Categories > Anime/Manga > Princess Tutu > Princess Tutu and the Secret Six


by paladin313 0 reviews


Category: Princess Tutu - Rating: PG - Genres: Crossover - Published: 2009-05-29 - Updated: 2009-05-30 - 7135 words - Complete



Monday came in, and the team all came in to work on Tai Chi with Billy for the first half hour. Then Billy also suggested that they think about what they were going to do for the variety show. Rue and Mytho heard this, and suggested that they do something in connection with it. At this, Mary asked Fakir if he wanted to join in. Everyone thought that Fakir would balk at this, considering that he normally liked to do just the shows. However, he actually accepted the idea. Billy made a suggestion for Mytho and Rue for a song, and played Queen'sSave Me. As they listened, they began to do some rudimentary steps to it in between mentioning subtle changes here and there, as they grew familiar with the lyrics. For Fakir and Mary, it was a little harder, but then Billy pulled out Round and Round as sung by Perry Como and thought that might work. Mary liked the steady rhythm of the song, and Fakir liked the fact that it was short and to the point. Billy then played That's Amore as sung by Dean Martin. He started with a few steps in the slow opening, then did a spinning jump in the air, landed, and then went to a demi-point snappily as he spun his hands over his head, and then snapped his right hand forward to Ahiru, with his left hand on his hip. She giggled and then took his hand as they started to do a ballet waltz around the room, throwing in a move here and there, trying to feel out the song. It was during this that Mr. Katt came in, looking to prepare for the class. As the song finished, everyone greeted their instructor, and he then said, "Mr. Batson, could you please play that song again, and do what you did to start the dance? Fakir, please be prepared to pause the song at my command."

Billy and Ahiru were not sure what Mr. Katt had in mind, but they did as he said. When Billy opened up, Mr. Katt had the music stopped, and said, "Instead of that, Do a couple of leaps as if you were going to do a manege, but then do the pose and invitation at that point. Give it atry."

Billy did this, and he had to admit that it did look better. Then Mr. Katt said,"Pause, please. Now do that again, and this time, listen closely for my commands. I wouldn't expect you to execute it perfectly at first, but if Rue would be so kind to jot down the moves, and at what point they happen, you can practice it."

They began again, and Mr. Katt was acting like a ballet version of a square dance caller, and helping them work out aroutine. It was a bit rough, but it seemed to work out well. "I assume that you were working this out for the variety show?" asked Mr. Katt.

Billy smiled and said, "Yes, that's true. So were the others. We were thinking about doing three dances strung together."

Mr. Katt was pleased with what he was seeing. They were already trying to apply what they had been taught. He only wished all his students were so ambitious. "In your level, learning how to put together routines is part of the class, but I see that you are trying to make it happen now. I tell you three what: Mr. Batson, if you could give me copies of the songs that you three are doing, and I'll see if Ican help you put the dances together, and in a logical order. Normally, the variety show is for fun, but, if you six can do well, I will consider this as extra credit."

They were pleased. This was a different Mr. Katt than Ahiru was used to seeing. He was still riding her, but the threats of marriage as punishment, (which was an odd eccentricity of Mr. Katt,) were becoming fewer and fewer. She liked this Mr. Katt. Ahiru then said, "I am grateful that you want to help us, but I was just curious as to why you want to."

"Miss Arima," answered Mr. Katt, "What Iam now seeing out of you, and your friends here, are some students who have caught the essence of what I have been trying to teach all this time. You are dancing right now for the sheer joy of it. I would then ask you: does it seem like hard work?"

"No," answered Ahiru.

"Excellent!" exclaimed Mr. Katt, "Then never lose sight of that. When you do it for the joy of the dance, then even the hard work and practice, the drills, and the sore feet and muscles are not even a factor anymore. Then the work does not seem like work anymore, and this will cause you to advance faster. Never lose that spirit, because then, even the work will seem like fun!"

The six of them thanked him graciously, and then Billy said, "I'll slip the CD under your office door later this afternoon."

