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  1. EcchiMultiverse

    Marvelous Man - Chapter 30

    (Apologies. Computer is broken, and my chromebook only works. But it doesn't factor in formatting for some reason. Please go to this link for a better format:https://drive.google.com/open?id=1eLv1MVpxATbWSxxwiIsDaoVVz_KjQJALkH4sN5HAukU) Chapter 30: The Epic’s End Marvelous Man slowly descended towards the ground; his arms still embraced in a loving hug around the renewed imp. Digz continued to cry like a child with the feathery arms clutching the hulking bodybuilder’s jacket. There was a lingering bitter taste in his mouth, as he remembered what he said to the bone familiar minutes ago. Rather than letting Digz believe the horrible events to be a nightmare, the inspiration god slammed the truth back into the bone imp with two words. It was such a cruel thing to do, but Marvelous Man knew it was for the best. Still...that does not mean he should not console this grieving familiar. He spoke up, “I’m sorry I said that, Digz, but it’s not possible to be...innocent anymore. You need to know that you did a lot of bad things back then and even about an hour ago.” Digz looked up at Marvelous Man with tears streaming down his feathered face and snot dripping off his beak. “B-But! That wasn’t me! It wasn’t me! I-I-I’d never do all those horrible things,” he sputtered. The inspiration god nodded, “You’re right. You wouldn’t. I saw some of your memories, and I know you’re a very kind imp. And you were sick for a long time. And I can’t imagine how it must have been to be in pain like that...But I can kinda know what that’s like to be in so much pain that you hurt everybody...even the ones you care about...” “When my parents tried to cage me for what they thought was my own good, I tried to push my pain onto them. It felt really good to get that release, but I hurt them very badly...almost killed them too. It’s something I wish I could forget, and I know you want to forget too,” he continued. Gently landing on the ground with a soft patter, Marvelous Man set down the bone imp. The hulking bodybuilder then knelt down on his knees, while he reached into his black jacket’s pocket. Marvelous Man hoped his dad, Apollo, had predictably left an item he needed at this moment. He then felt the soft accessory his mind had called out to. Immediately pulling his hand back out, he held a pink, silk handkerchief. The musclebound superhero began to dab Digz’s eyes and feathery cheeks with the handkerchief; soaking up the tears. He then wiped away the snot from Digz’s nostrils and offered the bone imp to blow into it. Right after cleaning Digz, Marvelous Man placed the used handkerchief back into his pocket and pulled out a small water bottle. The musclebound superhero unscrewed the cap and held the plastic bottle in front of the sobbing familiar. He spoke softly, “Here. Drink this. It’ll help you calm down.” The bone imp grabbed the water bottle with both of his feathery arms and drank the bottle’s contents with heavy gulps. His sobs then died down, as he continued drinking the water. When there was none left in the bottle, he gave it back to Marvelous Man. Tears started to stream down his eyes again. “What’s wrong? You okay?” asked Marvelous Man. Digz whimpered, “It’s just that...That was the first thing I’ve tasted in so long. I can’t remember the last time I drank water...and...And it’s so delicious! “And now I’m realizing...I don’t hurt anymore! I don’t feel anything! I don’t feel like I’m burning anymore! I just feel the sun...and it’s so warm!” he rambled. The flickering embers of hate and anger held towards Digz in the inspiration god’s heart had now been washed away by a wave of empathy. Marvelous Man could only guess that the centuries of being incomplete had kept the bone imp incapable of eating...or even enjoying the simple things in life most living beings had taken for granted. More than anything at the moment, Marvelous Man wished he could use his power to take this pain from Digz. It was too much to watch the familiar become overcome by such little pleasure that it wept again. Marvelous Man then noticed a new glass string forming on his left pinky. Following its length, the string of inspiration extended over and connected with Digz. The inspiration god could hear the new seed he had planted in the bone imp’s heart. Marvelous Man accepted the glass string with his heart and tuned in to it. The glass string seemed to play back a thought of a realization Digz just had. Digz voice echoed, “I am finally alive again, and I’ll enjoy every second of being alive!” Marvelous Man’s mind immediately focused back into reality, as he noticed Digz running away from him. He was about to speak out when he saw where the familiar was running towards. It was the corpse of Alden; laying a small distance from the two beings. The dead body was still wrapped in the red cloak and glowing from the inspiration god’s supercharge. The Mana Stone, still lodged in the body’s chest, no longer pulsated with maddening power. In seconds, Digz arrived next to the deceased king and knelt down. The familiar wiped tears from his eyes and looked down at his former partner. He caressed his feathery arm against Alden’s glowing face, as Marvelous Man walked up next to the bone imp. “I’m sorry, Alden. I wasn’t a good imp at all to you. B-But! I’ll make it up to you! I’ll carry out all three of your promises!” said the familiar, “But you’re part of me now, aren’t you? So I won’t be truly alone. We’ll do it...together.” Digz leaned over and nuzzled the side of his white, feathery head against Alden’s forehead. A second after, he raised his head and stood up. The bone imp then turned to Marvelous Man and seemed to be looking past the hulking bodybuilder. “They’re coming to kill me, aren’t they?” he questioned. Marvelous Man turned around to where he supposed Digz was staring at. He spotted superheroes from different organizations and police officers slowly approaching; some just landing from their flight to join in with the group. Marvelous Man then turned back and saw another crowd of do-gooders encroaching closer to the two. The musclebound superhero looked down at Digz, “I’m not going to let that happen.” The familiar sighed. “Even if you could, they’d just lock me up somewhere where I’ll never see the light of day again. And then they’ll start cutting me up. Seeing what I’m made of. Because without a master to bond with, I’m not really an imp anymore...am I?” he replied. Marvelous Man got down on both of his knees; attempting to be at eye level with the bone imp. Despite the effort, the hulking bodybuilder was still a head taller than Digz and had to look down. He fired back, “Even if you aren’t, I’ll still do whatever I can to protect you! I’ve come so far to help you. I can’t let your new life end like that.” The bone imp stared up at Marvelous Man. “Even if you have to become the next Skeleton Lord to protect me? I know I can merge with your bones and give you my power,” said Digz. Marvelous Man hesitated. He felt shocked by such a proposal, while his mind tried to foresee what would happen if he accepted. Calculating the possibilities within the near future, it would most likely not be an easy life for the musclebound superhero. He answered, “Yeah, I would. If that’s what it takes to protect you, then yes. They can’t hurt you, if you bond with me.” Digz gave a soft smile. “You’re right. They wouldn’t. But that would be too selfish of me to taint your life like that, Marvelous Man,” he remarked. The bone imp continued, “If we did merge, you would be ostricized by everybody else. Nobody would trust you, and you’d probably be hunted down by the other heroes. So it was a nice thought to have for a few seconds, but no. I’m sorry, but I can’t do that to you. Not to the one I already owe my life to.” The hulking bodybuilder raised his large hands. He reached out to grab the bone imp but immediately stopped upon noticing something strange. The glass string connected to his left pinky and Digz was no longer visible. Observing Digz, the inspiration god saw that there was no glass strings connected to Digz at all. Not even the ones Digz negatively inspired were no longer existing. “Wha-Digz? Wha...What’s happening to you?!” questioned Marvelous Man. Digz smiled, “Wow, you’re really perceptive. It’s only been a few seconds, but you’ve already noticed.” The musclebound superhero stared back in bewilderment. Digz glanced down at the ground and began to rub the feathered ends of his arms together. “Yeah, when you looked away, I took the Pilgrim Cloak and left behind a clone to talk to you. So I’m still here...Just not, here here. If that makes any sense,” explained the bone imp. He continued, “I’ll find someone else that’s as worthy as you. But I promise you that we’ll meet again one day.” Marvelous Man turned his head to Alden’s deceased body. The glowing corpse no longer had the fur-lined, red cloak the bone imp referred to. The musclebound superhero remembered that the cloak was special and could mask one’s presence from supernatural and magical sight...even a god’s. By now, the bone imp could be anywhere and the inspiration god would be unable to track him with the glass strings. Marvelous Man snapped his head back towards Digz, as he heard the familiar speak again. “Can I know just one last thing? Is Marvelous Man your real name?” inquired Digz. Marvelous Man slowly responded, “Ummm, no. It’s not. My real name is actually Justice Starr. With two Rs. But, uh, you can find me on the penthouse of the Piscelemartie luxury apartments.” Digz smiled, as his body seemed to ripple like a water drop falling into a puddle. “I’ll remember that. Thanks, Justice. For, well, um, everything, heh. You believed in me and helped me, and I need to repay you for that.” he said. The bone imp continued, “I’m sorry for knocking away your golden ocarina. I know this can’t replace it, but I’m hoping it’ll be good enough until you find your ocarina. It’s something I saw from one of the musicians back at Alden’s castle. So...until we meet again...see you soon.” The bone imp turned completely white, as he began to fold into himself. In seconds, a white, woodwind instrument stood where Digz’s clone just was. Marvelous Man instantly recognized the musical device as an oboe; similar to a clarinet but the head looks like it has a small straw plugged into it. The musclebound superhero bent down and picked up the instrument. To Marvelous Man’s eye, it was designed with all the tiny details an oboe would have. He could play this device with no problem and emulate soothing notes. It was a kind gesture Digz did...but it could not cover up the sadness Marvelous Man felt for the bone imp. >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Three months had passed into the winter season, and Justice was now laying on a pink beanbag. He stared up at the sky blue-colored ceiling of his therapist’s office. It felt calming to stare at it, but that is probably why such a color has been painted in a therapist’s office. The hulking bodybuilder stated, “...Annnd, yeah. He turned into an oboe, and that’s the last I saw of him. The D.A.B. came and took away the Mana Stone that was lodged into King Alden’s chest. But then the Nemesis Branch came in and took the stone. The Director was pretty pissed about that. And I think the only thing the D.A.B. was able to get was Alden’s dead body...Oh wait, that’s right. The Arkos Division took that for studying.” Justice heard a female’s voice speak back to him. “And that’s when you decided to see a therapist cause of what your friend, Gemini, said,” she said Justice looked over at the woman who concluded his story to the present. It was his therapist, Magnolia Theramin; a dark-skinned doctor that usually dressed business-casual. He nodded, “Yep. Sorry about bringing this all up again. But I kinda like talking about the whole thing once in a while, cause then I discover something new...And it sorta helps me feel a bit better.” Dr. Theramin leaned on her armchair and rested her head on a propped hand. “It’s fine, Justice. This is all at your pace. If it makes you feel better to just go over with entering the real world and fighting the Skeleton Lord, it’s fine. But let’s not dwell on the past too much. Alright?” she said. Justice smiled, “Heh, right. I’ll try to keep that in mind.” “So,” said Dr. Theramin, “Did you discover something new?” Justice sighed, “Yeah...I realized that...I really don’t know anything about Gene. Like, sure, I knew his past, but...did I really know him? Ya know? I mean, he doesn’t even know my real name...which really shows how little we understood each other. Cause the only thing we have in common is how lonely we feel.” “And I...I put him on a pedestal and thought he was all these awesome things. And even after we stopped dating, I kept seeing him as...something beyond a person. Not like with Gem, man, I knew him. Cause Gemini and I hung out every chance we got when I wasn’t working. But with Gene, we just went on a few dates and worked together...I just know that Gene likes to go to Toto’s when he’s feeling homesick,” he continued. The hulking bodybuilder stared back up at the ceiling; trying to mentally articulate the next words he would be saying. Justice spoke up, “Did you know that after work, he has sex with his dorm neighbors that are feeling the most frustrated and then locks himself in his room? He spends the rest of his free time in his room and hardly ever goes out. The Director told me that he gets swept up in so many emotions that even after calming down those around him, he still has to go back to his room to decompress. And he goes to Toto’s when it’s not enough and feeling homesick.” “And when I think about it, having the power of empathy must be pretty insane. I mean, feeling everybody’s emotions but hardly ever your own? I’d have to become a stone monster to get through the day, but he still tries to be calm and friendly with everybody. He tries his best to let the emotions flow through him, but he’s got his limits...At least, that’s what the Director tells me,” he rambled. Dr. Theramin nodded, “That reminds me, how goes it with Gene? I understand that after the Skeleton Lord incident was resolved, your relationship with him has been strained?” Justice sighed, as he could feel himself sinking deeper into the beanbag. “Still strained. We work great together as a team, but I don’t feel anything from him anymore. Like that thing I said a few seconds ago, he’s become a stone monster since I denied him the vengeance his people deserved...I don’t blame him. I’d be angry too if I was in his position,” answered the hulking bodybuilder. He continued, “I’m doing what I can to give him the space he wants, but it’s just...hard. I really want things to go back to how they were, but I get that it’s not possible. He’s my best friend and...ya know?” The therapist leaned forward and gave a gentle smile. “I’m sure he’ll come around. The best thing you can do to show your love is just give him time and let him know that you’ll be there when he’s ready to open up to you again,” she advised. Justice nodded. While it was unfortunate his friendship with Gene had become soured, he did not regret helping Digz. But it was still tough to feel the burden of isolation that the Totochtin prince heaved onto the hulking bodybuilder. He knew he could probably inspire Gene to accept him, but it would most likely backfire if the bunny demigod did not consent to the supercharge...And it would not feel morally right. The overly-muscular man forced himself to switch his mind onto something else. There was one thing Justice wished to discuss. He spoke up, “Yeah, about that. I think I’m ready to open up. I mean, not to you, cause I’m already doing that. Heh. But to someone else. Um, has he…?” Dr. Theramin picked up her phone from her pocket and began to text, while she replied. “My receptionist texted me about fifteen minutes ago, while you were going over everything that happened,” she said, “Are you sure you’re ready?” Justice opened his mouth to immediately answer her question, but it stayed in a slack position. His mind could not help but think back to everything that happened between the two and started to wonder...Is this okay? “I...I don’t know. I mean, I want to do this! But...is it really alright?” hesitated Justice. The therapist placed her phone back into her pocket. She then looked at Justice and smiled. Dr. Theramin stated, “As far as I can tell, both of you made mistakes. But you two did your best to forgive each other, move on, and form a deeper bond of understanding. And when you were at your lowest, he supported you and advised you to seek help. It sounds like a lot of growth on both your ends." A soft knock resonated from the room’s only door. The therapist slowly stood up and walked towards it. As she did so, Dr. Theramin turned her head to Justice. “Justice, what you need to remember is that after everything you’ve been through, you deserve to be loved. I know it might not seem like you should, because others weren’t so lucky. But it’s not wrong to be happy, and you shouldn’t feel ashamed for wanting to be happy and fall in love. It’s fine to choose to be happy,” she pointed out. Dr. Theramin shrugged, “And if it doesn’t work out, then oh well. It just wasn’t meant to be, but at least you experienced this relationship. And don’t forget that there will always be someone out there to love you. Just make sure to be open to them and keep looking for that one person.” Upon reaching the door, the therapist placed her hand on the door. “So. Are you ready?” she asked. Justice leaned back his head and took a deep breath through his nose. He deserved this. He shouldn’t force himself to be sad...I choose to be happy. The hulking bodybuilder opened his eyes, “Yes.” Dr. Theramin smiled, as she pulled down on the door’s handle. The door swung inwards and revealed the bulky Soulem, Gemini. The Soulem(Look up his alt names) greeted with an awkward smile and a wave of his hand. “Ummm, hi? Justice texted me and said that he needed me to be part of his session with you.” informed Gemini. The therapist nodded, “That’s correct. He has something he needs to say to you. Please come in.” As the bulky Soulem entered the office, his eyes instantly drew down to the large, muscled man sitting in a pink bean bag chair. Gemini’s mood rings flashed from white, to grey, and then sky blue. “Never thought I’d see you in one of those,” he smirked, “...Are you stuck?” Justice looked away, “Yeah...I sunk too deep this time, and I can’t roll out. This stuff is literally quicksand for heavy people.” Gemini giggled as he walked towards the overly-muscular man. Stopping in front of the trapped Justice, the bulky Soulem bent down and held out his white, rubbery hand. “Need a hand?” he offered. Justice stared at the hand, “It’s not gonna pop off when I grab it, is it?” The bulky Soulem scoffed; his face appearing unamused with the mood rings flashing green. “Not with parts this expensive,” Gemini remarked. Justice smiled and grabbed the Soulem’s hand. With some strained effort from Gemini, the hulking bodybuilder was helped out of the bean bag. Justice was grateful for the assistance, but he could not help but feel embarrassed at how his large size had become a hindrance to another mundane situation. In past sessions with his therapist, he would ask Dr. Theramin to leave the room for the overly-muscular man to process his emotions and what they talked about. It was an absolute lie to save face for what he had to do next, and Justice was not sure if the doctor had caught on. He’d spend minutes thrusting around on the bean bag chair like a flipped tortoise until he finally escaped the chair’s grasp. He would have rather opted for a chair or couch, but the furniture in the room seemed fragile and incapable of supporting his humongous mass. Lying on the ground was not an option; he was big, not ill-mannered. Justice looked down at Gemini, “Thanks for the help. So, uh, yeah. I’ve been talking it over with Dr. Theramin, and I think...No, I’m ready for the next step. And I thought it was a good idea that she kinda supervise the whole thing.” The hulking bodybuilder looked away. The logic he had when planning this was now crushed by a new realization. His heart beated rapidly, as embarrassment flushed his mind. The words began to tumble out of his mouth. “But now I’m just realizing that it was kinda stupid to do that. But, ya know, it, uh, seemed like a good idea at the time. Cause what I’m about to say next is really personal,” he rambled. Gemini’s mood ring turned white, “Oh, is this one of those sorry confessions? Cause, I know we did some stuff to each other...Though most of the shit-throwing was done on my end, but we for-” “Ummm, no. No, that’s not what this is,” interrupted Justice. The overly-muscular man’s eyes flicked repeatedly down at the carpeted ground and back to Gemini. The beating of his heart ringed in his ears, while his thoughts were rapidly echoing in his mind before multiplying to the point of becoming white noise. He stammered, “Uh, sh-should I, uh, stand or just kneel down...Ummm...Yeah. Yeah, I’m just gonna get down. That feels right.” Kneeling down onto one knee, Justice slowly grabs Gemini’s hand with soft gentleness. The hulking bodybuilder brought the Soulem’s hand in front of himself, as he stared up into his best friend’s cybernetic eyes. He could see Gemini’s mood ring flashing into multiple colors; most of them being grey. “Gem...We’ve had a lot of ups and downs. And lots of misunderstandings of how relationships work and love and stuff. And like you said, we’ve been able to patch them up and our friendship is stronger now. We’re no longer able to get to that level of friendship that we once had...because now we’re above it,” he said. Justice continued, “And when my friendship with Gene was fractured, I felt so alone cause he was one of the first friends I made here in the real world. But you were there for me, Gem. You always are. You supported me through what I’m still going through, and you even supported me then when I had that crazy idea of saving King Alden and Digz. And back when I was trapped in the dome...when things were tough and I needed to focus on something to get me through...it kept coming back to you.” The hulking bodybuilder kept his eyes locked onto Gemini’s. If he looked away for even a second, the courage he had built up would instantly crumble. His hands trembled, but they held onto the Soulem’s hand even tighter. “Gem...I love you. I always did. And now I think I’m ready for a relationship. I’d like it if it could be you. So if you’re still...or ya know...If you still have some feelings for me...Will you go out with me?” he confessed. Tears began to form at the corners of the Soulem’s eyes, as his mood rings flared to rose red. Seconds passed, as Gemini stared back at Justice. He then broke into a smile. The Soulem replied, “Heh, ya know, I was just starting to get over you. Or at least, been trying to. And I was fine with just being friends. But this...This is...more than I could ever ask for.” The liquid tears streamed down Gemini’s cybernetic face. A sniffle escaped his nose, as he placed his other hand on top of Justice’s. “So yeah. Yes, I will date you. Always yes,” he replied, “But if you think about it. With how much we intimately know each other, we’ve pretty much been boyfriends this whole time. Only without the label.” A tear escaped Justice’s eye, as he felt only elation to Gemini’s reciprocation. It was all too much. With everything he had been through, it all felt like it was fitting in perfectly. All for this moment; it was worth it. Justice giggled, “Haha, yeah, you’re right. I mean, I think I’m moving pretty fast on this, but yeah. We’re pretty much boyfriends.” “Just without the sex,” added Gemini.” Justice laughed, “Yeah. That too.” The two stared back at each for a second. None of them said a word to each other, but Justice could feel what Gemini wanted to say. And then he heard it. “I love you, Justice. I love you so much,” confessed Gemini. Justice smiled, “Me too.” The Soulem leaned down and placed his lips on top of Justice’s. The hulking bodybuilder closed his eyes and kissed back. The sound of a wet kiss emanated from the two’s romantic gesture, as the they locked lips together for a couple of seconds. It felt like electricity was coursing through Justice; flexing every muscle in his body at the extreme euphoria. Justice was not sure if the feeling was due to his happiness, or because he was being electrocuted from kissing an android. But it didn’t matter. Everything was perfect. Gemini then stood up straight and lifted his hands to gesture at Justice. The overly-muscular man took notice of the movement of their clasped hands and stood up; towering over the Soulem as usual. “So…” started Gemini, “Since we have plenty of time to date...I was thinking that maybe...just for tonight...we just skip straight to the fucking? Bro?” Justice giggled, “Hehe, sure.” The hulking bodybuilder paused, as his eyes became wide. This was the exact situation he needed supervision on. Justice then looked over to Dr. Theramin. “Uhhhh, is that okay?” he inquired. The therapist shrugged, “This relationship should go at your own pace. As long as both of you are in absolute agreement and really want it. If either of you aren’t, then I suggest you take it a lot slower. Otherwise, go nuts.” “Just not here. Get a room somewhere else, cause I have other people to help today,” she continued. >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Justice sat on the king-sized bed in his bedroom; trying to look sexy while waiting for his boyfriend to appear. He did his best to set mood: closing the curtains, dimming the lights, and setting the oil diffuser to lightly scent the air with aromas of rose and jasmine. The hulking bodybuilder made sure to flush his insides and lube his hole with the slippery lube, Unicorn Cum. The overly-muscular man felt excited...and a little scared. He was finally going to have sex and lose his virginity to the one he loves. The reality of it happening was so overwhelming, that Justice almost felt like running away. And with every passing second, he was beginning to consider it. His thoughts were then interrupted, as the door to his bedroom opened. Stepping through the doorway was his boyfriend, Gemini. The Soulem walked with a sexual swagger, as he arrived at the foot of Justice’s bed. The mood rings on Gemini’s face was a rose red, but it sometimes flickered to dark red or pink. The Soulem smiled, “Hey.” “Hey,” replied Justice. Gemini pulled at the bow’s string of his zaffre mokko fundoshi; undoing the bow and causing the fundoshi to drop towards the ground. With nothing left to cover the Soulem’s nethers, Justice could only stare at the sexual present beginning to inflate. The ball sack and shaft of Gemini’s penis was black and had the same texture as his muscular cords. The head of his dick was a rubbery white, and his penis hardened to a size and girth that could be considered slightly above average. Every bit of his succulent crotch was human shaped, but it still looked robotic. Justice finally looked up at Gemini, “...So...ummm...do we need condoms? I didn’t really think about it until just now. But I think there should be some in one of my drawers.” Gemini shrugged. “I can, if that’ll make you feel better,” he answered, “But Soulems can’t catch STDs.” “Oh...okay. Yeah, no, I mean, it’s fine. You don’t need to put one on,” said Justice. The bulky Soulem smiled and proceeded towards the bed. At the foot of bed, he slowly leaned onto the giant mattress with his knees on top. Gemini came to a halt and stared at Justice’s eyes with a calm look on his face. “Are you ready?” he said, “I’ll start slow before I get to banging your brains out.” The Soulem’s cybernetic penis twirled; spinning and emitting a noise similar to a power drill. Justice’s eyes became wide, as he saw the intimidating presentation. A small, chilling fear ran up the hulking bodybuilder’s spine. Just what in the hell was that dick capable of? Trailing his eyes back up to Gemini’s, the overly-muscular man saw his boyfriend flexing the metal eyebrows in a rapid fashion. Justice could only see the seductive attempt as exceedingly cheesy, humourous, and slightly charming at the same time. The tension in his massive body became slightly relaxed at the robotic face, as the hulking bodybuilder smiled. He replied back, “Y-yeah.” Justice looked over to his right side and