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Franz Burine Plaza

Reverberations echoed up Katherine's spare limbs, the enemy mage's cane tapping along lethal thorns, bopping vines left and right as they coiled in its direction, always an instant behind its fluid movements. And like that they were tangled, misdirected, flailing around each other in one direction as her prey escaped in the other, throwing some gesture to keep her balance before wheeling into a kick. This was some sort of highly physically capable Magus, or a beneficiary of a Caster class. There wasn't time to analyze the source, and she was kidding herself is she thought she could keep the pace set by the flow of their actions. Katherine had never once subscribed to the idea of subtlety in a duel. With her arm still cast aside she resolved to step forward, chasing the twist of her opponent, accepting whatever a kick could mean to so much raw power in motion. Her mind raced as her fist clenched around the dagger still held tightly at her side. She raised Berserker's tribute up to chest height, fang bared outward as she went in for the kill.

But something was horribly amiss. The flow of mana had shifted, no, halted. Her own continued to pulse through her, driving her legs as she threw herself at the incoming attack. It was Berserker's, ceased. Of course he couldn't exactly report his own status in words, but the sudden gut wrenching shift of a spirit diminishing managed to pierce through her own battle frenzy and register for the threat it was. How? How was Berserker faltering in close combat? A technicality she hadn't known about, a shift in battlefield conditions that no one could have prepared for. Her weapon could only go forward. She could only go forward. Their war would only go forward from here.

Naoko's boot smashed into her knee, the joint crumpling, the feeling of the energy burning away at the Enforcer's body jumping between them like static electricity. Flesh wound. Alchemy. Whatever it took to fix. Falling forwards didn't mean anything to Katherine, she was already going there, reaching out viciously for the swift Magus in her sights. Her left hand raised over her head, her two Command Seals blazing as the sign of her force. The frail, aged dagger spiked with rays of blue light, ether poured into its constructed form at a rate it was never intended to survive. In her maddened hands the ability to wield the Phantasm became irrelevant, it became her primed hand grenade, a Broken Phantasm ready to detonate. The woman who would live forever would make a gamble on her own durability. She shrieked a command, to her faraway Berserker, too distant to hear but perhaps not too far gone to feel it.

"Kill. Kill!" Only the first word on her mind came out, but the order's purpose was clear. She knew not what obstructed Berserker, but by her Second Command Seal she declared: Overcome, and kill. Her own body obeyed well enough. tossed vines unfurling, drawing back in to reorient as her dagger fell in a swift arc for that helmet covered face.

Police Cordon/Franz Burine Plaza

Crowley's continued smile only tugged a little bit wider as Otto quickly complied, rising to the occasion and... going for a smoke. Of course nothing was ever so simple with a magician, and by the time he thought it was probably best to clamp down on his nose, a gesture he did not resort to, the smoke from Habsburg's spell dissipated into the atmosphere. A binding agent, merely some kind of inhalant? Where the previous puppeteer had cut his strings and left the dolls running slack around the cordon, something else entirely picked them up, Otto's words into the nearest man's ear. He only watched over Otto's shoulder as the mage approached him, taken aback by the sight of so many uniformed officers doing their uncanny valley meet and greet, handshakes and all, out in the open. "Creepy, but see, you didn't just kill everyone which is a major step up from what we've been doing here for the past hour or so."

"You liked that bit? I didn't plan on getting spiked by whichever one of you will end up thinking 'hey, it'd be fun to kill that guy and ruin everything,' so I was going to sit this one out but getting us all killed by the American government was not part of the idea of the upheaval. This- This is why the Magi couldn't make this work in over a hundred years, you know. These people just gravitate to bloodshed." Crowley raved, hands swinging in animated gestures towards the spread of swirling dust and broken glass obscuring the street towards the plaza, where the light show continued and other sirens could be heard wailing across the cordoned area. Only as distant gunshots crackled off, echoing from the remaining windows in the area, did he arrest himself. The host slid down from the cruiser, his diminutive frame still forcing him to look up at Otto for the time.

"Nice of you to take over cleaning up here. Really all there is to it is to make sure no one ever gets the order go in. A blockade looks fidgety, or somebody starts checking who's ready on the radio, gotta stop those sorts of things early. Nothing will stop the reprisals if we just let more people wander into the grinder." His eyes wandered past Otto, searching for a Servant he could not see but duly suspected the presence of. Well, hopefully nothing could come of that with a Master preoccupied with the social wellbeing, not anymore. "Really I suppose there's nothing we can do save starve this out and hope to contain it."

In the distance an unseen shade complied with his Master's orders, the nimble Archer spirit disintegrating into light to seek a more advantageous overwatch of the combat zone. The first target had collapsed, fled, and with it the hostilities seemed to cease. There only remained the question of the building, or Masters in the surroundings, though picking the latter out between floating debris was the more time consuming task. No, simply bombarding away the pesky Servants audacious enough to throw their house into the street would satisfy the command. In due time...
Ikeda Setsuna


Her own words were split by a grunt of exertion is the toll of her boldness came upon her, many arms shooting out in retaliation against the creature denying the Vice its prey. Foggy tendrils lanced out and, sword flashing gallantly over her palm, Setsuna batted the away the attacks her blade could find. 'Try to keep up,' those were the conditions of their participation, a goalpost she would happily pass. With an incapacitated man behind her she stood her ground, parrying blows and slowly pressing forward on the surrounded Vice. They had a third element, all they had to do to win was hold them in check, suppress, and a maneuver would follow... It did not surprise her that the other magical girl took on the other Vice, what did was the supersonic crack of a passing rifle round. No matter how many times . The report followed, the roar of the Light Fifty below rocking her ears as the far Vice's already indistinct body transformed into pudding. She looked away from her own opponent to confirm the kill, just for a second, a mistake she felt when its piercing limbs raked her midsection. Before she had to return to her fight she saw the yellow one racing forth to finish her battle. That was her cue, too.

Bulwark grimaced. She reached out with her scabbard, pushing away the creature's 'weapons', entwining them with a twirl of her wrist around the sheath. Her own blood squeaked on the magical polymer as the tendrils ratcheted tight, reflexively trying to wrench the tool away. She raised her silvered weapon to the sky, preparing to cleave off some of the other limbs lashing out at her only to be beaten to the punch. The armored schoolgirl landed beside her. "Nagamasa Fumiko." She acknowledged the name, bowing her head the slightest while their captive Vice raced backwards. Its brackish fluids boiled from its severed limbs, new growth already beginning to sprout when given even an instant to recover. Her fist clenched, she gave back her name. "Ikeda Setsuna. I am Bulwark." Bidden, but she did not go. The magical girl's arm flexed, her stance widening as she drew back with all of her might. The Vice's sludge-like body wobbled, holding slickly to the rooftop gravel as the tentacles wrapped around Setsuna's sheath were drawn taut.

