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Wish upon the Stars (Original Superhero cultivation sci fi litrpg)

Discussion in 'Creative Writing' started by Malcolm Tent, Mar 19, 2022.

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  1. Threadmarks: chapter 237
    Malcolm Tent

    Malcolm Tent Experienced.

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    The welcome, of course, was traps. So many traps. Like more traps than you would normally see. Despite the existence of the defenses we were informed by Cicero that traps would be necessary to bounce out the invaders for one very simple reason. The defensive systems in the cavalcade were only designed to attack people who entered the buildings.

    Tents counted, but since so much of the place was outside, we couldn't count on the defenses to take care of too many of the attackers. Callie, who had a badass trap Skill I'd given her and as such would be a perfect choice to lay them down, called bullshit immediately. "Why the hell would they design the protections not to work outside? There are so many ways to take advantage of that. I assume they at least protect the buildings themselves so the invaders can't bust open the sides and expose the internals to attack, or worse just burn the tents down themselves?"

    Cicero sighed. "Yes, the buildings are protected. As for the reasoning, it's so we don't abuse the ability and start wiping out whoever we feel like killing when they enter our territory. Don't get me wrong, there are still methods to take advantage of it, as long as SOME people had played along." He cut his eyes at Abel sulkily, but then moved on. "But they're meant to be defensive and not offensive. The amount of enemies is also relevant here. If they try to push into enough of the buildings the defenses will be spread thin, which would prevent them from being nearly as effective. Hence the traps. To whittle them down before they get to our actual troops."

    "Hes right." Mel said, with a grimace so pronounced I could hear it in her voice. " It'll save more lives than we can count if we can soften them up. My Pavilion members can hold their own, and I'm sure our beast master friends are terrors in their own right, but even the most combat capable of Cicero's forces are silk pants little milktoasts. They'll need all the help they can get." That last part was sad with a taunting glance at the mustachioed man, whose eye twitched as he pretended to ignore her.

    Callie rolled her eyes, cutting off the brewing argument before it got started. "Anyway, so we have thirty G-rankers that are combat capable. I doubt we need thirty places to hole up, so we can split us up into teams. You all talk that through while Solomon and I work on traps and we can finalize it when we get back. I don't know how long we have, but the sooner we get them up the better. I have some ideas for how we can put some of them together quickly." Without waiting for a response she grabbed my hand and dragged me out of the tent. I was getting the impression my girlfriend was sick of dealing with those three and just wanted a break.

    I started chuckling as soon as we were out, but she shushed me, looking around before she grabbed my hand and activated her stealth Skill to cover is both. Once that was done she hip checked me lightly, arm wrapped in mine so she could channel the Skill. "Hush you, if they think it's an excuse they're going to make a big deal about it, and I'm SO sick of listening to those two bitch. Believe it or not that was actually better than before Alden yelled at them. They were sniping way worse before you got back. Anyway, I did have an idea of how we might be able to use your ability to make traps."

    I briefly thought over that. I didn't have many abilities that could be considered useful in construction. It only took me a second to figure it out. " Sucking Mud? Softening the earth could be a useful way to dig pits and arrange attacks." With Callie's trap Skill I was sure she had a dozen ways to arrange traps with access to quick and modifiable holes in the ground. If I softened the dirt up and she scooped it out with her shadows it would be the quickest way I could think of to make a hole. Granted, Callie could also just dig, but that wouldn't be quite a delicate in terms of shape.

    She shrugged. "Oh sure, but we only need to use that for certain traps. Mostly I just wanted to spend some time with you before the battle. I know you well enough to know you're probably too jittery to see straight. You like combat, but this whole candidate thing is really scary. It's your first real taste of the big show, so I wanted to check on you and see how you were doing. You did the same for me, remember?" She laid her head on my shoulder as we walked, waiting patiently for me to talk.

