The City of Townsville! In complete ruin. Gone was the glittering metropolis that soared into the skies. Gone were the industrious, happy people that called this place home. Gone were the super powered protectors that made this city famous.
The once shining metropolis lay broken and decaying. It's tall sky scrapers transformed into bare skeletal husks clawing at the gray sky. Its broad avenues, once filled with vehicles and pedestrians, were barren; filled now only with refuse and rusted cars. Its parks wilted, buried under a blanket of dead leaves. A silence hung over the dead city, heavy and oppressive. The only signs of life were the scurrying rats that rooted through the trash piles, looking for food.
Yes, Townsville had seen better days, much better days. Days before the terrible reign of the Supreme Emperor Mojo Jojo had begun, before that final battle almost a decade ago where its three super powered heroines had been soundly defeated.
Defeated, but not destroyed.
The wind howled down the avenue and blew past a young woman as she crouched behind the ruined wall of an old convenient store. She tugged at the hem of her worn, leather jacket; pulling it closer to block out the wind. Fall had come early this year and it was colder than usual. Her brilliant sky blue eyes gazed at the large building across the street. There was her destination.
Her cherub face, marred by dirt stains, scrunched up as she took one last look around. Not a soul was in sight, which wasn't much of a surprise. Bubbles Utonium hadn't seen anyone inside the wreckage of Old Townsville since relocating here two months ago. After ten years away, coming back to her home was both shocking and infuriating. What Mojo had done to the place of her childhood was despicable and the sight of it ignited the normally dormant fire of hatred that she had harbored for the chimp even more.
She and her sisters had heard about the state of Townsville from the reconnaissance reports and spies that had infiltrated the Simian Empire, but seeing the reality of it with their own eyes was something else entirely. It served as a strong reminder that even though they had been struggling and fighting with the Resistance against Mojo with all their might for the last ten years, it simply wasn't enough.
His conquest had been swift and precise. Within in the first year, North America had fallen under his control. It had been chaos; no army could be rallied in time to stop him. It was only by pure luck that his lack of resources restricted his advancement towards the other continents.
By then, the Resistance had had time to get on its feet and present a fortified defense against Mojo's assault. It did little but slow him down. As the years crawled by, more and more countries were lost to the new Simian Empire. Europe, Asia, parts of North Africa, and a majority of South America were now under the chimp's control.
The Resistance which had fought so fiercely in the early years was now pushed back against the ropes. They could see the signs. The end was coming and the free world as they knew it would be no more. It was three months ago, after losing one of their biggest footholds in Chile, that the leaders of the Resistance decided to make a gamble, a gamble that would decide the fate of the world.
Send the Girls back to where it all started and have them take out the source of the problem. Mojo Jojo.
The Resistance gave them a small contingent of soldiers and all the supplies for a mobile base before sending them on their way, with the hopes and dreams of the free world on their shoulders. And what had they done since they had arrived?
Nothing. Not one single thing.
Bubbles fought the scowl off her face as she stood up and brushed the dirt from her ripped jeans. Taking a quick moment to adjust the bandana covering her hair and the scarf around her neck, she tried to push away the depressing thoughts.
It wasn't really their fault that so little had been accomplished in the two months since their arrival. Setting up a secret base right under your enemy's nose wasn't exactly a walk in the park. It had still taken a lot more work than they had anticipated though. A secure spot had to be found, then a rationing of supplies dealt out, and then a scouting of the area; troop placements, enemy outposts, scavenging missions, reconnaissance sweeps, potential troop recruitment.
All of these things had to be carefully planned and executed before any strike could be made against the monkey emperor, which was what Bubbles should have been doing this exact moment instead of rehashing old frustrations. There was work to do and it wasn't about to do itself.
A quick mental shake later and she was off, lightly jogging across the deserted street and up the front steps to a large building with a broken marquee hanging on it.
"Townsville Shopping Center." She quietly read to herself. "Perfect."
What better place to scavenge around for supplies than a mall? Besides, what girl didn't like malls? Answer, no one that she knew.
