EcchiMultiverse

superhero Marvelous Man - Chapter 9

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EcchiMultiverse

All comments and critiques are welcomed here and on my Google Docs(https://drive.google.com/open?id=1fWR-rfdhN_UycbGeWAlGpvy-jsMu8pgkb8-dx5GR7XM)

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/

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Chapter 9: Celestial Meteor

It was half an hour later that the two gathered their supplies, and Marvelous Man flew to the location. Gene Lightfoot was in his rabbit form; cradled in Marvelous Man’s brawny arms and nestled against the bulging pectorals. During the flight over, Marvelous Man could feel Gene emitting the emotions of frustration.

As Marvelous Man began his descent to a street corner across the abandoned Ridgemont subway station, he observed his surroundings. The Ridgemont subway station appeared to be located in a desolate ghetto with decaying structures and broken windows. The area itself was tucked far away at the edge of Skyway City by the decrepit factories that shut down a long time ago and no longer billowed smoke from its tall chimney stacks that could blanket the sky. As for the subway station’s entrance, it was partially bordered up on its top half. The lower half showed marks of being plied off; definitely evidence that somebody was still residing in the abandoned subway.

Nearing the ground, Gene leapt from Marvelous Man’s embrace and shifted back into his humanoid form. He stood up straight and closed his eyes. His white bunny ears twitched in different directions as if he were trying to detect any sound like a sonar.

Marvelous Man placed a hand on a patch that was freshly ironed onto the shoulder of his black jacket. The decorative patch was the D.A.B. logo; fonted in white and outlined in cobalt blue. While it advertised Marvelous Man’s association, it was enchanted to act as a telepathic communicator with his own teammates and anybody else able to receive the psychic signal.

He projected his thoughts, “Faraiza, we got to subway station. We’re in front of it right now.”

It felt weird for Marvelous Man to use his thoughts to call out to someone. Like screaming into a void, but the screamer cannot hear the sounds they emit. It was best to not think about how thoughts sound in one’s own head. Regardless of how he felt, Faraiza explained that it was the only way to use his new communicator.

“Yes, I have visual of it now. Gene, do you detect anybody?” replied Faraiza.

Gene paused, “...No. I do not sense the presence of anyone at all. This is most suspicious.”

Marvelous Man could hear the voices of his teammates echo in his head. There was no direction of where the noise originated from. It was all around him and inside himself. He shivered at this first experience of telepathy.

“Should we head inside?” he asked.

Faraiza answered, “Not yet. I’m not detecting any traps, but I think you should stay put and survey the entrance. I’ll do some quick research to see if there’s another way in. If Gene’s not sensing anybody, you two could be walking in a trap. Either that or the homeless community moved before the Skeleton Lord arrived.”

“Roger,” nodded Gene.

Gene turned to a dilapidated building on his right and appeared to be analyzing its structure. Its door removed some time ago, and any of its windows that were not already shattered had a layers of grime filmed over it.

The bunny demigod pointed, “Let us take shelter in there for now. Their windows on the second floor have a vantage point for observing the subway entrance.”

“Alright,” complied Marvelous Man.

The two heroes went inside the building without saying a word. From what was left of the interior, Marvelous Man surmised the structure used to be a bakery or cafe on the first floor. The second floor seemed to be an office and an apartment.

As the duo wordlessly settled in front of grimy windows, Marvelous Man felt it was the best time to break the ice. There was a certain tension about Gene, but he was not sure if it was due to the mission they were currently handling. He took a cloth he found on the floor and wiped the dirty layer off of a window pane, as he carefully chose his next words.

Marvelous Man hesitated, “Hey, Gene...are you okay?”

“Yes, I am well. I have no physical condition that will hinder our progress,” replied Gene.

Marvelous Man swallowed, “Yeah, I know. But...That’s not what I meant. Are you emotionally okay? You seem tense. Is it because of the seriousness of our mission or what the Skeleton Lord did…”

The emotions in Gene’s eyes seem to withdraw for a moment before coming back. The rabbit demigod began broadcasting the emotions of uneasiness.

“It...It is not what he did to me that leaves you to perceive that I am having the shaken...It is what he said,” hesitated Gene.

He continued, “That...thing said that it was responsible for the death of my people. That he is the reason why my race is a multitude of tribes scattered and hidden across the earth. I had never conceived that my tribe was once united with all the other tribes, but I have also never heard of it happening before. If what he said is true, should not there be history records of this Skeleton Lord?”

Marvelous Man looked out the window to keep watch over the subway entrance. He did not know that Gene was part of an actual race. But it did make sense when the Skeleton Lord kept calling Gene Lightfoot that name. It just did not occur to him until the bunny demigod brought it up. There was also something he remembered in the debriefing.

“There should’ve. I mean, your people should’ve known if there was a maniac like that. But not even the magical researchers know about him. Like he never existed,” agreed Marvelous Man.

Gene’s rabbit ears twitched, “Or maybe nobody wanted to remember he existed. The Skeleton Lord seemed surprised that we did not fear him or even know of his name.”

The white rabbit ears on Gene’s head began to droop. Marvelous Man then felt an all too familiar emotion wash over him. Loneliness.

“But my people were not just united,” said Gene, “He said we were many. We populated everywhere with the humans. And all of my ancestors had the rabbit ears. All of them. To not only be able to explore the world but also be chosen...I cannot help but envy that such a thing might have happened at one point.”

“But..aren’t you doing that right now?” questioned Marvelous Man.

Gene shook his head, “It is not the same. Not many know of the ways of my people, and not many have the curiosity for discovering it. You see, all of our Totochtin tribes have only one person in every generation to be blessed by our rabbit god. The choosing happens after a tournament is held to find one who is victorious over their other brothers with their own strength and skill.”

