“Ah, yes. They have a wide space on the island to feed themselves with, because they must be here until the eggs hatch. It would be hard for more of us to support ourselves here.” Scalag looked a little closer at the bodies. “No… one is missing.” He forced himself to venture into the killing grounds, looking about for signs. In the carnage, he hadn’t realized that one of the guardians was not in the sand. “We kept scavengers away.” He told Maya. “That can’t be it. He is gone.” Maya’s investigation of the arrow didn’t bring her far. The arrows weren’t loosed from particularly far, only 20 feet.
The arrow’s history led there, an indistinct space a little bit in from the shore. It seemed there had been a concerted effort to remove tracks, the top layer of sand pushed around to form ridges along the ground, like somebody had used bombs to clear it out. However, some marks were deep enough that they remained, indistinct but visible. There were two furrows at the lake’s edge, one potentially where a boat at rested, the other a wider mark where something was dragged. “Klazil. The missing one would be Klazil.” Scalag said, still keeping his distance. Martha zipped around the corners of the clearing until she found her sister. “Hey, Callie.” She knelt by her, placing a hand on her shoulder. “Are you alright? I know this is a lot. You want to hang out in the jungle for a bit, away from this? Haven can give us a whistle if we’re needed.”
Akabane sighed when she heard Sid's reason, that was a bit disappointing...then again, there was no difference between them and him.
"Well, I'm sure there's gonna be quite a bit of extra money on this if we get the eggs back, good luck with that dude, there's quite a bit of people so splitting the reward might make it thin..."- She said as she began to think a bit about the objective. As Daisuke and the rest began looking for clues, Akabane moved towards Scalag
"Hey so um, how many eggs are we supposed to bring back? I asume you know how many there were in total, right?"
Callie silently nodded at Martha's offer. She was being so good to her, maybe it wouldnt be so bad with her around. after a few minutes of walking, Callie talked to her sister.
"Thank you for hanging out with me, I...think we should do it more often..." She told her as she hugged her arm, she was not like the others, Martha didn't give off the menacing vibe of Yuu or ignored her altogether like the rest...she liked her lots.
Maya followed the arrow's trail to the beach. "I think we can rule out an inside job now." She said, resting her head on her chin. Everything pointed to foreign invaders. An unusual arrow, coming from the direction of the beach, and signs of movement there. Whoever was here tried hiding their tracks and they were certainly good at it when it came to laymen. But their efforts weren't good enough.
"Klazil... I'll keep that in mind. Now, about that other island. Is it in this direction?" She pointed out to sea directly away from the beach. --- Leslie listened to Liam's explanation with a frown. "That's horrible. I don't wanna get used to this..." Is this what Aaron was protecting her from? And she still decided to get herself into trouble like this. There was nothing she could do about it now except grit and bear it. At least she could agree with Liam on one thing though. Finding the lost eggs was very important and the reward that would come with it was going to be sweet.
"I should probably help out. But I'm not sure where to start." She knew she wasn't going into the bodies. She looked around for any obvious trails she could follow, if such a thing existed. --- Aimi sniffed the air when she thought she was far enough away. She was wrong. "Just the dead bodies back there." She made a disgusted grimace. "Maybe if we searched the island more, we'd find a trail. But we shouldn't go too far from the others. Oh, what about you? Do you have any special skills that could help us?"
Well... its horrible that's true - He said with a faint sigh - But listen... this is no different of cops fighting against all the crap this world has... you know, crime, drugs, a lot of things... Consider it... trying to keep the world balanced? There can't be evil without good and vice versa - He scratched the back of his neck, he didn't knew if that was a good advice or something for a girl her age... or well, maybe she was bubbled away from these things. It's not like he wasn't new to the world either, just that yeah, you feel your life its what you know until you get out of your own safe zone.
Liam listened to Scalag mention that there was one bodyguard missing, he excused with Leslie before moving forward. As he observed the evidence and also listened to Maya, so the possibility of the dragon-mad to be the ones behind it... if their island was towards that way...
