of what they were up against.
The team of spies first had to scope out the castle’s exterior and find a way in. Once they found a way in, they were not without other troubles. In fact, their problems had only just begun. The interior of the castle was like a maze, which was how castles were always designed and they had expected that. But, the ninjas still got lost.
“You guys make things too easy,” Shego remarked as she caught up with four of the ninjas as they ran into a dead end.
The team of stealth warriors turned to face the pale woman. They pulled out shuriken and flung the projectiles in her direction. She dodged weapons with ease and ran at the group. She struck like a viper at her opponents, taking two of them before they even realized that she was on them. The other two were able to put their hands up, but that was about it. Shego’s hands were just too fast for them.
When the four were unconscious, Shego decided to be kind about things. She carried them to the nearest exit and left them outside. If they were lucky, one of their comrades would find them and help them. But, now, they were not her problem and she really did not care what happened to them.
Once she was done with those spies, she went to scan the castle to see if there were more. She heard gunfire a few minutes later and that sort of answered her question. She ran to the noise and got to see a pair of Senior’s men admiring their rifles while a shinobi was laid out on the floor. One of the guards shined a lantern on the corpse and they got a good look as to what the firearms could do to a body.
Shego could not believe her eyes when she saw the carnage that Drakken’s weapon could cause. How had he modified those guns, she wondered while looking down at the body. The chest of the ninja was blown wide up. It looked like a shot had gone through the ninja’s face and ripped his jaw off his skull. It was beyond gruesome.
The pale woman tore herself away from the scene. It was not that she was so disgusted or disturbed by the sight, but she was bored with it for the most part. If the ninja was already dead, it left her with nothing to do. She wanted someone to fight and she wanted the battle to last for more than five seconds. What was the point in being under siege if she did not have anything to do? It would seem that Drakken was managing to get on her nerves by actually doing something right since he was the one that designed the weapons that were taking care of everything.
Shego strolled around the castle, but did not find anyone to engage. There were a few spies wandering the castle and trying to gather intelligence, but the guards caught them before she could get to them. The guards wasted no time using the rifles that they had. The ninjas that ran into the guards were killed by gunfire, even if they managed to dodge the first shot, either another guard would come out of nowhere and fire his gun or they would learn the hard way that Drakken had created rifles that were easy and quick to reload. Unfortunately, there were a couple of guards lost to shots because of their overzealous use of the powerful weapons.
Shego decided to go to sleep since there was nothing that she could do. She was bored, but she supposed that she expected that. She was on the defensive end of a siege, after all. If she had something to do, they would be in trouble. Still, she would not have minded something to do.
As she lay down, her mind drifted to Akako, as it now had a habit of doing. Would she ever see the redhead again? Would they ever sit and share meaningful discourse again? Would she ever be able to hear the divine songs that it seemed only Akako could pluck from the shamisen? But most importantly, was Akako all right? Was she free still or had she been returned to her cage to play her song for others? The last two questions were the ones that she truly desired answers for because it would set her mind at ease and open up the possibilities for the others.
Betty was worried when her agents did not return as the night started to turn into morning. The sun started peeking out over the hills and Betty decided to go search for the teams on her own. She found four of them, lying unconscious in the forest’s beginning near the castle. She called for help as she began to inspect the crew to make sure that they were still alive.
The four ninja were still alive, but they were in horrid shape. They regained consciousness almost around noon. They could not even remember what happened to them last night to help Betty know what they were up against. They could not remember how they even got into the castle.
Betty was not sure what to think from such sparse news. What was going on in that castle? Had her other agents been killed and the four that made it out just lucky? If that was the case, how did those four make it out? They did not seem like they were in the best shape to escape from anywhere, so how did they make it out?
She turned her eye to the castle and wondered what happened in there last night. Had her four agents just been dumped out there as some kind of taunt or warning? Did they want her to see what they could do to anyone that entered the castle’s walls? Perhaps they thought that it would discourage her from trying anything further. If that was the case, they did not know her very well.
“What now?” Steve asked the leader.
“I don’t know. What do we have left?” Betty wondered aloud.
