Magical Girl Sunset 2

Jun 4th, 2019
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  1. >Your name is Sunset Shimmer, and you’re a Magical Girl.
  2. >Well, you’re not so sure about the ‘magical’ part anymore, to be honest.
  3. >You’ve got the costume all right, and you’ve got the annoying orange bauble of a jewel glinting on your chest.
  4. >Is that really all it takes?
  5. >Aren’t Magical Girls supposed to be all warm and glittery?
  6. >They’re supposed to solve their problems by calling the power of love.
  7. >Or friendship or some other shit.
  8. >They should have auras of pink sparkles following them around like swarming insects and have D cups even though they’re still in high school.
  9. >What Magical Girls are not supposed to do is stalk home at seven in the morning, reeking of cigarettes and alcohol.
  10. >They shouldn’t have to take showers that leave the water running with blood for minutes.
  11. >Magical Girls are not supposed to die.
  12. >Even though you know for a fact that they can.
  14. >You’re not exactly feeling the magic anymore, is what you’re saying, maybe you never really felt it to begin with.
  15. >Back when you didn’t crack bones on a regular basis maybe, when you hadn’t yet heard what a human skull sounds like when it’s smashed to pieces.
  16. >Truth be told, it feels like so long ago that you don’t really remember it.
  17. >It was simpler then, that much you know, with less alcohol and more fuzzy feelings of righteousness.
  18. >Now everything you do leaves a bitter taste in your mouth.
  19. >Like a palpable rot that refuses to leave no matter how much whisky you try to wash it out with.
  21. >You’re currently in the front seat of a taxi, angrily blowing smoke out the window.
  22. >You’ve already pushed about half a pack into the grimy ashtray in the center console.
  23. >The driver doesn’t seem to mind, or at least he’s professional enough not to give you too many sour glances from behind his mirrored designer shades.
  24. >Two more fresh boxes are hidden in your costume, courtesy of the convenience store in the lobby of your apartment building.
  25. >It’s less of a store and more of a security-glass window with an old woman behind it, but still.
  26. >Smokes, alcohol, pills—it has everything a growing girl needs no matter the hour.
  27. >You push money through the slit and are rewarded with the poison of your choice placed in a heavy-duty steel drawer just a few moments later.
  28. "Can’t you go faster?"
  29. >You should have bought more for a job like this.
  31. >Your phone brings your mind away from the filter you’re chewing on, the buzzing in your skirt pocket quickly growing into an angry cascade.
  32. >It’s Dash, and somehow the ringing alone feels just as annoying, just as brash and imposing as the girl herself.
  33. >You mumble a half-hearted apology to the driver before answering.
  34. "What? I’m on my way."
  35. >"Well hurry the fuck up, will ya?"
  36. "I’m in the fucking cab, Rainbow."
  37. >Another glance at the driver.
  38. >If the alarming rate the fare is stacking up with in his little display can be trusted, he’s already speeding as much as he dares to during business hours.
  39. "Ten minutes?"
  40. >There’s a small nod.
  41. "Ten minutes, Dash."
  42. >"Fine."
  43. >You can hear the clank of metal in the background.
  44. >"I’m fucking going in alone. We’ll regroup when you actually bother to show up or some shit."
  45. "Don’t."
  46. >"Why the fuck not?" the girl growls. "It’s my fucking info anyway. I’m the one who found her, it’s only right that I’m the one who gets to bash her head in. Not even sure why I bothered calling the two of you in."
  47. "Because we’re talking about a rogue Magical Girl here. Does that mean anything to you? Do you remember what she did to–"
  48. >"Shut up!" Rainbow cuts you off. "Don’t you dare say her name. Not after she fucking..."
  49. >There’s a pause, and for a moment you wonder if the connection dropped, but the girl’s irritating voice comes back after a few seconds.
  50. >"You already killed one of us, Shimmer. So on second thought, why don’t you just stay the fuck away, huh?"
  51. >You’re about to answer when the scratchy click coming over the line informs you that Rainbow actually hung up this time.
  52. "Asshole."
  55. "Fluttershy!"
  56. >The girl turns to look at you, her short hair whirling up with the motion for a moment.
  57. "Tell me she fucking didn't."
  58. >Her expression gives you all the information you need.
  59. >You're too late.