"Let's end this." One moment of grievous tension finally gave, Bulwark's torso twisting to follow the immense pull she put on the monster. Its form was wrenched out of its retreat and flung low over the rooftop by its own arms. It flew straight for the two swordsmen, back into the firing line of their unseen assistant, the instant of flight separating them marked by Setsuna briefly releasing her scabbard.

Blue eyes glanced to the warrior next to her and the way she kept her sword, stowed until the right moment. Iai. A strike that would originate from the hip, below. If that were the case she would cleave from above. Pleased to stand beside a fellow blade, Bulwark raised her weapon in both hands, cocked over her head. Jōdan, Vom Tag, the high stance. Her leading foot searched forward, coming down as a ripple coursed up her entire body, all her weight put forward as her shining sword came down in unison with her comrades' attacks.
Franz Burine Plaza

The prey her myriad eyes brought her upon turned, the city's flickering lights glinting on the black faceplate of a biker's helmet. Katherine raised her arms, not caring for the girl's reply while she raced to make good on her threat. Untold years as an Enforcer prepared one for the many vagaries of hunting a Magus. The helmet and bodysuit were mundane, but tools here nonetheless, veils for one who sought to hide their identity. It was difficult to ascertain the magecraft and aims of her opponent without the ability to read lips, measure breathing, or peer into their eyes. She would have to remove those impediments. The fanfare that accompanied the beginning of a Magus duel was absent, no spoken hymn or activation of the girl's crest, just a rush towards her waist-

The bleeding lumps upon Katherine's arms burst over, tendrils of Magewraith vine spilling forward as the overwhelming prana stored in her system sought escape. Hardy lengths of thorned vines sprang into wild coils, bullets searing into her lovelies before falling, unfulfilled, to the ground. Behind the bloodstained and now bullet-marked vines the Enforcer's face twisted into a satisfied smirk. A gun? Modern tools were shunned by the esteemed Magi she'd spent decades butchering in Europe. To see them was not uncommon, shoved into the hands of zombie-like thralls or wielded by the unmagi who were involved in the world of magic's secret struggles. For a Master to wield one... Well, they were certainly either an amateur or a heretic. What a thrill, fighting in a backwater like America. It was good to be home. There was no sense in salivating over the opportunity to torture either a weakling or an aberrant, not when the opportunity was right there.

The six smoldering holes in her Magewraiths oozed with a sweet, purple smoke. Burnt slightly by the impacts, the true, aromatic nature of the plant revealed itself. No plant flourished in the witch's garden without reason, and her trophy darlings were toxic every which way they could be. Noxious at first, maddening at last, the aroma of a Magewraith's blood crystallized the witch's aims: A toxin of excitement that incapacitated by incensing those it afflicted. Pain, excitement, fear, blurring and intensifying until the mind itself frayed. Only a hint of that capacity showed itself for a few bullet holes, a fell scent upon the wind... for now.

No sooner than her vines had batted away the opening salvo the Enforcer flung herself forward, body carried with supernatural vigor from all the plundered magical energy crashing through her circuits. She burnt off mana with every motion, pushing the superhuman capabilities of a Magus killer even further as she closed the distance. The dagger borrowed from Berserker glinted in her left hand, lowered, pointed, but not yet in use as her right swung out. A fist with the power to crack concrete was the least of Naoko's worries, the swarm of hungry tendrils hanging off of the witch's limb all swinging like barbed whips towards the best meal they'd get in a while.
Franz Burine Plaza

The night sky was torn in half. A streak of azure crashed down from the heavens, its body entering her sight for only fractions of a second before it disappeared into the rooftop. In its wake the brilliant course it tore through the sky was burnt into her sight. Assassin's lone eye blinked, and in that time she already threw herself to the ground, already felt what inevitably came next.

How could you?

Sound returned. A roar, something primal, concocted from lungs of concrete and steel battered empty by the force of the Archer's attack. The building's structure wailed as the force of the arrow's impact burst its walls outward, bent its skeleton into a comic, useless shape... Gutted away its substance. The rooms inside, any soul that had not evacuated in the scarce moments since the shooting started. Brimming light blotted out their death, the catastrophic release of magical energy at once majestic and horrifying, an explosion of supernatural make.

Even against the deck Assassin felt herself pushed along the ground, almost upended by the meager wind resistance of her torso, almost crushed by the intense pressure that gripped the air in the wake of the blast. Were she human her lungs would have burst, her sinusoids would have imploded. Standing outside of the blast radius was a false safety, and a certain, agonizing death once the pressure passed. The whipping winds subsided, giving way to the deep groan of the hollowed building, the mournful cry of a home denied its meaning. All around the plaza the glass facade of the city cracked, plate windows falling from their high-rise holdings as the shockwave ripped them from their frames or shattered them in place. The eerie, shrill hum of resonating crystal filled the air, punctuated with the echoing splash of each pane across the ground far below. The engines of the helicopter overhead wheezed, the sudden disturbance in the air warping its blades in flight, choking the flow of air over the rotors. The difficulties of working around a bomb blast, exaggerated by the wanton destruction a Servant could wreak without exercising restraint. Its sleek body lurched downwards in the air, blinking lights following the doomed airframe as the pilot nosed away from the scene, pitching with the remaining lift in the ruined blades away from the buildings below. A park, a river, an intersection? There was no telling what end they met. Just the sudden scrape and bang in the distance as their heroism went unrewarded.

Smoke poured upwards into the sky. Steel beams glowed with residual heat. Distant fires lit the skyline. The Assassin stood, bits of rubble falling from her scraped back. Ahead of them the structure wobbled, its complete failure mere moments away. Picking himself up from the snow, the blue haired figure of a man. No. A Servant. Her stomach turned. The lips behind the ragged scarf turned to bare bloodstained fangs, the scowl of her heart still hidden to the world. He stood, a mere spattering of red seemingly all the man had to show for his troubles. And the people he'd chosen to stand upon? The Caster seemed content to escape in good shape, having done nothing for the people beneath him.

