Comatose

What Happened in Corvallis

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TWO WEEKS AGO

 


Iconoclast stood in the group of new arrivals, smiling at all the people who he would soon kill. Or who would kill each other, perhaps. Or kill for him, even. So many options.

He stood on the bridge, the sun shining in a cloudless sky, glinting off of the crystal clear water beneath him. A large stage and a podium had been erected in front of the group, and it was filled with milling bureaucrats. Fodder, nothing more.
He also noted the Epics among his group, of whom there were several. Fools, walking into a life of slavery. Worshipping the gods of comfort and sloth, surrendering their freedom for safety and comfort. It was pathetic behaviour, not at all how Epics should conduct themselves. Like every Epic in this city, they relied on others, trusted others, needed others. They didn't realise that it was folly to trust or rely on anyone else, especially on things you could not even see or feel. They could only trust in themselves. He could only trust in himself, and in his powers. Those, after all, he could see and feel right before his eyes, as he lengthened his fingers into grotesque talons and then returned them to normal.

The insane Epic was broken from his musings by a sudden shaft of bright light, and like a rainbow goddess, a woman who could only be Rainmaker descended from a cloud that had not been there a moment before. Of course, she would need to die. Apparently she as made of cloud, though, so that could prove difficult. Iconoclast shrugged, "Plenty of time to plan something". Looking around, Iconoclast saw that the vanillas around him were looking at her in absolute adoration. He copied them, twisting his face into a mask of love. "Euphoria...." He snarled inwardly, "She will need to die, if chaos is ever going to rain in Corvallis." As Rainmaker gave her pompous speech, Iconoclast looked around, trying to identify any Epics in her employ, particularly Euphoria. "No... she will likely be elsewhere." Suddenly all hell broke loose, as a woman in a red sweater lifted a large gun and pointed it at the stand. Two people tackled some woman off the stage a second before it exploded into splinters, and before his eyes, the shooter changed. She grew twice her usual size, her clothes either stretching or being ripped into shreds as she grew. Her skin seemed to attain a silver sheen to it, a sheen that intensified until her skin appeared to be made out of metal.

"She looks like fun," Iconoclast muttered to himself in glee as she leaped into the wreckage. But what could she be after- "Euphoria!" The Epic shouted, pointing her gun at someone unseen. Perhaps... the tackled woman? Was that Euphoria? Regardless, he had lingered long enough. It was time to retreat to the shadows, and plan the freeing of the enslaved Epics and vanillas here. Racing towards the edge of the bridge, he dived off, growing fins and webbing his fingers together as he crashed into the water. The alterations enhanced his swimming ability, and he modified his lungs to hold more air, taking one last gulp before he went under. Iconoclast swam to the shore on the Corvallis side, emerging slightly downriver, crawling in the mud on his belly like an eel. Dignity mattered little to him... not anymore.




THREE DAYS AGO



Iconoclast crawled into the bushes and then into the trees, seeing a house not far ahead. After nearly two weeks hiding in the local park, watching from afar, he was ready to take up position inside the city proper. He hadn't to arouse any suspicion, with that metal Epic certainly causing security to increase. What a nuisance. Ah well, still, it had given him time to find the perfect house to move into.

The target looked like a small place, likely the residence of a very weak Epic. From what he had seem, the Epic wore an orange suit and had three servants... couldn't be too important, then. Likely, no-one cared about him or her, and they probably knew more than Iconoclast about this city.... making this house the perfect place to stay while he planned.

He stayed low to the ground, manoeuvring around the yard, hiding in the bushes and trees that lined the small property. Inside the small white building, he could see several people- likely vanilla servants. He would turn them, he decided. But keep them restrained for now- no use letting them run rampant before he was ready. One of the people in the window turned, and looked straight at him. Her gaze passed over him, but only for a second, before snapping back, her eyes first furrowing in confusion and then widening in fear. Iconoclast smiled. Time to have some fun.

Springing into action, Iconoclast altered his legs muscles to be extra powerful as he leapt towards the house, ploughing through the window and knocking the girl off her feet. Cuts and scrapes healed in a second as he held the screaming girl down with one hand, and laughed as he grabbed the side of her head with the other. Other people screamed and yelled, but he ignored them as he poured his power into the young woman, twisting her mind and... setting it free. Her screamed faded as she calmed, looking at him with a puzzled expression. In seconds, bemusement twisted into a bestial fury and her eyes took on a crazed cast to them. It was done. He grabbed a nearby chair and smashed the leg off of it by enhancing his strength, and impaled her in the gut with it, pinning her to the floor. That should hold her until he got around to gifting her some of his regenerative powers. The new Ghoul snarled and hissed, clawing at the chair leg, but in anger and rage, not pain- Ghouls felt no pain.

Rising to his feet, Iconoclast found that he was in a kitchen, with two terrified vanillas cowering against a far wall, hiding behind the dining table. Someone else entered the room in a rage, dressed in an orange suit. "What is the meaning of this!?" He roared, holding glowing hands in a ridiculous imitation of a combat pose. "Who dares attack Firefly, and mutilate his servants!? I will kill you for this!" With that, he threw his hands forward, and twin balls of orange sparks flew at Iconoclast. They smashed into his chest, blowing a huge hole in it and sending him flying backwards into the wall he had come through. Firefly laughed and turned to the vanillas, "Haha! See my power! See how I protect even worms like you? Am I not a gracious master?"

But the servants were not paying attention- after an initial surge of relief, they, unlike their master, had seem that Iconoclast was already healing- before Firefly had finished talking, the wound was halfway through healing completely. Firefly followed their gaze, finally seeing that something was wrong, and his face and eyes soon matched those of his servants. "B-b-but.... I was promised protection.... You can't do this!"

Iconoclast smiled, his wound fully healing in the last few seconds. "Well ... I haven't been one for following rules lately, I'll admit." With the statement still hanging in the air, Iconoclast moved like lightning, jumping onto the table, eliciting screams from the two servants. Leaning down, he grabbed each of their faces and pushed them into the wall. Firefly backed away and threw another spark, but it missed by a mile, despite the point-blank range. The servants struggled, but soon their struggles faded, and then renewed once more as Iconoclast's power broke their minds and turned them into animals. He released them, and leaped off the table, pushing it with his enhanced might until it pinned both of the now raving servants against the wall. Firefly gaped as Iconoclast turned to him. "What... what have you done to them?"

Iconoclast grinned evilly, "I have released them. Now, you have two choices. You can serve me until I let you go, and indeed I shall, or... I can rip your hands off and release them, and let your former servants eat you alive... and if I feel like it, I might join in." Firefly's eyes seemed as wide as saucers. "I... I will serve you... master".
Iconoclast laughed, "No, do not call me master, we are equals! Partners!" He walked up to Firefly and put his arm around the younger man's shoulders. "Now, first thing's first, we are going to lock this lot in the cellar, then you are going to tell me everything you know about this city, and then...."
Several seconds passed, and Firefly ventured, "..and then, mast- uh, partner?"
"And then, my boy, then.... we are going to bring down Corvallis."

Edited by Blackhoof
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Two Weeks Ago

 

Chase had been through the procedure so many times, she barely even noticed the effort it took to Tag the vanillas. She mingled with the crowd, brushing against their skin covertly. Many of the vanillas didn't really seem to notice Chase as standing out, except when they felt the shock of being Tagged. Then many of them seemed to dismiss the shock as simple static. How foolish of them.

 

All the buzzing of activity through her head seemed off. It was because there were so many unTagged vanillas nearby. She would feel much better when they were all controlled. Well, not exactly. Chase wasn't as important as Rainmaker or Euphoria. Euphoria was mostly in charge of control.

 

"Hi!" A vanilla smiled at Chase as he shook her hand wildly. Chase frowned. I'll have to note that to Euphoria. She'll want to break down that enthusiasm quickly. As Chase Tagged the vanilla, she made a note on his Chain connecting her to him. Wild enthusiasm. Needs to be turned into obedience. Chase rarely looked at the Chains, but she looked through her vision now. Long blue lines stretched some her all around the city. She could barely see, there was so much blue.

 

Chase yanked her hand away from the vanilla. "Oh, sorry." He looked embarrassed. Chase disappeared into the crowd. 

 

Thunder rumbled in the distance. Chase snapped to attention. She tried to take on the weak look of just another vanilla, though the observant eye could probably pick her out of the crowd. Wind blew towards them, knocking them backwards. Oh, Rainmaker. Rainbows started to form around them. 

 

Suddenly there was a shot. An explosion. Chase searched the Chains for the person who instigated the explosion. No, the person wasn't there. They were Epic, then. Or perhaps someone who knew how to avoid Chase? Annoying. But that must be why she was getting headaches so often. UnTagged vanillas.

 

 Euphoria was knocked off of the stage by her body guards. Good, Euphoria's okay. Rainmaker is... 

 

Someone jumped out of the wreckage. A huge person with metallic skin. Epic. "Euphoria!" The Epic yelled. "Your reign here is OVE-UH?"

 

The sky darkened. Wind roared at the metallic Epic, who ignored it. Rainmaker is here. Chase sighed. Then she merged with the crowd, pulling on some of their Tags to herd them away. 

 

PRESENT DAY

 

"Euphoria is missing."

 

That was a vanilla, trembling. One of her personal guards. He knew that she could kill him with ease. All she needed to do was view her Chains and Cut them. Then he'd die. There was no getting away from being Tagged once one was. Unless one turned into an Epic themselves. Annoying, that. Chase couldn't affect Epics.

 

That was a tangent. Euphoria? Chase thought, panicked. That means I am in charge of controlling the vanillas. The timeline made sense. The discontent that Chase had been sensing through the streets would have started once Euphoria would've been forced to withdraw her power.

