You have got to be kidding me…
I stood outside the smoking van, shaking my head. Couldn’t we get in one of these things at least ONCE without it falling apart? I let out a long, drawn-out sigh. When we get back home, I am going into the woods and I am going to learn how to ride a fucking tiger. No parts need to be changed with a tiger. No maintenance needed to be done. Just let it eat some prey every now and again and you were FINE.
I looked off into the distant desert. We had arrived at the Germany Airport with a four-man party, and landed in an American airport with only a party of three. I guess Knives got on the wrong plane or something, ahh well… We would have questioned the flight attendants about him, but it occurred to the group that we didn’t exactly know his name. Tank thought it best to finally introduce ourselves at that point, and identified himself as Kevin Fisher. I found Tank more fitting, but alas. Leader identified himself as Tristan, so I went ahead and identified myself in turn. Call me rude, but I wouldn’t give my name out to someone who hadn’t already offered up his name beforehand. After that, we rented a van and started heading to… I don’t know…?
“I guess we are pushing it to the next town. I believe there is one about fifteen miles from here.” Tristan proclaimed casually. “Not it!” I announced, but it was unnecessary, since Kevin volunteered. We all got in the van as Kevin walks to the back and proceeds to push us much faster than a normal human could. So fifteen miles in the hot Arizona desert later, we arrive at some small town named Purgatory. You’re joking… Car trouble leading up to a town named purgatory? This was not going to be a good day. Kevin pushes us towards a building possessing an AC unit, then sits down to pant. Tristan hops out, fully refreshed, and walks into what appears to be a store. I took a glance around the city, seeing a tall church steeple not far in the distance. Otherwise, this was a small town. And quiet… MUCH too quiet. I turned to get Kevin’s take on it, but he was no longer beside me, opting to take refuge in the Air-conditioned building I’d guess.
I followed in, seeing a very annoyed Tristan staring at a scared looking under-aged girl. Kevin was next to them, downing containers of water as he slapped cash onto the counter. I looked to the side, and grabbed a Snickers Bar. I figured he if he was throwing cash around then why not? By the sound of the conversation, I gathered that the girl’s father, a mechanic by the name of Bill, had been kidnapped by a biker gang, who made routine visits into the town snagging young girls at will.
Was I surprised that the closest town our van decided to break down near was in the midst of a catastrophe and needed someone to save them? Nope. I had learned by now that Fate is a dick, and is prone to making our lives as miserable as possible. The conversation at the counter halted at the sound of an approaching motorcycle. We all walked outside, Kevin grabbing some type of metal bar or something along the way. What showed up down the road was a normal-looking man on a motorcycle. He didn’t look like he was here to cause trouble. More like he was fleeing from it. In the distance, the rumble of a good six motorcycles pierced the awkward silence. I ran out of sight, then leaped up onto the building. I could hear Kevin telling the cyclist that he’d best leave now because things were about to turn ugly. As I got in place, I saw the new guy smirk, then stood against a side building to watch us work. “This will be tricky with a witness around.” I muttered. I glanced down at the girl from the store, fidgeting at the door beneath me, and sighed. Better and better…
Tristan stood beside the girl as Kevin walked to the road and stuck some kind of spikes into the road at an angle, facing towards the incoming rumbling. I could appreciate a nice trap being set to snare prey. Well, I wasn’t sure if these guys were prey or not, but it never hurt to be prepared. He came back and suddenly had his sword and shield out. Gotta love our new toys. I turned my eyes to the bikers approaching from the distance. There were indeed six of them, but something seemed… off about them. As they slowed down near the spike-trap, I saw that their flesh was blended with the cycle, and vice versa. It was all one body, almost like a modern-day version of a centaur.
They chuckled at the attempted trap, and walked around the spikes. Little do they know that the spikes did their job perfectly, and their charge was reduced to a mere walk. I was poised, ready to strike, as the head centaur demanded that the girl come with him to see the “boss”. I found it cute that he thought he was in a position to threaten us and make demands. But it was also a little sad. I don’t even think that he realized he is nothing but prey in all of this. And he was, indeed, prey. He wasn’t the leader of the Cyclemen, just the messenger. But he had no quarrels with holding a defenseless mortal man hostage nor demanding an underage girl to come with him. He was a blight upon the world that I would happily hunt down.
