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View Full Version : The Devil's Hunt and Hollywood (Azure and Crank Battle)



Azure
03-15-2015, 09:55 PM
Hello, everyone. Azure Kite here, and I'm happy to present you with the finally completed battle between my good friend Crank and myself. We've been at it for some time, due to time constraints on both our sides. After setting a deadline for ourselves (March 15), we finally got our butts in gear and finished everything. So, to begin, the prologue to events (worked on by Crank and I):

Crevan and Arma, the two who, unbeknownst society, went by Devil’s Hunt, found themselves in an unfamiliar city, surrounded by unfamiliar sights and sounds. Something was off here, something they couldn’t quite explain. “Arma,” Crevan says slowly. “Why does the city sound so… quiet, all of a sudden?”

“Well…” she says, her voice a bit soft. “I’m guessing it’s got something to do with us not being in the city. I mean, yeah, we’re in a city, but this ain’t our city. I ain’t got a clue where we are.” She runs her hand through her hair, before looking to Crevan. “What do we do? We can’t just stand on this corner looking like a street performers.”

“You do realize that you’re more of a street performer than I am,” he replies with a huff. “We’ll have to find some place to get directions. Anything nearby, maybe a place to eat?”

“There’s a place… looks kinda nasty though. ‘McDonald’s…. What kind of stupid name is that?” Arma sticks her tongue out and pretends to retch.

“That does sound pretty bad. Anywhere else that looks like it at least serves food that humans would consume?” After a bit of looking around, Arma spots a diner.

“There’s some kind of diner a few blocks down. Why don’t we try there? Might give us a clue as to where we are.” Crevan nods, and holds out his arm. Arma just looks at him. “Uh… the hell are you doing?”

“I’m blind, remember? And I don’t exactly know the city. So, you’re showing me there.” Arma raises an eyebrow.

“You feeling ok?”

Crevan rubs his temples. “Look, I need your help, ok? Just get me to the place so we can deal with this situation and stop with all the schtick.” Arma blushes faintly at hearing he needs her, then takes his arm.

“We should get lost more often,” she mumbles to herself with a smile. “So, the place looks like a diner. It’s called Between the Trees. Think they’ll be any good?”

Crevan lifts his head slightly, sniffing the air. “Smells good, but the name sounds awfully stupid. Like a child came up with it and nobody wanted to call him out on it.” Entering the diner, Arma takes the lead in looking for a place to sit.

It doesn’t take long before the duo is noticed by the staff inside, a long haired man being the first to spot them, his pitch black shirt bearing the Between the Trees logo front and center with his nametag just a little bit higher and to the left. Considering it’s marked as Tarzan though, it probably isn’t accurate. Making his way between the foliage themed interior he flags them down.

“Good morning,” He happily greets, if not a bit tired, “Welcome to Between the Trees! Is this your first time? I don’t think I’ve seen either of ya here yet.”

“Probably not,” Crevan says. “I don’t see you now, either. I’m blind.” He taps his glasses while Arma just rests her face in her hands. “Anyways, yes, this is our first time here, Mister....?”

“I’m way too young to be called ‘Mister’. Apparently I’m on thin ice again with my nametag, so Roy works fine.” Smirking, he holds out his hand reflexively, but then pauses once the ‘can’t see’ issue dawns on him.

Shaking his head, he instead holds it out to the girl.

Arma looks at his hand, and lifts Crevan’s to meet Roy’s. “I don’t really shake…” she says simply. Meanwhile, once Crevan’s hand takes a hold of Roy’s, his expression seems to turn a little less friendly.

“Quite an interesting grip you’ve got there… Roy, correct?”

“See, I don’t know you enough to read you,” Roy grins a bit as he retracts, uneasy behind his actor’s smile, “But yeah, still Roy. You two want a booth or table?”

“Booth,” Crevan says before Arma can say a thing. “It’s better to get a bit… away from the crowd.”

“Smooth. As. Gravel.” Arma grunts.

Blinking a couple times, Roy looks over his shoulder. “Alright, but we only have four other parties at the moment if that changes anything. Or do you want a corner?”

“A corner would be lovely,” Crevan says. ‘It’ll give me a better chance at feeling what’s going on in this place.’ “Lead the way, sir.”

“Of course,” He smiles, leading the way, “We don’t have any braille menus though, was your friend going to read it to you or did you want me to run down the highlights?”

“Arma, will you read to me~?” Crevan asks in a sweet voice.

“Not even if you were on your death bed,” Arma says bluntly. “You’ll have to handle it, Roy.”

“And that’s why, in the group, you’re the bi-”
“NOT NOW, DAMMIT.” Arma cuts him off, glaring at him, though he pays her no mind. This may or may not be due to his blindness, of course.

“Uh…” Used to a more quiet crowd, discomfort grips Roy as his joints become a bit more stiff as his eyes lock head, not wanting to check and see who all had heard. Shaking his head out of it, he finally arrives at the booth. “What are you in the mood for? Kevin was it?”

“Crevan,” he says. “It’s one of the Old World names meaning ‘Fox.’” Arma grunts at this statement, but he ignores her, continuing to speak as he takes a seat. “As for what I’d like, just give me some of every meat you have on the menu. Oh, and I’d love some tea.”

“I’d like a croissant with some chocolate sauce, and a cup of coffee. Two sugars, some cream, and some chocolate in there, too.”

“I’ll… see what I can do about the chocolate sauce,” Not quite expecting that, Roy scratches the back of his head, “We don’t have croissants though, did you just want me to bring out a bread basket instead? I don’t see much of an issue with the meat though, we’ve got venison, beef, bacon and chicken. Did you want a bun or something to go with all that?”

