Tuesday, 06 June 2023 00:00

Lady of the Ring (Part 3)

Written by
Rate this item
(11 votes)

A Second Generation Whateley Academy Adventure

Lady of the Ring




Part 3


Saturday, November 5, 2016 - 5:06 pm
The tunnels (B3)

The tunnels stretched themselves on and on for what felt like an eternity. Concrete rectangles that led her from crossroad to crossroad in what felt like creepy pasta inspiration. With nothing for her to tell apart or differentiate her path. Were it not for the occasional door or room, Shisa would’ve resorted to scratching the surface with her claws just to mark where she’d been.

“I’m not lost. I’m not lost,” Shisa tried to tell herself as she paced through, reaching another set of crossroads and peeking down each of the paths. And yet the corridors appeared to stretch themselves miles and miles into infinity, or at least until the darkness claimed it… which puzzled, and even scared cat-eyed Shisa. “Shit…”

“How did this happen?” She wondered to herself. “I should be the least likely person to get lost down here. Idiot.”

She recounted the steps that led her where she stood now. A boring day. Looking for fun. She recalled Caro was meant to go down into the tunnels today. She decided to explore and play spy cat and see if she could find what the sophomore girl was up to.

At the entrance, she walked past a QR code and a set of rules that was way above her eye-level to read. She just assumed those were the standard boiler-plate type instructions. Things like ‘avoid straying from the group’, ‘Don’t damage the nearby hidden cameras’, ‘Do not test stink-bombs in the confines of the corridor.’… Although the spacing did look somewhat different… and the QR code did appear prominently on this one… Plus there were some red letters…

 In hindsight, those were probably warnings about this section of the tunnels. Not that there was anything Shisa could regret, since she didn’t have a phone with her.

Still, with her paws on the ground, she let herself wander about. She knew Caro had her lab in this section of the tunnels, but had no idea where exactly… So, before she knew it, she’d wandered down to the third basement. She lost the stairs for one moment and by the time she’d finally rounded back to finally leave, it was nowhere to be seen.

"Good work, you're lost. Helsing is going to laugh her ass off when she hears this," Shisa said nervously as she continued walking. “I’m bound to find something soon, right? This must be what they refer to as ‘the tangle’? I’m screwed.”

But this was completely different. Hallways stretching themselves on and on and with no one else to accompany her but the silence.

"Really," she said looking up at the ceiling. "You got bored again and decided to put me in a Labyrinth knock-off? If a pretty boy in way too tight pants starts singing, I'm castrating him. Just warning you in advance."

"Big, scary supervillain, and getting lost terrifies you. Pathetic." Shisa mumbled, unintelligibly to everyone but herself, as she paced down the hallway, habit having her walk close to the wall. “Not even half a year in this school and I’ve already gotten lost in its tunnels… Stupid.”

And with a bit more wandering, she became a bit more introspective. “Wonder if Caro can actually make a spell that will change me into a human…” She shook her head. “It’s because I just happened to hear all those rumors from last year. So, I just had to step up to her and beg her for it… Ugh, my social skills have gone downhill so fast. I don’t even know if she’s capable of it, with my luck, it probably was a rumor or something like that.”

Shisa shook her head as she turned around to look at the path she just came from and then turned around a corner. “Though she is powerful, I guess. I know nothing about magic… So why did I decide to give it a try? Still… if she manages to do something I’d be happy. I’m willing to keep the tail and fur, but at least make it easy for me to stand on my hind legs or make me bigger... It would be nice to wear real clothes again.”

She trailed off as she began to stop in her steps. The whole place was silent and there was no one ahead or to her side… but there was an odd chill that ran down her spine and a tingle on her whiskers. She felt something… or someone…

She ran a step forth and turned around on her heel to look back, just to come face to face with a strange creature. One that upon seeing Shisa’s sudden spin it also froze itself in place.

 It was a cat! Or at least had a cat in it. A creature that appeared to have been designed in a lab: with black fur and blue fur. Scales adorned the back of its body weaving themselves nicely in a diamond pattern around the form of its back to the tip of its tail. It also had what appeared to be small nubs poking from the tip of its head. Its eyes were a bright gold and fixated on her with an expression that made it seem as if it was having the same doubts as she was.

“A…” Shisa blurted out. Still trying to make sense of what was going on.

And before she could say a word or anything, the creature turned around and immediately darted back around the corner of the hallway.

“Wait!” Shisa called out as she chased after. The creature was fast, but she still tried to keep up.

She used her powers and created a telekinetic wall in its path. Her plan worked and the creature bumped itself against it but quickly slipped around it before Shisa could pounce.

It kept on running, slipping out of her grasp, and, as it did, its body began to exude a strange scentless mist. Dense to the point that it obscured its body, but it dissipated quickly allowing Shisa to see the creature turn around the corner.

And yet when Shisa followed, there was nothing there. The dense black and blue mist still clouded the air even as it dissipated around the edges, but the cat was no longer there, even though there was still plenty of hallway to cover. It’d turned itself invisible.

Her ears twitched as she heard what could only be the creature’s steps up against a steel sheet, growing distant with every passing second. She’d lost its track.

“Drat …” Shisa mumbled, unsure if she should feel relieved or concerned. “Not even sure if it could talk anyway… I guess it’s back to hunting for the exit.”

And just as she was about to take a step back, her ears perked at a sound she wasn’t aware she’d missed up until now: footsteps coming down her way.

“People!” Shisa thought, considering herself at least no longer at risk of going crazy.

“Are you sure the challenge is this way?” someone asked, a girl’s voice.

“That’s what the app says,” said another one, one with a voice Shisa felt she could recognize but still not place said.

“Well, let’s pummel this twerp,”

“Challenge? Pummel?” Shisa noted the words and, as a gut reflex, crouched low against the wall as she spied down the corridor where the voices were coming in.

“Be quiet, I don’t want to get into trouble,” A girl said in a meek voice.

“We’ll just get this done and be out. That should be the end of it,” The familiar voice noted as the figures passed by.

A brief glimpse and from afar, but it was three girls, all of them dressed in what she guessed were their own combat uniforms. And she recognized one of them: It was Corrine Leigh, also known as Firestep, a girl from Whitman. She was the one leading the way seemingly following the directions of her phone… which kinda felt like rubbing it in for Shisa who couldn’t find a model of her size. Fortunately, none of them saw her little head peeking around the darkened corner.

Still, she wondered what they were doing and who they were meeting with… Shisa felt a chill down her spine as she saw them pass by. The girl spelled trouble, but she wasn’t that keen on walking away from the only other people she’d seen down there.