    I pulled her close. "I appreciate that. But honestly, I don't know how I feel. It's going to be a hard fight, but really...I'm scared I might have to kill her. I know I don't know her and she's been making trouble for me, but she hasn't tried to kill me or anything, and she's family. I don't want this to turn into a fight to the death. I DO want to see which of us is stronger, I just don't want it to go too far. But after all Zeke's warnings ignoring the possibility seems stupid. This is a pretty fucked up situation right? It's my first time meeting one of my relatives and my biggest concern is having to murder her. There are upsides to this Wish stuff for sure, but it doesn't always make up for how complicated it makes my life."

    Callie leaned up, standing on her toes to press a kiss to the side of my mask. "I know. But you're a resourceful guy. I believe you can finish this without having to lose anyone or do anything you'd hate yourself for. If you don't want to kill her just don't. Remove it as an option. It might be a little naive, but I'll be here with you to help make sure you can pull it off." She gave me a soft smile. "We can do some pretty amazing things when it's the two of us, and that's not even factoring Jessie and Benny into the equation."

    I couldn't say her reassurance magically fixed all my problems. I still had a gnawing feeling of anxiety in the pit of my stomach, but it was definitely partially washed away by the warm rush of gratitude and affection. I leaned down and gave her a tight hug before pulling back. "Thanks, Cal. I should have talked to you about this sooner. Guess it's no surprise that someone I love was able to pull me out of my funk."

    "Why start paying attention now?" She said airily, winking to show she was just teasing. "You never think things through, it's why you need me." She gave me another kiss on the cheek of my mask. "And I love you too, you big softie. Now, let's get to the trap construction already. First thing we need is a map of this place. We'll want to set up the traps in the spots that are most necessary for traversing the fair grounds. There should be a sign with a general layout somewhere around here."

    A quick use of Seek Hidden and a circuit of the grounds was enough to find what she was looking for, and with our Focus remembering it was hardly a problem. Once we found it she went over the sign carefully. "Now, realistically we should go check with the others about the best places to funnel the invaders, but I somehow doubt we would get anything done quickly with so many rival factions. I think out best bet is to funnel them to the main buildings we're familiar with. The Pavilion, Cicero's tent, and for the last one we can use this."

    She pointed to a spot on the map, and I stared at her in horror for a minute before starting to snicker. "Seriously? I'm assuming the Beast Lord crew and our own team will be in the third location, since giving Cicero and Mel's people home ground advantage makes sense, do you really want us to fight in a fucking hall of mirrors?" But the more I thought about it, the better it sounded. Callie and I were both people who did better attacking the unwary, and I had several interesting skills that I was pretty sure would make it a nightmare for the enemy. The defenses protected the buildings from being destroyed, so we didn't need to worry about them just tearing through it either.

    Callie grinned at me shamelessly. "Come on, you know it sounds like fun. Plus, if we don't take some precautions the other teams are going to massively outshine us. How many chances will we get to cut loose like this in such a crazy environment in the future? We can build up some serious reputation this way." She gestured back to the sign. "Anyway, with those parameters we need to set up traps in these locations." She pointed out about a dozen spots. "First though, we need to make a quick stop."

    We headed for Cicero's tent, following the route back to the entrance to the labyrinth. It was still there, which was pretty lucky, and I used Leaf on the Wind to drop us down into the tunnel. Once we got there, we proceeded to loot the place from top to bottom. When we were down there in the first place we hadn't bothered taking trap mechanisms, because why would we? But this time we stole EVERYTHING. Arrows, blades, mechanical parts, Callie used her trap Skill to deconstruct the emplacements, and since we'd already disarmed them all it didn't take us that long.

    Of course, we still had to carry it all back out, but given our Might the weight of the parts was inconsequential, even if we had to make a bunch of trips because we didn't have enough space to carry it all at once. The spatial box in my backpack helped, but there were a LOT of traps down there, and even the bigger on the inside container wasn't enough to take it all in only one or two trips. Still, once we got it all out if the actual labyrinth we just left it lying in the middle of Cicero's tent and used the box to take what we needed for each stretch of open space among the twelve of them we selected.

