Daniel - Monster: Second Helpings

Description: Agent Daniel Little of Interpol has finally realized that The Butcher is more than just a murderer, at the cost of his own spiritual essence. Warding off the effects of the soul consumption, he reaches the Southtown General Hospital to interview Officer Louis, the only other surviving victim of the Butcher. But when Honoka comes to investigate as well, the pool of victims begins to grow as The Butcher pays a visit...

The hospital in question has had the wing containing the injured OFficer Louis in lockdown for the last 18 hours; the time since the brutal attack that sent him here. A dozen personell are throughout the area, half of them patrolling the lower levels and keeping an eye on the streets. Four of them are well-trained and strong combatants in their own rights, and settled in the hallway before the room where doctors attend to him constantly. Of course, Daniel has his Interpol credentials to gain access; Louis has a huge bite literally missing from his shoulders, and looks... familiar. Pale. Eyes slightly dead. Looking tired, in a way that's nearly transient of the physical world. The same thing that happened to Little... happened to him. "Ah... the Lady Killer... I dunno. I dunno that I can live like this... maybe... I hope he was telling the truth about just... finishing me off..."
Honoka is less able to gain easy access. A detective is amongst those outside, and random people meeting sensitive recouperating subjects is not a small deal to say the slightest. "Until you show me proof of kinship or give me a damn good reason, you can sit around out here in the hall until, and if, he's well enough to be seen. We've got our..." He looks back at the room with Daniel in it. "...best people in the region available at the moment on this."

Daniel's not doing well.

After his own encounter with the Butcher, he was... he was in a daze. A hint of a trance, almost like his state when sifting through the underworld. The sense of drifting, hollow drifting. After he recovered from that waking coma that The Butcher left him in, he was meant to be on sick leave. He was meant to let Daisy keep up the investigation while he recovered.

But he kept going.

There was no time to recover. In fact, Daniel wanted to make sure Daisy recovered, more than anyone else. Her meltdown in the field was seared into his mind. A lot of things were burned in his mind at that moment, that surreal moment when he reached out to touch evil, pure evil. He had reached the hospital, drifting along to come to investigate Officer Louis. Time was precious. Time was too precious. Daniel had the sense that everything was on borrowed time.

And the debt was due all too soon.

Agent Little scribbles on his notepad, as Officer Louis speaks. The detective had already written down the look of the 'bite.' The condition of the officer was of great note; the symptoms were too familiar. He saw that same look in the mirror. Daniel only could wonder what he looked like in the underworld, but that was not important. "What's important right now, Louis, is for you to tell me what happened. And anything you remember that stood out to you. Things he said, looks he gave. The man who did this to us... to you." He corrects himself quickly, speaking with a stern tone concealing his drifting presence.

"What happened, Officer Louis."

Honoka was disappointed at the detective's words earlier; apparently being a local celebrity isn't working in her favor at the moment. "It's okay, I understand. Could you just let him know that Twilight Star Circus hopes for a speedy recovery? Thanks."

But if at first you don't succeed, you pull some strings and try again: on a completely different floor and managed to score a sweet set of scrubs from one of the uniform lockers. Normally those things are pretty tightly controlled, but a sweet word and a bit of unkind mental persuasion will work wonders -- especially if you present yourself as a hospital employee in need. She'd also managed to insinuate herself into the intensive care wing's anethesiology team. The lead anesthesiologist is too busy running around from point A to point B to put any particular thought into rejecting the simple mental suggestions Honoka has implanted into his already-overloaded mind...

And that is how Kino Matsubara got assigned to the anaesthesia care team of Officer Louis. A recent graduate from Seijyun University, she's learning from the very best, as the detective has so kindly noted. With her purple-highlighted hair concealed under a scrub cap, a pair of spectacles from the optical department downstairs, and a complete change of stance and attitude, the detective probably wouldn't notice the young woman as she shuffles along after the anethesiologist, busying herself with a clipboard instead of keeping her face where it can be easily seen. All in the name of duty!

... But... wait. There's something awry here. A presence familiar to her. Her brown eyes look up... and find the man who'd called her 'Dragon Lady' some time ago.

It's a good thing the anesthesiologist is a bit of a talker, and wants to share some brilliant insight with Miss Matsubara right then, drawing attention to some piece of information on the clipboard retrieved from the foot of Officer Louis' bed. Matsubara nods slowly, tuning out -most- of what the smug specialist has to say as she focuses on Daniel and Louis, nudging up the spectacles upon the bridge of her nose. How can people even -wear- these things, seriously?

"He... I don't know, it all happened so fast. It was so dark. I remember him leaping off the building... and attacking the men in the car beside. I got out, and I fired at him. I'm sure, completely sure, I got him dead center. Since seeing those holes appear in his shirt filled me with relief. But then he--he killed m,my partner. Grasped me. Bit me. Something... something inside me was... I can't describe it, but I passed out to him saying he'd... 'wait until I drew some flies.' I'm not even sure what that means. Until I'm rotting...?"
When Honoka comes back once more, for ar moment it seems the detective is about to recognize her in passing, but another brief mental flicker dismisses that before it forms. "No matter how much painkiller we give him, he complains about aching and being cold." states the chief in charge of the faux girl. "This is... I've never heard of such an injury before. Toxicology was all negative. He seems to be recovering otherwise. Especially because he says the chill is in his whole body, not localized to the wound. Prognosis is shock. Give him..." A more intensive drug meant to treat patients in shock follows, before he leaves. "I'll be right back, we need more--" Generic medicine name. "Get that injected into his IV ASAP."
Suddenly, Daniel would feel a sharp, violent ripple in him, as if a creature in his soul stirred. A slow, numb ripple from head to toe. From the writhing on the bed, it seems Louis felt it, too. "G,gods... e,every now and then I feel that... it's like something's /alive/ in me..." But to happen at exactly the same time? That's a little suspicious...

Daniel Jack isn't even aware of the woman shadowing him.

Why would he even think that the Dragon Lady would be on his tail, or even recognize her? No, his attention was fixed on his fellow devoured companion. "'Draw some flies.'" He repeats, considering carefully. Whatever this Butcher said was important, seeped in depth and meaning. A fan of Daniel. A lover of strong men, strong fighters. Draw some flies.

Daniel Jack's eyes surge open just before the ripple comes.

