Magical Torturer Suzi Berry versus Magical Juggernaut Heather Crunch

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"Eversor Rank Leader Heather Crunch, we need to have a little chat."

If experience has taught me anythin' about our dear rank leader, it's that she loves theatrics. She's a lot more likely to take what you say to heart if you put some effort into the presentation. And a disembodied voice speakin' across a rather desolate-lookin' location, lit by a backdrop of stars, just drips with drama.

Havin' to act as a part of your job in infiltration, and bein' adept at bedroom role-play, also helps.

"Who DARES to attempt to intimidate the grrrrrrreat and mighty Heather Crunch?" bellows our dear Cap'n. She knows who it is, of course. But she does love to play along with this sort of thing. It'd be adorable under less unfortunate circumstances.

"See the destruction wrought upon this once-pristine place," I call out, safely hidden on the buildin's ledge, behind a mound of dirt and some purposefully placed webs, "and know that it was the doing of that girl, in her frustration."

The Cap'n shakes her fist. "What have you done with Slam, villain?" I can't see her face from where I am, but my friends tell me she's tryin' hard not to grin. This ain't the time for that sorta thing.

"Slam is safe, for now. Safe from the likes of you."

"Nonsense, she's only adjusting to the ordeal she endured. It'll pass in a-"

Time to drop the bombshell.

"There was no ordeal."


Yeah, I don't think she's takin' it all that well.

"The Spider Room is designed to -break- a person, not remake them. Slam was taken here for refuge-"

Which was a grievous mistake on my part, considerin' the nightly ritual of the Cap'n. I do hope she'll forgive me for carryin' her out here for nothin'. It probably won't be any time soon, not with the way she glared at me when I told her to go back to her room. Didn't say anythin', just limped away and didn't answer any queries.

"-and then put back where she belongs, away from your cruel machinations."

The Cap'n's pretty mad. "You went against my ORDERS, Berry."

Hidin's probably not gonna do me much good anymore. I clamber back up onto the rooftop and approach Cap'n, my posture all conciliatory as I plead in my normal voice, "Cap'n, please-"

Cap'n whirls about, face stern and businesslike. She's really takin' this rank leader stuff seriously, huh? "No," she interrupts, pointin' an accusatory finger at me. "I'm taking this straight to the warmaster. You insist on TORTURING her by forcing her to keep the status quo."

I try reasonin' with her, askin', "Did ya even ask her if she wanted yer help, though?"

"Questions would have gotten in the way of improving her standard of living, which being moved into the Eversor program would do." It's like debatin' a wall.

"She doesn't have any of our intrinsic advantages, she'd be-"

"Enough!" she barks, fed up with debatin'. She turns to head back down the steps, proclaimin', "I'm taking this situation to Russ and having you reprimanded for insubordination!" She's gonna leave, and do whatever she wants with Eleanor, and I'm gonna get a black mark on my otherwise spotless record. Ahhh, I was afraid this might happen.

Which is why I had my little friends help me prepare for this contingency. I clear my throat and present my trump card :

"Orrrr we could settle this here~."

Cap'n slows to a stop. Gotcha.

"The great and mighty Heather Crunch against my unbroken victory streak."

I have her interest, now I just need to set the terms.

"Best two outta three. The winner decides what to do with the loser." I put on my best smirk and wave dismissively at her to taunt her, mockin' her in a sing-song voice with, "Unless yer a 'fraidy caaat~"

Cap'n turns around and smiles broadly, any indication of carin' about her job gone from her face. Seems I heard right about her.

"Ha! I accept your challenge! I'll take every trick you have and overcome them all!"

The familiar, comfortin' weight of grippin' an object in my hand confirms the manifestation of one of my most trusted implements. A long dagger with a strong handle, perfect for thrustin'. And with enough poison to turn a magical girl's insides into slurry. I take my position a few meters away in a low crouch. There's a flower box not far from my position, but I don't let my eyes stray toward it, lest I give away what I'm thinkin'. Just keepin' my eyes on the Cap'n as she brings forth her big, thick red thing. I've seen her swing it around a few times before, but never really got to see it, or her, in action.