 

"When did this happen?" Chase demanded. She was prepared to pull herself on the Chain of one of Rainmaker's guards, getting her to the conference quickly. In fact, she viewed the Chains now, sorting her way to one of them. 

 

"I'm sorry, ma'am. I was not told that."

 

"Fine. I guess I'll have to ask. I'm assuming Rainmaker wants us to assemble?"

"Yes, ma'am." Chase sighed. 

 

Chase had organized the Chains by job. She flicked one to the side. This was the personal guard section of Chains. Then the sub organization led to Queen Guards. Then... there! One of Rainmaker's personal guards. Right? Chase tapped it. The guard's vision flashed before her.

 

Please don't fry me, please don't fry me. Rainmaker is standing in front of me, frustrated. Please don't fry me next. Please don't fry me.

 

Chase laughed. Yeah, that was a vanilla indeed. Many were terrified of Rainmaker's might. With good reason, too.

 

"Stay here. Act as if I am still here." Chase ordered. She tugged on the Tag of the guard. She turned almost holographic. A pull from off in the distance, a blue line, yanked on her form slightly. Chase saluted to the guard and let herself be pulled on by the Chain.

 

She phased through walls, mostly invisible. All people would see was a blur of blue as she flew by. She tugged harder, yanking her towards the guard.

 

Chase solidified right next to the guard. She bowed down to Rainmaker.

 

"I am sorry it took me so long." Chase apologized. "How may I be of aid?" 

 

Edited by Winter Cloud
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Rainmaker turned to greet Chase, unsurprised that she had been the first of the Queen's to arrive.  With the number of tagged Vanillas in the city, Chase could travel anywhere in Corvallis in an instant.  With this in mind, part of Rainmaker couldn't help but be annoyed that Chase had not reached her sooner.  She supposed the blame would have to be borne by the whichever messenger had been sent to track Chase down.  With Euphoria gone, Chase would be the key to keeping the Vanilla population under control, as well as keeping Rainmaker informed of all the goings on in the city.  Blaming the messenger was a much safer option, especially since it had probably been their fault anyways. 

 

"No apologies are necessary, Chase darling."  Rainmaker made a curt gesture and the rest of her servants and guards turned and left the room.  With Euphoria around, she hadn't needed to worry about her slaves passing her secrets to others, but without Euphoria's influence, Rainmaker thought it best if she kept the meeting with the Queens private.  "I'm certain it was my messenger's fault.  These Vanillas really are useless, aren't they?  Probably got lost along the way, or some other ridiculous excuse.  I'll have his or her ration... I mean I'll see to it that whoever is responsible is punished."  Rainmaker mentally cursed herself for the slip.  She had grown too accustomed to using Euphoria's power, and the threat of withholding it, to control the people around her.  It had just been so easy to keep all of those happy people under control, especially when it was so easy to threaten to take that happiness away.  Rainmaker had become lazy, depending too much on Euphoria to control the city.  If she was going to maintain her position, she would have to find more creative ways to punish people without killing or permanently damaging them. 

 

"While we're alone, I don't suppose you have any information for me?  Is there anything your Chains can tell you about Euphoria's movements, or who might have visited her residence?"

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"No appologies are necessary, Chase darling." Chase felt herself release the breath she hadn't realized she was holding. Rainmaker sent the rest of the vanillas out of the room. "I'm certain it was my messenger's fault. These vanillas really are useless, arent' they?" Chase nodded. It was always best to just agree with the High Epic, especially if they were on your side about the whole matter.

"Probably got lost along the way, or some other ridiculous excuse. I'll have his or her ration... I mean I'll see to it that whoever is responsible is punished." Chase noticed how Rainmaker didn't seem to have adjusted to the loss of Euphoria yet, but that was to be expected. Besides, why would Chase want to risk her high place in Corvallis for something as simple as a faulter? Chase was no High Epic. She was fragile.

"While we're alone, I don't suppose you have any information for me? Is there anything your Chains can tell you about Euphoria's movements, or who might have visited her residence?" Rainmaker asked.

Chase opened her mind. Visions flashed by her.

Riots in the streets. Terror. Being knocked to the ground. Stepped upon.

Why me? Oh please...

"All vanillas to stand down, now!"

Stupid Epics.

Help! They'll trample me!

Why...

"Go to safety! You have to run! They'll-"


The last Chain was cut off. Dead, probably. Chase pulled her mind back into her body.

"The people who took Euphoria, they're Epics or maybe... it might be relating to what happened the other day. A group of people's Chains were cut. I'd assumed they'd been executed for something by some Epic, but there were no other Tagged in the area. Some Epic, maybe with an ability to muffle the effect of my powers? There's riots in the street. They want Euphoria back. Or more like they want her happiness back. I think I might be able to bring an area near us under control but it will take time. I'll be defenseless as I have to manipulate them carefully."

"Maybe an example? If I took control of one vanilla, who I could break some bones through. Then have the vanilla kill him or herself?" That would certainly be dramatic. Rainmaker liked drama. "Though I wouldn't want to hurt too much of your property."

Chase could take control of one vanilla, then another. Soon she'd have an army of vanillas she could control. Though, admittedly, she'd be comatose while doing it. Kinda spoils the effect.

Edited by Winter Cloud
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Riots, so soon?  They must have started recently, or Gossipmonger would have informed Rainmaker of them.  It was likely only the field hands rioting, those with no Epic to serve or take immediate commands from.  At least the reason they were rioting was because they wanted Euphoria back so that the status quo could return.  How long before the realized how Euphoria's powers had been used to control them and started fighting back?  Rainmaker bristled at the thought.  How dare these impudent mortals flout her wishes?  She would have to teach them a lesson, and soon.  Part of her wanted to just destroy the entire city and call it a day, but there was still too much for her to do and learn here.  She was not yet ready to allow Corvallis to be destroyed. 

 

At least Chase still seemed to assume Euphoria had been taken.  That was good, it wouldn't do for the Queens to appear to be fighting among themselves.  It was especially important that Rainmaker and Euphoria appear to be on the same page, especially in the latter's absence.  Why would she have left me?  Rainmaker could not think of a possible motive Euphoria could have betraying her.  Before Rainmaker had found her, Euphoria had been living like a common Vanilla, barely even using her powers out of fear that another epic would destroy her for being too much of a threat.  Then, Rainmaker had turned her into a Queen, giving her a life of power and luxury.  It must have been another Epic.  Even if Euphoria had left on her own, surely she would have been detected.  Chase had eyes all over the city, and would have caught at least some hint of Euphoria's whereabouts.  Unless she's not working alone...  Again, the thought of Euphoria's betrayal seemed strange to Rainmaker.  Why would she dare, knowing the consequence was death?  The possibility Euphoria could be working with other Epics against Rainmaker was a dangerous one, and she would have to prepare for that eventuality. 

 

Whether Euphoria had left or been taken, Chase was right.  It must have something to do with the attack from two weeks ago.  Should I have taken her fears more seriously?  That meant that the two epic attackers had likely not been working alone.  Perhaps I'll have to take a trip to the river later...  That would have to wait for the time being though.  Rainmaker didn't want the other Queens to know about that, and besides, at the moment they had a riot to deal with. 

 

"I agree, these riots must be dealt with, and making an example is a good way to do that" she said, after a moment of thought, resisting the urge to fly out right now and send down her rage among the population.  Despite her self-control, Rainmaker could feel her skin begin to faintly shine.  "I was thinking of something a little more... dramatic.  We could have all of us Queens confront the crowds together, show a united front, and remind them of everything we have given them."  And everything they have to fear if they disappoint us.  "We'll also have to come up with an official reason for Euphoria's disappearance, and why she recalled all of her gifted power so suddenly.  Perhaps there was an important mission out of the city?  Or maybe we could spin it as a test of the population's loyalty after the attack, some sort of collective punishment.  We can tell them we will bring Euphoria back when they impress us with their service and loyalty.  That might work, don't you think?"  Brainstorming ideas was already making Rainmaker feel better.  Maybe she would only fry a few dozen of the rioters with her lightning when the time came, instead a few hundred.

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Cornucopia was strolling through one of her urban plantations when a messenger arrived with the summons, the Vanilla nervously eyeing the plants sprouting handguns instead of the more usual fruits and vegetables one would expect to see. Amused Cornucopia manipulated one of the bushes, turning one of the guns towards the Vanilla as he bowed to her, a bead of sweat dripping slowly down his face.

"I assume you have some reason for bothering me?" She asked, eyebrow raised. She notably did not signal the messenger to raise his head and so he wisely kept his head down and continued the supplicating gesture.

"Yes, of course. Rainmaker requests your presence for a counsel of the Queens." He said, voice firming as he remembered his purpose.

Cornucopia sighed gently as she examined him.

More time away from the Arboretum. Can't be helped I suppose.

"Very well then. I'll be with her shortly." She said, dismissing the messenger before turning her back to quickly inspect the rest of her crops, it wasn't particularly necessary, none of her plants were ever unhealthy but she'd always been something of a perfectionist.

The soft crunch of a snapping branch followed by a sharp intake of breath from behind her caught her attention. She turned slowly to see that the messenger in his hasty retreat had broken the branch off of one of her trees before realizing his mistake, he'd turned halfway back to her, blood draining from his face.

Cornucopia glided slowly towards him, face serene as she inspected the damage with delicate hands. No crop sprung from the broken branch, it was an old branch that was more decorative than practical. She smiled gently at the messenger whose face flushed with gratitude.

A sharp bang sounded from her other side as one of the bushes nearby pulled the trigger from a handgun with one woody branch.

The messenger collapsed, clutching his leg as he bit his lips to keep from crying out. All knew how Cornucopia hated people breaking the silence of her gardens.

"See that you tread more carefully next time." She said, stepping over the bleeding man before swooping out of the gardens and into her car.

