Tabula Rasa [Ather City 3] Main Game page 18

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[This isn’t CPR being conducted in post form, trust me.]
[Though a post after 11 days might count as that soonish, hmm.]


That didn’t shed much new light on the case, but he did note the location where the crime had been committed (it was probably in Lucas’ notes, but still) and the fact that whoever the killer was, he had apparently worked out the shot so that it connected just at the precise moment when Ana turned towards Chase. Was it a coincidence, or simply bad shooting?

Right now, it can be either, he remarked to himself, staring thoughtfully as someone walked into the building. The next second, he let out a very low whistle, and straightened in his seat, eying the new arrival. White T-shirt, jeans, thirty odd, rather ugly expression, high forehead, long slender limbs, right eye a startling blue, the other eye indistinguishable from his position. He thought he recognized the profile, and let his eyes stray off as the man took a seat at a table to the right.

More things to worry about. Why was he here? Steaks? Those delicious steaks? Or did he have something else, more dangerous in mind? “I have to admit that the case seems to be rather strange. It seems like whoever the murderer was, he actually wanted to have you on the scene, and I don’t believe that he was trying to pin you as an accomplice.” Or was he? He stared with interest at the girl opposite to him.

“Regardless, there seems to be precious little to go upon.” He wanted her to know that this wasn’t going to be easy. “Still, this seems to me like a murder which has at least some bearing with you, or with Chase’s past. So what I want to know is,” It was going to be very cliche, but it was important to know. “Did Chase have any enemies? For that matter, do YOU have any enemies?”.

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[Spirit is allowing me to bring back my old characters from TWA as NPCs. If everything goes according to plan, their roles in this game should be quite minor. I’d rather that you discuss with me extensively beforehand if you want to interact with them.]

A young man and woman walk along one of London’s quieter streets. They both appear to be of half Caucasian and half Asian descent, though an observant person may be able to tell that the man is half Chinese and the woman half Japanese, if such a distinction is visually apparent. The man is of medium height and lanky build, with jet black hair typically considered long by males, and piercing icy blue eyes. The woman is quite a bit shorter, petite, with fiery red hair and bright amber eyes. Though they look just like any other humans, there is a certain something about them, something barely noticeable by even the most perceptive of people, but something that makes them not quite able to completely fit into any crowd or the world as a whole.

“Argh!” The woman groans in frustration. “Another day with no progress, no leads! It’s been a year already!”

The man gazes at the woman, and sighs. “I will never be able to dissuade you from this task, will I?” Of course it is a rhetorical question; he knows the answer better than anyone else.

“Of course not,” the woman says. Despite the frustration, an intense fire of indomitable will burns within her eyes. “There are others who survived; I know it. And we will find them.”

“Cheryl…” The man says softly. “What are you going to do if we find them?”

The woman, Cheryl, blinks, taken slightly aback. “That… doesn’t matter,” she shakes her head. “We survived. So did they. I don’t want the last vestiges of our universe to fade into the void.”

“We don’t always get what we want, Cheryl,” the man sighs, a pained expression on his face. “Our universe is no more. The True King of Hell has awakened, and plunged the whole of existence into ruin. We are but the last remnants, saved by sheer luck and the generosity of a dying god. What is gone will stay gone, Cheryl; we cannot possibly-”

“Don’t give me your ‘ambition always leads to downfall’ crap again, Wu Shuang,” Cheryl’s anger flares up, glaring heatedly at her companion. “My fate is my own. I’ll do whatever-”

“Do you want to recreate this?!” Wu Shuang’s voice suddenly hardens like ice, as a pulsating sphere of energy appears in his outstretched right hand. It is pitch black like a deep, bottomless abyss, stained and intermingled with the sanguine of freshly spilled blood. An abhorrent stench can be sensed rather than smelled from the energy, a stench that instinctively repulses and alarms any user of magic or some other supernatural power. An instant later the energy fades away, but the stench lingers. “This world is not our own. It is not yet tainted by infernal power; I’d rather that we do not become its corruptors.” With a snap of his fingers Shuang generates a burst of magic, a burst of cold, empty dark blue and black that washes away the infernal energy’s stench.

Cheryl’s heat instantly dies down as though doused by water. “I…” She murmurs, hesitant for the first time.

“So long as we, or our descendants, live, our universe will not be forgotten,” Shuang says, this time in a gentle, reassuring tone. “But we should not bring the taints and conflicts of our universe to this world.”

“Well… We’re already here,” Cheryl sighs. “And we’re going to have children eventually, aren’t we? Our descendants will be mutants, like us. So…”

Shuang closes his eyes, considering it for a moment. “They will mingle with the original inhabitants of this world. The infernal power within them will dilute, and eventually be subsumed by the magic native to this universe. Our stories will remain, but not our horrific powers and the pain that comes with them.”

“But without infernal power to remind them of who their ancestors were, won’t they eventually forget us?” Feeling uncertain, Cheryl reaches out to grasp one of Shuang’s hands in her own.

“Well… They will always have those books written by Nicholas Keyes, won’t they?” Shuang says with a small smile as he gently squeezes Cheryl’s hand.

“But we aren’t even in them!” Cheryl pouts.

“True… But that may be because we never did much to impact the world as a whole,” Shuang smiles and shrugs. “Anyways, if nothing else, we can trust Keyes to ensure that our history is not forgotten. If anyone is capable of surviving through the ages and even the end of a universe, it will be him.”

“Okay…” Cheryl takes a deep breath. “But we’ll still find the survivors. What to do then? I don’t know, and I don’t really care right now. I just want to find them and…”

“Help them blend in?” Shuang smiles wryly, glancing at their clothes and the items they’re carrying. He himself wears a dark blue T-shirt, covered by a large number of white and light blue Chinese characters and various semi-abstract shapes resembling dragons, tigers, and yin-yang symbols. His lower body is more nondescript, clad in simple dark blue jeans, and blue and white sneakers. Cheryl wears a sleeveless white blouse decorated with bright red floral patterns, a short frilly white skirt, and a pair of two-inch heeled red sandals, one of those enchanted pair of shoes that don’t hinder movements at all even if she performs complex acrobatics or martial arts. She also carries a handbag despite Shuang’s ability to store items in his Mindscape, a white one with Hello Kitty printed on its front, and hanging with a miniature figurine of the character Shana from the anime Shakugan no Shana, a fictional character whose resemblance to Cheryl, down to the fiery personality, red hair, katana-wielding, and flame manipulation, is incredibly amusing. The two of them look just like any other young couple from this world, with only the most perceptive of sensors being able to discern their otherworldly origin. “You sure have integrated into this modern society quickly enough.”