"We're leaving." The man pilfered the slowly dissolving remains of a Servant's wound, speaking to his lackey before he casually blew a hole into city's underbelly. Assassin was already walking forward. No concern for incoming fire, no mind to turn towards the Archer that once more earned her ire. Callous. They were all callous. Her weapon dropped to the ground, the accumulating snow crunched beneath her boots. Every cell of her remaining body urged her to scream, to fit and rebel against the unfairness she witnessed. A fire that burned in the gut, a light that war taught her to hold in caged fingers, lest that little light shine too brightly. The first surprise of the evening came when the Caster spoke to her directly. Correctly surmised her class, even. Impressive without a Master watching, though by virtue of elimination... They almost had the whole gang together. If only.

MBTA Subway System
La Petite Guerre

Silence accompanied the Caster into the subway, hopping down the slope of shattered brick he had created into the station below the plaza. Unsurprisingly, the nexus was empty. Bags, carried dinners, ringing cellphones... People had left their belongings in a hurry, fleeing from the nightmares overhead. The trains were gone, a fact she was thankful to register for all the lives they must have spirited to safety the next stop over. Her snow caked combat boots clacked onto the refreshingly intact flooring. The yellowed lighting of the metro eradicated shadow, and without smoke or gunfire to obscure them the truth of the Assassin stood. A lithe, formless girl, face obscured, eye patched, wrapped in charcoal colors. Clothing borrowed from modern times and bandages to cover the rest, all stained in blood from the night's scuffle. Assassin approached as the Caster conducted his profane ritual, solo eye snapping to the sight of his golden staff. No sooner than the feeling of welling magic entered the air, it was met by the shallow pulse across spiritual senses that was the minor activation of her Noble Phantasm. A shotgun materialized in the Assassin's hands, crossed across their waist. A body reminiscent of a cowboy's lever gun with its exposed hammer, a wooden pump below a stylish vented barrel shroud. From it hung a bayonet more appropriate to call a sword. The Assassin gave their voice to another Servant for the first time, humming a bar as pleasant memories flooded back to the wraith. A weapon that had once undid the dignity of tyrants, made grovelers and cravens of unstoppable men of iron. Her fist clenched, the slide slammed back. A smoking shell fell to the ground, freed from a war that never ended. Her gaze flickered to the last remaining henchman, daring the reanimated familiar to so much as step as she strode past him.

"Odin weeps, a coward prostitutes his name."

Intent fell on Caster. A dazzling, verdant spiral of searing hatred, the wraith's eye, locked with him. The pump came forward, sliding a shell into battery, locking the weapon with a metallic clunk. That wide eyed stare was all there was to see of Assassin's expression, a howling chasm of rage and resentment that burned atop... Pale skin, a calm brow, all the suggestions of a face at peace. Nothing changed as the Caster spoke up to her, his words failing to register in the seething depths that answered. She learned much more in those few seconds than she had hoped to. This man was the source of the watchful eyes she spent so much time putting out around the city, a knower of many things who sought to know more without right. Those same watchful eyes had no less witnessed the skirmish at Habsburg's estate.

She moved her hand off the trigger, reaching to her thigh and, with a click from the retention arm of her holster, drawing her pistol. A flick of the wrist and it sailed through the air, clacking on the ground at Caster's feet. PROPRIETE DE L'ETAT stared up at him, stamped on the lower front edge of the slide. The safety had been flicked off, the hammer was down on a loaded chamber. The worn down "Sig Pro" emblazoned grip of an SP2022 awaited.

"I don't care what you're interested in, Familiar." A rough voice answered from behind the scarf, smoky and direct, a voice that could have been elegant in some faraway time. "If you knew aught of my plans, my investiture, you'd have kept running. Know this: I hate you. I hate your War. I will crush the Grail beneath my boot and when I have killed the last of you back to your guardian duties I shall follow. Ghost of Avarice, undignified by a mere wish, you know not what alliance means." She nodded curtly to the pistol on the ground. "Suicide is a short death. Fleeing from your hand in this atrocity shall kill you for ages."

A tension snapped in the air, the spiritual path connecting Servant and Master disappeared from the Assassin's signature. Their own core flared, the energies surrounding her flattening as the Servant prepared to act. "My path is towards the Archer. Someone must put down Habsburg's rabid dog ere he sully the word Hero any further. My courtesy to you is this: If you are going to run, do not stop." Her last words left her in a snarl, the Assassin's silence returning to their motionless form.

Absent Foundation/Clear

Police Cordon/Franz Burine Plaza
Chorus Keepaway

The Head of Habsburg's path was not so clear, ahead of him laid the blinking sirens and glinting steel wall of Boston's law enforcement. Patrol cars and tactical vans littered the streets, uniformed officers standing in a blend of pointing dutifully into the chaos or wondering at the fresh snowfall come to them in the middle of summer. Men in vests and helmets thrown over casual wear, some in more formal military style fatigues, moved behind the cordon. They carried the elderly and infirm, muscled along those who could walk and run. In a city no matter the time of day there were many lives to evacuate in a given district, and pulling them from high rises in the midst of explosions and stray gunfire was a harrowing task that no department in the world could truly call themselves ready for.

Stalwart protectors of the law... maybe? But certainly easy fodder for Magecraft. The controllable situation he longed for, as hilarious as it was to call this controllable, was right in front of them.

Except one little aberration. A young man, on the shorter side, sat casually on the hood of one of the patrol cars. He cradled his head in his hands, watching the flashing lights down the road and gasping aloud as Archer's attack struck home. Even this far away from the scene, the gust of wind sent trash fluttering up from the city streets. People screamed and officers barked at them to get back as glass began to fall down the road, some glistening chips going so far as to land a stone's throw from the barricade. Anxious glances were traded all around, the men with guns no longer so sure what to do as they watched a gutted building sway in the breeze, seconds from collapse.

"Easy does it guys." He spoke up, pushing up the beanie insulating his head from the cold. Lazy, avaricious eyes circled back on the officers, the bystanders, locking people in place as a mesmerizing glare passed over them. The air temperature dropped sharply, the ripples of Magecraft no secret to anyone nearby and sensitive. The boy's brightly colored eyes stopped and widened as they locked on the face of Otto von Habsburg. No attempt to pass the spell onto the newcomer came, and as he blinked, expecting the man to say something, the people around them continued about their business as if they couldn't even see the two Magi.

A shock of pink hair crept from beneath his hat, the only color to dash his monochrome attire.

