Hidden 1 yr ago Post by Rtron
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Bean Sidhes

Maeve stopped dancing next to Luciana as she saw the Ante Mortem walking out of the elevator, urgency in their step. Maeve cursed, feeling her stomach drop. Those two were never urgent about anything. "We need to go." She hissed urgently at Luciana, grabbing the other woman by the arm and tugging her along to the rest of the group, ignoring her protests. They made it too the group right as the Ante Mortem did. Kiara, having quietly been enjoying her wine and scanning the club with her shadows while the others tried to help Cade, looked up in surprise. "Oh jesus christ." She groaned, hopping off the stool. It didn't matter if she trusted that the Ante Mortem had killed the management or not (she wouldn't have put it past them at all), what mattered now was that they were all stuck with them, or they would all be killed. She automatically reached for her weapons, then cursed as she realized that they weren't on her. They were in Ouros. All they were supposed to have done was do a simple retrieval mission. Now it had all gone to hell. Maeve was swearing up a storm, alternating between English and Irish. She glared over at the Ante Mortem. "I knew this mission was gonna go to shit. It always does when we start on that fucking ship and you two are involved."

The Bean Sidhes largely ignored Angel's shpeel about what was going on and what they needed to do. They had all heard it before, and knew what the situation was going to be. The mission needed to be completed, regardless of the fact that AMRO was going to kill them even if they got it done.

Maeve rolled her shoulders, cracking her knuckles as she did so. "Of course a Chrono will come for us. Gods fucking damn it."

Kiara and Maeve looked over at each other as the orbs were stopped in their dome. "Overdrive?" "It's the only way I see us leaving here alive." Maeve bared her teeth in a fierce grin. "Alright then. Lets go. We'll take care of this batch." She called over her shoulder at the group, hands already moving in a specific way. "Depending on how taxing this is you might have to take care of anymore that might show up." Kiara drew a sigil on the ground, and Maeve stepped over it, hands moving faster. A foul wind began spinning in a circle around the two Banshees, shadows flickering in it. Maeve's eyes glowed emerald. "An t-ardú marbh." Pieces of bones began to gather in the wind, forming into humanoid shapes. "And the shadows thicken." Kiara's eyes glowed a bright white, blinding to look upon. Shadows leaped into the vortex, from every possible direction, blocking everything inside from sight in their thick, cloying shapes. Shrieks and screams echoed from the vortex, hands of bone, the fingers ending in claws, reached from the shadows and beckoned with a ghostly scream.

Maeve and Kiara sent it forward with one phrase simultaneously spoken. "Dark Harvest." The shrieking vortex of shadows raced forward, enveloping the alchemists arrayed against them. The bones that occasionally appeared were covered in blood, and the screams became more than just unearthly shrieks.

Maeve and Kiara collapsed on the ground, panting. They sat back to back, exhaustion written over their faces. "Think that got them?" God I hope so. We won't be able to do another one of those.
Hidden 1 yr ago Post by Fallenreaper
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Cade
Xx---------------------------xX


Cade had just begun to calm down when things went from alright to terrible. Any control over his emotions shattered when he heard about management was dead. He rose from his reclined posture and eyes fixed on Angel, the messenger. A tinge of fear edged into them.

Even with his limited knowledge about Ouros, any blood spilled was not going to end well.

“I wonder what gave them that idea?” Cade couldn’t help but ask. He started to feel that perhaps some of Ante Mortem’s rumors were actually true.

As if reading his mind, Cade’s ears caught a shout ring out.

"Stop right there!"

His head snapped to the source and watched several men part from the crowd. They marched in their direction, a determination in each step, as they surrounded the small group. Impulsively Cade’s hand already started to spark with electrical energy while the man spoke.

"You have shed blood on the neutral ground, you Mr. Legna and your guests are Anathema!" When the words finished, palms shot out and glowed red. The fire erupted then formed into heated balls before being hurled at them.

"I bring shape to the void."

Angel’s voice broke the heat of battle. The scene broke apart like a shattered mirror’s reflection, leaving them all in white space. The shards faded into dust which drifted away.

Rin’s voice broke the silence first. “This is beyond a simple retrieval mission now.”

"Beyond simple? This is a haunting mess." Angel answered, his steps echoed as the surroundings fell into something more familiar. It appeared to be a library.

"Ah, I see you have all managed to give shape to your psyches, excellent."

At Angel’s words, Cade looked down at himself. His ‘psyche’ physical form was similar to his original with a few minor changes. The tiredness had faded. His skin seemed perfectly clean and even his aura had the glow to it. Small electrical wings folded upon his back, sparking occasionally.

As Rena/Rin warned Angel about his limited time, Cade looked around for Samad. He found his partner lurking in a nearby corner. The older Asylum looked nothing like he had expected.

The Iranian’s outline was hazy like his momentum alchemy was in full activation. It was enough to cause Cade’s eyes to hurt by simply looking at it. Red covered the fingers tips, fresh from the look of it. A hole seemed to have been created in his chest where approximately his heart should’ve been.

Angel began to explain their location and what had happened. He passed his glance from Asylum to another. The imagery was little hard to swallow for Cade. He had seen the inside of a living skull and the patch seemed to hollow out Angel’s one eye, giving a ghastly appearance.

Rin started on their duties, mainly with their priorities. The least pleasant fact was that a Chrono would soon be hunting them.

[color=7ccd7]Could…any worse?[/color]

Cade asked Samad. The Iranian didn’t answer, his focus purely on the meeting at hand. Now things rested on Cade solely finding Anya before everyone got killed.

When the world came together upon exiting the void… time reset to the exact moment they left. The last words from Angel’s lips were Cade’s least favorite.

"Ah, I forgot about them...."

Cade’s attention shifted back to the crackling energy in his palm. He needed more time as he gritted his teeth. Where was Samad?

Thankfully, both Maeve and Kiara stepped up and activated their overdrive. The gruesome scene left Cade’s stomach to churn inside. At the end of it, it seemed the two girls were exhausted.

Samad?

Looking… her.

Silence… Cade fought the instinct to merely rush blindly into the crowd. It wouldn’t help anyone. His alchemy died on his palm into a condensed ball caged by his fingers in a simple gesture. The energy packed inside was meant to act like a flash bomb but seemed unneeded now.

Found… Eastside, nearest the club’s bar… be careful of… Samad’s voice broke up in Cade’s skull.

“Damn this blasted link. She’s in the east area of the club,” Cade uttered as he rushed off toward the east direction.
Hidden 1 yr ago 1 yr ago Post by xodus
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A Devil's Innocence~


"I knew this mission was gonna go to shit. It always does when we start on that fucking ship and you two are involved."

Angel had just about to part his lips to protest only for his words to fall short from the surmounting chaos, the Banshees had destroyed more than half the opposition through their over-drive, a terrifying spectacle that one. Angel had always pondered over the sheer scaling in power just via merging two alchemic drives, such was the genius of the Asylum link.

"I believe our cohorts actually believe we 'murdered' the management," Angel spoke with a rueful shake of his head.

"The path we tread is littered in the blood of our foes and allies alike," Rin replied, her callous tone bearing not a hint of guilt for the unfortunate that are trampled underneath the misfortune that hounds Ante Mortem.

"Quite poetic," the Lost Number crowed with a smirk has his spectacles gaze scrutinized the, once sacred and now bloodied, grounds of Ouros.

"Who are you!" A voice cried out from the death and decay, the aftermath of the overdrive.

"Ah yes, we haven't dropped this charade!" Angel clasped his hand in mock surprise. "My lovely little partner is the Chrono Asylum known as Reri and I am -"

"Crow..." The man spat vehemently, disgust is his tone. "The very existence of you two is profanity, I will watch you burn for this!" The executioner bellowed as he limped closer. Upon a closer look, the alchemist's was a tattered mess, his arm a mess of sliced flesh and bone and his leg attached by just the tendons. "Even if it means to sully myself in the forbidden!" As soon as the fool of a man screamed his final words, Angel didn't need to see the unnatural glow to realize the executioner had turned his very body into a bomb.

"You are dabbling in the archaic you fool, you do not even understand the magnitude of your folly." Even while saying those word the Reaper knew the executioner was no more and the shell that was his body had already gone critical.

'Sacrificial alchemy' he thought with his lips awry, as if tasting the foulness of it all.

"There is no containing this without incurring casualties."

Even the thoughts of Rin came across as cold and stoic, but they bore the truth. With each passing time that shell of a body was continuing to draw in alchemic energy. Every alchemist has a defense mechanism that prevent them from over drawing from the source, continue and a 'backlash' occurs. There is only so much a human body can hold and if you ignore your limitations your body starts to tear apart. "Eventually you die from that backlash and that deactivates your Alchemic Drive." As far as Alchemic theory went, what Angel had thought was the agreed norm but there were, far obscured, counter arguments. Like say one sacrifices their very life to fuel their alchemic drive into overload, no conscious control means the backlash is useless and the energy keeps consolidating until..."

"BOOM!" The Chrono exclaimed, her hands gesturing the blast as if to emphasize it all the more. Even in this predicament, just like how her partner maintained his casual demeanor, Rena had her usual joviality at it's prime.

"Quite accurate little one. We leaving the Asylums as distraction and teleporting to a safe distance where we can watch Ourosboros be destroyed gloriously....." Even as the Reaper voiced his judgement he quickly appeared to raise his hands at his partner's pouty stare.

"You know we need to get the suspect!" Rena chirped as she chastised her partner, the glowing human bomb forgotten in the background. "People in A.M.R.O don't like you big brother...and they want an excuse to hurt you....and I....I don't want you to fight....you're getting weaker..and.." Before the teary eyed Chrono could complete her sentence Angel had already dropped to his knees and embraced the child.

"Come now little one, there will be no fighting. There will be no running, we will find the girl, stop the Bloodlines from going to war and clear this Ourosboros mess. Now what say we do something about him huh?" Even though Rena had her face buried in Angel's chest, her quiet sobs eventually seized and with a smile the Chrono gave a nod and uttered a single word.

"Fall"


With that the floor under the executioner appeared to give way, and the one under that, and the next one. Very few knew exactly how many levels did Ouros have and so Angel stopped the count after what should have been the sixty fifth floor.

"Excellent thinking as ever, this should give us some modicum of relief, perhaps enough to escape," Rena appeared to beam at the compliment and at her partner's hand that nestled atop her head. "I need you to help Cade, we need to find Anya and leave immediately." The Chrono merely nodded once more and vanished in a gust of superhuman speed.

"Oh yes." Angel clasped his gloved hands once more upon realizing he had completely forgotten about the Asylums. Apparently the Banshees and gained enough strength to stand and SenDep had cleared the remaining rabble of opposition.

"I would have offered to help but I see you all managed to kill everyone, oh woe what to do with all this time. And by that I mean the few minutes we have left before we all die excruciatingly," As if responding to the Reaper's sarcastic taunts, something appeared to crash through one of the walls, something big.

The Reaper couldn't help but tilt his head up to look at the monstrosity in front of them, an action he assumed that was mimicked by the others as well. What stood in front of the five (Lawrence, Olivia, Maeve, Kiara and Angel) was a behemoth. It stood at roughly fifteen feet, a terrifying bulk of writhing muscles covered with scales. Twelve inch claws appeared to protrude from its twisted webbed fingers and a massive tail whipped around the floor, upon a closer look you could see several jagged and sharp scales embedded in that tail. Though perhaps the most vile and or inhuman feature was the creature's face, while its eyes were human everything else was not. The abomination had a long snout akin to a crocodile which when opened revealed the cluster of predatory teeth.

In but a few heartbeats the creature's eyes appeared to meet with the Asylums and in the next few minutes chaos would start once more but before that Angel managed to raise a finger to silence the others.

"If anyone blames me for that," Angel pointed to the abomination in front of him as if to emphasize. "I will kill you before another Chrono does or before the bomb does or before the collapse of the building does or before a 'Chimera' does..." It didn't take long after that for the creature to lunge.

Though right before the Chimera managed to land it's pounce, right before the five managed a last moment evasion, Angel's eyes finally observed exactly what Maeve was wearing and even the Chimera's scream couldn't overshadow Angel's echoing laughter.
Hidden 1 yr ago Post by Konan375
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Things were happening far too fast. At some point after they had returned to the present, Olivia dropped to her knees. Things were spiraling out of her control. Her heart raced and she sweat profusely. If she had no control, it was just like she was...she was. Before she could finish the thought, a hand grabbed at the crook of her elbow and lifted her back to her feet. A spark a pain flared from the grasp.

Olivia. You need to regain control. Lawrence's voice echoed in her mind, a hint of reluctance in his tone.

Olivia's eyes cleared for a moment and her hand unconsciously went to her hip. She activated the small sigil she had tattooed there. Agony ripped through her body, and she bit her lip to keep from screaming. It lasted for only a second before dissipating. She shook her head as clarity returned to her. She was in control. The people threatening them had been dealt with. Some of them having been ripped apart, while others writhed on the ground, hands over their bleeding ears.

Before Olivia could say anything, some type of creature burst through the walls and charged the group, much to the terror of the customers of Ouroboros. Their screams rising as the rushed away from the monster. She dove out of the way, taking care not to fall into the hole that now gaped in the floor. She looked across from the beast and saw Lawrence make a throwing motion. Seconds later, a loud bang erupted from beside the creature's head.
Hidden 1 yr ago Post by Fallenreaper
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Xx---------------------------xX
Experimental Team
Xx---------------------------xX


"Where the fuck is that bitch?" A voice spoke out as two silhouettes sifted through the rubble that was 'Guest Room # 213'. From the looks of it, the ceiling appeared to have caved in from the tremors that had suddenly begun to weaken the compound's structural integrity. Even now random surges would pulse through the various levels of Ourosboros, wreaking in-discriminatory havoc.

"I did not sign up for this!" The other figure exclaimed through coughs, his eyes squinting to try and find any sign of Anya among the debris and dust. "This was supposed to be a simple retrieval mission, destroying Ouros-fucking-boros was not the plan!" He continued through fits of coughs.

"Stop complaining Darvin, half the fun is in the chase," the man scoffed while trying to keep himself focused on the rhythmic sound of his fingers snapping. Each snap echoing across the room, the sound waves scanning it all and then bouncing back to the alchemist. "Well, well. It looks like that little rodent wasn't in the room when the ceiling collapsed, lucky us. She couldn't have gone far, I have already relayed the command to the others." A cruel smirk slowly etched itself across his face as if this woman was only just that, an animal to be hunted and claimed as a trophy."

"Fucking 'stalkers', had to have a freak as my partner," Darvin mumbled under his breath as he followed his partner out to survey the perimeter the 'others' had already established.

The fight was impossible to ignore now.

A blood-curdling scream erupted from the crowd. Individuals swarmed for the exits, their fear filled the room. Feet trampled anyone unfortunate to fall down or too slow to keep up. Despite the panic, the hypnotic music and sporadic lights continued. Darkness turned people into shapes causing Cade to tap into his alchemy.

A man clipped Cade’s shoulder roughly. His fingers tightened on his bag as his teeth trapped a yell behind them. Shrugging the pain off, the younger Asylum increased his pace to recover what he lost.