  60. >Despite hassling the cab driver to break every speed limit he could—you gave him a hefty tip afterwards for putting up with you—you didn’t make it in time to slap some sense into the dimwitted Magical Girl you once counted among your closest friends.
  61. "She didn’t go in alone, right Shy?"
  62. >"She did."
  63. "How long?"
  64. >"She was already gone when I arrived."
  65. >Fluttershy checks her phone, the small bunny token hanging from its corner dangling over her hand.
  66. >"Five minutes. I called in more people to help out but it’ll be a while. She’s well on her way to the top by now, I guess."
  67. >You grind out the butt of your cigarette under your heel.
  68. "Fucking bitch."
  70. >At the heart of the city, the giant glass and metal monstrosity that is Canterlot Tower One claws its way into the sky from the rot of the surrounding trade centers and business parks.
  71. >Eighty stories of mirrored windows, and the higher you go, the more gaudy and pompous the offices behind them become.
  72. >The top ten floors are actually their own community, accessible only through specially-guarded elevators and heavy-duty security doors.
  73. >A fortress of extravagance at the top of the world.
  74. >And it’s an open secret that one of the local clans has rented it out completely, using it as a base of operations away from the reach of the city’s authorities.
  75. >The regular clients from the lower levels don’t seem to be bothered by the gangs of mobsters loitering in the lobby, ignoring the angry shouts over rigged card games, the glittering guns tucked into waistbands and shoulder holsters, the stink of tobacco and hallucinogenic pipe-sticks wafting over the high-class upholstery.
  76. >That, or they’re simply pretending like the rest of the city.
  77. >You can ignore a great deal of shit if only you pretend hard enough.
  78. >You may actually be able to convince yourself that Tower One isn’t a festering pile of filth wrapped in concrete and shiny glass.
  80. >From what you gather, there’s enough ordinance up there to fight a small war, together with a handful of labs, drug-processing lines, and at least one fully-equipped porn studio to produce the kind of gritty home movies that aren’t exactly for rent at your local adult-video store.
  81. >Every couple of weeks there’s another report of some office lady not showing up for work only to stumble out of one of the elevators a few days later, bruised, stark naked, and drugged out of her mind.
  82. >The helipad on the roof—accessible only via the very top floors—is busy with private choppers around the clock, providing a loading zone safe from prying eyes and nosy cargo inspectors.
  83. >It’s been a few times already that you tried to get enough people together to mount a full-scale incursion, but it never came through.
  84. >There was never any real urgency to deal with the scum breeding behind those walls of compound steel and reinforced concrete.
  85. >Until today.
  86. >Today, as if your week hadn’t been shitty enough already, a certain Magical Girl has been reported to be with them.
  88. >"Are we sure she’s actually up there? Trixie, I mean?"
  89. >Fluttershy is hesitant to speak the girl’s name.
  90. "Dash seemed convinced enough."
  91. >There’s a pause before your friend continues, quieter this time.
  92. >As if she was whispering some forbidden secret.
  93. >"Did she really kill Applejack?"
  94. "After a job they were on went sideways last year. Sent some wrapped-up body parts back to Rainbow by express courier."
  95. >Fluttershy makes a face.
  96. "That’s the kinda cunt she is. And she’s been hiding ever since. Can’t even fault the blueberry for jumping on a chance like this."
  97. >"No more smoking," Shy gently pushes down your hands, keeping you from peeling the plastic off your next box of treats. "You always smoke too much when you’re nervous. It’s not healthy."
  98. >You glare at her.
  99. >She wants you to do this cold?
  100. >"For me?"
  101. "...Fine," you mumble after another squeeze from her slender fingers, and it actually makes her smile a bit.
  102. >You don’t even think MGs can get cancer.
  103. >You could probably shoot up heroin and come out the other side with nothing but a headache and a new low in self-respect.
  104. >Still, your friend seems happier for it, a rare enough occasion in your line of work.
  105. >Who are you to deny her that?
  106. >"Should we go?"
  107. "Keep your guard up," you swing Skulltaker over your shoulder and begin walking towards the tower’s entrance. "Trixie’s a perfidious little bitch and she’ll be fucked up on every illegal stim she could get her hands on in there."
  109. >The marbled floors of the grand lobby are empty.
  110. >No couriers, no busy flocks of concierges and lobby boys, even the posh boutiques and perfumeries are left unattended.
