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After Genji spent a few hours trying to recover from the thought that the Mercy he knew was dead, he already knew that he couldn't take a break forever. The feeling still hadn't gone away, but it wasn't going to for awhile. His quiet and unusually inactive behavior was noticeable to the other Champions in the HQ, including Undyne, but they didn't have the time to do anything about it. Most were off to the Overwatch universe to see if they could help deal with everything going on, but now, it was only Genji that sat alone in the darkened room. Undyne was too busy in her own room, presumably speaking with Thyrados and Iprux.
The cyborg sat on a mat where a table once was, which had been moved to a better spot. He tried, and tried, and tried many times to calm himself from what happened, but it didn't seem very effective. Time flew by, and it only felt like a few minutes since the event occurred. The ninja let out a long sigh, slowly getting himself back up and fixing his mask.
Genji turned his head to a secret exit out of the Codex that hid in a corner, revealed. The others left it open for a short amount of time if anybody else wanted to leave. The cybernetic ninja knew that he couldn't wait any longer, and needed to leave. Genji walked towards the 'hidden' portal, jumping in.
Santa Ana, California
The ninja had been dropped off behind a single building in an alleyway, landing on his feet and knelt down. It felt like ages since he had last visited the Overwatch universe, but it wasn't the same one he came from. Perhaps Mercy was here, too, but it's not the same Mercy, either...
"Stop thinking about her," Genji thought to himself, putting a hand on his forehead and standing upwards. The cyborg took a deep breath, peeking out from behind the building to see where he exactly was. Obviously, from this single peek, he definitely couldn't tell where he was on Earth, but he at least saw that it was active, untouched civilization. There was a street close by, cars casually driving by and a few pedestrians on the sidewalk. It was peaceful... nothing unusual... At least, for a time-
"F***ing bulls*** walk a billion f***ing- Can't even give me a godd*** shirt..." grumbled the ever-bitter Melissa Brown, who was grumpily walking down the sidewalk with nothing on but a bathrobe. Unfortunately, she had been shot in the gut earlier, so there was a large hole in Oboro's handiwork that showed the black scar left behind from the injury. She must have walked all this way from Los Angeles.
Of course there would be something unusual. That's with every clash.
Deciding to not just leave her alone like that, Genji stepped out from the structure just on time. "Excuse me?" he called, hoping to get Melissa's attention.
"Piece of- Huh?" Melissa snapped out of her quiet ramblings and perked up, looking around before her gaze quickly settled on Genji. She gave him a once-over then asked, "What the hell do you want?"
"Do you wish for any aid?" he asked, looking over the neo-nazi's body.
"The hell do I look like? Some homeless begging as-" Melissa stopped herself, quickly realizing she probably did look homeless. (Not to mention the fact she technically was homeless) "... Yes," she answered reluctantly.
Genji, as well, quickly realized that he didn't really have anything for Melissa. "Well... you can follow me and we can find clothing for you. Who are you? I am Genji Shimada, one of the members of the current Champions." he explained.
"Everyone's a member of the Champions these days," Melissa remarked as she folded her arms and rolled her eyes, "Melissa Brown, stuck in the Clash for way too f***ing long."
"Sorry about that," the cyborg stated, before gesturing for Melissa to follow him, walking ahead of her and onto the sidewalk. He didn't want to start much conversation because of how he was feeling.
Melissa followed the ninja quietly, occasionally flicking off civilians who stared at her. After a few moments, she piped up, "Is it just me or do we go to Earth way too many f***ing times? It's better than Hell or some s***, I guess, but at least the last place had floating islands. You know, something new."
"Perhaps," Genji murmured, his head drooping downwards. It was a bit hard to spot, but he didn't seem to be in the best of moods.
Melissa walked a little longer in silence before letting out a long sigh. This walk was going to be way too awkwardly silent if she didn't do something. "Okay, what's wrong?" she asked, "For a robot with no face, you're making it pretty obvious there's something bothering you."
"Fine. I lost someone only a few hours ago," he answered, "Someone that I was close to. She was swiftly killed by one of our main enemies."
The typically-aloof ex-Nazi paused, before speaking in a less harsh tone, "That's the Clash for you. What was she like?" She didn't care that much, but the topic made for conversation and Melissa could say she helped someone out.
"Friendly... supportive... She spoke of you, sometimes. Not that often, but I knew I recognized your name once you told me..." said Genji. It was at least nice to meet a friend of Angela's... but then came the thought of how Melissa would react if she was informed, or got the idea, that she was dead.
"Wait, me?" Melissa's eyes widened. She thought about this for a hot second before asking, "Who was she?" Unlike her previous tones, there was a clear hint of worry in her voice. She didn't have many friends, and was unsure of who would talk about her to others.
The depressed ninja hesitated, but all secrets couldn't stay hidden forever. "Mercy... or Angela," he finally answered.
The persistent grumpy expression on Melissa's face slowly gave way to shock. Her breathing was noticeably shallow as she tried to maintain her composure. She mouthed a word before finding her voice and spitting out, "Wh-What?" Genji made no more responses and went completely silent. Mercy's death had clearly affected other people.
After a moment, Melissa could feel her lip trembling and tears threatening to escape her eyes, which she promptly shut tightly as she clenched her fists. She turned away from Genji. "I.. I don't need your f***ing handouts. F*** you," she hissed, not sure of what else to say. She took a moment to just breathe before walking away, not wanting be seen like this.
Genji, as soon as Melissa walked off, continued to wander the sidewalk, increasing his walking speed. He didn't have time to mourn anyone now; he had to help. He had to find a location that was under attack by a threat... or something along those lines. He only hoped to himself that he'd at least find a bit of aid. Things just seemed to be taking a darker turn in the clash.
There was a scene before Genji that was arguably lighthearted, at least in comparison to his recent exchange. "Come on, come on. This is the freaking future; ATM's are this slow?" mumbled a suspicious looking man in a hoodie, his back facing Genji. He was standing in front of an ATM which was spitting out dollar bill after dollar bill into a small sack.
The ninja gave an odd glance towards the mysterious person, slowing down as he saw him, but proceeding to pick up his speed again and try to walk past him. Genji simply wanted to do what he needed.
That was until he actually took a better look at the man.
"What're you doing?" Genji questioned, stopping in his tracks and facing the person.
"Ah-" The man looked up. He had a bandana wrapped around his face, covering his nose and mouth. Opaque, rectangular glasses shrouded his eyes as he stared at the ninja for a moment. "... Hey Genji! How's my favorite Overwatch hero?" he laughed, quickly stepping between the cyborg and the sack of money, as if that would make his crime invisible.
"How do you- Why're you doing this? Don't do that," the cyborg said, lightly clenching a fist and taking a small step forward.
"D-Don't do whaaaOKAY I'M SORRY!" the man yelped, taking a step back and tripping over his sack of money. He fell onto his rear and let out a pathetic groan of pain.
Genji let out a sigh, letting his shoulders rest. "Why were you doing that?" he asked after a moment, looking down at the man.
"T- I- I needed money! Please! Don't arrest me or whatever!" the man begged, "I-I have.. Uh.. Uhm.. Information! T-That's right! I'm.. I'm practically drowning in information! You know, about.. Uh.. Talon! I've read up on the Overwatch lore!" He knew very well he would not last a second in prison, especially when the Overwatch world had psychopaths like Junkrat or Reaper.
"Then tell me something about Talon and I'll spare you," the ninja stated, waiting patiently for an answer from him.
"O-Okay, uh... Talon came about when, uh, before Overwatch got messed up. There-" The man was beyond nervous as he tried to stammer out what he knew of Talon, "It has, uhm.. Doomfist, he was some guy from Nigeria, but then you guys locked him up... Then he escaped. There's, uh, Reaper. His name was Gabriel... Something. He helped found Overwatch and led Blackwatch. Uh.. Now he's one of Talon's leaders. Uhmm.. Widowmaker... I don't remember her name it was some weird French name, but she was a part of Overwatch. B-But then Talon, I think, kidnapped her and tortured her and stuff and, like, turned her into Widowmaker and her skin is blue but it was never really clear why her skin is blue and the explanation Blizzard gave everyone didn't really make sense at all but then they justsaiditmusthavebeensomerandombiologicalalterationthingbutIthinkthat'sBSandareallylamecopout.... And then there's Sombra, she's pretty cool- I mean! She's a bad guy! But.. Like.. She has a nice character design! She.. OH! OH! She blackmailed the chick in charge of Russia, Katya! I don't know if she's like, a prime minister or something. I bet you didn't know that! It was in her character cinematic trailer thingy!"
Genji silently stared at the mysterious man. Even though no one could tell, he was in awe at how much he knew. It opened up the question about where he was from. "Okay. You're very informative. Who are you?" the cyborg questioned.
"D-Dave- I mean.. Stalker. Call me Stalker," Dave answered, "Where I come from.. Uh... I.. I guess I was basically the Sombra of my world- Except not evil! I did not work for the bad guys!" Sure, he may have helped Greg and The Operator maintain their control over the entire planet, but surely helping take them down during the Clash made up for that, right?
"... Greetings. How do you know... all of this? Including my name? And almost everything about Talon?" Genji brought out a hand for Stalker to take, letting him get back up.
"Where-" Stalker interrupted himself, considering his answer as he accepted the hand offered to him. It wouldn't sound all that impressive if he said he read all this on a video game's wiki, would it? That, and he needed leverage to ensure he would not be arrested for hacking into an ATM, "Uh... I... Learned all of that... I'm a hacker! And... I got all that information in the short time I've been here! I'm really good at what I do. Like that ATM, it was almost too easy to break into... Again, please don't arrest me."
The ninja was slightly suspicious of his explanation, but tried to believe him. "I won't... as long as you don't do anything like that again. Would you like to come with me? I'm likely going to try and find somewhere that's under attack by villains, since I've heard." Genji explained.
"Y-Yeah! That'd be great!" Stalker nodded, glancing at the sack, "So.. Uh.. What do we do about the.. Money?"
"Take it back. I'll take it and give it to authorities nearby," he replied, picking up the sack. "Though... er... I don't think I see any at the moment,"
"Uhh... I guess we should just.. Hang onto it then? Like, just until we find a cop or something," Stalker shrugged awkwardly.
"I suppose we could do that..." Genji mumbled, walking away and gesturing for Dave to follow. "Where were you from?"
"New York, but, like, a different universe," Stalker answered. With the initial SPORE under the rug, he couldn't help but feel a little excited. He was meeting a member of Overwatch for Pete's sake!
"Oh. Did you... recently enter this place?" the ninja asked again. Not wanting another Melissa incident, he tried to start some conversation, hide his slight depression, and try to avoid conversation about Mercy.
"Yeah! I only got here like.. An hour ago or something," Stalker replied happily, looking around at the sights of the future.
"I've been here since... the start of this... I don't remember. Months ago, perhaps. Are you aware of 'clashes'?"
"Oh yeah, I've heard you guys talking about it and stuff," Stalker answered, not giving any explanation as to how he would have heard anything, "So do you know where like, the other Overwatch heroes are? Like D.Va, Tracer, Symmetra, or Mercy?"
"No. We could be able to find them," Genji replied, still trying to avoid talking about Angela. "Also, how did you 'hear' about all of this?"
"Oh, uh.. You guys were in my universe for awhile. There I kinda had access to.. Well... Everything. I had cameras everywhere," Stalker explained, "A squirrel couldn't fart without me knowing about it!" Jesus Christ that sounded better in my head, he thought to himself immediately after.
Genji attempted to ignore the last comment. "Right... I remember. We could use you with your knowledge considering the Shadow Demon, and evil in general, is getting worse now." the cybernetic ninja added.
"Oh! Yeah! Totally! I could be like, your Sombra! Except.. I can't fight! But other than that I'm basically her... Also not evil!" Stalker exclaimed.
"That's pleasant..." Genji internally contemplated whether he could bring Stalker to the Champions' HQ and introduce him to the others, or simply keep going with him. His thoughts were interrupted when he heard something distant. Genji stopped walking at this, going completely silent and listening. He didn't hear it a second time when he did that. The sound was vaguely like some kind of loud, demonic roar from the distance.
"Did you hear that?" he asked Stalker, trying to make sure it wasn't his imagination.
"I.. Uh.. I think so," Stalker turned his head in the general direction of the sound.
The cyborg slowly started to walk again, hoping it was only something other than something that could kill people. But this was the Clash. The sound was heard for a second time, now a bit louder. "Something has to be approaching..." muttered Genji, turning around. It was as if the blue morning skies thundered to a red-orange color for a moment.
"Did that- Did I-.. You can handle the bad guy right?" Stalker asked nervously, "I mean, you're Genji."
"I don't even know... I might not be able to alone," Genji responded, the roar being heard for a third time. The ground shook slightly. Slowly, but surely, Genji was starting to recognize who this could possibly be. The main thing that worried him was if he could even handle the enemy without being killed. If he escaped, he would likely survive, but people would die and damage would be done. Was it best to try and sacrifice himself to save people?
"Uh.. Uhm... I.. I might be able to.. Uh.. Shoot it with like.. A pistol? Do you guys have any guns lying around?" Stalker awkwardly checked the ground for firearms.
"No... Is there some way to contact other pe-" the cyborg started, before being interrupted by the scream of a civillian. The sky reddened a bit, a flying figure visible from the distance that quickly grew closer. As it got closer, Genji could finally make out who it is. Someone he made contact with only a few hours ago.
"There's no way we're going to be able to stop it by ourselves," Genji said, turning away and bringing out a couple of shurikens. The thing suddenly landed between two buildings, lifting itself upwards as the roofs of the structures burned and crumbled, people screaming and fleeing. It was a large, orange and black dragon, that was identifiable as Deathwing.
"G-Genji.. Genjigenji," Stalker squeaked, "I.. I think we.. Should run.."
"Yes, we should run!" Genji grabbed onto Stalker's wrist tightly, dragging him and running off as Deathwing let out a piercing screech, taking a step forward and leaving the two buildings he landed on damaged. His tail swiped to the side, only damaging more buildings in the process.
As Genji was fleeing, he suddenly bumped into Springtrap, who was casually wandering through the city. "Whoa, whoa, whoa! Watch where you're going!" Springtrap exclaimed.
"Do you not see what's going on?" the cyborg growled, pointing back at the corrupted dragon. Right as the rabbit looked at him, the dragon let out a burst of fire, causing him to shriek like a girl and duck. The fire wasn't aimed for them, though.
"OH GOD, STAY AWAY FROM THE RABBIT TOO! RUN RUN RUN RUN!" Stalker screamed, barely keeping up with Genji as he was practically dragged along the ground by the ninja, "THAT DRAGON THING IS A PAIN IN THE BUTT TO KILL! THAT RABBIT KILLS KIDS!"
"Wait, I can explain!" Springtrap squeaked, standing back up and shivering.
"Maybe while we're running." Genji said, obviously hinting to the bunny that they should run. Luckily, he caught this and began to run off as well.
"UH- WHILE WE'RE RUNNING!" he began, "I'm... Springtrap! And uh... you might know me! BUT-"
"OH GOD SPRINGTRAP IS CHASING US!" Stalker screamed in terror, "I WANNA GO HOME!"
"I CAN EXPLAIN! I'm not evil anymore! I used to kill kids, and also people when I first entered, but I've changed sides! I promise! I'd be killing you guys by now!" Springtrap shouted, already running out of breath.
"KIDS ARE PEOPLE!" Stalker screamed.
"He's on our side, okay?!" Genji interrupted, "Now-"
A building suddenly crumbled and collapsed next to them, causing the ninja to skid to the side. Deathwing stomped through the remains of the structure, nearly stepping on Springtrap as he got near.
"OH GOD! WHY DOES THIS ALWAYS HAPPEN TO ME???" the animatronic cried out, kicking away Genji and running off. As he ran, he got reminded of something.
"Oh, right, I have a... Chaos... Emerald..." Springtrap muttered, delving a hand into his suit and bringing out, low and behold, a Chaos Emerald. "BUT WHAT'S ONE GONNA DO?!"
"A WHAT!?" Stalker gasped, "GIVE THAT TO GENJI!"
"Yes, do that!" Genji exclaimed, catching up with Springtrap.
"B-but- CAN'T I TRY THIS OUT MYSELF?! I DON'T EVEN KNOW HOW TO USE THIS!"
"NO!" Stalker shouted, taking a pebble out of his pocket and throwing it at Springtrap. It had next to no effect. After all, it was a mere pebble.
"DAMMIT!" the animatronic cursed, before picking up the pebble that bounced off of him and throwing it back at Deathwing, who was still quickly approaching as he knocked over a tree, the plant coming straight for Stalker. Genji luckily got him out of the way before it could land on him.
Springtrap apparently threw the pebble at the correct time, and with the correct amount of force, as it landed straight into the corrupted dragon's mouth and into his throat. Deathwing wasn't very fazed by the pebble, but it somehow distracted him a bit. "OH MY GOD THAT ACTUALLY WORKED?! KIND OF?!" Springtrap screeched, taking this chance to run.
"OH MY GOD OH MY GOD OH MY GOD OH MY GOD!" Stalker wailed, quickly patting himself, as if a limb would have gotten left behind when he was pushed out of the way of the tree. His attention snapped back to Springtrap, "GIVE GENJI THE FREAKING CHAOS EMERALD, AFTEN!"
"NEVER! I'M GONNA GIVE IT TO UNDYNE!" the rabbit replied.
"By the Gods, Springtrap, just give it to me!" Genji yelled.
"Just- Freaking take it from him, you're Genji! Punch him in the face!" Stalker insisted.
"But he's an all- forget it," the cyborg ran over to Springtrap's side as they were fleeing, elbowing his head and causing the animatronic to pathetically fall over, dropping the Chaos Emerald as well. Genji didn't hesitate to take it, causing Springtrap to scream like a little girl. He wasn't screaming at the fact that Deathwing was now right next to him, but the fact that his Chaos Emerald was stolen.
"GOOD! NOW WITH THAT YOU'LL BE ABLE TO- TCH- RUN FASTER AND YOU'RE STRONGER! SO I'M GONNA GET ON YOUR BACK AND WE'RE GONNA RUN!" Stalker shouted, before hopping onto Genji's back without a moment to spare, clinging to the cyborg for dear life.
Genji grunted at this, only being slowed down slightly by this. Luckily, he attempted to handle the extra weight and fled behind a building to momentarily think of what to do.
"HOW COULD YOU HAVE DONE THAT, GENJI??!!" Springtrap shrieked, suddenly falling from the roof of the building.
"GENJI! DON'T STOP! RUN! YOU HAVE A FREAKING CHAOS EMERALD!" Stalker screeched in terror.
Right as he tried to run, the rabbit suddenly grabbed onto his leg. "GIVE IT BACK AND WE CAN RUN! I CAN... UH... USE MY POWERS TO TELEPORT YOU GUYS OUT OF HERE!"
"Springtrap, there is a large, deadly dragon chasing after us right now!" Genji shouted, "I'll give it back later!" he added, actually lying just as an attempt to stop Springtrap.
"Give it back!"
"I will soon!"
"WHY NOT NOW?!"
"GENJI HE KILLS CHILDREN AND STUFFS THEM IN SUITS!" Stalker screamed.
"NOT ANYMORE! I LITERALLY JUST TOLD YOU A MINUTE AGO!" Springtrap yelled, earning a kick from Genji. However, this time, he didn't fall over, but simply staggered. In response, the rabbit stepped on the cyborg's leg repeatedly. "Give me the emerald thingy, and then we can get out of here alive!"
"Fine, have it! Now get us out of here!" Genji grumbled, tossing the emerald to Springtrap and getting back up. The animatronic giggled out of happiness for just a moment, but his joy was taken away once he heard Deathwing crash against the building.
"Oh my God, everyone is insane," Stalker whimpered.
"OKAY! I GOT IT!" the bunny yelled, picking up both Stalker and Genji and running off, throwing them to the side for a moment. "Where is it... DON'T TELL ME I JUST LOST IT!" he screamed, desperately trying to look for something in his suit.
After a few short moments of looking, he turned back to the two. "I lost it. So let's run," he finished, before screaming out of terror and running away. Genji got back up yet again, helping Stalker up as well and sprinting off.
"YOU LOST THE CHAOS EMERALD!?" Stalker yelped.
"NO, NOT THAT! I'M HOLDING IT RIGHT NOW! I LOST MY SPECIAL WALKIE-TALKIE TO SPEAK TO THE CHAMPIONS!"
"... F*** YOUR WALKIE-TALKIES! DIDN'T YOU SAY YOU CAN TELEPORT US USING THE FREAKING EMERALD!?" Stalker screamed.
"OH RIGHT! YEAH, RIGHT... I FORGOT! BUT I DON'T KNOW HOW TO USE IT! WHY DON'T YOU TELL ME?!"
"OH MY F***ING GOD! YOU JUST USE IT! IT MAKES YOUR THOUGHTS REAL! JUST MAKE US NOT HERE!" Stalker shouted.
"OKAY! YOU SHOULD'VE TOLD ME THAT EARLIER!" Springtrap shrieked. Suddenly, all three of them poofed inside of a building. "We're safe..." he sighed in relief.
"No we're not." Genji said, gesturing to the window. While they were more distant from Deathwing, he was clearly still visible.
"Oh, oh, oh, oh.. Oh thank go-" Stalker's relief was short lived as soon as he looked out the window. With a deep breath, he slowly turned to look at Springtrap, "... How... How the hell did you manage to do all that evil stuff back then, but when you try to teleport us somewhere, you-" He put a hand to his head, giving his brow an aggravated pinch.
"I THOUGHT OF THE WRONG PLACE!" the animatronic screamed.
"Then take us-" Genji began.
"You know what? No. No. I'll use the chaos emerald," Stalker stated, "At least I know how."
"Hey! It's my first time using it! I got this!" Springtrap spat. Right as a blast of fire broke through the window, the three finally disappeared again. This time, they were actually in the correct place.
"Finally..." Genji sighed, recognizing the Champions' HQ. He turned to Springtrap, who was shivering and still holding the emerald. "Give it to Undyne."
"... O-Okay," Springtrap stammered, putting the artifact in his suit. He was lying and wanted to keep it. "L-later?"
"Okay! Fine!" the bunny exclaimed, walking away.
"Genji are you seriously going to trust a serial child murderer to give one of the most powerful objects in existence to the fish lady?" Stalker asked.
"I've been friends with Springtrap for awhile now. Literally since this has started he's helped us and has saved people. He's just... not very good at his job..." Genji groaned, putting a hand on his face.
"I'M NOT A MURDERER ANYMORE!" Springtrap called from the hallway.
"Hmph, well you obviously don't know William like I do," Stalker remarked, folding his arms. He had archived episodes of Game Theory (As well as most of YouTube), he knew all about Springtrap's crimes.
"You and your knowledge! You don't know my past in the Clashes, right? Of course not!" Springtrap retorted.
"Well, we've been keeping an eye on him. We're fine, I've had a bit of a bad past with him, but that was before he changed sides. We can trust him, but we'll still keep an eye on him." the ninja sighed.
"Well, maybe I should take care of handing over the emerald. After all, it's better in the hands of someone who knows how to use it. Some people spontaneously combust while holding it because they don't know anything about how it works," Stalker harrumphed. The part about people exploding was a complete fib, but he had already asserted himself as a source of knowledge.
"We need the emeralds, though. Sure, it could be in better hands, but Undyne and Thyrados stated that they needed it for an important project that could potentially stop the Shadow Demon." Genji argued.
"But nothing. I can give it to Undyne. Better I do it than Springtrap, even if he is 'good' now."
"Oh, come on! Just give me a chaaaance?" Springtrap called.
"WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON HERE?!" Undyne yelled, suddenly bursting out of her room. She looked at Springtrap, who was next to the door. He slowly handed the emerald to the tourneymaster, letting her take it.
"... Hello, Undyne. I found someone new." Genji greeted, waving as she turned to them. "Stalker."
"Wait, wait- Stalker? I know him!" the fish warrior pointed out, staring at Dave and holding the Chaos Emerald in one hand. "What're you doing here?"
"Heeey Undyne! Genji- or- I guess Springtrap brought me here!" Stalker answered awkwardly, "I said it before, but I'll say it again, you did a great job in New York."
"That's because we barely escaped being killed by Deathwing." Genji answered, causing Undyne's eye to widen.
"Oh boy, what'd he do this time?! He's really becoming a threat..." the fish warrior growled.
Genji cleared his throat, "Err... he may have destroyed the city of Santa Ana... at least, I believe that was the city."
"Becoming a threat!? Do you not know anything about Deathwing?" Dave asked, flabbergasted.
"Quiet, you! We literally just first encountered him a few hours ago!" Undyne retorted.
"Well, it's a good thing I've played a lot of World of Warcraft," Stalker proclaimed, "I know all there is to know." He did not mention that he played the MMO completely alone because the servers were gone and nobody else had the time to play World of Warcraft.
"Oh my God," the tourneymaster grumbled, placing a hand on her eyes and looking away. "Okay, look, maybe you can inform us on everything... as long as you don't be bratty about it."
"Could I suggest being nicer?" Genji suggested.
"Yes. I guess this guy can stay for now," Undyne replied. Springtrap muttered a few words under his breath, likely talking about how ridiculous it was to him to keep Dave.
"Thank you; you will not not regret this!" Stalker swore. He wished he could have been more pumped about this, but the fact that Springtrap was nearby sucked the fun out of things.
"Well, do you mind telling us some useful stuff you know about... Deathwing?" asked Undyne, exhaling. Springtrap, in the background, sat down on a bench and simply watched.
"Alright, well, it is possible for just one guy to take out Deathwing. It'll be hard, but I could, like, write up a battle plan or something. It's been awhile since I looked up stuff on him, but I should remember all the important details. I think you could definitely handle it," Stalker assured. It was a bit nerve-wracking for him to be out in the open like this, but he had an edge on everyone else: Information. As long as he had that leverage, he could keep his cool. He was untouchable. Nobody would risk harming his precious brain, filled to the brim with wikia articles and World of Warcraft YouTube guides.
"I think you could write down everything you know on a paper in the meantime.. then you could give it to me, and then we can start planning out how we could even touch him. For now, we need to find other clashers and locations that are in danger. So... while we're doing that, you can just write things down." Undyne explained.
"Oh it won't take me long to put together a guide," Stalker waved a hand, "And luckily for you, I can help with that other stuff too. Just gimme awhile and I'll get myself in all the feeds on Earth. Any information you need, you'll have it."
"Okay, good. Just take your time, because we're gonna need to actually... survive." Undyne said.
"AHHHH!" Melissa screamed as her fist pounded against a now-crumbling brick wall. With each punch she let out another scream, her violent breakdown attracting some attention from those who happened to walk by the alley she hid herself in, but managed to scare them off quickly after they paid her any mind.
She eventually collapsed through the wall into a building that was thankfully uninhabited at the moment. Her fingernails dug into her skin as her fists were clenched as tightly as they could go. A few tears dripped down onto the rubble strewn across the floor. She remained on the ground, shivering as a few quiet whimpers escaped her lips. There were a few furious roars from Deathwing in the distance.
The roars went uncomprehended by the ex-Nazi. All she could think about was Angela.
Of all the people that had to die, it had to be the one person Melissa truly cared about.
She shouldn't have been so surprised.
This is normal.
Friendships never last in the Clash.
Love only leads to heartbreak.
There's no escaping the cycle of Clashes. Melissa did not even have the luxury of death as a means of escape.
She swore to herself before that she wouldn't get involved. She developed an unattractive bitterness to stave off potential friends, potential lovers.
But she was weak. She couldn't help but fall for Mercy's kindness. She thought that, because Mercy had developed a means of pseudo-immortality, things might be different.
Despite how often she pushed others away, in truth, Melissa hated being alone.
But in the end, loneliness was an easier burden to bear.
"... Why..." She sputtered out, crying as she was still braced against the ground. Why did she have to endure this? Immortality meant an eternity of loneliness, or well, not truly. A part of her knew this would happen again at some point. She would try to find someone else, only to lose them as a result of their death or simple separation as Melissa is pulled into another Clash.
Not only that, but she could never enjoy the simple delight of sleep. The very force that kept her alive haunted her dreams; and even in her conscious moments, Melissa staved off a barrage of corruptive influences.
She just wanted this all to end.
She hated the Clash so much.
It was nothing but a cycle of give and take with dramatic flair.
It would suck innocents into a series of chaotic events, blessing them with combat experience, wisdom, and even fantastical abilities...
But it would take the lives they once had, slaughter them or those they cared for, or take the lives of countless bystanders who did not ask to have their world invaded by this twisted story.
That's all it was to whatever higher powers who were pulling the strings, wasn't it?
Just a story, a means of entertainment.
And in the end, Melissa's suffering, the suffering of the other clashers, the suffering of the natives of countless ruined universes...
That suffering would be disregarded in favor of celebrating defeating the 'big bad'. All the pain would be justified in their eyes, for the puppetmasters had killed the enemy that they had been controlling the entire time.
Lævatein would not this setback deter her. She had no doubt in her skills at swordplay. However, allowing enemies of Múspell to escape like the stretchy girl and the boy with the beast... That was unacceptable.
Lævatein drew her sword and pointed it towards the direction of the voice. “Show yourself.”
“Ay, so pushy! You need to learn to relax,” said a Mexican woman, phasing next to Lævatein. She was covered in a pink, blue, and purple jumpsuit, and heavily made up. Her jumpsuit had strange gloves with attachments that appeared to be fingernails, though a low electrical hum emitted from the woman’s hands.
Lævatein swung her sword towards the woman’s abdomen. The woman yelped and sucked her stomach in.
“Like I said, relax! I’m not here to hurt you, amiga,” the woman insisted. “In fact, I have to say, your swordplay is muy excelante.” The woman, calming down, smiled mysteriously at Lævatein. “I am Sombra; that is all you need to know about me. I’ve been watching you and your papá... I’m quite impressed with you, amiga.”
“Are you a spy?” Lævatein accused.
“Of sorts, but I’m not here to piss you off. Or report on you for that matter; rather, I’m here because I’m interested in your work.”
Lævatein turned away. “I am a princess of Múspell, and a blade of the fire king Surtr. I serve only he. Leave, before I cut you down.”
Sombra pouted. “Oh, come now, don’t be like that. I’m not asking you to be my servant, or my slave, or whatever it is you think I want you to be. It’s as simple as you scratch my back, I scratch yours.”
Lævatein remained silent.
“Look. I know a lot more about this world than you do, amiga. I’ve been in practically every database known to modern society! And I’m in the middle of putting together something huge. Something that might affect you and your papá.” Sombra emphasized the latter part.
Lævatein turned back towards Sombra. “What do you know?”
“What I do know, I cannot say out loud, since it’d jeapordize my whole mission. But it’s big, and if it happens, your papá will not be among the survivors,” Sombra replied.
“Impossible. Father’s fire will protect him,” Lævatein insisted.
“If my hunches are correct… and I sure hope they aren’t, of course, then your papá’s fire is gonna blow out like a birthday candle.” Sombra looked straight into Lævatein’s eyes. “I know you’re loyal to your father; if you really cared about him, if you wanted to prove your loyalty, you’d get any information necessary to protect him. Knowledge is power. Let me be your eyes. All I need in return is a couple of favors, a few people driven here or there. That’s it.”
“So how’s about it, amiga? You do me some teensy-weensy little favors, and I give you the information you need to keep this whatever-it-is from making your daddy go bye-bye, hm?” Sombra asked, smiling sweetly towards Lævatein. “I’ll even sweeten the deal a bit. I’ll divert some of my associates’ employees towards anyone you wish, right this moment. Give you a little taste of what our agreement has to offer.”
Lævatein mused for a bit. “I drove off two enemies of the state of Múspell today,” she said. “Draw them to me, and I will honor our agreement.”
Sombra smiled. “Tell me what they look like.”
Lillie turned a corner, with Buzzwole buzzing behind her. She wasn’t watching where she was going, and she ended up slamming into Peacock.
“OW! Hey! Watch it, palooka!” Peacock snapped, getting up and stamping her foot in a huff.
“O-Oh! Sorry about that, I wasn’t looking,” Lillie said.
Buzzwole, however, loomed over Peacock and spread its wings in a gesture of intimidation.
“No! Stop!” Lillie pleaded, turning back towards Buzzwole and waving her hands. “It’s okay! It was just an accident…”
Buzzwole fluttered its wings once, and then flexed like Johnny Bravo behind Lillie.
“Alright, pretty girl, who were ya runnin’ from?” Peacock asked, looking Lillie up and down. “You’re dripping with sweat, kid.”
“There were these men in gray suits… they were from Team Rocket,” Lillie replied.
“Team who-now?” Peacock repeated, narrowing her eyes. “Look, I’m havin’ a pretty bad day. A buncha my buddies are missing, and I need my answers straight.”
“I’m sorry,” Lillie said. “Team Rocket is a crime organization based in Kanto… but I thought they were completely disbanded nearly 18 years ago. I don’t know what they’re doing here, but they were after Neb— after me for some reason.”
Peacock itched her chin. “Huh. You got a buncha mafia palookas chasin’ after you? Probably about whatever’s in that bag, eh?”
Lillie drew her gym bag back a little bit, cautiously eyeing Peacock.
“Nah, nah, I’m not gonna pry. Keep your hat on, pretty girl,” Peacock said, waving her gloved hand. “Looks like you also netted yourself a big ol’ bouncer to keep ya safe, eh?”
Buzzwole stopped flexing and stared at Peacock with those bulbous red lenses that appeared to be its eyes.
Peacock folded her arms. “Well, tell ya what, kid. I’m coming with, no ifs ands or buts. You’ve got somethin’ important in that sack, and my superiors would be reeeeal pissed if I passed up an opportunity to stop a potential catastrophe.”
“You want to… travel with me?” Lillie asked.