“When one is chosen to receive the rabbit ears and have their potential to be unlocked, they must go on a sacred pilgrimage. They must scour a region and find other male warriors to challenge them to combat. If one is able to best our chosen, he gifts the warrior with the best sexual experience he will never find anywhere else. This is an exchange to reap the victor’s seed, so it can be used to birth a new generation for our tribe. The chosen one will continue the process until he has completed exploring the region. And thus, our tribe becomes stronger with every descendant, and the cycle begins anew,” explained Gene.

Marvelous Man willed his face with all his might to not express bewilderment. With no mirror around, he was not sure if his body betrayed him or not. He wondered if being baffled was also an emotion and hoped Gene could not detect. He saw Gene give a small smile as if he knew or was aware of how his culture was perceived by outsiders.

Marvelous Man cleared his throat, “So...I guess your time here in North America is limited, huh?”

“Yes, but also no. I was not assigned to this region,” twitched Gene, “I am sorry, but my story will have to be shared for another time. Someone has arrived, and they are curious.”

Staring out the window, Marvelous Man spotted a woman in a red female kung fu uniform with visor sunglasses over her eyes. He immediately recognized her.

“Octomentist?” he said to himself.

Gene glanced, “You know of her?”

“I met her yesterday. We teamed up to fight the PB&J Gang,” answered Marvelous Man.

Octomentist looked about as if she were searching for someone. She looked up where Marvelous Man and Gene were stationed at for a few seconds before resuming her exploration.

Gene inquired, “Is she from the Arkos Division?”

“Yeah, how’d you know?” said Marvelous Man.

Gene replied, “Most members from a superhero company dress themselves according to the colors their companies favor. It is much like how I dress with the blue to proclaim my association with the D.A.B. Though some people do the compromise by carrying a colored accessory in relation to their employer yet wearing whatever colors they please. Just like you.”

“Oh,” spoke Marvelous Man, “So should we go down there to talk to her?”

Gene crossed his arms, “There is no need. I believe she has found us, because she is now amused.”

His rabbit ears twitched.

“She is now within the building,” said the bunny demigod.

Hearing the stairs creak, Marvelous Man turned his attention to the doorway. The echo of footsteps slowly drew closer. Seconds later, Octomentist appeared in the hallway right outside of the room’s entrance.

Octomentist smiled, “Hey there, Naked Justice. Didn’t think I’d see you so soon. How’s my sidekick doin?”

“Umm, doin alright. What’re you doing here?” asked Marvelous Man.

Octomentist answered, “Saw you passing by. Thought I’d track you down, since I didn’t have anything better to do. Saw you upstairs with my visor’s thermal vision. Though I didn’t think you’d end up here in the ghetto. Congratulations on getting picked up by the D.A.B., by the way.”

Marvelous Man was confused by Octomentist’s remark. He was not sure how she already knew. A second went by until his mind finally comprehended that his communicator patch gave away a context clue.

“Oh. Thanks. Uh, this is Gene. And we were trying to find a guy that’s hiding out in that abandoned subway down there,” pointed Marvelous Man.

Gene cutted in, “I believe this is one of the situations that we must exercise discretion, Marvelous Man. It would not be wise to divulge any more information regarding the mission.”

“It’s cool. I think I’ll just tag along anyways. Or I could just charge right down there while screaming my head off. I’m sure he won’t notice me,” grinned Octomentist.

Faraiza’s voice ringed in Gene Lightfoot and Marvelous Man’s head before they could say anything.

She stated, “I’m sorry. I couldn’t find any other alternate entrances inside. You’re going to have to proceed through the front. But before you go, there’s something else I need to ask of you two. I’m sending a picture to your scrolls.”

“Marvelous Man could you open your scroll?” asked Gene.

Marvelous Man nodded, “Sure.”

Reaching into his pocket, Marvelous Man retrieved his electronic scroll and silver-rimmed visor glasses that looked exactly like the Director’s. However, the electronic scroll Faraiza gave him was completely different from Director Skye’s scroll. Instead of resembling an extravagant Torah, its features were more like an oval-shaped object.

“You don’t need the glasses. This information isn’t private. Besides, it’d be good to let your third party know about this. Don’t worry, I won’t tell anybody about her involvement,” echoed Faraiza.

After nodding and placing the glasses back into his bottomless pockets, Marvelous Man proceeded with opening his scroll. He pressed the button on the top side of his oval scroll to unlock its features with a small click. Gently pulling at its sides, the scroll’s outer shell broke apart to reveal a transparent plastic sheet. It glowed with a hushed light of blue and white.

Octomentist grinned, “Oh, hey! Those are the mobile alpha prototypes the Arkos Division sent out to the other hero organizations to try out before it’s released for retail. Glad to see it being put to use.”

Marvelous Man ignored Octomentist’s statement and continued. Flipping open the panels on the scroll’s sides, he pressed the buttons hidden underneath to move the scroll’s digital cursor. He then selected the messages icon and found his first new message. Opening it, he found a headshot picture of a caucasian man with messy brown hair. Marvelous Man then heard Faraiza’s voice echo in his head.

“That’s Martin Whalsh. He’s supposedly the leader of that community. Try to save him first. If you do, he can really help us out for future investigations or make it easier to move the homeless somewhere else,” said Faraiza.

Gene replied back telepathically, “We will do our best, Faraiza.”

“Why are you guys just staring at the screen? And who’s that?” spoke Octomentist.

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

The three heroes stood steps away from the subway entrance. A gust of wind blew from within; moaning to forbode them from entering. The sunlight that was able to poke through the opening revealed stairs that paved downward into unknown darkness.

Gene stated, “I will go forth and do the ‘inside sweep’. Faraiza and I will alert you on whether it is safe to proceed or if something is amiss.”