Searching for the entrance revealed it to be piled high with metal beams and rubble from the collapsed roof. It looked as if something huge had fallen on top of the building. Distant memories tried to play from the past but Bubbles shook them away and took a closer look at the entrance. At far side of the ruins was a small tunnel that gave away to darkness. It could go all the way through the wreckage and lead her into the mall. Or it could be a dead end.
Bubbles let out a sigh and considered her options. She could use this tunnel, or she could search around the side of the mall and try to find an employee entrance. But that could take too much time and what if a patrol of troops came by? Or something worse? She had spent too long loitering out here already and time was of the essence.
She stripped off her large rucksack along with the machete hanging from her back and tossed them into the tunnel. One last breath of the cool autumn air and then she crawled in after them. The tunnel was a tight fit, with metal rods and beams forming a jagged ceiling that tried to grab her at every opportunity.
Thankfully Bubbles wasn't the claustrophobic type, but it was still a hair raising experience. The darkness of the tunnel began to brighten as an opening came into view. One final shove sent her backpack and machete skidding through the opening and she shimmied out after them. She dusted off her gloved hands after retrieving her effects and took in her surroundings. It was a depressing sight to say the least.
The dusty expanse of the mall stretched out before her. Over turned trash cans lined the walkways and once much sought after merchandise littered the floor. Darkness covered everything, giving way only to the hazy sunlight that shown through the broken gaps in the roof.
Shadows hid most things from view, but Bubbles could still make out the human figures laying crumpled on the floor. A chill crawled up her spine as the back of her eyes started to burn. This is what she had been afraid of finding. A couple of deep breaths later and she was in control of her emotions once more.
'You're on a mission Bubbles, pull yourself together. This isn't the first time you've seen a dead body. Far from it. Focus! Food first, then onto clothing.'
Refusing to look at the floor, she made her way deeper into the silent mall. It was like walking into a graveyard, nothing like what she remembered in her younger years when her and her sisters spent the summers here. The lack of people made her realize how big the building actually was. There had barely been room walk without bumping into someone back in the day, now the walkway seemed much too large.
The feeling of being exposed was something she hated with a passion, but it was a necessary difficulty that she would have to deal with for this mission. You couldn't find anything useful if you didn't put yourself out there. Thankfully, the walk to the food court was mercifully quick. The faster she collected her items the faster she could get out of there. This place was downright creepy.
If the walkways with their quiet expansiveness were creepy, then the food court was something straight from a horror film. It was exactly how she remembered it with the exception that now it functioned as a massive tomb. Tables everywhere lay throw on their sides, hundreds of chairs were scattered across the area. And gracing almost every square foot of the floor lay the bodies.
Bubbles turned away from the sight with a grimace. She just had to pick the mall to scavenge in. It had never occurred to her that people might have been trapped inside. The sight was horrible, but thankfully the years and elements had ridden the place of any smell. Bubbles wasn't sure if she could have handled that.
Pushing the morbid thoughts and her frayed emotional control aside for the moment, she began rooting through the back rooms of the restaurants that lined the walls. The best way to escape the sight behind her was to focus on her mission. So, that's what she did.
A half an hour later she had a back pack half full of freeze dried food. If she was lucky, there might have been something editable in there, but that was mostly wishful thinking. How long did fast food by-product last anyway? She guessed it didn't really matter; the base would take whatever it could get until a stable supply of food was established.
It was with a relieved sigh that she left the makeshift tomb to begin her search for the next part of her mission, clothing. If the fall was anything to go by, then winter was going to be cold this year. Any extra jackets or warm materials would be a welcome find.
She stuck to the walls as she walked down the mall, scanning the area every time she thought she heard a sound and it wasn't because she was afraid the dead may start walking again, which was ridiculous. She swallowed the lump in her throat while looking back over her shoulder.
Besides, there were much worse things she could run into than some make believe monster. A shiver worked its way down her spine and made her pick up her pace.