“Well, not so much travel as keep you, your mosquito guy, and your bag safe. After all, there’s been a buncha wackjobs running out and about lately, and I’m not sure if I feel comfortable ditching you at this point. Bad things happen to kiddies who get left alone in the middle of a war zone.”
Peacock wrapped her arm around Lillie. “Call me Peacock, or Patty, or whatever you want, I don’t give a damn. Just keep that bag safe, and it’ll make our lives a whole lot easier.”
“Uhhh…” Lillie mumbled, her eyes darting off to the side. Peacock didn’t seem that much older than she. But she carried herself with a sort of vaudeville charisma that drew attention.
“Now if you run into any funny-lookin’ palookas around here, either stick with me and hope they’re friendly or have Mr. Mosquito Muscle Man over there teach ‘em a lesson, ka-peesh?” Peacock said, escorting Lillie down the sidewalk. “We’ll find a cheap motel to stay in. Preferably away from the burnin’ stuff.”
“You’ve all come at a terrible time for this world,” said Dr. Ziegler, running a checkup on Fjorm as Ribby and Croaks sat twiddling their thumbs. “Chaos suddenly erupted all across the globe, and there are reports of some sort of… dragon… that decimates entire cities. The world’s militaries could do nothing against it. And of course, there’s the flaming army right here in California as well…”
Fjorm’s expression darkened. “Yes. The army of Múspell, led by its king, Surtr. He will stop at nothing to put all of the world under his thumb; he desires one thing only: to be the one man to rule them all. He will destroy all in his way to do that.”
Dr. Ziegler turned to the television. Events going on all over the globe were flashing by on the ticker tape.
“This just in: rumors of unsanctioned Overwatch activity in response to the fires going on in Los Angeles right now. Witnesses have reported sightings of the Overwatch agent Lena Oxton, known to the team as Tracer, collaborating with some sort of… cavalier? And what appears to be a swordswoman. We are still reaching out to the Los Angeles police department for comment. This is a developing story…”
Dr. Ziegler sighed. “Before, Overwatch would be on the forefront of these sorts of disasters. My God, what happened?” she sighed.
“You’re part of these Overwatch schn—“ Croaks started, before Ribby smacked him in the mouth.
“Guys! Overwatch guys, he meant,” Ribby saved.
Dr. Ziegler stood up and patted Fjorm on the shoulder. “It looks like you were suffering minor heat exhaustion. Nothing I cannot treat,” she said, before walking to the window and peeking through the blinds.
“During the Omnic crisis, Overwatch was hailed as a group of heroes who kept the populace safe from the war,” Dr. Ziegler said. “However, our group fell into disarray, and accusations of political corruption turned the valor of Overwatch into murky shame.”
Dr. Ziegler turned back towards Fjorm, Ribby, and Croaks. “My greatest desire is to help the people of the world live in peace. Overwatch must be recalled, no matter what. It’s fortunate that the other agents realize this as well, but we cannot do it alone. I’ve been advised to find anyone who arrived here from another universe and employ them in the service of Overwatch in order to combat these menaces. But only if you agree.”
Fjorm sat and sighed. “Surtr is my problem; if you are to make it yours as well, then I will gladly lend you my lance of ice.”
“Yeah! Count us in! Who do these schmucks think they are, runnin’ around, destroying whatever looks at ‘em funny?” Ribby snapped, before spotting the potted plant in the corner of the room in his peripheral. “YOU GOT A PROBLEM, PUNK?!” Ribby suddenly shouted, before lunging at the plant and getting into a one-sided wrestling match with it.
“We can’t just take on a big ol’ army alone!” Croaks protested.
“Indeed,” Fjorm agreed. “Which is why we must search for others who share our goals in quelling this disaster.
“Once my associates are finished with their repairs on one of our operatives’ transport devices, that will become easier,” Dr. Ziegler said. “For now, however, you must first rest.”
“Yeah, don’t wear yourself out, toots,” Croaks said, patting Fjorm on the head.
Dr. Ziegler opened her bag, and began to unfold what appeared to be a caduceus. “This is an advanced marvel of medical technology,” she said. “You’ll feel better after I use it.”
“Phew! That’s the last of ‘em,” Tracer said.
Thankfully, the streets had become safe enough for the fire department and paramedics to arrive. Surtr’s fires may have been unquenchable around the Múspellian forces, but away from their source of power, they diminished under the pressure of good old H2O.
Reinhardt had joined Celica and Tracer in securing the civilians, and these survivors were being led away from the backlots by emergency workers, who had turned the other cheek in terms of the whole Overwatch-activity-being-illegal thing.
“Amazing how we were able to get that many people out even without the proper equipment,” Tracer remarked. “You must have magic powers or something!”
“Well, I come from a priory,” Celica replied.
Reinhardt nodded to Tracer and Celica. “Lady Celica, there are two more men who I wish for you to meet. Both are princes of a nation known as Nohr,” Reinhardt said.
“Nohr?” Celica asked. “Isn’t that a kingdom of legend?”
“I have heard the legends of the conflict between Hoshido and Nohr, but I believed those to be stories… at least until the crown prince and his brother arrived here,” Reinhardt replied. “If we are to deter the flaming menace that is Múspell, we must amass as many allies as we can.”
“Agreed,” Celica said. “Take me to them, then.”
“Right-o! You two do that, and I’ll take care of the civilians,” Tracer said, before saluting Celica and Reinhardt and running off.
“An interesting one, that Tracer,” Reinhardt remarked.
“She’s a good-natured person, with a good heart, I think,” Celica replied. “Well, no use keeping the princes waiting, right?”
Celica had to wonder, however… how were her friends doing?
”...Blasted accelerator, can’t make heads or tails of it,” grumbled Torbjörn, Overwatch’s top mechanical engineer. The short bearded Swede hammered something, and tossed his hammer onto the table. “The ape’s still busy, can’t believe it...“
A ring at the door and a sturdy knock roused Torbjörn from his work. “It’s open!” Torbjörn called.
The door blasted open, and a gigantic knight burst into the room, removing his helmet to expose a grizzled, one-eyed, but jovial face. “Happy holidays, my old friend!”he bellowed in a German accent.
”Happy holidays, Reinhardt,” Torbjörn called back, getting up from his chair. He extended his work claw, and Reinhardt returned with a hearty shake. Torbjörn turned to Reinhardt’s side, making eye contact with the toned woman standing next to the Crusader. “And happy holidays to you, Brigitte. Thanks to you both for making the holiday trip, eh?”
”It’d be a crime to not visit you, Dad,” Brigitte replied, chuckling.
”Have a seat,” Torbjörn offered. “Reinhardt, can I get you something to drink?”
”Ah, I’m alright for the night,” Reinhardt replied. “I can see you’re busy at work with your...” Reinhardt gestured To Torbjörn‘s work table. “...Thingy.”
“Ah, yes. The large accelerator. I’m hoping to finish the tune-up before Christmas eve, but Winston hasn’t been taking my calls!” Torbjörn huffed.
”Well, I can understand, what with the recent influx of crazy, terrible things happening across the world,” Reinhardt replied, waving to an old television on Torbjörn‘s table. It was broadcasting the news. “In other news, I heard Tracer and McCree found another man who goes by the name of Reinhardt! Oho, what a coincidence!” Reinhardt laughed.
Reinhardt’s expression turned serious. “The world crises cannot be stopped alone. We are working on getting help from these extrauniversal entities, are we?” Reinhardt asked. “I know Angela’s been dispatched to a California hospital. Imagine that! She’s down in sunny California, and we’re freezing our old keisters up here in Sweden! Ha!” Reinhardt let out another jovial laugh.
Torbjörn snorted. “Any damages to report on your crusader suit?” he asked.
”Nah,” Reinhardt replied, waving his hand. ”What a crime it’d be to visit you during the holidays just for that! Transportation these days is a marvel, but still.”
Torbjörn changed the channel. “The Outback, Cairo, Hollywood, the Vatican, Buenos Aires... Is there any part of the world not on fire? Where do you think you’ll go after you leave here?”
”Possibly the Vatican,” Reinhardt replied, tapping the screen as a frantic Italian reporter chattered. “It’s the closest.”
Torbjörn nodded. “Don’t die.”
”If I do, it will be with glory!“ Reinhardt declared, raising his fist.
”It would be better to not die period.”
”Of course. But I won’t let this world fall. I’ll be its shield! After all, that‘s what the Crusaders were for: to be the shield of Germany!”
Reinhardt and Brigitte retreated to Torbjörn’s lounge, as Torbjörn continued to work.
Torbjörn decided to check on one of his turrets. While his back was turned, however, an electrical burst flashed from behind him, and he heard a loud CRUNCH coming from the floorboards.
Torbjörn turned around and sighed. It looked like someone had taken the cab of an excavator and given it arms and legs. A girl’s head stuck out of the top.
”Idiot didn’t even wear a helmet,” Torbjörn grumbled, taking his claw and pulling the machine upright. On closer inspection, it was much more sophisticated than he had initially thought. It still crashed into his floorboards, but the crash looked more as if the machine were thrown into the ground.
”Speak of the devil,” Reinhardt remarked, standing up and walking towards the machine. He tapped the girl inside on the head. “Hello? Are you awake?”
”Brigitte, go get my smelling salts,” Torbjörn called.
She woke up to the smelling salts.
”Young lady, what are you doing operating a heavy-duty piece of sophisticated engineering like this with no helmet on? You could have gotten killed,” Torbjörn scolded.
”Wh-what?” Mechanica shook her head and stared at Torbjörn, Reinhardt, and Brigitte. “Who are you people?”
“Good! She is awake!” Reinhardt said.
Torbjörn produced a yellow helmet with a built in headset and goggles. “You were out cold long enough for me to cobble this. Consider it a Christmas gift and a warning, little one. Wear your helmet, dammit!”
Mechanica stared at the helmet. It was basically a bicycle helmet, but a little more technologically advanced. Torbjörn had even taken the time to paint red and white caution stripes along the rim (which made Mechanica question how long she had been out for).
”What’s your name?” Torbjörn asked.
”M-Mechanica, sir,” Mechanica replied.
Reinhardt snorted. “An apt name,” he remarked.
“Did you build this machine yourself?” Torbjörn asked, using his claw to lift up one of the suit’s ARMS.
”Yes. My friend Go Go helped with the electromagnetic upgrades, and the good professor Usoara helped with an alternative power source...” Mechanica explained.
Torbjörn nodded. “Not half bad. Looked like the turbines got misaligned in your crash, and there were some dings that would have messed up the way you moved. I couldn’t let a little girl in a robot sit in my floorboards damaged like that. You did a good job with the cushioning, though. No injuries on your part. Not even head trauma. You got lucky.”
”Who are you?” Mechanica asked.
Torbjörn thumped his chest. “I’m Torbjörn Lindholm. This is my daughter Brigitte, and my good friend Reinhardt.”
”A pleasure to meet you, Mechanica!” Reinhardt boomed.
”Well, thank you for fixing my suit, Mr. Lindholm... and for the helmet.”
”That was nothing I couldn’t handle,” Torbjörn scoffed, waving his hand. Just what he liked to see. A girl in charge of her machines. “Please, call me Torbjörn.”
Reinhardt laughed. “Why not stay here for a while? It’s better than braving the cold of Sweden until you die of exposure!”
”Gee, thanks for the mental image,” Mechanica drawled.
Mechanica turned to the work table. “What’s this?” she asked.
”An enlarged chronal accelerator. I can’t make heads or tails of the gorilla’s work,” Torbjörn grumbled, scratching his head.
“I bet Prof. Usoara could help with that,” Mechanica replied. “Or myself, though I’m more of a mechanical engineer than anything...”
"What could Professor Usoara help with?" Asked the professor himself from behind the group.
Torbjörn, Mechanica, Reinhardt, and Brigitte turned around.
”Wow,” Mechanica remarked. “That was literally a cartoon moment.”
"A... Cartoon?" Usoara blinked, lowering his mask and waving to everyone, "Hello everyone, I am Usoara Aducator."
The introductions were all made once again.
”So we’re not going to have anyone else pop out of the walls after this, right?” Reinhardt joked.
Usoara let out a short snicker before taking a look around. "So what was it you mentioned I could help with?" He inquired.
"I'm glad you asked," Torbjörn replied, walking over to the workbench and firmly grasping the accelerator. "This is a machine that stabilizes the wearer at any point in time; it was developed after one of our fellow Overwatch agents, Lena, had an accident that desynchronized the flow of time around her. This one is designed for mass transport, and I want to get it finished before the holiday season when its wearer, another one of our agents, needs it. But I can't seem to make heads or tails of how to fix it; I was simply told that it doesn't have enough power and that it's a struggle for it to carry out its function during the night it's supposed to be used."
"Oh.. I can easily.. Help with that.." The professor mumbled, clearly in awe of the device. There had been many attempts in legends of those who tried to manipulate time, but no stories of successes. In fact, every tale he had studied taught the moral that time was to not be messed with whatsoever, that even the deities refused to dabble in such things.
"And... If it has enough power... It works?" He asked, his scholarly curiosity overriding any fearful reluctance.
"Well, if it has enough power, it doesn't shut down in the middle of use, endangering the user," Torbjörn replied. "We've had to jump through hoop after hoop after hoop to get this thing to work every year, and we're working on making travel with it more reliable. With the sudden incursion of world crises, we need to get Overwatch around the globe very quickly."
To interrupt their conversation, there was a slow, deliberate rasping at the door.
"Reinhardt, go see what that is," Torbjörn said, before turning back to Usoara.
Reinhardt hefted his hammer and slung it over his shoulder, before going to the door and looking through the eye hole.
There at the door, was Winston. Clad in his usual suit of armor. However, he didn't look as if he came here with good news. His long, black hairs were ruffled and matted as if he had went through a struggle of some kind. His eyes were visibly bloodshot, and a forlon look rested within them. He had witnessed something terrible no doubt.
"Hey, Torby?" Reinhardt said, turning back towards Torbjörn. "I think Winston's just answered your call."
Reinhardt opened the door. "Winston, Winston, Winston!" the Crusader declared. "Come in; don't freeze out there."
Winston nodded and came in from the cold. Despite his own hairiness, the low density of them did little to insulate him from the biting wind. "I come here, but I don't bring good news myself." He said somberly, scraping the snow off of his hands and feet. "Mercy is... she's gone."
Torbjörn turned towards Winston. "What do you mean?" he asked, narrowing his eyes.
Reinhardt folded his arms. "She was reported going to California last we checked," he added.
"I saw her murder, at the hands of some being they call the 'shadow demon'. I recall Genji being present at the time. If she is here, then she was a Mercy from another dimension. That would be my leading theory anyways."
"From another dimension..." Reinhardt mused. "We've been tasked with finding people like that; if one version of Mercy has been killed by this 'shadow demon' then the other will be in danger as well... perhaps along with the rest of Overwatch."
"A logical conclusion. I've attempted to warn others, but a growing force across Southern Europe has put the rest of the mainland into practical lock-down. The living dead, or Von Carsteins as they call themselves. I've found the energy that suffuses around them to be an exact match to the readings near Cairo. Whatever's going down in the city, it's about to get even worse."
Reinhardt growled under his breath. "Torby, you have to finish that machine as quickly as possible," Reinhardt said. "Winston... Where to? Say the word, and I will be on the front lines, shield at the ready."
Winston pulled up a map on his wrist. Tracking the cloud-coverage that followed the Vampire Counts as they marched forth. "It seems they're marching on Vienna. Already swallowed several outlier towns."
"You got some kind of plan?"
"I have a theory. Judging by how they organize their forces. The vast majority of their forces are puppets so to speak. Being controlled and animated by a select few. If you take out the individuals commanding them, they should fall apart. That's the issue though. They're in command of what is practically magic. I imagine shield technology could provide protection, but conventional armor will not." The gorilla looked around sheepishly. "Apologies for the uneeded depth... I suppose we should get going?"
"Indeed," Reinhardt replied. "If there is magic abound, however, it'd likely serve us to find allies who may be able to combat that. Torby, I'm counting on you. I'll make it back in one piece, don't you worry."
"Bah! Just don't get yourself killed. Parts are replaceable," Torbjörn scoffed.
Reinhardt let out a hearty laugh, then held out his massive hand for Torbjörn to shake. He then looked at Usoara and Mechanica.
"Sorry I couldn't stay for the holidays; crisis calls, and I, a Crusader and a member of Overwatch, must answer!" he declared.
Usoara blinked and shook his head a little. "Hm? What? Oh, were you talking to me? I was looking over this device," The professor said with slight embarrassment. He couldn't help himself from scanning the design of the machine, admiring all its little details.
"Right, the device," Reinhardt replied. "Very important. Winston, let us off."
"I'll stop by later to fiddle with it." Winston commented, before trudging out the door. Letting out a grunt as his bare hands sank into the snow. "Should've designed gloves to go with this suit." He mumbled to himself.
"Well, I have good news.. Erm.. 'Torby', was it?" Usoara inquired.
"Torbjörn," Torbjörn replied. "And any news is appreciated."
"Apologies, Torbjörn. While they were talking about whatever it is they were talking about, I went ahead and enchanted your device. Your power issue is no longer an issue," Usoara explained with a proud grin, "If you would like, I can explain exactly how the enchantment works." The professor was always looking for an excuse to promote electromancy.
Torbjörn looked down at the accelerator and glanced to Usoara. "Well, that was quick... You said 'enchanted.' Are you some kind of magician?"
"What, no, of course not," The professor replied, clearly offended by such a term, "I've spent years, the majority of my life, studying electromancy. 'Magicians' are manipulative hacks who trick others into believing they have access to what is only attainable through such rigorous study."
"Huh. In this world, we call those kinds of people 'shams,'" Torbjörn replied. "There once was an American showman who later dedicated his work to sniffing those out. In any case, magician or electrician, you've piqued my interest."
"Well, this particular enchantment is actually rather basic. An enchantment itself is nothing more than a command embedded into an object. In this case, the device pulls energy from its surroundings to power itself. That energy is then replaced by the energy around it, like a vacuum," Usoara explained, making slight hand gestures as he spoke, "In fact, that is why many refer to this enchantment as the 'Power Vacuum'. Some mistake it for a way of creating energy out of thin air with how efficient it is; when really, it just pulls the energy out of thin air." He loved telling that line.
"So basically you've turned it into some kind of Thor's hammer battery," Torbjörn summed up. "And it's done with words? No circuits or gizmos pulling electrons out of the air?"
"Not words necessarily. For those not attuned to magic, it is just easier to describe it simply as a 'command'," Usoara clarified, "I could go in depth on that technicality, but I have a feeling you would rather not sit through an hour long lecture at the moment. Rest assured, you will never run into an issue concerning a lack of power when using this device."
"Perhaps when we have the time," Torbjörn replied. "At the moment, this thing needs to go to its rightful owner."
Torbjörn turned up the radio. The announcer was speaking rapidly in Swedish. "You prefer English, right?" Torbjörn asked, turning back to Mechanica and Usoara.
"English or Japanese. Probably English, though, if Prof. Usoara wants to listen," Mechanica replied.
"So many different languages... Yes, English, please," Usoara said with a nod. He wondered if there were more languages in his world before it was blanketed in darkness.
"...Fires now being put out at Hollywood, as the advance of the army appears to have slowed down. The media's starting to get a little more coverage on the story due to the lack of what appear to be wyverns assaulting the aerial camera crew..."
"Hollywood's on fire?" Mechanica wondered.
"Big nasty army showed up outta nowhere," Torbjörn explained. "Several other Overwatch members were on the case already."
Mechanica fiddled with the dials a bit.
"...What appears to be a medieval army, along with weapons that resemble books, is now advancing upon Stockholm, Sweden; they appear to be led by two men with axes, one of which is reported to have said something about... 'bad mutton?' Witnesses reported a young girl dressed as some form of royalty appearing to command, or threaten, these men, before sending them to ravage the city. Efforts to stop this advance have resulted in failure, as the army appears to be highly trained, with these book-shaped weapons proving to be more than a match for Sweden's military..."
Torbjörn gritted his teeth. "Brigitte," Torbjörn growled, "finish setting up the accelerator for delivery. I'm going to Stockholm."
Mechanica looked at Usoara. "I think we should come with. You think so?" she asked, looking up at the professor.
"I'll help end this chaos in any way I can," The professor answered with a nod.
Mechanica ran to her fighting suit and climbed into it--
"FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS GOOD AND HOLY, GIRL!" Torbjörn yelled, whipping around as soon as he heard this. "If you're going to come, use the garage door!"
Torbjörn led Mechanica and Usoara to a hover truck parked outside the garage. Its hovering wheels were disengaged, so they were currently in a resting, parked position. Torbjörn pushed down on a pedal underneath the truck, which prompted the lift to lower.
"Park the suit in there," Torbjörn instructed. "That way we can carry it to Stockholm. It's a bit of a drive."
"My word... To think you made something like this without magic," Usoara remarked.
"Most cars hover nowadays. Reduces friction," Torbjörn replied. "They don't usually go more than a foot off the ground, since air traffic is bad enough already with airplanes. Bah!" Torbjörn shook his head. "Get in the truck. I'll turn on the radio so we know exactly what's happening."
After Mechanica loaded her suit, Torbjörn loaded several toolkits, parts, and even fully-built constructions into the truck.
"What are those?" Mechanica asked.
"Turrets," Torbjörn replied. "I love 'em. They solve all my problems."
"So... If I am understanding you correctly... It shoots enemies on its own, and it can decide who is the enemy?" The Professor asked, bewildered.
"Exactly," Torbjörn replied.
"Fascinating. It seems our worlds have advanced in their own ways," Usoara remarked.
Torbjörn nodded, then started up the truck. "I hope we aren't too late," he muttered.
The truck shuddered, and began to hover off the ground, levitating what appeared to be far more than one foot.
"I thought you said cars only floated a little bit off the ground!" Mechanica shouted over the roar of engines.
"I said MOST cars!" Torbjörn shouted back. "You're going to want to hold onto something!"
The truck began to accelerate, and Mechanica gripped onto a steel bar running parallel to the wall. The truck sped forth, traveling as fast as an airplane, Torbjörn laughing heartily as its speed picked up.
"It's four hours via the roads!" Torbjörn explained. "We don't have that kind of time!"
"So how long will this take?" Mechanica asked.
"Oh, probably thirty to forty-five minutes at the most," Torbjörn replied.
"Four hours via the roads!?" Usoara repeated, baffled, "Who the- Who designed your infrastructure!?"
"Look, Stockholm is on the other side of the country," Torbjörn said. "I'm talking four hours of a straight line. Hypertrain would have been an option, but we really can't wait."
"... This country must be enormous," Usoara mused.
"Sweden is longer than it is wide," Torbjörn replied. "We've got to travel about 470 kilometers. Thankfully, we're making good time."
"Kilometer? That would mean... Kilo.. Meter... How big is this country in relation to the rest of your world?" Usoara questioned.
"Sweden? It's fairly on the small side," Torbjörn replied, keeping the truck stable in the air as he drove. "About 450,000 square kilometers of island."
"450,000 square kilometers!?" Usoara's mind was completely blown. He could not even imagine anything that large.
"If that surprised you, I'm not sure if I want to tell you how big Russia is. You'd faint," Torbjörn teased.
"... To think... That is small here... I almost want to say you're just joking with me," Usoara shook his head, "I did not know anything could be that.. We don't even use kilometers where I am from." Thankfully, he recognized the prefix 'kilo'.
"Well, see for yourself," Torbjörn said, flipping a few switches, before opening the glove compartment and pulling out a political map of Sweden.
The professor quickly grabbed the map and looked it over. No matter how hard he tried, he found it impossible to really picture how big Sweden was in his mind. All he had known was the compact city that was Regat. It was actually rather depressing to see how small everything he knew was in comparison to this Sweden; and to know that he spent so much of his life in such a minuscule space.
"Regat, where I come from, is roughly 1,800 meters in diameter... Everything beyond that is shrouded in darkness..." Usoara mumbled, "To think nations could have once been this large, and yet be considered small..."
Sveena had spent nearly an hour simply cuddling the traumatized Flandre, keeping the vampire warm in her lap and embrace as she quietly hummed Yankee Doodle. She was not sure what else she could do for the poor girl, for she had not seen what Flandre had seen. From the little vampire, however, there was absolutely zero response. As a matter of fact, it was difficult to tell whether or not there existed a hint of consciousness within Flandre’s mind, as she seemed more like she was in a coma rather than anything, albeit with her eyes wide open. And within her eyes were blank emptiness. Drizzle and her god Yami had effectively cleansed Flandre’s mind, like an eraser on a dry erase marker, or isopropyl alcohol in a colony of mold.
Flandre was a blank slate.
"Oh Flandre... Please..." Sveena whimpered, moving her head down to see if maybe, hopefully the vampire had just fallen asleep. Unfortunately, as far as Sveena could tell, Flandre was 'awake', "Please.. Say... Something." It broke Sveena's heart to see Flandre like this, even moreso because there was nothing the Enclavian could do to help.
Siv... Frank... Nive... Slaanesh...
They were pretty smart. Surely one of them could help.
"Hey.. Hey Flandre? Do you wanna meet my other friends? They're... They're really nice," Sveena offered, doing her best to smile through her tears. Again, though, there was no response from the vampire.
The Enclavian frowned, her ears drooping slightly as she slowly rose from the ground with Flandre in her arms. In a gentle flash of green light, the two were just outside the Palace of Pleasure. It seemed rather quiet, albeit for the constant beat of the Noise Marines and their blaring dubstep within the fortress' walls.
"Mmm..." Sveena hesitated. Loud dubstep was probably not what Flandre needed right now. Rather than going in, the Enclavian looked in the general direction the sky and softly called out, "Slaanesh? Slaanesh, can you come here, please? You can hear me, right?"
From a puff of arromatic, rose-colored smoke, Slaanesh appeared before the Enclavian. "Oh hey...." she greeted, an uncharacteristic tone sounding as if she didn't want to be talking to Sveena, "What... what're you doing here?"
"Well, um, I know you're probably still doing your party and stuff, but... My friend needs help," Sveena gestured her head sorrowfully to the vampire in her arms, "I thought maybe you or.. Frank.. Or Nive.. Maybe Siv could help."
"Oh... well, what do you need? The party ended a while ago. We had an.. uninvited guest trash the place..." Slaanesh tried to appear quirky, but was visibly uncomfortable when the Enclavian brought up her friends.
"Oh, um.. Well... I don't really know what she needs," Sveena admitted, "She's just.. Been like this ever since someone called Drizzle came and did something to her... I.. I really want to help her, but.. I.." Tears welled up in the Enclavian's eyes, "I don't know what to do..."
"Hmmm. I... uh... The goddess struggled to find the words to make her next sentence, "I... lemme see her. Maybe I can help..."
"Thanks, Slaanesh," Sveena gently handed Flandre over to her fellow Warp God, a small smile on her face. She was grateful to have a friend like Slaanesh.
"Oh.. that's a... oh that's.. that's bad." Slaanesh grumbled, simply looking at Flandre, "I'm sorry but... I really am not the one to ask for help here. The only guy who'd fix this would be Tzeentch, but he's still a stiff, so I doubt he'll be around any time soon. So, could you leave, please? I still have things to clean up from the party and... and they just won't work..." The pleasure god's posture slumped, "Oh, I'm terrible at this." She muttered audibly.
Yet another issue as a result of Tzeentch's absence. Would it have been better if Sveena had gone with Kairos' original pl- "Wait, what won't work?" Sveena asked, taking Flandre back into her arms, "Is something wrong?"
"Nothing! Nothing at all! What makes you say that?" Slaanesh denied, standing proper again as she plastered on a fake smile.
"You said something isn't working, and that you're terrible at something, and you looked really sad," Sveena replied, shifting Flandre in her arms so she could put a fuzzy hand on Slaanesh's shoulder, "Is there something I can do to help?"
Slaanesh stared at the hand on her shoulder and sighed, "No, but there's something I should probably show you before too long. I... I screwed up."
A portal appeared next to the Chaos God, and she beckoned Sveena and her Flandre into it. Curiously, Sveena stepped forth into the portal to find A small room, akin to a shed, but much more elegant in style, as was everything of Slaanesh's. On a table sat three jars, mold-encrusted and old, which contrasted heavily with the clean environment around them. Inside each were white lights, beaming brightly inside their containers.
"Letting Wolfe near you was a big mistake on my part," Slaanesh began, "After he... did what he did, the 'uninvited guest', probably told off by your frog friends, showed up, killed him, and ruined my realm. I tried to save what I could, but... Your friends... they're... they're gone. Except for their souls. I had to borrow a few of Nurgle's special jam jars, I'm sure he won't notice, but... I saved their souls. But I can't really fix them, put them back in a body." She handed Sveena one that was labeled "Frank", "I'm so sorry."
"Fuh.... Fuhhh," Sveena's chest shuddered as she stared at the little jar. She dropped Flandre (Who was caught by a bush the Enclavian willed to grow through the ground) before crumpling to her knees. "Fff... Frank..." She whimpered out while cradling the jar in both hands. Ever since she had left the Commonwealth, Frank was there for her. He was her first friend in this mess. He did so much for Sveena, taught her so much. He had been so patient with her constant questions, forgave her for when she had run off with Yukari, protected her when she first encountered Lucius.
He was the reason she was even alive right now. He was the reason she had become the other Sveena's replacement. She clutched the jar to her chest and sobbed, before feebly reaching up for the other two to hold them close as well.
Nive, for all his snark and outward aloofness, had shown a softer side to Sveena before. He reconciled her relationship with Siv after the attack in Nurgle's Garden. He was so thoughtful then, doubly so when he got her a dictionary. "N-Nive...." She managed to blubber out inbetween sobs, ".. Zelivas..."
Zelivas was always so awkward, but always seemed eager to please Sveena, and to help others. She was so happy she spared his life. Seeing him grow as a person, changing from a mindless worshiper to his own person whose care felt genuine...
"No... I'm supposed.. I'm supposed to make people happy... I couldn't make myself want to make him happy..." The Enclavian shuddered, "It... It was only rape because I didn't want it..."
"What- no! He wasn't suppose to do that to you! He wasn't supposed to lay a finger on you! Now he's... somewhere. I'm pretty sure he's dead for the moment, but that's not the point. The point is, it's okay to not want it sometimes, and also that it's not your fault that stupid celestial dragon blew up half the realm with Wolfe's body alone," The Goddess reassured horribly.
"If I could've just wanted it... That guy wouldn't have come to kill Wolfe... Your place wouldn't have been blown up... Frank... Nive... Zelivas... They'd still be alive..." Sveena cried.
"No, Sveena! It's not like that! You don't need to make every one happy![color=A52238][i]" Slaanesh tried to reason.
"[i]You don't get it!" Sveena snapped, whipping her head around to look up at Slaanesh, "That's why I'm alive! It's what I'm supposed to do! I'm supposed to make everyone happy!" She slumped back down to look at the jars once more.
"[color=A52238]You can't make everyone happy, Sveena!" the Pleasure Goddess sighed, "You just can't."
"I... I..." Sveena paused for a moment, "... I guess you're right..." The Enclavian finally agreed with what she had been told time and time again. Though, not in the way it was intended.
She had lost all hope.
“Are you.. going to be alright?” Slaanesh asked, resting a hand on Sveena’s shoulder, “You know, your other two friends, Siv and the little one, made it out just fine. I can call them in if you’d like...”
Surprisingly, Sveena let out a quiet, "No," as she slowly shook her head.
“Oh...” Slaanesh said nearly as a gasp, holding a hand over her shocked expression, “I’ll go and.. let you figure things out.” the Chaos God stated as she slid slowly backwards through a wall, "Just... shout if you need anything or you.. wanna leave."
Sveena slowly turned her head to look at Flandre. Would things have been better for the little vampire if Sveena never intervened? Flandre was brought to the Warp where Drizzle could get to her because of Sveena.
Frank, Nive, and Zelivas were dead because of Sveena.
The Necrons were stuck making nonsensical items for an incompetent ruler because of Sveena.
Even now, she tried to force Slaanesh to help her, showing up uninvited... Slaanesh clearly felt bad about the entire situation, a situation which only existed because of Sveena.
She couldn't make anyone happy.
Her efforts to bring peace between the Warp and Champions? A plan already cooked up by Kairos. The thing she had been so proud of before, so easily dismissed as his doing.
Anyone could have taken her place in that plan.
But.. Why did people like Frank care about her so much?
Was it because she tried so hard to make him happy? Because she was kind? It was as if she had trapped him, led him to his death with promises of friendship and fun. She manipulated him. He did not just die because of her; she murdered him. Those that didn't die were in the shoes of Slaanesh, obligated to divvy out pity and guilt.
What if she just vanished?
Obviously Siv would be heartbroken, not able to find her, but she would get over it. The pleasures the Palace had to offer could surely drown out the minor loss with a little bit of time.
Thankfully, it seemed Birveena had taken a liking to Seio. They were sleeping together and everything.
Yukari..... Well, Sveena imagined Yukari would either not care or perhaps even be happy.
Where would she go? With gods, surely someone would find her eventually. Then again, by that point she figured nobody would be actively looking for her....
"The Labyrinth.." Sveena gasped. She respectfully set the jars on the table, kissed Flandre on the forehead, and said her goodbyes before disappearing.
She did not even hesitate.
As soon as Sveena was greeted by the wall that separated the Labyrinth from the rest of the Warp, she marched inwards. She could not afford a single moment of contemplation. What if she decided this wasn't a good idea? Put her own interests above the interests of others?
She gave a sad look to the beautiful maze around her, lamenting the fact she could not explore it all. She just needed to get lost, and then do nothing. If she explored, she could accidentally stumble upon an exit. Her selfishness could tempt her outside.
"Yankee Doodle.." She quietly sang, sniffling, "went to town..."
