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The Demon's Gift (DCU, SI/OC)

Discussion in 'Creative Writing' started by The_Great_NPC, Nov 6, 2022.

  1. Threadmarks: Chapter 1 - The Demon's Gift

    The_Great_NPC Getting out there.

    Aug 8, 2022
    Likes Received:
    First fanfic btw, don’t be too harsh please.

    The Demon’s Gift:

    I lie in bed, waiting for sleep to take me. It never does, not as fast as I’d like it to. As I lie I let my mind wander, picturing the stories I’ve read today, wondering how it would feel, being in their shoes, imagining myself among the cast, working alongside or against them, whichever felt more appropriate.

    I sigh before turning over, the thoughts are meaningless, they are a child's dream, something that will never come to be. Yet I still wish, I still hope, and I still pray.

    I beg in my mind ‘Please, Lord, Lady, Demon, Devil, whoever is listening. Free me from this life. I’ll do whatever it takes, whatever you want me to, just let me take part in a story.’

    I wait a few moments… Nothing happens. Yeah, saw that one coming. Well, time to keep trying to sleep. Maybe tomorrow will be a good day, if I’m lucky.

    — — — — —

    I wake up, yawning. Groggily I reach for my phone to check the time. Wait, where’s my phone?

    Wait, where’s my glasses?

    Wait, where am I?

    Now wide awake, I take stock of the room I’m in, I have an unimpressive single bed, the kind you’d see in a run down apartment, the wallpaper is cracking, my computer is gone, and the same can be said for my posters.

    I can’t dwell on my new living situation too long though, I just woke up and I need to piss, so I start my search for the bathroom. It doesn't take long, since I learned my apartment is just a living area with a kitchen attached, bathroom, and bedroom.

    Finishing that, I go back to look for clothes and search for more, when I catch a glimpse of a body that is not my own in the mirror. It is far more fit, a bit taller, and honestly, an overall improvement. Is this a dream? Wait, is my dick bigger? Huh. About the same. I guess that’s fine.

    When I stop examining my own body, I look in my room for some clothes. It seems whatever did this kept my fashion sense of plain t-shirts and jeans, thankfully. Time to go look in my living area.

    I walk out, and the first thing that catches my eye is the table, since it has a big-ass piece of parchment on it. I walk closer to read it, and I finally put it together.
    The parchment reads:

    Your plea has been answered, we have placed you in a period of strife, wrought with heroes and villains. In exchange for a chance to live out your fantasies, you will perform 5 tasks for me, afterwards I will consider your debt paid.

    • Astaroth”

    Demons are real after all. Huh. Fuck me. At least he’s giving me time to get settled.

    I curse and jump back as another piece of parchment appears in a blast of flame in front of me, this one reading:

    For your first task, I will reward you as well, I command you to throw yourself firmly onto one side, hero or villain. You have two days to save someone, or kill someone. I look forward to your choice.

    • Astaroth”

    Fuck. Fuck. FUCK. I don’t even know where I am! A two day limit, if I want to be a hero that means I’ll need to find someone to save in two days! In my entire life so far no one has even so far as gotten into a fight in front of me! I don’t even want to know what happens if I fail the task, would he imprison my soul for eternal torment!? This is a demon we’re talking about!

    Fuck, focus, me, focus! Okay, get your bearings, first thing we need to do, establish a name. Though I am similar to my old self, still having my brown hair and blue eyes, I am still different enough to warrant a change. Though, my old name was Bryce, a body that isn’t too different…

    Bruce! I’ll be Bruce! Okay, Bruce what, if I wanted to act like a funny guy I’d choose Wayne, but depending on if that franchise exists in this universe I’d just be playing the clown. Eh, whatever, let’s roll with it until I get my bearings.

    Okay, name established, time for a plan! I’m great at those, so:

    Step 1 - Find out where I am. Simple, can’t do shit until I know that.
    Step 2 - Explore the neighborhood. If I decide to throw myself into the hero camp, I’ll need to learn how often people are in danger close to me.
    Step 2b - An amendment to step 2, go for a run around the neighborhood, it’ll let me know just how fit my body actually is. Here’s hoping it wasn’t just a cosmetic upgrade.
    Step 3 - Choose. Kill, or save. Fuck.
    Step 4 - Get a weapon, depending on my choice, I’d say a knife or a bat.
    Step 5 - Finish searching my apartment, get cozy, relax a bit for what I’m about to do.
    Step 5 - Get it over with. Relax when it’s done.

    “Okay Bruce, you have your plan. Let’s go learn where we are.” I walk to the door of my apartment, grab the key off the keyholder on the wall (Thanks Astaroth.) and set out to learn what I’m going to be dealing with.
    — — — — —

    On my way out of the apartment, I saw that there was a newspaper stand (Huzzah! Coincidence!) and learned where I was. Lucky too, since it seems I’ll actually have to come up with a last name properly, not haphazardly. I appear to be in the DC universe, Gotham too. Fits, given the state of my apartment. What this does mean is that I shouldn’t have to search too hard to find someone in need if I go down that route.

    I begin my run, a bit more wary of the civilians, while pondering the other thing I learned. The year had changed, it was 2016. It was a fine enough year for me in my old universe, but in this one, I’m already being faced with a moral dilemma. To kill, or not to kill. The nerd inside of me wants to be part of the bat-gang, but I don’t see that working out well for me. I don’t know how well Astaroth did with my being placed here. Are there falsified documents? Do I have any funds to my name?

    Fuck, do I have any money? Didn’t before the swap, do I get any now? What’s rent? How do I get a weapon for step 4? Too much is left unknown. I should’ve checked the apartment before doing this, maybe Astaroth left something for me. Fuck it, let’s go back.

    Keeping a steady pace on the way back, I try to keep note of where I see drug addicts gathering, homeless people begging, as well as any place that seems to be being avoided, since I imagine that if anyone was going to try and fuck someone up, they’d do it to one of them in one of those locations. I get back to the apartment, sweaty, but with a healthy appreciation of my new body.

    Looking at the clock, I see that it was a 30 minute run, did about 5 kilometers, though I am in America now, I should probably try to learn the Imperial system at some point. Healthier than my old body, for sure. Should probably try to keep running as a habit if I’m going through with my task. Speaking of, let's get searching! I sniff myself... After a shower!

    I start in my room, looking through all the drawers in the dresser, finding clothes, unsurprisingly. Approximately 2 weeks worth. I check my closet next, finding a mask, looks like a stylized demon mask, one of those Japanese ones…. Oni! It looks like an Oni mask, I guess Astaroth couldn’t resist choosing a demon for my mask. No proper costume though, so I guess it’s on me to make that.

    I nearly walked out of my room before I realized I forgot to check my nightstand. I go back and pull open the drawer, revealing two weapons to me.

    One was a brass knuckle, on each knuckle there was a letter, spelling ‘D-M-O-N’. It was at this point I realized Astaroth was fucking with me. They were even red. His dedication to the bit astounds me.

    The other was a gun. Used for killing. There was even a note attached so I knew what it was. A Smith and Wesson Model 63. It's already loaded as well. He really is leaning into the whole ‘make your choice’ jigsaw shtick isn't he.

    Right as I went to close the drawer on the nightstand I noticed my wallet was in there too, I just missed it because of my focus on the gun, I grab and open it looking for ID, and find that my first name, birth year, and everything else is filled out, except my last name, because I haven’t chosen it yet.

    How the fuck does that work! My choosing Bruce haphazardly counted but thinking about being Bruce Wayne didn’t?! The rules and logic behind whatever magic Astaroth is using doesn’t make sense! Am I going to end up rewriting reality when I choose my last name?

    No, shut up, you’re overthinking, just choose one now. Uh… Parker? No, no, that’s Spiderman’s thing. Allen? No you idiot! That’s the Flash! He lives here too! Ugh, fuck it. Strong. Oh great demon lord, make me Strong, Bruce Strong.

    I watched with rapt attention as the last name section of my ID got filled in, slowly, from top to bottom with glowing red letters that turned black once they finished forming. That was the most interested I’d ever been watching documentation get filled out. Pocketing all my newly minted IDs (Motorcycle license, Driver’s License, and health insurance even, thanks Astaroth, you’re a real one) I go out to my couch in the living room, which was also gifted by the demon, and I sit and think.

    I’ve spent all of 2 hours, maybe, in this new world. The first thing I did was run. I really made a 5 step plan to finish my task and I finished every step except choosing and doing. I haven’t even really taken it all in yet. A new world. A new body. A chance to actually be something. But first, I really do need to choose. Once I do, I’ll wait until… let’s say 9, maybe 10, and I’ll go out on patrol. Look for someone.

    But who should I look for? Being a hero is appealing in a childish sort of way, stopping the villain, saving the day, getting the girl. In reality though, it's painful. Having to be the one to hold back the truly evil. Hell, look at Batman, he’s had his back broken, been dosed with fear gas, lost a surrogate child, and the list goes on. Being a hero in this city just isn’t at all attractive.

    Villainy though, is equally terrifying. Instead of being with the Bat as he faces whatever Lunatic wants to destroy him, you have to commit your crimes hoping he’s already dealing with something, because god (in this case demon,) forbid he finds you committing a crime, or you’re going to the hospital with bones you didn’t even know about broken.

    When it comes down to it though, I think the sidekicks had it easier that Bats, with the exception of Jason Todd. I don’t know if there were any other vigilantes in Gotham unaffiliated with him, so maybe I’ll try that. If he wants to draft me for whatever reason, then who am I to say no? Yeah, let’s try and be a hero.
    — — — — —

    The wait was grueling, I was a nervous wreck an hour before I was planning to head out. Did I ever mention that I never fought anyone before? The only reason I even know how to throw a punch is because of those Martial Artist reaction videos. I’m not cut out for this, but it needs to be done, so I have my brass knuckles in my pocket, or is it brass knuckle because it’s just one hand? Ugh, stop distracting yourself Bruce, focus.

    Will that be enough though? My plan to stop a criminal is to just sneak up behind them and punch them really hard with it. What if there’s more than one? I’m no fighter, I might be able to take one guy, but even that’s a stretch. Two or three on the other hand, I could drop one, maybe land a lucky hit on the other, but then I’m in a straight on fistfight with the other guy.

    I'm forgetting something. My mystery criminal might have a gun on him, this is Gotham after all. I could knock down 2 people and just get shot afterwards by their friend. Fuck, maybe I should take my own gun, for safety? It’s not like I said I’d subscribe to Batmans ‘no one should die, not even villains’ rule.

    You know what, yeah, let’s bring my gun, I shouldn’t need to use it, but just in case. In this city, I can see it saving my life. Just having the threat of it should be enough to deter some of the more common criminals. Not everyone is willing to have a standoff and there likely are a portion of criminals who don’t have guns in this place.

    I look in my dresser for clothes that would fit a moonlit walk, and find a nondescript gray sweater, that’ll do. I grab the gun from my dresser and slide it into the pocket on the front. I decide to just leave the brass knuckles on my fist, it’s a comforting feeling, knowing that I'm going to be potentially risking my life shortly.

    With my preparations complete, I go sit back on the couch and wait a bit longer, before I go find some trouble.

    — — — — —

    My patrol has been, well, incredibly boring so far. All I’ve done is walk my running route, and looked in every alleyway I can. I’ve seen drug dealers, who I considered knocking their lights out, but ultimately, would that count as saving someone? Debatable no, since the addict would just find someone else to get their high off of, so I let them be.

    I was going to continue debating what constitutes the act of saving someone, when I heard a scream, not even in an alleyway, so all my prior scouting was for naught. Outside an apartment complex, a woman was being harassed by some 6’2’ guy also wearing a nondescript gray sweater and jeans. If not for my mask, I really would just look like a common thug.

    I was excited, and feeling a little bit guilty for being excited, as I rushed towards the scene. I cast a quick glance around the area and didn’t see anyone else looking towards them, or another thug waiting for his friend to get jumped by some weird guy in an Oni mask, and I took full advantage.

    I ran up behind him, and since he was too busy yelling at her, some shit about “Paying your dues,” and “think of the kids, Susan!” He didn't notice me at all. I cocked my fist back and threw it forwards with all I had, knocking him out instantly. Feeling proud, I looked up at the woman I just saved, Susan, and saw a horrified expression.

    “Please don’t hurt me! We don’t have anything to give you!” She was begging, frantically. Fuck, my mask makes me look like a villain doesn’t it. I was about to walk away before I realized, Do I need to make someone believe I saved them for the task to count as completed? Well, better safe than sorry.

    “Sorry for scaring you Susan,” (How does he know my name!?) Ah shit she looks more panicked. “But I am no villain, I merely saw someone in need of aid, so I came to help.”

    “No villain?! What was he doing wrong, there was no crime! He was yelling at me about my drug habits! He still hasn’t even gotten back up! Wait, Paul? Paul! He’s not breathing either! What did you do!?” Fuck. Fuck… FUCK. She’s crying, over the body… of her lover? I presume. Who I just killed… In one punch… To the back of the head… With brass knuckles… Fuck. I’m a dumbass. Humans are fragile and I’ve forgotten that.

    Wait, I’ve just killed someone, in Batman’s city. Oh fuckity fuck. Time to run, I’ll need to ditch the mask on the way. The brass knuckles need to go too, I don’t know what fancy tech Batman has but he could totally track me down with it. Okay, let’s get out of here before she catches her bearings and calls the police.

    I sprint away, back towards my apartment, stopping twice by some alleys that had dumpsters in them to discard or my mask and murder tool. Once I had them off I felt a lot safer, especially since not even a minute later I saw a police cruiser drive past me towards the scene. Now out of danger, I started to take in the fact that I killed someone. Someone innocent too, or at least, I think they were. It makes me sick either way. Setting out to be a hero just for my first activity to be murder.

    I wrestle with my newfound self-loathing as I enter my apartment, only to see another piece of parchment on my table. This one reads:

    “Hah! You’re a fucking moron, genuinely trying to be a hero but forgot how to pull punches! Hilarious. Well, congratulations on completing your first task, it comes with a boon, as you know. For your first murder, firmly placing you on the side of villainy, I gift you a powerset belonging to a group specializing in extermination. I grant you a Witcher’s body, as well as Basic Mastery over their 5 signs. I hope to see an interesting story come of this. Don’t disappoint me. Drinking the vial in your nightstand will give you the abilities mentioned. Don’t mind the pain, I’ll ensure no one can hear you scream. Your next task will come in a week's time.

    • Astaroth”

    A witcher… The pain he alluded to scares me, since the alchemical process to become one was incredibly painful to anyone that’s undergone it. Yet that’s not what draws my eye, it’s the fact that this was my reward for killing. If I get to become a Witcher for this, what would I have gotten had I actually saved someone instead? Astaroth seems to be pulling on things I’d know…

    I can’t focus on this, not after tonight. Let’s go drink the vial and pass out. Refusing would be foolish, especially because I don't know what Bat-universe I’m in. With no idea what could be coming my way, the versatility of the witcher signs are too enticing to pass up.

    To prepare for my change, I shower, and I strip, since I don’t know if I will ruin my clothes during this process. I sit on the bed, drink the vial, and lay down. Right as I begin to wonder where the pain he was alluding to is, I scream, for this pain is worse than can be described. I cry, vomit, thrash, beg, anything to just make it stop please!

    I thrash and thrash until I end up banging my head against the wall, hard enough to knock me unconscious.

    E — N — D

    So, this is my first fanfic. Don’t know if I’ll keep running with it. I was just really bored at the time and it seemed like something to do to pass the time, you know. But yeah, a lot of self-inserts and OCs generally tend to have ‘The Gamer’ or some other OP shit that can make the story kind of trivial, and hard to write around. I wanted to give this character something that is strong, but not overly, so that he will still struggle with organized groups of thugs and so villains can still be a threat to him. As for the setting, I originally chose a demon just for the aesthetics but ¾ through the chapter i realized demons are a thing in DC and there are people looking out for shit like what would happen to this character, so in my infinite wisdom, I’m just gonna ignore that until I come up with a solution. If you wanna leave criticism feel free, just don’t be too mean and I’ll keep it in mind for whenever I get bored enough to keep updating this. Though I will say I’m not that great at emotions, so if anyone feels too robotic then some advice there might be appreciated.
  2. KenKara

    KenKara Know what you're doing yet?

    Jan 26, 2021
    Likes Received:
    watched for now
    Bigslimekimg87 and Grimmouse197 like this.
  3. Alpaca27

    Alpaca27 Not a llama

    Feb 16, 2018
    Likes Received:
    Pretty good for a first powerset. Versatile but not OP and to get more he has to do tasks instead of just grinding and hoarding points. Here's hoping he keeps stumbling his way into ever deeper villainy.
    Venyr4434, Jack-21 and SIMPDESTROYER1 like this.
  4. Jaunjo

    Jaunjo I dont need a GF, I have this (Cries inside)

    Jan 2, 2019
    Likes Received:
    looks to be very interesting!! not many authors go for the villain route, and the way you've done it is both interesting and new (at least to me jajajaja). Watching this story! :D
    SIMPDESTROYER1 likes this.
  5. a guy1013

    a guy1013 Versed in the lewd.

