"Maybe it's for your rich person exotic tastes!" Leslie said. Rich people always wanted exotic food, according to movies. Maybe he stole them just to try lizard omelets. A disturbing thought.
"No, it wasn't bad. It was actually pretty cool when it wasn't scary," she told Haven. "But I think I'll get off here." She smiled, not wanting to admit her legs were starting to feel a bit like jelly. Not out of fear exactly, but a mixture of excitement and not being used to flying on boards. --- "What... Is that, exactly?" Maya asked, bewildered by the lindworm. She'd never seen something like that and it gave her platypus vibes. She backed off when the screaming match between Skalag and the creature started and was startled when it ended. It was a bewildering scene for her. She wasn't sure if she could climb on it as casually as Casey, so she was grateful for Sid's help. "Thanks, but I'd prefer to be..." Farther from its duckbill mouth? "...closer to the back so I can keep an eye out."
"I'll take the front then," Aimi chirped, fascinated by the lindworm. "That is, unless you selective with the girls you help out, cutie." She teased.
“Exotic tastes!? I am a brain! A brain in a jar! I do not eat eggs!” The director yelled at Leslie. “Hey! Leave the kid alone!” Martha yelled back. “Whatever. Tied up? That was my monster! Oh hell, you made me lose it! I’ll have to recast!” The director turned his attention to Haven’s question, now throwing an outright fit in the dirt. “I don’t think this guy took the eggs. I’m going to meet up with the others!” Martha sighed and disappeared into the woods. The director remained on the ground, mumbling and grumbling hopelessly.
“What is a “dinosaur”?” Both Khag and Scalag asked Daisuke. “Alright, alright, we need to pick up the others before we go to the new island. Can somebody, I don’t know, call them?” Eustace grumbled. Before anybody did, a white blur came rushing over the waves and Martha skidded to a stop on the scaly beach. Her hair was wild and her skin and clothes covered in scratches from running through the jungle.
“Hey guys! Woah, this place is weird! Oh right, the thing. We didn’t find anything on the main island, just a guy who’s a brain, but he didn’t take the eggs probably. How are you guys doing?” “...meet us on the beach where we started.” Eustace sighed. He really couldn’t handle her this time. “Really? Okay! I’ll tell the others!” Martha ran back out onto the water. “They can run on water?” Khag asked Scalag. “Only that one, I think. They are all terrifying in different ways.” He replied. “Agreed. I look forward to seeing what carnage they bring to our enemy.” Khag flicked her tail and barked an order, sending the lindworm slouching into the water.
The group on the main island had plenty of time to get to the beach before the lindworm reached it. Martha lay in the sand, legs in the water up to her knees. She was tempted to just swim, but she didn’t want her clothes to get soaked. Where she was, she couldn’t hear the footsteps coming from the jungle. A group of robots came, the director at its head. He sought out Haven and walked up to him, bowing politely. “Hello. I apologize for the situation back at my cave. I did some thinking and well, your little adventure wounds fascinating. Might I lend my assistance? I want script ideas.”
The cutie comment immediately got Sid's attention, flashing a grin. "I think my services extend to everyone. Give me a sec." Sid helped Maya up the serpent, then attempted to help Aimi, even if he knew she was probably more agile than he was. The group then set forth to join the other team, Sid choosing a seat near the middle so anything important is spotted by others first.
Haven let Leslie off the bard, and regrouped with the others. He looked the director up and down with suspicion. "You do know you just attacked us, right man? But I guess I'm cool with it if everyone else is..." He motioned toward the others to try and get their input. "What's up with the robots, though? Are you an engineer or something?" Haven asked, wanting to know at least something about this weirdo among them.
"Well, you know, Dinosaurs! they are like, well, this thing...I guess"-Daisuke replied as he looked at the creature. When Martha came Daisuke opened up his mouth but by the time he got to say anything she was already gone.