"Oh, another thing, kids, before we start," said Mr. Katt, "There is one thing I need to mention: it is good that you are finding dance partners, because when you enter an adult production company, you will be assigned a partner that you will work with almost exclusively. The reason for this is that, when it comes time for shows, it is easier to cast people, and your execution will be to perfection. This is because you will be so used to that person, you will be able to anticipate each other's moves, and keep things flowing smoothly. You may ask, 'What if I have to dance with another partner in a show?' Well, that may be a bit awkward. However, because you have been working with a partner for so long, you would know, roughly, what would be expected of you when it came time to learn the dance, and you will be able to adapt quickly to one another. Therefore, I would now suggest that each of you maintain the partners you have obtained, at least for the remainder of the school year, and begin to learn the process like this. This will give you a jump on things years later. Tomorrow, I will try to come in early, and help you other four with your variations, if you like."

"We'd love it!" the others exclaimed.

"Excellent! Now, let's get ready for class!"

Later that day, Billy slipped in the music, and the next day, Mr. Katt said that the numbers should run from That's Amore, to Round and Round, finished up with Save Me. Billy took his laptop to a corner of the dance room while the others worked on their variations. During rehearsals, they were starting to get the feel of how creepy this ballet was going to be. This was going to be advertised, as "ballet like you never pictured it." The class knew that this had the potential to scare the pants off the people. People had better be ready for a wild ride.

As soon as the last class was over, Ahiru then rushed back to her room where Mai and Yumawere waiting for her. Instead of just getting a shower and dressing in civvies, as Ahiru had though, Mai and Yumahad set up a makeshift spa in the room. Ahiru opened the door and said, "Hi, gang, I..." and that was all she got out of her mouth. She was yanked in, and the two of them said, "Get ready for a makeover, girl!"

Ahiru saw the place set up with comforting lights, and relaxing music, with burning incense and scented candles. They stepped in front of her with an authoritative look on their faces and said, "Okay! Drop the drab duds and prepare for your bath!"

"What are this necessary...guys, it's just a we have to go crazy!" protested Ahiru, but to no avail. Mai stripped off the topcoat, and Yumawent for the string tie, as they both giggled with glee. They then grabbed her, set her on a bed, and started to remove her shoes and socks. Mai looked up and said, in a robotic fashion, "Resistance is futile! Prepare for assimilation!"

It was when they spun her around and started to unzip her skirt that she realized that, if she continued to resist, these two were going to strip her naked and throw her in the bath. She finally said, "Okay! Okay! I'll go along with this! Who got all this stuff?"

"It was Mary, love," said Yuma,"She wanted to make this as fun as possible."

At that, a knock came on the door, and Mai said, "Speak of the Devil!"

Then Mary came in, and said, "Is she ready?"

"Almost, pet," said Yuma,"Do you have the things?"

"Yep," said Mary, "But before we draw the bath, we need to know what bath salts would be best for her."
"Bath salts?" said Ahiru, "Why do Iget the feeling I'm being set up?"

"Set up?" queried Mary, "You act like... Hey, are you telling me you have never gotten 'girled up' before? Oh, baby! You're gonna enjoy this! Now, finish stripping down."

Ahiru felt awkward now, not knowing where this was going. As soon as she dropped the last stitch of clothing, Mary produced a silk bathrobe, and put it around her. "There you go! How does that feel?"

Ahiru was surprised. It was a beautiful red, Japanese looking robe, and it felt so soft. "It feels so soft, and surprisingly warm."

"Thought you'd like it," said Mary, "Now sit down, and you two, start undoing the braid."

Mary plopped down beside her, pulled out some l'eau de toilet, and was preparing to test some different scents on her, to see what kind of bath salts to use. Another knock came on the door, and this time it was Rue. "Started already?" she asked.

"Yes," answered Mary, "I was just getting ready to try some scents on her."

Rue then plopped down on the other side of her, and said, "Now, just reach out your arm, and we'll spray a small amount on spots of your arm, and see what smells the best. Mai, Yuma, start burning the candles in the bathroom."