“Er… no buns, thanks. Just meat. Medium-rare. And yes, the bread basket will be just fine.” He casts a sightless glance towards Arma, who just blows at her hair a bit, though it doesn’t go particularly high.

“Yeah, yeah, bread basket is fine with me.” Arma looks around the restaurant. “This place seems kinda nice. Hey Crevan, think they’d wanna hire us?”

“If a position opened up soon, quite possibly….” he says, faintly smiling.

“Well if anyone dies suddenly I’ll give you a heads up,” Roy fakes a convincing smirk back, “Might want to watch the swearing though, but I’ll see about getting an application when I bring your drinks out.” Nodding, he departs.

Once he’s gone, Arma looks at Crevan. “Ok, so, what do you think? I’m getting a feeling we’re not in the right place. Like, there are things similar to where we’re from, but really different.”

“You’re right,” Crevan says, holding his chin. “I’m guessing that it’s the effects of a Link. We weren’t just transported from the city, but maybe even our world. Still, I have a feeling we’ll be alright here. There may not be any Chains about, but there may be some substitutes…. That guy, Roy, his hands are callused in a way one gets only from using guns. Clearly, he’s got experience with firearms, which means he’s a fighter. We’ll just have to find out if he’s human or not, and if dealing with him will cover my… ah, issue.

Arma nods, and keeps an eye around the diner. “At least the food’s about the same. Though, I could go for some dragon meat. It’s got that naturally smokiness to it that just goes so well with chocolate.”

“I never will figure out how you got that weird obsession….”

Crevan pulls at his hair a bit. “Arma… do you think we should worry about getting back? The technology level of this place seems a lot lower than we’re used to.”

She places her hand in her chin. “Dunno. I guess it’s kind of a problem, but I mean, we don’t seem to stick out too much. What I’m worried about is paying for the food.”

Crevan scoffs. “If it’s anything more than ten silver, then we’ll just leave. I mean, I don’t care what reality this is, that’d be way too expensive, especially when there’s no dragon meat. I bet they don’t even have fire ferret.”

“...Come again?” Drinks balanced on a tray, Roy’s once good natured faced is masked by inquery. “Alright, I usually try not to interfere with my customers’ conversations, but you’re going to have to tell me how much of that was just roleplaying. Specifically the ‘ten silver’ part...”

Arma glares at Crevan. “Well, smart guy? Anything to say?”

Crevan pushes at his shades, and shrugs. “Like we said earlier, we’re from out of town. We use different currency. You’ll have to forgive that. As for the rest, well, my sister and I enjoy giving food some more exotic names.” His tone seems to be daring Roy to rebuff his claims.

“First of all, you’re not related,” Although there was a hint of joking in his voice, it’s still blatant this wasn’t a topic he was planning on kidding around about. “Look, if you’re from out of the country then you need to get that converted. I don’t want to deny you food, but I honestly can’t afford to be paying for all my customers, which is exactly what happens when someone either dines and dashes or shortchanges us somehow.”

“Technically, I am his sister,” Arma says. “That ain’t a lie. Let’s just say I’m adopted.”

“As for shortchanging you,” Crevan says, pulling ten coins from his pocket, all sparkling and roughly the size of silver dollars, “You’re saying that these have no value? I’m perfectly fine not getting change, but I find it hard to believe that silver is so abundant as to be worthless here.”

“I’m saying I don’t know what the value of that is,” The man states, “And that I honestly can’t help you here. And that I’m also a little irritated this was your first stop, knowing fully well you’re from out of town. I can give you the address to a cash for gold type place, but beyond that there’s nothing I can do.”

Crevan shrugs, and passes the money to Arma. “Go to the address he gives you, and get those converted, please. We’ll get rest of the silver, and the bronze and gold converted later.”

“Why do I have to go?” Arma complains.

“Because I’m blind, and you need food less,” Crevan says bluntly. Arma pouts, but takes the money and looks to Roy.

“Just tell me the address. And I want that coffee nice and steaming when I get back.”

“Don’t act like I’m the villain here, I have people I need to look after myself.” Pulling out his phone, he taps a few things into the search, “There’s a place about a mile and a half from here, 683 North Main Street.”

Arma stands up. “Be back in around thirty. Save some of that meat for me, Crevan.” She gets going, heading out the door and for the business. Crevan remains in his seat, looking quite content.

“Well, I’ll assume that, as long as payment is assured, the food can still be provided, no?”

“I don’t know the weight conversion, but the bread is complimentary so I’ll just be leaving that and the drinks for now.” He pauses. “And sorry.”

“No issues,” Crevan says. “Arma is a big girl. If anybody tries to mess with her, they’ll find that a measly ten silver is not worth it. I must ask, though, what kind of money does this… country, use?”

“Paper, copper, nickel, some other metal.” Roy shrugged, “Most people just pay with cards nowadays though. And the city’s pretty nice, I wouldn’t expect any issues for her anyway.”

Crevan’s eyebrow slowly raises. “That sounds… horribly inefficient. But, I suppose, when in the wild, you live by the jungle’s law. Not to be insulting, you understand.”

“I really don’t.”

“Well, I suppose that just means I’m still not quite used to… dealing with people.” He begins to sip at his tea, cringing a bit. “I suppose it’s of an acceptable quality. This place is going to take quite a bit of getting used to.”

Forcing a light smirk, Roy shakes his head a bit. “The way you say ‘people’ makes it sound like you’re used to dealing with something else.”

