Wstfgl

Welcome To The Jungle [OPEN Mini-RP]

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[No I dun want to be a peasant again D:

 

It’s actually 2 posts merged together, since I couldn’t think of a good place to slot in the second bit without it messing up the pace of the story. It’s a one-time thing though, so....

 

Otherwise it would have looked like this.

 

>SVL THE GODDAMN VAMPIRE IS SUCKING ONE OF OUR TEAMMATES DRY!

 

>Sounds like the perfect time for some random flashback.

 

>...Tite Kubo, is that you?!]

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The next morning Gidget was woken with a jump. Her hand shot for the blade a few inches from her body and the scarf began to sweep around her before realizing it was only a stray squirrel out gathering the early morning. Relax girl. It's only a squirrel. You aren't being hunter for breakfast this time she told herself to calm down.

 

After a few deep breaths, she sat up and stretched her stiff joints and muscles, peering up at a clock in the park she'd been sleeping in that night. Brushing off the little dirty that made it on her clothes, Gidget began sighed, having only a short while before she had to meet back with that bad of misfits from another world. She started on her way, blade slung firmly in its place. Somewhere along the way she met Luke on a park bench being mugged, but the situation was quickly subdued by means she was unaware. Well that's interesting. Guess he's got some tricks up his sleeve too.

 

She passed by him with a hearty, "Good morning Luke. Glad to see you didn't kick the bucket in one night I guess. Feel free to join me on the way there good sir."

 

Gidget didn't bother to stop walking however, with only ten minutes to get there she making it with only a few to spare if she didn't stop. If Luke followed it was his own choice, and not her place to wait for him. After all, they were only together for now.

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Luke stared at Gidget's receding silhouette and started wondering why on earth she was walking away. Did she even read the map right? This is the bloody meeting point.

Unless... Don't tell me she wants to screw the plan and go straight there on her own. My word, why am I surrounded by bloody tossers?

[shadow where are you going~]

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Ingkells got out of his car, his eyes taking on an odd color of green, deep and intense. He was wearing a pair of silvered gauntlets and greaves, grey formal shirt above black dress pants and a blue overcoat that brushed all the way down to his ankles, its surface embroidered with a golden crest and flowing decorative threads. His cane tapped the ground in a steady staccato as he wandered from spot to spot, occasionally stopping to analyze his surrounding. To any casual observer that day, the elder dragon must have looked like he was more prepared for a tea party than a battle.
 

“You know,†said Priscilla, falling into steps next to him, her long white dress fluttering in the cold breeze, “when Linda mentioned the Chrysler building near the dock, I was expecting a warehouse owned by the guy, not the actual landmark itself.â€
 

The sun had yet to rise, and the overcast remained as dark as ever with the moon and stars all concealed by the cloud. Yellow tapes with warning signs and inflatable decon tunnels cordoned the area, separating the world from the soaring remains of the Chrysler skyscraper; its silhouette standing in solitude like a tombstone erected in the middle of New York, its charred ribcage of twisted metal bars and shattered concrete exposed for the entire world to see. A faint stench of rot permeated through the air from somewhere deep inside the building – the flesh of men and undead.
 

“That’s unfortunate. Office buildings aren’t fun to fight through, especially one this dilapidated,†he replied, exhaling smoke from his nose.
 

She gave him an odd look. “What is fun to fight through then?â€
 

“Cobblestone streets, gardens, electronic shops. Antique stores too, but only if they are classy.â€
 

They made their way toward the meeting point at the park, where he soon met Linda and Luke standing in wait. The rest were nowhere to be found.
 

“Heh, I won,†exclaimed Linda, holding her hand up to Luke.
 

He clicked his tongue and withdrew a 50 from his wallet before handing it to her.
 

“Good morning to you both, Miss Linda, Mister Luke,†greeted Priscilla demurely. They returned the salutation.
.

“So what was that about?†inquired Ingkells.
 

