~ Full Frontal Democracy ~
The Vixen's scouting was short lived. Her eyes scanned the area, looking for something - anything. The Cathedral, or what was left of it, was in ruins, but despite that, not a soul was around. Not even her Third Eye picked up the presence of other Magical Girls in the vicinity. She had redirected her course on the whim of the fear aura, and had come up empty handed. Not even moments before she had arrived, people had stood where she stood. Fought where she stood.
The carnal drive of a beast reacted first, leaving behind the rational senses she still had for the moment. She needed to fight something. kill something, or she would never be free. The cycle would never stop - not if she didn't keep killing. In response, everything likened to "sense" made itself scarce, making way for her internal beast and animalistic instincts to take control of the situation she could no longer handle.
Her Third Eye was the first thing to draw its attention. Though there were no Magical Girls nearby, the place was teeming with magical energy. Everything in an extensive radius around the ruined Cathedral pulsated with magic. She had seen it on arrival, but barely took note of it: that girl, the one coated in magic, used an ability to shift to the Overcity. It wasn't a place The Vixen had been to before, but she knew of it from rumours and whispers. Her eyes could detect their entrances, though she couldn't open them; never before had she seen anyone open them.
Between everything that made up "The Vixen", the beast could make better sense on instinct than she could thinking about things for days. Surrounded on all sides by a miasma of magical energy, used to tear a hole in the world and warp to the Overcity, the carnal nature she so often, and yet reluctantly gave into, could do its work. It knew things, understood things. How to make things work. How to break things.
Summer's first mistake had been exerting so much energy. So much remained that The Vixen could use. She could feel it - her body absorbing, and understanding it. For a few seconds she stood, basking in it, letting the beast become accustomed to it, before she leapt into the rubble that was the Cathedral, near enough to where Summer had been. Magic flared within her as she prepared for something more complex than she, or the beast, had ever attempted. Multiple times before in battle did she replicate spells to confuse and injure enemies, but this was more than a spell: it was some innate ability to flip between dimensional planes. So she concentrated. The world tore open, and everything flipped.
Beneath her feet was a vast expanse of checkboards, and as she scanned the sky, her eyes fell upon numerous grey clouds, momentarily and periodically betraying a vast, chromatic sky. This was a place she had never been before. But she had no time to appreciate anything like natural beauty. Her eyes drifted from the sky, to the people around her. Magical Girls, and a number of them.
A grating cry, some kind of hybridisation of between a human shriek and a bestial roar. The Vixen's head tilted back towards the sky, sending the sound echoing across the vast expanse of the Overcity, for everyone present to hear. When it ended, her head lowered once again, painted with a violent grin, bearing canine fangs as she stepped slowly in a circle, taking in every foe present. A blanket of flames wrapped itself around each of her elongated, clawed hands, gently illuminating the overcast ground as she watched, and selected her target.
~ Chilling Out ~
Christine had been sat happily off to the side of the stadium, relaxing in the grandstands, watching the fight as it unfolded. She had no intentions of getting herself involved, at least, not unless she was directly attacked. Her purpose here was to observe, after all; if she did any more than that, the Boss would be mad. Those that made the Boss mad were moved down, into training. And those that disappointed her then, well... You didn't often see them again.
In the first place, Christine wasn't a fighter. Only a year had passed since she had become a Magical Girl, and despite the training given by Sasha, The Boss, and others, she wasn't exactly cut out for it. Her kit was designed for espionage - for deceit. Not direct combat, and certainly not against some of the firepower the people down their were packing. She would fight if it was necessary, but anything other than life or death was a no go.
However, caught between thinking about what was ongoing at the Cathedral, and taking pictures of the battle, she almost failed to notice something crucial. Almost. The brutish, tentacled horror was doing combat with some giant, mechanical warship of a sorts. She was paying attention to that. But suddenly one of its many tentacles lashed out against the thing, spinning it to the side, and sending a volley of hellfire her way - enough to easily demolish the grand stand in seconds.
Instinctively, she grabbed her Hammerspace Handbag, and shoved the camera inside, before dispelling it, and quickly standing up. With her hand movements, barriers of ice rose up around her, as well as the rest of the grand stand, recreating a platform of ice across the seats as they were destroyed. heavily artillery rained down upon it, demolishing it entirely, but the area Christine was sat in was now entirely replaced with ice; i formed new seats, even part of the stairway down, though very little of the structure was saved.
She looked around, taking in the annihilation of the seating area, and looked back down to the chaos. Things were starting to become more trouble than they were worth, but she had an operation to carry out. Summoning a video camera from the space, rather than her digital camera, or even the bag itself, she sat herself down, a drew a miniature tripod from its base. She then placed it on a small platform of ice that extended out of a neighbouring seat, angled it toward the action, and pressed record.
With everything ready, she pulled out her phone.
How are things on your end?
shes gone too
How can she be gone as well?
she sort of
She doesn’t have the ability to just vanish.
yeah well she did
she just vanished
and i cant find her
Well then look harder.
The Boss won’t be happy if you lose a high priority target like that, when it was your only job.
The Boss won’t be happy if you lose a high priority target like that, when it was your only job.
~ Second Target ~
For a fews hours the past night, Katelyn had spent her time in bed. She withdrew a small amount of cash from an ATM once she was a safe enough distance from the site of the battle, found the closest hotel, and crawled her way into bed for the rest of the night, bent on recovering the mana Regina had sapped with her cursed bullets. Against anyone else, that amount of mana expenditure might have been no issue, but the draining curses sealed the fight. Her body ached, and her head hurt, but her wings were intact. The same couldn’t be said for Eliza.
