"What am I, Archer?"
"Somebody who REALLY needs to stay down." Kessler explained. With the arrival of Ken, the Archer Alchemist realized his predicament. He was prepared, however. He first slammed a palm into a wooden chair to his side. The thing splintered and twisted into a volley of arrows rifling towards Ken in the hopes to catch him off guard. He swiveled on his feet and then smacked the other palm into a cement and stone pillar currently holding up the ceiling. It morphed into a rapid-fire barrage, dozens of arrows firing out and pestering Leo. It didn't seem particularly strong, or even coordinated. Barefoot couldn't help wondering what was planned.
Victor let a bright smile shine as he nodded at Elias. "All right." he said with a tinge of excitement. He'd already been sure; but hearing it from the both of him dealt with a lot of the anxiety of it that had been building up. "One year." he told himself. "One year, and I'll be stronger than ever. I'll be... strong."
A second later, the doctor peeked his head in through the door to let the visitors know that Victor still needed his rest, so if they would be ready to go in about ten minutes that would be perfect.
Isaac's words hit Frieda hard, but not in the way he expected. Her eyes dilated, and her mouth dropped. She looked mortified. "W-what? We--I never--bombings??" she almost looked ready to cry. "B-but... we never hurt anyone! We were just trying to help! We gave people food, and shelter! All Amaud cared about was trying to help everyone the government had forgotten, he never even thought of hurting people! I've only ever even seen him use alchemy once!"
She bowed her head, trying to hide the shock of Isaac's words from him. If she was a liar, she might have been the best that Steel Web had ever seen.
"Excuse me! Miss Jennings!"
Lila looked up from where she sat, and a hairy arm waved at her from behind one of the stands. She recognized him well; her old neighbor Mr. Bount. She waved back at him, but realized that he was calling for her to come closer. She looked at Marlin, worried about what trouble the poor man might get into, but stood and walked over to her neighbor. He shook her hand vigorously, and she tried to keep her entire arm from snapping off as he spoke.
"You enjoying the festival, Miss Jennings?"
"Oh, yes, very much!" she said happily. "What were you calling me about?"
"Oh, right!" Mr. Bount threw a thumb over his shoulder, pointing at the alley behind him with a friendly grin on his face. "Me and my sons were hired to make the poundcakes this year! We've got a few extra boxes, so we thought you might like to take one!"
Lila's face lit up. "Yes, definitely!"
"Great!" Bount said, directing her back into the alley where his family business' truck was stored, the back stuffed to the brim with pastries of all sorts. As they went back, she noticed the sounds of the festival dying away. She never realized how secluded these alleyways felt. She kept walking, and bumped right into Mr. Bount as he looked down at her. She stared up at him confused. "Mr..?"
Suddenly, a pair of thick arms grabbed her from behind and lifted her into the air. She tried to scream, only for Mr. Bount to clamp his meaty hand over her mouth, totally stifling it. "Sorry, miss. But you've gotten involved in something bigger than yourself." A tweed sack was thrown over her head and tied securely to muffle her screams. A few moments later, one of the back alley doors opened, and Mr. Bount and sons carried Lila through. For a brief moment, had any passers-by been there, they'd have seen a face pale as the moon and gaunt as death itself staring out at them through the doorway before it closed.
Ken quickly reacted to archers attacks, first stone walls sprung up in front of ken blocking the arrows, then a stone spike sprung out of the ground smashing the part of the pillar archer was touching, 'I will handle the defensive you handle the offensive' ken shouted at leo.
"You're already strong, champ," Elias commented as he moved towards the door. "A word when you're ready, ma'am?" Stepping outside, he leaned against the wall as he thought about where the building's phones were. I'm gonna need new plating, if we're off the front lines. Lighter, faster, but can still take a hit. He waved his left arm around, again making sure it had full functionality. She knows her automail, but I'd prefer to have someone I trust work on it, as well. Throughout the war, he'd gotten roughly one call a year, so it had mostly been the letters and care packages that kept him going. Visits had been special occasions, reserved for major repairs and replacements.
"Time to call up the old man."
"S'cuse me for being nosy, Lieutenant, but what is Dimitri's a cover for?"
Anton's reaction to Amon's question was noticeable. His smile gave way to a somewhat worried look.
Alchemists... So damn curious. So damn intelligent.
"Eeeeeeh... That's a re-he-heeally troublesome question right there, Major. Maybe we should talk about that outside."
Anton got off the floor, his legs mostly recovered from the strain. Only a light stinging remained, warning him not to try that again. He led Amon outside. The sounds of the festival could be heard coming from the centre as Anton and Amon sat down on a bench on the other side of the inn.
