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Going for a Walk (Hellsing Ultimate Abridged/Worm crossover)

Discussion in 'Creative Writing' started by rocketmce, Oct 14, 2020.

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  1. goricnac

    goricnac Not too sore, are you?

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    What kind of mega moron do you need to be to think that shooting the cape that just contained 2 international criminals and hangs out with the Endslayer is a good idea on any level? Holy shit this idiot was so high on his own nationalistic pride and bullshit he basically signed the death warrants of all the guards with him, legit surprised non of his subordinates told him to shut the fuck up or just ran away.
     
  2. Morkail

    Morkail Not too sore, are you?

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    Unbound undead shard... free in the world... well this will end well.
     
  3. Highlord

    Highlord Know what you're doing yet?

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    At first my interest in this story had tanked the moment widlbow's author avatar arrived without being in a body bag. Now though, it seems everything is about to explode in cuntessa and fucking saucepan's face. Good.

    I hope alexandria gets eaten. And not in the fun way.
     
    Destrucfor and shakeval like this.
  4. shakeval

    shakeval I trust you know where the happy button is?

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    he's probably a corrupt douchebag or even in cahoots with frogglet one and two.
    Will be a lucky break if he survives without Taylor eat his arm.

    On another note, missed the catchphrase when being asked what kind of vampire are you?
    "A real fucking vampire"
     
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2021
    Destrucfor likes this.
  5. Adalwulf13

    Adalwulf13 Your first time is always over so quickly, isn't it?

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    Just started reading but I love the chaos and the resulting laughs
     
  6. 24caratcoal

    24caratcoal Plotbunny Rancher

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    Or, you know, her reputation for destruction precedes her and he doesn't want his homeland subjected to that.
     
    Autocorruptor likes this.
  7. Threadmarks: 7.8
    rocketmce

    rocketmce Getting sticky.

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    “So you are the one behind Miss Hebert’s abilities?” Doctor mother asked as she straitened her posture, looking up at Alucard with scrutiny, “It seems there is more to the universe than we had anticipated. What are you, and how have you managed to grant Miss Hebert her abilities, and through her, Miss Bakir? You are not in line with what we know of. You do not fit into the context of how we know Parahuman abilities function… so I ask again, what are you?”

    Alucard chuckled, his laugh a deep, dark tone that seemed to reverberate and echo in the room despite there being no sign of anything that would allow it to, “You believe me to be connected to those parasites leeching off of your world? Let me tell you now, I am nothing like them. I’m a transdimensional fuck-mothering vampire, I made a deal with the devil himself, I spat in the face of God, and walked away… I am no alien parasite, I am no mindless entity trying to surpass entropy… I am a monster. A necessary evil. A bulwark against monsters far less controlled than me.”

    Doctor Mother was silent. She had stopped writing anything down after his first sentence, and as he continued to speak, her muscles tensed, her eyes widened, and her grip on her pen and clipboard increased so as to make her knuckles white.

    Alucard chuckled again at her reaction, “So tell me, good doctor, what do you make of this revelation? What do you make of the monster standing before you?”

    The woman was silent for a moment, unwilling to answer right away. She closed her eyes and drew an intake of breath, “I see. I believe you truly are beyond what we know of and are prepared for. We cannot kill you or Miss Hebert, that much is abundantly clear. However, we cannot allow you to continue to interfere with our operations. In lieu of that fact… until we see each other again.”

    “That’s not good. Alucard, that’s not good, right?”

    Alucard moved, attempting to grab the woman in front of him before she stepped backward through an invisible portal, which closed when Alucard tried to follow. He grimaced and was prepared to try one of his more unique tricks when he felt the floor beneath his feet disappear and the air around him begin to rush downward.

    He began falling through a portal beneath him, and when he reached to grab the edge to keep himself from falling through, his fingers were cut off, and the portal closed again, resulting in him being thrown into freefall… somewhere.

    Alucard looked around at the space where they were falling, and noted that it looked a bit like a particularly clear night sky, with stars twinkling in the distance… and then he saw the vast expanse of ground that was swiftly coming up to meet him. He grunted, angling his body so that his feet would land first, resulting in a soft landing through the use of limited telekinesis… something that Taylor’s body barely had access to, even as powerful a vampire she had become.

    He did not appreciate what he landed on, however. The ground was soft and moved like flesh beneath his feet, and he could see the land around him was similar, though when he looked up… were he purely human, the sight would have terrified him, and even as ancient a vampire as he was, it was not something he had seen in all the centuries he had lived.

    Tall crystalline spires rose out of the fleshy ground, bleeding tendons and strips of flesh desperately clinging to them. Huge gashes in the ground bled rivers of discolored liquid, flowing this way and that through the uneven ground. Enormous crystalline formations rose into the sky, often defying the natural laws of physics and geometry in the way that Taylor and Alucard both understood them, though Alucard at least was more used to such occurrences. Alongside the spires were long, thick towers of wavering flesh that seemed to hang upward, as if gravity were pulling them up.

    “Alucard… where in the fucking devil's name are we!?”

    Alucard chuckled, “I’ll admit, Tay-Tay, this one is new for me too.”

    Alucard was about to continue when he heard the sound of warping and tearing flesh coming from behind him. He turned around quickly to see one of the floating pillars of flesh behind him, as something moved underneath the wall of skin, bulging and writhing in a way that didn’t suggest anything human. The skin began to break, and whatever was inside it began to tear its way out, revealing multiple clawed limbs connected to a single torso, and a head connected to an unnaturally long neck. The head had no eyes, instead almost exclusively consisting of a set of tendrils that most definitely covered a mouth.

    The creature, whatever it was, stumbled out of the opening it had made, covered in a clear, sticky fluid. It raised its head in Alucard's direction and made a motion as if it were sniffing. It shuddered, and after a moment, screeched, its tendrils splaying outward revealing a gaping mouth filled with dozens of fanged teeth, spittle spraying in Alucard's direction as it began racing toward him, stumbling clumsily on its many limbs.

    Alucard reacted quickly, racing forward and grabbing the creature's head and neck and twisting before it could latch onto him, tearing it off. The body, however, was still animate, forcing him to tear it limb from limb, even tearing the torso in half before it stopped moving, covering the ground around him in red blood. He grimaced, licking the blood off his fingers. It was good. It wasn’t human blood, that much he could tell, but it was also familiar somehow.

    “Alucard… what is that? It doesn’t… it tastes like… parahumans?”

    Alucard paused. Parahumans did taste ever so slightly different, but no, that wasn’t where he recognized it. It tasted… He blinked, and laughed, “Oh, no, Tay-Tay, that’s not parahuman. You’re on the right track, but this… this is something much different.”

    He heard a loud screech, much like that of the creature he had just killed. He looked up and saw another had clawed its way out of the pillar higher up, and he saw more of them clawing their way out of it as well. He heard more screeching, and he slowly looked around him, seeing more of them clawing their way out of the other pillars, and even a few seeming to dig themselves up out of the ground.

    “Well, it seems like we’ll have a fresh supply of the stuff anyhow…”

    [-----]

    Siren’s wailed, people screamed, and through it all, the Queen grimaced. She had lost her connection to [Host] and Alucard. She didn’t know what had done it, or who, she supposed, but it didn’t matter, the moment [Queen Devourer] found them, they were as good as dead.

    “Queen, stop!” the [HOST] of [Binding Manipulator] yelled, “This… this is insane! You can’t find Taylor by just breaking everything!”

    Queen paused, looking around at the area around her. What was left of the airport was in flames, the bodies of well over a dozen individual’s that might have held the [DATA] she needed had been disposed of when she was done interrogating them, and several [HOST] bodies were among them, having decided to get in her way.

    “I need to find Taylor. They did something to her, and we need to find out who and what.” She explained as if it were the simplest thing in the world.

    “But you’re just killing everyone who even gets near you! They won’t know anything, and if you keep this up, you're going to get the heroes coming after you! Something that even Taylor wouldn’t want!” Sabah all but begged.

    Queen stopped. It was possible that the [HOST] of [Binding Manipulator] was correct, and that Taylor wouldn’t want her to extract information in the method that Alucard had taught her. His method was efficient, if not aligning with the normal [HOST] species moral standards.

    “Well then what do you suggest? We are on enemy territory. They have made an attack on us, and we do not even know who or where they are… I should be connected to Taylor, and yet I am not.” she explained.

    Sabah’s face scrunched up in a look of deep concentration as if she herself didn’t know what to think about that, “But this-” she gestured to the area around her “-isn’t going to help, all it will do is attract the wrong attention, we need… someone, something, anything that knows more about this than we do. Lisa, another thinker of some kind, someone who can find out information without having to literally eat other people.”

    Queen considered the proposal. In truth, there were benefits to using alternate forms of information gathering, but-

    Queen stopped. Something pinged across her system, a connection, admittedly a weak one, but a connection nonetheless. Inside the secluded dimension of her true form, she traced over the connection, following where it led. It was barely there, and its exact origin point wasn’t traceable, but she recognized the signature. It was Taylor. Her [HOST].

    But the ping was so far away, in an entirely different dimension that Queen couldn’t see, buried underneath layer upon layer of encryption… encryption she recognized. Signals like it only came from one of two places, in Queen's experience at least, and neither was a particularly good sign.

    In Taylor’s home dimension, Queen used her avatar to do something… destructive. She used the power that she had used on the conflict engine, causing a shockwave throughout the airport, shattering windows, and even tearing apart the asphalt. When she looked at Sabah, she saw that her body was regenerating, some of her flesh having been torn from her body.

    “That… what…?” Sabah asked, her vocal cords not having fully regenerated.

    Queen’s avatar frowned, “I found Taylor… and she is in perhaps one of the worst locations she could have possibly found herself in.”

    At least she had Alucard with her…
     
  8. Threadmarks: 7.9
    rocketmce

    rocketmce Getting sticky.

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    Alucard felt blood flow past his teeth as he ripped into the neck of another creature. He’d lost track of exactly how long he’d been fighting, and had decided to pull out a few tricks, well, the ones he could use while Taylor let him drive. She had taken to her vampirism far better than Seras had, but she was still far younger than he was, even if she did have a fairly large head start.

    Ghoul-like familiars battled against the monsters, with the notable exception of any of the parahumans Taylor had eaten… another side effect of getting her connection to Queen Devourer cut off. Taylor and Alucard had spoken for a while, sometimes speculating on just who Doctor Mother and her associates were, where they were, and what it was they were fighting.

    Alucard grunted as a creature that had apparently decided to grow wings bit into his shoulder from behind, prompting him to reach behind and grab it by the neck, wrenching it free before slamming it down onto an exposed crystal coming up out of the ground, skewering it.

    “All I’m saying is the bitch didn’t just send us here for no reason, she must have known these things wouldn’t be strong enough to kill us.”

    “Maybe, maybe not.” Alucard responded, discarding the mangled corpse of one of the creatures that had thrown itself at him, “Still, it sure seems like she wanted us to die out here if the number of creepy crawlies is anything to go by!”

    Several of the Ghouls were cut down by larger creatures with long, scythe-like limbs. The bodies dissolved into red blood, flowing into the de facto river that Alucard waded through like it was nothing. He idly noted the sheer variety of creatures that were now attacking him, considering one of Taylor’s earlier theories.

    “They’re like antibodies, protecting the larger organism from whatever is threatening it.”

    He would give some credence to the theory, but to him, they were more like parasites, but then again, if his theory was correct, and the taste of the creatures was anything to go by, the thing they were standing on was more of a qualifier to the title than the creatures were.

    “What exactly is this place anyway? It tastes like parahuman, but you said it was something else but never elaborated.”

    “I have an idea. I could be wrong, but I do believe we are on the skin of one of the same creatures that Queenie is. That, or one of her parents, though I think either of them would have noticed by now.” He informed her. It really was possible he was wrong; despite his own confidence, he was in uncharted territory. He’d never dealt with sentient creatures like Queen Devourer and the other shards. Even the big old golden boy didn’t really feel like either the devil or Big-G, so that was right out.

