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 The Next Generation

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PostSubject: Re: The Next Generation   Wed Dec 28, 2011 12:00 am

"You just follow me," Beast Boy said, giving Neal a pat on the back and heading out of the room.

Shortly after, they would find themselves in a dark room filled with security monitors. Many multiple screens showed black and white images of various locations around and inside the Titans Tower. They could see Nightwing working on the computer in the main area, Cyborg repairing his arm in the workshop, and Raven meditating on the roof.

"Welcome to the surveillance room." Beast Boy held his arms open and looked up at all he screens. "Might be my favorite room in the tower, for certain reason which you're about to find out." He started humming to himself absently, while punching in various codes on the panels below the monitors. "You see, a while back, Raven and I didn't really get along well. I know, shocking, right? I would always be my naturally charming self, but oh no, she'd go out of her way to bring the fun down. Constantly using her empath-iness to drain away my excitement and replace it with indifference, so she could have her peace and quiet. So, Cyborg and I devised a way to get back at her. This might have led to us putting in a hidden camera in the girls' showers."

Beast Boy hit the last button, and all of a sudden the images on the monitors changed, each showing a small portion of a whole, large image that now towered before them to the ceiling. It was of Starfire and Sarah in the shower, cleaning each other. Nothing more, just the typical male fantasy. "Of course, Raven figured it out, so now she uses her own private shower... which she's got booby trapped with her magic. But Starfire still uses this one! Just keep this on the down low, ya know... old Nighty doesn't like it, thinks it's unethical. But it's not like Starfire's got any qualms about walking around without clothes on during a normal basis anyway, so what's the difference. Aaaaanyway, I think I've rambled enough. Kick back and enjoy the scenery. We got popcorn, want some?"
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PostSubject: Re: The Next Generation   Wed Dec 28, 2011 2:23 am

Neal followed Beast Boy, having no idea where on earth any of this was going. He was acting like he was about to give Neal the key to Fort Knox. Neal couldn't help but believe that there was some larger picture missing that he just wasn't aware of. The only way to find out what it was, was of course to follow him and just see what he was talking about.

Once he arrived, Neal didn't see what the big deal was. So it was a large computer that monitored the rooms? It didn't seem like that big of a deal, Neal would've been surprised if they didn't have one. Of course, it was only a minute later that Neal's eyes widened at the revelation at what he was seeing. He just stared, jaw slightly opened as the images took up the entirety of the wall. "Popcorn would be excellent", he said in the softest whisper as his eyes stared at the screen. "So Starfire knows of this...............what about Sarah?", he asked.

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PostSubject: Re: The Next Generation   Wed Dec 28, 2011 6:09 pm

Beast Boy froze mid reach for the pre-preparred bowl of popcorn. He blinked, tilted his eyes up, as if thinking deeply. "Uh....." he started, scratching his head. "I hadn't really considered that. Well, I'm sure Starfire would have told her about it... yeah, she must have. Eheheh...heh..." He cleared his throat, leaned forward a little, twiddling his thumbs and whistling innocently.

A short while later, Sarah and Starfire finished up their shower, and returned to the main area of the tower, where everyone else was presumably waiting. Though she felt refreshed after a nice hot shower, Sarah's body still hurt every time she moved a muscle. Combat training with Starfire was rough...

"So, any hits on the scan?" Cyborg asked. He had a replacement arm on now, and looked good as new.

"Unfortunately, no," Nightwing stated, leaning over the control panel to the computer. "Nothing that matched the energy reading you picked up from the mall, and no other abnormal surges anywhere throughout the city. My guess is, Faust is lying low after his initial strike. Either that, or he just hasn't yet commenced his next phase. But I rigged the system to continue the scan 24/7. If those same energy signatures pop up, we'll know about it."

Sarah slowly raised her hand a moment later. "Um, just one question, though. Say we do find him again... how are we supposed to stop him? I mean, our attacks couldn't even touch him... even Raven's own magic didn't slow him down for long."

Before Nightwing could answer, the door to the room opened. Raven walked in and folded her arms. "Yes, that is a great concern. I feel that Faust has grown immensely more powerful than the last time I encountered him, a troubling prospect indeed." She then stepped off to the side and added, "Which is why the Sentinels of Magic have decided to lend us a specialist for assistance. I just returned from picking her up, so to speak."

A second later, another woman walked through the door, this one dressed in a somewhat revealing magician's outfit. She gave a bow to the group. "Greetings, Titans. I am Zatanna."

