In Pursuit of a Monster

The charm spell had ensnared her prey entirely; he was firmly under her spell, tethered to her will. He wouldn't be slipping away anytime soon. Her gaze drifted above him, scouring the room for her Templar hunter. Engaging in the cat-and-mouse game brought her a perverse pleasure, even if neither player fully comprehended their roles. Both danced on the edge of awareness, manipulating each other with subtle finesse. The triumph, when it inevitably came, would taste all the sweeter for its hard-won victory.


Corinth moved closer. He could see the Empusa looking around, her arms draped over her prey in the corner. He slowly slid in between dancers, trying to stick as deep into the shadows as best he could, but it was hard with the lights spinning around the room. As he moved around a dancing couple, he looked eyes with Ivy.

She smiled a wicked smile his way and then pulled her prey through a door she was blocking from view. Corinth began to hurriedly push through the crowd, but it was a struggle. The party goers were packed in tight and he was doing everything he could not to start throwing people out of his way.

"Move," he yelled, squeezing in between people, but the music was too loud to make any difference.

Finally cutting his way through the crowd, he made it to the door and flung it open, gun pointed forward. The room he entered was another large open area, but this one was filled with shipping crates. Slowly moving forward, Corinth needed to be cautious. There were ambush spots in almost every direction and if he dropped his guard even a little bit, Ivy could get the jump on him.

That's when he heard the piercing scream of a man towards the back of the room. It started out loud, but was instantly cut short. Running in the direction it came from, the Templar started hearing a familiar wet sound he had heard more often than he would care to remember. Picking up the pace, he charged forward faster.

Rounding one of the last shipping crates, lying on the ground was the body of the man Ivy was with before, his chest ripped open and the familiar organ removed. Corinth squeezed the grip on his gun tightly in anger as he looked around for the monster. The blood trail showed that she moved away and towards a red container in the far corner next to a door marked exit. He grit his teeth and followed it.

Before he could even get close, something wet splattered on the floor in front of him. Corinth looked down and easily recognized it as a clump a shed skin. The Empusa was shedding the last bits of Ivy and that meant a whole new set of troubles for him.

He looked up and he didn't need to track her anymore. She stood a few feet away, stretching her arms and back. All her clothes had been removed and there was only a few bits of Ivy's skin still adhered to the Empusa's. Corinth watched as she peeled a piece off of her face and then reached down and peeled one off her leg. Both pieces dropped to the floor with total disregard that they once belonged to another person.

Raising his gun, he pointed it directly at the monster's head. "That's enough! I'm not letting you leave here."

Her hands moved down her body as if feeling it for the first time. In this case, it was the first time in a long time. She smiled that same wicked smile again and replied, "as if you have a say in that matter."

Her hands moved up to her head, fingers moving through her oily hair. As she pulled them away in almost a dramatic fashion, her hair was suddenly ablaze with fire. It was such a surprise and so bright, Corinth had to avert his eyes for a moment before focusing them back on her. "Shit," he cursed to himself.

A slender ring of fire ignited, coursing down her form, consuming the dried blood and any lingering traces of Ivy. As it descended to her legs, it seared away the flesh from her right limb, leaving behind a copper-covered appendage in its wake.

"Shit, shit," he cursed again, whether it was in his mind or out loud, he couldn't be sure.

Before him, she stood, her hair ablaze like a fiery halo, the copper leg gleaming in the dimly lit space. Assuming a defiant stance, she dared him with her gaze, silently challenging him to make a move against her. Licking her lips in anticipation, she smiled again, like a predator sizing up her prey. But Corinth wasn't prey. He was another predator challenging her for dominance. For territory. For rights to rule the kingdom. And he never lost.

"Are you going to use that gun or continue to-"

Corinth squeezed the trigger, sending two bullets her way and slamming into her chest, causing her to stumble backwards in shock. Her eyes were wide and full of anger as she regained her balance. Keeping Powell aimed at her, he took a small step forward.

"How are we doing this, Ivy. Easier or hard?"

"My name is not Ivy. My name is Callista and soon, you won't ever forget it."

She turned on her heels and bolted for the exit door. Corinth cursed again and charged after her. Bursting through the door and knocking it off its hinges, she ran out into the night, heading up the road and towards the city. Corinth poured out right behind her, but she had a good head start on him.

As he gave chase, he noticed she was jerking from side to side, almost like she was getting attacked by something invisible, but she never slowed. And then, the worst thing that could have happened, did. A pair of wings burst from her back and began flapping. Corinth's eyes grew wide in alarm and he started to open fire, but couldn't. The city was in front of them and he wouldn't be able to tell where the bullets would go once they left the chamber if they didn't hit.

Three flaps from her massive wings and she was airborn. Not letting up, Corinth pushed forward as hard as he could, but he wasn't going to be able to catch her on foot. Putting his pointer and thumb between his lips, he whistled calling to his side an old friend.

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