EcchiMultiverse

superhero Marvelous Man - Chapter 29

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EcchiMultiverse

(Apologies. Computer is broken, and my chromebook only works. But it doesn't factor in formatting for some reason. Please go to this link for a better format: https://drive.google.com/open?id=1R8WWx8MvIxRU8nSxn7mZH-uN57X-uUMQPnXDH8NsHvY)

SPECIAL THANKS TO MY PATRONS:
SPECTRI

Chapter 29: Second Win(d)

The mighty muscles in Marvelous Man’s thighs bulged with godly power. Pushing off, the white bone disk beneath him shattered from the super jump. The inspiration god flew towards the Seraphim at such an incredible speed that he was already halfway there! As he soared, his illuminated body left behind a large trail of a multi-colored aurora. It looked as if he was painting the northern lights into the blackness.

Marvelous Man’s eyes flicked up at a large object charging towards him. It was the wheeled underling, Throne. It spun with ferocity in front of the musclebound superhero; attempting to intercept him. The inspiration god did not hesitate to confront the minion.

Switching his focus to the white wheel, an image immediately popped into the hulking bodybuilder’s head. It was an animation of a mannequin attacking a giant wheel. Marvelous Man did not question the thought and immediately implemented what he saw in his mind.

The musclebound superhero used his flight power to flip himself forward. Right when his head and front half faced up, Marvelous Man extended his legs to point at the Throne and crossed his muscular arms over his massive pectorals. The hulking bodybuilder then opened his meaty legs at a wide angle, while he controlled his flight power to twirl his titanic body at a blurring, counterclockwise rotation. Marvelous Man looked like a human blender; his lower body acting like blades.

At the point of physical confrontation between the inspiration god and the Throne, Marvelous Man’s legs were the first to strike. His heels caught both sides of the Throne’s rim; with one pinning against the top and the other at the bottom. The bone wheel’s movements were immediately halted, and its body now became trapped in the tornado-like spin.

Marvelous Man bent his knees; pulling in the enemy closer with his feet acting like the claw of a crane game. The hulking bodybuilder maneuvered the Throne against the heavy bulge in his bikini, while he slithered his thick legs in a tight constriction through the wheel’s spokes and around the rim. Using his flight power, his rotation came to an instant stop. Everything performed perfectly as the inspiration god imagined, and it was time to execute his killing blow.

Reaching up to his head, Marvelous Man grabbed his golden wreath. The musclebound superhero’s desire to cut was now absolute, and he slashed at the captured Throne with his laurel. The speed of his strike was like a master samurai; swift without hint of hesitation and incomprehensible to the normal eye of when the blade hit. As his arm swiped to the other side of his body, Marvelous Man released his golden wreath to extend the attack into a combo strike.

The golden projectile flew away from the two combatants before changing its direction. It curved back towards the fighters; spinning like a furious buzzsaw. Boosted by Marvelous Man’s super strength, the weaponized laurel returned back in less than a second. The golden weapon sliced through the Throne’s center; the focus point where the wheel’s bird legged-shaped spokes clasped onto each other.

Sawing through with no sign of delay, the spinning laurel repeated the same process. It zoomed forward for a moment and then swerved back at the Throne. The spinning projectile targeted the back of the angelic rim and sliced through effortlessly.  The inspiration god pulled back his arm and punched with all his might.

He battled cried, “RAH!!!”

With the major points that held the Throne together now severed, the top half of the white wheel slid off from powerful punch and flew off into the whisping blackness. Marvelous Man released his legged clamp over the bottom half of the Throne and continued onward.

“Such wonder!” cheered Alden.

Marvelous Man looked to his right and shouted, “AH!”

Gliding next to him was the ancient king, Alden. The musclebound superhero had forgotten about the spirit; causing his eyes to bulge in surprise upon spotting Alden. He then saw the ancient king point forward.

“Sheeth your nerves, for the next trial is upon us!” declared Alden.

Marvelous Man turned his attention back to the Seraphim and could see it readying the next strike. The bone angel flapped its sharp, outer wings; releasing a flurry of its deadly, white feathers. The feathers aimed themselves towards Marvelous and shot towards him. In mid-flight, the feathers expanded into the shape of poles.

Wanting to avoid the same outcome Marvelous Man first encountered with the rocket missile-sized poles, he dove down. Marvelous Man moved downward but slightly angled himself towards the Seraphim to make some distance progression. The barrage of poles flew overhead; completely missing the hulking bodybuilder. Seconds ticked by before Marvelous Man heard the many whistlings of the bone projectiles completely pass over.

The inspiration god changed his trajectory and aimed back up towards the Seraphim. Marvelous Man then saw the Seraphim flap its sharp, outer wings again. The musclebound superhero was prepared for abrupt evasive maneuvers, but he noticed the feathers reacting differently this time. Instead of shooting off in one heavy stream, the feathers transformed and torpedoed off in a widespread attack. There was no area to retreat towards for dodging the attack, nor an object to hide behind. Marvelous Man would have no choice but to endure the wide salvo.

