Originally posted on MSPA
The noise was harsh - the type of melody to drive a lesser man insane, but Warden was used to it. It was an adjustment that he could to get used to when his superior brought the Industrial Revolution to Old Gehenna. Plus, Warden liked it. It helped him concentrate. It appealed to his sensibilities and better enough, it appealed to Lucifer's sensibilities. For the Warden of the 6th Ring, anything that pleased his master was sure to please him.
Despite all the perks of being a quid pro quo transcendent (the Prince of Darkness was fond of finding synonyms to these clockwork afflictions), Warden could not find any information on the cat. A cat, for Lucifer's sake. Warden would had blamed this unfounded blip of a mistake on his arm, horribly fused and flopping like some piggish sinner in the 2nd Ring. But he had no reason to blame on his arm. He was not organic. He was perfect. Everything must follow logic but even logic cannot tell him what Felus was. He had only one word to say.
"Hey, are you going to say something to me," the former Cat-God (God-Cat) started to lick his pawpads in a manner that would remind someone of a impatient businessman waiting for his coffee. Felus was obviously not pleased at the fact that his time was held up by someone, even if that someone turned out to be an unholy flurry of gears and clock parts. "I have a mass to attend to, you know."
"YOU'RE CLEAN!" Warden bellowed incredulously. It was like he honestly wanted to crucify Felus on a hunch he had absolute faith in, but could not because the God-Cat (Cat-God) had a slate cleaner than the favorite of Jacob. It was such a tantalizing decision, but he could not. So all he could do is point and scream accusingly. Like some antiquated organic. "YOU'RE CLEAN!"
"Physically? Oh no," Felus deftly jumped on a perfectly horizontal gear, perfectly ninety degrees to the dingy storehouse floor which seemed to be plagued with dust and long-gone rounds. "I was manhandled. By a dragon." Felus made a mock-sad look at the warden's skull. The skull was polished to ruthless perfection but Felus did not acknowledge that. "She had human hands. Those disgusting things."
"CLEAN." Warden was trying his best to prevent his remaining three good arms from going into a gesticulating tango. Unfortunately for the objects on the nearby shelves, he was fighting a losing battle. "This is preposterous. Illogical."
"You like logic?" Felus cocked his head. "I'll give you logic."
The God-Cat (Cat-God) crouched, then made a mighty leap, expertly wedging his paws between the teeth of a churning gear. He made quick work of those interlocking discs, dodging the crushing force with his delicate toes, and eventually comfortably settled on the slight precipice that was the dome of the Warden's skull. He lazily reached an elongated paw and playfully batted at cheekbone.
"Like I say, I'm god." Felus purred. "I get to be whatever I want."
"God..." Being the cosmic perpetual machine he was, Warden never truly stopped, perfectly suited for what Lucifer intended for the modernized period. His gears never stopped turning. His pneumatics never stopped pumping. He never stopped - stopping would only waste time, and time was what Warden needed. What Lucifer needed. As far as Warden remembered (well, as far as the timelines he lorded over can let him), Lucifer was always right and never wrong. But yet...
..there was something about God. Yahweh. Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Of course, being a demon (or a clockwork-equivalent of a demon but let's not get too pedantic, shall we ), he did everything in his existence to pervert everything the Lord and Creator had ever bestowed upon the existence of the universe in which he originated from. But yet. Yet. There was something about God. It was hard to explain but, he's just his presence impossible. His power incomprehensible. His deeds indiscernible. He's...he's...
...yeah, there was something about the person who essentially tossed your boss down to the bowels of Earth.
"If you are going to gawk right there and not talk," Felus sniffed. "I'm going to leave."
Felus leapt off the skull-gear, contorting his impossibly long body in different directions until he touched the ground with ballerina-like grace. Like all cats, he looked back and gave a miao. It was a small meow but it made up with the amount of condescending in its tone.
"Adios." Felus did not look back as he started his way across the space between shelves.
Felus looked back with a bored expression. His eyes piercing the gears that clanged like church bells, the cogs that sang like friars in cloister. It was a beautiful noise. It was a horrible noise, but Felus could not give two shits about it. "What is it you want."
"I need..." The teeth clicked, clicked, clicked in consistent time intervals. "...to know more about you."
Felus's moony eyes widened in surprise. "Really?"
The conglomerate of rotating gears and cogs did not reply. Only the hiss and spit of machinery could be heard, echoing between the remainder of shelves that stubbornly stood in the bowels of the Storage Park. It was an unsettling sort of quiet, if it could be called a sort of quiet.
"Well then," Felus arched an eyebrow. "I suppose you could follow me. You see, you and I could be a good team, considering we probably have the same goals, but of course, there is some people we need to meet beforehand..."
[color=#P4914]Ironjaw was honestly not quite sure what just happened.
For starters, he was completely naked. Shoe-less, clothing-less, equipment-less. Naked. As much as Ironjaw was proud of his unnatural physique, he was not the type of man (man-shark, shark-man, whatever) who wanted to go nude on the spot for various reasons. One was when you were a hybrid of what is essentially two genotypically different families on the Tree of Life, your gentalia tends to look pretty repulsive even in your eyes. Two, there was some emotion correlated with being au naturale
. It took him a while, but he got it. He felt vulnerable.
