This work is fiction. The work has no (intentional) relationship with any person existing at any time anywhere whether real or imaginary or copy written.
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You should not read this if you are not of legal age where you reside. This work can contain rape, BDSM, cannibalism, and probably anything else my sick, twisted mind can come up with.
Note: All times are in a mix of military and standard times. For example, 1AM = 0100 hours = 1:00, while 1PM = 1300 hours = 13:00. I hope this will make it easier on readers to understand the timeline while leaving me in a format that I understand better. If it causes too much of a problem I will switch to standard.
“<<Text>>” Means that it is being spoken in a language other than English.
“This is telepathic thought”
<06:00, The Tent>
Arya nodded as she and Alya prepared to leave. “He’s fine now. Everything from here he must do himself.”
Azhara bowed. “Thank you both. For saving him.”
Alya’s eyes smoldered. “I will never forgive you. But even the scales. Put good back into this world. Start with him.”
Azhara nodded. “I promise.”
The Alakwham snorted and turned away, vanishing. Arya sighed but waved before following suit. As the first rays of sun peeked over the trees, Lucina and Heidi materialized next to Azhara. With a quick glance to her the three disappeared.
Inside the tent the harem prepared, Gale moving between the teams making sure nobody was still injured. Nearby Kuu and her court sang to their bows, and the team Alphas discussed strategy.
There were some not taking part. Brigid was sealed in her room, and anyone who came near would be able to clearly hear the music blasting at a deafening volume. Inside the unicorn lay curled up, the vibrations the only thing she had left of the joy sound used to give her.
In Lyn’s lab, Andrew stood, taking stock of the various experiments that dotted the area. “So. What part of all this concerns me?”
Lyn handed him a small gold ring. “I kept the original that you first bewitched me with. It’s been enchanted with an armor, strength, and agility spell.” She smiled sadly. “I really wish you would just let us fight, but I know you’ll do something stupid eventually. Now you’ll have a fighting chance.”
Andrew slipped the ring on and peered at it. “And how does it activate?”
“Just flex your hand.”
He did and a stream of energy snaked across his body, weaving around him. He frowned when it continued shifting. “Is this supposed to happen?”
Lyn shook her head. “You need to focus on what it should look like. After you do that once, the spell will remember.”
Andrew nodded and concentrated. After a second the energy coalesced into a bulletproof vest. He glanced down at it. “Does it only protect where it is?”
Lyn rolled her eyes. “Of course, I made a stylish armor spell that isn’t functional. No, it covers your entirety. It could look like nothing if you wanted.”
Andrew inspected his arm, noticing the sheen of light that covered it. “Nice. And this is what you were working on this whole time?”
Lyn shrugged. “Mostly. I’ve got some other stuff I’m working on.”
Andrew turned to the doorway where Grace stood. “Yes?”
Grace twirled her pistol. “You should reconsider the teams. Nobody has a specialization.”
“And that’s a problem?”
Grace frowned. “Kary, Constance and I would work efficiently together. We have short, medium, and long range support. Separating us isn’t smart.”
Andrew nodded thoughtfully. “You’ve made a good argument to try being matched with her.” He smirked. “You have Erren for close. You are mid. Your team isn’t supposed to be sniping anything. Beta is support. They are focused on assisting the other teams. Constance is the tank of her team. Her whole point is to be set up by her teammates before wading in, machine gun blazing. How would you help set her up?”
Grace blinked. “I’d be at her side.”
Andrew shook his head. “No. Do you have any fire techniques? A strength against fire?” He sighed. “The teams are the way they are for good reasons. Maybe I’ll rearrange them later. But not right before an engagement.”
Grace snorted but turned away. “Fine. By the way, Azhara made contact. The guard they took out made it clear that they weren’t part of Sanctuary’s main body.” She nodded at the look on his face. “It’s them.”
Andrew yelped as a figure blitzed past him and skid to a halt in front of Lyn. The Enchantress blinked at Erren. “Yes?”
Erren rolled her shoulders and nodded at the pair of shoes hanging on the wall amidst the other clutter. “I’m ready to try those out.”
Andrew scanned the newly evolved Ballisticunt. “Why did you choose to do this today? And practice? Lyn, what does she mean?”
Lyn grabbed the shoes and tossed them to Erren, who began lacing them on. “The shoes are enchanted so that the wearer can choose to place a cushion of air between them and the ground. Which means once Erren picks up speed, she can focus on other movements.”
Erren finished tying on the shoes and stood, looking at Andrew. “Push me.” Andrew blinked but complied, surprised to find the shorter girl rock steady. She waited for him to move back before concentrating. “Ok. Try it again.”
Andrew frowned and leaned into his next shove, thinking Erren would be equally immovable. With a yelp, he fell forward as she shot away from him and rebounded off the wall, coming to a halt. She grinned at Lyn before ducking out the door. “What the heck?”
Lyn chuckled as Nial poked her head in next. “I told you. That ring wasn’t the only thing I’ve been working on.” She grabbed a visor and tossed it to the Assasara, pointing the armored girl to where she should attach it. Lyn sighed as Andrew continued to stare. “I can’t fight normally. So this is what I’ve chosen to do.”
Andrew nodded slowly and flexed his hand, the vest reappearing. “I understand. Thank you.”
Lyn smiled as more girls appeared. “Go test that out in the gym. I bet that’s where most of the others are, anyways.”
Andrew stepped into the gym and had to jump back as Erren blitzed past him, the Ballisticunt barely moving her legs. As he watched she crouched, bringing her Plasma Crusher to bear on a row of target dummies. As soon as she fired the recoil sent her spinning to land in an undignified heap, but one of the blasts ricocheted and hit Andrew squarely in the chest.
Activity in the room ground to a halt as he was thrown backwards, smashing into the wall and sliding down with a groan. Gale was instantly at his side, the Night Nurse’s hands already glowing as she prepared to heal whatever damage he had sustained. She gasped in surprise when he stood and brushed himself off.
Andrew raised an eyebrow at Gale’s look. “What?”
She shook her head and pointed at the vest he wore. “I’m glad Lyn gave that to you.”
Andrew chuckled and stretched, watching as Erren got back into her rhythm. “Me too. Hopefully Erren learns to use the recoil instead of letting it hurt her.”
Fu walked up to stand beside him. “That would be nice. She’s definitely got a good idea, but now she needs to learn how it really works.”
