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GamerXZ

Chosen By The Earth

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When it came to walking through an empty park during night fall, the majority of people's opinions fell into one of two categories: The first category said they loved it for how romantic and tranquil it could be, giving certain people a chance to express how they truly felt without fear of being embarrassed in some way. The other category is that it was basically the equivalent of a death trap as there could be any number of seedy, unruly scumbags lying in wait to pounce on unsuspecting victims, beat them to a pulp, and rob them of all their valuables....and believe it or not, that was only if you were lucky. 

 

Tonight was a fine example of both categories playing out. A romantic couple whom we will call Shane and Julia had just been enjoying a peaceful night out, going about their business...when a group of hoodlums had approached them, demanding money if they wanted to live. The two had beaten a hasty retreat and managed to lose them within the woods...unfortunately, by the time they had done so, they had ended up well off the beaten trail and in the middle of nowhere. The two had wandered for some time to get back to the trail but to no avail.

 

As time went on, Shane got more and more fed up with their current situation, "Julia, please tell me you got some reception already! I feel like we been wandering for hours and my feet are killing me!"

"Oh quit your bellyaching, Shane," Julia rolled her eyes as she checked her phone and cursed to herself, "Darn it! Still nothing! At this rate, we're gonna be stuck out here all night!"

 

"All night?! Please tell me you're joking..." Shane groaned like a kid whom had just had their favorite toy confiscated, "You do realize this is all your fault, right?!"

"Excuse me?!" Julia whirled on her boyfriend, eyes blazing with the red fires of fury and indignation, "Oh no, you don't get to blame this all on me, mister! You're the one who thought it was a brilliant idea to go walking through the park in the middle of the night!"

 

"Whoa, whoa, easy there, Julia!" Shane put up his hands, feeling he had said the wrong thing, "We're both just...tired, ok? How about we sit down for five minutes and then we-" Suddenly, the rustling of bushes could be heard around them, "What the..." From them emerged half a dozen men dressed from head to toe in attire that made them blend into the dark scenery so well they were like shadows. "Ah geez...they found us!"

"No duh! What was your first clue, Sherlock?!" She and her lover stood back to back as the hoodlums approached, "Shane, I just want you to know before we die...I was the one who ate the last slice of pizza in the fridge the other night."

 

"That's alright, Julia.." Suddenly, it sunk in what she had said, "Wait, you what?!!" 

 

However, before the hoodlums could get any closer, that's when IT happened. The plants around them, and even the tree branches, suddenly came to life, lashing out at them, grabbing and hauling them down to the dirt, causing each of the hoodlums to scream and cry out in shock and horror as they hacked away at their attackers with knives and shot them up with guns. However, for everyone they killed, two more took its place. One thug found himself yanked off his feet by a  tree branch and slammed against another of his friends before both found themselves being squeezed together in a bundle of roots and stems. 

 

Another whipped out his gun and started shooting at a rapidly approaching pile of moss and vines, but his shots did little to deter the creature from its path as it launched itself through the air, grabbed him and dragged him off into the woods as he screamed bloody murder. The fourth and fifth went after their buddy only to have the ground explode open as a set of giant roots erupted from within to grab and restrain them. 

 

The last hoodlum, deciding that any pay to be made wasn't worth losing his life over, turned tail and ran off into the darkness...only for a loud scream to echo through the woods a few seconds later. 

 

The incredible thing though is that through this whole nightmarish scene...the pair of lovers were completely unharmed. In fact, it was as if the sentient plants were actively avoiding or even protecting them from their attackers. Despite this, fear still gripped their hearts as they backed away together, until they found their backs against...something. They hesitantly turned their heads and looked up...only to get the shock of their lives. 

 

The figure stood silhouetted in darkness and seemed to be wearing some sort of flowing coat over its lean, muscular frame. Its ruby red eyes staring right through them. "P-Please don't hurt us, mister...please, please..." They begged the creature before them. It said nothing...only raised a hand to point behind them, like it were giving a silent signal. The two looked ahead...and saw a new trail that had not been there before. 

 

When they looked back...the figure was already gone. Deciding not to stick around, they followed the new trail and before long, were back in the safety of civilization...

_________________________________________________

 

Needless to say, it wasn't long before the pair's story spread like wildfire, and only helped to fuel the growing mystery that had cropped up almost overnight. Videos, pictures, and so on all helped to only create more questions. Who was the mysterious figure hiding out in local parks and in forests all around Freedom City? Where did they come from? What did they want? Just what was the truth behind the shocking behavior of the local wildlife? 

 

There was no doubting that quite a few people were kept on edge....It hadn't killed anyone, sure...but was this entity a force for good, truly? Only time would tell...

Edited by GamerXZ

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As she often liked to do, Miracle Girl was perched on top of the Sentry Statue, enjoying an incomparable view; not only did she have one of the world's most beautiful natural harbors spread before her, but with her amazing eyesight she could take in a lot more than most people. She noisily slurped on a large, triple thick strawberry shake (the cold never bothered her anyway), her feet dangling over the one-way glass windows in the statue's forehead as she just took in the world.

