Misaka Mikoto pulled the rim of her baseball cap down over her eyes as she came to the end of the dark alley that she’d just dropped into. At the end, she hadn’t seen anyone passing. As she poked her head out, she could tell why. The entire street was deserted.
She had thought earlier that they’d evacuate the facility… But now, it was starting to look as though they may have actually evacuated the entire area. But why? She’d been careful to keep the damage from her previous attacks contained and easy to control, so why would they be assuming some special level of danger from her at this facility in particular?
She stepped out into the open, wearing a set of street clothes that she’d borrowed from Ruiko-chan. She walked down the empty street, hands in her pockets amongst her jingling arcade tokens, trying to look as inconspicuous as possible. Even though she’d been careful to destroy all of the security cameras in the area earlier that day, and she could sense that they hadn’t been replaced, she still couldn’t shake the feeling that she was being watched. It was probably just her being paranoid, but that alone wouldn’t be enough to shake the feeling from her mind.
Before her, just coming into view at the bottom of a small hill, was one of the last Academy City Research Facilities on her list. And inside of that facility, horrific experiments had been taking place. Experiments she had a very personal interest in.
They had shut down the facility’s communications lines the second that they realized how she’d destroyed the first several facilities… By hacking them from a distance and destroying them from within. They were forcing her to attack in person. So be it.
The door would be locked, which was a complete joke. But with nobody there to deal with, the facility would be easy pickings for her.
From her perch on the roof of a certain Academy City research facility, Lina Inverse had a clear view of the surrounding area. She could see down the streets, and across the rooftops of the neighboring buildings. A bird’s eye view of every possible entrance to the facility was never more than a short walk away. And she’d been moving to each one, making her rounds non stop ever since she’d set up camp.
The pay was good. Good enough to warrant the level of boredom she’d been enduring for the last three hours, at least. She and her friends had all taken on temporary jobs the second they’d arrived at the gates of this strange, technologically advanced city, and without thinking, she’d picked the highest paying job they could find. She hadn’t bothered memorizing the jobs that Gourry and Zelgadis had signed on for… Something involving mining, was all she could recall… And Amelia was working on the maid staff of a nearby hotel. Sure, their jobs sounded tedious, but she couldn’t even imagine comparing them to the job she’d taken. All she had to do was spend 24 hours on the roof of a deserted building, prepared to defend it in case a certain intruder happened to come along. She’d get three meals delivered to her, but aside from that, they weren’t allowing her any breaks. The insulting part was when they mentioned that this intruder was a suspicious looking teenage girl, who’s powers were comparable to Lina’s.
And that was why they’d evacuated the entire damn neighborhood.
“It’s like they don’t trust me,” she complained, to the open air. After hearing a description of Lina’s powers from Amelia, her employer had gone pale, and started mumbling about collateral damage. After that, he’d told her five straight times that whatever she had to do, she was not to let the facility get damaged. This precious facility, which was somehow more important than the buildings surrounding it.
“I’m starting to wish this nuisance would just show up already.” Exhaling heavily, she stood up, leaving her post at the northern edge of the building. She moved over to the southern side, picking up her mirror and the last apple from her breakfast off of a ventilation outlet as she did. Right over the side would be the loading docks. She couldn’t see them directly from where she was, but by levitating the mirror, she’d be able to see if anything was going on down there.
She didn’t even need the mirror, however, to see a young woman strolling down the street, carefully looking down every alley she passed. It was definitely suspicious behavior… But even with the baggy clothes and carefully positioned hat, she only looked to be about 13 or 14 years old. Could she really be the intruder, or just some uninformed civilian? She was just a kid.
Hesitantly, Lina drew black magic energy into her hands. “The least I can do is give her a warning shot.”
She held out her hands in front of her, as the energy took form. “Fireball!”
