RP Sandbox Visit: Oni-Girl Problems!




It'd been a good while sense any drama came to pass, until heroes were stirred into climactic moments. Had been some time sense villains of prodigious notoriety stepped from shadows to show aims of Conquest. Conflict was eternal but it had been quieter until tonight...

Between Eden and Styx

Millenium City bled into Duskburg. The ideal upper city next to the epitome of slums. Milenium was known for it's heroes, it's bravery, it's grandeur. Duskburg was known for its crime, its ferocity, its survivor spirit. Between these two was a gym that arguably captured the heart of these two cities. Hellcat Gym was the home of a retired vigilante a blood splatter covered boxer who'd taken bribes, broken deals but also contested thugs and broken bones of corrupt cops. He was a violent man once but now was more known as simply a father. Then there was the hero, a dragon slaying titan a woman who was never shaken from her resolve. That woman was also a devil, a horned monstrosity who seemed a danger to the world.

The gym had grown over the years the Hellcat and Oni-girl could afford to upgrade if they splurged but couldn't afford hiring contractors. So they figured they would do it themselves, but the towns came together to help. Girlfriends, friends that were like sisters, regular friends. Rivals, gym goers, survivors, those saved by the devil. It wasn't like everyone came to help, a lot assisted though. Hellcat Gym hasn't been ever the best gym, it wasn't owned by the best vigilante, and the woman who wanted to fight the most was never really contested. It was possible though that there was nowhere else with as much heart. But would that be where a story ended...

Dawn of Armageddon

The night was serene, the stormy nature of Duskburg was taking the night off. It was mid summer and so while the days were hot the nights were a perfectly cool temperature. A father and his daughter had spent the night doing a marathon of a movie series. Yokai Yakuza all seven original films and the the terrible anime prequel film was the goal. Granted three and five were also notoriously bad. They loved the series though, and with everything going on in their lives they tried to make room for moments like this. Just them, way to much pizza, and campy martial arts movies. It was a treat, one that they couldn't realistically afford by the way. Turns out six dollars sixty cents was not a good price for their business.keeping the bills paid didn't care about gimmicks. It was a tradition though that they would never shake. It was reckless to treat themselves maybe, but then maybe that was why one called it a treat.

They enjoyed the night and passed out somewhere middle of Yokai Yakuza Five Ninjas Revenge. It was somewhere in the closing act of Yokai Yakuza Zero Prelude of Punishment that Carmen snuck to her room. A twenty seven year old nearly eight foot tall devil who weighed so much the floor struggled to hold the hyper muscular hellion. Carmen was as stealthy as well Carmen. She was just the antithesis of Stealth. Her dad rolled his eyes and pretended like he wasn't stirred. It was the eye roll one could only learn from their kid. One few in the world the Hellcat let see. And this was the last moment they would be themselves.

The night passes on and forces worm their way into the home.

A father sneaks into a room over a slumbering giant. He tightens his hand into a spear point. Long ago a gang had removed his finger nails. This lead to the claw implants the Hellcat had been known for. The boxer had been able to stab into car engines with those claws and he thrust this blade like hand toward the the throat of Carmen. His eyes had rolled into the back of his head possessed. His act woke someone else not all there black long nails ensnared the jugular of Hellcat. An Oni waking up as the possession leaves a father.

It sparked a laugh. "You could have called." The vigilante spoke, so use to punishment he didn't waver. The grip tightened. "All these years and I still miss this." A husband said, he remembered those loud nights they had been few but meant the world to him. "We, we won't hold this against you love." A father said, he didn't want this for his daughter, he knew though if the love of his life came back though how things would go. He knew he was powerless in a situation like this. He accepted it, and had to just hope others could save his daughter.



Glass and brick litter the street debris scatter like leaves on the wind the force had been monstrous. To join the wreckage was patterns of red. Posters of fighters and action films were caught up in the breeze. None of it as poignant however as the photo of a father and daughter. A Champion Boxer next to a tiny horned girl, well time compared to what the child grew into being. Reaching out to the photo was a hand, the rest was beyond identification. A headless twisted heap of carrion. It no longer even seemed human just meat. It left a trail though of vermillion a streak of gore leading to the woman who landed in the street.

Clutched in a colossal hand a hint of spine and neck meat hanging from it the head of a father. His wife was his killer, done by the hands of his daughter. The Hellcat had danced with the fires of hell but had always been a kitten trying to conquer a mountain. He was a violent man, a good husband, a killer, a loving father and destined to die bloody for these things. Hell chose his wife for more, and their passion defied orders. For a mother's disobedience she would possess her daughter for her next mission. For a father raising a daughter over a force of hell he would die by his daughter's hand. For being born of a rebellious man and a rebellious agent of hell a daughter watched helplessly and silent to the world.

Amongst the drips of blood was another bit of rain. A mercy perhaps that they were allowed to flow on this stormless night.

Kanabo in her other hand. A club made of dragon bone. It swings backwards toward a wall. She knew that building.

It'd been over twenty years a quarter of a century. She remembered it perfectly though, promoted from the usual soul draining denizen of her mother's side. Instead she was a champion of the burning planes like her father encouraged to bring more into the world. She looked for candidates and found most weak. She could pick any gender of partner, Hell would find its ways. What she wanted though was someone special a warrior. And the first one she found fought like a lion. He was paid to lose in the ring she had seen the deal play out. Some pride of his wasn't feeling it that night however. He nearly beat a man to death in the ring instead. They would have attempted the same in the alley that night. She helped him fight, and not long after a devil and lion laid in that ring, they were blood coated but not bloody. It was an act of love. Something the devil didn't know she could feel.

Kanabo crashes through walls and pillars as if they were as durable as tissue.

The head with black nails digging into it watched the strike in his final moments. He knew that place. He grew up more in that gym then his home. It was his father's. It was his grandfather's. He thought his desire to be a vigilante would lead him to have nobody in life. That his family legacy would one day be handed over to some gang member or super human criminal. Until one night he found a lover in that ring. He would get married there. When his daughter was born he grieved his gone wife there. A shot of whiskey in one hand and baby cradled in the other. He knew this would happen, and he knew what he wanted this gym to be for his little girl.

Throughout Duskburg and Millenium was the boom of thunder. No clouds above and yet a storm had come. Smoke blossomed into the air lit well by the city lights. It reached upwardnas if the smoke wished to kiss the tops of sky scrapers.

Behind trapped eyes Carmen saw it. Her weapon her hands, used to bring down that building she knew as home...

A helicopter swings by over head. The world would see it.

"This is George Newsly with the Millenia Network, channel 6 News. I can't believe I'm saying this but the Oni-girl has it looks like leveled her home and killed her father. She taught my baby girl Kung fu last summer I think she's being controlled...sorry." His hand had gone to his ear piece, no doubt being told to be unbiased in reporting. "She's heading east, highway if close its recommended if you can get clear. And we ask anyone who can help do so. I'm not sure if there's a Carmen to save and I'm not sure the devil can be stopped."

Perhaps the strongest woman in the world, if not strongest person was now turned against it. If one was tied to the powers sacred or damned they might feel the sense of pain from the Oni. If someone was psychic they might hear the screams of the mind. A loud excitable woman bordering on grief striking her feral. Anyone could see it though Oni-girl a woman who's every muscle seemed sculpted and trained to perfection was turning on the city. Just under eight feet tall by now with nearly foot long horns crowning her head. Skin red as blood, it was an unmistakable sight. A casual set of pajama pants and a sports bra was the look of having gone to bead not thd uniform for Armageddon. Carmen never needed a costume though to identify her. At this point she was a continent shaker perhaps more turned loose. Fashion wasnt the focus before for her and now the focus was rather the chaos her situation posed. Who could save Carmen from this possession. And even if that was possible was the risk worth it with the apocalyptic ruin she threatened to bring just by being turned into a apocalyptic force?

The reporter broadcasting was trembling. The towering monster was teaching his son karate just last weekend. Now it looked like in moments the Oni would rip apart the traffic of Milleniums bustling night life.


I woke from a scream and for a moment I didn't realize I was screaming as well. For a moment I sat up in bed, "Merde." I knew what it meant something was wrong. Bran had found some form of purpose in space now it seemed so simple. He should have left Earth from the beginning he was a man far outside of his time. Anything that had belonged or that he had loved had long since turned to dust. The cover rustled, for a moment, "You hear that, too?"

"Yeah was that from Earth?"
She seemed worried. We had been together for about two Earth years. Meeting when we were trying to track down magic artifacts from our respective planets a few years before that. Her species was for the most part humanoid an odd number of arms, two legs, and a head tentacle on her one head.

"It was."

"Couldn't you wait a few days? The Hive-mind won't like that,"
fuck I hate this current contract and hive minds. The contract would end in a few more days. We had planned to go to Earth once we were done.

"I can't wait," I got out of bed staring at my new right arm. Fucking Hive-mind. Fucking Contract. "We hoped we could get a break for once to heal and think about the future. But I can't leave them to face something like that alone."

"We've been bouncing from contract to contract ever since we eloped. We won't be able to hide on Earth for long if you go,"
Earth was still a backwater in the eyes of most of the galaxy. It would have bought us a comfortable break...

I got up and started getting all of my equipment together, "stay here with any luck the hivemind will still see it as the two mages it paid for. I love you R'leth. But this is a responsibility I've shirked for too long."