grabbed a small pillow next to himself. He then placed it beneath his lower back; propping up his buttocks and crotch. The overly-muscular man lifted his thunderous legs to allow his robotic boyfriend better access. At the same time, Gemini crawled onto the king-sized bed and made his way toward his boyfriend. He could see his lover’s donut-shaped asshole, as his glowing blue tongue licked his lips. The bulky Soulem then arrived at the hulking bodybuilder’s exposed rear, and grabbed the meaty legs. Gemini aimed the white head of his dick against Justice’s lubed asshole and pressed against the plump flesh. His mood rings flashed to dark red, as he pushed his cybernetic penis into Justice. It was not an abrupt thrust, but he also did not slowly ease it in. At that moment, only the gland had entered. Justice’s eyes went wide. He could feel Gemini inside of him. But for some reason, the tip of the sexual entity in his anus felt foreign. Then...an all-too familiar feeling shot through his confusion, while panic amped up his heart rate. “Oh gosh! Get out of me!” he exclaimed. Gemini’s face flexed a confused look with mood rings at grey, “Wh-what? What’s wrong?” Justice needed to get away. He couldn’t let an accident happen right now. “I need to poop right now!” he shouted. The Soulem’s mood rings changed to white. Gemini spoke calmly, “It’s alright. You’re fine. This is completely nor-” “LET ME OUT, I’M GONNA SHIT!!!” yelled Justice. The overly-muscular man yanked his right leg from Gemini’s grasp and immediately gave a powerful kick to the bulky Soulem’s silver face. >>>>>>>>> Gemini squatted down; waiting outside next to the bathroom door. He rubbed the side of his metal face where Justice kicked and caused him to fall back. The bulky Soulem then looked up towards the doorway, as the bathroom entrance creaked open. Justice slowly stepped from out of the bathroom. He peered towards his left and right before looking down and spotting his robotic boyfriend. His eyes immediately looked away. The hulking bodybuilder admitted, “...False alarm.” Gemini nodded. “Yeah, it’s normal for first-timers to feel that kind of sensation when they get penetrated. But I didn’t think that’d happen to you,” remarked the bulky Soulem. He continued, “I mean, I’ve seen the toys you used. You abused your asshole to the point a hotdog could just fall in. So why’s my dick any different?” Justice leaned back against the bathroom doorway and sighed. He thought it over for a few seconds before speaking up. “I don’t know. I never had anybody else use my toys on me….well, when I was conscious. I pretty much blacked out when you rimmed me last time. So I guess since I never surrendered control to someone else, that’s probably why my body freaked out….Does that make sense?” he replied. Gemini stood up, “Yeah. But you freaking out is on me. I didn’t go slow enough for you.” The Soulem began to bump his fists together, while his mood rings changed to pink. “Hey...we could stop for tonight, if you want. This is all a lot for us both to take on. We could just put on a movie and cuddle,” he suggested. From Justice’s perspective, it was always cute to see the Soulem’s nervous tick. The overly-muscular man bent down and kissed his boyfriend’s metal forehead. The forehead had a metallic feel against his lips, but it was as warm as human body temperature. Justice’s lips also felt an odd sensation of the metal being slightly malleable; making the texture seem almost soft. He answered back, “No, it’s fine. I really want this.” Gemini gave a soft smile. “Alright.” he said. >>>>>>>>> The two were back on the enormous bed. Justice laid against it, and Gemini positioned over the hulking bodybuilder. Justice’s throat ran dry, while his heartbeat raced. He did want this, but it was still scary. Gemini’s mood rings became dark red, “I’ll go a lot more slowly this time, okay? Let’s just relax and have a bit of fun. I’ve got data on a whole bunch of foreplay, so there’s some things I want to try out.” Justice nodded. “Uh, sure,” he spoke. The bulky Soulem leaned down and pressed his lips against Justice’s. It started off as a soft smooch before the next kiss went deeper. Their tongues embraced one another before wrestling; not trying to dominate but rather playfully fence one another. One’s tongue would push into the other’s mouth, as the invaded tongue would coil and lightly press back until the other tongue relented seconds later. Both lovers moaned at such sexual combat, as Justice’s mouth and mind felt like they were rolling in an electric cloud that embraced and shocked their pleasure nerves. Justice became distracted for a brief second at how he did not notice it until now that Gemini’s spit tasted like strawberries. Minutes were lost on this back and forth play until Gemini broke away from the French kissing. The bulky Soulem began to kiss down the left side of Justice’s neck; nibbling and sucking at the skin with every wet smooch. The hulking bodybuilder whimpered with ecstacy at the erotic maneuver, while his body squirmed. Gemini’s kissing detoured for a moment; moving onto Justice’s left shoulder and giving it a playful bite. Justice groaned at the blissful bite. The robotic boyfriend then resumed his route trailed his kisses onto the overly-muscular man’s gargantuan pectorals. Gemini grabbed onto both bountiful pecmeats with a tight grip and flicked his glowing, blue tongue against Justice’s large nipples. He would switch over to the other nipple every few seconds and nibble to break up the predictable pattern. Justice was paralyzed with pleasure, as his toes curled at the assault. His body felt electrified at the aggressive manhandling, and his uncontrollable reaction to Gemini’s foreplay was to moan deeply. He had never experience anything like this before; the pain and pleasure becoming one and drowning his conscience into a lustful madness. Gemini then continued down Justice’s cobblestone abs; flicking his tongue like a snake every now and then. When the bulky Soulem arrived at the crotch, he parted away the hulking bodybuilder’s meaty legs. He sucked and licked the crevice between Justice’s inner thighs and groin. The overly-muscular man screamed in bliss, while his penis leaked pre-cum like a faucet. He had never been touched by anyone there, and the sensation was hard to describe. It was like being tickled. But instead of cringing with uncontrollable laughter, it was a shock of pleasure that short-circuited the lower half of his body. Seconds after, Gemini ceased further play. He sat up and watched Justice regain stamina; the heaving chest and rapid short breaths coming to a slow. The bulky Soulem then picked up a pillow and gently nudged his beefy boyfriend. He stated, “Flip over.” Justice obeyed without question; his mind suffocated in a fog of lust. His humongous body felt drained, and it seemed like a giant effort to simply roll onto his stomach. Yet, he still hungered for more carnal fornication. “Fuck…” he moaned. As he managed to turn over onto his belly, Gemini slid the pillow beneath his groin. His ass raised into the air once again from the pillow’s support, Justice’s hole twitched in anticipation of Gemini’s second act. The bulky Soulem leaned down and began to lightly lick Justice’s plump, donut-shaped hole with his glowing, blue tongue. What started as horizontal motions soon became circular rim plays. With each lick, the fat lips of the hole became wetter. Justice moaned from the interaction; a humble treble compared to what the hulking bodybuilder experienced earlier. Gemini changed tactics; plunging his glowing tongue into the moist hole. Justice’s head perked up, while a gasp escaped from the beefy boyfriend’s mouth from the surprise intrusion. Gemini’s tongue then dragged itself out before spearing right back in. The flickering effort of the blue tongue continued this movement for nearly a minute; eliciting a wet suction noise from the fat asshole’s rim. The sensation to Justice felt odd. It was another tickling feeling, but it felt comfortable. And the tongue that slid in him compared to a thick, malleable finger that easily conformed to his anus and love canal. It was a nice break from the intensity he had been experiencing; humming with satisfaction at the pleasant stimulation. Minutes passed for the patient rimming before Gemini sat up straight to switch things up. The bulky Soulem brought up his right white hand as high as he could reach and then swung it down. The rubbery hand slammed into Justice’s right butt cheek; resonating a near thunderous clap and sending ripples across the gargantuan bubble butt. The hulking bodybuilder’s legs twitched at the surprised assault, while a guttural moan bellowed out of Justice’s mouth. It was an obvious painful experience for Justice, but it was just as pleasurable. He found the feeling comparable to a strong static shock, and a tiny part of him wanted more. Gemini bent down towards Justice’s plump asshole again and extended his glowing tongue. Instead of diving his licking appendage at the moist hole, it descended onto the back of the overly-muscular man’s hairless ball sack. Another gasp escaped Justice’s mouth, while the rear entrance quivered. The bulky Soulem swirled his blue tongue on the dark-skinned sac; licking up the bits of sweat collected on there. Gemini’s face appeared as if it enjoyed the mix of Justice’s body, sweat, and tinge of manly musk. He flicked his tongue about and eventually covered the backside of the balls with his viscous, cybernetic saliva that suspiciously resembled thick and stringy lube. Gemini then slowly dragged his tongue up but stopped just before it reached the prized ass; making a brief stop at Justice’s taint. The smooth taint had a swollen appearance like a balloon had been inflated beneath the skin. He bit into the sexual fruit with a wide bite; gnawing but never breaking the skin. Justice shuttered from such beastial action. The robotic boyfriend then continued upward. Reaching Justice’s pleasure hole, Gemini’s tongue wasted no time diving in again. No expressive noise arose from the hulking bodybuilder this time; now familiar with the tickling sensation. Removing the element of predictability, Gemini did not stop at the enticing location and continued ascension. His blue tongue was dragged from out of the soft hole until they reached the top of Justice’s massive ass. The bulky Soulem waggled his tongue at the crevice top; causing the overly-muscular man to immediately feel as if he were about to urinate. Gemini pulled back once again and raised his left arm. Striking it downward, the rubbery hand slapped Justice’s left butt cheek. A booming clap echoed from the clash and caused the meaty rear to quake. Justice screamed, “Oh, FUCK!” The bulky Soulem dived down into Justice’s ass, as he extended his glowing tongue to the fullest length. Face planted between the gargantuan cheeks, he rammed his tongue directly into the plump asshole. As Justice sucked in to gasp from the sudden intrusion, Gemini began to hum. It was a hum that no human could possibly replicate with their own mouths. The intensity of this hum shared a similarity to a small, rattling engine. With such a powerful application, it vibrated Gemini’s tongue with a near-violent intensity. Justice’s ass trembled at the power; fluttering against the sides of Gemini’s face. Justice felt like his soul had been ejected into a dimension of lustful madness. He had never grasped a sensation like this in his entire life. Part of him wanted it to stop, but the other wanted it to go on forever. Minutes passed of drowning in pleasure before he was awoken by an arousing pain. The sound of thunderous slaps echoed from his buttocks. It was a magnified sound, because Justice felt the pain emanating from both of his cheeks. Gemini had struck them both, and such repetition was causing Justice’s ample bottom to feel it becoming raw from the aggression. Nearly over the edge to cumming, the spanking had brought him back. “Gah! FATHERFUCKER!!!” he shouted. Gemini leaned on top of Justice’s mountainous back and could only reach halfway up the giant man. His cybernetic dick hotdogged between his boyfriend’s humongous ass; nudging against the donut-shaped asshole with teasing humps. The bulky Soulem then slid across the back’s muscley ridges, as he dragged his wet tongue across. The hulking bodybuilder was a panting mess. Completely powerless to move; much less to speak a complete sentence. His heart pounded in his ears, and his dick was leaking precum all over his sheets and abs. It was all too much. He needed to orgasm. He needed to be filled! As Gemini arrived at the upper half of his colossal boyfriend, he placed his head on the left side of Justice’s. He gave the overly-muscular man’s left ear a quick lick and then a nibble. Justice could only mutter a small moan in response. The Soulem whispered, “So are you ready now?” “FUCK ME!” huffed Justice, “PLEASE! FUCK ME! FILL ME UP!!!” Gemini grinned, “As you wish. Now flip over.” Standing up, the bulky Soulem grabbed the hulking bodybuilder’s shoulders and guided the muscley boyfriend to turn over. Justice wordlessly complied and used what little strength he had left to switch the front of his body into facing up. His thick penis flopped about; flacid but twitching with urgency. The lower half of his back was now on top of the pillow and propped up for Gemini’s convenience. Gemini then placed his index finger on top of the fat lips of Justice’s anus. He tapped the plump parts for a second before making a swirling motion. His finger started on the rim before slowly descending inside, while he continued to twirl his digit in a counterclockwise movement. Right when the Soulem’s index finger completely sunk into the pumped asshole, Gemini looked at Justice. “Does this feel okay?” he questioned. Justice sighed in arousal, “Yeah…” The cybernetic boyfriend smiled. “Good. That’s just my finger. I’m gonna put more in to prep you. Let me know if something feels wrong,” he said. Without waiting for a reply, the bukly Soulem inserted more fingers. He slid his middle finger into the soft hole and sunk it all the way in. Gemini waited a few seconds to gauge his boyfriend’s reaction to the input, but Justice showed no negative reaction. He then slid in his ring finger...No reaction. Pinky...no reaction. The anal ring’s elasticity seemed to have no limit or even a hesitation of tightness. A devilish smile widened over Gemini’s face. He pushed his thumb in. The pumped hole had no trouble swallowing it. Justice moaned, “Oh, gosh...How many more...fingers...you gonna put in me?” “Sorry. Got curious” giggled Gemini, “I’ll try double fisting you later. Let me give you the one thing you’ve been waiting for.” Pulling his entire hand out, the stretched asshole elicited a wet slop. Gemini then wiped the lube-covered hand on the silk bedsheets before grabbing Justice’s ankles. The bulky Soulem hoisted the meaty legs onto his shoulders, as he positioned his hardened dick at the sexual entrance. The cybernetic penis carefully nudged at the wet, gaping anus; taking things slow to prevent a repeat of the first penetration. With no sign of resistance, the white head of the dick slid in. Gemini stopped further movement and looked up at Justice. He inquired, “I got the head in. Can I keep going?” Justice held up his hand, but it immediately drooped back down. With no energy left for body movement, he had to resort to attempting to speak. “Hold on...Okay. Go ahead,” he said. Gemini proceeded the penetration, but he made sure to take his time. Every few seconds, he would ask Justice about comfortability with the length he just inserted. Justice would simply to tell him to keep going. With all the carefulness the bulky Soulem was exercising, Justice became accustomed to the cybernetic dick inside of him. He was fine after Gemini’s white gland first slid in and settled in his love tunnel, but he wanted to be careful. Right when the overly-muscular man felt Gemini’s rubbery belly pressing against his balls, he instinctively knew that he had made it to the hilt. He felt full, and it felt so right. Gemini asked, “You okay?” Justiced nodded. “Yeah, now bang my brains out!” he said. Gemini grinned, “You got it, bro.” “INITIATE FINAL FORM,” he continued. Justice felt his boyfriend’s dick beginning to change. It became longer, wider...and it shapeshifted into something else? Gemini’s dick felt like it was poking in all directions! Leaning up, the hulking bodybuilder tried to see if he could observe just what was going on inside of him...And then his eyes went wide. He spotted a blue light illuminating beneath the skin of his abdomen, and there seemed to be something stirring in that spot. He could see a slight bulge poking up beneath the skin. The only way Justice could word this experience was fucked up freaky. His mind immediately snapped out of his lust fog and went into full panic mode. He exclaimed, “Wh-what the hell is that?! What the shit, man?! Are you impregnating me?! Converting me?! WHAT?!” Gemini snickered. “No, it’s not that,” he said, “I wanted my dick to get really weird, so I got a bunch of accessories to my dick when I got my upgrade.” The Soulem continued, “Basically, I can make my dick grow as big as those dildos you usually put in yourself. Though I could go bigger, heh. I can also get my dick to change its shape a bit like growing dull spikes or those pearl implants. And not to weird you out, but I can make it act prehensile.” Justice’s eyes flicked down towards his stomach. He was beginning to calm down, but he had one more concern. “I’m already weirded out. And the glowing?” he inquired. Gemini smiled, “I thought it’d fun and help set some mood lighting if I could get my dickhead to light up. Gotta say, it’s kinda sexy seeing your belly light up like that. But, ya know, I can do more than just blue if it’s making you uncomfortable.” “You want yellow?” he rambled. The blue spot shining beneath Justice’s stomach changed to yellow. Gemini continued, “I can also do green, or just, basically, any color.” The yellow was now green. “Oh! I can do a strobe or rave mode. This dick can also play songs too!” the Soulem bragged. The green now became a multitude of colors constantly flashing into other spectrums at a random sequence. At the same time, the muffled sound of techno music played in his abdomen. The heavy beats the song vibrated his innards, and it felt oddly pleasurable. As Justice opened his mouth to say something, techno music blared out of his mouth at crystal clear quality. The overly-muscular man immediately shut his mouth. He could have sworn that the music was related to some sort of desert storm, but he was frazzled by the bizarre event to be sure. Gemini’s eyes widened, “Oh! Sorry! I’ll turn it off! Didn’t know that would happen…” The vibrating music became silent in Justice’s abdomen; leaving only the rave lights to remain. The Soulem’s mood rings switched to pink. “Soooo...I guess I might have went overboard on the weird part...Do you still want to do this?” he sheepishly asked. Justice opened his mouth again and paused. A part of him still thought music might shoot out of him, but there was thankfully only silence. He replied, “I mean...that was a lot to throw on me, but...Yeah, sure. I still want to have sex with you, Gem. But gimme a heads up next time. Like, one surprise is fine, but you gotta tell me ahead of time when it’s more than one.” Gemini nodded. “Sorry. I’ll make sure to do that next time...So you ready to meet the gods?” he said. Justice tilted his head, “...Huh?” The bulky Soulem began to smile sinisterly, as he guided his boyfriend’s hands onto the handlebars on his hips. The mood rings on Gemini’s face flared to dark red. “Cause this dick is the dick that will pierce your soul into the heavens!” he declared, “Hold onto my love handles!” Justice gripped the love handles, “What do you mea-AUGHNMNGUH!!!” Gemini’s dick spinned. It drilled through Justice’s anus; constantly hitting the hulking bodybuilder’s prostate and sensitive innards with its dull spikes. His massive legs trembled, as his mind tumbled in a kaleidoscope of bliss. The bulky Soulem watched his boyfriend’s eyes rolling backwards. He then began to make humping motions. Slowly pulling out then immediately slamming his dick back into Justice. Minutes passed, as Justice tried to maintain any sort of consciousness. He kept drifting back and forth from the insane pleasure he was experience. But he then drifted back into the waking world when his body realized it could not hold back any further. The pleasure had pushed him over the edge. His dick pissed a clear liquid that sprayed all over his torso. Gemini instantly ceased any further movement and drilling. His mood rings flared to yellow. “Woah, what the hell?! Are you pissing yourself?!” he shouted. Justice gasped, “N-no. It’s n-not piss. Just seminal fluid and water.” “...I squirt whenever I have an anal orgasm. I know it looks like piss, but it’s not,” he explained. The overly-muscular man dipped his shaky fingers into the fluid before holding it up towards Gemini. He encouraged, “Look, give it a smell. It doesn’t smell like anything.” Gemini stared at the wet fingers, while his mood rings changed to purple. Seconds later the mood rings then shifted to white. He shook his head and held up his hand. “That’s okay. I just looked it up online, and you’re right. Sorry about that. I kinda never bothered looking into it, cause I was more obsessed with fucking you,” he admitted. Justice grabbed a folded towel next to himself, “That’s okay. Did you want to finish up?” The bulky Soulem smiled, as he stared at his boyfriend drying up with the towel. His mood rings shined rose red. “Sure,” he said. >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Beams of morning light peered through the bedroom windows. Justice’s eyes slowly opened, as he detected the scent of bacon being fried. Looking on the other side of the bed, he noticed an empty space of where his robotic boyfriend slept the previous night. Rolling out of bed, the hulking bodybuilder slowly thumped his naked self towards the kitchen. His asshole felt on fire from any slight movement he made; a reminder of his hole being destroyed by Gemini’s transforming cock. Justice gazed up at the framed photos of his family on the wall, as he passed through the doorway. The overly-muscular man wondered if he’d ever see his parents again. A slight pain panged in his heart at the thought. Things did not end so well when he last encountered his family. His mind flashed back to Sunnysville where he literally fought his family, and it felt devastating to remember the terrible things he said to his parents. He also recalled how he made Ares’ limbs explode, and the intoxicating numbness of using the Soul Venom. Justice still could not bring himself to call his family...but it seemed to be the same from his family’s end. Months had passed after the Skeleton Lord incident had been resolved, and he still had not received even a text message from them...Was this their punishment? The hulking bodybuilder shook his head. He will find the courage one day to get in touch with them again. But right now, he wanted to see the love of his life. Justice deserved to be happy. Entering the kitchen area, the overly-muscular man spotted his boyfriend in front of the gas stove. He smiled. It was a pleasant sight to see; one where Justice hoped he would see more of in the future. The bulky Soulem had his back turned; naked and frying bacon with some other delicious-smelling breakfast. Gemini hummed a tune, while he swished his hefty buttocks in the air to the rhythm he sang. Justice yawned, “Good morning.” The robotic boyfriend partially turned to the hulking bodybuilder and grinned; his mood rings flaring to a sky blue. “Morning!” greeted back Gemini, “I’m frying some eggs. You okay with the yolk intact?” The hulking bodybuilder nodded, “Sure.” Sitting himself down at the wooden dining table, he scratched his neck. Justice watched Gemini grab an egg from a nearby egg carton, crack it against the countertop, and break it open over a heated pan. The yolk gave off a sizzling noise, as it came in contact with what smelled like hot bacon grease in the pan. He then heard the Soulem speak up. “So I was thinking that if you ever made up with Gene, it’d be cool if we all had a threesome together. Or, ya know, I’m down with him just smashing you,” said Gemini. Justice’s mind drifted back for a moment to what Gene had said to him back then. He was no longer able to feel the bunny demigod’s feelings; as if Gene had become a stone-cold statue. The bridge of friendship between the two had become damaged, but not destroyed. There was still hope that things can turn around like it had with him and Gemini. The overly-muscular man cocked his head, “You sure? I don’t think you really mean that, cause I’m pretty sure you’re the jealous type.” Gemini shrugged, as he used a plastic spatula to push currents of hot bacon grease onto the egg. “Eh, I have your heart now, and that’s all that matters. I mean, sex can be a form of affection, but it’s not love...And cause I think it’s hot to see you get fucked by other guys,” he reasoned. At the same time Justice smiled at the reply, he heard a knock coming from the front door. The hulking bodybuilder did not bother to look at a clock when he made his way to the kitchen this morning, and it now dawned on him that it might already be passed ten. Justice mentioned, “I think that might be the mail. I’ll go check.” The overly-muscular man slowly made his way over to the penthouse entrance; careful to take small steps unless he wanted to feel the full pain of his aching asshole. Within the span of almost a minute to arrive at the door, Justice then pressed a button on a plastic panel next to the doorway. An image immediately appeared on the panel; displaying a camera’s view of a red-haired woman in a grey power suit standing on the other side of Justice’s door. Justice recognized the woman as the lobby manager who was usually stationed at the reception desk. Whenever packages or letters, that seem of personal importance, arrive at the Piscelemartie luxury apartments, the staff take it upon themselves to hand deliver the item to a resident. It seemed over the top for the employees to do this sort of thing in Justice’s perspective, but he appreciated the gesture. Justice unlocked the door and began to pull it open. Right in mid-swing, the hulking bodybuilder remembered that he was still bare of any clothing. He then instantly stopped the door, as it neared a quarter open. Peaking his upper body into the opening to greet the employee, Justice kept his lower body hidden behind the door. “Uh, hi, Amber. Good morning,” he awkwardly smiled. Amber gave a slight bow, “Good morning to you as well, Mr. Starr. I get the feeling that you are busy with something at the moment, so I shall be brief. I’m here to hand-deliver a letter to you that seemed of the utmost importance.” She held out a letter envelope in front of the overly-muscular man. Justice motioned his hand over to the envelope and gently grabbed it. “Thanks, Amber,” he said. The lobby manager smiled, “You’re most welcome. Enjoy the rest of your day.” Justice returned with a smile as well, while he nodded and closed the door. With the unpleasant conversation over, the hulking bodybuilder let out a sigh. He then made his way back to the kitchen; distracted by the enticing smells. As the overly-muscular man arrived back at the kitchen and sat down in his seat at the dining table again, he looked at the white envelope grasped in his hand. It was addressed to him, but the address’ state blurred from ink smearing. The sender’s name was written as Solomon Apeloko; address’ state also blurred from ink smearing. Turning the envelope over, he noticed that the flap was closed by a wax stamp seal. The image on the seal was a tower, and the wax seal had a mixture of colors that contained: white, black, and red...Was this a calling card of who he thought this was? Peeling back the wax seal, he opened the envelope. Justice then reached his hand in and pulled out a single sheet of folded paper. The hulking bodybuilder unfolded the letter and began to read; briefly taking note of the beautiful penmanship. Justice then gently smiled. Gemini walked towards Justice and set a plate of breakfast down in front of his muscular boyfriend. His mood rings shifted to white, as he watched the overly-muscular man’s face relax with relief. “Who’s it from?” he asked. Justice looked up, “A friend.”
  2. EcchiMultiverse