"Traitors." Anton said while gauging Amon's reactions. Nothing much. His suspicions had apparently hit the mark. Anton continued. "Dissidents, anarchists. Ex-soldiers betrayed by their leaders, citizens tired of having no say in their own matters. My relationship with them is... Heh, well, it's complicated. A long and sad tale that I don't wish to share with you. All you need to know is that they're only idealists. Demitri is a realist. He would never attack the system. Not yet, anyway."
Anton had known Demitri and his "family" for 5 years. He was an excellent mechanic. Even after Anton was comissioned by the Fuhrer he continued to use his services, all the while keeping them away from the military's gaze.
To anyone else it would look weird, contradictive, suspicious even. But Anton had his reasons. He had his plans.
"Demitri is a good mechanic so, for this once, look the other way. Okay?"
Anton pleaded his superior, as his smile returned to his lips.
Vlad had been studying Leo's alchemic technique for the last hour. At the same time he was sewing new transmutation circles into a pair of gloves. They would help him in his task since he was less suited for direct combat than the Barefoot Alchemist.
There were diagrams of Leo's kinetic transfer of alchemic energy spread across the table in front of the Vampire Alchemist. Points of impact were paired with the equation of the applied force of his movements affecting the shape of the transmuted ground. Trajectories, arcs, variations of material and movement, everything Vlad needed to get the edge on his opponent.
The free-flowing style and stunning adaptability of the Barefoot Alchemist's "dance fighting" was just another problem to be solved. Alchemy, after all, is just science.
By keeping his highly trained senses on Leo's movement, Vlad would be able to recall the equations and predict his attacks.
Music drifted through the private lab as Vlad trained. He was already quite agile, but Vlad's fang-and-claw style of close quarters fighting, while unique, would also be less effective against the Barefoot's dance fighting.
Vlad dived and jerked out of the way of imaginary attacks, while at the same time countering with the weapons his new circles provided. A fight between alchemists was never a quick affair, but Vlad knew he had one thing Leo didn't. A killer instinct.
"Ken!", Leo shouted before he jumped to his left and dodged a volley of arrows, "I got to close the distance", he screamed back at him. Like a runner, Leo shifted the angle of the ground and launching himself forward. He spun on the ground and jumped ahead one more time, landing on both of his feet. They glowed and threw two stone spines at the Archer.
"Got bored of killing Ishavalians, Archer?", Leo said as he leaned against the metal wall and trans-mutated it again, seeing as Archer dodged his last attack. "See you in hell", Leo shouted, releasing dozens of spikes from the metal wall, effectively shortening it by one feet.
Oh, dammit. And there's the guilt. It was all Isaac could do, to merely sit there and watch as this poor girl had her world yanked apart. It was painfully clear that his words had stung Frieda to her core, that his lies had caused her unbearable pain. This wasn't what he wanted; this wasn't what he had signed on for. Unbidden memories suddenly pulsed through his mind, images of his mother and father coaching him before his first school dance, attempting to calm his nerves as he went to go pick up his date. A few simple dance steps, how to properly escort a woman, a few jokes that might help to break any tension. Most importantly, however, was the simple warning they had given him: Never make a woman cry, Isaac. You know you're doing something terribly wrong when you've hurt them that much.
Had Frieda looked up, she would have noticed Isaac's tightening grip, as he squeezed more and more on the pen clasped between his fingers. It was the only sign of emotion that the soldier allowed himself; regardless of this girl's beliefs and actions, the fact remained that she had sided with Octivar. Whether or not the traitor had let her in on his secrets, Frieda was still an enemy of the state.
Still, what was there to do? It was clear that the girl could not give him any useful information; she clearly knew nothing of Octivar's darker schemes, assuming such things even existed. Odds were the best she could offer would be hideout locations and names of other deserters, who were just as likely in the dark as she was. Useful information, perhaps, but nothing that required a State Alchemist to obtain.
And what if someone else was sent to acquire it? Someone else determined to destroy whatever remnants of Octivar's followers who still hid in East City, regardless of their guilt or intentions? Could he really stand by and watch...?
"Right, very good then." Isaac's voice was trembling, ever so slightly, as he swiftly rose to his feet. "I think we're done for today," he continued as he packed away his things, "Someone else should probably stop by in the next few days to interview you further. I'd suggest you prepare yourself for that."
Isaac paused for a moment, contemplating his decision. Turning around, he offered his hand to Frieda, not surprised in the slightest when she refused to shake. "Have a nice day." Just before his arm fell to his side, a small object dropped from Isaac's hand, bouncing onto the bed sheet: his pen. She was an alchemist. She knew what to do.
Without another word, Isaac replaced the chair in the room's corner, slung his backpack onto his shoulders, and walked to the door. He could really use a festival right about now.
