Another Princess? Oh, No!
The rumor starting was the first sign of the impending problem. Their kingdom was a perpetual problem but the Ruling Council of Knights, plus advisor from their sister country who was actually the princess at the moment, got warned by a seer.
The old woman wandered in looking miserable. Red hair tied up in a scarf, some strands scraggling out where they could. Long dress. She looked tired. She stared at the Ruling Council's knights, shaking her head. "The witch has wrought her own destruction," she announced. "The alchemist who helps her, and the demon who helps them, can be destroyed but not until the harm has been cast. Or else we may all die of it."
"You're a seer," the princess said, standing up. "Tell us all that you saw?"
"The King of Annoyances. He pisses off all alchemists by existing. He should not exist but his father was wrong minded and made deals. The alchemists want to torture him so they create him spawns. Six spawns that they will send away. If you stop them before the spell goes off, the backlash of it can destroy us all. It will unravel this world." The princess grimaced. So did a few of the knights.
"If you let them finish, the King will be annoyed even more and destroy them, but he will be tortured by his spawn, his own body and blood, being gone forever." She rubbed her forehead again. "They come to the making point soon. We're all doomed if you stop them too soon but if they're not stopped from sending them off we could all be doomed when the King becomes the worst he can be as his vendetta will grow."
"Xander won't do that," Steve noted. "He'll take it out on the alchemists but not the rest of us."
"One of the young will someday take his place. As they share everything, they can take over easily and things will change because they were not raised here."
"I think we'd notice," Stark said dryly. "Can we stop it by saving the mother?"
"He is the mother."
"So they're going to make magical clones?" the princess demanded. The seer nodded, swallowing hard. "That's highly illogical!"
"Yes, but they are mad. He has ruined a great many plans for power." The seer shrugged. "It could be much worse. They could have to stay here and be raised here." She wandered off again. None of them saw her smile as she walked off.
The knights and princess looked at each other. "I'm calling Xander," Knight Barton said, getting up to find their calling station. "Someone call King Mac, let him start to attack their alchemist academy. Before we have six little Xander's to help him raise?" That got a few others to hurry off to call out warnings. Knight Clint Barton sat in front of their fireplace for this and poured in the potion then hit the right key to get that palace. It was diverted to King Aaron's kingdom. "Is something wrong with Xander's kingdom? I just hit the button for his and it came to you."
"Yes, sire. It appears there's a magical miasma around it and nothing is getting through at the moment."
"Well, something needs to get through. There's some alchemist and demon trying to make magical clones of King Xander. Then they're going to have them raised by someone so they can steal his throne." The guard there winced. "We had a seer show up."
"Oh, dear. I'll see if we can get someone there. Thank you for the warning." He hung up.
Clint thought about it then called one of Xander's closest allies. "King Dean," he said in greeting when he got the king himself because he had been passing near the fireplace with his mug for new coffee. "Huge problem. Just had a seer here." Dean groaned, staring at him. "The alchemist and demon it's consorting with want to make Xander magical clones they're going to send off to be raised by someone so they can steal his throne from him."
Dean suppressed the giggle. "Xander would probably give it to 'em if they wanted."
"They're going to make six baby Xanders and send them to somewhere else to be raised."
"Ooooh," he said, sucking in a breath. "I think Xander's going to be destroying some alchemists then. Yeah, thanks for the warning but why call me?"
"I tried to get Xander's kingdom and got King Aaron's. There's some sort of miasma they said. I figured you might have a way to talk to Princess Sam."
"Yeah, I can do that. Thanks for the warning. Six Xanders is enough of an apocalypse on their own. Can you stop them?"
"The seer said it'd destroy the realm if we did. We have to stop it between when they're made and before they send them away to be raised somewhere else."
"Hmm. Welllllll.... I'm not sure which is worse actually." He considered it. "I'll call Sammy. You guys are down near Mac so have fun raiding the alchemists. Good luck?"
"I think we may need it," he admitted. Dean nodded and hung up with a groan. Clint went to see what his part of the plan was. He could easily travel to Mac's kingdom to help attack the academy.
Dean hung up and groaned loudly. "Someone find my charmed parchment immediately! I need to reach my brother before he leaves King Xander's lands!" A guard went running and brought it back with a pen. "Sammy, you there?" he wrote. He smiled when he got back a 'no, he left it in the palace. It's Genjo'. "Good!" he wrote.
"Just got a head's up from Knight Barton that some alchemist and his demon whore are going to create magical clones of Xander to take over on him. Six of them. Then send the babies elsewhere for a bit to be raised there so they can come back to overthrow him." He read the response that came back, which the parchment charmed into symbols instead of letters. "My thought too. Six baby Xanders being raised by someone else...."
That got another swearing bout and a promise he'd tell Xander. Dean added in how Knight Barton hadn't been able to contact them directly because of the miasma. That got a sigh and a 'we'll beat the witches later' comment. Dean signed off and walked off to get his new cup of coffee finally. "Cas, we may have an upcoming apocalypse thanks to some cracked head alchemist and his demon whore."
"What now?" he asked, looking up from his reading.
"They want to magically create six baby Xanders to be raised by someone else. Then they'll overthrow Xander."
Castiel grimaced, looking up. "Someone higher up has a funny mind disease again apparently. I wonder if it came from a worshipper they deigned to anoint physically." He sighed and looked at his consort, who shrugged. "Oh, dear. Are we going to help attack the academy?"
"Maybe. If he needs us to."
"I'll make sure our weapons are good tonight. You check the horses?"
