Chapter 19: Dragged into Darkness

Note this is the prog (in-progress) version and may change when the book comes out


The round pool of black goo blurped and mubbled as it—well, Chee couldn’t quite say what it was doing, but Darmenzi assured her it was powerful. As it rooted deep underground it would grow in strength until able to blast a dark beam at Mintop. Entire cities could be leveled. The moon would become a superweapon. Chee and Darmenzi could hold Mintop hostage.

Chee’s ship had arrived at the moon with no problems, releasing the launch vehicle after escaping the atmosphere, and the cockpit flew the rest of the journey. She looked at the ship, shaped like a hill. Next to it a machine created a barrier of energized gaseous particles around the area, holding air inside, while energizing the ground particles in a way to create artificial gravity. This had been worked on ever since she formed the idea to stage an attack from space, technology stolen from the neighboring planet Derantu and improved upon.

Chee walked to Darmenzi, who stood over the pool of goo. The goo settled just a few inches below the ground and looked as though about to bubble but never did. It glowed slightly as if molasses filled with uranium. “Is it ready?”

“You cannot rush such an excellent soup of dark power,” Darmenzi said. He smiled at the pool, although to be fair he smiled at everything. “As it stands, we should be able to destroy a town, but it does have to be sustained all the way to the planet.”

“I’ve been patient this long,” Chee said. “I can wait however long it takes.”

Darmenzi scooped some of the goo in a claw. The pool hissed and—strange as it may sound—seemed to moan. Darmenzi let the goo dribble into the pool and then released a thin dark beam from the claw into it. Chee was hesitant to call what Darmenzi had magic, but she had few other fitting words for it. She wanted to take a sample of the goo, study it, learn its composition, but she had more important business first.

“You know, it’s strange,” Darmenzi said, “but in this body I am rather reluctant at the idea of a hot tub.”

Chee looked at the magenta ball Mintop above. She saw the general area of her green home country far to the north. Her parents wanted her to be a respected member of the community. What was more respected than supreme ruler?

“Of course,” Darmenzi said, “you may have patience enough, but our acquaintances are not so tolerant of a wait.”

Chee turned to Darmenzi. “Acquaintances? What do you mean?” Her gang would wait as long as she ordered them to. What other acquaintances had she?

Darmenzi looked at her with his ever-enduring, ever-inscrutable smile. “They’re on their way. Of course they are, it’s how the story goes. The endless invader of worlds, with a head to match his ego, trying to find a purpose in a purposeless world by making every world’s purpose a purpose to him. And our sluggy friends, those three nobodies plucky enough to save the day.”

Those slubes. That thing calling himself Conqueror. “They’re coming here?” Chee asked. “They’ll probably fight each other.”

“Normally, yes, but they’ve put that aside for now,” Darmenzi said. “They want to save the day, but it’s my job to ruin the day.”

“How do you know this?” Chee asked.

“I can see many things,” Darmenzi said. “It’s not hard to spy on all members of the game with the proper magic. Even better, they have a new friend, someone who happens to be an old friend of mine, and by old friend, I promise you, I mean I loathe him. They no doubt have a collection of artifacts infuriatingly designed to keep me from griefing this planet.”

“Something specifically made to stop you?” Chee clenched her fists. Gaddfern it, she did not need idiots coming and messing up her plan. “Are they coming via ship?”

“Indeed, passengers of a ship from Conrad the Conqueror.”

Chee crossed her arms. “Blast them to pieces. If we can destroy a town, we should easily be able to use the pool to blast them into space dust.”

“Are you sure you want to see them go so unceremoniously? After all, your boyfriend is on the ship.”

Chee raised her fists over her head and screamed, “Just what do you mean by that remark, Darmenzi? I hate every single clerpson on their ship. I would hate every clerpson on it even if my own parents were on there.”

“My mistake,” Darmenzi said. “Perhaps he is your kismesis, then.”

“He is not, and if you even dare to suggest such a thing again, I will knock you into the pool,” Chee yelled.

Darmenzi chuckled. “You have no idea what I even just said, do you?”

Chee screamed. She didn’t even know why. She just felt like a volcano trying to remain plugged up.

“All right, missy, time to calm down,” Darmenzi said. “Do some deep breathing. Don’t want you to expel all your rage yet. I shan’t be shooting them down. I have a plan against these orbs. I knew they would be coming. After that, tea. Then we can smack around these losers who try to defy us. Doesn’t that sound fun? In fact, why don’t you go inspect your mechamachine and make sure it’s in tip-top shape?”

