Patorn Shout-out to Luke1132. Read 50 chapters ahead @
Patre on.com/fanharem from the very first tier itself!
*Klink* A soft metallic strike echoed in the abandoned storage facility three miles east from the city's center. While the roads were well-maintained, the same couldn't be said about the facility with a giant hole on the roof, leaving a vacant space for the moonlight to shine through and brighten the spacious interior. The storages were empty with a white cloth covering the remaining furniture caked with dust and other particles. *Thud* A firm kick to the metal door broke open the rusty locks, letting a man in a fitting grey t-shirt and khaki pants walk into the facility alongside a frail youth, the young man's eyes still revealing his dabbling of drugs and other medications. "We're here, kid," Steve whispered, allowing the youth to breathe a sigh of relief. "Thank you, really."
"No need to thank me," Steve pushed a metal bar through the locks, securing the gate once again before glancing at the giant hole in the roof and grunting in annoyance, "Looks like a bus crashed in here," his comment was met with a nod from the young boy. "It did. I still remember the footage when Hulk threw the bus in which the elite squad came in. In fact, most of the surroundings were ruined in that chase," He explained. "Hulk?" Steve furrowed, "And would that be the same brute painted in green and anger issues belonging to the worst of men?" Steve inquired.
"That's the guy," the youth patted the covers, raising a cloud of dust that made the two cough simultaneously. Instantly, a sharp object glared through the moonlight and whistled towards the young boy's neck. The attack was silent, deadly, and ruthless. The boy wasn't supposed to survive the attack as the blade punctured through his ear, leaving a deep cut. Not only surprising the boy in anguish as his ear bled and his throat grunted in pain while Steve held the boy's shoulder and pulled him back. The attack wasn't even registered by Steve, turning his expression severe as a figure jumped down from the ridges on the left. White cloak waving in the air, revealing a man in a skull's mask, his muscular body covered with a black bodysuit and white gloves/boots. A tactical belt hugging his waist and a reinforced sword in his hand. Instead of the sword, the Captain looked at the gun holstered on the new arrival's waist as the ghostly figure whispered, "Worry not, Captain. It was hard to break through your tracks but I've found you. The cartel has lost its motive of killing the boy," the figure pointed the tip of his sword towards the hunched youth. "but I'll still stab him. If you can, save him. We'll go old style." He waved his sword.
"Sir," the boy shivered, expressing his concerns to Steve, "He's called the Taskmaster! A master assassin that actually impressed all the cartels and has maintained his neutral stance despite his actions of killing most ruthless of gang members. He's called the White Ghost of Night by my father."
"A welcoming title. But how did you deflect my knife, Captain?" Before Steve could deny, the Taskmaster spoke up, "Don't tell me yet! I'll find out for myself. Skills learned in battles are more fulfilling."
As the Taskmaster slowly made his way towards the Captain, holding his sword with a tight grip, Nik and Ava lay on the roof, watching everything while keeping themself from being seen. "What kind of name is Taskmaster?" Nik inquired, "And boy! A sword? He has a gun, right?" His humor wasn't well-received by the ever serious Ava. "We can't screw this up, Nik. This time, it's two lives on the line."
"Surely Captain can save himself, right? He's the supersoldier, after all," Nik mumbled as Ava inquired, "It was you, right? The one who deflected the knife?"
"Am I getting a hero's reward?" Nik nudged Ava slightly, making her crawl a little away while glaring daggers at Nik, "You are dating Anna 'and' sleeping with her Mary," She emphasized, "Don't you feel greedy enough?"
"Really?" Nik inquired, "We spent almost an entire day together, and during the mission, you ask this?" Waving his hand, Nik caused the young boy named Martinez to fall on the ground as if he tripped himself while the sword that the Taskmaster threw at him struck against the pillar. Annoyed, Taskmaster and Steve engaged in a hand-to-hand combat. "Ugh..." Ava's defense came to stop when she glanced towards Steve Rogers getting the beatdown of his life by the bulky-looking Taskmaster. The man had already pulled down his cape, leaving a white hoody over his head. "Oh?" Nik looked down, a little surprised himself as he found the skull-masked man named Taskmaster showing off a set of mixed martial arts that comprised of... well, most of the fighting styles.