Ihihi, I'm gettin' excited in spite of myself.

We stay just like that for a little bit, starin' each other down. Both of us grinnin' like fools. I lick my lips as I size her up - she's actually kinda small, really - and decide to stop with the foreplay first.

I signal for my spider friends to spring the trap.

At my urgin', the rank leader is caught from the side by a thick band of spider silk and catapulted into the stairwell she was so eager to descend earlier. The moment her expression changes to one of shock is the moment I throw myself into cover behind the box. I keep movin' towards the buildin's edge, and, after stickin' the handle between my teeth, drop over just as Cap'n throws herself back into the fray. "Cheap shot!" she cries out, but I can tell she liked it~.

I scramble over the exterior as quickly as I can move without makin' any noise. My scouts' chatter tells me that Cap'n has taken only a few paces forward and her back is to the eastern side, so that's where I go. I hoist myself up and skulk my way towards her exposed flank. Careful, silent, and steady. When I'm within strikin' distance, I pull the dagger from my mouth and make a straight jab at her back. No showy, jumpin' nonsense that leaves you vulnerable. Which turns out to be a good thing, as Cap'n spins outta the way and uses the momentum to swing her sword in a wide arc at where my midsection is.

"Counter-swing!" she yells.

Conjurin' another dagger in my free hand, I make to parry the strike so I can slide underneath it.

That was a terrible mistake.

The full battery of a tank battalion has nothin' on the force of the swing that almost dislocates my arm after I try to redirect it. I bring both knives up and try to move that thing, but it's too dang big and strong. I'm losin' ground.

I see her foot move right as I disengage her, and her kick whiffs my leg. I backpedal to put some distance between us, but it's not far away enough. Her colossal sword comes crashin' down, buryin' itself in the reinforced rooftop and missin' me by a hair. That's pretty unreal. But it also gives me an openin'. It hurts somethin' awful, but I hurl the weapon in my left hand at her. She chooses to dodge again, which means she didn't see me leap onto the blunt edge of her weapon, run along it, take my other knife, and jam it in to her crazy head.

At least, that's what shoulda happened. What did happen was that her hard head repelled the blow completely, like stabbin' a wall. I'm off balance and nearly fall on my fine derriere after she pulls out her sword with just one arm. I catch myself, but I'm still on my hands and knees here. Lookin' down on me, she's got a real ugly expression on her face right now.

She's like a wall that walks, talks, and hits things. Even I didn't expect that. "The heck are ya made of?"

"Strength, determination, and the BURNING desire to help those in need!" she exclaims, holdin' her weapon in a perfect position to strike me. "You CAN'T pierce me, Berry!"

Well that certainly limits my options. I saw her flinch on gettin' hit, but I can't tell if it's because she was hurt or just reflex. Time to start improvisin'. Quicker than Heather can say "coup de grace", I roll away from her and dash up the stairwell entrance. I planned to leap over it and try to hide again so I can rethink my strategies, but stumble after Cap'n's sword clips my left shoulder, droppin' both my knives for all the good they'll do me. That much blood is gonna make it awful hard to hide. The giant red sword starts comin' back towards me, so I sprint under it and let it sail on past my head. I hear her on the move again, so I lead her to a different spot.

I scoop up the silky spider webs in my arms - reminds me that I promised those kids new sweaters, should start on that next week - and send another signal to my little friends. A well-timed jump saves me from bein' knocked on my face by a streak of white, but it sounds like Cap'n wasn't so lucky. I've got what I need, which means I can about face and bring the fight to her. Cap'n merely stumbled instead of bein' dropped flat, and that's just fine. I smother the crouched figure in a big sheet of whiteness and kick her to send her rollin' like a snowball. She halts much sooner than I'd anticipated, even with her sword arm stickin' out, but I can make do with that. As soon as Cap'n lets go of her weapon to try and tear off those webs - which lands with a terribly loud THUNK - I land a flyin' kick on the round mass and make it roll again, gatherin' more sticky webs. That should do for now.

