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View Full Version : Civil War Finals: Rykosar vs Hollywood



SaulMurphy
10-06-2014, 06:12 AM
This is the wrap up, the finals, the end. The Master of Anarchy has gathered the two gladiators together for one final showdown; Against themselves. Who won the day better? Will it be old man Ryker? Or will the masked dart-ist Hollywood be the victor? You decide!

RYKOSAR:



The room’s details narrowed in the old man’s azure eyes, gaze locked on a space in the middle of the office where he almost suspected a mirror to be. As this ‘reflection’ continued to look on quietly, folding its arms to the small of its back and tilting a scarred but unbloodied head in return. The fear in Rykosar’s veins stung like ice and a clouded numb smothered his wounds in response to this kick of adrenaline, but he could still feel the weight of his previous fights dangling on him. When Rykosar ripped his sights from his clone, he saw his situation almost mimicked by Hollywood to his right, having his own unwounded look-alike, they regarded each other with the blank stare their masks provided.

The old man gripped Hollywood’s shoulder, jerking him as gently as he could until the mask snapped up at Rykosar. He presented his warped metal hand before forcing two of the fingers to wrap around a section of Hollywood’s mask, holding him still before taking a small chunk of the bottom off, leaving a noticeable chip. He didn’t have time to explain, that was made very clear by the crazed bearded man.

“Don’t just stand there. Kill them!”

Fortunately, Rykosar had time to clear the gears in his leg of the obstructive rubble clogging them before they had gone inside the building. Though strained, he could move, so he charged at his own clone first. The other Rykosar’s metal leg moved back with a loud stomp, bracing for the impact. Hollywood’s body flinched as he noticed his own lookalike reaching for a dart, Hollywood dashed to the left to use the two old gladiators as cover from the potential volley of darts. He pulled out his tube and a dart of his own, keeping his distance as he shot from around them towards his clone. He didn’t want to risk accidentally hitting the wrong Rykosar.

Rykosar’s teeth ground against each other, body reeling as his clone easily overpowered him. The old man froze when hearing it speak, his own voice echoed by another thing chilled him.

“You know, I’ve always wondered what it’s like to be lifted. What’s it been…say, 60 years since someone’s been able to lift me?” The clone let out a hearty laugh, which was rather uncomfortable given the current scene. “Guess you get to find out what it’s like again!” A metal hand tucked into Rykosar’s stomach and the air fled his body as weight was forced there. He was heaved up just long enough to be pushed forward, unable to ground himself to hold steady. The floor cracked under him as he hit the ground with a deafening THUNK.

With one large man out of the way, Hollywood’s cover was broken. He saw his clone taking advantage of the opening and did the same. Both shot out a single dart and both, fortunately and unfortunately, missed. Hollywood sprang up from his knees and made a dash for the desk centered in the room, the bearded man leaped back at this, trying to weasel his way out of the general combat area.

Rykosar felt gravity’s push against his old tired bones, standing felt futile despite his panic. Rykosar’s clone kneeled, both hands gripping Rykosar’s wrists to pin him to the ground. The combined weight of them both caused the foundations below to groan in protest. Rykosar exclaimed a war cry, using the sharp bent parts of his metal hand to scrape at the clone’s wrists until it finally caved, loosening its grip on Rykosar. With his arm free, Rykosar lashed out at the clone with his broken hand, using what functioning fingers were left on it to grip the skin on his face and pull on the flesh. The clone pulled off of Rykosar completely before he could make another move for the eyes, allowing him to roll onto his side and forcing himself to his knees.

Hollywood ducked behind the desk for cover when he reached it, unable to look out for long enough to retaliate as darts flew around the sides and top of the desk, striking into the wall behind it. In Rykosar’s pause he spotted Hollywood’s clone and sacrificed his focus on the older one to smack Hollywood’s look alike clean in the head with his metal hand. While the clone staggered forward disoriented, Rykosar whistled in Hollywood’s general direction to get his attention, then promptly cut off as the older clone stood at Rykosar’s back before swinging its arm around the old gladiator’s neck, pulling Rykosar into a headlock.

Hollywood had heard the whistle and peered out, reload his blowgun quickly when he saw the window of opportunity Rykosar gave him. This time however, braving the risk and aiming towards Rykosar’s clone when seeing the old man being choked. The dart flew but snagged against the side of the clone’s coat, uselessly dangling there before falling off in the struggle with Rykosar. The younger clone hunched forward, moving a hand to the back of his head and feeling the warmth of blood from the shrapnel that skimmed him had hardly noticed Hollywood.

Rykosar pulled forward and attempted to head-butt his clone before he lost too much oxygen. As a result of both of them having semi metal skulls though, both end up groaning in pain, in the exact same tone and length. The clone released Rykosar, but Rykosar drew a hand to his forehead as it pulsed.

With Rykosar too tired to speak, his clone seemed to take the words right out of his mouth. “That was a –terrible- idea. Must have seemed good at the time though.”

The clone even allowed them both a few seconds to orient themselves from the sour blow, though Rykosar cut his break short as he saw Hollywood’s clone trying to bring a blow dart tube up to shoot to Hollywood, who had just finished reloading. The old man reached out and tugged violently against the young clone’s shirt, the force caused him to whirl around as his lips were set on the blowgun. Rykosar felt a sting hit his left arm, looking to see the small dart now dug into his skin. Rykosar hastily pulled it out, pushing Hollywood’s clone back and moving forward to avoid another one of his own clone’s attacks from behind, joining Hollywood by the desk.

“What is it?” He huffed, eyes shooting back to watch the clones.

Hollywood knew the urgency and answered almost immediately. “A sedative. Takes a few minutes.”

“We’ll need more than a few minutes.” The old man snarled in a way that caused even Hollywood’s clone to jump. As both clones advanced, aiming for melee distance, Rykosar unrolled his coat sleeve and quickly sliced open the area where the dart hit with a sharp end of his broken hand, blood dripped promptly down the arm, adding another scar to his vast assortment.

When Rykosar finishes, Hollywood jumped back behind the desk as the young clone tried to slash at him with a dart armed in his hand. Rykosar’s clone made a more noticeable entrance, stomping closer with his limp metal leg. Despite this, Rykosar still wasn’t fast enough to escape the metal hand reaching out and taking him by the throat. Rykosar snapped his own metal hand up to take his, using what fingers could still move to grip against the clone.

Metal began to bend metal, sparks leaping out from Rykosar’s functioning parts as their functioning abilities began to quickly deteriorate as the clone noticed his own joints beginning to cave to the force. The old man also used his human hand to grip the wrist, attempting to break or dislocate it. As a slow scream began to build in the back of the clone’s throat, he finally let go before the bone could cave, allowing Rykosar to gasp for air before shooting a low jab into the clone’s stomach.

“I have to admit, you still fight pretty well despite your injuries.” The old clone chirped after wheezing from the punch, still hunched over. “What are those, impalement wounds? You get all the fun. Though, that won’t be the case anymore.” That familiar bright tone fell dark too quick for Rykosar’s tastes, but reminded of his past wounds, he spared a second to wrap an arm around his abdomen, stemming the bleeding still there.

Hollywood reached for another dart in his pocket as his clone leaped over the desk in a single swooping motion, hitting the ground to the right of Hollywood. He ducked under the clone’s first swing then crouched down, stabbing him in the leg with the dart. The clone kicked him clean in the face as a reflex, but knew it was already too late. Never the less, both knew he still had a few minutes. The clone drove his armed hand down to try and hit Hollywood’s back with his dart, but it missed as Hollywood rolled backwards away from the clone.