Breathing heavily, Chee turned to the ship. “I will, but only because it’s a good idea.” She headed for the ship. She didn’t stomp her way, lacking feet, but she walked in as close to a stomping manner as a shiffle could get.

***

Duth_Olec: Hey, as long as we’re here, let’s follow Darmenzi’s point of view!

Wally_Plotch: Are you sure that’s a good idea?

Duth_Olec: Every idea is a good idea if you’re reckless enough.

Wally_Plotch: I guess I can’t argue with that. I could try, but I don’t even know where to start.

***

Darmenzi looked into the goo pool. Yes, a farewell fight before he finally put Mintop behind him. He had spent too much time in once neutral territory, and he no longer considered it as such. Now– Another voice caught Darmenzi’s attention, and he teleported out of the barrier.

 

Darmenzi: Ah, good day, Duth. Or should I say The Cloud?

Wally_Plotch: HEurgke.drbb

Darmenzi: A little trouble there? I do not believe we have met.

*scream*

Wally_Plotch: Duth. Duth!

ALFALFA: Duth?

Darmenzi: Duuuuuth?

*crunch*

Duth_Olec: Oh, sorry, I was at the food court. Oh, hi, Darmenzi. What’s up?

Darmenzi: I think you know what is up. I just had the rather unpleasant feeling of someone listening to my thoughts. It feels a little bit like someone else reading your thoughts to you inside your own head.

Duth_Olec: Oh, well, your head. You were probably just imagining that. We both know you’re completely crazy.

Darmenzi: No crazier than you.

Duth_Olec: While that may be a factual and true statement, what you did not know is that Wally did it.

*”What?”*

Wally_Plotch: No, it was Duth’s idea. I’m just following what he tells me to do. Don’t hurt me.

*gasping*

Darmenzi: Calm down, lad. Where’d you pick this guy up?

Wally_Plotch: I was the stenographer at the Cosmos Court when you destroyed it.

Darmenzi: Cosmos Court? Hm. No, it doesn’t ring a bell.

Duth_Olec: This Darmenzi is before that, Wally. Remember, he looked like a big old skull monster then.

Darmenzi: Now then, Duth, what do you have to say about creating those orbs and guardians to keep me from neutral territory?

Duth_Olec: All I can say is that orbs is an anagram for bros. I mean you can’t prove anything! This is slander! I’ll see you in court!

*smack*

Duth_Olec: Wally, drive us to the Cosmos Court.

Wally_Plotch: What are you talking about?

Darmenzi: Well, as fun as this little side conversation has been, I think it’s time to completely wreck you.

*explosion* *thuds and clangs* *screaming*

Duth_Olec: Wally, it’s okay.

*screaming*

Duth_Olec: Wally, I teleported us away. We’re safe.

*screaming*

Duth_Olec: Wally, you can stop screaming now. Darmenzi doesn’t know—ALFALFA, can you go calm him down?

*screaming*

ALFALFA: Very well.

*screaming* *whiny, mechanical voice, “Mr. Plotch.”* *screaming trailing down to, “Oh, what?”* *”We are quite safe now.”* *”Oh. Really?”*

Wally_Plotch: We’re safe? Darmenzi can’t attack us?

Duth_Olec: He just charred the hull a little bit.

Wally_Plotch: So he can’t attack us now?

Duth_Olec: I teleported us to Conrad’s ship. We’ll just follow Numer around for a bit. Cleeple who won’t notice we’re there, you know?

Wally_Plotch: Duth, can Darmenzi attack us?

Duth_Olec: Well, I mean, yes, he could always do that, but he doesn’t know where we are, so he won’t. We’re effectively invisible and pretty much outside space-time. He would have to attack a very specific location in a very specific way, and he wouldn’t know how unless we made ourselves noticeable again.

Wally_Plotch: Okay, give me a moment to calm down.

ALFALFA: Is that all I am required for?

Duth_Olec: Yeah, go ahead and make sure there wasn’t actually anything damaged.

Wally_Plotch: So you actually made those orbs to stop Darmenzi?

Duth_Olec: That’s what Darmenzi seems to think. I mean, I’ll admit the decision wasn’t made without thought of him.

Wally_Plotch: Obviously it’s not something that works completely. You said he attacks the Cosmos Court after the events here? Does that mean he’s not beaten?

Duth_Olec: It means anything is possible, Wally. Except for right now, all that’s possible is you resuming your job.

