• Published 22nd May 2019
  • 2,907 Views, 301 Comments

Sun Never Sets - CrownofDissonance



The gates of the underworld are opening for the first time in two thousand years. It's up to Sunset Shimmer, demon hunter extrordinaire, to slam 'em shut.

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07- The Residence of Evil

The sky turned a darker shade of red, and the sun had seemingly disappeared from the sky. It was like the day had suddenly been cut short.

Spitfire drove her armored truck through Canterlot City, finding less and less abandoned cars and more and more dead bodies in the illumination of the tall street lights. It was unsettling.

With Rainbow Dash now awake, Flash Sentry had climbed into the back of the truck, sitting on the bench across from her.

"Demons?" Rainbow was shaken as Flash explained recent events, but she wasn't outwardly terrified like Rarity was. She straightened her jacket out, and a determined look formed on her face. "Right. What do you need me to do?"

"Just stay here, Spitfire and I will take care of things."

"Oh no, I'm not sitting this out." Rainbow crossed her arms. "They're my friends too. If I can help, I'm going to."

"We don't need to put any more people at risk than necessary." Flash said. "Besides, It's not like we're going to be charging head first into battle..."

"About that..." Spitfire could see the police station up ahead, but there was a group of demons there, raising another bloody spire in the center of the gated courtyard out front.

"We're going to have to find-" Flash began, but didn't get to finish his sentence.

A large demon with an axe slung across its back abruptly dropped in front of them, and Spitfire slammed on the brakes.

The demon's fist hit the truck and it spun out of control, the back end smashing in between two parked cars to the side of the station. In front of them, they could see the demon taking heavy, threatening steps in their direction, with a car held up above its head in both hands.

"Spitfire, come on!" Flash motioned for her to follow, kicking open the truck's back doors. He and Rainbow fell out in the alley running around the back of the station.

"No time!" Spitfire rolled out of the side door, leaving her on the other side of the wall of vehicles. She ducked as the demon tossed the car, and it topped off the pile, creating a barrier of metal between the alley and the street.

"Spitfire!" Flash called, looking at her through the shattered car windows.

"Can you still reach the back of the truck?" She asked.

There was another car crushing it in half, but the back of the SWAT truck was still open. On the ground, a bunch of gear had fallen out in a pile. "Yeah, there's some stuff here."

"There's a disposable rocket launcher in the back, I need it!" Spitfire turned around, not pleased to see the demon getting closer. "Now!"

It was a long piece of tube with a handle and a sight, one of the first things Flash saw in the pile. He held it through the car window, and she hastily reached out and grabbed it from him.

"Thanks!" She said. "Now go- I'll meet up with you in the police station after I take this guy down."

Flash went back to the gear pile, seeing if he could take anything with him. It was mostly empty weapon cases, but buried among them he found a small handgun in a holster, a stun grenade, a pair of bolt cutters and a breaching hammer. The stun grenade went on a clip on his vest, and he picked the handgun out of the pile.

"I guess I'm gonna get to help out after all," Rainbow said, looking quite excited.

"Ever fired a gun before?" Flash asked, offering her the holstered weapon.

"Uh... Paintball guns." Rainbow said. She accepted it, but seemed a bit embarrassed that her answer was a no. "It's not that much different, is it?"

"It kicks a lot more, for one." Flash watched as Rainbow took it, correctly placing the holster around her shoulder without him having to say anything. "Point it at the ground and keep your finger off the trigger unless you're going to shoot."

"Yeah, yeah, I know how to be careful." Rainbow awkwardly removed the pistol's magazine and counted out the shots in it, and pulled the slide back to make sure the chamber was clear in a similarly unfamiliar way. She seemed to know what to do with it, but it was obvious she had little experience actually handling it.

Flash decided to trust Rainbow's annoyed dismissal of him for the time being, and made his way down the alley. She was impatient and rash at times, but she seemed level headed enough, especially considering that demons were trying to kill everyone in the city.

The soft echoing of their footsteps was all that was heard as they followed the space between the two buildings. At any moment, Flash was expecting to hear a blast from the rocket launcher he had given Spitfire, or perhaps the repeated rattling of her machine gun, but as the silence continued he became concerned. Hopefully they would meet up again.

