Cutscene: I AM THE NIGHT!
A dark figure leapt off the high-rise as black cloth around them fluttered violently, giving them the appearance of some winged monster of the night. Paying almost no attention to the rapidly approaching ground, the black-clothed form continued it's suicidal descent.
Meters before contact with the unforgiving asphalt, the cape's body shifted, twisting from a distinguishably human form to an ethereal, shadow-like state. Its smoky form roiled, patches of darkness almost bubbling as it hovered in the air, slowly dropping to the ground like a wall of pitch-black fog.
The form shifted once more, turning back to normal as the cape's body touched down, legs bent as if to stick to landing.
Shadow Stalker glanced up and pulled herself to her full height with no fanfare. Her masked face twisted from side to side as if looking for something, eyes narrowed behind her mask as she stared down the dark streets. Gauntleted fists clenched tightly, fingers twitching desperately as they itched toward the crossbows on her holster.
Where the fuck are all the Merchants recently?
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How many days had it been?
How many since that Empire wannabe retard had laid her out, embarrassing her in front of half of Winslow's sophomore class?
Objectively, Sophia knew it had only been about a week since that fucking fight. She knew that, but it still somehow felt like goddamn yesterday. Just yesterday since he challenged her, just yesterday since he sent her sprawling, just yesterday since he knocked all the air out of her fucking lungs and stood over herlike he was fucking someone…
They had cheered him, too. The same fucking crowd that was there to see Veder eat his own teeth cheered his stupid ass.
If it had been anyone else in her position with Greg looking down on them with that same constant smile, blood on his teeth and all, Sophia might have cheered too.
But it wasn't anyone else, was it?
No, it was her.
She, Sophia Hess, was getting looked down at by Veder, of all people. The fucking nerd had the fucking balls to look down on her! He made fun of her height, called her weak in front of so many fucking people! Now other Empire fuckers in the school were getting the idea that if Veder could fuck with her, they could too. Not fucking likely!
Screaming her rage in her own head, Sophia launched herself back into the fray. With no Merchants to be seen, she had crossed over into border territory, the space where the Empire and the Merchants often clashed. The Empire had been getting bold recently in their ventures into Merchant territory, what with the Merchants themselves suddenly showing up less and less on the radar.
It wasn't long until she spotted some scum out on the streets and she couldn't wait to take them on. Gang tats and shaved heads were all she needed for verification, the signature of the 88 easily identifiable. Using the darkness, she had launched an attack on the Empire fucks probably on their way to kill some black guy just for existing, the blunt end of a crossbow bolt striking one's shoulder hard enough that she heard the crack from where she hid.
If that wasn't enough, his screams told her all she needed to hear.
With the others disoriented and searching for her, she launched two more bolts, using her shadow state to affect them long enough to strike from behind her hiding spot. With two more down, all she had to do was take down the last one.
Her eyes narrowed as she appeared in front of him, the closest streetlight casting enough light on him to let her see his hair, the sweaty, grease-stained mess caked to his pudgy face.
Oh, she hated blondes. It was a new hatred, a new thing to add to her list of things she hated thanks to Greg fucking Veder. Everything the stupid fuck did, he did to annoy her.
Standing up to her, defending Hebert, mocking her to her face, treating her like she was his bitch… all of it was going to stop. Sophia wasn't sure where all his confidence was coming from and she didn't fucking care. Emma seemed to think her little blond boytoy was a cape, for some reason, claiming that he didn't have any bruises on him the day she visited him. Sophia thought that idea was incredibly bugfucking stupid, the idea of Veder triggering about as likely as Piggot shitting gold or Hebert growing a backbone. She had made sure to tell Emma exactly that, the redhead rolling her eyes at her verbiage the way she usually did.
No, Sophia figured Veder was juicing. Sophia knew muscle growth and she could see it on Veder's arms the day he came back. Veder was no Aegis but he definitely had some major definition and the way he hit…
Sophia absently raised a hand to her chest, well aware that the bruise was still somewhat visible when she took her shirt off.
Yeah, Veder was definitely on something. Odds were, he had gotten embarrassed with the way she knocked him around that day and went running to the Empire for something to show her up.
Well, whatever it was, it fucking worked. Now, all she had to do was return to the favor.
The blond Empire grunt almost seemed to be whimpering, standing awkwardly with no weapon in hand, unlike his fellow Neo-Nazis moaning on the ground. His gaze flicked nervously around multiple times, scanning the dark streets around him, before dropping back to the other gang members around him. To Sophia's eyes, he almost seemed concerned.
Fucking pathetic, she scoffed mentally. What? A Nazi with feelings? Fuck. You.
Her bolt flew true, slamming into the blonde's open face with a delightful crack and a spray of blood from his nose. The thug went down, cradling his face and Sophia smirked. Quickly flitting into the scene, she snapped up her bolts, delivering several sharp kicks to the still-conscious gang members to dissuade them from moving before darting back into the darkness.
Even though she knew the Empire wouldn't talk to the police if their lives depended on it, she had no intention of leaving her bolts anywhere near the scene anyway.
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Somedays, Sophia wished she could just be Shadow Stalker nonstop.
Fuck Winslow, fuck school, fuck going home.
Just Shadow Stalker all the time.
If Emma could fucking trigger, that would be even better. Her best friend as part of the Wards would be the best fucking thing. Hell, any girl other than that little bitch in green would be ideal. Thinks she's so fucking great. The PR's getting to her fucking head, if you ask me.
