A member of the Silver Clan, Yatogami Kuroh is the pupil of the recently deceased Colorless King Ichigen Miwa. After his family was killed in a car accident, Kuroh was passed to various relatives who either died in accidents or abused him. Kuroh eventually found himself in the care of Ichigen Miwa. The older man adopted the boy, training him to be a member of the Colorless Clan. When Miwa died, Kuroh was tasked to slay his successor if they turned out to be evil.
Kuroh believed he found the next Colorless King in Yashiro Isana, a student at Ashinaka High School. The two work together with the Strain Neko to prove Yashiro's innocence, and discover he is actually the amnesiac Silver King. They find the new Colorless King, who seeks to possess the bodies of the other Kings to absorb their power. Yashiro and Kuroh trick the Colorless King into possessing Yashiro, who sacrifices himself to kill the Colorless King. Kuroh, believing Yashiro to still be alive, works with Neko to find their missing King.
Olympian Royale (by Cfp3157)
Part I: Birds of a Feather
Isaac opens his eyes in a panic, his hand instinctively going to his side for his dagger. He found himself standing in a forest clearing, with the Distance Mirror laying dormant on his folded cloak in front of him. Before he could move a step, brief pain penetrated his head as information swarmed into his brain. Shaking his head in disbelief, Isaac grabs his cloak and throws it over his head. If this is my punishment, so be it.
He bends down to pick up the mirror, and a rustling behind him catches his attention. He quickly turns and snaps his whip towards the noise. It wraps itself around the handle of Haru's axe, and he yanks the weapon towards him. "Wait, I don't want to-"
Haru's pleas go unheeded as she falls forward and Isaac throws himself towards her, knife drawn. Thinking quickly, she tosses off her mask and summons Lucy, creating a physical barrier in front of her. Isaac looks at the beige giant behind her in shock, before his knife collides with Haru's barrier. The magical shield stops his knife dead in its track, and sends him flying backwards.
"Do not think you can deceive me, young woman," Isaac says, drawing his whip and knife to strike again. "I will not die today."
Rolling her eyes, Haru beckons to Lucy. The Persona sends a weak blast of Psy at Isaac, who is knocked to his feet. He gets onto his knees, looking as Haru stood confidently and Lucy opened her dress, revealing an arsenal of strange metal firearms.
"Please don't make me hurt you," Haru pleads, throwing her hands up in a sign of peace. Realizing he would be outmatched at this point, Isaac cautiously retreats from a combative stance.
"I must assume that you have the same rules as myself. Only one of us will be able to leave this island alive."
Haru awkwardly nods, keeping an eye on Isaac as she retrieves her axe. "I know. But that doesn't mean we have to...hurt each other right away. There are eleven others, after all."
Isaac contemplates her offer, before nodding his head. "You make an excellent point. For now, we have a pact," he says, putting his weapons back onto his belt. "I am Isaac."
"My name is Haru Okumura. It's nice to meet you, Isaac." She tips her hat to him and curtsies, and he returns the gesture with a nod.
"So, Isaac...now what should we do?"
Making sure to keep an eye on his new ally, Isaac sits down on the ground and grabs the discarded mirror. Opening the top, several shards of glass floated in the air until it took its proper shape. Haru marveled at the magic, and Isaac couldn't help but to smile at her innocence.
"It likes to be called "sir"," Isaac remarked, gesturing for Haru to sit. She does so, and Isaac looks at the mirror.
"Show me the most powerful person on this island, sir."
Grunting in frustration, Azula tossed yet another branch from her face as she trudged through the thick forest. Judging by the map she had been given, she was still a ways to go until she made it to the city. I don't deserve this. I am the princess of the Fire Nation, not some-
Her thoughts are interrupted as another branch swings into her face, delivering a swift whack to the nose. Rubbing it in pain, she let out a yell of anger and crossed her arms in front of her. Pulling them back to form a small fireball, she breathes out a column of flame, incinerating several yards of foliage in front of her.
As the smoke clears, Azula smiles as she sees one of the cabins, left miraculously intact aside from the black scorch mark of her fire. As she walked forward, she sees a flash of purple and stops in her tracks. Three playing cards land at her feet, before exploding and knocking her back into a tree.
"That was quite a show there, 'lil lady," Gambit remarks, leaning casually against a tree on the other side of the clearing. "You're gon' be a big problem, I can tell." The young girl shows a smile that doesn't reach her eyes, and Gambit subtly draws another hand of cards beneath his jacket sleeve.
"Surely there's no need to be so hostile," she says, raising her hands in a sign of surrender.
"Oh you're gonna be a tricky one, ain't ya?"
Azula merely shrugs, before rocking herself backwards and pushing herself into the air with backflip. She sails into the air, kicking one leg and lashing out a blast of fire. Gambit effortlessly rolls to the side, tossing cards at Azula. She punches forward with a pair of fireballs, incinerating the cards. They travel towards Gambit, who rolls underneath them and tosses another card toward her. He continues his barrage as he stands, sprinting towards Azula.
She barely avoids each one, grunting in surprise as her opponent rapidly closes the distance. She retaliates with a wave of fire, which he flips over. As she prepares another fireball, Gambit changes his attack by opening his staff. The metal weapon swings into Azula, who barely manages to raise her wrist to block the strike. Gambit follows it up with a swing beneath the legs, knocking her off her feet.
"How dare you strike a woman with such an underhanded blow!"
Gambit and Azula look in confusion as Caesar charges into the clearings, his fists glowing with a strange energy. Caesar rubs his hands together, and throws out several Hamon-fused bubbles toward Gambit. The thief smirks at the display, only for the projectiles to slam into his chest. The crackle of Hamon bursts as the bubbles pop, sending Gambit flying back in surprise.
The blond man offers a hand to Azula, who smiles at her temporary savior. Gambit looks at the two, drawing a pair of cards and twirling his staff. The three people take a battle stance, waiting for someone to make the first move.
Caesar goes first, charging forward and his fists crackling with Hamon. Gambit shoves the end of the staff into Caesar's stomach, forcing him to double over. He tosses the cards over Caesar and at Azula, before swinging his staff at Caesar's feet. Zeppeli uses the momentum to roll backwards, launching a stream of bubbles at Gambit. Azula follows up with a fireball, forcing Gambit on the defensive as he flips away to avoid both attacks.
"Two on one ain't exactly fair, is it Blondie?" Gambit smirks, collapsing his staff and drawing a dozen cards in both hands. Caesar lunges forward without a response, bubbles descending toward Gambit. The thief responds by dodging them, flipping and rolling with cards in hand. He tosses one hand at Caesar and the other into the air. Zeppeli forms a bubble shield in front of him, blocking the first dozen cards before a rain of explosive blasts falls upon him.
Azula sends a whip of fire at Gambit, who dodges it and throws another couple cards at Azula. He throws several more into the air, the explosive projectiles raining down from the sky as he starts to flee. "I think I'll let you two lovebirds have some time to yourself,. See ya around, cheri," he taunts, blowing a kiss at Azula. The princess creates a giant wave of fire in attempt to burn through the cards, but an explosion of red and purple blinds her as they collide.
