Top 15 Hottest Women in Track & Field - Sports Articles

The Cryopod to Hell 254: Shady Skulduggery

Author note: The Cryopod to Hell is a Reddit-exclusive story with over three years of editing and refining. As of this post, the total rewrite is 1,068,000+ words long, and we are all caught up to the main sub on HFY! For more information, check out the link below:
What is the Cryopod to Hell?
Join the Cryoverse Discord server!
Please support me on Patreon! Every dollar helps, as I have no job outside of Patreon currently!
Here's a list of all Cryopod's chapters, along with an ePub/Mobi/PDF version!
...................................
(Previous Part)
(Part 001)
...
Just outside of Hero City, on its western border.
Four Shades, agents of the Devil Emperor, Yama, crawl through the darkness of the night toward the humans' most precious and heavily defended territory. As they zip past the forest on Hero City's western border, they arrive at the three-hundred-foot-high cliffs that lead to the buildings on the city's limits.
Malice, Demise, Vicious, and Greed all move as one, their bodies blending together in the night-time gloom.
"Let's start at the southern edge," the leader, Malice, says. She rubs her shadowy hands together and licks her lips. "I haven't been here before, but our intelligence says there are a bunch of humans holed up under Bahamut's pyramids. I bet we can find many pretty little girls for Master Yama."
Demise, the most powerful of the Shades, nods gruffly. "The Hero's daughter. We must find her first."
"Don't be a spoilsport!" Vicious yells. The most bizarre of the four Shades shifts her shape into a skinny little goblin with melting flesh. "I'm here to have fun. Fun, dammit! Don't think you can push me around! I'm gonna cut apart some men; make 'em scream!! Ehehehe!!"
"No," Greed says, her keen eyes sweeping the cliffs above. "We have to look for the child first. Once we find her, you can fool around all you want. I'll go with Demise. Vicious, you follow Malice and do as she says. Don't screw around, for once. You know what Master Yama will do to us if you mess things up like last time."
Vicious hesitates. She morphs back into her shadow body and slithers toward Greed to poke her shadowy forehead. "Tch! You're a boring sack of potatoes! That's why Master Yama likes me better! I'm a lot more fun in the sack, you dopey-brained bimbo! Nyahahaha!!"
Whap!
Greed backhands Vicious, smacking the cackling Shade into the darkness. The attack doesn't even faze Vicious, as she immediately explodes into smoke and reforms her body. "Hahaha! Did I touch a nerve?!"
"Shut your mouth, idiot," Greed snarls. "I don't have time for your stupidity. Demise! Let's go!"
Without another word, Greed and Demise zip away, their bodies traveling through the darkness like fish in the sea.
Malice grabs Vicious by the ear. "You'd better pay attention, idiot! I don't like Master Yama's younger toys. You're all too damned hyper and eager to please! Run your mouth around me, and I'll show you how nasty I can be! Got it?!"
Malice's grip somehow holds Vicious taut, preventing her from transforming into dark smoke and escaping. Faced with this cruel punishment, Vicious calms down and whimpers. "I-I'm sorry, Malice! Really sorry! I'll be good, I promise!"
"Damn right, you will," Malice growls. She throws Vicious to the ground like a sack of rocks. "Now, follow me. We're going to pick off as many cute little girls for Master Yama as we can. Do not leave even one scar on their bodies, understand?! Master Yama likes his harem young, pristine, and tight! Don't make me repeat myself."
Vicious ducks her head under the ruthlessness in Vicious' voice. "W-what if all we find are men and old women?"
"I don't care," Malice answers. "Kill them, torture them, whatever you want. A few measly fleshbag lives won't mean anything to me. But like Greed said, we're not here to have fun. We're here to nab the Hero's wife and daughter!"
Greed's excitement increases at the thought of torture being on the table. "I see! But how will we know what those two look like?"
"I've seen a few pictures of the Hero's wife," Malice casually answers. "As for the little girl, look for blond hair and blue eyes. She'll be about six years old. If you see a child fitting that description, just grab her! Better to be safe than sorry!"
"Is that why we're going to the Pyramids?" Vicious asks.
"That's right. A few demon scouts mentioned the humans built a shelter for the women, children, and the elderly there. I'll bet the kid we're looking for is inside."
"Ooooh! Well, let's go, then! We have to make Master Yama happy! Ehehehe!!"
Malice nods. A moment later, she and Vicious flicker away, traveling toward the southern section of the city.
Little do the four Shades know, but not far from where they just stood, the Hero's daughter is hard at work helping her aunt Samantha heal injured soldiers inside the Hero City General Hospital. The building rests at the Western edge of the city, not far above the Shades' meeting location.
Having inadvertently skipped past their quarry, the Shades travel toward the heavily fortified safe zone at the southern end of Hero City. There, deep beneath the Pyramids, inside several gigantic, hollowed out chambers, more than five hundred thousand women, children, and elderly humans and monsters sit at tables and on the floor. They wring their hands together while watching various screens around the underground interior that display the scenes of battle some ten or so miles from Hero City's borders.
The walls, ceiling, and floors of the underground chambers appear as a golden-brown hue, the room's color formed due to the rocks and sand reinforcing the interior. Along with the ancient Egyptian engravings on the walls, hundreds of electrical lights and television monitors give the hideaway an odd mixture of ancient and advanced technology, mixing modern decor with classical designs.
Amidst the huddling citizens, hundreds of T-REX-wearing guards patrol back and forth, keeping their eyes peeled for any disturbances. They focus on the entrances and exits, making sure to have their guns ready at a moment's notice in case any demons come bursting into the safe zones. With Burrowers and Warpers having already made planetfall, the guards can't help but feel nervous. For all they know, at any moment, the ground might explode and demons could start pouring in.
Unseen by the humans, Malice and Vicious silently and stealthily slip into the bunker, keeping as far from the bright lights as possible. The two of them skulk around the much darker interior edges, behind random obstructions that provide cover. The Shades frown in dismay as they realize the overwhelming majority of their prey have chosen to sit in the light-blanketed areas while waiting for the results of the war on the surface.
As beings comprised of darkness, neither of the Shades can step into even the most dimly-lit area without feeling their bodies start to decay. Let alone the scorchingly-lit sections directly below or adjacent to lamps and ceiling bulbs, even the places where the light barely illuminates anything still causes the two invaders to shrink back reflexively.
[Damn,] Vicious hisses, her voice transmitting to Malice telepathically. [These fleshbags aren't as stupid as we thought! Only a few of them are close enough for us to grab, and they're all old and ugly. Sheesh. We won't be able to get any good toys for Master Yama at this rate!]
[For now,] Malice answers, her tone neutral. [That could change, though. Let's hide behind those barrels over there, next to that doorway. It leads to a woman's bathroom. That's where the females go to piss and shit.]
[Ooooh, smart!] Vicious says, her eyes lighting up with delight. [If we wait a while, we'll surely nab a few stragglers!]
[Perhaps, but we can't just faff about. We're on a time limit. We need to find the Hero's daughter before daylight arrives, or else getting back to the warpgate will prove quite tricky...]
Malice glances around the room. Her eyes fall on the many different lights preventing her advances.
Hmm. If I could smash those bulbs and engulf this lair in darkness... hehe... these humans wouldn't stand a chance. Too bad, it'll take me a bit of effort to shatter more than five hundred lights, even if I throw a bunch of rocks at the speed of sound. Such a move would definitely alert the guards, too. Hmm... perhaps I can cut the power...
While the leader of the Shades muses over possible strategies, Vicious keeps her eyes peeled. Suddenly, she grabs Malice. [Kss! Look, sister! A little girl! She's heading for the bathroom!]
Hearing the younger Shades' cry of excitement, Malice nods. [Yes, good. Grab the girl and place her in your 'shadow world.' The more you can nab, the better. Now, be quiet, so I can think.]
Malice returns to her ruminations, while Vicious rubs her claws together with glee. A small child, perhaps six years old, toddles toward the bathroom, all by her lonesome. Her brown hair and pigtails sway up and down as she runs quickly.
"Nnn! Can't hold it any longer! Gotta go, really bad!"
As the child moves away from the bright light of the main room toward the bathroom illuminated in the distance, she crosses through a small in-between area where the light is so faint that it almost disappears. In those twenty or so feet, a strange, creepy, crawling sensation washes over her back.
Before the little girl can react, a pair of shadowy arms leaps out of the darkness from behind her, swings around her front, and grabs her by the mouth.
"Huh? Eugh?! Mmmph!"
The little girl barely lets out a squeak of fright. She tries to tug at the horribly scary hand grabbing her mouth, but before she can react, Vicious drags her back into the darkness and taps the side of her head. The little girl loses consciousness and slumps in Vicious's grasp, entering a deep sleep she can never hope to wake from.
[Ehehehe!] Vicious laughs. [The stupid little brat wet herself! Oh, this is such great fun! I can't believe you're letting me do this all by myself! I hope more babies come bumbling over!]
[Quiet!] Malice snaps. [Can't you see I'm trying to think? Bloody hell. You 'freshies' are all the same, always eager to do what our master says. That's just great, but don't get in my way! Just keep grabbing young meat for Master Yama.]
Vicious snorts. [Tch. Fine! Your breath smells like poop anyway.]
Without another word, Vicious summons shadow bindings onto the helpless child's arms and legs, then opens a small wormhole of shadow energy and stuffs her into a miniature storage dimension. This rift is one all Shades can access, a small, independent realm where they can place people and objects for safe-keeping, a hellish world of darkness that nobody can escape unless the Shades release them intentionally.
[Hee-hee! Ooh, what a delight! Master Yama probably won't like it if I catch him some little boys, but I bet they'd be fun to torture, too! Ehehe! I'll just grab any kid I see! A lady's gotta have her hobbies, after all!]
Fifteen minutes pass.
Vicious nabs several women, with the vast majority of them exceeding ten years of age, and the oldest being thirty-something. After half a dozen women go missing, including a teenage kobold, some of the other people in the bunker start to notice something is amiss. Whispered conversations go around the room, making a few T-REX-wearing soldiers come trotting over, their weapons held at the ready.
"Yes, my daughter went to the bathroom about fifteen minutes ago," A young mother says, as she follows the soldiers. "Her name is Emily. I started looking for her when she didn't come back after five minutes, but I couldn't find her! I'm sorry to be a bother, but I can't let my little girl run around down here. It's not safe!"
"Don't worry, ma'am," One of the soldiers, a woman, answers. "I'm a mother, too. I'll find your little girl."
The other soldier, a male, turns to the mother. "What does Emily look like? I can transmit her information to the other soldiers in this area. Maybe they've seen her."
The mother meets the faceless soldier's gaze. "Um, she's six years old, brown hair, Citizen ID 2A-11754. You might have her in your records."
"Let me check," The man answers. After a few moments, he tilts his head toward the ceiling ever so slightly. "Yeah. I've got her school ID right here. Cute kid. I'll transmit her photo to the other squads."
The mother and two soldiers stop not far from the barrels Vicious and Malice are hiding behind. However, the Shades don't worry about being spotted. Their ability to blend into the shadows makes them impossible to spot.
[Tch. The humans caught on pretty quickly,] Vicious mutters. [Hey, Malice! What should we do now? Wanna find another spot to nab some brats?]
Malice frowns. [No. I want to take out the lights. If we do that, these humans will be like sheep to the slaughter. Grabbing a few random females isn't worth my time, not one bit. I need to get closer to the middle to see if the Hero's daughter is in here. Oh! I just thought of something! I bet there's a control panel hidden somewhere. I used to be a human before Master Yama 'converted' me, so I know all sorts of things a freshy like you never will.]
Vicious tilts her head toward Malice. [You used to be a stinking fleshbag?! Eww, gross! Haha, no wonder you're such a softie! Kekeke! I used to be a pureblooded demon girl, which is why Master Yama likes me more than you!]
[Idiot,] Vicious mutters. [You're young now, but you won't always be. Master Yama will get tired of you eventually and move on to juicier morsels. Don't think you're special just because your face is cute!]
[Speaking from experience, grandma?] Vicious taunts. [Kekeke! All old and dried up! No wonder Master Yama doesn't touch you!]
[Tch. Master Yama likes me just fine. He values my brains over my looks. That's why he made me the leader! Unlike you, I'll always be useful to him. Now, shut up, and follow me! We're going to flip a few switches down here and start attacking the humans while they're distracted!]
Vicious laughs uproariously. [Oh, yes, 'great leader,' nyahahaha! Do lead the way, big-brain-lady!]
The two soldiers standing nearby happen to turn away from the doors just in time for their T-REX's to pick up an anomaly. The sensors in their suits detect a flash of movement in the darkness, making both of the guards swivel on their heels toward the Shades.
"Who's there?! Halt!"
The moment the human commandos turn their heads, their helmet-mounted lights activate, flooding the darkness with scorching brightness. Malice and Vicious get caught unawares, screaming in agony as the unexpected luminous radiance blasts their shadow-imbued bodies. They dart away as quickly as possible, screeching at the top of their lungs. "Aaargh!!"
The two commandos jump in alarm. The female guard immediately activates her internal suit transmitters. "Shit! Shadow-walkers! All teams, this is Private Emma Schmidt; we have hostiles within the evacuation zone! I repeat, multiple hostiles detected! I have confirmed multiple Shadow-Walkers inside the southern end of the Third Pyramid Bunker! In pursuit now!"
Emma and her companion quickly dart forward, intending to chase after Vicious and Malice. However, the two Shades zip away at incredible speeds and slip into a dark enclave, vanishing from sight. By the time both commandos catch up, their enemies have already made a clean getaway.
"Patrol, this is Commander Skarde," A voice says, transmitting over their intercoms. "I'm dispatching five hundred trackers to your position. Follow the hostiles. Confirm their numbers and fighting capability. Do not let them escape."
Emma curses. "Shit. I lost them! David, did you see where they went?"
The male commando beside her scowls angrily behind his mask. "No. I didn't think shadow-walkers could move that fast! By the time I saw them, they'd already disappeared. If it wasn't for Centurion detecting their movements, I'd never have seen them in the first place."
"Shadow-walkers are weak to light," Emma says. "That's why they were skulking around in the shadows. HQ, this is Private Schmidt again. I lost the targets. Last I saw, they traveled somewhere north of my current position."
"Acknowledged," comes the reply from HQ. Elder Skarde pauses for a moment before switching to a wide-range frequency. "Attention, all city defense troopers. We've detected the presence of an unknown quantity of shadow-walkers within the Environmental Shield's borders. Order every citizen to turn on as many lights as they can and flood the city. Don't let anyone leave the well-lit areas until we've exterminated these invaders. I want tripled patrols around the clock for the next eight hours. Gold and Silver squads one through seven, I want you traveling in pairs to execute a three-step spiral search pattern. Encircle the city and work your way inwards. Do not allow these demonic invaders to escape our grasp! Commander Skarde out."
...
Half a mile from the Third Pyramid, Vicious and Malice emerge into the darkness of the night and hide in some bushes, only to fall to the ground, writhing in pain.
"Aaargh!" Vicious groans. "Burns! The light burns like fire! Ah, those damned fleshbags! How dare they hurt my beautiful body?!"
Malice controls her pain with practiced experience. Having suffered damage from light countless times during her 100,000+ years alive, she has long since learned to grit her teeth and swallow the pain. "Tch! It's all your fault, you... you damned imbecile! You got too grabby with those girls and drew attention to us! Damn! Now we can't go back. The humans are sure to have locked the bunker down."
Vicious pulls herself to her feet and meekly assumes a shadowy, demonic figure, with two long horns sticking out of her head. "D-don't point the finger at me! How was I supposed to know those metal-wearing fleshies would spot us?! Nobody ever has before!"
"Human armor is always special," Malice explains. "Back during the Energy Wars, the humans had all kinds of crazy gadgets. I even used a few before Master Yama took me in. I don't know how these new armor systems work, but it's clear the soldiers can somehow see us, even in the dark. Now that we've alerted them, finding the little girl is going to be that much harder! Let's keep looking for an hour or two, then return to the meeting location. Maybe Greed and Demise had better luck."
"Yeah, maybe."
Vicious grumbles inaudibly under her breath about how unfairly Malice always treats her, but Malice just ignores her grumbling. After absorbing enough darkness to heal themselves, the two Shades dart away once again, traveling around to search the city, all while avoiding the increased human patrols.
...
Two hours later, both Shades return to the meeting location at the base of the cliff, just off Hero City's west side. When they arrive, they find Greed and Demise waiting for them.
"Cripes! What took you so long?" Greed asks. "We found the girl!"
"You did?!" Malice gasps. "Where? Did you nab the little brat? What about her mother?"
"We don't have her, not yet," Greed says. "I thought about going in with just me and Demise, but we didn't dare. The little girl isn't with her mother. Phoebe Hiro is still somewhere at the battlefront. But her daughter is right here! She's in the hospital just above us!"
Greed points her finger toward the cliff a few hundred feet above their heads. Malice follows her finger and scowls. "What?! The hospital? And we wasted all that time, too! You should have just grabbed the kid and scrammed!"
"We couldn't," Greed says. "Because the girl has a protector. She's not alone! You won't believe who's with her!"
Malice scowls. "Who? Just tell me! Stop wasting time!"
"It's Belial! The former Second Emperor! She's in the hospital healing humans! We sensed her aura when we got close. That's how we found the girl. If we try to grab her, Belial will detect us. We all have to work together to overpower the succubus!"
Malice's anger and annoyance subsides. She falls silent for more than a minute, contemplating Greed's words.
"Belial. The Second Emperor. Damn. Of all the rotten luck, for her to be here and not at the battlefield. Nobody's seen the demon who took over the First Emperor's position after Satan's death, so that technically means Belial is the strongest demon in the First Hell. We mere Shades aren't nearly strong enough to take her on. Only Master Yama himself could ever be her opponent."
Vicious frowns. "Huh? What do you mean? We're Shades! Belial can't touch us! She's a physical fighter! Beelzebub is way more dangerous than her, what with his flames and all!"
Malice glances at Vicious, then at Greed. "You're too young, Vicious. You haven't seen Belial fight before. She's scary when she's angry. In terms of physical strength, not even Bael or Barbatos is her equal. She's stronger than all of the Hidden Emperors too. Most demons don't know this, but Belial can project low-level energy fields. They aren't versatile, but because of her vast mana reserves, they're insanely strong. If we get too close, she can rip us right out of the darkness and crush our Dark Cores to bits. We'll have to keep away from her and try to slow her down if we want to grab the Hero's daughter."
Demise, having kept silent the whole time, pounds her chest. "I will fight Belial. Malice, you join me and Greed. Vicious will capture the girl."
"Hmm," Malice grunts. "You're definitely the strongest Shade, but you're no match for Belial. You only have the strength of an Ascended Orc. That's not nearly enough to contend with the Second Emperor."
"That does not matter," Demise replies. "I will fight. You shall slow Belial down. We must follow Master Yama's orders. He wants the child. We must give him the child."
"Fine, we'll do it your way," Malice says. After considering her options, she realizes she doesn't have much of a choice. "Vicious. I'll have to rely on you. If I work together with Greed and Demise, the three of us might be able to stall Belial for a bit. You will have to grab the child and run. We'll follow you right afterward."
"Assuming Belial doesn't kill us, that is," Greed adds, annoyance in her voice. "Damn. Never thought I'd have to face death at the hands of an Emperor. This is not how I wanted to go out!"
"We will prevail because we must," Demise says, her intimidating voice somehow reassuring Greed. "Do not lose heart. Belial is strong, but so am I. If I must die, then I shall do so in battle."
Greed sighs. "Most of us just want to pick off the juicy parts of the steak, not choke on the bone. In comparison, you're a damned battle-freak."
"Many thanks for the compliment," Demise says, turning to look at the cliffs above. "Daylight approaches. We must hurry."
Greed doesn't point out that her words weren't complimentary. She merely groans and falls into position behind Demise. "Vicious, Malice, just follow us. We took a peek at the hospital's halls. There are plenty of rooms with the lights off. We'll sneak in through a window and make our way toward the Second Emperor. If we're lucky, the child will wander away at an opportune moment."
"If we don't have to risk our necks, that would be for the best," Malice says with a nod. "I'll die for Master Yama if he gives the command... but that's only 'if.' No reason to throw myself away for one of his casual whims."
Vicious cracks a sinister smile. "Hehehe! This is getting interesting! I hope the little girl is as Grade-A as Master Yama likes! It'd be a shame if she was some ugly, buck-toothed brat."
"Yeah, that would be a shame indeed," Greed mutters.
"Alright, let's go!" Malice hisses. "Keep low, and watch out for patrolling humans!"
All of the other Shades nod in unison. "Yes!"
Next Part
submitted by Klokinator to HFY [link] [comments]