“Well, duh,” Cheryl grins. “We’re in the modern world, a world we’re born a couple hundred years too late to see! Of course we gotta live a little!”

“That does not necessarily involve filling our room with…” Shuang sighs and shakes his head.

Cheryl rolls her eyes. “Yeah, I’d rather have anime figures and posters than piles of books on ancient Chinese literature. I can’t even read half of the stuff! And translating it loses something, you know.”

“I can’t listen to half of your cartoons,” Shuang retorts. “And I think we both agree that the voice dubbing is rather… unsatisfactory in most cases.”

“They’re not cartoons!” Cheryl fumes. “Listen, they…”

For a moment, their worries are briefly forgotten, as they relax and enjoy the life in this much more hospitable world in comparison to their previous hellhole of a home. However, that is not to last…

“There are survivors,” the silver-masked man hisses as he tightly grips the armrest of his metallic throne. “But how?!” He breathes, and closes his eyes. “I must find them. Yes… Their power will do nicely.”

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Datalog-00083479-0001 – 14/11/91
Early in the day, we received multiple phone calls regarding the sudden appearance and subsequent mental breakdown of a female in her twenties in the midst of a large mansion near the center of the city. Reports invariably described her as, variations allowing, “lightly tanned with extremely messy brown hair, wearing a trench coat and large hat over yellow and grey clothing, all items heavily damaged, with large numbers of physical abnormalities, including yellow tentacles and knife-like constructs in place of fingernails”. Various reports, from those who apparently saw her face before she collapsed, also report her as having yellow eyes and, in some cases, a single tooth protruding slightly from the top-right of her mouth. Further investigation revealed that the zone of appearance was just outside the estate of local aristocrat Charles Lunara, who was noted as having made initial attempts to help the woman, only to be assailed by beams of light seemingly forming from nothing, assumed to be a result of magical retaliation by the girl in question. We have requested that local police forces attempt to calm and subdue her, with appropriate defenses in place, then bring her to us for psychological evaluation.

Datalog-00083479-0002 – 15/11/91
Police arrived at the Lunara estate yesterday to find the target of acquisition missing. She was quickly discovered to be within the mansion itself, having been somewhat calmed by Charles, and, whilst on the verge of assaulting police sent in to retrieve her, allowed herself to be detained and transported to us without too much trouble. Having been allowed time to calm herself, psychological examination is in progress as of this datalog.

Datalog-00083479-0003 – 20/11/91
For the first few days of examination, the girl, who refers to herself as Solaris, was unresponsive to questioning, giving erratic or unhelpful answers, apparently on purpose, or otherwise refusing to communicate. However, persistent analysis and coercion of information has revealed that she is completely insane. She believes herself to be from another universe entirely, an improbable notion in and of itself, and has seemingly suffered extensive mental trauma after the demise of several of her friends in rapid succession (depression likely), several of which were supposedly caused by the relatively recent destruction of the universe she previously claimed to hail from. When questioned as to how she escaped her universe’s destruction, she claimed ignorance beyond sudden unconsciousness for an extended period of time (possible self-induced amnesia of some form), followed by a sudden return to consciousness as she appeared in the estate. Upon being asked about her friends specifically, she mentioned the names “Lucinda Berelan” and “Jack Scarlet”, then refused to say anything more; subsequent information searches have revealed that no such people have ever existed in public logs (hallucinations/delusions?). Until further notice, we intend to keep her detained, and will attempt to instil therapeutic treatment based on what little information we have attained thus far.

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[Sorry for the delay AN, here it is at last.]


“Honestly, everyone has enemies, whether we know it or not. Chase was the type of person that wouldn’t bother me with his troubles, even though I would have actually liked for him to confide in me when it came to the negative aspects of his life.”
I noticed the newcomer to my left, he was making me feel uneasy for whatever reason.
“Look, I’ve told you everything I know. If you have further questions let’s talk about it another time, right now I’d like to enjoy some food.”
As if on cue, the waitress arrived with our orders. She placed the sandwich in front of me, and I took a sip of water as Ren thanked her. He didn’t seem satisfied with my answer, but I wasn’t going to give away any more details as long as that stranger was present.

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Cheryl Smith walks out of the fancy restaurant, a satisfied smile on her face. “Mhm, that was good!” She grins, and subconsciously licks her lips.

Wu Shuang, a.k.a. Frost, walks beside her, with a slight frown but twinkles of amusement in his eyes. “And expensive,” he shakes his head. “Must you indulge yourself so frequently?”

“Come on, Frosty! A man should treat his girlfriend well, shouldn’t he?” Cheryl grins widely and clings to Frost’s left arm.

“Do remember that the money you spend belongs to us both,” Frost sighs. “You’re spend your own money as well as mine when you visit these restaurants every few days.”

“All right, all right…” Cheryl pouts. “I’ll cook tomorrow, okay? Wait…” She blinks. “We got anything left?”

Frost quickly examines the contents of his Mindscape. “Should be enough for another day or two.”

“Right. So… What now?” Cheryl looks at the city around her. “I’ve had about enough mutant-searching today, and it’s getting pretty late. But no way I’m going to bed this early. So you’ve got anything in mind?”

“Well, there are several options…” Frost considers it briefly. Even after a year, he still hasn’t quite gotten used to this lifestyle, a lifestyle almost utterly devoid of the constant life-threatening dangers and battles of his previous universe. It is relaxing and comforting, but occasionally he feels restless, even somewhat paranoid. “We could go see a movie. Or a walk in the park or some other pleasant location with presumably romantic undertones. Or…” He coughs and makes a poker face.

Cheryl rolls her eyes. “Okay, maybe I can go to bed early today,” she smirks.