    With the supplies we needed, we began the process of assembling the traps. We wandered around for a bit until we found one of the twelve locations that was empty, and then we went from there. Some of the traps weren't salvageable, or didn't fit the terrain, but Callie was able to tweak a surprising number of them to function properly. By the time we were finishing the first spot, the people had all been cleared out, so we were able to hit the others without worrying about any of our own triggering the traps, though we had to stop in and fill the others in on the plan.

    Cicero looked annoyed at us for breaking into his tent, which meant Mel was completely on our side, and Abel weighed in for us too so they were able to overrule him. With distribution decided we all dispersed to our various posts while Callie and I finished off the traps. It took us several hours to manage it, but by the time we were done I was practically shaking with anticipation and worry.

    Sloane assured us they wouldn't let the day end without attacking, and waiting this long meant they would be coming in force. Ready for things to begin, Jessie, Callie, Benny, all twelve of the Beast Lord initiates, and I all headed for where we would make our stand. The hall of mirrors was the place I'd finally meet my counterpart, and I had a feeling nothing would ever be the same after that.
     
  2. Threadmarks: chapter 238
    Malcolm Tent

    Malcolm Tent Experienced.

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    The hall of mirrors was bigger than expected. I'd envisioned a tiny little corridor made up of a series of angled glass panes, reflecting each other to create a mild bit of confusion. It had seemed like an excellent place for me personally to work because of Seek Hidden, which would let me be the sole person in the group who could reliably pick out actual people from reflected images.

    While it turned out that it WAS a great place for that, Callie had somewhat underestimated exactly how much of a 'hall' the hall of mirrors was. It literally looked like a huge manor house made up of a variety of reflective surfaces, all bouncing images into each other in such a way that it was almost impossible to tell where the walls and floors began and ended. There were even mirrored pieces of furniture lying around bouncing the reflections even more and interrupting line of sight. It was absolutely absurd.

    I did my best to ignore the small headache I was getting trying to process and take in everything happening at the same time, instead turning to Callie, who was close enough that I could tell she was physical in the open space of the middle of the entryway. I knew because of the furniture and wall layout that if she stepped up to the walls she would effectively vanish, and I imagined stealth would be even more difficult to pick up here, "Ok, this is going to be a huge headache, but it's what we've got, what's the plan?"

    She scowled around the area. "Admittedly this isn't what I imagine when I read hall of mirrors. Kind of wish we'd gotten a chance to visit this place during our date so I knew what was going on, but it is what it is. The plan is pretty simple. Based on what I was told, the defenses on this place are a sort of rejection. Once the enemy enters the building it'll start to punish them for being inside until they leave. There's a limited amount of it in the circus, so I doubt we see the ring leaders early on. They'll probably flood the place with bodies until it wears off."

    That made me grimace. I'd been hoping to talk to my counterpart before the whole siege deal, maybe finding a way to avoid it. The way it was looking though, chances were good I'd have to deal with waves of disposable minions first, and taking them down would make the other candidate much less friendly most likely. Still, it could be worse. "What about damaging the building. I take it that's another way to burn out the defensive systems here. I'm assuming they're Enchantments based on the description. I was kind of imagining big gun emplacements."

    "I think this works better." She said with a shrug. "But no. While they could theoretically wear the defenses out attacking the walls, it would take dozens of times longer. They're designed to withstand attacks in their passive form for much less energy. No, if they want to get through this siege any time soon they would need to take the proactive approach to trying to kill us." She said that cheerfully, and I had to smile along at how blase she had become about all of this. We'd really been through quite a bit, and we'd all grown from the experience, but Callie most of all.

    She headed off to talk to the Beast Lord initiates, and as she did, I slipped over to where Jessie was standing, eyes scanning over the mirrored walls and furniture. I leaned against the nearest wall. "Credit for your thoughts?" I was pretty sure I knew what she was thinking about, but I didn't want to push her into talking if she wasn't ready. She'd mentioned something about this before, and based on her story it wasn't the kind of thing that should be casually picked at. Whether she wanted to vent or not was up to her.

