“So, wait, Elizabeth’s a Martian?” quizzed Richard as he, POmega, and Megumi waited for her ride to Elizabeth’s battlefield.
“Yep,” replied Megumi. “Apparently Martians look like us, just with various shades of rusty skin tones and living underground.”
“But a multiversal constant of Mars,” interjected POmega, “is that Mars’ gravity is 38% of Earth’s. How is she still doing maid duties as well as a human?”
“Apparently, Martians have a secret training program that simulates gravity and the final test is surviving one of Jupiter’s weeks ON Jupiter,” explained Megumi.
“That’s a gas giant, though!” protested Richard. “No solid ground at all!”
“Well, there IS a Martian base hovering within Jupiter’s clouds,” recalled Megumi. “Enough gravity control for keeping the base intact, but Martians still feel the effects of Jupiter’s gravity. Once they pass that, they’re considered adults.”
“What’s the idea, though?” quizzed POmega.
“It’s to prove they’re the strongest in, at least, the solar system,” explained a voice. Everyone whirled around in surprise to see Greterey standing behind them. “They know they can’t be the strongest in the universe, but they want to be able to defend their solar system.”
“Do you guys HAVE to surprise us like that?!” snapped Richard.
“No,” replied Greterey, “we just want to keep our contestants on their toes. Speaking of which, Megumi, your opponent is ready.”
“Let’s go, then!” declared Megumi. She and Greterey vanished in toner-grey light.
“Calling all inhabitants of Vorton,” POmega called over the comms, “Megumi’s bout is beginning.”
Megumi and Greterey arrived on a rather opulent stage. Elizabeth and her employer had just finished with all sound checks. “Ah, there you are!” cheered Elizabeth. “We’re ready to host our bout. Please, take your place on stage.” She gestures towards one of the microphones on the stage. Megumi stood behind one and grinned, planning out her method of attack. Elizabeth and her employer spoke with each other before kissing and parting so Elizabeth could take her place. A camera appeared and Greterey spoke.
“I am Greterey,” she announced, “the toner-grey princess of Chizara and the family leader! Representing her new home of 8-3-Y-0-N-D-C-1-T-Y and a permanent student of the multiverse’s leading educational institute, After Academy, we have Megumi Hishikawa! Representing M-4-R-T-1-4-N-M-4-1-D, we have Eli-zalem-barulee-thantii, Elizabeth, with home turf advantage! This fight will be determined by the Oldest Game.”
When Death heard that on her office computer, she spat out her drink. “WHAT?!” she shouted.
“For those of you unfamiliar with the Oldest Game, the rules are simple,” continued Greterey. Death heard enough. She grabbed her scythe and made a portal to Elizabeth’s home universe.
“One of the challengers will set the meter and offer itself as a certain creature or object and the opponent must counter with a creature or object that can destroy the previous one,” continued Greterey. “Then the first one must assume another shape to destroy the previous and so on and so forth. Both will continue until one loses nerve, suffers a lack of imagination, is unable to shift into a defensive shape, or hesitates. Usually, there are…” Greterey was interrupted by a scythe flying near her and embedding itself in the wall behind her. She ran her eyes along the scythe’s shaft as it wobbled from the impact. The ladies on stage turned to the audience seats to see Death in her classic appearance, a skeleton in black robes and a hood.
“The bout must change!” demanded Death.
“Death, what are you doing?!” hissed Megumi.
“Megumi, I know you know about what happens to the loser of the Oldest Game,” whispered Death. “You wrote a 10-page paper on the subject! I recall giving you a 97! The only reason it wasn’t a full 100 was because of some grammar issues! You know as well as I do what happens to the loser! Give us a summary of what happens!” Megumi sighed before she began.
“Under normal circumstances…” she started.
“Ah!” interjected Death as she raised a finger as if to indicate that the phrase Megumi chose wasn’t the correct one.
“…Under normal circumstances,” insisted Megumi, “the loser would suffer divine wrath.”
“But, these AREN’T normal circumstances,” supplied Elizabeth. “If things were different, I would invoke this game in my last round.”
“Why?!” protested Death. “You can’t make your opponent suffer like that! The Chizarans shouldn’t allow it!”
“Article 5, subsection 7 of invoking fight terms,” replied Megumi.
“…What?” asked Death.
“Article 5, subsection 7 of the invocation of fight terms for only the 590,492nd 3V2R,” began Greterey as she pulled the scythe out of the wall and repaired the damage, “if the competitor wishes to invoke the Oldest Game, they must first secure permission from the five Chizaran Princesses. Once permission is granted, the Chizaran Princesses will ensure that all proper precautions are taken so the loser does not suffer divine wrath. Once precautions are in place, the Chizaran Princesses must then inform all other princesses that an invocation of the Oldest Game is to be expected. Once it is invoked, it cannot be used again for the next 7,000 3V2R’s. Since Megumi was the one who challenged Elizabeth to the Oldest Game, if she wins, Elizabeth must plan out new fight terms for her opponent. I assure you, the only thing the loser of these ladies will suffer is as much dishonor as she feels defeat is necessary. Now, if you don’t mind,” she then threw the scythe to Death who caught it by the blade, “we have a bout to begin.”
