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GM

 

A Friday evening in late February, 2021

The Boardwalk, outside the Diamond Clover Casino

 

It had not been a evening for Raina so far. Eddie had seemed like a nice enough guy at first. He had taken her to a magic show at the Boardwalk. The magician wasn't exactly good, but he was trying at least, not helped at all by Eddie's heckling and talking over each and every thing that he did, loudly explaining to Raina how he would have done the trick so much better. No, Eddie had turned out to be quite insufferable, and Raina had left, leaving the Diamond Clover Casino soon after.

 

It had been a good day for Casper. No trouble at all so far, he had been hangng out with Carrie and had taken her to a kids' show at the Boardwalk, and she had absolutely loved it. He could have sworn that Jessie had looked a bit differently at him when she picked up Carrie, too. All in all, a good day, and he had spent the rest of the afternoon and evening hanging out at the Boardwalk, just feeling good about himself for once.

 

Of course, either of those feelings wouldn't last. 

 

In the cold clear night, the roar of bikes echoed through the Boardwalk. A biker gang tore through the Boardwalk, all wearing jackets with an a horned skull with burning eyes and a pentragram on the forehead that identified them as "THE DEVIL's ADVOCATES FREEDOM CITY". Few wore helmets or any kind of protection, laughing and shouting as they drove amongst the people that had to leap for their lives to get out of the way. Of the two riders in the lead, one looked almost unnaturally pale, a red bandana tied around his forehead, his rapidly thinning black hair pulled back by it, and the other, with a full light brown beard and long hair, wore a helmet in the style of an Imperial German Pickelhaube officer's helmet.

Edited by RocketLord
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Raina watched from a safe distance as the biker gang tore up the boardwalk, the wind from the bikes plastering her skirt against her legs. "Well, at least I'm already in a crappy mood," she remarked. "Might as well get some use out of it." As she spoke, the large, firm-sided purse she was carrying unzipped itself to disgorge her familiar. Merlin had enjoyed the date only slightly more than she had; he hadn't needed to endure Eddie but he hadn't been able to get a good wifi signal anywhere in the casino. His little monkey teeth gleamed as he grimaced in the direction of the bikers, opining that these were some people with too much time and disposable income on their hands.

 

"And hanging out on all the wrong message boards," Raina agreed. "Why don't you find them online and eff 'em up, and I'll do the same out here." A few bars of hummed music brought the illusion of her costume to life, red, white and gold, with a face-concealing mask. "...aannd pop goes the weasel," she sang softly, flicking her lighter. A massive hand of flame roared out, dodging the civilians as it attempted to scoop up the first bike and rider!

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GHOST

 

"Always something." 

 

No, no, of course Casper couldn't get just one good day without someone deciding to rain on his parade. If it wasn't these guys, then it was probably Dr. Midas swooping in to steal gold from someone somewhere. Yep, it was always something. 

 

Weird, though. What were they doing on the Boardwalk, aside from just causing random trouble? Lots of targets here, and it didn't really matter, did it, he had to try and stop them first.

 

Sinking into the ground, he started pulling off his clothes to reveal his costume underneath, pulling up his mask and getting his goggles from his pocket. He should hopefully be able to find his clothes in the ground later, but first... time to get into action.

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GM

 

"What!?" the bearded man yelled loudly as flames covered his bike, carrying it off. Spotting Sparkler, he almost growled. "Buddy! We got company!" He pushed off from the bike, leaping straight for Sparkler. In mid-air, he pulled out a massive double-headed two-handed war axe. The blade shimmered with golden light as he swung it directly into the ground where Sparkler had stood a second before, quickly pulling it free to ready another strike.

 

At the bearded man's call, the rest of the bikers all came to a halt in a group, turning to see what the commotion was all about.

 

All except for Buddy, the pale man that had been riding in front. He turned his bike, heading straight for Sparkler and stopping a bit away. He leaned over the handle, grinning at her and sticking out his tongue. "C'mon, Cueball. Don't hit her too hard, I wanna have some fun with a pretty lil' thing like that."

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GHOST

 

Ghost couldn't hear what was happening up top. Concrete, asphalt and ground had a way of stopping all sound while he was moving through. He could see it all, at least. Someone throwing fire around, one of the bikers suddenly had an axe, and even with fire girl and him here, they were still outnumbered by far.