Through gaps in the stampeding patrons, he caught the glimpse of a dark-skinned woman. She hunched down around the bar counter, hiding. He recognized her as Anya. Terrified, she held a confused expression on her face.

Samad. Where… you? Found… Cade shouted through his mental link to Samad.

There was no answer.

"I'm afraid the girl is mine," the stalker's whisper echoed, magnified by alchemy and resonating fierce enough to shatter glass. The man slowly approached Cade, without a hint of hesitation. He was garbed in a loose grey hoodie, to big for his size, the cowl hiding the man's face. Underneath the hoodie, a vest was observable where countless hunting knives had been strapped and the same was true for his cargo's.

"I would suggest getting lost kid, you aren't my quarry and trust me.....you don't want to be," as soon as the stalker said those word, with a flourish of his hands yet another two hunting knives appeared from under his sleeves.

Cade’s dash halted instantly. He braced as another tremor rumbled through Ouroboros, his feet barely managed to catch his balance. His head jerked to the unexpected individual. The blond’s eyes widened as his hand adjusted his glasses, getting a better look.

How the man had managed to get past security with so many knives on him was a mystery to Cade. It shouldn’t even be possible. Too bad the truth was standing right before him and targeting Anya.

When the knives appeared, Cade questioned his partner’s whereabouts.

Samad…are you?

Again, nothing. This caused his confidence to drop into his stomach, fixing him into place.

“I can't really allow that. So... are you sure we can’t talk about this?” Cade asked, his hand cautiously unlatched his bag.

"I guess I have to kill you then, huh?" The Stalker mused, speaking his thoughts with a shake of his head. "Oh well," the stranger sighed while giving a complacent shrug followed by a sudden thrust. In less than a second, the man had thrown both his knives at an astonishing speed, directed at Cade's vital organs. The Stalker had little faith the person in front of him would have the training necessary to evade, though in case the lad possessed a trickle of skill to avoid or parry the hurled daggers, he would find a surprise. Both daggers had sigils crafted onto the hilts and both sigils had been ignited, at the point of contact both dagger would explode.

"The freak has found the target!" Darvin telepathically communicated across to his goons who had already begun to consolidate at the 'Stalker's' location. "Take out anyone who stands in the way, the bitch needs to die."

Fear laced Cade’s eyes, like a poisonous reality sealing his fate. He shifted to the side. His slow movements showed his lacking experience. Cade wasn't fast enough to react to the threat. Despite all his attempts to live past Innocence’s cruelty, he was going to die here of all places.

The moment the blades left the alchemist’s hand, something strange happened. Their speed suffered. Instead of the quick speed, they became sluggish in their race to nail Cade. Like some invisible water hindered their path.

Behind the alchemist, a familiar shape broke out of the darkness. Samad. The Iranian’s hand tightened on his cane tip as he ripped it off, the end becoming an electrical blade. It hissed in violent lust, illuminating Samad’s grim face.

Using the momentum from the dagger, he increased his reflex speed. His left arm lashed out his weapon horizontally at the man’s lower back. Hoping to sever the nerves, his eyes noticed Cade successfully dodge the two blades.

What neither Asylum expected was the explosive sigils on it.

They exploded upon reaching Cade’s range. The younger Asylum’s body was thrown backward, his bag shielded his face last moment. Pain overwhelmed his attention when Cade landed on his back. He gradually shook the shock from his head, cradling his temple in his palm.

Cade’s survival instinct screamed for him to get up now. Wobbly, he gripped the nearest table to pull himself upright. Several burns covered his body where the close range explosive touched him. His shirt was in ruins.

"Well looks like we have someone with actual skill!" The Stalker jeered in mock enthusiasm, his face tilting to look at his assaulter with a calm expression that was mirrored by this Iranian. The Stalker's own left hand, behind his back, blocking the blade with yet another dagger he had whisked out of his sleeve.

When the blade hit another metal, it hissed and failed to enforce its strength upon it. If the Iranian was surprised, he didn’t show it. Then again, he was expecting his little use of alchemy to give away his presence. In inhuman speed, his arm pulled back as his foot took a step back. However, he remained in the target’s personal zone to prevent any daggers from exploding.

It appeared to be a stalemate.

"Your....friend....looks little worse for wear," the man continued with his taunts with the intention that his jabs may dishevel the Iranian's composure. "Never liked working with partners....such a liability to have to worry about..baggage," even as the man spoke his eyes calmly darted about analyzing certain crucial factors. The distance towards the burnt alchemist, the approximation of Anya's distance.

"So...you slow things..huh?" The hooded hitman couldn't help but sneer at that, all the while additional cronies slowly surrounded the bar with several of them already starting to approach Cade.

For a brief, guarded moment, Samad’s eyes shifted to Cade. His ears perked at the hitman’s comment then twisted back to the attacker. He cocked his head, the expression shattered by the deepened frown.

“That’s one way to put it…”

With his blade still out, Samad sliced at the shoulders and spine there. Oddly he didn’t increase his attack speed as his other hand flipped the cane part around to rest on his forearm.

The Stalker felt the blade brush his skin, his eyes widening a fraction. There was no feeling of blood trickling when steel slices through the skin, instead there was the smell of scorched flesh. Before the blade could sear too severely, he had leaned ahead and pivoted to face the Alchemist in one fluid motion, grabbing the Iranian's sword hand while stomping on the man's foot with the heel of his boots. Go to the temple, the chin, Adam's apple or most importantly the toes, the teachings of his master echoing in his mind. No alchemist would wield a weapon like that and with that realization, the Stalker's tranquility transformed into something dangerous. "Asylum."

Samad didn’t use his alchemy to slow down Stalker’s movement. Not because he couldn’t, but it would use the last of his stored up alchemy up. Also, slowing down another alchemist’s movements wasn’t easy.

His foot jerked to the left, his larger toe’s side taking the brunt of the hit. Meanwhile, Samad’s cane arm whipped up with the speed of a cobra. It aimed to land a sound smack on Stalker’s tricep, hopefully crippling the arm.

His teeth gritted when the foot came down hard on his foot. He felt the bone crack then send the sting throughout his nerves. A wetness seeped into his shoe but he ignored it. It could be healed later… if he survived this.

"FUCK." The Stalker's face warped with pain, his teeth grinding against each other though not enough to wipe the satisfied smile from hearing that lovely 'crunch'. Even so, things could have gone better, the hunter grimaced while thinking those thoughts and staring at his limp hand, the muscle spasming from the brutal strike.

"The odds remain constant, pah!" The man scoffed while pivoting away from the Iranian, gaining distance and taking advantage of the momentum issues that would arise from a crippled toe. He was sure the Asylum in front of him was calculating the same way in regards to his useless arm. This bastard ain't bad, need to get serious.

In that moment a fiendish smile crept over the predator, his body heaving in a casual shrug followed by disarming. A multitude of daggers spilling on the ground, from his sleeves, from his hoodie, from his holsters on his vest and on his trousers. A neat pile on the ground. The stalker now stood lighter and in a different stance, his good hand stretched and fisted with his thumb protruding, mimicking the action of holding a dagger, except here the blade was his thumb.

Samad hissed from the pain, unable to keep pace. At least not without using his Alchemy and further damaging himself. His eyes tightened when the numerous weapons fell to the ground. Taking the moment, his arm placed his blade into a defensive stance. It rose near his shoulder, creating a horizontal block, as he tossed his cane at his side and gripped his sword handle.

His unwounded foot took the back position, hopeful the movement would be easier. At least less dependent on his injured foot. Samad didn’t respond to the hired thug as his body tensed in readiness. He leaned more heavily back on his good foot, prepared for the attack.

"You think I need blades or two arms to take you on Aladdin? Think again," and with that the Stalker closed the gap, fluid and fast like a viper, his arm thrusting forward to connect the thumb to the various pressure points located on Samad's chest all the while preparing an alchemic shield to intercept that sword if the Asylum chose to not fight like a real man.

Samad’s blade rose then slashed across into a downward horizontal line. His alchemy sparked. Magnitude increased in the blade’s swing last second as it scrapped the shield’s surface. Pain rippled through his straining muscles as his tendons tore from the force.

The shield shattered. As blade moved through it, it sliced down across the arm in a vertical slash. At the moment the blade came plummeting, leaving the opening the Stalker had been waiting for all this time, the man charged in. His clenched fist and protruding thumb charing towards Samad's heart. The hit would have been fatal not merely because of the thumb but the trump card the Stalker had waited on.

From the moment he had realized that he was up against an Asylum, the stalker knew his chances were grim. Regardless of skill, regardless of training, Asylums were the boogiemen of rogues. They were the cream of the crop, plucked when ripe and that potential primmed. They were monstrous in a world of alchemists. The only way was to be smart and use cunning, at times it is the only way. It was frightening how closely the Stalker and this Iranian's battle strategies lay, both willing to open themselves to get the better of the other. The toe of the arm and now again.

Within the very same stance that the Stalker had fought with, the stance he had let become monotonous to the senses, there was a change. The Asylum would realize it the minute his heart would be pierced, but it seems some risks don't pay off...as intended. The Stalker simply handed anticipated that an Asylum would use a backlash and the Iranian's attack came first, shattering through the shield and searing his body. It is from that panic and that pain that the Stalker's hand deviated some inches and the invisible blade missed the heart. The blood seeping and revealing the shape of the invisible blade that had been clenched in Stalker's handmade to appear as if it was only the thumb to be worried about.

Coughing blood the stalker slowly backtracked, his hand clenching his chest and his mind still registering the gravity of it all. If not for the shield, he would have been sliced in two, though it makes little difference, the wounds were severe enough to kill him here if he didn't retreat. The only Godsend was the blade in the Iranian's chest and the paralytic poison in it.

"Draw?" The Stalker spoke while retreating coughing blood, his face still grim knowing the fact this was far from a draw. He survived from sheer luck and even then probably took more damage. At least I wasn't Darth Vadered

"Kill the girl and kill these remaining two!" The Stalker below as he limped away, disappearing while continuing to cough blood.

Samad knew there was more to the move than met the eye. He just didn’t know until the blade struck him. Pain seared into his flesh as it went deeper, his own blood traced the very curve.

The Asylum’s head snapped up at the rogue’s words, his expression didn’t accept it. His hand reached up for the blade and tried to tug it loose. Once…twice… at thrice his fingers failed to grip anything.

Numbness spread faster through his veins, deadening his senses.

His concern grew as he focused on his alchemy. Already the backlash had pushed him into the red zone, threatened to consume him. The rogue’s last words decided his options fairly quickly. Cade wouldn’t survive long and he wouldn’t allow the weakling of the pair to get him killed.

Another surge in his alchemy swelled then rose. It flooded his system quickly, effectively burning away the poison coursing through his system. Gradually locked joints began to move. Muscles twitched back to life but still protested their strain. Bones reformed with a sound of crackle and pop indicated they were no longer broken.

With one ferocious jerk, Samad pulled the blade from his chest. The flesh sealed up into a newly gained scar. His golden eyes scanned the scene only to find his adversary had fled. Not a trace left.

He snorted his frustration, carefully pocketed the blade. It would be useful for Cade to examine the substance later.

Meanwhile, it took Cade’s mind a bit to recover. His legs felt like jello as they gave underneath him whenever he tried to stand. For the most part, he looked like a wobbly fawn and easy prey. Cautiously his hand reached into his bag. His wedge his hidden sebon between his fingers.

Electrical energy subtly licked up their length then crackled angrily. When the first man drew near, Cade’s figure twisted about. He tried to send the points into the shoulder causing the electrical energy to burst through the impact point.

Surprised by the sudden, unprovoked attack, the man reeled backward. His hand attempted to stopper the blood seeping from his wound. He glared as Cade quickly curb stomped the foot, then jabbed buried his elbow into the guy’s gut. It knocked the breath from his target. Suddenly the rogue’s legs caught on the table, sending him toppling to the ground.

It would take time for him to recover.

Cade couldn’t say the same for the other six. Their hands reached for their pistols as his eyes widened. Shit… he thought.

"What are you doing silly?" The Chrono's voice echoed across the bar, distracting the gunmen from pulling the trigger their eyes too slow to catch one of their own crumble after being hit by Rena. No one had seen the girl leap, both her legs bent and knees planting in the face of a man who went flying through a wall.

"Who the fuck is that?" One of the grunts screamed, clearly agitated at watching his partner obliterated by a tiny girl. His face still staring at the broken wall and the bloody mess that was the victim of that assault.

"It doesn't matter, shoot her first," another shouter and in unison all of them pointed their pistols and began to fire repeatedly, their eyes widening with each pull of the trigger.

Rena barely made effort to evade, in fact, she merely skipped ahead towards Cade as the volley of bullets rained on her. In sharp contrast to her casual steps, the twin tails on her head were a blur. Any time one of the bullets would enter her field of proximity her hair would deflect the bullet, sometimes slicing the bullet in half. The direction of the bullet made no difference, her hair appeared to provide an omnidirectional defense, a blur of spinning and slicing until finally, she stood in front of Cade and in between the gunmen.

"Time to die now," the Chrono spoke with a gentle smile and a tilt of her head before her hair went up in a blur of flurry, strikes, and swipes. The aftermath was the dismembered limbs and pieces of flesh that remained on the ground.

"Big brother says we are all to meet up back at Innocense," Rena spoke while kneeling down to meet Cade's eye-level, her palm on the Asylum's face and with a push he vanished. In long strides, she approached the Iranian Asylum and before the man could complain she performed the same maneuver on him. By the time she reached Anya the entire building had become unstable, luckily before everything went up in a white flash of death the Chrono vanished herself with the package secured.
Hidden 1 yr ago Post by Konan375
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Konan375

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A Fight With a Monster

Collab between Xodus and Konan


A loud roar echoed throughout the building, loud enough to shatter windows and splinter wood, the creature's expression also warped into something primal. The massive Chimera glared at Lawrence, the flashbang that was aimed at it's head barely left it dazed.

"You have to try harder...little alchemist," the creature spoke in a guttural accent while licking it's teeth. It's human like eyes scrutinizing each of the Asylums present, weighing them, considering which to feast on first.

"I think you angered it," Angel spoke with an indifferent shrug, though where as one moment he was in front of the Asylums as if a beacon of defense, now he stood behind SenDep and the Banshees. Each body an obstacle to cross to reach the notorious Lost Number, the 'Lazy Asylum'.

"As far as plans go, that was terrible," Angel crowed while seated on a couch, far back. His fingers tapping the frame of his spectacles in a slow monotonous rythym. "Oh look, he is charging again," Angel didn't need to point for the others to notice the Crocodile sub-human start to dash towards Lawrence in all his primal fury.

Lawrence smiled grimly. Despite whatever Angel said, his plan was working. While the beast was focused on him, it allowed the other Asylums to come up with a way to beat it. Well, the ones who were helping. He shot a dark glare at Angel as he backpeddled away from the Chimera. He made a dropping motion as he muttered under his breath. As the Chimera passed over the spot he was moments before, a loud creaking noise came from the floor, as if it were caving in.

Olivia, in the meantime ran over to the couch where Angel was sitting, and more importantly, the table in front of the man. "You using this? No? Okay, thanks." She said as she swiped all the contents off the table, uncaring of where any of the discarded alcohol went. She sang under her breath as she used Thorne as a stylus on the wooden top, drawing a large sigil.

