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The Shadow Knight Begins: Part 1 of 3

By Maskedhero100 All Rights Reserved ©

Scifi / Adventure

Chapter 9: Night Skull Battle

Unknown room, unknown location….

Dorian finch sat in a fine velvet chair looking at two monitors, one showed Jeremy's wife and child… one showed the sight of blackie entering via the backdoor entrance, he would look forward to dumping that worthless hired knife.

But it was me he was looking forward to seeing in action, so he continued to wait.


NEON DISTRICTS SIN AVENUE

Sin Avenue, I hate this place.

Nothing but a breeding ground of pimps, drugs, rapes, muggings, rip offs, prostitution… god I hated prostitution… selling one's body for money, was there anything more pathetic.

I don't care if they thought it was the best way or only way for money…. There were always other options, you just needed to get up of your butt and try them and after seeing a rape happen in front of my eyes… I sneered at the sight of women giggling and flirting at the hint they would get laid for cash as long as they fulfilled some sick twisted pervert's desires down in the streets below as I shadow walked above the rooftops in the shadow realm invisible to them all.

They did it easily, like what they did was good fun, like it wasn't anything that mattered.

Well, after that night there was one less prostitute to be seen in Sin Avenue because while I was traveling to capture and interrogate Lensher on the purpose of the gassing, I heard a scream in an alleyway behind a whorehouse.

Any other man with my power and want for revenge and the end of my family's suffering would have ignored and left the woman to her fate… but that isn't the man I choose to be, because Mariko and my mother and father taught me to be my brother's keeper… besides, I hate rapes…. And this sounded like attempted rape, to a prostitute.

Attempted Rape to a prostitute?

Irony, you gotta love it.

HAH HA HAH HA HA

I landed out of the shadow realm and clung to the banister of a fire escape and watched what was going on bellow planning my attack.

My laugh could be heard in the alleyway.

The woman who was being assaulted was in the typical pre-strip stripper girl attire, the woman obviously for a prostitute didn't seem to want to have it with this man, and unless she had some sick fetish about rapping and being threatened with a knife I would call that assumption a big yes.

The thug with the knife became frightened by the voice of a newcomer in the alleyway; he drew his piece, while I readied mine.

"Whose there?" he hollered.

I decided to make this guy suffer, like all criminals should suffer… I would do this my way!

I laughed again before saying sinisterly, "a predator, to predators like you. I can sense what you were going to do. You were going to rape the wench who turned down your money because she was going to quit this hell hole job and do something better… better than this life of being around losers like you!"

"H...how do you know what I was wanting to do?" the woman asked my voice in surprise, "what are you one of those stalkers!?"

"Shut up b****" the attacker yelled.

"Don't call the woman that, besides… I have come here to make a statement to thugs like you!" I laughed, then shot my shadow gun, pinning the thug to the ground in my miasmic crystal like cuff attack… shadow bind sounded better.

"To prove to all you gun and knife carrying goons out there in the city, my gun…." I dropped from my hiding place, and unsheathed my sword, landing with my foot on his chest, knocking the wind out of the thug and placing my shadow katana to his throat.

"And my knife puts them all to shame!" I finished, my glowing red eyes burning through the man's skull.

The prostitute then took off running, but not before turning around and saying "thanks"

"Get out of this hell-hole that and that will be thanks enough" I answered back.

When she was gone, I turned my attention to my blade… so easy, like cutting a toothpick, but no… my family's image, Mariko's image comes back in and I remind myself again… no, that path leads to becoming a true monster.

So I relent, but that doesn't mean I let this thug go without a good warning a murderer to be deserved.

I removed my blade from his throat and sliced two lines in the shape of an X on his face.

While he screamed in pain, I grabbed his mouth to silence him.

"Murders like you deserve more than this. I know you were going to rape her and kill her… make a reputation out of yourself for the gangs of the city… just because she turned down your "hormone crazed high school jock" routine! Oh yeah, I know all about you…like the fact you live in an eight story complex in the fashion district where you spy on girls through binoculars at night and that your name is James Marx. I leave this warning, if you attempt to go after that woman or any other woman like that again I will return again, I'll find you, you have been marked. The next time we meet again if you pull this again, that will be the time I put the next slice on the place you value most when you go to places like this… NO GET OUTTA MY SIGHT!"