Kevin wasn’t very interested in him, demanding to know who their leader was. The head cyclist wouldn’t speak out on the matter, so Kevin dismissed him and asked the other cyclists to speak up. When no answer came, Kevin turned to Tristan and asked if he could attack them. “Come on! If you insist, I’ll just kill this guy, (Points to the head Cyclist) and then maybe the others will be inclined to speak up!” After a bit of back and forth between those 2 that seemed to make the other cyclists slightly nervous, Tristan gave in. “Everyone, target the front-man and take him out,” That was all it took.
Kevin pounced on a cyclist, piercing him through his shoulder even before he landed. I pulled the two knocked arrows back and zoned in on the head cyclist, waiting for the best time to strike. Kevin twisted as he pulled his sword out of the fallen Centaur and turned towards the head cyclist. The centaurs ganged up on him and attacked with chains, swords, and even chainsaws. But Kevin just effortlessly dodged them all with a bored look upon his face. Casually reaching behind his back to shift a swordsman’s trajectory of his swing to make it miss by a centimeter. Tristan flew up in the air then did a slow motion build-up leading to what looked like it would be a single aimed-shot from one of his guns. I figured that it was go time! “Hey! Optimus Prime! Up here!” I leaped up 12 yards into the air as all cyclist eyes turned to me. With the sun behind my back to blind the enemies, I released the two arrows straight into the man’s eye-holes. A bullet rang out from Tristan’s gun, producing a hole between the cyclist’s arrow-filled eyes, and Kevin pounced on him, piercing the man through the heart to finish off our coordinated assault. I looked up as the other beasts sped off back down the road. Quicker than thought, I notched another arrow and took aim, but they were long gone. Damn they moved fast. Kevin walked over to the cyclist he downed and retrieved the gas tank off of him. Ok… I could see Tristan huddled over the head Cyclist, but his body blocked my view of his actions.
An appreciative whistle came from the man beside the building, causing me to raise an eyebrow. Seemed he is more accustomed to our daily lifestyle than I had previously thought. Maybe we can get out of here without the hysterics modern day people were so fond of. But the quick, hyperventilating breathing of the young girl on the ground below me quelled that hope. SHE was, indeed, mortal.
After the rest of the group calmed her hysterics slightly, we found out that the Bikers had a temporary outpost not too far from here, but she didn’t know the exact location. And upon seeing that our car was in their workshop, currently broken down, we convinced her to let us borrow her car. We found that the stranger had walked in with us and was listening intently to the situation. He wanted to help out, so we obliged to let him join our group. He introduced himself as Kristof, a son of Loki. While they made with the pleasantries, I walked outside and prepared to find traces of their exit to track them down. Which wasn’t hard, considering the intoxicating scent of their exhaust and the tire thread marks left on the road. Their only though was escape, not covering their tracks. Lucky us. Kristof hopped onto his bike and said that he’d follow us, so the rest of us jumped into the girl’s van. And with my head stuck out a window, we made our way into the desert.
We arrived at the outpost a short time later. Tents were pitched seemly at random. Quite a few big trucks were in the area. The back of one of them was facing us and we could see a mechanic doing his work inside. Walking around the city were a bunch of half-naked girls. Barely legal by the look of them. Neither they nor the mechanics looked like they wanted to be here. Random mortal thugs were spaced around the city, laughing and drinking booze. Kevin locates the source of the booze and suggests we head to the town’s ‘saloon’ to get some information. My eyebrow rose when I saw him heading to a lonely table with a lot of alcoholic beverages resting atop it. Saloon huh? Halfway to it, though, he got stopped by one of the thugs. Seems we were to go see the leader ASAP. It was what we wanted, but Kevin seemed reluctant. Finally, we head towards one of the nicer tents.
