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A Tale of Two Stories

Introduction

"How'th thith?"

Kat stood back, looking critical. As they were back in their response center in the PPC headquarters, she was back to her feline form. Her ear gave a twitch as she answered, "Um, a little left I think."

Echo teetered on the chair with a marker in mouth, holding their latest souvenir against the wall above the console, the three-dollar jeweled dragon pendant scavenged from their last Sue. "How 'bout now?" she mumbled through the marker.

"Perfect!" Kat purred with satisfaction.

Echo carefully removed the marker from her mouth and marked each end of the pendant, then stood back and relaxed. She turned to Kat. "Okay, now I need something to hold it up."

"Already gotcha!" Kat replied cheerfully, tossing her human partner a tube of Super-glue, dug out from her Sue-bag.

"Thanks."

Echo applied some Super-glue to each mark she made, then held the pendant against it.

"Hey, looking good!" Kat said happily. "We keep this up, and we'll have the best decorated response center in all of the PPC!"

Kat's happy statement was cut short when there was a knock on the door. Both partners glanced at it.

"Um, I need to hold this up for a bit longer for it to set." Echo glanced down at her partner from her precarious perch on the chair, still holding the pendant firmly against the metal wall. "Can you get that?"

"Sure!" Kat bounded towards the door and flung it open. A rather serious-looking young man with brown hair stood there, a piece of paper in his hands.

"This is the All-Purpose Department of Fire Emblem, I assume?" he asked a little coolly, looking down at Kat.

Kat felt her tail poof up slightly, but she kept her voice neutral. "Yes, it is. May I help you?"

The man held up the piece of paper. "I have a Sue here that needs to be taken care of."

Kat looked slightly confused. "Well, why didn't they send it via console, as usual?"

The man sniffed. "Well, we'll just say I've taken a . . . personal . . . interest in this Sue. I want to make sure she's properly disposed of."

Kat let out a low growl. "And you don't think that we're capable of this?!"

"Hey, Kat! Who is it?" Echo asked from inside the room.

Kat sighed and turned to reply. "Someone who brought us a Sue to take care of."

"Well, why didn't they send it by console?" Echo asked, sounding confused.

The young man stepped past Kat and into the room. "Because this Sue has annoyed me to no end, and I wish to dispose of her myself."

Echo glanced down at him from where she was teetering over the console, still holding the pendant up. "Er, and you are . . . ?"

"They call me Agent TFL," he said as studied her for a moment.

"Ah," Echo said. "One of those agents with an acronym for their name. Can I call you Agent T?"

"No," the man coolly replied.

"Alright. Just thought I'd ask." Echo sighed. "We thank you for your concern, but we are quite capable of handling Sues."

"Yes, I can see that you are quite serious about it," TFL said wryly, watching her totter on the edge of the chair, twisted over the console so she could press the pendant against the wall.

"Hey, I'll have you know that pendant's from the last Sue we killed!" Kat said indignantly. "Echo's just holding it up so that the Super-glue can dry!"

"That doesn't really matter," TFL told her coldly. "I'm killing this Sue. You two may tag along if you wish, but stay out of the way, got it?"

"And who's in charge of the Department of Fire Emblem?" Echo wondered wryly to herself.

"OH NO YOU DON'T!" Suddenly an angry-looking woman marched through the still-open door, carrying a wicked-looking scythe. "I found that Sue, and I claimed her!"

Kat and Echo looked at each other. "Wha . . . ?"

"She's scary!" Kat whimpered.

"Forgive me, Lady Vyctori." TFL glared at her, not at all fazed. "But I will not step aside. This Sue is going to die by my hands."

"But she messed with Sain!" the black-haired woman protested angrily, looking about as ready to kill TFL as she was to kill the Sue. "There is no way I'm going to let her get away with that!"

"Um, if I may . . ." Echo ventured.

"I do not care about your petty infatuation with every single one of the Fire Emblem males," TFL retorted. "The Sue is still mine!"

"Excuse us for a moment, but . . ." Kat tried.

"'Petty infatuation'?!" Vyctori practically screeched. She whipped out her huge scythe. "You want a 'petty infatuation' with this?!"

"Whoa now!" Echo was getting alarmed by the turn of events. "Please, blood is really icky to clean up!"

"I'm not intimidated by your pitiful threats," TFL returned, fingering a dagger at his belt.