"We're on it!" they both said simultaneously, and were off to the bathroom. After they left, the other two sprayed about four or five scents on her, agreed on one, and pulled out corresponding salts. Rue then said, "I'll draw the bath, and then set those back out. I want to find one for myself, and get ready for Mytho. Are you having fun, Ahiru?"

"I guess so," said Ahiru, still a little confused, "Do you do this all the time?"

"For something special like this, you bet, sister," said Mary, giving Ahiru a little hug. At this, Mai came out, and said, "The bath is ready!"

"Great," said Rue, "Here's the soap that goes with it, and the conditioner for her hair."

At this, Ahiru went into the bathroom, and eased into the bath. She was about to clean up, when they said, "Not yet: just lay there and enjoy it for a little while. Let it soak in."

She had to admit, this felt great. After Rue chose what she wanted, she said,"Too bad there isn't a second tub in there, or else I'd be in there too, Baby Duck."

"Hey!" protested Ahiru, "Its bad enough Billy calls me that!"

Rue came in and pinched her cheek, and said, "Don't give me that! You know you like it! Mary and I will be back in afew, because we need to get ready for the dance."

"Then we get to go next," said the other two, "because you're going to dinner, and then we'll have time to get ready."

Ahiru lay there for a good half hour, and then Mai and Yuma came in, both with towels wrapped around themselves, and said, "Okay, now it is time for your hair. We'll work on that while you clean yourself up."

Because Ahiru's hair was so long, (down to her calves,) in order to give it the full treatment they were seeking, it would take the both of them to manage it.

Meanwhile, in the boy's dorm, Billy was looking for something to wear that would be nice enough for dinner, and yet could be something that could be easily converted for use in the band. He wanted something formal that he could then go casual with when he played. He decided to pack some comfortable clothes in a sack for that, and decided on ared V-neck sweater with yellow trim, white shirt and tie, blue slacks, and black shoes. Though he was only 14, because of his black hair, he had to shave a couple of times a week, and so gave himself the barbershop treatment. This meant a good face scrub, hot towel, a good tight shave, hot shower, and nice cologne. This was the first date he had been on since Cissy, and that was only a simple thing, being that the two of them were only preteens at the time. This was his first real adult-like date, and he wanted to be ready. He was both excited and nervous. Mary had helped him get over his bashful side, yet this was different. Nonetheless, he was not going to let anything ruin this night if he could help it. Back in the girl's dorm, they had the towel wrapped around her head, and were toweling her down. She had to admit that her skin felt good, and she smelled really good. They helped her put the robe back on, and then Mai got ready to bathe herself. Back in the room proper, Yuma got out the hair dryer and the brushes, and began to slowly dry her hair and brush it out on the low setting. When that was done, she saw that the girls had laid out the nice white blouse, and blue overalls skirt, and the off-white broad brimmed hat, with the blue pumps and purse. Yuma then remembered that Ahiru did not have any nylons, and then Ahiru suggested that she just wear her white dance tights, and Yuma figured that this would work for tonight, but then suggested that Ahiru get her some nylons as soon as she could. Rue returned just as Yuma was finishing Ahiru's hair. Rue looked dressed to kill, although she did not wear anything too revealing, because the school still had certain dress code rules for off-class time. "How's it going?" Rue asked.

"Smashing!" said Yuma, "Once we got the right conditioner in her hair, it wasn't so scraggly."

"Scraggly," said Ahiru, a bit cross,"What's wrong with my hair?"

"I'm sorry, love," said Yuma, "Its just that you've worn your hair any old way for so long that it doesn't have that life in it any more. We fixed that!"

With that, Ahiru got dressed, and Rue got a chair for Ahiru as they prepared to braid her hair. However, they set her chair right in front of the full-length mirror, and Ahiru saw herself for the first time. She then said, "Please wait. May I have my hat?"

They handed it to her, and she put it on. She did not even recognize herself, but liked what she saw. "No braid," said Ahiru, "but could you just give me a black ribbon please?"