    Jul 16, 2019
    Likes Received:
    the chapter is not threadmark,
  6. Hyperionthetitan

    Hyperionthetitan Stuck in a tree

    Jan 30, 2018
    Likes Received:
    .poor dude .
    SIMPDESTROYER1 likes this.
  7. Skapuzi Bk

    Skapuzi Bk Making the rounds.

    Nov 10, 2020
    Likes Received:
    Absolutely love it great start, tho thought he'll kill someone while saving someone making him complete both tasks at once. Just have one question please what power would he have gotten if he had completed the hero task I'm really curious
    D-dragonknight and Jason Wang like this.
  8. The_Great_NPC

    The_Great_NPC Getting out there.

    Aug 8, 2022
    Likes Received:
    Thanks, I said I really wanted something that wouldn't break the story which is why I chose the witcher here, and for a hero? Well, I didn't think about it too much once I got the accidental death plan in my head, but I was considering going for a summoner type power, maybe like Megumi from jujutsu kaisen, or something to do with illusions, because those could be fun to write.
  9. Threadmarks: Chapter 2 - All signs point to yes

    The_Great_NPC Getting out there.

    Aug 8, 2022
    Likes Received:
    Chapter 2: All signs point to yes

    I wake up, and look at the state of my room. My sheets were thrown from the bed, there are dents in the walls, and there's this… waste, is the best way to describe all that black gunk covering my bed, and myself. Is that what my body purged during this transformation? I guess I should’ve seen this coming when he told me he’d keep people from hearing my screams. I rub my eyes, and breathe in, immediately regretting that choice since that black waste smells about a hundred times worse than a dozen rotten eggs dropped in a vat of vinegar. Oh shit, I’m covered in that stuff, get in the shower you moron, you can throw up in there if the smell bothers you that much.

    While in the shower, as I go to shampoo my hair, the intensity of the smell catches me off guard. It is overwhelmingly minty, I swear it wasn’t like this yesterday!

    I wasn’t like this yesterday! All my senses have been improved! No wonder the smell in my room was so disgusting, I have the witcher senses! If I can track a drunkard based off the smell of alcohol 3 hours earlier, a dude with poor hygiene can probably knock me unconscious. But that means little now, let’s ignore the minty hair routine today, so I can get on with figuring out what exactly is new with my body. I know I was given mastery of the signs, but trying them here would be inviting trouble. I don’t want to blow out a window with Aard or set my couch on fire with Igni, though my room would probably benefit from the fire treatment.

    I quickly get in and out of my room with new clothes after drying off, vowing to clean it at some point later today. (I left the window open in there after all, surely it will air out the worst of the smell.) As I leave my apartment and go to lock the door however, I see something that makes my heart drop. An eviction notice. Apparently when Astaroth decided to beam me into my apartment, he forgot to mention he hadn’t actually paid for it this month. Or the last. Or the one before that. Honestly this landlord is a saint if they think I’ve lived here for 3 months without paying rent. Well, let’s try talking to them, diplomacy is a skill I totally have. Where are you? Ah, room 1, of course.

    I take the notice, lock the door, and walk down. Mentally running through the possible ways the conversation could go, I feel confident, this is something I can do. Not like last night, where my panic and desperation to finish the task placed before me drove me to make the mistake of a lifetime. Here, there is no mysterious, devilish consequence if I fail to negotiate more time to pay rent, just me getting kicked out and having to live on the streets for a bit. I have fucking superpowers now, I can handle that! Okay, here we are, let’s do this, gameface on, nice smile, knock knock.

    The door opens, revealing a tiny, maybe 5’4’’ asian woman. “Hel- Ah, it’s you. You have my rent right?” So I was already a known quantity to this person before I even met them. Your magic is weird Astaroth.

    “Hey, yeah I was wondering if I could get an extension? It’s kind of embarrassing to talk about this but I got laid off and that’s why I haven’t been able to get the money to you yet. I just need 2 weeks, and it’ll all be there, I promise.” As I keep lying my ass off, she seems to get progressively more angry as I talk.

    “No! You said the same thing 2 months ago! And last month you said you haven’t been paid yet! You’ll give me the money or you will be removed from the building!” She really had to yell that at me huh. Let everyone in the apartment know that I’m behind on rent. Whatever, she clearly isn’t going to buy whatever I try to sell her. Unless…

    I wave my fingers in front of her, forming the Axii sign, “I’m sorry that you have had to deal with this for so long, Miss..?”


    “Miss Chen, But I swear to you, give me two more weeks, and you will have your money, I guarantee it.” Wow, this shit is great. An actual jedi mind trick.

    “Okay, I’ll give you two more weeks… just don’t be late again…” I should end the conversation here, I don’t want to say anything that’ll be taken wrong while she’s like this.

    “See you in two weeks Miss Chen.” I walk away before she can reply. When I got my powers, I thought Quen and Aard would’ve been the most useful, but Axii? It’s incredible. I don’t know what its limits are, so honestly it was a little risky using it like that, but it worked out. I got two weeks to gather my rent… which I forgot to ask about. Fucking moron, how much you owe her is a key part of this problem! I could go back and ask, but no, that would be too awkward and I pretty much just brainwashed her. Let’s go talk to a neighbor and figure this out. Besides, if Axii is as useful as I think it is, I can get this rent easily by just asking drug dealers to hand over their earnings.

    — — — — —

    My next-door neighbor, the hard of hearing Mr. Morrison, who either was in a gang or is an avid gun nut, given the shotgun he greeted me with, kindly let me know rent is 500 a month before slamming the door in my face. Well, at least I know, I owe my landlord about $1500. I came up with asking drug dealers for their earnings as a joke, but honestly, it's kind of hard to stop myself at the moment knowing I need to get that much in two weeks. I don’t even know if there are any late fees that I’ll need to pay off either, but I can safely assume the worst, and just aim for $2000. Either I’m correct and pay off the debt plus late fees, or I have an extra $500 to buy shit for my… villainy. I should confront that reality soon, but I find it healthier to just bottle it up and focus on the here and now.

    I leave the apartment building and start looking around the city, my new senses letting me see far more than I could before. It’s disorienting, all the smells, sights, sounds overpower the senses and pound on my head like a jackhammer, so I try to tune them out, focus on specific things, like the sign to that corner store down the street, the smell of booze and piss in the alleyways, and the sound of cars driving down the street. They keep me grounded, let me catch my bearings, and slowly, I learn to ignore the excess stimuli. I catch a glimpse of myself in a window, and instantly freeze up. I have cats eyes, fuck, how did I forget about that! Were they there this whole time? Does Old Gun-Toting Morrison know I’m a superhuman? While I panic, staring at my own reflection, I see the cat's eyes slowly fade away, leaving just my normal baby blues in their place. Okay, seems when I let myself indulge in the senses, they come out. Not good, I can’t use them in public. I still have advanced senses, but nowhere near their full potential.

    I force myself away from that window and down the street, towards the corner store, because I am thirsty and hungry and my apartment had no fucking food in it. I step in, and quickly grab what I need, which seems to be a… can of pringles and a gatorade, seems some brands are universal. I get to the cashier and go to pay when my dumbass brain finally catches up to the rest of my body. I can’t pay rent fuckface, where are you getting the money to buy yourself snacks? The cashier asks if I’m paying with cash or credit, and I panic. I wave my hand in front of him and say, “I’ve already paid for my things, I’m leaving now.”

    “Oh, you already paid? Have a good day then.”

    I have to stop doing that. Or do I? I accidentally threw my lot in with the villains, and I know Bruce, Wayne-Bruce not me-Bruce, won’t let a killer become a hero. Not in his city. I see a park around the corner down the street, so I go take a seat on the bench and partake in my ill-gotten goods. I wonder if the witcher senses affect taste? I take a bite of my salt and vinegar chips and ‘turn them on’ (for lack of a better phrase). I start gagging, oh god they do, it was like I made an unholy cocktail designed to poison taste buds and drank it. Never do that again. Moron. Fool.

    While I’m sitting in a hell of my own making, I spy a little deal going on. I don’t know what that kid just bought but I’m willing to bet it was drugs. This is turning out to be a good day after all, let’s go use my brainwashing on someone actually evil for once, so no one can truly judge me.
    I throw my empty drink and can of chips in trash and start walking over. He seems to be distracted texting someone, which reminds me that I really need to get a phone. I get right up behind him and tap him on the shoulder. He spins around and I quickly throw out Axii once more, I feel like I’m getting better at this.

    “What did you sell that kid?” See, I learned from profiling the guy from last night, maybe this guy sold the kid salt for a cooking competition or some shit.

    “Cocaine.” Nevermind.

    “Give me the money you’ve earned so far today.” Speak nice and clearly, so there’s no room for them to misinterpret my commands.

    “Yeah.. I’ll give you… Wait.. The hell I will!” He punches me. “The fuck was that shit! You one of them freaks? Using your fucky mind shit on me are you! Fuck off!” He kicks me in the shin. This was NOT how I planned our encounter, why didn’t it work? Was it not strong enough? It’s not like the games where I can just level up the skill! Oh, it’s not like the games. This is real life now, I can’t just put a point in and make it work better against those with a strong will. Not to mention the command was something he’d never do. Should’ve thought it through more.

    I see our antagonist of the day bring his leg back for another kick, so I quickly lash out and jab him in the face. He stumbles back but doesn’t seem that hurt by it. I see him reaching for his pocket, I know realistically he doesn’t have a gun, but I still panic, and try something new.

    Damn, I said it out loud, how cringey. He flies backwards, landing roughly on his side. I just used a sign in public with a loud effect, didn't I? Well, let’s get this over with quickly so I can run away before people come and take a look at me. I rush over to him, and see that the rough landing was worse than I thought. One of his arms is either broken or dislocated, but honestly, I can’t bring myself to care about this guy. I mean, he’s selling drugs in a park. Like, c’mon. So I rifle through his pockets instead of making sure he’s okay. I need a lot of money in these two weeks after all. I find a solid $225 in his wallet, and when I check the pocket he was reaching for, I see an antique switchblade with a wooden handle. That’s what I panicked over? Fuck, I’m a witcher, I should be able to handle that, even if I have no training. At all.

    I take the spoils of war and run off. Once I’m a safe distance away I think about what occurred and how to make the best use of Axii. It seems that it can allow you to manipulate thoughts at will but really, it just seems to make convincing someone easier. Miss Chen already let me delay rent for three months, what’s two more weeks on top of that? The corner store clerk had no attachment to the job and was clearly going through the motions. The drug dealer was the only one with a hard line. Either all the money he got from selling stayed with him or he was under strict instructions to only give it to one guy, and he was happy with that so he stuck to those rules religiously. So, maybe if I let my brain catch up with my idiocy, I can start being smart about my uses. A clever lie should be enough to get me into most places, but it won’t let me rob them blind. Though, maybe if I was smarter with the dealer, it wouldn’t have had to come to that sloppy excuse for a fight. Something to think about.

    — — — — —

    Not a bad start. Though I keep thinking back to my fight, if you can call it that. I freaked out because I’m untrained, but there are ways to remedy that situation. I only have $225 to my name, but that’s more than enough to start a membership at a gym. Plus if Axii works how I think it does, there is a way for me to gain a steady stream of funds later…

    Yeah, let’s go apply at a gym, if I can I’d want to find a boxing gym, or any place that can teach me a fighting style. I just have to find out where they are. I spot a gas station as I wander down the street and figure that’s as good a place as any to get information. First thing I do when I enter is go look for a newspaper, this city still likes using them so I’ll take full advantage. When I find them I grab one and the first thing I notice is the headline, ‘Wayne Industries employee killed in cold-blood?’ No, that wasn’t me, surely this was Two-Face, or the Joker, being evil. I read the article, but I’ll summarize it for everyone.

    ‘On October 7th a Wayne Industries employee was heading home with their sister, and arriving at their location all witnesses heard them begin to argue, during their argument a Demon Masked individual ran up behind the Employee, Paul Rennulo, and sucker punched him in the back of the head, whether he had a tool is unknown. The victim's sister, Susan, gave a statement that the killer believed himself to be a hero, and that he was “saving her” from her brother. The descriptions of the killer seem to make him out to be an approximately 6’ tall male, with dark brown hair, he was wearing a gray sweater and a pair of dark blue jeans. If you know anyone of this description who you believe to be the killer, please inform the Gotham Police tip line, at XXX-X46-8362.

    Why do my actions have consequences? Do they do this for every murder in this city? No way, this is totally just because the dude I killed worked at Wayne Industries. What the fuck is this favouritism bullshit. I flip through the rest of the paper quickly, and see no mention of anything happening anywhere else in town. What, did all the other murderers in the city decide to take a break while I went out on my first patrol? Whatever, get what you came here for, back to the ad page. Ah, here's one! Gotham City Boxers Gym! A plain name, but it’ll do. Only 100 dollars a month… Fuck it, I need to know how to fight. Aard and Ingi are wonderful signs, but they’d only work on Batman once if they were my only tool. Dude has a plan for everything. Fucking trillionaire spending his money on his vigilante fetish instead of helping the city. I hate the fact that he’d beat the shit out of me, maybe if I get lucky one of his sidekicks will run into me first and I’ll have a fighting chance.

    I place the newspaper back down onto the rack, and wonder why the clerk didn’t stop me from just reading the whole thing without paying for it. I mean, it’s only like 25 cents so maybe he just didn’t care. Either way. Let's get out of here. I think the gym was located close to the docks, so let's head down there.

    — — — — —

    I find the gym, tucked behind some decrepit warehouse. Not where I’d have put it, but hey, you do you Gotham. I signed up, letting nearly half my total cash go. That hurt me, I worked so hard for all that money, but this will be worth it. I got paired up with a big bulky trainer, a guy called, I shit you not, Thor. Looked just like the one from the myths too. Red hair, beer belly, could break me into little pieces with one hand, truly an imposing figure. He put me through my paces once he realized just how fit I was thanks to Astaroth. I swear I saw him smile when he said to double the speed for my cardio on the treadmill. Slave driver. When we got in the ring he was less happy with just how shit I was at fighting, and he made that known by starting to throw real punches. He told me it was “proper motivation” and to “learn to dodge if that upsets you.” At the end of the.. Hour? (That was only an hour? Fuck, it felt like he beating on me for the whole day.) He cracked another smile.

    “I look forward to seeing you tomorrow, Bruce. Now go get yourself cleaned up, you look like shit.” He then left to find some other poor bastard to assault in the ring. Well, I do look like shit, he’s not wrong. Let’s hit the showers. There were a few people in the locker room, chatting quietly. I couldn’t pick them up, not without using my witcher senses, so I went to the shower first, and then strained them as much as I could. I learned that my hearing was good enough to pick their voices up, barely.

    “Hey, y-u hear a–ut the new -ob?” See, told ya, can barely hear them. The running water from the shower isn’t helping, but turning it off just after getting in would be suspicious.

    “Shut up!” Oo that was clear, please, whisper yell more. “T-e new guy -s in the s-ow-er, what if h- hears you?” Damn, went back to quiet conversation.

    “It’- fine. He’s in -he showe-.” Hah! My clever eavesdropping plan worked! Take that world, I can be smart! “The Pen-uin h-s a ship-ent coming in f-ve days. The -at is nipp-ng at his h-els though, s- he’s looking for more workers to protect it when it gets here.” Wait, is he getting closer?

    “Tell me how much then shut up, I still need to shower, and we don’t want to tip the newbie off.” No, please, tip the newbie off. This is good shit.

    “200 for showing, 800 on completion.” Damn! That’s good money, to potentially just stand there all night, wondering if the Bat will show up. You know, on second thought, not enough money for me. Also, does this mean I joined the gym that Batman henchmen use to train? That isn’t exactly promising since they usually never so much as touch him.

    “Yeah alright, I’ll be there.” Okay, turn off your senses, they’re about to enter, you don’t want them seeing your eyes. Now, review, Penguin has a shipment coming in five days, he’s also being pressured by the Bat-gang, so he wants more protection for that shipment. That means it is definitely illegal, maybe narcotics? Could be weapons, and I won’t say no to weapons. There is also a lot of money being thrown around for this job, $1000 per goon? Though they might not have it all on site until the end, in which case if I go to bust this party, I’d be getting $200 per goon. That could solve my rent issue in one fell swoop. I’d just need to beat up and rob 10 of them and bounce, leaving the rest for Batman and his merry gang, since they’re already ‘nipping at his heels’. Yeah, that sounds like a fantastic plan. Let’s finish the shower and get out of here.