"Hey kid, look. Something was dragged to the shore, it clearly seems a boat was used to get here" He could hear the voice of the mad scientist in his head "Pretty sure the hostage besides the eggs is that lizard's friend"
I wonder if we should divide the group, one to check out this island and make sure they don't kill more people, and another group to go investigate that other island - He said as he walked back to Maya and Scalag - If we cover more ground we may make things a bit easier
“Aw, unfortunately I don’t.” Haven said, holding out his hand and summoning a long neon-purple surfboard that he jumped onto, kicking his back leg down and sending it into a backflip. He skillfully rode it back down, smiling. “But I can make cool stuff like this. Want a ride back?” Haven asked, descending and holding out his hand for Aimi to take. What on Earth could have done this, especially if she couldn’t smell anything amiss nearby besides the bodies?
“Klazil?” Sid asked out loud, looking around the area. Why would that dude be the only one missing, if he wasn’t the one to do it? Was he taken hostage? There didn’t seem to be any tracks that showed someone was dragged away. Could they have been working together with someone else, and they both made off with the eggs?
Looking toward Liam, Sid shrugged his shoulders. “Probably a good idea, dude. We have plenty of people here that could be doing stuff.” He stated, looking around to see if there were any clues. Casey had already wandered off, seeing if she could find anything a little further away from the carnage.
The further Casey went from the battlefield, the more trees grew from the sandy ground. She could barely see the Spiral behind her when she came across another arrow, embedded in a palm tree. She saw something there, a ripple in the air. It looked like a heat mirage at first, but as she drew closer, it didn’t fade, only growing thicker. Only when she was nearly close enough to take the arrow in her hand did the mirage resolve into something solid. It billowed, a reptile’s empty skin, a ragged white sheet of scales. The air was still, nothing to drive its incessant movement. A tattered crest turned to Casey and eyeless holes fixed on her. It seemed to be pinned to the tree by the arrow, but it still attacked, arms trying to wrap her up and pull her towards its mouth, where scales had been mutated into a strange scraping surface of razor-sharp blades and darkness lingered.
“No. Their island is on the other side of ours from where you landed. But they could have come in on this inlet.” Scalag said, examining the mark himself. It was strange. They thought it was of a boat? He was only familiar with broad rafts that wouldn’t leave such a mark. “How many? There are between 94 and 115 eggs every year. The loss of a few is probably acceptable. Many will not hatch, and those that do will mostly die young.” He spoke in a matter of fact fashion, as if it was simply something expected. Then his scales stood up. The air over the corpse Maya had pulled the arrow from began to ripple and shift, falling over itself in waves. “Away away away!” He called out, but the ripples rushed over Maya in an instant. Like the one that attacked Casey, it was only visible in its fullest when it got within range. Its limbs trailed off into a spectral whisps, its head nothing more than a collection of lashing, scaly strips of skin, lined with teeth. It swept some at her and some at Scalag when he reached out to pull her away, ripping away flesh and leaving a numbing cold where they touched.
Akabane's attention was immediately directed towards Maya, who was being attacked by a seemingly invisible enemy, she pushed Scalag out of the way and reached for her gun, but was promptly stopped by daisuke
"Don't bother, I got the right thing for it"-He said confidently as he walked past her with a giant cleaver resting on his shoulder, Akabane stayed on guard as she protected the lizardman and allowed him to go.
-Virtual Machine X online-
"Out of the way lass!"- He told Maya as he ran straight to the range where the attacks came from, swinging his weapon from below. Daisuke couldn't quite see his target, but that barely mattered, as Big Iron warped gravity around it, sucking any target nearby into its range.
Callie heard the sounds of battle in the distance, her whole body shivered, but she gathered some courage.
"M-Martha, let's go with Haven! you go ahead, I'll catch up to you! (or stay...)"-She said as she gripped her sword by the scabbard. She was scared, but that was not what mattered here. Was her brother alright?!
Maya agreed with Liam and Sid. "Good idea. And perhaps we can make a third group to explore this island some more. See if some more clues were left lying around." They didn't get to split up tho, not only because they weren't all together, but because something weird started happening. The air started shimmer for no reason. The shimmer grew and got closer until it was in reach of a curious Maya. Then she saw it for what it was. A spirit, more solid than the one that visited them and filled with killing intent. Taken off guard, the vicious swipe scrapped her forearm, leaving a cold wound which would've been worse had Scalag not pulled her out of its reach.