“I’m assuming reason isn’t going to work with you as much as it would me?” Hollywood would finally pipe up, hoping even the conversation would cause the clone to pause. Needless to say, it didn’t. He dodged another lunge from the young clone, slumping against a window as he tried to catch his breath. The prospect of how high up they were had left him in the severity of this situation until he turned his head to look outside, tilting his chin down until he spotted the road.

Rykosar stared ahead at his clone before an idea glinted in his ancient eyes. He rose up his metal leg in a chorus of grinding gears and whirring servos before bringing it down on the floor in front of him. The stomp resonated in the room and the cracks made from their previous brawling began to branch outward and widen.

“Oh no you don’t!” Rykosar’s clone realized what was going to happen and immediately made way to start a charge. Rykosar ignored him with a scowl, continuing to stomp. Hollywood spared a glance at the noise, dodging back and away from the center of the room as he caught on. Hollywood’s clone, however, was still fixed on his target. The clone set the dart in its hand through its blow dart tube, taking aim and firing at Hollywood while he was distracted with Rykosar.

The older clone reeled back for a punch as another stomp caused the floor to crack, small bits of rubble began to fall into the room below. The metal fist struck true to Rykosar’s abdomen as his last stomp hit the ground in a sloppy interrupted fashion. But it was still enough to cause the floor to collapse. Both metal monsters began to fall through the floor, but Rykosar managed to grasp a stable portion of the edge as his clone plummeted, hitting and breaking through the next floor after that before the roar of destruction fell quiet. A hole now carved in the dead center of the room.

“Oh shit.”

Both Hollywoods stared at each other as they spoke in unison before the original started moving back rapidly to gain some distance. The clone grumbled before pulling up its other loaded blow dart tube, grabbing the dart itself back out from the tube and moving to try and eliminate that distance. Hollywood threw a kick at the clone, but it was grabbed with the clone’s free hand. Hollywood yanked back before it could bring the dart down into his leg, pulling his clone close enough to grab its wrists.

Rykosar fought to lift his lighter leg up and over the edge to safe ground, though his metal leg continued to dangle helplessly over the end and into the floor beneath him. He lacked the strength to move it. Hollywood spotted the old man’s struggle and used this pinned position to strike a swift knee to the clone’s stomach, quickly pushing the stunned clone over before edging towards the hole. Instead of moving for the metal leg however, Hollywood tried to roll more of Rykosar’s body towards the stable ground. His eyes bugged from the older man’s weight. Yes he should have expected it, but to feel it was something completely different.

There was fairly little progress made on trying to move him, with Rykosar doing most of the effort to pull himself up. By the time he was able to get enough of his metal leg up to stabilize himself, Rykosar looked behind Hollywood and his face paled. Hollywood could guess what that meant, leaping blindly to the left and turning around as the clone dove into the floor, apparently the aftermath of missing his tackle.

The clone stood up just as Rykosar did, allowing the old man to grab him. Hollywood’s clone tried to kick Rykosar into the hole, but with his weight the force did nothing. Hollywood jumped towards the clone from the side and swung a punch to his head followed by moving to the front and quickly jabbing his chest. In addition to the disorientation brought by the sedatives from before, the clone staggered backward towards one of the many windows.

Hollywood saw the opportunity, but froze. He knew what he had to do, the plan was running through his head, visualizing the actions. Even the realization that he could die if he didn’t still wasn’t enough. He stared at the clone, now picturing that same situation happening to himself, plummeting to the ground.

Rykosar stomped towards the clone when seeing Hollywood’s reluctance. “Look away.” He spoke hoarsely, grabbing the clone by both shoulders as his leg began to snap and click, lifting up the knee.

The old man couldn’t tell if Hollywood had listened to him, but he knew even the sound of raining shattered class would still be a shock. His metal leg contacted the clone’s stomach, panicked wild eyes could be seen through the unchipped mask before its body few out then pulled down to the streets by gravity. Fortunately they were too high up to hear the clone’s impact with the sidewalk below.

Rykosar’s metal hand carefully gripped the window frame left intact, gusts of wind began to pour into the room, pulling on the old man’s shredded coat. He turned back towards Hollywood then shut his eyes with a short groan. The room didn’t feel straight, but he wasn’t on the verge of extreme vertigo. Yet.

“Looks like my little trick might not last me as long as I thought.”

He opened his eyes to look at Hollywood again, limping towards so he could be closer. The younger man carried a 50 yard stare until Rykosar gently slapped a hand to Hollywood’s shoulder, examining his wounds. The stab wound by the young man’s collarbone was the most concerning. It was miraculous that he hadn’t succumb to blood loss yet. In fact, it was astounding neither of them were keeling over from blood loss. Both had went through hell and endured, however it wasn’t over yet.

Rykosar’s vague medical session was cut short by the sound of rumbling footsteps. Hollywood snapped his head towards the door as Rykosar’s clone stepped through. Pieces of skin hung from his face, his coat essentially wrapped strands of thick leather clinging to his arms and shoulders as a result of the collapse. Blood poured from the left side of its head, one of its eyes swollen shut. A disgusting scowl twisted the clone’s features, pulling on some of the exposed muscles near his right cheek, two of his teeth were missing.

“I wasn’t quite fond of that, you know.” The clone sputtered, forcing his mouth to make the movements necessary to speak despite some of the areas there having been ripped apart.

“So I figured.”

The old clone took a ragged breath as he pushed off in a limping charge, maneuvering around the hole in the floor with his eyes locked on Rykosar. Hollywood went to grab a dart but stumbled back as Rykosar pushed him out of the way. The clone quickly swerved from the window, bringing all of his weight down onto Rykosar as the two tore a path through where Hollywood had once stood. The old man hit the ground back first with his clone following on top of him.

“Don’t!”

Hollywood froze before he had even went to make a move, taking an uneasy step back as he noticed why Rykosar resisted any potential of help. Where the two old men struggled to hold the other at bay, more cracks collected around them from their weight together, growing at a visible pace. Instead, Hollywood pulled out his tube and shot a dart at the clone. It hit true, the needle plunging into the side of his back, but it seemed to pay no mind.

The clone drew back an arm before pulling forward to punch Rykosar in the right temple. The old man’s head snapped to the side from the force, trying to pull his leg back and kick his clone off. It punched him again, the fist striking his stomach. Rykosar would have yelled from the pain but found his throat choked up, he spat out blood, his teeth stained in it before his foot pressed on the clone’s own stomach. He pushed out violently with the leg and the clone was thrown up, managing to bring itself to a stand from the force. However the opposing force from the kick caused the floor to grumble, the cracks split open. Rykosar, along with another section of the floor, collapsed into the room below.

“Shit!”

Hollywood edged towards the new hole, leaning forward while fleetingly bringing his gaze back to the clone who appeared to be mimicking the young man’s actions. Leaning in and peering over, though disregarding Hollywood for the moment. A sigh raked from the old clone’s throat, fighting against its exhaustion before deep azure eyes looked to Hollywood’s mask, which did well in hiding his anger until Hollywood lashed out, striking the clone with a dart straight into his arm before he could step out of the way. The sedative sunk in and the clone jerked back in surprise, backing away, simply looking to leave in order to confirm Rykosar’s state.

The old clone had turned but quickly looked back as he heard light footsteps round the gaps in the floor. Hollywood pulled his arm back to try and catch the clone’s throat with a quick jab. Hollywood’s hand was caught by the jagged metal that was left of its own hand, but there was no pressure, no shards digging into his skin. The clone was holding back.