Cryopod Refresh 254: Shady Skulduggery

Just outside of Hero City, on its western border.
Four Shades, agents of the Devil Emperor, Yama, crawl through the darkness of the night toward the humans' most precious and heavily defended territory. As they zip past the forest on Hero City's western border, they arrive at the three-hundred-foot-high cliffs that lead to the buildings on the city's limits.
Malice, Demise, Vicious, and Greed all move as one, their bodies blending together in the night-time gloom.
"Let's start at the southern edge," the leader, Malice, says. She rubs her shadowy hands together and licks her lips. "I haven't been here before, but our intelligence says there are a bunch of humans holed up under Bahamut's pyramids. I bet we can find many pretty little girls for Master Yama."
Demise, the most powerful of the Shades, nods gruffly. "The Hero's daughter. We must find her first."
"Don't be a spoilsport!" Vicious yells. The most bizarre of the four Shades shifts her shape into a skinny little goblin with melting flesh. "I'm here to have fun. Fun, dammit! Don't think you can push me around! I'm gonna cut apart some men; make 'em scream!! Ehehehe!!"
"No," Greed says, her keen eyes sweeping the cliffs above. "We have to look for the child first. Once we find her, you can fool around all you want. I'll go with Demise. Vicious, you follow Malice and do as she says. Don't screw around, for once. You know what Master Yama will do to us if you mess things up like last time."
Vicious hesitates. She morphs back into her shadow body and slithers toward Greed to poke her shadowy forehead. "Tch! You're a boring sack of potatoes! That's why Master Yama likes me better! I'm a lot more fun in the sack, you dopey-brained bimbo! Nyahahaha!!"
Whap!
Greed backhands Vicious, smacking the cackling Shade into the darkness. The attack doesn't even faze Vicious, as she immediately explodes into smoke and reforms her body. "Hahaha! Did I touch a nerve?!"
"Shut your mouth, idiot," Greed snarls. "I don't have time for your stupidity. Demise! Let's go!"
Without another word, Greed and Demise zip away, their bodies traveling through the darkness like fish in the sea.
Malice grabs Vicious by the ear. "You'd better pay attention, idiot! I don't like Master Yama's younger toys. You're all too damned hyper and eager to please! Run your mouth around me, and I'll show you how nasty I can be! Got it?!"
Malice's grip somehow holds Vicious taut, preventing her from transforming into dark smoke and escaping. Faced with this cruel punishment, Vicious calms down and whimpers. "I-I'm sorry, Malice! Really sorry! I'll be good, I promise!"
"Damn right, you will," Malice growls. She throws Vicious to the ground like a sack of rocks. "Now, follow me. We're going to pick off as many cute little girls for Master Yama as we can. Do not leave even one scar on their bodies, understand?! Master Yama likes his harem young, pristine, and tight! Don't make me repeat myself."
Vicious ducks her head under the ruthlessness in Vicious' voice. "W-what if all we find are men and old women?"
"I don't care," Malice answers. "Kill them, torture them, whatever you want. A few measly fleshbag lives won't mean anything to me. But like Greed said, we're not here to have fun. We're here to nab the Hero's wife and daughter!"
Greed's excitement increases at the thought of torture being on the table. "I see! But how will we know what those two look like?"
"I've seen a few pictures of the Hero's wife," Malice casually answers. "As for the little girl, look for blond hair and blue eyes. She'll be about six years old. If you see a child fitting that description, just grab her! Better to be safe than sorry!"
"Is that why we're going to the Pyramids?" Vicious asks.
"That's right. A few demon scouts mentioned the humans built a shelter for the women, children, and the elderly there. I'll bet the kid we're looking for is inside."
"Ooooh! Well, let's go, then! We have to make Master Yama happy! Ehehehe!!"
Malice nods. A moment later, she and Vicious flicker away, traveling toward the southern section of the city.
Little do the four Shades know, but not far from where they just stood, the Hero's daughter is hard at work helping her aunt Samantha heal injured soldiers inside the Hero City General Hospital. The building rests at the Western edge of the city, not far above the Shades' meeting location.
Having inadvertently skipped past their quarry, the Shades travel toward the heavily fortified safe zone at the southern end of Hero City. There, deep beneath the Pyramids, inside several gigantic, hollowed out chambers, more than five hundred thousand women, children, and elderly humans and monsters sit at tables and on the floor. They wring their hands together while watching various screens around the underground interior that display the scenes of battle some ten or so miles from Hero City's borders.
The walls, ceiling, and floors of the underground chambers appear as a golden-brown hue, the room's color formed due to the rocks and sand reinforcing the interior. Along with the ancient Egyptian engravings on the walls, hundreds of electrical lights and television monitors give the hideaway an odd mixture of ancient and advanced technology, mixing modern decor with classical designs.
Amidst the huddling citizens, hundreds of T-REX-wearing guards patrol back and forth, keeping their eyes peeled for any disturbances. They focus on the entrances and exits, making sure to have their guns ready at a moment's notice in case any demons come bursting into the safe zones. With Burrowers and Warpers having already made planetfall, the guards can't help but feel nervous. For all they know, at any moment, the ground might explode and demons could start pouring in.
Unseen by the humans, Malice and Vicious silently and stealthily slip into the bunker, keeping as far from the bright lights as possible. The two of them skulk around the much darker interior edges, behind random obstructions that provide cover. The Shades frown in dismay as they realize the overwhelming majority of their prey have chosen to sit in the light-blanketed areas while waiting for the results of the war on the surface.
As beings comprised of darkness, neither of the Shades can step into even the most dimly-lit area without feeling their bodies start to decay. Let alone the scorchingly-lit sections directly below or adjacent to lamps and ceiling bulbs, even the places where the light barely illuminates anything still causes the two invaders to shrink back reflexively.
[Damn,] Vicious hisses, her voice transmitting to Malice telepathically. [These fleshbags aren't as stupid as we thought! Only a few of them are close enough for us to grab, and they're all old and ugly. Sheesh. We won't be able to get any good toys for Master Yama at this rate!]
[For now,] Malice answers, her tone neutral. [That could change, though. Let's hide behind those barrels over there, next to that doorway. It leads to a woman's bathroom. That's where the females go to piss and shit.]
[Ooooh, smart!] Vicious says, her eyes lighting up with delight. [If we wait a while, we'll surely nab a few stragglers!]
[Perhaps, but we can't just faff about. We're on a time limit. We need to find the Hero's daughter before daylight arrives, or else getting back to the warpgate will prove quite tricky...]
Malice glances around the room. Her eyes fall on the many different lights preventing her advances.
Hmm. If I could smash those bulbs and engulf this lair in darkness... hehe... these humans wouldn't stand a chance. Too bad, it'll take me a bit of effort to shatter more than five hundred lights, even if I throw a bunch of rocks at the speed of sound. Such a move would definitely alert the guards, too. Hmm... perhaps I can cut the power...
While the leader of the Shades muses over possible strategies, Vicious keeps her eyes peeled. Suddenly, she grabs Malice. [Kss! Look, sister! A little girl! She's heading for the bathroom!]
Hearing the younger Shades' cry of excitement, Malice nods. [Yes, good. Grab the girl and place her in your 'shadow world.' The more you can nab, the better. Now, be quiet, so I can think.]
Malice returns to her ruminations, while Vicious rubs her claws together with glee. A small child, perhaps six years old, toddles toward the bathroom, all by her lonesome. Her brown hair and pigtails sway up and down as she runs quickly.
"Nnn! Can't hold it any longer! Gotta go, really bad!"
As the child moves away from the bright light of the main room toward the bathroom illuminated in the distance, she crosses through a small in-between area where the light is so faint that it almost disappears. In those twenty or so feet, a strange, creepy, crawling sensation washes over her back.
Before the little girl can react, a pair of shadowy arms leaps out of the darkness from behind her, swings around her front, and grabs her by the mouth.
"Huh? Eugh?! Mmmph!"
The little girl barely lets out a squeak of fright. She tries to tug at the horribly scary hand grabbing her mouth, but before she can react, Vicious drags her back into the darkness and taps the side of her head. The little girl loses consciousness and slumps in Vicious's grasp, entering a deep sleep she can never hope to wake from.
[Ehehehe!] Vicious laughs. [The stupid little brat wet herself! Oh, this is such great fun! I can't believe you're letting me do this all by myself! I hope more babies come bumbling over!]
[Quiet!] Malice snaps. [Can't you see I'm trying to think? Bloody hell. You 'freshies' are all the same, always eager to do what our master says. That's just great, but don't get in my way! Just keep grabbing young meat for Master Yama.]
Vicious snorts. [Tch. Fine! Your breath smells like poop anyway.]
Without another word, Vicious summons shadow bindings onto the helpless child's arms and legs, then opens a small wormhole of shadow energy and stuffs her into a miniature storage dimension. This rift is one all Shades can access, a small, independent realm where they can place people and objects for safe-keeping, a hellish world of darkness that nobody can escape unless the Shades release them intentionally.
[Hee-hee! Ooh, what a delight! Master Yama probably won't like it if I catch him some little boys, but I bet they'd be fun to torture, too! Ehehe! I'll just grab any kid I see! A lady's gotta have her hobbies, after all!]
Fifteen minutes pass.
Vicious nabs several women, with the vast majority of them exceeding ten years of age, and the oldest being thirty-something. After half a dozen women go missing, including a teenage kobold, some of the other people in the bunker start to notice something is amiss. Whispered conversations go around the room, making a few T-REX-wearing soldiers come trotting over, their weapons held at the ready.
"Yes, my daughter went to the bathroom about fifteen minutes ago," A young mother says, as she follows the soldiers. "Her name is Emily. I started looking for her when she didn't come back after five minutes, but I couldn't find her! I'm sorry to be a bother, but I can't let my little girl run around down here. It's not safe!"
"Don't worry, ma'am," One of the soldiers, a woman, answers. "I'm a mother, too. I'll find your little girl."
The other soldier, a male, turns to the mother. "What does Emily look like? I can transmit her information to the other soldiers in this area. Maybe they've seen her."
The mother meets the faceless soldier's gaze. "Um, she's six years old, brown hair, Citizen ID 2A-11754. You might have her in your records."
"Let me check," The man answers. After a few moments, he tilts his head toward the ceiling ever so slightly. "Yeah. I've got her school ID right here. Cute kid. I'll transmit her photo to the other squads."
The mother and two soldiers stop not far from the barrels Vicious and Malice are hiding behind. However, the Shades don't worry about being spotted. Their ability to blend into the shadows makes them impossible to spot.
[Tch. The humans caught on pretty quickly,] Vicious mutters. [Hey, Malice! What should we do now? Wanna find another spot to nab some brats?]
Malice frowns. [No. I want to take out the lights. If we do that, these humans will be like sheep to the slaughter. Grabbing a few random females isn't worth my time, not one bit. I need to get closer to the middle to see if the Hero's daughter is in here. Oh! I just thought of something! I bet there's a control panel hidden somewhere. I used to be a human before Master Yama 'converted' me, so I know all sorts of things a freshy like you never will.]
Vicious tilts her head toward Malice. [You used to be a stinking fleshbag?! Eww, gross! Haha, no wonder you're such a softie! Kekeke! I used to be a pureblooded demon girl, which is why Master Yama likes me more than you!]
[Idiot,] Vicious mutters. [You're young now, but you won't always be. Master Yama will get tired of you eventually and move on to juicier morsels. Don't think you're special just because your face is cute!]
[Speaking from experience, grandma?] Vicious taunts. [Kekeke! All old and dried up! No wonder Master Yama doesn't touch you!]
[Tch. Master Yama likes me just fine. He values my brains over my looks. That's why he made me the leader! Unlike you, I'll always be useful to him. Now, shut up, and follow me! We're going to flip a few switches down here and start attacking the humans while they're distracted!]
Vicious laughs uproariously. [Oh, yes, 'great leader,' nyahahaha! Do lead the way, big-brain-lady!]
The two soldiers standing nearby happen to turn away from the doors just in time for their T-REX's to pick up an anomaly. The sensors in their suits detect a flash of movement in the darkness, making both of the guards swivel on their heels toward the Shades.
"Who's there?! Halt!"
The moment the human commandos turn their heads, their helmet-mounted lights activate, flooding the darkness with scorching brightness. Malice and Vicious get caught unawares, screaming in agony as the unexpected luminous radiance blasts their shadow-imbued bodies. They dart away as quickly as possible, screeching at the top of their lungs. "Aaargh!!"
The two commandos jump in alarm. The female guard immediately activates her internal suit transmitters. "Shit! Shadow-walkers! All teams, this is Private Emma Schmidt; we have hostiles within the evacuation zone! I repeat, multiple hostiles detected! I have confirmed multiple Shadow-Walkers inside the southern end of the Third Pyramid Bunker! In pursuit now!"
Emma and her companion quickly dart forward, intending to chase after Vicious and Malice. However, the two Shades zip away at incredible speeds and slip into a dark enclave, vanishing from sight. By the time both commandos catch up, their enemies have already made a clean getaway.
"Patrol, this is Commander Skarde," A voice says, transmitting over their intercoms. "I'm dispatching five hundred trackers to your position. Follow the hostiles. Confirm their numbers and fighting capability. Do not let them escape."
Emma curses. "Shit. I lost them! David, did you see where they went?"
The male commando beside her scowls angrily behind his mask. "No. I didn't think shadow-walkers could move that fast! By the time I saw them, they'd already disappeared. If it wasn't for Centurion detecting their movements, I'd never have seen them in the first place."
"Shadow-walkers are weak to light," Emma says. "That's why they were skulking around in the shadows. HQ, this is Private Schmidt again. I lost the targets. Last I saw, they traveled somewhere north of my current position."
"Acknowledged," comes the reply from HQ. Elder Skarde pauses for a moment before switching to a wide-range frequency. "Attention, all city defense troopers. We've detected the presence of an unknown quantity of shadow-walkers within the Environmental Shield's borders. Order every citizen to turn on as many lights as they can and flood the city. Don't let anyone leave the well-lit areas until we've exterminated these invaders. I want tripled patrols around the clock for the next eight hours. Gold and Silver squads one through seven, I want you traveling in pairs to execute a three-step spiral search pattern. Encircle the city and work your way inwards. Do not allow these demonic invaders to escape our grasp! Commander Skarde out."
...
Half a mile from the Third Pyramid, Vicious and Malice emerge into the darkness of the night and hide in some bushes, only to fall to the ground, writhing in pain.
"Aaargh!" Vicious groans. "Burns! The light burns like fire! Ah, those damned fleshbags! How dare they hurt my beautiful body?!"
Malice controls her pain with practiced experience. Having suffered damage from light countless times during her 100,000+ years alive, she has long since learned to grit her teeth and swallow the pain. "Tch! It's all your fault, you... you damned imbecile! You got too grabby with those girls and drew attention to us! Damn! Now we can't go back. The humans are sure to have locked the bunker down."
Vicious pulls herself to her feet and meekly assumes a shadowy, demonic figure, with two long horns sticking out of her head. "D-don't point the finger at me! How was I supposed to know those metal-wearing fleshies would spot us?! Nobody ever has before!"
"Human armor is always special," Malice explains. "Back during the Energy Wars, the humans had all kinds of crazy gadgets. I even used a few before Master Yama took me in. I don't know how these new armor systems work, but it's clear the soldiers can somehow see us, even in the dark. Now that we've alerted them, finding the little girl is going to be that much harder! Let's keep looking for an hour or two, then return to the meeting location. Maybe Greed and Demise had better luck."
"Yeah, maybe."
Vicious grumbles inaudibly under her breath about how unfairly Malice always treats her, but Malice just ignores her grumbling. After absorbing enough darkness to heal themselves, the two Shades dart away once again, traveling around to search the city, all while avoiding the increased human patrols.
...
Two hours later, both Shades return to the meeting location at the base of the cliff, just off Hero City's west side. When they arrive, they find Greed and Demise waiting for them.
"Cripes! What took you so long?" Greed asks. "We found the girl!"
"You did?!" Malice gasps. "Where? Did you nab the little brat? What about her mother?"
"We don't have her, not yet," Greed says. "I thought about going in with just me and Demise, but we didn't dare. The little girl isn't with her mother. Phoebe Hiro is still somewhere at the battlefront. But her daughter is right here! She's in the hospital just above us!"
Greed points her finger toward the cliff a few hundred feet above their heads. Malice follows her finger and scowls. "What?! The hospital? And we wasted all that time, too! You should have just grabbed the kid and scrammed!"
"We couldn't," Greed says. "Because the girl has a protector. She's not alone! You won't believe who's with her!"
Malice scowls. "Who? Just tell me! Stop wasting time!"
"It's Belial! The former Second Emperor! She's in the hospital healing humans! We sensed her aura when we got close. That's how we found the girl. If we try to grab her, Belial will detect us. We all have to work together to overpower the succubus!"
Malice's anger and annoyance subsides. She falls silent for more than a minute, contemplating Greed's words.
"Belial. The Second Emperor. Damn. Of all the rotten luck, for her to be here and not at the battlefield. Nobody's seen the demon who took over the First Emperor's position after Satan's death, so that technically means Belial is the strongest demon in the First Hell. We mere Shades aren't nearly strong enough to take her on. Only Master Yama himself could ever be her opponent."
Vicious frowns. "Huh? What do you mean? We're Shades! Belial can't touch us! She's a physical fighter! Beelzebub is way more dangerous than her, what with his flames and all!"
Malice glances at Vicious, then at Greed. "You're too young, Vicious. You haven't seen Belial fight before. She's scary when she's angry. In terms of physical strength, not even Bael or Barbatos is her equal. She's stronger than all of the Hidden Emperors too. Most demons don't know this, but Belial can project low-level energy fields. They aren't versatile, but because of her vast mana reserves, they're insanely strong. If we get too close, she can rip us right out of the darkness and crush our Dark Cores to bits. We'll have to keep away from her and try to slow her down if we want to grab the Hero's daughter."
Demise, having kept silent the whole time, pounds her chest. "I will fight Belial. Malice, you join me and Greed. Vicious will capture the girl."
"Hmm," Malice grunts. "You're definitely the strongest Shade, but you're no match for Belial. You only have the strength of an Ascended Orc. That's not nearly enough to contend with the Second Emperor."
"That does not matter," Demise replies. "I will fight. You shall slow Belial down. We must follow Master Yama's orders. He wants the child. We must give him the child."
"Fine, we'll do it your way," Malice says. After considering her options, she realizes she doesn't have much of a choice. "Vicious. I'll have to rely on you. If I work together with Greed and Demise, the three of us might be able to stall Belial for a bit. You will have to grab the child and run. We'll follow you right afterward."
"Assuming Belial doesn't kill us, that is," Greed adds, annoyance in her voice. "Damn. Never thought I'd have to face death at the hands of an Emperor. This is not how I wanted to go out!"
"We will prevail because we must," Demise says, her intimidating voice somehow reassuring Greed. "Do not lose heart. Belial is strong, but so am I. If I must die, then I shall do so in battle."
Greed sighs. "Most of us just want to pick off the juicy parts of the steak, not choke on the bone. In comparison, you're a damned battle-freak."
"Many thanks for the compliment," Demise says, turning to look at the cliffs above. "Daylight approaches. We must hurry."
Greed doesn't point out that her words weren't complimentary. She merely groans and falls into position behind Demise. "Vicious, Malice, just follow us. We took a peek at the hospital's halls. There are plenty of rooms with the lights off. We'll sneak in through a window and make our way toward the Second Emperor. If we're lucky, the child will wander away at an opportune moment."
"If we don't have to risk our necks, that would be for the best," Malice says with a nod. "I'll die for Master Yama if he gives the command... but that's only 'if.' No reason to throw myself away for one of his casual whims."
Vicious cracks a sinister smile. "Hehehe! This is getting interesting! I hope the little girl is as Grade-A as Master Yama likes! It'd be a shame if she was some ugly, buck-toothed brat."
"Yeah, that would be a shame indeed," Greed mutters.
"Alright, let's go!" Malice hisses. "Keep low, and watch out for patrolling humans!"
All of the other Shades nod in unison. "Yes!"
.......................................
FOR RETURNING READERS FROM CLASSIC: Please use spoiler tags when commenting on anything that might ruin the story for new readers, especially if that information is based on your knowledge of Classic!
This is what a spoiler looks like! Click it to reveal the text!
owo?
>!This is what a spoiler looks like! Click it to reveal the text!!< 
submitted by Klokinator to TheCryopodToHell [link] [comments]