The silence in general was strange, he at least expected to hear other demons shuffling and crawling about, but all he could identify was the distant stomping of the big one out in the street. It felt off.

Their path eventually split off into two directions, one to a dead end wall and the other to a gated, chain link fence that lead to the back of the police station. The fence was secured with a heavy chain and padlock, and had a set of short spiked bits along the top, discouraging anyone from climbing over it. Even if he had the key, Flash couldn't get the padlock through to his side of the gate.

"Locked." Rainbow said, giving the gate a shake. The sound of the links clanging together put Flash on edge.

"Please try to be quiet," He said. "We're not going in guns blazing, this isn't an action movie."

"Oh, sorry." Rainbow's hand retracted. "So we're doing this more like a spy movie?"

"It's not like a movie at all, it's..." Halfway through the sentence, it occurred to him that Rainbow's understanding of firearms likely came through movies. Her understanding of anything dangerous would likely be through movies. He’d have to work with that. "If anything, it's like a horror movie."

In simple terms, that was a surprisingly accurate way to describe his day. Rainbow's expression shifted, realizing what that might mean for them.

"Oh." She said. Some of her eagerness left her.

Flash turned back the way they came, and a few moments later he returned with the bolt cutters from the back of the truck. He clamped them around the metal chain and pressed in on the handles.

"Everything I've encountered today would've killed me had it not been for someone else saving me," He said. The cutters did their job well, breaking the chain apart and allowing them to open the gate. "We can't fight them head on."

As Flash crossed the gate, Rainbow hesitated to follow. If she was afraid, it wasn't showing, but she obviously had some reservation.

He put the bolt cutters down and turned back to her. "You sure you want to come with me?"

"Yeah, of course," She didn't sound quite as confident as before. By no means was she obliged to, but she still was determined to follow through. "Our friends need us."

"They do," Flash agreed. "So we need to stay alive."

Following the path along the back of the police station led to a taller, steel railed fence separating the back alley from a boxed in yard. All of the station's outside lights were out, making it tough to see, but Flash made out a backdoor beyond the fence, and saw two police cruisers parked next to each other. It was a parking lot, with a road leading out of the back. A possible exit, perhaps.

On their side of the fence, a door was immediately visible on the corner of the station's east wing. Unfortunately, it was made of reinforced steel and locked electronically, it didn't budge when Flash tried to open it. Checking around the side of the building they found another short gate dividing the front courtyard from the back alley, but also a side door.

"This one's locked too..." Flash said, trying the handle. It didn't have an electronic lock, and looked to be made of a thinner metal. Seemed like a poor design, having another entrance easily accessible from the reinforced one...

"What about that sledgehammer back there, you think that would work?" Rainbow asked.

No way he was knocking down the first one, but this one seemed like a normal door. It would be loud as hell, but there didn't seem to be another way in.

-----

It took her a minute to get around the huge, axe wielding demon blocking her way, but as soon as she had an opening, Spitfire ran.

The demon was slow following after her, but took wide steps, somewhat making up for its lack of speed. She was only barely outpacing it. The disposable rocket launcher had a shoulder sling, but the weighty weapon smacked against her side as she pumped her arms, making running that more exhausting. The machine gun slung around her front was a bit more manageable, but it dragged against the hood of a car as she jumped over it, making more work for her to pull herself through.

Her body tilted too far as she came down on the other side of the car, she tried to roll, but her gear was too heavy, and she fell flat. Sparing a glance back as she picked herself up, she saw the demon's axe chopping down, biting into the car's roof and smashing it flat, just about cleaving it in half.

Spitfire only had a moment to scan her surroundings before she would share the car's fate. The gates leading into the police station's courtyard were open, but many smaller demons were congregating around their spire, dragging bodies closer to it, performing some kind of ritual. What Flash said about them needing blood came to mind, and she spent her first moment correctly deciding that she would not go through the front. The only other immediate entry was around the left side, which had another alleyway around it. Police stations in these parts of towns always had to be packed in with other buildings.

The west alley was her target.

Again, Spitfire ran.

Her hope was dampened as she heard metal creaking behind her. She didn't have to look back, she knew the demon was flinging another car, and she dove to ground. It passed over her, and landed right in front of the alleyway, catching fire as it slid. The path wasn't blocked off completely, but she was too weighed down to climb over a burning car and escape in time.