I had to admit, rabbits couldn't keep up to that thug when he ran off.

I didn't kill, but I didn't see why I couldn't take some liberties with these scums of society.

I then begin walking toward where Derek Lensher was going to be, I decided to go through the backdoor through the alleyway behind the casino but as I passed through, I saw in the alleyway was an elderly woman in rags, huddling her arms together trying to keep warm.

A homeless woman.

She wasn't asleep, because she looked up at me… and began to become frightened.

"No no…" I said in a kinder voice than the one I used, "Its okay, I won't harm you… I don't harm people like you"

She then nodded, telling me she trusted me.

Didn't know why, maybe it's just my way with people?

"Who are you?" I asked her.

She took some chalk she had gathered from scrounging around the alleyways of this part of the city and wrote on the asphalt "Sarah mc mullion"

I then gathered the evidence and came to a conclusion, "you can't speak can you?"

She nodded, pointing to the scars on her throat.

She then wrote, "I saw what you did for that girl, I wish someone was there for me"

I realized with sadness that this woman was mute because once she had been assaulted and her attacker cut her so bad she was made mute.

Something, probably the councils crackdown on the destitute for being "unnecessary raffle who pinch penny's that were needed for the city's welfare and benefits to sooth their troubles and disorders" was why she was not able to get a job in this city, and she obviously didn't want to leave this city hence her current situation.

I hate those guys, all they cared about was traditionalism and superiority by dollar signs like this was old London of the novels I read when I was in school.

Here I was with one of their victims of the poor person version of the Patriot act.

She then pulled out a photo from her rags pocket; it was of an elderly man "your husband?" I asked.

She nodded.

"I suppose you're out here because you are looking for food and shelter" I assumed, she nodded so my question was answered.

"Why aren't you afraid of my clothes, my strangeness to the norm?" I asked her.

She wrote down on the ground, "you have a good spirit, I can see it"

I sighed in wonder at the woman's wisdom, I then made a decision that I will never regret.

"I have business to attend to, stay here… and I'll be back with food for you, hot stuff, right off the kitchen… and then if you'll wish I can provide you with access to a place where you will never be cold and hungry again, if you're interested?"

She starred at me dumbfounded, but she then realized I wasn't joking and nodded smiling.

I entered the casino, filled with something I haven't felt in a while… pride in myself, because despite my powers… here was someone I could help without needing my dark powers or my hatred of criminals.

I soon passed these emotions and got my head back into the game, for some fun idea thinking on how to punish Lensher and to find out what the brain was up to before my time was up.

Hopefully Jeremy was willing to listen to my instructions, it would save his life!


LUNAR CITY IDUSTRIAL CHEMICAL FACTORY

Jeremy stood from where he was hiding, looking at the entrance to the Industrial chemical plant. He saw various night skulls and corrupt cops patrolling the entrance and the catwalks.

He knew this place was owned by Doran finch who was the arms dealer billionaire of lunar cities Industrial moguls.

The rival of his Uncle Kishi, he wondered why the brains thugs were here… wondered if Dorian Finch was working with the brain.

He then heard screams from inside the Steel mill Factories Inner offices.

He recognized them as his daughter Kassie and Margret's crying, he then saw the sight of Blackie nelson entering the complex, looking at his knife with devilish glee.

He then walked down the catwalks leading to where the screams had come from.

"Screw this, I'm not placing my family's life on a vigilante!" he cursed, and then began looking for a way into the complex, he found it in the form of a hole in the metal fence that was out of the guards line of sight.

Easily he entered and began his approach towards the Steel mill of the chemical and Steel plant.


T AND T CASINO

Derek Lensher sat at a craps table nearby the stage of the casino where a woman stripper in a black bra and bikini danced around a pole seductively.

Every now and then Lensher would take a look with a devilish smile.

"Double 00" the craps manager called out.

"Mine again" Lensher chuckled.

"Dang boy…" one of the cops who was playing against him, "you got some big ones on you, where did you get that green?"

"A savings account, how do you think I got it?" Lensher asked, "The same way you got your twelve grand from the take on the armored car robbery"

"Hey…keep that down, anyone here could hear that!" the cop said angrily.

"CORRUPT COP, CORRUPT COP, WE GOT A COP WHOS ON THE TAKE HERE!" Lensher yelled.