“Ahem,” Frost coughs again. But just as he prepares to transport Cheryl and himself to the house built inside his Mindscape, when he hears his phone ring. Sighing, he retrieves the cellphone from the Mindscape with a flash of bluish white light. “Hello?”

“Yo, Frosty!” Frost hears the cheerful voice of a young man in his mid-twenties. “How’re ya doing?”

“Fine, thank you,” Frost responds, with just a bit of added ice in his voice to hint that the man is not calling at a most opportune time. “And can you please not address me by that nickname?” He frowns slightly in annoyance. “It is embarrassing enough when Cheryl does so!”

“Right, right, only your sweet Cherry Pie is allowed to call you that!” Frost can almost see the man grinning on the other side.

“And only I can address her as such!” Frost’s voice becomes slightly harder, and frown deeper, earning him another eyeroll from Cheryl. “Please get to the point, Dubois. I have, ah, urgent matters to attend to.”

“Ah, I see.” Again, Frost can almost see the man’s knowing smile. “Sorry for disturbing ya, but I’m just calling to give ya a heads up. We got news that some of the dudes ya two busted up got pissed, and might be sending goons or hitmen aft-”

Before the man even finishes his sentence, Frost suddenly sees Cheryl’s head exploding into a shower of cherry red fire sparks. At the same time, he feels something slam into the back of his own head with great force, causing the protective energy field around his body to send out sparks and ripples of bluish white light. A quick scan of his energy sensing ability tells him that a bullet has struck him, the bullet of a sniper rifle, heavily enchanted with some magic presumably intended to break through magical defenses. Too bad it turns out to be not effective at all against Frost’s power.

“…I’m afraid you are just very slightly too late, my friend,” says Frost, as he quickly sweeps out with his energy sensing in an attempt to discern the location of his unknown assailants. “Sorry, but I will call you back later.” A blink of light, and the cellphone is dismissed back to his Mindscape.

Glancing at Cheryl, Frost smiles when he sees not a trickle of blood, the end of the stump that is Cheryl’s neck simply melting into flickering flames. An instant later, a multitude of fiery red, burning cherry blossom petals coalesce back into the young woman’s head, an enraged snarl on her face. Turning sharply, she looks directly at the location of their attackers. Without another word she begins to propel herself toward them with a burst of fire.

Looking around him, Frost see that while not many, a number of people are staring agape with shock and horror at the scene that has just transpired right before their eyes. Sighing, he propels himself aloft with an energy burst of his own, following Cheryl as she flies toward the top of an abandoned building.

The building shouldn’t have been abandoned for long, judging from the hints of residual magic that still cling to its rooms, but the only sparks of life force Frost can feel are from the two gray-clad snipers in one of the rooms. They look up in surprise as Cheryl floats in front of them, right outside the window of their hiding room. “Hey, which one of you just shot me in the head?!” She snaps, fuming with anger.

Without another word, the snipers take out their pistols and begin to shoot at Cheryl’s various vital spots. Faint lines of distinct silvery and black energies trail behind the bullets as they streak toward their target, indicating that they are enchanted by at least two different types of magic. The bullets strike Cheryl, but again she does not bleed; they simply drill through her and send fiery sparks flying. The holes they leave disappear without a trace an instant later.

“Hey, that stings!” Cheryl yells. Before the two assassins can shoot again, she lobs a fireball twice her size at them. It explodes loudly on hit, producing waves of nigh unbearable heat and enlarging the window opening to several times its original size. With a wave of her hands the smoke clears instantly, to reveal both mages surrounded by a faint reddish glow but otherwise relatively unharmed. She frowns in annoyance. “Aura of fire resistance? Gimme a break!”

The two gunmen again do not utter a word, and begin shooting at Cheryl again, this time using assault rifles. The bullets again glow with the dual enchantments of silver and black, painting a stream of light in the air as they rush toward their target. Groaning in annoyance, Cheryl’s entire body suddenly bursts into flames, as a wave of even more intense heat washes over the assassins and causes them to falter. Ever part of her is now made of bright, cherry red fire, with the exception of her eyes that burn brilliantly yellowish amber. The bullets, despite their anti-magic enchantments, pass through Cheryl’s form while doing very little damage to herself.

“Hot, isn’t she?” Frost smiles as he floats toward Cheryl from behind, casually placing an arm on her right shoulder as though the heat radiating from her fiery form is entirely negligible. A number of bullets strike him, but simply bounce off harmlessly just like before, doing little other than sending off bluish white ripples and sparks.

“Come on Frosty, that joke’s seriously getting old!” Cheryl rolls her eyes. “All right, who the hell sent you goons after us?!” She fixes the gunmen with a heated glare.

“How?!” One of the gunmen stares at Cheryl incredulously, then back at his partner. “Our enchanted bullets should’ve killed them! But-”

“Ha! You think those puny enchantments of yours can hurt me?!” Cheryl laughs. “All right, if you aren’t gonna tell me yourselves…”

Her whole body suddenly explodes into thousands of fiery red burning cherry blossom petals, swirling and whirling in a maelstrom of flames as they rush to engulf the two assassins. The gunmen cry out in surprise and fear as the auras that grants them immunity to Fire magic is quickly worn down by Cheryl’s relentless attacks, much more quickly than they can replenish them. An instant before the auras of fire resistance disappear entirely, Cheryl quickly disengages herself from the gunmen so they will not be burned to a crisp. The burning petals gather back into a feminine form of fire.

“Well?” Frost asks her expectantly.

“They don’t know anything,” she says with an annoyed look. “At least, whoever hired them didn’t tell them much more than what we’re like and where we frequently hang out.”

Frost sighs. He prefers to not make too much of an impact on a universe that he does not belong, but doing so is impossible when he has to eat and live. So for the year that they’ve been here, Cheryl and he are putting their abilities to good use, Cheryl’s clairvoyance and his energy sensing. Methods of concealment from magical detections have little effect on such non-magical, mutant powers, and as such the two of them make exceptional private investigators; there are few things they cannot find. As a result, they’ve made quite a few enemies in criminal organizations around the world, one of which must have sent these two assassins after them. “So what do you want to do with them then?” He asks.