"Mister Habsburg, dear fellow, isn't it funny how a party got thrown after all?" A toxic smile, but nice white teeth! "Poor even for a jest, I know. You remember me, I'm sure. 'Reason you're having this war,' 'guy saving your asses,' ringing bells, no?" He stopped, leaning forward with his hands on his knees, seemingly rapt with tension as he sought the signs of the other man thinking it through. Suddenly he was throwing his hands up, that margarine smooth delivery giving Otto: "Mister Crowley!"

"I was really hoping you'd show up you know," He patted the spot next to him on the hood, smiling under raised eyebrows. "When it got back to me that you'd consummated your Seals I knew, I just knew, we'd have at least one straight laced Mage to keep... This from happening." He threw his arm out to the vague darkness from which groaning steel and roaring cannon emerged. "I'll be frank with you I'm quite irate. My first duty as a host is to make sure you all are spared the wrath of the big wide world around us, but this kind of behavior makes it hard to ward away the powers that be. I'm sure you know the severity of what I speak of, but enough about me! Let's. Place. You. You taking over here? Most people can't make me say this, but I know my betters, and when it comes to crowd control, well, it goes unspoken for Habsburg..."

He snapped his fingers. All around them, like marionettes on snipped strings, the innocent sagged in place. Routines broken, goals forgotten, officers groggily reached towards their foreheads as their senses slowly began to clear. "What?" One voice mumbled, slowly joined by another, and...

A Baseball Park

The front window shattered outwards in a hail of bullets, fragments splashing across the monster's face to the same rhythm of jacketed slugs burying themselves in its body. The shadowy amorphous texture of its face rippled, cratered by impact after impact until a shot burst the swell of its closed eye. Red seeped from the mangled hole, the lid flapping open to reveal a shattered mass of gelatinous white cubes, sparking crimson between them as fluid of the same color began to spill. Its reserved hum came to a sudden stop, its body locked and motionless as Rocco emptied his first magazine and swapped to a second. The ruins of an eye flicked slightly side to side, watching the hands manipulating the Kalashnikov with what remained of its sight.

Red flared across its face, the mirror of skin turning white once more as it repeated its scream. Silence to those that could hear it, the feeling of being punched in the ears to those who lived, the utter pressure of the great beast's lamentation exceeding the physical constraints of auditory observation. Not an abstract effect, just painfully loud. The blob's body boiled beneath its face, limbs extended from its mass and peeling into the shapes of hands as it reached desperately for Rocco. A limb grasped the smoking barrel of his gun, flesh sizzling in the heat, another struck out right for the flesh of the back of his hand, fingers clawed in sheer need for contact.

Runelight tore through its body as the barrier extended, the stones from Saber landing just in time, forming a defense against an attack already in progress. The cube of protection severed the limbs extended to the Master already, leaving its acrid smelling digits rolling along the interior of the car and twitching manically once they were separated from its control. Rather than roar again the beast seemed more determined than ever, its palms slapping meaninglessly against the boundary line established by the runestones. With a gentle ring of magical energy announcing a denial of entrance every time another fist slammed against it, rapidly adding up to over a dozen in the moments before Saber turned his weapon back on the threat.

The metal body of the car posed little resistance to the poised strikes of the Saber Class. Like an orange split up for lunch, the petals of their vehicle fell away from its center with every attack Saber laid in a new direction. Most of that effort, unfortunately, went to waste splitting the air. Rocco's ride was getting totaled, though. Each strike directed into the roof, where the hand prints had pressed in menacingly through the material, revealed more and more of the sorry sight their visitor was. Saber's keen blade met with the screech of elastic flesh severing, blackened meat sheared open to reveal flowing veins of the same wondrous red that now decorated its pockmarked 'face.' The hands reaching into the car fell away, cut clean by the flurry of blows and squiggling just as vigorously as those denied by the runic barrier. It was forced to retreat, the ponderous weight holding up the sides of the car it previously rested against then withdrawn, and letting the pieces of the car clamor to the asphalt. Almost as the walls falling away a scene revealed to be fiction, the stillness of reality greeted Team Saber. Not just the bystanders down the road, but the entirety of life on the street surrounding them seemed locked in place, staring enviously at the crouched form of Rocco Moretti. The Servant and Master they had followed, however, stood suspiciously absent.

The only movement came from their recently revealed adversary. A body like a slug, a corpulent mass of midnight colored something suspended into a vaguely organized shape by some kind of internal pressure, a pressure that caused its laborious form to pitch and heave with distensions that erupted into more covetous limbs. Arms, hands, the faculties of acquisition covered the creature, turning its vaguely identifiable shape into an absolute mess of limply swaying limbs. Several ruptures had been torn into it where the Saber struck, crystalline droplets cascading out into neat piles on the road surface, glittering ruby shapes rolling when they were round and sticking when they were square. It held its 'face' in several palms, forced to retreat a few meters from the party as they bought their escape before its previous programming reasserted itself. The slug contorted, and from behind it swept with the long tube of its body, propelled by the hands dangling from it. A mass the same size as the car they'd just left, only wrought in unknowably heavy alien meat, swung in at Team Saber, animated with the ease and speed of a frantic creature lashing out for dear life.
Ikeda Setsuna


Always an enigma, Setsuna did not waste breath in resisting the maid's apparent modesty. She, too, had her reasons. It wasn't as if they were ever afforded the time to come to an understanding either. The glossy, well-lit sights of the downtown were upon them and no sooner did they cross that threshold then the oppressive presence of a looming Vice could be felt. She only noticed after the maid, the subtle shift in the air drawing her eyes upwards through the car's roof, chasing a ghostly sensation that spoke to her just as naturally as sight did these days. The signature was muddled. Something softer already blurred the darkness. Bulwark frowned. "We're not the first to lay claim here. Oh well."

In the next moment she returned the Magical Maid's smile, and was off. As the Rolls Royce flowed with the surrounding traffic past the grounds of the Westbank Tower the passenger side door swung mysteriously open, only to pop back shut before it could do the unthinkable and ruin someone's paint job. Setsuna escaped when the door unlocked, gripping the upper frame and swinging herself out and up onto the roof. A considerate, gloved hand guided the long door closed, though wind resistance did most of the work.

Her window was short, and time was of the essence. The cab drummed softly and the chassis rocked side to side as the magical girl launched herself from the vehicle, straight onto the glimmering mirror of the tower's windows. From one pencil-thin outcropping to the next Bulwark soared, rising floors at a time from leap to leap. The drones and their keyboards within saw none of the dark blur speeding up their workplace, at best catching the gentle reverberations left behind as a boot launched itself from window to window.