"...A guy who's a brain?" Akabane and Callie walked into the conversation. Smiling she addressed the brain guy
"Have you finally calmed down? well this has all been rather unproductive. Well, at least Callie and I had a chance to talk a little. So? what do we do now? Maybe we should regroup with the others, maybe they had better luck than us"
Leslie had no response to the director's logic. She thought even a brain would eat eggs, but she really wasn't sure. At least Martha stuck up for her again and the director started talking to someone else. Martha then ran off to catch up with the other group so the others went toward the main beach, where Martha was already lazing about in the sand. She is very fast. Leslie ran up to her.
"You're back already! What did the others say?" --- Maya and Aimi got aboard the lindworm with Sid's help. Maya took the moment of peace to write down any notes from the case into a now-water-speckled notebook. Bringing it to an island and reading it while on a sea monster was not the brightest idea. Aimi meanwhile grinned a sharp-toothed grin Skalag and Khag's gossip then leaned back to use whoever was behind her as a backrest with her own tails as cushioning.
“They said they’d meet us at the beach. Nothing else, really. I don’t get along with the guy who put himself in charge, so I’ll let Haven talk to him.” Martha shrugged. “Lay down in the sand for a bit, it’s comfy.” Martha closed her eyes again, but she was keeping her ears sharp for Haven and the director’s conversation in case it went south. “You started that!” The director’s speaker-channeled voice rose into a crackling scream for one sentence. “But no, I have no intention of causing any more trouble. I have seen that my robots are no match for your group. I made them for filmmaking, not combat.” Martha sat up to yell her opinion. “I say let him join. I’d rather be friends than not friends!” She yelled before jumping to her feet and rushing up to greet him up close.
The lindworm was just arriving, and Eustace slid off first, moving up quickly to where Martha and Haven were meeting the director. “If your pitiful attention span would have allowed it, no, gather everybody first. Who’s this?” He pointed at the cyborg and his robot crew. “Nobody has asked that! I am Jaques Chevalier and I am a well-known director. I have 5 oscars!” He proudly stated. “Why, you can’t be that Chevalier? A Night to Die For? The Colossus of Rhodes? The Triumph of Napoleon?” “One and the same. And here I thought nobody had any taste. I am of course more indie now. Smaller budgets. Less flash.” Jaques Chevalier, once-famous director and now a brain in a jar, boasted. “It’s an honor! Your works were an inspiration to me when I was trying to make it as a screenwriter! I always wanted to write for you.” Eustace was teary-eyed. Martha was disgusted.
“Hmm. Well, I write my own scripts now, but it would certainly be nice to have input from somebody besides these damn robots. They know nothing of art! Let’s talk about this on the trip, eh?” The director and the writer shook hands and trotted back to the beach, sharing ideas as they went. “...well I guess they’ll keep each other from bugging us?” Martha winced and shrugged at Haven. When he reached the lindworm and was sure he had everyone’s attention, Eustace turned and pulled Maya to the fore. “Our little detective thinks we might have an answer to where our mysterious egg-thieves lurk.” He pointed past the great beast to where a rocky stack of rubble made a small island. “Right there!?” Martha was almost ready to run over and check, but she glanced at those around her and realized it was better to be in a group.
“Excuse me, do we get to ride your dinosaur?” She asked Khag. “That is still not what it is… but yes.” She responded, glowering down. Martha didn’t seem to notice that she had annoyed the draconic lizardfolk. “Yaaaaay!” She cried, easily vaulting up onto the serpentine beast’s back. Khag huffed and climbed back aboard, commanding it to swim to the island. It was a longer trip than it seemed. As they grew closer, it grew increasingly apparent that the “castle” was a towering thing, and on top of that, not entirely natural. The blocky look of the place came from actual blocks cut out by hammer and chisel. The faint impressions of friezes, long worn away by the beating waves, loomed overhead as they grew close.
