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The Lingering Heart: Forged Through Promise (Worm/Kingdom Hearts)

Discussion in 'Creative Writing' started by Silver W. King, Mar 6, 2016.

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  1. Threadmarks: Index
    Silver W. King

    Silver W. King King of Adventures

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    Last edited: Mar 19, 2016
  2. Threadmarks: Prologue
    Silver W. King

    Silver W. King King of Adventures

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    Prologue

    [​IMG]
    A promise is a silent oath between two people.
    That oath becomes a bond between their hearts.
    And through this bond, their light shines brighter than it did alone.
    If our all hearts were to connect then surely,
    No darkness can overtake us.


    ==========
    Taylor fell.

    Through a seemingly never ending ocean of darkness.

    The locker seemed like a distant memory now.

    It felt like she had fell forever. Time disappeared for her. As did the world, her fears, anger and worry.

    Everything was so far away, as she kept falling. It was nice even. Like the gentle way one tumbles into the realm of sleep.

    This is dying, isn't it?
    Taylor wondered. Maybe...maybe it isn't so bad, if its this peacef-

    A wind crash violently into her. Like colliding with a sudden phantom.

    The fall was no long slow and gentle. Taylor felt it, as her body gained speed. She saw a destination to her fall in this darkness. A platform made from what seemed like glass.

    A picture of a boy - that she didn't have time to discern - upon it, as she crashed into the platform.

    Taylor thought she would die from the sudden impact, only for her body to breakthrough the glass as the entire platform shatter with a very loud clang.

    More than any physical pain of the impact with the glass platform, the voice that shouted out to her hurt much more.

    Ven.

    A voice, so tired yet so powerful vibrated in her head, and into the very core of her being. Deep into her chest, deeper than where her physical heart is, the voice called out.

    And with the voice, images flashed before her eyes, accompanied by emotions visibly shaped enough that she understood belonged not to her.

    Warmth. Joy. Mischief. Happiness after sadness or longing had passed.

    Emotions she hadn't experienced for a long time, and ones she couldn't help but envy.

    A young boy, amber hair and ridiculously stylish clothes (seriously, most capes don't even have stuff that cool and unique. And these seemed like his everyday clothes), stood side by side with a young man, training with oddly shaped swords.

    The boy was scolded by the young man, before the young man's expression softened and he patted the boy on the head.

    "Terra!"

    "Take me with you."

    "Enough, Terra. He's right..."

    "I'm asking you as a friend..."


    There were too many memories flowing into Taylor. She couldn't fully process them.

    Another platform came in sight. She could think enough to at least shield her body, distracted by the voices and sound not of her own memory.

    She crash through the platform, this one with an image of a blue haired young woman.

    Aqua.

    Another set of images and sounds replaced the ones roaring in her mind.

    A young woman, a friend, a rival, fighting, laughing and smiling with the young man and the young boy. They were like an inseparable family.

    A friendship beautifully weaved together, that even though the memories were overwhelming, Taylor couldn't help crying at being reminded at the friendship she lost.

    "I made us good luck charms."

    "Terra... Ven ran away from home."

    "We make a good team."

    "I was told... The Master was struck down."


    Bit by bit Taylor was able to, not comprehend, but have an idea of what the memories showed her.

    Three people had once been the best of friends, and yet circumstances forced the apart, only for them to fight to not break their friendship and not lose themselves to their inner demons. A story that filled her heart with ache. She wasn't sure what the ending to their friendship was, only a feeling of dread accompanied that.

    Taylor herself only felt sorrow and shame as the memories passed through her. She could help but compare herself to the three friends. They fought for their bond no matter the difficulty, believing in themselves and each other. But herself didn't. She lost her friend and gained a hellish enemy and tormentor.

    Why? Why wasn't she strong enough to fight for her bond with Emma?

    As the memories shifted in her mind showing more and more events, too rapid for her to understand, but for the simplest of meanings, the feeling of dread grew ever more. The memories to the story of the happy three friends, did not have the warmest of endings. That's the emotion she most felt, and Taylor cried ever more. For if a beautiful friendship like the three friend could end tragically, it meant she never had a chance.

    Another platform appeared, and the dread kept growing.

    Long before she was even close to fall through this platform, the voice roared and pain engulfed her.

    XEHANORT!

    Taylor crashed through and this time, the pain was more visible, more real to her senses. However it wasn't from the fall or impact, it was from the voice. With its shout, it brought a new set of emotions. Before the emotions accompanying the memories related to the young boy and young woman held joy and content, these one brought with them a wrath and hatred so powerful it physically harmed her.

    The rage passed through her breaking her bones and ripping her muscles. The hatred was both slow and quick to devour and fill her, burning through her nerves and drowning her lungs.

    A new image that appeared in her mind. A memory of an old man, whose presence held a terror behind the false veil of of age's fragility and yet even thought the memory wasn't happy, it wasn't joyful or warm, it was clear, more than any memory before it.

    "Darkness can not be destroyed, it can only be channeled."

    "Savor that rage and despair. Let it empower you! Let your whole heart blacken with anger!"

    "At last our moment is here."


    Memories and emotions passed through her, bringing pain beyond what she could ever imagine. All of her suffering before were as pitiful rain drops to the ocean she was now submerged in.

    But she also gained an understanding.

    She understood why the story of the three friend had a sad ending. She understood why everything went wrong.

    Through the pain, the image of the old man was overlapped by the imaged of a dark skin girl.

    Their fault.

    People like them who harm and steal the happiness of others, without any regard.

    Their fault.

    Xehanort. He ripped apart their happy friendship.

    Their fault.

    Sophia. She was the one who destroyed hers.

    Their fault.

    Taylor shouted. Her new anger in harmony with the memories and emotions in her heart.

    Their fault.

    Their fault.

    Their fault.

    And through the haze of wrath and pain, a single plea reached out to her.

    A plea to fulfill an oath.

    "Aqua... Ven... One day I will set this right."

    And before her mind finally relented and locked down, bringing her to peaceful unconsciousness, Taylor accepted.

    In her last moments, Taylor recalled one thing.

    Light.

    Not warm, or depressing, or joyous, or angering.

    It was power.

    And it was now her duty to give it a will.

    Finally Taylor slept.

    The Lingering Heart
    Forged Through Promise

    [​IMG]
     
  3. Threadmarks: Chapter 1: New Awakening
    Silver W. King

    Silver W. King King of Adventures

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    Chapter 1: New Awakening


    [​IMG]


    Taylor made her way down Winslow's hallways for the last time. She had gotten her books and study materials and in a month's time will only return for her GED and that's it.

    Yesterday she had woken up in the hospital after having gotten out of the locker. Her father had visited her, filled with worry and hurt at having been sent to the hospital due to a prank gone wrong. Only for the doctors to tell Taylor and Danny that there wasn't anything wrong with her and that she could leave the next morning, only keeping her the night to monitor her health, just in case.

    Her thoughts went back to her dream, and the sensations that were too real to dismiss from it. From just that thought, those memories rushed back to her.

    Terra. Aqua. Ven. Xehanort.

    The memories where there. They weren't something she dreamed up. She could still feel the phantom pain from experiencing those memories, and the rage that once filled her being.

    She sat quietly processing it. Her father thinking she was quietly thinking. It was odd, she could feel Terra's anger and hate, yet she knew it wasn't her own, giving her an odd sense to detachment to observe these memories and emotions. Yet she couldn't help but feel angry on her own. The hurt and suffering Terra and his friends had experienced, it was terrible and wrong. Even calling it "terrible and wrong" didn't feel right, as if that hurt and pain was being diminished.

    The hot fire in her chest grew at that. She felt power swell into her being, along with a feeling of caution. She didn't need to guess. If Terra's memories where anything to go by, that was the feeling of the Keyblade, ready to answer her call.

    Later on, Principle Blackwell arrived and tried the usual bullshit of saying sorry and there being nothing she could do.

    From that point Taylor pushed for taking her GED, her father for reparations and the hospital costs. Blackwell seemed ecstatic at finally getting rid of the bullied kid. Apparently the woman was all too happy to help sweeping the problem away than doing her job. Although it felt odd how the woman was walking a bit too quickly to leave. Taylor knows Blackwell is never really busy, regardless of what the woman said, and yet she seemed all to eager to finish talking to Taylor and her father and get out.

    Thinking about it, her dad also seemed to keep his space from her. He didn't make an excuse leave or anything like that, but he felt guarded. Maybe on top of work, her situation had just gotten to him.

    Either way, she was done with Winslow. She won't have time for it and its highschool bullshit anymore.

    Seeing Terra's memories, and the fight she promised herself to take on. Aqua and Ven, she had to travel and find them. Save them if they are in trouble. Xehanort, wherever he is and whatever scheme he is working on, it would be something that could harm multiple worlds.

    The bullying, Emma, Sophia, Winslow. It all seemed so small in perspective. So... childish.

    "Oh Taylor, you're feeling better already?" Asked a condescending voice in fake concern.

    Taylor stopped. She supposed that even on her last day, she would still see Emma. And her peanut gallery.

    "It is such a shame that you fell into that locker. Really clumsy of you. I hope you had time to shower? Or they didn't even let you do that?" Emma rambled on.

    Yet Taylor had her focus on something else. She should have been affected by Emma, by her presence, by her words. Terra's memories, battles made her words pointless when compared to your friends and family dying before your eyes.

    No, her focus was someone else.

    Sophia Hess.

    Maybe it was her newfound powers. Maybe it was the experience from her new memories. Taylor just knew that Sophia had a power, there was a pool of energy within the athlete girl who tormented her.

    "Oh what's the matter, Herbert? Cat got your tongue?" Sophia said with a smirk, stepping forward in a challenging way.

    Emma said something, adding to Sophia's taunt, but Taylor pushed it aside. Emma was no longer someone she cared about or was a part of her life. She would cut her out, here and now. This wasn't Emma, she realized that now. So she no longer cared what this... creature that looked like her did.

    But Sophia... she had to pay for what she had done to her, and if Sophia might be a cape as well, then... that presented an opportunity.

    "Fight me." Taylor said.

    For a moment they looked surprised, before laughing off.

    "Emma, I think she lost it." Said one of the girls.

    "Oh Taylor, honey, did you hit your head yesterday?" Emma acted worried in an obviously fake manner.

    Yet Sophia wasn't laughing. As if the seriousness of her words, Sophia did find herself throwing them off.

    "Say that again, Hebert." She growled.

    "I'm not coming back here again, but I want to leave without any unfinished business. So, after school, you choose the place. Or are all bark and no bite?" Taylor said, raising an eyebrow.

    "Ooh, this is just too cute. Taylor are you..." Emma began, only to lose the words on her mouth.

    The atmosphere changed. Sophia didn't lash out at the verbal challenge, she was sizing Taylor up, like a real threat.

    Something is different. Did the bitch trigger and is now calling me out?
    Thought Sophia, because as she looked around her, the other girls had taken a step back, feeling things becoming too serious. Even Emma became quiet. Sophia had felt it, a feel of danger from mousy Hebert.

    Is it some aura, like Glory Bitch?
    No. Sophia dismissed the thought. She knew what this is, it was the same as standing in front of Hookwolf or Lung, except if you didn't know who they were, but still felt that its best to stay away from them.

    So the bitch grew a spine, huh?
    Sophia smirked openly. As friendly as a shark.

    "So you grew some balls, huh, Herbert." The feeling of danger increased. Good. "Boat Graveyard. Tomorrow. Let's see if you'll chicken out."

    "Come on, Sophia. You can't seriously-"

    "See you then." Said Taylor and began to walk. Emma's entourage gave her a wide birth.

    "Hey, you get back here!" Shouted Emma. "Move! Stop her!" She told her peons. No one listened. "Get back here, Taylor. Don't you fucking walk away from me, Taylor!"

    She just kept walking, unable to hear Emma's voice anymore.

    "Taylor!"

    ==========
    It was a little bit embarrassing later on, when both Taylor and Sophia had realized that neither had agreed on a time to meet, and thus Sophia - after forcing Emma to give her Taylor's home number - called the Hebert house, only for Danny to answer, and kept giving Sophia very pointed questions on who she is, how she knows Taylor and why she hadn't helped her when she was being bullied. It took a bit of maneuvering, lying, a bit more lying, and then lying some more, before she convinced the interrogating father, that there was nothing she could do, that she was only a classmate and that she didn't go to school on the day of the locker prank.

    Thankfully before Danny began poking holes in her story, Taylor arrived a took the phone from her father, getting the time and place for meeting with Sophia and ending the call quickly before her dad interrupted.

    The next day, Taylor arrived to the location without any fanfare. She stood in the middle of an underground parking lot of an abandoned building. The building was at the edge of the Empire 88's territory, but thankfully not used as much. The place was in some sort of finance development hell, that once it was finished made it difficult anyone to be interesting in using it, add in gangs, crimes, vandalism and the cost of fixing the place and it was now just left aside and near forgotten. Basically the perfect place for a secret fight, especially one that might involve cape powers.

    Taylor waited, gathering her thoughts. Her new abilities seemed limitless, or at least they should be given what Terra knew about the Keyblade. They should allow a great number of versatility, add in having enough magical power or Light...maybe Heart energy? (things related to the metaphysical tended to be confusing), and you are practically a reality warper. The spell Haste alone was worth having as a cape power. It would allow her to finish up a lot of work, studying and even training, as it sped up everything about her; from her movement to her thoughts and metabolism. For a fight like this? It would more than even the odds.

    Taylor felt Sophia before she heard her, the energy within the dark skinned girl familiar enough for her to recognize.

    "Well, well you actually came and didn't chicken out." Came Sophia's voice from behind her.

    Taylor momentarily thought about whether Sophia happen to come from an entrance behind her, or specifically circled around to come from behind her, and scare her off.

    "What can I say," Taylor turn around to face her long time tormentor. Seeing that Sophia was alone only carrying a backpack, allowed Taylor mentally relaxed for a moment. Good, now she wouldn't have to deal with some fistfight that wouldn't help her that much in using her powers. Sure the experience would be good, but what she needed more, was getting her body used to using the Keyblade. "I'm done running."

    Taylor tensed her muscles, and jumped up toward Sophia. She brought her arms up and began to swing her arm downward. With a burst of light, the giant Keyblade manifested in her hand in mid-slash and was in range to catch Sophia in its motion.

    Sophia had noticed the way Taylor's body tensed. Having fought criminals both normal and parahuman for long enough to see when someone is about to attack. She didn't expect mousy Hebert to make the first move, but that doesn't mean she wasn't prepared. Before Taylor had began her jump, Sophia had dashed backwards, bringing her backpack in front of her, she phased her arm into misty shadow and took out her collapsible crossbow out of the backpack, arrow ammo filled and ready.

    She shot Taylor with a tranquilizer dart, feeling triumph as it hit, although a bit disappointed that it ended so soon. She didn't even need to use the few traps she laid around here.

    "Urrgh!" Taylor growled out as she the arrow slammed into her shoulder, forcing one hand to let go of the Keyblade that had hit empty ground. She gritted her teeth, feeling something from the arrowhead pushing into her. She looked up at Sophia to see her smirk, and back to the arrow, one that she vividly recognized from television and media. The dots connected in her mind.

    "You're Shadow Stalker," she tried to keep her voice even, but pain still slipped through. Taylor forced herself to stand straight, switch the Keyblade to the injured arm, and grasped the arrow with the healthy one.

    "The one and only," Sophia answered back. "Gotta admit, I wasn't sure if you had triggered, but even then I didn't think you would go for the kill from the get go." She said having noticed how the projected weapon's head had easily sunk through the ground.

    If it wasn't for the injury, Taylor could have sworn Sophia was talking with approval.

    "Wasn't going for a kill shot. Just a move to force you to use whatever power you had." Said Taylor. She began to feel her eyelids getting incredibly heavy, even though the hit was non-lethal and she was hardly losing blood.

    Tranquilizer.
    She realized.

    "Bullshit," Sophia sneered. "You're saying you called me out here, knowing I was Shadow Stalker? What? Do you really want the Protectorate and Wards after your head?"

    "Not that you were Shadow Stalker, although it explained near everything." Taylor held the arrow firmly, and with a grunt ripped it out.

    "You do know that will make you bleed, right?" Said Sophia, amused. "So you're saying you can sense if a person is a cape? Boy, that would put a target on your back." Sophia had swung the bag into her back, and stood waiting for Taylor to snooze off. "Also as a fresh cape, you should quickly learn up on the Unwritten Rules as a stunt like this would get you gunned at by everyone. Thankfully, I'm not gonna tell this time, because I'm nice like that."

    "One thing," Taylor gathered her magical energy, pushing away the effects of the drugs in her. Pulling the spell she needed from Terra's memories. "I now get...why...nothing happened no matter...how much," she gripped her Keyblade tighter, forcing pain through her arm, and keeping her awake long enough. "I complained. I'm not gonna even ask why you and Emma kept hounding me. You're a fucking bitch and that's how you get your rocks off."

    "Ha!" Sophia cackled. "Hebert finally swears and bites back. Maybe I should have brought Emma here."

    "What I want to know...is how you changed Emma like that?" It didn't matter much. Knowing that is. She had already come to peace with not knowing why Emma betrayed her. Knowing how people like Sophia and Xehanort corrupted people, their ways and methods, that would help in the long run. If Sophia gloated and told her though, that's a nice bonus, and if Sophia didn't tell, that's fine, she'll learn as she traveled. Ultimately though this was merrily a distraction. The spell was now ready.

    "I would tell you... if you had beaten me. Too bad, Hebert, lost your chance." Sophia then walked toward Hebert, standing at an arms distance, leaning in as if telling a secret. "I'll tell you think though, I never cared about you. I never forced Emma to keep beating on you. Pushing you down, tearing into you, oh yeah, that's fun. Momentary fun. I have other things to get to as you can see. Everything that happened, that was all Emma. I never pushed or encouraged her, I just told her how to be strong, and if you had nutted up and did the same, you could have avoided this whole hassle. So really, Hebert, its all your fault."

    Hearing Sophia's dismiss of her misery, the way the acted like the hell she leaved through so beneath her, it made up Taylor's mind. This was a training exercise for her powers.

    Now? She was going to deliver a smack down.

    Taylor cast her spell. She hadn't reached the level to use a spell wordlessly, but thankfully magic (and its fucking weird symbolism rules) only cared about the spell being called out, not how loud it was spoken.

    "Hmm? What was that? Are you crying, Herbert? Don't tell me you broke from just that? And you were doing so well." Sophia sigh dramatically. Secretly though, she was disappointed. For a moment, the scrawny girl looked like terrifying predator. Seems like it was just a heat of the moment thing, Hebert was still the same weak girl, except now she had a power to hide behind.