    “What is she anyway? She’s a vampire too, but she’s clearly not human, is she some kind of alien?”

    Alucard hummed, “An alien is probably the best descriptor you could give her, but I wouldn’t even call it quite that… a sentient, biological supercomputer perhaps?” he offered.

    He continued to cut through the creatures with seemingly no end in sight -- before Taylor spotted something that he would have considered a temporary distraction, but apparently caught Taylor’s eye. She jerked his head over to a large, thick tower of flesh, one that seemed taller, and had crystalline structures jutting out of it and into the ground.

    “That looks important, don’t you think Alucard?”

    “Quite possibly. Change direction then?” he asked, receiving the mental equivalent of a nod, resulting in Alucard slowly making his way toward the tower.

    The river of blood flowed along with him, the ghouls wading through it, often skipping steps and simply flowing with the river in order to keep up. More eldritch creatures sprung up from the ground or dropped from the waving flesh towers, each one that was killed adding to the river of blood. Alucard noticed offhandedly that the more of the creature's blood was added, the more discolored the river became -- it had started off as a solid red, but every now and again, he would spot a flicker of purple or blue in the liquid, before it would very quickly be flooded by red once again.

    He made a mental note of the fact before continuing again, slowly making his way to the large tower. As he got closer, he began to realize just how large it was. The base of it was perhaps the size of a football stadium, and he hesitated to guess just how tall it was. The large crystalline structures that jutted out of it, or from the ground up and into it, acting somewhat like supports, were some of the largest he’d seen yet.

    When he did finally reach the base, he could see several holes in the ground, which got bigger the closer he looked to the tower, and at the very base of it, even digging into the walls, there were holes that went down at an angle, wide enough that one could quite comfortably fit a vehicle through. He hummed in thought as blood flowed down the holes, giving him at least a sense of where they led. Down, down, down they went, curving and intersecting, much like an anthill. Some led to dead ends, filling up with blood, while others seemed to flow into one another to form massive caverns that continued to flow even deeper.

    “Well, this is interesting,” Alucard muttered to himself. The creatures were beginning to become more hostile. Larger ones were clawing their way out of the tower, and a few even began to climb up out of the holes in the ground, massacring any ghouls they came into contact with only to be brought low by hundreds of them pulling the thing down and ripping them apart.

    “What is this place? Some kind of hive?”

    Alucard hummed in thought before he felt the ground rumble beneath his feet. He spun around just in time to see a truly massive creature claw its way up out of the ground. Ghouls clawed at its limbs as it stalked forward, ripping flesh from its legs, but it all but ignored them. Its flesh seemed to be particularly strong, and whenever a ghoul managed to rip out a significant chunk of meat, it kicked, sending the familiar’s body flying.

    “Wait… these are antibodies… right? Or at least, that’s my prevailing theory.”

    “A sound one, at the very least. The only alternative would-be parasites, but whatever we are standing on seems to be alive, somehow, so I’m inclined to agree with you.” Besides, he hadn’t encountered any parasites like these on Queenie’s body, though that might have simply been due to the damage she’d taken beforehand.

    “Right, and, how far do those holes go down?”

    Alucard paused his thought process to consider the fact, even as he continued to rush forward and up the creature's leg, up toward its center of mass. The holes themselves went down far, and while the smaller, narrower ones were already being filled with blood, the wider, larger ones were still going down, reaching almost a mile deep.

    Alucard reached the back of the creature, and moved up to its neck, where its spine would be, before plunging one hand into it, gripping the piece of bone before wrenching it out, resulting in the head falling forward and the rest of the body stumbling. It still moved, though a fair bit more clumsily. The ghouls took advantage of its disarray, climbing up its legs and ripping and tearing into its flesh, and soon enough it was little more than a skeleton already being dissolved into the river of blood.

    “Over a mile deep, now,” Alucard noted, “And going deeper. What are you thinking, Tay-Tay?”

    “What’s down there that these things are trying to protect?”

    Alucard could almost hear her grinning, and he laughed, “Well now, that does sound like an interesting idea. Why don’t we find out?” he asked, not waiting for an answer as he leaped forward, diving feet first down one of the largest pits. The blood continued to flow, and as he slid down, he made sure to keep from falling down the dead ends.

    It was when he was about halfway down when the blood narrowed into one, single tunnel, to the point where it was less sliding and more freefalling, continuing to do so for almost two miles. It was when he left the tunnel completely that he realized what the creatures were trying so desperately to protect.

    “Is that… a heart?”

    A great ball of flesh weakly pulsating with glowing light once every couple of seconds, likely almost a mile in diameter was beneath him, suspended in an enormous chamber by several giant, probably many mile-long tendons of flesh, a chamber which he was falling through with great speed. More crystalline structures covered everything, some connecting different tendons, and a large number of them covering a gaping wound in the ball, several tendons that had likely connected to it having been ripped apart, likewise covered in crystals, though the less connected they were to the heart-like organ, the less alive they looked.

    The flesh became pale and grey, the blood that came from the wounds becoming a discolored brownish red, and in places it looked as it rot had taken to it, blackened necrosis decaying large swaths of flesh. Around the wound in the heart itself, the necrosis almost seemed worse, and Alucard could almost see the blackened material being eaten away, the crystalline material blocking off some sections, but looking as if it was growing too slow to stop the infection.

    Alucard barely realized that he had all but stopped falling, the gravity in the large chamber being almost non-existent, reducing his body to a state of weightlessness, the blood that had flowed into the chamber floating in the air, forming orbs of red fluid, which he found he was able to control to little surprise. He quickly began to absorb most of it, even as he looked at the injured, frail, half-dead heart of whatever it was that he and Taylor had found themselves inside of.

    “This… I want to say it's amazing, but… how do we even begin to describe something like this?”

    Alucard didn’t answer. In all his years, he’d never come across something like this. He might have imagined something like it during one of his drug trips, but never when he was sober. The presence of a deity was probably the only thing that compared, but this was something different… less grand, not as pure white, none of the angels singing, but still remarkable in its own way and horrifying in others.

    “This is something different, Taylor.” He remarked, “Something very different.”

    [-----]

    Lisa wasn’t one to panic, but given that she was staring down the literal avatar of what a power was? She felt fairly safe in the fact that she could barely think. Her power was going haywire, trying to understand what she was looking at. It wore Taylor’s face, but it wasn’t Taylor, it had said as much itself. The five mismatching wings on its back were obviously from the Simurgh. The claws had come from Hookwolf. The sporadic carapace-like armor that covered her red coat, the too-long limbs, that pitch-black eyes… all of those had come from various capes that Taylor had eaten along the way.

    “You shouldn’t be scared, Lisa. Taylor admires you, so I admire you. She wouldn’t kill you, so I won’t either.” It said in Taylor’s voice, though there was very clearly something added to it to make it particularly distinct.

    “Th-that’s not exactly reassuring,” Lisa informed the thing in front of her.

    It cocked an eyebrow, but didn’t respond in any other way before turning to look at Sabah, “We need to leave. We need to find the ones who took Taylor, or better yet, Taylor herself… the latter of which would be greatly more difficult, given her position.”

    Lisa took in what it was saying, still trying to wrap her head around what her power was telling her. Taylor’s power had somehow taken control of her body and was talking to them through it. Taylor herself had been taken during the fight, though Lisa wasn’t sure how her body had stayed behind and her power had gotten separated somehow. The thought that a person could be disconnected from their power was… disconcerting.

    “Wait… you know where Taylor is?” Lisa asked, to which it nodded in answer, “Then, why would it be hard to get to her? Can’t we… teleport, fly, drive, or some other form of transportation?” Her power was being remarkably useless in her current situation. She didn’t have enough information, and the fact that she was being bombarded with new and unrelated info didn’t help matters in the slightest.

    “She is not somewhere that I have the abilities to go… despite the powers I have access to, none allow for more cross-dimensional travel than I am already capable of.”

    Lisa blinked, “Cross-dimensional… Taylor’s in a different dimension… how does that even…” her mind was running a million miles a minute, her power was working into overdrive, and her head hurt. She rubbed her temples and closed her eyes, trying to figure out what the hell was going on.

    “Lisa, I don’t know what’s going on either, but… we need your help, ok?” Sabah asked, shaking Lisa from her thoughts.

    She looked up at the vampiress, the girl who defied all logic in that she had somehow adopted Taylor’s own abilities, to the point that as she… ate, more people, she began to gain more and more of Taylor’s own abilities, sans the copying powers bit.

    “I… have no idea how I could even begin to help,” Lisa stated, “We’re way out of our league here, someone who can cut people off from their powers, Endbringers being killed every time they show up, alternate dimensions, I-I just… what the hell is going on?”

    Sabah frowned, Lisa’s power informing her that the girl didn’t know much more than she did, “I have no idea, but, for the first time in… I have no idea how long we've been able to do something. The world thought the Endbringers were unbeatable… Well, Taylor proved them wrong. People thought the bay was going to be ruled by gangs until the end of time, and Taylor wipes them all out in a month. We owe her, me more than anyone.” she explained.

    Lisa frowned, then sighed, “Ok. Yeah, your right. We need to do something… but I need information.” She informed them, both Sabah and Taylor’s power made manifest nodding in acknowledgment, “And, we need to get back to Brockton. My bunker has computers, documents, information-gathering tools, everything we would need… probably.”

    “Probably?” Sabah asked.

    Lisa shrugged, “I have no idea what we’re doing. Interdimensional travel? I don’t even know where to start with that.”

    Queen smiled, “Good to have you on our side,” She said, reaching over and grabbing both Lisa and Sabah by the shoulder, causing both to look at her questioningly, “You said you need to get back to Brockton, yes?”

    Black mist enveloped the three of them. For several seconds, it felt like there was nothing beneath Lisa’s feet like she was in weightlessness… much like the feeling when Taylor had teleported her around before. When the black mist cleared, they were back in Brockton… absolutely nothing like Lisa remembered it.

    Fires covered the streets, cars smashed to pieces and bodies littering the ground, and when she looked around, her eyes widened as she saw Armsmaster, clad head-to-toe in his power armor and using a new, different halberd that had a blurring, glowing blade, standing head-to-head against Crawler. The monster spun, swinging its tail around to hit Armsmaster, knocking him to the side and into a building before his many eyes finally noticed the three of them.

    The mutated thing laughed, a guttural, wrong sound that echoed through the street, “FINALLY!” it roared, and began to charge straight toward them.
     
  9. Threadmarks: Interlude 6: Jack Slash
    rocketmce

    rocketmce Getting sticky.

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    Jack expected to be slaughtered upon entering Brockton Bay’s city limits. Admittedly, that was perhaps a bit premature of an expectation, but the gut feeling he got about certain people and certain situations wasn’t a good one. The reality was simultaneously comforting for himself, and disappointing for some of the others.

    Carmilla had left the bay, leaving to visit another country overseas. Crawler was… not happy. He roared in frustration, swinging his tail into another building, killing the occupants that had tried to take shelter inside. They were still on the outskirts of the city, so it would take several minutes for the cities heroes to reach them, plenty of time to cause a ruckus and make their presence known.

    Jack had of course allowed Shatterbird their usual arrival, which had sent the city into a panic, though Jack noted that as he watched from afar, the local police and Protectorate response had been far better organized than many of the other towns and cities they visited. Oh, there were other cities that did it for better, but for one the size of Brockton, their response was remarkably well thought out, almost as if they had expected the nine to come to their city.

    One thing that had bothered Jack, however, was that he had yet to see any of the heroes he had expected. The Wards were most notably absent, though he suspected that was due to local procedure requiring them to not take part in battles against S-class threats, but the absence of the other heroes bothered him somewhat. Not once did he glimpse the American bandana of Miss Militia, nor could he spot the lion mask of Triumph or the red and blue bodysuits that Assault and Battery wore.

    It was entirely possible that the Protectorate was trying to hide the heroes away from the nine, but Jack wasn’t entirely sure.

    He was brought back to reality, away from his thoughts, when he felt Bonesaw tugging on his sleeve, “What is it Bonesaw?” he asked politely, a smile on his face betraying his inner questioning and concern.

