Detective Abarca and the Destiny CardsDetective Abarca and the Destiny Cards Nel Tue, 11/01/2016 - 15:47
My NaNoWriMo Novel for 2016
Detective Abarca and the Destiny Cards - Part 1Detective Abarca and the Destiny Cards - Part 1 Nel Tue, 11/01/2016 - 15:50
“When did I begin to think of the world as being rather strange?
I suppose it was back when I was a rookie police detective. I remember that overcast day well. It was the first murder case I was assigned to. It was also the day that I became a mage. More importantly it was the day that I meet her. Her? Ah, yes, I suppose I should really start at the beginning and explain everything properly.”
The Rose of Vengeance
Police Detective Berardo Abarca rode a bicycle to the crime scene. Not because he was particularly health-minded but because in the city of Listorna it was one of the best ways to get places fast. It was an old city up in the mountains so many of the roads were narrow and could barely fit one car. There were also steep inclines throughout the city and many of the fastest routed required taking several flights of stairs and it was easier to carry a bike up one of those then take the most popular vehicle in the city, a moped.
It was overcast, as was usual, which made ever visit to a crime scene seem gloomy to Detective Abarca. The officers parted with a nod as he walked past. It was a small apartment complex, only three stories tall. He began walking up the stairs to the third floor. According to the short briefing he had received the victim had lived in the last apartment on the top floor.
When he reached the end of the hallway he pulled up the police tape and stepped past it. The blood stained the floor outside the door to the apartment. Apparently that had been what had caused the call to the police. So far there had been no witnesses to the murder of the Kathie Picozzi.
She was still laying inside the room. Dead. Berardo knelt near the body but careful not to touch anything. He had managed to make it even before the police coroner. He kept back his revolt. He has seen a dead body before, back when he was a rank and file officer but this was the first time it was his responsibility.
Her throat has been slashed and not cleanly. The kind of wound you get from an aggressive knife slash from the front, not the quick and clean cut from behind. This was made more obvious by her many other injuries, cut marks all over her body. Had there really been nobody that had heard this he wondered.
It was getting on in the evening now but given the state of the blood and the body it must have been maybe 1pm when this happened. Surely there must have been somebody else still in the building that would have heard this, it couldn’t have been quiet.
Berardo glanced around the room. There were signs of a struggle. Things on the counters were stained with blood and knocked haphazardly around. Not only had there been some kind of fight here but the assailant must have then searched the place looking for something.
Berardo pulled out his little notebook and wrote down a few notes. He circled the line he had written that said, “Was the attack for money or something else?” He had always had a bit of a knack for these kind of things. Some people said it was a gut instinct but he thought it was something subconscious, like his deep mind was putting little pieces together and found something missing but couldn’t explain what it was.
This didn’t feel like a random attack or just a simple robbery gone wrong. Usually when somebody got killed in a robbery it was one accidental injury. Robbers usually don’t deliberately kill. And this kind of extended fight, more like a deliberate attempt to kill the victim. Was the visibly raided house just a ploy to throw off the investigation, he didn’t think so.
Berardo was jolted out of his thought by the police forensic examiner who coughed softly. Berardo stood up and took a step back from the body to let the man do his job. Berardo accepted a pair of plastic gloves from the man and put them on. He didn’t want to accidentally mess up evidence. Berardo carefully walked through the four small rooms that made up the apartment. A living room, a bedroom, a bathroom, and a kitchen plus dinning room. A cozy place that was obviously well lived in.
In the bedroom there was a small computer at a deck although the computer had been broken. He knelt down and looked inside the case. The hard-drive was gone. Curious.
Berardo called back to the forensic officer in the living room. “Have you found the victim’s cell phone?”
There was a pause before the man called back, “It doesn’t seem to be on her. Maybe it was stolen?”
Maybe. Berardo left the apartment and headed back down the stairs the apartment of the landlord. The victim didn’t seem to have any land line so her cell phone would be her only form of contact. A few minutes later he had returned with her number.
He stepped back into the apartment and dialed the number. He initially didn’t hear anything. He stepped into the kitchen and still no sound. Then he placed his ear against the counter and held his breath.
There. The smallest vibration sound. He slide his ear across the counter and it began to be slightly more noticeable. He stopped and pulled open a drawer pulling it as far out as possible. There stuffed in the back was the phone, in vibrate mode. Yet, that wasn’t everything. There was a two other things too.
With his gloved hand he pulled out the phone. Then gently pulled out the card that was next to it. It wasn’t a poker card, it was something else. It had a bright picture of a red haired woman swinging a sword. Some kind of trading card then for one of those collectable card games. Nothing he recognized but that wasn’t too surprising.
The last item was a sealed pack of cards. Emblazoned on the front were the words, “Destiny Burst.” Berardo placed both the objects carefully on the counter. He wanted to know why the victim Kathie had put so much effort into hiding these items. Where they what her murderer had desired. Enough to kill, and to die over? How could that be possible.
Unsurprisingly the phone was locked. He knew better than to try the password, it could erase everything. Maybe the tech guys at the precinct could figure out what was inside it or maybe Kathie’s relatives would know the password.
Berardo headed back to the living room, “I managed to find her phone and a couple other possessions hidden in the kitchen. Can you make sure they are tagged and checked for prints.”
“Sure, Detective Abarca.”
Then Detective Abarca left to question all the residents of the apartment. Hopefully one of them will have heard or saw something.
It was late at night when Berardo finally returned to the precinct and sat down at his desk. Had had taken off his hat and put it on the rack next to the deck. He rubbed his eyes, he had found nothing. Nobody had heard or seen anything about the crime or the killer.
He flipped open his notebook and looked back over everything that he had written down. Kathie had moved into the apartment 6 months ago yet almost nobody in the building knew anything about her. They had remarked that she seemed friendly but distant.
She had also come and gone from her apartment at random times. The landlord had her job written down as freelance personal assistant, whatever that meant. Apparently she had paid her rent three months in advance so the landlord didn’t dig too much into her source of income.
The last sticking point was that Kathie seemed to have no family, at least that Berardo could find. Surely she would have parents somewhere but he couldn’t find anything about them. The emergency number she had left with the landlord didn’t seem to actually exist and if her parents were real then they were the type of people who hated phones.
Something was suspicious here but Berardo couldn’t find exactly one thing to point to. His closest guess was that she was probably involved in some kind of criminal business and was killed because of it. Fake family information would be explained by that as well and this type of murder. If she ran away with drugs or secret information then silencing her and taking back the information would make sense.
But there was one last thing that bothered him. Kathie has been regularly seen with another woman, a tall red head, although body know anything else about this mysterious woman. The only thing he had to work with was a vague physical description. Not really enough to go by.
Berardo turned up to see the forensics guy standing over his deck. He was holding a bag.
“Yes? Did you finish examining the evidence?”
The man nodded, “Yes, I wanted to get it to you before I headed home for the evening.”
“Any good news?”
“Maybe. We found some prints belonging to somebody who wasn’t Kathie. They were pretty common in the apartment. I suspect that she was living with somebody else, a woman I believe from some of the other evidence.”
Berardo took the bag and pulled out the papers that were inside. It was all the detailed information that they had discovered. “I see. Anything else? Did the tech guys manage to get into that phone?”
The forensics guy, Jerry, shook his head. “Unfortunately not. Although you might be interested in what they did learn. The phone is a custom job.”
Berardo looked up a him, “A custom job? You mean not a major brand? Do you know who it is made by?”
“They weren’t able to figure out who made it, and yeah that is rare. Although the tech guys said that it is becoming more common. As things get smaller and cheaper to make it is easier to make specialized phones built off some open source operating system.”
Berardo nodded, “I see thanks. Anything else? Was the murder weapon found?”
“No, the criminal must have taken it with him or her.” He paused for a second before saying, “Oh, but one thing. The knife wounds, it wasn’t a small knife that did it. More like a real combat knife, something big and dangerous.”
More evidence for the criminal connections then. “Thanks.”
“Everything is in there. Including the phone. Hopefully you can make something of this. Us down in forensics couldn’t figure it out.”
Berardo nodded as the man walked away. He glanced up at the clock. It was already 10pm, he probably wouldn’t be getting much sleep today.
He pulled out the stuff from the bad. It was the phone, Kathie’s purse, and a few other things from around the house. Lastly he pulled out the bag containing the card and pack he had found with the phone.
He held up the card looking at the woman depicted on it. This clue was very odd. Why did it seem that it was deliberately kept out of the murderer’s hands. Berardo turned on the computer on his desk and after waiting a few minutes for it to start up opened up a browser and typed in “Destiny Burst”.
Or at least nothing relevant. He added the words “card game.”
There seemed to be several results. Somebody mentioning that they heard something about the game and asking how to get it and what the rules were, but the answers were equally uninformative. Somebody claiming that the game went out of print very soon after it was first released. Another saying that the game isn’t actually real.
Berardo looked over at the card and unopened pack. Rare huh, was it really that valuable? Something worth killing over? He couldn’t imagine that was true about some simple cards. Although he had heard that in some games cards were worth hundreds of dollars. Maybe cards from an extinct game were worth thousands or more to the right collector.
Detective Abarca and the Destiny Cards - Part 2Detective Abarca and the Destiny Cards - Part 2 Nel Thu, 12/01/2016 - 18:26
He was staying there too late, Berardo knew that. It wasn’t good to spend this much time working a case without rest. He glanced up at the clock and saw it was almost midnight. He might be the only person left in the precinct at this time. Once he had finished getting all his notes done he would leave, he promised himself.
It had been overcast all day and now he could hear the splattering of raindrops outside. The main problem with taking a bike places is that it liked to rain in Listorna and you had to get used to getting wet.
He was trying to remember where he had left his raincoat when the lights in the building all suddenly went out. The room was suddenly plunged into darkness and Berardo had a sudden sensation of dread and reached for his gun.
Then what he really didn’t expect to happen, happened. He heard a woman’s voice. A bit sharp and commanding, “Don’t bother. Your weapon is going to be useless against it. If you want to live you need to follow my instructions.”
He glanced around rapidly trying to figure out where the voice was coming from but he didn’t see anything. Then his eyes were drawn down to his desk where the only source of light was in the entire room. He had initially thought that Kathie’s phone has lit but, which was true but that wasn’t the surprising thing on the desk.
From the light glow of the phone he could see the card that was lying beside it. The red haired woman who had been posing previously was not instead staring at him…. From inside the card. He blinked… then again… and again. It was something he was not prepared to understand.
Then the woman inside the card said, “Stop gawking. It won’t save you from the man who killed my Dreamer. Now quickly, you have to get away. You can’t stop him, not yet. Grab me and the phone.” She looked toward her left, “And the extra pack. You need to make sure he doesn’t get me or them.”
Normally Berardo thought he would have been dumbfounded a little longer but he was a detective and released the severity of the situation he was in. The killer was here, come to take what he had previously failed to find or maybe to silence the talking card lady…. He still had trouble understanding it.
Berardo nodded, “Alright. I have plenty of questions but for now just tell me what I need to know.” He took the phone and pocketed it. The pack quickly joined the phone in his pocket. He then took the card in left hand and glanced around the room.
What was the best way to escape the police precinct. He worked on the second floor. The main stairs seems like a risky option however the back stairs was also a bad plan since that was where the power junction was. If they had cut the power then they would also be waiting there.
The card spoke again, “The person that is hunting us is know as the Cockatrice.”
“Is he alone?”
“No, he has somewhere between two to five servants. I don’t know how many he can control at the same time but it wouldn’t be more than that.”
Six people. That would complicate things. All the standard exits could be covered with that many people. Jumping from one of the windows would be the best option. He began heading east toward the set of meeting rooms next to the east wall. That would be the farthest from any of the entrances from the first floor.
“2751” She said.
“What?” Whispered Berardo as he did a combination crouch and run across the room trying to stay out of sight and still move as fas as he could.
“The password for the phone. 2751. Quickly put it in.”
He fumbled for the phone while moving. “I’m not certain how that is going to help.”
“Do it! Quickly!”
Berardo managed to almost make it to the meeting room before a pair of throwing knifes grazed by him and embedded themselves on the desk just behind him. There was a shadowy figure on the other end of the room in the process of drawing more knifes.
Berardo broke into a run pushing open the door to the meeting room and slamming it shut behind him.
“The phone is unlocked? Is there a purpose to this?” He said, probably louder than he should have.
Berardo reacted instantly dropping down and several knives passed over his head. He swiveled his head. There was a hole in the door where the knives had passed through. Knives shouldn’t be able to pass through a door like that.
“Quickly start the Destiny Burst app and then do your best to survive.” She said.
It all seemed so crazy. How would starting the application help he wondered. However he obeyed pushing down on the application on the phone before shoving it back into his pocket and rolling to one side. More knives sliced into the ground that he was just on. They even cut through the floor, disappearing.
He pulled himself to his feet. There was annoying jingling music coming from his pocket but he ignored it. He kept his eyes on the knife thrower who he still couldn’t quite make out in the darkness. While he watched in case of more incoming knives he backed up toward the windows of the meeting room. They were made of thick glass not something that was easily broken. He had planned on throwing something heavy through them to break it but now had a different plan.
Then the man threw the knives again. The man had been watching as well and this time didn’t plan on missing. There where five knives all coming it at different distances away from him, impossible to escape all of them.
Berardo managed to avoid four of them. The fifth was almost avoid it. He could feel the intense pain in his shoulder as it ripped past him. He couldn’t really feel that arm anymore except for the pain but now was his moment to act. He turned and kicked the window. Normally it wouldn’t have broken under that force but three knives had just pass through it sending cracks all through the glass.
It shattered and Berardo jumped out. He had a short moment to ponder how bad of an idea it was to jump from the second story onto pavement. Then his legs were in pain. He managed to do a little roll like his training had told him to do and then he began to run. The good news was that he didn’t think he shattered his legs. Bad new was that it was still incredibly painful.
He had almost managed to get out of the precinct parking lot when a large object began to swing in from once side. He rolled out of the way avoid it but ending up on his back because one of his arms wasn’t strong enough to hold him up.
The man above him was dressed in a black trench coat and was carrying a scythe. Berardo’s mind didn’t have time to contemplate that but his body reacted. With his one good hand he pulled his gun from its holster and pointed it at the scythe wheilding man.
The entire clip was empty before Berardo realized that the man was not reacting at all to the bullets that where going through his coat. Then the man raised his head and said, “Too bad. Looks like this is the end for you.”
There were bright glowing eyes in the sockets of a skull instead of a face. The skull looked down at him and then raised the scythe to bring it down and end Berardo’s life. Berardo didn’t do anything him mind not yet recovered from the fact that his gun was ineffective against a skeleton. This must by why she said that it was useless to use his gun.
Her…. He realized that he had dropped her card when the skull man attack him. The card was lying in the wet pavement a few feet away from him. It was hopeless.
Then the phone in his pocket played a tune. A happy hopeful sound that somehow pierced through the soft sound of the rain.
Then her card began to glow. The skull man had been about to cut Berardo in half instead quickly glanced in that direction too following Berardo’s gaze. Then an eruption of fire poured out of the card and out of it came the woman. Not as a card but full human size. A tall woman with blazing red hair.
“Looks like you lasted long enough. Good job.” She said. In one of her hands was a sword wreathed in fire. She lunged toward the skeleton man who pulled backward getting out of range of both her and Berardo. Then she lifted Berardo with her other hand.
“Sorry Reaper but I’m not letting you have him.” Then she jumped. Leaping beyond human capably. A blazing woman practically flying away from the police precinct, taking Berardo with her.
It was all too much for Police Detective Berardo Abarca. Too impossible. Too insane. And without the adrenaline to fuel him he fainting.
How to play Destiny Burst
It was the morning sun shining through the misty morning that woke Berardo up. His body was still full of aches and pains as he pushed himself up. He was outside somewhere, it looks like one of the many parks in Listorna. The views from Listorna’s parts was always magnificent.
Given that he was waking up in such a place he knew that the events of last night could not have been a dream. He could actually feel his left arm, at least a little but he thought that it was broken. Not a good sign. Although it seemed to have been bandaged while he slept.
Berardo looked around and saw her. She was sitting in the grass with her back up against a tree sleeping. Like that she almost looked normal, he could almost pretend that she hadn’t been inside a card when he had first seen her or burst out of the card in a tornado of flames while holding a sword. In fact he couldn’t see that sword anywhere and while previously she had been wearing some fantastical outfit now she looked to be wearing normal clothing.
He wondered for a brief moment where she had gotten those clothes but it was one of the least important questions. Instead he let her continue to sleep and pulled out the phone that was still in his pocket. He put in the password again and glanced over the screen. There were a bunch of apps that you would normally expect and then there was the Destiny Burst.
That was the same name that was on the pack, the name of the mysterious card game. He clicked the app and that unusual tune played once more. Then the screen showed two orbs or maybe crystals, something that. One of them was was pulsing, spinning, and had a symbol of a red rose placed over the bottom half of it and the other was just slightly glowing but was other wise had nothing special about it.
There also seems to be an almost transparent crystal next to them. There was text that said 3% although Berardo didn’t know what that could mean. There seemed to be some other tabs that he could click on but before he could find out what was on them he heard her voice call out to him.
“Ah, your awake. Good. I was worried that your injuries would keep you out for longer. I wouldn’t know what to do about if you had kept sleeping.”
Finally Berardo managed to ask some of the questions that he had desperately wanted to ask, “What the hell happened last night?”
“Cockatrice wanted to finish the job. Capture or dispose of me and retrieve the phone. You were just in the way.”
Detective Abarca and the Destiny Cards - Part 3Detective Abarca and the Destiny Cards - Part 3 Nel Thu, 12/01/2016 - 18:27
“That…… doesn’t answer my actual question. That first man was throwing knives through walls and the second had a skull instead of a face. Any you, you were a talking card that burst into flame and then leaped away like magic.”
“Oh,” She looked a little flustered, then her face hardened and she looked rather sad, “I’m sorry your introduction for Destiny Burst was like that. Usually it is exciting and fun… but Cockatrice, he is not playing Destiny Burst.”
There was anger in her voice as she continued to speak, “He doesn’t follow the rules and he kills the opposing Dreamer. He…. He killed Kathie……”
Berardo changed into detective mode then. This wasn’t just an attempt on his life, it was part of the investigation and he couldn’t let this ‘Cockatrice’ get away with him murder, and attempted murder.
He spoke, “I’m sorry about the dead of Kathie Picozzi but I need you to explain things to me properly or else I will never be able to capture Cockatrice.”
“You’re going to capture him?”
“Yes, it is my duty as a police detective to ensure that he is captured and punished for his crimes.”
He saw the worrisome spake in her eyes, it was something that he had seen before. It was the look of somebody who desired revenge. He needed to do him best to defuse that spark while still procuring her cooperation.
He said, “I don’t know much about Cockatrice or Destiny Burst and I clearly can’t do much against that skull man. I need you to help me capture him.”
She nodded to herself, “Alright. I’ll accept you as my Dreamer.” There was a light tune that came from the phone that Berardo was still holding.
He looks down on it and there was a star on one of the tabs. It was a picture of face of some kind. He clicked on it and the app changed to show the text ‘Heroes’. Beneath that was a picture of her and beneath it was written ‘Rose of Unyielding Flames.’
“Rose of Unyielding Flames?” he asked.
“Yes, that is my name. Although Kathie just called me Rose for short.”
“My name is Berardo Abarca. Now how does this think work?”
“It is a medium allowing Dreamer to Dream. That first tab shows you your crystals, the source of your power. Right now you only have two of them and I’m currently using one of them.”
“Using one of them? How?”
“To remaining in this physical form. Without it I would revert back into a card. Normally I need three crystals to fully manifest my power but with two crystals like you have I can manifest for a short time, at least long enough to get away from Cockatrice’s Reaper of Wandering Souls.”
“Reaper of Wandering Souls. That sounds like your name, is that skull man like you then? What about Cockatrice?”
“Reaper of Wandering Souls like like me, a hero. However Cockatrice is a Dreamer like you although calling him a Dreamer is being extremely generous. He is more like a nightmare incarnate.”
“Then what, it takes one crystal to keep out like this but without powers?”
“Basically. Normally this isn’t an issue since 10 active crystals is considered standard. Until you gain some more you will be at a disadvantage against Cockatrice. I believe he is capable of using 15-20 crystals at he same time.” She gritted her teeth, “It is unsurprising that Kathie lost against him with that kinda of handicap, it a fair fight she would have won.”
“Did she only have 10 crystals then?”
Rose nodded, “No, she only had 5 crystals. Since she only had me she had been doing minor duals. Normally she might have had more crystal than that but she had recently spent them all buying a new pack. Even if she had wanted to use more than 5 against him she couldn’t have.
Berardo held up a hand, “Wait wait wait. Information overload. First you keep saying Cockatrice is not a standard player of Destiny Burst. How does it normally work?”
“Umm… let’s see. Two Dreams get together. They determine how many crystals they will be using and what each of them are wagering on the battle. Then the heroes fight and the Dreamers use spells to assist them. When one of the Dreamer is rendered helpless then the Duel is over and the winner is determined. The loser pays the winner the bet.”
“Gambling fights using people like you? That is your normal?”
She blinked a few times like she was trying to process that statement, “Is there something wrong with my explanation? Dreamers are not harmed during those duals and heroes can not die in those kinds of battles.”
Berardo shook his head, “I’m going to pass on giving commentary on this particular element. We will leave the gambling until after the murder problem. Second question. What do you mean that Kathie spent her crystals buying a new pack?”
“You have it don’t you? The pack that she bought? She never had a chance to open it before she was killed.” Her faced saddened, “Although with only 5 crystals the extra hero wouldn’t have done her much good.”
Berardo pulled out the Destiny Burst Hero pack from his pocket. He was surprised how good condition it was still in considering. “Wait, are you saying that there is somebody like you in this pack, a hero?”
“That is why it is a hero pack.”
“Give me a moment. I’m trying to tackle the human trafficking issues in my mind right now.”
“But we aren’t human. And since the pack isn’t open the hero in there is basically not born.”
“Not born how does that even work?”
“I suppose I should explain the Makers are best as I can now. Dreamers, like you and Kathie, create crystals over time. Then Dreamers bet, trade, and use their crystals until they have an excess of them. Then the Makers buy those excess crystals for packs of Destiny Burst cards. The Makers then use those crystals to create the very cards they are selling.”
“Are you saying that you are made of these crystals and that these makers made you?”
She nodded, “Isn’t that what I just said? It is why heroes typically look like humans since we are made from excess fragments of human subconscious.”
“Again, I’ll put assign my issues for the moment. Is there more than one person in here?”
“Are you having reading comprehension issues? It says right on the pack, 1 hero and 4 spells. Hero packs cost a lot of crystals so you can’t expect more than one hero. Most Dreamers only have a couple of heroes and then use their other crystals for spells.”
She paused for a moment while I examined the pack, “Go on.” She said, “open it.”
Berardo had some desire not to mess with evidence but he didn’t feel right leaving somebody inside it so he pulled at the sides until the top opened. Then he pulled out the cards. He looked over the first card but it was Rose that commented first.
“A speed boost spell. Simple but extremely useful. A good spell for a beginner like you.”
The picture was of a bottle or vial, something like that. Maybe meant to depict a potion. The text on the bottom said the name of the spell and there was a short description of what it did. ‘Gives target an extreme boost in speed for 60 seconds.’
Rose pointed at some parts of the card, “This is the crystal cost. For spells this is usually 1 crystal. The number here is more important. It tells you how long it takes that crystal for, in this case it is 2 minutes. This is also the cooldown for the spell so even if you have 2 crystals you can’t keep the spell up all the time.”
Berardo nodded trying to understand are best as he could. This was uncharted terrain for him. Magic, card games, what was next? He put that card at the back and looked at the next one. “Hole. Creates a hole. Cost 1 crystal. Cooldown, dismissal + 10 seconds” He spoke this aloud. “What does that mean?”
Rose said, “This is a dismissible spell. It means that the effect continues to last until you disable it however it keeps using that crystal until you disable it.”
“Making a hole doesn’t seem like it would be that useful.”
“Depends on how creative you are. When you were running from that knife throwing hero you had to break through the window using his knifes. Wouldn’t it have been easier had you just been able to put a hole in the wall.”
“That…. Is probably true.” He flipped to the next card. “Shield of the Morning. That doesn’t sound like a spell.”
“Ohh, an equipment card. Heroes generally come with a set of their own gear but equipment cards can give them incredible but specialized benefits. These take their cost in crystals up until they are dismissed like the hole.”
“Banish the darkness. That isn’t very descriptive is it.”
“Most cards are actually that descriptive. The Dreamer is supposed to figure out the best uses of each spell. They are limited by the Dreamers creativity.”
“Great. I’m sure that will go well. Lets see what the last spell it then.” For some reason this was exciting to Berardo. Looking at them one at a time wondering what they might be and at the every end would be the hero.
“Garden of Lost Sorrows. Changes the battlefield to the Garden of Lost Sorrows. What sort of card is this.”
“This pack sure has an interesting selection of spells. That is a battlefield card. It is a spell that changes the area around the Dreamer. They are powerful and cheap effects but they effect both sides equally. If the casting Dreamer understands the effect and their opponent does not then it can be a great benefit. Certainly not a beginner strategy.”
“Then the last card is.”
He hesitated and he began to reveal the last card. He didn’t really understand why he was so nervous. Finally he finished the move and they could both see it.
The picture showed a woman in a sun dress standing on a cliff looking out toward the ocean. Sigils floated in the air in front of her face forming circles around her eyes.
‘Eyes that Gaze the Horizon’ was the title of the card.
Rose looked over the card intently, “Eyes that Gaze the Horizon. A very nice name. She seems to be a 2 crystal cost support hero.” She nodded to herself, “An excellent companion. A cheap support hero would be a good match for a 3 crystal assault hero like myself. Of course you don’t currently have enough crystals to use us both together but I’m sure you will get there.”
Berardo kept his eyes locked on the card. He felt drawn to it like the woman depicted was staring at something important and he almost felt like he could see it as well. Eventually he spoke, “Is she supposed to speak?”
“She is still asleep. Not yet awakened. Without the energies from your crystal she will forever remain an inert card.”
“What about you. You spoke when I first met you.”
“That was because I had already been awakened by Kathie. Once we are awakened for the first time we retain enough residual energies to be active even while in our card. She doesn’t have that energy yet.”
“How do I awaken her then?”
“Make sure Destiny Burst is running and then say ‘I awaken you’ along with her name. Also make a cool pose. That last part is very important.”
He wasn’t quite sure if Rose was teasing him so he stood up as best as he could. Then with his one good arm he help up the card and said, “I awake you, Eyes that Gaze the Horizon!”
It wasn’t the best pose. The phone chirped the strange tune and wind began to whip up from around the card that Berardo was holding. There were sparkles that began to hang in the air and the the woman materialized, held in the air above the card as the card desolved.
She was exactly the same as in the picture. A young woman in a white sundress. The floating symbols around her eyes flared and vanished as Berardo’s crystals failed to fully manifest with with Rose already out. Her eyes were strange. A deep blue with sparkles that seemed to swirl while you looked at them.
Then she floated gracefully to the ground and looked eye to eye with Berardo. “Greeting Dreamer. I am Eyes that Gaze the Horizon and I am yours to command.”