We were presented before another Cyclist monster, whom had another half-naked, almost underage girl with him. Upon Kevin’s demands, the leader asks the girl to get Kevin an alcoholic drink, slapping her ass as she walked by. Kevin demanded that the leader released Bill the mechanic immediately, to which the leader gave us his ultimatum. If we present him with a special key located somewhere in Purgatory, then he will release the townsfolk he took from there. Tristan reached into his pocket and pulled a key off his keychain. He handed it to the leader and stated “This key in my hand is the key you seek.” I blinked, completely convinced that he had the correct key. What luck? The leader seemed perplexed that we had what he desired before he made it known to us, and called for one of his men to “test it”
As the scientist left, we demanded that he let all of his prisoners go, which he just laughed at. “I said I would release the prisoners from Purgatory, not all of my prisoners. Kevin seemed fine with that, stating that he ‘just wanted Bill the mechanic anyways.’ A girl busted out crying at the side entrance to the room, holding a beer in her hand. “Oh look, my drink is here. Ty.” Kevin proclaimed. It seemed that the girl was not from Purgatory, and was sad that weren’t here to rescue her, too. I would have liked to reassure her then that before the night was up, every cyclist would be dead, but now was not the time to do so. The scientist walked back into room and, to my surprise, proclaimed that the key was a fake! Who would have known?!? Tristan tried to convince the leader that the scientist was lying so that he could have the key for himself, but the jig, as they say, was up. The leader restated that if we fetch the key located in purgatory, he would hold his end of the bargain. We demanded to know what the key did before we retrieved it, and after some thoughts, he obliged. “This is a key to unlock the doors to the underworlds.” Oh was that it? What harm could come from bring THAT to the titan spawn?
We demanded a vehicle, seeing as how we were only borrowing the one we had now, and they denied our request. We offered to just kill every biker in town and take the hostages back by force, but they denied that too. Stingy people. In the end, we were told that an embassy would meet us at the outskirts of Purgatory where the exchange will take place. So we hopped in the borrow van and headed back to Purgatory.
Upon arrival, we found the girl’s store closed, so we had to track her down to her house. Man… I loved the hunt, but usually the prey was some elusive beast that took cunning for me to track down, and I reveled in the kill at the end of the hunt. THIS hunt for a key is a little below my caring. I’d rather just kill the bikers in town and be done with it…
In short time, we located the girl’s current whereabouts. As we pulled up, Kevin demanded that Tristan explain why we returned empty-handed to the girl. We walked up the steps to the door, and Tristan was prepared to just barge in, but Kevin halted him and proceeded to knock on the door. I waited at the bottom steps as an older man opened up. Kevin grabbed Tristan by the back of the shirt and lifted our leader up and in front of him to explain the situation. After a few sentences, the old man halted our next words and beckoned the shop girl to the door. They explained everything to her and Tristan explained why we returned empty handed instead of with her father and a mountain of biker heads on a stick. When we got to asking for the key, the old man backed the girl up, and went to shut the door in our faces, but Kevin saw it coming and had his arm up already to stop the door. They tried many bartering techniques to convince him to give us the key. Persuasion, intimidation, boasting, etc. None of which seemed to be working. I offered that we could just knock the old guy out and take the key by force, but looking at the death glares I was receiving, I took it that that was a bad plan. I was prepared to sneak into the back door of the house and search for the key myself, but I had a sudden gut feeling that told me it wasn’t in the house.
Finally, we made a breakthrough after we convinced him that we were only using the key as a ploy to bring out half the bikers, upon which we will kill them, then go to their camp to kill the other half of them. He was convinced to tell us where the key is, under one stipulation. We had to swear to him that we would kill every last biker abomination out there. I wasn’t sure if he meant every biker abomination that is in the group plaguing his village, or every one of them in existence, which meant we’d have to track them down across the globe. Personally, I didn’t care which. The old man asked for the girl’s keys back, and we handed it to him. No sooner than they hit his hands, did we ask if we could borrow the van again. He looked past them to the van behind me, saw it was in the same condition we left it in, then sighed as he handed the keys back to us. Then he proceeded to lead us to the Church.
