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It's a Date
Being shot had sucked. He wished for Aurora's healing talent by the time he finished the care at the Atharim Infirmary. It had required stitches and a lot of burn cream thanks to the cauterization he'd done himself, but at least he hadn't bled to death from it with the amount of time it took to seek care.

Nox had brought home yet another stray - Cain was a decent enough man and Nox had a soft spot for people a little down on their luck. Aurora would say it was just strays he had a soft sport for - she was probably right. Nox sighed. He missed his sister. She had been his everything before Moscow. They hadn't gotten along all the time, but she was his sister. His world was broken without her. The only bright side to things was he still had Aria - not his sister by blood more by choice now. But it wasn't the same. The bond he'd shared with Aurora was missing.

While he'd been hunting with Dane and Cain a strange text had arrived on his wallet. With a little bit of research Nox realized it was the cop Atharim they'd met when the warehouse blew to kingdom-come. He wanted to meet. Nox sighed - he was having far too many of these meetings without Aria. He wasn't sure he liked this.

Nox replied the morning before he left to go hunting with Elyse Sorry for the delay been hunting. Going hunting again. Tomorrow? Send me time and place and I'll be there. Something public and with lots of people. You better not be setting me up. I don't want to have to defend myself. He didn't wait for Dorian's before loading up his wallet with the mapping software.

Nox had sent a text to Elyse yesterday to have her meet him at a location near the Market, someplace loitering while waiting wouldn't look out of place but still close enough to a tunnel entrance that they could slip in easily. He was mentally going over the gear he had with him. He couldn't use his gift, so he had a cross bow, his old go-to weapon. He was also packing two handguns and and a few flash bangs, just in case they got in deep shit. But if they got in deep shit Nox wouldn't let anything happen if he could prevent it - Atharim or not, he wasn't going to die because of their stupid rules.

Nox had grabbed a pair of landwarriors for his and Dane's hunt and hoped Elyse had her own. They weren't as good as his last set, Aria hadn't had time to get the latest and greatest from her source. And she wouldn't give him the details. She claimed it was so he'd have a reason to keep her around. Which was mostly a joke - he hoped.

Nox made sure he was 20 minutes early to calm his frazzled nerves. Nox paced back and forth once he got to the meeting point. He was still freaking out. Why the hell had he said he'd cook for Elyse, or take her dancing. He didn't date girls yet it had felt completely natural. Nox stopped his nervous pacing and embraced his power as he leaned against the wall. Just because he was with another Atharim didn't mean he wasn't going to use every advantage he could. He focused on the call of the power and the struggle to keep the black light in his grasp while he waited. It was oddly soothing as he let his power extend into the earth while he waited. Something felt oddly familiar and strangely like home in the mere extension of his power into the ground beneath him. He hoped he didn't have to wait long for Elyse, he wasn't sure how long this new found peace would last.
Elyse checked herself in the mirror. She didn’t know why. She was about to go into the Underground City to hunt, but she wanted to look good. She didn’t go with much makeup. Quite frankly, she didn’t need it. She was naturally very pretty. The only thing Nox wouldn’t see that she did as she looked in the mirror were the golden eyes. She smiled at them. Elyse thought her eyes were pretty. She was a little sad that she couldn’t share them with others - especially with Nox.

Nox had gotten to her in a way that very few people had. She didn’t know why, but he had. Elyse sighed as she put her dark contacts in, hiding the beautiful golden glow usually emanated from her eyes. Elyse left the bathroom and got all of her equipment together. First of all she grabbed her crossbow and some bolts. Next she checked her desert eagle, making sure it was in good working order and and the silencer was properly equipped. She also grabbed another pistol and spare ammunition. She checked her other equipment as well - her land warriors and wallet. Both were in good condition and fully charged.

Set up, she double-checked the last message from Nox, making sure that she had the right location. She nodded and grabbed all of her equipment to leave. She took the train to the market, rather than walking. She took a few deep breaths to relax. She was nervous, but also excited. She steeled herself as she got off of the train.