 

But of course, she also still used the opportunity to scan for danger, looking for anything out of the ordinary...

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"Miss you too. Just gotta do one thing." Putting up his phone, Riley headed for the park's nearest public restroom, which just as he had hoped was largely deserted. He didn't really need to deal with a lot of crap today - and there wasn't another good place to slip into his costume. The plant monster or whatever the hell it was in the park couldn't be too bad, he told himself, otherwise Fleur de Joie or Willow would be on this. So it's fine. I'll go take a look, and if it's anything too freaky, I'll get other heroes for help. Slipping out the restroom through the door, he kept to the evening shadows, stopping for a perilous moment to look up at the Sentry Statue and the metahuman up there with his binoculars. 

 

They liked to nest around the statue - and lurk up there to watch for prey. He'd only been a Woodsman a year back home, but the lessons drilled into him, in training from the age of fourteen, still lurked in the back of the young Claremont student's mind. After all, there was no reason to let his skills go rusty. This Riverside was hard to operate in, lacking most of the cover of the one he knew, but at least he was unlikely to run into wolves. He left the footpaths behind and soon was under cover of the park's forests, his tread light and movement swift. 

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Far off in the forest, if one traveled far enough, they would eventually stumble on to a old greenhouse. However, the sight of vines growing up the sides and the bits of moss on the windows would be enough evidence to suggest this place had been abandoned for some time...so why were there still lights on inside the building? Well, let's step a little closer and find out, shall we?

 

If one stepped through the front doors, they would likely find themselves in a place that looked like it came from a storybook, exotic flowers of all types and sizes grew inside the building and a long dirt trail led towards a large oak tree as big as a house with birds and small animals of all kinds flocking and going about their business without a care in the world. Sitting under the shade of this particular tree was a rather peculiar figure. Humanoid but colored various shades of green to highlight features like a tunic and pants, white rose petals made up its hair and a mantled long coat covered its body while a green eye mask shielded its face. 

 

It had its eyes closed as if peacefully meditating, just enjoying this moment of peace that it had won after so much conflict back where he came from. Suddenly, he opened his red eyes, the forest having told him that he had guests. Some of them good...but others...not so good....

 

Namely the idea that the woods outside were crawling with men dressed in black uniforms and wearing skull masks and armed to the teeth with heavy weaponry as they moved through the trees on a seek and capture mission...or a search and destroy mission...

Edited by GamerXZ

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Seeing nothing alarming out in the bay, Casey turned her gaze shoreward, her eyes looking for any sudden or suspicious movements...until she nearly split up her stawberry shake, as there was a pack of very shifty characters working their way through the woods not a hundred yards from were she currently sat.

 

 

Oh look, it's the local Skeleton Scout pack on their way to a jamboree! I will join them, for I fear they may be lost!

 

For a heroine known for making flashy entrances, Miracle Girl could be awfully subtle when she wanted to be; the main thing was minimizing the golden glow of her bioenergy field, which became brighter the more she used her powers. She drained her thick shake with one powerful slurp, then stepped off the edge of the statue in what was essentially a controlled fall, using only the bare minimum of her flight to make sure she didn't go splat at the foot of the Sentry, or rather in her case, make a sizable and expensive dent. Toward the bottom of her fall, she used a bit of thrust to swoop just short of the ground for a bit of lateral movement before she landed; when she did so, right next to one of the park's garbage cans so she could dispose of her trash, she'd placed herself about twenty yards behind her targets, well within range of her infrared vision as she began to dart from tree to tree to close the gap inbetween them.

 

Edited by Heritage

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Moving silently through the woods, Woodsman caught sight and sound of the armed thugs, and for a moment he was elsewhere and elsewhen, walking through the Forest Primeval in the company of his fellow Woodsmen, armed and armored against the horrors of the woods. But here he knew that armed men in strange uniforms moving through the forest couldn't be the good guys - or at least probably weren't. Spraying machine gun fire in a city this large would only get innocent people hurt. Still, he didn't mistrust these men as much as a typical superhero might. He climbed quickly up the nearest tree, a difficult task on the artfully maintained forest of the park, and began slowly making his way after the thugs, leaping from tree to tree when he could, dropping and running through the grass when no trees were close enough to stay together.

 

He kept an eye out for anyone who looked like a leader, and readied his bow in case he needed to make a quick draw. If they were here to start a war, he was going to stop that war before it started. 

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The men in black continued their march through the trees, scanning the area around them but for the moment they hadn't noticed anyone tailing them. However, just because they looked like any other group of hoodlums didn't mean they should be taken lightly. After all, any group willing to walk around with weapons in broad daylight were the kind of people just asking for attention, trouble, or some mix of the two. 