As the energy in the air started to drastically change, Misaka looked up, just in time to see a ball of fire the size of a basketball flying towards her head. Yelping in surprise, she dodged to the side, rolling to her hands and knees as it flew past her, sending small chunks of pavement into the air as it hit the ground.
Getting to her feet, she looked up, to see a red-haired girl in a red and yellow outfit staring down at her. “What was that?!” How had she not been expecting them to hire security? Could this be another level 5 that she’d have to deal with? No… There were only six besides herself, and she knew their faces. This one couldn’t be that good.
Since her attacker didn’t seem to be making a move, and was just watching her, Misaka pulled a token out of her pocket. “Sorry, it’s nothing personal. But I don’t have time for this.” She flipped the coin into the air, and pulled back her arm, tucking her thumb behind her index finger. She gathered some electric energy into her hand, and when the coin came back down, she let loose, flicking it again to fire her Railgun attack.
“Diem Wing!” Lina yelled, as a shield of swirling wind appeared before her. Whatever the girl had fired at her bounced off of the shield, sparking as it clattered to a stop on the stone ground behind her. A… Coin? She wondered, as she looked back down to her foe, to see that this time, a bolt of lightning was flying at her.
“Flare Arrow!” She called, flinging a bolt of flame at the attack. The two bolts collided, canceling each other out in a small, flashy explosion. Below her, the girl was already disappearing against the loading doors. “Yep, it’s her all right,” Lina commented, as she held up her mirror.
Misaka flattened herself against the loading doors, looking right and left for some sort of electronic lock. Something she could override, so that she could get inside and away from this pyrokinetic psychopath.
She could faintly hear the voice of the other girl, but before she could figure out what she was saying, a small white circle appeared in the concrete in front of her. It quickly exploded, hurling chunks of dirt and concrete at her, and sending a cloud of dust and smoke into the air. She coughed, covering her mouth and closing her eyes, while feeling the pain of her body being pelted with several small pieces of concrete.
“Fireball!” Lina cried, as she touched down on the ground, aiming another fireball at the intruder.
Taking advantage of the iron particles that she knew would be in there, Misaka quickly summoned all of the dislocated concrete chunks in front of her, forming a shield just in time to stop the fireball. The shield shook, but held.
Lina sent another fireball, but the shield moved to counter it, causing it to crack. “Explosion!” She called, now that she was able to see the ground at her opponents’ feet. But as soon as she heard the spell’s name called out, Misaka bolted, just barely escaping the explosion in time.
“Explosion!” Lina called, this time striking in front of Misaka. Turning on a dime, Misaka changed direction to avoid it, putting her right where Lina wanted her… Out in the open.
“I don’t know what they told you,” Misaka started, as she magnetized the iron in the debris, and called the pieces of concrete to break apart and form the shape of a sword in her hand. All of the dirt that had been blasted up with it joined the structure, and went to work on sharpening it. “But this facility needs to come down. I’m not in the mood for this, so just leave me alone!”
Seeing this, Lina just smirked. So she wanted a sword fight, huh? “Lord of darkness of the four worlds, I call upon you. Grant me all of the power that you possess. Sword of the dark cold void, free yourself from the heaven’s bonds. Become one with my power, one with my body… And let us walk the path of destruction together. Power that can smash even the souls of the gods.”
The curiosity on Misaka’s face quickly faded to tension as an ominous, pulsating black blade appeared in Lina’s hands. She hadn’t just been reciting a poem. “Ragna Blade!” She called, as she raised it over her head, and charged at Misaka.
Shaking, Misaka could feel the way the Ragna Blade was cutting through even the smallest particles of the air itself. She abandoned her iron debris sword, and ducked down, the Blade just barely missing her. She could feel the heat off of it, as it missed her head by far too small of a margin. Before Lina could turn around for another strike, Misaka stood back up, spun around, and nailed a roundhouse kick across the older girl’s kidneys.