"I love you too, Hugo."
We kissed for a moment and I pulled back otherwise I probably would have stayed.

Mere Moments Later

I took my first step back onto Earth after several years onto a highway. I had thought that it would be well literally anywhere else preferably Paris or the Chateau I had left in the Sahara. I had planned this so that I would be several inches behind Carmen well not Carmen. I could go on and aim with my staff aiming to hit the back of her knee. I would send a blast of concussive force with Eldritch Blast not meant to hurt her just to catch her by surprise.

"You know Carmen its quite funny you've exercised every single muscle in you're body. Just not the most important one. Kore would be so disappointed that this would be the one fight you gave up on. So why don't you prove me wrong and show that demon who's really in control." I would quickly cast mage armor I didn't expect that to work so best be ready for a fight.

Blood on the wind. Alex smelled it. Or, to be more precise, her artificial sensorium detected it, and converted the information into a form recognizable to her, based on sense-memory from her previous, human body. After all, despite having human facial features, her new body didn’t actually possess any of the parts necessary to perceive the world in the ‘traditional’ human sense. And in addition to the five basic senses she’d recreated, she also had something like seventeen new ones, ranging from semi-familiar to increasingly abstract.

One of those new senses allowed her to- in human terms -taste magic. Where once she’d only been able to detect the presence of the arcane through seeing its obvious visible manifestations, the Solar Sentinel could now perceive its mere presence from more than a mile away. It didn’t actually taste like anything, but all her new senses were still being filtered through her old ones, while her brain continued to adjust to her new form. Eventually she’d stop thinking in terms of ‘sight’ and ‘sound’ entirely, and exclusively use her higher-order sensorium, but today wasn’t gonna be that day.

From what Alex could tell, there were a few different ‘flavors’ of magic. This variety was a bit... off. As if it’d come here from somewhere else entirely- perhaps a different plane of existence. That wasn’t just idle speculation for Daystar, though. As Earth’s Solar, it was her responsibility to maintain the integrity of its planar boundaries, and if people were regularly making breaches in that boundary in order to make deals with devils and eldritch abominations, she’d have to do something about it. But that wasn’t going to be happening today, either- because by the look of things, the spellcaster was on her side. And against an enemy like this, Alex knew she’d need all the help she could get.

She’d never known Carmen Nevidmal, not personally- but she’d been a friend of Kore, who was a friend-with-benefits to Mettle, who in turn had been Alex’s... ‘silent partner.’ A friend-of-a-friend-of-a-friend situation at best. But what Alex had heard through the grapevine was that the hero known as Oni-Girl was strong. One of the few still walking the Earth that might be able to challenge her in a fight. So she’d steered clear of the Hellcat Gym that Nevidmal owned, because she’d figured that if they ever came to blows, even in a friendly bout, the collateral damage would likely be immense.

Here they were now, and a fight looked unavoidable. One that was likely to do a lot more damage than a simple sparring match. Already, there was a casualty- one more life Daystar had failed to save. She’d have let that make her angry, once. Used it as fuel for her inner fire. But all that would have really accomplished was making her fight stupid, and sloppy- which would only get more people killed. No, she wouldn’t succumb to those emotions ever again. Especially not since the chemical reactions inside her body which had created them were no longer occurring.

Descending from low Earth orbit, Alex surveyed the scene more closely. Just on the cusp between downtown Millennium City and its eternally umbral Duskburg district, Oni-Girl was at the center of the destruction, with panicked civilians running in every direction, their vehicles abandoned as they fled down the freeway. The wizard was there too, the traces of his strange, otherworldly magic lingering in the air after he’d struck the first blow. So far, nobody else had arrived. Maybe nobody would- after all, they’d had two years of near-total peace since the last metahuman crisis event. Plenty of people had retired, and no doubt some others were thinking that they were in no shape to leap right back into action.

Alex figured she knew somebody who’d think different. She hadn’t spoken to him in a while, sure, but they’d never officially terminated their agreement. And even if Mettle’s base of operations was in New York, she suspected he’d be willing to make the trip down to Millennium for this fight.

Since leaving her flesh-and-blood body behind, Alex had stopped carrying a phone. So instead of dialing Mettle’s number, she simply broadcast a telephone signal directly from her brain to his mobile. All those signals were just energy, after all- something she could manipulate in all its forms.

“Turn on the news- doesn’t matter what channel. Then get down here and give me a hand, will you?”

A bit terse, sure, but they’d never been best friends or anything. Either he’d honor their agreement... or not. Maybe he’d already cashed out of his illicit holdings and retired to some private island with Kore. Her lack of presence was almost more surprising, since- judging by the crimson skin and horns -this was clearly her area of expertise. Demon shit. But if none of the experts were available, Alex was more than happy to step in.

Casting a sideways glance at the conjuror as she alighted, Alex touched down on the highway a few feet away from the towering Oni-Girl. The flowing robes of her new uniform danced gently in the cool breeze. She’d abandoned her old, armored look- it projected insecurity, when her own skin was tough enough to shrug off a tank shell.

“Evening,” Daystar greeted the bloodthirsty behemoth casually. “I can tell you’re not gonna give this up without a fight, so why don’t we take this... upstairs?”

With a relaxed, confident grin, Alex jerked her finger upwards- at the moon hanging low in the Millennium City sky.

“I can give you a ride, if you’d have trouble getting up there on your own. There’s this spot in the Sea of Tranquility that’s just perfect for a throw-down.”

The song was called Dream of The Beast it wormed its ways into radios into phones into headsets. The volume spiked from audible to booming, some devices were not designed to reach a thunderous volume. Yet through the charms of hell the ABYSS was deciding to give them all a soundtrack. It all told of a darkness beneath the nights growing apocalypse.

In the mind of the raven haired titan a woman screamed. No control of her tide of destruction about to fall. Haunted by the actions done with her hands yet beyond her control. Rage bellowed I'm the mind. For all that hate the song also had been latched onto by the woman possessing Carmen. "Alone in this maelstrom" another lyric that had been something to hold onto for the mother. From the depths of hell alone and silent she watched her daughter grow. Tortured and tormented to witness but never be there. That song had been a comfort once found and this was a mother trying to alleviate the pain in what way she could.

She knew her daughter found it and tried to drag her girlfriend into headbanging with her. Better times and in rebelion the parent tried to lash out againat the lord calling the shots. A hollow effort in the end. Making this any easier was a dream, tonight she possessed her daughter. Tonight ONI-GIRL WAS THE BEAST!

A tickle to the back, a pebble thrown towards a mountain. It meant nothing it was the words that bit into skin. "You know my girl meditated and trained all she could. Shoe string budget and tried. Turned to teaching what she knew over punching. But what's such things, all you see is the devil." The demon turned to face the wizard her motion like someone going for a pimp slap. Bran was a distance away but the speed of the Hell Titan was rivaling a gunshot. This playful backhand was a hurricane! Air pressure came for the magic user that would clear half a block. Cars became missiles. Bodies were swept up their bodies broken by g-forces before ever having a chance to splatter. A back hand looked to send a wizard off into a bloody ragdoll. To strike a building like a bug would a windshield. Dragonfang had been in that hand but the weapon played no factor in the power displayed.

Perhaps he could hold his position. Perhaps some folk would be saved. For every body broken and splattered however flames sparked. Bodies cooking as denizens of hell looked to take hold of the dead. In seconds the forces of hell would pool over into the material world. Where the Oni went death would follow, and when death came Hell took a corpses place. Another had come though landing now behind the Oni. A look over the shoulder and the Oni gave a somber grin.

A mother knew that face. Carmen had wanted to spar with that hero. To test her hellish might against the power of the sun. She understood the risks. The Oni had been a risk taker however. She would choose the challenge all the same if given the chance. A mother hoped it might be a semblance of serenity for the trapped child. Said child, Carmen hoped the sun and one of the best spellcasters might end her before a sister or girlfriend might have to. Never did Carmen surrender, against Dayman, against a dragon, impaled by Mettle none of these took the fight from Carmen. Tonight though she couldn't fight she was locked away and bound by laws of hell.

"No the boddy counts only starting." The words came with a throw the severed head was chucked toward the radiant hero. Hair caught fire, skin began to flake away. In the small moment of time between devil and sun the head became a missile! The kind of force that would split a building open if fortified or outright level it if not to resilience built. A husband's head was now just a rocket for the monster at play. Sharp eyes might tell the act of doing so to that head required more effort than deed itself. The power came easy emotions not as much. For all the weight those deeds had however the Oni wasn't halting her malevolence. Hell was only getting started.

David Leiter, alias Mettle, was going to die.

For a time, he had flown, blessed with power beyond comprehension, a metahuman. He was going to live forever if he played his cards right. Silver skin, flesh, muscle, bone – all of it a liquid-metal machine sculpted into a perfect replica of his mortal body, subject to his every mental command, but enhanced in its physique, capable of superhuman feats.

And what had he done with all that power?

He killed and burned his way through the criminal underworld of New York City, where he’d been born, brutally dismantling every remainder of every mob that resisted, and absorbing those which did not. At the age of twenty-two he had decided to take his revenge on the man with the golden touch – and he’d decided to do it dirty, up close and personal.