She was going to miss her friends.
"A-riding on.. a pony..."
She was going to miss exploring the world.
"He-He stuck a feather in his hat.."
She was going to miss learning something new every single day.
"And called it macaroni..."
She was going to miss having hope.
Sveena slumped against a wall and slid down to the ground before hugging her legs close as she wept.
After a while, Sveena would hear the clacking of talons, like those of a bird, ringing out from a change in direction close to her. "Hello?" hissed the voice of Kairos, "I know you're here. Show yourself."
Sveena must have been terrible at hiding. Still, the Enclavian tried covering her mouth and nose as she tried to appear small by curling up into a ball on the ground.
One of the heads of the Lord of Change rounded the corner, the rest of his body, illuminated in the semi-dark maze by the light of his staff, followed. "Oh, I did not expect you to return to such an unpleasant place for one like yourself. What brings you here, God of Hope?" the Fateweaver asked, oblivious to the events which had led to her fleeing here.
"Don't worry about it," she said in response. Her tone made it seem as if this were a genuine suggestion meant for the benefit of her friend.
"...Something's wrong. Tell me, if you could," Kairos asked calmly, kneeling down to the Enclavian so that his head, already lowered, would be level with Sveena, trying not to be imposing.
"... I... I think you should get someone else to be the God of Hope," Sveena murmured, still in her ball.
"...Don't tell me you've given up already," Kairos asked with a sigh, "I chose you because I saw persistence in what you'd do. You wouldn't give up, no matter. You talked down Lucius, for heaven's sake! So tell me, what's making you want to just quit?"
The Enclavian rubbed at her eyes, glanced at Kairos for a split second, then brought her gaze back down in shame. "I'm.. I'm supposed to make people happy, but... Instead I.. I killed my friends," She managed to answer.
"I thought you vowed pacifism..? Or did other's actions cause their demise?" The Fateweaver asked.
"Please.. Just... Go away," Sveena stammered, beginning to cry once again, "I came here so nobody would find me..."
"No. I won't leave," Kairos shook his head, "Not until you explain how you, one who I know for sure hasn't held a weapon for the longest of times, caused your friends' deaths."
It was not a fun thing to explain, but thankfully for Kairos, Sveena had already done a lot of crying already, and didn't have enough tears left in her to prevent her from speaking. "I was selfish," She answered, obliging his demand, "I couldn't do.. The one thing that I'm supposed to do... Now.. Now Frank and Nive and Zelivas are dead! If they never met me, they'd be alive!"
"I'm sure that's not entirely true. That Zelivas figure, he was a cultist, yes? He'd have died eitherway, if he met you or not. With you, I'm sure he was better off. But.. what are you supposed to do?"
"I was supposed to make people happy... But I couldn't," Sveena whimpered, "Everybody tried to tell me I can't make everyone happy... And... They were right... I can't."
"...What about yourself? Are you not a person?"
"I.. I don't know... That doesn't matter," the Enclavian answered after a short moment of thought.
"Is it not your job to make people happy? And if you are a person, you have to make yourself happy. You may call yourself selfish, but it is better than crying in a maze for the rest of existence."
"I... I won't be able to make things worse if I'm here.." Sveena insisted, "I wish Frank would've gotten a different Sveena..."
"If he got a different Sveena, the odds that we'd be having this conversation are near absolute. Sitting here, you may not make things worse, but you can't make them better. Khorne will come back, and this place will fall back into the old way of things," Kairos sighed, "But if you're so persistent on ignoring your problems, I'll let you be."
"Khorne's coming back anyway," Sveena lamented, "All I would do is get him mad and.. Then he would..." She didn't want to finish her sentence, but it likely ended with something about her friends dying.
"Kill your friends?" Kairos finished as he began to trod off, "Just remember. There's nothing stopping you from trying to make amends. Only yourself."
"... Wait.. Wait, Kairos... Do you think I'm a person?" Sveena asked, finally looking up.
"Why, of course. If you believe that... Seio, was it? Is a person, then you are most definitely one." the Fateweaver stopped and looked back as he answered, "Why do you ask?"
"Because I.. I..." Sveena wondered: What is a person? Is it whatever has a soul? But then what of the Necrons? She considered them to be people. Did the definition really matter? "... Soul... Soul..." Sveena repeated a few times, her eyes widening a little as a flicker of hope reignited inside of her, ".. Kairos?... You said that... My soul is me... Right?"
"Yes, I did. What's that have to do with personhood?
"I was just thinking about something..." Sveena's pupils moved as if she were looking at something here and there as an idea slowly came to her. She was hesitant to accept the hope she was offering to herself, but....
It was better than crying in a maze for the rest of existence.
"If.. If I have someone's soul... Can I make them alive again?" She asked, slowly getting up from the ground.
"I.. I suppose, as a God, you'd be able... It'd take a lot of focus and energy to do so, more than likely, but it's possible."
Sveena gasped. In the blink of an eye, she had far penetrated Kairos' personal bubble. "How do I do it?!" She asked, her eyes lit up with hope.
"...I'm not entirely sure.." The Lord of Change looked down at Sveena, lowering his stature, "But there's more than likely a book in Tzeentch's collection with the proper incantations needed. If you come with me, I'm sure we can find it."
The Enclavian ensnared one of his necks in a hug, a few tears rolling down her cheeks as she cried out, "Thank you! Thank you so much!"
"You're more than welcome," The Greater Daemon smiled, "Now I suggest we make haste. Tzeentch's library holds knowledge from all of history, and grows with every passing moment. Finding a single incantation among that is hard enough without its growth. But I'm sure the Pink Horrors will help."
"Thank you, again, just hold on one second, please!" Sveena poofed away in a flash of green light.
"Slaanesh!" Sveena shouted, poofing into existence and falling toward the Warp God like a kamikaze plane offering hugs.
"Oh, hey! You seem.. happy," Slaanesh laughed, "What's gotten into you?"
"Wh-Huh? I don't think anything is inside m- That's not important!" She tightly hugged Slaanesh before quickly letting go, "Thank you so much putting them in jars! Really! You're a really good friend. Can you bring them, Siv, Neb, and Flandre to me? I'm gonna be at Tzeentch's place!"
"Oh, it was- wait, why're you at Tzeentch's place?" Slaanesh cocked her head to the side.
"Because Kairos is a really good friend too," Sveena answered with a wink before vanishing.
"Forgot about Birdbrain... ah well," Slaanesh chimed to herself, doing what Sveena asked for with a flick of her wrist, before getting back to cleaning up the cosmic mess left by Aurelion Sol.
"Siv!" Sveena exclaimed, arms out for a hug. The daemonette reacted quickly, tears filling her eyes as she hugged the Enclavian in return. "I missed you so much!" Siv squealed, before looking around for a moment, "Wait... where are we?"
"It's dark," Neb commented, noting the lack of things such as torches or indoor lighting, with the fortress instead relying on the blue energies that ran within the building itself as light.
"Kairos is gonna help us find a book that'll bring Frank, Nive, and Zelivas back!" Sveena exclaimed, before reaching down and giving Neb a hug. She then looked to the husk that was Flandre. The Enclavian's cheery mood significantly dimmed as she reached down to pick up the little vampire.
"Who is that?" Neb asked, confused as to the identity of the seemingly lifeless girl, and as to why Sveena's mood visibly dowered upon her sight of them.
"Flandre, she's a friend," Sveena answered, "Something happened to her and.. I'm not sure how to help, but... I bet once we bring back the others, Kairos can figure something out! If not, I bet there's a book for it!"
Kairos fumbled about through the backs of the books, tossing out several he thought may have the spells needed. "I am not entirely sure, but it is in one of the 14 Tomes of Revification. Even if they are all about bringing one back to life, only one involves the soul. The rest are a bunch of Nurglite garbage about zombifying plagues or Khornate anger things," he complained, overlooking the 14 books he had pulled out. He lightly skimmed through each book, before handing Sveena the largest, an unblinking eye with a narrow pupil staring at her from the cover. "There you are, the book which has it," Kairos stated, "There should be specific verses either underlined or in bl- red ink. Read those aloud, and hold the eye of the book towards whatever you wanna bring back to life."
Sveena took the book after gently laying Flandre down and looked at its contents curiously for a moment. She pointed the cover towards the Frank jar and then looked at Kairos, "Like this?"
The Greater Daemon nodded slowly, one head reading one of the other tomes quietly, while the other paid attention to the Enclavian.
Sveena cleared her throat and took a deep breath before reading the lines emphasized by Kairos, her excitement giving way to intense focus concerning the task at hand. As the Enclavian recited the lines, incorporeal voices would whisper through the halls, as winds began to blow from all directions towards the soul. Slowly, it rose, phasing divinely through the jar’s cap, a vortex of energy forming around the soul.
Slowly, the soul’s luminescence grew until it was near blinding. A loud thoomp rang out with a sonic boom, as in lieu of the light and essence, Frank Horrigan fell to the floor with a loud “Oomph.”
"FRANK!" Sveena screamed, dropping the book as she pounced down onto the super mutant for a hug.
“Oh, hey Sveena...what’s happening?” Frank asked with a groan as he accepted Sveena’s embrace, “I think I drank too much.. oh, my head..”
"You're alive!" Sveena explained without really explaining anything as she squeezed her mutant friend in her arms.
"Of course I'm alive, why wouldn't I be?" Frank chuckled, not knowing of his own demise.
"Wh- Because you died, remember?" Sveena pulled back and looked at Frank curiously.
"Wait, I did?" Frank examined his body for a moment as he got up, "I don't feel any different."
"Yeah, you.. You died. Your soul was in that jar," Sveena blinked, pointing at the jar that once contained Frank.
“Huh,” Frank noted, looking over himself one more time, “And the other two jars there are...?”
"Oh, um, Nive and Zelivas," Sveena answered. It was a bit saddening to see her friends stuck in little jars, but now that she knew she could bring them back, the Enclavian felt much more at ease. She quickly picked the book up off the ground as to resurrect her other fallen friends.
In a manner similar to Frank, Nive reappeared as Sveena finished her recitation of the tome, though in the techpriest's case, he made little noise other than the clanking of his metal bits against the floor. Slowly, his sensors began to glow their typical green, and he rose from the ground. "By the Omnissiah... Why did I reboot?" he asked himself, before looking around, "Oh. This isn't the coven's lair. And none of you are coven members. I'm going to assume something horrible happened, and you fixed it?"
"Nive!" Sveena exclaimed, dropping the book once again as she rushed over to give the Heretek a hug.
Nive struggled for a moment, before sighing, "Hello, Sveena."
"I'm so ha-" Sveena paused for a moment, before continuing, "delighted that you're back!" She hoped Nive would be glad to see her using some fancy new words from the dictionary he gave her.
"Been reading the dictionary, I see," Nive chuckled.
"Mhm!" The Enclavian nodded happily, before pulling back as to get into position to revive Zelivas as well.
Zelivas, as soon as he appeared, let out a girly scream before smacking face-first into the floor. "Ow..." Zelivas groaned, holding one of his teeth before shrugging. "T-that's not the worst fall I've had."
"Zelivas!" Sveena greeted, picking the cultist up to his feet before giving him a hug.
"H-hello, holy mother!" Zelivas greeted, bowing his head within the hug, "W-wait... why are we here?"
"Kairos helped me make you guys alive again!" Sveena explained, pulling back from Zelivas with a big smile on her face.
Behind Sveena, the book she had been using began to float above the floor, its eye glowing incandescently. The air pulsed with eldritch energies, magic flowing as wind would through it as it coalesced within the eye of the tome, growing in brightness until it was a searing blueish-white. It could not hold this power for long, before it burst, letting out a blinding wave of light that permeated over everything, sparkles of blue flickering through it.
"... What happened to the book?" Sveena asked with concern, "... Did I break it?"
"Not at all, child!" A voice lauded, echoing through the fortress's hallways, " You gave me just enough power..."
Kairos gasped, and immediately kneeled and bowed before the being. "I did not expect you to arrive so soon after the first plan's failure, my lord."
"The failure of that plan was just one step in a much bigger plan that has led to here, to my great rekindling! Just as Planned!" Tzeentch giggled.
"Wait..." Sveena looked at the Warp God with squinted eyes, then she looked at Kairos, then she looked at the Warp God, then she looked at Kairos, then she gasped and looked at the Warp God once again. "Oh my gosh! Are you Tzeentch?" She asked with a smile.
"Yes, it is I! The Architect of Fate! The Changer of Ways! The Great Deceiver! That guy who likes ravens a lot! Tzeentch!" the Chaos God of Change declared as he pointed in a random direction with one of his tendrils, confetti falling from above him.
"I'm Sveena!" She introduced humbly.
"...Come again?" Tzeentch asked, his head teleporting next to Sveena, perked to hear what she said next.
"Oh, I said my name's Sveena!" She repeated.
"Just.. Sveena?" The Architect of Fate asked for confirmation, "No titles, no nicknames, no... last names?"
"Oh! I'm the God of Hope!" Sveena proclaimed, making a mental note to ask someone what a nickname and a 'last name' was.
"Oh, so you're the sap Kairos found and tried to sacrifice? And now you're looking like a pair of besties?" Tzeentch snickered, his head rolling back into place on his body.
"Yeah! Kairos is a good friend!" Sveena said with a nod.
"Fair enough, he's a good adviser," Tzeentch shrugged, "Anyways, now that I'm back in action, have you seen the Thousand Sons legion? I swear I thought I left them drifting around a ship somewhere, now I can't find them anywhere in the Warp!" He asked, seemingly staring off into space, both metaphorically and literally.
"What's that?" Sveena inquired.
"Y'know, the Thousand Sons? The Astartes Legion I practically own?" Tzeentch asked, "They're all about yay tall, wear big hulking armor, are filled with a bunch of ash?"
"What's an.. 'Astartes Legion'?" The Enclavian asked.
"Here, read up on them," Tzeentch stated, a very large book appearing in Sveena's hands.
"This is a big book," She remarked, gawking at it for a moment before smiling up at Tzeentch, "Thank you!"
"Consider it a rental, please. I am the god of knowledge, so I always have to know everything a step in advance, which is why Kairos has two heads that can tell futures," Tzeentch rambled, floating about and examining his library.
"What's a rental?" Sveena blinked.
"You borrow something for a short time, then give it back when you're done." the God of Sorcery chimed.
"Oh okay! This is great! Slaanesh is back! Tzeentch is back! I wonder if Nurgle will come back soon too," Sveena mused.
"Wait.." Tzeentch peered out of one of the many higher windows of the chamber, "He's back already. I can see the stench from here."
Sveena let out a loud gasp, "Really! Oh my gosh, I didn't even know! I- Wait, we should go meet him!"
"Uhhh- Oh hey, would you look at the time!" Tzeentch stated, "It's 'Tzeentch-not-going-to-meet-Nurgle' a clock! Which means I have to do something somewhere! Okay bye!"
Before Sveena could say anything more to the Chaos God, he disappeared in a cloud of smoke.
"..A-and that's why I chose Slaanesh over Tzeentch," Zelivas muttered.
"Hmph... Hey Kairos! Do you wanna meet Nurgle with us?" Sveena offered.
"I... No, not really. I just preened my feathers a short while ago, and I don't want a bunch of mud and Nurgling snot on them this soon," Kairos stated, not taking his eyes up from a book he read.
Right on top of the book flopped Flandre, whom Sveena had placed in Kairos' grasp. "Well, while I'm gone then can you help Flandre please? Thank you!" Without a moment to lose, Sveena and her pals teleported away in a flash of green.
"Wait no, I... well, shoot," Kairos sighed, looking at the broken vampire, "Do you... want a snack or something?"
After a moment of silence, Kairos, picking up the reactionless Flandre like a book, sighed again, "I guess this beats Nurgle's Garden, but I wish I could actually get some reading done without some sort of event breaking my focus every moment of the day..."
Sveena poofed back for just a moment to say, "Oh, I almost forgot, if anyone comes to try and take her away... Uh.. Don't let them. I'll be really mad. Thanks!" before vanishing once more.
Kairos sighed, "Just perfect."
And so the gang appeared before Nurgle's Garden, standing at its border with Slaanesh's domain. "Okay, Neb," The Enclavian knelt down, "Try not to touch anything, especially the water. There's diseases and stuff, okay?"
"What's diseases?" Neb asked, curiously looking at the murky waters.
"It's really bad stuff that can make it to where you can never have babies," Sveena warned. The only real explanation she ever got on disease was from Yukari.
"Well, actually, that's just regular disease," Nive said, "The bacterium and viral infections that can be found here are much more dangerous than sterility, and can easily kill if you're not blessed by Nurgle."
Neb, upon hearing the words 'dangerous' and 'kill' in the same sentence, hid behind Sveena's legs. "I'm scared, Mommy," she cooed, "Let's go another way."
"It's okay, I've been in here before. There's some really nice people. If you want, you can get on my shoulders so you don't step in anything, okay?" Sveena offered.
"Oh-kay.." Neb cautiously accepted, now wary of the muddied waters, which sometimes let loose small gas bubbles from whatever lied beneath them.
Siv walked over to Sveena's side and whispered, "Are you sure they're gonna let us in? It's like a 50/50 chance Mortarion is even here, and if he isn't, then they aren't gonna be to happy to see us walking in their swamp."
"Why wouldn't they be happy to see us?" Sveena asked as she hoisted Neb up.
"Because we're a band composed mainly of Slaaneshis, and Slaanesh's armies nearly attacked the garden, remember? But you did stop it, so maybe they'll be nice," Siv contemplated aloud, "Also, we don't have a raft."
"........ You're right. Gimme a second," Sveena replied before filing a request with the Necrons for a raft. A flash of green light, and an elegant, metalic, black, canoe-shaped raft appeared before them, splashing the water slightly. Neb's grip on Sveena's shoulders tightened in fear.
"Thank you, Necrons!" Sveena said aloud before taking a step into the metal canoe and gesturing the others in.
"A-alright.." Zelivas looked over the raft, before he carefully stepped aboard.
"Hmm... Hey Nive do you know where Nurgle would be?" Sveena asked, just realizing how big Nurgle's Garden actually is.
Nive shrugged, "I need a second to find my map for this place.."
"Isn't it pretty, Neb? Look at all the plants!" Sveena asked.
"Yeah, it's pretty!" Neb overcame her fear, reaching out for a low lying branch devoid of leaves. In response, the plant hissed and the branch reeled upwards, frightening the small Daemonette.
"Shh, it's okay. Remember don't touch anything here, okay?" Sveena tapped Neb's leg reassuringly, "So like, does Nurgle have a palace or something?"
"Nope, he's too humble for that," Nive grumbled, "No, he's got a mansion."
"What's humble?" Sveena asked. Unfortunately, she had not read all of her dictionary.
"Showing humility, not being so pompous as Slaanesh or Tzeentch, as you have seen," Nive described, as a large green rock moved in front of them, turning to reveal that it was in fact a [url=http://fantasygames.com.pl/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Great-Unclean-One-Forge-World-01.jpg]Great Unclean One[/color].
"What are you doing in my father's swamp?" the massive Greater Daemon bellowed lowly.
"Hello! We're looking for Nurgle! I wanted to say 'hello' and meet him!" Sveena answered enthusiastically, before noticing the ghastly appearance of the daemon, "... Is your stomach okay?"
"What do you mean?" The Nurglite looked down at its gut, barely able to see the intestines spilling out over its girth.
"Your stomach.. It's.. Open.. There's a hole in it," Sveena explained.
"And?" grumbled the daemon, "Is there a problem?"
"They don't feel pain," Siv whispered into Sveena's ear.
"Oh," Sveena nodded, "Sorry, I was just.. I wanted to make sure you were okay."
The Unclean One snorted out a laugh, a lung sliding out of the hole, before pointing his rusty blade in one direction, "Just head that way until you hit dryer land."
"Thank you!" The Enclavian said with a wave.
"...Man, I'll never get over how weird this place is," Frank mumbled.
"That's the clashes for you," Siv shrugged, "A whole bunch of weird things fighting other weird things for even weirder reasons."
"Wait, clashes? As in plural?" Frank asked, "There's multiple things like this going on? Sounds awful..."
"Awful? What do you mean?" Sveena inquired.
"I mean, it's been a nice trip, you and I, but imagine the worlds the clash goes through. You've seen what it does to them. It screws 'em all up in ways thought impossible," Frank stated.
"Y'know, I heard that last world the clash was on got turned into a robot, then into two worlds," Siv noted.
"Is that... Bad?" Sveena asked.
"I 'unno," Siv shrugged, "Just what I heard from one of Lucius' men. Oh, and some aliens are out for the champs or something, I really didn't listen after that."
"Why does everybody have to hate each other?" Sveena sighed. She just hoped that there wouldn't be too much violence between the Champions and whoever these 'aliens' are.
"They have their reasons, as much as the Champions have to kill the Gods," Siv sighed, "So, what do you think will happen? Making peace with the Champs? You think it'll last?"
"We can only hope," The Enclavian answered.
"There is a 3.8 percent chance that the peace agreement between the Forces of Chaos and the Champions will last longer than the end of this week," Nive stated, printing a run-out of his equations, "Not good odds, but not the worst."
"I wonder if Nurgle knows about the peace thing," Sveena pondered. She was pretty sure Tzeentch already knew about the peace agreement because Tzeentch. Slaanesh, Sveena knew, was informed of the peace deal. Both of them seemed like they might be able to stick with it, albeit with some probable sveentervention. The main obstacle she saw in the future was Khorne, whom she has heard plenty of bad things about. Still, she shouldn't judge him before she has even met him.
"Maybe. From what I've heard, he's a pretty chill guy," Siv said, "Other than the whole plague thing, he'd more than likely be on board?"
"How can he be cold here?" Sveena gasped.
"No, he's not actually cold," Siv giggled, "It's a figure of speech. He's... real relaxed and calm about things, I think."
"Oh, okay. I heard he's really nice too," The Enclavian remarked, "I was thinking that, after we talk to him, all the gods come together for a meeting. I read about it in my dictionary." Sveena was likely the only person in the entire Omniverse to have been inspired by a definition she found in a dictionary.
"I dunno.. Tzeentch and Nurgle really hate each other," Nive stated, "That, and I don't think Malal would show up at all."
"Hm.. Yeah he probably wouldn't show up.. Anyway, them hating each other is another reason why we should have the meeting," Sveena insisted, "If they can at least not-hate each other, that helps a lot of people."
"It'll take a lot of talking to get them anywhere near eachother. One's a snobby God of Change and Innovation, the other's a humble God of Stagnation and Decay. They're polar opposites. Whatever one likes, the other's gonna hate," Nive explained, "It was kind of the same with Slaanesh and Khorne, but Khorne just hates everybody, but Slaanesh the most for some reason."
"Just because people are different doesn't mean they can't be friends. Look at us!" Sveena exclaimed.
"True," Nive agreed, "But it'll be a challenge to say the least."
"A lot of things are," Sveena stated with a smile.
As the raft went along, a thick fog began to roll in, concealing whatever laid in front of the boat.
"I can't see the trees!" Neb exclaimed.
"Me neither," Sveena mumbled as she squinted her eyes. She tried pawing at the air a little, as if that would get rid of some of the fog, "Why is it so hard to see?"
"It's a fog," Frank stated, "A big cloud on the ground."
"... Wait.... I thought..." Sveena paused as the revelation hit her, "I thought, like... You could stand... On clouds... Not go through them... Siv, how are we gonna put a palace in the sky now?"
"Maybe we make a floating island?" Siv suggested.
"We can do that!?" Sveena gasped, "How do you do that?"
"I mean, you're a god, you can do whatever you want, probably.." Siv shrugged.
"... I can make islands!?" Sveena yelped excitedly, her mind racing with endless possibilities.
"What's an island?" Neb asked, still trying to peer through the misty fog.
"It's like.. It's some land, but with water around it," Sveena explained, making a circular motion with one hand around her fist to indicate water being around an island, "But... I guess, like.. A floating island is land... But in the sky... With air around it."
"Wooooah," Neb gasped, amazed at the concept of a floating island.
"I know, right?" Sveena nodded with a smile. She gave a look around at all the fog, "Huh... Will we even be able to see Nurgle when we're inside a cloud?"
A sharp lurch in the raft indicated they had hit a shore. Neb, nearly falling off of Sveena's shoulders, steadied herself, "I don't see anything... what happened?"
"I think we hit land," Sveena replied, before cupping her paw-hands and calling out, "Nurgle? Nurgle! Are you there?"
"I don't-t think that will work," Zelivas advised, snapping off a branch from a dead tree, and tearing off a small bit of his ragged cloth. He wrapped the cloth around the branch and turned to Nive, "D-do you have a lighter or something?"
A small arm with a flame poked out from under Nive's tattered cloak, igniting Zelivas' torch, giving the group a slight view through the fog. "N-now we can see... better!"
"Thank you!" Sveena said with a smile before taking a tentative step out of the raft.
Moving along what seemed to be a path, the group would eventually find a massive, decrepit abode, regal but also broken down, with fleshy protrusions breaking through the molded wood in places. The front doors, massive in size, were already open. Inside, it seemed the fog had begun to diminish.
"It kinda reminds of something I'd see the Commonwealth.... Except with more plants," Sveena remarked as she approached the decrepit mansion.
"A-are we sure this is a good idea? Maybe he doesn't l-like uninvited guests.." The cultist quivered, the dark corridors of the run-down home only lit by the flames of his torch.
"Then next time we'll make sure we're invited," Sveena replied as she looked around at the interior, "The best we can do is say 'sorry' if Nurgle gets mad, but I heard he's 'chill'."
The innards of the Plague God’s lair was just as decayed, more than likely more so, than the exterior’s rotted walls. The constant buzz of flies, brought by the smell of rot, permeated through the stagnant air. In the distance, a faint guffaw echoed through the halls.
"Nurgle? Is that you?" Sveena asked with a scrunched up nose. She followed the direction of the sound.
The voice did not respond, as behind one of the massive doors of the hallway, slightly crackef open, an ominous green light glimmered out from underneath, a billowing fog joining it, quickly dissipating as it escaped the room.
"Hmm.." Sveena reached for the door, then quickly retracted her hand as she remembered her own advice. She willed a gentle breeze to open the large door for her. She promptly poked her head inside.
Sitting with his back turned to the group, Nurgle let out another pus-filled laugh as he churned a massive cauldron of boiling green and brown fluids, the fog seemingly rising from whatever was in the iron cauldron. He seemed oblivious of Sveena as he worked.
"Hello? Hello!" Sveena waved as she stepped through the doorway entirely, "Nurgle? Is that you?"
The malignant god turned around with confusion. “Who daresh-” he then looked down to see the woman and her entourage and let out a hearty laugh, “How in the world did you find your way here, and how are you not shick yet?” He asked, his voice sounding as if he had swallowed ten gallons of phlegm.
"We have a raft!" Sveena answered, "My name's Sveena!"
“Wait.. are you the Schveena that saved my home from Shlaneshi penetration?”
"Mhm! I just wanted to come and say hi!" Sveena replied.
“Oh. Hi,” Nurgle apathetically wiggled one of his arms in a sort of wave, before turning back to his work, “I’m busy. Disheases don’t make themshelves, you know.”
"Oh, um... Okay, sorry," The Enclavian said dejectedly.
“Oh wait,” Nurgle said, “Could you grab that?” He pointed at a vial with a label of “Pox-bile” and a skull and crossbones wrapped around it, “I’d get it myself, but I’m exhausted."
"Oh, sure," Sveena looked over and reached for the vial, then paused. Her fuzzy hand hovered over it for a moment, "Uh... Uhm..." She let out a short gasp before simply teleporting the vial closer to Nurgle.
The Plaguefather grabbed the flask, before simply dropping it into his vile concoction, which bubbled and let out a slight squeal as it mixed together.
"What're you doing?" Sveena asked curiously.
“Making plagues,” Nurgle responded tiredly.
"Plagues?... Wait... Are you- Why are you making diseases?" Sveena gasped.
“I’m the God of them. As long as people make more vaccines and cures, I’ll have to make stronger bugs to knock them off their feet,” the Chaos God responded, raising a ladle and taking a sip of his diseased soup.
"I mean.. You don't.. Have to be the God of them... Nobody's making you make disea- Is someone making you make diseases?"
“No, I just am. Decay, Stagnation, Lethargy... all of these things are what I represent,” The Plaguefather informed.
"What does stagnation and lethargy mean?" The curious Enclavian asked.
“A state of doing nothing. Laziness and being slow,” Nurgle described, “I am also representative of brotherhood.”
"... Aren't you doing something right now though? And if people are doing stuff about diseases, wouldn't making diseases make them do more stuff?" Sveena scratched her head.
“The point is to halt them entirely. If the disease is resistant enough and deadly enough, then decay and stagnation can fully take hold,” Nurgle chuckled, taking another hearty sip of his work.
"Wait, what!? But.. Why? Everyone says you're so nice, why do you wanna kill everyone?"
“I do not kill,” Nurgle corrected, turning to face Sveena, “ I merely show people my rotting embrace through disease, sharing my viral love with them.”
"But.. Diseases can kill them... And make it to where they can't have babies!" Sveena seemed terribly confused as she put her hands on her stomach.
“You do know he’s the god of diseases, right?” Siv reminded in a hushed tone.
"Yeah, but.. So?"
“He’s really showing how much he likes people by making them sick with his diseases,” The Daemonette continued.
"Oh... I.. I don't get it, but.. I think I get it," Sveena nodded, before turning her attention back to Nurgle, "So, um... Uh... I guess that.. You like diseases, but.. A lot of other people might not like them, which is okay! Because there's lots of other stuff about you that they could like that... Isn't diseases! Like um... I have some friends that don't want to do sex, but I really like sex. That's okay though, because there's other stuff that makes us friends."
“I don’t think you understand. As they decay, they find bliss in my poxes, in my concoctions, which I toil exhaustingly to create. They find peace in the decay, in which they feel no pain, and can connect with one another better without such things. They can truly share their lives with one another, even in their bedridden states. And they thank me for my gift, grateful for what I bestow in them, but I shake my head to them. I do not need thanks. It is my duty as Plaguefather to do so.” Nurgle explained as he rose from his seat, grabbing the two handles of the cauldron with his grubby hands.
Sveena mulled over this for a moment. "I... I guess? But... Even then... Shouldn't you ask them first before you give them a disease? If not, then with sex it's kinda like..." The Enclavian paused for a moment, "Rape.."
“It is different with the way of infection; they do not need to know that they are host to my gifts. They only need to know that, after they have gone through the tribulations of sickness and reached my gardens, that it was I who gave it to them.[/i]”
Nurgle was proving to be a tough nut to crack. It was one thing to reach out to those who did evil things with the knowledge that what they did was wrong, but Nurgle seemed to believe that what he was doing was entirely good. "But... What if they don't want it?" Sveena asked, "It might make them happier, but... What if they don't wanna get diseases? Like me, I don't want to get diseases.. I still want to be your friend though! I really do!"
“[b]It matters not if they want them or not, they shall get them,” Nurgle huffed, as he opened a window, and dumped the contents of his cauldron into the disgusting mire outside, melding with the horrible waters with ease. He turned back to the Enclavian, “Why does that matter? They shall still thank me for the gift.[/b
"It's just... A nice thing to do, caring about what other people want," Sveena shrugged.
”[b][color=2E492E]And I do care,” Nurgle smiled a rotten set of teeth, “I care for their safety when they fall under my gifts. This is why they feel no pain. I don’t wish to see harm come to them, my children. My pestilent gifts make sure they are not.”
"But... They still get diseases... It doesn't like, hurt, but it still does bad stuff."
“Do you mean the rotting of the body? My children learn that physical appearances do not define you, and let go of maintaining such things to focus on other aspects of life.”
"Huh?" Sveena cocked her head to the side, "I was talking about dying and not being able to have babies." She seemed to have zero awareness of how disgusting the children of Nurgle appeared.
“Well, death is natural. It comes for all things, even the Gods themselves, as you more than likely know. To join me here, to be protected from the dangers of life, they must be taken through the harrows and trials of death, embracing their fate and finding peace in it.”
"I.. I know I'm gonna die at some point, but... I still wanna try and... Not die," Sveena said.
“...Why is this?” Nurgle asked, holding a Nurgling and petting it slowly.
"Because if I'm dead, then I can't help people, and my friends would be sad," She explained, giving her comrades a glance before looking back at Nurgle, "I wanna help make the Warp a better place for everyone and.. Make sure it stays a better place.... You're alive."
“My life is always decaying, only held up by the devotion of my children and their gifts.”
"But you're still alive, and that's good," Sveena stated.
“If I were to die, I could not give people my gift of painlessness, or let them live amongst my gardens.” Nurgle decreed, setting the Nurgling onto the floor gently, before it scampered up a wall and into a hole in the decaying ceiling.
"See? So it's good that you don't die. It's probably gonna happen again... Hopefully not, though. When I was in your Garden before, everyone was really sad that you were gone. Just because we're gonna die doesn't mean we should."
"I know that some missed my presence. A few of them voice this to me before the Death Guard left for the Warmaster's crusade. And... you may be possibly right," the Plaguefather declared, hoisting over another cauldron of stagnant green water over the ethereal flame that sat in the middle of the chamber, before sitting down and beginning another batch of disease, "But I will never see it that way. You're a god of hope, and I am the god of hopelessness and decay. Our opinions differ naturally."
"Just because I'm the god of hope doesn't mean I always have hope," Sveena said with a small smile, "And just because you're a god of hopelessness doesn't mean I can't try and give you some."
"That sounds like trying to hit a reflection of yourself in the water: fruitless," Nurgle chuckled to himself as he began to stir the vile liquid.
"Fruitless?" Sveena whispered to Siv.
"It doesn't do anything," Siv defined.
"Oh, thanks," Sveena nodded, "I'm still gonna try. Everyone deserves to have a little hope."
