Dreams & Distant Places: Chapter 8

Only the Mage could tell you exactly what happened because she went into the void alone. Was she not ready either? We rush her to the Cleric’s house. Similar symptoms had befallen him, extreme aversion to heat and a need for cold, and his mother had gone through great length to save him. It is without doubt the Nightmare Hive. It waited ever so patiently for the right moment to strike. The instant it struck I sensed the portal open.

The Mage lies writhing in agony on their kitchen table. The Chief and Paladin both attempt to savagely beat me but are easily cast aside. They all want me and Augumon gone. I can’t blame but I insist on saving her. The darkness can’t have her!

I place my hand upon her forehead a dive deep into her psyche. At the first level I see the Mage in the void sobbing as screams “Popa” at a man leaving her with government scientists. At the second level is an endless loop of thoughts that her mother was trapped in. The third level is her little Paladin boyfriend yelling at her and leaving alone in the dark. I call out to her.

“Sensei!” she screams as she runs over and hugs me.

I hold her close wiping away her tears with my sleeve.

“Everything is going to be alright. This is your mind, your mind! You have dominion here” I tell her.

A sinister and booming laugh cackles all around us.

“She rejects your dominion! This is her cosmos!” I scream out at the void.

“While they are entwined by strings spun by fate a boy cries out and a girl feels. I want you for the one I care about.”

The voice of the void echoes through Eternity. I feel it ripple through every fiber of my being and hundreds of worlds shake. No! It is…There’s a sudden flash of lightning and for the briefest of moments the face of a black wolf with piercing yellow eyes flashes before me. When my senses return the void as changed; red lightning dances across the sky and many slender limbs and nondescript head of the Nightmare Hive stretch across the horizon.

“This is your cosmos” I tell her, “here only you have power. Only you can defeat it. But if you’re not quite ready you can give me the power to defeat it” “I can’t!” she cries, rightfully terrified. “Believe in the me that believes in you!” the entirety of this madness may have been orchestrated for the sole purpose of meaningfully say that phrase in proper context.

She gives me a willful smile and her eyes burn like fire. I’m transformed into a hybrid of myself and Gandalf the White as I pull my staff from the ether. I am now the Sorcerer and cast what I know as a ninth level banishment spell and the Nightmare Hive vanishes in a brilliant explosion of light that becomes a whirling portal in the sky that sucks in all of the void and her fears.

She jolts awake from the table and I fall back onto the floor, staff in hand. They all rush to her side, while the Cleric’s brother helps me to my feet. I give the Mage thumbs up and she returns it in kind. There is a moment of peace before a tear in reality opens and the hellish red light pours in as a demon claws its way through the portal.

Before anyone else can react the Mage has stepped forward. I’m one step behind her with my ignited saber in hand. The monster rips its way through, charging us and is cut in half in short order. She raises her right hand and with a single shout dissipates the portal and the demon’s body fades away into ashes.

She collapses to the ground and I notice that her veins have turned black and she is starting to shake. The ashes of the demon corpse gather along the wall in a very familiar shape, the Nightmare Hive. In the sultry voice of a woman that also echoes in the void it speaks.

“You struggle will just make your sacrifice that much more delectable.”

In my rage I cast dark lightning from fingertips and utterly decimate the wall. I can sense the portal and it knows it. This is an open challenge that I must meet. It doesn’t matter if it’s a trap, I have to go.

“Hold on to this for me” I say as I hand her my staff. “Do you have the thing I gave you before?” Augumon says to her.

She pulls the digital device out of her pocket.

“It will help” he tells her. “You ready bud?” I ask him “Yup” “Sensei!” she yells.

I turn to see her rising to her feet to bow and do so in kind. With a final nod I and Augumon walk out of the hole where the wall used to be. Once we’re outside I tell him something very important…

“Augumon, it is time.” “You mean?!” he exclaims with utter joy. “Yes. It is time for dino-crazy.” “Dino-crazy!” he roars as his voice deepens and he begins his metamorphoses into his ‘Champion’ form.

