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.”