Now, golden veins ran up and down his arms, rippling and cracking with every iron heartbeat. The aureate transmutation shimmered across steel flesh, causing him constant pain. He didn’t feel pain like a regular person – it wasn’t debilitating. It was merely an awareness that something was eating away at him, and that his body was fighting it every step of the way. Total Experience had finished his bout with Aurum after being hit with the crime lord’s unique super-power; then, later that night, he had died, converted permanently into a golden statue. Mettle had survived the attack for an entire year now.

It’d all happened on a Saul-run oil rig in the Bahamas. The masked man had laughed as he tumbled into the smoky remains of the gilded station, his last words – “Got you, darling!” still echoing in his ears. Because Mettle had insisted on impaling the crime lord personally, he’d been in range of his trademark Midas touch. And even then, the surprise caused David to drop his nemesis over the edge, a gleaming blade-shifted arm retracting out of his chest – and they’d never found a body. He just tumbled into the smoke, laughing like a maniac.

They’d gotten each other. Aurum was missing; he didn’t dare to think him dead. He had dark science, access to secrets that only money like his could buy; maybe even sorcery. There was magic in this world.

Now it threatened Duskburg.

Years of quiet were shattered with a cacophonous bang. Oni-Girl on a rampage – the world’s worst nightmare.

David was standing by the window of his apartment when he saw it happening across the bay. Smoke, fires, death; it reverberated through the air. He could taste it miles away, with his enhanced senses.

It was only Mettle left in the organization now. Human Flood Jr. had betrayed him. Shockman made a play to take over his body. Tarantula turned snitch for the feds. All of them were dealt with, permanently. Now it was just David – the way he’d started out. Soon it’d collapse inward with his passing – the power vacuum would be immense.

He cleared miles with each bound, a crater left behind each footfall – he arrived not out of altruism, and not out of any sense of preserving his holdings. Financial gain had left him empty. He had won, but at the cost of everything he’d fought to preserve.

He was here on animal instinct only. A devil-may-care might as well thought – practically suicidal – with only the slightest hope that perhaps Kore might be here too. And even if she did show up, would he say anything to her, or just gaze through the carnage at what could have been?

David was silent in the face of Daystar’s request, not even taking a moment to acknowledge it – she went to voicemail. His response would come in the form of a sudden goliath-felling downward stab from the air, electromagnetically-accelerated like a railgun bullet – his right arm had been reformed into a hefty blade that sang as it sliced through the air toward Oni-Girl. The tattered remains of his luxury-white dress shirt fell away, revealing his chrome muscle, inundated with golden veins that cracked through him like Kintsugi.

The first time in his life he had ever manifested the power to shape-shift had been against her. It’d left her with a scar on her abs, and been the cause of the schism between himself and Kore. This was his moment to finish the job.

Another Mettle stepped out from behind a wrecked car and cracked its knuckles. Yet another dropped from atop a building and rolled his neck. They were all him – one consciousness, controlling multiple bodies. His best trick. It hadn’t saved him from the Gold Touch – they all had it. But they also had muscle to spare.

“Sunderson,” one duplicate said, tonally flat.

“Alex,” acknowledged the other, rolling up its own sleeves.

The One Man Mafia advanced in tandem – each going for a powerful stab at her heart while the Mettle who had initially appeared on the scene tried his damnedest to rip through Oni-Girl’s back with his shimmering blade. Lightning danced across each of them - magnetically accelerated.

The dynamic was the same as it’d been all those years ago: she was stronger than he was, and he knew it. Faster, more powerful. But he fought dirty, and he fought to kill.

Lazarus let out a squeal as they took in the sensations of Earth. The dryness and resistance of the air, the sudden burst of oxygen and iron, and the sounds of fighting. It was cut short when they landed on a slightly fresh body. Despite their excitement, they had no time to waste, so they immediately got to work burrowing into the twisted remains of a man. Despite the rising temperature, the maggot was unbothered as they wormed their way to the spine.

Even if they briefly saw the fighting, they listened for any signs that they were noticed. If it wasn't the squeal, the wet smack, or the sight of a large grub-like creature that caught anyone's attention, there could be worry that the putrid scent of the regenerative bile they spat into the chest cavity would reveal their position early. Along with the cracking and correcting of bones accompanying the bile's repairs.

Though Lazarus barely put any thought to it. They were already latching onto the spine and getting the entry wound shut. It wouldn't be long before they returned to that sensation that brought them such excitement to be on Earth, controlling a body. The colors visible with human senses, the tastes of food, the temporary feeling of feeling hunger be sated. But all that would have to wait until the goliath further down the street was not wreaking havoc.

Despite attaining motor control, Lazarus found it hard to move where they wanted after getting up. Others would see this as a nearly finished imp twitching and struggling to properly move. It was around this point that the demon would've noticed the little hitchhiker inside it, and would have taken a non-physical approach as not to mutilate their new body. This, however, ended up letting it feel like a factory worker after getting a limb caught in machinery.

Someone spiritually inclined would not only be able to feel the horror and pain the demon felt, but perhaps sense or even see the demon's essence being pulled into a point in its torso. Before it began to be denatured, consumed, and eventually pulled beyond detection... into whatever abyss initially pulled it in. What normal vison would see, is the light in the imp's eyes dimming, its body's red tones beginning to gray, and it's twitching suddenly stopping as it began to turn its attention to the fighters.

The rest of the Maw was telling Laz to "bite their tongue" and just observe, but their youthful voice squeaked in any mind it could worm its way into. The exact "sound" wasn't discernably boy or girl, but it mattered not for the simple "HELLO!" it gave. A misguided attempt of matching Carmen's psychic screaming, since it was the first psychically audible thing they heard.
It seems my words had more bite than my attack. That's right deal with me. Not the civilians. What struck me of her spiel was my girl. It's just another angle of attack to bring her attention to me and anyone else who shows up.

Which speak of the devil as someone landed next to me and suggested we take this off planet. How do you plan to force her? “If Carmen were a demon I would have killed her," that was when the tornado took me. The action had been so fast the first thing that I saw was cars and bodies as I was lifted off the ground and swept up into the tornado.

I got hit by the car almost immediately causing me to start flipping and spinning uncontrollably in mid-air nearly colliding with one of the many bodies picked up as well. If I hadn't moved to protect myself with my spell earlier I may have been knocked unconscious already. She made a mistake by not killing me immediately now I should remedy that issue.

Bran had years ago prepared for a singular moment when he needed great power to achieve something truly great. Granted making deals with his patrons could be described as such but this was one such moment. He had added four gems to his staff for two purposes to appear as regular ornaments. He was a vain person and wished to appear far wealthier than he usually was and they each held power siphoned from certain entities if you could look closely at the gems you could see a hellish inferno, crashing waves, ground torn asunder, and a gigantic tornado with lightning all around.

This power had been siphoned from what wizards had called the Elder Elementals. Mindless they were in no position to negotiate so it could only be taken. He only needed the siphoned power of one right now the Lord of the Sky and Storms, "Tempest," as one of the gems winked out. Lightning flashed inside the tornado as a blue-white glow suffused the area.

The tornado was nothing to me as the descending air fueling the tornado was cut off. The tornado spun out, leaving Bran floating mid-air as debris was thrown or immediately dropped nearby. Electricity crackled along his body and as he spoke his voice crackled, "Carmen was an angel who protected her community. You should be proud of you're girl.” That was when I noticed Kore's boyfriend and what he was about to do. I had always hated him.

As several demons rushed me they drained off more power as lightning struck six times and burned away their bodies. I couldn't hold onto this power for long I would need to use it soon but not with him in the way I would want Kore on my good side after.


I sliced off the head of a demon with lightning quickness and let it rest atop the staff's blade for a moment. "Who was that" I thought and let it linger in my head as I started to look around checking for something out of place. Could be one of her tricks...
"Yeah, that's what I figured," Alex muttered, as Oni-Girl dismissed her invitation to take the fight somewhere uninhabited. It'd been worth a shot, though- appealing to some spark of humanity still left within the cruel monster before her. And if there was no humanity to be found, that told her something too.

No sooner than had Alex finished speaking, however, did the Beast launch her first attack, hurling the severed head she'd held in her hand like a fastball from hell. There was enough force behind the 'pitch' to send Alex flying, if it struck her, or to strike one of the inhabited buildings behind her like an RPG. The old Alex might have taken the hit, heedlessly absorbing as much punishment as possible, but she'd graduated to a more strategic way of thinking of late.

Extending her hand, Daystar began to draw the kinetic energy out of Oni-Girl's makeshift missile, absorbing the force behind the throw into her own body. It was a power she'd first awakened to some years ago, when a madwoman from beyond the stars had dropped an asteroid on downtown Houston. Alex had attempted to stop the spaceborne projectile, and when her strength had proven insufficient to do so, she'd been crushed beneath its weight. But rather than be flattened, she'd survived, having unconsciously absorbed the force of the impact and converted it to energy that she'd used to help chase the alien interloper- Astra had been her name -back to where she'd come from.

Since that day, the Solar Sentinel had been honing her skills. Now, she could absorb the kinetic energy from a bullet in the instant before it struck her, causing the metal to drop harmlessly to the ground. But Oni-Girl had thrown the head at her with significantly more force than a bullet, and it proved rather more difficult to stop. Yet stop it nevertheless did.

By the time the head reached Alex's outstretched hand, the flesh and muscle wrapped around it had burned away completely, leaving only a hollow, grinning skull, no visible trace of a person left anywhere within. Daystar's body thrummed silently, supercharged by the energy she'd just absorbed, but she held it within for the time being, not yet ready to strike. Instead, she considered the skull, an expression of deep sorrow on her face.

