Better to Lose II

  Flames licked at the edge of the harbor, threatening to devour the tide itself, since there was not much left of Kowloon to feed the fires. It was the day that I have long dreamed of, the day of my ultimate victory, victory over my most dreaded foes, including victory over myself. And perhaps soon, even very soon, a pyrrhic victory over the Creator who had stolen everything from me.

  At the very thought of consummating my plan, power rippled through my body, and I lifted my fist in front of my face and clenched it. My fist blurred before my own eyes as space time itself fluctuated around it. True manifestation. No longer was there a barrier between my dreams and reality. I had done it, and with just the initial activation of this power, I had easily defeated Victor the Faithless, and routed the armies of the Zion and the Sanhedrin. Indeed, only one remained to realistically oppose me.

  "Sir, the city is secured and the People's Army has requested terms for a surrender." I turned to my long time ally, and nodded. "Well done. However, it appears that one enemy still remains at large." The lieutenant blushed, and looked away. "No shame in in that one eluding you. I mean, to be perfectly candid, you will never find him if he does not want to be found. There is only one thing to do, I must go and find him myself, and I must go alone. He awaits me among the embers of this dying city. He blames himself, you know. And tonight, he thinks that he will find his redemption."

  My lieutenant cheered up and chimed in, "But he will only find death." I return the smile. "I know. Unfortunately for my old teacher I am no movie villain, I will not underestimate him, nor will I hesitate to kill him and seize final victory." I sigh to myself. Yes, he must die tonight if my plans are to succeed. "If not victory, may you die well sir." And just like that, she turned and left the rooftop. No further words need be spoken. I relaxed and let my cape fall from shoulders, and into the billowing winds of the night sky. And then, I followed.

  As I leapt off the roof of the tallest building in Hong Kong and entered free fall, the windows of the ICC raced by me, and for a moment, I paused and just listened to the wind whistling in my ears. And it whispered many things, the cries of the dying, the cries of the mourning, and even the cries of the victorious as they realized what I had led them to do.

  Fools, it was too late now. I laughed and embraced the hate, the sorrow, and the pain that I have made flesh in this world. And in so doing, I ceased to suppress my chi and radiated it out in concentric circles around me. By the time I hit the ground, he will be there waiting. And odds are, so will the Zion, and whatever rabble that he was able to rally together from the remnants of his forces. All lying in wait to surprise me. Not that it will matter. I giggle like a school girl. I can end it all tonight.

  Suddenly, the window glass in my immediate wake shatters to the sound of thunder. Damn, he is not even going to let me land. I alter my profile to slow my free fall. Lightning crashes into the building to my right, and I glide slightly left. That was close. He will not miss again. I focus my chi, and even though I haven't completely gotten the hang of manifesting in the real world, I whisper "Shield of the Void", and my free fall speed suddenly increases several fold. Crap, I am going to have to land at terminal velocity. Damn, that is a lot of momentum to disburse. I wince as the ground rushes to greet me.

  This is really going to hurt.

  I crash into the building lobby with a tremendous thud. An obscuring cloud of dust and debris rise from the blast crater, and I start coughing. But this is no time to dally, and still groggy from the impact, I stagger into the street before the cloud blows away. Suddenly aware of the many watching eyes upon me, I pull myself to my full height and stature, and wait. Then, as the wind finally thins the cloud, the parade begins -- humanity's last hope -- the Zion, Joshua, and numerous others. I am completely unimpressed, as many of them are still carrying the wounds from our last encounter.

  "You cannot win Zion. It is over, and with you, all hope dies." The leader of the resistance pauses, and for the first time in my life, I see his grandfather in him, and it unnerves me. "No, Dark Champion, there is always hope, even if I fall."

  I laugh in response. "Zion, as strong as he is, he still will not make a difference, you know that, I mean, once CERN released the notes from their discovery, it was only a matter a time before I deciphered it."

  And then, Joshua ran forward, her voice carrying all tears, as she was too proud to let them flow from her eyes -- "Child, stop this. I have known you, I have loved you all of your life. This cannot be what you want!" And for a brief moment, I hesitate. Seeing this old woman like this gave me pause, yet again, but I was just too close. "I am sorry Professor, you know that I love you as much as I did your husband, but I am afraid that even you die today. My mercy has its limits, and you were unwise to test them a second time."

  And then, she spoke from the shadows, "What about me, my love? Will I die by your hand as well? Will you deny our love and strike me down?" Fuck. I glare at the Zion. Damn you. The clever bastard actually paraded these women onto the battlefield trying to gain whatever emotional advantage he could. Shit. His plan was working. I cannot even look at Chrysalis, but I mange to issue the same warning. "Leave here woman, and take the Captain with you, or you will die here with that fool, Kip. Let him revel in his glorious death alone. For there will be nothing glorious in his pointless death. In fact, I cannot even promise a quick and painless release. In order to defeat you all in the real world, I will have to stretch my newfound powers to their limits, and I may not be able to fully control them."

  Then, a familiar silhouette and voice, "Silence monster. It is my fault that you even have those powers. See Zion, I told you that talking to him was a waste of time, for he is too far gone, the Darkness has taken him. Or rather, it is even worse than we feared, he has embraced it, and wields it like a weapon." Looking away, the Polynesian finished, "I am so sorry, Dark Champion, I failed you, but that does not change the fact that you must be stopped here today."

  I laughed aloud, "I hear your words old friend, but come out into the open, so I can see the fear in your face."

  He strode forward, past the Zion, Chrysalis and Joshua, "It is not fear on my face, Magnus, but resolve and faith, mingled with regret that I could not save you." Already in full battle form, wait, no, this was something different, his moko not only covered his entire body, but even the area of space time encompassing him. The Polynesian looked back at his allies, and then, back at me, before continuing his stride toward me. The very air itself burst into flames, and his foot steps caused the earth beneath them to ignite. His power was as beautiful as the first time I fought him. "Shall we begin Dark Champion?" I smiled, "Of course old friend, but this time, I am afraid that it is personal." The Polynesian nodded and charged.

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