    Marvelous Man - Chapter 29

    (Apologies. Computer is broken, and my chromebook only works. But it doesn't factor in formatting for some reason. Please go to this link for a better format: https://drive.google.com/open?id=1R8WWx8MvIxRU8nSxn7mZH-uN57X-uUMQPnXDH8NsHvY) SPECIAL THANKS TO MY PATRONS: SPECTRI Chapter 29: Second Win(d) The mighty muscles in Marvelous Man’s thighs bulged with godly power. Pushing off, the white bone disk beneath him shattered from the super jump. The inspiration god flew towards the Seraphim at such an incredible speed that he was already halfway there! As he soared, his illuminated body left behind a large trail of a multi-colored aurora. It looked as if he was painting the northern lights into the blackness. Marvelous Man’s eyes flicked up at a large object charging towards him. It was the wheeled underling, Throne. It spun with ferocity in front of the musclebound superhero; attempting to intercept him. The inspiration god did not hesitate to confront the minion. Switching his focus to the white wheel, an image immediately popped into the hulking bodybuilder’s head. It was an animation of a mannequin attacking a giant wheel. Marvelous Man did not question the thought and immediately implemented what he saw in his mind. The musclebound superhero used his flight power to flip himself forward. Right when his head and front half faced up, Marvelous Man extended his legs to point at the Throne and crossed his muscular arms over his massive pectorals. The hulking bodybuilder then opened his meaty legs at a wide angle, while he controlled his flight power to twirl his titanic body at a blurring, counterclockwise rotation. Marvelous Man looked like a human blender; his lower body acting like blades. At the point of physical confrontation between the inspiration god and the Throne, Marvelous Man’s legs were the first to strike. His heels caught both sides of the Throne’s rim; with one pinning against the top and the other at the bottom. The bone wheel’s movements were immediately halted, and its body now became trapped in the tornado-like spin. Marvelous Man bent his knees; pulling in the enemy closer with his feet acting like the claw of a crane game. The hulking bodybuilder maneuvered the Throne against the heavy bulge in his bikini, while he slithered his thick legs in a tight constriction through the wheel’s spokes and around the rim. Using his flight power, his rotation came to an instant stop. Everything performed perfectly as the inspiration god imagined, and it was time to execute his killing blow. Reaching up to his head, Marvelous Man grabbed his golden wreath. The musclebound superhero’s desire to cut was now absolute, and he slashed at the captured Throne with his laurel. The speed of his strike was like a master samurai; swift without hint of hesitation and incomprehensible to the normal eye of when the blade hit. As his arm swiped to the other side of his body, Marvelous Man released his golden wreath to extend the attack into a combo strike. The golden projectile flew away from the two combatants before changing its direction. It curved back towards the fighters; spinning like a furious buzzsaw. Boosted by Marvelous Man’s super strength, the weaponized laurel returned back in less than a second. The golden weapon sliced through the Throne’s center; the focus point where the wheel’s bird legged-shaped spokes clasped onto each other. Sawing through with no sign of delay, the spinning laurel repeated the same process. It zoomed forward for a moment and then swerved back at the Throne. The spinning projectile targeted the back of the angelic rim and sliced through effortlessly. The inspiration god pulled back his arm and punched with all his might. He battled cried, “RAH!!!” With the major points that held the Throne together now severed, the top half of the white wheel slid off from powerful punch and flew off into the whisping blackness. Marvelous Man released his legged clamp over the bottom half of the Throne and continued onward. “Such wonder!” cheered Alden. Marvelous Man looked to his right and shouted, “AH!” Gliding next to him was the ancient king, Alden. The musclebound superhero had forgotten about the spirit; causing his eyes to bulge in surprise upon spotting Alden. He then saw the ancient king point forward. “Sheeth your nerves, for the next trial is upon us!” declared Alden. Marvelous Man turned his attention back to the Seraphim and could see it readying the next strike. The bone angel flapped its sharp, outer wings; releasing a flurry of its deadly, white feathers. The feathers aimed themselves towards Marvelous and shot towards him. In mid-flight, the feathers expanded into the shape of poles. Wanting to avoid the same outcome Marvelous Man first encountered with the rocket missile-sized poles, he dove down. Marvelous Man moved downward but slightly angled himself towards the Seraphim to make some distance progression. The barrage of poles flew overhead; completely missing the hulking bodybuilder. Seconds ticked by before Marvelous Man heard the many whistlings of the bone projectiles completely pass over. The inspiration god changed his trajectory and aimed back up towards the Seraphim. Marvelous Man then saw the Seraphim flap its sharp, outer wings again. The musclebound superhero was prepared for abrupt evasive maneuvers, but he noticed the feathers reacting differently this time. Instead of shooting off in one heavy stream, the feathers transformed and torpedoed off in a widespread attack. There was no area to retreat towards for dodging the attack, nor an object to hide behind. Marvelous Man would have no choice but to endure the wide salvo. The hulking bodybuilder immediately halted his flight. Curling up into a ball, Marvelous Man placed his large hands over the back of his head and neck in an effort to minimize damage. He was aware that his new form would immediately heal him, but he would rather take the less painful route against an unavoidable attack. The wide onslaught of the bone poles had reached him. Marvelous Man could feel the assault raining down on his back, hands, and part of his head; painful for teeth gritting but not enough to elicit a scream. The inspiration god was unsure, but it seemed like his body had gained an increased durability on top of rapid regeneration. Not a bone in him was breaking or even dislocating. Seconds later, the wide strike had ended. Marvelous Man looked over himself and noticed no bruises or lasting damage on himself. He then glanced up and saw that the Seraphim’s attack had slightly undone his progress. The inspiration god spotted his aurora trail in front of him and came to a fast conclusion that he had been thrown back by the massive assault. Marvelous Man realized being able to take a hit would not be enough to reach the Seraphim and save Digz. He would have to use his creativity to gain any sort of headway. Tracing the glass string from his wrist back towards Alden, the inspiration god looked up. He could see the spirit staring back at him with eyes full of anticipation, and an idea sprouted in his head. He called out, “Hey, King Alden! Can’t you summon your guardians to help me out? Could you please get them to distract Digz?” Alden’s eyes widened in realization. He then turned to the Seraphim and pointed his ghostly finger at the angelic monster. “Ah, yes! How careless of me!” announced the king, “To arms, my guardians!” The black essence heeded to the spirit’s call and drifted towards him. The whisping blackness then collected in front of him; swirling into four different masses. Immediately dispersing after forming, four figures were revealed. The electric tribesman, Zareb, with his magical axes. The vengeful hunter and the Skeleton Lord’s right hand man, Itzcóatl; armed with a bow. A white horse with a beautiful mane. There was also an armored knight that wielded an elegant glaive polearm. Alden commanded, “Go forth, my guardians! Crack the shell my imp hides within!” Itzcóatl drew back an arrow on his bow. “Gladly, master! I always wanted to slay that annoying bird,” he replied. All three Skeleton Lord Guardians and the horse charged forward. Even though none of them had flight abilities, according to Marvelous Man’s memory, they were able to fly through the essence-contaminated air at speeds faster than the inspiration god. They all screamed and neighed their war cries; making their statement that they were giving it their all. Marvelous Man felt hopeful about the situation; things were finally turning around. As the guardians and steed were within striking distance, they held out their weapons and proceeded to slash, shoot, and stomp. They all immediately disintegrated back into black essence. Alden confessed, “...Huh...whoops. I forgot that their souls are still tethered to Digz’s. Many pardons. That one is on me.” Marvelous Man’s mouth gaped for a moment at the whiplash of events before he snapped back to the task at hand. The musclebound superhero flew forward; leaving behind his aurora trail. He had managed to gain back the distance he had lost and was already halfway to the Seraphim. The sharp feathers on the Seraphim’s outer wings vibrated, and Marvelous Man was aware of what was to come next. The white feathers extended, while it simultaneously thickened to morph durable fists on its ends. The fist-shaped bone feathers launched volleys of themselves at the hulking bodybuilder like streams of missiles. Another idea popped into the inspiration god’s head with the same mannequin doing a maneuver one would realistically deem as idiotic. There was nothing else Marvelous Man could think of in the seconds the bone fists were about to reach him. The weird thoughts from his new form did not fail him the first time, he hoped what he had was not a beginner’s luck. He charged toward the onslaught coming towards him. Just as the missile punches were about to reach him, Marvelous Man pulled up slightly and performed a backflip. The thrust of his action lifted the hulking bodybuilder over the violent volley with just barely a thumbtack length between the two. With the dodging successful and the backflip coming to a full rotation, the musclebound superhero landed with both feet on top of the feather. Marvelous Man had his feet positioned like a surfer, and he gave a slight laugh at the absurdity of what he had done. Activating his flight power for propulsion, the inspiration god sped down the bone feather’s length like a skateboarder grinding down a stairway rail...But in his mind, it was more like a spiky, blue character in a video game he used to play. More fist-shaped feathers launched at Marvelous Man. The musclebound superhero held up his beefy arms; relaxed and ready to fight. At the point of confrontation, Marvelous Man began to parry and swat away the punches by using the defensive martial arts, Aikido. He continued moving forward unhindered, as his bulky arms waved about like water. The fists then adapted to the situation by striking together in pairs of three. The power and size was beginning to overwhelm the inspiration god’s fighting style, but he had one last trick left. Manipulating his flight power, Marvelous Man strafed to the right while continuing forward propulsion. He began moving in a corkscrew motion down the feather’s length with both feet still planted on top; leaving behind a spiral aurora trail that wrapped around the bone feather. He was so close now! Only one-third of distance left to go before reaching the Seraphim! The Seraphim launched the rest of its fist-shaped feathers simultaneously at Marvelous Man. His eyes bulged at the unavoidable attack and held his arms over his face; bracing for the inevitable impact. The white punches collided into him and forced him back. Through the mass of fists, the musclebound superhero saw the Seraphim zooming farther away from him. As the white feathers reached the end of their strike zone, they halted their pushing. Marvelous Man was flung back by the finished attack and immediately tried to counter the overwhelming kinetic force by activating his flight power. His thrown trajectory slowly stabilized until his flight power managed to bring himself to a full stop seconds later. The murder of puttis that had flown in a circle like vultures dived down to Marvelous Man. They began to peck at the hulking bodybuilder with their crow-shaped skull heads; unable to pierce him but were capable of annoying him. The musclebound superhero then swatted a few away and caused the rest to retreat. The inspiration god’s frustration grew, as he saw he was sent back to where he started. Ideas continually poured into his mind, but they all would have the same result...Except for one. Marvelous Man looked up at Alden. “King Alden! I need you trap Digz in a memory. His memory! Anything you can think of. Can you do it?” he requested. The ancient king nodded, “I shall try.” Alden waved his hand up at the smoky blackness that encased the ceiling of the pocket dimension. The essence reacted to the gesture and swirled before becoming flat. The manipulated essence had a curved shape; similar to a planetarium’s interior ceiling. The voice of a small boy then echoed it. “I wish to help my father move the dead bodies to their graves,” he said. One of the puttis exclaimed, “Kenelm?!” A line of white light appeared on the center of the curved ceiling. It then expanded until it encompassed the rest of the flat ceiling. Light showered the entire area for a few seconds before dimming down. Marvelous Man could see the light now adjusting to an image of different colors and shapes. The image seemed to be interior of a wooden architecture with little room. Sunlight cascaded through a window on the left and an open doorway on the right. In front of the image was a young boy, who looked no older than twelve, staring back. He was dirty from head to toe and wore ragged peasant clothing that looked to be from the medieval ages. The boy had blond hair and blue eyes that were shaded to a nearly silver hue. He smiled an innocent grin of excitement; exposing a missing tooth amongst the rows. It became obvious to Marvelous Man that this memory was being portrayed through the past Digz’s eyes. “Wow! It really worked! My very own imp!” shouted the boy. The boy bounced on his toes and giggled for a moment before his eyes widened in realization. He stood up straight; trying to appear authoritative. He pointed at himself, “Oh, right! My name’s Kenelm. I’m your master. And you’re my imp...ummm...What should your name be...ummm…” “What kind of imp are you?” he inquired. A putti amongst its group spoke up, “I’m a bone imp.” Marvelous Man looked at the puttis and realized that they were responding to the image. The inspiration god then remembered the name Digz was sensitive to, Kenelm. If the boy’s name is Kenelm, then the young one was most likely the familiar’s first master! It seemed Alden was successful in not only playing back a memory of the bone imp’s but also entrancing the lesser monsters to quote whatever Digz had said in the past. And if that were the case, then the Seraphim should trapped in the memory as well. The musclebound superhero flew towards the Seraphim, as the image above continued to play Digz’s earliest memory. Kenelm tapped his cheek, “Ummmm...then...I’ll call you Digz! Cause you’ll help us dig graves and stuff! My father is the groundskeeper for a graveyard, and I made you to help him!” As Marvelous Man covered a fourth of a distance towards the Seraphim, the memory ended. The image in the curved ceiling faded into black, and the bone creatures awakened from the enthralling memory. The eldritch angel flapped its sharp, outer wings; releasing its usual blast of feathers. Instead of flying forward this time, the white feathers shattered to piece itself together into different creatures. Groups of thrones emerged from the assembly as well as several murders of puttis. Upon formation, the angelic monsters charged at the inspiration god. Marvelous Man immediately called out to Alden. “I need another memory! Quick!” he shouted. The black ceiling became bright again; projecting a memory from the bone imp’s past. It was the same small house Digz was birthed in, but the perspective of the past Digz was now entering the home. At the same moment the memory displayed the setting, the Seraphim’s underlings began to show hesitation in their movements. Marvelous Man was able to easily sidestep from the angelic monsters, as they became entranced to the memory. The bone lackeys then moved in such drunken motions that the hulking bodybuilder barely had to move away from the sluggish attacks. A putti spoke up, “Kenelm? Are you in here?” “Yeah, I’m here,” replied Kenelm, “Do you need something?” Digz’s vision turned to his left upon entering the house and saw his master. The young boy appeared to be a year older and was sitting in a chair. Kenelm was reading through a book within the rays of sunlight that peered through the open windows. The putti stated, “I’ve finished putting the last of the bodies to their final resting place. Your father wants you to go to the village and purchase some bread.” “Sure. In a minute. I’m almost done with this section,” said the young witch. During the playback of the memory, the inspiration god took advantage of the hypnotizing situation. Marvelous Man flew through the crowd of lesser angels; zipping about them effortlessly. None of the bone monsters were able to touch the hulking bodybuilder that soared close to them. The trail left behind by him looked like an aurora web that trapped the creatures. In seconds, the musclebound superhero arrived on the other side of the angelic mob. The Seraphim was now slightly closer to him, but Marvelous Man had to take care of one thing before he could go any further. Kenelm continued, “Magic is so amazing. Once I graduate from my apprenticeship with our neighbor witch, I’ll be able to help out father even more than ever! Maybe I could help out the village too and make us lots of money!” The putti hummed. “Maybe. But I think I’m more than enough to help your father and bring in some coin. Besides, I think he just wants you to keep running the grave business. You don’t have to help everyone just cause you can do a little magic, you know,” he remarked. Kenelm looked down at Digz, “Yeah, but I don’t help because I have to. I help cause I want to. And seeing all those dead bodies we put to rest makes me wonder...Did they have a happy life? Or at least a happy end? If I can, I’d like to help out any way I can to make sure their life was happy and their end had meaning. Because one day...that’ll be me in the ground too...” Flipping around, Marvelous Man faced the group of monsters that attempted to chase him in a drunken sway. The musclebound superhero held up his thick hands together as if it were a gun, while the bone creatures bounced into one another. Concentrating his thoughts of cutting, the inspiration god pointed his finger gun at a Throne on the far left of the angelic swarm. It was not necessary, but it felt right to do this action and for what he was about to say. “BOOMERANG SNIPE!” he roared. A whirring noise whistled in the shadowy world for a moment before a golden projectile sliced through it and came back to saw into it several more times. Completely decimated, Marvelous Man pointed his finger gun at the next monster. Despite the magical wreathe not in his grasp, it still obeyed the inspiration god’s thoughts no matter how far away it had sailed off into the whisping blackness. The lethal laurel spun through each monster’s weak points successfully; rapidly killing off every lesser angel with its buzzsaw attacks that Marvelous Man aimed his finger gun at. In seconds, only a putti was spared. It floated aimlessly amidst a graveyard debris of its brethren. The musclebound superhero then turned back to the white Seraphim and took off. In the memory, Kenelm held out his book at Digz. The inside of the pages were scribbles of magical facts and runes that were incomprehensible to inexperienced magic users like Marvelous Man. “Oh, look at this! I found something interesting,” he grinned, “Do you remember the spell I used to create you? I noticed there’s a symbol here that limits how much of my soul I can put into you. I think if I get rid of it, I can put more of my soul into you and increase your power! Wouldn’t that be amazing?” The putti commented, “...I don’t think that’s a good idea.” As the projected memory faded to black, Marvelous Man managed to fly halfway over to his objective. The inspiration god flicked his watery eyes up at the curved ceiling and then towards the Seraphim. The giant, eldritch angel began to stir; appearing to have awakened from being entranced and now taking notice of the hulking bodybuilder. Marvelous Man then noticed its sharp, outer feathers vibrating for another punch attack. Once those feathers launched and stretched towards him, he would be sent all the way back. Starting over for a fifth time would not be acceptable, and he needed to win now by any means. “King Alden, I need you play a traumatic memory! The most saddest one you can think of!” he shouted. Alden slowly waved his hand, “My apologies, Digz. But I must.” The curved ceiling lit up with another memory; causing the Seraphim to predictably halt its movement. From the usual first-person perspective, Digz was inside the house and sitting on the edge of his master’s bed. He was busy manipulating floating skeleton hands to sew a torn cloth together. The memory showed he lacked the dexterity to complete the action with his own limbs, because his arms were white avian wings that lacked proper hands for the task. During the playback, Marvelous Man continued his journey. He hoped that this memory lasted long enough for him to reach the Seraphim. Taking a quick look back, the inspiration god spotted the last putti taking chase in a slow, dazed fashion. It seemed able to catch up to Marvelous Man but incapable of attacking. The sound of a door swinging open was immediately followed by it closing with a loud bang in the memory. Looking up, Digz’s eyes turned to the house’s door. Pinning against the closed door was his master, Kenelm; appearing slightly older this time and gasping like he had been running. The young witch’s clothes were tarnished with blood that seemed to originate around Kenelm’s stomach. The skeletal hands controlled by Digz fell onto the ground with a scattered clink. The bone imp ran up to his master. “OH MY GOSH! KENELEM, YOU’RE BLEEDING!!! WHO DID THIS TO YOU?!” screamed the putti. Kenelm gasped, “The king...just decreed all magic...illegal. Those who are...caught are...put to death. The king’s knights came and...found out about me...I got away...but...they got me good...and I don’t...feel so good.” “Um, uh, uh, um, c-come over to the bed and lie down! Y-you’ll feel better!” sputtered the putti. The young witch staggered forward in slow, small steps, while he clutched his stomach. Droplets of blood splattered onto the floor with every movement. By the third step, he lost his balance and fell forward. Digz held out feathery arms and caught Kenelm from crashing onto the wooden floor, while the putti gasped a small oomph from the catch. Kenelm wheezed, “I don’t...I don’t think a rest will help, Digz. It’s getting harder...to focus...and I feel cold...I think...I think I’m...dying.” “Wha-N-No! Please don’t say that! Please don’t say that you’re dying!” exclaimed the putti. The memory’s image became blurry; as if it were being submerged into water. Kenelm replied, “I’m sorry, but...I think I am...I don’t want to...but I think I am. And when I die...so will you.” The putti remained silent as Kenelm’s gasping slowly died down. Seconds after fully catching his breath, the young witch spoke up. “Digz, help me get to the middle, please.” he said. The putti whimpered, “O-Okay…” Marvelous Man was getting closer to the Seraphim. He only needed a few more minutes before he was within reaching distance. As the inspiration god flew, he kept his face focused on the eldritch angel but could hear everything the memory and putti said. His heart became torn; wanting to face the unfolding tragedy yet needing to press on to complete his personal mission. Marvelous Man wished he could jump right into the memory and save the two...but he was well aware that such a feat was impossible. The memory’s perspective rotated back towards facing the center of the house. Through the watery vision, image slowly drifted to the center while stopping every few seconds. As they got closer and were about to pass the post of young witch’s bed, Kenelm spoke up again. “Put me down by the bed,” he commanded, “There’s something we need to do.” The bone imp obeyed and set the young witch down; propping the boy’s back against the bed’s post. Digz then brought up his white feather arms to wipe away the water vision and managed to make most of the memory’s image to become clear again. As this happened, Marvelous Man lost the will to keep looking forward. He just had to see what happened. The musclebound superhero struggled to peek over his muscled shoulder and stare at the memory, while he continued towards the Seraphim. “I need you to help me with one last spell,” he said. Holding out his left hand, it then began to glow with mana. Kenelm traced a small circle that immediately turned into a magic circle with runic symbols inside and another circle beneath the symbols. The young witch stretched his fingers outwards for a moment; causing the magical seal to enlarge to the size of a hula hoop. Waving his left hand down to the center floor next to himself, the magic circle followed and hovered above the wooden floor. He mumbled, “Perush.” The magic seal then embedded into the planks and instantly disappeared right after. Smoke drifted up from the sizzled, wooden floor, as the ground was now scorched with the same design as the magical circle. “Spices and herbs were only needed to make your body, so I don’t think we need that. Digz, I need you to stand in the middle circle,” he muttered. The image moved towards the inner circle of the magic seal before turning around to face Kenelm. The putti replied, “Okay. Is this some sort of revenge spell or curse?” The young witch looked away. “Oh...I guess I should’ve done that instead. It’s a spell I always wanted to try, cause I changed some things,” he remarked. Digz’s eyes looked down at the magic circle; staring and rotating about to look at all the symbols. He then pointed his feathery arm and looked up at Kenelm. The putti mentioned, “Um, Kenelm? Are you sure this’ll work? There’s a lot of gaps where the symbols should probably be...Hold on, a second ago, you said something about spices and herbs were only needed to make my body. Why would you say something like that?” The putti paused for a moment, as Kenelm’s eyes became watery. “Wait, is this...the spell that made me? I remember you saying something a while back about removing some symbols and...No...No, Kenelm, you can’t! Please! You’ll die if you give me the rest of your soul!” screamed the putti. Marvelous Man knew what was to come next and looked away. He returned his focus back towards the eldritch angel. Tears streamed down Kenelm’s face, as he placed his left hand onto the pyrographed wood. The magic seal immediately lit up. He sobbed, “I don’t want to die either...But I want you to live even more! If my soul is alive, then you’ll still be alive. And if I put it in you, you should be able to live a lot longer!...A lot longer than the time I have left...” “My wish is that...you stay alive and help people...help them be happy. And also...please restore magic. It needs to be shared,” croaked Kenelm. The curved ceiling became flooded with white light before it faded to blackness; ending the memory. Throughout the entire playthrough and all the way to its conclusion, Marvelous Man gained all the ground he needed. As the Seraphim seemed to shift back into awareness, the inspiration god was only a second away from touching it. Reaching into his pocket, the musclebound superhero pullet out a paper talisman. It was the same talisman given to him by the Director and Puzzles for the purpose of separating Digz’s symbiotic merge from the Skeleton Lord. Marvelous Man now had a new purpose for it. He charged his hand holding the paper with mana, as he soared down at the Seraphim. The inspiration god roared, “POSSESSION EJECTION!!!” Marvelous Man slammed the paper onto the top of the Seraphim’s casket, as the talisman fed on his mana. Upon contact, the magical paper activated and caused cracks to appear beneath it. The fractures instantly spread throughout the Seraphim; causing the angel to have the same fragility as a vase covered in hairline cracks. The Seraphim immediately shattered into millions of white debris; echoing the sound of bones breaking. Marvelous Man’s eyes furiously scanned the scenery, but the blackness of the pocket dimension seemed to disguise the bone imp’s location. The spectral hand of Alden’s came into view; causing the hulking bodybuilder to briefly look up at the ancient king now floating next to him. “There!” pointed the spirit. Following Alden’s direction, Marvelous Man then spotted the corrupted imp. Digz floated motionlessly amidst the wreckage; appearing like it was underwater. The musclebound superhero wasted no time and flew towards it. Tracing a circle with the same mana-conducted hand, he filled the magic circle with thoughts of the symbols for the only spell he knew. He chanted, “Iggzel Ponsfortuna! Through the sea of reality, gather the shattered soul. Place back what once belonged and seal into a whole. I beseech the power within the one I mend to reach for salvation. DIVINE SOUL RESTORATION!!!” Marvelous Man arrived at Digz’s location and immediately grabbed hold of the imp’s shoulder at the same time he finished his incantation. The magic seal activated with a blue glow and materialized the star that was able to absorb Digz’s essence. The whisping blackness funneled into the star in the shape of a whirlpool, as the incomplete familiar started to move. The corrupted imp slowly nudged about before its body jolted in attention. Raising its feathery left arm, the nearby floating bits of bone flew towards and collected at his feathery ends. The pieces then instantly formed into a white wand, as Digz curled his feathered extremities around it. Whipping it in front of himself, the incomplete familiar aimed it at the hulking bodybuilder. “Let! Go!” shouted Digz. The wand disintegrated into black essence; causing it to flow into Marvelous Man’s star. The musclebound superhero noticed the ghostly hand of Alden stretched out from his left side. Digz’s body seized from further movement. The corrupted imp blurted, “A-Alden?!” The ancient king gave a soft, sad smile. “Yes,” he said, “But it is time for you to stop. Let us help you.” Alden turned to Marvelous Man, “Marvelous Man, please hurry. I can feel myself drifting back, and I will not be able to provide assistance again if you fail this opportunity.” The inspiration god was aware of the situation, but he was unsure of what to do. He was pouring the same extreme amount of mana into the spell as he did last time. All he could do was wait and hope that this small circle would channel the blackness in this dimension into the tiny star seated in the center of the magical seal… A thought came over him. He had the unlimited energy to pour as much mana into a spell just like the spellcasters he supercharged for maintaining the magic dome over the ghetto. Perhaps it was not the energy needed to power spell, but the size of the spell. His thoughts then immediately recalled what the musclebound superhero had done a minute ago. During his flight towards the Seraphim, he peeked over his shoulder to watch the dying Kenelm enact a spell. Marvelous Man threw his spellcasting hand upwards while continuing to feed his mana into it. The magical circle and its star followed the motion and shot up in a curved arc. As it soared higher, the inspiration god’s aurora aura stretched out and seeped into the circle’s rim. The musclebound superhero stretched his mana-charged hand as wide as he could and hoped this would work. The magic seal reacted to the gesture and expanded; the symbols and circle width growing wider. The magical circle continued to grow until it completely encompassed the curved, black ceiling. The color of the magic seal shifted from its usual blue to the radiant ever-changing colored spectrum of Marvelous Man’s aurora. The tiny star within the spell became augmented by this effect; shining with greater intensity and enlarging to the size of a giant beach ball. The tornado effect that funnelled into the star dispersed; stillness existing in the space for only a second. The magic seal then emitted a soft hum that gave off the tone of something nearly incomprehensible that is celestial, benevolent, and...inspirational. It sounded similar to a glass harmonica in Marvelous Man’s perspective; a long, glass instrument ribbed to elicit soft sounds when given a wet touch. While the hulking bodybuilder continued to stare at the magic circle, it seemed as if the spell had become supercharged now that it was absorbing an even greater amount of unlimited mana. It was like...the spell had evolved and became a god itself. A black fleck of something wafted into the hulking bodybuilder’s vision. Then he saw a couple more float up. It was hard to determine the shape, as they seemed to resemble natural objects the would tussle into the wind. Cherry blossoms, snowflakes, leaves; each of the flakes appeared to mirror one of those three. Each passing second, more and more of the flakes fluttered up towards the bright star. It was a wondrous sight to behold, but Marvelous Man needed to see where they were originating from. Looking down, the inspiration god spotted a hole at the bottom of the pocket dimension. Sunlight peered through the opening like a focused laser. The hole then began to expand; breaking down the whisping essence and compressing them into shapes of snowflakes, petals, and leaves. As the amount of black flakes drifting up to the spell’s star increased, so did the hole’s speed of breaking down the smokey world. It was as if the spell was now uprooting the whole scenery rather than sucking it in bit by bit. The bottom of the pocket dimension completely dissolved within seconds and revealed the bottom half of a human skeleton that appeared to be standing in a cityscape. As Marvelous Man stared, he was interrupted by the spirit’s comment. “This...this is no spell. Not a wonder like this,” gasped Alden, “With such power, could this be, a miracle?” Marvelous Man looked back up at the ancient king next to him and could not seem to find the words to reply. The decay of the artificial world had reached rapid acceleration, as the entropous hole had now reached the sides. The three were practically bathed in the mass ascension of the flakes, which nearly veiled Digz and Alden from his sight for a few seconds. As the breakdown reached the upper sphere, the conversion of flakes ceased. The spell seemed to alter its absorption, since there was no longer a large mass to dissolve. The whisping essence hanging above the magical circle then drained into the star like a sponge absorbing a small puddle. With nothing left to obscure their surroundings, the blue sky revealed itself through the openings of the skeletal human torso. Marvelous Man looked around him and noticed two things. They were now floating in Skyway City’s inner city. The area appeared to be close to the Barticle Troy Mall, and the scenery showed signs of intense damage. Buildings smashed, cars on fire, and streets clawed into gapes; smoke rose from the destruction. The hulking bodybuilder spotted superheroes and police officers amidst the carnage, but he was so high up that they looked like ants. Marvelous Man then saw a couple of them were in flight at his altitude; floating a cautious distance from where the musclebound superhero hovered. The other thing he noticed was that the human-shaped, giant skeleton was not moving. It seemed to be stuck in mid-stance with its arm pulled back to ready a catastrophic swipe. It occured to Marvelous Man that he was too late to stop Digz causing disaster to the city, but at least he halted any further destruction the giant skeleton was about to commit. The magical circle then bellowed a deep, resounding ring that sounded like an old church bell. The echo nearly reached the decibel of deafening and vibrated through Marvelous Man’s overly-muscled body. It felt powerful but it was more of a comfort than domination. His ears did not feel hurt, and his soul almost seemed to...sing with that single ring. After the spell’s chime died down, a loud, bone-breaking crack reverberated around the inspiration god. A large fracture traveled throughout the giant skeleton’s body with smaller cracks branching out from the fracture. The cracks interconnected with one another to create an unquantifiable amount of fragments as big as Marvelous Man. The white fragments then began to shiver; as if it were alive and trying to break away from the gigantic skeletal mass. Marvelous Man spotted a bone fragment above him successfully free itself. The fragment immediately transformed into Digz’s black essence for a moment before shaping itself into the form of a unicorn. The majestic steed was completely black, and its mane danced like a ribbon in the air. The mystic equine stood on its hind legs for a moment, while it whinnied. Landing back on all fours, the unicorn took off into the air with a light gallop. The black creature did not fall, but it instead seemed to be running on an invisible staircase. It galloped on the air in a circular direction and began to climb up towards the magical circle’s star. The inspiration god then noticed a small amount of other fragments free themselves, transform, and follow after the first black unicorn. At the same time, the fragments at the top of the humongous skeleton transformed and stampeded down towards the star. The rate of black unicorns birthing themselves and following after its team steadily increased until every part of the skeleton, including its inner layers, charged into the star. Marvelous Man was dazzled by the spell’s ability to break down the entire monster and absorb it in a beautiful fashion. It truly was a miracle for a spell to go beyond its programming. Right after the last unicorn entered into the star, seconds ticked by with nothing happening. Marvelous Man grew worried, as he stared down at the dazed Digz. The spell still needed the last of Kenelm’s soul to completely heal the corrupted imp. And the more time that went by, the more the other superheroes and police officers would gain the courage to close in and kill Digz. The inspiration god stared up at the magic seal, “Come on...come on…” He then realized that since Digz’s original master died centuries ago in another country, it would take longer to gather particles of that soul than it was to gather the black essence. It is unknown as to where they currently are, or what they are being pulled from. Even if the spell were bigger, it would probably still need time to find it. The incomplete familiar snapped back at attention and began to struggle against Marvelous Man’s grip. “No! Let go! I’m not going to die! N-Not like this!” screamed Digz. The magical circle emitted a soft hum, as Marvelous Man tried to keep a steady grasp on the corrupted imp. The hum resembled the calm vibrations of a Tibetan singing bowl; a metal bowl that provides a pleasing sound upon brushing the rim. For a moment, it seemed to calm Digz into nudging against the hulking bodybuilder’s hold. Alden spoke up, “I understand...I’m ready.” Marvelous Man looked over at Alden and elicited a small gasp. The ancient king was staring up at the star and began to dissolve with small pieces slowly breaking off of him. The bits of the spirit transformed into little balls of light that gave off a comforting glow similar to fireflies. The inspiration god traced the balls of light traveling up and then entering into the star. Marvelous Man snapped his gaze back at Alden, as his eyes widened in realization. The neverending tears that flowed down his face was now of sadness rather than overly emotional inspiration. “No...N-No! Not you! You can’t be the one to fix Digz! Don’t sacrifice yourself! Not after I just saved you!” he exclaimed. Alden gave a small smile, “Marvelous Man. I know that my otherworldly destination is not a good place. It does not take a seer to know that.” “...That is why I will do this. I can still do one last good deed before my oblivion, and that is to answer this spell’s call. I must at least try to restore some amount of my kingly honor. So please, let me have this. I do not need salvation. Instead, give me redemption,” he continued. The inspiration god gritted his teeth; trying to maintain a mask of composure. It felt like he was failing all over again...But...this time...he could actually save a life. There was no way Marvelous Man can resurrect Alden, and it made sense to use the ancient king. But...it still felt like failing. He tried to speak up, but his throat felt dry and inflamed. The hulking bodybuilder choked, “...Alright...” Alden bowed. “I am forever in your gratitude. Thank you,” he said. The spirit floated over to Digz. The incomplete familiar immediately stopped moving and seemed to stare at the ancient king, as Alden stood in front of it. He spoke gently, “Very soon, you’ll feel better, Digz. I promise. I will become part of you and will be with you forever. But before I do, three promises you must keep.” “The first is that you must keep living. Do not waste this second chance at life, because you will now be free of this pain and anger you burden yourself with. The second is that you will try to find happiness while making amends for the tragedies we caused. There will be plenty of time to right the wrongs, but never turn down the opportunities of being alive,” rambled Alden. “And third,” commanded the ancient king, “Do something nice for Marvelous Man.” Immediately after, Alden completely disintegrated into little orbs of light. The small spheres floated up into the spell’s star and was absorbed into the radiating mass. As the last ball of light entered the star, Marvelous Man noticed Digz beginning to transform. The black essence seeping out of Digz as well as his entire, broken body compressed into one long, black ribbon. The silk ribbon fluttered about in Marvelous Man’s hand; still trying to be free. Staring at the black ribbon in his grip, the inspiration god was unable to fathom why Digz and the essence kept transforming into objects that had nothing in common with each other. But he knew there was no time to dwell on that, and he knew what he had to do next. Marvelous Man released the ribbon. The black ribbon flew up into the air; dancing in swirls. It’s silky sheen shined against the sun, as it climbed higher and closer to the magical circle’s star. Upon it reaching and passing into the star, the ball of light pulsed. A halo of light rippled from the star; shattering the magic seal in the process. The bright ring continued to travel outward, as it slowly faded into nothingness. Right as the halo disappeared, the star began a slow descent. Marvelous Man then spotted something else happening to the bright sphere. It was breaking apart. From atop the star, the brightness hardened and broke off into tiny, glass-like fragments. Each piece of the falling light became bigger, as the star’s structure continued to fall apart. With the top layer broken off, the inspiration god spotted avian-like feet poking out. The shattering continued until there was nothing left; revealing a small being in a black dress. The being seemed to have white, feathery arms poking out of the sleeveless dress. Marvelous Man was unable to see who the being was, because its face was being obscured by the dress’ black hood. But more than anything, he was sure it was none other than Digz. Marvelous Man held out his arms, as the being’s slow descent drifted closer to him. The being then landed in his arms; its size no larger than a small child or imp. The hulking bodybuilder drew back the dress’ black hood, as he nestled it gently close to his bulky chest. It was a white imp that had three horns atop his head. The animal shape it resembled was a crow with a cute beak, and there was a red ribbon bow tied around the neck of the dress. The imp looked adorable in Marvelous Man’s eyes. This was Digz’s true form. Digz’s eyes slowly opened; revealing crimson red irises. The bone imp stared up at Marvelous Man’s weeping face for a moment before gazing at the scenery around him. The two said nothing, as Digz slowly turned his head back to facing the inspiration god. The bone imp spoke up, “...That wasn’t a long nightmare I dreamed?” Marvelous Man looked into the imp’s red eyes. It begged him to say no; to not put any of the guilt on the poor familiar. The musclebound hero did not want to hurt Digz, because the bone imp had been through so much. And now that the familiar was of sound mind...it felt cruel to deny Digz of any innocence. “It wasn’t,” he answered. The light in Digz’s eyes was crushed, as they widened in disbelief. His eyes became watery, and the hiccup of a soft sob like a child escaped his beak. Grabbing Marvelous Man’s black jacket, he stared up at the inspiration god. Streams of tears rapidly rolled down his face. He cried, “I’m sorry! I’m sorry! I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’msorryI’msorry!” The bone imp continued repeating the words through his sobs and rising every octave. Realization of the terrible things he had committed was reflected through his tears. Like a child’s uncontrollable cry, snot leaked from his beak’s nostrils. As he reached the point of screaming, Digz buried his face into Marvelous Man’s chest. “I’M SORRY!!!” he wailed. Marvelous Man hugged Digz.
  3. EcchiMultiverse

