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Chapter 16Edit

Full Moon Bay, The Night After The Faceless One's EscapeEdit

Marrow rolled out from under his project as Sylvie called his name, "Yes?" She smiled down at him, "Still working on this?" She ran a hand over it, "You know it's not very traditional. Most Bone-Mongers would never think of this, never consider it as a possibility for even an instant." Marrow smiled and lifted himself to his feet, wrench in hand, "True my love, but then again, I have never been what most would call the average Bone-Monger."

She smiled and leaned in for a quick kiss, "You certainly aren't. Come see me after you've had a bath." He smiled as she turned and trailed her fingers along his jaw, "Before the bath, I have something for you." She paused, "Really? What is it?" Marrow smiled and raised a finger, "Hang on just a second. I'll go get it." He laid back down on the rolling plank he used to maneuver about under his project and disappeared under it for a moment before rolling back out.

He grinned as he stood. Sylvie looked at it, "What is it?" It looked like nothing more than a near shoulder length glove made of some kind of thick material that suspiciously resembled the coating on the wires sticking out in random places from Marrow's project. She looked closer and saw that the back of the hand had some kind of circular light on it with wires running around it. Marrow smiled and showed her that he had an armored version of the glove on his own hand, "Watch." He held his hand away from him and curled his fingers slightly. Sylvie gasped, "You've got lightning in your hand!"

Marrow smiled, "Yes, and now, you do too." Sylvie hurriedly slipped on the glove and her smile lit up as lightning crackled between her fingers.

Two Days Later, Ba Seng Se, Hiroshi Sato's LabEdit

Asami wrapped her arms around her father and kissed him on the cheek, "Hi Daddy. Whatcha doing?" Hiroshi smiled although he didn't take his gaze off the report on his desk, "I'm wishing I could pick that damn Bone-Monger's brains to find out how he made my electroshock weapons work." Asami straightened up a little, she had of course heard that Marrow had suddenly developed supernatural powers and was now calling down lightning from the sky to smite those sent against them, but she hadn't given the rumors any credit until now.

"What?" She asked in confusion. Hiroshi picked up a metal gauntlet, "I've been working on a way to electrify weapons and armor so that we could stand a fighting chance against the Death Bringers outside our mechs. I can't figure out how to safely rig a power source to metal body-armor and then electrify the surface without cooking anyone inside." He brandished a bandaged hand, "I haven't been having much luck."

"And now," he sighed, "Not only has Marrow apparently gotten his hands on the plans for the electroshock armor I was going to pitch to the Generals for the Mechs tomorrow, he's weaponized it in ways I can barely fathom and now he's using it against us." He sighed, "And if he's found a way to electrify armor and avoid frying himself with the electricity, then the electroshock armor will be utterly useless against him."

He put his head in his hands, "I feel like he's always one step ahead of us. It's almost like he's looking over my shoulder as I work and coming up for countermeasures as I go about it. Almost like someone's on the inside feeding him information." Asami put a hand on his shoulder, "Daddy, when's the last time you slept? You're getting paranoid." Hiroshi smiled, "Ah, I think I got a good night's sleep two weeks ago, right after I came up with the electroshock stuff."

Asami nodded and pulled her father from his chair, "Alright, come on, you need to sleep before your big pitch tomorrow." "But, but my work!" Hiroshi protested, "I have to figure out how Marrow did it so we can do it too!" "I'll take a crack at it while you're asleep," Asami said reassuringly, "And I might even get Teo over here to help. You know how he loves to tinker." Hiroshi nodded as his heels skidded over the threshold to his lab, "All right. Maybe you'll have better luck. Maybe I'll have better luck too after getting some sleep."

Asami smiled, "Good. Now go home and get some rest before you fall asleep standing up." Her father strolled off and she ducked back into the lab, sitting down at the worktable and pulling the plans for the electroshock armor over to her, "Now how to do this..."

That Night, The Death Touch Stronghold on MelafEdit

Zhao paused and looked over his shoulder, certain he had heard something move. Seeing nothing, he shook his head and walked on. A few steps later, something tapped him on the shoulder. He spun, the light of the Death Touch flaring to life around his hand, only to see that not only was the courtyard deserted, there was nothing which might have moved. He began to sweat, wondering if he was being followed, knowing the consequences if he led a spy to his destination.