FS52: Rebooking The Women’s Tag Team Championship PI: Ride Horsewomen!

Build To WrestleMania:
On the hot rails to Wrestlemania, the night after Elimination Chamber, Lita and Trish Stratus have a groundbreaking announcement that will change the landscape of the Women’s Division. The two hall of famers make their way to the ring which hosts a mysterious red velvet tapestry on a stool, as all eyes look on. “The women’s revolution has taken hold of the WWE, with stars like Becky, Charlotte, Asuka, Rhea Ripley, and Kairi Sane, all rising up and stealing the show. They’ve had their first Hell In A Cell Match, the first Royal Rumble, hell they main evented many PPVs. But the one thing they haven’t done is main event WrestleMania, but this year that changes...Because not only will the women main event WrestleMania, but they will be fighting for the new Women’s Tag Team Championship! Trish Stratus removes the tapestry, revealing the glistening tag team championship. “Who better than the Four Horsewomen? Becky and Charlotte will team up to take on Sasha Banks and Bayley.”
I DON’T GIVE A DAMN ‘BOUT MY REPUTATION! Ronda Rousey storms out furious that she’s not included in the main event. “The women here have that always been on the cusp of breaking out here, but it was me and my success in UFC that brought all the eyes on the women’s division.” The crowd is livid as they boo her. “Yeah I said UFC, and you all know it’s true. Without Ronda Rousey, there would be no talks of a Wrestlemania event. So I demand I be put in the match.” Lita laughs at the request “With what partner” CRACK! Lita collapses as a steel chair snaps her spin and the attacker sends Trish Stratus into the turnbuckle. It’s Shayna Baszler! Ronda joins in on the beat down as the two clear the ring and hold up the WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship.
Backstage we see the uneasy and unholy alliance of Charlotte and Becky. “Look Becky we got our issues but we have to put them aside. We have an opportunity that the many women before us could only dream of. If you got your issues with me, fine I get it, but let’s win the main event of Wrestlemania, okay? Do you really want them, outsiders who are freeloading off our work to not only becoming the inaugural WWE Women’s Tag Team Champions but to win the first ever Women’s Wrestlemania Main Event? As much as I hate to admit it, I need you...” Becky merely scoffs at the proposition, as she is seen exiting the room, only stiffening the uneasiness.
Shayna Baszler vs. Becky Lynch vs. Sasha Banks: In a high stakes match, the winner gets to chose the stipulation of the Wrestlemania event. Baszler and Banks both make their respective entrances, but Becky’s music plays with no Becky in sight. The ref goes to check on the back but Becky is nowhere to be found. An unprepared Charlotte is forced to compete as the show goes to commercial break. We come back and Baszler is absolutely slaughtering the competition. However Becky now shows up with a chair and sits promptly on the ramp, allowing a weakened Charlotte to take control. Charlotte now locks in a figure four on Banks but Baszler sneak from behind her and locks a kirifuda clutch. Two submissions are locked in, who’s going to tap first? Charlotte lets go and taps, as Baszler snatches an impressive win in her main roster debut. Charlotte looks at Becky and asks her where she was. Becky replies “If you wanted the tag match so bad, why don’t you get your hands dirty for once. Your father was the dirtiest player in the game after all. You don’t care about me the WWE or no one. All you want is another trophy, I just want to main event. See you at Mania.” Baszler announces that the match will be a TLC match.
Wrestlemania XXXV
In a segment before the main event, we see Charlotte meeting up with Sasha Banks and Bayley. “Now I know that we are opponents tonight, but I need to know if you guys will on my side. Becky is MIA and if you didn’t see last night, Shafir and Duke became the number one Contenders for the WWE Women’s Tag Championship by beating Sky Pirates, but they had the help of Baszler. Now I need to know that we have each other’s back just in case anything goes down.” Sasha smiles and replies “Yeah if they get involved, sure we got you, four horsewomen forever. But once the odds get even, you bet those titles are ours.”
Becky & Charlotte vs. Ronda & Shayna vs. Sasha & Bayley: A grueling forty minute match that absolutely deserves the WrestleMania main event slot, these six women give it their all. Baszler and Ronda armed to the teeth with weapons flatten the others out, but Bayley and Sasha double team with a ladder to regain momentum. Bayley goes and climbs the ladder but Shafir and Duke come out and thwart the attempt, knocking her off the ladder, but she lands on her feet. The four WWE horsewomen and the four UFC horsewomen stare down for a moment before it falls into absolute chaos. Chairs, ladders, tables and seven broken bodies. Becky emerges from the fray and attempts to climb the ladder when she is whacked by a steel chair! Charlotte lays out Becky and shouts “Your damn right it’s about me” as the crowd boos. Charlotte climbs the ladder now finger tips away from getting the title when Sasha and Bayley get up and grab each leg of the ladder. Charlotte pleads to them to let go, but they don’t listen as she is dumped from her castle on high, falling onto Baszler and Rousey, as all three go right through the announcer’s table. Together Banks and Bayley climb up the rungs and yank down the titles, winning the main event and becoming the inaugural WWE Women Champions.
Build To Money In The Bank
On the Monday Night Raw after WrestleMania, a teary eyed Sasha Banks and Bayley open the show celebrating their victory, saying it that their dream came true of main eventing WrestleMania and the best thing is that they did it together. However, they certainly didn’t forget that a certain team stuck their nose where it didn’t belong last night. At WrestleMania they proved that women can be in the main event of WrestleMania, and at Money In The Bank they will prove that WWE women are better than the UFC women by beating the final two.
Shafir and Duke come out and say that Bayley and Banks lucked into the WWE Women’s Championship with the explosion of Becky and Charlotte, as they were the better half of the WWE Four Horsewomen. In a straight up one on one brawl, they stand no chance, especially now that they have no backup and they have Ronda and Baszler.
Money In The Bank
Shafir and Duke vs Sasha Banks and Bayley:
The two bitter teams go head to head in a daunting match, with Shafir and Duke taking the early advantage. However Bayley shifts the tide by nailing a Bayley to Belly! 1..2..NOPE! Duke kicks out. Baszler and Ronda are out for blood, ready to exact their revenge but somebody pops out from the crowd. It’s Becky! Becky lays a flurry of fists, dispatching of Baszler and Rousey, allowing for Becky and Bayley to retain their titles! Becky joins Banks and Bayley in the celebration, as they are missing one of the four horsewomen.
Women’s Money In The Bank Match: Another impressive spectacle, Charlotte is about to climb the ladder when Becky hits Charlotte off the ladder with a steel chair, depriving her of her moment just as Charlotte cost her her moment,allowing Bayley to pick up the win to become Ms. Money In The Bank
Build To Extreme Rules
Charlotte opens Raw, addressing Becky. “Everyone thinks that I betrayed the Four Horsewomen but the truth is that they betrayed me, because they are jealous of who I am and where I come from. Deep down they know they will never be royalty like The Queen herself and all they have is each other, but I will snuff them out, one by one, starting with Becky herself. At Extreme Rules I challenge Becky to a Last Woman Standing match!” A frothing Becky accepts the challenge. “You were never a Horsewomen, Bayley, Sasha, and I built ourselves up from the bottom up to become the foundation of the Women’s Division, where you just took all the credit. See you at Extreme Rules.”
The next week, Bayley and Sasha say that now they beaten the UFC women, they have proven that they are the best, they beat women from all three brands and are now looking for fresh competition. From the back come out the women who introduced the Women’s Tag Titles, Lita and Trish Stratus. “We’ve seen what you have done, and color us impressed, but now it’s time to test your skills against two hall of famers, so Extreme Rules sound good?” Sasha and Bayley agree to the match setting up a colossal match.
Extreme Rules
Becky vs Charlotte Last Women Standing Match, winner gets title shot of their choosing: In a brutal matchup, this one goes on for ages, as the brutal feud wages on. In the closing minutes of the bout, a desperate Charlotte nails a Natural Selection off the stage and into the technician’s wires. 8...9...10! A double count this match goes to a draw, the title shot now up in the air.
Lita and Trish Stratus vs. Sasha Banks and Bayley: In a tumultuous brawl, we see Lita displaying her extreme tendencies by sandwiching Bayley and Banks in between a ladder. The two vets give the young guns a run for their money, but ultimately Bayley hits a Bayley to Belly on Stratus onto a ladder, to pick up the win and retain their titles.
Build To Summerslam
We open the show with Charlotte and Becky arguing over who is owed a title shot in Stephanie’s office, when Triple H comes in. “The stipulation clearly stated a title shot, not two title shots, so the only title that two women can challenge for is the Women’s Tag Championship, so I recommend you two work together. If either of you leaves the match, you will e fired promptly.I saw the greatness of the Four Horsewomen in NXT, and I’m sure you four will be the recapture lightning in a bottle once again and give the people what they want. That’s why at Summerslam, it will be Bayley and Sasha vs Charlotte and Becky in a 60 minute iron woman match, the same stipulation that Sasha and Bayley had in the first women’s PPV main event! Becky and Charlotte both unhappy storm out.
The next week, Sasha and Bayley open the show, pleading that Charlotte and Becky put their differences aside. “All we want is a clean match, a showcase of all our talent out there. I really hope that regardless of the outcome that all four of us will be able to close the show together and redeem ourselves after what happened at WrestleMania. Let’s give them a match that these titles deserve.”
To test their cohesiveness as a tag team, Charlotte and Becky have a match against the Sky Pirates. Charlotte and Becky make their entrance even though the tension is thick. A headstrong Charlotte touts that she’s got this and refuses to even acknowledge Becky’s existence. Charlotte teases a tag in by extending her hand but pulls it away, and does the signature flair strut when Sane takes advantage and nails a drop kick. Kairi lays a flurry of offense against her and nails her patented elbow drop! 1..2..2 3/4 KICK OUT! Charlotte gets out! She drags herself to Becky to tag her in, but Becky jumps off the ring skirt, saying that Charlotte can do it on her own. Sane lays in more offense before dropping a second elbow and picking up the win.
On the go home show to Summerslam, Becky cuts a promo saying that she is willing to work with Charlotte but she needs to realize that she can’t do it on her own. Throughout the last four months, they’ve been at each other’s throats and she’s willing to call it even. Charlotte comes out and digs her heel further in saying that she tried to make amends with Becky but she declined. She will never forgive Becky and will only compete just not to get fired.
Summerslam
Bayley and Sasha vs. Charlotte and Becky 60 Minute Iron Woman match:
In the highly anticipated main event of Summerslam all four of the horsewomen put on an absolute clinic. The two teams are tied 3-3 with Charlotte and Becky barely interacting. A minute left on the clock and Sasha left alone in the ring, the two look at each other and decide to team up to pick up the win. Becky nails a Bexploder suplex as Charlotte follows it up with a Natural Selection! Bayley picks up an unsuspecting Becky and nails a Bayley to Belly on Becky! Five seconds on the clock, Charlotte pins Banks and Bayley pins Becky directly across from each other. 1..2..2 1/2 Charlotte gives a nod of respect and lets go of her pin right before 3, allowing Bayley to gain the 3 count to retain the Women’s titles! A beaten Charlotte picks up a broken Becky as they join Sasha and Bayley, the four horsewomen finally putting their differences aside and making their amends!
Hope you all enjoyed, thanks for reading and keep an eye out for Atlas’s Part 2!
submitted by ReceiverOfDeception to FantasyBookingElite [link] [comments]

This is part 1 of an already published 2-part story but I think it's too long and dragging and the more I think about it.... it's just a mess. There's also something like a riddle in the text maybe someone can tell me how to improve it and if the bizarreness is just silly or worth something? Please?

