"And the others but lmao at making a new header for them"
Zachary didn’t seem too pleased by the discussion. “It doesn’t matter,”
he told them. “The amount of effort it takes to kill even one of those sisters is ludicrous. We should avoid getting any funny ideas like trying to take them all on if it’s not absolutely necessary. Just keep moving.”
He gave a once-over to the members of their newly-established squad. An archer, a knight, a jester, and a nanny. It sounded like the setup to some weird sitcom, only they weren’t in a position to be laughing.
The archer then inspected his bow and the special arrows that had been made. Even though he hadn’t had it that long, this bow had some significant memories attached to it, and none of them were pleasant. His first trial and that failed Night of Carnage… was this thing cursed? And there was also the fact he wasn’t sure how well he could even use the thing anymore. “It’s a good thing you’re so selfless. It makes the most sense for you to take point, I feel,”
he spoke to Shona after she voiced her refusal to die in vain. “You should be our tank,”
he suggested. Of course, looking at the other two, he really wasn’t sure what role would be best for them. Jezebel had… whatever she had -- Zach didn’t know what to call it -- and Emily was packing a powerful handgun. “And...uh, I guess as long as she’s leading, then it doesn’t matter, does it?”
Zachary didn’t intend on being half-assed with his attempt at leadership, but things were how they were.
Shona stood in front with her sword drawn. "I think we should take the nearest case of stairs. The sisters will likely expect us to do so, but I feel I am the best equipped for a close encounter with them."
She ascended the staircase. "All I ask is that no one shoots near me unless they’re familiar with firearms."
Jezebel had taken a moment to charge up her extendable fists. “Don’t worry, I’ve got great aim with these guys. I’ll just stand outside of your sword swings and we can work together.””You and I just have to make sure we don’t shoot them.”
Emily giggled at Zachary. ”You’re pretty lucky, you know? All the other teams are mostly men.”“Huh?”
Zach cast a glance at the other two, apparently just now realizing this. “T-that doesn’t matter, does it? You’re being weird…”
he cleared his throat and retrieved an arrow from his quiver so that he was as ready as he could be. “A-Anyway, even like this… I won’t accidentally hit someone a second time. Preventing that sort of thing is why I’m the Infinite Archer, after all.”
he expertly changed the subject. ”Is it weird?”
Emily giggled again. ”Maybe it is.”
Shona started moving forward. "It is natural to try and lighten the mood, especially for a caretaker. But let us continue the idle chatter when we get to the top."
Shona lead the way, with Jezebel following closely behind her. Zachary and Emily hung back, but Emily was spending much more time checking the rear and flanks than the front.
The group didn’t get to the second floor before the carnage sisters arrived. With a single swing, Shona cleaved two of them in half, before kicking the third one down. A fourth and fifth had shown up with automatic weapons, but Jezebel was there to assist with her extendable fists, knocking them down together. But more were coming. "They’ve flooded the stairwell! Move!"
Shona held her ground until everyone had fled the staircase, at which point she ran ahead of everyone to ensure the path was clear. The ground ahead was littered with broken carnage sister pieces, but it was a passing observation.
Emily turned towards the horde and aimed her hand cannon at them. Being as inexperienced as she was, she did not have proper discipline when firing such a massive handgun. Her elbows weren’t locked, and the gun nearly flew into her face when she fired. The only thing that saved her was her massive breasts. It was enough to knock her down though. Before Shona could rush to her side, more carnage sisters came out of the patient’s rooms to attack them. “They so need a chill pill!”
Jezebel attempted to help Emily up, but the droves of carnage sisters were almost upon them, and she had to start fighting just to stop herself from getting overwhelmed.
Zachary instead came to Emily’s rescue after firing an arrow between the eyes of one of the closer sisters. “Brace for the recoil next time,”
he told the nanny as he helped her to her feet, immediately returning to assisting Jez and Shona once he had done so.
As he notched another arrow, he considered their options. “Lets…”
he fired, planting an arrow through the ‘brain’ of one of the many sisters setting upon them. “...head to the resort and continue up from there!”
he instructed, walking backward in that direction so as to keep the ability to cover for his allies. “We just gotta keep moving!”“Got it, Baldwin!”