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PostSubject: Re: The Next Generation   Wed Dec 28, 2011 6:21 pm

Neal just watched as Beast Boy seemed to take his time in pondering Neal's question. It seemed like this was something that he hadn't really considered. He would've thought that Starfire would mention something like that, but given her carefree nature she might just not consider it important enough to mention. After all, she was so care free as it was that she probably wouldn't think that Sarah would be uncomfortable with such a thing.

After Sarah and Starfire finished up, they all went back to the main area of the tower to wait for further news on their next step of action. Neal of course couldn't help but let his eyes wander over towards Sarah as she entered. It had only been a few minutes, he couldn't help but let his eyes wander as the memory was so fresh in his mind.

They heard the summary about Faust and how there were no marks on his location as it appeared that he wasn't using his power yet. Still, when next it came up they'd be ready for him. Of course, that was a nice theory at least. He had to agree with Sarah's point. In his presence it was like they were humans fighting a superhero. They weren't able to do anything to him. Faust was a master sorcerer, and he could see through Neal's illusions easily. How was he supposed to contribute against that kind of enemy?

It was at that point of time that Raven and her guest, Zatanna showed up. Apparently she was the one being sent in order to help fight against Faust. She didn't look like much, but in a world full of superheroes and villains that didn't matter much. It was what she was capable of that was important. "Hi", Neal said simply with a small nod of his head. "So, what's your plan for taking down Faust?"

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PostSubject: Re: The Next Generation   Wed Dec 28, 2011 6:39 pm

Zatanna's eyes moved over to Neal, where they narrowed curiously. "I don't recognize you." She then glanced at Sarah. "Nor you. New meat, I take it?"

"These are our newest members, yes," Nightwing informed. "That's Neal, or Fade, and that's Sarah, or Nova."

"I see," she said, pursing her lips. "I sense great power in both of you, but you have only just barely tapped into it. Perhaps you may both become something great, one day." She then gave a flippant wave with her hand and turned her attention away from them. "Or you might turn out as failures. Only time will tell. Anyway, Raven tells me that our good friend Felix Faust is running amok again. Lord only knows why that man continues to bother with things like this. We've put him down before, we'll put him down again."

Raven shook her head. "If only it were that simple," she said. "Though certainly not to be underestimated, his level of power has always been manageable to combat. This time, however... I sensed something different in him, something changed. It was as if there was a piece of someone or something else inside his soul, but I could not determine what. Aside from that, I fear his motivation for stealing souls this time. Before, it has always been in attempts to increase his own power, but we've stopped him every time before. Making yet another attempt would be foolish and redundant, and despite his grating personality, he is not stupid on a purely intellectual level."

Zatanna raised a finger to her lips, thinking. "Valid points. I suppose we will see once we locate him again. Once we do, I'll have a go at him and determine just whether or not he'll be trouble."

Sarah shifted her weight, gazing at the woman in thought. She'd never heard of a hero named Zatanna, but then again, there were likely many heroes she had never heard of. She only knew a handful of the more famous ones that always made the news. "And... you will be able to stop him? I mean, the rest of us couldn't even touch him. Granted, I don't know much about magic, but-"

"Ecnelis," Zatanna said. Instantly, Sarah's mouth snapped shut, making her completely unable to speak. "Nwod Edispu." Sarah then flipped upside down in mid air, left glancing around in shock and wondering what the hell was going on. "Nips." And then she started to spin around rapidly.

"Zatanna..." Raven muttered. "That is enough."

Zatanna sighed, then snapped her fingers. Sarah fell onto the couch, the hold over her ceasing. "But I was only having a little fun..."

Sarah righted herself hurriedly, breathing deeply. "Wh-what was that?"

"Just a mere taste of my magic," Zatanna explained. "Trust me, no matter how strong Faust has become, he's nothing more than an annoyance to me."

"Zatanna is a very high ranking member of the Sentinels of Magic," Raven added. "And one of the strongest members of the Justice League."

Sarah blinked. "O-oh. Really? Uh... how strong?"

"Put it this way," Zatanna said with a chuckle. "Superman can't lay a finger on me."
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PostSubject: Re: The Next Generation   Wed Dec 28, 2011 10:45 pm

Neal gave a nod as Zantana questioned about them being new meat. He was sure that she meant that in the nicest way possible, despite how demeaning it truly sounded. Neal couldn't help but gain a tiny smile as she mentioned that she could sense that they held great power. To hear that from someone as high up in the Justice League as her was quite the compliment, of course she also had to remind they that they were more likely to end up dead and in a gutter within a week. Neal couldn't blame her for that though, he had only barely survived Faust last time. He wanted to help everyone, but unless he got stronger somehow he wasn't going to be able to fight against Faust.