"And I do have hope," Nurgle chimed, "Just not in the same ideals as you. I hope that someday, every living thing will garner my gift, my blessing, and that we all can live in our decaying, peaceful bliss."
"Well.. I... We kinda want the same thing, I guess. We just want it... Different," Sveena mused.
"This is true. So, what are you going to do?" Nurgle asked, "You cannot simply just live in that inky sadness for the rest of time immemorial."
"Inky sadness?" Sveena blinked, "Oh! You mean- I was thinking of having a place in the sky! That way I don't take anyone's land or anything! Siv told me I can make floating islands! She casually pointed at the Daemonette for reference.
"I-uh-yeah!" Siv stammered, being put on the spot by Sveena, "Well, I'm not sure but... I think she could!"
Nurgle stared at the two for a moment, before looking back at his work.
"Oh, also, I was thinking of having a meeting with us gods," Sveena proposed enthusiastically, "I know we all have a bunch of different ideas and stuff, but that's good! If we wanna try and make the Warp a better place and not be at war with the Champions, we should try to get along... Or at least not hate each other- Oh, by the way, we're at peace with the Champions now.. In case noone told you. But yeah! With meetings and stuff, instead of fighting each other and having a bunch of people die and having gardens get ruined, we can talk about things."
"...Is Tzeentch going to be there?" asked the God of Disease, halting his slow stir of the pot.
"I know you guys don't like each other, but will you please come to the meeting?" Sveena requested, clasping her paw-hands together, "For the Warp?"
Nurgle glared at Sveena, before sighing, "Fine. But if that magical fiend does anything foul, heinous, or worse towards me, I am through."
"Thank you, I promise to ask him to be nice, as long as you be nice too.
"I will stay mature as long as he does." The Plaguefather responded, "However, I doubt you will be able to grab the attention of some of the lesser warp gods. Though, Tzeentch, in all his snobbery, would know more about that than I."
"Thank you, Nurgle! It was nice meeting you!" Sveena exclaimed with a friendly wave.
"And the same to you as well," Nurgle nodded, "Oh, and beware; The Death Guard work under Abaddon, not me. And I understand the Warmaster does not like you, so be careful."
"I'll remember that," Sveena swore, before she and her friends poofed away in a flash of green light.
"So we got Nurgle, now we just gotta get Slaanesh and Tzeentch," Sveena mumbled to herself as she and the gang popped back into the Prince of Pleasure's domain, "Then the other gods will be easier to get... Hey, Siv! Slaanesh will be easy to get to come to the meeting, right?"
"Maybe, maybe not," Siv shrugged, "She's weird, you know how it is with her."
"Wait, I thought Slaanesh was a he- Is Slaanesh a boy or a girl because he said he one time, but a bunch of people are saying she and I'm confused," Sveena huffed.
"Well... why not both?" Siv asked.
"Both? How can he be- Slaanesh!" Sveena called out.
"Yes?" The Prince of Pleasure appeared before the two, "What's it you need, hun?"
"Two things," Sveena said, "Are you a boy or a girl? Because some people are saying 'he' and some people are saying 'she' and I'm not sure which one you are."
"I.. do I have to choose? I really just be what I want to be," Slaanesh mused.
"Oh.. Um... What do you want to be?" Sveena asked.
"How about just Slaanesh? That's pretty much it," prescribed the god, "Now, what was the other thing you needed, darling?"
"Oh, right. I'm getting the Gods together for a meeting, and I wanted to ask you to come!" Sveena explained.
"Sur- wait, is Nurgle coming?" Slaanesh asked.
"... Please come. He promised he would be nice," The Enclavian pursed her bottom lip.
"Oh, I know he's a nice guy," Slaanesh agreed, "He just smells worse than a pile of dead skunks."
"I mean.. Yeah, he doesn't smell that great, but trust me, there are way, way, way worse smells," Sveena stated, "This meeting is really important for the Warp."
"Because if we don't have meetings you guys are gonna keep sending armies to ruin each other's places," Sveena huffed, "Talking is really important. Instead of fighting, you can... Not do that. Me and Siv, we haven't always been really nice to each other, but then we talk about what's going on, and then things are better. Same with Frank. I've never had to fight them. It's not just good for you, Nurgle, Tzeentch, and the other gods, it's good for everyone else in the Warp too. And, if we can manage to do this, then I'm sure we can keep peace between the Warp and the Champions, which means nobody has to die and wait a long time to come back alive again."
"Alright, that sounds pretty good," Slaanesh nodded, "But... could you bring some air fresheners or something? Because I will not sit around listening to people voice opinions if I have to smell Nurgle the entire time."
"What's an air freshener..? Can't you just... Not smell? Can gods do that? Can we just not smell things?"
"No! We can't not smell! Just... bring some candles that smell nice," Slaanesh asked, "Now, is there anything else you wanted? You know, I think there's something I want from you.." she smirked as she slowly floated towards Sveena.
"... Is it candles?" Sveena asked innocently.
"No... It feels a lot better than a candle," the prince of pleasure grinned as she brushed a hand along Sveena's crotch.
"Ohhh, now I get it," Sveena giggled. She bit down on her lower lip in thought. She should go see Tzeentch about the meeting thing, but.... Then again, she had just seen him, and she should give him time to get settled in and everything. Plus, Kairos probably needs more time to help Flandre. "Sure!"
[THE HIATUS ON THIS STUFF IS OVER; YOU'VE SEEN NOTHING]
Sveena let out a content sigh as she was teleported back with her comrades, giving herself a quick onceover and noticing Slaanech must have done a flick-of-the-wrist and cleaned her clothes before bringing the Enclavian back with everyone else. "Okay, um... Uh.. Aetulia! Right, now we need to go to Aetulia," She proclaimed, shaking away some of the haze left over from her 'fun' with Slaanesh.
"Seriously?" Siv groaned, rolling her eyes, "Do we have to invite that soggy towel of a God?"
"Siv!" Sveena harrumphed, "Aetulia is very nice. Just because she's a god of sad stuff doesn't mean we shouldn't invite her. Plus, she's my friend."
"Fiiiiiiiine" The Daemonette grumbled, "Let's go tell the sad god of being sad."
"Siv, please be nice. Give her a chance," Sveena pleaded.
"I am! I just... don't wanna get that terrible stuff on me again," Siv explained, "It's... not fun."
Sveena suddenly felt awful about getting so uppity, approaching her Daemonette friend and giving her a hug. "I promise, you won't get any of that sad water on you," The Enclavian swore.
"...Alright, let's go," Siv nodded, "Don't want to waste time, do you?"
Sveena shook her head before she and her compatriots vanished in a flash of green before appearing directly in Aetulia's chamber. They were, of course, on the other side of the large curtain out of respect and whatnot. "Hey, Aetulia? Are you.. Awake? I can't tell," Sveena somewhat-quietly called out after a quick moment to regain her bearings.
"Huh-what-I'm-up!" Aetulia fibbed, her head rocketing forth from the sheets. Her pale-blue head would poke through the curtains shortly thereafter, looking down upon the group. "What's the meaning of this?"
"Two things," Sveena answered happily, holding up two fingers, "I promised I'd visit you and stuff. Also, I'm getting the gods together for a big meeting and was hoping you'd come!"
"Do I have to come?" She bemoaned. She really, really did not want to get close to any of them. Slaanesh was a total SPORE, Tzeentch was Tzeentch and Nurgle was sweet, but he had a bit of a hygiene issue.
"Well.. You don't have to, I guess, but.. It's really important. Not just to me, but it's important for the whole Warp! If we can start having meetings and stuff, people won't be killing each other all the time. We could do good stuff if we can talk instead of fighting."
"Alright, I'll come. Just keep Slaanesh out of kicking distance." The altar groaned as she stood up from the marbled alabaster and obsidian edifice. Her form further obscured by billowing black robes that seemed to be in an eternal state of melting. As if they were liquid caught within a never-ending waterfall. "Where is this meeting being held?"
"That's... A surprise," Sveena replied as she stifled a giggle, "I'll tell you where once I get Tzeentch and a few of the other gods because I don't really remember the names of them other than Slaanesh, Nurgle, and him." There was obviously Khorne as well, but he didn't really exist yet. "Thanks, Aetulia.. This really means a lot to me," Sveena stated, holding up her arms for a hug with a big smile.
Aetulia would look down at the small human trying to hug her. She would crouch down and pat Sveena's head. Though Sveena was free to hug her leg if she wanted. Which, of course, she did. "Before I go and get the others," Sveena began, "How have you been?" A part of her was pretty sure not much has happened for Aetulia, but it was a thoughtful question to ask a friend nevertheless.
"Not a whole lot. Aside from dealing with the newly resurrected gods. Nurgle's fine, but I'm not sure about Tzeentch. Feels bad man." She froze at the last phrase. What a strange utterance.
"I just met Tzeentch. He seemed nice," Sveena said optimistically as she let go of Aetulia's leg.
"Tzeentch is a being of constant and tumultuous change. He may be nice now, or he can be the largest prick you know the next day."
"What's a 'prick'?" Sveena inquired, cocking her head to one side curiously.
"Someone who is not likeable and very mean."
"Oh... So they would have a stick in their butt?"
Siv stifled a laugh at Sveena's comment.
Aetulia's face contorted into a duckface in amusement. "I guess you could phrase it like that."
Sveena would feel a cool, rubbery mass press against her back. Accompanied by the low growls of Sveeniv. Despite the threatening sound, it meant she was quite content.
Sveena let out a joyful gasp. "Sveeniv!" She exclaimed, quickly turning around to give her unusual friend a hug, "How did you get here?"
The khezu-girl let out a muffled squeal of approval as she was squeezed in Sveena's arms. She had followed them after they teleported.
"I missed you so much," Sveena cooed. Eventually, she had to get back to business. She turned back to Aetulia and waved, "I'll see you soon!"
"You too." She curtly replied, wading off to some other room within the Cathedral.
With that, Sveena and the gang, now with Sveeniv, teleported to Tzeentch's domain. "See? I told you she's nice," The Enclavian remarked.
"Meh. She seemed a bit crude, but the rest do too, so..." Siv shrugged.
"I don't know what 'crude' means, but I have a feeling it is not a nice word," Sveena huffed before looking around, "Tzeentch? Tzeentch!"
"Yes, yes, what do you want?" Tzeentch grumbled, phasing through several walls, reading several books at once, and writing several things down, "I'm a busy warp entity, so make it quick."
"Okay," Sveena nodded, "I'mhavingameetingwithallthegodsdoyouwannacome?It'sreallyimportant." Sveeniv made a 'pbbt' sound with her lips.
"PUNCTUATION, PLEASE!" the Architect of Fate whined, "It's aggravating and grammatically incorrect!"
"... What did he say?" Sveena whispered to Siv.
"I think he means slow down," the Daemonette suggested quietly.
"You guys aren't good at whispering, y'know?"
"I'm having a meeting with the other gods, do you wanna come?" Sveena repeated her question, "It's really important."
"Alright, sure, I can clear some time between now and the end of the Omniverse. Just make sure Nurgle's at the far end of the table from me, because pee-eww he smells like half a month old rotten cheese!"
"Slaanesh told me to get candles," Sveena stated, "I already talked to Nurgle; you have to promise to be nice though."
"Do I have to? He's so... so... I'll think of something, but again, do I really have to?"
The Enclavian looked up at Tzeentch with folded arms and a disappointed look on her face. "If you people were nicer to each other, we wouldn't have to have meetings in the first place and you wouldn't have to smell him," she said.
"Fine, fine, fine. I'll agree to be... 'nice'," Tzeentch used finger quotes from another arm that appeared from seemingly nowhere, "At the meeting. We're never this organized, and I love organization!"
"Then you're gonna love what I have planned!" Sveena piped up, enthusiasm quickly replacing her sour look, "Oh, can you tell me who all the other gods are? I know like, you, Slaanesh, Nurgle, and Aetulia, but I heard there's a bunch of others too."
"Oh yes, there's plenty of lesser Gods. I can send the invitations to most, but I'll need you to track down one of them, and invite another." Tzeentch began to look through some book that appeared in his hand and handed it to Sveena, two pages marked for her to read. "Now, those pages will describe the two I need you to invite. Malal, and the 'Great' Horned Rat," the God of Change again used finger quotes upon the word Great, "The Rat should be in his domain, skitter-leaping about and planning like a rodent would. Malal, I... have no idea. You'll have to figure out where he's hiding now."
"What does Malal look like?" Sveena inquired.
"Malal looks like Malal, and I don't know what Malal looks like. He's so... unremarkable, even I don't know," Tzeentch snickered.
"Hmph, you better not say that at the meeting," The Enclavian huffed, "The Great Horned Rat is underground, right?"
"Under the Realm of Chaos, yes," Tzeentch corrected, "But be wary. He, like Nurgle, likes disease. A lot. And considering what I've heard from listening to what you said to Nurgle, you don't like disease."
"Aw geez... Why does there have to be two disease go- Wait.. You were listening? How?"
"I'm the god of knowing things. It's pretty easy."
"But you don't know where Malal is," The Enclavian remarked.
"Because he's the god of nonexistence, so I don't even know if he's real or not, let alone what he looks like. If you read the page I gave you, you would've known." Tzeentch stated, "Now if you'll excuse me, I have a bunch of irrelevant gods to go talk at." He finished, and then slipped through a wall effortlessly, leaving before Sveena could respond.
"Thank... You..." She tried to say, now staring at a wall, "Hmm.. Maybe I should read this..." She looked down at the book bestowed upon her, quickly skimming the pages for Malal and the Great Horned Rat before shutting it with a single hand and giving it to Nive, "I don't know what a lot of these words mean. You probably know a bunch that's in here already anyway."
"Alright..." Nive glared at the pages, his mechanical eyes gleaming over the words quickly, "Alright, what do you want to know?"
"What the Great Horned Rat is like," Sveena responded, "... And how easy is it to get diseases down there."
"The Great Horned Rat? He's insane, but calculating. His minions are always running his diabolical plans to great effect. He'll also stab anyone in the back if he gets the chance," Nive described, "And for you, I doubt you'll notice anything. You can just heal yourself, right?"
"His diseases aren't like Nurgle's?"
"I don't know. I just know you're a god, and a disease isn't," Nive muttered, "Anything else?"
"Would you guys be fine down there though? Would I be able to help you if you get a disease?"
"Yes, probably, I don't know. Anything else before I go put this heavy book up?"
"I guess not... I think I should go meet the Great Horned Rat by myself. Can you guys try to figure out where Malal is while I'm gone? Kairos might be able to find a book that can help or something." Sveena requested.
"Alright. You could probably take that Seio. It'd probably be resistant to whatever's down there." Nive shrugged and heaved the book onto a shelf.
"He is a 'he'," Sveena chided, "But you're right. I haven't gotten to spend a lot of time with him either." Birveena poofed into her hands as soon as she finished speaking, whom she held to Siv after a quick kiss and boob cuddle, "Can you take care of Birveena, please?"
"Alright, I'll make sure he doesn't bite anyo-OW-OW-OW," Siv pulled back her hand from trying to pet the penguin, a small bite mark around one of her fingers.
"Birveena!" Sveena hissed, quickly turning the baby penguin around in her hands and glaring down at the little bird, "We do not bite! Especially not friends!"
The Bird cooed, turning its beak to the ground submissively. Siv sighed, "Don't worry, Sveena. It's a baby. It's gonna do things you don't like, and you just gotta... work around it."
"Now, say 'sorry'," Sveena ordered, turning the bird around to face Siv, "Or.. a sorry bird noise."
The penguin made a quiet squawk, head still pointed down. "Thank you," Sveena said in a much warmer tone as she turned the penguin back towards herself and gave it a little kiss on the head, "I'm glad you apologized. Mommy loves you." She cuddled the baby bird close to her heart in one arm, gently stroking its back. Birveena quietly purred in response, pushing his head softly against Sveena's arm.
"I promise I'll be back soon, okay?" Sveena murmured sweetly to her baby, giving its head another peck before gently handing the penguin over to Siv.
"Take your time, Sveen. I'm sure this little guy'll live without you for a bit, ain't that right?" Siv tried to do a baby-voice for the penguin in her grasp, but it merely stared confused and gave the slightest of growls in response. Siv laughed nervously, "Yeah, I'm sure we'll have a good time here. Go find a rat for Tzeentch now, okay?"
"I will! See you soon!" Sveena promised as she waved a hand. Shortly after, she popped into what she could only imagine was the 'underground' of the Warp, Seio now by her side. "Seio!"
"...This place stinks of vermin," Seio commented bluntly, snorting the air, "What business do we have here?"
"Oh! We're gonna find a god called the 'Great Horned Rat'!" Sveena exclaimed, "I'm having a meeting with all the gods of the Warp!"
"Why would a god name themselves after a creature of such lowly stature as a rat?" Seio let out a ragged chuckle to himself.
"Well I don't even know what my name means. Someone just kept screaming it at me one day and I thought it was my name... Now that I think about it, I think they were just crazy," Sveena mused.
The tunnels did indeed stink heavily of rodent musk, blood and other filth. One could hear chittering and squeaking from crevices that gave the deserted tunnel an oddly lively vibe. As if there was more all around them that they couldn't see. Shards of warpstone jutted out at odd angles through the tunnel, so low were the clearences that one would have to smash themselves flat in order to barely squeeze through the space.
"...I have a peculiar feeling about this," Seio muttered, scraping his claws against a shard of the magical stone as he peered into one of the small tunnels.
"Oh, don't eat that stuff," Sveena noted, "The rocks."
One could hear muffled throatsinging from deep within, along with the grinding and clanking of machinery. The pained squeals and mumblings of high-pitched voices, and the sound of warp-lightning as it crackled too and fro in a grim parody of electricity.
"It's so dark," Sveena mumbled, "I should've asked Nive, like... Where underground the Great Horned Rat is.."
Seio grumbled something under his breath, and replied, "So, you don't know where we're headed now?"
"Um... No.. Hey! Is there anyone there?" Sveena called out, "Hello? We're looking for the Great Horned Rat!"
There was no response, only the looming, empty static of the tunnel. The sound of pebbles clattering to the stony floor, and the occasional squeaking of some rodent behind the walls.
"We're being followed, I believe," Seio muttered, "The vermin god sends rats to stalk us, I presume."
"Hmm.. Why wouldn't they talk to us though if they're there?" The Enclavian pondered.
The sound of chanting was growing much louder, along with the ambient squeaks, clanking, crackle and flowing water of Skavenblight. The great city of the skaven that was half-immatereal, and half-real. Forever cursed to be stuck in-between the warp and the materium. Allowing the Skaven to tunnel nigh anywhere.
"It looks like this may be our destination," Seio grumbled as the great skaven city came into his sight, "Or an elaborate trap."
"It's pretty," Sveena remarked, "... Kinda." She honestly couldn't tell, simply gesturing for Seio to continue walking as she happily marched towards the home of the Skaven.
"Man-thing and beast-thing!" Cried out a rodent voice as a short noose attached to a metal-reinforced stick found its way around Sveena's throat. The cord tightened around her as the unseen holder began to drag her off. "Capture the large one, Clan Moulder pay good-good for it."
With the lightning fast reflexes of a crocodile, SCP-682 lunged backwards, its jaws snapping down on the Packmaster that dared to take its friend, a sickening crunch as the skaven was reduced to a scraggy mess of fur and meat, flung into one of the cave walls.
Sveena let out a yelp as she fell on her rump before letting out a scream, "Seio, no! Don't eat them!"
"I'm not. They taste awful," Seio growled, spikes beginning to spurt out of his back in a painful looking manner as he swerved around to whatever rats had skittered from the shadows.
"No- I- Don't kill them!" Sveena cried out as she fumbled with the noose around her neck.
Glowing green chains would erupt around Seio, the dark-magic hissing as it contacted flesh. More would spurt out of the ground as if Seio had punctured an underground water bed. Eventually binding him to the point where a twitch was nigh impossible. The same would happen to Sveena, albeit on a lesser scale. The chains only binding her legs together. From the gloomy darkness of Skavenblight, the two could see the conjurer that had restrained them so. A massive, bipedal rat. Easily matching the height of a Lord Of Change.
"So you are the above-filth that trespass on the horned one's realm?" His voice, despite being much, much deeper than the other rodents. Still carried the quick, nigh-panicky undertone that all Skaven seemed to possess. It giggled. "Much too fat-big to move quietly. Especially that one." He pointed to Sveena. "Built like cow-thing."
"Wh- Huh? What's a cow?" She asked, looking down at herself in confusion before looking back up.
"Never mind stupid monkey-thing. What bring-bring you here-down to my master-god's realm?"
The Enclavian decided to ignore the 'stupid' comment for the sake of diplomacy. "We came down here to find the Great Horned Rat and invite him to a meeting with all the other gods," She explained, squirming her legs in the chains a bit.
The greater daemon giggled and laughed, morphing into full-blown howling laughter. "Then we shall see-see!" He stated, before grabbing Seio by his chained tail, and wrapping his left palm around Sveena. Squeezing her in his hand as he carried them through the winding, and claustrophobic spaces of Skavenblight.
"Ow," Sveena squeaked quietly. "Mmf.. My tail hurts.." She whined, her tail not in a comfortable position as her body was squeezed in their captor's grasp.
The Verminking would weave through the filth and cluttered crevices of Skavenblight. Heading towards the great temple in the middle of the city. Which rose into a massive bell-tower. It began to ring ominously, likely causing every hair on Sveena's body to stand on end from its unearthly tolling. The greater daemon seemed unafflicted though, pushing through a section of the walls and molded around the group like putty before letting them pass.
"Can you please not hold me so tight?" Sveena requested, reserving her remarks about how not-pretty this place was becoming to her.
"I doubt it cares, much like it cares not for basic hygiene," The rotting monster mused as it was drug.
"What's basic hygiene?" Sveena asked as she squirmed.
"Not smelling like him," Seio was obviously talking about the Verminking dragging them to who-knows-where.
The Verminlord's grip would slacken just a bit, enough for Sveena to move her tail around. "Stupid-weak surface things can't take a little bad-smell." It muttered to itself as it crawled and persused through twisted, nonsensical tunnels and architecture. Eventually coming out into a dark, massive hallway set within the temple. One could see a massive figure sitting upon a throne in the far corner. Red-eyes glaring towards the group, its form faintly illuminated by candles stuck upon the twisting, spider-like maze of its horns. One could see lithe, humanoid rats toil around it. Oddly strange and feminine in comparison to the short, squat Skaven the group had seen so far.
"... Hello! Are you the Great Horned Rat?" Sveena greeted happily, trying to squint at the one sitting upon the throne for a better look. Sure, she had great night vision, but that didn't mean she wouldn't rather have everything be bright.
"Yes, Cat-Man-Spawn. Why do you intrude upon MY realm?"
"Cat-Man Spa-" Sveena mumbled curiously, before shaking her head a little to get back on track, "I'm having a meeting with all the other gods! I came down here to invite you." She gave the Skaven god a genuine smile.
"I only will come-visit if Nurgle is there. He is only good-good one."
"He'll be there!" Sveena said with a nod, "All the gods will be there." It was actually rather relieving to see someone didn't hate Nurgle just because he smelled bad. "I could give you a seat right next to him, if you want."
"Fine-Fine I shall go then. When is this occurring? And keep SPORE-god away-separate. She should still be dead-dead. Stupid elf-things failed."
"Really soon. I'll come back here and tell you when and where," Sveena promised.
"Good. Now get-leave from here." He stated, the Verminlord setting down Sveena and her Anomalous companion. Where they had come from, there was now another tunnel. This one wider and more comfortable than the last.
"Well, I.. I kinda wanted to get to know you," Sveena stated as she stretched her legs a little bit, "A lot of people say bad stuff about you, but... I didn't really wanna listen to that kinda stuff."
Sveena's ears and tail drooped down. "I'll see you at the meeting," She said with a wave before simply teleporting out of the Skaven's domain with Seio. She had no time for all this walking.
"Oh my god why are these books so big," Siv complained whilst carrying a small stack of massive tomes, setting them down on a table with a resounding boom, "I mean, couldn't they make these big books a bunch of smaller books?”
”You mean volumes?” Nive scoffed, “Some spells take the entire length of books of these sizes to recite. Splitting it up would just take more time and effort.”
”Fair enough,” The Daemonette huffed, "But, uh, another question?"
"Yes?" the Heretek sighed, turning to face the Slaaneshi Daemonette.
"Could you read this for me?"
"Wait. Are you telling me that you, a millennia-old Neverborn, has never found the time to simply read a book?" Nive chided.
"Well.. I-" But before Siv could finish, Sveena and Seio had returned. "Sveena!" Siv ran to the Enclavian and gave her a hug, "Did that nasty rat try anything?"
Sveena took a moment to enjoy the hug before answering, "Nah, he didn't really say anything either other than that he really likes Nurgle and that he'll come. Did you guys figure out how to find Malal?"
"No, because your girlfriend here couldn't read the spell that conjures him up," Nive cut off the daemonette, opening a large, black-binded book.
"Why're you talking like the Skaven?" Sveena cocked her head to one side, "Couldn't you just say 'friend' instead of 'girl friend'?"
"No, it's a term for- y'know what, nevermind," Nive grumbled, sliding the book down the table, "Read the pages, unlike your illiterate lover."
"Okay, I li- Wait.. Why didn't you read them?"
"I didn't know about it until a few moments ago because she did not read it," Nive pointed a tendril at Siv as he hissed in an accusatory tone.
"Oh, okay I'll uh.. How much do I have to read?" The Enclavian inquired as she inspected the book.
"The two pages I opened to," Nive stated, "And are you not going to ask why she did not read it?"
"I thought you said she couldn't read it," Sveena blinked.
"Oh, I did, didn't I?" Nive remarked, skittering off, "Anyways, conjure up a god. I'm gonna go check my memory banks for missing files and such...."
"Okay!" Sveena nodded before peering at the pages before her and repeating what was written.
As she finished reciting the last syllable, the world around her disappeared, and she sat in an endless plane of nonexistant black.
Who dares enter my sanctum?
"Huh wha- Oh, uhh... I'm Sveena... Where am I?" She introduced as she turned her head around.
My sanctum. Why do you seek Malal? Make your answer quick, your very presence burns.
"Oh, sorry! I, um.. I'm having a meeting with all the gods, and I wanted to invite you to come!" She said quickly, but not too quickly.
"Wait, what!? But why? It's really important for the Warp!" She insisted.
But is it important for me?
"... Yes? The meeting is supposed to help everyone and make the Warp a better place for everybody."
"Wh- B- Why?" Sveena looked heartbroken.
I represent nonexistence. Anarchy. Order is brought to the Warp? There goes my power.
"I... But... Why represent that stuff then?"
Because I do, and always will. Now, considering you saved me back at the party from whatever perverse plans Slaanesh had, I will come to your 'meeting' if you can give me one good reason that you have not stated yet so far.
"... What would make you happy? That's.. All I want to do with this meeting, is make things better for everyone. What do you want?"
Everything to be gone. Destroyed. Disorganization. Destruction.
"... Is there something that you want that wouldn't make everyone else unhappy.. Or dead?"
...A little anarchy.
The definition of anarchy appeared before Sveena for a moment, before fading back into the darkness.
"I.. I think that's something I like too," Sveena remarked.
Then I may come.
Sveena let out a happy gasp, clasping her hands close to her chest as she quickly turned her head left and right. "Thank you so much! I.. Uh.. Where are you?"
And with that final word, the world around Sveena returned to normal, Siv and Nive at Sveena's side, looking concerned.
"Are you okay?" Siv asked.
"Yeah! Why wouldn't I be?"
"You've been talking to a wall for the past five minutes," Nive stated, showing Sveena footage of her having a one-sided conversation, facing towards a bookcase, talking to no one in particular.
"What the? No, I was- I saw- Okay, well I didn't actually see- I was talking to Malal," Sveena explained, "He said he'll come to the meeting!"
"Oh, that's great!" Siv hugged the Enclavian again, "Sorry I didn't... read it earlier..."
"What? Oh, that's okay," Sveena waved a hand, "Why can't you read though?"
"I just... never really learned?" Siv shrugged.
"Huh.. I just kinda.. Always knew how," Sveena thought back as far as she could. Sure enough, she could recall reading words on signs and the such. She decided not to bring up the time she came across a stop sign...
"Maybe you learned before you lost your memory?" Siv suggested, closing the book Sveena had called Malal through.
"But wouldn't I.. Hmm.. Well, I guess... I never really thought about it," The Enclavian had assumed reading was a thing that people could just do. After a moment of thought, she let out a loud gasp, "Ohmygosh! Can I like.. Teach you how to read?"
"Yeah! But... don't you have the Meeting?" Siv asked, cocking her head to the side.
"Oh, I meant later, like after the meeting and stuff," Sveena clarified.
"Oh, alright!" Siv smiled, "Well, I'll let you get things ready, hun. I'll be around, making sure Neb and Birveena don't get into anything they aren't supposed to-"
An explosion rang out, as several Yellow Horrors pattered by quickly, screaming more than likely due to the fact of their constant state of being on fire. Neb chased after them, giggling, "Come here, little guys! We were having funs!"
"... Why are they on fire? Neb! Why are those people on fire?!" Sveena called out.
"Don't worry, those little things happen when a Blue Horror gets stomped or dies, they just split into two yellow horrors, which are always on fire," Nive explained, letting the daemonette chase the tiny Horrors, which only stood as high as her ankle.
"Oh... Are they okay?"
"Yeah... I think," the Heretek contemplated, "They'll be fine."
"Oh.. Okay," Sveena turned to Siv, giving her a quick peck on the cheek, "Thanks for looking after Neb and Birveena. Can you make sure Sveeniv doesn't get lonely too?"
"I'll try, but can't you get Zelivas to do that? I'm sure he'd enjoy time with her quite nicely, and Birveena alone is a handful," Siv sighed, plucking up the penguin as it tried to eat one of the Tzeentchian Daemons scampering about.
"Oh, okay, can you tell him that then, please?" Sveena swiftly turned to Nive, "Can you come with me to the meeting? You know a lot of stuff that I don't and everyone else probably does."
"Alright, so long as I'm not dead by the end of it," Nive sighed.
"I'll see you guys soon!" Sveena waved to the others before she and Nive vanished in a flash of green light.
Doctor Strange Doctor Strange found himself in a somewhat familiar surrounding. It was New York, but not as he had remembered it being in recent memory; it was far less chaotic than the New York he'd found in the Clash in CR, and it seemed more technologically advanced than the city in his home universe.
Strange decided to get a bearing on his surroundings in this new universe. He was familiar with the layout of the city already, so he decided to make a portal to a familiar location. Strange, with his sling ring securely on his fingers, pointed ahead of himself and made a portal quickly, spinning his hand around to open it up. As Strange walked through, a few pedestrians turned their heads. Strange vanished as he walked into the portal, the orange ring created by it following not long after.
Strange found himself now in Central Park. Strange looked out over the familiar scene of the park, slightly altered by whatever events had happened in this universe prior to his appearance. Strange didn't recognize this world, but he thought that the tourneymasters probably would.
"The tourneymasters..." Strange murmured to himself. Now that he'd been dragged into this, he'd play whatever part they wanted him to as long as they could help him keep this mess away from the Earth he knew. There was already enough trouble there as it is, anyways.
"Tourneymasters, that's right. You promised you'd take me to them, remember? So, why are you just standing here talking to yourself?" A familiar voice came from directly behind Strange. Strange slowly turned on the spot to see Agatio. So he'd come here from Pandora too...
"Alright, Strange. No more messing around. Tell me what you know about this thing we're in." Agatio sighed in frustration.
"Alright, but- I was trying to take you to the tourneymasters exactly for that reason; I don't know anything about this other than we're being dragged into various universes from across the multiverse in some sort of event caused by the tourneymasters. You've been dropped here from your world for whatever purpose they have planned for us." Strange tried his best to explain.
"Well if that's really all you know... Then we'd better find those tourneymasters. I don't want to be used for some purpose I don't even know anything about." Agatio decided firmly.
"We can start here. There's probably some other people who've been dragged into this around here." Strange suggested, returning to face outwards over the park. He scanned the area before spotting a strange looking character sitting on a bench with some awkward-looking bright yellow creature besides him.
"I think," Strange said, "we might already have a lead."
Strange motioned for Agatio to follow as he began to approach the pair. Agatio looked apprehensively at the two, but decided this was better than doing nothing and began to follow closely behind Strange.
"Hey," Strange spoke to Peep, "would you happen to know anything about some people called 'tourneymasters'? My friend and I, we're looking for them, and we'd appreciate any info you have on them."
Star-Lord Star-Lord blinked. He was in his ship again. Alone, yet again. He sighed. This clash thing was starting to tick him off, come to think of it. Sure, when Trash guy had told him that he could meet pretty much any fictional character ever, it seemed pretty neat, but the waterboarding torture that came shortly after shook his resolve to enjoy his time in this. He hadn't even been through much yet, and he was already beginning to dislike it.
Quill sighed, pinching his brow. He sat up in his quarters, looking around the Milano. No one-
"Oh good, you've come to. Man, this sure is annoying, huh? It feels like we only just got to that forest world not long ago..." Silas mused, walking into the room. He leaned on the doorway as he beamed at the fatigued Quill.
"Yeah, you could say that." Quill remarked. He grabbed his coat off the table nearby, holstering his two quad blasters.
"You know where we are yet?" Quill questioned Silas tersely. Silas didn't seem to pick up on Quill's frustration, however.
"Nah, I was hoping we could scope things out together. It might be dangerous, you know. I don't want to face this alone..." Silas said.
Quill nodded. He lowered the Milano's ramp, and motioned for Silas to follow as he stepped out.
ICE AGE COMING ICE AGE COMING
If you're reading this the devil is already here, and you're him!
