Dark Return (Solo)

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Dark Return (Solo)

Post by John Dark on 9/6/2012, 4:16 pm

Dread wrote:It was easy enough for John to find his destination; the man he sought hardly ever suppressed his power completely. Even if he did, John believed, after the amount of time he spent in his presence, he could have found him with little to no difficulty anyway. The man’s energy always came at him like a haunting beacon. It was as though he was trying to send a message to John. If energy signatures could speak, John knew, without a doubt, his teacher’s would have told him, “You belong in my presence! You belong to my master!”

John normally avoided him because he was the closest thing to a devil in physical form he had ever encountered. He needed him or, more specifically, his expertise in a matter. He would have gone to the authorities for the help he needed, but his thoughts kept returning to an image that had been seared into his brain ever since he laid eyes on it.

He remembered a plain house that had been vandalized so that its entire front bore the crudely carved and unevenly spaced message, N O T O V E R. What was “not over”? John feared he already knew the answer to that question. If he was correct then no law agency on Earth possessed the resources he needed to help her.

The sun had begun rising on the new day as John landed at the top of a staircase; it had been carved in stone and set against the side of a plateau. The plateau eerily reminded him of the location of a sacrificial temple that, millennia ago, resided within the dominion of the God King Eremis. John was fortunate in the fact that, that encounter had merely been an illusion generated by the Pendulum Room within the Lookout. The memory helped calm him, however. He knew, from meeting a realistic duplication of Eremis, the man he came to see was not all powerful and could be overtaken if necessary. He secretly hoped that doing so would not become necessary.

An enormous white wall lay ahead of John; slanting blue tiles had been arranged along its top; they were probably meant to keep intruders from climbing over. A massive red-painted wood gate divided the wall at its center. The gate offered no resistance against John, but he doubted its owner would take kindly to a student destroying his property. He could have flown over the wall, but he wisely chose to first attempt to gain the landlord’s permission to proceed. He only needed a question answered and he would rather not waste time trying to defeat an opponent against whom he stood no chance.

John rapped on the gate a few times; his heavy knocks resounded throughout the land like thunder including within the forest at the bottom of the stairs. He retracted his hand and waited; he sensed intelligent and powerful life behind the gate. Someone knew of his arrival and he hoped for a timely response. As if on cue, the two gates swung outward, John stood a few paces away from the dead center between them so that they opened completely without brushing against him.

A pair of identical figures stood on a path that circumvented a massive rock garden behind them. “I’ve come to see Coach,” John told them.

They stepped forward, allowing John to see their features clearly for the first time ever since he had first saw the two. They were both men of lean figures and were clad entirely in black. They wore long-sleeved shirts, long pants, fingerless gloves, and painted straw sandals with socks. Their outfits gave John the impression of a ninja duo except neither of them wore anything to cover their faces or heads.

They styled their hair identically to one another and featured individual ponytails that had been neatly braided in order to pull their hair back taut. John could only tell the two apart by the color of their hair. One was bleach blond while the other’s hair possessed such a deep shade of red that it reminded John of some of the worst head wounds he had ever witnessed.

“He knows you’re here,” The redhead said.

“But are you worthy of his presence?” The blond asked.

“I never once forgot how you two treated me,” John spoke with a threatening tone.

“We serve the master loyally,” The redhead replied as though justifying his and his partner's past dealings with John.

“As should you,” The blond added; the condescension in his tone was crystal clear to John.

“If you insist on standing in my way, I will not hesitate in killing both of you,” John promised them. “There’s a life out there that needs saving and I intend to do just that, but your lives are another matter entirely. Your lives put together amount to less than a flaming sack of dog shit as far as I’m concerned!”

“You’ve changed, brother,” Blond said.

“You don’t look afraid anymore,” Red contributed.

The fact they thought of him as their brother irritated John, but it was easy enough to hide that fact because he was plenty angry with them already. “You both seem different as well,” John pointed out. “I don’t remember either of you being so chatty. Are you afraid of me?” He asked and stepped toward them; they both assumed fighting stances. John stopped and smiled with grim satisfaction. “I’ll go ahead and take that as a ‘yes’.”