------------------------------------------------------------------------
"Sorry for the delay." Cornucopia said as she swept into Rainmaker's office. "Messenger broke one of my darlings and he needed some... correcting, might want to slate him up for an appointment with Euphy to remind him of his place."

She nodded to Chase in greeting before continuing.

"So what was this about a meeting? What's happened?"

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"I agree, these riots must be dealt with, and making an example is a good way to do that." Chase smiled. Rainmaker liked Chase's idea! She realized that her smile must look a little stupid for an Epic, especially a Queen of Corvallis, no less. Sometimes Chase forgot that, even with the constant reminders. Then Chase remembered that Rainmaker was still talking.

 

"I was thinking of something a little more... dramatic.  We could have all of us Queens confront the crowds together, show a united front, and remind them of everything we have given them." Chase nodded. That sounded good. The seeds of her idea were still there, which was really all that mattered. Being too important while being too fragile ended up with a person dead. 

 

"We'll also have to come up with an official reason for Euphoria's disappearance, and why she recalled all of her gifted power so suddenly.  Perhaps there was an important mission out of the city?  Or maybe we could spin it as a test of the population's loyalty after the attack, some sort of collective punishment.  We can tell them we will bring Euphoria back when they impress us with their service and loyalty.  That might work, don't you think?"

 

"Yes, Rainmaker. That sounds like an excellent idea. You can make it so that they think that the people who serve us the best will be first to be given their doses of happiness so we can get some extra productivity out of this. Vanillas are an unproductive lot, aren't they?" Chase said, hands clasped behind her back. All the while, she was making systematic nods.

The door opened. Chase turned around. She hadn't detacted any Chains moving so... yes. It was an Epic. Cornucopia, actually.  

 

"Sorry for the delay." Cornucopia told them as she walked in. "Messenger broke one of my darlings and he needed some... correcting, might want to slate him up for an appointment with Euphy to remind him of his place." Chase never really liked Cornucopia. Just the way Cornucopia acted made Chase shiver. Chase wasn't sure why. Just the impression that Cornucopia gave her. The careless mention of Euphoria made Chase flinch. If I had seen it, I could've stopped it. Could've been a hero.

 

Though her personal feelings didn't come into how she interacted with the Queen. Chase preferred work directly under Rainmaker. It was simpler, that way.

 

"So what was this about a meeting? What's happened?"

 

"Vanillas these days." Chase said. Casual. Not like she wasn't scared out of her wits whenever she interacted with the others. Though, I suppose I'm more useful now that... that... that Euphoria is gone. Safer. More secure in her place. Rainmaker wouldn't fry her, would she? "My messenger was slow. There's been a small problem. Euphoria is missing. I don't know the details. Rainmaker, I don't suppose you would kindly elaborate for us?"

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Never one to let someone else speak for her, Rainmaker took the lead, ignoring Chase's response to Euphoria's question and talking over her instead. "Welcome, Cornucopia. We were just discussion what to do about Euphoria's disappearance, and..." Oh, that was right, Cornucopia wouldn't know. Cornucopia preferred to spend more time with her plants than with other epics or humans, usually keeping herself isolated in her base at the Arboretum.

 

"Rainmaker, I don't suppose you would kindly elaborate for us?"  Again, Rainmaker resisted the temptation to lash out, though she could feel her skin was still shining.  Chase was just being helpful.  She was not intending to be an annoyance. 

 

"Of course, you wouldn't know, would you? Euphoria seems to have vanished, earlier this morning, and she took all of her happiness with her." Rainmaker did not apologize for the her earlier assumption. If she could help it, Rainmaker never apologized. Lightning usually worked better anyways. "Chase has just informed me we may have a riot on our hands, and we'll have to find a method other than 'dosing' or 'appointments' to deal with them.  I was thinking a public display of our combined power, and a few examples might be best, followed by an explanation for Euphoria's absence."  Again, Rainmaker did not acknowledge Chase's part in forming the idea.  Chase worked under her after all, so it might as well have been all her idea anyways. 

 

"Do you have any suggestions Cornucopia?"

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"Euphy's gone?" Cornucopia asked "Oh how dreadful, well I must say there was always some concern with her, she's a dear of course but fragile." Cornucopia lamented the disappearance of one of Corvallis' most important epics with all the expression that she had when told someone was out of tea.

"Yes I suppose a public demonstration would be best, can't have the rabble rioting now can we? If Chase could track down whoever started this then we could stage a public execution, strike hard and replace their joy with fear rather than anger. That should keep them quelled for now and focused on continuing to serve. I could perhaps cut off the food from some of the plantations as well, remind them how much they depend on our goodwill to survive."

Cornucopia mused over her plan, she'd hate to kill any of her babies, perhaps just causing their fruit to wither and drop off early would be better, she'd needed to get some replanting done anyway, perhaps the new crop could be altered some way in order to make up for the lack of Euphoria's presence, some kind of chemical that elevated moods...

She bit her lower lip slightly, deep in thought though trying to show Rainmaker her attention.

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Chase felt a touch of annoyance when Rainkmaker claimed credit for her own idea, though that was the way of things. Besides, Chase worked for Rainmaker. All of her ideas were, technically, hers. Chase should be grateful that Rainmakmer considered her idea good enough to steal. Chase turned to Cornucopia to see how she'd react.

"Euphy's gone? Oh how dreadful, well I must say there was always some concern with her, she's a dear of course but fragile." Cornucopia was starting to get on Chase's nerves. Can't she ever be serrious? Though, Chase wasn't going to disagree. Euphoria was powerful, indeed, but, like Chase, had no defensive abilities.

"Yes, I suppose a public demonstration would be best, can't have the rabble rioting now can we? If Chase could track down whoever started this then we could stage a public execution, strike hard and replace their joy with fear rather than anger. That should keep them quelled for now and focused on continuing to serve. I could perhaps cut off the food from some of the plantations as well, remind them how much they depend on our goodwill to survive."

Chase winced as Cornucopia referenced her tracking abilities. Why couldn't she sense Epics? That would make her so much more powerful. If she had a gun to Rainmaker's head in the form of a Chain...

But no. Chase could not Tag Epics. She wasn't that powerful. Chase should be grateful that Rainmaker let her live in luxury and rule. Besides, being important got a person in a grave. As long as Euphoria showed an appealing target, then Chase wouldn't be in the danger. The problem was, now her shield of unimportance was gone, Chase was a target. A big one. Without Chase, the city would be in complete chaos.

That terrified her. But for now, Chase was still not as important as to be dangerous. Only once she brought the city under control would she be important. Hopefully Rainmaker would be able to keep her part in subduing the city underwraps.

"That's the problem, Cornicopia. I can't sense the people who did this. They're Epics, or they have some Epic that can muffle my ability. " Which,Chase thought, renders me pointless. Again. Good. "However, they can't go forever without a Tagged vanilla seeing a group of Epics. Someone will recognize them and I will see it. Then we will know how they look and we can hunt them down."

Chase gave the others a grin. "Then our rule will be secure again, Euphoria back with us where she belongs." But what if Euphoria left by her own will? Then I'll remain in this position... forever. That thought panicked Chase. The observant eye might see that she had clenched her fists at the thought, they might hear her heart pounding. It was scary, being important.

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The Williamette was beautiful. Autumn leaves, having fallen gracefully, augmented the color of the water. They were dragged along by the swift current, contrasted by the green moss on the sharp rocks.  The Van Buren Bridge stretched across the river, growing amidst crimson and tangerine trees. Hypno sat on the bank of the river in the optimal position to see the lone silhouette in the center of the bridge. With a deep breath, inhaling the scent of peace, he spoke a single word into the mic. "Jump."

Hypno stood, a tranquil grin on his face. "Let's go," he Commanded the human furniture he had brought with him. They rose from their positions on the ground, stepping in place around him. The three servants were his most reliable guards. "Protect me from anyone who attacks." Sparing one last glance at the broken body brushing up against the shore, he walked towards the now empty bridge.

-----------------

Upon arriving back at his home near the fields, Hypno noticed slaves rioting. They were chanting something about Euphoria. Were they off their doses? The masses in Corvallis were typically very placid and content.

He Commanded one of the rioters to tell him what she was doing. Hypno was already at his limit, but the woman seemed eager to express her complaints. "We want our happiness back! Euphoria stole it from us. Raining jerk," she yelled. Hypno nodded and backed away, his guards still surrounding him. Euphoria wouldn't have stopped doling out doses of pleasure. Not unless she was going rogue. Or if she had been taken.

Hypno headed towards his home, ruminating the revelations he had received from the rioters. He took his mobile from his pocket and sent a short message to Rainmaker: Ready when you are. If Euphoria couldn't control the population, Rainmaker would have to rely on lesser types of control, like Chase's tagging and Hypno's powers.

Hypno cracked a smile. With Euphoria gone, he was about to have more favors asked of him. Which meant more rewards. In turn, that would bring him peace like today's.

Simple peaces. Calm bridges, autumn leaves, clear rivers, broken bodies.

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THREE DAYS AGO


After securing the three Ghouls in the cellar, blocking the door so they couldn't open it, Iconoclast sat the trembling, orange-suited Epic down at the dinner table and began to question him. Firefly told Iconoclast everything he knew. He told him the names of the Queens, and what he knew of their powers, and how they kept control of the city- through happiness from Euphoria, mostly. He told him how he had once been higher-ranked, possessing many more servants and a much bigger and nicer house, but he had gotten drunk at some function or another and offended one of the Queens. He was lucky to be alive, in fact, although he couldn't remember what he had done.

