Study And Scrutiny 20-10

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The last major fight that I’d gotten into had been at the Wonderland mall. In that case, there had been a lot more room to maneuver than there was in this little classroom, crowded as it was with so many desks and tables. It might have been a good place to learn in (as far as learning from a genocidal psychopath could be good), but it pretty much sucked as far as gladiatorial arenas went.

But I was learning how to improvise.

Hyde was fast. Wicked fast. Not so long ago, he would have taken me completely by surprise as he lunged clear across the classroom in a single leap. But now… well, now I had the reflexes of a werewolf.

He was still at the start of his leap when I began to react. Pivoting on one foot, I hooked the end of my staff around the leg of the nearest desk and hoisted off the ground while continuing the turn. The werewolf strength meant that I didn’t even notice the weight of the desk as it came off the floor and into the air. As I finished the turn, the desk hung loosely off the end of the staff, which was pointed straight at the incoming monster. With a grimace, I triggered the kinetic charge that I had been building up in the staff ever since I took it out. The blast sent the desk careening off my staff as if it had been shot out of a cannon. It collided with Hyde, slamming into his chest hard enough that the forward momentum from his lunge was entirely negated and he was sent flying backward.

He was still in mid-crash when my follow-up leap planted my foot against the desk. The kick was so hard that my foot went through the desk, shattering it into several pieces before colliding with his chest. A second later, his back hit the wall hard enough to send several cracks through it, while I landed in a crouch.

He recovered quickly, that long, nasty proboscis lashing out towards me like a snake. But I was ready for it, my staff spinning up and around to smack it out of the way. Unfortunately, while I was prepared for that, I hadn’t been prepared for the scorpion-like tail with attached stinger that the Aswang produced. It lashed out and down, cutting through the air while I was still slightly off-balance from knocking the proboscis out of the way.

Thankfully, I wasn’t alone. Doug was there. Even as that scorpion stinger came lashing down towards me, he stepped up and put his shield in place right over my head to intercept it. His sword cut at the thing, but it withdrew just as fast as it had extended.

By that point, a protective, bug-like exoskeleton had extended over the man’s entire body. I could still see some of the hair that he had sprouted sticking out from between the narrow gaps in the plates. At a quick guess, I would’ve said that the hair served the purpose of providing sensory feedback that the plates themselves took away. At the same time, the Aswang grew a second set of arms from the lower part of his torso. They ended in a deadly-looking set of pincers

Doug followed up his defense with a fast offense. He threw himself at the Aswang, sword arcing up in a wide, diagonal swing that Hyde parried with his tail. One of the monster’s lower pincer arms lashed out before being caught by Doug’s shield. Unfortunately, the pincer closed around the shield itself and tore it away from the boy. Hyde cast it aside, but the shield simply vanished a second after it was away from its creator.

Meanwhile, the other pincer-hand came in on Doug’s other side. But I was already there, catching the flat part of the open pincers with my staff before using It to shove the arm aside. In the same motion, I brought my right foot up to kick against his chest before pushing off with that same foot to turn myself into a spin that brought my other foot up and around to smack into his face.

Doug went for the kill while the Aswang was recovering, shoving his sword up to the guy’s chest. But the blade just clanged off of the hard scales of that exoskeleton, and Doug had to quickly pivot to catch the descending tail once again. It recoiled before striking out a couple more times, forcing him to parry each one while backing up a couple steps from the ferocity of the counter-attack.

Between the Aswang’s four limbs, tail, and proboscis, Doug was about to be quickly overwhelmed. But like hell would I let that happen. I was already there, catching one of Hyde’s grasping hands with one end of my staff before smacking the other end up into the bottom of his jaw with every ounce of my newly considerable strength. It was enough to make his mouth clang shut while rocking his head backward.

It wasn’t enough to put him down though. Not even close. If anything, he got even angrier and more ferocious. I think Doug and I had managed to cross the point from simply being a couple of nameless Heretics among so many that he wanted to kill, to being very specific targets for him.

Well, honestly, if he wanted to kill me, he was gonna have to get in line or take a number.