Most powerful Shaker in the city, her right tit. So what if Vista's power was technically flashier than any of the other Wards? The scum of this city feared Shadow Stalker more than they did her or any of them. The Wards were fucking kids compared to her, motherfucking babies for the PR team to dress up all to look pretty for the cameras.
Hell, they were probably more scared of Shadow Stalker coming after them in the dead of night than they were Miss Militia, Triumph, Dauntless. Even Armsmaster couldn't send the trash running like she could.
Not a single one of them had her rep! Even the PR team knew as much. Flashier powers or not, she was a special type of cape in Brockton Bay. The one that might just decide to break your arms rather than cuff you if you pushed her too hard. That was what she was and the PR team knew how to sell that and make the city appreciate her regardless.
Whatever they did, Sophia didn't care. She was threatening enough without the voice changer, scary enough without the soulless black eyes her mask came with and perfectly stealthy without the specially darkened costume that blended perfectly into the shadows.
While that all helped, none of that could make up for the fact that she had the right attitude, a killer instinct that no one else in the Protectorate or the Wards could match.
Sophia vaulted over a roof vent, shifting into shadow form and allowing the air from the opening to give her the airtime she needed to make it to the other roof without needing to jump. A few seconds later, she landed several dozen feet away, her cape still fluttering with the wind as she shifted back to normal.
She started running again, her thoughts moving almost as fast as she was.
None of them had the guts to put the fear of God into the criminals in the city.
When the scum knew she was around, they scattered.
The shadows of Brockton Bay were no safe place to hide.
Because, she was the shadows.
She was the night.
She was Sh- "Hardcore Park-OH MY GOD, NOT AGAIN!"
The girlish scream of fear cut into her thoughts, shocking her out of her movements as she heard the scream suddenly silenced by the sound of crumpling metal and falling trash. Whipping around, Sophia ran to the edge of the roof, her eyes catching sight of a figure in all black, lying in a crumpled heap on top of a pile of trash.
Realizing that the girl had probably leapt from the building Sophia had just left behind, the one with the extra wide gap, Sophia scanned her surroundings carefully. Next to her was a dumpster with a significant dent on the top of it, meaning that her body had hit the metal with full force.
Sophia winced as she realized this, shaking her head slightly. If this idiot isn't a Brute, she's as good as dead. She frowned slightly, rolling her eyes as she made to leave, not wanting to be caught up in another crime scene. None of my fucking business anyway.
Making to turn away, Sophia paused as she heard a distinct groaning noise from below, the sound obviously coming from the dumb cape bitch who tried to make a jump she wasn't ready for. Sighing, Sophia stepped up to the edge of the roof. "This bitch better be fucking grateful I'm not a bad person."
WIth that, she let herself fall, shifting into shadow before she would hit the ground and reforming on her feet. Once again, her landing was perfect, the tips she had taken from Armsmaster helping her perfect her drops and removing all signs of stumbling from her dramatic appearances.
Walking over to the body lying in a heap on the alley floor, Shadow Stalker raised an eyebrow behind her mask, her gaze trailing over the distinguishably masculine body that lay there, wincing once more at the blood that seemed to be originating from his forehead.
"Fuck… Hey, you! Wake up!" Her hands went to her hips, unsure of what to do here as she stared down at the possibly dying cape. "You wanna fucking die or something? Wake the fuck up, dumbass!" Sighing, her hand went to prod the figure, her gauntleted fingers barely grazing his black leather coat when the cape surged into action, hand clenched into a fist as he sprung at her.
Sophia's eyes widened and she stumbled back, arms raised. This is what I get for being nice? Fuck you, then!
Instinctively, Sophia shifted, entering her shadow form as the cape rushed through her, stumbling slightly as he over-extended himself. Sophia came to a sudden realization as she reformed, her eyes catching sight of a shock of yellow as the hood around his head flew back slightly with the speed of his rise.
The cape himself was dressed in a high-collared black leather coat with some kind of short cape thing at the back, worn over a similarly colored hooded sweatshirt and black leather pants, accompanied with black boots and fingerless leather gloves that seemed to be rather bulky around the knuckles. All in all, it almost looked like any other costume a cape could cobble together from the contents of their closet. However, this cape was some kind of bondage freak or something, considering his costume was littered with belts all over.
There were a few around one arm and at least three or four around his actual waist, all sitting at a slightly different angle with each one looser than the one before it as well as one around his shoulder that just seemed to hang loosely around his chest for some reason. The strangeness didn't end there either as right below his face was a bright red scarf tied like a tie around his neck.
His face itself was hidden by a silvery skull mask that only seemed to cover half his face, leaving his mouth easily visible. Whoever this cape was, they were trying way too hard. Still, she didn't care about how ridiculous the cape looked. All she cared about was one thing.
Blond! Sophia's shocked expression turned predatory, surprise replaced by anger at the sight of his hair.
As the suicidal cape turned around, eyes visibly wide with surprise, he was met with a surprisingly heavy boot to the jaw, his head spinning with the force of it.
Can't be that big of a Brute when that fall took that much out of him. Sophia smirked viciously at the thought, rushing forward again. "You picked the wrong fucking time, fucker! I got a bone to pick with the Empire anyway!"
The blond cape barely had time to mumble the word, "Empire?" before Sophia's metal gauntlet came into contact with his teeth.