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He spoke genially, trying not to show off what a nervous wreck he was on the inside. With shaking fingers, he frantically motioned behind his back for the vampires to gather the soul gems. Genevieve nodded, and slowly slunk to the side.

“What did you DO!?” Brian screamed, the rock the circle was drawn on splitting down the middle. Genevieve quickly scrambled to catch the gems and placed them in the bag at lightning speed. Speaking of which, she heard a rumbling. Peering over the edge, she gasped as the entire horde of vampire mutants, numbering roughly a thousand, ran up the path to the cliff.

“G-Guys…” she stuttered. However, all eyes were on Brian and Scott.

“Weren’t you the one claiming to be the smarter of us? I thought you should know. I just prevented you from vamping anyone in town.”

“And nearly died in the process, fool.” Brian hissed, his eyes shining a solid white.

“Yup. Damn well nearly killed myself. But so what? You ain’t getting anything here, I’ll tell you that right now.” he said with a confidence he didn’t feel. He couldn’t take Brian on at full strength, let alone half-dead like he was now.

“I’ll tell you what I’m getting. Your head!” Brian raised his hand, but suddenly Nightfang soared up in front of his face.

“You will kill no one else.” A kick lashed out across Brian’s face, and Nightfang grabbed his arm as he fell, dragging the sorcerer down with him. “You killed my mother! You will face justice!” Nightfang rained blow after blow on Brian’s entire body, each with steel-splitting intensity. “But I will not kill you.” he said to the beaten and broken Brian. “I will not stoop to your level. I am going to have Cross arrest you, where you will be held to a trial, judged, and most likely executed for your crimes against nature and humanity. Nice and proper. And justice will truly be served.” Brian made to rise, but Nightfang threw a punch at his head, not hard enough to kill, but more than enough to knock a human body out. “Goodnight.” His fist met Brian’s head.

To his astonishment, Brian’s face shattered like a truck went through it. Nightfang watched in horror as the grotesque debris froze in midair, then liquefied and flowed around his body. He nearly gagged at the sensation. “What the-?”

“Cgggyyyooouu think you can bring me to ‘justice’”? Brian said, reforming his head on a stretch of sinew away from the red remains of his shoulder. “You think you are in any way qualified to judge me? To take me on?” He watched in terror as Brian’s body liquefied and pulled itself together, not a thread on his suit out of place. Be began levitating again, looking down on them all, and Nightfang felt his heart skip a beat in abject fear. “You think I can be bound in any way by you pathetic mortals!?” His vampire army started to crest the hill, shrieking to rend them all to shreds. “No!” Brian snapped angrily at them. “I will show them just exactly what they have wrought!”

“C-C-Crap.” Scott said, trembling. He glanced at the gems in Genevieve’s hand. As long as the souls were in there, Brian couldn’t do much to affect them. “Run!” he shouted, then turned to Amber. “It was nice knowing you. Thanks for helping me out. It was fun.” The necromancer pushed himself to unsteady feet. “Everyone, get away!”

“There will be no escape.” Brain said. Columns of fire erupted form the ground with a sweep of his hands. The others recoiled and grouped together, ducking as some of the fire leapt into his hand and he lazily tossed it over their heads. It exploded, down raining brimstone.

“D-Damn.” Scott muttered, feeling his knees buckle. Suddenly, he stopped falling. He turned to see Ambler’s smiling face.

“I won’t let you fall. Whatever happens, happens to all of us.” Cross took out her gun and started firing, while Nightfang hurled rocks and stones as Genevieve tested the fiery barriers for weaknesses.

“What’s the plan for this!?” Cross roared over the fire.

“Heh. There isn’t one! Our only chance was to move, this isn’t part of the plan!” Scott called back. “Admittedly, I could’a planned better. Will you help me, once more?” he asked Amber.

“Anytime.” She squeezed his hand, then picked him up and bent down for a mighty leap to attack their adversary.

“Boring.” Brian stuck out a finger and white lightning shot from the tip, arcing to each of them. They all screamed, their insides heating and beginning to boil. “Not even a challenge, Scott.” he muttered, turning away.