“Megumi, when this round is over,” hissed Death, “you and I will have a nice, long talk about taking unnecessary risks!” She vanished in black smoke. Greterey released a sigh.
“With all that addressed,” she declared, “Megumi Hishikawa, are you ready?”
“Ready and waiting,” replied Megumi.
“Elizabeth, are you ready?” asked Greterey.
“Klatun paka tal!” (Readiness becomes me!) answered Elizabeth.
“Then it’s time to determine who sets the meter!” proclaimed Greterey as she pulled out a coin of white and black. “Megumi, as you set the terms, you will call.”
“Black,” called Megumi. The coin was tossed and Greterey checked it once it was on her hand.
“…Hard luck,” she answered. “Elizabeth, you may start!”
“I am a rat,” began Elizabeth, “food consuming, disease spreading.”
“I am a cat,” countered Megumi, “rat killing, claw laden.”
“I am a car,” offered Elizabeth, “metal constructed, cat crushing.”
“I am a drunk driver,” deflected Megumi, “brain-addled, car totaling.”
“I am a drunk’s alcohol,” countered Elizabeth, “liver destroying, home wrecking.”
“I am a rehab nurse,” replied Megumi, “human restoring, all life caring.”
“I am a snake,” answered Elizabeth, “nurse biting, poison toothed.”
“I am a honey badger,” invoked Megumi, “poison resistant, snake shredding.”
“She just wanted to do a ‘Honey Badger Don’t Care’ joke!” protested Optimus as he and the Autobots watched from the base.
“It seemed to buy her time,” remarked Strongarm.
“I am a hunter,” offered Elizabeth, “pelt taking, gun firing.”
“I am a scorpion,” countered Megumi, “poison-tailed, hunter stinging.”
“I am a tarantula,” supplied Elizabeth, “eight-legged, scorpion dissolving.”
“I am a tarantula hawk wasp,” deflected Megumi, “tarantula stinging, tarantula flesh eating egg laying.”
“I am a roadrunner,” countered Elizabeth, “wasp consuming, fleet footed.” Megumi saw how her opponent played, drawing on her Martian culture to overpower what Megumi could conjure as long as she stayed on the offensive.
“I am a desert,” she played, “arid land, water scarce.”
“I am an ocean,” countered Elizabeth, “land eroding, over time desert destroying.”
“I am a solar system,” deflected Megumi, “planet dancing, sun orbiting.”
“I am a galaxy,” declared Elizabeth, “chaos ridden, war laden.”
“I am life,” invoked Megumi, “challenge overcoming, all things striving.”
“I am…I am…er, I am…I am the loser here,” muttered Elizabeth. “That was good.”
“This contest is over!” called Greterey. “The winner is Megumi Hishikawa! Megumi, you will be returned home. Elizabeth, though you have suffered a defeat, know that it only brings as much dishonor as you feel necessary. Would you care for an interview with Blancalmarem and Nemengra?”
“I think I would,” replied Elizabeth.
“Then I will take you to them once Megumi is returned,” declared Greterey. She then brought the combatants to their destinations in a flash of toner-grey light. Megumi was back on Vorton and congratulated on all sides. While that was going on, Megumi noticed Death with her arms folded.
“Er, excuse me,” Megumi bid the group as she made her way through the group. Death led Megumi away from the group and into a conference room.
“…I never took you to have Deadpool levels of recklessness,” muttered Death.
“I hardly think taking precautions with the Chizarans count as any form of recklessness,” argued Megumi.
“The last time the Oldest Game was invoked,” hissed Death, “my brother, Morpheus, had to challenge a demon from Hell to get his helmet back. If he lost, he would have been Hell’s plaything!”
“And the Chizarans prevented such an outcome!” urged Megumi.
“You can’t rely on them for everything!” shouted Death. “We couldn’t when Vortech was hunting the Foundation Elements. That’s one of their limits to their power.”
“…What’s that supposed to mean?” asked Megumi.
“Even immortals on the levels of gods,” explained Death, “have limits. Why do you think the 3V2R rarely lets the Oldest Game be played in a bout?” Megumi had no answer. “Because,” explained Death, “they need to combine themselves into an all-powerful woman and their combined form is taxing on their energy. What on Earth would have possessed you to even consider such a game?”
“Let’s just say,” replied Megumi, “it came to me in a dream.” Death thought about what Megumi said, then came to only one conclusion.
“…I am going to KILL the Sandman for that!” she snarled. Just then, the comms came on.
“Death, I apologize for interrupting what you’re saying to Megumi,” called Richard’s voice, “but Scorpainia’s intelligence network just reported news that she felt we ALL need to hear. War’s planning something against Optimus’ home. Scorpainia wants to give the details in person.”
“Invasion!” Megumi and Death guessed aloud.
“We’re on our way!” Megumi replied to Richard. “Call everyone! Tell them to meet in the Gateway Room!”