Observant folks would notice plenty of seabird’s nests on the cliffs the steep walls of this ancient tower made, but no seabirds. There were bundles of sticks and stone, heaps of guano, but not a bird in sight. It took some circling to find an accessible entrance, what may have once been a window only a dozen feet above the ocean’s surface. The lindworm stretched its neck and they could climb in, seeing the inside for themselves. As opposed to the outside of the structure, the inside was painstakingly cleaned, and recently at that. New furnishings were sparse, but they were there, with colorful rugs softening the bare stone floors and gas lamps lighting up the interior of the building. “Well. Looks like home, if a touch more oriental.” Eustace spoke first upon entering.
Haven chuckled when Martha commented on Eustace keeping the director distracted for them. "I suppose you're right, sis." He whispered. "Fine fine, just don't cause any more trouble and we'll be good, alright?" Haven pointed a finger gun at the director, and made the motion of firing it before joining the larger group and getting on the serpent once more.
"Someone obviously lives here...be careful, everyone." Haven commented. Sid hopped off and followed behind, glancing back toward the others. "Looks like the place to me. Anyone see any eggs yet?" Sid asked, Casey rolling her eyes. "If only it were that simple..." She commented, sticking toward the back.
Leslie was lost when the weird director started listing all his movies. She'd never seen any of them. She was far too young to have even heard of them. The creepy guy seemed to recognize him. That was as good a sign to Leslie as any that she should really steer clear of him. Luckily, the two talked among themselves during the entire trip.
It didn't take long to reach where Maya thought the eggs were. Leslie was apprehensive about riding the weird sea dragon at first, but she found herself enjoying the ride enough that she was a bit sad when they landed. "Is this a old castle? It looks abandoned." she asked nobody in particular.
"It's definitely old," Aimi said. "But... Not entirely. Somebody was definitely here. I can still smell cleaning supplies."
"We should be careful inside," Maya told the others. "Whoever's behind this knows we're here. There are cameras watching our every move in the room."
“That’s something Robin would say.” Martha rolled her eyes at Daisuke. She prodded a few of the pathways extra-fast, darting back and forth to see a few hundred feet each way before she turned around. After a few fruitless trips, she came back excited and oddly glowing, little tickles of red around her. “I found them! I found the eggs!” Before anybody could stop her, she rushed back down the hallway. Anybody who followed would find her at the end of the hallway. The room here was roughly square, set up like a comfortable living room complete with a flickering blue flame in a fireplace to one side. In front of Martha, there was a large, padded couch with nothing on it.
“Where?” Eustace asked. “The next room?” He looked past the couch to the hallway extending behind it. “No! Right here, can’t you see, they’re-” Martha took another step towards the couch and it seemed to explode in a puff of smoke. A clawed hand swiped through the fog to catch her wrist, and before it cleared, blue light flashed through and both were gone. “A trap!?” Eustace had his scythe out and ready, but he wasn’t prepared for where the first strike came from. The fireplace fell dark for but a moment, and something far too large to fit in the space lunged from it, jaws wide. Eustace was knocked aside and its jaws snapped around trying to catch Callie and throw her into the air, where it would chase, running through the sky as easily as it ran on the ground. It was dog-like in shape, but its body filled half the room. What looked like poodle-like fur was actually curling whisps of darkness, dimming the entire room, and blue fire flickered from its jaws when it opened them. It barked in excitement, eyes glittering at the sight of its prey.
The fire came back, roaring orange again and now spilling from its place. The dog flew up to avoid it, and something slithered free. Writhing happily in the flames, it resembled a tough and tangled vine, wrapped around itself until it was as thick as a good-sized tree. Red leaves, shaped almost like paws, sprouted off its body at irregular intervals, pushing on the ground to shove it along. At the front there was no head, but merely a bulb like an unopened flower. This bulb was what it used to attack, spitting embers like a machine gun at everything in sight.
Distracting from the terror of what was emerging from the fireplace was the terrible roar from behind. From the hallway they had just emerged from came something like a lion, but so large its shoulders nearly brushed the walls. Heavy red scales armored its whole body but for a blue face and mane, and a single horn formed a tight corkscrew from its forehead. It sniffed the air before making a decision and charging Daisuke, attempting to impale him in one strike.
