“I hate guard duty” whined a thin man covered in armour that looked like bone.
Rather than a skeleton, he looked like some some kind of badly designed bugman trooper, in particular the compound eye plates were both different sizes and the antenna looked absolutely ludicrous.
He and another bug trooper were standing uncomfortably in front of the doors of a warehouse that wasn’t nearly as derelict as it looked.
“It’d be better if these stupid suits actually fitted us, well at least we aren’t having to patrol” The other trooper a woman complained.
“Well, hey, how about after the load is picked up you slip into something more comfortable and I treat you to a wild evening?” The man asked.
The woman coughed and spluttered and began laughing.
“Dysu, just how many times have you gotten rejected man?”
Dysu hung his head.
“Too many times, it runs in the family. Ugh, sorry Junco, forget I said anything”
Junco gave a few more spluttering laughs.
“Ah, ah, sorry man, it must have been hard to work up the courage to say that lame line, especially after how many times you must have gotten shot down, right, I don’t know about a wild evening, but treat me to dinner sometime”
“What?!? Seriously!” Dysu said excitedly turning to Junco.
“Hey, calm down D-man, just a dinner, right. You try anything I’ll make you…”
“SHHHHIIIINNNING KIIIIIICCCKKKK” A man’s voice cried out after a golden armoured bird’s foot crashed into the side of Junco.
Dysu’s instincts were just good enough that he stumbled out of the way of Junco’s spinning body.
“What the, who are you, what, man, You just beat my date up, uh I mean stop right there!” Dysu fumbled with a bone-rifle with a red gem set into the stock. The barrel ended in a point, it was a stafle. He managed to get it aimed in the intruder’s general direction.
“Injustice doesn’t deserve a date!” The man cried out.
It was some manner of golden armoured man, the armour was more like a motorbike suit than a knight’s armour, or a proper exosuit. The helmet had a golden visor that acted a bit like a mirror, this was right above what was either a beak or one of the largest noses Dysu had ever seen.
Then Dysu saw it. The smile. Right under the nose. A vast smile from right below the nose to the chin and reaching far up into the sides of the cheeks. A huge cartoony smile that would have perhaps worked better on a villain than a hero.
The man put his taloned hands on his hips, Dysu made a note in his head to avoid them, they looked worryingly sharp. Dysu naturally had zero faith in his own armour.
“Hahaha, Shining like the Sun, I am…”
With all the frustration of countless rejections, Dysu fired a beam from his stafle. The intruder just bent backward and the beam flew above his torso. Keeping that position, he spoke.
“Hey, that was rude I’m trying to…”
Well, the intruder was trying to speak at least.
This time the intruder somersaulted through the air, Dysu tried to fire at him again, but the man’s armour gleamed like the sun and even with his badly made suit, Dysu was blinded. He heard a crunch as the man caught his weapon.
“Listen well criminal! I am Smiler Shine! If your crime was less unjust, you would not have met me, curse your superiors for their choice of product!”
Dysu swung a wild punch at Smiler Shine.
“Give me a break, they don’t even count as people. You gonna fight for freaks?”
Smiler caught the punch and then a cracking noise came.
“Yes, but maybe you’re the real freak here” He said coldly.
Then with a swift kick, he knocked Dysu out cold.
Smiler touched his helmet, he seemed to be checking something.
“Hmm, that should be all of them. Still, seems a bit strange to have so few guards, aren’t they worried about other people stealing their product?”
Smiler looked at the warehouse. It looked totally abandoned.
He considered that the place was pretty well hidden, it had been very unlikely that its existence had been revealed to him.
He approached the door and a fist burst through it and into his face. Smiler went flying off and slammed into a nearby building’s wall. Astoundingly the building didn’t fall apart.
His attacker walked through the ravaged door. A bulky muscled woman with six arms, two of the arms were in the place of her feet. She also wore the white bone armour, hers however did fit her body well, and the orange compound eye plates of her helmet were of the same size. Her skin was white like milk and her hair was black as tar. She was a star elf, though normally star elves weren’t so buff and had the usual number and assortment of limbs humanoids have.
It was probable that she was variant dustblood. Variants were dustbloods that due to their high amount of magical dust had bodies different from what was usual. Most dustbloods were variants and it was often not something that could be hidden. The bitter thing was that the most dangerous dustbloods tended not to be variants. Variants tended to be different from birth, as opposed to skill dustbloods, some of whom never discovered their skill.