"SHUT UP YOU! I'D RATHER HEAR THE STRIPPERS FAKE MOANING" one of the casino's participants hollered, sparking a shout of appraisal from the rest of the room.

Laughing, Lensher chastised the cop "no one cares here, brain owns half the town anyway… no one can touch us"

"That's not what I heard, I heard you lost your job as a corrupt cop and got your butt handed to by a nut in a mask and cape" the cop snickered.

"Well don't believe everything you hear, most of this city is nothing but white lies and bull" Lensher assured.

The stripper finished her dance, and exited the stage as the curtain dropped. She headed to receive her pay while another prepared to perform.

But as she entered the dark stage, dressed to allure she ran into the eyes of someone in the shadows.

Someone with red, glowing eyes.

"Change of program" their owner said.

Lensher cheered with the rest of the scum in the casino when the next stripper began to be revealed, the curtain went up.

But instead of revealing a woman dressed to seduce, the curtains pulled back to reveal a stranger in a black trench coat leaning against the pole.

Lensher stared frozen in fear when he recognized the figure as the vigilante that attacked him last night.

Before he could run trendils made of shadows reached out and grabbed him by his ankles and hoisted him toward the vigilante, whom he now knew wasn't human!

"I warned you, Lensher" I said to him in my dark voice.

"FREEZE!" the cop whom had been playing against Lensher at the craps table drew his gun, aiming it at me.

"Back off hypocrite!" I glared, waving my hands summoning shadows that sent the craps table and the craps table chairs with everyone on it flying.

One chair slammed into the cop and threw off his aim causing him to hit a slot machine which then began ringing and distributing coins screaming "JACKPOT, JACKPOT"

I then turned my attention towards Lensher.

I teleported us both to the rooftop of the T and T casino, threw him to the ground, pinned him with my left hand and raised my right hand over his left leg , in a fist.

"I WANT TO KNOW WHY YOU LED THOSE COPS AND THUGS INTO A TRAP, WHAT THAT GAS WAS AND WHAT DORIAN FINCH IS UP TO!" I said laying out want I wanted.

He just stared at my fist, mockingly "nice trick back there… probably something David Copperfield could do, and from one professional to another if you're going to interrogate someone pick a better weapon… a fist can't do nothing from a scrawny guy like you… probably a teenager too, the punch wouldn't hurt me"

"I'm not a normal human" I answered grinning.

In one fell swoop, I broke his leg with my fist.

The howl must have echoed throughout Sin Avenue.

I didn't even let him catch his breath, "Next is your pelvis, TELL ME!"

"I don't know, he said he wanted them for an experiment for the gas" Lensher answered in pain.

"So you used cops and goons for a poison gas scheme?" I asked.

"No not poison, something else… the stiffs and Red deaths aren't dead, just offline in the mind so to say until they're plugged back on" Lensher answered.

"A type of nerve gas? What does he want with the cop's family whom of which you kidnapped?" I demanded.

"You might want to break my pelvis then, cause I aint telling you nothing about the brain more than this!" Lensher spat in defiance, "he'd kill me!"

"You had your chance, now I'll do it my way!" with that I punched Lensher out and took a look at his memories.

I saw what he knew, what the brain wanted to do to my cousin and his family… and why.

I also saw a horrifying sight, my cousin walking right into a trap.

He had gotten to the rendezvous early and snuck in to rescue his wife and child, only to end up being pursued in gunfire throughout the complex.

Wait

This wasn't a memory; this was a vision…a vision of what was going to happen.

What was this, a new power?

At that moment I didn't care, I began my approach toward the steel mill and chemical factory, but I had a second of time to take care of a small favor.

Sarah Mc mullion stared in astounded awe as a plate of hot food appeared beside her from the shadows.

It Roast beef and potatoes with a note attached with a key, she read the note "FOLLOW THE MAP ENCLOSED TO THIS ADRESS, USE THE KEY TO GET IN, A FRIEND"

She cried tears of happiness, mouthing "thank you" to the silhouette of my shadow form disappearing from view in the night sky above her.


STEEL MILL AND CHEMICAL FACTORY

Jeremy entered the center catwalk overlooking the mixing, waste disposal, and manufacturing tanks and pipes of the chemical factory.

He looked down to see a strange sight.