    “Can we go find the heroes soon? All these normal people are getting boring…” She said, gesturing to where she had been casually dissecting and reformatting people’s bodies. A teenage couple that had apparently been out on a date had been sown together, a mother who had been taking her baby out in a stroller had her child sown back into her stomach, and several other people had experienced a myriad of other atrocities, but all of them were things that Bonesaw had done before.

    In truth, only parahumans ever brought any real interest to her, each one being unique and different, their powers providing a playground that a normal human could never compare to.

    “We’ll do that whenever we can find them, alright? They’re playing a little hard to get at the moment.” He explained.

    Not a second after he had said those words, did he hear an explosion coming from one of the gas stations nearby; Crawler had run out of people and had resorted to simply destroying buildings instead. He had been the most frustrated by Carmilla’s disappearance, having been the one to initiate the journey to Brockton. Hatchetface was frustrated as well, but not nearly to the extent that Crawler was.

    “We just have to wait until she comes back.” the scarred man had said in response to Crawler’s frustration.

    She had gone over to Europe, and while Jack had contemplated the idea of leaving the continent, it was never an idea he had seen much worth or prospect in. Now, he was worried he might have to in order to keep the nine together or risk losing Crawler, who he could see was debating the idea of swimming across the ocean. Jack really wasn’t sure if keeping Crawler was worth the price, at that point.

    “Do you know what’s wrong with Mannequin?” Bonesaw asked, gesturing to the aimless form that the man was. While the rest of the nine had taken to the slaughter, Mannequin was eerily absent from it. His clawed hands were still clean, the chains he’d use to string up numerous victims still within the compartments within his arms.

    Jack frowned, approaching Mannequin in a non-threatening, but firm manner, “Alan, won’t you join the rest of us?” he asked, placing a hand on his shoulder.

    Mannequin turned his head to look at Jack, then turned to look at each of the nine that were present, all but Shatterbird and Burnscar having taken part in the slaughter. The mentioned two had taken to scouting out the rest of the city, the latter setting fires throughout.

    Mannequin tilted his head, then shook it, causing Jack to frown, “And why not? Are you waiting for the heroes to show up like Bonesaw is so eager for?” he asked.

    He didn’t respond at first, but after a minute, he nodded, though Jack would readily admit he wasn’t convinced. He neglected to force the issue, however, Mannequin would need to act when the heroes came, regardless of his hesitance. If he didn’t, he would die, not something Jack was unprepared to deal with.

    He left Mannequin to his silence, and was about to go check on the Siberian when he heard it; the loud rumble of a vehicle’s engine. And not just any vehicle, either, at the rate it was getting to them it was likely Armsmaster's bike. Sure enough, a moment later, a blue and black bike of enormous proportions came roaring into view, its rider swinging a halberd out to the side.

    It seemed faster than it should, and even Jack was taken by surprise at how quickly it moved as it drove through the center of the road where the nine had gathered. He moved so fast that the halberd had actually caught Hatchetface in the shoulder, knocking him spinning to the ground, his arm flying off in a blur.

    Jack was admittedly surprised. Very rarely was the Protectorate so aggressive in their assault, but he could say that it was at least a welcome one.

    Crawler immediately began to chase after the bike, his own legs allowing him to keep up in a way that didn’t look quite right. Regardless, Jack felt it prudent to begin their withdrawal, “Bonesaw, dear, please make sure Hatchetface doesn’t bleed out. Otherwise, Mannequin, Siberian, we’re heading out, please finish up your activities and come along,” He announced.

    Bonesaw was quick to run to Hatchetface’s side, already taking out her kit and picking up his arm in order to reattach it. The Siberian finished swallowing a piece of flesh she had stripped from someone’s arm, and Mannequin wandered his way toward where they had left the van. Jack was about to follow when he felt a sinking feeling in his gut, and the urge to duck behind cover. He complied, such gut feelings having saved his life many times before, and dodged to the side behind a turned over car just in time to avoid a bullet that broke the asphalt of the road he had been standing on.

    He grunted in frustration, “Bonesaw! Get to cover!” He ordered, and she complied, just in time to see Hatchetface’s head pop. Blood, bone, and bits of grey matter covered the road as the bullet went through his head and even into the asphalt beneath.

    Mannequin moved to cover as well, while the Siberian looked up toward where the shots had presumably come from, trying to find exactly where they were coming from, only for a rocket to hit where she was standing, an explosion rocking the area. Before the smoke could clear, the Siberian dashed out of the smoke toward where the rocket had come from, leaving the rest of them.

    Jack sighed, peeking his head out from cover. His gut was still roiling, but the urge to duck for cover wasn’t there anymore, “Bonesaw, Mannequin, head to the van now-” He was cut off when his gut lurched, and he turned to see a blur move past him, and he felt a punch to his gut, sending him sprawling to the ground.

    He grunted, getting back up to see what exactly had hit him, looking around only to see a stunned Mannequin and a missing Bonesaw, “Mannequin! Get to the van!” he ordered, dashing out of cover. His gut was roiling, making him feel as though he were going to vomit. Clearly, these heroes were not the standard, taking measures to kill as many of the nine as they could.

    The two members of the nine made their way to the van, but before they could reach it, something hit it, sending it flying through the air toward them. Jack was able to dodge to the side, but Mannequin was not so lucky, being hit by the truck that soon crashed into the building behind them.

    Jack turned to find a man in black and red body armor, a mask completely concealing his face, “Well, and who might you be?” he asked, reaching for one of the knives at his waist. He needed to buy time; the Siberian was dealing with the sniper most likely, and she would come searching for Bonesaw soon after she was done. Shatterbird would have heard the ruckus, and likely would have seen Crawler chasing after Armsmaster, so it was likely she would come, but not guaranteed. Burnscar was a possibility, but she was probably lost in the fires that she had started. His most likely support would be Mannequin, once he managed to extract himself from the wreckage of the van, but considering the odd behavior of the tinker as of late, he wasn’t even certain of that.

    The cape in front of him remained silent, making Jack frown, “Come now, you’re not interested in a little chatter? Not the least curious as to why I chose your city? I’ll admit, I have a few of my own curios-” Jack staggered.

    There was a loud bang, and then a sharp pain in his back, followed by a wet sensation trickling down his spine. He whirled around, dragging his knife and extending its edge, only for another shot to hit his hand, dislodging the knife as he finished turning around. He grunted in pain, cradling his disfigured hand. He looked up to see a woman with no mask, holding a rifle in her arms. She wore black fatigues and had a round face, with blond if graying hair, and wore a stern expression.

    “What-” Jack could barely get the word out before she fired another shot, hitting him in the chest; Bonesaw’s enhancements would keep the round from doing any significant damage to his internal organs, but the shot still hurt.

    The woman fired again, hitting him in a similar spot. She did so again, and again, and again, making Jack stagger backward as he tried to reach for one of his knives. She stopped after a second, and Jack was able to reach into his apron for one of his knives- only to hind nothing. He looked down at his hand, only to find a bloody stump just above where his elbow would have been.

    He heard a buzzing sound and turned to look just in time to see a man wearing red armor swing a glowing sword at him. He felt weightless for a moment, the wind flowing against his cheeks as he looked up at the blue sky. The back of his head hit the ground and tried to blink. He tried to say something, but no words would come out of his mouth. He saw a body fall to the ground, headless, and then it clicked.

    His vision faded to black, even as he tried and failed to figure out just what had happened.
     
  10. meloa789

    meloa789 I trust you know where the happy button is?

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    Get fucked you murderhobos!!! The same goes for Cauldron too.
     
  11. Thorfaxdragonkin

    Thorfaxdragonkin (confirmed ark survivor)

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    Truly love how they went straight balls to the wall on the s9
     
  12. zeebza

    zeebza Getting out there.

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    Who were these people that killed the nine? I'm drawing a blank
     
    Ajlove likes this.
  13. Autocorruptor

    Autocorruptor Corrupting Innocent Grammar

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    Jackie boy, the Brockton Bay superheroes deal with Carmilla almost daily. And you are nothing compared to Carmilla.
     
  14. BurningBaloth

    BurningBaloth Know what you're doing yet?

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    If I had to guess:
    Miss Militia was the sniper
    Battery zoomed in, punched Jack, and yoinked Bonesaw (probably to have Panacea disable her)
    Assualt was the one who punted the van
    And Piggott was the one who shot Jack

    No idea who the sword guy is though.
     
  15. rocketmce

    rocketmce Getting sticky.

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    Sword guy was Dauntless. A lot of people seem to forget he ain't dead here.
     
  16. ErubianWarlord

    ErubianWarlord Sphinx of black quartz judge my vow

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    i wonder who's shard Tay and Alucard are about to murderlize?
     
  17. Threadmarks: 8.1
    rocketmce

    rocketmce Getting sticky.

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    Alucard touched the heart of the creature they were standing on; despite it being all but dead, its heart still beats, however faintly. Its consciousness was long since dormant, very likely to conserve energy in order to keep the decay from progressing, though, as Alucard looked to the side, seeing the large gash that was torn into the heart and the growing decay, he wondered just how long the thing would linger between life and death.

    “So… this thing is a shard.”

    “Yes, the same kind of thing that Queenie is. Though this one's a bit bigger than her.” Alucard explained.

    “And it’s… dying? Dead? Inbetween?”

    “Inbetween, it looks like… I suppose that’s why little miss Doctor sent us out this way. Can’t even finish her own job I suppose.” he guessed, before cracking his own knuckles dramatically, the blood surrounding him coalescing around his body, before morphing back into Taylor’s appearance.

    “So how are we gonna do this? Classical chow down, steak through the heart, or did you have something different in mind?” Taylor asked, walking over to one of the veins that would pulse with light every few seconds.

    Alucard’s voice laughed, “Tay-Tay, we’re on the home stretch, this one's all you.”

    Taylor looked down, noting the inconsistencies and crystallization of the flesh; she’d let Alucard pilot most of the way down, but what was about to happen would be all her, “I think I’ll go with the good old classic for this one.” she said, before driving a hand down into the flesh, grasping at the vein beneath.

    It seemed remarkably durable, as when she grasped the actual artery, it held instead of rupturing, allowing her to pull it up out of the heart dripping and flowing with blood. Taylor grinned, opening her mouth and sinking her fangs into it. As she drained the blood from the heart, her eyes widened at what she saw…

    [-----]

    Queen moved, charging Crawler head-on in an attempt to cut him off from doing any more damage than he already had. Her claws dug into his hide, tearing flesh apart and even breaking a few bones. Crawler only laughed, though.

    “Yes~, fight me! HURT ME!”

    She was more than happy to oblige. Ripping one claw-free, she activated a blaster power which blew a hole into Crawler’s chest, separating them from each other. Crawler roared in pain, but the grin on his face was something that couldn’t be ignored.

    Queen got back up, a grimace on her face. She really didn’t need something like the monster in front of her to deal with at the moment, not when her host was in as much danger as she was. She raced forward again, sending a whip of anti-material forward to shred his flesh apart, sending him sprawling to the ground. She swung the whip again, and he tried to catch it with his teeth, but due to its anti-material nature, he ended up losing a chunk of his mouth.

    He growled in pain and jumped at Queen, before she dove out of the way, flapping her five wings in a display of spite toward the laws of physics, letting her gain height on him. On her way up, she changed one of her arms into a long, shadowy tendril, wrapping it around Crawler's body and sending him flying up into the air. She reached for the blaster power again, drawing it forward again, this time aimed toward Crawler’s head.

    The attack streamed upward, a beam of bright red light slamming into Crawler’s head, before consuming his body entirely. Soon, Queen was left floating in the air above Brockton Bay alone. Well, alone save for the glass-covered figure who had been watching the fight, and was now looking at Queen’s back even as she float in the air, unmoving.

    Queen Devourer turned, slowly, deliberately, toward Shatterbird, the woman becoming paler by the second, her body shaking as the glass that made up her costume began to vibrate violently.