“Just for the record,” remarked Death, “since I know Morpheus duped you, I can at least raise your common sense grade to a C.”
“I deserve it,” replied Megumi as they headed to the Gateway Room. As everyone gathered, Scorpainia, her husband, King Emperor Eelinape, and Discornia were already there. “King Emperor Eelinape!” greeted Megumi as she bowed. “I wasn’t expecting you, my friend!”
“I wish the circumstances of my visit were more pleasant,” sighed Eelinape. “I see your Autobot friends are among us.”
“What’s going on?” asked Optimus.
“Our intelligence network,” explained Scorpainia, “reports that War’s fleet is gaining aid from ZAIA Enterprise. She’s enlisted the Japan Branch’s CEO, Gai Amatsu, and is using his technology.”
“Er, ZAIA Enterprise is…?” quizzed Megumi.
“A technology conglomerate from my home,” replied Hongo.
“Hiden Intelligence’s rival,” supplied Hiroki. “Gai Amatsu’s a Kamen Rider called Thouser and is currently trying for a Take-Over Bid for Hiden Intelligence.”
“So what does a Kamen Rider have to do with War?” asked Megumi.
“War believes,” explained Eelinape, “that Caan has recruited Hiro, Megatron, and Dr. Borg to his cause and has located their hideout at the Decepticons’ Moon Base.”
“She intends to install a universal overseer to try and find Caan,” supplied Scorpainia.
“Wait a minute, she’s planning to take over my home?!” realized Optimus. “All to confirm some conspiracy theory?!”
“There’s more news,” continued Scorpainia. “The Autobot, Skyfall, and the Decepticon, Quake Hammer, are aiding her.”
“…She’s no Autobot!” hissed Optimus, angry at Skyfall’s treason.
“Rusty, get me War!” ordered Megumi. “Tell her I demand to talk to her immediately!”
Blancalmarem and Nemengra started their broadcast once again. “I am Blancalmarem, the white princess of Chizara and the life leader,” began Blancalmarem.
“I am Nemengra, the black princess of Chizara and the death leader,” finished Nemengra.
“In the previous bout, audiences were honored,” continued Blancalmarem, “to see a Martian warrior compete for the first time!”
“In this particular universe,” supplied Nemengra, “the Martians had called themselves the Zocanans and their planet Eksorna.”
“When they heard about the origins of what the humans of Earth called them,” Blancalmarem went on, “they decided to adopt the Martian name and became a valuable ally to the humans in the Earth/Venus war.”
“This particular Martian, going under the human name of Elizabeth,” continued Nemengra, “works as a maid for Mr. Noah Prometheus, the President and CEO of Solardyne Tech, the solar system’s biggest tech company.”
“Mr. Prometheus and Elizabeth have long been infatuated with each other,” revealed Blancalmarem, “and allowed their relationship to enter into public knowledge.”
“While we, personally, question the decision,” remarked Nemengra, “the public seems okay with it, bar the few family members of both Elizabeth and Mr. Prometheus against such a union.”
“Elizabeth has been ranked as a Black Warrior, THE highest rank a Martian can achieve,” continued Blancalmarem.
“So, our interview was centered around why she chose being a maid as her occupation,” finished Nemengra as the screen displayed the interview.
“Let’s get the obvious question out of the way,” began Blancalmarem.
“Why is a warrior working as a maid?” guessed Elizabeth. “Mr. Prometheus saved me from Venusian assassins. I owed him a life debt that could only be repaid if I saved him in the process. I studied what maids did and took to my duties well.”
“When did you feel romantic attraction to him?” quizzed Nemengra.
“I was taken by his good looks when I first met him,” replied Elizabeth. “He then saved me from a Martian criminal and so we dated and after a while…” she then started blushing.
“…No way!” realized Blancalmarem as a grin crossed her face.
“The wedding’s in two months,” confirmed Elizabeth.
“Congratulations!” cheered Nemengra. Then a thought struck her. “Wait, won’t that mean you won’t be Mr. Prometheus’ maid anymore?”
“I’m keeping the outfit,” replied Elizabeth. “Besides, it annoys my aunt.”
“Prefers keeping with tradition,” guessed Blancalmarem.
“To the point of stagnation,” answered Elizabeth.
“Yikes,” winced Nemengra.
“Well, thank you for your time,” bid Blancalmarem. “You obviously have things to plan.”
“May the red sands bless you, Eli-zalem-barulee-thantii of the Third Great Martian House of Stogem,” finished Nemengra.
“May the Spectrum embrace you, my friends,” returned Elizabeth. The screen went black and Blancalmarem and Nemengra returned to their audience.
“I wonder how many people their union will tick off?” mused Blancalmarem.
“All the traditionalists of both worlds, perhaps,” guessed Nemengra.
“We’ll return with Queen Phury and Mr. Drendar’s bout in a minute,” continued Blancalmarem.
“But first, a word from our sponsor, Trooga Soda!” finished Nemengra.
“Trooga Soda!” called the announcer. “Enjoy a nice meal with the nectar of the gods!”