Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Day Eight-Eighty-Three: You deserve slow

Kierkegaard had never felt so alive.

Growing up, he’d experienced few true battles. Yes, he’d occasionally joined mercenary bands and feudal kingdoms during his time as a lowly court jester, but not once in a thousand years had he been given the opportunity to really scrap. Not with his powers fully unfurled. But when the werewolves appeared… oh, when the werewolves appeared…

Dismissing the notion that something was ever so slightly wrong with his worldview, Kierkegaard leaped out of his portal, expanded to his full size, and waded into the battleground. Almost as large as the Nothings at his back, Kierkegaard stood head-and-shoulders above the other Non, the sunlight casting an orangey hue on his roiling black muscles. He knew that he looked like a god to everyone else, and he revelled in the glory of his unveiled form.

It didn’t scare the werewolves away, of course. But he’d anticipated as much.

Slavering, Kierkegaard charged through the Non lines, smacking dozens of his own troops aside as he made for the werewolves. They slavered back by the dozens, no, by the hundreds, loping eagerly towards him at a ferocious pace. Their attack was so concentrated - perhaps the battle cry he’d screamed was a bit too much - that Kierkegaard abruptly realized that he was, just this once, a wee bit outnumbered. But he could deal with that. Indeed, he’d been counting on this.

Continuing his charge, Kierkegaard drew upon his power and dipped his fingers into dozens of portals, each floating at the ends of his fingernails. They emerged beside the werewolves, expertly flicking the beasts aside at random. He didn’t kill any of the creatures, of course, because his flicks were too controlled… and he’d been counting on that, too, because he needed to experiment. He needed to see.

Or, rather, Emmett needed to see. But he was too much of a pansy to come out onto the battlefield again, even with his fancy new body. Kierkegaard was fine with that. Emmett was a scientist. He belonged in his fleshy lab. He did his best work there, and tended to screw up everything when he went anywhere else. Kierkegaard could perform the field testing.

With each flick a werewolf went flying. One, two, four, six, eight, a dozen, three dozen. Possibly a hundred. Kierkegaard knew he was causing domino effects with each attack, knocking lupine into lupine at subduing speed. But there were still many, so many, where he bowled through the final wall of troops and met the werewolves face-to-face.

Kierkegaard expected at least one of them to try and lunge at his face. He did not expect a scraggly young man to do it instead.

Logan zipped at Kierkegaard’s exposed bird skull from above, one leg extended in a nimble kick. His boot caught Kierkegaard in his left eye, and large though it was, it was far from heavily-armoured. Kierkegaard howled as pain blossomed in his head, and he reached up to swipe at the tiny prince even as he clutched his eye socket. Logan merely rebounded off of Kierkegaard’s enormous arm and hit the dirt, unfazed.

“You fucking BRAT!” Kierkegaard howled, rising to his full height and eclipsing both Logan and the tide of werewolves - werewolves that were steering around his ankles to get at the rest of his army. “GAH! FUCK YOU!

Far below, Logan offered the penguin a slight smile. “You were a shitty jester, man! I’m just payin’ you back for all your crap jokes!”

Snarling, Kierkegaard raised one titanic fist and brought it down onto the dirt. Logan dodged to one side, drawing a lengthy bamboo tube from a strap on his back. Kierkegaard tried to drag Logan into a portal, creating a circle of blackness at the young man’s feet, but Logan was too fast for that, too, and as he leaped into the air he fired something at Kierkegaard. It hit -

- and intense, stabbing pain erupted in Kierkegaard’s now-not-so-good eye. The penguin yowled again, triggering a mild earthquake as he staggered back and forth. He blindly triggered a dozen portals immediately in front of him, angrily hoping Logan might fall in one, but as his left eye blearily recovered he saw the prince land safely almost a hundred feet away.

Wincing, Kierkegaard triggered a portal directly in front of his right eye. Whatever had been stuck in it - a dart? - vanished into it, along with a microscopically-thin layer of Kierkegaard’s oily-green cornea. Kierkegaard’s Non heritage immediately repaired the damage, though it hurt like a bitch… and the pain continued to intensify, enough that something in Kierkegaard’s head began to burn.

“What… what the fuck…“ Kierkegaard glared, ivory beak snapping open and shut with each word. “WHAT THE FUCK DID YOU… AUGH…”

“Necromonk poison!” Logan shouted, holding the bamboo tube triumphantly over his head. He struggled to remain upright as werewolf after werewolf charged past him on both sides, many of them freshly recovered from being knocked about by Kierkegaard. “Stole it off some schmuck! Worth a fortune! Good for killin’ people, I hear! How’s it feel?”

Kierkegaard responded, not with words, but with action. Roaring, he opened two huge portals, one for each arm, and triggered fresh portals on both sides of Logan. His claws flew towards the prince -

- and slapped off of one another fruitlessly as Logan skipped away, looking almost merry. As Kierkegaard tried to disentangle his claws Logan raised the tube again and fired another dart, catching Kierkegaard in the neck. Fresh fire surged through Kierkegaard’s veins, and he fell to one knee, breathing hard. Extricating his arms and closing the portals, he braced himself on his fists, leaving huge furrows in the dirt.

“You… you little shit…” Kierkegaard panted, the world before his maimed eyes spinning. The right eye was still painted black against his eyesight, and he pinched it shut. “We… we had a fuckin’ truce…”

“As if!” Logan snorted. “You sent us one damned letter and gave us no chance to respond! Wasn’t even a point to it! Why the hell would we help you against our allies? Some military genius you turned out t’be!”

Despite the ache in his head and the fury in his heart, Logan’s comment gave Kierkegaard temporary pause. Why had he sent out the truce request again? What was the point? Had he suspected something might happen that required his undivided attention? It was too much to consider, what with the pain, and the… the impertinence

“I’m gonna…” Despite himself, Kierkegaard began to chortle, breaking out into a full, gleeful laugh. “I’m gonna love nibbling the meat from your fuckin’ bones, human! You look goddanmed tasty! And your ma and pa, hell, they’ll be so damned fine - “

A blur of motion, Logan raised the tube a third time and fired. The dart hit Kierkegaard’s forehead, just below the brim of his hat. The penguin doubled over, his entire head awash with agony. He howled and hit the ground, crumpling over on his arms, burying his beak in the dirt, one thought ever in his head: One hundred feet. One hundred feet. One hundred feet.

“We’re takin’ you out now, you punk!” Logan yelled, voice raised. He almost sounded inspirational. The thought made Kierkegaard vaguely queasy. “You’re not goin’ any further, you hear me?! We have a shitload of people to ave - “

Logan didn’t get any further in his speech. Still focusing on that one, precious thought, doing his best to ignore the wildfire bouncing off the sides of his skull, Kierkegaard created ten finger-sized portals in the dirt beneath his bulk, where Logan couldn’t see them. That had been his problem before… but not anymore.

Jutting out of the ground, Kierkegaard’s fingernails slid up, around, and into Logan’s legs, piercing the flesh with ease. Now it was Logan’s turn to scream, and as he did so he wobbled, inflicting more damage as his wounds tore on Kierkegaard’s jagged nails.

Resisting his own injuries, his fingers carefully implanted in the ground, Kierkegaard rose to his knees. He lifted a shaky head to glare at Logan, and he was quite satisfied to see that the prince’s cocky smirk was now gone. He’d always hated that fucking smirk, even if Logan had been sick most of the time Kierkegaard was around. Kierkegaard was the only one allowed to smirk.

“Let’s… make this… slow,” the penguin panted, his voice a deep, hollow boom. “You… deserve… slow.

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