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A note from Dreadwizard Siegfried

This is the climax people! Get set!

“Kid! Kid, you gotta come help!” Evangeline screamed pleadingly into the phone, ducking as the brick wall she was using as cover burst apart.

“What!? Where?” Scott said.

“At the corner of…” She checked the signs. “Fear Street and Transylvania Boulevard!”

“Got it, on our way! Zombies, ho!” She watched Leo grunt and pick himself up.

“I’ll not be bested so easily!” he boasted, darting forward again. Hastazemus laughed heartily and started lobbing fireballs at him. Leo, used to dodging linemen, managed to evade the fiery missiles, tumbled past the daemon’s grasping arms and sank the sword nearly up to the cross guard in his gut. Hastazemus’s smile turned to a frown.

“I see that fool Lagdinras has found another patsy.” he growled. Grabbing the blade, he backhanded Leo away and pulled the sword out, grimacing. “You know, a few hours ago this might have actually done some actual damage.” he said as he tossed the sword away. The wound started fizzing and closing. Hastazemus grinned. “But I’m afraid I’m far too powerful now. You never stood a chance.” Leo groaned and tried to struggle upright. “Hah!” Hastazemus’s fist came down on the back of Leo’s head, driving it through the asphalt.

“No!” Eva screamed.

“Just lay down and die. It’s better that way.” Hastazemus sneered, then turned and grinned at Evangeline. “Now, what do we have here?” He stalked over, cracking his knuckles. She shivered and started backing away slowly, but Hastazemus stretched out his arm to grab her by the throat. A new, separate hand sprouted from his wrist, tilting her tear-streaked face up. “A little human girl. Or not so little, perhaps.”

“L-Leo.” she squeaked, before he clamped tighter.

“Silence. As conqueror, I have the right to do with my subjects as I will. And you, my dear-” He never finished the sentence. The flaming sword flew through the air, where Leo grabbed it, bringing it down and severing Hastazemus’s arm. He caught Evangeline before she fell.

“Don’t you lay a finger on her!” he roared, pointing the blade at the daemon, eyes and sword both ablaze. Hastazemus held up his stump and the arm regenerated.

“Oh really, and what will you do if I do.” he said dully, as if boredly reciting a script.

“I’ll cut you into atoms! No one hurts my girlfriend and gets away with it!” Leo flexed, shredding the last of his shirt, the sword as bright as the sun. He screamed and leapt forward, swinging for all he was worth. Another Hastazemus appeared behind him and grabbed his leg, making him fall.

“It’s too much, really.” Hastazemus said, sounding bored as he and his double started pounding on Leo’s prone form, Eva watching in horror. “This is why you should be slaves to us daemons. We are obviously the superior creatures. I am not being racist; it is merely an objective, biological fact. Humanity will slowly thrive under the yoke of our rule. All your stupid, outdated beliefs will be done away with, and your species shall eventually be as enlightened as ours. You understand?” he said as lifted Leo by his throat, dismissing his clone. Leo groaned. “Pathetic.” He threw Leo’s body into the ground hard enough to crack it. He turned on Evangeline once more, dusting off his hands. “I do mean it. Your kind shall be taught our secrets as a slave race. Your kind shall become as us, and we shall conquer the rest of the universe.” Hastazemus looked at the shaking Eva, suddenly thoughtful. “In fact…” He reached down and picked up his severed hand. “I wonder. With my new power, could it be possible to graft my flesh to yours, for an instant conversion? No time like the present to find out, I suppose.” He advanced on her. She screamed and tried to run, but a burst of flame behind her nixed that idea. He chopped at her neck, collapsing her. “Oh, do relax. One way or another, this will be over in a moment.”

Gachunk.

Eva saw the daemon pause and his four eyes narrow. Behind him, Leo leaned heavily on his sword, body feeling like it was on fire, breathing heavily and beaten, but not broken.

“I said don’t lay a finger on her.” Leo growled.

“This ceases to amuse. But at least your talk is tough, I suppose.” Hastazemus said, folding his wings like a cape. “But how can you fight, with a body that damaged? I count three broken ribs, a chipped femur, bruised spinal column, a fractured left humerous, and multiple bruises and lacerations over your skin, muscles, and organs. What can you do?”

“I can defeat you!” Leo declared. He pulled his sword out of the ground and though it made an unpleasant, warm oozing sensation in his chest, pointed it at the daemon. “Prepare for death.”