She blinks her eyes a few times to reorient, seeing an empty clearing save for the cabin reduced to cinders and the badly charred body of Caesar Zeppeli. He groans as his eyes briefly flutter open, looking at Azula in a plea for help. She scoffs and walk pasts him, barely fazed at the sacrifice of her attempted savior.
As Azula leaves the clearing behind and Caesar's breaths grow more labored, he catches a rustling of branches to the side. A mess of shadows approaches him, before a woman in black robes rises from them. Emily Kaldwin, taking pity on the poor man, lays her hands on his and gives a brief look of sympathy.
"Thank you for this small mercy, my lady," Caesar says, gratefully closing his eyes as Emily unsheathes her sword. She quickly slits his throat without ceremony, and then dashes into the shadows of the trees once more.
A cannon blast disrupts the silence that Rain had been growing accustomed to. As he smoothly jumps from one branch to another, he recalled that a cannon blast meant one of his enemies had been defeated. The bright sun slowly started to pierce its way through the forest, signaling his arrival to the city. Recognizing the tall stone buildings that were distinctive of Earthrelm establishments, Rain stops to observe from the edge of the forest. Just as he prepares to climb down, the sound of another explosion rips his ears.
To his left, a lean man in a black coat dashed past him. Rain watched as Yatogami Kuroh created a silver hand and threw it backwards, sending up shards of stone and debris behind him. The attack was met with a fireball, clearing a path in the destruction for Anders to run through. He threw forward several smaller fire bolts from his staff, which Kuroh dodged with ease.
He dashed towards Anders, sword drawn and swung it at the mage, who quickly created a force field around himself. The blade pierced the magical defense, and Anders hastily blocked Kuroh's sword with his staff. He deflected the next swing and threw his staff into the ground, placing a glowing green symbol on the ground. The glyph sent Kuroh flying backwards, but he easily rolled with the momentum to return to a standing attack position.
Before the two men could charge at each other again, Rain leaped in front of them. He landed before Kuroh, delivering a swift jab to the stomach, sending him reeling to catch his breath. Rain then turns and creates a whirlpool of water, trapping Anders within it and disorienting him. Anders took a deep breath and dispelled the whirlpool, only for Rain to dash towards him and swept him off his feet with a kick.
"That's enough for now." Rain commands, looking at the fallen combatants to his side. Kuroh looked at Anders, who pushed himself back into a standing position with his staff. Reluctantly, Kuroh lowered his sword, keeping it drawn and narrowing his eyes at Rain.
"The three of us alone could easily kill one another," Rain says, lowering his hands as well. "But it would be prudent of us to wait until we're the only ones left to do so."
Kuroh shakes his head. "That would just delay the inevitable. One way or another, we will have to fight."
Anders took a moment to consider it. "Our purple friend here makes a good point. I don't look forward to having to kill anyone, after all," he explains. "Better to stick to groups, at least for now."
"If you choose not to, that would be your loss. Your swift loss," Rain says, all hint of friendliness gone. Anders looks at Kuroh, placing his hands in a peaceful gesture.
"It'd be two on one, friend. You won't beat those odds."
"Make that three."
The trio look to the sound of the voice, where Azula had emerged from another path from the forest. "I have no intention of losing this to any of you, but together we can make it so that we're the last ones left."
Realizing he was outnumbered, Kuroh reluctantly sheathed Kotowari. "In that case, we should find shelter."
The four warriors all relaxed, putting a healthy distance between each other. Azula took the lead, taking out her map. "Everyone will be trying to get here," she explains, pointing to a spot in the center, "...for food and shelter. We can set-up a base at the guard station, and hunt the others down from there."
Anders and Kuroh nodded in agreement, walking with Azula. Rain narrows his eyes at the young girl in front of him, warily following at a distance. This girl will be a problem...for another time.
The sound of rushing water filled Cad Bane's ears as he stepped into a riverbank. Taking a glance at his map, he took stock of his situation. Another mile south of the river, and he would be in the city. I'll have to get to high ground. Once I get into the city, I'll be able to set up a proper perimeter. Bane kneels to the river, taking some water into his hands to satiate his thirst.
A brief rustle in the bushes quietly disturbed his peace. Careful not to give away he had heard the disturbance, Bane put his hand to his side and unholstered his blaster pistol. Scanning the forest for the sound, Bane stood back up. "Whoever's out there, let's make a deal," Bane says, lowering the barrel of his blaster and facing the sound of the disturbance. "There's no need to do anything rash. Not yet."
He was met by silence, and Bane's eyes narrowed as he scanned the forest line. "Come on now, step out."
"LEEEEET'S DO IT!"
Cad Bane looked to his right in shock as the Demoman emerged from the forest, swinging his Eyelander with reckless abandon. The bounty hunter shot off a blaster bolt at the raging lunatic, who blocked it with his targe. The Demoman's large broadsword swung towards him, and Bane launched himself backwards with his rocket boots. The blade clipped his leg, grazing his shin as he flew into the air. Shooting out a blast of flame from his gauntlet, Bane took to the sky to escape.
"Where do ya think you're goin', laddy?" The Demoman taunts, pulling out his stickybomb launcher. He shoots one in front of him, blowing it up and blasting himself into the air. Bane barely dodges the initial jump, and Demoman falls towards him Eyelander redrawn. "Ya ain't gettin' away that easy!"
The Demoman grabs Cad Bane in a bear hug, sending them both to the ground. Bane desperately tries to shove Demoman off of him, but the Scotsman's boot plants him firmly in the ground. Grabbing his leg, Bane activates the taser in his gauntlet. To his horror, the Demoman merely laughs in his face. "'At tickles somethin' fierce! Why don't I return the favor!"
Without a second thought, Demoman takes a swing with his Eyelander, beheading Cad Bane in a single fell swoop. "Take that, ya blue, tubed freakshow!" The Eyelander's magic takes effect, and Demoman feels himself growing faster and stronger. Another cannon blast punctuates the air, and Demoman laughs with sadistic glee.
"Old McGroot is goin' ta show all these two-eyed bastards how to get it done!"
Before he leaves, he notices Cad Bane's wide-brimmed hat, miraculously still in tact. Picking it up, Demoman puts on the head piece and admires his appearance in the reflection of the river. "I'll be takin' this. Hopin' ya don't mind, it ain't nothing to lose yer head over!" He cackles, pulling out his grenade launcher and heading for the city.
Part II: The Waifu Wars
Landing with a quiet thud, Zari Tomaz dissipates her tornado and takes stock of her environment. She looks down into the street below and the buildings surrounding the police station. Satisfied she was alone, Zari opened the rooftop access and walks into the two-story building.
After a few seconds of exploration, Zari grins in triumph as she enters the station's security room. "Hell yeah," she mutters, quickly typing away and hacking into the building's server. "At least whoever put me here had the decency to give me good wi-fi."
