Well, only in a sense.  They still hadn’t touched him, and two of their members were out of commission.  Three, if she counted Fleur being occupied with a wounded Lightstar in her arms.

I think I’ve decided. Fleur Delacour is the better fit so far.

But the fact remained that Marquis wasn’t pushing his advantage.  The way his power worked and his very personality meant he was exceptional when it came to turning one advantage into another.  Or turning one advantage into three.  It was in his very nature to trounce his enemies, to grind them into the ground without an iota of mercy or fair play.

Damn. So much for honor.

Was he distracted?

If he was, it was barely slowing him down.  She felt something clutch her from behind, covering her eyes.

s k e l e t o n   h a n d s


When she tried to tear it free, she found it hard, unyielding.

Is it a full bone covering?

She dropped into her ball form and then back into her human form, taking only a second to break free of the binding.  She caught the offending article in one hand before it could hit the ground.

It was a blindfold of solid bone, but it had been a skull of some sort beforehand.  Probably something that had sat on a bookshelf behind her.  Stupid to overlook it.

Neat trick on both sides!

Lightstar was the next to go down, as one splinter that had embedded in a bookshelf branched out to pierce his shoulder.  Fleur caught him before he could land on top of more of the bone needles.

Hmm. Do I joke about Fleur-de-Lis from MLP or Fleur Delacour from Harry Potter…

Brandish shifted her footing, and the slivers of bone that scattered the ground around her shifted, some reshaping into starbursts of ultrafine needle points, waiting for her to step on them.  She knew from experience that they would penetrate the soles of her boots.

It really seems like Marquis was the kind of villain you should probably try to fight from a range.

Lady Photon fired a spray of laser blasts in Marquis’ general direction, tearing into bookshelves, antique furniture and the rack of wine bottles.

Yeah, like, this is exactly what I’m talking about. His power is well suited for near combat and setting traps close by. These lasers and the like are the attacks you should probably be focusing on.

Marquis created a shield of bone to protect himself, expanding its dimensions until it was taller and wider than he was.

Even if he can do this.

To be fair, I suppose that would leave it all up to one or a few members of the team, with the rest being largely unable to act.

“Things are going to get better now?” she asked.  “You’re not worried about the Chosen?”

Don’t jinx us, Sierra.

That’s like… something you’d say two seconds before the Endbringer alarm goes off again.

“No.  I think their leader is gone, and after facing down the Nine, somehow I’m not worried about dealing with them.”

That’s fair. And yeah, the point about Hookwolf didn’t occur to me.

So then what is next?

Facing down the Nine.  Sierra shivered a bit.

I wonder what her reaction would be if it had been Legend who said it.

“No,” Skitter thought aloud.  “I think the biggest challenge I face comes from within our organization.”

People like Yan? Or are you looking the other way along the ladder, up at Coil?

That gave Sierra pause.  Had Skitter intended to include her with that ‘our’, or was it just vaguely phrased?

I think she might mean “our” as in the Undertravelers, but you’re absolutely a part of their organization, so you could be included, “our” being in the sense of “the organization we are part of”.

“An ally?  One of the other people with their own territories?”

“I shouldn’t have said that,” Skitter said.

Now Sierra knows how to get past Fluffy! And that Legend is Nicholas Flamel!

“You’ve outlived your usefulness, Skitter,” Jack spoke.

To be clear, yes, I have figured out that the reason they’d string her along like this would be so they could get in touch with Cherish and figure out where Amy was. So this statement comes as no real surprise, especially after Taylor attacked.

If I’d just had a minute or two more to decide on a course of action.

She thinks this just as a shooting star crosses the sky. Suddenly a random Clockblocker ex machina runs by and freezes Jack and Bonesaw before continuing down the street.

“It was fun.  I almost wish I’d nominated you for the Nine.  You’re versatile, and there’s so many weak points I could have exploited if I’d had more time.

Hey, told you she has what it takes to be a nominee.

