Sunday, August 20, 2017

Battle Vixens! - 2

Episode 2: To Catch a Crook

The first step was to go to the bank, and then hopefully think of a good way to start tracking the suspect...Blake wanted to do her superspeed thing to get there, but of course a normal-looking girl showing off something like that would be really suspicious. She could make herself invisible, though, up to some street camera that would see a normal girl walking along the street by the bank.

Moving through the city at full speed, the wind whipping across her hair and the fur of her ears and tail, felt great! She could even do little parkour moves like running up walls, jumping from rooftop to rooftop or even wall to wall. Her body felt small and not strong, maybe even weaker than it had been before, but it had endurance; she felt able to run a marathon's worth of sprints and not even break a sweat.
When she thought to herself, Where is all this energy coming from? the first thing that occurred to her was the sunlight on her skin. She was...what...photosynthetic on top of everything else? Well, the part that had answered before said, it was less like she was converting the light into some other kind of energy and more like..despite solidifying since her body changed form...she was light, body and energy alike. When she spent up energy running, the sunlight just replaced it as it flowed into and through her.

The general theme of her powers was glaringly obvious from the start, but this latest bit of just how they were working led Blake to the equally obvious conclusion that she had a crippling weakness, and just what it was. It might not be a good idea to use this form at night, or in unlit areas, at least not without being careful. Maybe she wouldn't disappear out of existence in the pitch dark, but it would surely make it much harder to do almost everything.

In no time, she was where she wanted to be. After finding a good place to appear from, she casually walked out back in the normal-girl disguise, and stopped in front of the shop across the street from the bank—which, of course, was taped off as a crime scene. While her image window-shopped, the real girl checked for cars coming, crossed the street, and after concluding she couldn't actually jump high enough to get over the tape did a wall-run-to-jump to get around it instead.

Now...can I track someone who's been through here? She sniffed at the air a bit...her sense of smell was better, but it's not like she was a bloodhound or anything. No, she needed to think about how her primary power theme could be used to track someone. Light...right...light was how you see someone. It scattered all over the place from the bank robber as she dashed out of here and off along the sidewalk. But...some of it was absorbed, into that sidewalk and into the walls of the buildings nearby. That was how colors worked: Some was absorbed, and what was left reflected off.

The footage from the security camera on the news had had the time. She knelt to the sidewalk, trying to feel for energy that had been light about that long ago. She closed her eyes, trying to adjust what she was seeing...and soon, it worked. Blake opened her eyes, and was aware of a kind of dark fire-like glow surrounding them. She saw light where it had been absorbed into the sidewalk back then, and footprints, small-size tennis shoes, leading in and out of the bank. The rest of the world glowed in negative, with shadows and images of the culprit where her body had blocked or reflected the light earlier that morning, as well as the same for some bugs and birds and other pedestrians. But that girl's silhouette was fairly distinct—after all, she had tall pointy ears and a tail.

Once she'd worked out how to get this kind of vision, Blake could switch in and out of it easily. Which was good; she couldn't actually see obstacles in the way like the police tape while 'seeing' like that. She parkour'd back around the tape in the direction her target had gone, and then began following the trail, carefully flipping her vision back and forth and having her image follow along at a casual pace, crossing the street at a crosswalk when possible to bring it back in sync with her body's real position.

She adjusted the time forward to keep the trail fresh as she continued to track her quarry. The trail led her eventually to an alleyway—no cameras, of course. Then her target had somehow gone from on the ground to on a nearby roof, so she had to triangle-jump her way up there and follow along the rooftops. It was a short ways off to the backdoor of a store which was closed over the weekend; she gently tried the door and found it locked. The thief had gone in and out again, then to another alley, and then...she disappeared. But another person, much taller, was in her place. Obviously, if the girl's powers worked like Blake's, she turned it off at this point. The larger shoeprints continued on, not making nearly the distance the small ones had in the same time.