“We have our orders,” Blond informed John.

“We challenge you for the right to an audience with our master,” Red told him.

“Why do you need that right?” John asked, suddenly curious. “Don’t you speak with him all the time?”

“He gives us orders and we obey without question," Blond responded.

John thought he understood what they meant. “Let me get this straight. You want to speak freely in his presence, but he won’t let you unless you defeat me in combat. But if I win, I’m the one who gets to sit down for a talk. Yeah, that figures. Sounds just like that sadistic bastard.”

“You will speak respectfully of the master or not at all!” Red shouted.

“You deserve nothing; we do not know what the master sees in you.” Blond roared.

“We have done everything he asked of us, but he devotes his attention entirely on you!” Red’s voice cracked and he looked to be on the verge of tears.

“I get it now; you think of him as your father and you’ve been jealous of me ever since I popped into your lives. He probably treated you special for a long time then ignored you like an old set of toys. It probably broke your little hearts to see him train me. You’re desperate for his attention and you probably think killing me is going to make him care about you again.” John deduced. “It makes you angry that I hate him and everything he has done for me. You think I’m ungrateful and it pains you to see your master waste his time on me when he should be teaching you, right?”

“Prepare yourself, boy!” Red exclaimed.

“We will send you to your grave!” Blond added; John saw he had struck a nerve in each of them and knew only an ugly truth could cause such pain.

“You don’t get it, do you? Coach doesn’t care about anyone.” John spoke in all seriousness. “He cares only about himself and the fun he can have with people. People aren’t people to him and that includes you. We are all just playthings to him and he uses us all for his sick games like the one he has us playing now.”

“Enough of this!” Blond shouted. “It is time to fight.”

“Wait!” Red said as he held out an arm in front of his twin. “I want to hear what he has to say, first.”

“Why?” Blond demanded.

“I want to hear out all his reasons for us to kill him,” Red said, grinning.

“Very well,” Blond conceded then returned his attention to John. “What do you think you know of our master?

John obliged them with his answer. “Other than the fact he tortured me only because he wanted to see if I lived?” John asked. “You only think he cares about me, but here's the reality," John paused for dramatic effect, "He finds me amusing. He enjoys making me squirm and watching me lash out; he probably thinks he’s invincible and that I’ll never be able to touch him, which gives him the idea to keep on going. He doesn’t treat you the way you want because he doesn’t think of you as his sons. You two are desperate for his affection when he has none to give. You’re just there, boring him. You do everything he tells you to do like good little boys. You really want to know why he's interested in me and never tires of me? It's because I’m always surprising him either by overcoming his ludicrous challenges or by defying him.”

“Are you done?” Blond asked; John said nothing. “Are you satisfied?” He asked his twin.

Red trembled; his features were contorted with fury. “He’s said too much; let us bury him.” He growled.

Blond smirked and his eyes gleamed with satisfaction, “Yes, let’s.”

“Even if you two fight as a pair; it will not be enough,” John solemnly assured them.

He had gotten under their skin for a specific purpose; time was precious and he would not have wasted it on pride-boosting idle chat. He knew, from the start of their conversation, he could not convince them to back down and let him pass through uneventfully. He also knew that ki energy is very responsive to emotions, especially passionate ones like love, anger, hope, and misery. As soon as they proved talkative and revealed to him their undying loyalty to their master, he decided to anger them until they revealed to him their true power. He believed he had felt it and presently possessed confidence in his ability to defeat them.
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Re: Dark Return (Solo)

Post by John Dark on 9/6/2012, 7:02 pm

Dread wrote:Red dashed forward; John braced himself for impact by crossing his arms over his chest. His attacker vanished from view at the last moment, but John managed to track him by his energy signature. He turned toward him, but had made the mistake of lowering his guard. Blond appeared directly in front of him and exactly where he had suspected a strike from the redhead. Having penetrated his defenses, Blond delivered a breathtaking right-handed punch into John’s gut. Air escaped him; he tried gasping to recollect some of it, but Red had taken advantage of the distraction offered to him by his partner. He delivered a sweeping kick against the backs of John’s legs.

