EcchiMultiverse

superhero Marvelous Man - Chapter 26

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EcchiMultiverse

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/

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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.

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Hanugumo

Another spectacular chapter. 83 <3 <3

I knew that Digz, fearful of what would happen if MM healed him, would lash out against MM. ^^; He has known only pain and suffering in his whole existence, so when faced with something else, he lashes out in fear of the unknown to him. =3

 

And I knew Gene would probably stop MM attempts even further after he saw what happened to his race by the hands of The Skeleton Lord. It was inevitable that Gene would start fighting him. ^^;

 

The only thing that i can fault you upon right now is that the talk with Alden about what Digz's did with Alden's family and the whole secret agenda of Digz was cut down short. But than again, You could take it back up in chapter 27 at the end and have MM continue what he wanted to do at the beginning of this chaoter before Digz lashed out and Gene faught him. ^^

And also: his sudden change. Like remember how he was when he he captured MM? He rejected any sort of help back than. Even lashed out against MM himself, with words though and not much physical harm. Yet in this chapter he is calmer and seems to be willing to accept MM's help. Maybe it is because of their similarities & that both of them can understand the other's pain? Or maybe the mana stone also helps? Or maybe he just truly wants an end to all of his pain & suffering. Whatever reason it is: The Skeleton Lord/Alden seems to have calmed down a lot since that chapter. =3

 

I am so happy that the subplot about Alden (being a tragic king that was corrupted by the events of his life and the machinations of his corrupted Imp, and him lashing out at the world for his pain & suffering. And yet also having a side that just wants it all to end, to have his suffering and pain be gone one way or another) works so well too. ^^ <3

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EcchiMultiverse

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

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