Peering more closely at the object in her hands, Alex examined it with her microscopic vision, the same talent that allowed her to observe events on the surface of the Earth even from far above in outer space. Only this time, she was looking for something else entirely. Peering beyond the lifeless bone, and into the wealth of biological information contained therein. She could read the strands of DNA, see the very genetic code, and translate it, in a way that would have been thoroughly impossible not too long ago. But her mind was different now, capable of processing information better than any supercomputer. With that power, she could determine precisely who this unfortunate man had once been... and why Oni-Girl had chosen to make him her first victim.

"Your own father," Alex whispered. She could see Carmen's genetic code too, tainted by demonic energies as it was. The relation was unmistakable, as was the tragedy of his death. Slain at the hands of his own daughter... even if not by her will. "You're not Carmen at all, are you?"

Before Daystar could begin to work through the exact implications of that fact, another tragedy arrived, this time in the form of a man Alex had called ally, if not exactly friend. When was the last time they'd seen each other? Could it really have been the Immortals' Ball she'd hosted, way up on the Empyrean? He'd brought Kore with him to that, but she was nowhere to be found today. And Mettle seemed... lesser, for her absence.

Alex could see the One-Man Mafia with more than just her eyes, and an in-depth examination, not unlike the one she'd given Carmen's father's skull, told her everything she needed to know. There were two kinds of living metal contained within that body, at war with one another. A creeping, golden infection, slowly working its way through Mettle's steel frame, slowed but not stopped by his increasingly adept control over his own form. He could shapeshift with ease now, even split off into multiple bodies, but none of it was enough to save him.

"Oh, David..."

He wouldn't like that, Alex was sure. He'd never much cared for sympathy, and the Alex he'd known wouldn't have been one to offer it. But now, it was impossible not to feel for him, even in spite of the blood that was clearly on his hands. Had he ever really had a choice? A chance to be a hero? By the time David had inherited the powers of Total Experience, the Society of Superheroes had torn itself apart and collapsed, and the Front Line... the less said about them, the better. No surprise, then, that he'd turned to crime. Especially given his history with Aurum.

The Modern Midas, hiding behind a mask in the shape of a grinning golden skull. Alex had encountered him once before, at Crumple Zone, where she'd first met Mettle. Carmen had been there too, though they'd never traded blows. But Alex remembered the event best for what had happened at the end- she'd gone in for the kill on Aurum, intending to slice him to pieces with a pair of focused lasers. He'd managed to teleport away, several of his clone minions sacrificing themselves to buy their master those crucial few seconds. If she'd been a few moments faster, perhaps she could have spared David his descent into savagery.

No use dwelling on that now. Not while Mettle was trying to tear Carmen's body apart, unaware- or perhaps simply uncaring -that she was evidently not at home within. Alex recalled a class she'd taken at Millennium City University, before she'd decided to drop out- "Fallen Heroes: When Good Guys Go Bad." They'd covered a wide variety of reasons why someone on the side of the angels might change allegiances, but the most common by far, according to her professor, had been possession. She'd learned about many ways in which it could take place- brainwashing, body swapping, and the like. In this case, it looked like a Type 2-C: supernatural origin, biological vector. There was no science in play here, and nothing about it was voluntary, either. Carmen's very body was a conduit for the forces of Hell, and they'd decided to take hold of her without asking.

I'm gonna have to do something about Hell, huh? Seems like they're due for a second Harrowing down there.

Alex's plans for the future, biblical as they might have been, would have to wait. There were souls for her to save here and now. Carmen's, and if she was lucky, maybe even David's too.

Not unlike how Mettle had manifested multiple autonomous bodies, Alex could now summon 'echoes' of herself, hard-light avatars she could control with her mind, now that she was capable of perfectly splitting her attention in multiple directions. Not one to be outdone, she summoned no less than five such echoes, the translucent copies splitting off from her and scattering. Four of them were tasked with evacuating civilians from the area, including rescuing those who were trapped in their vehicles or under any wreckage. The fifth was sent to the side of one Bran Sunderson, to entreat his aid.

"Warlock. You don't need me to tell you Carmen's obviously possessed. If any of us knows how to free her, it's got to be you. So tell me what we need to do. A binding circle? An exorcism? You get the spell ready, and when it's time, I'll provide the power."

It didn't feel right, pinning her hopes on someone so obviously... unreliable. But for all her many talents, Alex didn't know much about magic. Sunderson was the expert here, when it came to matters arcane. She could only hope he knew enough to free Carmen from her curse before she, or anybody else, was killed.

Daystar knew better than to try to convince Mettle to hold back. He was clearly far beyond such things now. And frankly, holding back against Oni-Girl was probably going to get people killed. So she'd have to tread a fine line, attempting to delay David's killing frenzy long enough for Bran to prepare a spell to undo Carmen's possession, while also keeping the Beast occupied long enough that she wasn't able to rampage through the city.

Swooping in towards the melee with impressive speed, Alex would attempt to press two fingers to Oni-Girl's chest, and then release the stored-up kinetic energy that she'd absorbed from the skull that'd been thrown at her. Every ounce of force she'd drained would be redirected, with the intent of launching Carmen's possessed body several hundred yards back down the highway, further away from civilians... and perhaps more importantly, away from Mettle.

Broken Mind

While halting himself from the hurricane of force a wizard would open his mind to his suroundings. A denizen of hell crawled to the surface gifted gateway by coming Armageddon but serving a different domain, such a creature opened its mind with a greeting to the world around it. They would be met by thunder. A roar that was almost ear splitting. Carmen was all muscle her battle cries had been legendary, as that included lungs that could be a battle cry for an entire battlefield. While not a psycher her thoughts in this pandemonium could be heard. And in all likelihood it would likely feel as if one was trying to think with head pressed to a siren. It was being at a concert next to the speakers and trying to talk. And the only sound was a scream of blood curdling rage...

If they pushed they would also find that there was to minds there. Past the yelling was the mind of the body a miasma of hate. It was a wall built around the mind of the possessed. How much either could explore though was a mystery. Telepathic conversation did not inherently mean one was open to astral planes.

Breaking Everything Else

A wizard halts his movements to avoid splattering along building walls. It's a motion that also catches a number of victims mid flight. His power channels more to slaying imps next azure bolts come down like the wrath of a god. A brief laugh escaped the devil, good moves but no God chose to Smite her daughter now look where they were. Angels came to help the wizard, energy forms to capture the fallen. Some were running some may have been in cars. The main focus though was simple together what had the potential to be several dozens of dead was reduced to probably only a dozen or two. Rescued by heroes and the monsters to come from that at least a third cut down by lightning before they could rip and tear.

What imps survived were already looking to give chase. Those who were fleeing the scene. Some of the monsters might go for people hiding in the buildings. Some worked late shifts, some maybe clocking out but caught up talking. It was a busy city and buildings were often at night light in civilians but not barren. Then of course was just the folk of the night, late joggers, drunks homeless. Being night it wasn't busy but there was casualties possible and any slain by Carmen or an imp would allow for another imp.

Really though who had time for that when there was her?

The severed head turned missile, a imposing air strike by her sheer muscle. It'd had its energy absorbed as it was caught the sun splitting soon after the catch. Carmen didn't have eyes back of her head but the opposition was quite radiant and in a city there was a million surfaces to be seen by a glare all around. She was coming in just as a streak of metal, no two. Everything was a blur likely to an onlooker. A flash of light the arc of silver and electricity. They were swifter actual speedsters compared to someone fast by raw muscle.

The claymore rises to catch the downward stroke. Two blades clash a shower of sparks a few splinters of bone. The Dragonfang weapon of the Oni was just that the tooth of a dragon. Mettle though had a blade that's edge was a metal surpassing likely all others with edge so fine beyond hair thin. It was enough to cut into the tooth but the arm of the Oni barely moved, barely flinched. How fast did that swing come in at and she was unmoving? Maybe they'd be catching on. Or not just as that came in a second blow did as well a charge forward with a similar blade.


A sword comes in for the heart. A tear in a tank top zero resistance as blade advances. It bites into a layer of skin, a hint of black flowing out as blood was shed. Then thunder, before the blade could delve deeper a red leg looked to kick the silver saint of sinners away. A spartan kick that benefited from being the tallest fighter. A foot print that was almost comical in size, Carmen liked to think her feet a normal size for her but she was hardly a small girl. What could be a kick aimed for a ribcage or two may have been aiming for the whole thing. Worse though was the raw power. That kick would have turned a tank inside out and folded to thin as a soda can stepped on. Launched away like a bullet. In a singular motion Carmen looked to crush Mettle and turn him into an oversized bullet ripping through the city.

Twist the blade in hand. The force to move mountains looked to push past the bind and drive the oversized club of a sword into the midsection of Aerial Mettle! A murderous swing that looked to divide the man in two and send him flying away as two separate oddly shaped missiles to bring buildings down. The host of Hades knew her daughter loved seeing that blade. Carmen ever a coach ever a friend had pushed buttons only in hopes of seeing Mettle show the world himself and not his predecessor. Carmen wore that scar on her abs with pride. The mother though saw it as a murderstroke and wanted one in return. Aim to stomp one like a bug and bisect another and she was just getting started.