The hulking bodybuilder immediately halted his flight. Curling up into a ball, Marvelous Man placed his large hands over the back of his head and neck in an effort to minimize damage. He was aware that his new form would immediately heal him, but he would rather take the less painful route against an unavoidable attack.

The wide onslaught of the bone poles had reached him. Marvelous Man could feel the assault raining down on his back, hands, and part of his head; painful for teeth gritting but not enough to elicit a scream. The inspiration god was unsure, but it seemed like his body had gained an increased durability on top of rapid regeneration. Not a bone in him was breaking or even dislocating.

Seconds later, the wide strike had ended. Marvelous Man looked over himself and noticed no bruises or lasting damage on himself. He then glanced up and saw that the Seraphim’s attack had slightly undone his progress. The inspiration god spotted his aurora trail in front of him and came to a fast conclusion that he had been thrown back by the massive assault.

Marvelous Man realized being able to take a hit would not be enough to reach the Seraphim and save Digz. He would have to use his creativity to gain any sort of headway. Tracing the glass string from his wrist back towards Alden, the inspiration god looked up. He could see the spirit staring back at him with eyes full of anticipation, and an idea sprouted in his head.

He called out, “Hey, King Alden! Can’t you summon your guardians to help me out? Could you please get them to distract Digz?”

Alden’s eyes widened in realization. He then turned to the Seraphim and pointed his ghostly finger at the angelic monster.

“Ah, yes! How careless of me!” announced the king, “To arms, my guardians!”

The black essence heeded to the spirit’s call and drifted towards him. The whisping blackness then collected in front of him; swirling into four different masses. Immediately dispersing after forming, four figures were revealed. The electric tribesman, Zareb, with his magical axes. The vengeful hunter and the Skeleton Lord’s right hand man, Itzcóatl; armed with a bow. A white horse with a beautiful mane. There was also an armored knight that wielded an elegant glaive polearm.

Alden commanded, “Go forth, my guardians! Crack the shell my imp hides within!”

Itzcóatl drew back an arrow on his bow.

“Gladly, master! I always wanted to slay that annoying bird,” he replied.

All three Skeleton Lord Guardians and the horse charged forward. Even though none of them had flight abilities, according to Marvelous Man’s memory, they were able to fly through the essence-contaminated air at speeds faster than the inspiration god. They all screamed and neighed their war cries; making their statement that they were giving it their all. Marvelous Man felt hopeful about the situation; things were finally turning around. As the guardians and steed were within striking distance, they held out their weapons and proceeded to slash, shoot, and stomp.

They all immediately disintegrated back into black essence.

Alden confessed, “...Huh...whoops. I forgot that their souls are still tethered to Digz’s. Many pardons. That one is on me.”

Marvelous Man’s mouth gaped for a moment at the whiplash of events before he snapped back to the task at hand. The musclebound superhero flew forward; leaving behind his aurora trail. He had managed to gain back the distance he had lost and was already halfway to the Seraphim.

The sharp feathers on the Seraphim’s outer wings vibrated, and Marvelous Man was aware of what was to come next. The white feathers extended, while it simultaneously thickened to morph durable fists on its ends. The fist-shaped bone feathers launched volleys of themselves at the hulking bodybuilder like streams of missiles.

Another idea popped into the inspiration god’s head with the same mannequin doing a maneuver one would realistically deem as idiotic. There was nothing else Marvelous Man could think of in the seconds the bone fists were about to reach him. The weird thoughts from his new form did not fail him the first time, he hoped what he had was not a beginner’s luck. He charged toward the onslaught coming towards him.

Just as the missile punches were about to reach him, Marvelous Man pulled up slightly and performed a backflip. The thrust of his action lifted the hulking bodybuilder over the violent volley with just barely a thumbtack length between the two. With the dodging successful and the backflip coming to a full rotation, the musclebound superhero landed with both feet on top of the feather. Marvelous Man had his feet positioned like a surfer, and he gave a slight laugh at the absurdity of what he had done. Activating his flight power for propulsion, the inspiration god sped down the bone feather’s length like a skateboarder grinding down a stairway rail...But in his mind, it was more like a spiky, blue character in a video game he used to play.

More fist-shaped feathers launched at Marvelous Man. The musclebound superhero held up his beefy arms; relaxed and ready to fight. At the point of confrontation, Marvelous Man began to parry and swat away the punches by using the defensive martial arts, Aikido. He continued moving forward unhindered, as his bulky arms waved about like water.

The fists then adapted to the situation by striking together in pairs of three. The power and size was beginning to overwhelm the inspiration god’s fighting style, but he had one last trick left. Manipulating his flight power, Marvelous Man strafed to the right while continuing forward propulsion. He began moving in a corkscrew motion down the feather’s length with both feet still planted on top; leaving behind a spiral aurora trail that wrapped around the bone feather. He was so close now! Only one-third of distance left to go before reaching the Seraphim!