Before the Chimera could reach close enough to Lawrence the floor suddenly appeared to give way, the creature howling its agitation as it plummeted a floor down with most of the floor crashing ontop of it in a cloud of rubble and smoke.

"Nasty things Chimeras, you kids have probably read the theory behind them," Angel continued tapping the frame of his glasses while observing Olivia. "Quite a feat to makeone, and a damnable offense," he spoke with a grimace. "Human transmutation, there is a reason it is considered forbidden and tabboo. You change yourself to the cellular level, rewriting your genetic structure.....becoming something monstrous. A permanent hell in your own skin." As the Lost Number spoke his fingers slowly balled into a fist, his eyebrows narrowed as if recalling seomthing. "Not much chance stopping it with such B rate alchemy," he shrugged once more and as if on que the creature leapt up once more.

An animalistic laugh escaped the creature's lips as it's tail whipped about slashing the floor and furniture in it's path. "More....MORE!"

Olivia glared at Angel. "Well, maybe if you spoke less and-" She sighed and pinched the bridge of her nose. "Lawrence! Close your channel!" She shouted to her partner.

Can't. You're my ears.

"Well I don't need your frustration, cool it down!"

Olivia's sigil was done. She grabbed the center of the table and pulled. The surface shrunk as she pulled a rod from the center. The table continued to shrink until Olivia had a hammer the size of a quarter staff. The weight wasn't right, but it would work.

"Poking a crocodile with a stick....brilliant!"

"I'm making due with what I have, okay?" Oliva glared at Angel, this time with her own anger.

Angel quickly raised his arms in a mock surrender, a coy smile on his face. "Did you know when you splice yourself alchemically with something else, you gain their properties, enhanced by alchemy of course?" The man continued, the smile never leaving his face. "Not all properties are helpful, crocodiles can't generate body heat.....must hate the cold eh?"

Olivia gripped her hammer tighter as she considered smacking him with the butt end of it. She glared at Angel before she slumped slightly and smiled. "Oh, you are terrible. Has anybody told you that?"

"Everyday, except the words are a bit explicit."

"I don't doubt it." With that said, Olivia dropped her newly made hammer and called out to Lawrence.

"Keep it busy just a bit longer."

"What do you think I'm doing?"

Olivia shook her head and started a song. Slowly, scorchmarks formed on the floor. It would take some time bfore the sigil was ready.

While Olivia prepared her sigil the creature had grown discontent with merely circling it's prey, the Chimera, finally, lunged once more albeit far more inteliigently this time. It's footing was more calculated as it charged while bearing its claws, slashing at Lawrence. Even the monstrosity's tail had joined the frey, whipping about mercilessly. The attacks a blur, striking from multiple positions at unimaginable speed.

Lawrence grimmaced at the increased pace of the attacks. It didn't help that the one who could possibly do something against this monster was just idly sitting by while everyone else dealt with it. With a few words here and there, Lawrence was able to keep just out of reach of the creatures attacks, but he couldn't do that for long. He glanced at the scorchmarks cralwing along the floor. With the center of this circle being the hole in the floor that led to the bomb.

They were nearly done. All Lawrence had to do was lead it to as close to the center as it could be. He started making small gusts of cold between him and the Chimera, and a small bubble of heat appeared near the center of the circle

Each flurry of attacks slowed as the cold did it's work, lethargy seeping into the Chimera, it's muscles cramping and eyes bloodshot from rage. Animalistic Instinct had suddenly taken over reason as the creature found itself attracted towards the location where the heat emenated from.

There! Olivia smiled as the Chimera crossed the threshold of her sigil. With a shout, she activated the sigil. Heat was sucked out of the circle and siphoned to the area outside, leaving the center frigid.. The marks burned away as her alchemy worked. It was a huge draw, though, and Olivia collapsed into the seat next to Angel.

Lawrence had taken a seat in one of the surprisngly upright chairs outside the sigil and watched the Chimera closely.

"As far as B rate alchemy goes," Angel crowed while observing the ice encompass the howling Chimera. "That was pretty good. All in all a good team effort," even he couldn't help smirking at that last bit.

"As far as...commentary goes...I found it a bit lacking" Olivia managed between breaths. A smile on her face.

"Now you are just being spiteful child, what's a devil that doesn't whisper?"

"I dunnoe, a good one?" Olivia had caught her breah and smirked at Angel.

"I suppose I shall have to strive towards exellence, no promises though. It may surprise you, but I don't enjoy 'hard work'." The Lost Number chuckled, the paradox of a 'Good Devil', now that was amusing. "Ah yes, I almost forgot. We have roughly eight minutes." Though before Angel could stress on that concern a greater concern had seemed to interupt them. The prison of ice that had enveloped the Chimera had suddenly started to thaw, the pace shockingly rapid until the Chimera broke free, shards of ice raining down.

"Eight minutes for wh-" Olivia flinched as the Chimera exploded out of its icy prison.

"Oh..." There wasn't much more she could do. Freezing the creature was her big move. If that didn't stop it, she wasn't sure what else would. She paused as an idea occured to her. She might have enough to do just that.

As soon as the creature had broken free, there was a strange change in the atomosphere. It wasn't physichal, no heat nor good, but a strange feeling as if the air itself had thickened, as if something poisonous had melded into it.

"This..." Angel, who by now was standing, not behind but in front of both Olivia and Lawrence. The casual demeanour had all but disappeared as the Lost Number stood motionless, smothered in a cold and unreal serenity. Though if one would attune their senses they would see. The strange presence had not been manifested through the creature, but Angel. If Bloodlust could have been felt and tasted, then that is what flowed from the Blood Draped Angel.

"This....is...the same...as then....," Angel continued, his tone ice cold. "It activated an alchemic drive," as Angel spoke those words, the reality should have sunk in. Every Asylum is debriefed in the taboo arts, at least the one's they are allowed to know. In regards to Chimera, one thing is certain, a fact. Chimeras cannot use their alchemic drive to cast alchemy, instead alchemy flows directly in them binding them to be the monsters they are. The ice that had been thawed, that was done through alchemy and the alchemic drive belonged to the thing.

"That's possible?" Olivia hauled herself to her feet.

"No, this is something different. I knew....someone.." Angel replied crypticaly, surrounded by an aura of bloodlust he raised his gaze to meet that of the Chimera.

"You still remember?" The creature responded, while its accent remained guttral and inhuman, it's vocabulary and speech patterns were completely different. "Are you still holding a grudge about the children?"

For a few minutes Angel merely stood motionless, his gaze fixiated at the Chimera as if looking past it and at someone else. "You both should Overdrive, or you will die."

Olivia and Lawrence shared a glance and nodded. Lawrence started muttering and making gestures while Olivia started singing. Slowly, she raised the intesity of pain felt on the creature, and when she was done, a bubble of air shimmered around the creatures head. Lawrence flooded the bubble with deafening sound. Olivia hoped that it would work and the creature would pass out from the pain, or take a few steps backwards into the hole.

While the duo activated their Overdrive Angel merely whispered a single word,

"Aegis"

Adhereing his command, Angel's coffin suddenly appeared before him. While the metal casket remained closed, from both its sides a compartment instantly stretched out. One of the compartments held an assortment of various weaponry and ammunitions while the other held a trench coat that appeared to writhe and ripple.

"You will burn for what you have done, let me show you hell." Angel replied, his hand outstretched towards the writhing fabric that appeared to react to the motion and then in an instant the trenchcoat burst into seams, wrapping around the Lost Number until he finally stood draped in his gunmetal overcoat.

Angel couldn't help but smile, relishing in the pain that wrought the creature, it's howls a symphony simply not loud enough. It was obvious the duo's overdrive was achieving results, the Chimera clawed at its own ears while its tail whipped about madly. The motion resulting in sudden bursts of air, the intensity strong enough to slice through flesh, the creature was using wind alchemy.

The Lost Number however made sure to stand close enough to intercept any rogue wind slices before they could reach SenDep or the Banshees. His coat continuing to writhe, sharp spikes extending from the coat itself to defend against the Chimera's attacks.

Lawrence watched as the creature writhed in pain. Even in so much pain it could still cast alchemy, which was concerning.He looked at Olivia. Push on three. One...two...three!

Olivia's song changed tune and Lawrence made a pushing motion with his hands. The both of them condensed the air in front of the Chimera and forced it upon the beast. They were slowly, but surely, pushing the creature backwards, back towards the hole in the floor.

The creature howled in its primal fury, trying to lash out at anything and everything as it was slowly pushed back while blood seeped out of its ears. However right when a single step remained to plummeting back down the hole, which had already begun to radiate a glow that signified the end was nearing, the creature appeared to regain its footing. Its haunting face glaring at the two Asylums, it's eyes screaming revenge.

"Stubborn filth," as soon as the words passed Angel's lips his coat appeared to liquify and assimilate towards his hand, the shape solidifying into that of a massive silver Javeline/spear. And with an alchemically enhanced thrust the spear found its mark, stabbing through the creature's stomach afterwhich countless silver tendrils spiked out of it, piercing the creature further. With that it fell.

"Teleport out, back to the bunker, now." Angel's urgency was further justified by the sudden tremors that had began the buildings collapse while the radiating light grew even brighter. Without waiting for Sendep Angel recalled his garment and coffin and approached the Banshees, a hand on their shoulders.

"Now aren't you glad I made you invisible to that thing?" And with that they vanished.

Olivia glanced around the now ruined bar and walked over to Lawrence. "I have heard rumors about Ante Mortem, but I really thought they were exaggerations." Lawrence stared at Olivia blankly.

"Well, now you know that they aren't."

"But that raises so many more questions. I mean, if these stories aren't false, how did they end up destroying the pyrami-"

And like that, Ouroboros was empty of Asylums, and a few seconds after that, there was no Ouroboros, the bomb eradicated it all.

~End Of Chapter One~
Hidden 9 mos ago 9 mos ago Post by xodus
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~START OF CHAPTER TWO~
INNOCENCE FALLING


Sleepless the Reaper drifted, his eyes shut and yet fully aware of his surroundings, how he envied those who could dream but such things were not for him for he only drifted, endlessly.

"Time to wake up sleepy head!" A familiar voice seemed to echo, calling out followed by the sounds of tapping on a glass like surface.

"Such a nuisance," the Reaper thought while content to drift yet knowing this half dream had come to an end. First his fingers flexed followed by a twitch of his eyes and then he was awake. Angel observed the tube that imprisoned him and in it he floated amidst a green liquid, unable to drown, breathing through a mask. His weary eyes scanned left and right, the Chrono stood in front of him while the remaining Asylums also seemed to float in similar tubes. Remarkable devices that were dubbed 'Fish Tanks' simply because no one could muster the effort to pronounce its actual name. They had a simple function, to enhance the body's ability to heal at an exponentially rapid rate. If you drew breath, regardless of wound, there was a good chance you would survive if placed in a fish tank.

"How long?" Despite unable to speak, Angel mimed the words through a hand gesture and his partner responded with lifting a single finger.

"A day? That went better than expected" Angel thought, his tense muscles relaxing, though not for long. His eye brows slowly appeared to rise upon observing his partner giggling.

"A month!" the Reaper exclaimed as soon as he took his first step out of the 'fish tank', disbelief plastered over his face as he proceeded to change into a more suitable attire than the briefs that he was in. Who took my clothes off? Angel would have invested more into this trail of thought though that was interrupted when the remaining fish tanks were drained.

"It seems the rest are finally up, what say we go greet them little one?" As he spoke his fingers gently brushed the Chrono's blonde hair. "I am sorry I took so long, you must have been lonely?"

For a second the Chrono's head hid under the gaze of her brother, the child swiftly wiping away the tears and then staring back with a brilliant smile followed by a shake of her head. "Nu-uh, Rin kept me company and we had loads of fun! But I did miss you!"

"I missed you too little one, why don't we all go for some ice-cream?" A smile couldn't help but tug its way at the Reaper's lips as he observed the sudden change in the Chrono's spirit at the mention of 'ice-cream'. "Lets go invite the rest?"

As soon as Ante Mortem approached the remaining Asylums, Angel attention seemed to be stolen by a tug at his vest. Not that the Reaper minded the chance of being distracted from observing a bunch of rowdy Asylums in their undergarments.

"Yes Rena?"

"Can I fly it?"

For a few seconds Angel only wore confusion on his face and then the realization slowly dawned on him. His eyes brows lifting upwards, seeking to pop off his forehead.

"Fly....we are on...ah..." Any and all expression had faded from the Reaper's face and he simply stood stoic with a poker face. "I need to sit down, go retrieve the others," even his words appeared to be spoken mechanically as if from a victim in shock.

The Reaper grimaced as he observed his partner frolic away, his own steps seemed to be a labor fit for Hercules. By the time Angel finally found himself seated Rena had already approached the remaining Asylums, helping clear away their confusion with her youthful optimism. The Reaper however was content to be sprawled over his chair, his head tilted towards the ceiling and a palm covering his spectacles. The ideal posture of someone hoping he won't vomit and gain a new infamous nick name. 'The barfing Angel'.......yes that should be avoided.

I should think of something else....lets see what has happened so far?

------------------Xx-----------xX-----------------


We were briefed that there is trouble brewing between the Bloodlines, who are basically glorified royalty among the rogues of the alchemic world. They are also extremely vital in maintaining order and providing A.M.R.O with skilled candidates to become it's Asylums. It is no wonder A.M.R.O is giving this mission such a high priority, an entire Bloodline has been wiped, all that potential resource....gone. The remaining Bloodlines believe that one of them has committed this atrocity to further their own political agenda. This is why I hate politics, it always breeds paranoia, distrust and war. Ah war, that is exactly what will happen if we don't stop this. I guess that is why I expended so much effort, as much as I like to just lie down and try to nap, an all out Alchemic war is not good for anyone, especially the human race.

And so Ante Mortem along with a bunch of Asylums were sent to Venice to retrieve the sole survivor of the Bloodline massacre, who reportedly was seeking refuge with the Pallidinos, a Bloodline that had sown its roots in religion and in Venice. That Bloodline was pretty useless in the end, not only did they refuse to acknowledge that the survivor was hiding among them but they proceeded to hint that the target had escaped and was seeking a haven elsewhere. I don't blame the poor girl, she witnessed the utter annihilation of her family, such an experience tends to warp a person's perception and suddenly there is no safe place in the world. Except one.

I truly dislike that place, how ironic that it would be the only logical choice for a girl trying to hide from an alchemic threat. Ourosboros. A club unlike any other for it offers what no one else can and not even A.M.R.O has any authority within it. Such places are called 'Parle', they come under a Chrono and as such no form of violence and or intervention can occur. This one rule applies to anyone and everyone. No wonder the place came to be a den for the corrupt, the very abode of the alchemic underworld. It is no surprise that we found Anya there, 'no blood can ever be spilled in Ourosboros'. The girl actually believed that, she has yet to understand that there is no finality, what is said can be unsaid. It is simply a matter of weighing the consequences with the reward. Someone out there clearly found Anya to be more important than the one rules that defined Ourosboros, a rule that if broken would usher an alchemic witch hunt unlike any other. It is a good thing we were there to foil the attempts on the girl's life, though what is disturbing is that I believe there were two unrelated parties vying for two unrelated objectives. The hit squad was definitely after Anya but the Chimera....that monstrosity was after....ah I am getting side lined. What happened next?

