By the time Levinia was done discussing with Dr. Kaiser on all the information she had on this criminal cook, the day was far spent. Levinia decided that since she couldn't go to seek out the one responsible for all this mess, she might as well spend the night being helpful, before turning in for the day. The next day, she would need to be up in tip top shape, because she didn't know what to really expect from the chef that was responsible for the culinary chaos. She would attempt to track him down, then she would see how things played out. In the meantime, she would try to ease the burden of the various makeshift facilities that had been established to curb the cravings that had gone beyond psychotic.
Her first port of call was a van. The driver in the van had long since escaped through a broken window, but the vehicle was beset by rabid food hunters, who were clearly after whatever the van was transporting. Levinia simply walked towards them, up to the point the circumference of her grimoire could encompass everyone, and then she quietly cast the Aeon's Embrace. Such was the urgency of the mob, that they paid the grimoire no heed, until the healing effect on their minds started taking place. Slowly, they stopped their assault as not only the unbearable urges were relieved, but also their physical injuries were healed. Eventually, they began wondering what they were doing there, and as some of them wondered at the strange sigils that revolved around them, the runes winked out of existence, and Levinia slipped away.
She had obtained a list of names and locations of centers that were dealing with the culinary chaos (as she had decided to name it) from the good doctor. To these venues she went, and after introducing and convincing the personnel there that she could help, she cast her Aeon's Embrace at each one of these centers, until their patients had been freed from the overwhelming influence of the food problem. All this eventually took a toll on Levinia's strength, and by the time the night was half done, she was dead beat. Returning to the medical center where she had met with the doctor, she was readily borrowed a bed, one as comfortable as could be allowed, on which she spent the night. Being one to have camped outdoors a lot of times, Levinia actually found the rest very refreshing.
Morning came, and the carrot top was out on the trail of the criminal chef, armed with a list of all suspect foods, and a few other devices of her own. Given her innate abilities, it would not be too hard. Walking about and asking questions could end up spooking someone, and from her looks, she was bound not to be taken too seriously, perhaps until she started beating people to a pulp. Sometimes, she wished she was quite imposing and threatening, but she had to work with what she had. She started by locating the restaurant that had served her the Gillardo's Special, and harmlessly asked about their suppliers. Once she had got the information, she waited for the suppliers to arrive, and idly watched them as they offloaded their goods. In truth, she was quietly probing their minds, to see whether there was a central location for all the foods that had been marked as being responsible for the cravings. As she had suspected, there was a central location, a certain Gillardo's Kitchen, that supplied "special" recipes for various restaurants around the city. After mentally crosschecking her facts, she headed off to this Gillardo's Kitchen.
For a kitchen, the place looked heavily guarded. She was turned away at the gate, because "important work" was being done, and the boss could not be disturbed. Quite frankly, she could just start a slugfest right there, and fight her way into the complex, but the mastermind behind the whole operation might bolt, and she would be no closer to solving this issue. So, she thanked them and left. If they though they could just blow her off like that, though, they were very, very wrong. As she left, she merely took a curve around the wall, so that she was out of the line of sight of the bouncers, before leaping over the fence in one jump. Landing silently, she hurried behind some crates, and slowly, furtively, made her way into the main building. Her Gaze of the Hierophant was very instrumental at this point, as it could detect even behind doors and walls. Still, movement was no easy task. She had reason to believe that the criminal chef might have some magic abilities, so she wanted to conserve her magic energy in the event that a fight broke out.
Her psychic sensory ability identified someone in a room that looked like the kind of setup that would be the boss' room, but she needed to be sure, if she was going to get to the bottom of this. Perhaps she would play her cards smart; that way she might just get the best results. She crept up to a point where she saw two mean looking guards, and as far as guards went, they looked important. Maybe if she could look into their minds...
The doors to a well furnished room opened, and a portly man, well dressed and well fed, from the looks of it, looked up from behind a desk with a scowl. "I though I told you..."