Peep and Fish Peep looked at the strangely garbed figure that was Doctor Strange, however if he was being honest, he was wearing a suit of armor designed like a toad bug, bright red shin, the top of a baby-blue tuxeo-suit, and sweatpants, so in all fairness, who was he to judge?
"Tourney...what now?"Peep repeated, "Uh.....Oh!, do you mean the random assortment of animals,vegetables and minerals all transported into this figuritive cluster..."Peep was about to finish when he stopped himself from swearing, "Fudge". He finished.
"So you've heard of them before?" Agatio questioned Peep. Something seemed a bit suspicious to him about the way Peep stopped in his description, though.
"Well, could you tell us any more about them if there's anything else you know?" Strange followed up.
"Most of its useless" Peep cracked his neck, "But I have some stuff I guess".
"From what I can gleam....a Tourney, is what we seem to be in, so I'm guess a the master of that is one who leads it forward,from what I've noticed is that it really depends,I mean how do you measure it,by how messed up your body gets?,by how much you blow up?, cuz if its the first I've been frankenstien'd the **** out of so I guess that makes me one".Peep rambled.
"Heck this thing could be one.."Peep motioned to Fish.
"So you do seem to know a thing or two about this! Well, why exactly are these happening? What's the point of me being here?" Agatio pressed Peep, eager to see what purpose there was for his forcible appearance in the tourney. Strange meanwhile was apprehensively eyeing Fish, who reminded him of an oversized, brightly yellow-colored insect.
"Point?.....Uh....you got me there"The toad responded honestly
"So there's no purpose to all of this? I thought you were behind it," Strange said, somewhat confused, "Did you really just bring us here for no reason?"
"Buddy,do I look like the kind of guy who has any idea what he's doing?"Peep raised an eyeridge before responding, "I'm as confused as you to as to why I'm here, I suppose we and everything else here was brought for a reason, can I guess why?,No".
"Maybe to do some good,I dunno seems like everywhere I go they'res an awful lot of things trying to murder everything" Peep offered
"That would be just fine, but," Agatio suddenly exclaimed, "You said these tourneymaster people would know what's happening here! Either he doesn't know what he's talking about, or you don't. Or maybe, I think, you've tricked me! What's happening here, Strange?" Agatio leered at Strange. He felt cheated by the long while they'd spent wandering around Pandora in search of a lead that turned up with nothing.
"Hey, look- I think he and I both don't know what's going on here. No one really seems to. There's probably some way to get you back to your home universe, but our friend here has a point. You can probably do more good here than you could there. Hey, you could probably find something here to benefit your world better than you could just going back now!" Strange replied. Sure, he probably could just send Agatio home, but there had to be some reason he'd been dragged into this. This wasn't really just chaos, was it? He recalled the events that had happened in New York in that other universe; he and those others had helped to free an entire universe of a great danger posed to it. This guy could probably help with whatever other dangers could come next.
"Get used to it buddy" Peep thought smugly at Agaito's reaction, "I'm Peep,Peep the Toad by the way".
"Nice to meet another friendly face around here, Peep," Strange said, "Perhaps you can join us on our search for info about whatever it is we're supposed to be here for. When we were in that other version of New York, I think someone mentioned to me that we're supposed to be looking for some sort of artifacts. But I'd like to try and find whoever's behind this to be sure."
"So you did know something! Why didn't you mention that earlier?" Agatio questioned Strange.
"Well, I thought you'd want to hear it for yourself. I didn't think you'd believe me if I just said it without any info, like I just did. Whoever told me that is probably one of the people responsible for this. We should try to find them again." Strange suggested. In fact, he'd only just remembered that someone had mentioned that to him once. Thinking back to the events of the raid he'd been a part of in New York reminded him, and he continued to peruse his memory for other important information.
"Do you happen to know what they are, rocks?,orbs?,rare collection of incurable diseases?"Peep asked.
"That would definitely make things a lot easier, but no," Strange recalled, "I think it was someone named Undyne- She was like a fish person or something... A little bit like this guy here." He gestured to Agatio.
"I am not a fish! Us Proxians are nothing like fish. You insult us all by relating us to simple animals!" Agatio cried. This clearly was a serious matter to him that Strange was unaware of.
"Uh- ok then. The more you know, right?" Strange joked. "Anyways, we should probably stop stalling here and try to find the tourneymasters again. Our allies in that raid, they must be the ones responsible..."
"Well..we could follow the news,look for reports on strange activities,or just.....wait, I mean trouble usually comes to those not seeking it".Peep commented.
"I have some doubts that they would be responsible for the kind of things to end up in the news as strange activities; Undyne and the others there seemed like they had the best interests of the multiverse at heart. I don't think they would be responsible for any bad news. Maybe it'd be a good idea to just travel around the city here and scope it out for other characters dragged into this." Strange suggested, recalling how Undyne and the other members of the raid team had mostly been friendly and most definitely not destructive people.
Strange tried to remember if she or any of the others on the team had mentioned the purpose behind all this chaos. However, nothing seemed to come back to him like the memory of them mentioning the term tourneymasters had. Their best option would certainly be to find the tourneymasters again.
"Noone really gave me a phone-number,or really a way to find them,but if you wanna play "Wheres Waldo" IRL then alright,I really have nothing better to offer".Peep commented.
"Good," Strange said, "and you're right, we don't really have anything better to do. Grab your freaky insect buddy there and let's start scoping out the city." Fish, meanwhile, was picking at the grass, looking for something else to eat.
"Its not mine,but I did have like a sword....wonder where that went"Peep mentioned.
Suddenly out of the grass,the point of the Golden Blade Of Pepe's shot out spearing Fish through the midsection all the way to the hilt before hovering by Peep's shocked frame. Fish, of course, was caught unaware and was instantly killed by the sword.
"Hey...don't do that!" Peep sputtered, waving his arms, before putting his hand to his face and dragging it down slowly in frustration.
"I guess we won't have to worry about that anymore at least," Strange commented, unsure of what to really think about the suddenness of Fish's death.
"Right..." Agatio mumbled, taking a step back. He felt a slight apprehension about sticking around these people if random and completely unexpected deaths like this were possible.
"So" Peep began getting up and yanking Fish's corpse off of the blade, "Where do you want to start?"
"Well, I already know my way around this city, New York, so why not here? I mean, it might be different since this is a different universe and all, but I'm sure we can manage together. As long as more swords don't fall out of the sky, at least." Strange quipped. Agatio squinted at Strange, not feeling any amusement in his little joke.
Peep attempted to grin, and his sharp teeth popped out making it more frightening than reassuring,before closing his mouth and starting to walk off. Strange and Agatio followed after him, the latter simply shrugging. Strange was unsure of what to make of Peep; the toad seemed to be an interesting character. Hopefully he would continue to be friendly.
As the two continued on their way, they suddenly found themselves joined by Fish.
"Hey, Peep," Strange said, ogling Fish, "does that weird insect thing you killed ever happen to come back to life?"
"Either that, or there are like a thousand of them and one appears every few minutes" Peep mused, before hailing a Hovercab.
Strange shrugged. Just another oddity of this tourney business, he figured. He stepped into the vehicle, and motioned for Agatio to follow. He did so, taking in the sight of a vehicle with curiosity. Even simple cars were not a thing in his world.
"Alright, so I think there's some things I can do for us that would help us find any leads..." Strange began to speak.
ICE AGE COMING ICE AGE COMING
If you're reading this the devil is already here, and you're him!
"See? What did I tell you? You can't even tell they're fake!" Emmo laughed. Only a few hours into the new location, and she had already secured herself a means of income via probably-illegal surgery. Her client stared down at her enlarged breasts in surprise.
"Oh my gosh! They even feel real too!" She exclaimed.
"Make sure to tell your friends that Emmo can do absolutely anything!" The surgeon declared as she shooed the customer out of the alleyway shack she had constructed. Well, technically a lobotomized slave built the shack (Hence its poor quality) but it was merely a tool which she used. So she considered it a 100% Emmo creation.
Emmo smiled down at the wad of cash in her hands, though was more satisfied with the future customers. All she needed to do was perform a few 'legit' miracles and then she'll have more clients than she can count.
Plenty of experimentees.
A sound akin to a large monk-fish being throttled, was heard as Terry fell into the ground in front of Emmo.
Terry spasmed a bit before with great effort getting up, "Youse do the medicalisms?" He asked peering at her with his distorted grinning face.
"My reputation precedes me," Emmo giggled innocently, "Anything you need, I can do."
"Can I hash a bread 'ox?" Terry asked.
"A... A bread box?" Emmo blinked.
"Noes, a bread Ox" Terry explained wanting a ungulate made of bread.
It was then when Terry recalled why he was there at all.
As if on cue, repeated cracks from a gun sounded from inside Terry’s steam-engine like monster of a locomotive. “Alright, alright, let’s cut to the chase, even though I, personally, enjoy fooling around more.” In its ever-eargrating voice came the Fujin-Furuutsubo, its azure lights that served as its eyes smoldering with a mischievous light.
The lights began flickering as Reimu’s near-lifeless body levitated out of the train before gently sliding itself onto the operation table.
”She’s in terrible condition, and from what we’ve heard, you’re one of the few left who can save her.”
Accumulating from a mysterious vapor, Takumi’s soul condensed itself into a visible form, the haywire electricity in the lights correcting themselves as he appeared before the surgeon.
"Oh.. Oh my god..." Emmo looked over the 'body', "I can barely tell I'm looking at a person here..." To think that this girl was somehow still alive, fascinating.
"Thats rudes"Terry commented
"I.. I'm good at what I do, but something like this... I'd need a proper lab," Emmo explained, "I'd need to abuse the heck out of every recovery system the human body comes with to fix... This. I can't really do that with what I have though." She gestured to the basic surgical supplies she had stolen.
“Well, I guess that means we can leave, ri-“
Despite no longer posessing a physical body, Takumi managed to close a firm fist over the nozzle of his troublesome weapon-youkai, silencing the fear spirit. “You mean... there’s nothing we can do to help her? ... Legally, that is.”
"Oh you crossed the legal line when you came to a surgeon offering miracles in an alleyway," Emmo remarked.
"What ifs we found e-nother labsh?"Terry inquired
"Oh, well of course!" Emmo laughed as she waved a hand, "With the right equipment, you'd be surprised what little ol' Emmo can do!"
"Who- Me! I'm Emmo," She stated, pointing at herself.
"Oh, nicesh to meet ya!"Terrigan the mad exclaimed, "Terrigan" He said holding up his bloodied left hand.
“Your worst nightmare!” The Fujin-Furuutstubo cackled with glee.
”Can we just cut the nonsense and get back to what’s important?!” The skies dimmed ever so slightly as the winds’ howling picked up in ferocity. “I think I know someplace that might give you all the tools you’re looking for. If we get there, are you positive you can make this work?”
"I haven't botched an operation yet!" Emmo proclaimed before glancing at Reimu, "And seeing what I have to work with here, I'm not going to miss the opportunity to add this to my portfolio."
"Alright!"Terry yelled as the trains cabin rolled up next to them, "Readies to goesh!"
Takumi melted back into the shadows as he dematerialized into mystic fog, while the Fujin-Furuutsubo followed Terry’s lead.
"George! Keep things clean while I'm gone, okay? And if that hobo comes back again, get the broom!" Emmo called out behind her to the lobotomized husk within her shack before slipping into the locomotive.
There was little if anything to hold on to as Terry took flight, rocketing straight up into the air, and making three consecutive sharp lefts, "Whersh we going?" Terry yelled.
"You know, I could give you a discount for some neurosurgery," Emmo offered to Terrigan. Rotting minds always had the best brains to examine.
"I don'r needs to not count miss-e!" Terry yelled.
"Wh..What? I don't understand what you're saying. I could fix that too!" Emmo said with a wink.
"Ya got shomething in yer eyesh?"Terry asked pulling a throttle that looked to be made of bamboo.
"... Are you high?"
"About five hundred feets at the mermont!"Terry exclaimed looking out the window.
He's like an old, mentally disabled version of Slapstick driving a train, Emmo thought to herself, giggling a little before leaving Terry be.
Thanks to the curious nature of Terry’s vehicle, it wasn’t long before they found it, more accurately Terry smashed through several floors of a medical building, leaving the train resting upwards on its cowcatcher before opening the door and climbing rather poorly out, "I'll get the bloods!" He yelled alarmingly as he staggered off.
"That's one way to make an entrance," Emmo muttered as she carefully stepped down and off of the crazy train.
Once more did Takumi’s spirit materialize from the shadows, appearing from within Terry’s train. Careful not to damage what little remained, he, along with his Fujin Furuutsubo, both scooped up Reimu’s broken figure, almost guiding the near-dead shrine maiden off of the train. It felt less like carrying even a dead body, instead feeling more like carrying a large water balloon.
”Those gods really did a number on her,” the spirit thought as he balanced the liquified Reimu in his grasp.
"Oh my god!" Emmo squealed with delight upon getting a good look of the lab she had access to, "This is primitive by Glitterworld standards, but I haven't worked with equipment this nice in forever!" She ogled every single object in the room with glee, "With these tools, I could bring a thousand girls from the brink of death!"
“If you can, then please, do it.” Reimu’s near-dead form was gently lain on the table before Emmo, her entire body sloshing around like some soup.
Emmo let out a little giggle, before quickly apologizing, "Sorry, sorry. I know I shouldn't be so giddy, but I can't help it.." She cleared her throat a few times as she stepped up to the table and looked the body over, "Alright... I'm gonna have to ask you guys to leave for sanitary reasons. That, and it'll be a lot easier to focus without an audience."
Promptly, Takumi dematerialized back into vapor while the gentle blue flames on the Fujin-Furuutsubo promptly extinguished themselves, allowing the weapon to clatter onto the ground, no longer in a state of possession until the youkai’s enigmatic life force chose to return into its vessel.
Terry clambered in several bags of blood of all sorts, in his arms, and what appeared to be an I.V stuck in one of his mechanical arm holes,"I got the bod-eh juices!" Announced walking towards Emmo.
"What? Oh, uh.. Thank you.. Now leave, please," Emmo tried for a smile. She wouldn't use any of the blood considering she had no idea where this lunatic got the packs from. Still, considering how mentally unstable he was, she thought it wise not to show gratitude.
Terry dropped the blood-bags clumsily, on her(spilling several of them and getting blood on her and himself in the process,his yellow uniform drenched in blood he saluted, and noticed the I.V and tried to grab it, turning around several times always just out of reach.
Emmo's peppy attitude vanished as she glared at Terrigan furiously, before pointing at the door of the lab and screaming, "GET THE HELL OUT OF MY LAB!"
Terry jumped, "I'm nots an ex-or-sast,he said confused before walking out of the door sticking back in to give a wave.
Emmo slammed the door in his face. "I swear to f***ing God.. Probably covered in AIDS... Now I gotta wash this s*** off.... I swear if she dies because that a**hole spilled the bubonic plague everywhere...."
“... Reimu Hakurei. You were trusted with the ultimate power to vanquish any evil you come across. Your inheritance of the Hakurei Shrine Maiden’s powers enable you to never lose any fight. It was with this strength, you were entrusted to keep the peace. To uphold the balance.”
Reimu merely sat with her arms crossed tapping her feet in annoyance as she tried paying more attention to a random spot in the vast emptiness that was what most called “purgatory.” Before her, the great God of Hell Eiki glowered up at Reimu, appearing in an equally irritable mood. And likely, for the same reason as Reimu, for neither were very pleased to meet the other.
”However,” Eiki continued to lecture, “what did you use this power for? You use it as a way to spread fear. You take this punishment- this deterrent- and you throw it at anything that as much as slightly disagrees with you. A youkai who was merely minding their own business, following the established rules? Exterminated. A human child watching magic tricks from local magicians? You vanquish them without reason. Children playing by your shrine? You chase them out with said powers. You’ve become drunk with your own powers, miss Hakurei. You seem to have forgotten what ‘balance’ is.”
”Can you shut up for a second?” Without eye contact, Reimu snapped at the great god. “You’re getting annoying, midget.”
Eiki’s eyes began to burn and smolder, like the eternal, raging fires of Hell itself. “Hakurei, you’re testing my patience. I come to reform, to help, and is this the respect you show me in exchange for saving your own soul?”
”I’m not scared of you,” Reimu snapped back. “I’m not scared of any of you. May you please just shut up and go away now?”
The Yama’s strict mannerism began to manifest itself into trace levels of anger. Taking a deep breath, the Hell God began to lecture once more. “... Before going off on your little tangent,” she began once more, “I was going to say that, while your wrath festered whilst still in Gensokyo, upon arriving here, you seem to have become more and more violent. Now, your violent tendencies have become downright murderous. Tell me, did you not feel anything when you attacked the Pier? Or, perhaps, did you feel any ounce of regret when you murdered a human and his spouse?”
Reimu responded by staying silent.
”You will answer me when I’m talking to you, miss Hakurei,” Eiki growled. “If we were in my judgement hall, I would have had you thrown into the Sanzu river for your failiure to heed my advice, which constitutes as a sin. Be grateful you lie not on the ‘other side’ of life, but rather on the boundary between life and de-”
”Yes,” Reimu hissed at last. “I did feel something. Interested to know?” Reimu whirled around as she glowered down at Eiki, more than annoyed by being pestered by the nuisance that was the Hell God. “I’ve never felt better in my life! Youkai take me letting them go with their lives for granted, coming back again and again to cause problem after problem! Incident after incident! If this doesn’t scare them into submission, then I’d say kill them all! I’m sick of being a pushover! And don’t pull any ‘murder is a sin’ bull sh!t on me! You know just as much as I that courtship and reproduction with a youkai is one of the highest sins out there, you lousy piece of trash! You want some f@cking justice?! Do it yourself!”
For a moment, Eiki merely stared at Reimu, speechless from the gall of the Shrine Maiden’s daring, reckless attempts to “put her in her place.” At last, when the momentary shock passed over her, the Hell God had little more to say other than, “... If you truly died, I’d have you cast straight into Hell.”
”Whatever,” Reimu seethed. “You death gods are all big softies. You’re going to pull me out of there eventually. I don’t care what you do. Nothing you can do scares me. Throw me in the river. Send me to Hell. F@cking make me disappear like a youkai. I don’t care. None of your tricks scare me. No, kindly f@ck off.”
“... Reimu Hakurei, calm down, please.” Recognizing that she herself was spitting meaningless insults rather than genuine advice, Eiki tried to strike for a more calming tone. “I only want to help you, and everyone else, achieve the best, most happiest afterlife. To make the world a better place for you. For me. For everyo-“
”’Make the world a better place?!’ ’MAKE THE WORLD A BETTER PLACE?!’” Reimu, infuriated, shoved Eiki to the ground as she planted a foot on the Hell God’s chest. “Make the world a better f@cking place by undoing it! Make the world a better place by erasing every f@cking youkai! Make the world a better place by killing Yukari! Hell, make the world a better place by killing me for all I care! Just do something other than expect all of us to follow your f@cking skewed sense of justice! You want me to make the world a better place?! Too late! If you were ‘gods’ and ‘wanted justice,’ you would have at least saw to it that a baby didn’t witness her own parents be eaten by her own best f@cking friend, that’s f@cking what!”
Reimu spat directly on Eiki’s face before she began to storm off in the other direction of the endless void of purgatory. “Good. F@cking. Bye.”
Reimu, however, made it five or six steps before hearing the Hell God speak. “... I... I’m sorry.”
Reimu stopped in her tracks as Eiki pushed herself to her feet groggily. “... If we had been able to know about what would have happened, I... we should have done something to prevent... it. But, in the eye of eternity, a moment goes by so much faster than it does for a mortal like you. But that was in the past, and you, as a victim of suffering, should have the decency to allow that others do not suffer the same trauma you had. That, miss Hakurei, is what your bloodline vowed to do eons ago. And it is your duty, along with every other living souls’ duty as well.”
Eiki’s mirror hovered in front of the Hell God’s eyes before reflecting back a timer counting down. “... You have but seconds until you’re revived,” Eiki declared. “In our short amount of time left, I have nothing more to say, but this: Live your life as a virtuous one. Cease the cruelty you bring unto others, reform yourself, and then live like a paragon of humanity should. Do not drag others down to your misery as you have done so for the past four years. Instead, try and uplift them to a state higher than they are now. It is only this way will you right your sins, and achieve a happy afterlife. I hope we do not meet until eighty years later. Until then, wake.”
Reimu gasped as Emmo stood over the shrine maiden with a big smile. "Hah! And they doubted I'd be able to do it! Welcome back to being alive!"
”What the HELL happened?!” Reimu jolted herself up as she began squeezing her forearms, which she last remembered as being crushed into a fine powder by Kanakorochi.
"Well," Emmo replied with a prideful grin as she stood up straight, "You were closer to being dead than I've ever seen anyone get without actually dying, aaaaand... I brought you back! It took a long time compared to my other operations, but it was worth it! Emmo the medical genius at your service!.... If you had any clothes, I'm sorry, but.. I couldn't regrow those. I hope you like jeans!" Indeed, the doctor found time to scrounge up (Or demand from Terrigan) a pair of jeans and a T-shirt with a picture of a cupcake on it. She had even taken the liberty of putting them on before Reimu awoke.
Upon hearing Emmo’s words, Reimu yelped as she suddenly clutched her torso-region, suddenly self conscious of her skeletal and only build, mostly due to malnourishment, though it no longer seemed to be the case she was in poor health. “Wh-what the hell did you even do to me?!”
"Pfft, pretty much everything," Emmo answered, "Seriously, I don't know how you were alive. I had to regrow pretty much all of your bones. The flesh that was there was something I'd expect to see from someone that's never had more than a slice of bread for their meals, not to mention it was all ripped and tenderized. To make a long story short, I rebirthed you. Almost every cell, save for most of your brain (Even then I had to mess with that to get it working right), is brand new! You're probably healthier than you've ever been and I went ahead, as a little bonus gift from me to you, and gave you B-Cups! I also changed up your digestive system a little bit so it can digest some wackier things, so don't feel afraid to, you know, eat something."
As Emmo listed everything she had done to the Shrine Maiden, Reimu began patting herself down all over her body, almost as though she was in an alien world. And indeed, she might as well have been, for the sensation of the new body Emmo had provided her with certainly felt alien to her. She’d have to adjust to her newfound (natural) strength and weight.
But she could focus on that later. There were other things she should likely address first. “What happened to the Moriyas?! What did Yukari do while I was out?! WHAT HAPPENED?!”
"I.. Uh.. I don't know who any of those people are," Emmo answered, holding her hands up to gesture for Reimu to calm down, "Some guy with a train, some ghost guy, and some other ghost stuff brought you to me so I could save your life. I sent them to get some coffee (I told them that was a component of some regrowth serum or something, pfft) so they might be a bit. I wanted some time to make sure my patient lives up to Emmo standards. Now... You did have some abnormal brain stuff going on in your head when I was rooting around in there. You're like, one of the angriest people I've ever met. That's not good for your health, both physically and mentally, so I made it to where you can't get as angry as before, only like... Regular levels of angry."
”Wh... Train... Ghost... w-HEY!” Reimu made advances to hit Emmo for her descriptor on her anger management issues.
Emmo let out a yelp as she held up a metallic surgical tray as a shield. "Lots of people have that problem! It's okay! Do you like your SPORE!?" She hoped bringing up the maiden's new breasts would put her in a less-violent mood, "They're natural!" (At least as natural as genetic modification could be considered)
Luckily, this silenced Reimu into a more passive state, as her gaze slowly drifted down to Emmo’s “gift.” Awkwardly, Reimu merely stared for a good moment or two before, without lifting her head for eye contact, she commented, “... They’re heavy.”
"Nice, right? You'll get used to them! I swear, if I wasn't primarily a neurosurgeon, I'd be the best boob doctor there ever was!" Emmo exclaimed, before leaning in a little and whispering, "If you want 'em a bit bigger, I can totally do that. Nobody else has seen 'em yet so they wouldn't know."
”Get the newspapers or whatever you all use.” Reimu made it extra clear as to what her primary concerns were rather than her new “assets;” the kinds of trouble “the enemy” were currently up to. “I need to know how much of the world’s been destroyed while I was out.”
"Considering how crazy things get, I'd say a lot, but there's quite a number of 'heroes' in this world from what I've heard. Lemme see if I can pull up the news on here..." Emmo walked over to a computer in the lab, taking a moment to figure out the older technology, "Sooo.. I never actually caught your name."
“Your worst nightmare,” Reimu snapped, not the type to start a conversation.
Emmo let out a laugh at the shrine maiden's response, "Well Ms. Nightmare, the Internet's being a liiittle bit slow, so just give me a moment. How'd you end up a pile of meat anyhow?"
Reimu opened her mouth, about to tell a summary of the events concerning the two Moriya deities, before she remembered that Emmo was, to her, an outsider. She probably had little idea that youkai even existed, which was foolish of Reimu, in hindsight, to describe two of her more formidable enemies given the time. As such, the response from Reimu was even shorter than a mere summary of her and. Kanako’s duel, for all she said was, “I was attacked by a giant snake.”
"I hate it when that happens," Emmo groaned, having experienced such a threat in the past, "My advice? Lead 'em to some trees and tangle them up. Works every time... Oh! I just remembered, on that little table right next to you, you can take some of my perfume if you want. I have tons of the stuff. Just between you and me, it's less of a perfume, and more of a... Hormone bomb. That bottle's specifically made using your hormones. It's pretty handy if you run into anything male and don't feel like fighting... Or if you want an edge while on a date."
“Not interested.” Reimu responded to Emmo keeping in mind her primary enemies were inhuman manifestations of fear that fed exclusively on flesh.
"Suit yourself. Never know when you may need it," Emmo shrugged, "Mmmmmmkay, so according to this there's bad stuff happening pretty much everywhere right now.Crime rate's getting bad, armies are invading a bunch of places, it's not looking too good."
“It never is, is it?” Of course the world had to be in shambles.
"You'd think a doctor would love all the people getting injured, but pffsh. I'll take being homeless and not getting shot at to having a few hundred bucks and all this any day," Emmo remarked, "Buuuuuut, it says here there are people doing something about it. Tons of boys and girls in this organization called 'Overwatch'. Nothing's happened here yet, so we lucked out on the lab we got."
Something smashed against the locked door several times before it was yanked off the hinges, Terry limped in a pot of hot coffee clasped haphazardly in his left mechanical clasper.
"No no no, you put that on the ground carefully, then back away from it. I am not letting you spill coffee on me," Emmo ordered, staying a safe distance away from Terrigan, "And did you get the creamer like I asked?"
Terry reached into his frocket and pulled out a few syringes before reaching back in and holding some punctured creamer.
"Car-fees?"He asked not heeding Emmo's warning and walking forward.
"Put the pot on the ground! Ground! Put the pot on the ground! Carefully! Ground!" Emmo yelped, hiding behind Reimu.
Terry jerkily leaned back and placed the heavily spilling pot on the ground before releasing it, and walking towards Reimu, his skewed posture,grotesque features and bleeding hands,not likely making her feel very safe.
Emmo slinked over to retrieve the pot while Terrigan was distracted. It had been too long since she had some coffee. She took a big whiff of it, then paused. "....Where did you get this coffee exactly?" She asked.
"I found its" Terry called back.
"Where did you find it," Emmo asked, pinching her brow.
"A room,over...wesht"Terry responded.
".. Hmm Alright I- Hey! Get away from the patient! Just because I vaccinated her doesn't mean you might not have super ebola or something!" Emmo huffed. That was her patient, the product of Emmo's genius and hard work.
"I'll I'm contraterated of is being good at mah job!"Terry insisted, turning around to face Emmo.
Discomforted, Reimu inched away from Terry, immediately assuming his more unique features were all in credit to being some half-youkai hybrid. It wasn’t long before Reimu had subconsciously scooted herself to the far side of the medical bed she now sat on.
"Hey, Nightmare, you want some coffee?" Emmo asked, already pouring the shrine maiden a cup and bringing it to her by the time Emmo finished her question.
“Prefer tea,” Reimu mumbled as she reached for her anti-youkai weaponry, only to remember that Emmo had disposed of her old clothes, along with whatever sealing charms, purification orbs, and other youkai-banishing necessities. ”D@mn idiots,” Reimu thought to herself.
"Hey, Terrigan, get us some tea or else she's going to die. She will die right now if you do not get us tea," Emmo ordered.
"Okie dokie" Terry said walking over to his train and climbing in.
"Terrigan, I'm going to stop you halfway there. I swear to God if you come back to me with an actual letter 'T', I am going to be very mad," Emmo piped up.
"Letter T gots it"Terrigan responded, staring to close the door.
"NO!" Emmo clenched her head, "T-E-A! THE DRINK!"
“Forget it,” Reimu interrupted. “I don’t take offerings from youkai sympathizers or half-breeds, thank you very much.”
"What's a youkai?" Emmo asked, looking back at Reimu and cocking her head.
"Whats a Sym-pants-synthesizer?"Terrigan asked getting out of the train.
Disgusted, Reimu rolled her eyes as she quickly answered to both Terry and Emmo’s questions simultaneously. “Degenerates and low-lives of society.”
"Oh okay," Emmo nodded, taking a step closer to Reimu and whispering, "Then yeah he's a total youkai. If not for the fact he brought us here, I swear I would not be hanging out with this guy," She leaned back and stood up tall, "but I couldn't pass fixing you up!"
"You made her angrier"Terry stated, before leaning against the train and crossing his arms, "Hm,I ain't no friends with Yo-kais, they un-lifedtwo good friendsh a-mine,killed 'em right on the engine". Terry paused as he fished out a needle and injected it,dulling the pain in his arms.
Though covered in blood, with a maniacal pained smile over his face, Terry's opinion likely went over Reimu's head,the mad conductor noticed his "Brake" lever lodged in the cowcatcher, his left claw cracked upwards and pulled it out with the sound of tearing metal
"Yer awful live-lee for shome-one who was meat-shlurry a bit a-go". Terrigan the Mad commented.
Discontent with Terry’s remark, Reimu opened her mouth to say something, only to realize she lacked a proper comeback to Terry’s statement, considering that he was correct in regards to the fact that she was indeed but a sack of flesh and powdered bone only a minute or so ago. As such, she merely harrumphed at the unstable train conductor.
"Well she's 'lively' because she had a fantastic doctor to put her back together," Emmo proclaimed.
"Well goods,when do we meet 'em?"Terry asked.
"What- It's me!" Emmo gestured to herself, clearly insulted by what she perceived to be an intentional jab.
As she watched the two bicker and squabble over their differences in mindset, diction, and beliefs, it dawned on Reimu that she too may be dragged into their single-minded, simple ideals. To the shrine maiden, it was like radiation exposure or a contagious disease in the sense that perhaps it may spread to her, too.
"I mean, don't you agree, Nightmare? I pretty much brought you back from the dead, gave you a new body, made your organs better, gave you SPORE!" Emmo turned to face the shrine maiden, "And this guy is here saying that's not 'fantastic doctor' enough. Hmph."
"Never shaid that spe-shiff-ic sentance!"Terry interjected
"Oh, don't pull that!" Emmo harrumphed.
“... I’m outta here.” Reimu immediately pushed herself off the operation table, smashing her head into an overhead surgical lamp whilst stumbling into a medical-grade welded assembly table, largely due to her newfound strength thanks to Emmo’s surgical genius. “... and tell me where in the ever loving f@ck you put my stuff.”
"Oh... There was.. Barely anything left of your 'stuff'.. A lot of it was embedded in your flesh," Emmo explained, "...I tossed it all in the back of garbage truck that was nearby at the time... I, uh.. I don't think you should go anywhere yet, some physical therapy might be needed since.. You know.. New body and everything. At the very least, I should come with you and make sure everything is working correctly."
"Thish...thish is yers?" Terry pulled out a long red ribbon from his frocket, he stepped forward the large claws on his back stooping him forward with their weight, every step was like a stomp, a hard impact to the ground that forced him forward.
"Tommy, he said to whatch-outs fer a gal with a reds bow....."Terry creaked right up to her,his crooked frame just a bit taller than her, "Ya wouldn'tbe 'er woulds ya?"He asked, his goggles not giving any indication that he could see her, but she more or less felt him staring her down, as if waiting for an answer.
Keeping her eyes trained on Terry for anything suspicious, her hand slowly crept up for her bow as she leered up at the train conductor. “... And tell me,” she asked in response, “who is that again?”
The shrine maiden’s hand, like a snake, lashed out for her bow, snatching the hair accessory away, almost ripping it in the process. “Because if I don’t know his face, it’s not my problem.”
Reimu turned to storm away from the mad doctor and train conductor. “... and if you’re expecting any money from me in return,” she called back to Emmo, “you aren’t getting any! I know better than to trust blood-sucking leeches like you!”
"Blood-sucking-" Emmo gasped, "Hmph! After fixing you for free, that's the thanks I get!?"
“... No worries. I’ll pay you extra for putting up with her.” The ghost of Takumi materialized again beside Emmo, check in hand. “Thank you for your services.”
Hearing a new and unknown voice suddenly coming from the room she had her back turned to set off an alarm in Reimu’s head. Hands trembling, she slowly swiveled her head backwards. “... Don’t tell me,” she began in a dangerous voice. “If I look over my shoulder.... and there’s a d@mn youkai there....”
For an awkward moment or so, Reimu gazed up at the ghost of the Hoshidan prince. Though her expression read as neutral, it wasn’t hard to miss the smoldering inferno that lay behind her pupils. The blazing flame that burned with emotion. The spite. The disgust. The intolerance. Reimu’s hatred for all youkai.
"Pasht gal-friend?"Terry guessed aloud.
“Not a good ti-“
”I’LL KILL YOU!” Without any regard to the possible side effects of exerting oneself to the breaking point whilst recovering from liquification, Reimu dove for the spirit, her face conveying nothing but her intent to obliterate the youkai scum. The shrine maiden grabbed for the nearest obtainable item, whether it was a surgical knife, pair of scissors, whatever. Anything she could use as a weapon would be enough.