So stealthily, she tried to follow, taking a different path that she imagined would lead her to intercept them… that is if the tunnels didn’t decide to move things around while she wasn’t looking… again.

linebreak shadow

Saturday, November 5, 2016 - 5:10 pm
The tunnels, Abandoned makeshift lab stations (B3)

The levels beyond the first two of the tunnels were usually a bit of a crapshoot in terms of navigation. It was the point beneath the earth where the magical and devisor safeguards seemed to stop trying to stabilize it, or whatever eldritch influence that caused it just became stronger. Whichever it was, it gave way to the variability and maze-like nature to the tunnels whenever one was to stray off the beaten path or dive further.

Firestep and her crew, by the nature of their powers and forms, were unacquainted with anything beyond the main pathways. And even if they were, this part of the circuit within the fringe of the campus was a whole new territory. One that was avoided by most of the students as, on their way there, they had found no one. Fortunately, the Whateley mapping application was there to serve as guide to the appointed area.

Two floors down and she felt something off about the entirety of the place, making her feel uneasy… But that was the extent of it. Up ahead was an open hallway, illuminated, in an almost beckoning way. Her feet itched, wanting for her to rush forth down the uniform ground, whereas usually she wouldn’t get the chance. But she had to remind herself this wasn’t the moment.

“Ashes to rushes…” She muttered as she moved ahead, app in hand as she turned around the hallway, drawing ever closer to the signaled location: old classroom “B3-12”.

Eventually, she reached her destination, making a signal to wait behind.

The hallway opened up into a room that once served as workstations for students. Two rows of tables ran through the length, separated one another with slabs of acrylic, plastic and cloth that had been left alone for so long that the dust they collected changed their color. Firestep had a bad feeling about it, even if the place appeared to have been left alone, she didn’t like having a full line of sight of the field.

But even so, the main focus was at the other side of the room, where the rows of tables met their end, opposite side to Firestep. There stood the jerk who summoned her, Stark. The disrespectful clueless pittance of a devisor who ruined her clothes the day before, and the one who had the gall to challenge her to a fight.

Well, the note claimed that it was to solve their difference, but it was obviously an invitation to a fight. A lopsided fight that would obviously be rigged in his favor right from the offset, but she would still prevail.

He sat on a chair with his customized supersoaker resting under his arms. There was no way he hadn’t seen her but would still pretend to keep his gaze down for the sake of drama. “About time,” he said mockingly, raising his head, as if it was a great reveal that he was wearing a set of heavy goggles that had some cables connected onto the side, without a doubt feeding him information and statistics on his opponent. Ready for a fight.

“For a speedster, you left me waiting,” Stark mocked as he got up from his chair, kicking it back as he raised up his weapon. The same oil gun that he was working on was now reassembled and modded, as if that would mask what it really was. The tank of black liquid rested at the back and a muzzle appeared ready to give her the business with three tubes that curved themselves in the way of the fire, reminding her of a flamethrower from movies.

Aside from that, the guy was armed up for combat. Over a plain set of clothes, he’d donned combat gear that she could almost guess was haphazardly put together in the last minute. A simple chest plate, mostly serving as the nexus for his gear, a set of greaves that appeared too thin to hide a surprise, and a pair of hefty gauntlets she was certain they housed some nasty tricks for her. All of those pieces in what might be a copyright infringing gold and red color pallet.

Of course, Firestep thought, almost slipping out the tip of her tongue with a roll of the eyes to match. Then her thoughts went low, where a hefty belt was strapped around his waist. “When dealing with devisors and gadgeteers, always look out for their toolboxes,” had been Brita’s nugget of advice.

In the meantime, she disgustedly felt the boy’s gaze over her, repaying with studying of his own.

Following some more advice from the Amazons, earlier in the month, she’d booked the fabricator and some of the senior member’s help to make herself a costume. Her color, unsurprisingly red, with black accents that rectangularly and symmetrically highlighted some parts of the design. Nothing overly fancy, and definitely not the final design she would wear in this school, but it was protective enough, with parts of the spandex like suit becoming a slightly harder shell around the torso and legs, with a stash of hidden pockets where she made her phone disappear into.

Her uniform concluded down with her footwear, things that were given to her before her arrival to Whateley, tailor-made for her use. Army style boots of hard PVC soles, set to withstand, at least to an extent. The heat exuded from her soles while she was on the move, with the hard insulated rubber frames and with tiny holes to the sides meant to serve as an exhaust. While she usually went barefoot on campus, she couldn’t skimp on preparations here.

“You had the gall to send a challenge to me. That least bit you can be is thankful I showed up,” Firestep said dismissively.

“Or what? Risk my wrath later?”

“Please. You boys think your wrath is the only thing that matters. It only does when you’re the strong one,” Firestep said. “There is no expression about being wary of men scorned.”

“Oh, you think you have it ea-”

“Spare me the patronizing,” Firestep interrupted. Both impatient and deliberately trying to piss him off. “We’re here because I taught you a lesson, but it hasn’t sunk into your thick skull just yet.”

“By jumping me you mean? With your brute friends?!” Stark snapped, his words stumbling upon themselves as they rose themselves with frustration. Firestep knew she’d left an impression. “Is that the only way you can handle it? Numbers and catching them unprepared? That’s precisely why it’s my turn to teach others not to mess with me, starting with you.”

“Good luck,” Firestep prepared herself, going low and assuming a runners position.

“And here I hoped we would be able to sort this out.”

“That was never on the table, and you know it,” Firestep quipped. “All you did was ask for another beating.”

Stark’s face was red. He took it as an invitation to start, raising his oil gun. Whether that thing had the pressure to reach Firestep across the room, past the corridor of desks, she was uncertain, but she had a pretty clear idea of why the guy picked the room with this setup: Funnel her between the two rows of tables and high divisions. Even with her speed and reaction, she would still be an easy target if she ran straight towards the guy that was pointing a weapon at her.

Flames escaped the heat resistant rubber exhaust of her combat boots as she immediately launched herself forth, running down the center of the corridor, but at an angle. Even as Stark began to open fire, the pressurized jet of oil would take just enough time to reach her, and by then, she’d already leapt onto the table and leapt over the division into the other side. Out of view and out of the obvious tactical exploit.

Or so she thought, but as she touched the ground on the other side of the division, a loud beeping reached her ear. Her eyes snapped underneath one of the tables to spot some contraptions with a red blinking light.

It barely got to the third flicker before it exploded outward and onto the path with his devised goop, much to Firestep’s frustration.

She thought nothing of it for a good second, especially as she saw the path ahead cleared for a sprint. It would just be a matter of rushing forth and giving the guy the beating he deserved. But instantly realized something was wrong when her leg was suddenly yanked back mid-step and she fell headfirst to the ground.

