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Thread: NeShattered

  1. #121

    Losien against The Last True Evil

    Even as Antestarr turns against Brittica, and Gebohq against his Shattered counterpart, Losien finds her focus no longer in her control, driving her will ever more fiercely against her former lover, the ex-Soviet spy and co-conspirator of the Never-ending Story's downfall, The Last True Evil. In turn, his focus draws to Losien almost against his own control, struggling to hold back the primal power of cause and effect wrestling to steer his own will.

    Lightning cracks the air, casting a silhouette over the monstrous masses of the Ever-ending Plot entangling with the dark tentacles behind The Last True Evil.

    The Last True Evil: "You should know that the countless souls of this Shattered realm bound by Plot march towards us. They would be here now, except it seems your brother and his friend met with fortune and recruited allies to draw their attention away."

    Losien: "Why would it bother to do that when--"

    The Last True Evil: "--this Ever-ending Plot acts on instinct, not intelligence. Best we not distract it, da?"

    She narrows her eyes at The Last True Evil. Even in its clearly ruined state, the ancient throne that he sits upon imbues him with vigor only possible from the Plot tapping into its history - a history, like its bearer's former Potential, rising once again from the ashes. A history of power once used by Evil G, the Highemperor before him, and other great and terrible men before him... power to bring death and pain, over and over, for ever and ever. This, Losien could see within The Last True Evil now more clearly than ever before.

    Brandishing the sentient blade once belonging to a self-styled murderer, Losien pivots the point towards The Last True Evil, as if a needle magnetically drawn to the planet's pole. She speaks not entirely with her own words.

    Losien: "You need to end... to be killed."

    The Last True Evil laughs uncontrollably for a moment before snapping back to his sober self.

    The Last True Evil: "You've been a teacher of children for most of your life, while I've been a master soldier and a spy for twice that time. I hold the whole of the Plot on my leash, while you have a failing Story behind you..."

    As The Last True Evil speaks, Losien realizes just how small and silly her stance stands against his, and her confidence wavers. Yet she feels the Potential within her, and remembers her training to wield the Story. Her confidence returns, all the stronger.

    Losien: "You're right... it does seem unfair to you."

    A smile cracks across The Last True Evil's face.

    The Last True Evil: "You know me well, моя любовь. You are no longer the damsel in distress I saved from Michael across the vast gulf of outer space, and you might yet wield the Ultimate Convention against me."

    His praise manages to shake Losien's confidence more than his insults ever could. She grits her teeth and grips her sword to remind herself of her resolve.

    The Last True Evil: "Yet you should also know that to strike me down is to strike down the Never-ending Story itself. If you could kill me, I would only rise once more from the ashes, fueling the Ever-ending Plot's cycle of painful life and death. There would be no more story, only endless retaliation, an eye for an eye for an eye."

    She mulls his words over, struggling to decide inside her mind the right thing to do. Plot pulls some strings, though, and she looks inside her heart. She sees the faith in herself he once instilled in her, the hope of a worthwhile life she once saw by being together, the love she once had for him, all now torn away when The Last True Evil went behind her back. Losien turns her gaze back up at The Last True Evil.

    Losien: "I can live with that."

    Her blade thrusting as a lance, Losien charges forth to stab The Last True Evil in the heart, screaming primal hurt at the top of her lungs. Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned, so it's said, and her fury flies with blinding speed, yet one of The Last True Evil's tendrils deflects faster still. This only enrages her more, striking even faster, which in turn tightens the timing of the tendrils' deflections even more aggressively. For his part, The Last True Evil sits still in part-composure, part-concern, as he sees himself trapped by his own tendrils. After a moment of volleying, a tendril parries to smack Losien back, snapping her senses back.

    She draw the tip of the sword, the sword known as Fred Teh Uber Blade, close to her face. Closing her eyes, she whispers in her best seducing voice.

    Losien: "I know we haven't spoken to each other in a while, but I need your help, Fred."

    Fred Teh Uber Blade: "I can't, darling. Things haven't been the same for me since Soriel passed away."

    Losien: "If you help me put an end to this man, my ex..."

    For a moment, she hesitates.

    Losien: "...well, let's just say I'll have a new sheath for you."

    The sword gets longer, Thundercats-style.

    Losien: " pull you in and out of..."

    The sword gets longer once more.

    Losien: "...and I'll polish you off."

    Fred Teh Uber Blade now resembles a greatsword, throbbing with energy.

    Fred Teh Uber Blade: "HOOOOOOOOO!!!!!"

    Seeming to dance with joy in her hand, Fred Teh Uber Blade pirouettes around the first tendril, leads the second tendril to accidentally wrap around a third while slicing a cut across a fourth that happened to be in the way.

    Fred Teh Uber Blade: "See, sunshine, it's just a matter of turning their power against them. Stay loose, with a little feigning here, a little finesse there, all while keep yourself humble, and your ex-lover will be an ex-living person--"

    The blade's banter is interrupted as The Last True Evil parries its final attack with his own officer's saber.

    The Last True Evil: "Time to step up then."

    Which The Last True Evil does as he steps up and away from his throne. The dark tendrils float from his back as a massive, tattered cape would. As The Last True Evil takes the offensive with his swordplay, the tendrils take to whipping around to attack Losien from the sides. It seems as if favorable winds stir Losien's own cape to slap the tendrils away.

    Carlotta the Cape: "I hope you won't forget about me, honey."

    Losien: "Uh... of course not. We'll be a regular threesomething-or-other..."

