by Mark Patraw
Homepage: Mark's Art Page
The sky rumbled savagely and it became even darker. Galford's evil twin began to look even more demonic in the shadows of the rain-veiled gloom. He couldn't help staring into the unnatural furnace pits of his eyes, which glowed white/blue like tiny moons, illuminating the crevasses of his face and hardening the shadows. They crackled and sparked, and now, tiny waves of that current began to run up and down his arms, like waves in the sea.
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"You know, water and lightning don't mix…" Galford said sarcastically, the rain was really coming down in bullets now. His lank hair hung wetly in his eyes, and the warm water was running off his face in streams and soaking his clothing. Galford knew all too well what lightning like this could do at sea to a boat… He supposed it was too much to hope that the fool would somehow fry himself with his own powers.
Evil Galford laughed.
"They mix just fine…if you're the lightning. It's weak flesh like yours that can't take the heat!"
And with that he attacked. His blade was out, arcs of deadly, blue fire racing along its edges. The grass was slick, and they both slid as their swords came into contact with a loud twang and a shower of fluorescent sparks.
Galford blocked well, but he wished he had dodged the strike entirely. His entire forearm instantly went numb as the bright, living tendrils hungrily jumped off of Evil Galford's blade and onto his - and then into his body. They burned and numbed the flesh at the same time, leaving only a tingling sensation.
"Gaah!" Galford dropped his Ninjato blade to the ground; the fingers of his sword arm would no longer obey his commands.
Evil Galford wasted no time with Galford temporarily incapacitated; he immediately followed the first slash with another savage blow aimed at his head. Galford ducked low, the wet earth hastening his escape as he slipped on it yet again. A sharp buzzing noise followed by a wave of heat passed by harmlessly overhead.
Evil Galford had left himself wide open, and Galford was in a position to take full advantage of it. He kicked straight up from his crouch with all his weight behind it, catching his electrical foe solidly in the throat with his foot.
There was an audible pop, and Evil Galford stumbled backwards clutching his bleeding jaw, coughing for air. Galford vigorously rubbed his numb arm, trying to bring some life back into it, but to no avail. Quickly, he recovered his blade with his uninjured arm, but sheathed it instead of using it. His dead limb made it obvious that steel would only work against him in this fight. He'd have to rely on his ninjitsu and wits for this battle…and Poppy.
She moved forward, placing herself as a living barrier between the two men. Poppy was really snarling now, her fangs bared and her ears almost flat on her head.
"Yoo!" Evil Galford hissed, blood spilling forth from between the fingers tightly clenched around his mouth in pain, "Yoo brog my fruggin yaw!!!" His jaw was indeed broken.
"Good, I won't have to listen to your garbage anymore." Galford's boast was half-hearted, he was at a definite disadvantage here.
Evil Galford muttered something dark and unintelligible and rushed Galford again - and ran square into a wall of solid ice. One moment the air had been filled with rain, the next it had crystallized instantly into a solid cage of white/gray all around his opponent. The barrier shook under his enraged opponent's blows, but it held, for now.
She had finally arrived, looking like a drowned rat in the downpour just like him.
"Looks like you and Poppy could use some help with ugly there…" She smiled, ringing some water out of her dress. Thunder crashed again as Konril peeked out from behind her, the spirit's usual sparkling appearance dull in the dimness.
"Aye, I most definitely could." He was truly glad to see her, together they stood a much better chance against this monster.
Evil Galford's blade suddenly burned forth from the frozen prison and landed solidly in the ground at Rimururu's feet, the blue fire of the gods still burning upon it's face.
"Boy, not only is he stupid, he has bad aim too…" Rimururu began to laugh.
"RIMU! Move!!!" Nakoruru shouted from the sidelines.
A bolt of lightning leapt down from the heavens, the evil one's sword it's target. There was a flash and the smell of fire. Rimururu screamed and was thrown backwards. Nakoruru's warning had come in time, but not nearly fast enough for her sister to clear the blast in its entirety.
