If you've ever stared at a seven-foot tall man who is looking at you with promises of assured pain in his eyes while you have nothing except the effective equivalent of a butterknife in your hand, you might have some idea of what I was feeling.
If not, I can tell you:
You know, there's something about the human mind to be said for the fight-or-flight response. It's quite a handy evolutionary adaptation. Unfortunately, it seems that thanks to the amazingly advanced and improved cognition that the giant mass of grey matter between our ears gives us, we have a tendency to also freeze up and simply shut down instead of reacting like we should.
For example, the thoughts running through my mind were approximately something like this:
…Not very coherent.
"I'm going to kill you, you fucker!"
…Yes. Thank you, Lung. As if I hadn't already figured out that that's what was going to happen.
Who's Lung? Oh, just the leader of one of the most notorious gangs in the city. And an absolute monster. No, literally. He turns into a fucking dragon as he fights, growing larger and larger the longer it goes on. Even now, he was already a foot and a half taller than when I'd first seen him.
With that in mind, there's also something to be said about the difference between seeing a picture or video, and true experience. For example, there are more than a few pictures of Lung all dragon-ed up online. There's a couple videos too. However, unless you're actually there, the little details just slip past you. Like the fact that Lung is heavy, even while still human-shaped. His muscles must get a lot denser before they even start bulking up, because each time he took a step, I could practically feel it.
It was around this time that I raised my feeble excuse for a weapon in front of my face.
I know I should have tried to run. To get away. To escape. But my hind-brain was also screaming at me not to turn around, not to turn my back to this monster. Because if I did, it would be over before I had a chance to blink, and I'd be just a bloody smear on the street.
I really, really didn't want that.
My hand shook, the tip of the cheap knife held in reverse grip shaking even more thanks to the angular movement.
And then Lung laughed, even as he kept moving towards where I was rooted to the ground.
"You think that puny thing will do you any good here?" He managed to sound amused even while continuing to slowly grow in size.
The chances of me living through whatever was about to happen were pretty close to nil.
The question at this point was whether I was going to lie down and take it, letting him kill me without a fight, or at least attempt to do something, however futile it ultimately ended up being.
I literally had nothing to lose, and everything to gain.
There had never really been a choice in the first place.
I took a breath, letting it out slowly, keeping my eyes on him even as he continued to cross the twenty-foot gap between us. And just like that, the knife-point stilled.
He must have noticed, because his eyes narrowed slightly, even while gaining a sense of… recognition? respect?
Well, great. At least if I was going to die, I would know that the guy who killed me respected me in some way.
…And then he was in front of me, right arm cocked back in an obvious telegraphed move, that even I could read.
I swallowed, preparing myself for the immanent disorientation…
Red lines crisscrossed over his body, like ever-shifting jagged wounds that would never, could never close. Small, large, curved, straight: they all stood out to me like florescent neon, practically whispering to me here, this is where it needs to be.
They were wrong. So very wrong. Something that didn't belong. That shouldn't be. Something that defied reality, defiled it, and left me feeling simultaneously sick and anxious from just looking at them.
But I had no choice but to use them, if I wanted even a sliver of a chance at surviving this.
His fist accelerated, and I ducked, allowing my body to follow its instincts while dragging my knife's edge across one of the lines on the underside of his forearm. Rolling forward into a crouch, I scrambled forward and away from him before spinning around, my knife held back up in its ready position. There was no time to let myself think about what I was doing. The moments it would take to consciously react to him would be the last ones I experienced. So I relaxed, trusting myself and the small fighting sense and muscle memory that I had seemed to gain to try and get me through this as much as it could.
Lung growled, turning to face me.
This time, he gave me no warning, crossing the distance almost instantly and whipping his left hand across to backhand me. I ducked again, feeling the air pressure of his movement as it whistled only inches above my head. If his hand had hit me, the force of it would have made my head explode like an overripe watermelon.
Wasting no time, I pressed forward, my knife sinking into his thigh before I moved sideways and to my right, the blade pulled with me along the axis of the bright red line I had impaled with only token resistance.
Lung roared in pain as I rushed to get to a safe distance again, and he looked down at the wound. He paused, as if realizing something was wrong, and then looked up to face me, his eyes narrowing dangerously as silver scales crept across his skin.
But why was he so surprised by the cuts I had given him? They were just bleed–
Oh. Holy fuck. Regeneration. Lung was supposed to heal as he fought and grew, but the wounds I'd given him weren't closing at all.
"I'M GONNA FUCKING KILL YOU, BITCH!"
Before I had just been a nuisance. Now I was a threat to be taken seriously. This was bad.
Lung rushed me again, reaching out with his right arm to grab me, but I rotated around his hand and jumped, flipping my knife around and bringing it down in a two-handed motion with all of my weight behind it. If the red lines didn't cut like butter the blade would've shattered, as the place I was cutting had already been covered in scales. As it was, the knife nearly wasn't long enough to actually slice through his entire upper arm, but with the red lines little things like that didn't seem to matter if you were actually trying.
I moved to place my foot so that I could kick off of his side and away, but then I saw how his eyes were looking at me.
