TO DIE FOR: LIKE WATER FOR ADRIC (Part 5/Conclusion)
It is an established fact that, among all the languages ever devised in
our Universe, the High Traken tongue has the fewest swear words. About
the worst sort of obscene exclamation in High Traken is the word
'kelshuk', which means 'a person who gives ridiculous names to his
pets'. This dearth of profanity is generally attributed to the high
moral character of the Traken people, but could also be because Traken
society never developed the concept of 'cable-TV'.
This contrasts sharply with such profanity-rich languages as Venjari
(which contains over 3200 ways to tell someone to perform sexual
intercourse with themselves), Terileptian, and, of course, the
Australian dialect of English.
This fact is rather sad because, as Nyssa stood in the middle of the
street between the two unconscious WANKERs and glaring at the rooftop
upon which Happosai had made his getaway, she felt like saying something
_considerably_ stronger than 'kelshuk'.
The crossbow bolt sped swiftly across the block in a shallow arc that
would carry it through the air in front of the entrance to Carter's
Imports at an altitude of about five-and-a-half feet and falling. In
other words, about head-high on a certain Alzarian.
Number One stepped forward as he saw the door open, the balloon full of
Spring of Drowned Piglet water poised at his shoulder at a level
calculated to enable him to strike a certain Alzarian directly in the
head. In other words, about five-and-a-half feet high.
Adric opened the door to step outside, suddenly feeling ridiculously
good for no reason whatsoever.
The bolt sped on.
Number One stepped closer to the door.
Adric set a foot outside.
The bolt began to descend toward the storefront.
Number One smiled nastily and prepared to strike.
Adric stepped back inside and closed the door.
"Oops. Almost forgot the credit card."
Hmmmm? That was not according to plan. Was the little tosser on to
him? Number One abruptly frowned and walked up in front of the door to
see what was going on. A split-second later, the crossbow bolt zipped
just past his nose and plunged into the cursed water balloon, bursting
Number One was fast, make no mistake. Years of warfare with blasphemers
and heretics had honed his reflexes to a razor edge, and his survival
instincts were top-notch. But, fast as he was, mean old Mr. Gravity was
_much_ faster. As the water cascaded down over his body, there was time
for only one thing:
Adric and Carter looked at each other, then at the front door.
"What in the world was that?" asked Adric.
Carter shrugged. "Judging from the nuances of the yell, I'd say it was
the frustrated scream of someone ironically caught by their own trap.
Hey, why don't I gift-wrap that bracelet for you? No extra charge, and
it'll look better than giving it to her in a sack."
Number One stood frozen, eyes squeezed tightly shut as he felt the
twisting magic of the Jusenkyou Curse take hold. There was a pe- culiar
_shifting_ feeling throughout his body, and he wanted to scream, but by
the time he had enough air to do so, the feeling was gone.
<I'm a pig I'm a pig I'm a pig oh shit oh damn it I'm a pig I'm a pig
and I'll be stuck with this stupid curse forever I'm friggin' ham on the
hoof I'm a pig I'm a-->
<Wait a minute. It feels like I've got arms. No arms on pigs. Wave it
a bit. Yeah, it's an arm. Don't look yet, but try stomping my feet...>
<Okay, I've got normal legs, and I can hear my bootheels. I'm NOT a
pig! Yay! I'm not I'm not I'm not a pig!>
<Wait a minute. If I'm not a pig, then Happosai ripped me off!>
Number One opened his eyes into a narrow glare and snarled, "How _dare_
that old buzzard cheat me?"
<Strange. I don't remember my voice being that high-pitched. I... Oh,
Very slowly and carefully, Number One looked down at himself, already
dreading what he would see. He paused for a moment, then for the second
time, a terrible cry echoed across the town.
"AAAAAAAAAGH!!! I've got TITS!!"
"Hey. Hey, wake up."
Darren felt someone gently shaking him and blearily opened his eyes.
"Come on. Let's get you up."
There was something strangely familiar about the voice. He knew he'd
heard it many times before. He couldn't see anything due to the fact
that his face was pointed at the pavement, so turning over seemed a good
"That's it," the sweet, gentle voice said. A slim white hand on his
shoulder helped him ease over and into a sitting position.
"Ooooh," he groaned, rubbimg at his sore face. "What happened?"
