Caked blood pooled around the lithe figure. Hands lay motionless next to the body; knuckles scabbed over from constant usage. The small chest rising up and down and the weary eyes blinking painfully were the only signs of Robin clinging to consciousness. A few feet away, prisoners trudged their weary bodies to the few benches. Others just continued to sit or lay staring up at the ceiling. No one helped the few who were moaning in pain from broken bones or bleeding from various wounds. The handful of dead merely lay on the ground, waiting peacefully to be discarded with the garbage. They had fought themselves to exhaustion and boredom.
Katarou limped into Robins' vision, just enough to be seen but far away to dodge any sudden attacks. Besides the twisted ankle, broken forearm, bloody lip and black eye, the imposing man grinned gleefully down at Robin, his bloodstained teeth shining with victory. "Pathetic."
Familiar anger surged through him, but Robin's body was too weak to put that anger into a physical activity. Instead, he merely glared up at the man.
Katarou chuckled, "Oooh, I'm scared. Rest up kid, cause the next time you're gonna be one of those dead beats." Spitting at Robin's check, the criminal turned and limped towards a bench. When he reached it, he pushed an injured prisoner onto the ground and took the now empty spot.
Robin continued to glare at the man, hoping to see the man spontaneously combust due to all the anger directed at him. Raising his hand, Robin wiped away the spit. His body groaned in pain from the simple action. Bruises littered his torn uniform, cuts bleed everywhere and his ribs felt like they would break any moment. His hand began to shake profusely as he lowered it down. The end of round one seemed like a blur. One moment, he was on the top of the chain and next he became everyone's punching bag. It was amazing he didn't break any bones.
Leaning his head back, Robin closed his eyes. A pounding headache was rattling away any sense of thought. Not to mention that his whole body was beginning to feel ill, like it needed something. Heavy footsteps echoed in the chamber causing the boy to turn his head and gaze towards the entrance. Ben and Carl, along with a few other guards marched into the room.
Halting in front of the boy, Carl glanced down at the tattered remains of Robin's uniform. "Come on, time to leave."
Robin pulled himself up painfully, gasping in pain as his over-used muscles spasm momentarily. Ben growled. Grabbing Robin's arm, he yanked the boy onto his feet and pushed him towards the entrance. Catching himself, Robin cradled his chest as he was escorted out of the chamber. The walk remained quiet. Relief seeped into Robin and he found himself looking forward to his cell and more importantly his bed. Yet, when the group entered the main chamber, Ben yanked him down the southern tunnel. Carl led the other guards elsewhere. Stumbling, he let himself be led away. Not far into the tunnel, Robin spotted a very familiar man in a white lab coat.
Egyed grinned his maniac smile. "Let him sit down here, while I tend to his wounds."
Ben said nothing, guiding Robin with a steel grip on his shoulder to the small chair with a medical bag sitting on the floor. Plopping down, Robin was semi-relieved to be sitting. Egyed opened the bag and took out some ointment. Dabbing some on a cotton ball, he began to clean the many cuts on Robin.
Robin's face grimaced in pain. Egyed saw the tightening of the boy's face. "So tell me, was it fun?"
Masked eyes widened with surprise. "What?" croaked a sore throat, aching from the yelling and screaming from before.
"Was it fun?
"Of course not, I was fighting for my life in there!" snapped Robin.
The doctor couldn't help but make his grin into a full smile. "Fumio told me for awhile, you were actually smiling. Didn't know heroes got their kicks from beating out the crud of criminals."
Robin pulled away his arm from Egyed's light grip. "We don't." But a whisper of a ghost purred, "It was a thrill wasn't it?"
Those green eyes glittered with glee and for a second Robin saw Starfire hovering before him, her smooth red-hair capturing the light and those emerald eyes wide with curiosity. Then he blinked and in her stead, he saw the long red-hair of the doctor. Shaking his head, Robin groaned before shivering.
Egyed laughed, placing away the ointment. "Let me guess, shivers and a feeling for something. Maybe a few light hallucinations?"
Robin shot the doctor a glance. His unspoken question was answered when Egyed pulled out a needle filled the clear liquid. Showcasing frightening speed, Egyed pricked Robin's arm and injected with the liquid. "There, there. Feeling better?"
The warmth was spreading through his body and the strange urge was gone. Through the haziness, he realized. "Drug."
"Yep. Good for relieving pain, but…" Egyed jerked his head upwards and Ben picked up Robin. Guiding the boy down further the hall, the doctor yelled. "Highly addicting!"
Robin couldn't help but groan as a surge of despair and pleasure from the drug swept through his body. This wasn't fair. Beaten, questioned and now drugged. "Come on, Rob. Hang together."
The walk thankfully was short. Blinking faster to stay awake, Robin was greeted by a woman in a neat but big prison guard uniform. Her cold gray eyes immediately caught his attention. "Have you an answer to Fumio's question?"
The Italian accent made the words slur together, but Robin shook his head in defiance. "I told him."
"But that wasn't the truth."
"How do you know?" He didn't feel like going through another round of interrogation.
A tight smile graced her oval face. "Because humans are more complicated then that." Walking up, she bent a little forward and kissed his forehead. "You are more complicated. You showed as much and more in the fight."
Caught off guard by the kiss, he watched wide-eyed as Maura nodded her head slightly. Ben gave no warning and tossed the boy inside the small cell. The door immediately was locked, encapsulating the cell in total darkness.
Starfire and Cyborg gazed in awe at the bizarre creature, who still retained a thin, asian human figure but you could start to see through him. Blue and pink ink dripped from his hair and bound hands. From the weak, tired expression it was clear that this man who claimed to be Brushogun was speaking the truth.