He fell backward, but he stopped his descent with his own energy. Blond followed through his partner’s attack by issuing a bone-cracking drop-kick onto the right side of his chest. John issued a shriek of agony that pleased both his attackers. He fell onto his back and gasped for air, but neither of his opponents would relent. Blond stood at his right and Red to his left. They both delivered kicks into either of his sides; the burning pain made him feel like his body was being sheared in half.

John looked to the sky and blasted off toward it as though pushed by an invisible rocket. His adversaries followed him, caught up with him, and then they brought their fists down onto either of shoulders. The twin impacts dislocated his joints, inflicting him with a familiar and unwelcome torment. His flight ended short and he found himself falling back toward the ground from the strikes.

His attackers appeared on the ground below him; they raised their arms up toward him. John sensed energy gathering below; he turned around and slowed his descent in time to witness green energy glow within the palms of both his opponents. He focused healing energy into his injured arms and, as soon as he could, he crossed them over his chest and curled up into a ball. His limited height made it easier for him to make his body into an even smaller target.

Two sinister beams of light shot forward then coiled around one another until they became absolutely indistinguishable. The beams struck John and forced him higher into the sky. The energy burned his knees that he had pulled over his arms, but failed to penetrate flesh. The light faded and neither of the twins appeared beneath him where they had once stood. They are fast. John thought to himself. But they aren’t fast enough!

He unfolded his body then continued soaring into the sky in order to keep as much distance between himself and his opponents as possible. He needed to strip them of their advantageous offense and take charge of the fight. He decided to hold nothing back from them in order to make short work of them. He logically thought that if he was going to expend the energy needed to attack, he may as well make the expense worth his efforts.

He held his arms ahead of him and permitted his true power to surface. It was easy enough to call upon. It felt addicting. It wanted free! A black chain appeared from his flesh; it extended from one of his wrists to the other. A sudden worry occurred to him. What if his power consumed him, corrupted him, and possessed him? He feared that he would become a monster and lose all his compassion, sympathy, and empathy for others. He dreaded becoming like so many others before him who had known such power and became mad because of it. He feared losing himself to his own devices.

The chain suddenly disappeared in his moment of severe doubt. He dropped to his arms to his sides. As soon as it vanished, his attackers appeared, surrounding him from the front and behind. The redhead in front of him was not distraction enough for John not to notice the signature and location of his other enemy. John twisted is body and pressed his right index finger against Red’s forehead and his left index finger against the blond man’s chest. John discharged an energy bullet from each of his fingertips and only narrowly missed his targets. Red and Blond both grabbed his arms, forcing his hands away at the exact moment of release.

They latched onto his arms with their other hands then nodded once to each other. They lifted John over their heads and, using all four arms between them, threw him toward the earth like a pebble from a slingshot. They then both shot a ball of energy from their hands, still directed at John from their last attack. The glowing orbs merged to create an attack twice as large and deadly as they were separate. They detonated upon contact with John’s feet; they turned the moisture in the air into a thick cloud of steam from their heat. John tumbled through the steam cloud and continued, seemingly unconscious, toward the ground.

He crashed hard; his opponent leisurely took their time landing. John’s impact had crushed portions of the stone path that led beyond the gate and into his teacher’s home. He lay within a crater, but his blinking eyes and heavy breaths indicated that he was both alive and conscious. “You’re certainly tough to kill,” Red admitted from above as he and his partner raised their hands over John from opposite sides of the hole.

John blinked slowly once, but that was all the time he needed; he had become so adept at ki that he could infuse inanimate objects with it and control them remotely as though they were extensions of his body! The ground trembled beneath his attackers’ feet to the point that they lost their concentration and stared at John then one another with worried looks. They took to the sky just as the stone beneath them exploded into several jagged pieces. Despite their speed, John tracked their energy easily enough; the menacing debris followed at his command.

The fragments of stone exploded like grenades whenever they touched one of their targets. The attack delivered several shallow cuts along their skin. Their ninja outfits looked as though they had been shredded by monstrous claws. John, meanwhile, rose from the hole that had meant to be his grave. “I don’t care what happens to me,” He decided aloud. “As long as I can save her, I don’t give a damn about what happens to me!”