Success or fail though before it was even known another attack came in. Force to level a building hit Carmen in the small cut made by Mettle. It expands from the force a visible mark now. Not to deep and not to bloody but it was a start. The detonation cracked the asphalt with a echoing bang as it launched the Oni backwards. A few drops of black blood fall from her, the splintered road cracked a waterline allowing for a puddle to be stood in. Where the Oni blood dropped steam rose upward. "Apreciate the sentiment. But you all need to GET SERIOUS!"

She puts the Dragonfang into the ground for a moment for the next move. Hands move backwards, like mighty oaks threatening to snap. Muscles tighten it looks more like machines of war that chambered ordnance. Studies and training with Noctua helped Carmen grasp chackra. This was channeled in better drawing on her power and containing the limits. The Host of Hades could tap into this. She wasn't getting serious yet, they could have a lower yield as a treat. Three hundred thirty three yards in diameter would be the radius, she'd perform the coming action twice.

Her hands came together like a rail gun. A clap.

What followed was the ear rupturing boom of thunder. Enough concussive force to within that radius specified give of the explosive force to rival an atom bomb. It'd be hell on those far enough away like imps or other spawn of hell. It might be in range of a wizard. The set of heavy hitters may or may not be in the cross hairs. What followed though turned some buildings to a shower of ruins. Others had half blown from existence. Cars became balls of ruin that launched into the city like grenade shrapnel of a comedic size. The second clap would take the barely and damaged buildings and have them collapsing on themselves. The ground gave way dropping the Oni into a subway system. And for a moment the music. Was drowned out. The earth rattling thunder rolled as an echo through the city. The sound of hysteria and collapsing structures filled the night air.

The thunder clap was a fun gimmick move usually, she was taunting a weapon of Mass Destruction with such. Fitting for the song that wormed its way into the speakers around. They shouldn't work after the calamity, hell granted such a favor though as the Oni played. For her betrayal of Hells desires they waited. They sent her now to pay for that transgression. To do this to her daughter hurt, but the mother also couldn't refute it. Hell made her for one thing, and they had her give birth for one thing. The Hand of Hell, Arm of Apocalypse the Oni was destined to bring


I let the head slide off the staff's blade still having not heard a response from that response. I told Alex, "You should know it might not be so simple. We need to get her out of here. I can do that but this demon isn't gonna be easy to get rid of. I want to save Carmen but you know just as well as I do. If we have no choice it must be done. She would approve, I think. Everything will take time if I can get close I can send her somewhere else. That's where we start." I watched the fight between Mettle and Carmen able to follow most of the actions this time. Waiting and hoping for the right time to strike but when it came my eyes grew wide.

She telegraphed the action playing with us as my left hand reached toward my pouch, “EVERYONE RUN! SAVE WHO YOU CAN!” My gloved right hand altered the stones as I pulled them out. Maximum protection was what I needed and a bit of an angle. I threw the stones and hoped Mettle and Alex had enough time to get behind the barrier. A mere second later she clapped and all hell broke loose. The skyline nearby just evaporated and the thunderclap burst both eardrums the mage armor having never been created to deal with sound. But the force that would have destroyed us went above into the air. Debris hit the barrier but it remained for now.

There was insignificant damage to the barrier but that was when the overpass began to collapse and I noticed she would clap again. I only had a second and if someone was to grab me I could not stop them from coming with me. I cast banish not choosing any specific plane to go to just the one I was already attuned to the Earth’s Elemental Plane.

Elemental Plane​

I could only take a moment. I needed to get back into the fight as I cast heal sadly it could only help the eardrum and not the arm. I couldn’t stay here long otherwise I would lose the power I’ve siphoned for nothing.
Most of Lazarus' time was spent observing the frankly overstimulating battle, the two sets of senses were easily creating a lag in reaction. Though once Lazarus focused on the imp's senses, they knew the barrier was up for... some reason. They also remembered that they left a question unanswered. So, as they bolted to get behind the barrier, they blurted out a rushed telepathic message. "HELLO AM LAZARUS WHY GREEN WALL WHAT AM CONTROLLING AM WEAKER AM INSIDE RUNNING BODY" The ineloquent creature managed to dive down onto the ground behind the barrier, before the body's sense of hearing was shot. As they witnessed the shockwave.

Though they didn't have eardrums like the imp, this ended up causing them to use their own senses for hearing while the eardrums were being repaired. Which meant everything non-telepathic was muffled by tissue. Though they didn't need to hear much as they felt the overpass beginning to collapse, so they tried to climb onto Bran to avoid sinking. All while they asked question after question, why the ground was crumbling, why so noise, what happened to the sky, etc.

The sudden change of scenery only drew more questions, though they were directed at both Bran and the minds within the Maw they were most familiar with. Though the few aimed mainly at Bran where "Who are you? Where are we? Do you know why the big woman was screaming?" As they spoke telepathically, they were still struggling to get any proper speech from the imp's body. They were growing frustrated from each failed attempt, which were mostly sounds one would expect from a denizen of hell. "Hmph... It's too hard to make this talk, why'd that demon have to ruin this body?" Lazarus added, glancing at the limbs of the imp.
I had ignored the demon called Lazarus until I had healed the eardrums. Blood still oozed out of my ears but it should stop in another moment as it dried up. I raised my staff towards Lazarus and began answering his questions his voice still crackled with electricity arcing around his body, "Bran is my name, and we're on Earth's elemental plane. That means we are in another dimension inhabited by mindless beings representing Sky, Water, Fire, and Earth. Right now we're in Earth's territory." I stood there for a moment silent. No rumbling... It would know something was here.

"You mean you aren't with her? I guess not trying to kill me is a point in your favor. The body belongs to a friend called Carmen seems her demon bitch of a mother possessed her." I lowered my staff an imp body couldn't do much anyway, "imps aren't known for much their chaff at best. Meant to kill civilians real danger comes when there are hundreds or thousands of them. So I only have one question for you. How can I trust you won't be a problem during this fight? What do you want?"
The first telepathic message, Alex had failed to register- she'd been focusing her attention on other things, and due to the unusual structure of her mind, it hadn't reached her via traditional means. A standard telepathic broadcast was designed to be received by a human brain, but since Alex no longer possessed- or needed -one of those, the message was harder to distinguish from the flood of other information constantly being absorbed by her variety of new senses. In particular, the amount of ambient magic in the air, both emanating off of Sunderson, and Carmen herself, created a great deal of 'chaff.' The second, longer message, on the other hand, did register, but only briefly, before its source was snatched away as Sunderson teleported himself, and the being that had self-identified as 'Lazarus,' to another plane of existence.

Very little of that was on Alex's list of top priorities right now, though. She was more concerned about Sunderson's words. It seemed he didn't know of a way to dispel the dark influence controlling Oni-Girl's actions. Perhaps he'd have time to consult his eldritch tomes and come up with a better answer, wherever he'd teleported off to- or perhaps this was just going to come down to a contest of brute strength. That outcome might have satisfied Alex before, but she had higher aims now.

The 'thunderclap' was a classic move, one Alex had used before, but never with deliberate intent towards destruction- and never with this much power behind it. Sunderson threw up a barrier, and Alex took up a position behind it, briefly becoming no more than a streak of light as she moved from one point to another in less than a second. The warlock's shield protected Daystar's body- although the fact that she no longer had internal organs to rupture or even eardrums to burst certainly helped -but it was the people not behind the barrier she'd been worried about.

Four of the Solar Sentinel's 'echoes' had been deployed to evacuate civilians in the area, and as it became clear what Oni-Girl was about to do, they shifted tactics, instead moving to shield those they were within range of. Between the four of them, they were able to gather up several dozen civilians, creating protective bubbles around them that spared the innocents the brunt of the two titanic shockwaves. But there were dozens- perhaps even hundreds -more, who weren't so lucky. Entire buildings collapsed, killing their inhabitants in the process. Even outside of the immediate blast radius, cars had been launched like cannonballs, and where they made impact, more lives were lost.

From behind Bran's shield, Alex did what she could. With impossible speed and precision, she fired energy beams that vaporized the largest chunks of rubble, turning several of the cars to splatters of molten metal that splattered harmlessly against the ground or dissipated in the wind. She even reached out with telekinesis, hoping to hold some of the damaged buildings together long enough for a few survivors to evacuate- but in the end, the structural damage was too great, and they too collapsed, Daystar's constructs buckling under the weight.

Unlike the others, Alex could see it happening. The heat signatures of hundreds of warm, living bodies going cold as they were crushed under rubble or struck dead by a chunk of debris that'd been sent flying. Far worse were the sounds- children crying out for their mothers, husbands and wives for their spouses, and people of all kinds crying out for their gods to save them. There were no gods here today, but there was Daystar- and she was failing. Every single life that was lost was on her, and nobody else.

As soon as the second shockwave subsided, Alex's echoes released the civilians they'd been shielding, and set to work scouring the rubble for those who'd miraculously made it out. Since each of the echoes possessed her abilities, they could identify the living from the dead with ease, and prioritize saving those who had a chance of survival. Emergency services were on the scene, but at a safe distance, and the echoes began ferrying the wounded to ambulances as quickly as possible, cauterizing or freezing over injuries as necessary to buy the civilians as much extra time as possible.

All of that was running on autopilot in the back of Alex's head- though the task was complex, it didn't require her main focus. Meaning she could devote her attention to dealing with the one responsible for the carnage.