It was a feeling he could not get used to. It reminded him of the time where he was just a lowly slave. Pathetic Homo sapiens
slave, whimpering pleads and tears as he fruitlessly struggled on the surgery table that had seen better times. No
, he remembered crying to the too-bright lights. Those surgery lights that reflected on the filthy walls, on the emotionless vials, on the insides of his many brethren.
He couldn't move then, like he couldn't move now.
, the word those merciless scientist-surgeons said to themselves. Their visages were obscured by their masks, animalistic sadism as they forced cocktails upon cocktails upon cocktails of vile serum to the unlucky men, women, and the occasional child. Ironjaw remembered how their faces contorted into screams as they twisted into elephants, tigers, sharks
, oh their fauna. How they chose their fauna
He despised that feeling.[/color]
[color=#P4914]Ironjaw started to wonder what kind of blind idiot
would call him a child considering he was not only a shark but also a grown man. He soon realized the voice was not referring to him but rather someone else nearby.[/color]
child you are ugly
Ironjaw looked to his left and saw a naked body of a boy barely a man. His figure was svelte to the point of androgynous beauty. His pale skin was flushed with the perfect shade of pink. He would be considered extremely attractive if it were not for the fact a good majority of insides are on the outside. The man-shark hybrid would had mistaken him for a complete stranger but he did recognize his horns.
child you are ugly and your fate is ugly
[color=#P4914]The surroundings started to...pulse
for a lack of a better word, glowing a hideous red with each thump
. Ironjaw could barely make out organs, veins, vitals, meat. Meat. Meat. Horrible meat
. So much meat
. A sea of meat and it was absolutely
but i can make you beautiful
Thize gasped in fear. It was the type of fear that encouraged that vacant stare beyond the horizon. It was the type of fear that came with the realization that your fate is doomed. It was the most unpleasant type of fear and Thize realized that. And he can do nothing about that.
i am the Artiste
[color=#P4914]Inflections were common in the the realm of linguistics but not many can cause that unpleasant tinge of fear like the one in Artiste
. The emphasis on that word was so significant that to appropriately symbolize it on paper, it had
to italicized. Ironjaw did not know how he got that fact but he knew. He knew
that fact was incredibly important.[/color]
i will make you beautiful
The Artiste reached an unseen hand and picked up a string of entrails, much to the agony of Thize. A couple of...eyes, for a lack of a better word, blinked into existence to examine the vitals dripping through its fingers. It seemed to be judging Thize like an artist does its paints. Or an scientist does its test subject.
Or a butcher does its cattle.
beautiful like a metal girl under a killer sun
And so, the Artiste kept up to its promise. It pulled apart his flesh only to rend them together. It shattered his bones only to form them into more novel shapes. The Artiste destroyed him as it created - each painful reincarnation changing the screaming Thize into something more. Something beautiful. It was so beautiful, it was absolutely repulsive.
[color=#P4914]Ironjaw had never seen a more atrocious act of artistic violence ever and to be honest, he never wanted to begin with. He was praying deeply to never see what the end result for the unfortunate man was and soon his pleads were answered with a merciful release back to mindless unconsciousness.[/color]
As Thize's girlish screams reverberated in the chambers of the Artiste
and down the pseudo-notochord of Ironjaw's spine, much less violent things were happening in the more pleasant corners of the Storage Park, namely the start of a beautiful friendship, no wait - "friendship"
(you see, the quotation marks are very, very important in the context) between a girl and a dragon a foot taller than her equipment. As they were both girls, they knew how to strengthen these fair bonds, how to enhance this camaraderie, how to bolster this wonderful "friendship"...
...with traps. Lots and lots of traps. Not just traps. Death
traps. Because nothing says more about friendship ("friendship") than violent shenanigans and futuristic military-grade equipment. There were many traps. Bear traps, mine traps, traps are super-omnious and went beepbeepbeep
when you went too close, a diverse rainforest of traps all hastily slapped on the floor, the shelves, the ceiling
(can never be too careful) and lighting up this portion of the Storage Park like some sort of sadistic Christmas Tree of Messy and Painful Death.
Eriz Col-Myel was pretty sure she made like, a billion of those things. A jillion maybe. She lost count after Number Fifty. While she was not too fond of unnecessary violence, she was somewhat surprised at her productivity (especially considering explosions are not her forte) and as a result, felt slightly an odd sense of pride at this ridiculous achievement.
"My Lady," Telt's voice flickered within earshot. "There is too many explosives in this room."
"There is too many explosives in this room," Eriz simply said.
"I KNOW. ISN'T THAT AMAZING?"