As Zantana made her show of power against Sarah, Neal couldn't help but just stare at the sight of it. Just a few words and she was able to do that so effortlessly? Perhaps she really was going to make them a suitable force against Faust. Still, exercising caution was always a wise idea. Plus, Zantana wasn't going to be able to fight him off alone. If Superman couldn't touch Zantana, what chance would Faust stand?

"So what are you going to want us to do?", Neal asked curiously. He wasn't sure what Zantana was thinking, he just hoped that he'd still be involved in the mission somehow.

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PostSubject: Re: The Next Generation   Thu Dec 29, 2011 7:20 pm

"For now, nothing," Z-a-t-a-n-n-a said. "Until we re able to locate Faust again, the best we can do is continue to keep watch. Unfortunately, I do not have a way to locate him myself, especially if he's covering his tracks. He's always been good at hiding. But not to worry, he will show his face again, as he always does... he's like a cockroach, in that regard."

"The scanning system is on lookout," Nightwing stated, with a nod. "The moment he pops up to try stealing souls again, we'll know about it."

Zatanna folded her arms and sat down on the couch, kicking her legs up on the coffee table. "Good. And since there's no telling when Faust will appear again, I will remain here with you until he does so that I can be of immediate assistance."

"Oh, joy!" Starfire declared, darting over to Zatanna and clasping hands together happily. "You will be most welcome here, friend!"

Zatanna merely blinked back at the woman. "Of course... thanks."

"Who's up for some dinner?" Beast Boy suggested, popping up from the back. "I don't know about everyone else, but I'm starving."

"I could definitely go for something to eat," Sarah said. After the earlier beating, she was starved. "I can help cook if you like."

"Certainly!" Beast Boy jumped up, holding a hand to his hip and pointing straight up with his other hand. "I'm thinking tofu burgers and soy bean casserole!"

A deadening silence swept over the group.

"Beast Boy..." Raven muttered. "We respect that you do not eat meat. Please respect that we do not eat fake meat."
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PostSubject: Re: The Next Generation   Fri Dec 30, 2011 5:52 pm

Neal gave a nod as Zatanna said that they would merely need to wait until Faust showed up again, apparently there was nothing that they could do to prepare themselves in the meanwhile other than just resting up. Neal was fine with that, although he still had to wonder how any of the Titans were going to help Zatanna against Faust. Even Nightwing and Cyborg couldn't lay a finger on him, and they had been doing this for years! All Neal would be able to do was run support, he'd just have to hope it helped somehow.

"Food definitely sounds good to me", Neal said as he imagined sinking his teeth into something delicious. Getting thrown across a room by a giant gorilla tended to knock the wind out of you and build an appetite. Of course, at hearing what the potential meal would be Neal had to admit that a good bit of his appetite faded with it. "I'm more of a take out guy really", Neal said as he tried to politely steer away from the tofu and soy. Not surprisingly Raven chose to be blunt about it though, causing Neal to chuckle.

He glanced over to Sarah and took a seat next to her as the group moved about its business. "How do you feel your fight against Starfire went?", he asked curiously.

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PostSubject: Re: The Next Generation   Fri Dec 30, 2011 9:38 pm

Beast Boy frowned and folded his arms. "Well fine, I'll just have to enjoy my delicious tofu by myself. And just for that, you can cook your own dinner." He stuck his tongue out at Raven and then turned his back on her, head held up in the air. Raven merely sighed and shook her head.

"Moving on..." Cyborg started, clearing his throat. "I think that takeout idea sounds perfect. I'm feeling Chinese tonight. I'll get right on that." And before anyone could object, he was on the phone and placing an order."

"If you will excuse me," Zatanna said, walking toward the door. "I think I'm going to relax in a nice bath for now. I'm sure I can find my way well enough." And just like that, she was gone.

Sarah looked over at Neal as he asked his question. She let out a snorting laugh in response. "You were there, how do you think it went? About as well as yours with Beast Boy... I mean, sure, I got some good hits in, but... it's like she didn't even feel anything. She just kept coming, and let me tell you she hits like a bus."

Before their conversation could continue, Nightwing approached them from behind. He leaned in close to Neal and said, "After dinner, meet me in the combat room."
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PostSubject: Re: The Next Generation   Sat Dec 31, 2011 5:53 am

"Chinese does sound pretty good actually", Neal said as he already felt his mouth watering. He LOVED a good Chinese. "Hey make sure to order some........and he's gone", Neal said with a small smile to himself as Cyborg ran out in order to already make the order on the phone. Man, that dude always went at top speed didn't he? Neal just shook his head before turning his attention back to Sarah who was beginning to answer his question.