He raised his arms out ahead of him and the black chain reappeared between his arms. “We have to stop him!” Blond screamed from above; he and Red immediately descended down toward John, but his last attack against them had strategically forced them away from him so that he could conclude his next move.

The centermost link in the chain cracked then snapped. The chain halves swung away from one another and continued to hang from his wrists; he had relieved his body and spirit of the restraints that bound his new power. It was a power that he continued to fear, but he would use it whenever necessary for any cause he deemed worthy. Saving a life definitely fell into his list of qualifying causes!
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Re: Dark Return (Solo)

Post by John Dark on 9/6/2012, 8:50 pm

Dread wrote:John stretched his arms out with his hands open and his palms facing upward. He flew backwards and away from his enemies, who had slowed some after John’s empowerment. Watching him flee from them, however, bolstered their courage to continue their pursuit. They had hurt him before; they probably believed they could kill him because he bled. John certainly did not doubt their capacity for destruction and murder, but he would allow neither of them to end him.

Blond brought his hands together as though he was gripping the hilt of an invisible sword; Red copied the movement. John watched as a green pillar of energy erupted upward from the blond man’s hands; an identical burst of energy appeared out from Red’s hands. John produced his own attacks above his palms. Identical globes of absolute darkness formed over his palms and began to spin. As soon as they reached an adequate size, John abandoned them and allowed them to float freely in the air.

Blond and Red moved their arms toward one another, bringing the pillars of green light toward one another until they touched. A blast erupted forth from them and chased after John; it curved over the black orbs he had left behind and continued toward him. His opponents had guided the attack so that it would waste none of its energy against his forces. It’s still not enough to defeat me. John thought after he had quickly analyzed the oncoming rush of energy for its power.

He stopped and waited for the guided attack to near him; he could not afford wasting his energy for nothing on his next move. When its heat reached him, he immediately aimed his left index finger at the approaching beam and fired another energy bullet at it. The bullet parted the beam directly in half and continued a straight path through it; its trajectory posed no threat to either of John’s enemies because they had altered the course of their own attack whereas the bullet had not such guidance. One of his inventions, however, came equipped with tracking.

The beam’s halves fizzled out harmlessly before they even touched John; his attack had effectively sabotaged that of his enemies. “My turn,” John declared and issued a silent command to the black globes he had left unattended up to that point.

The two black balls cracked like eggs then shattered; their eager and newly hatched contents spilled out. Two sets of lethal darkness, one for each of John’s intended victims. Blond and Red witnessed the attacks’ release with absolute despair. They finally recognized John’s superior ability over their combined strengths. They sensed the approaching destructive forces and made a pitiful attempt for escape. The musical blackness hurried after them without fail and quickly caught up with them.

Unable to escape their impending doom, both Blond and Red turn to face the danger as cornered mice might try to fare against a cat. They both released an energy wave from opposite sides of the battle area and toward the individual attacks that honed in on them wherever they tried retreating. The countless shards of ki that comprised Piercing Dread crept over the waves, consuming them in blackness and raged on.

“Please! Stop!” Red cried out to John.

“I don’t want to die!” Blond screamed.

John heartlessly deafened himself to their ensuing cries for mercy. They had brought this fate upon themselves by trying to kill him. Would they have exercised any mercy had he asked for it? He very much doubted it. They admired “Coach” wholeheartedly and behaved as he did, but they were laughable imitations of the authentic character. Then what does that make me? John asked himself.

Piercing Dread crept over the arms of his victims, grinding them down to nothing. They both screamed; their cries pierced John’s soul. He had willingly inflicted serious damage onto their bodies! Would he continue until they died? They are a threat! They must die! John tried convincing himself, but he did not believe his own thoughts. This is what I was afraid of; I don’t want to be a monster. I don’t want to kill any more people! “Stop it!” He roared, but he needed no verbal command to cancel his attacks.

Darkness fell away from his victims and slowly vanished without causing any additional harm to anyone or anything. John looked in absolute horror at what he had done. Red and Blond had both lost their hands and forearms, blood dripped freely from open stumps that revealed the bony protrusions of their elbows. Red and Blond stared, shocked at their own states; they could not even utter another scream between them.