"Oh no." Agent Little gasps, dread overtaking him. The stab of ennui comes over him with the numbness, threatening Daniel to drift away. But Daniel wasn't going take it. As Louis states that he feels something alive in him, a vile stirring within him, Daniel too senses something. Already a core theory was looming over him, the entire image unclear. He would need confirmation, he would need to test the theory. Thoughts surge through his mind. "He left you alive for the flies..." Daniel begins, shuddering instinctively turning towards the hospital door. His voice drops to a whisper.

"... You're bait."

Miss Matsubara frowns, nodding slowly in reply to the cocky anesthesiologist. He normally wouldn't be allowed to make these orders -- Honoka's been in enough hospitals to know the proper chain of command -- but protocols outside of the standard 9-5 work week are more than a little lax, and the anesthesiology head isn't just cocky -- he's usually spot on with his guesses, and concurrence is so frequent as to be a mere formality.

Painkillers won't help what's wrong with this guy, but Matsubara's not a complete idiot -- if the anesthesia care team head asked for it, she's obviously off the hook with administering pain dosage. It's literally what the doctor ordered, after all.

It's just before Matsubara turns the paddle on the IV to add more painkiller that the two react reflexively -- as of one mind. And Matsubara finds herself taking a step back, herself -- one that she plays off as being in complete reaction to the other two men. Frowning, she closes her eyes...

And grabs a clean washcloth, going through the motions of dousing it with warm water from the sink. She hurries over to the side of the officer, wordlessly brushing the warm water over the man's forehead -- paying caution to the danger lurking mere feet away. Something... something hurt, and it was -not- physical. It wasn't something she could even feel -- directly -- but the very lifeforce of the two men waning in perfect unison.

As she helps the officer's pain, she looks over at his vitals, keeping her eyes on the heart monitor as her hands ripple out. She cannot -stop- the officer's pain, but she can make him believe it stopped -- make him think of something else entirely. Daniel... well. One at a time.

"Are you okay, Agent? Perhaps you should sit down for a moment, you're likely overworking yourself again..."

Rather quickly, Officer Louis seems to be calming down, and some flicker of life goes back into him. "Wh... what?" He seems confused, as nothing Honoka's done thus far has been any different than what the other nurses have attempted. He's seeking her with his eyes, disbelieving yet thankful in the same breath. Of course, Daniel is likely in more dire straights, realizing what is taking place better than the other two. Suddenly, the large window leading outside rattles, as a great dark mist of familiar gray impacts it. A moment later glass explodes inwards from a savage headbutt, large hands thumping either side as the crouching figure of who is only known as the Butcher is settled on the rim. He's wearing sleek black pants and fine loafers, with a swirling shirt of crimsons. Wicked shards are embedded into him, but do not bleed. Instead they fall out one by one, revealing only blackness beneath skin that knits together before the very eyes of those watching. The room seems to be suffocating now with some supernatural presence, one even Honoka senses. This man... yes. That taint she felt on their souls is coming from him. And he's dangerous -- exceptionally so.
"LITTLE!" he calls out, with a laugh. "I was hoping to see you again..." He steps down heavily into the room, as the officer shrieks and begins hitting the emergency button beside the bed. The door bursts open, the detective and all four men entering with pistols drawn. "FREEZE!" "MOVE AND YOU'RE DEAD!" Almost curiously, the grinning face of the Butcher turns to the new arrivals, tilting his head to the side as if not comprehending what's being asked. He's attractive in a sort of wicked way, dark bronze of some foreigner race with blonde hair in tight cornrows knit backwards. "Ah...? I don't care about any of you. Stop being so noisy...!""

Daniel Jack stares dead at the woman who had entered.

His eyes narrow for a moment. He didn't know why, but he had a passing intuition. But such drifting thoughts are clamped down with an iron mind. Agent Little surges again with focus, he had to keep his mind locked on. "No, no." He mutters, brushing off Miss Matsubara's advice. "It's too late. People need to leave. Now. People need to-"

And then the window breaks.

Daniel Jack's limbs rush with chi energy, the orange force cascading down his body. The energy does not linger, but it does not need to; where the soul had faltered, Todoh-Ryuu spirit fills. The crushing presence is held at bay as the energy flows over him. This wasn't the car. This wasn't dealing with an unknown civilian.

This was dealing with a monster.

As the hail of gunfire comes, Daniel Jack moves to put himself between Miss Matsubara and The Butcher. Terror had seized his heart, but he did not quail. Falling straight into the defensive stance of Aikido, both of his hands raised up, he yells at the other guards. "CEASE FIRE! YOUR GUNS WON'T WORK! GET OFFICER LOUIS OUT OF HERE!" Daniel Jack shudders sharply, turning to stares the towering monster in the eyes. The next words come out much softer, much more unsure. Daniel had once again put himself in the position nobody wanted, to try and protect.

"I'll hold him off."

Miss Matsubara looks back at the officer, dabbing at his forehead with her warm washcloth. "Shh... just relax. Your body just needs to rest while the doctors can figure out what's wrong." She pauses a for a moment, turning back to the IV regulator, fiddling with the settings without actually effecting change. The patient stopped howling, no harm no foul. Placebo treatment was 100% successful at treating the symptoms -- that'll be what she tells her boss when he's done corraling folks to deal with the shock.

And just as soon as she calmed the officer down, he's over there freaking out and hitting the panic button. And for good reason; the sick feeling in the pit of her stomach was enough forewarning for the scrubs-clad puppetmaster. Miss Matsubara's heart is full of darkness and tragedy. She has not only witnessed evil -- she has partaken in it personally, having convinced herself of the worthiness of the greater good. Pure evil, manifested in such a ... deceptively powerful form? That's new. And for the moment, she's in a -terrible- bind. For while combatting the Butcher is something she -wants- to do, confronting him in front of Agent Little is the exact -opposite- of a good idea, with five triggerhappy SPD now entering the fray.

She's going to be calming a -lot- of people down, at this rate.

And as luck would have it, Agent Little just gave her a perfect excuse out of here. She hadn't looked him in the eye yet, not once -- but she looks at two of the other police officers. "You two, help me get him out of here." As she prepares the IV cart for travel, she calmly begins collecting herself. Steeling herself for combat, taking careful note of what could easily pull double duty as the set pieces for a battleground. Because she highly doubts that an overbearing malevolent presence is going to just let them go -- unless he's gratiated by her doing exactly what he asks in not being so damn noisy.