"I can do that." He took his coffee to the stables to check on their horses. Including Impala, who was formerly his father's horse/elemental spirit but now he rode her. "Hey, Impala. We may have to go beat some alchemists and demons soon." She laid her ears back, staring at him. "What?" She rested her nose on his forehead and he saw a picture, strangely enough of a redheaded seer. "Huh. Who's that?" The picture warped. "Ooooh, shit. That's Willow of Rosenburg." The horse snorted and nodded her head. "She's the one doing it?" The horse nodded again. "Isn't she dead?" The horse nodded another time. "Huh. Let me go tell Genjo that." He went inside to get the parchment to add that note. It may be really important. Especially if she was the demon or the alchemist.
Genjo walked quickly into the throne room. "We have a miasma around the kingdom?"
"We do?" King Xander asked dryly. "Why?"
"Dean told me." He handed over the parchment. They both saw the new note coming in and Xander went 'huh'. "Well, they're kinda stupid. Even if I'm raised by fairy hippy loving witches I'd still probably be me underneath things. Not everything is how you're raised." He handed the parchment back and sighed. "Someone call the witches!" he called out. "They need to tell us why there's something blocking the kingdom! Then get me the head generals!" People went running. "So, dear...."
"Six. Baby. Yous," he said dryly, staring at him.
"Nope!" He grinned. "We have a nanny and a surrogate." That got a nod and Genjo walked off again to tell the others. Xander held up the parchment when the generals came in. They took it to read and broke out swearing. "We apparently need to go invade King Mac's mountain areas. Today." They nodded. "But there's some sort of blocking thing preventing us from being called."
"It's preventing everything from coming in, including messengers," one said. "We've already called the coven and they're working on it with Princess Sam, who was on his way to see his brother."
"Sam would probably *love* to invade the alchemists," he said with a grin. "I know I will." They nodded. "Today if we can?"
"We have plans made, Sire, and we'll bring down the field as soon as we can. Your... constructs should be here with us."
"Magical clones would be baby mes. It'd be basically taking some of my body to make a second one." The generals stared. Xander grinned and nodded. "Yeah. So baby mes." One of the generals shuddered. "Exactly. Let's go raid them, boys. Before the palace nanny has to raise a bunch of little mes."
"Gladly, sire!" the generals shouted and ran to tell the others so they could start that trek. It'd take them a few days at a quick run but they were trained for that. One called the coven to see if they could break that barrier yet. It might take Princess Dawn from Queen Buffy's kingdom or the other coven theirs were friendly with. Or both. They just had to do it now. That messenger told the coven why and they vowed it'd be down by the time they got to the border to go smite the alchemists.
King Mac looked up as the messenger for the calling fireplace walked into his throne room. Today was a day to listen to problems and he was already tired of them. So it had to be bad. The messenger handed over the notes he had taken. Mac read them. Then held them up to Stella to read. His queen nodded that it said what he thought it said. He looked at the messenger. "We need to get there before Xander can."
"His kingdom is presently clouded somehow, Sire," the messenger said quietly, staring at him. "You can't call in. It's diverting to King Aaron's kingdom."
Stella nodded, getting up. "Let's set up to welcome the war parties coming to deal with that problem so they can help us. Let me get more added to dinner since I know the Knights eat a lot. Then I'll go check my weapons and horse." She walked off muttering swears.
"I think the only one who might enjoy this news is Queen Abby," Mac sighed. "Get the general for me." The messenger nodded, hurrying off to find him. "Petitions will be ended in an hour," he announced. "We were just notified there's a problem with the alchemists. Again." He looked at the one in front of him. "Sorry. You had a problem with a calf?" The villager explained it again and Mac nodded.
"No, it's yours. If his bull got free, it's his fault and he needs to man up and buy a cow of his own since this is the third time I've heard about that guy's bull getting out to go knock up some cow this year." The villager smiled and bowed, getting out of the way. His majordomo had prioritized the others so he got the most serious first. That way he wouldn't have to be here too long when he could be off beating alchemists for the threat that six baby Xanders could create.
Queen Abby, who suddenly had the urge to call her friends in King Mac's kingdom, went to the firecalling station, blinking when Stella herself showed up. "I felt like I should suddenly call."
"Mac said you'd probably be the only one that wouldn't be terrified of the plot by some alchemist to make six baby Xander magical clones to overthrow him. They were going to have them raised somewhere else then bring them back to take over."
Abby blinked at her. "No, I think I'm a bit scared of that plan. Need Jethro and our soldiers to help beat them to death?"
"We heard from the knights."
"Ahhhh." Abby nodded once. "Well, if it's true, the alchemists brought it on themselves," she quipped with a grin and a wave. "Let us know if we can help!" She hung up and went to her shuddering closet. No one should see her reacting that way so Jethro had built her a practical place to shudder or cry when she needed to. It wasn't good to see your ruler nearly ready to cry and shudder at the horror of that thought. Jethro opened the door to stare at her. "The knights somehow learned of a plan to make six magical baby Xander clones to overthrow him. They'd be raised elsewhere."
Jethro sucked in a breath. "Is this a crack in the head rumor?"
"The knights told Stella and Mac. I talked to Stella."
"I'll call the knights," he decided, leaving the door open. After he talked to Knight Widow he joined her in the closet to shudder in horror and kick the wall a few times so he didn't let out any swears. She hugged him, making him sigh. "I'm going to offer Mac some help taking down that academy," he decided. They came out of the closet together, ignoring the smirks from the staff members that caught them. Jethro went to talk to the generals. "Boys." They snapped to attention. "Some alchemist has a plan to make six baby magical King Xander clones." They stared at him. He nodded. "A seer told them."
"That's an apocalypse for bakers," one muttered. "They'll never keep him off sugar." Jethro smirked.