Andrew nodded. “Speaking of ideas, spar me.”
Fu turned to him and blinked. “Pardon?”
Andrew motioned her forward. “Spar me. Let’s go.”
Fu shook her head in bemusement and grabbed him, tensing as she prepared to throw him to the ground. “Moron.”
Andrew’s eyes flashed and he twisted, sweeping Fu’s legs from under her and reversing her hold, slamming her back to the floor. He quickly jumped away and settled into a ready stance.
Fu got up slowly. “What the fuck was that?”
Andrew smirked. “Round one. I won.”
Fu’s eyes narrowed and she shuffled in more carefully, jabbing at him to test his defenses. He let her feint, waiting until she was within his range before moving, sending a series of blows towards her body while attempting to recreate the same takedown. Fu didn’t let him, jumping back before darting inside his guard, where she landed a few solid hits before retreating.
Andrew rolled his shoulders and winked at her. “That tickled.”
Fu shook her head and straightened up. “You’re faster. Stronger. What happened?”
Andrew pouted. “Aw, cmon. I wanted to spar.”
Fu sighed. “If you aren’t careful, I’ll evolve. And then you’d be dead.”
Andrew rolled his eyes but consented, glancing around at the rest of the girls in the room. “Armor, speed, strength. That’s what Lyn gave me.”
Fu watched Nial take apart a dummy with deadly precision before responding. “I take it you’re coming with us, then.”
Andrew cracked his knuckles and Gale stepped back as his aura began to pulse. “You bet your ass.”
“Andrew, I have a message from Azhara.” Cortney relayed, shimmering to life in front of him. “She says they’ve secured an assault avenue. Ready whenever you are.”
Andrew nodded thoughtfully. “Will you be accompanying us?”
Cortney nodded. “You carry me, so I will of course do my best to protect you.” She sighed as he threw a jab at her face, swatting his hand aside and pinning his arm behind his back. Before he could blink he was on the ground. “No more tests.”
Andrew pouted. “But I’m boooooored.”
Fu gasped as she felt his mental state. The inane character he currently displayed was nothing like what she knew he was really feeling – she felt doubt, anger, a melting pot of negative emotions. She bit her lip at the feedback from her bond before turning to Cortney. “Get everyone ready. If Azhara is ready, so are we.”
Cortney nodded and released Andrew, beginning to speak into the com system. Andrew sighed as he got up and glanced ruefully at Fu. “Was I that obvious?”
Fu nodded. “Let’s get going. Take your mind off things.”
Andrew nodded as girls began disappearing, teleporting out. “Yea.”
<08:00, Southern Ireland>
Clouds covered the sky as Andrew gazed at the building in front of them. As he watched searchlights began popping on in response to the storm and a fine mist drizzled through the air.
Behind him most of the harem crouched, making use of the low visibility to stay out of sight. The Alphas clustered round him as he outlined his plan.
“First thing is to get inside. Once we’re inside, each team moves separately. If you see each other inside, you turn around and go the other way. You are all self sufficient. Don’t let the enemy have a chance to trick you.”
Adria glanced at him. “You expect them to impersonate us?”
Andrew sighed. “I don’t know what to expect. Apparently just two S-Goths nearly wiped us out. Who knows how many are in there?”
Cristina chuckled sheepishly. “You’re right, of course. What’s the plan?”
Andrew pointed at a door inset in the wall. “That’s our entry point. From there, fan out. Anyone inside, you kill. If they’re a hostage or prisoner, ignore them. Knock them out. When they wake up, if they’re smart they’ll lay low and we can clean up afterwards. If they’re not, they’ll get caught in the crossfire and die. I have no sympathy if that happens. But no matter what, if you find someone in there, they either die or go under. No exceptions.” He glanced around. “Got it?”
They nodded and Azhara teleported back to them, blood dripping from her hands. “Patrols just changed. We have a matter of minutes before they realize the last ones didn’t check back.”
Andrew took a deep breath and nodded. “Then it’s time to go.” He turned to the lab as lightning flashed overhead. “Move out!”
The group fanned out as they ran towards the building, each team separating. Cristina sidled up next to Andrew, giving him a grin. “Omega’s got the Tamer. Let’s go!”
As they got close a goth on the roof noticed them and swung her searchlight to bear, illuminating the group. Almost instantly others joined it, alarms blaring from the compound.
Andrew growled, allowing the heavy hitters to move forward. Behind them the others readied range attacks, intent on disrupting anyone that showed themselves.
Andrew whipped his head around as a searchlight disappeared, a scream cutting off as a body flew across his line of vision. As he watched a shadow slid across the roof, taking out another spotter with a sickening crunch. As the spotlights turned to try and reveal the culprit, it dropped off the roof and stood in front of them. As lightning flashed again, Andrew’s body stiffened.
His mind instantly identified the pokegirl that stood in front of him. She noticed him looking and chuckled, patting the skull emblem on her forehead. “An enemy of my enemy is my friend. 10 seconds till door knock.” She said, turning back to wall and beginning to charge a Hyper Beam.
Andrew stumbled backwards as the energy grew before screaming outwards, vaporizing the doorway. He winced but motioned the harem forwards, streaming into the hole behind the pokegirl.
Once they were safely inside Andrew turned to the Terminatrix. “Who are you?”
She shrugged. “An enemy of an enemy. We merely share a timetable.”
Andrew shook his head. “Very well. And what should I call you?”
The girl glanced to her side as footsteps began echoing through the halls. “Zilla.” She said, leaping forward as three goths rounded the corner. The first one had no time, instantly dying as her head was separated from her shoulders. The second one fared no better, barely registering her attack before her chest exploded in a shower of blood. Only the third managed a counter attack, but her hastily sent aura only served to anger the Terminatrix further as she cut through the third body.
Andrew grit his teeth. “Like we discussed. Teams, fan out. GO!” He ran after Zilla, Omega hot on his heels as the rest split off down various hallways. The alarm was a persistent blare as they ran, and Andrew kept his eyes on Zilla’s back. “Is this the right choice?”
Leah watched her monitors as the teams decimated the footsoldiers. “I can see that. Well, no point in subterfuge, then. Morgana, what should we do?”
Morgana frowned as a camera cut out. “We’ll have to separate. They’re masking some of their movements while leaving others open. Leah, Frida, Sierra, and I will await the Author. The rest of you, pick a target, and eliminate them.”