  111. >You’d almost entertain the idea of Rainbow having killed every single employee herself in a quest to raze the building clean of heartbeats if it wasn’t for the lack of bodies.
  112. "Did they just… leave?"
  113. >"I didn’t see anyone come out," Fluttershy bends over the counter to take a look. "If they made a run for it they did so a while ago."
  114. "Maybe the thugs started acting up. There must be a reason why they got involved with a Sparkly all of a sudden, right?"
  115. >Your friend shrugs.
  116. >"Could just be run-of-the-mill power hunger. Why would a rival clan try to fuck up your shit when you’ve got a psycho with a chainsaw on payroll?"
  117. "There must be easier ways to secure turf. They could probably buy a tank with the money they spend to keep an MG around. Maybe two."
  118. >"Elevators are over there."
  120. >Fluttershy leads you to the high-speed lifts connecting the lobby to the top levels, the sliding doors of brushed aluminum left unguarded like the rest of the place.
  121. >Pushing the button with Skulltaker’s cap yields you a colorful ding and the metal receding into the walls a second later.
  122. >After an ear-popping minute of riding upwards, they slide open a second time to reveal another, much smaller lobby area.
  123. >"Yep," Fluttershy is the first to leave the cab, her knife glinting at her side in a reverse grip. "That’s Rainbow’s work."
  124. >She points across the room, where two guards lie next to a set of steel doors that have been pried open.
  125. >Their faces have been reduced to a gory mess of flesh, pretty much the result you would expect from a dead-on crowbar hit.
  126. >Looks like she went for seconds—and thirds, for that matter—if the long streaks of spatters on the floor and walls are anything to go by.
  127. >Granted, you wouldn’t think some standard-issue security door and a few rented gorillas would be able to impede Dash for long, but maybe she’s spent enough time unloading to give you a chance of catching up.
  129. >Behind the doors, the image you get is that of a regular office floor full of cubicles and meeting tables.
  130. >Pretty much a normal business workspace.
  131. >If it wasn’t for the corpses.
  132. "Jesus Christ."
  133. >A few dozen bodies are scattered around the room, some bent over tables and chairs, others thrown against the walls to leave disgusting smears on their way down.
  134. >Some severed limbs are loosely scattered among the carnage, and you wouldn’t want to be the coroner in charge of figuring out which part actually comes from where.
  135. >Most corpses show heavy damage in the form of long, gory wounds snaking through their flesh, the more jaggy ones obviously administered with the victims still trying to resist.
  136. >They’re mostly lowlife scum of course—they wouldn’t be here otherwise—but still.
  137. "She’s really going all out, huh? Most of these don’t look like combatants."
  138. >"It wasn’t her," Fluttershy pokes the open ribcage of one of the bodies—it’s a woman in a pencil skirt and what you think are the shredded remains of a simple blouse—"not this one at least. Look at the cuts."
  139. >The woman’s arms and chest are busy with expensive gang tattoos, but a maze of frayed lacerations is now ruining the artwork.
  140. >Her face is mostly intact, leaving it distorted in what you can only imagine is the pain of having your chest ripped open while you’re still conscious.
  141. >"You don’t get wounds like this from a crowbar."
  143. >You take a second look around.
  144. >A large portion of the corpses have indeed been here for a few days at least, if the darkened blood is anything to go by.
  145. >There are only a handful of fresh ones mixed in, and those actually show the damage patterns more typical for a blunt weapon like the guards outside did.
  146. "That one’s a kid."
  147. >You point Shy towards a girl about your age leaning against the glass pane that runs around the outside wall.
  148. >Her head has been sheared off and placed in her lap, where it’s held in place by the girl’s own hands.
  149. >"Not Rainbow," she decides after a few seconds.
  150. "What then, somebody else already came through for a purge? Without anyone knowing?"
  151. >Fluttershy shrugs.
  152. >"Maybe Trixie went insane after all."
  153. >The pink-haired girl goes around to check more of the biological wreckage while you move across the office, and she even stabs another guard—this one definitely left by the raging blue bitch ahead of you—lying near the stairs to the next floor.
  154. >Apparently Rainbow didn’t do quite as thorough a job on him as she did on his colleagues, leaving the man with just enough life to hang on for a few more minutes.
  155. >Fluttershy is quick to fix the oversight with a clean cut of his jugular.