“Well… Those two did kill a lot of good people throughout their career…” Cheryl’s lips twist into a snarl. The assassins’ eyes widen; practically anyone can feel the massive amount of magical energy that is being gathered in her deceptively small body. “Kunrinsha yo! Chiniku no kamen, banshou, habataki, hito no na o kansu mono yo!” She begins to yell out in Japanese, an orb of crimson fire gathering in her palms.
[“Ye lord! Mask of blood and flesh, all creation, flutter of wings, ye who bears the name of Man!”]

“…what are you doing?” Frost frowns. “I thought such reijutsu chants are no longer necessary for you?” He blinks. “Wait. That isn’t even a reijutsu chant, is it?” If he remembers correctly, the words Cheryl is chanting right now is from Bleach, one of the many manga series that she reads on a regular basis and one that Frost actually likes, though he can’t quite fathom why the artist would name a series about superpowered sword-fighting ghosts after a laundry detergent.

“I’m being unnecessarily dramatic!” Cheryl yells back, then continues with her chant. The two assassins are staring at her in fear, knowing that nothing they do will be able to hurt this incredibly powerful mage. Instincts tell them to flee, but logic tells them that any sudden movements may cause Cheryl to immediately lash out with her attacks. “Shounetsu to souran, umihedate sakamaki minami e to ho o susume yo! Hadou #31: Shakkahou!
[“Inferno and pandemonium, the sea barrier surges, march on to the south! Destructive Art #31: Red Fire Cannon!”]

As she finishes chanting, Cheryl sends the now-massive sphere of red flames hurtling toward the two assassins, who are once again hastily covering themselves in fire-resistant auras. The sphere explodes into a huge horizontal pillar of fire, expanding and blasting into the building and out through the opposite side, tearing a large hole in the entire structure. The building’s roof collapses, burying everything on its top floor in a pile of rubble.

“…was that necessary?” Frost says with a frown, examining the damage Cheryl has done.

“Hey, this building is gonna get demolished soon anyways!” Cheryl says indignantly. “I’ve just helped them, so they should pay me!”

“Honestly, I have lost count the number of times you used your clairvoyance as an excuse to wreak havoc for fun and profit,” Frost sighs. “And our assailants?” A quick scan of their life force shows that they are alive and not suffering from any serious wounds.

“Hey, I wasn’t aiming for them,” Cheryl responds defensively. “Just wanted to teach them a lesson, that’s all.”

“And if we get arrested again…” Frost shakes his head, as the two of them begin to descend toward the ground. They can always simply teleport into Frost’s Mindscape… But rather than resisting arrest, he would rather attempt to explain the situation to any police or authority figure. They can always examine his memories if necessary, can’t they?

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Eve Walker

Hmm… Arcelia’s business with Michelle and Cyrix is taking quite a while, isn’t it? It’s getting late. Perhaps I should return to the dorm…

I suddenly hear a loud explosion somewhere to my right. Turning around, I see a massive pillar of fire jutting from the wall of the top floor of an abandoned building; the building of the roof quickly collapses under the immensely powerful fire magic.

I frown. Should I head toward that location, or should I not? Such occurrences are usually best left for the police… But I may be able to detain the perpetrator until the police arrives. However, whoever created that explosion must be very strong indeed; I must be careful. Turning myself into a stream of water vapor, I quickly begin to head for the abandoned building.

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[Okay, seriously, what the fuck?! Why is everything I post using my JohnSolaris account automatically removed?! I’ve never been silenced before, so is that what being silenced is like? And I haven’t even logged in to that account in months!]

[Well I can see all three.]

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Originally posted by ocelot:
[Okay, seriously, what the fuck?! Why is everything I post using my JohnSolaris account automatically removed?! I’ve never been silenced before, so is that what being silenced is like? And I haven’t even logged in to that account in months!]

[Well I can see all three.]

[Same here. For reference, you’ll be notified on your account if it ever gets silenced. Anywho…]

London, England. A girl in her mid-twenties, or what appears to be as such, walks down a relatively unimportant street, a light frown seemingly etched upon her face. The girl in question has an extreme physical similarity to a particular character from a popular anime created five or six years ago, right down to the amber eyes and sharp tooth that threatens to protrude from below one lip; as a matter of fact, she has already been asked if she is “cosplaying” as that particular character twice in the past hour. The word in question means nothing to her – in fact, the reason she has only been asked twice during the past hour is because she has only ever been asked twice in her life.
For the past twenty two years, she has been in a psychiatric hospital. The less civil inhabitants of the planet would likely refer to it as an insane asylum. She was officially released from its grip just an hour ago, although weekly appointments with a doctor in the place are still scheduled for the next year or so, both to check on her progress and make sure she isn’t getting worse. An achievement for her, one might think; alas, not so much, for as several years of isolation, followed by several more years of increasingly less sporadic reintroduction to the outside world will tell you, she does not have much skill in work to speak of, beyond the basics of what she has been taught in the hospital itself.
For the first twenty years of her life, her world taught her to kill in self-defense, rather than to work for a living. To be fair, her unique abilities mean that a lack of work would not inconvenience her for some time; however, nothing can subsist on stored energy forever. With that in mind, she has been looking for work. Work, after all, is a prerequisite to a stable life. Unfortunately, her searches have so far been somewhat… fruitless.
The massive pillar of red fire that rises from somewhere relatively nearby, followed shortly by a shock wave of sound that rings her eardrums even from this distance, does not help her allay her thoughts either. On the contrary, all it does is bring a long-since repressed instinct of heroism stirring up from the depths of her mind. The same instinct is rapidly quelled; however, her intellectual curiosity has also been piqued, and with nothing better to do at this time…
‘…why not?’ the girl asks herself silently. It may be a while before anything as flagrant comes along again, she reasons, and after twenty two years of effective imprisonment, she could do with some form of intrigue in her life. With that in mind, she slowly and calmly begins her walk towards the slowly-dissipating column of flame.

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“…are we seriously going to wait for the police to come?!” Cheryl looks incredulously at Frost. “I mean, come on. We have waaaaaay better things to do with our time!”

“Hmm, seems like it’s a little too late to say that now,” Frost shrugs. “Someone is coming. A strong mage, so I suggest that you prepare yourself. Oh, and please do try not to attack unless absolutely necessary.”

“Hmph,” Cheryl huffs and crosses her arms.