Linda jabbed a finger toward the brutish-looking man. “We had a bet as to what kind of clothing would you choose for the fight. His money was on you showing up wearing nothing but a golden pair of skin-tight pants to show off your well-sculpted body like, and I quote, the vain pompous-ass prick you are.â€

 

Ingkells' eyes swivelled toward Luke, who offered a forced peace-offering grin before making hand gestures at Linda to stop talking.

 

It's not friendly fire if the target is not friendly and I'm not using fire.

 

Right?

 

[i assume Luke has a plan to get everyone into position and lure the vamp out into the sun somehow. Also how do you guys reckon we deal with the cameras?"]

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[The vampire won't emerge into the sunlight, but if he does attempt to escape, it'd have to be out into the sunlight. As for cameras... trade secret.]

 

Luke regarded the hulk of the once-grand Chrysler Building looming before him. He had no great fondness for 20th century architecture, but even to him, the sight of the ruined building, its middle floors little more than a skeleton of twisted, charred steel, was a tragic sight. The ruin was the gravestone of nearly two thousand people, a memorial to the the first, and hopefully the last, major Other attack on humanity. In fact, the memory of that day in 2013 was still fresh in his memory; the ancient brass dragon Phlegethrax had crossed over from the other side just ten miles from New York and gutted the Chrysler Building and decapitated the Statue of Liberty with blue-white flames that outshone the sun itself.

 

Then, two entire US Navy carrier strike groups had fired somewhere in the ballpark of a hundred and fifty cruise missiles at him; reports said that bits of his body washed up as far away as Florida and Newfoundland. Naturally, both humanity and dragon-kind had counted the incident as a crushing, humiliating defeat.

 

"In an hour, the sun will rise," Luke observed, prompting Ingkells and Linda to give him a look insinuating that he'd been thrown against a wall as a baby. I'm starting to get used to that.

 

"More importantly, this means that he'll be trapped in the upper floors of the Chrysler Building. Even the strongest vampire can't maintain a shapeshifted form in direct sunlight; either he faces us, or he faces a five hundred foot drop to the pavement below."

 

Linda gave him a skeptical look. "Why would he be in the upper floors? Isn't a crypt in the basement the logical place to hide? He could easily escape into a hidden tunnel that way."

 

"That's the predictable answer. I decided to use... a drone to do a bit of recon work earlier this morning, actually. Basements had flooded with groundwater, and all I got for my efforts was getting it blown up by a claymore mine, almost as if he'd guessed we'd try going there." Luke said, grimacing unhappily as his eyes misted up a little. Poor Sir Tweedledee. You died doing the right thing. If only you did the smart thing too; the one consolation is that I wasn't lying when I called you a drone. Metaphorically, at least.

 

"Quick history lesson time," Luke continued after he wiped his eyes. "Why haven't they torn down the Chrysler Building yet?"

 

"As a memorial?" Ingkells replied. "Both to mankind and... my kind."

 

"Not really. You see, the breath of an ancient brass dragon is a curious thing. That is, it's not so much fire but a directed nuclear reaction. The upper floors are dangerously radioactive, and tearing the hulk down would cover Manhattan with a fine coating of what's essentially nuclear fallout."

 

"So why the hell is he even in there?" Linda said.

 

"Vampires can't get radiation poisoning, they're already dead to begin with. What better place to hide than a place where only you can survive?" With that, he snapped his fingers, and the illusion of a tuxedo around him dissipated, revealing that he was wearing a kevlar tactical vest over gray coveralls, his weapons securely strapped to the webbing. Then, he pulled out a full-face gas mask and a helmet from the sports bag next to him, briefly checking the filter. "And that's why we've got to hit them hard and fast; we shouldn't stay in there for any longer than fifteen minutes. Because of the radiation, it's highly likely his bodyguards on the upper floors are lower-level vampires, so stay on your toes."

 

Then, he strapped the gas mask over his face. "And thry noth tho bhreathe thoo dheephly."

 

[Crap, went over the limit too. But I'm hosting this... so this is, uh, important exposition. Sorry.]