Roland and Richard finally met the end of the que. He bought three candied apples, one for himself, and two for Richard.
That'll keep him occupied...
He walked around the festival, taking in the ambience and the general joy of people. He looked up. The stars looked like pinpricks in the velvet sky, the light of the heavens shining through. A night such as this one, filled with festive and joyous air, would be one to remember.
"Hey mister alchemist..."
Roland turned to the direction of Richard, he held a bare stick in each hand, his face covered in bits of apple and sugar, no doubt he was feeling incredibly sticky.
God... He must not have ate in a while...
"You enjoy that?"
Richard smiled a wide grin, and nodded his head vigorously.
"Thank you Mister Lightning!"
Roland patted the boy on the head, he had seen people do it as a sign of affection, he hoped he was doing it right.
"Err.. No problem. Least I could do real.."
Richard grabbed onto his cuff and dragged him off before he could finish.
"Come one Mister! We don't want to miss the fireworks!"
Tasha nodded to Elias before standing. "See ya later Victor. Get some rest." She said before walking out int the hallway. She turned and walked up to Elias. "You needed something, Sergent?" She asked raising an eyebrow.
Amon rubbed his neck while Anton talked. He spoke up when Anton reached the part about them being idealists.
"I figured as much," Amon said, rubbing his neck. "A lot of closed doors, but no movement, not even at night. And," he tapped his nose knowingly. "no weapons. Unless ya covered them up with coffee. Food for thought, by the way."
"Demitri is a good mechanic so, for this once, look the other way. Okay?"
Amon looked at him in surprise, then grinned. "Lieutenant! I thought you knew me better than that. I really don't care about politics and coups and that sort of thing. And I can't really be upset if they get in a fight with the army. That's kinda our job, shoot 'n be shot at, 'n such."
Suddenly, he chuckled. "Besides, I'd like to see them go up against Ol' Bradley and win. When they can do that, they can do whatever they want, in my book."
Amon strode to the edge of the road and peered down the street, towards the main part of the festival.
"So no worries about Demitri. God knows I love a good mechanic myself. But, enough of that. Want some food?"
"You needed something, Sergent?"
"Yes, ma'am, I was hoping you could help me out," Elias began. "Well, me and my father. When I first got each piece of automail, my father made the plating much lighter than what I'm wearing now. I'd take notes for him, then he'd come back with something more suited to the combat zone I was in. Right now, my plating's suited for taking direct fire from every direction. It's tough, heavy, and useful for Ishval. For the missions we'll be doing now, I think I should go back to the lighter plating I originally had."
"I haven't called him yet, but I will soon. So, would you mind helping him swap out my plating? I'm sure either of you could do it, but it'd be quicker if you both did the work."
Kessler snarled as he started slamming his palms wherever they would go. The floor, the pillars around them, and various objects. Wood splintered, stone twisted and metal crunched as it was all transmuted into spikes, darts, arrows and bullets, all of them flung into the air to counter Leo's own barrage. The projectile struck each other mid-air, their awe-inspiring clash knocking nearly all of the darts to the floor, harmless. But neither side came out unscathed. Leo took a trio of metal bullets to his right leg, spinning him around as a wooden arrow embedded itself in his lower back. Barefoot yelped in pain and fell to the floor.
Archer himself took nearly half a dozen darts into his outstretched arm, and several more cutting and scarring his face. Blood dripped down and forced one eye shut, and his left arm hung limp. "It's got nothing to do with killing!" Kessler insisted. "I don't care what I do, so long as the money's good. And Mr. Zero? He's offering me A WHOLE LOT OF MONEY!"
Suddenly, bullets ricocheted off the wall as one of Mr. Indigo's boys opened fire on the rogue alchemist. The other men seemed to all be absent, fighting in other parts of the warehouse. Kessler recognized his opportunity and charged the man, using his bad arm to flop and smack the gun away. He grabbed the man by the shirt and swiveled to face Leo and Ken. The three of them plus the hostage stood in the wreckage of a warehouse nearly as devastated as the one the former had faced Octivir in. Shrapnel and shreds of materials littered the floor, stained red by the spilled blood of freshly dead gangsters. Kessler cackled as blue alchemical sparks began to light up the room. His hostage convulsed, eyes bulging.
"You know, I don't really GET to use this circle all that often! Thanks for giving me a chance to show off!"
A blood-curdling wail bounced off the walls as the entire front half of the gangster's body was torn away. Skin and flesh peeled back, and blood gushed out of his throat like a fountain as all of his bones were converted into small, razor-sharp darts and fired at the rate of a machine gun. The fracturing sound was nearly too much to bear as the volley bore down on the pair of the Fuhrer's Alchemists.