Unless...

Spitfire remembered her tactical plate, it had been split in half by a demon before and both pieces were pressing against her body awkwardly. They had done their job, but weren't going to be protecting her anymore. Picking herself up and running again, she reached into her vest, her fingers slipping through the slot in the mesh and pulling out the heavy, rigid pieces of metal.

That was five less pounds she had to carry. It wasn't much, but she felt like she was going to have to jump over that car whether she wanted to or not, so she might as well lighten the load as much as possible. The footsteps were getting closer behind her, and following were subtle quakes in the ground.

With sweat drenching her entire body and the strain in her muscles reaching unbearable levels, Spitfire put her foot on the car, the heated metal stinging her for only a moment as she gripped the upwards facing door. She kicked up as soon as her hands made contact, trying to get as much momentum as possible to aid in the work of heaving her body and gear over the vehicle. Her hands burned sharply for the entirety of the six seconds it took to pull herself up, but then went numb as she fell onto her front on the other side.

She didn't register any of the pain, she was focused on getting the rocket launcher ready. What she was about to do was risky, but she didn't want to leave this monster to roam about. Hopefully, his peers wouldn't miss him.

Traversing the burning car was no problem for the demon, just barely fitting in the cramped space between buildings to chase after Spitfire. She didn't bother getting up, she was scooting away in a sitting position, looking down the sight of the rocket launcher, lining it up with the car as the demon climbed over it.

Hoping she was far enough away, she fired the rocket off, its payload digging into the car and detonating right beneath the demon, also igniting whatever fuel was left in its tank. The blast was deafening, and Spitfire rolled to face the ground, covering the back of her head with her hands. She felt bits of metal rain down on her, a few striking the armor plate she had on her back. That one was still intact, and held strong.

After confirming that she was still alive, she peeked out to inspect the damage. The top half of the demon was nothing but unrecognizable pieces scattered across the alley, and portions of the walls to either side had collapsed on it. The bottom half was nowhere to be seen, but she was fairly sure it wouldn't be going anywhere anytime soon.

She threw the empty rocket launcher aside. They were designed to be single use, and weren't reloadable. Standing and checking over her senses again, she felt something alarming, and very off. Her entire body was in pain, that was to be expected, except for her hands. For some reason, she felt a tingling numbness in her hands.

"Oh..." She breathed, looking down at her hands and realizing what she had done. "Oh, no..."

Spitfire refused to wear gloves. During training, during missions, even while operating in cold weather. Unless she was going into a freezing snowstorm, she wouldn't put them on. They hindered her dexterity a considerable amount, and she had much quicker aiming and draw speeds without them.

Today was the day she would finally regret her stubbornness.

The insides of her hands, from her palms to her fingertips, were a complete swirl of red and bright white. They were blistered all over, stiff to move, and most frighteningly, she couldn't feel them at all. Her hands had made full contact with the burning car, and her exposed skin was subsequently seared; she felt not a single nerve sending signals to her brain. Her senses were completely severed.

She trembled and balled her fists. Had she worn the gloves issued to her, she may not have burned herself as badly, but she hadn't, and now her hands were scorched all the way to the bone. Just by looking at them, she knew she wasn't going to recover fully.

This wasn't the time to be distracted, she needed to keep going.

She did an inventory check as she walked down the alley. She had her machine gun, an extra magazine, a combat knife, and her radio. Not much. Everything else she had loaded up with at the beginning of the day had been lost or used already. Looking at it a bit closer, she saw that the radio had cracks along the casing- it was attached to the front of her uniform, and had taken some damage.

"Oh, please work..." Spitfire whispered, moving her numb fingers across the switch and turning the frequency knob. No sound came out. The display showed jumbled information as well. "Ugh..."

Keep going, she told herself.

The path let out behind the police station, where a steel fence blocked her off from a parking lot. She neared the station's west wing, and could see a closed garage for the police cruisers to use. No lights were on though, so it was hard to make out anything else through the darkness.

The only door on the side of the building was reinforced and had an electronic lock, not something she could access. Through a bit of fencing separating the side passage from the front courtyard, she could see demons wandering down the street. No doubt, they were investigating the explosion, and wouldn't be happy to see their heavy hitter in pieces. It wouldn't be long until they caught up with her.