She walked through the market, still a little earlier than their agreed upon time. She looked and found Nox at the right place. The butterflies in her stomach were still there, but they had settled enough to where she could approach. She smiled as she had when they had texted back and forth. She took another deep breath and focused on what she would say.

Then Elyse approached. Nox was standing, looking calm. She wondered if she looked calm. Elyse still felt nerves, but on the outside, she was confident. Elyse approached, brushing a strand of hair out of her eyes. “Hello there, cutie.”
She said when she had gotten close enough.

Elyse offered him her smile - a true smile and the smile she had often spoken of in their text messages. The smile accentuated her eyes and once again she regretted that Nox wasn’t seeing their true color. Elyse was ready for their hunt/date to begin.
Nox saw Elyse before she approached - he loved the enhanced senses of the power, everything was so crisp and clear and he could see so much detail with the power. It was intoxicating. She called him cutie and he grinned back at her smile. "I guess you were right."
He wanted to kiss her but that wasn't exactly pre-hunt conduct. He was afraid to touch her even. "Gorgeous smile. Pictures don't do it justice."
He knew he was laying it on thick but it had been a good portion of their conversation the other day.

"You ready?"
He grinned playfully. "Your hunt awaits."

”Ready as ever,”
she responded with a playful smile. ”Lead the way.”

Nox couldn't stop smiling as he lead her through the narrow passage that would take them to the tunnel into the Underground. It was one of the nicer entrances, it was still dark and damp and Nox missed the tiny glowing orb as he flicked his landwarriors down over his eyes and turned on the night vision. He didn't really need it yet, but he couldn't light the way like normal so he had to rely on the tech and not his gift.

They walked in silence until they were a good way into the labyrinth of corridors that made up the first level of the underground. They were going down deeper though this time, and Nox took the quickest route he could. It wasn't like taking a bunch of stairs. You didn't even notice you were going deeper most of the time.

The HUD on Nox's landwarriors was flickering as it updated things around him. There were new markings on the walls. Ones that hadn't been there before. He ran his fingers over the deep gouges in the rock and frowned. "I think they are getting bigger."

The silence was killing him. They were walking and the only thing he could hear was her breathe. It made things difficult. He had to fill the silence. "You owe me a song."
He looked playfully back at her. "If you can sing softly and keep up at the same time."
Elyse smiled at their banter. It was very reminiscent of their text conversation. She told him she was ready and followed him as she led. Something she was glad for at first. Nox was a good looking guy and the view didn’t disappoint, but she soon focused. She could think about Nox and his ass after their hunt was complete.

Elyse was also glad he couldn’t see her when they first came into the tunnels. When the stench hit her nose again, she grimaced a bit. It was hard not to with her keen sense of smell. This entrance, however, was better than the one she had come in. It was probably used more than many of the others. Like Nox, she flipped her land warriors down, but she didn’t turn on the night vision. She didn’t need it.

She followed deeper into the tunnels, not even feeling like she was descending into a deep labyrinth. The app that had been developed my Nox’s sister was a big help on keeping Elyse oriented. Elyse noticed the gouges in the wall as Nox spoke of them. His mention of the creatures getting bigger made her frown, but she continued, Elyse had a good deal of courage.

It was silent except for their breathing and footsteps, so Elyse was happy when Nox broke the silence. She let out a soft giggle at his suggestion. ”Alright, I’ll sing for you now.”
she said softly. ”It’s a Danish folk song, which means it’s also in Danish. I’ll tell you what it means later tonight.”

Elyse began singer her song, Og det var liden Karen, softly in the tunnel. The tunnel acted like a slight amplifier, so Nox could still be able to hear it, but Elyse kept it quiet enough so it wouldn’t travel far. The song spoke of a pretty girl that the king wanted for his own. The king offered her gifts for her, but she refused as the king was married, the girl declined stating she wanted to keep her honor. The king kept offering more lavish gifts, but still she refused until the king had her killed. In a way it was a song that related to Elyse a lot. She would keep with her convictions no matter what. She just hoped she wouldn’t have to die for them.