Wally_Plotch: Okay, I’m calm now. Let’s get back to the story.

***

Conrad’s ship orbited the moon. Numer watched the video feed of the gray surface, certain that everyone searched for the same thing: any sign of Chee or Darmenzi. After a few minutes Numer saw a nearly-transparent barrier big enough to fit Nottle inside along a stretch of flat ground. Chee’s ship sat in the center.

Everyone wondered what they were doing down there but agreed there was only one way to find out. Conrad’s ship descended for a landing nearby. Darmenzi passed through the sphere as though it were a soap bubble and flew towards the ship. Conrad ordered the operators to slow their descent.

“He’s doing something,” Conrad said. “Wait a moment.”

Darmenzi watched the ship for a minute and then disappeared in shadow. Instantly he appeared on the bridge, and everyone jumped.

“Tell me, whatever are you waiting for?” Darmenzi asked, as though a business partner exchanging pleasantries at teatime. “Are you wary, perhaps? Expecting us to attack you? Not at all. Just make your landing and come to the bubble. You’ll find it easy to enter and with perfectly breathable air inside. Consider it a fitting arena for our final confrontation.”

Darmenzi teleported back into the barrier. Everyone on the bridge looked at one another. “Fine,” Conrad said. “Bring the ship down. It’s a trap, but we’ll humor them. We will not be going in that bubble, though.”

“What do you think, Pocerni?” Numer asked.

Pocerni said, “Depends, dudes. If Darmenzi made that bubble, I wouldn’t trust it one bit. If Chee made it, she might need it.”

“Between the Transpide and the orbs, I’m sure we’ll be safe,” Zeth said.

Numer looked at the barrier. They were heading straight into the jungle. They could see it in plain sight, but that didn’t make the jungle any less dangerous or unnerving.

The ship landed near the bubble. Conrad announced through the ship’s intercom, “Everyone remain on the ship. If I call for you, come out but do not enter the bubble. Stand by for now.” Conrad entered his hover-chair, and an outer wall surrounded him, no doubt to protect him from the practically-nonexistent atmosphere. They exited the ship, and the Transpide drove across the crusty moon surface.

Numer waved his arms in the low gravity. “I feel weird, like I could just lift my arms and fly away. Into the roof of the Transpide, anyway.” It felt like each movement was delayed, as if he was controlling a new body and hadn’t quite gotten the controls down. The twisting of his stomach at the upcoming confrontation just made him feel more nauseous.

They stopped outside the bubble and faced Chee and Darmenzi. “Now what?” Cherry asked.

“I’m not sure,” Zeth said. “Even if going into that bubble is a bad idea, there’s not much we can do outside it.”

Chee said something to Darmenzi, and he teleported away. The universe rolled around Numer as the Transpide tumbled forward as if hit by a hurricane. It and Conrad’s hover-chair crashed inside the bubble, and Numer hung from the safety strap as gravity returned to Mintop levels and the Transpide fell onto the side.

Okay, they entered the bubble anyway. Numer groaned. Chee and Darmenzi wanted them in there, but for what?

Darmenzi entered the bubble behind them. “Ah, Pocerni,” he said, never losing the smile or friendly tone. “I knew you would show up. And I see you have the orbs, as well. Won’t this be fun?”

Pocerni said not a word. His glare could cut down a tree.

“Since you’ve decided to follow me all the way here,” Chee said, hands clasped behind her back, “you could have at least had the courtesy to follow our invitation instead of standing out in the cold. And you brought along…” Chee pointed to Conrad’s hover-chair. “What is that? As you can see, I haven’t asphyxiated, I’m not dead, and I’m able to create sound, so you’re in no danger. Not from lack of air, anyway.” The outer wall of Conrad’s hover-chair retracted. “Oh, you brought along the big, gray blob.”

I am the conqueror, you–!”

“I know already,” Chee said. “You can shut up about yourself.”

“This planet is mine,” Conrad said, head throbbing and tentacles bunched-up. His glare could burn down a forest. “What makes you think–”

“Because I do think,” Chee said.

Conrad relaxed his tentacles. “As soon as Darmenzi is out of the way, I am going to strangle you.”

“Now, now, let’s not get ahead of ourselves,” Darmenzi said, floating between them. “I know you would like to kill everyone in this bubble, but first direct your attention to the center, please.” He gestured to the pool of goo halfway between the bubble’s center and edge.

“What is that?” Numer asked. It looked like someone put bad dreams into a pot and boiled it too long. Wait, where did that come from? Numer shook his head. It just looked like sticky dark mud.