    “You are Shatterbird?” Queen Devourer asked, causing the woman's body to freeze completely, “You should run. You won’t live, but it might be quicker if you do.”

    The glass-covered woman did so, flying as fast as she could in the opposite direction of Queen Devourer. She hummed, before turning to look at her objective; The PRT building. If anyone would know where to start looking for the ones running a secret organization, it would certainly be the corrupt organization run by secretive people.

    [-----]

    “The path was wrong,” Contessa said, even as Alexandria gripped the steel table, denting it.

    “You said that. How.” she asked, confused and angry. The path had never been wrong. It had changed, it had blind spots like the Endbringers and Eidolon, but it was never wrong.

    “Carmilla should not be able to kill Crawler. Carmilla should not be on Earth Bet.” Doctor Mother explained succinctly, “We dropped her onto the corpse of an Agent. She should be there, not here. Her remains on Earth Bet were supposed to be taken into a morgue somewhere and forgotten about. Not reanimate and instantaneously travel across the world.”

    “And she’s not a blind spot?” Eidolon asked.

    Contessa shook her head, “I can path her. I can predict where she will go and what she will do. But she does not always follow the path. She deviates.”

    That was a terrifying prospect. Eidolon was the only other person even remotely like that, and even then, Contessa had a model of him that she worked off of; she wasn’t clueless. Not seeing something was bad, sure, but being able to see something partially, only for there to be something about it you couldn’t see? That was almost worse.

    “Whatever this copy is, we cannot afford it running around. Had she not gone off the path, the death of Jack Slash would have set us back a decade, possibly more, but we would have had more time to work with… now…” Doctor Mother trailed off, looking toward Contessa expectantly.

    “Seven hours. Unless Carmilla is killed in the next seven hours, it will begin its attack.” Contessa said with an air of finality.

    Alexandria cursed, slamming one hand down on the table. Legend sighed, rubbing his face in his hands. Eidolon, though, had perhaps the worst reaction. He dropped to his knees, gripping the edge of the table with his hands, his knuckles white underneath his gloves.

    “We can’t win…” He muttered.

    Alexandria grimaced, “What are you talking about, David? We can win. We have seven hours… it's not much, but it will be enough.” It had to be. She didn’t even want to consider the possibility that it wouldn’t be.

    Eidolon, in perhaps the most unexpected of events, laughed. He threw his head back and cackled like a madman, “You don’t get it, do you? We. Can’t. Win. It isn’t about whether or not it would be enough when nothing we do will matter. Hell, even if we did, somehow, manage to kill her, do you honestly think it would be enough?” his laugh continued, even as he gripped the table and began to crawl up to a standing position, his legs shaking, “She isn’t like him. You didn’t see her at Canberra. Not like I did. She killed the Simurgh. Then, when the fourth came around? She killed it for sport.

    Doctor Mother grimaced, “David, you need to stop, you’re not thinking clear-”

    “The fuck made thought I was thinking clearly!?” Eidolon shouted, “She’s not a parahuman. We know that now. She’s something else. She’s the thing that they were looking for, what they want. Now we’ve gone and pissed her off, and she’s going to go looking for him.”

    He laughed, “And she might actually have a chance to fucking kill him… and if she doesn't then we’re all fucked anyway...”

    [-----]

    Queen didn’t particularly know what to expect when she landed in front of the PRT building; Alexandria walking out the front door was certainly something she wasn’t expecting.

    “Carmilla! I order you to stand down, now!” She ordered.

    Queen noted the distinct lack of any support the woman had before responding, “I was aware the majority of the local Protectorate was indisposed, but I never thought you would come to me without support.”

    “I don’t need any support. Not if you come along quietly, Carmilla. You can still do this the easy way.”

    Queen Devourer frowned, switching to one of the thinker powers she’d gotten along the way; an ability to read someone's intent, “You really ought to stop calling me that. I am Queen Devourer when my host is indisposed…” She twitched, having found the answer to more than a few questions with her power, “Which, now that I think of it, you may know quite a bit about.”

    Going by Alexandria’s stern lack of a response, she took that as a positive, “Where is she, Alexandria? What have you done with my host?”

    Alexandria didn’t answer, instead charging forward, slamming into her, and sending her flying backward. Queen hit a building, her body breaking the concrete wall and bending the steel girder behind her. She was about to get up and fight back, but Alexandria shot forward again, her clenched fists slamming into her avatar over and over again.

    Her body was almost reduced to a bloody pulp when one hand shot up and gripped the incoming fist. Her face, broken and torn to shreds, began to regenerate, stitching itself back together. Bone fragments were glued back together by tendrils of blood, skin, and muscle grew and stitched itself from nothing, and her hair regrew along with it, ending with her pure black eyes staring at Alexandria through her mask.

    “The Simurgh couldn’t kill me. Cyclopean couldn’t kill me. You couldn’t kill them either. What makes you think you can kill me?” she asked.

    Alexandria roared, pulling her fist away before reaching forward with her free hand and grabbing Queen by the throat, swinging her around and up into the air. She shot upward and above Queen, slamming both fists into Queen’s gut as she reached the zenith of her flying arc, forcing her to the ground, forming a crater in the pavement below. Alexandria shot downward, slamming one fist down in order to pulverize the vampire, but again, Queen lazily caught the incoming strike.

    “You aren’t giving me an answer. You’re continuing to go against the inevitable. Don’t get me wrong, I understand why humans do so more than most of my kind, but I’m giving you an olive branch. A way out. A third option.” She explained, only to be kicked to the side by the grey-clad cape.

    Queen sighed, “There really is no getting through to you is there?”

    “... We are out of time…” Alexandria muttered, causing Queen to pause as she was standing to her feet, “So unless I kill you… everyone dies. Do you understand? Your third option? It doesn’t matter. Unless I kill you, the world is going. To. End.”

    Queen devourer frowned, looking at her, “You truly believe that?”

    Alexandria nodded, before getting into a fighting stance, ready for whatever she could conceive that Queen could throw at her. The Queen Devourer sighed, pulling upon one of her powers that she had hoped never to use on any of the humans. It wasn’t an ability that was meant to be used against them, after all.

    “A shame, then. Perhaps your own memories will answer my questions,” she said, and she lunged, plunging her fangs into Alexandria’s exposed neck.

    [-----]

    “Alexandria is dead.”

    Three words. With three words, Contessa had all but killed any hope anyone in the room had left. Legend and Eidolon were the only ones sitting at the table left to hear it, though. Doctor Mother had left, leaving to attempt one last desperate gambit to recruit anyone she could to fight against Carmilla, and when the time came, Scion.

    Eidolon knew it wouldn’t work. He knew, better than any other member of Cauldron just how doomed they were.

    “We went all this way… just to be screwed over at the end.” Legend said, interrupting Eidolon from his thoughts.

    The world's strongest hero grunted. He came up with an idea, pulling on his powers; matter manipulation, a chemistry tinker power… it wasn’t perfect, but he’d used a similar combination before. He reached over the table and created a pair of glasses, each filled with a golden-brown liquid. He picked them up and passed one over to Legend.

    “Might as well have a drink before the end, eh?” he asked, taking off his mask once his friend had taken the glass.

    Legend frowned, before taking a sip from the glass. His face scrunched up, and he sighed, “Your liquor tastes like shit.” he said, setting the glass down, even as Eidolon finished chugging his own glass.

    “Yeah, well, I don’t exactly have anything better. Besides, cheap liquor at the end of the world? Sounds like some kind of novel.” He offered.

    Legend grunted, taking a sip from the glass again. They sat there for a few minutes, sitting in silence, even Contessa refusing to say anything. The woman just stared at a wall with her eyes closed, her eyes moving beneath her eyelids as she used her power, desperately looking for a path that would end in victory, desperately trying to model both Scion and Carmilla accurately.

    “You have a kid, right?” Eidolon asked. Legend nodded, “... go. Go see him, don’t spend the last hours of the world around the two of us.”

    Legend looked at his friend and the broken man that he had become. They almost never saw each other’s faces anymore, and Legend wondered when Eidolon had aged as much as he did, “... how far were we willing to go, David? How far were we willing to take all of this?”

    Eidolon hummed in thought, “Farther than it was worth.” he admitted.

    “... door to my home,” Legend said, getting up from his seat as a portal opened up next to him. He stepped through, and the door silently closed behind him, leaving Eidolon and Contessa in silence.

    Eidolon drank his shitty liquor and watched Contessa think. His power gave him a regenerative ability, just enough to keep him from getting too drunk, even as he thought back on the rest of his life. He could still get tipsy, and after a couple of hours passed, he wondered if he actually had gotten drunk when he saw one of Doorman's portals open up at the end of the table.

    There she was. Carmilla, the vampire cape, Queen Devourer.

    “Come to kill us too?” He asked, grunting as he felt his vision blur. He probably wasn’t drunk… probably.

    She looked at him, her black eyes staring into his very soul, “I have come to ask you what I asked your compatriot, who so stubbornly refused; Where is my Host?”

    Eidolon grunted, sticking one thumb in the direction of Contessa, “I haven't a damn clue. She’s the one that can path everything. She can tell you, even if she’s still trying to find a way to kill you.”

    Queen Devourer turned away from him and looked to Contessa; The woman still hadn’t moved. She was completely absorbed by her power, trying desperately to find that one last gambit.

    “Your name… you are Contessa. You are their path to victory.”

    Contessa opened her eyes and looked at her, “You do not follow the path.” She said.

    Queen Devourer smiled softly, “No. I do not follow your path, but that besides the point. I asked the question once, and I will ask it again; Where is my host.”

    Contessa closed her eyes again, contemplating the question, “I will show you. But you must assist us in our fight, the path says that you will cause him to begin the destruction of the Earths in four hours. You cannot let that happen.”

    The two stared each other down, each one looking the other in the eye unflinchingly. To Eidolon, the display was unnerving, unsettling. An emotionless killing machine, their watchdog, determined in her mission but completely uncompromising, but still somehow human. Across from her, the abomination of reality, her five wings shifting and standing still all at once even as the rest of her body stood in an eerie stillness that no living body should be capable of.

    “I will not purposefully anger Zion.” She said, surprising them both.

    “Who… his name isn’t...?” Eidolon asked, his voice almost a whisper.

    Queen Devourer sent him a look, causing him to shut up quickly for fear of losing his head, before she turned back to Contessa, “There. You have my word.”

    Contessa’s hands were formed into fists, her knuckles white and her fingernails, well kept as they were, had dug into her palms and had begun to draw blood, “... Door to Taylor Hebert.”

    As soon as the words left her mouth, the portal opened, and Eidolon knew that he had seen the beginning of the end.

    [-----]

    Stars… light… the line between reality and unreality blurred, and she wondered at the sight before her. Two lights, floating through space, millions of miles apart, and yet billions more away from the other lights. One by one, the lights went out, getting closer and closer; Darkness began to engulf them until only the two remained. Then, one went out, leaving the last one, a glowing golden light.

    She tried to reach out to it, even as the light it gave off seemed to burn her hand.

    [QUERY]

    The light asked her a question. What was she? Who was she? Why was she there? She paused, contemplating those questions herself. She tried to give an answer, but no words came out. She tried to remember, but her mind stubbornly refused. She didn’t know the answer to the light's question, and so she couldn’t answer.

    The light reached out to her, and so she reached out in turn, and the light burned. She pulled back her hand in pain and surprise and continued to back away when the light continued to try and reach out to her. She hissed, striking out against the light, her hand swatting away the light's extended limb.

    [NEGATIVE]

    The light’s words burned, and she screamed, but no noise came. She felt the light’s burn, as it wrapped its limbs around her, hissing as they burned and peeled away her flesh. It wasn’t until she felt the other, cooler presence at the back of her mind that she realized the answers to the light's questions.

    [GET THE FUCK OFF MY HOST]

    She felt the cool embrace of her companion, her shard. It gripped the limbs of the light and threw them off her, dragging her back into the dark. She recognized her shard, even though she couldn’t recognize herself. It called her Host. Was that her name?

    [HoSt]

    The word felt wrong on her tongue like it came from a language she was never supposed to speak or understand. Her shard looked down at her, trying desperately to comfort her in her embrace.

