The group takes refuge in a mysterious town.
Through a sand-soaked sea of dunes under a chasm of stars, a canyon etched its way across the landscape like a twisting snake. Walls breached by rocks and sand held the canyon's sheer cliffsides up, as round, metal drones scanned the desolate valley with their red eyes. At the apex of the canyon, between the stone walls, was a set of columns flanking an enormous door holding up a massive cyclopean structure. This behemoth of a building, a monolith carved straight from the desert stone, housed a set of figures sat around a room at its peak.
"On the topic of Euclid... You can't possibly deem it safe. Not if our suspicions are correct," spoke a man in layered black robes. The voice that came out was rough and scratchy.
"Euclid has undergone its own... problems, in the last generations. I'm confident they've abandoned it." This figure, hooded and isolated from the rest, sat staring away from the others on a throne, alien in design. They stared out a round window, the only view into the valley below and the void hovering above. "Sacrifices do not have to be made to bring progress." Murmuring came from the other seven in response.
"I am here to serve your ideals only, not to argue..." came the calm voice of an individual in a shimmering golden mask depicting an emotionless human face. "...But we cannot be expected to escape from here without a fight. It could take weeks, even months to reach Euclid. That is time we don't have, Xanvi."
"I suppose not." The throne swiveled around, revealing the presumed leader's eyes. Calculating and mismatched, in the colors of blue and yellow. "From here on, time is our enemy."
A small tree stood in the middle of the valley, snow plummeting around it as wolves ran by, steadfast on their hunt.
Underneath the tree stood a group of six. Pulling her arms around her in an attempt to feel warmness, Blossom Cane stared at the bleak area around her. Atticus and Samuel stood next to each other, reading an old map together, with Atticus' hands pointing towards something she couldn't see.
Glancing to her right, a break in the falling snow allowed her to see a small city off in the distance, small towers visible.
"Hey, guys!" With the group seemingly unable to hear her, she called out louder. "Hey! What's that city there? Is it safe?"
"City?" Samuel said as he looked up. The others perked up as well, equally as curious at Blossom's comment.
Through the fogged landscape, everyone began to try and make out what could be seen in the distance. After focusing their eyes, they too could what appeared to be a city. The murky weather let the group see that some buildings were lit.
"I guess that's something," Samuel commented. "It looks populated, but I'm not sure. We've got nothing to lose, so maybe?"
The weary travelers made their way towards the glossy city gates connected to a wall made entirely of white bricks around the city. Up close, the town seemed much bigger, enough that there was no place to see where the wall ended. Chris noted that the city highly contrasted with Silivia in that its wall was not nearly as ornate and the tall buildings that were visible appeared to be of a much older style. An illuminated sign hung over the gates reading "Welcome to Headre!"
Chris pushed the wrought iron gate open with relative ease. "Well, who's ready to find some peace and quiet?"
Before Chris could finish walking into the city, Atticus grabbed his arm and stopped him. "Be careful, we don't know anything about this place or the residents." He retracted his grip once finished.
"I understand, Atticus," Chris replied. "We can't split up either. If we see a friendly individual, we can speak to them." He quickly glanced around the corner, noticing a plant shop, which made him turn to Li. "Excuse me, Mr. Li, this isn't too different from home."
"Good to see much doesn't change," Li commented. "Let's find a nice little hotel to check into. How does that sound, Samuel?" he turned to the scientist.
Melissa was only partially listening to the others. She looked around, stopping when she noticed a person across the street. "Guys... I hate to interrupt your planning, but there is someone over there," she said, pointing to the figure.
As the man came closer, Samuel held out one hand and called out to them. Seeing what Samuel was doing, the rest of the group stopped walking.
"Uh, excuse me?"
The young, brown-haired man turned their attention to Samuel and walked towards him. A large black dog was beside him, sitting down once the person was in front of Samuel. "Yeah? Do you need anything?"
"Something like that," Samuel explained. "To put it lightly, me and these other people are a bit lost. We just got here, so I just wanted to know if you could give us any information. Most importantly, are we able to find a hotel here?"