"The panty thief used your head to get onto the roof and get away," the
That voice was _so_ familiar! Where did he know it from? "Damn," he
muttered. "At least Step One worked right." He looked up. "So, who--
Nyssa was crouching by his side. It was Her sacred little hand that had
helped him up! It was Her melodioous voice that he awakened to!
Darren's heart began to hammer almost painfully in his chest at the
vision of loveliness next to him.
"Wha- wha- uh...," he said intelligently.
She held up her hand for silence. "Don't say anything. Just listen."
She took his face lightly in her hands. "When I saw you go after that
old man and saw him jump on you to escape, it made me realize something
Darren's heart almost stopped. The touch of Her hands, the sound of Her
voice talking to _him_! If he died now, he'd die happy.
Nyssa brought her face down to mere inches from his own. Their lips
were no more than a handspan apart, and her eyes gazed evenly onto his.
Her voice became low and sultry. "What I realized," she purred, "was
that he would never have gotten away if it weren't for you." So saying,
Nyssa jerked her head back slightly and then slammed forward into
Darren's forehead, head-butting him back into uncon- sciousness.
He went out like a light, but he went smiling.
Number One awkwardly made his -- no, _her_ -- way back to the pickup.
It was awkward because Number One's new female body was much smaller
than her real body, so her feet kept sliding in the boots and her pants
kept trying to fall down.
She yanked off the sunglasses and stared at herself in the truck's side
mirror. A pair of big blue eyes looked back from an adorable little
heart-shaped face framed by red hair like burnished copper. She growled
in inarticulate rage and her face twisted into a snarl, which only
served to make her look even cuter. Disgusting.
However, one of the things that had led Number One to his high position
among the Brethren was his ability to adapt to changing circumstances.
_She_ now set herself to planning her next steps.
The first order of business would be to get some hot water and change
back to male again. No, scratch that. The priority was to get
Happosai. Business before pleasure, although this particular business
would be plenty pleasurable. Okay, then. Find and kill Happosai, then
change back, then go find out what happened to those idiot WANKERs.
She kicked off the cowboy boots and tied her pants up with piece of rope
from the truck's toolbox, then slung the AK-47 over her shoulder and
prepared to go Happosai-hunting.
Hmmm... Where would a panty-raiding lecher most likely be found?
As Nyssa scooped up her crossbow and trudged off in the direction of
This Time Round, Tyson and Eric came out of hiding to join their fallen
comrades in the street.
David lay sprawled on his back, a small footprint on his face from
Happosai's sandal. Darren lay a few feet behind him, with various knots
on his head and a large purple bruise in the middle of his fore- head.
Both were out cold, David with alook of terror on his face and Darren
looking as if he were blissfully dreaming.
The two ambulatory WANKERs ignored David and knelt down next to their
"I can't believe it," Eric breathed. "She... she... she touched him."
Tyson gently pushed back Darren's bangs and laid his hand on the chief
"I'm touching something Nyssa touched," he said.
"Hey! I wanna touch him, too..."
And so, the eternal fight was on once again...
"Thanks for shopping at Carter's Imports! Come back soon!" The young
man in the repulsive yellow-and-green outfit waved back at him as he set
off down the road. Strange customer, that one was. And this
not-girlfriend of his sounded like a prize loony as well. Oh well.
When you ran a weird shop, you got weird shoppers.
He stood in the doorway for a moment, thinking about going home early.
He had some fresh zitidar steaks in the fridge, courtesy of Uncle Jack,
and a case of beer that Uncle Billy had thoughtfully sent. Maybe invite
over that lass Julia that worked at the boutique on Grainer Street...
Carter's musings were interrupted by a short, cute redhead coming up to
him. She was exceptionally well-built, and would have been very
appealing if not for the oddball way she was dressed and the cigarette
stuck in her mouth. Plus, that assault rifle slung on her back was a
bit of a turn-off.
"Can I help you, Miss?" he carefully asked.
The girl started a bit oddly when he said 'Miss', but otherwise was nice
enough. "Could you tell me, please, is there a place around here that
sells, you know, panties and stuff?" Her accent was weird, too. It
reminded him a bit of Uncle Billy.