Detective Abarca and the Destiny Cards - Part 4Detective Abarca and the Destiny Cards - Part 4 Nel Thu, 12/01/2016 - 18:29
Berardo raise his hands and shook them in a gesture of denial. “Oh, no, you don’t need to do anything that you don’t want to do. I just didn’t want to leave you in that pack forever.”
Eyes that Gaze the Horizon looked confused, “Then should I return to my card state and stay there until you need me?”
He didn’t know what to say so he looked at Rose to silently request her aid.
“I’m sorry, our Dreamer is an idiot and is inexperienced. What he meant to say is that he has no need to use his crystals right now so we can remain in our restrained forms until he needs the crystals for battle.”
“Why is our Dreamer so generous?”
“There are many Dreamer that believe in cultivating the social bond between themselves and their heroes. They believe that doing so makes interacting with their heroes more enjoyable and that the heroes fight harder as a result.”
Berardo just stood there flustered not certain what to make of the conversation between the two woman.
“Ah, I suppose I can understand that. Passion is strong motivator. Perhaps I should be thankful that he is not motivating me with fear or pain. Oh, I suppose his strategy is already working.” She turned to Berardo, “I shall do my best to form a strong bond with you.”
“I think you are both missing the point but I think I’ve given up trying to understand some of the things you are saying. I think I should just head back to the precinct and try to explain why there is a broken window on the second floor and why my arm is broken. Also I should actually get my arm taken care of, no offense Rose.”
Eyes that Gaze the Horizon spoke, “The precinct? What happened?”
Rose spoke, “Our dreamer is Police Detective Berardo Abarca. Last night we were attacked by a Dreamer who was violating the Prime Rules. We barely escape with our lives.”
“Police Detective Berardo Abarca. That is a very nice name. And what is your name?”
“I am Rose of Unyielding Flames. Although humans like to use shorter names so you will hear Berardo call be Rose and me call him Berardo.”
“Why would he want to do that?”
“Brevity. Even I understand that. I notice you ask a lot of questions is that part of your nature?”
“I suppose. Oh, It seems Police Detective Berardo Abarca has left during our conversation. I don’t have any experience with other Dreamers but he seems to be a strange one.”
“He is my second Dreamer and let me assure you all Dreamers are strange. Ours is still adjusting to being one. I expect him to realize the benefits of it soon enough. Although we should be quick and follow him. The Dreamer that attacked us last night is known as Cockatrice and we need to make sure he does not attack again.”
Eyes that Gaze the Horizon nodded. “I will do my best to keep a watch out. Without being fully manifested I will be greatly limited but I will do everything that I can.”
The two woman nodded in agreement and followed Berardo back to the police precinct.
After a grueling several hours Berardo collapsed at his desk. He had first had to get his arm looked at and sure enough it was broken and the gouge would definitely leave a scar. The doctor said he should get physical therapy once he could move the arm again because there was a lot of muscle damage.
Lots of bad news. Then he had to explain to the chief of police why there was a hole in the window and why he hadn’t been in contact when everything happened. That was difficult for Berardo. Luckily he had left his phone in his coat on the rack by his desk so it was easier to explain.
His explanation was that a witness to the crime, a red-haired woman named Rose, had come to him late at night. Unfortunately the murder had followed her and had brought some friends this time. They had barely made it out with their lives. Because of this the witness was understandably concerned with making a public appearance.
He wanted to tell the chief of police everything but he was actively worried that something would happen if he did that. There had to be a reason why something is potentially dangerous and powerful as Destiny Burst was not common knowledge. Considering what he already had access to there might be something like memory whip spells or people in the know could just be eliminated. Once he had figured out the details he could tell the rest of the police if it was beneficial.
Once it was all over he finally had some time to sit down at his deck and look over his notes. He was quite aware that at this point his notebook now looked like a mad-man’s ramblings or maybe some weird beginners guide for Destiny Burst which was written by somebody who knew nothing about it. He had even jotted some strategies about using the spells he had access to in different ways. Certainly an insane man’s journal.
He snapped the book shut when Detective Alexander walked over, “Berardo, you look like your in a rough state. I hear you got your harm torn up with a knife. Aren’t you supposed to study fencing or something?”
“Again Alexander, that was Sherlock Holmes not me. Need you constantly tease me about that?” Said Berardo. Alexander was a more senior detective then Berardo and he helped him through most of his training. However once Berardo had mentioned that one of the reasons that he wanted to be a detective was that when he was a kid he admired Sherlock Holmes and wanted to be like him. Since then Alexander had just never let the issue go.
“Haha, well maybe you should start studying fencing since you are apparently no good with a gun.”
“I hit him but the man was wearing a bullet proof vest and it did little more than stagger him.”
“Well the Chief said that is you need any help in this investigation then just call me up and I’ll do what I can. Wouldn’t want to have you injure your other arm you. I know, I’ll let you be my Watson when we team up.”
Berardo just grumbled as Alexander laughed and walked away. Berardo knew that Alexander would come running to his aid if he requested it but the man never let Berardo forget when Alexander came to his aid.
With that out of the way he took a moment to go and pour himself a cup of coffee. The coffee was always mediocre but even that normality soothed him for bit. Soon he would have to go back out there and figure out how to capture Cockatrice and how to explain it when he did. But for now he had a simple cup of coffee and he could enjoy it.
All two soon the cup was empty. He put on his detective coat, which didn’t fit right with his broken arm, and put on his detective hat. Alexander always said that he looked like a detective out of some 50s tv show but Berardo just thought it felt right. Detective were supposed to have some style.
With that accomplished he put his one good hand in his pocket and strode out of the polic station.
The King of Endless Water
Once he was outside he pocket spoke up. “What are we doing next Police Detective Berardo Abarca?”
Berardo pulled out the card for Eyes that Gaze the Horizon, or as he had decided to call her, Horizon. When he had gone into the police station the two of them had decided to take the form of cards so that they could join him.
“I was hoping that Rose could help give me a lead. Since you mentioned that Kathie actually played Destiny Burst there must be other Dreamers in this city other than just Cockatrice. If so then they probably know something or they might also be in danger. I was hoping that you could lead me to them.”
“Sure.” Came Rose’s voice from his pocket and pulled her out too, holding them both in his good hand. “First you should probably go to the Destiny Burst store and get registered so that the others know that you exist.”
“The Destiny Burst store? Is that were they sell pack?” asked Berardo.
The image of Rose in the card nodded, “Yes, that would be where you get more packs but it also functions are a meeting ground for Destiny Burst players looking for people to duel and gain more crystals. How is your next crystal doing? Without some extra crystals it will be had to investigate.”
Berardo looked around but he had managed to find a secluded area for a moment. He held out the cards and said, “Awaken! Rose of Unyielding Flames, Eyes that Gaze the Horizon.”
Wind and sparks filled the alleyway for a moment before the two of them stood before him again. With them out of his hand he was able to fish out the phone from his pocket and open the application.
“It saws 47% complete.”
Rose nodded, “It is progressive fast then. Crystals grow faster when Dreamers have unique and interesting experiences. It is part of their connection to your subconscious.”
“Are you planning on getting some more spells?” Asked Horizon, “I reviewed what you already have but your selection is pretty barren. A few extra spell packs would greatly broaden your capabilities.”
Rose said, “Your right but he probably can’t afford them yet. I estimate he needs 8 crystals before he even considers buying more spell packs. After all he needs enough to summon me and you and then still use the spells he does have.”
Berardo held up his hand, “Please, we can have this conversion while we walk. Can I first have directions to this Destiny Burst store?”
“Right, right,” Said Rose, “It is in the Owl Heights shopping mall.”
“What? How…. But…. Wouldn’t I know if it was there?” Berardo worked his mouth in confusion. Owl Heights was one of the popular sections of the city of Listorna and the shopping mall there was extremely popular.
“What better place to hide a tree then a forest?” said Rose. “Also the Makers use their spell cards to conceal the place from people who shouldn’t find it. It is easy to find if you know that it is their and you never notice it if you are not looking for it. Convenient.”
“What you consider convenient, I consider mind boggling. The tram is the fastest way to get to Owl Heights, follow me.”
Horizon’s eyes widened, “There is a tram?”
“Yeah, it does up the center of the city. Its usage it paid for in taxes so it is free for anybody to use. It is extremely crowded during rush hour but right now it should be fine.”
She looked excited, “Let us go see it now.”
It only really dawned on Berardo then that although Horizon had knowledge and intelligence appropriate for her apparent age she had no experiences. She had just recently been awakened for the first time and was therefor excite to see something she thought was interesting.
Oh, boy. He was not prepared to deal with this kind of situation. However did he get into this mess in the first place. Alexander would probably say that it had started by reading a Sherlock Holmes book and he probably wouldn’t have been wrong.
“To the tram it is then.”
The trip to Owl Heights was mostly uneventful. They rode the tram up the mountain while Horizon stared out over the city. Given her name Berardo kinda understood a little bit about why she might light it. Vistas like this were fairly impressive he had just gotten used to it since he had grown up in the city.
Detective Abarca and the Destiny Cards - Part 5Detective Abarca and the Destiny Cards - Part 5 Nel Thu, 12/01/2016 - 18:31
The Owl Heights shopping mall was crowded, even during this off time of day. During the evenings the place was even worse. It was right off the tram so it was easy for almost everybody in the city which was one of the reasons it was so popular.
Rose lead them through the hallways and up the escalator. The Destiny Burst store was apparently on the fourth floor. Berardo tried to remember all the shops on the fourth floor. There were a bunch of them but he had been to this mall many time, most residents of Listorna had.
The major feature of the fourth floor was a large book store which had been there since the mall had opened. Some clothing stores, a restaurant. Berardo wracked his brain trying to figure out where the shop would be but came up with nothing.
Rose followed a hallway around the side. There was nothing there except for a small electronics store and the back side of the book store.
When she stopped suddenly Berardo said, “So, where is this store?”
She motioned toward the wall that was the back wall of the book store. Berardo turned to it about to say that there was nothing but a wall there. But he was wrong. He would have sworn that when he had walked down this hallway just moments before he had seen nothing but there was a shop there.
A small entrance with a little display window next to it. Nothing remarkable but it was certainly there. A sign above the door said, “Destiny Burst” and in the display window there were cards laided out. Spells.
“Oh.” Said Berardo. “I suppose there was something here. Whatever this concealing spell it that was surprising.” He pushed open the door and the three of them walked into the shop.
It was roomier inside then had seemed from the outside. It was wide but not very deep. It must have been nestled between the bookstore and the wall and nobody noticed assuming that the bookstore continued all the way to the back. Berardo did some mental math and decided that it could probably fit, he would have to consider doing some measurements some time.
There was a small counter to one side with an sales clerk behind it and bunch of card packs were stored in the displays behind him. They had all kinds of different pictures on them in different groups. There were also a bunch of other random things that Berardo couldn’t yet figure out what they were used for.
Then there was a bellowing sound and a giant man ran up to Rose of lifted her up, “Rose of Unyielding Flames! You’re alive.” She seemed to be being crushed in what was probably a hug.
“Hey, King of Endless Water. It is good to see you too but could you put me down.”
“We saw the news, is it true that Kathie Picozzi is dead? That is horrible! What happened?” The man was speaking loud enough that it could probably be considered shouting.
“Cockatrice attack us.”
His eyes widened, “Cockatrice! That bastard! Just wait until I get my hands on him. I’ll crush the life out of him.” He quickly changed his focus to Berardo and said, “Then this is your new Dreamer? You found him mighty quick.”
Rose finally managed to free herself from the man’s grip, “Yes, this is Police Detective Berardo Abarca. He found me at the crime scene and agreed to help me find Cockatrice.”
Berardo tipped his hat, “It is a pleasure to meet you. I’m sorry to meet in such circumstances however. I assume you were well aquatinted with Kathie.”
His anger seemed to slide away to show the sadness he had been hiding with it. “Yeah, me and the young miss knew her. We had even Dueled a few times. She had promised to challenge me again when she had gotten used to her new hero, which I can only assume was going to be you.” He said looking at Horizon.
She curtsied and said, “It is a pleasure to meet you King of Endless Water. I am Eyes that Gaze the Horizon. Unfortunately I have never meet Kathie Picozzi. She died before she had the chance to open my pack. It was awakened by Police Detective Abaraca.”
While they spoke Berardo saw the young woman, no maybe just a teenager who had creeped up behind King of Endless Water. She was wearing some kind of school uniform and had braided black hair. If the big man was a hero, like his name suggested, then she would have to be her dreamer.
King of Endless Water noticed the attention and smile a big friendly smile, “Ah, I see that you noticed her.” He turned and knelt a little so he could look at her face to face, “Come on, it won’t be too bad.”
“I’m not a child any more.” She said, although she did sound a bit nervous. “I don’t need your help for everything. I can introduce myself.” She moved slowly around him trying to look like she knew what she was doing. Instead she just felt out of place and uncomfortable.
“I’m Meike. I would say it is nice to meet you but our meeting is unfortunately heralded by the death of a friend. I would have preferred to never have meet you at all.”
Berardo looked down hiding his eyes with his hat, “I understand.” Had Kathie survived then they would have never meet. Meike would have been happier that way. While Meike seemed nervous she was also plain spoken, not sugar-coating her words. “I would like to make sure Cockatrice is punished for his crimes however I am unfortunately out of my depth. My visit to this shop was in preparation to finding out how to stop him.”
King punched his fist into his hand saying, “He will have his punishment coming when I find him. Lets see how well he can handle a five star generalist like me. I would like to see him try.”
Rose shook her head, “But he will be able to beat you. He doesn’t play by the rules and he has multiple powerful heroes at his command. I have been able to confirm at least two of them but I know he controls more and still is able to command multiple spells as the same time. He can control at least 20 crystals at the same time, maybe even more.”
Meike took a few steps back, “20 crystals? At least? I’ve tried controlling that many but things slip away and become difficult to control. I can maybe do that many in a casual duel, but it in a life and death struggle, that would be impossible.”
Horizon said, “Could he be better than you then?”
It was Rose that responded, “I suspect he is, which is troubling. Meike is a Destiny Burst prodigy. She had been playing for years and is in the top 5 Dreamers in the city. Anyone significantly better than her would be almost impossibly good.”
“You’re that good?” Ask Berardo.
“People give me more credit than I deserve.” Said Meike. “King of Endless Water supports me and my total win ratio is not that superb.” Berardo thought it was more personal uncertainty then actual modesty. “Even my strategy is still lacking. My redeeming feature is my crystal control. My renown is mostly give from my unlimited crystal duels where Dreamers are allowed to use as many crystals as they possess. Most people have trouble controlling more than 10 so the standard duels are limited to that many.”
Rose nodded, “It is impressive seeing her duel like that. I’ve seen her control 17 crystals at a time. It is an exceptional talent which is why Cockatrice is so dangerous. If we want to defeat him we have to have a plan, and you need to train Berardo.”
Kind looked Berardo up and down, “It looks like he had never been in a proper duel then? And nether has Eyes that Gaze the Horizon.”
“Correct,” Said Rose, “I wanted to make sure that he registered here today. However he really isn’t in any state to battle currently. It is currently all he can muster to keep the two of us manifested. I expect he needs at least 4 crystals before he is even capable of proper training. 8 would be optimal but I don’t expect that Cockatrice would wait that long.”
Meike nodded in thought, “A rookie with only a few crystals to his name. I would say we could share my crystals but only one’s own crystals are useful for Destiny Burst. Other people’s crystals can be kept and sold at the counter but if you were to take and use my crystals in a dual, you would certainly lose.”
“Great” said Berardo. “I guess magic isn’t perfect.”
Rose said, “Some things you have to earn. Other people’s crystals work fine for using spell cards outside of duals but the crystals reaction time is triple that of your own crystals.”
“However,” said Meike, “There is something we can do for you.” She pulled out a small box and opened it revealing a large collection of Destiny Burst cards. “You won’t have enough crystals to use more spells but I have a couple spare which might be useful. A Communication spell will let your phone work in almost all situations and let you communicate with your heroes are long distance. It isn’t much but it should make your investigation easier.”
Berardo took the card and said, “Thanks.” He pulled out a business card and was about to hand it to her. Then he took out a pen and wrote a second number on the card. “Take this. It had my number and the number of the special phone. If you need help or find out anything more about Cockatrice then call me and tell me. Although if you have the information about him now I’ll accept that too.”
She took it, “I’ll do that. Although right now I doubt I know anything more than Rose does. He was first seen a year ago. Came from out of town somewhere. He made an appearance at this shop once before rumors of him began to spread. He said he was looking for the Eternal Hero and when the shop had no answer for him he left. Kathie wasn’t the first Dreamer he has killed.”
“How many do you know?”
“At least 3 others that I know about.”
“That you know about?”
“How much do you know about people who play Destiny Burst, Detective Abarca?”
“Not too much.”
“Well, there are actually a fair number of people who know about it and are Dreamers however most of them are called light sleepers. They don’t actually care about playing Destiny Burst, they more care about the abilities Destiny Burst gives them. They don’t challenge others to duels, they just gather their own crystals. Buy some spells, have one hero, and they live a normal life. Well, normalish. Like a movie star and their loyal assistant.
“People who gain a little extra power from it and then live a lavish life because of it. Those people are more common then they think. They only come to the shop irregularly, since their crystals grow very slowly. Many of them might only be known by the Makers and there could be many of those that have already been killed by Cockatrice but we never know.”
“Do you really think that is true? That he has murdered a bunch of secret Destiny Burst Dreamers?”
Meike nodded, “Yeah, if he really is looking for this eternal hero checking with people who had little experience with duels would be easiest. The problem with guessing is that we don’t know what kind of qualities this eternal hero might have and why Cockatrice is looking for it. If we had that it would go a long way to defeating him.
Detective Abarca and the Destiny Cards - Part 6Detective Abarca and the Destiny Cards - Part 6 Nel Thu, 12/01/2016 - 18:34
Berardo had long since pulled out his notebook and had begun taking notes about what Meike was saying. He had to hold his notebook in his injured left hand but it provided him just enough stability to write with. At least there was something to go on Cockatrice had a goal and purpose made criminals findable. The worse kind where those that were crazy and you couldn’t understand what they wanted.
“Thanks for the information.”
“You don’t need to thank me for anything. I just want you to find that man. I recommend doing it before I find him or King of Endless Water might not leave any of him for you to punish. Now if you excuse us, we need to get going.”
Berardo let her and the giant King go. Just before they left King transformed back into a card and Meike put him away. With them gone the shop was empty except the clerk manning the counter.
“Will it do any good if I asked the clerk about the crimes?” Berardo asked.
Rose shook her head, “Doubtful. The makers prefer to stay out of conflicts as much as possible. Unless the murders get completely out of control then they aren’t likely to even give up information. And if the are pushed into action then they probably wouldn’t assist you. Instead doing things by themselves.”
Berardo sighed, “Alright. And showing them my badge won’t do any good?” She didn’t have to respond, just look at him and he knew that it wouldn’t do any good. He had dealt with armed criminals previously and this was much like that. If the person didn’t respect the authority of the law and felt they had strength that protected them from the law then they didn’t have to answer his questions.
He still walked up to the counter. After all there was a reason that he came here. “I would like to register for the open Destiny Burst dual list.”
The clerk nodded, “Of course. Could you fill this out.” He passed over a clipboard with a form on it.”
Berardo took it and then went to sit down to fill it out. It wasn’t very long. There were questions like what his handle was, a phone contact number, and how many crystals did he prefer to battle with. Rose helped him while Horizon looked around the store.
After a few minutes he handed the form back to the man to took it.
Berardo asked him, “Since there is this open Destiny Burst dual list could I get a copy of it?”
He nodded, “Of course. You phone will be updated with the list once we are done processing your acceptance form.”
“Good.” And with that he went over to check on Horizon.
She was looking at a bunch of devices that were in cases on one side of the store.
“What are you looking at?” asked Berardo.
“It is an card carrier. You can strap it to your arm and then your can easily pull your cards from it. I’m trying to decide if it would work with your broken arm.”
It looks stupid and had bright colors on it. There would be no way he would wear anything like that. “I couldn’t afford it. Right now I don’t have any crystals to spend on things.”
“This one can be bought with normal money too. It isn’t made with crystals. The makers just stock it to make it easier for Dreamers to battle.”
He still wasn’t going to buy it but he did look at the price since Horizon had been examining it. He choked a little bit at the price. Who would buy something like this for that price. It was almost as expensive as his bicycle had been.
“Unfortunately my detective paycheck is tight enough as it is so I’m going to have to pass.” She looked disappointed. Did she want him to look stupid. “Speaking of money. I’ve guess that the two of you are expecting to also live of my paycheck.”
“Obviously.” Said Rose, “Although some Dreamers have their heroes work job when they don’t need them for battling. I would recommend you do it however since you might need us at your side at any time in case Cockatrice attacks you, or us if we were away from you.”
“If there is a job for riding the tram then I can do that.” Said Horizon.
“No need for that.” Said Berardo, “Do you need to eat?”
Horizon’s eyes widen a little, “There was a burger place one floor down. They have fries and shakes! I definitely need to eat there.”
“Are you trying to push my buttons?” Asked Berardo.
“… …” That actually gave Berardo a little pause, “What? Why?”
“You help cultivate our bond. I can’t do that unless I understand what you want and do not want from me.”
“I, you, that…” Berardo was having trouble finding words.
“Was I doing it too often? Are you getting annoyed at me? Maybe I should turn it down a notch.” She began muttering to herself.
Berardo looked at Rose who smiled and said, “You could order her to stop if you want. However I don’t think your are going to do that. You are just going to have to let her get on your nerves until she decides who she really is. A hero’s first Dreamer has a large effect on their personality.”
“Great, more responsibility. Well, unless there is something else we need to do here. I need to get down to the station and check our lists of missing people and recent murder cases. See if there is any truth to Cockatrice murdering other Destiny Burst minor players.”
They both nodded and followed him as he began to leave the stop. However he was stopped at the entrance by a new man he had never seen before. The man wore fine clothes and had slicked back hair. And earrings. And nose rings. It was like the man was making a deliberate attempt to look like a rich asshole.
“Oh oh oh. What do we have here.” Said the man, “A hero of a dead person and their new Dreamer. I didn’t expect to see you again so soon, or ever.” He passed Berardo and got close to Rose, very close, “You could have just contacted me. I would have come over and taken you in a jiffy. You could have been mine.”
Rose didn’t back down in front of him, “Sorry, Theo, but you would be the last person I would choose to be my new master. I think I would rather be ripped up.”
“Oh, I could certainly arrange that. Something slow though so you would be sure to beg me to stop.”
“Lucky for me then I already have a new Dreamer so you can go and fuck off and leave me alone.”
“How dare you say that to me!” His eyes raged and he raised his hand like he was about to punch her.
Berardo however grabbed his arm with his good hand, “Would you kindly stop.”
The man who had previously ignored Berardo spun around and gave him an icy glare. “Who do you think you are trying to stop me? Some new Dreamer with no experience. If you want to fight I can give it to you. They you will know your place.”
Berardo gave a fake smile. “Sorry. Not interested right now. If you want to fight ask for my number and the counter and we can schedule something. However with the amount that you are bragging I don’t expect to have much trouble.”
The man’s rage was visible. “You think your better than me do you!”
Berardo continued the fake smile, “Oh, and while if you try to hurt anybody.” He pulled out his badge from his coat pocket, “I’ll arrest you.”
“Arrest me! For hurting a hero! Ha! They aren’t real humans and they would hardly stay hurt for long. Like you could arrest me for harming on of them.”
“It is like that is it.” Said Berardo getting really annoyed. “Then just try it. I would love to hear you make that explanation to the jury. I’ve sure the jury would love to hear you explain it to you.”
Berardo could hear he grinding his teeth. Finally his eyes hardened, “Alright then. Have it your way. For now. However in a Duel I can hurt them a much as I like and you won’t be able to say anything. Isn’t that right?”
The man promptly turned away and walked to the counter. As they left the building he could hear the man yelling at the clerk to get Berardo’s information and the clerk apologizing the the registration hasn’t been completed yet and that he would have to wait until it was.
“Why did you try to make him mad?” Asked Horizon.
“Force of habit I suppose.” Said Berardo as they walked through the mall hallways. “Usually when I’m talking with people like that they are a suspect. You push them to get them to make mistakes and tell you things that they normally wouldn’t say.” He paused for a second before saying, “Also people like that annoy me. Always thinking they are better than other people.”
“In Theofilus’ case he is partially correct.” Said Rose. “He is a skilled dueler especially against inexperienced duelers. You basically fell precisely for his bait. He ties to force people into duels and then surprises them with some usual hero or spell and wins there crystals from them. He is responsibly for forcing a bunch of people from abandoning Destiny Burst.”
“I can’t just back down from something like that. As a police detective I can’t back down before threats or criminals would walk all over me.”
“And you don’t like being walked over? What if they weren’t wearing shoes?” Asked Horizon.
“You do realize that is a meta…. Yes, of course you do. Was that supposed to be a joke?”
“Well. It wasn’t a very good.”
“I’m sorry. I’ll try to do better next time.”
They left the mall and took the tram back down to the main station. While he could have spent the evening at the police station the place had already been attacked once. So instead he just quickly procured the list of missing and dead people that had been reported in the last year.
With that he left the station to head back to his own apartment. Much to Horizon’s disappointment the apartment was in the lower part of the city. Places were cheaper there and the place was out of the way. It also wasn’t a sterile complex building. It was an older building that used to be an office building. However the business parts of town shifted and it was converted into a residential building.
The apartment was large and cheap. At least it was big for one person. Things felt a lot more cramped when there where three of them in his living room.
“Sorry if I’m not really prepared for hosting a pair of magical heroes. Some things you can’t really prepare for.”
Rose glanced around the place while Horizon began peeking under things and searching the other rooms. Rose said, “It isn’t that bad. It is bigger than Kathie’s place. We didn’t have much more than necessary space there. You seem to have a couple of extra rooms.”
“Most of them are already in use. I converted that room into a library while the other extra room is full of random things. We can probably condense those two rooms and the two of you share the freed up room.”
“You don’t need to go out of your way to accommodate for us. Eyes that Gaze the Horizon said that she wanted to go eat but as long as you sustain us with your crystals we do not need to eat or sleep.”
“Do not have to? But do you want to?”
“It does make things more pleasant.”
Berardo nodded, “Then the room can be yours.”
“Look, look what I found!” Said Horizon as she came out of the storage room wearing a wooden mask carved with fangs and painted red. “Why do you have these?”
“Try not to mess with my stuff too much. I got that on one of my over seas trips. An old man gave it to me in thanks for helping find his daughter.”
“There are a bunch of strange things in there? Are they all yours?”
“Who else's do you think they might be?”
Detective Abarca and the Destiny Cards - Part 7Detective Abarca and the Destiny Cards - Part 7 Nel Thu, 12/01/2016 - 18:35
“But why are there so many of them?”
“Everybody has to have a hobby. Mine is collecting strange things from overseas and reading. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got to go over these lists of missing people to try to find some more connections.”
Berardo took some cash from his wallet and placed it down on the table, “Feel free to use this for whatever you think is best. And make sure to stay careful about attack from Cockatrice. I plan on leaving this place for a more secure hideaway before night falls in case he comes after us again.”
“I might also take a nap so that I’ll be more awake in the evening so if I’m not done by 6pm then come in and make sure I’m not still asleep.”
Rose nodded and with that agreement Berardo entered his bedroom.
With the door to Beraro’s room closed he finally was alone. He slumped down near the door. He sat there for a minute before crawling across the room to his dresser. He pulled down the picture that sat on the top of it.