Brushogun sensed their doubt. Sighing, he closed his blue eyes as another wave of pain rolled through his dying body. Speaking the first words, he needed the Titans to hear the truth before it became too late and he lost complete control of his powers. "Let me explain, Titans. I know it's been many centuries. I truly did die of old age, but my spirit remained wishing to finish my goal of perfecting art. The magic endowed within me created real-life creatures. I was content till he showed up."
The Titans had been quiet; absorbing every word the man had spoken in a thin whisper. Starfire tilted her head in worry. "Who?"
"He is an old man, with sharp angular eyes. I do not know his name. All I remember is him binding my spirit to this infernal machine and using my powers to create ink creatures that go out and do his bidding. Since I am their creator, I can see everything they do…oh the horrors!" Throwing his head to the side, Brushogun squeezed his eyes shut, pink tears dripping against the pressing machine. "I am so sorry. I should have never created them."
Starfire floated up to the man, "Do not worry, friend. We will save you." Gazing down, she shot Cyborg a look that told him to pick up where she left off.
Cyborg grinned, "Yeah, man. Now let me see here." Stepping up to the printing press, he switched his vision to infrared and began to scan the machine for any devices that would release the spirit from his prison.
Raven and Beastboy flew quietly in the air. The wind whispered softly in the air. Nothing betrayed their presence as they followed Daizo through Tokyo. Having no leads, Raven decided to wait it out and tail the commissioner. And their patience, despite Beastboy's constant groaning, was paying off.
"Interesting." Raven whispered as she dove quietly behind a tree.
Behind her Beastboy unmorphed from a hawk into his regular self. "Dude, where is he going? It's like midnight, people are suppose to be asleep!"
"There." Raven pointed to the small park a few feet away.
"Hey, that's the park," Beastboy's eyes widened when he spotted the familiar abandoned tower. "That's the printing place where Starfire and Cyborg are in. What the heck is he doing here?"
Raven pulled out her communicator. "Starfire, Cyborg come in."
"Yes, friend Raven."
"You got trouble heading your way," warned Raven as Daizo stepped into the supposed locked Tower. "Let's go."
Raven and Beastboy sprinted towards the door. They had to make it in time before it closed as not to arose suspicion. Beastboy seemed to read the Goth's mind and morphed into a cheetah. A few inches away, he switched into an armadillo, skidding between the door and the frame. Squeaking silently, from the pressure, he sighed with relief when Raven floated down and pushed the door fully.
Morphing back, Beastboy rubbed his rug-burned stomach. "Remind me never to do that again."
Raven sent the younger boy a condescending look. "Come on." Stepping into the room, she frowned as the vast emptiness. "Now where did he go?"
Beastboy grinned, eager to impress the dark-haired girl. "Follow me." Morphing into a bloodhound, he began to sniff out a trail.
Cyborg rolled back onto the balls of his heels before standing up, dusting off his hands. "I don't think there's anything I can do. What did Raven have to say?"
Starfire closed her communicator, "She said trouble was heading our way."
Cyborg felt himself stiffen. "Not good. Let's go."
"Oh I think that's already too late, Titans," smirked a dark voice from the foot of the steps.
Brushogun screamed as another wave of pain hit. The print machine groaned to life and the next blue and pink drops that fell to the floor turned into the familiar female pink cat villain and the blue ninja. Starfire immediately powered a star bolt, drowning the basement in green light. In the light, the two Titans spotted Daizo grinning like a villain as he made his way to the command center, the tv screens erupting into life.
With that the two ink creatures sprung at the Titans. Cyborg leapt to the side, shooting bolt after bolt at the blue ninja. Starfire leapt into the air as the cat whipped her tail at the alien. Firing her green bolts, Starfire fought to stay out of range of the agile villain, her pink claws sending ink splashing like spilled blood on the ground. She needed to get out of the basement, close-range fighting was never her strength. Off to her right, Cyborg crashed into a cache of barrels. He ducked as blue disks flew over his head, embedding themselves in the wall, dripping ink onto his head.
"Stop it please!" screamed Brushogun.
Daizo glared in disgust at the spirit. "You have no say here. What?" Eyes widened when Raven and Beastboy blasted down the basement door, sprinting to their comrades' aid. Beastboy morped into a tiger and pinned the cat villain to the floor, both of them rolling and clawing. Raven chanted, her dark magic summoning the barrels and smashing them into the ninja. A barrel knock accompanined by a powerful blue blast into the chest destroyed the blue ninja. The blue ink splattered the boxes behind.
Off to the side, Beastboy felt himself being pushed over as the cat bit hard into his arm. Flinging herself upwards, she was about to scratch out his eyes when a green bolt pierced her chest. With a hole, the pink creature lost all form and splashed onto the ground in a pink pool, drenching the changeling. Morphing back, the green superhero groaned, "Oh man, I hate pink. What are the girls gonna think of me?"
The Titans paid no heed and gathered around Beastboy, staring down at Daizo. Starfire couldn't believe the situation. "Why are you doing this? You are a man of the law!"
Daizo scoffed, "I don't want to be a man of the law, I want to be law. And with Brushogun's powers, I can strike fear into criminals and heroes alike. I would have built an empire if it wasn't for your leader meddling in my affairs. I will never know-"
Realization dawned and Daizo gazed over at Brushogun. "You sent the ninja over to Titans Tower. You wanted to get their attention and bring them here."
Brushogun nodded, "Yes. If it meant risking my life to stop you, then so be it."
Rage washed away the old, friendly face of Daizo. Slamming down a button on the control the panal, the Titans watched in horror was the printing machine sparked with electricity. Brushogun screamed even more. The Titans were about to lunge forward when Daizo laughed outloud. Pressing another button, the machine constraints broke apart freeing the spirit from his cell.
"No one can stop me. Your leader might have, but you are worthless without him!" yelled Daizo as he leapt into Brushogun.