“We’ve got whatever those three have up their sleeves,” Steve commented while motioning toward Kim and her crew, who were now having lunch.
“They’re not saying anything. I think their idea might take a while, so we need to think of something while they’re doing whatever,” the one-eyed woman replied.
“You can send in a specialized team,” he stated.
“I don’t want to send anyone else in there without knowing what they’re up against. I mean, if I just keep throwing ninjas at them and they kill them, then that’s just a waste of men on my part. It also helps them because they have less people to deal with when we finally do get in there. We need more information,” Betty said.
“Better still, why not send word back that we need the contraband that we took from the Seniors’ home in Edo?” Steve suggested.
Betty thought about it. That would cause all kinds of havoc, but it would even things out. She supposed that it was not a bad option. She had to take those traitors down no matter what, so she might as well do that. So, she sent a messenger back to Edo to tell others to send those weapons. She would like to see what the Seniors would do when they were faced with the same weapons that they were using on her people.
“Wade-kun, it’s about time that you showed up,” Kim commented as Wade strolled over to the group.
They had been trying to take the castle, even though it was obvious that they were not going to get in. They were still being held back by exploding rockets and they were introduced to Drakken’s modified guns being fired over the castle’s walls. It was looking bleak on their end, especially if the Seniors had enough stockpile to go on for months.
They had retreated into the safety of the woods after a day of being fired at again. They had tried to barge the castle with fire-tipped arrows again, but that was not working at all. They were not even seeing any smoke from that effort, so they did not know what else to do. Many of the warriors believed that they were just going to starve the Seniors and others out of the castle since it was obvious that they were not going to be able to breach the walls.
“Sorry about that Kim-san, but it took a while to come up with the stuff that you need,” Wade answered as he stood before Kim, Ron, and Yori.
“Hey, Wade, good to see you,” Ron greeted the younger male as he took notice of the shorter fellow.
“Good to see you too. Hey, Yori-san,” Wade greeted the couple.
“Hey. So, you’re here to help?” Yori guessed.
“That’s what I usually come around for. This was no easy find,” Wade said while waving a scroll in Kim’s face.
“But, I knew you would find it,” the redhead replied with a smile.
“Just because it’s not easy doesn’t mean I can’t make it happen. I mean, you’re not the only one that could do anything,” he remarked with a smile of his own.
“What’s going on over here?” Betty inquired as she noticed Wade. She knew that Kim got a lot of information from Wade, who seemed to be able to get just about anything as long as he was given about an hour to do it. It amazed Betty at how efficient the small group could be.
“Nothing yet, Director-sama, but there will be in a moment,” Wade answered, still smiling. He was obviously proud of his work; whatever that work was, Betty thought.
“What are you going to do?” Betty asked Kim, knowing that the ring leader of the whole crew was the redheaded warrior.
“We’re going to get the drop on Senior-sama with this,” Kim replied and she waved the scroll in Betty’s face.
“What’s that?” the one-eyed woman inquired.
“Blue prints to the castle,” Wade answered while jabbing his thumb into the direction of the castle.
“How did you get those?” Betty asked, almost shouting. How the hell did those kids do half the things that they did?
“You just have to know where to look,” the young genius answered with a shrug.
“So, what is that you’re planning? I hope you’re not going to go in there with just this,” Betty pointed out. Sure, the last set of ninjas she had sent in had not had a map, but they still had not come out. She knew that they were dead and that was that. She did not want that to happen to Kim’s group.
“Wade-kun brought more than map,” Kim said.
“But, that doesn’t tell me what you’re planning,” Betty pointed out.
“I figured that I’d show you and we’d all go in. This should make it easier since we won’t be running around in the castle with no idea where to go,” the redhead explained.
“What about the guns?” Betty inquired.
“Wade-kun has the answer to all of that,” Kim replied.
“Wade,” Betty said and she turned her attention to the little inventor boy.
Wade smiled and motioned behind him, where he had a cart full of things. Betty wondered just what it was that Wade had to combat against those guns and rockets and everything. What was the plan?
Next time: the plan and taking the fight inside, figuratively and literally since there will be a bit of in-fighting.