B1 — 21. Legends Exist

Rachel watched the two remaining men sink further into a bow, trembling as they stared at the pavement.  She scowled at them as Maria moved between the children, healing them. Clicking her tongue, Rachel scratched her left ear as it twitched.  This is so much more boring than I thought this would go?  Why do I care about that though? I want something more, but these guys are done … I should have had all of them pick up a weapon before attacking.

Maria’s healing and aura seemed to calm the children as she instructed them to run back down the street.  At least the kids are safe, but how much more can Maria keep this up?  She has to be getting tired.

“Maria, how low are you on energy?”

Moving to the children strapped to the tank, Maria huffed.  “I’ll manage; quit worrying about me! Just take care of those punk culo perras.”  Terse as usual.

She frowned as she heard Scarlet and Fiona teleport into the building.  Looks like they’re going to try and … what?

Scarlet hummed ominously as she entered the building.  “Hey, Fiona, there’s some really strange shadows lurking ahead of us.”

“Shadows?”  Fiona went silent for a moment.  “I don’t see any strange shadows … only normal shadows.”

“They’re moving; two shadows.  I also see some strange things in with the hostages.  Marcus and—I forgot his brother’s name, but they’re like … animal people with them?”

“Beastkin?  Like Erica?”

“No … these animal people are—different.”  She hesitated. “Quick, behind here, a shadow’s coming!”

Rachel’s focus shifted as Conner exited the building; he entered the radius she could start discerning his muscle movement and the way his body sounded made her brows furrow.  What’s with his body?  I haven’t heard anyone sound like this before.  Should I kill the two men before he arrives? Probably, but I don’t know if I should spray blood everywhere with Maria waking up all the kids … I could just break their necks.

She looked back; most of the kids were now awake, and despite all the gore around them, they didn’t make a noise.  White light continued to envelop them from Maria. She must be using the same ability she used to protect the humans against Scarlet’s aura, but will the massacre here stick in their minds and cause trauma when that aura fades?  No, I can’t worry about that right now; they’ll likely be traumatized anyways. Most of them are already running back down the street, so it should be fine.

Making up her mind, she dashed forward, and before the two men could shift their heads, she struck.  The tank gunner was first as her hand closed around the back of his neck and she easily snapped his head to the left, hearing his spine crack.  The whirlwind sent the body flinging several feet away as she shifted to the next. Grabbing his head, she pressed to the side while gripping his shoulder; the man’s neck snapped to the side as she crushed his shoulder, blood spurting out of an artery.

“Ack.”  I didn’t want to cause any blood.

Sighing as the gust whipped her hair into a frenzy, she tossed his body over the eighteen-wheelers.  It landed a few feet from Conner, which only received a chuckle from him.

“Rabbit, I’m impressed,” he muttered, moving to view the body as it stopped tumbling.  Bending down, he whistled. “Look at that shoulder. You’ve sure got some power.”

Yelling to be heard, Rachel planted her feet.  “Why don’t you give up and release the hostages.  Maybe I’ll let you live.”

Conner chuckled before rising and taking a deep breath.  “Oh, I’m terrified. Tell me, how old are you?”

Rachel growled.  He’s far too calm.  I’m getting a little sick of everyone underestimating me.  “You really think you can handle me if I can take out a tank?”  She yelled.

“Oh?”  He cleared his throat as he began descending the stairs toward the trailer end of an eighteen-wheeler.  “My mistake. You took out the tank? That is pretty impressive; I’ll give you that.” Impressive?  Maybe I’m underestimating him.  The only information I have on him is that he’s durable.  Does he think he can take me just because he can take some hits?  There has to be more to it, but…

Her thoughts were broken as he reached the trailer with a hum, ducking under to look at her.  “Huh, sportswear?” He licked his molars. “Interesting choice, and look at that white hair—no, is that pink?”  What’s with him?

She looked back, Maria was done untying all the children and ushering them away.  At least they’re…

Her thoughts jarred as her ears stiffened; she heard the sound of creaking metal.  Looking back, time slowed as her eyes widened, ears tilting to the left. Connor had his hands raised over his head, lifting up the massive trailer with a large green shipping container strapped atop it, the semi-truck’s back wheels leaving the ground.  Rachel was dumbfounded as she watched him, breath a heavy puff of air. There’s … what?