    — — — — —

    On my way back to the apartment, I realize that all I have is $125 dollars to my name. If this bust I have planned doesn’t work out then I’ll be up shit creek without a paddle. I need a back up. Hmm, I have a plan… This’ll use up a bit of my money, but this should work.

    — — — — —

    Knock knock, who wants to donate to charity! I spent 50 bucks on a nice button up shirt, a clip on tie, and a clipboard with a pen. This is fucking genius. Everyone deep down doesn’t disagree with charities, but they also don’t really want to go out of their way to donate. Instead, with a little of persuasion, (i.e. Axii) they can put their grievances aside, after all, they want to donate now, because I can tell them that it’ll make them feel better about themselves, make them look better to their significant other, or any other excuse that will have them giving money to their new favourite fundraiser. The ‘help me pay my rent foundation.’ This isn’t moral, you say, mind altering magics are vile, you say. Well, fuck you too buddy, the devil already told me I’m a villain, so I get the perks! I’m allowed to mind control people into crowdfunding my rent and you can’t stop me!

    I’ve cleaned through 4 floors of an apartment building a few blocks away from mine, and I’ve already made $300, shit I might not need to even do the bust at this rate. That won’t stop me though, the sheer money making potential of attacking that shipment makes it irresistible to me. I only needed 10 goons for rent, around 8 now, but excess cash is always helpful. Speaking of, I should probably make a bank account at some point. I can’t just keep carrying my money on me, or leave it in my apartment. If someone were to break in and see all the shit I took just lying on my table I’d be fucked. Fuck, if someone breaks in they’ll see the sludge from my transformation all over my room! Go back you lazyass! Get that shit cleaned then make a bank account!

    E — N — D

    I had three goals this chapter, they were to, 1. Find a way to keep Axii balanced in the universe. It is mind manipulation but I think I did a good job there. I’ll keep its fight effect similar to the games, just a daze, but I didn’t want it to be the best solution for everything. 2. I wanted to be able to progress plot without using tasks constantly, given that I have a limited number of those. Rent seemed like a pretty good motivator. And 3. Find a way to get him properly involved with the world of crime in Gotham. When I came up with the gym I felt like I opened my third eye. I am admittedly having a bit of fun writing this, but I haven’t gotten to fight scenes yet, and I’m not too confident in writing those, so we’ll see. Next chapter should have some. Thanks for reading guys.
  10. The Overlord

    The Overlord SCIENCE! both mad, mundane, and perverted

    May 24, 2018
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    Tentatively Watched
  11. Threadmarks: Chapter 3 - A good first impression.

    The_Great_NPC Getting out there.

    Aug 8, 2022
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    Chapter 3 - A good first Impression

    My days leading up to penguins shipment pass in a similar way. I start by swinging by the boxing gym so my trainer can beat the shit out of me, and in the locker room I keep my ears open in case some other Gothamite feels like talking about their employers plans, but they’re surprisingly clammy about that sort of thing. Guess I just got lucky the first time.

    After I’m done at the gym I swing by a few homes or a floor of an apartment building and get some donations. My income slowed down since I wasn’t as desperate for cash as I was the first time I did this, but barring any extreme misfortunes I am on pace to pay back my rent even without the bust. I’m still gonna do it though. It seems like a good place to test myself, see how I do in an actual combat situation and not just a single drug dealer.

    As preparation, I set up an account at the library. I was hesitant to do this, since in some versions of the DC universe Barbara Gordon, a.k.a. Batgirl, ran the library or at least worked there. The draw of their computers won me over though. I needed to research the docks, since a ‘shipment’ kind of implies that whatever Penguin wants is coming by boat. I found 3 locations that I think could work so far. It was originally 5 but I found out two of them have been cordoned off with police tape, something about murder investigations. Fuck this city, by the way. I should totally move to some quiet suburb when I’m done with these tasks.

    While I was going through my Gym, Charity, Research routine I also made sure to gather some proper clothes for enthusiastic walks at night. Since it’s October I swung by a store and grabbed a couple costumes. Mix ‘em together, and you get a medieval knight wearing a Superman mask over his balaclava. The knight costume wasn’t the most mobile, so I broke a couple parts off to keep my full range of motion. I couldn’t resist wearing armor like an actual witcher, even if the armor is not real. The Superman mask? Just a bit of fun. Maybe I’ll get a laugh out of the goons I’m going to assault with my demon-given powers.

    Tomorrow is the day I go through with it anyway, so I should try and get a good rest leading up to it. Before I lay down and sleep I shoot off a prayer to my favourite hellspawn, just in case. ‘Hail Astaroth, may he let my strikes hit true, and curse my foes, so their days are few.’ A simple prayer, I decided to make it rhyme because it seemed like something he’d appreciate. Time to pass out, and tomorrow, we’ll see if he feels like helping me do this.

    — — — — —

    I decide to go to the gym regardless of if I’m doing something of dubious legality later. The reason for this choice is because through my repeated beatings lessons I’ve learned that the witcher's metabolism, the shit that lets Geralt eat some bread and completely heal, is here with me too. I can take the bruises that Thor gives me, because they don’t last for longer than a couple hours. Which is good, because if he saw a bruise he just gave me start clearing up 5 minutes after he hit me, that would be more than a little suspicious.

    After finishing my spar and fishing for info in the locker rooms, I do prep for the mission. I check my costume first, all the pieces are there, good. I open my nightstand, and look at the only weapon still there after my first night. Do I bring my revolver? I’ve made enough mistakes since coming here that I don’t want to make another by tempting myself with the gun, but at the same time, my durability is heavily dependent on Quen. If two guys line up and start shooting at me, I’m fucked. A gun saves me from that situation. Hum, I think I have to take it. I’ve made enough mistakes since coming here that if I fuck up in something this important, I need something to help me out of it. Okay, I got plenty of time before the shipment shows up, I think. It is still daytime, and this is a comic book world right? Criminals don’t exist during the day. Let’s go find a clear area in the docks, I’ll wait there.

    I found a nice spot on top of an abandoned warehouse. It was a little scary getting up here, what with the walkways and ladders being in complete disrepair, but it was a damn good spot. I can even see one of the docks I marked as a potential offload point from here. Let’s throw the costume on and see if they show up.

    They didn’t choose this one did they.

    Fuck. Okay, I planned for this! Next one is about a 15 minute sprint in this direction! Go go go!

    I get to my second choice, and thank the divine devil, they’re here. How do I know they’re goons-4-hire? The two dudes sitting on top of a shipping container off to the side of the whole operation, with their guns on full display. One guy has some gun I can’t place, the other has a Thompson. Ok, those guys are my first priority. Not only are they the ones with the most firepower, based on the information I overheard in the gym, they likely have all the money as well. I sneak around to a few different angles, and count everyone that I see here, coming up to 12 guys, plus the two ‘supervisors’.

    ‘This is a lot… No, no. I can do it. Don’t doubt yourself. You are a witcher, not only that. You have 4 more tasks ahead of you. Be better, so you can complete them.’

    After I finish with my self pep-talk, I find a good location, and wait for the perfect moment to spring into action. It comes quicker than I thought it would, as it seems a couple of the guys fucked up and put a cargo box down a bit too roughly. Supervisor… Thompson, yeah, let's call him that. Supervisor Thompson left to go make sure nothing was damaged and to presumably chew the guys out, and I saw my chance to take care of Supervisor Nameless SMG.

    Nameless SMG was perched on top of the shipping container, seemingly captivated by watching his fellow supervisor scold the workers. I climbed up behind him, and placed him in a chokehold. Thor teaches people to fight a bit dirty after all, he isn’t strict on keeping the art of boxing pure. Once Mr. Nameless SMG stops struggling, I take his gun and gently lower it behind the container in case I take too long and he wakes back up.

    With one of the Gun Guys out of the way, I decide to make a good first impression in the hopes of scaring a few of the guys away. I’m no Batman, I’m not skilled enough to take down 14 guys without being spotted. I cast Quen, and run straight at Supervisor Thompson. He notices me a bit too late.

    “What the fu-” I knock his lights out, and the guys he was yelling at took a couple steps back, startled, before catching their bearings. I see them stance up and confirm that yes, the gym I go to is where Gothams generally thugs and cheap ne'er-do-wells learn to fight. Well, I’ve had plenty of practice fighting Thor, to the point where I could beat these guys without my signs, but I did say I wanted to make an impression.

    I throw my hand in front of me, Aard, and blast the two backwards. They land on the crate they just unloaded. Out the corner of my eye, I see my plan work somewhat well, a couple guys taking off at the sign of anything beyond human capability. Supervisors out, plus the two I’ve hit with Aard and the two that fled. 8 left.

    Four of them surround me, boxing me in and hoping that will help. I won’t let it. I choose the guy standing behind to the left, #3. I turn and leap towards him, throwing a Superman punch in honor of my mask. He goes down, but he isn’t out yet. I turn back just in time to duck a wild swing by #2. A quick shot to the gut followed by an uppercut and he’s out for good. #3 is about to get back up, a quick kick fixes that. #1 seems to have picked up one of the crowbars they were using here. He swings once, swings twice, and I pull my fist back, letting the third crash harmlessly against the barrier made by Quen. I strike true, and that just leaves #4.

    I look back by where he was, but he seemed to have left? Where would he- oh shit!

    I dive for cover behind a wooden shipping box, barely dodging the spray of gunfire #4 let loose with Mr. Thompsons Thompson. Fuck, that was going so well! He shot a burst of gunfire at the box itself, some hit whatever was inside, but one went straight through and barely missed my arm. I don’t hear him moving any closer, and against that type of gun, I wouldn't get two steps before he pops my Quen and fills me with lead. I still cast it though, for what I’m about to do is kind of risky. I take out the revolver I hid in the back of my costume. I take a deep breath, and I peek around the side.

    I try to line a shot up with the gun, simply wanting to knock it out of his hands and miss, but not by much. My bullet finds itself in the forearm, and in his pain he drops the gun. Seeing the opportunity I rush him and land a solid hit on his jaw. He goes down and I kick him a couple times to make sure he’s staying that way. #4 down. I look around and see everyone else has fled. Not a bad showing, for my first try at this sort of thing. I crack a smile underneath my mask, and get looting.

    The two supervisors didn’t have any more than the other guys. Which is a bit of a letdown honestly. But I still took out 8 guys all on my own. That’s $1600 made just tonight. Already higher than what I needed to pay the rent, and it’s all mine. Euphoric. At least, it was. Until I heard a thump behind me.

    I spin around, revealing a caped crusader. Thankfully not THE caped crusader, but still terrifying, for what I am. That being an inexperienced Witcher/Villain combo that just finished his first fight by shooting a guy.

    We stare at each other. I think he’s having a mental lapse because of my mask. One of us should say something. I guess that’ll be me.

    “So, you having a nice night?” Brain, what were you thinking? He just saw you shoot someone. Probably. Did he?

    “Not as nice as yours, looks like. Never seen you before, what’s your name?” He said, instead of accusing me of being evil. Good, seems like he didn’t see it. Wait, my name? Fuck, I need to choose a name! Alright brain, sorry for being a little rude earlier, but I need you to come through for me!

    “Super Knight.” Fuck you Brain! That’s not even clever! That’s just what you get by mixing the costumes I bought together!

    “So, ‘Super Knight’... want to tell me why you shot that guy?” And he saw, wonderful. Well, here goes nothing.

    I wave my hand in front of me, making the sign for Axii, “The second amendment allows the right to bear arms, and that amendment states that self-defense using guns is legal. Thank you for checking in, I’ll be leaving the rest to you.” I turn and begin walking briskly, before a fucking R shaped projectile flies by my face. I slowly turn back towards him, reluctant to get my ass beat in a thrift store costume while being known as ‘Super Knight.’

    “Clever trick, I don’t know what you just did to me, but you’ll never get to do it again after tonight.” Ah fuck, he made a heroic statement.

    Faster than I thought any normal person could move, he closes the distance and begins something that doesn’t deserve to be called a slaughter, for it was worse. He hit everything. Every time I got a chance to use Quen he just blew through it before I could do anything. When I thought I could counter he just took the offending limb and used it as leverage. I thought this would be the end until he went for a choke similar to the one I used on the first Supervisor. I brought my hand up and angled it behind my head, and used a new sign.

    Igni, and flame washed over him. He let go and I spun around, only to find him on the ground, attempting to smother the flames on his head with his own cape. I guess Edna Mode was a little wrong, they can be useful.

    Regardless, I take my leg and kick him in the skull. He falls, but I don’t think he’s out yet. I pull the cape off his head and see that I’ve made a little mistake, because he is definitely going to have some burn scars. Fuck. If Batman was gonna put me behind bars before, he’s absolutely going to be hunting me now. Guess who has a new costume to retire! It’s for the best, Super Knight was doomed to fail the moment I named him.

    A groan knocks me out of my panic. I take another look at the boy wonder, and I decide that he’s probably not in good enough shape to chase me. I make sure I have my money and gun, and I book it. Never going to go back there unless it’s the end of the world. Which for me, might not be too far away anymore.

    — — — — —

    The lights in the medbay make a stark contrast to the atmosphere of the rest of the cave, Barb-no, Batgirl, notes.

    “How is he.” A gruff voice sounds out behind her.

    “Seems to be doing better, he will be left with a scar or two, but no permanent damage done. He should be good to continue after a day or two of rest thanks to the concussion he received at the end of the fight.” He grunts in acknowledgement of her diagnosis.

    “Speaking of, report. Who was that he found in the docks that night.” She stands up.

    “This’ll be better to give at the computer, come on.” She steps out, and doesn’t even hear his footsteps follow her. The only sign she has that he is following is that she heard him close the door behind her.

    Sitting down in front of the computer, she begins the report. “Subject ID; Super Knight. Robin only caught the tail end of the fight, but this is what he saw. I’ll let you watch the video before I continue the report.” She presses play on the recording taken by their body cameras.

    As the video plays she sometimes hears him grunt when Robin lands a hit or our perp tries to put his barrier up again.. Why he’s grunting she has no clue. She may be getting trained by the world’s greatest detective, but deciphering his grunts is impossible for even those capable of reading minds.The video ends and so she brings up the next page, freeze frames of the time the perp uses his… magic? She knows he doesn’t like that word but it is the most applicable.

    “Throughout the video we saw him try three separate types of magic,” He grunts, and she’s pretty sure it was a disdainful one, “the first, is this one.” A picture of a white symbol pops up.

    “This he used at the start of the encounter, and after using it attempted to make Robin believe that using a gun to rob a Villains backroom deal was legal due to the second amendment.”

    “I see, next, the yellow one.”

    “This,” she brings up the next image, “was used throughout the fight. He seemed to be relying on its one hit protection to give himself a chance to fight back. It never worked.”

    He grunts again. She moves on.

    A red symbol appears, “He only used this once once as well, as you saw. To get out of the chokehold he used this to blind Robin with flames. Robin was unprepared, and so it worked. Our villain won today.”

    “He has not won. His rest is temporary. We will find him, and bring him to justice. The white symbol appears to have properties of mind manipulation, given his ludicrous attempt at escaping Robin at the beginning of the fight. Search through social media for anything indicative of that. Also look into apartment buildings, he could likely convince a landlord or building manager that a room has broken down just so he may live in it. Bring me a list of anything that could fit that criteria. I will search as well. We will find him. Someone with a power like this cannot be allowed to walk free, he could cause untold damage with just that ability, given enough time.” And there it is. He never says much, until it’s time for orders. I get it though, and I’m fine with it. After all, I want revenge for Tim-no, Robin as much as he does.

    “Also,” oh he’s not done yet, “thank you for remembering to only use code names while inside the cave. It is a good habit to build.” Ah, that’s what it was.

    “No problem, Batman. Now let’s get to work.”

    E — N — D

    This one took a little bit longer, and I blame God of War. I mean seriously, that game is incredible. 10/10 would recommend. Any way, next one will probably take a bit longer, given that I am seriously addicted to that game. Just felt that I should get this one out before I go and grind through the rest of the game. Thanks for reading guys. Also hope you liked the fight scene! I tried to make it work.
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2022
  12. DavidTorpid

    DavidTorpid Getting some practice in, huh?

    Mar 26, 2021
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    I would rather eat my own leg then read a villain story what a waste of my time put that shit in the tags
    MacShimi likes this.
  13. The_Great_NPC

    The_Great_NPC Getting out there.

    Aug 8, 2022
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    lmao bro thought it was pretty obvious what I was going for when I had my guy kill someone in the first chapter. not like this was a plot twist 50k words in. Fair enough though, ill get around to it.
  14. PepeTheFrog

    PepeTheFrog Not too sore, are you?