 

But fine, he could deal with that.

 

Emerging from the ground in the middle of the biker gang, he couldn't help himself.

 

"Hey guys, look! A magic trick!"

 

He went solid, not that anyone could tell the difference, and planted both hands on the pavement. Almost immediately, it started pulling the bikers down as it became incorporeal, several of them being stuck unable to move, with only a few escaping or only getting a foot stuck or something like that.

 

"Ta-daa."

 

The last bit was said absolutely deadpan.

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"I would snap you in half, Grandpa," Raina told Buddy contemptuously, "but there is not enough alcohol in the multiverse." She clapped politely for Ghost's magic trick, then waved her own hand and hummed a cheerful tune. Fire roared from her fingertips and raced towards "Cueball," falling only inches short of his front tire. By the time the light died down, Sparkler had disappeared!

 

Ten yards away, an invisible Raina found a hiding spot behind a parked delivery van to keep an eye on the fight.

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GM

 

"GAH! Freakin' witch almost burned me, Buddy! Where'd she go!?" Cueball was not happy with Sparkler just up and disappearing. Shouting wildly, he started swinging his axe around in wild swings, doing anything he could to try and tag her.

 

"What the hell!?" Whatever was special about Cueball and Buddy didn't seem to apply to the regular bikers. With most of them being pulled into the road by Ghost, the last three pulled out their handguns and started shooting wildly at him, though the haunting hero proved too fast to hit, even in his corporeal state!

 

"Chill, man. I got this." Buddy remained much calmer than the raging Cueball, simply stepping off his bike and looking around with a lazy expression. "Hiding out while the boy in white comes to the rescue. That's cold, girl. Don't worry, I won't leave ya out of the fun." He breathed out heavily. The people that hadn't gotten far enough away all fainted. When a man fell touching a woman, she fainted as well. 

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GHOST

 

"Hey! You could hit someone with that!" Ghost leaned to the side, moving out of the way of the shots, while he waited. The ground almost blinked, swallowing two more, while Ghost advanced on the last of them. "Take a timeout, alright?" He touched the man's shoulder and... pushed him right into the ground alongside the rest of them.

 

Alright, that took care of the small fry with the guns, then how about...

 

He felt weird for a second. Whatever the pale guy was doing, how could it even affect him when he was ghosting? It was weird

 

"Hey, you! You look like something the dog spat out!"

 

Yes. Yes that was great. That was gonna distract him.

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Raina jolted and tried to get out of the way as Beardo spat out a cloud of... something, something nasty, but couldn't quite manage to dodge in time. For a minute she felt absolutely, revoltingly awful, but then it passed just as quickly as it came. She got the idea that she'd just had a whiff of whatever it was, and she would not like to get the whole treatment. Firing off another absent shot at Beardy (another miss, dammit, and Erik was going to laugh himself sick if he heard about this), she leapt into the air and stayed there, floating upwards and hopefully out of reach of whatever was being spewed down there.

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GM

 

"WOULD YOU QUIT IT WITH THE FIRE!?" Cueball was angry. Maybe a bit of an understatement. When the fire passed by Buddy, he leapt at the bus that Sparkler had been hiding by, smashing straight through it with his axe.

 

Buddy just laughed at the scene. "Man, you gotta relax, Cueball. Smell 'er out or somethin'. The others'll be here soon, anyway. Don't wanna look bad in front of the boss, do ya?" Personally, he turned to look at Ghost. "This ain't yer day, Ghosty boy. You're messin' with the Devil's Advocates here." 

 

He jogged towards Ghost and threw a punch that went right through the spectral super, with little effort really put into it.

Edited by RocketLord
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GHOST

 

"Sure, sure, you're all big and bad and everything. Look at me shaking, I'm practically as white as a sheet." 

 

Yeah, alright. Devil's Advocates. Casper had to admit, it was a pretty badass name. And they clearly weren't just ordinary bikers, with that axe and... whatever it was that this guy had done just before. 

 

With the punch passing through him, he reached forward and passed his hand though Buddy's shoulder, and... nothing. Oh, this guy was tough. Right.

 

"Don't suppose you wanna start monologuing about why you're tearing through the Boardwalk?"