    Fred Teh Uber Blade juts up in the air several times, which happens to slice one of the tendrils apart and put The Last True Evil on the defensive. A dance between Losien and The Last True Evil plays out between their blade and saber, waltzing around each other as the tendrils and cape whip in the wind and of their own accord. The Last True Evil spies an opening with his espionage training, and Losien senses through the story his telegraphed feint to exploit the opening. She pulls, grips, and pushes the narrative so that Evil G, dodging a magical bolt from Gebohq, runs into The Last True Evil, knocking the two down, and in turn, The Last True Evil hurls dirt into Gebohq's eyes, which cause him to run into Losien.

    Gebohq: "Next time, please don't involve us in your fight, Los."

    Evil G: "Yeah, we're trying to murder each other here and you're not helping!"

    Losien: "Sorry!"

    The Last True Evil: "I'll keep that in mind..."

    Their lethal dance picks back up. Description stops as The Last True Evil uses his Hyper-Time Modulator to move at the speed of a writer, and in response, description rushes by as Losien speeds through the story to sidestep his assault. Losien tries to jump the story to the part where she deals the killing blow, and The Last True Evil jumps the gun, drawing his custom "Springfield-Wesson" Model 629 with his free hand and shoots at Losien's side. She stumbles back, drawing upon the story to heal the damage done to herself and the story, while The Last True Evil stumbles back to lean on the ancient throne, holstering his gun and slowly regenerating his own drained health. Time passes as the two recover, but before Losien can finish healing from her wound, The Last True Evil stands back up and slowly approaches her.

    The Last True Evil: "I must confess, you've performed admirably, Losien. I underestimated how quickly you've grown in skill. However, in the end, I have the edge, for I've picked up a little know-how when it comes to the narrative as well. For instance, I know how reckless the woman behind you can be with her power."

    Losien: "What?--"

    As Losien turns behind her, a stream of black tea meant for a killing blow to Antestarr misses its mark and sprays across Losien's side, causing burns across the same side her bullet wound was on. While it happened to do a fair job cauterizing the injury, the new burn damage didn't help, to say the least.

    Losien: "GAAAAAAAH!"

    Brittica: "Uh, oops."

    Distracted by her pain, The Last True Evil goes on the offensive once more. Though Fred Teh Uber Blade still moves deftly on his own in lobbing off tendrils, and Carlotta sweeps the ones that remain all the same, the loss of focus allows The Last True Evil to cut the cape off Losien, then disarm Fred from her grip. Carlotta flutters to the ground, and Fred clanks on top of the cape.

    Fred Teh Uber Blade: "Well, we're boned."

    Carlotta the Cape: "I'm not, if you catch my drift."

    Fred Teh Uber Blade: "I'll make love to you this final night like you've never felt before!"

    Carlotta the Cape: "Yes, take me!"

    Losien stares stunned for a beat at the two objects, vaguely rustling, and moaning in pleasure.

    Strapped for weapons, Losien improvises with her two hairpins, brandishing them as tiny picks at The Last True Evil, stabbing one in his cheek and the other in his sword hand, causing him to reel back and drop his blade. He pulls the pins from himself, seeming more psychologically shocked than anything, before casting them aside.

    Her hair now wild, Losien hurls herself at him in hand-to-hand combat before he could draw his revolver again. While The Last True Evil has military training on his side, Losien has convention on hers. Her Potential leads and trails in shadowy effect as she performs flip-kicks, cartwheels, rolls, and other acrobatic feats as a jazz musician performs with their instrument. Her body moves in cursive, while The Last True Evil responds in bold block letters. Losien does a split, and in a fashion that'd make Johnny Cage proud, punches The Last True Evil where it hurts the most.

    The Last True Evil: "...ow..."

    When Losien nearly jabs her nailed fingers into his throat, though, The Last True Evil hooks a punch into her wounded side, causing her to fall over in pain. Grunting at his own personal hurt, The Last True Evil draws his revolver out once more, ready to shoot Losien, when he notices something to the side.

    The Last True Evil: ", I can't have that happen now."

    She watches as he unloads the current rounds in his revolver, and reloads one particularly special bullet back in. He then aims it to whatever had caught his attention, but Losien's focus remained locked on The Last True Evil.




    She hears a body fall to the ground, and takes the distraction to throw a kick at The Last True Evil's shin. He shifts his leg aside, though, and uses it to kick Losien hard in the wounded side, sending her rolling nearly like a ragdoll. Her rage, now barren of fervor to back it up, manifests now only in a death stare towards The Last True Evil.

    Making each step with singular purpose, The Last True Evil stands over Losien once more, a cold front damning -- or damming? -- in his eyes.

    The Last True Evil: "We'll settle our lovers' quarrel later, da? Destiny demands my attention elsewhere now."

    As he turns his back to her, she struggles to stand once more and fight, yet the pain is too much for her to bear, and so she lies still, tears running down her face as The Last True Evil faces his new opposition...
    Last edited by Gebohq; 05-20-2017 at 09:05 PM.

  2. #122
    Virgin Fleet Admiral

    Faces of the Dead

    The sky is endless black. Portals flicker open, belching forth black ink. Tiny colored lights wink in the distance, frantically holding back a dark tide that steadily grows into a tsunami.

    In the center of it all, the crater of the ruined Palace of Power, six people are illuminated by the diabolic spotlight glaring from the top of the spire next to them. The six are facing off in three pairs.

    Antestarr feels hollowed out inside. Throwing off the shackles of the b*stard Writers was supposed to fix everything, to usher in a glorious paradise. Instead, it got worse. The images of all those he has slain in his single-minded goal float up before him, their dead eyes accusing and angry.