The other two looked at each other, and then gave her the ribbon. She then proceeded to try to tie her hair back. The other two then realized what she was doing, and then decided to help her tie the long mass of hair in the best way possible. Ahiru then looked at herself again. What she saw staring back out of the mirror at her was not an awkward little girl, but, for the first time, the young woman into which she was blossoming. Rue and Yuma were amazed at the transformation, and stood behind her speechless, and yet smiling. Mai came out, saying, "Okay, Yuma, it's!"

Mai was stunned, and screamed, "YOU LOOK GREAT!"

Ahiru smiled, and said, "Do you really think so?"

She then looked back at the mirror, and stared for another 30 seconds, and said, "Rue, I really am beautiful," still stunned at the transformation. Then Mary said, "And, if you give me time, Mai, you'll be next."

"And just what do you mean by that,"protested Mai.

Rue chimed in, and said, "It's high time you got the 'girl' treatment."

"Yeah, its time for your rose to blossom, Mai," added Mary.

Mai smirked, and said, "We'll see about that."

Billy came over and waited for Ahiru to emerge, and then his eyes almost fell out of his head when he saw her emerge. "Wow, you look great!" Billy said quite amazed. Ahiru clasped her hands in front of her, turned a bit red, and looked down a bit as she smiled. Mytho stuck out his arm, and Rue took it. Billy took the cue, did the same, and they were off. As they walked, Rue was amazed at the gait that Ahiru took. She didn't walk as much as she glided along gracefully. Billy and Ahiru did not say much as they walked, just enjoying each other's company. Billy also was carrying his guitar, as well as his change of clothes, considering what was going on later. Ahiru only asked briefly about this, Billy explained what was going on, and that seemed sensible to Ahiru. They then arrived at an Italian restaurant, and enjoyed a great meal. It was then that they all got quite chatty, talking about school, classes, the different teachers, and shared stories about some funny things that had already happened. After the meal, they headed for the gym. One thing that Rue noticed about Ahiru through the whole meal was that there seemed a mix of her and Tutu in the way she spoke and behaved. Rue now realized just how far a change in image could go. If this were a hint of what she would grow into, this was a great sight. If she changed enough, her own parents would not even recognize her at Christmas break.

The school really did not have a sports program, considering that the whole point of the school was to provide preteens and teens a chance to enhance their arts, and they would not have time for organized sports to begin with. However, the gym was there for recreational use, and to aid the dancers in keeping fit. The weight room was well stocked, and was well frequented by the male dancers to make them stronger in doing the lifts that they do. It was in here the dance was set up. There was never the need for a DJ, because the school always had enough singers and musicians to fill the role of music. Besides, what other middle or high school had the kind of band that this school had? What other school had a rock band that was backed by what was essentially a chamber orchestra? Billy changed clothes, and the others began to schmooze with the other students. Ahiru was now one of the centers of attention: not only for the way she looked, but also because of how Billy had gone all out for her, and how all the other girls realized how wrong they had been in their treatment of Ahiru. At that, Billy came out, and the music began. They played a wide variety of popular music, oldies, jazz, and rock. Of course, there were moments where the various dance disciplines dominated the floor, depending on what was played. Rue and Mytho stole the show, doing quite apassionate pas de deux to Stairway to Heaven. Of course, Billy had his chances to dance with Ahiru, and as they did, they were falling deeper and deeper in love with one another. What also was a surprising thing to see was how Fakir and Mary were warming to one another. There was a tender side to Fakir that Ahiru had seen when, for a short stint, (because of Edel's meddling,) she had been transformed into an actual duck, and he saved her life in duck form. Not many others had seen that side, but now, he was displaying this a bit more than usual. After Billy had a chance to dance again with Ahiru, he then went back to the stage, and told the harpsichord player to start Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds, curious to see how Ahiru would react, considering how she reacted to Across the Universe a couple of weeks before. She started to sway, at first, and then began to go into a ballet to the song. Now she was the whole center of attention, and the lights man focused one spot on her. Everyone was mesmerized by the dance, and Ahiru had lost herself within it. When it was over, the place erupted into applause. She shook her head as if coming out of a trance. Yet, instead of going into a duck-like rant, she just stood there a bit shamefaced, and did a short curtsey as she faded back into the crowd. Rue saw that, and said to herself, "Now that was different!"