Eriz had weighed the pros and cons of having a giant science dragon as an ally. After all, knowing your friend ("friend," remember the quotations) was just as important as knowing the enemy. On one hand, Guillemet was certainly handy with her hands. Though not to par with Eriz's tried-and-true Sauthorn (nothing could beat a Sauthorn, nothing), it was slightly disconcerting to see someone make an high-impact explosive from a cold pack, a handful of salt, and a bag of pulverized Jolly Ranchers while screaming <font color="#02ffff">"POTASSIUM NITRATE BIIIIIIIITCHES"
to no one in particular. And she was fairly amicable - for a dragon, at least. On the other hand, Eriz did not quite trust Guillemet's...friendliness. </font>
"WE HAD MADE SO MANY BABIES, OUR BABIES!" Guillemet cackled maniacally as she went into what Eriz could constrain as a standing seizure. "YOUR BABIES. MINE BABIES" She laughed so hard at this joke that her compatriot wondered if she was choking to death. "ALL OF THEM."
"I KNEW THEY WERE PERFECT THE MOMENT THEY WERE BORN. BUT ALAS, OUR SONS AND DAUGHTERS AND OFFSPRING OUTSIDE THE CONVENTIONAL GENDER BINARY WOULD BE SENT OFF TO DIE BEHIND ENEMY'S LINES. ISN'T IT TRAGIC THAT THEY WILL GO THROUGH SUCH SHORT LIVES? TO BE SENT OFF TO THEIR MORTAL DEATHS? IT'S SO...IT'S JUST...I CAN'T." Guillemet held a hand to her forehead -a feat considering how ridiculously long her neck was. "HOLD ME. HOLD ME LIKE A LOVER."
So then, Guillemet attempted an unnecessarily dramatic swoon into Eriz' arms. Since Eriz would rather not be squashed by a giant pseudoreptilian beast (again) that probably weighed more than ten obese Iceworlders, the armorsmith surreptitiously took a step to the right and watched the massive beast stumble like an idiot after her legs realized there was no one to receive her like a Latino Lover.
"THESE...THESE ARE SOME OF THE MOST BEAUTIFUL DEATHTRAPS I EVER CREATED AND I HAVE TO LIVE WITH THE FACT THAT I MAY NEVER REPLICATE SUCH A MIRACULOUS SCIENTIFIC PROCEDURE IN MY LIFE." Guillemet's face scrunched up like a sponge of sadness - or a towel of sorrow. "WHAT TOOK ME YEARS IN THE PAST NOW JUST TAKES ME A FEW MINUTES IN THE PRESENT. IT JUST FELL TOGETHER. IT'S MAGNIFICENT. IT'S BEAUTIFUL...I...I THINK I AM GOING TO CRY."
And so she did. Guillemet buried her head into Eriz and started to bawl, rubbing snot and spittle all over her father's many, many achievements. The tears were genuine as they were embarrassing. You see, it was very, very, awkward.
"Can you let me go."
"I'M BUSY BEING SAD RIGHT NOW." And Guillemet continued her maudlin display of gross joy.
"Yeah, but you can be busy being sad somewhere else." And Eriz shoved an auxiliary arm into Guillemet's face.
Approximately ten feet away from Guillemet and Eriz, the headless man was trying not to make himself obvious.
But for Yves Tanguy
(his boss was fond of giving pretentiously meaningful titles for his underlings), it was so
difficult. I mean, he has no head (since when is the last time you saw a fella without head
). And he was shooting blood everywhere
(the italics are very important, you see) was not a very strong man. He was weak in physique but even weaker in the head.
He was the type of person who loses his bowels over a deadline. He was the type of person who would wet his pants the minute he saw a person slightly taller than him. He was a frail fellow. A nervous fellow. The man without the head was nervous fellow even before he met the Artiste
one fateful day on the street, but he is even more so now.
To be fair, his initiation into the Artiste's
Community was not really in his own free will.
never asked for that. He jealously clinged to that belief. He was just a desperate fellow on the streets until one day, some otherworldly semi-omnipotent force decided it needed an extra man...and the next thing he knew, his head was gone, his mind messily wiped, and now look at him, stuck with a stupid name and an even stupider job of lugging corpses to and forth.
He supposed he asked for it but sometimes life does not treat you right.
But right now, life was asking waaaaay
much from him because he had a billion questions swimming in his long-gone head. What was that man in armor. What was that freakishly large monster. Who were these people. Were there more of them. Did they broke into his employer's storage unit. What kind of nutjob would break into his employer's storage unit. Why are there fucking bombs everywhere
. Were they terrorists. Do Grandmasters even have terrorists.
He needed to let someone know. Tanguy
grumbled a bit despite the clear lack of thorax as he took out his phone. It was a typical-looking smartphone, sleek and full of applications, some conventional, some a bit more exotic. What made the phone stood out from its peers was the fact its battery was perpetual running with some weird metaphysical energy - Tanguy
could describe it as hellish
. The Artiste
had made it a practice to give employees who were more well-behaved and loyal a reward, but unfortunately, it usually came from a dead person.
The phone in his hands was no different. In fact, the Artiste
was generous enough to give him a small history. It came from some lowly demon from the 2nd Circle of Hell. The Artiste
also gave him the name of the previous owner, but Tanguy
could honestly not remember it now. Not that he cared...
He shrugged and started to dial.