    Marvelous Man - Chapter 28

    (Apologies. Computer is broken, and my chromebook only works. But it doesn't factor in formatting for some reason. Please go to this link for a better format: https://drive.google.com/open?id=157k72Sd4Vm4ESc4TXvUvLPS_9Zdny0DNi10Kmkp2P-4) Chapter 28: Defined Within Darkness Outside of the sealed ghetto, the grand ballroom conjured by Puzzles began to dissipate. The last invading ghoul stood dazed, as a gold-plated fist crashed into its face. The ghoul exploded into dust upon impact; its damage threshold much lower than Sugar Skull’s. The golden fist then placed itself on the owner’s hip, the cybernetic eight-armed hero, Octomentist. The prosthetic hero stated, “That’s the last of ‘em. So what now?” Director Doug fixed his blue tie, as he approached Octomentist. Pattering behind him with little footsteps was his smoke imp, Puzzles. “We will resume on standby until the team we have sent in have vanquished the Skeleton Lord,” replied the Director. Octomentist frowned, “And how do you suppose they’ll do that? I fought the guy with two of your men that are inside the dome right now. We threw everything at him, and he just kept regenerating back like it was nothing.” Puzzles spoke up with his artificial Russian accent. “That would involve separating the imp inside of the Skeleton Lord. It is heavily assumed that our target is housing a corrupted imp inside of him that is providing such wild power. We kick the imp out of the host, the imp dies. After that, the Skeleton Lord can’t do anything,” he debriefed. Octomentist inquired, “And they’ll be able to do that cause…?” “A spell we entrusted to Marvelous Man. We’re aware that he lacks the proper experience to cast the spell itself, so we gave it to him in the form of a paper talisman. And with our employee, Gemini, giving him the basics of channeling mana, all he has to do is slap it onto the Skeleton Lord and activate it,” answered the smoke imp. The Director spoke up, “And let’s hope he’ll be able to do just that. The containment dome is reaching its limit.” Octomentist pursed her lips together as if in thought. “Yeah, that’s something else I’ve been wondering. You guys have your own Mana Stone, right? Why aren’t you using that to keep the shield stable with all those undead banging against it?” she said. Puzzles adjusted his glasses, “That is a big no. The Mana Stone we have in possession helps power the seals that keep the other terribles from invading our dimension and cage them too.” Director Skye added his perspective to his familiar’s statement. “Plus, it really helps cut down on our utility bills,” he commented. Octomentist sighed, “Wow, okay. I know you guys get the lowest amount of government funding, but I didn’t think it was so bad that you had to use a legendary artifact just to keep the lights on...At least we have the Nemesis Branch to fall back on if the shit really hits the fan.” The sound of a thick structure cracking boomed behind the group. As they turned around, they spotted the dome fractured like an eggshell that sprang from the top. The magical and scientific force field then shattered; revealing a sillouette peeking out of it. The sillouette stood up straight and revealed itself to be a giant skeleton. The skeleton had a human anatomy, and its sized rivaled a skyscrapers. In its skeletal abdomen beneath the ribs sat a large sphere that filled and rested on its pelvis. The sphere was a black ball of swirling darkness; giving off an ominous impression that it was waiting to give birth to something evil. The giant monster’s skull stared up into the sky before it unleashed a horrid scream. The skeletal giant continued to scream for five seconds, while everybody in the vicinity covered their ears. Once it finished, its jaw immediately clamped. The humongous skeleton then snapped its skull towards the city and proceeded forward. The sides of the force field dome shattered upon contact with monster. “It appears it already has and sprayed right into our mouths,” remarked the master witch. He shouted, “ALL NON-COMBATANTS RETREAT! EVERYBODY ELSE PREPARE FOR ENGAGEMENT!!!” The tent behind the group fluttered, as Gemini ran out of the entrance. Staring up at the giant skeleton, his jaw dropped open. The Soulem then took a step back and clutched his hands over his chest. “Justice,” he murmured, “Please be safe.” >>>>>>>> Marvelous Man floated within the darkness he was forcibly pulled into by a giant skeleton arm. The moment he had arrived, he was immediately assaulted by a rain of skeletal fists for over a minute. He held up his muscular arms in an effort to mitigate some of the damage. His vision blurred, as the hulking bodybuilder tumbled through the black miasma but was able to see a few details. He was surrounded by Digz’s whisping essence that was so dense that not even light from the outside could break through it. The space around him seemed to be infinite, as he was flung around but never seemed to reach the end of this dark territory. The musclebound superhero then came to realize that he seemed to be trapped in a sort of pocket dimension made from the condensed essence. There was a spot of bright light within the void, but the muscle demigod had no time to focus with the oncoming bone attacks. “Alden!” said a voice. The barrage of skeleton punches came to a slow for a few seconds before stopping. Marvelous Man then steadied himself with his flight power and looked up. He focused his sight on the glowing spot the musclebound superhero saw earlier. The glow shined with an intensity much similar to Marvelous Man’s supercharges; most likely the supercharged corpse of the Skeleton Lord. The muscle demigod flew closer to the glow and spotted a small silhouette hovering next to it. With nobody else sucked into the essence-filled world, Marvelous Man concluded it could only be Digz. He could hear the incomplete familiar sob. The corrupted imp spoke, “Please...come back to me...I need you…” Marvelous Man immediately realized the opportune chance he had been given. Digz had switched attention from pummeling the muscle demigod to grieving over its master. Now was the perfect time to activate the spell he had been practicing to end the battle once and for all. The spell he received from the Bruja after telling his life story as trade. He channeled mana into his right hand, as Marvelous Man began to enact the next steps needed to properly cast the spell. Extending his right index and middle finger, the muscle demigod rotated his wrist to trace a circle in the air. The mana then followed the motion and created a magic circle that glowed a purple hue. The inside of the circle was completely blank, Marvelous Man proceeded with the next part of the instruction. Marvelous Man remembered back when Gemini instructed him on casting the spell that he needed to get every part of the circle and its layers one-hundred percent correct. If there were any slight inaccuracies upon activation, the least that would happen was nothing. The worst would be a possibly lethal explosion. The hulking bodybuilder made sure to burn the formula into his memory by pretending it was similar to creating an intricate calligraphy; rather than mathematical like Gemini implored to see it as. The musclebound superhero thought with great intensity of the symbols, runic and otherwise, needed to fill the circle’s interior and which specific area they were meant to be placed as well as any additional circles. The magic purple circle seemed to detect Marvelous Man’s focus and materialized the symbols and additional circles that was seen in his head. The spell then flashed to blue; notifying that it was ready to be activated by his mana. Spell at the ready, he slowly crept closer in the black space. The sounds of weeping grew louder, while Marvelous Man held his breath without thinking. The passing seconds were stretched into hours by his tension and fear, but he continued to concentrate maintaining the magical circle he conjured. All that mattered to Marvelous Man was following Gemini’s instruction of touching a physical part of Digz to complete the incantation’s requirements. He then arrived behind the grieving Digz; silently floating unnoticed. The hulking bodybuilder briefly peered over the incomplete familiar’s shoulder and saw it trying to do channel its black essence into the deceased body. The supercharge light that enveloped Alden’s body shone with such intensity that the whisping blackness fizzled into nothingness upon contact. The musclebound superhero was unsure if this was some sort of resuscitation or merging, but there was no time to dwell on it. He needed to act now and end Digz’s miserable existence. Marvelous Man gently reached out with his left hand. Drifting his meaty hand downward, he aimed his appendage at Digz’s feathery left arm. The hulking bodybuilder relaxed his massive body and drew a shallow breath through his nose; preparing his attack. At the same time, he began to channel his mana into his larynx for the oral part of the incantation. Marvelous Man felt his bulky physique primed and launched his plan. Whipping his left arm forward, he grasped the corrupted imp’s feathery arm and simultaneously fed his mana into the spell. The muscle demigod immediately began the incantation. “Iggzel Ponsfortuna! Through the sea of reality, gather the shattered soul. Place back what once belonged and seal into a whole. I beseach the power within the one I mend to reach for salvation. DIVINE SOUL RESTORATION!!!” he chanted. The complex magical circle began to shine; reacting to the incantation and feeding on Marvelous Man’s mana. The black miasma stirred, as a bright light materialized in the form of a star from the center of the magic circle. Marvelous Man then noticed the whisping darkness drifting toward the light in the form of tendrils. This even affected the dark essence leaking from out of Digz’s corrupted body. It was almost as if the magical light was acting as some sort of vacuum; dragging the parts it identified as Digz into a vortex the essence could not escape from. The spell was working! A white pole made of bone shot out from the dark mass and sailed over the incomplete imp. The projectile immediately struck Marvelous Man’s forehead before splintering into bone debris, disintegrating into essence, and then sucked into the magical circle’s light. During the bone’s reabsorption, the muscle demigod’s vision blurred. He nearly lost his focus with maintaining the flow of his mana into the magic circle, but his grip on Digz remained strong. No matter what the incomplete imp threw at him, the musclebound superhero had to hold onto the feathery arm to complete the spell. “Let me go!” exclaimed Digz, “ Let me go right now!” A torrent a bone poles rained down on Marvelous Man from above. His hulking body became racked with immeasurable pain with every projectile exploding into pieces upon impact. But he continued to hold on with every ounce of his will; clenching onto Digz’s arm and keeping the spell alive. The magical circle continued to suck in the miasma despite the ongoing attacks. Marvelous Man knew that at the rate the spell was going, it could take hours before it had absorbed the black world and gathered the missing pieces of the incomplete imp’s soul. The muscle demigod would have to give off as much mana as he possibly could in order to increase the vacuumous power. The hulking bodybuilder gritted his teeth, as he increased the flow of his mana. The bright star residing in the center of the magical circle grew brighter, as the many tendrils began to combine into one swirling whirlpool being drained into the star. It looked like the color-inverted image of a black hole. Marvelous Man then began to feel slightly winded with a growing numbness in his fingertips and toes; the same pins and needles sensation he had experienced from the Skeleton Lord’s mana drain. With the corrupted familiar’s onslaught and the enormous amount of mana the hulking bodybuilder gave off, the toll of these factors had already started to take. His stamina dwindled, but he needed to persevere. Digz shouted, “Let go!” A giant column of bone the size of delivery truck shot up beneath Marvelous Man. The column impacted against the musclebound superhero with the force of a bullet train. With no time to be aware of the oncoming attack, the muscle demigod lost his grip while being forcibly ascended. The black miasma high above him stirred, as another bone column of similar size ejected out of it. The descending column fell with the same intense speed as its rising counterpart that had the hulking bodybuilder splayed on top of it. Spotting the incoming object above himself, Marvelous Man activated his flight power. His massive body slid across the surface of his pushing oppressor. As the upper half of the hulking bodybuilder’s anatomy drifted over the edge, the two bone columns immediately collided with one another at the same time. Within the moment of impact, a thunderous boom reverberated in the miasma pocket dimension. The muscle demigod noticed his body lurching to a halt before continuing forward, as the two columns shattered into smaller pieces. Marvelous Man flew a small distance before stopping. He then looked down at his legs to inspect what ceased his movement for a moment. The musclebound superhero noticed his black boots covered in a layer of white powder with bits of bone debris embedded into the surface. Marvelous Man attempted to wiggle his toes, but he could not feel any sensation whatsoever. The hulking bodybuilder then noticed his right shoulder had a searing pain. Pressing on it with his left hand, he felt the pain explode and a space to where his shoulder joint should have been connected to. Marvelous Man yelped from the pain. There was no time to do a proper diagnosis, but he assessed two things: a dislocated shoulder from the first bone column that interrupted his spell, and fractured toes that most likely had been caught in the collision. Digz had put so much power into the attacks, that it was reaching Gilgamesh’s bone-crushing strength. It seemed to Marvelous Man that the corrupted imp no longer cared about conserving its energy to continue its dying existence. “Stay down and become my battery again! Or I will pummel you until you are completely broken!” shouted Digz, “I don’t know what this is but don’t think I’ll let you use it!” Marvelous Man stared down at the incomplete familiar. The muscle demigod felt confused by the last part he had just heard until he saw it. In front of Digz was the glowing star created from his spell. Though it shined brightly, it seemed to become dimmer with each passing second. Digz attempted to touch it with his feathery left arm, but the star reacted by sizzling the limb. The corrupted imp drew back his arm and hissed at it. Marvelous Man’s eyebrows furrowed. If he could just get back to the star and reactivate the spell while holding onto Digz, it would all work out. The musclebound superhero needed to do this, because of the numbness in his limbs. The numb feelings in his feet and hands had spread up to his elbows and knees; making it clear he only had enough mana to complete the spell he had set in motion. Marvelous Man was not sure if he had the mana to start up the soul restoration spell from the beginning again if the star died before he ever got to it. That star was his last hope of making everything right, and the muscle demigod had only one shot to do it. Using his flight power, he moved onward towards the star. His vision narrowed at the shining objective, and Marvelous Man wished he could have had super speed at this moment. Digz muttered, “So be it, cursed wretch.” Deep in the black void underneath the corrupted familiar, fragments of white bone materialized. The bone shards drifted upward like a stream of leaves carried by the wind. As the white fragments reached Digz, they began to collect above him. The collected shards formed into a cone-shaped roof before they continued downwards at a curved angle. The assembled fragments then took on the shape of an egg, as it encased Alden’s glowing corpse and the incomplete familiar. Once the shell had reached underneath the two, the last of the white shards sealed the bottom of the egg. The egg cracked; echoing like any normal egg that had been rapped against an edged surface. But the cracks on the egg were not random. It seemed as if the cracks moved with purpose; outlining multiple rectangles squeezed together. The patterns and shapes seemed to resemble feathery wings but with a sharper, angled outline. The egg then shuttered for a moment before its shell shifted. The egg shell unraveled itself and revealed underneath the glowing carcass of Alden. The Skeleton Lord’s body appeared to wrapped with his own red cloak from underneath his boney chest down to his feet. His arms were propped up crossed over his chest with elbows tucked underneath the swaddling cloak. It was as if he were posed for a dignified burial, and the casket he laid in was the monster itself. The casket was made from the same white bone material that had formed the egg, and the unraveled parts of the egg that had looked like wings to Marvelous Man were actually wings. The outer casket had three pairs of sharp angel-like wings that extended in every direction. As for the inner casket, it had a two pairs of wings that appeared softer, feather-like, and a smaller size comparable to a swan’s wingspan. Both pairs were layered criss-cross over the other that covered over parts of the glowing, deceased Alden. One pair of the feathery wings covered Alden’s face with only the mouth revealed, while the other covered his feet. In Marvelous Man’s perspective, the creature resembled a creature from the mythological video game he played back in Sunnysville. It had similar features of a type of angel known as a Seraphim. The Seraphim flapped all six of its sharp, outer wings; causing a flurry of its white, angular feathers to eject. The flat feathers flew towards Marvelous Man and began to expand into cylindrical columns the size of rocket missiles. Noticing the transformation, the hulking bodybuilder performed a barrel roll. His massive body moved in corkscrew motion into the storm of columns, while he rotated clockwise. The first row of bone columns flew by the musclebound superhero; nearly grazing him from only a fingertip away. He was not as lucky upon flying midway through the onslaught. The next row managed to hit Marvelous Man. The muscle demigod experienced blunt force trauma firstly on his left pectoral. The impact left a large, blue bruise on his pecmeat and halted his corkscrew maneuver. He was then instantly assaulted simultaneously in three other places: his right knee, the center abdomen, and the right side of his ribcage. His colossal body flung backwards from the tri collision, as the hulking bodybuilder felt cracks vibrate in his body. Marvelous Man coughed up bile before using his flight powers to steady himself and dive beneath the onslaught. He managed to slow down to a stop and float in the upright position, but his mountainous body stood in a crouched manner that strained to resist huddling into a fetal position. The muscle demigod could feel his nerves trying to scream pain into his brain; despite the adrenaline trying to smother it. With the rest of the storm of bone columns sailing over him, the musclebound superhero had a few seconds to register the damage he took. His right leg had a harder time moving, which meant the knee had become dislocated when disregarding the mana-drained numbness. Most likely, a dark bruise had begun appearing on his abs; just like on his left pec. And he had now began drawing painful breathes, so that meant a couple of his ribs on the right side have been fractured...But his left arm still worked. Marvelous Man pushed forward towards the glowing star; aware that he was already halfway there. It did not matter how damaged his bulky body had become, as long as his left hand was intact. He just needed that one hand to hold onto Digz...wherever that corrupted imp was. The musclebound superhero was aware that he needed to grasp Digz’s real body for the spell to work, but he hoped just grabbing part of the Seraphim would be enough. The pillars that had completely missed Marvelous Man immediately shattered into white shards upon Marvelous Man pursuing the star again. The bone shards collected themselves together and snapped into place like a puzzle to reform into a new shape. The bone pieces shaped themselves into a set of creatures that resembled another type of angel, from Marvelous Man’s video game, known as the Putti. The celestial critters consisted of only two things: a head and a pair of angel wings. The feathery wings were smaller compared to the Seraphim’s inner set and seemed comparable to a crow’s wingspan. The white wings were attached to the sides of the head and flapped vigorously. The head itself was a white crow skull with the size of an adult human head and held an abnormal feature on top. The top of its head had a set of three antlers lined up in a row. The antlers were flat and smooth like Saturn’s ring. Its left and right antlers curved in a circular angle, while the center extended straightward. All three antlers managed to interconnect at a certain length that made the antlers look like a sort of angel halo was lodged in the putti’s forehead. The murder of puttis flew towards Marvelous Man and caught up with the musclebound superhero in seconds. They began to peck at him with ferocity while spouting many things at the hulking bodybuilder. Marvelous Man held up his left arm to shield his eyes. “Murderer!” one cawed. Another crowed, “We were just fine! Only us two! You took him away from me!” “DIE. DIE. DIE!!!” screamed a third. A fourth exclaimed, “I’m so alone! Give him back! I want things back the way they were!” “You can’t do anything right,” hissed another, “Your healing killed the only other person we ever loved. Give up!” The puttis continued to harass Marvelous Man, while he flew closer to the star. The pecks never pierced the muscle demigod’s skin, but their words stabbed his heart. He tried to ignore what the puttis said, but some of it felt true to him. As he approached the point of only a quarter distance left before reaching the star, the Seraphim flapped its wings again. The feathers that fluttered from out of the sharp wings floated in the miasma-contaminated air for a second before they exploded into white shards. The bone debris immediately collected itself together and reformatted into a new shape. The end result appeared to be the shape of a wagon wheel. The white wheel had spokes that took on the guise of long avian legs. At the center of the wheel where the spokes met and linked together, all the bird-like legs had avian feet with sharp talons that clenched onto one another. It were as if the legs were holding onto each other for their lives. On the outside of the wheel, there were eyes carved onto every available space of that white rim. Every eye was similar but slightly different due to every eye after it appeared to have its eyelid creep to a closed blink before eventually opening up again. Each of the eyes were incredibly detailed to the point of them appearing to be alive despite the lack of color. The wheel began to rotate on its own; quickly accelerating to a ferocious spin. The eyes seemed to actually come to life through the rotation. It was like a filmstrip moving fast enough for a picture to be perceived as moving. No matter from which section of the wheel one stared at, the eye would be seen as coming to life by blinking and staring back at the observer. The wheel then sped off towards Marvelous Man. The musclebound superhero was unable to see the oncoming enemy, as he was still being harrassed by the puttis. Reaching Marvelous Man in seconds, the white wheel zipped underneath the hulking bodybuilder before its trajectory led into a collision with him. The multi-eyed wheel then shot directly up and tackled itself into Marvelous Man’s bruised stomach. Marvelous Man’s massive body lurched into a halt, as he was hoisted on top of a spinning wheel. The air escaped from Marvelous Man, and pain from the attack on his bruise shocked his brain into momentary paralysis. The bone wheel did not falter in movement during its attack; its rotation continuing at the same furious speed before impact. The pain of the intense grinding felt like sandpaper scratched against his skin by the most powerful sander power tool in the world. It grinded into the muscle demigod for a few seconds before it began movement again. The wheel moved backwards; going up Marvelous Man’s meaty torso and over his face. Without anymore body parts to roll over, the white wheel flew away. Marvelous Man clutched his sides; nearly huddling into a ball over his reddened, abraised abdomen. The spinning wheel then changed its direction and looped itself back toward the muscle demigod. Hearing a whirring noise, Marvelous Man looked up in time to see the wheel coming right at him. The musclebound superhero quickly raised his left arm to block the incoming attack at just the right moment. The bone wheel collided into Marvelous Man’s golden bracelet; sparks flying from the wheel’s savage grinding against the unyielding jewelry. With his super strength strong enough to keep the monster temporarily at bay, Marvelous Man stared at his enemy. He could see the eyes carved onto the wheel’s outer rim blinking and gazing right back at him. His eyebrows furrowed at the white wheel. The monster had features similar to another type of angel he had seen in his mythological video game, a Throne. Thankfully, this celestial creature did not carry the expected characteristic of his usually has, which is being on fire. Marvelous Man was aware that his body was not in a healthy enough condition to engage in any sort of combat with the Throne nor the puttis. Only his left arm was of fighting-capable status, but it was set to only defend. Trying to use his golden laurel to fight would leave the musclebound superhero open long enough for any attack from his multiple enemies. As he continued staring at the Throne, he noticed the angel’s rotation. Acting quickly, the muscle demigod leaned forward. Marvelous Man positioned his beefy body to lie flat in the air, while he took in a deep breath to ready for what he was about to do next. In one single motion, the musclebound superhero bent his head down, lowered his blocking left arm, and used his flying power to push forward. Now nothing held back the angelic wheel. The white Throne immediately trampled over the hulking bodybuilder, but the damage done to Marvelous Man was minimal. At the same time the Throne used the muscle demigod as an improvised roadway, Marvelous Man moved underneath the bone wheel. The musclebound superhero rode with the Throne’s rapid downward rotation to passively bypass the wheel and launch himself towards the dimming star faster than he could usually fly. The distance between the muscle demigod and the star drastically warped; no longer feeling like a crawl but more of a leap towards his illuminated objective. Marvelous Man held out his left hand openly in a readying attempt to grasp part of the Seraphim. Once he landed next to the star, the musclebound superhero would have to hold on with all his might. He then charged his voice box with mana and began to recite the spell’s incantation to activate the magic upon physical contact with the Seraphim. And even though his right shoulder was dislocated, his could still move his fingers. The muscle demigod gestured the magic circle and focused on the symbols for the spell. He was not sure if he had to do those parts again, but it was better to be safe than sorry. The feathers of the Seraphim’s outer wings wiggled for a moment before it stretched out and curved towards Marvelous Man at wicked speeds. At the ends of the extending feathers, its flat, sharp edges began to bulge and morph into the shape of a clenched fist. The musclebound superhero’s focus narrowed only on the dimming star; incapable of seeing the Seraphim’s attack. Marvelous Man chanted, “Iggzel Ponsfortuna! Through the sea of reali-AUCK-!!!” One of the fists from the stretched feathers punched Marvelous Man’s throat; ceasing the incantation. The magical circle hovering above his right hand instantly disappeared, as his concentration was destroyed. Hundreds more fist-shaped feathers launched at the muscle demigod like streams of missiles. No matter which direction a couple of fists sent him flying, another flurry would follow the musclebound superhero with incredible speed and barrage him into another direction. After each feather made its punch, it would retreat back into the sharp wings before launching again. Marvelous Man tried to defend with his working left hand, but it would be easily parried away by the onslaught of punches. Even if he managed to, he simply could not block every fist that assaulted every part his humongous body. As the hulking bodybuilder was flung back to near out of range from the Seraphim’s attack, the Throne appeared from behind Marvelous Man and momentarily grinded its wheel into his back. Not giving the muscle demigod a chance to scream, the Throne then immediately pushed the muscle demigod back into the frey of fists waiting to barrage him. The feathers from the sharp outer wings launched their fist-shaped ends at Marvelous Man and began their torrent of violence at him again. Damaged, dizzy, and struggling to breathe, the hulking bodybuilder had no more strength in him to lift his meaty left arm or even curl up into a ball. The musclebound superhero was flung about like a ragdoll, while blood dripped from his mouth and nostrils. His enemies seemed to sense their victory over the muscle demigod, as the Throne did not bother to toss Marvelous Man back at the Seraphim once he was thrown out of range of the white fists. He drifted further away, and his vision and mind soon stabilized in seconds. Marvelous Man saw the star in front of the Seraphim flicker...and then fizzle...and finally die; dissolving back into Digz’s essence. That was it...nothing more he could do to save the corrupted imp. Not enough mana to create a new spell and push it towards completion. And from the feel of his throat, his windpipe had been bruised to a point that uttering a few words would become a struggle. Verbal incantation to activate the spell would be impossible. Taking it all into account, his personal mission had become a complete failure. Marvelous Man could feel a blackness growing in him; a pit that wanted to suck him in and his will to fight. The musclebound superhero tried to focus on the backup plan he hoped he would never have to do. He would have to kill Digz. Physical confrontation is no longer possible, since the muscle demigod allowed himself to be bashed into a bruised and broken matter from trying to heal Digz. Using the talisman the D.A.B. provided him would be useless to use at this moment. That left one of his two last options for neutralizing the incomplete imp. The hulking bodybuilder slowly lifted his heavy left arm, while his mind thought back to his first encounter with the Skeleton Lord. His twitching hand reached into his black jacket’s pocket and pulled out his golden harmonica, Duskbell. The muscle demigod’s illumination ability was bright enough to disperse the black essence, but it had a limited range. Marvelous Man remembered that limit when he had tried to illuminate the graveyard ground and failed, and it was unquestionable that this pocket dimension exceeded that range...Unless if he were to supercharge the light. When Marvelous Man supercharged the graveyard ground, the light it gave off had a greater intensity than his usual illumination to cause the whisping miasma and its solid forms to completely dissipate. The supercharge also had the perk of unlimited range. If he were to supercharge the blackness swirling in this pocket dimension, it would undoubtedly be destroyed. Digz needed that essence to remain in his barely physical form. If it was no longer available, the corrupted imp would have to merge back into Alden’s body in order to survive. But the Skeleton Lord’s corpse had become supercharged by Marvelous Man’s power which denied the Digz’s whisping blackness from entering. So there was now a higher chance the corrupted imp would not be able to go back into the dead body after ejecting out of it. With both crucial elements for survival disabled, the incomplete familiar would be like a flame suffocated by a candle snuffer. Marvelous Man’s trembling arm brought the golden harmonica up to his face and began to rightfully position the keyholes towards his mouth with his meaty fingers. Since his hand was completely completely numb from the amount of mana he had used, he had to be careful with his finger movements. One wrong manipulation of his thick digits would cause Duskbell to tumble out of his grasp and become lost in the world of darkness. Seconds had past in the silent blackness until he finally maneuvered his golden instrument into facing the correct direction. The muscle demigod brought Duskbell to his lips. A small white figure swooped in front of Marvelous Man’s eyes and collided into his hand. The golden harmonica was knocked out of his left hand and fell into the whisping essence beneath, while the white object moved unhindered at the quick impact. Flicking his eyesight from the lost Duskbell and up at his attacker, Marvelous Man noticed that the creature was Digz’s putti. “No! None of that!” it cawed. The putti’s ascent came to a stop, as it joined a murder of its kind. The puttis flew in a circle like vultures; staring down at their prey and waiting for the time to attack. Marvelous Man realized that was probably why they did not bother attacking when he was locked in combat with the Seraphim. The creatures were there to pick away at and disable whatever tricks the musclebound superhero had left. The black pit within the muscle demigod’s heart grew bigger. It swirled at the tips of his toes; inviting his soul to fall in. Marvelous Man tried to brainstorm on the other ways to activate a supercharge. His bruised windpipe was incapable of singing, and there was not a single artistic thing he could with his left that did not require materials that were not presently available. In the next couple of hours, his body would regenerate for a second wind of supercharging the black miasma...But what of the outer world then? There was no telling the destruction that was currently happening at this moment. The ghouls from Limbo could have broken out of the dome within the hours he spent recovering in this pocket dimension, and Digz might be rampaging on the outside at the same time inside against Marvelous Man. So then...what could he do? Marvelous Man realized he only had one other last option he was able to do in his state. He would have to activate his Soul Venom and unleash it on the incomplete familiar. There must have been some wound or culmination of smaller wounds Digz endured before it became the corrupted imp it currently is. The musclebound superhero could only hope that after killing Digz, he would pass out from exhaustion and hurt nobody else. He could never forgive himself if the Soul Venom, that would taint his soul, caused him to stay awake and rampage against the rest of the world. Letting all their past wounds consume them like he attempted with his parents...and nearly succeeded. Tears began to well up in his eyes at the futility of his situation. In his mind, he saw himself at the black pit again. He leaned forward and fell. The despair was so crushing; greater than the physical pain he currently and recently experienced. No matter what he did, the moment he refused to do what was expected of him and follow his own selfish pursuits, it always resulted in failure. He should’ve followed Director Doug and Puzzle’s plan of killing Digz and the Skeleton Lord rather than saving them. And the result of doing so caused Alden to die and Digz to follow soon after. It was inevitable no matter how much he tried to prevent such a sad end. Just what was the point of his power? It’s supposed to heal. But the moment it was truly needed, it killed the one Marvelous Man tried to save. Some hero he was. So powerful, but so incapable of doing anything. A Rank-D hero from the start that could only act as support. Every time he tried to do something on his own, it always resulted in failure...It would have been better if he listened to his parents and just stayed inside Sunnysville...But that’s just it, isn’t it? He will always make the wrong decisions and hurt those around him. His own existence is complete poison! His own enemies were right. It was better that things always stayed the same. If he did not live in this world, things would have gone better. Justice would have suffocated emotionally in Sunnysville, but he would have somewhat been happy. There has been nothing but pain since becoming Marvelous Man and leaving that town. “Now’s not the time to be lying down, hero! You still draw breath. Get up! Fulfill my dying request!” said a manly voice. The descent into the dark pit jerked to a halt, as Marvelous Man’s eyes flicked to the voice he heard. It was King Alden! He no longer appeared skin and bone with misery hanging on his face. He looked like the painting the hulking bodybuilder saw in Digz’s past. The king was decorated in all of his royal accessories, and his body had a slight plumpness with bright peach skin. The royal highness was literally glowing and seemed slightly transparent. The putti above them spoke up, “Alden?!” “It can’t be! You’re dead! We have your body!” said another. Alden became distracted by the voices and peered up. The muscle demigod croaked, “Wha-...How?” Alden looked down and smiled. “I know not the forces, whether it be you or a higher power. But I was pulled back here during my descent,” he replied. Marvelous Man was not sure, but he supposed it could have been the soul restoration spell. It was supposed to gather the pieces of soul bestowed to Digz that was lost eons ago. Since the the corrupted imp and Alden had been fused for so long, their souls might have become related to one another. But the muscle demigod was unsure of that hypothesis, because he is not a practitioner nor knowledgeable about magic. Were it not for the situation he was currently in, Marvelous Man would have freaked out from seeing an actual ghost. Alden roused, “Now, get up. You said you would heal Digz, and I have yet to see that.” Marvelous Man swallowed. The pain in his throat felt like it was burning, but he gathered the strength to utter words in his now raspy voice. “I can’t...Too broken...and I hurt all over,” he replied. The king sighed, “Why are you still pretending to be a star child? I know you are more than capable to put yourself back together from such simple flesh wounds. I’ve felt the power you hold!” The muscle demigod felt confused by such a statement. Did Alden think he was just lying around and not being powerful for the fun of it? “Even if I could...what good would it do? I’ll just...keep fucking it up...I’m a fatherfucking mess. I can’t do anything right. I couldn’t even...heal you,” he sobbed. The royal highness exclaimed, “But you did! And so much more! You helped me let go! I came to the realization that in letting Digz enable my sadness, I enabled his madness. Digz might have been the one to kill my family like you said, but...He is still precious to me! I don’t want him to be in pain!” “Do you remember what you said to me? You said you wanted to inspire me, and that is what you did! You are so much mightier than you think you are!” he continued. The musclebound superhero felt an emotion stir in him. It was the same one he felt when stop the Skeleton Lord before the confrontation with Gene Lightfoot. The emotion that felt like his true self contained within the dam of his heart. But it was very weak, and the agonizing doubt had towered over it and had already begun to devour it. Marvelous Man fretted, “But...even with the power that you said...I still had to get my friend’s help to defeat you. I couldn’t do anything big. I’m still too weak…” “Then learn from this and remember what you’ve experienced! Know what it truly means to be utterly helpless and refuse to remain that way! There is no shame in relying on your friends for help with the bigger things. But if you wish to move onward and be capable of fighting battles by yourself, then take the opportunities of this world and make it your own! It is foolish and naive to expect to become powerful without effort or have the world stoop to your level!” Alden raved. He continued rambling, “When I first pacted with Digz, he was only capable of moving corpses. And now look! He’s able to create creatures from his own imaginations! Though I must say, he’s always had an obsession with angels. I suppose it came from the time he spent with his original master.” “What?” said Marvelous Man. Alden lectured, “Just remember that you must accept the responsibilities of making the choice to become stronger and anything else you have done in your life. The changes you make will no doubt become hard and even unbearable at times. And even if it’s a change caused by the fates themselves, accept the consequences for what they are and make it your own! “The only time when you have truly errored in your ways is if you do not do anything and struggle to keep things the way they are! Good or bad, you are your own agent of chaos. And you have helped me realize that! Accept the reality of what you have done and learn from it!” he babbled with passion. Marvelous Man felt enraptured by the king’s words. Somehow, it was the words he had always needed to hear. Always remember the past but never try to stay complacent within it. Choose the path you know and feel is right but be ready to deal with the outcome. FIGHT THE STATUS QUO AND BECOME SOMETHING MARVELOUS!!! The dam in his heart that tried to contain his true emotion began to leak through the cracks once again. It was barely able to contain this geiser of a feeling. He felt like his heart and his body was about to burst. The word of this emotion was at the edge of his tongue, and it felt like it was from something even the royal highness had just said. “Look!” pointed Alden, “Look at your hand!” From the corner of his eye, the muscle demigod noticed a glow. Marvelous Man lifted his left hand up and gazed at it. The same glow from earlier that slightly whisped like his Soul Venom, but also contained some of the warm light from his supercharge, radiated from his hand. The trail of mysterious ray looked like an aurora and left behind a multitude of colors. It began to travel downward of his arm, but then Marvelous Man noticed something peculiar tied to his wrist. “Such a beautiful light,” added the king. The hulking bodybuilder brought his meaty wrist closer to his eyes for a better inspection. It was a glass string that neither felt tight or loose, but...just there. It was so transparent that it was nearly invisible, yet it had a shine that was noticeable to the muscle demigod. Marvelous Man curled his fingers towards it for a curious touch. Upon contact, that felt like grazing another person’s fingertips, a shard of what seemed to be glass materialized in his hands. He rasped, “Wh-what is this? Glass?” “Glass? I only see light, Marvelous Man! Embrace it!” cheered Alden. As much as Marvelous Man wanted to question the royal highness’ perspective, it felt more important to do as Alden said. He stared into the shard, and it responded by lighting up like the bright screen of a smartphone. The shard began playing a film, but it only seemed to last a second before the reality around Marvelous Man warped. The musclebound superhero felt as if he were being transported to the scene shown on the glass. Marvelous Man stood in the abandoned subway where the homeless community was slaughtered and served as the second encounter with the Skeleton Lord. The hulking bodybuilder just somehow knew this was when the ancient villain retreated from the battle. But instead of stationed in the center like last time, he was placed to the right of the passageway the Skeleton Lord exited into. He stared into the opening where the battle was fought and spotted himself floating beside his teammates at the time, Gene and Octomentist, and staring back at him. The past Marvelous Man shouted, “Wait! Why are you doing all this? What’s the point of doing all these terrible things?!” The current Marvelous Man looked towards his left and found the Skeleton Lord ebbed away into a veil of invisibility. For some reason, Marvelous Man could still see the supervillain. The musclebound superhero then noticed a glass string protruding from the red cloak and extending all the way down to his past self. Somehow, Marvelous Man knew that this was the moment a seed had been planted in the ancient evil. The seed, a passing thought, said, “What was the point of doing all this?” The muscle demigod then heard Digz within the Skeleton Lord whisper the answer, while the supervillain repeated it. “When one has the power of a god and their purpose has turned to ash, the only thing one can do is burn the world itself,” said the Skeleton Lord. The vision within the past had ended, and Marvelous Man was back floating in the miasma-infested pocket dimension. He released the glass shard from his hand; causing it to float up. Looking back at the glass string, he now noticed that it stretched and tethered to Alden’s spirit. The pressure of the geisere in his heart intensified. In Marvelous Man’s perspective, that was the first time he had affected a change within Alden. It might have been small, but it was the start that led the ancient king to give up his evil ways and cease living. Marvelous Man then noticed another glass string tied to his forearm, as the aurora continued traveling down his muscled arm. His eyes followed the string, but it seemed to have extended somewhere outside of this pocket dimension. Out of instinct, he accepted the new string with his heart instead of his eyes. This caused an echo of a voice to appear in his mind. Aphrodite echoed, "Yes, but I love you on a greater level than everybody else. A mother's love is powerful, and you will always be my baby." That was the moment Justice changed his mind about how he felt about his parents after learning the purpose of his birth. If his mother never said that back in Sunnysville, the hulking bodybuilder would probably have begun to really hate his parents. The feeling in his heart grew stronger; the geiser still pushing but needed to hear more. Looking up, he noticed a glass string tied to his pinkie. The muscle demigod allowed the string into his heart; excitement slowly building up in him for the surprise of either good or bad. “Feel better?” echoed Marvelous Man. Gene echoed back, “Very much so. Thank you.” That was the first time Marvelous Man awakened to infatuation. After the first fight with the Skeleton Lord, the musclebound superhero would join the D.A.B. for the sake of befriending Gene. He would then grow that infatuation into love for the Totochtin prince. Marvelous Man then noticed another glass string tied to his elbow, as the wavy light on his arm continued over his bulbous bicep. He accepted the string with his heart and listened for the voice. Gene echoed, “It would not be right to you nor me. Perhaps if we kept doing the dating it could turn out exactly how you wanted. But such a thing would only result in hurting us in the end. That is the time that is wasted for trying to grow something that cannot grow. I am sorry Marvelous Man, but I cannot force myself to be the something that I am not.” Marvelous Man could never forget that event. Gene had become realistic about their situation, and it caused the muscle demigod to realize his misunderstandings of what love is. It was painful and eye-opening, but he gained a friend in the end. Their bond with each other was so strong, that the rabbit demigod gave up the vendetta against the Skeleton Lord to avoid fighting Marvelous Man. The eagerness to hear more overwhelmed him more than the uncertainty of his situation. He wondered for a moment on the possibility of hearing more than just simply looking for the strings and closed his eyes. Relaxing his body, Marvelous Man focused his mind on the strings. He at first could feel the ones he had already saw attached to his left arm, but then sensation of the glass strings expanded. The muscle demigod felt glass strings tied to nearly every part of his body that seemed to entwine naturally onto him rather than a forced, uncomfortable bondage. He could practically picture the whole scenery in his mind. In a confused sense, it seem to Marvelous Man that his body served as the source and a receiver for something. The strings he saw in his head felt real, and he tried to embrace it as real...And that’s when a torrent of voices echoed in his mind like a shout in an empty chamber. It was the voices from his past; his friends, family, enemies, and even himself. He could hear each and every one, and they all exchanged conversation that was meant for him or others. Some were encouraging, others insightful, and there were also those that were hurtful. In Marvelous Man’s perspective, it was almost like hearing a song. And at the end of this emotional song, he heard the voice of the one he truly cared for summarizing what he heard. “My point is, your very existence makes all the difference and don’t you forget it. The positive things you provoke in people may be small compared to what you expected, but it all carries the same weight. Even if it’s as small as being their friend or even getting someone to try a new thing. And superhero or not, your existence inspires change in the people around you,” echoed Gemini. Marvelous Man’s heart exploded; the emotional geiser pouring out and flowing throughout his entire being. The aurora light immediately coursed over the rest of his massive body and then merged, as he came upon a realization. His entire anatomy was outlined in illumination that shared the same color as the aurora. Opening his eyes, tears streamed from them nonstop while gazing at the spectacle before himself. The musclebound superhero could see glass strings tied not just to himself and stretching outward, but also to Alden’s spirit and even the Seraphim! He could see the glass strings connecting towards all three beings in the pocket dimension and beyond the whisping essence like some sort of cosmic web. It was like gazing at a piece of abstract art that was infinite, beautiful, and maddening. His immense body began to radiate its own auroras that streamed upward and seemed to curl like the brushstrokes of the Starry Night painting by Vincent van Gogh. Marvelous Man’s physical wounds immediately responded to the illumination. Dislocated limbs were set back into to place, fractured bones sealed back up to their original state, and bruised skin became a smooth, healthy brown. The hulking bodybuilder felt every damaged piece moving around inside of him, but it was not painful. He briefly wondered if this was what Sugar Skull experienced when supercharged. It all made sense now. This feeling that he now experienced was his true self. The celestial element that was unique only to him. His mother, friends, and even Marvelous Man himself had been saying what he had been all along. The seed to love, art, and passion: Inspiration. Marvelous Man instantly understood that the glass strings he could see were also physical manifestations of inspiration, and it gave him a greater understanding of his celestial element. Inspiration is more than just changing or improving. It is the culmination of pain and bliss that act as fuel for the spark of new ideas and perspectives. But most of all, inspiration is the gift from existing. No matter how small or big the differences one made in the other’s life, they all carried equal value. Every life matters; regardless of one’s own perspective of self-worth or even someone else’s opinion about yourself. You are important to my existence. We are all connected, and that is the true art of life. The hulking bodybuilder situated upright, as Alden stared with marvel in his eyes. A smile broke out on the ancient king’s face. He exclaimed, “I knew it to be true! Tell me, what sort of god are you? Pray tell, what do you preside over?” Marvelous Man stared down at his hands; watching the colored, illuminated outlines radiate tiny auroras. Droplets of his never-ending tears pattered onto his wrists and palms, as he realized his throat had been healed and could answer the question. The musclebound superhero felt his voice both bellow like thunder and whisper like a calm river. “Inspiration,” he stated, “That is my celestial element.” Marvelous Man continued, “I finally understand what you mean, and what everybody else have been saying. The ideas and thoughts I am having...it’s overwhelming both my mind and soul. So many infinite possibilities of good and evil that this element can cause. No matter where I look, I see beauty from this collage of chaos. And...I just want to do so much art to supercharge others! To fill them with inspiration to do something marvelous with their lives or even plant a seed in them to try something different!” The Inspiration God’s eyes went wide. “Oh my gosh, is that what I’ve been doing this entire time when I supercharge my friends?! I’m literally energizing them with my essence when I do something artsy or inspirational or whatever! I wonder if I can do it by just flexing my muscles? Can that affect me too and put me in this...super soul form or god form or whatever?” he rambled. One of the puttis crowed, “Impossible! Impossible, impossible, impossible!” “Stay broken! No more of that flashy stuff!” raved another. The king flicked his eyes above him and stared at the murder of puttis circling above the two. He then looked over to the Throne and Seraphim floating in anticipation before he turned back toward Marvelous Man and tried to speak gently. Alden interrupted, “Great deity, I know you’ve just had an incredible breakthrough, but I beseech you to please turn your attention to my imp. He needs your healing, please.” Marvelous Man looked up and turned to the spirit. His eyebrows then raised, as he remembered what he needed to do. The Inspiration God realized that without a goal or something to express himself with, he would be caught up in his many thoughts or spectate in wonder at the glass strings. The hulking bodybuilder switched his weeping gaze to the other bone angels and furrowed his brows. He then struck an exaggerated fighting pose. “Sorry! You’re right! I got lost in my thoughts,” said Marvelous Man, “Don’t worry, I’ll get it right this time! Any chance you could give me a boost?” Alden stroked his chin, “Let me see…I think I might still have some influence over his essence.” Waving his spirit arms in a wide, circular motion, the whisping blackness drifted over to his arms. The dark essence followed the motion of his arms and began to materialize into bone. As Alden finished his motion, the white bone had formed into a large, flat disk. “Here! Quickly make use of this! I fear you will have only one chance to make use of my assist, as I feel my being drifting back to where I am to be damned!” he exclaimed. Marvelous Man looked behind and noticed the disk. He then used his flight powers to perform a backflip and landed on top of the disk. The ancient king placed his palms on the back of the disk and aimed the Inspiration God at the white Seraphim. Alden thrusted, “Now, fly.”
  4. EcchiMultiverse