The sound of Steve's body being used as a punching sac echoed through the empty space as a kick right onto the chin sent the blonde man back to the ground, crumbling in a cloud of dust. "Please!" Martinez looked at Taskmaster, pleading for his life, "I have left that place. Everybody knows that I have lost my right to inheritance now. Just leave us be. I- I'll even pay you with my remaining funds!" His words were met by a cold chuckle as Taskmaster walked past the begging youth who still remained on his butt and walked past him, bending to pick his sword as Steve's weak groan echoed. His body already losing the pain and making him sit up. It was at this moment, a rather sizeable rock fell on Steve's head, making his vision swim and fall back on the floor once again.
"It's remarkable that a rock that size didn't cave that guy's skull, eh?" A voice interrupted the scene, making Taskmaster turn his body towards the entrance snappily. "When did he get there?" Ava, meanwhile, held her breath. In just a single blink, Nik disappeared from her gaze and reappeared behind Taskmaster. While it was the first time Ava had seen this man in action, she had heard rumors and now, the man posed a threat even deadlier than her previous estimate when seeing him upfront. "Who the hell are you?" The man with a sword grunted, choosing to sheathe the blade and free a handgun, pointing towards Nik with the trigger already pulled.
Without looking, the Taskmaster turned and made his way towards Martinez, "It wasn't about you, it was about Captain America, the real one, opposing me and succeeding in saving your life"
"Hey, bonehead!" Nik shouted, playing with the bullet in his hand, "Wait a minute, you 'are' a bonehead!" grinning, Nik continued, "Talk about being the 'd.i.c.k' of all jokes."
Stopping in his tracks, the Taskmaster turned back as Nik let the bullet fall on the ground before making his way towards the assassin. "Believe me, I really just want to check something," Nik raised his hand in surrender before asking, "How does your ability work? Do you practice stuff at least once or you memorize it while watching the first time. If that's the case, your body is genuinely an interesting make of nature," his words making the Taskmaster point his gun towards Nik and shooting in a flurry once again. This time, both Ava and Taskmaster watched the bullets simply impact against an invisible wall but instead of crushing themselves, the bullet stayed still.
"This is something new," Nik smiled, "Instead of reducing the gap, I just increased it by kilometers so that the momentum of the bullets are used up. Pretty neat, right?" Nik inquired with a chuckle as the bullets fell once again. "Just leave, man. I really don't want to catch you. Wait..." Nik suddenly muttered and disappeared from Taskmaster's vision before reappearing in front of him, grabbing the man's had harshly and letting his senses invade Taskmaster's body. But before Nik could accomplish his goals, his 'clothes' spoke up. "Let me do it!" Pickle cheered, a part of her instantly entering Taskmaster as she learned all there was the need to, and with Nik's connection, she also had the same ability Psychic Aptitude: S-.
Returning within moments, Pickle spoke again, "Nik, do you want me to bring the same changes to your body?" She inquired, eager to contribute whatever she can as Nik thought for a moment. A little unsure. "First get the simulation prepared by Lola. I'll look into changes before deciding anything." With his words dousing a bit of Pickle's excitement, Nik let go of Taskmaster's head, his sword now bent out of shape in the effort to cut Nik apart but for naught. "Still want to compete with Captain?"
"What are you called?" Taskmaster inquired somberly.
"The thing that any lover in an affair would do." Stretching his hands, Nik smiled, "Vanish. Bonehead, let's hope you don't get to see me again. After all, it's not like I will always feel so generous. Hey, maybe we can hang out without our masks instead. That way, we don't need to fight," Nik invited, making Ava roll her eyes as she spoke into her earpiece, "Just rescue Captain and Martinez kid. Invite ruthless assassins into your personal time."
If it wasn't for the fact that her appearance would definitely cause Steve to realize her connection with the S.H.I.E.L.D, she would have jumped down but this wasn't that mission. Her priority was to keep Martinez safe, still, keep the Captain in the dark about Shield's involvement, and finally, stop Nik from setting dates with a criminal.
"I am Taskmaster and then next you'll hear from me will be your last." Hissing and somersaulting backward, the man picked his cape and ran away from the other exit which was already connected with explosives. Smiling, Nik simply shifted the bombs to the roof, now intact, and gazed at Martinez, "Good going, man. Drugs don't help anyone. But... if you want the safest reform center, you should just spill the beans to the government and request assistance in return." Saying his peace, Nik waved at the kid with a wide smile and vanished, now appearing on the rooftop as Ava stood up in practice, now a little experienced with Nik's antics.