But that was a line that he clearly wasn’t ready to wait for, as he came after both of us with a noise that sounded like a cross between a roar and a scream. One of his normal hands tried to shove my staff out of the way, while a pincer hand grabbed for my throat. I barely managed to duck aside before the pincer shut with a vicious, violent snap right where my neck had been. If I hadn’t moved, it probably would’ve taken my head off. Or at least cut deep into my throat.

At the same time, his other pincer actually did manage to get hold of Doug’s sword. Shoving it aside, he sent that proboscis shooting out again. But I threw my staff up, setting off a quick blast of kinetic force that sent the searching mouth-tongue-thing off course.

That scorpion-tail came down, but Doug had already recovered. The boy released his grip on the sword and let it disappear while he lunged backward to avoid the blade on the descending tail. It slammed into the floor before pulling back up, tearing a long, jagged hole through it in the process.

Do not let up. Don’t let up. It was like Avalon had said. The biggest benefit I had was that I could go harder a lot longer than most people could. They got tired. They had to rest and recover. I didn’t. I could go at full speed a hell of a lot more than others.

With that in mind, I went after him hard. Throwing myself forward, I parried his lashing claw out of the way before driving my foot into his lower stomach, then his upper chest, then back to his lower stomach in a quick three-point kick before snapping my leg back out of the way. Even as the Aswang grabbed for it, I was already spinning around to put myself out of the way while my staff swung up to knock his grasping pincer away.

Meanwhile, Doug wasn’t resting on his laurels. The pen, which hung from a strap around his wrist, flicked up into his hand and he clicked it a few times quickly. On the third click, a glowing energy-chain appeared in the air. Catching the chain, he swung it up and around, catching Hyde’s tail before giving a sharp yank to tug it down into range. At the same time, he clicked the pen once more before letting it fall back down on its strap as another copy of his sword appeared for him to snatch out of the air. A shout escaped the boy as he drove his sword up and around, cutting into that tail a few inches from the tip with enough force to cleave through it completely. The pointed tail-blade fell to the floor, writhing around a little while the Aswang screamed.

It still wasn’t enough to stop him though, or even really slow him down that much. Which Doug found out quickly when he was back-handed across the face by one of those pincers with enough force to send him crashing backwards into one of the desks.

He lunged for me then, all four of his arms moving to grab me while his proboscis went for my throat. At the last second, I threw myself up and backward in a jump that brought me to land on the top of the table that he had been trying to drive me into. Unfortunately for him, my item-sense had warned me about how close it was.

Landing on the table, I brought my staff up and triggered a blast that simultaneously knocked the man a step or two away from me while sending myself sliding backwards along the top of the table before I landed on the floor on the opposite side.

Without wasting a second, I brought my foot up to kick hard against the end of the table, sending it careening forward into the man, who was just recovering from the kinetic blast to the face. The force doubled him over. It also nearly pinned him to the wall, but he brought his pincer arms up and his regular arms down, slamming them into the table with enough strength to shatter it into several pieces to free himself.

Grabbing four of those pieces with his hands and pincers, he hurled them at me, forcing me to bat them aside with a quick flurry of motion from my staff.

Doug had recovered by that point, and was back on his feet. He’d also used that pen of his to conjure a long trident, a fact that Hyde discovered when Doug drove the trident right into his arm with a scream (from both of them, actually), pinning it to the wall. With the Aswang’s arm trapped, Doug put both hands on the handle of his sword and reared back to drive it forward through the man’s face. He was clearly intent on putting an end to this once and for all.

Hyde, however, clearly didn’t agree. An instant before Doug would have driven the point of the sword through his eye, the Aswang transformed. He suddenly went from being a man with some extra bug-like features to being a wolf with some bug-like features. Yeah, he looked like a big wolf that was covered in exoskeleton scales and had face that looked more like a beetle than a canine. Plus, not only did he have those pincer arms still (they came out of the wolf’s shoulders), he’d also fixed his tail during the change to give himself the blade on the end once more. So he actually looked like a cross between a wolf and a scorpion.

The sword was driven most of the way through the wall, penetrating nearly to the hilt. And before Doug could pull it back, the transformed Hyde struck with that reformed tail-blade. It went right through the boy’s arm nearly to the bone, drawing a rushing torrent of blood. Doug grabbed his arm with a cry then, leaving his throat open for the tail-blade to take his head from his shoulders.