  156. >Say what you want about your friend, but she’s never been the cruel sort.
  158. >The next floor holds a flock of chem-labs, although most have been smashed up quite a bit.
  159. >Contrary to the more concise narrative of the charnel house below, you can’t really discern if this happened just now or was done a while ago.
  160. >For all you know a cook went awry and blew the expensive machinery to pieces.
  161. >Something suddenly moves between the chrome-plated pots to your right, followed by a screaming girl jumping at you with some kind of dirty machete.
  162. >She’s about your age, maybe a year or two younger even, and she’s wearing a lab coat that was white at one point but is now stained with blood and all manner of other fluids.
  163. >A large scar covers the left side of her face, turning her strained expression into something grotesque.
  164. >Her left arm is missing completely.
  165. >You manage to dodge her swing without too much of an effort, and although she’s shouting insults and continues to swing wildly, she isn’t much of a threat.
  166. >Her amateurish flailing betrays that she’s not involved with the security side of the business even more than her attire does.
  167. "What happened?" you try and get her to calm down, blocking her blade with Skulltaker, its edge burrowing into the wood with a sharp clang. "Did Trixie do this?"
  168. >Another scream is followed by the girl letting go of her seized weapon and going in for the punch, her remaining arm rushing towards your face.
  169. >She doesn’t get to finish her movement.
  170. >Before she even comes close enough for you to counter, Fluttershy has already driven her own knife into her side.
  172. >A gasp escapes the girl, Shy’s attack leaving her struggling for breath and clawing at her bleeding torso.
  173. >Skilled as she is, Fluttershy pulls back and stabs again, expertly sneaking the knife past the girl’s ribs and into her lung.
  174. >Your bat does the rest, silencing her rasping gulps for air with a solid hit to her head.
  175. "Fucking hell. Is everybody dead or crazy in this shithole?"
  176. >Fluttershy pulls her knife out of the now-silent enemy, and already your friend looks like the heroine of some foreign slasher film again.
  177. >Her hands are stained red with sticky blood, and a good portion of her clothing is covered, too.
  178. >You’d half expect her to grinningly lick the gore off her blade.
  179. >She doesn’t, thankfully.
  181. >Most of the floors you move through look more or less the same, their former occupants strewn across the broken inventory in unsavory displays of brutality.
  182. >Some guards are still alive here and there but don’t offer much of a challenge for two full-fledged Magical Girls.
  183. >Although you’re clearly on Rainbow Dash’s trail—you keep finding the messy leftovers of her handiwork—it’s not until you reach the very top floor that you finally catch up to her.
  184. >The entire level is just a single room walled with glass, letting in the muddy orange glow of the evening sun.
  185. >And with Dash, you also find the girl you came here for.
  188. >Trixie Lulamoon, once a Magical Girl not unlike yourself, has not been seen on active duty for the better part of an entire year.
  189. >She formed her contract in the early days of the business—a few months before Fluttershy even, who is the most senior of your group—which pretty much makes her a veteran from your point of view.
  190. >You actually looked up to her.
  191. >You remember annoying her greatly whenever you got the change, trying to get her to take you along on missions.
  192. >You even volunteered to pick up the assignments she couldn’t be bothered with in your personal time just to get on her good side.
  193. >Rainbow kept calling you a fangirl and gave you shit whenever you debated calling the senior Magical Girl up.
  194. >It didn’t really dampen your enthusiasm.
  195. >You’ve been called worse, after all.
  197. >That changed of course when Trixie started leaving you behind in kill zones if you didn’t manage to keep up and purposely made you spring ambushes to get an edge on the occupied attackers herself.
  198. >Her sparring sessions got more and more out of hand, to the point where you had to fight tooth and nail just to not end up a mutilated mess on the training mats.
  199. >Honestly, the mad sparkle of excitement in her eyes whenever she managed to give you another flesh would should have been enough of a warning, it should have been enough of an impulse for you to tell someone.
  200. >But you didn’t.
  201. >You kept your mouth shut and tried to get out of the missions you happened to share as much as possible.
  202. >Just when you wanted nothing more than to get away from the self-absorbed lunatic—you’re pretty sure she wouldn’t have hesitated to set you on fire as a distraction if it only meant she could take the life of one more sleazy enforcer—Trixie had finally taken a liking to you.