Moments later, the two of them observe a stream of water vapor, glowing faintly blue, coalescing quickly into the shape of a human being. A young woman, barely more than a girl, clad in an elegant black dress and…

“Evangeline Wright?!”

Few things can shake Frost so utterly and unexpectedly, but seeing standing before him someone who is supposed to be long dead and gone is certainly one of such few things. She appears to be quite a bit younger than the real Evangeline Wright, but the resemblance is unmistakable. Long, wavy, jet black hair, deep blue eyes, fair skin, black dress, and an aura of cool elegance apparent even at this young age, this young woman is the spitting image of Evangeline Wright in her early adulthood. And the feeling of her magic, especially the rare and difficult Dissolution spell… This cannot be a mere uncanny coincidence. However, Frost has no immediately available methods of ascertaining this woman’s nature. He does not sense a trace of infernal energy within her, but Evangeline herself was never a mutant. His mind begins racing.

“Hey, what-” Cheryl begins to ask. But she is interrupted by the sudden appearance of more than a dozen sharp, jagged icicles, each emanating a blue glow and frigid coldness. The young woman who resembles Evangeline is holding out both hands, fingers bent in a claw-like fashion, evidently readying the icicles to strike at any moment.

“What did you say?!” The woman’s eyes are wide, face slightly paler than it had been a moment ago. “What do you know about that name?!”

Frost suppresses a groan. Before he can put a palm to his face, he already feels the heat as Cheryl explodes in a burst of literally fiery anger.

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Eve Walker

It does not take me long to locate the perpetrators of that explosion a moment ago. There are two of them, a man and a woman, both appearing to be my age or slightly older, and of partially eastern Asian heritage. There is nothing that distinguishes them from any other citizens of London, but I cannot help but to feel that there is something… different about them, something that I cannot quite discern.

Though I do not know them, the man stares at me with a look of shock and… recognition, somehow. Then he utters that name. Evangeline Wright, the name that appeared in the dream that was not a dream. How…?!

Without even thinking, I spread my arms wide to conjure more than a dozen icicles aimed at the two of them. “What did you say?!” I demand, something akin to panic threading its way into my thoughts. “What do you know about that name?!”

In retrospect, that was a much regrettable action.

A wave of intense searing heat explodes from the woman, almost instantly melting all of my icicles and causing them to dissipate back into the raw mana from which they have been conjured. Her entire body is aflame, a humanoid form composed of nothing but radiant, cherry red fire. No… Another user of Dissolution?! Her eyes, twin orbs of burning amber, glare into mine, full of the anger that people may feel at being threatened with a large number of sharp, pointy objects.

“The hell’s your problem?!” The woman yells. “You with those two assassins from earlier?!” Without waiting for me to answer, she tosses at me a fireball large enough to swallow me whole. The heat is almost unbearable. When I transform myself into water, I am instantly vaporized, and might have been even turned into plasma had I not moved out of the fireball’s path in time.

But I am not a foe to be underestimated. I promptly turn myself into supercooled water, remaining icily cold even in this scorching heat; it is not easy but far from undoable. Rather than solid ice which will do little damage to an incorporeal form, I dash to her side and unleash several blasts of pure cold energy at the woman, the bolts of icy blue light streaking toward her with devastating speed and should be quite sufficient to damage even her Dissolution form.

She simply dodges the bolts with almost casual ease, as though she has foreseen them before I even made the attacks. What?! Is that merely a fluke, a stroke of luck, or…

Regardless, I am not given an opportunity to ponder, as the woman quickly rushes at me with a katana of solid flames in her right hand. Mentally bracing myself against the heat front that accompanies her arrival, I quickly form multiple blades of pressurized water from strands of my hair, each infused with large amounts of cold energy as to be deadly against a creature made of fire. But the woman again dodges each blow perfectly as if she can foresee them coming, with a series of smooth, graceful movements that hint at years of training of one form of martial arts or another. At the same time she lashes out with her fiery blade with a quick, precise strike, stabbing with unimaginable accuracy through a very small opening between my hair blades and plunging the sword straight into the area my heart would be had I remained in human form.

A wave of literally searing pain spreads throughout my body. Panic surging through me, I quickly dash backwards to avoid the woman’s blade. But before I had even begun moving, her body breaks apart into thousands of burning cherry blossom petals, spreading outwards then closing in to form a sphere of fire that traps me inside. Cursing wordlessly, I condense my own body into an incredibly concentrated speck of Water magic, and dashes toward the sphere’s edge, but my opponent seems to perfectly anticipate my move again and concentrates her own power just at the spot from where I am attempting to break through. We collide, and for a moment my entire world explodes into pure agony.

The moment passes, and I manage to escape and recompose myself. But I am more shaken than I have ever been in my entire life. This woman… She is unlike any opponent I have ever fought before. Now I am sure that she must possess some form of precognition that allows her to predict my actions with alarming accuracy. That is the only possible explanation, as I felt no intrusions in my mind; she could not have been reading my thoughts. But precognition and clairvoyance still belong to the Mental school of of magic, whereas this woman is very obviously an Elemental mage. So how… And then there is the matter of the man that accompanies her, who seems not affected at all by the intense heat the woman emits. I can feel power from him, but it is so well-hidden that it is all but impossible for me to discern how powerful or even what kind of mage he is. This situation… does not look well for me.

It seems that I must use that spell then. Judging from the amount of energy I have remaining, using that spell will burn me out in less than a minute, but I have few choices remaining. I quickly begin to conjure energies of the various other elements I have basic control over, and thread them into my watery form.

The oppressive heat around me suddenly disappears, completely, in little more than an instant. Startled, I blink a few times, to see that the woman’s fiery body is now darkened to a smouldering black and red. Her eyes are now the color of blood, the sanguine orbs more than a little disturbing as they stare into mine. She slowly smiles.

“You know, I can keep this up for hours,” the woman purrs, gesturing toward her body of fire, her tone silky smooth and seemingly belonging to almost a different person. “But for you…” She points a finger at me, tracing a languid, sinuous curve in the air, leaving behind a trail of black and red plasma that dissipates much more slowly than it should. Her smile widens, showing hints of not teeth but flames that leak from her slightly parted lips. “Are you sure that you can defeat us both within one minute?”