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Come on, where is it… they said it’d be done by five thirty. It’s almost six, and we gotta go. Linda checked her phone for the third time in twenty seconds, waiting for the message from her handler.

 

Erik, send the bloody code or so help me god, I’m going to go to your house and–

 

The phone buzzed. A new message from an unknown number: “Sorry, I overslept. The number is 2517308.â€

 

Linda sighed in relief and entered the deactivation code into her bracelet. It beeped and flared green before unclasping itself, the hypodermic needle that injected her with limiter agent (some unknown chemical along with enough sedative to kill a horse) withdrawing into the metal. It feels so good to be free again, she thought as power rushed through her and filled her to the brim. Three long months of restraint, but now I’m unshackled.

 

She looked around with new eyes. The wyrm and his mate were wellsprings of elemental energy – lightning for him and ice for her. They’re old. Really old. Maybe older than the Strigoi we’re hunting. That means they’re powerful, too. That should go without saying. But Fafnir perished by Sigurd’s hand; so too is it possible for an elder-wyrm to be slain.

 

An illicit thrill rushed through her at the thought of facing one of them head-on, testing her full power against theirs. I’d probably lose, but… oh, what a fight that’d be! Then she spotted something a little odd: a cleverly-hidden link. The ice-wyrm is leeching far too much power from her mate. But she’s not storing it – it’s like she simply wouldn’t exist without it...

 

“Ahh,†she sighed, disappointed. If I called in all my favors, killing both of them wouldn’t be out of the question. But where’s the challenge in that? I don’t want to be Sieglinde, slayer of crippled wyrms. “Perhaps another time, then.â€

 

Turning her attention to O’Brien, she saw his power extend from him like strands of iridescent gossamer, almost invisible unless viewed from the right angle. Beautiful, but subtle. And perhaps as deadly as the wyrms’, but in a different way.

 

Unlike the wyrms, Linda felt no urge to fight him. It feels like he’d be too easy to best but too hard to defeat. And I’m not sure if he plays by the same rules as us.

A surge of impatience rose within her as the clock on her phone display rolled around to 6:00 am. “Are the rest in position?†she asked Luke, their de-facto leader. “I’m ready to cause some havoc.â€

 

“They should be,†he replied. “Just suit up and do whatever last-minute prep you need. I’ll contact them to be sure.â€

 

“Understood,†Linda said. She reached into the duffel bag for her bulletproof vest and helmet, putting them on and expending a little power on an illusion of normal clothing.  Then she withdrew a knife from her boot and nicked her palm, pressing the bleeding wound against the ground. “O Crows and Ravens of the city, you have already given me the gift of knowledge. I would ask for a little more,†she croaked, reaching out along the connections she’d forged when she called the flock earlier. Her power rippled out from her like a stone through a pond, and the earth and sky trembled for the briefest moment as her entreaty raced to its recipients.

 

“Lend me your shadows, that I might break the Draugr’s defenses and face him in his lair. Of all the power I gain in this venture, one-fifth will be yours.â€

 

A moment of discussion, then assent. She nodded, murmuring a word of thanks, and pulled.

 

As if a huge flock of birds was gathering overhead, thousands of shadows raced toward her from the four corners of the city, sliding over asphalt and down the sides of buildings to congregate in the park. But no wings beat the air as the shadows swirled closer and closer around her bleeding hand, and in a matter of seconds the whirlpool of darkness coalesced into the silhouette of a single black arrow.

 

She reached into the ground, closing bloodied fingers around it, and lifted the projectile into her quiver. “I’m ready.â€

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Priscilla shivered under the chilly gaze emanating from Linda, drawing herself closer to her husband. “Ingkells,†she murmured, “I think Linda found out.â€

Ingkells looked down, a hint of perturbation on his face.