As she finished her song, she spoke to Nox again, this time slightly more focused on what they would face. ”So these creatures - you mentioned they might be a mix between chupacabra and rougarou. You mean you think they were synthesized? But why and for what purpose?”
She doubted Nox knew the answer to that, but one had to wonder - and not knowing the purpose of the creatures is what scared Elyse the most about them.

Edited by Elyse, Jul 30 2016, 01:18 PM.
The song was pretty. Nox couldn't understand the words but he liked Elyse's voice. The words didn't matter though he was curious.

When her song finished they had started moving into uncharted territory, the HUD was updating and mapping new terrain. Elyse asked about the creatures. Nox shook his head. "I don't know why someone would want to create bigger monsters. These things multiply like crazy. Don't let them bite you. Don't let them scratch you. We don't know anything about them. And the Atharim don't really care enough to let us capture one. Not that it's easy to do, they don't come at you one at a time."

Nox started to hear scratching on the walls. "We need to be quiet now."

The scratching grew louder. And Nox knew that it sounded bigger too. There was a t-section ahead. Nox drew his crossbow and made sure there was a bolt knocked. He checked the gun at his belt and made sure it could clear the holster in a pinch. When they were in the middle of the t-section Nox saw the shadows start to move. A low rumbled started deep in the shadows. It crew closer. The scratching was louder.

Nox couldn't see anything with the night vision on his HUD, but the shadows crept closer. Nox wanted to send a fireball down the corridor with the noise but he couldn't. Elyse was Atharim. It was too dangerous. The creature stepped into his field of vision with the googles and Nox paled at the sight of the corrupted Oni. It's leathery skin was decayed. It's body shifted into crooked deformed beast. Fuck! Whatever those things were was highly contagious.

Nox loosed a bolt at the corrupted Oni and it ricocheted off his thick hide. He didn't like this. Not one bit.
Elyse nodded at the expected answer. Nox didn’t know. Perhaps it was an experiment gone wrong, but that meant someone had experimented with things that were better left alone. In the echoing tunnels, Elyse heard the scratching slightly before Nox did. She nodded at his suggestion to keep quiet. She followed suit and drew her own crossbow as the sounds got louder.

The worst part was the smell that started to approach. Whatever it was, it smelled of death and decay. Elyse’s stomach churned at the scent, and she was glad that they had decided to have dinner after the hunt. At least with a empty stomach, she wasn’t vomiting. She also saw the oni before Nox did, but something was wrong. It was corrupted and sick. Nox fired a bolt and it bounced harmlessly off of the corrupted creatures hide.

Elyse switched to her pistol. She knew that shooting the creature would have a similar result as Nox’s shot unless she hit the things eyes. The eyes were the only thing on the oni that weren’t large. Elyse was a good shot, but not that good. She doubted Nox was either. Elyse aimed nonetheless, finding the gesture comforting.

Elyse kept her eyes on the creature, her posture wary. She was ready to move at any attack.
Fuck! There wasn't enough time to take aim and get a good line at the eye. The Oni ambled towards them at a much slower speed than he'd have anticipated. Oni were large, but they were fast. This one as it drew closer was dragging a leg behind it. It was near half dead - decay and rotting skin and muscle slouching form its frame. But the thick armor skin was still intact.

Nox set his knee in the ground ignoring the soft squish it made as he steadied his shot. The power wrapped around him and Nox used the increased sight to pin point with his crossbow the exact point of impact that the Oni would be in when it ambled closer. There wasn't enough time.

The scratching grew louder all around them. This was not how they'd hunted before. Something was wrong. The shadows started to move deep in the tunnels. Nox couldn't make out any distinct forms, but he knew they were there, watching and waiting. He could feel them on all three sides. They were surrounded. Fuck!

Nox let loose the bolt and it took up residence in the Oni's left eye. The creature howled and in that moment the shadows quivered with movement. The shadows advanced on them... Nox knew the black sickly creatures, rats with large teeth, humans fallen to a bite, dogs succumbed to the disease. Fuck! Nox couldn't see any way out.