If she didn’t have those pesky morals, she’d be a great addition to the team.

If Cherish’s information on you wasn’t so misleading, I think I could have made you shoot the heroine.  To corrupt you like that, it would have been amusing.”

Of course.

And that’s why he took the charge in that scene and “Lisa” stayed quiet – she was deferring to her leader and surrogate father.

I fumbled for the gun, using my bugs to get a sense for where it was.  In the same motion that I pointed it, Jack slapped it out of my hand with two slashes of his knife.


He was a dozen feet away, but the knife nonetheless connected with my weapon.

Yep, that’d be his power at work.

I used my power to control every movement.  I felt it accelerate again, and tilted our orientation.

Niiice. It doesn’t know how to fly, so Taylor micromanages it. She acts as the brains of the operation.

I felt myself shift slightly as I found myself almost directly on top, my legs gripping the underside of his thorax, and I overcompensated.  We both crashed to the ground.  A ten or twelve foot drop for me.


My armor absorbed the worst of the impact, but I felt my forehead hit pavement.  I always thought of the concussion I’d suffered whenever I took a blow to the head.

Not something you’re eager to go through again, I’d imagine.

“Come on!”  I growled the words, scrambling to my feet.  “Don’t be hurt, don’t be hurt.”

He was okay.  I could examine him with my power, I just couldn’t comprehend him in the same natural, instinctive manner.

Well, at least she seems to have decided a gender for him.

It took attention, focus.  With my direction, he used a flutter of his wings and the points of his scythe-tipped claws to flip over so he was ready as I reached him.  I mounted him and tried again.  We repeated the takeoff process, faster this time.

Let’s do this thing!

We lifted off on the first try.  I controlled my breathing, focused my attention on him, tried to avoid that same reflexive compensation that came with a shift of my balance.

When I account for the wing compartments and the amount of space that the wings take up at the back of the shell, He’s not much bigger than a motorcycle.

A flying motorcycle. I’m torn between Harry Potter and Ghost Rider.

Upon further research, it seems Ghost Rider bikes don’t actually fly, so Harry Potter it is.

*pictures Taylor being tasked with delivering Harry’s Hogwarts letter and birthday cake on the fusion bug*

Could I comment on that?  Should I?

Probably not. Trickster has already suggested you should mind your own business once, way back in 6.8. He probably would not take kindly to it.

Though you have gotten to know him better since then (mostly offscreen, but still).

I remained silent.  We exited the stairwell at the fifth floor and entered a dark hallway.  I clicked on a flashlight, and we made our way down the hall. 

Trash was piled everywhere, and I was all too aware of the maggots that were crawling on the floor, barely visible in the dim light.

Sometimes this power is not that great.

“Which way?” he asked.

I pointed.  A side benefit of my power was that it made it pretty damn easy to maintain my sense of direction.

Makes sense. She has total awareness of thousands of reference points without having to see them.

We tried the doors for the two apartments that led in the right direction.  Both were locked.

Trickster touched the doorknob, then looked across the floor at the trash in the hallway.  The doorknob disappeared, and a chunk of wood fell to the ground.

Heh, nice.

He repeated the process with the internal mechanisms, and the lock was effectively transported away.  He opened the door and walked inside, going straight for the windows.

Screw “alohomora”, this is a way cooler way to open a lock.

There were two Hatchet Faces?

If that were actually the case, they’d be up to ten people even as they’re looking for someone to fill the ninth slot of the Slaughterhouse Nine (Siberian, Jack Slash, Burnscar, Mannequin, Shatterbird, Crawler, Cherish, Bonesaw, Hatchet Face and Hatchet Face).

Then again, Hatchet Face appear not to be counted after whatever Cherish did.

Then the first one exploded into a cloud of white dust and blood spatters, momentarily filling the room.  Amy could hear Bonesaw’s giggling, felt her heart sink.

This reminds me of Bakuda’s decoy gangster bombs, except these aren’t holographic.