“I could feel her sight piercing through my veil just now. She saw everything she needs to know about us: our powers, our true forms, our...connection.â€

For an ephemeral moment, Ingkells snarled under his breath, and more smoke started pouring out of his nostrils before the cool and prideful mask returned to his expression at once. “Ah, well, I guess we can’t really fight alongside someone like her without the truth being laid bare sooner or later.â€

His wife gripped his hand, scanning their surroundings to make sure there were no eavesdroppers. “Do you think…she is going to try to claim you in there?â€

Ingkells let out a resounding laugh and lay a hand on her head. “My greatest treasure, have you so little faith in your husband? Elder Dragons don’t get that way by being easy to kill.â€

She didn’t seem to be put completely at ease by his remark. “And the woman is watched over by Odin Himself,†she whispered, nails digging so deep into her palm they started drawing icy blood. “If the situation gets out of control, promise me you will…â€

Ingkells' expression hardened. “No, no, no, a thousand times no. We’ve been through this before, Pris! Even if the Dragon God Ariamis were to descend and personally command me to revoke the Sacramentum on you, I would tell him to stick his divine nose elsewhere,†he said. “Even if things get to the point where I am overwhelmed, we don’t take the coward’s way out. We don’t run away, no matter how bad it looks. We fly straight at the thrice-damned Devourer of Worlds and dare it to swallow us whole!â€

Priscilla started tearing up. She was overjoyed. “I have given up on convincing you to be sane long ago. Besides, without me around to take care of you, some days I suspect you have trouble figuring out which boot goes on which foot. In any case, I was going to say if anything were to happen inside the building, just jump out a window and glide down here. I will have a teleportation spell ready.â€

“Oh,†blurted Ingkells, the fire draining from his voice, leaving him feeling like an idiot. She gave him a light peck on the cheek.

In the distance, Linda cleared her throat. “I hate to interrupt, folks, but we do have a Vampire to kill here. Just get a room after our victory celebration. You ready for the assault, Elder Wyrm?â€

Ingkells nodded, murmuring a 'see you later' to Priscilla, then turned to the Chooser of the Slain. “You have to ask? Lead the way, Valkyrja.â€

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(My mistake. I read too quickly while between classes. I thought they were meeting at the build cause I just read "Here." I'd like to correct myself, but everyone else made that not possible x.x)

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[There's no lifts. There's probably not even electricity; worrying about cameras might have been a little unfounded.]

 

Linda and Ingkells approached the ruined building, slipping past the cordon without notice, the policemen on patrol having been conveniently distracted by a passing flock of crows conveniently deeming it appropriate to void their bowels as they passed overhead. By the time the two men had regained their composure, the two of them were already out of sight.

 

They entered the building, only to find the atrium dark, deserted and silent, the only noise being the faint echoes of their own footsteps. A cursory examination revealed that the lifts were out of order as well; unsurprising, considering the place had been gutted by dragonfire. It seemed that the only way to proceed would be through the stairs.

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[in my defense, I really thought we were raiding some kind of rich fag's compound Metal Gear Solid style, not _the_ actual Chrysler building. Will let Linda field this one first.]

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Gidget had already gone to the scene before everyone else, uninterested in listening to them babble about nonsense. The area had been blocked by somewhat intimidating guards, though that posed no problem nor threat to her. Before getting close enough for anyone to see her, Gidget shifted with a sweep of her scarf and a small puff of purple petals and was past their line of defense and out of sight, reappearing with another puff of purple petals. This all in a matter of a few seconds and she was leisurely walking into position.

 

She waited patiently for the others to join her and stayed out of sight of both the humans and anyone inside the building. Her scarf swayed slightly as she waited, patting her skirt free of dust yet again as she did so. Well maybe this will turn out better than I thought. They don't seem completely incompetent, though arrogant. Yeah. You get it guys. Teehee.

 

(Well, that's the best I can do. Sorry gaiz.)

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[Does anyone want to start climbing the stairs? Don't worry, I'm sure that if you wait long enough, the inevitable heat death of the universe will finish that filthy bloodsucker off for good!]

 

Gidget stood alone in a corner of the atrium, striving not to be noticed. She swore she could have heard a near-inperceptible squeak, but perhaps it was just her imagination.