Perhaps there was an escape, pressed up against the fence to the courtyard was a dumpster. If she stood on it, she might be able to climb over it. She did just that, dropping to a kneel on the other side of the fence. The flat tops of the vertical railing dug into her hands, but she had no sensation associated with it. It was odd, but it made climbing easier in that way.

A few demons still lingered in the courtyard, and she laid herself flat on the grass, poking her head through a hedge to avoid being seen. She went unnoticed, instead the demons were focused on the spire. It was lighting up, glowing, but the demons didn't seem to be pleased with this. They were backing away and giving each other concerned looks, as if something was going wrong with their device. One of the skeleton ones cried out, and several others came over to help it.

They exchanged words that Spitfire couldn't make sense of, but it was clear they were concerned. The tallest of the demons, only standing a head taller than the others, inspected things around the spire's base. A pool of blood was flowing into it from the surrounding bodies, but that's what it was supposed to do, right? Their leader held a clawed hand out, and they all backed away, readying their weapons as a purple swirling hole opened in the air before them.

The spire lit up brighter. It was functioning, but not as the demons wanted. Something was walking through the rift it was making, something they were cowering from. The thought of something inspiring that much fear in a demon chilled Spitfire's blood as well.

Two faded purple boots stepped onto the paved ground. They were of a thick, smooth metal, bulky, and looked as if they had marched through the depths of hell. Above them stood a figure clad in a futuristic armor, their boots only a part of a just-as-bulky power suit with faintly glowing blue lights on the chest and shoulders. Their helmet was wide, with several cables connecting it to the rest of the suit, and a cracked, flat visor that completely masked their face.

Deep scratches and endless superficial damage told a story of a hundred battles, and the purple color scratched away to grey in some areas, but it only stood as testament to the armor's durability. They stood tall, this warrior, this hellish soldier, clearly something of terror to the demons present. The demons made no sound, nor did the soldier. For a long couple of moments, nobody did anything. The Hellsoldier didn't need to though, on their own they radiated a deathly energy. It was like the Grim Reaper was standing behind them, ready to collect the soul of whoever stood in their path.

Then, the Hellsoldier took a single step forward, before instantly transitioning to running full speed toward the closest demon, pulling its weapon from its hands. Ducking down as the demon feebly attempted a counterattack, the Hellsoldier knocked it off of its feet with a sweep of their leg, then punched it down, shattering both its body and the ground on impact.

Seeing an ally getting his face stomped in, another demon rose his sword to attack, but the Hellsoldier caught the blade, and gripping it tightly, bent it into a ninety degree angle. It was then ripped away from the demon just as easily as the first, only to be stabbed right back through its chest. The Hellsoldier kicked this demon to the ground, then ran at two of the skeletal demons. The soldier held their arms up as the demons pelted them with consecutive fireballs, but the blasts of heat seemed only a light rainstorm; the Hellsoldier ran straight through them unhindered. Seconds later, the soldier closed the gap, taking the skeletal demons by their heads and smashing them together. The biggest demon present, right behind the two skeletons, howled and screeched as it brought its blade back over its head, attempting to intimidate the Hellsoldier before it struck.

The attempt failed, and their leader was punched straight in the chest, a wide crater being made where the armored fist made contact, after which the demon flew backwards through the police station doors before it had time to even bleed. It was almost comedic, the impact didn't even break the hinges, the demon simply passed through the wood, making a demon-shaped hole at the center of where the two doors once met. Spitfire would've laughed, were she not desperately holding her breath, keeping as still as possible and praying to whatever gods there were that she remained unnoticed.

Her request would be answered. The remaining demons fled out into the street, prompting the Hellsoldier to walk threateningly after them. Spitfire knew, the demons knew, and the soldier themself knew: Those demons were all going to die.

Spitfire's heart was racing. Obviously, the Hellsoldier was no friend of demons, but she wasn't willing to place bets on their opinion on humans. They were likely a powerful demon themself, being able to toss around what Spitfire assumed to be regular footsoldiers. As weak as they might be compared to each other, even the weakest ones could easily take her out if she wasn't careful.

