Zeal stayed asleep as Sunfloorall blasted its whole Solar Beam at him, scoring a direct hit. Zeal had already been somewhat damaged by Lilligiant’s Mega Drains, and then he had been touched by slight Solar Beam residue earlier, and this was powerful enough in a direct hit to be way too powerful. Zeal took the whole hit, the Focus Band didn’t help either, and he fainted on the spot. While asleep.
‘Are you having trouble yet?’ Archie asked, smiling so widely and tilting his head a bit while looking at her. Sunfloorall also smiled so widely at her… though the yellow flower was looking somewhat pale. Some of the petals were looking just a bit wilted. Doing those powerful blast was draining it, due to its ability.
Oaken did not reply to her first statement, merely raised a single eyebrow and gave her a sideways glance. However, he stopped when Eryn mentioned the parts about a truly great trainer turning the unremarkable. That, he took seriously. He turned to look at her, eyes unflinching.
'You are right. A great trainer can turn any Pokémon into a champion…' Though, then he glanced over to the Mawile. '… But I see no reason to give myself a handicap. A journey raising Pokémon like that will be needlessly tough, and in the end the battles at the Pokémon League will demand the most powerful and efficient Pokémon in order to reliably perform. I will pick the Pokémon that give me the best chance of victory. It’s as simple as that.'
He then simply looked as she approached the Mawile, after declaring she’d use precisely that one to defeat him. '… Good luck with that, then.' He didn’t sound like he understood the point of that. He turned and took a number of steps away.
Meanwhile, Mawile noticed Eryn’s approach, looking up at her with a bit of hesitation. It looked at with a bit of a frown, and wasn’t really convinced by her words. She’d have to work a little bit more than just that.
'… Mawiles bite,' Oaken gave a final little supposed word of advice, before turning to walk. There were still the Pokémon cats, quadrupeds and crustaceans taking part in the honey that had been spread about on leaves and sticks that Oaken had used to lure them all here.
For a brief moment, when the blizzards hit, one of the Goletts imagined an alternate scenario. There, an awesome monster of ice and darkness stood before them, like a dark god who had taken notice of them. “You dare wander outside your tomb?” it would ask. “This is our world! Go back whence you came!” And so, the other Goletts all cowered… but this one stood form. “No!”, it replied. “This world is ours, as much as it is yours! Fellow Goletts! We must stand firm in the face of this injustice, and collect plenty of humans for our master! For our beloved emperor!” And so, the Goletts cried out in passion and huddled together, holding their heat in place before the blizzard. “You dare defy me?” the dark god asked. “Then, you shall face the consequences!”
The terrific blizzard intensified, hitting the group of Goletts with a freezing gale that would surely be their end… but they stood firm. As one, the group of Goletts gathered their individual strengths, and advanced at the dark god before them. “How can this be!?” the god shouted. “You are but mere Goletts! You have no right to survive my storm!” Yet, they surely stood, their little gemstone eyes glinting with determination. “We fight for our own freedom, and for our beloved emperor! You shall not stop us!” And with that, they broke ranks, as a group they charged and struck the menacing god. Their opponent roared out in pain, striking back with massively powerful blows, but the determination of the little Goletts won out, and finally the massive beast collapsed before their assault.
“The god is slain! The world has been conquered for our emperor! We are free!” And so, the Goletts rejoiced and celebrated, free to kidnap as many humans as they liked, and their beloved emperor gave a particularly handsome reward to that one Golett who had led the charge, who was more than proud and happy to accept it. Soon enough, he was a mighty Golurk, standing at its master’s side forever proud and revered as the world was conquered…
Now, of course, that didn’t happen. What happened was that the desert momentarily turned into a snowstorm and the Goletts were left as frozen ice-sculptures. When later the desert turned back into desert and the ice thawed they’d collapse where they were because ice had damaged them enough to faint them multiple times over.
Amelia unleashed her team of Pokémon, and the room suddenly grew plenty crowded with ghosts. Then Dawkin added to the fray, and it became quite the ambush.
The Golett wielding a Bronzor and Honedge had been about to put the other girl to sleep, but instead spun to face the noise and promptly ended up in a spinning little inferno of Fire Spin blown Litwick. It staggered back, and the two steel-types it was carrying also felt the damage and promptly abandoned the one carrying them, the remaining Golett then taking Wooper’s Water Gun for more damage and fire spinning about it… Though, it wasn’t quite out yet.
The one carrying Amelia was momentarily confused by the sudden noise, but was then hit by Knock Off, causing the ghost to stagger and Amelia to be Knock-Offed, because she was totally an item and as such promptly fell to the floor, which fortunately wasn’t that far due to Golett’s short height. That particular Golett proceeded to be Astonished three times and Metal Clawed once, which was completely enough, and the Golett fell fainted onto its side.
Counter attack time. Litwick found himself targeted by all three of the armed Golett trio. Honedge flew forth and attempted a Fury Cutter! … Which was hilariously ineffective given Bug-type against Ghost/Fire. The same could not be said for when Bronzor shot a Confusion or when the Fire Spun Golett charged forth for an Astonish of his own, dealing a not-inconsequential amount of damage on Litwick. Still, he had plenty of fight in him to go.
The remaining Golett carrying the girl, looked back at the small army of opponents that it had no chance against. The girl herself also blinked back at the sudden commotion. … Then the Golett lifted the girl above its head and made a mad dash for the exit straight ahead of them, leading deeper into the tomb, the direction all the other captives had been led. The Bronzor flew to hover in the way of pursuit, however temporarily.
Alice decided she had other things to do elsewhere in Pureplain City, and as such will not be continuing. Now, then.
Vivia was currently in the motion of stopping Rotom from committing arson as the little ghost found it funny to discharge electricity into the grass to cause a bit of fire, but Vivia was swift to stomp out the the result and then gripping Rotom by the head to glare at him, Venonat standing at the ready to Foresight the ghost to allow for Vivia’s grab. Still, otherwise she had Scraggy train against a few birds and mice, then hearing Skylar’s suggestion.
'Oh, yeah, sure. There should be some interesting things in that forest. I never went in there,' she said, sounding decently interested. 'Will you be fine? The ground will get a lot less even, and I imagine roots or little cliffs or such things in the wildlife…' Vivia asked, looking a little worried Skylar before they went on.
So, with the assumption that they did head into Silent Forest, travelling north up past the plains of Route 1. Finally, they stepped past the trees, and entered what may have felt like a new world entirely.
Southern Silent Forest
The awaiting forest that greeted those who entered it was one of utter calm. The Silent Forest is a peaceful place where little in the way of violence or turmoil, giving credence to the name which it is now known by. Pokémon and people at peace with nature often walk among these trees, little noise other than the occasional sound of a Pokémon making their way or playing in the grass. In comparison to the other kinds of forests that one might find in Isson, this is without a doubt the least dangerous and absolutely least exciting one. Still, it is a boon to those of the calm Pureplain City who simply wants somewhere with fresh air to wander every once in a while.
Being off the map, few youngsters walk here, making it somewhat of a place for the somewhat older to make their home in. Still, the forest belongs to another kind of creature entirely. Because no matter where you look, there’s one out of two species of Pokémon all over. Those being innumerable Petilil playing about…
Pokédex Entry #548 – Petilil, the Bulb Pokémon. They prefer to live areas with moist, nutrient-rich soil. They’ve been known to be used by humans to find areas suitable for planting plants. The leaves on their heads come right back when plucked off, and while extremely bitter, they’re known to refresh a tired body.
… And Cottonees floating about.
Pokédex Entry #546 – Cottonee, the Cotton Puff Pokémon. They’re extremely light and mostly go where the wind guide them. They’re known to feel more at ease in a group, so they stick together with others of its kind and resemble clouds floating about. If attacked, they shoot cotton at their attacker to distract them.
That’s about it, though, otherwise it’s just a really calm forest right now. There could be more if Skylar seeks more, though.
What would Skylar do from here?
1. Find Pokémon. Specify if you’re looking for a specific kind of Pokémon in the forest. 2. Train Pokémon. With this command, we can jump ahead in time and skip posting about grinding. 3. Move along. Move along normally, letting any events that may come happen naturally. 4. Hurry along. Intentionally avoid confrontations and try to get safely to the next destination. 5. Specify. If you specify what you want to do, the GM will take it into account and tell the result. 6. Trigger random event. Force the GM to use his imagination to make a scenario for you. 7. Area Specific: Wander. This place… it’s so relaxing. Wouldn’t it be so nice to just… wander away… without thinking about it?
Connected areas: Route 1. To the south. Route 3. If you head north-east for a while. Silent Shrine. Go north, you should be able to find the road there.
'Rrloin?' Purrloin asked, the feline turning its head to Eryn as she spoke to it, complimented it. Still, she didn’t spent a long time near it, so the cat simply curled up with a little 'Purr…' as Eryn left.
Eryn then went through the park that was there, looking for things out of the ordinary… and she found something most assuredly out of the ordinary. On a foldable chair among a couple of trees sat Oaken, one leg folded over the other and playing with a jar he was holding. This in itself wouldn’t be so peculiar, if he wasn’t completely surrounded by numerous meowing Purrloins, a couple of blue and black additional little quadrupeds…
Pokédex Entry #403 – Shinx, the Flash Pokémon. When its muscles extend or contract, it generates electricity. When it senses danger, a Shinx will let the electricity run through it, causing it to glow. If threatened, it uses its muscles to flash a bright light to blind the predator while it flees.
… and a bunch of crustaceans with rocks as their shells.
Pokédex Entry #557 – Dwebble, the Rock Inn Pokémon. It finds a rock of suitable size. It melts a hole in said rock using a liquid secreted from its mouth, then crawls in and lives in it. A rock-less Dwebble is known to be aggressive until a replacement is found, so be careful should the rock break.
When Eryn came close, he started talking without even looking at her.
'Honey. A sweet substance that Pokémon find irresistable, they’re drawn to this scent,' Oaken stated, utterly in control of the situation. 'Seeking after the Pokémon myself is inefficient. Especially here. I imagine a fairy shipped here from its natural habitat is either very used to humans or utterly terrified. The former ones should already all be captured. Hence, I seek the latter kind. The shy ones will avoid anyone who’s actively searching for them. But someone who sits still, who holds something that smells so very good and alluring, who’s seemingly distributing this sweetness amongst nearby Pokémon out of kindness…' Oaken stated, as if read from a strategy guide. Then… he pointed to a tree. '… And there she is.'
Indeed, right there, a being different from the surrounding Pokémon was daring to peek out, partly hiding behind a tree. It was a soft little face, yet from the back of her head extended a large, flower-like entity with strong jaws…
Pokédex Entry #303 – Mawile, the Deceiver Pokémon. Attached to its head is a huge set of jaws formed by horns powerful enough to chew through steel. It’s a dangerous Pokémon which fools those who look at it with a docile and fail appearance, before spinning around and chomping those who’d dare approach it.
Not paying the peeking Pokémon any mind, Oaken closed his jar of honey and folded his foldable chair before putting them both into his bag. Then he turned, intending to leave.