    Still, at least this would be a lesson for the girl, not to bite more than she could chew. After she's knocked out, she'll have to throw her somewhere safe till she woke up. Can't have the girl getting killed or raped on her conscious. Sophia doesn't help prey, people who just let things happen to thing, who just simply stand their and take it, acting "oh woe is me" disgusted her. However leaving them a chance to fight in this dog-eat-dog world was fair. If they lived? Good. If they died? At least they don't have to suffer anymore.

    Sophia met Taylor's gaze and found her instincts scream for her to be ready to fight.

    Taylor eyes glowed furious blue. They didn't hold look of a beaten down girl.

    "Esuna."
     
  4. Threadmarks: Chapter 2: Lullaby of Power
    Silver W. King

    Silver W. King King of Adventures

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    Chapter 2: Lullaby of Power


    [​IMG]


    With a burst of motion, Shadow Stalker phased into shadow state as she dashed back from the glowing Taylor Hebert.

    Taylor having now healed from the tranquilizers, swung her weapon and with its reach, grazing Sophia in her transformed state. Shadow Stalker found herself falling back to her normal form, feeling tired from the transformation, which shouldn't happen unless she had been using it for hours and hours on end. Even then it would have only caused her to feel that she had been using the same effort as walking to school, not like she had been jogging for a while.

    "Cure," Taylor called out with a slow voice, healing the small shoulder wound.

    "What the hell-" Sophia didn't have time to curse or complain, as Taylor raised the Keyblde next to her face, pointing it at Sophia. Following the inherited instincts and memory, she gathered her energy into her body and the tip of the Keyblade, and dashed forward. Her feet cracked the floor as she rushed forward, instantly crossing the distance between her and Shadow Stalker, Keyblade first.

    Shadow Stalker phased and jumped to the side. Taylor found a sweatshirt in her path, she swept it aside letting her body follow the motions and feel of her attack, by digging her foot into the ground, cracking the pavement again, twisting and thrusting once crossing the distance only to find a pair of jeans thrown at her. Again she swept it aside wondering why the fuck Sophia was throwing her clothes at her, before suddenly realizing Sophia might be naked right now. She hesitated for a moment before coming to the decision that she would attack Sophia no matter what fucked up mind games she was playing now.

    The hesitation however cost Taylor, as she twisted on her heel to turn and continue her attack, Shadow Stalker was in her face delivering an uppercut, breaking off Taylor's form and attack. Shadow Stalker then span, sending a spinning kick into Taylor's abdomen. And it looked like Sophia had her costume under her clothes the whole time.

    "Woohoo, Hebert!" Said Sophia as Taylor fell on her ass from the kick, only to use the momentum to roll with it and stood up again. "So you do have some spine after all." Sophia smiled like a shark. "Although," and with that she brought up her cape mask, and put it on. Her voice was different, modified by some of the tech in the mask. "if you keep this up, it won't be just a brawl and I'll have to take you in, Hebert." Shadow Stalker practically sang, knowing now that Taylor wouldn't stop without a fight. She was proven right when Taylor just gritted her teeth and glared at her.

    Good.
    Sophia grinned.

    Taylor brought up her Keyblade in a guard position. It seems this will be more of a challenge than she thought.

    Good. Now, let's try that again.
    Thought Taylor. Once more, she gathered her energy and repeated her dash Keyblade thrust attack. Again Shadow Stalker dodging having seen this pattern before and pointed her thinker crossbow at the seemingly predictable cape and fired. This time however, Taylor's attack stopped after one try, she had gathered more and more energy into her being, and let the memories flow through her. The Keyblade had a small yellow glow around it, she first slashed upward knocking the shadow-phased arrow from its path, then with familiar ease brought the weapon back down, letting the momentum carry it through multiple attacks left and right like a horizontal eight.

    Shadow waded through the crazy mad hacks and slashs. Hebert's attack was like a child throwing a tantrum, yet there was too much practice and coordination in the attack to be Taylor just throwing a fit hoping to hit something. Finally, Hebert seemed to slow down, only for her make another upward sweeping hit. Shadow Stalker phased out, she had been avoiding attacks so far due to not being sure of the weapon's interaction with her power from before, but it seemed like she had no choice now but to find out.

    The Keyblade hit the shadow-like mist, Sophia felt an odd ball of pressure in her "stomach" to go back to her normal form and pushed against it, forcing herself to stay in her breaker form. A downward attack followed, throwing Shadow Stalker's shadow form away from Hebert, followed by a jump spin attack with the Keyblade that left a trail of energy behind it. The pressure in her "stomach" keep rising higher and higher, Shadow Stalker felt like she might throw up in her shadow state, if that was even possible. Hebert jumped, the weapon's glow concentrating at the tip, ready to bring it down. Seeing a chance with Hebert in the air, Shadow Stalker dashed away clearing a wide distance in her made attempt to get away and fell back to her human form.

    Taylor brought her Keyblade down too late to hit Sophia, only managing to brutally hurt the pavement, leaving a small crater from the force and energy of her last attack. She looked at Sophia to see she had changed back to normal, holding her stomach like she's about to be sick.

    "The fuck did you do to me Hebert?" Sophia growled out, breathing heavily while shaking off distortion. "What the hell is that thing?"

    "It's called a Keyblade." Taylor raised her weapon to point at Sophia. "It's something to beat Villains, no matter how well their publicity is."

    "Ha," Shadow Stalker chuckled. "Easy with the cheesy self-righteous crap, or you're gonna start buying your own shit." After a moment, her breathing evened out and her stance was straight again. She still felt much more tired than she normally would be from using her transformation. More than she had ever been really.

    Guess I will use those traps after all.
    Thought Shadow Stalker.

    Taylor brought the Keyblade behind her, facing Sophia with her unarmed side in an attack stance. "Big talk, coming from the loser."

    Shadow Stalker smiled menacingly under her mask. She dashed into motion again running to the side. Taylor followed her action while moving closer to her. Suddenly Sophia stopped at one of the garage's pillars, shooting shadow-phased arrows from behind it, while keeping most of her body from view. Taylor dashed away from the path of the attack, heading toward Sophia who didn't move from her position. In her rush she never noticed the low tripwire on the ground, causing a smoke bomb to go off. The black gas quickly spread out, Taylor covered her nose and mouth, ready to call the Esuna spell at a moment's notice in case the gas was poisonous. She wouldn't put it past Sophia to do so.

    At the same time Shadow Stalker had phased into shadow, and jumped away, circling around and readied to hunt her prey. Now that she knew Hebert had a regenerative ability, she didn't need to hold back as much. She moved, shooting Hebert from the side, who somehow began jumping with a swan dive style, and rolled into a ball. Taylor landing in a crouch, all while holding her big ass projected weapon. She kept doing that while heading out of the smoke.

    It was... kinda fucking hilarious really, until Shadow Stalker realized that her arrow aren't doing anything while Hebert is in her hamster rolling mode. So she shot a few more arrows for show, and waited for her chance.

    Hebert got out of the smoke cloud, and just as she began to stand up an arrow burst out and hit her ankle.

    "Fuck!" Taylor shouted, falling to her knees. She griped the arrow, like before, pushing through the pain and ripped it out. "Cur-"

    Before she could cast the healing spell, Sophia had gotten a grenade she had hid around, got in close and threw it in Taylor's face. Taylor brought her Keyblade up to guard only for the bomb to let out an intense blinding light.

    A stun grenade! Why the fuck does she have a stun grenade?
    Taylor didn't have time to ponder these thoughts as she pressed her advantage. Sophia slammed Taylor with a haymaker making her hunch over, followed by an uppercut, throwing Taylor's head back.

    Not letting up, Shadow Stalker used her speed and experience, delivering one punch after another. Any feeble attempt by Taylor was met with Shadow Stalker turning to shadow and then using the agility of her Breaker form to evade the Keyblade at impossible angles.

    I can't hold this up.
    Feeling the breath knocked out of her, with no chance to get her grip or heal, Taylor threw all her power into one move in the pause between Sophia's attacks.

    "Haste!" Taylor cried out and the world slowed down, or rather she sped up. She could see Sophia's attacks now, she dodged by jumping, spinning, directing energy to the Keyblade and letting it slam into Sophia as she was falling.

    Shadow Stalker didn't anticipate the sudden increase in Hebert's speed and barely had time to phase before she was sent, literally, flying by Hebert's attack. She fell down landing on her feet and returned to normal. Her body felt stiff for a bit, difficult to move in. She wasn't sure if that was another ability of Hebert's weapon or what happens when she gets hit by it one too many times.

    "Cura," Shadow Stalker heard Hebert say some weird mumbo-jumbo, a green lightshow formed around her, and she was fine again, like she didn't have the stuffing beaten out of her for a while.

    Fucking regeneratives.
    Thought Shadow Stalker with a scoff. She a few more bombs laying around, she began planning how to lure Hebert into the containment foam one.

    This isn't working. Thought Taylor, finally catching her breath. She was healed, all her injuries gone. Add to that her new speed and she definitely had the upper hand on Sophia. But Terra's memories and instincts, as well as the past few times times she clashes with Sophia, told her to be careful. It is right at this moment that she might slip from something unexpected.

    Physical attacks aren't enough right now. I need...
    the answer quickly came to her. Attack Magic Spells.

    Calling on her power, Taylor raised the Keyblade to the air. "Thunder."

    Sophia looked at her, as if she was a moron before jumping back from the ring of electricity expanding from Taylor's position. The electric circle stopped way before reaching Sophia and lightening fell multiple times within the bounds of the ring.

    "That ..." Began Sophia, worry pulsed in her chest, yet she pushed through it. She isn't weak. So what if Hebert can call on lightning? "Was kinda pathetic. I mean, it's obvious as fuck to just get out of the circle to avoid it. Is everything you do gonna be something an eight year old can figure out?"

    Taylor's eyes narrowed. "Fine." She pointed the Keyblade again. "Blizzara."

    Sophia dodge as a large block of ice smashed into where she was, leaving a few blocks and a sheet of ice on the floor.

    "Missed me~" Shadow Stalker said in a singsong.

    "Firaga!" Taylor roared, and a condensed ball of heat and plasma flew toward Sophia who had already phased, dodge and returned to normal.

    "Missed-" Except the fireball followed after Shadow Stalker. "Oh come on!" Quickly turning to shadow she barely dodged the spell, which then hit the wall behind her and blasted off into an explosion.

    Leaving her Breaker state, Shadow Stalker saw Taylor with a grin of triumph this time.

    "That is fucking bullshit." Sophia spat out. "You didn't have the decency to be a normal grab-bag cape, you had to keep reaching back in to the power-bag and keep getting stuff."

    Taylor looked positively smug, at having gotten under Sophia's skin at the moment. However her feeling of victory was cut off, by the feel two pools of energy currently in the building and heading toward their location. It looked like she hadn't noticed them during the fight with Sophia.

    It must have shown on her face, as Sophia couldn't help not commenting on it.

    "Oh don't tell me, your power has a limit and you're gonna croak now." Said Shadow Stalker sound all too pleased with the possibility.

    "Two capes are coming here." Said Taylor.

    "What?" Sophia straightened up. "What game are you playing now, Hebert?"

    "No game," Taylor tense, looking at the direction the capes should arrive in, while keeping Sophia in her view. "Two capes, about to come from there."

    Sophia looked conflicted for a moment, keeping her eyes on Taylor for a while. Seeing that Taylor didn't change her stance, and hearing something clacking in the distance - footsteps, maybe - from the silence of them stopping their fight, Sophia dashed to her bag.

    "Here," she threw a domino mask at Taylor, who caught it looking at it in confusion. "Put it on. Don't mean much but should be enough for now. Unwritten Rules say you don't target a cape in their civil identity, but some fuckers don't care about that." Sophia paused for a moment. "This isn't over Hebert."

    "Wouldn't expect it to be." Taylor put the mask on, and focused on the new arrivals. It seemed the two capes split up, one of them heading to the entrance, while the other heading somewhere to the floor above them.

    Taylor and Shadow Stalker waited in nervous anticipation. They could now hear the footstep coming closer.

    The cape came into view. Their costume and look were good enough of an introduction.

    "Well, well what is this? Some noble spirit fighting for the cause, cleansing the world of nigger filth." Said Crusader in a disgustingly condescending tone, of one who thinks too highly of themselves.

    "Fuck you, asswipe! Oh wait, you already do that with your ghosts, don't you?" Shadow Stalker fired back.

    Crusader frowned like someone threw shit at him.

    "Vulgar and disgusting, then again, that wouldn't be surprising, considering what you are."

    Shadow Stalker flipped him off, beginning to show her extensive library of swear words.

    Crusader ignored her, as he faced Taylor.

    "So child, from the state of this place I can see that you endeavor to help the white race, against filth like her. If you ask, the Empire will surely help in your fight."

    Shadow Stalker stopped, looking at Hebert, worried for the first time one what the girl she once bullied might do. One-on-one she can handle, but add in Crusader and whoever he brought (if what Hebert said is true), and things got... difficult. Her hand inconspicuously went to the phone in her bag, ready to call for backup.

    "No." Taylor said without pause or hesitation, letting Sophia breath easier, even if Taylor didn't notice that. "This is a private matter. It is none of your business, and frankly your racism disgusts me."

    "You say that, and yet isn't it this black miscreant that had wronged you?"

    "Don't talk like you know me," Taylor words were lanced with power, opposing Crusader and making him feel that his persuasion won't work at the moment.

    "Very well," sounding very disappointed. "But this is Empire territory and for a sister of the race I will give you a safe leave, but her..." he said facing Shadow Stalker. "She needs a lesson on entering a place belonging to her betters."

    "Bring it asshole!" With a few button press, Shadow Stalker called for help and shoved her phone back in her bag. Now she just needs to hold on long enough till the PRT arrived.

    Taylor stepped up next to Shadow Stalker.

    "You would help her!?" Again, Crusader had his shit sniffing face on.

    "Oi, this isn't a kiddy game like before. This shit is real, Keyblade." Said Shadow Stalker.

    Taylor blinked at the name, before answering casually. "Please, I was wiping the floor with you." To which Shadow Stalker just snorted. " And I hate people like him more than I hate people like you. You're just a fucked up psycho, he's a nazi. You don't compare."

    "Aww, thanks, Key~"

    Taylor felt like she tasted something sour, from how friendly Sophia sounded just then.

    "I see. A poor choice, but kids need to be punished when they make a wrong choice." Said Crusader. "Go ahead." He said to a microphone in his mask.

    The ceiling broke, crashing into a hundred pieces as a girl standing on one of the broken pavements as a flying platform, entered the parking lot.

    "OH YEAH!"

    ==========​


    The sudden rocks from above would have caught Taylor by surprise, had she not known that a second cape was one floor up. She began running, bringing her Keyblade up to guard or parry boulders thrown at her. As a more seasoned cape Shadow Stalker was more prepared, turning into shadow and lunging for what she saw as the bigger threat, Crusader. Taylor dashed toward Shadow Stalker, wanting to aid her against the more dangerous cape. Rune however had other ideas.

    "Nope~!"

    Taylor found a few rocks speeding after her, she could also see a few circling around to attack her from other directions. Taylor halted, changed direction and dashed toward the bricks behind her. She jumped over them, slashing and breaking them into tinier pieces as she went overhead.

    "I can still control them, you dumbass!" Rune gestured toward broken rocks, trying to fly them toward the key wielding cape. "The fuck!?" Only to find that the rocks broken by Taylor were no longer under her control. "What did you do, bit-" Rune was cut off, quickly moved to dodge a fireball hurled at her. "What the hell?" Rune now found herself as the one being chased by a projectile. She threw some of the rocks under her control to intercept the flaming sphere, causing it to erupt in a bright explosion.

    Meanwhile Shadow Stalker was firing her arrows at Crusader. He easily intercepted them with his ghosts, letting them take the hits and sending them in droves after the Ward. Shadow Stalker tried to run and shoot at the nazi cape hoping to luring him to one of the traps she had laying around, but annoyingly Crusader used one of his ghosts to fly around and attack her with his projections while he stayed at a safe distance.

    "You ghost chicken shit," Shadow Stalker shouted before phasing into shadow and dodging another swipe by a Crusader ghost. While the projected ghosts couldn't harm her in her shadow state, they can inject force on her transformed state to push her away, and with enough of them around her they can box her in, till she turns back and left at their mercy.

    Crusader scoffed, saying nothing, as though talking to a black girl was beneath him. He continued sending his ghosts after her, knowing that eventually the dirty colored girl would slip. He also sent a few ghosts against the other cape, seeing no reason to spare her, and to assist Rune in finishing things quickly at her end.

    Taylor kept throwing the Firaga spell after Rune who replied with her own boulder, causing them to reenact a beautiful game of death tennis, where the object is not to let the balls of rocks or fire hit you. Her senses screamed in danger and Taylor jumped and rolled to the side to avoid a slash by a ghost sword. She cursed under her breath and prepared to fight both Rune and Crusader's ghosts.

    Shadow Stalker took a quick glance at Taylor's battle before phasing and dashing away again from the ghosts' assaults.

    Right, she needs an assist, but can't exactly shout a plan at her... or can I?
    Behind her mask, the Ward grinned.

    "Keyblade, close your eyes!" She shouted and fired an arrow toward Taylor's fight and at Crusader while dashing away to one of her hidden grenades.

    Taylor had quickly followed the command expecting another flashbang, while Rune turned away covering herself with a few flat rocks. Crusander had also bunkered himself with his ghosts having them form a body made phantom wall around him.

    Naturally nothing happened.

    Rune slowly removed her cover, and Taylor opened her eyes, both looking annoyed. Crusader also was not amused.

    "Despicable little-" Before Crusader could say anything Shadow Stalker fired another arrow in Rune and Taylor's direction and threw the grenade in her hand at the nazi. Shadow Stalker had hid a stun grenade high on one of the pillar near where Taylor and Rune's fight was taking place. The timing wasn't perfect, but both stun grenades went off, causing Rune and Taylor to cry out at the explosion of light and sound. Shadow Stalker then fired a dart at another hidden bomb, causing a smoke screen to start rolling in.

    And now only the containment foam bomb is left. Better make it count.
    Shadow Stalker left that last grenade in her backpack, which she had been carrying for a while now. She quickly took out the bomb, using its handle to place it on one of the hooks in her costume. She ran to Taylor's side hoping the girl's regeneration would take care of any temporary blindness.

