Rook: Knight of the Double Blade

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  1. scikaiju

    scikaiju science experiment gone wrong

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    Rook: Knight of the Double Blade – A Makai Knight Mini-Series

    OP - CFO$ - Catch Your Breath

    Walking the streets at night, a young woman in a simple dress paid no attention to her surroundings. Most people ignored her as she past, paying more attention to their phones or conversations than a single person. Not having a destination in mind she just wonder aimlessly. So lost in whatever thoughts that were in her head she didn't even noticed that she left the crowds and lights behind and entered a more run down part of the city, a darker, less populated area.

    Now she was aware of some people following her. Quickening her pace she heard them walk faster as well. Before long she was at a full on run, but her followers didn't chase her down. More worried about what was behind her she looked back, and missed the ones suddenly in front of her. They quickly covered he mouth and dragged her into an alley. Forcing her to the back where no one could see they threw her down and hovered over her. “Please,†she practically squeaked, “please don't hurt me.â€

    “We ain't gonna hurt you,†the apparent leader said, sneering at her trembling form. Licking his lips he told her,†You look almost too good to eat.†That got a sick chuckle out of a couple of those with him. The very sound made her try and squirm further into the wall.

    “Please,†she repeated as he traced her cheek with a dirty finger. His very touch made her recoil in disgust. That sneer just grew more menacing and disgusting.

    “Who the fuck's that?â€, one of them asked. Everyone looked back at the opening.

    In a dark overcoat, a man with dirty blond hair calmly walked toward them. Hazel eyes seemingly studying all of those present. Dark pants, a deep blue dress shirt and boots was all he wore. His coat simple adorned by a thin gold pin on his right lapel and some sort of Gothic looking face pin on his left breast. He only said one thing as he got closer, “Leave now.â€

    The woman tried to move but the leader pushed her back down, “Fuck his shit up!â€

    The group charged him. The closest to him reared back and swung with all he was worth. The newcomer grabbed his arm and flipped him over his would be attacker shoulder and continued forward. Another came at him low that he easily jumped over it. A third tried to tackle him, he was able grab him to stop his momentum and keep him in place long enough to flip over his back. Turning around briefly he kicked him into the second attack as he tried to get up. Again this new guy made his way toward the back of the alley. Another one was smart enough to come at him with a pipe. Ducking the first few swings he reached into his coat. The attacker took one giant swing at the other man's head trying to cave it in.

    There was an audible clang as the pipe met, and bent around, a black, roughly two and a half foot staff with gold inlay wrapped around the ends and in the middle. The would be attacker and couple of the others stared in disbelief at the now twisted weapon. Here the newcomer takes his eyes off the back wall and at the wielder of the pipe. Pulling the staff free he kicked the other man back. The newcomer went to put the staff back when the other man recovered faster and nailed him in the arm with the bent pipe. It hit him in just the right area that the shock went down his arm and caused his hand to open. The staff landed with a huge thud on some garbage and cinder blocks that shocked the others present. Another kick put him down for good this time. The newcomer looked angry with himself momentarily as he looked at the down man then looked back at the back of the alley.

    He stared at the rest of them, gauging where they were in front, and where they were in back of him. All it took was him glancing down at the staff for the rest to jump him. They were finally able to force him back as a group and away from his weapon. Taking a few punches he grabbed one and tossed him into the group and created enough space to break free. Positioning himself between the group and their leader and the woman he looked back and forth at them, silently weighing his options. Realizing he only had one. He took most of he group by surprise by running at them. They weren't prepared for his attack as he took them down as fast as he could.

    As the last two went down and their leader slack jawed at the sight, the newcomer looked at the down men shaking his head. Finally focusing on the back of the alley he went, “I said leave.â€

    “Fuck you bitch,†the leader snarled as he charged him. Every punch and kick was blocked or dodged, infuriating him even more. But he was able to get the fight closer to the woman. Figuring if he was trying so hard to save her maybe he could use that to his advantage. Grab her and threaten to kill her or something. When they were close enough, the girl actually stumbled toward them making this even easier, he reached for her. The newcomers moved faster than he thought was possible, grabbed his arms and crossed them against his chest as he slammed him against the brick wall. He looked the newcomer in the eyes as he was held in place, just seeing determination.

    That just made him angrier, “You expecting a thank you fuck from this little bitch? That she be grateful and just give it up to the god damn hero?â€

    “She's not the one I'm saving,†he grunted. In his free appeared a black, demonic eye looking Lighter. He turned just enough to put it in the woman's face and lit it. Transfixed by the blue flame her irises glowed as ancient lettering appeared in her eyes.

    A small, tinny male voice said, “And neither one of you are his type.â€

    Briefly looking annoyed he cut the flame and grabbed the woman. She grabbed him and threw him away from her. Demeanor completely changed now, more confident and looking at the leader as hungrily as he did her and grabbed him around the throat. The newcomer quickly got to his feet and grabbed the woman, broke her grip and forcibly moved her away from the man. He sucked in air as he held his throat as he watched the two of the struggle with the woman eventually being thrown down.

    She was suddenly very animalistic in her movements, crouched down and ready to strike. The newcomer got between her and and the other man and took up a fighting stance. She started speaking, but it wasn't in any tongue her now scared to hell would be attacker understood. But the man in the over coat understood her perfectly. “Makai Knight,†She tried to get in a position to get around him but he made sure he was a constant obstacle in any path she tried to take. In a more demonic sounding English she went, “Do you not know what he and his followers intended to do to this body?â€

    He replied, “I have an idea.â€

    “Then why protect this scum?â€, she snapped. “Let me feed on this filth and those like him. Let me take their darkness away from this city.â€

    “Human affairs aren't my concern,†he told her. “And how long before you start feeding on those who wouldn't attack you?†She hissed and took a swipe at him even though she was too ar away to make any contact. “I only have one job. Cutting down Horrors and protecting the ones your kind hunts, no matter how disgusting I find them.â€

    With a roar she came at them and he cut her off with a kick to the gut. Taking the attack to the Horror he tried everything he could to get her away from the man. A few of his group came too, saw what was happening as the two of them fought each other and finally took heed of his warning and ran out of there, dragging who the could along the way. Their leader was still frozen in place having seen and heard thing they didn't. He looked at them then spotted the staff still on the ground, leaning against a cracked cinder clock. Finding his courage he ran for the staff, grabbed the end in the air and headed for the fight. Then he looked like someone took the street out from under his feet an his feet went up and nearly threw his own shoulder out as the staff didn't budge an inch. “Fuck,†he muttered trying to grab at his shoulder and get up at the same time.

    The so called Knight kept the horror at bay as long as he could. He made a misstep and she charged in connecting with a swipe to the chest that sent him reeling and went for another. He backed up, soon back flipping out of the way as she gave chase. The other man stumbled out of the way as he came closer, his foot kicking down on the staff as he landed causing it to spin in the air. An awaiting hand grabbing it he swung and clocked the woman in the head snapping it around and making her stumble back a few feet. She brought her head back around and snapped her neck back into place. The Knight seemed unfazed but the would be attacker kept crawling backwards.

    He ran into something and looked back. Two people, a woman in a dark coat that went past her waist and a white blouse and tan pants, looked down at him. “Well this is a problem,†she said. The other one, a man in a black and purple double breasted fully buttoned coat. looked on with indifference. Both wore similar black leather bracers on their wrists “You're getting sloppy Carter,†she called out. He grunted in response as he continued the fight.

    With his weapon he was able to keep the Horror at bay easier now while trying to wear it down and damage what he could. Without warning he tossed the staff at the Horror. She caught it on instinct and immediately her hand drop to the ground. She looked up realizing how exposed she was at the moment and could only watch as the Knight ran in with a kick to the face. She fell back and he grabbed the staff and smashed it against her legs as she got up. She scrambled out of the way as he swung the staff down at her and faced him as he prepared himself for what was next. Opening her mouth she shout a small spike that he batted away with the staff. She shot another one and had the same results. Inhaling she fired them out of her mouth at a rapid fire pace. The Knight swung the small staff around deflecting what he could and trying to avoid the ones he couldn't. Spinning around he grabbed the other end of the staff and pulled. Both hands deflecting the spikes as what light in the area caught the surface of what he was swinging making look like it was flashing for the briefest of moment. One last spike left her mouth and shot right at him. A metal blade deflected it enough that it just missed the right side of his face and embedded itself into the wall behind him. He repostioned himself for the attack wielding the two half of the staff that now revealed the hidden blades that were inside.

    Not taking his eyes off the Horror he called out, “Jules, I need a barrier now.â€

    “On it,†the blond woman said. Revealing a wide brush with a white bristles, she pulled out some red paper with markings on them. Her companion grabbed her arm and stopped her. She looked back at him, “Reks?â€

    “Do not take orders from a Knight,†he told her. She pulled away and stared at him.

    “It to keep the Horror in,†she informed him. “If you weren't so pig headed.... Just watch the jackass here.â€

    Turning back to Carter and the Horror, she saw him swing and cut the horror while avoiding it's swipes. He jumped off a trash container high in the air. The horror was ready for him when he landed. Jules already had a different type of paper, gray this time but still marked, in hand. Bringing her brush to it the end glowed a bit as she swiped it toward the horror. The paper formed a long metal spike that embedded itself above the Horror. Carter landed on it and sprung off as the Horror grabbed where she thought he was going to be, Flipping in the air and landing behind the shocked Horror he swung both blades and cut her deep in the back. Recoiling in pain and screeching in response she caught Carter with a savage back hand that sent him flying into the opposing wall.

    “Carter!â€, Jules called out. Again Reks held her back.. She freed herself one more time as the woman bent backwards, her skin going leathery and black as night. Her arms became another set of legs as a pair of arms with pincers appeared to grow out of her hips. Her neck elongated into a tail as her head became it''s stinger. Mandibles snapped at Carter as he slowly got to his feet, blades in front of him to defend himself. Jules held her brush close, did some small, quick hand moments and fired off a blast of magical energy that struck the Horror in the side.

    Angered the Horror angled it's tail toward her and fired of more spikes from it's stinger.

    “What are you doing?!â€, Reks demanded as he used his brush, similar in design to hers but with a metal ring separating the bristles from the main body of the brush, to use smaller blast to intercept the spikes.

    “Taking on a Horror like we were trained to do,†she said as she kept up her attack.

    Seeing the opening she gave him Carter ran in and jumped, landing in front of the horror and jamming one of the blades into it's head as he did so. Struggling to hold on to the blade as to struggled to get free he looked up to see the tail ready to strike. Pulling the blade loose in time he jumped out of the way as it struck the ground. Landing near the other three he spun the duel blades in his hand a bit, deflecting more of those spikes, before bringing them together at the other end, forming a double bladed staff that was almost five feet in length. Stabbing and swing as he charged he forced the Horror back then retreated a bit to make some space between them.†Jules.â€

    She was already prepared with the red paper in her hand, “One barrier coming up.†The bristles glowing again, she placed the the slip of paper in the ground and brought the brush to it, a barrier of energy flashed to life momentarily before fading from view. The only hint that it still existed was part of it flashed when Carter deflected another spike into it. “Be careful. This one isn't going to last that long to begin with,†she reminded him.

    He didn't make any sort of movement or sound that he understood, just kept his attention on the Horror in front of him. One who took a small woman to use itself as bait to attract it's prey. Concentrating a bit her brought the staff over his head and spun it. Both ends seemingly cutting a line in the air that formed a circle when he was done and brought the staff down to his right side. The interior of the circle cracked and broke as an otherworldly light shined on top of him. Then, what seemed to be with the slightest nod of his head, plates of metal came down on top of him. Clad in flat red armor, he looked more like a metal wolf with the snarling head and clawed fingers, a silver diamond shaped jewel at his waist, Blue eyes staring defiantly at the Horror in front of him The staff changed as well, the blades growing a little longer and at the base where it met the staff curved bladed like hilts appeared. He swung the staff around with practiced ease, now he was more than just Carter Greystone he was Rook, Knight of the Double Blade.

    Slowly he walked forward, using either the staff or his fist to bash away the spikes coming at him, the ground cracking beneath him with each step. Once he was close enough the Horror tried to jam it's tail into him. He caught it with his free hand and swung the bladed staff through the tail severing it from the rest of it's body. The lone man who had no idea what was going on held his ears as the creature cried out in tremendous agony. As it scurried away. The tail disintegrating in his hand he ran at the fleeing beast. Jumping up and off a wall he flew over the Horror and swung the staff. As the blade cut through as he past he landed and the beast appeared to exploded in a fireball before the flames turned into those symbols momentarily before fading completely.

    After the armor flew up to whence it came Carter turned around, separated the staff and returned it back to it's original staff stat as Jules removed the paper from the ground removing the barrier. Shooting a glance art her companion she looked at the guy Carter just saved, “So what are we going to do with this one?â€

    “Drop him at the police station,' was his answer.

    “I'll take him,†Reks said. Grabbing him by the arm he hauled him to his feet and dragged him toward the alley's opening. Looking back a bit at the Knight he leaned in and spoke, low enough that only his current companion could hear, “Don't worry, I'm not taking you to the police.â€

    Oblivious to that conversation Jules told Carter, “They're not going to believe him if Reks doesn't do anything. And if he does they still don't have anything to hold him for.â€

    “Not my problem.†Turning his head to the left a bit he, “Xypher, are there any more Horrors around?â€

    The pin on his label spoke in that tinny voice, “No, Scorpina there was the only one.â€

    “That wasn't it's name,†Jules said with a slight smirk.

    “Eh, I like my name better,†the pin said. “Unfortunately me and Carter got here in time to stop her.â€

    Carter looked a little closer at the pin on his chest, “Unfortunately?â€, he said.

    “Well he was planning on raping her.â€

    “And she was planning on eating him,†Carter said.

    “Not my problem if she has poor taste in meals... Ow,†he exclaimed as Carter flicked him.

    “And he'll probably do it again,†Juels said, mainly to stick up for the Madou pin. “And that one won't be a Horror.â€

    “I know,†Carter said softly. In his more normal tone of voice he told them, “But human affairs aren't our concern. We protect them all, no matter who they are. No matter how we feel about them.â€

    “I know,†Jules said but not in a mocking way. “Well we better keep hunting, who knows if there's another Horror around. I'll let you know if I find anything.†Carter nodded. Jules reached out and squeezed his arm and smiled before using her brush to make the metal spike disappear and walking off. Carter watched her a moment before heading back to the street himself.

    Reks opened a door and gestured for his companion to head on down the staircase in front of him. As he said he didn't take him to the police. But he never said he take him home either. A fact that seemed to go over the other man's head. At least until right now. He started to back up, but simply bringing his Madou brush back into view quickly stopped that. “Go ahead,†Reks said. “It's perfectly safe. They won't be able to find you down here.â€

    “W... who won't?â€, he asked.

    Lifting an eyebrow he replied, “Things like that woman.†That was enough to get him down the stair, so fast he almost tripped himself going down them. Closing the door behind him Reks calmly followed hitting a switch near the bottom to light up the nearly bare room. “It's not much but it'll keep you comfortable for a couple of days. The mattress over there on the floor isn't much but it's better than nothing.

    “Thanks,' he muttered as he looked around, Outside of the mattress there was a couple of different sized crates in a corner making a makeshift table and chair. “You sure nothing like that bitch will find me here?â€

    “Positive,' Reks told him. Still he looked around the room again unconvinced. “There are seals in place,†he told the man. “To make sure they can't sense anybody on the inside. Like that barrier my partner put up earlier.†That made his guest a little more at ease with the situation.

    “What the fuck was she?â€, he asked suddenly. “That wasn't fucking human.â€

    “She used to be,†Reks said walking toward the crates and sitting on one of the smaller ones. “And I'm sure she might have been a lovely person before the Horror possessed her.â€

    “Horror?â€, he said looking confused. “You guys used that word a lot when the bitch,†he made some motion with his hand trying to find the right word, “turned into whatever the fuck that was.â€

    “That was it's true form,â€m he explained. “That was a Horror, or the name we call then. A creature from a different dimensions that makes it's way into our world, looking for food. Or to take possession of a person so they can move about and hunt more easily.â€

    “You mean like an alien invasion?â€

    Reks looked almost amused by his question. “Not quite. No, it's said that they're are born from, and drawn too, the darkness in human hearts. It'll be inside a gate, waiting for the right moment to emerge. Usually when some one is close enough, either with said darkness on their hearts or at their darkest and weakest moments. It very possible that woman was being attacked by a similar group to yours, it just happened to be by a gate.â€

    He seemed to be understanding things better now, “So it made her a deal, the power to get out of it.â€

    “In a sense,' Reks told him. “From my understanding that particular Horror tends to hunt down those groups looking for an easy victim.†His guest started to say something, almost like he was going to protest, but Reks didn't give him an opening to do so. “But what the Horror never tells their unwitting victims is that in doing so they are consuming their very soul. That woman was dead the moment she agreed to it.â€

    “So it was wearing her like a outfit.â€

    “In a manor of speaking,†Reks said, losing the amused look. “The memory and personalty is still there to keep up the disguise if need be. But the person she was, eaten by the Horror.â€

    “That is fucked up.â€

    “No truer statement was ever spoken.â€

    “So who are you guys then?â€

    “We are an order that had been protecting the rest of you from for longer than most people can imagine. In secret of course, mostly because we have too for various reason.†Standing up and brandishing his brush he exclaimed, “I am a Makai Priest.†The bristles glowing he pointed the brush at the wall and let lose a small ball of energy that exploded on contact. His guest was stunned to the point his jaw dropped.

    Walking over and almost touching the smoking spot on the wall, but was too afraid to. He looked back and forth between Reks and the spot on the wall a couple of times before going, “That was magic.â€

    “How observant of you,†he said dryly. “We learned ways to challenge the Horrors and hold the back. A few of us can even defeat one.†To anybody else watching he may have seen a little too proud of that particular fact.

    That bubble, as they say, burst when they other man asked, “What about the other guy?â€

    Shooting him a deadly glare that made the other man stumble back he went, “Who?â€

    “Th... the other guy. The one with the....†he started swinging his arms around in the air like that explained everything. “The one who killed that bitch.â€

    “She isn't dead,†he said coldly.

    And the other man expression changed back to panic just as fast. “You said she was dead.â€

    “I said the woman it possessed was dead,†Reks said getting close enough the other man backed up some more. “You can not kill a Horror. You can only send it back to the Makai dimension.†Reks backed off a bit to regain his composure. A little calmer he went on, but the disdain was still evident in his voice, “That other one was a Makai Knight. Something we created and they quickly forgotten that fact.â€

    “Fucker seemed strong,†the other one commented. He quickly backtracked when Reks glared at him again, “I mean that weapon of his was fucking heavy. Almost ripped my shoulder out trying to grab it.â€

    Chuckling now he understood where he was coming from Reks went on, “That's because his swords and armor are made of soul metal. Unless you are especially trained in their use hey are extremely heavy, and dangerous to touch. Practically burning those who aren't properly prepared to wield them.â€

    “But I ain't burnt,†he said looking at his hands then showing them to reks.

    “The casing around them protected you. The bare metal itself.... that would have been a different story.†The other man gulped and stared at his hand. “Now somewhere in that addled brain of yours you have to be wonder why am I telling you all of this. Because secret societies are supposed to be secret after all.â€

    “Not really,†he said starting to look nervous again.

    “Of course you are,†Reks put an arm around his shoulders and guided him across the room. “You see I think you can be of use to our cause.â€

    “H... how?â€

    “Oh I'm sure we can find some place for you.†They stopped by a section of wall as Reks backed away a bit. “From an informant of sorts to,†he studied the other man a bit. “Perhaps a Makai Priest like myself, if you have the right, shall we say, talent for it.â€

    “Seriously?â€, he asked looking more interested than confused now.

    “Oh yes, we are a very open order for a secret society. We are all considered equal.†A little darkly he muttered, “More or less.†Shaking himself out of it he turned his attention back toward his guest. “But that is neither hear nor there. In fact we can begin right now if you'd like with a simple test. A test of courage.†Touching part of the wall beside him a door sized panel opened up. Nothing but complete darkness could be seen on the other side. “Unless of course if your courage is failing you at this particular moment we can wait a bit.

    “Naw,†he said puffing out his chest a bit before walking through, “I not afraid of shit.†The door closed behind him. “Hey!†he banged on the door but it wouldn't budge. As his eyes adjusted tot he dark he realized there was a bit of light coming in from outside. Not a lot but just enough to curb the stifling feeling of being in complete darkness. Staying where he was he looked around a bit and say a shape close by, practically hanging against the wall. Figuring this was part of the test he slowly edged toward it. “Hey,†he whispered. He said it again a little louder, “Hey.†Starting to reach out a hand he felt goosebumps forming on his arm right before the form moved. In what light there was he saw a black demonic face came at him.

    On the other said of the doorway Reks listened to him scream, almost in concert with another, demonic sounding scream. Within a few moments both screams stopped and he started smiling to himself. “As if a low life like you deserved anything else.†Turning to leave he saw that he wasn't alone anymore. Seeing this newcomer was angry he looked worried for the briefest of moments before putting up his usual expression. “Just feeding the pet,†he said as he walked past. “You should know how important that is.â€

    The other one said nothing, just clenched a fist tightly, trying to control the anger that was building.

    Horrors always hunted at night, that was a fact that was never questioned. It was why they often possessed human in order to walk around during the day. Picking out potential targets to keep track of, to pounce on when the time was right. It was near dawn now so any Horror still in the city would have started to go back to whatever hole they, or in those cases, their “host†bodies had. As such Carter knew the hunt was over for now and he needed to rest before it began all over again.

    In a small wooden area outside the main city he walked the well worn path. His destination was a two story house that would fit a larger size of family comfortably based on appearances and would seem better placed in one of the better neighborhoods than the middle of this area. Lantern like lights illuminated his way as he got closer. He didn't even slow down or question as he saw Jules lounging on the steps leading up to the front door. She gave him a friendly wave and smile. His response, “Why are you here?â€

    Moving just enough to give him room to walk up those steps she said, “I know Reks is going to be a tool later when I see him. I want to avoid it as long as possible. Which does mean I don't really have a place to stay tonight since he decided he's crashing at my place.†She looked up at him and smiled again as she battered her eyelashes. After a moment Carter just nodded his head toward the door and she quickly got up and joined him. “Thank you kind sir.â€

    “Like he ever turns you down when you ask,†Xypher said as Carter opened the door

    “I am being polite,†she told the pin. “It would just be rude just to walk in when you two aren't here.â€

    Letting her go in first Carter said, “You're welcome to be here any time.'

    “I know,†she smiled. “But like I said, it be rude.†Being familiar with the place as she was she flipped the switches that turned on the lights. and continued on inside. Jules removed her coat and laid over a nearby chair as they continued on. In the main room of the floor Carter took a right to a door that lead to a small study with several bookcases built into the walls, all of them loaded with old books and various other things. Heading over to the desk he removed Xypher from his place on his chest and slid him onto a display on the desk. “Knowing you there's no food prepared.â€

    “I'm sure there's something,†Carter said as he removed his coat and placed it on a hanger on the wall.

    “Well if you had a servant like a proper titled Knight,†she started to say. When she looked at him he was staring at a small table by the chair she was standing by. At a small red envelope that was on it to be precise. “It never stops being creepy how it just shows up like that.â€

    “It was there when we entered the room,†Xypher told her. “I saw it when Carter put me here. Those Watchdog messengers can get in just about anywhere.â€

    “It's a little late for orders,†Carter said as he picked it up with one hand and reached into his pants pocket with the other. Holding the envelope by the one corner he used the blue flame of his Madou lighter to ignite another. Letting go as the flame quickly consumed the envelope the ashes grew and formed letter of the ancient Makai language in the air.

    As both of them were trained to understand the words they read the orders the message contained. “The Watchdogs want to see you about tonight,†Jules finally said.

    Carter finished it as the letters disappeared, “Because I came into conflict with the civilians earlier.â€

    “Word traveled pretty fast,†they looked back at Xypher,†I haven't even sent a report in yet.â€

    “I'm pretty sure I know who did,†Jules said, looking half angry and half disappointed.

    Carter said, “He's doing his job.â€

    “And I'm sure if you were a Makai Priest Reks would have been a little kinder in his report,†Jules shot back. “I don't understand why he's like that. Particularly lately.â€

    Xypher commented, “He seems to be the same pain in the neck to me.†Carter shot the pin a look, “And you can't flick me from over there so I'm safe for the moment.â€

    Jules gave the pin a sly grin, “He could walk over there just as easily.â€

    “Don't give him any ideas,†Xypher protested.

    “Unfortunately that attitude isn't only confined to Reks,†Carter said as he left the den. Jules followed as he continued, “I've met some Knights who have the same attitude toward Priests.â€

    “That's fine, I'll just hang out in here,†Xypher called out.

    Jules told him, “We'll be right back.†She lost a bit of the smile though, “But sometimes I wonder if that what happened with Reks. Meeting some of those Knights you mentioned I mean. He wasn't like this when we were training.â€

    “Maybe it was always there and it just now starting t come out,†Carter offered.

    Jules studied him a bit as they entered the kitchen. “I'm trying to decide if you actually think that's true or if you're saying that because you have a bit of a problem with Reks. tooâ€

    “You know him better than I do,†Carter said as he started rummaging around to see what he had. “I just see the man I've dealt with.â€

    “Well in my eyes he wasn't always like this,†Jules said as she gave him a hand, being familiar with his kitchen as well. “It wasn't after we started going out into the field that he started to change. Maybe he did met some of those Knights and never told me.â€

    “Maybe he did,†Carter conceded. “You always seemed to be a good judge of somebody's character. And like I said you known him better.â€

    “Then why am I usually hanging out with you?â€, Jules shot back. The smile saying it was a joke. Carter just shrugged in response. After a bit they both had something to eat. Although Jules forced him to keep her promise to Xypher as they ate in the den. Sitting on opposite ends of the same couch hey spoke about little thing as they ate, potential dens where Horrors might be located, rumors of anything that may pertain to their particular line of work. Nothing really important, just things to pass the time while they finished.

    “Well that was good,†Jules said as she put her plate down on the coffee table in front of them. “I think I'm going to call it a night. I'll see you later Carter.†She gave his hand a light squeeze as she stood up. Carter rose as well and walked her to the den's doorway. He stood there as he watched her walk up the stairs and enter the room he usually slept in.

    Back on the desk Xypher went, “So, just you and me again tonight?†Carter looked back at the pin but said nothing. He glanced back up to the room Jules entered before turning back into the den.

