Hey everyone just saw I left off with a less than impressionable scene so here ya go!
A column of flame swathed the trio form out of sight. The overflowing flames fanned out splashing on the station’s walls like splattered paint thrown on a canvass. The damage was stiffened from the unlucky trio taking the brunt of the blast, saving the building from anything more than charcoal burnt coating. Muffled cries pitched in the sky from within, shaking the few pedestrians out of a shocked daze at the sight of the orange explosion rattling the old foundation like a kicked can. They joined the group in a mob dash out to safety soon after. Cloud thick smoke blanketed the area in a concrete colored fog. Debris clattered everywhere adding to the rain’s song.
I turned to Mat more shocked that he wasn’t fully aspected burning the air in thick oil black flames. He rose calmly with his hand crossed behind his back patiently waiting.
“I thought we agreed to keep the peace this go round Mat.” I shouted over the downpour. The reprimand went unnoticed. He uncrossed his arms peering into the fog expectantly.
Air thickened like molasses with heat. Pale blue fire bled around him until he was standing molten, looking forward to violence. Michelle pulled herself up staring at the aftermath disbelievingly. Before she could say a thing, thick rolling smoke parted like a curtain for the darting red streak heading toward Matsumi. The blur raced in a zig-zag path with the velocity of a truck doing at least eighty. Purring flames stoked at the challenge, exploding when the two collided with air rippling force. Swallowing mouths of incinerating indigo momentarily stretched rolling high into the sky. The smell of musty river water filled the air.
Invaluable seconds sped by, as my eyes to struggled to readjust , I turned following the sounds of battle. When my vision cleared Mat was trading blows with the inhumanly agile leader in the middle of the train yard a few dozen feet away. Only her torso seemed to keep from blurring from out of visibility completely. She twisted in mid air narrowly escaping a spiraling flame barking out of Matsumi’s splayed fingers. She drilled into a landing, flowing onto the ground as slick as satin gliding on silk. Her momentum refusing to be denied, twirled her into a crouch ignoring the friction the gravel dictated. Jets of water shot up from the ground freezing into hardened spikes clawing at her inferno of an opponent.
A flash of silver distracted me, as mercury strands was all that remained of Michelle‘s presence. At the same time an annoyed sigh whispered from the scorched receiving area, concrete colored smoke was shredded into translucence. A bone jarring boom rumbled, followed by howling winds that seemed to be near Matsumi’s position. I Fought the urge to look when I heard a familiar voice sharply crying out in pain. That would of given the disheveled looking panhandler of a man an opening . His battered pea green trench coat flapped sporadically as the violent gusts of wind picked up. He rubbed the grey stubble on his chin sizing me up. The coffee and cigarette tanned teeth shied out a cocky smirk that turned sour then deadly serious. The hell is wrong with him? Is he trying to stare me down? I sighed inwardly.
Aww not a fan of foreplay?
“No not when it comes to this, but-wait shut up!” I snapped out of it. I barely noticed it, an involuntary stroke of a snarl cramped to stone on my face.
“What the fuck! “
Your welcome have fun! The thought echoed in my brain with a sweet malevolence. How the hell did that happen?
Hollow thumping foot steps plodded towards me with growing intensity. I guess those bargain hunter shoes on his feet is a lot heavier than they look. Concrete began to noticeably crawl it’s way up his leg like spreading ice. By the time he was in striking distance, I was facing an actual golem. Darkness leaked from out of my pores in fat oily drops slathering my appearance into absence. It’s liquid sheen hardened into a dull carapace. Stagnant nearby shadows animated shaping into flickering reptile tongues almost, in welcome.
“Ooh scary, real scary man.” Eliot’s voice growled from the depths of his armor. ”With a show like that you better not go down quick.” He warned. Stone ground and groaned as he fell into a boxer’s stance. I ignored the banter and gave into electric anticipation springing at him. The force of the launch itself would make the most hardened jet fighter black out. Eyes widened far too late to make a difference from my fist from making his face into sand. My hand exploded into his face and dark glee melted away as my feet stuttered for traction. My arm was extended at my side by the time I stopped caught in what felt like grainy dough. The head sized glob around my hand trailed to his chest like stiff slime. More importantly he was already swinging his arms back. Concrete clacked as his hands met that seemed to swell tripling in size. I tore my snared hand free in time to block the attack in front of me. Spines on my back lengthened and braided wide enough to intercept the growing bolder substituting for his fist. My knees buckled form the soul shuddering impact. I cursed to myself for showing weakness. Limbs turned to warm butter, regardless willpower shot my foot out like a jackhammer.
His weighted hands were a little too slow to block the attack, and this time I connected. A heavy huff gusted out of the slits under his nose. He tipped a few steps backwards, I had to admit I was a little disappointed seeing how I thought I put enough in it to send him screaming into the sunset. I rushed in keeping him off balanced. Fists flew like a fleeing phantoms stealing chunks of stone off of Eliot’s spasaming body. Hips rotated with my leading forearm imprinting itself inches in shelled ribs. His body whip lashed to his side in a painful c shape, leaving his defenses open. My body corkscrewed to a tight uppercut plunging into his shelled diaphragm like a heavy foot stepping in snow. A slave to body mechanics, he lurched forward curling harmoniously into a second shattering uppercut.