“Wha-?” Firestep blurted out as she looked back towards the liquid. Instead of seeing the black oil, the thing had turned to a pinkish color and had stretched from the main puddle over to her splattered right leg. It clung to her like some sort of gum, stretching to the limit but didn’t break and was already starting to pull her back to the puddle.

“Combination four, bubble gum! Impressed?” Stark laughed as he leisurely walked to the end of the hallway. Smugly confident on how Firestep was pinned and at his mercy. “What better way to deal with a speedster than to glue them in place… I could also make the oil ultra-slippery… but that’s a recipe for disaster for you runners. I’m not as cruel as you.”

Firestep didn’t deign herself to give an answer, it would require her to cast aside her pride to do it. But she was too frustrated and prideful to do it, all she could do was cast a glare towards Stark, one that he seemed to revel in.

“And now, to the next function,” Stark smirked as he raised up his gun. And as he did, the thing let out a charging buzz. “Don’t worry, this is nothing serious. I think it’ll be comparable to getting full-body tazed… until it dries up,” And with that, he pulled the trigger.

Firestep noticed that the desk division by her side was loose, and in a gamble, she forced herself to take a step forth, despite the ‘tar’s’ fleeting but stubborn pull. She grabbed the padded plaque and yanked it to the side, in the way of the shot.

She heard the sound of the fluids splattering just too close for her comfort followed by a strange sizzling sound, an electrifying feeling that almost stung the tips of her fingers. Just enough to give her an idea of what she just escaped from.

“Drat… you got lucky,” Stark grumbled on the other side, seemingly tinkering with his gun judging by the sound of buttons present and plastic pieces moved. And more awkwardness to that was the plastic sound of pumping to build up the pressure.

“You pumping your gun? Is the stream coming a bit too limp?

“Har har, very funny. How about configuration one, conflagration… No, even with the vents that run here working, setting the place on fire is never the answer,” he said, seemingly reciting from a past lesson.

Firestep didn’t wait and instead tried to work with the pink gum stuck onto her foot. Surprisingly, she found that the strong tension it once had, having been slowly pulling her back, had been constantly degrading and easing away.

It was such that all it took was for a hard kick and a little bit of fire to untether herself and jump atop the table and over the division into the central corridor.

“Oh, no, you’re not getting away!” Stark called out, but it was too late. As the electrified panel fell down, all he could see was the fiery back of her foot as she leapt over the separation into the next empty corridor, forcing him to scramble back. His main advantage was that, as long as the corridor was there, Firestep would be an easy target, but the moment she came in close… he would be in trouble.

Much to Firestep’s relief, there weren’t any goo traps down there waiting for her. With about six meters separating her from the end of the hallway, her feet flared up and, in a blaze, she dashed forth covering the distance five times faster than Stark’s clumsy steps could take him. She emerged from the hallway with an attack, a strong arching kick that left a trail of fire in the air. Of course, that sort of attack would prove dangerous if it were to connect, but she’d calculated herself far faster than the guy could walk for a flashy, if not intimidating, missed strike.

Stark didn’t pay her attention nor fell for it. When Firestep’s foot touched the ground, she saw a hint of the guy’s foot slipping down the middle corridor after ducking under her attack.

“You running?” Firestep mocked as she sought to chase after, but immediately shied away as she saw the obvious trap.

Stark had taken three steps into the corridor before turning around and having his gun raised and aimed towards her.

The pull of the trigger came with its own bit of frustration and a clear delay of about a second before the pressurized stream of the oil came out. It surged through the air and hit the wall in a large bluish splatter that savagely sizzled with clear electricity running from one side to the other, forcing one of the overhead lamps to sputter and explode from the overcharge.

Fortunately for Firestep, that delay of one second was enough for her to react-duck under the shot and scamper her way around the cover.

“Damn this thing! You’re supposed to work better! Damn compressor! I knew I should’ve invested better in an electronic part…” Stark cursed though didn’t ease up, instead he kept the stream seemingly going and splash it about. Her ears foretold it and as she peeked around, she confirmed. That the space in between them was now covered and splattered with the glossy oil.

“You missed! Now give it up, loser,” Firestep called out from around her cover as she tried to evaluate her possibilities. She’d already seen the way that substance could go, and was, admittedly, worried about what else he had in store. Plus, she’d never worked well with liquids, unsurprisingly.

“Shut up and learn your lesson,” Stark tried to snipe Firestep the moment she peeked around but missed, once again thanks to the delay, which led him to angrily smash his gun against the table before promptly apologizing to it and blaming the girl bully.

“I don't need to learn anything you have to teach me,” Firestep grumbled. With as much bravado as she had, concern was starting to grow about her that she might end up losing this bout on her own if the guy kept on claiming the running space like this.

“How dare you? I’m far smarter than what you, wannabe amazon, can ever imagine…” Stark launched off on a brief diatribe. Although Firestep had more important things to worry about, like winning.

She saw a bit of the black oil splattered into her vicinity, a visible puddle that was slowly seeping closer and closer. She knew that if she wanted to carry on with this, she needed to test how this thing reacted to her element.

Ever so cautiously, she moved her foot closer to it and, with her energizer powers, she called forth for a small but solid stream of fire from the rubber exhaust of her boot, to come into contact with it. The liquid had no reaction, even after the heel of her boot rested on it. Despite being called ‘oil’, the thing wasn’t flammable or particularly sticky or slippery, it was more akin to liquefied molasses. At least that took a load of concern off Firestep.

She tried to make a quick loud whistle but with how Stark was still ranting on, she wasn’t sure if it made it to the corridor at the back. “Hey! Quiet!” She raised her voice. “By the time this is over, you’ll see how pathetic you are.”

“Pathetic? Weren’t you listening?”

“To be honest, no,” Firestep snapped as she pushed herself out from cover, both fingers in her mouth to let out a long loud whistle.

Stark, frustrated, was already raising his oil gun her way and applying pressure to the trigger when, behind him, around the corner of the corridor from which Firestep entered the room, a flash of light came in. An orb of manifested light and energy flew in, circling about the air in a curve ball, guided by a girl’s eye as she walked into the room.

The attack crossed into the field towards Stark’s back. Its shape flared and pulsated as it prepared for a concussive strike that would’ve thrown him to the ground when from the devisor’s belt something flashed. From one of the power packs a red light manifested and projected itself outward, creating a red sheen in the middle of the air that shielded him from the attack. Impact only forcing him to take a step forward.

As this happened, Firestep had tried to charge ahead, daringly skipping about the only spaces of clean ground in an attempt to reach Stark. She expected to meet a knocked over, or at least stunned, Stark. But with the guy still standing, despite Wisp’s attack, that once again left her out in the open.