A woman standing on top of a mountain stared back at it. He looked carefully at the picture before caressing it softly. “Is this what you meant sister? That I could never escape. I thought I had escaped you, your confusing world. I had thought I had forgotten, that it was all just a childhood fantasy. But it wasn’t, was it sister?”
“I know, I know. In my heart I always knew it was real but still I couldn’t find it. Find you. Just nothing every day until you feel it could only be an illusion. But now I found something, not just found it, I have it in my hands. I was surprised initially, who wouldn’t be?
“But do you know what the strangest thing is? I feel that excitement once more. Even as a police detective I never felt it. Sure I have gotten into some gunfights and there is fear there but I never felt excited.
“Will this let me find you? I don’t know but I think it is my first step toward doing that.”
He had memories, shadows of memories, of the times he had experienced with his sister. He was young then, around 10 when his sister disappeared so his memories of that time had fogged over. He held the picture for a few moments longer, it was the last concrete thing that he had that proved that his sister existed. Finally he put the picture back onto the dresser and pulled himself back to his feet. He needed to be strong now, stronger than ever. There were now two people who needed him like he had needed his sister. Somebody that seemed impossibly in control of everything.
He had a deck in his bedroom which he sat down at. He placed the police records on the table and began pouring over them one by one. After each one he took notes in his notebook about whether it could be related to Cockatrice or not. He had lost track of time when the phone buzzed. Not his phone, Kathie’s phone. He picked it up and looked at the message.
It was from Destiny Burst. It said that his registration had been accepted and that he could now access the handles and contact information about the other members of Destiny Burst that were also signed up. He paged over to the list of had just begun to take notes when he received another message on the phone.
It read, ‘I challenge you to a duel! Don’t you dare wimp out on me now. I’ll teach you how to treat those better than you!’ The sender was labeled as Alchemist. Berardo thought that was a stupid handle, although it was probably better than his personally revealing Detective Abarca. At least if you wanted to keep your personal identity secret.
Berardo check what his crystal progress was at. The third crystal was almost complete. He did some mental math and then wrote back, ‘Three days from now at” he paused, checked the app some more before writing, ‘the warehouse arena. 5 crystal battle with a 5 crystal bet. Also if I win I would like you to never bother Rose or Horizon again.’
The response quickly appeared, ‘You are an even bigger fool then I thought. I’ll be there and very soon you won’t have any crystals to you name. And I will make sure that Rose suffers.’
Berardo grinned a little bit in excitement. It was too late to back out now. It was fly or die. An official fight where he could lose all his crystals. If he did lose it he was sure that Cockatrice would take advantage of it. He couldn’t lose. He checked the time. He was probably going to need that nap. Just a coupe more pages of the missing people report and he would take that nap. He would also need to cross-reference the contact information of the Destiny Burst Dreamers with the contact information of these missing people and see if anything came up.
He was woke by Rose shaking him. He hadn’t really stopped working on the list so much as eventually collapsed at the deck and was forced into sleep. He was still wounded and his injuries were still getting to him. As he came to he saw that it was 6pm just like he had requested.
He quickly pulled himself together and stood up. “I see. It is time to leave then.” Rose nodded.
They left the bedroom. Horizon was sitting on the couch and reading one of the books from his library. She was also wearing different clothes than the sundress that she had worn before. She was wearing jeans and some branded t-shirt. He looked around the room and saw a few bags.
“You bought burgers and clothes with the money I give you?”
Horizon turned up her head to look at it. “Is there a problem with that. You said we could use it however we felt.”
He shook his head not just to show that it was fine, “I guess I did say that. I guess I just didn’t actually know what to expect.”
“I also wanted to get a camera but those were too expensive.”
“Well, I guess you will need to save then. However right now we need to get going. We need to go somewhere that Cockatrice will not expect us to be. That is assuming he doesn’t have any way of tracking us.”
Horizon put her book into a bag she must have also bought and stood up, “That I can help with. If you can unleash my abilities I can check if he is tracking us using card spells.”
“You can?” Berardo asked.
“Of course. I am Eyes that Gaze the Horizon after all. I’m not a support hero for no reason.”
Berardo checked Kathie’s phone, “Well it seems that the third crystal has finished while I was sleeping so let’s give it a try.” He held out the phone and said, “Awaken, Eyes that Gaze the Horizon”
Her eyes began to glow and the floating symbols began to trace patterns around her eyes. A white cloth with tassels materialized around her shoulders like a mantle. She gazed between both Berardo and Rose. Berardo found himself trying to hold his breath while waiting for her verdict.
Finally she said, “Indeed, it is tracking you. However it seems that his spell is limited to tracking objects. He had placed the spell on your coat. As long as he maintains the spell he will be able to tell where it is no matter where you got.”
Berardo grimaces, “My coat huh? I wonder when he had the time to cast the spell.”
“He must has been watching us as we fought Reaper of Wandering Souls and cast the spell when he saw that you were about to escape knowing that he could aways track you down later.”
“Well, this was my favorite coat. Give me a minute.” He headed back into his room and came out holding another coat, it was a similar style but as slightly different tone. He removed the old, tracked coat, and put on his new one. Or at least he tried but Rose had to help him. His arm made everything difficult.
He grumbled as he did that, “Are there any healing spells that can make my arm magically get better?”
“There are however they are rare since healing non-heroes is not incredibly needed for Destiny Burst battles. I’ve heard that several dreamers play Destiny Burst purely to be able to buy a card like that. Usually they have someone like a loved who they desire to heal.”
“Rare huh, sounds like the Makers us that as a way of making people play more Destiny Burst and spend more crystals on them.”
Rose nodded. Berardo grimaced and said, “Well I guess I will just have to suffer then.”
“Kathie had a minor accelerated healing card in her collection which isn’t quite as extreme as what you asked for but it was would speed up your recovery. However those cards are lost now.”
“Cockatrice must have them then?”
She nodded, “I expect. I believe she used the rest of her collection as bait to make him not realize that I was hidden away.”
“Wouldn’t see be unable to cast her spells without her phone.”
“What? Oh, no, she could cast without the phone. The phone is just an aid, like a shovel to dig a hole. Experienced Dreamers don’t have to use it although it makes things easier so usually they do.”
Horizon piped up, “Your a wizard and your phone is your wand. Some day you will be able to learn to cast without your wand.”
Rose nodded before continuing, “Obviously the other features of the phone still make it useful even if you don’t use it for casting. You can contact other Dreamers to organize fights and things like that.”
Berardo nodded, “Alright, alright. Enough distraction, we have to go and ditch this coat along the way. I would rather not have Cockatrice mess up my apartment because he thought we were still here.”
They followed him as he left the building. They were a little less conspicuous leaving then coming in because of new clothing but still people who knew him would probably have called it unusual.
As they walked Berardo said to Rose, “Since you have experience I need you to help train me how to play Destiny Burst. And I need it to be quick. Not only do we have to deal with Cockatrice but my battle with Alchemist has been scheduled to happen three days.”
She sighed, “You really did take his bait didn’t you.” She looked at him trying to gauge the situation. “And you bet all the crystals you would have didn’t you. That was stupid.”
“You had better teach me to fly soon then.”
It was Horizon that said, “Fly! I want to fly too!”
Berardo looked annoyed at her but stopped short. She was looked at him intently. Finally he grinned at her, “Oh, you want to be thrown out of the nest too then? Well it looks like this might be the first thing that we actually agree on.”
Rose looked grim, “Alright then. I guess I won’t hold anything back. I hope you two don’t regret your decision. Although I’m glad, I would have pushed you this hard anyway. Otherwise you will never be able to defeat Cockatrice and get revenge for Kathie.
Berardo stopped. They were standing on a bridge over a stream passing down the mountain. He still had his grin on, “You know, I think I’ve finally found a connection between the three of us. None of us want to lose. As long as that remains I think we will be able to get along.”
Then he took his old coat and threw it into the stream. It flowed away down the mountain. He felt like his old life was going with it. Something else would come in the future but for now he would just have to make up things as he went along.
Detective Abarca and the Destiny Cards - Part 8Detective Abarca and the Destiny Cards - Part 8 Nel Thu, 12/01/2016 - 18:36
Distillation of Alchemy
“Why am I telling this story in third person? Forgive an old man his eccentricities. There are many reasons. First is narrative license, it is easier to weave a tale from an impartial narrator. I can also include details that I did not know at the time but learned later. It lets me do things like this…
He set down the phone with a smirk on his face. It was only one one day until he got to teach that smug detective a lesson. It was only a five crystal battle and bet but when he was picking on newbies that was expected. Sure he could earn more from a high stakes fight but those people were more experienced and even if there was only a small chance that he would lose that chance existed.
However he would never lose to a rookie. Not when he had Hound of the Underworld at his command. Most people preferred human heroes because they accepted orders and could do other tasks but he had gone out of his away to acquire one of the rare full monster heroes. They never complained and fought tirelessly for their owner. Sure he had some humanoid heroes to but he preferred the Hound of the Underworld above all of them.
Theofilus lounged in his penthouse apartment. He had bought it from its previous owned using money he had earned selling his excess crystals. There were plenty of dreamers out there with too much money and not enough skill. They would purchase crystals off people like him to either fund their purchasing of packs looking for a specific spell or to fuel their desire to fight despite their lack of skill. There were enough of those fools for him to live an opulent life.
When the lights in Theofilus apartment suddenly turned out he didn’t waste a second. He drew a card from his pocket and called out, “Awaken, Hound of the Underworld.” People who wasted seconds at times like this lost battles.
A black pit appeared in the ground and the Hound of the Underworld clawed its way out. It was a three headed giant dog with razor sharp teeth. It was covered in armored plate. The monster was unbeatable. However its apparent still didn’t set Theofilus’ mind at ease. He always watched his surroundings.
A hollow voiced called from the shadows, “Call your beast. I am not here to kill you tonight.” With those words a man stepped from the shadows of the hallway. His wore a mask. It seemed to be made out of metal and showed some kind strange lizard bird face.
Hound of the Underworld quickly moved to take up the space between them. As Theo’s eyes adjusted he could see there there was another figure in the hallway behind the man.
“So what did you come here for?” Asked Theo.
“I saw that you are dueling Detective Abarca tomorrow.”
“Yah, that’s right. Are you planning on stopping me from doing that? I’m not going to pretend I don’t know who you are Cockatrice.”
Then the mask smiled and Theo took a step back. “No, I don’t plan on stopping you. I plan on helping you. After all I want you to win.”
“You want me to win? Does that mean you plan on killing him sometime after the battle?”
“Does that concern you?”
“Not really. I’m just not certain I can trust you.”
“Ah, but I have a gift.” Cockatrice pulled out a card from his sleeve, “A boosting spell to help you defeat him.”
Theo couldn’t make out the card in the darkness. It seemed like the card was darker than normal cards. Theo said, “I don’t think I need any help against a nobody like him.”
“Do not underestimate an opponent. He has an experienced veteran training him. I was only able to beat her previous master by surprising her and outnumbering her. In a fair fight I could not have beaten Rose of Unyielding Flames.”
“Really? The mighty Cockatrice could not beat somebody in a fair fight.” Theo snarked at him.
“Knowing you weakness is important. You should keep in mind to remember your own.”
One of Hound of the Underworld’s heads turned and sniffed the air. Theo looked out toward the balcony and gulped. There were three more people out there. He looked back toward Cockatrice. “Alright then. I’ll take your boosting spell. I don’t expect to have to need it but more spells are always better.”
“Good boy.” Said Cockatrice in the tone of a man complimenting a dog.
Theo ground his teeth. He didn’t like having to accept Cockatrice’s terms but he knew better than to fight a losing battle. Better to forfeit and come back later able to fight even better. His other cards were across the room in a case, without some extra heroes he wouldn’t be able to defeat Cockatrice.
He wouldn’t be able to sustain as many as Cockatrice did but he had a different strategy for opponents like him. Rotating crystals with a host of sacrificial heroes could wear down opponents with a weaker collection than him. It didn’t work in a regular duel because of the limited crystals but in an illegal fight it was an exceptional tactic.
Cockatrice took the card and walked over to the case sitting on the table just a bit to far for Theo to be able to get to it fast enough. The man placed the card on the case and gave it a tap. Then he said, “Oh, your going to use it. Because you are full of pride. I can see it in you. You think you could beat me if you had your case. You are wrong. That is because I would kill you before you beat me. Have you ever fought in a duel where it was legal to attack the opposing Dreamer?”
The mask continued to contort. Theo gulped, Cockatrice was right. He had never fought in such a battle. If Cockatrice used all his heroes to attack him directly then he could certainly die before getting to beat Cockatrice.
Cockatrice patted the case. “Take good care of these because if you lose then I will be coming to collect them from you.”
Theo felt like he wanted to slide back down onto the couch but he couldn’t even move his legs he was so frightened.
Then Cockatrice turned around and began walking down the hallway. The lights began flickering back to life. Theo could hear his laughing voice calling back to him, “Feel free to try and follow me and beat me. That is if you want to die.”
Once everything was finally gone and all the lights were back on he fell back onto the couch shaking. He was biting his finger in fear and annoyance. How dare Cockatrice threaten him and in his own home. That man needed to be taught a lesson too right after that pesky detective.
He scrambled over to his card case and grabbed at it feeling more secure with it in his hands.
However he couldn’t avoid seeing the card that Cockatrice has felt for him.
‘Abyss - Gain uncontrollable power’
The date of the duel between Detective Abarca and Theofilus had arrived. In the lower part of town near the train station there were a bunch of old warehouses. Many of which still hold good which have been brought in by train to the city.
Some of them had been converted into other purposes however. This warehouse for example had been turned into an arena for playing Destiny Burst. The way into the arena was locked with a digital lock which opening using the Destiny Burst application. Once inside the stairs up lead to the upper cat walks of the warehouse.
This is where the Dreamers would stand on opposite sides of the building. In the bottom part of the warehouse was countless shelves and boxes which acted as blocking obstacles for during the duel. The heroes would fight down there while the Dreamers provided commands from up top. Should one dreamer run out of heroes then the opposing Dreamer can send one of their heroes to touch that Dreamer which would result in a win.
Berardo arrived there around 30 minutes early. Theo was not there yet. Berardo spend the extra time walking around the bottom layer of the arena. He had the communication spell that he had been given active and was using it to receive advice from both Rose and Horizon. He had done a lot of testing and how found that spell to be incredibly useful. One of its unadvertised features was the ability for heroes still inside cards to see what he was seeing and give advice to him.
There was room around the upper walkways where watchers could stand and observe the battle. Rose had said that some battle were apparently quite popular. If people came to watch this battle it would be to see Theofilus, the Alchemist, cream a rookie. At least normally.
At the 10 minutes remaining mark he moved up to the top level. Theofilus still hadn’t arrive. He would probably arrive at the last minute So Berardo stood on the walkways and waited. Theo arrive 5 minutes before the dual time. He came up the stairs and walked over toward Berardo.
He poked him in the chest and said, “I hope you’re prepared to lose rookie. I’m going to teach you a lesson in respect.”
“I’m pretty certain that isn’t the lesson you are trying to teach me. Maybe ‘keep in line’ or ‘see how weak you are’, or maybe ‘look at how big of a jerk I am’.”
“Say what you will but Rose won’t be able to dig you out of this hole. She won’t stand a chance against my Hound of the Underworld.”
“Good thing I don’t plan on using her then.”
“What? What do you mean you don’t plan on using her? How else would you beat me?”
“In it completely left your mind I do have a second hero. I plan on beating you with Eyes that Gaze the Horizon.”
Theo looked nervous for the first time like his carefully constructed plan was falling apart. However he recovered his attitude quickly, “You’re going to use your rookie hero, mr rookie? You make me laugh. I only regret that I will have to teach her a lesson instead of Rose.”
He did indeed laugh as he walked over to his side of the walkway.
“It looks like he is planning on using Hound of the Underworld just like you said, Rose.”
“Good. Just remember to keep watching him as much as the battle. Knowing where your opponent is looking and when he is playing spells will be critical.”
“I know thanks. I need to cutoff the spell now.”
The duel was about to begin so Berardo had to cut off all his spells. All the crystals had to be available at the beginning of the duel.
There were a few people that trailed in as time ticked down. Mostly unsavory looking people who probably just wanted to see Berardo lose. Then just before the dual was supposed to begin the person that Berardo had been waiting for walked it.
They drew everybody's eyes as Meike and King of Endless Water walked it. Even Theo looked surprised to see them show up. The other watchers made way for them and soon enough those two were watching from one side of the battle arena and everybody else had moved to the other side. Berardo hadn’t quite understood the level of respect people
Then there was a ringing throughout the battlefield and both Dreamers looked up. It was time to begin.
“Awake, Eyes that Gaze the Horizon” shouted Detective Abarca.
“Awake, Hound of the Underworld” shouted Alchemist.
And with those words the two heroes materialized on the battlefield. Glowing representations of the crystals each Dreamer was using appeared behind them. The battle had begun.
Detective Abarca and the Destiny Cards - Part 9Detective Abarca and the Destiny Cards - Part 9 Nel Thu, 12/01/2016 - 18:36
“Activate, Communication” said Berardo quickly reactivating his communication spell with Horizon. “Everything good?”
She responded, “Indeed, everything is going according to plan.” She then began running through the hallways of boxes keeping out of the way of Underworld until they were ready.
One thing Berardo had learned about Horizon during training is that while her offense and defense were lacking her spell and agility were exceptional.
“Activate, Shield of the Morning” called out Berardo as he activated his second spell. The card disappeared and the golden shield appeared on Horizon’s arm. Berardo had initially considered using the shield one Rose however putting it on Horizon let her get closer to enemies without as much risk and her powers got stronger the closer she was to them.
The only remaining weakness was the difficulty of landing damaging attacks. However Horizon was not as weak as she appeared as she gracefully leap up on top of one of the racks and began running along it.
“There she is, on top. Jump up there are bite her!” Yelled Alchemist Theo. The giant dog leaped up on top of the shelves but because of its size it was more difficult for it to keep its balance and it had to keep moving between the tops of shelves or it might collapse something and fall.
‘Now’ Berardo mentally commanded.
Horizon lifted the shield to face Underworld and then it flared into bright light. Besides just acting as a shield the Shield of the Morning made it difficult to watch the wielder because of the reflections and light it produced. A simple effect but versatile and useful.
Underworld closed its eyes and recoiled at the bright light.
“Speed Boost.” Activating another of his spells Berardo triggered the next piece in the plan. With the beast distracted and Horizon empowered she was able to leap high into the air. Then with the force of gravity she fell, precisely aiming for the weak point in Underworld’s armor. A different hero might not have found that point but Eyes that Gaze the Horizon was a support hero able to find the weakness and patterns in opponents.
Horizon aimed the edge of the shield at the point. She didn’t have a great method of attack but gravity and an edge was enough to harm almost anything.
However it wasn’t going to be that simple.
“Activate, Guard Boost.” Came Theo’s voice from across the stage.
The shield came slamming down at the point of weakness and then Horizon leaped away. The edge of the shield was stained with blood but the spell cast at that right instant had prevented Underworld from taking any real damage.
His laughing voice came across the battlefield, “Is that trick the best you can do? You spend all your crystals and the best is a scratch!”
Berardo gritted his teeth. He hadn’t expected everything to go easily for them. They hadn’t training hard just to be stopped light that. He watched Theo’s crystals. The glow from his fourth crystal had already faded and it was recharging. The duration on his Guard Boost was extremely short and the cooldown seemed to be about the same as his Speed Boost which was still active.
On the other had Berardo was already using his 5th crystal. Two to keep Horizon, one for communication, one for Shield of the Morning, and the last was currently keeping Speed Boost going and would then be on cooldown.
Theo knew this and he was having Underworld fight defensively. Berardo knew that he was saving that last crystal to use in 12 second when the Speed Boost wore off.
‘Quickly Horizon, a second assault before it is too late.’ He mentally communicated to her.
Gravity wasn’t the only weapon that had. The environment provided plenty of improvised weapons. She had grabbed a metal pole while she the raced toward Underworld again. She raised the shield to create the flash of light again but this time Theo was prepared.
He barked a command and Underworld had two of its sets of eyes close while the third continued to watch. “Wait” He commanded as she got closer and closer to the beast.
5 seconds remained. Nearly at point blank range the shield went off. One sets of the dog’s eye snapped closed in pain and then a moment later the other two sets opened up allowing the beast to see. Also allowing the metal pole that Horizon was holding to be plunged into one of the eyes.
Underworld howled in pain and took several steps backward while Horizon leaped backward making as much room as she could between herself and Underworld. With Speed Boost and the shield she could attack and defend against Underworld however without the speed she would not as easily be able to defend herself.
The next thirty seconds would be crucial. Until the crystal recharged they would be at a disadvantage and Theo would have the advantage with his crystal he had been saving.
Rose had explained that this was often the case. Dreamers often went back and forth trying to hold out as best they could until their opponent was during recharge and then activate their assault.
0 seconds remained.
“Activate, Webs of Entrapment” came Theo’s words. Then around the arena white webs began to materialize covering the surfaces and stretching between parts of the walkway and the shelves below. Horizon had to dodge them and she tried to escape from Underworld who had begun it chase of her.
One of the webs began to appear in front of Underworld but with one swing of its terribly sharp claws the webs shredded and it continued after Horizon not even slowed. That was a problem. Theo had used this spell specifically because it would hinder his opponent and not his hero.
It was also excellent improvisation. This spell would have been less useful against Rose who could probably have fought with Underworld fairly well. However against the more vulnerable Horizon it was an excellent spell. He must have chosen it since the beginning of the battle. It was his experiencing showing.
Horizon kept her shield arm trailing after her keeping it angled at Underworld. Several times when it got close she was able to have it light up and give her a moment to escape from its clutches.
However Horizon was losing more and more space as Underworld was pushing her farther back and closer to Berardo every second. Then she made a mistake. Her back was placed up against one of the more solid walls in the building. She could have escape to either side but there were webs in both directions. Underworld loomed over her and raised one of it’s giant clawed hands.
Theo gloated, “It seems that this is all you can do. Powerless before my Hound of the Underworld without your speed and your spells. And I’ve learned to counter your shield too. You have nothing!”
Berardo smirked, “Nothing except your price.”
“Kill her!” screamed Theo.
“Activate, Hole” commanded Berardo. The wall behind Horizon disappeared and she fell back threw it. Underworld, because of the force of his expected blow, come through two. Except when he was half way through Berardo canceled the spell.
Horizon swung over the top of the wall and slammed down with her shield on one of Underworld’s weak spots. It didn’t have quite the strength of gravity as her first attempted blow but this time there was no defensive spell.
“How? Impossible! You were out of crystals! You couldn’t have cast another spell!”
“Then you should really pay attention to your opponent. I canceled my communication spell 10 seconds ago.”
Underworld attempted to break free of the wall but they had set it up so that it was the strongest wall in the building that he had been stuck it. Those extra seconds let Horizon swing a few more times causing blood with each blow.
Then just as Underworld broke free from the wall Horizon leaped away onto another one of the storage racks.
“Any it looks like it is my turn again.” Said Berardo. “Pity you did so badly when I was at a disadvantage. Activate, Speed Boost!”
“Noo!” Screamed Theo. He felt that he couldn’t lose, not to a rookie like this but he had been outplayed at every opportunity even when he thought he was at an advantage. And if he did lose then… Cockatrice would come for him. He couldn’t afford for that to happen.
He pulled out the card that Cockatrice had given him. He hadn’t planned on using it but if Berardo was going to put him through this humiliation then what better time then now to use it. His Hound of the Underworld was being pushed back by a speedy foe what was basically unarmed but this would turn the tide.
His crystal that he had used for Guard Boost had just recovered. “Sorry to burst your enthusiasm but it is time to end this charade. This will make you regret fighting me. Activate, Abyss”
He held up the spell as he activated it. His unused crystal glowed black powering the spell. Then the pain started his body became wracked with pain. The next crystal, the one he had been using to sustain Webs of Entrapment changed hue also beginning to glow black as that spell fell apart and Abyss began to get more powerful.
Hound of the Underworld was changing to. Its eyes glowed a brighter red and wisps of silver and black began to appear from its mouth. It was also getting larger.
Theo’s pain began to intensivey and with a cry he fell to the grated floor. His other three crystals were turning black too. No, not just them, his other crystals, the ones that he was not using in the battle were darkening two. There outlines beginning to appear in the air.
“What the hell is this?” He coughed. He was having trouble catching his breath. “What the hell did you give me?”
Berardo was stunned. Horizon had pulled back leaping up onto the grating and standing next to him. This was obviously not normal. He saw Meike motion King who leapt across the room toward the other spectators. Then he grabbed them all in his two giant arms and leapt up. Water swirled around him and a hole burst in the room as he jumped through it.
Berardo could hear Meike scream at him, “Get out of here. Escape quickly. Don’t let it get to you!”
The only thing that Berardo could do was node. He motioned to Horizon and the two of them ran for the exit. Then he stopped and turned and ran down the raised walkway toward the other side of the room.
“Wait, where are you going?” Said Horizon as she followed.
“We can’t just leave him there. Look.” He pointed down at Hound of the Underworld. Without any order the creature was breaking things left and right. Destroying things without any plan.
Berardo rushed up to the collapsed form of Theo. He tried to should the man as best as he could but without both his arms it was difficult.
“Any way we can cancel his spell?” Asked Berardo as he reactivated the Communication spell.
Rose responded, “If it was a normal spell maybe but I have never seen anything like this. If you can get him to cancel his spell then maybe.”
Berardo was carrying his body with Horizon’s help. He could probably make Rose materialize with his currently unused crystal but without a full awakening she would be too vulnerable. As it was Berardo was too vulnerable.
“Theofilus, can you hear me.” He called to them man he was carrying. “Can you deactivate this spell.”
Theo’s voice came mumbling back although it sounded like it was in intense pain, “I tried. It isn’t working. It has already taken over all of my crystals. I can’t do anything about it.”
Berardo managed to drag Theo outside the building but as soon as he did it he regretted it.
Hound of the Underworld burst through the wall right in front of them. It was enormous, at least twice as big as it had been during the fight and it had already been huge.
Detective Abarca and the Destiny Cards - Part 10Detective Abarca and the Destiny Cards - Part 10 Nel Thu, 12/01/2016 - 18:37
Horizon tried to block the giant beast with the Shield of the Morning however with only one swing the shield shattered and Horizon was thrown backward. Berardo felt his spells unraveling and Horizon was barely managing to keep herself solid.
Berardo tried to use that moment to carry Theo father away from Underworld but without Horizon’s help in carrying him, Berardo had trouble with only one arm. He only managed to get a few steps when Underworld roared and began to rush at him.
Just before it reached him drops of water, like rain, came for the sky. Then in a moment King of Endless Water slammed into it from above. There was the crackle of electricity from the golden spear he was holding. Underworld slammed to the ground under the weight of King who raised the spear again and then stabbed it downward once more.
Again and again however Underworld seemed to barely notice the attack. It swung around and managed to throw King free of it. He spun through the air but somehow managed to land on his feet several yards away from Underworld.
The surprising calm voice of Meike came from behind Berardo. “It looks like that won’t be enough.” Previously she had seemed nervous and uncertain but now she felt like a completely different person. Calm and in charge. Berardo had gotten used to seeing the crystals that people had active now and currently Meike was using 8 crystals. Berardo wondered if that was just King of Endless Water and his spear.
