The Descendants 104 – Hardcore Fans

This entry is part 12 of 24 in the series Current

Despite her view being obscured by a red hand holding on to her face with a painful grip, Kay got a good view was Kyle’s features contorted and transformed. His skin, already an orangish red, took on a pebbled texture while his eyes merged into a single one the size of her palm. At the same time, a craggy horn emerged from his forehead.

She’d seen this before, at least in books.

The legend went that once Maeve became the Queen of Air and Darkness, she punished those of her home world who hadn’t supported her rise to power by separating their bodies and spirits. The most common results were the elves and demons, but there were others.

Specifically in his case were the ogres and a type of spiritual parasite similar to demons but incapable of bonding to a host without mystical help. Help given in exchange for servitude to, for example, a kukara. The Books had a long name for them with far too many consonants, but due to a similar appearance of their common forms to classical depictions in Japanese art, Kay had given them a nickname: oni.

Which explained the deeper spellcraft she’d observed on Kyle—it was the binding spells that allowed the oni to possess him.

Funny how a moment of life-or death panic could provide clarity.

As the oni in Kyle’s body started to stand, it tried to take her with it, keeping its hold on her. With her neck straining, she grabbed the offending arm to keep it from ripping her head off with her own weight. Her new position showed her that he wasn’t the only one being affected as Jada came into view: stringy white hair, twin horns and blue skin evident.

Kay’s brush with danger was cut short as Kyle suddenly stumbled and fell to a knee, releasing her in the confusion. She stumbled back from him to find Renaissance standing behind him, having delivered a super-strength kick to the back of the knee.

Goggles hid the concerned, searching look Kay was pretty sure was on Renaissance’s face as she fired a pair of foam rounds to lock Kyle to the ground. Given the foam’s track record against super-strong enemies, that would only be temporary.

“Are they monsters or transformed?” she asked Kay, her tone urgent as she dodged a blue fist from Jada.

“Transformed!” Kay shouted.

Renaissance cursed and stepped into the guard of another of the oni-transformed volunteers. Grabbing his now-straining belt, she used it to lift him overhead and throw him into Jada. “Please tell me it’s reversible.”

Kay retreated to take cover behind some piece of rooftop equipment she didn’t know the name of. “Pretty easily, actually—if we can keep them still for the twenty or so minutes for me to perform the exorcism! Arg, why does magic have to be so slow?!”

“To make up for being so unfair all the other times!” Facsimile shouted as she came crashing down in toad form atop one of the oni, slamming him down flat on the ground. Seconds later, Kyle broke out of the foam and roared, smashing her in turn with both fists.

Such mighty blows rendered Facsimile into golden mush—which then began running up his arms like living taffy. The oni struggled against the swarming blob as it covered its face and upper body as well. Thick, black nails tried to tear into it to no avail.

“Heh. Can’t throw a toad away,” Facsimile’s voice burbled as she continued to constrict the monster. Just then, however, an ice bolt struck her, rapidly encasing her in ice, which Kyle effortlessly shattered.

“No!” Kay screamed out at the same time as Renaissance as they watched hundreds of golden shards clatter to the ground. The noise attracted the freed Kyle, who stomped toward Kay, only to howl in pain. Lifting its wounded foot, it found it impaled by gold spikes. Said spikes extended tendrils into neighboring golden shards until in aggregate they had enough mass to jerk his leg sideways, sending him crashing tot he ground.

Soon, a puddle of gold goo formed up into Facsimile. “Thanks to the concern, but shape-shifting? Way more unfair than magic will ever be.” She smirked as she extended an orihalcite claw from each fist. “But we just learned something: I’m immune to ice bombs and those guys up there are just clones. Hey Renny?”

“Seriously? You’re trying out nicknames at a time like this?” Renaissance, blocked a blow from one oni, turning it aside to block anther’s before jumping back to avoid the charge from a third.

“You’ve known me long enough the know the answer to that,” Facsimile replied cheekily. “But seriously: we can’t really fight these guys with the built-in hostages, but I can go hog wild on the flyers. Switch buildings and maybe we can buy Kay some time to magic us out of this.”

Renaissance nodded before ducking under a blow and answering with a leg sweep that brought Jada down. “That’s a really good idea.” She hopped over Jada’s back and caught another oni’s arm, pulling him into a hip- throw. Looking around, she found a good roof to make her escape to. “Kay! Get over to the northwest corner and get ready!”

Kay was already in motion, sprinting for the edge of the roof as she pulled a feather out of her satchel. “Don’t worry about me!” She didn’t stop running at the edge, hurtling over the barrier around it and out into space. As she did, the feather exploded into a thousand copies of itself which assembled into a pair of working wings that took her soaring toward the building Renaissance pointed out.