The gun was raised and the trigger was pulled. And, once again, she narrowly avoided the electrifying splash by throwing herself over desk and division and onto the ground of the other corridor.

“I knew you were gonna do it! I knew it! What is honor to the likes of you? You jumped me once, why not do it again? Coward.”

“Coward,' he says,” Another girl emerged from the corridor. The third member of Firestep’s posse, the brick of the team. “You really thought we were going to abandon our friend as she walked into an obvious trap?”

“It’s fine. Fight dishonorably, it’ll just make my victory sweeter,” Stark muttered, turning around to face the two girls that had just arrived. Codenames were, to his knowledge: Wisp, an energy manifestor and Thumper, a vibration PK supergirl. With long and close range covered, Stark should’ve been already planning on his retreating escape…

But the guy had complete faith and confidence in his abilities and creations, spiraling further into his Diedricks. In his mind, these girls were but insects that would be squashed down with his flawless plan and execution. And believing so, he moved on to make what many others would cite as a really really stupid move.

He reached into his belt and produced a small device. It looked pretty much like a garage door clicker made out of stitched together cobbled parts. Evidently something with no planning nor care put to it other than the effectiveness of function. Something he put together from one day to the other.

“Now that I have all of you here, I can cut loose and start playing seriously,” he laughed as he pressed the button. A grand show that had the girls flinch and pull back, bracing themselves for whatever disaster or attack was to hit them.

But nothing happened.

“What was that for?” Brash Thumper said, stepping forth.

“What? What happened?” Firestep called out from around her cover, unable to see what he did.

“No idea,” Thumper muttered.

“Nothing happened!” Wisp told her friend.

“Hah! Shows what little you know!” Stark snapped. “I’m sure you might not have noticed, but I disabled your phones and cameras with this button. I also made sure that the containment blast doors installed by security would just shut themselves.” Stark said proudly. “Full blackout protocol! And you lot just said I couldn’t do it.”

“What?!” All three girls gasped as they reached for their phones.

“He’s right! I have no signal!” Wisp gasped.

“Damn you,” Thumper frowned. “And you locked us up? So, we can beat you up all the better?”

“We should probably try to get out,” Wisp muttered.

“Screw that. I’m getting that twerp!” Thumper said as she charged forth.

With his original target in hiding, Stark turned around and opened fire

As her codename implied, vibrations were Thumper’s game. Bracing herself, she projected outward her field, getting the air, and even the furniture around to start to tremble. The stream of Stark’s attack rapidly degraded in its path before stopping, splitting apart until becoming blobs of the substance, in that instant, halted in the air.

Time seemed to slow down to her.

Whilst Thumper thanked her concentration for stopping the barrage, it was merely nothing as another attack followed. She didn’t see it but could hear it. A distorted whirring whistle that rose up in pitch as it was charged before a sudden release.

Out of the sudden, the floating droplets of the oil trapped in the airwaves turned themselves white and then bright. And before Thumper could make sense of what happened, a sudden flash rang through the air, and a hard shockwave made quick work of her concentration and sent her flying off up against the wall at the back. Her unrefined PK field flared out in the last second, fortunately, sparing her from the brunt of the damage, but her ears were still ringing, and her vision was filled with afterimages.

“Gayle!” Wisp called out coming into view now that the desks had been shoved aside by the explosion.

Stark stood proudly within the center of the hallway, his arm outstretched with the white circle of light on the palm of his gauntlet slowly fading off as it powered down. “That was configuration ten!” He proclaimed walking closer. “Now tremble before my power.”

“Why you…” Thumper mumbled drowsily as she tried to get back up only to suddenly finding herself bathed by an undeterred shot from the goo gun, spilling over her unrelentingly. First a blue-ish color that sent her spasming at the sizzle of electricity and then splashed by a grayish variant. This one, upon coming in contact with her suddenly expanded, losing its glossy liquid sheen and instead sounding like the cracking of concrete.

“Ew…” Wisp forced herself to say so as to not chuckle.

“Do something!” Thumper said, trying to break free and peeling off the hardened substance. Not exactly at the same level of concrete, but rather as frail as wet sand that just kept piling on.

“What? What was that? What happened to… Oh shoot,” Firestep gasped as she took a peek, back again to the end of the corridor, staring at her downed friend, seeing the powerhouse of the group suddenly incapacitated, she figured there wouldn’t be a shield. And, as Wisp’s manifested orbs came in flying, angling themselves to try to strike Stark. They found themselves incredibly ineffective as long as his personal force field was still at work. But in doing so, she also noticed something about the trail of electrified fluid separating her from her opponent. It had lost some of its color and a good chunk of it appeared to have degraded or evaporated. While there was still some sizzling present, it’d dried up.

Her boots were insulated against her own fire, logic stood that the soles would protect her steps. With Stark’s gaze distracted by Wisps attack, this was her chance.

She abandoned her cover and sprinted towards him. She wasn’t sure what she could do to the guy but given that his barrier was only shielding him from Wisp’s attacks, she figured a hard enough shove might do the trick and throw him to the ground.

Her steps were fast, albeit careful so as to not slip with the still present puddles. The closer she got, the more clear ground she would have and the faster she could go. And not a moment too soon as Stark wizened up to her presence and was about to turn around.

Her foot tensed in her stride as flames escaped the exhausts on her boots in preparation for a leaping kick. Only to suddenly hear the dreaded beeping sound rang in her ears.

The sound of Stark’s traps, the same kind she’d fallen for before, were littered under the tables within the central corridors as well. She could barely cuss as she was already trying to force herself to stop and run back… But she wasn’t fast enough.

The explosions came out in tandem and the pinkified goop splattered the ground beneath her, entirely coating her boots.

Shit!” She muttered as she uncovered her head.

Having forced herself to stop so as to not fall (mostly triggered over bad memories over having gum stuck on her hair) she was now stuck in the middle of the pink swamp. Try it as she might, she couldn’t break free. Lifting a foot wasn’t out of the question but the pull down would inevitably win and the thing was so elastic, even as she raised her knee as high as her chest. it would painfully slam itself onto the ground. 

“Crap…” Firestep cursed.

Stark was having a maniacal laughing fit from the sight, practically celebrating his own victory when, in came Wisp’s controlled orbs. They bumped up against his back, even with the personal forcefield in play, the kinetic energy still amounted to a light but persistent push.

“I got you now.” Stark muttered as he tried to fiddle with his gun, amping up the pressure or switching the catalyst or whatever it was. But it became a more laborious task as Wisp’s attacks quickly adopted a more pestering nature. The two hovering orbs suddenly wheeled themselves for a drumming, almost like someone pummeling a boxing pear.