To the initiated: you know what song to play in your own head.

“Greymon” he shouts as he completes the change into a 30 ft. tall orange t-rex with three horns on a brown skull guard and blue stripes running down his back.

Channeling the weave I leap up to his back. The Party is awestruck and their family members are terrified. With a great roar Greymon charges forward. Screw subtlety! We’re making a beeline for that old government facility, we’re rampaging through that portal, and we’re slaughtering everything on the other side of it until the Nightmare Hive dies and stays dead.

Greymon barrels through the concrete walls and chain link fences as if they were paper. He claws his way through to the lowest level and there it is! The most ominous passage way made up of sinewy flesh bathed in hellfire that this world has ever seen. No slowing down now! Greymon charges through and we are greeted a hellscape of fleshy branches covering the ground, rainfall of ash, eternal dusk, and the distortion of all high pitched sounds.

In the distance towers the Nightmare Hive like some terrible dead oak standing over a barren field. All the while demons and demon dogs come at us by the hundreds. With saber in hand and fire in his breath, we give them hell. By the droves I slice them to pieces and fry them with lightning while Greymon stomps, thrashes, and incinerates them.

Now I know why it waited, it was bidding its time. Every last one of these monsters had to be grown. My suspicion is that they were waiting for us leave but the Mage discovered them in her fear trial. I’ll try to answer that question a little more thoroughly later because right now I’m kind of busy.

After several minutes the hoards stop and Nightmare Hive laughs.

“What’s so funny, Slan?” I say to her. “You are a clever boy, aren’t you?” she responds as she makes her true self manifest.

The many limbs form into the green strands of her hair and her black bat wings. The slender non-descript head forms into her sensuous succubus body.

“Look at your beautiful slaughter! Truly it moves me so. The joke is that you could consider yourself either hero or savior.”

Here it comes.

“For what sake do your worlds come into being? What do they live for? Why are they destined to meet that which important to them? Everything relies solely on conflict.”

“That’s enough!” I scream at her.

“Lambs to the slaughter, insects marching into a flame, suffering for your wil,l story-teller. A will that is not even your own.”

This will which moves me is mine own.

She howls with laughter in the face of my defiance.

“Is that so?” she says snaps her fingers and the hoard melts away into blood and bones, “Shall we count the bodies?”

With a clap of her hands the sky turns red as blood and bones assemble themselves into Skullgreymon, the skeletal reflection of Greymon’s darkness that is twice his size. The monstrous skeleton easily tosses him aside and attempts to crush him between its bony fingers.

All the while Slan has shrunk herself down to human size and glides down in front of me. I rush forward to slice her but she seemingly fades away only to materialize directly behind me. Before I can react she has bound my arms in an embrace and is wrapping her bat wings around me.

“Are you master of your desires” a voice that is not hers whispers in my ear.

I turn my head to see the Queen’s face! She’s taunting me, torturing me as rubs that face against mine and kissing my neck while extending her claws into my side.

This hurts! This hurts a lot!

But just as Greymon is about to be crushed a whistle breaks the distortion in the sound and he begins to glow. I find myself linked with the Mage. The device is active and the fire of courage is coursing through her veins burning out the Nightmare Hive.

“Metalgreymon” he roars as he achieves his ‘Ultimate’ state, growing to be a 70 ft. tall cyborg version of himself with a metal skull guard, left arm, and chest with tattered wings.

As he grows he shatters his skeletal counterpart’s arm. While the monster staggers back Metalgreymon opens up his chest and fires a pair of missiles at it. The resulting explosion utterly destroys his opponent and sends a massive shockwave sweeping over the hellscape. The only reason I’m able to withstand it is because Slan is inadvertently shielding me from it.

She goes to speak but then the pain steals her words. The fleshy tentacles are all on fire and so is the inside of her body. She releases me and staggers back as the fire consumes her from the inside out. Unable to retain her form she reverts back to the succubus.

“It is by my will that you die” I say to her as I jab the amethyst blade into her heart. “Exquisite!” Slan says breathily as she disintegrates into nothingness.