"Oh, you're travelers?" the man said. "Well, there really isn't much to know, honestly. Headre is pretty small, though very well-cultured. Most of the buildings here are just housing. If you're looking for a hotel," They turned and pointed ahead. "Continue until you reach the smoke shop. Make a right turn then walk down, and you'll get there eventually. Can't miss it."
With the man's words clear, Samuel nodded. "Alright, guess we'll be going now. Thanks."
After a final wave to Samuel and the others, the man turned and walked away, his dog following him.
Staring into the mirror, Atticus examined the cut on his face closely. Extending from the bottom of one cheek, it ran across and over his nose and ended near the middle of his other cheek. Gently washing the bits of blood left on it with a damp rag, he winched slightly at the pain and continued until he finished his task.
Turning the sink off, he flipped the light switch and walked out of the restroom, noticing Blossom seated in front of the small TV. Their hotel room was slightly small, with beige walls and two beds situated next to each other in the middle and a desk placed in between them. The TV was placed on a stand at the end of the room.
"What are you watching?" He asked as he sat on the edge of his bed and rubbed his palms together. It felt refreshing to have a warm place to sit and relax after the last few days.
"Just the news," she replied, nonchalantly. Without another word, the two continued to watch the news. The broadcast soon switched to a breaking news banner and the scene developed into one filled with smoke.
"...Death toll unknown..."
"...The whereabouts of Gabriel Alchemilia and the other Alchem chairmen are unknown..."
As the reporter continued with her story, Atticus watched intently, not taking his eyes off the screen. Soon enough, the moment he dreaded was revealed and they began to list the names of the attackers.
They began with Steven Devlin and slowly descended. But how did they know our identities?
"What's going on?" Blossom asked, confusion heavy in her voice.
"Just wait," Atticus motioned for her to pause, still listening to the news. Eventually, the reporter mentioned his name, his picture flashing on the screen.
"As it's been reported the last few hours, this individual is the son of Mayor Rosington, who was officially declared deceased months ago after disappearing in a demon attack upon leaving the city."
Bolting up, Atticus marched towards the door. "Blossy, can you call the others? Tell them to meet us downstairs."
Without letting her reply, he opened the door and headed out, wanting to escape from any possible questions, even if just for a little bit.
Chris and Melissa walked towards a restaurant down the street from the hotel they were going to be staying at, as Melissa was feeling hungry. "That's quite convenient." Chris laughed until he noticed an interestingly-dressed man at the door.
"Ah, hello, sir and ma'am," The man smiled at both of them. "I am the owner of this establishment. Would you two care to get a seat? I can detect something in you that says you want 'instant service'."
After the waiter showed Melissa and Chris to their table, they both sat down. "Well, this is a change of pace from what we are used to. I swear, every ten minutes we are on the run or facing death."
"Yeah, it is a nice break," Chris replied. "But there's something I still don't understand. At the manor — if we could still call it that — you may recall, we said people were shooting at us. I don't think that was related to our previous dangers."
Melissa nodded. "Your guess is as good as mine, I am still confused as to why those guys just randomly decided to shoot at you and kidnap me."
The waiter returned to the table, bringing food for Melissa and Chris.
"Thank you, sir," Chris replied. He hadn't told the waiter that he was unable to eat.
"Enjoy your meal," The waiter replied, walking off.
"We'll just have to keep an eye out for more trouble in the future," Melissa noted to Chris.
Samuel and Li sat together on a wrought iron bench, its bars cold from the air and wet with powdered snow. The metal's frigid touch made leaning back especially uncomfortable, so they both sat at the edge.
Samuel held his black fedora in his hand, rapidly hitting it against the iron to try and dry it.
Samuel chuckled. "That's all you've been thinking about?"
"No, no. I've been thinking about home. I've been thinking about the kids here and what we are going to do. Hell, I've even been thinking about my mother," Li laughed.
"Of course," Samuel answered. "It's hard, I know. As much as I've been trying to reassure everybody that we'll be fine, it's hard to think that this isn't the end."
After a silence between the two, Samuel got up. He dusted his off his black leather coat and put back on his hat. "Listen, I'm going to see if I can pick up some important things for the road ahead. You can stay here."
"Make sure those important things include food, water, and first aid kits," Li told the man, staring at the trees, which were being covered in snow.