Rising to a crouch and moving as quietly as possible, she crept to the now opened police station doors and went inside, hoping the Hellsoldier didn't have business in there too.

-----

Any noise that Flash would've made hammering the door down was drowned out by an explosion somewhere on the other side of the building. Bringing the head of his hammer right on the handle he broke the lock in less than a minute, and he pried it open with the crowbar-like hook on the end. All that greeted his efforts was a barely lit hallway. Things looked undisturbed, minus a few blood marks on the wall and empty bullet casings on the ground.

Rainbow stuck close behind him as he entered, gripping the breaching hammer tight in anticipation. He wasn't sure how useful it would be as a weapon, but it was what he had on hand at the moment.

The main lights were out, the only sources were from emergency lights placed sparsely along the walls. The whole place seemed to be having power issues.

A buzzing sound caught his attention, and he plugged his earpiece into his radio, putting it into his ear. Rainbow stepped past him as he listened in, walking down the hallway to the nearest doorway.

"Hello?" Flash heard a rough, yet hushed voice over his radio. It was Sergeant Colt, he was still alive! "I'm picking up an open radio signal. If anyone is there, please respond..."

"Sergeant Colt, it's Agent Sentry." Flash said, equally as hushed. "I'm in the police station. Where are you?"

"I'm in the panic room, just behind the armory. I've got your two friends in here with me, we've been safe in here since the demons showed up but..." Colt let out a pained sigh. "I don't know how much more fight I've got left in me."

"Are you injured?" Flash asked. He looked for Rainbow, finding she'd gone into a room with a tiled floor, and filled with lockers. She was looking through them, trying to see what she could find in the open ones.

"Yeah, and there's not much I can do for it right now." Flash heard him take another painful breath in. "I've lost all of my squad on top of that..."

They likely didn't stand a chance. "Are there demons in the station?"

"Yeah, a good bunch of them. They tore everyone apart, there was nothing we could do..." As Colt talked, Flash tried to get a better grasp of his surroundings. Outside of the locker room there was a hallway leading into darkness and the door to a detective's office.

"How do we get into the panic room?"

"You'll need two separate badges with high enough clearance. Your Seraph badge should work for the first, but I don't know what to do for the second one. Maybe the police chief's badge? I don't..." Colt paused to cough. "I don't think he'll be needing it anymore."

The uselessness of police in these kinds of circumstances was unfortunate, but not unexpected. It was something Flash struggled with during his time as an officer, it seemed anything out of the ordinary was enough to throw the police onto their back foot, no matter how extreme it was. There was too much protocol and yellow tape, it was like the laws they were enforcing were designed to make things harder on everyone everyone else with little regard for nuance. Once order was broken, there was little they could do to restore it without making it ten times worse first. And when demons and monsters and magic got involved, they might as well just stay out of the way.

"I'll see what I can do, hang tight." Flash brought his attention back to Rainbow, but kept his earpiece in. The conversation ended, and was replaced with eerie silence. She was now pointing a flashlight around to darker parts of the room, revealing a small desk in the corner, on which was placed three keys on a keyring.

"Probably could use these, huh?" Rainbow looked at them a bit closer, seeing each one had a small bit of tape on them, with a few letters describing what they unlocked. "Admin, cells, and armory."

"The Admin Offices, we need to get there."

"Huh?" Rainbow asked. She wasn't aware of the conversation Flash just had. "Why?"

"We need the police chief's badge, I'll explain on the way."

Walking cautiously but hurriedly, Flash stepped out of the locker room and into the hallway. Nothing had changed, and he breathed a sigh of relief. A small part of him was expecting something to be creeping around, but so far, there was nothing. He quietly relayed the information of their friends and how to get to them to Rainbow, who only nodded her head, and kept the flashlight pointed in front of them.

Flash didn't know the station's layout as well as he'd liked, but knew that the Administrative Offices would be in the west wing, and the armory was in the middle of the station. Were the lights on, navigating these hallways would be much quicker, and maybe take a few minutes, but in the dark and tense atmosphere, the corridors seemed endless. It seemed very wrong, like it was a completely different place.

Somewhere in the center of the station, they came to a crossing of hallways. Past the intersection was a metal blast door leading into the east wing. There was a regular door just past the intersection too, likely worth checking out if they couldn't move the blast door.