    May 8, 2021
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    That sounds like a you problem. This shit is hilarious.
    Darcksage, Azura, NerosDay and 10 others like this.
  15. The_Great_NPC

    The_Great_NPC Getting out there.

    Aug 8, 2022
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    Thanks! Glad you enjoy it!
  16. Threadmarks: Chaper 4 - One giant leap...

    The_Great_NPC Getting out there.

    Aug 8, 2022
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    Here’s chapter 4! I finally 100% completed God of War so I got around to finishing this. I am going to work on trying to make the chapters a little longer since I didn’t know if 3k was good or not. It’s what I can reasonably belt out in a single sitting, or put together over the course of a day while I hop between games/shows. Here’s a 4k one for you, enjoy.
    — — —

    Chapter 4 - One giant leap…

    I get back to my apartment and offload the cash onto the couch beside where I currently am moping. Nothing quite like burning Robin's eyes out to ensure I’m seen as a villain. Couldn’t bring myself to kill him either so Batman definitely knows. I need to get a failsafe ready. A ‘plan D’ just in case my first plan fails and my panicked flailing can’t salvage what’s left. The issue is that in order to do so, I need to plan around Batman. I may not have been the most avid reader of his comics, but I remember hearing he tracked down an ultra secret society that removed his memories of finding them, and then he just found them again. Twice. If that is the guy I’m up against, I’m well and truly boned.

    Well, I could try blackmail. I know his identity, and if I can see if Nightwing is alive then I know his. If Nightwing is then that means I got a solid 50% chance of guessing right on the Robin. For Barbara I can just look up Batgirl and see if that exists yet. Making people believe me would be difficult, but this is just step one of what I am going to call my worst plan yet. I’ll need to pay rent first though, and get myself a phone or computer. Wouldn’t want to see Barbara looking over my shoulder while I research everyone she works with. If she even works at the library.

    Those all come tomorrow though, so I start getting ready for bed, brushing my teeth, still not exactly pleased that my best plan to hold off the bat-family is to blackmail them with their identities. Who knows, maybe tomorrow my brain will kick into gear and come up with something useful.

    — — — — —

    As I get ready for a rousing day of villainy, I remember my outstanding rent. There is still time to pay it off, but best get it out of the way before I forget. Wouldn’t want to try brainwashing Ms. Chen into a fourth month of delays, she’d probably snap out of it and beat me worse than Robin.

    She seemed surprised to see me, even more surprised when I had the money. I guess she was preparing herself to kick me out for real after my two weeks were up. But jokes on her, here’s all my hard earned cash! I leave pretty quickly, still unsure if Axii would let keep a full conversation with her and not have her catch on to what I did in our first meeting, and with a burning need to get started on my blackmail collection.

    Getting a phone plan in Gotham was easier than I thought, which is to say it was normal. Though it wasn’t Apple and Android dominating the markets but WayneTech and LexCorp. I ultimately decided to get a WayneTech phone because I figure a hero wouldn’t program a backdoor or some bullshit into their phone's operating system. He still might, but at least with Wayne, it’s only a chance, not a guarantee. I play around on my newfound phone, and download some apps that’ll probably be important. Got the social medias, that’s your Twitter, Reddit, couldn’t bring myself to download FaceBook, doubt anything on there would be important enough to warrant the mental damage. I also got this dimension exclusive app, HeroWatch. Someone made it as a way to document Hero sightings. In reality, some villains probably set it up to see if they were safe to do their jobs without Batman or Supes dropping in on them. Regardless, very useful.

    I also got a laptop while I was there, WayneTech too, for the same reason. Once I get back to my apartment, well, I guess it’s my home, I should call it that. Once I get home, I boot it up, and I nearly search up Super Knight. I was three quarters through typing it before I realized the only person that saw me was Robin, and no one in their group would have decided to post about that fight online. If I went through with the search, the only thing that would’ve happened is me throwing a neon sign above my head screaming ‘come get me!’

    I beat myself up about that near mistake, but then I think that past me would totally search that up, and see no issues about it whatsoever. So really, it’s a win. A sign that I am growing more competent, even if at a snail’s pace.

    But I digress, back to my search. Let’s get the easy one out of the way.

    ‘Gotham City Library Staff’ Yup, Barbara’s there. Lucky me that I avoided her. The less encounters I have with the cave-dwellers the better.

    ‘Dick Grayson’ I can now confirm that he is real, and it seems that he is in… Bludhaven! Wonderful. That’s one I can ignore entirely. It’s wonderful for something to not be your problem. Now who was the next one again? Uhhh, I think it was…

    ‘Jason Todd’ … Fuck, he’s dead eh. Well, at least I know it doesn’t stick. Doesn’t make good blackmail though. ‘Hey Batman, I know the name of the Robin that died!’ Yeah, I’d get my shit rocked so hard I’d be sent back through whatever Astaroth used to bring me here. Now, this is where my knowledge gets spotty. Was the next one…

    ‘Tim Wayne’ Pulls up nothing. Did I get that right? No I think it was…

    ‘Damian Wayne’ Doesn’t exist. But that doesn’t make sense, there’s a Robin, and Jason is dead. C’mon, you know this! It totally starts with Tim.

    ‘Tim Drake’ Aha! Oh no, he goes to middle school. I burned a child. Yeah he’s in his last year but what does that matter? I still don’t even know if I left him with his sight. Well, bury those emotions! We can feel them never. Just, place this in the secret identity folder cleverly disguised as ‘Porn’. No one will see through that grand trick. One thing I will do, now that all that is done, is look up ‘New Hero/Villain’ posts. There were Penguin workers that escaped me, and presumably got away before Robin decided to use me as a punching bag.

    Nothing. I got some good luck left in me after all. Wouldn’t want my first costume being the one I become most well-known by. Speaking of, let’s get looking for some upgrades. A better mask would be a good start. Something reminiscent of the Witcher franchise… Here we go! A Dire Wolf full helm, made of steel and leather. Priced at around $300, but well worth it. I still have a few hundred left over from my charity work plus the attack on Penguin’s men, but I’ll save that in case of emergencies. My cheap halloween knight outfit can still work for now, I’ll upgrade into working armor once I get another nest egg saved up. Okay, that will arrive in 3 days. Until then, let’s get back to the gym and keep building good habits.

    — — — — —

    Even though Thor keeps sparring with me and I see the improvements there, I know that it will mean nothing to anyone else that dresses up in the night. Bat-crew can fuck me up easily, Robin established that. I know Deathstroke and Deadshot are in town sometimes, there is nothing I can do to them either. I think there’s some secret society who has foot soldiers capable of beating me like a drum. So even though Thor is a good trainer, I need something more. Something to give me an edge. Right now, my edge is my witcher signs. I can assume Batman has seen all but Yrden, so that’s my failsafe for a fight with him at the moment. After he forces me to use it though, what then?

    Where would I even get this mystery training? I doubt there’s just some retired swordplay or krav maga specialist just waiting for me to turn up, I haven’t been that lucky in my time here. Even if I found them I’d need something to convince them to train me. That means doing jobs for cash and risking running into the old Caped Crusader anyway. Fuck, let’s do some anyway. I can’t live in fear, and the more resources I have the better.

    I leave the gym, recognizing that I won’t find another guy just talking about being hired muscle any time soon, and that I should try and take a proactive approach to my villainy if I actually want to profit. Bank robbery is a bit outside my purview, so let’s take it a step lower and go for general theft. There are a few things I’ll need to do before I find a place to steal from though. First is to find a fence. I can’t rely on everyone in the crime capital to leave their money laying around their home, so I’m stealing goods, not currency, though any money I find would be appreciated. The second is to find a good place to stash the shit. Call me paranoid, but if Batsy tracks me down to my apartment and it happens to be filled with stolen goods? Yeah, not letting that happen. While I’m at it, maybe instead of a run today, I’ll try parkour? It’s probably a good skill to have if I'm up against him.

    — — — — —

    I leap off this building, landing gracefully on the other, a true genius in the art of parkour.

    Is what I’d say, if I didn’t slam face first into the edge of the roof and plummet into the alley. Note to self, jump further. I try to stand back up but a sharp pain in my leg stops me. I look at it, and yeah, that looks a bit off. I don’t think my leg is supposed to bend that far…

    I drag my back against the wall, whimpering every time my leg has to make a movement, and cry at the irony of the situation. I have supernatural regeneration, so I can’t go to a hospital without outing myself, but it takes too long, so I’m stuck here with a broken leg because my dumbass wanted to leap roof to roof like in the comics and tv shows. A real class act, I am.

    Wallowing in my misery, my senses pick up the woman approaching me before I notice her coming down the alley. I looked up, expecting to see someone opportunistic trying to mug me, but no, it was some old woman. Well, not that old, she is walking steadily. She does have gray hair though. She starts speaking to me.

    “That looks a bit rough there, would you mind if I have a look at it?” She points at my leg, and after a bit of thinking, I nod. She might be a doctor, I might get outed, but hey. I’m a villain, I can hit back if that happens. Also this pain is really getting to me. If this will help it stop hurting, then by all means.

    “Okay, this’ll hurt a little.” Wait, wha- Ow! Fuck! Did she just poke it?! Bitch we both know it’s broken!

    “Ooh yeah that’s bad. Don’t go anywhere, I’ll be back with a wheelchair in a bit.” She ignores the agony she afflicted me with. I just nod because I don’t trust my voice will sound anything but whiny at the moment. She leaves, and I try to mentally prepare for being moved into a wheelchair. I should’ve asked her to bring some food too, though, actually, that’d be weird to ask for if you don’t know that kicks my healing factor into overdrive.

    She returns, and I do not let out whimpers and whines as we move my body onto the wheelchair, I am a stoic man, who took that pain like a champ! She tells me where we’re going, some clinic in East End, which I also just learned isn’t too far from where my apartment is. I live just outside of it, in what she called ‘a decent enough area’. We get into her clinic and she does some examinations, then asks what happened out there to cause that injury. I think she was expecting me to say a mugging or an overdue payment with some mob family, because when I tell her I just really wanted to try parkour I can visibly see her shock followed by indignation.

    “So let me get this straight. You, an untrained man, who probably couldn’t even hop a fence,” Wow, rude… Also accurate. “Decided that, Hey! Let’s go jump from building to building! Nothing could go wrong right? I know how to gauge distances, and land properly! Seriously, who tries to land from that fall feet first…”

    “How’d you know I landed fee-”

    “How else would your leg bend that way!” Well, she seems pretty upset at my failed attempt, let's be a slight bit more prepared next time around. Also far away from her so she doesn’t kill me if I fuck up again. Whatever, let’s just see if I can get some snacks or drinks so I can speed up this recovery time.

    “Sorry, but would you happen to have any snacks or drinks I could get?”

    “What, break your leg and raid my kitchen was your plan this evening? Is water fine?”

    “Yeah, that’d be great.” Now, to escape before she notices the enhanced healing. What’s my best plan…

    “Here.” she hands me one of those paper water cups, ah, filled with cold water too, refreshing.

    “Now, this clinic has a strict no-violence rule, and a strict confidentiality rule. I’m telling you this so you can take solace not only in the fact that I can’t tell anyone how you broke your leg, but also in that I can’t tell anyone you’re a metahuman.” I damn near choke on the water, how’d she know?

    “A lot of the examinations I performed gave back odd readings indicating something unique with your body, so I took a blood test. You really didn’t question why I took blood for a broken leg?” No, no I didn’t.

    “I trust the doctor to know best, but at least you’ve taught me to pay attention to my medical professionals now.” She hands over another paper cup of cold water, seeing that I finished the one I had. I chug it.

    “Is the water or food necessary for you somehow? Sorry to pry, but I don’t get many people like you in this clinic.” Should I tell her? I guess there’s no harm, given the whole confidentiality thing. If she was lying about that someone would’ve done something about her by now.

    “Necessary? No. It does boost the speed at which I heal from wounds though. I’d bet if you check my leg now you’ll see it slowly setting itself back into place while making the bruises fade.” She hums, and decides to gently roll up the leg of my pants. It’s doing what I described and so she nods.

    “You don’t see that everyday. Alright young man, since you seem to be healing so quickly, I’ll only keep you for 30 more minutes to an hour. Once I think you’re good to walk you can get out of here.” She nearly leaves before turning back, “Oh, that nifty healing power of yours might give you ideas to go fight crime, or deal in it. Don’t follow those thoughts. I’ve seen what they can do to people. Give up on your dreams of going roof to roof beating on your enemies. Stay safe.”

    She leaves me with her words, and I wish I had that choice, I do. But I took a devil’s deal, so I gotta keep playing this game. I end up well enough to leave in twenty minutes, even if my leg is still aching, so I leave before she checks back in. I get home and sit down. This trip was overall a terrible experience, but at least I know of a clinic that can keep secrets. I’ll visit her if I ever get shot, even though it’ll vastly disappoint her.

    — — — — —

    I decide to forgo my dreams of building hopping for the time being, and look into finding a fence to sell my stolen good. I didn’t know how to look one up online safely, so I didn’t bother. There was one thing I remember about the Batman franchise, and in particular, the Penguin, that comes to mind. His ‘Iceberg Lounge’. If I could find someone willing to take stolen goods off me, they’d be there. Let’s look it up.

    The first result of my search is that it’s shut down. Wonderful. Why, you ask? Well, it seems that Oswald finally got caught for Arms Dealing by Bruce. So there goes that option. The article says it should reopen in a couple weeks 'under new management' though. Hmm, if I keep using Axii for charity money for now while stealing shit at night, I should be able to coast by until I find my guy and get a good payday then. Yeah, that should work out fine. Now I just have to choose my first target.

    I’m thinking that something of undeniable value would be a good thing to open with, but what would that be? Come to think of it, isn’t there a museum in this city? Yep, there is. Open 9-5 everyday except Sunday, where it’s closed. At least it’ll be easy to scout. I scroll through some the images they have on their site promoting it, and I spot the fucking Starry Night painting. That’s here!? In Gotham!? That’s just asking to be stolen. Now, I have two choices, to go in at the dead of night and risk Batman, or go in during the day and try to Axii my way through all my problems.

    I’ve experienced Axii failing me twice, and once it was on a normal drug dealer, so that option isn’t very appealing. Especially since going in during the day means not wearing my fancy new Wolf Helm. If it fails then everyone there will know what I look like, and the power I attempted to use. May as well deliver myself to the Batcave in that scenario. If I do a good enough job in the preparation phase of my heist I should be able to avoid alerting Brucie entirely, leaving him to terrify people much worse than me.

    Yeah. That’s a good plan. Let’s look into security on the building. Let’s see if they have any job postings. The ‘apply now’ doesn’t have Overnight Security as a choice so I guess they hire a company to handle that for them. Unfortunate, given that it would be really easy to see the criteria they hire with, and what I’d need to prepare for. Like if the guards need a gun license for the position. I’ll just assume yes, and prepare accordingly. What are my preparations on dealing with someone with a gun? Don’t let them see me. Next question.

    If I want to rob the place, I’ll need a layout of the building. However, it seems the owners of the museum also understand that fact, and have taken it offline. Shame. Time to do it the old fashioned way, and scout it out in person. How much did the site say admission was? $20? Yeah, a fine enough price to pay. I’ll make it back after all.

    It takes me a 20 minute ride on Gotham’s finest buses to get to the ‘Gotham Museum of Antiques’ which is a thoroughly bland name. Like yeah, no shit. This museum has old stuff in it. That’s why it's a museum.

    Paying the toll, I enter and head towards the paintings, while trying to commit the layout to memory. I find a surprising amount of cool shit, like something called the ‘Ace of Winchesters’, a gun said to kill demons. Might grab that myself.

    I feel my body start to heat up at that thought, and I realize my patron might not be happy with that idea.

    ‘Not for you! In case there’s others!’ I cry out mentally, he should be able to hear me since he was listening to my inner monologue. My plea seems to have been heard, as the heat washes away. That’s close enough to approval for me to add stealing the rifle to my list. Also confirmation that it works. I don’t see anything else that catches my eye except for a glass eye supposedly belonging to William Kidd, a famous pirate. May as well take that too, it’ll fit in my pocket so it won’t even be a burden to the plan. Though that’s assuming I can learn how to remove that glass covering it’s placed inside…

    Eh, I’ll figure it out. Maybe go to the library and search up how to do it. If I get caught I’ll just say I’m a criminal law student trying to get into the minds of felons. I see no issues. Now, time to find an entry point. The front door is inaccessible. For obvious reasons. I’ve just checked the restrooms. The male ones. There was no fancy tiny window for me to contort my body through. Fire escapes don’t open from the outside. I keep thinking, and searching, yet nothing is coming to mind. My parkour adventure proved that trying to enter from the skylight would get me killed instead of being a safe way in and out.