Carmen was now standing in a subway tunnel, and though a train wasn't yet nearby, Alex could envision with horrifying clarity what would happen if one did. More screams, more blood, more death. It was on them to keep that from happening. And considering that she and David had barely managed to make a scratch on the Hellspawn's body so far, Daystar figured she had no business holding him back anymore.

Using laserlike, mechanical precision, the Solar Sentinel fired off a series of narrow heat beams, aimed not at Carmen, but at Mettle. Her intent was to superheat his arm-blades, enhancing their lethality by a few thousand degrees. He could already turn to liquid metal on command, so Alex had no fear of melting him- this was just a minor boost to make his next attacks more effective.

With any luck, David would be able to keep Carmen occupied alone for a few moments, because instead of launching back into the melee, Alex decided to prioritize preventative measures. With her enhanced senses, she could tell when the next train was coming- the Alpha line, express from Duskburg to Millennium Center. Still about a mile off, but coming in fast, and with no awareness of the danger that awaited. So Daystar set off down the track, rushing past Carmen so quickly she'd appear as no more than a brief beam of light, intent on bringing the train to an emergency stop.

Naturally, she heard the train coming before she saw it- an express train traveled at less than twenty miles per hour, but that was still plenty fast for something so heavy. And stopping it was going to be no easy task. If she simply threw herself at the front of the train, there was no way Alex would be able to stop it before it hit Carmen. Instead, she split off another echo, and sent it off with a simple mission- decouple the leading car from the others. Her hard-light double accomplished that task easily with a simple energy beam, which detatched the remaining two dozen cars and instantly activated their emergency brakes.

The people inside those cars would be jostled around, but there was little chance of any of them coming to any serious harm. The brakes would kick in immediately, and the passengers would be able to safely evacuate. The lead car, however, was going to be more difficult.

Reabsorbing her echo, Alex braced herself against the front of the car, but instead of simply pushing against it- which would have caused the car to crumple against her immense strength and killed everybody inside -she began to absord its kinetic energy, just as she'd done to the skull of Carmen's father when it'd been hurled at her like a missile. The subway car had less kinetic energy behind it, but was significantly larger, and heavier- fifty-five tons, to be precise, accounting for the weight of all the passengers. Absorbing that much kinetic energy was something Alex hadn't attempted since she'd tried to stop the meteor from hitting Houston years ago, but she'd been younger, more inexperienced then. Now, she knew precisely what she was doing, and she wasn't going to let anybody else die.

With an ear-piercing sound of screeching and whining metal, the train car came to a complete stop, the massive kinetic energy behind it having been absorbed into Daystar's body. The people inside were unhurt- she'd used telekinesis to cushion them -and as soon as the train stopped, they flooded out of the emergency exit, careful to avoid the third rail on the tracks. Almost as an afterthought, Alex deployed an echo to protect the group and make sure they made it off the tracks unharmed. Her main focus, however, was on something else.

When the Solar Sentinel reemerged onto the battlefield, she was carrying the now-empty subway car, which she hefted with a single hand, using both her strength, and her telekinesis to keep the car intact. Flying high above the arena, which looked nearly identical to as if someone had detonated a small nuclear device, Alex scoured the area for signs of life. Her echoes had been hard at work evacuating survivors and unharmed civilians- now, the only people in the area were Carmen and the other combatants. That meant she was in the clear for her next attack.

"DEMON," Alex roared, amplifying her voice to be heard even from several hundred feet in the air.


Then, channeling all the energy she'd absorbed from stopping the train, she hurled it straight at Carmen from the air, intending to crush her beneath forty tons of solid steel. If Mettle was close enough to be struck as well- so be it. He was a tough guy. So was Oni-Girl, for that matter. Alex had no illusions about this move taking Carmen out, but it would at least slow her down, and buy time for Sunderson to return with a solution.

If the warlock failed to deliver, Alex was going to have to start improvising.
It took several loud utterings of "DO NOT" by others in the Maw to keep Lazarus from trying to eat or gnaw on the closest bit of staff. If their mind was being read, one would gleam that at least three others were trying to keep Lazarus from making any sudden moves. The wording and tone of these external thoughts were like that of adults trying to keep a child calm and quiet.

Confusion at the word "kill" could also be noted, as well as curiosity about Bran's magic.

Beyond thoughts, Laz wouldn't do much until the two questions were given. To which Lazarus responded, having several questions after they answered his. "I don't know how you can trust me. I was told to see why it was so loud, and I didn't want to disappoint Maw... ...What is a demon? Am I inside an 'imp'? Why'd someone asleep turn into an imp? What's chaff?"
As Bran lowered his staff he noticed the look on Lazarus' face. Curiosity. The same look he and his “friends” had when they studied magic all those years ago. The same childlike curiosity that would cause so many mistakes and injuries. Apart of him wanting to see what would happen but the part of him that would soon be a father won out, “This Maw is a fucked up organization.” Is he not a demon? Lazarus did appear during a demon invasion…

“Our reality is experiencing a fight to determine who controls Earth. A different reality we call Hell has been trying for years. The people of Hell, demons, and devils, this is their latest attempt. The body you possess now is one of their weaker fighters.” I didn’t know if he. It? Would understand. But his mind was made up he would take a chance on Lazarus. That was when Bran felt the rumbling beneath their feet.

We had gotten lucky that we hadn’t appeared underground otherwise this minute would have only been seconds. “Time to go, “I reached toward Lazarus hoping he knew enough to take it. The rock elementals were the first to appear with the Zaratan probably not being too far behind. It would know it would have sensed the power of the Tempest. I would banish just as the crack beneath us opened up.

Millennium City

The city we returned to was unrecognizable from the one I had seen before. Everything was ruined and music continued to play. Wait why was it still playing? This was the same song I had heard before I left. Yet it continued to play? That would have to wait for more demons now hunted in the night increasing their number with each kill. “I won’t ask you to fight for us, Lazarus. But if there is a way this Maw can help us we could use it. If you come across the others I was who are here to help tell them you're with Bran.”

I couldn’t keep the power of Tempest much longer and while the ground shook from what must have been a heavy blow. I needed more help. A magic circle appeared in the air as I summoned my help. If the intention was to summon demons and overwhelm us I could stop that now with the creatures of the Feywild. As I cast Summon Fey the circle called out to the other plane calling for help they would remember the favors owed or the rewards offered by humans who needed them. I summoned 2 groups of Sprites often used as warriors and scouts, a group of Pixies to help guide humans to safety and investigate something for me, and the Beast of Gevaudan a large magical wolf that terrorized pre-revolutionary France thought it had killed.

“What do you need, Scourge?” asked the Sprite.

“Help me cull the demon population and save human civilians. When this is over I offer more than my weight in poptarts, sodas, and chocolate.” The Beast was here as a favor by my patron an offer long dangled in front of me when I could use it. But it would be rewarded as well by the Hunt and the Blood.

The fey creatures squeaked, for a moment, talking amongst themselves, “Ten times your weight and you have a deal.”

“Deal, “
I expected as much as they began their mission of exterminating what demons there were and rescuing who could be saved. I decided to go to the nearest source of the music and see why it continued. Any demon I came across would be struck by lightning eventually after a dozen maybe two the power of the elemental went away. I approached the source of the music and began to investigate if nothing out of the ordinary was found I would destroy it. Casting Eldritch Blast until it stopped and see what would happen.

Forces of Hell

In the following calamity of thunder most the original imps were simply deleted, not much more durable than human and caught up in what was rivaling a weapon of mass destruction. They were inconsequential however as essentially an entire foot ball stadium and the parking garage next to it was destroyed, it was basically a block or so of the city removed and with it the casualty rates climbed. It probably surpassed two hundred but it was also being cut down in numbers do to officers and heroes. Not everyone was prepared to join the Oni in the ring, in a city known for heroes though there was still some who chose to step up.

Eventually a wizard would return. His hellish company would feel it likely in the air. The powers of hell creeping over might grow in power soon, a few more casualties and lowly imps wouldn't be the only thing that could crawl into this world. He might also notice though that the stench of death and decay, the fuel for hell might lend itself to the Maw more. Perhaps they could send their next rank before Hell had a chance proper to grow. While otherworldly senses did this the wizard summoned his own faction.

If hell killed any of those fey more imps might come. They were organized better then imps they would likely slay more imps per fey. Imps though also wanted to just slaughter. The issue in fighting them wasn't that they were strong. It was jow every imp just desired to rip and tear. The small police line and the like didn't have an allure. The fleeing crowds did. While human hell and fey did battle the magician approached a car. Broken was the thing crumpled and twisted its engine spat sparks to dance along asphalt. The radio was crushed just like hood and engine. Still the metal music played not only loud but louder then those speakers in the car would have allowed. It wasn't an updated sound system or anything yet played like one. Louder then it ought to be and booming when technically it shouldn't be.

Beams of foreboding and unknown energy struck the radio and still it played. It was reduced to molten parts and still it played. Another blast and there was no more radio there. And something formed a small winged humanoid composed of just sparkling red and blue electricity. For a moment the thing kneeled over slapping it's knee it's laugh a grundgy cackle mixed with the sound of static. Then it opened its jaw wide and unhinged the heavy musical continued to play. These were beings of just hellish power flowing into machines. It could have been worse with how much it was spreading, the energy of hell was breaking through a damn. Right now it was just the soundtrack playfully devious then I'll intended.