“I’ll take the fox.” A shadow said, slipping out through the door.
A tall woman chuckled as her skin shimmered. “I’ll take the dragon, then. Gini, where will you go?”
Yogini watched Ashba lead Alpha through the hallways. “I’ll take Sierra’s old team. They’ll be raring for revenge, hmm?” Her eyes grew cold. “As am I.”
A girl looked up from her fetal position on the floor. “…I’ll take the rest.”
Gini nodded at Beta’s progress. “Good luck. Try not to play with them too much, hmm?”
The girl slowly stood and ran her claws along the wall. “…I will play.”
Gini shuddered as she slowly walked past. “Yea, sure. Whatever you say.” She watched as the girl vanished into the shadows before breathing out and making her way towards her own target.
Heidi looked around as they snuck through the darkened hallways. “What are we looking for, ma’am?”
Azhara’s eyes glowed as she constantly scanned the area around them. “We’re looking for the leader, and we’re especially looking for Claire.” She paused at a crossroads before taking a turn. “Lucina. Progress?”
The Shadowcat popped back into existence next to her. “No good. I can’t even imagine where Claire might be being held, so I can’t get there. I’m no use.”
Azhara shrugged. “That’s fine. We’ll just do this the old fashioned way. Heidi, keep scanning with your foresight. We don’t want to be caught off guard.” She blinked when there was no answer from the Psivyx. “Heidi?”
A scream echoed around them and Azhara whirled in time to see Heidi thrown backwards, her bo staff cleanly sliced in two. As she hit the ground it shimmered and disappeared, the Psivyx struggling to her feet.
“OI!” Azhara yelled, rushing to her side. “What happened? Lucina, find the enemy!” She yelled to the Shadowcat, who nodded and began scanning the area furiously.
Heidi coughed and wiped a stream of mud from her chin. “She shot dirt into my mouth to try and gag me. I didn’t have a chance to get a good look, but she had a blade and I barely blocked it.”
Azhara glanced at a crimson stain that had begun to spread through Heidi’s fur. “You didn’t block all of it.”
Heidi blinked and dabbed at the stain, her eyes widening as she realized. “I don’t feel that. I don’t feel anything.” She shot a panicked glance at Azhara. “I don’t… Feel…” She trailed off as her eyes rolled back into her head and she collapsed.
Azhara grimaced and lay her hands on Heidi’s forehead and chest. “She’s out cold. She’s stable though, this wound doesn’t seem too deep.” She sniffed at the bloodstain. “I can smell the poison. Stay alert.”
Lucina’s eyes darted through the shadows around them. “The light level in the corridor has constantly gotten darker. It’s just barely gradual enough that most wouldn’t notice, but if we stay here much longer, it’ll be pitch black.”
Azhara dismissed the glow from her eyes for a moment and gasped at how dark it was. “Shit, you’re right. This is the perfect place for an assassin. We’re moving.” Her tails began to glow and light illuminated the hallway. “Now!”
Lucina screamed as one of the shadows dashed towards them, the pokegirl that had been revealed twirling two daggers in her hands. Azhara growled but was ready, immediately shooting the fox-fire she had been charging at their opponent. The girl sprang backwards, allowing the attack to impact against the wall beside her. Her surprise attack thwarted, she straightened up and gazed at the two.
Azhara frowned. The pokegirl was wearing a mask, but her general body shape was extremely human. “Who are you?”
The girl chuckled. “There is no reason for you to know my name. You are just going to die. But for an opponent who stood against the Guard and lived, I suppose I shall humor you.” She lowered into a ready stance. “I am Jette, the Murderer. Goodbye, fox.”
Nearby, Delta was encountering almost no resistance. The few Goths they did find went down easily, and the trend continued until they found themselves standing in a large room. A single door stood on the opposite wall, and in front of it stood a single Goth.
She looked at them. “So, which one of you killed Enya?”
Aella strode forward, lightning crackling through her hair. “Sup, bitch.”
The Goth chuckled and shook her head. “Oh, I was just trying to figure out which one of you would be replacing her.” Her eyes hardened. “And which of you could die.”
Aella spat at her. “The only one dying today is you. Get out of our way.”
The Goth smiled. “Now, I can’t do that. But I’ll make you a deal.” She pointed behind her. “The door is unlocked. Get past me, and it’s all yours.”
Fu strode forward, shifting into her dragon form as she did. “Out of the fucking way.” She snarled, smashing her fist into the Goth’s stomach.
Aella watched as she flew backwards and smashed into the wall. “Well. That was easy.”
Laughter echoed as the Goth easily got to her feet and stretched. “Ooh, I could actually feel that. Like a good massage.”
Fu hissed. “That should have obliterated her. What the fuck is going on?”
The Goth’s smile persisted as she continued to speak. “Apparently I’m supposed to be nice to you. Which means an introduction is in order.” Her skin shimmered and began to take on a metallic tone. “I am Chi. The Blocker. You are not getting through me.”
Adria held up her hand to stop Beta from progressing forward. Inching to the corner, she peeked into the adjacent hallway before drawing back with a gasp.
Shamira growled. “What is it?”
Adria shook her head and motioned Gale forward. “Take a look.”
Gale poked her head around the corner and frowned. The figure that stood in front of them was nightmarish. The leather straps that seemed to make up her outfit were offset by the grotesque claws that protruded from her fingers. The Night Nurse shuddered and summoned her armor, getting her blades ready. “I have no idea what that is, but it’s obviously an enemy.”
They flinched as a voice echoed around them from a loudspeaker on one wall. “Hello, friends. I am Morgana. If you want to get to me, you’ll have to go through her.” Morgana laughed. “She’s the silent type, so I suppose I’ll introduce you for her. That is Jane. She’s our resident torturer. Fitting, no? The tortured becomes the torturer. Oh, she loves it. Causing the same pain she felt to others. All of my prisoners have a session with her.”
Kary screamed in fury and whipped her rifle around, sending a stream of lead into the speaker which blew out in a shower of sparks. She began walking forward before Adria grabbed her arm. “WHAT?”
Adria was shaking with suppressed rage. “I can see you reached the same conclusion.” She grit her teeth. “Claire.”
Gale shook her head at their emotional outbursts. “A doctor needs a calm bedside manner.” She quipped, her armor growing more bladed segments. “A doctor needs an impassive mental state.” She strode around the corner, her eyes glowing. “Fuck that noise.”