    "Esuna, what the fuck, So- Shadow Stalker!?" Taylor rounded on the dark hero when she saw her.

    "I did say to keep your eyes closed," the Ward answered cheekily. "Anyways, let's take out the mini-nazi before going about big ghostfucker-" Shadow Stalker was shoved away by Taylor. Before she could shout at ungrateful bitch, she saw Taylor bring up her weapon to block an attack by one of the ghost. "No, dodge!" She knew the ghost can choose when to become corporeal and when to affect object. The phantom sword would go through Taylor's weapon and cut into her.

    CLANG!


    To the shock of Shadow Stalker and Crusader, the Keyblade stopped the ghost blade.

    With a battle cry, Taylor parried the sword upward, before spinning and slashing the ghost torso. Again defying expectation, Taylor's projected weapon didn't harmlessly pass through the ghost. The Keyblade cut the ghost in half, breaking and dispelling it.

    "GAAAAAAAH!" Crusader screamed, taken aback by the phantom pain transmitted to him from his ghost's death. The pain wasn't as bad as a real slash to the stomach would have been, but the suddenness in which it came, was what took him by surprise. Crusader looked at Taylor, now with rage and wariness in his eyes. He wouldn't make the mistake of taking her lightly anymore. "Rune! Bring it down!"

    Taylor and Shadow Stalker looked toward the teenage nazi, having lost her in the confusion.

    "Aye, aye sir!" Rune had been flying for the while now, was quite a bit away from Taylor and Shadow Stalker, standing within the hole she entered from. "Hey Stalker," Rune smirked, "As your people like to say, GET LOW!"

    A rumble took over the place and cracks began to appear on the ceiling and the garage pillars. Taylor and Shadow Stalker didn't wait, a moment, they ran toward one of the exits. Of course, Shadow Stalker couldn't leave without a parting "HA! YOU LISTEN TO RAP? GIVE BACK YOUR NAZI CARD, BITCH!"

    The rumbling continued and soon the entire floor broke to pieces falling down, and of course the ceiling was falling as a wave toward the two hero-ish capes.

    "FUCK!" Shouted Shadow Stalker. Not only was the ceiling collapsing toward them, but the exit they where heading to was blocked by the boulder. Shadow Stalker unclasped her foam grenade ready to use it on Taylor. The foam should form fast enough to envelop her and protect her from the pavement avalanche. Her plan was halted with Taylor's next words.

    "Turn shadow." The certainty in her voice convinced Shadow Stalker that Taylor had a plan.

    As she was fighting, Taylor had been dragging more and more of Terra's memories up, looking at them and reviewing them. There were many combat skills and spells, even combinations. There were abilities for offense, defense and support. And within those large reservoir of abilities, were the Ultimate-class Magic Spell.

    Taylor drew on her magical energy, gathering it up quickly in a ferocious need. She brought her Keyblade in front of her and spoke the words.

    "Mega Flare."


    Blinding fire engulfed everything.
     
  5. Threadmarks: Chapter 3: Will Rising
    Silver W. King

    Silver W. King King of Adventures

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    Chapter 3: Will Rising

    [​IMG]


    So that's what being inside a nuclear explosion is like.


    Upon Taylor unleashing her latest attack, Sophia had well and truly though the scrawny girl had snapped and now everyone, excluding herself, was going to die. Well okay, she obviously snapped already due to having triggered, but she meant that this fight made her snap in a none-trigger-fashion, just being really pissed off, and was going on a burn-the-world spree. Sophia had those sometime, but she never acted on them. Of course, she never had the power to fart nuclear fire like Behemoth at will, either.

    At first a ball of light and heat, the size of a basketball gathered at the tip of Taylor's weapon. In milliseconds it expanded, evaporating the wave of falling debris and continuing on engulfing the screaming Rune. Shadow Stalker being near the epicenter of the blast had a spectacular view of the whole event.

    I can now add "Seeing the inside of a nuclear blast" to my bucket list and check it.
    Though Sophia with a mental chuckle.

    Just as quickly as it started, the sphere of fire stopped, and disappeared all together. Sophia waited for the heat and light to die down before turning back to normal. She saw that the blast extended to more than fifty feet from where she was. The ceiling and the ground of the floor above it were practically gone, although the hole in the second ceiling was smaller than the one in the first. The ground was heavily indented, but not burned away like the surroundings and ceiling, except for a small part Taylor was standing on like it was a pedestal.

    If that is her power specifically acting like that... then its classy as fuck.


    "Holy shit, Key." Sophia looked around, at the transformed environment. "Seriously, holy shit."

    Taylor's arm fell forward, she still held onto the Keyblade letting the tip rest on the ground for support. She was heavily panting, the spell having took a lot out of her.

    Sophia then looked at her costume in exaggeratingly appreciative way. "And not a speck of dust on the Amazing Pantheress. Shadow Stalker one, nuclear explosion zero."

    During their banter, Sophia looked around seeing no sign Crusader, concluding that he is either dead or ran away.

    "Did...you just call yourself 'the Amazing Pantheress'?" Asked Taylor, she dismissed her weapon, stood up straight once more, her energy rapidly returning.

    Before Sophia could retort, they both heard a cough and whine from toward the edge of the crater, they saw Rune moving and trying to stand. She failed constantly, from the pain. As they stood near her they saw costume mostly intact, but charred in many places, while she suffered from first and second degree burn all over.

    "Okay, I'm pretty fucking sure you don't have a Brute power, so how the fuck are you alive?" Asked Shadow Stalker.

    "Whi...te... Pow..er...bitch!" Rune said giving up her attempts to stand or get away, and just glared at her adversaries.

    "I can control the degree to which my spells can affect people or things. I wanted to blow away the rocks and you out of the fight, not kill you. So you didn't get the whole effect, just part of it." Clarified Taylor.

    "Bullshit, just fucking bullshit." Said Shadow Stalker shaking her head. "And really, 'spells'?"

    "You have a better explanation?"

    Before Shadow Stalker could retort Rune began coughing again.

    "Curaga." Taylor pointed her weapon at the fallen Rune, and cast her spell, causing imagery of flowers and green light to appear and circle around the nazi cape for a bit before disappearing. Near instantly, nearly all her wounds and burns disappear in a powerful regeneration effect. Taylor used the spell again and any sign that Rune was injured was her burned out outfit.

    "Okay, that's it." Shadow Stalker threw her hands in the air. "On top of all that crap, you can heal yourself and others. You didn't just keep stealing powers from the grab-bag powers, you stole the bag itself." Shadow Stalker brought her gun to Rune as she sat up. "And don't even think about moving your pebbles. She can heal you, that means I can put arrows in you without having to worry now. Hands on your lap, milkshake."

    "Fuck you, nigger bitch!" Rune however complied seeing how outnumbered and heavily outgunned she was. Taylor focused her gaze Rune, also watching her.

    "Hey, do you have anything in your powers to hold her, while I make the call." Shadow Stalker said with a chuckle, while was about to start digging into her bag for a zip tie.

    Taylor pointed her Keyblade again at Rune who flinched back.

    "Bind." A circle of yellow light with small arcs of electricity flew around Rune, who found herself paralyzed.

    Shadow Stalker looked at the spectacle, before muttering under her breath and took out her phone to call it in.

    Taylor kept her eye on Rune who just sat still unmoving expect her head.

    "The Empire will be gunning for you now, you know that right?" Said Rune.

    Shadow Stalker kept her eye on Hebert and Rune but focused on her call.

    "So what, they are after any new cape." Said Taylor.

    Rune snorted. "With everything you were throwing around, they'll tell you to either join up or they'll take you out if you start being noisy."

    "The nazi shitstain is actually right." Said Shadow Stalker having finished her call. Rune shot back her own curse. "You should lay low for a while. I would give you the 'join the Wards' if I was feeling like vomiting and puking at the same time, but it is the only other safe option you have. Or join the other big gang, but you're not Asian, or do you have shapeshifting powers too?" Shadow Stalker said in joking, while looking at Taylor expecting her to pull a shapeshifting power up.

    "I'm not joining the Wards." Taylor said pointedly, glaring at Shadow Stalker.

    "You won't be missing out on much." The Ward shrugged. Taylor had to wonder if Sophia just didn't get why she wouldn't join the Wards, or if she thought what happened between them was water under the bridge. "Say, did you get Crusader and not dial down the heat on him?"

    "He was out of the blast range. Fucker ran away, but with Keygirl here, he's gonna be back and with droves of E88 capes to deal with you." Said Rune, trying to sound threatening.

    "How can you be okay with your friends leaving you like you were? Crusader couldn't have known I could or would heal you." Asked Taylor, she couldn't believe the way the Empire cape abandoned his ally, or the causal way Rune was accepting it.

    "We have Othala, or the PRT would get me Panacea." Rune shrugged. "Either way I would have been fine. As for Crusader? Ghost-fuck doesn't see me as officially Empire yet, so he left rather than fight a mini-Behemoth."

    Taylor stood quiet, not knowing what to say. Is this how all gangs acted? Why do people join them then?

    "Doesn't matter anyways, PRT will be here soon and the E88 wouldn't be able to come here fast enough." Said Shadow Stalker, finding a wall close by and leaning against it.

    "We were heading toward a meeting when we heard the noise you were making. Crusader has some tinkertech in his mask. He probably recorded the fight and will show it to Kaiser. If you wait for the PRT you're gonna be fucked with swords, Keygirl." Said Rune starting to sound amused rather than frightened.

    Shadow Stalker was about to mouth off against Rune, when Taylor stepped in sounding dangerously interested.

    "Meeting?"

    ==========​


    "You do realize you're completely fucking insane, right?" Said Shadow Stalker.

    Shadow Stalker had tranq'ed Rune, leaving her unconscious with her hands and feet tied and away from the ground. Add in Taylor's Bind spell and it was safe to carry and leave her in front of the building without too much worry.

    Before that though, Taylor and Shadow Stalker engaged in a bit of creative talk to get the location of the Empire Eighty-Eight's current meeting warehouse. While it wouldn't mean much, as the E88 circles where they gather in their territory when they need such a meeting and at best would allow the PRT & Protectorate to catch only a few of the Empire capes by ambushing them after the meeting.

    Taylor however had a different idea.

    "I mean, what do you expect to happen? Do you think you could just go there and go 'Oh hey Nazis, I would really appreciate it if you let me just grab Kaiser here and give him to the PRT, okay? Thaaaaanks'. Yeah, that ain't gonna fucking happen."

    Taylor offered the idea that capturing the E88 leader from within the gang's territory would be a major blow to them. Not only that, but with him gone the Empire would crumple on itself.

    "Key, you have some firepower, that doesn't make you Lung. Hell, even that fucking lizard didn't try to do this shit." Said Shadow Stalker.

    Taylor had a good reason to head toward such danger. She had thought on her fight with Sophia and the neo-nazi cape. She was drawing on more of Terra's power, but it felt like it wasn't enough. There was still a lot more to pull up. Yes, taking on the E88 full on is insane, but so are the dangers she had to prepare to, to face Xehanort. She could feel it in her heart and from the Keyblade Wielder's memories that he was more dangerous than any gang. After all, being able to command someone who can fill up entire worlds with monsters, that has to make Xehanort on the same level as an Endbringer, right?

    The Empire is definitely not at that threat level. She she would attack them in their home, where they think they are safe, and rip apart their morale by taking their leader right in the middle of them.

    "What does this matter to you?" Taylor finally asked. "And why are you coming with me?"

    "Oh, I don't care." Shadow Stalker said in good cheer. "I do however want to see you nuke some nazis. That is something I don't want to miss." Shadow Stalker said with a wide grin under her mask.

    Taylor wanted to hit Sophia with her Keyblade, but held her irritation inside and told herself to focus it on the Empire when she meets them.

    They reached the meeting place easily enough, only slightly winded. Shadow Stalker's Breaker state allowing her to cover large distance without a problem, and Taylor's Haste spell made traveling easier. Taylor also noticed that she easily jumped across rooftops without any tripping, or loss of balance or strain on her legs upon landing.

    They stood on a building next to the warehouse, seeing a few E88 thugs standing outside as scouts.

    "So, what's your plan here?" Asked Sophia.

    "Reflect." Muttered the spell and a transparent hexagon ball of energy surrounded her. "I'm going crash in."

    "Crash? What did you-" Sophia didn't have time to ask, as Taylor went to the edge of the roof they were on for a running start, and sprinted toward the warehouse.

    Taylor reached the edge of the roof, gathered her energy once more and kicked off, jumping right through the air, heading to the heart of the warehouse.

    She summoned her Keyblade as she descended, and brought it down breaking through the warehouse's roof and headed straight down. There were shouts and cries of surprise as she landed in the middle of the place, surrounded by astonished, wary and pissed off gangbangers and capes of the E88.

    Taylor quickly scanned the crowd, already seeing the capes prepare and circle her, while the normal thugs brought out their guns and weapons. She saw Kaiser, sittng on an iron throne like he was a king. Arrogant asshole like she had heard from many people, but annoyingly he pulled it off. She faced him, raised her Keyblade pointing at him and spoke, her voice lanced with power and echoing across the building.

    "Kaiser! You're under arrest, I'm bringing you in!"

    Silence greeted her.

    Someone chuckled. Followed by another and another. Soon laughter rang all around Taylor, yet she didn't let her stance and determination falter.

    "Keyblade, correct?" Kaiser finally spoke. "Crusader has told me about you." Now that he mentions it, that is Crusader next to Kaiser looking heavily singed. "You came here into the heart of my people, all of these good men and women with a place to belong in this dangerous world we live in, and you would threaten them all, even threaten me."

    He's being charismatic, making me feel guilty and stupid for rushing in, all at the same time.
    If he wasn't the leader of a neo-nazi group and she was too pumped up on her momentum, it would have been possible for her to be impressed and feel foolish.

    "You and Lung are the only ones making living here dangerous." Taylor fell back into a combat stance, and called on her magic. "So I'm taking you both out, starting with you." She didn't let the conversation continue any further, the more it went on, the more they prepared and the more Kaiser would try to pull her in with his spiel.

    So, I'll pull you in.


    "That is unfortunate." Kaiser sighed as though feeling genuinely disappointed.

    "Magnet!" Taylor pumped her Keyblade into the air and called out her spell. A transparent sphere with a pink-redish glow within manifested.

    Sadly, Kaiser wasn't caught off guard having seen Taylor preparing to act. All the E88 normals found their weapons and pieces of metal being pulled from them, linking and sticking to a flying sphere of magic. Hookwolf found himself being dragged as well when he began transforming. Kaiser wasn't affected, having bolted himself with his armor to the ground. The few metal crate around whined under the spell's pull but ultimately stayed in place.

    "Very well the, if you want to lead a foolish life, then I will send you to a foolish death. Kill her." Said Kaiser.

    Taylor found her Reflect sphere becoming visible and vibrating. She didn't know what attack this was or where it was coming from. Cricket tsk'd at her sound attack not getting through.

    Kaiser didn't even order the normal thugs to fall back, they did so having gotten used to cape fights. Crusader's ghosts came again, only for the Reflect spell kept them at bay. Fenja and Menja took Kaiser's side, prepared to defend him.

    Taylor gathered her Heart's energy again, preparing the spell to end it all.

    "Mega
    -

    Only for everything to fall apart. The Reflect sphere broke as a figure crashed through it moving at sound-breaking speeds. If Taylor could spare the thought, she would wonder how is it that no one kept their eyes on Night, allowing her to transform.

    Victor was mouthing something to Othala as she moved back, having done her part in the fight by giving Night super-speed, to add to his abilities.

    A sentient mist quickly surrounded the Keyblade Wielder, forcing her to inhale it and melt her insides.

    "Esuna!" Taylor cried out and Fog found himself thrown out of Taylor's body, yet the damage he left was still there. She pushed through it, calling on her energy and spinning causing a whirlwind that pushed the surrounding capes away, giving her some breathing room. "Curag-"

    Taylor quickly tried to cast her healing spell, only for Night to crash into her again, sending her flying. Taylor thought things couldn't get any worse, and then realized what she thought.

    The Magnet spell ended, letting all the weapons fall and allowing Hookwolf enter the fight. Metal blades formed from his body as Hookwolf charged at Taylor who landed from Night's attack, quickly getting on her strained feet and barely brought up her Keyblade to hold back Hookwolf's blow. He kept transforming further and pushing her back. Her body ached, her chest and insides were burning, and she could feel blood coming up her throat. She needed a breather to heal.

    Taylor dug her feet into the ground, stopping Hookwolf's charge, pushed hiss metal arm up, and swung the Keyblade upward into him. Many would expect the hit to be superficial. They would be wrong. Hookwolf was launched into the air, and Taylor followed her body's motion to jump with enough speed to appear teleporting and uppercut him with the Keyblade multiple times, before smacking him back down.

    As she fell she found her breathing room. "Curaga!" A green light illuminated her and wounds were gone, her body sore but recovered.

    Taylor then saw a ginormous sword slash down on her. Her energy came to her, allowing her to block the sword with her Keyblade and for her arms to not be vaporized the force of the blow. Fenja had joined the fight.

    Sadly, Taylor only blocked the blade, not its decent. She found her body smacked down onto one of the metal crates, leaving an imprint on it. She gathered her energy, preparing to push and throw off Fenja and her sword.

    Right then, a sword erupted from next to Taylor cutting through her body from the side and her back. More swords appeared piercing through her legs and shoulders. One sword pierced through her right lung and another through her heart. Her mind quickly moved trying to think of how this could have happened. She lost track of Kaiser. She could see him now, coming toward her as she was pinned down.

    She tried to cast her strongest spell so far, mouth the words, but then the air was taken out of her lungs. Stormtiger, she realized.

    "It is truly a shame." Kaiser said as he stepped forward. "You would have been a fine addition to the Empire, but you chose to childishly assault us right in the middle of our gathering. I would applaud your bravery, if it wasn't so tainted with youthful naivety. Did you think we would cuddle you because you were a child? Crusader told me of your abilities, did you think you would get the chance to use them?" At some point Fenja had removed her blade and started to shrink down.

    Taylor wanted to breath, her mouth moved but precious air was denied her. The sword in her body kept her in place, and sapped the life from her, as the blood-loss accumulated, along with the internal bleeding, and punctured heart and organs.

    "Truly, such a shame." Seeing her weapon, Kaiser bent down and took it from her hands, only for it disappear in a flash of light. He gave a curious hmm and turned back, ignoring Taylor's glare as he headed toward his steel chair. "Alright, the excitement is over. We'll have to reschedule this meeting. Bring the car around and let's go." Kaiser said to one of his subordinates, treating the fighting with Taylor like a nice distraction.

