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Paradox Fighters, Part 4

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"Mikasa. Titan expert. Explain. Now," said Twilight, carefully examining the dilation of Holly's pupils. They had dragged the elf down a block or two before they could find a house that wasn't ruined to operate on Holly, who had very quickly realized that she was conscious- It was safe to say that all of the team members were now incredibly well-versed in Gnommish swear words. However, by the time they had arrived at a house, Holly simply slipped out of the fleshy mass. She still was not able to move, but her recovery was progressing rapidly. Perhaps most interestingly, she had regained her lost arms.

Mikasa gave one last careful glance out the window before pulling the shutters closed and walking to the table they had set the elf on for observation.

"This was my hometown," she explained. "When I met up with Holly I wanted to go and investigate the ruins of my house. My father was a scientist who studied Titans, and at some point had figured them out entirely, or something. He had experimented on my brother, Eren, and gave him the power to become a Titan through injury. While Holly was in his lab, we were attacked by… what was her name? All I can remember is that she was very, very beautiful… that hair, those eyes…"

"I think it was Morrigan, her name," remembered Holly wistfully.

Twilight cleared her throat. "Skip that part."

"Oh, right. Sorry. When she attacked she created a shockwave that must have knocked things over in the basement. The only conclusion I can come to is that there must have been more of whatever my father used to grant Eren his power, and that Holly accidentally stumbled into it."

Holly lifted one of her hands to her face, opening and closing it. "Makes sense. But how exactly did I turn into that thing?"

"The easiest way to trigger it is through injury. When Dio tore your arms off, you must have not been dead, just in shock… If at some point you became conscious, that's when it probably happened. Apparently having a goal in mind helps, and if at some level you wanted to get back to us, that was probably sufficient."

"So you're telling me… you guys left me for dead?"

"To be fair, you really looked dead," said Ryuko.

"You're not helping," growled Twilight. "Dio sent Nineball, the robot that you… ate… after us. We didn't have time to recover you."

"By the way, police elf. Here's this." Alucard tossed her Neutrino blaster onto the table. Holly picked it up, and gave Twilight the evil eye.

"You could save my gun…"

"I didn't do it, it was him!" said Twilight, pointing a hoof at the vampire. Holly shifted her angry gaze to him.

"Like they said. You looked dead."

Holly sighed, slipping her uniform back over her shoulders and zipping it closed. She sat on the table, drumming her fingers against the worn wooden surface.

"How about the titan? What did it look like?" asked the elf, bored.

"Really, really ugly. Not enough skin." Said Katniss frankly.

"It probably has something to do with her size in comparison with the titan body. It was at least thirteen meters," said Mikasa. "Though I'd wait on transforming again. You're too tired right now, and the titan could form irregularly."

"Wait, again? You mean I can do that… again?"

Mikasa looked a little stunned. "Well, of course."

"It won't work after this round though. Whatever got in your system to allow you to do that will be purged, no doubt," said Twilight.

"But, I could do it again! Do you realize how much help that would be in storming the mansion? It'd be a piece of cake!"

"It would certainly help." Twilight said, sitting down on her haunches. "But there would still be a few obstacles. First and foremost, can you even control the titan?"

Holly shrugged. "I don't know. Mikasa, can I even control the titan?"

"In this case, I'm not sure. It takes an immense amount of willpower to do what you intend to in the titan body, and you've only used it once. And I don't know if we could stop you if you went out of control- you could regenerate too fast for us to cut you free."

"It's a risk I'm willing to take, if it's enough to kill Dio," said Holly.

"You can't just assume that throwing something bigger at him will let you win," Twilight pointed out.

"Holly's right," said Katniss. "When I hit Dio with the fireball, he couldn't use his time-stop. If Holly can wear him down for long enough, he won't be able to stop time. And none of his attacks would really work on such a large target."

Twilight sighed, opening the door and peeking up and down the street.

"This will be the second asinine plan I agreed to today."


Mr. Everdeen sprinted down the stairs, skidding to a halt on his knees in front of the dead robot Dio was using as a throne. He wiped the sweat off of his brow with a sleeve.

"They're coming, sir. And the elf is back with them, as we expected. But how?"

"It doesn't matter. Nothing can stand against the power of The World."

"With all due respect, sir, I don't think that's going to be enough to stop them. There's six of them, and five of us. Starling's dead, and Matoi went turncoat… Are you really sure you can hold your own against them?"

"Mr. Everdeen, relax. Only your daughter was able to injure me last time, and I doubt she has the fortitude to use such an attack again. With The World at one hundred percent, defeating them will be simple."

"One hundred percent, sir?"

"That's right. I only used a fraction of its power in that battle."

"I still don't know. I feel that putting all our eggs in one basket is a dangerous thing to do."

"I understand. But there is a reason that I am in charge, and he-" Dio rapped his fingers along Megatron's armor plate- "is not."

"All right. If you're that sure, there's no sense in arguing. I'm heading back to my post."

"If they get within five hundred meters, I expect to see you down here again," called Dio after him. Mr. Everdeen nodded in affirmation as he walked back up the steps to his fortified perch. The sun was beginning to crest over the walls, flooding the ruined streets with light. He saw in the distance the miniscule figures of other fighters, all still warring with each other- the distraction of each other too great to pursue the goal. Even as far away as she was, his daughter stood out. Her team flanking her and the elf, careful eyes sweeping their surroundings, determined. Katniss' hands hovered over her bow at all times, her face wearing the grimace that seemed burned-on.

Why don't you understand? I'm doing this for you. I don't want you to frown anymore.

He sat down, drawing an arrow and twirling it in his fingers.

I couldn't care less for that Dio. But he's my best shot for winning this thing. A necessary evil. That's it. I'll stick with that.