In front of her, Jane seemed to smile.
Ashba trembled in fury. “You.”
Gini waved at her nonchalantly. “Ah, the second place. How’s the promotion going?”
Ashba growled but it was Constance who stepped forward. “Look, we know you suck.” She said in a bored voice. “We’re not falling for your tricks, half of us can’t even be mentally compromised anymore, you’re weak as newborn baby. Get out of the way or I’ll shoot you apart.”
Gini shook her head sadly. “You think I’m weak? News flash, girl.” She said, summoning a rose whip. “This was all a ruse.”
Andrew ducked as another door blew past them, Zilla not stopping as she sprinted through the hallways. They left a trail of bloody corpses behind them, the Terminatrix responsible for them all.
Cristina glanced at Andrew as another Goth fell to the dragon girl’s rampage. “Where exactly does she think she’s going?”
Andrew pointed as a blast door came down, cutting off a corridor and shepherding them through another one. “We’re being watched. My best guess is that the few in charge here want us somewhere. For now, we’ll follow them.” His pace slowed. “Never mind, I think we stop.”
Zilla took no heed in Andrew’s suddenly heightened caution, charging blindly through a door. As she did a limb smashed into her, driving the girl sideways and out of sight. Andrew cursed as the wall in front of them opened up to reveal three figures.
Leah was grappling with Zilla, the pair fighting under the watchful eyes of two other Goths. One was obviously the one who had first attacked Zilla, a giant who shrank as they watched. The other stood behind her, a vague smile on her face.
Morgana waited for her ally to calm down before addressing Andrew. “Soldier. It is good to finally meet you. Do you know who I am?”
Andrew shook his head. “I don’t know names. But I’m guessing you’re the reason I’m here.”
Morgana’s face split into a grin. “Right in one. I am Morgana. Council member and leader of the revised Author project. The rest of Sanctuary has no idea, by the way.” Her eyes glinted. “But I wasn’t going to let a handful of failures control our fates.”
Andrew’s face set. “Who’s your friend?”
The other Goth glanced at him. “Frida. I am the leader of Mistress Morgana’s 7th Guard.”
Andrew nodded. “Seven… So, you, the two we fought earlier, and four others?”
Frida cracked a small smile. “And what makes you think our being the seventh guard means we have seven members?”
Andrew shrugged. “Mostly the fact that I can sense each and every one of you.” His eyes began to glow. “I’ve known your numbers and strengths since we first set foot in this building.”
Morgana stepped back as a feeling of dread crept up her back. “Really, now. And yet you still persisted?”
Andrew shrugged as Omega fanned out behind him. “I gave a clear warning what would happen if you pursued me.” He grinned. “You didn’t listen.”
Morgana gasped as he seemed to disappear, reappearing behind Frida. The girl cursed and began to turn but was stopped by Omega, Cristina being the only one to bypass the fight in order to continue tailing Andrew as he chased the fleeing S-Goth. “Erren! You’re in charge, I’ll keep Andrew safe!” She yelled to the Ballisticunt as she sped around the belabored Goth.
Erren nodded to her as she jumped a fist, keeping up her fire as Cristina disappeared through a doorway.
Andrew squinted as Morgana threw open a door and light poured out, but followed her into what appeared to be a control room. Inside he slowed, watching her warily as Cristina caught up to them.
“Give it up.” He called. “Surrender now.”
Morgana grimaced. “And what makes you so confident?”
Andrew frowned. “There’s no hope in a 2v1.”
Morgana slowly let a smile overtake her features. “To that I wholly agree.” She said as the door slammed shut and Cristina pinned Andrew’s arms behind his back.
Beta watched in silence as Gale fought Jane, both combatant’s bladed features sending sparks flying every time they hit. Adria jumped when Cortney’s voice came through her earpiece. “I’m in. They took the bait.”
Adria nodded. “Information?”
“There are eight major S-Goths stationed here. Morgana is the leader, a council member. Leah was the one you fought back at the Omega tree. She’s Morgana’s sister, and her second in command. Then there are six others – my data says they’re a part of the “7th Guard”, which consisted of the two the others fought, as well as five others. I can’t find data on one, but of the other six, one was killed during the fight, and the other 5 are in battle right now.”
Adria frowned. “Give me specs.” She said as the fighters separated, watching for an opening.
“The one you are facing is Jane. She was evolved as a Penance. That’s all the information I have; she should be pitied.”
Adria winced. “Damn. I take it the others are fighting each team?”
“Affirmative. Would you like their specs as well?”
Adria winced as Gale took a solid hit and had to back down. “What use would I have with those? Tell the ones fighting, not me.”
Cortney relayed an affirmative.
Azhara ducked as she ran through the hallway, Heidi under her arm. “We already figured she was a ninja, but thanks for letting us know about the Karima part – we were wondering why we couldn’t sense her, and Isolation Aura definitely fits the bill.” She said as Lucina parried another attack from Jette. “Lucina! Plan c!”
Petals spun through the air as Ashba parried Gini’s whip with her own sword before ducking back to allow Nial through. The change in opponents had the desired effect, giving Nial enough time for a carefully placed strike before she was also pushed back.
Behind them Adria listened to Cortney. “Thanks for the info. Dominatrix fits well.” She winced as Nial took a series of hits. “Got to go. Having a bit of trouble.”
“Fu, are you there?”
Aella butt in. “She’s fighting at the moment. What’s going on, Cortney?”
“I thought you might want some information on your opponent. Her name is Chi, and she evolved from an Iron Maiden.”
Aella watched Chi rebound from yet another punch and begin to taunt the flagging Dracass. “That would definitely explain the resistance to damage.” Her eyes lit up. “Wait, Iron Maiden? Does that mean she’s weak to electricity?”
“Yes, she should be.”
Aella giggled and clapped her hands together. “FU! Tag out!”
Fu stumbled as her dragon form wore off but she shook her head. “Hell no. I’m finishing this.”
Chi watched Fu stumble forward. “What do you plan to accomplish?” She chided, easily standing her ground against the attack. “Now you can barely even hit me.”
Fu took a deep breath, healing energy playing over her body. “I’ve got my team behind me.” She whispered, Aella stepping away. “And you’ve got nobody.”
Nami watched impassively as her Alpha continued the fight and sighed. “She’s so stubborn. Now she’s trying to use her weak form. Terrible.”