    Taylor laid their gasping air that would never come. Pain lanced through her body and her brain started to slow down.

    She was dying. The thought came to her.

    She was dying?

    From this?


    Compared to everything Terra faced. Compared to the Unversed, to Master Eraqus, to the thousands of worlds that are now suffering because of Xehanort. This should be nothing.

    So why did she lose? Why does everything hurt?

    Compared to the Endbringers, to worlds suffering from endless monsters, to the Slaughterhouse Nine and Darkness corrupting and devouring people's hearts. This should be nothing.

    There are hundreds of worse things, beings and causes of suffering in the universe, because the worlds are much bigger than that. She saw it through Terra's eye. All the strife and wars in her tiny world can't compare to the wars that ripped worlds and galaxies apart.

    And yet she is dying from this one pitiful gang in her small pitiful city? They are nothing!


    "No."

    Kaiser stopped talking to his underling. So had everyone who begun to mill around and work on cleaning things up and leaving—safe Stormtiger who was making sure she dies, while causally striking up a conversation. All of them stopped. Her voice, even when it shouldn't be possible for her to speak, rang out. There was no air, and yet her voice was heard all the same.

    "Stormtiger?" Questioned Kaiser.

    "I'm not giving her any air." Stormtiger replied, surprise coloring his tone.

    "This is not over!"

    A pillar of light exploded from Taylor's place on the ground, throwing back Stormtiger and pushing the E88 gangsters, cape and surrounding debris away from her.

    "Fall back and prepare!" Shouted Kaiser, and quickly the E88 members began to move and mobilize once again.

    The light began to die down, and a figure became visible.


    [​IMG]


    In Taylor's place was a cape in armor. Black leather-like material covered her body, and over it was armor colored in gold and red, protecting her.

    Taylor empowered by Terra's armor, gripped the Keyblade to stand facing Kaiser once more.

    "Not when I've only just begun."
     
  6. Threadmarks: Chapter 4: A New Familiar Star
    Silver W. King

    Silver W. King King of Adventures

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    The old wizard, Yen Sid, was unable to help but feel his age drag onto him. The machinations of Xehanort had proven too subtle, too malicious in their nature for the aged wizard to fully anticipate.

    His latest scheme of interrupting Sora and Riku's test before it even began, showed how terrifying devious the Seeker of Darkness was. He was always ten steps ahead of them. Yes, the warriors of Light had pull through and gain victory again and again, yet it always seemed to have been barely enough.

    Their latest ordeal is a testament to that. The losses they have suffered; it pained him just to think about them.

    In theory Xehanort shouldn't have any future knowledge to lean on, or manipulate the destiny of, yet that was in no way comforting.

    Yen Sid had already began Kairi's training as a Keyblade Wielder, and that had brought about unexpected, but most welcome, results.

    But it wasn't enough. The Guardians of Light needed something more. Another card in their fold that would allow them to stand once more on equal footing to Xehanort and his Seekers of Darkness.

    As the old wizard continued to think and ponder the future, a miraculous sight appeared before him.

    Upon the vast sky a new star was born.

    A star shone with familiar light once thought to be lost forever.

    Could it be? Has Terra escaped the heart of the abyss and returned?

    No.

    The Light was similar to the fallen Keyblade Wielder, yet the star was of different origin and position, thus a different destiny.

    Most intriguing but even more, it was a chance.

    A chance for new Light to bring about new hope.

    Yen Sid called upon his former apprentice, for action needed to be taken, and a new Keyblade Wielder needed to be initiated to the vast cosmos they are now a part of.

    ==========​


    Sophia Hess was a creature of hate.

    She hated how her powers had arbitrary weaknesses like electricity and toxic gas or chemicals that affected her body. She hated the Protectorate and their obsession with PR. She hated the Wards and how they are managed with kids glove, with everyone trying not to act like they were child soldiers when that's what they are and need to be, in a shit hole like Brockton Bay. Don't even get her started on this fucked up infected scum fest of a city. People were sheep, just hoping and begging that the gangs don't notice them, while licking the "Heroes" boots in gratitude for being there, even when the "Heroes" were completely fucking useless. She hated how gangsters, murders and rapist could just do whatever they pleased and walk in the sunlight like they had the right to belong in the world.

    Thub-dub.

    She hated the stuck up kids that couldn't imagine, having having a mother whose boyfriend is a fucking stoner that was robbing their families, and couldn't do anything about it without ending up in jail. She hated the ass kissing little shits, who were more like rats looking for any scraps from their betters, no matter how degraded they were forced to act. Even more, she hated the victims who are so sure of how bad their lives were, that they don't even try to fight back, same as those who stood to the side and acted like they saw nothing and heard nothing.

    It is any wonder that Sophia used to hate Taylor Hebert, the skinny little girl who didn't defend herself even when her life was on the line (Sophia could imagine how the locker could have turned out very differently, how more extreme the result of the prank could have been, rather than Hebert's one day at the hospital). She actually stopped caring about the girl a long time ago, rough housing her just became a routine part of the day due to Emma. Wake up, go to school, shit on Hebert, listen to boring lessons, do classwork, lunch, shit on Hebert, classwork again, leave school, Wards bullshit, maybe some excitement if she was lucky, and go home (Sophia ignored that halfass shit team exercises whenever she could help it). So really, the girl was just background noise at that point. Then the locker happened, and out of that came something completely unexpected and interesting.

    Yes, she "used to" hate Hebert's guts while also trying to ignore that the girl existed, till Emma brought her up again. But now? Now things where different.

    The simple fact was, most times people stayed the same regardless of getting a cape power or not. If they were prey before, they would remain as prey even after gaining power, only now using said power to hide from the giant predator.

    Hebert however didn't do that. The very next day, she returned and immediately started fighting back. Maybe, her power came with another personality? Maybe she finally let go of that bullshit about standing on the "higher moral ground". Or maybe that was her true self all along?

    Sophia snorted. Yeah, right.

    No. Hebert broke and then in a phenomenally record time, remade herself, better and stronger than she ever were before. It wasn't her throwing her power around that caught Sophia's attention or how bullshit her power grew. It was the way Hebert went about with her powers. Hebert got powers, so she decided to leave Winslow and everyone in it behind, cutting off the weak links in her life. She felt that Sophia was a cape, so she decided to call her out for a fight, not even giving herself time to experiment with her new powers to find out what she can do.

    No, Hebert didn't procrastinate, she leaped into action.

    Fuck, Sophia couldn't remember the last time she felt this excited, or having this much fun. Finally, someone that fought back. Someone that became strong.

    Thub-dub.


    Crusader and Rune came around, and Hebert went straight up against them. No "its not my fight", no "let's talk about this" or even care that she would be helping Sophia of all people. Hebert saw the Villains and didn't stand aside, she went up and fought them.

    That's what the fucking Heroes were suppose to be.

    Hebert didn't placate or turn her eyes away from something wrong in front of her, and when she realized her powers were even stronger than she first thought, she headed out straight for the big Brockton Bay nazi kingpin. She didn't wait to think it through and let her doubts start fucking her up and make her chicken out. She didn't give them time to hear about her and prepare. She went straight into viper's pit and wrestled with the snakes. She didn't let Kaiser and his goons psyche her out, or ambush her. She fought and fought, not stopping, surrendering or asking for mercy. She was someone Sophia wouldn't have minded having as a partner.

    And now she's dying.

    Sophia looked on as Taylor was impaled by Kaiser's sword while Stormtiger cut off her air. Sophia looked on as another worthy predator, a fighter, went out in fire and blaze. The way things should be and yet...

    And this fuck up world takes away something again. Something good. Just like they took-

    Sophia ripped up the thought before it could form. Her anger was back. The bitter calm seething was like an old familiar pain. It was surprising that it was gone as long as it did.

    Hebert laid there dying, while the E88 just went about their business, trying to act like they didn't get shat on for a while and weren't terrified of a new cape possibly blowing them all up.

    Sophia only came to watch. It's not like she and Hebert were friends, or could have even ended up as friends. She wasn't so stupid as to ignore the past, and yet...

    Thub-dub.

    Sophia scoffed at the odd sense of melancholy.

    She brought out her phone, and made the call to the PRT.

    "Hello, this is the designated phone of-"

    "Shadow Stalker, code 88V2GH-YMCA."

    "Confirmation code recognized. Nice to meet you, Shadow Stalker. Is there-"

    "Okay look, you're obviously new so I'll make this quick. Don't chat with me. I don't do chats. Lock on to my location here at the north-west of the docks. There is a warehouse the Empire is gathering at. A shitton of them. Look like they were having a meetin, or a party or some shit. An unknown cape was fighting them, but they didn't make it and-"

    "No."

    She heard it. A voice that echoed like metal whining under stress as it vibrated. It was Hebert's voice, raging and defiant.

    "This is not over!"

    A massive column of light exploded from Hebert's position, and from it Taylor appeared once more like a judge from hell in black, gold and red armor about to share some of Hitler's spanking time with the rest of the neo-nazis.

    "Not when I've only just begun."

    The revived armored Taylor, floated in mid-air, the image in tranquility. Then she moved and everyone's shit was fuck up. She slammed once into Kaiser throwing him back into his iron chair, cracking his armor, and denting him into his chair, making him appear like an adult sitting in one of those safety chairs for babies at fast food restaurants.

    The E88 capes moved again. Night dash at Taylor's back, only for her weapon to transform into some sort of whip, wrap around the monstrous cape and slam her into Hookwolf. Then she let go of Night and fired a giant ice boulder at the monstrous cape, freezing her into a cape-popsicle. Fog and Crusader attacked, the mist cape surrounding Taylor, while the phantoms attack her from all sides and were hidden within the fog. Taylor simply waved her weapon as though using her Keyblade to bitchslap a fly and Fog collectively flew away while crashing back into human form, holding his chest and stomach in pain.

    "Hehehe..." Sophia felt a grin stretch across her face. "Hehehe..." She just couldn't help it. Yes, predator hunt prey, but sometimes, "hahahahahahaha!" It means shit all against a predator that breaks the ecosystem. "Hahahahahahaha!"

    Thub-dub.

    Cricket went to Othala for a power-up, and dashed toward Taylor with her limbs on fire. Taylor split her Keyblade into two giant gauntlets on top of her already armored arms, and teleported in front of the sound using cape, greeting Cricket with a massive fist.

    "-Stalker! Shadow Stalker, do you copy!?"

    Oh right. The bitch was still on the phone.

    "Ahahaha, oh, oh boy. Yes, yes, I fucking hear you. Correction; An unknown cape is fighting the Empire right now. All of them. Yes, I did say that. Send back up to my location. I'll see if I can keep the cape alive. Bye."

    "Shadow Stalker, wait! Please do not-"

    Click!

    Sophia closed her phone and then hid it on the rooftop she was on, the PRT can follow the tracking signal to it, and she won't have to listen to annoying distractions.

    Right, that's it.

    This? What Taylor was doing? Cleaning house on the nazi Empire like that?

    Taylor engaged Cricket, the nazi cape barely able to dodge with her life, her fire attacks combined with her soundwaves doing jack and shit all to the armored Taylor. Alabaster joined the fray, having gained a super-strength power from Othala to complement his resetting regeneration. Taylor's weapon rejoined into one, become a drill attached to her arm, that she thrust into Alabaster's torso, blowing him back and through an iron crate. Even with his regeneration he seemed a bit dazed before he rejoined the fight again. The drill gauntlet transformed into two parts and span around Taylor leaving gears of light in their wake, hitting the Cricket attacking from behind and deflecting the downward spear of Menja.

    Most of the E88 thugs finally wised up that they can't win and began to bail, only for Taylor to crush their delusions. She summoned another red and blue energy sphere, and this time it didn't affected metal, but people. Seeing all those E88 thugs attached to floating ball like it was a nazi magnet was hilarious. Stormtiger was also pulled in. Hookwolf held on to his place by digging with everything he had into the ground, while Fenja and Menja had to fight to move away from the energy sphere. No such luck for Cricket, Crusader and Alabaster who were pulled in after Taylor smack them into the air.

    Sophia wanted in.

    Thub-dub.

    Shadow Stalker moved, jumping down from building, already formulated how to help in this fight. In the chaos, as she moved from one object to another, she was practically invisible with everyone's focus on Taylor. Shadow Stalker knew who her first target would be.

    Vicktor sense the wave of arrows before he saw them, he moved easily enough to deflect them, predicting how his wife, Othala might be targeted. Except he saw a cold ball of black mist pass through him. Shadow Stalker! He realized, he knew the timing of how long Shadow Stalker's arrows stayed phased when they left her. He easily enough twisted and prepare to toss the obvious grenade aside as it transformed back-

    It was a rock. Shadow Stalker had thrown a rock at them. He saw the grenade coming from the opposite direction toward Othala. He ran to push her out of the way, but he was too late. He reached Othala only for the bomb to go off, enveloping her and his arm in white polymer foam.

    Yes, Sophia was an ambush predator, she waited for her prey to make a mistake then she pounced on them, and never let up when one showed a weakness.

    Thub-dub.

    That didn't mean she couldn't evolve to hunt them down, and rip their throats out with her fangs, head on.

    A Heart is connected. A Link is formed. [/B]
    ==========​


    Kaiser watched as his Empire crumbled before him.

    It happened all too fast. This, this miserable, pathetic, little girl was taking everything he built and ruining it to the ground, grinding it to dust. He removed himself from his chair, breaking it down and forming his swords out of it, only to find an imminent need to bolt himself to the ground as she made that red and blue sphere again, except it was magnetic toward people, not metals.

    He saw how most of his capes where injured or indisposed. Othala should be able to patch them up quickly, only for that rat of a Ward to appear out of nowhere and foam Othala, putting her out of the fight along with Vicktor who was stuck to the foam shell.

    Is this a coordinated attack by the Protectorate? Is she a new cape they gained recently? No. My spies would have informed me had that been the case. Crusader said she is a new cape who was just on her first day out. How can she possible be this strong or this skilled then? WHO THE HELL IS SHE!?

    The idea that she might be Eidolon in disguise didn't seem that far fetched. In fact, that might be a way to salvage the Empire's reputation after the battle is donw. Just start rumors telling everyone that it was Eidolon that ambushed them. Some idiots are bound to believe that.

    Finally energy sphere seemed to reach whatever time limit it had and dispersed. His capes and subordinates were finally free. The parahumans moved into action. The mundane humans moved to flee, but that was to be expected in a battle such as this.

    The armored cape seem to have a different opinion. Six drone-like objects made of hard light materialized and flew about, firing tasering shots at anyone who moved. His normal thugs and gangsters were tased and fell down in droves.

    Fenja and Menja moved, dashing toward the armored cape, attacking with everything they had. All the speed and power of his Valkyrie giantesses fell upon the cape. The gold knight grunted, buckling under the weight and strength of their combined assaults as she parried and blocked the colossal spear or blade.

    No, his Empire still stood and he would not let it fall here and now, to this twisted hand of fate thrown upon him. No, they will win and make that girl pay for ever thinking of crossing the Empire. If the Dragon of Kyushu couldn't burn them out, this upstart won't even be given a chance.

    Kaiser's blades exploded in growth from his steel gauntlets, firing at the flying drones and making a wall separating his normal subordinate from drones.

    "You there! 10 of you, go send a message to Krieg to come with the tinker guns. Yes, those! The rest of you, be useful for your brothers and the race. Get the heaviest artillery around, grenades, RPGs, doesn't matter what. Get them and wait for my signal, then fire everything at the race traitor!" Kaiser commanded and his old power and charisma drove them into action. He turned back to the battlefield to see the cohesion being reformed in his troops.

    Cricket and Alabaster attacked the hard light drones, using hit and ran tactics to destroy the projected laser drones, while having them focus on just the two of them. Stormtiger tried his tactics of causing a vacuum around the armored cape once more, only to see it was ineffective, he resorted to directly overwhelming her rapid cutting wind slashes. The armored cape somehow was parrying pure blades of air and sometimes redirecting them, into Fenja or Menja.

    Menja taking another redirected wind blast along with a hit by the cape's odd weapon, fell backwards. On to the ice block left of the cape's attack on Night breaking it to pieces. Astonishingly, Night was free, alive and whole.

    Yes, the battle tide was finally returning to the Empire. Beginners luck could only last so long. Thought Kaiser in triumph.

    "Stormtiger, help Fog in making sure Night is covered at all times. Menja, get Vicktor and Othala- GAAAAAAH!" Kaiser roared as he felt a stabbing pain in his torso, and saw an arrow sticking out of his side. He heard giggling from no seen source fading away from him. Shadow Stalker!!! You fucking little shit! He swore he heard that giggling again before it disappeared.

    "Kaiser!" He heard Fenja shout for him, her distraction nearly costed her, if it wasn't for Hookwolf... jumping head first in an attempt to bite the armored cape, only to be swat aside, as the gold knight flew in a dash-by, swinging his weapon like a bloody child in a parade.

    Night dashed in unseen speeds... and found herself suddenly flying through the air having transformed back mid-jump. Who the hell can manage to follow her? And would be dumb enough to actually try when all his subordinates are taught to never look at Night in a cape fight-

    Shadow Stalker! Kaiser realized. He didn't know were the child was in all this chaos or why she seems to be acting differently to her usually modus operandi, but when he gets his hands on her, that little nigger will burn.

    Thankfully, Night was caught by one of Crusader's ghosts who opt to stay out of the fighting for now. Kaiser could see that every hit to the phantoms by the armored cape hurt Crusader himself, not only that, but the gold knight needed only one swing to cleave through a wall of ghosts, making Crusaders efforts painful and pointless.

    Menja dig her hands into the ground surrounding Vicktor and the foamed Othala, only for Shadow Stalker to suddenly appear from under Menja's arm and rapidly climb up the giant cape's arm like some sort of monkey cockroach. Menja tried to swat the little nigger bug aside, only for black Ward to display a bizarre agility, as her form lengthened and bent in ways that she never used before.

    Meanwhile, Night was able to transform again so that was a small blessing, except the armored cape had changed his weapon into an odd bow and fired a laser missile on the dashing Night, when her speed should have made her all but invisible. The disturbing thing that followed was a black caged orb with a blue glow within appeared next to Night, who transformed back looking confused and not sure on what to do. The effect of this blue orb became apparent when Fog and Crusader were hit next and realized they can't use their powers!

    Oh fuck me up the ass, even Eidolon isn't this terrifying. She's Scion crossdressing.


    This had to stop. He needed to regain control of this battle.

