Narrator X – Things recede and I shall die.
ON BOARD THE DESTRUCTZORD
His head turned slowly to the left. The cockpit was sliding forward. He looked at Jim, who was sliding with it. Now the doorway was moving past him. A stack of books floated in air as their shelf kept the same slow, forward motion as the cockpit.
An eternity passed while Last Scion hung motionless. Things recede.
The meeting with the assassin had been out of Last Scion's control from the moment they had landed at Poly HQ, and now his friend Elsa was receding along with all the Destructoid members who had come with and met their ends in time with Samit's grand orchestra.
He thought of Occam's final brave seconds, leaping to action in order to protect Jonathan. Last Scion felt the rancor's metal fist smash into Occam.
He thought of Dale and felt something on his back. Its touch grew stronger. The wall.
Last Scion had floated through the anteroom and was slowly pushing up against the wall. It was comforting at first, but the comfort soon turned to oppression, then to pain, then agony. The wall ground relentlessly into his back.
Now it was touching his head. He felt a sharp pain in his skull and his eyes grew heavy. He could not resist. His body was being crushed, but his brain was forcing him to sleep. His eyes closed and he fell into unconsciousness.
He awoke to flames and fumes. The smell of burning ion fuel scorched his airway down to the bottom of his lungs. What foul dream is this?
Nearby he heard a rhythmic scraping sound. He stood up, though his body screamed in protest. I do not surrender to pain. Pain surrenders to me.
But it did not surrender when he walked forward. Instead, his leg gave out and he fell in a heap.
“NO!” he roared. The scraping stopped.
“Last Scion, is that you?”
The British one
, he thought. “Yes, where are we?”
“Bloody blazing British ballsacks, I thought you had died.” Jim ran to him. “Are you okay?”
“I am a warrior,” Last Scion answered. “Tell me what happened. The last moment I remember was a peaceful dream in which I floated backward through the zord.” Though it ended as a nightmare.
“We crashed. I'm not sure what happened, but I think Zombie Orwell did something to the control panel. I think he hacked my brain.” Jim looked pale and weak, like he might die of exhaustion at any moment.
“What have you been doing all this time? You look as death itself.”
“The blade,” he said. “I've been sharpening the blade.”
“Damn it, Jim,” Last Scion snarled, “House Dixon has suffered enough shame. You should not pile on by 'sharpening your blade' for hours on end. Go and find Samit. Kill him.”
“No, look.” Jim held aloft a massive, finely crafted sword. It had been shaped into a life-size steel representation of Matt Borealis. He stood nude, hands behind his head, posing suggestively.
Last Scion averted his eyes. It is unbecoming for a warrior to gaze with lust upon such well-made erotica. But the artwork – the craftsmanship.
“My god, Jim,” he said. “Are those...”
“Yes. Droplets of water.”
“You are a true artisan.”
Jim frowned. “The beauty of my art is a result of the anguish in my soul. The only man I ever loved spurned me. He died in the gnashing teeth of a monster made of sex toys. My brain was violated by a long-dead pusher of pens. And now I come crashing to Earth with nothing left.”
He slid the Borealis Blade into its scabbard. “Art is anguish and the ground is dust.”
“Yes,” agreed Last Scion. “Artists were made to suffer. Nobody understands the world like a poet.”
“Or purveyor of fine literature.”
“Truly.” Together they gazed up at the stars. “Yet we are infinitely insignificant.”
“Life is pain.”
“Art is life.”
“Therefore art is pain.” Their two souls communed among the smoking wreckage of the Destructzord. Several hours passed while they discussed things too profound and true to ever set to paper. And their souls communed.
Their souls communed.
Narrator X – After the communion
“Let us find Dale and set about our separate paths,” said Last Scion.
“Forget about Dale. He's gone.”
“Do not tell me this thing, Jim.” He stood up, his body still screaming in pain, but allowing him to move. “I must find Dale.”
He tumbled through the wreckage, shouting Dale's name, but only the fires gave answer. He picked up piles of steaming metal and flung them out of the way, hoping not to find Dale burnt and crackling beneath. His hands were burning, but he ignored the pain. Why do the fires still burn as though fresh?
The next piece of metal he picked up claimed most of the skin on one finger. He snarled in pain. Lions are warriors. Pain surrenders to
me. He lifted up another large hunk of steel, but it slipped from his grasp and fell on the ground, kicking up a plume of ion-soaked dust. He choked and stumbled. His bloody bones and charred skin felt evil when he grabbed his throat. NO! This is not where you die, lion.
His body lurched forward a few more steps, but he struggled to see through the tears. A large, dark object came into view on his immediate left. He leaned against it, grateful for a bit of reprieve. Breathe, lion. Accept the oxygen.
He took a breath. And another. And another. He stood there breathing and shaking for several minutes.
A scene from his boyhood raced through his brain: the initiation ritual his uncle, Temujin, had designed for his newly-formed army. The pain of those blows and bites and stings came rushing back, but he shook off the memory. He was a boy then, and boys feel pain; but now he was the veteran of 10,000 battles. Pain did not exist.
He looked at his hands. They had nearly burned away, but, with great difficulty, he could still move them.
In the distance he saw a small cuboid building with one corner dug into the ground. He walked to it, realizing, as he neared, that it was part of the Destructzord. He looked at the upside down sign.
It appeared mostly undamaged. He walked to within inches of the wall and felt no heat. The doors were a few feet to his left. I will need to pry them open, but with what hands?