"Sir, are we going to help King Xander raid these alchemists?"
"Yup. Have fun in Mac's kingdom and tell them you're coming to help." He walked off. Behind him, the generals all shuddered at the thought of more than one King Xander. His future kids were going to be bad enough. Most of the generals remembered what an asshole a young Princess Xander had been. Six of them would mean they'd all be little monsters. This was going to be very bad.
Dean called Mac's kingdom that night. "The barrier around Xander's kingdom is down," he noted. "He's on his way. The seer that showed up was Princess Willow of Rosenburg." He waved and hung up on the hissing going on in the background down there.
King Mac turned to look at the gathered people. "King Dean just called." They shut up to stare at him. "That seer was Willow of Rosenburg."
"So is it her plan?" Clint demanded.
"Possibly. She had been highly demon tainted when she was taken care of. Consort Castiel did it." He sat down at the meeting table. "So we have more information. Jethro's people are on their way. Xander's free now so he's on his way." They nodded, they expected both of those. "Dean didn't say he'd be sending people but if he had to he could probably travel by Impala to come help with the demon part."
Stella cleared her throat. "What about the part about us being in danger if we show up too soon?"
"I'm going to take that with a few pinches of salt," Mac decided. The others nodded. "Of course she wouldn't want us to interrupt her. All I'm waiting on is to hear if it's at the main academy or if they're hiding somewhere else. I want a blood vow that they won't allow consorting with demons."
King Horatio stomped in looking pissed off. "What's happened now?"
"Willow of Rosenburg showed up as a seer in the Knight's kingdom to tell them about how an alchemist and a demon is trying to make six baby King Xanders," Clint said with a grin.
"That academy has to go," Horatio said. "Today."
"She did say that if we got there too soon it might decreate the realm," Stella said. "We're not sure about that part. Someone told Xander, which meant he broke the protections that were keeping everyone from telling him and he's on his way. We're waiting on the head of the academy to see if they're up there or not." She smiled. "Coffee?"
"Please." He took a cup to sip and moaned. "That's nice, Stella." He sat in his usual seat. "How long before they get here?"
"Xander had to bring down something keeping him in his kingdom and us all out," Stella told him. "So he just left recently. The head of the academy should be within an hour."
Horatio nodded, sipping more of his coffee. "Good."
"I'm making him do a blood vow about consorting with demons," Mac told him. Horatio smirked at that. "If not, the academy can turn themselves into ducks and fly south or something. Because I won't have that hell in my kingdom."
"How long before Xander's ahead troops get here?" Clint asked.
"Two days at the most," Mac said. "About a day and a half usually." That got a mass nod from everyone. "They never sell those horses. My messengers would love one."
Horatio smiled. "That's why we put up the firecalling stations, Mac." He got more coffee and sat down again. "My army is at your disposal if you need it."
"I thought this crisis might amuse Abby but Jethro said they both had to hide in her shuddering closet."
"If they manage to make six baby Xanders I'll get the plans to set up my own," Horatio quipped.
"You and me both," Stella said. "No bakery would be safe from them." Clint and Natasha both smiled at that thought. "But at least Xander used to be the sensible one in his family."
"True. He had a lot more sense than his father did," Mac agreed. Horatio nodded he agreed. "Even as a little kid yelling at the horses for disobeying orders." He looked up and shook his head but smiled.
"He did what?" Clint asked.
"Xander's job with his former stepfather was to train the battle horses," Stella told them. "The generals basically started teaching him once he was old enough to squeal at them in the fields. So Xander used to nag the horses into better behavior when he was about six, seven years old." Mac and Horatio both grinned at that. "It was really cute, he'd be nagging a horse about falling out of formation or for not liking their rider's new armor. He nagged one totally about jumping at leaves and reminded her that his stepfather hated weakness so it had to be better before it was dog food. He protected more than one horse from being taken out for not being good enough because it'd breed better.
"Some he lost anyway and so did his stepfather because Xander talked his horse into knocking into him once. It was old and wanted to go anyway we thought because it was worn down. His father basically got nudged and fell down because he was drunk like usual, and got up with a roar to shoot the horse with a gun that he never kept loaded." She frowned. Then shook her head. "The horse was walked off by someone and they shot a log but let the horse be adopted by someone's family instead."
"He used to stand there staring the horse down, hands on his hips, foot tapping like Abby," Horatio agreed with a smile. "Nagging them about doing something wrong and they had to be better to make it to the stage where they could have foals instead of pulling heavy things. When he was older he was smoother at it. I think once he tried to nag Impala and she just ate his hair on him." He took another sip.
Stella burst out in giggles, nodding. "He nagged her because she had stepped between him and someone who was about to hit him. He told her that it'd get her hurt and that wasn't right. He could take a punch and she shouldn't. Then he set the guy who was threatening him on fire later that night supposedly by accident. They didn't let him work on horseshoes after he set him on fire, but Impala was pretty happy with him."
Horatio shivered then looked at the big mirror in the corner as Dawn walked out of it. "How did you do that?"
"Magic." She grinned. "And the guys up north have some sort of mirror thingy that warps reality. They sent me because they saw Willow using one."
"Is she at the academy or somewhere else?" Stella asked.
"The academy. The idiot alchemist took over a closed down area."
"So she's the demon?"
"No. It's not our Willow. She got accidentally banished here from another realm." She sat down, nodding at everyone. "She appeared at the academy and nearly had to take them out to protect herself so they admitted her as a student. The alchemist is her new girlfriend." They all groaned. "And the demon is her girlfriend's twin sister." That got another groan.
"What about what they said about not stopping it too soon or it'd destroy everyone?" Stella asked.