    Kaiser moved to command this warriors, groaning from the pain in his side but pushing through it all the same. He wouldn't let pain stop him. He pulled the arrow out, nearly biting his tongue, but held back a pained cry. He covered the wound with tiny flexible interlocking swords, and made sure to keep the blood in. It should work as a temporary solution till he reached Othala. Thankfully the wound wasn't that deep. Kaiser moved, launching swords at the flying caged orbs over and over, breaking them and letting his cape soldiers stand up once more. He moved with Hookwolf and Alabaster, closing in on the knight. Alabaster rushed forward, his skills, along with his Othala empowered super-strength, allowing him to reach higher heights in combat.

    Or it should have before the armored cape disappeared teleported behind Alabaster and uppercut him into the sky. Kaiser faintly noted that the warehouse they were in was damaged enough that there is no longer a roof. His swords exploded out of his body, slicing at the knight from every angle, and actually showing damage on the armored cape for the first time. Only for all the scratches and scraps to heal, as though the armor itself was alive. Hookwolf dashed forward, his jaw opened and big enough to swallow the knight whole, only for the armored cape to block the gaping maw with his tall weapon, stopping the metal wolf's rampage in his tracks.

    Cricket jumped on top of the knight, seeing him stalled by keeping Hookwolf in place and blasted him with her strongest sonic blast through her helmet. She was met by the knight turning her head slightly back, to look at the blond gymnast cape, and then returned back to the metal wolf. Cricket shouted out loud at the insult of not being considered a threat worthy of attention any longer, and renewed her assault with raged vigor.

    The knight moved, pushing Hookwolf back, and smacking him with such forced that a sonic boom erupted from the weapon's wake, being visible enough to throw off Cricket, who quickly backflipped to avoid the follow up attack by the knight, only for the knight to teleport behind her faster than she could think and punch her into the ground. Night appeared from behind the knight, only for her attack to be thwarted by the knight blocking, then backflipped themselves, and spun slashing at the monstrous cape and throwing her back.

    Kaiser use this opportunity and created a floor of metal blade to surround the armored cape and them having the blade rush up toward the knight, till they were standing on one giant blade that would spell her doom as it fell on them. Of course, the knight had to dispel that notion, but bringing her arm back and throwing her weapon breaking through and shattered the building of swords till it reached the ground and blowing up with some hidden energy, leaving a crater behind.

    Frustratingly enough, the weapon wasn't destroyed and simply appeared in the knight's hand with a flash of light.

    As the cape descended, Hookwolf launched himself at her, grabbing her even as she blocked the attack with her weapon and slammed her body into the ground, where Alabaster was waiting with what appeared to be a bazooka supplied by some of the E88 thugs still around.

    They gave Kaiser a thumbs up, and he had to stop himself from sneering. Alabaster shot the armored cape in the head with the anti-tank rocket, before jumping back to the E88 gangsters to reload.

    "-waste of time on someone so insignificant."

    Kaiser heard the last of a conversation Fenja was having with someone. Ah, it seemed that Shadow Stalker was challenging the twins, when they decided that the nigger girl was beneath them. Shadow Stalker shouted many colorful profanities and ultimately ignored.

    Back to the armored cape, Hookwolf was biting and clawing at the cape, trying to break through her armor, before Night appeared, this time with Fog arriving too, trying to break a hole into the armor to allow the mist cape his chance to kill the girl once more. The armored cape then moved her other free arm and all three capes were hit simultaneously by the lightening fast weapon transformed into a whip. Alabaster was back with the reloaded rocket launcher, and fired once more at the gold knight, only for the knight to catch the rocket mid-flight and throw it at Hookwolf.

    The battle was going on for too long. Kaiser did not survive this long by engaging in fruitless, he had to begin considering his options to fall back and regrou-

    No, he still had numbers and firepower on his side. He will kill this persistent little insect, come hell or high tide.

    Fenja then jumped into the battle, squashing the knight under her shield. She removed her shield off the cape and in turn thrust her blade in a downward stab, wanting to bisect the annoying knight, only for the armored cape's weapon to grow in size and thwart aside the blond Valkyrie's blade. Fenja saw the weapon's end pointed at her gather energy and quickly jumped back bringing her shield up. A giant sphere of light slammed into her shield breaking it and launching Fenja further away from the battlefield.

    Menja, in a cry of rage throw her spear with unwavering accuracy at the armored cape, only for them to rush up and run along the flying spear, jumping off its end and smacking Menja in the face with their weapon. Menja hit by an unexpected force that left her dizzy began to fall back from her loss of balance.

    Kaiser looked around the battleground to find Vicktor and his foamed wife were thankfully a safe distance away, but annoyingly useless as he needed Othala's power right now.

    And then a sweet merciful sound arrived.

    A familiar helicopter came into the scene, now their tinkertech weapons would help them immensely and with Kreig assisting too, this battle would have quite the turn. Kaiser's cellphone rang.

    "Kreig, finally some good news-"

    "The nazi you are calling is currently being fucked by an African Queen, please give a message to Fenja after the beep. 'Beep'."

    "WHAT!?"

    "WHOSE INSIGNIFICANT NOW, FUCK DOLL!"

    The helicopter twirled and crashed into the recovering giantess, knocking her out.

    "SHADOW STALKER!" Kaiser roared in rage, he couldn't believe that that black shitstain could be such a headache. This battle, the injuries they are sustaining both physically and to their reputation. He couldn't imagine things getting worse.

    "Ars Bellum."

    The knight spoke for the second time since she re-awoken, her voice like singing iron.

    Kaiser saw the armored cape raise her Keyblade to the sky, glowing with red aura while spewing lightning, and what he can only be described as a magical circle lightening up the ground with four pillars of light surrounding her.

    The neo-nazi leader came to a decision.

    It was time to gracefully retreat.

    ==========​


    I felt like I was asleep. I felt like I was awake. I felt like I was swimming. I felt like I was skydiving.

    Most of all, I felt alive.

    Not in some adrenaline rush sort of felt but in a sense of living, in which one knows, knows at the core of their being, that they are a creation of this universe, infinite in consciousness and spirit, unbound by the illusions of the body and master of their destiny.

    The concept of "everything is possible" was no longer a thought or idea. It became an actualized reality, made by my will.

    The Empire Eighty-Eight with all their powers, weapon and numbers attacked me, and it was like a child tickling me. They brought their powers and might and I answered in turn.

    I could have ended the whole fight with one Mega Flare spell.

    And yet I wanted to know, could I really win this? Where my feeling only that? Feelings. The wish fulfillment of a delusional girl. Or were they a truth that can't be mocked or denied?

    So I fought, changing my Keyblade's—End of the Earth's—form, casting one magic after another that before would have been exhausting. Moving and battling with maneuvers that would have left swordmasters and martial artist envious.

    I saw the Empire's war on me as a challenge and I welcomed it with all my heart.

    Then I saw Sophia enter the battleground, and I was stumped for a moment. Sophia was a bully, and bullies are cowards. That's a well known fact. Yet Sophia eagerly and happily jumped to fight at my side. Sure she was an annoyance to the E88 at best, yet she was an annoyance that didn't back down. Maybe it wasn't important to think about such complications now. Maybe this is what they were meant to do. Heroes unite against a more dangerous foe. Not that Sophia was a hero, more like a fighting junkie, yet that bravery is to be appreciated, right?

    Then I felt it in my heart. My Light pulsing, glowing and throbbing.

    The Empire kept on attacking violently and desperately, the more I stayed standing, the more I refused to fall down. They were an infectious diseases that were on their last leg, fighting to survive when the immune system was done with their shit.

    The Light of my Heart pulse, and a tranquil serene note sang out my soul.

    My will was steeled. I would win this war and be the Hero to save this world from its headway to a rotting oblivion.

    "Ars Bellum."

    I called on the techniques of war to end war, and My Heart and Terra's Will responded and resonated.

    I moved, vanishing between the bounds of space. I reappeared in front of Hookwolf, dismantling his form with two slashes, and striking him back to human with a third. He was out of the fight, his body no longer capable of transforming right now.

    Because I wasn't only attacking his physical form. I understood now. The Keyblade was metaphysical object, it can interact with elements on multiple and deeper dimensions. I attacked his physical body and the embodiment behind his power, thus his energy would be depleted. He couldn't fight me anymore, in one form or the other.

    Fog, Crusader, Alabaster, Cricket and Stormtiger; I flashed between them, slamming them with my Keyblade transformed into the shape of battle axe, like Hookwolf, not only attacking their bodies but their powers.

    Night surprisingly managed to attack and land a punch on me in my accelerated state. I blocked her attack, and for her efforts, the guarding counter spell, Stopra, activated and froze Night in time. I attacked her, body and power too, and when time resumed, she fell like those before her.

    Fenja was thankfully out of the fight due to Shadow Stalker, something I didn't expect but welcomed all the same. I suppose I should feel something for Sophia actually managing that... gratitude? Odd, my anger seems inaccessible at the moment.

    Krieg tried to... do something. I never gave him the chance, before he could comprehend I had slashed him seven times, my blows leaving no physical mark, but injuring him just the same. He couldn't stand the pain and fell unconscious. He will be fine. There is no extensive damage.

    Finally it was Menja, who took on her sister's sword, in absence of her spear. She swung her sword perfectly at me, I flew and smash it with my Keyblade, slashing my weapon with such power that it burned the air with the fires of a thousand bombs, and all that force gathered at the single point on the tip of Ends of the Earth. All that power focused, concentrated and divided just right. A single hit to Menja and she broke along with her power broke. Her form returning back to human.

    I might have overdone it with my last attack. I look for my final enemy, the leader of the E88, Kaiser. Except he is nowhere to be seen. I scan for him, and ahh, he ran away. Took a car and drove like a madman away from the battle and war that he knew he couldn't win.

    I healed all the fallen members of the Empire still around and cast a Sleep spell so all my efforts weren't in vain. I didn't want them to die or escape after all my hard work.

    My Keyblade answered my will, and turned into a flying glider. It zapped through the air, catching up to Kaiser, and with a drift turn, cut his getaway vehicle in half. He jumped out of the broken wreckage, only to be greeted by my magic almightened fist, and he was out like a light.

    I took him back to the destroyed spot of a warehouse. It made it easier to have all the Villains in one place.

    I felt it there, serenity. Justice and good had won the day. Finally after so long, the Empire Eighty-Eight were thwarted. A cloud that had covered Brockton Bay for so long was now pierced by the warm sun, shining light and hope through.

    Soon enough, the roar of a motorcycle unlike any I've ever heard before reached me. Then again I don't listen to a lot of motorcycle engines.

    "Y-you..." Armsmaster, the Brockton Bay Protectorate leader looks at my accomplishment and is lost for words. Well, I suppose I can acknowledge Shadow Stalker had helped.

    "Who are you!?" He finally settles on asking.

    Who am I?

    Truly, that's quite the question wasn't it.

    I'm not Terra, that's obvious enough.

    I am a Keyblade Wielder, a Defender of the Light. I can't say that though, it wouldn't make sense to the people of my world.

    I am a knight, that's what I wanted to aspire to. A paragon of goodness like those in old fairy tales. But I didn't want to swear loyalty a person. I don't want to serve others. People can make mistakes or become greedy and selfish.

    An oath then, but which?

    I looked into my Heart and the answer was clear.

    I would swear to defend the weak and the innocent. To fight against the cruel and the wicked. And to always fulfill my promises.

    It was a promise that set me on this path, Terra, and it's my promise to you that will let me see it through.

    Ah, the rest of the Protectorate, PRT and Wards arrived.

    "I am Oath Keeper." I replied. I had used too much of my powers, I know that soon enough I will crash for having exhausted myself so. "You explain the rest." I told Sophia, like she was my partner, and wasn't that the oddest feeling. She gave me a mock salute, and I turned to leave.

    "Wait!" Armsmaster ran toward me.

    I was already gone.

    ==========​


    Emily Piggot felt like ripping her hair out.

    A new cape had arrived at the Brockton Bay scene. That was fine and dandy, capes appeared in her city like bunnies fucking in a ranch. There is one every month. The question becomes, whether they will give her a headache or ease her existing one. Surprisingly becoming a Hero didn't always ease her suffering, but it was always better than them ending up adding to the ranks of the existing gangs.

    This cape however, Oath Keeper (and what lovely connotations that name has), decided to enter the cape scene in a way unlike any other. They didn't make a ripple or a splash, oh no. Apparently, misses fucking big shot, decided to take out the biggest gang in her city on their first day out.

    Fucking. Lovely.

    Now she needs to have her troops and the Protectorate ready for the inevitable showdown when Lung decides to make a statement on the E88 being gone, or those blood sucking Merchants trying to hop in on the action just for the hell of it.

    Even worse, that left a terrifying power vacuum behind, that gangs from cities hundreds of miles away would smell and come running to fill up.

    Gang war was always on the horizon in Brockton Bay. Now the time on the clock was shaved down by two thirds.

    Then there was Shadow Stalker.

    Contact with Oath Keeper had caused the wayward girl to gain a boost in capabilities, along with a... subtle mental aspect. At least that's the suspected diagnosis so far. Right now Sophia Hess was kept under Master/Stranger protocol till Piggot was sure as her destroyed kidneys would kill her if she drinks, that the girl is safe and fine before releasing her. Hess seemed the same more or less, but now there were times when she... wasn't angry.

    And isn't it fucked up that, that's what causes the red flag.

    Hess has always been a problem, but she was a predictable problem. Now her being easy going or joking at times is freaking everyone out. Clockblocker was convinced that she's an evil clone of the original Sophia Hess, and to that stupid childish theory, Hess didn't get angry or blow up in his face about it.

    Oh no, she smiled.

    She smiled, and Clockblocker screamed and ran like the Devil was after him.

    All of this was bringing her headaches on top of her headaches. She needed to find this Oath Keeper and get her under control before she ends up causes collateral damage that would sink this city.

    ==========​


    "And that's the news on the E88, sir."

    Lung sat in his living room, having heard from one of his subordinate the fate of the Empire, that the PRT was now finally address on the television.

    "Go," with only the single command, the boy practically ran out of the apartment, not wanting to stay in the presence of the dragon any more than he needed to.

    Lung always knew the Empire would fall. They were weak roaches that hide behind their gathered numbers. They could never hold true strength, and yet he believed the Empire would fall by his hands. Only his challenge and victory was taken from him by a no-name cape. Some wet-behind-the-ears child who had yet to see anything of the real world. A cape that beat them through sheer luck of having the right powers.

    Their arrogance would bring them before Lung, and he would crush those naive thoughts out of them.

    He could feel his blood heat up within his veins.

    The dragon always welcomed any challenge and warriors inevitably always sought to test their might against him. They would fall all the same, and with fire and blood, Lung would reign supreme.

    ==========​


    How utterly interesting.

    It was a better turn of events than Coil could ever ask for.

    His plans for taking over the Brockton Bay underworld advanced by months, nay, years with the E88 gone all in one day.

    No, they aren't gone yet. I'll have to make arrangements to make sure their prison transfers are completely successful.

    It was funny in its own way. He wanted to undermine the PRT in order to take it over and control it.

    But with an opportunity like this?

    Well, life has a strange way of making you work with unexpected allies.
     
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2016
  7. Silver W. King

    Silver W. King King of Adventures

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    D-Links:

    When two Hearts are connected, they share a bond. Through that bond one person can draw on the Light of the other to gain a semblance of their skills and abilities. Also through the Link the person gains small boost to their energy reserves (MP) from drawing the other's Light.

    This process however happens without one person siphoning the other of their Light or drain them like some sort of vampire. In fact the bonded person is in no way negatively affected by the Link in terms of energy or ability. Why? Wonky Bubbly Hearts stuff. No really, that's shit be mysterious yo.

    However a Link isn't always a representation of a good relationship, nor is Light always shared between bonds.

    Terra was Linked to Maleficent, pretty sure he wasn't drawing on Light from her.
     
    Relyt33, pochez01, Shulta and 3 others like this.
  8. Threadmarks: Chapter 5: No Time for the Halcyon Days
    Silver W. King

    Silver W. King King of Adventures

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    Chapter 5: No Time for the Halcyon Days


    [​IMG]


    Miss Militia watched the video clips of Oath Keeper's clashes with the Merchants. One had been taken by Armsmaster towards the tail end of the Empire's fight with the infamous cape, while the others had been taken by some brave and dumb soul who happen to be around, and took the time to record Oath Keeper’s fights. She wanted to learn more about the armored cape, finding that she held more than just a bit of an interest in the cape’s weapon. Usually for weapons that are a manifestation of another cape’s power such as a projection like Brandish’s light sword, or tinkerteck, her power would do nothing, since it occupied the same little section where her power returned the proverbial “Error 404”.

    Ever since Miss Militia saw Oath Keeper's weapon however, her power felt... confused was probably the best term.

    Her floating green energy fizzled and changed into a normal whip when Miss Militia tried to copy one of the many forms of Oath Keeper’s weapon, which Shadow Stalker had aptly named the “Keyblade”. From some of Shadow Stalker's briefing, the weapon held four forms: its base blade form, an amorphous “whip” form, and some sort of drill-gauntlet, and a giant canon. Attempting once more to get a better feel, her power gave a shudder, and changed into a… belt? Frowning, she focused as the weapon elongated and flattened in its attempts to get the final shape correct, before abruptly changing into a pickaxe.

    When Oath Keeper’s weapon transformed into its drill gauntlet form, her power seemed to spasm as it morphed into a power drill, then a gauntlet, then a gauntlet with stationary drills, and many other variations thereof. Eventually, her power seemed to give up, with the green energy falling back into its amorphous state.

    Miss Militia had the oddest feeling that if her power had a face, it would be stomping its foot on the ground with an angry pout.

    She chuckled at the thought and kept watching, unable to help but think that it's miraculous that since her debut, Oath Keeper had yet to run into Lung. Ever since Oath Keeper showed up, in only nine days, she had been steady making waves in the Brockton Bay cape scene. She was actually nicknamed "Batman" in the PHO forums for how she ruthlessly took down the Empire Eighty-Eight. The Merchants are now suffering from their lack of leadership as Skidmark was captured by Oath Keeper, and while Squealer had escaped, her vehicle was completely wrecked by the armored cape. A few clashes with the ABB took place, as well as a fight with Oni Lee. Many people are holding their breath for the inevitable fight between Oath Keeper and Lung, and the collateral damage it would bring. Thankfully, such an event hadn't come to pass yet.