Just as they couldn't be bothered to look out, Setsuna did not peer inward. Yellow lights carried out over the edge of the tower, the sounds of combat following them as she approached. Not only were they not alone in this hunt, the battle was already underway. Her vision panned left to right, searching for the telltale shape of a human dangling over the edge. None yet, a good sign. Over the rim of the rooftop Setsuna burst, arcing into the air. She turned to one side in the air, spiraling through a flip as Bulwark's eyes drank in the situation. One magical girl, a follower too dignified to be a keeper, two vices... One victim. There would be no time to wait for her partner.

Setsuna landed stiffly on the edge of the roof, gripping the hilt of her sword as she strode forward. With herself on one side of the twin vices and the yellow magical girl on the other, they had their prey surrounded. Her first priority was life. The man they were feeding upon stared forward with a dazed expression, unable to see any of the spectacle around him and still dangerously close to the enemy. He had no reaction as the blue magical girl raced up to him, drawing her weapon and passing by. With her hand holding her scabbard she reached up and seized him by the collar, practiced technique throwing the shell shocked man down onto his back behind her. All the while she bared her blade forward, accepting the danger of closing with the many-armed Vices so long as it meant seizing control. Between them, she shot a glance to the magical girl hoisting her sheathed blade up onto her shoulder. "Forgive our intrusion. We've come to hunt."
Franz Burine Plaza

The constant clang of falling equipment retreated from the desolated plaza, the wet thunk of Noble Phantasms crushing bodies beneath or cracking against the rising palace lost to the steady drumbeat of those still aimed at the Caster above. It was almost quiet, quiet enough for the engine noise above to become apparent. Rotor blades whipped through the air high overhead, the sound of a helicopter in flight joining the sight of green and red navigation lights. A black body moved among the clouds, lit charcoal gray by the city light underneath when it was not lost in the eerie glow of a light polluted sky. Their ghostly watcher orbited the plaza, the glinting bulb at its nose turning an infrared-sensitive eye into the zone of snowfall that replaced the haze of Berserker's Noble Phantasm.

Those still high above the fight would see the other guests. The ring of red and blue lights slowly coalescing around the block. Far down the streets feeding into the plaza drab painted armored trucks pulled into intersections, white and blue BPD patrol cars joining the blockades as the powers that be did their best to establish a cordon with which to understand the nonsense fed to them by witnesses and Observers. Dark suited soldiers danced at the periphery, pulling people from buildings and facing rifles into the snowy mirage of the plaza down the road. Glistening steel rained from the sky, buildings sprung from the Earth, and the thunderous clashes of spirits beyond reality all echoed from the dark, the absurdity offering the revelers that much more time to stage their party.

Those higher still, the familiars, the eyes set out by magicians to broaden their senses. Buzzing, stealthy insects of the rose witch, noble hawks of the Caster Servant, and those yet to be noticed were surely the first witnesses to the mobilization of Boston's peacekeepers.

A passing whisper blew one of those hawks apart, the magically controlled body disintegrating as a bullet passed through. The crack followed, already heard by those on the ground.

The lights of the hotel had dimmed. Falling weapons had crumpled her shield, the Assassin, and perhaps even her target as the Proxy Master was ordered to turn and retreat... When the rain relented, and her senses slowly dripped back into to her, Assassin was not capable of determining what had become of the Proxy, the creature she still believed to be the Master of the rampaging Servant. At any rate, they were no longer pressing the attack. She pushed herself off the ground, groaning at the weight of the Noble Phantasms piled atop her. They slid off noisily, joining the other pyre offerings covering the floor. Some of them stuck, embedded in her flesh. Her hand wrapped around the handle of a dagger lodged in her forearm and pulled, inviting a sickening hiss as the blade wrenched free of meat.

Blood and steel fell to the ground around her as she staggered towards the blown-out doors, dropping stained weapons that had found their mark behind her. Her leg still moved with a limp, numbness set through it even though the Grasper tip at her ankle had expired and fallen away. A wheat colored palace stood in the plaza, walls scraped and decorated with Berserker's bounty. Instead of armament, snow fell from the sky. A cool winter wind flowed by. Rotor blades whirred overhead. The eyes of the mundane world had finally caught up to their fight.

The frayed Assassin strode out of the hotel, head turning as she surveyed the situation. The hulking form of Berserker jumped out of sight, his disappearance followed by splintering of wood and a challenge made against the Palace's doors. The archers had fallen silent. That saved some work. The Servant's position, though, was obscured momentarily behind the absolute focusing of the Berserker's noble phantasm. She wasn't one to pass up an opportunity. Her left hand reached under her arm for a weapon unseen, pulling the cheap wooden stock of an unremarkable hunting rifle from nothing before turning it skyward. Someone was still watching, she could feel it. More specifically, she couldn't disappear so long as an eye remained upon them. A bird that hadn't left the area, a tool or simply unfortunate. Her eye selected it from the sky and without requiring the scope of her weapon its aim followed, sending a shot straight through the device's feathered, fleshy body.

The feeling of being watched did not recede. The rifle fell into the crook of her arm and she cycled the bolt with one hand. As the bird plummeted the Assassin continued to walk, hobbling around the perimeter of the fort with their smoking gun. They ambled towards the high rises where gunshots still echoed from an unseen, unfelt fight and the Caster servant contended with peril.
Ikeda Setsuna


Setsuna finally exhaled as the creature shriveled and died, its voice echoing away until its final epitaph - the clink of its gemstone falling to the ground - sounded over the refreshed silence of the theme park. Her blade cleansed, she steadied the scabbard and confidently slid her weapon home. Purpose executed, it locked into its place. There was no room for mercy in their work, no safety in relenting until the core of a Vice laid still before them. Perhaps their job was not truly done until it was consumed. The magical maid descended into sight, prim voice at once steel and song. Setsuna bowed her head. "Likewise. I'm grateful to fight beside someone so strong."

At that she knelt, prizing the inky gem from the ground. It was not the fear of direct combat or the sting of her wounds that frightened her the most. It was the tingling. The energizing rush of holding a true heart of darkness in her hand, the essence of the nightmares her kind fought and fed upon. Was this what the shark felt as it took its prey? Did nature really enshrine such a rich pleasure in killing, or was this simply their privilege as virtuous guardians? She didn't notice it in her first Vice taken, trepidation at the idea of enjoying the immeasurable significance of her role introducing itself as she fed.