The doors slid open as he neared. Luck had a perverse sense of humor. His eyes scanned the room. Everything had fallen into the corner that was stuck in the ground. He climbed in and began digging for gauze, as well as something to form a barrier between his hands and the burning steel outside that likely covered Dale's corpse. If he dies, the plans are sunk. I have failed him by not insisting on extra precautions during the meeting with the assassin.
He found a roll of gauze in one of the many first aid kits. As he tossed it outside and watched dust swirl up around it he struggled to think of a material resistant to ion flames.
The only thing that can stop a Destructzord is, of course, another Destructzord.
Niero's final speech replayed itself in Last Scion's ears. He nodded to himself and started digging furiously for ion bandages. If Dale was dead, he could at least find the body and give the creature a proper burial.
He reached just under the surface of medical flotsam and his fingers closed around a hand. He nearly let go and jumped back in fear, but instead merely flinched and dug faster. He knew it was Dale. He knew the careful plans laid by Niero were now done.
Before long he was pulling a body from the pile of hospital equipment. Nietzsche had the right of it
, he thought as he threw Dale over his shoulder and carried him out of the infirmary.
After placing him gently on the ground, he stepped back. Dale's body seemed intact. No bruises, no cuts. Last Scion dared not hope the corpse yet lived. He bent down and put his head just above Dale's face. He looked at the chest. No air passed the mouth nose. The chest was motionless. He had no fingers left with which to check the veins and arteries for a pulse.
Ignoring his extensive CPR and First Aid training, he rolled Dale onto his stomach. Then he saw it.
The Last Scion Of The House Of Blue Lions stood up and exhaled. He marched back to the sound of whetstone upon steel, a wild fury in his eyes. The fat one will squeal.
Jim never heard him coming. Last Scion picked him up by the hair and sent him rocketing into the sky. He launched himself up as well and slammed into the man who killed Dale North.
“Before I bring you crashing into the dusty Earth,” he shouted, “before I feed the ion flames with your considerable corpse, just tell my why you did it.”
“What the fuck, mate? What are you talking about?”
They hung in the air for an eternity, the planet growing smaller every second. Their souls had communed among the flames a few minutes ago and now their bodies did the same among the stars.
“You have ruined Niero's plans. You have caused me to break an oath to him and to my father. I shall grant you a quick and glorious death if you tell me why you killed Dale!
If you do not, your death shall last for nine horrible days and you shall squeal until your vocal chords bleed and break.”
“I didn't kill Dale. I haven't seen him since... oh shit!”
They were flying back toward Earth at twice the speed with which they had left it.
“You are imprudent, Jim!” They re-entered the atmosphere and caught fire instantly. Jim was screaming in pain while Last Scion enjoyed the weightlessness. Just when the heat started to become uncomfortable, they smashed into the ground.
The sound of mountains crumbling filled Last Scion's ears. He could see nothing, but knew their bodies were cratering through the planet near the crashed Dzord. He will roast nicely on the fires. His heart shall nourish me as I hunt the assassin.
If Jim was still screaming, he couldn't tell.
The ground continued to part violently before them. Several minutes passed before they slowed to a halt. Last Scion breathed in the dust and prepared for the return journey.
They exploded to the surface. Last Scion dropped Jim next to one of the many still-burning ion fires and went to find the Borealis Blade. His own steel shall break him.
He treaded the dusty, dusty, dusty, dusty, dusty ground, looking for the boulder Jim sat upon to sharpen his sword. He looked left. Nothing. He looked right. Nothing. Then he looked straight ahead and saw it. Of course! It's so obvious.
He ran to it and saw the sword.
He picked up the Borealis Blade and held it in his hands, feeling naked rage crawl up his arm. He felt hatred for regressive elements within the gaming industry. He felt annoyance at Michael Pachter. But most of all he felt a sweet ache in his nether regions. Jonathan
, he thought. You sexy idiot... my god. Jim has poured all of his polygons into this fine steel.
Then a dagger was at his throat.
Last Scion let the sword fall. “It is a lovely weapon.”
“It's Matt Borealis,” said Jim. “Of course it's lovely.” He forced Last Scion to his knees and picked up his blade.
“Kill me,” whispered Last Scion. “I've waited so long for this moment. I had always thought myself immortal, but now I know.” He looked at the steel-rendered water droplets on Matt's silver skin. “The blade.”
Gunfire crackled in the distance.
“I'm not going to kill you, lion. I didn't kill Dale and I won't kill you. I have never killed, but I will make exceptions for anyone who comes between me and Samit.” Shots continued to ring out in the distance.
“Please end my shame. I have failed. Do your duty. Any of my former generals would have me quartered for such a failure, and I would gladly have acquiesced. Genghis would have clawed my eyes out himself and fed me, still breathing, to his horses. Moctezuma would have sent me to the priests to be sacrificed. Phalaris would have locked me in his Brazen Bull. But I have never failed my leaders. Not until today. Now I know why. My purpose is to feed the Borealis Blade its first soul. My life force shall charge the steel that saves the gaming industry.”
“You're talking a load of shite.”
“If I find the assassin, will you do this thing for me?”
“I'll think about it. But if you ever touch Matt you will find yourself back on your knees, begging again for death.” The shots came quicker with every moment.
Last Scion stood up. “I will investigate the battle. Perhaps I will find the one who murdered the king.”
“Go then. Matt still needs more time with the whetstone. Email me your progress.”
“My 3G signal here is truly impressive.” He put his phone away and strode in the direction of the battle, his hands impatient to feel the life drain from the body of Dale's murderer. read