Heroes Legion: "Year Two": Clash of the Titans: Part Two
Chapter 6: The Second Round
Battle-Island Tournament, Beach Town Arena: October 21st, 2014: 8:20 PM
From the viewing window of their exhibition box, John Thunderhawk, Maya Thunderhawk, Roullette, Silicon, Techne, Sheila, Ravager, Atlas and Stephanie Walker watched as the Grandmaster's hologram appeared over the arena to start the next round.
"First match…Meta-Master vs Inkwell!" the Grandmaster's hologram declared, signaling the beginning of the second round of the Battle Island Tournament.
"So it finally happened to HIS side" Silicon snickered from the Heroes Legion exhibition box.
In the middle of the arena's combat platform, the two members of the Dark Elite team materialized, facing one another.
Meta-Master seemed surprised for the moment, but then shrugged, and just stood there…waiting.
The alien gong sound rang out, and the match began.
Inkwell didn't even get a chance to fight or defend herself before Meta-Master sent out a single blast of psychic energy at her, sending her ink-like form flying out of the ring…vanishing into a flash of light once she had crossed it.
"Meta-Master wins!" The Grandmaster's hologram declared.
Meta-Master smiled smugly behind his mask, before vanishing himself.
"Well THAT was anti-climatic," Ravager said, almost disappointed.
"It seems that Meta-Master is going to make it to the final match…" John Thunderhawk said in dismay.
"Let's just hope M-Leader makes it to the end then, he's the only one here save for Raven Ducard and Shadow Knight who could beat him," Atlas said hopefully.
"That depends on who faces who and who wins what matches…" Stephanie Walker pointed out.
"Next Match…" The Grandmaster's hologram declared, "Chameleon vs Swift!"
Once he had materialized onto the platform with the arrogant speedster, Chameleon stared at the young man with absolute hatred.
While Swift looked at Chameleon with narrowed eyes of recognition, "I know you don't I?"
"You do…" Chameleon growled, and then for a moment he shapeshifted his appearance away from his lizardman façade and into a normal-looking man with wild white hair before turning back into his lizard-like form, "the last time I saw you, you slammed the door on the only escape route out of that STRIPE hellhole on both me and Sandra while you made your escape to freedom…laughing at how we were stupid to trust you and call you our friend."
Swift's eyes flashed in realization, "Max?"
"In the flesh" Chameleon hissed, if he had venom, he'd have spat it at him.
"Man and I thought you were a lizard before," Swift said mockingly, "I guess from the Power Transfer Experemints they performed on us kids with those dead metahuman villains and heroes, I got the better powers, and the good looks."
"Velocity's genes were wasted on you" Chameleon snorted, "you're not even a fraction as powerful as the Velocity of this timeline."
"I'm powerful enough to kick your ass!" Swift boasted proudly.
"We shall see about that Judas…" Chameleon said, "or didn't you see my match against my teammate Ravager earlier today?"
"I didn't care to watch any of the matches, boring as hell," Swift said arrogantly.
"Same old arrogant narcissistic piece of shit" Chameleon scoffed, "only caring about matters if it affects or involves yourself."
"I will ask this, How the hell are you so old though?" Swift asked, genuinely curious.
"I'm from 20 years after your betrayal, from the timeline that used to be this timeline's future. Somehow I crossed over into this parallel reality instead of traveling to the past of our reality in order to alter its history. As to how you are even here, I'm already guessing it has something to do with your two new friends up there, Dark Shadow and Dark Witch, they aren't from this universe or this timeline any more than you or I are." Chameleon's eyes looked in the direction he figured the Dark Elite were watching the match from.
"Timeline, universe?" Swift asked, rubbing his head in confusion, "Man, and I thought those two talked weird. But your right, they brought me here. They approached me two days after I left you and Sandra in the dust, they had a way for me to get off that shitbox of a world we came from and into one where I could be a speed god on a world where STRIPE's rule is in its infancy…and help strangle it's in its crib. How could I refuse? Though, I'm not the only refugee from that reality on this team."