“Man, heavier than it looks,” he grunted with a smirk, face turning a little red as the metal around his hands started to give.  His chest was bare, showing massive muscles that were flexed with effort and showed a grizzly growth of hair. He wore dark blue jeans with a brown leather belt and seemed to be in his late thirties with dark stubble.  His soft sole sneakers tore away from his feet as he shifted his weight.

Maria’s breath caught as she noticed the scene, “No hay jodida manera…”

“Haven’t tried to lift anything this big before; why don’t we test your strength!”  He half grunted a laugh while heaving it toward her.

Rachel watched the mass of metal leave his grasp as her wits returned.  Are you serious?  Could I lift that up … even with the moon?  Can I stop it? She watched the trailer harness snap as the semi-truck skidded to the side.  If I move to intercept it then … no, the momentum; I don’t have nearly the weight to stop that.  Maybe if I bend down and try to shift all the weight to the ground, but it could just as easily run me over!  She quickly turned her head, wide field of vision allowing her to see the incoming projectile and children.  It shouldn’t have enough momentum to hit them, but Maria could get caught in the path.

Darting toward Maria, she clamped her jaw in frustration as she neared; her face was slick with sweat as she watched the container near.  She’s used too much energy!  I can’t be rough with her, but with the container’s speed … I’ll need to stop it!

Running past Maria, Rachel dashed toward the tank.  Leaping slightly off the ground, she soared through the air to slam against the hull, feeling the folded steel cave a few inches.  Gritting her teeth, she threw as much strength as she could muster into her legs. The metal gave a few more inches as she jumped toward the container.  Twisting as best she could, she managed to land against the side. The metal folded before she broke through, devastating the packages inside; ceramics material shattered around her as she burrowed through packing peanuts to strike the opposite side.  

She winced as the pressure struck her thighs, instantly feeling the demand against her body as she left the moon’s rays.  The hull indented but managed to hold the residual energy. The momentum shifted, sending crate back toward Conner, sliding several feet.  Rachel breathed a heavy sigh as she fell against the spray of packing foam. How could he do that?  He’s not only durable but has that much strength?  What kind of ability user is he?

She cried out as a force struck her, sending her body slamming against the packing peanuts and broken ceramics; she hasn’t experienced pain since becoming a Lunar Hare.  Head spinning, she ran her hand through her hair before rubbing her left shoulder. She began feeling the tension in her thighs as well. I haven’t … I’m sore … that jump was a lot faster than I could run … it must have taken a toll on my body since I’m out of moonlight.

“Rachel?”  Maria called out.

Rachel’s muscles twitched with her ears as she heard Conner running toward her.  “Crap,” she growled, puffing out a sharp breath. The sea of packing peanuts swirled around her as she flailed, trying to right herself.  C’mon!  What is this?  It’s like I’m in a foam pit!  Where’s a wall…

Her thought broke as Conner slammed against the container again, the dent she made caving back to slam her into the foam and shards.  She winced, shoulder feeling even more bruised. Still trapped in a mass of foam, she tried righting herself again. This is ridiculous … I can’t get out!

She frowned as she heard Conner nearby, ripping a hole in the container.  “C’mon now! Don’t hide in there forever. Consider me impressed … wait, are you dead in here?”

Catching sight of light, Rachel hesitated.  If I go toward him … but that could be the entrance I made.  Either way, I need out of here! Trying to swim toward the light, she managed to find a solid footing and pushed forward.  Exiting the swirl of foam, she latched onto the in-caved steel and pulled herself up. Good, it’s my entrance.

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She crawled through the hole as Conner began ripping out foam.  Reaching moonlight, her pain faded, causing her to sigh with relief as she dropped against the asphalt.

“Rachel!”  Maria ran toward her.  “You’re actually cut.” She growled, “This could be bad.”

Rachel frowned as she looked down; her sports pants were torn, and her arms showed light cuts that bled white liquid.  She breathed out a short puff of air as she dropped against the ground. “Wow … I really underestimated him.” She felt her wounds slowly begin to heal.  Wait…  “Maria, you need to stop healing me and get somewhere safe!  I can’t be risking my life to protect you; not when he has this much power.”

Maria clicked her tongue against the roof of her mouth as she glared at the container.  “I—Mierda … you would have just dodged it … if I wasn’t like this.” She looked pissed as sweat beat down her brow, she glared back at her.  “Fine, I’m a liability. Jodidamente odia esta mierda!” She glanced back up as the crate as Conner began ripping into it further.

“You in here?”

Maria scowled for a moment before running back toward the kids.  “Kick his butt!”