It's not clear which officer did it, or why. But there's a sudden report, as the gun goes off.
A black hole appears right in the middle of the Butcher's forehead, eyes widening in surprise.
The others are emboldened by this, and begin to unload their clips. The large figure remains standing there, hands within his pockets, as full magazines strike into him at point blank range. His eyes roll up to the back of his head, something like a twisted smile going across his face. The last shot hits him right in the eye, the only one to cause a reaction as he twists away, snapping it shut.
He doesn't go down. There's not a drop of blood on the floor. Instead he turns back, as one by one, the bullets slither out like wriggling worms from the inflicted holes and fall to the ground. In a horrific manner, his closed lid parts around yet another, and when it opens... the iris is deep, twisted black. In a ripple of color, it returns to the blue of the other in short order. Only the detective moved to follow orders along with Honoka, helping Louis out of the bed as best he could along with her assistance.
"I SAID... TO BE QUIET!!" The Butcher moves then, attempting to rush past Daniel. Completely disregarding him; something he might come to regret, if the man was serious about attempting to defend the group alone. The four police with guns have already ejected clips, throwing the guns aside and beginning to take martial stances. It's clear that standard weaponry doesn't appear to do anything to him.
But would that include fists and feet...?

COMBATSYS: The Butcher has started a fight here as a boss!

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COMBATSYS: Daniel has joined the fight here.

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Daniel           0/-------/-------|

COMBATSYS: Honoka has joined the fight here.

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Honoka           0/-------/-======|-------\-------\0           Daniel

It didn't matter who did it.

As the shot lands squarely between the eyes of the titanic figure, Daniel's surges once again with a wave of chi. Every burst of orange energy, for a moment, stave away the heavy ennui that kept lapping the depths of the detective's id. Honoka's soothing presence was even dancing lightly against him, until that surge of chi comes. It was invigorating, emboldening. It was enough to help strength Daniel's resolve. As the faux medical professional begins to draw away the officers, the Butcher makes his charge.

And the presence floods his own will.

Agent Little finds the invigorating force of chi wane, his own inner force smothered by The Butcher. He was drifting again, the inner light fading for a moment. It wasn't a physical weakening, but a mental one. Daniel Jack's focus was being tested, tugged at. And yet, as the officers behind him take their stances, the light flares up again. Daniel Jack raises his arms, telegraphing of what is to come. Fists and feet were questionable.

But Todoh-Ryuu was reliable.

"KASANE ATE!" Comes the kiai shouts, as the detective hurls down his arms in a precise, cutting motion. The chi comes flowing out, pouring out into a great wave of orange force. The energy slices far and wide, the shockwave spreading in a hemisphere around Daniel. It was slow, certainly, but it wasn't designed to destroy the monster. It was designed to be a ring of fire, to drive him back.

Hopefully, it would work.

Hospital rooms are notoriously difficult to fight within -- there's a window, and a door, and the room layout conspires against making egress difficult at best. There's trash cans in the way, a rolling tray table in the way, there's a -sink- in the way -- not the least of which, there's also a bed and a freestanding wardrobe. And while she would have absolutely -loved- to calm these gents down, using the psychic equivalent of a sap to knock out six minds at once just isn't something that's going to go unnoticed.

"Detective, if you would, please..." she states with enforced calm. What's one -more- mental suggestion to the poor guy? Her order: With due respect, sir, if you don't get Officer Louis out of here, you'll lose ALL your friends. The extraordinarily calm anesthesiology assistant doesn't look to him, or even give any impression that she's talking to him, per se -- but the order should be clear. Common sense, plainly stated -- focus she wouldn't be able to extend to each of the triggerhappy officers.

Discretion is the better part of valor -- that's a funny way of explaining a retreat. Retreat -would- be the best option here, but doing so without getting critically injured is increasingly unlikely.

Now, striking first? That's a good second option. The oppressively foul presence of the hospital room invader is something that needs to be put down quickly -- and she's already quite aware from the creature's words that Daniel's last attempt didn't seem to be successful. And though she'd -love- for one of her problems to go away, survival has to take priority. Before she knows it, she's back to back with Daniel, raising her left hand towards the Butcher even despite the close proximity of that awesomely powerful flame right at her back.

Actions can speak louder than words, even those injected directly into the subconscious. "Agent? I hope you'll forgive me for rendering aid." Her fingertips flare a brilliant pink, a small purple disc forming in the space immediately before her hand. The disc spins rapidly, swelling for a split second -- and then suddenly -explodes- into a burst of light, piercing through the dark grey mist as powerfully and as surely as a searchlight. Her mind forges one pure thought, one simple idea that should be powerfully clear as it pervades the Butcher's consciousness:

Go. Away.

COMBATSYS: The Butcher endures Daniel's Chou Kasane Ate.

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Honoka           0/-------/-======|=------\-------\0           Daniel

COMBATSYS: The Butcher dodges Honoka's Ishirishina.

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Honoka           0/-------/-======|=------\-------\0           Daniel

The attempt to rush past is intercepted, when Daniel throws out that burst of chi. The Butcher turns towards him, looking in surprise more than anything else. Rather than to resist, he pushes forward, and it impacts him dead on. A moment later the fire erupts around him, singing his clothing. It leaves marks upon his face now, dull singes; although they are slow to heal now, and show hints of red. "Oh...?! You've still got some good energy left within you...! I knew you'd be worth a second course!"
The detective blinks, before pointing at his men. "STAND DOWN. Let Little take care of this for the moment. Once we've got Louis safe, we'll come back!!" They finish reloading, but looking more than a little apprehensive, the door is pushed open to allow two officers to cart out the whimpering and sobbing shell of Louis before yanking it shut behind. "Good luck." is the last thing the detective offers.
But as the lance of energy comes rushing forward, there's a strange whirling shift, and it passes through only mist. The Butcher is lunging forward now, aiming to sink those brutal teeth into Daniel's ribs with a growl. Teeth...? Yes. Where before, he undoubtedly had humanoid molars, now each is brutal, sharp, and wickedly sawtoothed like a sharks. Aiming to crunch it through cloth, skin, and flesh to reach the very bone, before jerking his head to the side and slipping past to stand just beyond Daniel, putting him between the Butcher and Honoka.
"But not too much at once... no. The old ways are gone... hahaha..."

COMBATSYS: Daniel dodges The Butcher's Chomp!.

                            THE BUTCHER                            
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Honoka           0/-------/-======|=------\-------\0           Daniel

Running would just expose your back.