I am suddenly afraid. This dark fire… It’s unlike any Fire magic I’ve ever seen before. It emits no heat or light, but I am sure that only hides its true power and danger; my instincts practically scream at me to not touch any of those flames. Even with that spell of mine, suddenly I am not so sure…

“Now, now, ladies. There really is no need to try to kill each other,” the man suddenly speaks. He seems to have recovered from his previous state of apparent shock. However, I notice that even he is careful to not touch the woman’s black and red fire. “Why can’t we resolve this conflict in a diplomatic manner, hmm?”

“In case you’ve forgotten, Frosty, she did aim a rather large number of sharp and pointy objects at us not long ago,” the woman replies smoothly.

“But she would have attacked us immediately if she is with those two assassins earlier, don’t you think?” The man sighs. “We really should not jump to conclusions, Cherry Pie.”

“Hmm… I suppose you have a point.” The dark flames recede, revealing the woman back in her human form, but her eyes are still red as blood. “Why then, pray tell, have you aimed a rather large number of sharp and pointy objects at us not long ago?” She turns her unsettling gaze upon me once more.

Unconsciously, I let out a breath of relief as I return to human form as well. “Tell me what you know about the name ‘Evangeline Wright’,” I say in an icy tone, unflinchingly returning the woman’s stare, careful to not show any hints of weakness.

[No, Cheryl’s black and red fire is still just Fire magic; it doesn’t contain any infernal energy.]

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[Let’s see if this bump can revive the game.]

“Now, just what-” Cheryl begins. But before she can continue, Frost quickly grasps one of her hands with his own.

Remember Keyes’s books? Frost mentally speaks, his will carried by life energy into Cheryl’s mind.

Ah… Yes, Cheryl slowly smiles. Lucius Ferre’s partner, she says, emphasizing the last word with a suggestive lilt. I see now. This girl here is a spitting image of her, isn’t she?

Yes… Frost frowns. She does seem to be just another inhabitant of this world. But judging from her reaction, the name of Evangeline Wright whom she resembles does mean something to her. Hmm… He makes up his mind after a moment. “Personally, not all that much,” Frost says with a neutral tone. “What does the name mean to you?”

The young woman flinches slightly, and hesitates.

“You honestly think we’re willing to give you information without knowing why you want it?” Cheryl tilts her head a little, and smiles.

“Fine. If you must know…” The girl sighs. “The name ‘Evangeline Wright’ appeared in a dream of mine, a particularly vivid dream whose importance I believe to be more than trivial. And now, hearing it from your mouth…”

Frost’s mind quickly races through a few different thoughts and memories. Even from the brief time he served Novus Ordo Seclorum, and the single time he met Evangeline in person, Frost was sure merely from the feeling of her aura that she was the most benign in the organization’s inner circle. Her aura was tainted, yes, but there was also hints of reluctance and determination, as though she truly believed that what she was doing was necessary. And now… The taint is entirely absent from this young woman’s aura. Hence, if she is made aware of the atrocities committed by Novus Ordo Seclorum, perhaps she will be deterred from the path Evangeline Wright had taken.

“As I said, we do not know all that much,” Frost says calmly. “The best source of information regarding this matter, I believe, is The Old Guards, a series of, ah, autobiographies by one Nicholas Keyes. Those books will tell you far more than we will ever be able to.”

“Is that so?” The young woman frowns, apparently mulling over Frost’s words. “Thank you, strangers… I suppose. Also… That pillar of fire from earlier?”

“Oh, that…” Cheryl lets out an amused smile. “Don’t concern yourself with it, dear; the building was scheduled for demolition anyways. Now then, if you’ll excuse us…” She links arms with Frost. “We have more important things to do at the moment.”

“I see… Goodbye, then.”

As she turns around to leave, Frost sighs in relief. Seems that after suffering near-defeat at Cheryl’s hands, the woman has decided to not pursue things further. “Now then… Will you please stop drawing power from your subconsciousness?” He says as he turns his attention to Cheryl. “It’s slightly… disturbing.”

“Come on, Frosty…” Cheryl smiles seductively, and whispers in a silky voice. “You know you like it when I do this.” A hand of hers begins to stroke Frost’s chest, its crimson manicured nails tracing a sensuous curve. “You love it when I do this.”

“Please, Cherry Pie,” Frost fixes her with a stern gaze.

“…fine,” she pouts, eyes quickly turning from sanguine to their normal yellowish amber. “Now then, we aren’t seriously still gonna wait for the police, right? We have more important things to do at the moment, you know.”

“…yes,” Frost coughs. “But just in case…”

He closes his eyes, and sweeps out with his energy-sensing ability. Not two seconds after that, his entire body nearly freezes in shock, and his heart skips a beat. Turning sharply, his eyes locks onto a yellow-eyed, brown-haired woman in her mid-twenties, somewhere on the other side of the street.

“What are you…?” Cheryl asks, following Frost’s gaze, eyes widening slightly. “Hey, is she cosplaying as Kusakabe Misao or something? You know, from Lucky Star?”

But Frost doesn’t seem to hear her. Face grave and strained, he flash-steps toward the woman, appearing nigh instantly in front of her with a burst of speed. “How long have you been watching, mutant?!”

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The past few minutes have been interesting for the girl. Catching up to the fight between the two female figures just as the one side was impaled by a flaming blade created by the other; observing as the impaled was trapped in a sphere of flames, then subsequently escaped; and finally, the flaming woman’s transformation into black and red fire, and the male party’s intervention to calm the fight down, and a short conversation between the group. Very interesting indeed; the girl’s intellectual curiosity has certainly provided a good show.
And then, of course, the male has to look directly at the girl. What is he-
‘How long have you been watching, mutant?!’ .
The sudden movement of the man to such a short distance from the girl in such a short time, combined with the relatively high volume of his voice, shocks her, forcing her back several steps. Additionally, his outburst has drawn the attentions of pretty much the entirety of whatever part of the crowd has not yet walked off after the fight. An extremely awkward situation for the girl to be in. The murmurs of the crowd near the epicenter of said confrontation indicate a large number of things – disapproval at the man’s targeting of a random stranger, questioning with regards to why he targeted her, confusion with regards to his use of the term “mutant”, and at least one person asking whether she’s cosplaying as… someone or other. Probably the same person as before.
The conflicting inputs are not helping the girl formulate an answer.
‘I… I don’t… what?’ .

