Nihilium held up the sword he had thanks to Raelyn's powers as the thing approached, Raelyn close to him in his arms, the two expecting to die now as the man hunter came closer, step-by-step. "You don't even... understand... this hunger... can't... fight..."
Its broken sentence only gave more fright to the two, and realization appeared in Raelyn's eyes as she put pieces of the puzzle together, the water pressure of the pipes now too low to hold it back, steam around it forming heavily, pressure in the air building as more and more water turned to vapor. She felt it in her lungs, and so did Nihilium.
"Whatever it is you want, this won't get it to you," she begged, trying to plead with it as if were a man. But she was realizing, it was a man – this was no it, no thing. It was a human, no matter how monstrous it appeared with its deep red eyes and blood-rich clothing.
"I think he wants to eat us," Nihilium said, the realization of it being a horribly demented man in his eyes now. "But that's just a guess."
"Want... no... have to..."
The man reached forward, and Raelyn saw steam condensing around the thing's right palm, as if it were holding a ball of energy. More and more steam, and its eyes glowed redder and brighter.
And Nihilium thrust his sword into the man's hand, stabbing through the palm and into the arm, the blade stuck deep in it as the man roared in pain, steam shooting off from its body and hitting the two of them, both suffering from burns on their legs and feeling the heat of the steam travel up their bodies as they backed into the steel door, the steam making it heat up too as the man's powers lost control of him. Instead of blood, steam came from his veins, and he grabbed the sword and tore it out. Nihilium stared in horror at seeing the weapon being disregarded so easily.
The man lunged forward, grabbing Nihilium's shirt, steam rising from it as he felt the intense heat the man radiated. Raelyn shouted and swung her sword, and it cut into the man's arm and he recoiled, steam pouring out of the wounds, but she dropped the sword and it fell down the stairs, clanging.
Nihilium backed against the door, Raelyn shaking as she held up her shield, and then there was the sound of metal screeching. Nihilium felt his body fall backwards into the door as it opened, and grabbed Raelyn for support.
"Run!" she yelled upon seeing the open door, and Nihilium didn't need to be told to again as the police man in his hard helmet stared at the steam man, who glowered at him with red eyes, the wounds healing now as steam stopped pouring from it.
Nihilium and Raelyn stopped at the sound of the police man's scream, and turned, seeing the man who had been chasing them now feeding on the police man.
The police man's arms were pulled until his skin tore, blood splattering out and onto the hunter, who didn't even bite – merely drank the blood, like a vampire.
"Shit..." Nihilium whispered in fear, backing away. The police man must had been sent alone as there were no others there, and the man looked up at them slowly, blood dribbling from its jaw as it grinned.
"Run?" Raelyn asked in a frightened sounding squeak, and Nihilium nodded.
The two took off as the man gave chase, jumping onto an open subway car and making their way through it to the next door, the thing stepping onto it behind them.
Nihilium jumped off the car after Raelyn, the two hearing the sound of people not too far away. "We can't lead it to them!" Raelyn hissed to Nihilium.
"I don't see why not," he said back, and she hit his arm and he sighed. "Fine, we'll find somewhere else to run."
The subway tunnel split, Raelyn pulled Nihilium into the branched off tunnel to avoid the people ahead. The man behind them was gaining on them, focused on them like a wolf hunting a rabbit. Raelyn turned her head as steam began to reach the two of them, speeding up as the heat went up her back.
Nihilium had no idea what to do, this man had ignored a blade going through his arm. And it wasn't as if the two were much good at fighting.
And then they reached a dead end, the tunnel had been sealed shut with a steel grate as they passed by a security camera, Nihilium cursing as he and Raelyn turned. The hunter was approaching quickly, but slowing down. Nihilium squeezed Raelyn's hand in fright, and she shook as she held his hand, the shield in the other hand.
"This is it..." she whispered, and Nihilium nodded. He couldn't focus to look into the future, but he didn't want to either. If he did and saw his death... he shuddered. He really didn't want to do that.
He closed his eyes, waiting for it, and Raelyn did the same, unable to watch the man come to them, the sound of his footsteps coming closer and closer.
"Turn around with your hands up!" a voice shouted, the man pausing. The steam blew off his body and he turned his head slightly, seeing several armed men in unfamiliar uniforms, their guns aimed at him.
The man seemed to ignore this and turned back towards Nihilium and Raelyn. "Open fire!"
The sound of gunshots ecoed through the air as the man screamed, the bullets tearing through his body. Steam roared out of his torso and he fell forward, his eyes still glowing red. "Contain it!" the uniformed man shouted, the voice the same as the one that had ordered the steam man to put his hands up.
Raelyn opened her eyes and saw the man who had been hunting them on the floor, and nudged Nihilium with her elbow. "We're safe," she said, her voice full of disbelief.