    But one such dead face is not so fleeting, and is eying with a steely glare. Brittica X had been slain by Ante as well, but is back now, in a new body - yet he/she was still another victim in his path to anarchic anti-Writer freedom. Rage and bitterness and helplessness well up in Ante's soul, but he snarls, baring his fangs. He will
    not go quietly into the all-devouring night!

    Antestarr: I should have known better than to make a tool of out of someone the Writers lavished so much on.

    Brittica's eyes narrow. Antestarr's first encounter with her resulted in her death. Then they allied out of convenience, only for Ante's plan to result in unstoppable hell.

    Brittica: Me? This is your fault. This was your plan. I should have killed you back in the Sahara when I had the chance!

    Antestarr: You'll never have that chance now!

    The NeSferatu leaps forward, nails lengthening into talons. Brittica ducks to the side, eons of strange life having sharpened his survival instinct into the finest blade. No sooner does Ante land than he whips his body around, ready to attack again.

    Brittica: No so fast, bloodsucker.

    Her palms spat out streams of soporific tea at her foe. Ante flinches reflexively, then blinks when no harm happens.

    Antestarr: You little snot. You can't put a vampire to sleep!

    He charges again, faster than the eye can follow, yet Brittica manages to duck to the side again.

    Brittica: No, but now you're just the tiniest bit slower.

    She blasts a scalding jet of black tea at the vampire now. It is Ante's turn to dodge.

    Antestarr: Not that slow.

    The spray strikes Losien instead, who is the middle of her duel with TLTE.

    Losien: GAAAAAAAH!

    Brittica: Uh, oops.

    Antestarr: Last mistake you'll ever make.

    He is about to swipe at Brittica with his deadly claws, but instead reflexively winces at his inadvertent rip-off of Star Wars. Then he realizes that all the copyright lawyers of the Shattered World are dead. This gives Brittica time to fire another jet of boiling tea. Ante still dodges it, and the two play a deadly game of cat and mouse, attacking and feinting and ducking, moving all around the battlefield.

    Finally, Ante gets in close and knocks aside Brittica's hands, so that her spray of tea goes off into a random direction. Brittica stumbles back to the ground, and the vampire crouches over her, grinning in savage triumph.

    Antestarr: I have you now.

    He winces again at his second inadvertent Star Wars ripoff.

    Brittica: Actually, I have you right where I want you.

    Her hand grasps for Subaru's axe on the ground next to her, which she'd been maneuvering to throughout the whole of the fight with Ante. She swings it up with all her might--

    Ante catches her wrist in his hand easily, chuckling menacingly.

    Antestarr: Is that the best you can--

    His words are cut off as Brittica plants the palm of her other hand directly on his mouth, and sprays a gout of burning-hot tea directly into his throat. Ante's brain is liquefied almost instantly.

    Brittica: Wow. That was...gruesome.

    She pushes the corpse off her with disgust, and wearily stumbles to her feet...

  3. #123

    The Former Faces of Their Stories

    As their sister faces off against their once-and-future brother-in-law, and their great ancestor faces off against one of their closest friends, the former Main Characters of their respective stories face off against each other, in a way both predictable and precise, that only Plot could craft.

    Gebohq stands, straining to filter the pain from his thoughts. Pain of his wounded leg, the same-yet-not leg wounded from his last time in this shattered realm, a wound that will likely linger long after it's healed. Pain of his dead Potential, its presence haunting his fate with now present impossibilities long after it passed away. Pain of knowing that he will never reach his peak as a hero or even run away from his problems like he did before.

    Problems like his Shattered counterpart, who can easily outmaneuver him and knows it. Evil G stands, revelling in his guilty pleasure of villainy. Pleasure in acting as he wants while for the sake of the story, where he can have his cake and eat it too. Pleasure of his dead dimension setting the stage for what's certainly to be a poetically pyrrhic victory, its presence assuring that his position is one of power. Pleasure in knowing that none of this matters, because Plot has written the end of them all.

    Lightning cracks in the sky as Evil G holds his dark blade high against his opponent. In the flash, the form of the Sepulchral Phantom, Morthrandur, witnesses their climactic confrontation in silence, unseen by any.

    Evil G: "I'd say it was nice knowing you, goody-Geb, but that would be a lie. Any last words?"

    Gebohq: "No swords."

    Evil G: "No words? Then on with the -- gah!"

    The magic quill continues to surreptitiously move in Gebohq's hand as Evil G's own blade breaks down into nothingness in his own hands. Instinctually, Evil G drops the blade, only for it to disappear before it hits the ground.

    Gebohq and Evil G fight now with no swords.

    Evil G: "Well aren't you just annoyingly clever."

    The two start to circle each other, attempting to be the first to out-maneuver the other. A lot of double, triple, and recursive guessing goes through each other's thoughts, considering correctly that their opponent likely anticipates their moves.

    Evil G: "What deus ex machina handed you that quill, hmm?"

    Gebohq: "Someone close to us."

    Evil G: "What, you mean like that woman you were with or something? Or Los? I don't see Ante as the sort who'd do that sort of thing--"

    Gebohq: "No, I mean-- you know what? Nevermind. It doesn't matter."

    Evil G: "You got that right!"

