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Marionette Chapter 1

"Corrupted Innocence"

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Darkness....
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Humans live in a world of the light. The sun will always come up for humanity. They are so confident because of this, that they take their light for granted. But, on the world of the Darkstalkers, the sun is merely something talked about in legend. This world is inhabited by creatures that humans have only the vaguest ruminations of. Murderous vampires, whose mission in life is to hunt and to conquer. Seductive succubi, who can take lives away with just a kiss. Exotic catgirls, the mysterious dancers of the night. Soul bees, deadly warriors and vicious gluttons, whose hunger knows no bounds. All these and many others, ruled over by the eternally squabling demons.

But, far off in this dark realm's distant lands, lies a realm where even moonlight cannot reach. A realm of pure shadow, where even the most vicious Darkstalker fears to tread. This realm is a wasteland, its trees long since blasted into splinters, its only landmarks being wells filled with water made of pure darkness.

And it is one of those wells that we look at today. This well was set beneath a jagged cliff, twenty feet high and arching out like a curved dagger. The precipice at the top bore the signed of booted feet struggling to maintain balance. And as for the well itself...

The waters slowly began to roil and bubble, the well starting to overflow. Over time, the well began to spill over, boiling as if set over an inferno. From this roiling mass a hand of pure darkness reached up. The creature's long, tapering fingers grasped at the air, rising towards the sky as the rest of beast's body arose from the darkness.

"What... what has happened to me?" The creature looked himself over. His body seemed to consist entire of blue darkness, vaguely human in shape save for the lower body which was little more than a tail, and the arms and hands, which were far too long. The creature turned his glowing white 'eyes' on his surroundings, trying to make sense of everything.

"Where am I? What have I become?" Then, another realization hit him. "Who am I?!?" He screamed, his deep, baritone voice echoing across the dark realm. He gripped his head with his ghostly claws, screaming his rage, when suddenly, a new memory flashed across his mind...

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Long ago...
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"Uhhhhh..." the massive warrior groaned as the purple-suited entity dragged him along easily by the hair, giggling shrilly.

"Ah. Here we are." The entity had stopped over a dagger-shaped cliff, overlooking a well of darkness. He lifted the warrior up and stood him on his feet. The warrior wobbled, groaning in pain from his many wounds.

"Who are you!?" he demanded.

The entity chuckled. "Who I am? I am the Dark Messiah. And you are going for a swim." The entity lashed out with a kick, which caught the warrior in the belly. The warrior stumbled, flailing his arms, and fell over the precipice, landing in the well with a splash. When he landed, though, he got a shock.

"*kaff* Shallow?!" the warrior stood up, realzing that he only went waist deep into the water. He looked up at the entity, who was still smiling, and began to laugh.

"I suggest you start running. Because I can climb cliffs like this easily."

The entity just grinned. "Look behind you."

The warrior blinked and turned... then screamed. The waters behind him had formed into a gigantic serpent. He screamed and tried to run, but the serpent moved with lightning quickness, engulphing the warrior into its dark maw. The entity laughed as the dark serpent snapped his head, taking in the struggling warrior totally. With a soft gulping sound, the serpent swallowed the warrior up to his ankles. He kicked desperately, trying to escape the beast, but to no avail. The last thing he heard before sliding into the darkness totally, was the shrill, maniacal laughter of his killer...

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The present...
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The shadow creature had seperated himself from his well, and was now pacing, frustrated beyond all imaginings.

"Ooooh... Why couldn't I remember anything more? His name, my name, my face, ANYTHING! I must find this fool and slay him. But how..."

The shadow-creature put a long hand on his 'chin', thinking. He had finished taking shape over the past few minutes, his torso more human-like, with glowing ribs, and a functioning face, with glowing eyes and a gash for a mouth. The shadow-creature looked himself over, heading out of the wastelands, considering.

"I wonder what new powers I have?" The shadow-creature paused on the edge of the shadowy wastelands, feeling something calling him, but he shook it off. It was something to investigate later. He wondered about the realm of Makai, observing the various creatures with mild amusement. He paused in a forested area, near a pack of werewolves.

He snorted. "The place certainly has gone to the dogs since I was around," he said, chuckling at the mild injoke. Then he blinked, more of his memories coming back as a red jewel appeared in the center of his head. Along with an idea for his revenge. "Yes... Now, first to see if I can open a gate onto Earth." The shadow-beast concentrated, the gem in his forehead glowing, and slashed with his hands, creating a rip in mid-air. He turned quickly, to see if the werewolves had noticed. But they hadn't, apparently involved in chewing up their dinner, which, to the shadow-beast's eyes, looked like a cadre of catgirls they had ambushed. He shook his head, and observed the portal, seeing where he had opened it to.