The girls ran ahead, with Zachary following. The carnage sisters split up and ran down separate corridors, which made thinning out their numbers easier for the archer. After following the girls into the music plaza, he could hear Shona shout. "Who’s that?"
When Zachary turned his head, he could see it. Shona wasn’t the only one who had been raised from the dead. Justiciar was here as well. It could have been a carnage sister in armor, but it was possible Noel was wearing it.”I am justice.”
Justiciar drew her katana. ”And I will punish all of you.”"This is no ordinary foe."
Shona raised her sword just in time to block the vigilante’s incoming swing. "Go! I will be right behind you!"
Greatsword and electro katana collided over and over again.
Jezebel shook her head. “They’re moving too fast. Like, I’ll hit Shona if I’m not careful, or get stabbed.”
Emily pointed her gun towards them, but Jezebel was quick to push it out of the way.
Zachary had his bow and arrow ready, but was much in the same position as the other two. Even if his eye was not gouged out by one of the sisters earlier, he would still find landing a shot without hitting Shona rather difficult to pull off, so he wasn’t able to take it. The smart move would be to listen to Shona here and fall back before the sisters got a chance to flank and overwhelm, but curiosity got the better of him.“What the actual fuck is going on?”
he lowered the bow, eyeing their new foe. “Didn’t we just watch her…?”
he looked at the other two girls not engaged in a swordfight currently, before turning back. “Noel? Don’t tell me you’re coming back from the dead too?"
The swordfighters jumped away from each other, and Justiciar turned to look at Zachary. ”Excuse me?”
Shona didn’t lower her guard for a second. "You know who this is? Was she one of your friends?"
Justiciar reached for her helmet and pulled it off of her head. ”You shouldn’t know me.”“Ohmygosh!”
Jezebel blurted out. “Like, If she forgot everything too, she hates our guts!””Can you blame me?”
Noel’s eyes trailed over Zachary. ”I’m being confronted by a murderer.”
She looked to Jezebel. ”A slut.”
Then to Shona. ”And a coward.”
She put her helmet back on her head. "Is there no reasoning with you then?"
Shona was already preparing to swing, and so was Noel. There were sparks when their swords collided. ”Only with steel will justice be exposed!”
Zachary seemed unsure of what to do at this point, but went ahead and acted anyway. He did not have the luxury of time, so he was only capable of acting in the moment. "What justice is there in this?"
he asked. "Davis is the one torturing and killing people as though it's a game! You'd let more people die by Davis' hands just so you can kill a bunch of jaywalkers? I'm sure the real Noel would be livid if she hadn't already given her life to give us the opportunity to escape."
Zach shot a look behind them, seeing if they were being flanked just yet. He was ready to move at a moment's notice, but that depended entirely on how Noel responded. But a certain question arose in his mind: Wait... where's Emily?
The sound of Emily’s desert eagle rang out from the third floor. “Ohmygosh!”
The jester blurted out again before charging upstairs. “Emily!”
Justiciar might not have believed Zachary, or maybe she didn’t care, but she hadn’t attempted to respond to him. The commotion on the third floor had forced Zachary to see what was going on. When he got there, he could see Jezebel helping Emily to her feet. There was a puncture wound just under her collar bone, with a splintered tip stemming the bleeding.”Locking my arms helped a lot. ”
Emily coughed. She was a big lady, and Jezebel was small even by the standards of most women. Emily could still stand on one leg, but she’d need someone to lean up against. ”I heard someone coming.”
Jezebel was struggling to hold her up, but this was probably for the best. She could still use her extendable fist on one arm. Zachary would struggle to fire a bow with one hand. “Like…”
The queenly laugh of Willow carried through the hallway. Unlike the other carnage sisters, she was on horseback. Her lance laid on the ground in ruins, and her steed had half of its head blown off. As she rode away from them, she drew her rapier. Her cannon rested under her opposing arm. ”Have I been blessed with a rematch?”
she said looking back towards Zachary. ”It’s just not going to be the same without your second eye. You’ll only see half my majesty!”