His form began to shrink, as he shapeshifted into a snow-white rabbit. The bunny demigod’s animal shape twitched its nose for a moment before bounding into the entrance and hopping down the stairs' descend into the black abyss.

“Huh, the files weren’t kidding. He really can shapeshift into a bunny,” remarked Octomentist, “By the way, it sucks that you got a Rank D. A little bit of downtime with this company, and you’ll get C Rank in no time.”

“Thanks,” nodded Marvelous Man.

A bloodcurdling scream ringed in Marvelous Man’s head. It sounded similar to Gene Lightfoot’s but as if he were in unimaginable pain. Faraiza’s voice interrupted the telepathic transmission.

She spoke urgently, “Marvelous Man, you need to get down there! Something has traumatized Gene, but I’m not sure what!”

Marvelous Man turned to Octomentist with wide eyes.

“Something went wrong,” he said.

Placing his hand on Octomentist’s shoulders, Marvelous Man commanded the light within him to illuminate himself and his friend. The two charged forth with Marvelous Man in the lead. As they entered, Marvelous Man punched the boarded planks on the top half of the subway’s entrance; splintering it in half and leaving enough room for the shining hero to dash through without ducking.

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Faraizah guided the pair as to where Gene was located. After treading down the steps and crossing over the train tracks in the pitch blackness, they found a large clearing with blanket tents and houses made of cardboard and tin sheets built against the walls. They spotted Gene in his humanoid form; laying in the center in a fetal position.

Marvelous Man shouted, “Gene!”

He ran towards the fallen hero and placed a hand on his back. Marvelous Man’s light analyzed Lightfoot’s body but found no physical wounds to heal. Marvelous Man crouched down to get a better look at Gene and noticed a small puddle of vomit next to the bunny demigod.

“There is so much pain here. So much horror. Fear. Despair. All of those people...gone,” murmured Gene.

The bunny demigod looked up at Marvelous Man. His face was wet with tears, and his eyes were nearly clouded with catatonia.

Marvelous Man could feel Gene emitting his own feelings of sorrow. He then realized if the broadcasting of Gene’s emotions were to continue, it could affect the team’s ability to fight. They were in no place to take their time to talk about their feelings. Marvelous Man needed to temporarily override the bunny demigod’s feelings and quickly asked himself what he could do.

He could hit Gene with a slap or light punch. That always seemed to work in movies and anime. But that did not feel like the right approach for Marvelous Man to do, and Gene could react with even more negativity. If he were an empath like Gene, he could have injected positivity into Gene to balance him out...but he actually could do that in theory.

As Marvelous Man closed his eyes and reached into his black jacket’s pocket, Octomentist walked past the two kneeling heroes. An object sparkling from Marvelous Man’s light sat on the ground by its lonesome. She scooped it up, while Marvelous Man pulled out his golden harmonica, Duskbell, and started playing it. Octomentist turned to music playing with her mouth pursed to exclaim. Her shouting came to an abrupt halt, as she saw Marvelous Man.

Marvelous Man blew his golden harmonica with minstrel skill and jammed to an upbeat tempo. His light fed on the music and became supercharged. It obeyed Marvelous Man’s commands and began to extend itself. Bursting from the floor Marvelous Man was kneeling on, it enveloped Gene Lightfoot and dispersed to the rest of the ground.

Upon sensing Gene’s sorrow to quell, Marvelous Man ceased the playing of Duskbell. He opened his eyes and spotted Octomentist; holding one of Gene’s silver spheres.

He asked, “Where did you find that?”

“Right here,” said Octomentist.

She paused for a moment, as she looked about her surroundings.

Octomentist hesitated, “Is that...blood?”

It was Marvelous Man’s turn to observe the area. Before illuminating the area, the light shining off of him and Octomentist lit their line of sight only steps ahead in the vast darkness. This caused tunnel vision upon spotting the emotionally disturbed Gene. Now that everything around them was revealed and nothing to distract Marvelous Man, he could see everything.

Blood.

The dark red liquid splattered everywhere; from the walls to the makeshift homes and even the ground. It were as if a giant blood-filled balloon exploded everywhere or some sort of horror film setting. The scent of iron flooded Marvelous Man’s senses, and despair filled his stomach. With no visual contact of the homeless community, the blood, and the silver ball, a connection was made. Marvelous Man immediately placed his hand on the D.A.B. jacket patch.

“Faraiza, I think we’ve been set up!” he telepathically exclaimed.

Faraiza choked, “I see it. Oh my gosh...there’s so much blood. If Gene’s ball is here, then where’s the Skeleton Lord? Did he know we were tracking him?”

Gene slowly began to stand up. His posture no longer exhibited that of a deterred person. The bunny demigod joined the telepathic conversation.

“I am sorry, Faraiza. I sense that they are all dead,” he said.

Octomentist muttered, “This is all kinds of fucked up.”

A soft patter echoed in the opening behind Octomentist. However, everyone was too engrossed in the gore decor to notice.

“So this is how you all survived my onslaught of the undead. The star child’s odd ocarina can enchant the field with daylight, as well as yourselves,” noted the Skeleton Lord’s voice.

Octomentist turned around to face the Skeleton Lord, as she took a step away from him. The Skeleton Lord, garbed in his red cloak and the equine skull resting on his head, continued to proceed forward. Gene Lightfoot slid his hand into his utility belt’s pouch of silver spheres.

The Skeleton Lord calmly spoke, “I had a feeling that silver marble had a tracking spell on it. It appears I was correct. If I were wrong, well, then I would have enough time to absorb the fleshes of this gypsy caravan. Sadly, I was only able to absorb their fear and blood. But I must admit, it became a bit messy on that last part.”

