Mika was smiling as she pushed a certain someone around in a wheelchair.
The sky was getting dark, and there was some announcement about a new leader of Penrose, but there were other magical girls that could deal with that. It would be a long time before Mika ran off by herself again. "Good day for a stroll, ay, Lupa?"
What happened during the skeleton incident made Mika sad. But it was like Helga said: They would find a way to save her. It was evident Lupa wanted Mika to live, and that couldn't happen if she was constantly blaming herself for what had happened. Keeping her head up was the best way to honor what Lupa did for her. That didn't mean Mika would forget about the event any time soon, but she wouldn't let her friend's sacrifice consume her.“It is.”
Lupa wasn't really talking. Mika had made a dream catcher and filled it with those jewels on Lupa's head. She wasn't really good at making Lupa walk, as Mika had to focus on where she and Lupa were going. She practiced in the hotel and nearly ran the wolf girl over a balcony. So for now, she'd just use a wheelchair to help her get around. Even if she behaved like a doll, Mika couldn't confirm Lupa's sense of self was gone. And even if she didn't, these types of outings had to be good for Lupa. As a side effect of wearing the jewels, Lupa would occasionally speak bits of dialog that Mika was telling herself. “Wait, I don't need to go to the pit stop today. Su probably got breakfast on her way out of town.”
Mika smacked her forehead. "How silly of me!"
Of course, she should be going anyway just to see if Veronica has anything for her. Not that she actually saw her. Mika would just notice a note had been placed on her person when she left. But such things hadn't happened for a week now. She didn't know Veronica, but it was still concerning to think that something happened to one of Su's bosses. "Well, we still haven't eaten yet!"
Of course there was another reason why Mika was so eager to go to the pit stop every day. That was where that nameless girl had given her a large portion of her meal. She wanted to know her name, she wanted to say thank you. She wanted to eat that crumbled mess of a donut on the ground. “Donut! Or doughnut if you're a british-english speaker.”
Mika picked up the donut, or at least what was left of it. Normally she'd just scarf it down and thank the food gods that blessed her with a free donut, but that wasn't right. This would be the second time Mika had decided to partake in free food without offering anything in return. The situation was also a bit different than last time. She was no detective, but this donut didn't just roll off a plate. It hit the ground with a considerable amount of force. If she was a detective, she might try to deduce possibilities until she found something that sounded good. But she was a magical girl. She could do one better.
Mika set the donut in Lupa's lap before diving into a trash can. When she emerged, she was a fully transformed magical girl. There was a napkin stuck to one of her ears, but that was fine. Now her superior nose could pick up on the scent on the donut. Or more specifically, it's former owner. The scent seemed to be coming from the roof of this building. Though it was unclear if they tried to throw the donut at someone, or simply dropped it. "You don't throw food at people unless you hate them. And donuts are way too soft! Haha!"
Mika was proud of her deduction.“I'll become an ace detective in no time.”
So Mika decided to go ahead with her plan, which she hatched just a few seconds ago. Still transformed, she ran into the nearest bakery and purchased a dozen donuts. Mika was an expert donut connoisseur, and she wasn't going to get any of those nasty donuts. She grabbed apple fritters, Bavarian cream, long johns, sour cream, cronut, glazed, but she stayed away from the dreaded powdered-jelly filled ones. She made her purchase swiftly, and everyone was more than happy to help the “gypsy” get out of the bakery as fast as possible."Alright Lupa, let's go!"
Mika needed to mentally command Lupa to get out of the wheelchair and wrap her arms around Mika's shoulders. Mika placed the bag of donuts in her mouth started to scale the building. This was hardly difficult, as Mika was fairly strong, and could make her own holds with the claws on her fingers and toes.
Before long, Rina would be alerted to the sound of something crawling up the side of the building. When she inevitably looked up, she'd she a feline magical girl holding a bag in her mouth. One clearly marked with the insignia of the local bakery. And she wasn't alone, a girl with a wool cap was hanging off of her back. “My shot at love is finally here!”
Lupa wasn't looking at anyone when she said this, and the response caused Mika's eyes to expand into saucers. She needed to take direct control of Lupa for a moment. “Sorry, I have a habit of pretending to be my friend's thoughts.”
A short pause. “Because it embarrasses her.”
Another moment of silence. “I mean, she might want to be friends with you, or more, whatever you're okay with. Maybe you could just see how it goes and decide on things in a couple of months.”
Rina was pretty sure she could hear a few crickets. “Man I love playing jokes on my friend. I'm Lupa, this is Mika. She bought too many donuts, so just take the bag out of her mouth and we can share them with you.”
A magical girl was always at her most vulnerable while she was transforming. Unlike in the TV shows, their opponents weren't always chivalrous enough to wait for the good guys to power up to full fighting strength. Most would take the opportunity to crush their opponent flat. Fortunately, magical girls are indistinguishable from their true selves, minus a few traits. So most girls are safe so long as their transformations are fast, or done in a secluded place where they risk little chance of being discovered.