From the other side of the room, there were wet, sloppy footsteps, a horrid squishing and sucking with every step. Soon, the source came into view, a sickly pile of green. It was entirely made of slick wet seaweed, shaped roughly into a rotund human form. The only feature was a hole in its face, around which spiraled seaweed moved like it was underwater. It seemed to look over the group before gurgling. From the hole poured what may have been offspring, something like mangled fish-meat held together with stitched-in seaweed. These horrid globs attempted to tie down the few folks who weren’t already pressured by a monster, rolling and wiggling until they got close, then trying to latch on with their grassy tendrils and chew into them with unseen jaws.
Martha realized that she had fallen for an illusion a few seconds after the light blinked out of her eyes. “Where… who!?” She yanked her hand away from the man holding it, cutting her knuckles on his sharp nails. She ignored the pain and hopped back, throwing up her hands to strike. “Calm yourself, Martha. I brought you here to talk.” The man who now walked away caught her eye with the cloudy mass behind him. It took her a moment to realize that it was a mass of white, fluffy tails, all flowing together as a beautiful whole. His robe flowed with them, drawing the eye as he turned and sat on a cushion at the other end of a squat table. “Sit. And we will discuss the eggs.” He smiled, showing razor-sharp teeth.
"fucking hell, this place is overrun with monsters!"-Daisuke said as he teleported in his Sweet Jane revolver. against a target that size it was impossible to miss. The Yoshihara slayer unloaded his gun onto the Lion-like creature, ready to rinse and repeat as many times as necessary
Callie spun mid air and out of harms way as she landed on all fours, her back arching and her hair standing at the sight of the dog-like creature.
"...don't understimate me"-She said in a voice so small it could have only be heard by herself
She hopped back and readied her bow, aiming at the bright eyes of the creature.
Akabane was equally busy, she used dual handguns to keep the creatures that aimed to eat her alive at bay, then focusing some of her shots against the seaweed monster.
"Forget the smaller ones, aim for the big seaweed creature!"-Akabane instructed to whoever was available to assist her.
Leslie followed after Martha as well as she could, but she saw no eggs. Aimi and Maya also saw no eggs, but both of them had a hunch something was going on way before she did. Martha vanished suddenly and without a trace and the group was ambushed almost instantly. Suppressing her shock, Leslie summoned Spakleach. The little candle bravely started headbanging in the direction of the seaweed monster.
Aimi noted the flower spitting embers at everyone went unopposed, so she took it upon herself to challenge it, unequipped though she might have been for a creature like that. She ran toward it, half-transformed into her fox form for added agility while dodging the flames it spat. A few near misses singed her glorious fur, but that didn't stop her from jumping toward it, aiming to knock it over with the force of the jump and stomp the bulb serving as its head and weapon.
Maya pulled out her Bouncer and aimed between the dark dog's eyes. She wasn't sure yet if the darkness was just a sort of camo, making it appear larger than it truly was or if the darkness was a true part of the dog. She also wasn't sure if hitting the darkness would actually cause damage. But she hoped the head was tangible enough, and with it, everything's weak point between the eyes.
"You're telling me!" Casey said in annoyance at Daisuke's comment, diving out of the way of the fireballs. Her eyes widened when a figure dashed forward and kicked a fireball away from her path. Sid looked back and gave a thumbs up, Casey rolling her eyes.
"Thanks. Think you can do anything against these things, kick boy?" Casey asked, getting back up and dusting herself off. Sid nodded his head. "I think I might have something pretty cool." He flicked a tiny metallic disc off his thumb, then caught it out of the air and held it forward. His body quickly began to glow red-hot, with black stone armor beginning to form around Sid's body and harden into an obsidian-like texture. The armor was sleek, covering the kickmaster like a black knight with tiny veins of lava rippling through the armor like veins. Two large vents sat at the back of Sid's ankles, glowing with the light of lava.