“I’m not going to hurt anyone else.” It tried to assure the young man gingerly, taking the next punch Hollywood threw to his bloodied torn cheek. It didn’t perturb the clone much. “Please understand-”

Hollywood jumped up with a kick, this time aiming for the stomach as the clone had to Rykosar. The clone coughed, bending over as Hollywood replied. “There is nothing to understand, you’re trying to kill him. You may have killed him! But you’re not Rykosar, don’t play yourself off to be like him.” As Hollywood spoke, he noticed the clone shifting his weight between legs in a disoriented fashion. He quickly rounded the clone and moved forward, forcing the clone to back up into the room again, towards the first hole in the center.

The room spun as the effects of the sedatives began to show in the clone, his steps became stumbles, trying to balance himself. Hollywood tried to push against the clone’s chest, though had his hands caught. Again, they were not crushed with the force he knew those hands were capable of. “I…know he wouldn’t have done that…I can’t help it. Please.”

The clone began to push Hollywood back gently in return so he could limp for the stairway. “Just let me finish. So things can go back to normal.”

“Things won’t be normal so long as you’re still here and I know what you really are.”

A third voice chimed in, which caused both of them to turn their heads. “Oh, I plan to fix that!”

Hollywood’s vision flashed as something hard hit the back of his head. He staggered forward, being caught by Rykosar’s clone before he could fall on his face. The old clone eased Hollywood up and turned him around so he could see the source of the attack. It was the grizzly bearded man, now bearing an umbrella in one hand, held as if being used like a baseball bat. The man casted a glance at both of then, twirling the tool with an abnormal amount of precision.

Hollywood reached into his pocket for another dart, though a pit formed in his chest at the realization that he was out. But before he could react, Rykosar’s clone stood between the two, frowning down at the bearded man. The umbrella abruptly stopped spinning as an exasperated look showed on the bearded man’s face. He swung his umbrella out to strike Rykosar’s clone instead, who had held up his crushed metal hand to block it but found himself stunned as the destroyed finger joints suddenly broke into pieces from the strike. The umbrella unscathed as it proceeded, impacting the bloodied side of its head.

A bizarre sound rang out from the impact to the clone’s skull, but the result was clear. The old clone staggered back, almost into Hollywood who luckily dodged out of the way fast enough. Its metal leg fell through the first center hole in the room and the rest of his body followed behind, falling through the floors already broken through and then colliding with several more floors below.

Over the sound of breaking concrete and snapping desks, the bearded man spoke. “Hmph, what an unreliable clone. A shame really. Guess I’ll just have to try again.” He looked back up to Hollywood with a grin shining passed his whiskers, though he did not get a similar response.

Hollywood tried to sink a punch into the man’s stomach, but ended up getting smacked clean in the chest with the umbrella a second time. The thing carried the force and weight of a metal bar, definitely not a standard store bought parasol. Hollywood nearly tripped over himself, but veered forward as a counter balance to stay standing and using the momentum to charge again. This time, he rounded the bearded man’s side before he could swing with his umbrella again, stooping down and sweeping his leg to kick the back of the man’s knees.

The bearded man dropped to his knees as they buckled from the kick, trying to swing his whole arm around with the umbrella in tow. As Hollywood was smacked in the side of the head, the other man was hit as well, both hit the ground with a similar sounding thump. Only when the two tried to sit up, Hollywood was able to successfully, the bearded man was struck a second time by…another umbrella, plopping back against the floor. A stranger stepped around Hollywood and over the bearded man’s legs, crouching down to inspect him whilst limp and unconscious. The conscious man looked ready to go to a fancy dinner, bearing a formal suit, top hat, and black shoes. Both the unconscious man and the stranger had light brown hair, though the shaved man’s was better kept.

“Well, wasn’t that quite the situation, hm?” The stranger mused, grinning up towards the bruised and battered Hollywood.

A vaguely bewildered look fell on Hollywood, but his mask did a good job of covering it up. “Um…who are you?”

The man guffawed, “Why I’m the owner of the bloody corporation this building stands for!”

Hollywood blinked, almost contemplating if this was some sort of semi-conscious hallucination he was having. His head jerked to the unconscious man. “And him?”


“Hmph, my look alike it seems. No one else could look quite that handsome despite a disheveled appearance.” The stranger mused with his mustache, pinching the ends before straightening his legs and offering a hand to help Hollywood up. He took it graciously, moving his free palm along the back and sides of his head, feeling blood collecting in his hair before he froze.

“Rykosar!”

“Wait, what’s he doing here?” But the stranger was left there to stand and frown as Hollywood dashed out, but he soon followed behind with an umbrella tapping the ground like a cane as he walked.

Luckily Rykosar had only broken through one floor, likely due to the second collapsed hole having formed near a corner, there were more supports to break the fall. However, Hollywood had to encounter likely his final enemy of the day. Stairs. He groaned, legs pulsed with every stair step he descended from before pushing open the door leading into the room right beneath where they fought. There was another similarly sized hole as the one above in the center, which Hollywood stepped around to approach Rykosar and the bed of concrete and insulation under him. The stranger peered in, his brows lowered in a more prominent concern at the sight when he strolled inside moments later.

Both looked to examine the old gladiator to check his condition, though the young mustached man remained on the side as Hollywood moved some of the chunks of floor that were still covering Rykosar. Smaller pebbles tumbled off of him as the metal monster began to stir with a croak, his human hand struggled to lift up so he could brush his dark silver hair back and hold his head. He lifted himself up drearily, first looking to Hollywood as he was the closest, then his face contorting in brief confusion at the familiar face in the back.

“George?”

“In the flesh! Though for goodness sake, stop by the warehouse so that we know you’re still amongst the living, will you?”

“Aaugh.” Rykosar let out a pained groan as he forced himself to sit up, with Hollywood’s assistance. “With how I feel, I almost doubt I’ll be amongst the living much longer. Or I’ll wish it at least.”

“I’ll be pretty honest.” Hollywood started, sounding drained with each word. “I was starting to doubt you could survive that…”

“Of course I survived it.” The old gladiator coughed, spitting up a bit of blood despite his grin. “How else would you get your ‘Helping the Elderly’ badge, eh?”

“Well!” George would exclaim, clapping his hands together, “As much as exchanging jokes and making friends is pleasant and all. I believe both of you are currently bleeding out and more importantly, all over my offices! The lift happens to be broken, today of all days, but I can get us another way down in a few minutes.”

“That would be great…-really-…I’d almost rather wait for someone to fix the elevator over going down those stairs.” Hollywood explained drearily before plopping down beside Rykosar. He made a short pause before speaking again. “Today’s been a hell of a day…”

“You as well then?” Rykosar piped up, grinning though his eyes lidded. “I’d assume whatever happened today nearly leveled a quarter of the city. We can head back to my cabin, I have medical supplies and you can stay as long as you need.”

“Why not have you two come back to the warehouse?” George questioned pointedly.

“That’s an eight mile walk from here and you know I can’t ride vehicles.”

“Ahhh, right. You think you can even make it the walk to the cabin though? You seem quite off.”

Hollywood blinked sharply in recollection. “The sedatives. You’re going to be out for a bit.”

Rykosar growled a little under his breath. “Oh joy…I suppose some sort of rest is in order after that hectic mess. Though I highly doubt you two could even –roll- me onto a lift or…whatever is coming.”

