Fight 15-Vignette


And When It All Comes Crashing Down.

1 year and 8 months ago, or thereabouts.

The musky scent that wafted up into Flint’s face was enough to make him gag. A few steps away, Edith wrinkled her nose in distaste. “This is a trick, isn't it,” she said with absolute confidence.

“Trus’ me, you prissy bint, I've never bin more sincere about anythin’ in my life.” With another grunt of effort, Lisette slid the manhole cover all the way off. It clanged against the concrete, rattling and rolling around, and she stood back up and wiped her forehead with the back of her hand. “Would it have killed one of ya’ to help?” she demanded of the two of them.

“Yes,” they said simultaneously, then smiled small smiles at each other as they realized they'd done it.

Lisette rolled her eyes, and mimed throwing up, which ruined the moment a little. “Ya done? We got places to be.” The older girl was decked out with a truly ridiculous amount of weaponry, even more than what Flint had figured was her usual. She made clanking noises whenever she moved, and he noticed that she kept at least one hand close to something at all times. Clearly, she still didn't trust Edith, which he supposed was fair.

“And those places involve going down a manhole into a sewer.” Edith’s face was haughty, but she still wasn't  entirely together. She was doing better than two weeks ago, when they'd found her in the room with the corpse, but 'better’ and 'good’ were two different things. He'd convinced his parents to let her stay at their place (not that it had been a hard sell, with how little they were there anyway) and he'd spent more than a few nights holding her while she cried. But then, once the sun was up, she would be back to acting like nothing was wrong. She was wearing the same white shimmery jumpsuit, with only the slightest hint of crimson on the sleeves signifying where they'd been covered in blood. He wasn't sure how comfortable he was with that, but it was probably more practical than street clothes.

“Yeah, they fuckin’ do,” Lisette snapped at her. “Gon’ be a problem, Princess?”

Edith sniffed, and then immediately made a face that signalled she regretted it. “It is if you're just doing it to screw with us.”

“Oh, yeah,” she replied, rolling her eyes, “I'll play a feckin' prank by telling two people to hop in a sewer and then hop in myself.” She paused, then reconsidered. “Okay, I'd do that to you, but I kinda half-like Clint over here, so nah.”

He sighed. “One: gee, thanks. Two: I know you know it's Flint.”
“See,” she said with a bit of renewed cheer, “yer assuming that wasn't intentional. 'sides, what sort of crappy name is Flint anyway?”

“Says the girl named Lisette?” Edith asked sardonically.

“Says the girl named Edith?”

“Okay,” Flint said, holding up his hands. “I think it's clear no-one here has the right to throw any shade.” He wasn't sure what the dress etiquette for 'trying to save your sort-of-girlfriend’s sister from her insane cultist mom’ was, so he'd played it safe and just worn comfortable black clothing and shoes. After a bit of hesitation, he'd grabbed the shorter sword and its sheath from his dad's display case and strapped it to his side. He'd considered the shuriken as well, but figured that would be overdoing it. Besides, the sword felt weird enough on its own.

“'least my names aren't the same letter,” Lisette muttered. Clearly, the crack had gotten at her.

Flint glanced at Edith, who had narrowed her eyes and opened her mouth, and shook his head. She grimaced, but held her tongue.

“Lisette,” he said as diplomatically as he could, “would you mind explaining why we're going into the sewers?”

She sighed, rolling her eyes again. “Fine, whatever. Ya said they're set up in one of them apartment blocks near the Park, yeah?” Edith nodded grudgingly. “Right, well that's a feckin' nightmare right off the bat. Apartment block means they're probably set up near the top, because upper ground advantage an’ so on. Plus, the way that place is set out, no way they don't see us coming if we go in on the streets.”

“Plus lots of civilians?” Flint asked tentatively.

“Don't try and talk professional, ya sound stupid. But nah, area’s mostly abandoned. The other worry is that that's actually Chainbreaker territory, so it's weird that yer Cabal is set up there. Do they have some kinda deal or arrangement or somethin’?”

Edith laughed bitterly. “You clearly have no idea how racist they are.”

Flint sucked in air through his teeth. “Ohh, is that why she was all…”

“Yep.”

