Trinity thrummed her fingers on the arms of her chair; she adjusted her thigh cut qipao dress after folding her legs while studying the four long screens that enclosed her workstation. Her eyes shifted at a careful pace from screen to screen as she viewed three of her seven assassins on various missions, making sure they stayed on task. Blood Crippler, Death Blade, and Reaper—each of her silent agents moving through enemy territory like ghosts, they were invisible yet efficient killing machines as they slew rival targets for Raikou and other high-level outlaws.
Things were hectic for a while in the multiversal space, ever since one of the most powerful outlaws, Skull Knight, was killed by Raikou’s son. The Tainted boy, Ruko Savannah. The hero, Lightspeed. The boy responded to a challenge by the skull warrior after his armada gang nearly obliterated the city of Newark, last July.
Though he was engaged in a brutal and bone-crushing battle, Ruko managed to slay Skull Knight alongside his father. Though she didn’t know him personally, she respected for a young fighter not only because they were the same race but because he was spawned from such a dominant bloodline. His father being the outlaw king along with his grandfather running the Galatic Federation, a man of considerable influence. Trinity smiled. In general, Tainted were hard to come by in this galactic sector and though she would never admit it, seeing Ruko and his friends do well warmed her heart.
Trinity frowned, remembering that she needed to perform her daily scan of the eastern seaboard to continue searching for stragglers from Skull Knight’s gang. Those that were not captured by SIGMA and the Galactic Federation… and the Galaxy Police. Trinity was tasked with eliminating them by the rest of the Outlaws since most were avoiding Earth for the time being.
She sighed and uncrossed her legs, getting up from the command center. She walked across the bridge that led to the other side of the underground cavern, the in-ground lights on each side of the bridge allowing her to see with ease.
Trinity made her way to the end of the bridge, revealing a stairway that led deeper into the secret base. She leaned on the stair railing, peering over the edge. Below, her two other assassins, Wolf and Slasher were shouting at each other while they played cards, busy gambling away their cut from the last mission they completed. Both of them were seated at the mission table in the center of the lower cavern, surrounded by the dim blue fluorescent lights which pointed at the middle of the slick platinum surface—enhanced by radiant designs of symbolic runes at the edge of the metal disk, runes that represented each member of the Seven.
Trinity wasn’t amused. What was the point of making money just to blow it all on something so frivolous? Greed would do that to a person. Trinity licked her lips in thought. She was no better than them, really, often risking her life and the lives of her subordinates on a whim for any mission that paid—if the price was right.
Her lips lifted into a faint smile as her mind wandered to the youngest and newest member of the Sinister Seven, Terra Eatos. It should have been around the time the young Arroyan was getting out of school, something that seemed completely pointless to Trinity now since he failed the mission to kill Nathan Blackwood. Dusk refused to even talk to her when she tried to relay the news. The fact that Terra’s refusal to kill his friend lost her a well paying and influential client made her blood boil. Still, she couldn’t remain annoyed at Terra forever, it was a long time since multiple members of the Seven were in the vicinity each other like this. It felt nostalgic in a way.
“Trinity! Ya want in?” Slasher called from the oblong table looking up toward the inner balcony.
Trinity shook her head. “As much I would love to whip your ass, I can’t. Someone has to actually work around here.”
“Whaddaya mean, boss?” Slasher tilted his hand downward but then shifted it the last second, to keep Wolf from taking a peek at his cards. “‘Ain’t shit around for us ta do.”
“One of you should be guarding the entrance to our lair. Or at least be helping me with hourly surveillance. I can’t keep watch and observe the team at all times.”
“Though’ ya was excellent at multitasking,” Slasher said, a smile visible under the metal part of his mask.
Trinity gave him a pointed look. A feeble amount of spiritual energy in the form of killing intent, leaked from her pores.
Slasher raised his hand and his cards hid his face from view. “What? I was just saying!”
“Slasher,” Wolf said while he leaned back in his seat as he adjusted his dark hooded cloak. “It’s best to be aware of how your tone comes off to other people.”