The study of Bran and Lazarus though would likely not make it much further than that though as an attack came their way....

Waiting For A Light

She knew that Bran and some rogue imp had taken to a barrier and then left. The arcane safe haven helped as well Daystar from what she saw. How Mettle faired escaped her. She had tried to kill both versions but the moments between lashing out and her thunderous follow up wasn't all that long. She dropped into a crater a gaping hole where the world had been the asphalt the pipes the steel and concrete all reduced to dust in her furry. She stood on the tracks of a subway head turned towards where a train was coming.

A unknown number of beacons of hope went to help wounded above the city. To help tend to those not saved from the blast. Another went to lend aid to the train. Heroic efforts as a wizard left to recover and recruit reinforcements. Noble intentions that all left the fallen angel of destruction to be free to her own devices. Oni felt it cruel to over escalate better to play with her food. That was after all her goal just to bring destruction. She showed it moments ago she was an atom bomb and beyond, yet she chose to wound a city rather than atomize it. Instead the Oni moved to some of the debris. Lifting up chunks of concrete and debris like they weighed no more then a pillow. Size of cars and she moved them with ease. Five slabs of ruin would be thrown to become instead meteors.

Two fell towards empty buildings. A company owned factory of some size and a self made small business. Buildings at risk of leveling though they had no casualties to worry about if anyone had time to consider such a fact. These meteors were unaimed thankfully two were a miss by most accounts the others ran a higher risk. One fell towards an overnight shipping facility staff packaged things in places, in others loaded up trucks. Tired overnight workers now at risk of a meteor finding them. Another fell towards a hospital self explanatory the risk this held. And the last with risk of lives was a zoo. Was only a few staff who might be harmed but the animals were numerous of course. Hard to know how much of the zoo grounds would be caught in the blast if destruction came. This was a hell guided throw however some unseen force coaxed the Oni to make a throw this way. And if the wildlife died that would make what Lazarus could sense elsewhere a reality. The wildlife was means for greater denizens od hell to pass into the world.

Efforts to bring more chaos was short lived though. As Oni moved to pick up remains of a car Daystar arrived with retaliation. "Sure of that?" There was a hate though bubbling in her mind. The warrior in her wanted to catch the attack, the body showed the slightest retaliation though unresponsive. If the psychic abilities picked up on anything it would register as a sort of tiniest short circuits. Carmen inside teased of a voice then denied was only angrier. Yet in her rage, for a fraction of a moment some second of time the mother was only partly in control. The train car hit the titan head on!

The devil was shoved into the ground as the train car struck her. There was the screech of twisting and folding metal as it burrowed into the earth. A laugh escapes a head tilts back and then thuds into the side of the train car. The collapsed sarcophagus of a vehicle explodes open Oni walking from the wreckage. The monstrous hit cracked her left horn and ripped open a cut along the brow. Her shirt was covered in tears rips from so much shrapnel and twisted steel. The damage though was minimal. They had twice now drawn her blood but the force used was like hurling stones at a mountain. This was a fight that demanded the peak of one's abilities. It was in the center of a city though how comfortable were they doing so?

Not her problem. With a section of car gripped like a shield and the Dragonfsng in hand the Oni leaped into the air. The "shield" as it were though wasn't meant to stay with her. She held it long enough to spot Bran, then she kicked it. The car would shatter and while she didn't have the best line of site on him the following attack didn't need to be precise. What had been a car was reduced to a dozen or so bits. Some were the size of a blade a hood turned weapon. Some were entire doors, some were smaller just a steering wheel as an example. The vehicle became a volley of debris that shattered the sound barrier a hand full of times as they raced toward wizard and quite possibly the demon with him. Each bit of shrapnel likely able to pass through a building end to end, like a bullet did paper targets.

The jump came towards Daystar a commet of murderous intentions. Dragonfang would rise in a swing that looked to slash from pelvis to skull fully aiming to split the woman in two. The edge of the blade was sharp enough well to cut into an Oni, the tooth of a dragon made a slashing weapon. Worse though then it's edge was the muscle behind it. Having a monstrously sharp blade didn't mean one could cut a building in two. The force that Oni used however meant she could. Just a slash of hers had pressure enough to follow a good several yards in the swing she provided. Her slash was the kind meant to split a building in two. This murderous move was followed by another assault.

Once more her boot would snap outwards. A spartan kick, that moved almost lightning quick. The very sound of the motion boomed like thunder. This kick looked to find the midsection of Daystar. If it found purchase it had the chance to turn each woman into a meteor. Racing opposite directions like a high velocity missile. Able to catch fire in their movements. Of course this move aimed to explode opposition but it alsk was for traversal. Carmen couldn't fly an attack like this however would make her now a meteor racing towards a housing district of the city. The move didnt look to just kill or maim opposition but to also defiantly have her looking to slaughter even more!

Then again, air born and far more open perhaps the opening might also be there for intervention or combined efforts.

Lazarus was notably quiet as Bran explained, and even after arriving back on earth. Though they followed him until he began to summon fey, as the silence had been to allow them to process what was being said and the conversation of those supervising them. Though it was the fey summoning that stopped the conversation, as another child of the maw had taken notice, and demanded to start having Lazarus begin listening only to them, at least long enough to do their idea.

This would physically manifest as the imp staring to carve a circle like the one Bran had made into the ground. Though the symbols made seemed more… rigid. Like bone grown into shape, rather than proper writing. As Lazarus silently created the circle, they used whatever they could, nearly grinding the imp’s claws down to the palm as they rushed to follow their superior’s orders. If one were detecting emotion, they would sense some apprehension and fear. When not carving or drawing the symbols with the imp’s blood, there were some twitches and jolts in the body’s back.

But the circle was soon done, and Lazarus called out to Bran telepathically after moving away from the circle, “Th…this can help! You just need to get it going to-” They were cut off partway through, as some shrapnel had torn through the imp’s body. While one bit separated the imp’s head from its body, another took the tip of Lazarus’ tail. The pain was immediate, and so was the psychic wail let out by the maggot. While now headless, the body simply collapsed, leaking blood, bile, and a strange blue ichor.
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The moment this demon appeared I realized the truth. It laughed at ME and continued to spin its tune. It was loud and it was taunting me. The truth was I should have banished this city immediately. It was clear to me I took this threat far too lightly. We would be dragged down ever closer to Hell if drastic measures weren't taken. I didn’t respond just quietly opened my pack and fished out one of two vials of dragon blood.

I had made it after the attack on Providence another time when I had done something wrong just as so many times before. I uncorked it and downed the entire vial as it went down I only tasted burning and stinging pain. I had placed a very unique enchantment upon this blood. Today I would become the dragon.

I didn’t spit fire per se. I screamed it. I roasted that demon alive with a magical majestic fire hotter than the sun. By the time I was done, the demon was only ash and my throat was sore. It only felt like I had burnt my tongue on hot soup. I could hear them though the fight had come back to me. Alex and Carmen with Mettle nowhere in sight yet.

Carmen suddenly grabbed a car and leaped into the air kicking and turning the car into dozens of smaller pieces. I didn’t hesitate as I cast telekinesis the bigger objects were the real threat as I outstretched my hand and caught those with my mind. They were traveling at a fantastic speed and it took a moment to slow it down. While the smaller objects impacted against mage armor weakening it but not breaking through. I threw the debris off to the side and heard a psychic scream.

“Lazarus I’ll be there in a second!” I sent back through the telepathic link. I didn’t dare take my eyes off the fight right now. I watched Carmen with apprehension fighting against Daystar. This fight couldn’t continue like this. Carmen threw objects throughout the city doubtlessly trying to create more host bodies for her demons. As I prepared for my next spell gravity and reality began to distort in small ways.

I aimed my staff towards Carmen as she went in for her next attack I gathered energy and chaos. The very essence of the universe and its random nature. When one altered reality they pulled upon and used this strange essence. It would always reorient itself and now was no different as I cast my next spell.

Chaos Blast. The very nature of this spell always changed after it was released and now was no different as for a moment it changed to a violet before it became almost transparent and almost disappeared. The ephemeral violet disappearing. Strangely enough, it had never glowed violet before. As I wondered I realized some of my thoughts and emotions seemed almost drained away. As if they had become apart of the spell itself. My wish for Onigirl to live and return. The want to beat her mother and end this demonic invasion. A call to Carmen to fight back to the surface. To rage against that which held her prisoner. In truth, I knew that the attack was there but couldn’t understand why unlike so many other times I couldn’t see it. As ephemeral as a thought.

I rushed over to Lazarus my mind still swimming wondering what my spell was now and what it would do. Placing my hand on the magic circle Lazarus had created and channeled my magic into the circle activating it. I thought back at Lazarus asking “Are you alright?” Hoping he would respond.

The Summons

The Fae tore through the Imps like paper sure they were far smaller but they were smarter and were in squads. The Imps also had another disadvantage the Sprites and Pixies could fly away regroup and attack again. The Beast continued to tear through the throats and bodies of imps. Today new legends would be forged of the Fae.
Alex didn't feel pain in the traditional sense anymore. Her body no longer had nerve endings, nor even a brain that could translate those impulses into sensations. But she could still be hurt, even killed, under the right circumstances. So when Carmen's blade lashed out to bisect her vertically, Alex still felt it- but she didn't scream. Alarm bells were going off in her head, but they weren't distracting or debilitating. Her focus didn't waver, even as her body was split in two halves.