Barely five minutes later, she came upon a large clothing store. The racks of clothes were scattered about, piles of half trample fabric and hangers on the floor. The front half of the store was ransacked, probably from the riots and mass exodus that took place when Mojo first took control of the city.
The back of the store remained in better shape though; the racks of clothing still stood and were displayed in a somewhat orderly fashion. Bubbles scanned the stands rapidly until she found the prizes she was looking for. Several jackets hung skewed on the wall at the very back. They were good looking jackets, dark in color and made of sturdy materials, the perfect kind to protect sensitive skin from the elements.
There was even a leather one with a hood to attached to it. Those were the best kind, her personal favorite. She grabbed the jacket and three others before stuffing them into her pack. That didn't leave a lot of room for much else, but maybe she could find another backpack and fill that one too. It would make getting back to the base harder, but it was worth the risk. A girl could never have too many clothes.
The rest of the store contained little in the way of winter clothing. Letting the pair of Capri's drop from her hands, Bubbles decided to move on. If she remembered correctly there was another group of clothing stores nearby. She might have more luck there.
Once again she stuck close to walls as she walked, not hugging them like before but close enough to stick to the shadows. The trek was becoming less creepy as time passed and nothing malevolent happened.
No evil zombies grabbed at her ankles or breathed down her neck. Bubbles gave her head a firm shake to dispel the images her mind conjured up. She really did let her imagination get the best of her sometimes. Buttercup was always telling her that, but in her defense it was hard not to do so in a place like this.
Her internal thoughts were scattered to the wind as the next group of clothing stores came into view, just across an upcoming intersection. Bubbles allowed a small smile to grow on her face. All she needed to do now was search the stores and get back to base.
It was going swimmingly, if she did say so herself. You know, besides the fact that she was in a corpse filled ruin. At least she was alone. There was nothing she found that suggested anyone had even been here in the past couple of years.
That was, until a sound caught her ears and stopped her in her tracks.
Bubbles immediately sank down into a crouch and scanned the surrounding area. That hadn't been her imagination, of that she was sure. Again, she heard a soft crash.
There! To her right.
Cautiously Bubbles crept towards the offending noise. It wasn't rhythmical or in any sort of pattern, which gave her a sense of relief. It wasn't a robot then. That meant that it was either a stray animal that somehow got in or maybe even a human…or a zombie. Bubbles shook her head. Now was definitely not the time to let her mind become distracted.
The longer she walked the more the sound grew and soon she stood just outside a sporting goods store from where emanated from. As silently as possible, she slid her machete out of its sheath on her back and looked around the corner. There rooting through a pile of fallen racks filled with baseball paraphernalia, was a human figure.
She blinked a couple times in shock at the discovery. The figure let out a grunt as it detached a solid wooden bat from the pile. By the sound of its voice and the height, Bubbles was sure it was a man.
Her assumption was proven correct as the figure suddenly turned around to face her, the bat held in a defensive posture. Their eyes met and both of them froze. Bubbles couldn't help but take in his appearance as they stood there.
He was over a head taller than her diminutive five foot five height. Not too much older than herself, though it was hard to tell with his head hidden as it was. A dark, billed beanie covered his hair while a frayed bandana wrapped over his nose and hid his mouth. He wore a dirty, deep gray hoodie over a blue plaid button up shirt. Jeans and dirty runners completed the vagabond look he was sporting.
His outfit was stained and ripped in numerous places, but she did notice some of the holes that had been stitched closed. That meant this guy had supplies and knew how to use them. A needle and thread were hard objects to find unless you knew where to look. Not your typical refugee scavenging for supplies then. Who was he?
They stood in silence, weapons held out before them, and for a minute they just starred at each other. When he didn't make any movement towards her, Bubble took a deep breath and made the first move. She slowly lowered her weapon to her side.
She didn't think he was with the Simian Empire. Anyone who allied themselves with Mojo Jojo would have attacked by now. Of course, there was no way anyone allied with Mojo would be scavenging for a wooden bat in an old mall in the first place. But, just because you weren't part of Mojo's regime didn't mean you weren't an enemy. The question still remained, was this guy a friend or a foe?
