O toreador, l'amour, l'amour t'attend!
Joined: Jul 2011
Originally posted on MSPA
The creature that attacked a slew of Riko's colleagues alongside Thatix of course wasn't alone in its kind. At night in Afterparty, countless of these creatures, made either out of light or darkness, roamed the sandy field in search for prey. And Miq, Syvex and Eureka were as good a prey as any. And although the breaking of dawn was due very soon, still there were many of these animals about.
The team had only recently recovered from the battle with Hebris, and only recently discovered Miq could talk, and already a murder of batlike creatures awaited them outside. A high-pitched shriek of the pack leader was the cue for the group to circle in on the humans. The menaces attacked, shining their sharp teeth. Miq fought fire with fire and decided to flash some teeth aswell. One of the beasts peeked inside Miq, and this was the exact point Miq always strikes. The beast was too big for Miq to store though, and she ended up chipping into the creature's neck with her sharp teeth.
Finch's tactic was a bit more dignified, she tried to blind them with a scarf around their eyes. It seemed to work, but one of the beasts thought quickly and yanked at the cloth with its fangs, pulling Eureka in the air.
A ball of shadow hit the creature, distracting it from Syvex' teammate, but not nearly enough to count as a hit. The bat looked up, screeched at its companions, and with that more of the same animals swarmed around Syvex.
Bandages quickly grasped at a few of the group, and Finch did her best to fling them away from Syvex. The beasts tumbled along the ground and into the gaping maw of Miq, who inconsuspiciously moved to a different spot after her earlier meal bled dry.
After seeing some of the pack so easily killed, the remaining few bashfully sped off. Syvex gathered himself from the floor, dusted off all of his arms, and walked past Finch.
"What, not even a thanks? I saved your butt back there!"
"I did so countless times. Aren't we a team?"
Finch clamped her fist together in irritation, but exhaled and followed Syvex. Miq hopped along.
"So what do we do now?"
For the second time in the entire battle there was again some kind of peace in the room, and the peace was irritatingly clear. As if peace would have to remind irony it was there and could be ruined at any moment now.
Tamerlane watched from a cliff. It was a very steep cliff, but more importantly so it was made of rock and would take a while before it too was consumed by the roaring shifting sand below. Spiraling vortices in the ground dragged down collosal buildings, down into what appeared to be completely nothing. Occasionally a building would stop mid-descent and awkwardly be suspended halfway in the ground. But by now, most of the town was destroyed. And with that disgusting pride he took in destroying things he looked at the city in despair. Most of the life was also being pummeled with towers and roads alike, but he did notice one little worm edging towards him. It was a soldier's notice. Noticing without caring enough to register it.
hhhhhhhhhhhhhhh liar killer you destroy destroy you will liar liar die kill killer kill hhhhhhhhhhhh
Still not caring enough.
hhhhhhh you will die die kill kill us killer destroyer lie to me liar liar kill killer die
He wondered how Ripper was doing.
Out of absolutely nowhere a worm made entirely of light bore through the cliff he was standing on. Bits of rock fell down into the maelstrom, but what irked him more is that the worm sliced off a tip of Ripper's cell, who was now free again. Great, he thought. More of his pirate nonsense.
"You rot! Ye'll pay to be locking up a Blackmask like it's nothing! Come on, lubber, get over here before I shoot your eyes out!"
"You'll do no such thing. I have the Core, if you kill me it's lost in this place forever."
"Ye'r applying for a heavy beating, grotty punk! I'll snag that core first, then I'll pummel you half-dead!"
"Who am I to neglect such a comedy? Hit me with your best shot!"
At these words Blackmask pulled out a double barrel and shot at his ankle. In a quick reflex the sand around Tamerlane flew up, serving as a shield for the metal slug. The antagonism in the situation slightly outwheighed the poetic imagery of sand fluttering down, obstructing the pirate's view.
"Hah. A feeble attempt. I have the core right now," he paused to hold the Core upright, knowing Ripper wouldn't dare act, "And with this in my hand you can't beat me."
"You don't know half the truth." As if he had faked it all this time, the air of gravity washed away Blackmask's accent. "The power fades. If it didn't, I wouldn't be damned to a life of thievery! And if my experience is correct, your power fades about... now!"
Ripper pointed at Tamerlane and the device in his hand to make his impeccable timing more dramatic, but for some reason, things changed this time around. Or, to be frank, things changed because they didn't change. Tamerlane showed no signs of weakness, nothing Ripper felt after using the Core.
"Foolish, you are. Do you know why your power fades? It's because you are a miserly pirate. Greed is your blessing and curse. You would never be happy with the treasure you hoarded, and your lust for more always sapped your power."
