I can't believe they're going to leave us behind and not let us help!" Eddie grumbled. James ignored him, "man, Frank was really annoyed at you too once he figured the costume out haha."
"Like hell I was going to just sit there and watch people get hurt, and die," he muttered meaningfully.
"They must be crazy if they think we're just going to sit here and not try to escape first chance we ge-"
"-We know you're going to escape first chance you get, but I must say this before you do. Remember that this isn't a game, that you are more than likely going to get hurt, and that people care about you and don't want to see that happen, if you do escape, you just think about those people when you're lying in a pool of your own blood!" he snapped, then turned around to address the audience, "we were foolish before to engage the enemy in mindless combat, we lost ourselves and it solved nothing. Now lets engage them in strategy and let's get something DONE!"
There was a raucous cheer, then slowly the throng thinned as people left for their missions.
Hunter stepped towards the edge of the alleyway. Slowly, he checked left and right before motioning the others to join him. Vixen cam first, slipping across the brief shaft of light like a fox in front of a car. Next shot Buster, his katana glinting in the pale light of the streets. Finally came whippet, his agile frame quickly gliding to the meeting point.
Hunter motioned to the right. One by one, each glimpsed a figure, wating in the distance.
"Who is it?" Whippet muttered.
"I can't make them out but I assume it's somebody strong for them to be alone," Vixen commented.
"Unless it's a trap," Hunter warned.
"Let's find out," Buster stepped forwards but Hunter held out his arm.
"Somebody get a closer look without startling whoever it is, I don't like the feel of this..."
"If I get closer, I may be able to breach their mind," Vixen suggested. Hunter looked torn, but shrugged.
"We don't have a choice," he said resigned.
Vixen reached for the wall and deftly perched on top, crouching as low as possible to avoid being seen. She span onto a roof and scrambled up. As cautiously as she could, she slipped down and landed in a front garden. She vaulted the wall and approached the figure. She closed her eyes, her mind searching for his own. She felt the brainwaves and glided to the point of origin. Soon she found an entrance into his erratic mind. She saw images and didn't recognise his face. Suddenly she envisioned a face she recognised.
She saw Matt, but much younger, like 16. He was in a docks. He was shouting at Vixen, yelling something about it being up. Then Vixen pointed upwards, but the hand was very broad and hairy. She looked up with him to... HUNTER!
He was tethered to a chair, again he was much younger. Suddenly Matt was screaming at her, telling her to let him go. Vixen laughed deeply, with a Southern Accent.
"You can either save yourself or die saving him," Vixen laughed again.
Matt tried to destroy the gun that had appeared before Hunter, but the bolt of energy merely got absorbed. Then Vixen shot him in the leg.
"Just to make things more challenging," she mocked. Then she turned around and ran, catching her reflection against a crate. There appeared a tall man with a long, dark brown trench coat and shaggy hair sporting two pistols.
Vixen was jolted into her own conciousness as she felt the danger around her. She opened her eyes to see she was standing on a pressure plate and that in front of her stood some sort of gun. Suddenly she heard shouts as the group surrounded the man.
"YOU!" Hunter roared, and his mind fell back to that same day.
"I almost don't remember you, almost," he winked and sniggered.
"I'll kill you, I'l rip you to pieces!"
Again, Gunslinger laughed.
"That would be difficult considering each of y'alls current positions," he motioned to their feet. Pressure plates glowed red and guns came from trap doors at their feet, "this is one of my more favoured games, I believe you've been in a similar situation before, haven't you boy," he looked at Hunter. Hunters face was so angry, nobody recognised him.
"What is this?" Vixen said, panic rising.
"Why that's very simple missy, see, y'all standing on pressure plates right now, and until I leave, if one of you steps off it, you all die. When I do leave, at least one person has to be standing on the pressure plate at the end of 60 seconds. You'll know when it's up if you count the flashes that will appear. Anyone standing on a plate will die. If you all step off, the guns will shoot regardless. Putting it simply so that all your minds can understand. At lease one of you will die tonight," he winked and before they could say anything, ran behind a wall. No steps could be heard.
Suddenly, the plates began flashing.
"Do you reckon he's bluffing?" Whippet wondered.
"Nah, he ain't bluffing, not that guy. He's the most evil, truthful people you'll ever meet. More evil because of it."
"How do you know?"
"We aint got time," Hunter looked around, "one of us has to die, I think it should be me," he said earnestly.
"NO!" Vixen screamed at him, "YOU CAN'T, I WON'T LET YOU!"
"Please Vix, I'm the one he really wants?"
"Are you really that self-centred, he doesn't want any of us, it's just a game to him!" she argued, "if anyone should die, it will be me," Hunter's face went red.
"Don't be stupid!"
"All stop arguing, clearly we don't have time, so let's get this over with, I will be the one to die," Buster muttered, "my order has died, everything I once believed has been turned on it's head. Maybe my death during this terrible battle will inspire more members of the Shadow Guild to fight the evil that has penetrated it. In a way, I believe this is what Shade always wanted, he always thought the Guild had lost it's way. It should be me," everyone looked at him, "don't feel guilty, all members of the guild wake up each day expecting death, and death often comes to us, it's our way of life. I do not go to Heaven or Hell, I go to my ancestors where they protect the spirit realm against evil souls such as his," Buster bowed to them all, "it has been an honour to be with you all, and if you see Shade, tell him it has been an honour to be his friend."
At that, the plates stopped beating and the three stepped off.
Each looked away as the gun shot.
Hunter looked back to his his body on the floor, lying in a mishappen heap. he picked up the body, to carry it back to base.