Now that the morning had come, Katelyn was up and about again. Walking through the streets, those watching her found her constantly flicking her vision between the people around her, and her phone. Before working for The Lady, she had been trained to spot a target in crowds easily. On her phone was a series of pictures - mugshots of different girls faces. One of them was Eliza, and all of them were Ebon Mint operatives. With the assistance of The Web, and some external sponsors, they had painstakingly racked up a list of people operating within the city: Eliza, Samantha, Veronica, Joanna, Nina, Shion… The list was long, and she had memorised them all, but a reference guide was always helpful.
Tired of the ordinary approach, she ducked into a nearby alleyway, and shed her disguise, before leaping onto the rooftops for a better vantage point. She didn’t need to be at eye level to catch them; she just needed a glimpse. With the freedom and agility granted by her Monstrous Form, she skipped across the city, scanning street by street, person by person, in the hope that one of the people she spotted matched the pictures she had.
And then, in the distance, she heard the sounds of a battle. For a second, she went to ignore it, but then proceeded to double back on herself. The last fight she watched, three Mint operatives had all shown up at once, including the Ebon Vampire herself. What were the chances that another operative could appear at another battle? Pretty high, she reasoned, as she began making her way towards the sounds of combat somes half a mile away across the city.
Once she got closer, she saw it: skeletons marching, Magical Girls engaged in combat, but none of it interested her especially. Instead, her eyes scanned the faces of the girls down of the street dueling it out, whilst periodically referencing the phone for their faces. When nothing came up as familiar, she scanned the rest of the surroundings, and there she saw her. A face on her list. Multiple faces, in fact - all belonging to one “Shion”.
Keeping her presence low, and off to the side of the duplicates keeping watch, she approached, just as the Victoria duplicates leapt off the roof to attack whatever adversary she was interested it. The moment Katelyn was in range, she activated her magic, allowing the blue white streams of pure electrical energy envelop her for merely a second, before it released, launching her across the streets and rooftops in a brilliant comet of light to the rooftop the Shion’s occupied.
Katelyn tore past the guards in an instant, leaving them no time to react as the shockwave and thunderclap echoed across the city mere moments after she appeared. Without allowing for any counterattacks or reactions, she redirected the residual electrical energy back into her next spell, which spread from out of her body in a radius across the roof, sending forks of lightning into each of the Shion’s present, unless they could somehow escape the near instant attack. Electricity arced across her wings as she stood, drawing her spear up along with her into a defensive stance, preparing for her assault.
~ Elsewhere ~
”Can I ask you something, Sasha?” a voice questioned across an almost empty dining room. It belonged to a woman - the same one who, at a time, had interrogated and belittled Charlotte Suthers for her mistakes. And once again, she was a sat front and center in The Nerine Vista. Some high quality cut of steak, medium rare and gently lathered in sauce sat in front of her, half eaten, and across the table was a tall, terribly muscular woman, with silver hair, bedecked in an apron, almost entirely clean save a few unavoidable splashes preparing the meal.
”Of course, Boss.” a thick, Russian accent emerged from her throat, cutting through the silence that her companion failed to break. The difference between the two became obvious with only a couple sentences. This was the muscle, and “The Boss” was the brains behind it. With merely two sentences uttered, the two contemplated each other for a moment, letting the darkness seep back into the room.
”I gave you all of this... “ the girl started, her fingerless gloves clutched around a set of silverware that she promptly sat to the sides of the plate, ”The Nerine Vista - what a nice place. Good enough for a Michelin Star, even. I gave it all to you, ‘cause that was your dream.” her right hand reached for a wine glass, filled with some kind of caffeinated beverage, and she drank from it, letting her partner talk.
”You did, Ma’am. I am still grateful.”
”You would say you… owe me a debt, right?” she said, looking up from the glass as she replaced it on the table.
For a moment, Sasha seemed to consider, but not as if she were deciding if she was truly in debt. She was deciding what her next words should be.
”I would, yes. I owe you a great deal - for the restaurant, for letting me join The Independent.” she finally said.
”So if, let’s say, I… asked you to go out and kill someone for me. You would do it?”
With those words in the air, Sasha raised an eyebrow to her Boss. Odd conversations like these weren’t uncommon. Sometimes the Boss just liked to talk about things, claiming it helped her think about the issues she needed to take care of, the people she needed to manage, and the actions she would need to take in future. The Independent commanded loyalty, that was unmistakable, even though their members were free to join and leave as they wished. Sasha was loyal to the day she died, and her Boss knew that, but never before had she asked such a question.
The answer, however, came easily.
”I would gladly. You gave me my life; anybody you call your enemy is my enemy.”
”That’s good... “ she said, trailing off as she turned her head to the window, and watched through its one way glass the people strolling around in the morning light, going about their day to day lives. A vast number of thoughts circulated her mind, but one stuck out in particular: the disappearance of the Cathedral.
”Would you have me kill someone, Boss?”
The Boss kept staring, her fingers involuntarily tapping the table. And then, after several moments had passed, she turned back to pick up her cutlery, and continue her meal.
”I dunno how things will go, but you might need to. Today. That’ll be all, thanks.” and thus she continued eating, as Sasha stood from the table, and made her way back to the kitchens.