“My, my.” Hastazemus created a sword made out of darkness in his hand, and hiccupped. A burst of energy and power rolled off of him, even Eva could tell. “Then let us see whether you are right.”

Without another word, the combatants charged at each other. Their blades crossed, struggling for dominance. Hastazemus had greater strength, weight, and momentum, but Leo had twice that in courage and determination. Still though, he was being pushed back, body to the breaking point.

“Yield, fool!” Hastazemus barked. Leo gritted his teeth and pushed harder. Slowly, too slowly, his sword was cutting through the dark one. He saw Eva, struggling to her feet.

“Never!” With a cry and burst of strength, Leo pushed and shattered the evil blade, cutting through both demonic steel and-the air?

“Die.” Leo whipped around to see Hastazemus’s gaping maw, an orange light flickering in his throat. A massive stream of fire erupted out. Leo howled and did the only thing he could; slam his sword into it. Miraculously, the blade held, seeming to draw the flames and heat into it, only giving him minor burns. Unfortunately, that drained the last of Leo's strength.

Hastazemus grinned as Leo struggled to stay on his feet. His legs wobbled, his arms shook, and his eyes were trying to close. He had nothing left. The daemon thrust a kick into his chest, sending him flying down the street.

"LEO!" Eva screamed.

"Gotcha!" Leo's fall was cushioned as he was caught by an enormous undead hand. "Easy now."

"S-Scott?" Leo looked up to see the necromancer grinning down from the giant's shoulder. He gave him a tired smile. "Glad to see you made it."

"Hey, when this thing opens up, it can move." Scott said as the rest of the zombie horde caught up. He had the giant gingerly hand Leo off to the crowd, Eva beside him. "Good fight, man. Rest easy. I'll take it from here." He stared coldly at the daemon and cracked his knuckles.

"Oh ho?" Hastazemus said, eyeing up the monstrosity the necromancer and ghost were seated on. "I take it this is the method used to disperse my daemons?"

"You betcha, brimstone-breath! You're going down!" Scott declared, giving him a thumbs down. Hastazemus guffawed, scoffing at the very notion.

"That is rich! You pathetic mortal, you don't understand anything! You have no idea what you have unleashed! After all, anything you can do..." He unfurled his wings with a primal roar. Glowing with a dark red aura, Hastazemus grew, and grew, and grew, the ground trembling at the transformation, until he was four stories tall. He moved his knee and the second floor of a house was casually demolished. "I can do better!"

"H-Hey, kid! C-Can you really fight that thing!?" Evangeline called out, cradling Leo and keeping his head up to see.

"Just watch me!" Scott grinned, and jumped to his feet. "Behold! The fearsome true power of a necromancer! Hyahh!" He stuck his arms out, then circled them around, posing.

"What is this?" Hastazemus growled.

"Oh my god, he's really doing it." Amber muttered, pinching the bridge of her nose. "You're not cool, you know!"

"Take this! You ready, big guy?" The giant zombie leaned back and dug its fingers into its chest plate, ripping its ribs open. "Hoo-ha! Let's go! Combine!" Scott jumped off the shoulder, sliding into the gaping chest cavity, the giant slamming its chest plate closed.

Inside, it was dark and unpleasantly cool. He could feel the tentacles slither through the flesh. Scott grunted as they pierced into his wrists, ankles, and along his spine, the dead flesh merging with his own. His eyes glowed.

The giant roared and its' eyes flared. Suddenly, it stopped and held its hands up with previously unknown grace. It stared at them.

"Cool. It worked!" it said. Deep and amplified by size, it was unmistakably Scotts'.

"What on Earth-?" Leo said in bewildered wonder. Eva was speechless, and Amber drifted over to them.

"Yeah, I know. I wouldn't be surprised by anything at this point." she grumbled.

"I...see." Leo said in a tone that said he very much didn't.

"See, I designed this thing so I could merge with it." Scott explained, dancing a little jig that made cars jump. "This way, instead of a mindless zombie trying to obey orders, I eliminate the middleman and make its' movements much smoother and faster in the bargain. What do you think?"

"I think you're an idiot whose brain is as rotten as the zombies he commands!" Hastazemus barked.

"Shows what you know! Let's do this! Zombie Titan Mk. 1, launch!" The zombie avatar pounded its fists together and threw itself forward, guard raised.

