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I was going to edit and fix the Lisa vs. Victoria story, but I read this scene and a really daft idea entered my head and wouldn't go away. It's a stupid, crack crossover ...fanfic? that uses a big name and my own stupid writings, but sweet monkey Jesus it makes me giggle like I've been hit with Joker gas...
Oh, uh, you'll probably need to know the Ace Attorney series reasonably well to get it, and a little Layton (I've only played the crossover game when it comes to Layton myself) wouldn't hurt.

This is just copy and pasted from the 'challenge accepted' skim it if you want a refresher or just to see where this story diverges into alternate...everything.
”...but Lisa's never been fighting her own General Zod before either. She's only ever fought people she laughably outclasses before."
There was a weird gasp and a gurgling noise from somewhere and we turned around to see one of the guys, a fellow named Zach turning red and grabbing at his neck. I was confused at the way he seemed a few inches taller for a second before I saw he was being suspended in the air by Victoria. I'm pretty sure we all took a step or two back. Sorry man, but we're dog food if we try to fight her...
"That's the second Superman reference today already. Shall we see how well it holds up? How about it Lisa? Do you want to dash in to save the day, or do you even care if I shatter this pitiful creature's spine?"
One of the other guys started to advance on her and I was mentally telling him not to be stupid, but the idiot wasn't telepathic. The crack was relatively small as Victoria's foot kind of just appeared about an inch from his head.
"Do you really want to be a hero? I could have taken your head off just now."
"Do I care?" Lisa said with a shrug and she held a hand up to her chin, "I dunno, it seems a little weak of you to try the hostage thing though. Are you getting afraid I'll win even though you still have the advantage for the moment?"
Victoria lowered Zach to the floor, letting him breath again but she held him fast. His biceps bulged so hard it looked like the veings might pop out as he pulled against Victoria's arm but she didn't seem to notice, all of her attention was on talking to Lisa. No, that was an illusion, she knew where we all were well enough she'd take any of us out if we did something dumb.
"That's not my question. I want to know how much you care about this lot. Does someone so superior have a reason to care about normal humans, or is the love of gods, whether they be religious figures or pop culture figures like Superman an invention of conceit?"
"Well, love might be a strong word, but I'm used to this group of people and being short one would be a noticed absence..."
"Did you notice Larry's absence? Because you haven't said a word about that."
Lisa looked just a little startled, "You didn't..."
"The fool's alive, just sporting a broken arm and told to lay low. I needed some information on your schedule that I couldn't acquire digitally. Anyway, you said love's a strong word, then why did you concede to date this man if you didn't think it was possible?"
"Dude?! You dated Lisa? Why'd you never say anything?" it was annoying, but the guy did have some brains, something of a skilled hobby artist and a chemist in addition to being pretty athletic. I guess he was about as close to an all around talent you'd find around here... so I guess it made sense that if Lisa was going to go out with anyone it'd be him.
"Well she never even let me get to a base, she'd kind of catch my hand and give me this weary sigh. It was more embarassing than anything else really."
"It was just a sort of experiment, I wanted to see if my affections could go in that direction... I'm not unfond of people..."
<"No, I imagine there's some you're quite attached to, but I have to wonder. Do you have friends? Do you relate to anyone? Can anyone relate to you? Or is your fondness closer to that which one might have for a pet?">
Well, finally I'd heard the same foreign language twice. I swore Lisa only mentioned speaking fifteen but this has been nuts. I tried to remember to ask her about it later.
<"That's...harsh...">
<"Am I wrong?">
<"You're here for me! None of these guys have anything to do with it! So just drop him and let's finish our bout!">
<"I disagree, I think this could provide some useful insight to you Lisa. Do you see your rightful place as master over your lessers, or are you the sentimental sort?">
"Do you think you can just murder someone and get away with it?" Lisa finally returned to english for everyone's benefit.
"Of course I can. What are the police going to find? A man killed by someone with superhuman strength and you're the only one the world knows of that fits that bill."
"Please, there are a ton of witnesses here."
"All men that know what you're capable of. They could certainly have been intimidated. You could tell them who I am, but let me explain how that's going to go. First, they'll look up Victoria Cross and find out that she in fact doesn't have an alibi, she was home sick a couple of days and didn't see anyone in that time. So far, so good for you. However, they will find that her passport hasn't been used in any airport and her image doesn't show up on any security cameras here in the USA. What will they find easier to believe? That you killed an ex boyfriend, strong phrase I know, but bear with me, or that a British woman crossed the Atlantic without being noticed anywhere on the whole journey and killed a man with her bare hands with a force the world thinks only you can use?"


Divergence Point:

“Clearly you don't know the defense attorney scene that well. Go ahead and do it, just see how it plays out.”
Victoria shrugs, “Very well.”
*SNAP*

Location: Japanifornia ??

“Hey boss, we got a call. New case wants us to fly out ASAP.”
“Huh, it's...like five in the morning... FIVE?!" "Objection!”
“They're paying top dollar for you specifically.”
“Huh, well, objection retracted then.”

First day in court:
Detective cross-examination
Lisa cross-examination
LISA: “Alright, this has gone on a while. Things look a bit rough so NOW IT'S TIME TO DO YOUR JOB!”
PHOENIX: “AH! Why are you screaming at me?”
LISA: “I KNOW YOU PULL IT TOGETHER UNDER PRESSURE, SO I'M EXERTING SOME. GET THIS CASE TURNED AROUND OR I'LL HURT YOU.” *snaps handcuffs off by pulling her hands apart*
APOLLO: “Wow...uh, I guess she could make pretty good on that threat, huh?
PHOENIX: “Yeah, let's turn this around quickly.”

Things look dire for a guilty verdict until Phoenix pulls some evidence together and gets things delayed until more investigating can be done.
PHOENIX: “OBJECTION!”
JUDGE: “What is it now?”
PHOENIX: “I direct the court's attention to this layout of the gym and the damage in these photos.”
JUDGE: “Yes, we've been over all these a few times, do you have some kind of issue with the evidence?”
PHOENIX: “Yes, the pattern of the damage. While we've verified that the defendant is physically capable of doing it, the pattern makes no sense if we assume she was on some kind of rampage!” *desk slam “This spot here proves that there wasn't one superhumanly strong person on the rampage, but in fact... TWO COMBATANTS! That gym was the site of an epic battle and we can prove it with this!” *FINGER POINT*
*Court room chatter*
*gavel strike x 2*
JUDGE: “Really now? Show us exactly which of these pieces of evidence shows that conclusion.”
PHOENIX: “TAKE THAT!” “Right here, your honor!” long winded explanation ensues

JUDGE: “That is certainly a valid line of reasoning, but in order to expand the scope of our investigation so far, we need more than one piece of evidence. What else in this case gives us reason to do so?”
PHOENIX:
= Uh...nothing I can think of, sorry.
> It's very important that we keep my client from hurting me.
= The consistency of witness testimony.
(Well, pain equals bad you know)
JUDGE: “I'm afraid that isn't reason enough for this courtroom Mister Wright. Penalty!”
LISA: “You just said that to see what would happen!” *now has two sets of handcuffs, and breaks both of them* "STOP CLOWNING AROUND!"
PHOENIX:
= Uh...nothing I can think of, sorry.
= It's very important that we keep my client from hurting me.
> The consistency of witness testimony.
“It's obvious your honor! Everyone present at the crime scene had the same story, the police assumed that the defendant had intimidated them into backing her story, but now that we have supporting evidence, it's clear that this line of inquiry must be pursued!” *desk slam, finger point*
*courtroom chatter*
ATHENA: “What are we going to do? If this Victoria is what Lisa says she is, most of the evidence is going to be all the way across the Atlantic, right? How do we get a flight out and investigate in time?”
PHOENIX: “As it happens, I know a gentleman who may just be able to help.”

---
I like to imagine the respective series logos flipping about like the Transformers did with the Autobot and Decepticon Insignias here: Ace Attorney to...
---

LAYTON: “Well now, this is a very interesting facility.”
LUKE: “I'll say professor! It looks like a supervillain's lair, right out of a comic book!”
VICTORIA: “Uh...who the hell are you? How did you even get in here?”
LAYTON: “It was quite the puzzle on the door in here, but I have something of a knack for them.”
VICTORIA: “What puzzle? The door is locked with biometric scanners, you have to be someone I registered to open it. It even checks your emotional state so someone authorized but under duress can't open it.”
LAYTON: “Quite the puzzle indeed. Very challenging.”

PUZZLE!
Worth: 200 Picarats
Lead Victoria to the trap set outside by navigating the maze and keeping ahead of her. Be careful, she moves two spaces to your one and if she catches you it's game over.
LAYTON: *dramatic point* “I've already seen the answer!”
CORRECT!
Now go meet Maya at the airport and finish your investigation! Phoenix is waiting on your results!

Cross-examination – Victoria

VICTORIA: “What you're proposing is simply perposterous. I'd have to have a plane of my own and not only that, one that didn't get spotted on any radar. That's impossible for a girl like me.”
PHOENIX: “And what if I can prove the existence of such a plane?”
VICTORIA: *carefree idle animation*
PHOENIX: (Did they just forget to give this woman a shocked animation or what?)
VICTORIA: “What do I have to be shocked about? You're bluffing, you can't prove it. I'm sorry to say Mr. Wright, but you have a very readable face.”

JUDGE: “I'm afraid if you can't find any strong evidence to support your accusations, I'm going to have to call this trial to a close.”
*dramatic panning to everyone's faces, Phoenix in his despair pose*
“OBJECTION!”
Dramatic panning around characters to.. PROFESSOR LAYTON barging in*
LAYTON: “You honor! The defense has new witnesses to call to the stand on the matter of the character of Miss Victoria Cross.”
VICTORIA: “Well, what's this now? Who do you have? Who do you think is going to say a bad word about me?”
LAYTON: “Thanks to Miss Fey's spiritual powers, we're actually calling on your own victims Miss Cross.”
VICTORIA breaks out into hysterical laughter, “Oh WOW. If you can get the judge to allow it, go on ahead. Are we doing a séance in court?”
LAYTON: “Hardly Miss Cross. I ask you to observe.”

MAYA transforms to the body of a past victim. The spirit in her transformed body points right at Victoria.
“That woman shoved me through a wood chipper!”
Another spirit enters.
“Oh yeah? She put me into a human sized toaster!”
“I got you both beat. 200 regular sized toasters!”

PHOENIX, APOLLO, ATHENA, LAYTON, LUKE, and MAYA all cram themselves just barely into the defense bench.
PHOENIX: “Is everyone cozy? No one wants to watch from the stands?”