The Skeleton Lord’s red cloak billowed as the insides rustled. His arms extended from the curtain with an object in its grasp. It was the decapitated head of Martin Whalsh; the leader of the subway homeless community.

“And killing this fellow first made the fear flow right out of them. I assume it was because he is their chief and also because I killed him,” he said on a tangent.

Octomentist leapt forward. Pivoting her waist to pronounce a stronger strike, she whips her golden arm towards the Skeleton Lord. Her golden left arm changed its shape; transforming into a golden machete.

Four skeleton arms bursted from within his red cloak. Their white, bony hands caught the golden blade above the Skeleton Lord’s shoulder; right before the weapon could reach the neck. The golden machete shook from Octomentist trying to muscle through the gentle, skeletal grasps. Without even flinching from the murderous attempt, the Skeleton Lord slowly turned his attention to the blade for a moment.

The Skeleton Lord changed his gaze to Octomentist, “Hm, a monk with killing intent. Or perhaps you are one of those mystic knights?”

Octomentist did not answer but immediately reacted. Two of her right chrome arms placed their inner sides on top of one another. Palms flexing out, the chrome arms were tucked close to her side and aimed at the Skeleton Lord.

A stream of water as powerful as a fireman’s hose jetted out of the palms. It sparkled with a layer of electricity coursing through.

The electrified aqua punctured through the Skeleton Lord’s abdomen; soaking and billowing the back of his red cloak. The Skeleton Lord convulsed from the electrical currents spreading throughout his entire body. His hands lost their grip on the decapitated head and causing it to land with a soft plop.

As the Skeleton Lord began to teeter towards the ground, Gene withdrew a silver ball from his pouch and threw it faster than a professional baseball pitcher. It whistled through the air, as it was aimed towards the stunned Skeleton Lord. The adrenaline pumping throughout Marvelous Man allowed time to slow down for just a moment to see the sphere about to bore into the Skeleton Lord’s hooded forehead with only a pen’s length between the two.

A tendril of bone shot out from beneath the Skeleton Lord’s cloak. As it stabbed into the ground, it caused the Skeleton Lord to rocket into the air. Gene’s silver sphere completely missed piercing the Skeleton Lord’s head before the sudden velocity. The Skeleton Lord’s body hung limply high above the other heroes with the bone tendril continuing to extend and thicken from under the red cloak.

Three more bone tendrils stretched out from behind the red clothing; rooting into the ceiling to stabilize the first tendril’s balance. The Skeleton Lord looked as if it were a daddy-long-leg spider that was short of four bony legs.

“Lightning enchanted water? Well, that is a first,” remarked the Skeleton Lord.

Grabbing his golden wreath, Marvelous Man threw his projectile. It whizzed like a buzzsaw; flying up towards the Skeleton Lord.

The spider-like bone legs pulled the Skeleton Lord higher up towards the ceiling, as the golden wreath was about to reach the Skeleton Lord and saw through. Missing its target, the wreath returned to Marvelous Man, while the bone legs began to shift.

The spider bone legs crawled across the ceiling with the Skeleton Lord gently swaying beneath. His bony appendages made its way to the other side of the room behind Marvelous Man and Gene. As he was lowered to the ground in front of entrance, the Skeleton Lord clapped.

The Skeleton Lord cackled, “Well, go on then. Entertain me! Show me things the warriors of the past have not already done!”

Surging forward, Marvelous Man bounded towards the Skeleton Lord with Gene following behind him in rabbit form. The shining hero activated his flight power and twisted himself in a counterclockwise motion. He completed two rotations before aiming a slamming right elbow at the Skeleton Lord’s face.

A skeletal arm extended from underneath the Skeleton Lord’s cloak. It caught the powerful elbow without even wincing. The sudden stop of the muscular man’s deadly gymnastics cause the wind trailing with his huge body to billow the Skeleton Lord’s red cloak.

As Marvelous Man was held in place, the white rabbit bounded underneath his musclebound frame. Gene arrived at the feet of the Skeleton Lord and transformed. As he shapeshifted back into his humanoid form, Gene Lightfoot rose up into the air while executing a spinning uppercut. His fist connected with the underside of the Skeleton Lord’s pale, white jaw. The brittle sound of bone popping and cracking emanated from the blow to the Skeleton Lord.

As Gene continued ascending above, the Skeleton Lord’s head flung back from the blow. His body nearly recoiled, but his spider bone legs dug into the floor and walls to stabilize himself. The skeleton arm released its grasp on Marvelous Man’s elbow before immediately clasping onto the bunny demigod’s left shoulder.

Three more skeletal arms lashed out from beneath the red cloak. Clamping underneath Gene’s right shoulder and legs, they held the bunny demigod steadfast in midair with the limbs pulled into a spread eagle position. The Skeleton Lord reached out with his own pale-skinned hand and groped Gene’s crotch that dangled like plump blue fruit. His jaw shifted itself back into place with the sound of bone snapping itself together.

“I have to say, lust energy has far more power in it than absorbing one’s fear. Still, it is quite difficult to...milk lust energy if one is not a Totochtin. But I have learned many ways to milk fear,” smiled the Skeleton Lord.

Upon his elbow being released, Marvelous Man swiveled his brawny body in midair towards the Skeleton Lord’s left side in a clockwise motion. He launched his right fist in an overhand punch upon arriving next to the villain.

Another skeleton arm rose from behind the Skeleton Lord’s red cloak. It appeared to be a right appendage that began to wave in a counterclockwise motion. As the top of its wrist briefly touched the golden encased underside of Marvelous Man’s, it reflexed immediately. The skeletal hand grabbed Marvelous Man’s jewelry-covered wrist and yanked it forward. At that moment, the trajectory of Marvelous Man’s punch was now under the control of the bony hand.