Finding her way into the city's camera network, Zari watched the five monitors before her hum to life before showing the surrounding block. Looking in the drawers revealed a spare cell phone, and Zari spends another couple minutes tinkering to connect it to her new camera network.
Zari walks down to the first floor of the station. She arrived into a hallway with three doors on one side and a path to an open reception area. A quick search of the three rooms confirmed what she'd feared - the station had been picked clean, save for an empty duffel bag.
Returning to the second floor, Zari lets out a groan of annoyance, realizing she'd have to leave for supplies. "That's gonna make things way-"
Zari drops to the floor as a ball of red energy flies past where her head once was, and she turns to see Hermione Granger, wand at the ready. Zari retaliates with a quick blast of air, knocking Hermione off her feet. She stands up, blowing another gust of air to keep Hermione pinned to the ground.
The witch apparates, teleporting out of Zari's view. Reappearing behind her, Hermione casts another spell. A length of rope flies from the tip of her wand, wrapping around Zari's leg. Undeterred, Zari responds by locking Hermione in a twister. The rope uncoils around her legs, and Zari uses a blast of wind to throw Hermione's wand from her hand.
Zari takes a good look at Hermione for the first time, and starts to slow down the tornado, "Holy crap, you're just a kid."
Gasping for breath, Hermione takes a moment to shakily stand up. Zari offers a hand, and Hermione maintains eye contact as she stands on her own. "You're not going to attack me?"
"We'll cross that bridge when we get to it," Zari says with a nervous laugh. "Sorry about the whole wind thing."
"Apologies for attacking you. I'm not quite sure who you can trust with all that's going on," she replies. "Hermione Granger."
The two women relax, and they head back upstairs. As they walk into the security office, they're greeted by a man in a brown trenchcoat, casually shuffling a deck of cards.
"You really gon' have to tighten up ya security around here, cherie,"
Hermione points her wand at Gambit's chest as Zari triggers the Air Totem, each unsure how to deal with the stranger. Gambit put the deck down and raised his hands in surrender. "No need to get hostile, ladies."
"Not too sure about that Bayou Bill," Zari retorts angrily. "I don't like it when strangers show up uninvited."
"Bayou Bill? You gon' have to do better than that to keep up with Remy LeBeau," Gambit snarks, standing up from his chair. "Besides, you were pretty nice to our lil' friend from across the pond. Don't see why we can't be friends neither."
The two women look at each other, standing down. Gambit claps and smiles, offering a hand to each of them. "Ain't that better? Glad you listened to me, since I'm gonna take a guess that we ain't the only ones who deciding to buddy up."
Gambit walks over to a corner of the office, where he picks up a small backpack. Gambit spills the contents of the bag to reveal a loaf of bread, deli meats, and assorted cheeses. "Don't ever say that I never showed up without gifts."
Emily Kaldwin sprints from the last of the tree line to the city's edge, painfully aware of how exposed she was. As she approaches the city, she could hear the sound of explosions and yelling behind her. That one-eyed freak is gonna kill me if I can't get out of the open.
She reaches the city, gratefully slinking into an alley and losing herself in the city sprawl. Just as she slips into an alley, Emily watches Demoman fall from the sky. "Where ya think you're going lass? Just want to give ya a whiff of the ole brimstone!"
Looking around in frustration, Demoman snarls and launches into the air. Emily sighs in relief, and proceeds to venture further in the opposite direction. Finding the back entrance to a cafe, she picks the lock and enters. Careful to close the door behind her, she takes a few steps in only to immediately freeze as the sound of voices reaches her ears.
"You're not very talkative, Isaac-san," a lighter one said, distinctly female.
"I am sorry if I am poor company, Ms. Haru," Isaac replied. "The circumstances do not lend themselves well to small talk."
Morphing into a shadow, Emily crawled along the walls into the room to observe. She saw Isaac and Haru sitting at a table, the latter pouring coffee into a cup. "That's fine, Isaac-san. You don't have to worry about me," Haru offers the drink to Isaac before pouring another for herself. "You remind me of a friend of mine. Intense, quiet, but still very friendly."
"In my years traveling, I have never been described as "friendly"," Isaac says with a chuckle. He takes a sip of the warm beverage, and looks over his cup to see Haru's eager expression. "Thank you, Haru. I am grateful for your kindness."
Blushing, Haru takes a sip of her own. "I'm glad you like it, Isaac-san." Looking to the side, she notices movement out of the corner of her eye. "Isaac-san, do those shadows look like they're moving to you?"
He looks over to where Haru is pointing, nonchalantly pulling out his whip. Emily stops moving and watches, carefully waiting to see Isaac's next move. He lashes the whip out, and Emily easily adjusts to avoid the whip. She fails to notice the cup of coffee flung at her, the liquid spilling over her and dissipating her shadow form.
Haru grabs her axe and jumps forward, moving with a downward chop. Emily barely pulls out her sword in time, deflecting the blow and following up with a swift punch to Haru's face. The girl recoils from the blow, giving Isaac the room to move in with his knife.
He makes a horizontal slash with it, with Emily barely stepping back in time to dodge it. She draws her pistol and fires blindly at him, only for a magical barrier to rise up and deflect the bullet back to her. "Move, Isaac-san!"
The two look to see Haru wielding a grenade launcher, and Isaac rolls out of the way. Haru fires, and Emily conjures a tendril which drags her towards the window to avoid it. She crashes into it, flying into the street outside.
Brushing bits of glass off of her, Emily looks to see Haru and Isaac following her out the window. She creates a Void Spirit, managing to trap Isaac in its grasp. Haru creates a magical barrier from the attack for herself, before having Lucy attack with a blast of psy energy.
Emily's head pulses with pain, and she quickly draws her sword to defend herself. Haru leaps forward, axe in hand, and Emily pivots to the side. Haru goes for another vertical swing, Emily sidestepping and countering with another sword swing. Haru barely raises her axe in time to block, using the shaft to block the blow. She kicks Emily back, and makes a horizontal swing across Emily's exposed stomach. The blow connects, and Emily crumples to the floor.
Before she can celebrate, Haru gasps as a firm hand wraps around her throat from behind. Emily rises from the shadows, and thrusts her sword deep into Haru's back. The young girl falls onto her knees, looking at Emily's doppelganger in confusion. Emily feels a pang of regret, before morphing into shadows and fleeing from the scene.
Isaac's sense return as the Void Spirit disappears, and he looks to see Haru on the ground. He approaches the girl, kneeling down and looking at the wound. "You will not survive this, Haru."
Her breaths quickening, she takes Isaac's hand and looks at him with tears. "It hurts, Isaac. It hurts so much."
He takes her hand and nods, looking into her eyes. Unable to think of a comforting thought, he only closes his eyes as she lets out her last breath. A cannon blast punctuates the air, and Isaac takes a deep breath for resolve. Drawing his knife, glowing with the red energy of a Forgemaster, he smoothly stabs Haru's corpse.