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[I say that if the GM doesn’t care, neither should I.]

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[Oh thank god this is still alive I will post later I swear I’m sorry for neglecting this game is my character dead?]

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[If Spirit was here and consequential with laws, we’d all be. As it is, we’re merely forgotten.]

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[Some time ago Spirit said he did away with that rule because he doesn’t have enough players.]

[And judging by the fact that he asked BC and I to revive the game, I’d guess that he still cares.]

“Hey, wait, what?!” Cheryl exclaims. “Is she…?!” Flashes of red fire briefly burst into existence beneath her feet, and an instant later she too is now beside Frost and the other woman.

“Don’t feign ignorance with me, mutant,” Frost says with a slight growl, involuntarily reaching out to grasp the front of the woman’s shirt. His hand is trembling, quite uncharacteristic of his usual cool, collected demeanor… But now is hardly the time for calmness. “Our world may be gone, but we still retain sparks of infernal power within our flesh and blood. Now answer my question, mutant; how long have you been watching us?!

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The instant the man’s hand grasps her shirt, her mind is wrenched back into the past. Involuntarily, the faces of two figures from her past overlay themselves upon the real deal.
One hallucination is of cruel aspect – shoulder-length black hair, one eye stained red with what seems to be blood, a maddened snarl upon his face…
The other can only be described as “evil”.
no no no no not again please not again no no ‘No no NO-’
She flails, but stops herself from striking her captor immediately, instead wriggling free of his grasp, and silencing herself at the same time. The false faces she sees begin to fade, and she calms herself down as she regains a hold on reality.
Only then does she register what the man said to her.
…no. She doesn’t want to experience either situation again. Not here, and certainly not so soon after the end.
‘…I don’t know what you’re talking about. Please, leave me alone.’ .
She turns, and begins walking away as calmly as possible.

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“Uh, Frosty?” Cheryl gives Frost a look. Her eyes are wide, full of excitement and anticipation, but with hints of disbelief and doubt as well. “Is she really…?”

“No doubt about it,” Frost responds gravely. “The taint of infernal energy within her is as obvious as an ink drop in snow. But she seems to be in denial regarding the situation.” He grits his teeth and curses under his breath.

“B-But…” Cheryl stammers. “We’ve been looking for other survivors for over a year! We can’t let her go now! Please, do something!” She practically pleads.

Closing his eyes, Frost quickly tries to imagine ways with which he can cause the woman to abandon her delusion. Moments later, he makes a decision, and holds out his right hand. A cool blue glow emanates from the center of his palm.

An instant later, a Chinese longsword rests in his hand.

It is not obvious from the first glance just exactly what material the sword’s blade is made of. Its main body is dark, nearly black, crafted from glass-like material that also exhibits hints of semi-crystalline patterns. It is pitch black in its core, but quickly becomes translucent as one travels outwards; veins of silvery white and other iridescent colors can be seen beneath the material’s murky depths. The blade’s edge is silvery gray, gleaming with unnatural sharpness. Its hilt and guard are seemingly made from dark gray metal, decorated with simple yet elegant abstract patterns. The sword pulses with energy, an energy that appears almost magical but not quite.

“Before you so hastily dismiss your own past as fantasy, miss,” Frost says as he flash-steps toward the woman again, this time using “miss” as “mutant” may be derogatory, “please take a look at this.” The entire sword glows faintly blue, and floats off Frost’s palm, offering itself hilt first to the woman. “You may not believe us, but will you disbelieve a concrete, physical remnant of our ruined homeworld?”

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Interrupted from her attempts to walk away, the girl observes coolly as the man, who seems to recognise the universe from whence she originated, brings out a sword of varying colours and shades, with a generally chaotic-looking design. She is… intrigued. If this really is a remnant of her old universe, then maybe… just maybe…
She reaches out and takes the hilt of the weapon in her hand. It initially shifts into a glove of sorts, with elongated claws at the ends of the fingers similar to her own; shortly afterwards, however, it reverts to being a weapon she had previously acquainted herself with – a bejewelled longsword, roughly three and a half meters in length, which she automatically grips with two of her tentacles to steady the blade, extending from her back where before they remained out of sight in order.
And then the weapon shifts to black and blood red.
With a flare of intense pain, her vision fragments into segments – parts of it showing the world as it is; others revealing a landscape long-since destroyed, flooded with leering faces on mutated forms.
Her mind betrays her.
With a final lurch away from the man who offered her the blade that did this to her – that, even now, is extending blood red veins of some cyber-organic substance into the limbs holding the blade – she screams a scream of agony, of madness.
Of hatred.
Suddenly, her eyes flicker, pupils and irises changing from black circles overlaid on yellow to snake-like slits upon a deep orange, inlaid with the same blood-red veins as are extending up her arm and her tentacles, the latter of which are themselves steadily turning orange with the advance of the veins. Turning, she prepares to slash at the nearby observers of such an odd event.

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“No!” Cheryl suddenly cries out, an instant before the transformed sword flashes black and red. But by that time, it is too late.

“What?!” Frost shouts, eyes wide in shock and a hint of fear. “It still…?!” But he is not given the opportunity to ponder further when the woman screams and slashes down with her now-massive sword at some random passersby. Moving swiftly, an elegant Chinese sword made entirely out of some faintly glowing bluish white ice-like material appears in Frost’s right hand as he blocks the blow. For an instant. The infernal blade’s huge weight quickly presses down on him, its unfathomably sharp edge already causing his own sword to crack like ice.

“Hey! Stop that!” Cheryl shouts fiercely as she hurls a globe of concentrated, superheated red fire, at the woman’s hands and extra mutant appendages that are holding the blade. Flesh hisses and sizzles, releasing a foul-smelling stench, but they rapidly regenerate until the burns are all but entirely gone a moment later. But that one moment is enough for Frost to release a wave of bluish white force that pushes the woman away, allowing him to escape.