Or a neutral party? That was a lot more probable than a friend out here.
The young man slowly followed her lead and let his bat sink towards the ground. So he wasn't an outright enemy, which was good to know. What was he doing in here though? This was the first person Bubbles had seen that wasn't a part of the Resistance in almost two months.
Did he live in the ruins of Old Townsville? Or was he passing through? Maybe he was a refugee from New Townsville? None of those options seemed likely, especially when the ruins of Old Townsville were crawling with Simian troops. Yet here he was, and he didn't look like he was going to strike up conversation anytime soon. It appeared the only way she was going to get answers was to ask some questions.
"Who are you?" She kept her voice soft as she spoke. There could be more people hiding in nearby stores and if they weren't already alerted to her presence she wanted to keep it that way.
The young man gave no response; he only looked at her with unreadable eyes. Bubbles twitched her shoulders nervously at his intense gaze. Not off to the greatest start. This could still work, maybe a different question?
"What are you doing here?" Her hand tightened around the handle of her machete and she flinched back as he waved the bat he held lightly. It took a second to realize he wasn't threatening her, he was gesturing towards the bat he held.
"You were scavenging for a bat?" He gave a light nod in response.
'Doesn't say much does he?' Bubbles thought to herself. 'At least he answered this time... kinda.'
"Are there more of you around here?" Again all she got was a blank stare. She let out a small sigh of frustration. Here she had finally met someone and they didn't talk. Awesome. How was she supposed to find out anything if he didn't speak a word to her?
At this point Bubbles was pretty certain that any further questions would be met with the same response: a deadpan look. Unfortunately, the only thing she could think to do was walk away. She didn't want to fight him; she already had plenty of enemies. Talking had proved pointless. There weren't many options left for her to exercise.
Bubbles slid her machete into its sheath and slowly walked backwards out of the store. He made no attempt to move or follow her, but his eyes stayed on her until she passed around the corner and out of sight. As she traced her steps back towards the clothing store she listened for any sounds of footsteps trailing after her. There were none.
She left out a silent sigh of relief as she made her way back to the clothing stores, but she couldn't help but begin doubting herself. Had she handled that correctly? Could she have done more to get a response out of him? Should she have beaten the answers out of him?
Bubbles gave her head a shake at the absurdity of that last thought. She needed to think like Blossom in type of situation, not Buttercup. There probably was a path she could have chosen that would have led to a different outcome; she just couldn't see it though. That was always her problem.
Bubbles let her doubts slide away as she came up to her destination. What was done was done and nothing could change it now. When she got back to base she'd tell Blossom and get her opinion on the matter. Her eldest sister always seemed to have a solution for everything. Maybe she would learn something useful for the next time she ran into a random stranger in a deserted city.
So caught up in her thoughts, Bubbles failed to recognize the distant clanking sounds that echoed through the mall. Nor did she notice the metal beam jutting out into her path as she walked onwards.
The beam stood just below her knees and Bubbles tripped right over it with a small squeak.
She landed hard on her hands and knees. Ouch, that would leave a bruise. The beam she ran into tumbled to the floor and the series of beams it was holding up gave way above her. Within seconds a whole section of roof was tumbling down around Bubbles and she barely had time to scramble away.
The dust swirled in the air as she raised her scarf to her nose and tried to waft it away. The sound of the commotion still rang through the deserted mall as the dust settled. As it traveled farther away Bubbles ears picked up the sound she had previously overlooked.
It was a familiar sound.
The distant clanking that she hadn't paid attention to before was now louder and closer. Her eyebrows scrunched down as she focused on the noise…and then her eyes opened wide. Fear shot through her heart as the clanking registered in her brain.
Losing no time, Bubbles shoved herself up and began sprinting down the walkways, away from the terrible monstrosity that was coming. Forget about the scavenging mission now! There was no way that Collector hadn't detected that racket she had just made. It would come and investigate.