A flash of red flame and the smell of brimstone pierces the air, before Haru's body dissolves into a mist. In its place forms a dark black horse, garish horns upon its head and large black wings on its back. The Night Creature lets out a bestial roar, bowing its head to Isaac. He mounts the creature, pulling out the distance mirror.
"Sir, show me the other dead. I must find fresh materials."
As their small group approaches the police station, Azula gestures to halt. "We split up. Can any of you get up to the roof?" Kuroh nods, unbuckling his sword from his belt in preparation. "Kuroh and I will enter from the top. You two go in through the main entrance, and if anyone's inside we take them from both sides."
"I don't take orders from you, child," Rain retorts. Azula shrugs, folding her arms.
"Then don't listen to me. If any of you have a better idea, I'm sure we can come to an arrangement," Azula looks to the group, seeing no objections. "That's what I thought." She nods to Kuroh, who summons a colorless hand from his arm. He throws the hand to the roof, and wraps his arm around Azula. The two fling themselves upward, leaving Anders and Rain alone.
The two men walk into the station, looking carefully for any traps. Before they can go upstairs, an explosion rips through the building and the floor above them crashes down. They barely avoid the debris as they see Kuroh and Gambit fall down, followed by two women in a small tornado. Zari turns to see the new arrivals, and launches a blast of air towards them. Grabbing Gambit, they drag him outside.
"Don't just stand there!" Azula's voice shouts to them. They look up to see Azula floating in the air, visibly angry. "We can't let them get away!"
Kuroh and Rain run out the door, while Anders can't help but smile at the dangling Azula. "Can't you get me down?"
"Poor choice of words," Anders dispels the magic, causing Azula to fall through the hole with a thud. Laughing in spite of himself, Anders gestures for the door. "Shall we?"
Gambit greets them with a pair of exploding cards, knocking them on their feet as they exit. He rolls to the side to dodge a swing from Kuroh's sword, collapsing his bo staff. He spins it in a circle to gain distance, with Kuroh using Kotowari to stop it in its tracks. He follows up with a diagonal slash, which Gambit parries. Unfazed, Kuroh summons his colorless aura and smashes the spectral fist into the ground, sending Gambit flying backwards.
On the other side of the street, Zari and Hermione each take turns trying to attack Rain. Hermione casts Stupefy, but Rain dissolves into a puddle. He reforms behind her and forms a dagger of water, attempting to thrust it into Hermione's back. A tornado forms around her, acting as a barrier and sending Rain off course. Hermione apparates away, reappearing and casting a body lock spell. Rain's body stiffens as the bluish ball of magic collides with him, and he flails awkwardly to the ground.
Hermione barely has time to react before Anders approaches her, launching bolts of fire towards her. She casts a shield charm, before retaliating with Expelliarmus. Anders' staff flies from his hands, but does little to stop him as he casts Winter's Grasp. The ball of icy magic is sent off course by a blast of air from Zari, who quickly returns to deflecting fireballs from Azula. Anders offhandedly dispels the spell over Rain, who decides to join Kuroh in attacking Gambit. Hermione and Anders continue their magical duel, casting spell after spell at each other.
Zari deflects another fireball from Azula, who follows it up with a whip of fire. She creates a tornado to protect herself, before hardening the air and sending it towards Azula. The blast knocks her off her feet, and Zari continues the assault with a constant stream of air. She looks over to Hermione, who flicks her wand and blasts a crater beneath Anders' feet to send him flying. Hermione apparates over to Zari, who lets out a desperate laugh. "I think it's going well. Could be worse."
"Don't know about that one, darlin'!" Gambit yells with a laugh, swinging his staff at Kuroh to gain distance. Infusing it with kinetic energy, he takes another swing at Rain, who blocks it with his arm. The demigod barely flinches as he dashes forward and lands a quick jab to Gambit's gut.
The thief doubles over, but he counters by wrapping Rain in a headlock. He throws them both backwards, slamming Rain's head into the concrete street. He raises his staff to block another swing from Kuroh, and pushes him away. The two men glare at each other, but a loud explosion disrupts the fighting.
"I'm goin' to be takin' all of you to hell!"
The group of fighters looks in confusion as Demoman falls towards them from the sky, launching stickybomb after stickybomb into the group. Demoman pulls the trigger, and the bombs send everyone scattering. Demoman lands with a thud, pulling out his grenade launcher. He launches a pipe at Zari, who reflects it back at him with an air blast. "Now that's not good," he manages to say before flailing back from the explosion. Realizing he was outmatched, Demoman fled the scene as the other warriors recovered from his bombardment.
Hermione apparates over to Gambit, who winces as she helps him up. Zari runs over to them, handing them her cell phone. "Get to the hospital, keep an eye on the cameras. I can catch up to you but you need to go now."
"We're not going to-" Hermione starts to protest, before Zari shoves them both away. Gambit reluctantly nods, and the two apparate away. Zari forms a twister to follow them, but a telekinetic force holds her in place. Looking at her feet, a magical green symbol on the ground flares before exploding and knocking her off her feet.
Zari stands as Anders sends more bolts of fire towards her from his staff, which she deflects with an air blast. Azula attacks from her right, a steady stream of flames roaring towards her. She raises her hand and creates another blast of air. The wind halts the stream steadily in its tracks. Rain launches a blast of pressurized water at Zari, who forms a tornado around herself. The winds form a protective barrier around her, launching every blast of fire, ice, and water away from her.
She throws her arms outward, creating a massive shockwave of air that sends the three to their feet. Forming fists, she starts to draw out the air within their bodies. The trio claw at their throats, suffocating as Zari continues the onslaught. She relents, and the three fighters cough as they try to regain their breath.
She tries to lift off to escape once again, but a spectral hand holds her in place. Kuroh's aura pulls her out of the twister and towards him, and he lunges forward. He thrusts Kotowari cleanly through Zari's chest. After looking down in shock and coughing up blood, Zari falls lifeless onto the ground as he withdraws the sword. He wipes the blade before sheathing it, and looks to his companions. A cannon blast confirms her death, and the group relaxes.
"We will need to find the others," Rain commands, but Azula shakes her head and starts to walk inside.
"They're long gone by now. It's a better idea to hunt down the other lone wolves before we go after them again."
The two glare at each other, neither willing to back down. After a few tense moments of silence, Anders steps between them. "Now's not the time. It's almost night fall. Better to rest now, and decide our next course of action tomorrow."
Rain breaks eye contact by walking forward, purposefully bumping into Azula. Anders follows, leaving Azula to quietly fume as she is followed by Kuroh for the night.
Part III: Fatality
Demoman limps away from the police station, looking back with a panic as the sound of fighting dies down. He shoots a pipe into a wall, blowing it apart. He walks through the hole and staggers into his new home. Placing several more stickybombs around his improvised entrance, Demoman takes a moment to check his surroundings. To his wonder, he's stumbled into a bar. Demoman eagerly goes behind the counter and grabs a large whiskey bottle.
"Time for a bottle 'o scrumpy to take the edge off," He gleefully says to himself, chugging the whole bottle down in a single drink. He belches and grabs another bottle, taking a seat on the ground as he pops the cork off. He takes off his new cowboy hat and lays it to the side, sighing in content.