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New York City
A playground at noon
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Abigail loved to play in the park. Her mother brought her there so rarely. Right now she sat in a sandbox, playing with her little dollies, not even caring that she was getting sand in her short red hair and bright blue dress.

*Shhrrrrriippppp*

Abigail eeped as dark, evil looking claws tore a hole in the sky in front of her. She started to run for her mother, who was completely absorbed in a phonecall on her cellular, when a voice came from the rip.

"Don't be frightened. I won't hurt you."

The five-year old girl cowered. "H-h-how do I know that you won't?"

A face came through the rip. Much to Abigail's suprise, it was a perfectly friendly, smiling face.

"Because I come from a magical place. Full of monsters and magic, and all sorts of neat stuff."

Abigail blinked, memories of storytime coming to her, and all her favorites about the big dragons and ogres. "Are you magic, too?"

"Oh yes yes yes. I'm a powerful magician. And I can make you one, too."

Abigail blinked, her curiosity tinged. "Really?"

The face nodded. "Uh-huh. Just take my hand." And with that, he extended a claw to the young girl. She flinched, but the site of the shadow-face smiling so pleasently was too much to resist. She gripped his claw and with shocking suddeness, shadows began to envelop her, dragging her through the rip. She looked to the shadow-face for comfort, only to find that it had changed into a vicious, evil grin. She looked again and saw that shadow-face himself was the source of the shadows that were covering her.

"Who are you?" she wailed, wishing her mother would get off of the phone and help her.

"I... am Shadow."

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Makai...
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Shadow, huh. Well, it fits my new form at least, he thought as he enveloped the girl within himself, using instincts he didn't know he had as he slowly stripped the girl's mind of her memories. He glanced quickly over at the werewolves, who were now down to the bones of their meal, and knew he had to work quickly, otherwise, everything was lost. He concentrated, the gem on his head glowing as the girl inside of his body quickly began to grow in size. Shadow kept his eye on her, stopping her when he had matured her to a teenage form. He then began to change her gown, solidifying his essence to give her clothes a new look. When he was satisfied, he began the finishing touches. His whole body began to glow as he roared, channeling his darkness into the heart and soul of his captive, filling her mind with dark knowledge. With a blinding flash that attracted the attention of the wolves, his captive completed her transformation. Shadow sighed and relaxed, tired from transforming the young girl. He set her on the ground, releasing her from his darkness to observe his handiwork.

That was fun. I just wish I knew why I wanted to do it.  Instincts, new and powerful instincts had entered Shadow's mind, and he saw no reason to resist them, thinking that they would be the only means for his survival. He regarded the young girl with amusement. Her body was now the size of a tall and lanky teenage girl, muscular around the legs and arms, with her short hair grown out just enough to be wispy. He also noted, with a mix of regret and delight, in his own thoughts, that she was now absolutely stacked. Her dress had been changed into a clownish blue costume, complete with a blue jester's hat and shoes, and a wide, green ruff around the neck. Attached to her back was a giant silver key, and strings were attached to her legs, neck and arms, apparently leading to nowhere. The girl blinked, and slowly got to her feet, frowning as she looked herself over.

Interesting. I've turned her into some kind of... Marionette... Shadow thought, grinning a hideous grin. The alpha werewolf had come over and had started yelling at him, but Shadow tuned him out for the moment. The puppet girl turned to Shadow.

"What... happened..." she asked.

"I have kept my promise and given you great power. Granted, I had to sacrifice your old life to give it to you, but..." Shadow shrugged, grinning, "Things like this happen. You are now my Marionette."

"Old life? Don't remember... promise... Marionette?" "Indeed. I am Shadow. You are now my servant."

"Servant?" Marionette struggled, trying to remember the past few minutes. All that she remembered though, was cold and darkness. Nothing to prove Shadow's claim to be wrong. "What do you want of me... master?"

"'EY! Bloody 'ell. I h'asked twenty times h'already. Who the bloody 'ell are you, and why h'are you in me territory?! Dammit, stop h'ignoring me! No one ignores Rip Rowdman!"

Shadow turned to the werewolf, a mangy, brown-furred musclehead, who looked more like a rabid doberman with hands than a noble wolf, and sneered. "Well, for starters, Marionette, you could shut this fool up. His accent is starting to annoy me."