You ever sit around all day don’t know what to do? So bored of yourself that you just look at anything until you feel the rot creep up on you trying to drag you down. Well if you’re reading this, you must have some time on your hands. The name is Don Kowalski by the way.
My uncle used to say ,Gotta get out boy’ he said, ,You’re in a dark spot some time and when you’re in it keep going. Take it all, breath it in. Keep going. Always keep going.’ – ironic since he killed himself in a hunting accident out somewhere in woodland. I suppose he didn’t want to miss his prey and kept going after it. Kept going.
It started to work. For a few days you fight, and you struggle as sailors in a dry ditch or on a dry glass and you keep going, push forward and nothing comes from it until you know nothing will come from it. Such was time for me at the outbreak of our lovely new friend Covid. My one-part-off-part girlfriend Alessandra was with her family in Florida and so I shared the sunriddled apartment only with booze and screens.
Time was the enemy although it hadn’t been so from on early. It didn’t have to be this way. In the beginning, I was thrilled staying put, living only at home, downing a bottle here a bottle there took me months to realize that getting drunk wasn’t much exciting when you could do it every day. Lifting was no fun at home without the showoff.
The thrill wasn’t there without the mirrors and the others and I would not give empty testament. So I was stuck, down deep in my black chair with my greying hair clinging greasy to my head and the stubble on my face growing thicker and thicker like hedges and forests of dry metallic wires drilling themselves deep in my naked skin.
I sat on the chair, blue light penetrated me and I watched into it like someone getting lost in the sun to see caleidoscopic patterns afterwards for minutes and some stare in the dark ponds in gardens and across them and I stared into the unknown abbeys of the internet until I found something that hooked me. Interest was reborn, the cherubim and thrones sang, and I was again digging for knowledge on the riddle.
It was the case of Nathan, not Lessing’s I mind you. You got to know I’m, and I know this sounds like the start of a bad pulpy novel, I’m a PI or what the cool cats call it now. Private Investigation, looking at lives for a fuck of money but better than to slither up buttholes at the ordinary stational sedentary life I once had and was led in. I was called up, by a Mrs. Anderson, whose voice sounded like a whisky drowned chimney.
Carry Ann Anderson had called about a friend who was now dead meat. The case was solved she said but somehow it was not, not for her. There was rot on the inside of fresh timber. A fair warning here – there won’t be no solution, cause certainly me didn’t solve it. I told her so, when she called again. I hadn’t been to LA and going there was a waste, I knew as much already. For her sake I called the department over there and talked to the detective. She wasn’t going to be happy with my findings.
Gluing a mask of false politeness to my voice I asked, “So what’s the matter hm?”
“They say it’s all real simple: kid snapped and did it. But something ain’t right. You see I knew her back from the day, from Sacramento. I can tell you, this boy was no of these Columbines or Sandy Hooks, he would never hurt them.”
“That’s what the parents of those kids said too,” I said, uncomfortable silence on the other end.
“Something’s just off about this. You saw the files already?”
“Mhm. Didn’t do much good.”
“Tell you this: the officers said the same. Said it’s all there orderly and not like some coverup or some shit they tell you like the conspiracy theories on TV you know? Like they had to dig for it you know? Not too difficult and not too easy but also not in between not your textbook stuff either. Not odd he said. But said that it all around made it odd. Made it seem odd, still, somehow. Seems like not the type to do it. You know he said type? He spat them words out on me,” she said.
There I was. I made some calls asked about the kid that chopped down his family, sat his flat up like a Christmas tree and coaled it down to the ground, all in a cozy night. One day to the other and a bunch of people gone.
I find a pal of his, named Erica Cremonte. She was willing to talk. Told me when it happened and went down and all the other stuff. Other guys didn’t talk or told me how shitty they feel about it all. I dug a bit deeper inside Erica since she was the only source of water in the land of dry lands, she told me a bit more, opened up like an old lady to the cashier or waiter or the poor sod at the bus. Told me about Nathan and his family and his brother and his girlfriend her few idle feel-good weeks in Africa and the funeral. And that it didn’t make sense to her either.
And the days go by and I start to forget about the whole thing since there’s no leads and none won’t talk and I give up. Call Mrs. Anderson and tell her there is nothing and she doesn’t understand the whys in my words but she knows them and we agree to part ways and wish each other a nice day and she’s gone.
Days and weeks and months go by and I forget. Then I am locked here in front of the monitor and it all comes back and something in me stirs and after hours I stare at the profile of one Margaret Suarez and see the condolences on her Facebook profile.
I write to her and days pass me by, drinking lifting reading and boredom, the old familiar gent from around the corner walks up again until there’s a response. Asks me how I found her, what I wanted. Calls me and tells me all about the disfigured creep that slashed her mother in the office. Digs deeper and finds all the glory all the madness in the last mail, sent from her mother’s account.
He left something for us and I will share it with you. Keep in mind it’s all ludicrous but it will help pass some hours. So, the following is the written word of Nathan Cohen, brought to paper after he killed his therapist while locked up in the cuckoo’s nest.
##########################################################################
Sometimes I look up at the sky, at night. I wonder, is the lightning of the stars hidden by the vast dark, or is the darkness a shield? A shield that keeps us safe and calm from countless eyes that stare at us?
Back then I didn’t care for the night. The air was on fire from the red morning sun, every time the same, from grad school to that day when those good Fast Times at Ridgemont High started. In the beginning it was only dark shades of purple and crimson until the firmament turned to face blood.
A line of mystic clouds was in the sky, creeping forward like a white river. The street came alive minute by minute, looming trashmen came to empty our waste in the stark dust flying around. It was better in the hills with the cooling breeze before the onset of dawn.
Back then life was soft and kind and sometimes the only touch of madness was a killed hedgehog on the street or two poisoned cats in the neighborhood. Now, the sky is blue and white and partly covered in striped clouds standing static on the package of my pills. My name is Nate Cohen. Or was. A sitting corpse though I might sit and breath and eat and drink but I don't laugh or sing or cry. The laid out actions of others, that brought me here, might seem untrue for they can’t be proven, but I assure you they are true.
All of them. I don't know what will happen after I hit the "send" button but you all need to know there is a shade of acid in the world you don't taste or smell, but it burns your face like brimstone like flame-gas scorching your eyes like the sun was just the backside of a black hole. You'll see.
I was born Nathaniel Cohen in 1991 in the glory land of sunshine, to Ira and Susan. We lived down in Sacramento, my father running flocks of cars from behind a stuffed desk, and my mother gave pottery classes every Tuesday and Thursday night, taught a few friends how to make halfskilled molds of clay. Dad was a bold man always chasing dreams of living without a mortgage, and Mum supported but was like a happy young girl and bathed in the sounds of Sunday lawnmowers and plastic pools, water from the hose filtered the rays of solar bronze.
I guess in their own ways both were not real, maybe that was what tied them together. We weren't rich but not poor.
Playful on weekends I built forts and donjons between California sycamores and gray pine and hunted and ran with classmates and friends and neighbor's kids that grew grizzled worker’s brown over their small shapes.
I was happy before and afterwards, but loss is like a sharp pin in the foot, long lost by a sewing woman, too lazy to pick up her needles. Until then, when I was under or over 11 and my progenitor decided he needed to be home faster or sooner or was just hungry, and crashed into 2 men and 1 woman and one dog. Insurance and my grandparents (now long dead) kept us from sinking in the shelters of the homeless ones, but my mother needed work or we faced to lose the house.
The first months she worked as waitress at Ear’s, a rundown bar I wasn’t allowed to enter and so sat for hours on the warm sidewalks, gleaming red in the drowning sunlight and grey and sad under the smile of Mother Selene. Some days Mrs. Anderson watched me and I watched her, sipping slowly but frequent on cheap Chadonay. This went until some better showed up, and the months turned to over a year until that happened. My mother had studied contemporary art spending hours devouring Roy Lichtenstein and the likes and to find paying employment had never been on her mind, until some time as now.
Finally, after two years my mother got an offer from a small magazine in Los Angeles and we moved to this strange new world. Surprisingly, moving at the age of 13 was no fun but new friends found me as I slowly settled, when something changed.
Robert Berkowitz came into our life and took us in. He was a bald man with blonde eyebrows and eyes like glowing azures, he was no stranger to money and art, which was the way he’d gotten involved with Mum. They hit it right at each other and after some months or weeks, might it was just some weeks, he took us to his house in Beverly Hills, not far from where Foothill Road hits Park Way.
Beverly Palm Plaza was soon my second living room. Later, in the foul age of 16, I used all chances to leave the house into the mass of the 30.000 inhabitants living there, crossing the invisible line south of the tracks, where Pacific Electric had once worked streetcars on the Red Line. Eons ago in another world.
I did everything to leave home, my newborn half-brother Seth a crying shitting mess, stomping out silent thoughts with such vigor, that I agreed to join my mother on her monthly expeditions to the Los Angeles Country Museum of Art, near the buzzing Wilshire Boulevard. It was well worth the laughter from the beauties in blonde and black, and the cute Valley Girl that lived across from me. Life was good.
Robert tried to be a father, but in the end we formed a bond. He was there for me when I wanted and offered counsel and paid for my life while I enrolled in college, even helped my shallow dream to join in true Hollywood. After college I enrolled in the UCLA TFT program and, with help from my stepfather, finally landed a job at a production company, Reality TV. I started out as trainee and clawed my way finally to second assistant of the executive director of scripted TV development at Geronimo Grande Productions.
It wasn’t what I had dreamt of but at last I sustained myself, though Robert insisted to help with the rent for my flat on Kelton Avenue, where I still lived after graduating. Life was good back then, without the staring stars that tried to break through the night, away, far far away, Racing with the Moon.
I was 28 when the shades and clouds came over me. I was out with friends, a steamed night in the cool warm air’s vibrations around us.
We found a small restaurant near my place. Pitfire Artisan Pizza on 2018 Westwood Boulevard had brilliant Pesto Chicken and a damn fine Field Mushroom. I was there with Jules and Erica, enjoying dinner outside to the left of the entrance, a silent small tree our only companion, until she walked by. Inside there was a meeting of some charity organization, The Cotton Club or something.
Hair like ironed black jasper and ascetic nude makeup, she strolled by in a white tank top and black yoga pants, the matt casually under her arm. I didn’t stop staring at her. I couldn’t. Some birds in some nearby trees seemed to whistle after her and she turned around, just for a second, as if to say come after me Birdy.
“You in love Naty?” asked Erica, the flower from the valley with the flaxen mob on her head, sitting across from me.
“No,” I stuttered “Just caught my eye. Nothing.”
“Sure,” grinned Jules between his teeth, “Mine too.” he said, folding his tattooed arms in front of his chest, tongue shoved in the corner of his mouth smiling like a bobcat dressed in jeans and shirt of the same fabric, The Boy in Blue.
“Why don’t ask for her number? She’s just down the corner.”
“Isn’t that kinda creepy?”
“Most women like a bit of creeps, ” Jules howled up at his own joke, his hat nearly falling from the back of his head as he raised it up and slapped his left knee.
“Oh, shut up predator,” I waved off, before I turned to Erica “You don’t think that’s awkward?”
“Not if a guy like you asked. I remember a friend of mine met her husband like that, now Peggy Sue Got Married,” she smiled and put her head to the side. Too perfect white Hollywooddream teeth.
I had seen the Girl turning left and jogged away from the Pitfire, still hearing Jules laughing, when I saw her near La Grange Ave. She cut another corner up right so I ran after her, praying to find her. Yet to the grace of my bad luck, she was gone. The street in front of me was not crowded but the vixen from my dreams was vanished. Hands empty and defeated I returned to the table.
“Vae victis,” announced Jules, as he saw my hollow eyes. I never had a poker face until now. With half your face in mashed up molten scartissue it’s difficult to show emotion and I wonder, so far from home will the sun ever show herself again, will it fill anyone out her, raise itself, Raising Arizona?
“Did she say no?” blonde Erica asked with true empathy.
“Seems I lost her,” I said, trying to hide my disappoint. Just a few seconds more decisiveness and my life might have changed.
“Well let’s go, search a new one,” Jules sprang up and clapped.
Let’s go. The words rang, as I tumbled out of the cab up to my flat, the Girl long forgotten for the next few months until another fateful day, when I went to my gym. Workout and work kept me focused for a time and it was mostly night when I came home.
I admit I was a glutton. I had to work out at least three times a week, gym rats they call them. Muscled sweat pouring gales of raw testosterone into the halls. The Equinox Gym was my favorite in Westwood and I had been a paying patron for years now and knew more faces there than in the streets around my neighborhood. I had just left after a session of pumping my brains out, when I saw her crossing me by.
“Hey,” I blurted out in reflex.
She tilted her hand. Black hair, a shimmer of brown in the dusky sunlight, dark eyes and a friendly smile took me right home. Right where I belonged.
“Hey yourself,” she said, raising one eyebrow.
“Do I know you?” she asked, without arrogance, her black-brown hair gently thrown over the left shoulder. Love leaking out of every pore I muttered a plain “Yes”. Before she had a chance to pass me by.
“Sorry. I meet a lot of people lately,” she smiled “Are you in one of my courses?”
“Courses?”
“Well, here,” she grinned. Small white teeth and a thick red snail that crouched behind them, giving them shelter and backup, all the same.
“Ah no. I think, you passed by a pizza palor couple of weeks ago?” I stuttered in embarrassment, trying to suppress redness swelling on my cheek.
“Yes, that’s on my way. So, you’re my new stalker?” She laughed.
“Well, don’t I feel honored,” I extended my hand “My name’s Nate, by the way.”
“Amy. Amy Gallagher,” she raised a slim white wrist in the shade of the California sundown.
This was the day I really met Amy Gallagher for the first time. I rue it every moment in the coffin of my sterile being with the stars laughing at me and the disc in the sky calling my name making me all Moonstruck.
We set a date for the Saturday to come. I thought it fitting to go for Italian and led her to Sammy’s down at Santa Monica Boulevard. It wasn’t too expensive (I didn’t want to come across as one of those guys) but stylish enough to show her I had some taste stored in me. She wore a stunning babyblue dress just touching the tips of her knees, and her black mane was straightened in a long tail crowning her right pale shoulder. When she saw me, she licked her lips as if to prepare me for her Vampire’s Kiss. Sammy was a first gen from Palermo, old now he longed for his home and always liked to impress with native extravaganza.
“Ciao ragazzi!” he said as I walked my stunning Kypris down the cheap red carpet between trashy fake Roman plastic pillars.
“Come stai?” Amy replied, took his arm and left me somber.
They chatted a bit in Italian, what they said I do not know, but I knew the small thing in my belly, the knot of discomfort in my stomach. Laughs and eyes on me. Cheers swallow the jokes.
“You’re full of surprises,” I tried to gain control of the tilting ship, unnecessarily clawing my black hair back.
“You got no idea,” she pressed her tongue between a marble row of perfect teeth, a small red viper watched out from the cave of her mouth.