Hearing the automated message yet again, Blossom sighed and placed the phone back on its stand. Not a single one of them had answered. I guess they're all off on some adventure and I'm stuck here in this damned wheelchair.
Going backwards, she rolled out from between the beds and directed herself over towards the singular window in the room. It was a small window, but just wide enough to give her a decent view of the snow-capped city. Looking down, she watched as people walked in and out of towns and between buildings, doing mundane activities.
In the distance, she noticed two people on a bench and managed to recognize them as Samuel and Li. Watching them as they seemed content in their conversation with each other, Blossom couldn't help but feel a sudden and strong sense of anger.
She didn't belong in this town, on this continent, or with this group. She was not like them, she didn't have the strong sense of justly anger that they all seemed to share in their crusade against Alchemilia Corporation. She had agreed to join them a few months back because it seemed like the right thing to do with the information she had been given and the best way to get her out of Silivia finally.
But now all she wanted to do was go back home, but that seemed like a distant dream now that she was officially a terrorist reported everywhere on the news. A wanted terrorist that could not even leave the confinements of her chair.
Feeling tears fall down her face, she clenched her fist and wiped at her eyes, trying to control her emotions before they controlled her. Making up her mind finally, she rolled back towards the phone and grabbed it, pressing it against her ear and hurriedly typing the number in, making sure to keep an eye on the door in case Atticus returned.
After a short while of ringing, it settled on the message she didn't want to hear. A recording of an older female voice began to play.
Hello! You've reached the residence of Faris and Hawa Cane. If you're hearing this message, it means we're not available to answer. Please leave a message if you'd like.
Slamming the phone down, Blossom turned around and sighed again. Grabbing the TV remote, she turned the TV off and brought an end to listening to the news report over and over.
I guess I'll just continue trying to call the others.
Li got up from the icy bench, gripping his cane.
He looked to the trees, hearing a faint squawk and saw a large, gray parrot with a silver underbelly, yellow eyes, and red tail feathers. The bird looked remarkably like one he had owned in his youth, Gulliver. It began flying away from the old man, sparking him to follow it. He was not sure why, but he felt like he had to.
Li followed the bird as it flew east. It flew slowly, but seemingly with purpose, over businesses and homes. A curious onlooker would notice the old man following a bird. They may have been momentarily amused, but promptly resumed their prior activity once Li was out of sight.
Eventually, the bird and the older man reached a wooden shack and the bird perched itself on the roof of the shack, where a flock of birds rested. Li took notice of a stench emanating from the shed. It was almost like rotting pork, but not quite. The door was unlocked and no one nearby was watching him. Curiosity got the better of Li.
He opened the door to a horrific sight. A collection of human entrails, haphazardly sorted by type. Skin, bones, and organs each had a pile. Blood coated the floor and walls. To Li's horror, not all of it was dry.
Seated at a table in the circular lobby of the hotel, Atticus and Blossom waited for the others to arrive. Blossom watched as Atticus stared ahead with a distant look on his face, his arm propped up on the table and holding his head up.
The only other person in the room was the worker at the front desk — a short woman with long black hair and dressed in a checkered black and white top and skirt.
"We'll have to make sure we get their attention as they come in," Blossom began, turning her attention back to Atticus. "None of them picked up."
Instead of responding, Atticus continued to stare into the distance, thinking heavily.
Of course. Blossom rolled her eyes and continued to keep watch for the others.
After what seemed like ages, Chris and Melissa arrived at the hotel and walked through the front door, entering into the lobby.
"I'm glad we got away from there," Chris said, as he let the door close behind him. The two caught site of Blossom and Atticus and went to speak with them.
"Have you two explored at all?" Chris asked.
"No, we haven't," Atticus snapped, waking up from his daze. "And there's a very good reason for it."
Chris and Melissa both took a seat at the table, understanding Atticus seemed serious. Chris tried to ask Atticus if there was anything planned, but Atticus told him to wait until the others arrived.
Marshall and Samuel came shortly after, their arrivals only slightly apart. Samuel was holding a plastic bag with assorted fruits and nutrition bars, some of which he distributed to the others.
There was an awkward silence as everyone waited for Li. When there was no sign of him for several minutes, Atticus chose to reveal what he needed to discuss.
