by Warewolf at Large

One thousand years ago, demons had invaded China causing misery and hardship for the people...until a wise clockmaker built a warrior to do battle with those evils...and win. Now, in these modern times, the demons invade once again, and the people turn once more to the guardian that fights...with the turn of a key. She is...


Deep in the heart of China, near the famous Tienemen Square, two opponents face off in a battle for survival, one a guardian built to protect the people, the other a creature with only one cruel destroy it. Blows are exchanged in a fury of wood chips and flesh as the warriors strike fast as lightning. But in the end, there could be only one victor, and that victor...has sent her foe crashing to the ground in defeat, the only remnant of the battle being a confused human and a tiny seed...a seed promptly crushed beneath the fingers of it's new possessor. The crowd proudly cheers its clockwork savior for, as bad as he was, their leader was free and, they hoped, he would soon turn over a new leaf. But Clockoruru simply turned to the crowd and bowed to their cheers before returning to her master's chamber for repairs, waiting to be wound when she was next needed, unaware that she would be revived sooner then she'd think.

Among the crowd that watched the event was a simple teenage boy who had fallen in love with the clockwork woman. He was impressed with her fighting style and her ability to think quite literally on the fly...he'd hoped he could teach her things other than the importance of battle, and so strong was this obsession, that he followed her to the chamber and waited for her shell to be repaired. He listened intently as she and her master talked about the battle, and watched as her movements slowed when her gears wound down. After all repairs were complete, the master packed her in the cabinet, and placed a special ward upon the door so that no demon could enter and destroy all he worked hard for. With everything safe and sound, the master left the house to fetch some groceries from the market. This was the boy's chance. When the master was far enough away, he snuck into his home and quickly opened the cabinet door, removing it's lovely contents...and, taking the key from the side, he placed it in the hole and gave it a few careful turns. Gears and springs began to whir, as the clockwork guardian came to life...and turned to face her master... "What are your order...?" The boy waved his hand. "Who are you?" Clockoruru asked. "I am Genjuro," the boy replied and held out his hand, "Pleased to meet you." Clockoruru stared at the gesture, surprised at the unusual response...but she gave her preprogrammed question. "What is attacking the people of this land?" "Nothing," Genjuro replied. "Well then..." Clockoruru asked, her gears beginning to whir, "why did you wind me?" "Well," said Genjuro, nervously, "I wanted to talk to you." "About what?" asked Clockoruru. "Well..." answered Genjuro, "...anything. I love you Clockoruru." Clockoruru stood there for a moment, her gears quickly clicking and whirring. She had never heard of the concept of love, only the aggression of her prey. She searched her precisely built memory for any reference to the word love,' but could only bring herself to ask a question more difficult than any demon she'd ever faced. " love?" Her wooden face showed worry and anger at the same time. "Love..." answered Genjuro, unsure how to define it, " a physical attraction to one another. The demons you fight hate you, and want to destroy you. I want to help be with you always. I want to show you something besides all the demons you've been fighting. Would you let me show you...please?" Clockoruru's mind processed the words she'd received...she had been built to protect the humans from the terrible demons that plagued give them the freedom they deserved. And now this human wanted to provide something for giver her something in return...she could not refuse her duty, but perhaps this gift would help her fulfill it. She thought carefully for a moment, and delivered her verdict. "All r-r-right," she replied, "show me what you're offering..." Genjuro jumped for joy, mouthing "Yes." "...but if this is some kind of trick...?" "It's no trick," Genjuro replied, taking her hand, "Now come...come with me" Clockoruru was still unsure about young Genjuro's actions, but she obeyed his command and dutifully left her master's chamber...