The trail led to another bank, far from the one that had been robbed, and then back out, and a house. It was a small house out in the suburbs, and her ears informed her someone was walking around inside. Pacing..? Of course she had gone invisible again sometime after leaving the more crowded city streets, the image largely there so there wouldn't be anything strange to see if she bumped into someone, but she never actually had thanks to the parkouring and some rather good reflexes.

She began bending, directing, and reflecting the light: Just a tiny bit, hopefully a small enough amount that whoever it was wouldn't notice the house getting dimmer, and she had before her eyes a miniature, dim view of the inside. It was a pretty normal house...only the one person inside, and they...he was indeed pacing. Another boy being turned into a girl? Was sex reversal a thing with these powers? Blake shook her head, reminding herself to focus. There was a computer inside, a very old one with a CRT monitor. On closer inspection it overall seemed to reflect one person living alone in pretty modest means...well, of course, why would a person who already had a lot of money want to steal?

Well, it didn't matter—she just needed to bring him in. Except...well, the police were looking for a fox girl. So it would be better if she could get him to look like that and then bring her in, even if it was a more dangerous way to go about things. It meant giving up the element of surprise, but well, what kind of here sneaks up behind a person and clubs them in the back of the head anyway? So...Blake decided to get his attention. With a little flick of the wrist, some words in white, glowing text appeared on the wall he was facing: I know, and I'm waiting outside. Give yourself up.
Inside, the man shook his head. Her ears picked him up saying, "I...I can't. Please, just leave me alone." He sounded...pretty old. On closer inspection, the dim image she had of him did look the part.
She twirled the message into a new one: Don't make me come inside after you.
The thief made an angry, frustrated sound, and went to his front door. He walked normally enough, no limp or anything, so probably a decently healthy old man. He paused, looking out the window (but she was invisible), and then opened the door but didn't step outside.

Blake decided to appear nearby, because she was going to talk and he'd know where she was anyway. "You must've known by now there were other people getting powers. Didja think you'd get away with it for long~?" She paused, frowning to herself and shaking her head. That had come out a bit...differently from how it had been intended.
"I do not have a choice," he said, glaring at her.
She crossed her arms. "Are you gonna try to run? I can always track you down again."
He took the few steps to get outside, allowing his door to close behind him, and looked at her.

The expression she saw then was not the look of a guilty crook being caught; it was a pained, desperate look, the look of someone who knew that no matter what, they would regret what they were about to do. It made her pause for just a second instead of going to take him in, and that seemed to be all he needed.

The old man spoke, and she didn't understand it exactly. It was syllables that simply made no sense, sounded unpronouncable—it was his phrase. And as soon as he spoke it, her perception of the world seemed to slow right along with his.

A bolt of lighting struck him from the clear morning sky. His body seemed electrified but not hurt by it, arcs of electricity sparking all around him. He closed his eyes as he began to steadily shrank downward and inward. With a slight shake of his head, his gray hairs seemed to fall downward as if extra length had just been hiding, enough to frame his face, while a pair of tall ears the same light gray shade rose from his head. His pants split apart at the thighs, the top spreading into a skirt while the rest shrank and softened into a pair of black stockings, pulling close against rapidly slimming legs. The belt on the pants seemed to pop upward a bit from this motion, and grew twice as tall around his waist.
His shirt's sleeves slid down, its collar dipped, and every inch of exposed skin from his face through his arms to the bits of thigh the fluttering skirt showed instantly smoothed and youthened. Blake saw his frame push inward still more as the sleeves fluttered out into a kind of cape, and soon perceived a girl even shorter than herself, with the top of her head at Blake's chest. A tail burst out from her back in an audible fizzle of sparks, and when she crossed her arms and closed them as if to hold something a sword appeared in each, the left holding something closer to a knife or dagger while the right held one matching Blake's own.