"WHAT? You think that you can shut up me?! I'm the deadliest thing short of the demon lords!" Rip boasted, laughing throatily, "C'mon, human. H'I'll 'ave fun chewing on your guts."

"Uh... Rip... I think she ain't no human." Another werewolf said, cowering in the clearing. Rip snarled and flexed, his already shredded muscle shirt tearing even more from his bulging, muscular body.

"SHADDUP! Look h'at her. She's just a kid in a clown suit." Marionette, at this remark, looked at her ruffled-wristbands, blinking with mild confusion. Rip laughed loudly at her, and started towards her, baring his fangs and snarling.

Shadow regarded this cooly. "Destroy him, my pet." Marionette looked up at Shadow, then at Rip. Then she smiled. Rip blinked at this, taken slightly aback at the sheer evil in Marionette's grin. Marionette stood up and stared at Rip, that predatory smile still on her face. She began to sing, a slow dirge sung in an ancient language no human could hope to understand, and the key in her back began to turn. Rip watched all this, growing nervous, wondering what kind of powers this creature had.

Marionette continued her song, her body glowing as her key turned faster and faster. Rip turned away, covering his eyes in pain as the glow became blinding. Rip snarled in anger, wondering what the hell was going on... when the song suddenly stopped, replaced by a growling sound.

A familiar one...

He turned, and was shocked to see that Marionette had changed into an exact copy of himself, right down to the muscle-shredded clothes and battle scars. A female werewolf, one with jet-black fur, whimpered. Rip smacked her across the snout.

"Quit bitching, bitch. It's time to show this... demoness... what leader of the clan of Luna's Hammer can do."

Marionette just chuckled, her voice an exact replica of Rip's. Rip roared and charged in with a flying tackle, which she just sidestepped easily. Rip blinked at this and charged her again, his jaws snapping. Marionette just kept laughing and back-stepping, keeping just out of his range.

"STOP LAUGHING!" Rip howled, frustrated beyond all imagening, "FIGHT BACK, DAMN YOU!"

"All right." Marionette suddenly dashed forward with lightning quickness, catching Rip in the stomach with her claws, leaving a trail of afterimages behind. She stopped several yards away, her hand still outstretched in a slashing motion. Rip howled in rage and pain, falling to his knees and clutching his bleeding belly.

Marionette turned and chuckled at him. "That was your Quick Cutter attack, right?"

Rip growled at her, his eyes glowing. "Roight. And now this is my best attack. HOWLING INFERNO!" Rip reared back and breathed a huge gout of purple flame at Marionette, his eyes flashing, a howl eminating from his throat as he unleashed his ultimate attack on the demoness. But apparently, Rip had forgotten how fast he was. Marionette knew, and used her morphed form's powerful legs to bounce out of the way of the attack as is reduced the tree she was in front of to ashes, bound across the branches to where Rip was, get behind him, and sink her fangs into his left leg.

"RRRAAAAAOOWWWWWWWWW!!" Rip howled in agony as he felt his leg bones being crunched by his own jaws, Marionette's own malevolence adding to the power as she gnawed at it. Finally, with a horrid, wet, ripping sound, she removed Rip's leg at the knee. Rip moaned, clutching at his leg, and began to try and crawl away from Marionette. She simply stared at her victim, spitting his leg out of her mouth and wiping the blood away with her tongue. She chuckled at him.

"You fancy yourself a predator, yes?" she asked, now speaking in her real voice. Her casual tone, as well as the sound of a feminine voice coming out of his powerful body, somehow made it all the more frightening.

"Please," he whimpered, "Leave me alone... You can lead the pack... Just leave me alone..."

"I have no interest in the pack. I do, however, have interest in your death. Goodbye and farewell, Rip Rowdman." Marionette's eyes began to glow. "HOWLING INFERNO!"

Rip let out a long despairing howl as the purple flames reduced him to a charred skeleton. Shadow clapped, laughing wildly. A small, wispy form began to arise from the skeleton as Marionette cut off the attack, and Shadow suddenly began watching it intently, instinct taking over again. He reached out suddenly, seizing the form in one ghastly, clawed hand, which Marionette and the five other werewolves suddenly realized was Rip's soul. As Shadow placed the form into his mouth, swallowing it and enveloping it in his darkness, Marionette suddenly fell to the ground, changing to her natural state, clutching her chest in pain. Shadow finished devouring Rip's soul then turned to his creation.