George paused from twiddling with his mustache. “Do you doubt my capabilities, Mr. Rykosar? …You know, I still don’t know your last name.”

“Surnames make things seem too professional.” Rykosar would start to slur, eyes shutting then squeezing tight as he pinched his left temple to stay awake. “Haven’t used it…since…1941. When…” His eyes opened to watch the room swim and darken in his eyes before they shut again, losing consciousness.

“…well, that won’t do any good.” George proclaimed with a frown, slipping a hand into his suit pocket and digging for his phone. “I’ll get a doctor out here, the transport can wait on him. But you’ll be out of here in no time, with some luck. I know where his cabin is if you still want to stop by there for the supplies. I’m sure the hospitals are experiencing concern of a shortage with the madness that happened anyhow.”

Hollywood nodded slowly, leaning back against the wreckage behind him, trying to relax without falling asleep until the help they needed had arrived.



HOLLYWOOD:

I used to play a lot of poker growing up with my family. No big bucks, just betting pennies to nickels for a few hours until Leo or I had to go to bed. They were good, happy memories, and arguable the first times I started working on acting. One round in particular sprung to mind at the moment however. I was fourteen at the time, so my four year old kid brother was a bit too young to play. Regardless though, it was a game of five card draw, I had a two pair of threes and sevens, both in hearts and spades, and a king of clubs off to the side. I doubted my mom had anything good the way she took four, having to even show her ace to do so, but when Dad put down and drew a single card on his turn, I noticed a frown tug at his smile for a brief moment. The hand was mine. Whatever he wanted, he missed.

I bet the pot.

True to form, Dad was a seven short of a straight.

...But Ma somehow got a flush of diamonds.

Long story short, I haven’t liked two pair for the past half decade.

Especially when they aren’t cards, which leads me directly into why that game came to memory:

I was staring at my freaking hand, human form.

Rykosar and I standing tall before room’s entrance, bandages wrapped around our bodies half hazardly, reddened only by our beating hearts while across from us on either side of an off-suit ‘King’, where our unscathed mirrored images.

"I have cloned you,” The man in the middle spoke slowly as he reached to scratch his tangled beard, “And I want to replace you. They are you and they shall kill you to replace you. That's all I want. I want to control every last gladiator and bring an end to the wRHG!"

“I’m sorry Roy,” Swiftly drawing his blowguns, alarm hit me like Mike Tyson as the threat of the impossible became real immediately. Already loaded, panic set me on fire as the Three of Spades inhaled sharply, but before he spat it out at me, I tugged Rykosar’s shoulder and dashed to the door. Unopposed to retreat, the ancient man followed my lead as I shoved the wooden thing open, dart impaling the oak beside my head. Swallowing hard, I slammed it shut the moment he joined me outside, hands immediately flowing to my face in a downwards drag, choice curse cutting into the air.

Taking me from my pause, Rykosar guided me further back and closer to the stairs we had ascended from. “You wouldn’t happen to have one fight left, would you?” Though naturally gruff, there was a grandfatherly softness in his voice as he patted me on the shoulder, “I promise, this will be the last for today!”

“Day?” I half jokingly sighed the swear that time, stealing a quick glance to him as we continued out backpeddle. Frankenstein's monster had less scars, but with all the blows I had taken throughout the day I honestly couldn’t talk. “How about period?”

I think he grinned? He looked really messed up, but I could at least catch the nod. Neither of us were in any condition for this, he looked riddled in small pieces of shrapnel, had scattered burns, but most prominently was the twisted remainder of his right hand, mangled and sparking like Independance Day, yet still somehow functional. Discounting my leopard spots of cuts and bruises, my left arm was pretty much done for the day. From bottom to top, I sliced my palm to fake a kill, a spiral gash barely stopped pumping blood through the bandages I made out of my sleeves, I had my socks sealing a pair of stab wounds, one between my elbow and shoulder and the next beside it’s collar bone. It would’ve hurt less if I lost it. Additionally, my shredded shirt also displayed a long diagonal gash across my torso.

“Oh have a little faith!” Apparently my eyes showed a severe lack there of as Rykosar’s jovial voice filled the air once more, bracing himself and motioning for me to do the same. Nodding gradually, I drew a blowgun, rolling it in my palm as I stared at the door. If they really were us, we wouldn’t be able to outrun them in our state anyway.

My concept of time suddenly stuttered as the a soft click echoed with the knob’s twist. Shakily inhaling, a clenched fist feigned confidence guessing exactly what was coming next. A deep inhale filled my lungs as I counted down, visualizing what I’d be doing in my other pair of shoes. I’d have a dart between my teeth, leaning heavily against the frame. My eyes would close as I took a brief moment to compose myself, fingers of my free hand counting myself down as I swallowed my fear and summoned pride. 3. 2. 1.

“Bam.”
Wood smashed against the wall in breathtaking fury and as shoe punted it forward, the crash decimating all other sound as the Three of Spades sidestepped out, spitting a dart at me like acid. My head bobbed letting it passover, but the one I replied with was just as useful as he mimicked my exact motion. A reflexive scowl dragged my expression down, but as I went to reload Rykosar’s copy barreled out the exit, lowering his shoulder as he prepared to ram the real. Bracing himself in preparation, the ancient’s eyes locked on the technical newborn, contagious brave aura spreading to me before the vibe shifted suddenly.

I don’t know what Rykosar weighed, but the stairs were groaning with each step we took up the stairs during our ascension, and there were multiple times we became worried they’d break out from under us. The impostered matched his mass, and feeling the floor shake with each pounding step he took, none of us knew how well it’d hold the closer they became.

My ally wasn’t going to risk it. Inches from one another, the old man pivoted and took a sudden step back, letting the fraud overtake him as he drew back his metal fist. Terrifying amounts of power became apparent when the man-made limb struck the man-made man, nearly taking him from his feet despite the stranglehold he had on gravity. Guilt dominated his expression as the copy made an agonized groan, but a sharp puff ripped him right back to being fully alert.

“Move!”

Startled a bit, my reflexive jump back accomplished the order entirely on accident, watching as another projectile passed me by. Neck snapping to trace its path, my eye turned directly into a swinging blowgun, knees buckling as I fell back in a grunt. Arm shooting out to catch myself, a second blow bashed against my skull and caused my full collapse. Brain throbbing with pump of blood my heart sent I could barely think to roll over and raise my arms to defend. Steel rushed down once more as I flinched in my shadow, but a swift clang overtook my next yelp. Eyes having shut in the terror, they cracked open to see what remained of Rykosar’s metal hand deflect the gun, smashing it into a wall as it left the Three of Spade’s grip. Eyes wide as he stared with an ‘Oh shit’ moment in the face, he watched the other ancient fist rush in his direction.

Dropping down to a squat instantly, the would be devastating blow only succeeded in knocking off his hood and grazing his hockey mask, but as he shot back to his feet his knuckles pounded the old man’s chin. Rykosar took maybe a half step back, doing a comical amount of absolutely no damage.

“Is that anyway to treat your elders?” His mangled, scarred face attempted a smile, recent scabs cracking as it spread. The not-me-me went to reply, but a smirk lept on his expression and before I would get a word out, the baby-old-man had seized the original by his shoulders, spinning for momentum before heaving him into the elevator doors. Both of me flinched at the resulting noise, but in the spade’s distraction I was able to scamper to my feet. Maybe I would’ve run earlier today, but I was done being a coward.

