by Genki Girl

Disclaimers: I'm afraid that the Jubemeister doesn't belong to me (*whispers* Pssst! The big kahunas from Marvel own her!), and as a matter of fact, NONE of the characters outside those natives of Optica (*g* That name is so cool! Reminds me of a song from Orgy...) and er...don't sue me. ^_^; I'm an extremely young (14 young enough for ya?) fan fic writer and I reeeaaally don't wanna harm the already fragile trust my parents hold regarding me and the 'net. -_- Other than that, on with the show!

Orgy blasted from the surround sound stereo like there was no tomorrow and Jubilation Lee was loving every minute of it.

She propped her feet up on the cluttered desk and her head bobbed in time to Dramatica as she chewed loudly on her cotton candy flavored bubblegum.

Her senses perked and she grinned when she had identified the person. An impish light entered her eyes and she cranked up the volume several notches, enough to shake her very bones and rattle the windows. The door swung open and her ever-suffering roommate and friend walked in, nearly staggering from the intensely LOUD music.

"JUBILEE!" she yelled over the roaring music in the background. Jay's throbbing vocals drowned out her voice and Jubilee continued to casually chew and snap her gum, seemingly oblivious to the new presence in the room.

Paige winced, rolled her eyes and slapped the off button on the stereo. Blessed silence filled the room, and Jubilee whirled around in the chair, but moving too fast and not having enough time to straighten up, she plummeted downwards face first into the pile of dirty laundry.

When she emerged, dirty socks draping over her head, Paige couldn't take it and fell beside her, clutching her sides and laughing her butt off. Jubilee snorted, wrinkled her nose in distaste, and flung the socks from her head with resentment. "Ha ha ha, so funny hayseed. Now what the heck do ya think you're doing barging in and interruptin' me while I'm groovin' to Orgy?"

Paige wiped the tears of mirth, whining a bit that her sides hurt like crazy now, and when she calmed down more, she gave Jubilee a grin and handed Jubilee the now crumpled up white envelope she held. Jubilee shot her a curious look and then shrugged when Paige shrugged.

Jubilee inspected the envelope with mild interest, it had after all, been awhile since she'd last received anything in the mail except for the occasional spontaneous postcard from her wandering friend. She scanned the from who address and frowned, forehead scrunching up when she didn't recognize the handwriting (which was immaculate and perfect) or the name of the sender.

She was just about ready to tear right into the envelope when suddenly the headmistress of the school's voice rang in their heads, sometimes it sucked having a psychic chica who could make your eardrums ring worse than listening to Orgy at full volume.

*Alright people, let's get a move on if all of you still want to catch the movie!* Even psychically, Emma Frost's voice was as laced with cool authority and strength as much as if she'd been standing there yelling right in their ears.

Paige grinned and moved to go join her fellow teammates and friends when she noticed Jubilee wasn't running her over to call shotgun in the car. She stopped and turned around, placing her hand on the doorframe she cocked a brow at Jubilee. "Jubes, you're not coming?"

Jubilee shrugged at her, popped her gum and made a shooing motion with her hands after tossing the envelope down somewhere on the pile of clothes. "Naw, don't feel like hittin' the movies. 'sides, I've already watched half of the crappy movies that are being played right now the last time I went into town with Ange and Ev, and the other half that's really kickass I watched nearly a dozen times with Wolvie."

Paige gaped at her slightly before giving a "okay, whatever" shrug and called over her shoulder as she made her way downstairs, "Don't turn the house upside down Jubes! And try not to, ahem, get in trouble with Ms. Frost's things anymore, 'kay?"

Jubilee snickered and made a mock salute at Paige's back. "Aye aye, cap'in! I'll just snoop through Monet's things this time!"

She heard Paige laugh, and it was soon blended in with the laughter and voices of the other teens. Jubilee walked over to the railing and leaned over, watching as her friends filed out into the awaiting limo outside, and only returned to her room when the door shut with a soft click.

Dancing slightly and doing a slight boogy, she hit the on button and Orgy came blaring back to life. She giggled slightly and started grinding in time to the continuation of Dramatica before plopping belly down on her bed. She popped in another piece of gum, this time strawberry flavored, and suddenly remembered about the envelope.

She dragged her index finger along the flap and it easily came apart without her having to rip through it entirely. Her curiosity increased when she found herself holding a plain, white card with silver colored engravings all along the edges that resembled vines and leaves.

Flipping it open, she skimmed through it once before starting to read out loud from the very beginning.

"'Dear Miss Jubilation Lee,

We are pleased to invite you to join in on the prestigious fighting event held in Optica. It is your chance to show everyone your amazing abilities, just as we have had the privilege of seeing. Fighters from all over the world, and many dimensions shall join you in this wonderful event, and we hope to add you to those who have already accepted this offer.

Rules are simple in the event, first fighter to draw blood moves onto the next competition until the last competition is fought. Winner receives an amazing prize which shall be held for the moment lest you decline.

Accepting this invitation to join will also grant you a wonderful experience to train for a period of 3 months prior to the actual competitions. Weapons, magic, and all other forms of use outside of physical means is prohibited during the competition, making the fights fair and just.

We sincerely hope that you accept this invitation, but we are completely and totally understandable if you choose to decline.

To choose to decline or accept, merely indicate your choice by selecting one of the following...'"

Jubilee gave the card a baffled look when it just trailed off. Whatever this was, it sure as hell was freaky, and where the heck was the choosing stuff anyway?

Turning the card over she had to blink and squint at the suddenly blinding light that bounced off the card, when her eyes had adjusted to it, she was able to read what was written there. "I accept, I d--" she was cut off before she finished saying the last bit out loud when a soft wispy voice seemed to wrap itself around her. "Acceptation granted..." it whispered in her ears, behind her, in front of her, surrounding her like a blanket.

Jubilee gulped, and a sinking feeling in the pits of her stomach. The card had somehow disappeared, although at this point everything around her had started to glow in a eerie way and she really, really didn't give a damn about it or anything else except for the teensy weensy problem that was causing her to glow with it, giving her an almost detached feeling from her body.

"Oh...shit. I knew I shoulda gone to the movies...I knew I shoulda gone to the--ahhhhhhh!" Her mumbling gave way to a surprised and terrified screech when she felt as if she was falling down a very steep hole.


She flailed her arms to no avail, grasping blindly all around her to see if she could somehow catch a hold of something, ANYTHING to stop her freaking plummet down God knows what. Her screech had faded away into silence because even if she was screaming, or screeching, the unbelievable speed at which she was falling would certainly cut it off.

It was times like these that she really wished she could fly.

The overwhelming white that had thus surrounded her suddenly started to clear away slightly, and squinting through her slit eyes as she continued to fall downwards, she suddenly saw patches of color here and there. Her eyes widened, and ignoring the stings and dryness that now confronted them, she saw herself falling straight into something that looked solid, green, and would most likely be painful if she made impact.

Her flailing increased as she tried to stretch out her body, anything to slow down herself, even if she knew that without somehow having powers over flight or gravity, she'd definitely fall right into whatever it was down there.

She was only 10 feet away from the green stuff that she closed her eyes and started saying her prayers to God to take care of her family and friends, that while she felt it was crappy to die so young it couldn't be helped her, and that no one would ever know what came to be of her, that she had died, splattered over some green crap and flat as a pancake.

The distance between her and the grass, at least by now she was close enough to see that it was grass, shortened faster and faster until she was 3 feet from her messy death.

Jubilee felt herself pause and her hair fell from past her shoulders and downwards, she felt them brush something and she cracked an eye open, and found herself only 12 inches, from the grass. She felt lightheaded, woozy and dizzy all at once, mumbling a silent prayer to God that she hadn't come crashing to her death, she suddenly crashed downwards, albeit her body had been turned so that her entire weight wasn't placed on her head.

Groaning and spitting out a mouthful of grass, she picked up her head and looked around blearily. "Dude...where the hell am I?" she said blandly out loud, more to herself than anyone else.

"Welcome Jubilation Lee to the kingdom Optica," came an overly cheerful voice somewhere behind her. She rolled over, wincing and flinching at the pain coming from various parts of her body and finally pushed herself up. She then proceeded to stare until the shock her body had went through earlier finally got to her, and with her head rolling back, slumped back down on the ground.