Cowards run. But fearful men think. Daniel was a fearful man, trembling in his heart at what he was staring down the barrel of. And yet, if he ran, then he would be run down like a frightened deer, back torn open by the likes of the Butcher. No, you stand, and you fight. Intercepting the man with a whip of chi, Daniel's hears his fellow officers making a run for it. He only gives a half turn of his head, to give a quick nod and curt response.


Daniel Jack's mind drifts for a second, an impulse to 'go away' passing in fleeting glimpses, before fading swiftly as that flash of pink energy comes. Another martial artist? The color of the energy, as well as her statement raises concern with the detective. Then again, she was helping him fight a horrible monster with... sharp teeth. Already, the fiercesome, fast form of the massive creature hurling into him. Daniel quickly retracts his hands, and as the man lunges for his chest...
RHe deftly redirects the assault.

Stable footwork and a still keen mind was what was keeping Daniel stable. The accursed daze that kept running through him in pulses was driven back through sheer force of will from the detective. These waves come as a surge as Daniel touches the brute. Overwhelmingly, it consumes his mind, and yet, Todoh-Ryuu comes through. Instincts take over where the mind falters as Daniel, with the smooth grace of Kasumi Todoh, simply clutches the man by his shoulder and arms, and lets him pass. Redirecting his energy, he guides it past his center, walking around The Butcher as he allows his charge to continue towards the wall. Repositioning to his flank, he finally releases the titan, his footwork unchanged.

And then he advances.

"Thanks for the assist!" Daniel calls out to the medical professional who is probably going to save his life. Surging with another flash of chi, he directs his focus hard into the man, trying to pierce the haze consuming his mind. A palm strike of the left comes, chaining with a hand chop of the right, both aimed at the monster's chest. But the combo is interrupted by a swift, stunning swipe of energy from his left hand, a minor Kasane Ate designed to stun him. Should the detective successfully stun The Butcher, he would attempt to grab the brute by his upper arm and hip, and with a swift pivot, slam him straight down to the ground.

It was straight fundamentals for this monster.

Miss Matsubara is not just any medical professional -- a fact which seems to be have been lost on the Interpol agent. As Officer Louis is hustled out by the detective, and the other men stand down and shut the door behind them, only three souls remain inside the hospital room. The medical impersonator's heart thumps within her chest, her eyes narrowed upon the mist-shrouded form of the Butcher -- what she can -see- of it, that is, as Little's not-so-little backside is directly impeding her view.

Drawing in her breath, she knows Daniel is likely to die -- or worse. And she also knows that stepping foot outside that room runs the risk of the situation getting even further out of hand -- what if the Butcher breaks loose, runs rampant throughout the rest of the hospital?

Part - well, perhaps the -most- of her, is telling her to stop caring about that.

The other part is seeing this as a challenge, and a unique opportunity.

Miss Matsubara quickly scans the rest of the room, taking in everything she needs to. The television. The wardrobe. The bed. The rolling tray table. And moreover she focuses intently on the -kind- of being this is. It thrives on fear, it thrives on the -soul-...

It's a mystery, and she'd come here to find out what it was. She's going to find out.

COMBATSYS: Honoka focuses on her next action.

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Honoka           0/-------/-======|-------\-------\0           Daniel

COMBATSYS: The Butcher interrupts Gang Buster EX from Daniel with Bloody Crescent.

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Honoka           0/-------/-======|=======\-------\0           Daniel

"Is something wrong, Mr. Jack...? You seem to be moving slightly slower than I expected." This is stated just before his teeth brutally sink into the side of the wall, ripping out plaster, concrete, and a large piece of steel before crunching them to rubble. His iris suddenly sink to pitch black, and chi appears to ripple out through him. Veins superimpose, and the power within him wells up. Hands enlarge, fingers curling with twisted, razor-sharp claws splitting down the middle. Transformation; an area that not many in the supernatural world are capable of doing. "It makes you..."
The flash of chi strikes the Butcher in the side of the face, but he literally ignores it, barreling forward. The back of his hand is moving now, and Daniel would likely have a dim realization of such before the claws rip from hip to shoulder, sending him flying backwards to slam upon the unbroken glass window within the room, threatening to send him hurtling three stories to a painful result if he doesn't catch himself somehow.
Blood drips from his talons, before the Butcher turns to slowly look at Honoka. Even a psychic can feel a strange taint. It's not chi; something to do with the soul, something strong, burns within. He is not even slightly weak to her manipulations or assaults. In fact, quite the opposite. "You... you look even more tasty then the Lady Killer..."
An overlong tongue lolls out, drawing across his lips with a wet slurping noise. "Two for one. I'm a lucky creature...!" How many people would face down these two and consider it a blessing?!

It was gonna take more than fundamentals.

Daniel was moving slower, though his spirit was driving hard to ignore it. It was like forcing through a cloud, a thick haze that smothered him. As the Butcher transforms, the detective... doesn't recognize it as something unusual for Darkstalkers. After all, he had heard stories about men transforming into monsters; and Nightwolf himself had transformed from a man to a wolf, and a wolf to a man. But the transformation makes something clear.

The Butcher was truly a monster.

The slice of chi comes, but there is no stunning, no opening. The monster surges into the detective, and he feels the wind knocked clean out of him, as well as the soft feeling of falling apart. An unfortunately familiar feeling, as the battle with Testament revealed to him. Tumbling through the air, he smashes right through the window, barely righting himself to snatch his hands upon the jagged edges and broken glass. Blood seeps on both his body and his hands, as he precariously holds himself on the edge. Daniel's thoughts weren't broken though, his focus redoubling.

Because the woman was now in danger.

"Don't let him get into your head!" The detective barks against the searing pain on his body; the rending of his flesh cutting through the Interpol greys, the keen glass slicing his hands to ribbons. Dragging himself up, Daniel could see the woman holding back, trying to figure... something out. Perhaps this wasn't a doctor at all, as the thought drifts in Daniel's head. Her own energy blast, the fact she was lingering... maybe she was an investigator like Daniel; trying to learn about the strange supernatural facts behind the creature. The Agent of Inteprol slowly comes to the realization that this woman was here to learn about the murders.

And that she might have some answers of her own.

The detective tumbles over the edge, moving far too slow. Why was everything so slow? It wasn't physical weakness, that much was certain. It was something else, that foul rot that was sitting inside him. The detective growls as he surges back upright, shaking away the pain that was licking him. Even though his soul wanted more than anything else to drift, he would not let it. Iron resolve floods the detective as the dimness is diminished.