“Oi, nobody asked ya, ya giant furball,” Slasher said. “How am I the only one with a sense of humor in this joint?”
Trinity rolled her eyes and turned away from the balcony, right as Wolf and Slasher started to get into another argument. She made her way back to the command center and reclaimed her seat. After rechecking the status of her deployed assassins, she browsed the obsidian mirror for reports of Eternalists movements and acts of terrorism from remnants of the Maker cult. Acts that were specifically being ignored by the Avalonian media.
A low echoing alarm sounded throughout the cavern base, causing Trinity to stiffen. With a click of the touch-pad, a screen showing the viewpoints of multiple cameras outside the hideout popped up. The cameras were blurred out, foggy and wet with drops as if the view was being blocked by bad weather.
Trinity narrowed her eyes as she sensed the vapor from her surroundings; she could feel the spiritual energy of intruders from outside the base. She stood up at once but before she could call her assassins, lightning struck the building with force, the roaring thunder causing the building to shake.
The lights went out with a flicker. Trinity could even hear some of them explode and shatter as they fell to the ground. That was to much force for an average lightning strike. A cape was controlling it.
Trinity broke into a run across the main bridge as the backup generators around the base started to kick in. The air was getting warmer. Really warm. She skidded to a halt as she reached the stairway, feeling the sweltering heat from large towers of flames in front of her, burning the remains of the mission table where Wolf and Slasher were gambling to ash.
“Fuck,” Trinity muttered.
They were compromised. She surveyed the pillars of fire for any signs of her allies. She couldn’t see them but she could sense them, they were in there somewhere covered by the flames. Trinity hopped onto the railing of the balcony and crouched, preparing herself to dive into the blaze.
Trinity took to the air and was blinded in a flash. A piercing bolt of lightning struck. Her body seized up, a tingling sensation traveled through her skin and bones as she flew backward, her head colliding with the top of the cavern. Her body broke through stone with force as she was tossed up like a ragdoll. Trinity hit the monitors of her command center shattering them in the large crash as large rocks pelted her from above. She landed on her side, her arm crumpling the metal desk as it broke her fall.
Stunned for a moment, Trinity shook it off and then roared, erupting from the pile of electronic scrap with vengeance, ready for a fight as her vision oscillated between different directions—scanning the area for her would-be enemy. That lightning attack didn’t really hurt, however, it did help confirm her suspicions. Their rude guests were probably low-level capes… But if that was the case, it should have been impossible for them to find the hideout.
Trinity’s heels clacked against the polished metal as she ran across the bridge once again, stopping when she noticed Wolf impeding her way. “Wolf, are you alright?” she asked. “Where is Slasher?” There was a slight hesitation in Trinity’s step as she approached her colleague. Wolf’s spiritual energy felt off. Instead of expanding and taking up space like it normally would in a strong but controlled wave, his spirit energy was wrapped around his form in a tight bubble. Visualizing it with her eyes open, Trinity could see the moving sphere of energy eating and then regurgitating itself, as if it were trying to hide the origin of its true nature on the inside. “What the hell is wrong with your vapor?”
Wolf paused. “You don’t have to be so worried, we’ve got it covered.”
That wasn’t an answer. Trinity folded her arms once she was an amiable distance in front of him. She would stand closer, maybe to get in his face a little and intimidate him a little, but his wonky spiritual energy made her cautious. “Oh? Who are our little hallowed guests?”
Wolf’s maw curled into a smile. “It’s the new gang, the Inheritors. Those runts thought we were just a pack of greenhorns like them. Probably decided to get rid of the easy competition and make a name for themselves.” Wolf chuckled. “They were given a rude awakening.”
“One of them attacked me just now with lightning. According to our information, the one with weather-like manipulation abilities was Apsara. Where is she?”
“Isn’t it obvious, I crushed her—just like the rest.”
“You killed all of them? I’m tired of reminding you that we always leave one or two alive for questioning.”
Wolf’s smile widened. “I believe I’ve gotten better about that. Slasher is in need of more correction than me.”