Ishara shrugged. “What, you think you could take that down?”
Nami winced when Chi countered, sending Fu flying backwards. “Nope.”
Chi laughed gaily when Fu ran at her again. “Oh, give it up already!” She cried, not noticing the fangs that had begun to creep into Fu’s grimace. Or the flickering red that had begun to taint her shadow.
Aella noticed. And she made sure Delta was already backing up when Fu snapped.
Chi cried out in shock as she was lifted into the air and driven into the ground, Fu shooting her across the room. Fu roared, a red aura erupted from her skin. As she turned back to the struggling Goth, Chi was surprised to see Fu’s eyes changed into cat-like pupils – and was especially surprised to see the humanoid girl charging a hyperbeam.
Seconds later, Fu fired, the beam carving a destructive path through the spot Chi had occupied only moments earlier. She was already airborne, getting as far away from Fu as possible.
“Can’t stay here, gotta warn-“ She had time to think before Fu seemed to teleport in front of her.
And took her head.
Zilla clutched a wound in her chest and staggered away from Leah’s remains. Nearby, Omega continued belaboring Frida, the Chimera girl’s multiple heads each under constant attack.
Zilla walked past them and set her hand on the door that Andrew had disappeared through. She could feel the enemy still there. Her hand seemed to drift sideways to a blank space of wall. But she felt an ally there?
She concentrated, running her hands along the wall until an outline of a door began to show. Wincing at the pain she was still in, she drew back her fist and smashed through.
On the other side she could make out multiple cells. Peering into the darkness of each, she could just make out forms hunched over. As she ran her eyes over each cell, she couldn’t make out any life.
Sighing, she had begun to turn away when a movement caught her eye. Turning, she saw one of the forms shuffle to the cell wall and stare at her.
“Are you able to fight?” Zilla asked, and the pokegirl nodded. Zilla withdrew her hand from her wound, showing it ruefully to the girl. “I’m afraid I’m done. But I still have enough to get you free. Are you sure you want that?”
The pokegirl nodded. “…They… Will die.” She whispered.
Zilla smiled at her response and grabbed two bars. “Very well. I never intended to make it out of here alive.” She mused, tensing against the magic permeating the area. “Remember me.” She said, tearing the bars apart.
As she did the wound tore open, sending blood splattering onto the pokegirl in front of her. Zilla fell backwards slowly, the strength deserting her legs.
She was dead before she hit the ground.
The girl knelt, carefully closing Zilla’s eyes before stepping over the threshold, breaking the energy barrier that had kept her docile. She strode to the door as alarms began to blare, her body bubbling.
Frida noticed her first, the constant alarm alerting her that something was wrong. With a cry of fear she shook Omega away, turning and trying to flee for the door.
The pokegirl shook her head sadly. “It’s over.” She said calmly, crouching and whipping her fist forward through the air.
Time seemed to slow as a nearly imperceptible wave of energy fired from her hand and sped towards Frida’s back. Grace watched in fascination, her enhanced senses only barely able to keep up with the attack. As it impacted Frida it spread out, sending shockwaves rippling through her body. The pokegirl slowly stood as Frida collapsed, blood pooling from her mouth.
Erren skid to a halt and stared warily at the new arrival. “What the hell was that?”
The girl smiled warmly at her. “You must be the ones who accompany Him. I take it He is facing Morgana now?”
Erren blinked. “Andrew? Yea, he’s facing Morgana. How did you know about him?”
The pokegirl’s eyes glowed as she turned away. “I have seen the end of this place for a long time.” She said, striding towards and phasing through the door Andrew had disappeared through.
Erren shuddered as she left. “I think she’s an ally.” She glanced warily at the others. “…Right?”
Kuu knelt to inspect Frida’s body before shaking her head. “Trust me. If she wasn’t, there’s nothing we could do to stop her.”
Andrew grunted as he hit the floor, Cristina kneeling on his back as she secured his arms with zip ties. “I should have guessed.”
The Ophanim finished and stood, hoisting him to his feet. “I’m sorry that I have to do this.”
Andrew watched Morgana. “She seems in control of herself. What did you offer?” He asked.
Morgana shrugged. “Her honor, essentially. I can remove the curses on her.”
Andrew glanced at Cristina, a slight glimmer of hope in his eyes, but lost it as he was shoved forwards. “I’ve done as you wanted. Now give me what I want.”
Morgana shrugged. “Unfortunately, I’m not actually the one who can help you. Leah is the one who can, and she’s still out there fighting. So, in the mean time, why don’t we all sit down, get to know each other?” She smirked. “Ooh, how about I go get… Claire, was it?”
Andrew glared at her. “If you hurt her…”
Morgana laughed gaily, a door sliding open behind her. “Hurt her?? Hurt her! Oh, Sierra, dear, he thought I would hurt you!”
A new S-Goth walked into the room, glancing at the inhabitants. “Why would you hurt me, mistress?”
Andrew’s eyes widened. “You TURNED her? What the hell!”
Morgana snickered. “Oh, calm yourself. Sierra, would you please explain to this nice young man who you are?”
Sierra glanced at Andrew. “I feel as if I’m supposed to know you, but I do not. I am Sierra, and I use magic to transform myself. After the spell is broken, I lose all memory of the time I was changed. Apologies.”
Andrew grit his teeth as Morgana continued to laugh. “See? She was the Valkyrie. And then the Armsmistress. But she was always Sierra.” Her smile set. “And now you have met all seven of my guard. But then, you already knew, didn’t you? ‘As soon as you set foot in this building’, was it?”
Andrew stared at Sierra, his unflinching gaze causing her to turn away. “I knew. And I also knew Claire was here.” He grit his teeth. “I can still feel her. She’s there!”
Morgana snorted and waved her hand dismissively. “You’re feeling magic. A shade. The fact remains that you’re mine now.” She grinned. “And you’ve matured oh so nicely.”
Andrew blinked. “Wait, then your plan…”
“You never escaped. You were merely set out on a leash. To allow you to grow. To become the tool I needed.” She smiled. “Well, we had to harvest you slightly early, but no matter. It’s good enough.” She said, turning away from him and inputting commands on a console. “Cristina, show the man out. Sierra can show you his cell.”
Andrew stood defiantly, giving Cristina pause. “It’s funny.” He said calmly. “You wanted me to mature?”
“Yes, of course.” Morgana said, her back still to him. “You were useless in the state we first had you.”