The uniformed man walked forward as his comrades in arms rushed to the man on the ground, the wounds healing from the steam. "So, what are you two doing here? We sealed the area off, and checked all the cars. Where were you?"
Nihilium opened his eyes now, and he looked around. "General Andrew Tullius?" Nihilium asked. "I'm Nihilium."
"You recognized me? Interesting. I don't remember you."
"I, ah... I have a thing for names."
Andrew nodded, and shrugged. "And who, may I ask, is this enchanting woman..."
"Raelyn Kasumi, sir," Raelyn said, setting the shield down slowly before extending a hand to shake. He took the hand and smiled.
"Are you, by any chance, the Raelyn Kasumi from Milford? I have heard the most delightful things about your clinic, I used to live there myself but anymore I've been here at the military base."
"I am, actually. I don't think I know any Tullius family..."
"Oh, it would have nearly been twenty years ago now. It doesn't surprise me that you don't. But some friends of mine in the town still do know you."
Nihilium coughed, and the general paused. "My apologies. I assume you two are together, then?"
"Yes, actually, we are," he said, pulling Raelyn closer to him as he looked at Andrew. "So, what is the military doing here?"
"Well, once we located that this man was responsible..."
"You recognize him?" Nihilium pressed on with the question and the general paused to think.
"We knew that he was a terrorist. I assume that he has the steam to give the illusion of power."
Nihilium nodded, and Raelyn glanced at him. The general's story was fishy feeling, of course, but there was at least a hint of truth that she thought she could feel in the story. "So, what now?" she asked.
"We'll take you in to make sure you're okay, there may have been a bio-hazard too we think. And then we'll do some questioning with the survivors in case some of the perp's buddies are here."
"Who was he, anyways?"
"Well, miss, we can't release his name but we've called him Tyron for a while," the general said, and looked over at "Tyron". The man was handcuffed and chained, and soldiers were putting him onto a stretcher.
Raelyn and Nihilium followed the general as he walked. "If you don't mind, I can lead you to our mobile outfit's location here. We'll get you in and out before the majority of civilians."
"I'm okay with that," Nihilium said, and looked towards Raelyn who nodded. He didn't feel that they'd be harmed, it wasn't as if this man knew about their powers.
"Excelent. Follow me then."
The general folded his arms behind his back as he walked, Raelyn and Nihilium walking side-by-side behind him, their hearts still racing.
Morning came up the next day, Kyosu stretching in his bed and smelling something... good.
"What in the world is that smell...?" He smiled as he sat up slowly, turning to put his feet on the ground and stood up, just in his jailhouse uniform striped boxers, leaning back to pop his back a bit.
Walking into the main room of his apartment he saw the kitchen, and there Bellona was flipping a few strips of bacon, only one plate out. "I thought I'd help myself," she said, glancing back at him. "Hope you don't mind."
"Er... no, not at all."
She just laughed a bit, and he could tell her hair was wet, she had clearly already showered this morning. She had also managed to get herself some new clothes it seemed, but with her powers he doubted it had been that hard. Her sword was propped against the counter in the kitchen and her hourglass necklace not visible, but he was sure she had it on. "Could you make me some too?"
"I don't know..." Bellona said, and Kyosu just raised an eyebrow. "Okay, you go shower, and when you come out you'll have some." Bellona put some more strips of bacon in, the pan hot enough that they immediately began sizzling.
"That sounds good enough," he said and smiled, his stomach growling slightly.
"Oh, and get some clothes on," she teased, Kyosu's face going red as he turned to head into the bathroom.
"Fine!" he shouted back, hearing Bellona laugh as he closed the bathroom door behind him.
Bellona heard the shower turn on, and as she got another plate out for Kyosu as she grabbed a remote and turned the television on, the news showing footage from the subway.
"The subway bombers have been contained and are being detained by the military," the news reporter said as Bellona took some of the bacon strips and onto the plate, pulling a paper towel out to get some of the grease off of it, and then put some on the other plate a few moments later, making sure it was cooked through.
"There were two men behind it, in two seperate subway trains," the news showed a military general, talking to a reporter as Bellona heard this, and took the plates to the dinner table where she sat down as she heard the bathroom door squeek open, Kyosu walking out in a pair of plaid boxers.
"Didn't I say to put some clothes on?" she asked, glancing over at him for just a moment, and Kyosu just grumbled about how he didn't have time to do so in the bathroom and there weren't clean clothes in there anyway. And he opened the door to his bedroom before coming out a minute later in a shirt with the Pepsi logo on it and khaki shorts.
"Thanks for the breakfast," he said sitting down, Bellona cutting her last slice of bacon wth a fork, Kyosu just grabbing it and eating it.
"No problem, you're letting me stay after all. Besides,we're a team now aren't we?"
"Heh, yeah. So anything on the news for us?"
