Good 17-IV

Losin’ The Race.

Two against three now. Better than one v two, but actually not as good as one v three in some situations. See, two on three is a straight-up fight, and the numbers advantage works exactly how you'd expect it to, most of the time. But if you're one against three, it's hard for all of them to attack you at once, and it gives you more opportunities to use them against each other. Plus, you don't have to worry about cutting loose, whereas they have to avoid hitting each other. Sadly, this wasn't that, so we'd have to make do.

Edith collapsed into her salt form and shot towards us, as the goon on her left reached down to the ground. I lost sight of him as Tide and I threw myself to either side, but I didn't need to see him to know what he was doing. Occam, the Cabal’s one-trick-iest one-trick-pony. He could form super-sharp blades out of any solid surface, but apart from the edge, they were just swords, and he wasn't actually that great at wielding them. Junction, the other one, made unstable portals that only lasted a second at most. I didn't know what happened if it shut off while something was halfway through, but I was pretty sure it wasn't anything pleasant. Together, they made a pretty odd pair of picks for Edith to bring along as backup. If she'd just been expecting me, Strongarm would've made the most sense, and maybe that forcefield guy?

I rolled onto my feet, spinning around so I could see both Edith where she'd reformed slightly behind us, and the other two goons at the same time. Tide did the same, significantly more gracefully, then immediately slapped a hand on the ground to produce a fast-moving wave at about knee-height. I used the distraction it provided to hop back over it and place myself firmly by her side. She specialised in wide, sweeping attacks, and I didn't want her having to worry about hitting me.

“How's your power?” she asked me under her breath as Occam charged at us, concrete blade in each hand.

He swung at me, and I caught his arm at the wrist and flipped him to the ground, narrowly avoiding getting nicked by the other sword. Tide kicked out at him, creating a smaller wave that picked him up and threw him into Junction’s legs as he charged at us. “Not great,” I replied. “Two or three good ones.”

“Great,” she said, then grabbed me by the waist and threw us to the side with another wave as Edith whirled towards us. “Run?”

“Run,” I confirmed, glancing at the Cabalists as the wave deposited us basically back where we'd started. “Also,” I raised a hand to my ear and activated my radio, “any and all Outliers, situation’s gone quite south. Backup would be appreciated.” The air brushing across the back of my neck shifted slightly, and I ducked forward, resting one hand on the ground for support as I kicked backwards. It caught Junction square in the torso as he stepped out of one of his portals, and sent him staggering backwards.

“Still too scared to face me on your own?” Edith called to me dismissively. “Calling in your bodyguards.”

I stared at her. “See, that makes even less sense than it did before, and it didn't make sense then! You literally just summoned your goons!”

Tide clicked her tongue. “I think she's just kind of dumb, Skew.” Another circular wave knocked Junction down as he was beginning to stand again, and forced Occam to abandon a charge he was about to make. “Add the whole 'crazy’ thing, and the fact that she looks like an emaciated scarecrow, and I'm having to seriously question your taste in relationships. I'm guessing the sex was really great?”

I stared at her, baffled.“What?”

“So no, then.”

“W- no, we didn't… why is that where your head went?!” I demanded.

“Yeah, that's pretty weird,” interjected Junction.

“Shut up,” Edith and I said in perfect sync, then glared at each other.

“Look,” Tide said with a shrug, “I'm just saying. She's kind of a pretty garbage catch.”

Edith growled, and shot towards us again, but Tide picked us both up with a wave and swept us away from them. I gave a jaunty little wave of the hand. “Seriously, though, you're going a little far. Where's all this coming from, anyway?”

She shrugged again, staring straight ahead and concentrating on moving us steadily down the road. “Nat must be rubbing off on me. Oh, heads up.” Occam had leapt out of thin air in front of us, screaming wildly and brandishing his blades. Seeing as how that's not really conducive with anything close to good form or stance, I had very little trouble punching him in the gut and grabbing the handle of one of his swords as he fell away behind us. It was surprisingly light, and uncomfortable; it still had the texture of concrete.

“You think you can just run?!” Edith yelled from behind us, and I turned to see her gaining on us. “You can't hurt me, and you can't get rid of me!”

“She does have a point. Corner coming up, hop in three, two, one-” We both jumped as we hit an intersection, and the wave we were riding sank back into the ground as a new one appeared under our feet, moving perpendicular to the old one.

“You’ve been practicing,” I noted appreciatively.

“Figured it would be helpful.”

“Good call.”

Edith rounded the corner just behind us, losing less speed than we had. If/when she caught up to us, neither of us could really defend against her.

Which is why I had grabbed the sword. I swung it through the air just in front of her, and she shied back, shifting her form to avoid touching it. I grinned. “What's this?” I asked mockingly. “I thought we couldn't stop you?”

“You can't,” came the cold reply. She seemed surprisingly unfazed.

“Well, I guess we're going to have to-”

And then, for the second time in less than ten minutes, I was tumbling and sprawling and bouncing on the ground. Even half-concussed as I was, it wasn't hard to figure out that we'd run into something, and as my vision stopped resembling the view from inside a tumble drier, I could vaguely see a partially see-through, brown-tinted plane stretching vertically across the path we'd been moving along. So she had brought the forcefield guy. I tried to laugh, and it hurt, a lot. Everything did, actually. My vision swam, going dark around the edges, and the last thing I saw before I faded out entirely was Edith reforming over me, an unreadable expression on her face.

“I told you so,” she said, her voice echoing and ringing oddly, and then everything went black.

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