Cristina’s eyes darted down to Andrew’s hands as they began to spark, the ties melting from the heat. “I suppose you gave Cristina orders on what to say earlier as well. Was that all a lie?” He asked the Ophanim, not bothering waiting for an answer. “You left me out in the world. Let me grow, become more powerful, create ties.” Cristina was about to speak up when Andrew’s next words froze her in place. “You let me save lost souls. Destroy personal demons.” Cristina began to tremble. “Each and every one of those pokegirls that follow me do so for a reason. One of them posed a question to me, you know.” He said, the plastic snapping. He kept his hands behind him as he finished speaking. “She asked me if I knew why. And I know the answer.” He glanced back at Cristina, who gave him a tearful nod. “Because I make them feel human.”
Sierra screamed and collapsed, clutching her head as forgotten memories forced themselves through the Delta bond, flooding her thoughts with the life she had lost. Cristina pushed herself in front of Andrew, parrying Morgana’s attack. As she stood, her wings shining in the enclosed space, she pulled off her helmet and gazed impassively into the Goth’s eyes. “My betrayal has already been forgiven.” She said, her sword beginning to dance with hellfire. “I no longer have need of you.”
Morgana screamed in rage and pushed back, the two engaging in a furious fight. Unnoticed, Andrew slipped past, glancing at a monitor as he knelt next to the convulsing Sierra. “Cortney. Status.”
The Upgrade poked her head into view and nodded at him. “Delta has made it past their obstacles and are closing in on your location. Same with Omega. Erren reports that while their opponent and Zilla’s opponents are dead, so is Zilla, and an unknown pokegirl is currently on her way.”
Andrew nodded. “Get both teams to turn around. Help Alpha and Beta.”
Cortney frowned. “They’ll attack each other. Isn’t that the order you gave?”
Andrew chuckled. “They were never going to follow that. But if it really concerns you, stay in constant contact.” He turned back to the seizing S-Goth as her hair and features fluctuated drastically. “Hold on, Claire… No. Hold on, Sierra.” He whispered, pressing his hand to her forehead. “I’m not trying to do this to hurt you.”
Confusion. That was what she felt most.
Sierra stared helplessly as scenes, visions, flashed past at an alarming pace. They were all similar, so similar, but different, they couldn’t be hers…
She’s beginning to break down. There’s too much for her to handle.
Andrew watched the figure in front of him sink to the ground, clutching her head. “What were you trying to forget?”
That voice. She could hear it around her. But this one was real?
Sierra turned to look at him, her eyes spinning as she tried to see past the memories to the man that stood in front of her. “…”
She’s still sane, at least.
Andrew held out his hand. “Think carefully. I would like you to regain the life you’ve lost. But if you don’t want that, that’s fine. Just tell me to go away.”
The life…? The memories?
Sierra was frozen as all of the lives she had led continued scrolling past her eyes. Did she want to lose all of that?
“Please…” She whispered, stretching her hand out. “Help…”
Andrew smiled gently and threw his hands out.
And everything stopped.
Cristina cried out in pain as she was thrown backwards, away from Morgana, who turned to where Andrew knelt next to Sierra. “SIERRA! GET UP! CAPTURE HIM!”
Andrew stood and looked at her. “She’s asleep. Making a choice that is hers, and hers alone.” His teeth clenched. “I saw everything that she saw. I felt EVERYTHING that she felt.” His hair began to stand on end, his aura flickering. “you never gave her a choice.”
Morgana gasped as the room fell away, leaving the two of them isolated on a voidscape. “What have you done?”
Andrew shrugged. “Welcome to a pocket dimension. It only exists while I am here.” He smiled. “If I leave, everything inside ceases to exist.”
Morgana sneered. “I get it. You want to be mine now, not later.” She raised her hand. “Obey my will.”
Andrew gasped in shock as the Aura of Command smashed into him. He had expected to be immune to anything, so the sensation he could feel was frightening.
Morgana cackled as he stumbled backwards. “You will obey ME. Listen to ME. Serve ME.” She cried, sending wave after wave of psychic power at Andrew. “Now bow, human.” Morgana spat, her Aura battering at Andrew’s flagging mental defenses.
Closing his eyes, Andrew tried to keep up his defense, but something… Something was missing…!
“Do you fear her?”
Andrew winced as a quake shook the conference room. “Do I?”
The shadow regarded him. “You do.”
Andrew looked around at the silent aspects, and at the cube on the table. “She will let him out. She will make sure I am no more.”
The shadow flickered. “We are all here. Give us name.”
Pyktis turned away in his seat. “I will not help you.”
A murmur grew from the other aspects but Andrew waved them away. “I can understand that. But I still expect you to.”
Pyktis laughed. “You imprison me. Drain me. And expect me to help you?”
Andrew shrugged. “You already did, didn’t you?”
Pyktis stiffened, the shade appearing almost to turn a brighter red.
Andrew chuckled. “Come on now.”
After a moment of silence, Pyktis turned to gaze at the empty chair opposite Andrew. “Do I really have a choice?”
Andrew nodded. “You do. But I know you’ll make the right one.”
The shade laughed, quieter this time. “Like old times?”
Andrew smiled. “Like old times.”
One by one the aspects faded, and as they disappeared a form began to solidify in the empty chair. As Agni, the last to arrive, and the last to leave, faded away, a mouth grinned at Andrew from across the table. “Well. It looks like you finally came to.”
Andrew nodded as another quake shook the room. “We need to figure out what we’re doing.”
The figure cocked it’s head. “Not even going to say hello?”
Andrew shrugged. “There’s no point. You are me.”
It chuckled. “You know that’s not totally true. Who am I?”
Andrew sighed. “You are Bartimaeus. King of my emotion.”
Bartimaeus laughed. “I am. And I am not strong enough.”
Andrew blinked. “What?”
Bartimaeus pointed at the cage on the table. “That is where you need to draw for this struggle. Not from me.” He gave an apologetic smile. “I am nowhere near as strong as that is.”
Andrew’s jaw dropped. “I worked all this time. And you can’t even assist?”
Bartimaeus shook its head. “I will assist. I will keep you safe from it, keep it restrained. Once it has given you what you need, I will seal it again. Seal it so you will never be able to find it until you are ready to face it.”
When Andrew didn’t respond, it reached for the cage, hefting it slightly. “Well? Are you ready to begin?”