She pulled a spell out of a case on her waist. “Activate, Limit Break, Overcharged!” Three move crystals flared to life with those words. And the water and electricity surrounding King amplified.
He raised his spear and Underworld charged him. King thrust the spear into Underworld’s thick hide and then lifted the monstrous beast above his head. A bolt of lightning fell from the sky and smote Underworld who was being held aloft.
Berardo held his breath for a moment and then Underworld began to crisp and blacken. Then it began to crumble. In a few moments there was nothing left of Underworld except a card which floated slowly down from the sky.
Theo began gasping again like he had been holding his breath and now was able to breath again. With Underworld gone his spell was broken and whatever had been causing him pain seemed to be gone.
King grabbed the card out of the air once it was low enough. From Berardo’s angle the card looked like it had been burnt. King walked over toward Meike holding the card with a concerned look on his face.
He said, “It seems that our worst fear is true.”
Her face also looked grim as she accepted the card, “Indeed”
Berardo finally managed to recover from the adrenaline and said, “What worst fear? What just happened. I’m pretty sure that everything that just happened was, well, not supposed to happen.”
She looked up at him, “I don’t suppose you will just leave this to me and King of Endless Water? Things are out of your league now.”
Berardo shook his head, “I can’t.”
She sighed, “Alright then. This fool just activated a forbidden spell and a viral one no less. He should be thankful that he is still alive. Although it looks like all of his crystals have be ruined. A fitting punishment if I do say so.”
“A forbidden spell?” Asked Berardo.
“Basically any spell that wasn’t created by the Makers.”
“And that is bad?”
“Well, they are illegal in standard duals although they are rare enough that people don’t always know that. And for personal use, well, there is nothing inherently wrong with using them. However making spells is an extremely complicated task, people who try to make their own spells almost always end up with something that is buggy and doesn’t work exactly how they expect. And if they make to big a mistake it might be viral, running out of control and ruining the caster who is using it.
“Have you ever had to restart your computer because it froze?”
“Well, imagine that except the computer is a person. There is a reason the Makers discourage the creation of your own spells. I saw what remained of a person who tried to create their own fireball spell. They and all their cards were burnt all the way to the bone.”
She pointed at Theo, “And not to mention mana cost overflow that like. It drains all your crystals totally dry and then when they are all gone begins pulling the energy directly from the Dreamer. One pressing question is where did he get this forbidden spell.”
Theo, heading this pulled back from Meike, and then immediately changed his mind. He got closer to her and began groveling at her feet, “Please you have to protect me. I got the spell from Cockatrice and he said that he would kill me if I failed to beat Detective Abarca. Please, you can’t let him kill me!”
Berardo understood now. Cockatrice wanted weak targets so he wanted Theo to win. Berardo let Meike deal for the groveling man for the moment. He had another task. He walked across the road to the other warehouse that Horizon had been thrown toward.
She had crashed into the wall and she was just lying there. Berardo stood over her and looked down at her. She was crying.
“What is broken?” Asked Berardo kneeling down next to her to see what kind of injuries she had.
She grabbed him and pulled herself over to him. She held onto him while crying.
She didn’t seem to be bleeding but Berardo wrapped his good arm around her comfortingly.
“I couldn’t do anything.” She said.
“You did more than me. I couldn’t even carry Theo without your help.”
“I wasn’t strong enough.”
“Nobody is the best on their first rodeo.”
“You’re not going to abandon me are you?” she cried.
Berardo then understood what she was crying about. He patted her on the head and tried to give her his best smile, “You don’t need to worry about that. I’m not going to abandon you. Even if you don’t want to fight again I’m still not going to abandon you.”
She clutched at him and he held her for a while. Eventually he pulled himself away and stood up. “Now if you want to join me. I need to find out more information about Theo and what happened with him and Cockatrice.”
She nodded and he helped pull her to her feet. He then pulled out and awakened Rose. It had been easier to keep her active as well with 5 crystals then it was with 3 crystals. Then the three of them walked back to where Meike and Theo was arguing.
Berardo coughed, “It looks like you haven’t made a decision here yet.”
“I refused to protect him from Cockatrice and that he should just abandon town. Trying to protect him would make it too difficult for me to research his illegal spell.”
Theo looked dejected. Berardo nodded, “Alright then. I’ll take care of him. The police have some secure locations that they can keep him and I can have Horizon check him for any tracing spells.”
Meike nodded and then they turned to walk away.
“Wait,” said Berardo. “If you get more information about Cockatrice then sent it to me. I can’t fight a overpowered beast like you just did but I’m good at investigation, I am a detective after all.”
She nodded, “Sure. But you have to return the favor and give me your information.”
“Alright. I have some information that I’ll send you later.”
Then Meike was gone.
“So, Theofilus. It now seems our positions are reverse. Would you kindly apologize of Rose?”
“Yes, yes, of course. I’m so sorry, Rose of Unyielding Flames. I have reflected on my actions and will no longer insult people like I did. Now will you please protect me from Cockatrice.”
Rose looked down at him, “That sure didn’t sound sincere.”
“Now, now.” Said Berardo. “We should expect too much from him considering. But he is in luck. I am a police officer so I would be happy to put him in protective custody to protect him from a wanted criminal. I hope you aren’t too picky about food.”
Theo bowed and scrapped.
Berardo looked up at Rose, now ignoring Theo, “It is going to be annoying trying to explain this to the police chief though.”
“What are you going to say?”
“Honestly? I think I’m going to tell him the truth.”
“You think that is wise?”
“Wise or not I’m risking my career. However if I stay silent and he does eventually find out then I am finished for sure. And since I work in a career full of policemen and detectives that it only a matter of time. Also my resources are straining, there is a lot of work that needs done and I need police records. I can’t just keep hiding it while getting that information.”
“How do you think the police chief will react?”
“Honestly, I’m not really certain. He has always been an enigma to me. I can barely guess what he is going to do for a normal situation but for this? I don’t know, maybe keep the secret and let me work unmolested. Of course, getting fired on the spot is also an option.”
“What will happen to us if you get fired?”
Berardo scratch his head, “Not certain. My vacation savings will last us for a bit but beyond that I would need to get a new job. And probably check if Meike needs any assistants for tracking down Cockatrice.”
Rose nodded, “Alright then. But try to break it gently. Most people aren’t very well inclined to believe stuff like this.”
“You’re telling me. I’ll want you to to be a card for the encounter. That way it will be easier to demonstrate when that is inevitably called for. Hopefully he will accept a private demonstration. If the entire police station gets wind of it that would be immense trouble.”
Berardo looked down at Theo, “In that vien. Theo, unless you are speaking to the police chief or me don’t tell anybody the truth. I’m sure you can imagine how bad things might end up for you if you do that.”
He gulped and nodded.
“Alright then. Are we ready then?”
He received nods and they they headed out with Theo trailing behind.
The Owl that Waits
Berardo pushed open the door to the police chief’s office. The chief was sitting behind his deck reading something off his computer when Berardo entered. The police chief was probably the oldest man in the building. He had been the police chief since Berardo had been a rookie cop.
The man had long since retired from active service and now was just an administrative head of the station. He called the shots and his calls were final and everybody in the building knew it.
“Ah, Detective Abarca.” He said looking up.
“Chief Santoro.” Responded Berardo.
“Is something wrong? You have been gone for three days in your investigation with barely a word to those in the station.”
Berardo nodded, “Yes, I guess this about that. I found a man who had be threatened by the murderer and brought him here to be put into protective custody.”
“Ah, very good. Do you think you will be able to get information out of him?”
“I hope. However it was partially about that that I wanted to talk to you.”
He raised an eyebrow, his head was bald but his eyebrows were still plenty bushy, “And what did you want to say?”
“Well, it is rather difficult to explain and you might have trouble believing it. I would like you to keep an open mind while I explain.”
“Oh, we are having this conversation are we.” He said.
Detective Abarca and the Destiny Cards - Part 11Detective Abarca and the Destiny Cards - Part 11 Nel Tue, 12/27/2016 - 18:36
Berardo furrowed his brow in confusion, “What do you mean sir?”
“We don’t need to beat around the bush now do we Detective Abarca? I already know you have gotten involved in this Destiny Burst things.”
Berardo stammered, “What? You already know about it? How? Wait, how much do you actually know?”
“Enough.” He said waving his hand, “Magic, unauthorized gambling fights using kinda people. I’ve heard some stories but usually they avoid contact with police. Most people like that do.”
“But how? How do you know this? How many people in the force know about this?”
“No need to hang your jaw about this.” He huffed. “You watch police activity long enough you notice certain patterns. As for how many people know about this, not many, although it took you long enough. I had thought you would figure things out sooner.”
“Sooner? I’ve afraid I’m still floundering here.”
“Do I need to explain everything for you? Why do you think you, Detective Alexander, and Detective Zinnes all work alone? Didn’t you find that as usual?”
“Are you saying that Detective Alexander and Zinnes knows about Destiny Burst?”
“Maybe, I don’t follow all the details of what each of them knows. However there are more strange things in the city then just Destiny Burst. Those two follow different cases.”
“Are you saying that we are like secret police agents trying to solve normally impossible crimes?”
“Now your getting it. Took you a while.”
“And we are alone because these things need to be kept quiet.” Berardo paused, “Also because the jobs are dangerous. Pairing us up means that if something terrible goes wrong then only one of us dies.”
“Close enough. Although none of you truly work alone. Right?” He eyed Berardo piercing through anything that Berardo might try to say.
“I suppose that is true. Then Alexander? Who does..”
“That is not for me to discuss. Secrecy is important remember.”
“Then if you know all this stuff then who really are you?”
“Is the being the chief of police not enough for you? I suppose I could say that when I was a young whippersnapper like you I held a position much like yours. Solving crimes that people were better off not knowing about. Now you are that person. And you should get back to work instead of blabbing in my office.”
He waved at the door, “If you have any request just send them to the correct channels and I’ll make sure it gets approved.”
“What if somebody notices something weird? Isn’t this supposed to be secret?”
“There are generally two types of people. Those that only notice this stuff if it shoved in their face and those that will constantly be bugged about it until they figure out the truth. Should any of the latter show up in the police then I alway have more work that needs to be done. Now you are dismissed.”
Berardo nodded and left the office. He should get used to being stunned since it seemed to happen all of the time. Had he really been as blind as he apparently had been. He looked over at Detective Alexander who was laughing with a group of officers. Was he really involved in stuff like this and Berardo never noticed.
He heard the whisper of Rose’s voice in him mind through the communication spell, “Well, at least it went well. No unemployment for you.”
Berardo flashed a short grin, ‘Good, I’ll need that vacation money after this. Although you two are going to stay inside your cards during the plane trip, those things are expensive.’
‘Ohh’ came the disappointed sound of Horizon. She surely would have liked to ride in a plane.
Berardo had had Horizon check Theo for tracking spells before she had returned to her card from. He was clean. That made it easier to just hand him over to the police and tell them to keep him save. Given the chief’s apparent understanding, Berardo gave orders to confirm any plans about Theo with the chief because the person threatening Theo’s life was very dangerous. The officers nodded in understanding.
A few minutes later Berardo knocked on the door to the forensics office. Jerry, one of the police forensics officers looked up from the desk he was working on.
“Hey, Jerry, I had some questions if you could help me.”
“Sure Detective.” He spun to face Berardo with his swivel chair.
“Two months ago there was a murder case. Silver Johnson was the victim, he was an artist.”
“Yeah, I remember. We believed that it was done by his former lover however we couldn’t find any decisive proof and her alibi held up. The crime was never solved but all the leads ended in dead ends.”
“Precisely. Do you remember anything else unusual about that case?”
He placed his finger on his chin. He had been trying to grow a beard but had been failing. “There were no witnesses. Those who lived nearby said that they didn’t see or hear anything unusual. One of the reasons the old lover was figured. She had been coming and going from his home for many months and wouldn’t have been seen as usual.”
Since that didn’t seem to satisfy Berardo he tried to think of other things, “He died of some painful and slow acting poison which takes several hours to kill and could be prevented with a hospital visit. We know it was a murder and not a suicide because showed signs of being tied up. The murderer must have been looking for something because the house was also ransacked but we hadn’t been able to figure out what had been taken.”
“Well, other than the victim’s cell phone which was missing. However you would hardly ransack an entire place to find somebody’s cell phone.”
“Do you know the victim’s cell phone number? The police report I read didn’t have it.”
“Probably, let me check,” He swiveled back to his desk and checked the computer. He pulled up some files. “Yeah, it is right here.”
Berardo looked at the screen and the number. He pulled out his notebook and checked the number with the number on his list. They matched. Looks like Meike had been right. “Damn.” Said Berardo.
“You know something?” Asked Jerry.
“Yeah, I think that the murderer of Silver Johnson is the same person who killed Kathie Picozzi.”
“Really, what did you figure out?” He sounded eager. Normally a commendable trait but Berardo didn’t want to say too much.
“I have a list of contact information which I believe is how the murderer is finding their victims. Including Kathie and Silver is makes 4 confirmed deaths of people on the list within the last four months and potentially 3 more.
“Maybe even more. These are just the ones I’ve been able to get some validation from. Also my list is incomplete there could be others that he has murdered and they wouldn’t be on this list. That is one of the reasons that I need your help.”
“My help? What do you need?”
“My list contains only phone numbers and email addresses with a handle. I need to find out how he is locating the people and their address since I have reason to believe that he isn’t just reaching out to these people through the contact information.”
Berardo handed over the copy of the list to Jerry who looked over it. “Is this a mailing list or something. Most of these names look like handles and not real names.”
“Yeah, something like that. I was able to use my badge to figure out some of their real identities but I don’t think Cockatrice has access that that method and I want to know what method he is using.”
“That is the name I have been given. I don’t know what his real name is though.
“Serial killers certainly try to make themselves frightening.”
Berardo nodded, “The one with the handle of Lighthouse is Kathie Picozzi and Second Picasso is Silver Johnson. A man named Theofilus is in police custody upstairs and he is on the list under Alchemist.”
“Interesting, all of those names have phone numbers associated with them instead of email addresses.”
“True, but I don’t want to rule out too much that he could track down people using their email address too. “
“No, not that, your name is on this list too. At the bottom.”
“Yeah, I had to sign up to get access to it.”
“Where did you get this list? What is the connection between this people?”
“I’d rather not tell you since you might poke your nose into it and the Cockatrice might come after you.”
Jerry gulped, “Alright then. I’ll keep quiet and just try to find ways of tracking this people.”
“Thanks. Send me a message if you find out anything.”
With that he left the forensics office and headed back upstairs.
He heard Horizon’s voice speak to him, ‘So what is next? Wasn’t that your last lead?’
“Not quite. I still have one more idea. I think it is the key to all of it.”
“The key? What key?”
“The Eternal Hero. It is what Cockatrice is looking for right?”
“Sure, that is what Meike said. So?”
“Well if he is going after different Dreamers he must think they could have this hero and is checking them one by one.”
“Alright. I guess that makes sense.”
“So, why go after Kathie Picozzi?”
“Um… Because she might have the Eternal Hero.”
“Yes, but is Rose the Eternal Hero?”
Rose voice echoed in, “I’m pretty sure I’m not but we don’t really know the qualifications of what makes the Eternal Hero.”
“But Cockatrice probably does know something about it. And Kathie and Rose were reasonable well know. If Rose was the Eternal Hero there would be no need to kill other people like Silver first.”
“So what?” asked Horizon. “Am I the Eternal Hero.”
“What? I am?” ask Horizon.
“No, no, probably not, but Cockatrice had to check.” Said Berardo.
“Oh, I guess that makes sense.”
“But here is the important part. Your pack hadn’t been opened yet. It was new. That means that Cockatrice believes that is it possible that the Eternal Hero had not yet been awakened.”
“Oh, so the Eternal Hero is new!”
“Exactly. Remember another important thing. Cockatrice come to the city more than a year ago but the oldest reported deaths are 4 months ago. That is when he believes that the Eternal Hero could appear. My hypotheses is that he believes that the hero will be or has been sold by the Destiny Burst store starting 4 months ago.”
“What about Theofilus? Did be buy a hero pack within that time.”
“I don’t believe so but his interaction with Cockatrice was an anomaly. He was using that as a means of checking Horizon to see if she was the Eternal Hero by pitting Theo against us in more lethal combat then we were expecting. And he was able to do it without having to expose himself to the person that was hunting him. Cockatrice very careful.”
“This still doesn’t give us much to work with.” Said Horizon. “A hero pack sold in the last 4 months would be difficult to track down. How would we know who got sold packs? Could we convince the makers to tell us?”
“Doubtful, but that is a very important question. How does Cockatrice know who bought packs?”
“You sound like you have an answer.”
“A potential one yes.” He held up his phone, “You see the phone publicizes official battles and you can check who won. While it doesn’t officially state how many crystals each dreamer has you could guess based off who won matches. That would give you a pretty good idea of when people would have enough crystals to buy a Hero pack. But the most important thing is that you watch.”
“You mean Cockatrice watches the Destiny Burst store?” asked Horizon
“I think that the greatest lie about Cockatrice is who Cockatrice is. I think he is one of the people on the Destiny Burst battle list. He uses that to keep an eye on everything. Then when he needs to be Cockatrice he dresses up so that nobody recognizes him.”
Detective Abarca and the Destiny Cards - Part 12Detective Abarca and the Destiny Cards - Part 12 Nel Tue, 12/27/2016 - 18:37
“Then do you know who Cockatrice is?”
Berardo shook his head, “No, I’m a newcomer to the Destiny Burst scene. That is why I need Rose’s help.”
“Mine?” she asked. “You did battles with Kathie and were part of the community for a long time. I want to know which Dreamers have primarily active in the last 4 months, somebody that I expect showed up within the last year. They would have been good but not too good. Somebody that both won and lost battles enough that they were recognizable without being too well renowned.”
Berardo held up the phone as he spoke, “I’m sending the same question to Meike along with all the information I got about those Dreamers that are dead. However I don’t expect her to have a good answer. Since she is a top battle she might not have experience with the rank and file players of Destiny Burst.”
“Somebody like that?” She mused. “There are a lot of people that could qualify.”
“Yeah, I was surprised too. This list of names is rather long and it is only the currently active players of Destiny Burst. However I don’t know anything else about them other than handles.”
“Actually there is something important about the list. The list is in sign up order.”
“Really? Now that is useful. Do you think you could tell me what which of these people signed up about a year ago?”
Rose watched through his eyes using the communication spell while he scrolled through the list on his phone. Eventually she said, “Stop. I think that is about right. I remember Silver Tint. He signed up around a year ago. I think a little bit before Cockatrice made his first and only appearance at the Destiny Burst store. He had kinda dropped off the radar in the last couple of months but I think he arrived here at about that time.”
Berardo looked over the list, “32 names. That could be a lot of potential searching. Any of them you specifically recognize as being active members of the community?”
“Unfortunately most of them. Those that don’t actually want to dual much are removed from the list pretty quickly. Some stay on the list by doing casual, non-bet battles but everybody on that list does at least one duel a month, usually more.”
“So all 32 of these people are possible suspects. If I had a little bit more to go on that would be good.”
“Why don’t you try fighting all of them?” Asked Horizon.
“Try, fighting all of them?” Responded Berardo basically just copying what she said.
“Yeah, if you dual all of them then you might be able to learn a clue or two about them and possibly learn which of them is Cockatrice.”
“That is actually a pretty decent idea. It would also be a good excuse to question each of them about Cockatrice. Learning who bought packs when.”
A School Lost
Berardo stared out the window of the school into the darkness. Nothing had got exactly like he had plan, actually nothing that had happened today had gone as he had planned it.
He looked back into the room and tried to smile at those inside. Horizon was standing by his side. There where nine others in the room with him. It was the members of the Lower Listorna Middle School card club, all four of them. There were also their heroes. This was supposed to be a training excise for them. They somehow managed to qualify for being Dreamers, Berardo still didn’t quite get what determined who get to be a Dreamer or not.
The real reason that he was hear was that one of the four, the young girl being comforted in the corner by her two heroes, had managed to gather enough crystals with the help of the other three to purchase a new hero pack. If that was the case then Cockatrice might soon pay her a visit.
Looking out into the darkness Berardo know that this was actually the case but things were not what he had expected. Cockatrice had many more tricks up his sleeve then Berarda had expected. His phone was not getting reception and at the edge of the darkness her could see slightly silver lines traced into the darkness. The must be some kind of barrier that had been put up which might also be the cause of the darkness.
Some kind of terrain spell had been up up as well, it warped the grounds of the middle school, changing it into some kind of treacherous maze.
Berardo ask, “So, what is the verdict.”
Horizon said, “Nine, the spells that I can see would take at least nine crystals to keep active.”
“Well, if there is anything that we know about Cockatrice it is that his ability to control a vast number of crystals is unparalleled. Any chance these spells are actually maintained by different people?”
“None, there is to much interconnectivity. However I think I have identified Cockatrice’s signature.”
“Good. Keep watch and notify me if anything changes.”
Berardo walked into the room and knelt by one of the boys. “How are you feeling?”
The boy had previously been bright faced and energetic but now he looked frightened. He had been attacked just after the darkness had appeared. His hero, an old robed man had managed to get the boy away from the monster that attacked him.
The boy nodded, “I’m doing better. My arm had been bandaged.”
Berardo returned that nod, “Yeah, good. At least it looked to be in better shape than my arm.” His arm was still in a sling. While it had slowly been getting better Berardo still couldn’t properly use it.
The other boy was staring the the window. He was shaking while his hero had her armed wrapped around him. Berardo was beginning to understand that heroes either tended to be like their Dreamer or fill in a role that the Dreamer needed. What did that mean that Horizon was to him.
It was the fourth kid, and the other girl that was who Berardo thought was interesting. She sat on the floor next to the door. However she was not shaking or crying. She looked like stone. In her hands was a sword. Her hero stood next to her, he looked like a samurai. The sword that she was holding was one of his two swords.
The door slide open and she raised the sword for just a moment before she saw that it was Rose that had entered.
“What did you find out?” Asked Berardo.
She shook her head, “I couldn’t find anything. There are monsters wandering the hallways but those aren’t heroes, I think they are manifestations of this arena spell.”
“Horizon says that the arena and the barrier are using 9 crystals.”
Rose grit her teeth, “As expected. If we expect that he can control 20 crystals then that means there are maybe 4 heroes of there waiting for us to make a mistake.”
Berardo nodded, “Yes and we need to get all of these people out of the barrier. Then we can call for help.”
“Of course. If we were to try just you to send out a message then one of the two groups will be attacked. Right now we seven heroes which is why Cockatrice has not attacked yet. He is afraid that he might lose a direct confrontation.”
“But how many of these heroes will actually be able to fight?”
“We can.” Came the quiet voice from next to the door. The girl, Diane Simon, had been overhearing the conversation. “The other three will be able to protect themselves probably but if you need somebody to help you fight then we can do it.”
Berardo looked down at her, “You sound like you want to fight.”
“Have you ever waited for something your whole life? Waited desperately for something to happen?”
Berardo just looked down at her. He didn’t say anything but they both knew it. That they were similar in a way.
“Any this is what you were waiting for?”
“Maybe, but there is only one way to find out. You are ready too aren’t you Blade of Unique Sway?”
The samurai next to her nodded only an inch, “My blade is yours to command.”
Berardo wanted to oppose her decision, she was too young to be this far forward in actual combat however if they all wanted to survive they did have much chance.
“Alright then. Stick with Rose and she will direct you. Now I have to deal with our other problem.”
Berardo walked over to Patrick Andrews. He was the one that had got the second hero pack. Really it was purchased with the crystals that all four of them had grown and won but he was the club president so he had gotten the first second hero.
“Hey, Patrick. He need to pull yourself together. You are in charge aren’t you?” Asked Berardo as he got closer.
The boy however was huddled in the corner. One of the heroes, a bulky man with thick arms stepped between Patrick and Barardo. “Don’t get near him.” Said the man.
“In what way is that going to help? Are you going to just let him stay there are die?” Berardo pointed out the window. “Out there there are at least 4 heroes waiting to kill us. If we don’t escape your Dreamer is going to die. Do you want that?”
The man paused and then stepped aside. Berardo then moved past him. He looked down at Patrick there was a girl who looked about his age standing next to him holding onto him. She was his second hero. She had black horns growing out of her head.
“Excuse me but there is something important I need to discuss with you. The man out there is named Cockatrice. I’m sure you have at least heard of him. But there might be something you don’t know. He is looking for a specific hero and he believes it might be your new hero.” Berardo looked at her, “What is your name?”
“Demon of Forgotten Soot”
“Quite a name that you have.” Said Berardo. “Do you want to protect Patrick.”
“Then I need you to leave protecting him to your comrade. I need you to fight with me and show Cockatrice what you are capable of.”
“That doesn’t sound like a good plan.”
“It is important. As I said the reason Cockatrice is here is because he believes you might be the hero he is looking for. If we can display to him what you are capable of doing he will know if you are that hero. If you are not then he will likely pull back and avoid risking his own heroes any more.”
“Any what if I am that hero?”
“Then things will get extremely complicated. However that should give Patrick time to escape from the barrier.”
She placed her hand on his head for a moment and then walked forward. “Alright.” She looked at her companion before saying, “Protect him. I’m counting on you.” He nodded very grimly.
Berardo moved to the center of the room and called out to all the people inside it, “Alright. We have the plan setup. Now let me explain to everybody how we are getting out of here.”
He looked at all of them now suddenly paying attention to him, “We are all going to make for the exit to the school grounds on the north side. That is the closest side of the barrier as far as we can tell. We are going to be in two squads with the priority to make certain that squad two manages to break through the barrier.”
“Squad two consists of Patrick Andrews, Edwin Ross, Pat Evans, and their heroes except for Demon of Forgotten Soot. The rest of us are squad 1 and we need to make sure that squad 2 escapes safely.”
Detective Abarca and the Destiny Cards - Part 13Detective Abarca and the Destiny Cards - Part 13 Nel Tue, 12/27/2016 - 18:38
As Berardo spoke the heroes began to help their Dreamers to their feet and he received hesitant nods from everybody involved.
“Is everybody at full crystals? All heroes fully awakened?”
There were more nods. Berardo was now up to 8 crystals, 5 of which were currently used to keep Horizon and Rose fully awakened. He was already beginning to understand what other Dreamers had mentioned about controlling too many crystals. He had to practice a bit to get 8 working correctly and could imagine how much world it would be controlling more than that. It made Cockatrice’s control of 20 crystals all the more intimidating.
“Me, Demon, and Horizon are taking the front. Rose, Diane, and Blade take the back. If anybody has any spells they want to activate they should do it now.”
“Activate, Shield of the Morning” said Berardo granting Horizon the shield.
“Activate, Frozen Mail” said Diane Simon. However Berardo found her spell unusual. Normally the spells were cast on heroes however she had cast the spell on herself. The mists caused by the armor bellowed around her. She really did intent to fight herself not just leave everything up to her hero. Berardo still had his gun but that kind of weapon was mostly useless against heroes.
Berardo considered that. Maybe he should try to get a weapon spell that worked for him. Right now the only equip spell that he has was still the Shield of the Morning. However because of his recent encounters with a bunch of different Destiny Burst players he had acquired a reasonable amount of spendable crystals. He could probably afford one of the vastly cheaper (compared to hero packs) spell pack with what he had pretty soon.