    Her green eyes jerked up in surprise, as if she'd been so lost in her own thoughts that she wasn't even aware I'd approached her. "Oh, Solomon! Wow, you scared me a bit there. I didn't even notice you." Concerning behavior before what was probably going to be a huge battle. Still, I waited, giving her the chance to decide how much to share. She chewed her lip a bit. "Probably not great that I'm so out of it. I was just thinking about a few things from when I was a kid. I think I mentioned it to all of you at one point. My last encounter with a place like this?" Her voice sounded almost desperate, like she was pleading with me to remember so she didn't have to repeat it.

    I did though, and I was happy to talk with her if it helped. "Yeah, a memory with your brother you mentioned. Being here is making you think of him?" She nodded, looking a bit uncertain. I put a hand on her shoulder, knowing the general shape of her thoughts. "Hey, just because we have a plan doesn't mean it doesn't still hurt being without him. Agreeing to help you try to get him back wasn't some attempt to get you to stop grieving. Feel what you need to feel. Though, I'm a bit worried about your timing, I have to admit."

    She winced, looking around the mirrored hall. I scanned the surrounding area, and something occurred to me. "Wait, where are the wolves? I haven't seen them today." I felt a bit bad for not noticing Jin wasn't here, but to be fair there had been quite a bit going on today.

    Jessie perked up, happily distracted by talking about her 'puppies'. "Oh, they're on the way. I left them at the Rowdy Badger today since we were working on things. I called for them once we got set up here, and Randall too. That should seriously help with any attempted siege. I already called and gave Cark a path through the traps to get here like Nightstrike texted me to earlier. He should be showing up soon. That's part of what had me so worried. I wasn't sure they would get here in time, but they're getting close. I can feel Randall's energy even from here."

    I was pretty shocked Callie had put so much together without me noticing, but I probably shouldn't have been. She was the boss because she noticed things I missed. I was just glad we'd have so much backup. I had a thought and had to break off the discussion. Apologizing to Jessie for cutting off her introspection, I stepped over to let Callie know she needed to talk before dropping in on Sloane.

    She saw me approaching and sighed dramatically. "You know, I wish we would have had a better timeline for this attack. I'm sure it'll be today, but I wasn't expecting the delay. All this hurry up and wait nonsense is driving me crazy." She reached up to scratch the silver bird on her shoulder under the chin. "You have some place you need me, or did you just feel like checking in? Because I'll be honest, I'm not in the mood for idle conversation right now. Trying to keep myself hyped for the battle."

    Her response to my supposed attempt at conversation was blunt and to the point, and it made me smile, not that she could see it. "No." I said dryly. "No casual chatting on the agenda. I'm here to ask a question about the fight. We have a bit of backup coming, one of whom is tamed beast Agria has who is at F-rank. Is that going to violate the spirit of the war? Like are we opening the door to them using more powerful combatants if we field him?"

    Sloane looked impressed. "Most people wouldn't have bothered asking that, for the same reason it won't be an issue. Other factions don't consider tamed beasts combatants as much as they consider them tools. It's a disgusting mindset, though a useful one at times. Agria herself is G-rank so it'll be fine. Being able to tame a creature above her level is just considered a form of genius. Like having a combat standard above your rank. It isn't an opening for things to escalate."

    I exhaled in relief. Callie had probably considered that and might even have asked someone else, but the thought had scared me enough to compel me to ask about it. I thanked Sloane and headed back to where Jessie and Callie were, and my girlfriend gave me a nod. "I heard what you asked her. That was a good catch. I didn't realize Cark was bringing Randall and not just the wolves or I would have asked. I expected him to leave the bear back at the Badger to protect their people."