His head lolled upwards showing deep cracks that danced up the sides of his face making a goatee of furrows. Gravel spilled down his chin like drool. And there it was . His open throat seduced my hand to claw out at it before conscious thought. And like a tease I was denied, hands slipping through air. The ground below where Eliot stood, caved in on itself like a sinkhole swallowing him from out of definite fatality. He appeared yards away growing steadily swaying from side to side like a charmed cobra. The stone encasing his legs melded into one limb added to the imagery. He looped above me, stone pouring from out of the ground stilting him. Thick towers began to grow above him branching out in all directions flowing like cement in a mixer caging widely around him like a bow. Stone piped through stirring earth as casually as weaving needle and thread.
He was propped calmly twenty feet in the air between the shifting columns; barely audible through the constant sound of rocks swallowing each other. “Better keep up.” The stifled warning was followed by band after band of stone whipped out with slurring speed. My exoskeleton flexed, hardening in anticipation muscles stuttered with tension begging to tear away from stillness. Unknowingly, another sick smile of pleasure plastered on my darting image when the strangely low voice of my madness cooed, “Go head, it’s okay . Don’t be afraid . Let go. He’s made of rock for god sakes !Hit him Kage. Hit him as hard as you want.” The words spilled down my spine like warm oil. Sadistic longing caressed my failing resistance by the time concrete split from under my racing steps.
“Fucking Matsumi!” hands traded places with feet springing Michelle narrowly out of the way of a violent burst of wind . A resting train car was dented in in the cross fire rocking on its side. Muffled chaos sounded when it righted itself. Silver blinded Samuel making a mystery of his target’s presence. Focused senses caught the delicate shift in the air causing him to glide his left side circling out of the way of a scything black boot materializing from out of nowhere. Silver arced into a half moon following worn rubber swinging behind her. The momentum added to the weak hop from her front leg throwing her backwards. Samuel transitioned his dodge to a spinning left backhand that was too far to physically connect. Michelle crossed her arms in mid air not falling for the feint. The neighing wind behind the movement hurled her with bone snapping force. Samuel lurched forward raking down with his right hand in a fluid motion commanding the wind to ground her before she recovered.
Earth detonated spewing out along with metal shorn and squealing for his efforts. The intended target on the other hand forced him to shoot his hand out in defiance of the twin timberland logos stomping out at his face. Determined feet sailed grazingly by thanks to redirecting air currents guiding them out of the way. Michelle went with the blow landing hard crouching into the fall a few steps behind him. Samuel’s widening eyes said it all when Michelle shot to her feet, throwing an extending back leg before he could shift into a defensive stance . Pain was muted to welting as Michelle’s kick met an invisible resistance. Thousand watt silver flared on impact, when it cooled it showed the air elemental’s ungraceful sprawl in between folds of steel. Michelle met a shocked look as Samuel shrugged himself free from out of the wreckage.
“Well, at least your not boring..” Samuel said, hopping to the ground lightly. He tried to swat off a smear of dirt off of his once flawless sleeve. Dirt sank in deeper with each unsuccessful pass. “ It’s a shame I can’t let you live long enough to pay for the bill this is going to cost me.” he looked up at her, giving up on the blemish. Annoyance settled in his expression, platinum blond locks floated lazily like felled leaves caught in a gentle updraft. Wind dragged out it’s bellow in a long shrill stoking Michelle’s hair trigger tension even further.
“ This… is probably going to cause you a great deal of pain..” He remarked thoughtfully, as everything around his lithe figure came out of focus from the sheer amount of condensed air gathering. Michelle shook her head sadly scowling at him clenching an open hand. Her dim aura came ablaze like gunpowder tossed in an open flame. Reality held its breath as the sky took on a gray caste. Everything was mounted in place like it was the works of a master taxidermist. Michelle made a quick survey of the scene, resisting the urge of finishing him right then and there.
Ten cars away, a triumphant smile etched across a flaming aspected face. Matsumi was unmoving with palms pressing against a frozen ball of frayed fire. Steam was denied disbursement where the large ball made contact with a thick film of water shielding the strained looking wielder. She silenced the rising worry in her chest, forcibly looking away. Feel later survive now… the thought clamped down on her resolve like waking up from a stupor knowing there are things to be done. She found Kage in mid dash in amidst hailing columns of asphalt. A set of tentacles parried the most detrimental of the volley leaving witnessing train cars and parts of the train station riddled with stone spokes. The damage was a sight, but what stalled her was his face. It was disturbing as a dog smiling. Bloodlust, exultance, mixed well with the lunacy he was showing. Understandable seeing what his motivation is.