    The next morning Jules came down the stairs and found Carter on a couch in the main room. Well at least it was bigger than the one in the den. In what became sort of a tradition she quietly walked into the den and removed the cover off the stand Xypher was on. Blank eyes seemed to blink a bit as they readjusted to the sudden brightness. “I guess you want me to tell Carter you said goodbye again?â€

    “If you would please,†she said softly then started to leave like usual. But she caught sight of Carter sleeping. “Xypher,do you think he'll ever get the hint and join me up there?â€

    “Oh I'm sure he already got the hint,†the pin told her. “But he's too proper a Knight.â€

    “I know he is,†she said as she walked back to the desk. She bent over a bit to get eye level with the pin. “It's one of the things that makes Carter Carter. You know, all this time and I still don't even know why he takes a couch. He does have a couple guest rooms up there, I used to stay in one until I made my way into his.â€

    “He wants to be the first line of defense,†the pin told her. “As he figures it any attack would come from the lower level and not the top floor.†She looked back at the sleeping Makai Knight and smiled. That would explain all the barriers he had her put on the windows on the second floor. “Although if you really wanted him up there with you could just ask.â€

    “It's not quite that simple Xypher,â€

    “Anybody ever tell you that you humans make things more complicated than they need to be?â€, the pin shot back. “You ask, he either says yes or no. Simple.â€

    She knelt down a bit, 'You're probably right. But if I have to be honest, whatever is between me and Carter, I think it's part of the reason why Reks is acting the way he is. He has a problem with Makai Knights in general, but Carter just sets him off for some reason. If me and Carter....†she sighed. “I need to get things straighten out between me and Reks first.â€

    The pin snorted, “Way too complicated.â€

    Jules smiled, then looked back at Carter. “Xypher, can you do me a favor? If I know Reks he's probably going to be at that meeting with the Watchdogs too. And I know how he's going to try and spin it. Just back Carter up.â€

    “For you, anything.†Jules lightly rubbed the top of the pin and stood up. Entering the main room she quietly walked over to the couch. Reaching out a hand she carefully brushed a few stray hairs out of his face, trying not to wake him. Retrieving her coat from the chair she put it the night before she left his house and headed home.

    Later that day, after his usual morning workout Carter stood in front of the Watchdogs, the beings who gave him and the other Makai Knights and Priests their orders. Several columns circled a brightly lit area. But that light barely gave the slightest hint to what was in the darkness beyond them. Standing in the middle of the area he locked up at two balconies on his left and right. On the left one stood a woman, the right an older man. Both wore white robes. The woman had a necklace of pale colored seashells around her neck. The man had a wreath of white leaves circling around his head. Between them, right on the floor in front of him was a statue of a demonic looking dog with an open mouth.

    As Jules had predicted, Reks was there and was already giving his version of the events from the previous night. Both Watchdogs looked bored and uninterested as he spoke. Audible to only Carter Xypher gave out a small grunt. Not being privy to his and Jules conversation from earlier he looked down briefly trying to decipher what that meant. But only briefly as he knew the Watchdogs would notice.

    Also because Reks decided to point a finger right at him at that moment. “That's when I saw this man viciously attack the very people he was to 'protect'.â€

    Above them the female Watchdog spoke, expression not changing at all. “Is this true Rook?

    Still looking bored as well the male added, “If true it would be a heinous breach of duty and protocol. How do you answer?â€

    Ignoring the look Reks was giving him Carter stepped forward a bit. “His version is not completely true.â€

    Here the female tilted her head a bit, but her expression didn't change, “So what Makai Priest Reks is saying is partially true?â€

    “Let the Knight answer Illumnia,†the male said.

    She responded, “I am merely asking for calcification Nisoka. With charges such as these nothing must left to interpretation.â€

    “Agreed,†the male said after a bit. “Knight, continue.â€

    Carter nodded, “I discovered the Horror I was tracking had already found some potential prey. I ordered them to leave. They decided to to attack me.â€

    Here the male expression change to a more curious one, but still with a hint of that previous boredom. “Why would they attack you Knight?â€

    “My only assumption at the time was they thought I was trying to save the woman the Horror had already devoured..â€

    “He drew his weapon,†Rek spoke up.

    “In self defense!â€, the pin on his coat snapped.

    “Xypher,†Carter hissed.

    Both Watchdogs stopped looking bored. They showed nothing, which was more worrisome than anything. Carter could never get a good tell on either of them as it was.. “Is this true Knight?â€, Nisoka demanded.

    Carter glanced over at Reks. His smugness was the only thing worse than the blank looks on the Watchdogs. “I was attacked with a pipe. I acted on instinct to block the assault. But I never used the Swords of Rook on my assailants.â€

    “You still should have found another way,†Nisoka scolded.

    Illimina added, “As a protector of these humans you must be mindful of the difference between you and the ones you protect.â€

    Carter chaffed a bit but said, “Yes sirs. I will do better in the future.

    “But Carter was telling the truth,†Xypher spoke up/ “He was attacked and had to defend himself.â€

    Illumina started to say something but Nisoka raised a hand, boredom returning to both their faces. “Let the Madou pin speak, it can be entertaining on occasion.†The female Watchdog nodded in acquiesce.. “Continue.â€

    “My pleasure,†Xypher said. “They group Carter was trying to save attacked him like I said. The Priest here didn't even make himself known until Carter engaged the Horror. If that one didn't hit Carter on the arm with the pipe he never would have known Carter drew it to protect himself.â€

    Glaring at the pin Reks said, “I know what I saw.â€

    “And I was in the middle of it,†Xypher shot back.

    Nostrils flaring a bit Reks went on, “Why should we care about your opinion jewelry?â€

    “I'd care about it over the guy arguing with the 'jewelry' you son of....†Carter put a hand over the pin. His muffled protest could just be heard. Reks raised his brush fully prepared to retaliate for the cut off insult.

    “Enough!â€, both Watchdogs ordered. Carter lowered his hand as Reks kept his Brush as the ready. Although their unwavering gaze on him made him slowly lower it.

    Illumina spoke first, “Makai Priest Reks where were the Swords of Rook when you and Makai Priest Jules arrived?â€

    He answered readily, “They were out like I said.â€

    Nosika spoke next, “Were they in Rook's hands.â€

    He was a little more reluctant to answer this time, “No, they were on the ground.â€

    “Were the blades drawn?†Reks looked away in disgust. The watchdogs started at him until he answered with an angry shake of his head. “It appears you own testimony backs up Rook's claims in this particular event.â€

    Looking almost sick Reks said, “Apparently it does.†He walked away from the scene. Stopping right at the edge of lighted area he turned smartly, “With your leave.†Then he entered the darkness before permission was given.

    “Rook,†Illumina spoke. If either of them were insulted by Rek's actions as usual they didn't show it. “While we do not condone your actions of the previous night we do understand that there were special circumstances involved.â€

    Nisoka spoke next, “But we will not remind you again to take care if a similar situation happens in the future. Nor will we be as lenient.â€

    Bowing Carter replied, “I understand.â€

    “Now,' Illumina said, “step forward and cleanse your blade of the Horror's foul darkness.†Without a word Carter stepped forward, drawing his weapon. Separating it he placed both blades into the mouth of the dog statue before him. There was a hissing sound as as the stone eyes seemed to glow. With a stream of smoke a small metallic looking feather blade appeared at the base of the statue.

    Retrieving his blades and recombining them a small, hooded person appeared from the darkness. No one said a word as it reached out and gingerly took the blade with a gnarly, weathered hand. The blade disappearing inside the sleeve of it's robes the figure quickly returned to the darkness. Stepping back to his original spot Carter faced each watchdog and bowed before turning to leave.

    “A moment longer Rook,†Nisoka said. Turning back around he was surprised to see Illumina gone leaving the two of them. “There is a task we wish to assign to you. As Illumina is in need of rest I can easily relay the order.â€

    Walking back to his previous spot Carter went, “What is the task you wish me to do?â€

    “There is a disease in our ranks,†he said. “One that causes a rift between Makai Priests and Knights.â€

    Confused at this information Carter said, “I thought the Golden Knight in Japan took care of that situation a couple of years ago.â€

    “Yes he did,†Nisoka readily agreed. “However he only removed the primary source of the conflict. Symptoms still exist after the fact. One could argue they existed before Sigma made it worse. Now we fear someone here is trying to cause those rifts to grow again.â€

    “Oh boy,†Xypher muttered.

    “Do you have an idea who?â€, Carter asked.

    Slowly shaking his head Nisoka replied, “We do not at this time. Which is why we place the burden of this task upon your shoulders. While it would safe to assume another Makai Priest is behind this a Knight could just as easily be attempting to fan the flames. Find out who it is and stop them. But do not trust any one in this task and suspect everyone.â€

    That last bit rubbed Carter the wrong way, “With all due respect, it's possible that sort of thinking is what helped create those rifts in the first place.â€

    “I due believe the Watchdog misspoke,†A new voice said. Carter turned around to see an older man walk out of the shadows. Wearing loose dark clothing, the dark red highlight of his jacket being the only bit of color, and a turban like wrap around his head he smiled warmly at Carter The wrinkles around his eyes the the gray of his beard was the only give away of his age.

    Carter bowed in greeting and in respect, “Makai Priest Vincent.†He didn't return the bow. Instead he took the younger man's hand and shook it.

    “If I may be so bold,†he briefly glanced up at the Watchdog, “I believe he meant to say be careful of who you trust.â€

    “If you so wish,†Nisoka said.

    Carter only just caught the smallest hint of a smirk on the older man's face. “I will brief Carter on what is going on.†Nisoka nodded and walked to the interior of the balcony. “Come my boy,†Vincent said as he guided him toward the exit, “Let's talk in the open and not a stuffing room like this one.â€

    In the city, on a side street hardly any one used a section of a wall started to glow slightly. Taking a outline of a large door the wall opened, curling inwards from the middle. Emerging from the interior darkness Carter and Vincent walked out and the wall returned to normal as they walked away. Hitting the sidewalk nobody paid them much attention. Still they tried not to draw any extra attention to themselves as they spoke, “Do you think somebody is trying to cause a rift in the order again?â€, Carter asked him.

    “It's a possibility,†the older man mused. “The watchdogs seem to think so. However,†he trailed off a bit, looking for the right words. “While I haven't had the honor of meeting other Watchdogs, those two seem rather linear in their thinking. If something appears to be the case then that has to be the situation.'

    Carter looked at him with a unsure expression, “You think it could be something else?â€

    “It could be, a feint to distract us from their true goal,†Vincent said with a slight nod. “Or they could be right and someone is trying to cause trouble once again. The information I've seen could sway either way. I will be willing to to share said information of course.â€

    “And I would be grateful, “Carter told him.â€In keeping our options open can you think of any one who might be taking up Sigma's cause?â€

    Vincent didn't say anything right away as he thought it over. “In all honestly, I'm not really sure. Not a whole lot of questions were asked after the previous events. Those Priests who joined Sigma's cause were quietly welcomed back into the order. It could be any of them. Or it could be none of the and a new player is on the field.â€

    Xypher spoke up, “Well that narrowed things down.†Vincent gave the pin a amused look.

    “Well there aren't a lot of factors to narrow things down or eliminate any one just yet,' The Priest explained. “For example, Carter do you trust me?â€

    The young Makai Knight didn't even hesitate, “Without question.â€

    Stopping to face him Vincent asked, “But should you?' Carter just stared at him. “This is a slippery slop we find ourselves on. If we start accusing or hassling innocent individuals wildly we'll be causing those same rifts we were trying to stop.†He started walking down the sidewalk again with Carter quickly in tow.

    “But if we do nothing,†Carter argued, “if there is someone doing just that, he'll have free reign before we can stop him.â€

    “As I said, it a slippery slop,†Vincent told him. “It would be the same as wonder if stopping him was an act of justice or vengeance.â€

    This time Carter stopped. Vincent went ahead a couple of feet before he noticed. “If he was stopped what would be the difference?â€

    “It could decide which slop a man fell down,†Vincent told him. “A vengeful man, would take a small amount of pleasure in stopping the one behind it. Be almost glad he was the one who cut him down. That is a path that leads to darkness. Now,†he continued walking again, “a man of justice, even if he felt the person deserved to be cut down, would not enjoy it. Again a fine line one is never sure which side he is one in the heat of the moment. So carter, after all of this, do you still think you can trust me.â€

    This time he didn't answer right away, taking a couple of extra moments to think it over. Something the older was happy to see. Finally he looked at him and said, “Jules trust you, and I trust her.â€

    Chuckling a bit Vincent told him, “Who am I to argue when my character reference is my own student. You two do seem to be a little close to each other. If I was her father I'd be asking what your intentions were.â€

    “Jules is,†Carter searched for the right word, “special.â€

    “That she is,†he quickly agreed. “I would still be asking your intentions though.â€

    “She is my friend and ally,†Carter told him.

    “Pity,†Vincent said, confusing the younger man a bit. “I was hoping there would be a slightly deeper and more interesting answer there.â€

    “I mean I care for Jules,†Carter said. “as a friend. I mean.â€

    “He means,†Xypher spoke up, “he's too proper a Knight to do anything.†Carter flicked him annoyance. “You know it's true.â€

    “There's nothing wrong with being a proper knight Xypher,†Vincent said. “It's one of the qualities that spoke to me when we choose Carter to take on the mantle of Rook. But,†he said with an amused look, “do take it from a more experienced gentleman, they won't wait forever. That's a lesson I learned the hard way.†Carter said nothing, but he did nod in understanding.

    The older man pointed out a small cafe that he visited rather frequently. Gesturing at one of the empty tables they sat down. A waitress was soon there. “Will that be the usual for you?â€

    “Yes please,' Vincent told her with an easy smile.

    “And your new friend here?â€, she asked looking at Carter.

    “Whatever he's having,†he said since he wasn't familiar with the menu as Vincent obviously was. The waitress said she'd be right back.

    Vincent looked around at the others enjoying their food. “Hopefully you'll learn to sit back a bit and reacquaint yourself with the population we're trying to protect. The previous Rook was a bit too hard headed in that aspect. You have to be unmovable as stone....â€

    “in order to be a proper protector,†Carter finished for him. It was a saying he quickly became familiar with in a short time. Vincent nodded

    “I never could convince him you didn't have to alienate yourself from humanity in general. Sometimes you have to remind yourself that there are good in people. Especially when we deal with the results of their inner darkness on a regular basis.†Their order, which turned out to be some sort of thick soup, quickly arrived. Apparently a perk when you're a regular customer. Taking a spoon and stirring the soup in front of him a bit he said, “Speaking of Rooks, have you seen him lately?â€

    Carter came just short of playing with his bowl, looking a bit ashamed, “No.†Vincent said nothing, he just waited for him to continue. “I never felt that I would be welcomed back.â€

    “Now where did you get a fool idea like that?â€, Vincent asked him. Taking a napkin he reached over and shined up the slim gold pin on the right side of his coat, “He made you part of his when you took on the Rook title. Why would you think you wouldn't be welcomed.'

    “His middle daughter still calls me the usurper,†Carter informed him. “And I'm not exactly sure how his oldest daughter thinks about me. The only one who didn't seemed to tolerate me was his youngest.â€

    Vincent understood where he was coming from. “Well you were a very, very rare example of a title changing hands. A bit natural I suppose, especially since Rook had been part of that line for as long as anyone can remember. But I know you are doing a fine job upholding this particular legacy,†he assured him. “And I'm sure he feels the same way.

    “I hope I am,†Carter told him. “some days I'm not too sure. I mean last night...â€

    “Trust me son,†Vincent said, a glint in his eye, “I've seen him in similar situations. You went easier on them than he did. Now eat your soup before it gets cold. It's not quite as good then. And no crackers. Use the bread to soak up the soup.â€

    Night was starting to fall and those of the Makai order that actively hunted Horrors begun to do so. Jules, foe example, had just finished marking a potential gate for Carter or another Knight to check out if they came across it. And she'd probably would tell Carter about it as soon as she saw him. Honestly she would have told another Knight if she came across one but more than likely it was going to be Carter. But right now she walked the streets just watching those around her. Mainly she as looking for any signs of a Horror that might have taken over a human. But partially she was looking at how happy everybody seemed to be, remembering Vincent's words about remembering the there was good in humanity too.

    Not that she thought humanity was inherently evil, no far from it. But like every one else she knew she realized how easy it was for them to fall. And their order was just as vulnerable too so it's not like they had some sort of special immunity.

    “Jules,†a voice called out. She looked around, knowing it was one of their order. She found him soon enough, and it was another Makai Priest. She recognized the man with the white shirt and vest with the various magical trinkets on it and the black headband. But only because he and Reks teamed up a lot . As it was she had to think a moment to even remember his name.

    “Terrance,†she said cordially. Reks didn't have a lot of friends, and she really didn't care for most of them. Like this one. Only because he was about as smug as Reks was. And it was bad enough she had to deal with it with her partner, wasn't no way in hell she was going to be around for a double dose.

    “Reks said you ditched him tonight,†he said. Not a hello, not a how are you. Just straight to that.

    “Have to had plans to begin with in order to considered ditched,†she told him as she kept walking. A small part of her hoped he get the hint. But Jules knew that wasn't going to be the case.

    Terrance followed her just like she thought, “Reks thought you did.â€

    “Well he thought wrong,†she shot back. “We're not tied at the hip you know. I can go out all by my lonesome.â€

    “Going to see your Knight,†he spat.

    Jules stopped, mainly to suppress the urge to punch him in the face. Again it was bad enough to get this from Reks. “I didn't have plans to no. But if I happened to come across him I'd a least say hello like a civilized person.

    “He's an emotionless prick,†Terrance told her. Word for that was Reks' favorite argument to use against Carter and she was pretty sure where Terrance got that from. .Jules forced her fist down before facing him.

    “He has emotions,†she told him as calmly as she could. “But like every Knight out there he has to keep them under control. If you and Reks paid any sort of attention while we were learning you'd know that.â€

    “Look,†he said, obviously trying to back track and think of something else. “I know Reks can be trying. especially lately,†he had a look on his face that she could figure out. But it was gone as soon as fast as it appeared. “But he's a good man.â€

    “So is William,†she told mentioning another Priest in the area. “And James and Hector. I heard good thing about a guy named Zach a few towns away. There are a lot of good men out there. And probably a few good women if I swung that way..â€

    “You and Reks have known each other since training,†Terrance kept going. “Even before Vincent took both of you on.â€

    “And that doesn't mean anything if only one person feels that way,†she shot back. It wasn't Reks but maybe it was time to get this started somewhere. “I don't know when you decided to become Reks' wingman or what ever the term in no for what your doing is now. But I have never seen Reks in that way. And I'm not going to start now you and him want me too.â€

    “But you feel that way about Greystone don't you?â€, he demanded while getting in her face. If he expected her to back down he as in for one hell of a disappointment.

    “Carter is my friend,†she told him, getting close enough the he took a step back. “A friend I care about deeply. If something else happens between him and me that's between him and me and no one else. As of right now I don't care you or Reks or anybody else thinks about it. Am I clear.â€

    “Perfectly,†he spat before leaving.

    “Oh this is a bad sign for tonight,†Jules muttered after he was gone.

    “Help me,†a different voice called out. Jules looked around.. The voice called for help again, it was coming from the alley next to her.

    “A really bad sign,†she muttered. Hand wrapping around her brush just in case she entered the alley trying to find whomever called out.

    Not that far away Carter stood in front of an old, abandoned grandfather clock that someone threw out. He studied it for a long time before looking around to see if anybody was around. Seeing that it was only him on the street for the moment he reached int his coat and pulled out the staff. Separating it into two swords he pointed one at the clock. Studying more closely as he slowly hovered the point over the surface . Finding what he was looking for he jammed the blade into the clock. But it didn't penetrate the wood, instead it entered some sort of energy wave. The gate this particular Horroer would have used to trap a human. Removing the blade a dark glob floated in the air in front of him.

    “Good eye as usual Carter,†Xypher told him.

    “Are you trying get back in my good graces after almost getting me in trouble with the Watchdogs earlier?â€, he asked. Before the pin could answer he slashed though the globe, once with one blade than the other. It quickly dissipated.

    “I swear I keep hearing a tiny scream when you do that,†Xypher said. “An no I'm not trying to get back in your good graces. Probably. Okay maybe a little.â€

    He looked down at the pin with a light smile, “It's fine. What happened had to come out no matter what. Better to get it out then instead of them finding out later.â€

    “I've heard what happens when they find things out after the fact,†the pin went on. “It's not pretty according to rumor.†Carter was positive that if it could the pin would have shivered a bit just for effect.

    “Help!†Carter turned around to see a shirtless man run at him. Being prepared for an attack he was stunned a bit when the person quickly got behind him and tried to hide. “You gotta help me man,†he said in a quivery voice. “Some crazy bitch is trying to kill me.â€

    Before he could inquire about this “crazy bitch†in order to see if it could have been a Horror he heard another set of footfalls coming toward him. Looking up he saw Jules come up short with her brush in hand. She looked at him briefly before returning her attention to the quaking man behind Not saying anything Carter reached into a pocket and pulled out his Madou lighter. Holding in front of the man's face he ignited the flame. Transfixed his eyes gave him away as a Horror. “Makai Knight,â€he spat after the flame went away, quickly growing angry than afraid and tried to grab him. Carter was faster grabbing his wrists and throwing him down a side street.

    The Horror scrambled to his feet and hissed at the two of them before running away. Jules looked at him. Carter stepped back and with a arm gestured for her her to chase after him. She shot him an annoyed look before racing after him.

    “You didn't sense that one Carter?†Xypher asked as he started after them. “I got him about a mile away.â€

    “Just making sure,†he said. Hearing a battle he quickened his pace a bit until he found them. The only light was a barrel that was on fire he say Jules fight the Horror. After va bit the man crossed his arms and screamed, transforming into hid true Horror form. Jet black leathery skin, two horns on his head and a small set of wings on it's back as well as a pointed tail. Jules was undeterred as she attacked him again.

    While this was happening Carter leaned against the wall and watched her fight. “Um, Carter,†Xypher started to say. He held a finger in front of the pin to keep it quiet.

    Jules kept the Horror at a distance with various kicks. Much like her mentor and Reks her style was more fluid, almost dance like. Every so often she get in a backhand. That just seemed to infuriate the Horror more and more. It went on for a overhead strike. Jules easily blocked it. The horror looked down to see her brush againt it;s stomach. She didn't even smile when it looked back at her and unleashed an energy blast that knocked it back. She ran in with a jumping kick the horror easily dodged. When she turned around it's hand was around her throat in the next instant. Here Carter started to react but she got her brush in between them and closed her eyes. A bright light was emitted from the brush momentarily that blinded the Horror and it let her go to clutch at it eyes.

    She kicked it back then backed flip out of the way. Near the flaming barrel she stood up straight and held the brush close to her body. A couple of quick gestures with her hand she placed herself in a fighting stance with the brush behind her. The flames in the barrel seemed to flow toward the brush. Once in contact she she brought the brush back around and spun doing a pirouette. The flames spiraling around her as she did so.. Stopping with her hands above her head gripping the brush, her feet together and facing the horror. With a shout she brought the brush down released the fireball that was attached to the tip at it. The Horror couldn't react in time as the fireball hit it. Screams of agony were silenced quickly Horror disappeared inside the fire.

    Cracking her neck Jules looked down at her brush, it was smoking a little. In a panic she started blowing on it and shaking it. “Damn it it hasn't done that in months. How does Vincent to this all the time and not have his brush look singed.â€

    “I didn't think spirit animal pelt could catch fire,†Carter said from the wall, a bit of teasing in his voice. She shot him an annoyed look as the smoke finally stopped. “Come to think of it I've never seen Reks do that spell.â€

    Xypher spoke up before she did, “That would require you to hang around him more than you do now.â€

    “Reks doesn't do this particular spell,†Jules informed the two of them. “Each time he does it he nearly sets himself on fire. Vincent says he lets his emotions overwhelm him bit when he does it.†She looked back ar her brush apparently answering her previous question seeing how aggravated she still was after that meeting with Terrance. Still she shot him another annoyed look, “And a gentleman would have helped a lady.â€

    Getting off the wall and walking toward her Carter said, “I knew you had this one.â€

    “Oh, because it was a low level Horror and beneath your notice,†she said in annoyance before walking away.

    Now Carter was confused buy this change in attitude, “No because I knew you were good enough to take it. Did I make you angry somewhere because I'm not sure where this is coming from.â€

    She stopped and looked up at the sky before blowing out a breath. “No, I was already riled up before you came along.†She looked back at carter and gave him a small smile, “Sorry I was taking it out on you.â€

    “Already forgotten.†He walked up to her. Hr tilted his head a bit to examine her neck. That annoyed her but she tried not to let it show too much. He still saw it. “I know you can tf yourself I'm just checking.â€

    “That's sweet and you better remember that first part,†she told him. “Oh I marked a potential gate before I ran into that one. It's in that direction I think,†she pointed where she thought they came from.

    “I'll check it out,†He told her. Debating to himself for a couple of moments while Jules watched him he said, “Can I ask you a favor?â€

    “Depends on what you had in mind,†she told him.

    “The Watchdogs gave me an assignment,†he explained. “They think someone might be planning to cause trouble between the Knights and Priests again.†Jules let out an exasperated sound. “It's nothing concrete but if you hear anything let me know.â€

    “Oh I could probably direct you to a couple of people right now,†she told him. “But it would be more with how much they're annoying me at the moment than anything else. I'll keep an ear and eye open. But if I do find something you're going to owe me.â€

    “Fair enough,†he readily agreed.

    “Carter,†Xtpher said getting their attention. “It took me a second but I'm still getting a small Horror presence.†Both of the looked around and saw nothing right away. Reaching into her coat Jules pulled out a small palm sized disk and ran her brush over it. Magical energies reacted as several green rings appeared in the air. A red pointer spun slightly until it stopped in a particular direction. They both looked to see a dumpster in the spot.

    Surrounding the dumpster Carter drew his swords as Jules grabbed hold of the lid's lip. Carter nodded once and she lifted as fast as she could. Both of hem looked into it and saw nothing. “I got a reading,†Jules said as Carter started using the tip of a sword to move the garbage around. “It has to be here.â€

    Still finding nothing Carter looked at the wall in front of them. “It might be inside the building. Come on let's find away in.â€

    As they hurried to find a way into the building they missed it. Behind the dumpster, almost completely hidden was a faint spot on the wall. A spot that pulsated slightly like it was alive.

    ED- Shaman's Harvest – Broken Dreams
  2. scikaiju

    scikaiju science experiment gone wrong

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    Rook: Knight of the Double Blade

    OP – CFO$ - Catch Your Breath

    A man grunted as he fell to the ground. The overhead light and the sweat on his body making him seem to glisten as he panted hard. Looking over at the man who knocked him down, the much younger man, he tried not to look as annoyed as he felt over the fact he wasn't even breathing that hard. Not nearly as hard as he was. He remembered being that young and making it look so easy. With another grunt he hauled himself back up to his feet and faced his opponent, the crowd around them egging him on, they weren't done with the violence just yet.

    “Come on old man,” the younger one said. “just back down already. No shame in admitting defeat to the better man.”

    At that moment he felt all of his fifty plus years and then some. There was part of his brain that was down right pleading with him to listen and throw in the towel. That part had been getting louder and louder over the years. As always he pushed it aside, he didn't get to where he was at now because he admitted defeat. “When the better man comes along I might think about it.” A good section of the crowd cheered. His opponent shot them a nasty look, no it was a disgusted look. Almost like he was offended that they were cheering for him and not the young buck. At least that was what he was telling himself.