    Marvelous Man - Chapter 27

    Alrighty, so about those anime references, you got some of them X3 Jojo, DBZ, Naruto, Attack on Titan/Monster Hunter World(Twin Blades) is about all that comes to my head at the moment. Would have included Bleach, but that counts as more of an inspiration rather than a blatant ripoff XD You have a point. I kinda rushed Part 2 just so that I could finish 2 chapters in one month. I'll have to go back and fix some things. MM should've had those uneasy feelings from the very beginning of the battle, but I'll make sure to get that all corrected when I finish the book and try to compile everything together. Yeah, Gene spoke a bit too fluent, huh? Is that what you're hinting at? At the time, I couldn't really think of a better way for Gene to say those things that held both the emotional weight and his way of talking. I was hoping people would overlook that part, but I guess I've been proved wrong, huh? lol I'll have to fix that as well Thanks for your kind words! X3 I wanted to drag the fight out longer with more fighting with the Leviathan and a rooftop chase with Alden, but I already wrote so much that any more would probably make the fight lose its intensity, heh...as well as cause reading exhaustion. But now the true final battle begins!
  5. EcchiMultiverse

    Marvelous Man - Chapter 27

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  6. EcchiMultiverse

    Marvelous Man - Chapter 27

    (Apologies. Computer is broken, and my chromebook only works. But it doesn't factor in formatting for some reason. Please go to this link for a better format: https://drive.google.com/open?id=1DGN7pA7jDcsd0dxHC-ezmJnp4NlUo1mdY5QMq2t2KU4) Chapter 27: Wrath of the Al-Miraj - Part 2 A screaming pitch of silence rung in the superheroes’ ears with daze visible in their eyes. The Leviathan’s roar had only flung back the hulking bodybuilder, but it caused noticeable damage to the rabbit superhero. As Gene attempted to steady himself, blood lightly trickled out of his human ears. His body vibrated, as the ground shook with increasing strength of something drawing closer. Eyes focused forward again, the bunny demigod saw the Leviathan ready to swoop its sharp jaw at him. Rolling away to his left, the Totochtin prince managed to dodge the monster’s lunging head. The Leviathan skidded to a stop; instantly noticing failure of chomping on its target. Gene had no time to focus on the Leviathan, as the screeches of the armored zombies pulled at his attention. The rabbit superhero ducked beneath a swinging sword and parried away a black axe with his crimson bracer. Marvelous Man, at that same moment, managed to steady himself and looked down at the ensuing conflict. He spotted the animated corpses had begun their assault on Gene again. The musclebound superhero then noticed that the undead army no longer appeared reduced from Gene’s decimation. Instead, it appeared the mob had regained its lost numbers. Marvelous Man scanned the area and noticed something amidst the pool of whisping essence. Body parts of the rotting soldiers were being forced back into place by the blackness; animating them again and forming the darkness into combat equipment. Back at the ground, the barrage against the Totochtin prince was unending. There was no small period of recovery or even time to think. The moment he countered an attack from the zombie army, Gene had to dodge a charging Leviathan that nearly ate or trampled him. This would be followed by the Skeleton Lord galloping towards the bunny demigod and trying to slice him with the glaive. Then, the combo would start over again in a different order; preventing any means of predictability for the rabbit superhero. No matter what Gene did, the outcome for him was more pain and wounds. Overcoming an assault from any of the three types of enemies would leave him with shallow gashes on the exposed areas not covered by his armor. Flinching from any pain or reacting too slow to an enemy strike would cause an attack to succeed. Shapeshifting to rabbit form was no longer a viable option, as skeleton arms would then sprout from the field of blackness and pin Gene down for his enemies to strike at that vulnerable moment. The lethal blows would cause the crimson armor to activate the magical defense mechanism and divide the Totochtin prince into two clones of himself to avoid that damage. And if any of those twins failed to properly defend themselves, the division on that clone would commence once again. The only way the Genes would be forcibly fused back together again depended on one condition: to exist for a full two seconds without dividing again. Marvelous Man soon noticed a pattern of the clones existing two seconds longer for every time the clones were divided into a new set. But upon merging is when the bunny demigod would have to pay the price for avoiding the receival of fatal wounds. Hideous bruises sprouted all over his body, and blood dripped from his mouth and nose. Marvelous Man grabbed his magical patch, “Gene, you need to get to out of there! Get to higher ground or something! You’re not gonna win if you keep fighting like this!” The Totochtin prince seemed to acknowledge the muscle demigod’s advice, as he turned and ran away from his enemies. The Leviathan chased after the rabbit superhero with the rest of Alden’s undead army following behind. As Gene approached a tall business building, he performed a front flip. The bunny demigod landed feet first on the building wall; the crimson claws of his feet armor slightly dug into the concrete layer. Gravity obeyed the Totochtin prince, as Gene stood up. He did not fall nor tilt towards the ground; standing straight and rigid like the wall had become the floor and vice versa. The rabbit superhero took off and ran with graceful agility. While reaching a third of the way up the building, the Leviathan scaled the wall as well. The monster’s claws dug into the structure and windows; rupturing the side with every propelling movement. Gene shapeshifted into his armored rabbit form, as the Leviathan drew closer with its gaping maw. The bunny demigod pushed off with his super strength; zipping upside the business building in a crimson blur. He scampered farther up with the spacial gap between himself and the Leviathan growing wider. Reaching the top of the building with seconds to spare, the rabbit superhero hopped over to the center of the roof. The rooftop’s area and the business building itself had the spatial width of a small baseball field; perfect to house the fight between Gene and the Leviathan without either running out of room and falling over. The Totochtin prince reverted back into his human form, while the rumbling vibrations of the pursuing Leviathan grew stronger. He then swiveled about; facing himself towards where the enemy would be arriving at. His fists began to glow blue; charged with mana. Clasping his hands together in front of his chest, the bunny demigod started folding them against one another. He gestured his hands into a hand sign before immediately manipulating his fingered digits into another sign. On his final hand sign, his pinkies and ring fingers intertwined one another, and his thumb, index, and middle fingers pressed against each other. A runic symbol then appeared above his fingerless gloves, as his crimson armor glowed with the sound of a person hushing briefly passed over the armor. A second later, the symbol and the glowing vanished. Gene’s hands fell to his sides with open palms before taking a deep breath and exhaling it. The monster showed no sign of slowing down, as it drew closer to the top. Marvelous Man watched the Leviathan shoot into the air; high above the building’s roof. It landed with a thunderous stomp and its tail drooping over the edge. The ground beneath the white beast fractured in multiple directions, yet it still held itself together in spite of the massive impact and weight. The Leviathan charged with its toothy maw gaping wide open and drooling black essence. Gene leaned forward. He raised one arm with a clenched fist and tucked in the other. In Marvelous Man’s perspective, the rabbit superhero looked as if he were paused in a mid-punch that was ready to release another. The monster stampeded closer, but Gene did not move. Upon contact, The Totochtin prince divided. Marvelous Man’s eyes bulged. Instead of two clones, it was now three! Two of the Genes appeared on either side of the rampaging Leviathan, while the third materialized above the beast. The two clones on the ground rotated their bodies to face the white monstrosity, while striking with their fists. The two Genes punched rapidly with both fists; their arms becoming blurred amidst their barrage. “FURO-RO-RO-RO-RO-RO-RO-RO-RO-RO-RO-RO-RO-RO!!!” they battle cried in unison. At the same time, the third clone in the air twirled his body. As he repositioned himself at a horizontal angle, the clone linked his hands together with his crimson-spiked elbows pointing outwards. His spinning upper body landed on top of the Leviathan’s neck and plunged one of the spikes on his elbows into the monster. With the giant bone monster in motion, it allowed the third clone to use the beast’s kinetic force in accelerating his own rotation speed. He moved like a buzzsaw carving down the Leviathan’s spine; using the spikes on his elbow and forehead. The Leviathan could not react in time to the Genes’ surprise attack and could only continue forward; helpless to the Totochtin onslaught. Every punch and slice from the clones created massive craters that birthed incalculable cracks all over the monstrous body. By the time the white beast completely passed by the Totochtin clones, its entire being was completely covered in fractures. It looked as if it were cracked porcelain ready to fall apart at the slightest touch. As the Gene clone in the air fell towards the ground after running out of Leviathan to spin on, the other Totochtin clones reached out to him. One clasped onto an arm, while the other grabbed the armored ankle. The three clones blurred; fusing back into one Gene Lightfoot. Landing feet first, the bunny demigod shifted into his rabbit form. The armored bunny haunched down before rocketing off with the use of his super strength. As the Leviathan came to a slow upon nearly reaching the other end of the roof, the crimson missile closed in from behind it. The white rabbit pierced into the Leviathan without difficulty and caused the gargantuan beast to freeze in its tracks at the sudden intrusion. Immediately after entering, the bunny demigod exited out of the monster’s mouth. Gene then changed back to his human form, as he landed close to the edge of the rooftop. The hole the Totochtin prince had made in the Leviathan’s back-end widened; pieces of that area breaking off. The clattering sound of fallen bone chips began to collect in larger volumes, as the shattering had completely collapsed the back-end and continued up to the head. Seconds later, the Leviathan was no more. Only a massive pile of bone fragments remained. Gene lurched forward and grabbed his stomach. His breathing had become slow and heavy. Blood streamed down out of his nostrils again. Marvelous Man gripped his D.A.B. patch, “Hey, are you okay?!” “...I will be requiring the healing after this fight,” telepathically replied Gene, “Please be ready to do the supercharge on me.” The muscle demigod nodded, “U-understood!” “Have you located the Sugar Skull? I have not seen him before this fight began,” questioned Gene. Marvelous Man answered, “I’m not sure. I haven’t seen him either. B-but I know he’ll be alright!” “I will have to trust your word on that. What is the Skeleton Lord doing?” said Gene. The musclebound superhero shifted his gaze. He then spotted the centaur climbing up the building wall. Alden’s horse legs dangled in the air, while the spider leg limbs on the Skeleton Lord’s back did all the scaling and hoisting the rest of the body. Alden was nearing the rooftop; giving Marvelous Man only seconds to talk. The hulking bodybuilder stated, “He’s scaling the wall with his spider legs and almost at the roof. Gene, just what is that armor doing to you when you divide?” “When I avoid the death and return my wrath by the multiples, my body will then be burdened by the multiples. It is a flaw Gemini did not have time to completely correct,” stated the Totochtin prince. A white spider leg made of bone clung onto the cracked edge of the rooftop. One by one, more appeared and joined the limb without disrupting the fractured structure. The spider legs slowly hoisted the Skeleton Lord up and drifted him over onto the rooftop. The white centaur was placed down with a light clomp. Slowly trotting forward, Alden’s gaze fixed onto the back-turned Gene before drifting over to the pile of what was once the Leviathan. He then stopped upon reaching the center of the rooftop. The Skeleton Lord huffed, “Why...why can’t you just die?!” The Totochtin prince shuffled about at a tired pace; turning to face his enemy. Upon completing his rotation, Gene let out a small sigh. He then slowly wiped the blood coming out of his nose. “I return the statement back to you,” he retorted. Alden reminded, “Feh. Cursed wretch. You have only pricked me twice in the chest, Totochtin. A simple patchwork for Digz. Whereas, you look no different than the undead cur I send after you.” “It is only a flesh wound. I can still continue this fight. And I shall prick you many times more,” said Gene. The centaur extended his right arm to the right, “You can try, but I am well aware of the limits of your witchery armor, Totochtin. You cannot outlast a god when every division pushes you ever closer into death’s embrace.” The polearm weapon he held in his extended right arm evaporated into black miasma; dissipating into the essence-contaminated air. The Skeleton Lord opened his hand and stretched out the palm, while the pile of bone chips began to stir. The white mass then flowed, like a stream of leaves dancing in the wind, over to the exposed palm. The pieces of bone swirled above the palm; growing bigger and rotating faster with every bit collected into the swirl. After all the fragments of the Leviathan had been collected, the whirling mass now matched the centaur’s large height. It was flat and spun faster than a table buzzsaw at max speed; becoming a disk of destruction. “I. HAVE. WON!!!” he proclaimed. Alden swung his extended right arm to his left side with abrupt force. The whirling bone disk responded by launching itself at the Totochtin prince. Gene made no effort to move, as the destructive disk spun closer. Right at fatal contact, the bunny demigod divided out of the way with two clones appearing at the left and one clone on the right side of the deadly projectile. The disk continued forward; flying off of the roof’s edge and moving upwards. Clenching his fist, the Skeleton Lord brought his commanding arm back to his right side and tucking against it. The disk of boney mass ceased its height climbing and flipped itself onto a horizontal angle. The spinning mass then released a volley of bone chips at the Gene trio clones; its firing and sound effect similar to a helicopter minigun. The bullet-like projectiles shot in streams of two in an effort to gun down both sides where the Genes stood. As the clones divided into triplicates, the bone shards pierced into the ground. Clouds of grey dust wafted into the air from the flooring damage; creating a smokescreen over the shot Genes. The Totochtin clones’ division began to circle around the Skeleton Lord, which was then followed by the hailstorm of bone particles and smokescreen. With every passing second the disk fired, it grew shorter from using its mass as bullets. The discharge soon came to an end, as the disk-like bone mass used the last of itself at the ever-multiplying bunny demigod. The entire rooftop looked like it had been replaced with a meteorologist’s digital representation of a hurricane, and the Skeleton Lord stood in its eye. Silence stood next to Alden, while the smokey field around him echoed with tiny debris splinking everywhere. Four Gene clones dashed from out of the smoke; two appearing in front of the centaur with the other two from behind it. The clones spun, as they lifted their legs and aimed the spike on the back of their achilles tendon at the foe. With no time for Alden to react, the Genes successfully punctured their spikes into the sides of the centaur’s horse body. Cracks rippled throughout the white horse section, while the smoke from behind the Skeleton Lord stirred again. Leaping out in a frontward flip, another Gene emerged from the debris cloud. He kept his right leg stuck straight out while hugging the left during the flip. As the revolution of his rotation came to completion with his head facing up, the clone released his left leg. The unbound leg swung downwards; releasing the pent up kinetic energy at the top of the Skeleton Lord’s horse rear-end. Marvelous Man recognized the acrobatic move as the Webster Axe Kick. The axe kick slammed its armored heel down on top of the equine rear end; piercing the crimson achilles spike through the hide. Fractures shot through and connected with the previous cracks in less than a second. The horse part of the centaur immediately shattered; revealing underneath Alden’s bone-encased legs. With nothing holding up the Skeleton Lord, the ancient king fell. The white spider legs attached to his back extended downwards, as his knees touched the ground. Boring into the ground, the arachnid limbs immediately lifted Alden back onto his feet. The two Gene clones in front of the Skeleton Lord began to rapidly punch the ancient king. At the same time, the three Genes from behind Alden rushed in. The lightning-fast fists aimed themselves at the torso, as the three Genes began aiming their crimson-knuckled barrage at the Skeleton Lord’s back. The bone armor that protected the ancient king could barely withstand the intense close-combat onslaught. Yet it remained thick enough for its entirety to not crumble nor allow Alden’s peach skin to be instantly unearthed. Chunks of white bone flew into the air, as the sound of breaking concrete resounded from the assaulted armor. The spider legs made of bone raised itself out of the ground and began whipping about. Thrashing in a circular motion, all of the arachnid limbs successfully lashed at the Gene clones. The Totochtin copies could not divide at the nonlethal attack and were flung back into smoke debris. The attack may have stopped the clones from further bombardment, but the damage the rabbit superheroes incurred at chipping away the bone armor left Alden’s frail, Mana Stone-fused torso to become exposed. As its powerful sweep came to a stop, it caused a burst of wind to blossom in the vicinity. The gust pushed away the dusty smoke clinging to the rooftop; unveiling a mob of bunny demigods armored in crimson. Every available space on the rooftop had been taken up by a Gene clone and resulted in surrounding the Skeleton Lord. Their rage, sadness, and anger multiplied in one spot at such an intensity that Marvelous Man did not just feel it; he could taste it. His eyes watered uncontrollably with tears, as his tongue tasted an extreme saltiness mixed with a sour stronger than any lemon he’s ever tasted. The muscle demigod’s jaw seized into a tight clench; foam beginning to form at the mouth. Marvelous Man’s stomach felt as if it had twisted into a new shape that squeezed but prevented any bile from coming out. Gravity seemed to magnify on the muscle demigod’s massive body, while his spirit felt like it was about to implode. It took every ounce of his willpower to recognize these emotions as not his own and to focus on his thoughts on the things he loved. If the musclebound superhero did not, he would have screamed cries of insanity at the intense emotions pressured into himself. And while he tried to think of his parents, friends, and his love for being a superhero, there was one person that easily crept into his thoughts that seemed to sooth the deafening madness within himself. Gemini; the Soulem that made his life enjoyable and would have even if Marvelous Man wasn’t a superhero. During Marvelous Man’s attempt to stabilize, the Genes made their move. A colony of crimson-armored rabbits leapt at the Skeleton Lord with blinding speed. Their horns pierced Alden’s unguarded flesh; the chest and back. White rabbits hung from where they stabbed, while the Skeleton Lord did nothing. It seemed as if the ancient king had become paralyzed by the intense pressure of emotions the Genes radiated. The white spider legs swung themselves over Alden; swatting away the armored rabbits embedded in him. As the bunnies were swept away, humanized Gene clones from multiple directions charged in. The Totochtin clones seemed to be enacting Blitzkrieg tactics; unleashing a quick bombardment of punches and kicks before fleeing back into the crowd. The spider legs were the first to go, as they exploded into splinters of bone. The armor came next; chiseled away to reveal the frail man inside. Despite the immense gravity of emotions weighing down the Skeleton Lord, Digz’s response to the oncoming attacks remained unaffected. The bone armor that was chipped away had rapidly regenerated and began to sprout white tentacles in an attempt to keep the Gene clones at bay. The humanoid Genes continued to pour in, and those that were not whipped away quickly dismantled the Skeleton Lord’s tendrils and armor. The moment Alden’s peach skin was shown, an armored white rabbit would rocket towards the skin and pierce it with the crimson horn. The bunny demigod would then be swept away by the Skeleton Lord’s tentacle, and the armor would grow over the gaping wound just before blood could seep out. Marvelous Man’s eyes began to focus on the fight scene, as his mind and emotions finally stabilized. He witnessed the tables had finally turned with Gene winning! The Skeleton Lord will finally die, and the Totochtin prince will have avenged his fallen ancestors...But one thing seemed to constantly bubble up to the surface of the musclebound superhero’s mind. Before the bunny demigod had engaged in battle with the ancient king, Marvelous Man offered help to Alden...and Alden had tried to accept that help until Digz interrupted followed by Gene. If the muscle demigod allowed Gene to kill Alden, that would be the end of it. An easy end to the difficult journey of defeating the Skeleton Lord. But in his gut, he knew...Marvelous Man knew that it would haunt him the rest of his life. What if? He had the power to help someone; make a literal change in that person’s life. And to not give that help after it had been asked for...what was the point of everything he had done so far? The hulking bodybuilder grasped his D.A.B. patch, “Gene...you need to stop.” There was no telepathic response from the Totochtin prince, who was now consumed in the heat of combat. Marvelous Man flew towards the rooftop conflict, while he pleaded with the rabbit superhero. “Gene, that’s enough,” he said. No answer. A patch of flesh was exposed on the Skeleton Lord’s shoulder and was immediately stabbed by an armored rabbit’s horn. The muscle demigod was halfway there. Marvelous Man called out, “Gene! Stop!” Nothing. A white tendril from the armor whipped down at the crimson-horned bunny; swiping it away. Immediately after, a Gene clone leapt forward and punched the Skeleton Lord’s crow skull helmet. The bone headgear shattered; exposing Alden’s catatonic face that was drowned in the Gene clones’ immense emotions. The Skeleton Lord was flung onto the ground by the punch, as Marvelous Man was now above the two. The muscle demigod dropped down and landed crouched on his knee between Gene and Alden with his hulking back facing the fallen Skeleton Lord. “ENOUGH!!!” shouted Marvelous Man in both voice and thought. The Gene clone in front of the musclebound superhero froze in his tracks, as his face showed only shock. The emotions weighing down on Marvelous Man and Alden had ceased. The ancient king coughed up blood, as he gasped for air like he had been held underwater. The clone spoke up, “Marvelous Man, what do you think you are doing?!” “I-I’m stopping you,” replied the muscle demigod, “King Alden is down. You’ve won. So let me help him now.” Gene gritted his teeth, “Won? I have not won! I will be the victorious when he is dead! That is what I have decreed for his fate, and it is what he deserves! What gives you the right to defy me?!” Tears began to well up Marvelous Man’s eyes. He knew his friend was in pain, and he could see it in the Totochtin prince’s eyes as well as feel it. The Gene clone mob that encircled the three began shouting; questioning Marvelous Man and commanding him to move. Marvelous Man did not want to stop his friend, but… “Because I’m a hero! I have to help those that accept my help, Gene. What else am I if I don’t?! Especially all those things I said to King Alden. Please...I don’t want to fight you over this…” he said. The Gene in front of the hulking bodybuilder trembled, as his eyes began to water. Marvelous Man reasoned, “I know you don’t have a lot of time left before you do that merging thing. Let me supercharge you, and let me help them.” Streams of tears flowed from Gene’s cheek. “Get out of the way, Marvelous Man. Let me do this,” said Gene. Marvelous Man replied, “I...I can’t...I’m sorry.” “I AM WARNING YOU! I WILL NOT BACK DOWN! MOVE!!!” shouted Gene. Marvelous Man choked an answer back, “...No…” “Break me if you have to,” he said, “But I can’t stand by and ignore someone that tried to take my help. They’re all in pain, Gene. I have to try and help them...I know I can...” As his tears flowed down his cheeks, the musclebound superhero could feel the heartache from the Gene clones. “Damn you, Marvelous Man. I can never raise my fist against you,” he sobbed. “But know this,” continued Gene, “He will betray you, when he gets the chance.” Marvelous Man tried to speak, but there was a knot forming in his throat, and it had become hard to speak. The hulking bodybuilder resorted to nodding his head at Gene, as he pondered his next thoughts. He would have a difficult time trying to sing in order to activate his supercharge, so he would have to make do with playing an instrument. Reaching into his black jacket’s pocket, he pulled out his golden harmonica, Duskbell. Puffing into the musical device, he played. The song consisting of long notes that were akin to the blues genre playstyle. As he played the sorrowful song, the light within himself fed on the music. The light extended itself through the rooftop floor and traveled forth in all directions. It enveloped the fallen Skeleton Lord and every Gene clone, as it reached the edges of the roof in seconds. The Gene clone in front of Marvelous Man closed his eyes and took a deep breath. Opening his eyes again upon exhale, he then turned to his other clones and extended his hand. The crowd of clones began holding each other’s hands, as they all walked forward towards the center of the rooftop. Approaching the Gene standing in front of Marvelous Man, they stopped. The Totochtin clone that stood the closest to that Gene extended their hand and took grasp of his. A flash of air bursted from that Gene, as the clones were pulled by an unseen force into that Gene. The clones merged together into that Gene; layering into him without any sign of collision. Seconds later, there was only one Gene Lightfoot standing in front of Marvelous Man. As the bunny demigod turned around, a sputtering cough emanated from behind the hulking bodybuilder. Alden spoke, “With such power like this...are you truly a star child?” Marvelous Man turned to the ancient king. “Huh?” he said. The Skeleton Lord coughed, “I cannot remember how long it has been since I’ve had so many thoughts. A-HACK! To wonder about so many things and explore it all at once. It is exhilarating...and terrifying.” “...And now I wonder...has it all been worth it? The killing and torture just because I was miserable? Shifting the blame onto others? In the end, I don’t feel any better about what happened to my family. I had only delayed the one truth I did not wish to gaze at,” he continued. Alden wept, “It was time to let go. Holding onto what was left of ourselves poisoned everything we ever thought and ever did...at least it was for me. If I had just let go of these burdens and stopped forcing myself to live, I could have been with my family again. And all this time, Digz, it had never occured to me that you were unwell. It is only now that I look back and see how obvious it was...I never thought I would say this, but...” He paused. “...You were wrong,” gasped the ancient king. Alden closed his eyes, as his glowing body relaxed. Marvelous Man’s eyebrows furrowed in confusion. Huddling over Alden, the muscle demigod gave the ancient king a light shake. Marvelous Man called out, “King Alden?” No response. Placing his index and middle finger on Alden’s neck, the muscle demigod called out the light within him to diagnose the ancient king. Marvelous Man’s heart dropped. “Wha-? N-no...Oh, no no no no no…” he uttered. There was no pulse, and no detected signs of life. Alden was dead. Even though the ancient king was fully healed, all Marvelous Man did was create a pretty corpse. His lips whimpered, “Damnit, no! NO! Don’t die on me! You weren’t supposed to die! That’s not how the supercharge works! I-I was supposed to save you, and-and we learn a lesson or something!...Not like this. It shouldn’t have ended like this…” He failed to save the one person who needed his help the most. It was all his fault. He should have stopped the fight earlier. Before it ever started. He should have tried harder to help...WHY DID YOU LET THEM FIGHT?! YOU SHOULD HAVE TAKEN ACTION!!! YOU CHOSE WRONG!!! A child-like scream pierced Marvelous Man’s ears. Jumping back, he could hear the scream emanating from Alden’s dead body. Black essence leaked from the corpse as a sludge-like substance that bubbled. Marvelous Man had forgotten about Digz. The corrupted imp was now alone and did not have much longer to live now that the host body has died. A strong gale of wind howled above the superheroes, as the essence-covered sky began to warp. The dark miasma swirled, as it transformed into the cone of a tornado. The moment the teammates looked up, the tornado had zoomed downward and touched down onto the deceased king. The two held their arms up as bits of the rooftop debris was blasted into their faces. The Totochtin prince screamed over the shrieking tempest. “What is happening?!” said Gene. Marvelous Man squinted at the tornado for a moment before his eyes expanded in horror. He spotted through the tornado a giant skeleton arm with a hand big enough to grab a human being. It flexed ready to pounce at them. The musclebound superhero turned to Gene, “RUN!!!” Shoving with all of his super strength, Marvelous Man pushed the rabbit superhero off of the roof. Gene sailed through the air with arms and legs flapping like a ragdoll. He gambled on the supercharge to quickly heal any wound and combine with the bunny demigod’s durability to increase Gene’s survival rate against the fall. Time seemed to slow down for a brief moment. The intake of breath into Marvelous Man’s lungs seemed to go on forever, while he watched Gene’s face overwritten with a shocked expression. The hulking bodybuilder then felt the giant skeleton fingers wrap over his bulging arms and sinking into his carved abdomen. Time returned to its normal rate, as his body was yanked backward. His vision blurred at the scenery seeming to stretch forward. Before his sights had become blanketed with darkness, he saw Gene turn into a speck. “I hope this isn’t the end,” he thought.
  7. EcchiMultiverse

    Marvelous Man - Chapter 26

    Thank you so much for your kind words! X3 And you're right about Digz too. Sadly, the same could be said about Gene. Yeah...it was pretty short. But this story has gone on for over 20 chapters(wow!) and it needs to come to an end. So the fault is mine for rushing it, heh :3 And it was a bit awkward with the Skeleton Lord suddenly changing his mind, but I was hoping people wouldn't think too hard about it. My reason for writing it like that at the time, was that Alden was talked to about Digz. People had always tried to convince him to move on from his grief, so I thought making it about Digz's condition would catch Alden off guard and change his mind very quickly. Also, it felt way too hammy and cliche if Alden was just overconfident for having the Mana Stone. Maybe once this book ends, I'll have better insight on what to write for the dialogue in this chapter X3 Thanks X3 he's been alive way too long. And I guess being on the run has given him time to think and realize that he's so tired of fighting and existing. I never expected things to go this way, but I'm glad he's become more sympathetic as a character for you :3 I appreciate all the input you have given me~ <3
  8. EcchiMultiverse