Demon of Forgotten Soot also did something unusual. Her hands shifted from normal human looking hands to black claws, long and sharp. Berardo remembers that Patrick had said that she was a 3 crystal assault like Rose.
With everybody ready Berardo cracked open the door to the hallway and looked outside. The hallway was clear for now. He motioned everybody and the moved out. They walked down toward the stairs in the middle of the building.
Horizon was up front because she could spot dangers quickly and react to protect anybody with the Shield of the Morning. As they approached the stairs Horizon help up her hand pausing the party. She then silently snuck up to get a look. A moment later she was back.
“In the lobby of the school. There are some of the shadow monsters. They are something summon using spells and not a real hero. Still there are five of them down there. It could be dangerous to assault them.”
“Do you think that you and Demon could beat them?”
“Yes, but if a hero interfered then things could quickly become risky.”
Demon of Forgotten Soot then said, “Then we just need to beat them before they could interfere.” Then before Berardo could object she went running toward the stairway. Berardo only got to share a short glance with Horizon before they nodded and began running after her.
As the got to the stairway, Berardo called, “Activate, Speed Boost, broad area.” A trick that he had learned. Spell cards were reasonably flexible if you had experience with them. You could empower them or share them with more heroes. At came at a cost however, unstandard usage was alway inefficient in some way, using extra crystals, working for less time, being less effective, or just raising the cooldown. With experience you could control what was effected but Berardo was still a rookie.
With that boost the two of them went over the balcony is fractions of a section. Berardo tried to run to catch up to them. He realized that he probably could have included himself in the spell but had neglected to do that. Something he would have to remember next time.
There was a flash of light from down the stairs, surely the Shield of the Morning. Then Berardo was at the stairs looking down. The two of them were fighting light clockwork. Demon of Fogotten Soot was overpowering the shadowy monsters one after another. While she was not necessarily working with Horizon that wasn’t needed.
Horizon was capable of watching the entire battle and being exactly where she was needed. She didn’t even land a single blow on any of the monsters but that wasn’t needed. With her there none of the monsters that Demon wasn’t fighting ever got close to her. Horizon brilliantly blocked and distracted them until Demon had finished off the one she was fighting. The Horizon shifted position, leaving one of them to available to fight Demon.
One by one the monsters fell. By the time Berardo’s speed boost spell had ended all of them had dissolved into the dark smoke that they had been made from. Horizon looked up at Berardo and said, “Everything is clear here.”
Berardo almost sighed in relief that things had been so easy however he stopped before he had even began the motion. Instead he used that air to scream out, “Behind you!”
The two of them whirled around like synchronized swimmers. Two heroes had just burst through the front doors of the school and were rushing the Demon and Horizon. One of them Berardo recognized as Hunter Stained with Blood, the knife thrower. The other one he didn’t know, a woman covered in bandages.
The warning had almost come too late but there was a large flash of light and suddenly the battle was in full force. Horizon covered Demon, blocking the knives with the shield while Demon fought the bandaged woman one and one.
Out of the woman’s bandages came snakes. Hissing and reaching toward Demon however she sliced them into pieces with her claws as the they got near. The two teams were even matched. Horizon and Demon just needed to hold on long enough for Berardo’s spell to go off cooldown then he would be able to help them and the battle would be over.
However it was not Berardo’s voice that called out the spell, “Activate, Restriction Suppression” came a raspy voice from the doorway outside. Then Berardo saw him for the first time.
Cockatrice. Thick heavy robes covered his form preventing any identifying features from being noticed. He wore a metal mask like a bird or a lizard, the appearance of a Cockatrice. The air behind him where Berardo would normally see crystals was hazy and indistinct but Berardo could tell that he was controlling an incredible amount of crystals at that moment.
And with the casting of that spell the battle was suddenly not in Berardo’s favor. Demon could not longer keep up with the unyielding assault of the snake woman and Berardo could feel the shaking of the spell for the shield. It would not last much longer and would soon shatter under the attack of the knives.
Berardo was about to call a retreat when a form passed him and leaped over the railing of the balcony. He turned and it was Diane moving in perfect silence. She was clad in her icy blue mail and held on of Blade’s swords.
Something about her arrive was unnoticed by Cockatrice. Berardo later suspected that it was because she was a human and not a hero. He had underestimated her and had thought that no human would be able to do what she did. Frankly Berardo had trouble believing it as she joined in the battle.
The snake woman didn’t even see the sword before it was lunged into her back. She screamed and fell. Hunter Stained with Blood, seeing her fall pulled back to Cockatrice and then the two of them were gone, outside into the darkness.
Berardo tried to call out for Diane to stop however had already attacked the woman again sending the sword deep to her chest. The woman gurgled and then she disappeared, a card fluttering down to the ground. He was afraid that she would attack that two however her assault was finished. She reached out with her hand and grabbed the card.
Then she looked up at Berardo and said, “Sorry it took me so long. It took me a moment to realize that the rear shadow beast attack was a diversion.”
Only with that did Berardo look back to see back down the hallway. The group was still there where he had left them but beyond that there was only fire and a woman holding a flaming sword, Rose of Unyielding Flames. Embers fell around her as the last of the shadow monster felling in the flames.
In training Berardo had seen her really unleash and at times he was even afraid of her. She had seemed overwhelming and unstoppable. One of the reason that he preferred working with Horizon was that Rose seemed like an uncontrollable weapon. Not that he was worried that she would act wrong but he felt like he was unneeded.
Even now she was Kathie Picozzi’s hero and not Berarodo’s hero. Berardo sometimes wondered how Cockatrice could have beaten Kathie with Rose by her side. Her knew the answer was overwhelming her with heroes but sometimes she seemed undefeatable.
Mentally he said through the communication spell, “Good job. We have also pushed back Cockatrice here too. We should use this moment to break through the barrier before Cockatrice has time to regroup.”
“Good.” She said through the link. Then an instant later fire was gone except for a few smoldering bits.
“Alright everybody!” Yelled Berardo. “Everything is good for the moment. We need to move quickly while we have the advantage. Everybody had better be prepared to run.
Then they ran. Through the front door of the school and toward the black barrier that was keeping them from the outside. It would only be a few minutes of running before they could get it it and then they would all be free.
Berardo hoped that Cockatrice would be enough concerned by the lose that he would be forced to let them all go.
That hope was what made the trap so effective. It was the last stretch just before the exit when the ground turned to gray solid ooze. All of them were forced to stop suddenly as they were fastened to the ground by that ooze.
Berardo felt the panic. It had all been part of Cockatrice’s plan. Make an attempted attack which would fail but give the people hope, enough hope to rush without thinking. Berardo glanced around desperately hoping that one of the members had managed to avoid getting stuck, but it was fruitless. All of them where here.
Then he saw them. Cockatrice and his heroes. That was when Berardo’s veins turned to ice. They had expected four or five heroes. If it had been six or seven he would have been disturbed but considered it possible.
Eleven. There were eleven heroes that he was controlling at the same time. The amount of crystals he was controlling was staggering. Berardo felt the hope drip away from him, how could he possibly hope to compete against a foe like that.
It was Horizon that saved him. She had been trapped just like him but she laughed. That sound caught him, broke Berardo free from his prison of fear. He looked over at her and she continued to laugh. What could possibly cause her to laugh at a point like this.
She looked around as her companions continuing to laugh. “Don’t you see. Its a trick, a fake. He had no many heroes but none of them are awakened. All of them are powerless, just an illusion to frighten us.”
That…. That couldn’t be thought Berardo then he looked. It was dark and hard to see but she was right. There were lots of heroes true but unawakened heroes took barely any crystals to keep around. Sure, he was still spending 20+ crystals keeping everything up but Berardo could see it, Cockatrice’s limit.
He pulled out a card and called the spell, “Activate, Hole, wide area.”
Detective Abarca and the Destiny Cards - Part 14Detective Abarca and the Destiny Cards - Part 14 Nel Tue, 12/27/2016 - 18:39
The ground around us disappeared freeing them from the trapping spell. Berardo should have thought of doing that initially but the fear had prevented him from strategizing.
Cockatrice knew what had happened and six of the heroes he was controlled vanished. “Awaken” he called and the remaining five heroes regained the power that they had been missing. Five was a number that Berardo could think about handling.
“Team 1 attack! Team 2 run!” Shouted Berardo but it only mattered for team 2 because team 1 had already started to move. Diane Simon, Blade of Unique Sway, Demon of Forgotten Soot, Eyes that Gaze the Horizon, and Rose of Unyielding Flames all split up toward the different enemy heroes.
Berardo however locked his eyes onto Cockatrice. The two of them were their own dual. Berardo had already cut his communication spell and was preparing to use Speed Boost. Even with the barrier activated and the field and 5 heroes Berardo knew he would at least have a couple of crystals free to swing the flow of a battle.
Berardo only had one so he had to make it count. He had to respond to Cockatrice and ensure that everybody in team 2 escaped. Berardo paid attention to the heroes fighting in the background just enough to know who might need help.
He recognized Reaper of Wandering Souls had paired off with Rose. Hunter Stained with Blood was being countered by Horizon who could stop him with the shield. Blade of Unique Sway was having a stare off with a woman with pitch black eyes, neither of them making the first move. Diane was fighting a frail looking man whose eyes were covered with his black hair and was wearing nothing more than short pants. Demon of Forgotten Soot was attacking a brawny man who took each of her attacks but after each one he didn’t look like he was even bleeding.
With the situation appraised he returned his gaze to Cockatrice and noticed that Cockatrice had been doing the same thing. Berardo couldn’t make any mistakes. He had already made one and had it not been for Horizon everything would have already been lost.
They eyed each other for what felt like minutes but was only seconds. Then Cockatrice called out, “Activate, Icon of Pain”
A blood red crescent on staff materialize in his hands. As it did Berardo could feel pain shooting up his body. As Cockatrice waves the staff back and forth it felt like each swing was cutting into him and tearing at his flesh. Then Cockatrice began to walk toward Berardo.
“Ah, so that is your plan. Attack the wounded yourself.” Said Berardo was he drew his gun from the holster.
“Activate, Barrier of Friction” called out Cockatrice again activating another spell which shimmered to life around him.
Berardo fired and like he fear the bullet hit the shield and then spun wildly out of control eventually going off into the sky. A shield and a weapon and Berardo had nothing to counter it. He considered his options. He could boost one of the heroes fighting and hope that let them win fast enough for them to come to Berardo’s aid. He could speed boost himself into the Barrier and take a shot before being attacked, that seemed promising but Cockatrice was likely prepared for that. If he had even one more crystal to use then that plan was sure to fail.
Berardo could also use the spell to escape, try to distract Cockatrice long enough for team 2 to finish escaping and then have everybody pull out. They were all possible outcomes and could be foiled by the right spell on Cockatrice’s part.
As Cockatrice got closer Berardo finally made his decision. All in. “Activate, Speed Boost.” As he felt the rush of speed. Then he passed through the barrier around Cockatrice. He could feel rough grinding at his skin however his mass allowed him to push through the shield and get close to Cockatrice.
Then Berardo pointed the gun toward Cockatrice and began to fire. He expected to hear the words of a spell being called, something that would spell his doom and lead to destruction. However he was prepared for that. If Cockatrice spent his last crystal here defending against him that would give team 2 enough time to escape from the barrier.
But there was nothing and then the sound of his gun firing. Blood streamed from underneath the robes. Then the staff came crushing down upon Berardo. The pain was more than he could image and it knocked him back and down to the ground.
He laid there and tried to pull himself from the ground however the pain was too intense, he couldn’t do anything. Cockatrice took a few steps forward and looked down at Berardo. The blood continued to soak into his thick robes.
“You are still weak.” Came the rasping voice. “You can not yet see the true nature of this world. But you are getting better. You have gone through each of my trails moderately well, seen through my illusions and hand waving. But it is not yet enough. I will find the Eternal Hero and you will help me.” There was a croaking laugh.
He continued speaking, “And it looks like you were not even able to beat my heroes. How pathetic.”
Berardo looked around from his fallen state. The others were losing. They looked exhausted and pushed to their limits. He had expected it to be more evenly matched but they were all being pushed back.
The voice continued, “Each of you were not strong enough to win, but today I will let you live because I believe that you will lead me to the Eternal Hero. And if you fail, I suppose I will kill you then.” He laughed, a dark haunting laugh.
The he help up a card and called out, “Activate, Banishment, expanded.”
A sphere of light appeared around Cockatrice and then quickly expanded. It engulfed Berardo and then the other members then it as gone but the light was not. They were outside the barrier and Cockatrice and all of his heroes were gone.
Then there was a loud slam from nearby. Berardo turned to see the busted tiles where King of Endless Water now stood. Sitting on one of his shoulders was Meike who was bitting her lip, “We were too late. He got away.”
Berardo looked down, so that was it. Cockatrice had let them live because they were on the way. “No,” said Berardo, “he knew when you were going to arrive. He could have killed us but then you would have gotten there while he was weakened. So instead he escaped and let us live.”
Meike looked down from King’s shoulder now fulling paying attention to Berardo. “You sound disappointed that he let you live.”
Berardo pushed himself into a sitting position. “He did let me live. The others you saved by arriving here when you did but he even with that time he had the opportunity to kill me and chose not to. He realized you were coming and even with that chose to let me live. And I have no idea why.”
“He let you live?”
Berardo nodded and the got to his feet. He walked over to the heroes that had been fighting just a moment before. Once they realized that the danger was over they had all collapsed. Berardo looked over them for any obvious injures. There were a bunch of minor wounded but nothing that seemed extremely dangerous.
“Are you all alright?” Nobody spoke up so he said, “Then good job. Considering what we went through it was a miracle that everybody survived. Demon of Forgotten Soot you should probably go catch up with Patrick and the others. If you need my help in the future just contact me.”
She looked like she was worried or uncertain but finally she nodded and said, “I’m sure you will see me again.” Then she ran off toward where they could see the other off in the distance.”
“Diane, you can go to them too.”
However she just laid there on the ground. She had released the armor spell but she didn’t show any signs of sitting up.
Berardo tactfully turned his back to not see her crying. Then he said, “For your first illegal battle you did well. Certainly better then I did.”
“I thought it would be different. It felt right but I wasn’t strong enough. How can I get stronger?”
“I would say training and practice but it feels like you already do that plenty. I think perhaps that the answer is instead to understand yourself. To figure out why you lost because it usually isn’t because you didn’t practice or train enough. There is usually another different reason, one that is hard to understand.”
“Must be nice to be such a calm adult.”
“Huh, must be nice to be able to make such childish jokes. In reality I’m boiling inside. Everything that happened in there went according to Cockatrice’s wishes. Nothing I did made any difference. The only one who really did anything with Meike over there. Without her all of us might be dead.”
“Then do you plan on beating him next time?”
“Yes, I think I truly realized how different illegal duels are. Horizon and Rose did plenty but it was me that failed because I thought that just being a Dreamer was enough. Cockatrice, he already know that to win not only do you have to control the battle but you also have to participate. To take control of the battle with our own hands.”
“And maybe I did that too much. I was never much of a Dreamer to begin with. During that battle I had available crystals but I didn’t use them because I was concentrating too much on fighting.”
“I guess we both have to get better.”
Finally Diane stood up with the help of Blade of Unique Sway. Then the two of them began to walk away toward the other three members of the card club. Berardo watched them got. When he turned around he saw his two heroes in front of him.
He sighed, “It looked like I’m not the only one disappointed by the performance today. You both look like you have had enough with losing against Cockatrice.” The two of them grimly nodded not wanting to release the anger and sadness.
“Well, our first order of business will be to get a new card pack. I realized that I simply do not have enough spells to compete with an opponent like Cockatrice. Without more options I will never be able to beat him. Rose, I know there are a lot of different pack types. I’m looking for one with some equipment cards, I don’t want to be as defenseless as I was today when faced with my own opponent.”
“Self equiping like Diane? That could work although there isn’t really too much support for that by Destiny Burst since it only happens in unofficial battles. However I believe the ‘Hidden Treasures’ packs might have something that you are searching for.”
“Thanks. Now, I’m sorry but I need some time to think by myself. Can the two of you meet me at the Destiny Burst store in two hours.”
They looked like they wanted to say something else but eventually decided not to and instead they nodded. Berardo then turned and talked away. As he passed Meike he said, “Thanks.”
She nodded to and then King leaped away once more taking her with him.
Then Berardo was alone. He walked for a while dwelling in his thoughts. He didn’t know how long he had been wandering before he finally stopped. He thought somebody had called his name. He looked up and saw Detective Alexander walked down the street and waving at him.
Berardo waited and in a moment Alexander was there smiling. “Hey Berardo, how has it been doing? I haven’t see you around the station much.”
Detective Abarca and the Destiny Cards - Part 15Detective Abarca and the Destiny Cards - Part 15 Nel Tue, 12/27/2016 - 18:40
“Oh, Alexander, sorry, I’ve been busy working my case.”
“Of course, of course, but you should take breaks sometimes. How about we grab a quick drink? Relaxation is good don’t you know.”
“I really need to..”
“Yes, yes, yes, of course. But first the drink.” Alexander grabs him around the shoulder and pushed him down the street and into a local bar. He held up a couple of fingers to the barkeep who pointed at them toward a couple of bar stools.
“Just a beer each, something good. We can’t stick around too long.” Said Alexander and the barkeep nodded and began to pour something.
Berardo finally sighed and gave up. Alexander was going to force him to have some relaxation so he might as well go along with it. “Alright, fine. Have it your way. But I need to be in Owl Heights in around 2 hours so that is my limit.”
“Good enough!” He slapped Berardo in the back in exictement. Alexander had always been forcing Berardo into this situations and Berardo usually wasn’t opposite to it. Maybe he had been working a bit to much.
“So, Berardo, what case were you working on? Some serial killer or something if I recall.”
“I thought we were supposed to be relaxing. And yes, goes by the name of Cockatrice.”
“Scary sounding name. Having any luck tracking him down?”
“I’ve figured out how he chooses his victims and I have a list of suspects however he is patient and crafty so I haven’t been able to peg him yet.”
“Special assignments are always going to be difficult like that.” Said Alexander. Berardo was about to speak up but the bartender handed over the drinks and Alexander distributed them. “You will eventually get the hang of it.”
Berardo saw some of the hidden implication behind his words. If the Chief wasn’t exaggerating Alexander also do special assignments, maybe had some kind of secret that he didn’t want to talk about. Berardo had checked out a lot of the Destiny Burst community recently so he was pretty certain that Alexander didn’t have any relation with that so he must have something else.
Berardo sipped the beer. “Is this how you deal with special assignments, drinking?”
Alexander laughed, “Nah, only to help depressed friends. I deal with it using sheer determination and talent. Things I’m sure you wish you had.”
“I think your the only member of the police force who would say that I didn’t have talent.”
“Maybe but they don’t know you as well as I know you. They just mistake your sense of purpose and knowledge of what to do as actual talent. There are a lot of people who could do what you do but most of them would never realize they could get there.”
“I’m not certain if you are trying to encourage me or not.”
“Definitely.” Said Alexander in a way that certainly didn’t answer the question.
Berardo wanted to say something but instead didn’t and instead just drank. It was kinda comforting sitting there knowing that each other had secrets but not actually wanting to share them or be shared with. Berardo had enough on his plate with Destiny Burst and didn’t need whatever it was that Alexander knew to complicate things.
Maybe Alexander already knew about Destiny Burst or not was irrelevant. He wasn’t going to press Berardo about anything and that was comforting.
Finally Berardo said, “I was thinking of visiting the Garnet Palace when I was done with this case. I have never been there and I hear that it is nice and warm there.”
“The Garnet Palace huh? Can’t say that I have ever been there. I’m a Listorna man through and through. I’ve never really felt the need to go off and visit far away places.”
“So you have told me before. However I think you would change your mind if you went to a few places. Going there really makes you realize how much the ancient civilization managed to accomplish.”
Alexander contemplated for a moment before saying, “Just a warning. Your vacations might be less relaxing then they use to be. Eventually you reach a point where other places feel more strange and unusual. You have trouble closing your eyes and pretending not to notice unusual things.”
Berardo looked down at his half drunken beer. “I understand but I think it will still be nice. Plus I’m sure they would be disappointed if I didn’t go now.” Berardo then realized what he said but Alexander didn’t mention anything and let it slide.
However the idea that other places would feel less like a vacation had occurred to him. Some strange quality of Destiny Burst had caused him to notice other Dreamers or Heroes almost accidentally. Rose said it was normal to be able to feel the energy that active crystals give off. Apparently it was possible to hide that feeling but took experience and constant monitoring of yourself so most Dreamers didn’t bother.
Berardo couldn’t feel any of that specific feeling from Alexander but something else nagged at it like there was something else hiding but Berardo didn’t have the ability to notice. However not questioning each other was part of the unspoken agreement.
“How about you?” Asked Berardo, “Have you found any more fools to go bowling with?” It was Alexander’s hobby. Not just playing but getting people into silly punishment game bets. Most of the police force had already learned not to go bowling with Alexander.
His grin spread widely across his face, “Oh yes, apparently there is a new legal office in town formed mainly from out of city people. I have been working on them but they haven’t yet broken. But don’t you wait, soon enough they will regret thinking that they could beat me.”
Berardo knew Alexander too well. The man was an expert bowler but he was also an excellent con artist. He knew exactly how good other people were after their first throw and then compensated to make them think they stood a chance against him. Then he won but just a few points. His opponent then thought they could win if they practiced and took revenge.
And Alexander then won again but just a few points. By the time they figured out they they would never be able to win Alexander had already had all of his fun. Those poor fools. Berardo had already experienced this himself and found some joy about hearing it happen to other people. That is probably why Alexander always found new victims. The old ones wanted to share the misery.
Berardo chuckled remembering, “Well, you will have to tell me how that goes. If I find any good people to throw to the lion then I’ll tell you about them but right now nobody who would be appropriate.
“Thanks, much appreciated.”
Berardo looked up at the clock. They hadn’t talked a lot but there had been long moments of friendly silence. More than an hour had passed.
“Thanks Alexander, I appreciate it.”
“Anytime. Any remember if you need help, just call me. I’ll force you to beg for it but I will come help you.”
“I don’t think I’ll ever beg you for anything but thanks.” Then Berardo left.
The trip back up to Owl Heights was more pleasant then had had thought it would be. Berardo had initially planned on brooding and contemplating his mistakes alone but it had been better to spend that time with Alexander.
Berardo arrived at the Destiny Burst store a bit early and found that neither of his companions were here yet. He could have activated the communication spell but it wasn’t needed. He could tell that neither of them were fully awakened which meant that they weren’t in any particular danger.
The store clerk was helping some customer that Berardo vaguely recognized. It was one of the people who had been in Destiny Burst long enough that they were almost certainly not Cockatrice.
Berardo instead checked out the selection of packs that he could buy. There were a lot of different packs. He didn’t really know what was different about them other than the makers made different development cycles and each time they focused on something else.
According to Rose the packs were even different between cities so local and foreign Dreamers had access to different spells. While he was looking the clerk finished with helping the customer and then went over to Berardo.
It was a different clerk then the one he remembered seeing last time. He couldn’t tell if the person was a hero or not but they had the feeling of somebody associated with crystals. Maybe the workers of the store were actually makers. Berardo thought that was more likely considering heroes typically look stranger then the two clerks he had seen working here.
“Can I help you?” He asked.
“I was looking for a pack that would have a bunch of equipment in it.”
“Equipment you say. Normally we recommend Hidden Treasures however I personally feel that that set is getting rather old. Instead I would recommend Curiosities of Wonder. Those packs were produced a mere three months ago. Although I should warn you that Curiosities of Wonder has stranger equipment than Hidden Treasures and its contents might be more difficult to use.”
“Are they more powerful then Hidden Treasures?”
“Hidden Treasures is three years old at this point although it is still being reprinted occasionally. However progress had advanced since then and the new cards use innovations and techniques that would have been impossible then.”
“Oh, how has the design of cards changed?”
“Interested in the history of Destiny Burst then? Most people haven’t expressed much interest.”
“The other clerk I spoke with was less talkative.”
“Ah, I suppose that might be true. Our newer employees haven’t been around as long as I have. I guess you are lucky that they are all off today so I can help explain things.”
Berardo examined the man. He was certainly older then the clerk he had remembered before, this one was maybe in his forties.
“So about that history lesson?” asked Berardo.
“Of course. Destiny Burst has been around for ages however around 150 years ago there was a major break through in card creation. Modern influences mainly, improvements in creation and distribution. Spells that were too complex before became common place. While there were still limits to raw power due to crystals the broadening of special effects and usual abilities became more common place.
“Even more recently this same practice has been applied to heroes as well. For a long time heroes were primarily seen as bearers of equipment cards since adding complexity and unique powers to heroes was impossible. Of course those simple heroes were cheaper to maintain. Now the idea of a one crystal hero seems insane but in the past those were not uncommon.
Berardo considered this story, “Seems like modern heroes are more powerful.”
“Potentially. Old heroes can still be dangerous but they need their Dreamer to support them more with spells and equipment. In some way modern heroes are weaker because they are more specialized. Given the difficulty to create heroes more generic heroes could actually be more preferential. However the Council of Makers believed that making heroes more unique led to greater engagement and fewer sacrifices of heroes.
Berardo nodded showing his understanding, “That explains why most of the heroes I’ve seen are special in some way.”
“Yes indeed. The Council of Makers have come to the conclusion that more unique spells and heroes lead to more engagement but also more sales of pack since with more specialized effect you would need more cards to cover things you want to do.
“Of course there are exceptions. Certain spells are considered classic and we sell basic packs as well which have generic utility effects.”
“Like the communication spell?”
“Precisely. Distribution is important and most packs have at least one simple to use card so that Dreamers have something from each pack.”
Detective Abarca and the Destiny Cards - Part 16Detective Abarca and the Destiny Cards - Part 16 Nel Tue, 12/27/2016 - 18:40
“I had another question about packs.”
“Go ahead, although I’m not guaranteeing that I will answer it.”
“How do you feel about selling people?”
“Ah, this question. You ask about the morality of selling heroes. It is a difficult question but I think the real answer is a different question. Why do you think heroes are so weak?”
“What do you mean?”
“Do you think that heroes are controlled by their Dreamer and that if the Dreamer wanted to control them they could?”
“Well, I Dreamer could keep them in card form. That would stop them.”
“Could then? Have you heard of forced awakening?”
“No, nobody has ever mentioned it to me.”
“Normally it is the Dreamer that awakens a Hero however that isn’t always the case. While a hero is reliant on a Dreamer’s crystals they can force themselves into the crystal and activate themselves and a Dreamer can not do anything to stop them.”
“That… wait,” Berardo remember the first time that he had meet Rose. He had activated the phone and started Destiny Burst but he certainly hadn’t awakened her that first time. She must have awakened herself to protect them and escape.
The man smiled, “Then maybe it is not the Dreamers who control the Heroes but the Heroes that control the Dreamers. A strange symbiotic relationship and that is not including the outliers.”
“Maybe someday you will see one. Dreamers who can use other people’s crystals as well as their own. Heroes who are also Dreamers. Dreamers that can control an infinite number of crystals. There are as many rumors as there are people telling them. Some of them are true but don’t believe everything that you hear. Maybe you are an outlier and don’t even realize it yet.”
Then the clerk left back to his counter leaving Berardo to ponder his words. The man was obviously not just a regular store clerk, more likely the person who ran this branch of Destiny Burst, an actual Maker.