As the day went on, the sun rose in the sky, and was now getting close to be ready to sink. In a country as warm as Amestris, it was hard to remember that in the East, snow was a thing that rarely came. As it happened, it was actually late in winter, and the sun was still going down fairly early. People were already beginning to pick out spots to sit with their families and friends to watch the fireworks.
And other groups were making preparations of their own. Sparks would light up the night sky, but they were in no way celebrations.
Marlin awoke after awhile to find that he had slept much longer than he intended. The sun was already beginning to set. He also found that he was sitting on the bench alone. "... I suppose that's to be expected.... No one would sit around with a total stranger during this festival..." He mumbled to himself and stifled a yawn. He was no worse off than before he had met her, but he felt a bit sad for some reason he couldn't quite place.
"... Well... I suppose I was rather rude, just falling asleep like that... I should apologize.... Yes, that's the least I can do...." He continued muttering to himself as he stood, convincing himself that it would be wrong to leave things like this. With that in mind he walked off in no particular direction since he had no idea where to start, keeping an eye out for a familiar face or anything of interest really.
After spending most of the day by Victor's bed, Kallu left the hospital still surprised to see the Founding Festival still in full swing. After stopping by a vending cart and picking up something to eat, he wasn't really paying that much attention to it, his mind was occupied by other matters, most prevalent Dr. Marcoh, Victor's arm, and the fact that the code Marcoh's notes he had found still eluded him.
Wandering around, he saw Roland walking around with a child, a strange occurrence, but he still wasn't concentrating on it. There were more impo- What was that? He realized he'd wandered into an alley far from the music,cries of joy, and sounds of the streets and he felt a presence watching him, taking him back to his days in the wild with Ikasti.He just couldn't shake the feeling of being watched, and hunted, something he hadn't felt since his childhood. Turning his eyes skyward quickly he caught a flash of movement leaping from roof to roof.
Something's not right.
Kallu took his gauntlets from their place on his belt and put them on, unsure of why he needed to, but it was better to have the circles prepared before hand than need them and not have them. He turned and wandered back into the streets of the Festival. This time he tried to keep a good memory of his surroundings, and anyone out of the ordinary that happened by. The fading sunlight clawed at his eyes, but he endured it as best he could by shutting his eyes almost closed, but still able to see out of them. He paid special attention to the rooftops, throwing hidden glances whenever he saw another flash of movement. Nothing gave him any reason to keep the feeling, but that didn't make the hunted feeling dissipate.
James walked around the festival enjoying himself. He had left his gun case back in his hotel room. Normally he would stay at the bunks but sometimes he felt like treating himself. Besides the government gave him near limitless funds, sometimes it was nice to take advantage of it. So James had left the case behind and left carrying only his gun and five magazines that he had engraved with alchemy circles. Two were pepper spray, two were stopping bullets and one was piercing bullets. He also carried his gloves, equipped with his cannon making alchemy.
I'll need to find a black smith to make more pieces, James thought as he wandered the various booths and tents that had been set up. As James walked around the festival he let himself relax a bit. He was off duty and the past days had been hard. He had beaten one of the shooting galleries that had been set up, winning a large stuffed elephant. He had given to a small girl who had been crying because her balloon had broke. That had earned him a big smile, a hug from the little girl and a flower that he kept tucked in his shirt pockets.
Everything was going fine when he felt a chill run up his spine. Looking around he tried to spot anyone who meant harm to anyone but all he could see were happy festival goers. But James had enough experience, even at his young age, to sense when something might not be right, so he kept his hand close to his holster, ready to fight if need be. He made his way through the crowds, carefully looking for anything suspicious, anything out of the ordinary. Breaking through a group of people he saw Kallu, not surrounded by the hordes, looking at the rooftops. James made his way to Kally causally, trying not to try any attention.
"So Kallu. Have you been enjoying the sights?" James asked.
"So Kallu. Have you been enjoying the sights?"
Kallu turned around, and after seeing James, unclenched his left fist.
"Some more than others, just got back this morning, the city's changed a bit since the last time I came through. The kid's going ahead with the automail surgery, asked Tash and Elias for advice on it. I think he's hoping for her to make it for him. And he's got it into his head that he'll get it done in a year." He half-smiled for a second before his face defaulted.
"He's gotten better since Solf talked to him, I'll admit. One year for automail, though? I'm skeptical, but hopeful he can live up to it. Come on, over here, these crowds still bother me even after all these years."
He led James to a somewhat secluded spot(consider how packed the streets were) under an umbrella table with a few chairs, a few other Amestrians attempted to sit with them, but after a glance at Kallu shaking his head, they went off in search of a less crowded table.