Not without showing his hand. But he was still hesitant. Nox dropped the crossbow in favor of his handgun, it at least fired more rapidly. He aimed at the nearest creatures and started firing. They still could get out. Nox started formulating his plan, but it would be a big risk - but right now he needed time. "Cover me."
Elyse waited, keeping her aim preparing to shoot if she saw the opportunity. Bullets could do more damage to them if she missed and they ricocheted. The oni was falling apart half dead. Elyse could see the creatures surrounding them. If she was going to die, she would take as many of the bastards with her. But she didn’t plan on dying.

Nox fired and hit the oni in the eye. Elyse was impressed, but there wasn’t time to compliment him on it. Elyse started firing on the creatures as they moved in. She could see them well despite the dark. The creatures were quick, but Elyse was able to hit them. She had no idea how many of them there were. She moved to get closer to Nox, so they could cover each other.

Before Elyse could ask if he had a plan, Nox asked her to cover him. Apparently he did. ”Understood, I have your back.”
she said, and began firing, giving Nox the cover he needed. There were so many of them. They could be overrun soon, but if Nox had an escape plan, she had to trust him.

Elyse fired and dropped an empty magazine to the ground, she quickly reloaded. Her shots hit their marks, but at times she had to shoot creatures twice. No one was that accurate. She knew that they didn’t have enough ammunition to get all of them. She would cover Nox until she breathed her last if she must. If she could at least give him time to escape she would, but she hoped that Nox’s plan worked.
Nox drew on his power deep. Deeper than he had before. He needed all the firepower he could muster. He couldn't see an end in sight of these monsters as he plugged whatever got to close to him with his own bullets. But he was concentrating on the weaves he was making. It was all so very simple in his head. He'd done them so many times before they came naturally. To see the weaves flowing into the ground and around him. He could feel the tunnel heat around him.

When everything was ready, the thin veils of browns and reds surging with energy just waiting for his final moment. Nox grabbed Elyse's arm and pulled her against his body and knelt down covering her body with his own as much as possible. Nox completed the weave and the air around them exploded like a supernova. Heat and earth swept away from their bodies searing the creatures as Nox's power swept past their bodies to continue on down the tunnel in all directions.

The screams were blood curdling as they burned. A second weave was ready as Nox stood up and raised his hands from the ground to the ceiling. The ground shook and pillars of earth grew from the ground blocking two of the three tunnels. The only way left was the way they had come. Nox turned towards the shadows that were still rushing forward over their fallen comrades that were quaking and breathing their last breathes. Nox conjured up a fireball and threw it down the way they had come. It swept through the creatures leaving them screaming in their pain.

He yelled. "Cover your ears and shut your eyes."
Nox hated the use of the flash bang weave. But there was nothing he could do. He wove quickly and steady as the creatures still came at them. A flash of light and sound radiated from around him and when it was gone he grabbed Elyse and yelled again. "Run!"
He didn't wait for her as he sprinted past the stunned creatures. He could block the tunnel if they could get past them... but first they had to get clear.
Elyse took down more of the creatures, but they kept coming. When she shot down one another took its place. The room was getting hot, and she wondered if the creatures generated more heat. Suddenly, Nox grabbed her and pulled her close. He covered her with his own body. Elyse could feel his heart beating against his chest as some sort of explosion happened, and Elyse understood what had happened.

Nox was a reborn god - at least he had their power. She understood the sacrifice he had made in that moment. He had done what she had been willing to do for him. Nox had no idea if she kill him or turn him in to more conservative types. The screams hit her ears and she covered them, hearing them much more acutely than she would like.

Fire leaped from Nox’s hands and killed more of the creatures. Nox instructed her to cover her ears and eyes and she did as he said. She could see a flash through her closed eyelids and heard a rumble through covered ears. She waited a second before uncovering her ears and opening her eyes. She heard Nox command her to run, and he didn’t have to say it twice. They had an opening. Elyse ran, keeping up with Nox.

”I’m clear,”
she yelled as she had cleared the last creature. ”Take them out,”
she said, hoping that encouraging Nox to use his power would help Nox understand that she wouldn’t hurt him or tell anyone his secret.

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