    “Sick fucks,” the younger man muttered. “Alright Grandpa, it's your funeral.” The older man charged at him trying to catch him off guard. The younger man wasn't fazed at all as he easily pushed him to the side. Damn it when did he get so slow and sloppy? Going at him again the younger man took advantage of the opening in his defenses, the one he'd been taking advantage of all night, and pounded him again. He felt his legs start to wobble but forced himself to stay upright. A right cross made his vision go blurry but he fought through it. He was practically dead on his feet, he knew it. His younger opponent knew it, the crowd knew it. His much younger girl knew it as well as she watched from the crowd. That pissed him off more than anything. Damn it he wasn't going to lose to this bastard. This much younger and in much better shape bastard. But the blow to finish him off didn't come like he expected. No the other guy just stood there looking at him with pity etched all over his face.

    “Come on you fucking prick!”, he bellowed, almost losing what breath he had left in doing so.

    “Dude this shit ain't even worth it anymore,” he said. Looking at the crowd he asked, “One of you get a doctor or something.”

    There was a couple of laughs coming from the crowd. Breathing harder than he had ever had in his life he grabbed the younger man. With what was left of his strength he tossed him to the ground. Keeping a hold of an arm he wrapped his legs around it as he fell backwards to the concrete. With every fiber of his being that was still functional he reared back on the arm and pulled. He heard the younger man cry out as his arm was being bent in an unnatural direction. The crowd cheered him on. The scream became louder as he felt the younger man arm finally break under the pressure. Some of those cheers quieted as the crowd realized what just happened.

    Letting go he laid there waiting for his body to stop screaming at him and for his heart to stop feeling like it was about to burst out of his chest as the younger man rolled away clutching at his arm. Slowly, painfully he got to his feet. He looked at the younger man then at the crowd. “You heard him,” he got out between heavy breaths, “get a doctor.” Stumbling more than walking away the crowd parted for him. Convincing himself it was out of respect for his skills and not the abhorrence he was seeing he went to his car. Behind him a couple of the younger man's friends rushed to his aid. God it never used to be this hard before.

    “Yo Tony,” his girl came up to him. He expected her to be proud of him, to be impressed that he was still the man in this underground fight ring. When they first got together a couple of years ago she was. Lately she wasn't as impressed, in fact right now she looked down right bored. Staying back a bit she just looked at him as he grabbed his shirt off the hood. Finally saying, “You alright?”

    He felt like he was about to drop dead if anybody breathed on him hard. “Never better,” he said while trying to get his breath under control. “Had the little shit exactly where I wanted him the entire time.”

    “Uh huh,” she stated. “You never had to break an arm to win before either.”

    “Got to remind the young bucks who the man still is every so often.” And he still was too, for thirty years now nobody had been able to stop him. In fact he was insulted when those challenges started happening more frequently the past decade or so. The little fucks think just because he was older that he still wasn't the ass kicking machine he had always been.

    That part of his head that was telling him to quit earlier started up again. Telling him that he was older and his useless pride was the only thing keeping him going well past the time he should have quit. Again he ignored it. That punk got lucky this time, caught him on an off day. That was happening more frequently now that voice spoke up again. Shut up. He was one of the lucky ones, found what he was good at early on in life and stuck to it. Too violent to make it as a professional fighter they told him, to out of control, to willing to hurt the other man. Well fuck them all he was the god damned king around here and nobody was going to take it from him.

    “Go get my money,” he ordered his girl. She looked pissed but still did as he said. Yeah he was about done with her any way. He'll get a a couple of more fucks out of her then drop her like trash for some one better, someone who appreciated who he was. Like she used to, or he thought she did.

    From where he was he watched her go to the guy taking the bets. Instead of just getting his money they started talking. Fine, whatever, butter the bastard up to make sure he gave her his full cut. Last time wasn't the first time somebody tried to short him of his proper winnings when he sent somebody else to collect it. Then he saw her smiles and him smile back. Not in the friendly way, no she smiled liked she did when she first started talking to him. Do little things he recognized that she did to show she was interested. Things she stopped doing at him he soon came to realize.

    “Fucking bitch,” he muttered as he got off the car. He took exactly one step forward when a strange pain in his chest stopped him in his tracks. Apparently none of the crowd that was still dispersing even seemed to noticed as he stumbled to the side, hidden from sight by a van. Fighter instincts kicked in as he refused to let his legs give out on him. He leaned a heavy hand on the van as his other one clutched at his chest. No, he was not that weak he wasn't going to go down like this here or ever. He was the toughest mother fucker in this garage and he wasn't going out like an old worn out bastard. Eventually the pain passed and still nobody came to check on him. He wouldn't be surprised if the bitch and the fucker with the money started making out right then and there. He'll show both of them that he was still the fucking king around here.

    “Think you're pretty tough don't you?”

    His head snapped around. “Who said that?”

    “I've seen it a million times,” the mysterious voice continued. “Big man, rule the streets with the fist. A dime a dozen really.”

    “Come out of hiding and say that to my face you bastard.” He looked all around, under cars, inside any open window he could find. So far this voice that was pissing him off didn't have a body. But once he found it.

    “But the they get older,” the voice went on, it's choice of words making him pause for a moment.. “The body starts to give out before they're ready. Either from years of abuse the man put it through or was too weak to begin with and he didn't notice before it was too late. Seen it a million times.”

    His curiosity won out over the voice he usually ignored that was telling him to run. “And what does that fairy tale have to do with me?”

    The voice laughed, “It's only a fairy tale if it isn't true. And right now I'm looking at a man who's denying the truth right before me.” Bastard made a mistake, he let him know that he was close by. But where the fuck was he hiding? “But,” it went on, “what if I told you I can make it like you were young again?”

    “That's not possible,” he said.

    “I didn't say I'd make you younger, I just said it would be like you were young again. Think about it, the knowledge you have now with the skills you had back then. You wouldn't just be king of this puny event.”

    “I'd could be the king of the city,” he said. Temptation overrode his common sense as that pain in his chest returned. What the hell, what did he have to lose. “So what to I got to do?”

    “Just turn around.”

    He whipped around but still didn't see anybody there. What kind of game was this fucker playing. Then he looked down. Up against the wall was an abandoned, dirty baby doll. It was so out of place he almost felt compelled to take a step toward it to pick it up. Then it's plastic eyes seem to glow and before he could react some sort of ring opened up and he thought he say some... thing inside it before these weird things came at him, going into his mouth, eyes and ears. He tried to scream but nothing came out. Although it seemed like an eternity it was over less than a minute after it started.

    Oblivious to what just happened his girl and the bookie were still talking. “Just leave his ass already,” he told her. “You know he's going to kick it one of these days and your not going to get a damn thing.”

    “Tony's got some life in him still,” she said, more or less automatically. Too bad she still had to admit to herself that the thing that made her attracted to him to begin faded away a long time ago, way faster than his body. Still she tried to defend him, “He just needs to lay of the fights for a couple of weeks and get his stamina back up.”

    “Love to show you how much stamina you're actually missing,” he said. She smiled in a away she probably shouldn't have had. But Tony wasn't just losing it in the fight circle. He was starting to lack in other areas too.

    “Maybe you can show me when I'm bored eventually.” he smiled at her in a way that said he understood completely, and was looking forward to it. Then a hand gripped his shoulder. Before she could react he was wrenched off his feet and sent flying backwards into the van Tony's car was parked by. It took her a second to realize that it was Tony who just did that. So dumbstruck all she could do was stare like the few that remained. Then he looked at her. A small spike of fear ran up her spin but there something about his eyes. There was a confidence, a hunger that originally attracted her to him that had been missing for a while. “T... Tony.”

    “He was bothering you,” he said in a cocky tone she almost forgot he was capable of. In return that old spark she had for him seemingly came back to life.

    “Nothing I couldn't handle baby but I'm glad you did,” she smiled seductively at him. He gave her one that was just as hungry as the look in his eyes as she rubbed her hands over his chest. “Can I do anything special for you since you won daddy?”

    “I want you now,” he said. She started for the car but he stopped her. “No, Here.”

    “In front of everybody?” She quickly removed her top exposing herself to those who remained, “I like this new side of you.”

    Tony looked her over, licking his lips. A hand reached out and started fondling her, “You look,” that hand went for her throat and held tight, his eyes glowed in a way that froze her in place, “delicious.” Grabbing her leg with his other hand he picked her up over his head. Finding her voice she screamed for all she was worth. Those that were still stunned by the previous act of violence were struck even more so at the sight. A few found the will to run when Tony flexed and seemingly broke the woman in half. Those that stayed were transfixed by the horrible realization that instead of bleeding buckets she seemed to break down and fall into his open mouth. She didn't stop screaming until her mouth was gone.

    Swallowing Tony looked around at who was left. The bookie, the punk he just beat and his friends and a few others. They all stood transfixed by the sight of him. “Buffet time.”

    Hours later, outside that same garage a blond haired woman with leather bracers stood and waited. Jules paced back and forth a bit by one of the entrances just waiting. It wasn't that long ago that somebody came running out of there and nearly ran her over. Just based on how scared he looked and what she could get from his babbling told her all she needed to know, there was a Horror in there somewhere. And from what few bits she could get before he ran off like his life depended on it, and to be honest it probably did, this sounded like a powerful one. And she wasn't so proud in her abilities to fight Horrors directly to realize that this one might be a bit out of her league. So she contacted the person she figured was closest, Vincent. Fortunately her guess was right and he was nearby, So why was he taking so long to get here?

    “Jules!” She looked around and saw the familiar turban he wore since she was a little girl. Still didn't stop her from being annoyed at him being so late to her call.

    “What took you so long.?”, she asked.

    “Since we don't exactly know what's we're dealing with. Outside of an extremely frightened man's ramblings that is,' he added when she was about to say something. “I figured it would be best if I called for some extra help.” She was about to ask who when she looked behind him. Hurrying up was a blond haired man in a dark trench coat. With a bit of a Twinkle in his eye Vincent asked, “I hope you don't mind the person I decided to ask?”

    “Do I look like Reks?”, she told him. “Carter,” she greeted him in a friendly way. He nodded in response and looked up at the garage. “Xypher,” she said to the Madou pin on the left side of his coat.

    “Hey Jules,” he replied in it's tinny voice.

    Barely taking his eyes off the multi-level garage Carter went, “Vincent didn't give much in the way of details. Any idea on what's in there?”

    She shock her head in the negative. “All I know that it's strong and hungry. I haven't seen any one else come out but it's a big place. Plenty of places to leave and I'm only one person.”

    “Plenty of places to hide as well I would imagine,” Vincent commented. As he studied the building.

    “I'm sure you did what you could,” Carter told her. “And I got here as fast as I could.” Nobody was saying it but they all had the same worry right then. It had already feasted and gotten out. “Xypher.”

    “I'm not detecting anything,” the pin replied. “Not even a trace.”

    “It's very possible that it's not strong enough to be detectable from this particular range,” Vincent offered. Jules looked at the older man she'd known for years. He didn't really seem to believe it either.

    “We're still going inside to check,” Carter told them. As he started inside the two Makai Priests wielded their Madou brushes and followed him in. Looking around and not seeing any immediate signs of a struggle they headed further in. Jules pointed out the nearest staircase heading to an upper level. With the slightest nod of agreement Carter headed in that direction. Then he stopped after a few yards, head tilted to the side a bit. Both Priest took up a loose defensive position although neither saw anything in their immediate view. Without warning Carter lunged in between two vehicle. Coming back into view he had a man by the shirt and slammed him into the side of a truck

    “Don't hurt me!”, he begged, everything about him said he was scared out of his wits. Unmoved by the display in front of him Carter held his Lighter between them and flick the blue flame to life. Whomever this man was his eyes didn't react, he wasn't the Horror they were looking for.

    Carter let him go and took a step back but his gaze held the man in place and demanded, “What are you running from?”

    Slightly oblivious that he was scaring the man even more Vincent came foreword and gently stepped between them. “If I may have a moment or two with the gentleman?” Realizing his current approach wasn't working Carter backed off. Turning to the scared man and gracing him with a warm smile Vincent said, “Forgive my young friend. He get's rather... testy shall we say when he's on the job.”

    “In other words dial it back in these situations,” Jules muttered to the Makai Knight.

    Xypher responded, “I'm pretty sure the dial's broken.” Around the time the scared man was looking for the new voice Carter reached up and flicked the pin. “Ow”

    “Quiet,” Carter hissed through his teeth. Jules was pretty sure if the pin was capable of it he would be looking at her for some sympathy. While she was generally against him flicking the pin Xypher kind of deserved that one talking in front of the uninitiated like that.

    Helping the frighten man sit on the concrete Vincent knelt down and waited for him to calm down a bit. Even though it wasn't necessary Jules reached out and grabbed Carter's sleeve to keep him place. He obviously wanted to hunt this Horror down, at least to her, but this was their best shot on getting any information.“Now my friend, what exactly happened to get you in such a state?”

    “The old man Tony,” he said in a quick breath. “He just... I don't know what the fuck happened. He just barely won his fight. Then he... Oh God that couldn't have happened.”

    Gripping him firmly by the shoulder Vincent waited until he looked at him. “I know it's hard to process but what you saw really did happened. We need to know what this Tony did.”

    “His girl man,” he started. “I swear to God he picked her up like it was nothing and snapped her in two. Then she just poured into his mouth. Oh God It's even sounds crazier saying it out loud.” The three members of the Makai Order just looked at each other.

    “All right my friend, we're almost done here,” Vincent started. “Where in this building did this happen. It's important that we know.”

    “The fourth level,” he said. “I ran down here as soon as that shit started happening.”

    Without waiting Carter and Jules ran for the stairs leaving Vincent with the scared man. Racing up the stairs they burst through the doors at the fourth level, Carter having the black staff with the gold inlay in hand while the bristles on Jules' brush glowing ready to attack. The carefully walked foreword noticing that a few of the cars were parked in such a way that you could see something was going on here. Both hands on the staff, prepared to pull and reveal the blades inside he entered the loose “ring” stopping at the center and looked around. “Xypher?”

    “A horror was here alright,” the pin replied. “But it's long gone now.” Uttering a silent curse Carter replaced the staff into his coat. Not seeing Jules immediately he looked around until he saw her squatting down and looking at a beat up doll against the wall. “I think that's the Gate it used to get into this world. I can feel the negative energy coming from it.” Jules lowered her head and sighed heavily.

    This was outside her usual behavior in these situations. Soften his stance a bit Carter but a hand on her shoulder and went, “Jules?”

    “I'm fine,”she answered. “It's just... I know how gates are made. But every time I see one attached to something like this... I start getting angry at whatever life threw at it's owner to get that much negative energy built up enough to form a gate.” She stood up and with a quick flash of magic set the doll on fire. “No one deserves that sort of life.” She glanced at Carter then back at the doll. “Yes I know that was pointless since the gate was already used. And no it didn't make me feel any better.”

    “It just makes you human,” Carter told her. She looked at him. Anybody else she might have thought that was condescending. In her mood she might have even have accused him of it too. But she knew this particular Makai Knight a little too well.

    She smiled at him, “Foibles and all.” Walking away from the doll she looked around the garage. “I think I've been around humanity's darkness a little too long. I think I'll stop by that restaurant Vincent loves later. Remind myself of humanity's goodness as he likes to say.”

    Looking around a bit himself Carter asked, “Want some company?”

    Admittedly that took her a bit by surprise, normally she would be the one to ask him along. Generally he would decline. But if he was reaching out, trying to advanced whatever they had right now who was she to argue. “I think I'd like...”

    “Ahem,” Both of them looked behind them to see Vincent standing there looking a bit chagrined. “Now normally I wouldn't interrupt like this but weren't you going to the Temple of Rook tomorrow Carter? To purify your armor?”

    Jules looked at Carter, not looking for a confirmation. She knew Vincent wouldn't make a lie about that. All Knights had to purify their armor every so often. If the negative energy absorbed from fighting and sealing Horrors became too much they would start attracting Horrors themselves or start affecting them and their devices. The knight remained stoic, Xypher on the other hand, “It's not like he has to go tomorrow or be there all day.”

    “No,” Jules said. “Purifying his armor is more important. He should do it as soon as possible. Besides don't you have a friend up there? You can say hi.”

    “Believe me,” Vincent added, “I wouldn't have called him to join us if I didn't think we might have needed his skills.”

    “It's fine,” Jules told him. Actually it wasn't but she wasn't going to throw a tantrum like a child because she isn't getting what she wants. Being a responsible adult really blew sometimes. “Maybe we can do the restaurant some other time.”

    “I'd like that,” he told her. Then his gaze hardened as he went all business as he looked at Vincent. “What about the guy we found?”

    “Sleeping comfortably,” the older Makai Priest answered. “He shouldn't remember anything when he does awaken. I was able to get a little more about the Horror's initial victim before then though. Mainly a full name, Tony McKay. A life long underground fighter, the champ, for lack of a better proper word, for a long time apparently. I'm going to see if my usual sources can come up with anything on this McKay, where he lived and the like. Try to narrow down on where the Horror might strike next. I'll do some research into the Horror myself, see exactly who we're dealing with. I'll get you that information as soon as I can.”

    “That would be much appreciated,” Carter told him. “I'll look around here for a bit longer. Try and see if I can get a clue on where he went. “ Before leaving he hesitated for a moment. “An extra set of eyes would be useful.”

    She didn't have to look at Vincent to know he was grinning at them. Still she didn't hesitate in answering, “Lead on Mr. Makai Knight.”

    It was near dawn when Terrance made his way back to the, well hide out was a tad cliche but it fit what they were using it for. Making his way down to the basement he found Reks already down there working on something at the makeshift table. He stopped suddenly when he thought he heard a scream. It ended rather quickly but it was a scream never the less. Looking annoyed he said point blank, “Feeding the pet again?”

    “Just keeping it's strength up,” he said, never taking his eyes off of working he on whatever it was. The idea he never seemed unnerved by the fact he just basically sacrificed some other poor soul to the Horror they had trapped in there was upsetting Terrance more and more each time he'd done it. Almost like he was reading his thoughts Reks said, “I caught that one robbing an elderly couple, pretty sure he was racist too based on some of the derogatory things he was saying to them.” Holding up the thing to inspect it from a different angle he added, “So no one to lose any sleep over.”

    “It still goes against everything we were trained for,' Terrance argued. “We protect the regular human. We're not supposed to feed them to the Horrors. Much less getting involved in their affairs and act like judge, jury and executioner.”

    Seemingly satisfied with the work he had down he finally looked at the other man. “A necessary evil that had to go long with the plan. We don't know if a Horror can die of starvation and at this stage of the plan we don't need to find out.” he walked over to the wall and put a hand on the secret opening. The Horror locked on the other side seemed to sense him and they could hear it start to scream at him through the wall. “It took us months to track and capture one of them. We lost a man in doing so and can't trust any one else to replace her in fear they'll report what we're doing.” Talking his hand off the wall he walked away and looked at him. “We need to keep this one fed just long enough to enact the plan. After the Knights are gone I'll dispose of it myself.”

    Terrance was with him about getting rid of the Makai Knights, there was no question in that. It was the one thing that drew them closer as friends once they realized that had that in common. But still he had his doubts. “I still don't understand how doing whatever the hell we're doing with that is supposed to get rid of the Knights.”

    “Just trust the plan Terrance,” Reks told him. “I have faith in it and the man who thought it up. It will work. We just need to have a little faith.”

    Terrance might have had a little more faith in things if they were doing the exact opposite of what they were trained to do by feeding the damn thing. Still he trusted Reks with his life so he let it go for now. But, “There still one more thing we haven't really discussed about the plan.”

    Having started to equip the device he was working to his wrist he glanced back at him. “And what would that be?”

    “What's going to happen after the Knights are gone.”

    Reks was confused by the question. “We'll protect humanity,” he said like it was the most obvious thing in the world. In a way it was, once the Knights were gone they would have to be the ones to protect the regular humans. Still there were certain facts Terrance didn't think he was considering at the moment.

    “As much as it leaves a sour taste in my mouth to admit but our predecessors created the Makai Knights because there were Horrors too powerful for them to defeat.” Reks looked dismissive of the idea as he went back to attaching the device to his wrist. “Even now there's are a relative handful of Makai Priests who can defeat and seal Horrors on their own. And no offense my friend, but you and I are not one of them. So how exactly are we going to accomplish what they couldn't?”

    “Our predecessors,” Reks began as he made a few final adjustments to the device now firmly clamped to his wrist, “may have seen a wall they couldn't over come with those more powerful Horrors. Some may have even called the cowards, other smart in their ability to realize their own short coming. I on the other hand have a different interpretation.” With a quick flick of his arm a bar extended out. Terrance watched as the end unfolded into a circular blade that started spinning very rapidly as soon as it connected to the other end. He silently marveled as after a few test swings the blade increased in size with one. Stopping when it reached a radius of about a foot and a half Reks finished his thought, “They lacked the proper imagination.”

    Clearly impressed with what he was seeing Terrance said, “That is truly some of you best design work. But have you really thought all this threw because I'm seeing a flaw just looking at that blade spin.”

    “What do you see?”, Reks said in a challenging way.

    “It's what I potentially see,” he corrected him. “And that is horror blood infecting everything around it as soon as you start cutting.” Reks slowly turn his arm, and therefore the blade, like he was contemplating it. Without a word he held his brush near the base of the extended arm. A quick flash and Terrance stepped back as the spinning edges of the blade burst into a blaze of green fire. “Madou fire,” Terrance said as it dawned on him.

    Grinning Reks said, “The knights aren't the only one with access to it. They can use it as an a offensive weapon, why not us? Not only should the flame burn the Horror it should also take care of the Horror blood before it can become a danger.” That grin turning into an arrogant smirk he looked at Terrance over the wheel of green fire, “Do you see any other potential flaws in my design?”

    “I submit to your superior imagination,” Terrance told him. Satisfied the flame disappeared and the blade shrunk back down to it's original size before undoing itself and retracting back into the device. “I know that couldn't have been a recent idea. How long have you been holding on to that one?”

    “Since Vincent first took on me and Jules,” he answered. “He told me it wasn't practical and that I should forget about it. In hindsight he might have been correct about my original idea. But I never let it go, I knew it was plausible I knew I could, and did, perfect it. Those relative handfuls as you put it soon won't be the only ones who can defeat Horrors.”

    “The Makai Knights days are truly over then,” Terrance said, starting to believe in it again. Reks looked over the device again, checking various things. He may have been confident in his design but even he wasn't fool enough to believe there still wasn't any tweaks to be made. While his back was turned Terrance glanced over to the wall that had the hidden room, and the Horror inside it. How did that thing play into the over all plan?

    In a deep forest area well outside the city was a structure that was mostly obscured by the foliage. But in the middle of sea a vines a white marble door stood defiant of the life around it. It slowly opened up as Carter walked out. He looked back as it closed and sealed itself. The Temple of Rook, which housed all of those who have held the Title of the Double Bladed Knight and his eventual resting place as well. He glanced down at the thin gold pin on his right label. He may have been accepted into the previous Rook's family but part of him still felt like he didn't belong in there. Even the spirits of the previous Rooks felt his inner turmoil, but they neither confirmed or denied his thoughts on the matter.

    Walking forward he slowed his usual stride as he reached a particular spot. A spot where the previous title holder finally deemed him worthy of it after all his training. As always when he came here he stopped in this very spot and mulled over it. He was already a trained Makai Knight when he was ordered to report to the previous one, to be his successor. “Seems like forever ago doesn't it?”, Xypher spoke up, breaking him out of the memory.

    “Sometimes,” Carter agreed. “And sometimes it feels like yesterday.”

    The pin chuckled, “That too. But that's life as they say. You have to face it looking foreword and taking it one step at a time. I know you humans like to dwell on the past a little too much. I've been attached to a couple of Rooks that seemed to live in the past.”

    “They also say those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it,” Carter countered.

    “And in general that's true,” Xypher said. “But there's remembering the past and living in it like I said.”

    “Where am I on that particular scale?”

    “You're just remembering it at this point,” the pin told him. “But even just remembering the past can overwhelm you if you're not careful. Especially if you start wonder what might have been if particular decisions were made differently. Especially where those orders that sent you to us are concerned.”

    Carter just smiled sadly, he had thought about that on occasion. “You seem to know me pretty well in the short time we've been together.”

    “Eh, you always get like this after we visit the temple,” Xypher told him. “Or we run into his two oldest daughters.”

    “Just the middle one,” Carter corrected him. Taking one last glance at that particular spot he headed off, back toward the Makai Path that would take him back to the city.

    After a bit Xypher spoke back up, “Hey Carter, do you mind if I asked you a question? Do you feel any different after going through the purification process?”

    “In what way?”

    “I don't know, I guess coming out of it feeling a little purer or something.”

    “You asked that of all the Rooks?”, Carter asked him with a slight smirk.

    “I've tried,” Xypher said. “The closet I've ever gotten to an answer was the old man telling me not to waste his time with pointless questions.” His smirk grew a little bigger, that sounded like him alright.

    “To answer you're question no, I don't feel any different after. The process cleanses the armor of negative energy and any I happened to absorb but I don't feel any different.” Xypher grunted in understanding as the continued walking. He got to part of the path that branched off into two directions. The one to the left would take him to the opening of the Makai Path. However his gaze went off to the one leading to the right.

    “Why are we stopping?”, Xypher asked.

    “Besides don't you have a friend up there? You can say hi.” Those words came to him as he continued to look down the path.

    Eventually he told Xypher, “Something Jules suggested last night.”

    “Right,” Xypher said as he began to understand, “Morgan and his family lives up here as well. You're actually going to stop in and say hi like she said? You should, you don't have that many friends as it is.” He looked down at the pin, debating if that was a flickable statement or not. “I mean you're rarely up here and the last time you two met up you seemed pretty close.”

    “I guess it wouldn't hurt, to touch base,” Carter said after a bit. “He goes into the city as well, I can let him know about that Horror we missed last night.” Mind made up he took the right path.

    “And you can just say hi,” Xypher added. “No need to add any unnecessary reasoning for it. Like I told Jules, you humans make things more complicated than they need to be. Oh, have I mentioned how much I like her? She's a good influence on you.”

    “Hey man,” a rough looking character said to somebody inside the door he was by. “Some guy says he wants a meeting with the boss.”

    “Anybody important?”, came the response.

    “Don't think so,” he looked at the guy wanting the meeting. “Just some old dude, what was your name again?”

    “Tony,” he said with a grin, “Tony McKay.”

    “Boss don't know anybody by that name send him away.”

    “You heard the man Gramps,” the door man said. “you ain't seeing anybody today or ever.” Tony just grinned and grabbed the man by the throat before slamming him into the wall behind him.

    It didn't seem long before he started seeing landmarks that were familiar as he spotted them. Carter paused for a moment, an instinct honed from fighting Horrors told him he was being watched. It was still mid afternoon and he knew Horrors generally tracked down their prey at night. Still it didn't mean one couldn't be tracking a potential target, or that it could be something equally as dangerous. Keeping a closer eye on his surroundings After about ten minutes of this he stopped and and looked to his left. “Stop this game and come out now.”