Trinity allowed herself to scowl. “Mm-hmm. Is Slasher with them now?”
“Of course. They’re all incapacitated, Slasher is locking them up in the cellars while he waits for us.”
Trinity hummed and took a glimpse at the destroyed remnants of her command center. She made a sound of annoyance. “It will take forever to get that replaced. How the hell did some weak shitty trash even know we exist?”
“We can figure that out later,” Wolf said as his clawed hand took hold of Trinity’s shoulder in a firm grip, causing her eyes to cut back to him. “I have some Phalaxian and Vivian connections that could probably help with the computer system.” Wolf was silent as he looked at his hand; foreign energy started to pulse through Trinity’s body, giving her the slight tingling sensation of pleasure.
“Ah… ha,” Trinity said, almost in a sing-song voice with her malevolent smile.
Her fist launched forward at an undetectable speed smashing right into Wolf’s nose before he could react—making it burst with blood. Wolf cried out in agony as he was launched backward on the metal ramp, his fur soaked with vital fluid. The distorted spiritual energy around his form began to spiral out of control like a sine wave, the energy changing shape along with the body that was slumped on the floor.
Fur changed to blonde hair, large claws to gloved hands. Wolf’s body was shrinking. His werewolf visage to that of a human woman. Sitting up gingerly, the short woman covered her bleeding nose with a hand. Trinity recognized her at once, recalling the footage she collected from Terra when he was spying on the Inheritor group. The girl was the hallowed known as Secret Bliss—a shapeshifter. Blood ran down Secret Bliss’s white bodysuit, painting her chest with a nice scarlet color. “F-fuck! Shit!” she cursed while panting. “That freaking hurt!”
“It’s about to hurt a lot worse, my dear,” Trinity said, inching closer.
“Wait!” Secret Bliss raised her hands while edging away on the floor, her bottom and white boots scraping against the metal. “Don’t you want to find out who we are?”
“I know who you are,” Trinity hissed. “And I’ll find out who sent you after I beat you within an inch of your life.”
“How?” Secret Bliss whispered.
Trinity glanced at her hand, opening and closing her fist tight. “You’re not bad for a human infiltrator, but you would never fool a Tainted warrior like that. We can sense the differences in the vapor between people. Not knowing that was your first mistake. The second? Was not researching your target thoroughly enough. Wolf would never touch me without my permission. And your third mistake… your third mistake was finding yourself in the unfortunate situation of being my opponent.”
Trinity took on a traditional karate fighting stance and Secret Bliss’s expression turned fearful, her eyes widening under her domino mask.
“Keymaker, Prodigy, We need to retreat!”
“Running away? Is that all the fight you have, is that’s the extent of your preparation?” Trinity didn’t give chase as Secret Bliss stood up and scampered back toward her teammates. Trinity shook her head. “I almost feel insulted.”
Trinity waited for Secret Bliss to meet her other two teammates on the main deck below before jumping down in a long vault. She hit the floor with a loud clamp, kneeling on one knee before regarding the three Inheritors who seemed too shocked to respond. Trinity scanned each cape within a second making mental notes about any particular features she didn’t remember from Terra’s reports.
“Bliss!” Keymaker hissed, worried. “The key is finished.” Golden and green cape lifted a golden metallic hand, his fingers holding a small shining key that vibrated within his fingers. “Let’s get the fuck out of here!”
Trinity blinked, intrigued by the masked cape’s power. There wasn’t much to see about him from the footage. What did his power do? With a smirk, Trinity focused a growing pool of spiritual energy to her feet. She launched.
“Move!” Prodigy grabbed the boy and pulled him by the arm, out of the way of Trinity’s shoulder tackle.
Everyone froze, Trinity now standing were Keymaker was a moment ago. She glared at Prodigy and the girl tensed, even more, holding Keymaker’s forearm like her life depended on it.
Trinity paused and analyzed Prodigy over, the young girl dressed in her usual school girl outfit: A white shirt and black tie, with a plaid pleated skirt with glasses over her domino mask. “Prodigy,” Trinity uttered. “Enhanced senses… and a danger sense, was it? Impressive. For a human.”