The pirate looked at the tips of his shoes hoping he'd find a retort written neatly on them. Tamerlane couldn't help but start laughing, and even the sand in his clothes seemed to mock the forsaken pirate.
Syvex, Eureka and Miq each had no idea of what exactly they should be doing by now. After every battle had been fought in the enormous tower, the jarring silence of the building almost being at peace filled, or to be more precise, left the air blank. And with that very thought, a cyan flash filled the tall tower, equally bright from top to bottom.
"I see my... sister has been ever so careless."
The voice that took a while to trace because it seemed to originate from everywhere at once apparently came from a horned demon in a suit, similar to their previous foe. He introduced himself as Capiris.
"I see no need to fight you right now. After all, you are a fleeting part of our world. And in a certain sense, as am I. This world will stop existing once any of you die. You'd do well to make that disappearance worth the effort. The core will provide your escape of this wretched battle, so you'd do well to keep this item intact. Call me a disgruntled fabrication of the man who sent you here, but as it stands I only want one of you to ultimately break this battle, and overthrow the abomination of a God that sent you here."
Capiris flashed his right hand trowards the group who didn't know what to say, and so didn't speak at all. Cracks began to form in the walls, dark liquid began oozing through into the building and tackled at whatever it could notice, even the walls. The building began to crumble down from the infinite top floor and the bottommost basement at once. And Capiris, he squinted. To be fair, it barely counted as a squint. He closed his eyes. With the same intensity the light with which he warped into the building shone, he also warped out the contestants.
Go, go and kill The Prestidigitator and those that call themselves his followers.
Back in the spaceship, Riko and Riko talked away. The actual scientist seemed to have learnt the specifics of the situation, and tried to explain.
"So yes, I guess you could argue that biologically, and maybe even ethically, you're me."
"Then, if I'm a copy, I disappear when someone dies?"
"Yes. But if you die, that would mean I would die aswell. The Presti... whatever, he created that place you're in for astral projections to fight in."
"So, regardless of how it turns out, I would still die?"
A pause. The worst possible moment to put a pause.
"Yes. That's pretty much the case. But it doesn't make you useless! If you fight right now, and can, you know... eliminate someone, that would mean I get to live. And then you died in saving someone. Someone you know is an okay guy."
A laugh. He could really use some comical timing skills.
"If you save someone in dying, it's a life worth living for. So please, kill someone you know isn't worth saving."
La Aguja Del Dolor just found out someone or something has been tampering with its puppet. And it knew far too well, since by some otherworldy magic its connection with the real puppet had been blocked off, lulling the pincushion's spirit into the false idea it was conversing with the real deal. It talked to Muriegro. An insane screeching, the laments of a thousand dead souls, but they were still words to the priest.
Muriegro noticed, then tried to think about a sentence in an attempt to reply.
My savior, what do you desire?
Taking away the agony, it would translate to death.
Very well. I shall give you death.
The high-priest reached for the pincushion he held in his other hand, and simply grasped at it with both hands. Its needles scratched and prickled his already torn skin, and with that contact and such pain a connection was made. An incredible fury welled up inside the amazon, and his animalistic instinct was only barely suppressed. He wanted to see bloodshed here and now, and wanted to kill. Vengeance, lust, anger, hatred, they all swilled around in a giant cyclone of rage. But he had to continue. Every feeling inside of him to simply lunge forward and attack whoever he'd meet seeped out of his mind, leaving the savage completely drained. The energy of raw malice spread into the ground, and affected the entire area. Both Riko and Thatix sprang up with an intense desire to obliterate one another.
Riko stood up and tucked away his communicator. He walked down the lousy narrow corridors to get to the labs, and grabbed at the arsenal of weapons lying around there. He completely forgot about getting some paper to write down the earlier test results from the battle against Sadie. He just wanted to see Thatix dead.
"Lenore? I'm going out there. Close the door when I'm out, because the odds are you'll be warped to somewhere else soon. I wouldn't want to take any risks."
Lenore nodded and reached for somewhere. It didn't matter, it would be over soon.
Tamerlane turned around back to the city in turmoil, both him and Ripper knowing he shouldn't be suspecting any cheap blows. He held the core before him as it were a scepter, and ordered all the sand in Afterparty to engulf and destroy all in its path. And the message spread. Soon, a gaping hole of dirt loomed below the pair on the cliff.
"Do you see this? This is true power."
He didn't face Ripper again.
"Why did you waste this Core for so many years on such fleeting things? Money! Winning is true happiness. And I am winning. I am a warrior! I want destruction, I want battle, and I want more!"
"Heh," Blackmask grinned "You just got greedy there."