JUDGE: “I'm afraid I'll be laughed out of my position if I admit this as evidence, but you've convinced me there's something here. By all means Mr. Wright, keep grilling.”
PHOENIX: “One request your honor, can we request a change in prosecutor?”
JUDGE: “Why?”
PHOENIX: “I had to request her, but I think the one best suited for helping me prove that Victoria Cross isn't who she pretends to be is... is...”
MAYA: “Come on Nick, who is it?”
PHOENIX: “F...Fran...Fr...”
MAYA: “Franziska Von Karma?! What do you want her for?”
PHOENIX: “If anyone can agitate this woman into giving something up, it's Franziska. I just hope she doesn't whip ME into a coma first...”
LAYTON: “I don't know about this, but there is something I'd like to bring up. Your honor!”
JUDGE: “Yes? What is it Professor?”
LAYTON: “Given that the defendant has snapped her handcuffs like dried twigs a few times already and she alleges that Miss Cross here possesses similar physical ability, I think it might be in the best interest of the safety of everyone in the court if we provide extra security just in case her accusations prove to be true.”
JUDGE: “I see, that is a wise precaution. What do you have in might?”
LAYTON: “Mister Wright, I believe you had an extracurricular outing that lead to you making the acquaintance of several powerful people. Do you think you can call a favor from any of them?”
PHOENIX: “Ugh, you're bringing that up? Well, it makes sense. I'll call around.”

A recess is taken, FRANZISKA arrives and the second cross-examination of VICTORIA begins. FRANZISKA tries whipping her a few times, but VICTORIA is simply never in the way of the whip when it lands. No one's able to catch her in a contradiction for long.
PHOENIX: “This is like trying to nail jello to the wall.”
LAYTON: “Indeed Mister Wright, it's as though she's thought of our objections before we raise them. This is proving to be a tough case. No armor is perfect though, we just need a way through it.”
PHOENIX: “Apollo, Athena, do you have anything?”
APOLLO: “Sorry boss, but she's rock steady, no tells at all.”
ATHENA: “Same here, her emotional state barely fluctuates at all. Now that alone is pretty suspicious but it's nothing we can nail her with, not on its own.”
PHOENIX: “What I really need is to use the magnatama in court...if I can see where she's lying...”
MAYA: “Let's try it then, I've learned a lot over the years.”

MAGNATAMA view is engaged, a myriad of spiderweb-like formations of chains surround Victoria and jet-black silhouette psylocks appear around her.
PHOENIX: (What is this? These aren't even normal black psylocks! They're solid light-eating pure darkness all the way through!)
PHOENIX: “Well, scratch that.”

FRANZISKA tries to hit VICTORIA with her whip while the latter is distracted, but VICTORIA catches the end.
VICTORIA: "TRY AND HIT ME WITH THIS AGAIN AND I'LL FEED IT TO YOU!"
*Courtroom goes quiet*
FRANZISKA: "Well, there's your first piece of evidence that this woman isn't normal, Wright. I hope you can put up the rest."
PHOENIX: (Yeah, just bail on me and leave me the only one in physical danger, thank you very much.)

VICTORIA: “Are you done conspiring over there? It seems you have nothing to get me on, might I be excused?” *little flirty wink and wave to the courtroom*
MAYA: “Nick! She's guilty! You have to get her!”
PHOENIX: “But we can't get her to crack. She's barely flinched this whole time.”
ATHENA: “Wait one moment! Do you have any idea why our client named you?”
VICTORIA: “I have no idea. I've hardly ever left England, I've never seen her before. Well, maybe on a show or two, or maybe it was that olympics stunt? I have no idea what made her pick me out. How'd she even hear of me? I'm just a normal girl.”
ATHENA: “BOSS! We have it! Reading one metric fuckton of anger on that last statement.”
PHOENIX: “You're not going anywhere Victoria. You've just...” *cocky stance* “sealed your fate.”
CORNERED starts playing.
PHOENIX: “About time. Let's finish this.”

VICTORIA'S break down is insanely dramatic, hellfire comes up behind her and cackling shadow demons jump out from her head. Then she rips the stand right out of the floor and tears it half before collapsing to the ground.
PHOENIX: “Wow, that one takes the cake and I have seen some hardcore crazy in here.”
JUDGE: “I've never seen a case quite like this one, but you life up to your reputation Mister Wright. I proclaim your client...”
NOT. GUILTY.
*CONFETTI!*
Everyone starts to celebrate but then deranged laughter cuts everyone short. VICTORIA stands up with a ruffled, insane appearance.
VICTORIA: “You did it, a normal natural born set of humans bested me. I never imagined it possible. However, that won't matter if I'm the only one who LEAVES THIS COURT ALIVE!”
JUDGE: “Baliff! Do your job!”
BALIFF: “SHORYUKEN!”
K.O.!
RYU: “I'm sure you'll do better once you learn how to fight.”

LISA: “I knew you could do it!”
OFFICER: “Here ma'am, let me...”
LISA: “Oh don't bother.” *snaps out of three sets of handcuffs*
OFFICER: “...that seems like a waste of taxpayer money...it's also terrifying.”
PHOENIX: “That might just be the third or fourth weirdest case I've been involved in.”
MAYA: “Celebratory burgers! Now!”
PHOENIX: “Aw come on...”
LISA: “I'll pay, my treat. The least I can do for you helping one version of me not have to get drug into a long off again on again rivalry with that woman full of battles.”
ALL: “What now?”

Closing shot is a painting shot of Lisa holding Phoenix in the air in a bear hug and everyone else kind of keeping away, kind of laughing at him. Phoenix looks like he'd like to breath right now.
Challenge Accepted - Alternate Ending
Oh god this is so stupid but I had so much fun...

"human sized toaster" bit comes straight from here - www.youtube.com/watch?v=g7_YLA…
I've been listening to the Marvel vs. Capcom 3 theme for Phoenix Wright on loop basically the whole time I was writing this so I figured I should acknowledge it a bit.

I don't know why this version of Lisa leans on the fourth wall so much, nor do I know how Professor Layton got into Victoria's hanger for her jet or wherever that was, I guess he's just that good, and  it's just for fun.
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This was interesting, I aimed for making the narration around Estella kind of high strung and demented to reflect her personality. She needs something to stand out from newer villains that have had much more written about them. Maybe I should save that approach for actual first person stuff, but I'm not sure about that since I dislike writing that perspective.

Estella had chosen a classier dress than she normally would wear for the ball. All the High Ladies of Magic were supposed to attend. The High Lady of Dark was a vacant position at the moment and she was really wanting to get the spot. Her preference for plunging necklines might have its use with meeting men of certain preferences, but this was an entirely different sort of event. The gown was magical, it had a mostly classy cut and it used magic to depict a gradually shifting night sky across its surface. Sometimes full of stars, sometimes cloudy. However, in one little nod to her usual dress style the moon was always full and always in the same spot, positioned on her neckline so if you didn't realize it was the moon it might look like she was in danger of a bit of a wardrobe malfunction on the left half of her torso. There was also a slit in one side high enough to expose pretty much her whole right leg. Well the sex appeal couldn't all be cleverly done.
The trip was by magical coach and she behaved and was polite to her fellow passengers. The hosting palace was as big and opulent as one could reasonably ask for. Then the guards had trouble finding her name on the guest list. It took a while and it turned out she'd been tucked at the very end, possibly with the hopes that they wouldn't find it and deny her entry. She took all that reasonably in stride, she resisted her urge to kill someone so well she didn't even maim any of the guards! Surely they must recognize her good behavior and realize that she really wanted the spot.
Well, they knew that, they thought she probably had something to do with the demise of the last High Lady of Dark. She didn't. Not in this instance, though it was true that she'd helped more than a few people meet the Grim Reaper sooner than they'd expected and it was true some of them were high ranking, but she really thought her reputation was blown way out of proportion. She'd never managed to pull it off against High Lady Fey, the woman had simply had a bad run of luck. Not that anyone would believer her. So rude.

Common Elemental Magic. Life Magic. Wood Magic. Metal Magic. Light Magic. Dark Magic. Witchcraft. Necromancy. Summoning. Beast Magic. Blood Magic. Chi Sorcery. Divine Power. Power of Void. Mind Magic. Hellfire. Creation. Transmutation. And more yet on top of all that. So many fields spread across the world, and honestly a lot of camps seemed to have significant overlap, but the rules were somehow just different enough to make being a cross-study student exceptionally difficult. As far as she could tell her own Dark Magic and Shadow Magic should be the same thing, and yet somehow a Shadow mage could actually travel through the shadows instead of just project their conscious as she was limited to, but she could steal the life force of another to heal herself where they couldn't but otherwise they shared something like 90% of the same tricks.