“Key, now!” Secret Bliss yelled.
Keymaker tossed the shining key at Trinity and she swatted it. Her fingers grazed glowing device it exploded in her face. Trinity was blinded by the light, stars and incomprehensible swatches of color flashing before her eyes leaving her stunned. She closed and opened her eyes the fuzziness from her vision dissipating.
She looked around. The cavern was completely empty. The Inheritors disappeared only leaving the burning flames to tell the story of their appearance. It shouldn’t have been possible for them to escape her vapor sense. Even if Keymaker’s powers were able to stun her for that long of a period of time, her assassins would have come to her aid. If they were able to… Trinity scoffed, not allowing a moment of doubt. There was no chance in hell those weaklings could fight off her team, even if they received the help of the Elder Gods themselves… Thinking of her subordinates, Trinity realized she couldn’t sense them either.
Trinity stilled herself and let her energy and awareness expand outward. A faint smile graced her lips. She could feel it now. A barrier of Keymaker’s spiritual energy surrounded her. Keymaker’s key must have crafted an illusion of some sort, a world where he and his little friends effectively didn’t exist. An unbounded eternal realm? The brats were probably still in the hideout, using Keymaker’s power as a distraction to buy time. It wouldn’t work.
Trinity growled and raised her spirit energy with force, it pulsating through her body. Vapor pressurized the air around her—the flames that enclosed her were mushed to the ground. The floor cracked and the world started to distort itself as Trinity’s body started to glow with condensed spirit matter. She yelled toward the ceiling as golded armor started to form an envelope around her clothing—the golden material covering the cleavage that was visible before.
With another charge of energy, Trinity roared and stomped the ground, causing Keymaker’s barrier to shatter at once. She could sense the vapor of everyone in the hideout once more. Trinity exhaled before lowering her spiritual energy, her golden armor turning to dust. Using that form to deal with a couple of hallowed pests would be overkill.
Back to normal, Trinity took to the air. She flew through the base on a beeline for the only exit that someone could enter or escape out of whenever the lockdown protocols were set. All five Inheritors were near the elevator that led to the main apartment. Keymaker was fiddling with the door while under the duress of Secret Bliss, Prodigy and the cape in the red motorcycle jacket, Ignition, were messing with the controls. A blue-skinned woman who wore a traditional white and gold sampot dress kept watch. Trinity scowled, ticked off. That was Apsara.
Apsara’s large necklace jingled when she turned to catch sight of Trinity. “Guys, trouble.” Apsara pointed at the Tainted assassin with an open palm and electricity shot outward.
Trinity dodged with a barrel roll maneuver before zipping past Apsara, grabbing Secret Bliss by the neck. Trinity bashed the short woman into the wall and she cried out in pain. “Where’s is Wolf?” Trinity asked, squeezing Secret Bliss’s neck tighter, her windpipe being crushed by second. “Slasher?”
Secret Bliss responded by coughing up blood.
“Bliss!” Ignition panicked. “Fuck!”
Apsara charged another blast of electricity Trinity’s direction but before she could move loud explosion was heard from the ceiling above.
Terra! Trinity could sense who it was, immediately. Like a missile, he aimed straight for Apsara’s head at the speed of sound, smashing her straight into the ground. Apsara let out a gargled shriek as blood gushed from her face—her golden headdress trampled; She didn’t know what hit her. Terra’s claws of death reached for her neck and flames erupted from Ignition’s hands. Terra backflipped and landed next to Trinity, avoiding the scorching beams of flame.
Ignition yelled and shouted to the rest of his gang as Prodigy helped him pull up Apsara who was implanted into the floor, unconscious. He let go once Keymaker took hold of Apsara’s other side. With both hands, Ignition created a wall of flame around Trinity and Terra, trying to keep them at bay. The Inheritors slithered away from the elevator door, moving further back into the cavern, their escape plan foiled.