    With furious wiggling of his fingers, Evil G appears to be conjuring a spell, or typing on an invisible keyboard in front of him, while Gebohq pens more words in the air to weave magic with words. Evil G seems to draw hellish fire from the earth, condensing it into a bolt under his hands, before he flings it as a flare towards Gebohq, instantly frying his entire body to ashes. Gebohq steps behind where he had been, leaving a persuasive projection of himself in his place with his magic quill, continuing to limn the illusion that Evil G successfully summons his own magic to its ends.

    When the illusion subsides, Evil G blinks in confusion. He then wipes out the script.

    Evil G: "You dirty rat -- changing the script is MY shtick! How underhanded of you. I'd be proud of you if I hadn't been your victim."

    Gebohq: "My hand was forced. Pulled away from my principles... so that your evil ends here..."

    Evil G: "Oh stop being so melodramatic about it! This is a fight to the death here, where the only principle that matters is staying alive. So get a grip on reality and--"

    Breathing suddenly becomes difficult for Evil G as Gebohq summons a rock pillar of an arm out of the ground, its hand grasping firm around Evil G's neck. With one hand, Evil G attempts to pull the stone hand away in vain, while the other appears to flail. The wind is taken out of Evil G's breath, and he dies picks up suddenly, knocking Gebohq off his feet and scratching out whatever his quill had been writing. The rock arm disintegrates, and Evil G gasps for air.

    Evil G: "OK, no more giving advice from me."

    Gebohq: "You've pushed me around long enough!"

    He holds his quill high, seeming to wave it about, when lightning strikes down upon it. Instead of electrifying Gebohq on the spot, though, it squeezes into a short spear of a bolt.

    Evil G: "Fuq."

    With events pushed faster than he can counter, Evil G jumps to dodge out of the way of the magic bolt. In the process, though, he rushes right into The Last True Evil, and the both of them go tumbling down. Gebohq stares at the two, trying to come to terms with what he's done, when The Last True Evil throws dirt into his eyes. Disoriented, Gebohq runs right into his sister, Losien, sending the both of them falling. Realization dawns on Gebohq as he stands back up to see his sister.

    Gebohq: "Next time, please don't involve us in your fight, Los."

    Evil G: "Yeah, we're trying to murder each other here and you're not helping!"

    Losien: "Sorry!"

    The Last True Evil: "I'll keep that in mind..."

    Both Gebohqs resume their own confrontation, circling each other once more to determine their next move.

    Evil G: "Look, we'll both die of boredom if we don't do something."

    Gebohq: "Fine by me. We'll just edit each other's attempts to do otherwise anyway."

    Evil G: "Flashy power struggle through magic beams then?"

    Gebohq: "Only if there's also a battle of ideals with our words with it."

    Evil G: "Deal."

    The two start conjuring, with Gebohq writing with his magic quill while Evil G taps his fingers across the metaphorical keyboard. As ethereal threads appear around both of them, they seem to stop writing words and instead draw from existing sources -- their own stories. The magical threads fly towards each other, attempting to weave around each other to tie the other up while advancing onward. The center of their collision begins to grow into a glowing half-gordian knot, half-mystical swirl, threatening to bowl into one or the other of the casters at any time. Once again, thanks to the growing light of the wizard's duel, the Sepulchral Phantom can be made out in the shadows of the inky tendrils surrounding the apocalyptic arena.

    Gebohq: "Look, I don't want to kill you, but I know what you can do, and what's going on through your head, because they're the same things going on through my head. Everyone has good in them, but you chose to cast that aside, and now you're dooming us all with your desire for control. I have to end you, for good, for the ones I love."

    Evil G: "Listen! Yes, we're all doomed here. The Plot wants so-called Good to win this time around, to end things forever and ever, and you know as well as I that the good guys always win. But it won't be a forgiving Good, you know. Nobody is good enough when Plot looms, and as soon as it uses up so called heroes to defeat the villains, the Plot will just cut you right off. Deem your usefulness at an end, and cull you for your own sins. If I win, though, there's just the slightest shred of a chance Plot can be killed here and now. We might not survive, but the story can live on through others. Think of Rachel! Of your child! For the sake of the story!"

    Gebohq: "...and what of Young? Of your Chance?"

    Evil G: "I don't deserve them! And they don't deserve the terrible things I've brought upon them. I once thought I could bend Plot to my will, and now they're paying the price. This is the only way they might be saved, the only means to justify their stories don't end. Let me win as a villain what I've lost as a hero!"

    Gebohq: "I can't let you do that. I see now what I blinded myself to all this time, that which Losien struggled with her whole life. There is good in you after all, because there's good in me. Our courage is as much there as our cowardice. For the real sake of the story, we need to work together!"

    Bewilderment crawls across Evil G's face.

    Evil G: "Do you expect me to believe that? To just stop so that you can kill me?"

    Gebohq: "I had hoped so, because it seems this gift I got runs out of ink after all."

    It's clear that, for the past few moments, Gebohq's magic quill did, in fact, run out of ink, for what the note given to him did not say was that the quill's ink would run out when its user became fated to die. The last of the ethereal threads fly at the convergence, the series of events to unfold having already been woven.

    Evil G: "I change my mind! Undo, undo!"

    Appearing to frantically mash the metaphorical keys, Evil G's own magic seems to unwind out of existence in chunks, but not fast enough. The gordian knot of a mystical swirl hurls towards Gebohq, the nature of their duel tying the two to their places until one defeated the other. Abandoning any sensible thoughts of logic or self-perseverance, Evil G grabs hold of the magical threads from his end. The threads sear his hands severely, yet he manages to hold on as he attempts to pull the gordian knot of a mystical swirl away from Gebohq. Inches away, Evil G manages to swing certain death away from Gebohq, swinging it in the opposite direction and upwards before letting it go. Rocketing like a missile, the culmination of their powers knocking out a chunk of one of the remaining towers of the Palace of Power as it flies off into the distance, its final destination left unseen.