Suddenly, a voice echoed all around them, reverberating through the trees and the earth itself, though it was impossible to pinpoint the source or whether the voice was male or female, "Humans...you trespass on grounds that are under my protection. Whatever you came for, you will not find it here. I give you one chance to return to where you came from. Do so, and no harm will come to any of you. I will pretend as if you were not even here..." The men in black all looked at each other and despite the masks, their body language suggested at least a few were considering it. 

 

"Don't lose your nerve, boys," one of the masked men remarked as he stepped forward, his mask having a pair of horns painted on it along with wearing slightly beefier-looking body armor, indicating someone of rank, "Remember what we came here for. Now, let me do the talking..." He looked up at the trees, "So, I heard you're the "boogeyman" who's been all the rage on the news lately, huh? You know, you put quite a few of my men in the hospital..."


For a couple seconds, the voice was quiet, before it suddenly answered, "Those men made the choice to terrorize innocent people and steal from hard-working citizens. They have no one to blame for what befell them except themselves."

 

"Ah, another one of those folks whom loves playing "judge and jury" with their powers, huh?" The masked man snickered despite the slightly condescending tone, "Why you gotta be like that, man? I mean, the economy's tough. You do what you gotta do to get by...now why don't you give yourself up and let us turn you in for the bounty on your head? Trust me, it'll be easier on all of us..." As he was talking, he pulled out a syringe and started inspecting it from all sides. 

 

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Once the talking began, Casey movied to get herself closer, her infrared vision now picking up several heat signitures; there were the masked men, but also another figure hiding in the shadows, bearing what looked to be a crossbow.

 

Is that Riley from school? Would make sense that he patrols the parks at night.

 

Trying to be as stealthy as possible, the blonde heroine got within fifty feet of the back of the nearest hoodlum, waiting for the right moment to make a move. She also took the opportuniy to see if she could make out whoever was talking on behaf of the forest.

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These guys are dumbasses, thought Woodsman with skepticism from the tree he'd taken as his roost near the leader of the skull-faced soldiers. They're gonna have supers coming down on them like a ton of bricks if they start shooting those guns in the park - and they shouldn't be talking to the thing they're here to put down! Riley understood hunting monsters in the woods, oh yes he did, but Woodsmen didn't engage the creatures of the Forest in conversation. They killed them. All right, maybe I can put the fear of Woodsman in them. He took some time, sorting through his bolts, before he found the one he sought - the one with the red stripe down the middle. Keeping his ears on the conversation between the thugs and their target, he silently rappelled down the tree, then crept through the forest until he'd reached what he thought was maximum bow range. 

 

Without a word, he took careful aim, fired his bolt as close as he could to the seeming leader of the group, then immediately hit the dirt - inside the bolt, the force of the impact had shattered crystals and forced certain compounds to meet, causing-BOOM! 

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"You have no idea what you're up against, human. I could easily slaughter the whole bunch of you with a thought if I wanted to..." Evergreen's voice echoed once more, and the hoodlums began looking to and from, expecting an attack of some sort, "...But I am not without mercy. I give you my offer again. Leave this place, and no harm will befall you." 

 

"Sorry, tree hugger," The thug's leader remarked as he put the syringe back in his side pocket, "But I know you. You aren't gonna do anything...heck, my boys could burn this whole forest down and I bet the most you would do is wag your finger and get us to sit in the corner," His smugness was short-lived though when the whole forest suddenly began to shake. 

"TRY IT! I DARE YOU!!!!" 

 

"Boss, please stop teasing the guy who's basically a walking disaster zone!!!" One of the men roared. 

 

"N-Now, now..." The skull-faced man put his hands up, "L-Let's be reasonable about this. I-I was just having a bit of fun...you can take a joke, right?" However, he was so involved in this conversation he didn't even notice the arrow flying towards his area...until it was too late.  A loud explosion went off with such force it created a smoke cloud that could be seen for miles, men were sent flying every which way, screaming in pain though surprisingly very little blood could be seen. It was obvious that the attack wasn't meant to kill...but it still ruined quite a few soldier's day. Even their leader was blasted off his feet and sent flying into the trees.

 

However, as the rest tried to gather themselves...Evergreen's connection to the wildlife backfired on him from the violent attack and he yelped in pain and clenched his noggin as he could hear the forest in pain. That's when he got the image...some of those men had explosive tanks hidden on their attire...flame canisters...basically whatever they needed to set the forest on fire. 

 

It was then Evergreen knew what he needed to do. He shot to his feet and put a hand on the tree, letting himself melt into it and taking off at breakneck speed towards the source of the terror. 

 

The guardian of the forest was coming...and he was NOT happy....

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"Okay, now that's a liitle scary," muttered Casey to herself when the 'voice of the forest' became angry; just how powerful was this guy? And then Riley made with the big boom, and the blonde powerhouse felt her ears pop all the way back here; who knew a single arrow could pack such a punch?

 

In a flash, Casey ran forward to make sure none of the bad guys were seriously; yes, she worried about such things. She also wanted to be there when the mysterious vigilante showed himself, as she got the sense that an angry plant controller of some kind was about to make an appearance...

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