The kick sent Lina tumbling face-first into the parking lot floor, breaking her concentration, and forcing her to release control of the Ragna Blade. She rolled over onto her back, just in time to see Misaka pulling a long spear of lightning out of her forehead. “Diem Wing!” She quickly called, her wind shield blocking the bolt from hitting her. Sensing another attack in the works, she quickly shot the wind shield outwards, ramming it directly into Misaka’s body. The younger girl screamed, as she was knocked back several yards through the air.
Lina got to her feet, looking forward to see Misaka hitting the ground, and rolling right back up to her feet as well. “Flare arrow!” She pantomimed a bow and arrow in her hands, causing a red, flaming arrow to appear in the center of it, and fired. Misaka jumped out of the way, but instead of rolling to the side, where Lina’s next arrow was about to go, she landed on the wall of the facility, and then just stuck there.
“What?!” Lina exclaimed, wondering how in the hell she was doing it. She formed the bow again, anyway. “F… Freeze arrow!”
Misaka dropped down from the wall, and took off running even before the ice could form over where she’d just been. She disappeared behind the side of the building.
As soon as she was out of Lina’s view, Misaka ran right up the wall, and crossed over onto the roof of the facility. Careful to walk slowly, she knew better than to look for a way in at this point. It wouldn’t be a good idea to face this girl in closed quarters… Who knew what she’d try to do to take her down?
Looking around desperately for some sort of strategy, she finally noticed some telephone lines behind the facility. And off in the distance, she could see that they led to an intersection, with another row of phone lines going down the street directly behind Lina.
She chuckled, deviously. Just because communications at the facility were down didn’t mean the phone lines themselves would be.
A sudden explosion caught Lina’s attention. She whipped around, expecting to see Misaka, but only seeing a bunch of broken power lines, and at least two of the poles supporting them on fire. Had the other girl just been over there?
She stared at it for a moment, until she suddenly felt a pair of arms wrap themselves around her neck from behind. The thought that it could be one of her friends went through her mind fleetingly, but that hope was dashed when those arms locked together in a tight, perfectly executed sleeper hold.
She reached up to try and pry the arm away from her neck with her hand, but that soon became the least of her worries, as Misaka let loose her full electrical charge into Lina’s body. She whimpered, unable to scream as her body was electrocuted, her left leg futilely reaching back to try and hook one of Misaka’s feet.
“Light…” She choked, raising her hands up to her forehead and closing her eyes, “come forth!”
A flash of brilliant white light appeared right in front of Misaka’s face, blinding her. She let go of Lina, screaming, as Lina stumbled forward, rubbing her neck and trying to catch her breath. “Why… you little…”
She turned around, jumped in the air, and used a diving kick, striking the blinded and confused girl right in the chest. It knocked her over, and she scrambled to get back up, still looking around in every direction. Sensing where Lina was, she sent another current of electricity.
The electric shock attack traveled up Lina’s legs, and through her entire body… And while it hurt, it wasn’t anything compared to what her sister had put her through. It was time to end this. She put up her hands, not feeling the slightest bit of remorse for this brat. Beyond her was an empty parking lot, which would have to take the brunt of her attack.
“Darkness beyond twilight. Crimson beyond blood that flows. Buried in the sands of time is where your power grows. I pledge myself to conquer all the foes who stand, before the mighty gift bestowed in my unworthy hand. Let the fools who stand before me be destroyed, by the power you and I possess!”
Goose bumps spread over Misaka’s arms, as she suddenly wished her vision could be coming back faster. She was starting to see, but it was still blurry… And she could tell from the energy Lina’s attack was sucking out of the air that her iron shields wouldn’t save her this time.
Out of time, Misaka did the only thing she could think to do… She magnetized herself as strongly as possible to a metal surface she could feel in the distance, and let the pull yank her off of her feet, the attack from the older girl just barely missing her.