Oh this was bad, so terribly bad. Her feet pounded against the tiled floor as she booked it down the empty mall walkways. Tension began clenching her shoulders as she counting every passing second. She had to get out of here; she couldn't be caught by that thing! That would disastrous!
But she needed to stay calm too. 'Calm Bubbles, calm! You're doing good girl. Just need to run a bit faster, just a bit more.' She thought to herself as she ran.
She could do this! She could make it out, with the supplies she had gathered, and avoid that monstrosity that was inching ever closer to her position. No worries…
She was half way to the entrance when it happened.
The wall to her right burst apart like it was hit with a cannon ball and sent her tumbling to the ground. Coughing away the dust, Bubbles looked towards the hole and let out a panicked gasp.
A metal claw nearly the same size as her retracted through the broken wall. The dull sunlight shown on the pockmarked metal, highlighting the rust and what could have been dried blood. She wasn't sure, but she really didn't want a closer look to find out.
Scrambling to her feet, Bubbles resumed her sprint towards the mall entrance as three more claws began ripping at the opening. It wasn't long before the clanking resumed and came chasing after her, the ominous sound magnified in the cavernous space.
She threw a quick glance over her shoulder. Yep, if the large metal claws hadn't confirmed it earlier, the single large red eye glaring down at her did.
That was Collector alright.
Eighteen feet tall and cased in dull metal, it almost resembled a spider. Eight legs jutted out from the large cylindrical chassis which held that one glowing red eye.
Collectors were the deadliest weapon Mojo Jojo had in his arsenal. In the early years they had been mainly used to round up the populous and deposit them in processing centers, hence the name Collectors.
They were equipped with not only optical sight, but sonar and heat sensing vision as well. They were ideal for their job. None one had been able to hide from a Collector for long. Escaping one was like a badge of honor, few ever managed the feat. Now though, with all of the people captured, processed, and registered in most of the conquered world, the Collectors had been refitted.
They no longer collected people, they butchered them. Mojo's thinking apparently being, if they haven't been subdued yet, they never would be. Better to just eliminate the problem.
Not only did Collectors have their eight deadly claws that could crush a man, they were also equipped with a small arsenal that include, but was not limited to: twin flame throwers, a high powered laser, and a number of harpoons that measured between three and eight feet in length.
To be hit by one of the small harpoons would slow you down drastically. Being hit by their larger counterpart was certain death. The Collectors excelled at their new protocol. Bubbles had seen many people fall to the deadly machines and had been in a couple close calls herself. She knew from experience, Collectors rarely lost their prey.
Bubbles slid under a patchwork of beams and just narrowly avoided being skewered by a series of small javelins. She dodged around field of shivering metal that had just sprouted in front of her and bolted down the corridor as fast as she could.
Impossible as it was to believe, after a minute or two, she was actually creating some distance between the metal monstrosity and herself. Collectors might be good out in the open, but in smaller spaces it held the disadvantage. She could sneak through this maze easily enough, but the Collector would have to physically remove any objects that blocked its path.
Another glance over her shoulder showed the Collector carelessly swiping at offending beams and rubble that barred it from its prey. It didn't seem to mind the chucks of ceiling crumbling in its wake or the fact that it nearly buried itself a couple times. Collectors were single minded machines. Only the prey mattered.
The time it wasted on clearing a path let Bubbles increase the gap between them. A small burst of hope spread through her. She could do this, she could out run this Collector and make it outside. From there it was a just a matter of traveling the cramped alley ways until it lost track of her.
Piece of cake...right.
Bubbles bit her lip and turned an upcoming corner. A large thud assaulted her ears and the world tilted before her head smacked into the tiled floor.
What the hell? With a grunt, Bubbles sat up and looked at the obstruction in her path that knocked her down. In front of her, in the exact same position was the young man from before. His eyes no longer held that unreadable detached quality; instead they now mirrored the panic that was surely reflecting in her own.
He scrambled to his feet first and made to run off, but then he hesitated. Looking between her and the corner that hid the Collector from view, he let out a frustrated sigh. Bubbles was caught off guard as he reached down and yanked her to her feet. She latched onto his coat to catch her balance as the world righted itself.
