Thick globs of muck and waste stuck to the walls of the sewer drain that James was venturing through. Rats scurried across the floor and cockroaches carpeted the ceiling.
"This is disgusting," James gagged.
"It's even worse now that your senses are heightened," Kazav gleefully informed him.
Every step he took sounded like someone trudging through watery mud and every breath he took seemed foul enough to knock out an elephant.
"Are you sure we should even be down here Kazav? Can't we find a more scent-friendly target?"
"Not if you want to join that band of merry men who showed up last night we cant. Now stop whining and focus up, I think I see some tracks."
Kazav sent James an inner prod that helped him look where Kazav was referring.
"By the way, Kazav, I have been meaning to ask more about how our powers work."
"Do you see through my eyes? Can you smell what I smell? Hear what I hear? and so on?"
"I can choose to use your senses if I want but I'm not limited to your body's perceptions. I can sense things that you simply can't and send that information to your brain. That's why you can smell, hear, see, and feel in a way you never could before."
James nodded, whatever works he reasoned, "If that's how it work could you turn my ability to smell off, at least until we leave the sewers?"
Kazav chuckled, "I could, but I won't."
James was about to object to Kazavs somewhat sadistic sense of humor when something caught his eye.
There were tracks in the tunnel that branched off from the one they were currently exploring. There were strange footprints as well as slide marks as though something was dragging behind whatever made them.
"Bingo," Kazav exclaimed.
James entered the new tunnel and followed the footprints as the paths forked and split. Bones, muck, and random trinkets littered the floor along with torn clothes and a small pile of wallets and purses.
"I think we found all those missing people," Kazav remarked cautiously, "keep going kid but be careful."
James went even deeper into the sewer until he entered a large room with tunnels leading off in every direction.
"Now what?" James whispered. The sound of his voice echoed off the dank sewer walls and branched out into each tunnel.
Before Kazav could reply a low rumble echoed back into the chamber. It was like the base of a speaker blasting out through a subway tunnel.
The hair on James' neck stood on end as the grumbling grew closer and the sound of bones crunching under footsteps grew louder and louder.
He took a battle stance and steeled his nerves for whatever might come be coming to meet them.
The grumbling kept increasing and as the noise echoed across the room it became impossible to tell which way it was coming from. Just as the sound grew loudest it stopped as if whatever was making it just disappeared.
Tension grew the longer the silence went on and James began to shake with a mix of anxiety and anticipation.
Not a second later an overwhelming urge to duck took hold of him. He obeyed and narrowly avoided a massive black tentacle that came swinging out from behind. He turned to face his attacker and almost dry heaved from his disgust at its appearance.
Crawling from the ceiling, dripping with slime and sewage, was a half-man, half octopus-like being. It let out a deafening screech and extended every one of its foul arms out into the air.
James was planning to strike but the monster beat him to it and started sending out its slimy arms with deadly speed. The air whizzed as they passed by James' head. Shot after shot, stretch after stretch, the creature kept hurling its limbs in an attempt to grab James and devour him with its festering jaws.
He could dodge them well enough but couldn't get close enough to get in a strike. What good would his newfound strength be if he spent all his energy just trying to not get hit?
Kazav offered a timely suggestion, "Try getting behind it, It doesn't look like it has any kind of defense in the rear!"
James leaped out over the creature and used the wall behind as a launching pad. With full force he aimed for the beast's back, pulling his arm back to ready the strike. Just as his fist was clenched and ready to go the monster spun around and countered him with another tentacle slap.
James grunted as his body slammed into the stone walls of the sewer, crashing through the ancient bricks and sending them falling to the ground below.
To his surprise, it didn't hurt as much as he was expecting. Kazav was keeping on top of things and made sure James back quickly recovered from the force of the blow.
Picking up a stone from the floor James hurled it at the monster's face. It acted as an effective distraction, allowing him to bolt out and ready another strike. The beast blindly sent out a wave of its arms in hopes of stopping him but they met empty air.
James was now directly in front of the beast and had already begun to send out a devastating blow. The monster only had time to see, but not avoid, the fist closing in on its ugly face. His hand connected with the monster's sticky skin and with a loud, "Thwack," sent it rocketing into the wall behind.
In imitation of James, it grabbed a stone in each arm, eight in total, and started throwing them out like deadly missiles.
He dodged most of them but was unable to avoid them all. A few stones struck his body causing bruises to pepper his torso. "Not bad," James taunted, "but not good enough!"
He burst forwards with every bit of speed he could muster. The monster sent out all of its wicked arms in an attempt to force him back but James weaved and deflected whatever came near.
The beast was shocked as every one of its attempts to strike him failed. Like before James was now too close for the monster to avoid yet another devastating hit. His clenched fist landed squarely against the monster's face and sent rippling shock waves through its body. Digging its arms into the ground below it slowed its backslide and tried to get reoriented.
Whipping out an arm it managed to land a hit but James pushed through and sent out a machine gun-like volley of blows. Fist after fist came rocketing out, smacking it further and further into the wall.
The wall and ceiling started to give way and sunlight peaked in from the open sky above. With the light shining against the monster, James began to see just how hideous it truly was.
"Man are you ugly!" He cried out as he lost focus.
That would prove to be a mistake and the monster seized the laps in action to grab James by the leg. It hung him upside down and brought him face to face. With a scowl, the beast roared at him revealing row upon row of jagged yellow teeth.
With a smooth flick of the tentacle, it sent him flying up and crashing through the ground above. People looked on in shock as the ground ripped apart in front of them and James shot through into the daylight, landing in the street.
Cars fell in as the road sank and crashed into the hole that had been created. A woman was about to fall into the pit along with her car but James rushed over and tore the door off her vehicle, pulling her to safety before she fell into the sewer.
Oddly, the car started moving back up from the hole as if something was lifting it out. The car then shot forward, forcing him to throw the girl to safety. The girl was safe but James had no time to avoid the collision and was sent flying back as the car struck and pinned him down.
James tried lifting the car off of him to resume the fight but two tentacles grabbed his arms and forced him down onto the pavement. Then, using its other arms, it lifted the car and smashed against James repeatedly.
The monster didn't stop until there was nothing left to hit him with and then tosses the remaining chunks of the car off into the street. James struggled to get free but the monster wrapped more of its arms around him and started pulling in different directions.
James could feel his bones clacking and expanding as the monster tried to pull him apart.
"Kazav!" James cried out, "A little help would be nice!"
"It's taking everything I have to keep your limbs from flying off kid, you're gonna have to think of something on your own!"
Hope seemed lost until a black square began to form in midair behind the creature. A figure jumped out from inside and kicked the monster in the back of the head forcing it to drop James as it was sent forward.
Shadow Sparrow leaned over and offered him a hand, smirking as she asked, "Need some help?"
A wave of relief washed over James, "If you feel you have the time," he quipped.
Sparrow effortlessly avoided the monster's arms like it was nothing more than a minor chore she could do with a blindfold on. With a shadow blade forming in the air, she gripped it and sliced the monster arms off one at a time, forcing the beat to cry out and scramble away.
Forming yet another shadow object she threw it at the beast and shackled it to the ground, denying it the option of escape. With a quick and merciless thrust, she dispatched the monster bringing an end to its rampage of death and destruction.
James looked on in awe as she confidently strutted back to him and picked him up off the floor.
"Impressed?" She asked, as she pulled his jaw up and closed it.
He just stared back at her, unsure of what to say, "Uh, yeah, that was, wow!"
She gave him a wink, "Yeah, I know."
Then, waving him over, she commanded, "Follow me."
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