Fear of a God (Solo Quest)

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Fear of a God (Solo Quest)

Post by John Dark on 8/22/2012, 5:09 pm

Sacred Water

Hard Quest

Requirement: Must have completed Senzu Magic.

Reward: Sacred Water

Korin tells you about some magical water he has a in a tea pot that will increase the strength of those who drink it. Before he will let you have some, you must prove yourself. He sends you into the Cave of Darkness and one of your greatest fears.

Dread wrote:John stood just outside the mouth of a cave; he had only entered one other in his life, but the one he now faced could not have been more different. The cave situated on “Coach’s” estate had been dug by subterranean creatures as large as wild cats. It had been earthy, mostly soft, and had a defined purpose about it. The one he presently faced had been carved by the elements and petrified by time immemorial; it possessed a firm rocky quality and severe jaggedness that the other one had lacked. Stalactites and stalagmites bordered its entrance, giving it the appearance of a crooked fanged and depthless maw. The constant dripping of the stalactites made it appear to salivate, enhancing the illusion that the cave lived and hungered. “I guess that’s why it’s called a mouth,” John commented to himself without any amount of humor in his tone.

His last visit with Korin had been brief, but not as short-lived as he would have preferred; John wanted as little to do with the mind-invading feline as possible. He had given him the water skin he had filled toward the end of his uncomfortable visitation to the Forest of the Ancients. If John never again had to see that place again it would be too soon. For his efforts, the stingy cat had rewarded him more money and a single senzu bean; it was one of many Korin had at his disposal.

“I have finished two of the trials and all I have to show for it is a stack of money and a bean? Is this some kind of joke?” John demanded. “I came here looking for treasure because of my master’s orders.” He hated to refer to “Coach” as his master, but it served as his heart-wrenching truth and he could not deny it. “I can’t return to him with what you’ve given me; he told me I would receive treasures that could make me stronger! If I go back to him without improving at all, he might kill me!”

“Calm yourself, John.” Korin told him. “I had to be certain you were worthy of the actual treasure.”

“Actual treasure?” John asked with a raised eyebrow.

“Humans are greedy creatures and will do anything in their power to get more money, more food, more luxuries, more of this, and more of that. It’s sick and it is a sickness that ails your species!” Korin said.

“You got that right,” John solemnly agreed; he recalled, again, his past life as a thief, taking what he needed to survive. He remembered all the punishment he endured for being caught or just for having something that the bigger children, whose company he long suffered, wanted for themselves. “Enough is never enough for people,” He spat.

“I wanted to test you for your greed, but you are not after money. You are definitely greedy, there is no doubt about that, but you are simply greedy to continue living and you are determined to do anything to survive. You seek power, but you only want the power that will let you, at long last, face oppression and crush it as it has crushed many others including yourself throughout countless millennia. You have the potential of doing good things, John.” Korin calmly told him.

“If you are trying to flatter me, you may as well stop. I have no respect for you and even less for what you have to say,” John bluntly told him. “Is there another trial? If there is, I want to know now what I get out of it. How’s that for being greedy, cat?” He demanded.

“The spring water you brought me is not the only one of its kind with extraordinary properties. I have, in my possession, a magnificent elixir that will enhance your powers just as your master has foreseen.” Korin told him. “Don’t think you can just take it by force.”

“Reading my mind again?” John growled.

“I don’t have to read your mind to know what you’re thinking,” He answered.

“An elixir, huh? Do you take me for a fool, Korin?” John angrily demanded. “Magical elixirs? Hah! That old scam died long before I was ever born!”

“So, elixers with enhancing properties can’t exist, but a teenager who can fly at supersonic speeds and lift several times his own weight is quite possible?” Korin asked.

John considered his sarcastic remark for a moment. “Tell me what I have to do to get it,” He said at long last.

“Why don’t I just show you? It’ll be quicker that way.” Korin suggested.

John considered the option for a moment; he had not enjoyed the last time the cat had crammed telepathic images into his head. “Alright, but do it slowly and don’t go prying around my head. If you even think you can read my thoughts without my knowledge again-“ John thought the malice in his tone sufficient to drive his point across.

Korin furrowed his brow, nodded once, and then delivered onto John the information he needed. “You’re hiding something from me,” John said when the exchange ended. “There’s something about the cave, isn’t there?” He asked, referring to one of the images he had received.