Everywhere he went, Clockoruru followed, studying the markets and businesses they visited, memorizing the people they met, imitating the actions Genjuro performed as they played some of his favorite games... And everywhere they went, people stared and whispered, wondering what Genjuro was planning for their guardian. It was when they passed a nearby shop that the trouble began. Clockoruru stopped short on the street and looked around. She'd smelled that scent before, knew its dangerous meaning. With nary a word, she charged into the store and found her next demonic target...A grocery clerk infected with a possession seed, mutating before her eyes. She performed her battle stance, ready to deal with this latest threat...until her movements began to slow. The demon noticed her prone form and took the chance to strike. Clockoruru delivered her strongest blow, but if failed to connect, and her opponent sent her flying into the nearest wall. Nearby, shoppers began to panic, and took any path they could to escape. The demon roared in triumph, and charged into the street, clawing all who stood before him. Genjuro stormed in. "Clockoruru, what's wrong?" "" she replied, "Must...wind...with..keeey" "No problem," replied Genjuro, "I have it" Genjuro searched frantically for the key. He was *sure* he had it. Genjuro searched the floors and street, looking everywhere to find it. But Clockoruru could only lie there, saddened...saddened that she had dishonored her vow...saddened that, through her inaction, had betrayed her people.

Meanwhile, her master had been traveling the streets of the marketplace, when he came upon a rather familiar object and decided to pick it up. He was sure he'd seen a key like that before but...naw, it couldn't be. It just wasn't possible. Then, suddenly, he heard screams from several feet away, and ran toward its horrific source. He could see the gigantic demon ravaging a group of people, bodies strewn as far as the eye could see. He was going to run home quickly and get the Guardian, when another unusual sight caught his eye. Within the store, a girl in a red uniform lay prone on the cold linoleum floor. He ran inside and was horrified to discover the girl's identity. "Who did this?!" the master roared, "who dared to bring our guardian here?!?" "I-I did," Genjuro confessed, his head sunk, his eyes filled with tears. "What could have possessed you to do such a thing?!" the master screamed, "Are you crazy!?!" "No, I love her!!!" Genjuro bellowed back. The master was shocked...dumfounded. "Ever since I saw her I wanted to show her a good time, to give her something other than a life of fighting those demons. That's why I brought along her key..." Tears began to well up in the young Genjuro's eyes, "b-but I lost it. I can't believe I lost it." "Well you're lucky I was in the neighborhood or I'd never have found it," the master replied as he started to rewind his prot‚g‚, "We'll talk about this later boy, right now it's time for our guardian to do her duty." And with a final turn of her key, Clockoruru came to life and flipped herself back on to her feet. She turned to the screams of the horrified victims, and quickly dove into action, charging the enormous demon and slamming it with the brunt of her shoulder. The demon recoiled from the assault and turned to the one who attacked him, sending a gigantic fist sailing toward its human' target. Clockoruru jumped through the air, letting the crushing fist slam into the ground, and then bounded off the wall diving for the head of her enemy, work-honed feet aimed squarely at his throat. The mighty demon sailed to the ground, yellowish blood streaming from his mouth, but he rose, and wiped his chin, glaring at his foolish opponent. He charged delivering a punch and stopped short, watching his opponent block before elbowing her pretty face. He struck another blow...then another, sending Clockoruru reeling with each quick strike. But Clockoruru soon regained her balance, and caught the fist of her opponent, sending him sailing into the side of the supermarket...and then, scanning the body of her opponent, she finds his weak spot. Focusing her chi' she waits for the demon to rise before delivering a devastating blow, striking at the base of the demon's neck...With that final crushing blow, her foe tumbled to the ground and began to shrink, shifting once more to the form of the grocery clerk. And once more, possession seed in hand, one more blow is dealt to the forces of evil... *crack*

Genjuro stood before the guardian and her master, saddened by all the trouble he'd caused. "I-I'm sorry Clockoruru," he said, head held low, "Sorry for taking you from your master. I didn't think it would cause so much trouble." "Do-not...apologize, Genjuro," said Clockoruru, hands resting on his shoulders "You wanted to teach me the meaning of love. There-is-nothing wrong with expressing one's love for another...but-t until the various demons are purged from this land of China, I can-not..share your love." Clockoruru bowed her head. "I'm sorry." Genjuro met her soft painted eyes, staring into their sadness as she wrapped her arms around him, pulling her lips to his. For several minutes their lips remained linked as the master looked on, clearly embarrassed and disgusted' at the whole affair. As Clockoruru relaxed her grip, she looked in Gen's eyes and said to him, sadly, "I must go." Genjuro watched as the guardian and her master walked slowly down the street...and when they were far enough away, he strutted his stuff... "EE-YES!!"

The End

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