Nanoha FanFiction Discussion
View Single Post
Queen of Tragedy
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Place of rocks and trees, and trees and rocks...and water.
And the action level rises...
Crime Never Sleeps
“The worst things we do are always by our own choice.”
New Part 1-4A
New Part 4B
New Part 5: Trial Day 1A
New Part 5: Trial Day 1B
New Part 5: Trial Day 1C and New Part 6
New Part 7
Part 8 and Part 9: Trial Day 2
Part 10: Trial Day 2
Side Story: Raven
Crime Never Sleeps, Part 17
Lutecia shivered, silently loping along the balcony perimeter of one of the Main Office out-buildings. This was the second night of her stake-out, and although she had spent the previous night patrolling as well the time wasn’t wasted as she noted the time it took for her to move between the different marked locations on her mission plan. Besides, it had given her an extra day to practice with Yuuno, and those extra hours could make a huge difference tonight.
She resisted the urge to check the security plans again—she had to trust her instincts and skills at this point, or else she had lost the battle already. Lutecia exhaled, clenching and loosening the fingers on her Device hand.
She was ready for this.
To her shame, Lutecia recognized an eager thrill shiver up her spine. Her insekts were spread outwards from Raven Gallant’s cell in Long Arch like an invisible web, located at all the different entry points and intersections that she had painstakingly researched. And someone had just crossed into her information net.
“Garyuu,” Lutecia said softly, feeling her knight emerge from Ascelipus’ gem. The intruder was heading towards one of the locations Lutecia had scoped out as an interception point, a mid-level out-building emergency vehicle garage. It wasn’t worth risking the magical traces of a teleport when Lutecia could get there through one of her planned shortcuts. Weak mages could sometimes detect magical tracks, and Lutecia didn’t want to lose the element of surprise that she had gained using her insekts as scouts rather than any alarm spells.
It took Lutecia less than a minute to arrive at the garage, and she was reassured when her insekts continued to report that the intruder was still coming towards her. Secure now, Lutecia shifted a group of insekts towards the local closed-circuit cameras, hacking past their dormant commands to temporarily transmit a picture to Ascelipus before looping the tapes. What she saw made her tense.
“Two,” she whispered to Garyuu, her voice no louder than the faint rumbling of the machinery around them. The image was blurred, but there were distinctly two forms creeping into the service shaft. Lutecia hadn’t expected two assassins—rather than ambush the assassin, Lutecia was going to need to separate them, and that required a change of plan. She dimmed the garage lights further, but still left enough light for visual contact.
The service door lifted in a whisper of metal gears before rising soundlessly.
A dog slipped through the black gap, padding across the concrete floor.
He was a large dog, tan and black and built like one of the police dogs Vivio had shown Lutecia from Earth. His teeth gleamed in a half-snarl as he eyed Lutecia, his nostrils flaring as he scouted the room. A series of gouges, like those made from a broken beer bottle, tore across the dog’s face as white scars, although he seemed unbothered by the damage. The only collar he wore was a thin decorative chain, clearly unable to actually restrain a beast his size. It was like a little girl’s necklace with silver stars and hearts for tags. For a familiar he didn’t have the muscled bulk that Arf or Zafira did, but under his short fur was a hard, coiled strength.
Behind him, a second form stepped out into the garage.
The assassin girl made no attempt to hide her occupation—black and deep blue colours seemed to be her preference. Her armoured jacket was lightly built, indicating that she was used to no resistance in her missions or that she relied on offense and avoidance rather than prolonged fights. Given that Lutecia’s own armour indicated the same, it was both an advantage and a disadvantage. She was reading Lutecia with her pale eyes, the same calm assessment in her gaze as they examined each other.
Her chestplate was black leather, solid in front and layered like long vertical scales to the sides. It wasn’t a Barrier Jacket—if Lutecia could get behind her, she could probably slide a knife through the gaps and between her ribs with ease. The only reason for the structural weakness of her armour design had to be the easy access to more weapons compartments hidden in the bulk of her waistbelt, no doubt containing nasty surprises.
Confidently exposed at her hips were two pistols—semi-automatics, was all Lutecia could conclude. That put each magazine at about 10 to 15 bullets each, so Lutecia could probably produce an opening to attack when the girl needed to reload. The weapon choice symbolized bad things for Lutecia; the assassin had to be a well-trained marksman, in order to rely on non-guided ranged weaponry for a living. Guided spells and area of effect magicks meant that precision wasn’t a skill TSAB officers were well-drilled in, other than those who used magic-based firearms. The girl was ambidextrous too, and strong enough to prevent her weapons’ recoils from disrupting her aim.
But worst of all was the fact that pistols should have been a laughable weapon to use against a mage…and if Blackbird had killed so many with those weapons, then something was
wrong with the intel that Lutecia had received on her.