”DEPRAVED CARNIVOROUS VERMIN!” The shrine maiden raised a fist high into the air, despite knowing that she was dealing with one who had already died.
Emmo casually pulled a blue perfume bottle from her pocket and sprayed a cloud of the liquid inside towards Reimu. The bottle was labeled 'Sleepy Juice'. It smelled like flowers and nuts.
Immediately, the sedative’s fumes began to take hold of the shrine maiden’s nervous system. Her newfound strength quickly failed her as Reimu’s eyelids became too heavy to keep open. Still, she tried what she could exterminate Takumi’s ghost, bringing a lazy fist down on the ghost, only managing to phase through him as Reimu crashed onto the ground, unconscious.
"... You know, if you want, while she's asleep, I could try making her not-insane," Emmo offered as she gently nudged Reimu with one foot.
“That would be nice,” the ghost agreed. “Then she wouldn’t kill everything on sight, which would be the last thing we’d need against this ‘all consuming darkness’ or whatever.”
Emmo's eyes lit up. "Alright! Now this is my specialty: Neurosurgery!" She quickly bent over to heave Reimu up off the ground.
"Ill get tha blood!"Terry called.
"Don't let him get any bl- Actually, can you get some magnets?" Emmo called back, flopping the shrine maiden back onto the operating table.
"Yesh!"Terry yelled, "With or wishout the blood?"
"No blood, Terrigan, no blood," Emmo sighed, her smile quickly returning as she looked over Reimu, "Now this is what I got my PhD in!"
“My, my, my. Little Reimu getting surgery? I’d like to watch.”
As always, the conniving, cunning demon that lurked in between boundaries chose now, of all times, to show herself. Half-emerged from a gap, Yukari gave the triad a warm, charming crocodile’s smile, her steak-knife like teeth bared.
"Huh? Who're you?" Emmo asked, giving the hag a quick glance before returning to her preparations.
“You’re a neurosurgery and neurology PhD,” the youkai commented, “while I’m the psychology major here. I’d like to see the true sciences behind my field. Moreover, I’d love to see you try your hand at this operation. Is it rude to spectate, dear doctor?” Yukari batted her eyelashes innocently, her knife-like teeth tightly knit together, almost like that of a shark’s.
”Wait, wh- hey! You’re the one who-“ Immediately, Takumi’s ghost recognized his murderer, and began to expose her nature to Emmo before being silenced as the boundary between sound and silence shattered, if only temporarily.
"Nah, it's fine if you want to watch, just make sure you don't get too close, I like having a bit elbow room," Emmo answered.
There was the sound of something heavy being dragged, as Terry struggled to bring what appeared to be a large chunk of a MRI machine, "I gots the baggest one they" Terry looked over,to say he froze would be false, as he simply dropped the piece his claspers pivoting back into place, a large rumbling was heard as his train lit up, the shrill whistle blaring through the room.
Terry ran, limbs flailing,blood splashing,looking more like a Gmod-Doll being programmed to run, instead of actually running.
The Mad conductor reached for the Youkai's grinning face his his bloody hands, clearly trying to wrap them around her neck.
If it were anyone else, Terry would have succeeded in subduing his opponent. If it were Alice, Yuyuko, Patchouli, or even the powerful Ran, he would have had whichever youkai that offended him held in a vice-like headlock, with his enemy at the mercy of the train conductor.
But alas, it had to be the mastermind boundary youkai herself he was dealing with. His hands quickly disappeared into gaps, with smoky black hands locking the train conductor in place.
”Oh, don’t mind the boys,” Yukari chuckled. “Surely, you of all people will understand that they can be a tad bit... aggressive.”
"Me of all people?" Emmo repeated curiously, "By the way, Terrigan, I can tell you just ripped that out of an MRI. That's an electromagnet, and will not work because you ripped it out of the MRI."
Terrigan slumped, his head down, his claspers lowered near to the ground scraping against the floor, there he hung,like a neglected scare-crow.
"You kill-ed mah friends" He stated.
"Hah! I knew it! I knew she looked like a killer!" Emmo clapped her hands together, clearly feeling good about her assumption being correct.
Yukari let out a gasp in false surprise. “Me? A killer? Why, how could you say such terrible things about me? I’ve never lifted a finger to as much as harm a fly!” And in some ways, this was correct, for Yukari merely facilitated most of the deaths she caused.
Save for one.
Takumi’s ghost seemed to yell something in protest, even though nothing came out in terms of sound.
"Pssh, I don't care if you eat babies or something as long as you don't mess up my surgery or my hair," Emmo shrugged, "So what was that you meant about me of all people?"
”Why, you’re a neurosurgeon, sweetheart. And, if I am to take your word for it, you’ve been able to reverse even attitudes and emotions with pure neurosurgery. Surely, you must have dealt with a number of patients, and experienced their personalities. Or, perhaps not.” The boundary youkai shrugged. “I could be wrong. After all, that is the reason I’m here, is it not? To learn?”
".. Okay! So are you anyone in particular to, uh.. Reimu? Friend? Sister? Mom?" Emmo asked, going back to organizing all her tools.
The train rumbled,then realigned itself, driving along the floor towards the group.
”Adopted mother,” Yukari answered, paying no attention to the locomotive in the background. “Her parents were caught in a... terrible accident. I found myself most qualified to raise this little seed into the blossoming flower she is now.”
"I think the only one qualified to raise her is an asylum," Emmo snickered, "So, you like what I've done with her so far? She went from a malnourished pile of tenderized meat and slush to this."
Yukari sighed as she looked down at the more healthy-looking Reimu. “... I suppose thirteen years’ of effort could go to waste in exchange for something more... ‘healthy.’”
"Hm? Thirteen years of what?" Emmo inquired, looking back at Yukari with intrigue.
“... Nothing. Now, are you going to continue the operation, or will you continue to prove that your PhD in neurosurgery is actually a forgery to cover your embarrassing truth of mastery in long, drawn out conversations?” Yukari smiled down cruelly at Emmo upon this remark.
The Train rumbled closer, as if powering up, the wheeled rolled it backwards as it were a bull getting ready to charge.
It was then when Terry made his move, slamming his un-held claws into the ground, with the sound of tearing flesh as the arms clawed at his ruined hands he brought his head up, as he smashed his forehead into Yukari's as hard as he could.
Yukari grunted as Terry’s cranium contacted hers, blinking away the shock as though something blew past her face. “Excuse me. Whatever happened to manners, dear?” The boundary youkai rubbed her head, with the shock of the impact rippling through the youkai’s Head.
Terrigan Steeds fell to the ground, he grasped at the operating table trying to pull himself up,the blood on his hands, making him lose his grip again,and again,and again.
"Gah! Get away! You're gonna give her ebola or AIDS or whatever the hell is in that blood all over you!" Emmo hissed, pulling out her 'Sleepy Juice' and spraying it towards Terrigan.
Terry wheezed,"I'm going to get....yoush..gonna stahp..you-"Terry fell to the ground on his face, the claws clattering onto his back.
"God f***ing... Now I gotta re-sterilize this table," Emmo grumbled to herself, pinching her brow, "Hey, adopted mom, if you want some coffee I have a thing over there. I need a moment to clean up because someone get blood all over everything."
“Why, thank you for the offer, dear. But, you see, I’m more of a coke person, if I do say so myself.” As she spoke, the boundary youkai withdrew a can of the soft drink, cracking the the seal open.
"You know, there's better drugs out there than SPORE," Emmo remarked, quickly cocking her head upon hearing the can open, "What's that?" It seemed she had completely misunderstood what Yukari meant by 'coke'.
The boundary youkai tipped the can into her mouth as she cocked her head upwards, allowing the beverage to trickle down her gullet like a gentle waterfall. After satiating her tastes, and a refreshing whiff of air, Yukari slushed the soft drink in the can as she held up the beverage canister, allowing the can to speak for her.
"I have never heard of that drink before... Does it have SPORE in it or something?" Emmo asked as she scrubbed the bloodied area of the operating table.
”Perhaps,” the youkai responded. “I wouldn’t be surprised if it did, at any rate. You ought to give it a try at some point; you’re missing out on the luxuries of civilization.”
"Oh, don't I know it," Emmo sighed, "Do you have another can of that 'coke' stuff? The patient isn't the only one that needs hydration during a procedure."
“Why, there’s plenty to go around, sweetheart.” Before Emmo, a gap blinked itself open as a inky black hand extended, a coke in its grasp, albeit in bottle form. “Go on, try it! Enjoy the tastes of capitalism, dear.”
The surgeon took the bottle, popped off the cap, and took a sip. "Oooh! It's.. It has a light sting to it!" Emmo remarked before taking another sip, "Mm! We should've had this stuff on the Glitterworld."
“Welcome to civilization, dear.” Yukari took another swig of her beverage as she flopped backwards into a gap, lounging in the interdimensional portal as if it were a chair of some kind.
"Alright! I got a bit of work ahead of me to make this girl not completely insane," Emmo said before taking another sip of her drink, "Hmm... Guess I should go ahead and mess with her anger again... Maybe.." She trailed off into mumbles as she popped her neck and got to work.
“Attagirl.” The youkai gave the can another sip before draining the aluminum alloy canister of the glucose-enriched solution. “You ought to get to work. I’m not here to watch you sit around.”
"Please have a little more respect for the woman who's gonna be digging around in your adopted daughter's brain," Emmo requested as she held up a scalpel.
Yukari shrugged. “Not my problem,” she yawned as she began to doze off.
Emmo went through the motions for a few moments, taking glances at Yukari now and then. Is she... Asleep? Emmo thought to herself. The surgeon narrowed her eyes as she slowly pulled her bottle of 'Sleep Juice' from her pocket. She could almost hear her heart beating in her head as she crept away from the operating table.
A specimen like this? Something that could make cokes appear from nowhere and holes in the air? Was it something in Yukari's DNA?
Emmo's eyes were wide. She licked her lips are she came closer to the youkai of boundaries.
Maybe she could just blast Yukari with some sleepy juice, take a skin sample?
Emmo took a deep, silent breath. Her pupils darted up and down, absorbing every inch of the woman in front of her.
This wasn't like sneaking up on hobos or mercenaries. Emmo hadn't been around... Magic. What could Yukari do exactly? What were her limits? Could she kill the surgeon with a flick of the wrist? In a way, it was exhilarating.
Her wide eyes were fixated on Yukari's face. Emmo slowly brought the bottle up, pointing it at the gap hag.
All she needed was a bit of skin, maybe a blood sample... Something she could mess with...
Luckily for Emmo, nothing inherently bad seemed to have happened to her. The boundary youkai was fast asleep, spirited away to whatever sickening fantasy the sadistic youkai considered a “dream.”
"... Just to be safe," Emmo murmured as she squirted the bottle of 'Sleepy Juice' once again. There was a wide, crazed smile on her face as she slunk away to get a syringe...
Reimu gave an enormous grin as she was hoisted onto her stool as her mother gave her a quick peck on the forehead.
”You’re three now, Reimu! You’re a big girl! Aren’t you excited!”
The infant laughed and clapped her chubby little hands as her legs kicked about in excitement. Under the gaze of the eternal moon, the lanterns in the Hakurei Shrine glowed an intense yet gentle orange as a feast of sweets and a plethora of desserts decorated the table, with an enormous cavity left in the center. “For the cake,” her mother explained to her.
”Mommy! Mommy! Where’s the cake?” The cheerful little baby yelled in excitement and anticipation. “You said there will be a cake! A big cake!”
”Oh, you’re so smart! There will be a big cake. A cake so big, the goddess Suwako can see it from the top of her mountain!”
”That big?” Reimu gasped as her eyes glistened in awe.
”Yes, my precious little flower! That big!”
“Woooooooooooooooow! I wanna see! I wanna see!” Reimu’s legs flailed about beneath the table. “I wanna see! I wanna see!”
A deeper chuckle came from the other, darker end of the table. “Goodness, you’re such a little comedian.” The darkness decreased in intensity as Rumia the darkness youkai softened the influence of her power. “You’re such a funny little girl.”
“Mommy? What’s a ‘come-ee-dian?’”
The Hakurei shrine maiden rubbed her daughter’s head. “It’s a funny person,” she explained.
”Is that a bad thing?”
The Hakurei shrine maiden burst into laughter. “Goodness, it’s not. You really are a funny girl, Reimu!”
Reimu beamed. “I’m a funny girl! Mommy and Rumia say I’m a funny girl!” She crowed triumphantly, as though she were just appointed the title of supreme empress of all things existent and nonexistent. “I’m a funny girl!”
Reimu continued to brag and celebrate until her breath gave out. Once her energetic spirit returned to a state of calm, the infant looked up at her mother curiously and asked, “Mommy, where’s the cake?”
”I don’t know, my little angel. It depends on how fast your mother’s dear friend can bake it.”
”That would be me.”
The shrill cry of a gap opening rang out across the calmly lit Hakurei Shrine as Yukari emerged. Beside her was an oriental man who identified as Reimu’s father, and trailing behind him was a wagon with a truly spectacular cake. One of proportions that truly would have made the mountain god Suwako jealous.
”Yukari!” Reimu practically fell off her stool as she tumbled down to give the friendly youkai a monsterous glomp of a hug.
”Ah, there’s the little ankle biter. Reimu was her name isn’t it?”
”That’s me!” Reimu beamed up at Yukari, bearing all her proportionately bite-sized teeth.
”Ah, such a tender young soul, you are. A young, naive, healthy-“
Reimu’s mother gave the boundary youkai a threatening, almost demonic expression. “You know the agreement. If I see anything funny going on, you ought to say your prayers. I won’t hold back if I see you lay a finger on her.”
Yukari gave the Hakurei Shrine maiden a scheming, cunning smile. “... Of course I know. I won’t lay a finger on Reimu so long as you live, and I get to venture up here without the threat of extermination. We made that very, very clear a long time ago.”
The Hakurei Shrine maiden’s eyes narrowed as she slowly relaxed herself. “... I’m trusting you won’t do anything suspicious Yakumo. Especially not on her birthday.”
”Ah, it has to be me specifically, isn’t it?” Yukari shook off Reimu, who promptly dashed up to play with Rumia. “It’s poor old me who has to have her eye kept on, while the flesh-eating youkai there is allowed as much contact as she pleases. Yes, I see how it is.”
“Rumia didn’t try to start a war between the Moon and Earth the last time she came in unchecked. I can trust Rumia won’t do anything suspicious. I can trust Rumia to know how far is too far. I can trust Rumia to not overstep he boundaries.”
“... Fair point. That is my specialty, after all.”
”Mommy! Daddy! Yukari! Watch this!”
Reimu poked at Rumia’s face repeatedly. The carnivorous youkai playfully gnashed her teeth at the child’s finger, snickering. “I told you to quit it!”
”Rumia wants to eat me!” Reimu laughed as she continued to play with her friend. Her parents also joined in on the laughter. “Watch out,” Reimu’s father called out playfully. “I heard that Rumia eats people! Don’t let her get your fingers!”
Reimu laughed and giggled. “I’m not scared, daddy! Mommy will help me if Rumia acts mean to me!”
Reimu, her parents, and Rumia all enjoyed the humorous moment together, laughing and chuckling as a family. But, of course, the boundary youkai failed to find the humor in this. Her eyes narrowed as her smiled turned itself upside down into a cold, calculating frown. “... Yes,” she murmured to herself. “Mommy will help you....”
“Enough stalling,” Reimu’s mother choked out between laughs. “It’s time to enjoy some cake, sweetie! For your third birthday! You’re turning three, dear!”
”I’m three! I’m a big girl!” Reimu assumed a victorious pose, putting her fists over her hips. “I’m a big girl,” she repeated as she relished this precious moment of happiness.
And then, the unthinkable happened. The pure fondness of this particular memory bathed Reimu in a long-forgotten emotion, like the rays of the sun after a long, dark storm. It was but a moment of happiness, and Reimu knew it was not to last, for she remembered the following events as clearly as she knew the repeating cycles of day and night.
Still, it was a cherishable memory none the less. A happy one. One that ignited a tiny flicker of pleasure; something the shrine maiden thought she lost long, long ago.
Unthinkably, and impossibly, a slight smile began to curve on Reimu’s unconscious face.
”There, there. Rest easy, Hakurei Shrine maiden. Everybody needs some happiness in their life.”
Alarmingly and without warning, the furry pelt of the white wolf vessel for the sun goddess snaked its way past Emmo’s Leg as the kind, generous goddess of the sun implanted a memory buried deep within years of abuse and torment, in hopes that the good in the shrine maiden could be reawakened, perfectly synced to the operations of Emmo Brock.
"Hehehe! I'm sure she won't miss this," Emmo giggled to herself, blissfully unaware of any happenings as she secured the egg cell she had taken from Yukari in a minuscule container which she stuffed into her pocket.
The good doctor had acquired a blood sample, spit, a tiny bit of hair, and an egg cell. Did she dare poke around in Yakumo's brain?.... Hmm.. That might be too risky. She still had Reimu to operate on an de-insaneify. "Eh, the egg should be enough anyway," she muttered to herself with a shrug before getting to work.
”Oh master neurosurgeon, you ought not to take what isn’t yours.” From the shadows beneath the operation table, the white-wolf incarnation of the sun goddess slowly inched out, her intense white eyes glowing like the largest star in the sky. ”Especially not at a time like this, when the stakes are ever high.”
Emmo let out a yelp, nearly dropping her scalpel onto Reimu's face before catching it mid-fall and backing away. "W-Wha- Who- Who are you? How did you get in here?" She nearly tripped over Terrigan, causing his unconscious body to turn onto its side.
The sound of pained gasping breaths, filled the air for a moment, it appeared that the claspers resting on his back were preventing proper air flow. Thankfully, he was now on his side and capable of breathing once more.
"I apologize for my disturbance," the sun goddess continued, "But I ask that you do continue with the operation as fast as you can, and to not mess with the demoness' tissues, for the sake of all of us."
"... They're my samples, I will do with them as I please," Emmo harrumphed, "Now I do have an operation to continue with. This girl's brain is gonna need a little overhaul... Wait- Who are you?"
"I am the light that banishes evil. Amongst the most revered of the Eastern gods. I am the rising sun, Amaterasu. And, for your own life's sake, I would strongly recommend disposing of the Youkai's parts as soon as possible, for all youkai can serve as the conduits for my primary adversary: the God of Youkai; Yami." the sun goddess acknowledged that Emmo probably had no clue what she just said, but to speak in layman's terms would have been less then professional.
"Assume I don't know what youkai are are who Yami is," Emmo requested, giving the wolf a glance before turning her attention back to messing with Reimu's head. Considering how recently all the bone and flesh had grown, it was relatively easy to open things up. All Emmo needed was a hole big enough to peek through that she could close up later.
"The manifestations of your fears, brought to life in the moonlight, are the Youkai. They come in many different forms and sizes, from being parasitic and small to being towering giants. And ruling above them is the dark God of humans, or Yami. Ever since he was defeated and sealed away between the boundary of reality and unreality, his subjects, or the Youkai, have begun to conspire amongst one another as to resurrect this root of Evil. And should he return to full power, the disastrous consequences that would ensue would be too terrible to describe with any human language. The samples you have with you are fragments of one such Youkai who wishes to resurrect the Dark God, and her ability to manipulate any boundary could cause problems once they are let out of control. So please, for your own safety, I beg of you to destroy them as soon as possible."
"Listen, I know whatsherface has some power. She makes holes open up in the air with her mind," Emmo said while shining a light through the hole she made in Reimu's skull, "But that's why I took her blood, spit, a little hair, and an egg cell. Any step forward has its risks, especially in the field of science. Things go wrong, you get an atomic bomb that decimates cities, but... If things go right, you can power cities instead. If you ask me, the risk is worth it. If you ask anyone in the future... Well, they might not want to look bad by saying cities getting blown up is a good thing, but it's what led to everything else. What if, by taking that sample, I ended up helping you with whatever it is you're doing to make sure this Yami guy doesn't come back? Hm?" She took a sip of her coke before sliding her scalpel and a little metal tube into Reimu's head. It was in these moments that she was at home, completely relaxed. After all, just one little twitch, a split second of one's arm getting tired, blinking a piece of dirt out of the eye... The littlest thing could be the difference between success and a patient's death.
"Very well. I should hope you know exactly what you're doing, and that the youkai fragments you have are in good hands. But I will warn you, a Youkai, like the one who sleeps in the corner, behave very differently from a standard human or animal, and in many more ways than you expect. I trust that you know what you are dealing with, and that you have the situation under control." The white wolf pawed at the linoleum vinyl tiles of the floor as she began to dematerialize into light, not unlike the way photons scatter from a reflective surface. "And please, be delicate with your work. For this girl's condition after this operation may determine whether or not I return to a more suitable condition to keep Yami suppressed, should he rise again."
"I have never botched an operation," Emmo muttered, nearly still as a statue save for her eyes, mouth, and hands. Though, even her hands moved methodically and slowly.
And as Emmo cut, spliced, stitched, and sowed, Yukari's saw-like teeth gnashed together in her slumber as she made mental notes of every single detail she heard, ever so slightly and subtly doing what she could to make sure the operation went as slow and tedious as possible. That one fly that wouldn't leave. The eye floaters drifting around Emmo's eyes to blurry her vision. Anything to potentially ruin the operation, Yukari did so.
The fly could have landed on Emmo's eye and it would find that area to be the most stable location on planet Earth. Nobody would ever doubt her skill, her degree. She had a perfect track record. If she needed to blink, she blinked her eyes separately and slowly. If she needed to itch her nose, her nose would just have to deal with it. "Threat.. Perception.." Emmo mumbled, enjoying the sound of her own voice now and then during her operations.
"She really is a prodigy," Yukari thought to herself as Emmo made cuts, pits, and implants as she saw fit. "Good to know, good to know…." lazily, the youkai's right eyelid slitted itself open, barely hovering over the boundary of open and shut. "… But surely, it's got to take a lot more than that to remove the dark seed I planted into Reimu's head… right?"
"Excessive hostility..." Emmo murmured quietly, slowly bringing her needle out of the hole in Reimu's head before giving the inside of her head a once over with her eyes and flashlight.
In her subconsciousness, Reimu stirred in her sleep. Either she was an avid dreamer, or Emmo's sedatives were losing effectiveness, or both, or perhaps something else entirely. Either way, the squirming Reimu presented the threat of damaging her own brain by moving into a surgical tool.
Thankfully, not even regular Earth doctors just leave their tools on the operating table (At least, not the good ones). All Emmo needed to do at this point was close the hole she had made in the shrine maiden's head.
"Ethics.. Pssh.. As if that's a real reason for denying a PhD..." Emmo mumbled.
"… Are you done yet? I'm getting bored." Yukari feigned a yawn as she rolled into her feet.
"Huh, what?" Emmo blinked, her head snapping back to look at Yukari, "Oh, yeah, I finished a bit ago. I'm just waiting for her to wake up is all. I tell ya, her brain was a mess."
"Was it, now?" Yukari approached the operation table and it's subject.
"Oh yeah," Emmo nodded, "I mean, don't get me wrong, I've seen way, way worse, but... Honestly, I'm surprised she didn't just kill everyone she saw on the spot. Her brain was set up pretty... Mmm... Hm, I'll just say not-good. I don't think it was any birth defect or drug though, just the way it developed in response to events."
The boundary Youkai frowned. "Then I suppose that my attempts to create the prefect killing machine failed, and that childhood memories are truly harder to override than I first believed. Quite the learning experience indeed…."
"Ah, I see! So you're the reason everything was so messed up in there," Emmo mused, "Yeah, that's the problem with trying to 'program' someone externally. Lots of variables and stuff. Neurosurgery though? Pssh, you can do whatever if you know what does what in the brain. And I know a lot about the human brain."
"I'm sure you do," Yukari agreed. "I'm sure you do. As much as I'd love to stay, I'm afraid I'm a busy woman, and I'm currently running behind schedule."
A gap awakened around the boundary Youkai's feet, beginning to engulf the Youkai. "It has been a pleasurable learning experience. Perhaps a little bonus reward is in order for your efforts, Doctor Emmo Brock. I bid you farewell."
And in the blink of an eye, the boundary youkai was gone, and all her tamperings were undone. Immediately, Takumi's spirit exploded into a cacophony of disbelief. "How could you be so calm around that thing?! She ate me! What's wrong with you?!"
"Wh- What do you mean what's wrong with me? I didn't know she ate you!" Emmo huffed, "You should've said something."
"I did! Didn't you hear me screaming for the last hour or so?!"
"... No! No I did not! You were completely silent!" Emmo shook her head and shrugged, "Oh, wait.. Is that why you're a ghost?"
"Oh, I don't know, yes! I'm surprised she let you off the hook that easily. Usually kills her puppets when she's done with 'em."
"…And the fact that we're all not dead is probably a bad sign. Well, except you, but you're already dead, so you don't count."
The ranged rifle/bow hybrid had its flames reignited after a long period silence, the flames glowing with a strange color like that of of pineapple flesh and tropical flowers. "Meaning, there's something we haven't done yet, or she's sending in a minion right now."
"A minion?" Emmo repeated.
"Could be anything. An army of ogres, living fire, an array of undead minions, various living inanimate objects, and I've heard there's now this giant centipede thing that they have crawling around some where. I heard it eats dragons. You know, the usual stuff."
"That's.." Emmo trailed off for a moment, her eyebrows furrowing in concern as she mulled over this. She gazed over to Reimu before quickly bringing herself to the shrine maiden and administering Emmo's pattented wake up therapy...
Screaming in her face, "HEY! WAKE UP!"
Reimu bolted upright, her eyes wide and alert. "Oh, F@CK, Rumia! I told you not… to…."
Reimu adjusted to the world of reality, blinking away the memories that were her dream.
"Eh- Sorry about the rude awakening, but there may or may not be trouble inbound and I wanted enough time to list off what I did!" Emmo informed, grabbing a clipboard and holding it in both hands enthusiastically, "Ahem. I altered how you percieve threats, before you had a similar brain structure to racists as well, so I did my best to fix that. Memories and all that will influence you for awhile, but over time it'll resolve itself. But yeah! You won't percieve literally everything as a threat anymore! Lowered some of that aggressiveness too, and I made you more... Inclined to be a... 'Good person'. Trying to hit ghost-boy earlier... That's a mix of all three issues that I've resolved. There were a few other minor things that didn't look right to me, kinda dealt with those, but the big three was my main focus. Any questions?"
Reimu blinked for a duration of several seconds, before she opened her mouth to say, "… All youkai are… filth?" She sounded more confused rather than anything else, as if she wasn't entirely sure of the meaning behind what she was saying.
"Nnnnope," Emmo stated.
Something boiled inside Reimu after hearing this statement of disagreement. She wanted to pull Emmo's tongue out of her mouth and shove it down her wind pipe, but… something wasn't quite right. It was if she lacked the motivation to raise a fist against this mad doctor. The drive to go through with the motion of throttling the surgeon. The mindset was still there, but it was as though the necessary "cables" to send the message into her arms were gone; as though she lacked the hardware to act upon this violent thought.
"… I'm feeling so lost right now," Reimu mumbled.
"Don't worry about it," Emmo waved a hand, "You're just getting adjusted to everything. You're still you, just... Better. It'll take some time to get used to the body and the SPORE and the brain alterations and the whatnot. Another successful operation!" The surgeon declared with pride, "Can I get an applause?"
"… No?" Reimu seemed to gaze off into the emptiness as her focused on the background environment rather than anything in particular.
"... Can I at least get a 'thank you'? You know, for rebuilding your entire body better than it was before and then making you a likeable person?" Emmo requested.
Reimu zoned out as she tried to comprehend the turmoil that was occurring in her mind. On one hand, she wanted to be the aggressive Youkai-murdering killer Yukari raised her to be. On these other hand, Emmo's new Reimu wished nothing more than complacency. The two sides of her mind clashed with each other, neutralizing one another. As a result, Reimu said nothing as she began to try and comprehend her new situation.
"… No?" Reimu responded at last with the exact same answer to Emmo's previous question.
"... Okay, yeah, she's gonna be a bit... Like this for a little while," Emmo groaned, shaking her head before chugging down the last bit of her coke.
"… At least she's not trying to tear our throats open," Takumi's ghost reasoned. "That's gotta be an improvement."
"Actually... Ghost-boy, c'mere," Emmo ordered, gesturing her head to the side, "Just sit and have a conversation with her. She really hated you earlier so you're good for the job. We just need more stuff in her head for the modified brain to deal with."
The apparition materialized to the left of Reimu. "… um… Hi. I'm a ghost now, so… you going to kill me or not?"
Reimu lethargically lolled her head in his general direction, saying no words upon being confronted with a yūrei. "mmm…" Reimu mumbled unintelligible gibberish as half of her wanted to destroy the ghost, whereas the other half wanted to hold back.
"Psst.. Ghost-boy, you're really bad at this," Emmo whispered loudly, "Have you never seen the movies? You gotta start talking about stuff like.. Uh.. I mean, you know her right? Just talk about stuff you both know or something, come on." The surgeon waved both of her hands to indicate Takumi needs to get talking. Meanwhile, she poured herself a cup of coffee after scribbling a few notes onto her clipboard.
”I mean, there’s nothing between us. As in, between us between us. And she’s not really my type, so.....” Takumi’s ghost shrugged.
"Wh- I wasn't implying that," Emmo groaned as she pinched her brow before taking a sip of her coffee after having put her clipboard down.
Terry's form shivered intensely as his arms clenched and unclenched, blood pooling on the ground from his slightly more damaged hands,his claws rotated every couple of seconds on his mechanical joints,a mournful whistle emanated from the engine,before rumbling ominously.
Terrigan the Mad woke, tears running from his cracked goggles blood coating the side of his face to the floor,"Whar, ish she?"He whispered.
Terry's clasper swung forward and gripped the table so hard it cracked, as he heaved himself up, he was shaking, like a dog soaked to the bone in frigid rain.
As he rattled in a off putting manner her looked at Emmo, "Whar, ish 'she?"He hissed, his teeth clacking together.
"Oh, you must mean.. She left," Emmo answered before taking another sip of her coffee, "Now shh, Reimu's recovering."
For a brief moment, it could be reasoned that Emmo didn't notice the metallic clasper around her neck, tightening like a twisted noose on a prisoner's death-throding body.
"Shhhhhh?" Terry asked putting a bloody finger out and booping the doctor on the nose.
"Ya shuld 'a killed mah, when ya 'ad me under" Terry replied.
Emmo's hands were uselessly clutched at the claw around her neck as she stared at the conductor in fear. She tried her hardest to breathe, but could only croak. "Remmu.. Help.. Ghost.. Help.." She managed to sputter out in a sort of squeak. All she could do in that moment was beg for someone to help her; the surgeon's aura of superiority and power had vanished.
"I could crush yer skull, watchs as yer eyeballs dropped out, a yer skull,Hmmm?"
To make Emmo’s condition worse, the Fujin Furutsuubo’s flames turned into a blazing magenta color as they brightened. “... Well, d@mn,” the possessed weapon chattered. “I suppose it makes me an @$$ of me, but... hell, the fear’s makin’ me just bubble with power and life. So.... keep doin’ whatever you’re doin’, cause it’s apparently good for us youkai.”
Now fully standing Terry reached with his other claw, and with a painful ripping sound tore off his goggles, exposing, two bright white eyes, but no...it appeared as broken shards of cornea and iris formed quickly into a shattered broken view, almost like a mockery of an eye put together of shattered glass.
Terry looked with his ruined eyes down at Emmo, he was silent as he gazed into her.
"...There ain't nothing in there worth taking"The hissed before relasing the claw, and pressing the goggles back to his face, covering his horrid eyes.
"No good,no evil, nuthin''Terrigan the Mad spat turning and limp walking towards his train.
Emmo fell to the ground and quickly brought a hand to her neck as she coughed and wheezed. She quickly wiped away a few tears with her shoulder as she regained the capacity to breathe. That was a terrifying moment for her. What had she done to deserve that? She just got finished rewriting a likely-genocidal maniac into a good person, and this is the treatment she gets in return?
"Th-Thanks for helping," She coughed, "A**holes..."
“Wha- hey! All I can do now is manipulate wind! What good can that do without tearing this whole building apart?” Indeed, Takumi’s spirit seemed to have trouble with even grasping physical objects, and there did seem to be strain when he helped Reimu off of Terry’s vehicle.
”And I’m a pure-borne youkai,” the Fujin Furuutsubo added. “And us pure youkai feed off fear! What do you expect from me, starve because I’m too silly to scare anybody?”
"Oh yeah, I'm sure you loved that," Emmo hissed as she pulled herself up off the ground, "And cut the crap, ghost boy. You sat there, didn't say sh*t. Who cares if the doctor who saved your girlfriend dies? You already got what you wanted! I shouldn't be surprised though.. You're the kind of guy who greenlit me rewiring her brain."
“... Fair point,” Takumi muttered, dissipating his head as to hide his guilt.
“Oh goodie, an entitled brat!” The Fujin Furuutsubo clearly wasn’t done as he spouted fire at Emmo, figuratively speaking. “You must have been so scared that you were at the brink of death, even though you humans and human-borne get a second... third... fourth, hell, countless shots at life, and can afford to see the decades pass! Clearly, you have more right to complain than us Tsukumogami, who mostly exist as harmless comic-reliefs when compared to our more bigger, badder god-like counterparts! More right than us when we have to scare to live another few years! More right than us, who live off a time-bomb that goes off after only a couple years! More right than us, who have nothing but oblivion ahead!” The weapon’s flames dissipated as it clattered to the ground, but not before a faint whisper of “... jerk,” sounded through the air.