When Jubilee woke up the next time, she found herself surrounded by something soft and silky feeling, and her entire body felt extremely light, as if she had shed several layers of skin.

Her sight slightly blurry the first time she opened them, it took her a few minutes to register the object suddenly in front of her field of vision. "Ugh?" was her less than intelligent response when she saw that what it was. A giggle came from the owner of the hand who was holding a glass of something out to her, and Jubilee shifted her still hazy attention to her instead.

A gentle and amused smile appeared on the heart-shaped face and Jubilee felt oddly at peace and relaxed, something told her that whoever this person was, she didn't have to worry about another psycho trying to experiment on her this time. "Drink up, it'll help clear your mind and also make you more alert and awake."

The voice was kind, the voice her mother had, soft and sweet. Jubilee blinked and stared at her blankly for a moment or two before reaching out for the glass. Sipping it slowly, she hoped that it wasn't poisoned or drugged, she'd really have to hate to hurt this nice lady who reminded her of her mother.

A minute or two passed, and the contents of the glass were all gone, and Jubilee was feeling much better, just like the woman had told her. "Uh...thanks. Now could you tell me where the heck I am, and who are you?"

The woman placed a glass on a tray on a desk beside the bed Jubilee was currently residing in and smiled at Jubilee again. "My name is Jez, and you're in the kingdom Optica, you accepted our invitation so you were automatically transported here," her voice turned a shade less chipper and was laced with guilt and remorse. "I'm terribly sorry that the way you were transported was less than friendly to you, which is why the training has been postponed until you have recovered."

Jubilee stared at her, realized her mouth was hanging open making her look like an idiot and immediately shut it. "Whoa...uh, dude, no hard feelings about me almost getting splattered out there, but uh...look, you've got it all wrong here," she tried to explain through the cloud of disbelief forming in her mind.

"I was only reading that...card or whatever out loud, I didn't mean to accept. I'm sorry about causing any problems or anything, but I really didn't mean to accept. Sooo, if you can be the nice lady that you seem you are, could you like...transport me back home or somethin'?"

The Jez's smile faded and sadness entered her features. Her hand went up to her mouth in a perfect replication of an "oh, dear" look and she gave Jubilee a small apologetic smile. "I'm really sorry but I'm afraid that, intentionally or not, when you accepted the invitation you have to stay and train," she spoke softly and she really did seem sorry but Jubilee really could've cared less.

"Lady, I'm sure it ain't that hard to pull me outta this thing, right?" she stated more than asked, and continued right on without waiting for Jez to answer. "I mean, dude, I didn't want to enter this thing, whatever it is,, it's a waste of time and energy to just keep me here. All you gotta do is just send me on my way home, no biggy..." she trailed off, the woman had begun shaking her head sadly and she shrugged helplessly. "I'm sorry Miss Lee, but I'm afraid it isn't just that easy. You HAVE to stay, train and then fight. You could, if you win, return home, but if you DON'T fight, you won't be allowed to return home whatsoever."

Jubilee wondered what kind of hell she had gotten herself into THIS time, and groaned. Life was so unfair to her! Her parents murdered, having to live on her own and depending on herself, then meeting a really cool guy who was like a father to her, only to get shipped off to learn under some Ice Queen, getting treated like some dimwitted little twit, with some Miss Wannabe Perfect always rankling her, Wolvie always going here and there without her, getting kidnapped by Bastion, tortured...and now THIS crap?!

"I'm truly sorry about this...but there really is no other way out of it. You'll start your training tomorrow so I suggest you try and rest up as much as you can tonight," Jez had gotten up as she talked, and was approaching a door that Jubilee hadn't noticed earlier. "I'll see you tomorrow once more in the morning, please try and understand."

The door shut, but not with a click, it was like something out of Star Trek or something, the door just slid shut and Jubilee gaped at the spot where she KNEW the door was but couldn't see anymore because the lines that indicated a door was there had just disappeared!

For the first time she noticed how really Star Trek and futuristic the room she was in looked. There weren't any windows or anything, or any sort of fancy decoration, it was in truth, rather bland and plain. The walls were painted a pale gray, and the sheets that surrounded her were just a shade darker than them.

She slipped out of bed, by now she was completely and fully awake. Walking about her, she examined every inch of the room, taking notice of this and that, like how soft and velvety the carpet she was walking barefooted in was. She stopped in front of what looked like the door that the woman had walked out of earlier, and jumped back nearly a foot when it slid open for her silently.

Her head poked through the door, and instead of seeing someway out, what she saw resembled a bathroom. Albeit one of those sleek, and nicely constructed ones. There wasn't a speck of dust anywhere, and everything was in shades of grays and silver linings everywhere. She approached what seemed to be the shower and slid the clear glass door aside, and stepped in, only to be blasted with a sudden stream of lukewarm water.

She sputtered and tried to find a place to close the stupid thing, but finding nothing except for the showered where the water was coming from, she beat a hasty treat out, and watched with mouth hanging open and dripping wet when the water stopped.

"Okaaaaaaaaay...Star Trek it is then. Water starts when I go in, water stops when I go out. Dude, I've just stepped right into the scene that all Trekky fans must be dying for."

She stood there shivering for what seemed to be a very long time before the heat that was quickly leaving her body caught her attention and she immediately grabbed a towel from off of a rack. "Man, at least they have some normal stuff. Otherwise I'd be completely bugging here..." she muttered, toweling her now shaking body quickly.

She didn't trust for these people to not bug her, she was paranoid most definitely, too much weird crap had happened to her for her to let her guard down. Also not trusting for there to be no cameras in the room, she didn't shuck her clothes for fear of some pervert watching her every move.

Sinking herself in the middle of her bed with towel wrapped around her shoulders, she wished that the one person she wanted to be there with her right now was there.

A light-bulb went off in her head and she slapped her forehead and yelled, "DUH!"

Jubilee focused and tried to gather up her powers, the thing that marked her for eternity as a "mutant". After feeling nothing, not one sensation from her hands, worry set in and she looked at her normal, unchanged hands. "Okay. Note to self, powers aren't popping up which means BAD."

She felt like banging her head into one of the walls around her and groaned, "God, life hates me. Life really does. Just when I need the one thing that has been keeping me alive, it goes hasta la vista on me!"

Jubilee knew that she was in major trouble. She had to be the great idiot she was and accept something she didn't even KNOW she was accepting to, and now even her powers weren't working. She didn't have an inhibitor collar or anything which would cut off her power, at least not that she knew of since her body had seemed untouched, but something was most definitely keeping her from using them.

'Well Lee, looks like the only way to get outta this freakin' remake of Star Trek is to kick some ass and win. One way or another, looks like you'll be learnin' how to get down and dirty the old fashioned way without using your fireworks.' She sighed heavily, knowing that her mental voice was right. Well, at least she wasn't being tortured or anything. Nope, all she was being forced to do was fight and win, or end up staying here, wherever HERE was.


"'s time to wake up Jubilation," came the soothing, gentle voice of her mother. Jubilee groaned, rolled over and let her mother's warm voice roll over her like a wave. "Gimme ten more minutes's too early to wake up..." she mumbled, only half awake when she said it.

A soft laugh brought a sleepy smile to her face, she loved her mother's laugh...

Awareness hit her like a two-by-four and she jerked around to find not her mother, but the woman called Jez from yesterday smiling at her. "I see that you've finally awoken Jubilation."

Jubilee choked the sadness and tears that threatened to break out, she had been transported back to the years when her childhood was pure bliss and her parents still alive. God, this woman reminded her so much like her mother! Even if her mother was Chinese, and this woman was most definitely blonde and blue-eyed.

Jubilee scrubbed at her eyes, a decoy to wipe away the few tears that had sprang to her eyes, and when she drew her hand away from her face, it was neutral and sleepy. "Argh...I'm definitely not a morning person..."

Jez laughed and patted her hand gently. "Here, you can change into these clothes and get ready," she said, handing her a bundle. "I'll wait here for you, and then I'll lead you out the training area."

Jubilee stared at the bundle in her hands blankly and then slowly slid from the bed towards what was the bathroom as she had found out last night. Jez had made herself comfortable in a chair that hadn't been there a moment ago, and she smiled at Jubilee before she was cut off from her sight when the door slid shut.