We talked of hard work, of idle time, of family the usual first-date-topics broken up by a hand of awkward pauses in between, like flashes in the storm.
“My family’s not from around here.”
“Neither’s mine.”
“So whose Italian? Mom or Dad? I bet your Dad.”
“None of them,” she grinned “I picked it up couple years ago.”
Movies, theater, literature, antipasti, strange people, more hobbies, main dish, skipping desert and I rolled from over her in my half of the bed (thank god I had cleaned up before I left).
Time flew like night owls and bats and the days were filled with wet noises. I visited some of her Yoga classes, though it didn’t suit me. She visited me on my work. I showed her around the crappy little rooms we sat in and all awed at her body and face.
The nights were like Sunday afternoons with her and all ungood became stored noise in the corner, so became my dead father and her dead family and my aspirations in Hollywood and her degree from John Hopkins and my love for seafood and her fishnet dress and here working Never on Tuesday. Three months and there was the big day.
“So you’re the famous Amy!” mother opened her arms to greet her, eager to impress. Hard embarrassment as Robert did the same, while Seth waved at her and whispered a shy “Hi”, acting so often like young male teens, caught in the web of a child’s mind and a growing body.
Mother had insisted to cook and so we all chowed away on something resembling orange Lasagna, chowing away with the Time to Kill until it was all over. Robert tried to save grace by filling up after each bite and putting on some of his favorite tunes. Wine spilled on the tablecloth like the face of Christ.
“Nothing better than the master,” he prophesized while laying on a small fortune in the body of an old vinyl version of “Sweet Home Chicago”, his second most favorite behind “Fire Birds”.
“You like to make deals yourself Nate told me,” Amy teased with a smile, Wild at Heart but calm and in control.
“Oh, we got an expert over here!” he teased back.
“I knew some devils myself,” she curled her pink lips, deviously looking from my chest to my eyes.
“I bet you still do,” Robert winked and tucked away as my mother gave him a noticeable kick under the table with a smile on her face.
“So, you’re a Yoga-instructor?” asked the former waitress, sucking out the air of the room.
“Amy is actually a doctor,” I deflected as she took my forearm softly, clinging for support.
“A doctor? That sounds nearly like what Zandalee did! Remember Zandalee? She was the girl down the street who had that accident a few years ago?” asked Robert, ignored by the rest.
“Why not work in a hospital or a clinic?” asked my mother.
“You must know, Western medicine is very limiting. There are many ways to keep oneself healthy, but you got to be open minded and have the stomach for it,” she laughed.
“You mean like this Eastern stuff?”
“Well there’s many older tricks to keep oneself in good shape,” she said before switching the topic “Nate says you two are art enthusiasts?”
“I don’t want to brag but I know my way around,” said Mum.
“Well me certainly not,” said Seth annoyed, a bored sigh escaped his lips, barely noticeable the runt of the egomaniac litter.
“Who made that wristband?” Amy inquired “It looks really cool!”, prompting a hidden prideful smile from my little brother who had put a small plastic pearl on a leather band knotted around his wrist.
“I did,” Seth said, as he stared awkwardly at the table.
“Don’t be shy baby,” said my mother “he’s usually not like that.”
“Just not interested in girls yet.”
“Are you famous?” asked the child, his cheeks bright red.
“No, I’m afraid I’m not,” said my love, giggling like an imbecile on her Honeymoon in Vegas.
“You sure? Aren’t you from the poor family?” asked the child again.
“Why do you ask?”
“I saw you on TV. You’re in that show about it.”
“Seth what are you talking? Stop that nonsense!” insisted my mother.
“It’s not nonsense,” said the child
“Enough now!” said mother.
“Ready for some games?” asked Robert as we dropped Seth’s fantasy.
“As ready as Amos & Andrew,” answered my Mum.
We spent the rest of the eve with talk and drink and spilled chips and even attempted to gamble on a bit of Ma-Jong before everyone sighed in boredom and we drove back to Amy’s place at Red Rock West with the Deadfall of the evening behind us. Usually, I had no trouble sleeping somewhere else and I had been to her little house at the fringes of the city’s civilization more often than not and when I woke at 03:00 a.m. the room smelled like gasoline. The TV was dead. We had watched something didn’t we? I thought “Guarding Tess” or “It Could Happen to You” was just starting when we dropped in. The things I knew were all so useless, I thought, what did it all do me good to know A Century of Cinema?
The bed was empty except for my own sweaty body, the smell like tiny razors in my nose, and when I called out, the only response was nothing from the hallway. I made my way outside on the corridor when I heard the whispers. At first I thought they came from the dirty bathroom but the closer I came towards the stairway the clearer it was.
Some voice was talking in the kitchen. Hiding my presence, I gazed through the open door and saw my girlfriend stare up at the moon, her voice barely a sound in it’s dead light. I didn’t hear what she said but for a while it seemed like there was someone else with us, someone who saw me and pointed a finger, led to her turning around, her eyes open and wide locking on my face. I jumped back at the swift surprise, as she called my name.
“Nate?” she asked me with a hunted voice, as if ready to give me the Kiss of Death.
“Y-Yeah. Everything all right Babe?”
“Sure. What you doing down here?”
“You were talking.”
“Did I wake you up?” she opened her arms to hug and we embraced another. Something wasn’t right.
“What you doing here? It’s after 4 in the morning and you here in the kitchen.” I left the words hanging in the air.
“You never noticed? I sleepwalk, always have. You really never woke up to this before? Did it since I was a baby when we were Leaving Las Vegas.”
I had no idea what she said. She told me it had happened to her since she was a child and that she had strange dreams of the moon and would wake up in the kitchen or the living room, mouth dry which meant she talked for long times, though to whom or what, she never said. Said it happened when she fell with the head right on the top of The Rock. We went back to bed but something was off. There was a noise. Or was there? I tried to turn around, roll over, Amy’s soft snoring next to me. Still a noise. Or not? Yes, yes definitely a noise. Or not?
A crackling sound, I jumped up. Slowly I crept outside the bed. Maybe just a bird had hit a window, had happened before. I crouched into the hallway, it came from the door. There was someone outside. Someone whistling. Slowly I made my way towards it, careful not to make the outsider aware of my presence.
I heard him breath or something that seemed like breathing. Half-breathing. Through the peephole I saw the void outside. There was nothing, just darkness and that whistling noise, soft and barley hearable.
It changed. Like light but not light, maybe orange or red. Did someone make a fire? Who would make fire in a building? It was like a bright red ring surrounding the black void. Then it blinked and I fainted.
Weeks came about and went by and work took me up as our next big project came, on my side always dutiful two new interns who often filled the whole office with the smell of fries they brought with them. We were in one of the smaller conference rooms, clean metal filled with flecks from cheap food, taking short breaks in between the longing working hours.
Sometimes I would use the breaks to talk some things through with my boss, always eager to show him how dedicated and thankful I was. His office had his name on the door but every time I couldn’t suppress the image of Very Important Pennis: Uncut on it. My tow fellow working drones were out to grab some snacks and I enjoyed the insularity of the room and took deep breaths, breathing through, Con Air from its powerful oxygen.
In my hand, a cup of coffee laying my eyes on the window, down on the people who passed another on the concrete between the pavements, when at the corner a man stood still. He was not ordinary. He just stood there. Had he stood here before? I don’t know but he stood and watched and then waved. Did he wave his hand at me? I came closer and tried to see what he was doing.
He raised his arm up in 45 degrees, and a single finger pointed at me like a spear as I gasped. Was this man mad? Was he seriously looking at me? There was something odd with him, I knew. There was something with his grimace, his Face/Off like he didn’t belong here.
Not on the street, but right here right that he was wrong in the City of Angles with his staring and unblinking Snake Eyes. As if he licked the thoughts in my head he violently shook his face up and down, loosening his slicked back brown hair and he smiled like a kid until for a moment his skin shook looked like a loosened mask. Then he hopped from one leg to the other, passers just ignored him, one to the other one to the other one to the other and bang he had fallen flat on the street crushing his head on the ground.
He lifted himself, blood tripling down on his brown suit and his white shirt and he did the same again. With full force he cracked his face on the hot concrete, again and again, sputtering teeth in all directions, still everyone ignored him and laughed at the sunfilled day.
As sudden as before he stood up, waved at me and ran away around the corner. In disbelief I kept standing and saw him look around the corner, staring at me until he produced an 8mm camera he pointed downwards. Then he started to spit around, all over the place as if that would have some effect like melting the stone or Bringing Out the Dead (which of course it didn’t).
Then he was gone in no time, Gone in 60 Seconds. Unbelievable what I had seen. When the interns returned, I pointed the spot out but the blood wasn’t there and the street so dirty clean like ever, and they thought I joked at them and turned their pimpled faces into smiles. Maybe it had just been bizarre performance, stranger things happened.
I told Amy of it and she agreed that it was nothing but an act or maybe really just a party clown or maybe someone who wanted to perform for his kids like The Family Man that he might be. I snugged up to her and pulled her close. I was happy and lucky and had to suppress that crunching emotion of bliss for a single time in my life only to accept the beauty in it with my shortloved heart.
I didn’t think about the man until a month later, it was weekend and Amy had her courses to give so I decided to grab my brother for a time at the beach. The hot sand around us we were lain out in the sun, talked about girls our mother and that his encroaching puberty started to cause tidal waves in the house. He was a good child and I tried to be as much a brother as I was. We were out in the water and then dried in the sun, palyed volleyball and disturbed elder people with it, when the sun tingled away.
Time had flown and I was glad I took the day to spend it with him. On our route home I filled up the car at the next gas station. There I met the Man again. Seth had taken time to make a visit to the toilet as I waited in the car. I was on my phone and scrolled through reviews for the coming movie night. I made a selection, “Captain Corelli’s Mandolin” it was and “Christmas Carol: The Movie” and “Windtalkers” but a newer Adaptation, I looked up and saw the Man in the front of the car. His blue eyes examined my face, brown suit brown hair, and he hopped back in one jump and picked something up.
It was a little beagle and he pulled the puppy tight to his chest and scratched him gently behind the ears, whispering something into them that sounded like Sonny, but I’m not sure. He looked again at my eyes and he smiled. I didn’t know how to react, so I smiled back at him and showed him my thumb up and prayed he may go away. He did not.
He dropped the puppy to the ground and kicked it and jumped on it.
I heard the yelp and whimpering from outside but was too shocked to do something. He jumped up and down time after time my mouth opened in terror as I saw the blood on his black shoes. Through all this he had this relaxed smile and looked at me.
The howls of the puppy stopped and he picked up the furry meat, the head a mess of bone shards and brain, one eyeball broken out, dangled down form the rest of the defiled carcass. The Man pulled the puppy tight to his chest and lifted his thumb, cradling his face in the red stew. He let it fell down to the ground again and kicked it again and again until it was bloods-and-bones-stew.
I opened the car door when Seth shouted, “Where are you going?” I turned around to see he poked his head in the rustic car and as I nudged to the front, I saw the Man was gone.
Headfirst I sprang out the car and nosedived on the street, my face nearly touched the asphalt. He was gone and so was the blood. Seth shouted out but I was inside the shop already and begged the young cashier for aid, asked her if she hadn’t seen the Man outside. Headlight eyes looked at me in fear as I tried to grab her shoulders over the counter. Dirt blew up all around me as I touched the dusty bins and shelves. After a babbling tirade I looked at the hand that clenched my arm. Seth looked bewildered at me, his eyes asked if I gone maniac.
I had scared him but it brought me back to reality, for a short time. We sat silent in the car until angry hoops of late afternoon commuters called for banishment. I turned around and parked on the lot, then called police. They weren’t skeptical like in the films, especially when I told them that I had seen the man before. An understanding face took notes and went inside to consult with the cashier. I called Mum.
“What you guys up to? What’s going on?”
“Mum,” I said. “There was this guy.”
“Did something happen with Seth? What did he do?”
“Nothing,” I said and watched from the frame of my sight how my brother curled up in the passenger seat. “It was just odd.”
“What’s the matter with you? You scared me to death,” she said. I couldn’t scare her with this. Had I really imagined it all? I called Amy but she didn’t answer.
There was nothing on the video, they said. Just me in the car staring bewildered then stumbling out like drunk. They gave me various explanations from dehydration to stress and left me and my brother there on the road.
I opened the door and fell on the couch. I told him about my encounters with the man and tried to find reasons for the strange behavior until he asked if I couldn’t file against a stalker. Was this Man stalking me? From one second to the other things made sense and didn’t seem as bad, or bad in a different way. I pulled over a stoic mask on my mad face and cheered him up as I felt his angst. I called Mum and told her everything was fine, just a misunderstanding, and she accepted my explanation with weary ease.
I ditched my list and let Seth choose a film and slumped on the couch with dry eyelids covering my headache.
I woke up from a noise at the door, Seth crouched on my shoulder in sleep. I was scared and turned around to see my Amy standing in front of me, trying to plug in her dead phone. We embraced and sat down in the bedroom far off from troubling my brother with my disturbing tale. Amy didn’t doubt me but seemed more skeptic crafting mighty fine tales of pranksters and jokers wandering around town scaring people to practice their grotesqueries.
After a half slice of pizza and a cold shower we sat down with Seth on the couch, he somewhat checking out my girlfriend’s body under the green summer dress, a piece of cloth befitting a city not in tune with itself but always in fake summer. We lied in bed afterwards, she behind me, pressed against my back. I drifted away with a headache and the blazing last sunrays shone behind my eyelids again, a flash of a smile of the Man and his rat teeth and his chopstick-dress and he all set on fire, just standing and smiling. I woke and stared in darkness, the moon smirking at my anguish. Night bathed the room and I heard the deep snoring sound of Amy, still behind me.
The pillow was hot and cooked my ear and brought back memories of a headache as to command to turn over my headrest to the cooling side of the equator, to hopefully fall fast back asleep but as I lifted up there in the split of the halfclosed door to the dark of the halls behind I saw the blazing eyes. Red glowing in the dark for a lifetime and a second, staring and blinking and a soft tickle of laughter. I crouched myself at Amy’s side and shook her softly, she mumbling as her eyes opened awake.
I told her there was a thing at the door in the apartment. Sober from sleep her grogginess fell in an instant, and stiff like a white candle, she was up in the bed next to me. Her hands turned on the light and I moved a finger to the mouth and slowly crawled out from the bed, scared and slow steps I leaped forward looking behind me to see her face. She got up after me and held a hand on my back, a sign of watchful reassurance.
The rest of my home was dark and silent but for the breathing of Seth on the couch who woke as I switched on the lightbulbs tingling above his hair. Questioning eyes, he asked what was going on, Amy sat down with him as I went through all rooms again.
Then in the bedroom I looked under the bed and there was nothing. Back in the darkness of the hallway, Amy whispered to me of talking to someone a therapist or a psychiatrist, as I just stared at the shadow of a Man that was next to me, his face inches away from mine.
submitted by don_h_kowalski to nosleepworkshops [link] [comments]