"What are you talking about?" Chameleon asked, genuinely surprised and curious about what his former friend and hated enemy was talking about.
"You'll see…" Swift snickered, "You and the rest of the loser heroes of this dimension will see."
That was when the alien gong sound rang out, and the match began.
Swift, sporting a smug yet psychotic smirk charged at Chameleon-like a speeding bullet.
Chameleon didn't even get a chance to defend himself before a punch that was like a sledgehammer slammed into his left cheek, knocking him to the ground.
Swift could have used his powers to end the match right then and there, but he preferred to have fun.
He was going to enjoy beating his former friend to death.
Swift then began zooming around the ring, smacking into the downed Chameleon who was struggling to get up and fight back.
But every time he tried to get up or defend himself, Swift knocked him back down.
He began spitting blood from the continuous crushing blows.
"Your in over your head Max, you should have stayed in that hole I left you in." Swift hissed sadistacly, reveling in the crushing and near-fatal blows he was dealing with his former friend.
That was when something unexpected happened.
In a blur as fast as Swift himself, Chameleon reached up, and grabbed Swift by the throat, lifting him off of his feet until he was dangling two feet above the floor of the ring by the now standing tall Chameleon.
His claws digging into Swift's neck, drawing blood.
While he gritted his teeth through the pain going through his neck, he stared at Chameleon in shock as suddenly the wounds he inflicted on his former friend began to heal before his eyes.
What caused Swift to gawk in disbelief…was the fact that Chameleon had managed to catch him with such speed akin to his own.
That was when he realized that Chameleon wasn't naturally that fast, only a speedster was that fast!
Chameleon was no speedster.
"You never should have betrayed me or Sandra…" Chameleon chuckled darkly, "It gave me the skills I needed to beat YOU!"
"What? How?" Swift asked, completely stunned by the sudden change in how the match had been going in his favor now gone entirely in his foes favor.
"You always were too in love with yourself to understand the first rule of combat" Chameleon said, with his hand around his archenemies neck, "Never underestimate your opponent! Your power is MY power, and I can use it against you just as you used our friendship against ME!"
With that being said, Chameleon then span around in place rapidly, with Swift in tow…before he let him go.
The velocity of Chameleon's spin was enough to send the arrogant speedster flying out of the arena, before vanishing in a flash of light.
"Chameleon wins!" The Grandmaster's hologram declared.
Chameleon heard cheers from the Heroes Legion box amongst the cheers from the Xeno audience in the stands.
He smiled and then nodded in appreciation towards his friends on the Heroes Legion before vanishing.
"Next match…" The Grandmaster hologram declared, "Raven Ducard vs Machette!"
Raven Ducard found herself transported once again to the combat ring in the middle of the arena, and found that she was facing one of the newcomers.
Machete, if her memory served her.
With his bone claws drawn and several other features like a spikey back and elbows drawn out via his Bone manipulation powers that allowed him to manipulate his bone structure and mass…he was ready to come after her and carve her like a pumpkin.
Raven Ducard didn't move, nor did she look worried, she just stood there looking at him…with a confident smirk on her face.
When the alien gong sound rang out, the match began.
"I bet you think I'm just only good at stabbing things huh, witch bitch?" Machete asked rhetorically.
Raven Ducard folded her arms and rolled her eyes in annoyance, "Why do villains always have to have mouths AND minds like a toilet seat?"
Machete then reached out his hands towards Raven Ducard, and from the center of his palms, daggers made of bone shot out at incredible speed towards Raven Ducard.
Thinking fast and drawing on her training in the Battle-Zone, Raven Ducard leap and ducked around the arena to avoid the attacks.
She also began casting a spell as she did so, "Zarcanum Areoles Maximus!"
Machete suddenly felt the air around him begin to swirl and gust.
Before he knew it, he was lifted off his feet and sucked up into a twister like an updraft that took him screaming in fury and fears up into the air….and out of the arena where he vanished in a flash of light.