He paused, and a leering smile crept up his face. "Well, well, what do we have here?"
The two guards who had opened the doors were holding Levinia between them, who struggled feebly, but could not break free. They threw her roughly forward, and she was thankful the floors had a thick carpet. "We caught her sneaking around, boss. I think she's a reporter or something."
The portly man raised an eyebrow. "Have you searched her?"
One of the guards nodded and produced a small audio-visual recording device, which he handed over to the portly man. "She was carrying this,"
he said. "No doubt some sort of journalist or investigator."
The man considered for a moment, then waved the guards away. "You've done well. Hang around outside, while I have a chat with the little lady."
Levinia pulled herself up on her hands and knees. "I don't know what you're planning, but I won't let you succeed. I'll make sure the truth gets out..."
The man laughed, cutting her off. "'Gets out', you say? Why, you're my prisoner already. Nothing is getting out. Though, I'm interested; what exactly were you looking for?"
Levinia did not reply. "I'm not a patient man,"
he suddenly growled, grasping Levinia's cheeks roughly with one hand. "I've been civil so far, but there are many ways of breaking a person, and I seriously doubt that one as little as yourself will manage to hold out for so long."
Levinia struggled vainly with his grasp, and he smiled. "I'll give you one more chance to answer all my questions. Give me an answer I don't like, and I might have to resort to... other means."
He let her go, and she gasped and pulled away, terror evident in her wide eyes."So, where were we? I was asking you what you were doing here, yes?"
In a tiny voice, she obliged him. "I was sent to investigate this place by the police. Some people think that you're responsible for all the food cravings that have been happening over the past week."
He laughed. "Do they now?" "I know you're the one responsible,"
she continued, a little bolder, "and I can expose you easily. Or, you could let me go, and I'll keep quiet about the whole issue."
The man looked tickled. "My dear, you are in no position to make demands,"
he replied, as he dropped the recording device to the ground and stepped on it. Levinia let out a cry and reached for it, but she was too late. "I'll tell you what I'll do. Maybe I'll have a little fun with you, then I might let you go, or not."
The girl tried to look brave. "I have friends in high places. You don't dare..."
He cut her off again, crouching and grabbing her face roughly. "Enough of the empty threats, woman. If you did have friends in high places who cared, I wonder why they would let you enter the lion's den without any backup. And, for your information, money can buy all those 'friends in high places'. Besides, by the time I'm done with this city, everyone will be begging me for a bite of Gillardo's Special Cuisines. I'd like to see how someone, rabid for his next meal, would consider that his little unfortunate friend was missing."
He thrust her roughly away and rose to his feet. "I'm a busy man, so I'd best get to it. After I'm done with you, I'll be bringing this city to its knees. All the money in this place will be mine. This is even easier than the last town I went to. Already, half of you are agreeing to my prices, doubled as they are. No one can resist my food. But don't worry, dear; I intend to take my time with you."
He whistled, a call for his guards to return, but nothing happened. Frowning, he whistled again. There was no response. "Gee... I wonder if something is wrong with your boys. Maybe you should check on them,"
Levinia taunted, a cheeky grin on her face. The man turned on her, livid with rage, and aimed a kick at her face. In response, she blocked the attack easily by grasping his foot, then flinging him into the wall at the far end of the room."Seriously, you power hungry people should take a hint,"
she said, getting to her feet. "What is it with dominating and crushing the weak? I won't even ask what sort of perverted joy you get from such, but you belong behind bars, and I plan on getting you there.""I destroyed your proof. You have nothing. No one will believe you,"
he sneered, as he clambered to his feet. "Oh? I sincerely wonder about that,"
she answered smugly, folding her arms. "Unlike you, I'm in no position to brag and give my trump card away, but if you surrender peacefully, I can promise you that I'll put in a good word for you.""BITCH!!!"
the man screamed, as he pressed a button on the table. Instantly, the room was swarming with guards. Levinia only raised an eyebrow as they rushed at her. She was impressed that they had mustered that quickly; they seemed to be most, if not all the security that were assigned to this place. But minion battles were not what she was interested in right now."80th Augural Grimoire: Praetor's Dictate!"