"So, we're being hunted, your dad is a pig, we're still in jumpsuits and Alchem gear, and Mr. Li wandered off like a small child," Marshall said as he slouched in his chair.
"Yes, my dad. The one I don't even remember," Atticus said as he folded his arms. "Apparently I'm legally dead. And I don't even have the same last name as him. Could I have been wrong on my name?"
Samuel sighed as he crumpled a piece of packaging. "Adoptive son, Atticus," he dryly said. "Rosington adopted you when you were young. After members of a demon hunting group you were a part of turned up dead, they presumed you dead. I guess you could say what's happening now is similar to that."
"What? How do you know this?"
"To tell you the truth, Atticus," Samuel began. "All of that is public information. Any Silivian database you'd go to would have it. Since the news broke, I've known it for months."
"What? Why did you never tell me? You've known I didn't have my memories for months." Atticus began, feeling a sense of both betrayal and shock. "How many of you have known this?"
A small silence fell over the room, as Samuel processed how to reply and the others began to speak.
"I," Blossom started, before pausing. "I didn't know of it. I know this sounds stupid, but I never watched the news."
"I did not know either, this is all news to me." Chris nodded.
"I suppose I once saw it passing a TV shop but never really took notice or cared," Marshall yawned.
"It just wasn't in my place to tell you," Samuel spoke, shrugging his shoulders.
"Ever since I got my memories back, I've slowly been remembering other key information. It's not that I wasn't telling you, it's that information hadn't come back to me yet. But I remember it now, I never really paid much attention before though, so probably why I didn't remember right away." Melissa answered with a distracted expression as she recounted what she remembered.
"But I do remember how we met at the barn though. You had a small group of demon hunters, you guys showed up at Jasinski when my squad had rushed into the battle. I remember running out of the village with you after your team was slaughtered, I don't know what happened to my squad after that, but we were both pretty banged up and ended up running into the barn for shelter. We lost our memories due to injuries from that day."
Bursting through the glass hotel lobby doors, Li interrupted the meeting screaming and panting, dropping his cane to the ground.
"What the hell is wrong with you?" Blossom asked.
Li staggered over to a chair, panting further and trying to calm himself. Breathless, he grabbed at the air, motioning for someone to bring him his cane.
"What's wrong?" Marshall asked, his demeanor changing as he got up and gave the older man his cane.
After taking several deep breaths, Li started again. "Shed... Followed bird to shed. It had... remains... bite marks—I'm exhausted—many bones, nearly shoveled in... not the work of any animal. Awful smell..." Pausing to catch his breath, Li gripped his cane harder. "We need to get out of here."
"Just slow down," Samuel told Li, a bit uneasy. "Bite marks? What are you talking about?"
Li continued. "There's a monster terrorizing this town," Li responded. "If they find out I found their shed, we'll most likely be their next targets."
"He's right, we just need to get out of here," Atticus said, deciding to let go of his feelings about the recent revelations and focusing on the issue. "Just remember to be careful, we could be recognized due to the news. And uh, maybe we can get my father to help us?"
"No, he can't help us, he's the mayor of Silivia. I know you want to talk to him now, but he won't help 'terrorists'. We'll just have to continue going on our own." Blossom replied, sighing a bit at the end.
"She's right," Marshall added. "Your rich dad isn't going to randomly want to help us. Just forget him."
As everyone began to think about their next move, Melissa stopped for a second. "I agree on leaving. But sorry... I.. uh... left something in my room. Blossom, can you come with me?" she asked. "Due to the situation, we shouldn't leave on our own."
Parked in the middle of Melissa's room, Blossom watched as Melissa closed the door behind them. "So, what did you leave in here that was so important?"
Melissa put a finger to her lips, signalling for Blossom to be quiet. "I just said that to get you alone," she admitted. "I need you to do something for me, promise that you will, okay?"
"Uh, what is it?"
"Well, I am leaving the group. So... I want you to tell the others that I will be gone" She paused, in deep thought. "But there is something I would like to do first."
"What? You're leaving?" Blossom could barely think of what to say, she was certain Melissa had lost her mind. "Are you crazy? There's a mad man around here and we're wanted, and you're just going to leave? What the hell do you even want to do?"