Marvelous Man’s fist was guided downwards in front of the Skeleton Lord’s neck. The shining hero could see his fist completely missing the molesting villain that did not bother to even look in his direction. He had no time to move away in the instance he was pulled closer to the Skeleton Lord.

Two more skeleton arms thrusted out from the cloak. Both had their bony hands curled into hard fists as they aimed at different areas of Marvelous Man’s body. The first struck the right side of the hero’s face. With the skeletal hand holding onto his wrist, he could not be flung back. He had no choice but to take the brunt of the punch as it twisted into his cheek. Marvelous Man felt his vision and hearing blur at the powerful blow. Though Marvelous Man had bulletproof skin, blunt and hard attacks could still hurt him without ever having to break the epidermis. The hero himself had discovered firsthand that the fist was both of those things.

At the same time, the second bony fist pounded into Marvelous Man’s right side of his torso. The aim of this strike targeted below his ribs and impacted with a twist against Marvelous Man’s kidney.  Pain instantly seared throughout his body at the same moment his face got pummeled.

The skeletal fist that punched the hero’s face then snaked over Marvelous Man’s muscular punching arm. It cupped Marvelous Man’s armpit and lifted with a small amount of force, while the hand holding the bracelet-covered wrist pulled it in towards the Skeleton Lord. This action locked the extended arm in place, as it caused hyperextension to counter any resistance from Marvelous Man. Were it not for the pulverizing strikes to his face and kidney, he would have screamed at feeling his arm reaching the point of breaking in his elbow.

Seeing her teammates already subdued by the Skeleton Lord as Octomentist sprinted towards them, she pressed one of her right chrome hands on her chest. It began to emit a dark aura and manipulate her gravity to weightlessness. Octomentist dove forward before the antigravity took complete effect over her body.

Upon complete hovering with no force to ground her, Octomentist aimed another cybernetic right arm behind her. The arm’s ability activated a burst of air pressure steaming out of her palm and increasing her flight speed. The multi-armed heroine positioned her arm to keep herself low enough to be close to the ground without any accidental contact.

Octomentist maneuvered herself to zip past the Skeleton Lord on his right side while shapeshifting her golden arm into a pickaxe. The Skeleton Lord took no action to what appeared to be some sort of confused retreat, as she flew through the entrance the heroes came through. Once past, she immediately swung her golden pickaxe arm into the cemented ground; piercing into it with ease. The stem of the pickaxe began to extend itself, as it thinned from increasing length like a rubber band.

The torrent of air coming from her other chrome hand ceased, and Octomentist’s flight came to a slow with her golden arm acting as an anchor. She then lifted her gravity-manipulating arm from her chest; releasing her from weightless and gently rolling onto the ground.

After a few tumbles and her golden arm shifting back into its original form, Octomentist stood up with urgency. The right chrome limbs that emitted water and electricity combined once again. Octomentist quickly took aim at the Skeleton Lord’s back and fired a streaming torrent of electrified water.

The charged current splashed into the cloak’s wet spot where Octomentist’s first shot could not pierce through. The stream failed to break open the Skeleton Lord’s red cloak but managed to split into smaller electrified drops when penetrating the fabric.

The villain convulsed, and his body became limp. The skeletal arms that held the other heroes in undignified poses released their grasps, as the spider-like bone legs started to crawl up the ceiling with the Skeleton Lord in tow.

Octomentist ceased her attack the moment she saw the Skeleton Lord move upwards. The eight-armed hero ran to Gene Lightfoot and Marvelous Man in an attempt to assist them.

“How annoying,” mused the Skeleton Lord, “Would you like to know how I wringed every last drop of fear out of those gypsies?”

He continued, “You never torture the old in front of the others. They already know death is coming for them. No, you start with the young. Their terror increases the others’ maternal fears by tenfold. And a whole lot of children to torture creates so much fear for me to absorb. Unfortunately, this caravan only had a baby. Well...one makes do with what they have.”

As the Skeleton Lord continued to chat and cackle, Marvelous Man gave his stretched arm a few shakes before squatting down like a sumo wrestler. He placed his fists on the ground and raised his hard, round glutes high into the air. Marvelous Man slowly inhaled through his nose as he concentrated his leg muscles to soak up as much kinetic force as it could provide before liftoff. He relaxed his arms and focused the direction he would be flying towards. With his legs to provide the lift, he would straighten his arms at the last second to adjust his angle.
Marvelous Man felt his chest and stomach expand to its fullest with all the air it could take and knew it was time to unleash the collected potential within his powerful calves and thunderous thighs. His thighs and biceps flexed; veins and muscular cords bulged and outlined against his skin. The cement underneath his feet cracked. With the force within his arms and legs unleashed, Marvelous Man rocketed forward; leaving behind a shallow crater indented with his own footprints and fistprints.

The glowing, musclebound body shot up like a shimmering firework before its timed explosion. Marvelous Man’s aim held true, as he soared towards the Skeleton Lord. Activating his flight power, the shining hero tucked himself into a ball as tight as he could and began to vertically rotate. Marvelous Man stuck his right leg straight out, while his spinning gained more speed.

Becoming a buzzsaw-like blur like his own golden wreath, Marvelous Man continued to whirl closer to the Skeleton Lord. The villain saw the spinning hero for only a second before he zipped above the Skeleton Lord between rotations. Marvelous Man’s aim and timing held true; he was right where he wanted to be . The muscular hero completed his cycle and slammed his heel into the Skeleton Lord’s back.

The force of the heel drop kick jerked the Skeleton Lord downward. His spider-like bone legs could not handle the sudden direction his body went and immediately snapped off. As the Skeleton Lord fell with great velocity, Marvelous Man’s homing attack propelled himself further up.