"They caught the subway bombers, I guess. Not sure how or why they were still in the tunnels."
Kyosu nodded, finishing his bacon as Bellona set her fork down, and the two paused as the television went to local news.
The news mentioned a bank robbery going on not too far from Kyosu's apartment, and he looked at Bellona. "Should we jump in and help?" he asked, and she nodded, and got up and walked towards her sword, turning the hourglass when she picked it up, leaving Kyosu from being frozen with the rest of time.
"Let's get Adele first, she might prove helpful."
Kyosu nodded, taking his plate to the sink before the two of them walked to the door, leaving his apartment, closing the door behind them as he put the key in his pocket.
The two got Adele, Bellona letting her into the bubble of time they had to continue moving, and hurried to the scene of the bank robbery, the frozen time making their travel there much faster. No waiting for traffic for one, but also that since time wasn't flowing for anyone else, they were practically teleporting.
Arriving, they found the police weren't even there yet as they rushed in, Bellona still holding back time, feeling the pressure of it on her but not saying anything. The longer she held time back, the more and more pressure it grew on her, as if she was holding back a wave of water that kept growing larger and larger.
The three robbers were frozen as they ran across the bank, people on the floor unmoving with their hands on their heads as Bellona pushed the door open, holding it as the other two walked in.
"Okay, well, we need to make sure we can apprehend them safely," Bellona said as she shut the door behind them, and paused.
"I can open a portal under them to put them in the vault," Kyosu said, and Bellona paused. "I'd have to look inside it first, though."
"Would security footage inside it suffice? Not sure we have time to bust into it."
"Yeah, it should be able to," Kyosu said, the three walking up towards the counter, Kyosu flipping over it. "I'll check things out and get back here fast," he said, as he opened a door labeled "employees only", the fact that time was still frozen helping him greatly.
He immediately saw a screen with security footage but it was grainy and full of static, the robbers must have disabled the camera footage partially, and just as he began to swear about it he quickly saw that the vault was there, open. He memorized its location and turned before hearing something.
"What just happened?" the first muffled voice asked, and he realized almost immediately that Bellona's grasp on time had snapped.
"Where the fuck did these two come from?! Get on the floor!" another muffled voice yelled from out in the lobby, and there was a shout.
"Did she just shoot fire from her hand?!" a third muffled voice shouted, and Kyosu darted towards the door, looking out.
The tellers were still on the floor, and Kyosu saw the robbers, only two of them standing with their guns aimed at Adele who was holding two balls of fire in her hand, and the third... he was on the floor rolling to get the flames off his body. Kyosu turned and pushed the vault door shut, hearing it latch, and could still manage at least some of the interior of it.
Kyosu pushed the door back open and saw the robbers fire their bullets, and then one was aimed at Bellona, the robber fired.
"No!" Kyosu roared, and felt his powers activating instantly, a portal opening on Bellona right where the bullet was going in, opening directly above the robber's head, the bullet flying through and hitting the robber directly, grey matter and bits of skull exploding everywhere.
"Kyosu!" Adele shouted, and the bank robber unharmed as of now stared blankly in horror.
"I-I-I give up!" he shouted, dropping the money and throwing his hands up. "What are you freaks?!"
Adele grinned and put a hand on her hip, the sound of sirens approaching, and she walked towards the man. "We freaks are your worst nightmare."
"It's like the Justice League!" someone shouted, as the people on the ground began to get up, Kyosu glowering at the man who was still standing, stalking towards him.
"I already gave up, man, take me to jail or somethin' al-"
Kyosu threw a punch, but as he did so he felt a hand on his arm, stopping him. Bellona's hand held his fist, clearly she had froze time to get there, and she looked even worse for wear now. She looked at him harshly, like a scolding mother. "We can't become vigilantes any more than we have to."
"He almost killed you though!"
Bellona looked at Kyosu for a few moments, and he sighed, putting his fist down, the police swarming in.
"Put your hands where we can see them!" shouted the police as they raced in, and immediately the three complied, the two still living bank robbers complying once the flames on the one were out.
"What in the devil's name happened here?" asked a harsh voice as a police captain walked in, his portly belly jiggling as he held his belt. "I was told there were three robbers, not six."
"Officer, let me explain," Bellona said, and he raised an eyebrow.
"You have an interesting sword, ma'am. Mind explaining to me what in Sam hill is going on here?"
"You see, officer, we're, ah... would it be possible at all for us to tell you in private?"
"They're superheroes!" someone said, and the captain rose an eyebrow. "The one did something with fire and the other was like, opening portals or something, and then the girl there teleported!"
"Superheroes... Oh, give me a break."
"Officer, it's going to be hard to explain, but, well, yes... we are."
"Come down with me to the station then. Men, lock up these bank robbers and help me escort our three Superfriends to the station."
