Fight 15-III

When They Fight.

Years of training, and about a year and a half of throwing myself into dangerous situations as a hobby, were the only things that kept me from being impaled. My flinch instincts had been set off by the fire alarm, so I was already moving when a spear of ice the size of my arm materialized in front of Fog and hurtled towards where I'd been standing a second ago. I stepped fully out of the way, and would've just let it fly past, except we were surrounded by a crowd of civilians. I whipped a hand out, lashing my power around it and sending it smashing lengthways into the ground. What an idiot. That could've killed someone.

Before I could muster up any action, a compact sphere of crushed ice smashed into Fog from the side, knocking her out of the air with a startled yelp. Thank you, Ivan. His forcefields could catch projectiles and send them right back as a compacted lump. Very useful. Fog must've sent those spears at everyone, which meant she'd had them prepared beforehand. And that meant she'd had time to plan, and she still hadn't thought it through at all.

Something cold wrapped around my ankle, and my leg was jerked out from underneath me. I hit the ground, hands absorbing the impact, and looked down to see Chain’s namesake weapon encircling it. It began dragging me back towards him, moving on its own accord in his grip. The floor was smooth and slick, so I couldn't get a grip to work against it. His powers were… enhanced reflexes and touch-range telekinesis, with some kind of twist I couldn't quite remember. That was why he used the chain, because he could move the whole thing just by holding one end. Clever, probably the child of a focus group or something. It probably also gave him increased strength, because he wouldn't have to use his muscles.

Trying to push against it wasn't doing me any good, so I went with the flow instead. Going limp for a brief second, I waited for the increased pull of the chain as the resistance disappeared. As it jerked forward, I pushed myself up with the motion, flying up back onto my feet and quickly charging forward, trying to slam my knee into his chest.

Unfortunately for me, he had enhanced reflexes, and I still had the chain around my ankle. It yanked me to the side, sending me sprawling in a rather undignified fashion. He sprang forward, hand outstretched, probably trying to get a grip so he could toss me around like a ragdoll. I gritted my teeth as I readied my power. I was still recovering from our encounter with Valiant earlier, and although my physical body had been artificially brought back to peak, my power stores were still low, and I'd already used some deflecting that ice spear.

A quick foray told me that Chain himself was holding too much power for me to affect him: the bar-of-soap feeling was in full effect. I could maybe break it, but it'd take everything left in the tank, and leave me probably worse off than him. The chain, though, had significantly less. It was starting to become irritating, how much I was having to use my power like a blunt instrument rather than for its intended purpose.

The bubble of power around the steel links shattered as I hit it with a burst of unfocused energy. It felt like someone had driven a very tiny icepick into my brain just next to my left temple, and it looked like it had the same effect on him. He reeled back as the chain went limp and fell off my ankle, and I immediately spun into a leg sweep, trying to get him on the ground for a change. Even then, though, he was still faster than me, and he hopped over it nimbly.

I growled and pushed the offensive, leaping up and launching straight into a flurry of blows.

Jab, jab, fake knee drive into sideswipe, turn that into spinning high kick, go for a second one but turn it into a flick down at the upraised arm block, straight kick at the knee, capitalize on the step back to drive in for a blow to the core, another leg sweep but bail halfway through to take advantage of reduced mobility in the air to just land one fucking blow.

He dodged everything. Everything. Every single thing I threw at him connected with nothing but empty air. He wasn't even blocking anything; he actually missed opportunities to counterattack because of his strident insistence on not making contact. That was important, for some reason. I was just a little too busy to remember why.

I kept pressing the attack, because at least keeping him on the defensive was better than nothing. But he seemed to be getting faster every second, until it was barely like he was dodging me and more like he just... wasn't there any more. Angry and frustrated, I made a mistake, overbalanced, and he stepped back as the chain whipped up and-

A whirling mass of brown nearly bowled him over as it flew past, followed shortly after by an equally-whirling ball of fabric. Ribbon tore into Stump, her form barely visible in the centre of the maelstrom as she tore chunks out of the wooden hero. Stump was getting a few in himself, but Ribbon was giving better than she was getting. Or, so it seemed at first. It quickly became apparent, though, that Stump was regrowing, at unnatural speed. His form was staying a constant size despite the damage being done, but those strips of fabric he was tearing off of Ribbon weren't coming back.

There was nothing I could do about it. I'd get torn to shreds by those two. Chain was down, but getting back up, so I took a moment to scope out the rest of the room before the tunnel vision kicked back in.

Most of the crowd had fled, either because of the fire alarm or because of the fighting. Of the few that stayed, most were cowering behind benches, pillars or other obstructions, too scared to do the logical thing and leave.

Ribbon and Stump were tearing around the room, leaving a trail of gouges and scars behind them. Fog had zeroed in on Vortex, presumably because he'd hit her, dashing around and flinging ice spears at his shields, dodging the return fire. She'd tried swamping him in a cloud of fog, it seemed, but it stuck to his shield like everything else, and he'd begun using it to conceal where his projectiles were forming before firing them. In the air above us, Void and Comet duked it out, Void jerking about in that way of hers as Comet tried to anticipate her movements in order to connect. Back on the ground, Thrust skated circles around Ricochet, blasts of red energy propelling him along on the frictionless forcefields around his shins and knees. Bullets sparked off the metal floor, or just dropped out of the air as red energy stopped them cold. Likewise, the high-pressure streams he shot back at her were directed harmlessly away by invisible tunnels of warped space. Finally, Tide and Flatline were tag teaming against Instance, who was pounding them with what looked like every different offensive power in existence. Flatline was mostly hunkering down behind the barriers Tide was raising, while she did her best to block attacks and keep Instance on his toes. And…

Where was Foresight? I whipped my head around, scanning the room, but he was nowhere to be found. And then Chain was on me again, and I didn't have time to worry about it.

He was attacking now, as fast and vicious as I had been. He wasn't as fast as he had been, oddly, but he was still faster than me, and I was having to throw myself around like a goddamn contortionist to keep ahead of him. It was really tiring, and I could feel my movements beginning to slow as I heaved heavy breaths in and out. This wasn't going to work: I needed to change tactics.

The chain whipped towards me again, and this time I caught it. As I did, I hit it with another lash of power (I was running dangerously low now), and yanked. He hadn't been expecting that, and it came free of his hand. I quickly wrapped it around mine, leaving only a few links free.

And then I blew a raspberry, flipped him off and sprinted in the opposite direction.

He definitely hadn't been expecting that.

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