That being said, don’t get it twisted and think I planned on fighting fair. Rushing forward I darted both open palms at his ankles, ripping them up with me when I rose, head smacking the tiles as he failed to catch himself. Spreading his legs like ‘v’ as he flailed, I brought my foot down as hard as I physically could. I don’t really know a masculine way of saying this, so I’m just going to tell it like it was. I didn’t curb-stomp the ball on his neck. I did it to the ones between his legs. Fuck that guy.

“Hollywood…?” Rykosar was a little hard to hear over all the screaming, but he got me with the second attempt. “Hollywood!”

Turning my head in spurts, the elder slowly came into view, looking absolutely appalled from his place in the dented doors of the elevator. Even his clone was staring, completely motionless as his eyes ping-ponged between standing me, and rolling-on-the-ground-in-utter-excruciation me. Essentially, all fighting had stopped to take in the horror of my action.

“What?”

Both Rykosars brought their hands to their face in unison like they were my grandparents watching me set my homework on fire. Apparently lacking any further words, they dragged their palms down and exchanged a glance. The false glared suddenly at the true.

“I didn’t tell him to do it,” Real Rykosar smiled weakly as the spade suddenly became weary of how cleanly we were battling. Not taking that chance, his fist barreled at my ally, who narrowly bobbed his head out of its path.

“Hey!” Steel dented horribly on impact with his metal knuckle, and I limped as quickly as I could, I spotted the door have to fight from giving way. It whined as Rykosar’s weight pushed harder against it, spreadly slowly as the clone drew back his fist once more. Its gears and cogs crinkled and popped as he clenched, but a boot to the gut was able to shove him back towards me before the next blow was delivered. Blowgun in hand, I thrust it forward like I was stabbing him in the back with a dagger, impacting his spine. A deep yelp echoed the room as his spine alerted his brain to the pain, his head dipping down, but only for a second as he reached back.

Four mangled knuckled rocketed into his jaw, colossal amounts of power generating from the quick twist of Rykosar’s body the moment of impact taking the other off his feet. Only inches off the ground, he crashed like an asteroid into the floor, a crater fracturing under his massive mass. The ground shook as it threatened to give way, but approximation dared to take my teammate with it, fractures spider webbing under his feet. He was too wounded to take it well, and he knew it.

Unfortunately, so did the other.

He was only able to take a half step to the side before the carbon copy took notice. Chuckling, he rose his metal foot. “I’m too old to die young anyway.” My eyes went wide as the limb sped down, but I was only able to help myself. Leaping back, I watched the floor beneath the two of them shatter, dropping them in a violent plummet down to the next level. Screams deafened the area as their combined impact sounded like a bomb had gone off, terrifying the only workers insane enough to remain at their job. Afraid to see the extent of the damage, I backpedaled rather than creep up to the giant hole. Shaking my head free of denial, I made a sudden charge for the exit. If I was going to survive this, I needed that old man.

I made it all the way to the door before suddenly realizing the 7 of spades wasn’t the only thing to be afraid of. Sure enough, 3 was already back to his knees, still cupping himself.

“You stomped on my nuts?”

“You really need to ask that?”

Swerving to the side, I tried delivering a punt that would’ve made Randy Orton proud, but when he rolled I only succeeded in making an ass of myself. One foot high in the air, it took next to nothing to knock me down, which he accomplished with ease with a sweep to the shin. Open palms struck carpet in a feeble attempt to catch myself, but an elbow to the spine made mine buckle. Yelping, my body fell flat on the floor.

“You know you can’t win this right?” The arrogance I was expecting was gone from his voice, almost like he was speaking to a man on death row. “It doesn’t have to be this way.”

Bull. Making my way back to my knees, the bottom of his shoe struck my side, pain flashing from my ribs as it rolled me closer to the stairwell. “No, it actually does.” Turning to my back, I scooted behind me, watching his slow advance gain on my gradual retreat. “Because if you actually are me, then you can’t kill me.”

“I’ll do what I have to.” He almost sounded sincere as he drew his spare blowgun.

“Right. Good luck with that.” A somber frown tugged his expression down while my back found the door. Reaching up, I pulled the lever, using it to bring myself back to my feet. “You’ve had no idea the day I’ve had. Myself would literally be the easiest, least dangerous fight I could ask for.”

“No one would ask for this.”

Alright, I’ll give him that one. Drawing a blowgun of my own I clenched it tight, eyes narrowed and focused as I awaited how our battle would proceed. His feet pressed off against the ground in a sudden dash; close combat it was then.

A gold blur whipped across my vision as he swung the pipe diagonally at me, but a clang rang in our ears as I brought mine up to defend. Throwing a fist to counter, knuckles would’ve struck cheek has he not swerved to the side, and as my entire torso was open, he delivered his shin to my chest like the UPS man. Yelping as my pained face scrunched, I stumbled behind me, shoulder blades grazing the handle to the stairs, pressing half against door, and half sturdy wall.

Moaning, my body slouched, but his boot slammed into my stomach before I could begin sliding down. Hacking crimson as he pinned me in place with it, my eyes half shut from could barely make out his silhouette as he leaned closer. “If you just would’ve died like you were supposed to, none of this would’ve had to happen…”

“None of what?”

His hands seized the handle like it was the lever to a trap door, and thrusting it down he shoved his foot against my body to pull it open behind me. Fighting back a shout of anguish from the pressure on my bruises, I felt it the door pull against my back, opening ever growing as he pried it wider and wider, myself in the expanding crevice. The realization of his plan struck me like a lightning bolt, but as I frantically began to squirm I felt my shoulders wedge between the door and frame, I fighting desperately to hold onto both. Not risking a stalemate however, he suddenly turned into a battering ram, foot stomping on the ground as his joints thrust him forward, dipping his shoulder and smashing into my solar plexus like a safety.

My grip died like a predator’s prey as I launched back, leaving the door to swing open behind me. Converging my limbs to tuck in and protect my face, my open palms made the world turn black, but not before seeing my carbon copy have to look away from what was coming. The building was nice, but there was no carpeting on these stairs. The full speeding force of my body pounded against it like a hammer, bones chipping as the took the brunt of the blow. I bounced off it like a ball before striking the next in such a rapid succession that I lost track of how many times or where exactly I landed. My nerves were on overdrive as the stairs wailed against me, my only saving grace being the platform between floors. Striking it hard, I sprawled out upon it as I heard footsteps descend the stairs. As much as I needed to breathe, I just knew I didn’t have the time.

A dull ringing filled my ears as my quaking legs struggled to stand. Everything was blended, I couldn’t tell what part of me was hurting, it would’ve been like trying to pinpoint which part of a lake was wet. Blood speckled beneath me as I coughed, using my elbows to prop myself up to a crawling position.

“Please…” The voice behind me was pleading desperately, the owner’s dark shadow casting a heavy darkness over my body. “Just… stop fighting this.”

Quivering, I dragged a knee across the ground entering a crouch as every fiber of my being refused to die. Breathing raspily, I shook my head in defiance.

Anguish flashed like a flare as a metal rod struck the back of my skull, grunt propelling out of my body as I collapsed again.

“This- This is about more than just me and you,” I could feel that he was trying to reassure himself over my moaning, likely averting his eyes as I gripped my head, “The Master of Anarchy has the power to create life! He could bring back Mom and Dad, and he promised he would after the RHG fell!”

Strength dwindling, I rolled to my back, swollen, exhausted eyes locking on my mirrored image. “My mom and dad are dead,” Although worn, a clear hint of disdain echoed through the stairwell, “You have none, and you aren’t me. You’re nothing but a sack of blood and flesh with my face and memories. So just nothing.”

