29 Jan 20xx - Hunting & the Hunted
It had been a wonderful night last night, and not just for Reiko. Being able to get away from everything with Ben and visit Milwaukee for the first time had been needed, for sure. She had gone to watch him fight, cheer him on, and place her bet. Well. The knockout had been in the fourth round...out of ten. Seeing Ben wear the shield she had made for him on his back meant so much to Reiko that she hadn't been able to resist using her phone to take a picture.
As for now...she missed him. She would be lying if she didn't. Reiko didn't want to think about the man actually taking time away for some time and sighed as she washed the dishes in the cabin. Then, finally finished, she walked to the door and slid her boots on. Her coat was next, as was her small purse, and out the door she went for a walk. Where to? She had no idea.
She was venturing into the woods. The woman hasn't had a chance to give her most unpredictable ability a workout in quite some time now, a good several years. There was a part of the woods that was nearest the river, which was where she was going to do her workout. Training, something she felt she needed. Some targets were going to be formed now...or, targets that would be formed out of existing objects. Trees.
Raising her hands to the level of her head, she crossed them in front of her face. Her fingers wrapped around the midsection of her lower arms, and they slowly started to slide down towards her hands and fingers. "Metronome...
" the Albino whispered. She was going to activate the ability in both of her arms. A pair of fifteen-inch blades. Perfect.
Okay, that wasn't her stomach growling. The woman had just eaten. Looking up revealled the presence of two gargoyles as they flew down from the sky. Well...shit. As long as she had her Metronome active, she had to use it. Her other abilities couldn't be used in unison with it. "Look who's come to play...
" one of the gargoyles said.
The woman was now scowling. Good thing she'd remembered to put her hair up before washing the dishes earlier! "Great. I was looking for a workout,
" Reiko sneered.
As the woman was prepared to fight off these gargoyles, she heard the voice at a little bit above a whisper. It sounded like it had come from several metres at her six o'clock; however, she couldn't turn around. Doing so would mean losing focus of her target, and that wasn't something she could afford to do right now. It was clear from their version of a greeting just what their intent was, just as it was clear what her intent was by her response. Training? What training, and with what logs for targets?
This, she knew, was going to have an ugly ending. Since she could no longer use her hands to reach into her pocket, and telekinesis was in no way possible either, she had to use her elbow to retrieve her sunglasses from her right pocket. Forget that!
It would only reveal a flaw that could be easily exploited and used against her. She instead tossed that idea for now. "All right...you want some blood? Try and get it, you bloody bastards!
" With that, the first charge was made.
There was a sound of metal meeting with steel claws as the swords that Reiko's lower arms and hands had transformed to made contact with the first gargoyle. But, the second one wasn't simply going to stand by and watch as the first took his turn. Coming from behind the woman, gargoyle number two lunged for her back. Its efforts were rewarded with a harsh kick to its gut from Reiko's right boot. It groaned before being sent flying backwards into a tree that was several feet away. The Albino's physical strength really was more than meets the eye.
Now to focus on the one in front of her whilst the other one was stunned. Releasing one sword-for-a-hand from the entanglement of steel in the form of swords and claws, she drove her left sword deep into the gargoyle's gut. Unfortunately, she knew that alone wouldn't take it out, and she took a good hit to the side of her head in response. The blow sent her staggering backwards, causing her to try shaking it off with a shake of her head.
" A second hit had quickly followed the first, and Reiko was staggering backwards some more. She managed to bring the stagger to an end by standing her ground, that being in the form of her feet digging into the ground. Good timing, too - the second gargoyle had managed to recover enough to regain his bearings and rise to his feet once more. By that time, Reiko had also recovered and was lunging for the first one again. This time, her swords-for-arms weren't crossed in front of her.
time, her arms were at her sides. It may seem like a mistake of a strategy on the woman's behalf, but she knew exactly what she was doing. Reiko was utilising a strategy of deception that she'd used multiple times in the past. When the gargoyle attempted to grab her throat, the woman lowered her head down. The top of her head was in full view. Then she drove her head straight into the open hand for a headbutt. At the same time, she drove both of her Metronome-provided swords into her target's gut. And again. And again.
The first gargoyle fell, and Reiko was falling with him. Her fall was deliberate, landing on her knees as they were planted on his legs, and she drove the swords into his chest with the motion of straight punches. There was a cry as the right sword struck his heart; standing fast, the woman was just on time to take a punch to her shoulder from the second gargoyle whilst slashing across his upper chest from her left to her right. A second slash came from her left sword, and she kicked his gut.