And then Lung exploded.
I was thrown away from him like I weighed nothing, tossed easily fifteen feet and nearly into one of the brick walls on the side of the street. I almost didn't manage to get my feet under me so that I could roll and not die from having my neck snapped on impact. Still, I felt something in my left ankle give way, and almost fell down, barely catching myself. I prayed I hadn't just broken it.
Gasping for breath, I looked over at the eight-foot tall scaled man in the middle of the street. The entire thing looked like a scene out of hell. The black tar at his feet was sagging, heat waves rolling off of the visible corona of red flame that Lung had covered himself in.
Right. Pyrokinesis. Lung has fucking pyrokinesis.
Because he wasn't enough of a dragon already, and he had to have control over fire too.
The arm that I'd amputated lay on the ground, while the blood that was coming out of his brachial artery turned to steam almost the instant it hit the air.
The next thing I knew, he was in front of me, and I couldn't stop myself from shutting my eyes in preparation for what was going to happen next.
Dad, I… I'm sorry. I wish we'd talked more before these past months. Not drifted apart after mom's death like we had. And my friends… the friends I'd made and only had months to know, who had become so important to me. I hoped they'd forgive me for all of this, for dying, for leaving them behind.
I waited, waited for the blow I knew was coming. The blow that was going to kill me, just like Lung had promised.
I opened my eyes. My arms were held in front of me, fully extended, steadying the cheap knife that I held like a lifeline.
The knife that was buried up to the hilt in Lung's scaled chest.
I released my grip in shock as he began to fall, legs folding underneath him before he toppled forwards, head colliding with the sidewalk I stood on with a gigantic thud. His eyes were glazed over, not looking at anything, and the blood that had been evaporating into the air was now sluggishly spreading out beneath him.
He's… dead? My mind was fuzzy, hazy from the sudden unexpectedness of this turn of events.
…I killed him.
I recognized it, registered it, but I couldn't bring myself to feel anything other than relief that it was I who was still alive, and not him, that I'd won. I started laughing, the adrenaline high I was feeling and endorphins in my system making me lightheaded and giddy.
I collapsed next to him, sitting down and just staring at the cooling silver-scaled humanoid body next to me.
It was only then that I started feeling the pain in my hands, and I looked down at them. It turns out that when your hands end up in fire, they get burned. Huh.
My skin was blistering all over, some areas peeling away and bleeding freely. It looked like it should hurt a lot worse than it did. …That was probably not a good thing. Nerve damage is never good.
There was a noise at the end of the street and my head snapped up towards it without thinking. My body was tensing and still on edge, ready to act at any sign of threat. Three huge shapes melted out of the shadows, figures resolving themselves into pairs on top of the large creatures. Two girls and two guys, though one was completely covered and I could only tell because he was so tall.
"H-holy shit." The words came from one of the girls, a blonde dressed in a skintight outfit of purple and black.
She was staring at where I sat, or more accurately the body on my left, and sounded both awed and slightly terrified at the same time, which was probably a sane reaction all things considered. "She… she killed him."
For those of you who've never read/seen Kara no Kyoukai, Taylor's power in here is the ability to see "death" (or more accurately, the metaphysical flaws that represent the conceptual death of some thing the wielder considers "alive") as lines and interact with them such as through slicing them with a knife. The interactions are irrevocable and absolute, meaning if she kills something through them it stays dead. Panacea couldn't regrow that limb sort of dead. It could be cauterized and replaced with a prosthetic but not regrown, as the concept of having that limb no longer exists for that person/body.
Taylor (if she were to be accurately labeled by the PRT right now) is a Striker 8 (Mover 1, Thinker 2, Brute 1). Shiki Ryougi would be Striker 12+ (Mover 6, Thinker 4, Trump 12+, Brute 2), Bullshit 17. Taylor has the potential to get to Shiki's level. Maybe even further with the amount of conflict she gets into and the way she pushes herself. We'll have to see.
I've gotten a couple comments about people being glad to see this done as a crossover. Wellll. Oddly enough there are other Worm/Nasu crossovers. I didn't know about them either until I posted the first chapter of this on SV back in March. If you're interested they're all on SpaceBattles:
(And apparently this fic has become a comprehensive list of Worm fics that fit that criteria?)
Matter of Perception by Olive - Another KnK MEoDP!Taylor fic. Status: Dead
Remaining Sense of Pain by Alan Spencer - Mystic Eyes of Distortion (Asagami Fujino)!Taylor. Status: Hiatus or Dead
Imperfect Delusion by illhousen - Canon-compliant post-epilogue oneshot with our favorite puppet lady. Also on
We Form in Crystals by Souffle - Taylor-as-ORT (Type Mercury) or, Magical Girl Eldritch ORT-chan. Status: Updated in February, assumed to still be alive. Also on Sufficient Velocity
The Bluest Eyes by Gorgoneion - Yet another MEoDP!Taylor fic. Status: Dead - Hidden really well. Stumbled across it in my research. Only two chapters, unfortunately: 0.1 and 1.1, post #'s 14775990 and 14778177
Tranquil Abyss by Arafell - Avenger!Taylor. Status: Dead