Flat faced, she looked up at Anne, smiling faintly as she politely offered over this killing's claim. "Very well, thank you." Her fist rolled shut around the gem, popping it into quickly scattered dust in her palm. Small tongues of blue flame crept from her wounds, shimmering light returning her body to health as the raw intoxicating power of a felled vice flooded in. She shivered, nerve endings coming back to life, mind clearing.

She stood and straightened, smiling as the maid called a car out of nothing. She wasn't much of a gearhead, but knew enough to recognize class when she saw it. The guys and their car clubs who stopped by the gas station didn't drive things like that. Neon lights and colored brake pads paled before the robust, strong angles of a classic Rolls-Royce. No matter who you were... it was pretty flattering to get ushered into a stylish car by a real maid. Setsuna slid into the comfortable seating, holding her sword steady between her knees and staring out at the road surface from beside it.

It didn't take her much time to think on Anne's words. Her eyes focused on the distant lights of the city center. The flashing red navigation lights of factory buildings and windmills blended with the more welcoming glow of human occupied buildings. "We ought to keep going. We found a Vice cowering all the way out here, I'm sure it's going to be a busy night downtown. They might be better fed... but the number of victims only deepens my obligation to act. Let's go save some lives." Setsuna flashed a smile at the driver. "At the very least, let's get you a Shard for your troubles, too."
Boston Park Plaza

Dully, Luna nodded back, following his lead without much more input of her own as Otto promptly removed himself from the situation. Not a great first impression, he figured... But she had no desire to cross paths with Otto von Habsburg again. Her instructions had been clear, avoid the war, let the Servant hash things out with all the evil people they did nothing but rant about. Her stomach slowly began to untie as she realized with certainty that he wasn't going to be coming back in. It was just too awkward to sit at the bar after that, she found herself cruising the lobby without aim. Fireworks blared in the distance, some festival she had no clue about, he decided. Wasn't really a party city, but they found ways, and there were plenty of people who just had their next big ball canceled, so, it made sense. Police cars, lights on, rolled by outside. Another daily sight in the city. Perhaps to another one of those strange murders.

Her phone rang. The odd thing was hearing it ring instead of vibrate for the first time in years. The lobby filled with ringing, various tones forming an otherworldly screeching drone. The televisions hung in chic fixtures flickered way from sports and talking heads to flat tone backgrounds, scrolling white text, and their own ear grating siren. Luna looked down at her phone, fingers clenched across the screen.



White noise flooded her senses. She felt herself stagger downwards, the soft rush of something cushioned catching her. The feedback scorched her thoughts away, the sudden pull on her body felt like it would shrivel her to ash. Hoarse screams, the roll of thunder, the splatter of rain. Darkness. She cupped her hand across her Command Seal.

Mirage Umbral Waltz/Clear

Franz Burine Plaza

Negative effect on target. Well, she was working on a budget. If a handgun could solve all the world's problems the wraith would not have been called there. Stoic in their rage, their solo eye did not peel away from Berserker as the pawns turned to focus their fire on her. Anywhere but the crowd. The Berserker even poised himself to follow. She would welcome close combat, lips soundlessly moving to voice the name- Then everything went wrong. Silver bolts poured in from their surroundings, smokeless trajectories lining back to the rooftops. Not the attacks of the Archer from before... but a second? The tug on her soul meant that a Servant had arrived. Two Servants. One yet to come into sight, but even as they fell through chaos the warlike mind of the Assassin Servant churned through information. Before the first volley struck the Berserker from his pose, that single, hungry eye locked with the eyes of the blue haired Servant perched far above. Vultures. Come to make spectacle of the carnage. Servants summoned to claim the Grail, to indulge war. When would those bows turn on her?

An explosion of movement called her focus away, tangled vines and bloodspray springing into her peripheral vision. Bullets pelted the surrounding furniture as she flopped to the floor. She grimaced under her mask as a mass of viciously barbed vines rose up over the sill, batting glass away with reflexive twitches towards contact and carrying chunks of mutilated flesh along their sinuous lengths. The vines lashed out at Assassin and she rolled backwards over her shoulders, scrambling to a crouch only to find her feet pulled out from underneath her. Supernatural strength tugged at her ankle, more Grasper vines seeking a tighter hold as already she felt a row of injections along her skin. The response was nearly instantaneous. The hand at her belt slid upwards, magazine run home as her thumb tapped the slide release. She shot through the vine at her ankle and turned. Numbness had already shot through her leg, sagging the feeling from her limbs. She wouldn't let it show. Vines coiled around her arms, lashing out at the tattered tails of her coat. It sheared away, a single black cable running from the ragged infantry coat to her fist.

The last tug free of her garment spun her around, turning her to the passing Rider. The other Servant, atop a white horse, what else? Glimmering and gold, refined and untouchable where they strode. The moment was brief, the musket in their hands smoking as they spared a glance down to the trapped and wretched Wraith. A shoddy sight scowled back at Rider, face hidden beneath a mask and eyepatch, her coat mostly torn away to reveal a body of shadowy bandages and dated looking field harnesses. A step back and a swift jerk of her hand to her side was enough to pull the trigger. Metal clunked together as the OSS issued firing device lit the fuses of the grenades bundled in the Assassin's coat. A cluster of incendiary devices roared to life. Glittering shards of white phosphorus formed a blazing star beneath the Graspers, white vapor briefly burning hot enough to melt iron expanding into a majestic puff of toxic, snowy death. The Rider and the Assassin disappeared to one another in the cloud.

Dazzling fragments drifted in the air around her, burning out in a harmlessly small radius around the event as Assassin ran from the windows, streaking between pillars and rows of soft couches as the gunmen still inside the hotel kept up their barrage, but cared only for the one man without a gun. She felt no trail to the Servant outside, but his hand unmistakably glowed with the sign of a Master. Her body burned, not from the heated air but from the venom flowing through it. The tip of the vine that got her still wriggled around her calf, gouting its paralytic into her bloodstream. Stopping cost lives. Magic flowed around the Assassin, but the minor disturbance of her weak Noble Phantasm being activated immediately felt overshadowed by the pulse which rippled through the lobby's air. A ripple in space along the ceiling. She had only an instant to process the effect before a spear barreled from the sky towards her face. A blue shimmer flickered across her hands, and as she held her hands above her head an enormous slab of steel landed in them. Wheels adorned its bottom, spinning uselessly in the air. The reinforced window immediately caught the spear tip, splintering the screen but holding it fast. Twenty seven holes dotted its front face, ceramic and kevlar long since cleansed of storied blood. Too unwieldy to use as a shield in the ordinary sense, the Assassin hefted the black plate over her, angled forward. Bullets bounced from its surface, as did helmets and sheets of mail and daggers and swords. Her arms bowed with the impacts, but she was then singular in her purpose. With all the agility her poisoned body could still muster she leapt from table to table, skipping over couches to charge Katherine's proxy Master. Finally their boot came down on the floor with intent. Her whole body pitched forward, grip shifting across the hand-holds to hurl the giant shield, embedded weapons and all, straight for the face of that wretched Master. Assassin's back bowed, an axe scraping beside her spine as soon as her guard was lowered, more to follow, more bullets to find their mark. Her form could accept such damage. The lives depending on her were not so fortunate.