"What did you want to talk about? You didn't ask me about the sights simply because you wanted to ask me about the eggs on the steepl-nevermind. You didn't ask me to talk about architecture. Or the people."
I have to remember at some point most of the people I work with have never been outside of Amestris.Much less all the way to Drachma and back.
James followed Kallu, sat down and leaned back in his chair.
"What did you want to talk about? You didn't ask me about the sights simply because you wanted to ask me about the eggs on the steepl-nevermind. You didn't ask me to talk about architecture. Or the people."
"Who knows maybe I did. Maybe I'm asking about people who look like they don't belong," James leaned forward close to Kallu. "We both know what I mean. I don't think you would have that on if you didn't think something was up. I'm not going to patronize you. I know you know what I mean. You have the same feeling I do. That something isn't right. Something or someone is out of place. Just that feeling that one little thing is different than what it should be. A person standing in a place that is unnatural or looking away from where everyone else is looking."
Ken continually repaired his wall using the concrete floor in front of him as archers attacks started chipping away at it, this ended up revealing the dirt under the foundation of the ware house between ken and his walls, while doing this he shouted 'what kind of human being could just use another one as a weapon!?!', he merged the concrete under him with the dirt so he could start using the dirt in his wall. The dirt was very quickly shot of the wall by the shots just as ken hopped, this resulted in ken being able to quickly remove the dirt in front of him without wasting its value, until a water pipe was exposed.
"I haven't called him yet, but I will soon. So, would you mind helping him swap out my plating? I'm sure either of you could do it, but it'd be quicker if you both did the work." Tasha smiled and nodded. "Sure thing Sargent, always happy to help. I'll need a copy of the schematics though, replacing parts is one thing, swapping out is another." She said as she looked out a nearby window. "When did you want to get started on this anyway. If it was today you might be a bit out of luck." She said with a smile.
"Nothing that overt James,and stopping anyone that looks out of place today is an exercise in futility,"Kallu whispered back,"Maybe just a gut feeling and a shadow. But who knows, maybe I just have these on to discourage some of East City's more... aggressive citizens."
A waiter for the Cafe they were sitting in front of came to greet them and asked them for their orders.
"Largest, strongest coffee you've got, no sugar, three creams." He laid out the price, plus some.
"Why don't you just lay it out, without all the double ententes and multiple words all saying the same thing, Lt.Col." He placed much more emphasis on the title than he had the rest of his talk.
Again he saw the flash on one of the rooftops, but didn't let on that he had. It was better if their follower thought they were more or less oblivious to his presence.
"One large, black coffee please," James ordered handing the waiter the money.
"Well that could be true I suppose. And you do make good points. Festivals do tend to bring out the weird ones. I guess what I'm asking is. Have you seen anyone or anything suspicious. I mean with those things running around still who knows what could be out there. For all we know those were the test subjects of that group. They could have an army of them, and they could be hiding in plain sight. Or they could be high in the sky. Who knows," James leaned back as the waiter returned with their drinks. Sipping his coffee he changed the subject.
"So how are you enjoying the city. If I remember correctly you're used to no one being around. It must be jarring to be in such a large city like East City. And why would you leave your solitude?"
"When did you want to get started on this anyway. If it was today you might be a bit out of luck."
"Oh, yeah, I heard the party while I was out," he explained, "but since my father's on the other side of the country, today wasn't looking good, anyway. He knows my automail well enough to not need them, but I'll ask him to bring the schematics for you. I'll let you know when he's in town, but in the meantime, I think I could use a bit of whatever they're selling out there."
"Every country has it's share and taste of cities. Drachmen stay inside most of the time, so streets are normally quiet,though if you stay out long enough, you turn into the next body they find in the spring once the snow clears.Ishvalans prefer to watch the desert and meditate. Amestrians instead run from place to place inside their walls."
He continued to scan the crowd, again intimidating a few Festival goers to not sit at their table. It'd be better for them if they were being followed.
"I've been all across this continent, James. I've seen the ruins of Xerxes, and lived in the desert that was once their kingdom all those centuries ago. Alchemy simply called me to Amestris, and I answered. Cities are just one of the things a wanderer puts up with. Isolation is simply where I can research without these distractions."
He took a gulp of his coffee, it was hot, but he didn't notice it too much, the shadows were growing and the sun was setting. If they were being stalked, now would be the time he'd strike.
"Whatever feeling you have, James. Listen to it now."
James causlly lowered his arm over the arm rest and near his hip, continuing to drink his coffee.
"Interesting. So thats how you ended up here. Myself, my family was always about the military. Both my Father and Mother's sides in fact.. Everyone for at least three generations as been involved so naturally I was expected to join. When I discovered Alchemy and my moderate talents at it, it was only natural that I would join the State Alchemist program. So I did and here I am." James slowly moved his arm close to his gun.