'Weak. A Mawile’s average strength is unremarkable, and she has no evolutions beyond the regular. Extremely few gain the ability to see her upgraded form, and even if I one day obtain that ability I’ll be able to simply find a Mawile of my own in its natural habitat at that point. I wager that particular Mawile is worth more as the temporary companion and pride of whatever student finds her than what worth she’d be to me. I have proven I could obtain her, with a trainer of Kalmia’s as witness. That will suffice. I am done here.' So Oaken said, turning to walk by Eryn on his way out of the school.
The Pokémon that had been around Oaken had all been given a bit of honey on sticks and leaves, and they were following hoping for more.
The shy-seeming Mawile over there had gained no such, and was looking a bit distraught.
The monster girl watched Su intently as she summoned the bubble and started to put out the fires…
‘Oooooooh. That’s cool! Nice! Thanks!’ The monster-girl grinned widely and happily to Su as she finished. The girl looked after her curiously… and then most assuredly started following her. There was something sharp in her eyes, with each step she followed Su with. If Su sped up, then so would she.
‘You’re cool. What’s your name? Are you strong? Do you fight for yourself or for others? Are you off to do good deeds in the name good name of good, now? Will it be fun where you’re going? I think I’ll follow you. Are there still skeletons outside? Teh-heh, it’s gonna be such a banquet. I hope Victoria saved some for me, or I’ll be really cross with her.’ She smiled so widely as she said…
‘Oh, Jelena’s fighting someone ahead,’ she added. Then Su likely heard a sound from the following scene.
‘Keh.’ Jelena tilted her head downwards, a dark shadow from her coat’s hood covering her face above her wide grin. ‘“Copycat”, hah, hahahaha.’ There was something slightly hurt in the voice… when suddenly her right arm completely detached, the metal construct falling out of her coat’s arm and rolling over on the floor. The girl threw her head back as she grinned menacingly, her eyes threatening over the grin. ‘How careless of me! What was I thinking!? Of course I can’t go around with the arms I created for myself with my power, because it might resemble any other Magical Girl! I should go around with just my stumps, lest I might risk offending someone! Right, right!? Or are you gonna tell me you don’t have any limbs, either!?’ The girl turned her body and wiggled her right side towards Helga, the length of the coat’s arm fluttering uselessly. There was no arm in it.
Under the assumption Helga couldn’t COMPLETELY stun and leave her opposition speechless by showing off that Helga’s arms were also fabricated…
‘RIGHT!’ With that word, the metal girl suddenly kicked the arm on the floor, and it was sent flying at high speed at Helga. In the midst of the kick, large parts of the arm shattered as small shards of sharp debris, which flew forward like shrapnel of her kick, while the main arm and its claws headed straight for Helga. With the assumption that Helga would jump to target her, the enemy in the coat then jumped back and pulled all the metal back, intending on striking Helga in the back if she came heading for the metal girl. If Helga had dodged the arm itself and it flew out the window, it’d come flying back when the girl applied her metallic grip and her other arm moved to defend her from whatever her opponent was doing, potentially, and her legs were ready to stretch to shoot her to safety if she was otherwise targeted by magic.
The metal girl had apparently been a bit ticked off.
Eryn found the library to be a calm place with students studying and quite the selection of things to study. She was welcome to tell what she was looking for and then be given exactly the resources she needed. So, then…
Route 2: This route didn’t contain too many surprises, with a mix of bugs from Infested Woods and fresh-water types from Dragon Lake. Surskit and Lotad exists in high numbers, along with Pidgeys and Weedles. More uncommon is the Poliwag, which can occasionally be seen in the water, or the Ducklett, feeding on the bugs in this Route. Rarely, a Cherubi can be found in the bushes around here. In addition, rumors are abound of the occurrence of a rare little blue reptile in this area, but few substantial claims of any merit about this exists.
Infested Woods: The Infested Woods are built of three distinct areas. Outer Infested Woods is relatively safe, with the most basic Pokémon appearing as well as a cloud of Volbeats. The shows the firefly Pokémon have during the night is a wonder to behold, though there isn’t much of the rare variety. Inner Infested Woods is just as bad at variety, because it is truly simply infested with Beedrills and Vespiquens who don’t think highly of visitors, and Dustox swarms during the night. No, the place a trainer wants to search is True Infested Woods, right in between, where a myriad of different Bug-types live. The lucky might run into a Scyther, Pinsir or a Heracross… Rumors also tell of ghosts appearing during the night, but that can’t be right. Can it?
Wet Caverns: These caverns dipped in water contain water and rock-types, along with loads and loads of Zubats. The uncommon kinds you might see in here are Slowpokes or Psyduck, and if you delve deep enough you might just find an Onix. Rumors are abound that perhaps, given that the waters of Dragon Lake runs through the cave, young dragons might possibly be found within its chambers that aren’t being watched by the Lakewatchers. However, we’re very hush, hush about that. Also, rumors claim if you go deep enough in Wet Caverns, you end up somewhere else entirely… For that matter, what might be on the top…?
Lakewatch Town: Carvanhas lurk outside the borders of the town, along with Woopers and Tympoles. As any city, that’s usually what to expect. However, there’s a landmark known as Descent Tower, which leads down into the underwater world beneath Lakewatch Town, known as Flooded Lakewatch. There, a whole bunch of frogs and ugly fishes make their homes, posing a threat to those who delves into the part of Lakewatch abandoned by humans. They say that in the depths of these abandoned streets lies a couple of mystical rocks, which purpose are unknown. Similar rocks have been found at both Highhill Town and Stillwood Village. Their purpose continues to elude researchers…
Then Eryn headed off to the park and investigated. There were a bunch of students already in here, among the grass and trees, seeking what could potentially be a rare Pokémon. Eryn overheard some students searching frantically nearby…
‘C’mon! Keep looking! I heard they released a rare Fairy-type! We have to find it!’ ‘Huh? Fairy? I heard it was a Steel-type?’ ‘Doesn’t matter! Finders keepers, and I’m gonna find it!’
… And they were running straight past a rock, on which a purple little cat was sitting and resting, watching those around it unenthusiastically, before starting to lick its own paw…
Pokédex Entry #509 – Purrloin, the Devious Pokémon. It puts up a cute act to fool humans around it. It loves stealing things for fun and will act cute in order to make people forgive it. If endangered, it will counter-attack with sharp claws.
Statement: Pidgeys gonna be Pidgeys. They peck up food where they find it, pecking food or otherwise flying off wherever they feel like. The ones which Skylar saw around here all obeyed rather typical bird-logic and didn’t entirely seem like they were displaying any specific intention of being particularly special. That said, he could test their natures in various ways if he were so inclined. These Pidgeys were rather used to humans, so there were probably some curious enough to approach if Skylar looked like he in the slightest presented the opportunity to maybe obtain food. As for bravado or resentment, he’d have to engage them in battle for that. Most appeared pretty timid, though. There WOULD be random Rattata attacking, though…
Pokédex Entry #19 – Rattata, the Mouse Pokémon. It has impressive vitality that allows it to live anywhere there is food. It scavenges for food all day and reproduces quickly. Very cautious, it’s ears listen for trouble even when asleep. It’s teeth never stop growing, it will gnaw on things to keep their size in check.
… But Skylar and Seabreeze could handle those pretty easily, it’s not like the rats could catch a water gunning bird, after all.
‘Kah!’ Viridia jumped back as her opponent’s lance lightly hit her side, enough to draw blood and she had to pull back. Her left arm held over the wound while her right still held her lance against her enemy…
‘This is all you got?’ the opposing Soldier asked. ‘I was a bit afraid of fighting the hero’s daughter, but you’re nothing special.’
‘I-I’m working on it! One day, I’ll be something special! I just need a little time to get there…’ Viridia defended, clearly frustrated.
‘Really? Well, pity you’ll die today, then.’
‘Kh!’ Viridia frowned, holding out her lance to continue the battle, knowing the situation looked grim.
‘Young miss! Get behind me!’ Osmund called, his voice bellowing. ‘My armour shall defend us both from their attacks-’
‘HIYA!’ An axe-fighter took advantage of Osmund being distracted to chop at him with his axe, going right past the Knight’s guard to hit him square on… and the axe bounced back with a heavy clang of metal meeting metal. The Fighter bounced back, because it seemed Osmund had taken no damage whatsoever.
‘I-I don’t get it…’ the Fighter told, frowning hard. ‘Other Knights of Grado go down to chops like that. This one is so much slower and so terrible at actually fighting than the others, hitting him is a piece of cake, but I can’t seem to hurt him…!?’
‘Ho-ho!’ Osmund claimed proudly, waving in the hurt Viridia behind him. ‘Indeed, your flimsy weaponry is no match for the magnificent armour of Knight Osmund! How, you ask? Well, it’s quite simple! The secret is-’ Osmund was shouting proudly, when his speech was interrupted by Kergin’s roar from across the street, and the two Fighters suddenly had something extremely worrying to think about.
The Fighter spun around just in time to see Kergin charging into him. He struck back with his axe, though the swing was badly aimed and only slightly graced Kergin’s side before the Fighter was blown back and into the wall. The Soldier at the side tried to The remaining Fighter aimed to strike at Kergin’s head, but failed to take into account the fact that Isolde existed and was deftly struck down by her horizontal swing. The downed Fighter was then struck before he could get down by Osmund.
‘Ha-ha! Even I can hit when my enemy is downed!’ Osmund called. … Then he realized something. ‘… That doesn’t sound very honourable. Hm.’ A puzzling matter, indeed.
Meanwhile, Viridia broke a window open in the adjacent building with her lance, thoroughly terrifying the inhabitants before she gripped the children and started lifting them through.
‘Get in, and stay inside. They won’t hurt you as long as you’re indoors. Stay in, stay safe, find your parents when this all blows over…!’ she told them, before lifting the other child over as well.
The Soldiers in front as well as to the side threw a single look at the new reinforcements before deciding it was best to double back, turning around and dashing to rejoin the rest of the incoming group.
‘It seems we’ve been saved. Thank you,’ Osmund said in the direction of the party, Viridia walking a bit awkwardly to stand at his side, her expression unsure. Osmund is a large man in heavy armour and an intimidating visage, yet clearly doesn’t entirely know how to even properly hold that lance of his. Viridia was an average young girl in stature, with armour that wasn’t of Grado but looked a bit too fancy to be Jehannan, honestly. She was bleeding from her side.
They could take the time to discuss things, but honestly-
‘Enemies approaching from behind!’ Aldo called from behind Titania, as behind them in the alleys, getting terribly close all of a sudden as they were hurrying to get behind the two mounted units on their side but slightly lagging behind due to lower movement speed. It was getting crowded here.
So, Servus ran along after the Fighter, and, within a couple of steps…
‘There they are! A group of stragglers, ready for the picking!’ the Fighter announced. Quite right, over there was a Shaman and a Cleric, albeit the Cleric wasn’t wearing the typical white clothing of Clerics, and further away was a Cavalier and a Wyvern Rider… And it appeared the Zane Guild was moving to surround the lot.
