Monster in the Mirror

Chapter 56

Gritting my teeth against the annoying 'screeching' sound of the wheel, I turned it until it wouldn't move anymore. 'That's one down.' I thought as I turned around and nodded at Chaos, who sent a wicked smirk before pulling his cape around himself and changed into Butters again. "Boy this is neat-o, huh?" Butters asked as we left the tower and approached the second one. "Hey Butters, I think the guys could use some help. Do you mind going to help them while Kenny helps me for a bit?" I asked as he nodded eagerly with a big grin on his face before running off to do as I asked.

After standing idle for several minutes, I felt a hand on my shoulder and smirked to myself as I turned to face Kenny as he twirled his bow like a baton. "You called for me?" he asked in such a way that that particular question could be taken in several different ways. Ignoring that, I looked him over and found him to be relatively unharmed with the exception of a small bruise under his left eye. "Is Alex okay?" I asked as he looked over the side of the railing to check the battle raging below. "He's fine, he acted like his arm hurt but Kyle's taking care of him." he said making me breathe a sigh of relief to know that he wasn't too badly hurt when he fell off the side of the treehouse, and I could tell Kenny was glad to see I cared so much about my younger brother.

"You up for some action?" I questioned, scoffing as he suggestively wriggled his eyebrows with a girlish giggle. 'Probably should have voiced that differently.' I thought in distain as I playfully shoved him as he tried to move in on me. "Oh you know it." he said with a wink, laughing as my face heat up before I smacked him upside his head, almost knocking his wig and crown off the top of his head. "Shut it, I need you to help me open the gate and take care of anything that's in there." I said as I noticed that the gate was halfway opened thanks to the wheel I just turned.

"Your word is my command, My Lady." he said with an overly-dramatic curtsy, making me roll my eyes before I lead him over to the tower on the left. Breaking through the barricade, we stormed up to the entrance to the tower, just as the Bully Girl and the Cyclops noticed us. "Well well, look who we have here: ready for your beat-down, New Kid?" the girl questioned nastily, making Kenny notch an arrow and ready his bow as he glared at her. "Funny, considering the last time you and your bitch friends tried that: you all got your asses kicked." I replied with a smirk, pissing her off even more as she balled her fists.

"I'm gonna make you wish you never stepped foot in South Park!" she screeched as she and the Cyclops took their fighting stances. Slipping into the Tiger stance, I gripped my sword tightly before rushing the Cyclops: catching him by surprise as I jumped in the air and spun around: hitting my opponent directly on the shoulder and knocked him on his back. Taking his turn, Kenny pulled back on his bowstring and let his arrow fly: making the suction cup stick on the 'third eye' on the Cyclops's forehead before he curled up 'dead' on the floor. Gritting her teeth in anger, the girl ran forward to try to punch me in the gut, only to have me bring my leg up and block her pathetic punch.

When that didn't work, she tried to knock my legs out from under me, only to have me step backwards and out of the way. "Damn you suck, what were you trying to do: discover a new way to get rid of dust?" I taunted as her face turned red in rage before she balled her fists and tried several times to punch me in the face: making me bob and weave smoothly out of reach with a cocky smirk on my face. 'Alright, enough of this.' I thought as her swings got more sloppy and careless before I snatched the bill of her red cap down over her eyes so she couldn't see what I was doing.

As she reached up to clear her vision, I launched myself forward and delivered a savage punch to her gut, making her keel over in shock. Before she could recover, I grabbed the top of her head and smashed her forehead into my knee: breaking her nose AGAIN and knocked her unconscious with a pitiful yelp. "Goddamn, remind me to never piss you off, Saphira." Kenny said nervously as he shouldered his bow so he could help me turn the second wheel and open the gate. "Don't worry Kenny, you guys are safe: unless Eric decides to try something particularly stupid." I said, not really reassuring him but he didn't comment as the wheel stopped turning, giving us free reign to enter the now-open gate and the new territory beyond.