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"The Devil's Advocates? What are you, crappy biker lawyers?" Raina couldn't help but say, even though she was supposed to be hiding. It didn't much matter, since she was up in the air and things were very loud on the ground. Abandoning Beardy to the tender mercies of the stranger hero, she turned her attention to Baldy. That guy was really starting to bug her. Raina raised her lighter, gave it a flick. "I hope that you... burn..." she sang softly, her lips nearly touching the flame. A massive gout of fire rushed out like water from a firehose, momentarily enveloping the luckless villain until he couldn't see or hear or do anything but try and put himself out. Letting the little flicker die, Raina quickly relocated to a safer corner of the sky.

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GM

 

"GAH! #%&@! You freakin' little %&?#! I'll tear you to #¤%&ing pieces!" Cueball stood in the fire, grasping his axe tightly with on hand while he used the other to try and put it out the burning jacket. He twisted and turned, too distracted to try and find the invisible Sparkler for the moment.

 

"Nah, not our style." Buddy seemed completely unphased by Ghost's attack, not even slowing down at all. His lips pulled back, revealing almost rotting teeth in his mouth. Ghost and Sparkler both felt it again... a sick feeling, spreading out from him. "Gimme a sec, hero." Buddy brought up a phone and started talking, right in front of the surprised Ghost. "Hey, boss, got a couple a' heroes here. Could use some backup."

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GHOST

 

There it was, that weird feeling again. Casper pulled back slightly, letting it pass by him again, but he shouldn't have been able to feel it at all... just what was this guy doing? And... was he really talking on the phone now? Here?

 

"Really?" He raised an eyebrow behind his goggles, then quickly reached forward, touching the man's shoulder, quick enough to send a sharp pain through his body, then flew forward, straight through him and getting closer to the guy with the axe. "C'mon, I'm right here. Leave everyone else alone, yeah?" The girl with the fire was still hiding, so if he could just get them to focus on him...

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GM

 

Cueball turned towards Ghost instead. "Ah, screw this. Little witch ran away." He made a grunting noise, lunging straight for Ghost and swinging his axe at him. It was still glowing with golden light with every swing.

 

Buddy groaned when Ghost touched him, then quickly pocketed his phone. "The hell was that? You barely touched me!" He rubbed his shoulder as he moved closer to Ghost, trying to box him in alongside Cueball. The sick feeling continued to spread from him.

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GHOST

 

Ran away? Casper kinda doubted it. She hadn't sounded like the type to run away just because of a big axe... that was coming straight for him. Quickly floating to the side, Casper stared at the glowing axe as it passed by him, then shifted to look at the man. That axe looked weirdly glowy... he really didn't want to see if it could hurt him or not.

 

He quickly pushed himself back, flying straight towards Buddy again. That sick feeling... he really had to do something about Buddy. People around them were dropping. "And now I'm gonna touch you again." Ghost passed right through Buddy, coming out on the other side. "Ew. Ever considered taking a shower?"

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Despite her climb into the air, Raina hadn't gone quite far enough to avoid the pathogen. For a long, scary moment, she couldn't stop coughing, stuck in an invisible uncontrolled tumble as she struggled to breathe. Going up helped a little bit, helped her get some clean air in her lungs. "That's it, you asshole," she muttered, her voice raspy and hoarse. "See how you like breathing some real bad air." Even humming was agony on her throat, but it was enough to take the flicker of lighter flame and turn it into a roaring fireball that spilled over the unfortunate Buddy like a bucket of burning water. She took a split second to admire her work and then flew away again, higher and to a different angle, making it that much harder to target on her.

 

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GM

 

As Cueball watched his axe pass through Ghost, he only grew even more pissed off. "GRRAAAH! You %&¤#! I'm going to ¤%¤& and then %&¤# you and after I'm done you'll be nothing but a ¤#&/¤%'ing %¤%&# left of you!" The glow on the axe seemed to shift slightly after his outburst and yell, dimming a bit, perhaps, but also changing color.

 

"Hey, she's up there somewhe-" Buddy didn't get the time to finish his sentence before fire rained down on him from above. Throwing himself to the ground, he stared rolling to try and put it out, yelling in pain the entire time.

