At night, New York City festered.
The filth and the scum crawled out of the sewers, vermin and vigilantes and petty thugs. All would be cleansed in time. Each thought they ruled the city, and each would learn in time how wrong they were.
Adept Fourteen stood on a rooftop, watching the concrete exterior of a warehouse with piercing crimson eyes. Inside of the building were some of the very worst of the vermin. High-ranking members of three of the city's most powerful organized crime groups. Gun-runners, racketeers, extortionists, human traffickers. All with minutes left to live.
It wasn't a pursuit of justice,
that motivated the Red Devil. There was no justice to this world. The strong dominated the weak- such was the natural order of things. He would kill every one of the miserable rats inside the warehouse, for two reasons. For his mission in the largest metropolitan area in the United States was simple.
You will take New York City.
These men weren't the heads
of their respective organizations, but their losses would be felt. Weakening the groups that held true power in this city- not the police, but those that they hunted -would make his conquest all the simpler. That was the first reason. The second was even simpler- bait.
With the grace of an Olympic acrobat, the Butcher leapt off of the rooftop, somersaulting in the air, and angling his feet forward, to strike the glass through which he'd watched the meeting begin to unfold. It was a fall no human would be able to survive, without a grapnel or soft padding beneath. But the Red Devil was no human. He had been enhanced
by the Pit, complementing his already-impressive posthuman
abilities. Simply through careful coordination and precise movement, he could land on his feet, unharmed.
A flick of his wrist sent one end of his weapon out. Two staves, connected by a thin monofilament wire. It extended outwards, nearly taut, before another motion altered its trajectory. The ultra-sharp line circled one man's neck twice, before the other stave flew back to the Fiend's hand. He pulled them in opposite directions, tightening the noose, and sheared clean through his victim's neck.
The other two low-lives were too stunned to even draw their weapons, for a moment. A spray of blood poured from the man's wound, drenching his tailored suit. With the press of a small button, the Devil retracted the wire, two parts of his chosen weapon one once more. As he did so, the Man in Red advanced, face betraying no emotion.
Finally, the two criminals reacted. They commanded respect within their own organizations, in large part thanks to their ruthlessness. Not yet powerful enough that they could instill fear without having to lift a finger. On the left, a gun was raised. Before the man could fire, the Devil threw the staff, striking him in the throat. It ricocheted, straight back to the hand of its owner, while the victim gasped for air, clawing at his neck.
Slack-jawed, the third man simply stared at the Adept. His new nightmare stared right back. Their eyes locked, and the mafia enforcer felt the full fury of the Devil's Gaze.
A man like him had killed, tortured, beaten, maimed, and mutilated. The pain of each act was what he felt in that moment. And so he screamed. Loud enough that it could be heard from a great distance away. His brain's natural limiters,
which prevented true pain, had been overridden.
When the man's torment was over, he found himself on his knees, a pool of bile on the ground. He'd crawled away from the table, where two corpses sat slumped in their chairs. At some point, during a time which might have been seconds, or hours, he'd soiled himself. The Butcher stood above him, still emotionless.
"Go. Tell everyone. This city belongs to the Devil now."