The hall was huge and fancy, which made the sheer diversity of the crowd feel weird to her. Humans, elves, dwarves, even the odd ogre or troll, weirder yet here and there a goblin or something weirder.  The crowd was huge too as it didn't consist of just sitting High Ladies, but there were ladies in waiting and those vying for a seat, mostly the currently open ones. A lot of these higher ups had their own sort of entourage. Mind you, it's not like she was  a bigot or anything. She'd be open to, well, trying anything once.
She mingled and tried to smile a lot, trying to put everyone at ease and get them to admire her lovely exterior. Who cares about the core of pitch in a high class party? Really. She was a pretty woman naturally, and she'd used her collected powers to hammer and anvil that base into an improved work of heart-attack inducing gorgeous. So everyone really should compliment her just a little bit more. Seriously. They shouldn't disparage her for working on it, she'd achieved something with that and it's not like it's the only thing she ever did. People should show some respect. Please?
The tree magics, usually performed by fairies and nymphs were among the most out of place in clean marble halls. They couldn't sprout true forest life in the halls, but sometimes whatever it was that did form in their footsteps was substantial enough to leave things behind. Usually leaves. Which they also liked to wear, along with flowers, twigs, and all manner of things that seemed just a little weird. Well, she supposed it was a way to make jokes about going out all natural... that or they had some nasty uncomfortable underwear.
Estella felt she was doing a pretty good job of socializing and being friendly, but most everyone seemed to take the first excuse to 'take their leave.' It could give a woman a complex. She wasn't rude and she was keeping jokes and tales of mayhem and torture to an absolute minimum. So what gives? She was looking at the drink she'd been working on for a while, something served out of a big public bowl and kind of wishing it was spiked just a bit harder. Maybe they saw that she was forcing the smile sometimes? She was a happy drunk, maybe they'd like her better if she was really happy? Well, happy and destructive... there was a careful balancing act to being drunk enough to giggle and grin like a fool and being drunk to the point of doing that while blowing up most everything in sight. She was pretty powerful by any measure, but with this many high end magic users socializing, any attempt at a rampage or even a game of drunken destruction bolt aiming would get smacked down really hard, really fast.
“Estella. Why are you here? Aren't you ever going to give up?” the woman was red skinned and brutish looking, ogre-like features and limbs so thick and muscular it was easy to think of a collection of tree trunks.
“Now Bellatha, you know I'm the most powerful Dark Mage...female Dark Mage left now that the High Lady has left us, may the dark keep her in reserve for the worst of nightmares. I'm really the only reasonable candidate.”
“Yes. About that... it's just a little too suspicious that so many powerful Dark Mage women happened to have...untimely demises. Everyone knows you've stolen that power and they know better than to reward a petty thief.”
Estella sighed, like stealing things wasn't work? That was the problem with honest people, they didn't think about how hard people wanted to keep their stuff, and how hard a powerful mage could fight to keep it. Stealing that kind of thing wasn't easy or safe by any stretch of the imagination. She once would have liked to study, but then she got older and it turned out she had the sex drive of a particularly murderous nymph. Focusing was insanely hard with such a condition and she honestly resented the damn near constant distraction. Really, if she had a normally functioning brain she would have worked her way right up to the 'Random Bands of Wandering Mish-Mashed Heroes Are Trying to Slay Me' rank of Dark Magic, the very highest rank the school of magic handed out. She really deserved some respect. She was going to get it from these people one way or another.
“I'm hardly petty. Anyway, don't you have some cutting on yourself to do? I'm in no mood for your moralizing,” Estella snapped at the Blood Mage and pointed at the crisscrossing bands of scar tissue on her arms, “your power literally comes from blood, how high a ground do you have?”
“There have been some Blood Mages that get out of hand and collect from the unwilling,” Bellatha stated and Estella rolled her eyes at the sheer understatement there, “but most of us draw only from ourselves or sometimes volunteers if more power is needed.
Estella kept herself from going 'blah, blah, blah' along with Bellatha's speech and really felt like that deserved a medal at the moment. She turned around to look at the food on the table and nearly collided with someone, or at least the front most end of her did. She stopped herself, most of herself, and the other woman was able to pivot away just in time.
“WHOAH! Hah, ah, sorry.”
“No, you were just standing there, I need to remember to turn slowly,” Estella forced herself to say instead of any of the far ruder and megalomaniacal retorts she wanted to say.
“Hah, ah, how does your back hold up? Those are potentially deadly weapons you have there,” the little Light Mage laughed and patted her chest a bit.
Normally Estella would welcome the flirt and contact, but unfortunately Dark and Light magic schools just don't freaking mix. They both jumped back with sizzling skin and shout of pain, the little Light Mage barely bumped her table but Estella stumbled back and fell through the center of hers. Every single damned thing on the table fell inwards to land on her. Then some of the sit from the next tables over fell over and rolled onto her.
“RAUGH!” an explosion of black power exploded away from her involuntarily as she flew back up to her feet and scattered lower mages attending the higher ups and tables and decorations for dozens of feet around her, “WATCH IT!”
Estella towered over the little Light Mage in her simple white dress and had mixed feelings about the worried expression on her cute, young face. Then there was a rapid realization that she was the center of attention for the entire room, enough of it hostile that she couldn't get away with anything.
“Sorry, sorry, nothing going to happen, I just...over-reacted, those of you with an elemental weakness should have a little sympathy,” Estella held her hands up in a compliant gesture.
The guests went back to their conversations and waitstaff started to fix up the table. The little Light Mage looked her over a while and laughed at the various things over her very expensive dress.
“Too bad about that, if we weren't allergic to each other, I might have...well, no point thinking about it now,” she shrugged and left, Estella found herself watching her backside really closely.
'Yeah, I would probably hit that... if it wasn't going to burn my flesh off.' That was an exaggeration, but as far as the physical sensation went, it was in the right ballpark.
“You really are completely depraved,” Bethalla shook her head in disgust and her armor clinked.
“I'm open and experimental,” Estella shrugged, but her tone was defensive, she looked at the ogre woman and found herself thinking 'well, maybe with a burlap sack over her head and something to cover those wrists, maybe in desperate circumstances... AUGH! DAMN IT! Why is it I always have to size people up for that?'
“Oh, no. No. I'm going. Away.”
“Good.”
“Estella, dear, you never write,” she recognized the voice of the Shadow Mage Listelle, “I know things didn't go as smoothly as one might hope, but we had fun.”
“Listelle...hi, I didn't know you were up high enough to be here...” Estella sweated a bit, Listelle was basically a crazy ex from way, way back. She never really expected to meet her again.
“For a while, and then you wanted to do that shadow merge thing and I just need more personal space than that,” Estella looked the woman over with her black form-fitting outfit and red-tipped black hair. Dark skinned and covered in fascinating red tattoos swirling around a pattern along her limbs and surely around her body, those were new. 'Oh help me, someone distract her or I'm going to even though I know it's a bad idea.'
“Well, I think you look like you're open to rekindling something, though I admit your standards seem to make you look through a crowd and say 'would or wouldn't do? - yes, yes, yes, emergency, yes, yes, emergency, probably not.'”
“I'm not...quite that bad...” Estella almost wanted to blush, not so much at the suggestiveness, just feeling flustered that Listelle knew she did that.
“Close enough, but I'm teasing.”
“Listelle, there you are. I was trying to explain your theory about shadow connections to Lady Harashi over here, but I just can't do it justice. Will you come over?”
“Sure, I'll catch you later Estella.”
'Oh thank the lords of lightlessness, that would have lead to a bad, bad tomorrow.'
She went to find a water mage and when she found one, a partially fish-looking woman with elegant fins trailing her wrists and calves, she marched up and said, “Sorry to be blunt, but can I ask for some help?” and gestured at her dress covered in splattered drink and foodstuffs.
“What are you offering in return? A soul maybe?”
“That's Hellfire Magic, not Dark Magic.”
“Zombie minion?”
“Necromancy, usually, but during the right celestial alignment...”
“I'm just funning you, but really, what do you have?”
“Uh...just the dress and a little jewelry right now.”
“The anklet would do.”
“Aww...well, what about an activity tonight?” Estella winked at her and she gagged.
“Oh gods,” she made like she'd thrown up in her mouth, “I guess there's some truth to what they say about you.”
“UGH. Fine, you can have the anklet.”
The water mage washed her off and took the anklet from Estella who cussed a bit about the most expensive quick rinse ever, high society be damned. She made a strategic point of avoiding Listelle and Bethalla for the rest of the evening, but she gradually started to hear things as less and less people were willing to talk to her. She took to listening in, though she was kind of bored. There was talk of a possible Prismatic Sorcoress being found, one of those rare few mages that could actually work with all these different schools of magic. Her mood immediately turned sour. Her replies turned curt and she eventually decided she should leave before her mood went too bad.
If there really was a Prismatic Sorcoress out there, she'd be a shoe-in to get inducted into the High Lady of Magic society, hells, they'd trip over themselves to get her in whatever her current skill level. There wasn't a rule for it, but tradition seemed to dislike adding new members very close to each other. They could easily leave the Dark Magic position open for years because of that protocol. To snub her, they'd surely do it. There was no way she wasn't going to get her due. She just had to figure out where this rotten little girl was. She heard a few names and places tossed around, and then she started talking with people for the purpose of fishing for more information, and eventually a clear front runner came out as the most mentioned place.
“Gratersville of all places.”
“I have no idea where that is.”
“It's a really backwater sort of spot, around the woods they call Listra's forest I think. Most of the towns there don't even have a Travel Gate. The few that do just have one.”
So she was going to have to find a map or two, but she had an area. She excused herself and headed out. She had a stage-stealing little upstart to kill after all. If there was no Prismatic Sorceress to crown it would be a lot harder to put off naming a new High Lady of Darkness.
“Is the Lady Estella leaving early?” a guard asked her as she marched out, she didn't like their tone at all.
“Yes, get my carriage,” Estella folded her arms awkwardly and almost forgot to add, “please.”
The guard returned and opened the door, “I'm sure your presence will be missed,” it seemed to her sarcastic.
“You're a construct, right?” she thought she could sense magic to the seemingly faceless guard.
“That's right, made of sandstone by the High Lady of Shifting Sands Gradua for this event.”
Estella glared, that new and showing an attitude? It had to be emulating the tone it heard people talk about her in. Some automaton spells had that as a side effect, it was easy to tell what their makers thought of someone by the way their constructs acted. Fully annoyed Estella grabbed the thing's neck in a quick motion and clenched her hand into a fist, the softer stone giving way and crumbling under her fingers until the head fell off. She crushed it with a stomp of her high heels and grabbed each arm and pulled out, ripping them from the main body.
She'd get charged for it, and scolded, but at least it wasn't a ban-worthy offense like killing someone's live servant was and she felt like she needed the outlet. Snobby bitches. Thought they were better than her. Thought this nobody they only just heard of was better than her. Well she wasn't, not at magic yet anyway. This alleged Prismatic Sorceress would die in a duel and then what would they do to deny her? Maybe something, but not forever.
Estella and the Magic Ball
This was weird to write, largely out of it's weird for me to try to make an outright sexual character, let a long a super/hyper one. So I try to focus on the idea the way it drives her to distraction is mostly a giant annoyance in her life.

I kind of keep thinking Loreane's goofy setting should appeal to me more, and it should be fun, so I'm not sure why I have trouble writing her stuff.
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Humankind:

Mundane
Most of the population, the regular humans that make up most of the planet. Not a whole lot to say, but everyone has at least enough magic drawn to them by being alive to use magical wards and if they pass other qualifications, magical artifacts left by old gods.

Undead
Comes in a variety, there are numerous ways a person can fail to completely shed the mortal coil. For details see Monsters section.

Mage
A human being with a large enough magical sphere of influence that they're able to learn to control magical power. Magic requires mental agility and creativity to use to its best potential, but those traits don't always line up with those who have the most power. Elemental mages focus on the classical elements of lore, usually with a preference to one in particular and Light mages focus on healing and protection. Their power is largely agreed to derive from the alternate realm of Faerie through unknown means.

Void Mage

The Fair Folk:

Pixies

Faries

Nymphs

Sidhe

Monsters:

Gremlin
Among the very least threatening of supernatural menaces in a physical confrontation, they're still best not taken lightly. They instinctively understand whatever technology they come across and love to make it go wrong in whatever way seems amusing at the time. It's worth noting that what they find amusing is generally in the area of murderous mayhem. Have a particular fondness of making military aircraft crash.

Ghoul
Basically on the low end of the predation hierarchy, they scavenge at least as much as they hunt. About human strength and averaging only slightly faster, they lack the physical superiority of most supernatural monsters. They prefer sneak attacks and are unlikely to want to fight a mage head-on unless pressed by something a little higher up the hierarchy.

Elder Ghoul
In the odd event a ghoul exists long enough to be considered old it will grow in power like most supernatural beings, but unknown to the heroes of the story they never exceed an "almost olympian" level on their own. In order to become the 50mph running, car flinging menaces seen in the story they have to be chosen and empowered by a evil mage, most often a vampire, as a personal attack dog. Once freed of their master though by whatever means, they often go on to lead a group of lesser ghouls.