He can crack open people like a nut
Leo backed away behind a piled of rubble that found itself laying in the middle of the warehouse following the intense fighting of the two Alchemists. He reached his hand to his back and tried to remove the arrow.
"This is just like home, Leo", he mumbled to himself before he pulled the arrow and let out a yelp. "You like money, Archer?", Leo shouted out behind the pile of rubble. He pressed his hands against the floor, seeing the stone turned to small coins, "Then get paid!".
Leo launched the stone coins behind the pile of rubble towards the Archer. He quickly ran behind the pile and towards the Archer in hopes the coin would be a sufficient distraction.
Anton was surprised yet again. Amon's file indicated an army-centric upbringing. Seeing him dismiss such clear treason like that. Unexpected.
"So no worries about Demitri. God knows I love a good mechanic myself. But, enough of that. Want some food?"
"Not really. Sorry, festivals just aren't my thing Major. I'll stay here for tonight if you don't mind."
Anton started waking to the other side of the street. Waving to the alchemist behind him.
"See you around, boss man."
As he entered the inn, Jeanne was noticeably absent. As were the others.
Weird. Where is every one?.
Anton made his way up to the flat roof of the building. He sat down.
Might as well hang out here. Maybe see some fireworks...
As Roland was being tugged along by the small child he caught a glimpse of a man who looked like Kallu. He slowed down, causing Richard to stumble. He waited by a nearby stall where they were holding a shooting gallery.
"Step right up and test your skill! A game of hand eye co ordination! Try to win the big prize! "
Richard's eyes widened and glazed over as he glared at the enormous stuffed bear. He knew what he wanted.
Ahhh, to enjoy the carefreeness of being a child
"You sir! Care to put your money where your mouth is? "
Roland paused as he mulled the thought over, why do such a thing? It was a waste of time, setting expectations of him far too high.
He caught a glimpse of a shadowy figure out of the corner of his eye, he tried to not make it obvious, he looked with his peripheral vision. There it was again.
On the rooftop...?
Richard stared up at him, as wide eyed and expectant as ever.
" I accept your 'challenge' "
He payed his money to the stallholder, in return he recieved a shallow tin of pellets. He handed Roland the rifle, which he declined.
Richard looked at him with curiosity.
"What are you going to do? Flick them?! " chortled the man behind the counter, Roland just gave a smirk.
He placeda few live rounds into his palm, illicitating an anxious look on the man's face. He outstretched his fingers towards the targets. Using the same technique he had practiced, he channeled the current into the rounds. They flew off in a seemingly random, though controlled, direction. As luck would have it, the rounds had gone straight through the booths walls, as well as hitting their intended targets.
Richard, looked it him in sheer awe.
"W-we, have a-a, w-win-winner?"
He passed the bear to Roland, who in turn passed it to Richard, he was hardly visible behind the stuffed toy.
" Stay here a little while okay? I'll be back"
He walked over to the cafe that Kallu now sat at with James.
"Evening gentlemen, what a lovely night for a coffee... Care if I join you too lovebirds? "
Kessler was a greedy man, but he was no fool. It would take an idiot to believe those stone coins were really money.
That knowledge did nothing, however, to stop them from stinging like a swarm of angry bees as they impacted his body at record speeds. Archer's body twitched and stuttered as each little projectile shifted his position a little. By the time the volley was over, he was so disoriented he never even noticed Leo until Barefoot was already delivering a kick directly towards him. Archer brought up an arm to defend himself, but he realized a moment too late that it was the broken one.
The already fractured bone splintered, and Kessler's arm split. Bone fracture out from underneath his flesh, causing him to shriek and howl in agony as a chance swipe from his good arm caught Leo in the face. Barefoot was used to stronger attacks, but his current odd momentum left him with little balance. He smacked into the floor, face down as Archer spun around above him, tears of complete pain rolling down his cheeks. "Damn it! DAMN IIIIT!" he cried, feeling the devastation of his limb. As Barefoot stood again, Kessler's breathing quickened, yet gained some of its previous evenness. His eyes were bloodshot, and appeared almost bestial. Slobber dripped from the corner of his mouth as he stared down Leo.
"You... BASTARD!" he yelled. "I'm never gonna use this arm again; you'll pay for that! Oh, damn it you'll pay! Even if I... even if I have to..." his eyes went wide, a revelation that seemed horrifying and yet perfection itself to the distraught Archer. With a tender grip, he placed a palm on his own broken arm. He howled and screamed again as his own arm turned into a barrage of bone darts, catching Leo off guard. Barefoot brought up several walls to dodge the volley, but there were simply too many. The bone darts caught the edges of his tattered clothing, pinning Leo up against a wall, feet slightly too far from the ground to reach it. Archer stammered incoherent, pained words as he stumbled closer. "S-sonuva... tookmyarm... gonnakill...kill, kill, KIIILL!"