    Talking with Oath Keeper always seemed difficult. Not because they couldn't find her, but because she tended to have little to say. Oath Keeper seemed more focused on finding more crimes to stop or heading home to rest and recuperate for the next battle. There were some ideas about Oath Keeper being a woman with a grudge against gangs and Villains, thus her intense focus on finishing them off quickly—without casualties so far, thankfully—and not bothering at all with social situations.

    So a female version of Armsmaster with the power of Eidolon is running around beating up gangs like its getting old. Miss Militia let out a small laugh.

    That idea of Oath Keeper being a middle aged woman, was shot down by Shadow Stalker stating that Oath Keeper was around the Wards' age. Interestingly enough when asked, Shadow Stalker was purposely vague enough to give the barest minimal description on Oath Keeper's looks, before she manifested her armor, without lying. Sure the PRT won't use a cape's identity against them, but they do collect information should a cape turn hostile or villain.

    Oath Keeper seem to have a friend or an admirer in Shadow Stalker. Thankfully not a minion, since all the tests, examinations and procedures of the M/S protocols, Which Director Piggot demanded be checked thrice, have shown that Shadow Stalker is not controlled and is just her normal self, albeit maybe matured into loosing up a bit.

    Most terrifyingly shocking really. It's why Piggot ordered Sophia to be placed under the M/S protocol for so long. Maybe therapy—even as... unconventional as rotating therapists is—is finally working.

    The other entertaining rumor around the Protectorate is that the usually angst-ridden Ward, has gotten herself a girlfriend in Oath Keeper. As amusing as that was, Miss Militia dismissed that line of discussion.

    One thing noticed about Oath Keeper was that she seems to be active one day but not the next. The Think Tank speculated that her power is very exhausting for her to use, somewhat of a relief to the rest in the PRT. Armsmaster reported that the supposed time for her being inactive is shrinking however, thus earning a round of groans in reply.

    Miss Militia thoughts then turned to the past nine days and the capture of the entire nazi gang. As ominous the current calm before the imminent gang war is, one couldn't ignore the celebratory feeling growing in the Brockton Bay. One of the strongest and long running gangs was actually defeated. Many had expected most of them would escape in days after being captured. Or the normal gangster of the E88 would rescue their capes. Or the Gesellschaft would send backup to help them. Or bad luck would strike, or something and anything would happen and the Empire will run through Brockton Bay's streets again.

    Yet nothing happened. Little to no attempts arrived to rescue any of the held E88 capes. The few capes that managed to escape once, like Crusader or Fog, were quickly captured or met up with the vengeful arrival of Oath Keeper and were caught again.

    Heck, even the court processing and paperwork went about exceptionally quickly.

    That's right, bureaucracy did not get in the way. Something was definitely wrong with that picture.

    Or maybe Brockton Bay was fed up of being the Nazi capitol of America? Also it would have been a fatal blow to the PRT's image had the powered members of the E88 manage to escape when they had been gift-wrapped for them by the most surprising of circumstances.

    Speaking of things that were gift-wrapped.

    Miss Militia closed the laptop, and to check on the Wards before she headed on her patrol. If she remembered correctly, this time she was scheduled to patrol with Velocity. They usually had some harmless fun racing while going about.

    Miss Militia pressed the button to the Ward's common room's door, a bulb indicating a Protectorate member's imminent arrival lit up above the door on both sides, and in a few seconds the door opened.

    "Oh, hey Miss Militia!" Clockblocker wave at her.

    "Hello," she answered back while taking a look at the present Wards.

    There was Vista sitting down, fighting down the urge to laugh. Miss Militia had a good idea why.

    Sophia was in her civilian clothes, looking to be ready to go home after being confined to the Rig, and PRT HQ for so long.

    Clockblocker seemed like his usual cheerful self and with good reason, since he was helping the new Ward with her PR image.

    "Please kill me. For the love of god, just make a fucking gun and shoot me in the head, why do I really have to do this!?"

    And there was a newest Ward. Sandra Clisson—formerly known as Rune—had been given the option of going to juvie versus joining the Ward. Being given the same chance as Shadow Stalker due to being a minor. It was actually surprising that Sandra took up the Ward's offer. Miss Militia expected the teen to violently oppose it, due to having to work with a racially different girl. Sandra just shrugged before mentioning that she had no option when it came to the Empire, and thus didn't really care one way or another if she worked with a black girl. While the girl was pressed-ganged, it seemed like some of the E88's mannerism might have rubbed off on her. Thankfully, Sandra herself wasn't fully taken in by the nazi ideal, so hopefully she'll fall out of those habits soon.

    "I believe Mr. Chambers have given you a thorough lecture on the importance's of your new appearance and persona, which will help distance you for your time and actions as Rune." Miss Militia replied.

    "Okay, I get that, but why is he supervising my 'image training'?" Sandra said with hand quote while pointing at the grin stricken Clockblocker.

    "Because Clockblocker is uniquely suited to help you in this matter." Miss Militia replied without missing a beat, or cracking her calm demeanor in any way, despite wanting to laugh. Vista had no such mental fortitude.

    Even Sophia cracked a smile. It was nice to see the usual angry Ward look so relaxed.

    "How? His name is Clockblocker!"

    "Which makes me the expert on having the fun, goofy persona. And since you're gonna be Gravi-Gal, you're gonna need some pointers on how to pull off that character." Said Clockblocker smoothly enough, still maintaining his grin.

    "Why would they even give me this name? Did you bribe someone? Do you actually have a lot of pull here or something?" Gravi-Gal accused Clockblocker.

    "Me!?" Trying to seem as innocent as a baby. "I have no pull on anything. You think I can actually get the bosses to do anything I want them to do. Trust me, my suggestions are always rejected. I'm in no way responsible for your new name." And his facade still didn't crack after this statement.

    Oh yes, you only made a large, detailed and surprisingly persuasive presentation to the PR department and practically begged Glenn Chamber to make you the supervisor to Ru- Sandra's acting lessons. I actually wonder if he has been taking acting lessons himself given how he didn't laugh his ass off yet. Thought Miss Militia amusingly at the goofing Ward.

    " 'Gravi-Gal' sounds like something you would come up with." Growled out Sandra.

    "Completely a coincidence."

    Sophia snorted. "Right as funny as hell all this is, I'm outta here. Later midget,"

    "Hey!" Shouted Vista.

    "Gravi-Gal," Said Sophia animatedly.

    "Go fuck yourself." Was Sandra's warm reply.

    "And Clockblocker..." Sophia just stared stoically.

    "What?" Clockblocker asked warily.

    Sophia kept staring.

    "What?"

    Stare.

    "For god's sake, what!?"

    Sophia turned and went on her way, hiding her twitching lips.

    "Have a good day, Sophia." Said Miss Militia, not commenting on her psyching out Clockblocker.

    "I swear, the evil clone is worse." Clockblocker muttered to himself. He was ignored.

    "Yep, bye." Sophia greeted on her way.

    "Well, I see that you are all busy, so I won't keep you for any longer." Miss Militia turn and headed out, seeing that Sophia had raced and was already out of sight. The last word she heard before the door shut behind her were.

    "Now repeat after me: 'Here~ Comes~ GRAVI-GAL!' "

    "I should have went to juvie."

    Vista's laughter rang out.

    Miss Militia felt better after her visit to the Wards. Sandra was adjusting well, and surprisingly not only between her and the rest of the Wards, but also between her and the Protectorate members. Talking to her, even for something as trivial as checking on how her day and interactions with the other Wards, should help her not be alienated. Also it should help her not be wary or distant from the PRT authority figures.

    Miss Militia met up with Velocity on the way out, taking her bike from the hidden PRT garage.

    "So, another quiet day?" Said Velocity, starting up the conversation.

    "One can hope. We'll be patrolling a bit into the E88 terri- I mean former E88 territory. Making sure the ABB doesn't make some grab for it. And wow, is that gonna take a bit to get used to." Said Miss Militia.

    "You're telling me, kinda weird to think that they might actually be gone for good. Any bets on how long it takes before a new gang comes in." Said Velocity.

    They had both made it outside, and Miss Militia started revving up her motorbike.

    "I would say a month, but we're never that lucky. Keep an eye out, I have a feeling something might happen soon. Where's Armsmaster heading for his patrol by the way?" Asked Miss Militia.

    "No offense, but hopefully you're a shitty precog who is always wrong." Said Velocity.

    "Hi, my name is Cassandra." Miss Militia gave her eye smile, to emote her feelings.

    Velocity laughed out a bit, before answering her question. "Anyways, Armsmaster said he's going to the Merchant territory. I think he wants to clean house."

    Miss Militia paused, "alone?" She asked worried that her boss might push things too far. Yes, Armsmaster is capable and the Merchants, barring Squealer, should be an easy win, but things aren't always so cut clear in a cape fight.

    "Assault and Battery are already out, and should quickly be able to help him if something goes down."

    "Alright," Miss Militia got on her bike. "Anything critical we need to get to first?"

    "Yeah, a distress call of gunfire came from an apartment complex in the Trainyard. Police should have gotten it, but apparently the caller said it sounded 'too intense' to be a normal gun fight, so..." Velocity didn't need to elaborate further.

    Miss Militia sighed, knowing how the police department like to throw any case that even had the tiniest suspicious of parahuman involvement to the PRT.

    "Let's be on our way then." Said Miss Militia and they were off.


    ==========​


    Taylor gripped her Keyblade once more, trying to imagine it changing and shifting. The Keyblade glowed, its light seemed to gather and... die off.

    "Ooffff!" Taylor coughed. She felt the magical energy gathered break harmlessly and disperse.

    Taylor panted as she steadied herself once more. Ever since she used the Keyblade Armor—as Taylor had come to call it since it was only known as "The Armor" in Terra's memories—she discovered the price to using it was utter exhaustion and near-depletion of whatever magic reserves she had. Sure, she can use the Armor for all day, but she would be invalid the next. Yes, her body was getting used to the massive power surge the Keyblade Armor brought, but the moment the Armor came off, it was like all her pain receptor were having a parade.

    While she had gotten it down to being able to bring out the Armor and take it off five times a day, it still left her with an entire day of having little energy but to stay home. Her father nearly took her to the hospital again, but thankfully she convinced him that she was just down with a cold. Thus as far as her father knew of her days' activity, she was sitting at home studying and trying to fight away the flu.

    The Keyblade Armor also brought with it all the power she accessed when she fought off the Empire (even now she sometimes took time to secretly squeee at having accomplished such a thing). Without the Armor, she was sadly much more limited. Thankfully with training she was getting the hang of using all of her skills and spells without needing to call the Armor. In fact she seemed to have an easier time using the Armor more, with the cooldown time lower, the more she learned how to use her skill outside of the Armor. The high-tier magic spells and attacks, like transforming the Keyblade were beyond her for now. As for magic spells, she could only use the basic ones and the ones that have multiple levels, like the Cure spell, but only up to their second level without the Armor.

    There was one exception though her current limits though. The Glider.

    She always felt like grinning when she thought about it. She had her own magical flying motorcycle. Yes, one day she will also learn how to fly unassisted as shown with the Keyblade Armor skill set, but for now the magical flying motorcycle was more than enough.

    While she couldn't use the Keyblade Armor willy-nilly, she learned a neat little spell, Copy Illusion, that well, allowed her create an illusionary body double, one that she could change a bit to have slightly different appearance, or just be a version of her with the Armor. Or easily enough, she could apply the copy over herself, making her seem like she was wearing the Armor. The spell was like an energy light hologram surrounding her, and while it could break if it was attacked enough, it gave her more than enough time to summon the real Keyblade Armor. Also if she was pushed enough that the illusion would break, then she needed the Armor then anyways.

    Taylor's thoughts turned to the past nine days since she fought the E88 (squeee!). She honestly never expected that things would spiral to the level that a gang like the Empire Eighty-Eight would be taken off the street for good. Kaiser, Hookwolf, Night, Fog and Crusader were heading to the Birdcage. The rest of the E88 capes are going to different maximum heavy prisons depending on their powers. The entire situation felt so surreal that she would stay flying hundreds of feet above Brockton Bay just waiting for a cape fight to break out, knowing it was an E88 escape attempt before dashing to thwart it. Most of the time she just needlessly tired herself out and was silly looking as she floated in her Glider looking like she was preparing to take a dump. Feeling like shit the day after wasn't encouraging either. Her efforts did bear fruit though, as she stopped three escape attempts, once each by Crusader, Fog, and finally Vicktor.

    Of course it wasn't just the Empire's last efforts of returning that occupied her days. She ended up fighting the Merchants when she busted one of their drug operations, which lead to her fighting Skidmark and his equally foulmouthed girlfriend along with, she shuddered thinking about him, Mush. The cape would gather and cover himself with garbage to form some trash golem, it was disgusting to think about when the fighting was over and the adrenaline gone. She thought some puke and condoms were thrown her way while she was fly dashing at Mush. Thank god whatever it was, the magic surrounding her while she was fighting in the Armor made sure to burn it all before it even touched her.

    She had a few clashes with the Azn-Bad Boys recently, and even ended up fighting Oni Lee. The fight was pretty short as Oni Lee simply left her with his clones, and ran for some reason. That was three days ago, and yet there wasn't any retaliation from Lung. It was weird and worrying. Yes, she managed to beat off the Empire but what if Lung was preparing to fight her all this time. Just ramping up to when he was able to fight Leviathan, and then come for her. Would she be able to beat him then? Worse, she couldn't seem to find or sense Lung no matter where she looked. She didn't tell anyone, barring Sophia about her detection ability (really stupid when she calmed down and thought about it), so there shouldn't be a way for him to hide from her. Sure she needed to meet Lung and be exposed to his power first to get a feel of it, but still, he just... didn't show up or call her out. It was wrestling on her nerves, and putting her on edge.

    Maybe she was worried that Lung or any other bad thing would happen, due to how everything was slowly turning for the better. School and studying aren't even a thing for her anymore. The few days of studying she could manage were enough that, she well on her way to finish the material needed for her GED. Before the month was over, she would be able to take her tests and pass them with her eyes closed.

    Things are improving in the bay. Crimes and victims of gangs seemed lessened (she wasn't sure as she had no statistics to show it). The ABB weren't making any major moves, and with the E88 practically gone, people felt safe again. Even the Merchants trying to make a scene didn't seem to keep the feel of rising hope down.

    But... hope is usually followed by despair. If the locker didn't teach her that, then Terra's experiences definitely did. He kept thinking that he was on the right path, that things were improving, and as he slowly learned to be true to himself, that his friends are more important than the pursuit of power, he was tricked to fight his mentor and father, becoming a pawn to the orchestration of his Master's death. And after all that, after being tricked into such a heart-wrenching scheme, Terra witnessed Xehanort casually destroy his world and home.

    Xehanort. Taylor's hand crumbled into a fist.

    Just the thought of his name, filled Taylor with anger, fear and worry. She hated all the atrocities he committed for his pointless goal. What kind of person makes it his life goal to start a war that could damage and end worlds!?

    And yet, she couldn't dare to imagine fighting him now. The man was too crafty, too malicious and rightfully terrifying. As she held an outsider's perspective, Taylor could see that in his fight with Terra, Xehanort wasn't just holding back; he was letting Terra win. Struggling only enough to make Terra give into more and more anger and hate, making him draw on more Darkness to try and end the sinister Keyblade Master.

    She couldn't fight him now, but one day, one day she will. To keep her promise, and to protect everyone else from the evil Keyblade Master's scheme. Besides, she held a significant advantage. She was an unknown factor. Xehanort has never seen nor heard of her. She will become utterly strong and blindside him before he could ever plan to counter her. She only needed time, and she hoped the semi-peaceful days would last.

    After all before she could think of facing Xehanort, she had to master Terra's powers and fix up her world. There were many problems on Earth Bet already, the Endbringers easily coming to the forefront of her mind. But if she can beat them, if she was strong enough... surely she would be able to fulfill her promise then.

    Alright, break times over. Taylor thought, as her magic reserves were easily full again, and her body was back to its peak with a quick Esuna. God, I love that spell. Now-

    She felt a spark of power heading straight for her. She looked to see a person who was thankfully absent the past nine days make their way to her.

    "Hey," said Sophia, Shadow Stalker, as she landed from a building and made her way to Taylor, with a grin she could feel was under Sophia's mask. "Do you know how long it took to find you?"

    Taylor sighed. She wasn't worried about Sophia or the girls like her anymore. She can't hurt her, and even with powers, she was sure Sophia can't do anything to her. What worried her more was how... friendly Sophia was acting. Was she planning something? But then Sophia had... helped her? Fought with her against the Empire? That was just a one time thing right?

    Maybe "worried" wasn't the right term. Mostly became Sophia... wasn't acting hostile. Either way, it was best to just get this over with and find another training location. She thought the Boat Graveyard, away from where the homeless slept and deep within the Merchant's territory would make a good training ground as only stoners come looking at where the sounds of explosions were happening and the homeless would just sit where they are, not bothering with curiosity as long as the booms were away from them.

    If a Merchant does attack her, then all the better for her, as it would be Squealer or Mush providing easy target and training exercise, or one more drug enforcer caught and taken off the streets. Now she would probably have to find somewhere creatively hidden enough within the former Empire territory.

    "What do you want... Shadow Stalker?" Taylor corrected herself before addressing the Ward with her civilian names. She looked up on those Unwritten Rules, she could see the utility of them, but something felt subtly wrong with the whole system that allowed them.

    "I told you it wasn't over," the dark Ward said, standing in a relaxed stance, one of her crossbows in one hand, the other strapped over her shoulder, and her other hand on her waist near her belt. Taylor wondered why she was noticing that. Something about Sophia's stance is itching at Terra's battle memories and the experience she accumulated.

    "So... what do you say we start up round 2?" Said Shadow Stalker.


    ==========​


    Sophia practically ran all the way to her house, collapsing on her bed, before taking a shower and checking Emma's messages on her phone.

    Nine days.

    Nine. Fucking. Days.

    Sophia Hess knew that Director Piggot hated her, that wasn't really a secret. But to keep her quarantined to the PRT base three times the length of a standard M/S examination was just plain torture. They kept the same shit up and repeating over and over for nine days, where she felt like ripping her hair apart for how monotonously boring it was.

    Still there, there were a cool offset to being confined to the base for so long.

    New powers.

    She didn't even notice it until it was pointed out, but her powers somehow grew.

    She could now move or teleport through shadows, not for long distances, but "line-of-sight" distances, in the sense of how far she could see when she was "flatten" for lack of a better term. It felt...odd, when she actually tried to focus on what she was feeling when within shadows. Like having the high of falling while standing straight, if that made sense. Also in her shadow state, form became more flexible, rather than forcing her to keep her humanoid shape, she could stretch and lengthen her body while transformed.