    Marvelous Man - Chapter 26

    All comments and critiques are welcomed here and on my Google Docs(https://drive.google.com/open?id=1eqjWfB4b_07LHxWembdHX54HFLU-teVlGdeD46sGXsU) For other chapters, I will post them on here later. But you can find the archives on my FA and Tumblr with pics included. FA: http://www.furaffinity.net/user/ecchimultiverse/ Tumblr: http://ecchimultiverse.tumblr.com/ For first looks and more illustrations, check out my Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/ecchimultiverse First Chapter | Previous Chapter | Next Chapter SPECIAL THANKS TO MY PATRONS: SPECTRI All comments and critiques are welcomed here and on my Google Docs(https://drive.google.com/open?id=1eqjWfB4b_07LHxWembdHX54HFLU-teVlGdeD46sGXsU) For other chapters, I will post them on here later. But you can find the archives on my FA and Tumblr with pics included. FA: http://www.furaffinity.net/user/ecchimultiverse/ Tumblr: http://ecchimultiverse.tumblr.com/ For first looks and more illustrations, check out my Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/ecchimultiverse First Chapter | Previous Chapter | Next Chapter SPECIAL THANKS TO MY PATRONS: SPECTRI Chapter 26: Wrath of the Al-Mi’raj - Part 1 Marvelous Man stared across at the man his team had been looking for. But now the musclebound superhero stood alone with no one to assist against the Skeleton Lord. And while Marvelous Man held great fear in his heart upon being in the presence of his enemy, he could not help but feel a newfound pity. The red cloak with white fur lining was still worn by the Skeleton Lord. However, Marvelous Man noticed how the ancient evil’s past self truly differed. The cloak was clung with patches of dust and dirt, and no longer opened to display the majesty’s royal guise. Instead, it had curtained around the entire body with the hood obscuring the face. But even without the hood, it was still hidden by the horse skull he wore as both a helmet and a mask. A passing thought in Marvelous Man’s head wondered if the king still had those bright emerald green eyes or if it had turned into a dull moss green. The Skeleton Lord spoke up, “Well, well. I am surprised that you had decided to come back, Marvelous Man. But then I suppose that’s just how heroes are. Have to hold onto that virtue of stubbornness until you’ve won the day and saved the princess. Or prince if that’s your fancy...Sadly, I no longer have either of those.” The hulking bodybuilder gulped. He knew if he attempted to take on the Skeleton Lord by his own, he would surely lose...or worse. Marvelous Man had to stall until his friends could arrive to help. He spoke slowly; carefully choosing his words and attempting to humanize his foe. “Because of the Royal Burning, right?” he replied. The ancient evil’s hood gave a slight tilt to the side, “...And how do you know about that?” The Skeleton Lord looked up. “...Oh? And he saw everything that happened?...I see,” he said. The supervillain turned back to Marvelous Man, “Did you find what you were looking for? Because I did.” Lifting a part of his red cloak, the Skeleton Lord revealed his skinny body. His skin shared the same peach color as his hands, but the body betrayed the healthy color by having only skin and bone. Alden’s skeletal frame was clothed only with simple breeches; dark brown and held up by a tattered rope belt. The belt itself seemed to be linked together by a miniature human skull that drooped on top of the groin. Marvelous Man’s eyes were then drawn to a spherical object protruding from the supervillain’s chest. It was an orb that appeared to be made from a black rock and smoothed expertly with no sign of misshape or rough edges. The stone had multiple engravings of unknown origin to the musclebound superhero, and its size compared to that of an average adult fist. It pulsed with a dull, purple light while half-embedded in the left side of the Skeleton Lord’s chest. Bulging veins collected and connected around the ball; as if it were feeding into the orb...or maybe the other way around. The muscle demigod took a step back at the horrified spectacle and gasped. It was undeniable that the Skeleton Lord attained the item Sugar Skull bartered the location of when Marvelous Man and the half-alive ghoul were in Limbo. He then clutched his hand on the D.A.B. patch attached to his black jacket’s shoulder. Activating its telepathic communication ability, the musclebound superhero broadcasted his thoughts. He hoped it would reach his teammates; despite the area being contaminated by Digz’s essence, which would interfere with both technological and magical means of communication. He called out, “Guys, the Skeleton Lord found me, and he’s got the Mana Stone too!” “Repeat, I’m with the Skeleton Lord, and he has the Mana Stone!” he said. Marvelous Man’s eyes flicked at every angle he could possibly see while standing still; trying to quickly identify the new area he stood in. From what he hastily analyzed, the hulking bodybuilder had been guided by Digz’s essence to walk right into a temple. The place had been long abandoned, like every other structure in the ghetto, and had become a structure of complete disarray. The walls and marble columns were cracked; appearing so brittle it could fall apart from a single touch. What little furniture here had been tossed onto its backs, broken, or had been stolen with empty bolt slots to serve as evidence that it had once existed. Paintings of the deity the temple paid patronage to were either torn from its frames or chipped off the walls from age and vandalism to the point of being unidentifiable. There were several doorways scattered throughout the room in front of himself, but they did not appear to lead outside. He spotted a faint light casting his dim shadow from behind; most likely the entrance, but no way to confirm until he turned around. The muscle demigod continued his telepathic broadcast, “I’m in some sort of temple, and it’s really old. I’ll try to talk him down. I think I can get to him. DO NOT ENGAGE.” “...Not exactly,” hesitated the muscle demigod, “He showed me enough...Alden, did you know that it was Digz who caused the Royal Burning?” The part of the red cloak that was held up had been released. Drooping back down like a curtain, it resumed hiding Alden’s body. The Skeleton Lord exclaimed, “That’s KING ALDEN to you, hero! And do not tell me your lies! My familiar had already shown me what he had witnessed. You cannot win me over with such empty words!” Out of instinct, Marvelous Man raised his hands with open palms like the characters he had seen in movies that try to calm a person down with body language. Explaining Digz’s deceit had predictably failed, so the musclebound superhero had to reason with something else. “R-right, King Alden. King Alden, you really shouldn’t do this. I mean, aren’t you getting tired of this? We do the same thing every time. My friends and I stop you every time we find you, and then you run away. Just...when does this end? Cause when we stop you this time...you’re going to die. We’ll have to kill you...King Alden,” he said. The Skeleton Lord paused, “...And maybe it would be better that way.” “What? No!” the muscle demigod replied, “Nobody has to die today...not even you. You could run away right now and...well...I don’t-” Alden interjected, “And hide away until I turn into dust?! No, star child. I have no interest of doing that. Not after all I’ve done. This cycle is all I have, and I’ve come too far to just give up. You must kill me where I stand now or perish.” The words within Marvelous Man’s head rattled about; failing to form a coherent sentence to verbally subdue the Skeleton Lord. No matter what the musclebound superhero said, it continued to be the wrong answer. Brushing the topic of Alden’s family or Digz’s affiliation with the person known as Kenelm was definitely out of the question. There was one more thing he could try to deescalate the situation. “Look, just...let me help you, please. I can’t bring back your family, but I can help Digz. He’s not well, and I’m a healer,” he pleaded. The muscle demigod continued, “Digz is a corrupted familiar. It’s why his essence is constantly bleeding out, and why he needs so much energy. Please...King Alden. Let me help.” Alden stood still in silence for a few seconds. “...Why do you still wish to save us, star child? Has our painful past renewed your bleeding heart? Because you can cease that look of pity from your eyes!” spat the ancient evil. Marvelous Man looked down, “I don’t pity you...Well, that’s not completely true. I feel a bit sad for you, but...I’m more sad about the stuff that caused you to turn into this. You were a good person that was compassionate and surrounded by so much love...but then you became as corrupted as your bone imp.” “And well, the more I think about it...the more I realize how alike we are. I could’ve become just like you when I found out that my life was a lie...And I was going to be sucked back into that lie because it made those that I loved feel better. And I nearly killed them and probably would’ve gone on a rampage just like you,” he remarked. The hulking bodybuilder took a deep breath to relax himself. The act of admitting his true feelings made his heart tremble as well as his titanic body. He felt like his whole being was about to shatter from a single touch, but the words would not stop flooding from his mouth. Marvelous Man looked up at Alden, “But it was those same people that helped me come back from that dark place, and I apologized for what I did...And I still do. They inspired me to be a better person...just like how I inspired them to let go of me and trust that I’ll be okay. You were inspired by somebody in a dark place, and they dragged you down with them.” The muscle demigod extended his hand. “So please, let me inspire you to be better, King Alden. Let me heal Digz. He’s been in so much pain that the only way he knows how to feel better is to hurt others, and I know you’ve felt that way too. Please, King Alden...let me help,” he said. The tip of Marvelous Man’s extended hand began to glow; slowly extending itself down the digits. His eyes turned toward the glow, as he experienced a feeling he had not felt before...No, that was incorrect. It was a feeling he had felt before, but it was a dulled version compared to what he currently felt. The emotion was something he had experienced during his childhood to do nice things for his family and the town of Sunnysville. That feeling back then was like a tiny spring trickling out of the cracks of his heart compared to what he felt now; a geyser ready to explode. What he experienced felt...right. It felt like this was “him”. The state of being he was meant to be. The musclebound superhero knew this emotion had a name. Something that he had just said that described it completely. But there was no time to dwell on this discovery. King Alden hesitated, “...Can you...fix my pain as well?” The muscle demigod smiled, as he started to walk towards the Skeleton Lord. His heart became elated at this positive response. Seeing the very person defined as an absolute evil show such a change towards redemption caused the feeling and glowing to increase. The glowing in his hand continued down his arm. As it became more visible, the glowing took on a peculiar shape. It shined like Marvelous Man’s usual illumination or Supercharge, but it had a different color and slightly whisped like his Soul Venom. “Not exactly. I can make your spirit stronger. And it’ll help you come to terms with the pain, so you can heal on your own. Just take my hand, and I can help”, he calmly said. As the hulking bodybuilder came closer, the Skeleton Lord leaned back. Alden slowly extended his right hand. The skinny arm trembled; causing the limb to almost look like a peach-colored blur. Fully extended, it was only a few steps away from making contact with Marvelous Man’s. “And please,” requested Alden, “Help Digz. He’s all I have.” A spider leg made of bone lashed out from beneath the Skeleton Lord’s cloak. The boney limb slashed at Marvelous Man’s hand; swatting away the glowing palm. The musclebound superhero immediately halted from moving any further. “Digz! What are you doing?!” he exclaimed. Hurried little thumps echoed, as a white rabbit bounded underneath Marvelous Man. Passing between the massive legs of the hulking bodybuilder, the bunny leapt forward. The rabbit then twirled in the air; turning to have its feet facing the Skeleton Lord. The rabbit instantly dropped its guise and shapeshifted into the Totochtin prince, Gene Lightfoot. Gene kicked with both legs; impacting against Alden. The Skeleton Lord tumbled backward, while more spider-like limbs ejected out from under the red cloak. The bone legs quickly landed on the floor before skidding to a halt; catching the king from landing violently on the ground. With the surprise attack complete, the rabbit superhero fell towards the temple ground with his face looking at it. His arms instantly positioned in front of himself; bracing for the flat collision. Landing with a suppressed bam, Gene rolled to his left until he was on his back. The bunny demigod swept his leg in a counterclockwise motion, while he lifted his body up. With his feet landing on the ground, it gripped the floor. The Totochtin prince pushed up; springing his body upright and situated back into fighting position. Marvelous Man spoke up, “Gene? W-wait, let me help him! I almost got through!” Gene kept his eyes focused on the Skeleton Lord, as he opened a pouch on his utility belt. His fingerless gloves then began to glow with a red runic symbol. “You almost did, but he has rejected the help. I have allowed you time for your compassion, but it has expired. I will now commence the end to this monster,” he stated. The muscle demigod could feel rage and hate with a hint of sadness radiating into him. Realizing that Gene had unknowingly broadcasted such emotions, the memory of what the Totochtin prince had requested from Digz popped into his mind. The hulking bodybuilder inquired, “...You saw terrible things, didn’t you? From that question you gave to Digz about wanting to know if the Skeleton Lord was...ya know, the culprit to your people’s hiding away thing.” Gene nodded. “Please stand back. I will not be requesting the assistance, nor do I wish for you to be caught in the battle. If you find the Sugar Skull, do not let him do the intervening. There will be no need to do the supercharging to me,” he commanded. Marvelous Man obeyed; taking several steps back until his own back pressed against the temple’s wall. The musclebound superhero wanted to calm his friend down, but the seething rage he felt terrified him. It was a possibility that if he tried to stop the Totochtin prince, the rabbit superhero would have resorted to violence. But Marvelous Man knew he would only take part in the fight to heal his teammate and nothing else. Gene raised his left hand into the air, “Alumeir! Armor bathed in the blood of my enemies, I invoke the wrath of the Al-Mi’raj!” The silver balls shot out from Gene’s pouch and flew above the Totochtin prince. Forming a circle row, the shining spheres began to spin at an intense speed. The projectiles changed into a blur as its color shifted to a crimson red. The crimson material immediately dispersed; rocketing in a curved arc towards the bunny demigod. As the red objects collided into Gene, the searing sound and sight of steam instantly arouse from the rabbit demigod’s flesh. The buildup of sudden steam completely enveloped the Totochtin prince for a second before it instantly parted as if a gust exploded within. Gene stood in shining crimson-colored armor; decorating certain parts of his body. His shin and feet were armored in a set of greaves that resembled the claws of a humanoid dragon, and a spike stood on top of each of his achilles tendon. The kneecaps were covered in a smooth, crimson metal layer. The stripe across his right thigh and his crotch area, along with the waistband, were now shaded in the same red as his armor. His knuckles were encased in the red metal, and his forearms were now covered in crimson vambraces. The rabbit superhero’s elbows were armed with a red spike, and a sharp plate of chest armor covered his chest and shoulders. And on the top of his head was a crimson metal headband with a swirling unicorn horn sticking out of it. It was an armor that screamed of purpose for only attack with barely any regard for defense. “Please give Gemini my thanks,” he said. The spidery legs made of bone adjusted themselves to allow the Skeleton Lord to lean upwards and face his attacker. “Totochtin,” said Alden, “I was wondering when I would see you again. I promised that the next time we met I would ask you a very important question that could save your race. Do you remember?” Gene replied, “I remember.” The Skeleton Lord sighed, as he stood up straight. “I suppose it is pointless to ask now, since it is obvious where you stand. But I might as well keep to my word,” he said. Alden asked, “Will you join me, Totochtin? Become mine. Let me drink your lust energy, and I will spare your people. The Totochtin race can flourish once again and would have no need to hide from me.” The Totochtin prince’s reply was instant with no sign of hesitation. “The answer is no, Skeleton Lord. Instead, I will bring just for my kind. On behalf of the Totochtin race, I sentence you to death,” answered Gene. Marvelous Man felt it was peculiar to see the Skeleton Lord suddenly change mood. It appeared as if Alden had resigned to just being a villain. The Skeleton Lord sighed, “I have been alive too long to hear that phrase one too many. Pray tell, what is your name then Totochtin? Perhaps the potential threat your kind had will come to fruition now. But if not, I want your death to be somewhat memorable to me.” The Totochtin prince crouched himself into his fighting stance. “I am the Totochtin known as the Gene Lightfoot. Prince of the Lightfoot tribe. Combat specialty: the hand-to-hand,” he announced. In one instant motion, Gene shrunk into his rabbit form and rocketed towards the ancient king in less than a second. It was all one crimson blur that left the Skeleton Lord with no time to defend against the bullet-like speed. At the moment of impact, the bunny demigod pushed himself off of Alden and landed on the temple floor with his back faced towards the enemy. Gene did not take a moment to stop and continued to follow the motion by turning a sharp left while running. As he faced the Skeleton Lord, the bunny demigod shifted back into a crimson blur that fired off at his enemy. During the brief moment Gene had landed and turned around, Marvelous Man swore he saw crimson-colored armor plates on Gene’s rabbit form. But the Totochtin prince did not stay still long enough for the musclebound superhero to confirm. The Skeleton Lord’s boney spider legs struggled to stabilize their master, as the ancient king was flung backwards from the blow. And just as his body was situated upright, the rabbit collided into his chest before bouncing off again. Alden was thrown back again, but he skidded to a halt faster than before. By the time Gene was scurrying for a third strike, the Skeleton Lord had already recovered. As the rabbit faced him and torpedoed towards him in a crimson blur, the ancient king lashed with a pair of his white spider limbs. The Skeleton Lord had correctly timed his counter, as the boned arachnid legs slammed against the nearly invisible attack. The bone appendages then immediately broke off after the successful counterattack. Gene was propelled back towards the temple floor by Alden’s swat and bounced on the ground. He then tumbled onto the floor for a moment before recovering himself on his feet and clawing into the ground for an immediate stop. The bunny demigod ceased movement with his eyes locked onto the enemy; his nose twitched with rapid intensity. The muscle demigod confirmed his thought, as he looked at Gene. The armor the Totochtin prince donned on was able to morph into an armor that was made to suit a rabbit rather than shift into nothingness when Gene changed shape. The bunny feet had the same armored claws as the bunny demigod’s human form, and it had dug into the flooring to assist Gene’s braking. The back and hide had multiple crimson-colored armor plates linked together to supposedly prevent any inhibited mobility from the defense it provided. The plating also had blades sticking out from the sides; most definitely for injuring someone that was not completely fortunate enough to dodge Gene’s rabbit tackle or would try to harm the rabbit superhero. Atop Gene’s rabbit head was a crimson helmet that held the same twirled unicorn horn and what is most likely the common form of attack Gene would use in the rabbit form. Marvelous Man then noticed claw marks razed across the floor from Gene’s landing as well as the bunny demigod’s leaps. He judged, by the deep incisions on the temple flooring, that the Totochtin prince had used super strength. The markings had similarities to when the hulking bodybuilder would use his own super strength to perform super jumps. When combined with Gene’s lightning reflex and light body weight, the rabbit superhero would have no trouble shifting one’s body to flip and land feet first. The Skeleton Lord wheezed with difficulty. He clutched at his chest, while the sound of porcelain breaking echoed from his chest. Chips of white bone smeared with blood then sprinkled from the cloak to the ground with tiny tinkling sounds. He coughed, “It appears my chest plate was not enough to stop your attack. I’ll remember to make it thicker.” Spreading from the toes up to his head in an instant motion, the Skeleton Lord became enveloped in a white cocoon of calcified bone. The cocoon then expanded; growing to a size slightly taller than Gene Lightfoot. As the encasing reached its tall proportion, it took shape. The body morphed to mimic the muscular cords of a human body; bare of any skin. His head shifted into the shape of a crow skull, while three short horns sprouted on top. The eye sockets on his head glowed white within and focused on Gene. The Skeleton Lord bowed while spreading his arms out like a gentleman. As he bent forward, Alden revealed an exact replica of himself standing behind. The copy turned left and walked over to stand next to the original. At the same time, a second copy revealed itself from behind the first one by turning to the right. The Skeleton Lord then stood up straight, as each one held out their choice of weaponry. The left copy armed itself with a set of short-handed axes; the same kind enchanted with electricity and wielded by the Skeleton Lord guardian, Zareb. The right copy was equipped with the guardian knight’s glaive polearm. In the original Skeleton Lord’s right hand, grasped between the middle and index finger, was a white wand. Marvelous Man’s eye shot wide open. He quickly grasped the magical D.A.B. patch on his jacket’s shoulder. He hoped at such close distance that his ally could hear the telepathic message. “Gene, watch out for that wand!” he thought, “It can stretch out and hit you!” Reverting back into the human form, Gene charged towards the Skeleton Lord’s left copy. The left duplicate had taken notice and responded by clanging his axes together. The runes carved into the axes glowed a bluish hue, while electricity began to discharge from the weapons. At the same time the left copy was readying his attack, the original Skeleton Lord and the right clone moved away. The original used his spider leg bones to crawl up a column, while the right copy took a step away from the left duplicate. The left copy then swung his short-handed axes from both sides; causing lighting to shoot out towards the Totochtin prince. Gene continued to run towards the electrical arc without any sign of uncertainty. Upon reaching collision point with the bunny demigod, the bolt then changed its direction. The lightning bolt angled itself further up; funneling itself into the tip of Gene’s unicorn horn. From Marvelous Man’s perspective, it was as if the horn acted as a lightning rod. With both fighters within striking distance, the left copy made the first move. He lunged forward with all eight of the spider legs sticking from his back. As the pointy ends of the bony limbs dove towards the rabbit superhero, Gene vanished. But it was the complete opposite if one had the spectator’s view like Marvelous Man had. The muscle demigod saw Gene had shifted into the rabbit form; shrinking underneath the copy’s attack. The armored bunny scampered unharmed towards the duplicate, who only stood two hops away. Upon reaching the foe in a second, Gene morphed to his human form. In one instant motion, Gene rose from the ground during the change. He held out his fist above himself, as he continued to ascend at blinding speed. The crimson-knuckled fist then uppercutted the underside of the clone’s chin. Gene shifted his body; twisting his rising motion into a spiral. In slow motion, the increased intensity of the uppercut resulted in cracks branching from the area of impact. The cracks crawled over the crow-shaped skull with smaller cracks spreading from the larger ones and weaving into the others. It even stretched far enough to reach the tip of the beak. As Gene flew above the foe, his fist effortlessly pierced through the skull. The duplicate’s crow skull shattered in every direction; littering the air and floor with bone chips and dust. The rabbit superhero twirled in the air before gracefully landing with his back turned to the beheaded left copy. A hollow thump echoed behind Gene, as the decapitated foe fell backwards. Marvelous Man drew a sharp breath, while his heart skipped a beat. His body could not react fast enough at the sight he was about to witness. By the time he would have channeled energy into his badge to communicate, the tragedy in front of him will have already occurred. The muscle demigod wondered why did he watch Gene rather than having kept an eye on the environment. A black blade dove into Gene’s left side. With the rabbit superhero distracted, the Skeleton Lord’s right copy attacked with deadly silence before Gene had time to notice and react. As it pushed into the bunny demigod, Gene had become instantly...displaced. It was as if the bunny demigod was standing in front of a mirror. The Totochtin prince divided into two exact copies of himself; dividing out of harm’s way. The Gene clones were faced back to back with just enough space between each other for the incoming harm to pass by without a scratch. With no flesh to stab, the right copy’s weapon sailed between the two rabbit superheroes’ ample buttocks. The black blade no longer posing a harm towards them, the two grabbed hold of the pole with only one hand. The Left Gene with his right, and the Right Gene with his left. The Totochtin prince duo then leapt upwards; twirling towards the Skeleton Lord copy and raising a leg in the process. Once fully elevated above the pole, their lifted legs swung in unison at the enemy’s crow-shaped skull head. The crimson-armored legs collided on both sides of the crow head simultaneously; resulting in the same incalculable fractures as the other beheaded duplicate. The cracks stemming from both sides of collision reached out and interweaved with each other. A heavy crunch resounded from the skull before it splintered in dust and tiny bone debris. With nothing else in the way, the armored legs crashed into each other...but there was no sign of clashing against one another. The crimson claw feet had instead merged; becoming one armored right foot. As the rest of Gene’s twin bodies collided with each other, they fused into one. By the time the bunny demigods landed, they stood as one Gene Lightfoot. A memory in Marvelous Man’s mind flashed back to the fight between the Director and Gilgamesh. There was a spell Director Skye used when Gilgamesh swung a sword at the master witch. The Director called it a space fracture spell that temporarily divided an offending object to miss its target. He remembered the master witch saying that the spell should not be used on living beings...which Gene completely was. Glaive polearm still in hand, the rabbit superhero twirled it until it was positioned like a javelin throw. Gene looked up at an empty ceiling; his eyes and twitching ears scanning for the original Skeleton Lord. A second later, the Totochtin prince’s eyes and ears locked on at a certain area above himself. He then chucked the weapon, which immediately dissolved into whisping, black essence. The Skeleton Lord’s voice echoed, “Do you really think I would involve myself in repeating the same counter? That is one repetition I refuse to be trapped in.” Marvelous Man still could not see Alden, yet he could hear roughly where the voice originated from. The musclebound superhero then came to the conclusion, that the Skeleton Lord was borrowing the power of invisibility from another guardian. The Aztec man that has yet to appear with his bow and arrow, Itzcóatl. Gene hopped backwards with urgency. Immediately after, the spot he stood in ruptured with a muffled stabbing sound. The area had been gouged with an invisible weapon; leaving behind a small hole that resembled a bullet hole. The Totochtin prince then began to twirl; spinning, bowing, and leaping about like a ballerina. Every movement Gene made would then cause puffs of tiny debris from the flooring to emerge immediately after. It almost seemed as if he were performing a dance, were it not for the ballistic-like holes appearing on the floor. It took no brain power at all for Marvelous Man to understand the situation. It was obvious that the Skeleton Lord was using the bone wand to attack. Alden tried to extend the weapon and stab Gene, but the bunny demigod would hear it in time and gracefully dodge it. Gene suddenly changed his pace, as the appearance of the holes became more rapidly. The holes also seemed to multiply. Two at a time it would show up and soon was followed by three. The rabbit superhero’s smooth skin began to show signs of damage; shallow slices and nicks against his exposed arms and the sides of his abdomen. Even his pants started to have ripped seams. Marvelous Man’s mind was beginning to understand the pattern of this attack. Most likely, with the help of the Mana Stone, the Skeleton Lord was creating multiple wands to float around and attack from different angles. The Totochtin prince was fast, but he could only handle so much with Alden’s wands attacking. And with the attacks so minor, the crimson armor’s defense mechanism was not activating. The muscle demigod hypothesized that only fatal or highly damaging blows would cause Gene to divide out of harmful assault’s direction. The rabbit superhero then ceased movement. The look of stonewall determination solidified in his eyes before it shut. Gene raised arms; angling them in different directions. Immediately after, sparks burst from the crimson vambraces on his forearms. Pieces of a narrow, white spike materialized; flying away from the exact point the sparks emerged from the vambraces. It appeared as if the pieces were bone that broke off from the wand and bounced off the crimson armor. Gene swiftly rearranged his arms in a different angle; causing the same effect. The bunny demigod had instantly found another countermeasure to the invisible attack, and it made Marvelous Man’s heart sing with hope. The dance began again. Waving his arms and legs about, Gene had successfully countered the unseeable barrage by using the armor on his limbs to block. Every motion he performed made him look like a living firework, while the floor became littered with broken pieces of the bone wands. As Marvelous Man watched the rhythmic performance, his ears caught a low growling sound. He then turned to the noise he began to hear; directing his attention towards Gene’s recently defeated foes. Looking over at the Skeleton Lord’s decapitated copies, he noticed that the bone corpses had stirred. The bodies had shattered into multiple pieces and rapidly moved about. He could see some of the pieces had rebuilt itself into a wolf skull; as well as most of its body. A sense of urgency flooded him, as the muscle demigod tightly gripped his badge. “Gene! The Skeleton Lord is doing something to his copies. I think they’re reforming into something different!” he mentally spoke. The rabbit superhero quickly opened his eyes and crouched down before launching himself in the air. He sailed backwards; initiating a backflip in the process. At that same instance, the area he had squatted on was immediately filled with holes. As he landed on his feet spaces away from the Skeleton Lord’s invisible attack zone, Gene spotted a fully built wolf skeleton lunging at him. The bone wolf had its jaws gaped wide open like a crocodiles. Its teeth seemed larger than a normal canine’s, and every fang looked sharp and ready to slice through flesh. The size of itself nearly matched Gene’s height, and its eyes held the same glowing white orbs within its sockets. Shrinking down to rabbit form, the bunny demigod scampered underneath the bone wolf that sailed over him. As he fully crossed beneath the humongous canine, he shapeshifted back to his human form. At the same time, the bone wolf snapped its jaws at air before landing on the ground and skidding its body to turn around. Another ravenous snarl echoed in front of the rabbit superhero, while Gene transformed. A second fully-formed bone wolf leaped at the Totochtin prince with the same vicious teeth ready to tear him asunder. Eyebrows furrowed, Gene reached out with both hands. His left hand caught the snout, while his right grabbed the lower jaw. The crimson claw armor on his feet dug into the ground; unrelenting to the force of catching such a large and fast object. The bunny demigod slammed the wolf’s maw shut with several of its teeth cracking and shattering from the super strength. The skeletal minion whimpered, as it hung limply in Gene’s grip. Gene bellowed a scream of exertion, while he lifted the captured canine by its jaws. The wolf that had missed the rabbit superhero charged at Gene again. Its mouth opened wide to snap at the Totochtin prince’s exposed lower back. In one motion during the lift, the bunny demigod shifted his feet to help turn his entire body to face the first canine attacker. Skeleton wolf still in hand and raised into the air, Gene slammed it down at the other wolf. The ground beneath the charging canine fractured and slightly caved in, as the bone wolves were forcibly collided into one another and then into the floor. Both skeleton creatures gave off a sharp cry from the harsh impact. The wolf that had been bludgeoned by the captured wolf was splayed nearly flat into the ground. The bone wolves were visibly defeated, but Gene’s arms flexed again for one more attack. Gene raised the bone wolf trapped in his grip by the snout. He then whirled the skeletal minion in a downward circular motion as if he were playing gold. The captured wolf collided with the downed canine; launching it into the temple wall. At the same time, the rabbit superhero released his superhuman grip on the wolf he had turned into improvised weaponry and sent it crashing into the other. The two bone wolves rammed into each other again and against the wall; causing the temple’s wall to immediately crumble. Dim daylight bled through the gaping hole with a size large enough for two Marvelous Mans to step through at the same time. Upon seeing the two bone wolves tumble into the outside, the bunny demigod shapeshifted into his armored rabbit form. Marvelous Man watched his teammate scurry over the hole to the outside and realized the battlegrounds has now changed. The hulking bodybuilder then turned towards the temple’s open entrance stationed behind himself made his way to the grayed outside. The armored rabbit’s head twitched in multiple directions, as he landed in the open area. Whisping darkness blanketed the entire ground and throughout the rest of the visible vicinity. It was impossible to distinguish if Gene was on a road or a concrete area for passersby to walk on. Only the business buildings and stores could be seen above the essence-ridden field, but they were only visible within a certain distance before the black smoke in the air devoured them into obscurity. The blackness on the ground had a depth that rose up to half of the bunny’s size; nearly swallowing the morphed demigod. Shapeshifting back to his human form, the Totochtin prince ran towards the center of the opened area. The high-piercing screech of a horse echoed from the temple’s hole, as Gene reached the center point. He then immediately spun his body to face the whinnying threat. The sound of heavy horse gallops reverberated from the hole, while Gene crouched into fighting position. A giant figure burst through the hole; causing the gaping wound on the building to widen further. The dim light that barely illuminated the captured ghetto revealed the Skeleton Lord in a new form. The upper body still had the same bone armor with a horned crow skull head and spider legs attached to the back, but it was now rooted into the neck of a white horse. Armed with his guardian’s glaive polearm, Alden had become the mythical centaur. The Skeleton Lord continued to charge forward with the hooves rumbling like thunder. Gene darted toward the ancient king; his body huddled close to the ground like a swift ninja. The space between the two rapidly shortened with the fighters only seconds away from contact against each other. The bunny demigod jumped. His arms positioned to deliver a devastating punch, while the Skeleton Lord raised the glaive with both hands into the air to prepare a deadly swing. At that same moment, Marvelous Man appeared from around the corner of the temple in time to see the released violence. The pool of whisping essence beneath Gene erupted, as an object breached to the surface. The object reached out to the Totochtin prince; grasping the crimson-armored ankle. Its white grip around the metal began to bubble as if it were being boiled. Revealing itself to be a skeleton arm; birthed from the lagoon of darkness to only hinder the rabbit superhero. The skeleton arm yanked on the leg; successfully upsetting Gene’s balance to fall forward with arms flailing about. As the bunny demigod was pulled towards the ground, the centaur unleashed his attack. The ornate polearm was brought over the Skeleton Lord’s right side and swung in a counterclockwise motion. With such a motion, the glaive’s black blade sliced upwards at a diagonal angle to the left. It almost seemed to glimmer, as it approached Gene’s throat. Blade against neck, the crimson armor activated the defense mechanism. The Totochtin prince divided again. The ornamental glaive cleaved through only emptiness, as the division repositioned Gene in midair. Two Totochtins appeared, and the distance between the two were wider in order to dodge the blade. With the space fracture spell activated, the Genes’ leg were no longer in the skeletal grasp. During the fall, the bunny demigods’ fates had splintered. The left clone had transformed into his armored rabbit body and landed with a small thump. As for the right clone, his left shoulder collided with the Skeleton Lord’s horse half. The division was enough to avoid the attack, but it did not compensate for the centaur’s wide mass that charged towards them. The impact caused Right Gene’s body to momentarily twirl uncontrollably until his body faced the opposite direction and the ancient king passing through unopposed to any lightweight obstacles. As Right Gene fell face first into the whisping blackness with a muffled whump, the left clone twitched his head towards his fallen copy. Reverting back to human form, Left Gene ran over to his clone. While he did so, Alden had slowed down to a simple trot and turned to face the rabbit superhero clones. Left Gene squatted down; extending a hand to the other that began to slowly get up. Before the left could help, the space between both clones collapsed. The Genes were slammed together and merged. The result from such suddenness resulted in a lone Totochtin prince standing at the exact point of the fusion. He then winced in pain, as the bunny demigod placed his right hand over his left arm. The centaur ceased further movement; appearing to observe the injury that has yet to be seen on the rabbit superhero. Gene then released the hold over his arm and turned to resume the battle with his enemy. At the same time, the eyes of Marvelous Man and Alden’s widened. The Skeleton Lord’s glinted with curiosity, while the hulking bodybuilder’s were filled with fraught. Colors of yellow and purplish red bled within the Totochtin prince’s perfect skin to form a wide bruise on top of Gene’s left bicep. Marvelous Man’s tried to wrack his brain with any sort of explanation, but it only came out as questions. Were the Gene clones forcibly combined because of a time limit or because of injury? Are the injuries to the clones transferred back to the original or is there a side effect that takes a toll on the body with more than one division within a certain time frame? How much mana does it take to create these divisions and for how long could Gene keep it up? And what of the Skeleton Lord? The muscle demigod’s gaze shifted over to Alden. The anxiety in his heart began to climb at the thought of Gene’s safety now compromised. He wanted to intervene and assist in the fight as usual...But he had to let his friend fight it out until the situation became life-threatening. The centaur held out his glaive with the black blade pointing up at the blanketed sky. Slowly, he banged the bottom of the polearm against the black miasma-covered ground three times. Each time the weapon rapped against the hidden concrete came with a thunderous boom that bellowed throughout the ghetto. Upon the last bang, neither combatants moved. Seconds painstakingly passed, as the two stared at each other with intensity during the standoff. A ravenous screech emanated from a nearby building. Marvelous Man looked towards where he heard the noise and spotted an office building. One of the windows belonging to the structure shattered, while a large object passed through it. Landing with a slump into the pool of whisping darkness, the object immediately began to move and push itself up. The muscle demigod instantly recognized what it was. Oozing. Festering. A corpse raised from the dead and in servitude of the Skeleton Lord; carrying the bloody runes painted on them by their master. A cold shiver ran down the hulking bodybuilder’s spine, as his mind flashed back to the memories of dead bodies during his kidnapping and their reanimation within the escape through Limbo. With the passing weeks since Marvelous Man last saw them, it had become more bone than decomposing flesh. The field of Digz’s essence extended a black tendril to the animated corpse. Slithering up the zombie’s leg, it swiftly encompassed the rotting entirety. The dark tentacle then stretched and solidified into black equipment. Its body became adorned with medieval armor, and its hands equipped with a sword and axe. Fear rose within Marvelous man, as he knew what was expected to come next. More windows shattered from the building, and more of Alden’s zombies came pouring out. The echoes of shattered glass began to spread; undead springing from other buildings. The musclebound superhero lost count of how many of the rotting servants were heeding to their master’s call. But it was enough for him to guess that the ancient king had the size of a small army at the beckoning. Standing amidst a crowd of the undead, he had no choice but to activate his flight ability. Marvelous Man flew upwards enough to be out of the zombies’ striking range before looking down at the spectacle about to commence. The corpse mob charged towards Gene. With blood-curdling screams, they raised their weapons in the air. It would be only seconds before the death that circled around the bunny demigod would close in. But the Totochtin prince showed no sign of fear, nor could Marvelous Man feel Gene emanating that emotion. Shapeshifting back to his rabbit form, Gene torpedoed off in a crimson blur. The armored bunny pulverized through a row of the Skeleton Lord’s zombies. As he landed, he swiveled his body and aimed in a new direction at the undead horde. Gene pushed off with his super strength again; leaving behind another line of decimated rot. As the armored rabbit landed again, a group of skeleton arms shot out from the pool of whisping essence. The arms surrounded the bunny demigod from every direction and proceeded to wrap themselves around Gene without hesitation. The skeletal limbs boiled at the touch but were immediately layered with another set of bone arms before they were brittle enough for the rabbit superhero to break through. Gene attempted to struggle from the bondage, but only his head shook. His body could not move under the layers of limbs that held him down and had constantly replaced itself with fresher bones before the ones beneath weakened. With the bunny demigod bounded onto the ground, the armed zombies attacked. The animated corpses with swords thrust their weapons towards Gene’s exposed rabbit face. Dividing out of the blade’s way, the bunny clones appeared on the outer sides of the bone huddle that had restrained him. Black swords and axes swung down at clone’s faces at that same moment; causing Gene to divide again into a set of four. Before the corpse soldiers could strike for a third time, the Totochtin princes retaliated. Each one attacked in a different way; rather than in unison. One transformed into his human form and unleashed an uppercut. Another charged forward to create another row of obliterated undead. The third shapeshifted and parried off the dark weapons with his crimson vambraces. And the last also morphed but rolled away from the confrontation. A second later, the clones of Gene were pulled back together by an unseen force. The collision and emerging of the original Totochton prince in human form took place behind the huddle of bone arms. As a new set of bruises bled onto his right arm, he leaned forward and coughed into his hand. The zombie army made no attempt to attack at this moment of vulnerability as if they were heeding their master’s command. The Skeleton Lord made no movement; only watching what would happen next. The bunny demigod wiped his mouth with his hand. He then flicked the hand he coughed into at the ground. Flecks of blood could be seen; flung from his hand and into the pool of blackness. Marvelous Man wanted to be shocked at the cost of using space fracture magic on one’s self, but he spotted something stirring out the corner of his eye. Looking over towards the rubble caused by Gene creating a giant hole in the temple wall, he saw the bone wolves lying amidst it. The bone wolves had shattered once again and were piecing themselves together into something different. They were combining into one large creature; taking on lizard-like features. He grabbed his D.A.B. patch for telepathy, “Gene, he’s doing something to those bone wolves you beat! They’re becoming something big...really big…” The Skeleton Lord slammed the back-end of his glaive onto the ground; reverberating the ominous boom. “Come, Leviathan!” he shouted. The reformatted skeleton creature arose to Alden’s summoning call. Fully complete, it stood as large as the enormous fuel trucks Marvelous Man had seen in action films. It was not like its previous incarnations that were hollow with simple skeleton constructs. The massive monster was made of bone, but the construct’s physical appearance mimicked an organic being to a lifelike degree. Its armor-like scales molded around muscles that pulsed underneath. The Leviathan had the head of a dragon that drooled Digz’s black essence; cascading seamlessly into the pool of whisping darkness. Its lengthy body had a serpent-like shape with a long, wide tail that was perfect for swatting or swimming. The legs beneath its gargantuan body was a set of four; bulky, clawed, and hunched ready to pounce. The Leviathan roared; booming louder than any thunder. The vibrations of such a detonative resonance shook the scenery like a miniature earthquake. Most windows in the surrounding buildings that were not already broken had now shattered, while the rest shivered violently. Gene held down his white rabbit ears against the blast. Marvelous Man could not hold his own against the sonic, as he was briefly pushed back by such bellowing pressure. Marvelous Man reflected on this moment. The capabilities the Skeleton Lord had shown with just one Mana Stone was terrifying. He easily reformatted skeletal pieces into new structures while fighting the agile Gene Lightfoot and did it within seconds. His imagination for using his bones seemed to be unlimited now. If he were to attain the second Mana Stone, he truly would become a god-like being.
  9. EcchiMultiverse