The daemon sneered and teleported behind it, raining thunderous blows on his opponents' back. Scott grinned; even as connected as he was, even with the actual damage inflicted, there was still no pain. Zombies were such useful creatures. He reared a leg up and kicked back, twisting the daemon's knee out.

Hastazemus scowled and wrenched it back into place, healing it instantly. He began teleporting, over and over, whipping up whirlwinds with the amount of displaced air.

"Ha ha! Try to keep up!" he said confidently, showing a mouthful of teeth. Scott's avatar stood stock-still, calmly timing it out, then stuck an arm out. Hastazemus teleported there, the undead appendage embedded in his chest. "Hrmm." He narrowed his four eyes, as Scott used the opportunity for some free shots. The daemon was unphased however, ripping the arm out of his flesh, the wound closing behind it. "I see you are not to be underestimated. Very well."

"Uh-oh." Scott gulped. Hastazemus bellowed and held his hands up. Flames gathered there, a spherical inferno concentrating into a sun in miniature but still larger than he was.

"Die, fool!" Hastazemus leapt up and hurled the fireball down, the heat melting the asphalt, making it bubble and warp. Scott couldn't move quickly enough, and could only cross his avatars' arms in front of his face to defend himself. He screamed as he burned.

"Scott!" Amber cried out. When the flames died out, the zombie giant was kneeling on the ruined street, charred black.

"I-I'm okay." Scott said unsteadily.

"No you're not!" Hastazemus snarled, punching him in the face. The zombie collapsed on its back, the daemon punching and stomping every last inch, slamming it harder and harder with each blow. The giant tried to struggle back, but the attacks were too fast and too fierce.

"Why won't you fall!" the daemon screeched and brought a double-handed blow down on the head, driving it through the ground. The zombie finally shuddered and lay still, hands dropping to the dirt. Hastazemus stood tall.

"Dear lord." Leo said.

"S-Scott...n-no..." Amber said in shock, tears in her eyes. "You...you p-promised..."

"Ha ha ha ha ha! I have destroyed you, pitiful worm!" he shouted to the night, breathing heavily form the exertion. "Now none can stand against our might! Heh heh ha ha ha ha ha!" Hastazemus laughed uproariously, cawing his victory to the world. "Ha ha ha-"

"Eh ha ha ha ha ha hee hee ha ha!" Another voice joined in laughing with him.

"What!?" Hastazemus thundered. The chest popped open to reveal Scott, cackling madly. "You're still alive?"

"And well, thank you for asking! Ha ha ha!" Scott cried, disengaging and standing up.

"The fool's gone mad with fear." the daemon scowled, shaking his head.

"S-Scott?" Leo said nervously. Scott had tears in his eyes and was clutching at his sides.

"I-I can't believe it!" he gasped between breaths. "I really can't! You idiot! Ha ha!"

"What are you talking about? I'll incinerate you!" Hastazemus said, conjuring flame to his hand.

"You don't get it, do you? You've already lost!" Scott proclaimed.

"What?" The flame went out. Hastazemus stared at his empty hand. He hadn't dismissed it.

"Here. This should tell you everything you need to know." Scott rummaged in his backpack and pulled out the Necronomicon, turning to a specific page. "Here we go." he said, holding it up.

"But...that is merely a spell that allows a bound spirit to spread their intangibility to other objects for a short while. It has no potential for combat-" All four of his eyes widened in horror and locked on Amber. She shrugged and waved. "What did you DO!?"

"Nothing much." Scott said, grinning. "Just replaced her heart with a cow's, shaped to resemble a human's by yours truly. Oh, and stuffed it as full as ricin as I could. Figured it wouldn't do much, but every little poison helps, huh?" Hastazemus roared and clutched his rumbling stomach. "The whole other part? The big showdown, the final fight between necromancer and daemon lord? All just a distraction. And you fell for it beautifully. You've been dancing in my palm this whole time, little monkey." The daemon's head snapped over to him.

"You-!!"

"Oh, but I should tell you who helped me through the details, as well as give me the lowdown on Stephanie's plans and modus operendi." He pulled out a rock from his pocket and tossed it to the ground. “Come on out.”

Ectoplasm oozed out of the stone, coalescing into the frowning form of Bess, standing defiantly with her arms crossed.

“Bess!” Amber cried out.