"...whoa." Casey whistled, actually impressed. Sid let out a small chuckle. "Rad, right? I'm gonna go help our fox friend deal with these fireballs. See ya." He waved, and the ground exploded beneath Sid's boots as he rocketed toward the plant. Making sure not to hit Aimi, Sid aimed an axe kick directly for the creature's stalk, seeing if the additional impact of his powers could bend and maybe uproot the creature entirely.
Seeing she couldn't just sit on the sidelines anymore, Casey let out a sigh and turned to Haven. "Forget whatever I am about to do for the next few minutes, please. Call it professional curtesy." Letting out a low, deep growl, Casey too began to change. Her face grew more demonic, and outfit more black and filled with spikes. Haven knew what this aesthetic was instantly.
"Oooooh, so you're a metal h-""SHUT THE HECK UUUUUUUUUP!" Haven was practically blown away by the strangely guttural scream that came from this feminine woman. A more metal track began to play, Casey stomping along with annoyance.
"I HATE THIS, BUT I HAVE TO CRUSH THESE BUUUUUUUUGS!" Casey's steps became more powerful, producing shockwaves that would begin to affect the creature spawns around her. Still to the beat, Casey punched forward to launch a shockwave directly at the seaweed monster, Haven flying over on his surfboard to fire a neon purple spear directly at the beast attacking his sister.
Akabane’s shots sank into the weedy layers of the creature and vanished. The fireballs from Leslie didn’t do much more, sending up plumes of steam off of its sodden body. The dog growled and steered away, but the seaweed horror didn’t react to either, just spawning more ravenous little beasts. Then Casey screamed. Its children were tossed to and fro, their bodies splattering on the walls.
Despite lacking facial features, everybody could feel its attention turning towards her even before her shockwave struck it. The pressure rippled through it and it took a single step back. It didn’t stop spewing up its spawn, but the first few to come out after the attack were bleeding, broken. They didn’t swarm forth to attack, just writhing where they dropped. The mother took further steps back, backing down the hallway while still unleashing more children.
The dog proved similarly resilient. If it even noticed Maya shooting it or Callie’s arrows striking its eyes, it didn’t show it. Its teeth bared and it charged Callie, only to spin on a dime when Haven’s spear came screaming at it. The spear was caught in its jaws like a stick, and the dog-beast happily shook its new toy, tail whipping about violently. It seemed harmlessly distracted until it let go and the spear went flying at Daisuke. The dog happily spun once more and fixated again on Callie, tail still wagging.
Daisuke’s shots were having an effect on the creature, although not a great one. Each shot broke and battered a few tough scales, leaving ugly burns where they struck. It simply seemed to make the strange unicorn angrier. Just as the spear was incoming from behind Daisuke, it lowered its head and struck upwards, readying its jaws to bite him if it missed with its horn.
The vine creature happily waved over it all, raining fire until Sid rushed up to meet it. Its bulb opened up just enough to reveal a set of six eyes, arranged in a circle. They went from slitted in relaxation to wide in surprise when his attack connected. The sound rang out across the room, a combined crack and thud. The vine dented in and toppled, smashing into the ground.
Six eyes spun wildly until they could fixate on a single point; the being that had harmed it. The bulb closed halfway and instead of a barrage of embers, the vine spewed a stream of white-hot flames, blowing up to and wafting across the ceiling, a carpet of flame rolling overhead. The dog hunkered down, attention now split between Callie and what burned above.
“I really am sorry for grabbing you like I did. But it would be so hard to greet you otherwise. Would you expect Daisuke not to blow me away without a word?” The mysterious man tilted a bottle of wine. “Would you like any? It has pomegranate. Some say that was the fruit in the Garden of Eden. You are familiar with the story, are you not?”
“...I am. But you’re trying to change the subject.” Martha leaned on the table, feeling the smooth surface and admiring the dark finish and golden trim. “Explain what you’re doing with the eggs or I smash this fancy table. Then I move on to your face.”