Right when Marvelous Man successfully attacked the Skeleton Lord’s back, he straightened his body and twirled himself upside down. His black boots were to the first to land on the ceiling and absorb the powerful impact resulting from his super jump and kick. The concrete top chipped and rippled with cracks that traveled to the edge of the ceiling. From the ground perspective of where Gene and Octomentist stood, it looked as if Marvelous Man had sprouted stone angel wings.

Marvelous Man’s muscular body crouched against the fissured ceiling, as he spotted the Skeleton Lord plummeting into the blood-stained floor. The ground shattered underneath the villain with a plume of dust and debris flying up from the hole. With the smoke now obfuscating the Skeleton Lord’s body, Marvelous Man decided to not take any chances.

His thighs flexed with visible veins on the skin; fighting against the sudden kinetic force that would have pinned him there for a few seconds. He activated his flight powers again and pushed off the concrete dome. In midair, Marvelous Man performed a forward flip to readjust himself. He clasped his knees together as tight as he possibly could and directed them down at the hole the Skeleton Lord resided in.

Through the crashing descend in the smoke, Marvelous Man looked like a bright meteor entering the Earth’s atmosphere. The brawny superhero blasted into Skeleton Lord’s crater; resulting in a thunderous boom. A small gust of wind and dust brushed against the other two superhero spectators as more smoke rose into the air.

Seconds past after pebble-sized cement pieces finished scattering into the air and clattered back onto the floor. There was no sign of movement from the man-made hole.

“Marvelous Man?” called Gene.

Faraiza’s voice echoed in Lightfoot’s head, “He’s alright, Gene. I can see him slowly getting up, but he’s a bit too shaky to keep himself steady.”

“Much gratitude, Faraiza,” said Gene.

The bunny demigod ran to the deep crater that was beginning to clear of smoky debris. He spotted Marvelous Man struggling to stand as his legs were wobbling like a newborn deer.

Gene held his hand out, “Here, let me aid you.”

“Thanks. I landed really hard on my legs. I’m kinda surprised they’re not broken” coughed Marvelous Man.

Accepting the assistance, the white-eared hero pulled Marvelous Man out of the hole. Gene could see Marvelous Man was still having trouble standing up, as Marvelous Man’s bulging legs were still shaking. The bunny demigod scooped up his D.A.B. partner with gentle ease and held him in a bridal carry fashion. He carried his partner back to Octomentist without any trouble. Marvelous Man’s body weight was no match for Gene’s super strength.

“Gotta say, that was a sick move you pulled there, Naked Justice,” remarked Octomentist Hey, wait! Can’t you fly?”

Marvelous Man’s eyes widened, “Oh...right. Sorry, brain is a bit mushy from all that G-force.”

Faraiza’s voice interrupted Gene and Marvelous Man’s thoughts.

“I’m sorry for breaking up the good feelings and all, but just what were you all fighting? I couldn’t see the voice that was talking to you, and I have a visual of everything in this room. Something was damaging this room, but it was completely invisible to me,” she said.

Gene projected his thoughts his D.A.B. teammates, “The emotions and aura of the Skeleton Lord are invisible to me as well. I fear this person has the ability or magic to mask his presence. Only the naked eye can perceive the Skeleton Lord.”

The white rabbit ears on Gene’s head twitched. He turned his attention back to the Skeleton Lord’s hole while carrying Marvelous Man.

“What’s wrong?” Marvelous Man asked aloud.

Gene frowned, “If I were to give the guess, I would surmise that the Skeleton Lord is putting himself back together again.”

“Oh my fucking gosh, when will this Humpty Dumpty son of a bitch stay broken?!” exclaimed Octomentist.

The sound of bones shifting and cracking into place emanated from the small pit. It was a soft echo that began to increase in volume, as a shambling silhouette rose from the hole. Though dusty, it was undoubtedly the red robe of the Skeleton Lord with the hood being distended by the equine skull headgear.

“Cursed wretch,” spoke the Skeleton Lord, “To arms, my guardians!”

With his bone structure reformed, the villain stood straight up. Eight skeleton arms stretched from the red cloak; brandished with a weapon in each hand. The top two hands held a bow and arrow. The pair underneath the long-range weapon was a circular war shield welded with bumps and intricate designs, and a sword with a hook-shaped blade that Marvelous Man recognized as a scythe sword. Below the sword and shield wielders were short-handed axes, etched with runes, held in each hand. The last set of hands held a glaive polearm; its black blade decorated with silver white bell-shaped heather flowers that formed into a hook on the blade’s back.

Marvelous Man activated his flight power and floated from Gene’s arms. He positioned himself standing straight and gave his legs a shake while hovering. While his legs felt like useless limbs filled with pins and needles, the rest of body felt twitchy and unstable. He would need a few minutes to recover and be at full strength after pushing his body to the limit twice with no intervals between those wall-cracking bursts. But Marvelous Man knew he had no time for breaks before round two with the Skeleton Lord began.

“My body is too noodley to hit him hard like that again,” he frowned.

Gene nodded, “That is fine. I request that you stay in the air. I will need your assistance with the air support. Please catch me and throw me back at the Skeleton Lord. The use of your wreath will also be appreciated. I will lead the attack. Octomentist, if you please, try to counter his attacks, to create the opportunity for me.”

The bunny demigod pulled his right arm over his chest to stretch his shoulder muscle before switching to the other arm. He continued stretching his muscles as the other hero spoke to him.

“Alright. But I’m out of water, so I can’t do the electrified water attack that’s been stunning him. And I’m running low on electricity with my Lightning Arm,” nodded Octomentist.

Gene gently smiled, “We will manage with what we have. Marvelous Man, please begin the first attack.”