At once, a pulse of psychic energy rippled out of her and caught all the guards at once. The stopped in their tracks, and looked at her in an expression that was nothing short of adoration. She pointed at the portly man. "Kindly arrest this criminal,"
she ordered. "Yes, ma'am,"
they all replied, and charged at him. His eyes widened for a moment, then darkened with dangerous fury. "No one messes with Gillardo!!!"
he screamed, as an avalanche of pudding rose from behind him, seemingly out of nowhere, engulfing the inhabitants of the room. "Ugh! 79th Palisade Grimoire: Adamant Planet!"
she intoned, and in the nick of time, a bubble appeared around her, shielding her from the massive wave that broke through the walls of the room and even flooded the adjoining areas."As expected, he's a mage, and he's strong..."
As people ran helter-skelter, Gillardo could be seen, standing atop a floating pie. "I'll show you the power of Food Make magic, you stupid brat! You'll be sorry you messed with El Chefe!"
he growled. As he said this, he began to enlarge in size, until he was about twenty feet tall. Levinia, in reply, brought out a key whose head resembled a cog. The sooner she finished this, the better for herself and the whole of Lavanitir. "Edison! I summon you!"
The key dissolved, and a young woman, wielding a large plasma cannon, materialized beside her. "You rang, Lady?"
she asked in a sing song voice. "Yup. I need you as back up. Kindly blast anything that he summons, that looks bigger than the both of us."
Gillardo, ranting and muttering maniacally, clapped his hands together. The pudding returned to him, and more was added to it, until it formed a towering food monster that let out a gurgling sound and stepped towards the two women in the bubble. The summon, Edison, cranked the cannon and answered it with a powerful burst of plasma. The LacriRail Cannon MegaShot obliterated the food monster, and engulfed Gillardo. In a moment, he stepped out of the plasma conflagration, snarling. He clapped repeatedly, and pasta monsters grew up out of the ground and ran at the shield. "Kill them, my pasta zombies!!!"
Edison shook her head, re-calibrated her cannon and fired again. This time, she began doling out burst after burst of super heated bullets, which fried each zombie to a crisp, before focusing the rest of her shots on Gillardo. Refusing to be overcome, he roared and charged at the shield, striking it with his fists."He doesn't look like he's going down..."
The shield shattered, and with one massive arm, the giant chef swiped Edison aside, who went sailing into the distance, and knocked Levinia to the ground. His palm was almost as big as her body, and he was trying to crush her beneath it. She noticed that, at the same time, a bubbling pudding slowly oozed out from beneath his feet, and towards her. She had no idea what it was going to do, but she was definitely not willing to find out. "You should have just minded your business, brat, but it's too late for you now..."
A powerful telekinetic force answered him, thrusting his arm upwards away violently and breaking his hold. Levinia scrambled away and put as much distance between herself and him.
Gillardo, the one called El Chefe, laughed and straightened up. "Your friend with the gun had a better chance of taking me down. Come on, midge, show me what you've got."
Levinia's magics were mostly defensive, but if she lacked offensive power in that regard, she more than made up for it with her physical strength. And her supportive abilities could give her a much needed trump card. As she was facing one very tough foe, Levinia decided to pour in everything at once. Perhaps his underestimation of her would be his downfall. She said nothing aloud, so as not to alert him to what she was doing, but she summoned her Ring of Velocity and the Alchemy Armor, which would definitely increase her speed. Then, she clapped her hands together."78th Amulet Grimoire: Jubilee of Heroes!
77th Palisade Grimoire: Aegis Skin!"
Casting the two spells in tandem, she then levitated her body and took a battle stance. "Let's see how hard I can bite you, then."