“I am not changing the subject, I am trying to explain myself. Let me put us on more even terms. My name is Ji-Won Min.” Ji-Won stood and bowed, head lower than his knees. Martha could only stare when his ears and tail twitched before he rose up. “And now, let me continue. The fruit of knowledge of good and evil. Was it worth it, eating that fruit?”
“Well God said it was bad… but that doesn’t sound right to me. People should know the difference between right and wrong. And they should be able to make that choice to know on their own too.” Martha said, now able to meet his eyes.
“So you take it literally? What if I change the wording. Is it worth it to grow up? To lose the innocence of childhood and find the complexity of the adult world? If you had a choice, would you remain a child?” Ji-Won seemed to taunt her with his eyes, a teasing look that confused her heart more than anything.
“That’s not what it’s about, is it?” Martha blinked a few times, processing what he was saying. “I don’t… I don’t know. I never was a kid.”
“But you can enjoy the world as a child does, can’t you? You’re a pure soul, Martha. You get pleasure simply kicking a ball around. Aren’t those the good times, playing the day away? Not when you have to worry about defending your sisters, finding money to pay for what you want, the complications and perils of sex.” That teasing glance again. Martha blushed.
“...I spend a lot of time with kids. They do have simpler worlds… and maybe that is better. But I couldn’t just cut out all the adult things in my life. The kids need a grown-up. My sisters need a grown-up! Are you done talking about a fruit!? What are you doing with the eggs!?”
“I wanted to use a metaphor you would understand. Long ago, I was just a very clever fox. With time, I grew more and more clever, and with that growth I found myself breaking new boundaries of thought. And every time I discovered new joys… and new miseries. Without knowing it, I passed a barrier that I could not return through. The path had closed behind me. And now, I live as a man, my past forgotten. For a long time I cared nothing for it, but in these recent years I have been consumed by nostalgia. I want to taste what it was to be a carefree beast once more."
"The souls of animals are fleeting things, insubstantial. I gain nothing from them. And so I sought out the lizardfolk. They live in a state of nature, in philosophical terms. A lizardman cannot conceive of unrealities. Governments, money, petty social rituals, these things are lies, but necessary lies for a society of millions. A lizardman cannot believe those lies. Forever he is bound to the immediately real, a world of what he can see, touch, hear, smell. Within that soul lies the key to Eden. I want you to help me get there… and join me in its bliss.” Ji-won had been moving around the table and Martha didn’t dare back away. Now his hand touched her chin, razor-sharp nails prickling her chin. She shuddered, but stood her ground. He invaded her, a presence that engulfed and surrounded her. “Well Martha? What do you say to Eden?”
Daisuke unleashed los ageless in a quick draw gun-kata like move. as time slowed down he reached for the spear and used it against the creature that went straight towards him. In that same frame, Callie did what she knew best and ran away from the dog-like creature. Where had Martha ran off to? Callie set off to search for her sister.
Akabane frowned when she noticed her shots were not making any real damage.
"Looks like i'll have to put on some more pressure...Kaneshige!"
Akabane's guns fused and formed a beautiful Katana with a blue edge. She dashed for the main creature, avoiding the spawn and readying her attack.
"Niten Ichi Ryu: Raijin no ha!"-Akabane unleashed her named attack, a series of extremely fast paced attacks looking to shred her opponent to pieces.
Haven frowned when the dog intercepted his spear, but his expression softened when it wagged its tail and tossed the spear around like a toy. “...no way it’s this easy.” Haven chuckled to himself, summoning a long pole to toss at the dog next, but was interrupted when the flower nearby began to spit a stream of fire at the ceiling.
“Whoooooooa!” Sid said in surprise, the flames pushing him into the ceiling and toward the ground, Sid rolling off the floor. His armor was resistant to heat, but it was still a burning sensation. Getting back on his feet, Sid looked toward Aimi.