Anxiety was building in the man, dread of what he had to do was mixing with the blow of my words, forming sweat on his palms, dribbling down his weapons and dropping into the puddle from my latest gash. “I’d be real to our brother.” He sounded genuine, sincere. “I wouldn’t let anything happen to him, and even if something did, we could bring him back without the memories of his death.” Drawing his hockey mask up, he tried giving me a smile, as though he expected me to accept it, and then my death shortly after.

“You did not just bring my brother into this.” Although frail by this point, my heart thumped to get my body moving once more, sitting upright as I scooted back. “He’s the only good thing in this world, I’d leave heaven and charge into hell to keep him safe.”

“Then you know I would too. Please, just let me send you to up there,” He was almost begging, despite his obscenely dominant position over me, “Hug Mom and Dad for me... Tell them I miss them... and that I can’t wait to see them again.”

I tried spitting at him but I coughed blood instead, dripping down my busted lip. Giving up, he frowned.

“I really am sorry Roy.” His gaze drifted guiltily as his foot planted firmly before him. I gulped heavily as he rose his weapon high above his head but lacking any strength I couldn’t do anything to avoid it. Without any other option, my left forearm darted above my head as the blowgun rushed down.

A revolting, godless snap consumed our minds as my wrist shattered. Flying well past my breaking point, a horrid shriek hurled out of my throat like vomit, tears welling in my clamped eyes while I rolled to my side. My entire being contorted in agony as the pain shot through me, twitching like I was having a seizure.

“Please just stop!” His voice cracked like a vase, struggling with the kill just as badly as I was struggling to survive. He was shaking in his own right, but that still didn’t stop the next blow. “I’m not trying to make you suffer!”

I could hardly hear him as my throat burned from my screaming, contorting violently whenever anything touched my bone. I couldn’t even describe the intensity, I would’ve felt better burning alive. Having to fight a losing war just to open my eyes, I could see my copy take a seat next to me, visibly sick and he even looked green through my tears. Slowly, he was pulling a dart out of his sash, hardly even making eye contact anymore.

“How about if I put you to sleep, alright?” Regret dominated his somber tone, making the offer like I’d be the one doing him the favor. “It’d be peaceful that way…”

“If you’re going to kill me,” My voice had all the power of suffocating infant as I hissed my reply, “You’re going to watch me die! Watch me thrash! You’re going to see exactly what it feels like to take the life from someone’s body! Witness exactly what I’m not but you are!”

“I have to,” His despondent whisper was still louder than anything I can do, “For all the lives RHG is going to drag to hell. It’s the big picture Roy, it goes beyond just you and your brother-”

“Who you’re putting through hell! You are not the heroes in this, you’re the terrorists!”

“Just… think something nice.” He tried to force a smile as he twirled the dart between his fingers, “Maybe about God. You could pray… ask for forgiveness.” My teeth grit as he inched the sedated tip closer to me, almost like a nurse for someone in an insane asylum. “You won’t have to ever see anyone get hurt. I promise.”

Inches away from my skin, my shattered arm suddenly thrashed in its direction while the other seized his hand. Taken off guard, he didn’t stop me from slamming one into the other, bone puncturing skin soaked in more blood that a baby’s grand appearance. Sheer anguish annihilated my exhaustion as I rolled once again, wrenching his dart with me as I flailed on our section of stairs. My cries blocked out the sound of the projectile’s initial snap, and without the toxic tip of the needle, I stabbed the rest of it beside my protruding calcium source as my back shield his view.

I’m sure his mind was racing in a desperate attempt to make sense of what he saw, but my speeding heart not only put him to shame, it humiliated NASCAR engines. My mind was screaming along with the rest of me, but I knew my entire life depended on my being still. I needed to act, be the polar opposite of what I was. A man peacefully asleep.

I was shaking like a phone on vibrate as I bit down on my lip, salty water from my eyes mixing with my oxygen rich blood, staining the cement. I had to stop moving. If I didn’t, God knows what they’d do to this city, but we both knew my brother would just be another in a long list of victims. Clenching my eyes like rage fueled fists, I finally felt Drama Club pay off. My movement slowed and limbs fell limp, dart still sticking out of my flesh.

“Don’t worry, I’ll keep our brother safe… From any; and everything.”

A cool shadow crawled up my face as the copy repositioned himself, a soft thunk resounded next to me as he took off his hockey mask, followed by static sparks dancing between his wild hair and ski one. Gently, the fabric covered my mouth and nose. I held it together up until there.

Crawling my hand down my side, the joint became a snake as it tried slithering unseen down into my pocket... but then he applied pressure. I’m not that great of an actor. Refreshed panic rushed through my body like a cue, but my hand had seized my own projectile and ripped it out of my pocket like a scap off my skin. Fighting blind, both my hands went for his face, but as he recoiled his long hair wisped back to me, which my free was able to ensare. Note to self: I need to cut that shit for that exact reason. Yanking him back, I stabbed my dart at him like a knife.

Suddenly, I wasn’t the only one screaming. Something squirted like a popped zit as my fist struck his brow, cheekbone and grazed his nose. Those context clues quickly told me what the mystery liquid was, and as my grip failed the Three of Spades recoiled violently, staggering exactly as far back as you’d expect from someone stabbed in the eye. A dead man’s grip on the railing as he tried desperately to inhale, I gathered a blowgun off the ground, turning it into a cane as my feeble legs lacked the competence to carry their own weight.

Progress slow but steady, I was within reach of him when he whirled around, one hand cupping his eye as crimson leaked, and the other swinging at me in a wild haymaker. Ducking down, I dodged the blow before ramming my weapon into his gut, air rushing out of his body as he bowed down but grabbing the collar of his shirt, I tore him from his balance. Unforgivingly I launched him down the stairs, striking the first with his shoulder before tumbling in a horrific ragdoll. My vision was far too blurred to see the full extent of the damage, but as his head smashed against the wall of the next floor, the crimson it left behind as he fell limp hinted at his fate. I swallowed hard, gradually facing the door beside me as my stomach started to churn.

Sucking in one final inhale, I gripped the knob and twisted, having to use my weight to swing it open. Being as groggy as I was I could hardly make out who was who, but as I leaned against the wall their metals arms came into view, confirming for certain. Even as damaged as Rykosar was, he was still putting up one hell of a fight. Body blows were exchanged like it was a professional boxing match with both parties exhausted, but the true one by just a little bit more, lacking the speed to block the hook that rocked his temple. Stumbling back, the copy took a quick step forward, pounding his jaw with a furious uppercut. His neck shot up with the blow, and with his arms waving behind him his entire weight smashed against the floor, spiderwebs chipping under him as it struggled dealing the shock. Hesitant to test fate for a second time, the clone took a small step back as they spread, but feeling in need of redemption, I forced my body to move, leaning heavily against the walls as I limped forward as quickly as I could.

It didn’t go unnoticed by either. “I told you the boy was strong,” An agonized chuckled dribbled out of my older than earth teammate as our foe looked at me in bewilderment.

“How?”

Too busy using my mouth to breathe, I shrugged, drawing another dart from my pocket. His eyes were locked on it like a homing missile, but as soon as Rykosar moved a half inch his gaze snapped to the man.

“Back… up,” The words came between drained pants as I dragged my blowgun to my mouth, loading it slowly, “I’m… I’m not asking again.”