A Baseball Park
Intermittent Homicidal Disorder

Chain link fence, artificial grass, graffiti. They'd found themselves at a low rent baseball diamond. The light of day was far gone by the time the teams stalked one another to the field, the pink haired reveler yoking their squadron along as the shadowed car of Team Saber followed. An eerie silence fell across the evening as the two teams chatted, the cheerful voice of the Lancer screeching over the quiet of night as Saber's master fortified himself with a cigarette and a quick check of his weapon.

“Well, let’s take a look. Doubt they’ve got a ball game planned.”

As his hand would reach for the door, as his eyes would gaze out into the dark, Rocco Moretti came face to face with ߆ߺߕo߃ߊߓ߂ ߚ߇ߝߋߚ ߙ߂߆߆ ߢf ߸߮ߐ ߹߁ ߮ߎ߉ߌߺߣ߇. Fragments scratched across pitch dark outside of the car window, voided resentment swallowing the sight of the world beyond that arm's grasp. Pieces of faces swam in the inky soup, the only movement allowed in one reality gripping instant. They sunk, jaws fading away, ears shutting into nothing. Bubbles boiled across its flat face as it pressed into the window, swelling to cover the entire pane of glass.

The dark flared with daylight, white and red streaking through the featureless flesh before the glass exploded inwards. A shrill cry filled the air, more a painful ring that came with a sudden increase in the environmental pressure than an actual discernible noise. The car was launched onto its side, ruptured left side raised towards the heaven. Cubes of safety glass rained through the cabin, Saber's side also bursting as the curb grew deeply acquainted with the car door.

The scent of night spilled in. Furnaces cooking in the distance, grease and oil... Copper, blood, the scent of a monster. The scent that summoned monsters. Rotten, acrid, stupefying. The baseball diamond disappeared from view, the front window pointed helplessly down the road and suddenly locked into portrait orientation. Pedestrians stood frozen in place down the road. Hoodlums squatting by the alleyside, frozen with their heads and empty eyes turned upon the car. A man unlocking his front door, hand still wrapped around the barred door added on, preoccupied with staring at the accident in progress. A man on motorbike, tipped over and not caring for his pinned leg as his tinted visor tracked them rolling into the sidewalk.

A long, tar colored arm wrapped the front of the car, slithering like a serpent across the hood and down to the road surface where fingers unfolded from its limb, fanning across the broken glass, flicking some chunks around before pulling one prism in particular from the mound. The arm attached to the hand began to pivot around it, the car shaking as a glimpse of the creature's hulking body showed through the sky-facing windows. It climbed surprisingly fast, its observable form simply a tangle of arms. A few shorter arms clung to the broken-in window, dangling into the cabin harmlessly before, with a wet plop, it crashed to the ground. Dozens of handprints pressed into the shape of the roof as the black looking glass of its 'face' angled into the space of the front window. Red sparks flared in the depths, an imprint of a closed eye swelling with motion underneath its lid, dancing back and forth from Master to Servant. Deep, vibrating clicks resounded within it, the hum of a contemplating giant.
Ikeda Setsuna


Night was falling fast. The dim light of the defeated sun bled through the horizon, radiance gobbled up by the overcast sky and the long, dark shadows of the city. The changing of realms. In many traditions twilight was a moment of weakness between the waking world and the next. Mankind feared the coming dark. Uncertainty hid creatures of the imagination, the demons of the past, the bogeymen that preyed on fear. They were wrong to be afraid. The monsters of their own design cared little for the real world, the Vices that plagued their souls clung to them no matter where they passed.

Not so for the true children of twilight, the stalwart defenders of that fragile innocence like herself. The day belonged to the enemy, when she had to attend to her real life and maintain the illusion of normality. The night was theirs, their hunting time. The sun fell, the people closed their eyes, and their resolute guardians emerged to protect the dream of their sheltered world. Night was the time to realize the false life that had come to define her. Ikeda Setsuna was a creature that exterminated Vices. Real lives were lost on her success and failure. She had soared to the heights of victory, and witnessed the carnage, the human cost of defeat. Not like a real warrior; her case would not be resolved or redeemed by her death. Others paid for her shortcomings, and for that reason, it was upon her soul to do her duty and do it well.

Black loafers clacked along the rusted steel, her breathing ragged. She flung her arms before her, set into a dead sprint. A maintenance access, a scaffold for a decommissioning that had never quite gone through. Plywood and sheet metal echoed underfoot, the dull beat of her advance radiating from the makeshift tunnel's mouth as Setsuna ran uphill. A cab for the Ferris wheel sat, haloed in sodium lights, ahead of her.

"Bulwark, engaging!"

Her hand rose to her ear, snatching the speck of diamond hanging there and throwing it ahead of her. A burst of blue light spilled from the end of the tunnel, etching bizarre underlit shadows across the Ferris wheel's face. She strode through hovering sigils before her, glyphs of arcane light holdings her limbs back while a new reality stretched across her slender frame. A black jacket pillowed behind her, her blazer tightened down to a harnessed dress of gallant blue. Her fist reached for the horizon, towards the hovering glint of her diamond. Icey light expanded under her fingertips, her scabbard growing from a ripple on its surface. Her fist clenched around the sheathed blade, mana crystal dangling from it after she clipped to her hip.

The magical girl blew free of the tunnel, speed redoubling as her transformed body adjusted to its enhanced performance. She was running late. In the distance the maid was marching confidently up the long-dried waterslide, right up to the foul creature they had stalked to this forgotten place. It awakened, swelling grotesquely, lashing out with its ivory fangs. Setsuna leapt into the latticework of steel above her, boots kicking freely from one beam to the next. The central hinges of the dilapidated amusement creaked as she streaked from the bottom to the top.