John sobbed as he landed and fell to his knees. What was wrong with him? He had killed before. Why were “Coach’s” assistants any different? Did they not deserve to die more than anyone else on the planet? They cried for me to stop. They were frightened. I knew from the start that they were helpless against me, but I kept on hurting them. I almost killed them. “I’m sorry,” John said; he then cast his gaze to the sky and addressed both of the defeated men. “I’M SO SORRY!”

He looked to the chains dangling from his wrists. Why did I give in? Why did I not look for another way? Why do I have such wretched power? “Go away!” He screamed; the chain halves obliged by reconnecting and then by vanishing from sight. His power was safely locked away and would only ever affect his judgment again if he freely chose to use it.

He then felt “Coach” approaching from beyond the walls. He looked ahead beyond the rock garden and to the front sliding door of the illustrious home as it opened. A man in a pinstriped suit walked outside and, without touching it, closed the door behind him. His eyes remained veiled by an impenetrable shadow with or without the wide-brimmed hat he wore that day and on most other days. His loyal assistants hurriedly landed beside him; they immediately knelt, but held their damaged limbs out to him.

“Please help us, master!” Red begged.

“I beg you to heal us!” Blond pleaded.

“Coach” regarded them; John watched and feared he meant to kill them both. “Neither your health nor your lives are my responsibility,” He spoke coldly after a time; he flew over his rock garden so as not to leave prints in the sand.

He callously abandoned his own men to their injuries and landed in front of John; he immediately asked, “You rang?”

“Your men,” John said.

“Coach” grinned. “What about them?” He asked.

“Please don’t leave them like that. Help them!” John went so far as to bow in front of his teacher; both Blond and Red looked at him and appeared just as surprised by his behavior as they were about their mutual physical condition.

“Coach” chuckled. “You nearly kill them and you ask me to help them?” He wondered, obviously amused.

“Please,” John whispered.

“I cannot help them,” “Coach” admitted as though he was not bothered by a certain limitation.

“Why not?” John demanded.

“I am not a doctor,” “Coach” answered simply. “Tell me why you came here and maimed my assistants.” He suddenly demanded.

There was nothing more John could do there, he realized. Despite his earlier claim, the lives of his opponents mattered to him; they were both human. He realized then that it was just as important to remember the humanity of his enemies as it was to remember his own station as a man. If he forgot either, he would become a monster akin to the one he presently faced.

No matter how much he cared for his enemies, however, there was another life that desperately needed saving. “Do you remember the woman who adopted me for saving her child?” John asked, looking up at “Coach” while he remained on his knees; he did not stand for fear of collapsing as a result of his present disgust with himself.

“Sounds familiar, what of it?” “Coach” asked.

“Someone took her baby daughter, killed the child’s baby sitter, and left a message that said, ‘not over’. I think it was referring to the tournament you had me join. I think there’s one contestant left and they know enough about me to have taken someone I care about. I need to know where they went.” John said.

“The tournament has not yet ended,” “Coach” confirmed. “But I cannot interfere.”

“I just need to know where this person is,” John said.

“The whole idea behind the tournament is to make it a deadly game of global hide and seek. Revealing the location of any participant would be interference on my part.” “Coach” told him. “I can tell you this much. You are probably correct in your assumption that the child’s kidnapper is a contestant. My guess is, is that they took her as bait and waits for your bite. They will reveal themselves to you at a time of their choosing, which should be soon. A baby is a high maintenance hostage and cannot be reasoned with; your opponent will want the battle to occur soon just to rid themselves of the responsibility. Keep your senses open for some kind of signal; try using the Lookout. I believe you can detect energy from anywhere on the planet from up there.” He advised.

John’s eyes widened with shock. Why had he not thought of going to the Lookout in the first place? Kami and Mr. Popo would have willingly accommodated him and Kami probably could have supplied him with the location of his target. If not, John could have done as “Coach” suggested. No one would have suffered if he had done things differently. John wiped his tears away, knowing he could not afford to suffer such thoughts; he had a clear objective ahead of him and he needed to accomplish it with all haste.
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Re: Dark Return (Solo)

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