“I prefer a more solitary stance, dealing with others when necessary,” Crevan says simply. “How I deal with others is entirely up to circumstance. More their circumstance than mine, but that is, in and of itself, circumstantial to say the least on the matter.”

“Alright,” Roy nods a bit at his words before glancing over his shoulder, “Well I’ll leave you to your thoughts then. I’m probably going to catch crap for standing around too long anyway.”

Crevan waves him off, and continues drinking his tea. “I wonder how much longer Arma will be….” He turns to face the window, blankly looking into a dark world as he awaits his meal, as well as his partner’s return. He doesn’t have too long to wait for one, as Arma returns, breathing heavily, a few minutes later, green bills clenched tightly in her fist. She makes her way back to the table, resting her head on it as she works to get her breathing under control. “How exactly are you out of breath? Do you actually need to breathe?”

“Fuck.. off… you…” she huffs out, not raising her head. “So… much running…. Jeez, I can’t believe all I got was a bunch of paper. ‘Fifty-one dollars’ the guy said. I wanted to punch him so badly, giving me some stinking paper. What kind of backwards yahoo place is this?”

“The kind of place where we’re going to be living for a while,” Crevan says. “We’ll just have to get used to it for the time being.”

Roy’s self control is the only thing that kept his eyes off the pair. Sneaking a quick swig of coke from the fountain drink station, he find his mind wandering, swirling in suspicion. Something is just… off about them.

Maybe the grip comment wasn’t a joke. Sliding his palm into his pocket, his thumb rolls the dart he has grown accustomed to carrying. Is it possible they know? Glancing over his shoulder he spots the girl’s exhausted return, clenching cash with some sort of disdain. Roy feels his brow raise when he notices what seemed to be her genuine confusion, which only seems supported and agreed upon by the man.

Finishing off his drink, the light swirl rapidly turns into a whirlpool. The coins they pulled out… He’s never seen anything like them before, and the only thing they seem to know from here are the calluses on his palms. If they can tell he fought, they probably do too, and considering the types of people the RHG had to offer, the thought is far beyond unsettling for the waiter.

Making his way to the kitchen he shakes his head of the thought. That can’t be right, he’s just been under stress lately, that’s all.

But at the same time… he wasn’t about to bet his brother on that. In the off chance they were looking for a fight and they were looking for him, they were going to find it long before they found his family.

“So, are we going to have to off him?” Arma asks silently. “He’s definitely trouble, but I’m pretty sure he’s just a normal human.” She begins casually counting the money.

“Human or not,” Crevan says, “He isn’t normal. Killing him is iffy. We’ll just see how things play out. For now, lets simply get some food, and wait for this place to close. Then, if he’s of use, we’ll let him live. He’s definitely suspicious of us; that means he’s at least cautious enough to deserve a chance at living.”

“Sounds fine by me. I just wonder where we’ll be sleeping tonight. Homelessness doesn’t sound pleasant.”

Seconds drag on into minutes as patron and serviceman go about their business, but several pass before the groups are forced into another reaction. Food finally complete, Roy is called into the kitchen to collect it and is immediately greeted by the tantalizing aroma of the meat. Fresh and bubbling with juice, a variety of all kinds is spread across a plate the size of the man’s forearm. Shaking his head as it steamed, he grabs a breadbasket for the girl and a set of silverware for them both, as well as a steak knife for the venison. Suspicion not subsiding, he sets the trays down in the back and wraps his palm around the handle of the jagged blade. Fingers tapping against his pant leg, it takes him a grand total of three seconds to decide what to do.

Without warning, Roy stabs the knife down, impaling the deer meat and leaving the blade upright. Juices splatter with the motion and a small red pool forms underneath it. Grinning to himself, he takes both trays and leaves the kitchen, heading straight to Crevan and Arma, delivering her the bread before revealing the platter to the man.

“I’m sorry for the wait sir. I hope you like it bloody.”

With the prologue giving setting and reason to our battle, I present you our takes on the events that occur afterwards:

Azure Kite's Version:
When Crevan and Arma left from the diner, their thoughts were one and the same. Whoever this Roy person was, he’d prove useful. And it was likely that he saw them as a threat. His last words in particular rung in Crevan’s ears.

“I hope you like it bloody.”

A small smile crept upon his face. “Arma, I know for a fact that Roy isn’t a Chain.” She looks over to him.

“If you know that, then why’re we gonna attack him?” The question hangs in the air for a moment, before Crevan responds.

“Simple. It’ll be useful. Do not forget, I need to fight Chains, but we’re not where we belong. There may be no other Chains here. So we’ll have to find those who can act as a replacement, until we can discover a way back to where we belong. And I have a feeling that Roy’s just the type of person we can use to fulfill that purpose.”

Arma looks at him for a solemn moment, then rolls her eye. “Whatever you say. I’m not gonna go against you or anything, but you should at least consider my feelings next time. Jerk.” She goes on ahead of him, her mood clearly poor at being dragged into something she finds unnecessary. Crevan listens to her walk off, and tilts his head to the foreign sky above.