Neal nearly jumped as Nightwing came up from behind and told him to meet him in the combat room after dinner. Neal just gave a nod to show his understand. "I'll be there", he said. He couldn't help but smile. If anyone would be able to help him, it would be Nightwing. If Neal could learn to fight without relying on his illusions, perhaps he'd be able to actually contribute to the team.

"I think you did better than me, fighting someone one on one really isn't my strong suit", Neal fully admitted. "I'm nowhere near as physically strong as anyone else here, so throwing a punch might as well be suicide. My powers also just create fake things, since everyone here knows that it's really hard to use it to my advantage. Maybe I just need to be more creative about it", he admitted as he glanced towards the window as he watched the sun beginning to go down over the horizon.

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PostSubject: Re: The Next Generation   Sun Jan 01, 2012 2:38 am

Sarah let out a small sigh and leaned back on the couch. "I guess either way, we both still have a lot to learn..." she said. "But maybe someday, we'll be as useful as everyone else. I hope so. I mean, what's the point otherwise, right? We'd make terrible superheroes if we could barely help people." She half smiled to herself and then closed her eyes. "Ugh, I just want to sleep... my body hurts."

She didn't get a chance to sleep before dinner came, but before long the chinese came, was enjoyed, and was done. The whole thing was kind of a blur to her, though. Throughout dinner, she felt tired, sluggish, and woozy. Probably the fact that she'd been hit by about 50 starbolts. That hurt. A lot. Once dinner was finally finished, Sarah excused herself to go to bed, though she must have been wobbling on her way to the elevator, because Starfire followed in a hurry, stating that she didn't look well and needed help to get to bed. This of course ended up with Starfire not just helping her into bed, but getting into bed with her. And of course Sarah was far too wiped to protest against it.

Meanwhile, after all the others had gone off to have the night to themselves, Nightwing was already waiting for Neal in the combat room. He had a lot planned for this guy. After all, his powers weren't something physical, and wouldn't always have the same effect on some people. He needed something more, and Nightwing was the one to teach that too him. If Neal could even absorb half of it, he would be a force to be reckoned with.
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PostSubject: Re: The Next Generation   Sun Jan 01, 2012 6:41 am

"well I'm sure that they were like us once.......well some of them at least", Neal admitted. He knew that Nightwing had been trained to fight, and Cyborg had literally been built.....however he wasn't sure about any of the others. Beast Boy, Raven, and Starfire might have all been born with their powers. HE was familiar with what they could do, but not about where they came from. He'd have to ask sometime. He glanced back to Sarah as she mentioned that she needed to sleep. "Probably a good idea for all of us", he added in.

Eventually dinner was eaten and everyone went about their own way. It was time for him to head down to where Nightwing was. Neal was certain that he was already there, as he had left the dinner a bit earlier. Neal just made his way downstairs and into the room. "Hey boss", he said with a smile and a nod. He was still sore from Beast Boy smashing him, so he hoped that Nightwing would take that into consideration when they began to fight, or train, or whatever they were going to do first.

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PostSubject: Re: The Next Generation   Mon Jan 02, 2012 1:45 am

Nightwing didn't smile back. He wasn't really one to act all friendly. After all, this was serious. This was training. He remained stolid and firm as Neal arrived, hands clasped behind his back. After a moment's pause, he pulled one hand out from behind his back and tossed the baton he was holding at Neal. "For now, you'll use this," he said. "Simple to use, but difficult to master. Now, what I'm going to teach you is a mix of what my former mentor taught me, and my own style. You will likely convert that into your own style as well, further making it unique, but know that what you are learning is being passed down from the best."
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PostSubject: Re: The Next Generation   Mon Jan 02, 2012 1:53 am

Neal gave a small nod as Nightwing began to explain that they were going to be working with the batons again. It had worked well earlier and that was when he had no idea what he was doing. With Nightwing training him he was certain that he'd be able to improve his skill in no time. "Alright so where are we gonna start exactly?", he asked curiously.

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PostSubject: Re: The Next Generation   Mon Jan 02, 2012 1:49 pm

"With the basics," Nightwing said, folding his hands behind bus back again. "It's simple: try to hit me. If you can lay a finger on me, we'll move on to some specifics. And don't worry if it takes you a while; we have all night."

(Posted on my phone. you can skip ahead and explain how things went if you want)
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PostSubject: Re: The Next Generation   Tue Jan 03, 2012 12:46 pm

The next segment of training went in an interesting manner. Neal was never someone who had fought before, at least not seriously. He had never boxed, done Mixed Martial Arts, or anything even close to that. He assumed that it was going to take quite some time to be able to get anything that Nightwing might try to tell him. Despite this, things didn't quite go as planned. Neal couldn't even begin to describe it, but every time that he swung at Nightwing he would dodge, but the next time that Nightwing made a similar move it was as if Neal's body was moving for him, like it recognized the move and was adapting to it.