Rachel chuckled as she got back to her feet.  She said that in English.  Backing up toward the tank, she composed herself.  The moonlight might be masking my pain and fatigue, but I get the feeling if I leave it again then I’ll really feel the pain.  I need to take him out with a single attack.

Conner tore a hole through the back of the crate; he seemed to be having a fun game of hide-and-seek.  “Tch … made me search the entire thing.” He grinned. “Well, well, well, you’re a lot more durable than I thought.  Just look at you!”

Breathing out a long sigh, Rachel cracked her neck, holding up her arm to examine it.  Maria healed most my cuts it seems.  I’m guessing she took care of the bruising as well; it’s like I’m back to square one.  He flicked a few peanuts off his clothes as he examined the gory scene.  I just need to keep my distance and learn a bit more about his ability.

Stretching out her legs, she hummed with a slight smile in place, feeling a little excited at the prospect of a real fight.  “I’m the one that’s shocked. What kind of Mythickin or ability user are you? I haven’t seen anyone that could match me in strength.”

“Mythickin?”  Conner chuckled as he followed her example, stretching his arms.  “So, you are a Mythickin, like that Vampire I keep hearing about. But, no, I’m not a Mythickin; I’m a Legendkin.”

“Oh?”  Rachel’s brow furrowed as she lifted her arms, grabbing her elbows to stretch.  “What’s the difference between a Mythickin and a Legendkin? Myths and Legends are kind of interchangeable, right?”

He shrugged, breathing out a chuckle.  “No clue, but aren’t you the chatty one?  I don’t mind talking during a fight though, keeps things interesting; you know, nothing personal.”

“Right,” Rachel muttered, smile returning.  That’s good.  I might be able to discover more about his ability, and what is a Legendkin?  Is he playing with me or is that another rare type of change from The Oscillation?  “By the way, I’m a Hare, not a Rabbit; they’re completely different species.”

“Ah, that makes a lot of sense,” he said while moving to the container.  “So, you’re not some sex-crazed rabbit; Marcus will be disappointed. You’re pretty fast though, I’ll give you that…”  He began to pull back the metal, separating it into pieces.

Is that right?  Marcus thought I was a sex-crazed rabbit … is he going to try to crumple those up and throw them at me?  Like I’d let him do that. She rolled her eyes.

His actions slowed as Rachel darted forward; his vision darkened as he shifted toward a defensive stance.  He was fast, but they weren’t even in the same realm; her fist struck his face and was met with soft skin before becoming completely solid.  She winced as she dodged his grasping arms; kicking him in the stomach, again it felt like a brick wall. She dashed back with quick steps, rubbing her knuckles.  What’s his face made of?  It’s harder than steel! That was a full force punch, and he just took it to the face … no problem.

Conner stumbled back before falling into a pile of foam.  “No way” he muttered. “I actually felt that!” A grin lit his lips.  “I think I’m beginning to like you.”

 “What’s your skull made of?  Those other guys’ heads felt like jello.”  She flexed her fingers. “I can punch through steel; what’s different about you?”  This doesn’t make any sense!  I don’t think I could take a hit like that without major damage, but he’s just shrugging it off!

“Huh,” he rose to his feet, brushing himself off with a mocking grin.  “Mythickin certainly seem to have some interesting abilities. Whatever type you are, you certainly can move fast and hit hard, but it looks like Legendkin Antaeus trumps Mythickin Hare.”

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Rachel’s eyes narrowed.  “Antaeus? Is that what type of Legendkin you are?”

Cracking his neck, Conner worked around his jaw.  “That’s right; I’m the embodiment of the legend Antaeus!”  A wicked grin split his lips. “Why don’t we wrestle? This Muhammad Ali float like a butterfly crap is getting old.  Why not determine this with a good old fashioned wrestling contest?”

She didn’t move from her spot.  So, Legendkin mirror some legend in history?  So could there be a King Arthur and Hercules Legendkin too?  Mythickin mirror beasts or monsters while Legendkin simulates legendary people.  I’ve never heard of Antaeus though … why couldn’t it be Achilles or something … that’d be easy to know his weakness.  Wait? Why is a legendary hero working with Terrell?

“What kind of a legend works with scum like Terrell?”

Conner put his hands on his hips with a slow sigh.  “I take it that’s a no on wrestling then?” He clicked his tongue a few times.  “Shame, but what’s wrong with making a business deal? Terrell’s come into some decent funds and has some good information.”

