Dark Combat

  It was my sophmore winter reading period. And although I had grown accustomed to taking exams after Christmas, a day of studying in the library for exams in the dead of winter still left me unusually drained. I think that it was the shortness of the days, darkness in the morning when you entered the library and darkness in the evening when you left. In fact, I only vaguely recall walking home, dropping my book bag by the door and collapsing in my bed. But as happened so often back then, I did not remain unconcious, and I awoke a few minutes later on the most beauitful of dreamscapes.

  A lovely place, calm and very relaxing. Almost too much so, but I shrugged off the uneasy feeling as a consequence of my extreme fatigue. And after surveying the area and realizing that my options were limited, started walking along the road that led into the infinity of a the horizon in a golden sea.

  At first, the walk was rather relaxing. The water gently jostled into the raised road, and the sweet smelling wind blew briskly across the dreamscape. However, after a hundred or so paces, the path began to narrow and the water rise. In about twenty minutes, I found myself trapped on a small stretch of the road, well by that point, island. I sighed. I had no desire to fight anyone. I just wanted to be left alone, but apparently that was not going to happen. I glanced over my right shoulder, just as a rupture appeared, and out poured the vanguard of a very large demon horde. All of this horde were humanoid in shape and appearance - all obviously powerful. I stood there, as the horde slowly exited the portal, and surrounded me. Lastly, the vassal of the horde, arguably of lord status or above, flew through the rupture riding, or rather a part of, a large dragon like creature.

  I knelt in a show of respect to the demon lord, and I emoted to him, "please Demon Lord, allow me to pass. I pose no threat to you and I will gladly yield this dreamscape to you." The wind from the dragon creature's beating wings did nothing to move the folds of my heavy cloak, and my face was still hidden beneath my hood.

  The demon lord apparently took great offense at me emoting to him, and without warning ordered his vangaurd to attack.

  Wrath and Justice flew from my side, and in a fury of chi blasts and blunt force trauma, the demon lord's vanguard, one by one, slipped lifelessly into the endless ocean around us. Wrath and Justice vibrated and circled each other in the air wildly, their song audible to all.

  It was not an invitation that promised much in the way of pleasure to be sure. Yet, members of the demon lord's horde continued to accept it. Eventually, the demon lord burst into laughter, and in a single movement, leapt from his flying throne, and landed on the portion of road directly in front of me. Wrath and Justice returned to my side. And I got off my knees and slowly glanced up. The demon lord stood several stories tall, and he seemed to not fear me in the least, as he wildly thrashed his tails about and unfurled his wings in a ridiculous and unnecessary display, which, my hatin' aside, was objectively quite beautiful and majestic. Choosing to speak, rather than emote (undoubtedly in a show of disrespect to me) the demon lord mused aloud “ahhh, I have not seen one such as you in some time. Your kind no longer walk the omniverse free. How did one little animal escape from his cage? Hmm? Time to go back little monkey. Monkey want a banana?” Howling with laughter at his own humor, the demon lord turned to face his horde and clacked his foretalons together in a pre-victory salute. The sound was not unlike that a drum would make (foretalons are hollow).

  Despite the fact that this demon lord knew things about my "kind", things that might help me, it was equally apparent that the demon would never reveal his wisdom to me, and I lacked the will to take it. My arms slipped from my cloak and I grasped Wrath and Justice firmly in my hands and sprinted toward the demon lord, firing short chi bursts as I ran. The demon lord unfurled his wings and wrapped them around his torso as a shield, laughing at the apparent ineffectiveness of my attacks.

  But for the first time on that dreamscape, I laughed, because the demon lord had planted his feet to absorb the force of my shots. He was now a stationary target. I continued running toward the demon lord, and smashed Wrath and Justice together. The cannons exploded into a cloud of black and white crystalline shards. I clasped my hands together, as if to pray, and streching them out before me, I dived into the cloud, my body twirling crystalline shards around me as I did. “Whirlwind of Despair,” I whispered. The funnel cloud of crystalline shards bore through the demon lord’s wings and torso like a hot knife through butter. I landed gently on the other side of the demon lord, and stood up to shake off the gore and blood dripping from my cloak. The demon lord and all of his "parts" collapsed into a lifeless heap. I turned to his horde, “fools. I am no ordinary human. I am not even an ordinary Champion. But you will take this knowledge to oblivion.”

  In hindsight, there was no reason for me to engage the remaining horde, as they dispersed and fled in all directions with the death of their lord, but I did. And what ensued was nothing short of a massacre . I punched through skulls and ripped out hearts with my bare hands, splattering blood everywhere like a child playing in a pool of muddy water. Something was wrong here. True, I had begun to delight in my growing powers, and was prone to the occasional display of power, but this felt very different. I was reveling in the killing, savoring it, and taking my time.

  My cloak fell from my shoulders. I needed room to move freely as the golden waters began to recede from my island -- seemingly repulsed by the growing tide of blood and bodily fluids. I looked around as demons cowered at the edge of the receding water looking for an escape route. I threw back my head and roared. It was an unearthly sound, like nothing from the animal kingdom on earth. This was not good I thought.

  The blood haze was upon me.

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