Sighing, Jubilee prepared not so grudgingly, having already resigned to herself that she wouldn't be able to escape seeing as to how she was definitely not home, and had no idea how to get home without these people. And that meant she had to put up with this crap, for what was it she had read? She had to put up with this for 3 months...

Half an hour later, Jubilee followed Jez outside, clad in a simple outfit that was so light it made her feel she had nothing on, and some soft soled boots that made her walking silent compared to the soft clicks of the Jez's shoes. They passed over a dozen doors that looked like hers, and each door had a small number above it. Jubilee's door number had been 113, and she wondered exactly how many other people had been roped into coming willingly or not into this crazy place.

As if reading her mind, Jez broke what had been a comfortable silence. "There are 150 competitors in this competition, 100 signed up for themselves and are natives to Optica, but the other 50 were invited from other dimensions and worlds as you were, and each has accepted. Your case is the only one which is not an intended acceptation, and we are sorry for it, but as I have explained, there's nothing we can do for you unless you win all of your matches."

Jubilee digested the information silently. They both remained silent right up to the point where Jez finally led her out a clear glass door and out into an open area, the sun's light so bright and fierce it took a few minutes for Jubilee to adjust from artificial light to the real thing.

All around her was open space, and for the first time Jubilee was able to see how the place she resided in looked from the outside. It wasn't all that interesting or impressive, but it would give architectures back home a run for their money from the overall sleek and simple design. She felt a tug on the sleeve of her long shirt and turned to look at Jez questioningly. "This way Jubilation, you had to rest up so you're the last to choose which field you'll be fighting under, and what other 3 minor fields you would like to study."

Jubilee followed her, taking notice of other girls clad in the same outfit as her and thinking that they were probably other contestants, and nearly walked right into Jez when she halted outside of another glass door. Her eyes flickered up for a moment, and she would have tried to read what was written on the sign above the door had it not been for Jez nudging her to follow her inside.

Once inside, Jubilee noted that this place was a lot more active and alive than the building she was in. People dressed in what seemed to be designer clothing, as if each one were models for new clothes, bustled about, some with pencils being chewed on, other with phones, and everything seemed like a normal business place, except that they were all just so...dressed so freaking nice.

Jubilee felt out of place in her all black clothing, so far they were all dressed in various colors except for black. At least they weren't all eyeballing her or something, just going about as if she belonged there was definitely cool with her.

Jez lead her through the polished, sleek desks, and stopped in front of a door. She knocked on it, and Jubilee heard a muffled, "Come in!" come through the door and Jez opened the door, and motioned for her to enter first.

Half expecting something to come leaping out at her, Jubilee warily walked through and stood in front of a large metal desk that was piled over with stacks of paper.

A hand parted through the papers and pushed them aside to reveal the young man behind it. He beamed at her, and before her very eyes, two chairs appeared before Jubilee and he indicated for her to sit down,a s well as Jez.

"Hello Miss Lee, I'm happy to see that despite the problem concerning your acceptation, you've willingly decided to go along with the training and competition," he said cheerfully, pushing up his glasses before finally settling his hands against the desk folded. Jubilee sat still and silently in her chair, studying the young man. If her friends had been there, they all would've fainted that she was being so still and respectful, instead of squirming and making sarcastic remarks. That is, with the exception of Remy and Wolvie who knew there more to her than just that.

"Well, since it seems that you're ready to continue your training, I'd just like you to fill out this form right here and..."


It had only taken an hour for things to settle, and Jubilee was soon on her way to her very first training session. She couldn't have been less enthusiastic.

The training grounds was already full of girls, and Jubilee watched with distant interest as they kicked, punched, rolled, ducked and exchanged blows with one another. A man and woman, both whom looked to be in their thirties, seemed to be the instructors since they mainly stood around and watched over the activities.

Jez waved at the two, and they waved back. The man jogged over while the woman remained in her spot, keeping a watchful eye on the girls.

"Hey Jez," he said amiably before stopping in front of them. "Hey Mikal, I'd like to introduce you to Jubilation Lee." Mikal offered his hand to Jubilee and she took it. His grip with strong and warm, and he gave her a smile which she returned politely. "Pleased to meet you Jubilation, and I'm glad that you'll be training under me and Silke over there," he said, jerking his thumb over his shoulder.

Jubilee nodded absently. Jez and Mikal exchanged pleasantries while Jubilee spaced out, it was only when Jez started moving that Jubilee finally snapped out of it. "Okay Jubilation, why don't we just give you a trial run and see where you're at? And give it everything you've got, we wouldn't want you to start training where you've already passed."

She blinked and shrugged, trotting to keep up with Mikal's long strides, she felt adrenaline pump through her body as she prepared for the "trial run".

Most of the fighting and training stopped when Jubilee was led by Mikal into an empty clearing. He grinned at her, patted her on the shoulder and told her that she was going to go up against some test dummies and for her to give it her all. Jubilee smiled back at him, making sure she kept her confidence in check, she didn't want to be too cocky, no matter the time she had put into those "trips" with Wolvie and Remy back home.

The dummies, much to her surprise, were human in nearly every way, from skin tones to the slight rise and fall of their chests that indicated breathing, and if Mikal hadn't told her she'd be going up against "dummies", she would've just assumed she was going up against real live people.

They circled around her, successfully keeping her in the middle. She was oddly reminded of the way Wolvie moved, silently, intensely they watched her as she watched them. Their languid graceful steps also reminded her of Remy, the elegant Cajun whom she had spent some time with a few years ago when...Wolvie had taken off again.

Both had taught her one thing though, one thing they both drilled into her "training". And that was, the real way to anticipate an opponent's move was not only body language, by that slight brush of wind that came with an attack,!

Her hand shot out to intercept the blow coming from behind, an elbow backwards from her free arm, and a simple twist of her wrist succeeded in throwing dummy number one over her shoulder, and landing on the ground, blowing up a cloud of dust. Another dummy sought to attack her while she was momentarily distracted by the dust, but Jubilee saw it coming a mile away.

A feral grin danced on her lips, reminiscent of her old wild friend, and she gracefully turned on the balls of her feet and dropped down, sweeping her leg swiftly across the ground, the dummy dropped like a ton.

One by one they attacked her, in various ways, in various styles. Each blow landed by her, each hit that struck home made the old times reappear before her eyes, and one by one they dropped like flies, until finally they stopped getting back up to attack. Jubilee stood in the middle, once more surrounded by dummies, except this time they were all laying on the ground and battered. She on the other hand, had only broke out in a light sheen of sweat, not even breathing heavily.

She would've made either Wolvie or Remy proud.

A hand clasped her shoulder and she looked up at Mikal, his grin flashed white in his deep tan and she smiled back, the rush of the fight still with her. Almost without thinking about it, she looked past him, past the girls who were all standing around and gaping at her in awe, others in envy. Behind all of them, what could have only been 100 yards away, a lone figure stood. At first she thought it was another girl because the person had long, long hair, longer than hers even, but there was something distinctly male about the person.

Before she could even ask or wonder who it was, the person just disappeared. Jubilee's brow rose as she stared incredulously at the spot. Could the people here possess powers like mutants? Or...was she just seeing things?

She shrugged and turned her attention back to Mikal, he was busy babbling about how impressive her skills were and this and that and Jubilee instantly blocked him out, barely stifling a yawn. If he was impressed by THAT little bit, then he hadn't seen anything YET.


For Jubilee, the time she trained was little more than just keeping her muscles and skills in shape and not rusty. She was a natural, and Mikal and Silke didn't have much to offer, both were pale teachers in comparison to Remy or Wolvie, but they tried to keep up with her. She wasn't cocky though, she wasn't displaying everything she knew for the whole world to show, after all, one shouldn't reveal all of her secrets and knowledge when her opponents were training RIGHT beside her.

Days, weeks, and finally months passed since the time she had first came there. Every night she dreamed about home, about an open road with only her and Wolvie...was she home sick? Heck yeah.

As much as she liked the futuristic kingdom (she was still bugging out over why they just didn't call it a CITY) of Optica, she really missed everyone back home. She wondered every day when they were doing, if they were looking for her, if they were wondering where she had suddenly disappeared off too...if they thought maybe she had been kidnapped for the umpteenth time by some enemy.