“Yeah, it was me who helped him.” she admitted. “I figured it was the biggest and best way to screw over Stephanie’s plan, so I told him everything I knew about the rituals and daemons. I hate you all.” She drifted over to the others and sat down on the ground, Amber slowly reaching out a finger to touch her. “Stop that.” she growled.

“So there you have it.” Scott grinned. “All the spells I have, the time constraints, there was no way that we could’ve beaten you or the coven in a straight up fight. So I incorporated our loss into our victory. It didn’t matter which one ate the hearts, you or Stephanie’s daemon. As soon as Amber switched those hearts, we won. Fear my genius.”

Hastazemus groaned and fell to his knees as the fifth heart was digested, trying got replenish his depleted magical reserves. It felt like shards of ice were trying to stab their way out of him.

“I’ll…kill you…” he gasped.

“Doubt it. Do you know what happens when a magic ritual as big as this one fails?” Scott asked innocently.

“Rrrrrrraaghhh!” Sweating bullets, the infernal creature began to shrink, but through sheer force of will managed to keep his size, forcibly digesting the sixth heart in the process for an energy boost. Scott laughed.

“Yes, yes! Put out more power! Use up everything you have left! Burn brightly, like a sputtering candle destined for darkness! Yes! More!”

“Shut up!” Hastazemus raised his fist to squash the necromancer. Scott spread his arms and fell back, into the charred meat and grime of the zombie giant. The chest bones linked together, shielding him from the blow. “You can’t hide in there! I’ll tear it apart!”

“Rot!” With Scott’s cry, the burned flesh shriveled up and flaked off like ash, leaving a charred skeleton with only enough tendons to connect it to a grinning Scott.

“Let’s go!” The giant skeleton rolled out of the way and sprang to its feet, much faster than before. “Skeletons may not have the power of zombies, but they’re much lighter. And bones are sharp!” The skeleton avatar swung its fist into Hastazemus’s face, making him buckle. He began to bleed black ichor from all of his new horns.

“Guaugh.” he couched, spitting up blood. “You…will…”

“Kill you, I know!” Scott said gleefully as a shin whipped into the daemon’s neck. “It’s very simple! Sorcery 101!” he cried as he directed boney punches into Hastazemus’s body. “You don’t! Call up!” Anything you can’t!” The bone giant reared back with its right hand, Scott and its eyes shining a bright toxic emerald. It thrust, instead of punching, grabbing Hastazemus by the skull. “Put down! Sekh!”

Hastazemus screamed in agony, acid replacing his blood, his own power poisoning him and Scott’s spell rotting his body away. After a moment, his body smoking, Scott let go and the daemon fell to the ground without a word. He was dead. It was done.

The necromancer had saved the world.

“Yeah!” Scott shouted, his voice harsh from screaming so much, and the skeleton didn’t have vocal chords to amplify it. “I did it! My plan worked! In! Your! Face! Woo!” The skeleton pumped its arms in victory, then fell to its knees, releasing Scott. “Ow. Whoo. Ouch. Every single one of my nerves is on fire. Ow.”

“I’d say if that’s the worst of our worries now, we came out ahead.” Amber said, drifting over. “Listen, Scott…” she said nervously, glancing at the scowling Bess.

“Yeah, I know, I’m sorry.” Scott apologized. “But she said she wouldn’t help unless no one knew it was her. Ordinarily I would’ve refused, but we were in a bit of a crunch.”

“I guess.” Amber huffed, but smiled down at him. “Well, at least-” Hastazemus’s body began to bulge and glow dangerously. Scott paled.

“Oh crap, he’s gonna blow! We have to get the last heart out of him!”

“Yaaahhh!” Out of nowhere, Leo sunk his sword into the giant daemon’s belly, spewing entrails everywhere. The glow dissipated along with the rest of the body, leaving only Bess’s heart faintly radiating light behind. Leo wearily picked it up and limped over to them.

“I take it this’s what you’re looking for?” he said. Scott gaped at him, then started chuckling, evolving into full-blown laughter. Leo joined in, and Amber followed, laughing as the red shade in the sky was drained away, leaving only a clear, crisp October night.

Red and blue lights flashed as several police cars screeched to a halt on the scene, Cross leaping out of one, gun drawn.

“Alright, what’s the situation? What’d we miss?”

The teens glanced at each other, then started cracking up again.

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A note from Dreadwizard Siegfried

Straightforward is too easy.


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Dreadwizard Siegfried

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