With her gone this place begins to fail too, collapsing in on itself like a dying star. Soon it will be no more.

What do we say to the God of Death? “Not today!” bellows Metalgreymon as flies by and I leap aboard him.

Pure oblivion pursues after us as we rush towards the portal. From it I hear a voice.

“Sensei!”

She’s holding the gate open. Holly hell that girl is scary powerful.

We fly through just as the tear blinks out of existence. Metalgreymon reverts to Augumon as we fall to ground. The building trembles slightly as the aftershocks reverberate through. Bruised, beaten, and bloody Augumon and I sit alone in the quiet for moment. He then starts pounding the ground in a particular rhythm. I start quietly sinking the accompanying words.

“Buddy you’re a boy make a big noise Playin’ in the street gonna be a big man some day You got mud on yo’ face You big disgrace Kickin’ your can all over the place Singin’”

He joins me in the chorus,

“We will we will rock you We will we will rock you”

We sing the rest with our full hearts like a couple of idiots. Then it’s quiet again.

“Augumon” I ask, “should we get out of here?” “And not say goodbye!” he exclaims. “Well I’m just going to be direct. Are we telling them goodbye or are we saying goodbye?” “You’re crazy man. My adventure is far from over” “Thanks man.” “Yup, no problem.” “So should we wait for rescue or should climb out of here?” “I don’t know about you but I’m tired. So I vote that we pass out and wait.” “I second that motion.”

And just like that we both fell into unconsciousness. An unknown amount of time later we awoke in at the Chief’s cabin. Fortunately our little endeavor was widely understood to be an earthquake and damages will be paid accordingly. I still feel kind of bad about the house.

Me and the Mage have a conversation about what she should do.

“Believe in the me that believes in you” she says. I shake my head no, “Now you need to believe in the you that believes in you.” “You go?” “Yes” “Don’t. You stay.” “Sorry kid, I got worlds to save.” “I go?” “No. You stay here and keep these idiots safe.”

Just as I say that the Party busts through the door. They may be happy I’m alive but it ain’t me they’re here to see. My boy Augumon eats that attention up. The Bard hands the bag back to me, god only knows what these pre-teen boys used that power for. So while the Party is busy explain how they made Augumon an NPC for their next campaign I reach into the bag and pull out a star saber.

The Mage’s eyes go wide and I hand it to her with a nod.

“Thank you” she says. “You’ve earned it” I tell her.

So it’s time to go. I may not care too much for this place but I will miss its people. I could stay here but I can’t. It would be a nice place to tie everything off for now, but that’s not how this journey goes. Onward we go to new and dangerous place in pursuit of victory against Fate itself. We say our goodbyes and we’ll leave them to chart their own courses.

Now she’s free to be a real kid.

“We can always comeback” my orange companion says. “Oh I know you are” “You’re not?” “Probably best if I don’t.”

We’re back at the motel and a certain Camaro is in the parking lot. I’m sure that relationship will end well. Augumon tosses me the keys and we climb. There’s one song we got to play on our way out of town. I plug in the cassette and electronic piano leads us in.

“You can’t can’t stand the way that I walked out from the wreckage Can’t understand the way the way I turned myself around I tried to terminate this With you But you won’t let it go You keep on coming back for more”

This time we pull out at a little more leisurely pace.

“Freedom!” “We’re takin’ it back” “We’re out of here, no turnin’ back” “We’re in a baby blue Cadillac” “Just when we were stallin” “We heard an angel callin”

As we’re rolling down the street some bicycles pull up next us and the Party joins in the singing.

“This is your life” “You can go anywhere” “You gotta grab the wheel and own it” “And drive it like you stole it” “Roll it” “This is your life” “You can be anything” “You gotta learn to rock and roll it” “You gotta put the pedal down” “And drive it like you stole it” “And drive it like you stole it”

With that we wave our last goodbyes and  I accelerate and don’t stop until the Camaro vanishes into a flash of electricity and burning tire marks upon the ground.

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