"Fucking damn it!" Jack Slash shouted as he ran down the hallway. That last injury he received was doing something to him; in all likelihood, between it and the bleeding out, he would die.
The fact that the superpowered serial killer was still able to run, as pathetically as it was, was actually surprising given his understanding of human biology.
Oh, his legs gave out and he was falling. Nevermind.
"Ugh!" he grunted as he impacted a wall.
His head was ringing from the fall, he couldn't feel his working arm despite being able to flip himself over, and his other arm was still broken, or missing. He couldn't register much at this point.
Light making it to his eyes despite him struggling to keep them open, he could see a familiar skirt of the person approaching him.
"So... I'm going to die because of you, of all people," he forced out. It made sense, she was one of the few parahumans who his instincts couldn't work against. "All of that effort, and this is how I die."
She said nothing as she approached him, her hand glowing with that strange power.
Strange, a lot of things made her different. She was like those parahumans Cauldron made, but... According to poppet, she was different in another way, besides the one everyone already knew.
What was it again?
"Since I'm going to die anyways, mind me asking a question?" he gasped out. "Something I never understood about you... Why did you choose to serve the government?"
She paused, her hand pointed at him as if she was about to kill him, but she had yet to do so. He took that to mean that she wanted him to elaborate.
"I was told you don't have a Passenger," Passenger being the poppet's name for the things that gave parahumans their abilities, apparently what was on the other side of the Corona Genma... Was he remembering that name correctly? "Parahumans are granted powers by the Passengers. But you don't have a Passenger. You don't need a Passenger. On top of that, you're more powerful than any other Parahuman... No, that golden fucker doesn't count."
"So?" was all that came out of the young woman's mouth.
"So... Why are you a lap dog for the government? Not only are you the most powerful parahuman in the world," he said before coughing up blood, "But you don't rely on whatever demon, god, alien things that everyone else does. So why are you obeying the obviously inferior parahumans, much less their weak human masters?"
The energy in the woman's hand dissipated and her hand fell to her side. A brief pause lingered as Jack Slash could not continue speaking. The fact he was still alive, much less able to speak for as long as he did and still not lose conscious was a miracle.
There was a lot of miracles happening today, frankly.
After what felt like an eternity, Jack noticed the woman's face contort, enough that he could see even in his near dead state the emotion of building rage.
The woman turned away from him, blasted down the wall of the hallway and left through it.
'Huh' he thought to himself, 'So that is how I destroy the world.'
"Get off of me, you fuck!" Greg Veder roared impotently as he struggled to get the clone who was trying to choke him off. From an outsider's perspective, it would have been humorous seeing as the clone's attempts at killing Greg were almost as pathetic. The sound of laser fire heralded the clone going limp before falling to the ground, freeing Greg. He looked over and saw the familiar face of Taylor holding one of his Tinker Pistols, smoking at the barrel.
"They need us up in the Northern sector," Taylor Hebert said with her usual unimpressed expression before handing Greg back his laser pistol.
"God damned slave drivers," he muttered. He froze when he saw the horrific state one of Taylor's arms was in. "Woah, before we go; you need to heal yourself."
"Can't," Taylor answered, "Ran out of power needed for healing spells, and I can't find a damned med-kit anywhere."
"Shit," Greg muttered. And all the magic he had left was what was enhancing his weaponry. Then again, he could re-purpose some of the equipment he had; it would render him useless in combat though... Well, that was better than Taylor dying. "Sit down, I can tinker up something to heal you."
"I'm fine," Hebert responded almost adamantly.
"Bullshit; you'll bleed to death; our master wouldn't have wanted you to die here." Somehow he doubted it was his words, but Taylor sat down. "Good, now hold still. Also, check to see if we can get in touch with the forward base; you'll need a real medic or healer for this."
"Right," Taylor said as she unhooked her communicator. "Oh, we're connected. Hello?"
"EMERGENCY!" the person on the other end shouted. "A new hostile! It's fucking HER!"