“It’s power,” Chee yelled, arms up. “A dark power that Darmenzi has been cultivating. Fostering and festering. It has been growing deep into the moon, and with it we could vaporize any city we want. Eventually it will be strong enough to destroy entire nations.”

“Why would you want that?” Cherry asked, eyes wide.

“I don’t,” Chee said. “But those cities and nations want it less. Mintop will put me in power or be reduced to rubble.”

Zeth scratched his head. “All this because you didn’t win a race?”

I don’t care about that race!” Chee screamed, flailing her fists. “I want power. I want to rule. I want to force my will on others. I want to be a totalitarian.”

“That’s my job,” Conrad shouted. He maneuvered the hover-chair towards Chee. “I’m strangling you and using this power for myself.”

Numer groaned. He wasn’t even sure which of the two he preferred.

“Stop!” Pocerni climbed to the Transpide’s dashboard, opened the bubble roof, and held the seven orbs. “No one’s using this power. I don’t know what you’re really trying to do, Darmenzi, but–”

“Better idea,” Conrad said, grabbing the orbs. Pocerni shouted and held onto a few as Conrad lifted them. “Let’s see which power is stronger: yours or the one that vanquished you before.”

Numer gaped at the scene. How did they get to the point where Conrad had the orbs? Pocerni was so concerned with Darmenzi he ignored Conrad.

“Oh, yes, let’s,” Darmenzi said. The crystal glowed, and tendrils black as charcoal and thicker than a slube shot out from the dark pool. They grabbed Conrad, his hover-chair, and Pocerni.

“What is this? Let go!” Conrad shouted.

“Let’s see who traps who this time, you bird-brained botherment,” said Darmenzi.

The slubes screamed, and Zeth backed the Transpide away as the goo surged out in a pillar and engulfed Pocerni, Conrad, his hover-chair, and the orbs. It dragged them under the pool. Seconds later it settled, leaving no evidence of the tendrils, Pocerni, or Conrad.

Numer pulled down on his face. Things just went from bad to gaddfern it, they lost before they started. Pocerni was gone, the orbs were gone, and it was all up to them to stop Darmenzi and Chee. “What do we do now?”

“Why, you join them,” Darmenzi said as charged particles glowed in his lower claws.

Chee held out a palm at Darmenzi. “No. We discussed this. Not yet. At least, not him.” She glared at Zeth, lines forming on her face that cast a shadow over her.

Zeth mumbled. “Really, I think you’re blowing the whole race thing out of proportion.”

“I am not blowing anything out of proportion,” Chee shouted. “I am perfectly calm and rational! I have everything in order!”

“Are you sure?” Zeth asked. He stammered, “I mean, you’ve been screaming and ranting more than usual–”

“Everyone has outbursts of rage,” Chee shouted. “I keep mine in check better than anyone else. Now I’m going to unleash it all at your face!” She mashed a button on a remote control. A hole opened on her ship, and a machine leapt out of the hole, about the Transpide’s size but longer and jagged. Two arms ended in drills, and eight thin legs gripped the ground. A segmented tail curved forward from the back to rise over the machine, ending in dual pincers in a cross shape that looked sharp enough to crunch through rock. Chee jumped inside.

“Well, if you insist on playing with him,” Darmenzi said, “I suppose I can spend some quality time with these two before their demise.” Numer blinked, and he felt cold, crusty stone dust under his tail. He and Cherry stood outside the Transpide next to Darmenzi. Numer screamed. They didn’t even have a shield now.

“If you’re so confident, why don’t you kill us now?” Cherry asked.

“I might as well have some fun. Who knows? Perhaps you will find some weakness and be able to defeat me.” Darmenzi chuckled. “Or perhaps this really is just a waste of everybody’s time.” He looked at Chee and Zeth.

***

Chee charged her machine forward and rammed the Transpide. Zeth screamed and hit the brakes before he slid out of the bubble. “You’re serious about this.”

“I’m serious about everything.” Chee rushed at the Transpide, and Zeth sprang over her machine. “You’re not getting away this time.” Chee jumped and slammed Zeth to the ground. She landed on the Transpide, but he shoved her away with a burst missile. Her machine grabbed the ground with the claw tail and bounced back. Zeth drove away and evaded her.

She really meant to tear the Transpide apart. Zeth couldn’t let her get the better of him. “Okay, last time it was a bit of an accident, but if you really want me to wreck your machine, I will.” Chee rushed at the Transpide, and Zeth shot electric sparks. Chee stood her ground and slammed the Transpide with her machine’s drill arms.