Siren

Succubus

Fishman
Pretty much what it sounds like, the creature from the Black Lagoon is a silly old depiction of something like this creature. They tend to be carnivorous attacking the physically weaker beach goers. Sometimes there's a squicky sort of confusion when they have a tendency to attack humans of the other gender, they feel an attraction but their beastly instincts translate that into an attack and eat reflexes.

Vampire

Werewolf

Fear Phantom

Dragon

Leviathan
Bestiary Start
I realized I forgot a lot, but dA won't let me edit... anyway, relates to Circe's setting, stuff will be filled in as it comes up and maybe some new stuff gets added.
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About a week after Circe broke the power plant because she wanted to fry all the gremlins in a hurry.

Circe looked out over the improvised tent city that had extended the main city's borders outwards during the power outage while they fixed the damage to the plant. One thing she really didn't expect was the smell, but as it turned out without much of a working sewer... There were similar encampments in the city's parks as people struggled to manage modern city living with bare minimal power. Many who could left, but there were a lot of problems – and she was trying not to be crushed under the guilt of it.
She hadn't thought things through at all. Looking back on her cavalier attitude she really wanted to go back and kick her past self in the rear. She'd been scolded more than once over the whole thing, but she was already feeling pretty awful just from the gradual realization of the scope of her error.
“You look like you've been crying,” Derek startled her.
“I...maybe...” she huffed with annoyance and crossed her arms over her chest.
“You know your Peter Parker at all?”
“You're getting at that whole power and responsibility thing?”
“Yeah, and you know THIS,” he gestured at the sea of tents, “is why.”
“How many times do I have to say I'm sorry damn it?!”
“I don't care about what you say, I care about your future restraint in throwing a million volts of electricity around. I won't have any idea if you've really learned your lesson or not unless something similar happens again and you don't blow up the power of a million people.”
“Ass,” Circe sniffled a little and sat down.
Derek scowled at her and dropped a stack of papers in her lap, “Look through that.”
Circe went through the papers, police reports mostly. There were a few dead people, found mauled and partially eaten. It looked like they were cut fairly cleanly and the guess was some kind of serial killer cannibal.
“What's this got to do with anything?”
Derek flipped through some of the photos and she cringed away until he came upon one he was looking for, “The clean cuts are a cover act, look at this mark in the bone.”
Circe fought looking and when she did it was with a squint and trying to keep part of the image blocked with her hand, “What is it? I don't see anything...”
“This here looks an awful lot like the big fangs in a ghoul to me. Their claws are so sharp the damage they do looks like knives. Older and smarter ones will use them to cut out bits of people so it looks like a person did it. These teeth though, I'd say are a young one getting ahead of itself.”
“Ghouls?”
“Attracted by the chaos and vulnerability here. Congratulations Circe, it looks like you're going to have your first real monster hunt, that is if you're adult enough to help fix your own damned mess.”
Circe tried to retort but instead just found herself bawling. She tried to talk but her voice caught and the tears wouldn't stop running. Then the snot came, great, no semblance of dignity now.
“Oh damn,” Derek fidgeted, “That was harder than I should have been.”
“No, I'm -hic- awful...”
“No Circe. You're reckless and too strong for your own good in some ways, but no... look... try and stop crying, would you?”
It took a little while to get a hold of herself, but she did, “You really want me along?”
“Well, let's not go there. You have to remember though, even though most ghouls are only about as physically formidable as a human if we had claws and fangs, and that really doesn't seem that impressive if you compare it with the insane speed of a vampire or the savage power of a werewolf, they are absolutely capable of killing you if you're sloppy.”
“Most ghouls?”
“Every now and then some of them get to old age and in the ultimate example of life not being fair, supernatural creatures only get stronger the older they get in a lot of cases. Generally assume an elder ghoul can tear a human apart in a couple seconds at most. Not to jinx us, but let's hope this is just a couple of rouge youngsters, eh? Try to get some sleep and bring all your gear and remember your protective spell is your best friend, you can't... spam it too much, ok?”
“Did you seriously just try to use young person lingo there? Please don't do that, it just sounds... off.”

They didn't have clear leads so they were just patrolling the area that people had gone missing in and where the bodies had been found looking for something. They didn't really find anything of consequence that first night and turned into their respective places just tired. The second night however they came across one around one.
She really felt Derek had been rude about it, but he'd made it pretty clear he didn't trust her aim or firing control so as they chased the monster through the park she was tasked with shooting lightning into the air to illuminate things. Supposedly it should just look like regular lightning albeit with a reverse of expectations path of going up to the sky as long as she didn't use her full power spell.
“Lightnin' Up-tha-Sky!” Circe shouted and pointed her want upwards sending a coursing blast of lightning up into the distant clouds.
“That's a terrible spell name.”
“You only gave me a damn second! You want good, you tell me the spell we need some time before hand!”
The monster ran with pretty impressive speed, but not more than a person might. Sometimes it flinched as the thunder of Circe's illuminating lightning washed over the park. They were trying to herd it, but it was a bit faster than either of them. Then she saw Derek reach up his staff and bring it down, launching a fire spell at the area in front of the monster.
“IGNITIZE!” a crater was blasted in front of the beast and it scampered back away from the flames.
That was almost her spell! Hell, he did it with her magic, the excess that didn't convert to lightning!
“THE HELL MAN?”
“You're wasteful! Someone might as well make some use of it! Now quiet!”
Derek seemed snappier than usual to her and she figured it was just the stress or adrenaline or whatever. They continued that way a while, her blasting lightning into the sky and Derek pulling down excess magic to throw at the ghoul. Then it stumbled on a gopher hole or something and stumbled forward and Derek hit it with a bolt of lightning.
“You one of the ones that learned to talk or not?”
The ghoul hissed and Derek used his flamius spell to burn away the meat of a leg and let the monster howl in pain a moment. Circe stared at the scene with shock, not sure what to do. Sure it was a monster, but that was just sadistic beyond call...
“Tell me how many more of you there are,” Derek was almost snarling with rage, and he only gave it about half a minute before he burned off its other leg.
“JUST KILL IT!” Circe had her hands clamped over her ears trying to drown out the ghoul's screams, “This is wrong!”
“It's just a damned monster Circe. It's nothing it wouldn't do if it could.”
Circe stepped back a little, there was honest hate there. Probably a ghoul or something similar had gotten someone close to him, but it was disturbing to watch the monster's torturous death. When it did die the remains started to liquify into ectoplasm which would evaporate later.
“That wasn't...”
“WASN'T WHAT?”
Circe shrunk away and looked side to side trying to think of something to say and then came up with, “a good use of time.”
“Maybe not,” Derek shrugged and sounded cold, “but you're the student here. It's not your call to make.”
There weren't any more encounters that night, but the next they came across a pair of ghouls and barely saved a man. They managed to wound one of the ghouls, but they got away.

The next day after that Circe felt ready to fall asleep on her feet. She was outside Derek's office waiting for someone, but he didn't tell her who. She hoped he'd come down or she'd recognize them somehow. When a midnight blue Honda with a slightly askew headlight drove up she knew.
“Linda, hi, Derek asked you back?”
“He did, said there's something of a ghoul problem here. Induced by a Circe problem.”
“I keep saying I'm sorry! I didn't think it through!”
“No. Clearly you didn't. If you have any sense of consequences or empathy for other people Circe... Derek.”
“Were you about to chew Circe out? I've done that. She seems honestly contrite.”
“Still, this is pretty big. I'm not sure how they'll explain this away.”
“Well, let's focus on our ghoul problem. We have to find out where they're coming from, or where they're sleeping during the day.”
“Alright then, that does make some sense. No need for this incident to have a higher body count than it already does.”
Circe fought to keep from crying again, she didn't lose it entirely, but she didn't keep tears from falling. She followed them inside and they pulled out a bunch of maps and started going over them. She tried to keep up for a while but she eventually sat down on the couch and fell asleep right off. When she woke up it was clearly hours later, the evening sun casting warm light into the western window.
“What? Uh, why'd you let me sleep like that?”
“You needed it, obviously,” Linda waved her hand at her kind of dismissively, “there's only a few hours before dark, you'll have to get on our task quickly if we're to use this plan tonight.”
“Oh, what's that?”
“Make some wards.”
Circe's face fell, “seriously? I hate everything about wards! They fade if you don't do upkeep, they're weak, and making them is so boring.”
“Cheer up Circe,” Derek said, “the idea behind these should entertain you if it works out. Work for reward and all that.”