Getting Veela Powers Right

If an author must rely on Fleur's Veela heritage in a story, the least they can do is get the powers right.
Let's look at the key pieces of evidence.
Exhibit A
“What are veel — ?”
But a hundred veela were now gliding out onto the field, and Harry’s question was answered for him. Veela were women . . . the most beautiful women Harry had ever seen . . . except that they weren’t — they couldn’t be — human. This puzzled Harry for a moment while he tried to guess what exactly they could be; what could make their skin shine moon-bright like that, or their white-gold hair fan out behind them without wind . . . but then the music started, and Harry stopped worrying about them not being human — in fact, he stopped worrying about anything at all.
The veela had started to dance, and Harry’s mind had gone completely and blissfully blank. All that mattered in the world was that he kept watching the veela, because if they stopped dancing, terrible things would happen. . . .
And as the veela danced faster and faster, wild, half-formed thoughts started chasing through Harry’s dazed mind. He wanted to do something very impressive, right now. Jumping from the box into the stadium seemed a good idea . . . but would it be good enough?
“Harry, what are you doing?” said Hermione’s voice from a long way off.
The music stopped. Harry blinked. He was standing up, and one of his legs was resting on the wall of the box. Next to him, Ron was frozen in an attitude that looked as though he were about to dive from a springboard.
Exhibit B
“Fingers in your ears!” bellowed Mr. Weasley as the veela started to dance in celebration. Harry screwed up his eyes too; he wanted to keep his mind on the game. After a few seconds, he chanced a glance at the field. The veela had stopped dancing, and Bulgaria was again in possession of the Quaffle.
Exhibit C
The leprechauns, who had risen angrily into the air like a swarm of glittering hornets when Mullet had been fouled, now darted together to form the words “HA, HA, HA!” The veela on the other side of the field leapt to their feet, tossed their hair angrily, and started to dance again.
As one, the Weasley boys and Harry stuffed their fingers into their ears, but Hermione, who hadn’t bothered, was soon tugging on Harry’s arm. He turned to look at her, and she pulled his fingers impatiently out of his ears.
“Look at the referee!” she said, giggling.
Harry looked down at the field. Hassan Mostafa had landed right in front of the dancing veela, and was acting very oddly indeed. He was flexing his muscles and smoothing his mustache excitedly.
Exhibit D
The leprechauns had risen into the air again, and this time, they formed a giant hand, which was making a very rude sign indeed at the veela across the field. At this, the veela lost control. Instead of dancing, they launched themselves across the field and began throwing what seemed to be handfuls of fire at the leprechauns.
Watching through his Omnioculars, Harry saw that they didn’t look remotely beautiful now. On the contrary, their faces were elongating into sharp, cruel-beaked bird heads, and long, scaly wings were bursting from their shoulders —
Exhibit E
Farther still along the path, they walked into a patch of silvery light, and when they looked through the trees, they saw three tall and beautiful veela standing in a clearing, surrounded by a gaggle of young wizards, all of whom were talking very loudly.
“I pull down about a hundred sacks of Galleons a year!” one of them shouted. “I’m a dragon killer for the Committee for the Disposal of Dangerous Creatures.”
“No, you’re not!” yelled his friend. “You’re a dishwasher at the Leaky Cauldron. . . but I’m a vampire hunter, I’ve killed about ninety so far —”
A third young wizard, whose pimples were visible even by the dim, silvery light of the veela, now cut in, “I’m about to become the youngest ever Minister of Magic, I am.”
Harry snorted with laughter. He recognized the pimply wizard: his name was Stan Shunpike, and he was in fact a conductor on the triple-decker Knight Bus. He turned to tell Ron this, but Ron’s face had gone oddly slack, and next second Ron was yelling, “Did I tell you I’ve invented a broomstick that’ll reach Jupiter?”
“Honestly!” said Hermione, and she and Harry grabbed Ron firmly by the arms, wheeled him around, and marched him away.
Exhibit F
“I don’t know what made me do it!” Ron gasped again. “What was I playing at? There were people — all around — I’ve gone mad — everyone watching! I was just walking past her in the entrance hall — she was standing there talking to Diggory — and it sort of came over me — and I asked her!”
Ron moaned and put his face in his hands. He kept talking, though the words were barely distinguishable.
“She looked at me like I was a sea slug or something. Didn’t even answer. And then — I dunno — I just sort of came to my senses and ran for it.”
“She’s part veela,” said Harry. “You were right — her grandmother was one. It wasn’t your fault, I bet you just walked past when she was turning on the old charm for Diggory and got a blast of it — but she was wasting her time. He’s going with Cho Chang.”
I think there are a few key things to take from this.
The big one is that Veela have three distinct powers:
  1. Incredible, supernatural beauty, which includes luminescent skin. Harry was actually able to see the silvery glow lighting up the forest at night.
  2. The ability to cast an enchantment over men which robs them of their senses. This enchantment is tied heavily into their voice: note the repeated stress that was placed on putting your fingers in your ears to protect yourself from the enchantment. Dancing also appears to cast the spell, but to a lesser extent. Also note that the enchantment does not exactly inflame sexual desire or make them seem more attractive. Rather it seems like an almost defensive power that makes men do stupid things.
  3. The ability to turn into fireball-throwing humanoid avian creatures.
A second point to take away is that the presence of a Veela alone does not cast the "stupid-inducing enchantment". Harry was completely enchanted by their singing and dancing, but felt absolutely no effects from their presence in the forest. That implies that the effect of their presence is different in kind to the enchantment they can cast. That also ties in with the fact that looking at them doesn't put you under their spell so long as you have blocked your ears.
A third point is that Fleur is definitely not a full Veela. She's beautiful, but her skin doesn't literally glow silver. If it did, then it would have been obvious that she was a Veela, and yet everyone seems to just assume she's an unusually attractive witch - Harry telling them she was related to a Veela was news.
Now, this leaves a couple of hanging questions:
Firstly, if the presence of the Veela does not cast their enchantment, then what was going on in the forest clearing with people saying stupid things to the Veela there?
Secondly, what exactly was Fleur doing that enchanted Ron, given that it's unlikely that she started singing or dancing?
I consider the two questions essentially related.
One explanation is that these are just the natural reactions of certain men to supernatural beauty. One only has to walk past a construction site to see that some men have little filter between brain and mouth when it comes to beautiful women, and presumably inhibitions would be proportionally lower for a woman of supernatural beauty.
However, I think a superior explanation is that singing and dancing are the ways to cast the full "stupid-making enchantment", but that other uses of the voice and bodily movements may be able to project a similar spell in weaker form. So if Fleur was acting in a coquettish manner, maybe giggling or playing with her hair, then these actions would also project a similar power. While a Veela's presence alone doesn't cast the enchantment, various actions they take can do so unless you block them out by closing your ears.
Crucially, however, a Veela can't just sit there and mentally "turn on" some kind of "aura" of sexual attraction around themselves. Like most magic in the HP series, it has to be cast via physical actions. It also has to be perceived through the senses: there is no "area effect". Rather you have to hear and, to a lesser extent, see the Veela to be affected by them. Equally, since Veela are considered beautiful all the time (except when in bird form), but since the enchantment is not always there, a Veela's beauty is not a mental manipulation. They really are physically that beautiful.
submitted by Taure to harryandfleur [link] [comments]

Of Nite and Dei: [Chapter 4]

Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
“I must confess,” Lucifer regarded Yuki with a warm smile, “You are not the one I was expecting.”
Yuki’s eyes went wide as she regarded the massive angel who sat upon an otherwise unassuming, albeit giant, leather chair.
His massive white wings framed his muscular frame, all while long blond hair framed a flawlessly handsome face. Violet eyes glowed warmly but pulsed with a power that, though unseen, filled Yuki with a sensation of awe.
“I’m not?” She choked out, hesitant to approach the beautiful Angel. She was startled by his sheer size, as well as his absolutely gorgeous countenance. “If you weren’t expecting me… then who were you expecting?” she stammered slightly.
Lucifer smiled at Yuki with adoration, his violet eyes shimmering, “Someone who’s no longer with you, my dear.”
Yuki’s brow furrowed as thoughts of her father passed through her mind.
“Exactly,” Lucifer stated, his eyes boring into Yuki’s.
Yuki felt her stomach drop as she wondered if the Guardian before her could hear her thoughts. “Why am I seeing you? I didn’t expect to see the Guardian here when I opened the door,” Yuki stuttered.
Lucifer grinned knowingly to Yuki, “and I didn’t expect your path to lead to where it did either, but such is the joy and wonder of my children's’ free will.”
Lucifer towered over her even as he sat. He gracefully motioned to a small gilded tea set on a table beside him. His soothing and empowered voice beckoned, “Please sit, my daughter. Your cup is waiting, help yourself.”
He watched her expectantly, already sipping from his own steaming cup. It appeared that Lucifer had indeed expected one guest. Afternoon tea for two was elegantly laid out on a table next to him, and next to that was an empty seat. This seat was much smaller than the one occupied by the refined and colossal Guardian.
Yuki studied the elaborate table with interest. In addition to the fancy tea set, there was also a mouth-watering triple-tiered display of tiny sandwiches, scones, and cakes. She looked back to Lucifer in amazement. He was so majestic, so wonderful! Was she truly meant to sit and have tea with the Guardian himself?
“Don’t let the tea cool, dear,” Lucifer said softly, but with a hint of urgency in his voice.
Yuki obliged, happily settling into what proved to be an impossibly comfortable chair. She carefully poured a small amount of tea into her dainty porcelain cup. She clasped the small handle and brought it to her lips; it smelled divine. She was intensely aware of the Guardian’s powerful gaze upon her.
She took a tentative sip. As it touched her tongue, she instantly learned the true meaning of the word ‘heavenly’. Such excellence was something Yuki knew she could never recreate by herself.
“Your mind creates whatever it likes best,” the Guardian said with knowing amusement, “This flavor, you could never achieve it outside your mind, but in here? Flawless. And you, my dear, you deserve a bit of luxury right now with everything you’re currently enduring.” Lucifer looked at her with sympathy.
“My mind? So this isn’t real?” Yuki sipped the delicious tea, gazing at her reflection on the surface of the warm liquid.
“Reality is merely a matter of perception,” Lucifer chuckled, “This moment is very real, but only to you and me.”
“If I may ask, where’s my son? My husband?” Yuki inquired, suddenly flooded by thoughts of them, of how much she missed her sweet Geoffrey.
“Perfectly safe,” the Guardian reassured her. His response did not have his intended effect and instead caused Yuki to grow rather frantic.
“Don’t tell me that! What does that mean? Where are they?! And if this is all in my head, am I safe?!” Yuki attempted to stand but the Angel’s huge white wing quickly moved to firmly stop her, encircling her in a warm embrace.
“You are safe. They are safe. Everyone you love is perfectly fine, Yuki. I promise.” He looked at her earnestly, his violet eyes sincerely fixed on Yuki’s bright blue ones.
“…How can you be so certain?” Yuki asked quietly, almost dreading the answer.
Lucifer smiled affectionately and replied, “Because I am your father… and your father’s father, and his father’s father’s father, until the very beginning of your ancestral line.”
Yuki felt a grave shiver come over her - as if the bottom of her stomach had just fallen through the floor, and now she was free-falling.
Lucifer stood, slowly turning toward Yuki as he set his teacup down on the table. “No fear, my child.”
Yuki swallowed hard, nodding, her eyes widening as she took in his shocking height.
A subtle look of pride came over Lucifer’s face as he regarded her, “Yuki… So very strong and brave, my daughter. Loyal and stubborn as the best of them.” He lovingly placed his hand on Yuki’s shoulder.
Upon his touch, Yuki felt an intoxicating warmth spread over her, eliminating her tension. This gesture allowed her the courage to ask, “Did that blue stuff I drank kill me then?”
“You are not dead.” Lucifer chuckled, “I suppose you’d have preferred if I led with that, all things considered.”
Yuki laughed in relief, “Am I going to make it out of this alive?”
Lucifer laughed with her and took Yuki’s hand, sending more waves of pleasure and contentment shooting through her body and spirit. “Come, come. We have much to discuss before we part ways.”
Yuki grimaced, “Part ways? Where are you going, Lord Lucifer? Please don’t leave me now, I need you! I’m stranded and-”
“You do not need my help, you are more than capable on your own,” Lucifer chuckled as he cut her off, “and no need for the ‘Lord’, my child, ‘Guardian’ will do, or even ‘Father’ if you prefer. And actually it is you who is leaving, not I.”
No! I can’t leave his side! Yuki thought. Distraught, she looked at him sadly, “I don’t follow.”
Lucifer’s smile faded slightly, “No… no you don’t. Not like the others in your bloodline. Even then, not as I would have liked, but that your nature, isn’t it? Devotion is optional for my children.” He looked at her, his smile returning. “My little Yuki. How I will miss you. But fret not, you are in the hands of my Fathers now, and they will welcome you.” He laughed. “I did not think it was you they would one day welcome, to be honest, but that is the wonderment of my children’s free will.”
Yuki looked ahead, trying to determine where he was leading her, “Wonderment of free will?”
Lucifer chuckled, “it is vexing and challenging, but oh so refreshing. You will soon learn why. But know this: your free will is unique to you. It allows you the freedom to act for your own interests, or…” he beamed down to her, “act in the interests of others. The choice will remain yours.”
She wasn’t sure what the Guardian was talking about, but she did her best to follow. It was right about now she really wished she had paid more attention in church. They soon came upon a large stone well.
“A going-away present.” He handed her a gold coin. “Make a wish - but I warn you, it will come true.” He beamed, his face glowing. “I promise it.”
Yuki frowned, “I… I don’t understand. Will, I ever see my son and husband again?”
Lucifer kneeled down beside her, although he still had to look down at her to make eye contact. He replied simply, but with empathy, “No you will not Yuki, and for that, I am so sorry.”
Yuki looked at the shiny gold coin. “Can I wish to know ‘what is the meaning of life?”
Lucifer hesitated a moment and then began to laugh heartily.
Yuki frowned in embarrassment, “Are we a joke to you?”
“No my child,” Lucifer’s laughter subsided, “but that would be a waste of your wish.”
“Why?” Yuki frowned, feeling like a small child.
“Yuki,” Lucifer began, “would it matter at all to you why you were here?”
Yuki thought, looking around the void and then back to the wishing well, “I suppose… well, no, but what is my purpose?”
Lucifer smiled, gently stroking the top of her head, “Why, Yuki, are you asking me? That is a question only for you.”
Yuki felt a spark of understanding at this piece of wisdom and considered it for a moment. “Okay, if I make a wish, you’ll grant it?”
“With all my power, so make it worthwhile,” Lucifer grinned.
“Then I… I want my son to be safe from harm… If I’m not there for him I want him to be looked after and safe, I want him to have your protection.” She tossed the coin into the well.
Lucifer smiled at the well, and turned to her, “You have my word Yuki. I will always pay special attention to your son… you are certain that is all you desire?”
Yuki smiled, and looked to him oddly, “As long as it means he’s alive and well…”
Lucifer smiled coyly, “Alive? I assure you, he will live a long and healthy life, but no one lives forever,”
“Don’t you?” Yuki asked.
Lucifer laughed, “A fair point! I will do my best to satisfy you, Yuki,” he tapped the well, “Come now! I have a few parting words of wisdom before you go. But know this: you need not worry about your son.”
Yuki looked around, the white around them vanishing. “Am I… am I going into the darkness?”
Lucifer shook his head, smiling, “No dear, but you will be traversing the darkness of your own soul.” He placed his hand on her chest, “No fear. Remember Yuki, do not fear what you do not know. Embrace it.” He held her shoulders tightly now, sinking down onto his haunches. It was as if something quite powerful was pulling them apart and his grip was keeping her there just a moment longer.
A deafening wind now encircled them both, the darkness swirling around the two of them. “And most importantly - Live!” he cried out.
The well vanished. Yuki yelled back to him over the surging wind, hugging the Guardian tightly. “I-I will! Bu-but please protect me!”
“You’re in Their hands now my daughter…” Lucifer called out, his grip on her beginning to fail.
“Who’s hands?!” Yuki shouted desperately.
“My Fathers’!” Lucifer shouted, “The Guardians shall protect you, the Father, the Son, and the Holiest Spirit! Be with them, child!” With that, she was ripped from her father’s embrace.
As Yuki felt herself falling, she heard her father’s voice echoing over the cacophony of wind and clattering of falling brick and stone of the now shattered well, “Live, Yuki. Live well!”
...
Back in her uncomfortable shelter, Yuki gasped, spitting up a mixture of saliva and vomit, clearly expelled while she was unconscious. She groaned upon realizing where she was, placing her hand on her head. It was strange though, despite her situation, she somehow felt very rested.
She recalled the vivid dream - it had felt so real! She was flying, fast, and high. She went home to find her family but instead met an Angel. A massive, kind, wise, and powerful Angel, and he told her many things. Was he the Guardian? The memories were vanishing faster than she could try to recall them, as dreams often do upon awakening. She recalled her father’s voice, now the only thing she clearly remembered: “Live, Yuki, Live.”
She spoke out loud, feeling the urge to answer, “I will Daddy…” she looked up, feeling a renewed surge of determination.
Yuki’s thirst was unbearable. Her water container was bone-dry. She searched all around the campsite, but for the life of her, she could not find a single suitable water source. Her stomach grumbled angrily and her throat was parched. The vomit found next to her upon her awakening had demonstrated in great detail that she had clearly lost everything she had eaten and drank.
Why this made her feel worlds better, aside from her hunger and thirst, was bothersome. Did I eat something poisonous? She wondered if she misread her field guide.
Yuki made the decision to return to her ship, admitting to herself that she had no choice. The lake had water she could at least boil to drink, and it was possible there was more she could salvage from the ship itself.
She packed a bit of cooked ripper meat and made her way through the thick forest. If she was lucky, she might find a few stored rations stashed in the ship as well.
She trudged along on the hike out of the forest and back to the lake. This physical exertion was making her already-empty stomach grumble and complain more. It didn’t help matters that her body was still out of whack from that strange drug she had taken.
To answer her stomach’s complaining, she reached into her pack and took a chunk of meat, tearing into it and chewing it thoroughly. It was cold, it was dry, but it was food.
As she traveled, she did as best she could to track whatever landmarks that she remembered from when she had dragged the parachutes into the woods. The last thing she needed was to get lost on her way back to her hideout.
Finally, Yuki found herself at the forest’s edge. Out past the tree line was the familiar field of tall wild grass that soon gave way to the small sandy lakeshore. As she slowly made her way through the overgrown grass, she soon spotted her ship in the lake. She breathed a sigh of relief and took a couple more steps, before drawing a small gasp and stopping dead in her tracks. Adrenaline coursed through her as she processed the terrifying sight dangling above and not very far away from her.
A large, powerful-looking, blue scaled leg was hanging from a hammock not too far from the shoreline. It was larger than the ripper’s leg, and it’s foot had twice the toes. Yuki frowned, slowly ducking into the grass as she reached for the field guide. She silently checked the “NITEN DRAGON” entry.
To her utter dismay, the foot matched the illustration perfectly. Vibrant blue scales glistened in the morning light. The four large toes were tipped with large black claws, even the back of the huge paw had a dewclaw protruding from the heel.
As Yuki examined the leg in horror, she was struck by the unusual realization of why it was positioned in such a way. In the trees, she spotted a large, brown sling-style leather hammock. The only indication that it was out of place in the green and brown tree branches was the brilliant color of the leg. Soon a large, equally colorful matching tail joined said leg, luckily compromising the otherwise well-camouflaged hammock’s position.
Terrified, Yuki did her best to halt her breathing. She pulled her wings tightly against her back, trying to make herself as small as possible. She grit her teeth and painstakingly began to back away, trying to stay hidden and out of the creature’s line of sight.
Caution transcended into panic as Yuki noticed a red Niten Dragon’s head now popping up from a previously unseen hammock on the same tree. There were two of them!
The red Dragon’s head peeked over the edge, and its eyes blinked sleepily. The red one’s hammock rustled and swung, and it let out a clicking noise. Had it seen her?
Then Yuki saw the dangling blue leg flex and quickly withdraw back upward into its hammock. Suddenly she heard growls coming from the two nearby trees. Peeking through the tall, thick grass cover, she looked to the second set of growling and saw the head of the other Dragon. It looked angry and Yuki didn’t want to bother finding out why. Yuki sprinted as quickly as she could back into the forest to seek cover, desperately hoping they hadn’t noticed her.
...
Lazzerlth heard something in the distance that didn’t sound like average rustling in the bushes. She leaned over her hammock and to her surprise she saw the Dei they were tracking. She was standing frozen in place though, and she wondered why. She turned and saw Fezzick’s foot and tail hanging down from his hammock. She groaned and let out a clicking noise to alert Fezzick.
Fezzick stretched and yawned, “Whaaaat?” he complained lazily.
Lazzerlth whisper-growled trying to avoid further detection from the Dei. “Fezz you idiot! The Angel! It came back! Get up!”
Fezzick pulled his leg up, “Where? I don’t see her!” he said loudly.
Lazzerlth rolled her eyes in frustration and growled, knowing their cover was surely blown. “Be quiet, you moron, she can hear us!” Lazzerlth looked to where the Angel girl had just stood and growled more loudly upon seeing her fleeing back into the woods. “Great! You scared her off!”
“Why is she so scared?” Fezzick growled in annoyance, as he jumped and landed heavily on the ground below them, so much so that the trees they had been sleeping in shook.
Lazzerlth glided from the hammock and landed gracefully on the ground. “She saw your big ugly leg hanging out of the hammock and probably thought you were something that was going to eat her! Come on, before she gets away!”
Fezzick grinned and began to give chase.
Lazzerlth did the same, running as quickly as she could, her wings folded around herself for maximum speed as she quickly caught up to and surpassed Fezzick.
Fezzick smiled, and in his excitement, he let out a mighty roar as they ran towards the forest.
...
Yuki was already well into the forest when a horrifying roar blasted her eardrums. As if a fire had been lit under her, she bolted forward, faster then she had ever run before.
Fight or flight instinct took hold, and flight took her as far away as she could go.
Her heart hammered in her chest as she ran. In what must have only been minutes, she arrived at her shelter and quickly passed it by. She dropped her bag there as she dashed through, hoping to unburden herself and distract the Dragons chasing her.
Tears of fear filled her eyes as her heart throbbed in her throat. Her legs and arms burned from the strain of running for her life through the dense forest.
Yuki’s arm stung with sharp pain and she stumbled as her shoulder clipped a tree branch. Determined to ignore the pain, she pushed forward, running as fast as she could. Luck was not on her side as a root caught her foot and she careened forward, crashing straight into a tree.
The mounting pain would have to wait, however, as she continued pushing forward, deeper into the woods. That was all she could think to do as she remembered the guide book’s warning: run, run, run. Deeper into the woods, into denser woods where they wouldn’t be able to find her from the air.
Another tree root caught her foot, and she found herself flat on her face in a pile of leaves and ground debris. Yuki’s tunnel vision gave way as she finally had a moment to breathe, and her ears perked up in hearing the sound of running water.
She pushed herself up off the ground and glanced above to see a riverbank.
“Oh… Where… were… you… before!” Yuki exclaimed while panting heavily, barely catching her breath as she voiced her frustration.
A quick glance behind her showed that she might have lost her pursuers. Nevertheless, she dove into the water and swam upstream, giving quick bursts of speed with her wings as she swam, hoping that the Dragons would assume she went downstream.
If she couldn’t outrun the creatures, she’d outsmart them, after all, she’d outsmarted that pack of Rippers!
Perhaps if they couldn't find her scent they'd give up their hunt. Yuki hoped this was the case as she pushed herself until she couldn’t swim any further.
A large stump served as a decent temporary hiding spot. Yuki grabbed onto a slimy root, letting the river’s current flow over her aching body, the cool water a welcome relief to her overtaxed muscles.
The area stunk of decay and muck, but that was far preferable to being torn to shreds. Besides, she thought, the silver lining of such a rancid odor was that the smell might be overpowering enough to mask her scent.
As she held on, she reached out into the flowing clean water and she cupped her free hand. She drank as quickly as she could, quenching her thirst before pulling herself closer to the stump.
...
Lazzerlth was slowed by the density of the trees as she ran. She cursed as she occasionally got caught on a root or a tree branch. Pursuits on foot were not her strong suit, and even less so for Fezzick, who was a solid minute behind her at this point. She sniffed the air, and the scent of the Angel grew stronger. At least the scene of what Lazzerlth thought was the Angel, as she had never smelled anything like it before. She cast a glance behind her and Fezzick was nowhere in sight. She rolled her eyes and turned to face forward.
Lazzerlth spread her wings and brought herself to a complete halt. She flexed her claws out as she spotted the head of a Swift Plunderer looms out in front of her. She had run into these creatures many times, they hunted in packs of three and preyed upon hunter groups who had just made a kill.
She roared in fear and jumped back, hitting her shoulder against a tree. Lazzerlth quickly realized with a closer look that it was only the head of a creature she knew as a Swift Plunderer; it was clearly decapitated.
Strangely, its head was mounted on a large stick before what looked like a make-shift tent.
As Lazzerlth inspected the area, she decided this was where the Angel must have been making camp. The Angel’s scent was everywhere, and as she sniffed she turned to spot a strange bag tossed haphazardly on the ground.
She rubbed her sore shoulder a bit as she continued to inspect the contents of the bag. With a sniff of the meat, her eyes went wide, “Plunderer meat? She’s eating it?” she looked to the decapitated head. “...Badass little Angel.”
Lazzerlth examined a book written in a bizarre language she couldn’t even begin to read. “Ugh, I should have learned how to read Dei...”
Fezzick finally caught up to her, panting hard. Not built for the chase, it would seem. His large chest heaved as he inhaled deeply through his nostrils and then exhaled hard through his mouth. His impressive muscles visibly bulged under a rather tight green leather vest, making it difficult to tell where the vest ended and his own blue leathery skin began. “She… won’t… understand… us….” he heaved.
Taking in the masculine sight for a moment, Lazzerlth regained her composure. “Look,” she said slowly. “This Angel?” she pointed to the Plunderer’s head, “She killed it.”
The man's face was in shock, “A Dei Angel killed a Plunderer? Are you sure she didn’t just find a dead one?”
Lazzerlth nodded and tossed a bit of meat at Fezzick, “Yep! Fresh Plunderer meat,” Lazzerlth looked at the Plunderer's head again. “We'll have to find her soon. She got lucky with this Plunderer, that luck won’t last. Something else might get her. But if she’s able to kill a Plunderer, we need to be careful. She’s not normal prey, she’s smart. No more roaring, okay?” She shot him a stern look, “No matter how sexy it is.”
Fezzick rolled his eyes, “She’s a damn primitive, how smart can she be?”
Lazzerlth glared at him, “Smart enough to slay a Plunderer and brave enough to sleep on the ground… or did you forget that it’s because of those very Plunderers that we have to sleep in the trees?” She stood up, Yuki’s bag in her hand, “She knows we’re after her, so she's probably hiding somewhere she thinks will hide her scent. I think there is a river nearby. Come on, let’s make our way to it, see if we can pick up her scent there.”
Fezzick chuckled and walked towards Lazzerlth, picking the bag up to his nose and inhaling sharply. “You have to admit though… it was a pretty good roar.”
Lazzerlth felt her cheeks heat up, and turned from Fezzick quickly, “I’ve got her this way,” she said as she ran towards the river.
Fezzick grinned as he followed after her, even as she grew distant. His smile grew as he admired her beautiful tail switching back and forth, her powerful legs flexing as she gave chase. “I love being the slower runner…” he growled to himself. Though unintentional, her tail was held up high between her wings to keep her balance forward, giving Fezzick a clear view of her hips and thighs. Fezzick almost slammed into a tree due to his distracted admiration.