Footsteps interrupt his moment of peace, and he looks in confusion as Emily Kaldwin wanders into the room. The empress looks in surprise at the red-clad man before her, who grabs an empty bottle. "This'll teach ya to interrupt my drinkin' lass!"
Emily barely reacts in time as Demoman vaults over the bar and charges at her, bottle in hand. He smashes it against her skull, sending her stumbling down as the glass shatters. He tries to thrust the jagged edge into her gut, but she grabs his wrist and twists it. Turning his back to her, she forcefully kicks him away as she draws her pistol. She fires one shot, and the bullet slams into Demoman's shoulder. He recoils back, grabbing his stickybomb launcher as he falls.
"It appears yer trodding on me mine, lassy!" He taunts as he pulls the trigger. The bombs explode around Emily, blowing the empress into several red chunks and throwing the pieces of her body around the room. Given a moment to relax, Demoman grabs his shoulder and winces in pain. "'At's goin' to leave a scratch."
"This is unfortunate," a voice echoes from outside. Isaac walks into the room, glancing at the wounded man before him. "I needed that body."
"Ain't that a shame, aye?" Demoman slowly grips his weapon, aiming directly at Isaac. "Yer lucky I'm a bit tired at the moment. If ya ask real nicely, I'll let ya-"
Before he could finish his threat, a large fist slams through the wall to his back. Scurrying away, Demoman watched as a large, blue beast crashed into the room. Demoman raised his stickybomb launcher, only for the Night Creature to grab him by the scruff of its neck. Its skeletal face looked curiously at Demoman, two long tubes protruding from its bottom jaw to its neck.
"Kill him cleanly; I need to harvest the body," Isaac ordered, already turning his back. The Night Creature nodded, taking Demoman's head into its long claws. With a brutal twist, the Night Creature snapped Demoman's neck. Dropping his corpse, the beast dragged him outside by the leg and presented it to Isaac. He channeled his Forgemaster magic and stabbed the body, and it transformed. Out of the mist rose a dark red cyclops, its pitch black pupil glaring and a permanent grin upon its face. The Night Creature formerly known as Tavish McGroot let out a disturbing cackle, hefting the Eyelander in its hand.
Satisfied with his new minion, Isaac swung onto the back of his mount. "We have work to do." He says sternly, and gallops towards his next destination. Behind him, his four other Night Creatures dutifully followed, growling and snarling as the sun set.
As the rest of his companions settle in to rest, Anders grabs his staff and walks outside. He takes a seat with him and arrives on the police station's roof. His back to the door, Anders looks out into the night sky. Justice's raspy voice protrudes into his mind. "We must remain vigilant Anders. I do not trust your allies."
"I don't either. Kuroh tried to kill me after all, and Rain's made his dislike for us perfectly clear. Azula reminds me too much of Velanna...Maker, you remember her?"
The spirit remained silent, leaving Anders to talk to himself. "Quite a temper on that one. Still, she wasn't too bad on the-" Anders' thoughts are cut-off as he sees a man approaching on horseback. Behind him, a horde of strange beasts walked in perfect sync.
"Foul beasts approach us, Anders. We must warn the others."
"Couldn't agree with-" Anders starts, only to turn and see Rain standing before him. "Rain, get the others ready to go." The man remains quiet, before raising his hand and sending out a blast of water. It forms a large bubble around Anders' head, drowning the mage within. Anders desperately clutches at his throat, before his eyes flare white and Justice possesses him. The demon dispels the magic just as Rain dissolves into a puddle.
"Do not think to run from me, traitor," Justice roars, twirling his staff in defiance. Rain reemerges behind Anders, delivering a swift palm strike to Anders' back. He's sent sprawling, and swings his staff out defensively.
Rain catches it, before kicking Anders in the gut. Before the mage can even draw another breath, Rain closes the distances and delivers a flurry of jabs to his stomach.
He conjures a bubble, trapping it around Anders, before summoning a small storm cloud above it. The cloud releases several strokes of lightning, and Anders' body convulses as he's electrocuted inside the bubble. It dissipates, dropping the singed and soaked corpse of Anders into a heap.
Rain looks out into the crowd of monsters down below, who had stopped to listen to the commotion. Isaac looks up to see the purple-clad warrior, who whistles down to him. Not waiting for a reaction, Rain turns around and creates a bolt of lightning, destroying the roof access behind him. He smiles and collapses into a puddle, leaving the others to the horde.
Hermione anxiously looks out the window, drawing her jacket closer to her body and letting out a shiver. She hears footsteps behind her, and peers over her shoulder as Gambit approaches. "She should be here by now, Remy. We have to go look for her," she says, worry on her face. Gambit shakes his head, a pained expression on his face.
"It's been hours, little lady. If Zari ain't here, it means she ain't comin'."
The young witch frowns and lowers her head in grief, knowing Gambit is right. Wiping a tear from her eye, she feels a hand on her shoulder as Gambit pats her reassuringly. "Don't worry, cheri. We gon' get through this together."
Hermione narrows her eyes at the thief, careful to put distance between them. "Only one of us gets to leave, Remy."
He shrugs, absentmindedly shuffling cards in his hands. "We can cross that bridge when we get to it." When he notices Hermione doesn't seem relaxed, he pockets the cards and crosses his heart. "I swear by the blessed virgin herself, you ain't got nothin' to worry about long as Big Brother Gambit's got your back."
She looks at Gambit briefly, before nodding resolutely. "Why don't you take the first rest? I can keep watch for the night," Gambit offers, grabbing the phone Zari had given as a parting gift. Hermione nods and leaves the room, leaving the thief to himself. As he swipes through the security feeds, Gambit cracks his neck and smiled. He didn't need to use any of his smooth talking for that- he meant every word.
On the top floor of the police station, Kuroh parries a blow from a Night Creature, easily deflecting its large broadsword. He summons his aura and grips the cyclops, and tosses it into a wall. He barely has time to move in when another one launches a bright yellow beam at him, throwing him to the ground. The Night Creature pounds its chest and charges, aiming its horns for the downed warrior. Kuroh quickly stands and jumps over the charge, slashing across its back. The Night Creature screams in pain, turning to breathe another blast at Kuroh.
"We need to move, Azula!" Kuroh yells, forming his spectral hand. He throws it through a wall, crushing stone and creating an opening. Beside him, Azula stops throwing blasts of fire at the staircase, allowing for another Night Creature to finally break through. The two jump out of the opening, heading out into the streets. They barely have time to react before the Night Creatures follow them. The three beasts roar, waiting for an opening, while from above a piercing screech echoes.
Isaac pulls his dagger from Anders' corpse, morphing the corpse into a large bird-like Night Creature. It raises its long beak and lets out another screech, before opening its wings and diving towards Kuroh. He swings his sword, forcing it to glide back into the air to avoid the blow. Azula creates a wave of fire, putting distance between them and the Night Creatures.