Ah of course, we successfully saved the package, defeated the enemy and escaped. Oh and yes I do suppose we got blamed for the murder of Ourosboros management and then we did completely eradicate Ourosboros itself. And so not only do we have to worry about stopping a Bloodline war but also hoping the truth is not discovered which would make us fugitives.....the very rogues of the world and A.M.R.O itself would hunt us.....that would be unpleasant.

------------------Xx-----------xX-----------------


With that Angel found himself staring at the palm of his hand.

"That did not make me feel better....ice cream?" The last part appeared to be a question directed at his Asylum "friends" who were now dressed and ready to re-enter society. A part of Angel slowly dreaded the amount of questions that would surface from this lot.....this will be a long day.

Hidden 8 mos ago Post by Konan375
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Olivia never liked the Fish Tanks. They were small and cramped and gave her a feeling a claustrophobia. Not to mention the fact that she had to give up control to someone else. Needless to say, she fought tooth and nail when they tried to get her to go into the tank. But they managed it, and here she was, waking up in a small pod with a respirator keeping her away from drowning. Oooh, she was going to put whoever it was that injected her with one of those fast acting sedatives into one of these tanks if she ever found them. She snorted as much as she could in the tank, maybe she already had. She had definitely heard a satisfying crunch before they had to cheat to get her in.

The fact that she was thinking these thoughts alerted her to the fact that the tanks were about to be emptied. Sure enough, the machine was humming as the water sluiced out of it. The flash of anger as she woke up was good to clear out her mind from the natural sedation of the pod, but it wasn't fast enough. As the liquid drained from the tank, Olivia raised her hands out of the water and used the moisture from the water to write a sigil on the glass. Once she activated it, the familiar, electrifying feeling of pain washed over her while the tank continued to empty. As the last vestiges of whatever that green fluid was drained away, the pain stopped, and Olivia's mind buzzed with clarity. Now, it was her that was in control.

At least, that was until the door hissed open and she stumbled out of the pod, falling to her hands and knees.



Well that was a disaster Lawrence frowned as consciousness returned to him. The Fish Tank he floated in thrummed with vibration as it emptied. Retrieving this asset had proved far more difficult than it had originally seemed. Not to mention their last minute battle with Ouroboros. But when was that? After they arrived back on Innocence, they were put into the Fish Tanks immediately. Time was never easy to gauge after waking up, but he had a way. It wasn't completely accurate, but it gave him a general time frame.

Lawrence curled his hands into fists. Nothing felt any different, so it must not have been that- no wait! There! There was a weakness in his grip. It wasn't pronounced, so three, maybe four weeks in the tank. While electostimulation helped in preventing major muscle atrophy, there was still always some atrophy from the lack of movement. Oh well, it couldn't be helped. As the door opened, Lawrence braced himself and walked out of the tank. Looking around the room, Lawrence noticed that all of the Asylums that were at Ouroboros were just leaving their tanks as well.

A month in the tank. Lawrence frowned as he grabbed the clothes laid out for him and Olivia, and handed Olivia's set to her. He was sure that he hadn't been that injured when he returned, so why was he and all the other Asylums being released at the same time? He retrieved his Rubik's cube and worked on the puzzle. Lawrence never trusted A.M.R.O.. Why would anyone put trust in an organization that created weapons like Asylums?

"A minute hasn't even passed and already you're fiddling with those stupid things." Olivia approached Lawrence with a frown.

Lawrence smiled, his hands still moving over the cube. "I'm trying to figure something out, like why everybody in our group was in the tanks for at least a month."

"A month?" Olivia set her jaw, her eyes flashed fiercely. She crossed her arms and glared at the machines as if she wanted to set the things on fire with just her glare.

"A month, Lawrence replied. "And it looks like we've got one of the two walking disasters coming our way," he added as he nodded towards Rena as she made her way towards the gathered Asylums.

"Mmhm." Olivia continued to stare a the Fish Tank. Lawrence shrugged. It seemed like both of them had something to think about. He approached the gathered Asylums, still solving, shuffling and resolving the cube in his hands.
Hidden 8 mos ago 8 mos ago Post by Fallenreaper
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Xx---------------------------xX
Experimental Team
Xx---------------------------xX


Time: A month after the Incident at Ouroboros
Location: Innocence, the floating Airship Academy for ARMO’s Chosen



“I love you…” With those words, Elsa let go of his hand.

Her warmth left his fingers as he felt gravity pull him back over the dam’s wall, heading into the still water below. His alchemy helpless to stop gravity’s pull. The Iranian’s eyes widened in both fear and realization at her intentions. All he could do was take the scene in vivid details before it was lost to sight, the scene hyper slowed as if to mock him. Above it all a storm brewed. The dark cloud collected, heavy with rain about to become snow, to release its fury upon the place.

Elsa’s figure turned to the approaching rogues, their weapons drawn and ready. Her vision crackled with frozen ice across her skin causing her pink color to pale and her hair color to change, becoming pure white. Electrical blue eyes glared at them with an icy cold heart. Slowly her fingers spread wide then extended toward them before the silence shattered into crystal spikes.


Samad’s eyes jerked open to find himself in a murky, see-through liquid surrounded him. All the month old memories to flood back to him. Ouroboros. The explosion. A feeling of his body being ripped apart. He was in the fish tank recouping from his near death experience now.

Underneath the mask, his teeth gritted tightly and grounded a bit at the situation he had been assigned to. This shouldn’t have ever happened. His eyes closed as he sharply exhaled through his nose, feeling the tension curl back for the moment. It wouldn’t last. With any luck, they would be reassigned else and far from the Ante Mortem team for a good, long time. A loud hiss echoed through the water causing inside to drain, the bed slowly rotating into an upright position. After all the water drained, the lid popped open allowing him to step out.

Cautiously, he took an experimental step out onto the solid floor. It held barely. Samad applied weight to his outstretched leg as he followed with another, gradually standing outside of the fish tank. His figure was soaked, dressed in nothing but his boxer briefs, as he tried to collect his focus. His hand carefully pulled off the mask then let it hand behind him.

His head snapped toward the sounds of Olivia crumbling to her hands and knees. Her balance not yet recovered from the lengthy time in the tank. His was barely there if he was forced to be truthful. Samad only stood upright because of pure will and stubbornness born from his family. Wordless, he took a step toward his collection of clothing then began to dress. Ignoring the others.



Cade had a dreamless slumber in the tank.

Every few weeks, his eyes opened to a blurry vision of the world then fell right back into darkness. Nothing stirred in his head during all that time. No memories, nightmares or independent thoughts etched across his subconscious for the duration. At that moment… he was as close to brain dead as one could get without actually being it. The Innocence staff kept an eye on his vitals through there was no danger signs, his health perfectly acceptable for his state. It was as if he simply closed his mind down while he mended. Or too tired to think.

The peace was broken when the machine’s loud sounds caught his attention. His eyes flitted open and watched the water drain before the door popped open. The chill of the outside air licked his wet surface drawing up goosebumps. Gingerly, Cade stirred. He attempted to move out. His foot couldn’t support his weight as it crumbled underneath him. He collapsed onto the floor in a weaken heap, unable to fight the pull of gravity while he landed on his side.

“Shit,” he mumbled under his breath.

Painfully slowly he began to push himself upright, his legs curled underneath. Samad seemed unfazed by Cade’s abrupt fall as he continued to place on his clothes. Afterward, his arm reached out for his cane then snatched up Cade’s clothing. On his walk by, he tossed them over Cade’s slowly rising figure.

“Get up, Cade. Get dressed, she’s likely waiting for news about your condition,” Samad said coldly before he started to head out the door.

At the mention of ‘she,’ Cade smiled slightly. Mostly because she was alive as he began to hasten his pace, clutching his stuff to his waist and giving himself some modesty. It wasn’t easy since he was in nothing but boxers right now.
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Bean Sidhes



When Maeve awoke, she was angry. No, extremely pissed off would be a better way to describe it. They had only managed to put her in the fish tank because she was nearly unconscious from using the Overdrive. She hadn't strangled Angel for getting them into this mess, for getting them kicked out the Ourosboros and then getting them one good investigation from being at the top of every alchemist in the world's 'Kill as soon as possible' list, because she couldn't get the energy to do so, and then they threw her into that stupid godsdamned fish tank. As she stumbled out, landing in a crouch. "Stupid. Fucking. Tanks. Stupid fucking Ante Mortem, always fucking up the mission with their stupid fucking plans and 'oooh I'm bored'. Had to outrun a godsdamned tsunami in Brazil, had to run away from a fucking earthquake in Michigan, had to run from a shitty explosion in Siberia, every fucking time they get involved it goes to shit." She hissed, clenching her fists as she stood upright. She hated the feeling they left her. The weakness, the fuzziness, the borderline helplessness. All things she wanted to leave far, far behind her and to never look back at.

Picking herself up, she made her way over to her clothes, rolling her eyes at Samad's words. "Keep up the goodwork buddy, I'm sure that if you keep hating your partner and lifeline in this world for simply existing, it'll fix all your problems you have. Cause that's how it worked last time, right?"

She leaned against the wall, glaring at Angel as he summed up their situation. "No, actually. No ice cream. Lets start with answers, instead. Like, why the fuck did you murder the Ourosboros management? Why the fuck was that Chimera going for specifically you? And what the fuck is the plan for making sure we don't get put at the top of everyone's 'too murder' list?"



Kiara's peaceful oblivion was disrupted by the fish tank opening. Ah well. Another time. She landed on her feet, rising slowly from her stumbling. She was used to this by now, having been in more than her fair share of highly damaging, but ultimately successful, operations by AMRO. Far to many, at this point. She could feel Maeve's wrath over their links, smoldering like a fire ready to ignite into a raging inferno. She herself was just wearily accepting. The Ante Mortem were always an unpredictable force of chaos and destruction. Having them on their side was as dangerous as holding a cobra by the tail. Very dangerous to whomever they were wielded against, but also incredibly dangerous to whomever they were wielded with as well. She had come to expect every mission to go sideways whenever they were involved. Hopefully without too much damage too themselves and their allies.

She only sighed as Maeve snapped at Samad for treating his partner like he always did. There was nothing to be done on that front. They were either going to come together, or they were going to die. Kiara would just stay away from it if they fell apart and died. She got dressed, calmly, accepting the new situation the Ante Mortem had thrust them in. She merely sighed again at Maeve's angry questions. Angel wouldn't give them a straight answer, and Reri wasn't going to even bother answering at all. All they could do was go along with whatever half cooked idea they came up with.
Hidden 8 mos ago 8 mos ago Post by xodus
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Before Angel could even address Lawrence's astute question regarding their unnecessarily long period in the tanks it seemed he would have to face a most irksome adversary, 'the pissed off viking banshee bitch' as some secretly called the Asylum who was prone to breaking things and limbs. The Silver Reaper however simply settled for 'The Annoying One'.

"No, actually. No ice cream. Lets start with answers, instead. Like, why the fuck did you murder the Ourosboros management? Why the fuck was that Chimera going for specifically you? And what the fuck is the plan for making sure we don't get put at the top of everyone's 'too murder' list?"


The weary Lost Number slowly tilted his face towards the heavens as he remained seated while nurturing his pounding head, yet no absolution came, clearly when he thought this day couldn't get worse some entity out there decided, 'hmm why not'. This was not the first time Angel contemplated why was he the source of the 'Annoying One's' ire? True enough, usually he was the reason behind almost having the two Celtic ladies killed in a horrible fashion, but such things never came to pass.

"I didn't kill the management," Angel replied in weary resignation, knowing if he wouldn't explain the 'Annoying One' would simply continue nagging him. "What would I gain from it? I have enough hounds chasing me, adding others to that list is not wise now is it? Especially when it includes Ourosboros, A.M.R.O and all the Crests." As he spoke, the Lost Number made sure to fix his gaze upon the Celtic Asylum, his tinted spectacles shimmering an eerie silver.

"There was more than one party at Ourosboros. There was us, the Asylums tasked with locating Anya." As soon as Angel finished his sentence his index finger gestured the number one.

"Then there were those that were tasked with disposing the evidence, which was Anya." With that his middle finger joined his index to gesture the number two.

"And finally there was the person who somehow knew we would be in Ourosboros and devised the means to capitalize on the chaos and have me blamed for the deaths of the management, you all were bystander caught amidst a vendetta someone has against me." Once Angel finished, his gaze had shifted to the three fingers raised before him. "Now while it is unfortunate that eventually you maybe hunted to oblivion, such is not the case...presently. Live today and...maybe die tomorrow."

"Big Brother you forgot to answer the question why the Big Rhino thing was focusing on you? Did you do something bad?" Rena, realizing her moment to shine suddenly entered the fray, jumping between Maeve and Angel, twirling between them.

"I didn't forget little one," Angel replied while gently patting the Little Chrono, the kind smile on his face slowly warping to something more sinister as his gaze switched from his partner to the lot of Asylums in front of him. "And yes we did spend a considerable time in the tank." By this point Angel decided it would be most prudent to pretend Maeve was just a part of the wall or furniture and ignore her.

"Shouldn't have stayed that long in the blast radius you bunch a sillies!" Rena suddenly chirped while raising an admonishing finger towards Angel and his cohorts. Her expression a mimicry of Maeve's 'angry face' however Rena could only manage a comically adorable version of it.

"I agree it was not the most wisest of actions to delay our exit, but luckily the Alchemic Poisoning was not as serious as I thought it would be, I apologize for making you worry none the less." Angel's tone had taken a more sober touch despite the slight twitch of his lips that betrayed his submissive act, but then again the Lost Number always enjoyed spoiling the princess.

Rena on the other hand beamed with satisfaction as she continued to 'huff' and place her fists to her hips followed by a nod signifying her scolding would be enough to teach the rowdy bunch of Asylums a lesson.

"We may still experience the affects of Alchemic poisoning, you know the usual. Claustrophobia, Hallucinations, migraines, link disturbances. Oh and since none of us have used Alchemy at all for over a month, you may all also experience extreme Alchemic withdrawal. So you know, the usual. Claustrophobia, hallucinations, migraines and alchemy surges. Now if you all don't mind, I am taking my partner to get some ice-cr.."

"Oh good you all are up!" A stranger's voice casually interrupted the Silver Reaper as a rather tall fellow slowly made his way towards the crowd of re-awakening Asylums. From his stride and general body language it was quite obvious the man considered himself important and the way the others showed him respect also quite possibly signified the man has rank, perhaps a Lost Number. His appearance was all quite standard, traditional A.M.R.O attire, all aside from one oddity.

"What a weirdo..." Rena whispered while standing next to her partner, her eyes staring at the large twelve foot metal ladder strapped to the man's back.

"Yeah.." Angel nods in agreement while strapping his metal coffin onto his back. "Who would use a ladder as a weapon?"

"All of you are officially inducted as A.M.R.O instructors for the next month, your classes start," in that brief pause the man raised his arm to glimpse at his watch. "Now."