Now she was ready for it though. "Can we hurt it?" The questions carried a double meaning. Can their physical attacks hurt it? And did the lizards approve of attacking the restless spirit? If so, she was ready to hurl a rock at its face and slam her palm under its ribcage.
Leslie stayed back. The situation made her hesitate to going on the offensive. Especially since she had to mull over what Liam had said. Was getting used to this slaughter sensible? Was it worth it? If it was for the right reasons? --- Oh wow. That's..." Aimi tried to think of the surfer word. "Radical, bruh! The kidnappers will be so scared after they see that, they'll give back the eggs instantly." She took Haven's hand and stood on the board unsteadily. "You're not going to let me fall, are you?"
Woah there! - He said as he noticed a strange glow in the air and attempted to hurt Maya, he didn't had much in hand that could work against a... invisible thing? a spirit? It could be anything at this point, if it was some kind of chameleon... folk? Then physical attacks could work, otherwise he didn't knew if the stuff in his bag could help with an unknown type of spirit.
Without making a full transformation, he kicked the creature with an armored leg. The fragment of Liam's suit wasn't charming, it resembled trash at some point... or a work in progress of some kind of futuristic armor. He wasted no time into checking if his first attack worked or not, as he took from his bag a can with salt. If it was a spirit then it MAY have a reaction, right? He wasn't sure at all. He threw it before attempting to move back. If that whatever-it-was can physically hurt someone then you can punch it! That's what he thought... or tried to be optimistic at least - All right, fucker. Let's dance
Haven couldn’t help but laugh at the surfer comments, pulling Aimi onto the surfboard and keeping his right hand locked onto her hand. “That would be totally tubular, girl. But we will need your gnarly nose to sniff out where these bubs are. Is that slang even from the same area?” Haven looked up thoughtfully, tapping his chin, then shrugging and smiling back at Aimi. “Come on, who do you think I am? I wouldn’t let a lady fall off my board. Hang on!”
He was about to lean forward, when a yell could be heard coming from a nearby grove. “Change of plans!” Haven called out, leaning forward and taking off into the woods. When they arrived, the two would find Casey having been grabbed by the lizard, and getting lifted up into the air. “Let me go NOW!” Casey yelled up at him, her hair growing darker and eyes flashing red. Out of her mouth came a stream of fire meant to force the lizard to let her go.
Sid’s eyes widened when he saw the invisible opponent swipe at Maya, preparing to dash in and kick the thing back into the ocean...when Daisuke yelled at them to get back and fired something at it. Not wanting to become wrapped up in whatever that thing was doing, Sid stood at the ready should the lizard survive Daisuke’s attack. “I guess you have more than revolvers, cowdude.” Sid joked, glancing over at Daisuke, relieved that Maya seemed relatively uninjured despite the surprise attack.
“You don’t have to come if you’re scared, but I’m going! Stay hidden if you’re not coming!” Martha hugged Callie and she was gone, kicking up a metric ton of sand in her wake. What she arrived to see made no sense. There was nothing there, but Scalag was injured and the guy with long hair had a bigass sword waving around. “What the fuck is going on!?”
“I don't think so! Only shaman’s weapons hurt them!” Scalag’s scales were up, and he stabbed at the spirit enveloping Maya. It pushed through like the thing didn’t exist at all, striking a hole in its body. He was completely ignored, just like Maya’s strike to its chest. It just kept trying to attack until Daisuke swung his sword. Its gravitational field ripped the ghost into the air, tumbling unnaturally. The next second, the blade tore it in two and those pieces were orbiting the blade. An arm, loose and flowing like a jacket sleeve, whipped out to wrap around Daisuke’s neck, pulling the ragged, ever-expanding mouth towards his face. Its other half was already rejoining it, hovering in place but not connecting to it, wavering and rolling about on its own whims.
Casey’s flames went right into the spirit’s throat, burning away the darkness that hid there and flickering out of the horror’s empty eye sockets. The whole jaw peeled back from the pressure and its grip relaxed, letting Casey slip away. When she did, it attempted to come after her, but its body was pinned to the tree at the arrow’s point, allowing it to bend and writhe, but keeping it firmly tied down.