Sharing a determined look, we kept our weapons close as we cautiously stepped through the gate and took in the arena-like qualities of the large open room. I had to admit, Clyde had awesome taste in the decor of his fortress, if more than a bit intimidating: the outer walls were lines with tires, barrels and boxes with lethal-looking spears resting in them, while a pair of Styrofoam skulls sat impaled on spikes that stood just inside the doorway. Behind those were a pair of black flags with red rings lining white skulls resting on beams supporting the upper floor that has small dark-red flags lining the frame. To each side of the flags, were a group of three armored cows standing behind barred gates: making me wonder how the hell these kids managed to get COWS into a treehouse.

Glancing upwards, my sapphire eyes locked with the traitorous Craig's green ones as he crouched on the railing on the second floor. As we continued our stand-off, my gaze momentarily flicked to Craig's right and spotted Stan peeking through a poorly boarded up doorway. "Come on! Now's our only chance!" he shouted, drawing Craig's gaze lazily to him before Kenny and I both took a step forward, both of us knowing that Craig was NOT going to be an easy enemy to beat. 'Remember, it's only a game.' I thought, reminding myself of the consequences if I were to use ANY of the virus's abilities against any of my friends. However, as soon as we took that step, did the gate behind us pull the classic move and slammed itself shut, locking us inside the arena.

'Well shit.' I thought with a sigh as Craig spread his arms out and let out an obviously-rehearsed evil laugh that honestly sounded better than Clyde's, I wasn't going to say that to him though: I wasn't THAT mean. "Ha ha! You're trapped! I'm a level 14 Thief AND the Dark Lord's Chief Assassin and you will all perish here and now!" he declared as I rolled my eyes while Kenny gulped nervously as Craig ran over to each of the levers located behind him and pulled each in turn: releasing the cows from their cages. 'Yum! There's always time for a steak dinner: beats the junk food I'm usually stuck with.' I thought morbidly at my definition of 'food' that was currently being hunted down and being torn apart by the Hunters I had tamed.

My attention on Craig was stolen by a sudden and persistent 'banging', making me look to where I spotted Stan and saw he was still there: only he now wore a worried and slightly-panicky expression on his face as he tried to break through the wooden boards blocking his path. "Saphira, I'm stuck! Can you get me in?" he yelled, making me quickly look around for something to help him, but couldn't find much of anything that would help. "No, I can't see anything and Craig has the ladder up with him!" I yelled back, causing several curses to come from Stan as Craig finished releasing the three armored cows from their cages.

"My Nazi Cow minions will make short work of you!" Craig said, making my stomach lurch at the thought of consuming undead cows. "Well, this just keeps getting better and better." I said with heavy sarcasm as Kenny readied his bow while the sickly-green cows snorted and stamped their feet at us. "Now, let's see how you fare against the Dark Lord's Chief Assassin and some COWS." Craig stated as he crouched down and jumped in a very Batman-like fashion from the railing to directly across from us, the rapidly-decaying corpses of the cows backing him up with their milky-white eyes narrowed in hatred and hunger. "Uh…Saphira, y-you've fought shit like this before…what do we do?" Kenny questioned nervously as Craig and his zombie cows slowly advanced on us.

"Well…we can either cry like toddlers: or we can kick their asses. Personally, I've lost my appetite for steak tonight." I said as I took a closer look at the cows behind Craig: besides the fact that they were decaying and leaving extremely-rancid parts and drippings on the wooden floor, they wore the telltale Swastikas on their left forelegs and high-ranking Officer Hats on top of their heads. Tilting my head to the side, I was able to see the shotgun bandoleers wrapped diagonally around their shoulders. "You never should have betrayed us, Craig." Kenny growled as I drew my sword and ran at Alex's former mentor. Putting the sword away at the last second, I smirked at Craig's confused expression before I jumped high up in the air: easily able to brush the ceiling if I lifted my arm up high enough.