***

Darmenzi turned back to Numer and Cherry. “Might as well get started.” He shot particle bursts from his lower claws at the two slubes. Cherry sleeged away while Numer swung his mallet at the shots. He tried to knock them back at Darmenzi, but the force of each blast shoved him backwards, and he couldn’t aim them.

Numer looked behind him at the edge of the barrier and wailed at the empty vacuum of space behind him. One more shove backwards and he would be dead. He turned back and screamed. Darmenzi flew straight at him like a jagged battering ram. Cherry tackled Numer to the side, and Darmenzi flew past out the bubble.

“What are we going to do?” Numer said. “We were counting on the orbs, and they and Pocerni just…”

Cherry yelped as Darmenzi lifted her with an antenna. “You know,” he said, “I could end this quickly by tossing you into the pool or tossing you outside the bubble, but which would be more agonizing?”

“No!” Numer yelled. They did not have the orbs, but he would still do everything he could so they would make it out alive. He bashed his mallet against Darmenzi’s shell, but the monster crustacean hardly flinched. Numer bashed the crystal in Darmenzi’s abdomen, and the demon flinched like a little bird landed on his head.

“How long are you going to do that?” Darmenzi asked.

Numer looked up. “Huh? I guess until you let go of Cherry.” Darmenzi threw Cherry at Numer, and they skidded along the crusty ground.

***

At the other end of the barrier, Chee jumped away from the Transpide. She fired particle blasts from her machine’s tail. Zeth swerved away. He had wheels and could go faster. He had to stay on the move and hit Chee when he could. Chee’s machine charged a particle blast and leapt onto the Transpide, holding it in place with several legs. Gaddfern it, Chee could pretty much hit Zeth whenever she wanted.

“Come on, let me go,” Zeth said. “Can’t we talk about this?” Chee blasted the Transpide and then slammed into it. “I guess not!” The Transpide spun out, and Zeth fell onto the dashboard, shooting burst missiles everywhere.

One of the missiles whizzed by Darmenzi. “Hey, now.” Darmenzi teleported next to the Transpide and held it still. “Say, chap, would you mind keeping your battle on your side and not mine?”

“Wait, what?” Zeth’s head wobbled like a bobblehead. The world—well, the moon—spun around him.

“Thank you, sir, I knew you would understand.” Darmenzi slammed the Transpide with his crystal abdomen into Chee’s machine, knocking them both to the ground.

“Hey! What the hex was that?” Chee shouted.

“So sorry. I suppose I could take my own advice,” Darmenzi said.

***

Numer and Cherry pulled themselves up as Darmenzi teleported back to them. “So, what shall we do next?” he asked, clasping his claws together.

Numer shouted and swung his mallet at Darmenzi. The demon grabbed it with an antenna and lifted Numer. “No, I believe we already did that.” He held a claw in front of Numer’s face. “I believe next is me chopping your head off like a fish.”

Cherry slammed her tail into Darmenzi’s claw, knocking it against his head. Numer smacked his tail into Darmenzi’s hard face, crustier than the moon, and the demon dropped him. He fell on his back to the dusty ground. Darmenzi loomed over him.

“Pick your poison. Which way do you want to die? You don’t have forever, you know.” Darmenzi stomped his pointed trunks of legs at the slube.

Numer rolled away and jumped up. He would not die there. “I choose old age.” Numer pointed his mallet at the demon.

Darmenzi waved a claw as if Numer were a bug. “Boring path. I’ll choose for you.” He swung his claws at Numer, who countered with his mallet.

Out of the corner of his eye, Numer saw Cherry sleeg at Darmenzi. “No,” Numer said as Cherry neared him, “the back! Head for the back.”

“Got it.” Cherry sleeged around and punched down on the crystal, lifting herself up into the black spikes on Darmenzi’s back, each over half a slube’s width. As she hit the crystal, Darmenzi reached back with an antenna. Cherry ducked and grabbed the antenna, pulling Darmenzi’s head back.

“Just what are you trying to pull?” Darmenzi asked. With the demon distracted, Numer slid behind and hammered the crystal abdomen. The spikes on Darmenzi’s back shifted, scratching Cherry and pushing her to the ground.

“Cherry!” Numer sleeged to her.

“I can see why Pocerni was traveling with you,” Darmenzi said. “However, without those orbs, you cannot do a thing to me.”