She flew through the air, her vision finally coming back to her, until she landed hard against the side of a parked bus. The bus rocked from the impact, and several windows broke, as Misaka could almost feel a few of her ribs cracking. She lost concentration of her magnetic field, and tumbled to the pavement, the pain in her back almost unbearable. She opened her eyes, and crawled forward, wincing in pain from every motion. She reached a shiny metal sign post, and used it to slowly pull herself up.
“Mega brand!” Lina called, as the ground under Misaka’s feet exploded once again, but this time with more force than her earlier explosion attacks. Dust, dirt and asphalt flew into the air, the bus was knocked over onto it’s side, and this time, Misaka was also caught in the blast. She flew up about eight feet into the air, and hit the ground like a rag doll, one of her legs covered in blood. Most of the street sign she’d clung to just a moment ago clattered next to her, ripped right out of the ground.
Lina watched proudly as Misaka struggled to get back to her feet, ever resilient even at the end. Lina could almost respect her for that, but it was time to get rid of this nuisance once and for all.
“Shadow Snare!” She called, throwing her dagger past Misaka and into her shadow, and then smirked at the bewilderment on the ounger girl's face as she realized she was frozen solid. Behind her, there was nothing worth protecting. She could accept her fee, without too much collateral damage being deducted. But being paid wouldn’t be nearly as satisfying as finishing off the little girl who’d been giving her so much trouble. She couldn’t afford to waste any more time. As she prepared to use blast ash, she holds her hands in front of her, and begins to concentrate.
Seeing this, Misaka started to panic, knowing full well what kind of wanton destruction her opponent was capable of. With only a moment to spare, she a thought crossed her mind... Yes, it might work! Her body was frozen, but her mind wasn't, and neither was her electricity!
“Blast-” Before Lina could finish calling her attack, the very dagger she'd thrown before flew at her, and embedded itself in her shoulder! Her concentration broken, the spell dissipated in her hands, and she screamed from the blindingly intense pain!
Taking advantage of this distraction, Misaka placed her hands flat on the ground, and magnetized the iron particles in the dirt around her… As well as in all the debris from the Mega Brand attack. A sudden cloud of dirt and dust burst up from the ground, surrounding her, like a sandstorm inside of a tornado.
Abandoning her attempts to heal herself, Lina threw her arms up in front of her face, trying to block the iron-rich debris from harming her. If she opened her eyes, it would blind her. If she opened her mouth, it would suffocate her. She had to do something...
Misaka blinked the sweat out of her eyes, trying desperately to figure out a way to capitalize on this new advantage. With her legs injured, there was no way she could get away fast enough. Which only left one option... Kill or be killed. She looked around, and eyed a certain object on the ground. It was the sign post… The very one she’d clung to when the ground had exploded beneath her. The sign was missing… Both ends were sharp and jagged… It was perfect. She magnetized it, and summoned it to her waiting hand.
She levitated it in front of her, and immediately relinquished control of the sand in the air. It wasn't going to fall out of the air all at once, but all she needed it to do was disperse a little bit... Just a little bit more... Finally, the storm had died down enough that she could see her scarlet clad foe still struggling to breathe. Without wasting another moment, Misaka concentrated all remaining electricity in her arm, screamed with all of her fury, and punched one end of the post.
Lina could tell the dust and debris around her was letting up. She didn't know why, but it didn't matter... Soon she would be able to open her eyes, and use Burst Flare to get rid of whatever was left of it, buying herself at least enough time to heal. She finally opened her eyes, ready to enact this plan... When she caught sight of a streak of silver shooting towards her. The jagged metal sign post, fired by Misaka’s Railgun attack, shot right through Lina’s chest, bursting through her back, sending fragments of blood and bone splashing behind her. She flew back a few yards from the impact, and hit the ground, where she lay motionless. Misaka breathed a sigh of relief as Lina’s lifeless body came into view behind the dying storm, a pool of blood spreading from under it.
With no fight left in her, Misaka collapsed to the ground, and just lied there, waiting for anybody... Be it Kuroko, Touma, or even the damn cops... To come pick her up.