    Despite not being directly hit by the results of their duel, the sheer shockwave left by its change in course knocked Gebohq down to the ground. Evil G rushes over to him.

    Evil G: "Please don't be dead, please don't be dead..."

    After a pregnant pause, Gebohq's eyes flutter open.

    Gebohq: "I didn't know you cared so much for me."

    Evil G: "Shut up! We got work to do, right?"

    Gebohq: "I did say that, didn't I. Is it too late to change my mind?"

    The two reach out for each other's hands so that Evil G can help Gebohq stand up. Behind Evil G's back, his other hand seems to be conjuring something ominous, needle-thin tendrils reaching from the ground towards his hand. With Evil G's help, Gebohq stands back up and a bit to Evil G's side.



    Evil G: "Is that clicking?"


    Evil G's eyes widen, and the two of them look to see red spreading square across Evil G's chest. He draws the hand he had behind his back up in front of him to see himself holding an improvised shank. Evil G stares back at Gebohq.

    Evil G: "Seems I'm a real bad guy after all. I'm not feeling well, so I'm just going to lie down for a bit."

    With little grace, Evil G slumps to the ground. Gebohq narrows his eyes towards the smoking gun of The Last True Evil, and towards the fallen bodies of Antestarr and Losien, the latter clearly still alive. Morthrandur watches on from the shadows.

    The End looms.

  4. #124
    Virgin Fleet Admiral
    The number of X cultists and Aeon Knights has been steadily dwindling, but now that the great skylight has turned away from them, the pressure has let up. Somewhat. There are still hordes of zombies throwing themselves at our intrepid heroes.

    Kloo Celli: It seems we have failed in our task to adequately maintain the villain's attention.

    Kassuin: More likely, those imbeciles failed miserably at stealth.

    Telkrin: I only pray they will succeed in their task.

    Aellah: Doesn't seem likely, does it?

    His ghastly prediction is very much at odds with his perennially cheerful personality, even as his ruhand cleaves zombies in half.

    Kloo Celli: Even if they do succeed, I am not certain this world - or anything in it - will survive.

    She is right. The sky is black ink, and the horizon is the same. Whether the EeP wins or loses, there will soon be nothing left of this realm.

    Rob X: That does NOT look good.

    The others glance in Rob's direction, to see a massive wave of black ink rising before him. The wave widens, subsuming zombies its in wake, until it encircles them entirely, a tsunami of black ink held in suspension, ready to crash down upon its prey at any moment.

    Kassuin: Quickly! We must form a shield!

    Kloo Celli: It will not be enough.

    Telkrin: Aellah! You guided us through the black ink once before, even through dimensional barriers! Can you do so again?

    Aellah nods cheerfully.

    Aellah: Well, I can try--

    The black tidal wave crashes down upon them.
    Last edited by Al Ciao; 10-17-2017 at 05:43 PM.

  5. #125
    Tea-sipper, character-killer

    Arrow A Personal Touch

    Gebohq holds out his hand and the NeverSword rematerialises, its soft hilt comfortable against his palm. He had caused it to vanish during his fight with Evil G but he could bring it back just as easily. His own sword, the NeSword, has been lost to the gushing ink of the pedestal. This NeverSword may once have been an anathema to him, being the counter sword to his own, but he is no longer the main character. He is just a man. A man in need of a blade.

    The Last True Evil knocks the revolver chamber open and starts to insert new bullets into it, slowly and deliberately with a thin smile on his face.

    The Last True Evil:
    "Just like old times, tovarish?"

    Gebohq: "Me with my friends, you alone. Yes, just like old times."

    The Last True Evil: "Do you expect me to break down and cry?"

    Gebohq: "I guess not. Looks to me like the last of your humanity is finally gone."

    The Last True Evil:
    "If there ever was any. I tried it your way, Gebohq. I tried to be the good guy. I did everything the good guy should do. Save the day, get the girl, ride off into the sunset. Destiny, though... it has a way of creeping up on you."

    He snaps the revolver chamber shut again.

    The Last True Evil: "It's poetic that I am the one to kill you, staryj drug. The Ever-Ending Plot does have its Romantic side."

    "Ha! Gaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay!"

    The Last True Evil: "Don't ruin the beauty of this moment, autsajder."

    Brittica: "There really are better ways to work out your bi-curious tendencies."

    Gebohq: "Like being turned into a woman?"

    "Exactly! Now I can explore my bi-curiosity with women! I always knew I had an inner lesbian."

    The Last True Evil: "First you try to emotionally exploit me. Now you try to annoy me. Typical NeS Heroes, never facing a situation with your heart. Just constant, how do you Americans say--? Bullshi--"

    Brittica: "I'm not American, I'll have you know! I'm Roman! And proud!"

    The Last True Evil: "This is what I am talking about."

    Gebohq: "You complain about us talking but I don't see much else from you."

    The Last True Evil: "I know you must be tired of living by now, Geb. You've had a hard time. So much expected of you, being the leader, but never living up to it. Always being overshadowed by everyone else. By me. I always was the better man."

    Gebohq, his manhood now in question, sees red and leaps forward. There's a portion of his brain that knows what's happening. He's being goaded so that he will attack without thinking and succumb quickly to whatever counterstrike TLTE has up his sleeve. That's the part of Gebohq that isn't dumb.