“Terra,” Trinity said while facing her young smirking assassin. “It’s good to see you. Nice for you to be on time, for once.” She yanked Secret Bliss out of the wall and tossed the knocked out cape to the ground like a useless sack of flesh. “How was school?”
Terra looked at Secret Bliss’s pitiful form before facing Trinity and tilting his head, apparently finding the scene funny. He adjusted his hair, clearing brown locks away from his face. With a shake of the head, the strands were removed from his eyes. “Fine, I guess. Didn’t get detention today, so that’s a first.” He waved a hand backward, his thumb pointing toward Secret Bliss. “You gonna kill her?”
“No… not yet.” Her face blank, Trinity stared at the dancing flames surrounding them. “Let’s capture the rest first. Then when can decide who to eliminate.”
“Sounds good, thought you were getting soft on me for a sec.”
Trinity gave Terra a look. “Shut up and get moving.”
Terra mock-saluted. “Aye aye, captain.”
A glint of silver shone from the corner of Trinity’s eye. Slasher strode through the flames with one of his ruby twin blades in hand, his plated armor unaffected by the heat as he aided Wolf, helping him walk—the Avalonian werewolf’s arm was behind Slashers neck hanging around his shoulder. Wolf was breathing hard like he was weakened.
“Oris, my man!” Terra said while sounding obnoxious, his voice full of fake cheer. “What happened to you?”
“Fuck off,” Wolf spat. “Fuck, I knew I smelled that bitch over here.” He shrugged toward the fallen Inheritor with his muzzle. “Runt got lucky.”
“You let a little girl get the drop on you?”
Trinity slapped the back of Terra’s head, hard. “Stop.”
The boy flinched and ducked his head, he chuckled knowing Trinity wasn’t that serious.
Wolf growled. “I’m going to rip that girl apart.”
“No. You’ll do what I’ll tell you to do,” Trinity warned giving Wolf a pointed glare.
“It’s ain’t like ya can move anyhow,” Slasher said to Wolf. “That bitch sucked all the life out of ya, and not in the good way.” Slasher’s glowing crimson opaque eyes deviated to Terra. “Ayeee! Well if it isn’t my little Arroyan friend! I haven’t seen ya in foreva’. How are you doing—ya pretty young thing, you?”
Terra rolled his eyes with a smirk and shook his head. “Hey, Slasher.”
“Trinity.” Wolf wheezed in pain and exhaustion, he would’ve keeled over if Slasher wasn’t holding him up. “The plan?”
“You’ll stay here with Slasher.” Trinity beckoned Terra with a nod. “We’ll take them out. Terra, with me.” She oriented herself toward the cavern darkness. “They couldn’t have gotten far. They can only exit from here.”
“I know,” Terra said. “I can sense them further inside.”
As they both took to the air, Trinity led the way into the lower cavern with Terra close behind. They spotted the Inheritors from above, Keymaker and Ignition attempting to hide behind rocky walls while Prodigy held Apsara’s unconscious body.
Terra shot forward, a wave of sound and air reverberated from his body like a clap of thunder, but before he could reach the concealed capes, a thick brownish-black sludge burst out from the ether. Using a flash-step technique in midair, Trinity mentally let go of her body—trusting the force of her will, her spirit, to lead her point in space faster than the eye could see; she teleported before Terra and held him back. The molten dark corruption oozed out from invisible vents in the ground, the corruption corroding everything it touched. The blackened the fiery lava-like substance started to reject gravity as lifted up into the air forming a dome—a protective shield—over the four Inheritor capes.
“What… is that?” Terra asked.
Trinity opened her mouth to respond but closed it when something writhed and twisted itself up from the primordial muck. Venus, the corruption goddess, slowly pulled herself out of the lake of contamination. Molten rock and sludge seeped from her face and long fur coat until she stood on top of the ocean of liquid fire, spotless.
Smiling, Venus adjusted her sunglasses with a gloved hand, pulling them from her eyes and nestling it in her thick hair.
“Venus…” Trinity kept her face impassive as she wasn’t sure what to think. “What the hell is this?”