One of the girl's eyes opened, and then the other; there was an air of fear about her, but not fear of the other foxgirl—of herself, perhaps? Again the whole change had occurred in an instant, and Blake only now had time to make her own sword appear. It wasn't a moment too soon, as the short thief-girl lashed out with the shorter sword and then the longer one, producing a wide arc of electricity with each; she was forced to duck to one side from the first and then block the second, thanking whatever properties her sword had that it didn't just conduct all that electricity straight into her.
And then—she literally turned tail and ran. Blake was still recovering from the force of the second blow, and by the time she realized what had happened the smaller girl had jumped atop her own roof, leaving an arc of electricity behind, and was running along it to get away. Apparently she could leap tall buildings in a single bound...or at least, normal sized ones.

Blake took the ground path, running around the building instead of over, and when her opponent landed she wasn't far behind. Maybe it was her smaller stride, or maybe a difference in their respective powersets, but the other girl was slower on foot than Blake and soon had to dodge a slash from her sword. The retort was quick, the short sword swiped blindly backwards to produce a wild spray of sparks. Blake had to dive to the ground to get away from them and by the time she rolled several feet from momentum and popped back up there were yards between them.

More buildings now, and the lightning-girl just sparked on top of one roof and over to another. Blake parkoured up and across behind her, but it only slowed her down enough to keep her from gaining distance again. Still, if she was just going to get a spray of sparks every time she got close, this wasn't a very good plan.
Her body went on autopilot, following the other girl's moves and deliberately avoidining getting to close to now, while she thought about it. She could just flash the girl's eyes so she wouldn't see her, or go invisible, but if her ears were as good as Blake's she'd just go by sound instead. No...the girl need to see something she wouldn't expect to also hear, and then hopefully be too busy adjusting for it to notice her persuer getting close. So when they got past this set of buildings Blake just put another building in front of the smaller girl, right where it would make sense to just now be seeing it.

The small, sparking girl seemed to take the bait, running straight for the building and trying to jump onto it. As the illusory house disappeared it left behind her opponent bouncing on the ground a few times from all the extra momentum gravity had given her after that miscalculated jump. Blake dashed around to in front of her and tried a swipe with the flat of her blade, but it met the other girl's katana as she stood back up. Holding Blake's sword in place, she looked around...they were in a hilly patch of grass on the outskirts of the town proper. With a quick motion and a burst of surprising strength, she pushed Blake's sword back entirely, knocking her off balance, and then sparked back several feet, readying her blades again.
She spoke for the first time since changing. "I-if you want to bring me in you'll have to kill me." She didn't sound as young as she looked; her voice was light and girlish, but deeper-toned than Blake's. "H-here, nobody else will get hurt." But there was a kind of unsteadiness to it, matching the touch of fear that had shown just after she changed.

"Isn't that a little—" Blake started to say, but the girl didn't wait for a response, going for a sudden X-shaped strike with her blades at the air, which produced a chaotic spiral of electricity toward everything in the general forward direction. Since she was in said, direction, Blake had to dive to one side of the attack and still felt the outer edges of it singing the fur on the tip of her tail on the way out. The small girl struck out at her aggressively, and she dodged back, remembering their considerable difference in strength from the sword clash. "Hokay then!"
The smaller girl wasn't as fast, so this was a good tactic, and she was able to dart around behind her again. A swift strike from there was met with the smaller sword, but Blake drew the sword back right away and struck from another angle, requiring a backwards block with the longer sword, and then kicked her opponent flat in the back.

"Aah!" Her swords disappearing into sparks, she turned the forward momentum into a front-flip, and unleashed a wide-branching strike of lightning from her palms back at Blake in the middle of it. This one hit, and Blake convulsed briefly and dropped her own sword instead of being able to capitalize on the awkward positioning. The smaller girl whirled around, her swords reforming from sparks of lightning originating at her wrists, and then they faced each other again, but the light-katana was on the ground.

Blake decided to use her own powers now rather than relying on swordplay, which really didn't seem to be working out all that well. She hopped back, went invisible, and made a few images of herself run off in different directions, hoping her opponent wouldn't think to use sound to track her too quickly. She took the bait, chasing after an image that ran right and slashing at it only for it to shimmer out of view. Next, the sword on the ground was recalled to light and drawn in along with much of the sunlight in the surrounding area, dimming the view considerably and forming a volleyball-sized sphere of white-red light above the impromptu arena.