Dawn shook her head. "Us stopping them will power her spell to send them over. Us stopping it too soon might create a backlash but if we can stop it before it happened at all won't hurt us any. The spell's backlash may injure some people but not more than knock them down. No magic poisoning from what we can tell. I was up north with them on a diplomatic thing so Buffy didn't have to go up there. I paused to call Tara's coven to talk to her about it and she scried then went off swearing like a heathen instead of the usual ladylike behavior she had.
"I tell ya what, she can swear like a Swamp Granny." Stella giggled. "Seriously!" She grinned at the knights. "It might hurt but won't kill, and you probably won't have more than broken things." They nodded at that. She looked at Horatio. "You suck up magic for some reason. If you're in front, you'll be more than broken and might end up with a touch of magic poisoning again."
"Something about how my brother came back did that," Horatio admitted.
"Hmm. That alchemist was this one's big brother. Half brother. Same father."
Horatio sighed. "Any other siblings?"
Dawn grinned and nodded. "Distantly, like way far away on the family scroll? Princess Calleigh. There's a few swamp grannies in between them." He sighed but nodded once. "Distantly on the other end is actually one of Abby's former people, her father's second-in-command. The one who set the demons on fire then walked into it by the stories."
"Didn't he summon those demons?" Stella asked Mac. Who nodded. "So he was trying to protect his kingdom by putting up demon guardians and screwed it up," she said, thinking back. "Then set them on fire when they turned out to be bad."
"Yup, which is why Abby's under a slight curse. Each daughter in her family is," Dawn agreed with a nod. "We studied it in history. My tutor thought no one still existed. I didn't out Abby since the guy used to hunt like King John did."
"That would probably explain why Abby has a fire elemental in her oven," Knight Widow realized.
"Yeah. Abby's former kingdom was more full of demons than King Dean's," Dawn agreed with a smile and a nod. "But the guardian thing was against a huge demon causing problems and that one ended up taking over the kingdom. Abby got sent away by her parents to Jethro to guard her. Her parents are kinda alive, but in stasis. The whole kingdom was in stasis before the wish incidence. Their palace still is and if someone like me walks into the palace it'll restart the battle. So yeah I've only rode past it to check on it for Dean. Some of her people were like bayou witches of the mountains."
"Wow," Clint said. "That's a lot of intertwining history."
"Well, we are related," Dawn quipped with a grin. "Up above Abby are shirtless barbarians who ride and train horses. They don't like to talk to women. They only grunted at me when I had to pause by their border to get entrance to go through."
"They're sturdy but their horses are strong battle horses," Mac said. "Pretty nice horses though. And they grunt at me too, Dawn. They stare at Stella like she's mythical."
"I heard myths about them breeding dragons into their horse lines," she said, smiling at her spouse. "I asked when I was about thirteen on a diplomatic trip. I made the king laugh."
"Buffy poked one on the arm and asked Mom if she could bring one home because they had pretty muscles," Dawn quipped with a grin for her. "He walked off blushing and Mom just shot Buffy a look like 'you'll be spanked later, young lady' so she quit and hid in the carriage. I apologized and told them my sister was a teenage girl so of course she liked puppies, kitties, and strong men. I so got paddled that night after Buffy got hers."
Horatio shook his head. "I've never been up that far. Do they sell their horses?"
"A few now and then," Mac said. "At the big horse sale. I still want one of Xander's faster horses for my messengers."
"Alan too," Dawn quipped. "But I'm only getting a gelding for my eighteenth." Mac stared at her. She grinned at him. "I asked really nicely and promised Genjo I'd take Goku for two weeks of helping me while Buffy was off doing Buffy things. And that I'd ignore the idiots who wanted me to marry Xander. Xander gave me one for my birthday for that alone I think."
"Probably not the top line but a secondary lineage," Stella said. "He'll let those out sometimes." Dawn nodded she knew that. "But it'll help you get away next time."
"Or sneak off if I ever find a boy." She patted the table. "Buffy told me I had to go visit Kings Steve and Clay on a diplomatic thing this spring and I said it'd be good to go look at the hotty guys we weren't related to in any way. She got all huffy that I'd better not find one. So I was going to hire five or six to travel back with me and let them know about why." She beamed.
"Your sister will have fits," Stella promised. "And your nobles will get their hopes up." Dawn smirked. "Again?"
"Hell yes! They've already decided I should use my womb in the next two years or else they were going to hand me to a healer to make sure I could use it and then sew me to someone against my will. So Buffy's still talking to her froggy advisors." She smiled sweetly at Horatio. "Sorry about your uncle."
"I'm not," he admitted. "He probably deserved it."
Dawn looked up and then smiled and waved. "Quit it before I come up there." The spell making them sit and chat was ended. "There. Better?" They nodded, going to get their horses to go raid the academy. Dawn followed in case they needed more magic. Tara was crying about Willow so it was kinda her job this time. She borrowed Stella's spare mare and rode off behind everyone. "Every adventuring group needs a magic user," she quipped when Stella stared back at her.
"Point. None of us do use magic." Mac nodded that was true since he was in the lead. "Don't get hurt, Dawn," she ordered. "I don't want to have to thump your sister around."
"Might have to wait a few more months. I think she might be carrying an heir to spare my butt the throne."
"Your nobles are going to shit tigers," Natasha muttered in another language. Dawn laughed but nodded. She repeated it for the others in their usual language. They all nodded that was true.
No one was riding behind Dawn so they didn't notice how she had a few oddly light red colored strands in her dark hair.
Willow smiled because her plans were going perfectly. Now all she had to do was wait and work on the last one. Then she could see how much was Xander being Xander and how much was how he was raised. Then she could go back home after avenging herself from here's mistakes.