Rue caught up with Ahiru at the concessions, and was surprised to see her looking a bit down. "Why the long face?"

"Was I going overboard?" she asked.

"Of course not!" Rue said, smiling, "This is the first time I have ever seen you so confident in yourself, love yourself, and the first time since you restored Mytho's heart that you have seemed so happy."

Ahiru then smiled, and said, "I have never felt so much love in my life. I hope it never goes away."

"If Billy turns out to be the one," said Rue, "it never will!"

After the dance, they were all making their way back, and Mary asked for a private word with Billy. "So, how was it?"

"I have never felt like this for a person before,"answered Billy, "This may sound odd, but this kind of thing is new to me. It feels so good to go out of your way for someone like this."

"That's great," said Mary, "But, what about her?"

"I like her," answered Billy, smiling, "I like her a lot."

"You've found something good," said Mary,"Don't ever let it go. If you ever have questions on how to deal with something in this situation, don't hesitate to ask, because I don't want to see you mess this up."

As they talked, they began to drift further and further away from the group, not realizing that two sets of eyes were watching them intently.

The four arrived at the walkway that lies directly between the main dorms. They wheeled around to find that Mary and Billy were nowhere to be seen. Before they could react, their phones all began to vibrate. "Oh God," spat Rue,"Not tonight: please, not tonight."

Ahiru flipped hers open, and saw the numbers that corresponded to Mary and Billy being hurried off the campus. Without hesitation, Rue and Ahiru, once they assessed that the coast was clear, immediately changed form. Then Princess Tutu did something that they had never seen her do before. She did the gesture that symbolized something growing, and vines shot up all around her. She motioned her arms, and a white mist formed around the forming vines, making what looked like an astral barque. She spun her arms, and it began to rise. The Chess Knights scrambled to get on board before they were left, but Princess Claire had her own mode of transport. The Chess Knights put their cowls on, and exposed their uniforms, both wondering how Tutu was doing what she was doing. However, there was no time to worry about that. There was trouble, and they were needed.

What had happened was this: when the time seemed right, about three raven men appeared and jumped Mary and Billy. Billy started to utter the name, but he was knocked unconscious before he could speak. Mary had enough of her arms free to reach into her purse and press the emergency button. Now they were being dragged off the campus. The minions did not know whom it was that they had grabbed, they had just been on patrol for Edel, and saw an opportunity. "Caw you make good offering," said one of them, "You have good pure heart. Raven will love!"

"Stop fight," said the one holding Mary,"Edel make quick: no pain."

However, just as they got outside the gate of the school, Claire appeared in front of the group. "Boys, you made a bad mistake tonight!" she snapped.

"Is traitor girl," one of them said, "Now you die: kill!"

The one holding Billy dropped him on the ground, and two of them went forward to engage Claire, both wielding spears. Claire knew she might be able to take them, but she did not know if she was going to get out of this without getting hurt. Yet, as she began to engage, the third minion started to drag Mary off. "At least me get one," he said. "NO!" she screamed, "Let me go!"

There was nothing Claire could do, considering what was in front of her. "Where are they?" she thought. Mary started to yell, "Billy, wake up! Oh God: if he could only wake up, he could say 'Shazam,' and then..."