Obeying Gene’s command, Marvelous Man threw his golden wreath at the Skeleton Lord. The bunny demigod dashed forward upon seeing the projectile with Octomentist and Marvelous Man following his lead. Gene placed a hand in the silver ball pouch on his utility belt. A rune glowed on his blue fingerless glove, as he swirled his index and middle finger within the pouch.

The silver balls within the blue pouch reacted to Gene’s finger motions and the glowing rune. Right when a sphere was plucked by Gene’s fingers, another ball shapeshifted into a long, silver cord and linked itself to the chosen weapon. The cord then connected to two other orbs to form a bolas projectile.

Gene pulled out the silver bolas from his pouch and began rotating the other two weights over his head. The bunny demigod kept his eyes targeted at the skeleton arms equipped with the bow and arrow. The archer arms had the arrow nocked on the white bowstring and its obsidian arrowhead aimed at Gene.

As the arrow was being drawn back, Gene released his silver bolas. The projectile spun through the air and shimmered from Marvelous Man imbuing the ground with light. Accompanying in front of the silver bolas was Marvelous Man’s golden wreath; flying at a much lower angle that could decapitate the Skeleton Lord.

The shield-wielding skeleton hand lowered its equipment in front of the Skeleton Lord’s face to block the incoming attacks. The golden wreath that aimed for the villain’s neck bounced off the shield and changed its course; boomeranging back to Marvelous Man. The shield ignored the silver bolas, as its trajectory would miss any harming intent towards the Skeleton Lord.

Slinging over the shield, the bolas’ silver cords caught itself on the skeletal forearms of the archer arms. The spherical weights of the bolas wrapped around the forearms; tightening and tangling the cords to prevent any easy escape. The gap between the arm holding the bow and the other drawing the arrow was slammed shut. Smoke started to emanate from the binded bones as the arms exposed to the silver bubbled and sizzled.

Gene dug his hand back into his silver sphere pouch and grasped a handful.  With an underhand throw, the balls spread in different directions within a cone arc at the Skeleton Lord. The shield wielder held its ground; propped in front of the Skeleton Lord’s face. As for the other skeleton limbs that were not bound, they seemed to understand the poisonous touch of Gene’s silver and withdrew inside the villain’s red cloak.

The silver balls pelted against the shield and cloak with the force of a shotgun blast. While the ones that pummeled against the cloak and rolled away after dealing internal damage, the rest that bombarded the shield lodged into it with large impact dents.

As the distance between the charging Gene and the defending Skeleton Lord thinned for close combat, the bunny demigod lept. He planted his hands atop the dented shield’s rim and pulled himself up. Using it as gymnastic beam to leapfrog over, he split his legs open. Gene hoisted himself into the air with his spandex-covered crotch dangling in the wind. With quick reaction, the bunny demigod threw his arms up while sailing over the Skeleton Lord.

Marvelous Man flew to Gene’s aid. Catching his partner’s hands, Marvelous Man carried him over to the other side of the room. The musclebound hero twirled upon approaching the wall. Halfway into his rotation, Marvelous Man’s bulky body graced his direction and tossed Gene in an underhanded motion.

Gene’s nimble body gained brief altitude before gravity began pulling him down towards the Skeleton Lord. The villain turned to face Gene, as the rabbit hero notice movement billowing underneath the Skeleton Lord’s red cloak. A tip of a black blade peaked out from the robe.

Seeing the ornamental glaive being speared towards him, Gene Lightfoot grinned. He shapeshifted into a snow-white rabbit right when the glaive was only a second away from impaling him. The black blade of the polearm completely missed Gene, as he gracefully landed on top of the blade’s flower bell-shaped hook. Continuing his motion, rabbit Gene hopped down to the pole part of the weapon.

The white rabbit transformed back into Gene’s humanoid form. As his body landed on the pole, he hooked an arm and leg of his around it. The bunny demigod contorted his body; twisting down the glaive’s staff with the grace of a professional pole dancer.

While completing his first revolution around the pole, Gene kicked underneath the shield. The defense-wielding arm flung back from the powerful attack; leaving the Skeleton Lord’s head unguarded. Upon Gene’s second revolution, he gripped the staff with both his hands and flung his legs open in a wide barrage. Both of his blue boots concussed the side of the Skeleton Lord’s head; causing the villain to become momentarily dizzy. As for the third revolution, Gene turned his body inwards towards the pole. He tucked in his legs before immediately ejecting them out and thrusting it into the Skeleton Lord’s solar plexus.

The sudden propulsion inflicted upon the villain cause the skeletal hands to lose their grip on the glaive. A soft crack emanated from the binded skeleton archer hands. The shaking from the Skeleton Lord caused the weakened archer hands to snap at the point where the silver bolas tied and dissolved them. The Skeleton Lord stumbled back, while Gene landed on his feet with the decorative glaive in his hands. Four skeleton legs stretched beneath the villain’s robe; lifting their master to prevent his fall. Balance restored, the Skeleton Lord cursed.

“Cursed wretch,” he muttered.

Gene spear-chucked the glaive at the Skeleton Lord. As it sailed through the air, its staff end began to dissipate into black smoke. The shield wielder intervened and swatted at the glaive with its dented shield. The polearm weapon spun into the air, as it completely evaporated into black soot.

The Skeleton Lord’s red cloak fluttered, as the pair of skeletal hands armed with short-handed axes presented themselves again. The two skeleton hands clanged their axes together as if signaling their own war cry. As the blades reverberated against each other, the runes etched on the handles began to glow a soft blue light. Electricity emanated from the runes and wildly coursed through the axes; zapping multiple, short bursts in every direction like a plasma lamp with lightning.

The quadruped skeleton legs charged; pairing with each other to form their own synchronized left and right legs. As the Skeleton Lord stampeded towards the heroes, the axe-wielding hands twirled their weapons.