  203. >Your idol had somehow transformed into a full-blood maniac, the kind who’d cut out your liver only to eat the damn thing with a side of fries if she felt peckish between back-to-back purge assignments.
  204. >A proper psycho bitch of a Magical Girl.
  205. >Maybe she always was and you just failed to notice before.
  207. >You remember begging Applejack to take your place in the mission a year ago, sniveling into her shirt about how you couldn’t stand going on another kill run with Trixie.
  208. >She smiled, you can still see her face, patting your head and telling you not to worry.
  209. >Even though it was your assignment, your responsibility to take, AJ didn’t hesitate for a single second.
  212. >"I’ll kill you."
  213. >Rainbow’s voice brings you back from your thoughts.
  214. >Looks like she and Trixie have been going at it for a while.
  215. >"I’ll fucking murder you," she spits, pointing her gore-flecked crowbar at her former ally. "Cut you up like you did AJ and rape your corpse!"
  216. >For all her bravado and foul language, you can see that Dash is all but spent.
  217. >She’s panting heavily, the aftermath of her killing spree sitting in her muscles much like the blood of her victims does in the fabric of her costume.
  218. >Trixie, on the other hand, is effortlessly doing practice swings with her signature weapon—an almost comically large chainsaw she aptly named GOREFATHER—its double threads of glinting teeth chewing air in anticipation.
  219. >She’s wearing a dull green bomber jacket over a simple T-shirt and a pair of worn-out black sweatpants.
  220. >Her ice-blue hair is shorter than you remember and a few more fresh scars are covering her hands and face, but it’s still her.
  221. >She’s still the killer you used to admire.
  222. >A single look at her expression, at her eyes glinting with joy at the awaiting bloodshed, is enough to tell you that.
  223. >"You didn’t like the presents?" she sneers. "And here I thought seeing your little girlfriend again would help you over the pain."
  224. >"Bitch!"
  225. >Rainbow crashes forward, bringing her weapon over her head for a two-handed strike.
  226. "Fluttershy."
  227. >You didn’t need to tell the girl.
  228. >When you run into the room, she’s already at your side, her knife catching the dying sunlight.
  229. >If you didn’t know any better, you’d swear you saw her biting her lip in passing.
  231. >Trixie easily sidesteps Dash’s swing, making her drive the crowbar into the carpeted floor with a solid thud.
  232. >That would have been it already—you’ve never known the rogue MG to waste a chance for a killing blow—if Fluttershy hadn’t been as quick to close the gap as she was.
  233. >Instead of shearing Rainbow’s head from her overextending shoulders, Trixie has to block your friend’s knife with the guide bar of her weapon.
  234. >You’re following only a step behind, but it gives Trixie enough time to readjust and easily deflect Skulltaker rushing towards her midsection, too.
  235. >Revving up Gorefather’s motor, she swings the oversized thing in a wide arc, forcing all three of you to back up.
  236. >You jump backwards, pulling Fluttershy with you, and Rainbow manages to roll away and escape the roaring chainteeth rushing towards her legs.
  237. >"Sunset," Trixie has to shout over the noise of the thundering engine, "I was wondering if you’d show up."
  238. "What are you doing here, Trixie? What the fuck happened down there?"
  239. >"Huh?"
  240. >She looks over the three of you.
  241. >"I’m working, you know? Rainbow Dash here just wanted to join her lover real quick," she points Gorefather at the girl in question, casually explaining herself as if you’d asked about forgotten homework. "So I’m trying to oblige. You know the one, right? She helped me out on a purge back then because you got cold feet."
  242. >"Fuck you!"
  243. >Dash manages to get her legs under herself again, and if her rage-filled grimace is anything to go by, she’s had just about enough of Trixie bringing up the past.
  245. >Another swing of her crowbar is blocked by the traitor, this one leaving Dash less exposed but still struggling with the recoil of the impact.
  246. >You only notice Fluttershy has left your side again when you see her dive towards Trixie knife-first, eager to make use of the opening left by the brute attack.
  247. >Trixie’s parry is followed by more swings of the giant chainsaw, more deafening engine revs making the serrated teeth fly around the length of the bar faster than your eyes can follow.
  248. >You do what you can to help out, to go for sucker punches whenever there’s a chance, but your target is offering precious little room to work with.
  249. >Deflecting Shy at a high angle, it takes Trixie less than a heartbeat to adjust the bellowing chain and cut a sparking gorge into the floor where your feet were a second ago.