Once she was on her feet he began pulling her away. Who was this guy? What was he doing? Why was he pulling her? Where was he taking her? Questions raced through her mind as she stumbled.
Wait, where was he taking her?!
"What you think you're doing?! Let me go!" She yelled as she tried to pull her arm from his grasp. She had no luck in that area though and his grip tightened.
"Shh! I know a way out." His soft voice caught her completely off guard. That was the total opposite of what she had been expecting. Him even talking was the total opposite of what she had been expecting actually.
Her struggling stopped as the sound of the Collector grew behind them. She threw a look over her shoulder. It had spotted the both of them and was catching up quickly due to their run in. There went her lead on the machine. That wouldn't do, time to get some of it back.
It's amazing how the threat of death motivates a person.
She picked up the pace and soon both she and the stranger were sprinting down the walkways at full speed, dodging obstacles and sometimes intentionally causing cave-ins, anything to slow the robot down. Their unspoken plan worked and the Collector fell further behind as they ran on.
Bubbles was starting to feel hope rise within her again when the Collector began emitting a high pitched sound. A signal for something. Bubbles struggled to remember the sound from before. Somewhere in her past she had heard it.
It was during a battle, somewhere in the chaos. Her eyes opened wide as it came to her. That was a call for re-enforcements. It was calling for more! They were trouble, big trouble. No amount of running could save them if there were others close by.
Bubbles nearly crashed into the man in front of her as he skidded to a stop and kicked open an emergency door situated in an unobtrusive alcove she had missed. He pulled her inside and together they descended a set of stairs into the darkness below.
As they reached the last step, a claw burst through the open doorway above them and lodged itself into the opposing wall. Small chunks of rubble rained down and they wasted no time running down the next flight of stairs. Deeper and deeper they descended, leaving the Collector behind.
The sounds of its screeching signal and the destruction it was causing gradually faded as they ran down flight after flight of stairs. This was brilliant! Even if more Collectors came, they would spend precious time digging away at the small space. She didn't quite know how far down they were, but it would be enough to hold off the Collectors and give them time to escape.
With the immediate danger gone, Bubbles was able to regain her equilibrium and calm down her chaotic thoughts. She turned her focus towards the stranger in front of her.
She was impressed; she had known he wasn't your everyday run of the mill scavenger, but he was handling their situation remarkably well. Better than she herself was. She was embarrassed to admit it but it was true.
Maybe meeting this young man had thrown her off balance but she was a soldier in the Resistance and a Powerpuff Girl to boot. Even a rookie wouldn't have run into a pile of rubble like she had, or panicked at the sight of a Collector.
Okay, maybe they would have done that… No definitely, everyone panicked when a Collector was nearby. Everyone, but this guy evidently. They slowed down to a light jog with the stranger still in the lead.
"Do you know where you're going?" She quietly asked him as they felt their way along the walls.
"This leads to an emergency exit." His soft spoken voice still shocked her. For someone who had such an intense gaze he had a rather sweet sounding voice. And he had spoken twice now. All it took was one of the most dangerous weapons in Mojo's army to get him to do it too.
Bubbles stifled the absurd giggle that tried to escape at the thought. That was the discombobulated part of her brain acting up again. Focus! She needed to be in control of her emotions if she wanted to get out of this alive. They weren't out in the clear yet.
An exit must have been up ahead if the lessening darkness was any indication. She nearly tripped on the stairs that led up to their salvation but luckily she caught the handrail in time. The stranger led the way up to the exit and as she gazed at his back she couldn't help but wonder about him.
He had a surprising amount of endurance, for sprinting almost nonstop for the past ten minutes he was barely even breathing heavily. Before she could ask him about that, light exploded in her vision and blinded her as he kicked open the door to the outside world. It took them precious seconds to blink back the stars and get their bearings.
The high pitched whining signal had multiplied during their underground foray and sounded like they were close by. Obviously the Collector wasn't by its lonesome anymore. Perfect.
