Chapter 31: Wytch Hunt

James could feel his body crackle with power as he stood up. It was dark now, but the colors of the carpeting seemed more vivid than ever, he could hear footsteps from three floors below, he could feel the carpeting through his boots, and smells... He had learned to shut out most smells years before so that he wasn't constantly distracted, but he would need to retrain himself now.

His magic energy felt like it would burst out of his body at any second, like he was tryig to contain an entire lake in a bucket. So this... This is the strength of one of the Holys. I can only shudder at what Masamune might be like.

He noticed that there was only one other heartbeat in the room. Lori was sitting at the same table she was before, reading the files he had given her.

"Ahh, you're finally up." She said, without looking over. "You were sitting there for hours, whatever you were doing must have been important."

James glanced at the paper she was holding, and she was pinned up against the wall by her throat before it hit the floor. "Who are you really?" He asked.

Gasping, the girl responded. "What do you mean? Please stop, you're... Hurting me."

"Lawliet can't read Kandori, dumbass." He replied, gesturing to the scattered papers. "And she would have said something along the lines of 'Let go of my throat before I cut your balls off.'"

The figure stopped struggling, then sighed. Her face began to melt and reform like a pool of slush. When it was done, a short man with black hair was in her place. "Please, let go of me, kid." He asked.

"Or what?"

A crack resounded throughout the room as the window shattered. Thinking quickly, James swung his hostage around so he was between them. The man cried out as a bullet struck him in the gut.

time to go. Throwing the limp body forwards, he jumped backwards to the door, stepped out, and shut it behind him in less than a millisecond.

He closed his eyes and listened. There didn't seem to be any sounds of bettle nearby, but Qerth was a massive structure, almost half a mile tall, and nearly as far extended underground, he wouldn't be able to tell what was happening from this spot.

But while he was focused on listening for fighting, he didn't pat attention to the footsteps down the hall.

A handful of people were approaching him, probably just servants, he thought. They all abruptly stopped, and their heart rates elevated. They seemed nervous or afraid, which wasn't all that uncommon for people around James.

One of them spoke. "Alright, put your hands over your head, right now!"

James opened his eyes, and saw a sight that he hoped he'd never have to, a group of men in Wytch Hunter uniforms. That explains the sniper. All of the men were pointing their weapons at him, an assortment of rifles, shotguns, and assault weapons. Magical, of course. "I said, put your hands over your head, demon!" The one in front spat in broken Kandori.

Reaching for his weapon, James saw the trigger-fingers of the Wytch Hunters twitch and bullets leave the barrels.

The leader was dead before he could blink.

Even James was surprised at his newfound speed, he had rushed to the man, drawn his sword, cut his throat, and sheathe his sword again before the first bullet reached the spot where he'd been standing. Well, he meant to cut the leader's throat, but he accidentally swung too hard and the Hunter's head was seperated from his shoulders.

The boy frowned appreciatively. My strength too? Man, I think I can even take on Therus... Theta now. The remaining humans seemed momentarily confused before they turned their weapons on James. Unfortunately for them, their long-barreled firearms bumped into their fellows, and they couldn't get a clear line of sight to their target.

"Now, now, gentlemen," James began, smirking, "we can settle this like civilized people, your leader didn't realize that."

"He- He killed Captain Picton!" One of them sputtered, his hands shaking.

James frowned. "That guy was a Captain? Maybe I shouldn't have been afraid of you guys after all... Nevermind, just tell me what you're doing here and I'll leave you alone."

The soldiers finally got their weapons into place and fired. A wave of pure heat and magic turned back the projectiles as well as reducing the men to dust.

That's a problem, but if one of the Battalion Captains is here, there are bound to be at least five hundred more of these fuckers, someone needs to be told, and I have to find Phiir and Lawliet. He ran down the hall, towards... Well he didn't really know.

The Lieutenant of the Tenth Battalion practically sprinted up the steep hilltop to where Captain Damian was watching Qerth with an intent stare. "Sir!" He cried, out of breath. "Sir, Captain Picton's life force disappeared, and his squad isn't responding to our attempts to contact them!"

The Officer sighed slowly and nodded. "Get back ta your Battalion, get them ready for the assault. Tell Major Zhing that as of now, he's your new Captain." The Lieutenant saluted and left. Picton, you fool, you were only supposed ta take a look around and kill any weaklin' demons that got in your way, you should have avoided any large fish.

Damian had seriously been considering retirement over the past few weeks. It had crossed his mind from time to time for years, but never for very long until Marci died. No, she didn't die, she was murdered. My little girl was killed in her own home. The man thought, clenching his fists. Exactly what had happened was still a mystery, she had just gone home one night, and then her life force had disappeared, but not until a few hours after her estimated time of death. How anyone could take out a Wytch Hunter Captain so quietly was anyone's guess.

All they could figure out was that she had been killed by a Nephilim, but his magic signature didn't match anything in their records. Damian had memorized it, if he came within fifty yards of the murderer, he'd know. And nothin' is going to keep me from rippin' his heart out.

"Corporal McCafferty," he said to the teenager with a siper rifle lying on his belly nearby, "tell me what's happening."

"Well, sir, that red-haired kid that our spies said was important actually managed to dodge my shots and move out of my line of sight. The man we sent in there is wounded, but not fatally. I don't sense any major bursts of magic in Qerth, but, well, we're too far away for me to be really sure. Although... Well, now that I think about it, that boy's magic signature felt familiar, but I can't think of where I've felt it." The boy stretched his arms out behind him.

Damian nodded. If this is my last fight, it'll be a good one. Reaching over to his radio, he spoke into it. "Attention, all Battalion Captains, move your men into position, we commence our assault in five minutes. Over. McCafferty, grab your gear, you're comin' with me."

Brian McCafferty smiled under his scope. "Well, I'd love to, Captain. Killing demons is fun, especially when it's a challenge."

The Captain shook his head. "I just want to keep an eye on you, you're the whole reason we're here right now. And killin' anythin' shouldn't be fun, even if they are less-than-human. All you've got ta do is shoot what I tell you ta shoot."

"With pleasure, Captain White."

AN: It's about time! I've had this planned out since the beginning, and if the next ten chapters turn out half as good as I have planned, you'll need to take morphine to sleep.