---

Circe felt like she was kicked out of the loop, Derek and Linda were now the ones out hunting for ghouls while she was stuck laying a trap and waiting out of the way. Things were quiet for a long time, every now and then there was some random person that woke up in the middle of the night and milled around, but there was no action. She went from super anxious to bored out of her mind at almost random intervals. Then it got even worse when the noise started. People stirred but didn't seem to dare move out their tents.
Circe waited tensely for her cue. Finally she saw them, a set of three ghouls running down the improvised streets, or lanes or whatever they were. Whenever they veered from running her way an enormous ball of lightning flared to life in the way and drove them back her way. Circe never trained under her directly, but she knew a few of Linda's tricks. Rather than a traditional wand she had a fold-out baton, and she had a thing where she could throw it in the air and make it fly, spinning the whole time. She must have it flying along the ghouls and channeling a ball lightning spell to herd the ghouls. They hit the marked point and it was time.
“IGNAIZA!”
The wards she planted into the ground early into the evening exploded into balls of fire all at the same time. Two of the ghouls were caught entirely in the blast and burned away in seconds. The third had barely entered the range and fell away with a badly burned face and forearms, but it was still alive. It looked around frantically and ran off to the side, probably dodging Linda and Derek.
Now people started to come out and Circe ran out and started yelling, “GAS FIRE! Be careful dang it!”
She looked around and the light of the fire illuminated things fairly well. She could see the ghoul looping around. It still wanted to head east, abut it was looking like it would outpace Linda and Derek. If she ran at its path from the side she might be able to just intercept it. She took off with almost no hesitation. Even burned the thing moved quickly, but its four-legged gallop looked painful with its blistered and charred hands. She ran as hard as she could, but it was tricky to hop over people's possessions that didn't fit in their tents in the dark. It was going to get out ahead of her.
She willed her decorative chain, one end adorned with a reptilian head and the other a tail, to drop from her wrist and to her hand. Its length dangled in her hand for a moment and she willed fire to it and threw it. It glowed with red hot intensity for a moment before a spectral form of a flaming wyrm formed around it, extending its apparent size in all dimensions. It slithered through the air vertically, hunching its back like an old illustration as it darted towards the ghoul. The chain caught the ghoul in a rear leg just barely and wrapped around it, the heat carried it through the monster's flesh and bone and there was suddenly a three-legged ghoul flipping forward in an uncontrolled tumble.
The pain must have stunned it, it didn't make much effort to get up until Circe caught up to it. She stopped short, unsure what to do. It was true about the claws and fangs and she suddenly didn't want to get close to those. She heard footsteps and turned to see Derek and Linda catching up. She saw the expression on Derek's face and made a snap decision. She exerted her will on the chain again and it blazed into a spectral wyrm again. With another mental command it flew around the ghoul's neck and burned it off.
“What was that?”
“A quicker death than you give them.”
“They don't deserve a mercy kill Circe.”
“It's not about that, it's...it's...” Circe struggled to find the words.
“Torturing something to death stops being about the target and starts being about the one doing the killing,” Linda cut in.
“Yes! Thank you! It doesn't matter how rotten it is, sure it probably deserves to die, but that...”
“Both of your damned opinions are noted, ganging up on me isn't going to change my mind,” Derek was definitely grumpy.
“Ethical arguments aside Derek, it looks like you were right that we should have told the apprentice the whole plan.”
“Whole plan?”
“Yeah, we were hoping to follow one back to their nest. We figured you wouldn't time it quite right and there would be one wounded enough to keep up with, then we'd find the lair when it ran back.”
“You were counting on me to screw it up?!” Circe was indignant but put it aside for the moment when she thought of its insistent direction, “Well it was intent on coming this way, maybe we can find something!”
“There's too much to search...and there she goes running off before hearing what I have to say. Is this normal teen behavior?”
“Got me, I never had that much energy. Come on, we can't let her be running around in the dark alone.”
Circe ran along looking side to side, barely taking note of Derek and Linda lagging behind. She noticed proper houses a few streets away and was feeling fairly winded by the time she got to them. A few homes on the outskirts of town, some had tents set up but it looked like most were just dark. She slowed to a walk and was breathing heavily, her sides aching. The yards here was pretty modest sized compared to what she was used to, but that was probably just part of the crowded city.
“Circe! Finally. Ugh, just stop would you?”
“There's too much to search, we'll have to come up with something else,” Linda was very business like about the whole thing.
“Wait. Look at the house there, with the gargoyles.”
“Well.... Circe, come back here to us.”
“Why? What's...oh. Oh crap,” Circe saw it then, they were trying to stay still but there were a handful of ghouls amongst a yard full of stone gargoyles.
“How's your reserves?”
“I think we can take this group if you have anything left. Then there's Circe.”
Circe was backing away slowly, but her odd motion had caught their attention. She was wondering what spells she might have that she could yell quickly enough and make the motion before they closed the distance. Her force barrier was the best option, but that was defensive and she wasn't good at a full bubble yet. From each side she felt some kind of force but she couldn't see anything but the briefest glimpse of a flicker in the air. On one side a gargoyle shattered and flying pieces made a pair of ghouls flinch. The other hit a ghoul dead on and it squawked as it flew back a half dozen feet. She was really going to have to learn that kinetic force thing. The ghouls all screeched and whooped and suddenly tore off in multiple directions.
“Circe!” Derek shouted something more at her, but she didn't hear it. She chased after one of the ghouls. Hopefully it was heading for the lair and she could keep up. Then they'd have this problem taken care of, then she wouldn't be responsible for any more deaths.
The thing was getting ahead of her though, she was tiring and their weird gallop was a match for a good runner. It rounded a corner and she was afraid she was going to lose it. When she rounded the corner she saw the creature down on the far end of the street. It was scrabbling down a manhole, the cover being held up by another, much larger ghoul. She found herself walking towards it, though she moved to the driveways and tried to keep something between herself and it as much as possible. It was much bigger, but its claws and teeth also seemed a bit over-sized. Then she noticed the spots of discoloration after she got close enough. Its face was longer and lined, wrinkled even. Great, she was just going to go back down the street and find the others...
The van she was creeping along beside lurched at her, tipping over. She stuck out her chest and willed her shield into being. The van hit it and the top crumpled, glass cracking, and the van fell back down. It moved again, higher up and then down, hitting her shield again. This time some of the windows broke, but mostly held together. There was a sudden increase in pressure and the top deformed again, the roof buckling. Circe stepped back quickly and the van teetered over and fell onto its top altogether. Another of those big aged ghouls jumped atop it and snarled at her.
“IGNAIZE!”
Circe's voice came out panicked and the form in her spell's casting was off enough that the spell didn't quite have its usual power. Still it nearly smashed the van in two, a wheel exploded from the heat and molten metal and plastic splattered around. The ghoul had jumped out of the way but it had not entirely cleared the blast radius. It hissed as globs of molten material rained down on its arm and side. It charged forward and swung a clawed hand at her, it struck her shield and stopped. Circe barely saw the first one in the corner fling its arm, but her shield was battered from another angle surprisingly quickly. She had to wait for the rattling object to slow down before she realized that the one down the street had thrown the manhole cover at her like a Frisbee. The sudden stop of her barrier had bent it out of shape.
The one down the street was running straight at her faster than seemed plausible, and the other one was trying to get around her. She backed up trying to get her back to the wall, but it was just so damn fast! She had to turn to it to raise her shield up in its way again. She had her chain drop to her hand again and willed the ethereal flames back around it. She kept a hold of it and lashed the head at the nearer ghoul, flames erupted in an arc in front of her and it hopped back away from them. She kept going with her spin to see where the other ghoul was and saw it was way too close for comfort. Her chain snapped at the end of its arc and flame leapt forward at it. The monster dodged to the side, but kept coming at her. As she spun she shouted her improvised lightning spell and pointed it in the direction of the ghoul she was turning herself away from.
There was a snarl and she heard something scrabbling behind her, turning to look the other ghoul was trailing smoke as it climbed up the house she was trying to back herself up against. It was more than ten feet up the side, spun around and kicked off in her direction faster than she could follow. It was clashing against her shield again before her eyes finished closing. It was involuntarily, flinching away from the monster jumping at her and she tried to quickly correct the mistake.
“FLARIA!” Circe stuck both hands out to the sides and spun around, blasting fire 360 degrees around herself. A ring of fire settled into temporary existence about ten feet around her while she looked around to get an idea of where the monsters were. It was a panicked move, but these things were so damned fast she didn't know where they'd be. One snarled and jumped back, but the other stopped short and moved back in a more calculated manner. It ripped up a tree and threw it through her fire ring. The tree caught blaze and bounced off against her barrier, and she was starting to feel the effect of the blows on it.
Circe backed down the street breathing heavily, the use of magic was starting to take a toll after the days of late night monster hunting. The beasts were circling around her, keeping on opposite sides and slowly moving in. She felt her heart hammering hard from fear, too fast and too strong, she was growing more and more certain they were going to get her. She whipped her chain about and moved from one hand to another, trying to lash out a whip of fire, but the fear was making her aim wild and they rarely had to dodge out of the way even.
Something that looked like a solid rod of lightning spun through the air and smacked one of them upside the head into the air. The rod's light downed down as it flew up after the monster and exploded into a ball of lightning. On the other side Derek ran forward with a big .45 drawn and gunshots barked out. The monster jumped back and held up a clawed hand, moving it about like it was trying to keep it in the way of the bullets. There was a spark on its claws and sharp ricochet sound twice so it must have had some success. However the other four bullets tore holes in it, one in the arm only but the others in its body and it leaked dark blood that looked nearly black in the dim light.
“Are you alright?” Linda asked as she caught her returning baton.
“Yes! Thank you! God I was...”
“Save it until we're out of this!” Linda snapped at her and lifted her arm with the heavy bracer, and her shield came to life in front of her, it looked nearly like a physical object, if something could be made of clear light.
Ghoul claws raked against it and Linda pulled her arm back towards herself and swung it outwards, the shield of light in front of them mimicking the motion and pulling away from the ghoul and then slapping it off its feet.
To the side Derek had started backing away when his gun emptied and raised his own shield. The ghoul charged forward and struck it and Circe could see the barrier rattle and give like a rickety fence. He took his staff in both hands and swung it like a bat at the monster's head. Her heart sunk when she saw the ghoul catch it almost casually in one hand, but then the end erupted in a ball of fire and lightning. The monster screamed and scrambled backwards. Derek hustled over their way and Circe threw a fireball at the monster to keep it from chasing him.
“You both ok?” he asked as he joined up with them.
“So far no wounds.”
“You really shouldn't have run ahead, but good work fending them off kiddo,” he started to reload his gun.
“You're that tapped out?” Circe asked.
“Close to it, Linda how are you doing?”
“Better than you, less than Circe I'd say. I haven't been doing this for days like you have but I can tell she still has reserves.”
Circe and Linda each threw a fireball but neither hit their marks, the elder ghouls simply too freakishly quick. Still with the three of them together they had pretty solid shielding on all sides so she didn't have to worry about covering all angles herself, except for the matter of Derek's fading reserves.
“I know I was offended before, but you know what, you can borrow now,” Circe offered.
“Well it's not like we can pull it straight off you, it's just the excess magic you throw out with the spell. Oh, duh. You've thrown a good few already,” Derek tapped his head with the staff as he said 'duh'.
“Circe, go big,” Linda told her sternly.
“But...”
“This situation calls for it, and we need some cover to call on that excess.”
Circe stepped forward and lashed her chain back and forth, willing the fire brighter and bigger, it moved outwards in waves. The ghouls took the first couple waves head on and tried to charge through, but after the third they ducked and weaved to keep out of the fire's path.
“Lumicly,” Linda's spells were said in an even tone of voice, and this one made a shaft of white light appear from the end of her baton. The ghoul on her side of Circe hissed and staggered back, getting caught in the flames. On the other side of her Derek unloaded his gun into the other ghoul again. Then they shifted and started to pull the magic out of the atmosphere that she'd sent out in raw form.
The ghouls moved together to a driveway and grabbed each end of a smallish car Circe didn't recognize and together they rocked it back once and then threw it at them. She felt some of the impact in her barrier as the car struck their combined defenses and bounced off. The ghouls wasted no time once they through the car, one jumped on top of it and straight at them and the other ran along at its disturbing pace to circle around them.
“Linda!” Derek pointed at the one bounding the car with his staff, then he turned to point his wand at the circling one and said, “Circe with me.”
Circe saw lightning flash from Linda to the ghoul, but lost sight of it quickly as she turned to track the other one. Derek launched a stream of his fireball spells, setting a good number of things on fire and totally ruining someone's lawn. The monster jumped away, back and then to its left. It kept making similar dodges.
“Circe, do you see the pattern here?”
“On it! IGNAIZE!” she threw her fireball spell about where she expected the ghoul to jump back to to avoid Derek's spell.
Unfortunately it saw the blast coming and changed course, but it was pinned between their trajectories. Even though it tried to jump over Derek's fireball it caught some of the blast and slowed down which then meant it was hit hard by the exploding backlash of Circe's spell.
It snarled and surged forward but then a piece of the sidewalk jumped to one side and threw it completely off balance. It hit the asphalt hard and left a streak of its blood on the street. Two fireball spells hit it before it could recover and dash away again and the monster died in the street and the remains started to evaporate.
“One down, one to go.”
Linda was buffeting the monster with super powered gusts of wind, tossing the monster around but not stopping its advance. Circe saw her arm with the big bracer tensing, she was getting ready to summon her shield again. Linda got the barrier up in time but the monster's impact seemed to transfer through the barrier to her and she stumbled into Circe. Derek brought his staff around in a swing and hit the monster in the back. There was another flare up of fire and lightning but it was smaller than the other time. The monster snarled as it spun around and knocked the heavy hardwood staff away. Circe swung her chain and a whip of fire lashed across the creature, leaving a long ragged burn mark on it. It whirled on her and Linda shoved her baton into its face and a blast of lightning nearly made her vision white out. The monster seized up and fell to the ground twitching like a person hit with a taser. Derek threw his fireball spell in its face and it flopped around screeching a moment before stopping. They stood there watching it ready to attack if it got up again, but its form started to melt away into electroplasm.
“Thank god that's over,” Derek sighed and slumped a bit, holding his knees.
“We should make a note of the location and leave,” Linda said, nearly ordered.
“Huh? Why?”
“There,” Linda pointed to the open manhole, “this is the very outskirts of the city, it doesn't make sense for there to be such an access area here.”
“Unless it's leading to the monster's lair,” Derek finished, “There are still those other ghouls out there and we're spent. We need to come back tomorrow to finish this.”
“I'm ok. Well, I'm less than half a tank, but I can still go,” Circe protested.
“It's not enough for all three of us, not enough to destroy a ghoul lair. We're coming back tomorrow.”
“Yeah, come on kiddo. We need some sleep at least. They shouldn't be too active after these losses, we're all ok, so let's keep it that way.”
“Ugh, alright. You know, now that I'm not afraid I'm about to die I'm actually feeling pretty good! I like this!” Circe hopped up and down a little.
“Oh that's not something I want to hear,” Derek groaned, “you're going to be one of those that looks for trouble because they think it's fun.”
“Like you weren't?”
“I grew out of it.”
“When you started to go gray.”
“Hehehe, point. Come here Circe, you're really ok?” Circe sighed and subjected herself to inspection, “Fourteen year old girl holding off a pair of elder ghouls and not a scratch. I'll be damned. Man am I glad you're ok.”
Circe beamed at the praise, “yeah?”
“You bet, do you know how much paperwork you have to fill out if an understudy dies on your watch?” Derek chuckled when she made a face, “and damn, the families just never stop giving you grief.”
Circe thought about her parents and went quiet with horror at the idea of her parents hearing she'd been eaten by monsters, “That's not funny! Don't joke about that one!”
“Yeah, you should have cut it off at the paperwork part.”
“Right, sorry. Anyway, Circe I notice you're hardly using your lightning.”
“I...well, it caused this whole mess...”
“Its your best element, you shouldn't turn away from it. You just need to learn when and how much a little better.”
“You might want to think about renaming it though,” Linda offered and indicated they should walk and talk so they started to move, “I wouldn't want to be caught using Thor's name for a magic blast of lightning if those old gods ever move back in.”
“But I saw him,”
“Come again?” Linda looked really surprised.
“I don't know if it was a daydream or just a dream, it's a bit fuzzy now, but I know I saw Thor. He wasn't speaking English but I understood somehow.”
“Uhh...”
“I've forgotten most of it, but I'm pretty sure he said something like 'you'll do ok' and the next day was the first time I ever did magic. I pulled electricity from the wall to my chain here.”
“That's probably coincidence Circe, and even if it's not you probably don't want an endorsement from a Norse god. If you don't fight well enough they consider you unworthy and if you do fight well enough they kill you young.”
“I saw what I saw, I was like eleven, I had no idea what it might mean. I just know one day I saw a big viking guy with a hammer that no one else saw and the next day I was controlling little bolts of lightning. I only figured out it was probably Thor later.”
“A lot of the old gods did leave some of their things behind, for various reasons from simple negligence to outright malice or wanting to leave a powerful tool for human use in the right times... Mjölnir is one of them, though I”m pretty sure it's his alone in the old mythology.”
“There's comic books.”
“You read comic books?”
“I read a lot of things, tvs and computers all blow up if I so much as look at them, remember? Anyway Marvel made a superhero out of Thor. In the comic books sometimes the other heroes can use Mjölnir, and our fiction changes magic things right? I mean Mrs. Franklin, my last magic instructor, told me that Odin only left earth's plane rather recently because he was sick of how we keep making him be Santa earlier and earlier.”
“The gods and their artifacts are the most resilient to change of anything. It would take a massive change in the human collective consciousness to change Mjölnir, certainly no comic's ever going to do it.”
“Eh, maybe they'll make a movie... I know, I know 'but Circe their big comics are the X-Men, Spiderman, and the Fantastic Four, they'd never make a movie of such a C-Lister...' I've had that discussion enough times.”
“You have any idea what she's talking about anymore?”
“None at all.”