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Gidget's ears twitched ever so slightly at the sound. For years she'd tuned herself to the sounds of nature and the sounds that didn't belong. To survive in the wilderness and the civilized alike, you must adapt in such a way. What was that? My imagination? C'mon girl, you know better than that. Get your A game on! Vampires could mean bats. Bats would make a sound like that, but I might have trouble finding something like that. 

 

Gidget quickly sought the source of this sound if there was one. In the midst of day she couldn't see this being likely, but there was always a chance for the unlikely just like the impossible. 

 

(Is there a bat 0.0?)

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[Maybe there's a bat. Or perhaps it's a cat. Or maybe a rat. But if you hear buzzing perhaps it's just a gnat?]

Gidget perked up her ears and listened again; there might have been a noise from somewhere down the stairwell, but perhaps it was really just her imagination this time.

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When he turned and saw that the mortal guardsmen called police officers were nowhere in sight, Ingkells twisted open his cane and took out one of the two black metallic hilts within, pouring a measure of power into it.
 

Two broad blades of blue light hissed out from both ends, banishing shadows from their surrounding, humming and crackling with static electricity – ionized plasma held in place by a shaped electromagnetic field. With his free hand, he reached into his overcoat’s inner pocket, producing a handful of charged tungsten balls the size of apricots between his fingers, which promptly shrugged away the effect of gravity on them and started to levitate around him like satellites orbiting a planet.
 

“Guess that means we are going in loud and dumb then,†said Linda. At her command, shadowy corvids soared into the air and infiltrated the building through every nook and cranny, scouting the premise.
 

He finished putting on the wireless earpiece connected to his mobile and gave her a cold gaze. “Will that be a problem?â€
 

A hungry smile flashed across her face. “Absolutely. Not. Triumphs and tribulations lose their meaning in anything but valorous combat,†she answered, then turned to regard the building for a moment or so before finally speaking. “Coast seems to be clear for the first few dozen floors. As far as I can tell there is no electricity inside, so the good news is those cameras should be taking care of themselves and the bad news is that rules out taking a lift to where our bloodsucking adversary is.â€
 

Ingkells looked up at the 80 stories or so building and sighed deeply, blowing out more smoke from both corners of his mouth. “Let's take the thrice-damned stairs.â€

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The two of them climbed the first storey without incident.

The two of them climbed the second storey without incident.

The two of them climbed the third storey without incident, and Ingkells quipped that this was getting suspicious. Linda released a few of her crow scouts, but the coast was clear.

The two of them climbed the fourth storey without incident, and the two of them swore they could hear Snake Eater playing in their heads.

The two of them climbed the fifth storey without incident, and Linda shouted out loud in frustration, "Where's the glorious battle I was promised?!"

The two of them climbed towards the sixth storey, and Linda started to rue her words when she felt the overwhelming presence of death, followed shortly by a pair of grenades bouncing down the stairwell and a hail of suppressive fire from both upstairs and downstairs that cut off their routes of escape.

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Sounds of fighting had already broken out in the Chrysler building, as Isabel Stormheart rapidly descended from the sky. The early morning sun cast its glow across the land below her, engulfing it in a warm orange aura. The altimeter on her helmet continued to count down the remaining distance from the ground, the number rapidly dropping by the second. As she neared the landing zone, a male voice spoke through her communicator: "Slow your descent now."
 
"Slowing descent," repeated Isabel. The altimeter started counting down a little slower.
 
"The Elder Dragon is on the sixth floor. I'd recommend that you rendevous with him and the rest of the Foundation team before proceeding."
 
"Since when do we work with mortals?"
 
"Since Phlegethrax got blown up by the US Navy. Besides, the whole team's practically made of Others."

 

Isabel chuckled. "How ironic." The altimeter read 300ft now.

 

"Remember your manners around dragons. They're a stickler for these old traditions."

 

"Yes, boss," she replied, rolling her eyes. 200ft.

 

"Good luck."

 

100ft.