Of course, it didn't take Nightwing long to change his movements so that Neal was still unable to hit him. Neal was still making progress as he kept swinging the baton, trying to match Nightwing's speed and technique. After a bit of time though Neal found himself breathing heavily, Nightwing's endurance far outmatched his own, but even Nightwing would notice that Neal was progressing faster than he should.

"Am I doing alright at least?", Neal asked before taking a long breath to get Oxygen back into his lungs.

Nightwing gave a simple nod. "I have to admit that you are doing better than expected. Most people would take much longer to get used to even these simple moves", Nightwing said as he still kept his arms behind his back. "You must had some experience fighting before, why didn't you mention it?"

Neal just blinked and stopped before swinging the baton again. "Uh......no actually, I've never really done any sort of fighting. Hell my mom wouldn't even let me take karate when I was a kid", he said with a weak laugh before realizing just how dump that probably sounded to someone like Nightwing.

Nightwing unfolded his arms for a moment. "Is that so?", he asked before going silent for some time. "Alright, we're going to call it for today. We'll continue tomorrow. You did well though, you'll progress nicely", he said before turning and walking out of the room. He needed to go speak to Raven, something about this wasn't adding up.

"Right, till tomorrow than", Neal said as Nightwing left suddenly. He couldn't help but feel like something was off. Nightwing mentioned that they had all night to do this, so why would they be stopping so early? He decided to not question it for the moment though, he was way too tired and his bed was calling his name. He quickly left before heading to bed and turning in for the day.

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PostSubject: Re: The Next Generation   Tue Jan 03, 2012 2:46 pm

"So, what do you think it could be?" Nightwing asked, arms folded as he leaned against the door frame. He had just finished explaining what had happened during his teaching of Neal. Something about how quickly he was picking up on things seemed unnatural, especially with no prior training or experience. "Is it possible his ability is somehow helping him learn things at an accelerated rate?"

Raven sat on her chair in front of the large desk and mirror on the far side of the room. She had been brushing her hair when Nightwing knocked on her door, though now her brush lay motionless on the corner of the desk. She didn't turn around, instead looking at his reflection in the mirror. "It is... possible. If I had to guess, I would say that, when his power gets into the head of someone teaching him something, he is able to see and absorb the teacher's experiences in whatever subject it happens to be. A sort of... super adaptive learning. I wouldn't be surprised if it functions subconsciously, without him even realizing he's doing it. Of course, that is still just a guess. For all we know, he could just be a fast learner."

Nightwing narrowed his eyes, a hand to his chin in thought. "I see... so what do you suggest?"

"Teach him as advanced techniques as possible," Raven said. "See if he can't pick up on them quickly. If he can, then continue to teach him as much as possible as fast as possible. he will adapt to it all in a short amount of time. He may not have quite the ability to pull some of it off, though... so put him on a rigorous workout program. Something like you underwent when you trained as R-"

"I get it," Nightwing said sharply, cutting her off. "Just don't call me that again, you know better. I don't go by that moniker anymore. I'm my own person now."

Raven picked up her brush and went back about her business, waiting for him to leave. "Of course."

---

The next week or so was quiet. The computers picked up no sign of Faust, and there weren't any alerts indicating any activity on his part. For now, people's souls were safe, it seemed. Of course, there were the usual armed robberies and such that needed breaking up when the police needed assistance, but other than that the Titans went about business at the tower as normal. Nightwing continued training Neal, while Starfire worked closely with Sarah to help her abilities progress even more as well. This mostly involved a lot of highly destructive sparring that left Sarah on the floor in exhaustion.

Of course, Starfire always looked plenty roughed up by the end of it too, she just never slowed even the slightest bit of pain or being tired at all, despite the bruises, cuts, and torn clothing. And she was always plenty sure to haul Sarah off to the showers afterwards to wash up together again, and then usually back off to bed to nap together. Normally, Sarah would have protested, but she was so out of it by that time that she just went with it. At this point, she just didn't care anymore, anyway. Starfire could come on to her for all she cared, she'd likely only give herself a headache trying to resist.

It was during one of these aftermaths that the Titan computer suddenly went berserk. The large blaring alarm woke her up suddenly, though when she tried to bolt upright, she went no where, mostly because Starfire's arms were still hugged tightly around her, and trying to fight her ridiculous alien strength was just stupid. Starfire awoke much slower, giving a long yawn, blinking, and then finally rubbing her eyes and letting her captive go.