But it had saved her life. She lay on the ground, her clothes smoldering and black, but alive. Nakoruru and her Grandmother ran quickly to her aid. Rimururu was down for the duration though. Galford wished he could count on Nakoruru to back him up, but one look at her bruised and torn body told him that she wouldn't last long if she did.
The thudding from within the prison stopped momentarily, and then, the ice wall exploded outwards. Galford just barely dodged a chunk the size of Poppy as it tumbled towards him. Smaller shards peppered him but did no harm.
Evil Galford's eyes sparkled from within the steaming hole he had created.
"I'hm dun playbing wit yoos." He snarled. Galford wanted to feel fear, but the garbled voice issuing forth from his enemy's broken mouth was too comical. Even with a broken jaw, he still couldn't shut up.
"What was that? I didn't quite catch it with all the dung in your mouth…"
As soon as the words were uttered, Galford wished that he hadn't spoken them. The evil one was on him in an instant. Both warriors locked their fists around each other's throats in a death grip, but it was a contest Galford couldn't hope to win. Evil Galford began to discharge his dark fire into his body; the brutal hum of the lightning became everything. The pain was unimaginable; everything felt like it was on fire, and his body went into convulsions from the sheer raw power ripping him apart. Galford's ears literally began to smoke, and his hair smoldered. All he could see were those nightmare eyes flashing and laughing at him, and his wet, bloody smile. Still, Galford did not loosen his grip on the dark one's throat. If I'm going to die, you're coming with me, you son-of-a-bitch!
And then the pain stopped, the buzzing was replaced with a different sound, Poppy's guttural growl. She had the back of Evil Galford's throat clenched tightly in her strong jaws, but she hadn't pierced the flesh…yet. Considering the circumstances, his frosty-haired enemy had wisely decided to stop cooking her master.
Galford pulled himself free of his 'brother's' cruel embrace. His entire body screamed pain at him, but he was alive. The rain felt good on his suddenly too-hot body.
"I'd give up if I were you pal, Poppy doesn't screw around when she's mad."
Evil Galford smiled darkly at him, his eyes flickering under his soggy, matted locks.
"Neyder doob I."
A bright flash of that unnatural fire crackled forth from his body, and Poppy fell away whimpering. She slunk away slowly to lick her wounds, but not far away, she knew she would be needed again, and soon.
"Now you've really ticked me off. Roasting me alive is one thing, hurting Poppy is something else altogether."
Evil Galford said nothing, he just clenched and unclenched his fists in fury. They circled each other, glaring. The hate was tangible in the air, a live thing. Galford flexed his own hand as well, he could feel with it again, but it was far from being in tip-top shape. He noticed the storm had slackened off a bit, was the creature weakening? He cast a sideways glance at the others. They were still bandaging Rimu's burns, but all three watched him intensely. If he lost now, they were probably all done for…
The dark one came to where his sword still lay, and he withdrew it from the earth and chuckled. Instead of renewing his attack, he sheathed the blade.
"Nob bad, nob bad ad alb. I unberestibated yoob. Weeb will meed agaid dough, kound on id, web the obbs are id maib fabor. Ad nedt timb, id will beeb dibberent…"
He bowed to Galford and mockingly blew Nakoruru a kiss and gave her an obscene and suggestive gesture.
She shuddered, and Galford barely held himself back from blindly attacking his hated twin again.
"Ta, ta, sweeb libble bird. Weeb hab fud togebber. I'll seeb yoos in yourb nibmares, Nahkoruhbru."
He turned and pierced Galford's soul with those crazy eyes one more time and graced him with a knowing smile. He pointed a single gauntlet-clad finger at Galford, and then transformed it savagely into a fist.
Then there was a bright flash of lightning and he was gone. Nothing but a great, smoking hole remained. A hole like the one they had seen earlier near Ashufu's charred corpse.
With his departure, the rain stopped almost instantly, and the sun's beams warmed the earth once more. The raindrops glistened madly in the light. Galford could hardly believe it…he was truly gone. He wouldn't consider it a victory by any means, but he'd settle for a draw…just barely.
"That's right, run away. But I'll find you again…and I'll be the one ready for you next time…" Galford promised.
There would be a way to stop that demon, there had to be, and he would find it. And when he did…