There was another light around the corner, and as they passed Flash turned his head to see another emergency light where that hallway ended. It didn't reach into the hallway they were going down, though, so Rainbow still had to hold the flashlight.

Flash propped the breaching hammer he was still carrying against the wall, bent his knees, and grabbing the blast door handles, he lifted up. It didn't budge.

"Here, let me help," Rainbow set the flashlight down so that pointed towards them, and put her strength in with Flash's. Even though her career was being a musician, Rainbow still stayed physically active and was surprisingly strong, but the door still remained where it was.

"It's got some bolting mechanism," Flash said, shaking the door back and forth to find it wouldn't give in any direction.

"Let me guess, we can't open it without the power on?"

"I wouldn't think so." Flash sighed.

"What even happened to the power?"

"I don't know, maybe some power lines got knocked over during the demon attack."

"Well, how are we supposed to get through? Knock the surrounding walls down?"

Flash looked at the breaching hammer. Even if it were possible, it'd take way too long, and he'd likely tire himself out in the process. They didn't have that kind of time, nor did he want to get taken off guard by a potential threat.

At the thought of that, he heard something behind him, coming from where the hallways crossed. Footsteps, something scraping along the ground, and a raspy breathing. A shadow was cast in the gap between walls, of a thin, tall figure, hunched over, carrying a large stick behind them. A demon, no doubt.

Flash took the hammer and pressed himself against the wall, looking back to Rainbow and pointing to the wall opposite. He then made the shape of a gun with a hand, then pointed it at where the hallway crossed, specifically, in the direction the shadow was being cast from.

Rainbow looked at him in confusion. She drew her pistol, but was unsure of the second command.

"Watch the corner," Flash whispered. "If it crosses, shoot."

"What are you doing?" Rainbow replied, just as quietly.

Flash lifted his hammer a little, and then nodded back to the shadow, slowly getting closer. He inched along the wall, getting as close to the corner as possible without exposing himself. Rainbow held back as far as she could, looking down the sight of her pistol at the corner. She needed to be careful to not hit Flash, as he would cross her line of fire at some point.

They just waited, the scraping and the footsteps and breathing getting closer, louder, until the demon was standing just at the edge of the hallway, but just out of their vision. The shadow was more detailed, but Flash couldn't identify it as one he'd seen before. However, he could clearly see that its weapon was a scythe. Maybe he'd have the advantage if he was in behind its reach.

The demon stopped moving, and only its breathing was audible for the next few moments. It hadn't sensed them somehow, had it? Flash kept very still, the tension in his arms ready to release at any moment into a hammer blow, but every second that passed strained him more and more. They were already hurting from scraping against the street before, and he was already starting to tremble. The thing could probably smell him, he was and had been sweating all day, and now was even moreso. Though Flash was used to the smell of himself he was certain no amount of deodorant would've been enough for the day.

He nearly jumped as a sound took him completely off guard.

Brrrr-ratatatatatat!

Gunfire, somewhere close, but behind a few walls. The demon's shadow shifted, it heard it too. Flash had an opportunity.

He came around the corner, swinging the breaching hammer into a demon two heads taller than him, catching an arm and sandwiching its whole body between the hammer and the wall. It was grey skinned, and had a head of long, flat hair that fell over its eyes, and appeared to have no muscle between its skin and bone. It had strength from somewhere though, it only recoiled for a moment before screeching in pain, and swinging its scythe around in a long arc.

Flash moved his hammer to try and block, but the wicked, curved blade sliced straight through the handle, and the scythe's end was thrust into his chest. He fell back onto the floor, and drew his knife moments before the scythe's point dug into him. Both hands on the grip, the demon's scythe pressed directly onto the flat of his knife, and Flash saw his own terrified reflection on the other side. Somehow, he was pressing back with enough force to match a demon, but his strength wasn't going to last.

Bang, bang!

Bright bursts of light behind him came before loud gunshots as Rainbow Dash fired at the demon. It stumbled, the bullets digging into its skin, but seemed to be less than wounded. Flash slid back and got back up to his feet, readying his shotgun, and finding the larger weapon enough to nearly knock the demon over.