Korin merely assumed silence, refusing to tell John any more. “Alright then, be that way. The last two tests were nothing. Why should this one be any different?” With that, John took to the sky and left the tower far behind.


Last edited by John Dark on 8/23/2012, 1:38 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Re: Fear of a God (Solo Quest)

Post by John Dark on 8/22/2012, 6:11 pm

Dread wrote:John stepped over the barrier of stalagmites, immersing his body within the initial shadow of the cave. He proceeded carefully forward, testing most of his steps in case the ground crumbled beneath him. He had begun to distrust nature in recent times in spite of its plentiful bounty of food and water. He dared not move any further when light from outside dimmed over a distance until it stopped at a point as though it was some superstitous guide saying, “I will travel no further, go forward if you must, but you go alone.”

John sat upon a particularly flat area within the cave and crossed his legs over one another; he shut his eyes and began to meditate. No other activity came to mind and Korin had withheld information from him. John had no idea why had had come to the cave at all, but his present trial demanded it of him. He figured he would wait for whatever was supposed to happen and, in the meantime, he would meditate and calm and strengthen his mind and spirit. Pacifying either his mind or spirit proved problematic as troubled of a life as he led, but the promise of a challenge excited his anger and he persevered.

The light outside the cave retreated with the setting of the sun; darkness advanced upon John in its absence. His eyes snapped opened and he stood up on a pair of sore legs. He walked back the way he came, limping a little as he attempted to return the bloodfow in his lower limbs to normal. John stopped just at the entrance and hesitated. Nothing had actually happened and he doubted Korin would simply relinquish the special water to him just for having spent most of the day in a cave. “There’s nothing for it,” John spoke aloud. If he refuses to hand it over, I’ll just have to take it from him. He thought with determination.

He stepped out of the cave and took a few paces forward when a terrible feeling he hoped never to have experienced again came over him. He sensed the presence of his master. “Why are you wasting my time, John?” “Coach” asked; John turned around slowly to face him and found his master leaning against the cave entrance. “I gave you orders, didn’t I? Why are you not making any progress?” He continued.

John collapsed onto his knees in the presence of his teacher and trembled visibly. He had failed to carry out “Coach’s” orders and he was about to suffer for it. John quickly reached down into a pocket and pulled out the money that he had received for all his trouble with Korin. “H-here,” John stuttered. “Th-this is all h-he g-gave me.” He held out the rolled up bills toward his teacher.

“Coach” delicately took the money from him then slipped it neatly into his breastpocket. He smiled, but John was too terrified to smile and he knew his teacher only smiled whenever someone suffered nearby. Since no one else was present, John knew he was about to hurt. “Please!” He begged and actualy bowed before his teacher, prostratng himself before his superior. “I did what you asked; the c-cat t-told me he w-would g-give me something else for g-going into the c-cave.”

“What cave?” “Coach” asked; John sat up and looked around his teacher and saw that the cave stood exactly as it had done before.

He realized that his teacher had been speaking rhetorically an instant later. His teacher stretched an arm out toward the cave and lifted his palm. A quick succession of red energy blasts erupted from the space in front of his hand. They all soared into the cave and detonated within its depths. Dust erupted all around them, but John heard and felt the cave collapsing. When the dust cleared, a pile of rubble rested where there had once been a hole in the earth. “Please, Coach!” John resumed begging. “Just give me a little more time and I will have results! I promise!”

“Alright, John,” “Coach” said softly. “Give me some time to consider it.”

John smiled despite himself and looked at his teacher with blossoming hope. “Really?” He asked.

“Coach” stared at him; his eyes made invisible by the darkness that constantly concealed them. He then lifted the same arm he had used to destroy the cave and lined his palm with John’s head. It soon began to glow a bright crimson, illuminating the instant that John’s hope turned to despair. “I thought you said-“ John began.

“I considered,” “Coach” said then fired a ki blast at his student at point blank range; John died instantly.
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Re: Fear of a God (Solo Quest)

Post by John Dark on 8/22/2012, 6:57 pm

Dread wrote:John’s eyes opened and he toppled over with his arms wrapped tightly around his body to ensure that he was still alive after his encounter. He breathed laboriously, but the fact he was breathing at all helped calm him. “What the hell!” John screamed, his voice echoed throughout the cave within which he found himself. The cave, it’s still here and I’m alive and I’m still here. How can that be? I left the cave, Coach blasted it, and then he, he… John could not conclude the dreadful thought; he shuddered violently at having experienced dying at the hands of his teacher. “This is impossible,” John whispered. “This is madness.”