Circe was wound up for a while but when she crashed it was all at once and she passed out until noon the next day. When she woke up she found Linda and Derek close to suited up and going over a few old wards. A raven was perched on the bookshelf.
“Who let the bird in?”
“Jack is my familiar,” Linda answered her rather monotone as she was looking things over, “we need a way of looking after you while we go on ahead.”
“You're leaving me behind? You can't you know, I know where it is as well as you do.”
Derek sighed and pinched the bridge of his nose, “Would you please just humor us? I might have been an ass last night, but I mean it when I say I don't want you to get hurt out there.”
“How many more of those things can be left?”
“We know of at least five regular ghouls and there are usually three elder ghouls in a pack, so it's very likely there's another.”
“Just one huh? It sounds like we should be able to take what's left.”
“We will, but not with you. Things do go wrong even if it looks like it should be a clean in and out.”
Circe protested and they argued back and forth a while. Eventually they found themselves positioned outside the manhole after acknowledging they didn't really have a way to stop Circe without hurting her. They told her again and again that she was to wait outside the sewer entry and fry anything that came out and wasn't human. Linda's familiar would keep a high lookout to help alert her to anything coming her way from the street. They would go down and eliminate the last of the ghouls. There was a portal to the Realm of Nightmare in the sewer meant to deter or kill intruders and they didn't want her anywhere near it.
Circe tried to follow orders, really she did. She sat and waited and even mostly kept a look out for a long time. Then her burning desires to help and know what the heck was going on overcame her. As she lowered herself down the hole in the street Linda's raven Jack flew down following her and when she was down the ladder perched on her shoulder.
“So you're my back up eh? Well let's see what's going on,” Circe headed down the sewer, which seemed a lot smaller than she ever saw on TV, forcing her to duck and Jack to re-orientate himself a lot.
The smell was nasty but she knew that would happen, it was when she came upon an area too small to walk or duck through that she lost her tolerance. She wasn't sure she could make herself crawl down here, and there was some kind of noxious vibe coming from the little tunnel. As she got closer she felt more and more fear, this had to be the portal. From what she learned there should be a little path through Nightmare that would bring her to another portal where she'd reappear in the real world. It might only be a foot or two in the real world, but it would be a long sprint in Nightmare giving the denizens of the realm time to get her or scare her off the path to the other portal. She was about to turn back and go back up to the street when she heard the souns of fighting.
Circe took a deep breath, pulled off her outer shirt and bunched it up and just let her knees get nasty as she started off down the tunnel. She fought to keep from throwing anything up as she shuffled awkwardly down the little tunnel with raven claws pricking the small of her back. She was startled by the abrupt shift to something completely different. There was no ceiling anymore, but she could hardly see. Everything was dark, nearly shades of black. Circe looked around trying to make something, anything out in an endless sea of dark.
“I was afraid of this, come along,” the raven's voice was raspy as it flew off her shoulder and turned white, starting to glow, “follow me! And don't stop!”
Circe ran after the raven and nearly stumbled when a zombie appeared in front of her. Then there was another and she had to slip between them. They appeared in front of her again and she realized they were familiar, they weren't zombies, they were the corpses in the police report Derek showed her.
“You brought them here.” “You killed us.”
A half dozen more appeared, featureless but similarly maimed, the other victims that she'd never seen the photos of. They all accused her, just like in her nightmares. Made sense, but it was horrifying.
“It was an accident! I didn't mean it! I never wanted to bring the monsters!” Circe covered her ears and cast her gaze low to run by them. Then she looked up for the raven's light and everything was different.
There was a field littered with craters and corpses. Trenches full of more still and old, archaic weaponry all over the place. Moans and screams of dying mean made her want to cry but she pushed forward, trying to remember where the path was. Explosions rattled around her, but she didn't feel anything. It only lasted a short time before the scene changed again.
She was in a city somewhere, not her home or with any of her instructors, this was...New York maybe? It was hard to tell, everything was blasted out and burned. There was a river of blood running through the drainage and mountains of corpses every which way. The view shifted just like a dream and she was on top of a skyscraper, looking down on the carnage. She looked around and behind her was a grim throne adorned with skulls and misshapen metal. A red-haired woman some inches taller than she was stepped up off the throne and looked around, apparently her kingdom of ruin. She was dressed in black and carrying wicked magical foci, a clawed gauntlet and spiked club. Circe noticed she had quite the rack being supported by a black leather top.
Circe stepped close to her and gasped in shock as the woman turned to face her with her own electric blue eyes and asked, “Who could stop me?”
There was a pain in her ear and Circe shouted and swatted at it, the view changed again back to the field of black and she could see the raven nipping her ear, “Don't stop here! Never stop here!” and flew off down the path again.
She felt blood tricking down from her ear, but she couldn't be too mad at the raven. Running out of this place as quickly as possible sounded like the best idea in the world at that moment. Everything seemed to go on forever, she couldn't see an end to the path and the world all around her was growing darker and darker to the point she couldn't make out shapes anymore. Then she was suddenly running through a too-tall sewer, much more like what she'd seen on tv back when she could watch it. The raven twisted in the air and landed on Linda's shoulder and Circe could see she had blood drying on a large chunk of her face. Beside her Derek had his left arm hanging limp and blood staining his shirt. All around them were the bodies of ghouls, and in front of them one live one.
“Damn it Circe!”
“Oh what's this now? This one's young, she'll be tender” the aged wretched thing in front of her said with a nasty grin full of sharp miss-matched teeth, “Tell you what, I'll let you watch me tear into her first, as a bit of payback for what you did to my young ones.”
'Crap, some of them really do talk.'
The monster charged forward and slammed into Derek's shield which flickered and faltered as the creature started to slowly push it's way forward.
“Wait!” he shouted at Linda, then he turned to Circe, “Circe, there's a spell that brought these things here. I think one of them should see it up close.”
“Are you sure?”
“YES,” he nodded at Linda, “NOW!”
Linda fired a blast of air and lightning at the ghoul and forced it back before it could overwhelm Derek's shield. There was an opening between them as the monster started to regain its feet. There wasn't much time to act so she ran forward and drew her wand.
“THORBOLT!”
A massive blast of lightning nearly filled the tunnel with light and the monster was promptly reduced to a twitching mass of dried out, burned up flesh over bone. It started to melt away before the twitches of electricity died down entirely.
Circe turned and to her side Linda was twirling a hand in an air spell gesture, “What are you doing?”
“Keeping the air around us normal, the air where all the lightning passed through is going to be less than healthy.”
“I'm done for today. You guys done? It's too bad no one's open right now, I could so order pizza.”