    Marvelous Man - Chapter 25

    Yeah, let's hope... Thanks X3 Originally, the Skeleton Lord was supposed to be nameless and faceless. I wasn't trying to make him too sympathetic; only complex XD But we had to see a tangible motivation, soooo...he now has a name and face lol. When I chose the name Alden, it was cause it sounded very "ye Olde English" X3 Turns out it's an Old English name that means old friend. So that's a fun coincidence. Yeah, parents and siblings were an idea but having his own wife and kids killed seemed like better motivation for destruction of the world. It is sad...but it's been quite a journey that I'm happy to see it come to a close. Besides, there's always Book 2 X3 I just wish I knew how out of hand this was gonna get, haha. This was supposed to a sexy action comedy lol but then the characters felt too real to me and I had to respect the drama that ensued. However, happy days and sex will come at the end >:3 But standing in the face of absolute evil needed to be treated with seriousness.
  10. EcchiMultiverse

    Marvelous Man - Chapter 25

    All comments and critiques are welcomed here and on my Google Docs(https://drive.google.com/open?id=1cK8OXhmhId7vR6__T1V-oUhFEAllGz0aY9m4Q2op-fE) For other chapters, I will post them on here later. But you can find the archives on my FA and Tumblr with pics included. FA: http://www.furaffinity.net/user/ecchimultiverse/ Tumblr: http://ecchimultiverse.tumblr.com/ For first looks and more illustrations, check out my Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/ecchimultiverse First Chapter | Previous Chapter | Next Chapter SPECIAL THANKS TO MY PATRONS: SPECTRI, NO NAME, & ENGLISCE NAMAN All comments and critiques are welcomed here and on my Google Docs(https://drive.google.com/open?id=1Z51Gh7qvdbt2g0xxPepOhEizpaHRkVtVWEauhe_3hS4) For other chapters, I will post them on here later. But you can find the archives on my FA and Tumblr with pics included. FA: http://www.furaffinity.net/user/ecchimultiverse/ Tumblr: http://ecchimultiverse.tumblr.com/ For first looks and more illustrations, check out my Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/ecchimultiverse First Chapter | Previous Chapter | Next Chapter SPECIAL THANKS TO MY PATRONS: SPECTRI, NO NAME, & ENGLISCE NAMAN Chapter 25: The Royal Burning Dim sunlight cascaded through the glass windows; illuminating the structure Marvelous Man stood in. It seemed to be a hallway within a castle, and from the muscle demigod’s deduction, styled from England’s medieval era. The walls were completely comprised of stone, and the floors were made out of old wooden planks. As the hulking bodybuilder shifted about to survey the new area, the floor beneath did not groan under his massive weight. He then continued further down the hall and noticed on his right a painting. The size of the canvas was bigger than the musclebound superhero; its height nearly touching the ground and ceiling, and the width stretching slightly beyond Marvelous Man’s immense shoulders. It was the painting of a family clothed in royal attire. The family size consisted of a king, queen, an elder princess, and a young prince. The entire family carried the same neutral facial expression with cheeks flushed in a rosy color and eyes an emerald green. The tapping of gentle steps echoed behind the hulking bodybuilder. Turning around, he spotted a man walking towards him. The man appeared exactly same as the king in the painting; complete with royal gowns and a golden crown atop the head. But the most distinguishing features to Marvelous Man was the cape and skin. The cape was the exact same shade of red and lining of white fur as the Skeleton Lord’s. The skin was a deathly pale white; the same as the ancient villain before Sugar Skull’s poison. But instead of having the physique of just skin and bones, this king still seemed healthy and slightly plump. Marvelous Man then noted that despite this king having a more meaty figure, this ruler seemed much older and with sunken cheeks than the royal highness in the painting. It was obvious to the muscle demigod who this king is...Or rather, who this king used to be. Marvelous Man bowed at the king, “Uh, hello!...Your highness!” The king said nothing, as he continued moving forward. With the gap between this royal majesty and the muscle demigod coming to a close, Marvelous Man looked up from the bow and immediately stood up straight. Making way for the king, the hulking bodybuilder shifted his weight and braced his back against the hallway wall. The king passed by without flicking an eye towards the musclebound superhero. Marvelous Man then mentally questioned as to why this person was not staring at him. Especially since he appeared to have broken into a castle and is a muscled giant nearly scraping his head against the ceiling. Marvelous Man flung his arms out with urgency, as he felt his sense of balance being temporarily misplaced. He knew there was a wall behind him, but his senses perceived the muscle demigod to be pinning against thin air. Leaning forward, he regained stability over his massive body. Marvelous Man turned around to discover, the cause. The wall he turned to face appeared to lose shape; slightly dissipating into the same whisping blackness as Digz’s essence. A second later, the affected parts of the wall his body had touched morphed back to its original shape. Marvelous Man’s mind then flashed back to minutes ago when he asked Digz a question and was instantly swallowed by the black fog. He remembered what Digz had said about Gene being spirited away to a memory. The musclebound superhero connected the dots and deducted he was in an illusion similar Puzzles’ smoke illusions; though appearing much less stable than the smoke imp’s when confronted with physical contact. He realized he could walk out of this memory at any time...But that would waste the golden opportunity he was given to understand the Skeleton Lord. Marvelous Man chased after the king, who was now reaching the end of the hall and entering another room. The hulking bodybuilder entered in after the Skeleton Lord’s past version; ducking his head underneath the doorway out of instinct. He then gazed about at the new room he stood in; the furnishing giving the area an identity to be some sort of war room. Weapons of different shapes and sizes hung against the walls. On the other side of the room was a fireplace still lit with some logs. The soft glow from the fireplace illuminated a wooden table in the center of the room. Atop the furniture was a map; sprawled out and completely covering the tabletop with miniature figures on the map. The king shuffled over to the fireplace. His eyes watched the wood inside of it almost completely digested into ash by the fire. The past Skeleton Lord spoke up, “The healers should have finished painting the runes on our volunteers by now. It should be fine to begin our ritual now.” Marvelous Man heard a familiar voice reply; sounding as if it were held underwater. The musclebound superhero tried to locate the emanation but could not seem to place the echo’s origin. “We do this every week, yet I see no reason as to why we take these precautions. They’ll eventually die, so let me just drink in all their mana. It’s not like the people will leave,” said Digz. The voice echoed as if it were in Marvelous Man’s own head, rather than bouncing around somewhere in the room. The muscle demigod gave up trying to find Digz and decided to focus his attention on the dialogue. The king chuckled, “But they can. Or worse, turn traitor. We have many enemies that would love to see me killed and seize my kingdom...Though I suppose many, many, many have tried already. Hm, I’ve lost count of all the times I have been stabbed and poisoned for you to put me back together.” “The point is, one that has grand responsibility over the lives of their people must project themselves as salvation. Many would follow or go as far as die for their ruler, if the ruler appears to be the ultimate answer to all their woes. And if all they have to do to guarantee their safety is for one day out of the week to allow a selected hundreds for their mana to be drained, then it would seem like a fair trade,” he continued. Marvelous Man walked over to the past Skeleton Lord, while the conversation continued. Digz hissed, “They will turn on you one day because they want my power. You’ll see! You should never have told the people about how you obtained the power over bones.” The king sighed, as he continued to stare into the fire. “Such the optimist, you are. I know you want to avoid reliving the same event that had befallen to Kenelm, but it does not mean that it will happen to us, my old friend. Our subjects are loyal to us, lest they have some radical ideal of heroism that somehow makes us the evil ones,” he remarked. Digz harrumphed, “Then I shall observe your so-called subjects before we begin.” The scenery around Marvelous Man exploded into whisping blackness. A second later, the detonated darkness reversed itself. Digz’s essence sucked back into place, but it seemed to reformat itself into something new. Grass and mud materialized on the ground, and small huts made of sticks and straw appeared near the muscle demigod. A fog, similar to Digz’s fog in Marvelous Man’s current era, had taken over the scenery and clouded any other structures in the distance. Digz then materialized his incomplete form in front of the hulking bodybuilder. Marvelous Man did not know how, but it seemed as if the corrupted imp faced his nonexistent head towards one of the huts closest to the Skeleton Lord familiar. Digz’s voice rumbled from the blackness rising out of his neck. “I know you’re there! You cannot stop the ritual my dark master is about to commence,” he boomed. Silence drifted in the fog for a second before the stirring of footsteps echoed. The sounds of multiple people drew closer to Marvelous Man. From out of the fog revealed what appeared to be a small troupe of adventurers; led by a woman in silver armor. The leader brandished her sword at the imp, “Still thy words, evil creature! I will not tolerate your tauntings any longer. For we heroes shall triumph against your Skeleton Lord.” “Now tell us where your king resides in the castle, so we may slay him. Lest all your jeer has been naught for distraction, and your dark master is not as powerful as you say he is,” continued the leader. Digz voice became catty, “Oh, I have no intention of telling you that. Lest I make things too easy and assure my lord’s defeat. That would make me a traitor. But I suggest you make your choice immediately. For we begin now.” The incomplete imp cackled, as the scenery exploded once again into whisping darkness. As before, the blackness sucked itself back into place and reformed the area into something new. The brick walls of the Skeleton Lord’s castle appeared around Marvelous Man, while Digz emerged in front of the muscle demigod once again. The area seemed to be in another part of the castle but more well-illuminated due to the oil lanterns lining the walls. With a flick of his feathery wrist, a wand made of bone emerged out of thin air. The corrupted familiar took grasp of the wand before making his way down the lit corridor. He playfully tapped the white wand against the walls, while his bird-like feet softly echoed against the wooden floor. Marvelous Man made sure to follow the creature; not wanting to be left behind and accidentally leave the memory. With nothing else happening but the incomplete imp wandering around corners of the castle, he had a moment to think. He had assumed he was going to be viewing the Skeleton Lord’s memory, but what he had seen led to a different conclusion. His train of thoughts soon came to an end, as Digz slowed his pattering footsteps. Digz came to a stop upon turning into another branch of the castle. Marvelous Man spotted a room in front of them that seemed to be a room for solitary activities. A small fireplace on the side of the room was lit with a strong fire; crackling loudly. At a table in the center, there sat three humans draped in royal clothing: one of them appearing to be a queen, an elder princess, and a prince. Marvelous Man noticed the three individuals looked exactly like the family painting he had seen earlier, but their skin had the same ghostly paleness as the Skeleton Lord’s. Marvelous Man’s eyes then took notice and drifted to the figures huddled around the royal family. It was a small squad of armored skeletons that looked similar to the skeletons the muscle demigod fought in the first encounter with the Skeleton Lord. They were equipped with the same kind of foreboding, black armor but appeared to look more durable and had a dark shine to it. As Digz waddled into the room, the bone soldiers, standing between Digz and the royals, faced their heads down towards the corrupted familiar. The minions stepped aside; creating a pathway before resuming their sentry position. The royal family looked over to where the incomplete imp stood, as the skeletons’ armor clanged from movement. Immediately standing up, the queen extended her hand outward in an attempt to shield her children. “Have you come to torment us some more with your vile words, imp? I hope you come with new material, as talks of our worthlessness and your ‘gift’ of immortality to us have become stale,” said her majesty. Digz chuckled, “My, is that wit I detect? You sure have acquired quite the gumption, since our previous encounter.” The queen’s face showed no emotion; frozen like a plain doll. Marvelous Man wondered how long she and her children endured Digz’s harassment. “Only because I realized that you will take no further action beyond the threat of bringing harm to my children were I to speak to my husband about what you have said to me. Beyond that, you cannot truly hurt us,” she said. The incomplete imp replied, “And I’m sure you would like to keep it that way. But I’m here to give you what your family has always wanted.” “Which is?” questioned the queen. “Freedom,” answered Digz, “To be broken of the shackles of this accursed life. That is what you and your children want, yes? I know of how you three are miserable with existing the same way for centuries.” The royal highness’s face broke into confusion. Her feet slightly shifted backwards. She inquired, “And what sort of trickery do you play now?...I see...But know that inflicting pain on others will only relieve your own for a brief moment. I suppose Kenelm would be most disappointed in how pitiful you have made use of the gift he had bestowed to you.” Digz pointed his bone wand at the queen. The white item extended itself; immediately reaching the Skeleton Lord’s wife. The pointed end stopped just before it could puncture her throat. “Mother!” shouted the children. The incomplete imp shouted, “DO NOT SAY HIS NAME! How does a wench like you even know of him?! Alden has never talked to you without my presence! I’ve made sure of that!” The queen’s face morphed back into her frozen, neutral expression, and her eyes becoming cold once more. “It is true that I cannot speak to my husband without your supervision, but I have my ways. Perhaps you have forgotten already of my own power that lent to our victory over this kingdom,” she stated. Digz retracted his wand, “Hmph. Reading the castle’s past might have given you excellent gossip, but it does not help you control the future I have prepared. Now come. Let me direct you all to your freedom.” The corrupted familiar turned away and proceeded out of the room. The skeleton soldiers from behind the royal children and queen nudged the family forward. Marvelous Man followed the group exiting from the room and down the twisting corridors of the castle’s hallways. The musclebound superhero had a clear idea of what Digz’s relationship was like with the Skeleton Lord and the rest of the family. He then wondered what the incomplete imp’s talk of freedom was but became fearful that it was nothing more than an insidious conclusion. In his heart, Marvelous Man continued to hope it was not the outcome he supposed it could be. >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> The travel through the stone architecture continued for minutes before stopping at a set of doors. Marvelous Man noticed that the doors stood taller than himself and had a set of large, metal rings as the knobs. Two of the skeleton soldiers stepped forward and pushed open the doors. As the doors groaned to a stop, a spacious library revealed itself to the group. The row of armored skeletons behind the noble family pushed the relatives inside. The three royals stumbled forward before regaining their steps. Turning around, the family faced the incomplete imp and the small troupe of skeleton warriors. As the mother began to mouth words, Digz’s soldiers retrieved the oil lanterns hanging on the walls. The skeletal minions then threw the lanterns; shattering glass and oil against the rows of books, furniture, and the entrance. Flames of red and orange were born instantly from the spilled lantern oil and began to feast on wood and paper. The family stood paralyzed with their eyes gazing at the growing fire about them, while the skeleton soldiers closed the library doors shut. Muffled screams echoed from behind the wooden doors; pleading for help. One of the armored minions stepped forward and placed their skeleton arm through the door’s large, metal handle loops. Digz swished his bone wand at the soldier; causing the arm in the door’s handle to break off from the skeleton. The detached arm then gripped its other end to form a loop and chain the library doors from opening. Marvelous Man’s eyes bulged at the inhuman treatment. He reached out to grab the skeletal chain...but his hand phased through smoke instead. The hulking bodybuilder’s eyes began to well up with tears. He knew that this was an illusion showing a past memory...but he could not help himself. Marvelous Man wished he could have been there to save that family; regardless of how impossible time magic was. The skeleton soldiers departed from the scenery in different directions. Some of the boney minions stopped at the wall-mounted lanterns; only to pick it up and smash it on the wooden flooring. The bushes of flames grew throughout the hallways and seemed to be extending throughout the castle with the armored skeletons’ assistance. The scenery then exploded into smoke before reforming into the war room the Skeleton Lord resided in. Marvelous Man looked about, but could not find the incomplete imp. He then heard the room echo with Digz’s voice. “ALDEN! COME QUICK! WE’RE UNDER ATTACK!” shouted the familiar. The Skeleton Lord looked up from the fireplace he stared at. He called out, “What?! Where?!” “The castle! They’ve set it ablaze to smoke you out!” replied Digz. The Skeleton Lord scurried over to a window from the other side of the war room. As he did so, eight spider-like legs made of bone extended beneath the king’s robes. Two of the boney limbs lunged at the window; shattering through the glass and anchoring onto the outer brick wall of the castle. Alden commanded, “Get the skeletons to escort my family to safety.” The skeletal spider legs hoisted the Skeleton Lord through the window. Marvelous Man gave a slight gasp, as the scenery yanked him outside the castle and floating high up in the air. Had this been real and the hulking bodybuilder not transformed, the fall of five stories would most certainly have crushed and killed Justice Starr. Upon dangling the king outside by the boney limbs, the white spider-like legs scampered across the wall. Black smoke could be seen pouring out of the other windows alongside the brick siding. Marvelous Man had difficulty spotting the difference from the fire’s smoke and Digz’s whisping essence blanketing the kingdom. Even high above, the muscle demigod could not see the sky nor sun. “I can’t feel them anymore! I fear they may have been attacked by the invaders already!” lied Digz. As the Skeleton Lord darted around a corner and reached the front of the smoking castle, the wall he crawled on exploded with a deafening boom. Five of the boney limbs broke from the king’s body; splintering off with chunks of bricks that were big or had been immediately blasted into dust. Marvelous Man could almost feel the sudden burst of wind and heat buffeting against his own smooth skin. Seconds of falling towards the ground quickly drifted by, while the three intact spider leg bones struggled to grasp at the air. Out of instinct, Marvelous Man raised his arms in front of his face in an effort to brace against impact. Alden slammed into ground. His body immediately sprayed the area with bits of his blood, while a wet crunch echoed from him. With barely a second passing, his body began to put itself back together. Bones snapped back into place and sinew reverting to where it previously was, while the Skeleton King slowly stood up on his knees. Chains made of shining light streamed from the fog. The animated links circled around the reforming Skeleton Lord before instantly squeezing in a tight ensnare. The three remaining spider limbs made of bone had no room to struggle, as they were pinned against Alden’s body by the chains of light. When the king gasped from the tight restraints, a small projectile ejected from the fog. The object was a grey slime that slapped against Alden’s mouth; sealing it shut in what Marvelous Man supposed was to prevent verbal spells. The muscle demigod then heard the Skeleton Lord speak again, but it carried the same echo as Digz’s voice when the incomplete imp was not visible. The voice of the Skeleton Lord screamed, “Digz! Release me from the binds!” “I can’t!” shouted Digz, “The magic in the binds prevents me!” Marvelous Man then realized the two were speaking to each other telepathically. It was now obvious that Digz could not be seen, because the incomplete imp had fused back into Alden. The musclebound superhero briefly wondered if Digz was lying about the magic binds due to the wicked betrayal that had happened earlier. A small group of humanoid figures exited the fog; revealing themselves to be the wandering heroes the corrupted familiar provoked. Marvelous Man saw that the group was still being led by the woman equipped in silver armor. He then noticed that behind the female leader were two men adorned in robes that covered their faces. The muscle demigod could see only the mouths were not covered and were constantly whispering towards the Skeleton Lord. It became apparent to Marvelous Man that the two were most likely wizards uttering incantations to maintain the magical chains. The leader spoke up, “Skeleton Lord! Your vile ways ends tonight! No longer shall you prey on this town!” The king tried to scream urgency, but it was muffled from the slime covering his mouth. The female knight looked down at Alden and gave a look of disgust. She then trudged towards the binded Skeleton Lord, while reaching for a sword tied to her waist. The leader drew the weapon from her scabbard; the blade gleaming like moonlight. “Digz!” mentally shouted the king. The incomplete imp replied, “I’m trying, but the spell is too strong!” The knight raised her blade. “Stealing the mana of this kingdom just to feed your own self-preservation. Such a sin is unforgiving, and such a sin you have sown. I take no pleasure in ending you. Only justice,” she said. The armored leader continued, “Your people put their trust in you, and you repay them with a devil’s deal. A deal to gift you the power to raise the dead. Tis not a wonder that the people frantically sing praise of you. Lest they be found disagreeing with you, killed by your hand, and raised for your appalling undead puppetry.” The Skeleton Lord conversed with his thoughts, as his eyes widened at the knight’s words. “What is she talking about Digz?! She knows only fragments of our ways! She misunderstands our people!” he exclaimed. Digz replied, “...Does she? I fear we have been betrayed.” The tone of the knight’s voice rose. Her body shifted to execute a swing with her sword. “And as for that demon every person here refers to as an imp,” she said, “They shall-” A white spike made of bone torpedoed out of the Skeleton Lord’s cloak. The spike collided into the leader’s face; echoing the collapse of her face with bone crunched and flesh shredded. With the force of the projectile lodged into the knight’s destroyed face, she flew backwards. She then landed limply, as her body tumbled to a stop upon reaching the feet of her wizards. Blood slowly oozed from around the bone spike. The group of heroes froze, as the wizards’ incantation became choked from shock. The chains of light that incapacitated the king shattered; pieces of the chain glittered in the air before fading. One of the boney spider legs attached to the Skeleton Lord extended itself towards its master. The limb then wiped away the slime sticking to Alden’s mouth with only a stroke. At the same time, the other skeletal extensions wedged themselves into the ground. The two spider legs pushed; assisting the Skeleton Lord into the air before placing him onto his feet. A second ticked by, while nobody made an attempt to move. Spikes made of bone erupted from the chests of the adventurers. Marvelous Man gripped his hands. Even if he could go back in time, he could not have prevented their deaths. The source of their deaths came from columns of bones erupting from the fog behind the heroes; immediate and unseen. Digz voice quickly echoed, “...I managed to overpower their binds in time!...What luck!” The Skeleton Lord stood in silence. His head then cocked in acknowledgement, as his eyes became horrified. “My family!” he exclaimed. He turned to the castle now heavily engulfed in flames. Black smoke escaped from every opening in the stone home. Marvelous Man’s heart sank at the scene before him. He wondered how long Digz had planned this deception for everything Alden loved to come crashing down in one fell swoop. The king shouted, “I...I don’t see them anywhere! We must go back inside to-” “No, we can’t!” replied Digz, “The fire has grown too big, and we’d surely perish if we tried to go in there! I can’t bring you back if there’s nothing left of you. Especially if my totem has been destroyed!” Alden fired back, “The cloak can protect it! Now come on!” The Skeleton Lord charged towards the burning architecture. “The Pilgrim Cloak only shields us from enchanted sight and cannot be taken off by others. That doesn’t mean the cloth is indestructible!” reasoned the corrupted familiar. The king said nothing, as he arrived at the castle entrance doors. A row of bone columns fell from above with a sharp whistle and landed in front of the Skeleton Lord; barricading the doors from him. Alden slammed his hands on the barricade. He screamed, “What are you doing, Digz?! Open the way!” “Alden, please! Listen to me! When I said I couldn’t feel them anymore, I wasn’t just talking about the skeletons...I can’t detect your family anywhere…” said Digz. Tears began to stream down the Skeleton Lord’s cheeks, while his lips quivered. The king continued to slam against the bone blockade. He exclaimed, “No, no, no, NO...It can’t be...Have to get in there!” Digz voice rose in an authoritative tone. “Look at this castle! It is completely engulfed in flames! They couldn’t have survived this, and neither will we if we sprint in there!” stated the incomplete imp. Alden sunk to his knees, “Then...then...you can bring them back! Right here, you can make them rise from the ground! Right? You said a long time ago about being able to resurrect, and, and…” The corrupted familiar sighed. His voice became softer. “Only when they’ve binded their soul to me, remember? None of your family members wanted their existence linked to my totem. Not even you. We never even gave time to testing it on your steeds,” corrected Digz. He continued, “I’m sorry, Alden. They’re gone. If they were in my presence as they perished, I could have saved them. But I didn’t see their disappearance until it was too late.” “No…”whimpered Alden, “What did I do wrong?” Marvelous Man now realized that this was the Skeleton Lord’s turning point. When the king had hit his lowest point and had nothing else to live for, he would believe anything just to feel better as any other person would. And for the Skeleton Lord, what Digz would say next would become the lifelong goal. The obsession that has killed so many people. Digz replied, “...You have done nothing wrong, Alden. It was everybody else that is.” “We were so happy having everything stay the same. You’re like a god! Your family had immortality, and you protected this kingdom from all invaders. This was our own corner of the world,” he continued. The muscle demigod felt as if the corrupted familiar had been practicing these very lines. Down to even the volume he used on certain pronunciations, Digz made his words seem they were of the gospel...And Alden drank it all up; his face dawning with the newly tainted enlightenment. The incomplete imp spat with disgust, “But then those ‘heroes’ came and ruined everything! All for what?! For glory?! For wealth?! Just because of what we can do, that makes us evil? What pathetic ignorance.” The Skeleton Lord nodded, as he wiped streaks of tears going down his face. The flow of his tears came to a halt, and his eyes seemed to become emotionally withdrawn. “Then...why didn’t our people stop them? If there was any doubt about our evil...surely the citizens would have corrected them, right?” he questioned. Digz did not reply, as seconds awkwardly ticked by. Alden gritted his teeth, “Why would they let them set fire to my home?! Why would they let those...heroes just walk right up to my home and destroy my family?! Do they still hate me deep down? WHY?!” The unseen familiar spoke up. “...I-I’m not sure anymore...Even though I said many negative things in the past, I just wanted to keep you aware of possibilities. I came to thinking the same as you because I believed you knew your people…” he answered. The king gripped the ground, “...You were right...You always are.” “Feared our power, jealous of it...It doesn’t matter. They have betrayed us. They’re not my people anymore. They have burned away all the benevolence that I had,” he continued. The Skeleton Lord commanded, “Digz! Begin the ritual! Take everybody’s mana until there’s nothing left! Those protected by the blood runes will eventually die, since there will be no one to care for them in their time of recovery.” The incomplete imp replied back in a tone that poorly attempted to hide a twisted glee. “Of course. I’ll make sure to exact our revenge on those bastards!” he suggested, “And then we start our coming.” “Our coming?” said the king. Digz replied, “Yes, our coming. We’re not going to sit here till we turn to dust. We will make ourselves known and make the world burn! And when the whelps wonder why death will be arriving to their doorsteps, all they will know was that the Royal Burning was the cause of humanity’s fall! No one deserves to be happy! Only death!” The scenery in front of Marvelous Man began to fade. The whisping darkness that had swirled around his muscled mass began to bulge about, as light started to flood the muscle demigod from above. Looking up, Marvelous Man noticed the black fog Digz had cocooned him in was becoming shorter. It was definite that Digz had answered Marvelous Man’s question about the Royal Burning...but the response seemed to lead to more questions. The musclebound hero’s heart sank, as he realized he had gained no new insight to help win the battle without violence. What he had learned was only the surface of deeper things that led to this tragic event. The Skeleton Lord had depended on Digz so much, that simply speaking of the corrupted familiar’s deception would not be enough to change the ancient king’s mind. Marvelous Man wished he had more time to think of what he could say, but the curtain of darkness descended faster than he could put together a new plan. Upon the fog dropping beneath his face and no longer limited his eyesight, his eyes stretched wide at what he saw. A chill ran down his back with flashbacks of his abduction playing in his mind. The red cloak Marvelous Man had seen too many times screamed into his retinas. The present-day Skeleton Lord, in all his skinny, withered glory, stood a small distance away. Next Chapter
  11. EcchiMultiverse

    Marvelous Man - Chapter 24

    Well, MM is still Justice. He now has the courage to keep fighting, but his fear is still the same...probably magnified even further due to being kidnapped. It does help calm him down when his friends are nearby(just like anybody else), but to be alone is utterly terrifying for him in the face of evil. Yes...and no. I apologize, since it seems like I'm hamming it all in at the last second. Really trying to end book 1 lol. The giant black fog surrounding the ghetto is his essence, so I figured since the place has sorta turned into his dimension, he should be able to materialize. But he's not completely there, since the Skeleton Lord isn't there yet and his form seems pretty incorporeal, so MM can't use the spell to end Digz yet. MM has to use it when Digz's guard is down. OMG, I really wanted to show off what each of them sees! But unfortunately, that would take a lot of time away and isn't completely relevant to resolving the problem in the story. So I'll have to show only what MM sees for right now and just allude to what Sugar Skull saw later on in Book 1. Plus, I'm pretty sure if you read all this as one book, you'd probably get bored fast seeing Digz's origin story. Thanks so much for sticking around! I couldn't have gotten this far without your encouragement X3
  12. EcchiMultiverse