    I keep thinking myself in circles, until I realize that if there is no good way in or out, then I can just make one. I look around for cameras before doing this though, since I don’t want to be noticed doing this. A couple fire exits are off camera. All the fire alarms are in clear view of a camera though, but I have a tool that gets around that. I enter the nearest men’s restroom and wait for my scapegoat to come in. I let him finish what he had to do, I am polite after all, and when he finishes washing his hands, I hit him with Axii.

    “You will go pull the fire alarm discreetly. You think it will be funny.” Step one com-

    “What’s discreetly mean?..” Ugh, I really chose the dumbest person in Gotham for this. What’s he even doing in a museum?

    “Go pull the fire alarm and be sneaky about it. It will be funny.” He goes to do what I said. Good, step one, complete. I wait until I hear it ring and start a timer on my phone. Then wait a few moments longer, and start moving towards a fire exit off the cameras. When I get there, I open it, and praise be, no one’s here. I took this chance because this one was close enough to the entrance to be ignored, but not close enough to be seen from the entrance. With it being just me and a door that only opens from the inside, I vent my frustrations on it, and lay into it with Aard.

    The concussive force of my sign nearly breaks the door clean off its hinges, so I do it again. The bottom hinge breaks. I do it again, and the door comes off. There was some noise, but the gaggle of people panicking and the alarm seems to be drowning them out. I grab the door, and haul it back into its original position. If you inspect it closely, it’s very clear that the door is busted. So I’m hoping whoever gets sent here by the Gotham Fire Department slacks on the job a little bit. Maybe once they see there was no fire, and there was just a dumbass pulling the fire alarm because he thought it’d be funny. It doesn’t even matter if he remembers me, because who’s going to believe him? ‘Some dude in the shitter told me to do it’ won’t hold up in court. Though come to think of it, that is totally a crime I just set him up for. I didn’t even bat an eye. I really am turning into a good villain aren’t I.

    Once I finish, I pull out my phone and wait for the Fire Department to arrive. They got here in 3 minutes. The GCPD is a bit further away from here than these guys, so I’d say that I have maybe 4 minutes once I get spotted by the cameras, and whoever is manning them. I see the firemen get ready to storm in, only for a staff member to stop them and explain what happened. The fireman they explained the situation to said something to the others, and I saw them all relax a bit and clearly only go through the motions of checking the place for fires. I stay around to see if they fix the door, but as far as I can tell, it’s still as I left it.

    I have my plan, I have my entrance and exit. I just need my new helm to arrive, and get a place to hide all my shit. Wait. How am I getting it from point A to point B? Fuck me I forgot transport! I don’t have too much saved up anymore, especially not enough for a fucking vehicle. God damnit. Let’s just get home and I’ll figure the rest out later.

    E — N — D

    So yeah, chapter 4 is here. No action scenes this time. Felt it would be out of character for him to go pick a fight after getting his ass handed to him by Tim. I did want him to lean more into criminal activity though, and now with a taste of the money he can earn by going out at night, of course he’d choose theft. I wanted to set up what felt like a solid plan, and then at the end I forgot about transportation, and since this a self insert, so did he. Hope you liked my plan, and see yall next time.
  17. SkinnyP

    SkinnyP In need of a hug

    Sep 8, 2021
    Likes Received:
    You're a pretty toxic dude for someone who only reads hero stories.

    On the story: Thanks for the chapters! So far, this has proven to be extremely entertaining. In all my years reading SI fanfiction, I can confidently say your MC has made the worst starting decisions of any self-insert I have ever read. He went from straight murdering a random guy having an argument with a woman to robbing a major villains illegal deal (one that he knew was most likely going to be hit by the bat family). He then tries to use his underpowered mind manipulation power on Batman's kid. What's next? Is he going to try to rob a bank in Metropolis? His demonstrated problem-solving skills level much to be desired. The demon Asteroth must be having an absolute blast watching this goof ball.

    As a side note, what is a superman mask? Is it just a white guy's face?
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2022
  18. The_Great_NPC

    The_Great_NPC Getting out there.

    Aug 8, 2022
    Likes Received:
    Lmao when summarized it really drives home how poor this man's decision making is. As for the mask, yeah, exactly what you're imagining. I figure for the DC universe a mask of a smiling black haired dude is fairly recognizable. Thanks for the compliment btw!
  19. Threadmarks: Chapter 5 = All according to keikaku...

    The_Great_NPC Getting out there.

    Aug 8, 2022
    Likes Received:
    Chapter 5 - All according to keikaku…

    — — — — —

    No matter how hard I try, getting an affordable car with no questions asked in three days is impossible with what I have on hand. I am not going to rent a car and risk it being tied back to me during the heist, no matter how appealing the renting process is compared to my current struggle.

    Really, the only option I have left if I’m going through with this is to just steal the damn thing and add it to my list of crimes. Doing it before the robbery risks it being found, so it’ll be just before the job that I go steal one. I don’t want police looking for a bar thief near the museum, so I’ll have to steal it a pretty good distance away from there. Alright, okay. That’s doable.

    Just to make sure my plan isn’t compromised before showing up at night in a stolen vehicle, I’ll go to the museum everyday leading up to my big reveal. My first true crime. I debated counting my first outing where I met Robin, but that was ‘Super Knights’ debut. Not mine. Which means I should choose my name for the next time I run into a hero. Don’t want to ruin my fancy new wolf helmet with a name like ‘Spot’ or ‘The Big Bad Wolf’. It needs to be cool, not too many syllables, and fit with my theme. Maybe Fenrir? Nah that’s far too ambitious for me.

    I think I have it. I remember a Greek myth about a king, Lycaon, who decided to test Zeus’s omniscience by feeding his son to Zeus. Appalled at the act, Zeus turned him into a wolf and killed his offspring before bringing Lycaon's son back to life. I’m not planning to feed Batman any of his orphans, but it seems fitting. My misdeeds have turned me into a ‘Wolfman’. Which would’ve probably been an acceptable name to him.

    I finally have my identities set in stone. During the day, I’ll be Bruce Strong, the guy who didn’t pay rent for three and a half months, with a job I tell no one about. At night, I’ll be Lycaon, a (hopefully) small-time villain with mystical powers. Good. Now, back to the routine.

    — — — — —

    It’s the day of the heist now, and I feel nervous, but more than that, excited. As I left the gym that day, I felt my phone buzz in my pocket. Turns out the Herowatch app has push notifications. It also means the Justice League will be busy with an ‘Invasion’ happening somewhere in Asia. That’s literally all the info the app has given me. Don’t know how long that’ll take, but it seems Lady Luck is smiling down on me. No Batman to ruin me. His sidekicks will still be here, but I beat Robin. I can’t imagine Batgirl being that much better than him either. Besides, I’ve improved a bit. I can weave between punches now.

    I don’t actually spend much time doing anything besides waiting today, trying to calm my nerves so I don’t categorically fuck up later. My helm arrived, and everything is ready. I pocketed the keys to a car off my neighbor earlier, I know there were probably better choices to steal a car, but really, how do you choose those options when you can’t hotwire for shit.

    As the time for the heist grows closer, I put my costume into my duffel bag, plus grab a few extras. I got myself a bag for skis to place the rifle in so I don't have to run away holding it awkwardly. I briefly considered getting a pizza box large enough to hide the painting but there wasn’t one in proper size, and that only would’ve made me stand out more, bringing a pizza box to a museum and all. I also finally picked up a holster for my revolver, as well as ammunition so I’m not stuck with just 5 bullets until the end of time.

    As a side note, the gun stores here really just sell to anyone. They didn’t check for a license or anything, is that how things are done in the U.S.? Or is it just Gotham?

    Regardless, I’ve prepared as much as I could. My best foot has been put forward, and it’s time to see the results. Let’s go steal some shit.

    I hop into my neighbor's car. The gun-toting one. He keeps his beat up Toyota pretty clean on the inside, thankfully. I flick on the radio, which is currently playing some interview with Wonder Woman about WW1. It was interesting to listen to, even if I have no doubt she kept a lot about it to herself.

    I get to where I’m ‘hiding’ my vehicle while I go in, which is just the closest Car Park. Only a couple minutes between here and the museum. I could park it closer, or hide it in some alley, but why bother. They probably take note of vehicles placed down the road of a place being robbed. They absolutely wouldn’t bother checking a parking garage for getaway vehicles, because you’re going to find plenty of potential ones.

    I walk down the streets and alleys of Gotham, letting the cool air wash over me. I don’t hear anything in the distance, even with my enhanced senses. A quiet night means the Batfamily aren’t close to me, but that they also aren’t busy. I find a secluded enough spot in an alley, and change into my costume. I threw my duffel bag into the nearby dumpster afterwards. At this point in the night, I hope the homeless in Gotham are done scavenging. If they aren’t, then I guess I might lose my clothes and have to go back home in costume.

    Okay, this is the moment of truth. I approach the museum from the side, where I left my entrance, which still hasn’t been seen or fixed yet. Good.

    I grab the sides of the door, and shimmy it out of its position before gently laying it down. No alarm went off, which I attribute to the door being sufficiently damaged and not being put back perfectly into place.

    I enter, and take note of where the cameras will spot me. This is where I start moving quickly, not stealthily. I take a deep breath, and rush towards my main bounty first, which is also the furthest in, the Winchester of Aces. The gun I plan to add to my list of equipment.

    It was also being kept in a glass case like the eye, but after looking up how to get those off illegally, I decided it would be easier to just—

    I punch the glass, shattering it. I take the ski bag off my back and load the gun in. The alarm is blaring now, but hey, at least I know my timer has started. I turn to the next closest bounty, the Glass Eye of William Kidd. I break that one too, and man, the sound of glass breaking is so satisfying when you’re trying to break it. I threw the eye in the ski bag too. Now, the painting.

    I found it, and found my first complication of the night. They screw the frame into the wall. I mean, of course they do! Otherwise someone could just run in here and grab it, like me. Right now. Honestly, I have two things I came here for. Even if I leave now I still got 66% and that’s a passing grade. However, I. Want. The. Painting.

    I decided to first, test my might. I grabbed hold of the sides of the frame, and pulled as hard as I could. I mean really, I put my all into it. Every muscle in my body wanted that painting off the wall, and damn did it work. I yanked that painting so hard it had no choice but to give, I just wish it didn’t give all at once. I fell on my ass, painting in hand when of course, I saw a caped figure land a few feet away. Of course they get here now. I stand up, and face my foe. Not Robin this time, but Batgirl. Okay, I said I could do this earlier, so let’s try not to panic, yeah?

    She doesn’t seem to be one for talking, nearly shooting forward without saying a word. However, I have a dastardly trick in mind to deal with her.

    “Be careful, you attack me and I’m blocking with the painting. Wouldn’t want to get charged for property damage would you? Given that you are supposed to be a hero.” She stops for a second, forming a response.

    “Wha— You’re stealing the damn thing! You don’t call ripping it out of the wall property damage!?” She yells out in righteous indignation.

    “Of course that’s property damage. I, however, am a villain. Therefore I do not care.” I try to think up a battle plan based on what I think they know. They probably know Axii can make people more agreeable, but the daze is an unknown effect. Likewise, Yrden is entirely unknown. The others are pretty straightforward, so I should try and start the fight with them, and then use Axii to bail me out if that doesn’t work out well.

    My simplistic plan in mind, I lower the painting to the floor. Though, I should ask, just in case she feels generous or hell, even gloaty today.

    “How did you know I would be here anyway? I honestly thought my plan was quite genius.” She scoffs at that.

    “The police report on it said the guy only did it because someone told him to. Like how you tried to tell Robin how using a gun to attack an arms deal was a second amendment right. You remember that right? Before you nearly burned his face off?” Ah shit she’s getting angry. At least now I know I didn’t permanently cripple Robin, only temporarily. Also means I’m in for a rough fight.

    “Before we begin, can I get you to change the name on my file to Lycaon instead of Supe—Ah fuck!” She just cut me off with a batarang! The audacity!

    I’m prepared for the perfect movement now. Not really, but I am expecting it. I throw an Igni where she’s approaching to buy myself time to cast Quen. This was the first time I’ve been trying to use them in quick succession, so I learned something new. I can only use one every few seconds. Doesn’t sound like much. In a fight though? It’s far too long. I barely get the Quen up before she’s back in front of me. I know they know about this one, so I time my counter differently.

    Her first hit breaks the barrier, I feint a punch with my left and go for a nice, solid stomach punch. It doesn’t land, but I at least stop her from using my own punch against me like Robin did.

    She throws down a smoke bomb, and that’s when I remember that the bat-people are more than martial artists. They’re fucking ninjas. I take a batarang to the head, thankfully my helm blocks it, then a kick to the back of my leg sends me falling. I’m losing this fight pretty handedly. I know I have to use one of my last resorts, but I’m not happy about it.

    I can’t see her thanks to all the fucking smoke, so I have to use my last sign. I point my hand towards the ground, and cast Yrden. Six glowing purple sigils surround me in a hexagonal shape. I stand up, and see that my casting of Yrden got her to back off. Wary of the new sign? Yeah, that’s probably it.

    She’s staying out of my line of sight, but I know that she’s watching me. Which is really keeping me on edge. I remember playing the Batman games and seeing him take down groups of people from anywhere that wasn’t in front of them. If she was trained to do that too…

    I shiver. There’s not much for me to do but wait. Even though I know the police are on the way. I see Yrden flicker, about to drop. That’s when I decide to force the issue. I dive back towards the painting, and cast Yrden around it. I turn back and narrowly dodge the foot that came from above. The only reason I was able to do so is because of Yrden’s effect. It’s like she’s moving through water when inside it.

    I take my chance, and fight back. A punch to the chin, stop the counter. Kick her leg out, uppercut. I can actually fight back when she’s in the circle, this is amazing! She shoots the grapple at me from her spot on the floor. I dodge easily, before I realize she never wanted to hit me with it. She pulls herself out into safety, giving my head a knee on the way and knocking me down.

    I pulled myself off the floor, groaning, grabbing the painting while I’m there. I knew that even though I could win this fight if I forced the issue and got her in Yrden again, we wouldn’t be alone that long. It was time to fight for a way out. I saw her eyes narrow from where she pulled herself, across the room. She pulls something out from her belt, more smoke pellets? Yeah, not dealing with those.

    I keep my eye on her, but start running swiftly towards my exit. I see her start to give chase, before I hit her with an Axii. It does nothing but daze and gives me time. She snaps out of it once I get close enough to my fire exit that I can use Yrden to block it off Another roadblock to hopefully help me escape.

    As I get halfway between my exit and the street I feel Batarangs break a Quen shield I set up a few seconds earlier and nail my knee from behind. I curse as I eat the dirt. I turn back just in time to block a fist with my face.

    Unlike Robin, she doesn’t try and get me in a mount, knowing I’d just burn her or blow her away. With my senses I can see her focused on my hands and the direction they’re pointing. She stands back, mostly using kicks and batarangs to try and knock me unconscious. She is constantly moving in and out of Yrden’s range. I don’t really see a perfect way out of this one, so I do something a bit dumb.

    I sit up as fast as I can and throw my hand at her, she dodges, naturally. I wasn’t aiming for her though. My other hand is pointed at myself, at middle mass. I barely have time to get my other hand back on the painting before I blow myself backwards with Aard. I land… Somewhat gracefully?

    At least I’m back on my feet, even if I still didn’t escape her. I know that the next time I go down will be the last, so I really need to step it up. I see her palm smoke pellets again, so I cast Axii and get her to stand still for just a couple seconds.

    I run up, and grab her hand. I take the pellets from her and shove them in one of my pockets. Now with a solid grip. I try to start the fight anew by snapping her out of the daze with a punch. She catches it though, and this is when I truly realize just how ineffective Axii will be when repeatedly used on the same target.

    She tries to keep both my hands pointed away from her, but at this distance that’s a losing battle. I wrestle my one arm so that it points downwards, and cast Yrden. Her eyes widen and that’s how I know I’ve got her now. I crack a smile behind my mask, and start winning this fight. The severe disadvantage given by Yrden is enough to turn the tables, punches when thrown underwater have next to no power compared to their overworld counterpart.

    I don’t even bother blocking the hits anymore, just shrugging them off to take full advantage of the small time Yrden is active. I throw every kind of punch imaginable, crosses, hooks, uppercuts, they all strike true. She only has one blocking hand, and right now, it can’t keep up. When it looks like she’s had enough, I take my other hand off her arm, and hit her with Aard. She flies back, and when she lands, I leave as fast as possible. I don’t want to see if she’ll get back up, because if she does I don’t know if I’ll be able to restrain her again with Axiis diminishing returns.

    I managed to make it out with everything I wanted before the police showed up. I could hear them arrive when I got to my dumpster and saw that luckily, my original outfit and duffle bag weren’t stolen yet. I took the duffle and swung it over my shoulder, because I am not changing back in the alley and carrying home a clearly stolen painting in my civilian identity, no sir.