Daniel would never become a shell.

As the creature keeps its attention on the woman, the detective staggers towards the hospital bed, where a diagnostics EKG stands by. He had a distance to close. Ripping the EKG from its stand, he pivots, building up momentum as one would with a hammerthrow. With a heave, Daniel Jack hurls the machine straight for the Butcher's body; he wasn't going for the head for this. He wasn't gonna kill him with these things. Daniel knew in his heart that he wasn't going to trap the Butcher here, or defeat him, or destroy. This was a fight to drive him away.

Or die trying.

COMBATSYS: The Butcher dodges Daniel's Large Thrown Object.

                            THE BUTCHER                            
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Honoka           0/-------/-======|======-\-------\0           Daniel

Honoka frowns back at the monster's sinister transformation. Like the Interpol agent, she's vaguely familiar of the existence of those called Darkstalkers, though this is the first time she's truly encountered the terror of such a creature in person. Never before has she felt the -presence- of a creature that has nuances of humanity, but lacking the continuity, the full vitality of someone like Daniel, or like anyone that she might have practiced her unique blend of mental manipulation on.

No, this creature is a monster. And he's looking right back at Honoka, his tongue slithering about like some sort of uncouth criminal.

"Luck had nothing to do with it," she states, taking careful note of Daniel's actions. She can tell he's moving oddly -- and his psyche is injured, damaged from the last time she'd encountered him. She hadn't thought anyone that battered could still be breathing, let alone throwing an EKG...

Right, she chastises herself. The disguised performer kicks sharply at the tray table, sending it rolling forwards into the monstrous intruder at high speed. The true danger is what follows though, as she pivots slightly to the side of the table to take full advantage of the confusion. Two thin batons slip out of her right sleeve, bound together by a four-foot length of shiny metallic cord. She swings in a hook strike, aiming to clock the Butcher right below his jaw, right around the time the tray table would collide with him. She'd follow up with a second strike, releasing the second baton so that it can ensnare -around- the Butcher's shoulders, lest he harbor any thoughts of fleeing. Two quick knee strikes would follow afterwards, and then she'd slam her palm into the beastly abomination, sending an impact wave with the force of a jackhammer slamming into the Butcher.

The thrumming beat to which she is striking is a dream-vision meant only for the Butcher though -- the most terrifying thing she can imagine for someone driven with such hate as he.

A cacophony of -hundreds- of laughing, merry children, gleefully playing with their brand new Christmas presents -- if anyone's -lucky-, it's these kids. The vision would be intense -- fleeting, but memorable, as Honoka attempts to overpower their aggressor with her own force of will.

COMBATSYS: The Butcher dodges Honoka's Seta-pagoat.

                            THE BUTCHER                            
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[   \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  /////////////////////         ]
Honoka           0/-------/-======|======-\-------\0           Daniel

Clawed hands return into the pockets of the Butcher's pants. He's grinning still, looking Honoka up and down with obvious appreciation. Although for some reason, it seems to be something beyond simple aesthetics. "A rare treat." he finally offers. "Such a luscious soul... a different fire, than I normally partake..." Daniel's yelling and noise from behind barely warrant a glance. He blurs as he snaps to the side, avoiding the tumbling object that crashes upon the ground, wildly bouncing in a spray of sparks and crunching material to settle before Honoka. No. He isn't slow. Anything but.
"Oh? Oh?! Yes..." The Butcher suddenly looks ecstatic when those weapons come out, as a realization appears before him. "That equipment is interesting... are you -- that circus girl, perhaps...?" He leans backwards from the first strike, weaving forward with a manic laugh. Beginning to charge forward, the second is ducked low, leaving the string to catch nothing but air. When she lunges forward, the Butcher suddenly bursts out that strange mist. His transparent, twisted visage rushes /through/ the girl, manifesting just past. The moment he does, the mist disappears, having only gone about a meter. Some hint to the strange phasing technique he has demonstrated more than once that Daniel has seen. It doesn't hang like a fog, something created purely for this evasion.
Although touching his mind is like dipping her hand in something oily. There's a strange sense of multiplicity within him, a chorus of many songs, wailing in pain.
And his eyes roll back in pleasure.
"If I showed you a hundred baby chicks... you'd think it cute, right...?" A slurp follows. "All I see is a future meal..." With that he snaps forward, aiming to sink his teeth into Honoka's shoulder with a growl, aiming to crunch heartily with those twisted, jagged teeth, hands still idly within those jean pockets. He moves with a wicked instinct that seems honed through countless time. If he's truly been around a few centuries, then this erratic style of fighting is as natural as breathing to the brawler...

Oh, it's pretty obvious he isn't slow at this point.

Strong, fast, powerful, and unstoppable. A dangerous blend of traits, well-suited for a psychopath whose hobbies primarily include 'murder' and 'cannibalism' with any variation in between. As deftly evades the hurled object, and does NOT charge after Daniel, that was an opportunity for the wounded detective. Gradually, he approaches, the blood drying on him. While his capacity for tearing into his body was great, they were still only flesh wounds.

And much better than the other sort of wounds he was capable of.

As the Butcher begins to phase, the detective flares up with chi again. Energy floods up, the beacon against the dark. While the creature's soul consumption had caused the light's peak shine to wane, Agent Little would never let it go out. The creature was now at her shoulder, lunging in for that bite. "Get away from her!" Comes the roar form the detective as he draws back. There is no call of 'Fantastic Todoh Punch.' That was a waste of time now. Energy just surges around his arm to the knuckles, as hurls out the staggering punch right by Honoka for the Butcher.

Right between the eyes.

COMBATSYS: Honoka fails to interrupt Aggressive Bite from The Butcher with Sarak Kamui.

                            THE BUTCHER                            
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[          \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  /////////////////////         ]
Honoka           0/-------/---====|======-\-------\0           Daniel

COMBATSYS: The Butcher blocks Daniel's Fantastic Todoh Punch.

                            THE BUTCHER                            
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[          \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  /////////////////////         ]
Honoka           0/-------/---====|=======\-------\1           Daniel

The Butcher is clearly a different class of predator than any Honoka has faced. She's fought sadists, rapists, murderers. And in every case, she's defeated them by a large margin -- all by finding the elements she'd deduced to be the thing they feared most, and reflecting them back at them.

But the Butcher has no such weaknesses that she can find. Giggles, cheerfulness... -rainbows?- Rrgh. Conjuring such thoughts even made -her- sick, and this Butcher seems to have...