    A bush started to rustle and he focused in on that, but he didn't react right away. In the next instant his wtalker stormed out screaming and got right into his path. Before him was a child, a boy who couldn't be older than eight. Coming up to his waist, if that, he held a wooden stick shaped like a sword and tried to look threatening. The lack of reaction on Carter's part seemed to make him angrier and confused at the same time. “Go away Stranger!,” he ordered. “I, the Great Leonard, protect this forest!”

    “These forest protectors are getting smaller all the time,”Xypher quipped.

    “How did you talk without moving your mouth?” The Great Leonard said softly. Then he threw up his sword and ran down the path yelling, “HORROR!” Carter, picked up the wooden sword and followed him looking further down the path to see a small cabin in the middle of a field. A woman came out quickly followed by another boy, older than the “Great One”. The youth looked ready to fight as the woman looked concerned but ready to defend herself. Than a man who was obviously the boy's father came out, sheathed sword in hand. As the small one ran to the woman and tried to hid behind her skirt. All of them wore plain and simple clothes, not rags as one migh expect from the house but nothing those on the streets would wear either.

    The man came out and walked a few steps in front of the others. Carter continued to walk toward him, tossing him the toy sword once he was close enough. “Sorry for the unannounced visit Morgan. If I knew this area was protected I would have sent word.”

    “That's ain't his real voice!,” Leonard called out.

    “It's daytime stupid,” the older one chided him.

    “Nathaniel,” his mother quickly said. “My apologies for our two sons Carter,” she said to him. “They have forgotten their manners from the look of things.”

    “Which would make them my sons,” Morgan said with some amusement. Holding out his hand the clasp each other around the forearms in greeting. “What are you doing out around these part Carter.”

    “Purifying myself at the temple,” he said as the headed for the house. Morgan nodded in understanding. “Lyndsy,” Carter said as they got close. He held out a hand for her but she hugged him much to the shock of their two sons.

    She pulled back and looked him over, “Well no Horror gotten to you from the look of things.”

    “But that's not his real voice,” Leonard insisted. “I heard it! His mouth didn't even move.”

    “You heard me oh Leonard the Great.” His eyes went wide as he looked at Carter, too scared to move. Carter held the left lapel if his coat so Leonard could see the pin on it clearly. He nearly jumped out of his skin when the eyes blink. “I'm not that scary now, jeez.”

    “And it's The Great Leonard,” he said in a small protest.

    “Pfft, same thing.” Carter flicked him. “I hate it when you do that, seriously.” The older boy, Nathaniel got up real close to the pin in stared at him. “Do you mind,” Xypher protested, “I can smell what you had for breakfast.”

    He backed up a bit, realization dawning on him, “You're a Makai Knight.”

    Leonard look back and forth between his brother and Carter, “Like Daddy?”

    “Yes like your father,” Morgan told them. “Boys, this is Carter Greystone, or Knight of the Double Blade Rook.”

    “You're a titled knight,” Nathaniel said with a bit of awe that wasn't there before. “I bet you live in a huge house with servants and everything.”

    Xypher snorted, “Boy do you got the wrong Makai Knight.” Carter gave the pin a slight grimice.

    “But you have a title...”, he protested. “My father doesn't even have a title and look at where we live.”

    Carter looked at him, “Just because I have a title doesn't mean your father's a lesser Makai Knight than I am. We both have the same job.”

    “But you always had the good life,” Nathaniel continued.

    “That's enough,” Lyndsy told him sternly. “I'm sorry for my oldest. He's at the point where he wants a better station in life. There's nothing wrong with our life here.” Nathaniel said nothing, but it was obvious to everybody he still didn't think it was fair. Carter looked around their home. This could have been him if things turned out differently.

    “No I haven't always had it good,” Carter said out loud but not really meaning too. The boys looked at him with some confusion. He looked Nathaniel right in the eyes, “My father was like yours, fate had a different calling for me than directly following his footsteps.”

    “You're the fake,” Nathaniel blurted out after studying him for a bit. Both of his parents started to scold him but he kept going. “Other Knights have visited and I've heard then talk. The fake titled knight who was just given it out of nowhere. The one who didn't deserve it...”

    “That's enough Nathaniel!”, Morgan ordered. He opened his mouth again but was cut off, “I said enough!”

    Realizing he should let this go and not fan these particular flames anymore Carter still wanted this boy to understand. “I wasn't just given this,” he began. “The previous Rook didn't just hand me what he had. He made me earn the right to take Rook from him every step of the way.”

    “I knew the previous Rook,” Morgan added. “Trust me son he didn't just hand anything to anybody. Carter more than earned the right to bear the title of The Double Bladed Knight.”

    “I'm still surprised he hung around to do it,” Xypher said.

    “He's still a fake,' Nathaniel insisted. His mother started to pull him back while his father pinched his nose and mumbled something. Unconcerned of his parent obvious disapproval of his current attitude he kept on. “No fake can beat a truly trained Makai Knight. I beat I can even beat you.

    “Now you listen...' Morgan began but Carter put a hand on his arm. He looked at him and one look from Carter was all it took for him to nod and back away. Looking at the defiant young man, and remembering when he had that particular mindset once he first hit the teens.

    “Let's test that theory,” he said, much to the shock of of the two boys. His mother not so much but she still seen to be taken a back a bit. Taking the staff out of it'd holder he took off his coat and handed it to Morgan.

    “Can I not be upside down please,” Xypher called out. Looking around the area near the house he found a couple of rocks that were the same height that where close enough to set the staff on top of them. Walking forward a bit he waited. Nathaniel was still dumbstruck, only moving when his mother gave him a slight push. He walked until he was a few yards in front of Carter.

    “We'll keep this simple,” Carter began. “You try to grab the Rook Sword. I'll try and stop you from doing so. Do you understand?”

    “Of course I do. What do you think I am, stupid?” Morgan sighed loudly.

    Carter said nothing, which made the young man even angrier and charged at him. With little effort he stepped to the side enough to grab the kid and throw him back. Getting back to his feet Nathaniel went at him again and again the same results. Again he got back up but didn't charge this time, Morgan looking a bit proud that his son could figure out that his strategy wasn't working. This time he tried to attacking him like a regular fight throwing punches and kicks. All of which were easily blocked or deflected given his age and current skill level, which made the young man even angrier, just where he wanted him. Changing his defensive a bit he slowly backed up, not much just enough for the younger man to charge in harder. Then he hurled himself past Carter as he took a step to the right, hand outstretched for the staff. His eyes only left his prize when Carter jumped over him, twisting in the air as he grabbed the staff right before Nathaniel could even touch it and yank it out of reach before his feet touched the ground.

    Nathaniel landed hard, looked up and made one last grab at the staff as Carter lifted it out of reach. Turning to make one more go at it it was stopped abruptly as Carter put a foot on his chest, pushing him down and pinning him there. “I like your determination,' he said evenly, “but I win.” Removing his foot he walked back toward Morgan as Lyndsy stopped Leonard from making fun of his older brother before he had a chance to.

    “I almost had it,' Nathaniel called out. “I got by you!”

    “He let you,” Morgan informed him. After the expected protest from the young man he went on. “I was watching both of you. He gave you that opening to win and you fell for his trap. He was just a superior opponent son, there's no shame in losing to one in a sparring math.”

    Retrieving his coat Carter put it on letting the father handle the son in this situation. Then the kid, who was still sitting on the ground, called out, “He cheated!”

    “Nathaniel!”, Morgan barked. Carter turned to face the young man and held up a hand, letting Morgan know to let him take this one. He walked toward him and looked at him. He stared back all with all the defiance of youth.

    “How?”, Carter simply asked. When no answer was immediately forthcoming he went, “You said I cheated. How did I cheat? I do deserve a chance to defend myself form that sort of accusation.”

    Nathaniel got up and got in Carter's face as best as he could. “You grabbed the staff!”

    “And?”, he asked looking for some further detail.

    “You said...”, then he faltered.

    “”I said,” Carter finished for him, “that you were to grab the staff and I'd would try and stop you. At no point did I say I wouldn't grab it myself to accomplish my goal.”

    “But you never said....”

    “Do you think a Horror is going to tell you exactly what he's going to do?”, Carter demanded. “Do you think it's going to give you a chance to point that out?” He looked away but he still looked angry. “Titled or not, a Makai Knight knows he has to pay attention, fight on what he see and on his instinct. Your father is not a titled Knight but he knew my what plan ended up being just by watching me, like I knew you were going to fall for by the way you were acting during that test.” Nathaniel ran back into the house, again his mother kept his younger brother from going after him ot make fun of him. To her and Morgan he said, “I'm sorry I've angered him.”

    “Don't be,” Lyndsy told him, “he needed the reality check.”

    “And since I've been trying to give it to him for the past couple of months, he obviously wasn't listening to his old man,” Morgan added.

    “Still I think me being here is going to aggravate him for a while,” Carter said.”

    “You don't have to leave,” Morgan told him.

    “I know,” Carter looked back at the house trying to see if Nathaniel was any where near the doorway. “He'll probably cool down faster if I'm not around.”

    “Not that boy,” Lyndsy said.

    “Unfortunately,” Morgan agreed. Trying to change the mood a bit he told Carter, “But you are always welcomed her despite what my son currently thinks.”

    “I appreciate that,” and he meant it. “Before I go there's a new Horror out there, likes to break people in two before devouring them.” Leonard stepped a bit closer to his mother upon hearing that.

    “Sound like a nasty one,” Morgan said. “I'll keep an eye out when I'm on patrol. Anything else I should know about?”

    Carter glanced back at Lyndsy, who was a Makai Priestess in her own right. “I have an assignment from the Watchdogs. They think somebody might be taking up where Sigma left off.” Morgan grimaced and held his wife close as she walked up to them. Most of that particular action might have primarily taken place in Japan but it's effects were felt worldwide. “Let me know if you see anything strange.”

    “In our line of work,” Morgan said, just to try and lighten the mood. “If I see anything I'll let you know.”

    “That would be appreciated as well,” saying their goodbyes Carter headed back toward the path. Once they were out of sight Xypher snorted a bit in an amused way. “What?”

    “What you did with the kid,” he answered. “I seem to recall the old man doing the same thing to teach you a similar lesson.” Carter said nothing in response, but his lip curled up a bit as he thought about it again. It was an effective way to get the point across after all.

    “Now,” Tony said as he sat down and put his feet up on the desk ion the room. It's previous occupant was kneeling in the floor battered and bloody, his guards sporting various broken limbs around the room. All ripe for the picking but it wasn't feeding time yet. “I like this area, particularly that park across the way. It seems to draw me in for some reason. Therefore I think it's high times these particular streets had a new king, wouldn't you agree?”

    The man spat some blood onto the floor, “Go to hell you fuck.”

    Tony started to grin as his eyes started to glow causing the other man to lose control of his bodily functions, “I was hoping you would make this a little harder.”

    Jules crossed the street, giving a friendly wave to a car that let her do so. She had grown up in this particular city and knew it inside and out. Which made he job as a Makai Priestess a lot easier. She knew a couple of Priests that would wander from city to city from her own experience or from what Vincent had told her over the years. While she knew they had some specialized skill that required them to do so but with the near constant moving they had to do she often wondered if they found any time to make even the tiniest connection with anybody. Granted the couple she knew of seemed friendly enough but they also seemed a bit lonely, at least to her. She guessed she was too much of a stay in one place type of person to see it as anything else.

    Thoughts for another time as she quickly came up to her destination, an old odd and ends store. Makai Knights may have their needs taken care of by the Watchdogs and the Senate, and the Priests as well, but a few of them had “day jobs”. Little places like this, partially so they could work on, or get, the various items their Order needed to hunt Horrors. It was also the ideal place to hear some idle gossip form the patrons about anything weird going on that might require their attention. Entering the nearly empty store she looked over at the counter and waved. The woman behind it smiled and waved back with one hand as she pressed a hidden button under that counter with the other. Walking toward the back Jules looked around and put a hand on a bare piece of wall and pushed revealing a hidden staircase leading down. The secret door closing behind her she took the flight down and found herself in Vincent's workshop. A familiar sight of her teacher hunched over his work station greeted her as she turned the corner. A quick raising of his hand was the only indication that he knew she was here. “How are you doing Vincent?”, the need of formality had long since disappeared between them as they were so close.

    “As well as can be expected my dear child,” he said raising up a bit to stretch his back in his chair. “Never get old Jules, it's not worth it.” Whatever he was working he covered with a small cloth. “It's a surprise I don't want you to spoil it,” he said seeing her reaction.

    “It's nowhere near my birthday,” she told him.

    “I never said it was for you either,” he said with a slight twinkle in his eye.

    “Then this should be interesting then,” she said as she took the offered seat next to him, “Have you found out anything about this McKay guy yet?”

    “My sources are still looking,” he said as he massaged his hand. One glance as the tiny tools he was currently using explained the need to do so. “There are a couple in the city so far, it's trying to pin down the right one that's the tricky part. However,” picking through the various tools and objects on his work station he found a old worn book that he was looking for. Opening it to a marked page he handed it to her, “I may have discovered the name of that Horror we missed last night.”

    “Hurklor,” Jules said out loud as she read the passage. “Well based on what you were able to get out that guy last night this might be it.”

    “It seems to be a particularly nasty one as well,” Vincent commented as he took back the book. “You may want to get word to Carter. If you just happen to run into him that is, it is a rather large city after all.” She just nodded in response as she really didn't have anything to say about it. But her mentor just studied her for a moment. “Jules, I know it;' been a long time since you've been my pupil, but hopefully you won't mind a little unsolicited advice.”

    “I would always take advice from you Vincent, you know that.” He smiled in a way that seemed a bit sad to her for some reason. Then again she was pretty sure she'd notice if something was really off with him so she let it go for the moment.

    “First of all I feel I should be honest and say I have had a small discussion with Carter about the two of you.” Or maybe he was afraid she was going to become an old maid at her young age or some other thing. “He's very fond of you you know.”

    “I'm pretty fond of him too,” she said.

    “Oh I know,” he said with a slight chuckle, “I'm very aware of that. While I wont say exactly what we talked about because that will be up to him on if he decides to follow it or not. I just want to say there is nothing wrong with you making the first move either.”

    “Okay,” she got out because she wasn't sure what else to say to that. There was no way she was going to mention that she had been staying over at his house on occasion. Granted she was upstairs and he was downstairs, but she wasn't sure how Vincent would react to that particular bit of news. And she was pretty sure Carter wouldn't mention that to Vincent either. Or for his sake he better not have mentioned it.

    “I'm just saying that sometimes, if you know what you want in life, you should just go for it,” he continued.

    “I understand what you;re saying Vincent, I really do,” she told him. “But I'm in a really weird place with Reks right now because of my feelings for Carter. I need to get that....”

    “Don't worry about Reks,” Vincent told her. “If you and Reks were a couple then that would be a different story. But any problem you have with him will sort itself out. Another bit of advice my dear, don't worry about what other people are going to think. You'll lose more than one chance at something special that way.” Turning back to his workstation he said, “Now I would hazard a guess that Carter might be back from the Temple by now, and that cafe is still open, if you happen to run across him that is.”

    “I'll keep that in mind,” Jules said as she got off the chair. Given in to an urge she hugged Vincent while he say in the chair, “Thanks for the advice, I'll think it over.” He patted her arm before she let go and made her way out. Maybe she would swing by that cafe after all. And if she saw Carter on the way there, well she did have some information for him after all.

    “Are you sure about this?”, Xypher said as Carter walked town the street. Night had fallen not so long ago, which meant any Horrors in the area would be on the hunt as well.

    “Fairly sure,” he told the pin as he looked around for anything out of the ordinary. “Based on what Jules told me this Horror doesn't just look for victims it looks for those with a particular mindset. A big fish looking for a bigger pond. This McKay person was the top guy in his fight ring. The next logical step would be to go after something go after someone with a little more power in the city.”

    “You do realize that could be just about anything,” Xypher commented. “He could be looking for another fight ring to dominate.”

    “That's not in this Horror's nature,” he said. “And you were there when she told us.”

    “I know that. But why are we out here in this particular area? He could be just about anywhere.”

    “Because this area is one of the closest areas to that garage,” Carter quieted down just long enough to pass by a couple going in the opposite direction. “Some small time hoods and gangbangers, a logical step up from a fight ring.”

    The pin was quiet for a moment, “All right, I'll give you that one. And I can see why you suggested the two of you to split up to over more ground. But aren't you worried about Jules?”

    “She's more than capable of taking care of herself,” Carter said. “Those hoods shouldn't be a problem if they decide to give her any trouble.”

    “And if she runs into the Horror?”

    Now it was Carter turn to be quiet for a bit. “As I said, she can take care of herself so so there's no need to worry.”

    “Try telling that to someone not directly placed over your heart. Ow.” he uttered after a quick flick. Walking around a bit he noticed something was off, at least to him. Even if this person in charge on this street was small time criminal by most standards there should be some guards walking the street by his estimations. So far he hadn't seen any one that looked like they were paying closer attention to the others on the street than the usual passerby. Did he get the wrong street?

    “Carter!”, somebody called out. He looked around to see Morgan wave at him before jogging over. “What are you doing out here in this part of town? Did you get orders too?”

    “What orders?”. He asked.

    “I'm pretty sure they were about that Horror you were telling me about earlier,” Morgan said. “They even suggested I seek some aid in taking it down. Since you're here and you knew about it first, would you care to join me? It's supposed to be in this area.”

    “Don't you even say anything,” Xypher told Carter. “Not about joining you Morgan, but about him being right.”

    “Do we have anything more specific than 'in the area'?”, Carter asked him as they started down the street. Everything said this Horror was dangerous, more so than usual. Anything they could get to track it down faster the better.

    “I did a little recon earlier,” Morgan answered him. “There's supposed to be a hideout the local crime guys uses close by. Apparently it's been pratically abandoned most of the day. A few people on the street have been avoiding it saying they saw a bunch of guys run out after an older man forced his way in.” An older man, McKay was supposed to be an older man.

    Once they were closes enough Morgan pointed out the suspected building. “Carter,” Xypher called out. “I'm detecting a Horror alright. But it's not coming from that building.”

    “Where is it coming from?”, he demanded.

    “That park over there.”

    Holding the quote unquote made man up against a tree Tony looked around. “I don't know what it is about this park that's just drawing me to it,” he said as the other man clawed at his hand and wrist in an attempt to get away. Tony didn't even register his attempt to escape. “I mean I've been in this city all my life and not once even looked at a place like this longer than I had too. Must be the new me.” Finally looking at the former “king” of this particular street Tony let go long enough to grab him by both arms an pull. Tearing him apart the man quickly dissolved and was devoured in seconds. Using a thumb to wipe the corner of his mouth Tony walked away. “Maybe I'll rule the whole city from here.” He didn't go far, just to a lamp post, as he saw two individuals in his way. One in something a step above rags the other outfit covered by a long coat. Both of them stuck some kind of lighter in his face, each of which emitted a blue flame. His eyes acted on their own immediately as they gave him away as a Horror. Angry he tried to grab both of them, the one in the coat spun out of the way as the other backed up.

    Tony looked at each of them as they took on a fighting stance he wasn't familiar with. But yet he knew exactly who they were. “Makai Knights. I was hoping to run into at least one of you.” In one motion he ripped his jacket and shirt in half as he tore them off his body. “Time to be king of a whole new area.”

    “Not while I'm around,” Carter went at him, with Morgan quickly following suit as they attacked him. He got a pretty quick bead as Carter realized that McKay was basically a brawler and the Horror that took him over didn't seem to be more than that either. But what he liked in skill compared to Carter and Morgan, the strength from the Horror more than made up for it. McKay was more than holding his own as they tried to strike him from any angle they could manage. Morgan upped his attack in order to get his attention in order to give Carter a better chance. McKay quickly batted Morgan away and swung back at Carter. Ducking under the blow as he ran forward Carter jumped up and off the lamp post, twisting his body around with a kick to McKay's head. The blow staggered him back, but not much.

    Rubbing his jaw a bit he stared down the Makai Knight, “I was hoping you Knights would but up this type of a fight. It makes you taste so much better after the juices flow through you.” Morgan ran in clipping McKay at the leg. Carter jumped up and over McKay grabbing him by the arm and used the Horror's unbalanced state and and his own body weight to throw him to the ground. Both Knights came in and kicked him in head as he tried to get up. His head snapped back but Morgan didn't see his hand shoot out and grab him by the ankle until he was feeling the pressure around it. The Knight went flying before Carter could stop him. Moving with a speed that could have only come from the Horror he got his feet and grabbed Carter and threw him into nearby tree. Running at him full force Carter barely had time to realize a bone like jagged spike grew out of McKay's forearm. Moving his head just enough that the spiked missed him Carter got a leg between them and pushed him back with all he had. He looked down at his chest then wiped off any imaginary dirt as he looked straight at Carter, “You are starting to piss me off.”

    “No you don't!”, Morgan cried as he tried to catch off guard with a rush, Grabbing him around the neck as he jumped at him he tried to flip the Horror to the ground. McKay bent slightly but he held his position on sheer power alone. Getting a good grip on the Knight hanging off of him he threw him to the ground. Raising the arm with the extended spike up he swung it down like a club. A black staff intercepted it as he looked Carter in the eyes. Grabbing Morgan by the shirt he quickly puled him back as he blocked another blow from that spike. Using his extended reach Carter started striking McKay anywhere he could around his leg and knees trying to topple him at the same time blocking or dodging that spike. Mckay was growing angrier by the second, and more dangerous as he apparently knew how to channel that anger. While jumping over a low swing with that spike he realized too late he left himself open as his other arm battered him to the side. One more time he blocked that spike, but he was off balanced and the blow sent him to a knew. Another spike emerged from his left forearm and McKay had a sick look in his eyes as he could taste victory.

    His confusion quickly turned into rage as he realized the killing blow was stopped by a sword wielded by Morgan. Seeing the Horror's eyes was off of him Carter gripped the other end of the staff with his free hand and pulled it in half, using the motion to use one of the hidden blades to cut into McKay's leg. Roaring more in anger than pain he took his eyes off of Morgan long enough for him to knock on of his arm spikes down to the ground. Getting his feet under him Carter jumped off McKay's leg and jammed his knee into the Horror's chin knocking his head back. Staggered he could barely put up any defense as both Makai Knights came at him with their blades, almost striking him at will with their combined attack. Finally getting a hold on the shabby one he knocked him into the other one. Stepping back more spikes grew from his knees as he hunched over a bit before rearing back and screaming at the knight sky. His skin burst apart as his mass seemed to increase very quickly, a spiked fin growing down his back as two fang like teeth reached up from his upper lip. It slapped his arms a bit before squaring off against the Knights.

    Carter didn't even react to the change as he went after the Horror again. His blades flashing s he swung them around trying to keep the Horror form impaling him with the spikes Morgan ran in from the side and sliced him behind the leg. It reacted giving Carter a window to knock a spike away and stab it in the gut with the same blade. Quickly getting out of it's reach Morgan came up again aiming the point of his sword at his head. Hurklor blocked as Carter jumped on it's back and jammed the points of both blades into a shoulder. The Horror thrashed around trying to reach for him but Carter held on tight, only jumping off as Morgan jammed the point of his sword into a leg. Pulling the sword out and backing away before it could try to reach for him he joined up with Carter as they faced down the Horror. Joining the other end of his sword together to form the double bladed staff Carter held it over his head and spun it before bringing it down to his right side. Morgan raised his sword into the air and with a quick flick of his wrist cut a smaller circle in the sky. Bringing the sword down he held his other hand behind the blade in front of him. Both portals opened as plain, bronze wolf style armor covered Morgan and Carter soon donned the red armor of Rook.

    Both sides ran at the other, Rook jabbing and swinging his weapon where he could as the other Makai Knight used more pin strike attacks to wear the Horror down even further. Still the Horror wasn't going down easy as he was able to hit the knight with one of his spikes as he bashed Rook away with the other. “Wait for my signal,” Carter grunted, not even seeing the other Knight nod in response as he ran at the Horror one more time. Swing his sword back and forth to deflect the spikes he waited for any opening he could see. Then he saw it. Hurklor brought down a spike with all the force it had. This time Rook let him using the armor to brace him this time around.. With a quick moment he held onto the the arm with one hand has he brought the double balded sword inbetween them. Bracing one end of the sword on the Horror's shoulder he was able to use what confusion and surprise he had at the moment to bend the Horror's arm around it. Locking him into that position he put a foot right behind the spike from the horror's knew and jumped up shouting, “Now!” The leverage from the staff as he jumped up and over the Horror caused it's arm to lift up exposing it's side. Morgan ran in yelling as the Horror freed it's arm, but not soon enough the Knight cut him deep. Landing behind him Rook brought the other end of his sword around and slashed him in the back. The Horror stood there for a moment before exploding in a fireball that quickly dissipated.

    Armors returning from where they came from Carter separated his sword before sheathing both end and Morgan did the same.”Another one sealed away,” he told Carter.

    “For now,” he said. The one sad truth about fighting Horrors, you could never truly defeat them. You just sent them back to their home dimension for a bit until they were strong enough to try it again. Still he looked at Morgan and told him, “I'm grateful for the help.”

    “I'm pretty sure you saved me more than once,” Morgan said. “Something I'm sure Lyndsy will be more than grateful for too.”

    “Carter,” Xypher called out, “I'm still sensing a Horror.” Carter and Morgan went back to back fully prepared to face what was coming. “It's behind you!” Both spun around, both of their blades partially drawn. Both Knights looked at the other in confusion.

    Then Morgan glanced down. Carter did the same seeing whatever it was grabbed his attention. Slowly Morgan said, “Is that...”

    In the chamber of the Watchdogs both Knights lowered a slab of park sidewalk to the floor. Standing Carter looked at them and said, “Horror Blood.” With their usual bored expression the looked upon the slab with a dark stain on it. A stain that pulsated every so often.

    “It would appear to be,” the female named Illumina said. “Obviously from the Horror the two of you defeated tonight.”

    “I respectfully disagree,” Carter told them.

    “And what is your opinion of how it came to be there,?” The male called Nisoka asked.

    Carter looked over at Morgan who nodded. Looking up at the Watchdogs he said, “Someone planted it there to attract Horrors to that location.” Both Watchdogs looked at each other at that statement, apparently communicating silently with each other. Witnessing this it was almost more unnerving then their usual uninterested expression.

    Finally looking back at the two of them Illumina asked, “What proof do you have to back up your claim?”

    “The fact that it's too concentrated a sample for one spot,” he said. “And there was no other splatter in the area the Horror was defeated in.”

    “I can back that up,” Morgan spoke up. “We searched the area and didn't find any other source of contamination.”

    “This is troubling news indeed,” Nisoka stated. Looking at Morgan he continued, “Knight, we task you with finding out who did this.”

    “With all due respect,” Carter spoke up, “I feel this is part of the assignment you originally gave me.”

    “Explain why you feel this way?”, the male Watchdog asked.

    “Because those of us in the order are the only ones who know how their blood will affect the Horrors,” he said. “Only those who can get close enough and survive can collect it. It has to be some one in the order itself doing this.”