That is as far as it got. Suddenly, a thunderbolt came down, but it did not strike Billy. It hit Mary squarely, and it fried the minion holding her. All this was just as Tutu and the others were arriving. They could not believe what they saw. Standing there was a woman clad similarly to Captain Marvel, but in a female fashion. She was wearing a knee-length side button dress, was girt about with agolden sash, and bloused half sleeves. The cloak was the same, but she wore gold wristbands, and gold pumps, with laces that crisscrossed up her calf, and tied off just below the knees. Mary was so overcome with the change, she did not even notice the raven smoking behind her, nor did she notice one of the two remaining minions that now broke off from Claire and went straight for her. She came to herself and looked up just as that attacker struck. She screamed and tried to cover up. However, as it turned out, that was not needed, for the spear broke like a toothpick, bending the point like aluminum foil. The minion did not skip a beat, and tried to hit her. This was followed by the sound of cracking bones in the limb of the minion, who was now cawing in pain. Mary then picked it up and said, "Don't you know it's not nice to hit girls!"

She then gave it a thunderous punch that caused it to revert to an ordinary raven, and it flew fast and hard into the wall, and splattered into a million pieces. Claire had then managed to subdue her attacker as the others arrived. She then told it, "Give me one good reason why I shouldn't kill you where you stand!"

"No, no, please no," it pleaded, "Me only do what me told. Me no hate you!"

"Kill it," said Black Knight, "It's an abomination."

"No," said Mytho, "I believe what it is saying."

"You can't be serious," said Claire.

"No, me be good. Be friend," he pleaded, "If me go back, Edel kill for fail. Me no like this. Me like being normal raven."

"Then there is only one way to resolve this," said Tutu, "Give me your wing."

The minion hesitated, not knowing what to do, but then complied. "Open your heart to me," she said, "What is inside you?"

As they danced, she realized that this was a tame raven the whole town knew, and who they fed on a regular basis. He liked people, and was content, until Edel got a hold on him. Now he was scared, because, if he stayed here, he was dead, but if he went back, he was just as dead, and there was no way now to be restored to normal. "Me so sorry. Me try to hurt. Me bad raven."

"No you're not," said Tutu, "But you must make things right."

"How me do?" he asked.

"Can you help Billy?" she asked in return.

"Yes, yes: me help right away," he said. With that, he found a rag, snuck onto the campus, soaked it in the mall fountain, and came back to sprinkle water on Billy in an attempt to wake him up. In the meantime, the others went to see how this had happened to Mary. "What happened to you?" Claire asked in total amazement.

"I have no idea!" she said, "All I said was 'Sha...'" and she stopped herself remembering how she got this way. Then she said, "...the old wizard's name, andpoof here I am!"

"Second of all," said Claire, "How did you make that boat?"

"I've been experimenting when I had free time," said Tutu, "I don't think that I've really given myself time to find out just what I am capable of. For example, I wanted to know if I could make some form of travel. I knew that I could make a boat, but I wanted to see if I could control wind like Claire, and make it fly. Believe me: it took a few tries. I've also been experimenting with some kind of subduing attacks. I'm not as sure about those yet, though."

By this point, Billy was coming round, and then very nearly crawled out of his skin when he saw what was bringing him around. "No! No! Me no hurt! Me sorry! Me friend!" said the nervous raven.

"It's okay," said White Knight, "I'll fill you in."

"Where's Mary," Billy said, scanning the area.

A voice then said behind him, "I'm right here," but not in the same voice that he was used to hearing. He wheeled around, and saw what had happened to her. His eyes grew as wide as dinner plates, and she said, "Um...Hi?"

Billy then grew a bit weak, and was ready to pass out again. Things were getting confusing, and then grew worse when they all suddenly found themselves inside the throne room of the Rock of Eternity. Quickly, Shazam spoke up, to assure them that all was well. "I had to bring you all here, because I think I owe you a bit of an explanation about Mary."

"How did we get here?" asked Black Knight.

"I have the ability to bring visitors every once and a while," said Shazam,"Although, with this group, it took a lot. When I do send you all back, I shall be out of commission for a few days, for it takes a lot of energy to do what I have done, and what I must do to return you."