Turning back to me, the copy’s eyes filled with worry, which to be honest, made me feel pretty damn badass. ...Until I found out why. “You need to sit down,” He urged, gently motioning with his hand, “You look as pale as a ghost, it’s a miracle you can even stand. You’ve lost too much blood, you need time to recover.”

“You’re kidding,” I was fighting to keep my eyes open anyway, but they narrowed on him, “Right?”

“He has a point. You could overexert yourself,” The Rykosars nodded as the original continued, “I don’t think he’s a threat to you, why don’t you call a doctor and wait on the main floor?”

I really had nothing else to say to them. I didn’t spend all day getting almost killed to find the cause (I’ll admit, on accident) to just to walk away from it. I’ve got a brother, and I wasn’t about to leave while the outside remained the devil’s playground. Shaking my head, I just shot my dart. And by that, I mean pumped out all the air in my lungs and it fell three inches from the tube. Spade and Heart sighed in unison. It was actually pretty heartbreaking.

“I really didn’t want to hurt you,” The clone murmured, hands sliding into his pockets as he strode over to me. Regret for future actions softened his blue eyes. “You’re much too young to lead this life.”

“So you aim to take it from me?” You’d think I could move faster than a 600 pound old man, but apparently nope. He was gaining on me, and quick. Damn limp.

“Hollywood, there’s a war coming,” His weighted steps failed to match what his words carried, “Good men will die if I can’t end it before it begins. For all the lives I need to save, if I need to take yours for the sake of peace…” His voice trailed off somberly, but he really didn’t have to finish. Maybe a foot and a half away, his metal arm reached out to my neck as I ran out of room, back striking wall. “You’re much too young for this…”

Chilled fingers wrapped around my throat as his despondent pupils found my fading ones.

“Then don’t do it.”

“I have to.” A sudden squeeze cut off all air like a zip tie and sent flashes of the last time I’d nearly been strangled. Lacking the oxygen to even choke, breathless gasps fought to keep me alive as I was lifted off the ground, pressure building up like my head was a balloon about to burst. I could feel myself turn blue as I began to shake, but the yelp I heard was not my own and the man’s grip loosened. Sucking in atmosphere like a vacuum cleaner first chance, my first strike against him was about as effective as a slap. Wind rushed against my features as we whirled around, but he stopped long before I did, lobbing me like a baseball. Tucking into a ball however, I was caught as part of the same simile, Rykosar having to step back to keep from falling over.

“Ow…”

“That doesn’t do you justice,” I could hear the smile in his voice as he set me down beside himself. “This doesn’t involve the boy, and I doubt he has any love left for the RHG after today. It’s between us, and only us.”

“It would have been if he had left,” Rubbing the back of his head he looked us both over, “I honestly don’t like this any more than you do.”

Rykosar nodded as he stepped to the side, nearing the floor’s elevator. Looking over the door, they seemed about as durable as the top one’s. “So shall we end this quickly?” The pound of his fist rattled my eardrums as he struck it, a gap emerging between the doors, “I believe it’s best for all parties.”

A frown tugged at the copy’s expression. “Back away from there.”

He blasted it once more, the left frame coming dangerously close to falling into the shaft. “Take me away from here.” A challenging smirk found a home on the old man’s face, but as I found something to lean against, a full scan found that he was missing a boot. Trailing to the clone however, I found what saved my ass, nodding in thanks. “Don’t mention it.”

Facing the elevator once more however, a third shot sent the fake rushing forward, to which Rykosar replied by backing up. Lowing his shoulder, he shot me a quick glance before facing his foe once more, charging the thing with the last of his strength. Postures matched exactly, it could’ve passed for a good movie effect up until their unholy collision. Twelve hundred pounds. A thousand two hundred pounds before any factors of force were brought into play, crashed at the top speed both bodies could summon. I could hear metal crack, bones snap, and the floor fracture in the fraction of a second, all while neither forced showed any pain. Deadlocked for fairly obvious reasons, their muscles quaked in their attempt to push the other back, but with how close they were to what remained of the elevator doors, their objectives suddenly changed.

With the thought of a hive mind, the each sent a fist to finally snap the metal slides fully, smacking the far side of the shaft before a long plummet. Maybe my adrenaline was just quickening my counting, but I swear I hit ten solid seconds before it ceased. Goosebumps rising my skin, I pressed my decent arm against the ground, agonizedly shoving myself upright. Sweat was flowing my teammate as he struggled to hold his ground, his shaking intensifying as fatigue threatened to be his downfall. He could feel his feet grinding against the floor, nearing the pit they had created despite his struggle. Blood pumped out of his gashes with an increased severity and healing scabs popped open. Teeth grinding together in a way that would make dentists cry, his body tilted inside the shaft from the power of the other.

Every vein in their bodies were bulging, working like elves on Christmas to pump out oxygen, speeding throughout their entire beings. The copy flinched at a sudden prick.

“Goodnight.” Even if my voice had volume, I probably would’ve dropped it to the mute level just for that. His eyes widened as they saw the last dart I had directly piercing his circulatory system, giving almost instant delivery of my sedative. Eyelids growing heavy, he tried one last time to throw Rykosar down the shaft, but strength fading out like the end of a movie, he suddenly found himself overpowered.

Twisting the man in one swift movement Rykosar countered and the copy’s grip failed him, eyes fluttering before coming to a close as he fell over the edge. Darkness consumed his body in less than a second and the air was audible as he rushed passed it. Cringing in anticipation of what was coming, I still damn near jumped at the bone crunching bang.

“...We’re not done yet, are we?”

“Not entirely,” A frown dragged down the old man’s expression as his eyes traveled to the hole in the ceiling, “We still have to handle the Master of Anarchy. Are you certain you can still fight though? My clone honestly did have a point.”

Gazing at the missing chunk above us, I nodded hesitantly. “Yeah, I’m okay.”

“Hollywood… don’t waste your life.” I guess I’m not as good a liar as I’ve been led to believe, “Y-”

“And there’s someone much younger than me who could be in more danger.”

Heaving out a heavy sigh, the old man finally shrugged. “If you insist.”

“Thanks.” Taking a moment to breathe myself, I indicated upwards once more, “Can you give me a lift though? I don’t want to give that terrorist time to run if he hasn’t already.”

A light chuckle bubbled out of my teammate. “We would’ve heard him come down the stairs, and we just guaranteed the elevator isn’t coming back online anytime soon. You’re worried that climbing another story would leave you too tired, aren’t you?”

I didn’t deny it. Shrugging, my eyes drifted. “Can you just help me?”

“Alright, alright,” He tried grinning but it failed to spread to me. Limping his way to the center of the debris, I hobbled right behind him, sliding the remains of my shirt off and wrapping it in a tight ball around my shattered wrist, each touch to exposed bone striking agony through my body like a sledgehammer. I couldn’t help but yelp each revolution and my eyes were watering long before I was done. “Hollywood?”

“I’m fine,” Clearly crying, I couldn’t look him in the eyes, having to use my good hand to locate his shoulder. Lowering it for me, I carefully scaled him, using his head to brace myself as my legs wobbled on his bruised bones. Blurry eyes locating a protruding pipe, my elbow wrapped around it, letting me take some of my weight off the old man, who proceeded to reach up and push me fully back to the top floor.

Rolling softly, I gently pushed myself up to my feet, staggering a limp before finding a more comfortable pace. It was exactly the way we had left it, but fighting back a rush of emotions I wasn’t convinced that was either good or bad. Inside the room, something suddenly shattered violently. I… wasn’t sure about that either.