Days later as the light started to dim the city finally countered the encroaching dark with artificial light from its every corner and not just a few select spots and Circe felt like a great weight had been removed from her.
“Everything's going to be ok, right?”
Derek led her towards her own little rental room, letting her walk in first, “yeah, things should get back to normal fairly soon. When it came time you stepped up and did your best, so for what it's worth I'm really sorry about this.”
“About what?” she was confused and suddenly figures appeared out of thin air on each side of her and grabbed her arms.
Vines crept out from underneath their cloaks and tied her up, binding her into place. They grew until she couldn't fight any more but her left forearm remained bare, but it didn't let her move much. Another person dropped their invisibility veil right in front of her and she recognized the armor and decorations of one of the Arcane Council's enforcers.
“WAIT! NO! I'm trying ok! I'm sorry! It'll never happen again!”
“You're right about that.”
“Don't kill me!”
“Hush, child, we're not going that drastic. However, it is the council's decision that you can't be trusted with responsible management of your powers.”
“Don't seal them away either! Please! I can learn to be better! Don't take that from me!”
“The decision's been made, it's not mine to question,” he held out a set of strange looking bracelets, more like a set of three manacles interlaced together without a chain or twin for the other arm, all inscribed with all kinds of runes. He quickly and methodically clamped them down in succession on her wrist, interlocking with each other and then vanishing from sight. As soon as they did the vines relaxed their grip and started to shrink away. Circe slumped to the floor and the council's enforcers walked away without a word, quickly vanishing again.
Circe spun around to look for Derek and saw him leaving too, “YOU SON OF A BITCH! YOU KNEW ABOUT THIS! YOU BETRAYED ME!”
“It's for the best Circe, I hope you understand that someday,” Derek didn't even really turn to look at her as he stopped and he started walking away quickly.
“IGNAIZE!” she screamed knowing it wouldn't do anything and was shocked to see a ball of fire the size of a medium sports ball form in her hand and fly off.
She pulled her hand back and thought of lightning and watched a little show of bolts dance around in her hand. It wasn't all gone! It was really weak, but it was still there! She clasped her hands together and stepped back inside. She slunk around to close the door and vowed not to tell anyone she still had some power.

---

“Why can't you take me home Linda? He's the bastard who sold me out!”
Derek walked away to load something in his car and Circe had to fight to keep from spitting at his back.
“Hardly Circe. The council is well aware it would take four of those manacles to totally seal your power. You still have some right?”
Circe was surprised and couldn't hide it, there went her plan, “Uh...yeah, a little...”
“Derek spent a lot of time arguing them down from a total block to a partial block. I think he called in about half his favors to make sure that happened.”
“...half?”
“What? He's only just met you, he's hardly going to call them all in for you. Are you that self-absorbed?”
“No, that's not what I meant at all.  Here I've been swearing at him and calling him everything rotten I can think of every time I see him... Why didn't he say anything?”
“I can't say, maybe he feels a little guilty and maybe deserves some of it? Maybe he doesn't think you'd believe it coming from him? It might be best to be nicer to him anyway.”
“I'm still pissed. I have this big well of power in me still and I can barely let it out... it's...it's...ARGH...IT MAKES ME ANGRY!” she kicked some furniture to emphasize the point.
“Try and look on the bright side, if you can get good at magic and ever convince the council to remove the blocks, you'll be far stronger than you were already.”
“I was already strong! I don't want to build back up to that! I want what I had!”
Linda sighed and fingered one of the gray streaks in her hair, “A lot of us feel that way about something or other Circe. We don't always get it back.”

The trip to Circe's parents was quiet. Circe refused to talk to Derek, even to be navigator and her presence destroyed his car's radio. He knew she couldn't help it, but she didn't have to smirk about it. When they got there Derek groaned and said something about how she wasn't kidding about where she grew up. He walked her to her house and started talking to her parents, at first with a somewhat awkward high gaze. Circe went up to her room, something of a tree house really, given the odd building nature of the area and listened in.
“Why do that to Circe?”
“She needs to learn some technique first, but if you ask me three blocks is too much. She would have been reduced enough to have to learn to manage her powers better with two.”
“Why did they use three then?”
“Some of the council is scared of her.”
“Why would they be scared of Circe? She's a good kid at heart.”
“This isn't commonly talked about and it's old history so I don't know all the details, but you see...the last time there was a mage as strong as Circe as young as she is...well, he kind of went mad with power and ended up helping start World War One, all to fuel some dark ritual.”
She recognized a hurt and offended tone in her mother, “my Circe might backtalk a little, and be rather rash, but she's hardly going to start a world war! That was someone else, just because she's strong like that...”
“It's more than that though. Since we can't find any kind of genetic reason for magical talent, a really popular theory for explaining it is reincarnation. Some of the older wizards fought that war, the war to stop the ritual and they lost friends or family. They look at Circe with her cocky, flashy attitude and immense power and they're afraid they're looking at the dark wizard reborn. They sometimes get a little irrational about her.”
“That's ridiculous.”
“I happen to agree, but I'm just one person.”
Circe went down to the main house and went to their library. She looked through a set of big red encyclopedias and pulled out the edition that included 'W'. She flipped through it a while before she came to the entry on World War I. Other entries were such that World War One barely showed up on its own first page, taking up only about a paragraph. The rest of the surely large entry would be on following pages and she found herself staring at that paragraph a while. She was thinking about that first vision she had in Nightmare. Trenches full of death and a field of antiquated weapons. She set her finger to turn the page and then changed her mind, slammed the book shut and stuck it back on the shelf. She didn't want to know if the images would match up.
She went out into the kitchen and found the three of them there, rather to her annoyance and heard Derek saying, “having talked to people that have lost power and limbs, there are a lot of similarities. Circe's feeling a lot like someone that had a leg maimed to near uselessness. Try and help her get over it, and if she does and wants to try to learn magic within her new limits, I'm willing.”
“Thank you, that's very nice of you to offer,” her mother grabbed Derek's hand in a friendly gesture, and her dad...well...
“Of course your dad's the hugger in the family! Of course he is!
Circe let out a little giggle.
Aftermath - Teen Circe Part 2
I may be more than a little derivative so far, but Circe's a fun character to develop... I'm sure it'll be more its own thing and less urban fantasy hodge podge borrowing as I go.

Also yay for retro-irony references...

Bestiary:
Ghoul
Basically on the low end of the predation hierarchy, they scavenge at least as much as they hunt. About human strength and averaging only slightly faster, they lack the physical superiority of most supernatural monsters. They prefer sneak attacks and are unlikely to want to fight a mage head-on unless pressed by something a little higher up the hierarchy.

Elder Ghoul
In the odd event a ghoul exists long enough to be considered old it will grow in power like most supernatural beings, but unknown to the heroes of the story they never exceed an "almost olympian" level on their own. In order to become the 50mph running, car flinging menaces seen in the story they have to be chosen and empowered by a dark mage as a personal attack dog.
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Karen looked around at the mid-sized Iraqi town she was in with some disgust, there definitely wasn't much of interest here, no luxuries for sure. There was however a small US force that she'd determined was the most likely force to possibly intervene in a weapons deal her company was involved in. It was most likely that they'd remain oblivious to her boss's presence and dealings, but it wasn't impossible that there could be some interference.
She teleported herself from roof to roof to scout about and get a determination of how many there were and where they were. Eventually she picked out her target and teleported behind the last man in line of a search patrol. She reached out and planted her hand on his head. With a flash she teleported the both of them onto one of the tallest roofs in town, without moving her hand she teleported his helmet away. He spun around, but not as quickly or surely as he would have without the disorientation a teleport caused most people. She caught his rifle handly and twisted it away, he tried to hit her but she blocked the blow. A brief exchange occurred and she battered him down with a few blows to the head and neck. She grabbed the grenades he had on him and hit him in the back of the neck with a killing chop.
Karen walked out to the edge of the roof and looked down at a tank in motion. She brought up the layout of the model's interior in her mind and held up one of the grenades. It vanished in a flash of purple light, leaving the pin behind to fall to the roof. After a few seconds there was a bang followed quickly by a series of them and smoke leaking out of the base of the barrel. The tank lurched forward and started to drift to one side, hitting a wall and gouging a rut in it as it moved. She repeated the process of teleporting a live grenade into the other tank's high explosive shells and the other tank came to a gentle stop, apparently nothing on its accelerator.
It reminded her a little of the start of the second US invasion of Iraq when the company had sold a bunch of stone gaze curses to the Iraqi army. Drivers petrified in place led to tanks moving ceaselessly forward until they ran off a cliff, ran into something they couldn't plow through, or just ran out of gas. But there was a common loss of direction that made the events sort of similar. Those were fun times.
The remaining soldiers on foot were well on alert and looking around for a threat. At least some of them could probably guess they were dealing with a teleporter, so she made a point to keep out of sight as she moved around. She rooted about for rocks, carefully picking out ones that were the right size for what she wanted to do. Once she had enough she teleported back to the rooftops and carefully looked for the team. A half dozen soldiers formed a perimeter, looking outwards and moving together as well as they could. She sent her rocks out ahead of her in a series of teleporting flashes. She teleported to an alley near the soldiers and charged energy blasts in both hands. They were easy to trace back to the source and that was just what she wanted. She jumped away from concealment and fired off both blasts at the soldiers. She didn't slow down as she landed and ducked low as if she was taking cover, but she teleported away again when she was out of sight. The soldiers opened fire on her in that brief instant she was in view, or rather they tried to. The rocks obstructing their barrels caused the big rifles to explode in their hands. She teleported in the middle of the group and quickly touched each one, teleporting them straight down. The sand under her feet shifted and bulged upwards as it was displaced by the addition of new matter. A lot of people imagined that if something was teleported into something else they'd end up being some kind of weird new matter from the fusion, and sometimes something like that was possible, but usually one thing moved out of the way of the other, or else she'd be absorbing a volume of air equal to the size of her body every time she teleported. Usually it was either the smaller or less dense thing that moved out of the way of the other, so in this case the sand moved around to accommodate the sudden appearance of a half dozen adult humans.
The super villain ShadeStalker didn't wait to assess the damage or anything, as soon as the last soldier was sent six feet below into the sand she teleported away. Twenty miles to another patch of very similar looking dessert and another teleport after that. Then she took a rest and mentally reorientated herself. The meeting point should be about 12 miles away, so she wouldn't have to do another full length teleport. She appeared inside a little building and pulled out clothes she'd left there before. The suit she wore in her civilian attorney guise was baggy and oversized and fit over her super suit easily enough. The only issue was the shoes, but that was covered by a sort of overlay material. She walked out and looked around, taking note of her surroundings with exacting precision as she waited for the company's president to show up.