The white dust and apparent teleportation/cloning also remind me of Oni Lee, who last we knew was being taken back to the Slaughterhouse Nine, though that might’ve happened after this. But if it didn’t, it’s quite plausible that Bonesaw studied him and in some way adapted his power into some of her technology, much like how one of Bakuda’s bombs was based on Vista’s power but with the Manton effect overridden.

“Get it?  You figure out what I did?  Turn around, Hack Job.”

Hmm. Or did she modify Oni himself to look like Hatchet Face?

Amy had figured it out, but Bonesaw’s creation demonstrated anyways.  He turned his back to Amy, and she saw what looked like a tumorous growth on the back of his head, shoulders and arms.

Oh jeez.

Except the growth had a face, vaguely Asian in features, and the lumps inside the growth each roughly corresponded with organs and skeletal structure.


Hatchet Face is still around, Burnscar said, “sort of”.

Bonesaw fused them. She fused too broken men together.

And now they have one body and probably both powers, though Oni’s power doesn’t work flawlessly with Hatchet Face’s body – thus the bloodspray accompanying the usual white dust.

As for any similar incompatibilities the other way: If Hatchet Face’s anti-power field didn’t allow picking and choosing targets (though I suspect it did), maybe Hack Job’s teleportation doesn’t work while the anti-power field is up.

I thought Hack Job was just a disrespectful nickname Bonesaw had for Hatchet Face, but it makes sense to give this fusion its own name, and it seems like an appropriate one.

The jaw of the figure that was attached to the back of Hatchet Face’s body was working open and closed like a fish gasping for air.  The stitches were still fresh.

So while this does tell us that Interludes 11a and 11h take place after 11b (and probably before 11c), it seems it wasn’t too long after. She’s just finished this affront to nature.

The letter.  Carol wasn’t angry in the same way Victoria was.  What Amy felt from her ‘mother’ was a chill.

Oh right, I forgot to mention, “the letter she’d received” doesn’t sound like the same letter she took from her mom.

Her mom who is apparently Dumbledore.


She knew that she was only justifying the darker suspicions Carol had harbored towards her since she was first brought into the family.

Are you sure she actually is harboring such suspicions? It seems like Amy is prone to being insecure about this sort of thing, which may cause her to assume things that aren’t necessarily true about how others see her.

It’s possible, yes, that Amy’s right. I just want to keep the option open that she isn’t, because I’m not sure how much I trust her as a narrator for other people’s thoughts on her.

It was doubly crushing now, because Amy knew about Marquis.  Amy knew that Carol was thinking the same thing she was.

That she’s heartless and callous, her father’s spitting image?

I mean… okay, fair, under the current circumstances, it may very well be true that Carol thinks that of Amy in relation to the Mark case.

“what is the head even for?” A distraction, maybe. Can’t knock him out by hitting him in the head if the brain isn’t there. And did you miss the Harry Potter reference in the original ask?

Yeah, I suppose that might be the case.

Also, nah, I caught that. I didn’t mention it, but to acknowledge that I did, I tagged the post “#harry potter”, and made the quote itself–

Whoops, totally didn’t see the hyperlink to the quote.

…yeah, that. 😛

It’s a good quote. But hey… how can we truly see where humans keep their brains without cracking open their skulls?

I guess the moral of Harry Potter is you gotta open people’s heads up before you can trust them.

“I wonder if this reeling in of the head ever results in Mannequin getting dizzy.” Which leads to the question of can he get dizzy? Does he have inner ears? Or outer ears? And where’s he keep his brain? (Never trust something that can think for itself if you can’t see where it keeps its brain.)

That is a very good question.

I’m guessing his brain is in the head portion – otherwise, what is the head even for? You could argue that his vision is still in there, but however he sees, it’s not visible from outside anyway, so it could be anywhere. Then again, that logic applies to the brain too.

So, uh… ¯_(ツ)_/¯