"What you did was reckless!" She grabbed the explosives as Nik hurriedly covered them with a veil of spatial compressor just in case. "Relax, I got this," shrugging, Nik offered, "So, do you want to enjoy the same services that Cindy does?" His inquiry pulling a deep frown from Ava as she whispered, "Are you two already...? Cindy doesn't mind Anna and"
"I meant my powers, kitty," Nik extended his hand, "You can either claw at it," Nik noted as Ava really didn't like being called a kitty and continued, "or you can feel your horizons broadening."
Still a little suspicious, she extended her hand while Nik gave one last look towards the Captain, who was now waking up after numerous slaps from Martinez. Nik also checked on bonehead one last time and finding him escaped from the area, he shifted Ava alongside him, right into her room as she suddenly gasped for breath and weakly fell on her knees, still keeping a hold of Nik's hand while heaving loudly. Taking off her mask from the other hand and letting her hair fall out from the ponytail once again, Ava took full and deep breaths greedily. Her reaction being quite different from Cindy and even Anna. "That... was," panting, Ava looked up, her gaze glittered, "Amazing!" She concluded.
"I'm glad," Nik smiled, "Do you want a glass of water?"
"No, just give me a minute to calm down," Ava shook her head before letting go of Nik's hand and smiling widely, "Alright, now 'that', we're doing often!" She nodded to herself.
"So... you are a magician?" Now laid amongst surgical equipments and strangely horrific books and items that deeply spoke to the cultists of the world, Felicia smiled at the bald man with a rather ancient outfit. She had a patient's gown on her body and her waist tied to the chair. "A sorcerer, yes," the man nodded, "I can feel your distrust of my statement but I assure you. After today's enchantment, you will believe in concept other than modern science."
"Wealth is older than science so that counts, right?" She inquired in good humor as the old sorcerer smiled. Revealing a set of rotten teeth as his fists blazed in fiery golden patterns that finally caused Felicia's eyes to almost pop out. "You are called Black Cat, right? I have been wanting to research the illusionary concept of destiny. You'll be my star result, I assure you. If this magic succeeds, you'll have no need to fear any entity under the sky."
With a wave of dizziness washing over her Felicia soon fell unconscious as the man began chanting words of a language unknown to mankind, causing a dark grey portal to slowly enlarge above Felicia's body as a broken chain emerged and pierced into the woman's body. The chain wasn't connected to the portal or Felicia but under the man's chants, the chain soon melted into Felicia, revealing her body and clothes intact.
Meanwhile, through the other side of the one-sided glass, a large... humongous man sat with a glass of wine in his hand. His body covered by custom made white suit, his head bald and his eyes menacing. "What do you know... Magic exists. If Felicia is a success, I want you to recruit her and not like those girls," the terrifying man uttered, causing a Purple-skinned middle-aged man to walk forward and smile wryly, "I tried to control her and failed. For a thief, she has a will stronger than a few superheroes I have encountered in my life."
"Then leave. Make yourself useful somewhere else." The man commanded.
"Yes, Kingpin," The purple-man nodded and stepped out of the door. His expression dismayed.
The moment Purple-man stepped out, he thought for a moment before smiling mischievously. Instead of complying with his boss and making himself useful, Purple-man walked towards his hotel and found a group of girls dressed in scandalous clothes, waiting for him. All of them holding a dazed expression until he returned. Just seeing so many 'talents' better than a few known models standing in a straight line livened the disgruntled man up. "I love manipulation!" Grinning, he spread his arms as two girls instantly took care of taking his clothes off.
"Abu Jaba Kura Mura"
As Kiara chanted whatever she wanted to with Brandon's picture pasted to the head of a teddy bear, Gwen looked at her smartphone. She just got off the phone with Anna and only now did she find out that Nik was on a trip to San Francisco. Well, now Gwen really wanted to hang out with the duo, despite the slight trace of awkwardness the blonde still held. But as Kiara spoke the last of her chants, for a brief moment, Gwen's gaze grew dull but what came next was a storm in her life.
That was the day she decided to make Kiara cut off her ties with her need to curse anything stupidly or break things off with her. Fortunately, Gwen's friendsh.i.p.s won... but the price was too strange to be valued.