The vats where filled with a glowing purple sludge like substance, he saw that down below in the manufacturing conveyors were shipping canisters of that glowing purple stuff.

He also saw trucks picking up canisters of that purple stuff, trucks that looked strangely like the truck that was involved in that accident with his cousin Kagae.

He then saw that up in the executive Office of the plant was some shadowy guy looking out at the operations bellow, and he had glowing red eyes.

Was this the vigilante?

Nope

In a second a hand of iron grabbed him around the head and yanked him into the shadows under a chemical pipe.

He tried to struggle, but then he heard the dark voice he knew too well now say "SHUT UP MARKSON OR YOU'LL GET YOURSELF IN MORE TROUBLE THAN YOU KNOW!"

"What took you so long?" Jeremy demanded.

"You jumped the gun idiot, you see up there!" I pointed to the upper catwalks, Jeremy then saw that there were goons holding guns waiting for him up where he was going to climb.

"I was not going to end up laying my family's life on a vigilante" Jeremy growled.

"If you expect to have them back to you in your arms whole instead of in pieces you had better place your faith in this vigilante!" I growled, eyes glaring "the vigilante that can see where goons are hiding in the dark!"

Jeremy was a stubborn one, but eventually he relented.

"Okay… follow me" I said, slowly leading him safely away from the ambush.

Suddenly the factory lights turned on and the voice of Dorian finch could be heard.

"Well, well… it's about time" he said, I realised he was talking to me "I was beginning to think you wouldn't show up. Now you're here and now the game can begin. Shadow knight I believe you call yourself, huh, I give you this challenge… oh and your detective friend can join in as well we must not let anyone be left out. The game is "Find and Rescue"

Two projectors from different sides of the room came alive and shone onto the Far East wall showing images of Kassie and Margaret.

Jeremy and I stared from our hiding place in horror at what the projectors showed us.

Margaret was strapped to a metal chair that had been welded to a scrap cylinder on a conveyor belt layered with metal scrap being sent to the smelting pit, gagged all she could do was do muffled screaming.

Kassie was on a conveyor as well, but was out cold by way of chloroform I bet, being conveyed towards a metal press.

"guess where they are and see if you can save them, oh and do try and avoid the third player and the men with the guns who have been given authorization to shoot you" Dorian Finch/ The brain, "game on shadow knight, let's see what you can do"

"Your wife's in the smelting plant down that catwalk" I said pointing down to the left catwalk, "your daughters in the Manufactory, you get your wife, I'll deal with the goons and I'll save your daughter"

Jeremy started to protest, but I glared "trust me, have I given you reason not to?"

Jeremy then relented realising he had no choice, "now wait until I give the signal"

I shadow walked away.

"What signal" asked Jeremy, before he realised I had vanished.

He then heard muffled screams and gin shots, then he saw one by one the gun goons and Night Skulls fall from above trapped in that purple slime cuff he had seen before, they look humorously like a football games dog pile.

Realising this was the signal, Jeremy bolted for the door leading to the catwalk to the Smelting room.

Seeing my cousin was safe I then looked at the army of Night skulls and gunmen who were all scrambling and firing bullets at me, in my shadow form… I just absorbed the bullets.

"You want to have a gunfight? Let's see how you match against mine" I declared drawing the shadow gun and leaping into the fray heading for the manufactory.

Jeremy watched as his mystery vigilante jumped down into the fray of bullets, and he noticed that the gun goons where paying no attention to him but to the shadow knight.

They must have been told by the brain of crime to attack the shadow knight only, as if this was some kind of test.

The shadow knight didn't seem to care, all he seemed to care about was getting to where Jeremy's daughter was and save her…maybe the vigilante wasn't careless as Jeremy thought he was.

Not wanting to lose his chance at getting into the smelting plant, Jeremy bolted through the door.

He found himself in a furnace of heat and moving steel, he saw conveyors leading from outside and from chutes all lead down toward a molten pot of melted steel.

He looked around for his wife, trying to find her.

Suddenly from one of the chutes, Margret appeared still tied to the welded chair.

She groaned in pain as she landed hard onto the conveyor belt, but she screamed behind her gags when she saw where the conveyor was leading her toward.

She struggled with her bonds trying to get free from the welded chair, but as she did she got closer to the blazing pit.

Before she went over the edge, a person in the shadows grabbed her and pulled her to safety.