“My god…Kage…” she sighed, visibly shuddering with fear and revulsion. “ What is happening to -” the blood colored gem around Samuel’s neck animated interrupting her . The jewel shone, curdling into deeper rays of crusted scarlet. Shadows stretched and receded with it’s unsettling gleam. “ What the fuck? “ Michelle made her way closer to the anomaly wearily. A probing finger made contact with a smooth invisible denseness keeping her from going any further. “Hmm, so this is why he’s been dodging my attacks.” she curiously surmised while poking the barrier further “ But what the Hell is ahh!” Michelle yanked her hand back from what she deemed impossible: the barrier moved. The gem’s dull glow wrapped around the elemental’s body then faded like that damn suit of his soaked it in. Michelle instinctively skipped backwards, her mind still in shock about the space she thought was hers’ alone. Samuel gasped lurching into the reality. Concentration broken, winds dispersed angrily announcing his arrival as if queued..
“My my,” The air around her hissed. The reality’s newest inhabitant looked around in awe. “ I think you just became more interesting…” The statement seemed to come from all around her. He would have given a master ventriloquist a lesson or two. Piercing winds screamed with agreement. He took a careless step towards her looking around like a tourist “So you can slip away to another… hmm well what should I call this?” A manicured hand of his waved displaying his new discovery.” Delian was never very wordy about what he can and can’t do but this…” The hanging statement settled on questioning eyes. “ Please don’t disappoint me by asking, obviously it doesn’t matter. Your plan failed, I hope by now you’ve come up with some other tricks to entertain me?” The air seemed to thicken around him softening his image. Loose stones squirmed out of his path clattering out of his way, warning of his approach.
“We don’t have to do this, we can both still walk away from this please you don’t want to do this.” She warned. The very rocks that parted out of the air elemental’s way radiated silver. Uncertainty washed through her. Images of the frozen faces of pure torture being fused to objects they were never meant to kept her from attacking him without at least a warning. She was trying her best to not resort to this, but her choices were thinning out.
“Oh?” Samuel tilted his head to the side amused at the comment, ignoring the glowing bed of stones.” So you are out of tricks then.” sounding disappointed. The smearing affect around him grew pushing Michelle backwards. “ Oh well at least you got a shot in -” Michelle offered a silent prayer on his behalf. Her eyes hardened as she took a stilling breath. “ I’ll make this quick.” Samuel drew breath to preparing to attack and- screamed, screamed shamelessly. Burgundy splotches soaked through his sleeves all along his arms and legs . Bits of displaced flesh shook loose from his flailing limbs. His ruined suit looked like it was worn paint balling. Pristine chalk white sobbed streams of tan then deep scab brown. Led on by it’s master, wind thrashed about sharing his pain spilling trains onto their sides indiscriminately. His blazer was thrown off in between his wild dance. All along his misshapen arms were freakish lumps bulging from under his taut blue silk shirt. In some of the areas you could see stone jutting out between the tears. Torn skin frayed like curled leaf ends at his wrists while rocks fitted snugly in its new home. It was amazing that he was still standing. Despite her compassion, Michelle’s gorge rose witnessing her work. Mercy took a voice above the sounds of torment. “ I can get you healed just calm down your doing more harm than good!” She took an uncertain step towards him. He spun wildly to her, a mask of agony and rage was worn well on his once calm face. Michelle flinched at the sight of him, thinking twice about helping him.
“Fucking Bitch!” His own voice cut through the wind. The air yelped shrilling gouges in the vicinity. Train tracks crawled curling in on itself. Trembling legs moved glacially in her direction leaving the gathering pool of blood behind. Each step was a tale of torture spoken with every sharp wince and half restrained cringed step. The air condensed swelling in layers around Michelle. A brown curl shifted on its own as if uncomfortable. She took no notice of the warning determined to reach out to him in stead of teleporting a hand full of rocks in his brain. Her nose was bleeding freely when she spoke.
“Stop this! Your going to bleed out in minuets for Gods‘ sake! “ she panted. Each breath was getting harder to draw in. It felt like she was sucking air through a narrow straw. Her aura burned, trying to fight off what she thought was fatigue.
“You first.” Samuel snarled. The air pressure around Michelle threw away it’s subtlety and clinched down on her. Michelle was forced hard to her knees, caught completely unaware. She snapped her head up glaring at him.
“No..” she got out before the flux of crushing air pressure burst, sending her bulleting through space. The drowning sensation of unconsciousness nearly submerged her completely. The dark fog lifted only to reveal the fast approaching underbelly of a overturned train. Her snuffed out aura woke , running along her like fire dancing down a trail of gasoline. The dying elemental swayed twice drunkard before he feinted. Time sputtered back into flow as the silver star exploded on impact. And when it did, the laws of physics threw a tantrum for being ignored for so long.
For a few moments chaos reigned, Large pockets of air that wasn’t there seconds ago was violently repulsed by the displacement sending it crashing into objects with the force of a swinging wrecking ball. In turn, pockets of missing air caused sucking implosions that crushed anything caught in its path. A series of lung collapsing booms rang out, with various sounds of destruction following thunderously. Reinforced glass spewed out their holdings in revolt. Where metal that was smooth a blink ago were now gouged, shorn and puckered. It was getting harder to find something that wasn’t destroyed with each passing second. The chain reaction caught everyone’s attention to say the least.