"Oh, there is an alert," Starfire said, sitting upright. "We must hurry!"

Sarah rolled out of bed and stood up, searching for her clothes. She found her undergarments a moment later, but tripped on her way to them, causing her to curse in frustration. Eventually, she did manage to slip into them and get her uniform on. Starfire was right behind her as they walked, or rather, half fell, into the main room.

"What's going on?" Sarah said, straightening herself and tugging her cape off the chair it had caught itself on.

Nightwing, already dressed in costume and ready to roll, looked back at her. "Trouble."

Next to him, Zatanna put on her magician's hat and smirked. "Our dear old friend Faust has finally decided to show himself."
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PostSubject: Re: The Next Generation   Tue Jan 03, 2012 3:00 pm

The next week progressed in an interesting direction. Neal figured that Faust would try to keep up a low profile, but he didn't imagine that it was going to take this long for anything interesting to happen. Still, he tried not to let it show. He should be thankful that Faust wasn't trying to stir up any more trouble after all. If he wasn't on the radar, than hopefully he wasn't busy trying to steal people's souls. The fact that he was willing to do such a thing just continued to show how insane he was. He didn't care what the man's reasons were, stealing souls was just wrong.

His training with Nightwing continued, although it seemed like Nightwing was taking on a much more serious progression of training now. He was assigning Neal several workout routines in order to get his body into better shape along with seeming to go on more of the offensive with Neal's training. For their first lesson just being about trying to hit Nightwing it seemed like a rather large jump in Neal's opinion. Still, Nightwing was the teacher and perhaps he was just hoping that Neal would learn quickly. After all, with people like Faust on the loose they needed to be as strong as possible if they were going to take him down.

As they days continued Nightwing continued to say that Neal was learning well, something that always caught Neal by surprise. Perhaps this whole fighting was easier than people gave it credit for? He wasn't going to say that out loud for fear of invoking Nightwing's anger, but it definitely seemed like he was learning at a rate above what he had originally suspected. Neal didn't say anything though, he just hoped that everything he was learning would help him become more useful to the team as a whole.

Along with this Raven was assigning various exercises to Neal as well. She wanted him to gain a better handle on his illusions, and in order to do that he needed to be better at memorizing details if he wanted to recreate something. Some people would be fooled by cheap illusions, but in order to become truly powerful he needed to learn how to perfectly recreate anything from memory. It would allow him to send his enemy into a world that only Neal had control of, of rather Fade had control of. So everyday Neal would try to memorize the looks of various objects and recreate them, trying to memorize the details in order to make anyone be fooled by them. This was usually done by recreating something like food only to have Beast Boy try to eat in only to realize that it was an illusion.

Neal was progressing on both fronts, something that made him quite pleased with himself.

As the alarm rang he quickly woke up, realizing that something was wrong. Whether or not it was Faust was uncertain, but he decided to get ready all the same. He donned his suit before running to the main room to arrive just behind Starfire and Sarah. As Zatanna mentioned who it was Neal had to admit that his heart began to beat a bit faster. Faust, the man that made them all look like newborns in terms of strength. At least this time they had a much more powerful ally on their side, Zatanna.

"So where is he this time?", Neal asked curiously. Probably some where with a large amount of people, that seemed to be what he had aimed for last time with the mall. IT would give him the largest amount of souls after all.

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PostSubject: Re: The Next Generation   Tue Jan 03, 2012 3:12 pm

"Central Park," Cyborg said, as the group started moving out of the tower. Fortuntely, they didn't have to go very far to make it tot he park. "They're putting on a major concert there tonight. Lots of people."

"Which means many souls," Raven muttered, finishing the sentence.

Once they were outside, Beast Boy said something about going ahead to scope out the situation, then morphed into a falcon and flew off. Starfire went with him, flying off in a trail of what looked like flames, but was actually a sort of plasma discharge from the energy propelling her. Starfire called back over her shoulder for Sarah to follow, which left her with butterflies in her stomach.

"Okay, okay... I can do this," she said under breath, trying to concentrate on the energy around her, using it to lift herself off the ground. She hadn't done this extensively, but she hoped she could get it right. Then, without warning, a massive boost of energy launched her through the air in flight, catching up to the other two flying Titans in seconds. The only thing was, she didn't have total control over it, the reason why she was screaming the entire way to Central Park.

"The rest of you will have to take the normal route," Raven said. "I cannot open a portal near the park. I've tried, but... Faust must have warded it."