"What's going on?" her girlfriend asked.
"They're on their way. It slowed them down enough." She moved to help with the cloning spell. Xander was too far away still so it was fine. If he was nearby it'd warp the spell too far.
Her girlfriend gave her an odd look then looked at her twin, who had opted to become a demon instead of an alchemist. She shrugged back. She had no idea either.
The group burst into the academy, startling the alchemy students into running for their lives. The headmaster came running down but Mac handcuffed him to a railing as he walked past him. They headed for the tower Dawn had shown them outside, none of them realizing she wasn't with them anymore. It took a few minutes to find out how to get into the tower but Stella tripped over the keystone to the door. They stormed in and were frozen.
Willow smiled and waved. "It'll just be a minute. We don't want to destroy everything, right?" They went back to chanting. Xander was still too far away. Willow had a sample from her Xander but it wasn't exactly the same. Willow's other self merged with her and she sighed in pleasure. Now she could scry the local Xander. They could steal samples from that one, maybe combine them with her sample from the original. Willow watched the local Xander. "Wow, he's moving really fast. I need to grab and not hit his liver." Stella was starting to get free so she waved a hand to reinforce the freezing spell.
Tara showed up with a few of her coven. "Oh hell no," Tara said bluntly, staring at Willow. "You are not dirtying the Goddess this way, Willow."
She smiled sadly at Tara. "It's important."
"No it's not. The Goddess said it's not." The coven moved to block the magical summoning. "We won't allow this."
"Dear, I'm stronger than you are," she said with a slight smile. "But it's great that this you is so healthy and happy that you quit stuttering and being shy."
"Xander helped." She raised a hand. "I can banish you home."
"No, you really can't."
"Yes, we really can," the real Dawn said as she walked through the same portal with Buffy behind her. "Buffy, get the demon?"
"Gladly." She moved to battle the demon, and maybe the alchemist. "Mom would've been super pissed about this, Willow. I'm sure your world has a version of our mom too." She hit the demon, making her burst out crying. "Yay. Demon tears mean nothing to me."
"I'm not doing anything!" the demon complained. "It's all Willow's idea! I'm just helping protect my twin sister!"
Buffy scowled. "Seriously?"
"Yes!" She pulled her sister closer, which tweaked the protections around the spell. "Oops. Um, it's going to flash, people. Sorry!" She disappeared with her sister.
Dawn summoned them back. "Um, no. Not doing that today, ladies." They stared at her. She smirked back. "No, I'm not like the ones here."
"Shit," Willow muttered. Then she smacked herself on the cheek. "Bad Willow, no swearing. It's boyish," she muttered. She looked at Dawn. "I didn't think you trained, Dawn."
"Yeah, you don't think of a lot of things, Rosenburg." She stared at her then looked at the group. She could free one. Mac, Stella, Horatio? Not that great of fighters. Clint...a few of the other knights? Pretty darn good but not against magic. So yup, it was her mentor. She freed Knight Widow and got out of the way. Natasha shoved forward to help them. Buffy got the demon and alchemist in a corner and knocked them both out. Natasha and Willow faced off.
"You don't have magic, dear," Willow chided. She smiled at Dawn. "That was a bad idea."
"No, not likely." She smirked back. "Natasha's not the usual sort." She looked at Tara, who moved to stop the spell. Dawn concentrated, making a portal for Xander's few guards with him. They had run into Jethro's team so they all got to come together. They ended up outside a few minutes later so they could stomp inside.
Willow smirked at her. "Thank you for that help, dear. I needed better samples."
Dawn froze Xander with a hand wave to protect him. "Guys, she needs samples to clone him. That means she's gotta take blood or flesh from him." She looked at the guards. "He's protected for now." They nodded and moved to help the coven with that witch. She really needed to go away now. Willow fought them back but couldn't gather anything from Xander. So she did what she had to do anyway with the old sample. It wouldn't form. Dawn smirked as she drew the spell off to a crystal she was holding. "Not today, Willow." She used the energy in it to start a banishing rite. Tara smiled at her and joined in. Willow yelped as she got sent off but cast at her spell one last time. She had to do it! It was important!
Xander broke free once the witch was gone, shaking his head. "No clones of me?"
"Not yet," Dawn admitted. She pushed her hair back because she was sweaty. "The crystals holding the spell still need to be dismantled." Xander groaned and held his head. "Forgot you got visions, dear. Bad?"
"Stella, they're going to flash and give you kids," he warned. Tara freed her and got her out of the room just in case, with her spouse and Horatio. He sighed as he straightened up. "Let's dismantle this so no one has this bad idea again. I don't need kids yet. Our surrogate said next year." Xander turned to kick the walls. "What was she doing, Dawn?"
"She was going to send them to another realm, closer to a fairytale realm, to see how they turned out. Kinda like that fairytale about the swan princes." Xander rolled his eyes but nodded. "Then she'd bring them back."
"Hell, if my kid wants the throne I'll gladly give it over after they're prepared to handle all the stupid that we see daily." The guards looked at him. "The fruit sellers, guys. I'm sure you heard him ranting because I didn't care if he was selling yellow lemons or another breed." They all nodded, grimacing. "I see a lot of that. Weekly. So far this week's has been someone's daughter married someone she loved and her father wanted her to marry his cousin instead. They don't have lands, titles, or even a farm to pass on through the bloodline.
"The new husband is a good guy who'll take good care of her. But the father really had always fantasized about his little girl marrying his cousin, because they'd look cute together," he finished sarcastically. "I had to not only point out incest was wrong, and damaging, but also a real father wanted their children to have happy lives. I came *so* close to just throwing him in the moat from the throne room balcony. Thankfully Genjo ran him off before I could stand up."