The Fire Emblem was above ground and moving towards her. It was in the gathering of buildings Kara might remember. However, it sounded like Jehannan troops were starting to surround its position…
Blue Wyvern Rider Isolde - Clumsy, but reliable Wyvern knight. Weapon Mastery: Axe: D Level: 5 Equipment and Items: Halberd, Tactician’s Stone
Blue Cavalier Marwood - The prince of Renais with a good heart and a rebellious streak, cares deeply for others. Weapon Mastery: Sword: C, Lance: D Level: 4 Equipment and Items: Reginleif, Steel Sword, Tactician’s Stone, 5,000G
Blue Cleric Titania - A tough healer from Rausten, she forges her own path to help as many people as she can. Weapon Mastery: Staff: D Level: 5 Equipment and Items: Heal, Mend, Tactician’s Stone, Fire Emblem
Blue Shaman Aldo - A shaman researcher and advisor on things magic in service of Grado. Magically gifted and incurably serious. Weapon Mastery: Dark: E Level: 2 Equipment and Items: Flux, Vulnerary, Guiding Ring, Tactician’s Stone x4.
Thief (not on map) Hevel - A young man on an aimless journey. A timid but humane thief that often monologues with himself. Weapon Mastery: Sword: D Level: 2 Equipment and Items: Iron Sword, Lockpick
Green Manakete Kara - Mature and worldly Manakete with a strong wanderlust and an even stronger appetite. Weapon Mastery: Stone: D Level: 6 Equipment and Items: Dragonstone, Vulnerary (2 uses)
Green Soldier in down-right corner. Viridia - Daughter of a Jehannan hero. Serious, righteous and dependable. Weapon Mastery: Lance: D Level: 3 Equipment and Items: Iron Lance
Green Knight in down-right corner. Osmund – A Grado Knight from the countryside. Inexperienced warrior with intimidating visage. Weapon Mastery: Lance: E Level: 2 Equipment and Items: Iron Lance, Vulnerary, Antitoxin
Red Journeyman (unmounted Wyvern Rider) Servus - Abandoned his home as a rogue mercenary. Adores his rare wyvern, Amboli. Weapon Mastery: Axe: D Level: 6 Equipment and Items: Halberd, Vulnerary, Pure Water
Red Knight Boss Zane - Former knight of Grado, now a commander of Jehanna. Craves battle and greater challenges. Weapon Mastery: Lance: C Level: 12 Equipment and Items: Iron Lance
Red Warrior on throne Nurit - Second-in-Command of Rhodri’s Wheel Guild. A hearty girl with a vicious battle-lust who feels at home at sea. Weapon Mastery: Axe: ???, Bow: ??? Level: ??? Equipment and Items: Killer Axe, Steel Bow, Hero Crest
Red Wyvern Knight next to throne Nadir - Second-in-Command of Eira’s Storm Guild. A charming man who dutifully takes care of all Eira can’t handle. Weapon Mastery: Axe: ???, Lance: ??? Level: ??? Equipment and Items: Spear, Elysian Whip
Current Injuries: Kergin got a grazing blow from the Fighter he tackled, though nothing serious. Viridia has taken a light stab to her side and is currently bleeding and clutching the wound.
Enemy Base Level: 2 Enemy Base Weapon Mastery: E Enemy Equipment Quality: Iron Notable Deviations: Fighter at the bottom wields the STORMBELLOWS!Functionally an Iron Axe.
She had to find two people to provide the vials she had gained to. The only ones she trusted enough were friends from her past. So, Sheila had a few visits to do…
Sheila walked unseen through familiar streets. When here, it felt like just maybe, she could put everything behind her and just return to this pleasant neighborhood, of people she somewhat recognized, the sound of food being grilled, and children playing here and there. Yet, for as much as she loved these streets, she had to be invisible when crossing. It would not do to be recognized before she arrived where she was going.
She rang the bell at a house she had visited more times than she could count in the past. While throwing a gaze so that nobody around her would see her appearing out of thin air, Sheila then made herself visible again. She was colouring her hair blonde, like it used to be, and was wearing a white jumper and blue jeans, a simple outfit for the public. And now… now she came.
‘Yes, yes, I’m coming!’ Chloe’s voice came from the other side, and Sheila breathed a sigh of relief that she had chose her time well, as the girl’s parents weren’t home yet. The door flung open, and an excitable girl with brown hair opened the door, looking at Sheila in surprise for a second. Sheila merely gave a small unsure smile, before being tackle-hugged by the energetic girl.
‘Sheila! It is you! I was- we were all so worried! Wh-where did you go!? Why did you go!? Aaaah, it doesn’t matter, you’re here now~!’ Chloe rambled out, like Sheila had expected her to, and she but smiled at the reaction, giving the girl a small pat on her head.
‘Yeah… I’m here for now. Listen, I have something to talk to you about. Can I come in?’ Sheila asked, not wanting to remain on the streets for too long.
‘Right! Of course! Come on in!’ Chloe waved her in with the brightest of smiles, and then they went to sit in the chairs in Chloe’s room.
At first Sheila denied talking about herself, insisting to hear how Chloe and the others had been doing. She was disheartened to hear they had somewhat drifted apart. Sheila had vanished and Theresa had moved away. That last was a bit of a hit to her, Theresa was one of those she had thought had a good chance of accepting. Good thing she hadn’t gone to her first, like she had intended to. But, they were alive, healthy, and incredibly worried about where Sheila had gone. One day she had just disappeared.
‘… But that’s enough about us! You! Where have you been!? We’ve been worried sick! What’s been going on!?’ Chloe insisted, and Sheila sighed. It was time, then. There really was no easy way to say this.
‘I’m… sorry about this, but I am going to ask you do not tell anyone about what I am about to show you, and say. Promise me you will,’ Sheila asked of her.
‘Huh? S-sure, Sheila. I promise I won’t tell anyone. You’re kinda scaring me, though,’ Chloe said, looking slightly perturbed.
Sheila nodded, satisfied. Then, she held out her hand. With it, she coelessed a ball of shadow. Then, she sent it off, letting it spin around herself. She also created three more, letting them take off and spin around. It was really just four spots of darkness she was letting float about her, but it wouldn’t do any good for her to broadcast what her real power was.
‘… You’re a cape!’ Chloe laughed out in amazement. ‘Aaaah, but now you’re revealing your identity to me! Ah, I should speak quieter,’ she suddenly said, smile still wide. Then, however, her smile vanished and her expression twisted in worry. ‘… But, then… you had a trigger event.’ Chloe pieced together what that meant, and looked considerably worried. Sheila bit it together, but nodded.
‘Listen, Chloe. I came today to give you a bit of peace of mind, and to ask for help,’ Sheila said, looking at her with a focused look. Chloe looked a bit worried, but made herself smile and nodded.
‘Oh, you need some mundane help to kick villain ass? Sure! If it’s within my power…’ she started excitedly. Sheila couldn’t help but smile at the girl’s antics. Her desire to help was what convinced Sheila to eventually go to her first. So, here goes. Sheila stood up, confusing Chloe as to why she stood up.
‘I’m a villain. Or, more accurately, I’m pretending to be a villain,’ Sheila said, Chloe looking towards her in alarm. Okay. To elaborate. ‘I joined the villains, hoping to catch villain plots in the motion before they come into fruition. There’s information that you’re only privy to, as a villain. Like the fact there are these vials which can grant a person powers, which I was given in order to make my own super-powered subordinates.’ Saying so, Sheila took out one of the vials, presenting it to Chloe.
‘The vials are not without risk. I have no idea what powers this vial contains. It might transform the one who drinks it into an unrecognizable monster, or leave their mind unhinged. However, it comes with a potential to change the world for the better. A power, a gift that few others have. The ability to do some good in this world, for the prize of probably leaving everything one has now behind. … And I offer it to you, if you’d like to join me,’ so she said.
‘I’d really want to avoid creating more villains. That’s why, I’d much prefer an ally. Someone who’d be able to stand by my side, support me as we pretend to be villains, doing villain operations for a time before the time comes when we make a flashy betrayal and become heroes once again with me. An ally and a friend that I can trust,’ Sheila said, hoping that her words had effect. She looked at Chloe with a slight smile. ‘There’s precious few who I trust enough to ask this of,’
‘So, what do you think? Would you like to become a cape and stand at my side against the dangers I now face?’ Sheila asked. That was it. That was her offer. She really hoped it came across well. Chloe looked stunned. Okay. Time for the second part. ‘Of course, I am not going to ask you to decide now, far too major a decision.’ Sheila said, putting back the vial. ‘I’ll return in a couple of days. Then you can-’
‘N-no,’ Chloe interrupted her, breathing out. ‘No, there’s no need for that.’ Chloe shook her head, and then gave Sheila a slight smile. ‘You were always so brave when it mattered. Shy on the outside, but when it really came to it, you were determined and decisive. Yeah. This suits you.’ Sheila stood frozen. This sounded like the beginning of…
‘But that’s… not for me,’ Chloe shook her head. ‘I didn’t tell you, did I? I’ve gotten myself a boyfriend. We’re planning on moving in together, when we get a little older. I have a lot of proud parents and people who expect lots from me. My studies are going really well, and I’m happy here. I’ve heard that cape-life is really dangerous, and really, really sad, right? … I’m sorry, but I’m too much of a coward to actually give up what I have. I’m sorry.’ So Chloe said, and bowed to Sheila.
Sheila reeled a little. It was… it wasn’t unexpected, was it. No reasonable person would throw away what they had for the sake of becoming a cape, would they? No, there definitely were people who would, but Chloe was not one of them. A normal person from a friend-circle living a good life wouldn’t.
‘It-it’s alright,’ Sheila said, struggling to get confidence back. ‘I know the request was unreasonable…’
Except, after Chloe, everyone was now less likely to accept.
‘You- you crazy bitch!’ Kimberly called, anger in her eyes. Sheila recoiled. ‘You’re asking me to become a known villain, for you!? For some perceived notion that you’re doing some good in this world!? Grow up, Sheila!’ Kimberly took a deep breath, and held forward her hand. ‘Give me the vials, Sheila. We need to give these to the Protectorate. Then they’ll-’
Sheila turned and walked, feeling regret.
‘You- I’m not done with you!’ Kimberly shouted, jumping after Sheila and attempting to grab her. However, her arms went right through Sheila, as Sheila had displaced her image a bit to the side, and then Kimberly was greeted with the image of Sheila standing calmly, hand raised towards her, a ball of shadow visually charging as if ready to launch in her hand. Kimberly froze.
‘I’m sorry. I’m going to leave now. I apologize,’ Sheila said. She snuffed out the actually entirely harmless ball of darkness, and then walked for the door.
‘Crazy lunatic. You know this is going to end up with you either mangled by the side of the road or in jail, right!? You fucking…’ Kimberly shook her head, and then returned to her room as Sheila exited. She had really hoped Kimberly would be excited for the idea of having powers and beating up some villains. This was looking less and less like a good idea.
‘…’ Hanna just sat, wide-eyed and hands over her mouth in fright, looking towards Sheila. She looked so utterly terrified. It was far worse than she had imagined. Sheila really felt like she was being viewed as a threat here.
‘Hey, don’t worry, I’m not going to-’ Sheila started, just reaching forth a hand to hold Hanna’s in order to comfort her…
‘No! Stay away!’ Hanna called, panicked, turning her shoulder towards her supposed friend. Sheila was taken aback. Hanna had become extremely unresponsive ever since Sheila had shared that she had become a villain. No, wait, was it since showing she was a cape, at all? Regardless, she couldn’t work with this.
‘I’m…’ How would she even say this? Suppose there was no other way. ‘I’m sorry. I’ll never show up again.’ So she said, and walked out.