Rachel shifted a little, trying to ease her muscles, but she started to feel an itch at the nape of her neck.  He’s actually strong.  I haven’t felt my muscles react like this since seeing Scarlet in action.  “Right, stolen currency.  Who knows if it will even be worth anything after The Oscillation and things settle down.”

He shrugged.  “Information, girl, that’s the real currency.  He happens to know something I want in on. I don’t expect his little tantrum here in South Beach to last much longer; he was just getting some thrills before going underground, and I’m here to make sure that happens.”  So, he doesn’t care what happens to people; well, he certainly doesn’t put off that vibe.  He’s just looking for his payment.

“Alright,” Rachel worked out her arm.  It’s not bad; it hurts, but no different than sparring training.  “So, you’re a paid thug then.”

Breathing in, he puffed the air back out.  “Is that a jab?”

Rachel heard Maria and the kids turn down a side street.  “Just a fact. Look at the mess though? Is Terrell really okay just sacrificing everyone?  A lot of your men are dead.”

Scratching the back of his head, he hummed.  “You’re not wrong, but I don’t really care for them.  This is getting boring though; if you want to talk, we should do it while fighting.”  His grin returned. “You up to see who’s stronger? A simple wrestling match, no tricks.”  He spread his arms wide.

Rachel bit her lower lip.  Of course there’s a trick, and something’s happening to Scarlet and Fiona.  They’re having trouble with some strange monsters, but I need to focus on my own fight.  Legendary heroes tend to have a lot of weapons and abilities. I mean, Hercules was super strong and durable too … what am I saying?  I know nothing about the origins of those legends. He wouldn’t ask me to a wrestling match if he thought he could lose though; that’s for certain.

“I’m a little doubtful about that.”

He shrugged.  “Fine, but I’m perfectly fine with slugging it out too.”  He darted forward.

Rachel felt her tail and ears prickle with the urge to engage him, but she resisted, dodging his attempts to close the distance.  He might actually be stronger than me, and he’s far more durable.

“C’mon!  Where’s all that spunk?”

Backing against a brick wall, she waited for him to throw a punch before ducking around him.  His fist crushed the wall without effort. She jabbed his side, but it still felt like she was striking a heavy sandbag.  I can’t keep up my speed like this … even if I’m under moonlight.  If I just had the ability to match that durable side, then I could at least…

Her eyes widened as the information sparked in her mind, and she held up her hand to find a bright translucent shell surrounding her body; it was different than her aura, more condensed.  She ducked below another strike and sped up, darting back several feet. Wenet’s Minor Protection?  The energy I gain from the moon can be used to offset the blows I receive; cushioning blows received by thirty percent.  It’s fairly costly, but as long as I’m in direct moonlight, then it should quickly return.

Conner glared at her.  “You really are just some lightweight boxer, aren’t you?  All out of those powerful punches?”

She wet her lips as a grin lit her features.  I don’t know who Wenet is, but I’ll gladly take the protection.  With my natural defense added with this, I should be able to at least take a blow and if his ability functions in a similar way … let’s test how far his abilities go!

“Alright,” she flashed her teeth with a bright smile.  “I think I’m done playing cautious.”

Conner’s eyes narrowed as he studied her white coat of lunar energy.  “Something’s changed, has it?”

Rachel dashed forward, she stepped up to him at a forty-five-degree angle as he held up his fists and threw out a low left jab.  Expecting it from the sound of his muscles, Rachel batted away his left jab and twisted her body to perform a powerful high kick; her foot drilled into the side of his neck.  He tumbled a few feet to her left, but she could feel something else absorbing most of the impact. Yes!  There is some kind of absorption ability at play.  His head feels a little harder than a normal skull since something’s absorbing most my kinetic force.  He’s not invincible! She licked her lips again.  I can do this!

Using his arm to keep himself from falling to the asphalt, Conner coughed a few times before righting himself.  “Okay, okay,” he spat. Rubbing the side of his neck, he looked back at her. “That wasn’t bad!” He coughed again before clearing his throat.  “You’ve been holding out on me, Hare!” He grinned. “Got your confidence back?”

Smirking, Rachel cracked her knuckles before twisting her ankles to loosen them, pumping out her legs to get her blood moving.  He doesn’t move as a trained fighter.  Maybe wrestling is his strong suit? He’s too obvious with his stance and movements though.  This should be cake.  “Something like that.”

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