Suddenly, a twofold blow was given by both the second gargoyle and Reiko: her right sword-for-an-arm sliced the gargoyle's head off just as her left sword-for-an-arm drove into his gut. The gargoyle himself impaled the right side of Reiko's chest with his claws in a circular manner, the claws driving deep within - but not all the way through her. Both
of them fell backwards in opposite directions, Reiko falling back onto the ground between both of the fallen gargoyles. As her eyes shut, her Metronome was deactivated. The last thing the Albino did was send an emergency projection of her location and her surroundings to all who were within her range, which was a kilometre away...
...surely someone was to be within range, someone who could detect her portrayed image and S.O.S?
Lying on her back outside, Reiko was fading out of consciousness. She had started to lose track of how long it had been since she had sent out that S.O.S. message with the portrayed image. As she attempted to send a second image out, one which included her location, it started to rain very lightly. Reiko coughed as she was fighting to stay conscious, at least long enough to get this S.O.S. message out to somebody who would be able to receive it...anybody.
Her right hand slowly moved towards her chest, trying to leave some kind of a sign for whoever should find her to see just where she had been injured by the gargoyle. Reiko knew there was no way she could move under her own power, not even with her telekinesis to assist her.
"S.O.S...by the river..."
were the last words spoken by Reiko through her telepathy. As the rain came down, her eyes were completely shut now, and the last of her consciousness slid away. Her hand didn't move from near the place where she had been impaled the gargoyle's claws.
"Whichever seems called for, you know, I can-
" Mist paused, tilting his head as he lifted a hand. Blue energy limned over his fingers, and he raised his hand further. "There. Roni, wandering around moony. Reiko, laying all flat and smashed and...monsters?
" he recited, a brow quirking upwards. He glanced to Amaris. "Reiko has monsters..?
" He's always the last to know. "We'd best find her, then.
" A wisp of the blue energy pulled from his hand and trailed through the woods.
By "smashed up," the woman had taken some punches and smacks before the final impaling blow. Reiko had fought, and she had fought *hard* to defeat these creatures. It had been one of her more difficult battles with just her Metronome ability at her disposal. Maybe next time, she should stick to carrying her Katana around on her person...if there was a next time. Wait a...there was
going to be a next time as long as twenty-five gargoyles remained. Don't count on an unconscious Albino to say much of anything about that, however, or anything at all. The only hint of her worst injury was where her right hand was.
Amaris tilted her head. "When did you start doing that?
" she asked. She did quicken her footsteps following the wisp, though.
"This? It's my locater spell, but the one I use on you gives you golden footprints. Well, this one also will let me know who is nearby. If you like, I will teach it to you, it's not difficult. And it helps to locate souls around you if you're concerned about being jumped,
" he replied, head tilting.
Amaris followed and called, "Reiko's...hurt!
" She looked through the darkness towards where Mist was.
"Is there anything around her?
" he asked, hurrying to follow after the girl.
She sniffed. "I just smell Reiko...blood...
"Something else...and further away sissy.
"Then there were, or are, monsters.
" Check out CSI Mist and Amaris. "Be careful. Draw your weapon, or be your weapon.
She reached for her ankle, growling softly as she took out her knife, watchful eyes glancing about. "Can you heal her..?
" he replied, calm. He nodded to Amaris, letting her take point and assess the situation.
Amaris carefully picked up a head and brought it over to Mist. "What is it?
"...I don't know,
" he responded, his brows knitting. He took the head from Amaris and cast light, illuminating the area brightly. And...he still had no idea what the things were. But maybe they could see Reiko? "You can't hang this on your wall,
" he added dryly.
"Ewww. It stinks. I don't want to.
"You want to see something cool?
" For a moment, his features changed, his eyes brightened, his smile was bright and youthful, he knelt slightly to look into her eyes. Just for that moment, maybe the elf he should have been.
Amaris blinked and brightened. "Cool.
Laughing softly, he took her hand and pulled her a half step back. Then, he lifted both hands, touching one after the other on the mandala glowing at his chest. He pulled out streamers of blue and abruptly set them loose like glowing birds of prey. The energy swooped, looped, and spun over the site, sparkling and shimmering with each turn. The ruins and remains of the gargoyles began to alter under the increasing light, the increasing energy. A pulse began to beat, the light flaring a misty white, dulled to blue and over and over again. The streams of light lifted Reiko from the ground, then rushed through her, brilliant and warm, healing all as they passed by. Everything altered under the press of the energy until finally,...the night returned to normal. No gargoyles, instead, there was a stand of sunflowers. Reiko should be standing within them wearing a lovely sunflowery dress. Possibly feeling as if she had just awoken. And Mist reached over to pick a few sunflowers to give to Amaris. "There. Wasn't that cool?
So...yes. The valley reverberated briefly with the spin of energy, and then he tilted his head. As he placed a crown of the sunflowers onto Amaris's head, piff, a dress similar to the one Reiko appeared in clad the girl. Her usual clothes just ended up in the hamper. "Tada.