He was completely taken off guard by her speed, as she had used her powers to crank up her movements to an insane level. Hurtling into him with the force of a thunderbolt, she placed a well aimed blow into his solar plexor. The force knocked him backwards a few feet, but she zoomed in again, this time aiming a kick for his head. He barely dodged it, but barely was enough. Instantly, she zoomed away as he tried to get a hold of her, and zipped around the room at breakneck speed. She didn't want to slow down, so that he would find it very difficult to keep track of her destinations. Keeping above the debris saved her from having to dodge around obstacles, though that put her close to the ceiling, where she would not be able to dodge upwards."You annoying insect! Die!!!"
The El Chefe clapped once again, and sharp spikes of hardened crust spiraled out of the pudding which was all over the place, and launched into the air like dangerous, brittle javelins. Levinia found herself hard-pressed to avoid them, and one of them eventually struck her in the side, knocking her out of the air. It stung like crazy, but that was only because her Aegis Skin had borne the brunt of the damage. She feared to think what would have happened to her if the shield was not activated, and she was thankful that she had the foresight to set it up. But now, she had to see to the present, because El Chefe had taken advantage of the opportunity afforded him by the pudding spears, and had grabbed her by the ankle. Before she knew it, she was swinging through the air to slam hard into the ground. A painful jolt shot through her body. The flames of the Aegis Skin flickered and faded away. And El Chefe was still grasping her leg in a vice grip of iron. With an exultant cry, he whipped her up again, intending to smash her body into the floor, when a blast of plasma struck him from the side. He yelled in pain, and his grip loosened. Now, it was Levinia's turn to seize the moment. She swung around and connected her fist with his face. The El Chefe let her go and staggered, the powerful attacks of her summon's plasma cannon and her brute strength starting to take its toll on him.
Swiftly, Levinina grabbed him by the back of his collar, and flung him through the ceiling. As large as he way, he went a decent vertical height, and she came after him, drawing back her arm in readiness for another punch. Suddenly, El Chefe turned and grabbed at her, tired, perhaps, but still not out of the fight. Levie's eyes widened in surprised, but she faded out of existence just before his fingers closed over her body. In the next instant, she dropped on him from above, completing a front flip and driving her heel into his back. El Chefe was driven down through the air, shattering the roof with his fall and making a decent crater on the ground.
Levinia dropped lightly, like a cat, then sank to her knees with an exhausted sigh. A little off to the left, Edison came over and looked at the fallen El Chefe, then nodded at Levinia. "And that's a win for us,"
she said."Nice work, Edison,"
Levinia crowed, as she dispelled her trusty summon. She could tell that now that Gillardo, or El Chefe, or whatever he liked to call himself, had been knocked out cold from all the barrages, he was completely at her mercy. He was still quite alive anyway, which was fortunate, because she was not planning on killing him. Walking up to him, she pointed at him. "50th Amulet Grimoire: Frozen Prayer."
The grimoire encased him, and froze him in time. She didn't want him recovering at any point and causing any more disaster than he had done.
And as for his claim that she could not indict him without proof, Levinia was not that stupid. She had planned everything, putting the two guards under her mind control spell, the Praetor's Dictate, and had then used them to stage the capture. Secretly, she had another recording device in a pocket, which although only audio, could identify the speaker, and she had gotten all the juicy bits on tape. She brought out the device, but to her horror, it was shattered beyond repair. She did heave a sigh of relief, however, when she saw that the recording lacrima inside it, which was the most important part of it, was quite unspoiled. She had her proof, alright.
Placing his inert body in another Adamant Planet, which she created just for him, Levinia carried the bubble with her telekinetic powers out of the destroyed facility, and headed for the police station. She didn't have to go far, as police sirens were already heading her way, having been alerted to the colossal fight that had been going on mere minutes ago. The cops would be more than pleased to hear the story she had for them. After that, she could go find her employer, and congratulate herself on a mission well done.
Beyond her payment, though, she would persist in the city, until she had helped to heal up anyone who needed it as a result of the culinary chaos. She didn't mind doing that and not getting paid for it. It was the right thing to do.
TWC: 12017/10000 (damn!)