John stood up and looked about himself, but he saw nothing. The day had ended sometime ago and the night was well advanced. His legs ached from having been locked in one position for so long, which helped provide evidence to John that what he had just experienced was a nightmare. It had felt real, too real for his liking, however. He recalled every moment in exquisite detail even though he wanted to forget dearly what he had experienced or, rather, did not experience. “It’s the cave,” John concluded. “It’s messing with my head somehow just like that damn cat!”

He decided to make his exit and, even though he was blinded by the night, he found his way outside by following the breeze that blew into the cave. He emerged underneath a starry sky and began to ponder his next move. He could wait until morning to return to Korin’s tower; he did not fancy flying by night. Waiting, however, might be interpreted by his teacher as a waste of time. Then again, “Coach” thought little of him and probably did not expect John to complete the trials so quickly. Was he willing to risk his teacher’s ire though? The immediate answer to that question was an affirmative “NO!”

John looked to the moon and silently prayed that its light would be plenty to illuminate his return trip to the tower. Just before he took off, the same dreadful feeling he had felt from the nightmare instilled him with an absolute sense of terror. “Coach” was nearby and John needed only to turn toward the sound of crackling flames to find him sitting by a cozy campfire. “Come and sit by the fire, John.” “Coach” commanded. “We need to talk.”

John’s body felt as though it had turned to lead and reinserted into his ship at several dozen times Earth’s gravity. He moved forward, compelled by the undeniable will of his master. He stopped a couple paces before the blaze and looked at his teacher whose body was brilliantly emboldened in some areas by the fire and made woefully dark in others. “Coach” gestured at a stump right next to his student; John sat down in utter compliance.

“I have tried to be patient with you, John,” “Coach” began. “I have provided you lessons and I have guided you and helped make you stronger than you ever thought possible. I thought there might have been something special about you, but I was wrong. You have failed me, John. I regret having tried to teach you anything of import.”

“You’re going to kill me,” John said.

“Why so calm about it?” “Coach” asked, sounding genuinely surprised.

“This is just like before,” John said. “It’s the cave, isn’t it? I haven’t actually left it. It’s making me see things and feel things that aren’t really there.”

“Coach” appeared beside John, having vanished from his original seated position. He seized his student by the throat and effectively silenced him. “I grow weary of your nonsense, boy!” “Coach” hissed; their eyes met and any confidence John had felt about the experience being the cave’s doing vanished immediately, usurped by absolute fear.

John tried reaching for “Coach’s” hand in a futile attempt to pry it away, but even if he had the strength necessary to overcome his teacher, he most certainly lacked the speed. “Coach” drove his other hand into John’s chest and slipped his fingers through his ribs. It feels like a knife. John thought just before “Coach” punctured his lung.

His teacher removed his hand and dropped John to the ground, allowing his student’s punctured lung to fill with blood. John tried to breathe, but with one lung destroyed, he could only choke. It felt exactly like drowning; no matter how rapidly his heart beat, it could no longer supply a sufficient amount of oxygen to the rest of his body. Blood filled his esophagus and drained freely from his mouth. He stared wide-eyed in helplessness until death finally seized him up in its merciful embrace and ended his suffering.


Last edited by John Dark on 8/23/2012, 8:04 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Re: Fear of a God (Solo Quest)

Post by John Dark on 8/23/2012, 2:24 pm

Dread wrote:John woke again and felt his body falling forward from tremendous shock. He brought his hands out in front of him instinctively and stopped his descent. They smacked against a rough and rocky surface, scraping his skin. The cold pain brought him some relief because it confirmed that he continued to live despite the tormenting experience he had only just suffered. He sat up and looked about him; there was hardly any light to reveal his surroundings, but there was enough to reveal to him he was still inside the cave. He then glanced back toward the entrance and observed that the light from outside was slowly progressing into the cave. He realized it was the first rays of the rising sun. “Have I really spent a day and a night here?” John pondered aloud.

He stood up and almost went outside when assaulted by the memories of having encountered his master twice and having perished in the conclusion of each of those events. He knew something about the cave had caused him to live through both of those vivid nightmares. He also had to reckon with a certain possibility. Had he finally returned to reality or was he experiencing another one of the cave’s illusions? Would he suffer another death at the hands of his master if he tried leaving?

