After further consideration – and some research into zoology and animal behavior – the White Necromancer decided to limit the ghosts choice of animals to bond with to species with a demonstrated ability to get along with humans. Eliminating the herbivores, non-mammals, and species which were too small or large (such as ferrets, most domestic cats, and elephants), didn’t leave much. In fact, it basically left a selection of the canines and those few cat species which could be reliably domesticated.
They had enough wolf-spirits hanging around already, and nobody wanted to be a weredog. That left the larger domestic cats, silver foxes, and cheetahs.
One opted for Fox and the other for Cheetah.
That just left the problem of getting them.
The White Necromancer got some old gold coins since gold spent pretty much everywhere and there were plenty of lost treasures that only the dead knew the location of and set out.
In Japan, Ranko’s producers were filling in with an interview with her. There hadn’t been much action recently, and her ratings were sagging. Unfortunately, she desperately wanted to avoid answering most of the questions her fans had submitted about the two little girls she’d “adopted”. She did answer some questions about the “Horse” – although she avoided revealing that he had been born on earth and was still there – about her Husbands source of power, about his being involved with the animalistic curses, and about her own transformation and powers. She did have to say that her talisman list was classified.
Afterwards she got a few hours peace to study before the summons to the hearing on Vasilko came along.
The White Necromancer decided to head for Africa through the astral plane – and made it once again with minimal complications, at least until he arrived… He homed in on an astral impression of big cats and unknowingly arrived at the werecat’s village – where they were perfectly willing to sell him a “cheetah cub”. After all, they didn’t have much attachment to the sick or injured kids who got brought to them to be bitten (and thus gain a chance to live). After he realized what was going on he gave the kid back (he didn’t known anything about caring for a four-year-old) and simply asked for directions to where he could find a normal cheetah…
The werecats didn’t let normal cats intrude on their territories much, but could easily direct him to a wildlife preserve. After all, he was letting them keep the money.
At the preserve, the park rangers thought he had sunstroke at first, but – since he could patch up the various injured animals, was far too powerful for them to stop, could and would pay far more than it would cost to get one on the black market anyway, and they were sending excess cheetah cubs to zoos anyway, they were willing to let him acquire one. It was actually fairly straightforward, although he decided not to risk the astral plane with an animal and traveled back for more conventionally.
Yuki took a bag of coins and one of the Chauffeur’s helicopters and headed for Russia to pick up a silver fox or two… Being a Ninja, she choose to duck all problems with customs, quarantines, and licenses via stealth – which proved rather difficult in a helicopter. Still, thanks to natural talent and luck, she managed to slip over the Bering Strait unnoticed. After some confusion about finding a buyer, managing to recall enough Russian to get along, confusing/bribing the pet shop dealer with a bag of ancient gold coins, and debating with a parrot, Yuki departed with an eagle and three silver foxes – a mated pair and a cub. Unfortunately, the Eagle promptly stuck its talons through her arm and the US Air Force spotted her coming in. She opted to try and outrun them, took a missile hit, and went down at mach 2 in the wilds of Alaska in the middle of a blizzard. Fortunately she ported out and killed most of her – and the animals – momentum before she hit. Equally fortunately, she had her survival gear along.
The White Necromancer gave her directions to the only place he knew about in the area – Chian Lung’s place.
It was a somewhat abrupt introduction, but Chian did have an extremely experienced falconer to talk to while she was waiting for someone to pick her up.
Back home they were just in time for a minor emergency: four reptile-people with vast powers were cleaning out the casinos in Atlantic City. One of them was casually holding off IronStar… They appeared to be a speedster, one with electrical powers, one with vast strength and durability, and one with plasma generation, superleap, and a deadly kick.
Fortunately, they weren’t at all skilled in using their powers. Unfortunately, that didn’t keep even their unfocused attacks from devastating the area, and flattening the White Necromancer despite Yuki’s attempts at diversion and confusion.
Wait a minute… Those powers seemed awfully familiar. Dinosaurs. Oh NO. Nobody could be THAT crazy…
At which point Jason tried to jump the super-strong one and got literally splattered with a single blow. Fortunately the White Necromancer had given him the ability to regenerate from death. Still, that guy was way too dangerous – as well as going on about how nobody could take his armor away any more. Unfortunately, with the street splattered with the remains of Jason’s crushed internal organs, the White Necromancer was busy being sick.
Eventually the Speedster (Velociraptor) and the Plasma Manipulator (Tyrannosaur) got away, but they managed to possess the Ankylosaur and used him to take out the one with electrical powers – Allosaur that would be. It looked like they’d been genetically manipulated and then someone had used transformation magic to accelerate the expression. Great. They could revert them to a more human form – but there was no telling how much power they’d retain, how fast it would expand, or how fast the inevitable mental degeneration would set in. Worse, they had no clue as to who’d done this to them.
Secondarily, they wanted to find out where Yuki had abruptly gotten some Snow-and-Wind powers from, even if they were relatively minor.
That turned out to be relatively simple: she’d trekked across 200 miles of Alaskan wilderness, dripping the occasional drop of blood. With the Darkmage gone, all the power nexi he’d bonded to himself were left open – and, as a descendent of Anubis, Yuki’s blood was a powerful agent for mystical bonds and seals.
At some point a droplet had fallen on a power nexus. Without a formal ritual and training, she couldn’t tap or channel it very efficiently, but it was enough to power some minor effects for her.
They reverted the two villains as much as possible and headed for court: the Kids Uncle had filed charges against Vasilko and Ranko – and there was a hearing on which set to use.
Harboring a dangerous wild animal, allowing it to run loose, endangering children, and so on would be worst really. If Vasilko was treated as an animal, he’d be ordered destroyed in short order, most of the charges would be against Ranko, and everyone else would be accessories. Kidnaping, Enslavement, and Rape were primarily targeted at Vasilko as a human, and he would at least be entitled to a trial and would be considered underage.
Surprisingly enough, the hearing was fairly straightforward: Dr Midnight, the Bishop of New York, two superhero-mages, a couple of psychologists, and two out of three state experts agreed that Vasilko was rational, not instinctive. At least as importantly, Ranko provided her own explanation of her early actions (I was young, confused, in the middle of a war, and I didn’t have any idea what to do) and Vasilko was known to be a superhero-class shaman as well as a werewolf – and he was being sensible, self-contained, and rational. The persecution might opt to argue the other way in court, but proceedings would begin under the presumption that he was rational.