"This is the Magician unit," Taylor said; she tried to ignore whatever it was Greg was doing to her arm in his attempts to fix it. "Who's the hostile? We're kind of isolated."
Taylor's eyes widened in terror when she heard the answer.
At the Hakurei Shrine, a red and white clad woman stared out into the void before she blinked, the Shrine Maiden Reimu Hakurei.
"That was weird," she mused before she resumed moving the table she was in the middle of moving.
"Wassup?" asked an orange haired girl who had horns protruding from her head; the oni, Suika Ibuki.
"I saw someone familiar chasing down someone I didn't know before they talked, then I saw a bunch of other people I've never seen before."
"An illusion?" the oni asked. She lifted a purple gourd, most likely her 'Ibuki Gourd', and started chugging its contents. Yes, it wouldn't be a normal day if Suika wasn't trying to get shit-faced from all of the alcohol she consumed. "Maybe it's those three fairies coming to mess with ya again."
"No, it felt like one of my visions, but that shouldn't be able to happen without my Crystal Ball," the Hakurei noted before she finished moving the table. She stood straight up and placed her hands on her hips. "Wish it would work in my favor beyond me making small amounts of money from Fortune Telling."
People donated so little to the Hakurei Shrine despite all of the incidents Reimu resolved, maybe she should give up on being a Shrine Maiden and focus entirely on her fortune telling?
"Like how to actually get people to show up and help with preparing for your parties?" the oni said with a snigger.
"Oh hush, I'm sure someone's selfless enough to appear," she said before looking the open front door and at the front of the Shrine grounds. "Oh look, there's one now!"
Reimu could see the familiar form of the blond haired youkai donning a blue blouse and skirt along with a white shawl; a successful generalist magician that had started specializing into puppeteering back during the Cherry Blossom incident. Alice Margatroid.
"Alice, how good of you to drop by!" Reimu said before stepping out onto the front patio. "You're here to help with the Party's preparations, right?"
"Reimu, she's clearly an illusion made by the fairies of light to play a trick on you," Suika said from inside of the Shrine.
"Actually;" the puppeteer answered. "I'm here because I need something from Marisa, and neither she nor the item she took were at her house."
Ah, yes; Marisa was another blond generalist magician, or still was one given Alice's now consistent favoritism of using magical dolls. The main difference between them, however, was that while Alice was a youkai, Marisa was a human.
That and the two of them often bickered and fought; from an outsider's perspective, one would assume they were a couple constantly quarreling if not for the barely missed killing blows they've launched at each other and Marisa reveling in her popularity with the boys from the Human Village (or maybe that was just her being popular in general?).
"I assumed that the easiest way to find her was to come here and wait for her. I will not be partaking in your celebrations and thus am not obligated to help set up preparations."
"Damn, Alice; that's cold!" Suika said. "No wonder you don't have any friends!"
Reimu could see Alice's eyebrow twitch at that accusation, but the Youkai Magician said nothing in response before taking a seat.
"Well, whatever," Reimu said. "Just remember that-"
Reimu froze at the sound of coins clinking into her donation box. She turned and saw a man in front of her shrine's donation box. When did he walk by her? How did he get there without anyone noticing?
"Greetings, Lady Hakurei," the man said as he turned to face her. He then gave the shrine maiden a deep bow. "Perhaps you could help me?"
This took Reimu by surprise, one of the villagers was giving her an abnormal amount of respect and came directly to her for help. He was even giving her money before asking for help.
"What's wrong?" Reimu asked. The man slowly walked away from the donation box and towards the center of the paved path leading from the main building to the stair case overseen by the torii, passing Reimu as he did so.
When he stopped, that was when Reimu saw 'it.'
It appeared to be a massive thing made of crystal, moving in and out of itself, the size of a house yet at the same time bigger than Youkai Mountain. And it was somehow connected to the man's head.
Worse, it showed no signs of being a god or a youkai, and Alice wasn't reacting to it like it was magical in nature. In fact, Alice wasn't looking at it at all.
"I believe I am being haunted," the man said, breaking the silence, to which Reimu responded appropriately.
"What the fuck is that?!"