Completely disappeared. Except not really -- lost in the haze of multiple overlapping thoughts, Honoka staggers backwards. She can't read one mind -- she can't read -dozens- of minds at once.

She'd lost track of him for a moment. She looks around, channeling a rush of bright pink energy into her hands -- only to find the aggressor at her shoulder, chowing down. Her knees buckle, a blood-curdling scream filling the room as she feels the exquisite pain of the bite. The energy fades from her hands as quickly as it rose, blood spurting from her shoulder, staining her scrubs as she reels, writhing about on those jagged, irregular teeth. The scrub cap flies off as she thrashes, locks of black and purple spilling out like a curtain to cover her eyes and ears. It -is- the circus girl, after all...

"G-get... off me..." she stammers, once she's able to choke back the scream. She's experienced raw pain before, but attacks on such a primal level seems to be something she's less hardened against...

Daniel's no-nonsense approach finally forces the Butcher to draw his guard; he yanks out his hand and shifts upwards, catching the fist in the palm of his hand. The chi seems to extinguish abruptly like a flame snuffed out. And is that... a licking? Yes, when Daniel yanks his hand back, there appear to be small circular lamprey-like mouths complete with teeth in the center of each palm. They loll around slender tongues to lap up blood, making dull hissing noises. "Delicious..."
Honoka is ill-suited to evade his own tender ministrations, powering through manipulation and deceptive motions with a shark-like instinct and a hungering for blood. His thick neck snaps upwards afterwards, laughing uproariously as his maw is stained red, each shark-like toothed bared in that twisted cheshire grin as spiral black irises stare madly down at her. "Honoka, like I thought... Come... Let's feast!!"
Suddenly he lashes out, attempting to grasp the other girl firmly within his clawed hands, a crushing squeeze followed by another savage bite, this one much harder and aimed at the meaty side of her neck. Unlike the other, this is no mere nibble. Twisting to hurtle her backwards against the wall with plaster-shattering force, he then weaves left and right with hisses of mist. And then it seems like there's three of him, all rushing forward in tandem. Snapping teeth like a school of pirhana, trying to steal a dozen bites all over the girl in a heartbeat!! The more she's wounded, the more a strange infestation would sink into her very aura. Is this how he eats...? There's more than one way!

COMBATSYS: The Butcher blitzes into action and acts again!

                            THE BUTCHER                            
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[          \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  /////////////////////         ]
Honoka           0/-------/---====|=======\-------\1           Daniel

COMBATSYS: Honoka blocks The Butcher's Gluttony.

                            THE BUTCHER                            
  [            |||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||| ]

[           \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  /////////////////////         ]
Honoka           0/-------/--=====|=======\-------\1           Daniel

COMBATSYS: The Butcher successfully hit Honoka with Feeding Frenzy EX.

                            THE BUTCHER                            
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[                \\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  /////////////////////         ]
Honoka           0/-------/=======|=======\-------\1           Daniel

His flame was snuffed out.

The effect it had on the detective was staggering. For Daniel to hit it, to have it die out didn't just have an outward appearance. It had an inward as well. As the tongue touches him, lapping the exposed wounds, Daniel.... Daniel, for a moment, pauses. Not a thoughtful pause. Not a stunned pause. But a pause of... ennui. A pause of acceptance. Daniel Jack doesn't resist as the Butcher takes his taste. He only pull his fist away, as he nearly drifts into a dream.

And surges back into a nightmare.

Agent Little rips away from the tongue, a look of... horror on his face. Sheer horror, not only at what the monster was doing to him, but Daniel's... Daniel's tolerance of it. His helplessness to it. His acceptance of it. Now Daniel is stunned, speechless at what he was nearly consenting too. And yet, it was his head that was shocked, not his heart. His heart was at peace. That was the most disturbing part, the sheer tolerance of it within.

He barely even notices that the monster was going to devour the woman.

It comes with her stammering, and the one word: feast. The feasting. Daniel comes to as The Butcher collapses in what could be best described as a hunger elemental; a creature or form dedicated solely to consuming, to devouring. The ghoulish display upon the girl, however, brings back the heart of courage within Agent Little. The detective's resolve surges up with a wave of chi; his well of inner energy refusing to break. As he begins to maul the poor woman, the poor strange woman, Daniel's fury pours forward. He focuses, focuses hard within the midsts of the toxic aura. He keys in, sensing the shape, trying to focus on the weakness within the miasma. Something in the mist, something to hit, something to target. Something to destroy. And something clicks. Something passes in his mind. And with a deep breath in, with his hand flat, with chi energy flowing over him, he cleaves his hand straight into the mist, at the nearest of the duplicates.

To tear apart the mystic fog.

Honoka prides herself on knowing exactly what she's getting into before initiating combat. Her ideal situation is one in which every deviation is perfectly plotted out, every possible permutation calculated out to the nth significant place. This situation is so far south of 'ideal' she cannot even fathom it.

Peripherally, Honoka can sense that Daniel is present. She can feel it when he hits the beast, she can sense it when he focuses on banishing this scourge from the earth, she can sense him flagging when his flame is snuffed out.

But that is a distant second-place on her priority list. The clear and present danger is the one right in front of her, its jaws blotted red with her own vitae. Her power comes from the soul... and it's insufficient, nearly -insignificant- compared to the might of the monster. Daniel is here -- but he is so far away.

She may as well be huddled in a room by herself, like that one day some eight years ago, curled up against the wall, crying her eyes out. She's never felt more defenseless than that day... until now.

Teeth clamp shut -- her own, in this case, as she raises her batons. She slams the baton up, warding off the snapping jaws of the monstrosity for just a moment...

Until everything she knows about fighting the monster dissolves into a formless mist. And the feeding frenzy begins. Slammed helplessly against the wall, patches of her scrubs are ripped out, her flesh left bloody and raw by the onslaught of dozens of piranha-like bites, the hints of fabric beneath her flimsy disguise plain to see. Her screams are loud enough to wake the dead, to alert them to join in the fun...

But once again... some voice in the back of her head reminds her that nothing this man can do will make her yield. The only thing she has to fear... is fear itself.

Drawing in a sharp breath, she shuts her eyes. They're not helping.

"NNNNNNNNNNNNRRRAAAAGH!" she howls, slamming her palms forward. She can't find exactly what the beast is doing... but she tries to, just the same, collect the misty forms into one, to find the center -- thrust it outwards, and impale what she can sense of the Butcher right into the epicenter of Daniel's attack.