Firefly also told him about other Epics he had known when he had been higher-ranked, and filled him in on the rest of the details of the immigration process, that Iconoclast had missed by jumping off the bridge. Epics came, and were assigned residences and servants based on the usefulness of their powers, and their favour with Rainmaker. All in all, the information mostly expanded upon the rumours Iconoclast had heard, and confirmed what he had thought- that this place was the ultimate prize for him. If he could bring chaos and anarchy and freedom to Corvallis... he could, and would, do it anywhere.

"Thank you, for all your help, Firefly."
The orange-suited young man fell to his knees, bowing before the insane Epic. "Mast- uh, friend! I live to serv- uh, work with you!"
Iconoclast chuckled, "Of course, we are equals, after all! Now, I will spend the next few days planning my attacks... with your help, of course. Euphoria needs to die... as does... Chase, was it? And... Bubbles?" Firefly nodded at each name. "Without them," Iconoclast continued, "Rainmaker won't be able to retain control over her little kingdom. My Ghouls will inspire the humans to rise up, and the Epics will follow. Soon she will lose control completely, and then I will kill her, too. Or someone else does, by that point watching is really my only goal." Firefly gulped. Even by Epic standards... this man.. this monster was insane!

"But first..." Iconoclast whispered, looking Firefly straight in the eye, licking his lips, "I am... hungry." Iconoclast smiled, revealing pointed teeth. They hadn't been pointed a second ago.

Firefly tried to back away, mouth and eyes forming perfect 'O' shapes, but Iconoclast grabbed his shoulder with an iron grip, newly-formed claws digging into his flesh. "Y-you said you wouldn't hurt me!" The Epic whimpered.
Iconoclast giggled, "I lied. But I won't kill you. How about we make a compromise, a deal. You let me rip an arm off, and I won't take an arm and a leg by force. Sound like a win-win situation?"

Firefly's eyes began tearing up, and he blubblered, "N-no, please! I have food, I can make you something! J-j-just d-don't eat me! Any of me! Please!"
Iconoclast shook his head sadly, "No, no, you see, I long ago lost my taste for human food. Now, I prefer... human food, you know? Or Epic, in this case." The deranged monster giggled again. "Well, if you don't want to accept my offer, I can always take something from one of my Ghouls, but then I'd need to repay them somehow, and they are probably hungry too.... and you, my friend, are the only thing I could repay them with....."

Firefly cried even harder.

Iconoclast tsked, "Now now, that is no way to behave in front of a guest. You have the choice- give me your arm... or I give you to the Ghouls as a snack. They like to play with their food, sometimes, if you are unlucky." Firefly started to calm down, and after a minute of Iconoclast staring, licking his lips, Firefly nodded. "Ok... Ok.... y-you can h-have it..."
"I can have... what, you say?" He said, leaning in closely.
Firefly closed his eyes, and looked away, "M-my arm... you can have my arm.... Just please be quick about it."

Iconoclast grabbed his chin and yanked his head to look into into his eyes, Firefly yelping at the ferocity of it. "Thanks to your little cry and the amount of time you made me wait on an empty stomach... you can watch." The anger in his voice and the dangerous light in his eyes made Firefly completely unwilling to disobey. Iconoclast smiled, and his arms expanded as he enhance the strength of his muscles. With a mighty wrench, Iconoclast pulled Firefly's left arm out of its socket.
 

.....


Not much later, Iconoclast sat at the table, holding Firefly's arm like a chicken leg, ripping bloody raw chunks off with his shark-like teeth. Firefly sat opposite him, tears in his eyes, trying very hard to ignore the stump of his arm, cauterised with his own power. Speaking through a mouthful of red meat, Iconoclast raised the arm and gestured to it, "you want some?" he asked, eliciting a horrified expression from Firefly. Iconoclast laughed, blood spraying from his mouth across the table.

The gruesome spectacle continued, with the only noise being the disgusting sounds of Iconoclast as he messily ate his meal. "W-when are you going to release me?" Firefly whispered, breaking the silence. "I've done everything you asked of me."

Iconoclast paused, looking thoughtfully into the distance. "Indeed you have. I will release you in a few days, when I am ready to bring chaos to this place, and you can't alert the authorities to my location. Can't have you ruining things before I've gotten started, now can we?"
 

PRESENT DAY


"No, no, you can't do this!" Firefly screamed, his remaining hand impaled behind his back with a metal spike.
"I'm afraid I can, little Firefly." Iconoclast smirked, and he went to open the cellar door. The Ghouls beyond, having grown in number to a dozen over the past few days, with Iconoclast kidnapping any servants who got too close, hollered and screamed. "Euphoria has withdrawn her happiness, as you say, so whether she is dead, kidnapped or fled, now is the perfect time to strike. Also, my friends are hungry, you see, and you are the only food I have on hand. Sorry old pal, guess this is the end."

"No, no! Nononono!"
Iconoclast opened the door, and with a powerful shove, pushed the screaming, protesting Firefly into the cellar, slamming the door behind him, muffling his cries and soon, his howls of agony as the Ghouls descended upon him. Iconoclast giggled, remembering one of the humans he had turned, not an hour ago, telling him of a riot that was occurring nearby. That sounded like the kind of place he wanted to be.

Iconoclast strengthened his leg muscles, changed his facial features to be indistinguishable from his former appearance, and began running. Onlookers might think him an Epic, but that wasn't a bad thing in this city. This riot should be fun, perhaps he could help it get really wild. He would not corrupt any of the rioters, oh no, he didn't want the riot dispersed. Riots were good. Riots were chaos, and chaos was freedom.
When he got back, he would let his friends go free at last. And that.... that was only the beginning.

Edited by Blackhoof
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Clop clop clop clicked her heels as she strolled down the corridor. She missed these college campuses, the way they made her feel. She hadn't attended OSU, but she had owned the academics in her school. Those halls had been her halls. Now these halls were hers too, though for a different reason.

 

Turning a corner, she walked a few short steps before opening a door and stepping into a class room. "Ready to move?" she asked the two women before her, "Rainmaker has summoned us. She's summoned all the Queens."

 

"You couldn't have said that on the phone? You're such a drama queen!" Buttercup complained. Blossom and Buttercup had always had a tense relationship, what with Blossom often leading her sisters, but Buttercup thinking she could do a better job.

 

"I figured an extra Queen for security could do Bubbles some good. I had to come here from Albany, thank you. There's a riot on that side of the bubble, and I wasn't sure how safe Bubbles's route would be." Blossom ran a few fingers through some of her hair, offering a small smile to her sister. Buttercup's face went from surprise at the mention of the riot, to anger at the jab Blossom had made at her job.

 

"You're lucky we're related. I'd kill you otherwise." Buttercup rammed a finger into Blossom's ribs, the force causing her to take a few steps to keep from falling over.

 

"Oh shut up you two! I finished my drawing, let's go." Bubbles rose from her seat, pushed her pencil down into her hoody, and made for the door, leaving her drawing on the desk. Blossom walked over to look at it as Buttercup checked the hallways for danger.  Bubbles's had drawn Seattle. Burning. Blossom allowed the corner of her lips to rise momentarily before leaving the room after Bubbles.

 

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Bubbles walked liesurely down the hallway. There was no sense in rushing, Buttercup never let her rush indoors. Too many corners, with too few ways of escape. Without finding a window, Bubbles would never make it out of the building without Buttercup's help. She should be grateful of her sister. Afterall, it was Bubbles's own safety Buttercup was worried about.

 

"Buttercup, can we not move faster?" Blossom complained. Buttercup ignored her though, the insult earlier souring her mood.

 

"Give her a break, Blossom. She's been upset ever since Euphoria's attack two weeks ago. She had handpicked Bulletproof, and Decoy had been very useful. She's just doing her job, which you know she's the best at." Bubbles didn't bother turning to see her sisters response, but she did hear the audible grunt Blossom made as they reached the exit.

 

The sun was setting beautifully, as always in Corvallis. The familiar sights of the OSU campus were painted orange in the waning sunlight before the sisters, everything clean and inviting. An outsider would never even guess the school had been turned into a headquarters for the Queens. The Epic guarding the entrance, GasMask, nodded to Buttercup as the girls took flight, light streaming behind them as they zipped to Rainmaker's office. 

 

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Buttercup led the way into Rainmaker's office. She was used to being the front of a group. That's how things were when you were the Queen of Security. Looking around the office, she noticed Chase and Cornucopia already there, though Cornucopia's guards were not. Idiots, I'll have to scold them for leaving her alone. Even if she dismisses you, her safety is priority! Buttercup tried to hide her rage from showing, but it was proving difficult. As Bubbles and Blossom got into the room, she took up position by her sisters.

 

"What's the ruckus about?" Blossom asked. "I noticed a riot outside of town on my way here from Albany." Albany, a city torn in half by Bubbles's bubble. People living inside the bubble were regular citizens of Corvallis. Those outside the bubble, though, were not. Buttercup had spent much time up in Albany getting security well equipped and in the right mindset. Shoot first. Don't bother asking questions. One could never be too careful when any of your targets could be an Epic.

Edited by Blaze1616
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Rainmaker was distracted from Chase's explanation by a vibration from her mobile.  "Ready when you are."  A message from Hypno.  Rainmaker smiled.  The minor mind-control epic would actually be of great use to her tonight, but perhaps not in the way he expected.  

 

Finally, Blossom, Buttercup, and Bubbles arrived completing the circle.  Or at least, completing the circle save for Euphoria.  "Yes, yes," Rainmaker said, waving a hand for the girls to take a seat.  "Chase has already informed me of the riots.  We were just figuring out what to do about them," Rainmaker eyed Chase out of the corner of her eye, warning her not to interject this time.  "Euphoria has gone missing, and my agents have been unable to locate her.  All of her power has been recalled, which is why the people are beginning to riot.  What we need now is a way to remind the population of who we are, perhaps making an example of a few, and to show off the extent of our combined power.  Then, we need an excuse to give them about Euphoria's absence.  I'm still partial to the test idea, let them think it's their fault she's gone.  Once are announcement is over, we send everyone back to their houses, and kill anyone who continues to riot."  