She screamed when she felt a knife cut her bonds, but then cried in relief when she saw the face of her husband.

"I've got you Margret, I've got you" Jeremy said removing her gag.

"KESSIE! KESSIE!" Margret screamed in fear for her daughter's life.

"Don't worry, well find her… I think I know where she is!" Jeremy said.

Two seconds later he and his wife burst from the door to the smelting plant heading for the door to the manufactory, where he could hear gunshots and un-earthly gunshots, he could also see in the outside manufactory were glimpses and flashes of his mystery vigilante shadow knight.

He lead his wife slowly through the Chemical rooms catwalk with his gun drawn, ready to shot to kill any Night skulls and Goons of the brain of crime if they came in his way… nothing was going to stop him from saving his seven year old daughter.

When suddenly he was clubbed from the shadows, the force of the blow was which caused him to drop his gun.

His wife screamed as the assailant grabbed the gun and pointed it at her, and then placed a familiar knife to his neck.

"Get up and join your wife" Blackie nelson said grinning evilly, "your little brat should be here shortly!"


MANUFACTURARY…. Two minutes earlier….

I burst through the doors to the manufactory, with the gun goons and the night skulls charging after me. I then realised that the goons weren't paying my departing cousin any mind.

I also realised that the brain wanted to see what I could do; I decided to try and take down the goons in my way and save Kassie quickly and then take down the brain permanently.

He had become too dangerous to let live… when I find the brain, he dies!

With the Night skulls behind me I ran down the catwalk, I could see with my super vision that Kassie was inside the east manufacturing factory house and that she was still unconscious. But from my vision I could see the chloroform in her blood and could tell that she would be awake in five minutes, but by then she would be pancaked by the hydraulic press.

"HANG ON KESSIE" I bellowed, even though I knew she couldn't hear me.

But suddenly I felt a rift; a surge of dark energy… my warning system was drawing my attention to the roof of the factory.

I looked up, and my eyes widened in shock and I had barely any time to jump from the catwalk as the missile slammed into the catwalk, destroying it in a fireball.

The Night skulls pursuing me, they weren't so lucky.

I landed into the shadows of a pile of Pipes and Beams bellow, I looked up at the factories roof to see a Night skull wearing night vision goggles and a heat seeking missile launcher, I also then saw an army of Night stalkers burst from the doors of the south factory, wearing night vision goggles as well.

"Oh…you got to be kidding me!" I growled in disbelief.

"Spread out, the boss wants this guy dead" the tall one ordered his battalion, obviously the leader.

I watched from the shadows, trying to figure out a way out of this….and quickly.

I then thought about the ability I had to merge with my shadow, and other shadows and I wondered… could I mold the shadows I controlled.

I then created a second shadow from my own, and with difficulty I managed to split the artificial shadow.

I focused hard, struggling, and I grinned when the five shadows formed a hat, a body, a coat and glowing red eyes in their shadowy forms.

I decided in that instant to call this power, shadow cloning.

Now…LETS TEST THEM OUT!

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha

My laugh rang around the supply bay, placing forward my challenge to the brains night skulls.

"Who is who?" that's the game. We are Shattered pieces of the picture frame. One of us is true to his name, but the rest of us are all the same. Solve with your guns my little game, but beware the very treacherous terrain. For the knight of the night trumps over the pawns of this chess game, as is always will be against the dark one called the Brain" my dark shadow knight voice reverberated and echoed through the room, coming from all around the surprised and confused night skulls as to where that ghostly voice was coming from… their target to shoot to kill.

In his hideout, the brain who was watching the melee, had heard my riddle and uttered the word "cute!"

"That was two men's laughter's, brothers…sounds like there's two of them now. Probably him and the cop playing "spooks" on us to confuse us" one of the night skulls said pointing to two stairways leading to different parts of the supply room.

"You three take that way" the leader ordered pointing to the left, "the rest of you sweep the right, the freak can't be bulletproof. He was running from our bullets and missiles wasn't he?"

Seeing the assured sings of confidence on his comrade's faces, he lead his fellow night skulls into the dark, damp room, night vision goggles blazing.

One goon with a tattoo of a dagger and a snake on his forehead, glow in the dark styled entered the top floor area where the replacement vats were stored.

He walked carefully past the shadowed areas, gun at the ready.