“C-C’mon!” Amber huffed, hauling an unconscious Scott and Cross up. The vampires groaned, trying to stay on their feet. “Oh, still alive? You’re tougher than I thought.” He raised his arms to telekinetically remove their heads. He smiled cruelly as he finished them off for good.

“Wait, Brian.” a crawling voice said from his shadow. He glanced down to see Riepaimva lean up. “Do not kill them.”

“WHAT!?” he cried. “Okay, time out!” He placed his palm on his fingers, and the world faded to grey. The desperate struggle below froze, time having ceased its flow. “What the hell, Riepaimva! Why shouldn’t I kill them? They’re at our mercy right now! We should kill them all and end this trouble!”

“But trouble is exactly what you invite if you eliminate them.” Riepaimva replied cryptically. The creature examined them in eighty-five dimensions, going over Scott’s form with eighteen carefully-opened eyes. “Yes, this one is difficult. Have you forgotten what he is?” he said, floating around them. “Kill them, separate their souls from their bodies, this would ordinarily be the end of a mortal. Our knowledge would allow us to do as we pleased with their souls afterward. However, this boy has studied the arts of c’shjocmt’ha, and quite well. We cannot afford to underestimate that fact.” Brian’s eyes narrowed a glare on Scott’s unconscious body.

“So, you’re saying if I kill him now, he’ll still be a threat?”

“Hmmm. Perhaps. I know of more than a single y’shhk-gorrah whose death was not the end. In fact, perhaps you could say things only got worse for his slayers…regardless. I believe his death may not result in the final victory I desire.” The shadow turned his head, seven burning eyes opening on the face. “And with that in mind, killing the others would serve little purpose, as he could potentially revive them as more powerful servants, like this one.” He nudged Amber with a shadowy foot.

“What do you recommend, then?” Brian said, hand on his chin. He wanted to kill Scott, oh so very badly. The bastard would pay for looking down on him. After years of humiliation and resentment, especially after attempting to thwart his and Riepaimva’s masterful plan. But his patron seemed worried about offing him, and that was enough to make him wary as well.

“An impossible prison.” the god answered, grinning and cavorting, dark limbs flailing. “His power is death, and giving it. In a room with nothing in it, too strong to break, how can he escape? Besides, why should we kill the others when you could put that devious little brain of yours to work and see what you could turn them into?”

“Hmm.” Brian needed to think. With a small step he was flying through the solar system, Saturn’s rings spinning below him. Another step, he gazed imassionately as a star went supernova, engulfing an entire planet of sentient species next to it. He beheld the civilization of the Adhg, miraculous silver towers spiraling wider the higher they went. His shoes were splashed with liquid ammonia as he walked by a cloudy ocean, beyond the Milky Way. He considered Scott’s life and death, and the benefits of both as a hundred million times Earth’s gravity futilely encompassed him, on the faraway space station grown by the peoples of OOgnihyjk. He sighed; Riepaimva was right. He had eternity, and so much to see yet. So much to rule. He watched a primitive group begin to manipulate the steel trees around them with their stony tendrils. He could be their god. Why jeopardize that with a petty grudge? Besides, it wasn’t like Scott could stop him. He took another step and returned to Earth.

“I think seeing all his friends converted into monsters and cursing his name for all time could be pretty cool too.” Brian looked down at Scott, white lightning staring to crackle in his hand.

“Brian…” Riepaimva said slowly. He shook the sparks from his hand.

“I know, I know.” he said as color returned to the world and he made them all fall asleep with a thought. “I don’t like pulling this Bond-villain crap, but if he’s more powerful if I strike him down than I could imagine I guess it can’t be helped. You.” He pointed to a vampire mutant. “Carry him back into town. I have some bank vaults to acquire. Let’s set up shop in the biggest skyscraper around, shall we?” Brian grinned.

As they departed, the earth in the empty field moved. A mound of dirt shook, and a long, boney finger popped out. It retracted, and was replaced by a yellowed, bloodshot eye.

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A note from Dreadwizard Siegfried

Trust me. When everything is said and done, Scott will wish Brian just killed him.


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Dreadwizard Siegfried

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