Of course she didn't know what they were doing, so she had to content herself with her dreams, and on occasion, nightmares of her friends just thinking she was dead and had stopped looking for her. She really didn't like those nightmares.

Jubilee would have mulled over her thoughts if it hadn't been for the jab in her side from Sae, a girl she had met somewhere towards the beginning of the second month she was there and had befriended, trying to get her attention. She jerked her gaze to Sae and gave her a "wassup?" look. Sae grinned and waggled her eyebrows and sort of jerked her head once far off to the right. Jubilee took the hint and let her eyes travel along the many faces until she spotted someone who looked vaguely familiar.

"Hey, that's the dude I saw on the first day of training," she somewhat muttered to herself. Sae overheard and grinned. "Man, he's looking right AT you Jubilee! And from what we've all seen here, you've got a helluva good chance winning the competition and marrying Prince Draco! Girl, you are SO freaking lucky!!!"

Jubilee felt as if she'd been slapped in the face. "Whoa, hold up the choo choo train right there. What da heck do you MEAN I've got a good chance marrying Prince Drag or whatever?!" she demanded of the native Optican.

Sae chortled, and began guffawing when it was very obvious Jubilee had no clue what she was talking about. "Hee hee...don't tell me you didn't know that this was what the competition was all about! The winner gets to be married into the royal line, and it's Prince DRACO not Drag," she finished reciting before collapsing into a fit of giggles and snickers.

Jubilee glared bloody murder at her, and swore under her breath. Jez had never told her about this! All she thought was this was a stupid competition to show off skills and blah blah! Not a competition to fight over a DUDE, much less a dude you had to MARRY!

Sae punched her playfully in the arm. "Stop worrying about it Jubes, you know you'll win without any probs! Uh...just watch out for Liza, 'kay? Known her all my life and she's a major bitch to go up against. I'd rather have YOU win out of anyone since...well, from what you've told me, you have a lot to lose if you don't." Sae's short, spiky blonde haired head bobbed up and down, a cross between a scowl and a sad smile crossing over her elf-like features.

She smiled in thanks at Sae before groaning inwardly. She had heard and seen Liza before. Taller than Jubilee by about 5 inches, slim and always scowling, making her otherwise pretty features twist into something you wouldn't want to mess with. Jubilee had steered clear of her ever since she saw Liza nearly put another girl out of the competition, she had almost been disqualified by it, but for some reason, she wasn't.

She didn't want to seem like a show off or anything, but Jubilee knew that a majority of the girls in the competition weren't that much of a problem, some may take a few more blows before going down than others, but she could handle them. Sae was right though, Liza was the one Jubilee had to worry about...

She let her unblinking gaze settle on Prince Drake, Drag, Draco, or whatever, and felt determination flow into her. She'd just have to make it clear that she didn't CARE about marrying some prince, and that no one, NO ONE, was going to stop her from getting home. Even if it meant that she had to go all out and not hold back.

"Yoo hoo? Jubes? Let's not go off into la la land yet!" Sae was waving a hand in front of her eyes wildly. Jubilee stuck her tongue out at her, making her friend laugh. "Yeah, yeah, just stop flapping that hand o' yours like a chicken Sae...geeze...all I wanted was to get my ass back at home sweet home, but now I find out that this stupid competition is all for the prince to get hitched."

A sad look came across Sae's face and she wondered what she had said to make her friend look like that. "Marrying Prince Draco means a lot to most of the girls means...well, it's not that we're all POOR or anything like that, but still...I mean...well, since you're nothing like most of us here who've joined the competition to try and marry the prince, you wouldn't really be able to understand WHY it matters to us..." Sae trailed off, sighed and then shrugged. Jubilee felt somewhat lost by what Sae had said, but she didn't poke fun at Sae or anything, as most of her friends back home might have figured she would.

Jubilee wished that the third month would end already so she could get out of there...maybe she could...ah...convince the king and queen that't interested in marrying this prince dude, and that the second best fighter (she had BETTER be the first so she could get her tail outta here) should be the one to marry this guy? Jubilee snorted. This was positively priceless! Hey...wasn't it the GUYS fighting over the PRINCESS in fairy tales?

Sighing, she rolled her eyes heavenwards, and prayed for strength. She needed all she could get to get OUT of this wacky place...


Drool dribbled down the corner of her open mouth and not even semiconsciously awake, Jubilee brought her hand up to wipe it away before turning over once more. Soft sounds that sounded a mixture of snoring, growling and purring all rolled in one emitted from the back of her throat, and the purring increased when the annoying strand of hair tickling her nose was gently removed and tucked behind her ear.

Before even aware of what the heck she was doing, Jubilee's hand shot out to catch the hand that had tucked away her hair and caught not a hand but...air.

Now fully awake, she looked around her room warily, back stiff and the hair on the nape of her neck standing on its ends. Her senses were screaming at her that someone had been in the room, but there was NOTHING to back them up. Fighting down the fear that was crawling up and down along her spine, she flopped back down on her bed, but remained awake for several more hours.

Jubilee was still awake when the door to her room suddenly appeared and opened without a sound, and in stepped Jez. Jez smiled at her, the clicking sounds of her boots disappearing in the lush carpet as she strode towards the sleepless and cranky Jubilee. Waking up in the middle of the night, losing her sleep, and then NOT sleeping for nearly 5 hours could do that to a gal, and since Jubilee was most definitely not a morning person, she was crankier than usual.

She grumbled incoherently at Jez, mumbling something that resembled a "good morning" except in an unidentifiable language, she eyed the bundle of clothes in Jez's hand. The last time Jez had come with a bundle, it had been clothes for practice, and since it was nearing the beginning of the FOURTH month since she had been in Optica, she knew the clothes had to be for the competition.

"Well, I guess you didn't get that much sleep last night, what with all the excitement of the start of the competitions," she said smiling as always. "I've just wanted to tell you that I've seen your practice, and I know you'll do fine in the fights! I've brought you a new change of clothes for the competitions, since I know you must be sick and tired of looking like everyone else, and I really hope you like them."

Jubilee took the bundle, which was somewhat heavier than the clothes Jez had given her before, and finally managed a small smile that conveyed her thanks.

The clothes weren't really a "perfect fit", more like just slightly baggy here and there, and tight in other places. She turned this way and that, examining herself in the full-length mirror of the bathroom. She suddenly broke into an all-out REAL smile, and giggled to herself. "Heh, looks like Wolvie ain't the only one who can look kickass in black leather! The Matrix clothes designers ain't got nothing on me! Watch out ladies, here comes the Jubemeister decked and ready to ROCK YOUR WORLD!!!" Her grin turned feral and all she really needed to complete the image was some adamantium claws popping out of her knuckles and she was set. "Like 'father', like 'daughter'."

Jez beamed at her happily when Jubilee had finally dragged herself away from the mirror and emerged from the bathroom with a confidant stride to her gait. "Dude, thanks a ton Jez! These duds are just KICKIN'!"

Jez laughed and hugged Jubilee before letting her go to take a look at her. "You look wonderful Jubilee! You remind me so much of my own daughter..." she trailed off, a distant look in her eyes. Jubilee studied the taller and older woman with something akin to sympathy and understanding.

Jez pulled herself out of her reverie and smiled at Jubilee. "I really do hope you win would make ANY mother proud."

Jubilee smiled back, not letting the pain show that she wished her own mother was still alive to tell her those words...'Cut the melancholy 'tude Lee, it's time to kick some butt and get your hind back home!'

Jubilee felt her already determined attitude to win grow, and she nodded at Jez for her to lead Jubilee to where she was supposed to go.


It didn't take long for Jubilee to know that something was wrong. There was just that atmosphere of something bad that literally tainted the air with its heavy presence. She shot Jez a look, and she in return gave her a worried and clueless look. It seemed Jez could feel it too, but had no idea what the heck was wrong.

Silke suddenly appeared through the clumps and groups of girls that filled up the grounds, a grim and weary look on her face. "The rules of the fights have been changed Jez," she began in a tired voice. "The king and queen have decided to have the girls do a sort of "race" to the finish instead. No fighting one-on-one."