Spontaneous lashing winds nearly guttered out Matsumi’s flame like a choking candle. The surprise caused him to embarrassedly miss wide at point blank range. The water weaver ‘s shield evaporated with practically no resistance as the ball of flame caressed the side of her terrified face baking anything solid behind her to a dull orange. Ignoring the blistering pain, she decided to press her luck as she lanced a knee to his midsection. Every drop of moisture from under and around her protected and amplified the attack that Matsumi fell into. Matsumi staggered forward and missed a wild backhand that was meant to push her back. Wide open, water shot harmlessly to his face instantly exploding to thick vapor momentarily blinding him. Even with her shielding, the smell of hot leather and blazing pain poured down her smoking leg. Matsumi backed away swatting at empty air defensively trying to clear away the smoke. Lena rounded behind him easily and pivoted on her front leg and swung her back leg like she was swinging for the fences. It was about then when her luck ran out.
Whether if out of frustration or instinct, pale yellow flame raged from out of him with blow torch ferocity. His soul shuddering battle cry transformed from sounding like a crazed man bent on mayhem, to sounding like a gluttonous fire feasting on endless air. Lena was far too committed to pull back and she knew it. The gallons of water shielding her smoked away to mist before her attack landed. Matsumi’s outburst threw her back before she was completely consumed. Her singed body skidded on the ground like she jumped out of a moving car. She was hacking convulsively as she painfully made it to her feet considerably slower. A nasty cut shaped along her forehead left blood pouring down her face masking the cuts and swelling under her eye and chin. A lump on the side of her forehead seemed to swell, throbbing with each passing moment. Her jacket was a tear over the difference between vintage being rendered to fresh tatters. Her bright red leather pants now exposed patches of pink clawed abrasions on top of pale skin. Near her right foot leather blackened and curled in on itself like melted plastic. She never even noticed the ashened nerves where a flesh charred showing bone. The blackened femur trailed to the melted rim of her boot. Still she looked calm, damn near happy even.
The rain infinite in it’s torrential patter, silenced all at once. The sounds of stray drops seemed to eerily echo in freshly formed puddles. Matsumi was waiting patiently, a molten golden smear with white forking highlighting it. Barely a human outline. The blood spilling out of her forehead tapered off then sealed in a fleshy seal. “Pretty, you wouldn’t happen to burn pink would you ? You’d go great with one of my outfits.” she said smiling and regretted it wincing, ruining the bravado. Her split lip stretched and a fresh line of crimson flushed her lower lip.
For being considerably shorter, Matsumi seemed to be looking down on her. His voice was a lit gas leak leaving anything remotely human smoldering behind. “ What was it you said earlier? Did you settle that little beef you had with the ground?” he paused, looking her up and down.” Looks like it won.” he smiled rolling into his version of a Coiled Asp stance. Meaning only a martial artist that trained for years could recognize the slight squaring of his heels for a greater push off his back leg or the tilt of his leading hand so an opponent could feel confident taking the supposed opening. Lena couldn’t tell nor cared, her own design of victory well underway.
“Cute.” sarcasm heavy in her words. The amount of concentration finally crossed briefly over her face. A quiver like a plucked guitar string ran through her before her cool demeanor returned. Her hands stiffly tightened as she tilted her head up. “ Why don’t you tell me how your going to burn when that drops on you hmm?” What had to be hundred of thousands of barrels of water collected above them swelling even as they spoke. Double lane street wide streams of water fell from out of the sky fueling it. Matsumi’s eyes briefly looked up, then thoughtfully back down. He shrugged concluding whatever conversation he was having with himself and heat flushed the air itself to constant waves of melting around them. He was already a blur in her watering eyes, combined with him spewing heat like it was, Matsumi was nothing more than a man sized blob. “Your no fun.” she sighed. The ground beneath them glazed over wetly. It began to leak and sputter water until she was burnt shoe deep sloshing in the flooded area. Firecrackers went off when water traitorously made contact with the superheated area closer to where Matsumi stood. The flood seemed to shy away from him, fleeing in fat rolling puffs of fog.
“Funny, I’m having a blast.” The fog around him highlighted with his statement. Matsumi charged in sounding like a backfiring car drowned out by a rising hot air balloon.