Down in the lobby, the remaining five were all located at the table now, seated and holding various conversations. Anxious and uninterested, Atticus drowned their words out, until he spotted something that caught his attention. Great, just what we needed. "Just so you all know, a group of men is approaching us from the entrance of the hotel."
"You won't understand," Melissa said as she bent down on one knee. "And you don't have to. Just please tell the others."
Focusing, she raised her right hand and it slowly began to glow with a faint light. After a few seconds, her hand was lit up with tiny gold particles that were moving as tendrils going in a circular motion up and around her fingers and palm. Gently placing her hand on Blossom's leg, she held it there until the particles died down and were no longer visible.
"Can you try standing?"
"What the hell are you doing?! What is going on with your hand? That's not normal! And you know I can't stand, my legs are broken. Please, please just explain what is going on." Blossom started, backing her wheelchair up and wheeling away from Melissa.
"Never mind that, just try to stand out of your wheelchair," Melissa replied, looking out the window in her room.
Unsure of what to do, Blossom decided to trust in Melissa's words and slowly placed her hands around the arms of her wheelchair and lift upwards. To her surprise, she didn't feel any pain as she attempted to move her legs and managed to stand out of her wheelchair.
Propping herself against the wall as she regained her newfound balance, Blossom sputtered, shocked. "H-how? But how? They were just broken. Did you heal them with whatever you did?"
Melissa ignored her questions, hearing a loud bang coming from downstairs. "You should go check that out, the others may need your help."
The glass stand that was thrown at Samuel made contact with the wall behind him, narrowly missing him as its pieces shattered across the floor.
The two men across from him stood still, temporarily halting their attack. Like a vulture fixated on prey, they watched Samuel with an unnatural gaze as he was also still. Neither party made any move until Samuel moved to pick up a shard of glass and the two men rushed towards him.
The others were in a similar situation. As Atticus had foreseen, the men in the doorway quickly began an assault once they made it to the table. Everyone was forced to fight as the hotel lobby fell into a scene of chaos.
One of the men had lunged straight for Chris with a feral look of rage, and bit Chris in the arm, only to be met with metal. The surprise from the man gave Chris the perfect opportunity, and he ripped the man's arm off, blood gushing out and exploding over the two of them and the floor. With the arm ripped off, the skin got a pale hue, and Chris realized to his surprise that the man yelping in pain wasn't a man at all as his skin became bumpy, his eyes the color of fire.
Li began barricading himself behind a table and chair, stating to the others that he was in no position to fight.
Grabbing three plates off the shelf next to him, Atticus threw them directly at the backs of the men approaching Samuel, watching as they hit their targets and crashed to the floor, shattering.
Running across the room, he grabbed one of the shards and skidded, stopping before he collided with the men. "Get up, Samuel!" He shouted.
Samuel barely got a hold of himself as he started to sprint away. The men behind him recovered after a minor grunt, separating themselves to run for both Samuel and Atticus.
Had everyone not been focused on defending themselves, what Chris had been fighting would have been the center of attention. The creature's screeches rang through the room as its complexion continued to change. It was hard to tell if its shriveling skin was a symptom of blood loss or part of the creature's real form.
Glancing behind him, Samuel saw that there were three more now chasing him. Panicking, he started to run towards the barricade Li had created.
"Damn it — Li, move!" he yelled. He picked up a chair and desperately threw it behind him.
Running down the stairs, Blossom paid little attention to the last words Melissa had said before they parted their ways. Terrifying inhuman wails coming from below enveloped her with every step, but it only made her run faster. Turning a corner and landing at the bottom of the staircase, she was shocked at the scene before her in the lobby.
Groups of men fought with her friends, chairs being thrown through the air, tables turned over, blood on the walls and floor in various areas. But the sight in the middle of the room seemed to make her heart stop for a second or two.
A tall humanoid creature shrieking stood in front of Chris, at around 8 feet tall. It was missing an arm and blood rushed onto the floor as every second passed. It had green skin, stretched over its gaunt figure, its remaining arm was extremely long and managed to reach the floor. It had little hair on its elongated head and its face seemed to be a mixture of a human face and that of a feral animal, with eyes stretched out and the color of flames. The creature's teeth were so long that they did not fit in its mouth and hung out, pulling the mouth into a snout-like fixture.