 

Rainmaker got up from her seat and walked over the window, watching the last sliver of sunlight vanish below the horizon.  "We have spoiled these people terribly, and now we are paying for it.  They act out like children, wanting a sweet.  It is time to understood that the happiness they enjoyed was at our pleasure, and what we give, we can take away."

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The news of Euphoria's disappearance washed over Buttercup like a tidal wave. But I increased her security. I put more men than was reasonable on her guard force! How could this happen? Buttercup shot to her feet, then knelt on one knee. "I take full responsibility for Euphoria. Were the men I had guarding her found dead?" If not, they will be soon.

 

"That doesn't matter right now," Blossom spoke before an answer could be given, "we need to worry about these riots. Your plan is a good one, Rainmaker. I only wonder if we should kill all the rioters as a warning to others who might be considering a similar course of action." Buttercup glared at her sister, who was blatantly ignoring her, looking to Rainmaker by the window. Bubbles, on the other hand, had curled up in a chair, and begun to doodle on a small pad she apparently kept on her.

 

"Is it not wise to let them live? Rainmaker's plan requires us to only kill a few, leaving all those servants and farm hands to continue working," Buttercup countered. "There is no sense in ridding ourselves of a few hundred farm workers, when we can accomplish a similar goal by only killing ten or twenty." Whichever Rainmaker chose didn't change the situation much. New immigrants were constantly trying to gain access to Corvallis. Replacing a few hundred vanillas would be easy, though they'd need to find Euphoria first.

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As she looked out into the night, Rainmaker continued to glimmer dangerously, her rage sustained Blossom's suggestion.  Of course she could kill all the farm workers.  If she wanted to, she could kill everyone in the city, Blossom included.  That would be a waste she reminded herself.  As she turned back to face the other Queens, Rainmaker forced clouds to appear in the night sky all across the city.  Moments later, it was drizzling lightly outside; not enough to force to rioters back indoors--she still wanted a chance to punish them, after all--but enough to make them cold and miserable.  

 

"We are not sure how long Euphoria will be absent.  For the moment, let's limit the scope of our demonstration to ten or twenty."  It would be a shame.  Rainmaker could kill far more people on her own in an instant.  It would hardly be a good show of her power.  "Per group, that is.  There may be more than one gathering, and we will need to keep them all in check.  And as further punishment, they can all work in pouring rain tomorrow.  Maybe then they'll be ready to prove to us they deserve some sunshine."  She would have to be careful though, not to drive people away.  If word got out that Euphoria was missing and Corvallis was falling apart, their stream of fresh immigrants would drive up.  Rainmaker had amassed an incredible team of epics and a near limitless supply of human slaves.  She couldn't give that up now.  

 

Thinking of her supply of slaves reminded Rainmaker of Hypno.  He would have a price, he always did.  She could always threaten his life, but that would be a risk.  A man with Hypno's talent was difficult to hold captive.  While his power was limited in scope, it was useful in specific situations, and it would be a shame to lose him just because of a misunderstanding.  As she continued to give instructions, Rainmaker checked her mobile again.  "Ready when you are."  His text was still there, unanswered.  Rainmaker closed the message and opened a new one to her chief of household staff.  Find three servants you wouldn't mind firing, and have them waiting in my office four hours from now, and keep them there until I return.  

 

"Buttercup, you'll deploy the police and our other forces in full riot gear.  We'll get them to gather all of the rioters in the Crystal Lake sports-field.  I'll send my winds along with them, to help with the herding.  Cornucopia has many plants there, so it should serve well to show off her powers.  Actually," Rainmaker smiled to herself, as a new idea began to form, "Let's see about gathering the whole city, shall we?  We will keep the rioters cordoned off from the rest of the populace of course, but I want everyone to see us for the goddesses we are.  We'll show them what happens to people who disappoint us, announce that we will be testing their loyalty by withholding Euphoria's power, and then send them off to enjoy the rest of their miserable night, and the miserable work day that will follow."

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Two Weeks Ago

Tonedeath stood at attention in front of the stage using his powers to dampen the noise of Euphoria’s communications before the vanillas in front of them could hear it. He could hear her fine, in his earpiece, but Rainmaker definitely didn’t want Euphoria to be unprotected. That was only part of his job, the other part was to act as Rainmaker’s microphone when she got there. Larry stood beside him shotgun in hand. Tonedeath stood with his handgun in both hands, one hand stabilizing and the other clicking the safety off and on, the constant clicks bounced off the surrounding objects and returned to him creating an ever changing picture of the world. Eyes update automatically, but Tonedeath had lost his.

“Do you need anything sir?” Larry asked.

“No,  but do you know when Rainmaker is supposed to show, I’m getting bored.”

“She is supposed to arrive any minute now.”

“Perfect.”

                And Larry was correct, within the next two minutes thunder began rumbling. He heard when Rainmaker finally appeared. He didn’t dare turn around, that would ruin the look, but he knew that Rainmaker was there. As Rainmaker began to speak, he began amplifying the sound. Rainmaker had given him instructions on when to bring the volume down and up for dramatic effect.

Tonedeath looked at the people in the crowd, he spent the odd moment thinking about how much he wasn’t seeing, he couldn’t see, but sensing. He used to mourn the loss of his eyes, but now he realized how much better his echolocation was. He couldn’t sense color which was a downer, but he could sense in the dark. Ah whatever…  Try as he might Tonedeath could never really convince himself that he was better off this way. He still felt like something had left him on that airfield years ago. He still felt tingles where …

Security Team B, we have a shooter.” Euphoria said over the mobile interrupting his thoughts.

Tonedeath relayed, “Larry, there is a shooter on the other sid…”

“I know, I know, I have a mobile too,” He said as he unslung his rifle from his back, “You may want to take out your guns, it could be a coordinated assault.”

                Just then the stage behind them exploded. A metal woman stood in the middle of the wreckage, a massive gun on her shoulder. Larry got a shot off to no affect, before Rainmaker began hitting the thing with massive blasts of wind.

“Larry,” Cried Tonedeath jamming the earpiece in, “I’ll attempt to stun her until backup arrives, cover me.”

                Tonedeath sharply began amplifying the roar of the wind. A regular person would be writhing on the ground, but this was an Epic. She obviously wouldn’t be able to hear anything that her comrades tell her. When rainmaker switched to hail, Tonedeath had to increase the sound so that each hail dropped was like a cannon going off in addition to the impact.  

When the snipers began their firing Larry spoke, “Tone, let’s go Rainmaker has localized the storm, we may be needed somewhere else, but we aren’t needed here.”

“Okay, head for the tunnels and then back to base.”

 

Present Day

Tonedeath wasn’t a Queen of Corvallis, he was all too male to be one of them. He and Larry had been summoned to Rainmaker's Office, and they took this summons very seriously. The guards at the door stopped them for a minute and then let them in.  The Queens appeared to be discussing the use of a show of force to quell the riots.

We'll show them what happens to people who disappoint us, announce that we will be testing their loyalty by withholding Euphoria's power, and then send them off to enjoy the rest of their miserable night, and the miserable work day that will follow," Said Rainmaker closing her speech.

Tonedeath tentatively raised his hand, he hated stooping to this level, but when in a room where everyone in it could kill you easily, it was best to be cautious.

“Yes Tonedeath, do you have any additions to my glorious plan,” Rainmaker asked.

“I just thought that it is possible that the epics that attacked us two weeks ago could also be leading the riots, if so, we might want to infiltrate the rioting crew and kidnap the leaders, for a public execution later. If any of Chase’s chains are part of the riots we could have an easy way in. I could lead a team in, if needed. I know little about Bubbles powers but if she could put the rebel leaders in force fields and prevent them from escaping or attacking us, we could hold them indefinitely. Of course this all hinges on whether or not the rebels have a leader, but what do you think?”

Edited by The Honey Badger
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Two weeks ago

 

Kenshin stood at the edge of the immigrant crowd that had been gathered in front of a stage, resting a hand on the hilt of a sword hanging from her hip. She arrived here after a long journey and had to wait outside that forcefield. Now, hopefully the city would live up to what she heard. The weather was as wonderful as she heard but that was a minor detail at best, a real judgment wouldn’t be made until Rainmaker howed herself.

 

Distant thunder heralded Rainmaker’s entrance. Wind pulled at Kenshin’s ponytail and the legs of her pants. Finally she descended out of a cloud, specifically generated just so she could descend from it, and surrounded by brilliant light and rainbows. The gumin around her perked up at the theatrics.    

 

A gust of powerful wind washed over the crowd. Finally, something more what Kenshin searched for, an actual display of power. The system of the city as it was explained made sense, powerful and usefulness gave an Epic comfort in the city and gumin served. Still, Rainmaker kept her theatrics to dress up her measures of control, instead of openly addmiting to her dictatorship.

 

Chaos erupted in the crowd, as an Epic grew to giant size and covered herself in metal. She pointed a gun towards a group of scribes and screamed for Euphoria, the cities living drug dispenser, so they were hiding her under unimportant bureaucrats. The attacker was smashed to the ground by immense winds and Rainmaker descended back down, fury radiating from her skin.

  

Not following the flows of the crowd Kenshin only moved far away enough to create a safe distance. There she watched Rainmaker darkening the sky, so only Calamity’s light could penetrate the dark clouds, and calling down the forces of weather, be it lightning, storms of hail, on the would be assassin, now being reduced to enduring the onslaught.

 

Having seen enough Kenshin calmly walked into the city. Kenshin didn’t found herself agreeing with her pompous personality but she was not about to deny Rainmaker’s might. It created some confidence that this city was worth its reputation.

 

Present day

 

Corvallis was exactly the paradise that was promised and even more it was fake.