“Ha ha yea fuck you.” she said at the fast approaching meteor. Twin typhoons spilled form the swelling globe above as Lena’s feet rose on the surface of her personal lake. The spiraling jets of water vaporized to a stiffening steam before coming close to the fallen Djin. Bursting clouds snapped to a halt freezing instantly. Matsumi skidded to a stop kicking up chunks of asphalt. It held in air daring to freeze in his presence. The twin whirlpools threatening to swallow him was freezing faster than his aura could vaporize it. Slates of ice grew as close as it dared to wrapping around him. With his snow globed point of view rapidly sealing, he took a step back with a cruel smile on his face, thankful to be given such an opportunity…
A piercing white light detonated washing my vision away in an ivory flood. It couldn’t have come at a worse time either, precision was shaved off just shy of its mark when a shearing tentacle cleaved off the earth mover’s snake like wound body just short of his feet. A worn sole mocked me as the tangle of earthen pipe work we were surrounded by branched out and caught the living statue before he went boldering down. Heated winds violently blasted by sending scalding rain everywhere. This was starting to get out of hand. Even if you could ignore the scene resembling an apocalyptic theme park by the minuet, these explosions couldn’t go overlooked for much longer. I looked at the source of the outburst and damn near left my jaw hanging.
From what I could see, that mouthy blond was coasting around a white light that hinted at a human silhouette on a spreading sheet of ice. All of this was taking place while there’s a giant vat of water floating overhead. Shards of white glare reflected off of patches of slick frost lighting the dark sky like a vintage disco ball. Keep the peace my ass.. I shut the thought off remembering that I was in the middle of something. I half expected to pay for not paying attention to him for this long . I looked up to find Eliot upside down draped like a ripening water drop waiting to fall. His attention was on the battle as well and he didn’t approve. Worried eyes hardened as the stone monkey bars around us started to shift. The slithering anaconda thick poles around me picked up its pace sounding like a belt sander. It launched a storm of fist sized stones capable of punching through steel easily. Instead of what I thought would be a waste of time dodging them, the meshwork of my exoskeleton flexed hardening. I learned something after the first rock bounced off me: using a catcher’s mitt to snag a hundred mile an hour fast ball keeps your hand from breaking true, but it still stings. I was forced backwards, each dislocating pelt sent jarring shockwaves through me. A set of well placed stones tenderized my leg to mush right when I put my weight on it. I made up for sprawling under my own weight by going with it, awkwardly rolling to my feet. Bruising pain slammed down my spine as a birthed column arched it as far as it could painfully go. Cartilage popped like wrung bubble wrap as the lunging column surged forward using me for the headpiece of a battering ram. I guessed my destination was for my column’s freshly formed twin in a rush to be reunited.
Darkness from the undersides of the poles above me congealed and shot out, seemingly melting into my rattled frame and tore me from out of the way. The columns collided explosively coughing out grey dust and stone chips throughout the network of earthen piping. I dangled in the air like a rock climber on a safety line. I stretched my aching back, I might as well milk the cloud hiding me for as long as I can. I slowed my mind down focusing on the connection linking me to D. Now is as good as a time as ever to check on things. “ D tell me things are squared on your end. I could use a hand. There getting a little crazy over here.” I lied. He could yell at me about it when he gets here. Desperation weighted the thought more than I intended. This was the first time I was in charge unsupervised, and as it is, things were growing into a Hell of a mess. The air shook as a huge shadow passed me crashing below. Some people just can’t stand being ignored. The piping around me began budding thin finger like probes, swiveling and gripping for some trace of me. “Dmitri what the fuck ! You there?” Nothing. Worry gripped my innards promising to never let go. What in the Holy Hells is going on?
A muddy probe fingered along the sides of my dark mooring curiously. The unwanted contact send electric ripples of warning jolting me to the task at hand. I detached from my tether, while swinging my knees to my chest. A familiar lifeless shrilled sigh came along the shadowed sides of Eliot’s construction. Feet kicked out when they pointed to the sky as I descended. Claws extended readily. Senses honed in on my prey making the soup thick obstructing clouds nothing more than a bother. He was off near the edge of his creation with his hand resting on one its pillars. His head swiveled from side to side when the framework of his work rattled on its own accord.
“Shear.” the small five lettered word ushered countless glittering pieces of black shrapnel shredding what was solid to pin cushioned shreds. For a second I thought my field of vision was polka dotted with streaked blind spots. Earthen tubing flinched from the shock before it fell. Regretfully Eliot on the other hand, had the unfortunate anatomy of being born with nerves. Death took the sound of a smothered wheeze as I fell. It’s was kind of hard for him to hit a proper note of pain with that inconvenient hole in his throat. He stood frozen looking to the sky, dwindling eyes selfishly took their tale of unknown pain to the next life. His mottled gray armor was riddled with thin holes, oozing thick brackish blood like oil. With his mental control literally shredded, bone fractured and crushed under the unforgiving mass of his greatest defense. His pulled back head lead his body to fall backwards, his spine needed little coaxing to comply. The ground rattled when he slammed into it. A jagged crack formed on his face as the armor itself seemed to deflate a few excruciating inches.
Moments before I landed, my body’s consistency went from dense to vaporous all save my claws. I wanted a trophy had little time to claim it before it was buried in the crashing pillars above. Even now a monolith smashed into his midsection flattening him further. I phased through the remainder of the failing plumbing thankful not to be sharing his fate and struck. Dense rock might as well have been brittle dirt clods the way my hands sank in. My arm disappeared to my elbow before I realized I had passed through the packaged wet sponginess. When I pulled out, bits of his lost mind still clung to my glistening wet hand. Eliot’s abstract sculpture finally caught up with me, debris sprayed like a crashing waterfall. One of the columns halved one of the canopy’s support beam. The flickering entrance sign shattered as the edifice swung, folding in crumbling to rubble. Mounds of stone blocked the entrance as sparks spat out of the main building’s fresh tear. Flung rocks victimized anything it could reach birthing craters where they landed. It looked like what remained of heavy catapult bombardment.
