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Big Eyes, Small Mouth (BESM): In the Shadows of the City - Chapter 3b Hello and Goodbye (Team 1)


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Skye, Kage, and the others had done well fighting the one or two minor demons that had shown up. As they got back on the main Southbound road, they ran smack into one massive pack of hell Hounds. There were no Cerberus, but their were at least twenty tier one and two hounds, and what looked like half a dozen demon tigerers. There were even a quartet of huge mechanical looking serpents, easily twenty feet long. At the center of the pack however stood four humanoid shapes.

The first was Male with long white hair and white wings. His ice-blue eyes had infinite depth and seemed to analyze everyone. He wielded a katanna, the scabbard in an obi around his waist.

The Second was Female, beautiful beyond Reason, her raven-black hair almost down to the small of her back. She wore a formal Kimono, and looked at the group with brilliant Golden eyes. She wielded a full-sized naginata.

The Third was also Female, carrying no weapon, but her hands burned with demonic fire. She wore the least clothing, For an obvious Reason. She had large catlike ears and a tail, and A red, black, and white Tigerstripe pattern to the fur covering her whole body. Green Cateyes peered curiously at them, giving everyone the same feeling a cornered mouse has staring down a cat.

The Final one was also Female, Clad all in black, only visible because of the light given off by the Tiger-woman's glowing claws. From her Garb, one would be reminded of ancient Ninja of legend.

The White-winged Demon smiled. "Hello Everyone. We were all beginning to wonder whether or not you would show. It's time to start the party, but first I figured I'd give you all a chance to surrender now. There's no need for any of you to die tonight, or any other night."

"There are other alternatives."

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The young student reached deep into the wellspring of his soul and called forth an angel.

"Lindh, I need you," he beckoned.

She appeared, saw the enemy and drew back her bow.

"Wait. There is something I need to say to you. I apologize for not being strong enough," he told her, tears in his eyes, as he stroked her cheek. "Now ..." he smiled and turned around.

Ken stepped forward and looked them over. Slowly the fear in his eyes became something else ... it became disdian. You didn't fear bullies because you knew deep down they were the ones afraid.

"I was going to say something classy like, if you leave now, you may keep your lives, or let's finish this now, but none of those really sum up how I feel about you and your ... moronic followers."

"Instead, I only got this to say," sounding something like Kazou.

"BLOW ME!" and he gave them the double-fisted finger as emphasis.

He didn't think they could win. Amaterasu's Flowing Black Hair, he was sure they wouldn't survive, but Kenobi Ani wouldn't be groveling this night.

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The naginata wielding female came forward. "That one is mine." She smiled and lowered her weapon to a low guard. "Rise Kiyohime!"

The cround trembled and the pavement shattered as Five huge serpentine heads rose from the ground, all united to one massive body and tail. Kyohime was a Giant Fiveheaded metal Hydra, it's armor black and silver, it's eyes a blazing Gold color.

Lindh looked at the massive summon and for a moment Frowned. "Second Head, Summoner class, Commanding Hydra Kyohime. This isn't good, This is very, very bad." The body sat hehind the young Demon Lord and the Five heads waited coiled around her, shielding her from attacks, and ready to strike.

The First Demon smiled. "Lindh, Archer Class Valkyrie, Divine Servant of the Bloodline of the North."

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"Outnumbered, what, four, five, maybe six to one?" Kage said, showing off his math skills. "Still a melee-focused group, looks like," he said, moving to guard Skye. "Pretty poorly managed, seeing as you're all arranged like you're clamoring to see a concert." Kage draws his chain taut in both hands. "So. I'm about ready."

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"Wait," Skye said, her stomach cramping with raw fear. They were badly outnumbered, and she didn't want to die. She didn't want her mother to die either. She unfolded her fan between herself and the demons; her power flowed with her statement, calling the Winds. She moved forward, until she was in front of most of them. Her shielding hadn't failed her... yet.

"You said alternatives," she said softly, once her protective shield was in up. Her voice shook as she said, "I want to hear them." That was as much to her companions as to the demons. Quickly, to the other humans, she said, "We can fight them after, but we only have one chance to hear their words."

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The first Demon smiled. "Very well. It is obvious that you all will not surrender, and personally i have no desire to kill any of you."

"We will each choose one of our number to have a battle. Not to the Death, but until one is defeated. If your team wins, then you may choose one site here in the city that will be treated as a sanctuary, any human there will be safe from demonic attacks."

He smiles. "If our warrior wins, We get to designate one building where we may attack freely in daylight hours."

He looks around. "If you prefer we can of course hold back ourselves and allow you to face our pets all at once to win a full sector of the city, but if you lose then we will complete our claim on a full sector."