“I miss home too, Arma. I’m sure we’ll find a way back, definitely.” His hand finds its way to his shades, lightly tapping them. “...and perhaps while we’re here, I can learn some things as well.”


~~~~~~

The day slowly shifts to night, and along with it, Crevan and Arma shift from their casual personas to those of the Grinning Fox and the Hellhound. Crevan raises his hand. “Hell,” he says quietly from beneath his mask. Arma gives a sharp nod, before her body slowly folds in on itself, bending and shifting until a dagger with a blade as black as night is formed. Crevan holds the blade before him loosely, giving Arma a scope of the area. “How does it look?” he asks her.

“The Between the Trees diner is closed,” Arma says, “but there are still some lights on. Pretty sure we’re being called out. Are you sure this is a good idea? We still don’t know too much about this place. I’m also pretty sure your killing lust is damaging some of your brain cells.”

“It would be rude to ignore an invitation,” Crevan responds dryly. “Moving in.” Flipping Arma to a backhand stance, he approaches the now-cleared diner, his steps silent and slow. Reaching the door, he gives it a light push, and it opens. “It really is an invitation….” he silently says to himself, entering despite knowing it to be a trap. As he entered the establishment after hours, he notices the air is significantly cooler.

“Crevan, sweep me around. I don’t like this.” Crevan sweeps Arma slowly around, and he hears her give a slight hiss. He turns to face the direction she’s towards when she does so, his mind shifting to battle mode.

The sight which has set Arma to such a state is the presence of a man,like them, behind a mask. Seated with his arms folded, the guy wore a black mask with several perforations down its front, the owner’s eyes hidden within the shadows of the mask. A white hoodie covered his form, hiding away the general shape of his body, but not the outline of… some kind of belts. Though neither of the Devil’s Hunt could properly see where the man’s eyes lay, they could feel that his gaze was on them; Crevan in particular felt a faint shiver crawl up his back, and it wasn’t from the cold.

“So, you’re here, Roy,” Crevan says calmly, lowering Arma a slight bit. “It seems our expectations of you were correct.”

Roy, showing no response at his name being called, rises from his seat, his figure imposing, though, to the blind it was only a confirmation of his position. “Yeah,” Roy’s answers. “It’s me alright, and I’m here to make sure you drop any thoughts you might have had about coming after me. We settle this here and now.”

Crevan listens, and processes what Roy was saying. “I’m sorry, but that isn’t possible. But I do believe we can make a deal. Whoever wins, has their condition fulfilled by the loser. Deal?”

“We’ll see when we’re through,” Roy grunts, reaching within his jacket and removing two golden poles. Crevan holds Arma up, forehand in style, and remains in place, focusing on listening to his surroundings. He notices a constant roaring going on in the background, somewhat distracting his focus. Roy, taking the initiative, rushes in with a downward strike from the gold pipe in his right hand. Crevan notices the new noises, and blocks the strike with his empty hand, stabbing Arma forward towards Roy’s stomach. Roy’s body moves instinctually away from the deadly blade, and he strikes with his other weapon, this time aiming at Crevan’s wrist. Moving into the attack, Crevan takes a glancing blow to his forearm, but manages to nick Roy in the side with Arma’s tip.

The two break apart, reassessing their approach. “You’re not gonna get very far in close combat,” Arma says. “He’s got two close range weapons, and he’s clearly better than you with them.”

“I’m aware,” Crevan says. “Which means we’ll be using Abysmal Depths.” Arma begins to shift once more, elongating, her blade splitting and becoming two. In a span of twelve seconds, Crevan now wields a bladed bow, which he points towards Roy. “You’re at the disadvantage, Roy. Show me you can overcome it.”

Roy stares at the weapon change, somewhat enthralled by it, when his concentration returns by the taunt. “You’d think that, wouldn’t you? But you’re the one who’s in my territory.” Spinning his poles, Roy suddenly tosses one up. Arma’s eyes follow it, leaving her unable to see as Roy reaches into his jacket and jams something in. The only thing that saves Crevan from defeat is the sound of Roy inhaling deeply. Moving to the side, he feels a slight breeze blow past him.

“Arma, what was that?” Crevan pulls back on her bowstring, a pale grey arrow forming. Arma focuses back on Roy, who catches the pole as it falls, and puts it away, wielding one now.

“I’m not sure,” she says, “but I think the range advantage is kinda nullified.” Another dart just barely misses Crevan. “Darts. He’s shooting darts at your, Crevan. They’re probably poison-tipped. Move around!” Rolling to the side, Crevan fires several arrows towards Roy, who leaps over them. “Missed. Keep firing.”

Roy wasn’t letting up on his own assault. Slowing down, he lines up a shot and fires, missing Crevan, but scratching his hand with the tip of the dart as it passes by. Crevan’s arm slowly starts to go numb. With an unseen smirk, Roy prepares to shoot another dart, when an arrow pierces through his thigh. He grits his teeth, holding back a scream of pain.

“That’s a hit,” Arma says. “Fire a heavy, two inches up, three right. Half draw.” Crevan obliges her instructions, firing a denser arrow, and it just skirts Roy’s shoulder, leaving a bloody streak. Crevan’s arm falls to his side, Arma falling with it. “Whoa! The fuck, dude, don’t just drop me!”

“My arm isn’t exactly functioning properly,” Crevan says with mild annoyance. “Switch back to Hell.” He picks up the dagger, and charging it with soul energy and moving in. Roy, switching hands as well, blocks Crevan’s first swipe with Arma, and his second and third as well.

“Seems like my poison works just as well as you as anybody else,” Roy comments, still on the defensive. “So I’m guessing you aren’t too far from human. You a cyborg? Mutant?” His question stops when Crevan knocks his weapon out of his hand, and presses Arma to his throat.

“No,” Crevan says. “I’m a Chain. And this match is mine. I don’t want to kill you, but if I have to, don’t expect hesitation.” Roy gulps, but keeps a blank face behind his mask.