 

Isabel slowed to a halt next to level 6 of the Chrysler building. Within, sounds of gunfire could be heard as dark silhouettes moved behind the tinted glass. She squinted, still levitating in mid-air as she pulled out a revolver from her belt, took aim, and fired. There probably wasn't any need to augment the bullet's speed, but Isabel did it anyway, sending it flying straight through the window, lodging itself into the head of a masked soldier before emerging from the other side.

 

She kicked against the air, sending herself flying into the building with a blue pulse of energy and tackled another soldier. There was a point-blank gunshot, and Isabel stood up from the corpse to face the Foundation strike team. She fiddled with her skydiving suit, removing the helmet as a head of red shoulder-length hair tumbled out from within. "Hail, Fulgurax. Hail, Sieglinde," she greeted, glancing at Ingkells and Linda with her piercing blue eyes. "Olympus sends its regards. We want the vampire's head too. Perhaps we should work together."

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[A new team member appeared! I wish I thought of orbital insertion for this mission]

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The brace of grenades bounced off the steps in slow motion, and Linda released the last of her crows. Two of them snatched up the explosives and bore them back up the stairwell; the rest swirled in the intervening space to deflect shrapnel as she dismissed her bow and dived down the stairs toward the 5th floor.

 

Down is best. Grenades came from above, so I’ll either be safe or able to get the jump on the lower pincer. I sure hope they didn’t cook–

 

The grenades went off far too early, flinging her forward. Shrapnel carved a burning line across the back of her calf as she landed awkwardly, almost falling. So much for OH GOD FLAMETHROWER, she screamed mentally as she leapt around a corner and saw a jet of flaming napalm heading for her face. NEED TO FLY NOW.

 

Spectral wings unfurled into existence behind her, beating the air with a mighty stroke. They gave her just enough lift to avoid getting char-broiled, and she collided head-on with the guard wielding the flamethrower.

 

Linda drew her knife and stabbed him four times as they fell, tumbling toward the floor in a hail of gunfire. She hunched over his dying body in midair, drained him of his vital energies and kicked off his corpse to tackle the next guard without ever touching the ground. He got a shot off, sending a bullet to tear a ragged path through her stomach, but she ignored it as she put her knife through the top of his helmet and into his skull.

 

Her gut wound healed itself up, flesh knitting together in the blink of an eye as she twisted and slashed and stabbed, tearing through the guards like a starving wolf through a flock of lambs as they tried to engage her in close combat. Each death made her faster and stronger, and soon – TOO SOON, THIS ISN’T ENOUGH – the killing was over. The floor and walls were painted red with blood as she turned around to see if the wyrm needed help, but he’d already cleaned up the upper pincer with some help from a woman in a skydiving suit, who was saying: "–lympus sends its regards. We want the vampire's head too. Perhaps we should work together."

 

“Hail, Stranger,†Linda called out, wiping a trickle of blood out of her eyes. “I welcome your aid. But I intend to feed on the Draugr’s essence when he is slain, and I do not welcome competitors in that regard. What say you?â€

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Ingkells watched as the Valkyrja turned her back against him, nimbly diving toward the lower floor with inhuman agility and a dreadful aura of feral bloodlust. Judging from the noise, a couple more grenades came down and blew up on the other side of the shadowy shield she had left in place, but going by the way the phantasmal corvids kept regenerating their shredded bodies, he had a pretty good idea of who would win in a war of attrition.

 

He tapped his cane on the ground again, and in response the tungsten balls orbiting him started to accelerate faster and faster, building up speed and trailing white-blue arcs of electricity as they formed into a tempest, with the Elder Dragon being the proverbial eye of the storm.

 

As he did, a stream of fire burned through the shadowy birds, and a mountain of meat and muscle approached him from upstairs with a flamethrower in hand, primed for ignition. The moment he saw Ingkells, the weapon immediately pointed itself in his direction.  