Of course the other possibility was that she was a mockery, the product of alchemical tampering.
Her armour was streaked with yellow stripes and on her chest-piece the emblem of a scowling face with two fists bumping knuckle to knuckle where the mouth should have been. The emblem of the criminal organization known as Mandible!
Chump rookies like Dysu and Junco weren’t allowed to bear the symbol!
“You know, I was just at a good bit in my viz, real touching love scene, and what do I hear but some wannabe hero kicking about the rookies”
The Mandible Trooper known as Isanu Sixpalm rolled her neck and massaged her shoulders.
“I’m pretty mad. First I get stuck with this boring guard duty, and now I have to deal with you”
Isanu stalked toward Smiler, who had not risen.
“What do you even think you are doing? Huh punk? Even if you take this lot, what about the next? What about all the others? You won’t even know where the next lot will be. But you know what?”
Isanu grabbed Smiler by the head and lifted him up, there was a creaking noise as she applied pressure to him.
“You aren’t even getting this lot of freaks”
“Aren’t you one too?” Smiler mumbled.
“Kid, most people can’t even look out for themselves. I’m just looking out for myself, most of the squirts would do the same if they could.”
Isanu tried harder to crush Smiler’s head, as the smile on the helmet was annoying her.
“So, only the strong can do what they want?”
“Blame the Dragon-Sun if you want, I didn’t make this world”
“No, but you didn’t try to break it, or escape it, or change it, but me, I’M GOING TO SHINE”
Smiler Shine grew blindingly bright and became too hot to hold, cursing Isanu closed her eyes but she couldn’t escape the light and then she had to let go before her hands were reduced to charred messes.
She quickly pulled six blades from her torso armour and wildly swung them about to make sure Smiler Shine would stay back.
“Everyone has to live, but you didn’t have to live like this! Especially not with your strength!”
Isanu charged towards the voice, but she didn’t feel her blades connect to anything.
“You stand in the way of justice! Regret that your path has brought you here!”
“Would you ever just shut up!” Isanu screamed.
There was a fluttering noise.
Isanu’s vision cleared, and she quickly looked around, ready and wary, but she could see no sign of Smiler Shine.
Then there was a rush of wind and she felt a foot slam into her back.
“SMILER DIVE!” Smiler crowed.
“Aren’t you supposed to yell it before attacking!?” Isanu coughed, her blades scissoring towards Smiler.
“Fine then, take this, SHHHHINNNNING KICCCCCKKK!!!!”
Smiler’s Right leg began to shine and Isanu defended her body with her blades… but was swept out was his left leg, Isanu’s helmet was wrenched off, then while Isanu was stunned Smiler smashed her blades with a sweep of the shining leg.
Isanu scrabbled back.
“Ugh, enough of this farce!” She growled a foul scowl on her face.
“Alterworld stinger!” She cried out.
Smiler thought he saw a flicker of something behind Isanu and then her body arched as if stabbed from behind. There was a crack. It was her armour breaking. Her muscles bulged and steam began to rise from her body.
Smiler Shine rushed over and his arms transformed into golden wings.
His wings glowed and he struck the shuddering Isanu with them. Both aiming at her neck.
Her eyes rolled up into her head as he hit and she crumpled.
Smiler Shine wobbled a bit after that.
“Woah, real glad she didn’t have anyone to cover her while she was doing that”
He checked her pulse.
“Hope it doesn’t leave any lasting damage now…”
Smiler Shine strode into the warehouse and found what he was looking for. A large metal container.
He grabbed one side of it and tore. Wails came up and he found himself looking into the faces of a number of very scared children each a motley mess of features. Tainted, dustbloods.
“Don’t worry, Smiler Shine is here to save you, and I know somewhere safe you can go” Achira smiled.
All he had to do now was get them back to the Sisters’ orphanage.
A boop that he could only hear sounded in his helmet.
*Success confirmed, feed sent to your Myriadbounty profile. Congratulations on your first act of heroism, remember as a registered hero, no reward is given other than what users donate to your profile*
Hopefully he’d get enough donations that he’d be able to keep doing this. Achira then felt a number of unpleasant aches and pains. The medical costs were probably going to be high if nothing else.