“Looks like the bulb’s the weak spot!” He called out, exploding off the ground with a violent bang and diving low, trying to avoid the flames as much as possible before creating another miniature impact on his downward leg, sending him diagonally into the air, and one more explosion blasted Sid straight toward the bulb, doing 2 spins in the air to gather momentum for an axe kick meant to close the fire-spitting bulb.
The dog taking cover made Haven pause. Did it not like fire, despite taking all those shots? Regardless, he needed to help his sister. “Calli, hop on!” He called out, widening his surfboard and flying near her. He then summoned a long neon purple pole and waved it at the dog, tossing it across the room as far as he could.
“Are you ok? Don’t worry, I got this.” He said confidently, turning to Leslie. “Hey, do you mind using some of that fire on that dog? It didn’t like the plant’s fire, so I want to see.” Haven asked, keeping an eye to see if it ran after the pole.
The sound waves seemed effective, with the strange spawn writing on the ground. Casey couldn’t help but pause at this bloody display. “...wow, this feels rotten…” She mumbled to herself. Fortunately, the white-haired girl used this opening to charge at the monster. It seemed to be backing away, so maybe more attacks would make it run?
Sprinting forward, Casey concentrated her sound waves once more and fired them at the beast, attempting to avoid the fleshy children and Akabane with her shot.
Spakleach's fire had no effect on the seaweedman! It was permanently wet or at least too soggy to burn. Leslie's summon looked at her with a dejected expression. Fire was all it was good for. It was up to its master to deal with the fireproof creature. Leslie knew this. While Casey's offensive was effective at taking out the little ones, Leslie summoned her trident. She just had to stab it in the facehole. She was sure of it. No, she just hoped it was that. She noticed her hands were trembling at needing to get close to it without guarantee that it would work. But then she felt something else pulling on the trident. Spakleach's thing metal arms were trying to take the trident so it could charge the monster on its own.
Inspired by its bravery, Leslie shook her head. "No, Spak, I need you to clear the way for me. Now grab on!" Spakleach did as she commanded, holding onto the trident near the pointy end. The candle's flames heated up the trident while Leslie started swinging. Once, twice, three times, the summon building momentum like a kid on monkey bars, and then the fourth swing when Spakleach let go and flew toward the seaweed. The burning tip of its head blazed with an inferno so close to it, obscuring everything behind it, giving Leslie enough time to charge in, screaming like a madwoman as she did so, and thrusting toward the creature's facehole. --- Maya's bullets weren't doing anything to the dog.
"Let me try this one!" Aimi yelled, rushing past the detective. She overheard Haven's request for Leslie who seemed a bit busy at the moment. It's not like Aimi's attacks were doing anything to the bulb anyway, so no shame changing targets. She leapt into the air. Her tails lit up with blue spirit flames as did one of her foxy paws. She flipped over in the air, swiping her tails at the dog's face before trying to land on top of it and clawing at it with the lit up paw.
"I'll cover for you!" Maya shouted over and joined the fight against the bulb instead. She pulled out a smoke bomb and threw it at the creature's face, then fired her bouncer toward the bulb opening.
The weedy creature couldn’t keep its attention on Casey when Akabane closed in. It seemed to move in slow motion compared to her, reaching out to grab her and having its arms shredded for the attempt. Her sword danced through its body, drawing stagnant water and blood in a rancid mixture. It groaned and wet grassy tendrils reached for its face-hole to strangle Akabane. It never got the chance. Leslie’s trident impaled it, entangling the tendrils it was using to attack. Steam poured out around the speartip and it staggered backwards. Casey’s screams tore through it again and it collapsed. Grass sloughed off and it lose shape until there was nothing but a damp pile of vegetation.
Haven’s bolt of light was slowed to a crawl by Los Ageless, letting Daisuke grasp it tight. The beast lunged just as he threw it, and they met in midair. Light flared from behind its eyes as the spear entered its brainpan through the roof of its mouth. Its skull seemed to implode, horn tilting back as everything within was vaporized. The beast fell to its knees, a statuesque posture despite its grotesque and smouldering skull. It rested like a temple guardian, peaceful in death.