Raven Ducard, almost comically looked at her nails, with a smirk of victory on her face.
"Believe me, 'blowhard', it would have been painful for you if you had called me 'half-breed' instead of witch bitch…" she said in passing.
"Raven Ducard wins!" The Grandmaster's hologram declared as Raven Ducard vanished, "Next match…Shadow Knight vs Dark Shadow!"
Like two gunslingers, samurai, Ronin…whatever…waiting for the chance to fight, staring down one another.
Shadow Knight and Dark Shadow, his self-proclaimed replacement for 'archenemy' since Black Knight's suicide, waited for the gong to go off.
While Shadow Knight looked fierce, focused, determined.
Dark Shadow was smug, confident, and his eyes showed sadistic insanity that Shadow Knight had seen more times than he cared to remember.
Realizing that this might be the last chance he could get some answers from this mysterious foe…Shadow Knight, gripping his katana blade in his left hand, spoke to the villain.
"How are you and that harpy even here Dark Shadow?" Shadow Knight inquired.
"We grew bored of our world's strife, and that idiotic Dark Legion, and you and your friends made quite the mess when you came in and ruined our empire. We could have gone anywhere we wanted to, but thing is, Valeera and I hold grudges. So we decided to move away from that universe into the universe next door, the one belonging to the 'Zeroes Legion' who messed things up and mess up their home instead" Dark Shadow shrugged apathetically, "It helps when the lawmen of the multiverse give you a skeleton key."
"No World Drifter would ever give you the ability to travel through worlds" Shadow Knight countered.
"You'd be surprised…" Dark Shadow responded, "Like the knights and samurai, not all of them are the honor-bound heroes the stories say, looking to protect the order of the multiverse. Some you might say, want to sow chaos and destruction, burn it all down…build a world for themselves from the ashes…My kind of people."
"Lunatics?" Shadow knight asked snidely.
"No…People who are sick and tired of living in a house of mirrors and pretending that it's okay to be a reflection instead of the real deal. That whatever wrong happens in their life is just that…just life. Not because they are living in a world where the choice they made is the opposite of the choice another version of them had made somewhere else. That's what the multiverse is… a house of mirrors. A person's fate, their life, is not their own. It's just a reflection of another's life somewhere else instead…their choices mean NOTHING in any world…save for the one that they are a reflection of. Only here, in this world, does a person's choice TRULY matter. Causality, it's choices without consequence, without meaning… Why? Because what is done in one place is countered in another…" Dark Shadow corrected, "One man is born a hero, in another universe he's a coward. Politicians become tyrants and prisoners at the same time. Empires rise and fall, people starve while others prosper, Diseases are made, or cured, evil triumphs over good, good becomes evil…why? Why? Why? Why? CHAOS! Unpredictable, simple, unbiased, random, master-less CHAOS! The 'order of the universe' those World Drifters fight to maintain, it does not exist; so those that serve to maintain it are delusional fools who believe that fate is in their control. That they make their own stories, it's not 'order and balance' that rules the multiverse. It's chaos! Chaos-based on probability and causality. Chaos controls the multiverse, and I'm an agent of Chaos. The thing about Chaos, it's the only choice that matters. Only by serving Chaos instead of fighting it, does one truly control one's life. You can shatter the mirrors! Take control! If people die and worlds are destroyed and wrecked along the way…well…you can't make an omelet without breaking the eggs! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA!"
"You're insane!" Shadow Knight said, appalled by this reality hopping villains evil and insanity.
"Yeah, but it's a living" Dark Shadow joked.
"So…" Shadow Knight asked, almost afraid to ask, "You're saying you're me if I chose to be a villain instead of being the Shadow Knight?"
"Do I LOOK like an alternate reality version of you?" Dark Shadow asked sarcastically, "You don't see me wearing a beard or a mustache or any sort of cliché' indicating I am exactly that, do you?"