Or it would have, if I hadn’t opened the portals on the ends of my staff to send a rush of sand into the Aswang’s eyes. He reared back with a cry, his tail narrowly missing its intended target. Instead, the tail struck Doug upside the head, drawing a line of blood across his temple and knocking him hard against the wall beside his own sword.

With a howl of frustration, Hyde jerked his head from side to side while blinking rapidly to clear the sand out of his eyes. Except this wasn’t normal sand. I was still controlling it, shoving the grains up into anything vulnerable I could see. Mostly that meant gouging his eyes with it as if he was walking through a blistering sandstorm. Or rubbing them with sandpaper.

But it didn’t stop him. Spitting a curse (which itself looked weird coming from the scorpion-dog’s body), he came for me. The four legs that Hyde now had propelled him right up to me in a split-second, his mouth opening wide to reveal a frankly obscene number of teeth, while his newly reformed tail lashed up and out.

A quick lunge backwards took me out of range of his first strike, and put my back right against one of the student’s desks. He kept coming, and I used the desk as a brief cover, slipping around to the other side of it just as his tail struck out at me, cobra-quick before it was caught by the side of the desk. Not that that slowed him down very much, he grabbed the desk with one claw and hurled it aside while lunging forward at me with the other claw, narrowly missing my arm before I brought my staff up to smack it aside. And judging from how it felt when my staff hit that claw, if I didn’t have the werewolf strength backing me up, he easily would have overpowered me and knocked the staff from my hand. He was strong, fast, and incredibly intent on killing me.

But hey, at least this time it wasn’t personal. He just hated me because I was a Heretic, not for anything particularly unique. Although the fact that that was kind of an upgrade was a bit sad.

We continued a winding route through the classroom that way. He kept trying to pen me in with the desks, or at least use them to take me by surprise, lunging whenever he thought I was about to stumble into or trip over one of them. But I always knew where they were, I knew where everything around me was. With that combined with my reflexes, I was able to work my way through the jumble of desks, chairs, and tables even as they continued to get knocked around.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t actually gain an advantage that way either. He was too fast, and his shape-shifting meant that he could continually choose to go under or over any of the obstacles. Plus, any damage I did seemed to heal pretty quickly. Not that it was easy to do damage to him in the first place with those hard scales.

But I had to do this. Wyatt was busy stopping that spell from killing all those people. And Doug was still recovering. He had been knocked into that wall pretty hard. Which meant that I needed to deal with this bastard myself. No matter what that took.

Fortunately, I already had a plan for that. And I’d been working on it bit by bit the entire time.

Shifting into his humanoid form, Hyde leapt up and over the nearest overturned desk in his path. His lower right arm came up toward me. This time, rather than using pincers, he’d formed his extra hands into long blades that had serrated edges like a couple of saws.

What followed went so quick, I could barely follow it myself, even with my enhanced reflexes. He came at me with his two arm blades, two hands, tail, and proboscis. Meanwhile, I was left to block with my staff or simply evade. One after another, his attacks kept coming.

My staff whipped up and to the left to catch his arm-blade there, while I pivoted away from his lashing tail. In the same spin, my foot kicked over one of the desks and sent it crashing into one of the others.

He was grabbing for my shoulder with one hand while trying to drive the other arm-blade into my stomach. I caught the blade against the staff, turning it aside while stepping in closer. Even as his hand caught my shoulder (sharp talon-like claws digging hard into the muscle there), I put my foot in his leg to knock him back a step. His claws tore my shirt, drawing a line of blood.

It hurt. I didn’t care. It didn’t distract me. Not now. Not anymore. Between Avalon, Professor Katarin (and now Hisao), And all the rest of the training I’ve been going through, pain didn’t distract me nearly as much as it used to.  

More. He kept coming. Blow from the top – block. Blow from the side – quick step backward. Three rapid strikes from alternating arm-blades, one after another. Block, twist aside, step in and parry to knock his arm out of the way so I could put my fist into his face. Repeat. Again. He was so fast. So furious. I couldn’t think. I couldn’t take the time to do anything other than keep moving. He nailed me a couple times, drawing more blood with each blow. Somewhere deep inside my subconscious, I felt the pain and realized he was doing damage to me. But I shut that part away and stayed focused. There would be time to deal with all of that later. Later.