“I SAID BOW!” Morgana screamed, sending wave after wave into the kneeling man.
Andrew’s body shook, black smoke wafting from his face. “That is trying to control this?” A voice growled. “That will not be forgiven.”
Morgana gasped as he stood and turned to face her.
All semblance of humanity was gone. His eyes and mouth seemed to bleed darkness, gaping voids that swallowed any light that entered. The smoke that drifted from them seemed to twist as if it was alive, forming shapes and patterns.
Morgana quickly stepped back and cast an incantation, taking firm hold of the bladed staff that appeared. “What are you.”
Andrew cocked his head at her. “I am nothing. And that is what you will be.” He droned, holding out his hand where a dark sphere swirled.
Morgana sprang aside as it was fired, batting it away from her and charging him. Andrew didn’t bother dodging her blows, the blade sliding off his skin with a grating noise. With a shout Morgana surrounded the blade in flames, swinging it again at the motionless man. This time he reacted, ducking the strike with inhuman speed and summoning a sword of his own. They gazed at each other for a few moments before Andrew resolutely dove towards her.
Cristina glanced around the empty room wildly. “Andrew? Andrew! Where did he go!” She whirled to Cortney. “Where!”
The Upgrade’s body was noticeably flickering. “I’m attempting to find out. I’m devoting all unnecessary processing to that task.” She stopped. “Two possibilities. Azhara says he was close to regaining full control of his power. He may have used it in some way.”
Cristina bit her lip. “The other?”
“Morgana took him. He’s gone.”
Cristina shook her head resolutely. “That wouldn’t have happened. She would have used that earlier. He’s doing something.”
Cortney scanned the room, focusing on a miniscule speck in midair. “Most probably. If he is, we need to evacuate immediately.”
Cristina hoisted the unconscious Sierra onto her shoulders. “Got it. Will you be ok?”
Cortney shrugged. “My life disk is with him. If he dies, I die.”
Cristina chuckled nervously. “Don’t die.”
Cortney watched her go. A few minutes later the unknown pokegirl phased through the wall and focused on the same spot. “I was hoping He would not have to use this.”
Cortney analyzed her carefully. “You know what’s going on?”
The girl glanced at her. “Ah. You must be the computer program.” She turned back. “He is waging a war of utmost importance. Inside that place, Heaven and Hell rage against the foolishness of humanity. Whichever side becomes victorious,” She said, her form twisting between normal and demonic, “I will follow.”
Cortney grimaced when her scan came back inconclusive. “Forgive me for asking, but what are you?”
“I am both true and false. I am the coin, and the bridge between both sides.”
Cortney blinked. “I meant your breed.”
The pokegirl smiled. “I am not anything you would recognize. You can call me Nevaeh.”
Cortney shuddered, a cold chill creeping down her back. “You are…”
The pokegirl’s skin twisted, a set of wings breaking through the surface. One was covered in feathers, and seemed to emit pale glow in the muted light. The other was a bat’s wing, the leather drinking any light that got near it. The two sides seemed to war with each other, sometimes emitting light, sometimes negating it. Nevaeh blinked, her eyes shifting as she looked back at Cortney. After a moment they stabilized to match her wings.
“I am Heaven, and I am not. Nevaeh.”
“You thought me arrogant.” Andrew growled, battering away at Morgana. “You thought to taunt me. But you never stopped to realize you had captured a wolf instead of a sheep.”
Morgana cried out when he slipped past her guard, scoring a gash along her arm. Instantly it began to froth, the shadows that inhabited Andrew’s sword twisting inside. She grit her teeth and quickly drew her own sword along the wound, allowing her blood to wash it clean. “Words are useless.”
Andrew laughed and pointed his blade at her heart. “Words are all you have left.”
Morgana’s face grew white as she realized he was right. Try as she might, she could not contact the guard. She couldn’t teleport. She was locked in this hell, with only the thing across from her to keep her company. She had failed. She had underestimated his power, just like every other failure before her. And now she would die for it. They all would.
Andrew watched carefully as his Antithesis continued beating Morgana. With a sigh, he summoned an identical sword, testing its weight. “Bartimaeus. How can you be sure we’ll be able to reseal him?”
The reflection of Andrew’s innermost self smiled. “Because he’s already trapped himself.”
Andrew slowly smiled as he realized what Bartimaeus had wrought. “The dimension he’s in. He was never released.” He turned and looked to where the prison was hidden in the distance. “Morgana is in here.”
“Bingo.” Bartimaeus replied. “And as long as she does not realize that, nothing will change.”
Andrew watched the Antithesis score another hit, Morgana slowing down. “And if she does?”
Bartimaeus shrugged. “I take care of her.”
Andrew flicked his wrist, the sword disappearing. His eyes glowed softly as he continued testing powers that would soon be resealed. “Thank you. And I agree, by the way. This would be too much for me normally.”
Antithesis slowed and sat down with a sigh. “You’re boring. Not even close to what I’d expected. Well, at least you were some entertainment while I waited.”
Morgana blinked weakly. “What do you mean by…” She started, cutting off as Bartimaeus materialized in front of them. The aspect held out his hand, and Morgana’s consciousness had only enough time to wonder why there were two Andrews before the singularity summoned cut through and devoured her.
Bartimaeus turned to the Antithesis. “You tried to renege on the deal.”
The being shrugged. “Can you blame me for trying?”
Bartimaeus smirked. “Yes.” He said, advancing on his opposite. “And I will.”
Cortney perked up as the portal expanded, Andrew stepping through. “I’m going to have a headache for a few days. Got some shit to work out.” He nodded at the Videogirl before his attention was drawn to Nevaeh where she knelt on the floor. “…Explain.”
Nevaeh cut in before Cortney could speak. “I am yours. I need only a direction. Your inner self is still in turmoil. Direct me, so that I can best serve you.” She said.
Andrew gazed blankly at her for a while. “Make that decision on your own.” He muttered finally, turning away from her. “I am too tired for this shit right now.” He ignored her protests and waved at Cortney. “Give me a status update.”
Corntey nodded at Nevaeh. “She’s a splice. That’s all I can tell you for sure. Other than that, the Terminatrix is dead, there are numerous injured, and most of the goths here are dead.”
Andrew nodded. “Good. Most?”
“Epsilon’s opponent has fled. The torturer is still here and continues to fight. I don’t think she’s sane.”
