Holding Out For A Hero, Part Six: One Of A Kind

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April

As Invictus dueled with Evangel's gargoyles, a small form plummeted from the plane, slowing as it fell towards the side of the base. Blossom let a cloak of grass billow out behind her, as her body stretched and caught the wind. Held gently in her arms, Nimble was focusing on the drama unfurling above. “Did Roland just say what I think he said?” he asked incredulously.

“It worked.” Blossom said, drifting over to the side of the city hall. She pulled her body together as she approached, raising one hand and sending ivy-lines into the windowframe. Grass and leaves cascading out from her, floating to the ground below as she shed the excess covering she'd used to shape her gliding wings. “He distracted her.”

“Distractions are one thing, tempting fate is another,” Nimble said with a sniff. He reached over to the window, pulling out a small diamond cutter, and began to cut out the window.

“Is it tempting fate if its true?” Blossom asked, her mask shaping a thoughtful frown. “I mean, nothing can hurt him.”

“The phrase is inherent.” Nimble muttered, gently pulling a circle of glass out and handing it to his teammate.

“That doesn't make sense,” Blossom complained. “I don't like narrative law.”

“Then you are in the wrong line of work.” With a laugh, Nimble eased himself through the hole. “See you shortly, my dear. Take care.”

“You too, Jack.” Blossom smiled brightly as the thief slipped down the corridor, and then considered thoughtfully. A small vine triggered the tiny comm device sitting in her ear. “Piper, this is Blossom. I've deployed Nimble, and am enroute to free the mayor's staff.”

“Good work, Blossom. Get them out, then meet us at the roof.” Blossom smiled to herself as Piper clicked off the link. Piper was so much more severe when she was leading. It was very cute.

Quickly, she oriented herself and slipped silently down the darkened hallways of the office building. Evangel wasn't interested in office drones, so she was likely to have stuck them all somewhere together, where she could pull them out to bask in her glory once whatever monument she was building outside was finished – under guard, of course, but Blossom thought that she could handle that, and the main advantage of the way that the glass over the building was blocking out the sun was that there were no shortage of shadows to hide in. Blossom let some pigment slip into her mask, darkening and mottling it until it matched the rest of her body, and then set to work searching out the captives.

It didn't take her long to find them. She counted quickly – seventeen people sitting in a conference room, many of them staring out the window at the river of glass flowing past outside. There weren't many; she supposed that only the early worms had been caught. She almost giggled at the joke, but quickly caught herself. Focus, Blossom. Father would be very upset to see you not taking this seriously.

There were two gargoyles at the doors, and another inside the room. All three were armed with heavy bronze spears, and were alternating between watching the captives and the entrances, looming over their charges. Blossom studied them carefully, noting their metallic skins and monstrous, leering faces. If she didn't move exactly right, they would start killing captives, and that would be very bad. Mentally, she ran over her list of weapons. Knives were useless, as were her shurikens. The stakes, maybe. She winced. She hated using the stakes, but she didn't have much of a choice. Closing her eyes, she felt her hands spasm as she drew the long, thick oak out of her wrists, until two razor-tipped wooden spikes sat in her hands. She flexed her ribcage, feeling the unfamiliar thinness there. It would have to do.

She moved with exceptional speed, leaping out of the shadows and focusing as much of her weight forwards as possible. Her skin rippled from the impact as she struck, burying her stake deep inside the first gargoyle's head, and she flipped off him as he flailed silently and collapsed backwards, the other two already turning towards her. The second gargoyle was prepared, and he brought his spear up and around as she ducked underneath him. She might have avoided it, but she was running out of time, and she settled for doing her best to pull skin away from the impact point. The spear punched through cloth, moss and wood, sending splinters and pulp flying as her own weapon struck him in the chest. He staggered, bringing the spear around as she withdrew the stake and struck again. He fell.

She turned to the third, and found him raising his spear to strike. She felt sap running down her side, and stumbled as she began to spring forwards, unused to the new balance. Quickly, she laid one hand on the stake affixed to the gargoyle, and raised her other. The stake was sucked into her arm, rocketing across her body and exploding out from her other palm, bringing bits of grass in its wake like an echo as it crashed into the third gargoyle. He stumbled backwards, face contorting in an unfamiliar expression of concern a moment before he hit the plate glass window and fell through it. Seventeen pairs of eyes followed him down eight floors, saw him hit the ground and shatter. Blossom was already turning back to the first two, striking them over and over until they stopped moving. She stopped, twitching with effort.

“Are you… are you alright?” a woman asked, horrified. Blossom looked over at her, taking care that her mask had on its most encouraging smile.

“Oh, yes,” she said brightly. “I'll be right as rain.” She looked down at herself, a bit dubiously. Most of her side had been torn away, and there were ruptures through her shoulders from where she'd shoved the stake through too quickly. The edge of a wooden rib could be seen, shattered, poking out of her jumpsuit. She was a mess.

She looked around the room, and her eyes lit up as she saw the potted plant sitting in the corner. Blessed, predictable humans. “Does that belong to anyone?” she asked wistfully.

“Uh… no. I mean, the city, I guess,” the woman said dubiously.

“Oh, good,” Blossom said, crossing the room to it. “I usually don't do this in front of people, but I'm very hungry,” she apologized, reaching out a hand to cover the small tree.

The office workers watched in fascination as the tree began to crumple and snap, leaves, twigs, then sticks and ever-larger shards of wood swallowed by Blossom's hand. As they did, her arm straightened, and she stood upright as long strands of green foliage began to twine themselves over the gaping wound in her side. Moments later, she was standing in front of an empty wooden pot, and a bright green scar was the only sign of her injury.

“Oh, that is so much better,” she said, turning her smiling mask towards the fascinated workers. “I hate being unbalanced, it's hard to fight.” She took a step forwards. “Now come along, I'm supposed to be getting you out of here.”

“What are you?” a man whispered, shocked.

Blossom beamed at him. “Unique.” She started out the door, adding over her shoulder, “We need to get going before more of those big monsters show up. Come on, everyone!”


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