    I get to the car park, and that’s when it finally hits me. I succeeded. Yeah there were some complications, but I finally did a good job. I throw my loot into the backseat of my borrowed car, and start heading to a storage facility. I rented one of the lockers there to hide the painting, and figured I’ll just keep it as the place where I'll hide all my future ill-gotten goods.

    I carry the painting and the duffel bag in, since I was bringing the gun home there is no need to leave that here as well. I get changed, lock it up, and head back home. Job successful. I almost can’t believe it.

    Leaving the keys to my neighbor's car in the ignition, I hope that he’ll think he just left them there whenever he uses it next. Once I’m in my apartment and settled, I take the ski bag, and inspect my new weaponry.

    Intricate carvings run down the length of the gun, with a pentagram placed almost directly above the trigger. I hold it, and it just feels right. Even back home, I always wanted a lever-action rifle. Now I have one, and damn does it feel good. I looked up the type of ammunition I’d need for it earlier so I could use this tomorrow if I wanted to. I also got more ammo for my revolver but that’s besides the point.

    I take the rifle and place it in my closet. That’s as good a place as any. I then grab the glass eye out of the bag and give it a quick inspection. It does seem a bit more blue that what you would expect, but I don’t know if that points to the material it was made out of. If I’m lucky, they made the thing out of sapphire and I’ll be rich once I sell it. If I’m not, this is just completely normal glass dyed a lightish blue.

    I shrug, and place it in my nightstand with my revolver. I make a note in my phone to look the damn thing up since the plaque they had in the museum didn’t go into detail on the eye, and if that doesn’t bear fruit, just get it appraised. I take a deep breath, and sit on my bed. Overall I'd say I’m pretty damn happy with how the night turned out.

    — — — — —

    Overall he’d say she was pretty damn upset with how the night went. Robin watched and Batgirl threw back some painkillers and kept looking through security cameras that they totally had legal access to.

    “Goddamn bastard, who does he think he is? ‘You wouldn’t want to cause property damage’ after he rips a painting out the wall.” He hears her mutter. Tim doesn’t exactly want to start a conversation with her when she’s sulking from the loss, but he feels like he needs to know her thoughts on the fight, so he does so anyway.

    “Hey Bar—I mean, Batgirl, have you learned anything new about our guy? What did he change his name to again?”

    “He changed it to Lycaon. I had Alfred look it up on the way back. It’s the name of a Greek king who tried to feed his kid to Zeus.” Huh? Why they hell would he want to share a name with him?

    Batgirl saw the look of confusion he was giving her, so she elaborated. “Zeus punished the king by turning him into a wolf and making him eat the rest of his offspring. I imagine he chose it because of the wolf theme, and not much else.” Ah, that makes more sense. Tim resolved to look the legend up later. It might be useful in establishing a psych profile on Lycaon.

    Batgirl continued by answering the other half of Robin’s original question, “As for new, yeah. A couple things. The white symbol, you were right about it potentially being used as a daze. Even though I was prepared the first time caught me pretty off-guard. There wasn’t much I could do. The second time was far easier to break out of, so make note of the diminishing returns.”

    “Makes sense, mental manipulation isn’t just suggestion.” Robin calmly responded, inside his mind, he was cracking a large smile at getting the read right. Hopefully Batman will take note of that and give him his own costume soon, and not the hand-me-down one he currently has.

    “Hm, yeah. There were a couple new ones though. The first I saw was purple. It had this incredibly irritating slowdown effect. It creates a hexagon out of purple sigils. Every move I made inside of it had resistance. He was naturally exempt from the effect.” She scowled as she brought that one up, which makes sense though. Out of all his abilities so far, this one had the most potential to trip them up.

    “Any weaknesses on that one? Like how our mental training is enough to break out of the white one?”

    “Only that it’s time limited, and doesn’t affect things outside of its range. I got out of the first one by using my grapple. It was slower inside the circle, but still fast enough to get me out of it.” Not much known then huh?

    “How did you escape the second?” He sees her frown at this question.

    I didn’t.” She bites out. Alright Robin, using your super detective skills you can tell she clearly doesn’t want to talk about that one. Change the topic.

    “So what about the other one? You said there were two.”

    “Ah, right. The other one seemed useful, I just can’t fathom why he would use it on himself. It was a wave of concussive force, color was blue. He used it to gain distance from me, but there were clearly other options. He proved that seconds later when he used white again.” Wait, on himself?

    “Maybe he was panicking?” That was really the only reason Robin could think of.

    “Didn’t seem to be. I saw he had a gun on him the whole time. He never even hovered his hand over it. If he was panicking I’d bet he would have used that.” Well, she got me there.

    Of course, that was when Tim heard the cave open up from above. He turns to view it and a jet flies in. Out of it leaps his mentor, Bruce Wayne, the Batman.

    “I’m back.” Is the only thing he says. ‘Man, he’s so cool!’ is all that goes through Tim’s mind. He considers himself to be the first true fan of Batman and Robin, and the stoicism that everyone knows him for was always an admirable trait in his mind.

    “Welcome back, we were just finishing a debrief about Lycaon, formerly Su–”

    “I was listening. You did gather valuable information tonight. However, I did as well.” Both Batgirl and Robin were waiting on the edge of their seats for his next words. Did he find out who Lycaon is, or what his plans are with the goods?

    “I have learned you need training to fight underwater. It is the situation closest to being placed inside his new purple sigils. You also need to control yourself better. You let him know how we found out about his plan. Otherwise, you did well.” Batgirl’s face fell during most of his statement, but rose at the end. If Batman complimented you on a fight, that means you may as well have fought perfectly.

    As the Batkids got new training schedules, our ‘hero’ was resting the night away with his stolen goods, content.

    E — N — D

    This one took about four days, but damn it felt longer. I didn’t get much sleep lately and found myself reading a bit more. Hope the fight was to your expectations. One thing I’ve learned since starting this story is that writing is kind of hard. See ya in the next one, whenever that is.
  20. adariusAlpha

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

    Oct 11, 2020
    Likes Received:
    Thread watched. Hopefully you won't get to caught up with your ideas. What I've seen so far is a promising premise. Keep up the good work.
    The_Great_NPC likes this.
  21. Threadmarks: Chapter 6 - Bite the hand that feeds...

    The_Great_NPC Getting out there.

    Aug 8, 2022
    Likes Received:
    Chapter 6 - Bite the hand that feeds…

    — — — — —

    Ah, what a beautiful morning, the sun is shining, the birds are chirping, and in my closet lies my new gun.

    Though the pride of my heist is slightly dampened by the fact that the Batcrew knows all my tricks now, it is still a powerful feeling. After all, I still won that night. Besides, now I can take a break for a couple weeks until the Lounge reopens.

    With those thoughts in my mind, I decide to treat myself. I got a television for my apartment. Sure, I could’ve just used my computer. There are a bunch of streaming services I could’ve signed up for, but believe it or not, I actually want cable this time.

    Not because I’m addicted to commercials, like some people. Yeah, they exist. That’s the only reason they tuned into the superbowl, which is so weird. But rather, I want the news. I need to stay up to date on all the happenings somehow, and what better way than a news channel?

    I don’t spring for anything expensive, it’s not like I’m made of cash. I do get a nice 40’’ tv though, and it fits nicely on my repurposed coffee table. I go to tune into the Gotham News Network, when something odd happens. Instead of changing the channel to 259 it changes to 666. I sigh, having an idea of what will come.

    A cartoon devil appears in front of a similarly styled apartment building. I read the number and realize that’s meant to be my apartment building. The cartoon devil begins to speak in a voice that sounds a bit like Disney’s Iconic Mouse, but distorted and far deeper.

    “Well well well, it seems there is some competence lying deep within the bumbling fool. You’ve done well, you’ve succeeded on your heist even when they knew you were coming. I was planning on forcing you deeper into your villainy, but it greatly pleases me that you have been taking initiative.”
    That makes me feel giddy inside. Wait, should I be happy I pleased a devil? The cartoon devil interrupts my thoughts by pulling in a present from out of frame.

    “As such, I will give a rare reward. I shall let you choose when you shall be burdened with your next task. I will even let you name your desire, or even desires, but know one thing. The greater your reward, the harsher the trial. Hercules may have become a god, but his twelve labors would break almost anyone in this world today. Continue amusing me, my fool. I look forward to when you make the deal.”
    On the screen it shows a Cartoon version of me in costume walk up, open the present and stick his hand inside.

    I feel a burning pain on my hand, I start cradling it to my chest and biting back screams, and I see the me on my TV doing the same. Once the pain fades away, I look at my hand, and see the ‘Brand of Sacrifice’ from Berserk, placed right on the back of my hand.

    “I hope that’s just for the aesthetic Astaroth, I am NOT ready for demons, even if I am equipped to deal with them.” I think at him. I hear chuckling coming from the TV, and I realize that is the only answer I’m going to get from him. I sigh, and go back to what I was planning on doing from the start.

    I turn on the news.

    — — — — —

    Seeing that I made the news was nice, even if they called me a ‘brute’ for how I removed the painting from the wall. Like, fuck you guys, I wasn’t going to bring a power drill to remove the frame from the wall.

    They did get my name right though. They got it from an ‘Anonymous’ source, which means Batman probably told Gordon about me. Now Lycaon is a known name to whoever watches this news channel. If they bother to remember me, that is. The security cameras in that place didn’t get memorable shots of me stealing everything, so they don’t really have a face to put the name to.

    I did hear a couple dudes at my gym talking about it though, something about “more masked freaks” in the city, and “he should piss off to Metropolis, we already have enough crazies.” Incredibly flattering stuff, I know. I’m just happy that people do know about me. I think I might get addicted to the attention if I end up getting more popular, this is a nice feeling.

    In the showers, I overheard someone outside of them fishing for information on me using my witcher senses. They wanted to know if anyone heard of me, or if I’m available for hire. They didn’t say it so plainly, they danced around the question, but everyone knew what he was asking. I mentally try to place the voice to a name… I think that’s Mark? Yeah, that’s Mark. I should follow him after he finishes here one day. See who he works for, and why they want me.

    Why not follow him today? Well, it’s relaxation day. I can’t stalk people on relaxation day. Got to keep calm, and not do any criminal stuff. Especially since I beat the shit outta Batgirl yesterday, and if Bat-mentor sees me, he’ll return the favor twofold. I am going to do absolutely nothing, and order pizza for dinner. Shame I don’t have anyone to hang-out with, but then again, I have been a bit busy committing felonies. Maybe tomorrow I’ll go try and make friends somewhere.

    But of course, nothing is ever completely uneventful in my life. Not anymore. Right before I got inside my apartment I saw someone being mugged. They were so close, and I can’t condone muggers operating so close to my home, not when I could come home with potentially thousands after a job and be forced to reveal myself defending it. So I quickly ran inside and grabbed my mask.

    I get out, and now they’re beating the person on the ground. Which is ironic. General Gotham shittiness makes muggers not only take everything on you, but take their time giving you bruises all over each limb. Yet that unyielding shittiness now saves the victim lying before me, since it gave me time to mask up and save them.

    I walk up behind the one guy watching his two friends knock the daylights out of the guy.

    “Hey there.” He spins around.

    “Bye.” I grab his head and slam it into the wall. Yep, he’s out. Hey, the other two noticed! They put their fists up and try to avenge their friend, but it truly is useless.

    I Axii one, and land a mean counterpunch on the other, getting the easiest one hit knock out I’ll ever achieve. The dazed one is still out of it, and according to my theory of how Axii works, that means this dude's mind is weak as shit.

    I go for a kick to the head and down goes number three. I now look at the unfortunate victim. A black dude, skinny as hell too. Aw, they broke his glasses. He looks up, gratefully. His expression freezes up when he sees who I am though. Normally, I’d assume no one would recognize me, but my daring heist is still being talked about on some news channels. A slow day in Gotham for the journalists, or I’m just the most exciting.

    His expression falls, his shoulders sag, and he goes to hand his wallet to me. Damn, does this guy really think I need whatever is his wallet?

    “I’m not here to rob you, put the damn wallet away.” He throws me a skeptical look, but does slowly retract his arm and put it back in his pocket.

    “Why did you save me? I saw earlier today on the news you robbed a bank, not exactly hero material.” Hm. How to eloquently phrase this so he doesn’t get the idea I live here.

    “I was just passing through.” I love being vague and mysterious, no need for all those meaningless details that everyone wants. You know what, I’m even going to lean on the wall! Like one of those cool guys in anime and games!

    “Figured. The hell you leaning on the wall for? You know Ol’ Danny pisses there right?” I jerk myself away from the wall.

    “The fuck is Ol’ Danny?” Gonna have to wash my clothes again. Damn it all! I just did that two days ago!

    “You know, old homeless guy? Always trying to beg cash off people for the worst reasons. He once tried telling me to spare a 20 so he could pay off the gnomes, whatever that means.” Hah! Sounds like a funny guy. Also mentally ill, but this is Gotham, he fits in that way. Oh! New plan!

    “The Gnomes are ruthless creatures. Paying them off is a fine plan for safety.” Great, now he’ll think I’m crazy, and stop talking to me so I can go back inside. I have to wash these clothes, the quicker the better. I don’t want the residual wall piss getting stuck on my clothes.

    “Fuck off. I know you don’t believe that. Right?” Ah, he thinks I didn’t hear that. Good, he questions the sanity found in my mind, drive it home me! You can do this.

    “The Gnomes are a force of chaos. They can bend reality to their whims. It is far better to pay a monetary cost instead of a physical one, should they come calling.” He looks up at me, confusion and slight fear evident on his face. He stands, shaking as he forces his beaten body to its feet.

    “Yeah, fuck this. I’m out. Have a good one wolf man. Thanks for saving me, I won’t tell anyone you’re fucking looney.” Yes! Another successful plan! He turns the corner and leaves me be. I count to 30 before going back inside.

    I unlock the door and enter, only to see him sitting on the stairs in the lobby. We lock eyes.

    “Oh hell no! I don’t live in the same apartment as you! You, you… fucking gnome believer!” Aaaaaaaahhhh whyyy… If I knew he lived here I wouldn’t have made him think I was crazy! I see him slowly growing hysterical, I don’t know why. It’s not like he’ll wake up to see me in full costume standing outside his apartment ‘hunting for Gnomes’. Though, that would be funny.

    “Hey man, shut up.” He complies. I guess this city does have a healthy respect for villains, given how many there are. Chances are a Gothamite has run into at least one a year.

    “Don’t kill me please. I won’t tell anyone you live here…” He pauses. I think he’s struggling to get his next words out. “...Not even the gnomes.” Oh, the defeat on his face as he said that. Golden, I wish I could take a picture and frame it. A piece of artwork to rival ‘Starry Night’.

    “As fair a deal as any. I wish you well, young man. Perhaps learn to fight, lest the Gnomes find you instead of bargain bin muggers.” He’s a skinny fucker, but anyone can learn how to throw a punch. It’ll help in this city, that I know. Plus I don’t want to come home and see him getting beat in the alley again.

    As I walk past him, I hear his voice, it’s fragile, “Fight? Could I… really fight back?”

    Lean into my image for this one, gotta make an impact on this guy.

    “Everyone has fangs, they just need to learn how to use them.”

    — — — — —

    My relaxation day went well after I did my laundry, again. A nice pizza and some time on the TV watching shitty Reality TV about fake heroes exclusive to this universe was thoroughly enjoyable. The day after, I went back to my routine though, and at the gym I saw a familiar face.

    Skinny black guy, (note to self, learn his name) was currently being put through the ringer by his trainer. I would’ve stayed to watch how he did, but I saw Thor waving at me to hurry up and get in the ring. I complied, and after both me and him were done with our training, I approached him afterwards, to finally learn who I saved and so I can stop calling him skinny black guy. Also to see if he’ll tell people about me and where I live.

    “Hey man, nice to see a new face in the gym. I’m Bruce, by the way.” Textbook introduction, works every time.

    “Hey, I’m Jonah, nice to meet you, is everything supposed to hurt?” He was panting as he got his response out, he really did give his all today, didn’t he? I wouldn’t have thought my throwaway line would get him to try this hard.

    “Hah! That’s the sign of a good workout. Though if it's really bad ask the trainer. He’d know better than I would if you hurt yourself.”

    “Nah, it’s not that bad.” He shakes his head. “I just wasn’t expecting it to be this exhausting. I’m fucking sore everywhere.” Yeah, he certainly is. I can see his arms slightly shaking, not to mention the dude’s covered in sweat.

    “Everyone starts somewhere, come on, get in the shower. Just looking at you I know you stink.” Alright, this nice conversation is dragging on my introverted mind. Let’s just turn the conversation to where he lives and if he’s seen anything weird lately, if he mentions me, Lycaon, then I’ll need to do something, but I don’t know what.