And like it was perfectly timed the moment the man was back behind the counter Rose and Horizon walked into the store. Berardo raised his hand. Rose noticed and did her own wave but Horizon came running over.
“Are you alright? We were worried since you went off by yourself like that.”
Berardo grinned, “I’m better now. A friend talked some sense into me and that helped me see straight. I was just looked at the different packs and was trying to decide which one to buy.”
She smiled and hugged him, “I’m just glad that you are feeling well.”
He hugged her back, “Don’t worry about me. I’m a grown man and can handle my own insecurities. Now if you and Rose would help me choose. Rose said that Hidden Treasures was a good pack but I asked the clerk and he said that Curiosities of Wonder would probably be better.”
Rose was in hearing range by this time, “He did?” She glanced back at him and then back at Berardo, “Now if he recommended it then that is probably a good choice. I don’t really know about what is in Curiosities of Wonder but his advice is probably right.”
Horizon looked over at him watched him for a moment and then looked back at Berardo, “I agree too.”
“He is one of the Makers isn’t he?” Asked Berardo.
Rose nodded, “Yeah, although he is not in the store very often. I believe that he normally works in development.”
Horizon spoke, “He is very important.”
“Important? How?” Asked Berardo.
“He was one of the Makers that made me.”
Berardo blinked a few times, “Really? One of the ones that made you? How do you know that?”
“I just do.”
Rose said, “We can have some more recollections of the creation process. Sometimes we remember those that helped create us. I don’t really have any of those memories however.”
“Well, you had better thank your father before we leave.” Said Berardo and he grabbed one of the Curiosities of Wonder packs from the shelf.
“My father?” Asked Horizon.
“Isn’t that basically what he is?”
“I suppose. I don’t really know what it means for somebody to be my father.”
“Best to do these things when you have time. One day you might realize that it is no longer possible.” Said Berardo from experience. He only vaguely remembered his parents. His sister however…
Berardo dismissed those thoughts and took the pack to the front desk with the clerk.
“I decided to take your advice. Now is this transaction made in the same way as losing a Destiny Burst battle?”
Berardo took out his phone and initiated the transfer. It was 10 crystals for a pack like this, normally that would take about 10 days to pay for. Berardo had gotten some extra crystals playing against some other Dreamers. Like Meike had said when he first met her the couldn’t really use those crystals for battling but getting some extra options was a good thing.
He did a small bow, “Thank you for your purchase.”
Berardo turned and walked toward the door. He stood there with Rose and waited while Horizon nervously stood there.
He looked at her with a questioning eyebrow lift but didn’t say anything.
Finally Horizon bowed very deeply and said, “Thank you for making me.”
The man chuckled and then said, “You’re welcome. Now get along. Your Dreamer needs you.”
Horizon rose and the ran off pass Berardo and Rose and out the door. The man watched her with an amused grin.
Once they were all outside Rose and Horizon looked at Berardo.
“I suppose you both want to know what is inside this pack?” He asked.
Horizon nodded enthusiastically. “The last time you open a pack it was mine so I didn’t get to watch. This time I want to see.” Her desire for need sights and experiences was plain and Berardo wasn’t that different from her in that regard.
“Well, how about we find a place in the food court and have a seat. I’m starting to get a bit hungry and I’m sure you two would like to eat too.” They nodded.
It took them a around 15 minutes to get situated in the food court with food and a secluded table. Berardo was actually a bit surprised how many of those there seemed to be in this food court.
Berardo had chosen some noodlely dish which he ate with a fork. That way he could keep his hands clean while opening the pack.
He pulled open the top and slide the cards out.
“Chisel of Remembrance.” Said Berardo as he looked at the card. “Records memories.” The picture was of the chisel carving into a table. Next to it was the head of a person with writing visible beneath the head.
“That is certainly a strange item. I’m still not really certain how it would work.” Said Berardo.
The two of them had scooted in on either side of him and were looking over his shoulders. Rose spoke, “It is probably a non-dual intended item. Packs usually include one of those. Things that wouldn’t be directly related to duals but would instead be used by the Dreamer in everyday life. In the aftermarket for Destiny Burst cards those are usually the most expensive ones. Many people play Destiny Burst just to acquire those kinds of cards.”
“I’ll have to experiment with it later because it feels like a spell that does strange things that I wouldn’t expect.”
Berardo put that card at the bottom and looked at the next one.
“Bracelet of Mud. Creates and controls mud.” He pondered that. “I wonder how that would be useful. I guess that depends on the properties of the mud.”
Horizon leaned in more to look at the card, “The man in the picture seems to be being lifted by the mud so it will probably have some uses.”
Berardo nodded, “Yeah, I’m sure it has combat uses. I expect to have to test basically every card in this set to figure out what I can do with them.”
“And the next one is, Bead of Gravity. Weight grows over time. Well, this pack is certainly living up to the marketing. Everything in here seems very strange.”
“Weight grows… I wonder how quickly.” Asked Horizon as she took the card and looked at it. “This monster is being crushed by the bead.”
“It looks like the next card is something more normal. Mystical Claws of the Etherealist. Only cuts what you desire.”
Rose said, “At least you are getting one weapon. It looks like a close knife like weapon. I wonder if the description means that it can pass through armor. That would be useful.”
“Certainly better than being unarmed. I wonder how much focus needs to be spend deciding what to cut and what not to cut. I can certainly see it being a difficult weapon to use depending on that factor.”
“Now quickly,” Said Rose a little excited, “The last card should be the rare one. What is it.”
“Rare… let’s see… The Crown of Destiny. Victory is Inevitable.”
Rose whistled, “A three crystal cost equipment. I’m not sure what it does but it must be impressive to cost that much. Although we probably need to be very careful while testing it. Three cost equipment tends to have particularly impressive effects. I’ve heard stories about people getting gravely injured while testing them. I know some people don’t even use any 3 cost equipment they possess because they are often difficult to use appropriately and when you are unskilled with them it is better just to spend those crystals on something else.”
Berardo looked at the art depicting a man in the crown surrounded by money. It didn’t initially look that dangerous but if Rose said that it was then he believed her.
“So, since we have these cards,” Said Horizon, “What is next?”
“Let’s see.” Said Berardo as he pulled out his notebook. He had still kept it as updated as he thought he could but it had been difficult the last few days but he still had standards. As he glanced over everything trying to bring a plan together he said, “Oh! Right, I remember now!”
“What?” They both said.
“I knew something was bugging me but I only now remembered what it was. During the battle with Cockatrice, one of his heroes was defeated by Diane Simons.” Horizon nodded in remembrance, “Well when that happened it was Diane who grabbed the card. She had one of Cockatrice’s heroes and I want to talk to it. Also she might be in danger because of it.”
Horizon looked concerned, “You think Cockatrice will go after it, he should be able to trace it and I made sure all of them were clean before we let them go.”
Rose said, “You mean forced activation. That shouldn’t happen unless she registers that card.”
“But if she thought like me then she might have done that to question her. Once she has done that then it would be open for forced activation right?”
She nodded, “Yeah”
“And if she doesn’t know about forced activation then the hero might be waiting for the right time to abuse it and escape.”
Berardo was already pulling out his phone. Since she was a duelist he had he contact number. He gave the number a ring and after a few rings Diane finally answered.
“I wasn’t really expecting a call this soon.” She paused, “Actually I changed my mind. I did expect the call. This is about the prisoner isn’t it?”
“Exactly, have you done anything yet?”
“I tried questioning her but she didn’t want to talk. I was considering calling you about it but I thought I would wait and give her some time to stew first.”
“Stay right there and watch her card. Also tell me where you are and I’ll be right over.”
“Um… ok.” Said Diane and she gave him her address.
Detective Abarca and the Destiny Cards - Part 17Detective Abarca and the Destiny Cards - Part 17 Nel Tue, 12/27/2016 - 18:41
The trip to Diane’s house was uneventful. The place they arrived at as a little unexpected however. It was a small mansion. Property was at a premium in Listorna so even small houses were expensive and this house was rather big.
There was a button on the gate which Berardo pushed. A moment later Diane’s voice came through. “Come in, I unlocked the gate.”
Berardo pushed open the gate and the three of them walked toward the front door. The person that opened it was Blade of Unique Sway. He was wearing more normal clothes at this moment although not really more casual. He was wearing a suit.
“She is waiting for you.” He said as he stepped aside and motioned for them to enter.
They entered the house. Horizon looked around the place in wonder however it didn’t really interest Berardo too much. He had seen the inside of rich houses plenty of times during his work on the police force. Bad things tended to happen there.
They were lead through the house until they were let into a nearly empty room. The furniture had been cleared out of it. Diane Simon was standing in the room taking practice swings with the sword she was holding. A banner scroll on the wall had been hung. There writing on it was something foreign.
She finished the swing and turned as they entered. Unlike blade she was wearing casual clothes, somekind of sweatshirt and pants which made her seem in the element for practicing the sword.
She handed the sword off to Blade who made it vanish. “So, Detective Berardo, you wanted to come talk about Wrapped Charmer of Serpents?”
Berardo almost asked her how she knew the name but realized that would be obvious. It would be written on the card that she had.
Berardo nodded, “Yes, I hoped that we would be able to find something out of her. Apparently you already tried to question her?”
“Yes, however should wouldn’t say anything. I believe she said that Cockatrice would win, he always wins and that if she said anything then she wouldn’t be able to go back to him.”
“Could you tell if it was actual loyalty of fear.”
It was Blade of Unique Sway who spoke, “It was fear.” He sounded extremely confidant.
“You can tell?” Asked Berardo.
“True loyalty feels special. She did not have that. However she does believe in Cockatrice’s strength. She is terrified of him beyond words. I do not believe that we could convince her to tell us anything because of that.”
Berardo said, “That afraid huh. It can be difficult to convince somebody like that especially from our position. We could not threaten them with any worse fate then they believe the would receive from the person they are afraid of. Unless we can convince them not to be afraid then they will tell us nothing.”
Diane said, “Do you think that you can convince her of that?”
“I am a detective after all. This is part of my normal job. There are plenty of informants who need this kind of convincing. If you awaken her and then give me some alone time with her then I will do my best to convince her.”
“Alone?” She asked.
“It helps build trust and makes them feel more comfortable. Also if you have some chairs and a table that would also make it more convenient.”
“Alright. I can get you those things.”
It too a few minutes for everything to get setup but eventually the room had some furniture and Berardo was sitting in one of the chairs.
Everybody else had cleared from the room except him and Diane although they weren’t far away in case Berardo needed to call for their aid.
Finally Diane held out the card and called out, “Awaken, Wrapped Charmer of Serpents”
Snakes poured out of the card and with them came the bandaged woman. Once she took full form the snakes all disappeared into smoke. Diane hadn’t fully awakened Charmer. Charmer took a defensive stance like she was prepared for anything to happen.
Berardo raised his hand, “No need to be nervous. Please take a seat. I just want to talk with you. Thank you Diane, that will be enough.”
Diane turned and left the room leaving Berardo with Charmer.
He motioned at the chair, “Please have a seat.”
“I don’t think there is any point.” Said the woman, “I’m not going to tell you anything.”
“I’m not going to force you to say anything. I just ask that you listen to me.”
She looked at him suspiciously before finally taking a seat.
“Good,” Said Berardo, “Excellent progress. Now Diane said that you believe that Cockatrice is going to win against us. You have to be confidant in him to be that willing to not speak. You must trust him a lot.”
She didn’t say anything but that wasn’t really the point of this questioning. If he could convince her to talk that would be excellent but he was mainly watching her body language. Some people were excellent lier and were able to fake their body language but those people tended believe in their cause and were confident. She was the opposite of that.
“I believe that Cockatrice will dispose of you even if you don’t say anything. He doesn’t seem like the type of person who lets his heroes fail him. He keeps all of them in line by being so frightening that nobody dares try and betray him. Maybe your hoping that he will grant you a clean death if you don’t speak. Something that you wouldn’t get if you spoke.”
Charmer still just sat there in silence not saying anything.
Berardo took a folded paper out of his pocket and spread it out on the table. “I’ve been compiling a list of people who I think could be Cockatrice. I’ve been going through the list of Destiny Burst duelist trying to decide which of them is Cockatrice.”
“I said I’m not saying anything.”
“Of course, of course. However if you were to tell us which was in Cockatrice then I can gather people, including Meike and the King of Endless Water and we will go after him and without the drop on us we would certainly win against him.”
She glanced down momentarily at the list but didn’t say anything.
“You still don’t think that would be enough to defeat him?”
“He can’t be beaten.”
“Then why did he run from Meike when she showed up today? Oh, right, you didn’t see that since you had already been defeated. The group of people in the school had almost been beaten by Cockatrice but instead of finishing us up he let us live. Do you know why? Because Meike and King of Endless Water were almost there and they would have beaten him.”
I could see her mentally squirm and he continued the attack, “But I bet his other heroes don’t know that. He isn’t the type to tell his heroes about his plan and what he knows not is it. I think that explains a lot about him actually. He keeps up the pretense that everything is under his control even when things are not.”
Berardo continued, “Has he ever retreated prematurely before beating the person he attack. However before he does that he gives some short speech about how letting them live is part of his plan. I’ve already seen through him, that is just a lie, a fake, meant to trick his heroes. A way to mask his escape and cowardice as planning.”
“You’re lying. Just saying things trying to trick me into talking.”
“He isn’t as strong as you think he is. He keeps pretending to be all powerful but occasionally he slips up and is forced to reveal his hand. Can’t you think back and remember those times when he did that?”
Then both of them remained silent for a bit. Berardo was giving her time to stew and mull over his words. To find those times in her memories where Cockatrice had messed up.
After a while he said, “Please. Look at the list and tell me who is Cockatrice.”
Her eyes flashed down and were quickly scanning the list. Finally she spoke and said, “You are never going to find Cockatrice. He is undefeatable.”
“Is that so? Fortunately for you, you are wrong about that.”
Her eyes narrowed in uncertainty.
Berardo smiled, “Because I have figured out who Cockatrice is, all thanks to you.”
“What? Impossible!” She actually seemed worried.
Berardo called over his shoulder, “Meike and everybody else. Please come in. It is not time for the grand reveal.”
The door to the room opened and everybody came into the room. They had been overhearing what he had been saying.
Meike gave him a questioning looked and said, “Do you really know who Cockatrice is?”
Berardo gave a giant smile. This was the best part about being a detective, “Of course I do!”
They all looked expectantly at him and he gave them a moment to ponder before saying, “You see Wrapped Charmer of Serpents answered the most important question I had about the identity of Cockatrice.”
“I did what?” She sputtered. “I didn’t say anything.”
“It wasn’t about what you said. It was about how you moved and acted. You see, she confirmed that Cockatrice is not on that list.”
“I did not do that!”
“Yes, you did. Your eyebrows relaxed a little when you looked over the list. You were relieved that I wasn’t close to catching him. There were other minor tells as well but I’m certain now that Cockatrice is not on that list of names.”
Horizon raised her hand to interrupt, “But Berardo, how can that be true? That is the list of duelists that haven’t been checked yet. Wouldn’t he have to be on that list? Unless you already checked him and mistakenly thought that he wasn’t Cockatrice.”
Berardo continued to smile, “Oh, he wasn’t on the list from the beginning because I made one very crucial mistake from the beginning. That that list was the way he was choosing his victims.”
Meike said, “Then how was he choosing his victims.”
“Now I hadn’t taken the list of the only possible answer from the beginning. It isn’t good to put all your deductive eggs in one basket but I couldn’t find another answer. But the question remained. How did Cockatrice find out who bought heroes? One answer was that he was a duelist that kept watch about who won battles and then watch the store at strategic times. However there is another option, a better more accurate option. One where he would never make a mistake.”
Berardo knew he had the right answer since at that moment Wrapper Charmer of Serpents did the thing he had been waiting for, she performed a forced awakening. Diane Simon cried out in pain as he crystals were used without her permission.
“Activate, Shield of the Morning” called Berardo who had already prepared for this to happen. Instead of putting it on Horizon like he usually did he equipped himself with the shield. It was just quick enough to stop Charmed from sending snakes down his throat.
Swords were being drawn from both Rose and Blade however Berardo didn’t let them have a chance to attack. He shouted out his solution to the riddle of Cockatrice’s identity, “Cockatrice is one of the employee’s at the Destiny Burst store.”
And with that it was over. Charmer sunk to her knees in despair. She knew that she couldn’t have beaten all of them. She had only hoped to silence Berardo before he said the truth.
Berardo lowered his shield and looked down at her, “Thank you for confirming it. I was only about 60% certain before you did it but now I am a 100% certain.”
“How?” She cried out.
“It was only a little bit ago that I really began to make the connection. You see I heart Cockatrice today. Shot him. I’m sure he used some spell to protect him but I still injured him. His tricks are strong but I continued to believe that he was actually injured.”
Detective Abarca and the Destiny Cards - Part 18Detective Abarca and the Destiny Cards - Part 18 Nel Tue, 12/27/2016 - 18:41
Berardo continued, “Then after the attack I visited the Destiny Burst store. That time it was manned by an actual Maker, not just a normal clerk like I had seen before. He didn’t seem like he would normally man the store himself unless something unusual was happening. It was an offhanded comment, a mention that the normal clerks weren’t available.”
“Just an inkling. The question of why they weren’t they. The answer was eventually made clear. Because that clerk was Cockatrice and he had been injured and hadn’t been able to make his shift because of it. It is the minor clues that give away a magician and I waited attention to everything, because that is what it means to be a detective.”
He knelt down next to Charmed and said as nicely as he could, “Now please. Tell me everything that you know. We will certainly defeat Cockatrice and free you from him.”
She looked up with tears in her eyes. She knew that it was too late, she could never return to Cockatrice now and a horrible death awaited her if she tried. Her only hope was right in front of her.
Pit of Despair
“You tricked her.” Said Rose. They were in the living room after questioning Charmer.
“Do you have a problem with it? Her reactions were instrumental to proving who Cockatrice was.”
“I suppose so. She will probably hate you for it.”
“If we keep her alive and stop Cockatrice then I won’t mind if she continues to hate me.”
“What do you plan on doing with her now?”
“Just leave her with Diane I guess. The police don’t really have a good way of putting heroes into protective custody. As long as we move quickly we can make sure that she is safe.”
“Have you started making the plan for defeating Cockatrice?”
“Some, calling Meike now would probably be a issue. She would probably just rush off immediately to fight Cockatrice however attacking him in his home alone is probably terrible. I think I’m going to stake out the location with Horizon for a bit before contacting Meike to make an assault.”
From across the room Berardo heard Diane said, “I want you to call me as well.”
Berardo sighed, he knew how this conversation was going to end but needed to his his duty, “I can’t include you. It is dangerous and besides you need to protect Charmer. I’m a detective, doing this kind of stuff is my job.”
“But for some reason it is alright to include Meike?”
“But she’s…” Berardo couldn’t come up with a convincing explanation.
“You are going to include me. If you don’t then I will go to Meike right now. I’m sure she will include me or at least let me follow.”
Berardo held up his hands in surrender, “Alright, alright. I’ll contact you and include you in the plans.”
She nodded and then returned to the other room.
“Are all Dreamers and Heroes this strong willed and thick headed?” Berardo asked Rose.
“That has been my experience. Seeking your dreams is something that all of them strive for and because they feel less limited then ordinary people the don’t hold back.”
“Even in the face of potential death?”
“Some would break but those that don’t keep that determination.”
“We are all crazy!” said Berardo.
The next day was hectic. Berardo had to split the day between trying the new equipment cards that he had gotten and watching the house. It was a larger building which would normally be expensive but it was on the southern outskirts of town where property was cheapest. Most people wanted to live higher where the views were better.
The place screamed suspicious to Berardo who had plenty of experience at that kind of thing. Nobody came in and out and there were almost never any lights on in the building even in the evening. The ground were also ill-kept. It seemed almost abandoned but Berardo knew that it was not.
Horizon was able to confirm that there were people that lived there. Normally staking out a place like this would be extremely dangerous because they could be noticed and destroy the potential sting operation. However Horizon was able to keep watch from a longer distance and avoid being noticed easily. She then relayed information to Berardo who was keeping plenty of notes on the upcoming operation.
Not wanting to keep Meike too far outside the look he had sent her a vague message that the had located important information about Cockatrice and should be able to locate his resistance by the next day and that she should be prepared. Then Berardo proceeded to ignore the next following messages from her trying to pressure him into letting her into it now.
Eventually they stopped watching the house and headed back to the meeting location. Berardo waved as he saw Rose approaching and she waved back. However Horizon stiffened and wait, “She is being watched.”
Berardo slightly inclined his head and said, “We need to catch them. Go quickly.”
Horizon then began running off while Berardo pulled out a card and as quietly as he could intoned, “Activate, Speed Boost.” It was possible to active spells fairly quietly however many of the effects were fairly obvious so it was difficult to conceal it.
Horizon ran across the street and around a corner. Rose getting the hint followed after her although not was quickly. Berardo tried to keep up be he was in an even worse position than both of them. There weren’t any sounds of violence or anything so Berardo expected to see them continuing to run when he rounded the corner.
Instead he saw Rose pointing her sword at a girl who was obviously Demon of Forgotten Soot. She didn’t have her horns or her claws but that didn’t surprise Berardo. Heroes seemed to be able to suppress their strange features if they wanted to.
She had her hands raise showing her surrender. She smile when she saw Berardo and she said, “No need to be violent with me. I surrender. After all we are friends here.”
Rose growled at her, “Why were you following me?”
“Because I wanted to figure out what you were up to. You seem like your purposefully planning something.” She smiled, “Do you know who Cockatrice is? Is that what is happening?”
Horizon looked back at Berardo and said, “She must know something. It couldn’t just be a coincidence that she just happens to be following us at this time.”
Berardo got closer to her and looked her up and down. She was wearing very casual clothing, stuff that wouldn’t get her pointed out as unusual.
Berardo said, “Does Patrick know that you are here?”
“Not likely, he is pretty dense about things and doesn’t want to get into anything dangerous.”
“So you acting on your own?”
She just smiled casually, “Is there something wrong with that? Am I not allowed to do stuff without his permission?”
“You can do whatever you want. However most heroes aren’t quite as independent at you seem to be so forgive me if I am suspicious.”
“If your suspicious then you should keep a watch over me until you are no longer suspicious.”
Berardo looked over at Rose, “What was it I said about headstrong heroes.”
She just smiled back at him. Berardo looked back at Demon, “How long have you been watching us?”
“That’s a mystery.” She said slyly.
“Horizon, we need to keep you activated more often just to notice people like this that keep sneaking around.”
He looked back at Demon and said, “Fine, whatever, follow us. Just stop sneaking around. You can join us. We are just about to do some training before the sting tomorrow.”
Her smile widened and she said, “Yes sir Detective sir.”
“Oh, great, sarcastic too.”
Berardo then lead his new team back through the town. There was a building that the police force used for training which he had receive permission directly from the chief to use for his secret project.
It had a large amount of easily reconfigurable interior space. It wasn’t really being use for that purpose by Berardo however. It was the open area to test spells that he was concerned with.
As they got to the building Berardo said to Demon, “Anything special we should know about you joining us?”
She held up a handful of cards, “I borrowed some of Patrick’s collection. I hope it will turn out useful.”
Berardo blinked at her to express his feelings, “And that is useful how? Can you activate spell cards?”
“Wouldn’t know, I haven’t tried it yet, but I wouldn’t count out the possibility just yet. People who give up that easily always end up failing.” She said with a smirk.
“Alright then, good luck, I hope you succeed.”
“And who is being sarcastic now?” Said Demon.
“Me, and thank you for pointing it out. That was very much appreciated. I wouldn’t have figured it out without you. Now you can use that bit of the building over there for trying your pointless exercise.”
Berardo motion, however he wasn’t just being sarcastic for pleasantries sake. She seemed like the type of person who liked to prove people wrong. Maybe she really would be able to cast spells without needed her Dreamer to do it. Berardo thought that the Maker had said something about oddities and being able to do strange things.
Now it was time for him to begin his own training. Diane was supposed to be arriving in a couple of hours to join them in training but he wanted to make sure that he understood how his new spells worked before she arrived so he knew which ones he really wanted to practice with.
The alarm woke Berardo up instantly, something he had gotten used to because of practice in the police force. He slapped the alarm off and sat up. It was actually beginning to become evening time but it was almost time for the sting operation and he had wanted to get some sleep before it happened.
He looked around the building. A lot of the police training equipment had been ruined during the training yesterday and early today. Things had not exactly gone as planned but it has taught them important information about his new equipment spells.
Importantly he had learned not to activate the Crown of Destiny. That had been a mistake. It was evil wish making genie powerful and Berardo didn’t want to revisit that again any time soon.
However the other items had all proved useful in one way or another. He had been extra surprised to find that the Bracelet of Mud was a very versatile and useful item. Nobody had really been able to mast the Mystical Claws of the Etherealist however which required as much finesses as he had feared.
Berardo has also gotten 2 more crystals since the time as the school building. He was definitely starting to reach his limit now. He had 10 crystals now and hadn’t yet fully mastered being able to use all of them at the same time. He would try to limit himself to only 9 if possible, like that would ever happen.
He walked around the place clapping his hands and waking everybody up. Everybody had stayed her during the night like he had. Everybody had been rather impressive last night and Berardo thought that the had a good chance to defeat Cockatrice even without Meike.
As everybody began to get up and prepare Berardo began the final message to Meike. He told her where they were and that they were about to launch an attack against Cockatrice if she wanted to join them. He would also send her the location when they headed out.
Everybody nodded, Berardo continued, “Alright then, lets head out. Everybody, this is going to be dangerous. If you have any desire to turn back now is the time.”
Detective Abarca and the Destiny Cards - Part 19Detective Abarca and the Destiny Cards - Part 19 Nel Tue, 12/27/2016 - 19:02
Now there was still a little luck that needed to happen. Cockatrice needed to be at home. It had been too risky to leave somebody watching the place.
Berardo had orchestrated the time ensure that the Destiny Burst store had already closed for the evening when they made their attack to make it more likely that he would be at the place.
Charmer had said that be was fairly regular in his schedule when not off being Cockatrice so the chances that he was home at this time was high but not guaranteed.
There was a park nearby which was where Berardo had decided to meet with Meike. She had arrived there before Berardo did. Her ability to travel long distances quickly by King was impressive.
She just looked at them as they approached and asked, “So where is it?”
Berardo pointed down the street. “Two streets down then take a right. All the way at the end. We are all heading there if you want to wait. He might have some plan for dealing with you in case you were to discover his location. From what I can tell you are the only person in the city he actually fears.”
Meike seemed to actually consider the problem, “Then what do you suggest I do? You need me to help you fight him.”
“I need you to do exactly what you would normally do however you need to do it at the right time. A two pronged attack, you go in loud and we go in silent. He tries to stop you and we slip in behind him to flank him. Does that work for you?”
She nodded, “Yeah, that will be fine. Which direction do you want me to attack from?”
“Which would be the most natural for you?”
Berardo considered for a moment then said, “Instead attack from uphill, the north. That makes as much sense and isn’t as expected. We will go in through the other side at the same time.”
She nodded, “That sounds good.”
“15 minutes. Attack in fifteen minutes. That will be the perfect time.”
She turned and her and King of Endless Water walked off toward the north where they would stage their attack.
Berardo then turned back to his more make shift team that he had. “Alright that has been dealt with. Lets go do our part.”
The team of six approached the house from the south side. Horizon was already fully awakened while they walked and they crept up toward the back end.