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The Lord smiles. "When one is rendered unconscious, the remaining champion or Lord is victorious for the duel, or when you have all been incapacitated, or the smaller demons are all defeated by the five of you. That is fair I should think."

There was a downside to the arrangement. It meant that they couldn't kill the demon Lord they defeated, but by the same token the Lord wouldn't kill them.

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"I am against this bargain, Gang. It's a mistake to let them gain a greater foothold in this world. This is what we are supposed to stop. Once we make one bargain, what's to stop us from making another and another."

"The price of them winning is too high. Others compromised and look what happened to them. I say better to die pure than live with the shame and the taint."

I can't believe I just said that.

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Ken clears his throat and looked at his 'friends'.

"Maybe I should clarify. I CAN'T make a bargain with these things adn remain true to myself. Lindh and I are going to go out there and fight them now. We'll do it by ourselves if we have to. I imagine they will let you sit it out."

Turning, he examined his foes,

"It's been an experience, team."

Those were bitter words.

"I'll see you when the world turns around again."

Right. All this has happened before. Even if we fall, it is not the end - I hope.

Ken strode out to face his foes, pulling out his 'Honor' sword, short even in his hands.

"Lindh," he said with a grin of fatalism on his young visage, "Kill the summoner first if you can. I'll do what I can."

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The Second head readies herself, and Kiyohime's five mouths all open. searing orbs of light begin building in each of them and The massive Hydra prepares to annihilate whatever target her master commands.

Lindh draws back her bow reading for her own ultimate attack, knowing this would most definitely be it.

There's a tension as the entire horde prepares to attack, and the first Lord looks at the champions. His eyes seem to bore into each of them. The look says "I'd stop him before this gets out of hand..."

(So is everyone ready to fight 4 demon lords and a horde of monsters?)

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"Quick question!" Kage yells. "Seeing as a member of each of our groups fight by summoning, how would that work in this proposed one-on-one fight?" He's stalling, but hoping the answer will help him or someone else in their group figure out a better strategy.

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The Second head answers. "The Master and Servant are a bonded pair, to fight one is to fight both." she smiles, intent on Kenobi who marches forward alone with his Servant, prepared to unleash Kiyohime, and her own attacks.

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"Time to die," Ken whispers, heavy with fatalism. He looks back over his shoulder at Shin and Skye. His look seems to say, 'I'm sorry,' then the turns and faces the Oni Lords.

He raises his sword to the Hiakkado Stance, takes a cleansing breath and shouts,

"Lindh, now!"

He charges the Mistress of the Hydra, intent solely on his target. He might have thought 'victim' but Ken had few illusions.

Click to reveal..

(14:57:45) ChatBot: (Adrian)Initative rolls 2d6 and gets 2,4+4=10

(14:51:08) ChatBot: (Adrian)Attack rolls 2d6 and gets 5,2+4=11

(14:51:15) ChatBot: (Adrian)Defense rolls 2d6 and gets 4,5+4=13

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Lindh nods, Loosing her attack. "Ultimate Bullseye!" The shaft of light strikes the second head in the right side, peircing her guard, illiciting a smile from her lips as her blood ruins her kimono. "So brave, so Foolish. Kyohime! Byakurai!" The 5 headed beast seemed to roar and fired, white streams of energy lancing out towards Lindh, Skye, Kage, Jim, and Shin.

(everyone roll you defense please)

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Kiyohime's attack struck Kage, Shin, and Jim dead on, White lightning lancing through their bodies and leaving the unconscious on the ground with smoke in the air and the secent of burnt flesh. Skye had almost managed to dodge, but was still struck, her barriers failing to protect her from the powerful beast's wrath. White Lighning enveloped her battering down her defensive shields ,and left her on the ground unconscious.

The central head's attack did the most damage, spearing Lindh straight through her torso, and finally causing her to explode into ambient mana.

Terrible pain gripped Kenobi's chest, as if someone had torn out his heart and he dropped the sword. kiyohime's master walked forward, and reached down to stroke his cheek. "You alone shall I never harm."

"Because you were unwilling to compromise, do do a little evil, your friends all lie broken and defeated. Your Servant has been discorporated, and you face the assembled might of four heads of Orochi and our minions."

All the other demons tensed preparing for the feast. "We're going to leave now Kenobi Ani. But know that tonight, you're friend's state is all your fault. You put yourself before them, and they paid the price, all of them."

With that she and Kiyohime vanished along with the entire horde and the Lords. The last to vanish was the first head. "If you want them to live, stab the American with his sword. It will do the rest. I don't want this to be the end, it's only just getting interesting." He vanishes leaving Kenobi alone with what was said, and the severely injured forms of all his Team.

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He held back the tear until they vanished. He managed that much. Still, now what was he supposed to do. He had gotten Lindh killed and he remained untouched.