Ken stared on front his point; at the moment, it seemed it all fell to him.
The night fell upon East City. Joyous people everywhere throughout the town stopped what they were doing to watch with wonder at the fireworks soon to come. For a few seconds, there was nothing, then the scream of a launching rocket whizzed into the sky. With a puff and a boom, a shower of blue sparks in perfection spherical formation lit up the night sky. "Oohs" and "aahs" came from everyone as they admired the first launch of the night. It was followed by a trifecta of two green spatterings of random bursts of light, both flanking a single spiral of white. The representation of Amestris, their great and proud nation. Cheers erupted as the display really got underway. Blues, reds, violets and golds illuminated everything as the celebration fought against the looming darkness. A little bit of light even in the darkest of nights, truly reminiscent of their nation, surrounded by foes and in constant strife, with the military as its sole protector. The light of Amestris would never be snuffed out. Not by Drachmans, not by Ishvalans, not by anyone.
Roland, Kallu and James sat together, sipping in their coffee and taking a moment to sit back and enjoy this quiet moment of peace. They knew they needed to savor every one they got. They never knew just when disaster would loom over them once more...
Marlin patrolled the streets, his weary mind forcing itself to remain vigilant, even in this little moment of happiness. To mixed feelings, it payed off.
A particularly brilliant flash of silver, in a piece of the show dedicated to the illustrious State Alchemists, a back alley he might not have noticed otherwise lit up. His eyes darted to it, unable to look anywhere else. And in it he saw a nightmare. A face, so inhuman he could scarcely believe it was real stared out at him with a face as cold and unlifelike as a chimera. Its dead eyes shone brilliantly, disturbingly, in the light. The man, or whatever it was, was dressed in an unassuming brown cloak that shielded its body from view. Its mouth fell open a bit, as if it were whispering something that Deep Blue could not hear from that distance. It sunk into the alleyway, and disappeared from sight.
Elias and Tasha continued to speak. Though they had traveled some distance from Victor's room, but were still in the same hall. Which was why they immediately heard the terrified shrieks coming from his room. In an instant, the two burst through the door, to find the young man struggling with a silhouetted figure. With a quick slug, the boy floored the would-be assassin, who wasted no time in leaping out the window. As Elias and Tasha moved toward the open portal to the outside world, they saw him going at a vicious pace across the rooftops.
Isaac was busy enjoying a strange bit of Southern food at the moment. They called it falafel, or at least he was pretty sure they did. But his moment of relaxation was shattered as chaos erupted like a volcano around him. A car on the other side of the street detonated in a fireball, engulfing nearly a dozen people around it in flames. Others sprinted away as quickly as they could go, as other automobiles nearby did the same. In short order, over half the cars on the street became nothing but twisted remains of scrap metal and leather. He stood to face whatever threat was coming, fearing it was the homunculi; he couldn't quite say he was relieved, though, when instead a throwing knife passed within an inch of his nose and impacted the table he'd been sitting at. He looked up to find a lithe looking man leaping down from the rooftops, a pistol in his left hand and a sword of all things in his right.
"Tonight you die, dog!"
Amon was nearby Isaac when the bombings occurred, but he was encountering his own problems. The ground beneath him seemed to crack and shatter like glass where he stood, and only a dive to the left saved him from a lance piercing up from the ground. The weapon was followed by a large, heavily-muscled man dragging himself up from the hole. His face was square-jawed and furious looking as he leveled his lance at the Spice Alchemist. "Military scum! Tonight the wings of justice envelop you!"
Anton was still on the roof when the attacks began. He heard the explosions, but could not see them. For a moment he considered them to be part of the celebrations, when he heard a terrible screaming from somewhere in his vicinity. He knew the source all too well. As fast as his legs could carry him the Lieutenant shot down into the alleyways, finding the source of the noise in record time; and still yet too late. A bloodied, severed leg resting in a puddle of its own blood, with a note nailed to it. He could hardly look at the limb, as he thought of the face of its former owner.
With a force of will urging him on, he picked up the bloody note and read it.
Better run as fast as you can, military scum
Heaven knows he can't anymore
The trio at the coffee house were still shocked by the sound of bombs going off, not able to react. Roland's eyes scanned the crowd for Richard, to ensure the little boy's safety. He found him too late. A figure he couldn't identify shot out from the crowd, snatching the little boy up, the giant bear falling to the ground and trampled underfoot as the kidnapper made into the alleys with his prey. Roland heard Richard cry for help as they went out of earshot.