Crushed by the burden of his own creation, I have to say I like the irony. A little too artful for my taste but impressive nonetheless. Hmm, I’ll give it a seven… ok seven point five I’m feeling lenient. The playful voice of my madness chimed. The uninvited voice slipped in my psyche just as I slipped out of the wreckage. The intrusion caused me to pause uneasily.
“The Hell are you talking about? I did what I had to. Shut the fuck up!” I said nervously
You know, you take lying to yourself to new dimensions, it laughed. First off, we could of finished off these fools and been on our way a long time ago. It revealed
“Yea but the plan was -”
Really? Your going to explain to yourself a plan that you came up with? It laughed. It’s twisted mockery of my voice rose in my mind.
“Shut up just shut the fuck up!” panic was growing by the minute.
Fine, but before I go just ask yourself this: Why did you feel the need to scoop out his brains when you knew he was dead after your first attack hmm? Next time, when you want to pick someone’s brain for some answers remember to tell yourself it’s a saying, it doesn’t mean literally dive into some grey matter ok? It laughed at it’s attempt at humor.
“It wasn’t like that! I was just … I..” the diminished protest failed to come out.
Ok so tell me what was it like then huh? Come on lets hear it. What’s the excuse this time? He pushed .The statement was a blow that made me want to curl into a ball and shy away from the horrifying realization that the rabid part of my mind gladly led me to. Satisfied, the voice faded leaving me cold and knotted with dread. I couldn’t think of a single reason why I did what I did. But did it matter? I put down someone who worked for Ouzon, did it matter how I did it? And since when could my madness ever make enough sense to make a coherent point? A fresh rolling wave concrete powder cascaded around me smothering my visibility from view, it did nothing to hide the dawning truth of what I was becoming.
The sleeping figure began to stir as water drops splashed on her peaceful face annoyingly. Tired eyes fluttered open when she unwittingly snorted some. Michelle sputtered into full wakefulness, wondering why she was looking out of the train car’s thick splintered window while she was on her back. She let out a bone weary moan as she tried to shake the cobwebs of mental fog away. Her exposed arms were pocked with goose bumps from the cool surface of the train car’s window parallel to the one she saw. They refused to move when she tried to wipe her face. She spent the next few moments trying to move in fevered desperation. Paralysis is any athlete’s fear, for Michelle it was her greatest. Fierce grunts of strain filled the stilled car until a stray finger trembled in response. She was so overjoyed tears formed, and cry of relief and triumph tore from out her. It took ten minuets of unflappable willpower and effort before her weakened limbs moved under her will. Confident that the disaster passed, she allowed ponder the one question that was screaming in her head: How the Hell did I end up here?
She should have been bloodied and broken at the foot of the car she was in. Muscles quivered and painfully cramped when she sat up. A gust of thick mist rolled in coating her already wet face. The damn cloud could of been made of acid and she wouldn’t of paid it any mind. The wide opening that let it in seemed a bit more important. It could only be described as smears of meshed metal, glass, and plastic. Bits of metal were held in slivers of window pane like an insect trapped in amber. Wheel fragments jutted out of frozen runnels of chair and plastic. Huh? her brain wrestled past the impossibility of what she was seeing. Mist burned clear as two streams of white flame streaked by unhinging Michelle from her awed stupor. Her heart lurched when Matsumi rocketed by soon after.
She rocked to her feet and her legs quivered like plucked guitar strings. The ground came at her at an odd angle as vertigo floored her. Spinning static was in her eyes as she let out a sharp cry. The sounds of rushing water, blasting steam, and crackling freezing ice echoed in her brain disorientating her further. She recklessly pulled energy from drained reserves, and as soon as the first signs of her aura came to life, she knew it was a mistake. Signs of pain gripped tight on her face as wave after wave of scalding a sank deeper into her. Muscles instinctively clenched to stone matching the spiritual strain attempting to stop it and failed. The pain lessened some as something metallic sounded clanged just out of reach. A fresh jolt of pain encouraged her teeth to try to break themselves. All she wanted to do was fall into the sweet embrace of unconsciousness.