"I'm kinda glad we don't have that level of stupid," Clint quipped. "We'd have to find an alternative since we don't have a moat."
Natasha looked at him. "We have a supposedly bottomless lake. We'd take weekly trips out there to throw people like that in."
"Don't tempt my coven," Xander said with a grin. "They wanted to deepen the moat for my selkie so she had more room to live." Natasha shook her head quickly but nodded. "I let them add in a few extra feet of depth just so I wouldn't have to hear the nagging later on if I hadn't let them."
Natasha looked at him. "You deal with a lot of things that we'd never have to deal with."
"That's the beauty of having a king or a queen," Dawn quipped, grinning at her. "You have one person to hear problems when necessary. One final, higher authority that can tell you to go screw yourself for being stupid."
Xander nodded. "If they insist they can bring it to King Alan to be heard in front of the convergence. The guy with the daughter threatened that as he stomped off. I sent Alan a message in warning and got one back of 'just push him off a cliff' from Prince Don." Dawn giggled, leaning on his arm. "Okay, how much more do we need to do to clean this up before I have to raise little mes?"
Dawn looked at the spell residue then shrugged. "Let's start with the crystals. Don't touch, Xander."
"Yup. Don't want kids yet." He stepped back and looked outside. "Hey, Mac? Need help? Dawn said if I'm too near that it'll still give me kids."
"Your future kids are scary," Stella said. "The head of the academy is heaving in hissy fit mode."
"I deal with a lot of those." He walked off to talk to the guy. This headmaster really needed to understand they were tired of them doing bad things. Before Xander had to use a wish to make all the guys in the kingdom into girls for the next thirty years. His ex had promised she could cast that spell if he wanted to. "Let's talk before I have to call my ex Annabeth who wanted to turn all the males in a kingdom into women, shall we?" he suggested to the headmaster when he ran into him.
"Since she had went here for years, I'm pretty sure she's figured out how to do it since it was her senior paper to graduate." The guy's eyes went wide and Xander smirked. "Yes, I'm King Xander and you just let someone try to make me kids. Of myself but still, six little mes."
"I..i...i...i..i.." he spluttered.
"Yeah, you!" Xander smirked at him. "You have a lot of demons too. Which does really creep normal people out. Then again, with what your students have done in the past, we're all really ready to burn the school with everyone in it for its lack of ethics." He gave him a pointed look then grinned again. "It's not everyday that you get poisoned via distance magic. Or I hope no one else has."
"Hmm. Some of yours have raised the dead. Some of them have caused untold harm to the Joined Kingdoms. Which, ya know, ya live in since King Mac is one of ours." He smirked a tiny bit. "And now you're letting other realm witches conspire with demons and your students to create more hell for us to deal with. Do you really want to see what six tiny mes can do?
"I mean, I nearly took over on my father when I was six. What will multiple mes do?" The guy was nearly crying. "So. How are you going to make sure that your students realize what ethics are? Before I have to move down here to take over your school to teach them that? I'm sure my consort would *love* to teach. He's a bit cranky but he's a Sanzo so...." Xander shrugged. "What ideas do you have to fix this?"
"I want a blood vow to quit consorting with demons," Mac yelled from up the hall.
"That's a nice start," Xander agreed, smiling at the headmaster. "It is technically Mac's kingdom so he'd get to make rules. I suggest you tell him how you're going to fix things before we have to invade for real. This time we were only here for one being. Next time...." He smiled again and clapped him on the arm.
"Go tell King Mac how you're going to change things so you're teaching ethics." The headmaster ran away from him and Mac so one of Xander's guards caught him and walked him to Mac to talk to him. Mac needed to vent. He was clearly stressed out and needed to vent. Stella looked like she wanted to yell at someone too so the guards wisely got out of the way.
Xander looked around then at Stella. "I still need people who don't whine at me about things, Stella. Any nobles you want to kick out who'd meet my low standards?"
"A few," she admitted. "I'll see if they want to move." She glared at the headmaster. Someone in the room yelped. "Did we goof?" she called, tipping her head that way.
"No! Almost," Dawn called. "Horatio nearly got kids instead."
Horatio shuddered, shaking his head. "Timothy would kill me," he said patiently.
"We'd all hide from him," Mac promised, smiling at him. "Because we know Speed's temper, Horatio." He glared at the headmaster. "You on the other hand." The guy was whimpering. "I want a blood vow not to consort with demons anywhere in this school by any student, personnel, or staff members."
"I...Would it hold if the students did it anyway? They're mercenary enough to do it anyway because I'd die and they could take more power."
Xander cleared his throat. "There's a way around that." The headmaster shrank away from him. "Put it on the position, so all of them are automatically under it. Put it like 'I, as the current headmaster, do vow for myself and all future headmasters'." He looked at the guards. "Go handle the demon I can feel lurking on the stairs, boys." They ran to find that demon and stab it a lot. It let them get some anger and energy out.
"That's a professor," the headmaster wailed, sinking to his knees.
"Wow. You hired succuba?" Stella asked. "Just...wow. I guess they're teaching sex ed?"
"Stella," Mac complained.
"What else could they teach? They don't teach courtesans here, Mac."
"Point," he admitted. "I still want that blood vow or we're shutting the school down immediately."
"I brought explosives," Xander said with a happy grin and a bit of a bounce. "It was already in my saddle bag so I think I only have enough to destroy the big towers but maybe not the main center building. I can go check." The headmaster was crying but pulled out a dagger to make that vow. Xander went to check his saddle bags anyway, bringing the explosives in. He grinned as he handed them to Knight Hawkeye. "Here, can you use that?"