Block, strike, twist, step forward, retreat a step, catch his tail, flick it aside while driving forward with one foot to keep him off-balance. Turn, flip the staff up and over my back to stop him from catching me there. Side-step, turn, flip up and over the same tail as he swept it around, trying to go in low. Land. Kick. Twist. Put a knee in him. Stumble.

Breathe. Most of all, keep breathing.

It felt like hours had passed. Not because I was tired or anything, but because of how much my brain had been working to keep up with everything that was going on. It was furious, frantic, deadly work. And I couldn’t let up for a second, not for an instant.

Sometime through that, Doug had mostly recovered. But rather than jumping in, he stood there staring at what was going on. I could see his eyes widening with each passing second, and it seemed like he had frozen up.

Still, he shook it off fairly quickly. Clicking that pen of his, he created another sword and went up and over one of the desks to go at Hyde. The Aswang turned partway, smacking the sword out of the way with the flat of his tail.

But that gave me a brief opening. Taking advantage of it, I quickly drove the tip of my staff up into throat. He still had that armor plating protecting it, but the force of it at least knocked him back a step. And he was knocked back even more when I followed that up with a leaping kick that put my foot into his chest.

Hyde stumbled, catching himself with a grunt.

“It won’t matter,” he insisted through a voice that was filled with rage and disgust. “Even if you kill me, it means nothing. The cause continues. Heretics are going to pay for everything you’ve done. He’ll make sure of it. He’ll tear your society down, all of it.” 

“Who?” I demanded, not really believing that he’d give that much away. But it was worth a shot. Sometimes people got braggy. “The other guy you’re working with? Karl Ulsun? Who is he, your brother? Your wife’s brother? I don’t think he’s going to get much further than you have.”

The smile that he gave me then was as predatory as it was unhinged. “Oh, you’ll find out exactly who our friend is when the time comes. When he shows himself to burn all Heretics down.”

“Stop talking to it,” Douglas insisted, readying his sword while casting me a brief, annoyed glance. “It’s just trying to get under your skin, and screw with you.”

It. Not him. Some small part of my brain noticed that particular distinction. The Aswang was a monster, that was for sure. He’d killed innocent children. And yet, using the term ‘it’ felt like taking some of the responsibility away from him. If something was an ‘it’, there was less personal responsibility for their own actions. Calling Hyde an ‘it’ made him seem like a robot, something that could only do what it was programmed to do.

No matter his reasoning, Hyde was a monster. There was no doubt about that. But he was also responsible for his actions. He was a he, not an it.

Rather than getting into any of that however, I simply smiled slightly. “Actually, there is a benefit to getting him to talk, Doug.”

Both of them voiced questions of what I meant by that, with relatively similar levels of disbelief. So at least they had that in common.

Shrugging, I took a breath while putting my foot up on one of the fallen desks. “See, talking to him helped make sure he didn’t realize what I noticed awhile back.

“All these desks are made out of wood.”

With that, I dropped straight into the desk that I’d had my foot on. From there, I passed through to the next desk. And then the next one.

Yeah, I’d spent the last few minutes not just evading Hyde’s attacks, but actually setting this whole thing up. One by one, I had knocked over, kicked, nudged, or otherwise moved more than half-a-dozen desks until they formed a sort-of semicircle. All of them were touching at one spot or another, allowing me to keep passing all the way through them.

I popped up and out of the last desk… directly behind Hyde. Before he knew what was going on, or had even had a chance to react to my disappearance, I wrapped my staff around his throat and jerked backward. He made a strangled noise of confusion and horror.

A plea, a threat, a promise? I didn’t know. And at that point, I didn’t care. Not after all the death he’d been responsible for. His wife and daughter deserved justice. But so did all the kids he’d killed trying to lure Heretics out for his revenge.

He’d crossed the line, and there would be no going back.

Jerking backward on the staff, I twisted while simultaneously triggering the enormous kinetic charge that it had built up by that point. There was a screech from the Aswang, followed by a sickening crunch of snapping bone and tearing muscle.

The resistance vanished. With a final crack followed by a sick slurping noise, Hyde’s head was torn free from his neck, along with part of his spinal cord.

His body fell, collapsing to the ground to leave me standing there with his head tucked under one arm.