Regardless, Lutecia stood her ground, risking exposure in order to maintain control of the scene. She saw the assassin and her familiar exchange a look, and that one look betrayed them. There was far too much concern in that glance for the familiar to be nothing more than the assassin’s tool.
The dog was the girl’s weak point, and she was his.
Lutecia would manipulate that weakness.
The girl stopped a dozen metres away from Lutecia, far enough away for them to maintain attack options but close enough for them to speak comfortably. She tapped the edge of one holster, her wrist lying lazily on the hilt of her gun. Attached to the back of her glove, in a mirror position to Ascelipus actually, was a silver Storage Device, cut as a diamond.
Ascelipus flashed once, indicating to Lutecia that it was recording.
“What business do you have here?” Lutecia said, letting herself be the one to break the silence. This was undoubtedly her target, but it wouldn’t hurt for a Shadow to be on record for showing caution.
“I’m on the job,” the assassin said playfully, her voice rich and polished. This wasn’t a street urchin-turned-killer, and that alarmed Lutecia more than the fact that her dog familiar had broken off to the side, briefly moving out of Lutecia’s field of vision behind a helicopter. This girl was educated, but considering how young she was—just about Vivio’s age—it meant that she had entered the assassin game later in life, making her unpredictable.
Time to cut to the chase in order to maintain the advantage of familiarity with the location.
“Why are you here to kill Raven Gallant?”
The girl laughed, her eyes lidded and amused. “The imposter? What is your concern if I want to chat with Number Three?”
Lutecia tensed, but didn’t look away. She knew that Garyuu had moved and was guarding her flank, watchful for the dog familiar who had also sauntered away from the two humans. “I am a TSAB officer. Who are
a TSAB officer,” drawled the assassin, although her words soured on the title, Lutecia noted. There was something there, a personal kind of hatred towards them that wasn’t common in average criminals. “I only cover my own ass, not those of other people.”
Her familiar growled, baring white teeth from the shadows. “Don’t talk to her, Raven. The bitch is recording everything you say.”
“I know, Fenris.” The girl smiled, looking unfazed. She hung her thumbs off of her belt, next to but not touching the two holstered revolvers at her hips, and flipped her braided ponytail over her shoulder. “It won’t matter.”
Where was that confidence coming from? Lutecia considered her options carefully, her posture as deliberately unconcerned as her opponent’s. If she could keep weapons from being drawn, this situation could end quietly as Lutecia had been instructed, without anyone dying tonight. She doubted that was where they were going, but Lutecia didn’t have many options with an enemy who she was starting to dread was more than she appeared. “You sound confident.”
Lifting a gloved hand, the assassin gestured around them. “We’ve been talking for a minute now. But I see no bots, no guards, no spell traps. No backup for you, other than your bug who is trying to edge around me. So something tells me that your boss wants discretion, because the price of exposure would be greater than letting a single girl die.” She stared Lutecia in the eyes and took a playful step forward, pressing into Lutecia’s zone. It was a blatant challenge. She scoffed. “TSAB officer? I think you’re an
, just like me.”
“Raven, was it?” Lutecia remarked, loosely clasping her hands behind her back. She hand-signalled her insekts to move towards the security system panels, and stiffened as a thought sprung into life as she stared at the assassin. Fighting to conceal her realization from the assassin, Lutecia said mildly, “And…here I thought you were ‘Blackbird’?”
It couldn’t be…
“Don’t play dumb,” the girl drawled, but her eyes were cold and glinting. “I can see what you’re thinking.”
Fenris snarled, the inflections in the sound both a warning to his master and a threat to Lutecia, as the purple-haired girl dared, “Raven
, I presume?”
The other girl’s body shook in quiet delight as her hands dropped casually on top of her revolvers. “The
Lutecia’s eyes narrowed slightly. “The real Raven Gallant died.”
,” Raven snapped impatiently, a flash of irritation bordering on anger in her tone. “But the only real one who counted.”
“Is that why you’re here to kill
Raven Gallant?” Lutecia asked mildly, taking a step forward, her stride an inch further than the one the assassin had made. She could see Garyuu slowly blending deeper into the darkness as his illusion spell blurred across his form. In contrast, Fenris was becoming more and more visible; he began to grow as he paced as languidly as a cat, the fur along his face rising as the muscles of his jaw thickened, his skull doubling and tripling in size.
Great. The assassin was also a decent mage, to supply such power to her familiar, although Lutecia hadn’t sensed any overt magic being used by her yet. Her mind raced as Lutecia carefully thought through her options. Something was very strange about the girl, and Lutecia wasn’t sure if she should act over-cautiously or take a risk and end the fight as quickly as possible.