As if on que a deafening ring echoed across Innocence signifying the next round of classes.

"The art of seduction," with those final words the Ladder carrying fellow withdrew leaving the Silver Reaper just staring at his back in a strange silence.

"Seduction?" Rena finally broke the awkward silence, confusion showing on her face.

"A ladder?" Angel replied, equally confused.



Hidden 8 mos ago 8 mos ago Post by Fallenreaper
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Xx---------------------------xX
Experimental Team
Xx---------------------------xX


Time: A month after the Incident at Ouroboros
Location: Innocence, the floating Airship Academy for ARMO’s Chosen




"Keep up the good work buddy, I'm sure that if you keep hating your partner and lifeline in this world for simply existing, it'll fix all your problems you have. Cause that's how it worked last time, right?"

Cade had just finished pulling up his pants when his ears caught Maeve’s words toward Samad. Instinctively his eyes turned toward the Iranian who paused midway to the door. His partner’s knuckles tightened about the Persian lion handle, silence falling into place for several uncomfortable seconds. A spark of hatred snaked its way into Cade’s mind, fangs bared and sinking deep into his unprotected thoughts.

It was sudden and strong enough, Cade felt his balance disrupted. Impulsively his hand jerked against the tank side, bracing himself from falling. Usually, the link’s emotions were weakened or none existent, but this one hit Cade like a brick wall. For a moment, Cade thought Samad would attack Maeve for her words. He was surprised when the Iranian spoke instead.

“Your concerns are noted, but unnecessary. As long as things get done, that’s all ARMO cares about and that’s all we are suppose care about,” Came Samad’s icy reply to Maeve, reminding her of the reality of things. His complete disregard of Cade’s wellbeing was made very clear before he continued to walk away. Completely ignoring Maeve’s attempt to pick a fight with Angel now.

Cade inhaled a moment, clearing his head. The emotions quickly faded from his attention while he stood upright. He would have to report that to the experimental branch shortly for their data. Shrugging off Samad’s emotions, he began to move toward Kiara while listening to the conversation between Angel and Maeve.

“I’m getting the feeling that Maeve is always this vocal, isn’t she?” He asked quiet enough not to draw attention to himself, he didn’t want to face the red head’s hot temper.

At the mention of the link disturbances, Cade’s eyebrows furrowed in concern. He wondered if that related to the sudden clarity in their link earlier, but didn’t dwell on it much. His attention shifted to the stranger that entered into the medical ward and informed them about their next task. Cade’s expression soured when he heard the bell, silently cursing the short frame then actual class subject.

“They could’ve chosen subjects in our abilities, rather than something lacking for a few of us,” Cade grumbled softly.

His head leaned forward while his hand scratched the back of his neck, unsure how to proceed. His own ‘education’ had been nearly four years ago and he barely recalled how the instructors even handled the classes or how long large they were. Even worse, it was his worst subject. He barely scraped by on it during his exams.

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"Emotional manipulation." Lawrence spoke to Rena as Olivia stared after the man in confusion much like Angel.

"Say the right words and act a certain way and you can convince people that they like you." He had stopped fiddling with his stupid puzzle cube to talk to the Chrono. "Personally, if I'm close enough to manipulate my mark, I'm doing something wrong." He looked over to Olivia and frowned, and a rush of thoughts and images hit her like a freight train.

She was standing outside the Room.

She tried to shake her head, but she was stuck. No, she couldn't be here. She had left that place years ago. She had proven herself able to be trusted. Why was she-

"She's never going listen to you. She surged and killed her captors, she's going to fight you every step of the way." Lawrence spoke, but Olivia couldn't see where he was. All she could see was a man in a suit holding a clipboard. He was looking through the window into the room.

"We can fix that. Why do you care? You've been killing other rogues for how long now?"

"Never children," Lawrence seethed. Strange, Olivia had never heard Lawrence angry.
"I have standards."

The man barked a short laugh. "A noble rogue, how quaint." He cleared his throat and consulted his clipboard. "Very well, if you think you can get her to cooperate with us be our guest, but if we think she's going to be a threat to you, we will put her down in an instant. A sharp knife is better than a broken one."

click, click, click, click.


The familiar sound of clicking brought Olivia out of whatever hallucination that was. Lawrence had once again started working on his Rubik's cube. Olivia never understood why Lawrence bothered playing with that thing, he already knew how to solve it without even looking at the thing. Her head was throbbing.

Are you okay? Lawrence was staring at her, his hands moving over the Rubik's cube. Soon all the colors matched and Lawrence paused to take a look at puzzle cube. As soon as he stopped, Olivia was hit with an uncontrollable rage. Her hands clenched into fists and she wanted to punch or strangle the nearest person. Lawrence mixed the colors up, and the rage dissipated.

Olivia nodded. Yeah, fine. I'm just getting a headache

Okay. Seems like... Lawrence's mental voice cut out, and Olivia understood what was going on. They were experiencing a link disturbance. Though that raised a few questions for Olivia. As she waited to figure out where to go one question burned in her mind.

What was Lawrence so angry about?
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Rena regarded Lawrence with a tilt of her head, her twin tails swaying as she slowly nodded to the Asylums' explanation of 'Seduction', her eyes slowly narrowing at Lawrence so as to visually display her disappointment at such a bland explanation. Though such trivialities were hardly enough to curb the Chrono's spirits and soon enough she found better sources of amusement, namely the subtle changes appearing on her partner's face. Despite having a flair for the dramatics, Rena knew that Angel rarely if ever gave visual ques of distress or at least that is what it would appear to any bystander. After spending most of your life with a person, you tend to develop an eye for subtlety that and the fact Reri knew she was a genius prodigy.

While the Asylums walked towards their assigned class, Rena kept her pace aligned with her partner, worry creasing her brow. She instantly noticed a slight slump in her brother's posture, then the fact he randomly seemed to tilt his head and flex his fingers. As far back as Rena could think she knew one constant in her life and that had been Angel. She remembered very little of her family but that never really bothered her, Angel had raised her and she knew how much the man had sacrificed. There was a time Rena remembered her brother as a mountain, unrelenting and invincible but she was not so naive as to continue believing that. She had known the truth for some time and perhaps Rin had known it even longer.

"You should have left immediately, instead of thinking about your body's frailty you attempted to shield us from the alchemic poison.....fool Rin thought, her personality ushered awake from Rena's dishevelment.

Angel suddenly appeared to shift his gaze towards the Chrono, a smile greeting Rin. "I see you are awake," he spoke with his usual candor, the palm of his hand gently brushing the child's head. Rin merely locked her mismatched eyes to her partner and nodded.

Ever so smart Angel mused, surprised he could even hear his own thoughts in the bombardment of noise. Thousands of thoughts flooded his mind from thousand different people, non discernible....just chaos....noise....pollution. This was one of the reasons Angel despised reading minds, people may appear composed and in control but if you opened them up you would realize what a mess they were. It took someone with immense skill to filter a human mind and extract the things of importance and Angel over qualified. But if the ability to filter was disrupted then one would become a receiver, all the chaos flooding into you at once.

It will end....it never lasts for long, Angel muttered softly, thinking to himself, convincing himself and then just as suddenly as the voices began they ended, a blissful mental silence following. Now if only I was on solid ground, Angel muttered once more, grimacing at the thought of a piece of metal floating. The Reaper slowly shook his head in weary resignation, the edge of his vision catching a glimpse of a miracle. Rin smiling, but it flashed away so quick even Angel wondered if it was a hallucination from the alchemic poisoning.

"We have arrived," Rin spoke, her voice mechanical and cold, not a hint of emotion or life in it. Her discolored eyes scanning the group of Asylums, almost looking past them for such was their worth in terms of her interest, non existent.

"Let the lessons begin!" With that Angel stomped the door open and walked in, his gaze falling on the class of nearly thirty students, each regarding him wearily and his partner, even more so. Most likely someone had already told the students that Ante Mortem would be one of their teachers and from their expressions it was also easily discernible they were no strangers to the rumors surrounding Ante Mortem.

"I am assuming all of you have already been briefed over your situation. You are all receiving new teachers for the next month and we will be over seeing your entire course. I suppose I don't need to introduce my partner and me, we are legends after all. Instead here is one of my favorite rumors about Ante Mortem. The secret behind our strength is that we feast on other alchemists and then bathe in their blood."

The awkward silence continued until one brave student slowly rose from his seat to face the Ante Mortem, a team of a thousand rumors.

"What about the Pyramid of Giza?" The boy asked, a hint of interest glinting in his eyes.

"How do you kno-" Before Angel could complete, other questions suddenly surfaced and then chaos.

"What about when you broke the torch from the statue of Liberty?"

"What about when she slapped the Queen of England?"

"What about when you stole Elton John's glasses?"

"What about when she shattered the statue of Jesus in Rio de Janeiro?"

"What about the elephant uprising?"

"What about the top of Mount Everest missing?"

By now Angel's face had become comically blank, a bead of sweat rolling down his temple. How did they find out about all these thing? The rumors were bad enough, now this...."

"We shall discuss this after your lessons, today we will be learning about seduction and who better to teach you than Olivia and Cade, the real experts in this field. They say Cade is such a master of the art that husbands are forced to lock their wives. And Olivia? She is so renowned in her techniques of seduction that even the gay community fears her. They guard their secrets closely but if you prod them enough I am sure they will reveal it to you!" With those lies Angel successfully managed to divert the attention of the students towards new victims and then he observed the group of thirty students swarming Olivia and Cade.

"Ah I missed messing with them...."

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Xx---------------------------xX
Experimental Team
Xx---------------------------xX


Time: A month after the Incident at Ouroboros
Location: Innocence, the floating Airship Academy for ARMO’s Chosen- Classroom




Samad snorted at Angel’s statement about Cade. His hand cupped his mouth to stifle it, but it was audible nevertheless. Naturally Cade was too distracted to care. When he heard Angel’s words, his skin became pale and shock flooded his expression. He couldn’t believe that Angel had placed him on such a high pedestal only to come crashing down because of the subject matter.

“I’m happy you place me on a high pedestal, but I think your facts are mixed up. I’m better at patching up the wounded than seduction,” Cade corrected then turned to Olivia.

“Uh, you want to take the lead?”

Samad shook his head then leaned farther into the wall he was against. Cade, oddly, could sense pleasure from the situation emitting from his Iranian’s smug posture. This caused the doctor to frown more as he looked confusingly back. His partner didn’t seem to notice or more likely, cared. Cade continued to stare at Samad who ignored it.
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Olivia stared at Angel in shock as he shifted the attention of all the students from him to her and Cade. As they swarmed the two of them and Olivia saw the look on Cade's face, she started laughing. "You're an ass, Angel." She looked at the students swarming her and Cade then nodded. "Alright fine." She picked up a sheaf of blank paper from one of the desks, a hardcover book from another, and a pen from the desk at the front. She scanned the room and noticed five or six students hanging back looking apprehensive. A plan started to come to mind.

She was in control.

"Alright, listen up!" She shouted over the talking students. "Those of you that are just looking to pass this class, go see Cade. Otherwise, I guess I'm going to be your teacher. Know that you have been informed wrongly about us, I am definitely not a master of seduction. I'd say that in this room, the title goes over to Maeve right there." She pointed over to the Banshee "So, since I have no clue about any of you here, so I want one of you to show me what you know so far. I need a volunteer for a demonstration."

A tall student with slicked back brown hair approached Olivia. He had a smirk on his face and was twirling a pencil in his hand. "I'll volunteer." Olivia made a note on the sheet of paper. Before he even started to talk, Olivia felt the activation of the student's drive. It was messy and completely obvious. She made another note. She felt a tugging at her mind as the student walked forward.

The student opened his mouth and immediately let out a shriek of pain. He fell to the ground with a groan. Olivia tilted her head. Was the student overreacting? It was supposed to be a simple shock like a dog collar. She looked over at Lawrence, who was watching the student with a frown. She got his attention and signed to him. Can you attempt to invade my mind using Alchemy? Lawrence nodded and started muttering under his breath. Again, Olivia felt a tug at her mind and Lawrence flinched.

Too strong He signed back to her. Olivia shrugged. Oh well. She looked back to the students, who had gone silent. Some had gone pale. "Alright. First lesson." Olivia turned her paper over to show them the sigil that was burning itself away on the paper. "Do not attempt to use Alchemy when you're trying to seduce someone. They may notice and react poorly." Olivia walked over to the student on the ground and helped him to his feet.

"Oh, come on. A little pain never hurt anyone." She said with a smile.
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"Do not attempt to use Alchemy when you're trying to seduce someone. They may notice and react poorly."

Angel couldn't help but smirk at that, his veiled gaze observing the kid who had shrieked and nearly passed out. That pain was not too uncommon when one attempted to invade another's mind and that was one reason why the Lost Number usually avoided doing so. There are after all far more subtle and less taxing means of getting similar results.

"Does anyone know why the runt demonstrated such a reaction?" Even when speaking casually his condescending tone was quite apparent which was only further bolstered by his infuriating smile.

"Invading another's mind is a clash of wills and you will always be at a disadvantage. You may retain self recognition but you are in an alien domain. To put it simply you exist as an anomaly in a world not your own, as such the rules are different....everything is different. The mind you have invaded will attempt to correct this anomaly and your conscience will face empathetic bombarded. Foreign memories, experiences, feelings, all of it clashing with your identity. If you are skilled and your sense of self unshakable, then you can manage terrifying things but if you waver you can be lose yourself in a torrent of misidentify." As Angel spoke his gaze steadily switched between Samad, Olivia and Kiara.

"The dangers often weary based upon the target and his mental condition. As such it is advised not to invade an Asylum's mind, the horrors their mind devises is a nightmare you do not want to get lost in. And some Asylums are worse than others." The foreboding silence that had suddenly surrounded the class suddenly dissipated with the ring of a bell, loud and shrill, snapping everyone out of an Angel's lull.

"Next class?"

"Combat training," Rin replied in her usual apathetic manner.

"We should have the medic fight the Iranian, their animosity is exhausting?"

"No, there is a better alternative." Without explaining the details to her curious partner the Chrono calmly departed towards the training hall.

It was a short stroll to the training grounds though Ante Mortem arrived in the end, their tardiness mostly due to Angel's lethargic pacing which was often accompanied by random pauses and groaning. Rin deciding that comforting her partner would be out of character, simply decided to slow her pace to match that of her partners'.

"Your vehicular paranoia is highly irksome," despite the Chrono's words no emotion touched her tone, nor her expression. She simple stared at her partner with her cold, doll like eyes.

"We need to work on your sense of humor little one," the Lost Number replied with a raised eye brow, a smile spreading across his lips upon noticing a twitch on Rin's lip. perhaps the closest thing to a smile.

Eventually Ante Mortem arrived to the training room which had been popularly dubbed "The Box".

"How unoriginal..." Angel thought out loud while staring at the massive thousand square yard room in front of him, a strange energy field seemed to outline it, creating a transparent barrier. This allowed the spectators to observe duels while safely protected from any stray alchemic casts.

With a quick glance at the Chrono, Angel decided he might as well begin. While on their way to 'The Box' the two had discussed the necessity of the pairings for the duels and had agreed it should start with the instructors. What they had disagreed with, were the choice for the pairs, particularly the one which include him.