Tamerlane felt himself get greedy. His power faded away. He turned to Blackmask again.
"Now hand over the core nice and easy, ye soddy lump!"
Tamerlane's smile disappeared.
Eureka had no clue what was going on when some dude with horns walked in and just teleported them out and oh god she could feel sand in her socks. Syvex and Miq also got flashed out of the Far Periphery, and were now standing somewhere near a cliff, looking over the nearly infinite desert of Afterparty. The cloth mage looked left and right and hey is that the sand guy from before?
Syvex arrived in the desert of Afterparty. While the rest of his team dizzily idled as a lingering of the sudden transportation, Syvex quickly crawled forward. He saw the city of Afterparty, a city that was mostly at good terms with creatures of shadow like himself. And it was being eaten alive. There was no mincing words. And it reminded him of his purpose. If all went according to plan at Interstice he would have been the one wrecking this city. He wouldn't have let that happen, and he wouldn't now either. He had to stop Tamerlane.
"I don't believe you're in a position to bargain," Tamerlane scoffed. "I think this still is a core I hold in my hands, and I could easily drop it right now."
Again, Blackmask's accent melted away. "You've been chasing this thing around ever since you had even a glimpse of it. If it's that valuable for you to risk your life over it, you wouldn't sacrifice it now."
The pirate shrugged. "But hey, I'm not stopping you. If you want to drop it in there," Ripper grinned, "Then be me guest, sandlubber!"
Maybe it was the overall exhaustion from the battles they'd all been fighting. Maybe because it was rather late in Afterparty already, and their teleportation to a different reality gave them a bit of jetlag. Maybe it was just a little fit at the time, just a quick slip. Whatever it was, neither of the two could notice that in the blink of an eye Syvex sprinted into the fray.
"Stop right there."
"Ah, more empty threats. Is this a friend of yours, pirate?"
Ripper had given up all conversational strategies regarding Tamerlane's wit and reverted to mere grunts and moans.
"You're not going to destroy this city anymore."
Tamerlane looked at the serpent hissing before him, and with a lingering of the core's power topped another spire, eyes constantly locked with Syvex.
"And what if I do?"
If Tamerlane hadn't been so greedy, he maybe would have noticed Syvex' subtle inching towards his right. But he couldn't stop him. Syvex swiftly slid behind the sand warrior and swiped him off his feet.
Riko stepped into the sandy arena. The main gate of the ship closed behind him as his request. He stepped forward to the buzzing swarm of fireflies, guns held and holstered in as many pockets his tacky uniform would allow. The moonlit prairie upon which Thatix glimmered was poorly lit at the moment, but soon that would change. Riko trod forward, cautious not to make too much noise with each of his footsteps. As his boss always got told and never listened to, introducing yourself to your victim is always a bad idea. Just go for the cheap shot as long as no one's looking.
The insects happily chirped along to the great content of showing off their power. An animalistic instinct in Thatix had awakened, and she felt at her best after the onslaught on the chancellors Riko. She wasn't all too sure how he even did the clone thing but what did it even matter, she felt good! Now all she needed was seven more of the chancellors and wait seven?
It appeared that out the corner of one of the many eyes of one of her many fireflies the sorceress spotted yet another copy of chancellor Riko. How strange, she could've sworn she got them all.
"Well well well!"
There was no point in playing silent anymore.
"Thatix, it's over for you." Riko's determination outed itself in a mean look.
"Ha. Hahahahaha! Why do you even think that? Not even a million copies of you could take me out!"
"Copies? What are you even... those were my friends!"
That last line required Thatix to overthink things she took for granted and that was a bit hard so she ignored it completely.
"But it's time for revenge! Take this!"
At that point Riko grabbed for his weaponry. At nearly the same time he stunned, shocked, froze, burned - although that didn't really help his case, poisoned, and did whatever else he could with his current arsenal to the fireflies that composed Thatix. Most of the bugs hit the sandy dunes.
Tamerlane fell in an instant. Or at least, to any outsider it would have seemed like an instant. Tamerlane however had enough time for setting a lot of his final thoughts straight. HE always was one who wanted to go in a laze of glory with some cool final words so he had to quickly come up with those. He failed and shouted expletives up at the serpent. Is this the end, he thought. Dying in a bunch of sand. Sand. Hold on, what was he even doing?
He quickly tried to channel as much energy he could into one single fling. The earth opened up beneath him as tendrils of sand clawed up at the ledge Tamerlane stood on half a second ago. His fall lengthened as what would definitely become his grave tried to grasp at his killer.
Tamerlane was dead.
quidquid Latine dictum sit altum videtur.