‘The idea that you could get powers from vials is ridiculous, Sheila,’ the analytical Mary said. ‘Who gave you those vials? A villain?’
‘I…’ Sheila stopped short, not able to deny. ‘I saw the effect happen as a grunt not of the dealer’s group drank it. He gained powers, I know he did…’
‘Sheila. You know very well they collaborated and tricked you by making you think these vials could give someone powers. You must know it. Those vials have another, sinister effect on those who drink it. And now…’ Mary frowned. ‘… And now you’re willing to sacrifice your friends, just to see if it would work and possibly give you an edge.’
‘That’s not-’ Sheila stopped short. She could see Mary’s logic. But, that was not what she had been…
‘It seems you have truly become a villain. I’m disappointed in you. I want none of your dealings. Get out of my house.’
Sheila, on the verge of tears, obliged.
‘…’ Sheila stood on the outside of the house of her final female friend, Susan. She was invisible, peeking in through a window. Susan was there, talking on the phone.
‘Yeah, it was so thrilling! And after the robbery, we took off and spent it on a luxurious pool party! It was the best! I never knew there was such a side to being in a gang. Look, if we’re doing it again, I’d be happy to…’
Sheila left, disappointed.
Was this… actually a good idea? Had this been a frankly absolutely terrible idea? Sheila didn’t know, but after her attempt everything had seemed so stupid. There was a crushing weight on her mind, which told that everything was terrible and she should feel bad. So many people knew of her now, and she couldn’t be entirely sure she actually could trust a couple of them to keep quiet. That… that was terrible. Absolutely, indistinguishably terrible.
Still. She had two more people she could visit. Chad, and him. Sheila’s stomach turned at the thought. … Okay, then. Here goes, she guessed, as she took a specific turn on the street.
During her quest, Sheila heard something troubling about one of those she called friends. While it sounded horrible, it presented her with an opportunity.
‘You stopped hanging out with Chad?’ Sheila asked, worried about what she was hearing.
‘Yeah. Things just happened like that,’ Kimberly answered, lying back lazily. ‘After you vanished, things got quiet between us. We still gathered, but Chad didn’t join us. We didn’t entirely feel like inviting him when he wasn’t coming on his own, so eventually it just ended up like that.’ So she said.
‘I see…’ Sheila muttered, considering it.
‘And then… that happened,’ Kimberly said, sounding cryptic.
‘That?’ Sheila naturally asked, eyes worried.
Kimberly leaned forward, a frown on her face. She looked as if she was considering how to say this before continuing.
‘He ended up in hospital. A couple of supposed bullies who supposedly did it ended up in jail, but quite a few of those accused managed to get away scot-free. Chad eventually returned a couple of months later, and then we didn’t really talk anymore. Then… a bomb or something went off in a school locker room, and one of them lost his eye. Now, he was a deserving bastard, but that’s beside the point. The point is… we’re pretty sure Chad bombed him. Nobody was able to find any proof of it… but after that, all of us agreed we didn’t want to associate with him. You understand?’
Sheila sat silent. To think such a thing happened to someone who she considered her friend. Honestly, she triggered for less. Now, she wasn’t sure about the rumor… but there was an opportunity there. Sheila didn’t really like considering it an opportunity, but it was there. An excuse for a trigger, and a person that might not object to powers. Sheila took a deep breath, and made a decision.
Sheila knew what time school ended. It was a simple matter to walk there at the optimum moment. She entered the school while invisible, sneaking through the halls and avoiding other students. It felt weird walking in here while disguising herself, these familiar halls and these familiar outfits, yet here she was. She snuck off towards her classroom… and then leaned on the side. There wasn’t a window to peek in through. She could hardly open the door while invisible, and opening the door while visible was liable to cause an even greater stir. So, she waited until class ended, off to the side while calibrating for that a lot of people would be coming out soon. She was waiting for a specific friend of her past…
The last class in Chad’s schedule today was chemistry. Not any major experiments, just a quick exercise showing off thermodynamics, in this case how much heat was transferred from a hot metal plate to a cold one in ten minutes, and how much heat energy was lost in the process. Everyone was in pairs, even him, though his partner was doing her dutiful best to ignore him without getting caught on her phone. That was fine. He’d done the setup and testing on his own. There was a lot he could do on his own. This was easy by comparison.
He really wanted class to end so he could get to the gym. He was starting to fantasize about grabbing his partner’s hair and just pressing her stupid bitchy face into the hot plate with the bunsen burner still on it... hell, just take the bunsen and set her hair on fire, maybe, or burn one of her eyes until it popped...
Fuck, he cringed. She had no idea how much he wanted to do that to her. When there was nothing to do, and he had even a minor issue with somebody’s behaviour around him, his mind went down dark, dark paths, and if nobody was around to fantasize about, he started fantasizing about going on generic murder sprees. He hated it. But at least nobody else cared enough to question him about it.
Finally, the bell rang. Mrs. Dolores announced their homework for next week, and everybody left. The girl next to him couldn’t get away fast enough; Chad himself politely waited until everyone else was on their way out before standing up and gathering his things. Nobody else wanted to be near him, and it was better that he just let them get out of the way before he did anything. By the time he was out of the classroom, everyone else was down the end of the corridor, and with a sigh, he followed the larger mass of students to the front entrance, and then out of the school grounds outright, trudging a now-familiar path away from his house. Mom knew he’d be at the gym for a couple of hours anyway. He had some demons to work out, literally.
For a moment, Sheila had been worried he wouldn’t be there. But, there he was, exiting the room last. And… he was distinctly more muscular than she had seen him last. Huh. Earlier, she would have pointed him out as having a “nerdy” appearance, but today he looked halfway to the other side. She was a bit taken aback at this. Regardless, that didn’t change anything. In fact, it may actually be for the better. She followed him in silence, as she didn’t want to be seen anywhere close to her old school right now. She simply intended on following him for a bit, but she couldn’t help but note that he was not heading home. Hm. Then it was for the better she got a move on. Sheila no longer had the privilege of being able to spend time as she wanted.
First, she made herself appear for the world they were approaching, letting people looking out windows and such see her. Then, as they walked into this new area, the inside of the gym he was heading to, the place she had decided to show herself to would overtake the one that never saw her. As such, with a work of selective invisibility, Sheila had always been there for some and never existed for others. And then… to show herself to the one that mattered.
‘Chad,’ she spoke softly. She stood behind him in a simple white jumper and blue jeans, hands grasping one another in front of her. Her hair momentarily coloured blonde by her power, for that’s how it had been before she triggered. She looked the mildest nervous, though kept her eyes focused on him. She kept quiet for now, intent on weathering the initial reaction of seeing her.
It didn’t take him too long to reach the gym, maybe fifteen minutes or so. It was bizarre to think that a comparatively short time ago, he’d never even known this place existed; yet now he felt he knew it like the back of his hand. Or maybe like the veins on his wrist. He’d done some research on the blood vessels in the average human arm, actually, just to see what the best position to make a cut would be if he ever felt the urge to cut somebody there. Himself, another person. Somebody.
Before he’d even entered the changing room, a voice murmured his name, a shock to his system. No, he’d not been talked to here before, not really. Nobody had even come up to him before now, much less learned his name. He turned, saw who had asked, and realised immediately that, yeah, this was it. This was the moment his brain had decided to tip off the precipice of sanity. Hallucinations of the only real friend he’d ever known had started accosting him, that was the only explanation he had for Sheila being here.
Seconds passed. She hadn’t vanished yet. He rubbed his eyes, closed them for several seconds and breathed to give his mind a moment to reset, yet she was still there. Finally, he cautiously stepped forward, stretching his hand out with utmost caution to pat at where her face ought to be- that was no hallucination, he could feel her hand under his fingertips as she blocked him from getting in her personal space, and then the texture of her jumper as he poked at that too, and the shock ricocheted through him as he realised all this. No. No, this was impossible. How. She’d vanished. She- how-
‘You’re real.’ His affect was rather flat for having had a long-term friend reappear before him- behind him, even- after two thirds of a year. Seven or eight months of her just being gone, no word, no communication with anybody, certainly not with him. Maybe that was the shock causing it. When had his hand started shaking? Why could he not think of anything particularly interesting to say to her? ‘Hi, Sheila. What’s been happening on your end of things?’ Holy shit, this might actually be real. She might actually have come back at last, holy shit, holy shit.
Sheila stood still, analyzing his reaction to her. Disbelief, it appeared. She could understand that, this wasn’t the place one would expect to see an old disappeared acquaintance. Then… he reached for her. Now, as much as she could understand the idea of having to confirm what he was seeing, she also somewhat treasured her personal space. As such, she’d lift her hand to block that particular exploration of her face, feeling a little queasy. Then there was the touch to her jumper. Geesh. She felt more than a little awkward, but okay. Then… then he confirmed she was real. Sheila nodded, expression just the slightest uncomfortable. And then… a nearly casual question. That wasn’t what he really was thinking, though. Sheila sighed.
‘Nevermind me for now. I heard you got sent to the hospital. It made me really worried. Are you doing alright, now?’ she asked, worry in her voice.
‘Oh. Yeah, I healed up fine. Or I'm not dead, anyway,’ he clarified, not noting that his death probably wouldn’t have changed anything for anybody. He didn’t think any truly permanent damage had been done to him, even if he had taken months to recover. The gym work had, surprisingly, helped take him the rest of the way after that - speaking of which, he added ‘Getting stronger, too, my life needed some, uh... improvement.’ Which was one way of putting it. Using it as a means of self-punishment was another.
He could hardly believe she was here, for real. It was a more and more exciting prospect for him, like those videos of dogs seeing their owners for the first time in a while after they come back home from deployment. But then, that was still a bit too good to be true, surely... ‘You're, um. You're actually real, right?’ he asked, frowning as if it’d make things clearer for him.
‘… Yeah, I’m real. Though I understand if I may have come across as unnatural.’ More than mildly speaking, she had just stalked him while invisible. She looked over his muscles a bit… ‘… I’m happy you’re doing okay. You’re… looking good. Stronger,’ she said, fumbling a little over her choice of words, not sure how they’d come across.
‘Er, a-a little bit,’ he muttered, a reply to both of her statements, before he realised he probably should respond to both separately. ‘I mean, I am physically stronger, I started going to the gym a bit to build up my figure. Thought it might help with... well. Some things.’ No need to elaborate on what those things were.
‘But I mean, it’s just... it’s hard to believe you’ve come back after so long,’ he said, scratching his head as questions started to fly. ‘I-I mean, where do I start? Why did you leave? Where did you go, were you being homeschooled, was- what’s gotten you to come back, and, and, did a family member die or something, were you deathly ill-’ He made himself shut up at that point, because he was just making himself look even worse.
Sheila smiled, somewhat happy that he’d suggest so common explanations that she may have prefered over the truth. Still… even with complete sight of everything around her, in front of the changing room was just a tad too exposed for her liking.
‘I’d like to speak to you somewhere more private, if that’s alright?’ Instead of answering any questions, she went with that for now.
Private? Like, for... no, Chad, that wouldn’t be reasonable. They never had any chemistry like that, would she seriously decide she wanted to bang him just because he got a little more muscular? He knew some women were that shallow, sure, but not Sheila, never Sheila. He’d gotten to know Sheila pretty well, or so he thought, and even after a year gone, she’d never have just done something like that. He was stalling, he needed to hurry up and respond.