    Unfortunately it's a very small part of Gebohq's brain and is usually buried under the portion of his brain dedicated to porn. Meaning it's buried very, very deep.

    As expected, his charge ended with a swift clothesline and Gebohq falls flat on his back with a resounding groan. TLTE lowers his revolver, its barrel aimed straight for his old friend's skull. As Gebohq lies there, staring up, he can see TLTE has every intention of killing him and that fact chills him. His friend is truly gone, if he was ever there at all.

    Brittica: "You do realise I'm not going to just stand around and let you shoot him, right?"

    The Last True Evil: "Think you can stop me?"

    The Russian pulls the trigger. The hammer slams. The bullet fires. Gebohq gasps.

    Then TLTE howls and staggers back from the momentum of a bullet to the shoulder.

    Brittica: "Missed his head."

    TLTE's bafflement doesn't need to last long as he sees that Brittica had created a small tea vortex that swallowed the bullet and sent it along the swirling tea, down and around, before releasing it from its current. Brittica lets the tea go. She winces as Gebohq then howls with pain too.

    Gebohq: "HOT! HOT! HOT!"

    Brittica: "It's not that hot. It wasn't boiling! Just... almost boiling. Drinkable, I would say."

    TLTE is then set upon by Losien. She had crawled along the floor, grabbed his foot while he's distracted and then chomped on his leg. Seeing he has lost the initiative, TLTE stops playing with his food. A tendril slaps down and whips Losien's back. She cries out and releases TLTE.

    He makes a snapshot at Brittica. He knows he'll miss, his intention is to force the tea-wielding woman to back off while he makes a brief retreat. The tendril grabs Losien by the waist and yanks her from the floor. This is getting traditional now. Beautiful damsel in distress, heroes in dire straits. If he were more sentimental he'd get an evil wedding on right about now. But that part of him was extinguished when all of this began. He couldn't marry Losien, even if he forced her into it, because it would remind him of his failure. He snaps his fingers and a gaggle of tendrils bursts from the ground and rushes at the remaining two.

    Gebohq staggers to his feet as quick as he can and takes a wild swing at the incoming inky lines. The NeverSword slices through them and they fall to the floor, still wriggling madly, but Gebohq stumbles too. His sword makes a resounding clang as it hit the floor. As though summoned by that clang, more tendrils busrt from the floor behind him. They fold in on him and yank him backwards, down to the ground. His sword arm pinned, the tentacles pull. Gebohq feels his body being crushed. He can't even cry out for help as one sticky, black arm is slathered across his mouth.

    "Well, I broke that damned axe I stole, so I'm going to have to improvise."

    She holds her hand out and a jet of tea splashes onto one of the tendrils holding Gebohq. Initially it does nothing to deter the thing but she concentrates the spray do that it becomes a high-pressure hose. The kind that cuts through steel. The tendril splits with a sickening snap of flesh and ink. She can't work on the next one, though, because she has to dive out of the way as Losien flies towards him. Her wail grows louder as her body draws near and then becomes more faint as the tentacle holding her swoops by. Brittica sweeps her jet-spray up and lances through the swooping tentacle. It tears apart and, in the distance, Brittica hears the agitated scream of Losien plummeting to the floor.

    Brittica glances down to see Gebohq's angry eyes.

    Brittica: "She'll be fiiiiiiiiiiiine~~!"

    The Last True Evil: "But you won't be."

    A tentacle, much larger than the others, swings and bats Brittica like a baseball. She is sent soaring into the air like a rag-doll. Gebohq desperately gropes at the soggy, inky tendril across his mouth with his, now, free arm but his hand passes through the ink like its water. TLTE slowly stomps towards the fallen hero and looms over him. He raises his gun again.

    The Last True Evil:
    "Now, where were we?"

    There's strange sound, one that TLTE hadn't heard in a long time. It's a hum, a choir of hums. It gets louder and when it hits a crescendo he feels searing pain. His arm falls loose with a wet thud to the floor, pistol and all. He roars with agony and jumps back to see a complete stranger has attacked him. With a deft flick of what looks like a lightsabre, she cuts the tentacles holding down Gebohq. He splutters in disgust.

    The Last True Evil: "Who the Hell-?"

    Gebohq: "Minor character to the rescue!"

    Kokoro Lymn: "You people really do speak in a strange fashion..."

    Gebohq: "Okay, we can end this together."

    Kokoro Lymn: "One of us has to guard the entrance. I've been fending off the undead but their numbers are growing. I think... I think my friends might have been brought down. Now all eyes are on us."

    Aariadon waddles over, but strays very overtly away from TLTE who is staring at the stump where his arm once was. Around his shoulders is curled the incredibly fat cat, Morris. Despite all the death and destruction around them, Morris just yawns by way of greeting.

    Gebohq: "Or the one eye anyway."

    Kokoro Lymn: "He is your enemy, I should guard the entrance. But I can't hold it forever. There'll be an army in here soon."

    Gebohq nods to her.

    Gebohq: "Thanks, Kokoro. You're a life-saver. Literally."

    He looks to Aariadon.

    Gebohq: "You should probably keep out of the way."

    He wants to demand Morris actually help, since he knows the fat cat is more than capable when he wants to be, but is trusts that Morris will, at least, help Kokoro at the doors to the inner chamber should the sudden need arise. If he told Morris to help, the cat would refuse to do it on principle.

    "Remember the Malorkus needs a personal touch!"

    Gebohq: "I think we're a bit past finesse, Aari."

    Morris: "He probably just said something profound that'll come back later, Geb. Just forget it for now."