He looked at the pile then at the king. "You scare me."
Xander hugged him. "I like that, thank you!" He walked off again humming.
Jethro was shuddering, shaking his head. "That's a bad sign." Horatio nodded. "We need to give him something to do."
"He can take over that realm she opened the portal to," Dawn quipped. "Hey, Xander, they wanted your kids to be raised by elves."
Xander leaned in to look at the portal then at her. "They'd have normal people manners I guess." He shrugged. "My generals would run them over for being too nice so I guess she wanted them destroyed sooner instead of later?" He disappeared again. "Ah-ha! I found the treasury room!" he called. "They have three crowns people have been looking for and two are glowing!" Stella came to look but Xander blocked her and pointed at one that was trying to float over to meet her. "Probably not a great idea, Stella. You're too stubborn to depossess, even for Dean and Castiel."
"I am," she agreed. "I'd hate that." She stepped back. The crown tried to follow her anyway. "Any idea what's trapped in there?"
Xander took it to test, nodding. "A very ancient succuba." He grinned at her, putting it back on the stand it had been sitting on. "So apparently it wants you to be able to kill Mac in bed."
"I can already do that, Xander," she quipped, walking off. "Horatio, your mother's crown now holds a succuba. Abby's girlhood crown is glowing too, and Alan's former wife's crown is in there for some reason too."
"Abby's had a fire elemental meant to help her protect herself," Jethro called.
"Good to know," Xander called back. "I have no idea why Alan's wife's crown is in here. I don't think it's possessed."
"Sire, please don't get possessed," one of his guards complained quietly. "We're very far away from anyone who could fix that for you, especially since you tend to keep memories from them." Xander rolled his eyes but stepped back. A pretty sapphire necklace floated after him. The guard tried to grab it but it was intangible. "Hell. Your consort's going to skin us alive."
Xander blew a kiss at the necklace. "I'm married to a Sanzo princess." It went limp but still followed him. No one else could grab it either. Xander found the library and looked then nodded once. "We need to see how many of these came from my kingdom." He went to find the headmaster, who was staring at the floating necklace and whimpering. "How much of the library came from my kingdom? I noticed a lot in our ancient language."
"We took it from an ancient tower that was about to be sealed up and destroyed."
"Yeah, we did that on purpose. Considering there were things in there to kill all demons and about a third of humanity," Xander said dryly. "We'd at least like copies back." He smirked a tiny bit.
"The students need them." Xander stared at him until he shrank back. "I'll have copies sent up."
"Thanks. With how we fight demons up there, there's probably some things I need in those books," he said dryly. "And it'll give Genjo something new to read." The headmaster shrank away from him. He looked at Horatio and Stella, who were looking amused. "He's bored. I've taken Hakai's little dragon friend to train with the horses so they get used to him and dragons in general. That way the next time one shows up the horses don't run from it." He looked around again. "How many students are there? It's really quiet."
"Sixteen," the headmaster said proudly. "The most of any year."
Xander looked at him. "How many are going to give me hell and havoc?"
"None?" the headmaster guessed.
Xander grinned and nodded. "Good answer! I like that answer!" He patted him on the arm. "Is it safe for me to come in there yet?" he called.
"No!" Dawn and Knight Widow yelled back.
"Okay. I'll go find something to do I guess." He walked off. "Maybe I'll find a court sorcerer who can do some of the stuff Sam's been looking up. It'd be nice if they could enforce better anti-demon things and we'll need one to help us forge later demon killing weapons."
"Stephano!" the headmaster yelled. A student came down the stairs. "This is King Xander. He needs a sorcerer who can help him make demon killing weapons."
The student beamed and bounced, grinning at Xander. "That's my master's paper! Can I help?"
"I think you can," Xander agreed with a grin. "We'll need some for my grandkids and for King Dean's grandkids."
"We can talk about that, sire. We can use the library."
"Sure. A lot of those books came from my kingdom anyway." He followed the kid in there to see his ideas on how to make those.
Mac sighed, looking at his wife, who shrugged. "They'll need it some day to protect all our great-grandkids, Mac," she reminded him.
"Point. I guess." He went to look in there. "Can the rest of us come help yet?"
"Not quite," Dawn said. "We're trying to close the portal. It's being stubborn." She frowned at it, pouting a bit. "Where's the keystone?" No one could find it. "Screw it, we'll just blow up the room. Knight Hawkeye, can you lay those to blow the room to bits so the keystone's destroyed?"
"Sure, I can do that. We'll still have plenty left." They left and he laid the explosives with Jethro's help. They blew the room, and it did dissolve the portal. Xander leaned out of the library with a grin. "Had to blow the keystone for the portal to the elves."
"Cool!" He grinned. "Can we do the east tower where they have the river of blood coming down from the window?"
"That's someone's project to make a blood fountain for a demon," the student said happily. "She made it too strong."
Xander looked at him. "So it's overflowing the room?"
"And the whole tower. She can't figure out how to turn it off. She sneezed while casting the spell on the tabletop sized fountain."
"We can blow that up too," Widow decided. They went to do that from the outside of the tower. They didn't want to wade through a roomful of blood. Even if it was fake blood.
"I'll have to tell her so she can redo it properly," his new court sorcerer told Xander with a grin.
"I'm sure she'll appreciate the help." He looked at one of his guards waiting. "This is Sorcerer Stephano. He's going to come up to work on the demon killing weapons we need. It's his masters paper."
"Of course, Sire. We'll help him pack so we can all go together." He went with the kid to help him pack for the trip. They had a spare horse and it'd be a slower run home anyway.
Xander grinned at the headmaster. "Thanks. I needed that sort of help." He went to browse the library again.