‘Erm, yeah, private. I was gonna do some gym stuff, but...’ He paused for a moment before continuing. ‘Yeah, this is more important. We can continue chatting in my room once we’re back at my place, if you want? Not for. Just for whatever you want to talk about, not anything else. Or- no, we could just go into the woods or something, since nobody would be around, and they probably wouldn’t be interested in listening in on us even if they were.’ Maybe they’d get a chance to catch up some along the way, to boot. He could only hope, right?
‘Woods will do. Let’s go,’ Sheila said with finality. It seemed in his words that Chad had gotten a somewhat incorrect impression, given the “not for” lines, but that was alright. This had to seem like something out of a fantasy already. She then turned and walked, fully simply intending for Chad to follow her. She wouldn’t say anything until she got there, which potentially meant Chad could say something.
The walk up into the woods was, Chad felt, uncomfortably quiet. He tried asking Sheila how she’d been doing, what had happened in her life since she’d vanished, and was her family doing okay? But not a word out of her about the latter two points, and just a generic platitude about how things had been okay to the first. So instead, he rambled on for a little while about his own life, how he’d finally stopped being bullied so much, and was instead mostly left alone. He’d started going to the gym, too, so maybe he was starting to... turn things around...
His rambling trailed off as he realised he wasn’t really turning anything around. His life was still terrible, he hadn’t gotten over any of the bad stuff from his past, and he was no better as a person as a result. The last five minutes of the walk, he remained dead silent, ruminating about how much of a failure he was, until they were firmly in the woods and out of earshot.
‘So, private location, nobody around,’ he mumbled, still awkward from how he’d made such a fool of himself in front of her so quickly. ‘What, um, what needed to be discussed privately?’
Sheila mostly listened as Chad started talking, paying attention as she kept walking. The bullies, huh. The ones that had put him in hospital and… Sheila kept walking, hearing him about how it was perhaps getting better, but she did note how he got quiet. He didn’t really feel that, did he? …
Among trees and secluded from sight, Sheila turned around to him, her expression serious.
‘I need you to promise me. Promise me that you will not tell anyone of what you’ll learn today. Promise me that, and I’ll tell you what happened.’ … So she said.
‘Of course I won’t tell anybody,’ Chad said almost immediately. ‘You’re my best- ...erm. We- are we still friends?’ he asked, for the first time showing nerves about the situation. ‘I just want to make sure you still think of me as a friend, I mean you vanished for a year, maybe you... changed your friend groups.’ Unspoken went the words “maybe you realised how worthless I am”, but he hoped she didn’t pick up that much from how he spoke.
‘Say the word. Promise,’ Sheila said first, ignoring the latter part for now.
‘...I promise I won’t tell anybody any of what you tell me here,’ Chad muttered, guessing that maybe he might be in the clear after all. ‘Swear on my life.’
‘… Good. Phew.’ Sheila smiled, just a bit, and then continued. ‘Let me tell you right away that I wouldn’t show you the following if I did not consider you a friend.’
Saying so, she held a hand forward, palm upwards, while still looking towards Chad. She left it there a second or so during which she envisioned for herself how she’d make this look, and then… and then she had what appeared to be darkness coalesce into a single entity floating above her hand, shaping itself into a decently sized ball of shadow. She waved her fingers, and the ball flew off to orbit around her a number of laps, before she caught it again with her hand, where she closed her fingers over it and snuffed it out. Of course, that had simply been a round space that she had used light-powers to devoid of light, but it would do no good to reveal her real power at this time.
‘… I was kidnapped, alongside my sister, and in captivity I triggered. This because my father sold me for his own protection to the villains whose faces I had accidentally seen unmasked. Point is… I’m a cape, now.’ … That’d do for the second.
...oh. Holy crap. She could control that sphere of darkness, apparently, and just... what did it do? He didn’t know, and he didn’t make a move to touch it. And along with came the inevitable horror story: she was kidnapped, sold out by her own dad. Even if his life sucked, he hadn’t ever been betrayed by his parents. Dear God.
‘...I’m really sorry to hear that,’ Chad said, finding himself scratching his shoulder. ‘I- jeez. I wish I could do something to help that, but...’ Yes, something to help. Something to crush the people who’d done it to her. Rip out their guts, maybe, or cut their heads off with a chainsaw. He knew how to make bombs. Plant an explosive in their base and turn them to red paste, watch their goo spill out...
He coughed suddenly, fully aware that his expression had turned gradually murderous. ‘Then what happened?’ he asked, trying to divert his mind from the particular topic of killing people for a bit. ‘I guess you couldn’t or wouldn’t go home to your dad, so...’
Sheila had not missed the expression, albeit she wasn’t entirely sure what it meant. Still… it was something she could use.
‘… Do you mean that?’ Sheila asked. ‘Would you still mean that, even if it meant you had to leave your entire life behind?’ … Sheila continued before he could answer that.
‘I joined a villain gang. Not because that I am bad at heart or anything, but because there’s some information that you’re only privy of if you join the villains. From there, I intend to find the most dangerous of the villains and snuff them out, or leak information about them to the good guys where I can. As a part of this, I made a deal with a villain with a most terrifying ability…’ Saying so, Sheila reached into the pocket of her jumper and took out the vial. A small vial of fluid, unknown in its origin. ‘He’s been distributing these vials among the villains of Denver. They have the power to grant the one who drinks them powers.’ … She left that to hang, as she looked towards Chad.
Chad was no fool. He understood how Sheila worked, or at least how he thought she worked, and he knew she was a good person at heart. Why would she be friends with him otherwise? And... if she really thought it was the best way, why else would she join a villain gang? Gather information that overt heroes didn’t have access to, leak information, and take out the worst villains of the world, the truly evil members of society who made themselves monsters in the process of gaining power, the sort of person who... who deserved to be hurt. To die. Who he wanted to see in pain.
‘...and all I’d have to do to get it is join you and abandon my life.’ The thought was monumental. To just drop everything and follow on after a friend he’d honestly made peace with never seeing again. His only real friend, ultimately, here to ask him to do something utterly insane. Take a vial of superpowers, join a villain gang, kill bad guys whilst pretending to be a bad guy.
He didn’t have much of a life to leave behind, though, did he? Nobody at school cared to interact with him, the education he was getting could be gotten just as easily on his own terms. All he had was a pre-paid gym membership and his parents. And whilst the sunk cost fallacy meant leaving the gym membership behind would be at least tolerable... well, it’d be rough of him to just abandon his family with no warning.
‘...if I go with you... can I... can I at least pack some things? Maybe say goodbye to my family?’ he asked quietly. Somehow, he felt he might know what the answer to these questions would be already. Why would she bring him out here if he might risk telling others, after all?
He got the idea. Sheila nodded slowly, as he seemed to be considering it. She gave him time. It was a heavy thing, after all. Then he asked that… and Sheila raised her eyebrows a little.
‘Don’t be foolish. I’m not going to give you the vial right now, even if you accept. I’m going to ask you to go home and consider it, for numerous days, before I return. Even if you accept, I’m not going to tell you to abandon your family, if you somehow find a way to balance that life with this. As long as you’re present when I need you, you might not even need to leave school. Depends on how much you want to invest in me. I would need you to be a known presence under me, but even villains have lives. That all depends on you,’ Sheila declared.
‘Though, I must warn. I have no idea what this vial will do to you. I don’t know what power it will grant, because neither did the one who distributed them. It could be good or bad. It could make you the next Alexandria, or it could make you join the numbers of the various monsters that have shown up among parahumans. Your physical form might be twisted, or perhaps the vial will drive you insane. Regardless, I’ve never heard of a power that did not make the cape a force to be reckoned with. It’s a throw of the dice, a high-risk high-reward gamble. I ask that you think this out carefully, and if you decide you wish to join my fight, prepare yourself accordingly. Understood?’
...oh. Oh! Okay, that was different from what he thought was going to happen, way different. He wouldn’t need to leave his family behind... he’d just need to take a power vial that might leave him a mutated monstrosity, or worse a maniac with no self control. He... honestly, he felt like self control was one of his better traits. He didn’t have many others, frankly.
‘Erm. Yeah. Okay, I’ll think about it, then,’ he finally said, lamely. What more could he say? This was, ultimately, a situation requiring more thought than just a few minutes of discussion could finalise... but, did he already have that thought in mind already? Would further thinking be necessary? Regardless, he’d have more than enough time for it.
‘Good,’ Sheila nodded. She was a bit afraid that she may have scared him away. Ultimately that had been part of the goal of the speech, to make sure he knew what he’d be getting into… but at the same time, she really rather needed him. ‘If you have any questions you’d like answered, now’s your opportunity,’ Sheila said.
Questions? No, he didn’t have any questions for his best friend, who was kidnapped months ago and only showed up again recently, having gained new superhuman powers and joined a gang of all things in an effort to take out the worst of the worst.
‘Erm. Kind of,’ he murmured. ‘I guess... how’s your stuff been going? Did you get anybody yet? Or any information I mean, there’s- both of those are options for you. Is, um, is your family doing well, if you still talk to people in your family?’
Sheila held a somewhat somber expression as she answered. ‘It’s been going okay. I won’t be telling you if I “got” someone unless you decide to join.’ A fairly simple arrangement. ‘… And no, I don’t talk to anyone in my family anymore. I don’t know how they’re doing.’ … And even to Chad, she wouldn’t share the current condition of her sister. That part was off-limits to the entire world.
‘That’s fair enough,’ he uttered, nodding understandingly. ‘Shame about your family; I get your dad, sure, but your sister seemed like a nice enough person.’ He... geez, when was the last time he’d seen her around? They didn’t interact that much, but she was always pretty nice when he did say hello to her. But like the rest of Sheila’s friends... that was the kicker, huh? “Sheila’s friends”. Not “Chad’s friends”, not even “Chad’s acquaintances”. They just happened to share a person they intersected with, and with Sheila vanishing...
‘Alright, I’ll think about what to do,’ he agreed. ‘I... if you decide you don’t need me, then I hope we can see each other again.’
Sheila kept quiet as Chad brought up her sister, wondering silently if there had been a better lie she could have told. However, then it seemed that would be enough. Sheila nodded in relief, and gave a little hopeful smile. ‘Alright. I’ll visit in a couple of days, then. And… if that happens… I’ll see what I can do.’ Visiting a friend that knows who she is already and talk about what’s going on could actually be nice. ‘I’ll see you later, then,’ she said with some finality.
‘Alright, cool. I’ll see you again soon, then,’ he agreed, waving farewell as he turned to walk home. He... he’d needed this chat, honestly. It was, if nothing else, a little bit of catharsis, to know what had happened to Sheila in the end, even if it didn’t help him immensely overall. But then, with a power of some sort... well, he might need to think about that just a little bit more. But maybe his life was about to turn around after all.
Sheila nodded, and waved after him. … Phew. Okay, that went reasonably well, compared to the visits to her other friends. That’s nice to know. She might actually have a chance with this one. She breathed out in relief.
Though, then the dread came back.
With how terrible all the other visits went, she needed to visit one more person.
Sheila suppressed her shivers, and started to mentally preparing herself.