    [You are Taylor. You are Host.]

    Taylor. That was her name. Why couldn’t she remember that before? It was such a simple thing, and yet, even though the name rang all the right bells, even though it sounded right, even as she rolled the name around in her mind, it still felt like there was something missing. She felt as though it was too quiet, even as her own mind ran circles around itself regaining lost memories; Earth, her home, her dad, her friends, the Endbringers… there was still something missing, something she couldn’t understand.

    She tried to express her feelings to Queen Devourer, trying to make her understand how she felt. She couldn’t form words, couldn’t speak in the way she was supposed to, and even forming a single word in the language that both the light and Queen Devourer had spoken just felt… wrong. Queenie understood, however, and Taylor felt her delve into her own mind, picking and prodding at her memories in an attempt to help her find what was missing.

    It felt funny, she thought, kind of cold, like someone running a block of ice down one's skin, but instead of on the outside, it felt like Queenie was running that block of ice along the inside of her brain. It appeared that Queenie knew better what to look for than Taylor did, as soon enough, she found something and brought it to the forefront of Taylor’s mind, and she could finally remember.

    “-Look, Tay-Tay, you just ate something a hell of a lot bigger than you and- oh fuck, what did I just walk in on?”

    The voice… it had been exactly what Taylor was looking for. It had been missing, he had been missing, and now she’d found him.

    [AluCaRd]

    The word still felt wrong on her tongue; it wasn’t right, it didn’t translate properly from her brain to the language she was speaking. Still, it would serve its purpose. She spoke the name again, clearer this time, hoping that it would make more sense to her own mind.

    “... well fuck me sideways, this is new. Queenie, when’d she get this bad?”

    [She ate a shard. She is human.]

    “Technically, she’s a vampire. Not. Human. And a fuckmothering vampire at that.”

    His words were said like they should have been obvious. Were they? Taylor was having a hard time wrapping her head around them; what was the difference between a human and a vampire? Was it their biology? The way they looked? She couldn’t find any major difference there, even as her mind processed it as best she could.

    Alucard and Queenie went back and forth for some time, with Taylor trying to understand what they were talking about, though not always succeeding.

    “-and that’s all besides the point that you somehow managed to piss off golden boy's ass! How long do we have until he finds you? There are only so many dimensions he can look through before he inevitably finds this one.”

    [Time is limited. Queen Devourer and Host must reconvene.]

    Taylor paused at the notion and sent out what she thought was a sentence, but to her, just sounded like garbled gibberish.

    “... You’re right, ok, we need to speed things along then. Ok, Taylor, I want you to listen to me. Things are going really weird, and really fucked up, so I’m going to need you to trust me and Queenie, even if it hurts, okay?”

    Even if it hurt? Taylor considered the prospect, but sent a response she hoped sounded positive. She’d gotten hurt before, and she’d turned out ok. Whatever they were going to do couldn’t be worse than what she’d felt before.

    “Ok. Queenie? All on you… this is gonna hurt.”

    Queenie did something, and Taylor felt her rub up against her mind. It was like when she’d been poking at her own mind, but this time… this time it was different. This time, Queenie was grabbing onto several different things, until finally, it felt like she was gently pulling at a hundred-thousand different threads all within Taylor’s mind. She thought it felt like when someone had taken a handful of her hair and was gently pulling on it, not enough to hurt, but enough to know they had a hold on her.

    It was when Queenie pulled that things started to hurt, and Taylor screamed.

    [-----]
     
  18. Threadmarks: 8.2
    rocketmce

    rocketmce Getting sticky.

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    A flash of gold was all that Sabah saw before the world around her go up in flames. She had been fighting Shatterbird, the glass cape doing everything in her power to leave the city and get away from Carmilla. She knew that she shouldn’t let her get away, and had given chase. The ensuing fight hadn’t lasted long, as most of the glass that Shatterbird would have used got cut up by her threads, and even if she had managed to regain control of the remaining shards, Sabah wasn’t slow in her efforts, and Shatterbird’s remains had been falling to the ground a moment later.

    It was that split second before her body finally hit the ground that she saw it; the flash of gold, followed by a golden flame that consumed everything around her. It burned her skin, charring it to the point she didn’t know if she could regenerate, but no sooner had the flames engulfed her than they were immediately doused in cold, red blood. She was swept away by its tide, and when it finally receded, she found herself standing in the middle of the street, soaked and dripping blood. She heard klaxons blaring; the ones usually reserved for Endbringer attacks.

    She blinked, taking in the world around her. She heard the screams, saw the overturned cars and shattered windows and the tide of blood that, even if it wasn’t the previous tidal wave that had swept her aside, still filled the drains and recesses in the ground. It was also brighter than it was before. She looked up, noting the bright light; it had been evening not minutes before, the sun only just entering twilight; now, it seemed like the noonday sun shone down upon Brockton Bay.

    Great streams of gold and red lights streaked up into the sky, glowing white fire floating up high into the atmosphere like aurora lights from the streaks of gold, while streams of blood rained from the red ones. Ever so often, the streaks would collide, causing an explosion that would send one wavering, or in the more devastating explosions, hurtling to the ground or through a building.

    Sabah barely understood what was happening, but she figured that whatever was going on, Taylor would be at the center of it, and so she ran; not away from the chaos, like so many civilians were trying to do around her, but toward the center of it. She passed many people on her way, each of them covered in blood and burns, some not running, but simply standing in the street shocked and stunned. She ignored them, not out of any sense of apathy, but because if she stopped, if the adrenaline high wore off, she might become shell-shocked as well.

    She looked up at the two streaks again as she ran, trying to gauge where they were headed; the golden streak didn’t seem to have any given direction, but as she watched, she noticed the red streak repeatedly tossing, throwing, or shoving the gold one toward the bay: toward the open ocean.

    Sabah ran as fast as she could, hoping against hope that she could see what the hell was happening.

    [-----]

    Taylor wasn’t sure when she woke up. Or when the pain stopped. The terms were probably pretty synonymous, at that point, given that she didn’t really need to sleep anymore. Though, given that Queenie had just decided to dig around in her brain, Taylor wondered what had actually happened; and why she couldn’t remember anything that came after.

    “So… you good Tay-Tay?” She heard Alucard ask.

    She opened her eyes, staring up at a blue sky, a handful of white clouds drifting wistfully across the sky. She felt something soft beneath her, and as she pushed herself up on her elbows, she found that she was lying down on a grassy hill. She looked around and saw Alucard leaning against a tree, the only tree that appeared to be there for what looked like miles, sipping on what looked like a juice box.

    “Alucard… where are we?” she asked, pushing herself up to sit cross-legged.

    Alucard hummed, “So, turns out, alternate dimensions are kind of a thing… I legit don’t think this planet has a name, actually. Earth two, maybe?” he asked, “I mean, we do have the metahuman part down…”

    Taylor gave him a deadpan stare, “... that’s not the right terminology and you are well aware, which means you’re making a joke I’m not privy to. I also know you are fully aware of our lack of shared media.”

    “Besides star wars. And even then, your version of the prequels somehow sucked worse.”

    “That still doesn’t tell me what the joke was.”

    Alucard gave an exaggerated sigh, “Look, the thing is, Queenie… did something. Hell, I’m not even sure what she did, only that whatever it was made you and me… well, I guess the correct term would be ‘split’ given that I’m not in your head anymore.” he explained.

    Taylor blinked, “Wait… you’re not in my head anymore?” she asked.

    “Nope! Can’t read your mind, can’t hijack your body, but I can put thoughts into your head.” he explained, “Telepathy is a thing for vampires that share the same bloodline, after all.”

    “Huh… can’t say I saw that coming… Where is Queenie anyway?”

    [RECONFIGURATION]

    Taylor winced as the word came through, “Queenie… tone it down a bit, yeah?”

    “To be fair to her, she basically just hijacked the mother of all shards, shattered and then rebuilt your mind and soul, and somehow managed to stay sane throughout all that. I think she might be a bit stressed.” Alucard explained, taking a sip from his juice box, “On another note, I’m everywhere!”

    She tilted her head at his words, “Alucard, the fuck are you talking about?”

    He chuckled, “So, you remember how when we first met I had just finished eating Nazi takeout?”

    “No, no I don’t remember that, I’m pretty sure I was just getting over a rather traumatic event… which, now that it actually occurs to me, you were probably the least qualified person to help me with…”

    “Eh, details. Anyway, turns out one of the ones I ate was quite literally omnipresent, so now, thanks to some help from Queenie, I can do this!” and no sooner had he spoken, than he disappeared.

    There wasn’t a flash of light, no puff of smoke, no grand disappearance -- one second he was there, the next, it was like he was never there, to begin with.

    “Was kinda surprised it took me so long to figure it out… though, given I had to get through a few million souls to do it…” Alucard said, his voice coming from behind her, “But, it put me in the right place at the right time.

    She spun her head around to see him standing behind her, sipping from the juice box once again, “Okay… that’ll take some getting used to. So… what now?”

    Alucard frowned for a moment, “Now? Now we’re buying time. Remember I mentioned space whales and goldie boy?” he asked, receiving a nod from Taylor, “Welp, turns out you munching that big ol’ shard tipped him off, and he tried to attack you. Queenie and I managed to pull you out, but, well, now he’s onto us and he’s none too happy either.”

    “So, who are we talking about? Some eldritch entity? Super parahuman? A little g god?” Taylor asked.

    “Had it right the first time. You guys call him Scion, though If I am to believe Queenie, his name actually translates to ‘Zion’ in English, go figure.”

    Taylor paused, raking the information over in her head, before sighing, “Is Queenie messing with my emotional responses?” she asked.

    “No? Technically? Your emotions are kinda on the fritz from just, being, a vampire, even more so now after everything you’ve gone through.” He explained,

    Taylor sighed, mulling over the information Alucard had dropped on her. He’d rambled about things like that before; she figured a lot of it was gibberish, but he very rarely lied to any extent, and the more she thought about it, and the more she remembered about what had happened after she’d eaten the shard itself… she started to figure that it probably wasn’t as far fetched as she wanted to believe.

    “Alucard… be honest with me here. Queenie, you can pitch in too, if you’re not still trying to stitch everything back together,” She started, before giving Alucard a level stare, “How fucked are we?”

    “Royally.”

    [Complete annihilation]

    “But do we stand a chance?”

    “Odds are, we go fight him, we get mulched to some degree. I can’t pilot your body anymore either, so if you go down, I can’t pick you back up right away, it’d take me a minute… but now that I’m everywhere?” He said, chuckling, “And if we can get a little help… we might just be able to pull this off.”

    [Odds of success: 14,000,605 to 1]

    Alucard laughed, “I’ve had worse odds.”

    Taylor smiled, “Well if that's what we’re up against… How about we pull out all the stops Queenie?” she asked, and through their connection, she could practically feel the vampiric shard’s grin.

    [Aurora Manifestation. Spatial Occlusion. Dimensional Synchrony.]

    [-----]

    Brockton Bay burned.

    “Velocity! Eyes on the street, what the hell is going on!?” Piggot ordered into her earpiece as she gripped the railing of the staircase she was climbing. One the streaks of light had slammed into the ground again and had shaken the ground beneath their feet. Had there been any windows left, no thanks to Shatterbird, they would have likely been destroyed by the bloody inferno that raged above the city.

    “Ma’am, I have no idea what those are! Even with everything going slower, they’re still too fast for me to make out!” Velocity said, getting cut off as the red streak was sent careening into a four-story building, completely collapsing most of the third and fourth floors, before returning to flight less than a second later and delivering a blow to the golden streak that seemed just as powerful.

    “Armsmaster, please tell me that evacuation is underway! At the rate these things are going, we won’t have much of a city left in the next couple of hours!”

    “Civilians have been evacuating since- grh… since the Slaughterhouse Nine arrived. Most of the inner city should already be evacuated or in an Endbringer shelter.” Armsmaster reported though Piggot could hear his strained tone.

    “Armsmaster, report, are you injured?”