[AROOGAH!]

"AGGGH!"

CRASH

Startled by the console's sudden blast of noise right underneath her, Echo made the mistake of automatically covering her ears, losing the support of the wall she had been leaning against and causing her to lose her balance and topple forward rather ungracefully.

"Ow." She peeled herself off the floor. "That hurt."

Kat peered out from under the bed, where she had taken refuge quite a while ago. "Hey, the pendant stayed up. That's a plus."

The noise had also interrupted the two arguing agents.

"Um, 'aroogah'?" Vyctori asked, confused. "I thought consoles beeped."

"Yeah, join the club," Echo grumbled, scrambling to her feet and glancing at the screen. "Hey, what the . . .we have another assignment here!" She grimaced. "And a pretty desperate one, too. Misplaced flora and fauna, and a Sue and a Stu, it looks like. Not to mention a major time jolt."

"But . . . we . . . the Sue . . . ." Kat looked confused.

"I would assume that since Agent TFL" —Vyctori looked at him with a hint of distaste— "brought the Sue case here personally, Upstairs wasn't aware that you were already assigned a case and gave you another."

"Oh, great." Echo cradled her head in her hands. "As if I didn't have a big enough headache over one case."

"You have no need to worry about the Sue I brought," TFL told her. "I shall take care of her, and you two will be free to take care of the other assignment."

"You are NOT going after that Sue without me!" Vyctori growled at him, brandishing her scythe again. "Why, it'll be a cold day in—"

"Excuse me!" Kat interrupted her, wiggling out from under the bed. "How about you two take the Sue, and Echo and I will take the badfic."

"What?!" both agents protested at the same time. "I don't want to go with him/her!"

"I dunno . . . ." Echo suddenly looked doubtful. "If they mess up, it'll be us that gets into trouble . . . ."

Vyctori turned on her, waving her scythe. "And you think we'll mess up?!"

"Well, um . . . ." Echo suddenly found herself scrambling for words as she was faced with a very sharp scythe.

"Very well," TFL said grudgingly. "I will allow her to accompany me." His blue eyes glinted dangerously. "But I get the Sue!"

Echo spoke up quickly before Vyctori could retort. "Fine, fine, okay! You two can go! Only under two conditions, though! You make out a complete charge list!" She glared at the both of them. "No killing the Sue until after the charge list! And two, no killing each other while in there, understood?!"

The two agreed sullenly.

"If either of you break any of those two conditions, I swear that . . ." Echo fished around for the worst punishment she could think of. "I'll . . . I'll find an Athos/Nils story and stick you in that one! And if I can't find one, I'll write it!"

"Fine," TFL said coolly. "Now, may we proceed?"

"Aye." Echo nodded. "Er, I hope you have a portal generator. We're just allowed the extreme essentials here in the way of electronics because of my partner. I don't have any extras."

They glanced over to Kat who, having lost interest in the conversation a while ago, was now sitting on her bed, taking apart a coffeemaker she had pulled from her Sue-bag.

"Yeah . . . I see." Vyctori shook her head and turned back to Echo, holding up her traveling bag. "Yeah, I have one right here, as well as everything I need. I packed before coming."

"As did I." TFL nodded. He was already at the console, typing in directions. "We shall go as assassins, that's the disguise I work best under."

"Hey, aren't you even going to ask me?!" Vyctori protested. "We're practically partners here!"

"We are not partners," TFL growled as he set the coordinates and opened the portal. "I'm merely putting up with you for the time being. Now then . . . ." The portal hummed to life. "Are you coming, or not?"

Vyctori huffed indignantly, but followed TFL through the portal.

Echo sighed after they had disappeared. "We're doomed."

Kat looked up from the pieces of coffeemaker on her bed and grinned. "Methinks you had best be finding a Athos/Nils story, because one of them is definitely going to snap!"

"Yeah, I know!" Echo stretched, then punched in the coordinates for their own destination. The portal blinked and buzzed slightly, before resuming its normal hum.

"That should do it!" she said, hoisting up her bag and shouldering it. She turned to her partner. "Ready to go?"

Kat leapt off her bed and grabbed her bag. "You bet!" she said cheerfully. "Let's go clean up the canon!"


To Part I - Vyctori and TFL in "When Love Is Concealed xRevised Versionx"

To Part II - Echo and Kat in "Life and death of Kireion the falcoknight"

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