With Gene in chopping distance, the left bony hand swung its axe in an overhand motion. The electricity from the axe crackled the air as it drew closer to Gene’s neck.

Octomentist stepped in front of her teammate. She lifted one of her right chrome arms; her wrist limped and relaxed. The top of her chrome wrist made contact with the underside of the attacking skeletal arm’s wrist. All of the wild lightning that raged from the axe now harmlessly coursed into her Lightning Arm.

At the same time, one of Octomentists left chrome arms vibrated with ferocity as she swung it upward in a karate chopping motion. The attacking arm sawed through the skeletal forearm without any resistance. Octomentist twisted her body; her back facing the Skeleton Lord. She reached out with her Lightning Arm in a preemptive attempt to intercept the other axe-wielding arm.

As predicted, the other skeleton arm swung its electrified axe at her. Octomentist’s Lightning Arm caught the attacker by the wrist and absorbed the electricity sprouting from the axe. Her feet slid about to reposition herself to face her attacker, while the hand of her Lightning Arm briefly relinquished their grip to snake underneath the bony wrist. After completing its slide underneath the skeletal wrist, the chrome hand reestablished their grip on the other side of the wrist. Octomentist yanked the axe-wielding arm, as her vibrating, left chrome arm thrusted forward in a palm strike. The skeleton arm shattered into bits from the vibrating attack.

“Kyaa!” exclaimed Octomentist, “Thanks for the recharge!”

The shield-wielding hand’s partner, the scythe sword, thrusted up from the red cloak as though it was proclaiming its reappearance. In the same moment of striking itself in the air, the bony hand brought down its scythe sword with slicing intent.

Sliding her left leg back, Octomentist brought her gravity-negating arm up to block the the scythe sword’s blade. Her hand limply hanged, as the arm itself instantly generated its dark aura.

The scythe sword descended upon the chrome arm. At the point of contact with the arm’s dark aura, the blade silently bounced. The sword never got past the anti-gravity field to clang with the arm. Instead, it reacted like magnets with identical charges. The skeletal arm of the scythe sword flung back with its weapon as if it were hit with a whiplashing force.

With her defense successful, Octomentist twirled away from the Skeleton Lord. At the same time, a whirring noise echoed. While the scythe sword wielder struggled to regain control of itself, Marvelous Man’s golden wreath approached from behind the skeleton arm. It sliced through with no effort; the action similar to a saw blade cutting through cheap wood.  

The scythe sword and the skeletal hand wielding it clattered onto the concrete floor. The wreath curved around the shield wielder, as it made its return back to Marvelous Man floating unnoticingly in the background. Among the confrontation with Gene Lightfoot and Octomentist, the Skeleton Lord and his guardians took no notice of Marvelous Man’s whereabouts.

The Skeleton Lord literally disarmed of offensive weaponry, Gene lunged forward and grabbed the villain’s red cloak. The bunny demigod lifted the cloaked man and pivoted his waist. The cloak itself seemed to be bonded to the Skeleton Lord, as the evil man was yanked into Gene’s twisting vortex.

Gene’s body rotated with the red robe billowing. Upon completing his three-sixty spin, the rabbit hero threw the Skeleton Lord across the room with all his might. The super strength from Gene caused the Skeleton Lord to fly too fast for him to be able to process a counter maneuver. In the one second of flight before colliding into the wall, the Skeleton Lord looked like a badminton birdie.

The Skeleton Lord impacted against the wall with a thunderous slam. Though the concrete wall cracked with bits flying off, its layers were deep enough to handle the shock rather than be instantaneously obliterated. The Skeleton Lord was in a huddled mass devoid of humanoid shapes within the wall’s newly created shallow crater. All four of the skeleton legs and the shield wielder that were attached to the Skeleton Lord now crumbled from all the force.

Gene’s bunny ears twitched, “Impossible...”

Bones cracking and snapping together  and flesh squelching resounded from the Skeleton Lord’s prolapsed body within the red cloak. The cloak undulated with its contents poking and prodding the fabric, before the cloak fell from its crater from all the movement. It landed on the ground with a stifled splat. Black ooze leaked onto the glowing floor until it sizzled and immediately evaporated seconds after contact with the light.

“What the hell is keeping him alive?” said Octomentist.

The sound of cracking and squelching continued, as the robe slowly rose up. Shape within was rapidly taking form of something more humanoid. The heroes could only gape in horror at how undead this monster truly was. Marvelous Man knew he had to move, but he felt paralyzed at watching the abhorrent display.

The nauseating sounds finally ceased as the Skeleton Lord’s form was now restored. Marvelous Man flew back to Gene’s position; hovering next to his partner.

“Totochtin. Star child. Heroes. At first, I thought of you as a fun distraction,” spoke the Skeleton Lord, “But I now see that much has changed since I have been sealed.”

A wail of an unknown beast emanated from the Skeleton Lord’s entrance next to the villain. Heavy thumpings can be heard; increasing in volume as it drew closer to the entry way the Skeleton Lord used.

The Skeleton Lord resumed, “Ah, it appears my creation is nearly complete. I made this amalgam when I realized my absorption of the gypsy caravan’s flesh was to be interrupted. The process of formation would be slow, so my whole intention was to distract you. But allow me to dispose some wisdom for you three. You should mind the gas it belches. It is quite toxic.”

The Skeleton Lord turned to his entrance. He paused for a moment.

“When we meet again, Totochtin, I will ask you a very important question. One that can save your race should your reply be yes or doom their fate to be with the rest of the lower beings I will extinguish,” he said.

Marvelous Man shouted, “Wait! Why are you doing all this? What’s the point of doing all these terrible things?!”

The Skeleton Lord stood there silently. His form ebbed away to invisibility in seconds. The Skeleton’s voice echoed the clearing with an emotionless tone:

“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.”

Next Chapter

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