Had this happened two years prior, her internal organs would have come spilling out of the gaping wounds on either side, along with a truly copious amount of blood. Instead, the only thing inside of Daystar's body revealed to the world was light, spilling out of her in the form of molten ichor. If a star could bleed, this was what it would look like. But despite having been cut in half, Alex's mind was perfectly clear, and with a serene expression on both halves of her face, she raised her hands, and began to manipulate her body's essence, drawing both of her halves back together.

The seam where her grievous wound had been glowed for a moment, and then vanished, the Solar Sentinel's body whole once more, as though she'd barely been scratched. Of course, her injury hadn't been without consequence. Alex had lost a not-insignificant portion of her body's energy reserves, bled out of her during the long moments she'd been split in two. And the time it took to recover from Carmen's first attack cost her again, when the second strike came around.

Only moments after Alex had healed from the bisecting slash did Oni-Girl's mighty kick send her flying through the air, launching both of them in opposite directions. Still disoriented from having been cut in half- the first time she'd ever experienced that particular injury -Alex was left without her bearings as she tumbled through the skies, headed straight towards a skyscraper in Millennium Center.

Aware of the catastrophe that would ensue if she made impact, Alex reflexively discorporated her body, turning into pure light for a moment, which allowed her to pass through a window of the massive skyscraper, and go straight through the other side. To the eyes of anybody observing inside the building, she'd turn into a golden blur that sped past them in the blink of an eye, and then reformed into a human body in an instant.

Despite itself being a relatively novel sensation, briefly turning into pure light helped Alex clear her head. She'd allowed rage to cloud her senses, succumbing to the human emotions she was supposed to have shed along with her physical body. They'd tried fighting Carmen with brute force, and barely drawn more than a few drops of blood. If they were to defeat the Beast of the Apocalypse, and save the hero trapped inside her own body, they'd have to start fighting smarter.

Focusing her energies, Daystar began to dilate time, accelerating her own perception while the world around her slowed to a halt. Nobody else would so much as notice- all she was doing was buying herself more time to think. And rather than simply rely on her own memory, Alex decided to consult a more comprehensive source of information- namely, the Society of Superheroes database.

A few years ago, Alex had moved in to the abandoned SoS orbital headquarters known as the Empyrean. In addition to allowing her to monitor the entire planet for threats, the satellite base also possessed the most extensive superhuman database on the planet, including both the team's former roster, its various enemies, and a number of other metahumans that they'd encountered during their years of operation. The satellite's creator, Terminus, had also updated the database with his own files, including contingency files for a significant number of his allies and enemies.

Alex wasn't simply accessing the database from her phone, or any kind of cybernetic implant. She no longer carried any equipment, given that it would likely get destroyed almost instantly in any serious fight. Instead, she was communicating directly with the Empyrean's computers, sending and receiving signals as if her mind itself was a computer. It was the same basic principle that allowed her to call Mettle without actually having a phone of her own- by simply broadcasting the necessary signals from her own body, she could mimic the function of almost any machine seamlessly.

Carmen's own SoS database file wasn't especially detailed, given that she'd never been a member of the Society, nor fought against the team, or even run afoul of Terminus at any point. However, it did have one useful piece of information- the table labeled Known Associates. Alex knew some of them, like Kore, but she hadn't been aware that Oni-Girl had trained with the former Society member Garrick Valeria, AKA Noctua. Not only that, it sounded like she'd even developed the ability to manipulate chi, the natural energies of the human body, with Valeria's help. Obviously, that wasn't the sole source of her strength, but it was a force multiplier, amplifying her already immense physical might to an even more powerful degree. And if this file was to be believed, it even gave her certain regenerative abilities. If Carmen was allowed to employ those powers, it would render the scant few wounds they'd managed to inflict pointless. They'd be back at square one.

Setting her jaw, Alex sent the Empyrean's computer another command- to download every single scrap of information relating to chi energy and chakra manipulation straight into her mind. Everything Noctua had logged in the computer, as well as all the data Terminus had gleaned by observing how the Eldest-trained warrior had fought, particularly during their time serving side by side in the Divergent Earth conflict. He'd witnessed Valeria's superhuman combat prowess firsthand, and analyzed his fighting style, even identifying the unique energy signature of the chi inside of his body. That gave Alex all the information she needed.

Ending the time dilation, Daystar immediately burst into action, racing to intercept Oni-Girl before she could land amidst a densely populated housing project. There were hundreds of people in danger, and Alex had sworn that she wouldn't allow Carmen to take any more lives. It was an oath she intended to uphold.

Indeed, even as the Solar Sentinel had been devising her strategy, her echoes had been hard at work, racing to intercept the meteor-like debris missiles that Carmen had launched towards several targets throughout the city. Two of them, fortunately, were on track to strike uninhabited areas, which allowed the translucent echoes to prioritize the hospital and shipping facility. Of the five echoes Alex had spawned, two went for each of those targets, while the odd one out was dispatched towards the zoo. Protecting the defenseless animals was a lower priority, but Daystar wasn't going to let them die either, if she could help it.

When it came to the hospital, no risks could be taken. The pair of echoes each began projecting a multi-layered force-field around the building, which the debris meteor would harmlessly shatter against, broken into a shower of dust and gravel that wouldn't do more than mildly annoy anybody caught outside of the field. However, this maneuver would exhaust the energy reserves of the two echoes, causing them to flicker and vanish as soon as the hospital was safe. In order to project them again, Alex would need to build up more energy- or absorb it from somewhere.

Conversely, the pair of echoes protecting the shipping facility moved more economically- instead of destroying the meteor, they intercepted it in midair, and began to drain its kinetic energy, just as Alex had done many times before. Her failure to stop the meteor from striking Houston was still clear in her memory, but she'd been younger and weaker then- and that had been a significantly larger projectile to boot. This time, the pair of echoes were able to 'catch' the chunk of debris, leeching the energy that Oni-Girl had imbued it with, and set it down on the ground safely. The echoes, now bolstered by the energy they'd absorbed, immediately returned to work evacuating civilians.

Finally, the lone echo defending the zoo took the quickest option of simply hitting the debris meteor with a blast of intense heat, vaporizing the chunk of concrete in the air. The dust would rain down upon the animal enclosures, but unless any of the animals were exceptionally unlucky, they'd be unharmed as well.

All of that took place in the span of just a few seconds, orchestrated in the back of Alex's mind as she raced towards Carmen. Since Oni-Girl couldn't fly, it was trivial for the Solar Sentinel to outpace her, pouring on the speed in an effort to protect the people in the projects where Carmen was about to land. Intent on conserving her energy reserves, Alex chose to simply grab Carmen by the wrist and attempt to fling her back down at the ground, close to where Bran, Mettle, and Lazarus were still positioned. The impact would be substantial, but in an area that had already been evacuated- better than letting her land amidst an apartment complex that couldn't possibly be emptied out in time to save everybody.

Doing so was only the first part of Alex's plan, though. She'd race down after Carmen, intent on striking while the Beast was still disoriented from her sudden change of direction. But rather than a massive, powerful blow, Daystar went for something more measured. Before attacking, she examined Oni-Girl, using her new senses to look past the skin, and detect the unique energy signature of her chi.

Unlike ordinary chi, which flowed through the body like water, Carmen's chi was aflame, burning red-hot with the demonic energy possessing her. Perhaps that was how she'd grown so much more powerful- she was using the skills she'd learned from training with Valeria to harness the very fires of Hell itself. The corrupted chi was almost blinding to Alex's 'third eye,' radiating a hatred that was almost palpable.

Moving at supersonic speeds, the Solar Sentinel would attempt to land seventeen strikes, using only two fingers, aimed at a number of extremely specific locations. She was targeting Carmen's chakra gates- the parts of the body which regulated the flow of chi within the human body. With each strike, Daystar would attempt to transfer a bit of her own chi energy into Carmen's body, sealing off the chakra gates one by one. Most of her strikes were centered on Oni-Girl's torso and limbs, but the final strike, when it came, would land right between her eyes, sealing the final gate between body and mind.

Despite having mystical properties, chi was ultimately just another form of energy Alex could manipulate, and even produce. Her body's own chi was unique, suffused with solar power, but that was precisely what she was counting on. By blocking off Carmen's chakra gates using her own chi, the Solar Sentinel would attempt to suppress the demonic energy inside of her body. It wouldn't end the possession outright, but there was a chance it would weaken the demon's hold on Carmen's mind.

More importantly, however, Alex was attempting to physically paralyze Carmen. Blocking all of a person's chakra gates would normally have that effect, as the flow of chi is essential to the functioning of the body. If successful, it would leave Carmen unable to move for at least a minute, buying the others time to make a plan. However, that was far from a guarantee. The demonic chi currently raging inside of the Beast's body was unpredictable, and might allow her to overcome the paralysis faster, or even ignore it outright.

Failing total paralysis, Daystar was hoping to at least suppress Carmen's ability to manipulate her own chi for the time being, which would leave her weakened, and prevent her from healing her own wounds. She couldn't be certain it would work- Alex had never attempted to harness chi before, after all -but it was a novel strategy, which would hopefully prove more effective than simply hitting Carmen as hard as possible.

Alex had given the others an opening- now it was on them to make the most of it.