He'd gone and found it, an enemy stronghold. He'd done so, strangely enough, by letting go and allowing his mind to wander into the familiar and the routine. He felt like he was getting back to the school, and so it almost seemed like he was going there by pure instinct, despite his surroundings. Of course, once he HAD found it...he didn't wanna be there anymore. It was a motherfucking fortress with a bunch of strangely-clad figures wandering around on patrol. Furthermore, he had spotted what looked like Vice-Principal Ashcroft...but if it was him, he must've been insane. And if he was, so were his cohorts, because they all saluted his passing.
This...was where Romani would beat feet to try and find an exit, some way out of all of this, and here...he began to have some luck, both good and bad. After some twists and turns, he heard shouting, someone calling to that guy, Laurence, and then talking. All of this was rather urgent, and as he came closer, he found the light-haired student talking to, of all things, a bird. And the weird thing? The black-feathered avian creature perched on his arm was talking back. It had a girl's voice and was looking rather frantic. What Romani heard as he was coming across them was...
"...have to hurry! The way out is back the other way! I've sent the others ahead!"
"You're sure? What others?"
"The ones from Evergreen! There's not much time!"
"I know, it's getting closer."
All of this seemed to take away from the fact that Laurence had, in his hand, a machete. That was the most mundane thing about this picture, and yet it was about as incongruous as everything else. Laurence had already had a bit of a shock, having discovered a shapeless horror wandering this labyrinth, and he was only regaining a bit of mental traction from someone calling out to him and it turning out to be his feathery guide from before, actually capable of speech. For the moment, he was willing to accept anything as possible, including the fact that she seemed to know the way out of here. That was where Romani came in, and they both seemed surprised.
"Another? How many are in here? Nevermind, just follow us! It must be near the intersection by now! Hurry!"
Raven flew off of her arm perch and Laurence gave Romani a 'Yeah, it IS serious' look and a gesture to follow as he ran off, back the way he'd come. The scene of the intersection was... There had been shadowy creatures around, but right now what Laurence, the bird, and now Romani could see was this advancing sphere of doom, red eyes blazing as it hovered closer and moans quite audibly loud, even in their heads! As it drew closer to the intersection itself, it seemed to be sprouting red-and-black hands. Every single instinct would tell them all: Do NOT let it grab you. Down one street, they could just about see some kind of a confrontation with some amorphous shapes, like slimes. The ones dealing with that were...
ALEX, AVA, and HAKURO...
Hakuro's mind was abuzz with all the possibilities he could work with, what he could do in this situation. He was just coming up with an idea to parkour around these slimy bastards, and then to get them to chase him around a bit so the others could basically follow after them, when Alex shoved past, saying he was going to make a path himself.
"Wait, that's not-"
A good idea? No. It didn't work. It did not work. And that left him open to attack by the creatures. Well, sort of... They all focused on him, and as he was attacked, Alex tried to swat them and...and...where did that gun come from? He'd whacked it with an old-style gangster machine gun! And then, he opened fire, leaving the boy with the hat and coat who LOOKED like he should be holding one of those just staring now. As Ava went over to help, Hakuro recalled Alex shouting something about needing a weapon. He'd been sarcastic, but he clearly meant it. Was...was that all they needed to do?
Come with me, and you'll be, in a world of pure imagination...
He closed his eyes, and he thought, and he muttered to himself, that he needed a weapon. He needed a weapon... He needed... Hakuro thought of the creature coming up behind them and the path blocked ahead, of the necessity to move forwards, else they probably die. When Ava kicked back one of the blobs, shouting at Alex to keep firing, two bladed devices suddenly hooked into the mouth of the thing.
The blob was suddenly pulled on hard and the hooked swords yanked it HARD into a wall, plastering it there for the time being. Hakuro stood holding a pair of Shuang Gou, or Tiger Claws. This was weird not only for the fact that he'd manifested weapons out of nowhere like Alex, but that they were Chinese weapons, of all things. Why that? Well...why not? They worked.
"Ava, concentrate! You're in danger and you need a weapon. This place runs on the mind. You can do what Alex did."
So saying, as as the lot of them were hearing footsteps from the direction they came rushing this way - Laurence, Romani, and Raven - Hakuro swung his weapons like a pair of scissors and began to kick a slime below its mouth...which was stretched out like a freaky grin for now, the way it was hooked. And that just leaves us with...
It's funny, because Mikhail hit upon the big screaming detail of the Ashcroft before him that said everything about the man. He was not what he seemed. He was all pomp and circumstance and 'In my day', wishing for simpler times to be brought back, but really...he was a massive hypocrite. He was the sort of man who would consort with the devil to fight with the devil. He was not holier than thou. He was darker by far, and cared not for your tongue. He didn't care, really, about 'back then', except for when he was important, recognized, and in charge. Not that any of this was vocalized, but it was a very important point. This Shadow of the true Ashcroft was a broken mirror that showed the true self, especially as it spoke in open contempt at Mikhail's words.
"See how it condemns itself with its own words. The worm crawls and squirms for release from its fate, but the righteous shall not hear it, for it is unclean and fit only for the dirt from which it was born."
Good fucking god, he liked to hear himself talk... Then again, so did the REAL Ashcroft. This one, though... He was far more cunning. You may be wondering why he simply allowed Mikhail to talk his head off. That was because he was telling him oh-so-much when he did. Mikhail had spoken alloud his true intentions, not what he had spoken to the others, a confession of the wrath he felt in his heart. Every anxiety and concern seemed to come out. Finally, when he'd found the boy's weakest moment, the Shadow smiled, which was something the Russian boy had NEVER seen Ashcroft do!
"My intent is not for the likes of thee, fell creature. Mayhaps some of those things, I will do, but you shall not know the hour, nor shall you escape to tell any soul of thy misfortunes. For now, if the tongue of thy neighbor offends thee, pray remove it, lest the evil spread."
He raised his spear and a strange light - gray and purple = shown from it. A wave of it passed over Mikhail, and all his utterences were silent. No word or noise could be produced. He had literally been hit with a spell of silence! The Witchfinger General turned and walked away, laughing. Once outside, he called for guards to appear at the door that he'd entered. Mikhail was in for a rough time here. The only good news is that the spell would only last a few minutes.