Jez drew in a heavy sigh and mumbled under her breath, too soft for Jubilee to pick up. "Well, have the competitors been notified yet?" Silke nodded. "Well then, I guess there's nothing to be done except to follow their wishes. Do you know what the rules are for this?"

Before Silke could reply, a voice boomed throughout the area and everyone fell silent. "Attention competitors! As you may all know, King Qu and Queen Fina have decided to change the rules and object of the fights a bit. Competitors are to go through levels as the previous fights were to be arranged, but instead of fighting one-on-one and thus moving forward, fighters are to race as fast as they can to the next level, the first person to reach the last level and pass wins!" Jubilee rolled her eyes. Sheesh, what was UP with these people and their crazy ideas? "Remember though, that to be able to reach the next level, you must not only defeat the opponents already set up in the levels, but you must also overcome the other fighters in the competition! Good luck to all of you!"

Jubilee frowned slightly, wondering exactly how far one could go to "defeat and overcome" their opponents? She wasn't entirely sure, but she really didn't like the way that gave an up to...less friendly and "safe" ways to move on.

She felt that same annoying and freaky feeling that someone was watching her, but instead of it being the prince as it usually was, she found herself staring back into the cold, hard eyes of a girl she identified as Liza. And like Jubilee and the other competitors, she was decked out in a completely new outfit, one that would have made Jubilee grin and wonder if she and Frosty went shopping together at the same store.

Liza sneered at her, obviously she found Jubilee the only one worthy of her worry and disgust, as Jubilee had observed, Liza thought of herself "above" the other girls. And honestly, Jubilee had to agree. The girl was VICIOUS and deadly in her attacks, which was why she rarely trained with any of the other competitors, but with dummies instead, and those dummies were definitely destroyed after going up against her.

Jubilee gave herself a mental shake. She could handle least she better had, because that girl didn't seem to like her much.

Liza's icy and unblinking gaze was suddenly cut off when a familiar spiky-haired blonde with dancing green eyes appeared before her, grin big enough to split her slender face. "Hey Jubes! I LOVE your outfit! and stylish!" Sae laughed and her grin grew.

Jubilee grinned back at her. Even if Sae was supposed to be her opponent, and even Sae really DID want to win, she knew that she and the other girl were friends over the time they had known each other. Sae had even gone all out to make room for her when lunch and dinner rolled around, and introduced her to a majority of the native girls in the competition. Everyone liked the charming, somewhat crazy in a good way, girl, and Jubilee as well.

"Your outfit is rockin' too Sae, green looks good on ya, especially since you have green colored eyes!" Sae batted her eyelashes and then laughed out loud, earning several annoyed looks by a few of the girls nearby who were more than just a bit nervous.

"Well, just wanted to stop by and wish you good luck! I really wish they hadn't changed the fights, but whatever. As long as I get to kick some ass out there then it's all good!"

Jubilee giggled, somehow, Sae always knew just how to make the competition between them seem more like a friendly allying up instead of a fighting against each other kind of thing. She really wished she could introduce her to Wolvie, knowing that he would definitely like her devilish attitude and carefree spirit.

Wishing Sae the best of luck as well, knowing that she really didn't want to go up against Sae, but had to if it came to that, there really wouldn't be a way out of it, right? At least Sae was understanding...

Sighing, she focused inwardly on the competition instead, and brought her attention up to the building where it seemed the race would take place. It didn't seem big or anything, it looked pretty small in fact...but she wouldn't know until she was inside.

The girls who were in front of Jubilee suddenly started moving forward, and because she was so short compared to most of the girls in front, Jubilee had to look between the bodies to see that the doors of the building had been opened and they were being moved inward.

They all piled in, Sae somehow separating from her in the crowd, and from what little Jubilee could make out, it was just a plain, empty level. Without warning, the lights that had been on suddenly flickered off and they were blanketed in darkness. Jubilee's senses immediately came into action, her heart had begun pounding a little louder, and the strange thing was that Jubilee felt NO ONE around her. Her eyes had just adjusted to the dark when a dim light illuminated everything around her.

It was a lot like being in the Danger Room where a holographic scenery had flickered to life, because now, Jubilee was completely alone in the middle of what looked like a jungle. She snorted silently to herself. What was it with starting things off with danger in jungles? It was such a horrible cliché that something bad was going to happen when you're stranded in an exotic jungle.

She smile slightly when she heard the wild call of a bird. At least they were getting everything right, from the atmosphere to the smallest sounds of some insect chirping.

A slight shift in the tall, green earth grass some 50 yards to her left caught her eye and she stiffened slightly before forcing her body to relax. She didn't want to alert her attacker that she knew she was going to be attacked...yet.

Before she was tackled by a blur of dark colors, she had simply flipped backwards slightly, landing with her feet apart and fists slightly curled. She grinned when the attacker merely vanished into the grass and trees, it was only a matter of minutes before he or she came back out again.

Jubilee so far was enjoying the hide and seek game, but it suddenly came to her that she was definitely killing and wasting time by playing along. If she didn't know any better, she'd say that the attacker wasn't really ATTACKING, but trying to string her along so she'd stay in the same place!

Cursing under her breath, she decided to end the game right then and there by facing the attack full on instead of ducking or sidestepping. Her assailant seemed mildly surprised that she was finally facing it, but it quickly brought something sharp and shiny that glinted in the dime light that came through the branches of the overhead trees.

Her eyes widened, and anger quickly boiled within her before a wave of calm and control settled over her. Well, they hadn't said anything about the dummies or whatever in the levels not having weapons. This was going to make her task a lot harder...

The knife was speedily entering her field of vision and before it got too close for comfort, Jubilee ducked slightly and grabbed the wrist holding the knife like a striking snake. She grinned as adrenaline pumped through her once more, and squeezing a pressure point in the wrist, the knife neatly dropped onto the ground. A swift kick almost too fast to follow was delivered, and she chuckled, blocking the kick with her arm, she delivered a kick of her own that successfully made the attacker fall to its knees.

Hoping that the programmers had made the dummies as human as possible, she delivered a jab near the neck easily, and just as if it was a real human, it slumped over. The blow was not to kill it, just make it unconscious for a few hours. She quickly released the hand, already moving on her way.


She had only gone just a few feet away from where she had started when she saw a few girls lying unconscious on the ground, and more of those dummies like the one had attacked her here and there. Her brow rose slightly, and she wondered briefly if she was far behind everyone else.

She didn't have much time to think about that when she suddenly crossed paths with another competitor. The girl seemed to recognize her, probably from training sessions, and she gulped before attacking Jubilee without saying a word. Jubilee blocked the fist coming towards her face, and quickly blocked the blow towards her abdomen. She smiled kindly at the girl before delivering a knee to the girl's own abdomens since both of her arms were busy being trapped by Jubilee's, and she groaned as she fell to her knees.

As Jubilee had done to take out the dummy, she jabbed the girl near the neck and she too slumped down. Jubilee wondered briefly if all of the fights were going to be this easy, when she was suddenly hit from behind.

'Cocky...too damn cocky Lee,' she sneered in disappointment at herself silently. Rolling over before she received a kick to the head, she leaped back to her feet and glared at the girl who stood facing her, a smirk on her face. "You may be good, but you're not GREAT," the girl sneered.

Jubilee, if she had the time, would've gave herself a mental bashing because the girl was right in a way, she was good most definitely, but because she had let her cockiness get to her, she had let this girl actually land a blow. Wolvie would be howling if he had been there.

Gritting her teeth, she blocked blow after blow being swung at her from the girl. She hated defense, and it was time she got rid of this damn chick before she let her anger get the best of her. Soon it was the girl being driven back, being made to block blow after blow as Jubilee unleashed a bit of her strength, knowing that she needed the energy later. The girl seemed startled when she was actually hit hard in the arm, and glared at Jubilee when another vicious punch connected with her shoulder.

One high kick to her side and she was losing more ground, another high kick to her other side and Jubilee knew it was almost over and trying to control the last kick to the girl's face to be as painless as possible, she went down.

The girl, Jubilee had to give her credit, had managed to work Jubilee out into a light breakout of sweat, and she was even breathing heavily slightly.

She smirked at the girl. "Never underestimate your opponent. That's something I definitely learned, girly. Adios!" she called as she trotted off through the thick undergrowth, not noticing a pair of eyes watching her as she disappeared behind the tangled vines from dropping trees and high grass.