The bulb’s eyes wildly rolled to find Sid, its gaze was lost in Maya’s smoke. The martial artist flew in from below and it turned too slowly to bathe him in flame. It extended forth, trying to entangle him, but when Sid’s axe kick left a ring of fire in its wake, the bulb and the vine were separated. Still living, the vine wriggled away, retreating up the chimney.
The dog creature barked and charged after Callie, but it scabbled to a stop when Aimi landed on top of it. A deep growl shuddered through the bricks until her flaming claw struck the top of its head. Its yelp was ear-piercing, and it went spinning and kicking in the air, wheeling around until he took off for the chimney, squeezing through and fleeing. For a moment at least, they had won and they were alone.
“Fuck you.” Martha said. The fox-man’s face fell immediately, turning to an ugly sneer as he gazed down at her. “You picked me cause you thought I was stupid, didn’t you? Maybe I am, but I know that kidnapping kids so you can eat their souls is fucking awful! You thought I would help you!?”
“Let me make this clear. You can’t stop me from keeping them. I simply hoped that you could appreciate an opportunity to raise them, give them good lives on the way to harvest. After all, that’s how animals raised for slaughter should be treated, yes? Doesn’t a farmer treat his charges with love and aff-” Ji-Won’s speech was interrupted when Martha’s foot slammed him right in the middle of the chest, a stomp that sent him tumbling back over the table.
“You think we’re still talking? Talking was done when I found out you were gonna eat these kids.” Martha kicked the table and it slid into Ji-Won as he was getting up, shoving him into the wall. She kicked it again, but he jumped over it, letting it shatter beneath him. In one motion he grabbed a decoration off the wall and threw it, impaling her chest. It took her a moment to realize it, as there wasn’t the slightest hint of pain, despite the fact that a sword was embedded in her body. It looked like a living thing, hilt a gummy mass with teeth at the end and blade something rough and chitinous rather than steel. From the point of impact, she could see that same violet plating spreading over her bare skin.
“Bondsever. A wonderful artifact, and one of the reasons I chose you overall others to come here.” Ji-won turned and began walking away. “Your sisters will be right up the stairs behind you. In fact, one is just a minute away. Go meet her.” He said from the hallway, but he didn’t need to say anything. She knew. Bondsever told her where they were. Her enemies. Those who must die. She pulled the blade from her stomach, holding it in pink talons.
“Callie… first.” Martha groaned and turned. She marched up the stairs, more layers of slick biological armor growing from her body as she moved. Callie had been roaming the halls above, and they emerged at the same time onto the staircase connecting their floors. There was a rift here, a chasm over which the steps crossed, forming a bridge as well. They were salt-worn, eroded by the ages and the sea breeze that washed over them. The ocean had entered this place, churning waves far beneath their feet. “Callie... hate you...” Only Martha’s face remained unchanged when she laid eyes on Callie, but those eyes still glowed pink, illuminating her face in the darkness.
"Well, i guess that's that! everyone ok?"-Akabane called and saw Daisuke sitting on the floor, the Musashi gunslinger raised a thumbs up to Akabane and she sighed"
"Looks like i'm not gonna get your cut at this rate, here, we aren't done just yet"-She told Daisuke as she extended a hand out to him, helping him get up.
"fucking hell that thing was mad scary. seems everyone managed to win their fights no problem tho"-Daisuke told Akabane as they looked around. Akabane frowned for a moment, then instantly got moving.
"Whoa there, what's the matter?"
"I don't see Callie"-Akabane replied, moving as fast as she could to the upper areas "M-martha? Are you ok?!"
Callie was one always quick to run, however this time her legs felt oddly like jelly. There was something about Martha that simply froze her in place, she drew her sword but her hands were trembling as well. Was there really something she could do in this situation?