 

Kenshin was in her new residence. It was a nice house and more than large enough for her needs and she had started decorating the place mostly with self-made weaponry. Nothing about it leaved room for complains, neither did the catering or anything else they provided her with.

 

What she couldn’t stand were her servants. Their plastered on smile and… happiness just rubbed her the wrong way. Stability was a valuable good but having the weak smiling instead of bowing to their better, a problem that spread through the whole city.

 

She signaled a servant to refill her sake. Once the girl finished, Kenshin grabbed her wrist and pinned it to the table. “I wonder if you would keep that smile, if I cut off a finger.” Kenshin said, while making a dagger appear in her free hand.

For a moment the gumin kept smiling. However, her smile twitched up, almost as if she eager to get a finger cut off. Then a jerk joulted through her and she started whimpering, “Please, no.” That reaction was better than I anticipated.

Kenshin held the dagger to the girl’s throat, “Tell me, is there a reason for your begging?”

“I…I… it’s my happiness, it’s gone. Euphoria must have taken it. Please, just don’t hurt me.” Tears welled in her eyes, as she stared at the blade.

“Kneel.”

Kenshin kept the blade on the girl’s throat, as she followed her command.

“You’ll still serve me, won’t you?” Kenshin asked her and through the sobs got an agreement.

Kenshin smiled as she looked down at her crying servant and she put the knife away. This is more like things should be the weak being aware of their inferiority and submitting to their better.

 

Another servant of hers stormed down the hallway, “I can’t take this. I want my happiness,” he kept on muttering, as he stormed by her and towards the exit. Kenshin cleanly cut through his stomach with a katana. The parts of his body limply fell to the ground, staining the carpet with blood.

 

“Remove the body until I return,” she ordered the girl, who weakly nodded back. The Epic exited her house, finding a healthy spring returning to her stride. She doubted that only her gumin lost their happiness and normally risking the collapse of order to this extend would be a catastrophe but had this city stayed as it was Kenshin doubted she would have stayed for long anyway. As things stood, she might be able to find satisfaction this evening or at least watch it become something agreeable.

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Rainmaker eyed Tonedeath skeptically as she considered his remarks.  His comments raised a concern.  Was someone leaking him inaccurate but informative information, or had he just been misinformed in general?  Perhaps she would have to start watching Tonedeath more closely.  The epics from the attack two weeks ago might not be working alone, which Rainmaker would have to act quickly and in secret if she was going to catch them.  
 
"The epics from the attack are dead," Rainmaker said decisively, "But I acknowledge that they might not be working alone.  With Euphoria gone, the maintenance of the larger shield is too important to use Bubbles's power for anything else, but your infiltration plan does have some merit.  I will give it further thought after the demonstration."  
 

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A little girl was sitting on a swing, frowning to herself.   Why isn’t she swinging? Danny wondered.  Swings weren’t meant just to be sat on.  Swings were meant for swinging, for soaring through the air like an eagle, for kicking up your feet and spreading your hands wide when you were at your highest point, like you were giving the sky a big hug.  The sky was awesome.  Swinging was awesome.  Danny had loved swinging all his life.  Even though he still liked it when his mom pushed him or gave him under-ducks, since starting school he had realized that sometimes his mom wasn’t around to give him under-ducks, so he had wasted no time in perfecting his ‘pumping’ technique.  Now, he was known as the best swinger in the class, and was the only kid to even come close to swinging over the top of the swing set. 
 
Swinging was pretty much the most awesome thing in the world. 
 
What wasn’t awesome was waiting for your turn on the swings while some grumpy girl was sitting on one and not even swinging.  Danny was good at taking turns.  Even though it was just him and his mom at home, his Mom ran a day care, so Danny had been sharing his things with other kids all his life.  He didn’t mind waiting his turn for the swings if it meant other people could experience the sheer… awesomeness of swinging.  What he did mind was sitting and watching while some silly girl just sat there and moped. 
 
The boy who was swinging on the swing next to the grumpy girl got up and left, racing off towards the monkey bars.  Now was Danny’s chance.  Wasting no time, he leapt up from where he had been playing in the sand and dashed towards the swing set.  Another kid saw what he was doing, and started chasing after him, no doubt desperate to claim the free swing for herself.  Danny wasn’t the fastest kid in his class, not by far, but he had a head start, and in that moment he wanted that swing more than almost anything.  Except maybe popcorn with peanut butter on it.  Even swimming wasn’t quite as good as popcorn with peanut butter on it. 
 
The girl who was chasing him almost cut up, but as they neared the swing set Danny leapt forward, landing on the swing tummy-first, claiming it for himself.  The girl frowned, stuck her tongue out, and stomped off to the play structure.
 
The other girl, the one who was just sitting and moping was still there, barely even moving, just staring down at her hands and frowning to herself. 
 
Not wanting to ruin his good mood, Danny started swinging, easily gaining momentum with each practiced movement of his legs.  Even as he reached his highest point, just shy of coming even with the top of the swing set, for some reason he couldn’t help but wonder why that girl was still sitting there when she had a perfectly good swing to use. 
 
Swinging was less fun when you had something on your mind.  Now that he had a swing, Danny didn’t feel as mad at the girl for not using hers.  Actually, he felt a little bad he had thought mean things about her.  His mom always said that he had a bundle of sunshine inside of him, and that meant that it was his job to share that sunshine with others when he noticed they were feeling sad. 
 
“Hi,” he said, slowing his momentum so that he could converse.  “My name’s Danny.  What’s yours?”
 
The girl looked up at him briefly, then away, saying nothing. 
 
“I could teach you to swing, if you don’t know how.  I’m really good at it, but it’s not hard to learn.  It’s really fun too.”  Still the girl said nothing.  Now that he was paying more attention to her, and he wasn’t so distracted by the fact that she wasn’t swinging, Danny noticed that he didn’t recognize the girl at all.  Garfield Elementary was one of the biggest elementary schools in the city, and even though Danny often forgot people’s names, he knew the faces of everyone in his grade well, despite only moving to Corvallis earlier that year. 
 
“What grade are you?”  He asked, but still received no response.  The girl looked about his age, but sometimes it was difficult to tell.  She was wearing a frilly pink dress that was kind of fancy, and had sparkly pink butterfly barrettes in her strawberry blonde hair.  In fact, it seemed like the only thing she was wearing that wasn’t pink was her thick framed glasses, which were black.  Except for the glass part, of course.  That part was clear. 
 
Danny got an idea.  “Hold on!” he said, leaping from the swing and landing feet first on the ground.  “I’ll be right back!”  Racing off, Danny ran to the edge of the play-ground where he had seen his targets earlier that day.  Lots of people needed a net to catch butterflies, and some couldn’t even catch them then, but Danny had been catching them with his mom since he was little, and was sneaky enough to do it with his bare hands. 
 
The butterflies in question were bright orange with black markings.  His mom said they were called ‘Monarchs’.  Danny didn’t know what that word meant, but figured that maybe it had something to do with doing art on Mondays.  The butterflies danced among the spring flowers that were growing in the hedges on the edge of the playground.  Slow and steady, Danny crept up to them, moving one muscle at a time so that the butterflies wouldn’t be scared away.  Finally, when he was close enough, he clapped his hands together, being careful not to squish his new captive.  After peeking through his fingers to make sure the monarch was still alive, he rushed back across the playground to where the girl was still sitting glumly on her swing. 
 
“Here!” he said, “I got you a butterfly!  Like on your barrette!  Girls like butterflies, right?”  The butterfly fluttered away as he opened his hands. 
 
The girls fixed him with a stare that could have stripped paint off a wall, acknowledging him for the first time.  “My name’s Leila,” she said, “And I hate butterflies.”  For some reason, the way she said that made Danny feel like they were going to be great friends.
 

PRESENT DAY, EARLY MORNING

 

Insight let the memory fade.  It continued to flicker, one of few vibrant sparkles of colourful light among the many more dingy memories that hovered around him.  Euphoria the Enslaver stood in front of him, picking a bottle of water from a plant.  To Insight, she seemed to be moving in slow motion, and like the rest of the room, excluding him and his memories, she was lacking any form of colour.  Insight sighed.  He had watched for long enough.  It was time to put his theory to the test.  
 
He shifted, becoming tangible and visible as his memories faded from view, and the room around him burst into vibrant colour.  Euphoria turned, eyes widening as she turned to face him.  
 
"It's you..."
 

Rainmaker.png

 

LATER THAT NIGHT

 

Rainmaker stood, watching with disapproval as the crowds gathered in the field.  Her soldiers, both epic and human, were busy corralling the rioters into a tight knit space, using riot shields and pepper spray to do so.  The rest of the city, epics included, were gathering not far away.  It was reassuring for Rainmaker to see how large the second crowd was compared to the first.  She still had a chance to maintain some measure of control.  After they gave their explanation, and put some much deserved fear into these people, they would fall back into line.  Rainmaker continued to wait patiently.  While her light drizzle continued to fall on the crowd, she had cleared a small space of clear night sky just big enough for her and the other Queens to stand under.  She glimmered dangerously in the relative darkness, the light of her skin reflecting through the many prisms she wore.  For the announcement, she had changed into one of her official costumes.  This was a public appearance, after all, and it was important she looked her best when she struck fear into the hearts of her populace.  

 

Rainmaker continued to regard silently as the other Queens and the rest of her team, including Tonedeath, assembled.  Soon she told herself, Soon you will make these idiots pay for squandering the kindness you have given them.  Then, they shall give you the respect you are due.

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The sky darkened rapidly as Iconoclast ran through the streets, small groups of vanillas and Epics converging on the location of the meeting. Apparently Rainmaker wanted to quell the rioters or somesuch nonsense... well.... that would not do at all.