    Gebohq: "Uh... right."

    Kokoro Lymn: "I just don't want the demise of my people to be in vain."

    Gebohq scowls down at his own sword through a wash of sweat. It's a scowl of absolute determination.

    Gebohq: "It wasn't."

    As the first of the undead shuffles through the entrance to this inner sanctum, Kokoro rushes at it. She makes no battlecry, no emotional roar for victory. She attacks with deadly purpose.

    The Last True Evil grunts as his arm is restored by the black pus. He shakes it, as though testing its functionality. He then smiles at Gebohq.

    The Last True Evil: "We're back to this again. Like a repetitive cycle. You, me--"

    Losien: "And me."

    The Last True Evil:
    "A dynamic duo."

    Brittica: "And m--ACK!"

    She falls down to the ground after having come back down from her trip into the sky, saved only by her tea jets (flying about like Iron Man. Or Tea Man. Or Tea Woman.)

    The Last True Evil: "Terrible trio is it then."

    Without further banter, he lunges forward with his officer's sword. His sword aims for Losien but Gebohq manages to parry the attack. Before Gebohq could get in a counter attack, he has to lurch backwards to get out of range of a potshot TLTE pulls off. The new pistol came from within his trenchcoat and was designed for such close and personal gunfights. The Walther PPK was designed for spies and TLTE had stolen it off of a British spy named Benedict Cumberlatch some time ago while said spy was on some strange time-travelling stint. The guy didn't survive the encounter and to the victor goes the spoils.

    Losien doesn't have her sword, as he's busy making sweet, sweet polish with a cape. But with the power of her Potential-infused-spirit, her body has become the weapon. She cracks his outstretched arm and the Walther PPK topples free. She yanks his arm, pulling the Russian in close, and uses the palm of her hand to smack his stern nose. He reels back with surprise but composes quickly. He makes a wide slash with his sword, knocking she would jump back to avoid the lazy strike. TLTE may not have the spirit of combat within him as she does, but he has long been the master planner. Know your enemy, know their moves. With his second hand he whips a knife out of his pocket in a smooth arc and it spins free of his grasp.

    The knife scrapes the skin off of her shoulder as she narrowly avoids being stuck by it.

    TLTE is always aware of his surroundings. Rarely is a spy of his calibre taken by surprise. He raises his sword to the right, hardly even bother to look, as he catches the incoming sword stroke of Gebohq. He shoves the surprised American back before ducking to avoid a scalding jet of tea from the superpowered Roman. Brittica tries to move back, seeing him drawing close, and TLTE makes a swift swing up with the officer's sword. It cuts the thick, furry coat the woman has been wearing and if this post were written by Al Ciao the Writer there would probably have been exposure. Fortunately it's not (or unfortunately if you're a pervert).

    Brittica holds her wound with panic at seeing her own blood flowing so freely.

    Brittica: "Jesus!"

    TLTE once again brings his sword to defend from Gebohq from above. Gebohq almost makes the same mistakes twice. With his free hand he this time pulls out an uzi, aims it under his own defensive arm, and sprays a flurry of bullets at Brittica. She is sharper than he had given her credit for as she had anticipated the move. A wall of tea soars upwards like an inverse waterfall and the bullets are drawn up by its momentum. It starts to rain warm tea and bullets.

    TLTE can't help but feel elated as he battles against these three. He feels free. This is who he is meant to be.

    Gebohq: "We have to do something! Kokoro can't hold the undead off forever!"

    He shouts as he avoids an attack from TLTE. Losien moves in to attempt a fist-to-face but TLTE, trained in martials arts himself, knocks her attack aside and follows up with a slash of his sword. The blade slits a gash in Losien's back and she cries out.

    Brittica: "I'm open to suggestions, Gebohq!"

    Gebohq points towards where the pedestal had been. The pedestal itself has been broken apart by the eternal torrent of ink that bursts from the hole like a river. The sky above them has been slowly filling up with jet-black ink like a horrific cloud of evil.

    "We have to seal it up! He'll lose his power!"

    Gebohq is suddenly silenced with a huge boot to the abdomen.

    The Last True Evil: "And how do you intend to do that, tovarish!?"

    TLTE spreads his arms in genuine query.

    Losien: "With this."

    She has found the discarded Malorkus. A moment passes as Losien and TLTE look at each other. They were once lovers, partners, friends. Now they are competing for survival. TLTE's eyes twitch from the Malorkus to the broken pedestal and, before they could flick back, she is off. Her feet pound against the rock as she legs it towards the pedestal.

    A tentacle burst from the floor, slamming stones in all directions, and she skids to avoid being snatched by it. TLTE bounds after her, his long legs giving him a much greater stride than hers. Her heart pounds in her chest as she feels him drawing on her. Then she sees Brittica on her far left. Losien tosses the Malorkus. Brittica fires a jet of tea that launches her up into the air where she snatches the hilt before it even begins its descent. She lands at a continued run but sees TLTE is now making a beeline for her instead. He positions himself between her and Losien, blocking any attempt to make a return throw.

    Brittica: "Bollocks, bollocks, bollocks, bollocks, bollocks--!"

    She mutters to herself.

    "To me!"

    She hears Gebohq shout from behind and, without thinking, Brittica slams on the breaks and stops dead. TLTE almost fell as he tried to stop himself and double-back. By then Brittica has already launched the blade backwards to Gebohq.

    Gebohq catches the sword with his right hand. He looks from the Malorkus to the NeverSword and wonders. A personal touch? There's nothing personal about the NeverSword for Gebohq beyond it being his counterpart's twisted blade. He tries to think. That personal touch. A personal blade?