    “Your legs are shaking too, you good to get home by yourself? Where do you live anyway?” Hopefully my nice guy introduction will make him think I’m not out to rob him or something. It’d be cakewalk because he’s barely standing on his own.

    “I’ll find my way. I’m just outside East End, a fine enough spot, though the landlady overcharges on rent.” I knew it was overpriced! 500 a month for that shithole should be illegal. Not to mention we’re in Gotham, I should get that place for 200 at most.

    “That blows, see anything odd out there? Some of the guys here have stories of seeing some pyromaniac or some kind of mothman blow past their streets.” Did I hear those stories, not at all. It might make him open up about seeing me though.

    “...Nah. Just a homeless dude that swears gnomes are real. Crazy, right? Who would believe that? Just him, I’m sure. Gnomes aren’t real.” My acting crazy yesterday wasn’t received well it seems. I think I broke him. I’m so tempted to just, keep going, tell him that ‘Gnomes (capitalized if you believe) are deadly creatures, and it pays to be prepared’, but I’m supposed to just be a normal gym-goer right now. A damn shame.

    “Are you okay man? Gnomes aren’t real. No matter what anyone tells you. Is that it? Just the Gnome guy? If so, you're pretty lucky.” Don’t say anything about me, and we will be fine friends Jonah.

    “Yup, just him. I guess I have gotten pretty lucky. Where do you live?” Ah damn, my question has been turned on me. Well, there is a chance he’ll see me one day coming and going to and from my apartment, so I guess I’ll tell him the truth.

    He’s surprised when I tell him I live outside East End as well, and I offer to walk back with him when we confirm we live in the same building. It’s odd to say, but I think I’ve made a gym friend, and also my first and only friend in this world. Kind of sad I managed to rob a bank before befriending someone, but hey, some people aren’t very skilled socially. This is fine.

    When we get back, I ask when he’ll come by the gym next, and though he doesn’t have an everyday schedule, like me, he has a respectable one. Since he has a job, it’s only 3 times a week he’ll swing by. I caution him that some of the people there work as muscle for whatever shady business a villain wants to do, and to let me know if he hears anything about that. I then retreated to my apartment because that was way too much socializing for me.

    Gladdened by the fact he knows how to keep a secret, I order a few Garden Gnomes online to prank him with, and start planning my next outing. My main plan is to lock down the area close to me. My fear of being mugged on the way back with one of my paydays in hand is something I feel the urgent need to fix. Best way to stop that from happening is to just keep the street a ‘safe zone’ of sorts.

    How do you make a place in Gotham a safe zone? Why, overwhelming violence, of course. I have a gun that hasn’t seen use yet, so the best way to keep out those pesky fools that might try to steal from me is to shoot them first. There’s no point to just shooting them in this area though, not unless they know why they’re being shot. Maybe I should tag the street?

    Yeah, I’ll tag the street with a Wolf head, and under it, write “Safe Zone, kept safe with murder” or something. I’ll workshop it. Once I see my threatening peace message has sunk into the criminal underworld, then I can start doing jobs again. Though I really have no clue what to do next. There is that lead with Mark at the gym, maybe whoever wants to hire me will pay well. I’ll consider it.

    I leave my apartment, hunting for spray paint. And a stencil, I’m not crazy. I am also no artist. Last time I tried to draw a dog it came out looking like a mutilated table. God forbid I have to freestyle this.

    I get black and red paints, perfect for a mildly ominous warning to keep things safe. Once I get to the end of my street, I remember that Batman is the world's greatest detective, and me putting this up is just a beacon letting him know the area I live in. Not that he needs to be the world’s greatest for that level of insight, I’m pretty sure a beat cop could put that one together.

    I widen the scope of my ‘safe zone’ to four blocks, completely reasonable. It adds in a few more houses and a couple more apartment buildings. You know, just to buy me one more day against his intelligence. Also I’m hoping he’s the kind of hero to not hunt villains in their civilian personas.

    Once the sun sets, I head out to spray paint the end of my street and label it as my ‘territory’ so to speak. Standing there, and looking at my finished product, I reaffirm my beliefs about how shit an artist I am. I made stencils out of cardboard but they didn’t turn out that well, and it shows. It would work, but every villain has style, you know? Joker has the clown look with a nice purple suit, Riddler has a nice suit ruined by question marks and a stupid hat. Penguin has a suit… A lot of villains have suits in Gotham.

    I was about to give up, when I remembered I made a friend! That means I can show up unannounced at his door asking if he’s good at art, right? Doesn’t matter, I’m doing it.

    I knock on his door, and with my witcher senses I can hear him walk closer before checking the eyehole, and then cursing and muttering to himself.

    “Fucking hell, what’s the bastard want with me now? I didn’t even tell anyone about him! Fucking bullshit ass superpeople. He’s going to say some stupid shit about gnomes isn’t he?” He then, finally, opens the door.

    “Hello, wolfman.” He looks upset. I’d say I wonder why, but it’s kind of obvious.

    “Lycaon.” I correct him, we now have a working relationship, or we will, by the end of this conversation. He needs to know my name for one of those.

    “Wolfman. What do you want? I didn’t say anything about you to anyone.”

    “Are you, perchance, skilled at the art of spray painting?” Completely normal thing to ask someone. I swear.

    “...Why?” That’s not a no I’m hearing, wonderful.

    “I need someone to aid me in marking my territory. It shall be a safe haven for all who reside within.” He literally got jumped in the alley beside our building yesterday, he should be all for this.

    “You want me to ‘mark territory’ for you. Ah fuck, I’m not that great with spray paint, but I’m decent. Do I get paid?” See, the trick to success is getting others to do the work for you. Corporate 101.

    “Of course, name your price.”

    “150. I’m assuming you already have the shit I need, but vandalizing is a crime so I need hazard pay in case one of those hero types or police comes by.” I can respect a cautious man, he’ll get his hazard pay. I can tell by his look he’s not taking no for an answer either.

    “A fair enough price. Come, let’s begin.” My first ever underling dutifully trots behind me as I lead him back towards where I wanted the mark to be placed.

    I showed him the spot, right on the side of the convenience store at the end of our street. I also showed him the stencil I made and what I wanted before telling him I have more cardboard if he wants to improve it.

    “Yeah, no offense, but what you made is shit.” I know, that’s why I hired you. “I’ll improve it. How many of these are we doing?”

    “Four blocks, ends of each street, and apartment buildings.” See, I had it planned out, and I didn’t want my trash artistry placed all around where I live. Besides, it would be embarrassing to see some kids making fun of how it looks one day, and I know they would.

    I see him use the tools I’ve gathered, and make a much sharper, meaner looking wolf's head. He sprays it how I wanted, black with red eyes, and I ask for the message to be written in red as well.

    ‘Safe zone, do not bite the hand that feeds’ because I’m an edgy little shit, and it gets the point across.

    We go around, painting the warning everywhere else it needs to be put. And then late at night, I now have something to do, patrol. I walk all around my area, geared up with rifle in hand, sometimes taking breaks on rooftops if I can reach them. I do this until a few people break into a jewelry store close by. I hear the alarm with my enhanced senses and start rushing towards it. It’s inside the safe zone, so this will be my first message to all others who would try and break the rule I’ve set.

    I get there and they’re still loading up bags with necklaces, rings, jewels, and generally anything they could get their hands on. I don’t even say anything this time, no point when a gunshot can speak for me. Murder for my first message is a bit over the top though, so I’ll do legs this time. I’ll go lethal after this one.

    I aim for the guy currently looting necklaces and blow his knee out. I never mentioned how my witcher senses improve aim did I? Well, let’s just say Geralt nailing everything with the crossbow wasn’t just a game mechanic, it really makes accurate shooting a cakewalk.

    I pull the lever as the guys turn around, a total of four, now three, and take out Mr. Bracelet Thief's knee next. Pull the lever, there goes Ring-Stealer’s mobility, and lastly, the man literally just taking diamonds and sapphires.

    He drops the bag and starts to beg, but I blow both his legs out, because fuck you man. If you’re going to commit a crime in Gotham, at least commit. Have to make sure they know why I did this though.

    “I made my message clear today. This area falls within a safe zone. My safe zone. You are the first to break this rule, so you can live. The next shall die. Spread the word, will you?” I leave them in the store, and hope the police get there fast enough to stop their bleeding. It would be really sad if I messed up leaving a message.

    Once I get around the block, I realize I just told 4 people who are getting arrested to ‘spread the word’. I’m a fucking moron. Do I just kill the next, and hope they somehow get the message across? Or just keep shooting people and trying to get them to tell their friends? Ah shit does that place have a way to record sound? If they do, Batman is going to hear me giving that message and he’ll think I’m going to kill people next time they break my new rule. I can’t have him thinking I’m a coward so I guess the next ones die.

    The rest of the night goes mostly without issue. There isn’t much of value in these four blocks I’ve claimed so my patrols will be pretty boring most of the time. I get home, throw my whole costume and the gun back in the closet, and pass out once more. A good day today. Hopefully tomorrow will be the same.

    E — N — D

    A nice 4k again. Wonderful. This one took a while cuz I learned I have an eye condition, and I wasn’t just really tired. Did you know it’s not normal for your eye to be so dry you start seeing double. I didn’t. It makes writing hard when your o's look like 8's. This one was slower, because I didn’t want my guy to just go around and keep picking fights, plus I realized he needs a friend! Hope you enjoyed it, and see y’all an indeterminate amount of time later.
  22. FTR2017

    FTR2017 Experienced.

    Oct 20, 2020
    Likes Received:
    Fun chapter, Lycaon is slowly becoming a trademark ... and his boss is a bored jerk to have branded him with that bullshit demon beacon. All so he can use his new toy rifle.

    It was a nice touch having said boss hijack the tv to make his statement.

    Thanks for the chapter! :)

    Man, I wish you the best for your poor eyes, I can only hope that this is treatable rather than a bad sign of shit going down the drain.
    The_Great_NPC likes this.
  23. Grimm Vale

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

    Nov 13, 2022
    Likes Received:
    I do hope that he leans into the whole crazy villain thing. Just for the lols. He could get real wacky with it too. Start talking about demos, angels bring in references from different media not in DC talk about demons in DC that he shouldn't know about stuff like that.
  24. Threadmarks: Chapter 7 - A dish best served...

    The_Great_NPC Getting out there.

    Aug 8, 2022
    Likes Received:
    Chapter 7 - A dish best served...

    — — — — —

    The next day, I turn on the news and see if they report on my attack on the four robbers. To my surprise, not only did they do a story on it. They even got my warning out of one of them and told it to everyone watching. Now I don’t have to wonder if people breaking the peace know what will happen to them. I can peacefully kill troublemakers without remorse.

    It’s not a good thing if I’m in a place where I can say that, is it? Maybe I’ll tone it back a little bit.

    Regardless, I keep to my routine. Gym, watch Mark ask questions about me, and ‘information gather’ by sitting in front of my TV all day. Truly, the life of a villain is the best life. Shit, to think I nearly became a hero when I showed up here. Then I’d have to deal with responsibilities and morals. Get that lame shit out of my face. Out here we laze around the house and then go shoot people. Much more enjoyable.

    My enjoyment gets cut short when I actually suit up and head patrolling late at night. It doesn’t take long before I see some thugs walking down one of my streets. I know they’re thugs this time because they have baseball bats. At night. No where near a baseball field. Wait, is that Mark with them? What the hell are they doing here? I decided to just cast Quen on myself and meet them in the street. Once all of them see me I speak up.

    “I hope you are smarter than the last ones who came here, and you actually heed my warning.” Mark steps forward.

    “Lycaon. It’s good to finally meet you. We are here to begin negotiations for a team up, or an alliance. Whichever you would prefer to call it.” Straight to the point huh. Well, may as well hear him out. More money will never be something I turn down.

    “Negotiations? I assume you're not the one hiring me then. I would prefer to deal with the person that leads you.” I see him crack a smile at that. He either prepared for me to say that or is just happy he doesn’t have to deal with me. I can’t fault him on the second one. Imagine being the messenger sent to offer a deal to a villain in this city, getting shot isn’t even the worst thing that could happen to you.

    “Sure thing, here’s a burner phone. It has our boss's number on it.” He hands me the cheapest phone I’ve ever had to hold. “Have a nice night Lycaon. C’mon boys, let’s get outta here.” Well, it’s good I won’t have to go and stalk him anymore.

    I look at the pink burner phone they handed me. I don’t know how these phones work, do you preload minutes or something on them? Hopefully the talks with this mysterious backer don’t go so long I run out and the call cuts off. That’d be awkward as hell. I flip the phone open and see one number saved, it’s labeled “Best Big Boss”. Are these guys fucking with me?

    I dial the number, and after a few rings they pick up.

    “Lycaon?” A heavily synthesized voice comes over the phone. Ah, fuck. I totally know who this is.

    “Correct, and who do I have the pleasure of speaking to?” I thought he died, in the games he didn’t but here they made a grave for him.

    “You can call the Arkham Knight. I have a job for you, if you’re willing.” Guess this is the first real deviance in the world that I’ve noticed. I’m sure there have been more but since I haven’t seen them they don’t matter. Ah, he’s waiting for a response.

    “I’m not opposed to mercenary work. Though I do have to ask, why hire me?” Cause ain’t that a pertinent question. You worked with Scarecrow and Deathstroke before, why the hell would you take an unknown over those two?

    “On the news, they spoke your name. Yet you left no calling cards nor confronted the police. That means you beat one of the Bats, and they tipped off the police and by extension, the media. I want you because you were capable enough to beat them. I’m willing to pay 50 thousand now, and double that on completion of your role.” Fuuuuck I can’t turn down a payday like that one. Are you kidding me? I could do nothing but patrols for months with that much money sitting in my bank.

    “Say I agree… What even is my role in whatever plan you’re hatching?” Because even though I want that money extremely badly, I don’t want to go hand-to-hand with the actual Batman himself. I don’t think I’m ready for that.

    “I just want you to distract at least one of his sidekicks while I go do the main performance. I want no interruptions when it gets good, you understand?” Did he just pronounce an underline? Where can I learn that talent?

    Okay, do I think I can beat either Robin or Batgirl again? (Come to think of it, Batgirl/Barbara isn’t crippled either. Weird timeline.) They know my tricks, but even then, just knowing them doesn’t guarantee a win. Besides, my role is distraction. I just need to draw them away from his big revenge plot on Batman and this city, and I earn $150k. That’s some easy money if I succeed. I could buy myself an actual good apartment, or a nice bike or car to get around without having to steal my neighbors. Jason is an expert on their fighting style too, I could ask to spar and get some lessons on how to beat them. Didn’t he train his militia in the games as well? Yeah, I think if he helps out by sparring and training me, I should be able to pull off the distraction. This will be worth it.

    “...Deal. Should we meet up to discuss your plan?” Please don’t tell me you need the distraction tomorrow.

    “We should. In a couple days I’ll call you back and provide a location to meet.” After saying that he just fucking hangs up on me? What the hell man. In a working business relationship you need to be more polite than that.

    I shake off his rudeness, and go finish my patrol. Surprisingly uneventful. It seems no one wants to test me tonight. Once I get back to my apartment though, I see something that makes my blood boil.

    My new friend and gym buddy, Jonah, was lying outside of his apartment door, bloodied up. His arm was not bent the right way. I still had my mask on, so I had no issues walking up to him and seeing if he was conscious.

    “Hey, you alive? Capable of moving?” He groans loudly in response. I look at his legs and see that they aren’t broken or bent weirdly, so I make a choice, and pick him up. This’ll be a pain in the ass to walk all the way to the free East End clinic, but this dude needs a doctor and I have no clue if he can afford it.

    Jonah groans and winces every time I step onto and off a curb. As well as one particularly bad moment where a pigeon swoops in front of my face and I nearly drop him, but we get there without any additional injuries. I knock on the door with my foot, and I meet the old doctor once more.

    She sees me carrying him and just points towards one of the rooms. I oblige and place him on the table inside of it. I turn to ask why she doesn’t have one of those patient chairs in here but she just shoos me out of the room and leaves me alone in the main lobby.

    I have nothing better to do, so I just take a seat, and grab one of the trashy magazines that are on the table. Some forms of literature are interdimensional. No escaping the worst gossip you’ve ever heard. At least these ones are usually superhero flavoured. I flip through pages of outrageous gossip, but I stop on one suggesting that Superman and the reporter Lois Lane are dating. I recognize the brilliance of managing to get that put in a magazine no one will believe. I grab a different magazine and flip through it until I see it suggesting that Bruce Wayne is Batman. This is how they hide their identities and relationships, huh? It’s ingenious. I applaud them.