"The aim of this combat training is for you students to learn by observing. The Chrono has authorized duels between Asylums so you that you realize how trained killers and alchemists fight and as such all standard restrictions have been revoked on the duels that will follow. This will be a real fight with real consequences." As Angel spoke those words a sudden spasm of excitement waved across the students, their eyes widening, whispers surfacing.

"The pairs are as follows. Lawrence will fight against Maeve and Cade will fight against...me." He ended the sentence with a resigned sigh but even the sound of that was lost among gasps of excitement and a sudden outburst of discussions as to who would win along with bets being voiced.

------------------------------------------
An Angel and a Medic walk into a box......
------------------------------------------


Angel had been leaning against the wall when Cade appeared from the opposite end, the Reaper's gaze methodically setting upon the Medic. An arrogant smile inching its way across his face as the Lost Number casually unstrapped the Coffin from his back and disarmed himself of all weapons.

"I feel a little generous, as such I shall gift you with a handicap," Angel crowed while pointing at Cade. "You may have heard of the rumors that I never enter a battle that I deem worthy without my Aegis, the Reaper's coat." He couldn't help but chuckle at that. "I will forgo all defense and if you can force me to think other wise, I shall declare you the winner of our duel. If you are unable to defeat me and or force me to dawn my coat, you will die."

"You may begin your feeble attempts at an attack whenever you are ready," Angel didn't even bother looking at Cade as he spoke, his attention focused towards brushing the dust of his crimson vest.

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Cade stepped into the box.

His eyes turned to his sleeve, casually rolling it up then fastened it at his elbow. When he finished, Cade reached for his back pant pocket. He checked for his senbon. They were still there, locked in a case. Each tip was laced with something dangerous, but Cade had little idea what it was. If Angel was scratched by them, it made treating him difficult until Samad revealed the poison. He questioned if the Iranian would do it immediately and this along made him hesitate ever bring them out

The medic was a healer at heart, not a murder. Yet he was walking into a warzone now without any chance of coming out unscratched at all. Angel was far more experienced in the art of warfare than himself. If the Lost Number wanted to kill him, it wouldn’t be hard.

As Cade reached for his bo-staff, his ears caught Angel’s mockery toward his ability and power. The younger Asylum wouldn’t argue because it seemed everyone believed he was weaker. Even his own partner. The truth couldn’t be disproven, but eventually the roles reversed if the individual lived long enough.

‘What are you up to?’ Cade thought mentally, his eyes locked with the Lost Number.

His hand reached for his bo-staff as Angel’s ‘encouragement’ tried to urge him on. Cade slightly sighed at the insult before he than considered how to begin.

“Are you really communicating with me telepathically?” Angel replied through the telepathic channel, his disapproval rather apparent even through thought. “In battle you never open a channel with the enemy boy, do you know what I could do to you with such as easy access?” The Lost Number continued while shaking his head and then the channel was severed, an act of kindness.

“You are not taking this seriously are you my young, naive, little friend?” Angel replied, this time speaking verbally while leaning against his coffin. “My task is to duel you, rather simple. There are no restrictions and that curtly translates to, you may die. As to why?” The Silver Reaper seemed to take a pause at that, his veiled gaze meeting the Chrono then back to the medic. “I am afraid that is the point and you must figure it out, do not disappoint me little medic.” As soon as the last words parted from his mouth Angel’s form dissipated like mist, appearing behind Cade with a palm on the Asylum’s head.

“When given the luxury of the initial strike, never refuse it.” Angel drove this lesson with some practical demonstration, Cade’s mind experiencing a short burst of agonizing pain, short enough not cause any permanent traumatic harm. And that was the second act of kindness, And last.

Cade’s eyes widened in shock. The sensation of someone’s palm against his skull then followed by the sensation of pain bolted into his mind. It felt like he had been hit by a sledgehammer on the brain. His teeth gritted tightly to prevent the loud scream from escaping his throat. Instinctively his right hand gripped his staff tighter, tilting it at where he suspected Angel’s gut was, then released it right into the Reaper.

Before the staff could connect a foreign force seemed to hold it as if an invisible hand had kept the weapon at bay. A smile laced across Angel’s face, his shimmering spectacles meeting Cade’s eyes. “Evasion is advised,” with a heart beat of a warning his stretched palm struck for where the Medic’s heart would be. A killing blow to signify the Reaper had come to reap.

Immediately the medic’s body shifted to the left. Angel’s hand brushed by his ribs, nearly cracking them with the radiating power alone. It was enough to draw a visible flinch from Cade. His right leg continued to pull to the side and tried to put distance between the two. His figure slowly turned about to fact Angel with faint hopes it would improve his counter ability.

“When faced with uneven odds, distance is usually your ally,” Angel lectured remaining stationary, his posture once more leaning against his coffin. This was after all a lesson for the students as well and from the Reaper’s demeanour he was quite comfortable with punishing the medic while teaching a class. “But even more so, you need wit and resolve. You must focus and discipline yourself else you be swept away by fear,” as if to stress his words the Lost Number activated his Alchemic Drive, the sheer pressure stifling the cube, not even the field could hold back the magnitude of it. “What will you do boy, you face a leviathan, what will you do?” Angel wore a simple expression on his face, pure and utter malice, the bloodlust almost tangible.

Cade’s arms leaned heavily on his staff now fully extended. His breathing was growing heavier with passing time and his limbs were weighed down, his eyes still looking at Angel. The look on the Lost Number was difficult to ignore. His lungs struggled to retain breath as he didn’t answer the stronger individual. There was nothing to argue. Their power differences were too drastically different. He was a gnat trying to annoy the bull.

“When you embrace the impossibility of a situation you create the inevitability of it, you create your failure,” Angel spoke once more, his candour replaced by an almost imperialistic tone. “Is the futility of it all so daunting? When faced with death you would gawk at your impending end? Is failure parallel to death? If death is so certain then why restrain yourself, what more do you have to lose. Show me the splendor befitting of an ant!” As Angel spoke, a smile seemed to creep upon his face, not one to taunt the medic or to demean him. The end was certain, but how it will end was not. “What will you do boy?” As Angel repeated his alchemic drive finally returned to normal, the pressure subsiding only to be followed by a barrage of telekinetic blows.

Cade’s body felt a punch hit his side, then followed up at his knee back. Several more followed suit from different angles causing him to flinch away. The medic’s arms raised to protect his face and head while the assault continued. His mind was flickering through the possibilities surging through his thoughts, but each one seemed unlikely to work more than the last one. He barely realized he was curled into a ball upon the ground until Samad’s voice reached out to him.

‘What...doing? Are...hit you… us both killed?’

Cade couldn’t bring himself to answer. He closed his eyes, still feeling punches jerk across his surface, before jerking out his senbon. His eyes spotted where Angel was leaning on his coffin then took aim. Electrical energy began to build within the metal needle just when he shot at the Silver’s Reaper’s location. It flew with surprising accuracy at the image.

Before the lightning charged needles left Cade’s hand a strange shimmer appeared around the Reaper, as if smooth transparent plastic had been laced around him, a telekinetic barrier hence allowing Angel to remain leaning comfortably, staring at the onslaught on Cade as well as the mosquito of an attack. It was at the first spark that Angel realized the purpose behind the weak attack and the Lost Number’s tinted glasses did little to protect his sight from the blinding flash. With that the barrage on Cade seized leaving Angel simply staring at the Asylum’s general direction.

Cade wobbly rose to his feet. His expression twisted into something akin to a mix of pain and determination. Blood dripped from his fist, the palm bleeding now. In his other one was a bloodied senbon in his grip indicating he had carved out a symbol on the only canvas he had: his flesh. It appeared Cade had used a clean senbon to inscribe on his palm while Angel had been beating the living hell out of him. The red liquid dribbled down as it pooled into a small puddle at his feet.

With the Lost Number temporary blinded, Cade increased his speed in the same fashion he had seen Samad do before. He had been watching his partner for some time as he adapted his alchemy to mimic it. Electricity surged through his system and poured into the blood collection in his hand. It settled there for additional use. Already Cade’s eyes shut in order to protect his eyes from the additional flashes he might have to create. His other hand reached for the laced senbon in his back pocket while his staff was appeared forgotten for the moment.

When his last flash died, he let blood droplets scatter in his wake. They touched various surfaces they could easily attach there and waited. Their surface crackled in anticipation.

Before the Lost Number knew it, Cade shifted his direction to Angel’s right then threw two senbon at Angel’s right side. Both were aiming at the largest center mass of the man’s body nearest the ribs. While Cade didn’t expect them to hit the target, it would force Angel to move and buy more time. His hand slammed down where he pressed the crude sigil into the floor before shooting around. It wouldn’t be as strong as if he had carved it by hand, but that alchemy would take too long. So he had to improvise.

Any and all incoming attacks were swiftly negated by Angel’s telekinetic barrier, the Lost Number now no longer kneeling against the coffin. The first few seconds were perhaps the most bothersome but eventually darkness settled and the Reaper grew accustomed all additional flash bangs were a minor inconvenience. “Quite the underhanded maneuver,” the Lost Number complimented. His palm pressed out in front of him, maintaining the shield. Very few had this knowledge but Angel would often use his gaze to direct his alchemy, a subtle form of motem which prevented the Reaper from expending unwanted energy. This implication of having to do just that did not sit too well.

“I was intending to avoid this, but this is getting tiresome,” with a weary resignation the Lost Number massaged his temples and then he stood still. His veiled gaze staring ahead, at something and nothing.

[b]”Like Vermin you slither in darkness, I need to sight to listen to the cries of a lonely mind,” when Angel finished his gaze was now directly staring at Cade.

”Learn to silence your mind boy, the Lost Number sneered, his words echoing within Cade’s head something akin to telepathy but different, more coercive. Now what say I shatter your very being?

[color=7ccd7c][i] ‘Stay out of my head…’[/color][/i] Cade answered before his hand raised at Angel.

He had managed to place four ‘stamps’ as he stood upright, his fingers moved and generated alchemy through his palm. Electricity crackled at the scars then it shot out in a single, focused bolt of lighting right at Angel.

Before Angel could begin to warp Cade’s mind to his liking, to mould the medic anew, something instantly yanked him away. His mind regaining cognition a second too late, realizing the shield had shattered under a sudden focused alchemic bolt. Normally the Reaper would have been fast enough to stabilize his shield once more, but the lack of sight coupled with the sudden ejection from another’s mind along with the realization the medic had surpassed expectations, all of it had helped in catching the Lost Number off guard. The initial lightning bolt connecting with Angel’s outstretched palm followed by an explosion of electricity in proximity to him.

Cade watched the ‘fireworks’ begin. Several scattered droplets and the sigils placed down glowed then exploded creating smaller damage when the shield went down. He didn’t expect the effects to last long. Cade began to heal his palm, the sigil expended, creating a new cavanas. His hand reached for the senbon to carve a new sigil.

Once the dust cleared Angel’s silhouette slowly took shape, the Lost Number was nowhere close to his coffin, skid marks revealing that the lightning bolt and the accompanying explosion had forced him a considerable distance. Minute scratches and tears laced the Reaper’s once pristine clothing. The air around him was shimmering once more revealing he had activated his shield to avoid the brunt of the damage, though Angel’s still outstretched palm had been scorched black. An orb of electric energy danced within his seared palm, with evasion impossible the Reaper had resorted to taming the energy directed at him, it was not as simple as expected. A rather open frown took shape on Angel’s face, clearly finding the pain bothersome.

“You underestimate yourself medic, you hide your potential behind excuses and self loathing. Enough of this farce,” if the Lost Number appeared intimidating before simply leaning against his coffin then the fact he decided to finally walk towards his target should have been terrifying.

The sigil was only a third of the way done when Angel began to walk. Cade frowned a bit at Angel’s words before reaching for another set of senbon, placing the non contaminated one into the nook of his thumb. He was down to six now since the last two failed to hit the target.

Feeling like Angel being in close combat was a bad idea, Cade began to focus on keeping distance. In his haste he appeared to have dropped one of the senbon as he rushed to the right.

The Lost Number continued to walk patiently towards the medic, each step relaxed almost casual and with the next step the appearance of Angel dissolved. Capitalizing on the illusion Angel had already situated himself in Cade’s path and greeted the Asylum’s ribs with an alchemically powered knee.

The sound erupted in Cade’s skull when the bones gave away to the impact. It was enough to push out the breath from his lungs causing him to to crumble onto all fours.

The next bone to crack was Cade’s leg as Angel twisted it at an obscene angle via telekinesis, the Reaper’s fingers dancing and Cade’s limbs reacting. “Why do you consider yourself so worthless boy?”

As Cade’s screams prevented him from answering, Samad had stepped into the box. His steps were crisp and cutting the distance fairly quickly, discomfort riddled his movements. It was obvious he could feel everything his partner could, but it barely seemed to register in his behavior. Or maybe… he didn’t feel it as well as he should’ve.

“I think you’ve made your point and won the spar. Is this really needed?” Samad asked.

“No...I am afraid I have not made my point. Neither of you understand. What use are those eyes if you willfully stay blind?” Angel’s tone took on a more repulsed tone when addressing the Iranian as if he were the primary issue here.

“Well at least the first lesson has succeeded. As Asylums you are never alone, to be an Asylums means to move together, disregard that and you disregard what you are.” The Lost Number couldn’t hide the venom from his tone, as if silently blaming Samad for taking this long to intervene.

”The lesson has just begun.”

Samad’s eyes narrowed as he felt the venom roll off Angel. He didn’t engage in the argument for Angel to mind his own business. Samad didn’t tell the Lost Number how to grieve or treat his own partner, hating he was saddled with Cade.

Angel didn’t wait for Samad to respond almost instinctively knowing what the fool would think. “Ah you foolish child, so stagnant in your self pity. How often must you have contemplated why did you survive, why couldn’t it have been your original partner. Such useless thoughts. Your partner died because she sacrificed herself for you and you return her selfless gift by becoming a retch, a weak….sad little man too afraid to open your broken heart.” The Lost Number couldn’t help but laugh.

Samad’s hand tightened into a fist. Knuckles whitened as he glared at Angel, every word right as it was spewed back at him. He inhaled a moment then exhaled. Letting the building fury retract for now.

Cade was already trying to fight through the pain. Hand shifted through numerous signs, sloppy and quick, to heal the bone. Every fragment collected then shifted painfully back into place. His breath was labored from where the ribs had collapsed into his lung, tearing it in silence.

“Wasn’t your… fuck… sparring match against me... Reaper. Why… provoke Samad?” Cade asked through wheezing breaths.

“Be silent, you who cannot even understand something as simple as that!” It was clear that by now the Reaper had gone from mildly irked to quite annoyed by the antic of the Experimental Team and he demonstrated his displeasure by hurling Cade away with a telekinetic push.

“I do not provoke, I say things as they are. You are the embodiment of failure Iranian,” Angel spoke once more, his gaze falling upon the Momentum Alchemist.

“You who failed your partner!”

“You who failed yourself!”

“You who cursed another to a life of pain!”

“You who can’t face his ghosts and so haunts the living!”

“You who condemns the selfless to death!”


Each accusation hammered in the mind of Samad, accompanied by a migraine the likes of which the Iranian will never experience again.