The time had come when Sheila had to visit the one she dreaded visiting. The boy who once was her boyfriend, was now one of the few who might lend her his aid.
Sheila felt her internal organs quiver a bit, as she stood before the door. She wasn’t sure she was mentally ready for this. The fear she had for this encounter wasn’t entirely reasonable. It wasn’t as if he had been a bad guy or anything, after all. It was just a visit to someone who she knew wouldn’t betray her. … At least, that’s what she thought. Maybe after the time she had dumped him he had developed a seething hatred for her or something. Regardless, now she was here. At the very least, she had decided to give him peace of mind in that she was still alive, since he might have been worried after her sudden disappearance from school all those months ago. She took a deep breath, and steeled herself.
She knocked on the door. She was currently colouring her hair blonde, as it had been at the time of her triggering. She was wearing a simple white jumper and blue jeans, casual clothes for a seemingly casual visit. Her expression was somewhat nervous. But… that’d do.
The door cracked open a hair, a bloodshot eye and a mess of unkempt brown hair visible before it shut with a snap.
A moment later, with the sound of a chain being pulled, and it opened fully to reveal a boy in winked jeans and a t-shirt that looked just a little worse for wear.
“Sheila? What - why - I don't….” He trailed off in confusion.
Sheila could understand the confusion. She awkwardly nodded a bit.
‘I’m sorry for appearing unannounced like this. May I come in?’ First things first, she wanted out of sight of the public…
“Yeah, yeah, sure. No one's home but me,” he said quickly, stepping back and holding the door.
Sheila nodded, and walked in, keeping her mouth closed for now.
The inside was widely boring, as common as any other house one might find with the exception of a little more mess than most people found agreeable.
“Sit wherever. Uh. I think we've got some pop and bottled water? Or something like juice?”
Sheila accepted, and sat down at the first dining table she could find. ‘Some water would be nice,’ she said, keeping watch on him partly through her power. It felt a bit solemn, watching him like this. It was rather apparent he wasn’t as excitable as when he’d been going out with her, and numerous more of the signs pointed to the worse, but he was acting normally, and that was a relief. He came and gave her a glass of water, which she gave her thanks to and took a sip, calming herself down.
‘How are you holding up?’ she asked, looking at him in slight worry.
He shrugged noncommittally, practically dropping into a seat across from her. “Quit school. Been home alone a lot. I'm fine.”
‘Oh.’ That didn’t entirely sound fine, but okay. Sheila struck a blank as to what to say for a couple of seconds. Then… ‘Is there anything you’d like to ask me, then?’ she asked, somewhat because she wanted to calm any burning questions he might have.
“Why are you here?” he asked bluntly, a shiver of real emotion cutting into his voice. Hurt.
Sheila recoiled a bit internally. She had somewhat been ready for that particular question, but not for it to be delivered with those emotions. Okay. There was a possibility this was a bad idea. Better get to the point, then. She closed her eyes and leaned her head forward a little.
‘I-I’d like you to promise that… you won’t tell anyone else what I want to share with you, as unreasonable as that sounds.’
“You know I'd do anything for you…” he said quietly, grimacing immediately after. “Sorry.”
Oh. So that was still the case? That… that was both a relief and a regret. Alright, then. Sheila nodded to him, and then took a deep breath. She held forth her hand, palm up, the same way she had multiple times now to different friends. Above her hand, she created the illusion of darkness gathering and shaping a dark ball of swirling shadows. She directed the illusion so only he could see it, even if someone else was peeking. She let it be there, her eyes focused on what was really just a spherical absence of light, before she caught it in that same hand, closing her fingers over it and snuffing it out. Not finding the immediate words to say, she let him react on his own for now.
A look of comprehension crossed his face, followed by concern and doubt. “Is that why you….” he asked quietly. “I'm sorry I couldn't - that I didn't - that you went through….” He stopped, swallowing visibly. “Why are you telling me? I thought you…. Hated me.”
Sheila kept quiet as she saw the emotions going through him and his words, even though her eyes weren’t actually directed towards him. At the end, though… he claimed that. Sheila shook her head, and looked at him.
‘No. Never hated. Just… didn’t love. … But you remain one of few people I think I can trust,’ Sheila said, aware her words might still hurt. She mentally prepared herself for what she had to say next.
“..... okay,” he said quietly, staring at the table. He didn't breath for a moment before letting out a long breath. “What do you need? Is… do you need help? I think my aunt still has an apartment in town or….”
‘… Yeah, I need help. I need so much help…’ Sheila muttered, mostly to herself. She took another deep breath. ‘I’m… currently in a villain gang. Worse than that, I’m…’ She stopped herself from saying “I’m the leader”. ‘The reason I’m among villains is because there’s information there that you cannot get if you’re among the good guys. I pick my missions, leak select information to the heroes, and make moves to snuff out the more dangerous villains. That’s my plan. It’s probably a foolish plan, but it’s what I have right now, it’s the opportunity that was provided to me.’ She leaned her head back a little, blowing out into the air.
‘… One of them has a very disturbing power. I’m, uh, not even sure that is his power, but nonetheless, someone he has connections to has this power. In any case. He obtains these vials. They give the people who drink them powers, no strings attached. And… as a part of the villain alliance that is focused on taking out the growing threat of the Community, he distributed these among the villains of Denver…’ … Saying so, Sheila took out the vial from her pocket and placed on the table in front of her, sighing in its direction as she let it lie there.
“.... You want me to join you?” His voice was different, conflicted perhaps? But definitely not outright hostile or dismissive.
‘You have to understand that I have precious few options. I’d rather avoid creating more villains, yet if I don’t show up with a subordinate he’s going to wonder what I did with his precious vial. I’m- I’m not going to make you come with me. This is an offer, one which would change your life forever if you accepted. I fully understand if you would not give that for me. I wouldn’t expect it. It’s too big…’
“Sheila, stop,” he interrupted. “I - I'd do anything for you but I can't. I….”
He sighed, standing up suddenly, nervously picking at his shirt. “I always loved you. And you - it killed me. I couldn't be the same because all I ever wanted was you to be happy and you left. I can't accept your vial because…..” he trailed off, a flicker of intense emotion playing across his face before it went blank and a creature popped into existence. It had several strong legs and arms, almost spider-like in appearance, with slits instead of openings on its 'face’.
“I can't because you broke me and made me a Cape. You were my heart but now my heart makes monsters.”
He slumped down the counter behind him, sitting on the floor as the creature vanished as quickly as it had appeared. “I want to help but…. Do you really want me? I don't want that vial, so am I really of any use to you now?”
Sheila quieted down when he interrupted her. He said he can’t accept the vial, and for that brief second, Sheila felt a bit of relief. Good, she wouldn’t have to drag him down with her. He’s recognized that he can’t keep following the person he loves so much as that will only hurt him, and- and that wasn’t the case at all.
The creature popped out, and Sheila’s eyes widened. Startled, she stood up in a hurry, the chair pushed back behind her where she stood alarmed. That, that couldn’t be real, her mind told her. Yet, it surely was. He explained it as such.
‘A-ah…’ Sheila, dumbfounded, left her mouth wide-open as he slumped down and the creature disappeared. He had triggered… because of her? She had? Sheila had made him this?
Sheila stood frozen as the sheer horror of that realization swept over her, looking at him with traces of fear and alarm. How was that… even possible…? He was so obsessed with her, that…
While somewhat aware of how her current appearance had to be affecting him, she had to back away a bit towards a wall while trying to calm down and think about this logically, her gaze fixed on him while breathing a bit heavily, muscles tense. Okay. Okay, Sheila, just calm down. This is actually an excellent opportunity… … … she just had to get her emotions under control first…
“.... Yeah. I figured that would be your reaction. Sorry. I'm a real freak, I know. I get it…”
‘… Tchk!’ Sheila bit together, closed her eyes hard, closed her hands into fists in front of her and leaned her head forward in regret. Yeah. She couldn’t deny. He was. You had to be mentally ill on some level to trigger from being dumped. The fact he desired her THAT much was both just a bit touching and horrifically disturbing. How close was he to suddenly feeling like his morals or her desires meant less to him than his love for her? … That thought may have been an insult to him, but it was a worry which crossed her mind. Yet, she had to act. She had to…!
‘I…!’ Sheila forced herself to look at him, traces of fear in her voice. ‘I can’t give you what you want. But…!’ “I still need you”. She clenched her teeth. The sentence that had formed in her mind sounded so paper-thin. She stopped and adjusted her words. ‘… Th-the offer still stands, vial or no! I’ve become the leader of the Rockers-’ Wait, no. She hadn’t meant to say that. Sheila froze for a panicked second. Well, darn. I-in that case, she’d just have to spin on with it, huh. ‘- a-and I plan to make them a force to be reckoned with! One with a place in the villain community, from where I can sow my seeds of goodness from behind enemy lines! I might have to commit a few crimes along the way, or clash with heroes on more than one occasion, but it’s all ultimately to make Denver a better place!’
She took another deep breath, stood straight, and faced him, fearful but determined.
‘As Creep, I say that I could use a man of your talents! Consider this the official invitation to become a commanding officer of the Rockers! A-and… as Sheila…’ She grimaced slightly, as she went on. ‘… I could really use the help and support. I understand if you’d rather not be branded a villain, few would, but… that’s my offer.’ So she said, and then shut up, looking at him with a vulnerable, expectant look.
“Okay.” He said it simply, matter of fact. “If a Villain is what you need, then whatever. I'll do it. Anything is better than sitting here, alone, forever.” He shrugged, standing up slowly with a bit of light his eyes. “I'll be the best minion, you'll see. The great - mhmm. I'm going to need a name.”
Sheila breathed out, the tension waning. He had accepted. It felt a bit weird how easily he had accepted, but she wouldn’t be complaining.
‘Okay,’ she nodded. ‘I welcome you to the Rockers, then. I suppose we have quite a bit to discuss…’ Yeah, all the little details that came with being a villain. Name, costume, how to appear before grunts, all kinds of things…
He had accepted, and that was good, yet something felt off for Sheila. It felt like one way or another, this was going to go wrong. She forced the feeling aside. She had gained a valuable ally, after all, no matter what she felt. She’d just have to hope her premonition was wrong.
Five days later, it was time to find out what he had decided. The moment of truth, which would decide the course of his life from here on out, was arriving.
Five days later, and not another word from Sheila yet. Chad was starting to think that maybe she’d decided to just ditch him after all. It’d make sense, honestly, since everyone else had by now anyway, but it was still a shitty thing to do to a person. Lie to them, tell them they might be worth something when they were worth nothing. The thought upset him greatly, took him into fantasies about strangling her and ripping out her throat, but the moment he caught himself doing it, he felt instant, agonising regret even compared to his usual flinching. That was Sheila he was having murder fantasies over now. If he couldn’t even keep her safe in his own head, what the hell would he do if he got his power, then lost his composure and hurt her? Or worse...
Don’t even think about it, he chastised himself, returning his focus to the computer. Well, the monitor, a decently-sized screen showing off a Wikipedia article about deep sea trawling, along with a black XP computer that was, oh, about two years old by now, he wanted to say. The rest of the room was pretty plain, blue and cream walls with a few shelves for stuff, a hardwood wardrobe in one corner and a bed with an old Legend cover on the duvet in the other. A boring room, all told, and still the happiest place he had.