COMBATSYS: Honoka successfully hits The Butcher with Medium Throw.
- Power hit! -

                            THE BUTCHER                            
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[                 \\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  /////////////////////         ]
Honoka           1/-------/=======|======-\-------\0           Daniel

COMBATSYS: The Butcher blocks Daniel's World's Greatest Hand Chop EX.

                            THE BUTCHER                            
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[                 \\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  /////////////////////         ]
Honoka           1/-------/=======|=======\-------\1           Daniel

The Butcher is caught off-guard in the midst of his savage frenzy. Honoka manages to grasp and hurtle him backwards, and he goes flying straight towards Daniel's hand. His arms are nowhere near him, his legs are disheveled, his center of balance ruined. Black eyes focus on the shining chop descending towards his face...
Before he opens his mouth and snaps his teeth, biting down /hard/ on that incoming strike. It stops dead, inhaling blood and chi greedily before the other man can yank it away before genuine damage that isn't mere cosmetics can be done.
He then recovers, sliding to a stop with a dull laugh. "Ahh... this is fun. Fun!! After a life of eating sheep..." He lolls forward, neck cracking slightly to the side. "To be able to go after those who think themselves predators is truly a delight I had long forgotten..."
And then he suddenly bursts into mist, whirling around the room. Which one is he going to go after?! Without much warning he appears behind Daniel, manifesting violently. One clawed hand savagely swings to impale him upon the stomach and clench, before twisting to rip him open while hurtling him away with a mad cackle. "That girl... I'm going to eat her now. In just a moment. You can't stop me... poor, pitiful hero. It's too late to run. I feel it boiling up inside me... hahaha...!"

COMBATSYS: Daniel blocks The Butcher's Riptide EX.

                            THE BUTCHER                            
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[                 \\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////////            ]
Honoka           1/-------/=======|====---\-------\0           Daniel

This wasn't real.

As Daniel's hand chop comes, roaring out with careful precision, it ends up caught right into the teeth of the creature. And with it, more of Daniel's energy flows into it. Blood and spirit, flesh and soul. Daniel's aura was being consumed, devoured right there in front of him. And once again, Daniel finds himself relaxing. The acceptance washes over him, of just letting it happen. Being one with the killer, to join into the mist. The wounds get worse, even as they dry. The other girl is even a distant memory, as he find himself sinking into the darkness.

It takes The Butcher to remind him.

As the mist comes, the detective surges with a rush of chi. Yes, it was feeding him. But it was the only think keeping him from fading away to helplessness. He had to force himself to focus. And as the words come... his resolve only strengthens. Arms bleeding, body bleeding, aura sapped away, he thrusts his palms out. With those torn hands, he catches the claws. He protects his internal organs, which... which was about as good as it got. His left hand was cut to the bone, unusable for holding, for grabbing, for... for anything meaningful. The detective's resolve still keeping him alive. But as the words drip, drip, drip into his mind... he forces back, eyes dimly locked into the depths of the beast.

"Seriously, scuzzy?"

Daniel's expression is just dismissing incredulous. Any other reaction would have brought despair. Retracting his savaged palm, he leans back, pivoting as he glances at his 'partner.' "You! Get out of here! Don't let him take you! DON'T LET HIM TAKE YOU!" He bellows, as he turns back to the beast. "Like, what. You think being a damned boogyman is going to freak me out? 'Oh poor pitiful hero bluh bluh bluh!'" The detective mocks, hardening his own resolve in the face of certain death. He lashes out a simple, straight kick. Unimpressive in effect, and simply to force distance between himself and the creature.

"You're trying too hard!"

Honoka grimaces as she steps forward, crumbled plaster dust intermingling with the blood about her shoulder and arms. Still bleeding profusely, she shakes her head back to Daniel. "Agent, why should you hog all the glory...?" She honestly feels that the Butcher is right on that point -- it's much too late to run. She's lost a lot of blood -- even if she did run out the door, the creature is much, much, -much- faster than her. She'd likely bleed out before reaching the elevator.

Slumping forward, she looks down at her batons. There's no way to do what she wants to do in this narrow a space, and her arms are aching too much anyway. Choking back the urge to vomit at the sight of herself, she closes her eyes once more, and reaches into her left sleeve, twisting the face of her watch, and pulling it off the wristband. With a smooth, practiced motion, she slips the string of her yo-yo watch onto her finger, and flicks it into a quick circle.

And then she flings the yo-yo around into an intricate pattern, focusing once again on the form Daniel is challenging into one particular area. Again... the epicenter of the multiplicity of souls.

When she opens her eyes, they are glowing purple -- as is the yo-yo, and the star pattern carved into the very air by the path of the yo-yo's motion.

She does not bother with putting any thoughts of dancing children or good emotions, this time. No -- now, she is only envisioning a terrible whirlwind -- a massive vortex of pure psionic force, emanating from the star-shaped pattern she'd etched into the mist. The massive, tightly confined cylinder of Honoka's concentrated energies is directed straight through the center of the Butcher's shadowy form, aimed in such a fashion as to sweep him clear through the broken window. The tray table, the various medical equipment are thrown about from the abrupt attack, drawn into the funnel of her energy -- they might hit Daniel, but from the force of the torrential outpouring, they're much more likely to hit the Butcher instead, if he finds himself material at the wrong moment.

Honoka staggers forward, wincing as she draws the yo-yo back into her palm, curling her hand about her center. The pain, the nausea, the accumulated blood loss, the missing elements of her self... they're starting to add up.

COMBATSYS: The Butcher dodges Daniel's Light Kick.

                            THE BUTCHER                            
  [                         ||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||| ]

[                   \\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ///////////////////           ]
Honoka           0/-------/------=|====---\-------\0           Daniel

COMBATSYS: The Butcher endures Honoka's Nochiu-o Kando.