    "Yeah." I said. "I probably would have assumed so too. I guess he decided that one way or the other things will end tonight. Might as well go all in, it's not like the G-ranker Militia members could resist on their own if we got wiped out." I wasn't sure Burning Fist would even be able to do anything if that happened. Given how powerful Sanctuary Hall seemed to be, and the implication from Melinda that the Militia was a middle to low tier organization in E-district, he might not even try, and if he did he had M-Jack to deal with on top of the Peace Lord.

    Jessie, who had continued to stare off into the distance in the direction I assumed Randall was coming from, lit up. "They're here. Quick, let them in." We rushed up to the door and levered it open, removing a mirrored metal bar keeping it closed and pulling the doors apart to let in the wolves as well as the five G-ranked members of the militia. Once they saw us, Cark grinned with relief. Sage and Saffron were with him, along with the two other G-rankers we'd seen when Ronnie attacked.

    He gestured back at them. "We brought who we could. I wasn't leaving the Badger empty, but these are the most combat capable of my subordinates." Sage cleared her throat loudly, glaring at her boyfriend, who coughed in embarrassment. "And Sage of course, who is my partner and definitely doesn't work for me or have to do what I say." He gave her a sarcastic smile and she rolled her eyes are his obvious attempt to point out how ridiculous she was being by going overboard. I saw a small smile on her face though.

    Cark turned and looked outside for a minute before nodding to the purple haired guy we'd seen at the Badger. The guy clapped and there was a waver in the air as Randall appeared next to the entrance. The huge bear had been under some kind of stealth field and he followed the wolves over the threshold without waiting for any sort of response from any of us. Once he was in, we slammed the door and barricaded it again. I wasn't sure how they were going to get in, but I assumed if the defenses were internal there had to be a way.

    We talked over the distribution of forces, and mostly just had people hide around the hall where they thought they would be hardest to detect, with the exception of the heavies like Baric and Croll, who decided to stick by Randall, a decision I couldn't really fault them for. I slipped into stealth mode, Callie right next to me as we waited. It was assumed that the meat shields would be first through the door, but even with the candidate waiting in the wings I was jittery. I felt my foot tap rapidly and unconsciously as my body tried to let out some of the tension through fidgeting, but I put a stop to it. After about an hour, we finally heard a loud boom as something hit the door. It seemed like the first wave had arrived. Time to fight.
     
    meloa789, Hyperion47, Thorq and 3 others like this.
  3. Pef

    Pef Versed in the lewd.

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    I keep thinking about that F rank dagger...
    Sure it would be useful during most of the adventures, only we never learned what happened to it, since it should have belonged to the MC as a loot from his kill. Plus some other loot for disguise, detection and so on.
     
  4. Threadmarks: chapter 239
    Malcolm Tent

    Malcolm Tent Experienced.

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    The door rattled in its frame at the impact, and it occurred to me that the protections probably reinforced existing defenses. Doors and windows would be the weakest spots even with the protections. It made sense to create entry points like that too, because otherwise there'd be no point to the internal defenses and the invaders could just bust in anywhere once the protections came down.

    Still, the door was big and looked sturdy. The mirrored surface was metal, not glass, and the thing was shaking like a leaf in a hurricane. Whatever was trying to take it down was STRONG. I'd lifted that bar holding it shut, if the door was made of the same material I knew I wouldn't have been able to make it shake like that even if I used my strongest blow. Whatever was out there was raining down blows and from the look of it the thing wasn't going to hold out for long. I reached out to take Callie's hand, giving it a squeeze, half to reassure me and half to reassure her.

    Before I even had a chance to withdraw my hand and the door was smashed inward with a boom. Not just broken down either, it was like a cork popping out of a champagne bottle. It burst inward, flying across the room to smash into the wall, and a THING, stepped through. It was huge. Easily fifteen feet tall and bipedal, with huge slumped shoulders and long, thin arms tipped with long fingered, sharp taloned hands dragging dark metal shackles attached to nothing. It's blood red eyes had no irises, just a single pitch black dot in the middle that roamed around the room as it turned it's massive, antlered head.