    “And yet,” the female one said, “while you're statement is true, we do not see how this situation applies to your original assignment.”

    Carter had already talked this over with Morgan as they traveled here. During that conversation he remembered something Vincent had told him earlier. “A feint,” he said, “to distract us. To keep our focus on an increase of Horror activity in certain areas while they are free to do what ever they're planning in others.”

    The watchdogs communicated with each other silently one more time. Morgan spoke up, “I agree with Carter assessment of the situation. If someone is trying to exploit any rifts between the Knights and Priests again it would be best to attract our attention elsewhere.”

    After a few more moments of silence the Watchdogs turned their attention back toward them. Nisoka was the one who spoke, “We also agree with this assessment. Rook, we add this to your previous assignment. Do so after you have cleansed your blades.”

    “I will fulfill this added duty,” Carter said with a bow.

    :”I will aid him in any way that I can,” Morgan added, bowing as well. Both Watchdogs retreated back to their space behind the balconies.

    Alone Carter turn toward Morgan, “Tell anybody you can trust with this.” Carter didn't want to specify a Makai Priest or Knights in that statement. What Sigma did in Japan exposed cracks between the two sects. But both sides had to remember that they were part of the same Order. And a united front had to be the best way to confront those that would try to divide them again.

    “I'll have Lyndsy spread the word as well,” Morgan told him. “The more eyes we have on this the better. We'll try to keep a handle on any increased Horror activity to free you up to look for the ones behind this.”

    “I would appreciate that,” Carter told him. As Morgan went to cleans his blade Carter looked down at Xtpher, “We need to find Jules, I need her to look into something for me.”

    “You're thinking about that false reading me and her got the other night. You think somebody planted Horror blood there too?”

    “I have to be sure,” he said. “The more we find the more we can see where it's not being spread.”

    “It's a pretty big city Carter,” Xypher reminded him. “Whomever behind this may get their plan up and running before we can eliminate anything.”

    “Then we better hurry,” Carter said.

    ED – Shaman's Harvest – Broken Dreams
  3. scikaiju

    scikaiju science experiment gone wrong

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    Rook: Knight of the Double Blade

    OP – CFO$ - Catch Your Breath

    The streets were alive as various firetrucks, squad cars and ambulances came to a stop at a hotel that had been set on fire. People behind the safety lines just stared in wonder at the blaze that started to consume the upper floors of the building. Various police officers were trying hard to keep the herd of people back while at the same time usher those evacuating the hotel either past the line or toward the awaiting ambulance for those that needed them. A few words were picked up here and there among the crowd. Some about an arsonist setting the blaze some swearing they saw some guy fighting what looked like a monster while the fire was raging on the upper floors. A few officers took note of the potential arsonist just in case, but completely ignored the man versus creature part completely, putting it to down to hysteria from the fire. Although a couple did privately wonder what kind of flames were up there to make people think it was some sort of monster.

    On one of the trucks a man jumped out the door and started giving orders almost faster than his feet hit the ground. “Get those hoses out! Ryder get some men ready to hit inside as soon as possible. You,” he pointed at what looked like the person in charge of this particular establishment, “is everybody out?”

    “I.. I..,” he was borderline panicking. If it was anything but this type of situation he would have gave the guy more of a chance to calm down. Hell he was probably just the night manager who just had to deal with the occasional drunk or rowdy guest. But right now seconds counted.

    “Is anybody still on the upper floors?”, he demanded with a little more authority.

    That seemed to at least snap him out his personal fright zone. “I.. I.. don't know. I think so. The fire alarms are more or less automatic. We started pounding on doors on the lower levels as soon as they went off. We couldn't even reach the upper floors because of everybody rushing down the stairs.”

    “Thank you,” he said, and meant it. Any information they could get right now was pretty much vital. “Ryder, get ready to get those men in now! We might still have people up there.”

    “On it!”, he replied. “Davidson, Stevens, Anderson, Brennen. Scott!” Before he could say anything else an explosion from the upper floor made everyone around the building duck. Those beyond the line started to run away as bits of glass and debris rained down on them. While a few of the officers were silently glad the crowd started to disburse they knew those running away in a panic would cause them a bigger mess.

    For the chief the lessening crowd was the least of his worries at the moment. “Ryder get those men up there now! Everybody get those hoses up there as well. All cranes I want water on full force!” Despite not being done barking out orders be stopped when he noticed one of his men staring out into space. Even on a light day this would be a bad thing but this man was one of the more dependable ones under him. Even making sure others were concentrating on their tasks and nothing else. “Rhodes!”

    His man what startled as he turned back turned toward him. “Sorry! But there was a secondary explosion.”

    “Where?”, he demanded looking at the inferno above them and in the general area just in case. “I'm not seeing anything different.”

    “It was in the air,” Rhodes told him as he pointed at a particularly empty patch of night time sky.. “A smaller explosion after the bigger from from the building. I've never seen anything like that before.”

    Of all the time to start cracking the Chief thought as he stared at him man. He'd worry about it later there was a major fire going on right above them. They had to take care of this now before it started spreading to the other buildings. “It was probably a gas bubble or something. But right now I need you here and not up there, got it?” His man nodded that he understood. But he glanced back just briefly, not completely convinced of the Chief's theory.

    Hell he was probably imagining it in the excitement.

    If one was able to rewind that particular scenario, right before the explosion and look at it from a higher angle, one would have saw something that would have surprised them completely. Crashing through a window flew out the creature some of the patrons of the hotel saw in their flight to safety just moment earlier. It's dark skin almost making it blend in to those on the ground who happened to look up. To some it's demonic appearance would make it look at home in the flames. But this was no demon, to a select few this was a thing known as a Horror. And in some situations that demon label would be close enough.

    As it's black leathery wings flapped to keep it in the air it turned it's horned head back toward the building. Seeing the top floor explode it tried to calculate if it was at a safe enough distance from the flames. Seeing the fire spew almost upwards form the explosion it thought it was safe. Then a red shape flew out of the flames as the fire ball reached it's peak. It cried out in shock as the form came at him. Staring into the sharp blue eyes of the wolf style helmet it could do nothing. A yell came from the object as it swung one end of a double bladed sword through the Horror as it kept going.

    A relatively small explosion compared to the one from the building happen where the Horror used to be as Rook landed on top of a nearby building. With a small upward nod of his head the armor around flew up and back into the circular portal that appeared above him which vanished almost as soon as it appeared. Carter staggered a bit as he started coughing up what felt like a lung. On his chest the Gothic looking face pin spoke up, “Carter are you all right?”

    “I'm fine,” he said through the fit. Once he stopped he continued, “I inhaled a little too much smoke in there.”

    “You should have summoned the armor sooner,” Xypher told him. “The armor could have screened out most of it.”

    :No,” he said as he walked over toward the edge and looked down at the crowd below. “I think people saw me fight the Horror. I don't think the Watchdogs would have been all of that understanding if they saw me in armor.”

    “You got a point there,” the pin conceded to his way of thinking. Having been the companion of a couple of Rook title bearers he understood the need to keep what they did secret. And these particular Watchdogs were particularly strict about keeping what they did a secret. Most Watchdogs were as far as Xypher knew. After a bit he had to ask the Rook he was currently bonded to, “Why are we still hanging around here then?”
  4. scikaiju

    scikaiju science experiment gone wrong

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    “Was it possible some of the Horror 's blood hit the crowd down there?”. He ended up answering.

    “Doubtful,” Xypher answered after thinking it over. “We were pretty high up when you defeated the Horror. I know their blood can spread after they're defeated but I'm certain there's a low chance of it reaching the crowd below before evaporating.”

    Carter grunted, “But there's still a chance.”

    “Yes,” Xypher sighed, realized he left that particular door open just a bit, “I suppose there is. Am I correct in assuming you want to head down there and make sure?” Carter turned around and unconnected the staff while he headed for the fire escape. “I'm taking that for a yes just so you know.”

    Taking longer than he wanted Carter hit the street level and started intermingling with the crowd. Walking slowly as he made his way through, just to give the Madou pin enough time to see if any of the souls were unlucky enough to potentially get hit with the any of the Horror's blood. Because if they did, then he had one job to do in that situation. And being in a crowd was going to make it that much harder to accomplish. Getting close to the area where he estimated the Horror was sealed above he stopped and looked around. People were started to spread out a bit, giving him a little more room to maneuver, on the off chance he had to make a quick get away if somebody was splashed with Horror blood. If they were still around that was. Eyeing the crowd he looked around, hoping no one here was affected. “Carter,” the pin spoke up, just loud enough that he could hear him. “I'm sensing something to your left.”

    Turning his head in that direction he saw a lone firefighter taking a moment to himself. So far he was by himself. From where Carter was he had a clear shot at the man if the need arose. “Are you sure it's him?”

    “I'm getting the sensation from where he's at,” Xypher replied, “”I'm almost positive.”

    “That man's life is potentially on the line,” Carter hissed. “Almost is not going to work in this situation.”

    The firefighter taking the break took off his helmet to wipe his brow. Putting it down on a side rail on one of the trucks he walked over a few yards to a tub filled with water and dunked his head. Pulling it back out he wiped the water from his eye. That did nothing to cool him off but it refreshed him enough for the moment. He looked up at the blaze above them, other said that they were getting it under control. It still looked the same to him. Or maybe he had been doing the firefighter gig for too long and was just getting tired. Maybe it was time to take that desk job they keep offering him. Thoughts for later he was still on this particular job. Turning around he stopped, totally surprised by what he saw. He looked around at the rest of them standing there, “Who's the wise ass that took my helmet?”

    Walking into an alley before anyone could point him out Carter walked down it and made a couple of turns before he was sure enough nobody was following him. Looking at the fire fighter's helmet in his hand he asked, “Are you sure this was where that reading was coming from?”

    “Positive?”, Xypher told him. “That sensation stayed the same as that man moved away from us. The Horror's blood hit the helmet in your hand. That guy is not going to know just exactly how lucky he was.” Carter grunted in agreement. Despite being part of his job Carter had yet to come face to face with a human who had been contaminated with Horror Blood, and was not eager to cut that poor person down if they were as Makai Law dictated. The Rook before him held a similar sentiment, and was told that other Knights felt the same way.

    “We'll take this to the Watchdogs and let them deal with it.” Carter looked back to the general direction to that hotel. Before he found the Horror he had found something else. Walking the hallways of the upper floor because this particular Horror wasn't leaving thee building his attention was drown to a rather large spot on a wall. A spot made from Horror blood, pulsating just slightly but for whomever came down the hall to see. “I'll report what we found while we're there. Whomever is leaving the blood is either getting bolder or getting sloppier.”

    Elsewhere in the city Jules walked down a particular street hoping it was the right one. The one real problem with hunting Horrors was that you really didn't have a defined patrol route most of the time., particularly in a city this big. Makai Priests had it a bit easier then the Knights of their order as there were generally more Priests in any given location. Carter and most other Knights she knew pretty much had a particular section of the city assigned to them, or directed to one temporarily if orders from the Watchdogs came down, and just walked that section until they found their target and eliminating and gates as the find them.. Her and her fellow priest where able to section out things a little bit more to give themselves smaller location to search. But small was relative when you were just a single person.

    A store front catching her eyes she lowered her pace a bit. It definitely looked familiar. But how many times had she passed this place and not given it a second look. But she kept her eyes a little more open as she continued down the sidewalk. Then she spotted a few more things that looked familiar and stopped to look down a particular alley, She was pretty sure that was the same clock from the other day. Entering the alley she reached into a pocket and pulled out a small round dish like object. In her left hand. In her right she caused the bristles of her brush to glow slightly as she waved it over the dish. A series of rings appeared as she tried to keep an eye on them as well as her surroundings. Realizing that she was entering the same area that she fought an Horror the previous night she stopped. That faint blip that at the time they thought was indicating a Horror was still there, and it was still coming from the location as that dumpster.

    “Now let's see if that particular hunch of his was right,” she muttered to herself, pocketing the dish. Madou Brush still in hand she walked over and examined the dumpster as best she could. Lifting the lid still didn't reveal anything out of the ordinary right away, but she kept looking for a few more minutes. Although the previous contents had already been picked up, “At least I don't have to go dumpster diving tonight.” Continuing her search on the outside she briefly wondered if she should have brought somebody along to help her move this thing out of the way. Which more than likely would have meant Carter. Not that she needed a man to do the heavy lifting but because this was still on a need to know basis and as far as she knew only herself, Carter, his friend, Morgan, Vincent and the Watchdogs knew about the object of her search.

    And it would have been nice to hang out with Carter, if only for a little bit. Even if it was work related.

    Her musing stopped when she thought she saw something on the brick wall behind the dumpster. Almost obscured by it. With a small wave of her hand over them them the bristles of her brush glowed a little brighter, giving her enough light to see the small, slightly pulsating patch of Horror blood. “No wonder we couldn't find the source the other night,” she said to herself. Standing up and backing up slightly she did some quick hand motion and fired a small ball of flame at the spot, like Vincent had instructed her to. While the wall was a bit scorched the magical flame quickly eliminated the patch of blood.

    “Yer out a luck.” She spun around Brush at the ready. Only to be greeted by some vagrant walk toward a pile of trash in a corner. “Trash man already got da goods. Should have dropped by yesterday.” Trying not to startle the newcomer she pulled the dish back out and reactivated the search spell. This poor soul wasn't giving off a ready so she relaxed a little bit.

    “I'll try and keep that in mind,” Jules told him. “I'm probably trespassing in your space so I'll just leave you in peace.”

    “Trust me little missy yer welcome anytime,” he wiggled his eyebrows and grinned. And it was pretty obvious where his mind was with that particular comment.

    Faking a smile as she backed away she told him, “I'll keep that in mind.” Then she walked a little faster to get out of that alley.

    “I think yer friends are in the other direction if yer heading right.”

    “What friends?”, she asked, probably more curious than she should be at the moment.

    “Couple o guys with fancy paint brushes like da one you got there.” He gestured in a vague direction that wold have taken her to the left if she choose to take it. “Getting a tad fancy with the street artwork.”

    She glanced back at her brush with a slight smirk, “In a way you could say that.”

    “Too bad,' he mumbled as he got settle onto the pile,”kinda liked how creative you kids could get with those paint cans. Pity the city keeps washing 'em off. Must have some fun using that brush then.”

    “Something like that,” Jules told him. “And thanks, I'll see if I can catch up with them.” He mumbled something unintelligible as he apparently nodded off. Still a couple of guys with “fancy paint brushes” as he put it? More than likely some Makai Preists. Could be they were tracking a Horror. She looked back at where the spot used to be, could be they were doing something else. Like planting more Horror blood.

    And suddenly she understood what Carter said Vincent told him about that slippery slope. It was way to easy to think the worse in this situation. Still it didn't hurt to check it out and see if she could find them. If they were after a Horror then she could lend a hand. If they were doing something else then she had a direction to send Carter in.
  5. scikaiju

    scikaiju science experiment gone wrong

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    A man in a plain tee shirt and some jans ran as fast as he could down an abandoned street. Pausing just enough to look around in a panic he turned to his right and head down what looked like a possible escape route. Nearly tripping over his own feet he found himself in an open courtyard. He fell on his ass when he saw the only other person, a man in a dark double breasted coat with a weird looking brush in his hand. And an even stranger contraption on his wrist. The man looked at him with disdain. “You can't run from your destiny,” the man known as Reks told him.

    Trying to get back to his feet and run in the other direction at the same time he stopped to see the other man that was after him. The one with the strange trinkets on his vest. Who also looked at him with an equal amount of disdain the other had. Scrambling to his feet he looked the area. Soon he realized it was just the two of them after him. The panic quickly went away as it turned to a soft chuckle that turned into a full on belly laugh. “What's so funny,” Terrance demanded.

    “I don't believe it, I was running from a pair of Makai Priests,” he answered as he got himself under control, much to the dismay of the other two. More annoyance than dismay on Reks' part of the situation. Noticing that made the man want to start laughing all over again. “I though I was in trouble there for a moment.”

    Gritting his teeth and tightening the grip on his brush Reks grunted, “Do not look down on Makai Priests.”

    “Reks don't!”, Terrance called out but it was already too late. Reks charged the man, Brush glowing brightly, intending to smash it into the man's face. He caught the attempted blow easily wrapping his hand around Reks' wrist. An unnatural strength kept him there.

    He looked at the Makai Priest's eyes, savoring the anger he was seeing in them. “Oh I am so looking down on you.” With little effort he slung Reks to the side. “I don't usually do angry,” he told him. “It makes you taste funny. Almost spoiled.” Terrance came at the man wanting to give his friend an opening to recover. He found the man gripping his throat as soon as he got close. “Now determination, now that adds a little kick to your flavor. Most Horrors don't care fore it mind you. It is a acquired taste after all.” Reks came at him came making him let go of Terrance. The two regrouped a bit to face the Horror together.

    “Don't let him get to you,” Terrance Told Reks. An angry glare was the only response he got in return. “He's trying to get you angry, sloppy.,” he continued. “You need to calm down, center yourself.”

    On some level Reks knew his compatriot was right. He was letting this Horror get under his skin. Yet it was so tempting just to pound that Horror's smug face in. Especially now as it stood there, just waiting on them to make a move. As tempting as that thought was he forced himself to find a center and concentrate on it, to calm the anger wanting to rage inside of him. That was how people of his ordered died. He would have to control his emotions.

    Once the thought hit him that he would basically have to think like one of those blasted Makai Knights he was immediately filled with a sickening sensation. But it did the trick quickly enough that he made the barest of head turns to look at Terrance. He nodded in understanding as the both of them charged the Horror. Attacking from two different angles they tried to keep the creature off guard. And for a few moments they did so as it was obviously on the defensive. They backed up it against a trash can and caused it to trip over it. As one they charged their individual brushes and went to slam them on top of it.

    The Horror got his arms up to block the duel strike. With some effort he pushed their arms away then rolled backwards to try and get to a standing position to just block another duel strike attempt. Now that it was on it's feet he kicked Reks away. Temporarily facing Terrance one on one the Horror broke through his attack once he looked at what happened to his partner. Reks came in with a flying kick that knocked the Horror back again and stood between it and Terrance. The Horror looked at them and grinned, “Looks like you have a bit more fight than I gave you credit for.” Eyes going pale Reks and Terrance got ready for what was coming next, “Now the fun can really begin.” The Horror crossed it's arms while hunching over a bit. Rearing back and swinging his arms out it looked at the night sky as an unearthly scream came from it's throat. The skin on it seemingly ripping away in an instant as the black leathery skin of the winged, horned Horror emerged from it's disguise. Pointed tail swishing behind it the Horror rose up a hand and mockingly waved the two Makai Priest on.

    Now realizing that antagonizing was one of it's tricks Reks waited until Terrance was clear headed again before attacking once more. Both fully aware at how much more dangerous the Horror could be now that it's true form was revealed. It was ready for the duel strike as it's own became more animalistic. And Reks and Terrance both knew they would have to work harder to try to keep one step ahead of the monster before them. Or at least the Horror thought that what they were trying to do. Both of them quickly backed away, so fast the creature thought they were attempting to run away, not that it would have done either of them any good.

    But then Reks shouted, “Now!” Terrance reached up and pulled two of the trinkets off his coat. Waving the brush over them so the glowed he tossed them so they landed on either side of the Horror. Looking at the seemingly discarded trinkets it didn't react fast enough as the glow became a small, bright flash. A greenish circle made of symbols appeared at it's feet. Then lines made of those symbols reached up and grabbed the Horror around the wrist, ankles and neck holding it in place.

    Both Makai Priests watched the Horror. Terrance in slight amazement, and a little pride, that his binding spell was working so well. Reks just looked on smugly. Still struggling to break it's bonds the Horror looked directly at him and screamed. Feeling that he was in total control Reks walked up to it, well withing reach if it's hands were free. “I told you your destiny was at hand.” Holding out an arm he looked the creature right in the eyes as the shaft from the device on his wrist extended and unfolded into a saw blade that quickly grew in size. Bringing his Brush to it a green Makai fire blazed on the edge of the blade as it started spinning. But he didn't strike at it right away, instead he started taunting the Horror. He wanted to see fear shine in those unholy eyes.

    Behind him Terrance was wonder what the hell he was doing. “Reks do it.” He got a little more nervous as the symbol lines started to blink in and out. The Horror was starting to break the binding spell. “Reks now! Before it breaks free!”

    “Go back to you unholy pit monster,” Reks said coldly as he brought the spinning blade up and down. The Horror reared it's head back and screamed as the device dug into it's shoulder. Behind him Terrance couldn't see the sick grin form on Reks' face as he saw the pain his creation was causing the Horror. Couldn't see him savor it, tasting the victory right before him. Then it all went wrong. Breaking the binding spell the Horror lashed out, knocking Reks to the ground. Terrance tried to grab a couple of more trinkets but the Horror was already on him before he could touch one. After a brief struggle his brush went flying and he landed hard to the ground. But the Horror didn't kill him despite being the easier of the two at the moment. Instead it turned back toward Reks who was still staring in disbelief at the still spinning saw. The Horror smiled tasting the brokenness of his spirit from where it was.

    It's meal was interrupted as new person ran onto the courtyard and kicked the Horror away. Taking up a defensive stance Jules tried to position herself between it and her fellow Priests as best as she could. Grinning at the newcomer sensing more easy prey. With another scream it charged at Jules who ran on at the same time. The creature quickly realized something different with this one as it attacks seemed crisper and more precise with her attacks than the other two, despite her style seeming to be more dance like than the other two. The fluidity of her movements allowed her to get in reach to attack then quickly get out of it's grasp before the Horror could do anything.

    Jules realized how strong this particular Horror was pretty much right away and made sure she wasn't in place long enough for it to do anything. Although there were a couple of close calls as she felt it get a grip on her every so often. But she quickly broke it's grasp as soon as she felt it. When she could she tried to steal a glance toward Terrance and Reks, since she wouldn't personally complain at this particular moment if they decided to try and help. From what she could get out of those quick glimpses Terrance was slowly coming to while Reks just stayed on the ground staring at the thing on his arm. Right now one would have been a bigger help than the other. So she was pretty much on her own at this particular moment. Throwing a few kicks in she cartwheeled away to create some space. Holding out her right arm she shot a magical blast at a trash can and ignited the contents. Concentrating she started to draw the flame in to the glowing tip of her brush. Pirouetting the flames spiraled around her as she brought her hands over her head. As soon as the flames collected in to a ball shape connected to the tip of her brush she brought her right arm down with a shout and blasted the Horror with it. The spell was powerful enough that the Horror exploded on the spot.
  6. scikaiju

    scikaiju science experiment gone wrong

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    Remembering what happened the last time she used this particular spell Jules looked at her Madou Brush. She smiled slightly, not even singed.

    The moment of self congratulations over she turned toward her fellow Priests, “You guys alright?”

    “I have been better,” Terrance grunted as he finally got to his feet.

    She looked over at Reks who finally sat up, which eased her mind a bit, but he was still staring at the saw blade attached to his arm. Terrance was the first to go to him to make sure if he was hurt in some way. All he could get out of them was, “That should have worked.”

    “I still don't understand what's going on,” Jules started to say before she got a real good look at the device on his wrist. Something about sparked a long forgotten memory. “Wait, isn't that the saw blade idea you came up with when we were younger?”

    Reks seemed to finally realized she was there as he seemed surprised to see her. That surprised turned to something else as she said, “You remembered.”

    Yeah that almost love lorn look wasn't making her feel queasy at all. “I remember Vincent thought he talked you out of it.” Once again his expression changed. Dejection maybe, perhaps some betrayal. So much so even Terrance adjusted himself a bit to get between them a little more.

    “It will work,” he said almost defiantly. Then he looked back at it as it decreased in size and retracted itself back to the device. “It should have work. I worked out everything.” Getting to his feet he took the device of and examined it as he walked away. “I've tweaked the designed for past couple of decades. Thought of everything to improve it. It should have worked.”

    “Or maybe Vincent was right when you first showed it to him,” Jules countered, “and it's not something to take on a Horror with.”. He snapped his head toward her. Yup that was definitely betrayal on his features. “Look Reks I understand, really I do. You want to be out there hunting down Horrors I get it. But Vincent taught us both Reks, he knew what our individual strengths were. You can fight Horrors but your true talents lie in creating things like that,' she gestured toward the device on his forearm. “But he also tried to show you there are even limitation to what even you can do.” She took a step toward him hoping she was getting through to him. “I know you're capable of creating some amazing things, like those Gōryū things they started using in Japan. But you have to know when a bad idea is a bad idea and let it go.”

    He was quiet for a long time, just looking at his creation. “Maybe you're right Jules. Maybe this was a folly. But,” he said looking at her, “I followed my strengths. Like you follow yours. Maybe I can even think of something to help with your fire draw attack. I know you been working on some sort of flint device of your own. I can help with that, I already have something in mind. Where you can spark a flame with a snap of your figures.”

    “That would've be pretty helpful in a few cases,” she said giving him an sincere smile.

    “That's why we'd make a good team,” he said. “We do make a good team. Ever since we were younger and learning under Vincent. We're the perfect partners,” He reached out and took her hand. “In every way possible.” He opened his heart to her in the only way he could. Which was why he was so shocked when she pulled her hand away while looking slightly upset. “Jules?”

    Looking over at Terrance she told him, “I wish you told him what I told you the other night.”

    Terrance walked away as Reks looked back and forth between them. “Tell me what? I don't understand. Jules I love...”

    “Reks,” she said, probably a bit sharper than what she wanted. But she had to get him to stop right there. “I don't, not in that way.” The heartbreak he was feeling was evident and it upset her that she was hurting him like this. But it had to be done, for both of their sakes. “You're going to make somebody really happy one day. And I'll be happy for you when it happens. I love you like a brother and that's as far as my feelings go for you.” He turned away from her and lower his head. “I'm sorry Reks, I really am. And I'm sorry it had to go down this way.”

    “I think,” Terrance finally spoke up, “I think it's be better if you left now.” Both of them looked over at Reks, both expecting him to say something. Nothing came from him.

    Realizing just how bad she actually hurt him Jules nodded, “Maybe I better.” She started to reach out to him as she past, to touch his shoulder, but she thought better of it and kept on walking. Once far enough away she wiped a small tear from her eye. That sucked more than she thought it was going to. But, again, it had to be done.

    “It's that damn Knight,” Reks finally muttered through his teeth, visibly shaking he was so angry at the thought.”

    “Reks,” Terrance told him, “I hate the Knights as much as you do. But I'm telling you, friend to friend, Greystone is not at fault here.” That look of betrayal returned as Reks faced him. “She just doesn't feel the same way for you that you feel for her, even I see that.”

    “If I just told her what was going on,” Reks said suddenly. “Get her to understand what we're doing.”

    “And we were specifically told not to include her for a reason,” he countered. “Even if she didn't have feelings for Greystone there is no way she would get behind this. You have to know that.”