Samad’s muscles stiffened. His head felt like it was splitting open from the center as his hand touched his temple, his teeth gritted to keep from screaming out. A small trickle of blood rushed down his upper lip. It took everything that he had to remain upright as he continued to hold eye contact with the Silver Reaper. Then the words came. Each one nailed itself into the pain, lessening it slightly until it was gone.

“It was my fault she died. I will never deny that. I should’ve not let her do it,” Samad stated through his teeth, trying to ignore the flare of pain it brought up. He blamed himself every day for it.

“Of course you can’t deny it, you live it. Over and over, refusing to forge ahead. You stooper with the weight of nonsense. It is all irrelevant, she is dead, she is dust. Yet you mock her memory with your weakness, how she would weep knowing she sacrificed herself for someone so unworthy. Your audacity knows no end, does it Iranian? You mock the death of she who saved you and you mock the efforts of he who keeps you alive. And yet you do not lower your gaze.” Angel couldn’t help but chuckle again, the irony of it all simply astounding, the laughter swiftly followed by a heavy impact a kin to a bus slamming into a bystander, in this case the bystander was Samad.

Samad’s body was thrown across the box, skidding across the floor. Bones made an audible crack as the force hit him dead on. The Iranian barely had any warning in order to defend him when the attack came. Blood leaked from his ears and nose, staining his face while he tried to get back up. His broken arm cradled against his waist while he calculated the damage. The stun from the impact slowing his recovery.

Meanwhile, Cade was trying to mend his own wounds quickly. Especially when Angel’s toss was nothing but rough. He could feel another rib fracture then break when he hit the wall, drawing a cry forward. It was clear Samad was going to get killed unless Cade did something. Fear, anger and worry poured into the young medic. It drove him to push upward onto his newly fixed leg.

“I won’t stand by while you kill him,” Cade growled, his emotions rising higher. Already his body surged with electrical energy under the surface.

“THEN KNEEL!” Angel’s composed expression vanished as he screamed while flaring his Alchemic Drive, the Lost Number shattering Cade’s knee caps with a snap of his fingers. His open palm stretch ahead as if holding an apple, then his spare hand clenching into a fist and hammered down on his open palm, a hammer meeting the anvil. Mimicking the action a painful force struck the Iranian and the Medic, snapping more bones.

“WHAT IS THE LESSON!”

Samad and Cade screamed. Every bone felt like it would snap under the weight as it became painful to breath.

“WHAT IS THE LESSON!” Angel repeated, his words followed by yet another smash.

Cade’s broken hands twitched then pressed into the floor. Quickly electrical currents began to charge the air around the fallen Asylums, energy flowing chaotically and rapidly through the molecules. Drowning the section of box with a heightened tension. The blood that spilled out of Samad, his lips quietly mouthing the words, began to move. Red lines hasted across the floor with a purpose. They crossed into each other creating an intertwined design surrounding the broken bodies. Then the blood mingled with the air. Like a chemical reaction, the energy sparked into a surge of lightning when it neared Cade. A blue-white energy appeared as it began to take shape, empowered by the pair’s drives.

Suddenly a twelve-foot asiatic lion was staring down at Angel’s figure. It made a crackling snarl. As it took a step, it crumbled apart into a rain of lightning down into the ground. Bolts flew with sharp determination. The streaks bounced off the floor and any wall it made contact with, frying any living flesh on contact. Wherever Angel looked, he found lightning leaping at him. There was no obvious tactic but pure, unbridled chaos to hit everything within the box.

With each bounce, they diminished in size. In a short time it was over. Black spots littered everywhere showing there was little chance of escaping the small storm created in its wake.

Finally,[ Angel thought as he felt the Experimental Team begin to synchronize their alchemic drive. He felt a ripple in the air, static around him, his hair stiffening along with a twitch of a smile. It was always a treat to observe what form the OverDrive would manifest itself as, especially since it represented the bond between the alchemists, a reflection to their souls. The Reaper wasn’t disappointed as he watched a massive lion appear before him, the conjured beast primarily composed of electricity but just as he was beginning to brace for the upcoming attack, everything changed.

“Wha-” Angel didn’t receive the luxury of voicing his confusion, instead the Lion exploded a storm of lightning and death raining down faster than possible, the entire process a haphazard collision between momentum and lightning. The first bolt struck Angel dead in the chest, punishment for his indulgence, the alchemist felt the skin blister as his vest and shirt turned to ash and then another followed, then another. There was no mercy, no respite, just bombardment.

“AEGIS,” the Lost Number found himself yelling while becoming a blur of movement, his form rapidly teleporting, avoiding the oncoming barrage. The scene could only be described as a flash of speed within a vortex of lightning, each bolt striking where Angel would be and each time the Asylum teleporting and reappearing, the process repeating at such stunning speed that it appeared as if Angel and the lightning that followed him were in multiple places at once.

Then the Lost Number found himself staggering, his lips parting for a gasp from the exhaustion. It was no surprise that this was not how Angel prefered to do his battles, he despised strenuous activities. The next bolt, realizing he won’t be able to evade, the Reaper deflected with his arm and as such burning it down to the flesh. In the distance a compartment slid open from his coffin and a liquid metal like substance dripped out, shooting out towards Angel, as if pulled by a magnet.

“This will kill you fools!” Angel yelled his concern, knowing what the two Asylums were doing was not an Overdrive. An Overdrive was a balance, it synchronize two Alchemic Drives and as such amplified the resulting alchemy. What Cade and Samad were doing was pure chaos, each was forcing his Alchemic Drive into the other and as such coercing the power to increase beyond the safe limits. This was a Death Drive and while it offered a tremendous power burst, the payment was a heavy backlash that would eventually kill the alchemists. In short the alchemy would be unstoppable and would only stop until one of the alchemists would die.

Angel grimly observed the lightning storm growing in strength, realizing that the alchemic energy was being condensed in a final strike and then it happened. A gargantuan bolt of lightning colliding into him, the sheer force forcing Angel to collide with the protection barrier, breaking it and the world went white from the flash.

Once vision returned to normal almost every student and observer’s sight seemed to track where the Lost Number had fallen, a mixture of expression on their faces. The first from the thought that the infamous Angel maybe dead and then the second awe coming from watching a tall figure slowly approaching the ‘Box’. A silhouette draped in a large GunMetal overcoat, the fabric rippling and moving as if alive, as if a liquid flame enveloped him with a single point charred black, the Reaper’s chest, the nanomaterial slowly repairing the damage.

The slow walk slowly turned into a brisk one and then the Silver Reaper was a blaze of speed, his infamous coat expanding and fluttering like a demonic cloak. Before anyone registered it, the man was standing in front of the Medic and the Iranian, that is where Crow smiled as he gazed upon the broken heap of bones and flesh.

“Death follows me, yet it is denied for I shun it. I ask this, one final time.” Crow spoke, his voice no longer the imperial superiority that it was but pure menace. A single tear of blood dripping down the Lost Number’s scarred eye.

“What is the lesson?” As he spoke, the fabric of his coat rippled once more, two thin blade like constructs forming from the Lost Numbers back. Like massive spider legs, the spiked appendage narrowed down on the Medic and Iranian, resting at their chest.

Between the two asylums, it was obvious who took the blunt destruction of the Death Drive. Cade felt concern at the numbness etched across his figure. The lightning had cooked his insides causing organ failure and complete shutting down. His hearing had diminished greatly in one ear causing him to barely hear Angel’s question, but it didn’t matter. He knew it by heart now.

Jagged black lines raced along his flesh on various locations. Hot enough it burned the clothing, revealing peel back flesh, muscle and singed bone underneath. A smell of overcooked meat soiled the air with its foul stench causing Cade’s stomach to churn, threatening to toss out whatever liquid filled it. He had reached the point that the nerves no longer registered the pain.

A flaking, half bald head weakly tilted toward the Lost Number’s direction. Samad, he could faintly sense, was out cold. Unable to reply and leaving it all to Cade to either end their misery slow or quickly.

“Teamwork...” the medic wheezed, faintly through his parched lips.

As Cade spoke Angel’s face remained blank, his gaze drilling into the Medic as the spider-like appendage remained positioned at their hearts and just for a brief second it appeared as if the answer didn’t satisfy the Reaper but a single word from the Chrono appeared to snap Angel from his state.

“Close enough,” the Chrono replied apathetically, her tone simply stating a fact though she didn’t seem to deter the Lost Number from carrying out the execution.

“Close enough,” Angel finally mimed his partner, nodding and heaving a weary sigh. It took the Reaper a second or so to realize that he was actually wearing Aegis and then the Lost Number began laughing. “Seems like I lost,” he finally accepted with a shrug. “Another lesson that my devious partner seemed to want to teach you, kids, never underestimate your opponent and overestimate yourself.” With those final words. the Lost Number telekinetically lifted the injured duo and walked away to the infirmary, a golden glow shrouding the two activating healing alchemy in order to stabilize the two.

“Suppose there is hope for those two after all.”

Hidden 6 mos ago 5 mos ago Post by Rtron
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The crowd had gone silent as the fight between Cade and Angel began. The match went out about how Lawrence expected it, with Cade being completely out of his element against the Lost Number. The medic did end up surprising Lawrence with the flash that blinded Angel enough to go on the defensive. For a moment. Angel once again got on top and started torturing the man.

Without looking away from the fight, Lawrence reached out and caught Olivia’s arm. The woman stood up and was fully intent on stopping the fight. “Don’t,” he said firmly. He jerked his head towards Samad, who was entering the box. “He’s not your problem.” He could feel Oliva’s eyes burning into the side of his head as he watched the fight. Eventually, she sat back down and folded her arms across her chest.

Soon, the fight was over, and Samad and Cade were both taken back to the infirmary. Lawrence rose to his feet and made his way to the box. He’d be facing off against Maeve, how appropriate, the deaf man against the banshee. Once he was on his side of the box, he faced Maeve and bowed his head slightly.

“It’s going to be hard to top the last fight,” Lawrence said sardonically to the banshee before taking a defensive stance.

Maeve sighed and then leaned against the wall, watching Cade get the shit beat out of him. Angel had a point beyond this, it was just taking Samad forever to get it. Not surprising, she supposed, considering that he was an asshole who didn’t care for anyone but himself, and not even very much of that.

After it was over, and Angel carried the two broken Asylums out of The Box, she took her position across from Lawrence. “Of course we can, after all, you’re gonna give me more of a fight than Cade gave Angel right? Out come is gonna be the same for you, certainly, but we can make it a show.”

Maeve smirked, rocking lightly back and forth on her heels. She apparently didn’t consider Lawrence a threat or a challenge. ”I’ll give you the first go.”

”Very well,” Lawrence said as he moved cautiously towards Maeve, still in a defensive stance, his fingers twitching slightly. “I am curious, though. Just how reliant are you on your hearing? Obviously, I’m standing in front of you, talking.” Warm air blew at Maeve’s neck and his voice whispered behind her. “But how would you react to silence?”[/color]

After Lawrence finished speaking, an all surrounding silence filled The Box, and Lawrence stepped forward and threw a jab at Maeve.

Maeve grinned at the voice behind her. ”I’ve survived over a dozen missions with the Ante Mortem. You’re gonna have to do better than that.” As her hearing disappeared she took a step back, hand raising as if in surprise. When Lawrence got close, dozens of shards of bone shot from her hand, straight at him. Not big enough to do any serious damage, unless they hit an eye, but it’d sting like all hell.

She immediately ducked low afterwards, pivoting on her hands and kicking her leg out in an attempt to sweep Lawrence’s legs out from beneath him.

Lawrence hissed as the bone shards stuck into him, others slicing past him and leaving small cuts. A few quick soundless words and the bones embedded in him extracted themselves and fell to the ground. The leg sweep knocked him to the ground and knocked the wind out of him. He rolled backwards and away from Maeve, attempting to keep his distance. His mouth started moving again and soon, voices barely perceptible began to whisper in her ears.

Maeve’s fist crashed where Lawrence’s head had been moments before, smoothly rising to her own feet as he rolled away. ”Come now, the voices won’t work on me.” She found it odd to speak but not hear her own voice. It was a minor thing, tucked into the back of her mind as she focused on Lawrence.

Again, Lawrence assumed a defensive stance and waited for Maeve to make her move. He circled around her slowly, his eyes scanning the ring and the area around it.

She walked towards him, arms raised. As she did so, bone sprouted from her forearms and began to rapidly take shape, forming two Tonfas on Maeve’s arms. At the same time, thick bone covered her knee. Just wide enough to give her knees more impact, but not wide enough to impede movement. She gave her new weapons an experimental jab and move, nodding in satisfaction. Muttering a quick phrase in Irish, a light layer of bone covering her back and the back of her head, Maeve darted forward, launching a punch at Lawrence’s chest.

Lawrence threw his arm across his body to slap the outside of Maeve’s arm and deflect the punch away from his chest. In his scan of the surroundings, he spotted Olivia moving from where she had been sitting towards Kiara. The beginnings of an idea started to form in his mind. As he stayed on the defensive with Maeve, we watched as Olivia took a seat next to Kiara. The whispers in Maeve’s ears faded away as was replaced with the murmurings of the crowd, and soon after, Olivia’s voice.

“My money’s on Maeve.”

Lawrence shook his head slightly, and the whispers started to return.

As her arm was slapped away, Maeve stepped into the motion before jerking her elbow back towards Lawrence’s ribs. The end of the bone tonfa moved unnaturally fast towards his ribs, aided by her alchemy.

As she heard the voice of Olivia, she shook her head, smiling ruefully. “You two haven’t figured things out yet, eh?”

Kiara looked over at Olivia, eyebrow raised. “What, no faith in your partner? You may be right though. He’s letting her set the pace, and that’s dangerous with someone like Maeve. Unless he’s got a secret plan up his sleeve, he’s gonna lose.”

Lawrence pivoted on his feet and the tonfa whistled past, just barely grazing his his side. A few quick steps back and he was out of Maeve’s reach for the moment.

Olivia giggled. :Quite the opposite, actually. It’s just that we always keep our link open. Something about having an extra set of ears being helpful. I don’t know. I’m just trying to annoy him. Payback for him always fiddling with his stupid Rubik’s cube. I don’t care if he says it’s to keep his fingers from itching, whatever that means. It’s sooooo annoying.” The corner of Lawrence’s mouth twitched.

“Well, at least you’ve learned that. Some of our teammates haven’t learned to connect, and that’ll get them killed.”

Olivia clapped her hands together. “Ah, there it is. I’m good now. Maeve may be setting the pace, but that’s how he works.” She leaned forward and muttered under her breath. ”Everybody’s got a rhythm.” Her fingers drumming idly against the seat in a rhythm that followed along with Maeve’s movement. She winced and held a hand up to her ribs as Maeve just barely brushed past Lawrence.

Kiara looked pointedly at Olivia’s tapping fingers. She knew how easy it’d be to aid either of their partners without anyone knowing. She didn’t think the two would cheat, but neither did she doubt it’d be possible. “And everyone has a shadow. How long have you two been working together?”