She leveled her cannon with the archer. There really wasn’t anywhere to go. To Zachary’s right was the stairs to the lower resort area, as well as the stairs up, but the path to Willow was sandwiched between the bathrooms and a wall of aquarium plants. ”But I feel like we really need this, even if you’re worse for wear.”“Zachary.”
Zachary directed a challenging glare at Willow as he answered Jezebel. "...you two should continue on up, I'll follow you after I'm done here,"
he instructed, a few his words laced with an anxious tone.
Jezebel hesitated. “Come up soon.”
She said before taking Emily upstairs.
Allowing them to go, he snapped his right arm outwards as though to wake it up, and then prepared to draw the bow back. His eye didn't leave Willow for even a second. "You've got to be kidding,"
he said. "Even if I had both eyes, you'd still be down half a horse. And that's the only majestic thing about you."
Zachary pulled his bow back and fired an arrow directed at the head of the horse, taking a few steps backward.
Willow leaped off of her steed before the arrow even collided with it. The arrow struck true, but what happened to the mechanical horse didn’t matter anymore. The queenly carnage sister fired a single cannonball at Zachary before casting the cannon aside. Without the cannon, she could run almost three times as fast as normal. Her rapier danced in front of her face as the distance between them swiftly closed.”I can run almost as fast as your mouth can, haha! ”
Zachary was forced to abandon the next shot he was preparing to take, apparently not confident in his ability to get up after taking a cannonball to the chest. The roll itself was not the cleanest and he even seemed like he landed on his shoulder a little rougher than intended, but he still got up and into a firing stance rather quickly, flinging an arrow at the approaching Willow, but realizing that was probably the last chance he had before she closed the remaining distance between them. The rate at which he started retreating then increased dramatically.
That arrow would
have found its mark, right between Willow’s stupid eyes. But arrows were slower than their bullet counterparts. With a tap, the arrow was knocked off course before it landed true. ”Why are you running, peasant?”
Willow attempted to stab at Zachary, but he managed to get away with a small cut in his shirt sleeve. ”Were you not ready to lay down your life just a few hours ago?”
Her second swing cut into Zachary’s shoulder. He managed to turn into the workshop before she ran him all the way through.
Hissing in pain, Zachary sprinted through the Workshop, keeping an eye out for one tool in particular as he did so. While there were a lot of things he could use to kill another human in this place, something that could do damage to a chassis was a bit harder to come by. This situation called for something a little more “heavy-duty” and, as he expected, he saw what he wanted propped up against the wall next to the door on the other side of the shop.
It pained him to do so, but he wasn’t going to be able to one-hand this, so he discarded his bow and picked up the sledgehammer without stopping, though doing so took a lot of effort, and he barely managed to avoid simply tipping over when he tried. Still, with this success, he charged through the opposing door (using the shoulder that had not just been stabbed) and ran around the corner.”The archer abandons his bow? And instead grasps the shaft of a primitive hammer?”
Willow stepped out of the room, but she wouldn’t even have time to turn her head before Zachary mercilessly swung the sledgehammer into her. She was able to deflect arrows with her sword, but the heft of the twenty-pound sledge overcame any force Willow was able to apply to it. Her sword bent as the hammer plowed into her chest, bending her chassis and rupturing the devices underneath. Blue hydraulic fluid sprayed out of the wound as Willow's eyes flickered. There were no corny last words, no death cry, just the sound of her chassis collapsing to the ground.“I’m fine with… ha... being slower than you… haa... if it means that... haa...”
Zachary panted heavily as his body cried out in pain and his lungs burned. He leaned against the wall of the workshop for a second to catch his breath. “...you die first. *Wheeze*”
Zachary’s body demanded that he remain still for a while longer, but he had no such time. The best he could do was power walk back through the workshop, snagging his discarded bow. In the rush he was in just a moment ago, it wasn’t practical to try sling it across his back so he reluctantly parted with it, but that wasn’t a problem now. He didn’t have an actual sling for the bow, so he used the quiver in a ghetto attempt. It would probably fall from his back if he got too rough with it, but it was all he could do. Unless it proved to be a liability, he would try to use the hammer from now on.
With a new weapon and one less enemy to worry about, Zachary made his way up to where Jezebel and Emily were, hoping that Shona could at least make it out on top of their fight.