A sudden round of theories enhanced John’s already peaked terror. What if what he had experienced were not illusions at all? What if they had been visions, warnings of what was about to happen to him? If he had experienced visions as he began suspecting and he stepped outside to meet “Coach” again, who was to say it would just be another dream? What if John encountered his master again and actually died? Real or fake, John knew he did not want another run in with his teacher while the man appeared to be in a murderous mood. Both deaths he had already experienced felt real enough and the last one had been far more horrible than its predecessor.

Another thought crossed his mind that gave him more reason to avoid leaving the cave. Even if he experienced another supposed illusionary meeting with his master, would it be vastly more agonizing than the last? Could his mind survive another tremendous shock? In short, could an illusion be so maddeningly realistic and torturous enough to kill him? John fell to his knees at the weight of these severe prospects. He wanted nothing more than to do with the cave that he had, in all his foolishness, allowed to devour him. There seemed no possibility of escape.

“No,” John cried out, lifting his head at the approaching presence he sensed. “Please, no more. No more!” He turned around and saw his master standing over him with a malicious toothy smile splitting his face. “Not again!” John screamed and backed away, in a clumsy crab walk, from his advancing teacher. “I stayed inside this time! You were supposed to wait for me! This isn’t right! It’s not fair! Stay away from me! Leave me alone!”

“Coach” continued onward, ignoring John’s helpless cries for relief, relief from the sadist’s existence. John’s awkward movements knocked a loose stone down into a seemingly depthless chasm directly behind him. “Careful,” “Coach” advised.

John abruptly stopped and eyed the void; he considered his options then kicked away from “Coach” and fell into the shaft. It afforded him no danger, only mystery as a result of its lightless depths. He dropped some yards then stopped his body in midair with his power of flight. Something exploded above him, temporarily illuminating his surroundings. Some dust rained down onto him, but he already knew what “Coach” had done.

John set about hurling one blast of energy after another at the stalactites and fractured cave ceiling coming down after him. He flew upward and gave it his best effort to avoid the falling debris. He refused his teacher the satisfaction of seeing him buried alive. A particularly sharp stalactite sliced through the back of his head, taking some hair and skin with it. He howled at the lancing pain, but he remained alive if only by Lady Luck’s whimsy. The piece of rock could have just as easily punctured his brain.

He hovered for a moment after having survived the most recent attempt on his life, but his flight had brought him face to face with his teacher. “Coach” also lifted off the ground and moved toward John. A deathly red light hovering above “Coach’s” upraised finger revealed all these things to John. “Tell me, boy,” He whispered, “What does it feel like to live in constant fear?”
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Re: Fear of a God (Solo Quest)

Post by John Dark on 8/23/2012, 3:41 pm

Dread wrote:“What does it feel like,” He continued, “To know you will always be weak, powerless, and helpless?" His voice grew louder with every insult he issued. "I tried, John; I really did try to make you strong, but you seem content only in leading the life of a victim. You may as well have spat in my face for all the time and effort I put into making you better." He paused and shook his head sadly. "No matter, you soon will cease to bother me with your worthless existence and my pointless investment in you.”

John knew his teacher meant to kill him, but he would not simply lie down and accept it. He felt anger at himself and at the truth in "Coach's" words; his anger escalated until it flared beyond measure and his aura burst into existence. “Coach” had injured him and he had cornered him, placing John at something of a disadvantage, but doing those things had also made John dangerous. He lashed out at the man he had called his master, throwing a right-handed punch at him. "Coach" immediately intercepted it with his free hand and John pushed forward regardless of the resistance he encountered. He inched forward then kneed “Coach” in the groin or he tried to at least. “Coach” noticed the movement in time and flung John away from him, tossing him like a weightless parcel, into a rock wall.

The impact loosened stalactites that came down and shattered like glass. John collapsed onto the ground after them, narrowly missing a cluster of stalagmites. He grunted once from the impact and felt tempted to lie still and moan, but he could not afford to waste precious seconds lamenting over his pain. “Coach” advanced upon him. John quickly recovered; he jumped away just as “Coach” slammed a fist down onto the ground where John’s head had once rested. The cave floor cracked beneath the man's fist and fragments from the ground actually sprayed the air around his arm, but "Coach" revealed no sign of having felt the solid surface connect with his knuckles. John avoided the mistake of hesitating as he discharged a blast of energy as soon as “Coach” had made contact with the ground. His target, however, intercepted it with a blast of his own, utilizing the very energy he had used to light the cave for his conversation with John.

