Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Day Nine-Twenty-Three: If ever there was a boss battle

“A year ago, I would’ve said you’re fuckin’ crazy.”

“Guess it’s lucky this isn’t a year ago, eh?”

“I guess. You come back, okay? Make sure that stupid-ass daughter of ours keeps you well. I’ll beat her ass otherwise.”

“Sure. Though I don’t know that she’ll listen to me.”

“Yes, she will. You’re the only person she’ll obey, because you’re the only person she actually loves. Everyone else is a meal ticket.”

The thought swelled Dragomir with pride, and it gave him the courage to start running.

Despite whatever physical debilitations were chewing at her body, Eve flew across the landscape like a torpedo. She charged well ahead of everyone else, reaching the first Nothing within half a minute. The machine didn’t know what hit it as she leaped into the air, unleashing a devastating kick on its hull. Another, nearby Nothing tried to impale her with a harpoon, but she rebounded off of the blade’s tip with a quick flick of her feet.

“Fuck me, I doubt I can ever do that,” Dragomir muttered to himself. He put all of his Non muscle into his legs and leaped forward, bounding towards the Nothings in leapfrog hops.

Kierkegaard spotted him coming from the very beginning. Now out in the open, the Non bellowed a challenge at Dragomir, cast a quick side glance at Eve as she whizzed by, and raised his hands. Somewhere, Dragomir had no doubt, a pair of portals had just appeared - 

- and, as expected, their counterparts appeared mere feet in front of Dragomir. Four, five, no, six harpoons screamed through, chewing up the ground at Dragomir’s feet. He was saved only because he was already travelling in the right direction, and even then some of the debris driven up by the harpoons cut into his leg. He gritted his teeth and landed a little wobbly, but immediately jumped again, because another portal appeared before him, bringing more harpoons to bear. Whirling, he gathered as much of the Catastrophe into his hands as possible, and the cavalcade of sparks cut through the tethers of the harpoons like a knife through butter. The sickly black liquid burnt away and dissolved.

An inferno raged in Dragomir’s head, and as he landed he noticed that his right hand seemed a little wavier than usual. Not quite right. He ignored it and kept going, charging towards the titanous penguin in the distance. Kierkegaard offered Dragomir a knowing grin…

… but it quickly turned to a hateful sneer as his head whipped around to gauge a new threat. Cedric was pounding across the battlefield towards him, Antonio on one side, Plato clinging to the buff captain’s back. 

“Why, Plato, you little fuck!” Kierkegaard cried, ignoring the human and the orc. “Come for a little revenge, have we? This’ll be shitloads of fun!”

Kierkegaard drove his arms into a pair of portals, and they emerged at Cedric’s feet. The captain skipped nimbly out of the way, landing with a puff of dirt, his platypus cargo abruptly thrown from his shoulders. Plato quacked as he hit the ground, rolling and bouncing with the grace of a grape, dropped from a dinner plate. Before Kierkegaard could pull his hand back through Antonio neatly slid to a stop, and he rammed one carefully-aimed fist into the penguin’s wrist. The penguin half-squealed, half-roared, and shook his hand painfully.

Both hands reemerged from their portals. One looked limp and useless. The other held a squirming, trembling Plato, gripped tightly in enormous, clawed fingers.

Kierkegaard held Plato up to one skeletal eye socket and peered appraisingly at him. A sickly tongue slid across the penguin’s razor-sharp beak. “I shoulda eaten you a long fuckin’ time ago, bro. Bottoms - ”

Kierkegaard didn’t finish his sentence. A slew of harpoons abruptly flew at the back of his head, knocking the huge top hat away from his ebony skull, and he shrieked angrily. He spun around - 

- and found one of the frontline Nothings facing him. Dozens of tiny, spectral forms flitted about its surface, and a Non-green light blazed from within a crack in the Nothing’s superstructure. One of the spectres grew large enough to be visible even to Dragomir, and it looked just as bald, just as puffy-faced, and just as officious as its owner… though it did stick its tongue out at Kierkegaard, which was something new.

WE CAN FUCK WITH MACHINES, NOW, TOO, EH, OLD MAN?” Kierkegaard created an enormous portal in front of himself to absorb a second flurry of harpoons aimed at his chest. “TRY THIS ON FOR FUCKIN’ SIZE!

The other end of the portal appeared behind the attacker. The harpoons impaled the Nothing from behind, and it clanked and whirred painfully as it listed to one side. Kierkegaard drove one well-muscled foot through the portal for good measure, knocking the Nothing off-balance and into the dirt. The landscape rumbled, and the Nothings at the front of the line, still facing off against the remnants of the Imperium guarding Rodentia, slowly began to turn around to track their newer, more dangerous foes. They drove hundreds of harpoons into the controlled Nothing, and it crumbled away almost instantly.

It was the distraction Plato needed.

During the attack, Dragomir noticed, Plato seemed to have steeled himself in Kierkegaard’s iron grip, whipped around though he was in the much-bigger Non’s talons. His skin had reverted from its normal grey to its natural Non black, and with oily sleekness Plato squirted up and out of Kierkegaard’s fingers. Landing nimbly on Kierkegaard’s forearm, Plato raised one stubby hand into the air, and seconds later there was a scythe clutched tightly in his fingers.

Get ‘im, Dragomir thought, bounding towards the closest Nothing, the one with the exposed innards. The Sky Bitch was raining cannon fire into its top as an additional distraction. Get ‘im good, little guy.

Kierkegaard had just enough time to peer down at Plato before the platypus swiped his scythe downward. The sparking green energy sliced through Kierkegaard’s wrist without the slightest resistance, parting flesh from flesh, bone from bone. The wound was cauterized at once as Kierkegaard’s left hand plummeted to the ground, hitting the dirt with such force that it disappeared in a puff of dirt and debris.

Kierkegaard didn’t bellow, didn’t complain, didn’t mutter a word. All he could do was stare at the stump of his arm in mute shock, and for the first time since meeting the Non, Dragomir suspected he saw legitimate fear in Kierkegaard’s glittering green eyes.

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