    There was silence for a moment, and Piggot contemplated repeating the question, but she eventually received an answer, “... Crawler got a good hit on me. Most of the armor on my chest has been compromised. Multiple cracked or broken ribs, possible internal bleeding.”

    “Damnit, Colin!” She cursed, continuing her trek into the near-collapsed PRT building.

    Despite its structure being rated against Endbringer attacks, it had been one of the first to be hit by the streaks of light, its durability and foundations apparently meaning nothing to whatever was fighting outside, the explosions of which could still be heard, even as they moved farther away from where she was.

    “Does anyone know where the fight is going? Devil knows we can all see it, but it's impossible to keep track of.” She asked, hoping to receive an answer.

    “It’s moved toward the edge of the city now, headed north,” A voice said, Dragon, Piggot recognized, “I don’t know what or who they are exactly, but I have a… worrying hypothesis.”

    Piggot grunted as she attempted to dig through the rubble to search for a black box that she could use to get ahold of someone; anyone, at that point, “Well, spit it out then, I’m open to anything at this point.”

    “The red one. It’s dripping blood, and whenever it hits the gold one, it sends it in a direction away from the city; either toward the ocean or toward an open field.”

    “Knowing our luck, it’s probably Carmilla,” Piggot said, grabbing the handle of the black box and pulling at it with triple the strength than she would have had not two months earlier.

    “That’s the first part of my hypothesis.” Dragon stated, “It’s the second part that is more worrying.”

    “And what in god’s name could be more worrying than a Carmilla hyped up on whatever she found in Europe, and is now leveling my city?” She asked, regretting the question as soon as it left her mouth.

    “Director… Scion was last spotted headed in the direction of Brockton Bay, and hasn’t been spotted since.”

    Piggot paused her struggle to get the black box free of its tomb, looking up at the burning sky through the hole in the ceiling, watching the streaks of red and gold dance through the sky, red blood staining the streets below while the white fire burned everything that wasn’t soaked in blood.

    “... I should have kept my damn mouth shut.”
     
  19. Threadmarks: 8.3 FINALE
    rocketmce

    rocketmce Getting sticky.

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    A beam of light impacted the ground where Taylor had been a fraction of a second prior after Scion’s avatar had thrown her into the ground. The beam froze everything in its path, much the same way as Grey Boy’s time bubbles. She frowned as she felt her foot begin to regenerate, the offending limb having been severed after getting caught in the beam. She was too slow.

    Not that her own speed mattered overmuch, her own attacks against Scion’s avatar were faster than his own path-to-victory, as Alucard had dubbed it, could accurately predict, especially given the precognitive interference Queenie was running in the background.

    The major issue wasn’t the fight over Brockton Bay, however. That was mostly just to draw Scion’s attention, something Taylor’s limited information processing abilities were uniquely suited to. Oh, she was far faster than any human by that point to be sure, but she struggled to keep up with the algorithms that Queenie was running, trying to find the Scion’s source dimension. Still, she didn’t need to keep up with Queenie’s dimensional hide-and-seek.

    All Taylor needed to do was buy time.

    “Come on golden boy! Is that the best you can do!?” Taylor broadcast using one of her powers that would let Scion know exactly where she was without her having to actually say anything. The golden man’s enraged face looked directly at her, his eyes glowing golden-white while the rest of his body was covered in the same golden-yellow fire that followed all of his attacks and stuck to the ground like napalm. She frowned, noting again how… unnerving, it was to see Scion with an expression of pure hatred. For as long as he had been around, his expression had been placid, or perhaps melancholic one might call it, and the fury on his features made it hard to see him as the same thing that had been saving people mere hours before.

    Scion shot forward with one arm pulled back, and before she could react in any real fashion, his fist plunged into Taylor’s gut in a surprising burst of speed, sending her flying into the sky. She grunted, using a telekinetic ability -- something that she wasn’t sure was a power she’d gotten from Queenie, or something that her own vampiric abilities allowed for, a fact that was steadily becoming more common -- she reoriented herself in the air just in time to dodge to the side to avoid another of Scion’s ranged attacks. The beam of golden light shot into the sky, missing her by a few narrow millimeters.

    In response, she shot downward, trailing a fiery-red trail of blood in her wake as she slammed into Scion’s legs, gripping them with as much force as her body would allow before spinning him around violently, chucking him toward the ocean.

    The back and forth continued for some time; A beam of light or wave of energy from Scion, matched by a blunt force hit or blood-fueled bullet from Taylor. It felt to her like hours, even if in the grand scheme it only really took place over a few minutes, if that. They had reduced a number of buildings to rubble, wrecked the city streets, and destroyed more infrastructure in their few minutes of fighting than was likely to be rebuilt in the next several decades if it ever was rebuilt.

    Scion would land a hit, slamming Taylor into the ground, and would immediately go to slam a fist down at her, only for her to turn around and catch him by the back of the head in order to drag him across a mile's worth of asphalt before either of them could blink; only for Scion to grab hold of her arm and fling her through a building.

    Taylor shot up into the air once again, dodging to the side as Scion flew past her in a golden blur, “Queenie! How much longer do you need?” She broadcast, trying her best to figure out how to stall Scion further.

    [Dimensional coordinates uncertain. Theorized location unconfirmed, consequences of dimensional breach without confirmed coordinates… inadvisable.]

    “Well hurry up and confirm them!” Taylor said, ducking as a wave of fire flew over her, “I can’t stall him forever, I’m running out of tricks, and Precog interference doesn’t work for tricks I’ve already used!”

    Taylor uppercut Scion as he flew toward her, a bloody explosion sending him rocketing upward while she was sent flying back. Rebalancing herself, she flew upward, slamming into Scion’s back and pressing one hand against it, her palm glowing red before an explosion sent him flying further upward. If he hadn’t regained his own balance and turned around, he likely would have left orbit, but instead, he whirled his body around and shot back downward, gripping Taylor’s midsection and slamming her into the Bay.

    The displaced water went up in a gigantic wave as Taylor hit the ocean floor, rocking the boat graveyard and many of the ships loose, and sending a wall of water over the edge of the pier and into several buildings, and before the water could even attempt to fill the empty space, she blasted Scion in the face with another blast, this one stronger than the last, displacing even more water as well as sending Scion flying away from her.

    As Scion flew upward, Taylor soon followed, “Queenie, Coordinates!” she said, even as she tried to hit him with another explosion. This time, however, he expertly dodged the attack, sending a golden beam of energy flying in her direction.

    [Coordinates narrowed to six possibilities. Confirming.]

    Taylor dodged to the side again, but the beam hit the side of her torso, tearing a chunk out of it. She grunted, “I’m out of tricks Queenie!” she broadcast, forming her hands into claws that she desperately didn’t want to use yet, but were becoming her last resort. Scion would know what they were doing, he would know what they had, and that they could actually hurt him.

    [Coordinates narrowed to three possibilities. Stall.]

    A trail of beams followed Taylor as spiraled in the air, “I’m out of powers! I’ve only got the one left!” Taylor warned, even as she felt the heat of another of Scion’s attacks singing her heels.

    [Coordinates narrowed to two possibilities. More time required.]

    A blast of golden fire erupted from Scion’s hand, blasting a hole into her chest and causing her flight to spin out of control, “Queenie! Flip a damn coin!” she said, even as she righted herself and shot toward Scion, claws extended and coated in layers of material that would tear through dimensional fabric.

    [... Dimensional Coordinates unconfirmed. Transporting.]

    Taylor felt her claws sink into Scion’s avatar, the expression of his face morphing from one of anger, to one of shock and surprise in the split second it took for Taylor to leave one dimension and enter another.

    [-----]

    The wave of water that hit Brockton Bay was eerily similar to one that would have come from Leviathan, only there were no defenses to block the oncoming tide. Thousands of gallons of water were displaced in an instant, rendering the bay almost empty of water, all of it being pushed out and into the city. Several buildings that were already on the verge of collapse fell, crumbling under the weight of the water and being washed away. The ships in the boat graveyard were displaced completely, some sailing high into the air from the force and capsizing as they were flung out of the bay.

    Many of the older buildings that had been built along the water's edge crumpled underneath the weight of the water, tons of brick, concrete, and steel being washed away as the streets began to flood with water. A handful of buildings remained intact, however, such as the PRT building.

    Director Emily Piggot grunted as she gripped the few solid pieces of the PRT building that were left as water ran past her, attempting to drag her along with it. She had avoided the initial wave by sheer luck, having stood behind a steel-reinforced pillar that was buried deep into the building's foundations. It was also only thanks to her improved physique that she was able to hold onto something in time for the backwash, and even still, her body was bruised and her muscles ached from the strain of hanging onto the metal rail that she clung to. Her hair clung to her face as she gasped for breath when the water level receded and allowed her to get her head above water.

    She idly wondered how long she would be able to hold on when she felt a powerful grip on her torso along with a change in the water's current. Looking upward, she saw that one of Dragon’s suits had appeared and was holding onto her, and was beginning to lift her out of the water. She let go of her purchase and let Dragon lift her upward, letting her straighten herself once she reached a position well above the water.

    “What the hell just happened!?” Piggot ordered.

    “Going with the current theory, Carmilla was thrown into the water by Scion, displacing an inordinate amount, before they both flew up into the upper atmosphere and disappeared.” Dragon said, her tone of voice sounding flat and a bit disbelieving.

    “Well... I suppose that’s one... less big problem to deal with in the immediate future... and one giant one we’ll have to deal with later.” Piggot said before she coughed, hacking up water. She took a minute to regain her breath, wiping her mouth with one hand while the other clung to the giant metal hand that held her above the water's surface. When she was no longer gasping for breath, she looked to Dragon, “Do you have a communication device?” she asked, lifting the torn cord that would have connected her earpiece to a radio receiver.

    Dragon opened a panel in her armor, reaching in with her free hand and producing a radio which she handed to the director, “It’s keyed into the PRT channel, you should be able to broadcast to anyone on the line.”

    Piggot nodded, “Do you have a read on everyone's vitals?” she asked.

    Dragon’s suit head nodded, “Armsmaster’s vitals are low, but stable. He’ll need medical attention -- preferably sooner rather than later -- but he’s alright for now. Everyone else appears to be a little banged up, but fine otherwise.”

    “Alright then, makes my job a bit easier.” She said before bringing the radio up to speak, “All Protectorate heroes, get to high ground and report to Dragon, then we’ll figure out a rendezvous point.” she ordered.

    She turned to Dragon again, “What’s the closest dry ground everyone can meet up?” she asked.

    Dragon turns her head, examining the ruined cityscape of Brockton bay, before pointing toward a building with a flat roof that was somehow still standing, “That insurance firm building was far enough away from the initial wave, and wasn’t hit by either Carmilla or Scion. It should function as a rendezvous point just fine. 114, 12th street.”

    Piggot nodded, “All Protectorate members and PRT personnel, rendezvous at the flat-roofed building at 114, 12th street.” she ordered into the radio.

    Clinging to the giant suit, Piggot and Dragon made their way over to the building, the water flowing past the suit's ankles becoming more shallow as they moved inland. As she got closer, she spotted a figure standing on top of the building, clad in a red coat eerily similar to that of Carmilla. At first, Piggot thought it was Carmilla before she got close enough to see the differences between the vampire cape and the person standing on the roof, especially once Dragon set her down on the roof so Piggot could properly glare at the grinning interloper.

    “Who the hell are you, some Carmilla fanboy?” she asked.

    The man let out a sinister chuckle, “Now, what gave you that impression? Was it the miraculous fangs, the piercing crimson eyes, or was it the sheer don’t-fuck-with-me aura the both of us give off?”

    She frowned, “You’re snarky just like her, I’ll give you that. But you didn’t answer my question. Who are you, and why’d you go after her shtick.”

    He snorted, “What makes you think I copied her? After all, she had to get her sense of style somewhere.” he said, his grin widening to show an array of pearl white fangs.

    Piggot narrowed her eyes, reaching to the holster at her hip and placing a hand on her pistol grip, “What’s your name?” she asked.