I'm not givin' her even a second to overcome the dizzy spell. I follow after her and snatch the thing off the ground. Her muffled protests remind me of that delectable brunette from the other day as I whirl the thing round and around overhead. When I think she's nice and dizzy... BAM! Slam her into the ground, then slam her into the ground again, and again, and again, and again, and again...

My bleedin' shoulder's protests signal that I ought to do somethin' about that, so I throw the sack spinnin' up in the air. With well practiced movements, I pull out my first aid kit and apply some gauze and bandages once the poor girl thuds on the rooftop. It's hardly ideal, but it'll have to do until I'm done here. After packin' my gear away, I stride on over to my fallen Cap'n, who's just finished freein' herself from my little love nest and is pickin' the sticky white stuff out of her hair. Doesn't look like she's dizzy anymore, so I'll give her credit for a quick recovery. For a relatively new girl, she's got quite a bit of stamina.

"Had enough?" I ask, already knowin' her answer.

"You win this round," she concedes, pointin' at me again, "but it won't stop me from beating a dildo like you into the ground."

"Ihihi... Hon, I'm an expert on dildos, and can assure ya that neither of us is one." No response from that one. I was hopin' she'd turn a nice crimson color.

We take a few steps back and rearm ourselves. Cap'n makes the first move by chargin' at me, but she's not faster than me. I easily outpace her, which should make it simple to lure her into another location. I look back to gauge the distance-

What's that stuff comin' out of her sleeve? Tentacles? Whatever it is, this ain't a good time to find out. I take cover behind one of the flower boxes and get ready to move again when my cover is lifted up by those appendages and hurled at me. I dive out of the way, the container shatters on the spot where I was a moment ago, and I gotta keep movin'. Because as it turns out, she's got all those flower boxes held in the air with dozens, maybe hundreds of those... things. Milly's gonna be real mad when she finds out about this.

The safest place would normally be the walls below, but I don't think Cap'n's gonna give me the opportunity to move there. I don't have any traps set where she is, though I motion for my friends that can see me to get ready. It's been quite a while since I've done somethin' reckless like this, but I plunge in for a frontal assault. I duck and weave out of the way of the objects thrown at me, and start cuttin' through those... strips of tape? Is that what they are? Whatever they are, they're tryin' to grab me. Tryin' bein' the key word here, because she's just not fast enough.

Cap'n rears back to attack with another sword throw, but spiders crawlin' up her legs is still enough to make her throw go wild. Leapin' to the side to avoid another flower box, Heather is vulnerable enough that I can go for one part of her that I'm sure ain't invulnerable. Besides, I'm pretty sure she wouldn't mind wearin' an eye patch. It'd complement her image.

A lightnin'-quick thrust at her eye with my trusty dagger is blocked at the last second by Cap'n's free hand. As in she grabs the blade and snaps it. "Fell for it!" she taunts as I back away to try again, only to find my feet refusin' to move properly. When did she have time to bind them up? I can slip out easily enough as long as-

"And here's the comeback attack!"

My spider friends' report of the dreaded sword's return coincides with Cap'n callin' it out. I can't keep myself from inhalin' sharply as an intense force slams into my lower back, followed by a loss of sensation in my legs. With nothin' left to support me, I fall on my back and knock my head against the tiles. Peerin' up to survey the damages, I find the part of me with all my favorite bits cleanly separated from the rest of me and still bleedin'. It's a very weird feelin', suddenly havin' nothin' below your torso. Not the first time I've lost a limb, but it never stops feelin' uncomfortable.

"Alright, alright," I sigh, unable to look at her triumphant smile as her tape dissolves. "That round was yours. You earned it. Last one is for keeps." Under ideal conditions I could keep goin' for several more hours like this, but these aren't ideal conditions. There's an opponent in front of me, for one, she's not near any traps, and I still have to be able to move. My tactical options are even more limited right now, and I probably only have thirty minutes if I have to keep exertin' myself like this.

I'll have to settle on a gamble.

