Previously on Dirge & Dread: The girls learned Dread’s new friend is Flutter, Ballisea’s top enforcer. This week they try and take her down.
“Why’d you pick that one?” Flutter, the giant, pale, red-head asked Dread as they walked out of the shop where Dread chose her beast. “They had a ton of stronger options, like that bear with a scorpion soul,” she added. Dread found an out of the way alley to wait for Dirge and Glory. She looked at Flutter and shrugged.
“It was the only tiger they had,” she said. Flutter laughed and patted her on the shoulder. “The shrimp soul is pretty useless, but I’ll teach you how to use your tiger. Summoning your beast is an ability like your Shark Skin. You have to do it through the menus first until you learn what it feels like; eventually, you’ll be able to do it by feeling alone.” Dread smiled at the woman. She’d been extremely friendly and even won the tiger for her. Dread felt bad about leading Flutter into a trap, but she knew Ballisea needed to be stopped. Taking Flutter down would make that much easier.
[party: How close are you guys? -Dread] she asked in group chat. The response tickled inside her left ear canal; she felt, knew, and read the tiny text at the same time.
[party: Two blocks. -Glory]
[party: Hang back. Wait for a chance. -Dread] [party: She’s going to teach me something. -Dread] She gave them the message while she swiped through the translucent menu floating in front of her. She intentionally dragged out the act, but when she discovered how close they were she was eager to learn. She found the Summon Beast skill and activated it.
A full-grown white tiger with orange stripes leaped out of the yin-yang logo on her red shirt. It growled at Flutter and padded in front of Dread to stand between them, facing the giant red-head.
“Excellent. I never asked, what’s your spec?” Flutter asked. Without waiting for an answer she turned around to walk a distance away, then turned to face Dread again.
“Soul Survivor,” Dread said. Flutter grew a large smile on her face.
“Of course, I should’ve guessed,” she chuckled. “You still seem kind of new, so I’m gonna give you some tips. If it’s stuff you already know, tell me to move on, okay?” Flutter asked. Dread nodded.
[party: We’re here. -Dirge] The Whisper tickled Dread’s left ear.
“Soul Survivors draw power from their beast’s soul instead of using their beast as an attack animal. That shrimp soul in your tiger is useless, but it looks like it’s still the best choice for you,” Flutter said. She stood up straight, took a deep breath, and smiled at Dread. Her pale, porcelain skin became dry and jagged. A single golden scale appeared on her forehead first, but soon others formed around it. It seemed like a ripple of scales radiated out from that single one to cover her whole body.
“Your spec actually works better if the beast is inside you, sorry. Put it away,” the giant woman chuckled. “You should still practice summoning him, but we don’t need it right now.” Dread called up her menu, then dismissed her beast. The tiger disintegrated into a white swarm of nanos. The swarm flew back into her through the tiger on her shirt. Flutter nodded.
“Beastmasters get animal-based abilities, I’ve seen how strong your Tiger’s Roar is already. But, if you channel it through your tiger’s soul it gets twice as strong,” Flutter said. “Focus on your Tiger, it’s easier if he has a name.”
“Thunder,” Dread said, then she felt a feather touch in her ear.[party: What’s going on?” -Dirge]
[party: Stuff. Wait. -Dread] she responded quickly to give her attention back to Flutter.
“Thunder? Alright. Focus on Thunder, feel his presence in you. Accept his help when you do your Tiger’s Roar.” Flutter planted her feet in the dusty ground and spread her arms out wide as if she were waiting to give someone a death hug. “Move me.”
[party: Get ready. I have a free shot. -Dread] She let Dirge and Glory know, hoping they took up nearby positions.
[party: How accurate are you? -Glory] [party: With your sonic scream? -Glory] Dread smiled inwardly.
[party: Any leaf on a tree. -Dread] She spent a lot of time traveling through universes, and she had plenty of opportunities to practice her father’s last lesson to her.
[party: Impressive. Let me know when. -Glory] [party: Dirge & I will give you a target. -Glory] Dread closed her eyes, clenched her fists and focused on feeling Thunder’s presence inside her. She felt a warm rage growing in her heart; a rush of ferocity coursed through her veins.
[party: 3 -Dread] She opened her eyes and stared at the scaled form of Flutter, then took a single step towards her. [party: 2 -Dread] She took a deep breath. [party: 1 -Dread] Everything happened at once. A green-haired woman with angel wings appeared on Flutter’s right side, while Dirge appeared on Flutter’s left. A thin streak of silver flew from Dirge’s mouth to wedge itself between two golden scales on Flutter’s neck.
Dread heard a sharp bell ring at the same moment from the green-haired woman; it caused the silver blade on Flutter’s neck to glow with golden light.
“BEASTMASTER ROAR!” Glory yelled. Flutter did not know where to look, but Dread did not hesitate. She felt Thunder stirring inside her, and aimed her sonic scream at the glowing blade.
“AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH” Flutter flew backward.
The three moved to continue the assault; they knew it would take more than that. Dread rushed towards Flutter’s body, and she noticed the woman starting to stir.
Before any of them reached Flutter a pitch black portal opened up next to the fallen woman. A tall, dark haired woman with a pair of short white horns growing out of the top of her head stepped out of the portal and looked directly at Dread. Dread recognized Ballisea immediately, but so did Glory and Dirge. Dread felt a sharp Whisper screaming in her ear at the same time she tried warning them.
[party: RUN! -Dread] [party: RUN! -Glory] [party: RUN! -Dirge]