It wasn't in his heart to shout for vengeance to an uncaring sky. No, he was always the one who wanted affection and compassion ... until now yet ...

Sword dangling from his hand, he drug it across the pavement until he reached Jim. It didn't occur to him that the Demon had lied. Maybe the power came from James and not the sword, but Kenobi was past caring. This had to work.

Ken laid his sword down and picked up James' hardier and heavier blade. He raised it up, vision blurry from his tears, and stabbed it down into the burns on James' chest.

"Wake up," he whispered. "Don't die."

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Jim was drug back from the Light, and felt the blade pull from his chest as it's healing power flooded back into him, restoring him to a functional state. The demons were gone, Lindh was gone, and Skye, Kage, and Shin were all in scorched craters on the ground. Kenobi was above him holding Holy Trust, unharmed.

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Jim groaned and rolled over, holding back the shout of pain he wanted to let go as his still injured back scraped across the asphalt. Once on his front he got himself onto all fours and eventually on to his still wobbly feet. Taking Holy Trust back from Ken he staggered over to the Skye and thrust the sword into her back, since she fallen onto her front.

He glanced back at the stricken Ken as he made his way over to Kage next, "Well, that went better than I expected."

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"We can not stand alone. This was my mistake, Jim. I nearly got us all killed."

Ken just sat there.

"Not that they can't kill us all, but that isn't what they want. They want to break us. Break us apart, break our spirit, break our hope."

Sigh.

"What hope do we have."

He tugs on his amulet, but its warm glow has gone. Only the faintest glimmer remains to give him a prayer.

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Skye was being held by the moon. Silver arms cradled her form, and Skye felt safe and warm, like she never had before. The pain that the fire had brought was gone; there were no demons, no fire, no dark night and no sorrow. Everything as was it should be.

She floated in nirvana for an eternity, happy, safe and content. It was a peace like she'd never known.

She came back to Hell.

"Ahhh, ow, ahhh," Skye moaned, even before she'd fully regained consciousness. She was lying in a smoldering crater, her body hurting worse than anything she'd ever imagined. With a gasp, she began to cry, her only way to vent the hurt in her skin and bones.

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Pulling Holy Trust back out of Kage, Jim moves over to the crying Skye, raising his voice so that Ken can hear him over the noise.

"No your mistake was being honourable and idealistic and inflexible. Yes, they want to make us make compromises, to make it all shades of grey instead of black and white. But life is shades of grey Ken. People aren't all good or all evil. The best doctor in the country, saving lives every day, might be an adulterous, wife-beater. He's neither all good or all evil."

He looks down at Skye, "Sorry about this Skye, it will be a bit better in a moment." With that he thrusts Holy Trust into her. As it reaches her skin it fades into a golden glow across her skin infusing her with a warmth and peace as it knits some of her wounded flesh back together.

Click to reveal..

Holy Trust heals about 27 per use, but can be used about once every minute or two so everyone will soon be back up to full...

Turning back to Ken as he sidesteps over to Shin, "Your mistake was not to let us discuss and probably accept one of their choices. Personally I don't think we yet have much of a chance against any of the Demon Lords one on one. Or maybe some of us would against the weakest one or two of them, I don't really know. However, I do think that we would have had a reasonable chance against the hellhounds. We've got quite a bit of practise about them, and with my ability to make a area effect weapon tuned to demons I could be firing off at point blank and be hitting a load of them while not damaging us at all."

Applying Holy Trust to Shin took only a moment, then he turned his blade back on himself.

"We'll be healed up soon enough, although obviously the experience wasn't a good one, but what about you Ken. What's happend to Lindh, will you be able to get her back, or summon another angel?"

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"I ... I don't know. I feel something inside the amulet, but I'm not sure what it is. I know it will be some time before I am able to reach across to bring anyone over. I still can't really believe she got killed. Oh, I knew it was very possible, but somehow part of me wished that she would be able to save us al yet again."

Ken shuts down. He feels he has said too much tonight already.

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Jim pats him on the shoulder sympathetically then moves off to complete whatever healing people want or are willing to take, he knows that plunging a sword into yourself, or having someone else do it, feels a distinctly unnatural way of getting healed.

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Some of Skye's pain eased, and her tears slowed, but didn't stop. With shaking hands, she gathered up the fans, wanting nothing more than to throw them away from her. Instead, she shoved them in the waistband of her tattered jeans. Her handbag was a smoldering mess; the only thing she recovered was her wallet, with the ID fused into a lump of plastic. "I'm going home," she said just loudly enough to be heard as she stood up.

Silently, she started to limp toward home.

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Kage finally sat up, disoriented by a prominent ringing in his ears. He could hear his friends talking very distantly. He strained to listen as his hearing slowly faded back in, eventually putting more effort into reading lips as best he could. Seeing Skye walking away, he assumed that she was leading the group somewhere and mutely walked after her.