Letting gravity take me, I slammed my feet into the floor: causing the floorboards to lift up and move in the direction of the shockwave that barreled into not only Craig, but all three of his cows too. "What the hell?!" Craig yelped from his position on the floor as the Nazi cows toppled over on their sides before staggering back to their feet: two of them left most of their organs and innards on the floor as they did. Fortunately for Kenny and I, the alien goo that the cows had been infected with had caused them to decay so rapidly, that once they stood up again: they melted into a rancid mass of brownish-green mush on the floor.

"Oh my fucking god! My nose!" I wailed as I buried my lower face in the flaps of my jacket and struggled to keep the tears at bay as the smells that assaulted me dwarfed those I had to deal with in Kenny's garage. Cursing the virus to hell and back, my eyes widened before I dropped to my knees and felt like I was going to be sick. Considering I didn't have anything to throw up, the only thing I could do was deal with the painful dry heaves as I sat helplessly on the floor. Wincing when something collided with my head, I looked in the direction of Kenny and saw that he tossed a bottle of water at me.

Sending him a grateful smile at his attempt to help, I downed the full bottle in two gulps before getting back up and ready to face Craig again. Watching Kenny as he stepped forward, he narrowed his eyes at Craig's indifferent expression before he notched and shot not one, but three arrows: all of which hit home in the center of Craig's chest but didn't seem to do very much damage. 'Shit, it's his turn.' I thought as I tried to figure out what he was going to do. With that same look of indifference, Craig charged forward before he lowered his right shoulder and raised his serrated, wooden dagger in his left hand.

"Let's rumble." he said as he suddenly tossed his dagger and caught it in his right hand: distracting us as he grabbed a smoke bomb in his free hand. "Why fight one Craig, when you can fight five?" he questioned as he threw down the smoke bomb: momentarily blinding us before the cloud disappeared and revealed four more boys dressed exactly like Craig had joined him. The only difference between Craig's 'clones' was the fact that the closest one to me was dark-skinned and had a bandage on his left cheek. "Yikes." Kenny gulped as all five boys brandished their identical weapons in a threatening display. "You should've turned evil when you had the chance." all of the boys stated in unison, making my ears hurt as I narrowed my eyes at the real Craig, who was standing in the back of the group.

"Evil? What would YOU know about it?! You wouldn't know evil if it came up and bit you in the ass." I barked, making Kenny turn to me with a worried expression in his eyes and it looked like he was about to forget the rules to this game and kick Craig in the balls. "That's the problem with you, you always think you know about everything. Which is why the Dark Lord will prevail and you won't. Your brother knew who was going to win this war from the start: just give it up and go home." Craig said from behind his 'clones' as I felt a rumbling growl dominate my voice box: until Kenny reached over and grabbed my shoulder.

"Saphira, Saphira calm down, he doesn't mean anything by it: he's only trying to make you mad so you lose focus. Hey Craig, shut the fuck up!" he suddenly yelled after I managed to control both my temper and my twitchy body suit as I focused on the game again. Drawing my sword again, I rushed the dark-skinned Craig and hit him as hard as I was allowed: probably hitting him harder than I should have, judging by the sniffles coming from the kid as he ran off. 'One down, four to go: the sooner he's down the better off we'll be.' I thought as I backed off to my original spot. However, as soon as I did, the clone that was behind the one I had just defeated sprinted forward and slashed at Kenny: who struggled to block with his bow.

Once the clone retreated, Kenny shook his head before pulling back his bowstring and fired an arrow at the clone in the middle: forcing him into a retreat, leaving three clones left. "What are you doing? Stop!" Craig shouted as he finally realized what was happening. "Good job, Kenny: only three to go!" I cheered as we stared down the three boys, making me wonder something: Craig seems almost…bored? No. No, not bored: biding his time, making me all the more wary of him as I took in his seemingly-emotionless expression and I could've sworn I saw a devious smirk on his face.

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