 

Violent lightning leaped from the dragon’s extended fingertip and exploded across the man’s armored form - a makeshift bulk of metal plates served to protect its wearer from conventional firearms. Sparks coruscated up and down hungrily, impatiently searching for any crack in the defense.  After a second or so, the man screamed in agony as his flesh was cooked from beneath, his body overwhelmed with spastic seizure as electricity made its merry way through this newly discovered conductor. The familiar odor of ozone and dusty air filled the space as the man’s hair caught fire, quickly burning away. The fluid in his eyeballs boiled over, causing them to explode at the same time his jaw clamped shut around his tongue, biting it off.

 

Leaving the dead body behind, he walked upstairs, right into the midst of the hail of gunfire without a care in the world, as if he owned the place. The low-caliber bullets bounced harmlessly off hardened dragon scales, and for each attacker, he redirected a tungsten ball away from the howling hurricane, nodding to himself at every sound of flesh tearing, bones cracking and concrete shattering.

 

Regardless of his display of power, they persisted in throwing themselves at him like lambs to the slaughter, unfazed by the consequence of going up against someone leagues and worlds beyond their capability. It did cause something to stir within the dragon's mind, to see thralls and brainwashed slaves robbed blind of reasoning to the extent where they couldn’t even tell the futility of their actions.

 

Consider this my mercy, mortals. A quick death is much preferable over whatever fate a Strigoi dictated for you. He thought to himself as a few more bolts of azure lightning briefly came into existence and blitzed away.

 

Someone crashed through the window, and Ingkells had perhaps half a second to stop the remaining three balls from burying themselves into the target like a knee-jerk reaction as she swiftly took care of the last two thugs within the room. He could sense Linda coming toward him from behind with an elated, perhaps aroused expression flitting across her gaze.

 

The new addition to the room walked toward them when her work was done, winking cutely as she addressed Ingkells with his old title - Fulgurax - and introduced herself to be from Olympus.

 

A pleasant emotion came with a spark of recognition, sending a ferocious grin toward his face. “Ah, Artemis. It seems the rumors of your death have been greatly exaggerated.â€

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"Feed on his esse- you mean, like drinking the vampire's blood? Now that's a twist in events," Isabel replied to Linda's query. "No fear, I'm not interested in the vampire's soul or blood or whatever. I'm just here to make sure his undeath turns into regular old death."

 

Isabel took a quick glance over at the corpses piled in the room. Most of them had been brutally electrocuted to death, and she had a fleeting image of her father's face. Ugh, that's not a sight I'd want to be reminded of. She turned to the other two individuals, taking the opportunity to make a formal introduction. "My name is Isabel Stormheart," she said to Linda, then turned to Ingkells to emphasize on her choice of name. "I'm one of the division heads at Olympus. You probably have heard of us, Miss Sieglinde. The dodeka theoi. It's a pleasure to meet you."

 

She pulled out her smartphone, doing a quick Google search of the Greek term before showing it to Linda with a smile. She then turned to Ingkells, replying, "Yes, rumours do tend to go well with exaggeration, but I assure you that I am most certainly not dead. Or undead, as is with our target. My father sends his regards. He also asks whether your frozen arm has gotten better, but I can see that it probably has."

 

She ejected her revolver's barrel, reloading the two bullets that had been used. "Now that the introductions are over, let's get to the fun part."

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After waiting for no one to show in the end, Gidget decided to act on her own. She started into the building and pulled the curved blade from her back, scarf flicking slightly as she set out. Into the building and onto the first floor she went and with no further indications from the sound she'd heard. It could be real or not, but it didn't matter. Whatever the source it would show itself eventually have there a need for it. Gidget found a stair well and before she could start up the sounds of fight echoed from elsewhere. Guess they've already begun huh? I'm already unhappy with this, but I guess I can go it alone. 

 

She cast a look around the decrepit landscape with a shrewdness. It wasn't everyday she saw modern day relics in this world. A more rare sight than usual. She started up the stairwell and passed the first two floor before emerging onto the third floor just to view the sight. If they are fighting, I can take my time anyway. Best to go it silently rather than blazing like them she thought while weighing the blade on her shoulder.

 

(sorry. Just kinda going along.)