Said happy place was now disturbed by the sound of light impacts on the glass of a window. Sheila had taken a turn around the house to knock directly on the window of Chad’s room. She had her usual slightly nervous expression, which she had when she wasn’t being determined about something, looking through the window at Chad as she had made sure he was in there before knocking.
Oh. She was here after all. That was, that was good, yeah. He stepped over to the window, pulling it up and ushering Sheila in with a quick ‘Hi, how are you?’ Once platitudes had been exchanged, he sat back down on the bed, then sighed mostly to himself. ‘So... I guess before anything else, am I still needed for anything?’ He had his answer for her if she did, but if not, he could deal with it. It just meant life going on as before, was all, with or without Sheila saying “hi” to him every so often. He could... he could deal with it, either way.
‘I’m alright,’ Sheila breathed out as she carefully made sure she didn’t accidentally tear anything down as she stepped in through the window, taking off her shoes as she did. She was wearing the same clothes as five days ago, white jumper and jeans. She stood by herself as looked about the room and Chad asked that question. She gave him a bit of a stare.
‘… The situation hasn’t changed, if that’s what you mean. The offer is still relevant. Have you considered it?’ Sheila asked back, standing by the window she came in through.
‘...huh.’ Chad was quiet for a while, mulling his options over one last time, and then trying to figure out what to say to convey his point. Eventually, though, he nodded, and looked at Sheila with just a hint of sadness.
‘My life hasn’t really gotten better since you disappeared. Actually, you could argue it got worse for a while, but at the moment, it’s about the same. I’m going to the gym, I’m getting good grades, I’m not being bullied, but then nobody’s there who wants me to convey those successes to them. No teachers care, I’m actively avoided nowadays, and my parents are... well, supportive. Just not in the ways that matter.
‘...psh. Look at me,’ he joked, a half-hearted smile on his face, ‘even now I’m just being a self-pitying piece of shit. That’s not something anybody likes. I guess my point is... that wasn’t your fault, I think. If you were still at school with me, I’d still get the shit kicked out of me and be in hospital for several months; I’d still wind up unbullied and friendless, probably; I’d still have tried the gym as a way of bettering myself... and, well. I’d still be the same weirdo as I am now,’ he concluded, frowning down at his knees. ‘The difference now is, you’re offering a way to let me make something of my life, or at least take a stab at it.’
He sighed again, only to set his expression and stare at Sheila, an unusual steadfastness on his face. ‘I want to help you. I’m probably screwed anyway, right? So I might as well go for broke, and you’re the only person who’d probably appreciate my efforts in the process, so to hell with it.’
Sheila kept quiet, listening to every word with a steady, blank expression. Finally, she walked away from the window to stand in front of Chad, turning towards him. She paused for a moment, then took a deep breath, and closed her eyes. ‘Alright. Then, for one last confirmation.’
The room around them darkened. Sheila gradually extinguished the lights around them, seemingly all of it for Chad. The only things she left lit were herself and him. With her eyes still closed, she darkened her own clothes into the same black as she’d wear when out in costume, and also changed her blonde hair to the brown which she had chosen as her hair-colour when in costume. There, in this sphere of darkness, she opened her eyes to look sharply at Chad with her still blue eyes.
‘I am Creep, newly appointed leader of the Rockers. I intend to sow the seeds of goodness in Denver from behind enemy lines, finding the information that heroes could never uncover by themselves. In my journey, I will likely commit atrocious crimes, end up in conflict with heroes and be branded a villain by the public. Chances are likely things will go wrong, I and any that follow me may be wounded, jailed or killed in the process, but no matter how it goes, it is a journey from which there’ll be no turning back. Chad Belton. Do you have the determination to stand by my side, to do battle due to the decisions I make, to see my journey through to the end?’ … Now, maybe she was being needlessly dramatic, but she had to be sure.
If there was anything he’d been anticipating, it surely wasn’t this. She was... okay, he hadn’t heard of Creep before, ever, but Sheila wasn’t just part of a villain gang, she was leading a villain gang. She was the head of a gang. And that... that was a strange contradiction. Sowing the seeds of goodness whilst committing atrocious crimes. On the one hand, he couldn’t ever have imagined her doing something like this in the past; and on the other... she’d never choose something like this unless she was absolutely sure it was a good idea, would she? And frankly, he wanted to help her. He wanted to be a part of her life again, he wanted to be useful. Who else would want that assistance from him, but her?
‘I’ll do it,’ he agreed, standing up with conviction more intense than anything he’d felt before now, or at least that he remembered. After all, this was the most important decision he’d ever make. ‘I’ll help you, Sheila- or, uh, Creep, or Boss, whichever you’d prefer.’ A moment of pause, and then he added ‘My friend’ to the end of that list, just to make sure every option was covered.
‘I’ll take all of the above.’ Sheila dared give a little smile, filled with elation at the fact he’d accepted with such passion. ‘Then, drink it,’ she said, pulling out the vial from a pocket and offering it forward. ‘Drink it all. I don’t care what it tastes like, you don’t get the effect if you don’t drink every drop.’ The Broker had said something to that effect, so she went with that. After Chad grabbed the vial, Sheila let the shadows wane, and took a few steps backwards. … Just in case.
Chad took the vial from Sheila, staring at it with an intense frown. This was it. This was the turning point in his life. Either he started making his way up in the world... or his life was about to get a whole lot worse. Either way, he’d be doing it at the side of the only friend he’d ever known. That was enough for him.
He flicked the top off of the vial, and downed the contents as fast as he could.
Sheila had a vision for how she would lead the Rockers. The following is simply a summarization of the rules, methods and ideals with Sheila imposed upon the team she now leads.
One and a half weeks had gone since Creep had gained control of the Rockers. One and a half weeks had been spent with plenty of toil and complications going on, yet so far they were holding strong, she’d like to think.
Sheila had somewhat of a vision for the Rockers. She wanted it to have a community that was inviting to other young, dumb delinquents and that they wouldn’t be seen as like they were that bad. They should be cool. … To be cool, the miners’ theme had to go. Honestly, that was lame. They’re the Rockers, because they rock. Both with their music and attitude. That’ll be the reason behind the name from now on. We’re the Rockers and we’re the coolest.
That said, there were numerous rules to be implemented among the Rockers. Don’t be bullies. They can be villains and not be bullies. Actually, really, be nice when demanding protection money. It’s just a fact of life right now. Would it be preferable to give us money over giving it to the Community or Purge? They’d be better. They’d be the villains the public wanted. The piracy business? Yeah, the Rockers are just giving the people of the world what they want, anytime they want it. Because they’re that cool.
For the sake of reminding and having this documented here.
In Boulder the Rockers have a thriving digital piracy economy, stealing movies, shows, music, etc. and selling ripped copies for stupid cheap as bootleg knockoffs through the internet via places like Ebay and whatnot. They also control the underground music scene and operate out of multiple nightclubs where the group is financed by legitimate business, who pay the Rockers their "protection fees" and let the Rockers use their properties for whatever the group wants. It was all overseen by Cmix until recently, though he mostly delegated to more intelligent/capable people. The main group in Boulder could continue to thrive if left alone and told to just keep doing what they're doing.
And indeed, Creep told them that they could “rock on” with that. She’d support it, and listen to the requests they might have.
Of course, they still do crimes. They’re villains, Sheila wasn’t under the impression she could take that away from them. However, she commanded to avoid committing these crimes against families. They should avoid creating sob stories about how mean the Rockers are. Instead, they’d aim at businesses. Faceless corporations, especially if they have a bad reputation with the public. They could loot their warehouses and spread their turf. And, if they saw civilians or stores under threat from other gangs, the order was to save them, if reasoned possible. Improve the Rocker’s public image and make people think twice.
Creep went through the trouble of talking with the distinguished members of the Rockers. Build their faith in her. Listen to the conditions of the men and what they think about things. Grow her impression of their capabilities, and then decide which ones are suitable for processing new recruits for these rules of hers. Because they’d be recruiting. They’d find minor gangs about, bust them over, and then give them a generous offer to join, as long as they followed the rules.
There’d be punishment for those who didn’t act accordingly. Deductions in pay at first. Then a sudden fall from Creep’s power, after that perhaps having heavy guys stepping on their hands or getting them kicked around a bit while their vision was controlled by her power and others watched. In worst of cases, if most of the Rockers agreed that particular member was terrible, they’d instead be found bound tightly in front of a police’s office because the Rockers didn’t want them on the street, along with a note about the crimes of the particular specimen. Always, the threat lingered that Creep could be right behind them when they were acting up… and she would interfere occasionally, to keep them on their toes.
Of course, she couldn’t always be there. Creep had to scout with her power, she had to go home and sleep while talking to Viola and keep her controlled. Those were times when having Visage around was a blessing. It meant Creep could almost always be there, even when Sheila wasn’t. Of course, Sheila made sure to keep proper tabs on Visage’s actions whenever she could, through the voices of a couple Rockers she confided in, who had been on her side during that particular debate.
She called back to the Broker shortly after she gained control of Boulder. Now she also rallied the Rockers to stand along with the rest of the city to do battle against the Community. As the Community already knew the enemy had a Stranger, she went ahead and attacked from nowhere with both knives and tasers which she had brought over, while her men then outed them. However, they were always ready to sound the retreat, because there was no way they’d win every fight against the likes of the Community like this, but Creep did her best to save them if they ran into trouble. She then reported to the Broker all which she had found out… as was the deal.
Visage had said she had a pet project. That was fine. Sheila had one of her own, after all. Every now and again, she’d slip away to see to her new recruits before they were ready to appear as commanders of the Rockers. There was things to do, names to decide, costumes to obtain, strategies to make up… Yeah. The whole lot.
They had needed to switch headquarters, which Visage had pointed out to her, the last one was compromised with Swarm’s one-time invasion and the capture of their leaders. Instead, Sheila had them obtain an office-area on the ground floor of a building within their area, within which they proceeded to bash up the walls and get themselves an open enough area to party. She obviously kept the boss’s office to herself and all the things she needed to look over. She also had to make periodic visits to Boulder, lest they might forget she’s the boss there as well.
It was so much. So little time for Sheila to go home and spend time with Viola. Less time for her to go out as Wisp and do random good deeds and steal things for her sister as to not show a sudden change in the mystery thief’s pattern at the same time as Creep came to power. … Yet, she had to do the latter. Wisp had to continue be the good person. She even let Wisp attack Rockers who were committing robberies, as to dispel the possible idea that they were the same, and then make a show of feigning annoyance when the reports of Wisp’s attacks came. She just had to make sure Visage was never in the area when she was out as Wisp… because Visage would know it was her immediately.
In order to spread their reputation, Creep had a couple of the tech-savvy guys put some info about them online. Only some, they couldn’t leak everything. Just… just enough that the world knew that Creep was the leader of the Rockers. She was more than a figure that appeared alongside the Rockers in the streets. She took the time to appear with them as well, periodically leading attacks and doing crimes to show her face. It was… simply natural. The boss leads her men.
That said, while the war against the Community was going on, there couldn’t be too much of that. There was a truce in place, after all, and they couldn’t be too hostile towards the public during that time. For now… take things easy, as easy as you could while a gang-war was going on, anyway.