Although she wasn't conscious for the first part of Mist's demonstration, she was starting to come to. The bruises, along with the scrapes and the holes in her chest where she had been impaled by the claws of the gargoyle, were vanishing. The holes were closing up. She felt warmth, and then something else. What that something else was, she would eventually find out upon awakening.
Wait. The woman wasn't lying on her back anymore either. Was the rest of her clean of the dirt and blood on her as well? Again, she was about to find this out at any given moment. Just then, her pink azalean eyes would start sliding open slowly, and she first looked to see both Mist and Amaris standing in front of her...with sunflowers in Mist's hand. Okay, now that was different. She thought she was in the woods by the river! Wait. She was
still near the river. Her location hadn't changed so much as the landscape around her had.
Speaking of changes, she felt a little bit of a draft from beneath. What happened to her pants..? Looking down would answer that question, as she was noticing a dark crimson-coloured dress with a sunflower on it...and an animal design. Some kind of animal...an alpaca, she thinks it was called? The woman looked up again. "Hey...Mist..? Amaris..? G'mrning...
" Right. An awoken Reiko was a zombie Reiko.
Amaris beamed and hugged Mist before yawning and climbing to his shoulder, where she draped and conked out. Everything was clean and transformed. Reiko's old clothing were folded up and seemed clean and new. Mist could sling a spell when he so chose. "Yes. Come along. Amaris wants to get to bed, and I am weary, as well,
" he responded, gesturing to her.
The woman gave a sleepy nod to what was said. As long as they were outside, the cold air was helping her to wake up faster than usual. She looked around to see nothing but sunflowers where the gargoyles had once been. Welp. She didn't have to worry about wearing her sunglasses now. Whatever Mist had done, had solved that problem. "Hey, Mist..? Thank you,
" Reiko finally said. She started to walk towards where he held the now-sleeping Amaris. "I was trying to train when I was ambushed...I'm guessing you followed any sound that was made by said gargoyles.
"Hm? It is nothing,
" he responded, reaching up a hand to tap a the air, and opening a gate. He gestured for her to pass through. Ben's cabin was visible through the opening of bright blue light. "Gargoyles? Is that what attacked you?
"They are...two of them, and they're not the first or the last of them, either.
" Reiko gave Mist the cliff notes version of what had transpired at the Inn a few mornings ago, starting with the gargoyles helping themselves to the breakfast buffet line and progressing to demands for coffee, where the dishes had then been destroyed. It had irked the woman considerably. "I have a feeling one was already destroyed...with these two, twenty-five remain. They're out for blood, Mist.
"I...really don't understand why...
" he responded slowly, but, as he really didn't know what a gargoyle was in the first place, it scarcely mattered.
Reiko shook her head as they closed in on the cabin. "Neither do I, and I didn't feel like using my head to try finding out why for myself.
" She pointed to her temple to indicate what she meant. The woman has been working closely with Arla now, Arla insisting on a strict schedule being kept with a certain amount of freedom to be granted as well. "I don't need anything else getting into my head, anyhow...my therapist would shoot me if she was to find out. Anyways, yes, I'm fine now.
She stepped through the gate when it was opened, pausing only to wait for Mist to pass through with Amaris as well before shutting it. "Oh...I'm not sure how much you know...but I did see Ben last night...
" Reiko said, "I'm not sure if anyone else saw him before I did, but he seems to be doing all right. I went with him to his fight last night...I made him a wooden shield that resembles one of the clans on his tattoos.
" And, he had clearly shown that he had loved it, too.
"As long as you are all right now. And I'm glad to hear he's all right.
" A faint tilt of his head and flicker of smile.
Yeah, me too,
was her thought about Ben. She'd truly had a wonderful time in Milwaukee, especially on watching him fight (whilst she wore her sunglasses). Now it was...now. "He just needs some time, just like I did...turns out he can't really remember anymore of what had taken place at the bar than she could.
" It was safe to say that they'd made up for the most part, was the most important part.
" he responded, pushing open the door, "usually, time and communication are the best things for anyone. Everyone. Why don't you go and get some rest. I likely won't see you in the morning, so, have a good day.
" A flicker of smile and sort of a bobble, carrying the conked-out Amaris. Then he carried her to her room.
The woman gave a nod. "I could have it...the sleep.
" She stepped in after, removing the sandals that had replaced her boots and leaving them at the door. "I'm not gonna lie, Mist...I really like Ben. A lot, and am willing to wait for him as long as I need to whilst doing my thing and taking care of myself. Being selfish, I believe a certain elf had told me once.
" She walked to her room. "Goodnight, Mist...and please. Don't tell anyone that I saw Ben, either.
" Yeah. Reiko was ready to go to sleep now.