He shot up from his seat, and only then noticed the hissing noise around them. James and Kallu's eyes opened up wide as they recognized it as well. Bombs. A lot of them.
All three alchemists ran as fast as they could to escape, and a second later the entire coffee house went up in a ball of fire and shrapnel. Charred bodies were tossed about like discarded and broken toys, as a fit of laughter broke out somewhere within it all. The three of them saw a pair of men emerge from the wreckage, nearly identical with their blue and white-striped vests and khaki pants. A uniform of a sort, but absolutely unfitting and even a little dark considering what had just occurred. Their faces were lined with the beginnings of age, likely mid-30s, and their eyes were shielded by black-lens goggles. One was clean-shaven, and the other sporting a thick and well-waxed mustache.
"Well, lookee what we've got here, brother of mine! These little scamps are fast!" the clean-shaven one exclaimed. "Seems like these little dogs are much smarter than all the rest!"
"The best of the best!" the mustached one agreed.
The both of them reached into the pockets of their suits, drawing handfuls of small, fused bombs. Both of them shouted at once, in a rhyme and rhythm so upbeat it sent a chill up the spine of anyone watching the grisly scene. "I suppose it's much more fun then if we give these three a test! I say, he says a test!"
"Get security!" Elias yelled as he got some space before he dashed towards the window. Easily vaulting over Victor's bed, he jumped out the window without breaking his stride. Though powerful, his automail's weight gave him more inertia, so while he'd made it to and out of the window relatively quickly, he hadn't built up enough speed to land on the adjacent rooftop. Instead, he gripped the roof's edge as his feet put two new holes in the wall, but he'd brought his feet up during the jump, and that made the climb up easier.
Once he'd gotten his feet on the rooftop, he rushed to catch up to Victor's assailant. His automail gave him a top speed higher than that of most sprinters, along with the ability to sustain the pace much longer, but this assassin was still almost as fast. Wanting to be prepared for a fight, he drew his handgun as he ran, in case the situation instantly changed to one that required return fire.
Anton didn't get to think about the source of the explosions for long.
Anton rushed to the scene, only to find a severed leg and a note. Gruesome scenes were nothing new to him, but the owner of this severed limb had endeared himself to Anton.
Run? Military scum?
"Heh...Hahahah...HYAAAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH! That's rich! You mutilate my lil' student, insult me and tell ME to run?"
Anton laughed maniacally as he crumpled the note in his claws.
"You better run, you sons of bitches. After I'm done with you, your remains will fit inside a shotglass."
Anton threw away the note. He followed the sounds of destruction towards the centre. Tracking people down was his job, he'd find his quarry soon enough.
Something tells me that's what they want... Fools. They'll die slowly.
Kallu was prepared for this eventuality and had jumped to an open area where he could maneuver.
"Everyone get out of here! This is State Alchemist business! Roland, we'll be fine here, go after the kid."
He slammed his hands down and transmuted the cobblestones into sand, sending them swirling at the two men with bombs in their hands. As soon as that had barely finished, he had already started another one. This one bringing up walls, blocking the fleeing civilians from the bombs of the two men.
James whipped his pistol out and loaded it with the pepper spray bullets. Squinting he took aim through the sand cloud Kallu had made and fired. The bullets were set to blow two seconds after firing and they only held enough spray for a single person, so James fired off six shots in the hope of blinding the two strange men.
Ken acted quickly, he made a stone spike that cracked open the water pipe in front of him, he then quickly pulled the gloves out of his pocket, ken place his gloved hands onto the water leak. The water was made to flow through the ground toward archers position, the ground under archers feet started to crack, when suddenly a torrent of water blasted upwards from underneath him.
Marlin froze in place for a moment, not sure what to make of what he had just witness. He rubbed his eyes, reasoning that perhaps he was still tired but even as he did so he knew there was no way he simply imagined that. ".... What in the world..." Was all he managed to utter as he stared into the alleyway that the.... thing had disappeared into. His instincts told him that only danger awaited him there, but his curiosity was getting the better of him.
He knew this would be risky, but he could not simply let something like that roam free without learning just what it was. Marlin shifted the jar in his grip so he would be ready to use it at a moment's notice, took a deep breath, and followed the creature into the alleyway.
Tasha nodded as she poked her head back out of Victors room. Thankfully a nurse was walking by. "Hey, get a doctor and security in here now, there's been an attack on the patient!" She said not bothering to wait for a response. She ran back inside and jumped out after Elias. She landed with a grunt on the opposite rooftop and chased after Elias and the would-be assassin.
After the two homuncului I'm not leaving anything up to chance. She thought as she followed after Elias. She sent sparks along her hands, with the amount of energy she was exerting it was enough to illuminate her path.