Jubilee was sweating from the humid tropical atmosphere before she had even walked half a mile. She wiped the sweat away, not daring to let it drip into her eyes lest she suddenly miss a change in surroundings that indicated an attack. She was starting to really hate this, she had no idea where the exit to the next level was, she had no idea if she was ahead, behind or in the middle, and she hadn't seen a living thing for nearly 15 minutes! Not as if she really knew how much time had really passed though.

She sighed, swiped her forehead for the hundredth time with her sleeve, and made her way through the growth swiftly and silently. If she was behind a lot of the other competitors, she was in no way going to get a chance to return home...god...she wanted to go home, BADLY.

Just as her angst and homesickness was catching up with her, the growth and tall trees suddenly broke through and she blinked, stopped, and gazed about herself.

She was expecting to go up, but instead, it seemed she was just going forward...she looked behind her, expecting to see some line of exotic trees to indicate the jungle she had just emerged from and gaped. All she saw was a wet, brick wall with graffiti on it, precisely the same surrounding as she was currently facing.

Apparently the people of Optica loved their holographs or whatever the hell the things she was going through were. Sighing, she gingerly sidestepped a pile of something dark brown and gooey on the dirty cement ground, and made her way out of what seemed to be a small alleyway.

As soon as she had stepped out, she wasn't greeted with the busy, smoggy and active life of any city she had been too, but just streets empty of any other life except for the occasional sick and skinny trees, patches of gray in the cloud which partially hid the sun, and empty, parked old cars.

It wasn't home, but it was close to it. She walked slowly down a nameless street, not really knowing if she was going in the right direction. She had just passed a peeling fire hydrant when she felt the presence of someone else. She slowed down, walking slower and slower until she came to a stop.

Far in the back corners of her eye, she saw something move and immediately turned to focus on it. Almost in synchrony, she felt a fist whiz right past her face, split seconds of just where her head had been before. Taking the opportunity of the person still in their attack, she grabbed the arm and with more strength than it seemed was able to come from such a slender and short girl like her, she hefted the person up and over her shoulder.

The body impacted with the ground with a sickening thud, and she grinned, knowing that her sudden defense probably surprised the person.

Her eyes went huge when she felt her the arm she was using to hold onto the person's arm being clasped with an iron grip and her own body was hefted into the air and she found herself falling downwards.

Without thinking, she started to curl herself into a loose ball, and though the impact of her body with the pavement momentarily stunned her, she took the momentum of her slightly rolling body and decided to do another lift. Grinning impishly, she quickly brought up her legs just when the body started going over and gave the stomach a hardly gentle push and thrust, making it lose its grip on her arm and fly over some distance away.

Bits of trash flew out from under it, and she got up slowly, breathing somewhat heavy and she nudged it with the steel-toe of her boot and was satisfied when it uttered a small groan and then nothing.

Satisfied that it wasn't going to jump up and suddenly attack her, she continued on her way, slightly feeling herself for any bruises, she winced when she found on on the lower portion of her back, where there was more flesh than muscle. Sighing, she knew that so far things had gone smoothly for her, and she had come out lightly in a majority of the fights.

In the pit of her stomach, she knew that good things didn't last for long, and something definitely bad was going to happen. She just didn't know when...


Two levels later, Jubilee was getting more and more tired of having to walk aimlessly around and beating the crud out of over a dozen people. She had nearly gotten lost in the second level, taking a wrong turn at some stoplight where the light was busted up, and it was only because she had wasted a helluva long time wandering around did she finally find herself in another level.

The third level had been fashioned after something like a deserted beach, sparkling water stretching out behind her, as if she had just emerged from the deep ocean herself, it was a nice change from the stinky and otherwise boring city scene. There had been a jungle on the third level, only it was a lot less dark and dense, more air with tons of light.

One thing she hadn't liked about it though, was that because since she had been caught up in the light, sweet smells and the freedom she had felt, she had been nearly taken down not only once or twice, but FIVE times. Talk about NOT learning from your mistakes.

The current level she was in, as a huge change from the airy, and refreshing environment of the beach and jungle. She now found herself in a dry desert that stretched out all around her endlessly. Dust began to swirl on her right, and she watched in bland fascination as it slowly turned into a mini tornado, pretty much harmless.

Kicking up a cloud of dust with her boot, she trudged on. She got the feeling that in this sort of scenery, it was hard to do a sneak attack when there was NOTHING to hide behind. Which not only meant if anyone tried to attack her would be visible, but her as well. Not really a lose or win situation she had to admit to herself.

Everything was so flat and dry and...uninteresting that when she tripped and fell forwards, she was more than a little surprised to say the least.

"The hell..." she muttered in annoyance. Arching her head back, she saw a very familiar green-clad body that was covered with dust. Her eyes nearly bugged out, and cold fear settled in when she saw that the dark green was splattered with blood. And since she couldn't really SEE anyone else there, she could only assume that the blood belonged to Sae.

"Holy shit Sae! What in the hell happened to you!" Without waiting for an answer, since it didn't seem Sae was going to give on in the first place, Jubilee scooted over to her friend and the cold fear grew within her.

She touched Sae's face, a line of dried blood stretched from the corner of her mouth and down onto her chin and wiped it away gently. "Sae? You okay girl? What happened?" she whispered to the not responding girl.

Without warning Sae jerked and she began gasping for air wildly. Her eyes wide and full of anger and pain settled onto Jubilee's stunned face and she clung to Jubilee for dear life. "Jubilee...god Jubilee...I thought I was DEAD!" she coughed harshly into Jubilee's ear. Jubilee didn't know what to do so she just kneeled there, letting Sae cling to her.

"Sae? What the heck happened?" Sae gazed into her face, and she squirmed uncomfortably at her friend's unwavering look. "Uh..." was all she got out before Sae began whispering. "This makes it seem as if you're all alone because of the way it's been set. But I found out...I found out that it's program is only to make it seem that way, like an illusion. Competitors are all over the place, and you could be walking right next to one without even knowing it, or being able to tell," she coughed again, and thankfully blood didn't start showing up when she did.

"I was attacked...I didn't know it, I didn't expect it because I thought I was ALONE. But she came flying out of nowhere and tackled me down. We fought, but I'm not as good as her...and Jubilee! She's broken one of the rules! She had a weapon...I don't know what it was, a knife, a dagger or a sword, but she struck me down with it and left..."

Jubilee watched her friend's face flicker with pain and anger. Anger of her own began to boil up, but she pushed it down, knowing that it wasn't really helpful for her to get angry too. Throughout Sae's explanation, she had not once said who "she" was, but Jubilee had a hunch that she knew who it was. Liza.

"It was Liza wasn't it?" she asked, voice emotionless but her anger was obvious. Sae winced at the name and nodded. "Look Jubilee, I don't really know WHY she attacked but I think...I think she was trying to--" Jubilee cut her off with just one look. "It's okay Sae. I think I know what the hell she was trying to say...and know what? When I catch up with her, she'll get her wish."

Sae shivered at the tone Jubilee used. She had known her friend was someone you wouldn't want to mess with, and from what Jubilee had told her about her friends back home, she probably resembled that guy she was always talking about called Wolvie. Somehow, she didn't doubt the fact that Jubilee would lose at all. She just hoped her friend wouldn't get hurt.

"Jubilee? I think you better get going've already wasted enough time with me." Jubilee seemed as if she wanted to protest, her mouth opening before shutting again. She nodded and sighed. "Will you be okay Sae?" Sae nodded and smiled, regret showing that she was going to miss not being able to fight. She could have gone on and fought, but knew that there'd be no way she'd last for very long with that cheap shot Liza had given her, or that she'd win. It'd probably be best if she just waited...maybe there were cameras set up and she'd get picked up.

Jubilee stood slowly, feeling somewhat guilty about leaving her friend there alone, and dusted off her clothes. She still had a competition to finish though, and one particular ass to kick.


Jubilee had dropped the bored and easygoing attitude as she went through the next level. She had killed a lot of time already. She had let the only real danger to her winning and getting back home get ahead of her, and who knew, she might actually be levels ahead of her...