The red globe of energy not only cancelled out John’s attack, but it continued toward him as though it had inherited the tenacity of its creator. He leaped into the air and felt its tremendous heat bite at his legs as it passed below him, narrowly missing his feet. The ball continued onward, leaving the cave to obliterate a tree somewhere outside. Without any other source of light, John chose to depart from the cave for the realm of sunlight in order to better observe “Coach”. The suited man pursued him and, in little time, he had narrowed the gap between himself and John. They were soon close enough to touch each other and "Coach" intended to do just that.

“Coach” reached out and seized John’s right ankle, compelling him to slow to a stop as he decelerated. He then tugged, dragging John back toward him. John knew that if “Coach” managed to grab him with his other hand, he would die. He concentrated his energy into his fists and discharged two simultaneous backward ki balls at his attacker. “Coach” effectively batted them away with both of his arms, but he had released his prey in order to protect himself. John took immediate advantage of the freedom and retreated deeper into the forest in a desperate attempt to place as much distance between himself and “Coach”.

How can I possibly survive him? John frantically thought. He is a superior fighter than I am in every way I can think of; he’s too strong and fast for me. What am I going to do? John was on the verge of panicking until he recalled how “Coach” had dealt with his energy attacks. He had negated John’s first attack then deflected the other two. John had not managed to land a direct hit on “Coach” because the man had defended himself both times. It was as though “Coach” feared the damage John could do to him. Can my attacks actually hurt him? Is he not as indestructible as he seems? John felt a glimmer of hope and began to believe it possible to best the tyrant.

Hopes and dreams, in his experience, were only empty promises of improbable things; he needed a strategy. John set down amidst a cluster of trees and suppressed his energy as best he could to hide himself away from “Coach”. He would force his old master to find him the old-fashioned way while he thought up a plan. He knew, from his previous attempts at harming “Coach”, direct attacks would have no effect on him. John needed to surprise him, but he also needed to attack from a close distance in order to deny “Coach” the opportunity to execute a defense or counterattack. John also figured that he would need to power up again in order to make his attack strong enough to have any chance of dealing "Coach" damage. Powering up, unfortunately, would immediately alert “Coach” to his presence and location, defeating the entire point of a surprise attack. The more John thought about it, the more immensely ridiculous the notion of actually defeating “Coach” seemed.

John then detected “Coach’s” power from above; he looked upward and glimpsed the man through the forest canopy. He first thought that he had been discovered, but "Coach" was not looking directly at him. John almost felt relieved until he noticed both of "Coach's" arms glowing; it was a sign of an impending attack. “Coach” had no desire to play John’s little game of hide and seek and that was made obvious when he began to rain down a destructive storm of ki blasts onto the forest. The collective light of the attacks soon dwarfed the sun’s brilliance and immersed the land in blinding redness.

John squeezed his eyes shut just before the world all around him erupted with a series of explosions; he took to the air to avoid the same fate as the trees that had caught fire next to him then shattered into burning splinters. John raced away from the surging blast that greedily raced outward and upward to consume him and all else within its reach. He arrived some hundreds of feet above the ground, safely distancing himself from the chaos below. Things eventually returned to their normal coloration as the last of the ki balls detonated and unleashed its seemingly insignificant power as compared to the collective devastation of its brethren. The forest below had been transformed into a massive crater within which a great fire roared as though some great giant had made for himself a bonfire. Smoke billowed upward from the blaze, but the screen it offered did nothing to hide John from “Coach’s” hunting gaze.
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Re: Fear of a God (Solo Quest)

Post by John Dark on 8/23/2012, 8:14 pm

Dread wrote:“Coach” gave John no chance to react; he vanished from view, but John had long since tired of that trick. He was beginning to learn that he could not always rely on his physical senses, especially his sight. His eyes, he began to notice, occasionally played tricks on him as though they were nothing more than mischievous traitors to his cause. He tracked “Coach’s” movement by his outstanding power signature; doing so spared John from a mortal wound. He shifted to his right just in time to avoid a piercing jab from “Coach’s” fingers. His shirt whipped noticeably against his side as “Coach’s” hand passed uncomfortably close to it.