They looked around the room, and saw that the walls and columns were of granite reddish-pink, and there were various hanging tapestries and torches about the room. Lining the wall on the left side were statues representing the seven deadly sins, and on the right side were seven statues representing the seven virtues. This was always to remind any visitor of exactly what choices exist for any person to make, and what could be the results of the choices. At the end were a marble stoop, and a throne upon which Shazam sat. The wizard continued, "You are in the Rock of Eternity: a point in space that sits inter-dimensionally, so here, time has no meaning. When it is time to return the lot of you, I can do so as if you had never left."

Everyone, except Billy, was looking around in amazement, except for the raven, who was terrified out of his wits. "Worry not, poor creature," assured the wizard, "You're safe here. No harm shall come to you."

That seemed to calm him down. Then Shazam said, "First of all, I wish to explain what has happened here with you two, (indicating Mary and Billy.) Many centuries ago, I was once a hero like Captain Marvel, and I sought a successor. First, I went to Egypt and found a potential disciple-Thoth Adam. He was the original Black Adam. However, he turned the gifts he had been given to evil. I was then able to entrap him, but many centuries later, he was accidentally released by Captain Marvel, and it took a great effort to subdue him. However, when he was defeated, he turned to dust, because he went back to his true form, which would have long been dead otherwise. However, somehow, before he died, he transferred his power into an amulet, and it was found by one of your father's colleagues-Seth Adam. He then became Black Adam, and he almost ended up as evil as his predecessor. If it were not for Captain Marvel helping him see the error of his ways, he would have cause far worse destruction than the original. However, I digress. I guess I just wanted to make clear all my involvement with the Marvel-esque heroes that exist. In any case, when I had managed to imprison the first Black Adam, I decided that I would not try to handpick the next Captain Marvel. Instead, I decided that I would take a scarab, and declare on it that the first child that possessed that scarab would be the next Marvel. I chose a youth, because a youth would not have time to be so corrupted as an adult to abuse his or her abilities. As chance would have it, your father found it, and then he ended up the father of twins. When he split the scarab between you two, I had to make a decision. I decided that I would make an offer to the each of you to become the next Captain. I started with Billy because of his situation. With him being on the streets, I figured that he needed the hand up more than anyone else did at that moment. However, I also decided that Iwould make the offer to Mary, as having two Marvels would be better than just one. Yet, because the need would not admit delay, I allowed her to become what you see before you now, and then decided to see if she wished to continue as a Marvel at that point."

"Well, Mary, do you accept?" asked Billy.

"I don't know," she said, "Everything has all happened so quickly, I just don't know what to do with this."

"Sometimes, things happen beyond our control," said Tutu, "So, we just have to know how to roll with the tide, know when to float, and know when to go against the flow. Much happened faster than I wanted when Ifirst became Tutu, but I learned how to deal with surprises in time. However, all this has happened to your good, so there is nothing to fear."

Claire added, "There is an old saying we have in Japan: there is happiness for those who accept their fate. There is glory for those who can defy their fate. What and when you accept is something you learn in time, because if you try to defy when you need to accept could cause more harm to you and others. It could be seen as selfish. In this case, you are kind of doing both: you defy fate by being able to find your brother, working with us, and now, becoming what you are, instead of just going to school and becoming a dancer had you not met any of us. On the other hand, because of all that has happened here, it seems like this was also your fate."

"Thus," continued Shazam, "what we see here was you coming to a crossroads that not many people have seen. In other words, you had a choice of fates, whereas others only have one, and then must choose whether to accept it, reject it, and ponder what the consequences would be on either choice. You, Mary, on the other hand, had a choice of two fates, neither choice really having any bad consequences attached to them. It is just that one has more benefits than the other does. I do believe that it was your fate to meet these people in order that the choice could be presented to you. Therefore, by choosing one fate, you defy the other, and nothing shall be harmed either way. Indeed, you have a choice that not many have, and many more would envy."

Billy then asked, "What is it then that gives her the powers she has?"