When he heard a whooshing sound from one of the vats, he opened fire, screaming bloody murder.

When he ran out of ammo he paused, waiting to hear anything.

He sighed in relief when he didn't.

But then a rope of darkness, the shadow knights shadowed cloak reached out and wrapped around his neck, the eyes of the shadow knight appeared in the shadows, glaring at the night stalker… like a demon catching a soul.

The night skull struggled to pry the snare from his neck, but found as he did, his hands Phased through the shadowy rope like snare like it wasn't even there!

He froze in terror when his ears heard the shadow knight's voice "can't run scumbag? Ribittt"

Like a frog catching his prey, the snare yanked the night skull, pulling him flying and screaming into the darkness.

The screams vanished, followed by a loud burping noise.

Suddenly another scream was heard, this time by his back up who had seen the horrifying sight and who now saw the red eyes eyeing him, the dark voice saying "Rapists for breakfast, murderers for lunch, NIGHT SKULLS FOR DINNER!" and didn't even have time to scream before this fly was swallowed up by the darkness as well.

Ha ha ha ha…. Fooled you didn't I, made you all think I ate those scumbags didn't I?

That just shows how good I am at making people be afraid when I want them to be, and the only people I want to be afraid of me are my enemies and my enemies alone.

Besides, I'm not a demon and I'm not cannibalistic and I'm definitely not any form of vampire or other supernatural horror creature you could dream up, don't be disgusting.

My powers substance comes from the dark, not people.

If you couldn't figure that out from page one of the journal… well, you're not real smart.

What I did do to them after "eating" them was make them scared out of their wits, and shadow walked them to the riverside of the Factory where the ran off like scarred rabbits.

I would catch them latter, they have been marked.

I noticed one of the goons had heard the screams and radioed.

"Jae, Ralph come in!" he called in the radio, receiving static.

"Oh man… I've got to get out of here now!" he panicked.

Not very brave, for a scumbag Night skull grunt.

But I felt sorry for his friends having left him by way of my teleporting them out of the battle, so I did some service to my prey.

I was soon above him in the shadows of a grate of the air-conditioning ducts.

My hand pounded through the grate, sending it crashing on the night skulls head, causing him to misfire a few rounds.

My arm flew out from the shadows again from the vent above him.

My hand grabbed him and pulled him up to the shadows, "need a lift, TOUGH GUY?"

His screams where silenced when he was pulled up to his head into the air duct.

There was a flash of light, and a purple gas, my knock out gas filled the duct.

I let the man drop back to the floor, unconscious, and I was proud my knock out gas still keeping its record of K.O by first inhalation.

"Sleep well" I said, and then laughed mockingly.

"three down, Three to go" I said to no one in particular, " you two, deploy in sector five, you two I will deploy in sectors nine and ten… I'll deal with rocket boy, you… you in the south save Kassie and send her via shadow walk to her mother, I can sense she's safe… now follow your programing, let's get ready to party!"


As my shadow clones went out to deal with the remaining night skulls, I transformed into living shadow form and then leapt from my hiding space, flying through the air until I landed 20 ft. above the melee bellow on the oil tower the rocket launcher night skull was.

I could see the rocket goon looking down at the melee below, trying to pick a target.

I smiled as I climbed up like a bat to my prey, completely oblivious that the other shadow knights were shadows controlled by my will, I was the real one.

I could see one shadow clone in the back of my mind engage one goon who was shooting at it while it was in shadow form, the bullets phased through that shadow clone, and he in turn drew his copy version of my shadow gun and then shot the night skull, encasing him in my miasmic cocoon trap.

I saw another shadow clone strike another night skull out cold with one blow.

I could see the shadow clone I had sent to go save kessie, jump across the rooftops of the warehouses heading for the manufactory.

But unfortunately, the night skull with the rocket launcher saw it too, and before I knew it a rocket was launched and it took out my shadow clone I had sent to save kessie.

I didn't mourn, it wasn't alive, and it was only just a splintered animated piece of my own shadow, animated by my own mind.

I soon found out that my shadow clones when they are injured or killed return to me, to my shadow.

But I wished I had this info a little sooner, that particular clone wasn't supposed to be seen and now I was running out of time to save kessie, especially with the launcher night skull who suddenly got the feeling to look down.