Said said, “Everything is still like it was previously. There are people inside although I do not know how many there are.”
Berardo nodded and looked at everybody, “If there are any last minute preparations now is the time do to them.”
All the heroes began to awaken. It was strange. Traditionally this was a job for the Dreamer but Berardo knew that if this kind of situation continued both Rose and Horizon would need to learn to quickly awaken themselves without him having to do it.
Trained forced awakening was strange. As long as the dreamer was willing it turned out to be rather easy. Rose and Demon had already had previous experience awakening themselves but to had been easy for the other two to learn. A dangerously simple task actually.
Berardo just had to do nothing to let it happen. There were some attempts where he tried to resist it and he could make it harder for them to awaken and make them not a powerful but the Maker had been correct that heroes could do it.
It was Demon of Forgotten Soot that made the strange difference in trained. She just didn’t seem to understand limits even when they applied to her she assumed that it didn’t apply to anybody else. She was certainly the strangest hero that Berardo had encountered.
Then the fifteen minutes were up and at that exact time a crash came from the north side of the house. Meike had attacked. Then the entire north side of the house exploded and then the flames that were boiling out suddenly froze in the air and just held there.
Looks like Cockatrice did have a plan for when Meike attacked. Now to find out if he also had plans for the next attack that was about to happen.
“Go go go!” Called out Berardo.
There was a fence between them and the house. It was quickly sliced down by Rose and they rushed toward the building. Diane was in the lead and she had already armored herself in the equipment armor that she used before.
She was the one that cut down the back door and rushed into the building.
As they entered the main room of the house they suddenly stopped. The room had its inner walls knocked out making the entire first floor one big room. At the northern end of the room it had exploded outward and a golden hourglass was hanging in the air.
Cockatrice was there holding his hand out toward where Berardo could see the King of Endless Water frozen in the air surrounded by flames which also were not moving. The entire area was frozen in time.
He turned around. He was already wearing his mask and there were heroes standing on either side of him. His metal mask smiled at seeing them enter.
“Welcome to my lair. I was expecting you yesterday however it seems that I underestimated you. You look like you prepared for this encounter. Being careful is aways the best.”
Berardo said, “You knew that Wrapped Charmer of Serpents was going to reveal your location?”
“Knew? I suppose so. It was a possibility so I prepared for it. Everything is playing out like I expected. The King of Endless Water is irrelevant so I froze him so he wouldn’t interfere. Now I will be able to see what you have learned.”
“You can’t fool me Cockatrice. You hide behind lies but you are not as omnipotent as you claim to be. You merely claim that everything is part of your plan to save face and keep your heroes in line with fear. Once they learn the truth you are finished.”
“Is that what you told Wrapped Charmer of Serpents to make her speak? Have you considered the possibility that my weakness is just a feint, my lie to make you think that you could succeed?”
“You only have four heroes active now. Are you saying that you could control more if you wanted?”
“Perhaps, but for now these four are enough to beat you.”
“That frozen time is taking a lot of your crystals isn’t it?” Berardo asked, “You can’t have any more heroes active while maintaining that.”
“Didn’t I say that these four are enough? Don’t make me repeat myself.” He stretched out his hand toward Berardo and said, “Kill them!”
They the battle began.
Members of the teams were similar from last time. We had some knowledge of their abilities from the last battle and at the moment we outnumbered them. The Reaper of Wandering Souls and Rose paired off again as did Horizon and Hunter Stained with Blood. They were well matched and could keep them distracted long enough.
Reaper’s scythe clashed against Roses sword as she pushed him sideways and forced him away from the rest of the group. With his wide swinging weapon Reaper could disrupt combat else where if he was allowed to remain in the building. In a moment of advantage Rose kicked him sent him flying through one of the windows. Then she was outside after him.
Hunter Stained with Blood had been standing near the stairs upstairs and when the battle began motioned toward Horizon with his hand taunting her into following him upstairs. It was bait to bring her into a disadvantages situation but with her sight and the defense given to her by the Shield of the Morning she was better running into a trap than nearly anybody else. So she gracefully ran up the stairs following him.
The brawny man who had fought Demon of Forgotten Soot last time had been engaged by both Diane Simon and Blade of Unique Sway. Berardo had learned that this hero seemed unaffected by regular attacks so pairing him off against a Dreamer who could access extra spells seemed like the right call. Before the two on one overwhelmed him he grabbed Blade of Unique Sway, totally ignoring both of their swords, and crashed through the floors with him bringing them down into the basement. Diene Simons jumped down into the darkness after them.
Then with was just four people on the main floor. The frail looking man from last time had taken a defensive position in front of Cockatrice. Demon of Forgotten Soot had already swept around the room and was in a good flanking position against them.
Berardo said, “It seems this pairing off was as much my plan as yours. However you will find that this time I am not such easy pickings. Activate, Bracelet of Mud!” The brown ring appeared around his arm.
Cockatrice did his grating laugh, “Unfortunately, today I am not interested in you Detective. Kill him Angel of Broken Destiny” Then the frail man began to run at Berardo. He couldn’t pay attention to much else as he took several steps back to keep out of range of the man however he did see Demon of Forgotten Soot taking advantage of the distraction to attack Cockatrice.
Berardo wanted to shout out to her and tell her to run, that this was what Cockatrice wanted, however the man was closing in on Berardo aggressively despite not seeming to be holding any weapon. However Berardo knew that he was anything but unarmed or if he was unarmed was more than capable of killing with his body.
He had been pushed almost all the way to the far side of the room before he managed to get some good footing and call upon the power of the Bracelet of Mud. It formed his own shield made out of harm mud which he brought against the man’s attacks. The mud cracked under the assault and Berardo could tell what exactly the man was doing.
A faint aura was surrounding his hands and at it met the mud wall it vibrated cutting through like a chainsaw would. However the mud created by the bracelet was not only hard it also flowed back into place replacing itself as soon as it was damaged. He push of the man was still enough to force Berardo from continuing to step back lest he let the chainsaw-like arm get closer to him.
Berardo tried to keep calm and part of his coping method for this was to talk, “Funny how the Demon is on the side of good and the Angel is on the side of evil.”
The man didn’t say anything instead just battering at the shield with his arm. However Berardo didn’t want to let that keep going. The Bracelet of Mud was more than just a worse Shield of the Morning, it had offensive capabilities too. In his other hand the mud soldier in a mace. The mud was bad at creating sharp objects and keeping them like that but making something heavy and round was easy.
Berardo brought the weapon across the side of Broken Destiny. The man turned and tried to block with his hands. The defense did a little but mass and speed is difficult to simply block. Sure when Berardo brought the mace back it was broken but the force had still traveled through and the bracelet was able to easily repair the mace.
“If you leave Cockatrice we will be able to protect you. You don’t have to continue to serve him.”
Finally the man spoke and said, “The side with the demon could not possibly be the good side. It is the side with the angel that is good.”
Detective Abarca and the Destiny Cards - Part 20Detective Abarca and the Destiny Cards - Part 20 Nel Tue, 12/27/2016 - 19:04
“The names of heroes in a card game seems to be a rather bad thing to base your morality on.”
“His cause is pure?”
“Pure? Pure rubbish maybe. Any cause which involves killing people to get what you want could hardly be considered pure.”
Berardo continued to batter at Angel and Angel kept was the one who was now being pushed back. What his opponent did not know was that he had snuck the Bead of Gravity into his mud mace. He had some control over how its weight grew and used that to make the mace a dangerous weapon.
The man was now silent as Berardo pushed him back. Berardo continued to talk however, “If that is how easily you fold then his true hardly means anything now does it? It doesn’t have to be like this. You don’t have to serve him.”
“I do have to serve him!” The man was basically screaming now.
“It is a pity you feel that way. Hopefully you feel differently after you are imprisoned. Activate, Speed Boost.” The spell filled him, a strange tingling as the world felt like it slowed down around him. Without the support of Cockatrice it was impossible for this lone hero to beat a Dreamer with crystals to spare.
Berardo swung around the man and brought the mace down heard against his back knocking him down and probably shattering bones. It was the second hit with finished the job causing Angel of Broken Destiny to return to his card form.
However Berardo didn’t want to waste time picking up the card so he just left it there. Instead he spun around to find out what had happened with Demon of Forgotten Soot. He had caught glimpses of what was happening during his fight but hadn’t been able to make out anything clearly.
What he actually saw when he paid attention was impossible.
Rose was standing out in the unkempt garden with Reader of Wandering Souls. His robe’s hood had fallen back revealing a skull. He was swinging the scythe he held back and forth clearing the area around him of bushes.
Rose watched him for a moment before saying, “Berardo said that we should give the opponents we face a chance to repent and surrender before we beat them. However I have one question to ask you before I consider that.”
He was not capable of facial emotion since his face was only a skull. “That is a terrible final request before I kill you but I will grant it.”
“Were you the one that killed Kathie Picozzi?”
“Vengeance, that is what you are seeking? You know I was there at her home with Cockatrice and Hunter Stained with Blood but you were defeated and your card hide before you saw how it ended. Certainly it was the three of us that killed Kathie.”
“But were you the one that ended her life?”
“It does matter does it? I was there, Kathie Picozzi died there. Would it really matter whether Cockatrice did it himself or ordered either me or Hunter to do it?”
“It matters to me. Did he order you to do it?”
His calm voice changed to be haunting and sinister, “Order me to do it? He he he. He didn’t order me to do anything. I would have done it without being asked. However I’m sorry to burst your revenge bubble but it was Hunter Stained with Blood that got to her first. A knife across her throat. She bleed out clawing at the floor. It was excellent.”
Rose snapped. She was finally here with one of the people who was responsible for Kathie’s death. It might not be the own that slit her throat but he was one of them.
“Alright then. Unfortunately for you I don’t feel like offering you the chance to surrender.” Then she pulled all her fire. It boiled up bursting out around her. Bushes and trees ignited as fire spread across the ground fueled purely by her will.
Only seconds later the entire garden was filled with fire all except the small section around Reaper. He had cleared the bushes and undergrowth around him with his scythe during the conversation and because of that was safe from the initial ignition.
“Your fire, so very scary. However I don’t know why you are so intent at fighting me. You know your flames have limited effect on me.” He took several steps forward. Licks of fire caught onto his robes and began to burn. The flames intensified as he walked and soon his entire body was covered in flames.
Then the flames were gone. Nothing but a skeleton stood there. A skeleton holding a scythe. “See, you power is useless against me. Your flames might be hot enough to burn flesh but they are not enough to burn bones of melt metal. You knew this just you continued to want to fight me. Is it because you keep losing to me and want to win? You will never win against me. Had your teams split us correctly you might have stood a chance but like this. It is pointless.”
He swung his scythe toward Rose who deflected it with her sword sending it crashing to the ground. She was then able to use her sword to slice back and forth across him. However nothing happened.
“Any your sword. A light one, more like a saber. If you had something with heft you might be able to break my bones but with that light weapon you will never be able to harm me. Pride and emotions make people weak and predictable.”
“And you don’t have emotions?”
“A tool for violence has only need for one emotion. Bloodthirst.” He swung the scythe with a large amount of force toward he. He didn’t need to protect himself from her and could leave himself open. That allowed him to use as much force as he could muster.
Rose was knocked backward by the strength but managed to avoid a deadly blow. However she got a small cut. The blood flowed however it was only a small cut. One problem with being flesh and blood, she got hurt and she got tired but her opponent apparently did neither of those things. She supposed that he could get hurt but it would be different than her injuries. She just had to figure out how to properly injure him.
With him fully on the offense Rose had to move fully onto the defensive. She fell back through the still burning garden as she was forced to lose ground. She wondered what Berardo would do. Dreamers were always better at finding novel solutions for problems and he was superb at that.
It was different when she was with Kathie. Kathie had been an excellent player of Destiny Burst, a real ace who could beat opponent she had no right to beat but she was through and through a player of Destiny Burst. During that battle she had made mistakes because she was unfamiliar with doing an illegal duel however Berardo had excelled in those situations. Sure he made mistakes too but when those mistakes were revealed he continued to push forward and make new solutions and new plans.
She had trained with the others in the police training grounds but honestly she hadn’t really learning anything herself there. She had learned what other people could do and how she could fight with them by her side but she hadn’t really gotten better. She was already a honed fighter with plenty of experiences.
It was Reaper of Wandering Souls that always stuck in her mind. She had fought countless opponents with many victories and few loses but no loses stung her stronger then her loses against him because every time she fought him she didn’t know how she planned to win despite wanting to win so much.
Yet she felt as helpless against him now as she did that first time when she fought him with Kathie just before Kathie’s death. Every swing brought her closer and closer to defeat. A small cut here, a bruise there, the slow grinding down of her endurance. He knew that too and was taking his time, whittling her down piece by piece.
Step by step was went back, the land behind her continued but she knew with each hit that she took that she didn’t have much left. She would need to find something, anything, that could help her beat him.
She wrapped her flames around her blade heating it as much as she could. An opening was easy, Reaper was full of openings. She brought her sword down as strong and hot as she could against his bones hoping the heat and force would be enough.
It almost was. There were small cracks that appeared in the bone and she could tell that he felt it. However he brought the scythe directly up and into her sword. The heat on the sword had made it brittle and with the force that he brought against it caused the sword to shatter, the metal breaking violently and the hot fragments of metal scattered across the burning garden.
Rose screamed in pain as one of the shards lodged into her leg. She collapsed onto the ground unable to stand. She was helpless and defenseless. Reaper of Wandering Souls looked down at her, “See where your emotions have taken you. All the way to the bottom. Although that last blow was pretty good it also spelled your certain doom. Throwing your weapon away in one last glorious attack, pity it didn’t work.”
She couldn’t give up, she was so close to getting her revenge. She was still not going to give up. She pulled the shard of her sword from her leg. She could feel her hands burning while that happened but she ignored the pain. She raised the shard the best she could while laying on the ground and pointed it at Reaper of Wandering Souls.
“Is that your final stand?” He said as he raised the scythe above his head for the blow that would certainly finished off Rose and revert her to a card. “Such a pathetic end. I’m sure you know what will happen to your card after I do this. I plan on making sure you never interfere again.”
She knew it and it would certainly be better than being captured by Cockatrice, but she still didn’t want to give up, she didn’t want to die. She could still remember heading Kathie say those words, “Live” it was the last thing she had heard from Kathie.
Had revenge been so important to Rose that she was willing to violate the last instruction from Kathie. Rose had wanted to do both, live and take revenge. Now she feared that she would be able to do neither.
No, she would fail, she wouldn’t die. Kathie Picozzi had wanted Rose of Unyielding Flames to live. And to do that right now she need to win. The power to win.
To her it sounded like glass shards rubbing together. Like gears turning yet the gears were covered in glass. She saw it, the crystals. Five crystals glowing red appearing around her. The feelings that had been left with her, one last gift from Kathie, something she hadn’t seen before because she hadn’t thought to look.
Fire bubbled up around Rose, now the ground around her was on fire. The dirt burning. The pain from her leg was excruciating but somewhere she found the strength to stand. Fire plumed around her.
Reaper of Wandering Souls did not know what was happening but he was not about to let it finish. He brought the scythe down to kill her.
It never reached her. Droplets of molten metal scattered around her. The crystals around her flaring red with energy. She raised her hand pointing it at him and said, “Lets see if your bones can take the fire I inherited.”
Detective Abarca and the Destiny Cards - Part 21Detective Abarca and the Destiny Cards - Part 21 Nel Tue, 12/27/2016 - 19:04
The fires engulfed him and she could see the bones blacken and then burn, crumbling to ash from the heat of the fires. Then he was gone, consumed in the fires. When the light died his card began to flutter to the ground.
Rose turned to join the battle that was surely happening inside the battle. Then her leg gave way again. All her energy began to evaporate as the lost control over the burning red crystals which vanished one by one. She needed to go in there and help but this time she couldn’t muster the energy.
Instead she lay in the ash that surrounded her. She felt numb, she had lost of a lot of blood during the battle. It was all she could do to burn her own wounds closed to protect herself before she blacked out.
Her last thoughts as she passed out was that she did it. She won.
The second floor was pure darkness. The windows had been blackened and boarded shut. Only the smallest fragments of light managed to piece those black windows. In that almost pure darkness even Horizon had trouble seeing.
However she had something special to help her. The light from the Shield of the Morning was sort, extremely soft but it was enough for Eyes that Gaze the Horizon to see throughout the room. Hunter Stained with Blood was somewhere on this floor, hiding and waiting for the perfect time to strike.
While the light from Shield of the Morning allowed Horizon to see it would already reveal her location clearly to Hunter. He could remain in the deep darkness and watch her then attack at the crucial moment.
Horizon walked through the rooms looking back and forth keeping as alert as she was capable of being. Hunter could potentially kill her with a single knife if she was not properly able to defend against it. In previous fights she had been able to watch him and and block his knives because she had been able to follow those trajectories.
While she walked she kept the shield up high near hear face. That way she could defend her neck and chest was quickly as possible.
There was a creak of floorboards behind Horizon and she spun to face that direction. The light of the shield grew and she saw nothing. A trick maybe. She spun around again to check her rear but there wasn’t anybody there either.
“Hunter Stained with Blood, I know you here. You know that I can beat you in a fair fight so you are sneaking around. You had better hope that your first attack injures me significantly.”
There was echoing sounds coming from the rooms. His voice unnaturally echoing off objects and distorting his location.
“I was hoping not to have to fight you.”
“I thought you liked fights. That you enjoyed this?”
“I suppose I do. We could do a few rounds if you really want.” Came back the echoing voice, “But right now I’ve lost my muse.”
“Your muse?” Horizon tried to locate the location of the voice but it seemed to be coming from everywhere. He was extremely skilled as masking its location and his abilities probably had something to do with that.
“At first he made me feel alive. I fought the people he wanted me to fight and not those scripted stupid fights that most of you do but real fights. However time passed and I began to realize that this too was a lie. Even those fights were fake, a better constructed illusion but still an illusion.”
“What do you mean?”
“All the fights, Cockatrice has his little plans and desires. Who he wants to beat and who he wants to let live. Like now, you are on the list of people that aren’t supposed to die, those that are supposed to still be alive because they might serve his goal.”
“You are not supposed to kill me?”
“Precisely. I considered disobeying orders and just kill you because it was not what he said but I realized that would just be a minor opposition. If I really needed to show my dissatisfaction I would need to do something more extreme.”
“You plan on betraying Cockatrice?”
“Indeed, and if you wait there for a moment my preparations will be complete.”
“Your preparations?” Asked Horizon as she continued to look around on the top floor to no avail. However this time Hunter did not say anything. The silence bugged Horizon, she still didn’t trust Hunter, he said that he planned on betraying Cockatrice however the explanation about why he planned on doing that didn’t sit well with Horizon. She thought he was up to something, something that wouldn’t be good.
The gear turned in Horizon’s head trying to figure out what he was planning. She believed him when he said that he planned on betraying Cockatrice, that he was unsatisfied with the types of fights he was having. However in the current situation he would likely never be able to escape Cockatrice without turning himself over to Berardo and his personality suggested that Berardo would also be a terrible place for him.
She realized that he was planning to turn everybody against him. A real fight against everybody in the building, the thing that he had been searching for. However how would be plan on doing that? Then she saw her clue, a little waft of dust. She looked up at the ceiling. He had tricked her from the very beginning. He hadn’t stopped on this floor, he had gone up to the attic. That is where he had been speaking to her from.
How had he gotten to the attic. There must be some entrance somewhere however Horizon didn’t really have time to find it. She thought that the longer she waited the more time he would have to do whatever it was that he planned.
The light from her shield blazed excessively and the circles materialized strongly around her eyes bringing all the world into focus. It took all her concentration to do this so it wasn’t something she did all the time. However in the brief moment when all her powers were activated she saw it. The hatch leading to the attic.
There was as secret button that she had to push that caused a stairway to detach from the ceiling. She climbed the steps one by one until she reached the top. When she reached the top she almost fell backward down the stairs again.
There was a giant pulsing green shard, like a crystal but bigger. Hunter Stained with Blood was laying against the wall next to it. He was gaunt and pale, like his life was getting sucked away. Horizon could tell that was literal.
She gasped as she spoke, “That thing, it is using your crystals to function.”
“Hehehe,” His voice was soft and weak, no longer distorted, “A little trick of my own. I found this spell among his collection. I found a special way to activate it without him noticing that I’m doing anything. I couldn’t access more of the crystals than he gave me but I was able to use the power he sent me to this instead. Clever don’t you think?”
“This…. This is a bomb!?” Said Horizon horrified as she realized what it was that he was actually doing. “This could destroy the entire mansion and everything in it!”
“That is kind of the point now isn’t it?”
“I can’t let you finish this?”
“You can’t? I would instead advise that you run. It is almost fully charged and when that it done this entire mansion and everybody in it is going to explode. Pity you took so long figuring out what I was doing. Had you gotten here a little sooner you might have gotten everybody out of the building. But not, maybe two minutes let, not enough to get everybody out. You could probably jump through that window there and survive yourself.”
However Horizon has already stopped paying attention to him. She was staring at the bomb spell. Hunter had already finished feeding it almost all the energy it needed. Even if he stopped now it would still have plenty of explosive power. She needed to find some way to stop it from exploding, that was the only way to save everybody.
She enhanced her sight to its absolute limit watching the flow of energy inside the crystal. It went back and forth connecting and empowering, changing and energizing the parts. She needed to disrupt the flow but how would she do that.
Suddenly she had her answer. She rushed over to Hunter Stained in Blood and reached into his coat to pull out one of his knives. He tried to reach up and stop her however he had lost most of his strength and could not resist her when she pulled the knife free.
She walked over to the crystal. Took one more view of the flows of energy and then crashed the knife into the crystal at the exact right point. Energy poured over her out of the crystal. She could feel pain all up her arms. However it wasn’t enough, that single break wasn’t enough to stop the crystal from exploding.
She pulled the knife free and then once again jabbed it into another position in the crystal. There was another rush of energy. Then another pull and stab. With that final cut a practical whirlwind of energy poured from the crystal knocking Horizon down. She watched as the energies funneled outward, blowing the roof off the top of the building.
The energy kept flowing from the room stronger and stronger and Horizon gasped like the air was being drawn from her lungs. She could see that Hunter was having the same thing happen to him. She could no longer seem to keep her physical form together and moments later she had reverted to being a card. As she fluttered back and forth to the floor she could see that Hunter had the same thing happen to him.
The man had slammed Blade of Unique Sway through the floor into the basement. He would have crushed in Blade’s skull with his fist had Diane Simon not fell down after them and nearly skewered him through. He was forced to roll out of the way to avoid the attack.
Diane and Blade where then able to assume a defensive formation.
“Oh?” said Diane, “Now why did you dodge my attack. I was under the impression that you could not be harmed.”
“No talking, more fighting.” The man grunted as he rushed them. This time he didn’t really avoid their attacks. Their blades cut and sliced him but as he ignored the attacks he forced the two of them to split up and flank him to avoid letting him get to close to them.
As they attacked the wounds they inflicted seemed to have no effect on the man. Sure he was cut but after each wound was inflicted it quickly closed. All of their attacks seemed to have not effect, not even delaying him.
He continued to go after Blade who had to attack less and less as he was being pushed more and more as the man closed in. They had no way of harming the man. Diane tried to figure out what to do. She had a few crystals available for spells if she needed to use them. Last time she fought she had not used her spells appropriate. During the training she had done a lot of work to try and practice using her spells during battle.
She needed to find a way to harm this hero. She and Blade had been assigned to fight this opponent since she had extra spells that could help. She went through each of her spells trying to decide if it would harm him. Why had he dodged that first attack she made. There had to be some reason for it.
Detective Abarca and the Destiny Cards - Part 22Detective Abarca and the Destiny Cards - Part 22 Nel Tue, 12/27/2016 - 19:05
The attack had been a full weight power attack from above him. What could that attack do that the current attacks they were doing could not? It was a question that a swordmaster could answer. The first attack would have skewered him, the later attacks would just cut him. Skewered from behind, that made things easy to understand. If she had done that he wouldn’t be able to move freely and he wouldn’t have been able to easily attack her.
Restraining him was a definite possibility, a way to beat him. There might be limits to his regeneration, maybe he couldn’t regrow limbs or maybe there were parts of him that couldn’t regenerate correctly. Being skewered would make it easy to do any of those things without him being able to stop it.
However a good possibility like that wouldn’t present itself again. Since he wasn’t defending himself well they could probably get close enough to do something like it again but only if one of them risked death while the other did it.
It they had an exact plan however she could probably work something up with her spells. So for the moment she concentrated at determining the flaws of his regeneration. She focused attacks towards her face.
That was the first time he actually tried to block the attack. Although block was a strong term for it. His hand intercepted the blade, blocking it from hitting his face be gouging large cuts in his hand.
She knew that there were plenty of reasons to protect your face even if you could regenerate. If she had hurt his eyes then he might not be able to regenerate fast enough for that weakness to not be a hinderance.
Either way that gave her a chance to check something else out. He was willing to defend like that gave her an opportunity.
The next time she made a swing at his face he raised his hand once again to defend but this time she called upon one of her spells. “Activate, Overdrive.”
With that she solidified her footing and brought the sword down with a bone cutting force. He screamed as his hand which was supposed to be for defense was chopped in half. For a moment he was one the defensive pulling back under their assault.
Overdrive however had already ended. It was an extremely short spell. Under Berardo’s advice she had placed some of her spells into pockets that had been sewn inside her shirt. They had discovered that to active the spell close proximity was all that was required, and a bit of distance from other cards so that you could determine which one you were actually using. She had a handful of her spells setup like that.
This one boosted everything for a very short period of time. While other spells had much longer duration this one was very short but during those few moments nothing was stronger than her.
She had previously considered it one of her least useful spells because she had had to pull it out and cast it to get a few moments of boost. Which was alright if she had been casting it on Blade of Unique Sway in a dual but had been practically useless when wielding a sword. That reasoning had been why she had not previously cast any spells. Now with the spell available to her in the middle of combat she was able to use them in the heat of battle.
“Your hand is healing.” Said Diane as the pushed back the man. “However it is not as quick as your other injures. Maybe 10 minutes for everything to recover. In battle that is far too long. You won’t be able to regenerate fast enough. Surrender.”
“Die.” Then he rushed Blade of Unique Sway. This time he used his mauled hand and with his remaining fingers grabbed onto the sword, pulled it close to him, forcing Blade to get closer. Then he slammed his fist into Blade’s chest. There was a crushing sound and blood as he drove blade to the ground. As he pulled away his wounded hand was nothing but a mangled stump. It was still regenerating but it would take even longer now and would be completely unless until then.
However Blade was down. Diane could feel his energy slip away and a moment later he had returned to a card state.
The man grunted, “I had thought your sword would disappear with him. This is better.”
She was still retaining the sword in one of her crystal even though Blade had deactivated. “It was something we practiced. We need to make sure I wouldn’t be defenseless if he fell so I practiced doing a partial awakening and keeping the sword active.”
However the man had already stopped talking. He was guarding himself now with the stump of an arm that he had. Now that all his digits had been removed it was hard to injure the hand more than it had already been injured.
And without Blade to distract him it was hard to get a good opening in his defenses. Without the support of Blade, Diane was pushed further and further back. Her swordsmanship was excellent and had her opponent been capable of taking injuries she would have long since won.