    And that's not to mention that other stuff. Sophia grinned as she remembered her shadow claws. There were so many cool things that she could now do. She couldn't wait to test them against an opponent, but of course they wouldn't let her fight anyone while her M/S quarantine was on.

    Still though, she didn't want to have a mock fight with the pansies in the Wards, and since Armsmaster and the rest of the Protectorate were bust these days, it meant her want to cut loose would sadly not come anytime soon.

    Maybe I can go find Hebert.

    Aaah, yes. Squishy little Hebert. Well, not so squishy anymore, and is now good at squashing others. She hadn't gotten all the details due to the quarantine, but she knew one thing Hebert was kicking shit up and making it stick. She was there when Hebert took on the Empire, she was with her and together they beat down the top gang in the bay for good.

    A shiver went through her. Sophia couldn't wait to do something like that again.

    Her phone vibrated again, Emma sending her another message again. Sophia sat up and took her phone from the night stand.

    S.H.: I'm fine. M/S shit. Out now. All good. Just trying to relax.

    She sent the message and fell back on the bed with the phone in hand. It vibrated once more.

    E.B.: What happen? Does it have to do with Taylor? You wouldn't believe what happened since you were gone?

    "Oh I have quite the idea." Sophia muttered to herself.

    She wondered what to say to Emma. She couldn't really out Hebert, that just wouldn't do. She might not like the girl, but there was now a sense to respect to her, also unwritten rules and all that crap.

    Emma had always been hung up on Taylor. Focusing on her intensely. When Sophia told her to forget about the weak skinny girl, Emma was determined to prove that Taylor was strong, and when that didn't pan out, the redhead instead focusing on toughening her best friend up. Yet, Hebert never grew her claws, never fought back.

    Sophia lost interest, Emma did not.

    She thought for a moment, and realized what to say to her friend.

    S.H.: Hebert became strong. Congratulations.

    Sophia threw the phone on her study desk, and ignored it vibrating, Emma probably asking about something else, but Sophia wasn't in the mood right now. She was confined in the PRT HQ for so long, now she felt restless.

    She sat up, deciding she was going to go out and find Hebert.

    Just like she said, it sucks to have unfinished business. They never really finished their fight after all.

    Just as she went to her closet and pulled out her costume, her older stepbrother passed by her room, seeing its open door.

    "Well look whose back. They finally let you out of prison?" He said sounding amused.

    She flipped him off. "The fuck are doing back here, Nate?"

    "Wow, I just feel so very welcomed back here." Nate said back sardonically.

    Nate was her brother from her stepda...

    Sophia clinched and relaxed her jaw.

    Nate was her brother from her stepfather. She used to see him a lot more before the old man...

    Before the old man was no longer around. He already left for college, but comes back every once in a while to check in on his stepfamily. Or more specifically check in on Sophia. Nate and her mother weren't really buddy-buddy, mom-son bullshit, but they tolerated each other. Or at least enough for dear old mom to mooch off Nate some cash for her and her boyfriend's shit.

    Nate only kept contact to make sure Sophia was okay. She always tried to ignored him, pass off his caring as some obligation bullshit guilt from her stepdad- her stepfather not making it in the accident and she...

    "What? Want me to give you a hug?" She said in a mocking babyish tone.

    "Knowing you, you would break my spine and stab me in the back." Nate replied.

    Sophia snorted. "Cut the crap. So what is it? Mom, coughing you for money? Why not send it in the mail like usual?"

    "Betty mentioned you were gone for a week? Figured it might be...the other thing." He said cautiously.

    "The Wards. Stop being a bitch and talk normally." Sophia deadpanned.

    "You never know who could be hearing." Nate shrugged.

    "No one is listening and there ain't listening devices in the fucking house." Said Sophia.

    "So?" He raised an eyebrow. Sophia knew where the conversation was headed. He was... worried about her. Usually she would just leave and blow him off, with the whole "big brother bullshit" but...

    "Yeah, yeah. Some stuff happened, they were checking on me to make sure I'm fine, and now I'm out. That's all, anyways I'm about to head about, I'm meeting a girl about something." She said as a way of reassuring and quickly finishing the conversation.

    "Really," The African American young man said utterly surprised for some reason. He was quite for a moment and then a smile stretched on his face. "Doesn't sound like Vista, and you're going out in costume, so not the Wards. Are you going on a cape date?" He said,

    Sophia blinked once. Twice. She was stunned for a moment, face crunched in confusion, before she regained her focus again.

    "Get the fuck out before you learn why assholes are scared as hell of me."

    "Awww, young love." He wiped a fake tear away.

    Sophia grabbed her crossbow from the closet.

    "I made some mac and cheese with crushed beef and left it in the fridge." Nate said in a hurry.

    The door was closed before she turned. She took a deep breath and set the crossbow down.

    Next time, she'll just throw the fucker out. None of his talking bullshit.

    She tried to ignore the small twitch threatening to come on her lips.


    ==========​


    It felt like it took fucking forever to locate Hebert. Seriously, her armor was flashy as fuck, it should have been easy to locate the bling knight.

    She first went to the E88 area, looking around as Hebert may have decided to just hunt down any leftover E88 thugs for fun. Not there.

    Sophia then tried running around in ABB area, but things were suspiciously quiet around there. There didn't seem to be any fights, and any ABB thug seemed shifty and tense for some reason. Anyways, it wasn't important at the moment, if Lung was up to something, she and Hebert can come back and hit'em up.

    In fact the whole city seem to be in a peachy mood. Everyone was just jumping in joy, you would think they would start spontaneously orgasming.

    Heck, she saw this kid in a freakishly stylish outfit, that looked like it was made by Parian, going down the street riding a skateboard and shouting "everything is awesome" as he held a Fugly's burger in one hand and soda in the other. Yes, we get it, you're happy the Empire is gone. Fucking chill kid.

    Thankfully, there weren't any other extreme acts of celebration on her way to Hebert.

    She "asked" around some Merchants that "helpfully" directed her to the bling knight. Surprisingly smart of the stoner heads to leave her alone.

    As she reached the empty area next to the Boat Graveyard, she thought she saw a guy in a weird black coat in the building facing the Boat Graveyard out of the corner of her eye, except as she focused, she realized it was just a window covered by black tape. The place looked like it will be demolished and have something else rebuilt on top of it. Eventually. At some point in the future.

    Finally she landed on the ground, and walked toward Hebert.

    "Hey, do you know how long it took to find you?" Sophia tried to sound annoyed, but couldn't keep and excitement out of her voice.

    "What do you want... Shadow Stalker?" Hebert looked tense, and judging by the scraps and damage in the area, she was training for a while. And yet she looked fresh and ready to jump into a fight if need be. Not bad.

    Sophia stood seemingly idle. She had one crossbow in hand, while the other was strapped on her shoulder. Her other hand was near the hunting knife on her belt. She had gotten it a long ago, liking its look and design, but never got to use due to the PRT PG rules, and simply locked away not giving it a chance to shine.

    "I told you it wasn't over," Sophia said. "So..." Her grin widening. "What do you say we start up round 2?" She focused on her new power, ready to transform and bring it out on a moment's notice.

    "Are you sure about that, Shadow Stalker? Picking a fight with me would be bad for the PRT, not to mention," Oath Keeper gripped her Keyblade tighter, and it seemed to thrum with power. "It would be bad for me, if I ended up hurting a Ward."

    "Oh come on now, it's just a friendly match between fellow hero capes. Besides," Shadow Shalker pulled out hunting knife, holding it in a reverse-grip. "You're not scared of little ol'me are you?"

    "Oh really? Fine then, let's..." Hebert stopped abruptly. Looking at something in the distance.

    Shadow Stalker kept her guard up, buts lowly turned to look anyway. Hebert had shown she wasn't the type to pull tricks like distracting her and attacking before the fight began, so while her guard was up, Sophia was more interested on what shut Hebert mid-talk with her.

    She could see it in the distance, pillars of smoke, slowly rising across Brockton Bay.

    "Holy shit, something is happen-" It could have been Lung or the E88 somehow returning, but before she could finish her statement her Ward phone vibrated ferociously. The beat it vibrated with was for a high emergency. Sophia pulled it up to see a type of message that was send to all Protectorate members and Ward due to its severity and urgent need to address.

    "Fuck shit!" Sophia shouted as she saw the message.

    Then they heard it, as Shadow Stalker and Oath Keeper looked on, in the street two blocks away they could see hordes of people running about.

    No, not people. From the looks and clothes, it was more like multiple copies of the same person running about like a mob.

    As they focused, they could hear the clone shouting and screaming something. A phrase repeating over and over.

    "OATH KEEPER!"

    "COME OUT, COME OUT WHERE EVER YOU ARE!?"

    "WHERE IS OATH KEEPER!?"

    Shadow Stalker looked to the knight cape who nodded, acknowledging the need to put their differences aside again. It was time to get to work.


    ==========​


    Philip Merckson was not a nice guy. He knew that, but he wasn't a bad person.

    He was in the E88 sure, but he wasn't a racist not really. His friends pressured him into. He just couldn't go "yeah, you're all part of the Empire, but I'm not really into the race war thing, but we can still hang out right?" it wouldn't have worked.

    Besides, you get to have these cool things, like respect and some discounts in some places, or other cool shit when you join. So it was all harmless really. It's not like the E88 would expect anything from some nobody like him, right? And its not like he has to beat up black people. He might act like a racist dick, but that because everyone else was doing it, he couldn't just not say anything. That would be noticeable.

    So he really hated it when some asshole that didn't know him, try to tell him who he was.

    He knew who he was, and he wasn't a racist.

    He had a neat life with the Empire. He's dad's work was better and wasn't being messed up by those Asian or the druggies. Their neighborhood was safe to be in, and as part of the Empire everyone was nice to him. Yeah, he might have had to do some...unpleasant things a few times. But those people should have just stayed in another side of town. They must have known it was an E88 territory. Its really their fault those blacks or minority guys walked up in their territory and didn't expect to be taught a lesson.

    Life wasn't always pleasant with these things, but other than that for Philip everything was great.

    And then that bitch had to come and ruin it all.

    Why couldn't she just not do the really obvious thing of not attacking the Empire in the middle of their home? Or just do it when he's not there? Even more, why the fuck didn't she just die, like normal people, instead of pull that Trump bullshit and coming back to life and beating up all the Empire capes. That's just ridiculously unfair. No one should be that strong.

    Philip hightailed it out of there at the first opportunity. He told anyone who asked him that he stayed to fight the good fight and all for as long as possible, but in the end there wasn't anything he could do. Most accepted his answer. Some hardcore guys thought he was a pussy. It didn't matter, they weren't there. They wouldn't be talking about that if they had faced that armored cape themselves.

    Then other guys started talking about breaking Kaiser out or any of the other capes. Philip didn't think it was a good idea. They didn't have a cape on their side to help them pull this off. They needed a big distraction for something like this. Philip couldn't just run or not go with them, he had to show that he was still Empire. There was little he could do but he was along for the ride anyways.

    Dammit, why did all this have to get so serious?

    As he was sitting on his computer he had a silly thought. What if capes from other town came here and caused a bit of a ruckus? Surely that would help in letting the Empire's cape manage an escape or two. And then they can boost up their numbers again and things can return to the way they were.

    So Philip did the only thing he could do. He went to the discussion thread on the knight cape—Oath Keeper, she was apparently being called—and gave all what he could remember of what her powers were. Sure it might not seem like much, but if any out-of-town cape now came to BB, they would know what they were up against, and they could prepare a trap for Oath Keeper. The PHO might list a cape's power for observation, or for power discussions or any other cool parahuman bits, but it also gave other cape info on what someone can do. This could help against Oath Keeper, right?

    It did nothing. They couldn't help any of the Empire Capes, and those who escaped on their own, were quickly captured by that armored knight bitch.

    It was just unfair. Philip decided he was done. Yeah, he and his friends were in one of the many E88 still owned apartments, but right after this meeting, he isn't going home. He is just gonna hightail it and run.

    At least, that was the plan. Though Philip as he laid on the floor, the bodies of his friends and fellow E88 members surrounding him, and blood clinging to his throat. Fuck. Fuck this. Its not fair. Why? Why did that cape of all people come to Brockton Bay? Why here? Why to this flat in this building? Why? Its not fair. He coughed up again, with tears running down his face.

    "Oh, oh god. What the hell?"

    Philip eyes widened as he heard a sound of someone entering the flat through the broken doorway, sounding worried about what happened.

    OVER HERE! Philip tried to shout, but only ended up coughing, yet thankfully drawing the attention of the people who entered all the same.

    "We've got someone over here." Shouted someone before sitting near him, beginning to check his injuries.

    "H..hel...help..." Philip cried out.

    "Don't worry," he saw someone kneel next to him. Philip never expected that he would feel grateful to see this cape's face be looking at him. Miss Militia look on with focus and intent reassured him. "You're gonna be okay now. We are the Protectorate. We are gonna move you to a hospital. You need to stay awake till then okay?"

    "P...pl..." Please don't let me die. I'm sorry, I won't just go with the flow anymore. I'll be a better person. Don't let me die.

    "Ma'am."

    Philip couldn't turn his head to see what the paramedic was doing, but Miss Militia look at him before turning back to Philip.

    "Alright, new plan, we're gonna give you something for a pain, but it would make you sleep, so before that can you tell us who did this to you?"

    YES, YES, ANYTHING!

    His eyes must have spoken his intent, as Miss Militia leaned in.

    "Okay, please quickly. A name. Who did this?"

    ANYTHING TO REMOVE THE PAIN!

    "Th...th..."

    " 'The', yes?"

    Philip wanted the hurting to stop. He didn't want this pain anymore. He gave everything he had to say one word. The name of the monster that came like a storm to this house.

    It was...

    ==========

    Armsmaster looked at the figure before him. He had his halberd folded out and powered up, yet he knew it would be a hefty challenge to win.

    The cape before him had an Asian mask and armor, many blades decorated the armor and three bleached skulls draped over one shoulder.

    An emergency message was sent to him, showing that it was also sent to every cape in the PRT.

    [The Butcher has arrived Brockton Bay, leading a series of attacks. All Protectorate members are to search and report the Butcher's location and all Ward members are to head to the Rig.]

    Yes, thank you for the message, Hannah. Would have loved it a few seconds earlier. Armsmaster subtly sent an affirmation to finding Butcher and a signal to his current location and call for backup.

    He wasn't sure why the mad cape has done anything besides looking at him, yet.

    The Butcher just gave a wide slasher grin and spoke. "Tell me," she began. "Where can I find this Oath Keeper?"
     
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2016
  9. Jiven

    Jiven Most Excellent Lurker

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    Like the story :)
    The Butcher wants to add Taylor's powers to their collection hmmm ? Good luck to them.
     
    Prince Chrom and Silver W. King like this.
  10. Threadmarks: Chapter 6: Hello at Last for the First Time
    Silver W. King

    Silver W. King King of Adventures

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    A/N: Beta complete by ParadoxicalInAction. Thanks a lot for the help. :D

    Chapter 6: Hello at Last for the First Time


    [​IMG]


    "So, what do you think of her?” A figure in a black coat asked his "partner". It felt odd, having to work with the kid of all people. He knew intellectually it wasn't him, yet the whole situation felt bizarre. Then again, this wasn't the weirdest situation he ever found himself in, so he could deal. He and his two companions stood on top of a high building able to see the on goings of the Keyblade Wielding girl and her Darkness tainted ally.

    Their third companion, a girl, was standing slouched to the side, arms crossed, fingers tapping her biceps with her scowl evident under the pulled up hood of her black coat. She was shorter than the man in black coat but held the same height as the boy, who stood without one wearing a stylish black and white jacket.

    "Hmm..." the boy hummed, "Boring. Predictable. She's running off of the momentum of his Soul. A loose end at best really. However..." He paused taking a bite out of the burger he was holding.

    "Who cares?!" Their third companion groaned, her silvery voice contrasting with her harsh tone. "She's no one important. I've looked into her. She is just some typical teenager with a bit of a martyr complex. Why are we still here anyways? We already finished our assignment!"

    "As if," the man snorted. "Looking into that organization is an ongoing project after all. I'd say this city is a good place as any to keep an open ear."

    The girl rolled her eyes and she looked to the side.

    "Hey, let's take a break." The boy threw the suggestion out, having finished his sandwich.

    "Isn't that what you have been doing for the past three days?" The man asked.

    The boy smirked to the man in the black coat, and then turned his attention back to Keyblade girl, Taylor Hebert.

    "We haven't been making any progress since capturing our assigned target. The ones at that club with the monsters had an idea about that organization, but no names or clues. The only ones left are the PRT, that Coil guy and some random small timers. I don't think the new guys from Boston will be of much help. We're a non-entity to the PRT right now; let's keep it that way for a while longer. We have no clue on Coil, so while we wait for him to do something to point us to where he is, let's take a break and test that girl out for a bit. See if his Soul chose the right person." The boy stated.

    "...You're not feeling sentimental, are you?" The man quipped.

    "As if." The boy retorted. He and the man in the black coat laughed together. "One last thing," said the boy to the girl. "That one whose Heart touched the Darkness, anything about her worth noting?"

    The girl was quiet for a moment, then shook her head. "Irrelevant. She's like a beast. She'll just keep delving in the Darkness, guided by her guilt and lust for battle till she's consumed. And when she's turns into a Heartless," she shrugged. "We won't even need to act."

    "Hmm," the boy cross one arm and rested the other upon it as he held his chin. "True, the Incubator or one of the Aggression Stimuli Systems present in this world would do something about her should it come to that. Although, she seems strong enough to leave a Nobody behind. That might be useful." He let down his arms to the side, as he relaxed his posture and smiled. "Still, she's one of them though. 'Parahumans', they're called, right? It might be interesting to observe her for a bit."

    "Should we give her some incentive?" The man asked a grin could be felt from his tone.

    "Nah, that should happen soon enough on its own, right?" The boy looked to the girl who nodded. "Then for now, let's go say hi to Terra's successor." The boy declared, his golden eyes gleaming in the sunlight. A portal made of Darkness materialized, and the boy walked through.

    "Well, guess me and the kid are gonna head out for some fun. You stay out of trouble now, snowflakes." The man in black responded, chuckling at the girl growling in irritation.

    Braig walked into the Corridor of Darkness tracing the scar he got from so long ago.


    ==========​


    Armsmaster jumped to the side, dodging another arrow from Butcher, while firing the head of his halberd, still attached to the shaft via chain. The head bounced to the side upon hitting Butcher's reflexive field, only for the halberd head to fire a grappling hook with a tranquilize needle on top.