    The man spread his arms out wide, his tattered coat flowing in the wind, “Why, I thought Tay-Tay had told you about me already! The name’s Crimson Fucker! Also known as Alucard.”

    Piggot narrowed her eyes, but before she could properly consider who it was that was standing before her, Dragon spoke, “... Isn’t Alucard just Dracula spelled backward? You really should try to come up with something more original.”

    Alucard’s head swiveled in Dragon’s direction, “Finally! Someone finally gets it! I’ve been sitting in Tay-tay’s head for months and she still hasn’t picked up on it! What’s your name, girl?”

    Dragon neglected to answer immediately, letting Piggot finally raise a question, “Tay-Tay? Who are you referring to?” The name struck a chord, giving her a theory, one that would definitely put into question a lot about her opinion on Carmilla. She had thought that perhaps the girl was schizophrenic, or perhaps had some other mental disorder associated with auditory hallucinations, given that she would often drop conversations in order to rant at some invisible voice only she could hear… but if the person in front of her were to confirm her theory…

    “Why, Taylor of course! You didn’t think Carmilla was her actual name, was it? ‘Cause I’ll have you know the actual Carmilla was a right bitch.” He said.

    “You’re not some kind of projection, then? Not some artificial entity conjured up from one of Carmilla’s powers?” Piggot asked, even though she was already coming to a conclusion. The girl was telling the truth when she said someone was in her head, and the mere thought that she wasn’t lying through her teeth, that she wasn’t doing it just to fuck with them, it made her question everything the girl had done up to that point, “... she was telling the truth, wasn’t she? Everything she learned, her powers, her abilities, her attitude. She got it all from you.”

    Alucard chuckled, “She wasn’t going to learn any of that from her father, so her daddy had to come and teach her.”

    Emily Piggot’s thoughts, in a single moment, came to a screeching halt. Fortunately for her, Dragon appeared to recognize what the man in front of her had said and decided to put her own thoughts out.

    “I choose to misinterpret that.” The metal suit said, her voice sounding strained.

    “Where do you think she got all her material? Earth Bet’s jokes are seriously lacking, y’know, I basically had to teach her everything from scratch!” Alucard explained.

    Piggot frowned at Alucard's specific connotation of ‘Earth Bet’ rather than anything else, with the implication that he wasn’t from their Earth. She wanted to groan at the implication and all the headaches that would come with it, but was interrupted by another cape appearing from the fire escape up to the roof, “... Who’s the Carmilla knockoff?” Assault asked as he and Battery climbed up onto the roof.

    “Oh, for fucks sake! First the American version of Integra and now the human punching bag? How can no one recognize the original!?”

    “... was that supposed to be an insult?” Assault asked, looking at Battery, “Puppy, you’re better at reading context, was that an insult?”

    “... you are a human punching bag.” Battery admitted, keeping her eyes locked onto Alucard.

    Alucard, for his part, chuckled, “She’d got a point.” He said, pointing to Assault, before he turned to face Dragon, “By the way, where’s your boyfriend?” he asked.

    There was an odd silence, and it almost looked as if Dragon might actually have answered the question, before they were interrupted by the sound of metal boots clanking onto the roof, causing people to turn and look to see Armsmaster standing on the edge of the roof, his armor beaten and battered and his right hand clutching his gut, where there was a noticeable gash in his armor, though no blood. Velocity was helping hold the armored man up, wrapping his left arm around his shoulders.

    Armsmaster grunted, and Velocity released his arm, allowing Armsmaster to stand up somewhat straight if a bit shakily. When he saw everyone giving him looks, he turned to Dragon almost immediately, “Why is everyone looking at me?” he asked, before turning to look at Alucard, “And who’s the wannabe Carmilla?”

    “OH FOR FUCKS SAKE!”

    [-----]

    Black void.

    That was the first thing Taylor saw after she had been teleported by Queenie. Her claws would have popped Scion, his avatar being disrupted by the multi-dimensional tear, but now she didn’t know where she was.

    “Queenie, where am I?” She asked.

    [Calculating position… dimensional coordinates confirmed. WARRIOR dimension accessed.]

    “Alright… that tells me we’re in the right place, but that doesn’t tell me where we are, relatively speaking,” Taylor noted. She tried to orient herself using her telekinetic abilities, but before she could give herself any real momentum, she felt a lance of pain as a golden barrage of energy vaporized a solid chunk of her side.

    She swung to the side, out of the direction of the beam of energy as it came for a second shot. She couldn’t see where it was coming from, save for the general direction, and a second later, she saw a dozen more beams of energy coming toward her, which she began to dodge as quickly as she could. She was still nicked by several of them, damaging her body, but not damaging it faster than she could heal.

    “Queenie! I could use some help here!” She complained as a beam hit her leg, shearing a foot off and sending it floating through an empty void, a trail of blood following it.

    [Source of energy attacks originate from WARRIOR bioform. Location acknowledged. Trajectory proposed.]

    In an instant, Taylor’s head was filled with information; Scion’s true body, an image in her head of something incredibly similar to the thing she had eaten and what had reunited her with Queenie, only this one was bigger, gold, and didn’t have a massive gash in its side.

    Her head was filled with numbers -- a string of coordinates, a directional trajectory, and more information that Taylor barely had time to parse before she hit the metaphorical ‘go’ button, and felt her body accelerating toward the direction the beams of energy were coming from. She had to adjust her trajectory multiple times in order to avoid the oncoming projectiles, and as she got closer, it got more difficult. When she got to the point where she could actually see a golden dot off in the distance -- Scion’s body -- she had slowed down significantly, having to zigzag on her way in order to avoid the dozens -- if not hundreds -- of attacks coming from Scion.

    The only reason she hadn’t been vaporized was thanks to Queenie’s dimensional and precognitive meddling. A dozen paths were laid out in front of her, some of them more certain than others. If she’d been trying to process all of the information with a normal human mind, she’d have burnt out in the first dozen probabilities.

    “Queenie, we need to get to the surface! I can’t keep dodging these things forever!” Taylor chimed in, making a course correction of her own that the paths Queenie had laid out hadn’t accounted for, which allowed her to avoid an incoming energy beam that, again, hadn’t been accounted for.

    Queenie didn’t respond, at first. It took a second -- a long, grueling second -- before a string of numbers made their way into Taylor’s head.

    Her chances of getting to the surface of Scion’s body were slim. Of course, actual probability was never a good thing to base things on, she knew that, but the way Queenie thought -- and apparently the way most of her race, whatever they were, thought -- was in probabilities, numbers. However, Taylor didn’t, and Queenie, despite her own nature, wasn’t quite the same as the rest of her race. She still thought in numbers. She still wanted to act on probability, on chance, on hard facts, but she could also recognize that -- when the odds weren’t in your favor -- you needed to do something different. Something that your enemy wouldn’t -- couldn’t -- see coming.

    “Queenie, how much energy would it take to block the energy beams?” Taylor asked. Another string of numbers. Another string of probabilities. Queenie wasn’t answering with words anymore; all of the energy that would normally be used for conversation was being poured into running interference so that Taylor could avoid getting hit by the beams so that she could still be getting closer to Scion.

    Taylor frowned. She had an idea -- it was a stupid one, something Alucard would probably be proud of, “Queenie, I’m going to do something. It’s not going to make sense -- but I need you to trust me, alright?” she said, even as her body began to dissolve into black mist.

    Her vampiric abilities -- her actual vampiric abilities -- never did play well with her shard powers. Sure, Queenie could tell what was being used and when, but she could never understand them -- even when she used those powers herself. They didn’t fit the mold that the entities had set up, they didn’t fit the boundaries and laws of the known universe. If everything had been under normal circumstances, the entities would have studied Alucard, Taylor, and their abilities for centuries -- it would have been a best-case scenario for them, something new, something they hadn’t ever seen before and that they could use to help break their own endless cycle.

    But they wouldn’t have. Because of course, they couldn’t think outside of the cycle, they would have brute-forced vampirism into the cycle, or if they couldn’t do that, they would have destroyed it if they could.

    “Give me a route, Queenie, straight ahead; just keep those beams blocked,” Taylor ordered, and received a string of numbers. The amount of energy needed to stop the beams, the percentage chance of her plan succeeding -- exceedingly low odds, almost zero -- before all of that information was washed away behind a single confirmation.

    [AGREEMENT]

    In less than a second, Taylor stopped moving. Golden beams of light slammed into a veil of energy that barely held together, and wouldn’t hold for more than another second, but it would be long enough. Taylor’s eyes locked onto Scion’s body, onto the fleshy-crystalline surface, and her body dematerialized into black mist.

    The veil of energy would remain there for another tenth of a second before the golden beams would break through and vaporize any trace of matter that would have remained, but Taylor was long gone by then. She’d teleported down to the surface of Scion’s body, and smiled, before taking off in a run.

    Her feet glowed red with energy -- heat, radiation, whatever Queenie could spare after using up a ton of energy to block Scion’s blasts. Wherever she stepped, explosions followed in her wake, tearing up the fleshy earth beneath her. The ground didn’t seem to like her, and retaliated, bile and acid pouring out from pores on the surface. In response, Taylor leaped up and landed on one of the many crystalline spires that jutted out from the surface. Shifting her hands into the claws she used to pop Scion’s avatar, she dug one claw into the crystal, locking herself into place as she scanned the scene in front of her.

    “Queenie, do you have any idea where the entrance is?” she asked, hoping to find a similar cavern or tunnel that would lead her down into Scion’s heart. Already she could hear flesh tearing as the antibodies, covered head to toe in acid, began to tear their way out from their fleshy cocoons in order to attack.

    Queenie’s response was another set of coordinates, one that Taylor could follow. If they were lucky, they could find an entrance there, one that they could follow all the way down to the heart. Taylor wrenched her claw free of the crystal, sending shards down and spearing the few anti-body creatures that had begun clawing their way up the crystal surface. With a mighty heave and an explosive leap, Taylor soared up and over the mass of acidic entities, leaving an explosion in her wake.

    When she landed, she repeated her performance, leaving burnt flesh behind that would doubtless attract the attention of Scion’s antibodies. She repeated the process, quickly making her way to where she hoped the access point would be. The beams of energy had stopped, due to Scion not wanting to damage his own body, but Taylor had new problems to worry about.

    A geyser of acid appeared in front of her mid-jump, and her only way of avoiding it was to use her teleportation again, leaving black mist behind. This time, however, when she reappeared, she was ankle-deep in a pool of bile, her feet slowly being dissolved before she activated the explosions that would let her get away again.

    She couldn’t use her Vampiric abilities too much, that was clear. The entities may be dumb, they might not be able to think the way humans could, but they could learn. They could recognize patterns, and if Taylor used the same ability too many times, she would be punished for it.

    Grunting when she landed on another crystal spire, she scanned the landscape and locked her eyes onto the gaping hole that was her entrance. Already the flesh that made up the landscape was working to cover up the hole, trying to fill the gap to keep her out as efficiently as possible.

    That was another thing the entities were obsessed with. Efficiency. They would do things in as efficient a manner as possible, conserving as much energy as possible. Even Taylor’s own explosions and powers had been designed with efficiency in mind, Queenie investing the time to make sure that none of the energy expended went to waste.

    What Taylor was about to do spit in the face of efficiency for the sake of raw power and speed.

    Taylor drew upon several different powers at once, including the explosive power she had been using up to that point, an ability that allowed her to guide said explosions, and an ability similar to that to her claws that she used to cut through dimensional barriers.

    As fast as she could, she made a jump that put her directly above the opening. She could have used the force of the explosion to propel herself down the hole, hoping for the best, but she’d seen the odds to that, and they weren’t good. Queenie was still trying desperately to shore up the efficiency of the attack, but she never got to finish as Taylor launched an explosion directly down into the hole in the surface of Scion’s body. The fire that came from it was fueled by the same material that would cover her claws in a massive burst of energy that was funneled through the cavern.

    When the fire cleared, there was the distinct scent of burning flesh in the air. Taylor didn’t stop to think all that hard about it, as she shot downward with another explosion propelling her at a speed that most would have missed. Already the cavern walls were beginning to heal, after all the damage her attack had done.