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"Kage," Skye rasped when she saw him following her. "Go back. I'm going home." He blinked at her, his eyes focusing on her slowly. Skye shook her head and pointed back toward Ken and Jim. "Go," she said firmly, over-pronouncing her words so he could read her lips. "Go back."

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"Why are any of us running? Were can we go? What place is safe ... now that we know."

"I can't defend my father. You can't defend your Mother, Skye? If we are really so outmatched, what are we going to do about it, because running is NOT the answer."

"Are we going to give of ourselves for power and lose ourselves in the process? Are we going to lay down and die? What is our purpose? I don't know and wish all the hell somebody would tell me."

He goes back to resting his head on his arms, his arms crossed on his knees as he sits down on the ground, totally beaten and depressed.

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"I'm not running," Skye said, her voice shaking from the tears still washing down her face. "I'm just going home." It was clear that she wasn't necessarily rational; she just wanted to go somewhere safe, and her mind was telling her that 'home' was safe.

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As Kage's hearing slowly returned, he gathered his thoughts long enough to realize an error. "We never said what area we were wagering," Kage says, a bit louder than he needs to. "...that probably wasn't even about making areas safe. They just wanted to be intimidating!" It's quite clear that he isn't aware of his volume. "At least we know now what they look like, right? We're not walking away totally empty-handed!"

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The Old Man appeared then. "Well that was stupid."

He looks over to Kage. "You know one form at least yes. Your compatriots actually managed to defeat one of the Lords, though in light of everything else, they forgot to seal it, so it will be back." He sighs. "Thank God some of you are competent."

He looks to Kenobi. "So now that you know what it's like to have your servant defeated, are you still so willing to be completely uncompromising?"

He lays a hand on his shoulder. "Her Former Master was like that you know, it's how he died fighting Orochi."

"There is no black and white in this world anymore Kenobi, your goal here is to win. Orochi must not be ressurected."

He looks to Skye, and a look of true sadness covers his face. "I am so sorry."

He vanishes in a flash, leaving them there to tact as they would.

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Skye stood listening the lecture, waiting for her turn. But it never came. Instead, the soft condolences were offered, just before the vanishing act, and Skye was gripped with a sudden fear. Why would the surly old man say such a thing?

"No," she murmured as a terrible thought occurred to her. Like a grasping leech, it grabbed and would not let go, and the harder she tried to pull it away, the worse it tormented her.

Her fans came out, and she snapped them open. Without another word, she brought them down sharply, rocketing into the air.

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"Oh crap!," said Kenobi with renewed life, "Let's follow her as best we can."

He got up and started running. He really needed to talk to Lindh about that, who he had been, who the others had been, and hwo they had died. It was important and if he ever got antoher opportunity, he wouldn't waste it.

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Kage stumbles a bit, still adjusting to the shock his body's been through. He starts running after Ken after the summoner has a head start of thirty meters or so. He opens his mouth to speak, but shuts it. He feels he ought to say something to the guy who's lost a friend, but isn't sure what.

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Skye already knew. She didn't need to see the blood on the windows, and then all over the apartment. The whole place reeked of death. She made her way into the bedroom, and found her mother's body there, seemingly without a mark on it, until one looked at her wrists which were cut.

There was a note sitting on the stand beside her bed, addressed to Skye.

It read- "Lunar Priestess, know that failure always bears a price. This time this woman, this whole building paid for you. You and the Solar Preistess and the gathered champions shall not succeed in Stopping the return of Orochi. You will fali again just as you failed to defend me, your own mother."

(OOC WHEN read the note creates the mental effect of it being read in Skye's mother's voice. The rest of you, you get to the building, everyone within is dead, over a thousand people. the whole building is like a slaughterhouse and reeks of blood, gore, and death. Skye's apartment is on the 15th of 20 floors.))

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Ken runs up thes stairs to the fifteen floor, pushing himself beyond the point of caring. All he can think is ,

This is my fault too. They killed all these people because I didn't bend. What am I going to fuck up next?

It was almost too much to bear. It didn't occur to him yet that this was the Beasts at work, the Oni. They had all the power and the rest were just pawns in their game. They had no chance of fighting them, so what was the point in resisting?

Lindh was gone. Never again would be his motto. The world might burn, but he would never risk her like that again. He would save that one soul.

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Skye had seen this movie before; she knew the next steps, she knew the script. She knew what she'd find in her home: a carnal house.

She flew right into her apartment, stepping lightly on the blood-soaked carpet. Oh, yes, she knew what she would find. It didn't help mute the strangled cries that came from her as she found her mother's body.

The others found her cradling her mother's body, sobbing in German, rocking the corpse.

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