Being quiet was out of the question, the demon's voice pierced his ears through the shotgun's thunder as he took another shot, sending the demon off course as it came at him again. He sidestepped, and it tripped off to the side, giving him another opportunity to shoot it in the back. It was now on the ground, and as he fired off the last shot in the magazine into it, it stopped moving.

His heart was going wild.

"Is it dead?" Rainbow asked.

Flash watched it. The ones Sunset killed always dissolved into a mist, but this one wasn't doing that. Drawing his knife again, Flash cautiously approached the demon. Should he stab it through the head? The heart? He settled on the heart, remembering seeing Starlight pull a demon's heart out and crush it during their battle in the street. Their heart seemed to hold their power, as Starlight seemed to regenerate herself from them. Flash couldn't do that much, but he could conclude that it was an effective way to kill them.

He brought his knife over the demon's back and stabbed down, but the demon let out another shriek as it rolled over and desperately grabbed his wrist with both it’s bony hands. It was strong, pushing back against him easily as first, but Flash didn't give an inch, he was determined to keep on the pressure. But it felt futile, it was like he was trying to move the blast door again, but with twice as much resistance. Flash quickly moved both hands to secure his knife, and then he threw his knee down on the thing’s stomach, pinning all of his his weight there as he shoved down with the knife even further.

Slowly, the knife dropped, millimeter by millimeter, towards the demon's chest. The burning in Flash’s arms didn't phase him, he just glared into the demon's soulless, black eyes with anger, with hatred, and forced himself with everything he had to be stronger than it, if just for this moment. He wasn't going to let himself die here, not with people to save, not with a city still in danger, and most definitely not in a pushing match with what was clearly just some random grunt!

When the demon's arms bent further back than it’s joints would allow, it began to flail under Flash's hold. In an instant, its resolve was overpowered, and as soon as it lost the will to resist Flash’s knife punched straight through its heart.

It gasped, seized up, then stopped struggling, and as Flash removed the knife, it slowly began to fade into the shadows.

Rainbow was shocked, but didn't quite realise the intensity of the feat Flash just accomplished.

"You good?" She asked. "You looked like you had that under control, so..."

"I'm fine, I just..." Flash was out of breath, his need for oxygen and the pounding of his heart distracting him from his sentence. "I don't..." The recovery was slow. "I..."

Rainbow Dash put her gun away and offered a hand to the kneeling Flash. He took it, and she helped him up.

"And you were having trouble with that door a minute ago..." Rainbow said. "What, were you just going easy on it?"

Flash's mind was racing, trying to figure out what he had just experienced. In those moments, he did something he thought to be impossible. That wasn't all, he realised, for he had also deflected the scythe attack with his knife somehow. Granted, it was made from resentite, a material able to withstand demon-level force, but his arm had been strong enough to resist the strike too. It was unbelievable. His breath quickened again, and Rainbow Dash put a hand on his shoulder.

"Hey! Are you going to be okay?" She looked into his eyes, but they looked right past her. They closed, and Flash took a deep breath. The aching of his body was making itself known again as he regained control of himself.

"I..." He said, slowly. "I just matched a demon in strength. I don't know how, but I did..."

"Think we could get some of that strength on the blast door?"

Flash had a short spasm of pain wrack through his body, and he shook his head. "Nngh... No... No, I don't think I could do that again."

"Well let's hope you don't have to. Maybe there's another way through."

"Yeah." Flash wanted to take a minute, but knew there wasn't time. He'd have to keep pushing through.

-----

Spitfire stood in west wing's main lobby, branching off from a hallway to the entrance area. A blast door blocked the way to the west wing, and she heard gunshots going off behind it. She herself had just put a bunch of holes in a fat, pig-headed demon carrying some kind of double-barreled shotgun. It was lying dead on its back a good twenty meters away at the other end of the lobby. The bullets she had were designed to pierce through enemies, something that demons seemed susceptible to. As far she she knew, they all had healing abilities, so she reasoned a hole going straight through a demon would be more damaging than one fragmented inside it. The pain presumably wasn't a issue for them, it was a matter of overworking their self-healing.

Fortunately, it was taken off guard, but unfortunately, it had also taken the whole magazine. Spitfire held onto it as she switched her new one, putting it in the old one's place. Her machine gun could fire standard police pistol rounds, if she had a chance to load that magazine back up she would.