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[shadow]

Gidget stepped onto the third floor, and to her consternation, pretty much the entire area was shrouded in impenetrable darkness; from how it stymied even her senses, she surmised it might be magical. This time, she was fairly certain she heard a squeak from somewhere within the darkness.

As she turned to look at the stairwell leading upwards, she noticed a suspicious line of red ink stretching across one of the steps.

[Linda, Ingkells and Isabel]

True enough, the "fun part" did start shortly after. In this case, it took the form of a high-caliber bullet whizzing through the air, blasting Isabel's phone into a cloud of expensive metallic shrapnel before blowing a fist-sized chunk out of the wall behind the group.

Immediately, the group dove for cover as a barrage of bullets ripped through the corridor with a hellish noise. The perpetrator, a huge man clad head to toe in what looked like a cannibalized bomb disposal suit wielding a heavy Browning machine gun that rightfully belonged on top of a tank, let out a booming laugh as he advanced closer, covering his movement with another burst of fire.

"THE THULSSON FOUNDATION SENDS BABIES TO FIGHT MR. HEART?!" The man bellowed, his machine gun readied to shred any of the team who dared to poke their heads out of cover. "COME OUT, LEETLE COWARDS!"

"Why's this bloodsucking psycho called Mr Heart?" One of the thugs behind him whispered as he hefted a boxy weapon to his shoulder.

"He's got a lot of it." Another thug replied.

"So he's a big softy deep down inside?" The first thug asked hopefully.

"I mean, a lot of them," the other thug whispered. "In jars. In his bedroom."

[Mr Heart's a vampire with about fifteen lives, and as you can see, he's superhumanly strong and is wearing heavy armor. A heavy machine gun's an order of magnitude more powerful than the pistol and SMG bullets they were throwing down-range, so even if you're bulletproof, you don't want him pointing that monster at you.]

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Colin jumped awake, his breathing rapid, a light coat of sweat covering him. His eyes nervously looked around, only to find he was in his bed, safe, at home. He laid back down, trying to regain his composure and slow his breathing. Everything is fine. Peaceful. The birds outside, the warm sun, the soft blankets- His eyes shot open as he looked out the window over his bed. Sun? Shit! I'm late! He jumped out of bed and quickly got dressed before running out the door after quickly locking it. He sprinted to the meeting place, silently cursing himself at possibly losing a good-paying job.

 

As he got close, he looked up and, to his relief, saw Luke standing there. I knew he was in charge. That works, I guess. He came to a skidding halt as he reached the supposed-soldier, only slightly out of breath. "Sorry! I slept in. My bad." His eyes didn't give away the power of the nightmare that had kept him. He smiled. "I hope I haven't kept you too long? I'm ready when you are, of course."

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Luke glanced at the latecomer and raised an eyebrow. "How fashionable. Never mind that; the attack party should have gotten to work by now, so we have our opening to enter."

An illusion appeared around Luke and concealed his weapons and armor, and the two of them headed for the cordon, only for a pudgy cop with a jelly donut in one hand to stop them. "You can't come in here, the memorial's closed."

"Mind if I change your mind?" Luke leaned in and whispered conspiratorially, pressing a wad of new hundred-dollar bills into the man's hand. "I'm on government business, but it's above your pay grade."

The man eyed the cash greedily, and replied, "Suuuuure. They don't pay me enough for this shit, anyway."

"Ah, thank you," Luke said with a bright smile -- then, his eyes flashed again, and the man abruptly went still, his eyes glazing over. Luke gestured to Colin and the two of them stepped past the cordon and towards the building.

Then, the guard blinked and looked at his hand, wondering when he'd picked up the handful of tissue paper he was holding. Nothing personal, Mr Cop, but you did after all give me tacit permission to, ahem, change your mind.

Then, he heard the muted sounds of gunfire from the floors above, and was very thankful he'd remembered to implant the suggestion about the tower being someone else's problem in the policeman's head. "Well, looks like the assault has started," he said to Colin. "The lifts are wrecked, and I'd rather not take the stairs; they're in all probability swarming with guards now. Do you have another suggestion in mind?"

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