The oni all howled in fury at having their prey escape, shaking fists and gnashing their tusks.

“Hey! You’ve got more important things to think about!” A rapid-fire burst of foam pallets to their backs quickly had them turning around to face Renaissance, who was pulling a pink-marked magazine out of a compartment on her belt. As the oni converged on her, she pulled a tab out of the side of the mag. Green diodes started lighting up on the side of it and she threw the device to the ground before putting all her strength into a leap that carried her over her foes’ heads.

Before the oni could react, the magazine exploded, sending a wave of pink ooze to splatter all over them. The goo, really modified bovine birthing agent, was so slippery that the moment the oni tried to move, they slipped and fell, flailing helplessly on the roof.

Landing lightly, Renaissance fired a grappling line to building Kay was already flying toward.

Facsimile took this as a signal to take wing as well, aiming to assail the kukara clones above them.

Unfortunately, there were almost a dozen of them and more than half had turned their attention to Kay and Renaissance. Together, they unleashed a fusillade of ice bolts toward them. Frozen doom closed in, leaving comet trails in the air…

And impacted on a glittering amber-colored jet plane that flew in to intercept. Blooms of ice expanded across the vehicle before it burst into golden confetti and a manically laughing Chords, who catapulted out of her destroyed transport wielding her guitar like an ax. Despite the fact that she wasn’t touching the strings, the instrument was blaring music as she flew up to the first clone and decimated it with a swing that span her all the way around in air.

She flew in a corkscrew pattern to avoid more ice bolts and then closed on the nearest clone, grabbing the creature by the neck. “Why so mad little dude? People usually demand I play Free Bird.”

The creature responded by cupping its hands and preparing to fire a cold bolt point blank.

Chords smirked, and at the last moment, flipped it around to point at another kukara, freezing it solid. Simultaneously, she maneuvered her guitar around the block another bolt. No ice formed where it struck the instrument.

Then she threw the captured kukara into another, destroying both just before Facsimile could get at it. The golden heroine glared, earning a shy wave from the rocker hero.

“Hiya, Goldilocks! Saw the carnage, thought I’d lend a hand. Any chance sweet Z is around?”

Facsimile quirked an eyebrow. “Sweet Z? If that’s a nickname for someone… well you suck at this.” She looped and dove to get around another kukara, slashing its wings off and destroying it.

“Zero!” Chords said, following after her and using her guitar once more as a shield. “Cutie in a hood and half mask? One who by body type and process of elimination—”

“Okay, I know I’m not Miss Time and Place—not even runner up in a field of two—but are you really getting all worked up about my friend while we’re in the middle of a fight?! Also, she’s taken.”

Chords shrugged. “Oh, I know. But them: I’m awesome. So I figure if I let her get to know that, she might decide to trade up.”

“I don’t even know if she likes girls.”

“Granted, that would be a real challenge to overcome. But if that is the case, what about y…”

“Watch out!” Facsimile shouted.

Chords didn’t have time to react, but she didn’t have to. By the time she turned around, a blue psychokinetic shield was already there, having intercepted an icebolt. Said bolt had left a starburst of frost in the shield, which fell away as the shield faded.

Looking up toward the source of the shield, Chords beamed. “Speaking of the girl of my dreams. Wait, did I just say that out loud?”

Facsimile flew past, slapping her on the back of the head. “Yes! This is more embarrassing to watch than War fanboying over Whitecoat.”

“You’re right. Don’t want to come on too strong,” Chords agreed, combing her unruly hair with the fingers of her free hand. Then she flew up to meet a descending Zero. “Hey there! Thanks for the save.”

“Um… hi,” Zero said with an awkward wave. “No problem. Us heroes have to stick together, right?” Then, looking past Chords to Facsimile, she asked, “What’s going on? You didn’t say much in your text.”

Her friend bristled thinking of all that had happened. “The short story? Some faerie monster laid a trap for us with some kids, froze Warrick, then turned the kids into monsters. Oh, and the ice bullets? Don’t get hit by them or you’ll freeze.”

“So what’s the plan?” Zero asked.

Facsimile shrugged. “Kick the crap out of the flying things. Kay’s our wizard today while Lisa’s doing the family thing, so she’s going to magic up a solution to all this.”

Chords raised her hand like an eager student. “Oh! And the little flying things are shadow clones or something, so it’s okay to mash ’em!?”

“…how did…” Facsimile started.

“Super powers,” Chords replied quickly.