The Seraphim launched the rest of its fist-shaped feathers simultaneously at Marvelous Man. His eyes bulged at the unavoidable attack and held his arms over his face; bracing for the inevitable impact. The white punches collided into him and forced him back. Through the mass of fists, the musclebound superhero saw the Seraphim zooming farther away from him. As the white feathers reached the end of their strike zone, they halted their pushing. Marvelous Man was flung back by the finished attack and immediately tried to counter the overwhelming kinetic force by activating his flight power. His thrown trajectory slowly stabilized until his flight power managed to bring himself to a full stop seconds later.

The murder of puttis that had flown in a circle like vultures dived down to Marvelous Man. They began to peck at the hulking bodybuilder with their crow-shaped skull heads; unable to pierce him but were capable of annoying him. The musclebound superhero then swatted a few away and caused the rest to retreat.

The inspiration god’s frustration grew, as he saw he was sent back to where he started. Ideas continually poured into his mind, but they all would have the same result...Except for one. Marvelous Man looked up at Alden.

“King Alden! I need you trap Digz in a memory. His memory! Anything you can think of. Can you do it?” he requested.

The ancient king nodded, “I shall try.”

Alden waved his hand up at the smoky blackness that encased the ceiling of the pocket dimension. The essence reacted to the gesture and swirled before becoming flat. The manipulated essence had a curved shape; similar to a planetarium’s interior ceiling. The voice of a small boy then echoed it.

“I wish to help my father move the dead bodies to their graves,” he said.

One of the puttis exclaimed, “Kenelm?!”

A line of white light appeared on the center of the curved ceiling. It then expanded until it encompassed the rest of the flat ceiling. Light showered the entire area for a few seconds before dimming down. Marvelous Man could see the light now adjusting to an image of different colors and shapes.

The image seemed to be interior of a wooden architecture with little room. Sunlight cascaded through a window on the left and an open doorway on the right. In front of the image was a young boy, who looked no older than twelve, staring back. He was dirty from head to toe and wore ragged peasant clothing that looked to be from the medieval ages. The boy had blond hair and blue eyes that were shaded to a nearly silver hue. He smiled an innocent grin of excitement; exposing a missing tooth amongst the rows. It became obvious to Marvelous Man that this memory was being portrayed through the past Digz’s eyes.

“Wow! It really worked! My very own imp!” shouted the boy.

The boy bounced on his toes and giggled for a moment before his eyes widened in realization. He stood up straight; trying to appear authoritative.

He pointed at himself, “Oh, right! My name’s Kenelm. I’m your master. And you’re my imp...ummm...What should your name be...ummm…”

“What kind of imp are you?” he inquired.

A putti amongst its group spoke up, “I’m a bone imp.”

Marvelous Man looked at the puttis and realized that they were responding to the image. The inspiration god then remembered the name Digz was sensitive to, Kenelm. If the boy’s name is Kenelm, then the young one was most likely the familiar’s first master! It seemed Alden was successful in not only playing back a memory of the bone imp’s but also entrancing the lesser monsters to quote whatever Digz had said in the past. And if that were the case, then the Seraphim should trapped in the memory as well. The musclebound superhero flew towards the Seraphim, as the image above continued to play Digz’s earliest memory.

Kenelm tapped his cheek, “Ummmm...then...I’ll call you Digz! Cause you’ll help us dig graves and stuff! My father is the groundskeeper for a graveyard, and I made you to help him!”

As Marvelous Man covered a fourth of a distance towards the Seraphim, the memory ended. The image in the curved ceiling faded into black, and the bone creatures awakened from the enthralling memory. The eldritch angel flapped its sharp, outer wings; releasing its usual blast of feathers. Instead of flying forward this time, the white feathers shattered to piece itself together into different creatures. Groups of thrones emerged from the assembly as well as several murders of puttis. Upon formation, the angelic monsters charged at the inspiration god.

Marvelous Man immediately called out to Alden.

“I need another memory! Quick!” he shouted.

The black ceiling became bright again; projecting a memory from the bone imp’s past. It was the same small house Digz was birthed in, but the perspective of the past Digz was now entering the home.

At the same moment the memory displayed the setting, the Seraphim’s underlings began to show hesitation in their movements. Marvelous Man was able to easily sidestep from the angelic monsters, as they became entranced to the memory. The bone lackeys then moved in such drunken motions that the hulking bodybuilder barely had to move away from the sluggish attacks.

A putti spoke up, “Kenelm? Are you in here?”

“Yeah, I’m here,” replied Kenelm, “Do you need something?”

Digz’s vision turned to his left upon entering the house and saw his master. The young boy appeared to be a year older and was sitting in a chair. Kenelm was reading through a book within the rays of sunlight that peered through the open windows.

The putti stated, “I’ve finished putting the last of the bodies to their final resting place. Your father wants you to go to the village and purchase some bread.”

“Sure. In a minute. I’m almost done with this section,” said the young witch.