"Hey I told ya, the rodeo is just...what the fuck?!"-Daisuke felt the moment the arm began to wrap around him, he dropped his weapon which disappeared into thin air and set his prostethic arm between the creature and his neck.
"Thought you had it?"- Akabane sighed as she saw Daisuke struggle.
"Very funny! now, get this thing off me!"
"Sure will, now hang in there, gonna get one of those shaman weapons"
Akabane looked around, but the one arrow she saw before wasn't there.
"It's the arrows right? Huh that's weird, I could have sworn I..."
Musashi was seriously looking around, but the arrow Maya yanked was nowhere to be seen, she readied her weapon in order to fruitlessly attack the spirit, but Callie struck first, firing the arrow with her black bow.
"...When did she?!"- Akabane didn't even notice when Callie got it, but apparently at some point she did. the arrow struck the space Daisuke was fighting off, should that damage the creature, he would retreat back to Akabane.
A yell made Haven change course, and Aimi was going with him. They found the helicopter idol alone in the woods. Alone might not be the right word though, she was clearly grappling with some shadowy creature. The fox was surprised to see her have a minor transformation that let her breathe fire. "I see the starlet has some fire in her belly." Was she a dragon? A descendant of one? Questions for later. She managed to get away for now, but the spirit seemed relatively unfazed. The only thing keeping it at bay was the arrow pinning it to the tree.
Since she'd never seen ghost lizards like this one, Maki wasn't sure if her kitsune magic would be much use. The kitsune's naturally high spiritual connection might be enough to let her damage it however, so she tried. "Fox fire!" A blue flame appeared above her tail so she swished it toward the spirit. --- Back at the beach, the group was in a larger pickle.
"Shaman's weapons?" Maya didn't have any of those. Neither did Leslie. Then the detective remembered the arrows used by the guards. If undead creatures posed a threat, surely the guards weapons were blessed to deal with them. Callie had the same idea. She'd grabbed one and stabbed it at the creature while it was distracted. Maya and Leslie watched impatiently to see the results.
Finally released from the lizard’s grasp, Casey fell onto the ground and scrambled back to her feet. “Uuuuuugh, thank you so much!” She told the two approaching people, Maki shooting fire at the spirit while Haven maneuvered the board toward the lizard, summoning a long neon-purple javelin and tossing it straight at the spirit’s chest. “I don’t know why you’re attacking her, but you need to stop!” He yelled out at the spirit, preparing to use more force if necessary.
“Shaman weapons only work?” Sid asked, letting out an annoyed sigh as the only method of attack had been snatched and fired at the spirit. Seeing there was little he could do here, Sid simply summoned one of his black obsidian Gainen boots and walked up to the spirit holding Daisuke, and attempted to kick the arm. Perhaps the boots would count for something to do with spirits, he didn’t quite understand how these powers worked.
Aimi and Haven’s attacks battered and shredded the spirit, preventing it from getting its paws back on Casey. It couldn’t move forwards, pinned as it was to the tree, and it just took a few steps back before it vanished from sight entirely. Its frame was still visible by the spiritual flames burning upon it, reducing it further and further until nothing remained.
Toothy tendrils wrapped around Daisuke’s arm to pull the creature towards his head. Sid's foot buffeted it but did little to slow it down. Before it could consume him, the arrow Callie shot pierced it. Like it was grabbed by an invisible hand, it was yanked away in the arrow’s path, ending up pinned to the sand. It thrashed, but it couldn’t move from its point, even its disconnected lower half just thrashing uselessly. So long as nobody walked within its reach, they were fine. “The arrows… are shaman weapons?” Scalag crouched, examining it from a safe distance. “It seems the spirits are wrathful. Perhaps they really are the ones responsible for this.”
"You don't give shaman weapons to your guards?" Maya looked at Scalag. "Right. Of course. The arrows are the same after all." She looked at the arrow in the spirit. "I don't believe the spirits are the ones to blame for this at all. Of course, we need more evidence, but my current theory is that whoever stole the eggs is hiding their base on that ghost island. That shaman blessed arrow is not one from Scalag's island, and it only makes sense for the invaders to have weapons that can hurt ghosts if they expect to come in contact with them."