    I thought back to an exchange I'd heard from the others back when Abel saved us, a comment one of the enemies had made about 'releasing the Wendigo'. The others had dismissed it, almost disgusted by the idea, and part of me had been amused that they would dismiss a potential weapon like that. It had sounded like a living, thinking thing, so holding it in containment instead of using it seemed stupid, even if I was glad they'd decided to do it.

    Now though...now I got it. I'd looked up the word Wendigo. It was a racial trait, a horrifying one that granted some pretty immense bonuses at the cost of losing your inborn ability. Mostly passive multiplicative enhancements to Vitality and Might (ten Might counted as twenty, that sort of thing), along with some ice based touch abilities. I hadn't been able to find a picture though, just a description, and this thing definitely fit the bill. 'Red eyes blazing with hellish flames of hate' was a dead on description of this beast.

    It radiated a palpable sense of malice and hate, and I could almost feel the decay and death coming off of it. Just looking at it made me sick, and that was without even taking into account that this thing had been a fucking PERSON. Someone had willingly chosen to become this in order to gain power. Racial traits couldn't be forced any more than abilities could. This had been a decision, and it just proved to me how monstrous the other side of the hero coin could really be. I'd always thought about criminals and gangsters when I thought about villains, but the line between human and monster wasn't exactly impassable. Hell, the Lich proved that, even if I hadn't really taken it to heart.

    From behind the Wendigo poured a score of robed figures, all wearing beaten bronze masks just like the ones we'd seen on the other Sanctuary Hall goons. Like the Wendigo, they were all G-ranked as expected, and it occurred to me that we were damn lucky the Wendigo had been a person, because if it was a tamed beast they could have brought something at the F-rank. Still, I was pretty sure from the damage it had done that it was almost entirely Might and Vitality focused, and I was guessing the thing was at the high end of G rank, meaning we were talking potentially thousands of effective Might after passive enhancement.

    A fact that everyone, including Jessie, clearly understood, because my blonde teammate gave a quiet command and Randall, all several tons of him, hit the Wendigo like a speeding truck, smashing the unnaturally lanky creature to the ground and beginning to rain down blows on it one after the other. I hadn't ever been slapped by a bear before, but something about the way it looked made me pretty sure I didn't want to try it. I wasn't sure what it was about those strikes that made them look so much heavier than a normal super strong person could deliver, but they were scary to see.

    With Randall moving, Sloane, Beric, and Croll also blitzed forward, ready to attack. Sloane blurred as she moved, her fox and bird vanishing, and I saw her hands flatten and twist into talons as a pair of fox ears emerged from her scalp. She sprouted a pair of silver wings and her face elongated into a fang filled muzzle. Beric had expanded into a massive fur covered tiger form, and Croll had shifted into a thin, swift looking scaled form that looked incredibly deadly. The three of them spread out around the big fight between the Wendigo and the bear and hit the other robed figures as hard as they could.

    I wanted to watch, but I found my gaze drawn back to the spectacle of animal vs. monster. The Wendigo had twisted in some sort of unnatural, jerky lunge and managed to get out from under the paws, slamming its antlered head into Randall's upper body and driving the huge bear back. Randall snarled, but the bloody furrows the antlers dug (surface wounds only from the looks of it) closed almost immediately, a green glow knitting them back together. Jessie had obviously juiced her tamed beast up nice and full.

    Still, it was terrifying that the G-ranked Wendigo had managed to actually drive back the bear. Granted, Wendigos had some serious weaknesses, being almost completely Might and Vitality dependent and unable to properly utilize most Skills, but still, being able to accrue this kind of power at our rank...it scared me. Abel's combat power had shown me another path than just grinding, and this was showing me a third. There were more than just one or two ways to become powerful, and if I forgot that I would probably end up dead soon enough.

    The Wendigo reared up on its elongated hind legs, suddenly even taller than before as it shed the hunched posture. Randall was on his own back paws, reared up in a display of primal fury I doubted I'd ever forget as he sent a series of powerful swipes smashing into the stretched, too thin grey body. Thw Wendigo's hide was the sickening pale grey of diseased meat and its thin papery skin was stretched taught over its sharply angled bones.