We were lead through the church and to a wooden door. Behind which was a set of stair leading to the basement. I announced that I would stay here and protect our exit while they proceeded. No sense in walking in blind and allowing ourselves to be trapped this easily. So I stood guard with my bow drawn and waited. Not too long after they returned up and walked on. I assumed we got what we came for, and followed them out. I recalled that this church’s steeple was the highest point in purgatory, so I let the group know that I’d wait up here to keep a bird’s-eye-view on the situation. So I climbed up as they left.
With my ‘Telescopic Senses’ I could see them walk up to a group of mortal thugs from the Cyclist’s outpost. One of them had a briefcase, another had a shotgun pointed to Bill the Mechanic’s head. Even from this great distance, I could see them all perfectly. Their conversation was crystal clear to me. I could easily smell the sweat coming off of Bill. But even with all these enhanced senses, I could do nothing from this distance. Even though I could see exactly where I wanted to shoot, I knew that my arrows could not reach that distance. My bow could not handle that which my sight could. It bothered me, but there was nothing I could do about it yet. So I made my way down the church and headed closer to the outskirts of purgatory.
I came upon a hill overlooking the exchange and saw Kevin and the thug with the briefcase break apart from their two groups and move to meet each other in the middle. I notched two arrows and trained them on the thug with the gun. The two men reached each other, and the thug opened up the briefcase and held it out open in front of him. Quicker than thought, I saw Kevin pull back to punch the man with his shield arm. Too fast for the human eye to follow, but not for my specialized Demigod eyes. I zoned in on the man with the hostage, and released my arrows, as Kevin’s backwards momentum receded and he started to propel his shielded fist forward towards the briefcase guy. My arrows hit the man one slightly after the other. The first hit him in the temple, going all the way through, the other landed in his chest, catching onto something and propelling him backwards. Dead before he hit the ground. But before the man’s feet even left the earth, Kevin’s fist smashed through the Negotiators briefcase and he thrusted his shield, end-first, into the man’s chest, making him soar many many yards backwards. The other thugs had just enough time to blink before the fight was on!
I rained arrows down upon the mortals as I saw Kevin grab Bill and toss him to Tristan. Tristan caught him, and escorted him towards the city, trusting the rest of us to get the job done. I saw Kristof Running around punching people. I thought it was cute he wanted to help out until I heard the cracking of bone from here. Damn! He could really pack a punch! He ran towards one guy and dropped down at the last second, as the man looked down at him he launched himself up into an uppercut. His target…… ouch! I swear I heard a pop from up here as Kristof uppercutted the man’s crotch. The man let out a blood curling scream and fell to the ground. Blood poured from the man’s pants, but he looked to be alive. Unlucky him.
We had all the men downed except for the one with the briefcase, whom has yet to attempt to draw a weapon. The rest of them attempted to, but we were too fast for them to even do that much. As Kevin reached him, I saw him randomly hurl his spear into the cliff above them, at the same time I heard a bullet ping off his skin and embed itself into the earth. A sniper, huh? Kevin grabbed the unarmed man and held him up like a shield as he ran up the cliff to meet the sniper. I took aim in the relevant area the spear was thrown and let loose an arrow, I think I hit the man, but he didn’t make a sound so I couldn’t be sure. I saw the man Kevin was using as a shield get shot by a sniper bullet. Damn, he’d shoot his own? But then I saw Kevin launch himself above the cliff-face and descend upon the sniper with his sword aimed downwards. I couldn’t exactly see the sniper at his current location, but judging by the scream I’d say that he died.
Kevin walked into a clearing and looked back towards Purgatory. He froze in his movement and just stared, something was wrong. I focused my attention to his face and saw that it was pale, so I moved my attention to his eyes and used all of my focus to see the image mirrored from within them. And what I saw, was the flickering of flames, coming from Purgatory…