Nerves felt ground by a serrated edged scrub brush and ablaze as the Fey’s aura flushed around the sternum. Energy flashed again wracking her body, then receded to a small ball that floated a few centimeters from her chest. The pain slowly faded as the pearl sized sphere bloated. By the time the vice of pain that clamped her eyes shut lessened, red teary eyes beheld a sphere around the size of two hands. Michelle’s power died out as the last remaining strands of silver leaving her exhausted body seemed to orbit lazily around the ball. Each hair of energy winked in and out like dancing fireflies. She looked at the show in wonder as one by one a strand stopped moving. There was about five strands left before the notion that this could be dangerous crossed her mind. The model planet rose and drifted away from her as if caught in its own personal updraft. When it was satisfied, it rested in midair just outside of the opening pulsating. Her trailing eyes halted then bulged when she noticed something she wasn’t too sure even existed. The slim pole hummed with power. It looked a little duller than she remembered, but who cares? Mobuis was home. Hands were moving practically dragging her less cooperative body before she realized it. Meanwhile, a final gray strand stopped, wreathing the sphere. Every strand shot at a downward angle careful enough stop before making contact with the ground. It left streaks of gun metal behind it while in between the streaks an ashen film bridged them together. Michelle’s hand claspsed around Mobius, choking in her greeting. Her body lit up softly as the weapon’s power coursed through ravaged energetic channels. The floating sphere melded with the lancing bars shaping it into a seven foot cone, pulsating ad a strobe light flickering pace. The cone halted it’s epileptic light show and cooled. Minuets passed by when the cone began to melt away. Michelle stood ready with her partner in hand so tight bones creaked. Hope grew steadily until the hoary cocoon revealed what it birthed and Michelle’s human brain cringed trying to make sense of the beast. The Fey in her on the other hand did what any Fey would do when facing this thing in her condition.
“Kage!!” she howled as hard as her lugs would allow. No response. She cursed inwardly at the sign of weakness. The mountainous beast took no notice of her desperate plea surveying the new world. Shit, the way things are, I only have about ten minuets before I’m out of commission. Can I even beat this, this -. The physical wrongness of the creature threatened to rend her mind reprobate if she tried to analyze the beast further. The Doxi Warstrider straightened to its full height languidly. You could see its network of veins press flat against translucent skin. It took in the alien world, swiveling its massive lower jaw from side to side . The exaggerated underbite spilled rancid spittle down it’s sides. A halogen white flare caught the beast’s attention. Matsumi’s battle with his elemental opposite was nearing its climax as another blow torch kiap brought another flash of blinding white light. The war strider took two deep snorts in direction of the light’s source, unbothered by the flash. It wrinkled it’s skinless nose in distaste and continued it’s survey. When it was finished, it faced Michelle with slitting t shaped irises. A long dark tail of a tongue ran along needle point teeth as a high pitch growl gurgled out of its grossly misshapen mouth.
“Well, come on with it then.” Michelle challenged. The beast tilted it’s head uncomprehendingly but stayed where it stood. “Keeping a woman waiting hmm, definitely one of the biggest rules you don’t want to break in this world.” She said wolfishly. Mobius continued it’s war song in baritone monotony. The otherworldly weapon was tilted downwards complimenting her low sideways stance. Weapon and wielder simmered in an ever flowing grey. Every cresting ebb was a heavy hand across raw nerves. The beast responded by fluidly falling on all fours, muscles rippled sporadically while it prepared to strike. An eye darted to the left while other dared not to loose sight of it’s target. The war strider grunted as if bothered at what he saw and was instantly a few paces back. Michelle’s curiosity turned to dawning fear realizing it didn’t betray any sign of movement. A dark figure appeared instants after blocking her view from the temporal beast.
“What the fuck? Michelle, how the fuck is a strider in our world!” man made darkness demanded.
“I’m fine Kage thanks for asking. And how the hell would I know?” Michelle snapped back, hiding her relief. The war strider took in the new threat while disturbingly stalking around us waiting to strike. The alieness of the creature’s actions reminded one of a hairless albino gorilla walking around with a set of jack rabbit legs.
“Sorry. Are you hurt?”
“I’m past spent Kage. If it wasn’t for this- “ she said while she used the scythe nudged him to the side. She slid to to the right of him and looked at him seriously.” I don’t think I’m going to be much help after a few rounds.” she looked down at the admittance.
“Mobius?!” he stared at the scythe dumbly. “ Ok your going to have to give me something sis, Mobuis? How the Hell did Mobui-” His arms crossed reflexively to soften the preemptive strike. It didn’t soften shit. Martial artist are trained to aim past their opponent to increase their attack power when they strike. The war strider did it better than any master could even hope to accomplish. Shelled arms caved in easily smashing into his chest. The metal behind him dented inwardly making room for his body to fit as snugly as possible. Useless arms dangled at his sides fish flopping dislocated. Two wide arms blurred in his direction too fast to focus in on. All he could do was grit his teeth counting milliseconds before the pain. Twin hammer fists connected thunderously. Reinforced steel squealed hollowly as his body tore through the car exterior like it was cheap aluminum foil. Silver sprung to life above the beast as Michelle swung her oldest/ newest weapon. She let Kage eat it so that this very opportunity could present itself. She was too committed and desperate to finish this ignoring her instincts that told her otherwise. Massive arms plowed through the car continuing it’s motion at a downward angle. What an untrained eye would call a wild swing allowed it to narrowly escape the blazing scythe that snatched the air instead of its head. It continued the spinning motion causing it’s hands to crack into the concrete. By the time Michelle finally registered that she missed, the war strider propped itself upon its hands, lashing out his misshapen legs.