"Well, well, if it isn't Jubilation. So nice of you to finally catch up with me, I had been SO afraid that I'd past the last level without first getting the chance to see how fast it takes me to make you fall, just like your friend," the voice faded into laughter and Jubilee's eyes narrowed to slits.

Liza. So this meant that this level was the last one? She wondered briefly just how Liza actually KNEW this was the last level, but figured that if she beat Liza and move on, she'd know.

A figure slowly appeared in the thick mist that covered the entire place, and Jubilee tensed up, preparing for some attack. It never came, instead, Liza stood there smiling at her without humor, her coal-colored eyes glittering a hard and brittle way. "Why don't we cut the chit chat and get down to business. I've got a bone to pick with you for hurtin' Sae."

Liza laughed, and it echoed back. "Oh please, it was only because that idiot was a poor fighter that my attack came as a surprise. I hope that you give me more of a fight than she did, otherwise I'll be sorely disappointed," she grinned maliciously.

A corner of Jubilee's mouth rose in a semi-snarl. "Sure thing, it'll be FUN for me to kick your sorry bitchy ass." Liza stopped laughing and smiled at her coldly. "Well then, why don't you just TRY, ne?"

Jubilee barely moved in time to getting sliced in half, but a bit of hair drifted from her shoulder and disappeared down on the ground covered by mist and Jubilee stared slightly. 'Shit. This girl moves fast, almost as fast as Wolvie...better watch my step or it won't be my hair being cut off,' she thought to herself.

"Surprised? I thought you'd be. Never underestimate me again or you--" she was cut off, a fist to her midsection victoriously halting her imperial voice. Jubilee stood over her, a smirk on her face. "What was that? Don't ever underestimate me Liza."

Liza growled and slashed at the air where Jubilee had been standing. Jubilee rose from her back-flip and smiled at Liza, and the real fight began.

The two exchanged blows, Liza used her speed and the sword she had probably taken from a dummy to her best advantages, keeping Jubilee on the defense and having to dodge and block. When she had rolled away from yet another slash at her own midsection, Jubilee found herself standing up and breathing heavily, sweat matting her shirt to her body like a second skin. Liza was trying to tire her out, not letting her get in a blow, and always retreating.

Liza could tell Jubilee was tiring, and while she was tired as well, victory was so near she could taste it, and she couldn't give up what she had just started. She smiled at Jubilee, already feeling that she was going to be the one walking away from this fight.

"Give it up Jubilation, you'll never win against me. All that time acting so cool and mighty in the training areas was just you using a mask to feel everybody. You can't beat me. You WON'T beat me."

Jubilee suddenly felt slightly dizzy, her guard dropped slightly as the buzz in her head grew, and Liza seeing this, immediately delivered a backhand to her face. Jubilee dropped to the ground like a stone, groaning from both the blow and the buzz increasing in volume inside her head.

She looked up dizzily, confusion entering when Liza wavered in her eyes and was replaced by another familiar face. Bastion.

She gasped and jerked involuntarily, as if she had been slapped. What was Bastion doing here? How the hell had he found her?! She closed her eyes in pain as memories assaulted her. Bastion kidnapping her. Bastion strapping her to a long cold table, metal cuffs snapping tightly over her wrists, her ankles, and being strapped so tightly against the hard metal table she could barely breathe.

She remembered that device he had forced down around her head, she remembered his cold hands traveling all over her body, cold, cold, so cold...

Liza studied the girl in bewilderment. She seemed to be in pain, and while Liza knew that the blow to her head had been hard, she didn't think it was THAT hard because she had seen the girl take harsher blows. Her jaw tightened, as did her grip on the sword. She was trying to trick her, trying to get Liza to let HER guard drop and then she'd strike. Well, she wasn't going to let this stupid little trick fool her. She kicked Jubilee in the side, causing another groan of pain to come from the prone girl.

Jubilee didn't see Liza kick her though, she only saw Bastion with something sharp in his hands, watched in horror as he slowly brought I against her side, and then burying it deep. She screamed, her tortured cries filling the scope of her mind and the surrounding around her and Liza.

Liza stepped back unconsciously, wary of Jubilee's pain filled cries as they howled in her ears almost hauntingly. She didn't know what Jubilee was up to, but she had better shut up because Liza didn't like it.

Forcing herself to step near Jubilee once more, she let the knowledge of her close victory wash away the tiny seed of fear and doubt. Standing over Jubilee, she whispered a final farewell. "Nighty night Jubilation. It was fun beating you up."

Jubilee heard Bastion whisper softly in hear ear, crooning as he dug the knife deeper in her side. Tears of pain welled up in her eyes and she sobbed as he caressed her face with a free hand, cupping her chin between his fingers, she felt his mouth near hers, getting closer and closer...

Something broke inside of her, and a flood of power and strength filled her limbs and with a ferocious cry, she let out a wild scream and strained against her bonds. One by one they snapped, breaking free, she kicked him in the side, relishing the surprise and fear in his eyes.

"Don't. Ever. Touch. Me. AGAIN!" she screamed at him, the pain in her side, in her body and mind fueling the anger in her voice. She stood slowly, gazing down at Bastion's terrified face she laughed harshly. "Thought you could beat me, huh? Think again asshole."

Liza gazed up into Jubilee's twisted face, eyes wide with fear her grip on the sword had loosened and it fell from her fingertips, disappearing in the mist. The last thing she saw was Jubilee's tear streaked face, a cruel smile playing on the other girl's lips, and the fist suddenly coming into view.


Light tickled her eyelids gently, seeking a way to fill her eyes. Jubilee muttered, and shifted, but still the light followed her, wrapping its slender fingers around her. Groaning in protest, her eyes opened against her wishes, and she rolled over once, and with a surprised yelp, found herself on the ground.

Kicking the tangled sheets away from her body, she stood up grumpily, casting evil glares at the bed and the window where sunlight streamed through, she paused, turned and stared.

"Who the HELL are YOU?!" she demanded more than asked.

Well, it was a slightly stupid question since she KNEW who the person was, but still, it just felt right to ask. A smile touched the perfect lips, and the catlike eyes gazed at her silently.

Before she could open her mouth and say something, Jez and Sae suddenly burst through the door which barely slid open in time for them to bustle in and gather around her. Soon Jubilee found herself amidst the worried, angry, happy, and tearful embraces of her two friends, both of whom were talking a mile a minute enough for twenty people. Feeling smothered, and blushing slightly at all the attention, she waved her arms wildly around her, demanding space to breathe. "Dude, okay, look, let's not try and invade that little thing call 'personal space' here, okay? As much as I'm lovin' all the love, I don't think I want to die from lack of air today."

Sae and Jez laughed, and as if they hadn't heard her, smothered her in a group bear hug. Jubilee squeaked indignantly, but was really happy to see that Sae and Jez were so happy to see her. Now, the question was, what the heck had happened?

"Damn Jubes, I thought you were a gonner! I was taken outside, and I was just gettin' all patched up when they suddenly burst outta the building with you and Liza and you were all stoned out and bloody and battered and..." Sae trailed off, glaring at Jubilee who was laughing hard enough to split her sides.

"And WHAT, might I ask, is so FUNNY? You looked like you were dead! I was scared half to death and worried and Jez here nearly had a stroke when you--" Jubilee cut her off, waving a hand in front of Sae's face and still laughing. "Dude, haha, Sae, you, haha, man, heh, you should listen to yourself! Haha, you're like, that chick from Blossom or something! Haha!"

Jubilee snorted, and continued laughing. Sae finally smiled, although having no clue who "that chick from Blossom" was, she was happy to see that Jubilee hadn't come out all hard and serious faced. "Okay, I forgive ya for laughing, I'm just glad you're okay."

Jubilee smiled at her friend, squeezed her hand and nodded. She suddenly remembered about Jez, and smiled apologetically at the older woman for ignoring her. Jez just smiled at her, and hugged her hard. 'So much like mom...god...I miss you so much mom...' Jubilee hugged Jez back, choking again on the tears and sadness.

Over Jez's shoulder, she saw the figure in the chair rise silently, golden eyes met her own blue ones, and she felt a warmth surround her that didn't just come from Jez.

Just as she was about to point him out to Sae and Jez, both whom seemed oblivious to his VERY obvious presence, Jez suddenly released her and began dragging her out of the room.