Blossom's breath caught as she took more of the figure in and she paused her run, tightly gripping the railing of the staircase.
Li followed Samuel's lead and tossed the chair in his barricade at one of the pursuing men. Both attacks did little to hinder their progress, but it was enough for Samuel to reach the barricade.
Samuel saw an opening in the barrier, one large enough for him to fit through. He stepped on top of a chair and onto a metal desk, tumbling over as he dove into the floor below. The enclosure Samuel made it to was small and provided little opportunity for movement.
Samuel knew there was not much time to think. He hastily stood up and turned around, to be met by a man trying to reach inside, their body partially stuck by a chair. Taking the opportunity, Samuel drew his glass shard and slashed at the back of their neck. When Samuel examined the wound, he noticed the skin around it suddenly shifting into a light gray.
Marshall, during the fray, slipped out the backdoor of the building. His bruised, cut, and burned hands gripped the bars of a fire escape as he boosted himself up to it on a yellow dumpster below. Their third story hotel room interior was in view as he broke the window, cutting through his Alchemilia suit and into his elbow.
Wasting no time to dress his ever-growing wounds, he climbed in. He carelessly threw the drawer of the messy bronze nightstand onto the cheap polyester foldout bed. After grabbing the knife and his guns, he exited the room and into the dimly lit corridor.
Chris looked at the creature in front of him and did the only logical thing he could think of. He drew forth the creature's torn-off arm, then used it to hit the creature repeatedly and causing it to yelp in more and more pain. As the creature howled and howled, Chris opened his gun hand and shot it so that is was incapacitated. He then quickly ran from the horrendous sight, and was glad to see the others fighting.
One of the men charged forward, launching himself at Atticus as his hands formed into claws. The creature had shifted into a form similar to that of the one Chris was fighting, with patterned orange and black skin. Atticus prepared to stab the monster before a burning hole formed in the creature's forehead. The other men turned their heads to the doorway.
"Atticus Anoethite," A black-haired boy no older than Atticus stood at the door, holding a pair of sub-machine guns and speaking in a faint accent. He smiled. "You're shorter than I expected." He fired a few more shots, taking out two more men who morphed into demonic visages as well.
"Who the fuck are you?" Atticus asked, breathing heavily and glancing around the room, taking in the full scene of the chaos.
"My name is Blackmore Veers," the boy tightened his grip on the handles of his weapons. "I'm here to save your hide."
Having a load of new questions, Atticus decided to take the boy at his word for now. He had just saved his life after all. "Quickly — what's going on here? Are all these people demons?"
Blackmore stepped back. "We're outnumbered. Shouldn't there be eight of you?" As his smile faded, he fingered his machine guns. The demons, noting the fact that he was armed, began to swarm him as they all changed into their monstrous true forms.
With the beast that made Samuel and Li its targets now shot dead, Samuel took a knee and caught his breath. The gathering at the hotel's entrance gave him a needed moment of clarity.
Across the room, Samuel saw a tall creature staggering towards its companions. Its awkward, slow step indicated injury, either from Chris or a nonfatal bullet. Samuel stood up, hoping to take advantage of this.
Samuel steadily walked behind them. When they did not appear to acknowledge him, Samuel took no time in elbowing the creature's back. They stumbled, and Samuel followed with a kick to the legs and slamming the being against a wall.
Samuel looked behind him, making sure he was in the clear. For those near the back of the lobby, the scene had quieted down. Samuel noticed Blossom running behind a counter, and a large demon came running in his direction before he thought about what happened to her.
Li knew he had to intervene. He swiftly grabbed his cane and approached the creature. Still focused on Samuel, it failed to take note of Li before he rammed his cane into its stomach. The beast bared its claws, preparing to attack. Instead, Li used his cane to impale the creature's right eye. It screamed in agony and fell to the ground.
The elevator doors opened. Marshall ran to the lobby and examined the situation within. Atticus and a stranger were shooting at a group of creatures trying to surround them. Chris was in a similar situation. Samuel and Li were picking off the weaker attackers, Li with his cane and Samuel with whatever he could get his hands on. Blossom hid behind a counter.