 

In his peripheral vision he caught sight of a storm drain and suddenly he remembered. His safeguard! Couldn't go into a dangerous situation without a safeguard, now could he? He came to a sudden stop, digging his heals in and bracing himself as his momentum caused him to skid along the ground for several metres before coming to a stop. With a twist and a rough jerk, he ripped off his left hand with his right, and tossed it into the drain. After years of regenerating constant injuries, he had lost all sense of pain, merely feeling a mild discomfort, followed by a tingling as his hand grew back. If his body was every fully vaporised- as had occurred a few times, fighting Epics, he would regrow from the next largest piece of him left. So he always left a few pieces scattered around, wherever he went, as a back-up. Too bad they started rotting once separated from him, and were prone to being eaten by scavengers. 

 

His gruesome delay complete, Iconoclast took up a more sedate pace as he followed the masses to the gathering. Wouldn't want to draw suspicion to himself by being conspicuous, now would he? No... better keep them guessing. 

 

Ten minutes later, he was at the gathering, and he noticed a smaller, second group separate from the main congregation, surrounded by riot-gear-equipped police officers. Police. Corrupt, amoral, traitorous police. Iconoclast felt his teeth being bared, and extending to cruel points, his vision growing hazy. "No, not yet! Wait!" He growled under his breath to himself. He needed to bide his time. Observe. Soon. The weather, a light drizzle, went unnoticed by him.

 

He suddenly saw Rainmaker- or the Epic he was certain was her- flanked by what must be the Queens of Corvallis, at the head of the crowd, observing them all with imperious eyes. Iconoclast looked at each one individually, trying to figure out which was which. Firefly had been too stupid and inattentive to give him much about their appearances, but he had told him that Bubbles was fond of blue hoodies.... one of which she must have been wearing now. He smiled, like a crocodile observing its meal. She needed to die, certainly. Without her, Rainmaker would lose control of traffic in and out of her city, and without secure borders her "paradise" would lose its security, and quickly fall into anarchy. "Well," he thought, looking at the rioters, "the process would be hastened, certainly. Lets see how these Queens react to a few more rioters joining the picture..."

 

Moving to the edge of the crowd, Iconoclast found himself mere metres from the edge of the police line. Only a line of vanillas and a few metres separated him from warm, fresh traitor blood- no! He couldn't move yet. Iconoclast smiled, and grabbed two vanillas on the shoulder. But his Ghouls could. Channelling his power into them, he turned them, and as their faces became twisted, bestial masks of rage, he directed their minds towards Rainmaker's policemen. He let them go, and they pushed through the few humans in their way, ignoring them utterly. The two Ghouls snarled and growled as they leapt towards the officers, tackling them and clawing at their face guards. Iconoclast didn't care what happened next- he was already moving, turning two more humans and sending them screaming at the traitors. He repeated this, and soon some people were following of their own accord, attacking the officers in a futile attempt to break the ring of police surrounding the rioters. The rioters pushed back as well, and soon the orderly division was breaking down into a swirling melee of Epics, police and angry vanillas. It wouldn't last long once the Epics began using their powers in earnest, though.

 

Iconoclast smiled and watched his handiwork. How he loved it when he made people fight. He turned his gaze onto Rainmaker and her Queens, curious as to how they would react, and began moving towards them through the crowd. Most High Epics were reckless and would lash out if their plans were interrupted, make mistakes.... if they did, they might present an opening. One gap, one chance... and Bubbles was as good as dead.

Edited by Blackhoof
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Bubbles was satisfied with her doodle. It had started very innocent, just a bunny eating a carrot. As the boring conversation about the riots continued, though, the carrot slowly turned into a gun as the bunny slowly turned suicidal. As Tonedeath entered Bubbles had been just about to erase the bunny's head to redraw it with a gaping hole. His comments caused her to pause however.

 

It always annoyed her how misinformed people were about her powers. Given she made the shield that blanketed the city, people just assumed there was no limit. This was an exploitable ignorance that could be utilized, but also caused problems when allies believed such things. It also sucked to have defensive powers that were difficult to use offensively. She believed it made her seem fragile. Though in reality, her bubbles made a great combination with her flight powers, though it had taken a lot of practice to get her own timing right. Not being able to move the bubbles once erected had proved to be a somewhat difficult hurdle.

 

Rainmaker's response was enough, so Bubbles returned to her doodle. If Rainmaker trusted Tonedeath enough to correct him, who was Bubbles to say otherwise? By the end of the meeting, the bunny had died, his brains dripping down the side of the page in a gray and white greusome display.

 


 

By the time the Queens left for where Buttercup had gotten her police to gather the vanillas, night had descended upon Corvallis. Bubbles flew with her sisters to the site so the Queens could show a united front. Buttercup was completely against the idea of Bubbles attending, saying that the security of Corvallis should not be put into further jeopardy for a simple display of force, but Blossom had convinced Rainmaker that all the Queens were necessary. Missing one would show something was off, but missing two would solidify the rumors that were no doubt circulating.

 

Bubbles didn't mind. She was used to being in constant danger by this point, so the slight increase in threat level didn't bother her. Rainmaker had even been nice enough to keep the skies the girls were flying through nice and clear, instead of letting them be rained on. Buttercup, though, would not be quelled, and was very unhappy with the situation. She had ordered GasMask and SparkPlug to accompany them, and insisted on swapping outfits. Bubbles hated times like this, when she had to give her hoody to Buttercup. Now she was wearing a stupid athletic jacket with too small of pockets, track pants that she couldn't put anything in from fear that they fall to her ankles, and running shoes that didn't hug her feet just the way she liked. Bubbles did find solace in the fact that Buttercup looked even more uncomfortable in jeans, though.

 

"And remember, should anything happen, leave with GasMask and Sparkplug immediately. Go straight to the bunker and don't let anyone in until I get there," Buttercup always told Bubbles the emergency plan. It had initially annoyed Bubbles, but she had quickly realized it was Buttercup's way of dealing with anxiety, and it no longer bothered her. Blossom, on the other hand, was quiet, calculating, logical.  She probably never even felt anxiety, or at least never showed it.

 

"Sounds like a plan," Bubbles offered her sister a smile as they descended, having arrived. It was not long before the Queens were all there, except for Euphoria. GasMask and SparkPlug were somewhere behind her. She was not always sure where they were, but it was a part of their job to always know where she was and to stay close, so she never thought about it much.

 

The crowd looked defeated. They had lost their happiness, lost their sunshine to this drizzle, and lost some of their own. The police had not initially been recieved well, but a few deaths had put the humans in their place. Bubbles was actually a little surprised that the humans among the police force had yet to turn on them. Buttercup had insisted allowing vanillas into the force would be okay, though, as their fear that the man standing next to them could be an Epic would keep them in line. She had been proven correct, and even Blossom had commended her for it. Humans were so predictable.

 

Predictable enough, even, that when the crowd began to rustle to her right, Bubbles knew what was coming. She watched as people were being shoved aside by some unseen force, and was shocked as two humans lept from the crowd, tackling an officer each, and began clawing at their faces. She blinked once, heard Buttercup say "Go!" and turned to leave.

 

Behind her the massive police gathering ungulated as the bodies sprang into action. She was quickly enveloped by the sea of officers that were there to serve as back up. At some point her arm was grabbed, and she looked to see GasMask guiding her through the mass of people. Her bubble hadn't materialized, so she knew the hand hadn't been a threat, but she still felt relief at recognizing the Epic. SparkPlug was next to him, and the three quickly threw a pink jacket over the one she was already wearing, and hid her hair under a cap. As they emerged from the scrambling bodies, Bubbles was put into an SUV with tinted windows, and the three of them drove off to the bunker.

 

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"Go!" Buttercup said to Bubbles as the humans began to fight the police. Turning back to the fighting, Buttercup allowed herself to be surrounded by the hundreds of officers that had been stationed behind the Queens. Once she could no longer see through the bodies, Buttercup ripped the hoodie and jeans off, leaving her in a black undershirt and some sweat pants. Bubbles would have to forgive her for destroying one of the many hoodies she owned.

 

Rising into the air above the bodies, Buttercup looked to Rainmaker. The Queen might be a High Epic, but that didn't keep Buttercup from supplying guards. Not that they were much needed, nor did Rainmaker particularly like being guarded, but Buttercup still wanted them in the vicinity just in case. Seeing that Rainmaker was fine and had some back up, Buttercup glanced to Cornucopia to see her guards springing into action as well. Good, that meant she could put some vanillas in their place.

 

She moved slowly though the air, landing near a police officer who was falling limp beneath the savage attack of a human. Buttercup was surprised to see the humans performing such barbaric actions, but like all animals who acted out, she knew to put them down. The human that had just killed the officer bit a chunk out of the dead man's face, then looked up at Buttercup. It growled as it stood up, barring its teeth as it hunched over, and screamed as it lept at her. Buttercup only smiled. "You want to act like dogs?" She pulled her arm back and unleashed a punch into the creature's face. The bones crunched beneath the force, and Buttercup left the dead human nearly headless, the face now an unrecognizable hunk of flesh.

 

Looking around, she noticed that some humans were acting just as savage as the last one, and others weren't. She burst into a run at another human, unleashing a kick that left the crumpled head bobbing like a bobble head. "Then let me put you down like dogs!" she bellowed in rage as she released her furry upon the crowd, focusing on the more barbaric vanillas.

 

The things fought with a ferocity that Buttercup had never seen in humans. There were a fair number of them, but they were almost all dead now. The normal acting vanillas were still fighting, but their fervor was evaporating quickly as the police beat them down.

 

As Buttercup's boot crushed the last of the savage humans, the crowd was pretty much under control again. She looked around, trying to get a sense for the damage done. From the looks of things, only vanillas had died. She knew she had lost a few officers, but such was life. She began walking through the police, just waiting for someone to act out of line again. She'd allow Rainmaker to address the crowd, rather than bothering with such a task herself. Blossom always got annoyed when she stepped into the PR realm.