Andrew rubbed his temples. “I know you’ve been holding back for a while now. Would you mind cleaning that up for me?”
Corntey inclined her head slightly. “Of course. Cristina wishes to let you know that she has… Sierra, outside the compound, and is treating her the best she can.”
“Thank her. Did we lose anybody today?”
Cortney shook her head. “They were split, and we knew what to expect. We have sustained injuries, and some may not be able to fight for a few days, but nothing critical.”
Andrew gave her a tired smile. “I’m glad to hear it.” He glanced at Nevaeh. “I think the story on this one is going to take a while. Come get me after you take care of the last one, please.”
Cortney stepped out of the screen, her physical form flickering with static. “Of course, sir.” She said, striding to the door. “And, Andrew?” She called back to him. She smiled slightly. “My faith in you was not misplaced. I’ll return the favor now.”
Andrew waited for her to have left before he glanced back to Nevaeh. “…Tell me everything. Don’t leave anything out.”
Nevaeh nodded. “I am man’s greatest ally. For good or for bad, for light or for dark, I fight equally. I am your chosen, and…” She trailed off at the look in Andrew’s eyes.
“You know, if you dropped the whole act, I’d be more likely to listen.” He said politely.
She chuckled nervously. “Of course. I am a splice, as the Videogirl mentioned. I embody the greatest of Celestials and Infernals. On one hand, I am a Lucarda, and on the other, a Warrior Nun. The side I display depends on the tamer I choose to be with. Unfortunately, right now you are displaying neither good nor evil tendencies, so I am much weaker than I could be. If you would choose a path, I could mold myself to it, and become that much more powerful.”
Andrew nodded slowly. “Interesting. You chose me because…?” He asked, sitting adjacent to her.
“I accidentally got myself captured and the consciousness told me you would save me, albeit indirectly. I figured that made you worthy.”
“Wonderful. I’m afraid that you’ll have to bear being both sides for a while longer. I don’t believe in the innate morality of Celestials and Infernals. Which means I’m neither. I’m me.” He frowned. “You seem very interested in me picking one. Why?”
“This body hosts three minds. Of the three, I can control barely anything. I am mainly restricted to the physical strengths. Kiana, the Nun, can control herself as well as a limited amount of Infernal techniques. Kore, the Lucarda, can control herself as well as a limited amount of Celestial techniques. If I stay in control, we are greatly weakened.”
Andrew frowned. “You were spliced, but you retained individual minds?”
Nevaeh shook her head. “No. I am the result of the splice. But Kiana and Kore refused to submit to the process, instead splitting themselves and retaining their individuality.” She chuckled. “They continue fighting when they can.”
Andrew nodded. “So it was an irony that they were spliced. Two great opponents, forced to merge. No wonder you ended up the way you did.” He flinched as an explosion rocked the building. “And I think Cortney just finished up.” He thought for a moment. “Very well. I’m leaving this place, and you are welcome to come along.” He glanced at her. “But I will not make a choice. Until the three of you can work together, you will just have to stay weak.”
Nevaeh twitched, but nodded. “They will never submit to each other willingly. But I wish you good luck.”
Andrew smirked and stood, walking to the door. “I think you overestimate them.” He said and pulled it open.
Grace grabbed his shirt, bodily dragging him through the door and into the middle of the gaggle of pokegirls waiting on the other side. “Is it over?” She asked, tears streaming down her face.
Andrew clutched her tightly, noise swelling as the others began to talk at once. “It’s finally over.” He whispered to her, cheers beginning to spread as the others noticed the lack of an enemy in the room beyond. “And I’m ready to go home.”
Roth stared at the wall. “You’re certain.”
“I’m sure, mum. There’s nothing left for me here.”
She nodded slowly. “Keep in touch. You’ll do that at least, right?”
The shadowed figure smiled softly. “I’m going with him as a mage. I’ll make sure he has an excuse to get me to open a portal every once in a while.”
Roth bowed her head. “Very well. Good luck.”
She waited. Certain that her office had been deserted, she turned back to her desk and pulled open one of the drawers. Removing the object inside she set it carefully in front of her.
The photograph twinkled in the light from her lamp. In it a young boy grinned, his antics interrupted by the camera’s flash.
“I’m so sorry. I’m so, so sorry.” She whispered, blinking away the tears.
“I hope you can find happiness, Vlad.”
The house shook as the front door was blasted inwards, the PLC team streaming in. With the slightest hesitation the leader slapped the hidden switch, revealing the basement. With a nod, he led his men down.
They came to a halt in the lab below. Screens were smashed, the tubes around them covered in dust. A tech stepped forward, scanning the air, his Sorceress right behind him.
The leader glanced to him. “Well?”
The girl shook her head and the tech confirmed it. “The place is deserted. Hasn’t been used in ages. I don’t know what you received, but there’s nobody here.”
The man nodded slowly. “Very well. Pack it up.” He said, waiting for the team to retreat. He stood for a few moments in the silence before turning away himself.
“Good luck, Braxton.”
Master Tamer: Y
England; Coventry, Shrewsbury
Ashba – Rosebreasts, Level 52 (Alpha)
Adria – Groaning, Level 49 (Beta)
Fu – Warvern, Level 62
Cristina – Ophanim, Level 57
Azhara – Kyubi, Level 79
Gale – Night Nurse, Level 56
Tech: Cortney – Upgrade VideoGirl
Ashba – Rosebreasts (Alpha)
Melody – Wet Queen (Beta)
Lyn – Enchantress
Nial – Assasara
Tracii – (Red) Longfly
Constance – Tank Vixxen
Adria – Groaning (Alpha)
Gale – Night Nurse (Beta)
Noira – (Flying) Mecha Musume
Shamira – Goldina
Kary – Gunvalkyrie
Ann – Ice Empress
Fu – Warvern (Alpha)
April – Seabra (Beta)
Rein – Myobu
Nami – Sharptits
Ishara – Scorpiagirl
Aella – (Hunter) Shinryu
Azhara – Kyubi (Alpha)
Lucina – Shadowcat (Beta)
Brigid – Unicorn
Heidi – Psyvix
Nevaeh – G-Spliced
Cristina – Fiendish Ophanim (Alpha)
Erren – Ballisticunt (Beta)
Kuu – ElfQueen
Grace – Mini-Top
Yin – Nereidame
Yang – Nereidame
Phial – Gravelgal
Claire - Armsmistress
Juel - Matratya