"You said my greatest enemy was myself" Shadow Knight pointed out.
"I meant that figuratively" Dark Shadow corrected, "Do you always take things so literally?"
"Your lying" Shadow Knight said intuitively.
"Am I?" Dark Shadow wondered, scratching his hat comically "I really can't tell. If you're going to have an archenemy, might as well be the face in the mirror you see every day. However…that's not who I am underneath this mask…no, who I am…is your father!"
"What?" Shadow Knight asked in shocked disbelief.
"HA! HA! HA! HA! HA!" Dark Shadow laughed, pointing at Shadow Knight mockingly "Oh the look on your face! You believed it for a moment!"
Shadow Knight scowled, "At least Black Knight was consistent with just hating me for an imagined slight, but you, you're a fruit loop!"
"Aw, Shadow Knight…" Dark Shadow said in a mockingly sweet tone, "You say the nicest things."
"Why do you want to kill all Shadow Knight's so much?" Shadow Knight asked.
"WHAT DID I JUST SAY!?" Dark Shadow shouted in frustration, before putting a finger to his temple in exasperation "Never mind, let's just say I wasn't looking to kill them ALL one by one…per se…I'm just trying to get back what was stolen from me and track down the little bastard that made my life such a living hell: The Prime Shadow Knight. Congratulations, I found you…or to be correct, you found me, and I followed you here. The final egg I need to crack!"
"You said you weren't a version of me" Shadow Knight pointed out.
"I did, and I meant it! I'm a quantum reflection of the Multiverse; I am not you any more than you are me…" Dark Shadow nodded, "Hell for all you know, I'm probably a version of that incompetent Black Knight character since we both hate you and blame you for ruining our lives. After all, in the reality we met, he was that worlds Shadow Knight. So who is under this mask before You? You're the detective, you figure out the answer to the riddle that is Moi because I'm not telling."
"I admit I was surprised to know you have thrown your lot in with Meta-Master…he doesn't tolerate failure or cowardice," Shadow Knight said, "Last time I saw you, you ran from the battle we were having."
Dark Shadow smirked, "I had a goose in the oven, I had to leave or it'd get spoiled."
"You were afraid I'd beat you, so you ran like a coward!" Shadow Knight goaded.
Dark Shadow laughed, "As I recall…boy…I had you dead to rights. See these?"
Dark Shadow pulled out his katana sword to show Shadow Knight Six notches on the blade, "These are tally marks I've made of the Shadow Knight I've killed. I practiced on them to prove it was possible to do so, I also collected their swords. They were much stronger, more experienced than you are now… So believe me when I say that you don't have a hope in hell. When you put up a decent fight against me on that island, I swore I wouldn't stop at anything to find you and add your blood to this blade."
"That just proves your 'chaos theory' about a choice being meaningless and that our stories are not our own to make is bullshit" Shadow Knight scoffed, "If you believed that, you wouldn't have shacked up with that harpy or come here to my world after me…you'd have stayed down in that hole you went off to hide in. I wonder…what was it that scared you so much that you ran from me?"
Dark Shadow shrugged.
"Meh…Let's just say it wasn't the right time or place for me to kill you. I'm insane, not suicidal. Now I am here…in this particular world…and there is nothing to keep me from finishing the job here!" Dark Shadow declared, his beady red eyes seething with insane hatred.
"Take your best shot if you can" Shadow Knight challenged.
That was when the gong sound went off.
"Right, time to add another blade to my collection of swords" Dark Shadow declared and charging up his katana with an even darker and chaotic form of miasmic energy, he charged at Shadow Knight who drew his blade to counter his foe's attack.
Their blades clashed, sparks flew everywhere, the two of them stood there in the middle of the arena, blades locked and struggling to overpower the other.
To Shadow Knight's surprise, his dark sense began to sound off warnings of danger coming not just from Dark Shadow, but from behind?
Shadow Knight quickly ducked, avoiding both Dark Shadow's blade…and the blade of Dark Shadow's shadow clone that was attacking him from behind.
