The Stranger

  I do not know how long my killing spree lasted, or in all candor, how the demon lord's host lasted as long as it did. The horde was only a few hundred in number, but I had killed far more than that. I suspect that something may have called for help, and maybe someone heard the call for help and came. But I do not remember anyone coming or going from the dreascape. Or rather, I did not feel a rupture open or close. Somewhere in the back of my mind, I began to suspect that demons were resurrecting shortly after I killed them. Not that I know how that could have happened, but it seemed like I did, because for a long time, foes kept coming and dying, but the bodies were not piling up. Morever, I also do not recall thinking to Wrath and Justice to attack or kill anyone. In fact, I think that, at some point during the Blood Haze, Wrath and Justice clearly began to act of their own accord.

  Granted, at the time, I did not complain about my cannons taking the initiative and killing hundreds of demons, indeed, I also admit that I did a lot of unnecessary killing myself that day, but that was not the blood haze, that was simply blood lust, and a young man reveling in power that I did not get to flaunt in my normal life. However, killing spree aside, I also faintly recall doing other other things.

  The Blood Haze was, for lack of a better word, an unnerving sensation, because I constantly felt as if I were about to awaken from the nightmare, but every time my dream body began to dissipate, due to my awakening, I suddenly found myself, well, I think that I began to, well, devour my fallen foes, gnawing on their limbs to seemingly solidy my astral projection. I think that I must have been in that place for some time, for far longer than any dream should last, but as I said before, I do not know how long. But I do recall almost awakening several times, which gave me the impression that I had been there for sometime. Apparently, the blood haze proved to be far more difficult to break free from than Antares had led me to believe. I clearly did not wish to kill, nor did I desire to eat the flesh of my opponents, yet and still, there I stood killing and eating anything or anyone that I could find. The compulsion was undeniable and unyielding. Clearly, this was not one of my prouder moments.

  The battlefield became increasingly morbid, and the dreamscape, well, the ambiance, also changed. What was once a golden paradise of ocean and sky, now became a battlefield raven skies. Blood was everywhere, and I was covered in it, if not out right drowning in blood drenched gore. I also lost track of Wrath and Justice. And I cannot say that they even remained in solid form, although I did not recall shattering them a second time. And my armour, not that I usually wore it over my po chang, was also different. Generally, my armour was just the mental projection of my will. Yet, it too seemed confused. In fact, even in hindsight, the episode is cloudy and disjointed. (And so my recounting is not much better.) But I do remember that my blood haze lifted briefly, as someone or something opened a rupture.

  And then things got really weird, even for a dream.

  There was suddenly a bright flash of crimson light, and then I saw, well, a hand rise from the ground, and on each fingertip stood a cloaked figure. And closer to me, a lone figure arose, and he was almost Champion in nature, but something was not quite right. He wasn't evil, but he clearly was not like me. Nor did he and his friends seem good either. Oddly enough, they just seemed authoritative. Powerful. And it was also patently clear that this was not going to go well, but like always, I was not sure for whom the bell now tolled.

  As the being solidified, I dropped the flank that I had apparently been gnawing on, and drew myself to my full height. Wrath and Justice suddenly returned to my side and flew furiously around me, in a partially solid state. Their cannon forms were visible, but the air was also filled with black and white crystalline shards. My chi came to me rather easily, but it was a dark, malevalent chi. My soul blade pulsed in my back, and my hands clenched and unclenched involuntarily.

  And then, just as I was about to burst from anticipation, anticipation of the kill, I think, the being spoke. "Demon, for crimes against the omniverse and the Creator, stand down and prepare to be judged." And that's when shit just went B-A-N-A-N-A-S.

  Although my memory is fuzzy here, I think that the being uttered something in Hebrew and then he took his giant sword and hurled it into the sky. At first, nothing happened, but a few seconds later, thunder rolled through the dreamscape, and the sky turned a golden color, sorta like it was before the Blood Haze fell upon me. And then, there it was, this gigantic fucking box.

  Hmm, I thought to myself, didn't see that one coming. Just as I was about to speak to the being, Wrath and Justice abruptly knocked me backwards, as the being's giant sword landed squarely where I had just been standing. An attack?!? But unlike most of my prior opponents, there was no animosity here. No strife. No desire to kill. No rage. This being was just going to kill me. Which made no sense because I did not even know who he was or what he was doing in my dream. Perfunctory. That's the best word to describe this being's nature. How he felt.

  So again, I began to speak, but this time, Wrath and Justice flew from behind me and toward the stranger, exploding in a rain of light and dagger like shards before I could say a word, and blinding me, and presumably, the stranger. But right before the explosion, I distinctly heard the stranger mumble something else in Hebrew, and this time, I recognized it, it was Daniel's Prayer.

  Blinking clarity back into my eyes, I abruptly turned back to that vaguely familar box. I knew what it was now, and I had a real good guess as to who this stranger was. I tried to summon Wrath and Justice to me, but they would not return. In fact, not only would they not return, but the fragments of my desert eagles began to swirl in a rather familar pattern. Meanwhile, the smoke from the explosion cleared, and the stranger was clearly enveloped in a sphere of energy, which had, apparently, protected him from the blast. Thank goodness you are okay, I said. But nothing came out of my mouth. In fact, it occurred to me that my mouth was full of little crystalline shards. And it was excrutiatingly painful to even try to talk.

  "Is that the best you can do demon?" taunted the stranger. Holy shit, this idiot not only did not realize that I was not a demon, he had not sensed that Wrath and Justice were about to smash him squarely upside the head with an unstable quantum singularity. I had to save this idiot before he got himself killed. Or worse yet, killed me. But then the stranger did something I did not see coming, he walked over to the box, and started yapping again. "Demon, You should know that I do not just receive my power from this sacred vessel, but it is the symbol of my people. Prepare yourself, demon, and I will show you the true power of my people! The power of GOD!" And then, he knelt on the ground and put his hands on the box as if to open it.

  Houston, we have a problem.

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