Maeve fell back into a stance, slightly frustrated. This wasn’t working. He’d just keep dodging until she left an opening. New strategy then. She took a step forward, aiming a straight punch towards Lawrence’s head. It fell several inches short, and right as it did Maeve spoke. Dall. A bright, blinding, ray of light burst from the tonfa, aimed directly at Lawrence’s face.

Olivia tilted her head to the side. ”Well, we’ve been Asylums for four years, but we both arrived here about fifteen years ago. I was not in a good place and he helped me figure things out after I surged.” She leaned back, pulled her knees close to her chest and hugged them. ”I think the only reason he’s an Asylum is because he stayed to help me…:

Lawrence risked a glance over Maeve’s shoulder towards the bleachers where Olivia sat and grimaced. She was close to another spiral and he didn’t have the time to stop her from descending it. He had to hope that Maeve’s partner would do something. It was as he turned back to the fight that he realized that he had messed up. Maeve’s tonfa was pointed right in his face. Then he was blinded by the sudden flash of light that erupted from the bone weapon.

On the bleachers, Olivia gasped loudly and started rubbing her eyes. Whatever Maeve had done to blind Lawrence, it affected Olivia as well. ”Stupid open link” She grumbled as she tried to rub the afterimage out of her eyes.

Lawrence mentally cursed as the light blinded him. He massaged his eyes furiously to try to stop the afterimage. The gasp he heard from Olivia was perfect, though. He had been trying to figure out a way to introduce the next element into the fight. Right after Olivia’s gasp, a familiar, obnoxious voice spoke up, but only in Maeve’s ear as if it were still part of what Olivia was hearing.

“Your partner sure did a number on me. Don’t you dare move or say a word or the pretty one here gets a knife between the ribs. Too bad you aren’t fighting in the box, or else I woulda been able to stick that damn siren. You’ll do, though. What are the chances of another Asylum surviving a partner’s death, hmmm?”

Kiara looked over at Oliva, concerned. “I’m sure there’s more to it than that. You’re both remarkably well connected and working together. You support each other. There are teams who have been working together four times as long as you, and still refuse to connect and work together. They stumble through things, loathing each other. Trust me Olivia, he needs you as much as you need him.” She leaned in conspiratorially. “And if you ask me, you got the better end of the deal. Do you know how often Maeve’s thoughts run, ah, risque? A lot! I don’t need to have her sudden daydreams when I’m on a mission.”

“A tip? Close your link just a little. You’ll still be able to sense him and hear his thoughts, but things that affect him shouldn’t hit you too hard. If you play with it, you might be able to leave him with that hearing he likes so much.”

Maeve frowned, about to protest, when the voice slid through her ear. It was that bastard from before they all gathered on the mission in Venice, the one who bragged about killing kids. She visibly stiffened, and instead of capitalizing on Lawrence’s blindness her head whipped to Kiara.

Kiara! Does that fucker have you!?

What? Who are you talking about Maeve. I’m just chatting with Lawrence’s partner. She’s a really sweet girl.

Ohhh. That clever son of a bitch.

I’m sure his mother isn’t a dog.

You’re not funny.

I disagree!

Maeve looked back at Lawrence and shook her head. He almost had her, if he hadn’t forgot to account for their own link. It was “That was clever, I’ll give you that.” She suddenly rushed in, faking a punch to his head again and sweeping her leg low.

Lawrence continued a stream of curses in his mind as he had to use the distraction to work on clearing up his vision. Which it mostly had, the lower half of his vision was yet to return. He smirked as he read Maeve’s lips. Had he not been against an Asylum, it would have definitely given him an advantage. He ducked out of the way of what he thought to be a punch, and once again was caught by her leg. With his legs swept out from underneath him again within moments, he fell to the ground and hit hard.

The moment he hit the ground, something in Lawrence’s mind snapped, and a void filled the place where Olivia’s presence should have been. He his mouth stopped moving, and shroud of silence and the whispers in Maeve’s ears stopped.

Olivia grinned at Kiara, ”Yeah, I’ve seen her flirting firsthand. If she’s like that all the time, I don’t envy you. Though, I’m not sure if you could handle all the counting” She looked over to The Box just as Maeve was running towards Lawrence. ”I don’t usually work with the link that much. It’s usually all him, though it is open more than it was before I approached you. It’s weird, I’m not sure…” Olivia frowned and folded her arms. ”Oh, smart. I don’t like being used like that, but-” Olivia stopped talking, and stood up, the look on her face slowly shifting to horror. She slowly held a hand up to her head.

Gone.

It was gone.

Her link to Lawrence was gone.

She dropped to a crouched position, covered her head, and let out a scream.
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Xx---------------------------xX
Experimental Team
Xx---------------------------xX


Time: Some time after the fight between Cade and Samad vs Angel.
Location: Void






Before the next match started Cade and Samad had already been placed in the fishtanks with numerous support staff surrounding the duo. A specialized division had already been called to perform alchemic healing on the Iranian and the Medic. Their bodies as well as their alchemic drives seemed to be in a critical state meanwhile a custom built ‘fishtank’ had been brought in for the Lost Number, the primary difference being that it had no anesthetics and as such you would not be forced to lose consciousness.

“Such a handful these young alchemists, the whole lot of em…” Angel mused as the green liquid filled the tank and covered him entirely, his chest heaving steadily while breathing through the sinister looking oxygen device planted on his face. Might as well give those two a chance to sort somethings out, could be amusing… The Lost Number contemplated, a smirk spreading across his face over the devious ideas formulating.

I walk the void and you walk with me, the Silver Reaper mumbled, his gaze settled on the air bubbles surfacing the tank, watching them slowing and then stillness, stillness all around and then a shrill disturbance bombarded Angel before the world shattered around him

Angel, Re…. we……. help…..link…...hurt….reconnect…

“What?” Angel thought suddenly, just realizing that both his palms were pressed to his ears. “That was….unusual….a side effect of the alchemic poisoning perhaps?” The Reaper thought to himself, his intrigue eventually fading away as soon as Cade and Samad’s consciousness materialized in this word, their bodies representing how they view themselves as well as the state of their mind.

Angel was dressed as he was before when in the void, dressed in a fine black suit with a red waistcoat, his hair far neater and longer, almost below his shoulders. He wore no glasses but both his eye sockets were shrouded in swirling pools of darkness. “And how are you lads?” With that questions the blank white world around them suddenly shifted and warped until the three were standing in a massive, victorian inspired gothic library. Gargoyles rested on massive pillars with isles of endless bookshelves next to them and the only source of light, a pleasant glow from countless candles spread around.

Cade was the first to appear.

The blonde asylum’s thin legs straightened then found a wobbly balance. Quickly his arms and electrical wings spread out to assist, easing him away from performing a face plant into the floor. His appearance seemed unchanged, but the aura felt stronger. A sense of awareness and budding confidence surged through his veins to spread into it.

Before Cade could fully absorbed what was happening, his ears caught Angel’s comment. His eyes, sparking slightly with electric blue, blinked in confusion.

“Please tell me you’re not here to finish the job you started…”

Angel did not look amused, if this was a joke, instead he observed Cade with a rather weary and blank expression. “There would be far easier ways to kill someone Medic, you should know that. And I take offense that you assumed I would attempt such a thing when I was obviously giving you two some enlightenment in regarding to the slump you both are in.” As the Lost Number spoke he summoned a throne like chair which materialized out of thin air. This endeavour had taken much out of him, which was quite peculiar and even more so was the strain his mind was facing, he found it hard to focus as if his sight was constantly switching to his peripheral.

“I had assumed our little sparring would have had an impact on both your psyche and I see yours has improved considerably, though your partner…..” Angel tapped his temple as his hollow gaze found the Iranian.

Cade had been about to point out there was far better ways to improve an individual’s psyche than trying to kill them both. His words caught in his throat as his attention turned with Angel’s gaze. He finally found his partner’s figure sitting in the corner. Samad’s face had a skull-like appearance in the candlelight, his eyes glazed over and his attention ignoring the conversation between the pair.

The medic’s heart sank at seeing the new appearance his partner had taken. It looked like all will to fight and life had evaporated from his spirit, killing him slowly.

No coaxing was needed when he moved from Angel toward Samad. Gently his fingers pressed to the Iranian’s neck, searching for the pulse for several moments. It was faintly beating and appeared to rest into an irregular beat. Samad didn’t acknowledge his exist at the gesture.

Immediately Cade turned on heel to ask Angel where his medical bag was before his foot smacked something heavy. His head turned downward, blinking in surprise. His bag was sitting near his foot. Not bothering to question this world’s logic, he bent down and snatched it up. Gradually his hand rummaged through it for something to check Samad’s blood pressure. A cuff attached to a hand pump emerged then shortly was about to be applied. As if noticing him for the first time, Samad’s head snapped into his direction then growled.

“Leave me alone…”

Cade just frowned, “Are you really going to do this all over again?”

“How utterly dull,” Angel bemoaned, his tone regaining its tauntingly imperious touch. His fingers continued to tap the side of his temple in a rhythmic pattern.

Tap, tap, stop. Tap, tap, stop. Tap, tap, stop.


His hollow, blackened gaze switching from Cade to Samad and often simply staring past them and then returning back to them with a slight shake of the head. Something is a miss….what is it….it’s in the corner of my eye….I just can’t catch it… Angel mused silently while observing the Medic and the Iranian with the silent tune of his tapping.

“As I said before, there are easier ways to die,” Angel finally interrupted the two Asylums, his blackened eyes resting atop the fool of the two. “A time comes when a choice is needed, live. And to live it to suffer. Or die. And to die is to fail. You are in a merciless bog, decide, clutch to frail branches and flail in hopes to survive or descend and suffocate for eternity.”

Cade shot a glare at Angel. He honestly didn’t expect it to affect the Lost Number in the least, but doing so made him feel better at least.

Samad didn’t seem to care what Angel thought. Not even the tapping seemed to grate on the Iranian’s nerves while Samad continued to stare off into space. His hand folded under his chin and eyes unable to make contact with either of them.

“I like to think life is a bit more complicated than merely clutching to frail branches and flailing about,” Cade commented.

He had hoped to draw Samad to him and tap into the broken link between them, seeking answers to his questions. Naturally he hit a mental wall. His wings flickered in intensity to reflect his annoyance.

“I don’t know what happened to your old partner, but you can’t just give up. This isn’t just your choice anymore. It’s ours. The sooner you realize that, the better it is… I’m not ready to just give up yet,” Cade stepped back as electrical energy surged along his back, shoulders and arms, “Now, get up and let us get out of here.”

“Not to interrupt such a fine and valiant moment but there maybe a slight hindrance,” the Lost Number spoke casually as he finally ceased tapping his temple. Things finally made a bit of sense. The mind numbing headache, his lack of focus, the ever so subtle distortions and those sounds, the pull.

“What do you mean? You brought us into this… now you can’t simply dissipate it?”

“Not per say, I can most certainly leave. The architect always has a single key….in most cases the key isn’t required, the mind is calm enough to phase through the void. Though it seems everything is fractured, the void is quite literally splintered and it seems you all are tethered.” Angel drew a sigh, his fingers clutching the bridge of his nose as if explaining the intricacies to the void was quite the chore. “Following?”

Cade turned from Samad to Angel, his lips tightened into a deeper frown and his expression souring quickly. Samad’s issues were enough, but now he had to deal with Angel’s inability to release them. His electrical energy instantly fizzed out as his right hand pinched his nose bridge in frustration. The left hand supported his right elbow while he forced himself to calm down.

“I’ve never said this to anyone until now. You and your partner attracts trouble like magnets. Whatever can go wrong, will in your presence,” Cade’s eyes opened after briefly closing.

His head glanced back at Samad still indifferent to the rising trouble. He turned back to Angel with a sharp reply, “Being the designer of this place, you can go any time. Your ‘guests’- Samad and I- have no such luxury right now.”

He paused to breath then continued, “Someone or thing has broken your design, which has us stuck here. Is that the bare bones of it?”

“In a highly crude and simpleton manner, I suppose. It’s not just you and Samad, but we need not dwell on that.” Angel casually brushed any further questions on the matter and moved on. “My designs are flawless boy, all your survival is a testament to that. And it is true my ‘guests’ cannot eject from the Void, I nudge them out. As I mentioned you are all tethered and that may have arisen from the fracture in the void but have no doubts, each of you is unwilling to leave.”

“If I wasn’t willing to leave, I wouldn’t be asking Samad to get up and leave with me….,” Cade’s arms crossed over his middle.

“It is not up to your conscious mind boy. It is normal for the subconscious to be latched to fears and regrets. All it took was a minute distortion and it tethered you all.” Angel shook his head almost as if disappointed, his gaze once more losing focus and then returning.

“Yes, just like a ‘pain’ can be physically manifested when a patient thinks they are hurt. However, wouldn’t that reflect on our psyche manifestations in the Void?” Cade pointed out, noting his appeared better rather than worse.

Angel simply pointed towards the Medic, his hollow gaze now fixed on the roof. “That is your conscious manifestation. It is true that any influential impact outside the void will show changes, it is how you view yourself. You who have always struggled with your own self worth, upon witnessing it, you changed. The Iranian saw his failure, his ineptitude, he saw the reality that he is a corpse decaying. All of that is almost gentle compared to your ‘Red Doors’.” As the Reaper spoke his tone had taken an almost somber tone, the subject matter was not one which even he would jest over. “It is your shame, it is your regrets, it is your fear, a tether to the Void and a stain to the soul….do you understand boy?”

“Calling me boy isn’t helping, but yes… I think I understand on a crude level,” Cade replied.

“A thousand years and you cannot comprehend the sheer magnitude of it, that is why you... are...a boy. But it is refreshing to see an infant grow. You have yet to grasp your potential, to know what the experiment is, to know your contribution, the sacrifice. We are indeed the harbingers of misfortune, the little one and I, and yet the debt that is owed is always forgotten. How trivial it would be to let it all collapse.” At this point Angel didn’t seem to be addressing the duo, it almost seemed as if he were talking to his own reflection. “How tiring it is, how exhausting. It would be a simple matter to leave now, to not face what will come...all it takes is a word and the rest is ash. Do it….”

Before Angel could continue his focus realigned on the duo in front of him. The Lost Number’s appearance had changed, a slight wither in everything. The fabric, the hair, the posture. “This will be good for the two of you. You both need to face the things holding you back and I believe it is something that will certainly assist the Iranian in forging his way forward, yes?”

Cade’s gut feeling stirred into the bottom of his stomach. It churned and thickened, becoming a heavy weight that settled there. If he could see his insides, he was sure they were twisted in many knots.

“By your philosophy, it might… if we could survive it.” Cade simply confirmed, but not officially answering with a yes or no.

He was cautious over Angel’s abrupt change in appearance. Unsure what it was reflected as the consciousness appeared to have changed drastically in an unpleasant way. He couldn’t control his right angelic wing extending slightly and curved around his side, shielding him almost from what was about to come.

“I am sure you both will. You are young, there are far...far greater regrets and fears than what you may ever know. Seek solace that there are souls out there more damned then you will ever be.” With that Angel finally lifted himself of his throne which suddenly turned to dust, his body toiling to stand against a wall. “How easy it would have been….” with a slight chuckle the Lost Number vanished, his body phasing through the wall causing a ripple to travel across the world the Lost Number had created.
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