But seeing that launcher being aimed at me didn't frighten me, no…it got me thinking.

Deciding that the stealth technique had failed, I quickly drew my shadow gun and not hesitating shot.

With pin point accuracy I shot the launcher from the goon's hand, and then I shot another shadow bullet…this time at the launcher goon's chest.

The goon looked down at the sticky, glowing bullet that had struck his chest, and then he yelped as the bullet exploded entrapping him in a cocoon.

I leaped upward to where the goon was once standing, landing beside his trapped form atop the tower.

I looked around for the rocket launcher; I found it resting by the goon.

I worked fast, I grabbed the launcher, unloaded one of the missiles, charged it with my energy then attached my hand in shadow form to the missile, placed it inside the launcher, I aimed toward one of the warehouses adjacent the manufactory.

I fired the missile; it soared of almost like a speeding bullet.

Transforming into shadow form I braced myself, and soon after I had launched the missile with my shadow forms hand clutching it was towed along for the ride.

It was a short ride, but once I had reached my destination I released my hand by reverting it back to gloved flesh and blood, and dropped down towards one of the skylights of the manufactory bellow.

While the missile I had hitchhiked with kept of flying until it detonated harmlessly into one of the vacant offices of the adjacent warehouse building.

Meanwhile my shadow clones finished their mission, and all around them lay the night skulls, defeated, but alive.

Either unconscious, ran away, or trapped in the miasmic cocoons.

They faded away, like ghosts in places all around the defeated night skulls were, as if they didn't exist.

I crashed down through the manufactory skylight, broken glass flying down with me.

I landed hard, but my healing factor handled any broken limbs or pulled muscles and cuts I could have possibly gotten from crashing down through the skylight window.

I looked around and quickly discovered Kassie, still unconscious due to the chloroform.

And to my horror she was two metal plates away from being pancaked by the metal press!

I wouldn't have enough time to run over there, and take her out of danger.

Thinking quickly I summoned most of my control over shadows and absorbed all the darkness of the shadows all around me in the dimly lit room and channeled that darkness's energy through my own shadow transforming my hand into a mass of shadows that shot forward in the blink of an eye and enveloped itself around kessie sleeping form, forming a giant shadow fist protecting her.

At that moment the press came down and struck my giant shadow hand, I gritted my teeth as I put all my will into keeping that giant shadow fist from failing.

In that moment, kessie woke up.

Rubbing her eyes sleepily, she awoke to find herself surrounded by some kind of black fog. But then she saw the machinery above her that was trying to crush her.

She screamed for her mother and father.

My shadow fist projection suddenly started to fail…and as it did, the image of kessie being killed by the metal hydraulic press, and the misery that would ensure over her death, and the thought of how I could never live with failing to save her caused my adrenaline to surge and a rage to erupt from within.

"NOOOOOOO!" I screamed in defiance to the thoughts I just had.

Just like that my shadow fist got stronger and thinking fast in my moment of anger I transformed the top of the back of the shadow fist into a sharp pyramid shaped spike.

The spike pierced through the press as it went down on the shadow fist protecting kessie, causing a big hole as the press went down the spike which got big enough to jam the mechanism, sparring kessie.

Kassie who during this time had been holding her head between her knees and her arms around her eyes in fright, didn't see me suddenly use my shadow fist to shadow walk her to safety.

Or…safety as I thought it was at the time.

She re-appeared in the arms of her mother, to her mother's shock.

She embraced her mother, crying, terrified at what had just happened.

But then she heard the gun click, and looked up from the safety of her mother's arms to see a nasty man holding a gun at her daddy, her mommy and her.

"Well, well…" blackie snickered seeing the newest addition to his murder plan, "I'll have some fun with you later!"

Back in the manufactory, I collapsed in relief and breathed heavily trying to catch my breath, "that…was…too close for comfort!"

I looked at my now flesh and blood gloved hand amazed, "I didn't know I could manipulate my shadow like that, to make objects out of it like really sharp spikes that can cut through metal…"

Getting my head back in the game, I used my dark sense and located Dorian finch.

He was in a dark office overlooking the chemical vats holding the mutagen that gave me my powers.

"Your next brain, whether you live or die doesn't matter to me…so long as justice is served!" I declared, and with a swipe of my cloak I shadow walked my way into the brains overhanging office.


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