 

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The place erupted as the police and the humans began to fight. Blossom was not one for combat, so she flew up onto the roof of a nearby building, content to just watch the action, having no doubt that her sister would regain control of the situation. She made a mental note of how some of the humans seemed more feral than the others. It was very odd, and she hoped Buttercup would have the smarts to keep one alive for investigation. As Buttercup went into full Epic mode, Blossom knew such a thing were impossible. She didn't much blame Buttercup, though. She knew the thrills of using her powers with no reservations. The thoughts of how she could simply kill another group of people, because why not?

 

As the fighting stopped, Blossom took flight again. She was head of Corvallis Public Relations, might as well provide her services to Rainmaker when they were useful.

Edited by Blaze1616
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The first rain Naomi had seen in months fell over a dismal crowd.

The people around her looked down at their feet, a few tears meeting the ground as if they were part of the rain. They took our happiness... the crowd whispered silently. They stopped giving us our joy...

Naomi had never been a bad servant. She remembered absolutely loving being a helpful servant, happy with her lot in life.

Until two hours ago.

Then, suddenly, her happiness was ripped from her. And, suddenly, she realized she'd never actually been happy. She got mad. Who were they to take charge of her? To order her around? To treat her like some slave?!

Others had started to riot. Naomi didn't join them. She was too busy trying to figure out her own emotions. But now?

Now, she was ready.

There were two crowds gathered in the field. One of the rioters, surrounded by Queen Buttercup's police forces, and one of the other people. Naomi was in the second, but she wasn't cowed.

She was going to start a revolution.

"What have they done to us?" She started with a whisper, but got louder as she spoke. "They have given us happiness, but they took it away. They have controlled us with Euphoria's false joy, and they want to see if we will stay in their grasp when it is gone. Well, let's show them!"

She heard a few murmured "yes"es through the crowd. She continued: "Let's show them what happens when they take our happiness away! Give us our happiness, or we will revolt! Freedom or joy! Freedom or joy!"

Some in the crowd picked up her chant. Slowly, it spread, until they could be heard over the rioters. Naomi forced her way up to the crowd and looked at "Queen" Rainmaker in the eye. Let's see what you do when your servants are done serving, Naomi thought at the Queens. Let's see what you do when your perfect Epic paradise is destroyed.

Behind her, the chant grew louder and louder. "Freedom or joy! Freedom or joy!"

Edited by mail-mi
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Cornucopia sighed as a ripple of violence broke through the crowd, a single attack at one point in the crowd soon spread out, the entire crowd throwing themselves at the security forces. Knowing what was going to happen next Cornucopia resigned herself to her fate as a stampede of security officers surrounded the Queens, herself included.

This is exactly why I don't like leaving the Arboretum.

She watched as two of the three sister-Queens jumped into the air, a twinge of envy at their ease of movement ran through her before being shaken off.

Lifting her dress off the ground slightly, it's formerly pristine white stained with the dirt of a day spent in her gardens, Cornucopia gestured to her guards to make enough room for her to see through, she could feel her plants even without her sense of sight but not well enough to direct their growth.

Rainmaker had fortunately held the rally in an area surrounded by her plants and while most were filled with everyday items and foodstock for the citizens of Corvallis, Cornucopia had given all of her gardens the ability to be defended, as her gaze swept the grounds of the field roots pulled out from the ground, revealing a hidden payload. Grenades were the most numerous, although there were dozens buried Cornucopia unleashed only a half a dozen into the air above the rioting crowds. Meant to alarm more than harm they were followed by tear gas, bringing dozens of the rioters to their knees as they coughed and rubbed at their faces.

This is really more of Rainmakers pleasure, let her keep herself happy by hurling lightning bolts at them and killing them. Well maybe not happy, less furious I suppose.
 

Keeping up a steady barrage of tear gas and flashbangs, Cornucopia kept a sizable portion of the crowd incapacitated, though she was unable to aim at anything nearer the front lest she hit the police forces. But then, Buttercup would probably take care of that, wading straight into the riot and punching everything she could see until everything was settled.

Such an inelegant method of fighting. Cornucopia lamented.

Edited by Voidus
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Rainmaker.png

 

As chaos broke out, Rainmaker rose into the air, her skin blazing to life with rage, lighting her immediate surroundings as if it were day.  Her people truly dared to riot in her presence?  The fact that they defied her at all was angering enough.  The fact that the did so in front of her could not be forgiven.  

 

She hung silently in the air as Buttercup dealt with the threat.  Rainmaker would talk to her and the attacked officers later to determine what they thought had caused the sudden attack.  It was strange, to see people attacking both the police, as well as each other.  From her vantage point, Rainmaker could see the movements of the attackers seemed chaotic, without any discernible pattern.  As the attack was put down, she turned to the young woman who was shouting at her.  

 

So that's what it feels like to be shouted at. Rainmaker had not been shouted at, except perhaps, out of adoration, for a long time.  I don't like being shouted at... 

 

"Freedom or Joy!" the crowd chanted, "Freedom or Joy!"  The woman who had started the inane chant worked her way to the front of the crowd, staring Rainmaker directly in the face.  How dare she!  As Cornucopia continued to batter the crowd into submission with her grenades, Rainmaker found herself unable to tear herself away from the defiant face that stared up at her.  

 

"Tonedeath," she spoke quietly into her mobile, so that the crowd would not hear above all the tumult.  Thunder echoed loudly in the distance, responding to her rage.  "Amplify my voice, and mute the crowd.  This nonsense has gone on long enough."  

 

Rainmaker raised her arms dramatically, and battered the entire crowd with a torrent of rain and an icy wind, drenching them in sleet and snow.  When she was done, she returned the rain to a light drizzle, and rose higher into the air, motioning for the other queens to stand down.  It was a shame Bubbles would not be here, but perhaps it was better to have her safe.  The other Queens had shown off their powers.  Now it was Rainmaker's turn.  

 

"Citizens of Corvallis," her voice boomed, echoing throughout the unnaturally silent night.  "Look at yourselves, acting like spoiled children who have been denied a sweet.  The other Queens and I have worked hard to create this utopia for you; a place with plenty of food and supplies to go around, where no one needs to be unhappy.  We have given you safety from the outside world, ruled by less generous epics who would kill you all without missing a beat."  Rainmaker's skin continued to shine, brighter and brighter, as her anger grew. For what they were putting her through, she should kill them all and be done with it.  Patience she told herself.  If she was ever going to be ready to rule a larger city, she would need to learn to temper her rage.  Humans might be infuriating, but they did have their uses.  

 

"Two weeks ago," Rainmaker continued, her voice remaining strong.  Sometimes, when she spoke like this in front of a crowd, she was reminded of the look her husband would sometimes get in his eye when whipping an electoral district into a frenzy.  "Attackers came to our city, intending to put an end to your beloved Euphoria.  Luckily, I was able to stop them both.  They are dead now, and anyone who is found to have aided them, or who aids someone like them in the future, will soon follow."  Rainmaker paused for effect, letting her words echo off into the night.  "Though it was averted, the attackers have not left our city unscathed.  After giving so much to this community, Euphoria was distraught over this heinous attempt on her life.  Her past two weeks have been plagued by paranoia, fear, and nightmares.  She dreams of the people she loves turning against her and trying to destroy her."  Rainmaker scanned the crowd, watching the effect of her words sink in.  She avoided the gaze of the woman in front.  Her time would come.  

 

"You all know what Euphoria's power has given this city, and what it has given all of you individually.  She gave you happiness in a world of fear and destruction.  And now, that happiness is gone.  Until she feels safe again, Euphoria will not allow any within this city to enjoy the warm embrace of her powers.  The attackers from two weeks ago have broken her trust in you, the people of Corvallis, and your behavior today has done little to win it back.  In fact, because of your complete failure today, your punishment shall extend beyond merely being cut off from Euphoria.  Tomorrow, I will test your spirits by blanketing the entire city and our fields in a downpour.  Smile through the day, and perform your work with care, and you will be rewarded.  Resistance or complaints will be met with harsher discipline."

 

Thunder rumbled ominously, closer now, and Rainmaker allowed the winds to start picking up speed.  "As I said before, we Queens have tried to be kind to you, but apparently your reward our kindness with disrespect.  And now, you will bear the consequences."  

 

Rainmaker gestured dramatically at the woman who had started the chanting, who was promptly blown up off the ground, and suspended halfway between the ground and wear Rainmaker hovered by a constant wind.  

 

"Tonight, this woman encouraged you to ask me for freedom or joy.  Unfortunately, I must tell you that joy is not mine to give, it is yours to earn, and today you have all done a poor job of it.   Since you have spurned my kindness, now I will show you all what freedom means."  

 

Lightning arced down from the sky, creating a flash almost as bright as Rainmaker's own light.  The woman's mouth opened in pain as the energy coursed through her, ripping her body apart.  A moment later, the lifeless husk that remained dropped to the ground, charred and broken.  

 

Turning, Rainmaker turned again, calling down three more lightning bolts to strike randomly within the crowd of rioters.  Deafening thunder sounded.  Rainmaker almost wished that Tonedeath would stop muting the crowd for a moment, so she could hear their screams.  

 

"You have forsaken my kindness, and until you earn it back, you will learn to fear my wrath, and your friends and family will fear it too."  Rainmaker forced her light to fade, getting it down to a manageable level so that her expressions could be discerned by the crowd.  "I is my hope," she said with a radiant smile, "That we can move passed all this, and build a better and brighter Corvallis together.  I've done what I can.  Now, it is up to you.  With hard work, you can earn Euphoria's trust back, and our city can be whole again."

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