For a brief moment, he debated about trying to sell her the Oooth-
Nargaian dancer's outfit, but discarded the idea after considering the
"Uh, yeah. There's a boutique over on Grainer Street." He pointed.
"Two blocks over, then left." Might as well let Julia get a share of
the loonies as well.
"Thanks, Bud," the girl replied, setting off at once.
Carter shook his head. Today would _definitely_ be a good day to close
"Heeelp! Gay thief!"
Happosai stopped at the boutique's front door and shouted indig- nantly
back inside, "I am NOT gay!" The _nerve_ of that woman, accusing him of
that. Didn't she recognize simple perversion when she saw it?
As he shouldered his bag of stolen lingerie, the air around him came
alive with flying bullets, blowing out most of the store's front glass.
He ducked and tried to slip off to his right, but another burst of gun-
fire stopped him.
"Happosai, you bastard! I'm gonna send you right to Hell!"
Happi looked up to see a hot-looking redhead pointing a very big gun at
him. There was something awfully familiar about her. She looked a
little bit like female-Ranma, but that wasn't it...
"For double-crossing the Brethren of Nyssa, I hereby condemn you to
death," she snarled, taking aim.
Oh! _That's_ why she looked familiar! Happi glanced at her left arm,
just to be sure. Yep, there was the red-and-white flag tattoo. He
smiled in a manner he calculated to be charming, but that ac- tually
looked quite disgusting.
"Hey there. If it isn't my old buddy Number One. You're looking good
"Shut up and die," she replied, triggering off another burst at him.
With some difficulty, Happosai evaded the bullets, although his sack
took several hits.
"Can't we talk this over?" he pleaded.
"No!" He frantically dodged as bullets sang past his head.
"Don't you see that it worked out for the best this way?" the old man
"'The best!?' 'The _best_!?' How can you say that? You sold me
Spring-of-Drowned-Girl water instead of piglet water, and _now_ look at
As a matter of fact, Happosai _was_ looking. He had noticed that the
transformed Number One wasn't wearing a bra. "So," he said, "what
you're saying is that you wanted to be a piglet?"
"What? No! I was going to use it on Adric!"
"And it backfired, didn't it? And _you_ ended up getting cursed instead
of this Acrid fellow. It isn't _my_ fault you got cursed. If anything,
you should be thankful I sold you that girl water. If I hadn't, you'd
be oinking right now."
Number One _really_ hated to admit it, but he had a point, there. But,
"Even so, old freak, what I paid you for was piglet water, _not_ girl
Happosai looked unabashed. "I sold you piglet water. One jar full.
And you had me pour it on that cat. I gave you the rest of it as girl
water because I figured the world already has plenty of pigs, but it can
always use more pretty girls."
Damn. He _did_ have a point, sort of. Just enough of one that she
wasn't sure if she could justify killing the depraved old fart.
Happi saw her hesitation and went for the kill. "See," he said, "the
person you should be after is whoever caused you to get splashed.
_That's_ whose fault your predicament is."
Number One nodded slowly, thinking of the crossbow bolt that punctured
the water balloon. _That_ was what had gotten her cursed. The person
who shot the thing was the one who should be eating a bullet over this.
Unconsciously, she lowered the rifle from her shoulder.
"Still," Happi said, "I feel bad that you got cursed, so I'll give you
something to make it up to you..." He sprang forward, a pair of red-
and-black crotchless panties in his hand. "Try these on for size,
"Dirty old man!" Number One yelled. As he was almost on her, she swung
the rifle like a cricket bat, sending the little lecher flying off into
Number One stood panting for a moment. Perverted old bastard! Still,
his point was a valid one. He hadn't done enough to warrant killing
him, but he couldn't get off scot-free, either. After a moment's
thought, a suitably fiendish punishment occurred to her.
She carefully fished the unconscious panty thief out of the garbage can,
trying to touch him as little as possible, then carried him inside the
"Sorry 'bout the window, ma'am," she told the wide-eyed saleslady.
"No problem," the woman replied. She pointed distastefully at Hap-
posai. "Is it really necessary to bring _that_ in here?"
"Uh-huh. I've got an idea how to deal with this freak. Are you game?"
"Maybe. What do you have in mind?"
Number One began untying the rope that she was using as a belt. "Get me
a real belt first, then I'll show you." She noticed the sales- woman
looking at her oddly. "What?"