"That is a good question," said Shazam,"Her powers are exactly like your own, except that the sources of them are quite different. Here is what causes her to be the way she is: Selena grants her grace, which gives to her the same kind of invulnerability you. Hippolyta grants her the same strength, Ariadne grants her skill, that provides the same kind of power that enhances all her powers, Zephyrus-god of the wind-grants her the same speed, Aurora provides her the beauty that gives her courage, and Minerva grants her wisdom. This also spells out my name as well, and thus, she has her powers. Now, Mary, I granted you the ability you have now, because the situation would not admit delay. However, you have merely to refuse, and you will go back to normal. It's up to you."

Mary said, "My head is swimming. So much has happened in these few weeks. I started off as an ordinary girl, and now, not only do I find out my brother is a superhero, not only do I find out that all his friends are heroes, not only do I end up on a team by default, now it turns out that I am a super heroine as well! I just don't know."

Billy came up, and said, "If there is one thing that I have found out, it is this: being a superhero is never a dull moment. It moves fast, and you have to move with it, or it will overrun you. However, being what you are now, you have the ability to withstand. Join us, as Mary..." Billy hesitated, thought for a moment, and said, "Mary Marvel!"

Mary smiled and laughed, and then said, as she slapped her thighs and raised her arms, "What the hey? What do I have to lose?"

"Excellent!" said Shazam, "Then I hereby dub thee as Mary Marvel. Remember, with this great power, great temptation comes with it to misuse it for your own gain. Yet, also remember, though you have all this, as Mary Batson, you are just as mortal as Billy: you cannot live forever, and if you cannot change, then you can die as much as he can. Therefore, think not of yourself more highly than you ought. Thus, (and this is for all of you,) you see the seven deadly sins lining one wall, and the seven virtues on the other: every day, either set is there for you to choose to emulate. Yet, remember, with every choice towards one or the other, there shall be a consequence. Choose the correct ones, and there shall never be a worry."

While all this was going on, the raven was standing alone in a corner, looking sad, because he did not know what his fate would be. All he wished was to go back to the village, be a normal raven again, and be friends with the people that fed him the scraps he so loved. This could never be again. This did not escape the eyes of Tutu, who then walked up and began to stroke the feathers on his head. She asked, "Are you sad?"

He cooed, "Me have no home, no friends, no place me can go, can no go back to village," and he actually began to weep. Much to the surprise of everyone, she knelt down, and gave him a big hug, which the raven returned. She looked up at the others looking askance, and said, "It's not his fault. He needs love, just like anyone else. He had that, and Edel took it from him. Now he has no one. We must do something."

Yet, what could be done? Billy thought for a minute, and then pulled aside the boys, saying, "He could live with us, just hide when he needs to. Ravens are surprisingly neat birds, so we could have our own live in butler."

White Knight was not so sure, and Black Knight shook his head with a definite, "No." However, Mary said, "Claire, could he stay with us?"

"Well, I don't know," said Claire. Yet, the raven left Tutu's arms, and fell at Claire's feet, pleading with her, "Me promise: me keep good house. Me take care of everything. Me make up for bad things."

"If I say 'yes,' you are going to have to stay out of sight, be quiet when we are gone, hide when we tell you, and do whatever we say. Can you fly?"

"Oh yes, me can still fly!" he said.

"Good," said Claire, "Then if you want, when we are home, you can wait until nightfall, and stretch your wings to hunt for food. It would be best; because Icannot see 'caging' you up in our room, and it would not be fair to you."

Billy added, "Now, we have to think of aname for you."

"Name?" he asked.

"Well, we have to call you something,"said Mary. She though for a moment, and then said, "I know: Poe!"

"Poe?" asked Black Knight.

"Poe," said Mary, "as in 'Edgar Allen?' I thought for a minute, and wondered if 'Nevermore' would be better, but I think Poe says it all. What do you think?"

"Poe...Me name is Poe! Me like!" said Poe.

"Then it's settled," said Billy, "We are now the Secret Six."

"Then go forth," said Shazam, "and do this world some good."

With that, Shazam sent everyone back to their own rooms, as if no time had passed, and at the right times, so that no one would wonder from where people had popped up. Kinkan had no idea that six avatars had moved in to look after it, and all under its care.

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