The trio strode down the cobblestone streets of No-Mans Landing, eyes alert for any sign of the mysterious Warfalcon. Vytanni glanced around at the fog-hazed town, a deep pang of grief and sympathy for her fellow Aethasians aching in her heart.
"Where exactly did you say you spotted Mr. Throttlequill?" She asked the Twins, pulling her eyes away from the empty streets.
Ilayne and Scarlett unrolled the map, tapping a circled area on it's surface.
"On a bridge near the Urchin's Grotto. He didn't see us... but when we tried to follow, he disappeared."
"Then we got held up by a Automaton patrol." Ilayne added, scowling at the ground.
The masked scientist gave the Twins a kind smile. A harsh click sounded from behind the mismatched twins, and Vytanni's expression darkened.
"Speaking of pesky patrols..." She muttered, pointedly glancing behind the two.
The twins turned around in unison. Behind them stood a Bombardier and two Troubleshooters, each one brandishing a gleaming cannon arm.
"This area is under lockdown, no admittance without proper authorization." One of the Troubleshooters warned, his voice a grating monotone.
Vytanni winced, glad for the hundredth time that the Scarlet Man had created her Aethermatron Guardian with a NORMAL voice. She straightened to her full height and glared at the Patrol.
"I suggest that you grant us passage... Immediately."
The Bombardier fizzled, rolling back a wheel-turn. The troubleshooter showed a bit of surprise at the command, his difference engine unable to compute her authoritive demands.
"Please supply permit." He replied.
Vytanni gave a sly glance over to the Twins, her grey eye sparkling dangerously. The girls each gave matching smirks, pulling out their respective weapons. In one sweep the three plowed into the Automatons.
"ДЛЯ СОПРОТИВЛЕНИЯ!!" Vytanni yelled, the tesla-hammer sparking in her hand.
The masked scientist slammed the electrified end into the Bombardier's front, sending a pulse of unbridled electricity into it's frame. The Twins ganged up on the Troubleshooters, using pistols and a hammer in a weaving pattern. One would slam a hammer into the optics, the other would shoot at their Fog-furnaces. Vytanni dodged a charge from the Bombardier, slipping her hammer onto her back to give it a moment to charge. The wagon-like Automaton turned around, its boiler spluttering. The scientist unslung her rifle and aimed at the Bombardier's Fog-furnace, using her Infrared Lens to target the weakest point.
Vytanni grimaced as the shot sped off target, bouncing off the bricks in the alleyway behind them. The Bombardier rumbled again and charged, this time scoring a hit.
"VY!" The Twins yelled in unison.
The hard metal slammed into the scientist, knocking her to the ground. She held herself up with her metal arm, gasping to bring air back into her lungs. She shakily stood to her feet, her masked face set in a deadly glare.
"So... you want to play that way?" She asked dangerously.
Vytanni unhooked a orb from her belt, filling it with the catalyst contained on her shoulder. She narrowed her eyes at the Automaton.
The masked scientist hurled the science grenade straight into the Bombardier's furnace. The glass orb hit the metal grille, shattered and exploded, rendering the automaton useless. Vytanni dusted her hands off over the remains of the smoking Bombardier, a satisfied smirk on her face.
"And that is why you should have let us pass."
The twins finished off the two Troubleshooters with a double-shot to the furnaces. The girls sheathed their weapons, a mischievous grin played over Ilayne's face.
"That was fun! are there any more?" She asked, her eyes sparking with battle fire.
Vytanni laughed, placing a hand on the white-haired twin's shoulder.
"Maybe soon my friend. Now I'm curious as to why they had the Grotto in lockdown..."
They threw the useless Automaton shells into an abandoned alleyway and continued into the Grotto. Upon entering, the small group came to a stunned halt. Vytanni looked around in horror at the trashed hovel, granted the Grotto usually was cluttered and a bit junky, but this was different.
Shattered, broken, and demolished Automaton remains lay scattered all over the ground, their gears and inner mechanisms laying hap-hazard and still burning all over the dirty cobblestones. The mismatched twins exchanged a look of disbelief and fear, shying away from the ruins and hurrying towards the center of the Grotto. Vytanni took a step forward, and felt something under her boot. A long metal cord wound under her foot, the melted strand finally ending in a pile of burning metal. The scientist's eyes widened.
Vytanni's breathing quickened as she snatched her foot away from the useless whip, her heart hammering in her chest. Her right arm began to hurt, just at the elbow where metal met flesh. Her mind blurred. She could still feel the electric burn as the whip coiled around her arm...
"Vytanni? Hey Vy you ok?" Scarlett asked, concern sparking in her emerald irises.
The masked scientist shook her head to clear her mind of the haunting memories.
I'm not there anymore.... The Scarlet Man rescued me.
She got control of her breathing and forced a smile.
"I'm fine Little Lettie." She assured Scarlett... and herself "Are any of the Urchins hurt?"
Ilayne pointed to the center of the Grotto, where a group of children were clustered around a very familiar robot.
"They seem to be ok, but they are a bit shaken up. Etlo is trying to cheer them up with Puffsickle."
Vytanni gave a small smile, moving toward the center of the Hovel. Etlo was sitting cross-legged in the heart of the standing children, still a head taller than them. He was staring down at his cupped hands, in which rested a Snowmoorian Scorpion.
"He likes to eat bugs, and flowers.... and he shows his affection by pinching me." He informed the Urchins.
The Aethermatron stroked a metal finger over his prized pet, receiving a small nip with the claws of the creature. The Urchins all looked on in awe, to them he could have been a tamer of dragons. Etlo looked up at the girls and smiled, he slid Puffsickle into a compartment on his side and stood.
"Puffy has to sleep... go on to your homes, the 'Tons are gone now." He said.
The Urchins ran into their hovels, muttering about the Scorpion to each other. Vytanni watched them leave, a sad and remembering expression on her face.
So many children... homeless.
She turned back to Etlo with a serious expression.
"What happened here?"
The Aethermatrons head-fin lowered a degree, he crossed his arms.
"From what they said... a guy named Fal came in here, got chased by some Automatons led by Oddcraft, Smash-N-bashed all of them to smithereens, and then left soon after."
Vytanni tapped her chin, pacing along the front of a hovel made of salvaged metal and half-rotted wood.
Fal.... falcon? Like WARfalcon? Hmmmm....
She stopped pacing and turned back around to face the Aethermatron.
"Did they see where he went?"
Etlo shook his head, his fin drooping even more.
"No... They didn't."
Vytanni let out a frustrated breath, lifting her head.
"Well, looks like it's time to talk to General Jacoby."
ДЛЯ СОПРОТИВЛЕНИЯ!= (Rough Russian translation) FOR THE RESISTANCE!!!