Artist: Yoko Shimomura - Song: Fate of the Unknown - Word Count: 1,350
Where the hell was he? How the hell had he got here? These were just a few of many jumbled up questions floating inside of the Hero of Honor's head as he walked through the ransacked streets of Tampa in what could only be called a hellscape. Everything was destroyed, buildings in such an advance state of decay that one would wonder just how long this city had been abandoned, and streets crumbling away to reveal sand and dirt underneath. Steiner had seen a few places like this before in the Wastelands where he frequently trained and fought as a hero. This is what it felt like in a place that had seen its fair share of blood shed, oddly enough in most of those desolated areas he had fought in there were plenty of skeletons, but here there was nothing. No bodies, no signs of life, and the only sound around him was the sound of a light rain landing on the destroyed roads and abandoned buildings. "Just where the hell are all the people?
", Steiner murmured as he paused in front of a store front with a shattered window, the contents just as abandoned as the city he was in.
He looked around a bit more, his mind in a state of confusion as to how he had even arrived here, let alone how this place had gotten so torn up in the first place. Yet there was no blood, no actual sign of combat outside of the buildings, and that worried Steiner a great deal more than the feeling of dread he was feeling from all around himself. There was an ominous feeling coming from all around him, it was almost like he was being watched by something that was just outside of his range of sight, and his body felt tense because he himself was on edge. One moment he had been in a warm bed in the woods in Vastime and the next minute he was in the middle of a city that looked like it had seen its' fair share of conflict. Yet even that was questionable as he couldn't tell if the city looked this way from neglect or from all out battle due to there being no actual signs of combat around that were visible to his eyes. "Still should be on guard...yelling out for people may not be the best option right now.
", Steiner said to himself remembering all of the things Mirja had taught him in his short period of time as her pupil.
He wanted to prove his worth to her in any way that he could and he also didn't want to disappoint her either, but most importantly he wanted to show that he was a quick learner. His thought process was interrupted as a skittering noise drew attention to a nearby alleyway. Steiner immediately reached for his sword which was at his hip and began to march toward the sound of the noise with silent focus and poise. As he marched down the alleyway he noticed that the skittering had stopped, but in its' place he began to hear the sound of something crunching, and making sickening noises. Steiner continued to trek closer, drawing his blade from the sheathe, and making sure to keep his stance tight as he neared the location of the noise. It didn't take long for the young man to find himself in the presence of a true horror that he had not expected to see in any town or ever really. A semi-naked being crouched over the body of what looked like a young child, ripping into it with reckless abandonment and devouring its' flesh.
The child had long since died, but the being continued to munch on the flesh, and even disregarded the young hero's presence as it continued to devour its' prey. Steiner's eyes were wide with horror, but the man observed his target for weak points almost immediately. It appeared to be almost human, its body mostly skin and bone with a few sharp bone shards piercing the skin to form some kind of weapons that Steiner couldn't evaluate as effective or not. The creature seemed to be going through stages of being malnourished and that more than likely would make it an easy target to fight against. Steiner couldn't allow this kid's body to be desecrated even further and so began to make his steps forward toward the beast. But in the act of being angered by the sight before him and sizing up his opponent, Steiner had forgotten about his footing which in a rather quick way caused him to kick a small pebble forward. The reaction was almost instant, the being stopping its gorging to turn around, and face him in a matter of seconds.
Eyes sunken in, mouth barely hanging on, and a pair of mandible claws hanging from its mouth the face of a young woman grotesquely warped into some kind of monstrosity stared at him with hunger in its' eyes. The creature didn't waste time, running on all fours like some kind of dog revealing that the limbs had become jointed in all the wrong ways. Steiner jumped back, using his instincts more so than his tactical thinking to move away from the creature as it smashed its own face into the asphalt in front of him launching debris in different directions as it did so. Just what the hell is going on in this city!?
Stein thought to himself as more skittering from all around him announced his earlier suspicions correctness. He was being watched and not by friendly eyes either. Steiner's eyes jumped around counting internally the amount of beasts crawling away along the walls. No, not beasts...people. These things at one point or another had been just as human as he was now, but now they were mutating, transforming into weird beasts with no identification as to what they had been before. Several of these creatures had evolved into hideous grotesque masses that found themselves rolling closer to him, others had become creature much like the one the young woman was becoming, a dog like insect like monster, and other seemed to watch from afar. The one's from afar were the most jarring to them, they had reached some kind of hideous mutation making them slightly more than a skeleton with wings. They were hideous as the bones of these beasts had mutated to serve some purpose or another and didn't even look human anymore.
He, however, did not have time to gawk in confusion at these beasts. He needed to escape and plan a way to fight these monsters, Stein didn't hesitate as he ran as far back as he could, dodging, and weaving his way through attacking monsters. Some ripped his jacket, while other's drew glancing blows causing either bruises or small scratches that bled a bit. Running into what looked like a small building with an un-busted window facing a nearby street, Stein picked up a stone with his still open hand and threw it at the window, shattering it. He dove through, rolling to his feet quickly only to come face to face with a familiar face. "Oh god...Yoma!?
", Steiner shouted a bit at the red haired shinigami in front of him, looking back into the store, and seeing that a few of the beasts had followed him. The night air began to be filled by weird howling and hissing which sounded off to Steiner that more than likely that the whole city was now inhabited by weird monsters like the one's he had seen. "No time to talk...roast the things coming from the store! We need to find a safe place to plan a course of action!
", he shouted pointing back from where he came as he took a few steps back and got into a fighting stance. He was relying on Yoma, something he didn't think he would ever do, but as of right now he didn't have a choice. He needed all the help he could get.