I had the sense of mind to throw the head away from me before the pleasure took over. Doubling over, I let out a gasp as my aura flared up. That incredible rush swept over me, and I barely resisted the urge to moan. It was the strongest reaction like that I’d felt since the shark-man. Or possibly since the Amarok. Wow.

Also, there was a disturbing amount of blood and other bodily fluids (or head fluids) that had leaked out over my clothes. I was basically soaked in the… stuff.

“Wyatt,” I managed after catching myself on my staff like a walking stick. Looking up that way, I pleaded, “Tell me you disabled that spell.”

He looked about as exhausted as I would have felt if it wasn’t for the Amarok’s stamina. Eying me, Wyatt nodded. “Yes,” he announced. “I had to wait to disable the last part until he was dead. But… you took care of that.”

“No shit she did.” Douglas’s voice was filled with awe and… well, what sounded like a little bit of fear. “You just–what did you just… how did…”

“She finished the fight,” Wyatt informed him, pride in his own voice. “And she did a very good job.”

“Indeed.” The new voice came from the doorway, where Professor Dare stood. She stepped in, looking at the body on the floor, then to the head on the other side of the room. Moving to me, she asked quietly, “Flick, Wyatt, Douglas, are you all right?”

“We’re good.” I looked around at the others before focusing. “Wh… what about…”

“Harper and Russell are fine,” she assured us. “Hisao is with them. And the other Aswang has been killed. I was hunting the other one and tracked him here. I see you were forced to get involved.”

“He was going to kill a lot more people,” I replied softly. “A lot more kids.”  

“With Heretic magic, Professor,” Doug put in quickly. “How is that possible? How could that creature know magic from Heretics?”

Her head dipped in a bow of acknowledgment. “That is a question to be looked into later, Douglas. By qualified experts. For now, your part is over. Relax. You all did well. Very well.

“Now let’s go home before we have to find a way to explain this mess.”  

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34 comments

  1. Well, that was kinda gross, huh? But hey, at least he’s dead. And they managed to stop that spell from killing anyone else, hooray! 😉

    It also means that this arc is over. So donators will be receiving an e-mail to help decide on the next interlude fairly soon. Not only that, but we have another new mini-interlude to throw onto the list on top of the Shiori/Avalon one that’s already there. This one will focus on Flick in a sparring match with another student from the school.

    So you guys have all that to look forward to. Should be a good time, all around. But until then, hope you enjoyed this chapter. And the tags for it were: Don’t Worry Dare – Flick’ll Make Sure You Guys Get A-Head Of The Situation., Doug Might Be Re-Thinking A Previous ‘Confront Flick In An Empty Hall And Demand Answers’ Plan., Douglas Frey, Felicity Chambers, Flick, Truman Hyde, Virginia Dare, Wyatt Rendell

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Okay, so Hyde does have a backer. My knee-jerk reaction is to think it’s Fossor stirring up people. That would explain where all the offscreen attacks Seller drscribed in arc 6 came from, and we know he’s plannig to wipe out Eden’s Garden and Crossroads. He could have learned Heretical magic from Joselyn and taught it to others himself. At the same time, that seems a little too easy…

    Oh well. We’ll just have to wait and see. As usualy, the fight scene was great. I love Doug’s reaction to Flick’s power-enhanced fighting skills, and the tag about him rethinking a confrontation. That was funny.

    Unfortunately, between her, his surprised at Wyatt’s competence, and how quickly Wyaty was there, he now has some genuine hints as to what’s going on. Not to mention the potential issues he might cause with his official debrief. Who knows what the Committee will do if he talks about how she tried to reason with Hyde.

    … is there any chance we could find out power Flick just got or do we have to wait?

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Hyde was quite the hyper-aggressive opponent, wasn’t he? Unfortunately for him, Flick turned out to be the more clever combatant.

    I’m also very curious about who Hyde’s backer is. He gave a few clues, but nothing really to generate meaningful speculation atm.

    >With the Aswang’s arm trapped, Doug put both hands on the handle of his sword and reared back to drive it forward through the man’s face. He was clearly intent on putting an end to this once and for all.