The surgeon glared at the weapon on the floor for a moment before spitting out, "Where I'm from, there is no afterlife. It's concept made up by the ignorant who can't accept that their lives are going to end and they will cease to exist. And I am not entitled! I have worked for everything that I have! I've contributed to society in a few years more than what most will in their entire lives! You're a parasite that feeds off of fear! You are the last to have the right to call others entitled!" Emmo was absolutely fuming.
For a lasting moment, silence rang throughout the hospital, lasting like the nuclear radiation after a fission-explosion. Finally, the currently-headless ghost held out his palm to his discarded weapon, from which a gentle blue flame flickered. Once a small fireball was formed in his hand, the ghost crushed his translucent hand into a fist, causing the fire to burst. “You’re getting a time-out,” he muttered. “You’ve said quite enough today.”
Then the phantom turned its body to face Emmo, with his ghastly head forming at his side, drooping from his hand from the hair. “I’m probably the last person to say this,” the ghost began, “considering that I’ve probably had the least tragic backstory between all of us (probably), but... now’s not the time to dwell on that. The past is the past, and it’s time to move on. After all, we live in the ‘now,’ not the ‘then.’ You could have been a beggar, an orphan, or hell, the last surviving human being from where you come from, but... it’s not really going to change anything right now; this ‘darkness’ is coming, and it doesn’t seem to discriminate. As far as we’re concerned, you’re a doctor who agreed to help us, and almost got killed for it. And for that, I should have done something. I’m sorry. You,” he turned to face Terry. “... are a conductor who was willing to help a lingering soul. I am a ghost who can’t to jack on his own. What I’m trying to say is, who we were shouldn’t be what keeps us apart, but rather, who we are should be the thing to keep us together.”
Extending a ghastly hand, a sizable pile of cash bags cascaded forth, clinking against each other. “Extra for the services,” the ghost stated offhandedly. “You deserve it.”
Emmo, with a pouty look on her face, stared at the pile of moneybags. She had to admit, that looked like a lot of money. "Hmph... Thank you," She replied, bending over to lift one of the bags. Her eyes widened a little in surprise at the weight of the money inside, and she figured she would wait a bit to claim her currency, "Well... If something bad is on its way, we should leave. I want to field test Reimu anyway," Emmo stated.
Takumi flipped his head onto his ethereal neck, spinning it almost as if it were a screw. “Terry, is your locomotive ready for lift off?”
Terry looked out of his train car, before making a c'mon gesture with his right arm.
Takumi’s soul turned to Reimu. “You can walk, right?”
Still with the consciousnesses planted into her brain by both Yukari and Emma conflicting, Reimu said nothing as she pushed herself up to her feet and lumbered to the train as though she were a zombie, not a word escaping her mouth.
"You can see why we need to field test her," Emmo remarked, "I might've been able to do a bit more, but precise memory altering requires equipment way beyond whatever this planet has. I say we just throw her into a few situations- Calm ones! Like, uh... Picking out clothes, getting something to eat, casual stuff. Have her go through the motions a bit, and then we can ramp her up to some fight or flight scenarios." Doling out doctor's orders managed to bring back the surgeon's smile, though it wavered when she glanced at Terry's train.
Terry's smile was ever present, but he didn't seem to acknowledge Emmo as she looked at him.
“Why not,” Takumi agreed as Reimu stumbled into the train, flopping onto the floor with a metallic clang. “It would be nice to get away from something dark and depressing for once, and even action-packed monster fights get boring. I’m in for settling down for a bit. Are you coming along or not, though? You said you wanted to ‘test’ her, and I don’t think you’re going to do that far away... right?”
"Of course!" Emmo answered, picking up her clipboard and a pen, "I gotta record everything. Plus, if she trips and falls down some stairs or something, I doubt you'll find a better doctor to fix her up again."
“... I suppose not,” Takumi agreed, beginning to melt back into fog, the phantom-like mist that he comprised of dissipating back into the shadows.
Emmo kept a careful eye on Terrigan as she boarded the train, helping Reimu up off the floor and towards a seat.
“... So you return, mistress. For an entire neurosurgery, that was a very quick.”
Already, the boundary youkai was laying cross-legged in a large recliner, tuned to face a large eye-like portal leading to the Terry’s train, which the youkai managed to see zoom off into the distance. “They really weren’t kidding when they called her a marvel,” the youkai admitted, half-asleep. “It’s going to take me more than I expected to reawaken that violent warrior underneath.”
”What exactly did she do,” Ran inquired, taking a step closer to her superior. “I can organize an attack squadron to intercept the vehicle, kill everyone, and then have the remaining Komeiji mani-“
”Clearly, you know nothing of psychology, for if you did, you would know that there is no need for any of that, Ran.” Yukari continued to gaze at the passengers and conductor of the locomotive speeding off into the distance. “Even though she has seen a medical genius, psychology can easily undo any change that doctor does, especially with my powers involved. We have the actors, Ran. It shouldn’t be hard for me to get them. We have the script. Now all we need to do is set the stage, which will be decided by them.”
Yukari summoned her folding fan to fall from a gap, before pointing the folded, paper apparatus at the zombie-like Reimu. “... And even if our surprise goes a little too far, it shouldn’t matter. Sadness becomes reminiscence, and reminiscence soon becomes rage. As I said, all we need to do....”
The boundary youkai gave a blood-thirsty look at the train, Terry, Emmo, and Reimu, pure and unfiltered malice in her eyes. “... is to wait for them to set their own stage.”
Bombeegee strolled and darted through the alleyways, his little crew of Bomb-ombs following him closely, at this point he had retrived his newer outfit was well as gotten his shipment of weapons, however he had seemed to take a liking to the Pick-ax he had found, as it hung loosely from his bomb-suit's straps, beisde it hung a bunch of tiny SMM Bomb-ombs, hanging from their keys, making occasional clicking sounds.
P.C Plumpkins was pleased to finally be in the familiar back-alleys of New York, the epicentre of proud America and its housemaid corruption. He marched covertly in pursuit of his personal lieutenant Sergeant Technicolor, otherwise known as the Pointman. It had been quite a while since he and his various deranged colleagues had poisoned the small metal creature's brain with vitriol and housemaid conspiracies. Plumpkins was hoping that Pointman hadn't lived down his horrendously sexist convictions.
In any case, Plumpkins was rather disconcerted by the fact his beloved, blood-spattered, pick-axe shaped instrument of justice (torture) had went missing. He had always been used to having it on his person so that he could draw it whenever a housemaid drew near. Now, though, it was no-where to be found.
However, Plumpkins was determined that it would be returned to him. He paused momentarily and scanned his surroundings, a... ticking, clicking noise greeting his ears. He stood guard, anticipating the inevitable housemaid ambush that would occur.
The Weegee general turned into an alley and stopped, seeing the shabby form of P.C Plumpkins, a head or two taller than him standing amidst the strewn garbage and graffiti, his toon bomb-omb brethren clustered around the Weegee's stopped form,their circular red eyes glancing at the policeman.
Bombeegee cocked his head, before turning and starting to leave, not too interested in what he thought was homeless man.
The P.C's twisted mind twigged on at the sight of Bombeegee peeking out. He blew his pipe, expelling a miasma of smoke into the air, and swiftly began parading after the conglomeration of bomb-ombs and the bomb-headed character.
Bombeegee was alerted to being tailed by the sounds of protest as Plumpkins roughly shoved people aside to pursue him, Bombeegee stopped, and curled his gloves into fists, his crew, stopped similarly, looking back,with their ridiculous oversized helmets clacking against their metal hide.
Bombeegee lifted a leg and then turned 180 degrees around, to face the officer, stomping down with the lifted foot.
Plumpkins, who was now close, took a step back in response to his bomb-headed antagonist stomping down. He peered under his cap straight into Bombeegee's bulbous eyes, his own a pinkish-red, veiny texture. His pupils seemed to shrink ominously in such a way that looked as-if he was rather unhinged (which he very much is depending on how you look at him).
"I've seen that look in hundreds of little housemaid nurses before." he muttered. "It's the look of a wretched foreigner who knows something that you don't. Do you and your little bomb-housemaids have something that belongs to ME?"
However, while this confrontation took place, a small piece of three-dimensional clip-art reading "99% is S***" with four gloved limbs began manhandling his way through the audience of citizens. "Yeah, that's it. Get out of the way, we've got an important job to do here." he said with strained friendliness, pushing people aside, a film crew in hot pursuit of him.
"I need to get my billion dollar bank account off of the floor. Where's some action?" Reagan Price rambled to himself. "I can surely scrape some good footage out of this abject s***hol- I mean, delightful American city, it'd surely put a ramp on my earnings." As it happened, Price wasn't wrong: his nonexistent eyes set upon the suspenseful scene of a peculiarly dressed policeman glaring into a shorter, bomb-suited, bomb-headed person's eyes.
"Right, crew, it's time to make me some real dosh." Price boasted, gesturing at his film crew. "Get rolling. If you get this job right, I'll pay you extra." His film crew, a pack of sweating, red, summer-dressed men and women of various ages began to arm themselves with cameras to record the action. Looking at them, you'd presume that they'd been awake sleeplessly for an entire week.
Price himself retrieved a boom mic strapped to a humongous rod and attempted to lower its end over Plumpkins and Bombeegee, stumbling and staggering about for how small he was.
"RIIIIGHT!" Price screeched. "REAGAN PRICE THE MOVIE THREE! FOUR!? I CAN'T REMEMBER WHAT SEQUEL WE'RE ON!" He continued to jitter under the weight of his boom mic. He twirled to face his crew. "You'd better have this rolling, you stupi- wonderful bunch of workers."
Bombeegee came from a land of nonsense so he was sort of used to this, however nonetheless one of his eyes formed into a semicircle as if to say "Who with the what now?", before jumping up and batting the mic away with his left hand.
"Oh, f***ING-" Reagan Price yelled, the push from Bombeegee knocking him onto his back. "WHO F***ING- " The debacle caught P.C Plumpkins' attention, who turned his head and raised an eyebrow at Reagan toppling over.
"Aha! I see how it is!" Plumpkins shouted, towering over Bombeegee. "You intend to prevent the PRESS from revealing your acts of thievery against P.C Plumpkins! Well, get it into your little housemaid explodable head that I'm not going to stand for such a blasphemy against America and its one true saviour." He thrust his open hands for Bombeegee's neck, though despite him violently making an effort to strangle him, he couldn't really find any neck to speak of.
Bombeegee's eyes turned downward into to angry half-circles as he formed his left hand into a "Peace" sign and jammed the two fingers right into the cop's eyes.
"AAAARGH!" Plumpkins screeched, covering his face. "HE'S TRYING TO BLIND ME WITH HIS HIPPINESS!" He reeled for a bit, growling and thrashing all over the place.
Reagan stumbled back up onto his feet, scooping up his ridiculously oversized boom mic before proceeding to teeter everywhere with it again. "FANTASTIC!" he yelled, facing his film crew and pointing at the scene. "ARE YOU ALL GETTING THIS? YOU'D BETTER BE RECORDING OR I'LL F-" Reagan lost balance and started staggering backwards before crumbling over onto his back under his microphone's weight.
When the P.C had recovered, he fiercely swung his fist in an overhead arc for Bombeegee's face.
"CLANG!"While made of metal, it isn't to say that the strike didn't hurt as Bombeegee reeled backwards his pupils rattling like marbles in his eyesockets.
His Bomb-omb crew caught him and pushed him back to his feet,being a tad bit shorter that Plumpkins Bombeegee tucked his arms in and jumped upwards and forwards smashing his head directly into Plumpkin's protruding chin.
Plumpkins' knuckles went red slightly from the impact of his blow. He shook his hand about in the air. "God... well, at-least I managed to hurt him-" Having not been able to forecast Bombeegee's counterattack, his bomb-headed adversary headbutted him in his glorious American jawline, eliciting a snapping noise.
"Good christ, you little..." Plumpkins muttered in a slurred tone, gripping his chin in anguish. "Well, you won't take me down. I have a REP-U-TATION for being the hardest officer on this continent! That is, I mean, in the context of fighting lawbreakers like YOU!" Plumpkins made a side-glance, facing away to hide his horrified, cringing expression. "That sounded a lot better in my head." he thought.
Plumpkins wouldn't let the awkward moment deter him, though, as as soon as he came back to facing Bombeegee, he snatched one of his fellow Bomb-omb's off of the ground by its rope. He twisted the knob on its back like a grenade before hurling it at his opponents.
Wheh-wheh(The Bomb-omb) Was reasonably distraught about the event, and immediately and violently exploded , cracking the concrete and hurling Bombeegee back, cuts on his arms from resulting shrapnel leaked what appeared to be gunpowder.
The Weegee leapt to his feet ,smoke pouring from his own fuse slightly before ceasing, he stared his hatred at the officer, and his eyes settled on the pipe he was currently smoking out of, the air grew hot and warped around it before it exploded, setting P.C.'s mustache, on fire as well as doing damage to his face.
Plumpkins catapulted to the floor, yelling from the unforeseen explosion. His face became splattered in blood, bruises and ash, his moustache adopting a black colour scheme from all the gunpowdery detritus and burning it had endured. Plumpkins weakly raised his head, smelling a very strong fire, before realizing that his pure American facial hair™ had been lit on fire.
"Oh maggots. Oh dear." he blurted, frantically glancing at his moustache before incessantly patting it in an effort to remove the flame. Reagan Price's film crew had been recording every swing, blow and explosion that had occurred, at the moment one of their cameras was zoomed in on Plumpkins' face to capture the facial hair incident, another was capturing a broader scene with Plumpkins, Bombeegee and the crew of Bomb-ombs, and another was fixtated on Bombeegee himself.
Reagan Price, who had been trapped underneath his colossal boom mic, had been (attempting) to take everything in as-well. "Amazing! This'll earn me- erm, us a cruise-liner's worth of money. Just keep rolling or I'll sack you all."
Bombeegee saw his chance Plumpkin's prone form slumped on the ground, he ran and jumped aiming his feet to slam directly down on the cop's back.
Plumpkins nervously glanced over to witness Bombeegee pouncing for him in his vulnerable state. His eyes widened at the sight, and in his panic he lifted one of his legs up backwards in the direction of Bombeegee's crotch. However, Bombeegee's attack did connect, leaving Plumpkins howling.
Bombeegee fell off, his hands cupped around his bombs as he rolled on the ground in agony.
Reagan's crew were able to capture a shot following Bombeegee jumping in an arc on Plumpkins back, along with Plumpkins himself emergency-kicking his opponent in the you-know-where. "YYYEEEEEEEESSSSSSSSS!" Reagan screeched at the action, pouncing around like a clip-art leprechaun. "CUT! TAKE THE TAPES! EDIT THEM TOGETHER! SUE THE ACTORS IF THEY DON'T LIKE IT!"
For whatever reason, Reagan Price's boom mic was stood up vertically. It began teetering before slowly tilting over and descending on Reagan, pulverising him into the pavement below.
"Oh, god." Plumpkins murmured. "I can't feel my legs..."
Bombeegee did a few gestures that wr probably communicating he wished he din't have to feel his lower half right now, before snapping his fingers several times as the remaining Bomb-ombs dragged him and lifted him up so he was postioned at Plumpkin's head, slowly, hands shaking with rage he took out the officer's weapon and raised it up as high as he could, clearly meaning to do what the weapon was made for(Or rather what Plumpkins had made it for)
"I see. Giving it back now, are we? I've taken your ability to reproduce and my stolen property, and all you've taken is my ability to walk properly! Or my ability to walk at-all. In any case, I'd say that in this situation I have TRIUMPHED against the housemaids! Well, the housemaid-" Plumpkins started spewing up blood onto the pavement, his eyes starting to roll.
The speech did indeed have an effect on Bombeegee, instead of bludegoning the cop with the point side, he gripped the pick by the blade and began beating him with the wooden end like a baton.
Plumpkins throbbed with each blow from his own weapon, though he wasn't really vocal about it. "Yeers af polise brootaliti ahnd ewe ahr gonig tew ghet evhen, ehhhh?" he said in a quiet, slurred, beaten-senseless speech pattern. "Ahv shtill whon, ahv sthill..." Plumpkins went silent as a pool of blood began escaping his mouth.
Bombeegee kicked the cop with his shoe to make sure he was at the very least "out", before limping over and burying the blade of the pick in Plumpkin's left hand.
By this point Plumpkins was beyond responding to any more injuries, so he took the brutal assault on his hand silently. His situation was far from optimal, believe it or not- he had underwent severe punishment to his back, and for that matter suffered from a fractured ribcage of all injuries. His face was still blistered from his spontaneously combusting pipe and his left hand wasn't likely to be very useful anywhere in the near future.
Reagan Price stormed over with his enormous boom mic, having finally mastered handling it to a slight degree. "Trust you to save beating the s*** out of Plod for when we've stopped filming." he hissed, facing Bombeegee. "Anyway, start rolling! We need some one-liners out of you! ONE-LINERS, EVERYBODY!"
Reagan's film crew surrounded Bombeegee like a pack of emaciated vultures. Simply looking at their slender, bony faces you would fear for them attempting to devour you. They forced cameras up to the bomb-headed individual and his smaller accomplices.
Bombeegge very slowly,very deliberatle, took a small bomb-omb off of his chest spun it on his pointer finger then grabbed one of the cameramen, pried open their jaw and stuffed it in, ignoring the broken teeth and muffled yells of the person.
Bombeegee took at step back raised an elbow and charged into the man shoving im roughly out of the circle.
"Oh wow!" Reagan yelped with a palpable feeling of forced positivism and youthfulness. You could literally detect in his voice how aggravated Bombeegee's action had made him. "Do you know what? Actions can really speak louder than words! I like that! We've got a quality acto-"
Bombeegee's cameraman victim erupted in a gory firework, sending Reagan screeching and catapulting 50 feet into the air with him. Some entrails sprayed across the utterly devoid, emotionless husks of a film crew who could only gape and make strange, barely noticeable gargling noises. Reagan had clearly done something to them.
The film crew started to scatter, confused by how Reagan had suddenly disappeared. Plumpkins was still clean unconscious, a bloodied, massively injured heap on the pavement. Reagan soon came falling down to the surface. For some reason, his boom mic was stood up vertically again, which resulted in Reagan landing on it between his legs (it missed both of them, unfortunately for him).
It was now Reagan who was howling like a werewolf. One of the creepy, zombie-esque film crew members produced an illegitimate-looking 'phone', dialling for medical assistance.
Meanwhile Bombeegee walked off as the sound of sirens filled the air.
This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 01/22/2018 04:45:37
Squidward was walking to the supermarket. He walked down to the cereal isle and saw a frightening sight, Garfield was eating his favorite cereal, Kelp Flakes, with a smug look on his face. Squidward asked "Why are you doing this!? I just wanted to get some of my favorite cereal!" Garfield replied "Because its Monday." Squidward stood there for a second, and then nodded his head. He then proceeded to buy some of his second favorite cereal, Frosted Coral.
This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 01/22/2018 20:28:39
The Leper squatted in the darkened remains of an abandoned barn-house, a shaft of light trickling through the ceiling. He knelt, resting his sword against the metal of his breastplate. Things had went rather sideways for him since his last expedition: having been left unusually more stressed out than usual, he had decided to leave the Hamlet as soon as he had got back there to embark on a personal enlightenment quest. However, it seemed as though his location had been altered behind his back- after settling down to sleep after a few hours of his journey, he had woke up in an unfamiliar, dare he say pleasant place. A land populated by a variety of eccentric and interesting characters, all with strange new accents that were alien to him.
The Leper could only enjoy this so much, however, as he knew that he would have to quarantine himself for his illness, lest he spoil the beauty of the people with his own contagious disease. He'd discovered a series of fields where no man or even animal seemed to lurk anymore, a perfect place to isolate himself and regain his peace of mind. After some trudging along, he was able to reach an abandoned farm that could accommodate him while he meditated and figured out how he would get back to the Hamlet.
The Leper laid his sword down on the dirtied, grassy floor below, sitting down and lowering his mask. "Hiding in the summer. I truly am a hideous thing." He had left a trail of crumpled grass, occasionally wet with slithers of what could only be described a fleshy sludge. It wasn't a matter of time before he began to fall asleep, having been left tired from his adventuring exertions.
In the middle of a field, there was a bright flash of multicoloured light as the Prince and a 5cm katamari came from the source of said light. "Okay. You know what to do," The King of all Cosmos said. "Yadd, yadda, yadda. Just get this katamari to a meter in about 3 minutes, and we'll have our new star!"
The Prince had already started to roll away, looking for objects smaller than the katamari. After picking up a few pebbles and other miscellaneous items, he spotted a falling apart barn that would be a prime candidate for tiny pieces of rubble. As he rolled around the dim inside of the barn, picking up pebbles and shards of wood, he spotted a man in armour, who had fallen asleep. He couldn't exactly see his face in the dark, but it didn't really mater to him as he carried on adding to the size of his katamari.
The Leper started to regain his consciousness slightly at the intensifying sound of crumpling and... objects collecting together. He was hardly fast to respond, that being due to a mixture of having only recently woken up and his disease having its own bearing on his awareness and eyesight. He instinctively lifted himself off of the ground slightly, wrapping a hand around the handle of his sword. "Who lurks? Are you brigands?" he rasped. "Leave me undisturbed or I will cleave you as I would a beast."
The Prince carried on rolling, keeping his distance from the Leper, to hopefully not get hit by his sword.
The Leper's guard dropped somewhat substantially as the rolling noise subsided, moving away from him. "Ah, I had no doubt it would merely be locusts. The black beasts from home would have made a more violent entrance." He knelt down again, loosening his grip around his weapon. His eyes could hardly make out the floor and walls, though he could discern a vague, miniscule, nondescript shape moving around. That shape being none other than the katamari the Prince was rolling.
"That infernal insect..." the mistaken Leper hissed, sitting down. "The scent of my sickness must have attracted it."
The katamari was noticeably larger than before, picking up larger pieces of rubble and wood. The Prince still kept his distance from the Leper, the katamari still wasn't large enough to not be massively be affected by the Leper's attacks.
The Leper's eyes began widening at the sight of the 'insect' visitor increasing in size. "What kind of accursed...?" the Leper muttered, quickly moving to his feet and holding his sword overhead. He was usually quite calm and collected, but suddenly being besieged by a growing insect whilst completely alone in an abandoned building was rather disturbing to him. "What trickery from the abyss is this? Show yourself, you demon!"
The experience only became more surreal for him, as now that his eyes were alert he could make out bits and scraps of material disappearing.
As this was happening, the King was studying the Leper. He felt something in the Leper that he did not feel in other humans. Something... special about him. He noticed this in a few others in other Cosmos, and decided to confront him. Just outside the barn, there was a bright flash of multicoloured light, as the King materialized in front of the barn. Too big to step in, he knocked as lightly as he could on they tiny, falling apart barn doors.
The Leper turned to face the door at the sound of somebody knocking. "I feel as though a fly in an impending whirlwind of terrible possibilities." he pontificated. "I have my doubts what creeps beyond the door is a benevolent creature."
His sword slung over his shoulder in anticipation, the Leper sidled slowly towards the door, outstretching a hand for it. It was important for him to be careful handling anything, as the ligaments in his body and particularly his hands were quite fragile. With that in mind, he opened the door cautiously and gingerly.
His farm hideout lit with what leftover sunlight of the day there was, sun-rays searing his eyes. He cringed at this, unprepared, before realizing an enormous man stood before him. The oversized person had a very regal aura, equipped with motley, elegant clothing and a crown. The imagery was quite bewildering and almost reassuring for him, being a former king and active believer in religion.
"A phoenix burning in the dark of twilight." he commented. "Why have you graced me with your presence? Do you intend to put an end to my torment?"
"No, We're just here to check on our beloved Prince! We also wonder what you are doing in the middle of nowhere. And why is your barn broken? You should fix it." The KIng said.
The Leper steadily dropped his sword onto the ground. "I see..." he murmured. "You are a king. You rightfully deserve to see your heir, though I fear he may not reside here." He became stone-faced, coming back to his senses. "I do not live here, I have sought a place of solitude where I may quarantine myself for my illness."
"What illness do you have?" The KIng asked "You should go see a doctor."
"Mine illness is one that strips my bones of their flesh." the Leper replied. "I should know there is no cure for such a sorry state... being able to afford even the finest physicians upon this continent would not resolve it. My purpose is to vanquish evils before I finally deteriorate across the brink of death." He seized his sword and laid it on his chest. "I should see that I exile myself. A ruined man is unworthy of the attention of an empire's leader."
The Leper sidled past the King, beginning to shamble off.
"Wait! Why are you leaving? Why don't you come with Us? We could teach you how to roll katamaris! Surely that would cheer you up!" The King said.
The Leper glanced over his shoulder at the King. "I am through with idle pursuits. The only consolation I require is knowing that I have left the world more devoid of evils that it was when I first arrived at it." He rasped heavily, turning around again and continuing on his not-so-merry way.
"You see, that's one of the great wonders of the katamari! You can roll useless, or harmful things up, and then trun them into something beautiful! Like planets, or stars!" The King said. "If we can find a place full of evil people, We could roll them all up!"
The Leper carefully considered what he had heard, pausing. He turned, returning back to the King. "Provided you can demonstrate the capabilities of his... 'katamari' you mention, I see no reason why I should not join you on the path to decimate evil. I am able to undo horrors in modest quantities at a time, though destroying countless of them and contorting them into solar objects is another extent which I have not heard of."
The Leper peered up into the King's eyes through the slits of his mask. "If you cannot do what you promise, I see no reason to aid you. If you plan to follow the just pursuit that you suggest, I would accompany you to the ends of the earth."
There was a loud crash, as the Prince crashed the katamari against the barn walls, hoping to loosen up more rubble, and sure enough, rubble fell. Rubble, as in the whole barn crashing on top of the katamari.
The Leper twisted slowly to witness what must have been the katamari. "Of course, I took the katamari for an insect. Blessed be that I did not kill it whilst I had the opportunity."
As the katamari jostled in place, more and more of the barn stuck to it, until it had picked up all of the barn. The King picked up the Leper, and the Prince's katamari.
"Well, it doesn't look like there's anything else around here that you can really pick up. Let's just head back now." The king said. "ROOOOOOOYAL RAAAAAINBOW!" Out from the king's mouth came a encircling rainbow of light. As the light completely engulfed them, it soon faded away, as they found themselves back at the Cosmos.
"Now. Let's see what star this'll make." The King said as he threw the katamari into the air. The katamari brightened up for a second, and then morphed into a red star.
INTERIOR CROCODILE ALLIGATOR, I DRIVE A CHEVROLET MOVIE THEATER
by Jawlord and Infested
Mann Co. HQ
Out in front of the towering tower, marching in synchronized lines was Gray's creations, robotic Scouts, Heavies, Snipers, Pyros, Demomen, Spies, Soliders, Medics piled into massive blue transports, most likely to be carted off to face the combined efforts of Team Fortress, and to blow them to fleshy bits and scorched hats.
On the top floor in the tallest tower Gray Mann stared out the window down at his legion as robotic Engineers worked his various control arrays, exchanging tinny southern comments with each other occasionally, while operating vast control panels to follow Gray's specific deployment instructions, the slight sound of a generator rattling from each one of their slightly shaking forms.
A phone on Mann's desk rang fervently, awaiting Grey's hand to pick it up and do as he pleased.
A robotic Sniper walked up picked it up and handed it to Gray, who had not moved from his stoic postion overseeing his troops.
"Remind me to kill whatever idiot that gave out my number"Gary said with a note of distain at the sniper before picking it up and holding it to the side of his large head.
"You either want to die, or wish to do business, state one,now" Gray said bluntly, as if ordering.
"Business, if you don't mind!" a voice quipped without a care, "Name's Handsome Jack, I run Hyperion, you'll see our headquarters if you're anywhere on Earth if you look up. Got your number from Mister Moneybags, told me you do robots. So, what's up with that?"
"I design,construct,and maintain a large armory of robotic automatons, based on the design and personality matrix of nine of the most unpredictably and dangerous mercenaries on the planet,a few variations here and there to allow for multiple combat situations, as well as tanks, and a few walking beings designed to explode and incinerate large quantities of machinery,possible threats, and enemy cover". Gray stated in a rather bored tone as he lifted up his other hand to inspect his nail-beds.
"Ah, that's pretty cool. I make a bunch of robots, too," Jack boasted, "They're all the best at what they do. I almost conquered a planet with them, but the Clash-thingy... yeah... What's the most advanced weapons you got on these things?"
"Specialized weaponry, depending on model and purpose, varying from heavy armaments,to light gear,to larger models entirely" Gray stated.
"Alright, what are they shooting?" Handsome Jack continued.
"Bullets,gas-induced flame streams, and some focused beams of light".Gray stated
"Why not just lasers? Just strap lots of lasers on them... eh, that'd take too much money, nevermind. Oh, also, I heard you're into robot doppelgangers?"
Gray scoffed, "To assume that the base I mimic, is even slightly comparable to the final product is rather insulting Jackson".
"Name's Jack, not that, keep it remembered," Handsome Jack snapped in a snarky tone, "That's what I heard from Milburn."
"Short little swine-bank " Gray muttered under his breath, before speaking again,"If you're speaking of mechanical recreations,or exact copies, I'm not intuned of that way, however, I've always loved the idea of seeing my foe beaten down but himself, in a glorious metal visage, of himself".
”...Ohhhkay...” Jack said, “Well, I have doppelgangers. In fact, they don’t even need to be full robots. It’s like an invisibility cloak, but just projects the glorious image of my body over the wearers. Though, y’know, it’d probably be easier not to pay them salary, and just make a robot with the thing. So that mayyy be why I’m calling so we can collaborate, synergize, and get me a bunch of contacts into the interdimensional market because Milburn only gave me your number.”
"No". Gray stated before immediately hanging up, and starting to walk away from the window.
Immediately, crashing through the ceiling, stood two Angelic Guard, which fired searing lasers from their sensors, melting the sniper-bot, as from a fray of decaying pixels appeared Jack himself. “I thought you’d say that!” He declared, “So I thought it’d be better if we talk about it face to face, Mexican Standoff happening around us, and see if we can make some leeway. M’kay?” He said, pulling back a seat and sitting in front of Grey’s desk, “So Let’s get started, and not waste another second, ‘cause as we both know, time is money, and if we ain’t using it, we’re hemorrhaging it out the a**!”l
Gray's upper lip twitched upwards in a frown, the flashy showmanship,the exorbitant display of flashiness, it reminded him of his brothers, wasting his[/] inheritance, over a useless pit of gravel,still,seeing as it appeared he had no defense for this attack he sat down, his hands clasped in a Mr.Burns type pose.
"You want to play your hand than, alright lets see it" He asked, at the very least buying some time before the robotic spies could sneak up and cut a few wires in Jack's machines.
"Alright then, I'm happy you said that!" Jack said, as his head exploded into a mess of gore, Jack holding a revolver behind the Jack sitting in the chair, before blowing out the smoke from the barrel.
"My SUIT!" Gray yelled getting up, before getting his teeth and sitting back down.
"Oh relax!" Jack said, pushing the doppelganger out of the chair, "I know a perfect way to clean blood out."
After a moment on the floor, 'Jack' 's body began to flicker, before fading to reveal another man, a Hyperion employee (by the looks of his uniform, a janitor), splayed dead on Grey's floor.
"And [i]that is what I'm bringing to the table," Jack smirked, "You couldn't even tell it wasn't me! Well, until I blew his fricken brains out, but still!"
A bit of brain-matter dripped off of Gray's left eyebrow as he raised it, "That all?".
"Well, lemme see what you got before you just shoot me with the robots you're trying to send to hotwire my loaders," Jack snipped.
"Hotwire?"Gray let out a smile as the robots behind jack sparked and shut down, "That would imply I intended to use them".
"Very funny. Hotwiring would've been better," Jack chuckled as the loaders fell over, "You just made room."
"Did I?" Gray asked.
A fireball plummeted from the sky, as smashing through the ceiling, landing on both the robo-spies and the dead loaders, and contorting back into a massive Loader, with big guns.
"Yeah, I'd say so," Jack pointed a thumb back at the Super Bada*s Loader, not even turning to look at it, "So, you waste a lot of money making your robots the old-fashioned way, I'm guessin'. Am I right?"
"I find I trust my steady hands better than idiots who draft up blueprints,and then seemed surpised when it blows up in their faces, and it all comes falling down".
Gray turned in his chair facing away from Jack as a shot rang out as a Sniperbot blew out the main powering unit on the "Super Bad*** loader" causing it to lean over and start to fall towards Jack.
Jack turned and shouted, "Hey what the fu-" before not finishing his comment and rolling out of the way, smacking into a wall. As he stood up, wiping dust from his blazer, he grumbled, "Could've just said no for the millionth time.."
"Respect is earned,not given,if I wanted to kill you I would have gone ahead and had one of the spies do it"Gray commented,before sighing.
"I don't like you,but I don't like a great deal of other people more, so...I suppose we can trade" Gray spun back around looking at Jack, "I'd like break a deal, you wanted a copy of yourself in metal,one with mannerisms and skill rivaling your own to command?"
"Yeah. And I'm guessing you want my cloaking devices in return?" Jack grinned
Gray raised a finger to his mouth and bit his pinky as if retraining laughter, "Oh no, of course not!"
The third Mann brother stood up, "Currently I'm alive far past any right, and I'd like to remain that way,but with her hoarding the resource I need,I'm going to have to find alternate means of not expiring".
"I assume you have those?"
"I mean... what do you even need for that... thing in your back?" Jack inquired
"An Element, similar to gold, but a thousand times more valuable, enhancing strength,cognition,and life expectancy, Australium,though she has hoarded it like a dragon to herself". Gray explained referencing the Administrator
"You keep saying she. Who's she?" Jack asked, "Cause if we were too, say, combine our techs and make a cloaking robot, we could probably smuggle whatever this Australium is outta wherever she keeps it," he plotted.