During the playback of the memory, the inspiration god took advantage of the hypnotizing situation. Marvelous Man flew through the crowd of lesser angels; zipping about them effortlessly. None of the bone monsters were able to touch the hulking bodybuilder that soared close to them. The trail left behind by him looked like an aurora web that trapped the creatures. In seconds, the musclebound superhero arrived on the other side of the angelic mob. The Seraphim was now slightly closer to him, but Marvelous Man had to take care of one thing before he could go any further.

Kenelm continued, “Magic is so amazing. Once I graduate from my apprenticeship with our neighbor witch, I’ll be able to help out father even more than ever! Maybe I could help out the village too and make us lots of money!”

The putti hummed.

“Maybe. But I think I’m more than enough to help your father and bring in some coin. Besides, I think he just wants you to keep running the grave business. You don’t have to help everyone just cause you can do a little magic, you know,” he remarked.

Kenelm looked down at Digz, “Yeah, but I don’t help because I have to. I help cause I want to. And seeing all those dead bodies we put to rest makes me wonder...Did they have a happy life? Or at least a happy end? If I can, I’d like to help out any way I can to make sure their life was happy and their end had meaning. Because one day...that’ll be me in the ground too...”

Flipping around, Marvelous Man faced the group of monsters that attempted to chase him in a drunken sway. The musclebound superhero held up his thick hands together as if it were a gun, while the bone creatures bounced into one another. Concentrating his thoughts of cutting, the inspiration god pointed his finger gun at a Throne on the far left of the angelic swarm. It was not necessary, but it felt right to do this action and for what he was about to say.

“BOOMERANG SNIPE!” he roared.

A whirring noise whistled in the shadowy world for a moment before a golden projectile sliced through it and came back to saw into it several more times. Completely decimated, Marvelous Man pointed his finger gun at the next monster. Despite the magical wreathe not in his grasp, it still obeyed the inspiration god’s thoughts no matter how far away it had sailed off into the whisping blackness. The lethal laurel spun through each monster’s weak points successfully; rapidly killing off every lesser angel with its buzzsaw attacks that Marvelous Man aimed his finger gun at. In seconds, only a putti was spared. It floated aimlessly amidst a graveyard debris of its brethren. The musclebound superhero then turned back to the white Seraphim and took off.

In the memory, Kenelm held out his book at Digz. The inside of the pages were scribbles of magical facts and runes that were incomprehensible to inexperienced magic users like Marvelous Man.

“Oh, look at this! I found something interesting,” he grinned, “Do you remember the spell I used to create you? I noticed there’s a symbol here that limits how much of my soul I can put into you. I think if I get rid of it, I can put more of my soul into you and increase your power! Wouldn’t that be amazing?”

The putti commented, “...I don’t think that’s a good idea.”

As the projected memory faded to black, Marvelous Man managed to fly halfway over to his objective. The inspiration god flicked his watery eyes up at the curved ceiling and then towards the Seraphim. The giant, eldritch angel began to stir; appearing to have awakened from being entranced and now taking notice of the hulking bodybuilder.

Marvelous Man then noticed its sharp, outer feathers vibrating for another punch attack. Once those feathers launched and stretched towards him, he would be sent all the way back. Starting over for a fifth time would not be acceptable, and he needed to win now by any means.

“King Alden, I need you play a traumatic memory! The most saddest one you can think of!” he shouted.

Alden slowly waved his hand, “My apologies, Digz. But I must.”

The curved ceiling lit up with another memory; causing the Seraphim to predictably halt its movement. From the usual first-person perspective, Digz was inside the house and sitting on the edge of his master’s bed. He was busy manipulating floating skeleton hands to sew a torn cloth together. The memory showed he lacked the dexterity to complete the action with his own limbs, because his arms were white avian wings that lacked proper hands for the task.

During the playback, Marvelous Man continued his journey. He hoped that this memory lasted long enough for him to reach the Seraphim. Taking a quick look back, the inspiration god spotted the last putti taking chase in a slow, dazed fashion. It seemed able to catch up to Marvelous Man but incapable of attacking.

The sound of a door swinging open was immediately followed by it closing with a loud bang in the memory. Looking up, Digz’s eyes turned to the house’s door. Pinning against the closed door was his master, Kenelm; appearing slightly older this time and gasping like he had been running. The young witch’s clothes were tarnished with blood that seemed to originate around Kenelm’s stomach.

The skeletal hands controlled by Digz fell onto the ground with a scattered clink. The bone imp ran up to his master.

“OH MY GOSH! KENELEM, YOU’RE BLEEDING!!! WHO DID THIS TO YOU?!” screamed the putti.

Kenelm gasped, “The king...just decreed all magic...illegal. Those who are...caught are...put to death. The king’s knights came and...found out about me...I got away...but...they got me good...and I don’t...feel so good.”

“Um, uh, uh, um, c-come over to the bed and lie down! Y-you’ll feel better!” sputtered the putti.