By the third time he missed the right button and setting, he let out an angered scream and turned around, producing a round object from his belt. Shoddily made but still clearly recognizable as a sort of grenade. And when the button at the head was pressed, it lit up ominously.

Between the bravado and the windup for the throw, it was enough to give Wisp the chance to duck away from the wreckage of some of the pushed tables just as the grenade flew within range. What followed was an explosion that appeared much like what one would expect thinking of a “paint grenade”, A sonorous splat that was reflected by a blue that decorated the wall in a bright bluish color. A tone that carried with itself an electrifying sound that spelled the effects for Firestep.

The orbs of hard light sputtered in the air before popping themselves out of existence. Wisp had seemingly been taken out.

“Now…” Stark grumbled, not bothering to check the result and instead turning towards his prey, Firestep, who was still trying to pry the strange bubblegum off her boots, but the compound was still active enough to keep her in place.

“Where was I?” He began with faux dramatism. “Oh right, gloating. Do you see it here?!” He pointed back to Thumper who was making an effort and actually managing to peel off the hardened goop but still finding herself too slow to actually do anything. “This is what happens when you piss me off! Thought your friends would be able to do anything? You jumped me while I was unarmed and thought you could just bully me? Like pretty much everyone does? Oh, and I almost forgot. You better not be a coward and tell them what happened. If you’re as much of a woman as you think, you won’t even dare.”

“I… I see what you did there…” Firestep said with thinly veiled frustration as her hands were at work on her boots.

“Give it a rest.” Stark mocked. “And get up because I’m not done with you.”

“What? You have me stuck, with no way to run. You have your dumb water gun in your hand and have already spat my words back at me. I think we’re done,” Firestep snapped, never having learned not to tell someone drieking out when something is done.

“No… no no no, it might not be enough,” Stark said, growing more and more rushed, his look being more and more derangement. “Just you wait. I did say I was going to shock you if you didn’t apologize.”

“No, you didn’t!”

“It was implied!” Stark said, raising the gun.

“W-Wisp!? Any time now!” Firestep screamed.

“I’m on it!” Wisp blurted out emerging from around the rubble and grabbing a broken piece of wood from one of the tables. With awkward marksmanship, she sent it spinning towards Stark.

The throw was hardly a threat, hitting the ground just ahead of the devisor before bouncing off onto the side. But it was enough for Stark to jump back as if threatened, and that was her goal. The distraction.

In the corner of his eyes, he glimpsed the real plan: two orbs emerging from the wreckage and flying in tandem. Bracing himself for whatever could befall him, it wasn’t long before he noticed they were flying towards Firestep. What was more. As they separated themselves, a rope was visible connecting the two, caught in place when the orbs were created.

Stark didn’t like what this might mean and immediately turned around to take aim, fiddling with his gun and hastily pulling the trigger.

Luckily, the girl’s plan worked. She raised her arm as the two orb flew in and gripped the clothesline. With a rather painful yank the flying helpers tried to lift her before the electrified blue liquid would touch her.

Wisp’s power and control manage to accomplish the rescue, pulling her off the ground and into the air. That was after, with a kick, she undid the clasps on the side of her glued boot allowing her feet to slip free.

“Wisp! Can’t you go faster?!” Firestep called out, reeling her legs so as to avoid touching the pink goop below or the blue stream that came really close to splattering her.

“I’m trying! I’m trying! I’ve only done this once before!” Wisp called out.

“Not getting away!” Stark grumbled as he tried to pursue the shot. Though he came to realize that, with the high power of his gun, he needed to keep up a stance.

“How much goo does he have?” Firestep called, reeling her legs to avoid the blue electrified stream, taking reprieve as the gun’s pressure waned.

“Stop moving!” Both Stark and Wisp screamed. And at that moment, he shifted his focus towards the person that was making his prey’s escape possible. Turning around, he raised up his oil gun and pulled the trigger only for Wisp to already be jumping out of the way into safety.

The distraction and loss of concentration caused the two already strained orbs of energy to sputter and fade off, leaving only the rope Firestep was clinging to. Her landing came safely and nimble, just on the tables on the other side of the hallway, giving her an easy path towards her opponent.

By then Stark was already trying to line up the shot and opening fire, narrowly missing Firestep. Even as the path became more uneasy, with the knocked tables and lopsided separations, she still pulled through ahead. She vaulted and jumped, cursing whenever she landed poorly or almost fell or stabbed her foot on a corner, but still kept at it with her power’s protection.

Eventually, Stark wizened up and realized all he needed to do was to puddle up the path ahead. And was about to do it when a large rock struck his side. It was part of his solidified goo. A large chunk of it which his barrier took the brunt of.

He turned around just to see Thumper pushing herself up. With her upper body freed, peeling off the rest of the solidified goop concrete.

Unwilling to let her free herself, Stark turned again, this time preparing to apply a second layer of his concrete variant, only to be stopped when an orb of energy flew out of nowhere and came crashing up against his open flank, just around his back-shield. Wisp was at it again, like an obnoxious fly prodding him for attention and his focus. She’d obviously intended to knock the gun off his hand, but the gauntlets absorbed the bulk of the impact, encouraging her to keep on with her annoying poke. Stark couldn’t take it anymore, lost to anger, he swung his gun around to bat the orb off. It worked sending it flying into the distance, but at the same time, breaking something in his gun.

The pieces that made up the barrel fell off and the more of his synthesized goo began to seep off through the seams. The pieces he’d taken so much time to put together and the work he’d put into were all damaged. Fury and sadness flared in his eyes as he stared.

A lingering gaze that lasted a bit too long. Before he knew it, he felt a piece of his hardened goo struck him on the side of the face, sending his goggles flying and him staggering a couple of steps back.

“That doesn’t even cover for the electric shock you gave me…” Said Thumper, now standing free. “But don’t worry, I’ll get there eventually.”

“Shut up, bitches!” Stark snapped as he pointed his gun at the girl’s team brick and pulled the trigger without thinking. The end result was a weaker but still noticeable splatter of the goo that covered Thumper’s PK field and the area around her feet.

And before she could do or say anything else he raised his gauntlet, with the circle at the base of the palm glowing as if charging. “Stop right there! If my substance gets in contact with the frequency blast from this gauntlet… you’ll experience the same explosion as you did before.”

Wisp and Thumper stopped on their tracks. Effectively neither at a safe distance from the explosive dark splatter.

“There we go, there-” And that was as far as he got when a set of hands gripped his outstretched one and immediately forced him to spin about, with his gauntlet aimed away from her friends. In a fluid motion, Firestep jumped into the fray and threw the devisor to the ground.