Gray considered it,he really did,on one hand, working with Jack,on the otherhand,not dying.
"Well?" Jack asked, "I'm waiting."
"Fine". Gray stated, "We'll do buisness,but if you cross me so help you I'll have that "Handsome" face torn off and have you eat it'.
"Don't worry, I got extras," Jack snickered, holding out a deal, "So we have a deal? Make a bunch of stealth-bots and get you your super life-gold?"
"I doubt by any degree it will be as simplistic as that,but alight we have a deal". Grey answered shaking Jack's hand with clear distain.
"Yes! This is gonna be awesome!" Jack exclaimed, before realizing his 'partner' 's seriousness and laughing, "Yeah, it's gonna be... a good time."
"...Get out of my office" Gray stated.
"O-kay!" Jack walked out of the office, closing the door behind him. The door then fell off its hinges. "I'll pay for that one!" Jack yelled as he left.
”I wanna rip you a new eye socket!” cheered a Psycho to the large nosed man, pointing at his own nose, “Right here!”
"W-What?" Greg stammered out, confused and a little disgusted.
“WHAT?! THEY’RE THE CORNERSTONE OF LIFE!” The insane bandit continued babbling on.
”Just ignore ‘em!” Another bandit grunted, “You’ll get used to it. All they do is talk about meat bicycles and wear faces, which, is objectively horrible, but it isn’t my concern.”
"I don't know why this crap keeps surprising me," Greg muttered, rubbing his forehead for a moment in frustration.
Captain Flynt burst from his chamber, “Well, there’s the big-n... hearted guy who beat my best Goliath!” He yelled, gesturing for him to come closer, “Come ‘ere, I got something for you.”
"Well, er.." Greg wasn't sure about accepting all this praise considering the Skag did a lot of the work, but realized it was probably in his best interest to just go along with it. Besides, it was a nice change of pace to be celebrated so. With a bit more confidence in his posture than before, the large-nosed champion obliged Flynt's request.
“I got a job for you! You might’ve beat that guy, but from what I’ve heard, he ain’t nothing!” The Bandit King laughed, “So, I need you to check on something. Their name’s Boom Bewm, and I sent ‘em a few blocks out to clear the rats out for some more land. I know they aren’t the best at communicating, but they haven’t radioed back in a while. Take a ride, a few boys, and figure out what the hell’s keeping them. Got it?”
"... They probably blew themselves- Are you sure explosives were the best way of dealing with a rat problem?!" Greg asked, flabbergasted.
“These ain’t your normal rats,” Flynt held up a picture of a large amount of Skaven rising out of a hole in the ground, “These guys are the rats I’m talking about. Did you think I’d send my best man to kill a few little vermin?”
"... I don't know why you do a lot of the stuff you do," Greg stated bluntly.
“THAT’S NOT THE POINT!” Captain Flynt roared, “The point is I need someone to go see if Boom Bewm hasn’t blown up yet and to make sure these rats are blown up. Got it?”
".. Alright, got it," Greg nodded. Of all the things Flynt could have asked the ex-office worker to do, this was rather tame in comparison to Greg's fears. Sure, it was pretty scary, both the rats and the possibly insane demo man, but it was preferable to anything having to do with Goliaths.
“Good! Now go scrounge up some of those morons out there, take one of the technicals, and get outta here!” Flynt shooed Greg off menacingly.
"Okay okay okay," Greg awkwardly stumbled out of Flynt's room, making sure the door was shut behind himself.
In true Greg fashion, he simply walked up to the burliest guy in his immediate view and tapped him on the shoulder. "Uh, excuse me?"
“Yes, small man?” The muscly man turned around, the metal box on his head indicating he was a Goliath, “What you want, small man?”
Greg would have gotten cranky about the derogatory nickname, but it was ten times better than a nose-related name. "Can you help me with a.. a mission? Flynt said I needed to get some guys to help me."
“...What in it for me?” The Goliath asked in his usual, dopey tone.
"Ah- Uhhhh.. Uhhh," Greg thought for a moment. This operation really was as shoddy as it seemed. Even with Flynt being in charge, it was practically anarchy anyway. Think Greg.. What is the one thing almost all men want...?
"I'll... Give you... A promotion," Greg said slowly, the words coming to him as he spoke.
“What that?” The dumb muscle man asked.
"You don't know what a-... It's.. It's something that everyone wants! People work hours and hours everyday for years and don't get one, but you can get one!" Greg offered, "Look at all these guys! Do they look like they have promotions?"
“They look like they are small men too!” The Goliath stated, “And also yes!”
"Er- That's right! So.. Go get some others, find us a truck we can use, and when the mission's over, you'll get a promotion!" Greg proclaimed.
“Oh-kay!” The Goliath declared, before trodding off, in search of others to join their escapade.
"... Did that seriously work?" Greg said quietly to himself as he watched the Goliath leave.
A little while later, with the sounds of a motor and a vehicle crashing into a wall, he’d know that, indeed, it had worked. The Goliath stomped inside, “I got a truck and guys!” He yelled.
"... This is stupid," Greg said before bursting into laughter. The whole situation was so surreal to him. With a snicker, Greg quickly made his way to the vehicle and hopped inside.
There, smashed into the wall, but fully operational, was a Bandit Technical. Sitting in its back were several midget psychos and a singular Nomad Pyro. “So what’s this ‘bout a promotion, I hear?” The Nomad asked, his words enameled in a thick southern accent.
Do I have to give all these idiots fake promotions now? Greg thought to himself before boasting, "That's right! Everyone helping with this mission gets a promotion!"
“You got that clear’d with Flynt?” The Pyro asked. The Midgets listened in intently, halting their incoherent chatter.
Sh!t. "He put me in charge of this mission after all," Greg answered without really answering the question, "Now let's get moving!"
“...Alright, tell me where to burn, and get me dat promotion!” The Pyro yelled. The Goliath jumped in, as the Midgets took positions driving and in the gunner’s seat, laughing to one another. The Midgets put the petal to the metal, but went nowhere because they were still driving into the wall. They figured out what a reverse is, and found their way on the move, moving much faster than necessary to get a few blocks away.
When they arrived, they knew they arrived. Slamming on the brakes, the Midgets smashed the technical into a stop sign, sending the gunner midget flying, splatting against a building as a meat jello. The two remaining psycho dwarfs looked at eachother and cheered, headbutting one another before one shouted in their shrill voice, “It’s showtime!”
"Oh god..." Greg muttered in disgust before looking at the two midgets for a moment, "You.. You guys aren't kids, right?"
The two little people looked at eachother, then back at Greg, and shrugged.
"... Let's just get this over with. We need to find some guy called 'Boom Bewm' if he's still alive, and make sure the rats are dead," Greg ordered, "Anyone know what Boom looks like?"
“Boom Bewm looks like fire and awesome mixed into one!” The Nomad chuckled, “They’re the best!”
"Okay that's- When I ask what someone looks like, I mean their hair color, hair style, how tall they are, what they're wearing," Greg clarified.
The Nomad thought for a moment, before shrugging.
Inside the parking lot they were sent to, the sound of faint explosions and laughter could be heard. It seemed Boom Bewm was alive.
Greg hopped out of the Technical and motioned for his posse to follow. "I guess Boom's still alive," he remarked.
“Let’s go make sure he good!” The Goliath exclaimed, heaving himself from the makeshift truck, “And I wanna kill rats!”
"Remind me later to teach you how to talk correctly," Greg sighed, before rubbing his arms as he walked. It was a very chilly this time of the year, and his thin sweater was not the best protection against the cold.
Inside the first floor was an assortment of blast marks, bullet shells, and dead Skaven.
”Looks like we missed the fun here already!” The nomad sighed.
"If so, you get your promotion quicker. We gotta ask Boom and make sure everything's dealt with," Greg said as he looked around.
The sounds of explosions seemed to emanate from the underground floors of the parking lot, and whoever was working them seemed to be having a ball.
"This SPORE better not blow up the floor," Greg muttered, searching for a stairwell.
“Let’s use the ramp!” The Goliath beckoned, “Ramps is fun!”
"Are," Greg corrected, "Ramps are fun. When you're talking about more than one thing, you say 'are' not 'is'. Say it right, or no promotion."
“...Ramps are fun..?” The massive man questioned.
"Good job. Now let's go," Greg ordered, taking the ramp.
As they went down, they would see, on the side of the ramp, a destroyed Skaven machine, a Doomwheel, its driver’s upper torso blown up. “He went boom!” One of the Midget Psychos declared and laughed, high-fiving his dwarf companion.
"I can see that," Greg grimaced, unable to do much about the smell considering his large nostrils. He took a look around to see if Boom was anywhere nearby.
Again, they would find another floor of death and destruction. However, there were less Skaven down here, with an addition of a strange, glowing green fluid that streaked against the walls. One of the midgets touched it and reeled back his hand. ”OW OW OW IT BURNS!”
"Why the hell would you touch that!? That just as easily could have been p!ss on the wall!" Greg chided.
“Does your p!ss glow?” The Pyro asked before laughing.
"My point is, don't touch random crap you see!" Greg huffed.
The commotion seemed to be coming from another floor down, and unluckily, the ramp was blocked by fallen debris. “..Where is- are stairs?” The Goliath asked.
"Because you're talking about a specific set of stairs, you'd say 'the' before 'stairs'," Greg corrected as he looked around for the aforementioned stairs.
”Oh... found the stairs!” The Goliath exclaimed, pointing to a stairwell. Considering this place was old and decrepit, it just had to have no lights, and being a floor down, it was getting dark.
"I feel like a proud teacher of a kindergarten class," Greg remarked, turning to the pyro of the group, "Can you give us some light going down?"
“You got sumthin’ to burn?” The Nomad asked, igniting his flamethrower.
"Are there like, any big, wooden sticks or something anywhere, guys?" Greg asked, kicking some rubble with his foot as he looked to and fro.
“I say we burn one of these midgets!” The pyro suggested, “They burn bright, for a long time, and I like hearing them in pain!” He chuckled.
"No! We do not burn the midgets!" Greg snapped, "Jesus Christ. Big guy, get us one of those dead rats."
“Why not burn them? All they do is scream and stab people!” The Nomad argued, while the Goliath shouted, “No need for little rat man. Wheel made of wood!”
"Well what if we need them to stab a rat? Huh? What if we're running away and instead of one of them being at the back of the group, it's you because you killed one of them?" Greg hissed.
“Then I burn all the crap that’s trying to kill me!” The nomad yelled.
"Jesus f***ing Christ, we are not burning the midgets!" Greg shouted.
“Fine, I’ll burn this stupid wheel,” the pyro sighed as the muscly man rolled the Doomwheel, half a rat still inside it, towards the stairwell, “Where burned?”
"Where.. What? Just burn the wheel!"
“All I heard was ‘burn’!” The Nomad roared as he began to let loose a torrent of flame onto the Skaven machine, burning its wooden frame and the half of a man-size rat with ease.
"Finally. Let's.. Eugh.. Let's go," Greg gagged as he covered his nostrils with his arm, following the wheel as it tumbled down the stairwell.
As they descended, the Midgets, sitting on the shoulders of the Goliath, began to shout in a sing-song manner, “Following the flaming wheel to our deaths and our promotions!”
”So, what is promotion again?” The Goliath asked, “This wording stuff make me forget.”
"It makes you better than everyone else who doesn't have one," Greg explained bitterly as he descended, "Not because you're stronger, smarter, or anything like that. You have it, and someone else doesn't. They'll work their entire lives away trying to get what you have."
“Have you gotten a promotion?” The Goliath asked simply.
Greg was silent for a moment, but thought about the recent events that led up to this mission. A small smile found its way on his face as he replied, "Yeah, I have."
“Okay! How you get a promotion?” The bandit continued, the midgets continuing to rant incoherent rage at one another.
"Are you asking how did I get my promotion, or how to get one in general?"
“Your promotion!” The massive man answered.
Greg thought of how to word his answer in a way that didn't imply he got his promotion from Flynt. "... I.. Grabbed an opportunity. I stopped doing the same thing every single day, and tried something different."
“How was it different?” The questions just kept coming.
"Well y-" Greg suddenly coughed and gagged, "Ach! Ah- Oh god, I got the f***ing... smoke.. nasty air.. s*** in my mouth.. Ack!"
“That’s what happens when you’re standing that close to a fire,” The pyro chuckled, “I don’t like the look ah this. These rats on the stairs don’t seem.. blown up enough. It’s like somebody else killed ‘em first!”
"Maybe Boom ran out of explosives?" Greg theorized.
Another boom rang out in the deep, indicating that it was not a lack of explosives. “I got all the ‘nades in the world!” echoed the voice of Boom.
“..So how was day you get promotion different?” The Goliath asked again.
"... I wasn't sitting on my a**," Greg answered simply, "Enough questions; let's just find Boom."
“Okay boss!” The Goliath happily accepted the answer with no questions as to why not sitting could make such a difference.
As they entered the next floor, they would see Boom standing in the middle of a room full of breaking walls and collapsing floors, fires caused by him spewing around. He turned to the group and shouted, “Hey Bewm! We got some company!”
"Wait, you're not Boom?" Greg blinked.
Jumping out of a pile of rubble, a jet pack sending him flying, a midget with a shotgun jumped out. “Bewm!” he shouted.
”No, I’m Boom. He’s Bewm,” the full-grown demolitions man growled.
"Oh.. They're two different.. I thought Bewm was your last name or something," Greg laughed.
“That’s a dumb thought. Anyways, no time for contemplating names, we got trouble,” Boom stated, “And we need someone to help blow it up.”
"You're probably the best with explosives out of us," Greg said to his group's pyro.
“Yeah, But These ain’t rats we’re fighting no more,” Boom shook his head, “They’re smarter. Hiding in the shadows, waiting for me to turn away to strike. I need some bait to draw them out, then I blow them to hell!” He finished with a laugh.
"Let's hope they aren't smart enough to figure out what you just said," Greg said, shaking his head before looking to one of the midgets, "Hey, you. If you can not die after being bait, I'll.. uh.. Give you a surprise with your promotion."
“I don’t like surprises! Surprises make me NOSE STABBY! TELL ME SURPRISE NOW!” The psycho midget screamed, flailing around a small shiv made out of a stick.
"Gah!" Greg quickly covered his nose with both of his hands out of fear, "A second promotion!"
Immediately, the midget jumped out into the fray, ready to be bait.
”And now, we wait,” Boom sat down in a fold-out chair, “They ran off before you came, and that thing’s screeching ain’t gonna fix that.... hey, any of you guys bring a snack or something?”
"Mm.. I'm hungry too," Greg sighed before rubbing his hands together. The fires and explosions did a lot to warm things up a little at least.
Something skittered in the darkness, the end of its dark bladed tail briefly coming into the light. The midget stood his ground, shiv in hand.
“Oh man, here they come!” Boom yelled, as he fired a grenade into the dark, illuminating a tunnel covered in moving figures of Xenomorphs.
"Wait! Are those-!?" Greg gasped in terror, "F***ING FIRE GUY BURN EVERYTHING F***!" He had seen the movies, Robertson knew what these things were capable of.
“I HEARD BURN!” The pyro jumped to action, sending plumes of flame onto the incoming Aliens, as their screeches began to fill the underground complex, their blood lighting up what the flames did not.
”I forgot guns!” The Goliath harrumphed as the others tore into the Xenomorph hordes, “Now I can never get a promotion!”
"ROCKS! BIG ROCKS! THROW THE ROCKS!" Greg screamed, "AND DON'T LET THEM GET NEAR ME!"
“Oh! Okay!” The bandit lifted up a monsterous piece of rubble, and chucked it at the incoming alien swarm, smashing several with concrete and rebar. He laughed as he threw another boulder, “That fun!”
"YEAH! FUN! OH GOD!" Greg shouted. Good thing he wasn't old; he wasn't sure his heart would be able to take this if so.
As the others were busy with the hole, Greg would hear a hiss from behind him. It seemed that one of the perfect predators had slipped past, crawling towards the large-nosed man with animalistic urges driving it.
"AH AH AH AHH AHHH!" Greg screamed, flailing wildly as he tried to run but slipped on some rubble, "BIG GUY- BAH AHHHHH!"
“Yeah, bah ahh! Agreed!” The Goliath laughed without looking behind himself, throwing another rock into the mess of aliens.
The drone scurried closer to Greg, hissing again as it rose to a bipedal stance, its hands ready to grab the man.
"HEEEELP!" Greg screamed, smacking his limbs against the ground as he tried scampering away.
The alien screeched, pulling up Greg by his shoulders and slamming him into a support beam, opening its mouth to fire out its ‘tongue’. But before it could, the psycho midget landed on its back, stabbing the Xenomorph profusely with a metal spoon, before leaving it imbedded in the back of its elongated skull.
”DOUBLE. PROMOTIONSSSSSS!” the midget screamed as the drone fell dead to the ground, letting go of Greg.
Greg hyperventilated for a moment as he patted himself, "Ohgodohgodohgodohgod.. Oh god, thank you. Oh Jesus f***... Holy s***..."
While Greg calmed down, it seemed that the surge of Xenomorphs had ended, letting the Bandits cheer that they had bested the creatures in combat. “We beat them to dead!” The Goliath laughed, before noticing Greg’s panicked state and asking, “..Is you’re breathing good?”
"Yes.. Yes, yeah, I'm fine..." Greg took a deep breath as he patted his chest a few times, "Of all the.. It had to be those things..."
”Wait.. you know those things? How? One dump you or something?” The pyro laughed.
"W-What? No! They're in a movie.." Greg answered as he rubbed his eyes for a moment, "I can't believe we're not dead."
“Yeah, I guess so, so let’s get outta here! I set this whole bottom floor to blow so we don’t have to worry about these things no more!” Boom laughed, “So I’d get runnin’!”
"That's the best idea I've heard all day," Greg remarked as he scaled the back of his Goliath, "Let's go!"
“Where go?” The Goliath asked.
"Out of here!" Greg yelled.
“I’m on it!” The Goliath, after everyone else had gone, began to plod his way up the steps. Everything was going to plan. “So... How does not sitting make you find promotion?” The bandit asked while carrying Greg.
"Wh- This is not the time to ask about that! There are bombs!"
“Oh... when is time to talk?” The Goliath continued.
"WHEN WE ARE NOT AT RISK OF BLOWING UP!"
"Oh, okay!" The Goliath exclaimed, stumbling quickly up the steps.
Down below, the screeches of the Xenomorphs could be heard. It seemed that the attack did not keep them at bay for long. "They sound friggen p*ssed!" the Pyro Nomad exclaimed.
"When do those bombs go off?!" Greg shouted, tightly gripping onto the Goliath as he worriedly glanced down the stairs.
"After a while!" Boom said, "But not too long!" It was obvious that the explosives expert had no idea of the timer of his explosives.
The Goliath looked back, seeing a group of xenomorphs climbing up the crumbling walls. They were moving far faster than the bandits. Even with his dimwitted psyche, he knew they'd catch up and eviscerate the group. He had to make a choice...
Grabbing Greg by his chest, the Goliath gently set the man down on the step in front of him, "Me stay," he simply put.
"Wh-Wait, what!?" Greg blurted out in shock.
"Me stay. You go," He repeated himself, "You get my promotion. I no need."
Greg obviously couldn't stare in surprise for long. "You're a good man, big guy," He lamented before booking it up the staircase, leaving behind the Goliath.
The hulking bandit turned as an Alien leaped at him, claws bared. He met the creature with a closed fist, sending it flying into the depths of the car park. "You leave friend alone!" he declared, snatching another alien by the tail as it tried to pursue the rest of the group, and swinging it against a wall, its neon blood covering it like paint. A few drops of the acidic blood dribbled onto the hinges of the Goliath's helmet, causing it to be flung off as another Xenomorph clawed at his head.
"TIME TO GO BACK DOWN THE STAIRS, YOU SON OF A B*TCH!" the Goliath roared as he grabbed the alien by its sharp-toothed face, and jumped, slamming the monster's face into the pavement below, splattering it all over himself. As his skin began to be eaten away, in his rage, he looked at the timer of the bombs, randomly flickering between times, before settling on zero.
From Greg's perspective as he left the parking garage, it would only be a muffled boomph. A fine cloud of smoke puffed out of the garage, before fading away slowly.
The Excel expert stumbled to a halt and looked back, still in disbelief of the sacrifice the Goliath had made, how aggressively he must have fought based on the sounds echoing up the stairwell when Greg was fleeing. He had only known the big guy for a short time, and yet the bandit was willing to lay down his life for him.
"... Good man," Greg sighed quietly, remorsefully turning and walking away from the parking garage.
"Well, it was nice meeting you," Boom said, "But we got things to blow up. Bewm! LETS RIDE!"
Boom and Bewm then proceeded to fly off using their scrappy jet-packs, each in a seemingly random direction.
"...Alright, time for promotions!" one of the Midgets screamed, while the other screeched incomprehensibly in reaction, with both tiny psychos leaping into the back of the technical and banging their hands against it wildly.
"Let's go give Flynt the good news," Greg declared halfheartedly as he hopped into the vehicle.
"You gave them WHAT?!" Captain Flynt roared loudly at the large-nosed man, practically steaming with rage.
?L-Look, Flynt! I can explain!" Greg stammered out, holding up his hands midway and gesturing for the lunatic to calm down.
"...It better be good, or there's a hungry skag waiting for you in that door!" Flynt pointed to a random door, growling emanating from inside.
Greg audibly gulped. A part of him was relieved though; he was worried Flynt wouldn't listen at all. "D-Do you know what a.. 'corporate ladder' is?"
"...Is it a ladder, but corporate?" the bandit captain asked.
Greg stared at Flynt for a moment, blinking. "... No.. No that's- It's basically the.. metaphorical ladder that everyone is trying to climb. At the top of the ladder here is you. Now where I'm from, the guys in charge don't want people to climb the ladder because they could take their positions, but if nobody can climb the ladder, they don't work harder. So what do you think the guys in charge did?"
"They tried to- um... um...." the Bandit thought deeply on what the guys in charge did.
"They added extra steps to the ladder," Greg explained with a grin, "People moved up the ladder, but never got closer to the top than they were before. Instead of just having say... a manager then a district manager, now you have a regional manager in between. Then someone wants a promotion, well now there's an assistant regional manager. Someone else wants a promotion though, so now there's an assistant to the assistant regional manager. You see where I'm going with this?"
"..So I need assistant regional managers to have assistants?" Flynt questioned.
"I mean.. If you want that, but no- What I'm saying is... Whatever position these guys are now, just make a new position right above them. They get higher on the ladder, but not any closer to you. And a new position will catch attention. Others are gonna want that spot too and so they'll work harder for it," Greg corrected. He never thought his bitter contemplation on corporate structures would come in handy, much less potentially save his life.
"So my gangs of savage, bloodthirsty, backstabbing bandits will just get more bloodthirsty and stab more backs for promotions?" Flynt contemplated aloud.
"Err.. Well.. Pretty much, yeah," Greg nodded, "I mean.. If that's how you want it. If not, uh-"
"I LOVE IT!" Captain Flynt exclaimed, "You've convinced me, Greg! From now on, you are my assistant! And everyone else is an assistant of an assistant and so on! Everyone will be just ready to kill and maim their fellow bandit to get a spot next to me! And the best part is, they'll be getting nowhere! It's the best d*mn plan I've heard in forever!"
"Uhm.. Yeah.." Greg quickly realized that his life may be in danger once again and quickly added, "B-But there's more! Have you ever heard of a 'Human Resources' department?"
"Well... You want people to backstab each other... But you don't want them to kill each other to get a position unless you order it. Otherwise you'll run out of people too fast because of all the new positions. Spots will need to be filled, but people will get jealous and kill the promotees and then spots need to be filled and it'll repeat. Human Resources, or HR, fixes that. It's kinda like... A secret police to make sure employees are treated right, but for you... It just makes sure people don't kill someone right above them to take their position. They'll also make sure people do whatever jobs they're supposed to be doing for those under them. Now with HR, you make sure they are on a branch separate from the main ladder, that way they themselves have no ambition to overthrow you. To get guys that you like in HR, and trust me you'll want these guys in your pocket, you promise employees in HR benefits. Why take your spot when they can be a part of HR and get a vacation week once a year or something? Why take your spot when their job would just be making sure others are doing their jobs and are treating fellow employees right? (Right being whatever you want it to be)."
“...So you’re wanting to be on this HR thing?” Flynt chuckled, “Make it so that nobody wants you dead here? Sounds fine to me. I need my men, so you being head of HR or whatever works out. Just don’t lead any revolts please? I don’t have enough Skags at the moment to feed that many people to.”
"Wh- No, I'd, uh.. Rather not get eaten," Greg laughed nervously, "So, um.. Yeah, I guess that's it for now?"
“Yeah, whatever,” Flynt grunted, “Good job not getting killed, by the way. And also how you didn’t lose anyone of value, save for some dumb midget, and a useless Goliath! I’ll probably promote you for that!”
"Heh, yeah.. Well I better go give the guys that were with me the good news," Greg jabbed a thumb at the door.
“Sounds good. But I’m serious, no revolutions,” Flynt growled, “None at all.”
"Don't worry! Don't worry! I wouldn't make a good leader anyway," Greg assured as he made his way to the exit.
Flynt laughs to himself, “You’re definitely right! I don’t even know why I thought you’d be able to do that..”
Greg laughed as well as he left the room, closing the door behind himself. His smile quickly gave way to a bitter glare. He recalled his first moments in the Clash, people trying to kill him, one claiming he was some king or dictator or something. He didn't exactly remember what specific words they used, but he remembered how ridiculous it seemed at the time.
Well, here he was, in the 10th Level of the Omniversual Underworld, the JapeLands. He hoped and prayed he wouldn't have to come down here to save Ganon from an untimely defeat, but the purple sprite was responsible for the Gerudo, and thus here had to be here. Purpleguy quickly pocketed the walkie talkie that he received from Bendy and proceeded onward into #e||ish landscape. As he progressed the poorly drawn fields of the Japeverse, he entered a large foreboding forest….well as foreboding as this Omiversual Underworld made it that is, as it still was poorly drawn. Despite this though the darkness of the forest sent chills down Purpleguy’s spine and he traversed the woodland area. The Ominversual Agent eventually made it so far into the forest that it got immensely dark. So dark that the sprite of Purpleman couldn't even see. Okay it obviously wasn't worth it trying to go through here with no light. Purpleguy turned and began to make his way back to the forest’s entrance.
Suddenly, as he took his first few steps back, he heard something.
The noise did’nt sound animal, and rather it sounded like someone shouting in anguish. At the same time however, it was very far away, and hard to make out. The sprite stopped in his tracks and tried to make out his surroundings best he could through the darkness. It did’nt look like anyone or anything was there, so he proceeded ownard. Then he heard it again. It was a bit more audible this time, though not by much. Purple stopped and took out his Slasher, a brief flash of purple light illuminating the forest for a moment as he did this. “...Hello? Who’s there?” asked Purpleguy. As brief moment after the sprite spoke, he heard the noise again, though this time it stayed far longer for him to identify it. It sounded like someone was speaking to him from afar. He noise sounded off again. Then again. Then again, continuously as the volume of the voice rose higher.
It was when the voice was loud enough that he knew what it was.
“ANGRY GORRILA NOISES”
“Ah geez.” muttered Purpleguy. Though shrouded with darkness, Purpleguy could tell that the creature was one of the demons present in this underworld, a Furian, or Furious Simian. It obviously caught its scent and was trying to see that what it was smelling was a living organism or not. Purpleguy knew that disturbing a Furian was the WORST possible thing to do here, so he slowly and quietly tried to walk backwards out of the Furian’s line of smell. As long as it didn't hear anything to confirm existence of another living presence, he should be fi--
Purple heard other loud instances of “ANGRRRYYYY” going off in the distance, which meant that more Furians were now aware of his presence. He needed to Outie 5000 the #e|| out of this forest as fast as he could. He quickly dashed past the Furian and deeper into the forest. As he did so, more Furians were seen ganging up on his from behind, matching his speed. He didn't know where the fu€|/ he was going, but he prayed that he would somehow be able to make it out of the large dense MS Paint Forest. That was a big hope, however, as it was now completely pitch dark, the sprite only being able to see the illuminating red eyes of the MS Paint Gorillas. His wish was...somewhat granted, as he ended up somewhere that the Furians couldn't find him. The way he found though wasn't exactly pleasant, as he tripped over a pebble and into a dark chasm below.
Purpleguy had a good some of bruises, but other than he was fine. He got up, dusted himself off before wincing a bit for the pain of one bruise in particular. Kay, maybe he wasn't so fine. He had a huge bruise on his left kneecap, and it hurt immensely, so much so that he could hardly walk. Thankfully, he had his Slasher and could use it as a walking stick for the time being. He took it out and began limping further into the chasm, spotting some Paint Spray tool orientated light in the distance. Maybe he could reach there and find a town or city or something.
Ghost Cars VS Slime Legion (ft. Derpy Hooves and Barak i guess i dunno mang)
On an intersection in Overwatch's New York City, more of the devious Ghost Cars were at work terrifying the bystanders of the immense city, threatening to run them over and slice them into pieces by the very strength of their tires. The citizens ran in fear, of course--who wouldn't be scared by demonic blood-lusting cars? Well, surprisingly there were a small group of small green blobs watching from afar. They were previously threatening a man themselves to get info on their location. They got their answer this time, thankfully, that being the city of New York, but this relief on info didn't last as they saw citizens being terrorized by old looking, beat up cars, each having no drivers inside them. Originally, the slime has no interest in the cars and what they were doing to the humans, but one sensible slime came out from his silent demeanor and spoke up.
"Brothers, we must assist these strange creatures. I fear if we don't, they might end up like us." "What do you mean, like us? Elaborate." asked one slime, having no idea what he meant by that. "Don't you see what this phenomenon has done to us? Its turned us into savages. Shells of our former selves. Our moral standards, our dignity, our hope, shattered. I can't stand the thought of that happening to these creatures." explained the enlightened slime. The others widened their eyes, realizing for the first time their immense shift in personalities since the clash. They had devolved into beasts because of the harsh and confusing environment around them. The bold slime was right, they needed to step in.
"You are right, brother. Let us call the others." agreed one of the other slimes. The bold young slime took out a large bugle, paper mached out of some newspaper they had found and held together by gum they found on the sidewalk. The slime took in a large inhale and breathed into the bugle, letting out a large "BWAAAAAAAAAAAAAA" that echoed through New York. Within a few seconds, the rest of New York's faction of slimes arrived, each carrying a weapon in hand. After explaining the situation to the others, the slimes nodded in agreement that it was indeed the right thing to do to help the scared humans. Letting out an animalistic battle cry that startled the New York citizens even more, the slimes charged into battle, one of them leaping into the air and attacking a Ghost Car with a cardboard hammer.
It didn't do much, but it did distract the cars from attacking the humans, giving them time to escape. After the humans left, it didn't take long for the possessed automobiles to take notice. Angered, the Ghost Cars shook and chased the slimes a good distance from them. Their engines roared with fury, their red headlights shining right on them. "Mechanical demons, you shall hurt the creatures of this 'New York' no more!" yelled a slime in the group, standing his guard as the others were cowering. This burst of boldness caused the other slimes to attempt to size IP the cars as well. This didn't work, however, and the cars, undeterred by the slimes, were preparing to run these oversized gum wads slam over.
Meanwhile, from above, Barak and Derpy were still riding above New York for their companions, with no luck so far. The gray pegasus spotted the sight below, humans running away in fear and some odd looking horse-less carriages harming some cute slimes. "Barak, lookie!" squeaked Derpy, pointing her hoof to the intersection. "Those blobby thingies look like they're in trouble!" Barak took recognition of the slimes and huffed in annoyance. He knew what the pegasus was thinking and wasn't about to give into doing it. Why should he risk his life to save the same blobs of goo that tried to capture him beforehand? Barak began flying faster out of the sight of the area before Derpy hopped off of him and flew in front of him, getting knocked back a bit because she wasn't seeing clearly where she was going.
The pegasus stared down Barak in an attempt to look intimidating, though to Barak this just made her look absolutely adorable. Despite this though, this tactic was effective, as it convinced Barak to help the slimes. He smiled, giving a happy growl in response showing he changed his mind. In return, this made Derpy smile as well. The two darted down into the intersection and made an effort to stop the ghost cars from attacking the slimes. "Wait! Don't hurt these blobbies!" exclaimed Derpy, waving her hooves at the possessed vehicles. "They haven't done anything wrong to you!" The cars stopped their assault and turned their attention to Derpy Hooves, much with immense confusion rather than with any sympathy towards these vile booger-like creatures. "You should at least get to know them before you wanna try and hurt them! They might be nice!" further emphasized Derpy.
Barak rolled his eyes yet again, underwhelmed and annoyed at Derpy's pacifist attempt to ward off the Ghost Cars. As Derpy continued on with reasoning with the cars, two Sadlers slowly approached ready to drive straight into her to shut her mouth. Barak saw this, and as soon as the blue trucks began swiftly making their towards her, he blasted them with a mouthful of lightning. This cause one Sadler to be blown back to the other side of town, while the other exploded violently. "Barak!" exclaimed Derpy. Before the pegasus could scold the elemental dragon, however, she was grabbed by the creature's jaws, though it didn't hurt her at all, as well as the slimes.
The dragon quickly slithered its snake-like body out of the intersection. The cars themselves were quite shocked about what just happened to their two truck brethren, so much so that one of them was practically shaking in its wheels over the horrific display it experienced, though one other BoB put a wheel on its door, reassuring that it was going to be alright. The cars rode out of the intersection, silent, but filled with even more fury than before.
And being the cars they were, they needed something to let it out from.