    I wait for an hour or so, just reading the trash magazines that also get everything right, wondering if I should try their diet tricks, before Dr. Thompkins comes out and lets me know he’s ready to be seen. I spring to attention, because what happened to my gym buddy is far more important than the magazines ‘get rich quick’ schemes.

    I enter and see his arm in a cast, and a tired smile being sent my way.

    “Thanks for carrying me out here. I got real worried until she said this was free. Did you pay for it or is she just a saint?”

    “Just a saint. Who did this to you?” Because they are going to be meeting the business side of my rifle. You can’t beat up my gym friend in my territory and get away with it.

    “I think it was some of the guys that were connected to those jewelry thieves you busted. They said some shit about ‘taking revenge on you’ and ‘breaking the rules that bastard set’. They might be part of a gang, I’m not sure.” Oh boy, those fuckers are in for it! Yeah, those shitstains are dead!

    “Any idea where they might be?” At that the doctor cuts into the conversation with a very pointed look.

    “You wouldn’t happen to be planning a bloody revenge in my clinic would you? Something that might end with me having to deal with it? Hmm?” Right, shouldn’t plan my glorious bloodbath with the only truly good person in Gotham right beside me.

    “No ma’am, I only want to have a peaceful conversation with them, ma’am. Now where are they, Jonah?” I see him look between the two of us, but ultimately he caves into me and tells me where they’re hiding. The good doctor gives him a disapproving look and turns back to me.

    “I have a pretty good idea of what you’re planning. It’s Lycaon, right? I ask you not to kill them. I try to save as many lives as possible here, and I am willing to take the burden of trying to keep those poor souls alive if it means less death on the streets.” I’m caught between the doctor's wishes and my warning/promise to the criminal underworld. It’s always good to have a doctor on your side, but letting them live would set a bad precedent for those who want to break the peace I’ve enforced in my area.

    I lean against the clinic's wall, and decide to try something. This is a fairly pivotal point in my villainous career, so may as well have the devil on my shoulder weigh in. I focus on the Brand found on the back of my hand, and it starts to sting. I hear his deep, cartoonish voice in my mind. I guess he liked it so he’s keeping it.

    “The fool wants me to choose for him, but that’s not how our deal worked. You must provide the reward you wish for, and I shall provide an acceptable task.”
    Shit, that’s right. What would be a reward to fit the situation then? This is important, and how I deal with it will shape people's perception of me. It’s not something that I could wish for, something powerful or super-unique. I choose a useful, but not groundbreaking wish. No extra tool to get one over on the Bats, just normal utility and something to stop the annoyance of always having to deal with my wardrobe.

    ‘I wish for the ability to summon my full costume directly onto my body, and send it back to where I summoned it from at will. Costume includes weaponry, like my rifle and pistol, and whatever may be added later. Any design changes will be accounted for, and whatever I consider to be MY costume shall be what is summoned.’ I think that’s fairly loophole free. I’m not sure if he’s going to be an asshole genie on this so I tried to be as clear as possible.

    “Well worded, fool. Very well, in honor of your actions thus far, I will give you this task, complete it and gain your new ability. Either slaughter them all, and paint a message in their blood, or show them true justice, spare their lives and remove their ability to harm others.”
    Whew, thank the almighty demon lords that he didn’t choose something completely different.

    I see Leslie and Jonah waiting for my response to her, and I realize I just spent like, a couple minutes staring at nothing. Yeah, say something before it gets more awkward, idiot.

    “I will keep your words in mind. We’ll see how remorseful they feel when confronted with their actions, and I shall judge them then.” She sighs as I spout my usual bullshit.

    “Whatever, just take your friend and go. I gave him a prescription for painkillers, he should be fine in a couple weeks.” She sounds so defeated, like she knows that I’m going to kill them. There is another way, though removing their ability to harm others sounds like I’d need to do some things that people might consider to be inflicting fates worse than death.

    I guide Jonah back to his apartment, then grab my rifle. I left it back here since I had no way to carry both him and the gun without making his injuries worse. Or maybe I did, but I didn’t see it. Regardless, I need to make a choice once more. The first task, murder was clearly the bad, evil choice. Here, I’d consider murder the mercy. To render someone incapable of harming another, I’d need to remove everything they could cause harm with. No arms, legs, you can’t keep your tongue because verbal abuse might count as harm. I’d need to render them completely immobile, and remove their ability to speak. I know the doc wanted me to spare them, but she’s no miracle worker. She wouldn’t be able to fix what I do to them if I go down that road. These guys have earned my wrath, but the ‘true justice’ that Astaroth is offering as a choice is far too evil for me to consider.

    With my mind made up, I move towards the gang's hideout. An abandoned metro (or is it subway?) station just inside of East End.

    — — — — —

    I’m not doing this just for Jonah. What he told me earlier means this is a response, likely from allies of the jewelry store thieves. If they’re only purpose is to break the rules I’ve set as a petty form of vengeance then why would they stop with one? Hell, who’s to say Jonah was the first victim? I might have just missed whoever came before him.

    I come up on the location, and see that they actually have guards posted on the stairs down into the station. It makes sense if they’re expecting me to come by. Also smarter than what I’ve had to deal with so far, compared to the supervisors at the docks and the normal museum security. Makes sense, this gang and their colours are relatively well known, so they should be smarter than the thugs-4-hire you could find at my gym.

    Loud and proud? Or silent but deadly? I don’t want to attract Batman at the start of the fight, or he might catch me before I can finish. My best bet is to try and play it quiet, but accept that I may need to start shooting eventually.

    I take a walk around the block to come at the entrance from behind. They are only guarding the front, so this way I can guarantee they won’t see me coming before I Axii one and… punch the other? I really forgot to add a close combat weapon to my costume, didn’t I? Fuck me. Something to fix later. For now I guess I’ll just use the butt of my rifle.

    The benefit of my enhanced senses is that I’ve learned how to walk quietly. It comes naturally when you have them. You don’t want it to always sound like you’re stomping around so you adjust to something quieter, making it so that when you actually try and sneak up to someone, well. Let’s just say this guy had no fucking idea I was behind him.

    I opt to snap his neck, and once his body hits the ground, I Axii the other and grip my rifle by the front. I swing it at his head, aiming for the temple, and he goes down. I listen for breathing, and it is there, so I swing again, and once more, until it stops. My heart is beating out of my chest by this point, and I know that now, there truly is no going back, claiming that it was just bad circumstances. I chose to do this. I am a true villain now, and I can make peace with that.

    I search their bodies to see if they had anything more effective at a close range than my gun, which is meant for threats a little further away than point blank. I find that one of them had a knife, and they both had guns. Don’t like what that means I’m going to be walking into. If the guards both have guns, I can safely assume everyone here does. Yet I can’t use Quen yet since it makes me glow yellow. It's a bit hard to sneak up on people when I’ve turned myself into a lamp.

    I examine my new knife, just a simple pocket knife, and note nothing extraordinary. Eh, it’ll do. I grip it so the blades facing down, icepick, I think it was called, and climb down the steps. Once I’m inside the station proper I see that they haven’t expanded into the tunnels themself, only keeping their shit in the local station. Ease of access, or did they just move in?

    No one was watching the stairs though, so I quickly, but quietly, hid behind one of the pillars close to the entrance. Glancing around it, I try to take a headcount. There are tents set up here, so there might be more, but the people I can see add up to about 13. That is a lot of people to kill all by my lonesome. Also not the biggest issue. That would be the four bastards crowding around a fire in a barrel, in the center of the station. Combined they have a view of almost everything. In fact, I think they only missed me because one of them was taking a piss as I entered.

    Alright, they’re playing cards now. They aren’t moving for a while, but maybe they’ll be too busy looking at the cards to see me? No, I shouldn’t bet on that. Fuck, I guess we have to go loud, because I can’t even leave now that the pisser came and sat back down.

    I cast Quen on myself in preparation, and I also took some things out of my pocket, exchanging the knife for them. Back during the heist, I stole some of the Bat-people’s smoke bombs, and even though I can’t see through it, I can hear, and smell, and those senses alone should give me the upper hand against everyone but those costumed ninjas inside the smoke.

    Because of the smokes, I’m feeling a little cocky, so I do something I normally wouldn’t. I leave my hiding place behind the pillar and sprint directly towards the four sitting by the fire, playing cards. The element of surprise lets me get close enough to use Igni and hit all of them with the wave of flames. Their screaming does alert everyone else in the gang, but hey, I just took down four dudes in one move, that was worth it. I feel a bullet break my shield from my left, so I snap my head and my rifle towards that direction, and take the only clean shot I’ll get for the rest of the fight. I hit it, naturally, and then throw down the smoke bombs before I’m overwhelmed.

    The smoke spills out, and I take this moment to rechamber my rifle, and draw my knife. I close my eyes and let the rest of my senses wash over me. I hear the four burn victims rolling around on the floor, trying to put out the flames. No issue there. A bit further away, I can hear someone crawling out of the tent. I swiftly march through the smoke towards them, and stab blindly with my knife a few times. They all hit, but I can’t see for shit in this smoke, so I just want to make sure.

    The four guys are moving less now, but they’re still breathing, so I walk back and do the same to them, since I don’t hear anyone else in the smoke, or if they are inside it, they aren’t moving. I’ll assume that I’m the only one in here though, and that doesn’t bode well for me. It’s probably dispersing by now, so it’s no longer safe to be standing here in the middle of everything. I remedy this situation by orienting myself towards one of the tracks, casting Quen, and making a mad dash for it.

    Midway through my dash, as I break free of the smoke, I hear yelling, before my shield breaks once more, and a bullet firmly lodges itself in my left arm, if you wanted to get specific, the tricep. I let out a cry of pain, dropping my knife. It burns. I force myself to focus, and finish the run to the tracks. At least they didn’t get my shooting arm.

    Dropping down onto the rails, I finally have my cover. Now I cast Quen again, and start the game of extremely lethal peek-a-boo. I pop out, nail a man in the head, and a few guys hit me as well, but I have the benefit of ignoring a bullet every few seconds. Four more men drop, I reload, and then I pop out and drop 3 more. The last two ran and are hiding on the other side of the tracks. I can’t have that. I pull myself back onto the main platform and maneuver around pillars so they don’t get a chance to break my shield. My left arm is injured, so I place down my rifle and draw the revolver with my right while creeping closer to them. Lever action is too slow for what I’m about to do.

    I take a stabilizing breath, and dive down on their side of the tracks, playing two shots dead center between their eyes. That was 14, all of them. 16, counting the two on the steps. I’m a little surprised they only had this many in their gang, but it makes sense if you think it through. They were the only ones not being led by a proper villain. Just normal gang members all the way through. I have no doubt any recruits they could’ve gotten went to Penguin or maybe Black Mask instead, so they were slowly being bled dry everytime one of them got caught. My actions in stopping some of their members being the final straw, so they snapped and came after me.

    I sit there, letting my thoughts wash over me and collecting my things, waiting for my reward from Astaroth. But it never comes. I start to panic, wondering if there’s more, and once I start going over the wording of the task he gave me I figure it out.

    “---and paint a message in their blood–”

    He meant that literally. Oh fuck me, they’re going to brand me a psychopath for this, and at this point there’s no point in trying to ditch the task, if Astaroth would even let me. I go and grab the knife I dropped earlier. I take many calming breaths, and think of what to write.

    Oh god this is gonna be so gross…

    — — — — —

    “I’m nearly on location, how many gunshots reported?” The sleek black car, more expensive than an entire country, races down the streets of Gotham.

    “The only description we have is ‘many’, maybe a gang dispute?”

    “It’s a possibility. We’ll see it now.” As he speeds past the abandoned metro station at a speed far beyond legal, he ejects himself from the vehicle. Using the cape to catch himself before landing, he glides to the steps, and frowns. Two bodies lie at the steps.

    Entering the station, he grimaces. 12 visible bodies from the entrance, 4 with extreme burns, one with multiple stab wounds. One of the burnt bodies seems to have lost plenty of blood. The rest seem to have all been shot in the head. He moves closer to the scene, and spots something that causes Batgirl to gag.

    “...How terrible. Was this..?”

    “A very likely chance this was Lycaon. See some of the bullets on the ground? They aren’t malformed despite having been discharged. Like how you and Robin say his barrier just nullifies the impact of your hits.” The detective curses his inability to get here on time. If only he dealt with the splintered Penguin gang members faster, he could’ve stopped this.

    “But why would he do that? It’s completely outside of our predictions…” He hears disgust and confusion in her voice. He doesn’t blame her, this isn’t a pretty sight.

    On the ground between all of the burnt bodies, there’s a heart stabbed into the ground by a knife. Underneath it reads “Punishment” written in blood. He kicks over the burnt body with plenty of blood around it, to find that this was the one he carved open. Lycaon was not skilled in performing this act, with rough cuts leading down to the ribs that look ripped apart so he could reach the heart. Definitely the first time he did this.

    “We can’t say why he decided to resolve the situation this way, however, we know that he stopped a group of robbers last night wearing the same colours, and today there were reports of assaults in his ‘safe zone’ done by people wearing those same colours. This was him acting on his warning.” He examines the rest of the scene and finds two bodies on the tracks, with gunshot wounds that don’t match the rest.

    “How savage. This is too far, Batman. We need to stop him.” Why would he need different rounds for this? Ran out of ammo for his new rifle? Maybe. Is this an important clue? Maybe not, but I should still remember it. Could end up being useful.

    “We will, we can’t let him go any further than he already has.” He does a second run through the scene and spots something he nearly missed. A small amount of blood, out of place and far from the other bodies. He bends down, and takes a sample of it.

    “Sending a sample your way, Batgirl. Run it through examination. I believe it belongs to Lycaon.” There’s always something people forget to get rid of. A keen eye and strong mind are the greatest tools for stopping criminals, at least in Batman's mind. A certain Wolf headed criminal might say it’s Money and Connections.

    “On it, I hope you’re right sir.” He grunts his acknowledgement, and leaves the scene before the police and ambulances arrive. There’s always more crime to stop, and there’s no more clues to be found here.

    E — N — D

    This is the chapter where I realize I need to add an AU tag. So, quick notes on it, Jason did die and was brought back, I’m fine with that, Barbara is not crippled like the games and Joker is alive. Reason I went with the Arkham Knight instead of Red Hood is because the Arkham Knight is cool as shit, the costume and that voice? Incredible. He also had a militia so I’m giving him a pretty hefty amount of money. We won’t be following the whole Fear Toxin nuke plan though. If I wanted to do that I’d have just labeled this an Arkham Knight fic. Also I am still considering adding the Berserk demons. Maybe not in the amounts Guts faced.

    The task was used, honestly a bit quicker than I'd have liked, but I want to stop having him go back to the apartment and get his shit. So yeah, author privelidge.

    So yeah, another 4k chapter for y’all. 4.7 I think it was, before I added this bit. Hope the fight scene was a bit better, and see ya guys in the next one.
  25. The_Great_NPC

    The_Great_NPC Getting out there.

    Aug 8, 2022
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    Thanks for reading! And yeah, I got medicine and stuff for it. Sadly, chronic, but so long as I keep up with eye drops and shit it shouldn't get worse and with them I can see normally. Huzzah.
    FTR2017 likes this.
  26. FTR2017

    FTR2017 Experienced.

    Oct 20, 2020
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    Very fun and villainous chapter, he's embracing his edge.

    Soon enough he'll draw the attention of the local League of Shadows recruiter. That way he'll get the best training that not even money can buy! They spawned Batman, after all! :V

    Totally fair, it is quite a good wish for the task at hand.

    I still find it sad that he didn't go with Cruel Mercy instead. :sneaky:

    More complicated? Perhaps. Would it show that he's got a sick sense of humor? Absolutely! :V

    Glad to hear that it is manageable, sir! :)
    The_Great_NPC likes this.
  27. Lumagle

    Lumagle Not too sore, are you?

    May 26, 2020
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    I like where this is going, but I'm still waiting for someone of your caliber to create a story where The Undersiders are in Gotham for some reason and try to continue their thieving shit fighting the bat family, them and a couple of other pseudo villains Wouldn't it be interesting?
    Hadrian.Caeser and The_Great_NPC like this.
  28. The_Great_NPC

    The_Great_NPC Getting out there.

    Aug 8, 2022
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    You know, now that you mention it that would be fun to read. Also, "of my caliber" is such an awesome compliment given this is the first story I've tried writing. Thanks so much!
  29. The_Great_NPC

    The_Great_NPC Getting out there.

    Aug 8, 2022
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    Oh my god the league of shadows exist... thanks for reminding me. I guess maybe they are pretty good at being a secret society if I forgot about them.
  30. FTR2017

    FTR2017 Experienced.

    Oct 20, 2020
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    They are bad at it compared to The Court of Owls, so feel free to wing it as you were planning to. :)

    Who knows? They suddenly appearing in-story would shock the MC something fierce ... . ;)