If they caught onto their heat signatures….well, that would be bad.
"We have to get away from here now." Bubbles said anxiously. The man nodded at her and gestured down the street.
"I know a place we can hide." He took off running and Bubbles had no choice but to follow him.
Unfortunately, the little detour they had taken wasn't enough to throw off the Collector off their tail. Barely two minutes into their escape, it suddenly clambered out from a side street as they passed by and it wasn't alone.
Two more followed closely behind and together they began chasing the humans as they tried to escape. At the sight of three Collectors, Bubbles survival instinct took control and she threw it into overdrive. She sprinted past the stranger, grabbing his hand as she passed him. He surprisingly kept up with her as they booked it down the street.
Abruptly, a car flew over their heads and crashed into the ground in front of them. Dirt and pavement sprayed up from the impact and they lost precious seconds dodging around the obstacle. That was another thing about Collectors, they may be single minded but they were smart about how they attacked their prey.
As the two of them ran through the obstacle course like street, Bubbles glanced over her shoulder and frowned. Two Collectors were hot on their heels, picking up debris and hurling it at them with frightful ease. But where was the third one? If these robots were following a pack mentality then it meant that the third one had taken a cross street and would try to cut them off up ahead. Wonderful.
She sure hoped this guy knew what he was doing because things were not looking good for them. One Collector was bad enough, three were horrible. Bubbles couldn't recall a time in her mind when she had heard of someone escaping that many.
That was not a comforting thought.
A subdued concussion sounded behind her and Bubbles looked back just in time to see one of the larger harpoon shooting straight at her back. Instead of being smart and relying on her training to take her out of harm's way, Bubbles could only gape stupidly at projectile hurtling towards her.
Before it hit, a force slammed into her side and she was knocked out of the way, rolling across the ground.
Bubbles heard a pained yell and looked up to see the stranger on the ground a few feet in front of her, clutching at his arm with a pain grimace. He had just shoved her out of the way. She barely spared a moment of wonder at the thought and scrambled over towards him.
A brief glance at his wound showed the upper portion of his arm missing a good part of its flesh. Ouchie. Another concussion sounded from behind and Bubbles barely managed to yank the man away as another harpoon buried itself into the ground where they had been.
"Get up!" The blonde yelled at the stranger as she helped haul him up.
He staggered to his feet and together they half sprinted half stumbled down a nearby alleyway. The tight space would buy them a little time. Hopefully.
"Which way do we need to go?" She asked him while looking at the different branching paths. There were so many. Did he even know where they were anymore, because she was totally lost now. He took a few painful breaths before standing up and pointing.
"That way, come on." He grunted, running down the right most path.
They raced through the alleyway, but the Collectors were hot on their heels after having taken to the rooftops. This was not buying them as much time as she had hoped. The man ahead of her stumbled once more as they dodged around some over turned trash cans. Another rain of harpoons shot down at them from up above.
Bubbles grimaced as one came dangerously close to her leg. At this point she was sure the alleyway was helping them at all, but then again being out in the open would be just as deadly. This day was turning out to be one bad situation after another. When would it end?
Not with her turned into a pin cushion, lying dead on the street she hoped.
Up ahead the buildings came to an end and the two of them shot out from the alleyway into a broad, open street. Before them was large park and in the center of it stood a short, stunted mountain.
Bubbles stopped dead in her tracks as she gazed at the twisted formation of rock. The one time volcano had long past caved in and cooled down, but, against her will, Bubbles memory dredged up the day it had boiled and erupted. The day that volcano had become a monument to the final battle between the Powerpuff Girls and the supreme evil genius, Mojo Jojo.
AN: Alright! So here it is! My very first story on Fanfiction. I have been a rabid reader of fan fiction for a very long time but this is the first time I've ever submitted something. So please, if you liked what you read, drop a review down below. I would greatly appreciate any form of critiques or insights on my story. And if you did like it, then stay tuned! I will be updating 'Misconceptions' every Saturday! Thanks for reading, hope to see you in the next chapter!