Yuki's breathing slowed and she closed her eyes for a moment, her flight suit keeping her fairly dry and warm as she thought about her next move. She smacked herself in the head as she realized she had dropped the guide book along with her bag. She couldn't risk going back for it, the Dragons could be waiting for her to return to her shelter if they lost her. She was likely stuck without the guidebook from now on.
A sudden hiss in her ear startled Yuki. She turned quickly to see a large reptilian face peering at her, far too close for comfort. She pushed herself away from the shoreline and back into the stream, staring at the snake-like creature sticking its three-foot-long neck from a knot of the stump. A pair of thin arms popped out from its sides and clutched at the rotting wood. Green scales with black stripes lined its long, serpentine body. Its forked tongue flicked out of its mouth as it curiously examined Yuki.
Yuki swam downstream quickly to gain momentum and distance from this new threat. Now she had to outrun this strange creature, all while remembering that she was being pursued by Niten Dragons. Why did every creature on this planet wish to devour her?
Yuki swam past a familiar portion of the forest, it was where she had entered the river. She cursed at herself in realizing she was now downstream from where her scent would have ended.
So much for hiding my scent. Yuki moved to the opposite river bank and heaved herself up and out. A quick survey of her surroundings, and a chance to slow her heart rate, confirmed that nothing else was chasing her.
I think I lost those Dragons, she thought to herself as she peered over the river. Her panic and exertion had taken its toll. Burning pain in her chest, arms, shoulders, and legs was her body’s desperate way of begging for a respite. This isn’t good. She leaned her head back against the tree and groaned as her lungs seemed to burn.
She couldn’t stay there in the open, and so after the briefest of breaks, Yuki jogged off deeper still into the forest.
...
Lazzerlth came to the river bank and frowned, sniffing. “I knew it! She dove right in!” She looked into the water, glancing down and upstream. “I don't see her... She could have gone up or downstream. We may need to split up.”
Fezzick caught up with Lazzerlth, heaving as he did so. “How about… a quick breather?”
Lazzerlth growled, “This is why you need to do more cardio.”
Fezzick knelt by the river bank and cupped his hands in the water, pulling them up to his muzzle and drinking heavily. After a moment, still gasping for air, he remarked, “She had to have gone downstream, the current is too strong.”
“It'd be easier to swim downstream with this current, but upstream would give her a better hiding place since she might have tried to outsmart us, thinking we would assume she took the easiest route. Splitting up is going to be our best bet.”
Just then a large serpent slithered through the water, showing its full length of over three meters.
“Big guy,” Fezzick said affectionately.
“Yeah, he's a beauty. Too old to hunt though, but man look at him!”
Fezzick bent his knees and beckoned to the creature. “Here big guy, I won't hurt you.”
The serpent’s instincts knew better than to trust one of the more capable hunters in its world, and kept going, slithering into its home in the dirt around the stump.
“Hey!” Fezzick had an idea and looked at Lazzerlth. “Bet she went downstream... Big Guy might have scared her down the river, and it probably got curious and followed her down. It didn't look like it had anything in its mouth so it definitely wasn't hunting. Plus it's too early to sunbathe, see? Its home is upstream from here.”
“You could be right,” Lazzerlth said. She looked into the water. “You know...” she said slyly, walking to Fezzick and placing her hands on his chest, a large toothy grin on her face. “If your muscles are so sore from running, you should cool off!” She gave him a firm shove, laughing as he tumbled into the river.
Fezzick gasped as he breached the surface, growling at Lazzerlth. Lazzerlth growled back, licking her lips as she happily examined her now-soaked hunting partner.
Fezzick crossed his arms, “As much as I would love to make love in this river… we have to find that Angel or all this effort will have been for nothing.”
Lazzerlth humphed and leaped over the river. Fezzick grumbled as he pulled himself out of the water, “I swear, you women are always ready for sex.”
Lazzerlth snickered, “Got a problem with that?”
Fezzick rolled his eyes and did his best to catch up with Lazzerlth’s fresh head start.
...
Yuki needed to find someplace to hide, someplace where her scent would be masked, or somehow hidden. As she put some distance between herself and the river, she continued into very dense, darker woods. When the brush seemed to reach its absolute densest, a small clearing emerged. The clearing was still shaded by the heavy canopy of trees, but it was devoid of any movement impeding brush.
As she took a moment to catch her breath pain wracked her body! She screamed out in shock as a sharp stabbing pain struck her hand! She looked to her hand to see some kind of horrific worm that was attached to her wrist! Worse yet, it had bitten right through her suit!
She grabbed the worm-like creature that was attached to her hand and pulled it off with a painful gasp. Her hand was bleeding in a round bite-mark. The worm had been sucking her blood! It writhed and wriggled in her hand as a circular set of sharp teeth like spines flexed and gaped in the air. She threw it to the ground and stomped on it in disgust. The worm popped as she squashed it, a small amount of blood oozing out of its ruptured yellow flesh.
A wave of dizziness caught her off guard. She staggered to a nearby rock and shook her head to regain her composure. Oh... no... Please don't be venomous. She looked at the strange creatures that wriggled on the ground and cringed, they were clearly seeking out something to feed on. She reached for her missing handbook out of instinct and found her hand was already numb. That’s not a good sign.
She scrambled away from the clearing. She had to get as far away from the Dragons as she could... there was no way she'd end up as their breakfast.
...
Fezzick and Lazzerlth had taken a brief break, held up by the thickening brush.
Fezzick squeezed out his vest, grumbling, “Of all the times for your little cravings.” he said, wringing his shirt out.
Lazzerlth smiled seductively, “Hormones my mate... I blame all the running... seeing you out of breath like that...” She purred, “it’s your own fault, muscles straining against that vest of yours,” Lazzerlth licked her lips, “makes a girl hungry.”
He let out one loud “HA!” at her as he tirelessly dried his vest. “Let’s hope the Angel hasn’t gained any ground due to your antics.”
Lazzerlth nodded slowly, her eyes on his bare chest, not paying his words much attention.
Fezzick rolled his eyes and put on his vest glaring at her. “What did I just say?”
“Hmm?” Lazzerlth’s cheeks blushed, “Oh, uh…” she coughed.
“Let me guess, blaming the hormones?” Fezzick chuckled, “When are you due anyway?”
She smiled warmly at him, “I'll be out of work for the next three weeks laying that egg for you... so you'd better work double for me.”
Fezzick nodded happily and beamed at her, “What'll we name him? Or her?”
She laughed, “It's not even laid yet and you want to name it, huh?” she smiled and stood up. She slipped her now-dried pants back on and looked at him, remembering her original purpose. “Okay... let’s get back to this hunt... she's probably stopped running by now and is trying to hideout. She must be exhausted and scared.”
“Why is she so afraid?”
Lazzerlth shrugged, “Well... She’s probably never been to Nite before... probably a real shocker, Dei Angels don’t have any natural predators. Not to mention,” she shivered, “your vocal performance?”
Fezzick smiled bashfully, before he could say anything else, Yuki’s scream of fear echoed faintly. For an average person, this sound may have gone wholly unnoticed, but to Fezzick and Lazzerlth’s attuned hunters’ ears, it was quite clear. “Come on, I think she’s in trouble!”
...
Yuki had run what felt like several kilometers before her arm had lost all feeling and accidentally hit into her stomach, winding her. She lay splayed against a cliff face, panting and trying to regain her composure.
I have to get a grip... it's just my arm... it's just numb... She slowly stood up, finding it harder to move her right leg. Just my arm. Yuki lied to herself.
She found herself near a smaller stream, and her lessening mobility was narrowing her options. She collected all the debris she could and gathered it together to form what looked to be a large pile of fallen branches next to an adjacent tree.
She then moved to the stream and took off her suit, leaving her in her undergarments, and stuffed the suit full of leaves and dirt, placing it behind the cliff face from the direction she ran. She knew the hunters would follow her trail, so she made it seem as if she had passed out against the cliff.
A quick dip into the water and a vain attempt to clean her wound was next. Still numb, still bleeding. She frowned and continued on with the next phase of her plan.
With all the mud she could find, she caked herself with it, finishing the task just as her leg went completely numb and limp. She dragged herself behind her cover, and shivered there, the cold mud sapping her of body heat.
Pure fear gripped her, she had no choice but to hide. She knew this spot wasn’t the best, but she was out of options. She could only hope the Dragons would find her suit, tear it to pieces, and leave. Her wings feathers ruffled and she tried to smooth them down, keeping her wings against the tree behind her. She knew it was a terrible plan. She knew, deep down, that there was no way that the Dragons wouldn’t find her.
At this point, she just hoped to delay the inevitable. She swallowed hard, and silently began to pray to Lucifer as hard as she could.
Despite being unable to move half her body, she could barely keep herself from violently shivering.

Lazzerlth stopped as she spotted the same clearing Yuki had arrived at.
Fezzick sniffed, "She was here."
Lazzerlth began to investigate when the twitching worm-like creature Yuki had stomped on caught her attention. "Is that a Numb Leech?"
"Those are rare..." Fezzick took a step back, "you think she was bitten by it?
Lazzerlth knelt by it, and sniffed, "that's her blood," she turned to Fezzick, "put it in your bag."
"What!?" He cried, "I'm not touching that thing! You pick it up!"
"I’m pregnant!” Lazzerlth defended, “And we need to show the doctors what bit her if she is going to live! They’ll need to find the right anti-venom!" She stood up and backed away from the leech as Fezzick scooped it up with a tentative claw. "If she's been bitten... she's not going to make it very far. Her life is in danger!"
Fezzick nodded seriously, "Right... so...?"
"We need to be rough with her, knock her out if we have to, pin her down, tie her up, whatever we need to do - she probably doesn't even know how much danger she's in right now!"
They rushed off, following the footsteps, as they did Lazzerlth’s face of worry seemed to grow.
"Her footprints are getting harder to track and... and they're showing she's slowing down."
"Maybe that means we're getting closer?"
She sighed, "Fezzick, if she's slowing down she's leaving hard to find footprints... she might be doing it on purpose..."
The pair came upon the small stream. Lazzerlth stopped Fezzick fast in his tracks and covered his mouth, pointed to a familiar smelling leg and boots.
She jumped into the air, and landed over the form of the Angel, “It’s okay! I have… wait…”
Fezzick frowned, “What?” he looked at the decoy, tilting his head to the side in confusion, “Did she turn to dirt?”
Lazzerlth gave Fezzick a stern gaze.
Fezzick shrugged, “Well, where is she then? Why is she going to such great lengths to hide from us?”
"I told you - she doesn't know how badly poisoned she is!" Lazzerlth yelled, frustrated.
...
Yuki heard the hunting party and quieted her breathing even more so than before. She took very slow, shallow breaths, and did not move a single muscle as she heard the leaves and twigs snapping near the stream. She closed her eyes and pictured herself in a full-body cast, unable to move.
She heard the creatures growling and hissing at each other. She heard the female first, her growls higher-pitched than the roar she had heard earlier. Yuki squeezed her eyes shut even tighter.
“Zh bsdr! Ysh ly… rg’e…” the female growled.
The male’s voice came next, “Mh? Ham pnth lklvk?”
There was a brief silence before the male’s gruff growls echoed past Yuki’s ears. “Vbkn ayph hya? Mdv'e hya mtkvvnt lhstyr maytnv?”
The female’s voice now caught on a tone of anger as Yuki hears the next series of growls and hisses, "Amrty lk - hya la yvd'et kmh hya mvr'elt qshh!"
Yuki now couldn't feel her entire right side and her breathing was getting hard to control. Suddenly, through her eyelids, she saw a shadow cast on her hiding place. No... Her mind silently called out to her. Run... her mind then repeated, but her common sense beat it back, No…
Finally, a low growl filled her with dread, enough so that she took a sharp breath, which was enough to signal her pursuer that she was there.
A pair of clawed hands thrust themselves into the fabricated brush and parted it quickly as if it were a pair of French doors. The red Dragon bent down, her wings flared, her legs parted wide and low and her tail high in the air.
“Ah-hh! Svp svp mtsaty avtk!” Her mouth was opened wide as she growled out what seemed to be a low roar in Yuki's face, a wide toothy grin and look of satisfaction on the dragon’s lizard-like maw.
There was no doubt in Yuki's mind that she would die, and the only thing she could do soon overrode every rational and reactionary thought in her mind. She screamed in pure and true terror. A specific terror, only experienced by one who knows they are drawing their final breath before a violent and untimely death. Her terrorized scream shook her body and soul to the core, her fear overtook everything, and as if to merely avoid the pain of being gutted and then eaten, her body's overreaction caused her to faint.
submitted by Zithero to libraryofshadows [link] [comments]

USA vs France: The most epic Swim Relay Finish - Beijing ... YouTube 10 WEIRD MOMENTS CAUGHT ON DASHCAM - YouTube

Bestbetting compares odds from the leading internet bookmakers, ensuring that you always get the best value from your bets. Find odds on horse racing, football, golf, tennis, NFL, snooker, darts, cricket and more. Only recently, the young man broke the school’s men’s outdoor triple jump record at a meet in North Carolina last weekend. The TCU sophomore jumped a wind-legal 16.64m (54-7.25), breaking the 16.57m (54-4.5) mark of last year’s National Relay Championships set by Scotty Newton. Yuliya Levchenko was born in Bakhmut Ukraine, where she competes in High Jump. She won a silver medal at the 2017 World Championship and competed at the 2016 Olympic games. Levchenk would rank 2nd in the world back in 2017 still in her early 20s she has a bright career ahead of her. Sarbjit Bakhshi, Smarkets Head of Political Markets, joins Yahoo Finance's Kristin Myers to break down the latest overseas betting odds in the 2020 race to the White House. The 145th running of the Preakness is upon is, and it's Authentic's day to prove he's not just a flash in the pan by bringing another classy, powerful performance. There are ten horses gunning for ...

[index] [28153] [61434] [35954] [46458] [11861] [30112] [20218] [6017] [37819] [19898]

USA vs France: The most epic Swim Relay Finish - Beijing ...

Enjoy the videos and music you love, upload original content, and share it all with friends, family, and the world on YouTube. Led by anchor Jason Lezak, the USA 4x100m free relay team, including Michael Phelps, swam one the greatest come-from-behind races in history of the Olympic G... 10 WEIRD MOMENTS CAUGHT ON DASHCAM

http://forex-portugal.xn-----7kcabfdwptpp0ah4alhw2a3sya.xn--p1ai