    Marvelous Man - Chapter 24

    All comments and critiques are welcomed here and on my Google Docs(https://drive.google.com/open?id=1Z51Gh7qvdbt2g0xxPepOhEizpaHRkVtVWEauhe_3hS4) For other chapters, I will post them on here later. But you can find the archives on my FA and Tumblr with pics included. FA: http://www.furaffinity.net/user/ecchimultiverse/ Tumblr: http://ecchimultiverse.tumblr.com/ For first looks and more illustrations, check out my Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/ecchimultiverse First Chapter | Previous Chapter | Next Chapter SPECIAL THANKS TO MY PATRONS: SPECTRI, LORD TUTORIALS, THATCHINESEPERSON, & JAINA All comments and critiques are welcomed here and on my Google Docs(https://drive.google.com/open?id=1Z51Gh7qvdbt2g0xxPepOhEizpaHRkVtVWEauhe_3hS4) For other chapters, I will post them on here later. But you can find the archives on my FA and Tumblr with pics included. FA: http://www.furaffinity.net/user/ecchimultiverse/ Tumblr: http://ecchimultiverse.tumblr.com/ For first looks and more illustrations, check out my Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/ecchimultiverse First Chapter | Previous Chapter | Next Chapter SPECIAL THANKS TO MY PATRONS: SPECTRI, LORD TUTORIALS, THATCHINESEPERSON, & JAINA Chapter 24: Dancing With the Fiend Marvelous Man stood in front of the fog; staring at the whisping darkness curl about. Every few seconds, a pair of hands would lash from out of the fog. The hands would then slam into a magical barrier that caged the creatures from within. Runes, magical circles, sticky note talismans, and even enchanted items were plastered all over the barrier. The musclebound superhero drifted his eyes downwards to the rows of cubic-shaped machines placed around the outside of the affected ghetto area. Every cube had a large Arkos Division logo engraved on the side with a cable branching out from each machine to a gadget-decorated cable. The new cable projected a film of light; covering over the magical layer. The scenery in front of him caused his mind to drift back to his jacket’s pocket. His large hand fidgeted with a silver key in the pocket. He could feel every groove and the keychain attached to it, an ice cream sundae with a cherry on top. The itching temptation to use the key came back harder than the night of his first encounter with the Skeleton Lord. He wondered if it was the right thing to turn down his parents’ invitation to stay in Sunnysville...where it was safe and nothing changed. “Ugh, I do not envy what you’re about to do,” said a female voice from behind. Marvelous Man turned around to face the voice. Standing with all eight cybernetic arms crossed was Octomentist. The hulking bodybuilder immediately noticed that the prosthetic superhero now held a slouched posture compared to her usual power pose with the back straightened. He nodded, “Oh...yeah.” Octomentist lightly bit her lip, as an awkward second ticked by. “I never did thank you, did I? For helping out at the Arkos Division headquarters. I was out on patrol when it happened. And then you showed up a few minutes after I got there…” she said. The multi-armed heroine continued, “I helped try to clear the rubble, but you were the real hero. You actually got to save lives...and that was the first time I actually felt powerless. And that’s never happened to me, ya know...Is it fucked up that I kinda wish I was back in that tunnel fighting the Skeleton Lord, and our only way to save those people was to euthanize them?” The muscle demigod’s mind flashed back to the tunnels during the second battle against the Skeleton Lord. His stomach twisted at the blood, the terrible things the ancient villain said, killing the Teratoma...and first experiencing the power of his Soul Venom. To reflect on those memories for a second more might cause him to vomit. “I don’t think so. But it’s not exactly something I want to go through again,” replied Marvelous Man. Octomentist nodded, “Right..yeah, sorry. That was a dick thing for me to say. But I do mean it when I say thanks for what you did. You’re the greatest hero in my book.” Marvelous Man smiled. His heart gave a soft flutter of joy before wondering how long this nice attitude would last. “Thanks,” he said. The prosthetic hero smiled back, “So go get ‘em, Marvelous Man. I’ll just be manning the front over here. But just so you know, after this, it’s back to you being called Naked Justice.” “Yeah...I figured,” Marvelous Man giggled, “Wouldn’t have it any other way.” Octomentist pointed with her golden thumb over to a tent painted with runic symbols; housing the musclebound superhero’s other team members. The flaps of the tent parted ways, as Gemini exited the temporary structure. The bulky Soulem appeared to be heading over to Marvelous Man’s position. “I’ll be over there if you need anything,” she said. The muscle demigod nodded, “Sure.” The multi-armed woman departed from Marvelous Man, as she passed by Gemini. The Soulem arrived in front of the musclebound superhero in a few steps; mood rings glowing in the color yellow. Gemini stood still, while gently pounding the rubbery, robotic fists together. The mechanical being seemed at a loss for words before finally speaking up. “Um...hey,” said Gemini. Marvelous Man replied, “Hey.” The Soulem gave an artificial cough to clear his throat. “So I thought that we should go over one more time about the spell you got from the Bruja,” he said. Marvelous Man responded, “Sure. But don’t I just have to touch the imp when I cast the spell?” “Yeah, but you need to touch a solid part of the imp,” corrected Gemini, “You can’t just use its own foggy essence, since the spell would basically be grabbing air. That essence could easily escape the spell, and then you’d give away your own element of surprise. So make sure you’re grabbing the imp’s physical body when you cast that spell.” Marvelous Man frowned, “Well, can’t you modify the spell to suck in some of the essence to hold it in one place?” Gemini lurched his head back, while his face displayed a mix of horror and disgust. “Whoah, no! That spell is already complicated enough as is. I literally can’t tamper with a thing on that spell. It’s airtight and any mods on that thing will cause an entirely different reaction!” exclaimed the Soulem. His voice grew soft, “Besides, I only understand bits of it...the spell itself is...impossible. And while that should scare me, what scares me more is who you got it from…” “...I didn’t have much of a choice, Gem...I needed to end all of this. Doin what we usually do didn’t stop the Skeleton Lord. He always got away every time. And the only way I feel like we can actually win this time is if I upped my game and did something crazy,” explained Marvelous Man. Gemini sighed, “Let’s just...get this over and done with. I just hope the Bruja doesn’t come back to bite us in the ass. If she has access to that kind of magical knowledge, I don’t even know what she’s capable of if she ever tries to hurt you…” “She’d probably just send Sugar Skull instead,” remarked the muscle demigod. The Soulem smirked, “Right. Why bother wasting magic when you can just send an immortal lackey to do the dirty work for ya.” His cybernetic eyes flicked down at the ground before returning to look back at Marvelous Man. Gemini’s mood ring then transitioned to a rose red color. “Look, I gotta head back, but I just wanted to say...good luck out there. And please...come back safely. Alright?” he said. Marvelous Man smiled, “Thanks. I will. And it’ll be fine. I got Gene and Sugar Skull to watch my back.” “Would’ve been nicer if we had an A-lister like the Director,” frowned Gemini. Marvelous Man shrugged, “He has to help with keeping the barrier up...But I do think it’s kinda weird we couldn’t get help from anybody else. Everybody seems busy with their own crisis. Even the Nemesis Branch isn’t helping out cause we’re somehow not dealing with a A-rank villain or above.” “What a bunch of assholes,” huffed Gemini. The accent of a Southern gentleman emanated from behind the Soulem, “Mr. Yin and Mr. Marvelous Man. So glad both of you are here. This makes things easier for our final talk before we begin.” As Gemini turned around, Marvelous Man spotted the Director walking towards them. Accompanying a few steps behind Director Doug was the master witch’s familiar and the musclebound superhero’s teammates, Gene Lightfoot and Sugar Skull. Marvelous Man could feel a sense of nervousness wash over himself with every closing distance between himself and Gene. His eyebrow then perked up in confusion. “Hey, wait. Where’s Fairuza?” he asked. The Director answered, “She’s been reassigned to keep an eye on our wards, since it is a guarantee that she cannot gaze into the fog nor keep a connection with you three. I’m afraid the moment you and Gene and Sugar Skull pass through, you’re all on your own. We won’t be able to pull you out either, so you better not hold back. Do what you have to do to make this stop.” Director Skye’s eyes seemed to intensify their gaze into Marvelous Man’s, as he said his next words. “Marvelous Man, are you sure you want to go in there? Your healing abilities would be invaluable in assisting the troops out here should the barriers fail. You don’t have to do this,” he said. Marvelous Man’s mind lingered back to his meaty hand still in his jacket’s pocket. The jagged teeth of the silver key poked at his thumb. There was still time to run away from all this, and every part of him screamed it...But what if he could win? The muscle demigod hesitated, “Honestly...I kinda don’t want to go. I’ve never done anything as...intense as this before. But you said a while back that I was one of the people capable of handling the Skeleton Lord. And I need to be there for my partners to patch them up.” “Oh-ho ho! Thank goodness!” exclaimed Sugar Skull, “Because Gene would have really died out there if you didn’t come along. But I’d be okay. I can regenerate.” Silence weighed heavily in the air, as Sugar Skull’s spinning, yellow flower eyes flicked back and forth. None of the company appeared amused at the comment. The ghoul quickly thrust a hand into his sleeve before pulling it out immediately. “...And look! I have the new devices the Bruja made. Whaaaaat. Presenting the Bruja’s magical gadget, the Benighted Badge. Now we match each other!” said the Limbo being. He held out his hand; uncurling his fingers to reveal what rested in his palm. Everybody leaned forward to see two objects glittering on the ghoul’s palm. They looked exactly like the brooch Sugar Skull had always worn; a weeping closed eye. Puzzles called out from below, “What is it?” The Director frowned, while Marvelous Man realized the smoke imp was too small to see what the ghoul was holding. The Totochton prince and the muscle demigod picked up the pin jewelry; holding it up for a closer look. Director Doug then scratched his beard. “It looks to me like they are copies of Sugar Skull’s brooch,” reported the master witch. Sugar Skull replied, “Exactly. They do the same thing my brooch does. We’ll be able to pass through without any of the other ghouls seeing us.” The half-alive ghoul looked over at Marvelous Man. “Oh...but, you can’t do any supercharges or getting bright,” he said, “It’s easy to cover up sound, but your light can’t be, uh, suppressed when it’s bigger and brighter than a flashlight. Bending that much light without blinding you would have taken longer to make.” It was a huge handicap to what Marvelous Man could do. Supercharging his allies was something the muscle demigod felt made him indispensable to the team and helped turn the tide of a battle. But he knew that as long as the brooches worked and cloaked his team from immediate danger, he would be fine with limiting his abilities. The musclebound superhero nodded, “That’s fine. Could I still do normal healing? I still have to use some light, so I can heal.” “It’s not a problem. The gadget should be able to hide it,” answered Sugar Skull. A slight weight lifted from the hulking bodybuilder’s shoulders. It felt good to know that he could help support his teammates in some way. Marvelous Man was already aware of how much his combat ability paled in comparison to his companion’s and even the Skeleton Lord’s. The ghoul chimed, “I think we need a speech. This is the part where we’re about to do something dangerous and need some, ummm...encouragement!” “Here’s one,” said Puzzles. The entire cast turned to look down at the smoke imp. He stood with a silver zip lighter in one hand, and a glass bong, sized appropriately for his single paw, in the other. Flicking open the lighter to spark a flame, the familiar then lowered the flame onto the bong’s herbal-stuffed bowl. Puzzles snapped the lighter shut, “Don’t die.” Director Skye smiled at the smoke imp while flexing a single eyebrow up. “The Reefer Ballroom?” he questioned. Puzzles replied, “You’re combining your defense magic with the lesser spellcasters and some force field projectors from the Arkos Division. Even with all that, those ghouls are still getting through. You honestly think my Cuban Room can stop them, Boss?” “Containment isn’t working, so I shall impede,” concluded the smoke imp. The master witch looked over at Gemini, “Duly noted. Now, Mr. Yin, I heavily implore you to vacate this area. Seeing as how I am now lowering a part of the barrier. Monsters will most definitely be scurrying from out of my artificial opening, and I would hate for you to be caught in the midst of combat.” Mood rings on the cybernetic cheeks flared yellow, as Gemini’s eyes dilated. The Soulem instantly turned towards the tent and began power-walking. “Nope! Don’t have to tell me twice,” he exclaimed, “GoodLuckMarvelousManOkayLoveYouBye.” Director Skye watched the Soulem dart passed Octomentist and into the tent before reaching into his pocket. Pulling out a cell phone, the master witch dialed a number. He then placed it next to his ear, while it rang once before being answers. He announced, “This is Director Douglas Skye. I am authorizing the deactivation of your force field generators for ninety seconds...Yes. Begin now.” As the Director ended his call, the small humming noise from the force field projector cubes started to die down. The thin layer on top of the magical barrier eroded; starting from the top and making its way down. Within seconds, the projected force field from the Arkos Division had completely deteriorated. Director Skye placed the phone back into his pocket and held up his hands. The master witch’s hands then began to glow blue with magical energy. Gesturing with his hands, a magical circle appeared. “When I’ve created an opening, all of you must charge through. Do not worry about the monsters that get through, Puzzles and I, as well as the other heroes and police officers, will dispose of them. It is highly likely we will lose communication with y’all, so please be aware that you are all on your own once you three enter. Gene, you will be the field leader for this mission,” stated the Director. Gene pinned the brooch to his shoulder’s strap, “Understood.” A hole the size of a baseball appeared on the magical barrier above the magic circle. The hole then moved; splitting into both horizontal directions. While the incision on the barrier continued, Puzzle pressed the top of the glass bong to his lips and took a long inhale. When the gap reached a certain wideness on both ends, the ends of the gap made its way down. The very end of the whisping fog seemed to drool from the artificial outline that appeared wide enough for three men to charge in at the same time. Puzzles disengaged from the glass bong and exhaled a big puff of marijuana smoke; cascading to the concrete ground. The white smoke flooded in every direction, as it grew higher. Marvelous Man quickly fumbled about to pin the brooch onto his black leather jacket. In seconds, the bong smoke swallowed everyone. The last thing Marvelous Man saw, after successfully pinning the Bruja’s brooch, was the dissection of the magical barrier coming to a stop upon contacting with the terrain. Marvelous Man’s eyes blinked. He turned about; trying to absorb his new surroundings. The hulking bodybuilder was transported in what appeared to be a grand ballroom. The walls and furniture were adorned with the colors of gold white, and the paintings and decorations had a pastel color to them. Memories of art and architecture taught by Apollo allowed the musclebound superhero to surmise the ballroom was an eighteenth century Russian palace in the rococo style. He stood with his teammates amidst a crowd that were watching people court and dance. The citizens within the lavish ballroom were dressed of higher class Russian fashion from the eighteenth century; possibly even royalty. Marvelous Man could hear an orchestra composed of string and woodwind instruments. The muscle demigod was aware Puzzles could concoct illusions through smoke, but even the sound of violins and flutes playing nearly convinced himself of traveling through time. The hulking bodybuilder also spotted the Director amidst the dancers and had continued to channel the spell. The dancers twirled about Director Skye, yet never seemed to make any accidental physical contact to the master witch. Before questioning the scenery, his attention snapped to a commotion on his left. Ghouls and monsters from the fog had charged through a wide, opened doorway; screaming and snarling. The citizens and the scenery slightly warped, as smoke was channeled from them. Puzzles’ smoke reached out in the form of gentle vapors, as it funneled into the nostrils and mouths of the enemies. The Limbo creatures slowed to a stop; their eyes fogging in confusion. The residents within the ballroom that were closest to the stupefied foes sauntered over to them. The dancers guided the ghouls onto the main floor and danced with them, while the viewers petted the monsters like they were adorable dogs. More Limbo beings clamored into the ballroom and were quickly pacified. “Go now! Go!” commanded a deep Russian-accented voice from above Marvelous Man. A figure, blurred in grey and blue, fell from up high. It then collided onto the head of one of the dancing ghouls. The object that had landed came into focus as Puzzles with his dagger sunken onto the top of the inhibited ghoul’s head. The ghoul immediately disintegrated into dust, as Puzzled fell towards the ground. Gene spoke up, “My teammates, we must make the haste, while we still have the time.” The rabbit superhero ran towards the opened doorway with the purple ghoul following behind. The muscle demigod stared at his compatriots for a second before snapping out of his surprised daze and gave chase. As the three made their way closer to the doorway, the dancers and bystanders immediately stepped out of the pathway like water being parted. “Turn on the brooch with magic now!” shouted Sugar Skull, “The ghouls will attack us the moment we pass through!” Placing their hands on the Bruja’s magical item, Gene and Marvelous Man’s hands glowed blue with magic. The glowing immediately died, as the magic channeled into the weeping eye brooches upon passing through the doorway. Ghouls from the fog continued to pour in, but they weaved around all three allies without even passing a glance. The whisping fog crashed into the team’s faces; blackness obscuring their visions. The trio came to an immediate stop; their eyes slowly adjusting to the sudden darkness. Regaining enough sight, Marvelous Man noticed the countless, monstrous Limbo beings had continued to charge passed the hulking bodybuilder and his friends. His muscles, flexing into cords as hard as rocks, relaxed back into its natural round, firm state. With the danger temporarily alleviated, Marvelous Man’s body realized it had stopped breathing for over a minute. He gave a loud, sharp gasp before immediately coughing; the bleach scent of Limbo’s air hung heavily in the fog. The musclebound superhero bent down, as his throat continued to hack. The rest of the team flinched at the sudden noises given off by the hulking bodybuilder. The spinning, yellow flower eyes in Sugar Skull’s sockets transformed into red exclamation points. The purple ghoul stared up at Marvelous Man. “Wow, that actually gave me a fright!” commented Sugar Skull. Gene spoke up, “Marvelous Man, are you well?” The muscle demigod held up his index finger to indicate towards his teammates. Seconds later, Marvelous Man stood up straight. He looked down at the rabbit superhero. “Yeah, I’m fine. Didn’t realize I was holding in my breath until just now,” he answered. Gene’s white rabbit ears twitched about, “I must do the commending, Sugar Skull. The Bruja’s magical jewelry works as you have said.” The purple ghoul turned to look at the bunny demigod. The red exclamation points in his eye sockets returned to its spinning flower form. “The Bruja is the real deal. After all, she struck a deal with your, uh. What’s the word I’m looking for? It’s predecesor in Spanish...Oh, haha. Predecessors. It’s why all the Toto’s restaurants act as the entrance to the land of the living when I leave Limbo,” replied Sugar Skull. Gene frowned, “I do wish to continue the talk regarding your master’s connection to my people, but we all must make the haste to defeat the Skeleton Lord.” The Totochin prince proceeded forward with the two party members immediately following behind. The howls and groans of the Limbo monsters echoed unseen throughout the streets. The line of sight for Marvelous Man could only extend as far as ten steps ahead before being swallowed by whisping fog enveloping the crew. With the unsettling feelings being forgotten the ghetto usually radiated and enhanced by the Skeleton Lord’s creepy fog, it became a tempting thought for Marvelous Man to fly his teammates over to the Skeleton Lord’s dwelling. It would have been faster, but the plans set days before the three went into the fog said otherwise. It was agreed that the trio would have to traverse the fogged area by foot at walking speed. Sugar Skull had pointed out that even with the Bruja’s magical items, the Skeleton Lord could still detect them. The safest strategy would be taking slow movements to avoid drawing sudden attention on themselves should the ancient villain return on the estimated date. >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> As the team drew closer to the Skeleton Lord’s hideout, the streets became more spacious. There were still ghouls roaming about, but the majority of the Limbo creatures were loitering at the barriers surrounding the ghetto. The ones that Marvelous Man were now passing by were the naked ghouls he had seen before in Limbo; lying on the ground with the same surrender to despair. “Hello, Totochtin,” said a voice from behind the group. The group instantly turned around to face the person addressing Gene. A figure stood in the middle of the road; its height as tall as an imp. The being wore a dress covered in tatters, and the ribbon bow encircling the neckline had eroded with its color faded. It’s head and right arm no longer existed; replaced with whisping essence bleeding out and blending into the fog. It’s other arm seemed to be avian, as the limb was shaped like an arm but was compiled of tattered feathers. The creature turned to Marvelous Man. A voice then emanated from it; sounding as if it were under water. “You must be Marvelous Man,” it said, “Your shape is much like Gilgamesh. A giant man of muscles. So it’s not hard to figure out.” The smoky figure turned to Sugar Skull, “And you must be the Bruja’s ghoul. My master has been wanting to see you again to pay back all the torment you have given him.” As the demigods opened their mouths to reply, Sugar Skull interrupted them. “Don’t acknowledge him! If you do, he’ll be able to see you!” exclaimed the purple ghoul. Gene pointed out, “I believe there is none of the point to doing that. He identified us by the shapes of our bodies.” The creature spoke up; pulling the team’s attention back to itself. “I can’t hear you, but I know you’re talking about me. Do you really think I wouldn’t notice something I couldn’t see but was still taking up space in my own essence? Reveal yourselves to me, or I’ll get nasty,” it said. The trio remained frozen at the threat. Marvelous Man gulped; trying to build some courage within himself. The musclebound superhero needed confirmation first before he did anything else. He then took a step forward. He announced, “Yeah, I’m Marvelous Man. Are you the Skeleton Lord’s familiar?” “That I am. And will the others come forward as well? Or shall I have them skewered?” said the imp. Marvelous Man finally had his suspicions confirmed. To see an incomplete imp firsthand was...more disturbing than Puzzles could have described. He could only feel sadness for the imp; imagining how it existed for thousands of years in a constant state of pain and rage. The muscle demigod wanted to activate the spell immediately to put the imp out of its misery. But he knew what Gemini had said to him earlier. Now was not the time; not when the element of surprise had been lost. Marvelous Man would have to wait until another chance arose. Gene acknowledged, “What is your name?” “I am Digz,” replied the incomplete imp, “And what is your business here?” “We wish to defeat the Skeleton Lord,” answered Gene. Digz cackled, “He’s not here...yet. The Skeleton Lord will return soon.” The smoky familiar crooked his shoulder; seemingly staring at Sugar Skull. A sharp object shot out from behind the familiar. It screeched through the air in less than a second before making the sound of flesh being impaled. Marvelous Man turned to his half-alive friend. He could see an arrow sticking out of Sugar Skull’s left shoulder. The purple ghoul staggered back a few steps, as Marvelous Man noticed Sugar Skull wielding the signature black glock. The Limbo being’s eye sockets were completely covered in television static noise. “...You sneaky fatherfucker,” said Sugar Skull. Digz remarked, “I just said that I could see Marvelous Man’s shape. You honestly thought I couldn’t see you about to use your gun superpower?” “Well, yeah,” giggled Sugar Skull. Marvelous Man hurried over to Sugar Skull, while feeling the emotions of fear ebb from Gene. Placing his hand next to the wound, he fed the light within himself memories of his mother cooking his favorite breakfast. The muscle demigod then grabbed the arrow with his other hand, as his light began to heal the traumatized area. He spoke, “I got you, Sugar Skull...This is gonna hurt.” “...Hey, Marvelous Man. Remember that dickhead ghoul in the diner who told you that he was embracing life now that he could feel pain? Could you take my gun, go back in time, and shoot him in the fucking hea-AAAAGH, FATHERFUCKER!” exclaimed Sugar Skull. The musclebound superhero held the arrow in his hand; detached from the purple ghoul’s shoulder and dripping with crimson blood. Marvelous Man could not help but feel a small amount of cynicism despite seeing his friend in pain. His eyebrow flexed upward, “I’m sorry, but...I’ve seen your abdomen being disemboweled before. How was that arrow much worse than this?” “You ever had a paper cut before?” fired back the half-alive friend. Digz spoke up, “And now I wonder what I should do to the lot of you.” Marvelous Man thought quickly. He knew that Digz would not harm Gene, since the Skeleton Lord has use for the Totochtin prince. As for the hulking bodybuilder and the purple ghoul, Digz would have found them disposable. The musclebound superhero still needed more time to stop the ancient evil, and he needed to know more about the Skeleton Lord to find the weakness for defeating the supervillain. “Tell us about the Skeleton Lord!” he blurted out, “I mean, we hardly know the guy. We’ve come this far. Could you please answer our questions about him?” Sugar Skull chimed in, “I’m with him on that! Besides, I’m sure the Skeleton Lord would like to see us one more time.” The incomplete imp said nothing. Seconds ticked by, while whisping, black smoke continued to flow out of its neck and shoulder. Digz then shrugged. “I don’t see why not,” it answered. A small sigh of relief escaped from Marvelous Man’s lips. He could feel Gene’s emitted emotions become calmer, as he spotted Sugar Skull’s sockets returned back to displaying the spinning, flower eyes. Digz held up a feathery finger, “BUT! You each get one question. And before I can answer them, you have to defeat the guardians.” The imp snapped his fingers. The blackness behind Digz stirred, as three figures stepped through. They walked past the whispy familiar; revealing their identities upon drawing closer to the heroes. Leading from the center was Zareb and wielding his pair of short-handed axes. He clanged his axes together; causing the runes etched on the weapons to glow and spark electricity. Appearing on the electric tribesman’s left was Itzcóatl. The vengeful hunter pulled an arrow from the quiver on his back and nocked it onto his equipped bow. On the other side of Zareb was a knight geared in a suit of polished silver armor. The knight shifted into its fighting stance; armed with an ornamentally-decorated glaive polearm that had appeared in the second confrontation with the Skeleton Lord. Sugar Skull yanked up his gun and aimed it at the knight. Pulling the trigger, an explosive bang went off. The knight’s helmet became slightly dented, while the sound of ricochet echoed from it. “GAH!” screamed Marvelous Man. A sudden, sharp sting rippled in Marvelous Man’s sculpted abdomen. The hulking bodybuilder grabbed at his stomach; crouching nearly at the ground from the pain. Sugar Skull’s yellow flower eyes transformed into a yellow-and-black-striped caution sign displaying an exclamation point. The half-alive ally looked at Marvelous Man, “Sorry! I didn’t think he was bulletproof!” Sugar Skull’s body gave an abrupt shake, while the sound of pierced flesh resounded from beneath him. His eyes fizzled from the caution sign back into the television static interference screen. Turning back to his armored opponent, the knight had appeared at a closer distance to the purple ghoul. He then looked down; spotting the knight’s glaive protruding through his abdomen. Blood started dripping from his mouth. The half-alive being coughed, “You know...when a guy stabs my guts...it’s usually from behind. Gahahaha...What? It’s funny.” The knight shifted his legs; hoisting the purple ghoul into the air. Sugar Skull screamed in midair. “MM! Tag in! Tag in!” exclaimed the half-alive teammate. Marvelous Man looked up at his skull-headed friend. He spotted Sugar Skull being lifted up before an arc of blue and white light crashed into him. The hulking bodybuilder’s muscles seized; painfully cramping everywhere while feeling a tingling sensation. In his scattered thoughts, he knew this had to be Zareb’s electrical attack. Gene watched Marvelous Man become too paralyzed to save Sugar Skull, while the knight proceeded to slam the purple ghoul over his head and into the ground. Crouching down, the rabbit superhero immediately pushed off with his legs. The Totochtin prince flung himself into the air with his back bending backward. As he performed his backflip, Gene quickly dug his hands into his ball pouch. His body then completed the twirl while still in the whisping air; now faced again towards the fight. The bunny demigod yanked his hands out and unleashed a fistful barrage of silver balls. The shiny projectiles rained down on Zareb; piercing into the electric tribesman and the ground around him. Blood splattered from the impacted damage Gene had caused, but the spheres were not thrown hard enough to completely pass through the enemy. The lightning guardian discontinued the electrical attack and recoiled from the silver ball affliction, as Gene landed. The Totochtin prince brought his hands close to his face and clenched them into tight fists. A yellow runic symbol appeared; glowing on top of his fingerless gloves. The silver balls lodged into electric tribesman exploded out of the enemy and the concrete ground; blood and debris blasting into the air with a misty and dusty consistency. The shiny spheres shot towards Gene. Before the magical projectiles pulverized into the bunny demigod, they stopped at only an arm’s length from Gene. Free from the electrifying shock, Marvelous Man ignored the pain and reacted. The musclebound superhero pushed himself up. With the arrow’s obsidian head covered in Sugar Skull’s blood still gripped in his hands, he threw it like a dart. The arrow flew towards Zareb and punctured into the lightning guardian’s abdomen. Zareb froze. At the area of the arrow’s impact, a wave of deterioration spread. As Sugar Skull’s poison expanded, the affected parts flaked off into a whisping, black dust. Marvelous Man quickly turned to the knight and activated his flight power. Pushing off with his massive legs, the hulking bodybuilder flew. The polished knight took no notice of him, as the armored guardian was only focused on the pinned Sugar Skull with back turned. The musclebound superhero wrapped his arms around the knight’s torso and flew up. With the silver knight unaware of the muscle demigod’s attack, the ornamental glaive slipped from the guardian’s grasp. Marvelous Man immediately spun his body, as he gained altitude. By the second rotation, the muscle demigod released his hold over the armored guardian. He shouted, “NGYAH!” The silver knight flung helplessly in the air like a ragdoll, while Marvelous Man took off his golden wreath. The laurel weaponry appeared sharper; reflecting the muscle demigod’s intent. Spinning his body, Marvelous Man threw his boomerang wreath with an underhanded throw. “SLICE AND DICE!!!” he battle cried. The golden headgear shimmered as it whirred through the air like a buzzsaw. A second later, the spinning projectile caught up to the airborne enemy. The boomerang laurel sliced through the knight’s midsection without hesitation. Gravity then took hold of the armored guardian, as the golden wreath returned to Marvelous Man. The knight broke apart into two separate pieces; bisected horizontally at the wreath’s passing impact. Before the silver knight reached halfway down, both parts of himself exploded into the same texture as the whisping fog. At the same time, the glaive pinned into Sugar Skull had dispersed into the same blackness as the fog. There was now only one more guardian for the team to combat against. “Gah!” he exclaimed, “...What the-?!” Marvelous Man felt a sudden, sharp poke in his massive glutes. Rubbing his left bubble butt cheek, he could feel a small hole in his American flag bikini. He then looked down and spotted an arrow clattering onto the ground. It was the same kind of arrow that had struck Sugar Skull earlier; the head of arrow shaped out of sharp, black obsidian glass. The muscle demigod gaze about the area but could not find the most likely assailant, Itzcóatl. Gene gestured with his hands again by creating a swirling motion with his index and middle finger at the floating spheres. This caused his gloves to glow with a different runic symbol. The silver balls in front of the Totochtin prince morphed; each of them extending a stem of itselves to two other spheres to create a silver bolas. With the magical command complete, a set of three bolas floated in front of Gene. The bunny demigod grabbed two bolas; one in each hand. Gene began twirling them, while he turned around until his back was facing his allies. The rabbit superhero’s eyes scanned the area, and his white rabbit ears twitched. He then released both bolas; flying off towards his right. The bolas spun, as they continued their flight. The grouped projectiles then stopped in mid-flight; wrapping around an unseen object. Upon binding, the object immediately revealed itself as Itzcóatl falling onto the ground. With one of the bolas tied around the legs and the other around the torso, the Aztec guardian was unable to move. Sugar Skull slowly leaned up. With the black gun still in his grasp, he hurriedly dipped the front end of the weapon deep into his opened abdomen. The purple ghoul grunted at the self-intrusion but did not hesitate to immediately pull out. He then aimed the blood-soaked glock at the bounded vengeful hunter. Pulling the trigger, the bullet’s impact against Itzcóatl’s shoulder was instant. His mocha-shaded skin as well as his clothing began to blacken and spread rapidly from the point of injury. The dispersal of Sugar Skull’s poison overtook the sneaky guardian in seconds before sharing the same fate of disintegration as his other villainous compatriots. Marvelous Man gently landed onto the ground upon spotting the battle had ended. He then rushed over to Sugar Skull’s side. Kneeling down, he placed his hands on a part of the purple ghoul’s clothing that had not yet been drenched by the toxic blood. The muscle demigod’s mind drifted to a memory about Apollo indulging a young Justice with baking and decorating a wedding cake. The light within Marvelous Man fed on the positive memory and feelings; illuminating the hulking bodybuilder’s large hands and beginning the healing process on Sugar Skull. A watery voice called out, “Well done, well done. I didn’t think the fight would end this fast. Hmmm, too bad we couldn’t include Gilgamesh in the fight. He would have really fucked you guys up...What did you do to him anyways? I can’t summon him back to me.” The Totochtin prince faced towards his allies. Standing steps away from the aiding teammates was the incomplete imp, Digz. The whisping darkness continued to pour out from the stumps of the missing head and right arm. “Gilgamesh has been detained. We have taken the precautions to prevent any of the attempts to do the escape,” replied Gene. Digz giggled, “Spoilsport. So how did you find Itzcóatl? His steps are too quiet for your hare ears to hear.” “He allowed himself to be filled with the anger after failing to attack Marvelous Man,” stated Gene, “Now, enough of the stalling. We have fulfilled the terms of your conditions. Answer our questions!” The incomplete imp sighed, “Fair enough. Ask away.” The Totochtin prince paused for a moment, as Marvelous Man finished healing the half-alive teammate. The hulking bodybuilder then helped Sugar Skull to stand up before the two faced the Skeleton Lord’s familiar. The eye sockets on the purple ghoul defaulted back to the spinning flower eyes. “...Did the Skeleton Lord speak the truth about himself being the cause as to why the Totochtin are split into the multiple tribes? I wish to know the horrors he had wrought upon my ancestors,” demanded Gene. The fog surrounding everyone reached out; encircling around the bunny demigod. The vortex of blackness covering Gene remained thick; rendering the Totochtin prince unseeable to those outside. Marvelous Man screamed, “Gene!” The rabbit superhero did not reply. Marvelous Man’s heartbeat beated rapidly in panic, as he heard Digz speak up. “Oh, he’s fine. Just spirited away to a memory. So go on. Ask your question,” said the incomplete imp. Sugar Skull stepped forward, “Alright. What is your backstory? I want to know how you came to be right up to when you met the Skeleton Lord.” The whisping fog stretch and embraced the purple ghoul in its swirling mass. Marvelous Man stared at the familiar. He was now alone again with nobody to call out to for help...and it terrified him. “I...I want to know...H-how did…” hesitated the hulking bodybuilder. Marvelous Man stopped and took a breath. Now was not the time to show fear and urinate on himself all over again. Marvelous Man was on a mission. He needed to get answers and cause the incomplete imp to lower their guard. The musclebound superhero started, “What is the Royal Burning? I want to know.” The black essence slithered over to Marvelous Man. It slowly rose up; covering from the feet and working its way up. As the whisping darkness reached his head, Marvelous Man held his breath. For a brief moment, there was only blackness. Next Chapter
  13. EcchiMultiverse

    Marvelous Man - Chapter 23

    Yeah, but this story is my passion. And knowing that there are other people that like it makes me want to get it out ASAP. Glad you liked the pic X3 I got a commission from another artist to do a scene from Chapter 15!...Sadly, I can't commission him again, since he tried to whitewash MM before I rained hell on him. As usual, you're on the dot about it, haha. From what is currently shown, Doug is pretty lenient on how his employees act and is willing to give new people a chance. I guess you could say he doesn't want to be the main cause a person's potential is suppressed and is transformed into more of a hurdle later on in life. But I think Puzzles is the one who was affected harder than Doug. Naw, I'm pretty sure his parents kept him to retain the honor of the family name, since Doug technically became a witch...just with the wrong familiar. But that doesn't mean he wouldn't be caught in their constant gaze of disappointment. Not really sure if they would work him harder or just give up after that. For time's sake, I just skipped the conversation, since it would make the ending extremely obvious. But the aftermath of the conversation is sorta shown in the beginning of Chapter 24. Yeah, I really just want this book over and done with, so I can start book 2 XD
  14. EcchiMultiverse

    Marvelous Man - Chapter 23

    Sorry for how long it took me to upload...I got lazy and was just stressed out from life that I didn't want to do anything active. Also, I hope you enjoyed the pic I sent you a while ago Eh...Not exactly. I mean, a few of the things you saw about the Skeleton Lord's imp is correct X3 But I can't go into detail with anything you just said ^w^; To be honest, I never dove deep into Doug's backstory X3 I only thought back enough to justify Puzzles' existence. What you said made a lot of sense! 0w0 Well, it was definitely not good with how his parents handled it, but that's why Puzzles has a cold demeanor and has the skill to manipulate smoke vapor to take the form of clouds Sorry...Bruja won't be showing up. Gonna be skipping that part, since it'll ruin the final battle. Next chapter is moving on to the last level. Woot! Fight scenes~
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