"You have any ideas how to get out of this?" Azula barks, trying to launch fireballs at the soaring Night Creature. It effortlessly weaves around them, waiting for an opportunity to strike.
Kuroh wordlessly sheathes his sword, forming his colorless aura. He whips the hand as far as he can down the open street behind them. The spectral limb smashes through a distant window and grips something within. Nodding to Azula, Kuroh grabs her and pulls them towards it. The space between the duo and the window compresses, allowing them to cross the mile in a moment. As they go, Azula blasts a fireball towards their destination, making another hole large enough for them to enter. The space decompresses, and they see the police station far behind them.
Isaac growls as his quarry escapes, digging his heels into his winged mount and pointing in their direction. "Find them!"
Part IV: All Roads Lead
As the morning sun starts to rise, Hermione and Gambit eat in comfortable silence in the hospital's cafeteria. "This Ron fellow sounds like a real treat," Gambit says between mouthfuls of eggs.
"He's quite nice, if a bit of a fool," Hermione says, smiling as she thinks back on her memories. "I must admit that this school of yours doesn't sound as believable. "School for Gifted Youngsters" sounds like something from an old cartoon."
"Yeah, old Charlie ain't exactly up with the times."
"I can't imagine you as a teacher, either," Hermione continues as she drinks from her glass. Gambit puts his hands to his chest in disbelief, mock horror playing on his face. "Do you doubt my gifted intellect, cheri?"
Before the conversation can continue, a loud explosion echoes in their ears. Gambit collapses his staff as Hermione grabs the security phone. She watches as Azula and Kuroh walk into the hospital, a hole blown through the wall for an entrance. "I guess subtlety is no longer the plan," she mutters, pulling her wand from her pocket.
"Go get our supplies upstairs. I'll distract them, take 'em to the plaza. When you're ready, meet me and we'll scram."
Hermione nods, leaving the cafeteria. Behind her, she hears the sound of explosions. Gambit's voice echoes in the halls, in the opposite direction. "Aye, Hot Shot! You and your new boyfriend 'bout to get into a whole heap 'o trouble!"
As she sprints up the stairs to their base, Hermione curses to herself as the sound of fighting starts to fade away. When she gets to the top floor, she enters the dimly lit hallway and heads towards the room. She suddenly loses her feet beneath her, slipping on a puddle. She starts to stand, only for the puddle to rematerialize into Rain. The demigod grabs the young witch by the throat, but she apparates out of his grip and further down the hall. She sends a curse towards him, which he swiftly avoids by dematerializing again.
He rises back, launching a bolt of lightning at Hermione, who raises a shield charm just barely catching it.
"This is over, young girl," Rain commands as Hermione runs further away. "There's no use to prolong your demise."
Gambit dodges another fireball from Azula, retaliating with another card as he sprints through the hospital hallways. Kuroh's silver hand reaches around to intercept him, which he narrowly avoids as he slides underneath it on his knees. "You gone have to do better than that!"
Azula roars as she sends forth a large column of flame, abandoning precision for an overwhelming blast. Sensing the heat approaching, Gambit takes several cards and tosses them at the wall in front of him. The explosives tears through the concrete and, swinging his staff, Gambit busts through the weakened wall and into the outside. Noticing the wide green space of the hospital's visitor plaza, Gambit spins his staff and turns, just in time to block a sword swing from Kuroh.
The clansman retracts Kotowari before Gambit can knock him off balance, swiftly swinging to the opposite side. Gambit barely manages to block in time, putting both hands on his staff to protect himself. Kuroh sweeps his feet forward, knocking Gambit onto his feet, and thrust Kotowari down to his chest. Gambit catches the blade, which cuts through his gloves and draws blood, slowing it down just enough for him to kick Kuroh away from him.
Kuroh moves with the kick, retracting and throwing his colorless aura at Gambit, who backflips away. The silvery hand smashes into the ground, before grabbing loose debris and throwing it into Gambit, who raises his hands to cover his eyes. Kuroh sees Azula come flying from behind him, flames jetting out of her hands as she slams into Gambit with a swift kick. The thief keeps moving, tossing several cards at the two, knocking them to the floor.
The three steadily stand back up, each taking deep breaths. Gambit chuckles as he wipes dust off his jacket and readjusts his headband. "Don't suppose we could call it a truce?"
"You had your chance to be with the strongest," Azula replies, her mouth transforming into a wicked snarl of a smile. "Now you get to burn."
Rain arrogantly follows Hermione, avoiding each spell cast at him by either moving or shifting into his liquid form. Keep trying, little girl. They always do.
Hermione finally arrives into their headquarters, slamming the door behind her. She grabs a duffel bag, and starts shoving their supplies into it. Just as she finishes packing, the door splinters apart. Rain walks in, confident as he sees his target's back to the wall. "Nowhere to run now," he taunts, launching a tentacle of water at Hermione. It wraps around Hermione's throat before she can raise her wand at Rain. She claws at the water surrounding her throat as she begins to suffocate.
Rain wordlessly approaches Hermione, tightening his grip. Hermione carefully watches him, and smirks as he arrives just inches from her. She catches the glimpse of confusion in Rain's eyes just as she raises her wand, using a freezing spell at Rain's feet. Ice forms around him before he can dodge the spell, and he collapses the water tentacle. He pounds away at the ice, giving Hermione a chance to apparate behind him.
He looks at her just as Hermione raises her wand, launching a curse at him. The spell sends Rain flying, and he sees Hermione's illusion shimmer away to reveal a large glass window. He sails through it, screaming and cursing as he free-falls to the ground, several stories below. The witch grimaces as she looks at his broken body, only to gasp as she sees Isaac's horde surround it.
A large dark shape obscures her view of the monsters, and she gasps as Isaac flies up to her on his night creature. Briefly hesitating at seeing the young girl before him, Isaac fails to react as Hermione launches a stunning curse at him. The Night Creature soars to avoid it, and Isaac leaps off the beast and through the window. He lithely rolls into the room, avoiding another spell from Hermione, and he tosses his whip forward. The weapon wraps itself around Hermione's wand hand, and he yanks it back.
The spiked whip tears through Hermione's wrist, blood pouring and causing her to scream in pain at her shredded flesh. Her pain is silenced as Isaac wordlessly moves in and stabs her in the gut, before ripping side ways and disemboweling the witch. Before she even hits the ground, Isaac's Forgemaster magic begins and she morphs into a shadowy, cloaked figure; yet another Night Creature for Isaac's horde.
Kuroh dodges a thrown card from Gambit, feeling the energy of the projectile singe the air as it flies by his head, and takes another swing with Kotowari. The blade clashes with Gambit's staff, and the thief swings the staff and sword to the ground. Using the staff as a pole, Gambit lifts himself into the air and kicks Kuroh away. Before he can gather his breath, a fireball from Azula slams into his chest. This is followed up by Kuroh's colorless aura scooping him up and tossing him into the air.
