The Spoils of War, and Other Consequent Shakeups'I have no sexual interest in her,'
Motley told the drone. 'And I assure you, she was never in a good spot to win.'
He wasn't certain the announcer had heard him, and alas wouldn't have the opportunity to proceed with future questioning, as he was already flying away, once more out the door. Nonetheless, that left him alone with his foe and the box, which when opened revealed something that looked very much like a lighter, with, what else but, a light switch on the side. And yet when he flicked the top open and pushed the switch up, what he was presented with was... well, in place of a fuel nozzle, what almost appeared to be a light-emitting diode, rising and falling, turning on and off, as he flicked the switch in the corresponding direction.
But something like that was sure to be more than just an overcomplicated torch. Weren't these meant to be artifacts of significant strength? Or at least esoteric powers - much like Stands, now that he considered it. So who knew? Perhaps turning it on and off was summoning and unsummoning some form of powerful spirit... or secretly encouraging a burst of flame? He couldn't say without testing it... outside, of course, just in case, for the threat of rain was no issue for him.
So first, Motley tried to get it to shoot fire, in some form or another. No dice.
Next, he wondered if perhaps it would act as a magic wand of some sort. Though he succeeded in looking somewhat foolish for a few minutes, this also bore no fruit.
And after that, he went back to pure offensive possibilities, this time the firing of immense light beams, or ice shards, or bullets, or even just rubber balls, anything and everything he could think of. Still nothing.
At this point, Motley decided to take it back inside, not wanting to overfrustrate himself on dead ends. Though it represented quite the riddle, it was certainly one worth figuring out, whether by the light of the Sun or by that of the television, currently showing a news story about a war somewhere or other. And that sparked another idea: could it turn electronics on and off remotely? Such a widespread possibility would certainly be useful, of course... especially if one of his foes possessed some electrically-powered device.
And upon pointing it at the television and willing something to happen, the lights in the device went out, seeming very much like they'd been sucked into the object in his hand. Success at last, perhaps. He quickly closed the lighter, just in case it automatically undid his progress, only to realise that though it refused to show an image, the TV still emitted sound. Which meant it wasn't off... at least, not until Motley turned it off, and then back on, only to find it still lacked an image. Which meant... what?Think through the possibilities,
Motley reminded himself, falling back on the knowledge of quite a few fights with Ripple bearers and Stand users alike. Very rarely was everything as it seemed in those cases, particularly when it came to Stands. The television has no image, but is otherwise fully functional, so it's not a device to turn other devices on and off. It looked like it took the light from the television, so does it absorb abstract concepts? No, that seems a bit too off-the-wall... but it did get rid of the light. So what if...?
Casually, he flicked the device open again, observing the LED at its tip. Then he aimed it back towards the television, willing the device to... he supposed to return the light it had stolen to its rightful place. Lo and behold, there was light once again. And all back in the right place, to boot - he seemed to recall televisions having large numbers of tiny pixels lighting up individually rather than being a single projected image, so that was at least quite impressive. Again, he willed the light to be stolen from the television, only to put it back once again. And then from only half of the pixels in the telly, such that it appeared there was but one news reporter discussing something with a black void, before the lights representing his partner were returned.
And lastly, he strode outside, just to make sure he could test his theory on something more definite. Say, the convenient light pole a few meters away from where he and his recent opponent had been. Again, he willed the light to be taken, and again it vanished, an orb of it seeming to ride out of the lamp and into the lighter, only to return, be stolen, and return again as he commanded, so long as the object remained open.
He'd done it, then. He'd figured out how the artifact worked... and in only an hour or so. Not his quickest feat of deduction, but considering he'd had exactly no hints on how to use it in the first place, it was still very impressive.
But now the question presented itself: what in the Hell would this possibly be useful for? It was hardly- well, he supposed he could try to steal the light of the Sun itself, but all things considered, that was no more than a fool's hope. Other, smaller, closer sources of UV light, however, would be great targets for the lighter... yes, that would certainly throw off his foes.
But until then... well, he would continue to watch television. And perhaps work on improving his tactics - he didn't want to be caught out by his next foe, after all, under the assumption that they were less dangerous than they truly were.