“So, what’s your condition? I’m not rich, and I don’t kill.” The blade doesn’t move from his throat, but Crevan’s grip lightens slightly. Roy’s mind races, struggling between using the relaxation of his opponent to get in a cheap shot with the poisoned darts, or keep his honor intact and make deal with him.

“My conditions are simple,” Crevan says while Roy’s thoughts are still elsewhere. “All I ask is that you provide me a means to fight more, stronger opponents, and a job here. Simple, no? Of course, declining means you will need to die. It’s too troublesome having my identity known while I’m here, when there’s still much to learn about this place.” That hadn’t been quite what Roy expected.

“Wait… you want me to get you a job and be your bookie? Are you serious? What the fu… ugh, it would have been much easier on my mind if you lowered the dagger, one, and second, explained just what is going on.”

Crevan doesn’t lower Arma, but does answer. “I need to fight those who are very strong. You’re good, but in the end, you’re still human. I need something more.” A lightbulb goes off in Roy’s mind, and he gives a nod, before remembering again that Crevan was blind.

“Alright. I can’t guarantee the job, but I know a place you can find plenty of strong opponents. Meet me back here tomorrow, preferably a bit more upfront this time, and we’ll see just how much I can help you… and how much you can help me out.”
Here's a link to read it in it's original formatting. (https://docs.google.com/document/d/1twfeePyfiCnU0VGzL6QesBbIsrZ05PPwEDF9FpVqpuI/edit?usp=sharing)

Crank's Version:

And if you don’t love me now,
You will never love me again,
I can still hear you say it,
You will never break the chain.

I’ve got a passion for music. I know it, everyone I know knows it, and before acting overtook it as my dream, I had every intention of starting a band and touring. That being said, I never became that good, but I still strum my guitar from time to time and sing along with whatever got stuck in my head last. Music helps me focus, it helps me be me. So if I’m turning it off anywhere, you can bet the situation’s serious.

Maybe the RHG just has me paranoid, but my gut told me I had a fight coming my way whether I liked it or not. A couple patrons all but outed me as a gladiator in the middle of my shift earlier today, and I’d be damned if I just let that sit. They sure as hell looked the part as well: A six foot tall girl with purple eyes and a blind dude with white, red tinted hair at the tips. I swear, there’s not a soul in that company that knows a thing about blending in, but at least that makes them easier to track.

It took me a grand total of an hour to hunt them down after I got off at work, and although I didn’t have them pegged for drug users, I can’t exactly say I was surprised when I was pointed to a shut down meth lab. The police raided it last month and made headlines when it ended with a shootout. One suspect was killed, the other two were injured and an officer was hospitalized. Apparently small time sales still happen there now that some of the heat’s off.

My dead silent car was parked a block away from the site, my gaze staring out the window watching the building. Nothing even moved, and as time dragged by I began feeling my patience waning. My fingers started tapping, and then my foot shortly afterwards. Gladiator gear packed in my backpack beside me, my eyes took a quick glance to it before heaving out a heavy breath. Suddenly ensnaring it, I slipped it over my shoulders as I left the safety of my car. Weapons on my back and a song stuck in my head, I was on the move.


Listen to the wind blow,
Down comes the night,

Although a mere whisper, my even voice was the only thing I had to calm myself from the danger I was certain to walk into. Body tensing, one foot trudged before the other almost robotically as I neared my destination.


Runnin’ in the shadows,
Damn you love, damn your lies

Desperate hopes clung to the back of my brain as the distance continued to close. Rumor had it a handful of people at my diner used from time to time, so maybe if there was a seller inside he’d be a familiar face. I could work with that.


Break the silence,
Damn the dark, damn the light

Seeing the door within reach, my eyes shifted and my palm gripped it in a vice.


And if you don’t love me now

My wrist twisted sharply.


You will never love me again

Light crept in the building like an assassin as I pushed it forward.


I can still hear you say it

But it perished like a target as I closed it behind me.


You will never break the chain

“The what?”

My eyelids slammed shut like a door Indiana Jones just slid under after retrieving his hat, my mental ‘F’ bomb subbing in for the ‘bang’. My singing was barely louder than a breath, but beyond that Crevan’s voice wasn’t one I was hoping to hear. Especially considering intrigue was the dominant emotion it conveyed. Although it was meant to be a question, my reply sounded more like a statement, cold as a cadaver stuck in a glacier. “You heard me.”

“You’re right. I did.” The floor in the adjacent room creaked as he moved closer to the doorway and into my sight. “‘You will never break the chain.’ Tell me, Roy was it? What does that mean to you?”

What? I was ready to fire an answer despite my confusion but the words caught suddenly in my throat when the man turned the corner. You wanna dye the hair you can’t see? Cool, I can handle that, but you want to throw on a white, eyeless fox mask with a freakin’ grin like a serial killer? I take huge issue with that, especially considering the last no-eyed happy-mask wearing son-of-a-bitch I ran into would have murdered the shit out of me, had it not been for a recent friend of mine.

Blinking twice as my brain straddled past and present, I watched Arma join his side wearing the yin to his yang. Pitch black, her mask was closer to that of a dog, although the area surrounding her right eye not only lacked a hole, but contained and inverted cross. If I recalled correctly, that was the same eye she hid at the diner, which added on a whole ‘nother later of grim. The two exchanged a glance as my mouth hung agape.

Alright fine, she’s the only one who looked but he’s blind so whatever.

“Well?”

Snapping out of my trance, my hazel eyes locked where his eyes were supposed to be.