The young witch staggered forward in slow, small steps, while he clutched his stomach. Droplets of blood splattered onto the floor with every movement. By the third step, he lost his balance and fell forward. Digz held out feathery arms and caught Kenelm from crashing onto the wooden floor, while the putti gasped a small oomph from the catch.

Kenelm wheezed, “I don’t...I don’t think a rest will help, Digz. It’s getting harder...to focus...and I feel cold...I think...I think I’m...dying.”

“Wha-N-No! Please don’t say that! Please don’t say that you’re dying!” exclaimed the putti.

The memory’s image became blurry; as if it were being submerged into water.

Kenelm replied, “I’m sorry, but...I think I am...I don’t want to...but I think I am. And when I die...so will you.”

The putti remained silent as Kenelm’s gasping slowly died down. Seconds after fully catching his breath, the young witch spoke up.

“Digz, help me get to the middle, please.” he said.

The putti whimpered, “O-Okay…”

Marvelous Man was getting closer to the Seraphim. He only needed a few more minutes before he was within reaching distance. As the inspiration god flew, he kept his face focused on the eldritch angel but could hear everything the memory and putti said. His heart became torn; wanting to face the unfolding tragedy yet needing to press on to complete his personal mission. Marvelous Man wished he could jump right into the memory and save the two...but he was well aware that such a feat was impossible.

The memory’s perspective rotated back towards facing the center of the house. Through the watery vision, image slowly drifted to the center while stopping every few seconds. As they got closer and were about to pass the post of young witch’s bed, Kenelm spoke up again.

“Put me down by the bed,” he commanded, “There’s something we need to do.”

The bone imp obeyed and set the young witch down; propping the boy’s back against the bed’s post. Digz then brought up his white feather arms to wipe away the water vision and managed to make most of the memory’s image to become clear again.

As this happened, Marvelous Man lost the will to keep looking forward. He just had to see what happened. The musclebound superhero struggled to peek over his muscled shoulder  and stare at the memory, while he continued towards the Seraphim.

“I need you to help me with one last spell,” he said.

Holding out his left hand, it then began to glow with mana. Kenelm traced a small circle that immediately turned into a magic circle with runic symbols inside and another circle beneath the symbols. The young witch stretched his fingers outwards for a moment; causing the magical seal to enlarge to the size of a hula hoop. Waving his left hand down to the center floor next to himself, the magic circle followed and hovered above the wooden floor.

He mumbled, “Perush.”

The magic seal then embedded into the planks and instantly disappeared right after. Smoke drifted up from the sizzled, wooden floor, as the ground was now scorched with the same design as the magical circle.

“Spices and herbs were only needed to make your body, so I don’t think we need that. Digz, I need you to stand in the middle circle,” he muttered.

The image moved towards the inner circle of the magic seal before turning around to face Kenelm.

The putti replied, “Okay. Is this some sort of revenge spell or curse?”

The young witch looked away.

“Oh...I guess I should’ve done that instead. It’s a spell I always wanted to try, cause I changed some things,” he remarked.

Digz’s eyes looked down at the magic circle; staring and rotating about to look at all the symbols. He then pointed his feathery arm and looked up at Kenelm.

The putti mentioned, “Um, Kenelm? Are you sure this’ll work? There’s a lot of gaps where the symbols should probably be...Hold on, a second ago, you said something about spices and herbs were only needed to make my body. Why would you say something like that?”

The putti paused for a moment, as Kenelm’s eyes became watery.

“Wait, is this...the spell that made me? I remember you saying something a while back about removing some symbols and...No...No, Kenelm, you can’t! Please! You’ll die if you give me the rest of your soul!” screamed the putti.

Marvelous Man knew what was to come next and looked away. He returned his focus back towards the eldritch angel.

Tears streamed down Kenelm’s face, as he placed his left hand onto the pyrographed wood. The magic seal immediately lit up.

He sobbed, “I don’t want to die either...But I want you to live even more! If my soul is alive, then you’ll still be alive. And if I put it in you, you should be able to live a lot longer!...A lot longer than the time I have left...”

“My wish is that...you stay alive and help people...help them be happy. And also...please restore magic. It needs to be shared,” croaked Kenelm.

The curved ceiling became flooded with white light before it faded to blackness; ending the memory. Throughout the entire playthrough and all the way to its conclusion, Marvelous Man gained all the ground he needed. As the Seraphim seemed to shift back into awareness, the inspiration god was only a second away from touching it.

Reaching into his pocket, the musclebound superhero pullet out a paper talisman. It was the same talisman given to him by the Director and Puzzles for the purpose of separating Digz’s symbiotic merge from the Skeleton Lord. Marvelous Man now had a new purpose for it. He charged his hand holding the paper with mana, as he soared down at the Seraphim.

The inspiration god roared, “POSSESSION EJECTION!!!”

Marvelous Man slammed the paper onto the top of the Seraphim’s casket, as the talisman fed on his mana. Upon contact, the magical paper activated and caused cracks to appear beneath it. The fractures instantly spread throughout the Seraphim; causing the angel to have the same fragility as a vase covered in hairline cracks.