Her ascent matched the Vice's meteoric rise towards the firmament, its own trail of rocket motor exhaust culminating in the deafening bang of the weapon's detonation. Pieces of rocket casing scattered by the charge sailed overhead as Setsuna's boots landed on the roof of one of the topmost cars on the monster's side. The suspension shuddered ominously, the wheel almost budging against its safeties as she came down. Dust showered the ground below as she took a single stride forward and launched herself with all of her strength into the void.

Heeding the Maid's request, Setsuna would answer the call. Her sleek body of black and blue flew at the Vice. Long spires of white shot from its body, staining themselves red as they lashed out at any approaching movement. Spines raked across her limbs, grazing her flesh. It wasn't enough to stop her. Setsuna's hand fell to her waist, knuckles clenched white and hidden behind black gloves as her fingers wrapped her sword's hilt. Blood trickled into her grip, only to be cast away. The magical girl's body contorted, muscles flexing and sudden motion shedding away the bloodstains. Her arm threw forward, steel withdrawn from shadow. The sword's edge blurred into a jagged crescent, the impression of shape blurred away by practiced speed. With a vicious, heavy swipe, she drove into the Vice. Magicked metal bit in, crackling against its strange physiology as the honed edge sought to shear it in two. The surrounding air hissed with the passage of a sharpened front, and after a fleeting moment of closeness she passed the Vice by.

Her momentum carried her into a spin, thin trails of blood splattering the pavement crimson below her as she landed soundly on the concrete. Residue from the creature's viscous body sizzled threateningly on her blade. With a cock of her arm she sloughed it off onto a nearby wall to steam and sizzle. Striking a stony face the magical swordsman rounded, facing what became of the Vice to witness their handiwork and to find the composed silhouette of the other hunter.
Naoko's Apartment

"Huh? Yeah, no problem," His response was almost automatic, drawing him back from the shellshocked expression he listened to their mission statement with. Feed a dog? He could do that. In truth he simply wasn't sure what to believe any more, other than the fact that both of them seemed uncannily honest with their reply. Doubt eased away almost as quickly as it had welled back up and he gave an unsteady thumbs up back to the protectors of truth and justice. While they were getting ready to go change the world or something he hopped over to a wall, steadying himself and taking the weight off with a hand to the drywall instead of a dust covered shoulder. Wine, pizza, Netflix, it wasn't an exact reenactment of his retirement plan once he remembered the bullet hole in his leg and the alcohol by volume of the drink in question but one could fix the other, really. He got to work on that as everyone else seemed to be content with just chugging the most delicate wine he'd ever tasted in all his years of supermarket shopping. But he couldn't just evaporate in another glass, now wasn't the time to shrink away and stop thinking.

"Well stay safe then. Thanks for... everything, again."

It was an odd kind of sentiment that engulfed him. They had saved his life. They were now putting on their best Hotline Miami cosplay and getting ready to go rolling. Oh, like street level superheroes. Maybe it all made sense after all. He committed himself to staying active and lucid, after pouring another glass of course. He hobbled to the table, kneeling where the other stranger had to look in on the golden retriever and his den. Brushing off his hand on his ruined suit he offered it out to the dog, slowly trying to make his presence familiar. "Alright buddy, let's find you some chow."

Whatever was going on outside was in good hands, at least.

Franz Burine Plaza

Intercepted before she even got through. Before Assassin could reach the doors of the hotel what hadn't already broken under gunfire exploded outwards again. The metal framework sang shrill into the night as it bent out of place, a sparkling cloud of diamond dust surrounding the hulking beast that broke through in eerie radiance. Even as mere movement tore the land around it to sunders the noises of the carnage became quiet beneath the Berserker's warcry. Assassin grit her teeth. The foe that had appeared before her left little chance for speculation. This was a mad warrior, the Berserker Servant almost certainly. He battered his apparent allies aside without concern, their bodies flinging off into the dark and arcing crimson across the asphalt. The warrior had eliminated everything between them, he sought close combat with fervor and experience. Only an instant separated the two, one committed to charging forward and the other determined to smash that opposition to pieces before it could even begin.

Her false heart drummed. This was not facing a Knight Class in the open. The fragile human world surrounded them, innocents arranged in cages of glass and steel as far and high as the eye could see. Any stray shot, any errant blow meant more senseless death. Fear. This feeling was fear. Her lone eye followed the savage arc of the warrior's clubs through the air, glaring defiantly at the instant, messy death they brought. Rage sharpened her thoughts. This was where she belonged. The gut squeezing fear of extermination, the roiling sear of resentment for the powerful. Do you even know what you're doing? Brokering reason was pointless. Not merely because she faced a Berserker, but because she faced a Master who ordained this. A plea to stop the madness would have fallen on deaf ears. Someone had to end it.

She only needed her passenger if she was actually going through. Two puffs of red guaranteed the death of the pawn in her arms, his chest pierced through as she pulled the trigger. A lump of meat wasn't stopping the mountain of muscle and tempered oak about to fall on her. Her last stride saw her push the dying pawn forward, a leg raised between herself and his collapsing form. Her boot cracked against his spine, twisting the cadaver awkwardly as she leapt to the side off of him.

Two unbreakable clubs crashed down between the two as they parted, each flying off to their own peril. Even a near miss was a lethal threat at the heights of a Servant's strength. The ground splintered like cheap wood, pieces of fragmented stone whistling off into the night, flooring bystanders and slashing holes in the retreating Assassin's coat. The concussion itself blew her along the ground like a leaf on the wind, gangly limbs fluttering about underneath Assassin as she deftly righted herself in the turbulence. Her boots squeaked underneath her, skidding backwards in a low crouch as she kept control. Assassin raised her hands, tight grip angling her pistol's sights across Berserker's chest before she pulled the trigger. She sprang up from her low position, muzzle flash lighting her body as she kicked away from the ground and ran straight for the hotel. She kept shooting, the rapid 'pop pop' of pistol caliber fire disappointing and hollow in the wake of his thunderous entrance. The slide locked back on an empty chamber. Her feet left the ground again, a spent magazine falling to the ground where she stood. The wraith threw herself shoulder first through one of the lobby's few remaining windows, gaze fixed with anger on her opponent and bandaged fingers prying at a pouch on her belt as she floated down to the hotel floor on broken glass.
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