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GHOST

 

"Sorry 'bout that," Ghost muttered to Cueball, then pointed to the logo on his chest. "Guess that and the whole walk through the ground and your buddy thing didn't really clue you in on what I can do, did it?" 

 

Pushing away from Cueball, he floated on his side, quickly reaching down to touch him on the way. With his flames almost out by now, Buddy seized at the touch, then stopped moving. Finally. Guy was way tougher than he should've been.

 

"See ya!"

 

With that, Ghost dove head first into the ground just behind Buddy, leaving Cueball standing alone and raging at the sky, the ground and everything in between.

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Raina crowed triumphantly as the hairy guy went down under a hail of fire and some weird martial arts tap from the other guy. She'd have to ask Erik about that one, see if she could learn how to knock a guy out by poking him. In the meantime, she formed another fireball and hurled it straight into Baldy's pouting face, blowing him backwards into the side of the bus with concussive force. Sweeping across the sky, she could suddenly hear the roar of additional engines. "We're about to have more company," she called to her ally on the ground.

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GM

 

"You frea-" Cueball was thrown back by the fireball, slamming into a bus, then quickly put out the flames in his beard. He shook his head, looked around and found... no one. Sparkler was still invisible. Ghost had disappeared into the ground. "COME AND FIGHT ME YOU %¤¤&ing cowards!"

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GHOST

 

A white hand quickly poked out of the ground where Ghost had disappeared, giving the witch girl a quick thumbs up, before it disappeared again.

 

So, more people coming. Axe guy he could deal with, but if there were more people like the guy that had just taken out, then who knew what would happen? These guys might not be sharp, but they were dangerous.

 

Adjusting his goggles for half a second, Ghost spotted the approaching guys and quickly flew through the road towards them, staying low enough that wouldn't see him, but not too low. The moment he reached them, his hand shot out of the ground and grabbed around the ankle of one of them, quickly trying to pull him in.

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Raina took one more shot at the angry biker, but wasn't too concerned when that one didn't hit. She was concentrating on finding Merlin, holed up securely behind a bank of pay lockers well away from the action. "Please tell me you found something useful about these guys." The monkey shrugged. The Devil's Advocates were a biker gang, small time, but with apparently recently-acquired superpowers. The story was that they'd gotten those powers in a deal with the devil.

 

"That's it?" Raina asked. "No real names, no HQ?" Merlin reminded her tartly that she wasn't giving him much time or space to work here, and he was doing his best. Perhaps she ought to go actually deal with the problem while he prevented future ones! Grumbling, Raina turned back to the fight, but this time she opened her magical senses to try and get an idea of what they were dealing with here.

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GM

 

Angel was silent. He wore black and chains. A hood pulled up near around his head, where he wore what seemed like the top of a skull as a mask. His black clothes had the markings of all the bones of a skeleton underneath it. Leader or not, he stayed silent as he drove straight towards Cueball. They drove fast. Much faster than they should have been able to. Something was up with those bikes. Something that Raina might be able to see. The four riders were obviously magic. She could see that much. The bikes as well. 

 

"Ey, boss! Got somebody tryin' t' catch me!" The Born Loser was thin. Way too thin. His lips pulled back in a smile, he started swerving and turning, moving out of the way, doing everything he could to make it difficult on Ghost. He wore a Devil's Advocates jacket on his upper body, his thin arms leaving plenty of space free in the armholes. His long blonde, almost orange, hair was slicked back, held in place by a red bandana. "C'mon, now! Gotta do better than that!" Then, Raina, Ghost and Merlin would all feel it. A sinking feeling, something gnawing at them. Like something was trying to starve them.

 

Cueball smashed into some cars, toppling them with his axe. Luckily not the one that Merlin and Sparkler were hiding behind. "Boss! There's some witch girl and a guy that walks through walls! They took down Buddy!" 

 

One rider was down. Three riders remained.

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GHOST

 

Now this guy? This guy was annoying. He just kept swerving and moving and getting just out of Ghost's reach whenever he touched him. Like... how? And how fast were those bikes going, anyway? He had to actually go fast down here to keep up.

 

The sinking feeling hit, but Ghost pushed forward, through it. Great. Another guy that could affect him. Even under ground. That wasn't something that usually happened.

 

Catching up to the Born Loser he reached up again and pulled... and had the guy swerve again at just the last moment.

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