"Hey, take this!" Marshall tossed his other pistol to Blossom. He gave the knife to Samuel and began taking care of the attackers.
Looking over the counter, Blossom quickly grabbed the pistol and checked it for bullets. Satisfied with the amount, she looked around the room. Only nine members of the group that approached them remained, out of an original fifteen. Sixteen when counting the front desk worker, who had revealed herself to be a demon as well.
Locking her gaze on the two men approaching Samuel and Li, she pressed her finger against the trigger.
The only way we're getting out of this is if we all take care of each other.
Steven Devlin had told her these words months before and in this current moment, they gave her resolve to finish her plan. Controlling her shaky breaths, she aimed the gun on the two men. If they're like the others, then...
She quickly fired several shots, hitting her targets in the back of the head and watching as they fell to the ground, dying and reverting to their true forms.
Blackmore prepared to fire at an assailant, though his gun made a click sound. "No time to reload," he muttered, before whipping it at his target. Blackmore jumped forward as it clacked against the monster's skull, jamming his knife into its throat and tearing out the being's carotid artery.
As it fell to the ground, Blackmore turned around to throw the knife into another of the creatures, slicing through its forehead and into its eye, causing it to shriek and drop to the ground, where the boy promptly stepped on its tender skull. He wiped his foot on the ground, not taking time to recover his knife as he kicked the corpse towards another, tripping the monster so that he could approach quickly.
Blackmore took a second to make a decision, before using his knee to lift a nearby chair off the ground and then pushing the leg into the being's mouth, impaling its head entirely.
Chris managed to shoot an approaching creature, who toppled into another one. He turned to Atticus. "Get everyone and run!"
Samuel heard Chris' plea as he pounced onto an injured attacker's back, gripping its right shoulder for support. As it wailed and tried to shake him off, he took out his knife and seeped it into its neck. The being screeched louder as its movements became more erratic.
Samuel prepared himself to dismount, but there was no opportunity as the shrieking creature lunged into a shattered glass wall. The impact from the fall completely broke it, hurling both Samuel and the creature outside.
Samuel got up from the snow-covered concrete, kicking the corpse aside. His arms only partially protected his face, forcing him to remove pieces of glass from his skin. Samuel quickly noted that he was in an alleyway, a good distance away from the entrance. Fearing an escape from the front, he ran back inside and called out to the others.
Chris finally caught sight of Samuel and followed after him, with the others close behind.
"Make a left turn as soon as you reach a wall, my car should be out here somewhere!" Blackmore informed the group.
"Wait!" Atticus called out before the two made their turn, with the rest of the group pausing to hear him speak. "Where's Melissa? She's not here. Last I saw, she went upstairs with... Blossom."
His gaze then rested on Blossom, who was standing near Chris and tightly held her gun.
"How the fuck are you standing?" Marshall yelled out to her, realization finally setting in.
"Melissa is gone," Blossom replied. "The rest — I'll explain everything later."
Blackmore led the group over to his car. It was completely black, aside from the drawing of a snake eating its tail that decorated the hood. The car resembled those of Silivia, but it had been subject to extreme modification. The first row had two seats, while the other two had three.
"Tame Impala," Blackmore spoke, clearly proud of the name. "Got it from a friend who — well, he won't be needing it anymore. Real convenient it has more than enough space."
Atticus took a seat next to Blackmore. Blossom, Chris, and Samuel sat behind them. Marshall and Li sat in the back.
As Tame Impala took the group out of Headre, demons would jump in front of the car to try and impede its progress. Every time, Blackmore would run it down with little issue. Most of them took human or near-human form, but a few dogs with multiple heads also tried to block the car's progress.
The car approached the gates, where it became clear that Blackmore had no intention of getting out and pushing it open. Memories of earlier crashes flooded the minds of his companions. Regardless, Tame Impala proceeded through unscratched.
With Headre far behind them, Blossom explained what had happened to Melissa. She was presumed the fourth to die since that fateful day in Gladea.
|Season One:||Awakening • White Room • Bare Trees • The City of Silver Lights • Divided We Fall • Hide & Seek • Exit Music • Reunion • In Somnis Veritas • Carpe Diem • Ticking Clock • Primo Victoria (Part I • Part II)|