“There we go, you jerk,” Firestep sighed with an air of victory, grinding her knee back against Stark’s back belt package, hearing the cheap plastic pieces and circuitry snap and crack as the forcefield was broken.

“Good job wrangling this one, Corrine,” Thumper muttered proudly as she stepped in through the puddle.

“We have him,” Firestep informed as she kicked the gun as hard as she could, sending it spinning, if not breaking further. Stark tried to react and struggle, but it was to no avail.

“I see that,” Thumper said as she drove her foot down against Stark’s gauntlet. The thing was made sturdier than the belt and the gun, but not by much. By the second kick the pieces became ajar and by the third one plates fell off. All the while the kid screamed. “There… thoroughly castrated.”

“Is he?” Firestep asked and the moment she eased up on the pressure, he immediately recoiled and tried to crawl away.

A desperate escape that wasn’t on the lookout for a plan, but that of a hurt kid. He muttered something in between interrupted breaths, a soft desperate sobbing while at the same time still trying to conceal himself behind his arms.

“I think we went too far…” Wisp muttered to herself out loud after a silence in which they could only hear his sobs.

“You think so?”

“Don’t let him fool you,” Thumper muttered.

“What do you want from me!” Stark broke out with an uneven voice. “I’m sorry for what I did. I didn’t mean to cause trouble. I couldn’t help it! Why are you so cruel? What did I do to you? Why destroy everything I work for? Why?”

“Because you started it,” Firestep muttered trying to answer, but finding herself feeble enough.

“Because you’re a weak man,” Thumper mumbled.

“I couldn’t help it! I say a lot of things and barely control myself! I let myself go! I’m sorry… just, just get away. Please, forget this ever happened.”

“Forget? Thumper snapped. “You humiliated my friend and then tried to fight us. That should warrant a broken arm!”

“I think that’s enough,” Firestep grumbled as she reached over to pull Stark’s arm off his face, to get a look at his reddened face and glistening eyes. A sight that put her in an uneasy mood, sapping away the feeling of her victory. “Fine… We’ve had enough.”

“Are you sure? We could have more amazons take their turn.” Thumper frowned but Firestep didn’t humor her, instead she was worried about another detail.

“Let’s just go, okay?” Wisp begged.

“Hey… Hey! Did you really lock us in the tunnels?”

“I’m sorry. I’m sorry, I really, I did,” Stark cried.

“Can you open it?”

Stark stopped for a moment as he looked down at the ground where his gauntlet was, now in pieces. And among those was the broken clicker. “It’ll wear off… I think...”

“Just great…” Firestep grumbled.

“Are you really going to believe him?” Thumper snapped.

“I don’t know about you, but I don’t wish to spend my Saturday evening trapped,” Firestep said dismissively as she got up and moved back to the inert pink goo where her boots were stuck to the ground. A couple of flaming kicks and she was already picking them up. “Let’s go.”

“Fine… Fine,” Thumper said, delivering a kick to Stark’s left before she moved forth. “Let’s go check the door we came through… If his blackout protocol is as reliable as the rest of his tech, he probably screwed it up…”

“Sorry about your toys,” Wisp quietly muttered as she walked out.

Soon, they were out of the room, disappearing around the corner and leaving a defeated and sobbing Bergholt, Stark, sobbing over the beating, and the frustration of what he just went through.

Within his depth, he was sorry for what happened, bitter and sorrowful, but also irremediably angered.

linebreak shadow

Saturday, November 5, 2016 - 5:14 pm 
The tunnels, Forgeroom 5 (B1)

For the past fifteen minutes, Grimma, borrowing Caro’s body, forged along. And having been granted free reign of action and autonomy just spurred the spirit to be as grandiose as she could be at her work, and she was clearly having her moment of fun in every step of the process. Caro could tell, feeling her mouth wanting to form a grin at every strike of the hammer.

An alluring spectacle that filled the room with a ringing tune that flowed with rhythm, almost in melody.

The hammer went for molding swings every time with perfect accuracy. At each point of contact releasing a melodious chime and a splatter of red embers, magical leftovers that lingered until the next hit came in, never marring the simple yet elegant design. With the hammer’s chisel head, lines were drawn on the pedestal and along the side of the ring, every one of the abridged verses written by Caro suddenly began to glow, fed by magic, and pulsated at the rhythm of each of the strikes before suddenly becoming light etchings that ran along the surface, engraving themselves within the inner and outer side of the ring. As she was done, they faded off from the surface.

The instructions were done, and both Caro and Grimma were high on the thrill of their creation.

Grimma was a master at work, and quite proud of herself at the end and she took extra care once the finishing touches were administered. The rings were removed from their knobs and inspected diligently, using the rough fingertips of the glove and some of the special rags and oils provided to make sure her reflection could be seen staring back.

Well within the hour, Grimma smiled and finally announced. “It is done, Caro,” Punctuated by the tapping chime of the ring against the metal. “I did as you asked and, now, I present you… with the two rings.”

With the job completed, their contract and condition were fulfilled. Caro felt Grimma’s influence over her actions become less and less as the mist that exuded from her right arm, the ring hammerer, thickened as it pulled out, the same she could see from the right side of her face. The smoke coalesced into the room, molding itself back in the figure of a woman in a veil of shadows. Even with no clear facial features outside from the eyes that glowed themselves into existence, Caro could tell she was more than pleased.

“Thank you, Grimma… That was really some good work,” Caro admitted. While it was still her body and magic that did the work, she could hardly do anything if it weren’t for the spirit’s knowledge, own essence and precision that instilled her movement.

“I strive to please,” Grimma said, making a noblewoman’s curtsy, her figure seemingly destroyed as Morgana unknowingly walked through her. Much to Caro’s surprise, realizing she was back to being the only one aware of her presence.

“Now it’s the enchanting part, right?” Morgana asked, one hand on her athame at the ready as she removed the rag that covered the cut, she made to brighten the fire.

“That’s correct,” Caro agreed, picking up one of the two rings. “We only need one,” she said as she slipped the spare into her pocket and placed the other on a tray before announcing to Morgana. “The spell is ready. All you need is to pour some of your blood in it and the ring will automatically do the rest.”

“A leech ring… I’m worried to think what’ll happen if I get a cut on me while I happen to wear it…” Morgana muttered, with a sense of concern. “How much should I spill?” she asked, turning around as the shadowy figure approached.

“I’d say… Make a basic ritualistic cut and squeeze three times.” Though Caro’s gaze was easily distracted by the sight of Grimma. The shadow lady was standing up close up against Morgana with her eyes up close to the girl’s face, even if the girl couldn’t really see her. “Cut it out,” she hissed, outside of the freshman’s earshot.