Not bothering to wait for Rykosar, I limped through the open doorway, right palm bracing the frame as I leaned inside. Shattered glass riddled the floor beside a punched out window, but the Master of Anarchy stood behind his desk, breathing heavily. Brown hair slicked back from sweat, he suddenly bore an uncanny resemblance to the picture of the man behind him.

Eyes widening, I took a stumbling step inward. “You’re…?”

“I’m exactly who I said I am, and so much more,” Frustrated scowl slowly slid to an evil smirk as we locked eyes, “You though. You’ve changed.”

My gaze narrowed to a glare as I took another step in. “I’m still the same.”

“No, you’re not.” Reaching under the desk, his smile widened. “Do you know what this it?”

I didn’t humor him.

“A panic button.” Like a mouse trap, a steel wall slammed down from the ceiling, turning the entire room into a prison cell, lacking any possible form of escape. I swore. Loudly by the way. “And do you know why I did that?”

“To cut me off from Rykosar.” Pain spiked as my left fist clenched.

“Because many men are coming,” He spoke slowly to me, smoothy as he pulled a bottle and glass from his drawer, “As well as a woman. It seems that in my distraction I’ve allowed myself to be discovered.”

Popping the cork, I strode another pace as I spoke, “So you’re going to kill me before then?”

He chuckled darkly, pouring his drink. The champagne bubbled as the goblet filled. “Not at all, I told you. You changed.”

“Don’t play games with me.”

Calmly, he rose the glass to his lips.

“Dammit! I said don’t play fucking games with me!”

“Right there,” Setting the cup back down, he swallowed, “God that’s good.” Absotutely steaming, I was in perfect contrast with his cool demeanor. “I told you that I was the creator of all things mad and that I desired to control every gladiator in the wRHG.”

Within feet from him, my voice was the hiss of a viper. “What the hell are you saying?”

“I’m saying I made you,” Calmly, he reached inside his desk once more, a glimmer of light foreshadowing the steel he drew. “What you never would’ve done, you just did minutes ago.” Revealing a shimmering blade, my eye twitched and my advance turned into a slow retreat. “You stabbed a man in the eye with no regard for his life and then hurled him down a flight of stairs. Would you like to know how you were able to do that?” His voice lowered as I growled, “Because he was you, and he knew you were bound by morals. Those binds are severed now, aren’t they?” He flashed his teeth in a smile.

“Stay back.”

“Oh I already said I wasn’t going to kill you,” Ominous chuckles blackened the mood, “But you won’t do me the same kindness.” Gradually he flipped the blade, handle reaching out to me and tip aimed at him. “My work will live on through you.”

I stopped moving.

“Did you want to know why you can’t reach your brother?”

“Don’t you dare.”

“Back when you were concerned with the lives of others, a prisoner, one whom you spoke with, had a bounty placed on you and a friend of yours.”

My blood froze.

“And because he survived that breakout, that bounty was able to seduce a handful of ruffians. Would you like to know what they did?”

“Stop.”

“They kicked your door down and murdered your clanmate in front of your ‘Little Lion’.”

“[b]Stop![b]”

“He watched a shotgun blast graymatter out of the back of a friend’s skull, and then he witnessed even more death as a man you asked to look over him, and a coworker asked to look over you, entered an all out shootout. It’s shocking none of them died, but they’re all on the road right now.” Rage shaking my body numbed all the pain I was feeling, dumping fuel on a burning fire in my very soul. “I wonder what would happen if one more disaster occurred before the day’s end.” He laughed.

He fucking laughed!

“Do you think he’d be scared as he grew cold?”

I snapped like a bone. Consumed by hate, I snatched the knife from his open palm and plunged it deep into his sternum until my fist struck his body. Tearing it out, crimson sprayed as his chuckles quieted, eyes falling to me as the color faded, but as my scowl deepened I rushed the blade down again. A rib fractured as it struck it dead on, and cast off left a red trail across my face. Ripping it down with all my might, I stared unblinking as a sea of blood swelled from his severing skin until I reached his stomach. Eyes lifeless and glazed over, I jerked the weapon out before jamming it back into his chest. Repeatedly. I was exhausted walking into this room, but I felt a second wind now, just for this. Outside I could make out a clamor, but I paid it no mind. My movements were almost robotic as the blade pounded in his body, blood splashing and coating most of mine. Frantic breathing accelerating as the voices grew louder and more desperate, I finally slammed one final stab into the man’s midsection, the final squirt splashing into my face.

Rage fueled eyes quivering with my shaking hands, I finally stepped off him. A pool had flooded the room, staining the vast majority of carpet, but also lay splattered on the walls and ceiling. They dripped down like a horror movie as reality began creeping in.

“Oh God.” Growing woozy, my trembling amplified, legs giving out from under me leaving me to fall to my knees. My eyes were growing wide at the horrific scene of my own doing, a man lied inches from me with dozens of scattered punctures in his torso, as well as the knife still sticking out if it. His eyes were wide and I could see a piece of his intestines from outside the long slice. Bringing my hands to my face, I was still unable to avert my gaze. Rocking back and forth like a terrified child I couldn’t even form cohesive thoughts.

“Back away from the door! We’re coming in!”

I didn’t even turn my head, fighting back both lunch and tears instead.

“Torvin! W-” A blast dulled my hearing as I finally snapped my petrified neck in the door’s direction, scrap metal barreling by me as a dou of figures stood behind a rapidly dissipating cloud of smoke. “-t! That’s not the real Hollywood!”

Before the taller could react, the smaller with a hand covering the side of his face elbowed his jaw, swiping something from his side. The transparency of the fog faded just enough to make out the barrel of a handgun in my clone’s grip, red streak trailing down his face having failed to recover his masks before reinforcements had arrived.

The nozzle flashed.

Blood spluttered out of my body as something tore through it, vision growing black as I fell forward, no longer able to feel. With what was left of my eyesight, I saw the silhouette recover and slam the gun’s aim down, the bright light of the blast highlighting the two as the soldier as wrestled him to the ground. Eyes finally closing, I could hear weighted footsteps rush to me.

“Sabine! Get your herbs! George, call a doctor! Sebastian help Torvin; and Hollywood! Don’t you die! Hang in there!”

Feebly, my shaking palm reached out to the old man, gripping his massive fingers... Holding on for dear life…

...As I faded.

Tremorfist
10-08-2014, 03:16 PM
CnC time.

Both were good stories, both writers have been stressed over it, but were able to come out on decent form.

For Kyra: Characters, you as per usual did exceptonally on. It was a coherent story and for the most part flowed well. my main complaint was generally a lack of interaction with the clones, it was a battle, and a good battle at that, it just felt a bit lacking in the flavor department. It was attack and retaliate, I relished the moments of quip or characters giving some commentary, but it lacked as much as it could have in my eyes. Really, I see it as a bit rushed, and while good, lacked some of the life you usually can give.

Crank: First time I CnCed your work, and I can honestly say, you did very well. The story was lively, amusing where it had to be, perhaps a bit too silly at some parts, though I have the same problem. Characterization wise it felt a bit off, but I adored the character interactions. Generally a superior piece in this battle, you did some great work here.

Point goes to Crank here, but you both did well, hope to see more from both in the future.

Crank
10-20-2014, 06:37 AM
I just want to thank everyone who either read or voted, especially Tremorfist for that CnC! I'll be on the lookout for my sarcasm slipping through where it shouldn't and work on make the character portrayals better!

Again, I really appreciate the support! Had a lot of fun making this, and Kyra already knows how much I like hers!