  250. >She uses the momentum of the saw eating away the concrete to propel her weapon outwards and into a low arc towards Rainbow, who only manages to avoid losing a leg because she’s quick enough to get her crowbar in the way.
  251. >A shower of hot sparks explodes from the kiss of the weapons.
  252. >Trixie, her bloodshot eyes betraying just how many enhancers are crushing through her bloodstream, is keeping all three of you at bay while barely being out of breath.
  254. >"Now, Sunset!"
  255. >Fluttershy goes in for another stabbing attack, the glinting edge of her knife rushing towards Trixie’s belly.
  256. >You’re just behind.
  257. >The traitor is fast to react again, pushing Rainbow off and making her crash to the floor a good meter away.
  258. >She’s free to focus on your friend now, and the angle she chips the knife at makes it impossible for Shy to keep a hold of it.
  259. >It flies across the room, spinning rapidly only to clatter against the glass at the far side and drop down like the piece of abandoned cutlery it is.
  260. >"Think fast!" Trixie grins.
  262. >For what it’s worth, you saw what the blue-haired bitch was about to do as soon as her eyes left the disarmed girl in front of her to find yours.
  263. >You saw her teeth being revealed in a mischievous smile, the one you’ve witnessed so many times before that it actually started showing up in your dreams.
  264. >This is the killing blow.
  265. >Rainbow sees it, too.
  267. >Abandoning her crowbar, Dash uses her remaining strength for an explosive jump-start of her muscles, diving into the path of Trixie’s attack and managing to get herself between Fluttershy and the incoming tip of the murderous saw.
  268. >A blood-curdling scream is the next thing you register, coming from a Magical Girl you used to consider a friend getting her arm sawn off by another one you once considered a mentor.
  269. >A jet of bright-red blood is flying from Gorefather’s tracks as they work their way into Rainbow, chewing away flesh, then bone, and only stopping when the girl’s severed limb falls to the floor like a sack of wet meat.
  270. >It doesn’t matter that the weapon’s engine is running at full blast, its roar trapped to echo between the walls, the wailing screams manage to drown it out all the same.
  271. >You never honestly thought you would hear a person scream this much while collapsing to the floor, and you don’t think the memory will leave you anytime soon either.
  272. >Trixie doesn’t stop with her attack, and Fluttershy, for all her dexterity and quick-wittedness, is simply too slow to get out of Gorefather’s way.
  273. >Having conquered the layer of protection Dash thought she’d provide, the angry saw just continues its motion and moves forward until it finds the soft of Shy’s belly.
  274. >Another scream, another fountain of gore, but this time the result is less devastating.
  275. >Rainbow actually managed to deflect the weapon enough to prevent it from full-on skewering her friend and ripping out her guts for all of you to see, but it still cuts her side and leaves a gorge of mauled flesh in its path.
  276. >Fluttershy joins her squirming savior on the floor, the one who’s still trying to cover her gushing stump of a right arm.
  277. >You’re moving before you know it.
  278. >You can’t block Trixie’s backswing with a wooden bat, but you can force her to trade.
  279. >Instead of going for her weapon, you aim clear for her head.
  280. >If she wants to finish off her prey, she’ll have to take a homerun blow to the cranium for it.
  282. >With a grunt, the blue-haired traitor chooses to back up, jumping to escape Skulltaker instead of going for the kill.
  283. >"Bitch," she spits, gunning Gorefather’s motor to clear the tracks of leftover flesh.
  284. >The freshly-amputated Rainbow seems to have lost consciousness for now—you can’t actually check but her frantic screams are no longer reaching your ears—leaving only Fluttershy’s shuddering whimpers.
  285. >They’re not too distracting, seeing as they’re almost lost under the engine noise, but they manage to set the hair at the back of your neck on edge all the same.
  286. >It also means you don’t have much room to give to Trixie.
  287. >The next low swing is already coming, and you have no choice but to try and block it.
  288. >Skulltaker is shredded as soon as the roaring threads make contact, the force of the splintering wood actually yanking the stump from your grip and sending it flying.
  289. >Both yours and Trixie’s eyes fall towards Rainbow’s abandoned crowbar almost simultaneously.
  291. >You’re the first to react, jumping towards the weapon, but the girl is quick to move the chainsaw into your way.