Jethro was just nodding as he walked off.
Mac looked at the headmaster, smirking evilly. "See what happens when you do things with demons? He has to show back up." The headmaster shrank back again, starting to cry. That was pretty so Mac left it there. He should never have any problems from this school again. Or else he'd ask Xander to come back, maybe even to teach.
King Mac watched as Xander's contingent rode off first, with his new sorcerer. That necklace was floating behind him, wiggling to try to go fast enough to catch up. He looked at Stella, who shrugged back. "I guess it loves him."
"A lot with how far it'll have to float," she said dryly. She looked at the others that had come.
Knight Widow had called up one of their science sorts to come help the headmaster remake the school's programs so they were more ethical. They were sure Lady Jane Foster, Thor's sweetheart, would have a lot of fun with that with Knight Hulk. And of course, Jane's lady in waiting was going to get to fuss at things. They had just shown up in a carriage and Lady Darcy was already nagging someone about not dropping the machines for Jane, who was taking readings of the building. Jane hated demons, so she'd end them very quickly.
The others were going home without any magical clones or any new kids. The demons had fled. The other realmal Willow had been removed for good. Her cracked head plot had been stopped. Now all they had to do was watch the fallout from the idiocy she had tried to start slowly fall away.
Jethro looked at the others. "I'll send around announcements with pictures of the witch?" Mac and Horatio both nodded. "That way our allies know to beware of redheaded bitches who use magic." He rode off, his guards following him.
He had Abby's girlhood crown in his saddlebag so she could have it back. Horatio's mother's crown was in a sealed box and a guard was taking it to Princess Samuel to see if he could desuccuba it. The other crown they had in another storage box and were going to look it up in past drawings to see if they could figure out who had made it. Stella did good with that type of research so that was her project that week.
Jethro walked into the small tent King Clay was using for a current military project and training session. "I bring three treaties from Alan and news," he said in greeting. A guard got in his way so he stared at him until the guy shrank away from him. "Thank you."
Jensen grinned at him. "King Jethro. What's happened this time?"
"Treaties," he said, handing those to Prince Pooch. The news scroll he handed to Clay. "We had an idiot witch and alchemist from another realm show up to try to make Xander babies. Cloned babies." Clay moaned, gripping the table. "Six of them." Jensen burst out laughing. Clay's reaction was vulgar and loud. "Exactly. We banished her. We've stopped her plans. That's on what we know about what she did and where she came from, as well as a drawing of her."
Clay looked it over, frowning. "I saw her recently." He held up the picture.
"That one village had her," Pooch agreed. "She's a witch?"
"Yup," Jethro said dryly. "Though our version is dead. The one we just sent home was from another realm and came here to do an experiment to see if she could change King Xander into someone she liked more. Apparently the him in her world isn't as tough as ours, but she wanted him to be changed into a normal guy."
Jensen snickered again, shaking his head. "Her alchemist girlfriend and the demon twin sister helped us stop her plot. Though we nearly switched it to give Horatio the kids instead. So we're warning you in case she shows up here with another idea that comes from a demon's tail."
"Magic is still weird," Clay told him, reading over the rest of the scroll. "Jesus, that's a bad plot."
"Xander said he wouldn't mind having kids but six was too many and of course they could have his throne when they were ready. I'm told their palace's nanny had a crying fit about that idea."
Clay looked at him. "I'm feeling the urge to get drunk," he admitted.
"Me too. But I'm on delivery duty since Sam's working on getting things out of jewelry with Stella."
"At least it's pretty and warm right now," Jensen said with a grin for him. "A nice few days of vacation."
"Few hours. I've got to deliver to King Steve too. Alan really hates boats." Clay nodded, walking him off to talk to him about the other goings on up in the Joined Kingdoms. It was a bit too insane up there for him. He heard about Dawn's plan too and smirked because he knew a few guys he wouldn't mind sacrificing to their kingdom to help her. If they found a life up there, great! They'd be out of his hair.
Xander strolled into his palace, smiling at his spouse. "Honey, I'm home!"
"I can see that and that you didn't get into more than an inn brawl." He stood up to come walk around his mate to check him over. He noticed the necklace floating in. "Get the magical thing something to sit on." It got a nice pillow on a table, nearly sighing as it flopped down. He looked at his spouse, smirking some. "What's that?"
"It's friendly. It's also not grabbable or I would've put it on my saddle horn for the trip." He stared at the necklace, which relaxed. He looked at his spouse. "Not sure if it's a pet or what, dear."
Genjo walked over, putting his scroll on it. No reaction from either. "Probably not evil." He walked back shaking his head. "I'll call Sam to see if he can fix it."
"They're bringing some possessed crowns to him soon."
"That's great. Sam was bored." He stared at his mate, who just grinned. "What happened?"
"It was a Willow from another realm. She was experimenting to see how I'd be as a normal guy. That why she was going to have the six baby mes raised by elves."
"They'd be uptight and hate us all," Genjo said. "Great. Are they alive?"
"Never got created. Dawn had to warp it so it didn't work on Horatio either."
Genjo just nodded as he walked off. "Dinner's in two hours. Go bathe like usual after a trip. I'll see you then."
"Okay." He skipped up to his room to do that and to have some fun with his concubine. They could talk about his new pet necklace later he guessed.
Willow, back in her home realm, was pouting while she scried that group. Her plan had been a good one. She didn't know what went wrong. But they were mean! She had to stop the spell when her Buffy came in complaining about patrol but she'd get back to it and next time her plan would work.
This was actually written a month before the Darcy/Brock stories I got ambushed by recently.
Have a happy weekend, people.
Have a happy weekend, people.