"Excuse me for asking," the woman said pleasantly, " but you're gay,
Number One started to shout at her, but then remembered what body she
was in at the moment. With a smirk, she said, "Well, I guess
technically I _am_ a lesbian right now. How could you tell?"
The saleslady smiled. "It's just a knack I have."
About a half-mile outside of town, Adric caught up with Nyssa. The
Trakenite was trudging exhaustedly back toward This Time Round and
looked about ready to keel over. She had a crossbow slung over her
shoulder, which would ordinarily have been all the excuse Adric needed
to go the other way, but he could tell that the thing wasn't loaded, and
she didn't seem to be carrying any extra ammunition for it.
"Hullo Nyssa," he called brightly.
Nyssa made a move to unsling the crossbow, then stopped and settled for
glaring at him as he walked up. It wasn't the infamous Look. She
seemed too tired for that. It was more a glare of sullen resignation.
"Hey, Swamprat. I'd kill you right now, but I can't be bothered to."
"You mean you're out of ammo. It's not like you to be unprepared for
"I've been _busy_, okay?"
"I can see that," Adric said, eyeing her. The girl looked like she'd
just run a marathon or two and had a slight bruise on her forehead. He
pointed at it and asked, "What happened there? Not that I care, or
"I ran into an old acquaintance. Not that it's any of your business,"
The two stood silently not looking at each other for a moment.
"So," said Adric, "are you headed back to the pub?"
She gave him an exasperated glance. "Is there anything _else_ down this
"Well, then." Nyssa started to walk off, and after a moment Adric began
walking beside her. She stopped again and looked at him oddly.
"And just what is it with you, Swamprat? Are you _trying_ to get me to
kill you now, or what?"
"You're out of ammo," he pointed out again.
"So?" she replied. "I could just as easily strangle you, or hit you
with a big rock."
"So, why don't you?"
"Because I'm too tired to bother right now," she snapped. "But just
keep it up and see what happens."
Nyssa started walking again, and moments later Adric was beside her
"What?" she hissed dangerously.
Adric pulled a small, brightly-wrapped box out of his pocket and thrust
it at her. Nyssa made no move to take it, but just looked at it
"Let me guess," she said. "It's too small for a bomb, so it must be
"No. Open it and see."
Nyssa laughed tiredly. "I should trust you that much?"
"Sure," Adric replied, a note of bitterness creeping into his voice.
"After all, _you're_ the psycho here. _I'm_ just the shallow, whiny,
inept swamprat, remember?"
Nyssa glared at him and snatched the box from his outstretched hand, not
taking her eyes from his face until she had torn away the paper. She
gave the box a cursory examination for obvious traps or triggers, then
slowly opened it.
Was it Adric's imagination, or did the exasperated glare falter just a
She carefully removed the charm bracelet and examined it. Adric
carefully watched her expression as she looked over each charm.
At the sword, her mouth quirked up in a sarcastic smirk.
At the skull, the smirk lost a bit of its humor.
At the scythe, the smirk disappeared entirely into her usual Adric-is-
At the snake, she looked up sharply at him, a furious flame begin- ning
to smolder in her eyes. He made a point of looking in another
At the heart, she almost visibly jumped. She looked down at her feet
for a moment.
At the star, he couldn't tell because she was still looking down.
When she did look back up at him finally, her face was blank and
emotionless, cold as stone. Adric had seen that face on her before. It
was the look she got when dealing with unfamiliar situations. It gave
no clue what was going on inside her head and was a way for her to bide
her time until she knew what to do.
"Why?" she asked sharply.
"Why give me this? I can't be bought off, you know."
Adric shrugged. "I am well aware of that. I just happened to see it
while shopping for something else and thought it suited you. I only got
it for you because it wsn't my money anyway."
The two locked gazes for a long moment, Nyssa's eyes as sharp and cold
as scalpel blades, Adric's as coolly indifferent as the Moon.
Slowly, Nyssa reached out and fastened the bracelet on her left wrist.
"I'm only putting it there because I don't have any pockets to carry it
in, and I don't have the energy to throw it away," she said, her eyes
challenging him to argue with her.
"Of course," he replied smoothly.
"And I'm only letting you live because I'm too tired to kill you now."