Amaryllis had chosen to transform in front of a restaurant. There were no obvious dangers. No present magical girls, no monsters, just the darkness looming in the sky. This seemed like as good as any place to transform. But as she would soon discover, that was not the case.”Gaaahhhhhhhh!”
a timid-looking girl
ran up behind Amaryllis and bear-hugged her. ”Not so fast, Mint scum!”
In her current untransformed state, Amaryllis was about as strong as her attacker. Before she could even think about what to do next, the timid girl let go of Amaryllis and shoved her closer to the wall. Once she regained her footing, the timid girl “trapped” Amaryllis between her arms, her body, and the wall of the restaurant. ”Don't even think about transforming again!”
She fret her brow. ”I know a special technique to make it impossible for you to react! So don't even try it!”
She squinted her eyes. ”I-I really don't want to use it.”
Su was flying back into Penrose. This all had to be connected somehow. The weather, Amber's missing body, she had no proof but it all had to be connected. ”Boteg, I'm going to investigate the disturbance.”
It was only a matter of time before he contacted her about it. Might as well just speed things along. ”This one looks bad. I'm going to need backup. Send Helga this way on the double!”
A burst of wind erupted behind Su, accelerating her through the sky.
Boteg was standing in his office in his “human” form, which looked more like a man with the head of a golden dragon. "Watch thyself, Sky Scare. Thou shall not become reckless."
he placed his fingers against his temple. "Dragon's Scare, Sky Scare hath beseech thee for help. Prithee grant thy ally assistance, less a waggish dread-bolted foot-licker end us all! Hollowed ground is thy destination. Fare thee well, Dragon Scare."
Penrose’s cemetery was an eerie place. With the dead piling up by the day, it seemed like the graveyard was constantly expanding. There was always a few open holes in the ground, and construction equipment was always on hand. The graves use to be at least ten feet apart, but the space had narrowed considerably over the years. There had been an article a while back about the costs associated with a funeral were going up because things were getting so full. It suggested cremation instead, calling a traditional burial “a luxury for the excessively wealthy.” And perhaps such a statement was true. Most of the graves were marked with polished marble, rows and rows of ebony leading up to an onyx mausoleum. The bates ventured closer with their cargo in tow.
For the dark-aligned twins, it would not be hard for them to know they were not alone. Horror minions lurked in the shadows, flitting, hiding, occasionally looking about the scene for any possible intruders. It was already a creepy sight if there was one, but the onyx mausoleum itself seemed to be the source. It emanated a dark energy, an alien kind of vibe that for any regular person would send their survival instincts into an utter frenzy. For a magical girl, there was no doubt a horror, a greater one, was doing something here."The king has arrived!"
Elroy raised the body over his head, as if he was going to throw it, then gently placed it at the foot of the crypt.
Regina shook her head. "We’ve brought the final component, as promised." ”The master sends his….regards for the splendid job you have done,”
a man standing in the mausoleum entrance said with a slight amusement in his voice, his eyes taking the form of disturbingly black orbs without pupils, ”You shall find your final payment in the large coffin to the right of this building. And no, it is not a trap, as my master as told me to reassure you...fleshy things.”
The man then made a motion with his hand, to beckon two minions to gently take the body. They gingerly lifted it, taking proper care to not damage it, before swiftly moving past the horror-inflicted man and into the crypt. The man then made a small chuckle, before folding his hands and approaching the Bates a bit more formally. ”The portal will get the body to its destination, while Lord Soth provides forces here to provide...an ample distraction. Meanwhile-”
Before the man could finish, a wave of energy seemed to pass over the graveyard, coming from within the portal. Then from within, eyes began to open, several sets of them even as many slender tentacles grasped the entrance way of the mausoleum from the inside. They gave off a vibe Regina and Elroy would perhaps find ultimately familiar by this point in time, though the man who had been talking to them turned around in a panic and bowed his body to the ground. In fact, many of the minions had manifested only to bow in a similar fashion. ’Rise, worms. You have a duty to uphold, and the vessel i placed you in nears its end. Be glad, for it shall return to the void.
the voice of Soth rung out into the air, aimed at his own minions, though taking on a decidedly different air as he seemed to gaze over at the bates-’Ah, you both have done splendid work. The body is arriving at the ritual site, to be implanted with the proper parts and prepared bits. Indeed, things shall begin very shortly.
I am sure my worms here have told you where your reward lies, including the bonus from a time ago, and rest assured i am paying well for this…
….But really, mortals do seem to indulge in that driving sense of greed, haha!!! It is most...fascinating.
Elroy had already plunged his hand into the lid of the casket, and was able to wrench it off with relative ease. "Looks like a trove of magical coins, some pieces of paper with Benjamin's face on them..."