    This time Butcher teleported away rather than take the hit, leaving an explosion behind. She easily lifted her Gatling gun, firing a wave of bullets while running toward the Tinker. Armsmaster’s weapon snapped back into shape, and as he began to twirl it in front of him. It glowed and left behind an energy field—easily blocking the bullets for the small duration it was active. Armsmaster wanted to growl in frustration, but bit back the wasted action and focused on his next strategy against Butcher.

    Armsmaster had instantly brought up the data on Butcher, via his HUD, the second he saw the insane cape. He had made sure to keep a distance of more than five feet from Butcher at all times to avoid her telekinetic burst within his body or his equipment. He had his armor regulating his hormones’ levels for any emotional imbalance should Butcher try to invoke her rage aura on him. He was very thankful that the pain inducing power was a visible blaster power, unlike the First Butcher who supposedly could induce it with an invisible aura at much higher levels.

    Of course he also needed to end the fight quickly and with the least amount of damage to Butcher as any physical wound would just increase her Brute rating, which in turn make her tranquilizing her more difficult as he would need stronger force to penetrate her skin. A blessing and an annoyance of her injury-to-Brute power was a minor regenerative ability that increased in effect with the damage she took, and vice versa, till she returns to peak health again. Then there was her kinetic energy reflective field which only made things much worse, as it worked in synergy with her increased durability from taking damage, and another telekinetic field that allowed her to stick to objects.

    It was a frustrating puzzle that got even more frustrating as the fight went on. Should he reach a point where he needed to overpower all her abilities, he was very likely to kill her.

    …and that would mean, I've lost. Armsmaster gritted his teeth and carried on. There was a solution to his current problem of course. He had recently made a tranquilizer to deal with troublesome regenerative Brutes—originally designed to deal with Lung. While injecting her was frustrating difficult, and should he be lucky enough to bypass all her defensive abilities, he still had to deal with Butcher's danger sense and teleportation. Thus, he would give her the tranquilizer in a different way. With a quick tweak of his hand, his halberd started the process of changing the tranquilizer from liquid to vapor. Armsmaster only needed to hold on for a minute or so now.

    So, basically a lifetime. He swore to himself that should he survive, he would work on making all transitioning functions in his halberd take less than five seconds to be completed.

    While the Gatling gun's bullet's waved and twisted in their path by warped space to reach Armsmaster from any side, he kept moving his weapon and its resultant energy barrier. The moment a pause within the hail of bullet appeared, Armsmaster slammed his halberd into the ground creating a spherical energy shield around him and gave himself breathing space.

    Teeth gritted in anger, Butcher kept firing for a while at his shielded target. She stopped firing and took out her compound bow sending metal arrow after metal arrow, that broke the sound barrier from her strength, yet the Protectorate Hero's shield stood. She then drove her hand into a nearby car, it crumbled onto itself as though crushed by pressure, before forming into a giant sword. With a shout of rage, Butcher slammed her blade over and over again into the energy barrier, which kept blinking with each strike, becoming less solid from the repeated abuse.

    All along Armsmaster held the halberd to keep the grounded energy shield functioning. With his free hand, he took three small disks from his armor pockets, and readied himself. Butcher held the colossal blade with both hands, roaring as she brought it down. Armsmaster drove to the side, letting the giant blade fall uselessly on the road. With his HUD he targeted the three weapons Butcher held, and threw the disks. They flew with speed and accuracy, spinning and heading toward Butcher, only for her to teleport away.

    The disks followed her—rotating on themselves faster, as well as gaining speed. Butcher brought out her bow and fired upon the disks only for them to twist out of the way at the last second. The Butcher readied herself breaking her giant sword into two swords and swung at disks. One disk hit a sword breaking into silver electricity and disintegrated the blade, while the other two flew around and hit the Gatling gun and the compound bow, breaking them into dust.

    Seeing her favorite weapons destroyed and left with a hastily made sword, Butcher shouted like a wild animal and teleported behind Armsmaster, her blade already mid-swing. Armsmaster was already in motion jumping away, while swinging his halberd using its entire length and chain head to attack from the furthest range he could manage. The chain circled around the blade, catching it, and let out a powerful electric charge that zapped the Butcher into place for a few seconds. Seconds long enough for the finished tranquilizer bomb to go off at Butcher's feet, who had already teleported away, yet not without taking a small sniff of the drug. Her explosive teleportation broke the chain connecting the halberd head to the shaft, only for the head to fly to its place on the polearm with a magnetic pulse.

    Butcher stood in place for a moment, staggering for a moment. She glared at Armsmaster with clenched teeth like a beast. The hero was already in motion toward her, not wanting her to catch a break, and press his advantage. A ringtone sounded from Butcher's helmet, and she teleported faraway to a few floors up a nearby building, as she listened to the call from one of her minions.

    "Foouuuunnd heeeeeerr!"

    Butcher grinned, one of her tracking devices from her tinker trapping specialty pointed her to Spree's signal location and also her target. Her danger sense screamed at her, and she dodged as Armsmaster's halberd blazed to where she was standing, a giant needle head on.

    "When we obtain that child's power, we will come back for your head!" Crowed Butcher as she tried to teleport away. She found the halberd stuck in the ceiling nearby letting out a sonic frequency she threw her focus, and drilled into her ear.

    "Not so fast!" shouted Armsmaster as he dashed, running up the building's side to her location. With an electric pulse, his signature halberd flew toward him, as Armsmaster jumped back into battle.


    ==========​


    Oath Keeper slashed through another clone, causing it to break apart into sand. She threw another Magnega spell drawing another horde of clones toward it, to create a human meat ball. Against the clones, Oath Keeper didn't hold back the full effect of the spell, causing the clones to be crushed by the pressure and strength of the local gravity ball, leaving a wave of sand orbiting the magical sphere.

    Oath Keeper and Shadow Stalker had followed the trail of rampaging clones back to its source. Oath Keeper ignored the cries of crazed triumph of "found her!" the Spree army began shouting out, and focused on the villainous capes that were causing mass chaos before she and Shadow Stalker had intercepted them.

    Spree’s power rapidly created numerous clones with limit capacity to think, thus the clones were only useful for rush attacks. Thankfully upon destroying them, they broke into sand not leaving a corpse behind. Awfully nice of a Villain's power to be so considerate. Hemorrhagia had the ability to bring out her own blood and control it, turning it into different forms or weapons.

    The battle hadn't been difficult so far. As soon as Oath Keeper revealed herself, all the clones focused on her, while the original Spree stayed in the back summoning more and more by the dozens every second. Hemorrhagia would try to weave in between the rush of Sprees and throw darts or curved blades at the armored cape. Oath Keeper had instantly used her Reflect All spell to place a barrier on all civilians nearby, allowing them to escape unharmed. She followed that up with a Cura All to heal most injuries of those present and with that she focused on the fight.

    Oath Keeper was going to try to pull the Villains away to a more secluded area. Two things however made that plan difficult. The first was the original Spree kept pulling back to make sure the fight stayed in the Market, where it was populated and using its civilians as hostages or shields. The second however, Oath Keeper couldn't help but feel was more pressing.

    Shadow Stalker had appeared from the shadow of another Spree clone, cutting his throat and phased and dashed like a shadow mist python between the army of clones cutting them down with fatal stabs. She would engage Hemorrhagia at a time confusing her and scoring some hits to wear her down before disappearing into the shadows on the ground and going after another Spree clone.

    Shadow Stalker was using Darkness to augment her powers. Oath Keeper wasn't sure how it was possible or from whom she could have learned such a skill, but it was something she needed to address quickly. As she fired another Magnega spell to pull the clones on the outer edge of the battle in and to make sure the original, wherever he is, doesn't stay away from the battle but within the mass of clones. At least this way she can get him when he hits them all together.

    "Shadow Stalker, where the hell did you learn that?" Oath Keeper shouted as she threw her Keyblade through a horde of clone while attacking with her hand any that came close before her weapon returned. She didn't have a set style, but her Brute strength made up for it.

    "Oh, you like it!" Shadow Stalker screamed with childish glee, as she jumped from place to place, firing her crossbows. "Something that I picked up recently. Wanted to show it in our fight, but beggars can't be choosers. Might as well get used to it in this warm-up!"

    "Who the hell did you pick it up from!?" For one solid moment, Oath Keeper felt her insides freeze. What if Xehanort is actually here, on Earth Bet, in Brockton Bay? What if he was the one who taught Sophia? Luring her in with the promise of power and is using her for some new scheme? What if he is making a trap for her using Sophia?

    No, It can't be. He doesn't know I exist. It shouldn't be possible. She shouted in her head. Its something else, it has to be something else. She threw her hope behind those thoughts, not wanting to imagine the alternative.

    "From me, of course. Because I'm that fucking awesome!" Shadow Stalker cried out, as she transformed again and swung her arm, elongating it like a whip and slashing through another wave of clones. Her form fell back into place, and she returned to normal, her grin could be felt even with the mask on. "In fact, watch this!" Shadow Stalker began to glow, white light with a black outline aura shining around her.

    "So-Shadow Stalker! STO-" Oath Keeper began to shout, wanting to stop Sophia from drawing on more power from the Darkness, when a sight caught her eye.

    The figure of someone she knew intimately as family, even if she never met them. Her gaze turned far behind Shadow Stalker, at the person walking toward an alleyway. His outfit, his spiky golden blond hair, his white wristband encircled with two lined black boxes. The thought shouted in her head instantly.

    VENTUS!

    Oath Keeper ran after the boy, quickly reaching the alleyway to see it empty. Before she could try and find where he went, the sound of the dark Ward brought her attention back.

    "Who wants to dance!" Shadow Stalker shouted out. Wave upon wave of dark glowing arrows flew from the dancing and spinning Shadow Stalker"s crossbows cutting down the clone army till it was nothing. She was destroying them faster than Spree could make them. Hemorrhagia was forced on the defensive, hiding in a bubble of hardened blood from the black fiery onslaught.

    In an effort to cause the heroes pay for their victory, Hemorrhagia made her blood sphere explode outward raining sharp blood knives everywhere. Shadow Stalker turned her attention to those as well as the Spree clones. Her aim wasn't enough to get everything, and some knives were headed to land on some of the people that decided to stay somewhat close enough to watch the fight.

    "Oath Keeper!" Shadow Stalker shouted, breaking the golden knight from her thoughts. Oath Keeper could see the knives flying everywhere and some about to fall upon innocents.

    Oath Keeper grabbed hold of her magical energy by the gallons and called it up.

    "Slowra!"

    Just like that, all of Hemorrhagia's projectiles began moving in slow motion, even the Villains were affected with a weaker version of the slowing effect.

    Shadow Stalker used the opportunity to dash toward the original Spree, finding him as the focal point the clones were forming from, and stabbed him with a traq dart. She then turned around and did the same to Hemorrhagia. Finally, the battle was over.

    "Oi!" Shadow Stalker exclaimed grabbing Oath Keeper's attention. "What the hell happened, Keeper? Did you suddenly daydream?" Oath Keeper could feel the cocky smirk. "Or am I just that awesome you had to take a break to watch my show?"

    That statement brought Oath Keeper back to her earlier worrying. "Shadow Stalker, who taught you that!?" Oath Keeper urgently queried.

    Shadow Stalker frowned under her mask. "I told you, I learned it myself."

    "Learned it yourself? How?"

    "Woah there, Keeper. You get any grumpier and you'll blow a kidney." Shadow Stalker retorted, trying to hide her rising annoyance behind humor.

    "This isn't the time to..." Oath Keeper took a deep breath. She needed to be calm, maybe Sophia really didn't know about the power she is drawing from. "Darkness." Oath Keeper finally said.

    "Bless you."

    Oath Keeper held back rolling her eyes. "That energy you are using to pull off those new tricks. It's the Power of Darkness. Its not safe Shadow Stalker, that stuff will end up killing you or worse. Much, much worse."

    The Ward tilted her head. "Oath Keeper, you didn't join some new age hippie group, did you?"

    "I'm not making this stuff up!" Oath Keeper exclaimed. Shadow Stalker was the last person she thought she would be worried about, but now she found herself with a good reason to try and hold back the dark Ward from her self demise. "Surely, while using it you felt-"

    Shadow Stalker's phone rang. She held up a finger to Oath Keeper, at hearing the emergency tone and took the call.

    "Yeah?"

    "Shadow Stalker, where are you!?" Gallant's voice came from the phone.

    Oath Keeper silently fumed, trying to think on how to voice her argument, so Sophia would listen to her and not kill herself or worse, become a catastrophe on par with the Endbringers, should she become a Heartless. Her gaze was pulled again, catching his figure at the edge of her sight.

    "Busy. Ended up fighting these two capes with Oath Keeper. Had to-"

    Oath Keeper turned to look, only to see Ventus's figure walking away, disappearing behind another street corner.

    "You're with Oath Keeper! Great! come to HQ and get her with you. She's the Butcher's target. Currently she's at the docks, engaging Armsmaster. We have to make sure she stays away from her." Gallant declared.

    "Ventus." Oath Keeper whispered in hope. She transformed her Keyblade into the Glider.

    "Well, shit. You hear that, Oath Keeper? You better- FUCK SHIT, OATH KEEPER!" Shadow Stalker shouted, seeing the Keyblade Wielder flying away.

    "What happened!?" shouted Gallant in worry.

    "Murphy's gang rape! Oath Keeper took off, in the direction of the docks, I'm going to-"

    Shadow Stalker was interrupted, as a violet glowing projectile in crystal-like shape flew next to Shadow Stalker's head. She whipped around, dropping the phone and brought her crossbows up.

    "Shadow Stalker, what happened!? Shadow Stalker, do you copy!?" came Gallant's shouts from the phone.

    "Sorry about that." Said her surprise assailant.

    Shadow Stalker found a man in a black coat, his face hidden by the hood's shadows standing behind her. I didn't even feel him coming. She thought, her grip on her guns turning cold. He missed on purpose. I could have died. Then the heat clawed and flared in her chest. He'll pay for that.

    "Can't let you interrupt the girl's reunion. You know how these old friendships are like. Get togethers like that tend to be invite only, you know?" The man said, holding a pair of odd crossbow, tinkertech all likely by the design.

    "Get togethers, huh? Well now, I'm feeling left out. Maybe I should crash that party?" Shadow Stalker retorted, her cocky attitude coming back.

    "Heh, sorry cutie, it's a private party. So, I'm gonna have to ask you to be a good girl and stay put." A humored sounding response.

    "Oh really?" A white aura with a black cover engulfed Shadow Stalker's form. "Can't say I've ever been good at following the rules."


    ==========​


    Taylor's thoughts were an odd mix of ramble and focused purpose.

    She couldn't understand how but she found him. A part of her promise to Terra will be fulfilled, and so soon. Relief and joy filled her heart, at knowing that Terra's friend was alive and well. She could feel a few tears leave her eyes.

    She wondered where he was going. Was he trying to pull her away from Shadow Stalker upon feeling her taint of Darkness? She would have to reassure him once she caught up to him that Sophia is just a misguided girl, not someone evil. Probably.

    Taylor felt a slight worry. What if Ventus thought she was Terra? She would have to explain that to him as well.

    Finally, she caught sight of the boy, and flew toward him, this time he didn't run off. His back was turned to her. Taylor dropped off the Glider and dismissed the Keyblade as it returned to its normal form.

    "Um," her voice was shaking as she stepped forward, her hand hovered forward as though trying to reach him. Trying to confirm he was real. "Ventus? You're, you're Ventus, right?"

    The boy turned around. Yes, his clothes matched the ones from Terra's memory. Same with his face, the crazy hair style and finally his cheerful grin that lit up with his kind blue ey-


    ==========​


    Three Days Ago

    Fire died down as cold frost seemed to sweep into the area, and kill off any heat.

    The apartment complex that served as a home to the leader of the Azn Bad Boys, Lung, had been utterly wrecked. A place that symbolizes the heart of Lung's dynasty was thrashed, no guards, soldiers or warriors even coming close to stopping the person who crushed any who attempted to stop him, as he passed through.

    And for the Dragon of Kyushu himself, he laid down on the floor, his body broken and injured. He held onto consciousness with all his strength, trying to summon his power to push back against his assailant's power of drowsiness and frost.

    Yet his power couldn't rush to him fast enough, as the wave of sleep and lethargy pushed back against it.

    He could do nothing, but growled and glared with all his hatred at the boy with golden eyes.

    "Who...the hell...are you!?" growled the defeated Dragon of Kyushu.

    The boy stood before him. Wind and frost seem to emit from his form. Looking down upon Lung as though he was never a threat in the first place, a blood thirsty smile spread across the face of the boy with the golden eyes.

    "My name is..."


    ==========​


    -Golden eyes?

    ...What!?

    "Yeah," he answered her with a secretive smile. "You could say something like that."

    Fear and rage.

    Golden eyes. Her mind pointed again.

    Fear and rage, the two emotions exploded like a nuclear blast at the time time. They grew, ice and fire spiraling in her stomach.

    "Who..." Her body trembled; Taylor wasn't sure from which feeling. "Who are you?"

    "Why don't you recognize me, Terra? I'm hurt." He said, spreading his arms before holding one to his chest. "I mean after all this time we finally meet again, and you don't even recognize your best friend." His voice was gentle, like a kind welcoming spider.

    "I'm, I'm not..." Taylor swallowed to wet her drying throat. "You're not Ventus." Her jaw was clenched, her eyes were wide open, and her heart was beating like a fire alarm bell.

    He tilted his head, his amusement evident.

    "My name... is Xentus."

    Taylor felt the world stop. Everything was slowing down.

    Xentus...Xentus...this is...like...with Terra when he released his Heart and took over Terra's...

    "But my friends call me, Xen. I guess you can think of it... like an improvement on the old model." His smile stretched showing his teeth like, a monster revealing its true self before an innocent traveler.

    A roar sounded from somewhere. It seemed far away and was getting closer and closer.

    Xentus's form became transparent, becoming less solid by the second.

    CRASH!

    "Oath Keeper!" Butcher landed in front of Taylor, as Xentus's form vanished completely. The ground broke apart, causing a small crater from the arrival of the leader of the Teeth. "We have been looking forward to this meeting. Now then, show me you are worthy of our presence!"
     
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2016
    Relyt33, CKirk, UserIDHere and 23 others like this.
  11. NavigatorNobilis

    NavigatorNobilis Follower of the Second Star

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    Oh. Well. Things get worse in a Worm-verse; news at eleven.
     
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