The mule kick looked like it had enough behind it to kick a hole through the swollen clouds above. Shame Michelle was in the way. The Fey’s focus didn’t falter despite her ribs being made traitorous shrapnel skewering organs indiscriminately. She’ll never realize how her hitched breathing saved her from bone fragments piercing her heart. Regretfully her deflating right lung was hampering the ten minuet window she gave herself. It was more like if she didn’t wrap this up and seek some kind of medical attention, she would never move again in five.
She gathered herself slowly, every movement was an increasing weight on her chest. She stood breathing heavily, loosing ground trying to catch her breath a deflating heave at a time. She stood widely with Mobius nestled across her back. Her right arm was gingerly chambered protecting what was left of her shattered ribs. She spat out the pooling blood in her mouth in a wad. A thin string of red fastened to her chin crossing the scar from another time she thought it would be her last day breathing. An old grimace crossed her face before her features burned away in a silver torrent.
The beast stood there waiting patiently, savoring the moment. It’s gurgled high pitched growl would have been comical if it came from any other living creature than this. A clawless paw dug four deep furrows in the ground like it was made of clay. Michelle had a decision to make: she could use Mobius’ power to fight the monster, playing with the thing until an opening presents itself . Or the less likely possibility that she could find a way to hide away and heal herself. Why is it that winning the lottery seemed like better odds? Her cynical smile was hidden in billowing waves of energy. Something crashed inside the freshly torn open car. A bolted chair tumbled and skidded from out of the quivering ripped hull. Kage appeared by Michellle’s injured right side by the time the time it stopped. He looked at Michelle with wrath smoking in his eyes. The makeshift hoody composed of darkness slowly receded into his dark armor, forsaking the façade. Snake tongues of shadows flickered out of the tears on dirt matted aid jeans. Michelle flinched at the hardness of his voice. “Sutemi Michelle?” he said disgustedly. “ Are you out of your fucking mind?” the anger in his voice finally spilled over. Planted shadows bent and writhed as he spoke.
“ This from the god damn hero that came to save the day and got put through a train. Least I stayed on my feet!” The exchange loosely translated to Kage: What are you doing going to a stance that’s made for a sacrificial counter attack with a thing like that? Michelle: I’m in bad shape and I didn’t know if you were still able to fight. It’s as plain as day if you speak sibling.
“Whatever he caught me off guard.” he said, anger cooling.” Don’t act so tough I see you nursing your side over there.” He faced the strider who seemed to be entertaining itself using concrete as a scratching post.” Sis, I can’t follow it’s movements I can get around that but-” An explosion cut him off. The terminal suffered another breach, this time two stories up. Pearl flames clung to the opening like a grease fire. A slim figure darted in the hole with a water tower’s worth of water trailing close behind her. The windows below highlighted before jagged fangs of ice exploded from out of them. They shared a worried look before continuing. “But for it to work I’m going to need for you to sit this one out .” he said cautiously. When no protest came, he realized just how hurt she was. The Doxus halted it’s pawing, looking up at the pair. It evened out its weight, muscles quivering with tension.
“I got a better idea-” she reached out stiffly and grabbed his shoulder. She resisted the cold shudder that rattled her hand when she made contact with the dark carapace. By the time her hoary aura stubbornly enveloped Kage , the weight on her chest just gained another fifty pounds. The world hiccupped still mimicking Michelle’s gray cast. Kage was about to expound on the uneasy look he shot her but the frozen Warstrider took flight nearly as fast when time wasn’t stopped. It tore chunks out of the ground in it’s approach. “Buy me some time so I can stitch myself up .” she wheezed out not surprised that her attacker was unaffected. The dragging whistle accenting her voice heavier this time.
“Do you even have enough power to keep me here and heal yourself?” he asked worriedly. Precious seconds slipped by as the question hung in the air.
“Got no other choice. This is the best way for you to keep up with it without me.” she said softly “ I swear Kage if you fuck this up I will be kicking your ass all across Hell slacker!” she yelled behind her, already yards away from the battleground.
“Just hurry up. Don’t take any time to fix that ugly on your face we don’t have all day!” he shouted back at her. Kage’s eyes were shifting madly keeping track of the daring animal before it disappeared behind a toppled stone column. Milliseconds felt like an eternity of weary dread as Kage scanned the area madly for any trace of the Fey hunter. Eyes watered not daring to close . Little by little his panic clawed at him, every unseen spot behind him left him feeling naked. The shadow of a massive four fingered paw sailed over Kage’s head blared danger in his mind. When he looked up it was a good twenty feet rocketing down with craned fingers whistling in the air. A nervous smile rose on his face. ’ Play with a monster that just put me though a fucking train, or spend an eternity getting my ass kicked in Hell by my sister. Drops of spittle sprinkled down on me as the beast drew closer. Decisions , decisions. The smile twisted to a less than sane looking snarl welcoming the challenge.