    The monster opened its mouth, baring far too many serrated and improperly sized teeth, and then it did the most horrible thing it had done since it got here. It spoke. "Beast." It hissed out, its voice the unsettling hiss and crackle of cold wind in dead branches. "Were I not hampered by this place. No mere animal would restrain me." I blinked in horror as I realized that this was the Wendigo AFTER suppression by the defenses, and a terrified part of me decided this thing had to die before that suppression wore off or we were all going to suffer in ways I couldn't imagine.

    Luckily, I was in a position to help. The Wendigo was distracted, and my reading had informed me of their biggest weakness. Wendigos were monsters of ice and emptiness, unceasing pits of hunger. But ice could melt. I reached for one of my fire attacks, triggering Touch of Tears, Consecration of Flame, and Mercy Kill. I did NOT use afterburner, though it probably would have straight up killed the thing, because this was just their can opener, and being weakened before the real threat arrived would be pure stupidity.

    So I kept the attack to my easily repeatable moves and then triggered a stored blast of flame from Cark. The absolute torrent of aqua flames flew at the Wendigo's exposed back, and it turned with unnatural, jerky quickness to stare right at me as the fire came toward it. There was a gravelly roar and it raised its arms, now wreathed in ice, to intercept the fire. I wasn't sure the ice would be able to counter my flame, but in the end it didn't matter.

    When focusing on me the monster had ended up ignoring Randall, and the bear didn't let that go unpunished. He brought both paws down in an arc on the Wendigo's wide antlers, and the monsters red, hate filled eyes went wide in shock as it was driven to its knees from the force. The ice dispersed as it unconsciously began to turn to the beast before regaining its focus just in time to shove one of those long arms forward in desperation to take the attack.

    It roared in pain and hate as the poisonous flame consumed its limb, leaving behind a smoldering stump at the shoulder along with several burns along the chest and ribs on that side of its body, all spiderwebbed with green cracks filled with guttering embers. The Wendigo turned to glare at me, vicious teeth exposed by peeled back facial skin, but it didn't have a chance to attack before another powerful smash of paw landed upside its head.

    Down and arm, poisoned, and reeling from being bear slapped in its ugly face, the Wendigo had absolutely no chance as the higher ranked beast fell on it ravenously and began to tear it apart. Razor sharp claws and fangs were flashing like a busy nightclub as Randall laid into it, and I exhaled in relief as I shot Jessie a thumbs up. She gave me a cold, solemn nod, that showed me she was taking the threat seriously, and I carefully tucked away the emotions that killing the thing were starting to stir, even by proxy. I made a mental note to confront those feelings though. Not just because they were important, but because I knew Jessie would need to talk about it too, and she never would if I didn't bring it up.

    Looking at my blonde friend was all the saved me as I watched eyes widen in horror. I didn't even think, I activated Double Trouble as I felt the blades dig into me on either side, leaving deep gashes under my ribs. I appeared behind the robed figure trying to bisect me with his daggers, seeing another engaging a frantic looking Callie, who visibly relaxed into her fight when she saw me escape, her mouth firming with determination as she focused on taking her own opponent. I brought up my cane, unleashing the force burst and a poison fire smash into the short ribs of the dagger wielding assailant.

    Then I had to throw myself to the side, triggering a healing burst to patch up the wounds in my sides as a second robed figure attacked. I cursed under my breath as I rolled to my feet, readying myself for the rest of this fight. Using my last fire attack to take out the Wendigo had been the right call, but it had pierced my stealth and drawn attackers to me like a beacon, endangering Callie too. I had to finish my fights and help with hers to make up for that. I spun my cane as I pushed my back to the wall behind me, cutting off an attack direction as I prepared. The big guy was down, now we needed to finish the small fries before the boss herself showed her face. I had a feeling that confrontation would be problematic enough without minions underfoot.
     
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