    Hyde, however, clearly didn’t agree. An instant before Doug would have driven the point of the sword through his eye, the Aswang transformed. He suddenly went from being a man with some extra bug-like features to Being a wolf with some bug- like features. Yeah, he looked like a big wolf that was covered in exoskeleton scales and had face that looked more like a beetle than a canine.Plus, not only did he have those pincer arms still (they came out of the wolf’s shoulders), he’d also fixed his tail during the change to give himself the blade on the end once more. So he actually looked like a cross between a wolf and a scorpion.
    Me: I’m assuming that Hyde was able to unpin that arm during the transformation? On a side note: he had several “THIS ISN’T EVEN MY FINAL FORM!” moments.

    >“She finished the fight,” Wyatt informed him, pride in his own voice.
    Me: Nooo, Halo 2 flashbacks go away! 😛

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m also very curious about who Hyde’s backer is. He gave a few clues, but nothing really to generate meaningful speculation atm.

      Clearly it’s Chef Escalan.

      Me: I’m assuming that Hyde was able to unpin that arm during the transformation?

      Yeah, when he shifted, he just separated his arm entirely from around the blade and withdrew it.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Did Hyde grow a second set of arms? If so I think you forgot to mention that last chapter. Don’t have time to check right now though.

      *starts to say that it was mentioned specifically in this chapter, then double-checks*

      … God damn it, It’s there, but it got edited to a weird location during the rearranging of stuff. That’s fixed now. The relevant ‘shape-shifting part’ now reads:

      By that point, a protective, bug-like exoskeleton had extended over the man’s entire body. I could still see some of the hair that he had sprouted sticking out from between the narrow gaps in the plates. At a quick guess, I would’ve said that the hair served the purpose of providing sensory feedback that the plates themselves took away. At the same time, the Aswang grew a second set of arms from the lower part of his torso. They ended in a deadly-looking set of pincers

      In the original-posted chapter, that shift was noted while he was talking about his ‘backer’, which was originally a conversation that happened earlier. I moved it to the end to avoid breaking up the flow of the actual fight, but forgot to keep the arm-growing up at the start. Thanks for pointing it out. 🙂

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  4. Typo thread

    Hyde, however, clearly didn’t agree. An instant before Doug would have driven the point of the sword through his eye, the Aswang transformed. He suddenly went from being a man with some extra bug-like features to Being a wolf with some bug- like features.

    That being shouldn’t be capitalized.

    Sometime through that, Doug had mostly recovered. But rather than jumping in, he stood there staring at what was going on. I can see his eyes widening with each passing second, And it seems like he had frozen up.

    Switched to present tense, and tbat last comma should be a period or the A should be lower case.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. and knocking him hard against beside his own sword.
      Eliminate either against or beside, don’t use both.

      and it seems like he had frozen up.
      You can’t tell from this snippet, but change seems to seemed.

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  5. And Doug is starting to get an inkling that maybe, just maybe, the girl who’s been getting ambushed and into trouble all year is a bit more capable than average, although I’m still waiting for her to mention killing two werewolves in one-to-one combat.

    My own personal theory for the Aswang power is that she has the “Appears to be a Bystander during the daytime” power, ie she no longer triggers Alter’s Reaper sense during the day.

    I really hope that Doug uses his next question a bit more intelligently, such as to find out where Hyde learnt Heretic magic.

    Finally, to explain away the whole “Why were you talking to it?” questions Doug is inevitably going to have, they could reference the incident with the Formorian where Flick kept it talking to distract it. For some reason, I’m quite surprised at how, well, stupid Doug seems to be. Even if he thinks all Strangers are subhuman, I would have thought that [em] someone [/em] would have mentioned to him that that doesn’t necessarily mean that they are unintelligent. In this Arc he seems to see Hyde as an unthinking beast, which, while in line with Crossroads teachings, seems just a little bit suicidal.

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  6. Typos:(marked by underscores)

    *As I finished the _term_, the desk hung loosely off the end of the staff, which was pointed straight at the incoming monster.*
    turn

    *He came at me with his two arm blades, two hands, _tale_, and proboscis.*
    tail

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  7. “He reared back with a cry, his tail narrowly missing its intended target.Instead, the tail struck him upside the head, drawing a line of blood across his temple and knocking him hard against beside his own sword.”

    “His temple” sounds like it refers to Hyde, rather than Doug, given the prior uses of “he/him” in that paragraph. My Olde English Prof would probably suggest “across Doug’s temple and…” instead.