Okay...lasers. Hopefully set to stun. Blake fired a single burst of concentrated light at the lightning-girl, which she saw coming and jumped aside of; it made a miniature explosion on the ground. A thinner, more constant beam was the next try; it set fire to the grass as it traced a winding path behind her. These had both looked awfully deadly to be honest, but in the middle of this shot Blake had an idea—an inspiration, even.

She was still invisible, but the extra images of her had disappeared due to concentration on the light-orb and lasers. Concentrating hard, she made an image of herself holding up her hands to direct the laser appear a few feet to one side of herself while continuing to chase the smaller girl with the laser. Her head turned at the appearing image, and she started toward it, her longer sword readied to strike. Blake—the real one—reformed her sword, turned it around so her natural movements would strike with the flat side, and when her opponent struck at her image she dropped the laser and made a swipe straight at the back of her head.

A reflex brought the smaller sword in the path of this strike, and Blake fired the heat-laser straight at it. "Mnngh!" Her opponent was forced to drop the sword as she turned around to counter; Blake caught the smaller sword, struck at her opponent with that to force her to block with the longer one, and then in the same motion Blake's own sword went straight for the forehead, and made a clean, sharp strike straight to it. It connected with a somewhat unpleasant Whap and the small girl was sent flying back and down to the ground, her other weapon leaving her hand and skipping across the ground a few times.

Blake automatically gave chase, landing with her knees on the other girl's stomach and tossing aside the smaller blade to grasp her own in both hands, bringing it up to the girl's throat—but it was still the flat end there, thankfully.

"Unh..." Her opponent seemed dazed from the blow to her head; her eyes fluttered slightly. Her body sparked with electricity, which made Blake flinch briefly until she wasn't hurting her. The arcs increased in intensity around her, flowing through the taller girl harmlessly, until finally a single stream of miniature lightning shot from the center of the prone girl's chest into Blake's, and she felt a rush like the one that had come with speaking her phrase and becoming a superpowered fox-girl for the first time.

Panting slightly, Blake shook her head. She remembered when the girl had spoken, sounds and words she hadn't understood, only now it seemed she did understand them. That memory of the phrase, those words, burned into her mind next to the one from the dream, another thought waiting at the ready for her use.

The sparking which had followed and surrounded her opponent from the moment she'd become a fox-girl stopped, leaving the world calm around them. Blake dismissed what was left of the orb of collected light, uncertain what had just happened...but when she looked back down at her former-opponent, she had the distinct impression that the small, gray-haired girl was now...powerless.

I feel like I'm slightly cheating the rules I laid out for myself a while back ("every other update should be something with an image, like a story with a major change or a caption") by posting this without something else between, because even though there is a change with an image it's not all that extravagant? But the response seemed to be very positive to the first one and I've written this one, and the next one is partway through too, and I don't like to just sit on stuff. If you didn't like this decision do feel free to let me know; I mean I'm probably going to get a caption together soon anyway but I like to see even negative opinions.


  1. Blake! This is the last of my Hamon! TAKE IT!
    ... Well, wrong anime, but it'll do.

  2. "but when she looked back down at her former-opponent, she had the distinct impression that the small, gray-haired girl was now...powerless" without the power to transform, he's stuck like that?

  3. So victory results in claiming the losers power... and perhaps, the right to revert to normal?
    Seems our ringmaster really thought about how to encourage conflict ^^; People are going to exploit that I'm guessing.

    Anyhoo.... personally, I'd say don't worry too greatly about 'cheating the rules'; when you're into the story you're writing, it's easier to go with the momentum right~? (or erm... that's how it works for me I guess ^^;)

  4. ...So if our protagonist here now has two power sets, does activating both of them make him into a two-tailed fox?