  292. >Her disadvantage has made her predictable though, and you manage to jump over the slicing guide bar like you planned to, rolling out of the motion on the other side while grabbing the crowbar.
  293. >You can’t help but grin up at her, stabbing the flat end towards her body.
  294. >She has to back away, giving you a few precious moments to catch your breath.
  295. "Why did you kill all those people, Trixie? What are you doing?"
  296. >She looks at you as if you’re stupid.
  297. >"Murdering."
  298. >Another low swipe with Gorefather barely misses your shins.
  299. "You killed the civilians, too. Why?"
  300. >"To murder them."
  301. >Another swing.
  302. >"There’s work to be done here. But as usual, you’re even better at running away from the hard tasks than you are at playing hero."
  304. >Something about the word makes you angry.
  305. >"And now"—you block Gorefather in an explosion of sparks—"you even come here and fuck up my shit."
  306. >You answer by knocking the chainsaw’s edge away and following up with a quick jab to Trixie’s hands.
  307. >She’s beginning to breathe heavier now, and she has resorted to using her elbows and legs whenever she can, trying to catch you off guard with a sneaky punch or kick.
  308. >You’ve fought her often enough to not be surprised.
  309. >Leave it to the malignant cunt to use every means necessary to get the upper hand.
  310. >You manage to hold your ground.
  311. >The crowbar has a fair bit more weight than Skulltaker had, but you’re growing accustomed to it, learning how to use its momentum to chain your attacks together.
  312. >You’re making Trixie work for every stab she wants to take.
  314. >Although you can’t really feel them with all the adrenaline rushing through your veins, your arms and legs are slowly accumulating shallow cuts and abrasions.
  315. >A mistimed sidestep, an arm not tucked in quickly enough, and another wound is trailing blood on your skin somewhere.
  316. >It’s not that much of a problem as long as you can continue to move, but it wouldn’t be a bad idea to finish the fight sooner rather than later.
  317. >Only a matter of time until Trixie manages to land a blow for real, taking an appendage with her for her troubles.
  318. >When your opening comes, you’re ready for it.
  320. >It’s just a slight overextension on your opponent’s part, really, but it’s enough to yield you a solid hit against Gorefather’s side, deflecting the bar with a high-pitched cry of ringing metal.
  321. >Trixie tries to bring the hulking thing back but the crowbar is quicker, following up with a direct swing to her face.
  322. >She goes down in a shower of bloody teeth, her chainsaw slipping to the floor.
  323. >"What have you–"
  324. >You don’t wait for her to finish before hitting again, driving the weapon’s hook into the side of Trixie’s skull.
  325. >Her eyes grow wide, revealing her blood-red sclerae, before the muscles in her face slacken.
  326. >You drive the metal down again.
  327. >And again.
  328. >You keep hitting until your arms grow limp, and with each impact the traitor’s face gets a little less recognizable.
  329. >You don’t want to have to look at it anymore.
  330. "You fucking..."
  331. >Your voice doesn’t come out.
  332. >Even though you try to lift the crowbar up again, to get in one more swing, if only to give your synapses something to do besides bringing up memories, you cannot muster enough strength.
  333. >You think back to the nights the two of you were on surveillance duty, back to when Trixie taught you how to spot and abuse a target’s weak spots.
  334. "I was..."
  335. >Or how she gifted you Skulltaker in your second month, after you had successfully cleaned up a mafia hideout all by yourself.
  336. "You were..."
  337. >It wasn’t all that bad for a while there, was it?
  339. >By the time you’re no longer able to move the crowbar at all, Trixie’s voice isn’t ringing in your ears anymore, isn’t berating you for adding another fuck-up to your never-ending row of mistakes.
  340. >In fact, the entire room is dead quiet.
  341. >Gorefather stalled a while ago, the simple absence of its roaring motor leaving behind a vacuum you have a hard time taking.
  342. >Noise fatigue or some such.
  343. >You might have started screaming just to fill the silence if you were trusting your voice not to buckle under the strain.
  344. >You’re left exhausted, with one more notch in your belt, one less Magical Girl in the world, and one more friend turned traitor you will have to drown the memories of.
  347. >You just stand over Trixie’s disfigured corpse for a while, panting, manually unclenching one muscle group after another.