Nightwing nodded. "Right, well let's hurry then. Those three will be needing our help."
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PostSubject: Re: The Next Generation   Tue Jan 03, 2012 3:23 pm

"Bastard, there will probably be a ton of kids there too", Neal said in an angered tone. Just who did this guy think he was?! It didn't matter, all that mattered was that they stopped him quickly before he could hurt anyone else. Last time they had been warned too late in order to save anyone, this time was going to be different though. Neal watched as Beast Boy, Starfire, and Sarah all took off to fly to Central Park, he had to admit that it was humorous to watch Sarah flying for the first time. "Glad we're going to be stealthy about this"

Neal just gave a nod as Nightwing said that they should hurry. "Right, we'll all need to be there if we're really going to take Faust on in a fight", he said seriously. "Time's wasting, let's get there before that ass even takes one soul"

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PostSubject: Re: The Next Generation   Tue Jan 03, 2012 3:32 pm

And stealthy they most definitely were. Not. Sarah's arrival at Central Park was about as subtle as a train wreck. On a boat. While she had the flying as fast as possible down alright, it was turning and stopping that she needed work on. She ended up crashing loudly into a collection of bushes, skidding across the ground, and finally landing in the pond. When she managed to swim her way back out, she crawled up onto the shore and spit a mouthful of water out of her mouth.

"Ow..." was all she managed to say.

Starfire landed next to her gracefully and reached down to help her up. "Oh dear, it appears as though you need to work on, how do you say it... putting on the brakes?"

Sarah blinked, wringing out her cape. "What was your first clue?"

Beast Boy arrived a second later and morphed back into human form. "Oh man, I wish I had a camera for that. It would have been a youtube hit overnight."

"Hey, do you hear that?" Sarah wondered aloud, looking around.

Starfire, too, gazed around curiously. "No, I am afraid I do not hear anything."

"Yeah, nothing... kind of quiet for a concert," she said. That probably wasn't a good sign.

Beast Boy looked over across the pond, squinting at something in the distance. His eyes then went wide. "Uh... guys, you might want to take a look over there."

What they saw made Sarah's insides twist. Hundreds, maybe thousands of people lay on the ground, all of them barely moving. Some were trying to crawl, but most others had curled up in the fetal position, and were moaning in quiet pain. Purple and black wisps of what looked like smoke were draining from their bodies. It had to be their life energy, their souls. The smoky wisps all converged at a center point on the stage that the band had been set up on. On that stage was that same soul well that they had seen before, draining all these people's souls.

"We must hurry!" Starfire shouted, flying off like a rocket at the stage. She fired off a pair of starbolts at the soul well, but it had little effect. Instead of damaging it, the starbolts reflected straight back at her and blasted the Tamaranian out of the sky in mid flight.
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PostSubject: Re: The Next Generation   Tue Jan 03, 2012 3:41 pm

It would be a bit more time before everyone else arrived, ready to show their support and strength in order to help the others. Neal for one just hoped that they hadn't already begun fighting Faust yet. If they had, they might be in some serious trouble. They needed to fight as a team, even with Zatanna on their side Neal didn't want to take any chances with what this guy was capable of. He had nearly killed them last time they had a fight with him, Neal was hoping that the odds would be more in their favor this time.

As they arrived Neal watched as Starfire, Sarah, and Beast Boy all seemed to be racing towards something. Neal's eyes drifted towards the direction that they were looking. "My god", he said as he could make out the stage and the crowd of people that appeared to be dying on the spot. That was not a good sign, obviously. Neal's suspicions were immediately confirmed as Starfire launched one of her starbolts towards the stage, only to have it reflected and shot back right at her. "Faust must have some serious magic protecting that thing", he said to himself as he turned towards the others. "Zatanna, what exactly is the plan here? What do you want us to do?"

Neal knew he probably shouldn't be asking so many questions, but he couldn't help it in this kind of a situation. He had admittedly improved in the last few weeks, but he still needed some direction for what the team wanted him to do. Zatanna was the key to defeating Faust, so Neal would do whatever she needed him to do.

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PostSubject: Re: The Next Generation   Tue Jan 03, 2012 3:58 pm

"Find Faust," Zatanna said, hurrying up to the stage. "I'll deal with this! Esrepsid!" She held her hands out in front of her, a charged bolt of energy leaping between her fingers to the soul well. A miniature plasma explosion resulted, causing a shockwave to erupt and knock down those around it, except Zatanna, who held her ground. Within moments, however, she was on her knees, though still maintaining the magic link. "Esrepsid!" she yelled again. The soul well flickered slightly, but would not go out. "Come on!"