Darmenzi hurled blasts at Numer from his lower claws. Numer swung his mallet to counter them, and Cherry held his back to keep him steady. Darmenzi held the four lower claws together and charged a particle blast between them.

Numer screamed. Even if he countered that it could knock him out of the barrier. He shot at the blast in hope of destroying the energized particles. Instead the blast grew quicker. It swelled bigger than both Numer and Cherry. Darmenzi launched the monster blast at them. Cherry dragged Numer aside to the ground, and the particle blast shot past them and through the barrier, blowing a crater into the barren land.

“How are we going to beat him?” Numer asked.

“We have to focus on the crystal,” Cherry said.

“But he’s hardly flinching,” Numer said.

“There are no other weak spots,” Cherry said.

Darmenzi floated over them, his smile widening. “You can try all you like, but you can’t get through. Really, I’ve grown quite tired of this sport. Your persistence is beginning to annoy me.”

***

Chee chased Zeth along the bubble. “This isn’t a race anymore,” Chee shouted. “It’s a destruction derby.” She thrust her machine’s drill arms at the Transpide. Zeth sprang behind her.

“That does seem to be more your style,” Zeth said. Chee stopped, and the Transpide crashed into her. Zeth flailed his arms. “See?”

Chee turned around and thrust the drill arms at the Transpide. Zeth shot a burst missile and pushed the two machines away from each other. He definitely wanted to avoid a close-quarters fight against Chee. And a long-range one. In fact, Zeth figured something else stopping the fight entirely would be his best bet.

Chee charged ahead, and Zeth shot electric sparks at her. Chee jumped over the Transpide and slammed it forward. “Your machine’s weaponry stands no chance against me.” She clamped onto the Transpide with her machine’s claw tail. “Now hold still so that I can turn your machine into the wreck it is.”

“No thanks.” Zeth sprang over the drill arms, just barely clearing Chee with the tail clamped on. He landed on top of her machine. Not the greatest perch, but if the fight involved ramming one another then landing on top worked.

Chee slammed a drill arm into one of the Transpide’s wheels and spun it until the wheel flew off. Okay, maybe landing on top didn’t work. The Transpide crashed to the ground. With the fourth wheel gone it moved no better than a hobbling, three-legged animal.

“Gaddfern it.” Zeth hit the acceleration and a series of buttons on the dashboard, none of which could get the Transpide back to driving shape. He couldn’t fight her on the ground now. He could operate in water, but none was to be found on the moon. Think fast, not-quite-professor. “Let’s take this battle to space!”

“It looks like you’re stuck now,” Chee said. A particle blast charged at the end of her machine’s tail, aimed for the Transpide. “Time to show you who the real engineer is.”

***

Darmenzi shot another particle burst at Numer. Before the slube could knock it away Darmenzi teleported next to Numer and Cherry and bashed them to the ground with a claw.

Darmenzi laughed. “You’ve got nothing.” He teleported above the two slubes and lifted them by their necks with antennae. As Darmenzi squeezed liquid pooled at the top of Numer’s squishy throat, his eyes watering. “Maybe you’ve been able to knock down a few walls, but this is where you reach a dead end.” Darmenzi tossed them down, but before they landed he teleported and claw-bashed them across the arena. He teleported above and slammed them straight down onto the crusty, chalky ground.

Numer groaned. His body felt like pulp and skin felt too tight. Through the ringing in his head he heard Darmenzi say, “I really should move on to the next phase. I’ve dealt far too long with this pathetic planet as it is. I’m ready to cause new tragedies, not drag out old ones.”

Had Darmenzi been toying with them the whole time? Now he was serious. They could hardly do anything to him when he was just playing, though. What could they do against someone who could bash them like a wrecking ball without a breath?

Numer stood up, holding down his mallet in front of him for support. He coughed what looked like a few specks of green among the gray moon dust, and he tasted something metallic and as goopy as that pool Pocerni had been dragged into. A bit of blood. He retched and gasped, not surprised. There wasn’t much in his stomach to puke up anyway. Numer was more surprised he hadn’t vomited earlier from worry and anticipating his own death.

He turned to Cherry, who lay on her back but was pushing herself up. Numer grabbed her hand and helped her stand. Was this their last stand?  They could topple from a breeze now, let alone another rock slide of a claw barrage from Darmenzi. They both turned to the demon, but he no longer looked at them. Now he watched Zeth and Chee.


Chapter 20: Fallen Oblivion (coming soon) | Table of Contents

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