Throughout the night, his former opponent remained unconscious, or perhaps merely asleep for much of the night time. Regardless of physical injury, having one's life energy drained certainly required rest more than anything else. And, it occurred to him as he recalled the moment, she surely had much more of it than any usual human... perhaps a form of immortality, but it wasn't stolen time, the way his life had been artificially extended. No, judging by her hatred of undeath, any longevity she had would be purely natural. But of course, he'd have to ask about that... and she seemed to be recalcitrant when it came to questioning.
He might have mused until she awoke, if the entire city hadn't suddenly begun shaking with the sound of four separate, and very loud explosions, though even this was barely enough to get her to stir in her sleep. And not long after that, the noise of... invasion, perhaps. Helicopters, it seemed, as well as far stranger entities prowling the streets even in Oldtown. And if he looked in the right direction, above the cloud line... something huge and ominous lurked.
The fox-girl awoke just as the tournament's announcer began describing- from their phylacteries, no less- how they were dealing with the problem at hand. Problems, actually. Not just the force finding their way into the city, but the existence of something called "Echoes", phasing in where they didn't belong, as well as "Factions" that Motley was barely interested in. Though the idea of new artifacts to play with... if they were better than the one he currently possessed, they'd certainly be worth utilising.
And then, of course, the next step of the game: finding and defeating his next opponent. From the sound of things, he'd already been assigned somebody, who he had to find within the span of the day, or else... well, he presumed death, or at least being escorted off the premises by the city's staff. And that meant travelling elsewhere, possibly a great distance. Good thing, then, that they had the opportunity to get help from the announcer, up to three times before the lifelife was exhausted, up to and including linking his phylactery with his opponent's until they met. (And as it happened, it was almost literally one of the lifelines from Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?
, replicated thrice over. Even the given name was the same. Who could have known?)'Sooo... I guess I lost, huh?'
Oh, right. He had that to think about, too. 'Yes, you did,'
Motley confirmed, turning to face the girl. 'To my understanding, that means you are now my thrall, as it were. Therefore, I would like you to fight alongside me.''Damn. And here I was, thinking I'd finally get that unlimited cooking skill I'd always wanted.'
...well, at least she knew what she wanted, even if what she wanted was peurile and unambitious. And from the sudden expression on her face, followed by a sudden escape from the building, what she wanted right then was... probably more private than Motley wanted to listen in on. Oh, that was right, mere mortals needed to excrete waste, didn't they?Oh, fucking shit.
They also needed to eat and drink,
which meant Motley had to feed
the girl, not least because he'd taken some of her energy mere hours ago. His plan for gathering to himself a small army of allies to assist in fights was already going awry.
She returned from whatever bush she'd gone behind sooner rather than later, by which point Motley was already out in the morning's light, his breathing as steady as necessary to keep up his shield of Negative Ripple against its rays. From the look of things, most of the area was badly swamped with water by now. Lucky for him, he had the capacity to walk atop water with relative ease, or even float in the air if he focused. He hoped the fox-girl could fly, though, else he'd need to carry her everywhere. And on that note, he couldn't just keep calling her "fox-girl" either. Who knew how effective the phylactery's hold over her was?'I need to know your name,'
Motley stated before she could say anything. 'And don't try to come up with anything absurd. My Stand lets me sniff out lies like that.'
Technically not true, but he was sure he'd be able to figure out whether or not she was lying from the context.'I wasn't gonna lie!'
the fox-girl protested, before striking what was either meant to be an honest or dramatic pose. 'I NEVER lie, or my name isn't Erina, the Itinerant Exorcist!''Motley Crue. Charmed. And an exorcist, eh? That explains the flames and paper sheets.''Yep! I hunt ghouls, ghosts, goblins, and trolls, and other undead beasts!''Goblins aren't undead. Neither are trolls, at that,'
Motley mused. 'I think you're lying about those last two.''Well, whatever you think isn't going to change reality. Like the reality that even though you are a ghost-possessed vampire, I can't do anything to you if I'm a thrall... so I might as well make the best of it, right?''Whatever makes you happy. I imagine finding my opponent might take a while, though. Do follow on.'
With that said, he began walking off, leaving her to catch up at whatever pace she felt was appropriate. He had places to be, and if he was to get to his foe on time, he'd need to keep moving almost constantly throughout the day. If she couldn't keep up... well, he'd still have to carry her, or risk losing an ally in the city. Damn. He hoped she was fit enough that that wouldn't be necessary after all.