With no weapons in hand, I have to support myself on my hands. It's very strenuous to do so when one arm still feels wonky and aches every time it's moved. The ground's gettin' slick with my blood poolin' around it. Cap'n looks amused as she holds her blade back with the intent of smitin' an easy target.

"This match is mine, Berry," she gloats. "I'm not going to let-"

Whatever Cap'n was expectin' from me, I doubt she thought I'd throw my own butt at her face.

While she's tossin' it away and wipin' the blood out of her eyes, I'm clawin' my way up her back. With my arms around her neck, I ready daggers in both hands. She curses and tries to get me off of her, but blowin' on her ear makes her hesitate long enough for me to jam my weapons into her open mouth and against both cheeks. Her screams of pain confirm my suspicions that it hurts a lot.

From what I've seen, she can easily pry my hands away, or tear them off if necessary. But as long as she's not anchored by that heavy sword... Yep, she dropped it. While it's hard to get any momentum like this, I manage to lead her to the edge of the roof, where she takes the necessary missteps to send us both plummetin' to the ground.

I have only a few seconds to get into position, which isn't helped when Cap'n crushes my right hand. The now-useless appendage drops the knife and I start losin' my grip, unable to stop her from forcin' the other knife out with her tongue. This is far from ideal, and I'm all out of tricks.

"You fought well Berry," Cap'n growls, keepin' me tethered to her by my wrist. "But this is MY victory, and I WILL help that girl no matter how much you protest."

"Like ya helped yer buddy back at the Ninth?" I shoot back. Okay, that was mean. That was unfair and mean of me to say, dredgin' up somethin' awful like that. But judgin' by her shocked reaction, it worked to distract her. With the ground comin' up real fast, I force my last knife into her mouth until it's ticklin' the back of her throat. Cap'n is gaggin' on it and bitin' down hard. It hurts somethin' awful, but it hurts even worse once we hit the ground.

I think I may have just broken every bone in my left arm from tryin' to hold that thing in there. But more importantly, my dagger broke in her throat, and she's frantically tryin' to dislodge the pieces chokin' her.

"Please yield now," I demand, collapsed on her chest and unable to even move my head. Ihihi, there's a teeny bit more cushion than I'd given her credit for havin' there.

When Cap'n starts makin' what I take for affirmative noises, I disengage my weapons. She takes deep gulps of breath after pullin' my hand out of her mouth - ah, she bit right through it down to the bone. I must look like a mess. But it's worth it if it means keepin' my image spotless and helpin' out a poor lost-

"That was fuckin' a!" calls an unfamiliar voice from nearby. Cap'n's head snaps to attention and focuses on the source, before pushin' me off of her. Rude.

"Just a friendly tussle is all," she responds, brushin' herself off. "Now, how'd it go?"

"We found a big croc out there," says voice number two.

"Yeah, Jenny snapped its neck after it had me in its jaws," replies a third voice.

"And we got ourselves all bandaged up before we came back. People were givin' us funny looks," says yet another person.

"Haha, I don't doubt it!" Cap'n claps her hands once and bellows, "ALRIGHT THEN! You have proven your worth to your rank leader! How does that make you feel?"

I hear a lot of gigglin' before one of them has the bright idea to start howlin'. Then the others join in with her. A loud, drawn out, proud howl that even the folks in town must've heard. The traditional battle cry of the Sixth.

So these must've been some new girls, huh? Ihihi, that takes me back.

Cap'n dismisses them and makes to leave as well before I call out, "Yer just gonna run off after spendin' a few heated moments of passion in my arms like that? How cold, Cap'n~" She's takin' her sweet time makin' up her mind, before she laughs it off. I think she was just tryin' to make me sweat it out.

"Ohhh... Very well! A deal is a deal after all." Cap'n hoists me over her shoulder, and my head inadvertently buries itself in her neck. No, really, no conscious control at all here~.

"And don't forget to grab my butt on the way back," I remind her.

"Yes, yes.."

Ah, one other thing I almost forgot. "And Cap'n?"


"What kinda underwear ya got on right now?"

To the victor, the spoils.