She had something that she could do however. Her armor would protect her more then Blade was protected and she had found weaknesses in his regeneration. She suspected that complicated parts of him were slower to regenerate. His eyes, were something he had to protect. Severe injure was also harder for him to recover from.
There were a couple of other spells that she was capable of using that she planned to use to turn the tide of the battle however it was still not the correct time to use them. She needed to survive and wait a little bit longer before it was time to enact her new plan.
One of his punches managed to slip through her guard. She had thought she had been perfect as defending but at the last moment slipped on a small blood pool. Her armor protected her from the majority of the blow however she could feel the pain in her chest and suspected that one or more of her ribs had broken.
Then she realized what he was doing. He wasn’t just mindlessly fighting her but he was also a clever opponent. He had forced her to fight him in a circle. All the while she had been spilling his blood. By now the floor was slick with it and it was beginning to get hard to keep her footing.
It was her shoes. They were just normal shoes however normal shoes were not designed to do sword fighting on a blood slick floor.
She felt that she was unprepared for this kind of fight. She had sword training from Blade of Unique Sway and Dreamer training after doing some Destiny Burst and training from Berardo. However under all of that was still a soft and weak girl.
The trance of the combat made her remember when she had first gotten Destiny Burst. It had been the card club. The school was a well ranked one so her father had made sure she had gotten into it. It had basically been an accident. Her father had been home that month and she hadn’t really wanted to deal with him. However the only way she was able to stay at school would have been to join a club, to have a pretend obligation.
So she joined the card club. It didn’t have many members, they appreciated her since she was able to use her families wealth to make the club better. She had been able to convince her father that it was a trial, an attempt at controlling people. Much to her dismay and her father’s excitement it worked.
Then it changed, her entire world flipped upside down. The mysterious box with the cell phones inside it and the cards. She later learned that the Makers occasionally distributed those boxes to bring in new players to Destiny Burst and her club was just lucky in getting one.
It had changed all four of them. They all got into the game, played it with each other and other all that they could. But the strangest thing happened, she was no longer special. All of them had been special so the fact that she was from a rich family suddenly mattered less and less.
The strangest thing in the world to her. The sudden meaninglessness of the wealth. She had been brought up to think that was everything that mattered, that she needed to exceed her father and become even greater. Many times she had struggled with it, wondering if that was true but her father had shown her every time that wealth meant everything.
Maybe she had waited for this very moment, to be shown that there was something more, something else, something beyond her father. Initially it had just been Destiny Burst but then it was also her friends, real friends, people that stuck with her not because she was rich but because they shared something. That was Destiny Burst.
The second revelation happened when Cockatrice attacked the school. Previously she had been in a magical world. A place beyond her father that she loved and enjoyed. But that was something else. Something beyond even that.
It was that moment when she reached a place that she thought that her father would never be able to reach. A battle for life and death with magical powers among others like her. How would he act and react to being like this, would he do the same even if he had cards. She thought that he would have lost and died. That she had done something that he could not.
That desire drove her to continue, to become something beyond her father. To go to greater and greater heights that he would never have been able to achieve.
Now she just needed to make another step. She needed to beat another opponent. A regenerating enemy who had already beaten her greatest ally. During the clash of her sword against his arm she quickly recalled those thoughts about her past.
Now things were ready for her to make her final move. All the crystals that had been keeping Blade of Unique Sway active were available to her again. She still couldn’t resummon him until his injuries had been fully recovered which usually took a hero several days.
She did however have a few extra spells sewed into the fabric of her shirt. They were some of the extra spells she had gotten when learning Destiny Burst. She had never really mastered using them on Blade of Unique Sway. But they were something that seemed like something that she could use on herself.
“Activate, Lightness of Breath. Activate, Heaviness of Form.” Called out Diane as she activated both of the spells together. A pair of spells that had been bundled together, obviously deliberately by the Makers. Together they controlled the weight of a person allowing them both ease of movement when needed but also strength and power.
The problems with them were two fold. They were continuous spells, ones that could be kept up as long as the Dreamer wished but as a cost each of them took two crystals. This prevented her from using both of them along with Blade and her armor.
The second problem is that they required constant monitoring of their effect, theoretically she would have been able to do it on Blade but practice as she could she had never been able to use them to their utmost potential. At least until she started to use them on herself. Feeling her own body and the effect of the two spells she was able to balance them perfectly.
Now that let her flow, move like water, around her opponent.
Detective Abarca and the Destiny Cards - Part 23Detective Abarca and the Destiny Cards - Part 23 Nel Tue, 12/27/2016 - 19:05
He could not turn around in time to avoid her sword entering through his back. Then with some increase weight she was able to bring the sword down then up, cutting him into two pieces. He fell to the ground with a scream. There was a moment while his regeneration tried to recover him but it was not enough and he returned to a card.
Diene breathed in an out for a moment, recovering from the adrenaline. Then she turned and reached down, picking Blade of Unique Sway. His card was in the injured state so he could not speak with her. She wiped the blood carefully off of him and then placed him safely away in her card holder.
Then she turned back to where the man’s card had fallen. She walked over and picked it up. It said, Immortal Warrior of Legend. She also carefully wiped the blood off of it, not because she cared about him but because she had to put it with her other cards.
She heard a voice say, “You could call me if you need another hero.” It was Wrapped Charmer of Serpents. She was still stored with Diane’s other cards.
She shook her head in rejection, “Sorry, not right now. I need my crystals to keep my spells active and I still don’t really trust you. Not with the confrontation with Cockatrice coming up.”
“Alright, but remember that I’m here. If you can beat Cockatrice then I would rather stick with you. I only ask that if you are about to lose you take a moment to rip me up.”
Wrapped Charmer of Serpents would rather die then let Cockatrice get a hold of her. Understandable but Diane wasn’t going to let that happen. It was time for her to go up stairs and join any other fights that were happening. Her battle took longer than expected. They had hoped that the two of them together would be able to finish their opponent quickly before helping others.
She turned and began to walk up the stairs back to the first floor.
Tower of Madness
The battle had started like Demon of Forgotten Soot had expected. Cockatrice had called upon his Icon of Pain as his weapon to fight off her claws. For a human he was fast and strong but Demon knew that she would eventually get the better of him. The pain caused by his weapon was annoying but she was able to ignore it fairly easily.
Back and forth she attack and he barely defended each time. However as the battle continued she began to realize that she was being tricked. He wasn’t barely blocking her, he was looking like he was barely blocking her.
“Fine, I’ll have to up the ante.” She said and she began to push harder, to move faster, to hit harder. It pushed the crystals she was using to their absolute limit.
His defense kept up with her newly strengthen assault. However this time it was strong enough that he could no longer pretend to be barely blocking. His technique and finesse implied a lifetime of experience and battle, somebody who would be able to look death in the face and keep on fighting. However he was reaching the limits of what a human was capable of doing while Demon was already beyond that. He had only been keeping her at bay using combat experiance.
Then he spoke, “If this the best you can do? You won’t be able to defeat me with just this minor display of strength. Both of us know that. I could easily use a spell right now to defeat you.”
It pained her to admit it but he was right. Even with her advantage in strength and speed he would be able to win if he was capable of activating spell cards and she was not.
However she had learned a great deal during the training. Initially she had tried to use spells like Dreamers did however that turned out to not work. After all she was still use Patrick Andrew’s crystals not her own so the regular methods of casting were not usable by her.
A setback certainly but a small one. Instead she had learned an alternate way of casting spells. She had to activate more of Patrick’s crystals, pull their energy into herself. Normally she was just a 2 crystal brawler, three crystal heroes usually had more extreme special abilities but she hadn’t had any of those.
She was however able to learn a trick to overcharge herself, drawing in a third or fourth crystal. It boosted her power but not by how much those crystals were worth. This technique was the first stepping stone for casting spells. Once she was overcharged she was able to channel that energy into a spell card and forcing it to activate its effects.
The end result was remarkable different than when a normal Dreamer cast the spell. The spells she had trained to use all worked slightly different in her hands, less control but more power. Her unconventional means of activating the spells made them have strange side effects, thing that the Makers could not have predicted when designing the spells.
In the battle she quickly charged herself with the extra crystal and then cast her spell, “Activate Whirlwind.” The whipping wind spun up around her. Normally this spell would let the caster control where the whirlwind was but in her cast it simply spun around her uncontrollably.
As the eye of the storm she was mostly unaffected and was able to charge Cockatrice. He tried to guard with his weapon but the winds were too strong and the Icon of Pain was knocked out of his hands and sent flying across the room. That left him practically defenseless as Demon racked her claws against him and his robes.
There where specks of blood before Cockatrice called out, “Activate, Barrier of Friction” And he was able to escape the winds. The winds whipped against the barrier he had created and he remained unaffected inside. His spell had neutralized hers.
He laughed behind his metal mask and said, “A hero that has learned to cast spells. How exciting. Maybe you are the one that I was looking for. Let’s see how much more you are capable of. How about we play a new game, something exciting.”
Cockatrice reached into his robe and pulled out a card. Normally the magic in the cards protect them from damage but this card was old and weathered. He held it in front of him and called out.
“Activate, Tower of Madness!” Then he released the card. It stayed there, motionless in the air. However Cockatrice backed up pulling back to the end of the building.
Demon who realized a danger when she saw it began to do the same. Nearby, Berardo who had recently finished his own fight and turned to watch hers also sensed the danger and retreated with Demon.
Then the card began to spin. It flickered in place and gray lines began to appear around it. Then without any extra warning the earth began to shake and masonry began to push its way through the floor. The gray stone walls of what could only be described as a tower pierced up. The ceiling broke under the force of the building that was erupting from the ground.
The mansion shook and began would have begun to collapse had there not been a new structure in the center holding it up. Only seconds after Cockatrice has activated the spell there was a giant tower jutting up through the mansion.
He was laughing, they could no longer see him but they could certainly hear him. “Let us see how you survive this. Prepare for the horror of your lifetime!”
Then the door appeared. A black metal door covered in runes. The runes were all glowing. Then one by one the glow on the doors disappeared. Once they were all gone there was a loud crashing sound and a dent appeared in the door. Something from the inside.
“There was something you were right about.” Came the laughing voice of Cockatrice. “I do have a limit to how many crystals I can control. Normally this would take almost off of my crystals. So I would like to thank you all for defeating all of my heroes. That gave me the extra space to cast this. Now please enjoy.”
There was another crashing sound and another huge dent appeared in the metal door. Then it happened again. Something big, probably multiple something bigs, was in there trying to get out.
Berardo didn’t have time to waste waiting for the door to break. He pulled out his phone and pressed a number on his quick dial. It was answered almost immediately, “Plan B, please help.” He called into the phone before putting the phone back away.
He activated the communication spell trying to bring everybody he could reach into it. There were many non-responses. As he contacted them he called out, “Diane, quickly, I need your help. Everybody else but you and Demon are down. We are going to need your help.”
“Coming up now.”
Berardo could tell that both Horizon and Rose were down for the count but were also going to be alright assuming Berardo was able to recover their cards after this.
He saw Diane run up the nearby stairs and take a position near him and Demon. She looked well and he was thankful for that. Him and her were probably the most fragile of the combatants. Heroes could survive even normally lethal wounds assuming that their card was unharmed. Humans on the other hand could be crippled or killed much easier.
“We just need to survive for approximently 5 minutes then my plan b should be available. Do you think you can do that?” He asked them.
They both nodded to him.
He smiled at them, “We don’t even know what it doing to appear when they break down that door and you are already thinking we can. I’ll try to support your optimism. Now lets get ready.”
There were two more slams on the metal door and then the door fell outward under the force of the next blow. Then the creatures came out. They were huge but something else was wrong with them. They were hunched and looked almost human. Each of them also wore armor, old looking ornamental armor. And they each carried weapons larger then Berardo. There was also four of them.
Berardo gulped trying to keep the optimism that had just tried to run away screaming. Would the three of them really be able to beat those four monsters or even hold them off for five minutes. Berardo wasn’t so sure any more.
“Demon, this enemies are not going to leave this building standing. I’m going to speed boost you and I would like you to quickly recover Horizon’s and Rose’s card. I don’t want them to be caught in the collapse.” She nodded, “Then go quickly. Activate Speed Boost.”
And she was gone. There tower had caused a hole in the room that she was able to leap through.
“Sure that was smart. Two vs four isn’t good odds.” Said Diane.
“Their big, should let us keep more than one from attacking us at once.”
“Alright, which one first.”
“Well, the one with the giant sword seems to already be on his way over here. How about we do that one first.”
Then the stepped a few paces apart from each other. Parrying such a giant weapon was basically impossible so they needed to keep a little distance from each other so they wouldn’t get in each other’s way when dodging.
Berardo raised his mud mace and Diane her sword. They would probably be little more then minor annoyances to something this big but if they go in close to its neck they might be enough of an attack to slay the beast.
Detective Abarca and the Destiny Cards - Part 24Detective Abarca and the Destiny Cards - Part 24 Nel Tue, 12/27/2016 - 19:29
The problem with this plan was that for creatures of their size they moved very rapidly. Its long legs let it cross over to them very quickly and the strength in its arms let it swing the sword as fast as any regular swordsman.
The first swing was the easiest to dodge because of them had been in a good position to dodge it. The second swing was harder because it was already engaged with them and because it was harder to gauge their movement just because it was so big.
He swung it wide across with the sword. Diane was able to mostly leap over the sword although she stumbled a little bit when she landed. Berardo didn’t have the agility to do that kind of maneuver so instead he dropped down.
The sword skimmed above him. It might have dipped down to crush him however the Bracelet of Mud was able to push it upward as it passed over him keeping him safe from the attack.
As the attack came to a halt Berardo followed the sword. Then he used the bracelet to create a wall of mud pushing against the sword and using the Bead of Gravity to increase the weight and better prevent the sword from moving. That plan wouldn’t stop the giant from attacking for long.
It just needed to move the sword correctly to break through the wall but that short delay was enough for Diane who recognized what Berardo was doing. She was able to close in on the giant. It tried to remove one hand from the sword to bat her away but that was a mistake. She was able to dodge the swing easily and the lack of the extra hand on the sword let Berardo keep it from moving for longer.
Once she was past it last line of defense she was able to get in close to the massive creatures neck and slice back and forth causing blood to spray. The giant fell backward as the lost of blood was too much for it.
As it fell Berardo could head Demon call to him through the communication spell. “I have both of them and am almost back.”
Berardo had been about to respond when he saw behind the giant that they had just felled. There was still the three other giants that were left but something else. A snake was coming out of the tower. It was larger than any of the giants that had already exited.
“Maybe you should cancel that plan. More enemies are coming out of the tower. At this rate we won’t be able to beat them all. I need you to instead defeat Cockatrice. If you can cancel his spell then we might have a chance.”
“Understood.” Came the response and then Berardo turned back to the giant monsters. “Sorry, Diane, Demon won’t be joining us. I sent her to defeat Cockatrice. We will have to handle this on our own.”
“Any clever plans that you want to pull out as the last moment to let us win?”
“I’ve already initiated all my plans. We just need to survive until they are good enough.”
“We will probably be able to deal with the giants but what about that snake.”
Berardo watched the snake begin to open its mouth extremely wide, “It looked like we will only have to deal with one of those.”
The rear giant turned and saw the snake, apparently they weren’t allies began the giant began to attack the snake. The snake bit down on the giant’s weapon and it shattered into little bits. Then the snake reached out and bit down on the giant. A few moments later the giant began to turn purple and cough up foam and blood.
The other two giants had already began running, trying to get as far away from the snake as possible.
“I wonder what other horrors are going to come out of that tower. Maybe if we wait long enough they will all fight each other.” Said Berardo not really believing that it would be that easy.
The snake was now moving toward them. There was points of green on the tips of its fangs, it must have been the poison that had killed the first giant.
Diane said, “At least we don’t have to worry too much about the poison. If we get bit by that thing I’m pretty sure it won’t be the poison that kills us.”
What was this excitement, something that seemed to be welling up in both Berardo and Diane’s blood. In the beginning it had been fear but not it was something more. An experience that was beyond who they normally were.
“I think Demon is going to have the boring battle against Cockatrice. It looks like this battle is going to be the fun one.”
They didn’t have any more time to chat when the snake lunged at them.
“Cockatrice.” Said Demon as she stared at the man. He was still behind the tower. It was like he was waiting for her to come to him.
“You came for me, abandoning your allies. They will probably die if you don’t go and aid them.”
“It seems that you constantly underestimate us or at least pretend to be stronger than you are. I think they will be fine.”
“I won’t disillusion you then. Although maybe you came to fight me hoping that by beating me you can deactivate the tower. Well, that is true. Although I am glad that it was you that came after me. Now I get to see if you can become the Eternal Hero.”
“Did I let a secret out of the bag? I suppose it doesn’t matter too much now. Yes, become. All the heroes in your product line have the capability to become the Eternal Hero, at least theoretically. In practicality most of them actually do not. Take the other one you have been fighting with, Eyes that Gaze the Horizon. She is unlikely to ever become the Eternal Hero.”
“Oh, and why might that be?”
“Because she relies on and trusts Detective Berardo. Oh, I know you would say the same thing but it is different for you. He is just a momentary blip for you, a temporary ally. So you need to push yourself to uncover more of you own abilities and power. Your ability to cast spells is already a sign that you might be able to become the Eternal Hero. I just need to push you some more.”
“Why do you want to find this hero?”
“Because the Eternal Hero symbolizes the violation of limits, infinite potential. Isn’t that the purity of human desire? To seek something that is impossible? That is what I desire too. Can you give it to me?”
“Even if I am this Eternal Hero I’m not going to help you.”
“We shall see. We shall see. And I have to thank you for talking with me for so long. It gave me plenty of time to charge this spell up. I hope it makes you the Eternal Hero.”
Cockatrice pointed at Demon and said, “Activate, Piercing Laser.”
There was a bright glowing line of light that extended from Cockatrice’s hand. It hit Demon right in the chest and she could feel it burning through her body. She fell to the ground trying to cough but being unable to do so.
Then Cockatrice spoke again, “Activate, Destiny Restraint”
For Demon of Forgotten Soot the pain grew more and more intense. Each moment she expected to lose her grip on the crystals and return to being a card but after each moment that didn’t happen.
Cockatrice was standing over her, “Do you keep wondering why you aren’t reverting.” He held up his arm, there were crystals visible hovering over it. His robes were also burning covered in black fire. “That is because I am keeping you here.”
He knelt next to her, “This spell is one of my own design, after all the Makers wouldn’t do something like this. It steals control over a hero. Normally not very useful, after all even if I was the one powering them they don’t have to obey me. A terrible spell except for one specific feature. It lets me keep you from reverting. As long as I hold onto your crystals you can not return to card form unless I desire it.”
Demon tried to speak but was unable to draw breath. The laser must have pierced her lungs. She tried reaching up with one of her claws to cut at him, to break the spell, but she was too weak.
He continued to knell near her as he spoke, “Do you know what happens to a hero who is unable to return to their card form? It is the same thing that happens to humans, they die. Normally the actually destruction of heroes is not very painful. I hear they don’t feel anything when their cards are destroyed but as you can tell this way is different.”
Demon was panicking. She didn’t know what to do. She was dying, Cockatrice has said so, and she could feel that he was right.
She could still hear him talking although it sounded like it was very far away, “Hmm, it looks like you really are dying. I am disappointed.”
She didn’t feel like he sounded disappointed. More like a tiny bit annoyed that he had wasted his time. To him, her dying was just a waste of his time.
Everything was getting colder. She had only been awakened a short time ago, she wasn’t actually that old really. All the stuff that she knew, most of it was preprogrammed into her like it was into all heroes. Her first real memory was Patrick Andrews awakening her.
It was a funny experience she thought. They had gotten her a cake, they had cheered and said “Happy Birthday”. She really didn’t understand what that meant, not even now, but that memory was important to her. There were other memories too, Berardo bringing in food and drinks while all the people she had trained with gathered around.
She had always felt a bit awkward during all of those encounters but still those memories were things that she treasured. What would Patrick think when she learned that she was gone forever. He had only known her a little while but she had known him her whole life. She believed that she went with Berardo to training and fight Cockatrice because she wanted to protect him.
Could she just leave him now? What could she do to stop it? She could have probably called upon some crystals to cast a spell but what good would that do. There wasn’t any spells that she had that could save her.
Wait… call upon crystals… why did that seem like a good idea. She was having trouble thinking, putting her thoughts together. She was grasping at an answer that she thought she almost touched.
Crystals, crystals, crystals.
Cockatrice standing over her forcing her to die.
Then the answer. He was forcing her to use his crystals so that he could force her to die. That meant she could do something to him. She drew in the energy, pulled at him, pulled at his crystals. His head twitched as he noticed what she was doing. He tried to resist but she pushed back. She had thought it would be difficult to force her way into a crystal but it seemed so easy.
She drank in the crystals, pulling them into herself one by one. She couldn’t mumble the activation phrase but she pushed the energy into her spells as she became overloaded. More and more crystals she activated and she realized that Cockatrice was staring down at her, he was surprised and was trying to figure out what to do.
Then he began to scream. She had heard that forced activation could be painful but this was the first time she had seen it happen.
Detective Abarca and the Destiny Cards - Part 25Detective Abarca and the Destiny Cards - Part 25 Nel Tue, 12/27/2016 - 19:29
She kept crawling through his crystals drawing in more and more. Then she felt the barrier. The barrier she had been waiting to feel. Those were the crystals that he was already using, the crystals full with the spells she planned on breaking.
It was difficult for her to displace that spell. Pushing at it. Little by little she forced her way in.
Then it was over. Cockatrice breathed a long sigh and Demon of Forgotten Soot transformed back into a crystal.
“Almost good enough. However you didn’t stop me from dispelling the control spell. Very impressive.” Cockatrice began to lean down to pick up her card when the sound of gunfire caused him to look up.
Berardo was standing there. He had his pistol drawn and was pointing it toward Cockatrice. He was weakly holding it with both arms. His wounded arm still hadn’t been completely healed but it was better than nothing.
“Cockatrice. You are under arrest for murder, and many other things. Surrender now.” Said Berardo as be began walking closer to Cockatrice.
“You already tried shooting me once. Do you think that it will work this time? You look tired, I’m surprised you just left the tower to your companion.”
“This is your last chance. Surrender before it is too late.”
“Do you somehow think you can beat me. This one might have harmed me but I can certainly beat you even now.”
“No, you can’t win. You have already lost.”
“Oh, why would you say that?”
“Because I didn’t miss.”
“What?” Said Cockatrice and then when Berardo pointed looked behind himself.
There held up in the air was an hourglass. The spell that he had cast to keep Meike and the King of Endless Water frozen. The glass of the hourglass was broken and the twinkling sand was pouring out of it.
“As I said. You have already lost. Any your mighty tower? It has fallen too. Everything that had come out of it was defeated.”
“Impossible. The two of you couldn’t have possibly beaten everything in that tower.”
“Not so all powerful now are you.” Said Berardo as he walked closer and closer to Cockatrice. “You see unlike you I’m not alone. I had even more allies waiting for the right moment. After you showed you hand I brought them in. Now you are defeated.”
Berardo was waiting for Cockatrice to rush him. To face the man in one last fight before the hourglass completely broke and Meike was set free.
That was not to be however, Cockatrice, the master of falsehoods and plans, had been defeated and he finally showed his true nature. He collapses, falling to his knees.
Berardo walked up to him, took the metal masked and pulled it off. He already knew what he would find underneath. A rather ordinary looking man. He had a face showing true defeat.
Berardo shook his head, “And this is all you come to.” He pulled out his handcuffs and put them on him. Then he took a moment to search the man’s heavy robes, pulling out all the cards that he could find. Without those Cockatrice could not do anything.
“You kept pushing others, forcing them to unlock new secrets within themselves but when it comes to yourself as soon as it happens you collapse, defeated. A little ironic wouldn’t you say.”
The man formally known as Cockatrice didn’t say anything.
Berardo walked over and leaned down to pick up Demon of Forgotten Soot. “Thanks” he said although in her injured state she wouldn’t be able to respond. There were also other cards with her. They were the cards of Horizon and Rose.
It was about this time there hourglass finished breaking and Meike and King of Endless Water were freed. They just stood there, confused and uncertain of what was happening.
Berardo coughed and explained the best that he could, “We beat Cockatrice. He trapped you in some kind of halted time bubble and during that time we managed to beat him. Your distraction was excellent. Thanks.”
Meike tried working her mouth trying to say something, “You beat him?” She finally said.
“Yes. Now I need to deal with the clean up.” Then Berardo went back to Cockatrice and pulled him up to his feet. “Come on, this way. You have much to answer for.”
Berardo then lead Cockatrice around the tower leaving Meike still standing there trying to understand what had happened. His last glimpse of her was of the King of Endless Water placing his hand on her shoulder.
Around the front side of the tower were more than a dozen bodies of giant monsters of various kinds. On top of one of them, fingering his own gun, was Detective Alexander.
Alexander jumped off the monster as he saw Berardo appear with Cockatrice. “Looks like you got him. Wasn’t too hard I assume?”
“I threatened him with the release of the person he was most afraid of and he crumpled. A little disappointing really. I was expecting him to put up more resistance.”
“Sometimes that is just how it goes. I was initially surprised when I heard you actually ask me to be your backup but after seeing this I understand why.”
“I’m still a police detective. I know when I should call in backup. Even if I had thought the plan would go smoothly I would still have wanted you waiting in the wings just in case.”
“It was a good call about the timing too. Your friend was severely injured when my team arrived. Had I been much slower they might have died.”
“Thank you for saving her life. I’ve also checked with the other members of my team. All of them survived too, although it was close for some of them.”
Alexander looked around like he was looking for the team but didn’t say anything about it. Finally he looked up at the tower still jutting through the middle of the mansion, “Any way you can deal with that?”
Berardo looked at Cockatrice and said, “Can you cancel that.” The man didn’t respond.
“Maybe, maybe not. We will just have to wait and see. The criminal doesn’t seemed to be very helpful about this kind of stuff.”
“Well, I had the patrol car brought around if you want to put him in it.”
Berardo looked out the partially destroyed wall to see the car outside. Finally he looked back at Alexander and said, “Does the chief have someplace to put people like this? Normal prison might not work for them.”
“There is a special place. When you have some extra time we can show it to you.”
“Thanks” Berardo took Cockatrice to the police car and pushed him inside. “Now, if you excuse me. I’m going to go take a nap in this nearby ambulance.”
Alexander nodded and said, “Good Dreams.”
“Huh, it looks like the shield has somehow become part of your card.” Said Berardo as he held up the card for Eyes that Gaze the Horizon. She stood in the card with the Shield of the Morning strapped onto her arm. “It also seems that you have changed to be a 3 crystal hero because of it.”
She was nodding inside the card, “Yeah, I thought it was weird too. I spoke to… uh… father about it and he said that it sometimes happens. Heroes got attached enough to gear that the gear permanently becomes part of their card. It is a rare occurrence though.”
“As long as you are alright that if fine. I’m more worried about Rose though. She had been off by herself a lot recently. Do you think that the battle got to her in some way.”
“Hmm, maybe she wasn’t satisfied with her revenge? Maybe she hoped it would give her closure but instead she just got more questions.”
“Yeah, that is probably part of it. She is probably deciding what to do from now on. Speaking of which what do you plan on doing?”
“Making your life miserable by hanging around” She said.
“Thanks.” He said. He knew that she was joking and that she had planned to stay with him. Secretly he was thankful for it.