If Raven wasn’t using any magic, then it was no contest against Lutecia’s abilities. But if it was a
for the assassin not to use her magic in combat, then what the
was she using instead?
not here to kill Raven Gallant,” Raven said softly as she turned her head so that she was barely looking at Lutecia even as a smug smile spread across her face. “A
Instinctively Lutecia leapt to the side, covering her eyes with a forearm right as Fenris roared, an explosive flash of lightning detonating in front of her. Half-blinded, Lutecia rolled into cover behind a pillar as a shot blasted a gouge in the cement. She could hear Garyuu retaliate with a burst of Shock Bolts, providing cover for Lutecia as she prepared her next action.
“Light!” She shouted to warn Garyuu, then gave a mental command to her insekts. The ones stationed by the security nodes activated, glowing purple for an instant before the lights went out, metal security doors falling over all the exits. Lutecia immediately made her away around the side, looping to flank Raven as Garyuu charged straight out into the open. Spending yesterday memorizing the floor plans of her interception points and walking the scenes paid off now, as Lutecia crept surely through the field of equipment and vehicles confidently, listening for her opponents.
Raven had also gone silent, although she couldn’t be moving as quickly as Lutecia, given that she didn’t know the layout and she couldn’t risk alerting Lutecia to her position by crashing into anything. The blackness was torn through by a howling snarl as Fenris attacked, the skittering sound of claws and spikes on the floor followed by a loud crash telling Lutecia that the familiar had attacked Garyuu and pulled him to the ground, the two of them smashing into carts and vans as they tangled.
Lutecia concentrated, recalling all the nearby insekts into a swarm in the ceiling of the garage, then sent them down, searching every square foot of the room. She would flush Raven out and force her to act first and waste her bullets in the dark.
“Low!” She heard Raven shout, and Lutecia turned to zone in on her voice but she barely needed to—Raven had leapt out of cover and was running towards the main fight. By now, Lutecia’s night vision had improved enough in the dim light to see that the assassin had both guns out and was firing chest high at Garyuu, the bullets flying over Fenris who had ducked down out of the line of fire.
She had no choice; Lutecia cast a shield, keeping it low by her side as she rose, using her free hand to cast a Shockwave at the center of the fight to protect her knight. As expected, Garyuu and Fenris were too large to be bothered by the shot, but Raven sprang backward and spun, and Lutecia realized that had been Raven’s aim all along.
Through the din, Lutecia felt rather than heard the series of shots Raven fired at her, twin flashes of light from her guns as she fired into the dark at the summoner. Lutecia snapped the shield up in front of her and had an instant to brace herself.
Purple flares burst from her modified shield—a springy outer shell, as Yuuno had taught her, backed by alternating hard and soft layers to catch and bleed away the kinetic magic-energy from barret shots. A mass weapon pistol’s bullets should have sunk neatly into the first shell and promptly died there against a mage of Lutecia’s caliber, proving to her that she was an over-thinker and far too paranoid for an S-rank mage.
The first bullet ripped through the second layer of Lutecia’s shield as if it weren’t even there.
The next one penetrated even further against all logic, so close that Lutecia could practically see the lead round deform in her shield layers, and the third shattered the first shell entirely. Lutecia didn’t stop to count how many bullets her decaying shield had caught, only praying that it had caught all of them as she cocked her other arm back, purple light building in her fist.
“REFLECT MIRAGE!” She yelled, throwing the spell in an arc over her head. Controlling the blast radius meant that Lutecia could concentrate the bombardment on Raven alone, and the purple rockets of light converged on the assassin.
Lutecia ran forward and ducked under the shockwave of the magical explosion, skidding across the floor on her knees before rolling back to her feet, scrambling for new cover. The smoke cleared and Raven looked down for the count, moaning in the wreckage of a demolished car, her armour burnt. One of her hands was clearly broken, her fingers crooked and unable to grip the discarded gun at her side.
“NO!” Fenris roared, and Lutecia glanced over her shoulder in time to see the massive dog shake his head like a terrier, snapping Garyuu to the side like a toy as the giant insect-knight was flung into the wall. Like a black and tan avalanche, Fenris closed the distance between himself and Lutecia in two bounds, leaping for her throat with bared fangs.
I'm still very ambivalent about how I'm expressing Blackbird's skill/threat level in this part ^^;;. I'm not sure if the reader can really feel the situation as Lutecia is describing it, or if it seems...exaggerated? Out of proportion? I've rewritten the scene where Lutecia catches Blackbird's shots a couple of times and I'm not sure if it's sufficiently terrifying
But anyway, the Big Reveal!
Finally got that out there
Latest "Angel" chapter
Latest "Daily Activity Logs" chapter
Latest "Crime Never Sleeps"
The Hayate x Vivio Files
View Public Profile
Send a private message to deathcurse
Visit deathcurse's homepage!
Find More Posts by deathcurse