    Looking at nothing in particular in the distance for a long time Reks finally said, “No she wouldn't. Jules doesn't see things the same way that we do.” Terrance looked at him, a bit worried at how calm he seems now. It was almost eerie compared to the anger that was bubbling just below the surface just a few moments ago. “She'll be one of the Priests on the attack once our goals become clear. But she'll see, they will all see what we're doing is right.” Reks glanced at device on his forearm one last time, “Especially when I get this to work.”

    “The search has been going rather slowly,” Vincent said as he spoke to the Watchdogs situated above him in their usual balconies. With their usual bored expression it was nearly impossible to read what they were thinking as he delivered this bit of news. Even for as long as he had been dealing with them Vincent could never claim any sort of accuracy in that respect. It was one of the main reasons why the Rook before Carter detested dealing with them face to face. And if he had to be completely honest he wasn't particularly found of these moments himself. “Carter,” he continued, “Morgan, Jules and myself are doing what we can to search the city. However given we are only a small group we are at a bit of a disadvantage. As it is we're discovering these spots of Horror Blood more by blind luck than anything else”

    “That is completely understandable,” the female Watchdog said. “But given the nature of the possible division of our ranks we must keep this particular circle as small as possible.”

    “I understand and agree,” Vincent told her. “As I told Carter we are on a bit of a slipper slope. One wrong decision, or trusting the wrong individual, could sends us down the way to a war we just barely avoided couple of years prior.”

    “We are aware of that as well,” The female said. “However we do not currently have a way to make the search any easier.”

    “Perhaps there is something Illuminia,” the male Watchdog suddenly woke up.

    “Nisoka,” the female cut in. her expression did not change as she looked at him, but there was no denying the warning tone in her voice. While rare Vincent had witness exchanges like this before, where one knew what the other was thinking and was angry about the thought that occurred. It had been rumored for a long time that these two might have possibly shared a single mind. And when these particular moments happened it was a rather easy rumor to believe. “We do not discuss that situation Makai Priest Alexander created.”

    Tilting his head a bit in confusion Vincent, went “I know Alexander and I'm currently unaware of any 'situation' he might have caused.”

    the male Watchdog looked down at him, “Situation may be the wrong word to use. Perhaps project would be a more accurate term one like yourself would use.” If one wasn't use to these particular Watchdogs them they might take the way Nisoka said that as a mild insult. Knowing these Watchdogs for as long as he had it was still easy to take it as a mild insult.

    Fortunately Vincent had been alive long enough to know when and where to pick particular battles. For a relatively minor slip of the tongue this was not one of those times. “It probably would be if I was aware of what this particular project was about.”

    “It goes against every thing we have been told to protect against,” Illuminia said with a bit of a huff.

    “It may be,” Nisoka told her, “but I have already sent a message to Rook.”

    “My esteem Watchdogs,” Vincent said with some respect. “While I'm sure Carter would be very grateful of any help in his current assignment, in fact I'm positive of it. However it does seem like you're keeping something from the rest of us. Something that we might want to know about.”

    “It is a secret folly that we allowed to happen,” Nisoka answered, “that we nor any other of the Watchdogs or the Senate pictured could happen. Despite our better judgment we agreed to house the project here in this city since the seeds of it's creation began here. Alexander was very persuasive in his argument in allowing this project to happen. Illuminia and myself have both agreed to not mention this to any other Knight or Priest in the order.”

    “And yet I'm vaguely aware of it now,” Vincent replied with a bit of mirth.

    Nisoka and Illuminia looked at each other again in silent communication. After a bit she nodded and retreated back into her balcony. Nisoka told him, “We will leave it up to Rook to divulge what he has seen. Or the person he chooses to go with him.”
  7. scikaiju

    scikaiju science experiment gone wrong

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    “Well if she any where near I'm fairly sure I know who he's going to pick,” Vincent said with a warm knowing smile, mainly to himself. They had seem to be getting closer lately and he couldn't be happier for them. “Then I will honor your decision on the matter, and Carter's later if he decided to or not to let me in on the secret.” With a bow he made his leave and exited into the darkness of the lighted area.

    Carter stood in the middle of a barely lit room, staff in hand. Past some pillars his coat was hanging from a hook but still giving Xypher a full view of the proceedings. He started swing the staff around, attack and blocking imaginary opponents, incorporating the various kicks, punched and movements of the fighting styles he learned under as he did so. In the middle of his routine he paused just long enough to hold the staff up a bit, both hands on it. Waiting a moment longer he pulled it apart to reveal the hidden blades and struck at something. Spark flew as it went past as he already intercepted another on with the other blade. Again he went into a routine of strikes and movements as he went after the objects coming at him.

    Near to where his coat was hung a door opened just enough as Jules came in and silently closed it behind her. Walking over to the coat she spoke to Xypher, “Doing his morning workout I see.”

    “You ever know him to miss it?”, the pin asked. “Is anything going on?”

    “No just stopping by to say hello.” And maybe wanting to see a friendly face, or two if you wanted to count the Madou pin, after what had to go down with Reks the night before. The two watched on in silence as Carter continued his work out. Finally connecting the two swords into the double bladed staff Carter continued deflecting what was coming after him.

    Eventually things slowed down enough that Carter stood there as four giant axes slowed down enough to be seen in the dim lighting. Standing there until they came to a complete stop Carter broke the weapon in his hands back into two swords before putting them back together to for it's original staff form. Here he finally acknowledged her presence as the axes came to a stop and retracted back into the ceiling. And she didn't mind waiting in this particular situation. Makai Knights generally trained with things that could kill them if they weren't completely focused on them. “Jules.”

    She walked forward with a smile, “I hope you don't mind that I let myself in.”

    “I said you were always welcomed here,” he reminded her.

    “Although you did say you generally ask before coming in first,” Xypher reminded her. “It would be rude after all I believe your words were.”

    “I can come over there and flick you myself,” Jules told the pin.

    “Carter don't let her,” the pin pleaded.

    “Hmph,” Jules grunted. “I would ask you if you wanted to spar a bit but you already had your workout. And I don't want to embarrass you after being all tired and such,” she said, mainly in a teasing way. Carter just grunted, although there was the slightest hint of a smirk there as he walked over to his coat and put it on. “Since we're down here have you even decided on what you're going to do with that empty room over there?” she pointed to a set of doors on the left side of the training area. “I mean you have a half sized room in there and you're doing nothing with it.”

    “I'll think of something,” Carter told as he held the door out open for her. “Did that hunch turn out?”

    “There was a spot of Horror blood alright,” she answered. “I took care of it. But we're no closer to figuring out who's placing it.”

    Taking a flight of stairs that would take them to the main house above them Carter said, “I spotted another one, inside a building and in plain sight. I'm not sure if whomever behind this is is getting sloppy or trying to plant false trails to distract us.”

    “One thing at a time Carter,” she said. Opening the door that was basically a secret panel they entered what was essentially a side room that was used for storage. And waiting for them was a small hooded individual. Without a word Carter stepped forward and it removed a gnarly, weathered hand from it's sleeve, fingers clutching a red envelope. Holding out his hand until Carter took it he put his hand back into the sleeve of his other arm, turned and walked out of the room.

    Behind him Jules commented, “I still say it creepy how they do that.”

    Still saying nothing Carter held the envelope in his left hand as he retrieved his Madou lighter with his right and lit the corner. The envelope quickly burned and reformed into a message hanging in the air in front of him in the Makai Language. Reading it Carter said, “The Watchdogs may have something that will help with our search. I'm allowed to bring a person I can trust.”

    Having read the message for herself Jules commented, “That better be somebody really close by Mr. Makai Knight. Besides I know where that location is,” she added as the message faded away.”

    “So do I,” he informed her. He looked back at her, with a look she never seen on him before, before looking away. Was that apprehension? From Carter of all people? “And if I'm not mistaken that cafe Vincent like is not that far off route.” He looked back at her again, “We never did make it there the other day. I sort of ran off after you told me about that Horror we were after.”

    Again she was a little surprised that he made that offer. Not that she was totally against it.”Then we'll have something to do afterwards then. As long as nothing major happens along the way. I better not jinx it, it'll be night in a few hours and we don't know how long this is going to take.”

    They arrived at the location soon enough. Jules was the first to point it out their apparent destination. It seemed like a regular knick knack store from appearances. Then Xypher spoke up, “Wait a second Carter. I'm sensing a barrier around the building.” He and Jules looked at each other, both with a similar question going through their minds. What was here that a barrier had to be erected around it. Being more proficient of the two in these sort of things Jules took the lead at this point as they crossed the street. She watched regular people pass in front of it and go in and out of it as they approached.

    “Looks like it's not designed to keep everybody out,” she commented. As they got closer Jules looked over the front of the building, trying to find the tell tale signs of the cause of the barrier. “There,” she didn't point at it but looked up enough that Carter did as well. He found it soon enough, a paper seal stuck to upper corner of the building. “It looks like somebody from the Order put it up.” She looked at Carter, “To keep any Horrors out?”

    “It's a possibility,” he said. Xypher confirmed where he edge of the barrier was. Holding out a hand Carter felt nothing. Although he did get a few strange looks from those passing him by. Then he took step foreword not feeling anything pushing against him. “Xypher?”

    “We're inside the barrier,” the pin replied as Jules joined them. “And I'm not sensing anything from inside the building. So I have no idea what's being protected in there.”

    “Unless it's to keep something in and not out,” Carter said, mainly thinking out loud. “But why would the Watchdogs send us here if that was the case. And how can it help us with the current matter?”

    “I'm sure there's a reason,” Jules said. Smirking a bit she went, “You ever notice what we do tends to make us paranoid all the time?” When Carter didn't respond she lost the smile, “Right, I forgot Makai Knights don't have a funny bone in these situations.”

    “When did Carter ever have one to begin with? Ow,” the pin cried out after a flick.

    With not a while lot of options, they headed for the main door. A small, pleasant sounding bell chimed as they opened the door. A bored looking teenager barely glanced at them before returning to whatever it was she was reading. Sticking together they wondered the store looking for any signs of whatever oi was they were supposed to be looking for. Once again Jules spotted it first, a small sign near the back written in the Makai language of all things. Basically it translated to “Around the corner.” Carter looked back to the teenage girl, realized they couldn't see her from this location which meat she probably couldn't see them. That corner lead to the door to the back room from the look of things but it couldn't be that simple. He looked around then saw another sign written in Makai. “Open here.”
  8. scikaiju

    scikaiju science experiment gone wrong

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    Feeling around the sign he felt a small switch with his fingertips and pressed it. After a small click it look like the wall moved in a bit. Making sure the cashier still couldn't see them Carter gave it a small push. The hidden door swung open easy enough, it didn't even make a sound. “That some top craftsmanship right there, there should at least be a creak if we didn't make this door.” Jules muttered as they went through the door. It closed without a sound as well that left them in retaliative darkness, except for a faint light at the end of the hallway they were now in. Cautiously they walked toward it they turned a corner and enter a larger room.

    In the middle what looked like a set of mechanical vines twisting around each other took up most of the room. Various glowing symbols slowly traveled up it. Around the room were various monitors on the walls and a couple of tables with various looking things on them. Some thing that you would see out in the regular human world. Then there were some things that would look right at home in their world.. At the base of the mechanical vines was a regular looking desktop. And and almost normal looking computer. Almost normal looking because some of those mechanical vines seem to sprout out and grew into the tower and monitor. And in the chair in front of it was a lone man in very regular looking clothes. Without looking at them he raised up a hand and went, “Yo.”

    “Um...hello,” Jules said for them. “We were sent by the...”

    “Yeah, yeah sent by the Watchdogs,” he interrupted them. “They're the only ones who know about this place. Outside of my man Alex. And whoever he had help make this beautiful set up.”

    Jules walked around the room a bit looking over the thing in the middle of the room. She pretty much knew this had to be a Makai Priest creation on sight. Still a bit of verbal confirmation was nice. “Alex? You mean Alexander? I've heard Vincent and a few other Priest mention him.”

    “They don't really shorten names in your guy's clique do they?”, this person said. “But yeah him. Help me set up here with the little store front after my beauty here was done.” Suddenly he spun around in his chair startling Jules a bit. “Oh my God where is my head? You may call me K-Byte,” he held his arms out in a pose mainly seen on an old pro wrestler, “Rider of the digital waves.” Carter remained stone faced while Jules just cocked an eyebrow. Dismayed by their lack of reaction he lowered his arms. “Hey, you guys have your cool ass titles I have mine.”

    “Well then... um,” Jules said as she continued looking around the room, particular at mixed collection of item from both their and the regular world and how he was dressed, “'re not exactly part of the Makai Order are you?”

    “Not officially,” he conceded. “But your Order has more than a few, what's a good word here, outside contractors like myself helping you guys out. A couple of us even formed an online members only group. It was started by this one lady in Japan. Her family have been tending the bodies of fallen Knights over there for a couple of generations. Well not all knight, the ones not like you,' he said pointing at Carter, “without the fancy ass title. “ He then looked Carter over with an amused smile on his face. “Blew my mind when I got word they were sending The Double Bladed Knight over. Big fan by the way.” Turning back to the computer he did something with the mouse and keyboard. When he was finished he pointed toward one of the screens littered across the wall with both hand and made a clicking sound with his tongue. In an instant there was a video of Carter taking on a couple of Horrors in some sort of lobby. “Personal favorite fight moment by the way.”

    Carter easily remembered this particular moment. It was from six months ago though. He looked back over at this K-byte, who was still enthralled over the footage being played, with a bit more suspicion. Seeing this Jules figured to interject before Carter did. “Why do you have this footage?” Carter probably would have asked him the same question, just not as nicely, or as hands off, as she did.

    “Because you guys have a hard time keeping secret in this modern camera filled world,” he explained. “Even back before all of that there were rumors and stories of Knights and Horrors. But with modern technology curious and talented people, like myself, can find the occasional image or video and share the hell out of it to like minded curious and talented people. Or to just people in general.”

    Figuring out the rest of the story Jules said, “But you got caught.”

    “Even the best have a sloppy moment here and there,” was all he said. “Alex tracked me down one night. And instead of zapping or whatever it is you do to the ol' memory pan” he tapped his own head, “had the best idea ever. Since it didn't involve getting my noggin scrambled that is.”

    Jules asked, “And this idea was?”

    “That I use my particular set of skills to make sure that proof of you guys don't get out.”

    “We have people for that,” Jules informed him.

    K-byte attitude didn't change a bit at this piece of information. “I'm sure you do. And I'm sure they are very, very good at it. But I'm also pretty sure your people don't know where all the digital cracks are that things can slip through. I, on the other hand, do know where they are. And more importantly I know how to use those cracks to find proof of all you Knights, Priests and Horrors and make them,” for empathizes K-Byte wiggled his fingers as he moved his hands to the side, “magically go away.”

    “And how exactly do you do that?”, Jules went.

    “I use a really specialized type of search engine, co-developed my me and Alex of course.” He went back to his computer and started doing something again. “I'm sure you guys don't know what a search engine is.” He looked back up at her, “Well you might but not tall, silent and dreamy over there.”

    “I know what search engine is,” Carter finally spoke. Also clearly annoyed at this particular moment.

    “Right city Makai people,” Ky-byte muttered “It's probably the country ones I'm thinking about.” He did a double take over at Carter, more specifically something on his chest, and rose from his chair to get a better look. “Is that one of those talking do-dads? I always wanted to see one live.” Without thinking of any personal space issues he reached out with a hand.”

    “Do not touch me,” Xypher ordered. K-Byte almost laughed with pure joy. “I'm pretty sure I know where that hand has been. And I'm not a do-dad I'm a pin. Moron.”

    “That is so cool,” K-byte said. Then he held up a device in his other hand, “Say cheese.” Carter flinched back a bit being caught off guard. The device made a small click. The K-Byte went back to his chair setting the device down as he started working the keyboard again. Here Carter noticed there was a wire connecting the device he used to the computer. “As I was saying, specialized search engine. I can use it to look up key words that would connect to you guys. Or use Alex genius input and search by image.” Pushing back from the computer he held his arms out wide. All the screens changed to images of Carter from various angles. Jules payed a bit more attention when she noticed she was in them too. “All of these are from the past half hour. From various and different types sources. Thanks to Alex's magical mumbo jumbo I searched them all in less than a second looking for any and all images of you. Beautiful ain't it?”

    Walking up to one of the screens Carter just stared at it, now fully aware on exactly why the Watchdogs sent him here. “Have you been told about the situation?”

    “The Horror blood thing or the Japan issue redo?”, he asked. Having what Sigma tried to do just mentioned so causally, like it wouldn't have devastated their order, like that irked the Knight a bit but he said nothing. “Yeah I was brought up to speed and given what you guys know.” Pressing a few more keys he snapped his fingers before making the double hand pointing gesture again, this time toward the ceiling. A magical projection of the city appeared in the air with various dots in certain locations. “Another on of Alex's tricks he put in.”

    “Why didn't you put the images on the screen up there like that?”, Jules asked.

    “I like to mix it up,” was his response. “I'm sure you guessed the dots point out where all you guys found blood. It's not much so far but it gives us an idea on where they been.”

    “Are you sure it's more than one one person?”, Carter asked noticing how he phrased that statement.

    K-Byte humphed, “I didn't think I had to tell the two of you it's a big city. You actually think one guy, or gal,” he said looking at Jules, “could do all that by their lonesome? And there's bound to be more. And the more you find the more we can see where they been. Or haven't been more importantly, if they're not that smart that is.”

    “You think they might have marked an area they're actually hiding at”, Jules asked him.

    “If they're spreading out Horror blood it's a good bet they expected you guys to find it sooner or later and try exactly this,' he said pointing at the map. “Hell when I was looking around for info about you guys I used to leave false trails all the time. Then I got cute and left one leading to a server I actually used positive nobody would think I'd be that careless.” He offered a weak smile at Jules, “You could say I'm going by experience with that particular assumption.”

    Sighing as she looked up at the map Jules crossed her arms and said, “Then how are we supposed to narrow things down with something like as an option?”

    “Like Is said before, sloppy mistakes. You Makai Order guys can't all that infallible? You're human like the rest of us.” He glanced at Carter, “Unless you all act like a humanoid robot?”

    Ignoring the comment Carter went, “Have you searched the area to see who left the blood?”
  9. scikaiju

    scikaiju science experiment gone wrong

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    “Yup and so far nada,” K-Byte answered. “As you said you have guys doing this do and I'm sure they told you to try to not where to be. And these guys are doing their damnedest to not be in any area where there might be a camera. But there's more than one type of camera. Phones, hand held,” he started to count them off on his finger, “web cams, go pros. You can't shake a stick in the city without being caught somewhere. Unfortunately,” he pointed at Carter, “you lost our best chance of of catching one of them when you let that hotel catch on fire. All that information was lost when their servers got destroyed. They weren't even on a cloud system they were so behind the times.”

    Jules got defensive for Carter, “You try fighting a Horror and see how much damage you could prevent.”

    “Okay okay,” he said backing off with his hands in the air. “But I can still be of help.” Getting out if the chair he waved for them to follow him to one table in particular. Grabbing two silver, marble sized balls and handed one to each of them. “Not one of Alex's toys but one of the guys who helped him. Their magical communicators that connect to the system here. And to each other. All you have to do is give them a rub to activate 'em and either say my name or yours. Every time you find a spot, contact me and I'll add your location to the map up there. Also I can contact you in case I find out something that you might be interested in.”

    “That would be pretty helpful,” Jules said examining the silver ball. She lowered it to look at Carter, “Why would the Watchdogs keep this a secret?”

    “Would you admit you had an outsider helping if you were in charge?”, Xypher asked her.

    “Alex already said I'd be the dirty little secret so it's all good in the hood,” K-Byte told them. “Besides Alex also said some of you get a pit prickly when us norms stumble into your territory. And uh, considering what you guys can do, I'll stay off the magical radar as much as possible thank you.”

    Looking back at the way they came in Carter asked, “And the girl out front?”

    “My niece,” he said. “We're both kinda the black sheeps of the family so we tend to get along. But she doesn't know anything about all of this. She doesn't even pay that much attention on who leaves and enters. Unless you look like Brad Pitt. Or was it Angelina Jolie? Eh, either way she swings she doesn't bother anybody. Or scare them away more importantly.”

    Not seeing or thinking of anything else to ask Jules told him good-bye as Carter turned to leave. Although on the way out she did purchase a small item, a small plastic cat. When Carter looked at her once they hit the street her only explanation was, “I didn't want to walk out of there with nothing as long as we were there. Who knows what the girl thinks we were doing in the back. Besides it's sort of cute.” Carter grunted and continued on. “Are we still on for the cafe or are plans going to change again?”

    Carter stopped almost causing her to walk into him. All he said was, “You were right.”

    “Well generally I am,” Jules said as she walked in front of him. “But what am I right about this time?”

    “I am getting a bit paranoid,” he explained, “because of this this assignment. The Watchdogs sent us here and I got suspicious the moment Xypher said he sensed that barrier.” Jules knew that was only natural, considering what happened before, and told him so. Carter only response was, “How much do you remember of what happened when Sigma's message really started to pick up followers?”

    It was a strange question but she answered anyway, “I know it nearly ruined everything until it got out what Sigma plan for keeping the Horrors out of this world pertained. Honestly I'm going on heresy and rumor here, Vincent tried to keep me and Reks shielded from the most of it.”

    “I wasn't that lucky,” Carter told her. “A few months before I was chosen to take the Rook mantle, I had a friend, a close friend who was a Makai Priest. He had just graduated. I considered him a brother. One day, once Sigma's crusade started to really gain steam, he attacked me.” Jules sucked in a little breath but said nothing. “Fully intending to kill me, just because I was a Makai Knight. And I had no clue there was an issue between us, not until Sigma. Once I heard the Watchdogs think somebody might be taking it up his cause again, I thought back to that moment. And felt a need to stop it before that happened to someone else. No matter where it came from. Now I'm wondering which slop I'm starting to go down because of it.”

    “I'm sorry you had to go through that,” she said rubbing his arm. And wondering if Reks did suffer something similar to explain his hatred of Makai Knights. But unlike Reks, “But you never lost your faith in the order of Makai Priests. You knew not all of us thought Sigma was right. Otherwise you wouldn't have let me in on what was going on.” She started rubbing his arm up to his shoulder and back, trying to comfort anything brewing inside of him. “If you want I can come by tonight after we're done patrolling, and I mean that's a fairly old wound you just opened up. I'm sure your experiencing those feelings all over again. And maybe we can finally share that bed of yours, just so you don't have to be alone tonight.” Carter looked at her, face unreadable, and went to leave. She stopped him by grabbing his arm and getting in front of him. “All right I'll admit that was a bit too soon after what you just told me. But it looks like today the day I have to have a certain conversation with most of the men in my life.”

    Taking him by the hands she began, “Now don't get mad at Xypher. But he told me why you take the couch while I'm sleeping in your bed.” He grimaced and looked down at the pin. Luckily for Xypher she had a good grip on both of his hands. “Now it's completely honorable, kind of sweet, and totally you. And I don't want you to feel like I'm pushing you into anything you don't want to do. Or that I do this with every man I know that having some issues. We don't have to do anything but sleep if you want. But I don't think you realizing one thing with the way you're thinking about the situation. If somebody does attack us, I don't want somebody to fight for me.” Reaching up she cupped his cheek with her hand and caressed it a bit as she looked him in the eyes, “I want somebody to fight with me. Side by side, to show them exactly why that was the single worst mistake they have ever made.”

    “Jules,” he started.

    “Sh,” she said to quiet him. “Don't say anything just yet. Just think it over. Maybe over dinner at that cafe if we ever make it there.” She offered him a smile. He nodded a bit, but she realized he didn't exactly let go of her hand as they continued down the street. Toward that very cafe.

    Nearby, watching them from an alley was Reks. He turned away, leaning against the brick wall behind him like it was the only thing that could keep him up. Fist clenching in anger he stormed away in another direction. “That damn Knight.”

    The next night Carter was walking through the park having gotten word from the Watchdogs that something Horror related was nearby. A rumor K-Byte confirmed when Jules decided to test out the silver balls he had given them. She would have been her with him as partners, that much was decided upon the night before. However Vincent wanted to see her suddenly, to discuss the placement of these spots of Horror blood. Both of them deciding that was equally important considering the situation she headed off to Vincent's while he headed here. “So you and Jules,” Xypher said suddenly, mainly because he was excited about the prospect, maybe a little more then the two of them. “It's about time.” Carter grunted. “Come on aren't you a little bit nervous about it. I mean you still seem pretty tightly wound though. Wait, let me guess, you just slept like she suggested?” Carter grunted again, with a bit more of a warning undertone to it. “I can tell, even the old man was a bit looser after he and his late wife...”

    “If you do not drop this,” Carter told him sternly, “right now, I will flick you every hour on the hour for the next week.”

    “Yeah you guys definitely didn't do anything last night,”Xypher said under his breath, not that he could breath.

    Before could do anything he stopped, tilting his head just a bit as he listened to his surroundings. Before long he was surrounded by six grungy looking individuals. “Took a wrong turn bitch,” one of them said. “You're in our territory now. We don't like strangers in out territory.” Slowly spinning around to look at each one he took out his Madou Lighter. Flicking it to life he brought the blue flame to a bush next to him and ignited it. The blue blaze lighted the area for a moment before quickly dying out. But it was on long enough for five sets of their eyes to react, revealing themselves as Horrors. The sixth, the previous speaker, saw it too and slowly backed away from the scene. “What the fuck?”

    Not paying any attention to the lone human he still told him one thing, “Run now.” He didn't need to be told twice as he did just that. One of the Horrors started to go after him. That was the one Carter targeted first, grabbing by the collar and pulling him back before unleashing a kick at one coming at him from behind. The others jumped in and tried to smother him.
  10. scikaiju

    scikaiju science experiment gone wrong

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    “That was our snack!”, one of the cried out as Carter fought them off and tried to get out of the center of this particular group. But the numbers held him in place increasing their their attack the moment he concentrated on side in particular. Getting battered around he was able to get enough space to reach into his coat. Slamming the but of the staff into one of the Horror's stomach he whipped it around into the knee of another. Two temporarily down, and the others recognizing the increased range of his reach as they held back to regroup, he tried to keep all of them in sight while gripping the staff in both hands.

    The other two recovering and getting to their feet quicker than he anticipated he waited for them to make the first move. The Horrors didn't disappoint as they quickly shed their human disguise as he was now surrounded by five very demonic looking individuals. Gripping the staff a little tighter he didn't have to wait long for them to make their move. As soon as they did he pulled the staff apart and started slashing with the duel blades hidden inside. Attacking and blocking where he could Carter was just barely able to stay a step ahead of them. The Horrors didn't panic just yet as they were certain their numbers would give them the superior advantage and they would soon wear him down enough to defeat and devour him. Carter realized this as well but refused to let fear into his mind and cloud his judgment and reflexes. Then he found his moment, he swiped at one Horror's head to get it to back off a bit he jumped just high enough to slam the point of his knee right under the jaw of another. A couple of swings and kicks to create some more space he connected the other ends of the staff together and spun the double bladed staff over his head. With a nod red armor rained down upon him covering him as he continued his attack, Swinging his blades and stabbing them through before they could react.