“That I won’t be broken.”

Guarantee a grin stretched across the man’s face. Mine settled on a frown. “Are you trying to say you’re a chain, by chance?”

Smartass. “I’m saying I’m the strongest link you’ll find.”

A prang of surprise flashed in the girl’s revealed eye, but as it darted to Crevan, his words were already flowing. “Oh! That’s even better then!” It’s not often I want to punch a disabled person in the face. “Well then Arma, sounds like you’re home and I’m the only stranger in this strange land. I am curious though.”

“About?”

“How about we test that?”

The girl groaned. How that affected her was beyond me.

“You already had me run five miles to trade silver for paper today. You fight him.”

“But where would the fun be in that? He did call you out after all.”

“Alright, both of you need to start explaining exactly what the hell is going on.”

“I’m a link too.” I blinked twice as she dashed forward, knuckles cracking as her fist clenched before firing it forward like a rocket. Having a solid five inches on me, I was well within her range before she made it into mine, but gradually getting the feel for fighting I was able to sidestep the blow and hammer a fist into her gut. Air barreled out of her lungs as I threw a left hook to follow up, but she was somehow able to snatch it out of the air before it connected with her mask. Pivoting swiftly, she yanked my arm down over her shoulder, jerking me over her ducking back and slamming me onto the ground.

A grunt escaped me upon impact, but as I watched a sneaker speed at my skull instinct snapped control of my body. Barely knowing what I was doing, my left arm thrashed at her grounded foot and ripped it from it’s place on the floor. Pain spiked as her heel still struck my shoulder blade instead, but as I heard the thud of her weight behind me I thrust my knees into the air, rolling myself back and stammering awkwardly to my feet. Panting a bit, seeing her already standing caught me off guard and set me off.

“Bitch! What the hell?”

Even with her dog mask I could still see her smirk pressing her cheek up. “You hit like a boy, Roy.” The implication of the grin died on the spot as Crevan chuckled.

“I didn’t know you were one to break into rhyme.”

“Shut up.” Adjusting her posture to match that of a boxer’s, she shot him a glare he automatically didn’t see as I slid my backpack to my front, tearing it unzipped. “Already need a weapon p-”

“Isn’t your rack a bit big for you to be a dick?” For the record real quick, I usually don’t talk that way to women, God these people were making me a horrible person. Either way I caught traces of red through on her cheek as her eye popped open, apparently touching a soft spot.

Dammit! No, not like that!

“Oh this is going to get bloody!” I didn’t need Crevan’s commentary to warn me of that as she dashed forward once more, stomping her foot down to deliver a swift kick, but a sharp pivot allowed my backpack to absorb most of the blow, although it did stumble me a few paces back. Awkwardly tearing my equipment from the sack, I swung a blowgun at the girl just to earn gain myself a few more seconds, immediately using them to don my hockey mask and dart sash, sliding my arms though the straps and letting the backpack hit the floor upon completion.

“I’ve already seen your face, dumbass.”

“How can someone as top-heavy as you stand up straight?”

Her glare hardened and her cheek become more vibrant. I would’ve grinned had I not been distracted by the haymaker, but as I met her wrist halfway with my metal stick, a crack greeted my ears. Assuming she was reeling in pain as she spun, I cast my attention to Crevan but as my guard dropped I felt a sneaker rail into my jaw. Impact snapping my mouth shut just as I was about to speak, a horrid copper taste filled my mouth as my eyelids slammed shut.

Staggering from the blow, I barely had time to spit the blood from my mouth before Arma stepped into my personal space and caught me in a clench, hammering her knee into my gut. Grunting from the impact, blood splattered the inside of my mask, dripping slowly down my neck as the girl’s surprisingly light frame managed to pin me against a wall before drilling her bony knee into my waist time and time again. I could feel bruises start to form as she wailed the joint into me with increasing acceleration and as anguish threatened to block out my brain, it suddenly flashed to a very bizarre reptile. Using my chin to jerk my mask up, I sucked the gushing fluid from tongue to fill my cheeks before turning into the human equivalent of a horned lizard, only instead of shooting it from my tear ducts, I fired gore from in between my teeth and into the only opening in her mask.

Recoiling suddenly, her grip on me broke and she flung her mask up desperately to get the burning sensation out of her eye, but as I slid against the wall clutching my stomach, my other hand seized my weapon. Pushing off, I gripped it with both hands before stepping to the side and swinging my blowgun with all my might at the side of her face she never cared to show.

She hit the ground in a harsh ‘wump’, but I was much more concerned with the crunch that came from the shot. Terrified I had caved her skull in, I dropped to my knees immediately and reached down to part her hair, but her hand suddenly gripped my wrist in a vice, squeezing with unnatural strength. Biting down on my lip to keep from yelping, my alarmed eyes locked on her. Although the right side of her face was still hidden behind her hair, I could now see cracks fissuring to the other half of her face as if she was a clay pot, and as I frantically jerked myself back, I saw the same on the wrist I had smashed.

“What the hell are you!” Freeing my hand, I shuffled back to my corner in a vain effort to catch my breath. My lungs filled and depleted at a horrid speed as my eyes locked on the girl’s abnormality, there wasn’t even any blood oozing from the cracks! “What are either of you!”

“Huh. I thought he’d know.”

“Knew what!”

Arma had venom in her gaze as she pulled herself upright, unaffected by any onslaught, but as she took a step forward, Crevan beckoned to her. “Well now that we know he’s not a chain, this isn’t just between you and him. Besides, I’ve been getting bored sitting on the sidelines,” Taking a step forward, he outstretched his hand to her, “Oh, and Roy, you really shouldn’t hit a lady.”