The Seraphim immediately shattered into millions of white debris; echoing the sound of bones breaking. Marvelous Man’s eyes furiously scanned the scenery, but the blackness of the pocket dimension seemed to disguise the bone imp’s location. The spectral hand of Alden’s came into view; causing the hulking bodybuilder to briefly look up at the ancient king now floating next to him.

“There!” pointed the spirit.

Following Alden’s direction, Marvelous Man then spotted the corrupted imp. Digz floated motionlessly amidst the wreckage; appearing like it was underwater. The musclebound superhero wasted no time and flew towards it. Tracing a circle with the same mana-conducted hand, he filled the magic circle with thoughts of the symbols for the only spell he knew.

He chanted, “Iggzel Ponsfortuna! Through the sea of reality, gather the shattered soul. Place back what once belonged and seal into a whole. I beseech the power within the one I mend to reach for salvation. DIVINE SOUL RESTORATION!!!”

Marvelous Man arrived at Digz’s location and immediately grabbed hold of the imp’s shoulder at the same time he finished his incantation. The magic seal activated with a blue glow and materialized the star that was able to absorb Digz’s essence. The whisping blackness funneled into the star in the shape of a whirlpool, as the incomplete familiar started to move.

The corrupted imp slowly nudged about before its body jolted in attention. Raising its feathery left arm, the nearby floating bits of bone flew towards and collected at his feathery ends. The pieces then instantly formed into a white wand, as Digz curled his feathered extremities around it. Whipping it in front of himself, the incomplete familiar aimed it at the hulking bodybuilder.

“Let! Go!” shouted Digz.

The wand disintegrated into black essence; causing it to flow into Marvelous Man’s star. The musclebound superhero noticed the ghostly hand of Alden stretched out from his left side. Digz’s body seized from further movement.

The corrupted imp blurted, “A-Alden?!”

The ancient king gave a soft, sad smile.

“Yes,” he said, “But it is time for you to stop. Let us help you.”

Alden turned to Marvelous Man, “Marvelous Man, please hurry. I can feel myself drifting back, and I will not be able to provide assistance again if you fail this opportunity.”

The inspiration god was aware of the situation, but he was unsure of what to do. He was pouring the same extreme amount of mana into the spell as he did last time. All he could do was wait and hope that this small circle would channel the blackness in this dimension into the tiny star seated in the center of the magical seal…

A thought came over him. He had the unlimited energy to pour as much mana into a spell just like the spellcasters he supercharged for maintaining the magic dome over the ghetto. Perhaps it was not the energy needed to power spell, but the size of the spell. His thoughts then immediately recalled what the musclebound superhero had done a minute ago. During his flight towards the Seraphim, he peeked over his shoulder to watch the dying Kenelm enact a spell.

Marvelous Man threw his spellcasting hand upwards while continuing to feed his mana into it. The magical circle and its star followed the motion and shot up in a curved arc. As it soared higher, the inspiration god’s aurora aura stretched out and seeped into the circle’s rim. The musclebound superhero stretched his mana-charged hand as wide as he could and hoped this would work.

The magic seal reacted to the gesture and expanded; the symbols and circle width growing wider. The magical circle continued to grow until it completely encompassed the curved, black ceiling. The color of the magic seal shifted from its usual blue to the radiant ever-changing colored spectrum of Marvelous Man’s aurora. The tiny star within the spell became augmented by this effect; shining with greater intensity and enlarging to the size of a giant beach ball.

The tornado effect that funnelled into the star dispersed; stillness existing in the space for only a second. The magic seal then emitted a soft hum that gave off the tone of something nearly incomprehensible that is celestial, benevolent, and...inspirational. It sounded similar to a glass harmonica in Marvelous Man’s perspective; a long, glass instrument ribbed to elicit soft sounds when given a wet touch. While the hulking bodybuilder continued to stare at the magic circle, it seemed as if the spell had become supercharged now that it was absorbing an even greater amount of unlimited mana. It was like...the spell had evolved and became a god itself.

A black fleck of something wafted into the hulking bodybuilder’s vision. Then he saw a couple more float up. It was hard to determine the shape, as they seemed to resemble natural objects the would tussle into the wind. Cherry blossoms, snowflakes, leaves; each of the flakes appeared to mirror one of those three. Each passing second, more and more of the flakes fluttered up towards the bright star. It was a wondrous sight to behold, but Marvelous Man needed to see where they were originating from.

Looking down, the inspiration god spotted a hole at the bottom of the pocket dimension. Sunlight peered through the opening like a focused laser. The hole then began to expand; breaking down the whisping essence and compressing them into shapes of snowflakes, petals, and leaves. As the amount of black flakes drifting up to the spell’s star increased, so did the hole’s speed of breaking down the smokey world. It was as if the spell was now uprooting the whole scenery rather than sucking it in bit by bit.