Under his breath Frost mutters some curse words in Chinese. A hand moving rapidly, he slings a crackling bolt of blue lightning that sinks into the woman’s body, eliciting little more than a slight spasm. Just as she’s momentarily paralyzed, a large number of glowing icy chains snake out from both of Frost’s hands, wrapping tightly around the woman; one such chain also attachs itself to Cheryl. “Hah!” Frost shouts, just as a burst of brilliant blue and white energy consumes all three of them.

An instant later they materialize in a martial arts dojo of sorts, decorated by a bizarre mixture of traditional Chinese paintings and posters of various shounen anime characters in martial arts gear. It has no windows, but is illuminated by a soft white glow that fills the entire room. The woman screams some more and thrashes around, breaking more than half of the chains in an instant, while beams of blood red light shoot forth from her in random directions to sear holes into the wall.

“Argh!” Cheryl growls. “Not our house, Frosty! Dammit, we-”

“I know!” Frost shouts back. “Now out with you!” He no longer bothers with the chains as the woman tears herself completely free. The same brilliant blue and white floods the entire room, and they are gone again.

When they rematerialize out in the physical world again, it is in the depths of Aokigahara, Japan, a location that is, Frost desperately hopes, free of any bystanders that may be caught up in the battle that will surely ensue. As soon as the teleportation completes, Frost and Cheryl fly away from the raging woman before they can be struck by her sword and tentacles. Icy blue and white armor appears to coat Frost’s body, while Cheryl shifts into flames; both are grave and fearful as they witness the demonic sword that plagued them more than a year ago return with its vengeance.

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Despite her relatively harsh upbringing, the girl does not have much fighting experience. It doesn’t help that she has been hospitalised for more than twenty years immediately prior to this engagement, and is currently half-mad with negative emotion; as such, her response to the sudden flurry of attacks and tactics is practically non-existent. Her freedom from the chains is swiftly followed by a confused look around at the current environs.
A blood-curdling scream is the catalyst for her hallucinations to multiply exponentially. The landscape darkens into a wasteland of twisted trees that she surely has not experienced in any universe. Memories of a flattened pile of gore spring into being – gore only partially contained within the clothes of the target of her uncontrolled lust. Mutated forms that are not there invade her sight, seeking to tear bone out of regenerating flesh. Unbidden, blood spills from her eyes and begins to pour down her cheeks like a reddened waterfall as her hair darkens to an almost-black shade of brown, and her remaining tentacles turn the same shade of orange as her eyes, whilst the metallic-yet-organic veins continue their progress across her body.
kill them
The sudden intrusion of a voice not her own brings her hands to her head, still screaming.
they did this to you
Swordsmanship maneuvers that she has not been taught intrude into her damaged psyche as a red haze enters her vision, and a wholly bestial intelligence overtakes her.
Still crying blood, she stands hunched as the transformation completes itself. The veins now cover her entire body save for her facial features, turning her tentacles a particularly hideous shade of dark orange even compared to the orange colour they held before, and leaving the sclera of her eyes as black as her snake-like pupils. Pulsing lightly with her accelerated heartbeat, red light begins to shine from the veins, leaving her physical form and slowly growing snarl a partial silhouette.
Then the area around her turns dark.
Half a second later, a line of red light blasts its way out of the end of her sword as she slashes, the darkness temporarily evaporating with the attack, and the beam passing at the speed of light towards where her two opponents-
…were hovering. Enraged, the girl fires similar beams from the ends of her tentacles and spins them wildly, quickly forming an ever-shifting, yet somewhat sparse matrix of blood red lasers that rip apart the forest for more than a kilometer around.

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“W-Wow…” Cheryl says with disbelief and fear as she takes in the woman’s rampaging visage. “Was it… Was it this bad when I…?” She asks in a shuddering voice just as she dodges another beam of red light.

“Afraid so,” says Frost gravely, just as two beams strike the surface of his icy armor. Teeth gritted, he wills the armor to turn smooth and reflective, bouncing away the bulk of the lasers’ destructive power. “That infernal energy…”

“Is it over nine thousand?” Cheryl remarks offhandedly, dodging a beam that is reflecting off Frost.

“What?” Frost blinks.

“…never mind,” Cheryl shakes her head. Two crossing laser beams come at her in a scissoring motion, forcing her to momentarily detach the lower half of her body from the upper to avoid being hit. “Dammit,” she hisses. “Say what you want, but we gotta go all-out on this one!” Her amber eyes suddenly turn sanguine, an instant before the entirety of her cherry red fire body darkens to red and black. A katana made of solid flames of the same color appears in her right hand.

Grudgingly Frost nods. Like Cheryl, his armor rapidly darkens to a pitch black and dark blue, exuding a deathly chill, while remaining smooth and reflective. When the woman’s red beams strike him, what portions of them that aren’t reflected are consumed by the all-devouring emptiness of the Death magic that now infuses the armor. At the same time, Frost summons the Guardian of his Mindscape, a Chinese sword crafted from what looks like glowing blue ice similar to the one manifested by him earlier. However, the edges of this sword are pitch black, and its body is inscribed with myriads of black and dark blue runes. Carved into the middle of the sword, running down its entire length, is a single thin strip that glows a hellish red, the exact same red as the infernal power that constantly floods from the mutant woman before him.

“That’s not going all out, you know,” Cheryl smirks. Moving in a series of sinuous, fluid motions, weaving through the woman’s net of crisscrossed lasers, she launches several streams of compressed dark plasma, the heatless fire drilling holes in the woman’s tentacles that hold the sword. But they quickly heal. “She regenerates, Frosty,” Cheryl says, “so don’t worry about roughing her up too much.”

“If it must be done…” Frost mutters under his breath. Both times when a demon sword-possessed Cheryl was dealt with, she was dealt with by fighting her to exhaustion. But since this mutant woman has regenerative powers, it may be quicker and more advantageous to simply cut off her limbs that hold the sword and thus sever the sword’s influence. Flash-stepping to the woman’s left, Frost slashes downward with his sword, unleashing a potent wave of blue and black energy that cleanly severs the tentacles and hand that grips the demonic sword’s handle. But a mere instant later, red veins of organic metal extend from the sword and the broken stumps, attaching the two back together; the woman’s regeneration then takes care of the rest. He curses; this is going to be a long fight.