He didn't notice the shadowy figure up on the roof fighting to restrain a laugh. Zhao walked on and the shadowy figure suddenly turned black and disappeared. Zhao didn't notice the shadow shoot down the side of the building, across the courtyard and under his own shadow as though its owner had jumped and landed on Zhao's shadow. Zhao walked across the courtyard, down an alley around a corner and after looking around to make sure he wasn't being followed, he lifted the grate from atop a storm drain before climbing in and down the ladder within.

He pulled on his black hood as he landed in the shallow water in the bottom of the storm drain. He still didn't notice as the shadow hiding under his slid up the wall and began to slither along the ceiling behind him. He reached a shallow alcove in the side of the tunnel and knocked on a door made to look just like the rest of the tunnel. A tiny slit opened in the door and someone spoke inaudibly. Even the shadow couldn't understand what was being said from where it lay on ceiling. Zhao said something back and the slit slid closed, suddenly a door opened and Zhao entered. Before the door could close, the shadow slipped in behind him.

Several Hours LaterEdit

As those who had been inside the meeting room left in ones and twos, the shadow trembled with rage as it crouched beneath the large black iron brazier in the center of the room. It had listened in on the entire meeting and now, it was furious. It thought about following those present home, or maybe just leaping out and attacking them all on the spot. It had thought better of it though, it knew that even with all its power, it couldn't handle so many Death Touch at once in so confined a space.

When only the leader and Zhao were left, the shadow exerted its will and suddenly every light in the room went out. The leader and Zhao exclaimed in surprise and then the shadow rose above the brazier it had been hiding under and took a more solid form as the light of Zhao and the Leader's Death Touch lit the small round stone room, illuminating the horror that had just emerged in the middle of it.

The shadow being was so imposing it seemed nearly ten feet tall, the long dark hair billowing from beneath its hood like tendrils adding to the illusion. It's hands were spread to either side of it and its eyes burned with baleful purple light as it floated over the brazier, its features near indistinguishable beneath its billowing cape and deep hood, the dim purple light illuminating the room lending it an otherworldly horror.

It spoke in a voice that sounded like a dozen voices whispering and hissing at once, "By the authority of the Imperial Throne, you are hereby sentenced to death for high-treason." Before the leader or Zhao could react, a javelin of darkness appeared in its hand. To the leaders credit, he managed to fire a Death Bolt at the terrible shadow being. The shadow being disappeared before the Death Bolt could connect. The Leader and Zhao searched the room intently and then a shocked grunt of pain escaped the leader as a dark point burst through its chest, followed by nearly half the shadow being's javelin as the shadow being reappeared behind him.

Zhao ran as his leader fell, hurrying into the tunnel as fast as he could, seeing the shadow being its shadow javelin from his leader's back as he turned the corner. He ran down the tunnel and suddenly something lashed out and wrapped around his throat from behind. He struggled as it threatened to strangle him and lifted him off his feet, ferrying him back toward the shadow being who had emerged into the tunnel and was glaring right at him, the tendril of shadow holding him snaking out from its palm.

Zhao desperately tried to hurl a Death Bolt into the shadow being and got smashed into the walls and ceiling of the tunnel several times for his trouble as the shadow tendril dragged him ever closer until the shadow being had him by the throat. Zhao struggled and looked in horror at the being that had so easily killed his master, " you...want?"

The shadow being chuckled and it was the most terrifying sound Zhao had ever heard. If his heart could have stopped from pure fear, it would have as the shadow being continued, "I want you to tell all your little friends, that Eon is coming for them." Zhao nodded desperately, and then Eon pulled him very close, "If you tell them, you'll be one of the last to die. If you don't, you're next."

Full Moon BayEdit

Marrow nearly fell out of his seat in horror as he read Lefko's letter. He pointed to his second in command, "Long Feng, send word to our allies at once. Tell them the Faceless One has returned, be ready for anything. Send word to Omashu the fastest, Grandfather must be warned at once." Long Feng nodded and hurried from the room as Marrow sat back into his chair, face pale and almost shaking with fear for his family as Sylvie looked at him with horror, instantly recalling the story of the Faceless One.

Next Time: MysteriesEdit