Suddenly deciding whatever I didn’t know wasn’t worth finding out, I shoved my body from the corner. Taking off like I was training for the olympics, I bolted to the door like an arrow, only to have a literal one impale the frame before I could get to it. I forget the swear word I exclaimed.

“If you make me chase you, it’ll only get worse.”

Logic was void as I snapped around to face Crevan. Arma was somehow missing and he suddenly had with a tricked out bow, but no quiver to supply the ammunition. Not even able to see confusion in the rearview, I just shouted the first thing that came to my mind.

“Why the hell do you have a bow and arrow! You’re blind!”

“That’s rude.” Laughing in the face of rationality, an arrow materialized on the bowstring, which the masked man pulled back immediately. “But I do enjoy close combat, if you’d like to meet me halfway.”

“What?” Shaking my head, I jerked a blowdart from my sash, loading it as quickly as I could, but as soon as I saw Crevan’s hand twitch I shot myself to the side. Swift as my reflexes were, instead of a stepping to the side my knees buckled, and I collapsed to the floor as a sharp pain flashed from my hip. A slight shriek rushed from my body as my brain processed what had occurred, but as I made out an arrow from my teary vision there wasn’t any refuting the obvious. I mean non-teary vision. It was a very old, dusty house, okay?

Gritting my teeth, I dragged my gaze back to the blind man, who now had a fucking halberd in place of the bow, because that makes sense. Beyond asking questions, I just snapped my weapon to my lips and spit my sedative laced dart in his direction.

“Sidestep now!”

Almost gracefully, he jucked to the left from my projectile’s path, like Arma’s voice instructed him as I jerked flabbergasted to my feet. “Is that bitch your weapon!”

“Oh please cut him open.”

“I love how well you two are getting along!” Lunging forward before I could gather my wits, let alone another dart, Carven closed the distance, slashing his edge at my waist far faster than should’ve been possible. Slapping my mask down I rolled to the right, managing to keep my intestines as I felt a rush of wind glide over me. Somersaulting to my feet in a clean flow, I noticed him roll the weapon in his palms, pointing the tip my throat. For a quick moment trying to block it felt like a good idea, but when he and I charged and ducked perspectively, and I heard brick crack behind me, regret was vacant from my mind.

Finally having him within my range however, my open palm flung up, seizing his fox-mask and ripping it from his head, but a sharp pain executed my follow up. Speckles of blood burst from my mouth as a gasp barreled out of me, and as I fell forward against the blind man, my brain was still struggling to process what happened. A swift twist amplified the excruciation rushing near my spine, snapping my body straight, but it was to the sound of metal tearing out of my flesh that I finally fell backwards.

Weak, hesitant breathes were the only thing keeping me conscious as the hardwood floor offered no cushioning, smashing first my back but then my skull as it suddenly stopped moving. Dazed, light and darkness rolled in my vision as a warm, damp pool formed beneath me. Although blurry, I could make out the outline of my enemy, however now the weapon he held was now the size of a knife. The revelation of how he stabbed me in the back didn’t make anything easier, a pathetic moan drifting into the air as I rolled to my back, reaching for the wound.

“We should talk.”

Seeing as agony isn’t a good chill out feeling, I was squirming pretty badly from my place on the ground. “No we don’t.” My voice was as powerful as I was, although there was a bit of strong determination hidden inside my feeble attempt at volume.

“You’re in a bad position to argue,” Two slight taps echoed in the abandoned building as Arma become herself once more, feet hitting the ground, “Be smart, and stay down.”

“You be smart.”

Crevan scoffed at me. I’ll admit it, my cleverness tanks with blood loss, and I was already worn out from an eight hour shift. I felt on the verge of passing out, so even if I did pull something out of my ass they still outnumbered me and I was no longer convinced Arma was mortal. Successful or not, if I proved to be a threat that’d be the end of everything, but then again, maybe it already was.

“Who taught you to fight?”

“Your mother.” Dammit. Sorry you had to read that.

“You’d be surprised,” Crevan gave a light chuckle as he and his girl circled me like a pair of sharks, “I was hoping you’d be useful to me alive. You’re interesting Roy and I like that, but if you can’t help me, then you know too much to keep breathing.” He was way too casual about that. “Just answer a few questions and I’ll let you sleep.”

Me sleep? Shit, I’m an idiot. Shifting uncomfortably, the hand I was laying on snuck a couple of darts out of my sash and slipped them up my sleeve. Arma was on the wrong side of me to notice, and her partner just automatically didn’t see.

“Then how about I tell you something first,” Knowing I had a mouthful, I stole a deep breathe before even attempting, “If you leave here from the front door and take a right, there’s an emergency clinic three miles up on Maple Road. Money or not, they can’t turn away a dying man.”

“Don’t be dramatic,” Listening to the heavier footsteps beneath Arma’s groan, I tracked Crevan to be coming up on my right shoulder, “You aren’t dying.”

“No?” The blind man suddenly felt a sharp prick in his calf as I jerked my arm at him, but a boot rammed my ribs before I could tear my dart out, leaving it sticking out of his flesh. Hacking violently, I rose the other up but before either of the duo were able to stop me I plunged it deep into my sternum. Shock froze them both as my body jolted to the piercing pain, but an ominous chuckle from yours truly darkened the mood. “Well now we both are, and if I were you I’d run. That’s cobra venom swirling in your blood, mixed with a slew of sedatives. You have under a minute before they put you to sleep... And then only have a few hours before your entire body shuts down.”

Both were silent for a split second, but as soon as Arma snapped her neck in Crevan's direction and started to speak, I cut her off. “W-”