“Well, damn. I thought she just didn't like me as a person.”

“You're used to that, though,” she teased.

“Ughh,” Lisette groaned, “enough with the cutest bullshit! Christ. The point I was makin’ is, the only way we're even getting close is if we sneak in. Unless one of you has a helicopter for us to skydive out of? Yeah, din think so. So we gotta be sneaky, and so, sewers.”

“Leaving aside all the other issues with this plan,” Flint said, “can we even get from here to there through them? Can we even fit?”

“No, I'm just pickin’ a tunnel and guessin’, and I've never done this before. D’ya think I'm stupid?!”

“If it quacks like a duck,” Edith said, under her breath but still loud enough to hear.

Lisette flipped her the bird. “Can we just get goin’, please? I got a bounty waitin’ for me.”

“And also my sister,” Edith snapped.

“Sure, whatever,” she shrugged, then hopped into the hole.

Flint looked at Edith, and shrugged helplessly. “You're sure we can trust her?” she asked him skeptically.

“I don't know,” he admitted, “but I saw her in action. I'd much rather have her on our side than still trying to kill you.” She frowned at that, but didn't disagree. “Come on,” he said, gesturing at the hole, “glory awaits.” He offered her his hand, and she took it with a smile and climbed down together.

The level of liquid was lower than he'd been expecting, but it was still enough to splash when they walked. Lisette had pulled a small flashlight from one of her many pouches, and by its light, they strode through the tunnel, doing their best to breath through their moves.

“A’ight,” Lis said after a few minutes, “before we get into this, imma need to know your abilities. Don't want you screwing up my bounty.”

“Ability, actually,” Edith replied. “Just the one. It's just… I can turn into salt. That's really all it is.”

“Yeah, no shit, Bible Belle, I know that already. How fast can ya move, how much force can ya put behind it, can ya seperate, can ya fly. Shit like that.”

Flint glanced nervously at her as she clenched her fists. “I can punch clean through a person's chest,” she said through gritted teeth, voice wavering. “Want a demonstration?”

Lisette laughed sardonically. “Try it, bitch.”

Flint hurriedly placed one hand on Edith’s shoulder, intervening before they tried to kill each other. “What about you, Lisette? What can you do?”

She mimed shooting a gun, making a pew noise with her mouth. “I don't miss. That's all you need to know.”

“Oh, so when it's my power, you need every last detail, but you get away with one sentence?!” Edith demanded.

“Yep,” she said, blowing imaginary smoke off her finger-gun. “What about you, little guy?”

“What, Flint?” Edith scoffed. “He doesn't have a power, his dad's just a crazy fighting nut.”

Lisette actually turned around at that, raising an eyebrow at him. “Ya mean ya haven't told her?” she asked incredulously.

He rubbed the back of his neck. “Well, uh, it… never really came up?”

Edith spun on him. “You have a power?! What? When? How?”

“It's… it was that thing with Crusade and Schism, I think? And it's not anything special, really. It's, uh…” he began rummaging through his pockets, trying to find something for a demonstration. “Ah, okay,” he said, pulling out a crumpled-up wrapper. “Watch.” He tossed it up in the air, their eyes following it, then hit it with his power. It changed course flying to the side and bouncing off the wall. He laughed awkwardly. “So yeah, it's not great, but-”

Edith enveloped him in a crushing hug, cutting off the rest of the sentence. “It's so cool,” she said, muffled by the fabric. “This is… it's so cool.”

He blushed, and she released him, stepping back with a broad grin. “That's a weird reaction.”

“You’re the first non-garbage person with powers I know,” she answered. “It's just nice.”

“Aww, Edith, you're not gar-”

“What,” Lisette snapped, “did I just say about sappy shit?! How limited is that momentum stuff?”

“Uh, fairly.” He let the interruption go. “It's only 90 degrees redirection, and nothing else. No stopping stuff, no super-hits or anything.”

“Oh, cool! Well, with powers like this, there's no way we can lose!”

“Really?” he asked, surprised.

“Nope,” she said bitterly, “you're a salt-shaker and a wiffle bat. We’re gonna fuckin' die.”

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