John remained calm; his blood flowed as ice through his veins. He had not so much as hid his fear from his adversary as he had suppressed it. If he allowed even an ounce of that dastardly poisonous emotion creep into his thoughts, he would surrender to it and cower and meet his end. He presently operated without any feeling; he allowed only his instincts to guide him and he had long since acquired the instincts of a seasoned survivor and survivors knew how to fight to live!

He carefully observed “Coach’s” movement; the man had underestimated John or he would not have placed so much force behind his attack. “Coach” must have believed a single attack enough to end John and it would have been had he not counted on his student dodging it. He had overextended and brought his entire body near enough to John for an effective counterattack. He had also forced John to rise to his full power when he had decimated the forest; “Coach” had inadvertently presented John with the perfect opportunity to strike.

John wrapped his right arm around “Coach’s” limb and grabbed hold of his shoulder, locking his fingers onto it. He then pressed his left palm flat against his side. “Coach” sensed the sudden gathering of energy. Instead of trying to wrench free from John, he smiled and turned toward him. Just as John nearly discharged a concentrated beam of energy at “Coach’s” waist, “Coach” seized his wrist with his free hand and pushed. A thin beam of ebony shot down toward the fire below and vanished, missing “Coach” by several inches.

Their gazes met briefly and John sensed a sudden charge within “Coach’s” eyes; he reacted instantly. John ducked his head then slammed his skull into the base of his enemy’s jaw. “Coach’s” head snapped back and twin beams of laser light shot upward, boring an enormous hole into a gray cloud above. Had John moved any slower, his brain would have been turned to mush.

He then decided to copy his mentor’s eye beam tactic; he had, after all, learned that it mattered not where he focused his energy. All ki required was a conscious decision, a little imagination, and a tremendous amount of will. He would not, however, allow “Coach” to survive as he had; he lowered his face tried sinking his teeth into “Coach’s” collar bone to ensure he would not escape his next strike. “Coach” delivered a violent head butt against John, cracking his skull. Pain erupted al throughout John, but “Coach” had not finished with him. He subsequently kneed John in the groin. A second explosion of agony accompanied the first as all John’s strength left him.

“Coach” extricated himself from John who busily held both his hands over his injured groin; he felt blood soak his pants, more of the life-sustaining substance dribbled copiously down his thighs. “Coach” had broken him in the worst possible way, but the fight was not over and John felt determined to finish what had begun in the accursed cave. “Coach” smiled at him; John perceived no mark on him or any amount of dust on his fine suit. His hat had been made crooked from when John’s head had smacked into “Coach’s” jaw, but the man casually refitted atop his head with a single hand.

“What happened to you, John?” “Coach” asked. “You were but a frightened child a moment ago. Have you, dare I say, finally begun to grow up?”

John straightened up and secured the feeling of his pain in the deepest recesses of his mind along with his fear. He registered the fact that his body was damaged and that he was bleeding badly, but he could not stop. He was still alive, which meant he was surviving and that was all that mattered. If he caved to his injuries then, he would cease to live and that was not surviving. I will survive. I will survive. I will survive. The mantra repeated in his head rhythmically like a war drum; he imagined it lending him the strength he needed to continue.
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Re: Fear of a God (Solo Quest)

Post by John Dark on 8/23/2012, 9:35 pm

Dread wrote:However ready for a continuation he might have felt, darkness began to claim his vision, but it was neither a product of his aura nor the smoke that continued polluting the air. Even though he kept his eyes open, his vision blurred and shadows cast themselves upon everything he viewed including his opponent. Hardly a minute had gone by since “Coach” damaged him, but he had already lost too much blood. His cracked skull only worsened matters for him drastically; he suspected brain damage. He felt his consciousness begin to drift away; he could no longer think straight. The determination to survive “Coach” seemed to drain out of him along with his blood. John struggled to remain airborne, but he fought a losing battle and gravity readily claimed its prize for its victory. He dropped toward the great fire below. Just as he began to freefall, he caught one more glimpse of “Coach” waving at him, bidding him farewell.

He then felt an intense heat growing around him and, soon, flames lapped hungrily at his clothes and body. The fire reawakened his sense of pain, but little else. He seized up and issued a tormented scream, but the deafening crackles of an entire forest burning made his cry unheard by all including him. He tried to breathe after having expelled all air from his lungs and the black smoke of the fire eagerly accepted his invitation down into his airway. He coughed madly then automatically tried breathing again, but received only more smoke for his troubles. It almost felt like drowning; instead of experiencing freezing cold, however, John was subjected to an unbearable heat that worked to peel away his skin to get to the meat and bones beneath it.