    The NeSword didn't work because it wasn't Gebohq wielding it, it was Brittica. To her the NeSword was as any other sword. The axe was a powerful character weapon but the axe itself meant nothing to Brittica and Subaru herself was entirely unknown to her. Brittica had no feelings for the NeSword or Subaru's axe and even their owners were of little import to her; Gebohq and Brittica only recently being acquainted and she never even knew the Japanese NeS Hero. But with Evil G gone, nobody could use the NeverSword either.

    Losien: "Geb!"

    Brittica: "Ya mong!!!"

    Gebohq returns from his musing just a moment before TLTE ploughs into him. He instinctively throws the Malorkus and it goes just out of TLTE's reach. It clatters just shy of Losien and she's left to carry the burden towards the pedestal.

    As she goes she sees more of the pedestal crumble away from the force of the ink flow. As she draws near she feels a darkness upon her soul that seems to slow her down. Her hearing is muffled and her breathing is laboured. A thick aura of plot hangs over the vicinity. She gasps for breath but keeps going. She raises the Malorkus but hears a shout;

    Brittica: "Look out!!"

    She catches sight of TLTE bearing down upon her like a freight train. He forces himself between her and Brittica. Losien spins to gear up to throw the sword to the tea-wielder. TLTE imposes his tall figure and far-reaching arms to block the shot.

    Except she doesn't throw it.

    The Malorkus slams straight through TLTE's chest and he croaks with surprise. Finally a move he didn't see coming. He looks down at the blade protruding from his chest and staggers back. Losien then grabs the hilt and glares into his eyes. He sees her and smiles.

    The Last True Evil: "You... can't kill me, Kotėnok."

    With all her strength she pushes the hilt and steers him backwards. He stumbles along for one metre until he falls back against the remains of the pedestal. The ink torrent splashes over them both, bathing them in black liquid. She shouts at him with anger but he just laughs.

    The Last True Evil:
    "I cannot die. Now, I am eternal."

    As he lies against the pedestal, the adrenalin rushing through his ears, he sees Losien wet with ink. Buried deep down inside his pain and self-loathing a tiny kindling ignites as he remembers her. He remembers the feelings he had and the life he had once yearned for.

    The Last True Evil: "You... could join me, Losien."

    Losien stares at him, hands still on the hilt of the sword through his chest. The blade is inside the pedestal but nothing has happened.

    Losien: "I loved you. I really did. But you never loved me. Not really. You just wanted to love me. You wanted me to make you the man you thought you could be. You used me. Like a tool. I am not an object for you to toy with. And I'll never be one for anyone ever again."

    She snatches his officer's sword from his limp hand and forces it into the opening at the end of the Malorkus. It stops, the tip of the blade almost inside but some invisible force is stopping it. She pushes harder and it wobbles but refuses to pass into the Malorkus completely.

    The Last True Evil: "Losien... it won't work. The sword is mine, not yours. It means nothing to you."

    Losien: "But it's your sword and you mean something to me!"

    The officer's sword continues to threaten to fall through but it is still being kept at bay.

    The Last True Evil: "It's not personal enough for you. It's not enough! Just let it go. You have lost, there is nothing more any of you can do! None of you have your personal weapons."

    Gebohq: "I think his sword will be enough. It won't go all the way in because it will work, but it needs even more of that... personal touch."

    He looks at Losien.

    Gebohq: "Together. He was your love and he was my friend. It'll be enough."

    The Last True evil panics, perhaps for the first time, as he hears the assuredness in Gebohq's voice. The voice of a man that knows what he's doing. Gebohq does it rarely but when he does he always finds victory.

    The Last True Evil: "Wait!!"

    It's too late. The siblings' hands are upon the hilt and it slides down suddenly. TLTE gasps.

    But it's stuck again.

    TLTE then starts to laugh, as much from relief as from being victorious.

    The Last True Evil: "Still not enough! Still not enough...!"

    If the sword is removed he would heal back to full strength, but so long as it's there he's weak. He pants and his hands claw. Behind the twins tentacles are creeping along the floor, climbing from craters and over rocks. Hundreds of them, like slithering snakes, are headed to the pedestal. Losien glances back and sees Kokoro being forced further into the sanctum. Even Morris is helping her while Aariadon is sitting against the wall and rocking himself back and forth.

    She grits her teeth. If they're all going to die here after all, then she's going to go down with every ounce of her strength resisting the control of TLTE. Control of the Eep. Control of destiny.

    She pushes. Her spirit pushes. Gebohq pushes. They can feel it wanting to fall but unable to make that last inch.

    Brittica appears beside them.

    Gebohq: "Hold them off, there's nothing you can do here!"

    Brittica: "Actually... I never told you this. But I really hate you, your face and all your clone brothers."

    The Last True Evil: "It's not enough!"

    He is laughing in his stupor.

    "I knew the Original True Evil. In fact, he was my friend. I trusted him completely."

    TLTE now looks at Brittica, perhaps for the first time, though he still doesn't comprehend.

    Brittica: "But then, at the end, before I froze him atop the mountains... I learnt the truth. He murdered Soolien."

    The Last True Evil:

    "My friend!!"

    Brittica grabs the hilt along with his two descendent.

    The officer's sword budges that extra inch and completes its connection with the Malorkus. The mystical sword activates, at last, within the broken pedestal and the flowing ink from the hole reacts. TLTE himself surges with pain and he screams until he suddenly explodes as nothing but a shower of ink...

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