“Oh, apologies,” Grimma muttered as she stepped back. “Tell her she needs to transform.”

“Really?” Caro asked suspiciously.

“Please do so.” Grimma added just as Morgana’s hand hung over the golden ring wrapped around the knife.

Morgana had been patiently watching while Caro worked the ring, but now that she seemed to have finished, she was eager to go onto the next part of the process.


“Hm?” Morgana asked.

“Grimma thinks it would work better if you could spill your blood transformed.”

The girl shrugged as she changed, warmth pulsing from her. “Alright,” While somewhat puzzled at the request, she was still willing to do it

Morgana looked over at Caro and took a deep breath as she gathered her essence and let it flow. Her skin changed color, becoming a redder color whilst a pair of horns curled themselves around the top of her head. They resembled more of a ram’s horns than a dragon’s… but then again, what did she know about real dragons?

Caro took a step back and allowed Morgana to get close to the enchanting table.

Eying the ring, the girl carefully made a cut along one finger, wincing slightly as her flesh parted. Carefully holding her finger over the ring, she squeezed it gently, each forcing a large crimson drop to fall onto the metal.

The blood touched the golden ring in a steady drip, slipping off the surface and pooling around the accessory.

“There we go,” Morgana said. At the third squeeze, she pulled her hand away and wrapped a cloth around her finger.

It wasn’t long before the magic made itself present. A soft hiss began to fill in the air, coming from the point of contact between the ring and the blood. Then, soft flames made themselves present across the red. Starting as embers and growing into candlelight, they began to expand around.

Caro was unsure if this was something she should’ve expected, but considering the ring would allow her to harness the power of a dragon and that included its fire, she half imagined this was par for the course. The blood began to vanish. It reeled itself back, as if sucked in by the ring as its metal became brighter and started to shimmer livelier.

“I think it’s working,” Caro said, but was suddenly distracted by Grimma as she manifested herself before her.

“Caro, my sweet.” Grimma’s shade mused, putting herself before Caro. “Thou didn’t tell me. You promised me a general’s steed and still brought me a pony,”

 “What’s that supposed to mean?” Caro asked, confusion clear in her tone.

“Why… this girl,” Grimma mused as she backed away towards the fascinated Morgana who was watching the ring with curiosity, her hand outstretched as if trying to measure or get a better read of the accessory. Completely oblivious of the shade that lingered about her.  “This girl… she’s not a pure dragon.”

“What do you mean?” Caro whispered.

“She has dragon in her, a good part,” Grimma said as her finger drew horns, and wings of smoke about the girl. “But that’s not it all. I sensed something else, and it became plain to see as she dispensed with pretenses and gave us a glimpse as to her real power. It’s still tied to the fire, but in a different nature.”

“In different nature?” Caro blurted out, getting Morgana’s attention for a moment. “Is that going to be a problem? Is the spell going to fail?”

“The spell is going to work, just as you expect it,” Grimma explained. “It’ll find that draconic side within the blood to restrain and tame its power. Paradoxically, that will in turn cause those other sides to flare out, in the form of red mana that will prove… rather volatile.”

“Um… Caro?” Morgana tried to chime in.

“What is… it…” Caro quieted herself as she saw and heard what the problem was. The ring was vibrating, rattling on the table, drumming with power but unable to get anywhere. All the blood around it had disappeared and instead the golden surface of the ring bore words of Caro’s spell briefly appearing and shifting, becoming like cracks on magma before reverting themselves back.

“What’s happening?” Caro asked.

“This is getting too dangerous,” Morgana blurted out as she reached for the ring. Whatever was happening, she appeared certain that she could contain it.

“Cover thyself!” Grimma called out as she manifested herself, much for Morgana’s surprise. Gave her enough out as she immediately slipped forth between the girls and the ring.

What followed was a large scorching explosion that dented the tray, sending its pieces flying and shoved the two girls aside and onto the ground. The explosion would’ve been greater hadn’t it been for the barrier of black smoke formed in the path, absorbing the brunt of the blast and scattering into nothingness.

The two girls still felt the ringing of the explosion and the dull ache of the concrete floor against their faces as they fell, but quickly tried to regain their composure, pushing themselves up as fast as they could. The rattling of metal was off all around them, but in between the sordid cluttering, the sound of a fine magical ring stood out twice as strong. A thin clink that silenced the world for a second. And another and another. The sound came in shorter intervals until it was a soft singing.

It was the ring, their creation… Propelled by the explosion and momentum, it uncannily rolled its way on the ground towards the back area of the room where it disappeared from their gaze, replacing the rasp of stone by the strum of metal.

Their enchanted golden ring had fallen into the forge’s gutter.

Morgana looked at it, annoyance plain on her face. “Oh bugger!"

linebreak shadow

Saturday, November 5, 2016 - 5:19 pm
The tunnels, (B1)

“Weekend, weekend…” was in the mind of Gianni Rossi, along with whatever other music that had been stuck in his head since that morning as he waited for any trouble by the open room wherein one of the storage closets were nestled.

He checked his wristwatch just to see the switch to 5:30 pm. His shift would be over soon, and he was already looking forward to the next day of rest and perils. Sure, a janitorial job wouldn’t be as glamorous for someone with his, ahem, resume, but it was infinitely more peaceful than his previous one…

Even if it was far nastier than he thought. His body involuntarily shuddered as his mind went back to Thursday’s incident where he spent about four hours cleaning that sludge. He wasn’t sure if it was a septic pipe or some experimental fluid or some mixture of dirty water that had lingered stagnant for way too long… It didn’t matter, the thing felt nauseous upon contact and, even with the heavy deodorizing function of the hazmat mask, he caught faint whiffs of the stench. It wasn’t until he was done with the job and removed the mask that he got a full whiff of the thing that clung to his equipment and heaved unpleasantly over the next couple minutes. The saving grace was that he hadn’t eaten prior to that, the downside was that he lost his appetite for a good dinner that day.

“And I did all that job by myself. Yes, sir… all by myself,” his good mood started to slip away as he thought about the situation.

Four hours. Four was what took him to deal with the situation and finally clean in the corridor’s mess. Half of which were done by him lonesome whilst the janitors of the next shift were nowhere to be seen, despite this being THEIR shift.

In his old job, where he had people under his command, he would go out of his way to recognize or acknowledge that sort of dedication, but not even a peep from his supervisors.

“So under-appreciated…” he grumbled before taking a deep breath.

He didn’t need to cause troubles, just to fly under the radar, and delving into the indignities of his new station wouldn’t do any good. So, to change the topic, he decided to reach out for a friendly voice.

“Come in, Rhonda?” He told his radio. He knew he was potentially opening himself to a repeat of last Thursday… but what were the odds his luck would be as bad.