Meanwhile, Starfire was trying to pick herself up off the ground. Sarah arrived a second later to help her back up to her feet; she knew how much those starbolts hurt, after all. They couldn't take long though; after all, they needed to find Faust. But where was he? Sarahe and Starfire flew off to search the surrounding area, but there was no find of the sorcerer. The only trace of him was the soul well that Zatanna was working so hard to break.

"Does anyone see anything?" Nightwing asked, up in a tree and scouting the park.

Cyborg, checking his arm scanner, shook his head. "Nothing. The only energy reading I'm getting is from the soul well. No signs of Faust anywhere."

"Damn it," Nightwing muttered. "Where is he?"

Raven sat cross legged in a meditation pose, hovering several feet off the ground. Sweat beaded down her forehead, likely combating the growing painful emotions as the hundreds of surrounding citizens lost more and more life force. Eventually, her concentration broke and her eyes flew open. "He is not here."

Beat Boy looked at her stupidly. "What? What do you mean he's not here? He has to be here, his thingy-ma-bob is right there."

"Well I don't sense him nearby!" she snapped. "His soul well is here, but Faust is not!"

Zatanna pushed her hands forward, expelling an increased mass of her magical energy. "Esrepsid" she yelled yet again. This time, the soul well shattered and exploded, causing the swirlign mist of life force to surge back into their respective bodies. "Shit," she uttered, falling to a knee and breathing heavily. "It should not have been that difficult to disperse one of Faust's soul wells."

Suddenly, Nightwing's communicator went off. He pulled it out quickly and flipped it open. The police commissioner was on the other line. "commissioner, what is it?"

"We have a situation here," the voice responded. "I don't know what to call it. Same shit that went down at the mall last week. Shriveled bodies all over the place. And they're starting to get up! Attacking people in the streets!"

"Where are you?"

"Times Square," he replied. "Just, hurry! There's too many of them!"

The communicator flicked off. "Son of a bitch," Nightwing said. "Everyone, move! I'll call he hospital to get an ambulance down here pronto, but we have another situation. Faust's soulless are running wild in Times Square."

Sarah blinked in surprise. "But... if Faust is in Times Square, then this..."

"Was just a diversion," Nightwing confirmed. "Distract us with something smaller while he did his work somewhere else."
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PostSubject: Re: The Next Generation   Tue Jan 03, 2012 4:07 pm

"On it!", Neal said as he began to run around. He couldn't sense presences like Raven could, but at the very least he might be able to cover a bit of ground. Faust had to be somewhere nearby after all, his soul well was here to attack all of these people, so he had to be using his magic somewhere close by. He hadn't shown himself as he had last time, did that mean that he was afraid or was it something else entirely? Neal didn't know, but he knew the sooner that they found the guy the better off they would all be.

As Raven made her proclamation Neal stopped his searching. He wasn't here? How was that possible? Last time he had been right next to the soul well in order to make sure that the magic was working, where could he have possibly run off to now!? Had he sensed them coming and perhaps made a getaway? No.....that didn't make any sense. Faust wanted this work done, surely he would have put up some sort of fight.

Nightwing soon revealed what was really going on though, Faust had been luring them away and sent them all the way to Central Park while his Soul Well ate up those that were at time square. "That son of a bitch", Neal said to himself before turning and punching a nearby tree. How could he have known that they'd find him that easily!? It was like he was already in their heads! This guy was killing who knows how many at Times Square because they hadn't seen it coming, now innocents were dying for it.

"I don't know about you guys but I'm tired of this asshole getting away with this crap", Neal said as he turned to the direction that Times Square was in. "Let's get over there and REALLY ruin his day", Neal said before taking off in a run. He was nowhere near the fastest of the Titans, so he was certain that those who could fly would beat him there. Still Neal wanted to be there as soon as he could in order to provide some support. He wanted to take Faust down today.

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PostSubject: Re: The Next Generation   Tue Jan 03, 2012 4:14 pm

Neal would suddenly find himself running straight into Time Square, as a portal opened up directly in front of his path before he had time to move. The others arrived via portal just a few seconds later. Raven narrowed her eyes. "Faust did not think to ward both areas," she said. "Or perhaps the initial ward was to better fool us. It worked."

The scene at Time Square was one out of a horror movie. the soulless husks ran around wildly like zombies hungry for flesh. Citizens ran in a panic trying to escape, while police had set up a barricade and were trying to hold them off. Cars were on fire, shop windows were broken in; it was pure and utter pandemonium. This trumped the mall by a long shot. They were far too late to save those who had already had their souls taken, but they still needed to help the ones under attack.

"Starfire, Nova, Beast Boy," Nightwing said, "you're with me. Take out the soulless and defend the citizens. Zatanna, Raven, Fade, Cyborg, find Faust's soul well and stop him. NOW!"
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