Before taking off from her duties at the Rockers, she periodically took the time to take one carefully selected Rocker to a back room so that he could teach her a thing or two about fighting. Despite her age, the constant dodging of people who couldn’t see her in the streets had finely honed Sheila’s senses and trained her body, and she suspected her power somewhat helped her reaction time. … Or perhaps that was just an illusion. It comforted her, anyways. Regardless, in order to be a little more ready when it came to it, she ensured a reasonable and at least somewhat combat-trained Rocker train her in the ways he saw fitting, after she had located him by asking around for a capable combatant among the Rockers. While she didn’t know if she’d actually get better, some manner of proclaimed combat-training had to come in handy one day.
Honestly, this was all taking a toll on Sheila’s sleeping schedule. Her greatest ally was unpredictability and lack of schedule. Her grunts had no idea when she could be behind them if she varied when she did her interruptions, if there was no pattern between Creep’s and Wisp’s appearances then nobody could point to that as a possible connection, and if the Rockers as a whole struck at different times of day then they couldn’t be predicted ahead of time. Criminals thrive in chaos… but the human body wasn’t built for chaos. Often, Sheila threw around her sleeping schedule… and now she often found herself almost drifting to sleep at the Rockers HQ, which was less than ideal. She quickly taught herself the art of the power-nap, hoping it would allow her to maintain this lifestyle, that her body would get used to these frantic shifts in activity. She dearly hoped so.
Finally, Sheila had to tell her sister about her actions, about the enemies she was planning to face. However, she may soon realize how ill-prepared she actually was.
‘… I’ve been made the leader of the Rockers,’ Sheila stated, unceremoniously, sitting at the table and their dinner.
Viola, opposite of her, stared at her blankly with mouth partly open, bringing up her elbows to the table and leaning her cheeks against her hands, staring at her big sister.
‘Wow. Um. Okay,’ she but started. Sheila nodded. They were silent a couple of seconds, before Viola broke the silence once again.
‘So, what will you do with them? Try to make good people out of them? Hand them all over to the police in a way that they wouldn’t suspect?’
Sheila blew out the breath she had been holding. Yeah, those were both options she had considered. … However, neither was desirable. Not as long as that deal existed.
‘No,’ Sheila said, shaking her head. ‘I’m going to see if I can do something good with this opportunity. After all, it’s a unique, once in a lifetime opportunity, and I’ll see what I can make of it. The Rockers were going to be criminals regardless. I’ll see if I can steer them a bit, to make Denver a safer place. At the very least, I’ll use them as a weapon to try defeating the Community alongside the rest of Denver,’ Sheila said, nodding as she thought about it. It felt reasonable in her mind. This power granted to her, in some weird way, why not attempt using it?
‘Huh. Okay, then. So, what do I do?’ Viola asked, looking intently at Sheila. Why, of course she’d wonder. Sheila took another breath.
‘… Don’t do anything, Viola. As long as Patriarch is on the streets, I don’t want you anywhere where you’d be known. You’re too much of a tempting target. I also don’t want you associating with villains. I have a power malleable enough that I can simply cast off my persona and be Wisp full-time whenever I decide. You can’t. Your power does one thing, and it cannot be mistaken. So, the only choice I am leaving you is potentially going to go join the Wards, which…’
Viola shook her head, no doubt thinking of all the routines and protocols that’d have to come with doing that. It was no fun. Sheila smiled, nodding.
‘Yeah. Stay put. I’ll sort out the streets in the meantime,’ Sheila said, confident Viola’s keep still.
‘So, uh,’ Viola asked. ‘What’ll you do i- when you’ve taken out Patriarch? What do you do then?’
Sheila frowned and considered, looking at her sister. At the moment, she just intended to lead the Rockers as a “better than the alternative” villain gang, but if it allowed her to eliminate horrible villains on then it was all the better. Her thoughts wandered to a single individual. Yeah, there was one more villain she had her eyes on. Other than possibly Purge, but Purge scared her halfway to death and wasn’t looking like he was conducting any immediate mastermind like plans, so…
‘… I’ve recently ran into a greater threat. He calls himself the-’ -Suddenly it felt like her head had split itself open. A high-pitched noise escaped her mouth and her arms went over her head, eyes wide as she flew up to her feet from the pain and then stumbled back against the wall. Someone was attacking her, it had to be. A panicked Viola watched Sheila vanish from sight, before a noise of the door being shoved open as Sheila dashed outside. She spent a bit of time searching, before coming back inside.
‘Wh-what’s going on?’ Viola asked, scared. Sheila gritted her teeth, using her power to look in all directions.
‘Someone… did something to me. C’mon, we must leave. The-’ “The Broker might have followed me”, was what she was about to say, but instead she found her head take another heavy blow, and her legs buckled as she let out another cry of pain. Her eyes widened. What… just when she had…
‘Th-,’ -And another shot of pain, causing her to curl together on the floor, tears streaming down her cheeks as she pieced it together. ‘O-, oh, no…’
‘Sis! What’s wrong!?’ Viola had sped herself up to get closer to her sister, and the world around them grinded to a near halt as they were sped up by Viola’s power. Viola was now looking around for their unseen attacker, but…
‘Th-there’s nobody there…’ Sheila stammered out, getting onto her knees, head still throbbing. She was trying to piece together what the power was. This was, without a shadow of a doubt, either the Broker’s power or the power of one of his capes. It was reasonable to assume she couldn’t divulge any information regarding him. But… she had told the Rockers just fine? What was… … … How deep had he gone? Could he see through her eyes? Could he read her mind? … The possibilities terrified her. How much did he know? Was all he did imprint commands onto her mind, or did he know more? If he at all could get information through his power, then she was already… More importantly.
Sheila gripped Viola’s arm, hard enough to cause her sister to yelp.
‘It is time… we have a discussion of what you’ll do in case I never come home one day. … Or if someone comes here, looking for you…’ So she said, glaring at her sister. Viola was stunned, staring in fright in return. It seemed the day where Sheila couldn’t protect her sister might not be so far off. That settled it. This opponent she couldn’t even tell others about…
She had to defeat him.
Sheila goes and visits multiple friends to try to convince them if they want to gain super-powers and help her in a villain team. Friends say no. Sheila sad.
Then she finds out Chad was hospitalized but since got out. Troubling. She goes and says she can offer him a vial to change his life. She’s to come back numerous days later after he has properly thought about it.
She visits her former boyfriend, too, because she’s out of options. But, when offering him a vial, turns out he had already triggered from Sheila dumping him. Sheila’s shocked, but offers the position in the Rockers anyway. He accepts.
Five days later, Sheila returns to Chad’s home. She does a dramatic show where she reveals who she is and Chad has to choose if he drinks the vial or not. He does.
Sheila intends to lead the Rockers as a cool gang. Don’t hunt families, hunt corporations. Don’t be bullies, but do commit crimes as villains. She keeps contact with the Broker.
She tells her sister about being leader of the Rockers, with Viola keeping at home. Sheila tries to tell Viola about the Broker, but her head promptly hurts like heck, and she realizes the Broker is way more dangerous than she previously thought and decides she has to defeat him.
The metal girl headed for Su when she presented a hand in each direction, and her visible (and still kind of red) eye widened as she presumably realized what was going to happen. Instead of focusing on attacking, the metal hands were brought in front of her to block whatever might be coming. Su’s blast backwards scattered the metal pieces, sending them flying all over and piercing walls, ceilings and remaining debris of furniture all over behind her, but Su was untouched. The blast in front of her, meanwhile, hit her opponent straight on and sent her careering backwards through the room. Su pushing forth to enhance the blow then blasted the metal girl towards the opposing wall, and-
‘KAH!’ -straight through it, blowing a sizeable hole in the wall and sending her rolling a full lap around before planting herself on her back. Despite just having been knocked through the building by a powerful wind, she was smiling widely.
‘Owowowow… Okay, that’d do it,’ Su’s opponent said with a chuckle on the other side of the hole in the wall.
‘Flirt? What kind of Magical Girl are you taking me for!? Haha…’ she laughed back at Su’s statement, though she wasn’t moving, taking a moment to recover from the blow. The time that took was far enough for Su to seek deeper into the building without being harassed by her current attacked. She entered a corridor and… then she saw the smoke. After that, finding the “monster” was trivial. For, should she choose to, she could but follow the smoke to…
‘Not good, not good!’ a voice called from around the corner.
Inside… a girl with black skin, with yellow pockets of heat surging along her back and limbs. Her hair was visibly orange of fire, her feet and hands with animalistic claws. She wore no clothes, other than the shoulder-pieces of armour on her shoulders, yet no features typically labelled obscene kind could be seen. Behind her, a long black tail extended onto the floor…
‘Victoria, this is your fault! You can’t freeze me and then expect me NOT lit things on fire trying to get free! I know I’m not supposed to put things on fire, but-’
And currently, she was quelling a fire using fire-powers to remove them from the burning furniture and walls to then snuff them out… then breathed a bit extra with her nose.
‘Sniff, sniff. Hm?’ Then she spun about to look curiously in Su’s direction, weather or not she had actually gone past the corner.
‘Who’re you? … Did you get past Victoria and Jelena?’ the girl asked. The fire in the room was not extinguished yet. Then Helga’s voice called from a distance, and the monster girl simply looked on curiously.
Helga swung herself and broke through a window, calling out after Su… and just happened to end up within the room where Su had just sent her opponent spinning into. It was a bedroom, but now the debris of the wall had dusted the whole place up, and the girl with metal legs and hands was lying startled on the floor.
‘Woah, woah! Hold up! I’m briefly out! I’m still recovering! Hahaha!’ she called out, slamming her hands into the floor and making the fingers extend as to shove herself back onto her metal legs, up again and taking a stance just in case she was about to be attacked. ‘Su? That’s the name of the air-girl that just bashed me through a wall? I gotta remember that~’ she chuckled, and now looked to Helga, to see how she’d react to her.
‘Whelp,’ the Victoria next to the Shion said. ‘Looks like Victoria left, so I guess I better be ready to help, just in case. I might not have her ice-powers, but I still got a pretty good punch!’ Victoria said, throwing a single punch forward in demonstration. Indeed, that punch she just threw into the air was way faster and more powerful than the one of a normal human or even a normal Magical Girl.
‘So, uh. Talk to you later! See you!’ Saying so, Victoria bounced off the building, heading for the building which Helga had just swung into. … As were numerous other Victorias all around the building, heading to prepare themselves to invade.
@Rune_Alchemist So, because of the size of that beam, I somewhat count it as that you spent the first turn dodging out of the way, and the second one dashing forth to the opponent. If you had said that you'd do Ember BEFORE dashing in close, that had been launched first, but you wanted into close combat first. Which makes sense... except Archie and Sunfloorall had a counter to that. You know, Gym Leader and all that. So, what will you do?
I kind of need to say that I might be unable to post during all of next week, on account that I'm going on a mini-vacation Thursday through Sunday. So, if I was useless Monday to Wednesday in this schedule normally, now I'm going to be useless Monday to the Wednesday the week after... Hah. My apologies about that. I'll see if I can still try to post somewhere in there, but, er, I'm going to be with my family and likely only have free-time at midnight, don't necessarily count on it, hah. My apologies about that.