“Can you risk it?” I could hear her teeth grit as a numbing sensation began overtaking my body. I was far too bloodied and bruised to last long and I knew I’d be out of it long before my foe was. “He can feel it and you know it.” My lips began to tingle and dry as I lost movement in my right hand, the fingers in my left quickly following. Breathing became more of a struggle and slowed, which in turn dragged out my words.

“Right turn. Three miles.” My eyelids fluttered as they fought to stay open, but they gradually failed, locking shut. “Under three hours.” My voice was fading like a song and I felt my feet tud as my feet went limp. “Good luck...”

I heard Arma’s foot stomp in my direction a half second before darkness swept in, engulfing my being.


||::||::||::||::||::||::||::||::||::||::||::||::|| ::||::||::||::||::||::||::||::||::||

My eyes bolted open with a sudden start, body lurching upright as a desperate gasp filled my lungs only to be startled by a high pitched yelp across from me. Too disoriented to process anything, I squeezed myself into a tight ball, my legs clinging to the legs of what felt like a plastic chair as rapid breaths vibrated my belly. My entire body was soaked with sweat, sticky and cold clinging me to my clothes, but as a familiar area faded into my sight, my dread eased a bit.

“Leroy?”

Focusing in on the voice, a younger coworker of mine came to my view. Our schedules barely overlapped, but I remembered her because she was the only person I know who calls me by my full name. Slowing my breathing, I nodded. “Yeah…”

“Are… What happened to you?” Her voice was hesitant and she reached for the cross she wore over her uniform, fiddling with the metal as she nervously awaited an answer.

“Just…” Unaware of the extent of my injuries, I really had no idea what lie I was going to have to tell, “Can we talk about it later?”

“I suppose,” A sigh drifted from the girl’s lungs as she stood up, gaze stuck on the floor, “It’s just… you seem to keep getting hurt Leroy. We- ...I’m worried about you.”

Well that made me feel like shit. “I just some water.”

“I can get that for you,” She nodded faintly before doing a poor job forcing a smile, “But please Leroy, stay safe.”

“I will.” I did it much better.

Before she turned to leave however, her gaze moved just a little over my shoulder. “Oh, I’m sorry! Would either of you like anything to drink?”

“Tea and coffee would be lovely.”

I did everything I could not to turn bone white.

“Sounds great! I’ll be back in just a minute!” Lilly’s smile became a bit more genuine as she nodded to them before turning and taking a few steps out the door. It wasn’t until it clicked closed that I actually turned in spurts to see the dou seated behind me at the break table at the diner I worked at.

“Consider this a sign of good faith,” Grinning ear to ear, Crevan slowly leaned forward, “But about those questions.”

“Oh!” Arma chimed in with a smirk of her own, “Sorry about your face.”

“What the fuck did you do to my face?”
Here's a link for the original format. (https://docs.google.com/document/d/1tcKq1yVu-zCXbbd5o2n7OuB1oKdUngdDcp1aRdYKHt8/edit)

There's also a referenced song (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-geX-fUa-8Q) for Crank's part.

Vote for who you believe put a better conclusion to the meeting. Which masked side came out on top? CnC always welcome!

Haru
03-17-2015, 09:25 PM
Well done, both of you! You each impressed me with your skills..I am a newbie at this. I just liked crank a bit better, especially with the song references and the ending. Very close battle!

Vern
03-22-2015, 03:50 PM
Dammit, this is both so good. I postponed reading your works so long but I finally did it.

Since both of you know very well what you're doing, I don't have (m)any major (or even minor) issues to point out.
Crank definitely won this one for me (Azure did a terrific job too ;) ). I simply had more fun reading his story, almost seemed as if it was taken right out of a novel.

I'm a little confused concerning Crank's ending. Technically, Roy didn't really win did he? ^^

@Crank : Mark my words. Right now I might not be able to, but I'm determined to one day challenge you, and beat you >;3
@Azure Kite : Heh, I'd love to battle you too someday. Your wRHG characters seem such ideal opponents for Wyvern once I have him where I want him to be :D

Crank
03-22-2015, 08:01 PM
Thanks for the comments you guys, I really appreciate them!


I'm a little confused concerning Crank's ending. Technically, Roy didn't really win did he? ^^

Technically speaking no. Roy lost the encounter pretty definitively, but he was able to bluff about his sedatives so Devil's Hunt would be forced to leave him in a way they wouldn't need or think to cave his head in first. His plan was to bolt when he woke up, but ultimately Crevan not only woke up first, but they returned with Arma before he did due to the wounds he sustained. So yeah, he lost the fight and his plan failed, but both things combined made him intriguing enough for the good faith of taking him back to the diner for their talk.
And consider them marked! I'll be looking forward it!

Drone
03-22-2015, 08:14 PM
I really like Cranks writing style, I'm going to have to give this one to him

Azure
03-23-2015, 09:45 PM
Looks like a loss on my part. What's this make us, Crank, 2 me 3 you? I lost count.

Crank
03-23-2015, 10:06 PM
Heh, I think we're 1, 1, and 2

Nightshade VS John was a tie
Then you beat me with Kasai
And now this is where we tie once more with accumulative points

I'm almost positive there was another fight somewhere in there though. I never fought Manny Ken or Basset, did I? I swear something's missing. We had one battle that was canceled because of your permaban, but I don't think it was that.

Azure
03-23-2015, 10:28 PM
Heh, I think we're 1, 1, and 2

Nightshade VS John was a tie
Then you beat me with Kasai
And now this is where we tie once more with accumulative points

I'm almost positive there was another fight somewhere in there though. I never fought Manny Ken or Basset, did I? I swear something's missing. We had one battle that was canceled because of your permaban, but I don't think it was that.

Hm... I'll run through my character list: Nightshade, Manny Ken, Kasai, Grey (that dragon), Bastet, Bun-Bun, Nightshade again (for a time, deeply altered), then we get to my characters on this site.