    The Horrors started to stumble back a bit as the armor returned to whence it came. Swing the swords around until they were in position he reconnected them into the staff. Then one by one the horror exploded leaving him all alone in the park once more. He looked around, tried to sense if there was another Horror, perhaps a stronger one who was leading this particular pack, nearby. So far there was nothing that he could detect. “Xy...”

    He barely had a chance to speak when the pin shouted, “Carter look out!” He didn't have a chance to discover what Xypher saw as a blast of magical energy hit him and knocked him to the ground and caused him to drop the staff. “Carter are you all right?”, he heard Xypher say but he was too stunned and in pain to respond. Clutching at his chest as he writhed on the ground once he was able to move his eyes focused enough to see his assailant. With a sinister grin on his face and his Madou Brush till leveled at him Reks came forward.

    'The sheer arrogance of a Makai Knight,” he said,a hint of a chuckle edging his voice. “Trying to look so majestic and aloof. Even when they think nobody is watching. It's sickening.”

    Propping himself up, although a bit painfully, Carter look at him, “What are you do doing Reks?”?

    “I thought that would be obvious,” he said. Then he attacked again with with another blast from his brush. Pushing past the pain Carter rolled out of the way. Getting to a knee he blocked a strike at his head with the still glowing brush. A quick shot to the gut with his other arm caused the Priest to stumble back enough that Carter was able to get to his feet. Reks moved quickly and positioned himself between the Knight and his weapon. The Knight went at and tried to keep the Madou brush from coming into play as the bother attacked each other. Punches, swings and kicks flew between them as each man tried to get the better of the other. While not as a proficient fighter like Carter or Jules, Reks was more than holding his own. So much so they blocked each other and stood there at a stalemate with their limbs struggling against the other. Reks looked at him and sneered, “The reign of the Makai Knights is over!”

    Carter stared at him, for had heard something like that before. Years ago, from the person he considered a brother. “It was you,” he said. “You're the one trying to reignite the rifts between Priests and Knights.” A new determination filling him he pushed Reks away. As he told Jules he would not allow those rifts to be exploited again. Catching the Priest off guard with the intensity of his attack Carter quickly broke through his attempts at defense and connected with a series of punches and kicks that knocked Reks to the ground. Grabbing him by the coat Carter hauled him back up. “I won't allow you to damage our Order more then already has been.”

    “It's been damaged already,” Reks spat at the ground. “By the arrogance of Knights. And the Priest who allow you to run free. Who forgot that we created you! Myself and the others,” he said while that grin started to form again, “we will remind the rest that you are our dogs. Like my new pet for the last day.” He held his Madou Brush, that he was able to keep a grip on, out but it wasn't pointed at Carter. It was pointed at a heavier forested area of the park. It glew as a magical ring of symbols swirled around the base of the bristles. Then he heard the footsteps. Carter looked in that direction and let go of Reks as it emerged.

    It was a huge metallic looking creature, almost twice the size that he was. But this was no Horror, it would have made this easier if it was. The animalistic, but still wolf like appearance, of the head and eyes seemed to focus on the Knight as it roared as it's tail lashed back and forth behind it.. “How did he make him turn into a Lost Soul Beast?”, Xypher asked. This was happened when a Makai Knight stayed in his armor for too long, why they were aware of a mystical type of timer that started the moment they donned their armor. Acting more animal like than man as it slowly came toward them Reks just laughed at the stunned expression on Carter's face. Kicking the Knight away as he scrambled to his feet he kept his brush up. The pulsing of the tip of the brush almost in time with the Beast's movements “Reks is controlling him? That's not possible.”

    “Wonder about it later,” Carter grunted as the Beast charged at him. Jumping on top at and outstretched arm reaching for him The Knight ran up and and tried to jump off it's shoulder. The tail lashed out and caught him in the side, practically throwing him into the ground. Landing hard he still rolled out of the way as the beast tried to pounce on him. This close he tried to look the other Knight in the deranged, armored eyes. Trying to see who was the one wielding this armor. He was able to, and that revelation shook him to the core. “Morgan?” The beast screamed again and tried to bite his head off. The Knight did everything he could to dodge the beast's attempt to get at him. In the background Reks' laugh grew a little more maniacal the longer this kept going.

    Finally he heard from Xypher, for whom he was trying to buy some time, “I got it! On the top of his head. There's a seal spell attached to the top of his head. That's how he's controlling him.” He looked up to catch a glimpse of the red paper on top of his head.

    “Hang on Morgan,” Carter grunted. The longer his friend was trapped in this state the more the soul metal that protected them was eating him away. Jumping out of the way of a few mire strikes of those claw like hand Carter started to run and like he thought Morgan was hot on his heels. Feeling him about to pounce again Carter cut to the left and jumped up. Kicking off a nearby tree he flipped in the air and landed on his shoulder. Ducking another angry lash of his tail he held on as best he could as Morgan started to thrash around. Despite his training touching the soul metal would his bare flesh would affect him as well so he kept that to a minimum. Just long enough to get a good look at the red piece of paper attached to Morgan's head and lunge fore it. Reks realized what was happening after Carter got a hold of the paper and ripped it off. Still once last buck from Morgan caught him with a shoulder that knocked him to the ground. “Morgan!,” he called out as the still simmering beast turned around. “Morgan listen to me. You still have your humanity locked in there. I'll help you deactivate your armor. But you need to try and quell the anger you're feeling right now.”
  11. scikaiju

    scikaiju science experiment gone wrong

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    Morgan's head whipped around, he was confused but still ready to fight. Then he focused on Reks who stood stock still. In the angry haze in his mind something seemed to have clicked as his eyes was locked on the Priest and nothing else as a low growl came from him. It soon turned to a scream as Morgan charged at him causing to Reks snap out of whatever he was in and run for his life. “Morgan no!.” Looking around Carter located his staff and ran for, scooping it up on the go then tried to catch up with Morgan and Reks, before his friend ripped the Makai Priests to shreds. Fortunately Reks stopped running in a straight line, instead he started zig zagging. Morgan was just a step behind him but with each lunge he was getting closer despite the tactic. But then Morgan launched himself and Reks cut quickly to the right. Morgan crashed and tumbled, shaking his head a bit as he righted himself and relocated his target. Carter ran past the fleeing Priest and right at the charging Beast before him. Once again he jumped off one of the massive arms, Twisted in the air and landed on top of his shoulder. Knowing he didn't have time to get his balance Carter got the staff under Morgan's chin, gripping both ends of it he pulled back with everything he had.

    The Beast bucked with the sudden pressure but Carter held firm. “Calm down Morgan,” he grunted through his teeth as his friend fought him. He only let go when he felt the beast start to fall to the side. Carter jumped off as Morgan tumbled on the ground and focused his attention on him now. Carter didn't back away or run, he had to get his friend out of that armor. “Morgan listen to me!” The Beast swiped at him with a speed he wasn't expecting knocking him tot the ground. Dazed he still tried to get back up. Then he felt a giant claw like hind wrap around him his waist and squeezed as he picked him up. Struggling to breath as Morgan brought him closer to his face Carter separated the staff and drove both points between the armor plating on the giant hand. His head reared back as he howled from the pain and the pressure stopped. Carter, hanging on to both swords as the Beast thrashed around finally freed himself. Removing both sword he connected them into the double bladed staff before jumping off with a back flip. Before he land he spun the staff, as soon as he hit the ground the Rook armor covered him and he ran toward the Beast.

    Now almost on equal footing he engaged his friend. But he had started with a small disadvantage. Summoning the armor earlier against the pack of Horrors had used up a bit of that mystical timer. It hadn't reset yet so had to accomplish this in less time than he would have normally have. His eyes locked onto on the Beast's underside. Something that wasn't there when the armor had it's normal appearance when Morgan summonsed it.“Xypher that jewel on his waist.”

    “That's the weak spot,' the pin confirmed. Now with a target in sight Rook came at his friend more aggressively than he had before. Morgan sensing the new challenge responded in kind as he tried to get a hold of or claw and rip him to pieces. Getting knocked to the ground Rook used the momentum of the blow to to roll back to his feet and went at his friend once more. “Carter you're running out of time!”, Xypher told him, but he was already aware of it. Getting close he swung his blade up, catching Morgan under the chin. With his head up Rook was able to get underneath him. Morgan sensing his prey was right where wanted him rose up enough to Bring his hands down for a crushing blow. Not fully realizing that move gave his prey the opening he needed. With a yell he jammed one of the point of the double blade into the jewel. With more force and the weight of the Beast coming down he was able to get in in further. There was a breaking sound as the jewel cracked.

    The Rook armor flew off of Carter as he removed the point from what was left of the jewel. The beast seemed to shrink a bit as a giant portal appeared above him as segments quickly removed themselves and flew up into it revealing Morgan. He collapsed on the ground before Carter could catch him. Turning him over he was stunned by how pale he was now, and how cold to the touch, breath frighteningly shallow. “Morgan?,” he shook him. :Morgan.” His eyes open, almost appearing lost before they seemed to focus on him. He tried to speak. “Save your strength,” Carter told him. “Just hang on.” He needed help for his friend but in trying to to panic he was also currently lost at the moment on how to summon it.

    Still Morgan struggled to get out, “Lyn..., Lyn...” Then his head dropped and hung in a way that didn't seem right.

    “Morgan?”, part of Carter's mind was refusing to believe what he was seeing. “Morgan,” he shook him again. “Morgan!”

    “He said he had him for a day,” Xypher told him when the reality of the situation finally set in. “He was locked in there too long. I'm sorry Carter.”

    Sadness wanted to over take him but he held it at bay. Instead he concentrated on what Morgan was trying to say. “Lyn? Lyn. Lyn.” His features slackened as it occurred to him, “Lyndsy. No.” Leaving the body he ran with all he had left. “Where's the closest opening to the temple?!”

    “A half a mile to your left.” He immediately changed directions as Xypher went, “You don't think Reks...” Xypher couldn't finish the thought. Getting close Carter slowed down long enough for Xypher to open it to reveal the Makai Path that lead to the Temple of Rook. Going full speed the other side opened as he raced out of there. Not breaking stride as he took a hard left at the intersection that led to Morgan and Lyndsy's home. He came close to the spot where he met their youngest and stopped. Their home wasn't that far off he should have seen some sort of light from here. Continuing on he found it and came to a dead stop, the area looked like it had been attacked, scorched marks everywhere and broken windows and pieces of equipment.

    Carter looked around until he found a form lying on the ground. “Lyndsy!” he called out ran over, but stopped short. She was already dead. But what about the...? “Nathaniel!”, Carter called out as he continued searching the property. “Leonard! It's me Carter! You can come out!” Going behind the house he stopped as he knees nearly gave out on him.

    “Oh no,” Xypher muttered. Carter walked up to the two prone forms, the larger one looking like he was trying to shield the little one. He checked both for any signs of life and lowered his head.

    Picking it back up angry eyes looked down the path he just came from. “Reks,” he growled as he stood. Without another look he marched, a fierce determination in his step, back down the path that would lead back to the city.

    ED – Shaman's Harvest – Broken Dreams
  12. scikaiju

    scikaiju science experiment gone wrong

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    A/N sorry for the delay in posting this. I had some health issues that kept me away. But I'm past it now and finally finished this story. So to anyone still reading this I hope the ending was worth the wait.

    Alao the characater limit is still in place so it's going to take a bit to get it all posted... yah.
  13. scikaiju

    scikaiju science experiment gone wrong

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    Rook: Knight of the Double Blade

    OP – CFO$ - Catch Your Breath

    There was no way this could have happened. Not like she heard it, it just wasn't possible. As much as an ass Reks had been lately even he wouldn't have stooped to something this low. Jules had to believe that as she hurried down the wooded path. Because she didn't know what she would do if it was true. She'd known Reks since they were children learning under Vincent, the man behind here trying to keep up. No, there had to have been a mistake made some where, something misspoken, misheard. There had to be something nobody wasn't seeing. Maybe Carter.... no. Even with the issues the two of them had Jules was sure he wouldn't accuse him of this if he wasn't sure.

    Having never been up this way before, figuring if Carter wanted her up here he would have invited her. Of course, that was before they decided to become something more official, partnership wise. Still knowing he had a friend up here didn't mean she knew where he lived, and honestly she thought they see him on this path when they received the message. But Vincent was close to the previous holder of the Rook title and had been up this way a couple of times. Upon seeing a path leading to another direction she slowed down just long enough to look back at him. As soon as he acknowledge it was the right one she ran at full speed down it. Avoiding the lower hanging branches She soon found the place. And Carter sitting one one of two rock, facing away from the house, head lowered and hands clasped behind his neck.

    She almost called out to him, then she spotted something else that made her stop in her tracks. Close by, near the house was another body lying on the ground, a sheet covering this person.... dear God... part of the story was at least true.

    “Carter!”, Jules finally called out as she was able to move her body again, He barely acknowledged her when she did so. “Carter...,” she began when she got close enough, then faltered. What could she possibly say to him? After he caught up she looked back at Vincent, who seemed equally as lost for words as he surveyed the area. “Carter I'm so sorry,” she was eventually able to say as she started to rub his shoulder gently. It sounded hollow, even to her but she felt she had to say something seeing him like this.

    Jules felt a bit better about when Vincent walked up and put a hand on his other shoulder and said, “As am I Carter. Nobody should have to witness any thing like this,” he added with a sad hitch in his voice. Walking closer toward the house he looked things over. “They were caught by surprise, barely had a chance to react and put up a fight to defend themselves.” Jules looked around and try to see the scene as her former mentor was seeing things. It was still a random mess to her but she deferred to his greater experience in these matters. Still she had to know for certain and she made her way closer to the house. Almost to the corner leading to the back Vincent called out.,”Jules! Wait!” While she looked back at the mention of her name she kept going. Once past the corner Jules caught sight of another sheet on the ground, Looking at it fully she realized it was covering another set of bodies.

    The children.

    Hand immediately going to her mouth she muttered “Oh my God,” and ran back toward the others. Carter was the first to reach her, putting his pain to the side momentarily to comfort her as Jules wrapped her arms around him.”Who could have done something like this?”

    Vincent's only response was, “I wish I could tell you.”

    Carter's reaction on the other hand was a more demanding, “Who else knew about this place?” When neither of them responded right away he repeated, “Who else knew about this place. It was just you and me Vincent. Who else knew they were here?”

    “Carter,” Vincent said calmly, “I know you're still upset but lashing out at us isn't going to help anything or carch whoever did this.”

    “He's right Carter,” Jules spoke up.”You want to yell at somebody go right ahead. But we are going to need a calmer head to figure this out.” He didn't say anything in response but he still looked angry, which was understandable given the situation. “And at least one other family knew they lived here. Now I'm not accusing The previous Rook or any of his daughters,” she quickly added when Carter sharply turned his gaze toward her.

    “I'd certainly say they wouldn't,” Vincent added with some certainty. “Granted he only tolerated the fact Morgan and his family was this close to the tower. But if he wanted them gone he would have went to the Watchdogs or to Morgan directly. No this wouldn't have been an option, especially after you earned the armor.

    “But maybe somebody they knew,” she offered.” Xypher, do you know of....” she trailed off when she looked at the left side of Carter's coat and saw the usual space the gothic looking Madou pin occupied was now bare. “Where's Xypher?”

    He looked in a general direction deeper into the forest before sitting back down on the rock and wouldn't look at them. Finally he said, “He refused to open the path back to the city.”

    “Oh Carter,” Jules said as it dawned on her exactly what he did. She went to look for the pin when Vincent stopped her.

    “Stay with him,” he told her, “I'll go look for Xypher.” Pulling out a disc and his brush he activated the magical radar before going in the direction Carter indicated. Both Priests hoped this wasn't going to be a long search. Again she didn't know what to say so she sat on the rock next to his and waited to see if he was going to say anything.

    Finally he did, “Their oldest, Nathiel, hated the fact his family line didn't have a title. I understood where he was coming from because I felt the same when I was his age. I triede to help him understand that it didn't matter if his father had a title or not, we were still Makai Knights. Even if that title wasn't my birthright to begin with. Their youngest though I was a Horror when Xypher said something after he confronted us on the path here.” Jules had to smile a bit after he shared that memory with her. It also made her hate whomever did this even more, shortening the lives of those boys like that. This entire family deserved better than this fate.

    Before long Vincent returned looking into his open hand. It wasn't long before a familiar tinny voice could be heard. “Then when we got back here he tore me off and flung me into the woods.” Vincent grunted and nodded in understanding as the Pin kept talking. “A squirrel almost took me before I scared it off. A squirrel! Do you have any idea how humiliating that would have been?”

    “Oh I'm sure it would have been,” Vincent told the pin as he held it out to Carter. The Knight and pin stared at each other.

    Xypher finally broke the silence, “Are you doing better now?”

    Glancing back toward the scene behind him he told Xypher, “Not really.”

    “I figured as much,”the pin said. “Your emotional state is the only reason why I'm not calling this a breach of our contract.”

    “Xypher,” Jules quickly snapped at the pin. Now was not the time for this.

    “He's right,” Carter spoke up, voice sounding hollow.

    “I don't mean to sound so uncaring,” the pin went on. “but this exactly why I didn't open the path. One of us had to be level headed enough to realize this is exactly the state Reks wanted you in. Think about it Carter, no matter what they did to him Morgan could have sent away his armor before it started to currupt him. The fact he was in the Lost Soul Beast state meant he wasn't thinking clearly when it happened. Like you were when we found them. And I didn't want him to do it to you too.”

    Dropping his head Carter went,“I realize that now. I'm sorry Xypher.”

    “Like I said,” the pin went as Carter relucantly reached out for him, “emotional state.” Once returned to his proper place he blinked a few times before saying, “That's better.”

    “So,” Jules felt her voice start to crack, “Reks did do this?”

    “He was controlling Morgan and said he was doing so for at least a day and he attacked Carter right before that,” the pin answered. “I'm sorry Jules but he was involved in this act.”

    She walked away muttering, “I still can't believe it.”

    “Give her time to comprehend this,” Vincent told the younger man. “But we need to figure out our next plan of action.”

    “We have to tell the Watchdogs,” Carter told him. “We finally know somebody who's behind this now. And we are going to need help finding him.”

    Rejoining them Jules added,” He's right Vincent. Reks knows Carter's going to be after him now and that we'll likely be helping to track him down. And he'll be smart enough to stay away from any of the huants we know about. And it's been said a lot recently but this is a big city.”

    “Of course,” Vincent said, “both of you are right. It's just...”

    I know Vincent,” Jules said. “Believe me I know.” They gave Carter a few more moments as he went to each body and paid them one last moment of silent respect before all three of them went down the path back.
  14. scikaiju

    scikaiju science experiment gone wrong

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    After reporting what he knew to the Watchdogs Carter and the others stood silently as they looked at each other doing whatever they did when they did this. Right now neither He or Jules cared, both of them wished they change that dammed bore expression they usually wore to something more appropriate for the situation, Sorrow that Morgan and his family was dead or outraged that one of there own did this, anything. Eventually the female spoke up, “So Makai Preist Reks was involved in this heinous act,”

    Vincent spole up for the three of them, “We know he was involved. The exacy extent of his culpability in this crime is currently unknown.”

    “As his teacher,” the female began,” we are aware that you wish to not think the worst of the situation.” If Vincent was ruffled by this Carter and Jules didn't see it. “However even by your own admission he was part of this attack.”

    The male spoke up again, “While we can not read yor minds your thoughts are very clear on your young faces. You think us uncaring of the situation, and nothing could be further from the truth. Both Illumnia and myself are horrified and disgusted that this has happened. But we will express or sorrow in our own way and privately.”

    “Of course watchdogs,” Carter stepped forward a bit and said,” We meant no disrespect, but I was close to this family. Their loss stings.”

    “Very well spoken”, the female replied, “Almost beyond your years. As Nisoka said we are not uncaring but certain details must still be attended to. Namely Makai Priest Reks and his turn to darkness.” Jules stiffened up at these words but she couldn't deny the truth behind them. “Rook your mission is to do whatever is necessary to bring him to justice.”

    Jules stiffened a little more but didn't say anything as Carter looked up at them, “I understand.” She understood too, they basically just signed Reks' death warrant. Carter glanced over at her and Vincent before returning his gaze to the Watchdogs. Without another word he stepped forward and put his swords into the wolf statue in front of him to purify them. After that was done the three of them took their leave.

    Exiting through the secret door that lead to an alley it closed behind them. Jules kept on walking as Carter and Vincent stopped for a moment. Vincent was going to let her go, figuring she need some time to come to grip with everything that happened. Carter, on the other hand, “Jules wait.” She did stop but she didn't turn to look at him. Walking toward her he continued, “I'm going to try to bring Reks in alive,” Hearing that she turned her head to look at him. “Because I want answers, I want to know why. as bad as you do. But if he fights back I will defend myself.”

    “I know you will,” she eventually said. “And if he puts you in that situation I wouldn't want you to hold back. And Xypher's right he would do to you what he did to Morgan, and I don't want to see that happen either.” Finally she turned around and joined them. “So where do we start? I don't think I have to repeat that Reks knows you're looking for him.”

    “Although they didn't say to, “Vincent said,” I think we should get some others to help look for him. And to cover ourselves I'm going to get their opinion of it first. He turned to face the brick wall behind him, “You two go get started on getting those extra eyes for this.”

    “We will,”Jules told him as the wall turned inward revealing the hidden door they waited until he walked through and it closed before going toward the street, looking at him she asked “So where to we start? We're still not sure who all in this with Reks.”

    “The way he said things implied there was more thn him,” he answered, “So outside of some other Knights I'm not sure who.” Then he got a look in on his face as he reached into a pocket. He pulled out a small silver sphere and looked it over.

    “You're calling on K-byte?”, she asked, the hacker they met recently that was recruited into the order after he found out about it.

    “Getting one guy with a lot of eyes on the city would be a lot faster then getting a lot of people,” Xypher spoke up. “This did work when you tried it last night?”

    Jules nodded, “Perfectly.” She motioned for him to rub it when he just kept l staring at it.

    Still looking bit unsure Carter rubbed the sphere with his thumb and said,”K-byte.”

    The sphere twinkled briefly before a voice came from it, “Carter? Gotta admit man, I'm a little surprised you actually used this to call me. I'm guessing you got another spot for me to add to the catalog.”

    “Not exactly,” Carter answered. “I need your help looking for somebody.”
  15. scikaiju

    scikaiju science experiment gone wrong

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    There was nothing as hard as walking around trying not to be noticed Terrance thought while doing just that. As part of the Makai Order it was something they had to do on a regular basis. Fortunately the regular humans around then didn't pay them any extra attention as they walked around in broad daylight. The order learned long ago that they had a tendency to over look things they couldn't exactly understand or think it was something else entirely. Such as an outrageous bit of fashion sense. That was a good thing considering how he and some of the other Makai Priests dressed.

    But when he happened across someone else in the order that was a different story as he was trying not to act guilty. And not look like he was trying act like nothing was wrong too. Granted he didn't know every Priest or Knight in the city. But after what happened acting like he was oblivious to anything wrong was nerve wracking to say the least.

    Suddenly realizing he gotten into the habit of looking around before entering his destination while he was going it he felt even more noticeable out on the open street. Hurrying on inside he quickly turned and faced the door to make sure nobody was following.

    “You're just drawing attention to yourself now.”

    Terrance yelped and nearly jumped out of his skin at the sudden voice. Pointing his brush at the voice it took him a moment to realize it was Reks and calm down. “Don't do that!”

    “Anything?”, he asked as headed for the secret opening in the wall.

    “I went to the usual spots,” he answered. “So far nobody is even talking about you or the family that we killed.”

    “We didn't kill them,” he said while walking down the hidden stairs.

    Terrance was right behind him, “Maybe but we were there. Our hands aren't exactly spotless here.” Reks gave no indication that he agreed, he just kept on walking. It was infuriating enough that Terrance finally had enough to grab him by the shoulder and forcibly make the other man face him. “That family is dead! That wasn't suppose to be part of the plan.”

    Reks slapped his hand away, “You don't think I'm aware of that?!” And Terrance saw enough of his hand as it went by as it went by to realize he was wearing that saw device he developed/ Backing up a bit he tightened his grip on his brush, just in case. Still he tried to relax a bit as he saw Reks take a few deep breaths to calm himself. Either way he stayed on guard. “We don't know the whole plan.” he tried to say calmly, no matter how forced it looked. “But sacrifices have to be made in order to reach the end goal.”

    “Is that what he told you?”, Terrance demanded. “Or is that what you told yourself in order to sleep last night.” Reks anger visibly raised up again. Enough so that he was positive Reks would have hit him. And he probably wanted to. He didn't though, he just walked away. And Terrance made sure he didn't go near the hidden room that led to their “pet” Horror.

    Instead Reks went to the opposite side of the room. “We have to trust in the plan,” he eventually said, “We both knew this wouldn't be bloodless. I didn't think the children had to die either.” For the first time in a while Terrance thought he was at least acting like the man he had first met and became friends with. That feeling didn't last long, “But they would have been witnesses. No matter how distasteful we find it, sacrifices have to be made.“

    Pacing the room he looked worried about something. Actually it was a little unsettling to see how much he unattached himself emotionally, for the most part, from that sickening situation. “The idea that apparently nobody seems to know that Knight and his family are dead is what's concerning me at the moment. Even if thr Watchdogs ordered Greystone to not talk about the specifics we are not above idle gossip. The others would be wondering why he was looking for me.”

    “Maybe Greystone didn't report it.” hr offered. “It's even possible he was killed last night.”

    Reks seemed to think it over for a moment. “No, even if that other Knight was lost in a berserker's rage Greystone wouldn't have died so easily. Even if he did somebody would have seen that Knight rampaging across town and investigated. No Greystone's alive. And he would have reported it. Told some one, like... Jules.”

    Even if he didn't realize it Terrance heard the slight hitch in his voice as he said her name. He was still sure he could get her to love him, even after she rebuke him the other night. “It's a possibility, but something you had to have realized would happen if he survived.”

    “I'm aware,” he said darkly. “It doesn't matter though. I knew she be on the side to stop us once our goal became known. She doesn't matter in the over all plan.” Although Terrance didn't say anything it was obvious to anybody watching that he didn't believe it.
  16. scikaiju

    scikaiju science experiment gone wrong

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    Jules and Xypher were both unusually quiet as they headed toward their destination. Still she was keeping up with his faster than usual pace as they headed toward the knick knack shop that K-Byte owned. Once they were across the street he stopped, “I know this is hard on you,” he said after a moment, “On both you and Vincent. I just wanted you to know I'm glad you're by my side and that I meant what I said about trying to bring Reks alive,”

    “I know you did,” she said after a bit.”I”m pretty sure you're not the revenge type of person, otherwise I wouldn't be here. I'd be out there trying to bring him in before you found him.Besides,” she added with a slight grin, “somebody other than Xypher has to watch your back.”

    “And I'm happy about that,” the pin spoke up..”I can't even see back there to begin with.” Xypher waited a couple of beats as they crossed the street, “I half way expected to get flicked there.”