David peered through the scope of his heavy sniper rifle, tracking a vehicle kicking up a dust trail. It looked like the intelligence was right about something going on way out here. There was another vehicle out there, but if it was heading to the same destination it was a lot further out. They'd have to sit and wait. His spotter was a guy called Eric and somewhat new to the position, he was scanning the same area with binoculars. The vehicle pulled up in front of a little ramshackle shed and a man in a suit that was positively pretentious for the environment stepped out.
“Yeah I think we've definitely got something here,” David said.
“Think we should wait for the other vehicle to get here? Pick the best target?”
“I don't think we have a real choice. If that guy's who I think he is our best damn bullets will bounce off him anyway.”
Eric snorted, “Damn supers, eh? That's just unfair. Are you thinking he's that...Warmonger guy?”
David didn't hear that nickname for the mystery arms dealer that often, but he agreed, “Yeah, there's some kind of shady weapons deal going on here.”
“Shame most of the authorities don't really believe he exists.”
“I don't know if that's true, I think it might be they just don't want to have to deal with him, if he's responsible for half the stuff attributed to him, ever taking his organization down would be a huge undertaking.”
“Damn, look at the woman meeting him. Where's the justice that a monster like that has a hot girlfriend eh?”
“She's kind of old for you isn't she?”
“Eh, she's pretty well preser-- oh crap. Damn it.”
“What?”
“That's Karen Hightower.”
“Seriously?” David wondered about that, the woman was notorious for what seemed to be a lifelong commitment to assisting chaos and anarchy. She helped all kinds of despots and tyrants in international deals in legal matters and had defended more than one dictator in international court. She seemed to take on cases of clear guilt and do everything she could to delay a verdict, more than once she'd made the whole trial into something of a martyrdom for true scum. She did the same in domestic cases, abusing the hell out of due process and legal technicalities. She never did anything quite illegal that anyone was aware of, but hatred of her in official circles was widespread.
“Damn. You know what, you pick a target in this deal, and then you miss and hit her. No commanding officer even half worth the rank is going to hold it against you.”
“I don't miss.”
Eric groaned, “would it hurt you that badly to stow the ego on this? I'm telling you, people will totally look the other way.”
“I'm a professional.”
“Eugh, if you want to take open credit for shooting her then I'm pretty sure they'll make sure you don't get a full sentence.”
“Maybe we should just take pictures? If we have evidence that she's involved in international weapons deals, I mean most people suspect already, but real solid evidence? Maybe we could take her down that way.”
“Are you seriously proposing to fight Karen Hightower in court?”

“Where is our client anyway?” the question was rhetorical, but it could get difficult to find new things to say to pass the time.
“I'm sure he's just running late, you know how they're not into tight schedules out---AUGH!” Karen fell forward as something brutally hammered into her back.
The so-called super suit was meant to be indestructible so that super powerful individuals could battle in the most intense of conditions and keep clothed, but on someone like Karen it was protective armor. Non-newtownian fluid between layers hardened and shot outwards to counter the blow the nanosecond the rifle round hit her, cutting into its power and force field dispersion technology dispersed the blow across her body, but what was left of the bullet's main force was enough to knock her down into the dirt and the total blow probably left her body bruised all over. Internal damage was possible but unknowable without the right resources. Without actively deciding to do it her teleportation hardwired brain was already hard at work, determining the size of the primary impact and counting seconds while the sound of the gunshot caught up with the bullet.
“Seventy five caliber anti-material rifle, fifteen hundred and sixty meters out,” Karen gritted her teeth and pushed herself up from the dirt, her back screaming in protest.
There were times she was nearly jealous of the sort of coordination heroes and soldiers had, and this was one of them. If she'd been inclined to be on that kind of team she could conceivably let someone else handle things, maybe even one of them would check the damage to her. That wasn't her lot in life though, even though the boss was moving himself in between her and the approximate source of the rifle round, he did it at a mundane speed, scouting the hills and dunes casually. If she didn't deal with this assault herself she might be deemed too weak to keep her position.
“Permission to teleport?”
“Of course my dear, do your worst.”

“What the...? FUCK!” David sputtered disbelief that his target fell but survived intact and then started to get up.
“She has a super suit? Why the hell... oh crap. She vanished?”
“No, she's a damned teleporter!”
“Well, she probably just bugged out, right?”
Twin beams of violet energy lanced into the both of them, knocking Eric down from his sitting position. They twitched in place uncontrollably for a second and then were both hit again. Karen lashed into one with a pair of kicks into the same spot of the spine and then the other. She pulled the sniper rifle away and leaned down to punch each of them in the face a couple of times. Then she grabbed each of them and started to glow.
Karen looked straight upwards and did a set of calculations much more complicated than most of her teleports required. After a second she sent them both straight up with a flash of violet energy. Her back spasmed as she stood and it took her a couple seconds to concentrate enough to teleport back to her boss's side.
The man so few knew, a shadowy figure on the international criminal scene, was scanning the sky with a set of binoculars when she reappeared beside him. She was one of the very few to know his real name, but she rarely ever used it. He must have known exactly what she did to be scanning the sky so...
“Ah, there we are. Hmm, did you intentionally...?”
“Yes, it's actually really hard to do that kind of thing. Only other teleporters ever seem to understand that though.”
Somewhere most of a mile away a screaming mass screamed with two heads and kicked four arms and four legs helplessly until it hit the ground at terminal velocity.
“You're as beautiful as you are brutal, and I really feel like the latter aids the former,” he said before kissing her on the cheek.
“Ahh, no offense sir, but I really should be examined for spinal damage before I do anything strenuous,” Karen protested, this she could put off with a valid reason, even if she had to inflict violence in sub-par condition, “You can manage the deal yourself right?”
“Of course Karen, go and get checked out. I'd hate to have such a valuable asset damaged permanently,” he turned and greeted the occupants of the vehicle driving up, “Greetings my friends. How are you about getting straight to business? There's been more military activity here than we'd anticipated.”
Karen teleported away more than a few 'hops' to get their nearest building. She was seriously considering putting in for a permanent desk position, this field work stuff was getting to be a bit of a young person's game for her.
A look at evil - Karen and the Boss
Well, I've done some playing with sorts of villains, I figured why not go all out, completely vilely evil with these two? If nothing else, hopefully Sarah looks redeemable in the comparison.
He's the boss so far because I can't settle on a name or even a nationality so far. I could make a joke and say that he actually had his name legally changed to Boss or something...
Loading...
Just sort of the internet equivalent of thinking out loud I think. It seems whenever I write something with any given character I really want to keep going and see if I can flesh them out more, so it can be a bit hard to pivot around and write another.
Loreane is next and I think Estella will follow shortly if not immediately afterwards, because Loreane's third story and Estella's second are the same. Estella probably won't ever get that many stand alone stories of her own, but I have ideas for a few.

I'm kind of thinking I should maybe make some kind of working order, so that I don't fall into a trap of giving anyone too much attention just because they're somewhat more likely to get more or bigger comments.
We've just had Circe follow something of a Lisa...on-again off-again marathon... thing, and I feel like Sarah's more than due her third part, so that gives us a possible Lisa - Circe - Loreane - Sarah cycle... Lump Denise and Vanessa (no story yet, but one is planned...) together and maybe Estella in with Loreane could get something like
Loreane (or Estella) then Sarah then Denise or Vanessa (I know Denise is like, no one's favorite, but her story won't take long and once it's through they'll be replaced with a 'misc' category) then a Lisa or Victoria category, then Circe then Loreane or Estella again.
I am going to do a Circe and Lisa crossover, so...that might get both of them out of the way on that pass? But I don't know if those characters are going to "really" co-exist, or if it'll just be a one-time 'what if'. I note I have been kind of wanting to make a physical muscle gal that acts as Circe's occasional assistant/sidekick, it would save me having to make another character, but it'd be kind of funny to demote someone that overpowered to sidekick on a semi-regular basis.
The issue I have where it seems I can only write fight scenes kind of knocks Ariana out of here. Pacifism - I approve IRL, not so much in my fiction apparently. Maybe she can get cutesy little three-panel things or something...
I have like three and a half un-inked pages of Jungle Girl that have sat around for years...I think I might finish those and either give her a story reboot, or just start fitting in text adventures of hers into the cycle.


...Also I feel like my efforts to work in anything on the lines of suggestive or whatever are pretty lame. I'm thinking these are actually going to start leaning cleaner because visual sexy is a lot easier and forcing in lines and whatever that are trying to push the stories into more risque territory is making me really uncomfortable...  I know it's weird / I'm weird, but let's say the word of the hour is autochorisexual with a little bit of sex-repulsed... (I've mentioned previously I have this thing where 'sexy = great' but 'sex = ew' and that's the best I can figure where I fall...) These stories are probably going to be more and more just overpowered ladies kicking all the ass.

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tj-caris
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:iconwoodyfromtexas:
woodyfromtexas Featured By Owner Jun 27, 2015  Student Artisan Crafter
Can I have a request?
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:icontj-caris:
tj-caris Featured By Owner Jul 8, 2015
Go ahead and ask, we'll see if I get to it.
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:iconwoodyfromtexas:
woodyfromtexas Featured By Owner Jul 8, 2015  Student Artisan Crafter
Can you do a picture of shantae and my OC?
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:icontj-caris:
tj-caris Featured By Owner Jul 8, 2015
I take it you just have the one?
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:iconwronisko:
wronisko Featured By Owner Jun 21, 2015  New Deviant Hobbyist Artist
Hey ho! Hi! 

We're Brain's All Gone - girls punk rock band. If you find some time, please check out our music 
and give us a like on facebook. Sorry for spam and have a nice day (♥ω♥ ) ~♪

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:iconskindral:
skindral Featured By Owner Jun 21, 2015
Thanks for the :+fav: :)
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:iconfatenano:
fatenano Featured By Owner Jun 20, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thanks for the fav :) (Smile) 
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:iconiceman75:
iceman75 Featured By Owner Jun 18, 2015  Hobbyist Writer
Thanks for the fave on An Uneven Fight, coming from you, that's a big compliment to me. :)
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:iconfatenano:
fatenano Featured By Owner Jun 15, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
hi da pal i love you super strong muscle girls Love Love Clap Clap 

do you want to do some chatting about this amazing girls :) (Smile) :D (Big Grin) 
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:icontj-caris:
tj-caris Featured By Owner Jun 15, 2015
Yeah, I'm ok with that.
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