Bellona looked at Kyosu, who nodded slowly, Adele eyeing some of the officers and winking at one of them playfully, the man nervously blushing and turning away. She bit her lip before laughing, and then shrugged. "Let's just get on with it, then!"
The police captain nodded, leaving the bank slowly. "Superheroes... my god, what has this world come to?"
Bellona shifted nervously, as Kyosu walked by her. "We're in trouble aren't we?"
"I'm worried we are... don't worry, though, I'm sure we can make an escape."
"I mean, the world knows about us now."
Bellona paused and nodded. "Yeah. It looks like it."
They got in the back of the police cruiser, the police chief and a driver getting in. "I know that the bar between our seats won't do much against superheroes, but I hope you don't try anything. We won't be afraid to use deadly force."
"Understood, officer. We were stopping the robbers anyways."
"I certainly hope you're on our side, especially if there are more of you. The boys in blue sure could use that fancy stuff, heh."
Bellona looked out the window, Kyosu tightly in the middle between Adele and her, his face a bit of a red as Adele ran her hand down and back up his leg, but by now he was rather used to her being like that. Not that his being used to it changed his response to her hand going further up his leg each time though. He pushed her hand away when it got uncomfortably close, and she just giggled.
"I'll be right down, Ariel, just grabbing my phone!" Alison yelled as she raced down the hall of the somewhat run-down home, opening the door to her room, a keep out sign on the front of it. She didn't notice the shape in the shadows as she grabbed her flip-phone, and pulled it off the charger, before the door shut.
"Hello, Alison. I heard you did great in state- this would be your last year, wouldn't it?" a female voice said softly, Alison turning sharply to find a woman in a black dress standing there, a rose in her blond hair and her blue eyes highlighted with mascara.
"Who are you... How did you get in my house?" Alison backed up nervously, too scared to yell, stammering as she waited for an answer.
"Who I am is not important. Who I represent is." The woman smiled slowly, and pulled out a card. "This phone number is not registered. My employeer will expect you to follow the instructions on the card. Any attempt to contact the authorities, telling anyone about this, will not effect the situationwhat-so-ever. You are welcome to dismiss this and never contact us."
Alison gulped and slowly took the card, fumbling with it in her hands. "I-I'll look at it..."
The woman put a hand on Alison's shoulder and winked. "If you do, we can get you free ride scholarships to any college. Garuanteed."
"My employeer likes his contacts to be rewarded. He doesn't need to threaten, and won't."
Alison nodded slowly, and paused. "I have to go. I'll call him."
The woman walked towards the window and opened it. "Oh, and deary, make sure Ariel hears nothing of this."
But the woman was gone, leaving Alison there. "You ready yet?!" Ariel shouted from the front door, and Alison looked at the card.
She opened her dresser and put the card in with her bras, closing it and opening the door to her room, shutting it behind her as she ran to the front door. "What took so long?"
Alison paused for a moment, and Ariel was surprised that the girl didn't have anything to say already. "My phone was under my bed, it fell."
"Oh, okay," Ariel said, and shrugged. "Today's going to be great!"
Alison nodded slowly and smiled. "I bet," she forced a laugh, but it seemed to be natural enough to Ariel as the two hurried to the girl's car.
Jacques walked into the room slowly, two armed men behind him. "I've been waiting for you," said a voice, as the chair behind the desk turned, revealing Alexander Stoneheart.
"And here I am," Jacques responded slowly, looking around. "I don't know who you think you are, but I want you to get one thing straight: I ain't nobody's lacky."
"King Jacques Bryant III, I don't want to make you a lacky. I want a deal with you. A business deal."
Jacques paused, before the black man smiled slowly. "I'm interested."
"How would you like to become a literal king, with a kingdom recognized by the nations of the world?"
Jacques nodded, his eyes glancing up to the cieling as he thought about it. "I'd have to say yes if you offered that to me."
"If you can do something for me, I will make that a reality," Alexander said, and he picked up a snowglobe from his desk. "Have you heard of a man named Kyosu?"
Immediately, Jacques body stiffened, and he looked at the stump of the end of his forearm, seeing where that bastardous Kyosu had cut off his hand...
"He was the one that...?"
"Yes. That motherfucker was."
Alexander shifted in his chair, and looked at Jacques slowly. "I want him gone. His little group of superheroes is going to botch my plans. I don't want the existence of angels going public yet."
"You mean you know about them too?" Jacques asked, and Alexander nodded. "I thought you were just that guy with those fancy communication satellites..."
"They're much more than that, my friend. But, yes, I do. And I don't want them to become public knowledge... yet."
Jacques nodded and smiled again. "I'll do it for that land and power, Alexander."
Alexander Stoneheart extended a hand. "Partners then?"
Jacques took his hand and shook it. "Partners."