Venus’s face brightened once she caught sight of the Tainted woman. “Ah, Ms. Trinity! What is with that dour expression, hmm? Have you no love for an old client? A wealthy one that treats you quite nicely I might add.”
Trinity’s lips thinned. “Not when that client is trashing my place. Why are you here? How did you find this location?”
“You know I have my ways. I thought you’d like to see me in person, as you have spent so much time watching me from afar.”
Was Venus annoyed because the Sinister Seven kept tabs on her? Trinity knew it would have been impossible to spy on her in secret for long. Instead of risking her ire by acting in a covert manner and losing valuable contact as a result, the Seven agreed to watch her openly as she stayed in Ravensworth.
“You led the Inheritors here?” Trinity asked.
“I’ll answer that in a moment.” Venus turned around, facing her warm rotting orb of corruption. The orb of sludge came apart, oozing downward and forming a large ring around the Inheritor capes that were protected inside.
“Are you alright, my children?” she called.
“Fuck no!” Ignition said. “You didn’t tell us we were going against two flying bricks and a team of strong-ass capes. They fucking killed Bliss!”
Terra snorted at Ignition’s indignation. “Trinity didn’t kill her. I can still sense her vapor.”
Venus chuckled. “I let you fight them because I trusted you would survive, which you have. And so you would understand. This is a good experience for you to gain a feeling for the types of enemies you will come up against in the future. Is my trust in you misplaced, Ignition?”
Ignition hesitated. Even with Trinity’s expertise in reading body language, it was hard for her to read him with his face covered by a motorcycle helmet.
“Well, you’ve surpassed my expectations at least.” Venus continued to speak while fiddling with her necklace, cutting Ignition off before he could respond back. “Not many capes would be able to last as long as you have against a team of S-Class warriors.”
Ignition and Keymaker stiffened.
“…They’re S-Class?” Prodigy uttered.
Terra shrugged, his grin widening. “Some of us may be ranked higher than that.”
Keymaker was stunned. “What? Are you serious? Then this wasn’t just a little gang fight, fucking some newbs out of terrority they think they got.” He spun around to glare at Venus. “This was fucking suicide!”
“Elder Gods…” Venus said with a hand on her hip, not taking her eyes off of Trinity. “Calm yourself boy. You’re still alive, are you not?”
Trinity skin prickled with irritation as the natural urge to kill—the curse of the Tainted race—rose within her. Her fists tightened and her eyes shut while she bit her lip, clamping the urge down. Fighting Venus now wouldn’t be the wisest decision.
Individually, Venus was probably stronger than every member of the Seven, excluding Terra. Though there was no telling who would be favored if every person from both sides fought each other at the same time, it wouldn’t be worth the risk. There would be a high probability that their hideout would be destroyed in the ensuing conflict, the aftermath attracting attention from all sorts of unwanted sources.
“State your business, Venus,” Trinity barked. “I’m losing my patience.”
“So testy! Though this little excursion was a simple assessment for my young pupils, I really wanted to visit you!” Venus waved her arms in an animated fashion like she was offended. Her brow was furrowed, worry and pain in her eyes.
Trinity paused, not buying her act. “You’re sponsoring them?”
Terra whistled in admiration while observing Keymaker, Ignition, and Prodigy. “Right now it may seem like you guys have been dealt a shitty hand, but if you got one of the most powerful Valterians training you up… you’ll have this gangbanging stuff in the bag.”
“We’ll… see,” Ignition muttered.
“Still, there are other ways for gangs to gain territory, instead of fighting established ones,” Terra eyed Venus. “If that’s what you’re trying to do.”
Venus chuckled with mirth. “No.” Her amber gaze shifted from young Arroyan to Trinity, her smile cutting through Trinity’s soul. “I’m here to offer the Sinister Seven a job.”
Curious anticipation crackled in Trinity’s chest. “What would you need all of us for?”
“Not so much need,” Venus corrected, raising a finger with a smile. “But I would like your help. There is a war coming and I always enter battle prepared. In the memory of the hallowed named Elsa, I’m going to do what she could not. I’m going to assimilate the gangs in this city.”