    “I wouldn't push your luck,” Jules commented as they reached the building. He entered first and found K-Byte leaning against the counter talking with his niece,

    “Carter,” greeted them,” Jules.” To her it looked like his eyes shifted down to Xypher before nodding his head slightly. He might not be part of their order, but at least he knew to not point out the talking jewelry. Or at least he was smart enough to figure doing so might make him look a little nuts. “I'm going to talk with these two in my other office,” he said suddenly. “Buzz me if you need anything,” Carter and Jules both exchanged glances as the niece gave him a thumbs up before returning to the magazine behind the counter. Motioning them to follow him they headed for the hidden room in the back.

    Once they entered and the door was closed Jules finally felt comfortable to say, “I thought your niece wasn't part of the entire operation,”

    “She's not,” he replied as he started down the hallway that lead to the special computer set up a Makai Priest had set up for him. “She is however smart enough to realize something is going on back here since my office is on the floor above and those stairs are near the front door. And even she had to wonder why I was spending most of the day in the restroom. I told her I had a side job going and while it wasn't exactly illegal the less she knew about it the better. It was pretty muched dropped after that. I respect her privacy and she respects mine, it's why we work so well together.” then he stopped and quickly turned around to hug Carter. “I'm so sorry about your frirnd man.”

    While Jules could imagine the look on Carter's face, just by how stiff he was standing, Xypher's voice was muffled as he said something. It sounded something like, “If I could breath air I'd be smothering right a about now.”

    Carter still didn't relax as the other man finally let go. Oblivious to the discomfort he just caused he went on, “Remember when I said this little online group I'm in was started by the woman in Japan who's family took care of the fallen untitled Knights? There one close to here too, just outside the city. I already messenged him. He'll take care of the family for you. Don't worry about it.”

    “Thank you,” Carter managed to say before continuing on toward the room.

    “Stoic,” K-Byte said as he followed, “Isn't he?”

    “Knights generally are,”Jules answered.

    Once in the computer room K-Byte took his usual spot in front of the enhanced computer and started typing away, “So one of you guys did this huh? I'm surprised but I guess there's some bad apples in every group.”

    “How is this going to work?”, Carter asked. “The person we're looking for is named Reks...”

    “Times like this I wished it was that simple,” K-Byte said. “Unfortunately your bosses made it very clear to Alex that they didn't want any names being stored in my system here. And I doubt the name Reks is like Smith in your guy's world so he should have been pretty easy to find.”

    Carter looked confused, “But you have images of us on here.”

    “True,” he conceded, “but that's it. Granted I have basic labels like Makai Knight, Makai Priest. The most specific thing I have is your title and I'm still afraid that's going to be found out. Best I can do is look for images for you two and hope he's been caught on film interacting with the two of you and go from there. So the big question is when was the last time did either of you seen him?” He quickly added, “Before last night. That was the first thing I checked and there were no cameras any where near that park. There was by this one entrance but that's because of the coffee shop that there and he didn't go in that way. Granted I'm just assuming a knight in his armor would have been noticeable.”

    “It would have been,” Carter commented without going into any further detail. K-Byte may be helping but some things you didn't just share. The last time I saw him was the day I originally got this assignment. By the Watchdog's....,” he trailed off as K-byte slowly shook his head. Of course they wouldn't want any of the entrances known to an outsider. Although Carter got the feeling that if he wanted to K-Byte could probably narrow down the entrance locations general areas.

    So he looked at Jules. “The night before last I ran into him,” she said. “He was with another Priest named Terrance. They were hunting a Horror.” Again looking at her Jules read the unasked question on his face. While K-Byte turned back to his computer and started typing away. “He had a new device he was testing out.”

    “I didn't think he was that good to be actively hunting down Horrors,” Xypher commented as various video still appeared on the screen on the wall.

    “He's not,” Jules answered as those images soon featured her on the streets. “He wants to be though but the combat arts were never his strong suit. Wait,” she called out when something caught her eye. “Can you go back a couple of images?” K-Byte was doing that before she was even finished speaking. “There, that was from a few days ago, that's the Terrance I was talking about.”

    “I got a good lock on his face,” K-byte announced. “Now to add his image to the search and hopefully... I got something.” He quickly pulled it up on the screen,

    “That's Reks,” she answered. “Or at least his back.” K-Byte was already at work goining through the various camera angles in that area.

    “I think this one is the best I can do,” he announced before pulling up the new image. In it was Terrance and Reks running down the street. “I saw the guy they were running after, I'm just guessing he was that Horror you mentioned.”

    “Now that you have his image can you track him?”, Carter asked.

    “As in where's he's been? Yes easily,” he answered. “If you're asking in real time that one's a little tougher. Only because,” he quickly added when Carter looked at him sharply, “this isn't instantineous. I mean I'm hooked into every camera and connected server in the city. And it is really big, digitally speaking. As fast as my set up is there's still going to be a slight delay. A very, very small delay mind you but enough of one that I could lose sight of him before you even got there. Especially if you're on the other side of the city than he is. But as I said I can see where he's been. Figure out where some of his favorite spots to hangout are and give you those locations. Particularly since now I have a second face to add to the search.”

    “It's better than nothing I suppose,” Jules said.

    “I suppose,” Carter grunted, “Thank you for the help K-Byte.”

    “No problem, just doing my bit to help.”

    “Why are you so talkative all of the sudden?”, Xypher asked. Then after a quick flick, “Ow. Still doesn't answer my question.”

    “Are they always like that?”, K-Byte asked Jules who hung back a bit as Carter headed for the door.

    “More or less,” she answered before saying good-bye and leaving herself.
  17. scikaiju

    scikaiju science experiment gone wrong

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    “I really should have set up a meeting time and place with those two,” Vincent commented to himself as he wiped his mouth with the provided napkin.”I'm getting a little too old for all this walking around.” His server came up to him seeing that he was done and he quietly thanked her for the meal and paid for his usual soup. Streaching his back out a bit as he stood he chuckled a bit to himself, yes he was getting too old for this but he could still put up a fight if need be. He'd be feeling it the next day but he still could. All the life in him hasn't left him yet after all.

    Although more and more he caught himself looking around more at the pieces of humanity around him. He had been preaching for years that they had to remind themselves that there was still good in the hearts of the ones the protect. Granted some days it was easier to remember that than others. So he learned to see it in simple things that most choose to ignore. Like the mother with nothing but love in her expression as her baby smiled at her. Then there were the moments that quickly reminded him that darkness would always inhabit humantiies heart. Nothing out right, but out of the corner of his eye down an alley he spotted the pair he was looking for. Jules and Carter were studying an old box fan. Going to join them he called out, “Found a gate I presume.”

    Carter plunged one of his blades into it's shadow, “It was.” Pulling it out the three of them watch as a small dark orb float into the air. Almost as soon as he saw it Carter swung his blades through it to finish it off.

    “Seriously,” Xypher spoke up, “nobody else hears that little scream when he does that?”

    “You are more attuned to that than we are my little friend,” Vincent told the pin.

    With some noticable apprehension Jules asked, “What did the Watchdogs have to say?”

    “They agreed that the rest of the order in the area should be informed,” he told her. His heart broke a little at how sad she looked at the news. “But only for the death of Morgan and his family. They still want to keep his apparent plan to agitate the rifts between the Knights and Priests once again quiet for the moment.”

    “Why?, Carter demanded. “They deserve to know why Morgan and his family died.”

    “Normally I'd agree with you,” Vincent said to try and calm the younger man down. These deaths were still hitting him hard. “But this time I think it best to do what the Watchdogs say and err on the side of caution. You remember what it was like when Sigma first started. Knights were pointing fingers at Priests, often with no proof. If it went on any longer I'm afraid it would have become a whitch hunt and tear the order apart, Even between Knights as the ones would take up swords to defend their loved ones.”

    “I didn't know it was that bad,” Jules commented. She didn't show it but Vincent could tell how much the idea was troubling her.

    Times like this he was unsure if he should have kept as much as he did from her when it was happening. Finally he replied,”Not quite that bad, but it was heading there. I can't speak for the rest of the world but around this particular city some Knights just started assuming the worst about the Makai Priests and roughed them up a bit. They didn't even think that doing so may drive more Priests to rally behind Sigma's cause than if they did nothing.”

    “That sounds horrible,” Jules told him.

    All of the sudden Carter asked, “Is that what happened to Reks?” Vincent was the only one who looked surprised by the question. “Jules said he wasn't like this when they were training under you.”

    He sighed a bit before responding, “If it did he didn't share it with me. Honestly this attitude took me by surprise as well. I don't recall him having these thoughts back then either.”

    Carter looked over at Jules as a new resolve seem to come over him. “Then we have to find him first, before somebody else does then. Because we still need answers and the wrong Knight might not willing to get them out of him.”

    It took Vincent a moment to remember a small conversation the two of them had when he was first assigned this mission. “The difference between justice and vengence, yes you are quite right.”

    “We'll find him first,” Carter told Jules. “And we'll get those answers.” She nodded as she had a new look of determination as well. After a quick acknowledgement the two of the hurried off to do just that. Vincent couldn't help but smile, he knew those two were right for each other. His smile faltered a little, now if only this situation didn't entertain the possibility to tear them apart.
  18. scikaiju

    scikaiju science experiment gone wrong

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    Reks paced the alley waiting for Terrance to show back up. He should have been inside hiding for who knew if Greystone would wonder by and spot him. And with that bastards luck that's exactly how it would happen too. But he was feeling too confined down there and needed some air and stretch his legs. He told himself it was to clear his head but in reality he wanted the chance to see that damned Knight coming and not be taken by surprise. Beside it was dark enough outside that he should be hidden enough to spot him before he was located. The only benefit he saw in the dark colors those in the order usually wore. Although at the moment he wished he had some sort of hood to cover his head, or at least a turbin like his old mentor. Something to blend in even more.

    His pacing was interrupted by the sounds of running, coming straight at him. In the brief instant he heard it he thought the Knight had located him but he knew better. No matter how angry he was Greystone wouldn't just blindly charge at him like this and give away his location. No, this was somebody else. And the drawing of a sword was the only indication an attack was coming right at him. Barely dodging a swing from said weapon he set eyes on his attacker. Another Makai Knight from the looks of it. Taking up an offensive stance he said, “I Found you murderer. Prepare to pay for your crimes.”

    And word must have finally gotten out about what happened to that Knight. It took Greystone long enough to do so. Still Reks looked around a best as he could in case this Knight wasn't alone, so far nobody that he could immediately see. Getting his brush out he parried another strike. But he left himself open to kick to the stomach that sent him back into the alley wall. Then he held very still as the Knight held his blade at his throat. Instead of finishing the job and cut him down the Knight just kept him there. “Just tell me one thing you bastard. Why, why did you do it?”

    Interesting, this Knight knew of his crime but not the why. Given the few extra moments of life Reks realized this must have come from above Greystone. There was no way he wouldn't tell the details of his crime. Whatever his reaction was to this new bit of information it was enough to confuse the Knight. Enough for Reks to get his beush between them and blast him away. As his opponent lay on the ground Rek's other hand started rubbing his throat. The other man's blade didn't touch it, but it was just the idea that caused this particular reaction. “Why?”, Reks taunted him as he slowly sat up. “He was a Makai Knight. That's reason enough.” The renewed confusion in his face was enough to convince Reks that his hunch was right.

    A confusion that quickly turned to rage, “You monster!” Another blast kept the Knight down. He gasped in pain as Reks kept his brush pointed at him.Again Reks was caught off guard as the Knight kicked his foot out and forced him back. Giving him enough room to get back on his feet and back ready to attack. Although Reks was ready for it the attack never came. The Knight was suddenly bound by a magical spell. A quick look at the ground showed him a couple of silver trinkets, the source of the spell and a clue to the Priest who cast it identity.

    “Normally I'd complain,” he began,” about you talkng you sweet timre But for once Terrance I'm glad you arrived when you did.”

    “You're lucky I arrived at all,” he shot back. Apparently in no mode for any sort of remark from the look of things. “Obviously you know word finally got out.” Both of them looked at the Knioght as he struggled to get free. “So what do we do now? Erase his memory?”

    “Any other situation and I might say yes,” He said after a moment. “But the spell has been known to fail, especially if they come across something with a strong emotional connection. Or so I've been told. No we're going to have to do something else with this one.”

    Terrance seemed to get a little nervous when he glanced at the device on his wrist,” What exactyl?”

    “Nothing like what you're imaging.” Then he smiled in a way that made the other man even more nervous, “At least not yet.”

    “Here?', he practically squeaked.

    “No, not here,” Reks said sounding annoyed. Then he reached into his jacket and pulled out a slip of red paper with various magical markings. Bringing his brucsh to it he activated the spell and slapped it on the Knights head, He struggled for a bit before slightly glazed eyes that stared stright ahead that showed that the spell had won in the end. “Hmm,” Reks grunted. “He didn't fight as long as the other Knight. Must not as been as outrage as the other one. Keep that in mind for the future.”

    He nodded at Terrance to end the spell, but he couldn't move. Controlling them was one thing but... “Are you sure we to do this?”

    “Would you rather I let him go?”, he taunted. “Having him know my last known location is just the same as killing him here, The order would search this area looking for clues to where I went and they may discover our little secret in the process.” Terrance still looked unconvinced, “Let's not forget this one knows you're involved now and you would have to go into hiding. Either way you had to realize this was going to be necessary in order to get rid of the Knights. They didn't exactly bow down to Sigma's demands the last time.”

    “I know,I know,” he said. “I was hoping the plan would have taken care of them with as little bloodshed as possible,”

    “Maybe it will,” Reks commented as he made the Knight rise to his feet. “But the plan hasn't been activated yet. And there's the small matter of me being the center of a city wide search. We has to be adaptable at this stage, you know he said that.”

    “Yes he did,” Terrance said, sounding a bit defeated.”

    “Don't worry it'll be over soon.” His Madou Brush pulsed as the Knight started moving. “Keep an eye out in case somebody else shows up.” He made the Knight lead the way as Terrance took up the rear, still not liking this. After a bit they found themselves at an side way into the subway system below the city. Motioning for Terrance to open the door the trio made their way down.

    Reks made them follow a path that took them block away from where they were. Up until they hit a four way intersection then he made Terrance stay where he was as he made the Knightgo a few feet down one of the corridors then said, “Drop your sword there.” It hit with a loud clang as the Knight did so. Then he rejoined them as Reks lead them down a different corridor. After another block they reached the underground tracks. “Now let's see how much will he actually has,”Reks said after a few moments. The reason for the wait was soon evident as a rumbling could be heard in the background, and it was getting closer. With little effort he made the Knight lay down on the ground with his neck resting on the track in front of him. He backed up still with his brush pointed at the Knight. Terrance froze for a second as he realized he made the other man face the oncoming train.

    Any cry was of pain or outrage was cut off by the rumbling of the train as it past by. Did the person at the controls even realize there was a person there? It didn't even seem to try and slow down. While his companion was mortified Reks just smirked, “They do want to face death head on.”

    “You sick bastard,” Terrance finally got out.

    “Maybe,” he said before turning away and going back the way they came. “But this way it should be a day or two before somebody notices the body since the operator shouldn't have realize he hit something and report it. And that will give us a small cushion, at least until somebody realizes that Knight is missing. The only down side they're probably aware he was hunting me down and won't just assume he was killed by a Horror.”

    “How can you be be so nonchalant about this? You just killed a man!”

    “Because this is war,”, he answered coolly “Even if the others think it ended in Japan two years ago, it's still a war. And you win by getting ride of the opposition.” Reks kept on walking,”By any means necessary if need be.”
  19. scikaiju

    scikaiju science experiment gone wrong

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    Consciuosness returning after getting some sleep Jules refused to open her eyes, not just yet. Instead she reached over to the other side of the bed, she opened them here when she realized the person she was expecting to find wasn't there. In fact that side was cold, for a bit from the feel of it. Sitting up she tried to get out of the fog of sleep that still wanted her to stay still and looked around the bedroom. Still alone as far as she could tell. Stretching she listened for sounds of anyone else close by, she commented to herself, “And I thought I was good at leaving the place without being noticed,” when she still couldn't detect any other signs of life.

    Getting up and dressed she went looking for Carter. Heading down the stairs. Seeing her coat where she left it she was admittedly a bit confused to see Carter's coat right by hers. So he didn't leave suddenly. Waking up a little more she realized he must have been doing his exercises. Or quite possibly in the den, considering the door was open. They definitely needed to learn the others morning routines if this was going to keep up. A quick peek in the doorway showed Carter wasn't in there but Xypher was on his stand, although he was facing one of the windows instead of the door like he usually did. “Morning Xypher,” she greeted the pin as she entered the room.

    “Morning Jules,” he responded. “He didn't leave a message in case you were wondering.” Obviously a shot at her not quite so old habit when she usually spent the night here. Fourtunately for the pin she wasn't quite the flicker Carter was in these situation. Instead she walked over to the window he was facing.

    Seeing Carter out there on the lawn doing his usual practicing outside she smiled a bit, “In a way he did.” Watching the Makai Knight for a bit she realized it wasn't his usual practice as he did some imaginary blocks with his blades she'd never seen before or was familiar with. “What is he doing exactly?”

    “He's trying to figure out the best way to defend against that saw weapon you told him about.” She nodded in understanding. She should have told him about it as soon as she found out Reks was involved in this mess. But the news came so fast it was hard to think straight about the man she'd known for years. And Morgan and his family showed no sign of it being used on them so part of her was hoping he finally listen and gave up on it. Another part realized it was just wishful thinking on her part and more than likely he was still trying to improve it. Either way Carter, not to mention anyone in the Order hunting Reks, had to know about it.

    “I'm going to head out there,” she told the pin. “You wanna come?”

    “No,” Xypher answered. “I had enough of the outdoors and it's inhabitants the other day for the time being.”

    “Suit yourself,” she said as him as she headed for the front door. Taking in a deep breath of the morning air, which she swore didn't have the scent the city usually did, she went down the stairs and headed around the corner to where he was. Hanging back a bit she watched him defend against and attack the opponent in his mind, although she was certain she knew who that opponent was. Although Jules was certain Carter was already aware of her presence, which was confirmed when he pause just long enough to acknowledge her with a nod, that was the most she wanted to disturb him at the moment. Not that that he was so in his own head that she might get hit accidentally. However with what they did he couldn't afford to have an off day. Neither could she for that matter. In their profession not being at their peak could be fatal. So Jules waited until he was finished before getting closer as indicated by him combining the blades back together to form the staff. “”Beautiful out this morning, isn't it?”, she asked.

    “It is,” he answered while taking in the view for himself. Morning small talk, another thing both of them were going to have to get used to. Still Carter tried, “Sleep well? I usually don't get the chance to ask.”

    A small smile started to cross her lips, “Either me or Xypher is finally starting to rub off on you. I'm just not sure who it is at the moment,” considering that was the second shot this morning at how she used to do things she was leaning toward the pin. “But I slept like a baby.” Which was strangely true considering what was going on. “How about you?”

    “Fine. Honestly I never thought it would be with somebody sleeping next to me.” Jules sort of glanced at him as they headed back toward the house. He was just full of surprises lately. And lucky for the Pin who was still in the house because Jules could only imagin what would have came out of his mouth after hearing that.

    “I would say that it must mean it was meant to be but I don't want to push our luck.” Instead of the front door he lead her to a side patio, From the look of things he expected her to join him this morning as a small table was already set up.for a quick breakfast. She was happy for the moment before she realized the muffins on the table was one of her favorites. And considering this was the first time she'd ever seen them here at all caused a question to burn itself in her mind. Granted it was one she had before but never asked it out of respect for his privacy. But if she was going to be be here more often she just had to know, “Okay, who exactly is helping you keep this place up? This house is better kept and stocked than it should be considering what we do.And no offence, I never took you for the homemaker type.” She noticed the look on his face and stopped talking. Carter was looking at something behind her, with some intent that wasn't there before, and that made her turn and look as well. A lone man was walking up the path toward the house, based on how he was dressed it was clear he was part of the order. He had to be, the path entrance wasn't exactly open to regular. uninvited humans.

    Carter stood as the guy got closer. The way his hand was hovering by the staff said he wasn't expecting anybody this morning. “I'm guessing that's not him.”

    “No it isn't,” he said as he walked forward to meet the stranger. “Can I help you?”

    “Pardon the interruption Double Bladed Knight,” he said in return. “But I came with some news you may want to hear.” he stopped and looked over Carter's shoulder at her. “Has she been here all night?”

    Jules wasn't sure about Carter but that rankled her a bit. “I'm only asking because a Knight went missing and she is one of Reks' known associates.”

    “Who disappeared?”

    “I'm not sure you know him, I barely did,” he answered. “When we were given the assignment last night we all agreed to to meet up later and compare notes of our serarch. He was the only one who didn't show up. A few that did know him asked around and he hasn't been seen since we were summoned to the Watchdogs. Naturally people are assuming...”, he trailed off, but he didn't have to finish that thought. More than likely both of them were thinking the same thing.

    Still this newcomer kept looking at her. Finally having enough of it she snapped, “Yes I was him all night.” This particular Knight pissed her off even more when he looked over to Carter for confirmation of this. Now she didn't her exactly how Carter responded but she saw enough of his face that he was annoyed by it as well.

    This particular Knight at least had the brains to realize when to back off, “I meant no disrespect, really. But we were told to scrutinize everything. I was just doing what I was told.”

    Carter sharply asked, “Was there anything else?”

    “No, just that.” Carter turned his back to him and walked away. Jules just waved a quick good-bye before the Knight finally left by himself. Catching up with Carter she crossed her arms, “I wonder how he be acting with me if he knew what Reks was trying to do.” Carterv just grunted as they kept walking. “Was it as bad as that? When Sigma was starting up?”

    “I'm afraid so. After my friend attacked me I knew it took a bit before I stopped wondering if a Makai Priest I ran across was going to do the same. Some Knights were worse, like Vincent said, We didn't even have the destruction seal placed on us like the Japanese Knights did.”

    “You make it sound worse than how Vincent described it,” Jules commented. Obviously that statement confused him a bit because he looked over at her. “Okay, the Japanese Knights had that seal placed on them by Sigma. So naturally they want to do anything to get rid of it, but what was the excuse over here?”

    “I honestly don't know,” he answered. “Sometimes I wish I did, other times I don't want to know the answer. Either way we have to hurry and locate Reks before anybody else does. After lasr night, if it's true.”

    “Nobody is going to want to get answers out of him,” she finished the thought for him. “And everything he knows about what's going on goes with him,” Realizing they were heading back to the house she said,” it's a pity. I was hoping to spar a bit before we headed out.” Again he looked at her in confusion. “If we're going to be partners we should know how each other moves a little better.”

    Carter surprised her again by smiling a little, “Consider it a trail run to see what we have to work on.”

    “I swear that was almost a joke, “ she said, not really trying to stop herself from smiling herself. She was just glad for the distraction from what was going on.
  20. scikaiju

    scikaiju science experiment gone wrong

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    Entering the door of the knick knack shop K-Byte's niece looked up from behind the counter. Seeing it was Carter and Jules she went back to her magazine. “He's waiting on you in the back,” she told them. Carter said nothing as he was heading that way as soon as he walked through the door. Jules gave her a small nod in greeting, not that she saw it with her head down and all, before going in the same direction.

    “We should probably learn her name,” she commented as they reached the secret door. When Carter didn't respond as he hit the hidden trigger to open it she added, “I mean we've been here enough the past few days we should know it, just to be polite if nothing else.” Both of them entered the door. It closed behind them with her saying, “Just me then? Okay.”

    “He's in one of his moods,”Xypher commented. “You're not going to get an answer,,, Ow.”

    “Hey amigos,” K-Byte said with a wave as he sat in his usual chair. Not even bothering to turn around to do so. When he did he pointed right at Carter, “Since I'm prettry sure this one doesn't do social call I'm guessing this is business.”

    “A Makai Knight went missing last night,” Carter told him. K-Byte had enough sense to quickly turn back around and get to work pulling up everything he had on their target so far. Carter went on, “We need to find Reks now.”

    “And I would love to grant that wish,” the hacker told him. :”Unfortunately you comrade's being rather camera shy lately.” Putting up several images on the screen he added, “The most recent image I found was this one from the other day. Both of them were taken a bit a back from what they were seeing. Especially since their heads were at the bottom of the image.

    Getting a sick feeling in her dut Jules asked, “When and where was this image taken?”

    Turning back around he answered, “Almost right after you left here the first time. Right down the street here, by this one little cafe.” That was what she was afraid of.

    “That's when we decided to officially become partners,” she whispered, “Is this what finally pushed him over the edge?”

    “No,” Carter said firmly. “Reks was already went over that edge the moment he decided to restart were Sigma left off. This was going to happen sooner or later.” She knew Carter believed that but at the moment she had a hard time believing it totally. To K-Byte he asked, “Have you at least narrowed down where he might be hidding?”

    “In the loosest definition of the term yes,”he typed in a few commands and put the projection of the map of the city over their heads again. “After tracking his image for the past couple of months and cross referencing it with where that Terrance guy has been in the same time period I got two possible locations.” He leaned back in his chair as all of them looked where the majority of the markers seemed to be concentrating. “If we knew who else was in this little party of theirs I could narrow it down to just the one location, probably. I mean you have to consider their secret meet up spot and hidey hole has to be in an out of the way location.”

    “Which of those two fit that description?”, Carter asked him.

    “Unfortuantely both of them do,” K-Byte answered. He put both locations on the screen. “Ones an old strip mall that hasn't been used in years. The other is a park that hardly anyone visit at night anymore. Well except for these two, and the occasional set of lovers looking to get a little outdoor nookie when they think nobody's watching,”

    “I knew you were a pervert,” Xypher suddenly said. Carter quickly flicked him. “That's it! I instituting a no flicking policy on the next Makai knight I make a contract with.”

    “I dnn't watch thank you very much,” K-Byte told him. “I got some decency after all.”

    “When was the last time he visited either of these sites?”, Jules asked, trying to get things back on track.

    He checked the records on his screen, “Reks visited the park last and Terrance the mall, both last week.”

    “How close are they to each other?”, she went on,

    He gestured to the image above them, “As you can see they're only a couple of blocks apart. So if they're not on opposite ends of the city if that's what you were worried about.”

    Jules asked Carter, “What do you think? They may not be there now but we could hit both sites in one night to look for any clues easy enough.”

    ”We should split up and check both sites,” he answered after a bit. “It'll be faster that way and we need to find him fast, before the others do. If either of us spot him we can call the other to hurry over to that location.”

    “And I can help from my end,” K-Byte told them. “As I said, there's a small delay but I can at least tell you if either of them are in the area.”

    “Well I think that sounds like a plan,” Jules said. “And you better call me if you see him.”

    “I will,” Carter assured her. “Thank you K-Byte.” The man gave a small salute as he turned back around while Carter turned and headed for the door, Jules close behind him.

    “Could have sworn they were already a thing before then,” he said to himself after he was alone. “They seemed close enough when I met them the first time.”

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