But there was no answer. Just static.

“Rhonda?” He tried to listen a bit closer… and picked up faint signs of static.

“Rhonda, is this what they call a ‘blackout protocol’?” He was joking but the more time he waited for an answer, the more he grew concerned that he’d hit the nail on the head. “Should I go to the security booth and…”

There was a loud boom.

Or at least that’s what he imagined. It felt more like a brief tremor that echoed throughout in the form of a muffled rumble. As ominous or urgent as that might’ve seemed, it always felt hard to guess where in the tunnels that thing came from, which is why he relied on Rhonda for guidance.

“Should I check it out? Or wait for Rhonda to contact me,” Johnny mumbled as he checked his wristwatch. “Come on, come on. Less than an hour left… don’t give me trouble.”

And as if asking for it, he heard the sound of metal creaking nearby. He prayed that it wouldn’t happen, but it still did, in the form of a sudden snapping followed by a gush of water behind his back.

One of the connecting pipes that was nestled up against the room’s ceiling lost the fight against rust and pressure. Whatever that explosion was, spelled out doom as for the weakest bolt of the joint as it popped itself off position, just enough so that water began to spill onto the ground.


What darned idiotic twist of fate was this!

linebreak shadow

Saturday, November 5, 2016 - 5:25 pm
The tunnels, Abandoned makeshift lab stations (B3)

The room was trashed, almost completely. Pieces of wood and plastic had been shattered, rows of desks had been cast aside from the myriad of explosions, some parts still burned, and the rest of the walkable area was either stained or greased up by it.

Shisa pitied the person who would have to clean it, that is if this place didn’t clean itself on its own.

And at the center, was the victim of the bout: a boy that rested huddled up against the wall. The way he was looking at the pile of smashed equipment with deep sadness made it clear that he was a techie.  And from what she saw, he had put up a fight, even if it was an unfair fight.

Three against one. Not the fairest of encounters.

“I should have helped,” she told herself. She wasn't entirely sure what she could have done, but she could’ve tried something. If she had her clip she might have been able to help calm things down, even if she had no idea on what had started it. But that was the problem, she knew nothing and could barely talk.

And if she’d stepped in, even covertly trying to help out, it would’ve just stretched the fight. Or someone would die, and she'd be shipped off to prison.

She started to turn away. “This wasn't her problem,” probably the only answer she could think of.

She had her own problems. Why should she worry about anyone else? The last time she'd gotten into a fight it had ended with her getting beaten to within an inch of her life, almost euthanized and sent here. It had also put another death on her conscience. But at least that had been worthwhile, to save her friend and others. This was bad but far from the worst things she'd ever seen.

It was just some stupid bullying. If she made it her problem, she'd be running all over the school doing stupid shit for everyone and end up getting on someone’s bad side.

Cursing herself she turned around and started walking towards him. A short cuddle until he was ready to move and that was it. Nothing else.

She stopped again at the sound of a metallic tink…

linebreak shadow

Saturday, November 5, 2016 - 5:26 pm
The tunnels, Abandoned makeshift lab stations (B3)

He wasn’t sure how much had passed since he was left alone. It all felt like the same long time when one was wallowing within his own misery. Bergholt Stuttley, Stark, barely moved nor brought himself up. With his stomach, arm and hand still feeling the aftermath of the girl’s beating.

Eyes inevitably lingered away from where he stood, drifting over to the aftermath. He spotted the splashes of blue that were on the nearby wall from his electric variant of the goo, no longer sizzling and just rendered inert as the formula broke down. The tables had been pushed back against the wall, some even broken into splinters from the detonating variant. And splashed about on the ground were the large dull pink stains of what had been the bubblegum variant, singed in some places where she’d attempted and failed to use her fires to break free.

On a normal day of field testing, he would be more than happy with the data.

But with how things ended, how could he be anything but bitter?

His inventions, fickle things that, with his nature as a devisor couldn’t be imitated or replicated, still meant a lot to him. Hearing that he could bend the rules of physics to make ends meet just that final stretch made him still feel special… But it just meant he was a fraud. A powerful fraud, but a fraud, nonetheless. And as it happened, with great power comes great insanity. Most of the time he didn’t even notice, it came just as natural as if it was a tantrum when he was younger.

And that unsurprisingly got him in trouble with others. His fellow lab-mates for example. And when he took the time and quiet to think back… he could feel a bit of shame in self-awareness.

But it never escalated to the point of a fight, up until now. Those girls prodded and taunted him. They’d gotten him into more trouble and pursued him just to deliver even more. He was at his boiling point as he was ridiculed, and he wasn’t going to let it stand. And yet, when things came down as they did… he still lost. With all his plans and gear, he was still bested… what did that say of him?

“Pathetic, loser, worthless,” Words popped up in the back of his mind as if unprompted.

At first, in the incident, he tried to take it as nothing personal as he always did… Then when they jumped him in the tunnels, he inwardly hoped to be diplomatic, or to at least come out on top…

But as the girls mocked him and as they refused to meet half-way, he, admittedly, let himself get carried away and the fiasco came as it was… While inwardly he was starting to feel the shame of actually wanting to douse the girls in the electric liquid, it was easily offset by the building anger.

Tears started to ease up as he gripped his teeth and his finger clenched so hard that they hurt too much.

He now wanted to get back at them… repay them for this humiliation. Bring them down to their knees and apologize! But with his tools and inventions scattered about broken, what hope could he have on the matter?

One of the girls was far faster than him, one far stronger and one far more adept at fighting at distance. Without his tools, what hope could he have?

Clink… plink…

Came in a sound that broke him out of his depressed and fantasy clogged stupor. From the empty pipeline above, that seemingly popped off the joint during the scuffle, no water nor liquid came out, but still something fell off. Bouncing off the hardened surface of a nearby table and rolling off over the pink stained ground.

It even seemed to arch in its path just to stop before Bergholt.

It was a ring… A beautiful golden piece that was as plain as it could be… but at the same time, there was something so alluring about it. A strange warmth that exuded from it, with illusory lines that traversed through its surface under the lights within the room.

He didn’t know why, but it spoke to him. Not with words or any sort of message he could describe or even decrypt… but a feeling. The closest thing he could make out of its amalgam was “Anything you could wish… I can give.”

The allure of the ‘words’ was too imposing for the young man, that much was its enticing nature. He couldn’t even stop to question the convenience of the matter but fully believe it.

Come to me, come, it beckoned, and his hand reached out in response.

“Power…” Stark muttered. “The power to bring them to their knees.”


To Be Continued

Read 1657 times Last modified on Monday, 05 June 2023 19:16

Add comment