The bottom of the pocket dimension completely dissolved within seconds and revealed the bottom half of a human skeleton that appeared to be standing in a cityscape. As Marvelous Man stared, he was interrupted by the spirit’s comment.

“This...this is no spell. Not a wonder like this,” gasped Alden, “With such power, could this be, a miracle?”

Marvelous Man looked back up at the ancient king next to him and could not seem to find the words to reply. The decay of the artificial world had reached rapid acceleration, as the entropous hole had now reached the sides. The three were practically bathed in the mass ascension of the flakes, which nearly veiled Digz and Alden from his sight for a few seconds.

As the breakdown reached the upper sphere, the conversion of flakes ceased. The spell seemed to alter its absorption, since there was no longer a large mass to dissolve. The whisping essence hanging above the magical circle then drained into the star like a sponge absorbing a small puddle. With nothing left to obscure their surroundings, the blue sky revealed itself through the openings of the skeletal human torso.

Marvelous Man looked around him and noticed two things. They were now floating in Skyway City’s inner city. The area appeared to be close to the Barticle Troy Mall, and the scenery showed signs of intense damage. Buildings smashed, cars on fire, and streets clawed into gapes; smoke rose from the destruction. The hulking bodybuilder spotted superheroes and police officers amidst the carnage, but he was so high up that they looked like ants. Marvelous Man then saw a couple of them were in flight at his altitude; floating a cautious distance from where the musclebound superhero hovered.

The other thing he noticed was that the human-shaped, giant skeleton was not moving. It seemed to be stuck in mid-stance with its arm pulled back to ready a catastrophic swipe. It occured to Marvelous Man that he was too late to stop Digz causing disaster to the city, but at least he halted any further destruction the giant skeleton was about to commit.

The magical circle then bellowed a deep, resounding ring that sounded like an old church bell. The echo nearly reached the decibel of deafening and vibrated through Marvelous Man’s overly-muscled body. It felt powerful but it was more of a comfort than domination. His ears did not feel hurt, and his soul almost seemed to...sing with that single ring.

After the spell’s chime died down, a loud, bone-breaking crack reverberated around the inspiration god. A large fracture traveled throughout the giant skeleton’s body with smaller cracks branching out from the fracture. The cracks interconnected with one another to create an unquantifiable amount of fragments as big as Marvelous Man. The white fragments then began to shiver; as if it were alive and trying to break away from the gigantic skeletal mass.

Marvelous Man spotted a bone fragment above him successfully free itself. The fragment immediately transformed into Digz’s black essence for a moment before shaping itself into the form of a unicorn. The majestic steed was completely black, and its mane danced like a ribbon in the air. The mystic equine stood on its hind legs for a moment, while it whinnied. Landing back on all fours, the unicorn took off into the air with a light gallop. The black creature did not fall, but it instead seemed to be running on an invisible staircase. It galloped on the air in a circular direction and began to climb up towards the magical circle’s star.

The inspiration god then noticed a small amount of other fragments free themselves, transform, and follow after the first black unicorn. At the same time, the fragments at the top of the humongous skeleton transformed and stampeded down towards the star. The rate of black unicorns birthing themselves and following after its team steadily increased until every part of the skeleton, including its inner layers, charged into the star. Marvelous Man was dazzled by the spell’s ability to break down the entire monster and absorb it in a beautiful fashion. It truly was a miracle for a spell to go beyond its programming.

Right after the last unicorn entered into the star, seconds ticked by with nothing happening. Marvelous Man grew worried, as he stared down at the dazed Digz. The spell still needed the last of Kenelm’s soul to completely heal the corrupted imp. And the more time that went by, the more the other superheroes and police officers would gain the courage to close in and kill Digz.

The inspiration god stared up at the magic seal, “Come on...come on…”

He then realized that since Digz’s original master died centuries ago in another country, it would take longer to gather particles of that soul than it was to gather the black essence. It is unknown as to where they currently are, or what they are being pulled from. Even if the spell were bigger, it would probably still need time to find it.

The incomplete familiar snapped back at attention and began to struggle against Marvelous Man’s grip.

“No! Let go! I’m not going to die! N-Not like this!” screamed Digz.

The magical circle emitted a soft hum, as Marvelous Man tried to keep a steady grasp on the corrupted imp. The hum resembled the calm vibrations of a Tibetan singing bowl; a metal bowl that provides a pleasing sound upon brushing the rim. For a moment, it seemed to calm Digz into nudging against the hulking bodybuilder’s hold.

Alden spoke up, “I understand...I’m ready.”

Marvelous Man looked over at Alden and elicited a small gasp. The ancient king was staring up at the star and began to dissolve with small pieces slowly breaking off of him. The bits of the spirit transformed into little balls of light that gave off a comforting glow similar to fireflies. The inspiration god traced the balls of light traveling up and then entering into the star.

Marvelous Man snapped his gaze back at Alden, as his eyes widened in realization. The neverending tears that flowed down his face was now of sadness rather than overly emotional inspiration.