Some of the contents were floating in the air, given the weather conditions and how violently Elroy parted the lid from the coffin. "I don't see eyeball in here though. Which is weird because you typically expect to find a body inside one of these things. "
Regina fret her brow. "Where's Annabelle? You said that she'd be here as soon as we did this for you!"
She folded her arms. "Where. Is. She?"’Ha...hahaha…..HAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!
The voice of Soth boomed aloud in laughter, though he seemed ultimately amused and relaxed than anything. Even his minions laughed along with him, picking up into a small chorus briefly until their Lord became silent once again. ’Ah, but i did say once my plan was completed my use for the girl would be at its end. That time has not yet come, but shall very soon be made manifest.
Do not fret, young one, you will…...soon have her in your arms~
Before i begin, however, you may briefly converse with the girl.
In front of Regina would form a small portal of inky darkness, whose center would begin to clear up like a mirror. Eventually she’d see the face of Annabelle herself looking back at her, the horror’s magical girl waving...but her smile rather weak, as if forced by some means. However...things perhaps didn’t feel completely right regardless, as minions and flashes of the corpse and various odd shapes moved about in the background just behind Annabelle."Annabelle?"
Regina put her arm through the portal and tried to take hold of her hand. Just to make sure it wasn't an illusion. The sensation Regina felt on her hand was genuine. There was no one's hand that could feel like this but Annabelle. "What's going on? Are you alright?"”Ah...it really is you, Regina. But...i don’t know what’s going on, just that on my end we’re ready with the body and ritual site,”
Annabelle said, as she gripped Regina’s hand back with a small squeeze to try to reassure the both of them, ”I kinda wish i was there with you right now, really....i feel a bit odd right now, to tell the truth.
But...boss told me he’d say what’s going on when i got to talk to you.
Regina bit her lower lip. "Well, I'm here now. So you can tell me."
The writhing mass of eyes and tentacles seemed to go silent for a moment, as if contemplating something, before Soth began to speak once more. ’Of course, young one. I think this shall be a...most educational time.’
Soth’s tentacles began to reach out more from the mausoleum, as if adjusting himself to speak. Like a teacher preparing to give a lecture...or a berating. What was perhaps certain was the feeling in the air seemed to darken, physical space warping as just a bit more of the great Horror emerged into the earthly plane. Several tentacles even caressed the edges of the portal the Horror had formed for Annabelle and Regina. ’The ritual i am about to perform is rare, i would dare say it is also something that will be very trying to even those adjusted to my power...like my Herald here. Some horrors cannot fathom this ritual, even.
That being said, my Herald shall be in your waiting arms the moment this is all over with, as promised. I will have no more use for her at that time. In fact, i shall bring her to you myself, as a token of….i suppose mortals call it ‘gratitude’?
The weather of this planet will also undergo a...temporary shift of temperament during the ritual. At least in this area. It is a finicky process….but mortals tend to rebuild and move on, so i think nothing of it truly.
However, i cannot be interrupted during this. So the center of this ritual shall be protected by me directly, and i offer great rewards if your group is to prevent any…’undue intrusions’ upon my territory during it. I shall see to those rewards personally~’
Regina didn't look away from Annabelle during the entire explanation, but it satisfied her. "Alright."
She released Annabelle's and looked towards Soth. "Then I will make sure no one interferes with the ritual."
She turned around to walk away. "And like I told you before, I don’t care about those other rewards. You'd better be telling the truth about Annabelle though."’I am Soth, the Abyss, a natural force of the universe. I lie not about my offer. You shall have her in your arms, once this is finished.
But until then….Regina Bates.
Annabelle bit her lower lip, afraid to let Regina go...but not wanting to stop her either. Maybe she’d be safer farther away from the school? Ah...but before she could say a word, the portal silently closed in front of her. Likewise, a new small portal appeared near Annabelle in turn, inky black to its core as ever. She knew what this meant...’The ritual will begin, now.
I want the tempered organs to be implanted first, alongside the bodily alterations that have been started.
I am preparing the extension into this realm, so begin the chanting to lock in the coordinates.
Prepare my forces as well...we soon shall have the most amusing visitors~’"Wait! Let me text my friends about this."
Elroy punched in a few buttons on his phone. "Alright! Let's rock and roll!"
The Bate walked away from the mausoleum. They were joined in their walk by the Beacon Buddies and several minions."They could come from any angle."
Regina pointed along the fence line. "The minions shall serve as a distraction, I want the stronger monsters closer to the mausoleum."
She turned to face the Beacon Buddies. "The lot of you will guard the four sides of the cemetery. You will receive reinforcements once we know what the enemy is doing..."
Regina continued to give out orders as Soth's units moved into position. With every second Penrose wasted, their power would only grow. It was practically nightfall the cloud cover was so dense, which was when Soth's forces were at their strongest. Regina would finally rid herself of this miserable world, and all who caused her to suffer along with it.