Gambit crashes into the ground, rising only to receive a heavy boot slamming into his chest. Kuroh points his sword right at Gambit's throat, prepared to cut him down. "Now think about this real careful, mon ami," Gambit says, his lips glowing just barely with purple energy. Pulling his sword back for the death blow, Kuroh hesitates.
"When I'm gone, you think she's gonna leave you be?" Gambit asks, his voice now crackling with energy. "She's gonna burn you real bad, and I ain't just talkin' bout them fireballs."
"Couldn't I say the same for you?"
Gambit attempts a shrug. "Probably, but who you think you gon' have a better time with? All I got is a couple fancy cards and a stick. She..." he lets the sentence hanging, gauging Kuroh's reaction. "Plus, I ain't alone. I got my own friend on my side, and we gonna find a way outta here."
Kuroh grimaces, his grip on the sword loosening just a bit. Gambit smirks in triumph, only for his victory to be dashed as the sound of a fireball flings through the air. Kuroh gasps as his chest burns, and looks ahead at the fireball sailing in front of him. A confused look is the final on Kuroh's face, and Gambit watches in horror at the burning hole clean through Kuroh's chest. The clansman collapses, and Azula's extended fist goes back to her side.
"Tragic - I was hoping you two would just kill each other," Azula laments, taking another fighting stance.
Gambit rises and twirls his staff, a firm frown on his face. "Sorry to disappoint you."
"Just you and me, then." Azula smirks, only for a gutteral roar to interrupt them.
All around the two, a horde of Night Creatures enters the atrium. Without a word, Azula and Gambit go back to back as the monsters surround them. The same sound pierces the room, and a large purple minotaur makes way for Isaac. The Forgemaster scowls, weapons in hand. "Do not ask to surrender," Isaac says nonchalantly. "It will not be accepted."
Gambit smirks and draws another pair of cards, while Azula raises her fists. "And get eaten up by your beasties? Don't sound like too good a fate, mon ami."
Isaac knits his eyebrows and frowns at the insolence. He falls back, clicking his tongue. With that, the horde roars in defiance and charges at the waiting duo.
Part V: The Bender and the Thief
Gambit twirls his staff as the beasts roar, with a minotaur being the first to charge. He flips over the charge, tossing several cards into its exposed back. The cards explode, reducing its top to a bloody mess. Before he can catch his breath, a cloak-like Night Creature flies at him, its white claws digging into his chest. Recoiling in pain, Gambit rolls backwards and tosses more cards to gain distance.
Azula forms two fiery whips in her hands, glaring at the first Night Creature who would dare approach her. A greenish Night Creature responds to her challenge, opening its wings and screeching. She lashes out at it, and the Night Creature takes to the sky as a sword-wielding cyclops charges at her. It swings, the faint smell of brimstone and whiskey on its blade, and Azula dodges the strike before leaping into the air. She wraps one fiery whip around its neck and throws it at the flying Night Creature, knocking both down.
Isaac furrows his eyebrows, gesturing for his horde to continue. A large blue Night Creature barrels forward, bringing its two gargantuan fists towards Azula. She barely avoids them, grabbing the tubes that hung from its chin and using them as handholds to flip into the air. She flings her whips through the giant's neck, decapitating it in one clean blow. The headless corpse falls to the ground, and Azula lands with a roll, a kick of fire sending the cloaked Night Creature away from Gambit. In turn, he tosses several cards over Azula's head. The flying Night Creature screeches as the cards turn it into paste.
As Gambit and Azula can catch their breath, they see what remains; the cyclops and the wraith, a yellow dragon, a gargoyle with glowing red eyes, and a large purple serpent. Gambit notices Isaac approaching Kuroh's corpse, knife glowing red. "Distract the beasties; I'm goin' for the big bad," he says, sprinting ahead before Azula can respond. She takes a deep breath, moving her hands in fluid motions before striking out with a bolt of lightning. It strikes cyclops' eye, forcing it to fall screaming in agony as the rest charge at Azula.
Gambit tosses a card at Isaac as he charges, who hastily moves to avoid it. The thief brings his staff down, which Isaac blocks with his knife while lashing out with his whip. Gambit catches the whip in his staff, before pulling Isaac towards him and headbutting him. As he recoils, Isaac swings his whip, which strikes Gambit across the chest, spikes tearing pieces of fabric and skin from him.
Azula greets a large beam crackling with heat from the dragon with a column of flame, the two attacks stopping each other. She ducks to avoid a strike from the cloaked creature, but loses her feet as the purple serpent coils around her legs. It wraps further around her body and squeezes, hissing in her face. Barely managing to get her hands free, she lights her hand on fire and presses it into its scales, forcing it to relent. She breathes fire, incinerating the serpent and the cloaked creature before it charge again.
Gambit and Isaac continue their duel, neither giving an inch. Isaac attempts to wrap Gambit's staff in his whip, but misses and gives Gambit an opening to jam the staff into Isaac's gut. Winding Isaac, Gambit follows up with sweeping the staff under his legs, putting him on the floor.
Staring down the dragon and the gargoyle, Azula launches a fireball at each of them, who take to the sky to avoid it. The gargoyle's eyes flare, flapping its wings and sending several crescent-shaped blades of air at Azula while the dragon shoots another beam. The princess counters by bringing her hands to her mouth, and blowing a large wave of fire at them. The blast consumes both Night Creatures, who screech before collapsing into heaps of ash.
Isaac looks up at Gambit, who pushes the tip of his staff into Isaac's throat. "Do it!" Isaac yells, defiantly glaring into Gambit's eyes. He hesitates briefly, just in time for the final Night Creature slams its head into Gambit's side. The thief screams as one of its horns punctures his side, before being thrown off. Landing in a heap, Gambit looks up at the Night Creature staring at him. It raises its hooves and neighs, defiantly standing over its master. Before it could charge, a bolt of lightning strikes it from behind. The Night Creature screeches, turning to see Azula glowering at it.
The beast charges, aiming its horns directly at Azula's heart. She responds by jumping into the air, grabbing the beast's horns, and pulling up. The beast stands on its back legs to try to throw Azula off, who barely keeps her grip on the bucking creature. Isaac stands up, walking over to the wounded thief, dagger glowing. "You hesitated," Isaac states, planting his boot firmly into Gambit's wound.
"Can't exactly kill you with a stick, mon ami," Gambit groans through gritted teeth, a smirk still playing on his face. Isaac genuinely laughs at the comment, raising his dagger, absent its red glow.
"That is true."
Before he can land the killing blow, he notices the braying of his Night Creature grows closer. Isaac turns in surprise as Azula steers the Night Creature into Isaac, one of its horns impaling him through the chest. He coughs blood as the beast continues charging, crashing into a wall just as Azula flips off its back. She follows up with another fireball, burning a hole through the creature's flanks.
As the two lay dying on the ground, the Night Creature looks up weakly at Isaac. Its eyes' fiery red glow subside, revealing a soft brown color, as it looks at Isaac with fear. Glancing down at his own wound, his vision growing darker, Isaac pats the creature's head. "Thank you, Haru. We will rest now."