“No...N-No! Not you! You can’t be the one to fix Digz! Don’t sacrifice yourself! Not after I just saved you!” he exclaimed.

Alden gave a small smile, “Marvelous Man. I know that my otherworldly destination is not a good place. It does not take a seer to know that.”

“...That is why I will do this. I can still do one last good deed before my oblivion, and that is to answer this spell’s call. I must at least try to restore some amount of my kingly honor. So please, let me have this. I do not need salvation. Instead, give me redemption,” he continued.

The inspiration god gritted his teeth; trying to maintain a mask of composure. It felt like he was failing all over again...But...this time...he could actually save a life. There was no way Marvelous Man can resurrect Alden, and it made sense to use the ancient king. But...it still felt like failing. He tried to speak up, but his throat felt dry and inflamed.

The hulking bodybuilder choked, “...Alright...”

Alden bowed.

“I am forever in your gratitude. Thank you,” he said.

The spirit floated over to Digz. The incomplete familiar immediately stopped moving and seemed to stare at the ancient king, as Alden stood in front of it.

He spoke gently, “Very soon, you’ll feel better, Digz. I promise. I will become part of you and will be with you forever. But before I do, three promises you must keep.”

“The first is that you must keep living. Do not waste this second chance at life, because you will now be free of this pain and anger you burden yourself with. The second is that you will try to find happiness while making amends for the tragedies we caused. There will be plenty of time to right the wrongs, but never turn down the opportunities of being alive,” rambled Alden.

“And third,” commanded the ancient king, “Do something nice for Marvelous Man.”

Immediately after, Alden completely disintegrated into little orbs of light. The small spheres floated up into the spell’s star and was absorbed into the radiating mass. As the last ball of light entered the star, Marvelous Man noticed Digz beginning to transform.

The black essence seeping out of Digz as well as his entire, broken body compressed into one long, black ribbon. The silk ribbon fluttered about in Marvelous Man’s hand; still trying to be free. Staring at the black ribbon in his grip, the inspiration god was unable to fathom why Digz and the essence kept transforming into objects that had nothing in common with each other. But he knew there was no time to dwell on that, and he knew what he had to do next. Marvelous Man released the ribbon.

The black ribbon flew up into the air; dancing in swirls. It’s silky sheen shined against the sun, as it climbed higher and closer to the magical circle’s star. Upon it reaching and passing into the star, the ball of light pulsed.

A halo of light rippled from the star; shattering the magic seal in the process. The bright ring continued to travel outward, as it slowly faded into nothingness. Right as the halo disappeared, the star began a slow descent. Marvelous Man then spotted something else happening to the bright sphere. It was breaking apart.

From atop the star, the brightness hardened and broke off into tiny, glass-like fragments. Each piece of the falling light became bigger, as the star’s structure continued to fall apart. With the top layer broken off, the inspiration god spotted avian-like feet poking out. The shattering continued until there was nothing left; revealing a small being in a black dress. The being seemed to have white, feathery arms poking out of the sleeveless dress. Marvelous Man was unable to see who the being was, because its face was being obscured by the dress’ black hood. But more than anything, he was sure it was none other than Digz.

Marvelous Man held out his arms, as the being’s slow descent drifted closer to him. The being then landed in his arms; its size no larger than a small child or imp. The hulking bodybuilder drew back the dress’ black hood, as he nestled it gently close to his bulky chest.

It was a white imp that had three horns atop his head. The animal shape it resembled was a crow with a cute beak, and there was a red ribbon bow tied around the neck of the dress. The imp looked adorable in Marvelous Man’s eyes. This was Digz’s true form.

Digz’s eyes slowly opened; revealing crimson red irises. The bone imp stared up at Marvelous Man’s weeping face for a moment before gazing at the scenery around him. The two said nothing, as Digz slowly turned his head back to facing the inspiration god.

The bone imp spoke up, “...That wasn’t a long nightmare I dreamed?”

Marvelous Man looked into the imp’s red eyes. It begged him to say no; to not put any of the guilt on the poor familiar. The musclebound hero did not want to hurt Digz, because the bone imp had been through so much. And now that the familiar was of sound mind...it felt cruel to deny Digz of any innocence.

“It wasn’t,” he answered.

The light in Digz’s eyes was crushed, as they widened in disbelief. His eyes became watery, and the hiccup of a soft sob like a child escaped his beak. Grabbing Marvelous Man’s black jacket, he stared up at the inspiration god. Streams of tears rapidly rolled down his face.

He cried, “I’m sorry! I’m sorry! I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’msorryI’msorry!”

The bone imp continued repeating the words through his sobs and rising every octave. Realization of the terrible things he had committed was reflected through his tears. Like a child’s uncontrollable cry, snot leaked from his beak’s nostrils. As he reached the point of screaming, Digz buried his face into Marvelous Man’s chest.

“I’M SORRY!!!” he wailed.

Marvelous Man hugged Digz.

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