Deciding to take steps to keep his new enemy from double-teaming him, Shadow Knight, taking a page out of the books of the Samurai of old…drew his other blade 'Raiju's Claw' and began to dual wield his two Shadow Katana's against his foe.
Dark Shadow wasn't impressed or even fazed by this move.
"Wow, two blades?" Dark Shadow said in mock praise, "How impressive, shame that I only have just SIX more swords than YOU!"
Both Dark Shadow and his shadow clone drew one extra sword, from Dark Shadow's collection of swords he had hidden in the folds of animated darkness beneath his coat's sleeves.
Shadow Knight had used that trick before himself to store items and weapons to be used for later, Velocity had jokingly said he had mastered the use of "Hammer-space" in real life with his powers…and now it seemed this reality hopping maniac could do the same.
Only he could make his Shadow Clone draw items stored in the Shadow Realm, and also make them charge those blades with miasmic energy, which was something Shadow Knight had never thought possible before.
With his two blades held in his hands, Shadow Knight did his best to defend himself against the villain and his living shadow double, relying on his Dark Sense and quick reflexes to keep from being fatally stabbed or wounded.
But Shadow Knight knew that Shadow Clones only stayed stable if the person manifesting them was concentrating on doing so, if distracted or injured, the clone would dissipate into miasmic energy.
All he had to do was deal a good blow to Dark Shadow.
Shadow Knight decided to put one of the combat moves he had developed in his spare time into play, and when Dark Shadow and his shadow clone came at him, he was ready for the both of them.
First, he dropped his original Shadow Katana to the floor.
A foolish move, or so it would be, if not for the fact that his strategy called for him to have one free hand.
Blocking Dark Shadow's shadow clone's Shadow Katana with Raiju's claw, he quickly reached down for his shadow revolver, drew it, and aimed it at Dark Shadow who was approaching him from behind.
Relying on his Dark Sense warning him of Dark Shadow's approaching attack to help him aim his gun in his exact location behind his back while he was occupied with the shadow clone.
But before he pulled the trigger, safety off on his miasmic bullet power, he felt something jab into the back of his neck.
He gritted in painful discomfort, just as he heard the familiar 'Bang!' and felt the familiar recoil of his shadow gun firing off a miasmic bullet.
Dark Shadow was struck in the chest by the miasmic bullet and sent flying backward before landing on his back, with a severe gash on his chest, his blood, a mixture of black purple and red, bleeding out onto the arena where it sizzled against the ground like acid…just like Shadow Knights own!
The wound soon began to heal as befitting those who had gained powers from the Liquid Miasmic mutagen, and Dark Shadow then started laughing, and after propping himself up so he could look right at a confused Shadow Knight, he began to slide himself back towards the edge of the ring.
Shadow Knight was confused, why was Dark Shadow throwing the match?
Surely he wasn't simply a typical bully, talks a big game but get a single blow dealt falls apart like a house of cards?
That was when Shadow Knight saw it.
In his enemy's hand, was a hypodermic syringe…and it was filled with something.
Something that was a mixture of red and bits of glowing purple.
Shadow Knight recognized it immediately; it was blood, his blood, Shadow Knight's blood!
"You lose Knight! Next time we met, you will die!" Dark Shadow said to him, laughing like a lunatic before he vanished into a flash of light like all the other combatants of this tournament who lost or won a match.
"Dark Shadow crossed the barrier on his power and is disqualified, Shadow Knight wins!" the Grandmaster's hologram declared.
But Shadow Knight wasn't so sure he had won.
These turns of events lead him to the conclusion that Dark Shadow had NOT been giving the fight his all; he had been luring Shadow Knight into a trap to steal his blood.
He didn't care if he won or lost the match, that sample of Shadow Knight's blood was what he truly wanted.
Before Shadow Knight could dwell on this matter further, he vanished in a flash of light from the arena.
"Next match…" the Grandmaster declared, "M-Leader vs Velocity!"