Part VI: There Are No Strings on Me
As Gambit gingerly stands, he looks at the panting Azula, who stares back at him with loathing but also a sparkle of respect. "Don't suppose...we can take a breather?" he asks, putting his hand to his side in an attempt to force his wound to heal. The kinetic energy sizzles as it touches his skin, cauterizing the wound.
"When we're so close to being finished, old man?"
"I'm not that old..." Gambit mutters, reluctantly drawing a pair of cards. Azula quickly launches a flurry of fireballs at Gambit, who simply rolls out of the way to avoid them. He retaliates with his cards, each one hitting Azula in the chest. Gambit makes a break for the exit as she is thrown backwards. He dashes through the hospital's entrance and into the open street, looking for any advantage he could take. He tosses dozens of cards around the building's entrance, forming an arch of explosives ready to blow just as the hospital doors melt from Azula's flames. She marches forward just as the cards explode, sending debris falling towards her.
She shoots two blasts of flame under her hands, propelling herself out of the way and into Gambit. She tackles him and carries them up into the sky, landing on a nearby roof. She gracefully stands and tosses Gambit onto the ground. "Any last words, thief?" she barks, an insane grin on her face.
"I always got an ace up the sleeve," he cockily responds, "Or in this case, yours."
Gambit smiles as Azula raises her arms, two glowing cards on her wrists. She yells in surprise as they explode, her skin charring and bones breaking as the kinetic energy shatters the wrists underneath. She looks down at her two useless hands, before glaring at the Gambit's triumphant grin.
"Need a hand?"
Azula howls with rage and leaps at Gambit, lashing out with a desperate kick, a gout of flame forcing him to duck. In her rage, Azula overextends and sails over Gambit's head over the roof's edge. He quickly turns and grabs her leg, leaving her dangling as he tries desperately to keep hold of her. "I refuse to lose! Not again!" Azula yells, her eyes flaring and thrashing in Gambit's grip. "NOT AGAIN!"
In a last ditch attack, she breathes a blast of flame into Gambit's face, who lets go of Azula to shield himself from the attack. Azula's screams of anger are drowned out as the fire engulfs his upper body, burning through the coat and burning the skin. He desperately smacks his face and arms to put out the flames, his struggle drowning out the unceremonial flop of Azula's body hitting the floor. A cannon goes off, and Gambit's burning vision is replaced by a white, flashing light.
Gambit's eyes open with a start, finding himself in an office. Sitting in a chair, Gambit nervously adjusts his bearings and just notices the man before him, wearing a maroon long sleeve shirt and a yellow mask on his face. "Congratulations, Gambit - you have won the Olympian Royale."
The memories of his situation come flooding back to him, and he plays off the shock with a smile. "Well, guess that's good for me."
Cfp nods in agreement, pouring a glass of brown liquid into two glasses. "A Cordon Rogue. I've always preferred whiskey, not huge on how sweet brandy is, but I figured something more up your alley was appropriate."
Gambit nods, savoring the sweet scent from the glass he is handed, before putting it to his lips. He sighs in contentment, before looking at Cfp. "Now this is the part where you offer to grant me a wish, right?"
Cfp raises his eyebrow. "Where did you get that impression?"
"I was here when y'all started to concoct these royale schemes" Gambit answers, his voice rising. "The winner always got a wish; I'm ready for mine."
Weighing how to respond, Cfp merely shrugs. "Those wishes were a product of the past. Now that you're all here, there's not really a point to them is there?"
Before Gambit can protest further, Cfp clicks his tongue, teleporting the thief to his new mansion.
- 13th - Caesar Zeppeli, 14 points: Salad Boy was poorly suited for this kind of royale. While Hamon is a versatile power and Caesar is skilled in its usage, its not nearly powerful enough to overpower others. With that in mind, Caesar wasn't disciplined or creative enough to get around that weakness, making him one of the weakest contestants.
- 12th - Cad Bane, 19 points: Cad Bane's ruthless strategic mind was his only benefit in this match, with lackluster equipment and no actual powers leaving him as the weakest fighter in this match. He needed everything to work out perfectly, and that was never going to happen here.
- 11th - Haru Okumura, 33 points: Haru's Persona is a potentially powerful one, but her lack of experience and training meant that it would be easy to get around Lucy. Haru's personality would've helped her further down the line in alliances, but she couldn't survive long enough to get to that point.
- 10th - Zari Tomaz, 46 points: Zari's Air Totem and hacking would've made her a strong late-game contender, but her lack of raw offensive power ensured she couldn't last long enough to get there.
- 9th - Emily Kaldwin, 51 points: Emily's stealth allowed her to survive this long, but when that strategy inevitably would fail she didn't have the tools or power to last long in a fight against any other contenders.
- 8th - The Demoman, 53 points: The Demoman was a wild card in this fight, armed with several explosives and an unpredictable fighting style. His sheer wackiness allowed him to blow up most of the weaker competition, but by this point smarter and stronger warriors were capable of getting past him.
- 7th - Anders, 70 points: Anders was a good all-around candidate, hampered by his spells primarily being supporting and Justice's influence on his mind. By this point, the stress and circumstances turned Anders from useful into a liability, where craftier warriors would be able to eliminate him.
- 6th - Rain, 81 points: Rain was a crafty manipulator and a powerful fighter, but his straightforward approach meant that he couldn't really out-trick anyone else in the fight. With that strategy gone, Rain was going up against fighters with a more powerful or versatile fighting style, putting him in a weak position.
- 5th - Hermione Granger, 86 points: Hermione got this far due to her intelligence and the versatility of her magic, but by now her inherent moral compass has gotten the better of her. She could only defend and disable people for so long, and her hesitance to land a killing blow leaves her dealing with warriors more powerful than her.
- 4th - Yatogami Kuroh, 99 points: Kuroh is probably the most skilled of the fighters in this royale, with his Auras and swordsmanship giving him a well-rounded fighting style. What hampers him is his somewhat gullible nature, making him an easy victim to all the more cunning warriors that ranked above him. He would've gotten 100 points, but Appel decided to fuck with the vibe.
- 3rd - Isaac, 108 points: Isaac was an unexpectedly powerful contender. While he himself his normal, his cunning mind allowed him to survive to the point where there were plenty of corpses to build himself a horde of Night Creatures. These beasts allowed him to carry himself up to the top, but the remaining two were capable of beating the horde and then Isaac himself.
- 2nd - Azula, 119 points: Azula had the complete package for a winner; her firebending is exceptionally powerful, while her strategic mind and ability to manipulate made her capable of forming and breaking alliances with ease. Azula's only flaw is a short temper, a small weakness that was elevated into a huge one with the final winner.
- WINNER - Gambit, 124 points: Gambit's card tricks may not appear to be much on paper, but the man himself is perfectly built for a situation like this. His easy-going personality made him a good person to form alliances with, while his wealth of experience and his kinetic powers ensured he could survive alone. His versatility, his experience, his intelligence, and his skill were all great enough to overcome any competitor who might be better in one area; in short, Gambit had a whole deck.