Turning on her heel, she set off once again for the pub, Adric falling
into step beside her a moment later. Both made a point of looking at
"Swamprat," she hissed softly.
Just as softly, he hissed back, "Loony."
"Owww! Quit it! Owww! Quit it, I said!"
Darren jerked away as his three brother WANKERs all reached for his
forehead again. "Will you guys cut that out? It hurts!"
"Ah, you just wanna keep Her touch all to yourself," Tyson exclaimed as
he poked the bruise on Darren's brow again. "Don't be so selfish."
"Owwww!!! Damn it, I said to stop it!! Owwch!!"
Number One pulled her truck over and watched as the WANKERs limped down
the road. She thought of offering them a ride, but remembered that she
was mad at them for abandoning their posts earlier. They deserved to
hoof it home. Besides, she really didn't relish the thought of those
perverted fanboys seeing her like this. She'd tell them about the curse
later, once she had gotten a hot shower and turned male again.
They would have to be punished for disobedience, of course. But that
could also wait. Right now, finding out who the bastard was that shot
at him with the crossbow was at the top of the list. _That_ person had
better hope the line was short at the Mortality Deferment Office.
As she watched, one of the WANKERs (Terence, was it?) reached out and
poked ol' Shit-for-brains in the forehead, eliciting a howl of pain from
the WANKERs' Big Kahuna.
Number One grinned and drove away. Perhaps just letting them be
themselves was punishment enough.
Happosai awoke to the most beautiful sight in the world. Panties!
Panties of every shape and size! Silky darlings ripe for the pluck-
ing! They were all around him, on mannequins, on racks, in bins and on
shelves. He wondered for a moment if the blow from the rifle butt had
killed him and sent him to heaven, but discarded the idea as ludicrous.
_He'd_ never end up in heaven. When he even- tually passed away, it was
the other place he'd be bound for.
Right in front of him were the most delicious of all, his beautiful
crotchless sweetie-pies. He yearned to wallow in the delicate splendor
that surrounded him, to caress and fondle his beloved undies.
That was when he discovered that he couldn't move. Someone had tied him
to securely to a support pillar, the rope pinning his arms to his sides.
He struggled, but the rope gave not an inch.
All around him, the silky undies beckoned for his touch. "Happi," they
called to him, "come play with us! We burn for your love!"
And still he couldn't get loose.
"Happi," a brassiere cried out in his mind. "My love, I must have you!"
And still he couldn't get loose.
"Happi... Happi... Happosai, my love..."
For the third time that day, a terrible scream was heard over the town,
but this time it just went on and on.
Happosai began to wonder if he had died after all.
Well, here it is. The conclusion of my .357 magnum opus. A few words
about the things that occur in this twisted demi-epic.
First off, I hope no one was offended by the constant references to
women's underwear all through the story. That is the price of including
the character of Happosai the Panty Thief (lifted from 'Ranma 1/2'). I
also hope no one was offended by the references to homosexuality by the
saleslady in the Grainer Street Boutique. I'm sorry if anyone was, but
I ain't changing it.
Secondly, a word on Carter's Imports. Alexander Carter is my own
creation, but his relatives were taken from the following sources:
Cousin Randolph Carter was created by the True Master, H. P. Lovecraft,
and appeared in numerous stories, most notably the novella 'Dream-Quest
of Unknown Kadath' and 'The Silver Key'.
Uncle Jack Carter is better known as John Carter, and is the protagonist
of Edgar Rice Burroughs's 'Martian Tales' novels. Incidentally, the
psychotic girlfriend of Uncle Jack's who was mentioned is none other
that Adric's old friend Phaidor from the TDF tale 'Red Tape Blues'.
Cousin Chris Carter is the creator of the TV series 'The X-Files'.
Uncle Jimmy Carter was the peanut farmer who became the 39th US
Uncle Billy Carter was Jimmy's beer-swilling, good-ol'-boy brother.
Uncle Howard Carter was the famed British archaeologist who unearthed
King Tut's tomb.
Thanks to all of you who have been keeping up with the continuing saga
of 'To Die For'.
A fangirl with a crush on Adric? Can such a thing be? Will someone
come between Adric and Nyssa? Will that someone survive if they do?
Find out in 'To Die For: The Feminine Mistake'!
Part One - Part Two - Part Three - Part Four