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    1. I switched ‘the tail struck him upside the head, drawing a line of blood across his temple’ to ‘the tail struck DOUG upside the head, drawing a line of blood across his temple.’ That switches the him to Doug a tiny bit earlier.

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  8. Reblogged this on Twilit Dreams Circle and commented:
    “But hey, at least this time it wasn’t personal. He just hated me because I was a Heretic, not for anything particularly unique. Although the fact that that was kind of an upgrade was a bit sad.”

    Agreed. It is sad that someone wanting to murder you just because of what you are is an upgrade to everything else.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ooops, yeah, like Hendy said, Intrepid has been updating at least a chapter a week, sometimes two, this entire time. I just need to get around to actually putting it on ff.net. There’s a few arcs worth of material that aren’t posted there yet. So uh, yeah, whoops.

      Right now, I’m waiting until my Vista-Centric Spinoff story Odyssey finishes its first arc, because it’s intrinsically tied up with Intrepid (as in, you have to read both of them to get the whole story). After that first arc finishes, I’ll be able to post both the new arcs of Intrepid and the first arc of the Vista story at the same time. Otherwise, you’d have to read the Intrepid parts and have no idea what was going on in the Odyssey parts.

      I could probably get away with posting at least a couple arcs before we catch up with the stuff that ties into Odyssey though, I suppose. But yeah, if you follow the link Hendy gave below, you can see everything that’s written for it already.

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  9. ooookay… well, imho, the “backer” is pretty obvious given the future trip of Flic, and more, what was said in it, additioned to the fact that her mom can’t conceal anything… well, do the maths…

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    1. See, that’s my guess too. Fossor’s the only person we know of that makes sense as the backer. But I can’t shake the feeling that he’s too obvious an answer.

      Like

  10. Am I the only one who had trouble imagining Flick’s finisher move?
    “Before he knew what was going on, or had even had a chance to react to my disappearance, I wrapped my staff around his throat and jerked backward.”

    Okay, I remember that she can transform her staff into a bow, so it can be flexible. Still, at first I just assumed that she was just holding the two ends of the staff, Hyde’s head in-between. But then:
    “Jerking backward on the staff, I twisted while simultaneously triggering the enormous kinetic charge that it had built up by that point.”

    So, if she was pulling his head backwards, wouldn’t it be counterproductive to discharge the staff? Doesn’t the kinetic force come out of the tip of the staff? What am I missing?

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  11. “I didn’t, I could go at full speed a hell of a lot more than others.” It feels like “longer” would be a much better word choice than “more” for this sentence. Flick is mentally “speaking” about the increased duration of her full-speed attacks compared to others. More is a quantity-type descriptor. It’s not an error grammar-wise, but I think the sentence flows better with a duration descriptor like longer or some similar word. Though I suppose quantity CAN work, since Flick does have a greater quantity of full speed attacks she’s capable of before slowing down due to fatigue.

    Just thought I’d bring it to your attention.

    Hoping Flick doesn’t get a “No Heretic-ping during the day” Power from the Aswang. Given her stance towards non-Nocen Alters that could be a helluva diplomatic impediment.

    Plus, given the Aswang’s formidable nature as a combatant it’s “stealth ability” doesn’t by any means seem to be its primary power. Which is neither here nor there when it comes to power inheritance, but an inheritance pleasure-jolt described as in the same rough ballpark as the shark-man or Amarok would seem to be a significant payoff. Flick worked hard for that one. Was awesome to see her using her situational awareness so strategically, and how far she’s come with integrating her Werewolf inheritances into her general combat proficiency.

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  12. btw, I wonder, why doesn’t she use more often, she did it one time only if my memory serve me right, her sure kill move: choking the opponent with her sand… they’re alway with their mouth wide open, speaking about their master plan or shouting about her imminent death…
    so many openings…

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    1. She tried to do the sand choke to Pace in 18-06, but it didn’t work. I don’t think her control is good enough for it to be a sure kill. And even if her control is good enough, I don’t think she can move it fast enough to render it impossible to avoid.

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  13. I’m hoping she gets the ability to grow another pair of arms. Not only would it massively increase her combat ability, it would be really cool. I think it would also be the first inheritance power the blatantly changed her human form.

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