"Are you all right?"

"Y--yes. Just... give me a moment..." Marionette's voice was audibly strained. She felt as if something was tearing a piece of her heart away, and there was nothing she could do to stop it.

Shadow nodded, steadying her until the moment had passed, helping her to her feet as a passive expression settled in on her face. "Now. Are you well?"

Marionette thought for a moment, then nodded. "I think so."

"Good. Now. Destroy the rest of the pack." At hearing this, the other werewolves began whimpering loudly and slowly backing away from the two of them. Marionette blinked.

"But... they have done nothing to offend... Why should I?"

Shadow snarled. "Because I have told you to, that is why! You are the servant, I am the master!"

Marionette shook her head. "They have done nothing. It was the leader who offended you. I have slain him, and now we can let the others go."

"No no NO! I order you to slay them all!"

Marionette turned to obey, when something, the last vestiges of her humanity perhaps, stopped her.

"No. I refuse."

Shadow's eyes began to glow with rage as he swelled his form to immense proportions, when suddenly, he heard something that gave him pause.

"We will discuss this later. Come." And with that, he fled quickly from the clearing, leaving the confused and terrified werewolves behind. Marionette hesistated and went after him.

The werewolves, meanwhile, were trying to make sense of this whole thing.

"Did you see that? She just changed into Rip and, well, ripped him up!!" the jet-black furred female whimpered.

"No way we can fight something like that..." a white-furred young girl said, agreeing.

The one who had caught her demonic scent to begin with said nothing. He just stood with his nose in the air, sniffing.

A grey-furred old man grunted. "Enough. Rip proved to be unfit. Now we have to decide on a new leader. Luna's Hammer must go on."

A quivering, brown-furred teenage boy snarled, bearing his fangs. "Can't this wait? We have to get out of here before something else like that shows up again!"

"Too late," said the one who had been sniffing the air. He pointed upward, and they all could smell it now.

"Soul bees. Oh gods..." the young girl whimpered.

A whole unit of the soul-drinking insectoids was flying down to the clearing where the werewolves cowered. They landed, pearching on tree branches and on the ground, as the leader of the unit, a statuesque, purple-armored, trident-weilding woman, started forward, her hair dyed green and looped up into a spiral. Her antennae twitched in disgust at the werewolves as she started to where the remains of their meal were. She picked up a bloodied skull, looking it over and sniffing it slightly. Then she let it drop to the ground. She turned to the pack, who were by now bunched up in a tight cluster. She smiled.

"You do realize that catwomen are currently protected by the dark lord? And that all Darkstalkers are forbidden to slay them in any manner?"

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miles away...
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Shadow and Marionette moved with the swiftness of the wind, far away from the sounds of the soul-bees buzzing and the werewolves' howls of despair. Marionette clasped her hands over her ears, horrified by this whole affair. When Shadow finally bade her to stop, she sat on the ground and began to cry.

Shadow just shook his head, disgusted by her. "Stop it."

Marionette sniffed. "I want to go home. I want my mommy."

Shadow sneered. "Can you even remember her? Can you even remember what you looked like originally?"

Marionette blinked at him, and thought long and hard. After several minutes, in which Shadow calmed down at the growing sense of horror on her face, she turned back to him and said, "No. I can't."

Shadow nodded. "You are mine now. You are my servant. Tommorrow I will send you into the human world to start your search for the entity that changed me into what I am today. When you find him, I want you to KILL him."

"All..." Marionette sighed. "All right."

Shadow nodded. "Good. Now get some sleep. You are mine, now and forever. Tommorrow is a big day." Marionette nodded, and curled up under a tree, closing her eyes. As Shadow sank into one of the tree's shadows, apparently needing some rest as well, Marionette, thought about what had happened to her, growing angrier and angrier, the demon blood that now flowed through her veins boiling. She made a vow to herself.

"I may be bound to you, but I will not be your slave forever. I will free myself of you. And I will destroy both this demon you are after, and you yourself."

She opened her eyes, staring at the spot where Shadow slept. "You turned me into this freak. And I will make you regret it. I swear it." She closed her eyes again, realizing that she was indeed very tired, and went to sleep, dreaming of freedom, and of days where she wouldn't have to kill for the vile Shadow.

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Marionette is copyrighted to Capcom.  This story is copyrighted to ME.  Post it anywhere else without permission and my fists will do some knuckle-dusting ON YOUR FACE.