He could not nor would he withstand the agony of such a terrible death. He brought his left hand over his chest where he felt his heart beating weakly. He was almost thankful that he could not see the condition of his hand or his chest; he was certain, as intense as the flaring agony he suffered, the fire had already disposed of his skin and had begun to cook tissue, muscles, and organs. He focused his dwindling life energy into his palm and issued a suicidal blast directly over his heart. He died within that very instant and spared himself the final horrors of burning alive, but that was not truly the end of him.

As soon as he had supposedly perished, John discovered himself physically whole and within the cave that he had entered by Korin’s instructions. He calmly rose from the meditative position he had assumed shortly after his arrival. He observed that sunlight filtered into the cave in substantial amounts; he wondered how much time, if any, had actually passed since his entry. His legs lacked the normal aches of sitting cross-legged for an extended period, hinting to the fact he may not have been sitting in the cave for long at all. He gritted his teeth and clenched his hands into fists.

“Well?” John shouted. “Are you going to let me leave this time?” He demanded of the cave.

It almost seemed as though the cave answered because the all too familiar presence of his master approached him. John turned toward “Coach” who stood just inside the cave, smiling at him. He began to clap slowly as he proceeded toward his student and stopped when only a couple paces separated them from one another. He dropped his hands to his sides, but continued to smile. John assumed a combative stance and allowed his power to rise. “There’s no need for that,” “Coach” said dismissively.

“You might think I’m too weak for you, but there’s no way you’re going to kill me this time without getting a few bruises along the way.” John declared.

“This time?” “Coach” asked. “So, you saw me when you entered this cave and I killed you,” He said. “How many times did it take?” He asked. “How many times did you have to die before you finally woke up?”

“What do you mean? Explain yourself!” John demanded angrily; he expected “Coach” to attack, he always demanded respect and subservience to him.

“Coach” merely maintained his smile; his grin normally would have unnerved John, but, on that day, he stood his ground and prepared for the punishment he was certain to receive for his impertinence. “Return to Korin’s tower; I believe that talking cat has something to give you,” “Coach” told him. “I might even pay him a visit later to thank him.”

“Thank him, for what?” John asked, but “Coach” did not answer him; he merely turned his back to him and waved before vanishing from view. If Coach says I’m done here then I guess I’ve done whatever it was I came here to do. John thought with a shrug.

He did not feel satisfied with that, however. He desperately wanted to know why he had undergone such terrible and realistic visions and what had he done to free himself from the recycled nightmare. “Coach” had asked him how many times it had taken him before he “finally woke up”. What had he done differently in the last vision than in the other two? “I fought back,” He spoke aloud.

Never before would he have thought to fight “Coach”, but he had not been given any other choice, had he? It had not mattered that John had died in all three confrontations, which meant victory had not been required for the completion of the trial. He wondered why he had fought with as much determination as he had. He had known all along that he was going to die, hadn’t he? There were moments when he deluded himself into thinking he could survive, but doing so had been necessary to pursue the conflict to its inevitable conclusion.

“The answer’s so simple!” John exclaimed with a hollow laugh. “Why didn’t I see it before?” He knew he had the answer or, at the very least, the answer that suited him best.

He left the cave with a grim expression on his face. He felt no gratitude toward the cave for having helped him. There were other ways of teaching people the lesson he had learned beyond its dripping maw, but it used the most aggressive and traumatic method imaginable. Few could have survived as John had with their sanity intact and he very much doubted he had any of his left.

He flew high above the trees then gazed into the horizon, his eyes sought nothing out in particular, but he surveyed the scene as a public speaker might observe his audience. He drew in a deep breath through his nose then exhaled it out from his mouth. He repeated the motion a few more times then issued a mighty declaration to any who would listen.

“I am John Dark! I have a name! I am not nothing! I am not weak! I am strong! I will not be pushed around anymore! This is it! This is the end! I am done! This is the line! It has been drawn! Cross it at your own peril! Just remember!” John paused to catch his breath then raise his voice to its utmost extreme. “I WILL SHOW NOW MERCY!”
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John Dark
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Posts : 271
Join date : 2012-07-26
Age : 94
Location : Earth

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Level: 82
Race: Human
Location: Earth

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