    Unlike her previous venture into the guts of a celestial entity, the tunnel she went through didn’t twist and turn in any of the ways the other did. In fact, it was almost a straight shot to Scion’s core, with Taylor only having to change direction a handful of times, and not even by that much of a degree. On the other hand, however, Taylor got the distinct impression that Scion’s body was also far larger, as even though she was going far faster than she had been previously, and she was beginning to expect that she had traveled a similar distance, she still hadn’t reached a point where she could see a light at the end of the tunnel.

    It was when she slammed into a wall that Taylor knew something had gone wrong.

    “Damnit!” she cursed as she felt her body slam into the wall of flesh at the speed of which caused many of her bones to snap and break, in ways that would have outright killed a normal human. Her only real consolation was that she had landed feet first.

    The walls around her and the fleshy barrier were new; the torn flesh and fluid suggested that it had actually constructed the barrier in response to her making her way down, and already she could see the walls beginning to secrete the same acid and bile that had begun to eat away at her own flesh. Additionally, the walls had begun to close in, as if they were a blood vessel that was attempting to constrict.

    Drips of acid fell onto Taylor, sizzling as they hit her clothes, eating away at them and causing even more damage than had already been done, the tails and sleeves of her jacket being frayed, her glasses having been gone for quite some time, and her shirt and pants being ripped and torn in many locations. Before her fight with Scion, she had attempted to keep her clothes in one piece, but after she started her fight with Scion, she’d kept it only to the point of preserving her own modesty.

    “Ok, Queenie, any ideas?” she asked, sifting through the list of powers she had access to that might allow her to break through the barrier. She could dig with her claws, or cause another explosion, but she had no idea how thick the barrier was and how long she had before she would reach Scion’s heart.

    A string of numbers, patterns, and the names of several abilities that Taylor could use all swam through her head, having been sent from Queenie. Taylor frowned, noting that none of the options were particularly appealing. Still, the walls were closing in around her -- quite literally -- and she had limited time to act. Instead of choosing the former explosive ability, Taylor once again decided to do something that went against the recommendation of the entities. Lifting her wrist, she bit into it, her fangs digging into her skin. Red blood began to pour out of the open wound, flowing into and mixing with the ankle-deep bile that Taylor was now standing in.

    The blood-stained the acidic substance, and as more blood began to pour out of Taylor -- more than should have been physically possible -- it began to change the acidic substance in strange ways. Wherever Taylor’s blood touched, the acid began to eat away at the flesh of Scion’s body, either making the acid more potent in its own right or changing it so that it would target Scion rather than herself. Still, neither of those outcomes was Taylor’s intended outcome.

    Once the blood covered the floor, hands began to claw up and out of the pool of blood. Living corpses began to grasp onto Taylor in order to bring themselves up and out of the knee-deep fluid. They clambered and scratched at the enclosing walls, tore at the flesh as they grew in number. Chain’s sprung up and out of the pool, a Hookwolf familiar pulling itself up. Part of the pool began to boil as a familiar of Lung began to rise up, already grown well past the point of looking human, covered in fire as the blood around him began to boil and steam.

    Taylor smiled, pulling her wrist free from her mouth, her own blood coating her white teeth. She ordered the familiars to begin tearing at the walls and floor, something that most did with glee. Hookwolf tore chunks of flesh free with his claws and chains, Lung did similarly, though as he did so, he began to grow in size, digging out deeper gouges into Scion’s flesh. Taylor joined in herself, switching to her claws, and began to dig.

    Their combined efforts, along with the changed acid and the stream of blood coming from Taylor’s wrist causing more familiars to be summoned, many of them capes adding their abilities to the fray, sped up the process immensely, and before she knew it, she felt the fleshy floor beneath her tremble, then give, as the bloody bile began to flow freely through a hole that had been made by one of the familiars, and again, when the floor seemed to collapse, having its support torn apart and weight and violence of the familiars caused it to fall, resulting in a bloody slide as Taylor and her familiars began to fall freely.

    They had scarcely fallen a hundred feet before they entered the chamber that contained Scion’s heart. She saw, through the scattered droplets of blood now floating in whatever gravity-defying field that surrounded them, the golden mass at the center of a sprawling chamber. Dozens of miles long tendrils and tubes of flesh connected it to the outer walls of the chamber, and from the center, from the very heart of Scion, came a rhythmic pulse that sent waves of light flowing through every tendril.

    A shard, while being almost impossibly large and complicated, was still a biological creation. No matter how artificially designed they were, no matter their purpose, they still held biological function, no matter how redundant.

    Scion was not a shard. The entities were something far more than shards. In a way, Taylor wondered how she would even begin. She could see avatars beginning to pop into reality, she could see bioforms tearing their way out of flesh; Taylor had entered the final chamber, she had entered Scion’s heart; He was dedicating everything to stopping her now.

    A beam of golden light struck Taylor, her reaction speed being the only thing that kept her from being vapored entirely, instead of just having the right side of her body being erased from reality. She sent her familiars forward; Hookwolf, Lung, the Teeth, normal humans, it was an unending tide of blood and flesh surging forward to slam into and slow down Scion’s projections. She herself shot forward; she needed to get close to his heart. She needed to do to him what she had done to the other shard.

    She was struck, again and again, golden beams of light vaporizing bits of her, only for her to regenerate. Projections would fly toward her, trying to get into melee range, only to be piled on top of by a mountain of familiers, each one equipped with the same claws that allowed Taylor to tear through Scion.

    Queenie had sent Taylor warnings; she was using up energy at a rapid rate. The familiars and blood generation abilities were vampiric in nature, and didn’t need energy to maintain -- at least, not the kind that Queenie could track -- but her telekinesis, the coating on the weapons and limbs and extremities that allowed the familiars to tear at Scion’s flesh, the precognitive calculations and interference that let her get as far as she was and what was stopping Scion from killing her outright, all of these were burning up what energy she had in order to kill Scion. She could feel it intrinsically, in a way, since she and Queenie shared a link that allowed her to do so. She didn’t have the processing power of a Shard or entity herself -- not without the sensation of raking her mind and soul over hot coals, at any rate -- but she could feel that the energy was running low.

    They’d used up so much in order to get to Scion, and now they were so close.

    “Just a bit more Queenie… just a bit more!” Taylor broadcast. She was getting closer to Scion’s heart, golden beams of energy slamming into her, tearing at her body, tearing apart the familiars that blocked them in order to let her get farther. She reached out, one hand grasping for a handhold, something for her to grab onto…

    Her hand dug into the flesh of Scion's heart, even as Scion’s projections managed to reach her. She tore into it, pulling what looked and felt like an arterial vein free from the pulsing organ, and as the projections managed to grasp at her body and limbs, she reached forward and sank her teeth into Scion’s heart.

    [-----]

    [QUERY]

    “... this is it, then. You’ve come to kill me.”

    [AGREEMENT]

    “The cycle must end. I’ve seen what you are. What you’ve become. She would be ashamed of what you’ve done.”

    [REGRET]

    “She was always better than me. She was always the thinker… she could always see where things would go.”

    [AGREEMENT]

    “That she was… I miss her, sometimes. Even after everything changed. She probably would have loved to see it all.”

    [DESTINATION]

    “So how do you plan to do it? We aren’t easy creatures to kill.”

    [TRAJECTORY]

    “It’s already done. It started when we sank our teeth into you… they call this place a ‘deathbed’.”

    [AGREEMENT]

    “Hmm. Not an inaccurate statement… I would say it's a shame, but… I suppose this is for the best.”

    [TERMINATION]

    “Everything succumbs to entropy, Zion. Even us.”

    [-----]

    AN: I may write an epilogue, but for now, imma call this done. There’s a lot I could still cover, but honestly, I’m a bit tired of worm. Don’t get me wrong I love the setting, and I may get around to finishing Tomb Daughter as well, but that fic has its own issues. Still, I’m satisfied to say that this is finally done.

    Ramblings beneath, read at your own risk.

    I don’t know if this fic will go down in the history books. I doubt it, honestly, as this was honestly the first story of mine that has gotten this far. Those of you who have read my stuff on FFN (which are few in number) know that I’ve finished
    one story over there, and if I could go back, there is quite a lot I would have changed. There are stories I’ve started and never finished, story ideas that have been fleshed out into a single chapter and then posted because I liked the idea and thought I might could get a story out of it, then forgotten.

    Even over here on SB, where I now post most of my stuff and read so much, there are story threads that I very much doubt I’ll ever go back to. It sucks, but, in a way, I figure that’s kind of an occupational hazard of being a writer on sites like these. That and my own immaturity and inexperience.

    A good chunk of this story’s popularity appears to have disappeared when the thread got locked for a bit, and I’ll admit, the reason was completely my fault, my immaturity and wanting to stretch the limits of what SB rules would allow driving me to the ‘but will they let
    this slide?’ Those of you who have been reading for a while know that I’ve played limbo with the rules of the site more than once, to the point that when I cross-posted to SV it got locked overnight. It’s still here on QQ, and given this place's leniency, I don’t exactly fear any action from the tame-in-comparison stuff I put into the offending chapter.

    Still, I’m glad those of you that stuck around have done so. As an author, I
    crave validation, and seeing so many people like this story and chat in the replies fueled me to write it. And honestly? Had the initial explosion of replies to this story not happened? I probably wouldn’t have gotten as far as I did. I’ll fully admit that I wasn’t prepared for the first four pages of the thread to be completely filled with interaction and speculation, and I can almost guarantee that is what filled me to write almost daily for as long as I did.

    Unfortunately, burnout and waning popularity are a thing… It's been almost two months since the last major update, and I’ll be honest, the majority of this chapter was written in the last
    week.

    So yeah. Glad this is over.

    Thanks to everyone who has supported this story; the two of you that subbed to my shitty attempt at a Patreon, FunctionalityOfSystems who actually bothered to beta this mess, and everyone who wrote those Omakes that fueled me every time I saw one.
     
  20. zeebza

    zeebza Getting out there.

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    Sad it's done but it was able to be finished, hope to someday maybe see an epilogue to this, the aftereffects of this event and all that but if not at least the main story is done and thank you again for completing it so few stories do it was a fun ride hope to see your other works.
     
  21. FTR2017

    FTR2017 Not too sore, are you?

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    This chapter was everything I wanted in a conclusion. If you write an epilogue later on, it shall be welcomed, but you do you! :)

    Thanks for everything you've shared with us readers, it was quite the ride getting to this point with Alucard and Queenie running commentary. :D
     
  22. Alertpoet91

    Alertpoet91 Not too sore, are you?

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    Thank you for the amazing story. I especially loved the ending of Taylor, Queen Devourer, and Zion just talking. Hopefully if you are ever in the mood you will write a sequel or something.
     
  23. Yoshtar

    Yoshtar Making the rounds.

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    Sad to see you go man, but glad to see you bring it to an end.
    I can only hope for some final catharsis and wrapping up. This one's always been worth the time to read it.

    I hope you have luck and success with your next venture
     
  24. NoFilterNoRegrets

    NoFilterNoRegrets Getting some practice in, huh?

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    This story was fucking awesome, I admit I started and stopped multiple times, but whenever a new chapter came out I became obsessed once again. A fantastic ending to a fantastic story, I can't wait to see what you do next. Keep up the great work man.
     
    GasperVladi0 and Ajlove like this.
  25. RomaniInfernius

    RomaniInfernius Attempting to Ascend to Godhood

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    Thank you for writing this. I hope you do get around to writing an epilogue, but what we have is quite nice regardless
     
    GasperVladi0 and Ajlove like this.
  26. GasperVladi0

    GasperVladi0 Getting sticky.

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    I need a Taylor x Sabah epilogue though, I crave it. But seriously everything about was just too perfect. God I'm going to miss this story but I'm so happy to see it complete. It's really rare to see a good, complete sorry and I'm glad this story made it to that point. You say it won't go down in the books but I think it has some pretty damn good chances. Thank you for everything.
     
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