  348. >Your phone has been buzzing in your pocket for a while, but you can get it out of there right now about as much as you could play the fucking piano, what with your hands all but twitching around the metal of your friend’s weapon.
  349. >The blood running down your arms from the maze of lacerations doesn’t help either.
  350. "Dash."
  351. >You manage to pant the girl’s name with great effort.
  352. >She’s still on the floor, right where Trixie left her to bleed in agony from the gory nub her arm used to be attached to.
  353. "Dash."
  354. >There’s a whimper.
  355. >She’s still with you.
  356. >In a sense.
  357. >Fluttershy has managed to drag herself over to the windows, leaning against the glass, her costume more red than yellow by now.
  358. >The sun has set behind her at some point, leaving her with a burning horizon of a backdrop.
  360. >Summoning all the concentration you can still muster, you manage to let go of the bloody crowbar, the piece of hardware clattering to the floor.
  361. >Not the best idea, you realize, as your hands are able to shake freely now.
  362. >You fumble for your phone just to keep them busy, and you actually manage to pull the damn thing out without accidentally dropping your skirt after a few false tries.
  363. >The bloody smears following your fingers on the screen aren’t helping, but you push everything often and vigorously enough that the incoming call is eventually picked up.
  364. >"Ah!" the girl at the other end is surprised by your sudden grunt, but she manages to catch herself quickly. "We’ve arrived at the penthouse levels, Miss Shimmer."
  365. >Her voice is familiar, although you can’t fully place it right now.
  366. >"We’re going to move towards your position in a few moments and clean up the remaining security on the way. Just a little while longer."
  367. >You grunt your understanding.
  368. >Limping over to Rainbow, you give the girl a good kick to the boots.
  369. "Don’t fall asleep."
  370. >She doesn’t respond so you kick again, and this time she groans wearily.
  371. >She’s crying.
  373. "Cavalry’s coming, Dash," you repeat the information.
  374. >"Hang tight, Miss Shimmer," the voice from the speaker pipes up again, "we’ve got medical teams with us as well. Try not to move too much, alright?"
  375. >Watching Rainbow snivel into the grimy carpet, blubbering the name of a certain Magical Girl you would be happy not to hear again for the rest of your life, you manage to make the connection.
  376. >Although you wish you didn’t.
  377. >You wish the amount of alcohol and painkillers you keep subjecting yourself to had mercifully destroyed your memory facilities by now.
  378. "Diamond?"
  379. >"Y-yes, Miss Shimmer," you can hear the bashful joy in the girl’s voice. "I contracted a few weeks ago. Miss Fluttershy called me in to help out with the kill team since I’m going through my weapons training right now. She gave me your number to check in once we were close."
  380. >Glancing over to the pink-haired girl resting against the window, you find her mustering you with a tired, apologetic smile.
  381. >"I did say I wanted to become like you, didn’t I?"
  382. >You hang up before you can form the insults swirling in your head into words, throwing your phone against the nearest wall for good measure.
  383. >It cracks open with the clatter of splintering plastic, the decorative stick-on hearts flying away from it like colorful shrapnel.
  384. >And here you thought you’d actually managed to save someone for once.
  386. >Sliding down the wall next to Fluttershy, you pull out your still-virgin pack of cigarettes.
  387. "Shouldn’t be surprised, huh?"
  388. >You try to grin—more for yourself than anyone else—but your face isn’t obeying.
  389. >You’re pretty sure you end up looking like the little girl who lost her favorite teddy bear in the supermarket parking lot all those years ago, clenching her jaw as to not start crying in the middle of a crowd of onlookers.
  390. >"She wants to save the world," Shy muses quietly, "didn’t we all at some point?"
  391. "She threw away her life. As if one wasn’t… wasn’t fucking enough for today."
  392. >You wipe your eyes with your arm to get rid of the annoying wetness smearing your vision, but you only manage to get blood all over your face.
  393. >"It’s hers to throw away."
  394. "This damn shit isn’t fucking coming off. I don’t care what you said, I need…"
  395. >Tearing at the plastic wrapping with shaking hands, you realize your voice is cracking.
  396. "She’s got all the wrong ideas, Shy. She thinks Magical Girls protect people. It’s a bunch of lies, all of it. She thinks..."
  397. >Fluttershy watches you struggle with the wrapper for another second before she reaches out and gently wipes her fingers over your cheeks.
  398. >"That Magical Girls don’t cry."
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