By then, Zero’s confusion had reached its maximum. “Okay. I don’t mean to be rude, and now really isn’t the time because there’s still more of those little red men shooting ice at us,” She didn’t add how she was blocking the attacks offhand with psychokinetic constructs. “But… who are you again?”

Chords gave a little bow in air, making it a point to toss her hair exuberantly. “Three Chords and the Truth, m’lady.” She eyed Facsimile with annoyance. “I can’t believe your friend didn’t tell you about me. And after I helped save Freeland House and everything.”

“That was you?” asked Zero with a hint of surprise. Chords nodded enthusiastically. Zero smiled and gave her a little wave. “Well, thank you. For helping here too. But we need to go and help protect Kay” With that, she flew off toward where her other friends waited.

A broad smile split Chords’s face. “You can always count on me, Sweet Z.” Before she could follow, Facsimile caught her by the arm. “Zuh? What’s up, Goldilocks?”

Facsimile just glared at her. “Look here, Rock Star. I’m not going to play older sibling and get all protective, but Zero’s my friend. She can decide yea or nay with you however she wants—not like she listened to me about dating Sir Borington—but I’m not going to stand here and let you creep-hat on her like this. Dial it down, or I dial you down.”

To her surprise, Chords actually paused in thought. “Huh. Too much?”

“Way too much. If I guy acted that way with me, I’d feed him my fist. You’re lucky Jun’s like the sweetest person ever. But then that just means she deserves that kind of crap even less than most.”

The rocker’s shoulders slumped. “Huh. Point. Shit, even with confidence I’m bad at this.”

Facsimile smacked her on the back of the head again. “At superheroing too. Crush later, save innocents and friends now.”

Chords glanced down, past Facsimile. “Oh. Like maybe stop that portal opening down there by Tinhead?”

“What?” Facsimile turned around to see that Chords was being accurate: a white portal was swirling into being down in the garden where the fight began. She hit her comm, knowing Renaissance would never forgive her if she withheld this. “Tink! Down below! I think the original little jerk is trying to take War somewhere—maybe back to Faerie!”

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About Vaal

Landon Porter is the author of The Descendants and Rune Breaker. Follow him on Twitter @ParadoxOmni or sign up for his newsletter. You can also purchase his books from all major platforms from the bookstore
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  1. I like this. This is fun. I hope it was more fun to write!

  2. You write dynamic, cool fight/action scenes and neat atmospheric worldbuilding/plotty scenes… but it’s this kind of bantering character interaction (with the undercurrent of observational humour about fandom and geek friendship) which I think is the main reason I keep coming back to read this website. It’s fun stuff.

    One nitpick – the second time you talk about Meghan blushing it’s lampshaded that this isn’t actually visible- possibly this should also be coverered in the earlier sentence “Raising both hands defensively, Meghan had the decency to blush at her faux pas”.

    Warrick using a metal filing cabinet as a inconspicous way to keep a large source of metal in his apartment = GENIUS.
    Also excellent- Cyn taking voice acting classes. I love her ongoing work to become the mimic her powerset deserves.

  3. Cool, I was worried that the restart might go no further than an episode, glad to see it looks like it’s back on track.


    Heroes of May field
    Heroes of Mayfield

    got he better
    got the better

    jut come
    just come

    with,: said
    with, said

    Archneon (at least twice)
    Aracheneon (at least twice)
    Arachneon (most times)

  4. Typos

    my eventual costume being
    my eventual costume to be

    I can’t counter it given some time though.”
    I can counter it given some time though.” (I think, from context)

    a cracking cloud
    a crackling cloud

    While the servoes
    While the servos

    Meghan’s palmtop one on of
    Meghan’s palmtop on one of

    palmtop off the JC.
    palmtop off to JC.


    girl on clown garb
    girl in clown garb

    I’m not sure fi
    I’m not sure if

    powers as the original.
    powers as the original.”

    multiplies out of control.
    multiplies out of control.”

  5. Typos

    a good view was
    a good view as

    Specifically in his case
    Specifically in this case

    life-or death

    a swing that span
    a swing that spun

    enough the know
    enough to know

    guitar around the block
    guitar around to block

    But them: I’m
    But then: I’m

    bow in air,
    bow in the air,

    If I guy
    If a guy

  6. Makeup to make people a bit less pretty is easy. I’m sure the fictional Nathan Castleton would be able to do this part in a remake of an anime which doesn’t exist.

    Anyway, typos.

    free the drop
    free to drop

    you and your will have the be quarantined
    you and your {team? friends? acquaintances? companions?} will have to be quarantined

    I’m reall good
    I’m real good
    (or) I’m really good

    garbage was you have.
    garbage as you have.

    totally trowing out
    totally throwing out

    to the be Nathan
    to be Nathan

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