To her surprise, she saw Flash Sentry and Rainbow Dash through a window beside the blast door. There was a meeting room of some sort on the other side, one of the few lights in the west lobby was pointing directly through it. No door on her side lead to that room, though.

"Sentry!" He looked over as his name was called. The window, though reinforced with crossing metal wires and likely bulletproof, had chips and pieces missing on one corner, allowing her voice to carry through.

"Spitfire, are you okay?" Flash asked. He looked weak. Maybe he hadn't been as lucky as she was. He was still alive, though, so maybe he had.

"I've been better. I was hoping to find you. My radio broke on the way in here."

"Damn. I talked to Sergeant Colt, he's in the panic room, but we need the police chief's badge to unlock the doors to it. Can you get to his office from your side?"

"I don't know." Spitfire looked behind her, towards the hallway marked 'ADMIN'. There seemed to be several portable shields bolted to the floor blocking the way. "I might be able to find a way around..."

Flash turned back to Rainbow Dash for a moment. "Rainbow, give me those keys."

She did so, handing him a keyring. From it, he pulled one of them off, and slid it through the small break in the window.

"This is the key to the offices, it might help you get in another way." She took the keys, reading the tape on it and confirming it was the right one.

"Thanks. One more thing. On the way in here, I... saw someone." Spitfire recalled the Hellsoldier, not knowing how to properly describe them. "Not a demon. At least, I don't think they were. Maybe they were, actually, 'cause they blew through a bunch of demons like it was nothing."

"Were they a demon hunter, like Sunset?"

"No, not like her. They had a big suit of... sci-fi lookin' armor. Punched demons through walls, but I don't think they're on our side."

Flash didn't like the implication of more enemies. "I'll keep an eye out. Guessing I'll have to hide from them."

"That's what I did, yeah."

There was a pause, and the two of them just maintained eye contact, knowing it was time to, but not wanting to leave.

After a moment, Spitfire gathered her resolve. "Well, time to go. I'll meet up with you somewhere, I'm sure."

Flash nodded. "Yeah. See you soon, hopefully."

"See you soon," Spitfire repeated, giving him the best smile she could. He and Rainbow continued on, and she turned her attention back to the lobby. There was a slot in the barrier for one to look and fire a weapon through, but it almost touched the ceiling, and there was no space for her to slip past it.

On a short table near a few overturned chairs, there was an open metal container with foam lining on the inside. Three outlines were there, but only one was filled with an object, that object being a hand grenade. A dried blood spot was on the table, and trailed onto the floor. Spitfire followed it into a shadow in the corner, where the body of a police officer lay lifeless.

"Agh..." Spitfire felt a reflexive disgust in seeing a dead body. It was something she could never train out of herself, even when she had to fire a killing shot. She had been consciously suppressing it, but now, when she was alone and everything was quiet, it came out.

She took the hand grenade and looked around for another door. There was one by the dead officer, it seemed he was trying to get to it before he met his end. As Spitfire approached it, she felt her foot kick something, and looking down she saw a pouch sliding across the ground.

It was the officer's, she realised, and his handgun was also on the ground nearby. All the pouch had in it was three magazines worth of pistol rounds. Spitfire's eyes lit up.

"I won't let these go to waste, bud." She said, addressing the spirit of the former officer. After today, she was willing to believe in ghosts and an afterlife. She'd like to hope that maybe her squad was still watching her back from... wherever they'd go.

She began to unload the pistol magazine, loading each bullet into her spare machine gun magazine. They held the same caliber of bullet, though these ones probably didn't have the same punch as the ones she came with. Thirty-six bullets total, four short of a full load. Spitfire could've scavenged more from his pistol, but a stirring behind her caught her attention.

The pig-headed demon was shifting, rolling over, and pushing itself back up.

"Nothing down here wants to die, does it?" Spitfire muttered, getting ready to start running and shooting and hiding again.

"Well too bad, cause I don't either."

Author's Note:

Update: This chapter had a few holes in it. Big ups to Pinklestia for the real-time callouts, and I'll do my best to do better on that.

Here we get to see how much things suck for people without powers. It's a pretty big change in tone, but we'll getting back to the hacking and whacking and smacking soon.