Thursday, July 25, 2013

Day Five Hundred: In Foramine Mundi, Part Ten

A penguin soars across the world. Within minutes, he and his halved army return home.

He steps out of the fading green light, rubbing his chest. The force of the blast yet lingers, even though the mark is gone. His breath does not come as easily as it should. He will mend, with time, but for now… pain. Slight pain.

I'm fuckin' lucky, he thinks. If I was a normal Non that kid would've blown right through me. Small favors, 'n all that jazz.

His troops, battle-worn, surprised and tired, slink into the ruins of a once-mighty castle. They will seek out their respective nooks in the rubble and nestle in, content to use their own bodies for comfort. Soon they will need food, but for now… for now, they can rest.

The penguin is hungry. He wants flesh. He regrets not dragging one of the prisoners along for the ride. He wishes he could sup on the brat, or perhaps his glitchy father, but… no. Not today.

Not yet.

He walks through the ruins of a thoroughfare, nodding at bulbous shadows as he passes. They nod back, reverent and afraid. He is small now - 

- shunt -

- but at any moment he can be bigger than any of them, stronger than any of them, and this cows them. This forces respect. He may have been forced to retreat, but still. Respect.

The penguin licks his beak with a too-long tongue. Jagged teeth slip in and out of his jaws. Very hungry, very hungry indeed.

A balding man waits for him by a massive hole in the side of the castle. He lifts a gloved hand in greeting, though it is tentative. Shaky. The penguin knows there is no respect here, but there is fear. And fear is good.

"Howdy, teach." The penguin bows, doffing his hat. "All done. The last lock is gone."

The balding man nods. "I know. I noticed a faint outline twenty minutes ago. There are more details appearing every second. We did it."

The penguin cracks his fingers. "I did it. Your fat ass stayed here every time we went on campaign. Though I gotta thank you for the toy. She can take one helluva beating."

The balding man peers over the penguins shoulder. No doubt he is looking at the warrior, the woman who should still be a child, freshly released from the penguin's prison. She walks fearlessly through the shadows, bleeding in a dozen places, not caring about her wounds. They will heal. She is the most feared.

The penguin does not like this. But he will abide by the fact. For now.

"Is Pubton still standing?"

The penguin hesitates. He wants to frame his answer in such a way that he will come out on top. "Yeah. 'n your boy-toy is still alive, which is what I'm sure you were more interested in. Didn't feel the need to slag everybody."

A curious eyebrow rises. "That's uncharacteristically generous of you."

"Yeah, well…" The penguin puffs out his chest. It burns. "I'm saving 'em for later. Didn't wanna accidentally kill Litobora, either. She's still hangin' out there."

"I doubt you could kill her."

The penguin grins. "That sounds like a challenge, fatty."

The balding man does not take the bait. "It isn't."

They exchange hostile glares. The penguin has flashbacks to his final class with this man, so many years ago. He always hated art class. It was so… orderly.

After a few moments of intense study, the balding man shrugs and turns. "I'm going to watch it all reappear. I've been waiting for this moment for a long time. Join me if you like."

Skipping forward, ignoring the tingle in his lungs, the penguin joins his mentor. "Sure, teach. I've been waiting' too, after all. 'n while we watch, we can have a little chat 'bout what we're gonna do next."

The balding man's shoulders slump. "Next? You know what happens next. We consolidate. We have our old territory back, minus a few small areas. We need to rebuild our society. And after that…"

But the penguin isn't interested in this man's future. He's interested in a self-crafted destiny. He shakes his head. "Nope. Nope nope nope. That's what we need to chat 'bout. 'cause your plans and my plans… they aren't gonna survive together in the same world."

The balding man doesn't stop walking. He doesn't turn his head away from the staircase ahead, formed of shifted rubble and fallen walls. "Then… what do you have in mind, pray tell…?"

The penguin smiles. His teeth glint. There is a flash of green light as his body grows, muscles emerging from holes in the air to replace his stubby arms and legs, his cutesy face slowly and grotesquely shifting into an ivory skull supported by a thick, knotted neck. 

"Blood," the thing whispers. "Let's start with blood."

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