Hungry Like The Wolf, Part Eight: One on One

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(April 15th)

Melchior glared after Kitsune as she vanished down the street in pursuit of Blossom. “Oh yes, don't mind the actual mission,” he muttered, turning back to Jack. “Lord Fenris is clearly the one in need of help right now.”

Jack raised an eyebrow with a smile. “You don't think you can handle me?”

“I know nothing about you,” Melchior said bluntly, pointing his staff at Jack's gun. A lash of golden energy flipped out from it, and Jack ducked behind a crate as it sent a shower of sparks across the truck's interior. “And I do know that Lord Fenris doesn't need the backup.”

“You're very confident of his abilities!” Jack shouted from behind the crate, before sticking his hand around one side and firing a few tentative shots.

“You have no idea what you are dealing with,” Melchior said with a faint smile. He raised one hand, and the crates were outlined with golden light. A quick gesture, and they drifted to one side, leaving Jack to dive back as a second blast of energy scorched the floor. “Your friend is probably already dead by now.”

Back at the main street, Fenris' claw slashed through pavement and wiring, leaving deep lines in the street as he swiped at Invictus. “How are you not dead yet?” he complained. “I've hit you, like, three times already!”

Invictus shrugged, with a wry smile on his face as he charged forwards, landing a punch across Fenris' face before rolling out of the way of another swipe. “You'd be surprised how many people say that.” There was a long furrow across his shirt, and a nick mark on one ear. “I'm just endearingly hard to get rid of.”

Fenris paused, taking a deep breath, and looked Invictus up and down. “Alright, I admit that this is not as much fun as I'd expected. Been ages since someone could take my punches. Who the hell are you, anyway?”


“You're going to have to change your name.” Fenris grinned. “You won't be unbeaten for long.”

Invictus blinked. “You speak Latin?”

Fenris leapt in his moment of surprise, and Invictus jumped to one side, feeling another sting as one claw caught the edge of his shoulder. “I do whatever I want,” the wolfman said with a laugh. “And right now, I want to find out who the hell's on the other end of your walkie.” He cracked his neck. “Give it up, and I'll let you scurry off.”

“What the hell makes you think that I'd give up? I'm not losing,” Invictus said.

“Of course you are,” Fenris said bluntly. “You're all cut up, and you haven't put a bruise on me. Hence losing.”

“I'm still alive, and my people are taking out your people. Hence winning,” Invictus countered.

“Are you sure about that?” Fenris asked. “I think my people can take your people.”

Invictus shrugged, raising his fists. “I guess we'll just have to find out.”

“One of us will,” Fenris laughed, charging forwards.

Not far away, Blossom and Kitsune were engaged in their own battle, quiet and focused. Blossom threw a trio of knives, then flipped off the streetlight as Kitsune knocked them out of the air and countered with three metal blades of her own. As she did, she sent a vine out, scooping her knives off the street, and then landing on her feet. “You're good,” she said after a moment.

Kitsune paused, another knife already ready to throw. “I'm not here to talk,” she said after a moment.

“Oh, that's too bad.” Blossom said cheerfully, reaching out to grab a scraggly tree growing from a planter next to her. As she jumped over Kitsune's knife, she swallowed the tree's leaves into her hands, quickly reshaping them into a set of razor-sharp compressed pieces, which she threw across the street. “I like talking while I fight. I mean, I don't do if I have to be stealthy, obviously, but I think that it's useful to know who you're fighting and why.” She sliced through the base of the tree, vines wrapping around it and shearing pieces off to form a sturdy wooden shield to catch two more knives. “And we were being so quiet, it just felt weird. Does it feel weird to you ever? Or is that just me?”

Kitsune drew a short sword from her back, slashing it across Blossom's shield as she ducked and wove around her, moving lightly to avoid the caltrops scattered across the battlefield. For her part, as Blossom pursued, she stepped directly on several of her own projectiles, reintegrating them with her body without harm. After a moment, Kitsune said, “Most people don't talk and fight. Better to save breath.”

“Save… oh, right, humans have to breathe to talk. I mean, obviously I knew that,” Blossom said, slightly embarassed. “I just didn't think about how that combined with fighting. Invictus talks a lot while he's fighting. But I guess that's because he's pretty much invincible. Or I thought he was, until your boss scratched him. That was kind of scary, and impressive too.”

Kitsune gritted her teeth. “Are you trying to talk me to death?”

“Sorry,” Blossom said, sulkily. “Just trying to make conversation.”

“Well, stop.” Kitsune slashed outwards again. “I don't want to hear about your life. I don't care about you. I'm just here to take you down.”

Blossom sighed, thinking over her link. 'My enemy's boring. How are you guys doing?'

'Could use a bit of help!' Jack answered after a moment. 'Piper, any time now would be lovely!'

'I don't have super-speed!' Piper responded. 'I need to get within… aha.'

Back in the truck, Jack kicked out, sending one of the floating crates flying through the air towards Melchior, who paused to bat it aside. As he did, several more crates collapsed to the truck's floor, and he frowned as he looked around them. “You can't hide behind boxes,” he said grimly.

A moment later, he looked up sharply as a series of staccato notes split the area. The truck hissed and slowed, and Melchior frowned as it braked to a halt. Glancing at the pile of boxes concealing Jack, he frowned and stepped from the truck. “Proteus, you fool, what are you… ah.”

Proteus stood at the door to the truck, swaying slightly, as Piper walked down the street towards him. Her flute wove a quick melody, and Proteus blinked in time to the music. Seeing Melchior standing confused, she smiled tightly, lowering her pipe for a moment. “Stand down, Mythica. You're under arrest.”

Melchior spat a word, and his golden aura spread to surround Proteus, who blinked. “Wha…?”

“Get yourself together, Proteus. We have a problem,” Melchior said, not taking his eyes off of Piper.

“That you do,” Nimble said with a smile, hopping out of the truck behind the two. “You're surrounded. Care to test how many forces you can hold off at once?”

Melchior looked from Jack's gun to Piper's flute, and sighed. “I suppose that I must.”

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