Surprised by the sudden shift, Jubilee stumbled along with Sae trotting to keep up with them. "Yo, whoa, what up Jez! Where the heck are ya taking me?"

Jez turned slightly, and she caught the impish grin on her face, but that was all Jez gave her as all three walked, turning nearly a dozen times and going through so many similar looking hallways, Jubilee gave up trying to remember what they passed, where they turned, and instead focused on keeping up with Jez.

Finally they went through a large door, which surprised Jubilee since all she had seen so far were the doors that slid open, and she had to close her eyes against the sudden brightness of where they had entered.

When Jubilee opened her eyes again, she was faced with something that seemed as if it had came straight out of a fairy tale of something. There, in front of her, were without a doubt, the king and queen of Optica, complete with fancy and expensive looking clothes, crowns and scepter.

The king rose slowly, a wide smile on his face and making the corners of his eyes crinkle up. She immediately liked him, knowing that the crow's feet meant that he laughed and smiled a lot, a definite plus. Beside him, the queen rose as well, the jewels in her slightly graying hair sparkling and her eyes were soft and gentle, like a doe's.

"Welcome Jubilation Lee. I am honored to finally meet you face to face, the winner of the competition and my daughter in law."

Jubilee was cool with everything up to the daughter in law bit, and she visibly choked when he said it. The king frowned, looking at her in concern and Jez, whom Jubilee had drugged her nails into when she choked, gave him a nervous smile and patted Jubilee's hand.

She whispered from the corner of her mouth at the shocked and frozen Jubilee. "Jubilee, arm, no circulation, pain."

Jubilee quickly released her arm and Jez breathed a sigh of relief. Finally recovering, she did a quick curtsy (it seemed like the right thing to do) and pasted a pale smile on her face. "Er...thanks for the welcome and all, and while it's been fun, all I really want to do is go home and..." she trailed off, gulping when the king's kind face suddenly hardened. She had never really been good with the big people...

Jez suddenly stepped up next to her and a feeling of calm and understanding soothed away Jubilee's wrecked emotions. "Your Highness, Jubilation is the competitor who was transported here by 'accident' and she really means no disrespect," she stated in a clear, calm voice.

King Qu nodded and then an almost comical look of embarrassment washed over his face, and Jubilee could only eye him in surprise. " should have told me that earlier Jez"

Jubilee didn't know much about how royal people were supposed to act, but the way the king was acting right now seemed downright funny if he didn't seem so worried about something. The king went on nervously, and Jubilee could almost imagine him twiddling his thumbs and looking downwards like a little boy caught stealing or something. "You see, while Jubilation was...unconscious, I had" his voice dropped down to a whisper, making Jubilee and nearly everyone else in the court strain to have to hear. "...I've already married her and my son off."

Jubilee gaped. "YOU WHAT?!" came out in a loud yell before Jubilee was able to clamp her mouth shut. The king didn't get offended as he had earlier though, he just bowed his head slightly, a blush rising to his wise-seeming face. 'Wise my...' she thought darkly to herself.

The queen patted her mate's arm and gave Jubilee an apologetic look. "I'm truly sorry that we just went on ahead without your consent Jubilation, but we had assumed you were one of the participants who joined because you wished to marry Draco."

Jubilee groaned and felt like crying hysterically. Why oh why did she have to end up getting such a screwy and bizarre life?! She was only SIXTEEN for god's sake, and she was already MARRIED?!?

She held up a hand, as if to stop anyone from saying anything further and approached the throne with a heavy look on her face. "Look, as much as I've enjoyed staying here and nearly getting killed, all I want is to go home. Why don't you marry your son to some other chick and send me on my way, and everyone lives happily ever after like in the fairy tales, okay? Okay. Now get me outta here. Uh...please."

A cough from behind her drew her attention, and she glared balefully at the red-faced Jez and Sae who was looking at anything and everything but her. "Jubilation? Ah...when royalty are married in Optica, it isn't like the common folk who are able to just 'split' whenever they wish to. When royalty marry they're given a...special 'bond' to one another so that they'll remain true and faithful to one another and..."

The cloud over Jubilee's head grew darker, and her blue eyes darkened to a midnight blue. Jez gulped and stepped back into Sae who had finally looked at her before ducking behind Jez. "You have GOT to be kidding me." It wasn't a question, it wasn't even a statement or a demand. It was just Jubilee feeling as if she was going to blow up like an atomic bomb if she didn't get the HELL out of this whacked out place.

"We're truly sorry Jubilation but...there's really nothing we can do. When you're married, there's no turning back..."

Jubilee's eye twitched and she felt something akin to an overwhelming rage and heat flow through her entire body. 'Huh, this must be what Wolvie feels when he gets in one of his berserker rages,' she thought almost mildly to herself.

A heavy sigh came from the throne and she turned, again, to see what it was THIS time. The king gave her a guilty look. "While there's nothing we can do to turn back time, what we can do is send you back home," he shook his head when Jubilee perked up in interest, a hopeful look in her eyes. "However, you MUST learn to live with Draco because he'll be going with you."

Jubilee's jaw dropped and she began shaking her head when the king gave her a stern look. "One of the ways the bond works is that the couple must be within 5 feet of each other, otherwise they'll begin to feel a certain pain begin first in their heart, and finally it'll be throughout their body. The ONLY reason why you haven't felt such pain is because my son is currently standing next to you."

Jubilee gave him a "wha?" look and when she turned she suddenly found prince boy standing next to her himself. She wondered briefly if he had some sort of power to remain invisible or something, because she KNEW he wasn't standing there a moment ago.

Stubbornness settled in, and her lower lip jutted out in what her friends back home would've known to be Jubilee when she was at her worst and most stubborn stage. "If you expect me to believe that,t hen you have another thing comin' bub," she stated, a bit of Wolvie's vocabulary slipping into her speech.

The king and queen shared a worried look, and it was the queen who signaled for him to move.

Jubilee watched as he walked backwards, a pensive look on her face, she watched as he retreated from her 3 feet...4 feet...5 feet. And then it hit.

At first it was like a tingle, an annoying little prodding in her heart, and she watched a muscle jump in the prince's jaws as he kept retreating, although moving slower and slower.

He was only 7 feet away when she doubled over in pain, clutching her stomach and chest she watched a line of sweat drip from the side of his face, and it was only by long year's of practice did she identify him clenching his jaws and fists so tight as pain.

"Stop. I give. He can come with me," she gasped out, her whisper hoarse with pain. The prince let out an almost imperceptible sigh of relief, and began moving swiftly to her side. She didn't push him away when he placed a hand on her elbow and gingerly helped her straighten.

"Now just get me outta here before I suddenly decide to test my doubts again."

The king and queen beamed at her, and orders sent people bustling about again. Jubilee eyed the silent prince out of the corner of her eye, and then sighed heavily. Life was definitely a bitch, and it really loved to toss in tons of surprises at her.


The park was quiet and peaceful, the only inhabitants it had were the birds cheerfully singing in the bright daylight. All of it was disturbed when suddenly a swirl of bright light, like a hole, appeared in the air. The hole grew bigger and bigger, until it was about the size of car, and then a loud yell was heard, at first distant but slowly growing louder and nearer.

Two loud, harsh thumps were heard, scaring away a flock of curious sparrows, and two black clothed figures stood up, one tall and slender, towering over its small and petite companion. The smaller of the two brushed off bits of twigs and dirt of its long jacket, and then scowled at its taller companion.

Blue eyes went from between the taller figure and a tall mansion about a mile away, and a groan came from between the lips. "Damn. I'm gonna have a helluva time explainin' all of THAT to the gang," she said in a dry, suffering voice.

A small smile appeared on her companion's face, and the two trudged off towards the mansion. Her wondering just how she was going to explain things, and he smiling gently at her dark mutterings.

Behind them, a small sparrow braver than the rest of the flock chirped, cocked its head at the odd two-legged creatures and finally flew to join its own.


Author's Rants: Oh. My. Fawkin'. GAWD! I'M FINISHED! DEAR GAWD! *dances around like an insane little monkey* I'm finished! I'm finished! I'm FIIIIIINIIIIIIISHEEEEEEEEEEEED!

*stops and grins* Hope you liked it!!! *waves arms insanely before bouncing off*