"Wow, you figured that out already?" Leslie looked at the detective with amazed eyes. She could see why she was a detective. Sid and Daisuke were also impressive, physically if not with their intelligence, though on second thought, that only made their sketchy appearances more worrying.
That was just a theory still. They would need to search the ghost island to see if she was right. But if she isn't... "Still, groups, as we mentioned earlier, are a good idea in case I'm wrong. Being a detective doesn't mean you're always right the first time." She winked at Leslie. --- "Alright, I think that worked," Aimi commented, waving her tail proudly. "What was that, anyway? It's weirder than others ghosts I've seen."
And just like that, the spirit appeared to disappear from this existence. Casey got back to her feet and dusted herself off, fixing her hair as well. "Thank you. As for what that was, I don't know. I was just looking around and blam, there it was!" Casey swung her arm toward the tree to point dramatically at it.
Hopping down off his board, Haven scratched the back of his neck with confusion. "Weird that it was pinned to a tree like that..." He mused, walking up and picking the arrow out of the tree and examining it. "I think we should get this back to the detective, right?" He asked, motioning toward his board once more. "Want a ride? Would be neat to have three celebrities on here." He joked, looking at Casey.
"Ooooh? Celebrity?" She asked, narrowing her eyes. Casey didn't pay much attention to the electronic scene, so she had no idea who Haven was. "You'll have to tell me your claims to fame, la...dies?" Her voice trailed off, looking at Haven. "I'm a sea monster, make whatever you want of that." Haven joked, smirking at Casey, who grinned in response. "Alright Aquaman, let's see how you use a surfboard." Casey responded, stepping on the board. Haven would then take off toward the others, ready to tell Maya about the arrow.
When the spirit went away, Sid looked down at his leg and shook it slightly. "So it can touch ghosts...?" He mumbled to himself. How did that work? Hearing Maya's deductions, Sid shrugged his shoulders and nodded his head. "Good enough for me! So who gets to hold onto that arrow? Seems like the only thing that's going to work on those dudes." He asked. The archer seemed like the best option, but the cowboy might have some gun that could fire arrows. Would that make it a crossbow...? Weapons are weird.
“Shaman weapons take months of work, so only one is kept here. Spirits mostly attack lone hunters and people out too late at night, not a nest guarded by our best warriors.” Scalag’s tail drooped to the sand as he examined the pinned ghost. If they were really responsible, something must be terribly, terribly wrong with the island. “The shamans usually keep angry spirits in check. To attack us so readily, they must be truly furious. Something has disturbed the dead. Disaster, invasions, plague. But it could… could just be what happened here that has angered them.” He wasn’t sure how to tell the difference. Before he could think of a means to discern this, yelling came from the jungle’s edge.
His ridge stood up, but momentarily, Martha and Eustace burst from the trees. “Watch where you are going, you insufferable dullard!” Eustace yelled, wiping mud from his clothing. “We found stuffffff!” Martha yelled, charging across the sand. “I heard yelling this way and I ran to help, then I heard more fighting the other way and I got turned around and then I crashed into this guy!” “None of that is important. What is important is that I have found tracks in the mud, and I find them highly interesting. This blundering buffoon might have damaged some of them, but there are a few intact.” “Show me.” Scalag asked, and Eustace led the way.
It was just inside the jungle, concentrated on a single hillside. Set into the leaf litter and fallen twigs were a few distinct footprints. They were quite clearly not lizardfolk footprints, but it was difficult to say just what they were. They were broad and short, with four distinct toes at the front. “I do not recognize these prints.” Scalag said, following them to the top of the hill. They abruptly vanished there, with no sign nearby. “There is nothing on this island with feet like that. Those footprints… they feel wrong.” “Another layer to the mystery? Interesting…” Eustace stepped back to scribble down more notes. “Maybe they’re ghost footprints? You said there were ghosts and they looked weird, right?” Martha suggested. “Spirits do not leave footprints.” Scalag flicked at her with his tail, making her hop back. “So many strange things these days.” He sighed.