                            THE BUTCHER                            
  [                                     ||||||||||||||||||||||| ]

[                  \\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ///////////////////           ]
Honoka           0/-------/------=|====---\-------\0           Daniel

"...?" The horrific, bloodied maw of the Butcher glances back to Daniel listlessly, as if genuinely confused by his words. Before he grins, black irises contracting to silver-white void. "Freak you out...?"
"When have I once claimed... I am here to terrify anyone?"
Yes. It's fairly clear why this monster is present. Anything that might cause quaking boots and sunken souls is merely incidental. Not once has he done a thing to invoke emotions. Those do nothing for him. He is a sadist, but of the physical variety. Pain, gruesome and wicked, inflicted on others. Beyond that... Daniel is simply reading too much into a creature that doesn't see in nearly the same wavelength.
And then the storm of psionic energy surges forth. The Butcher simply lunges into it, feeling the burning power of Honoka rolling over him. He lets out a manic laugh, before bursting into mist just as it threatens to overtake him. She'd see it rushing towards him before suddenly appearing before her... aiming to grasp her by the face and heft her up into the air as if a doll.
"Enough play..." His hand surges with something foul and otherworldly. Like Daniel in the car the other day, Honoka is liable to feel her entire body grow paralyzed, bared, naked to the depths of her soul...! "I hunger...!!"

COMBATSYS: The Butcher successfully hit Honoka with #Soul Devour#.

                            THE BUTCHER                            
  [                                         ||||||||||||||||||| ]

[                          \\\\  < >  ///////////////////           ]
Honoka           0/-------/------=|====---\-------\0           Daniel

And then, Daniel would see it; the lovely, purple-hued flow of Honoka's psionic-imbued soul. Weaving about her like an aurora. Teeth part slowly, as if time were suddenly running at an inch per second. Blackness fills his maw, before teeth sink into the very ethereal core of her being. Her throat is crushed as she's slammed against the wall heavily, the only actual damage taken from the assault -- before he twists, and a large portion of it is ripped clear off. The rest of Honoka's soul recedes back into her body, and he releases her to lid his eyes. "Mmmm..." Like a torn wedding dress, the stolen portion of her dangles from his mouth, before he slowly slurps it up with a disgustingly organic sound, throat billowing out as he swallows. "Excellent~ Hahaha... a great night indeed...!"

Just a few short days ago, Honoka was in the best of spirits. She'd had an amazingly enlightening evening, and for one night in her life, she felt like she had all the answers she could need. Flush with the newfound knowledge of how another 'she' had ruled Japan with an iron fist.

She could learn from this other self. She could win the hearts and minds of the people -- to become the better leader she knew she could be. The leader to bring the Ainu once more into the fold, to save them from complete extinction, to put an end to the apathy that had lain waste to countless other cultures.

But Honoka had learned something else: The other 'she' had died, her dream unfulfilled.

The tears roll down her cheeks as her entire body goes numb, cold... and slides down limply to the hospital room floor.

Her separated spirit self looks... sad. Defeated, as it slowly seeps back into her broken body.

COMBATSYS: Honoka takes no action.

                            THE BUTCHER                            
  [                                         ||||||||||||||||||| ]

[           \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  <
Daniel           0/-------/---====|

COMBATSYS: Honoka can no longer fight.

                            THE BUTCHER                            
  [                                         ||||||||||||||||||| ]

[           \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  <
Daniel           0/-------/---====|


No No No.

It happens so slowly, so delicately, so soft, so surreal. He wasn't here for terror, no. He was here to prey. He was here to feast. And Daniel... Daniel was strong. He was stubborn. And he wasn't yielding. Or maybe, maybe he was running empty. A spent sandwich, and half-eaten meal. But the stranger woman... the 'other' investigator was full of life. She was a beacon of vitality.

And she was next.

The detective tries to hurl himself forward. He tries to stop what was happening. But it is an aura. It is a presence. And Daniel... Daniel feels soft. Helpless. A yearning and a longing. He watches quietly. And unable to move, unable to turn away. He studies. And learns. And a shadow of a feeling passes over him. Almost jealous.

Almost hungry.

As the collapses, her soul... her soul devoured and violated, violated just like how Daniel was violated, Agent Little just watches. He doesn't even move. It is silent, rapt attention. A great night indeed. Daniel couldn't feel anything worthwhile just pooling in the center of the rotting cesspool that was building within the heart of the Agent of Interpol. He just watched a woman be violated to her very soul.

And he only now begins to move.

Energy flares to his fingertips, as he draws back his arm. He tries to say something. He tries so hard. He doesn't look at the collapsed body of the woman. He is thinking about her. But he will not look. It was moving through the mist, moving through the cloud. Closing in on the demon that had just fed. He hurls out a lash of energy, a shockwave that cascades forward to the creature.

Not that it matters, at this point.

COMBATSYS: The Butcher fails to slow Kasane Ate from Daniel with Large Thrown Object.
- Power fail! -

                            THE BUTCHER                            
  [                                               ||||||||||||| ]

[           \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  <
Daniel           0/-------/-======|

Reaching down, the Butcher grasps Honoka by her ankle, letting her dangle upside-down like some discarded piece of meat. "I think I'm done for now..." As the Kasane Ate is thrown, the large figure suddenly twists, moving to hurtle the girl towards him with another laugh. The chi rips into his body, and she goes spiraling to the side; the awkward motion gives enough time for even a lethargic Daniel to intercept her, however. "I'll be back, though. You, my fruit..." He looks to Daniel, slowly licking his lips. "Will soon be ready for a second helping~" A slow exhale follows, before his body disperses into mist. The chilling aura washes over the pair, rushing out the broken window. After a few seconds it vanishes just as quickly, leaving the room empty -- beyond the violated pair, in the wake of his hunger. Honoka got devoured much worse than Daniel... who feels much worse after the assault. Just what are the long term effects of this going to be?

COMBATSYS: The Butcher has left the fight here.

[           \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  <
Daniel           0/-------/-======|

Daniel could have kept going.

He could keep through out those Kasane Ates. He could have kept grinding him down. Not that it matters. That was the misery. The true misery. Not feeling. But without any feeling, Daniel was still fighting. Still struggling. Still... trying. Trying to do what is right. But he hurls away Honoka...

And he has to save her.

He moves swiftly, moves automatically. Dipping down low, he holds his arms out, and he catches the lithe woman. He doesn't even feel her. He doesn't even recognize any of this. But as the Butcher calls for him, he turns and looks the monster in the eyes. And when he hears those words, he finally feels something. Something that seizes his heart.


And the creature is gone. Daniel Jack stares numbly, alone in silence. He looks at the woman in his hands. A stranger. A total stranger. A stranger... he failed to protect. He should be feeling regret. He should be feeling shame. He should be feeling the heavy burden of failure.

But for some reason.

Doesn't feel anything at all.

COMBATSYS: Daniel has ended the fight here.

Log created on 14:36:52 01/31/2015 by Daniel, and last modified on 02:51:50 02/05/2015.