Pumpkin King

Chapter 69

Taboo pulled up his sleeve and raised his knife. The blade was pulsing hungrily and Reese noticed that it pulsed in a rhythm similar to a heartbeat. Knowing what would happen if he let him go through with the cut, he had to act fast.

"Perspective Shift." He reached his arm out towards the crazed wizard. A heart inside of a circle appeared on his chest. "Calm." The heart changed to green…for a millisecond. Green was the color of calm serenity. But before the effect could take hold, it was enveloped in pitch darkness. A heart as black as a moonless night.

He knew what it meant. It was the one of the few kinds of emotions he never used, murderous intent. It wasn't an emotion exactly. More like a strong desire. But that desire was so intense in Taboo that it was the only thing he felt. It was consuming him from the inside.

"Damn, what is wrong with you?" He rushed forward as fast as he could, his bracelets jingling as he did. A gust of wind blew by, causing his bracelets to make even more noise. But as the gust blew by, Taboo's eyes suddenly focused on him. Without missing a beat, he redirected his knife to go directly into Reese's side. Or it would have had Reese not slid to the ground. And with the momentum he had going, he barreled into Taboo's legs.

The dark wizard fell to the ground in a heap. Reese managed to get his arms around him and tried to grapple the knife away from him. If he couldn't cut himself, he wouldn't be nearly as threatening.

But it looked like Taboo had dealt with that kind of tactic before. As Reese reached for his wrist, he flipped the knife around so he could stab at his hand. While Reese recoiled, Taboo managed get his feet between them and kick him off.

And while Reese stumbled away, Taboo stabbed himself in the hand. "Curse: Pain!"

The red haze that accompanied the curse was just as intense as before. But for some reason, he the pain itself wasn't as crippling. He was still standing as it racked through his body. He didn't scream this time either. He just clenched his jaw and stood his ground. He wasn't going to give in that quickly.

When the spell finally ended, Reese was grinning wickedly at his opponent. "Looks like your curses have lost some of their punch." Before giving Taboo a chance to try again, he lunged forward and put his palm on his chest, just above the heart symbol. "Joy!"

He was hoping that joy would be strong enough to override his murderous intent. And he would be wrong. Just like with calmness, the heart turned yellow for the briefest of moments before it was enveloped by darkness again.

"Come on! Haven't you ever felt happy before?" He asked. The more a person felt a certain emotion, the more likely it will take hold of them with his magic. But each time it would reset back to black. Maybe it was because…

"Damnit!" Reese swore. "What are you a sociopath?" He jumped back to avoid a swipe of the knife. "How can you feel happy when you kill someone?" That is what it was about. The reason it went to his default was because no matter what he felt, he was always killing when he did it. He would kill him calmly. He would kill him happily. No matter what kind of emotion he put him under, he would still want to kill.

"Hehehehehe. HAHAHAHA!" That didn't sound good. Reese's eyes widened as Taboo stared at him. There was blood running from his eyes. "Tell me little wizard, do you know how long I've been perfecting my curses?" He wiped some of the blood running down his cheeks with a thumb. "Longer than you've known how to walk. And during all that time, I've trained my body to…react to certain stimuli. For instance, blood vessels burst in my eyes should I be enveloped in a magic veil such as the fog that previously surrounded us."

That made Reese raise an eyebrow. "Wait, previously?" He looked around and he hadn't been lying. Bertrand's fog was nowhere to be seen. Then he remembered the gust of wind that had blown by him when he attacked Taboo. It must have dispersed the fog.

But while he had been reviewing this in his head, he hadn't noticed Taboo pointing his knife towards him, the blood flowing from his eyes dripping onto it. "Curse: Blind."

Then everything went dark. "W-What the hell?" Reese waved his hands in front of his eyes just as blood started leaking from them. "Why can't I see!?"

Taboo laughed maniacally. "This is the power of curses. For every pain I've endured, you shall suffer with me." He wiped the blood from his cheeks. "But unlike me, you don't have the power to see the glorious light of magic. So while I can view the world, you shall wallow in the darkness of your own weakness!"

While Taboo monologue, three things happened. The first was the sound of breaking wood followed by the crashing body of Bertrand as he fell through the ceiling. He was closely followed by a very angry looking Corwin. Corwin had vines of light wrapped around Bertrand's broken body.

Following the crash, a swarm of zombie animals rampaged around a nimble Jekyll. He dipped and weaved at any corpse that came close to him. When they tried ambushing him in groups, he picked the largest one tapped it with the palm of his hands in a thrust. The corpse, in this case a bear, went rigid at the strike as the flow of magic that kept it going was severed. But it couldn't hit the floor before the connection was remade by Tamashi who was following at a safe distance. Her concentration was so intense that she didn't notice anything but the fight. It was difficult for her to maintain so many large animals at once. Insects aren't as complex as mammals. It made for a great deal more effort on her part to keep all of them in working order.

The third thing to happen was Reese putting his hand on his own chest. "Perspective Shift!" He yelled shakily. A heart appeared on his own chest, this one the sickly blue shade of fear. Suddenly becoming blind had, naturally, shaken him. He wasn't sure he could fight like that. He was afraid. But he had a way of changing that. "Rage!" The heart on his changed from pale blue to dark red. And with that difference came a change in his face. He looked enraged as anger filled his being. He didn't need to see where Taboo was for him to break his jaw. All he had to do was listen for his idiotic laughter.

With a bellowing yell, he charged at Taboo. He didn't care about anything but ripping him limb from limb. He was trying to kill Reese, so Reese was going to try to kill him.

Tamashi surrounded Jekyll with a wall of dead animals. She would give him no openings to escape. And at the same time, Jekyll prepared to lay everything on the line to repel the attacks and charge Tamashi herself. Killing her would solve all of his problems.

Bertrand managed to get up and struggle free of Corwin's bindings. "Foggy Cannon!" With his upraised cane pointed at the descending Corwin, a stream of dense fog shot towards him. But Corwin just raised an arm and a lance of light shot out of him palm, splitting the stream in half. The dark wizard landed and prepared to rush the old man when a heat wave crashed into him.

It wasn't just him either. Everyone in the room was hit by it, halting the progress of each fight. The eyes of everyone in the room, good and bad, blind and not. They instinctively knew where they had to look, even if they couldn't see.

And there sat Rosemary in the center of the room. White light crackled around her like lightning, carving intricate patterns in the air. "Enough." She intoned. "More fighting is pointless now that I'm done." She glared at the intruders. "Even if you defeat them, you can't defeat me. Killing me will activate the barrier I've set around us. And if you do try to lay even one more hand on my friends, I will activate the seal myself." Her eyes turned sad as she looked at her friends. "Then we'll all be trapped here forever."

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