Jabberwocky punched Neko Maneki in the face, the force from the impact sent her flying backwards till she managed to flip and land safely on the wet ground. After she wiped the small bit of blood off her mouth she had to jump to avoid Jabberwocky’s horn tipped tentacles.
When the horns stabbed into the ground the electricity like Aura zapped the ground, Neko Maneki managed to stay away from the electrified water by stretching her limbs out thus keeping her on the ceiling. Once the Aura had passed, Jabberwocky moved the tentacles back into place so that they were slithering above him like giant snakes.
She then landed and struck a battle ready pose, she put on a brave face even though she was clearly fatigued; Jabberwocky on the other hand hardly seemed tired at all.
“Hornacles?” Jabberwocky asked.
“That’s what I am calling those horny tentacle thingies.” Neko answered “Anyways I can’t help but wonder how is that they have electrified the floor like a dozen times since this fight began and yet they never seem to affect you.”
Jabberwocky responded by laughing arrogantly and flexing his muscles “My body is so strong that a puny current like that does about as much damage to me as static cling from a sock. So if you plan to use my own electric Aura against me you’ve got another thing coming.”
“I bet those hornacles could hurt you if I shoved them up your ass.” Neko Maneki said sharply.
“You wouldn’t be the first to try!” he then sent his newly dubbed hornacles to stab her.
Neko Maneki dodged the hornacles for a while. While jumping about she tried to cut the horn off one of the ones passing her by.
Once the electricity wore off she jumped to get out of range of the hornacles, once she was a safe distance away she shook her numb hand to get the feeling back.
“Good thing you were in the air when you tried that, had you been touching the water you’d have been fried.” Jabberwocky mocked “You should know by now that the barbs are not for show, they allow the whole “hornacles” to be charged.” He sent a charge of static Aura through the barbs for emphasis “I can assure you there are no weak points for you to exploit.”
“Sorry I couldn’t hear you from all the way over there, why don’t you come over here and say that to my face.” She then hissed loudly to goad him.
“Only you would remain cocky in such a predicament.” Jabberwocky spat “You’re useless at long range and with my hornacles you will never get close enough.”
“Then I will get rid of the hornacles!” she yelled.
Jabberwocky laughed arrogantly “You already tried that; unless you can endure the voltage produced by my Aura you’ll never be able to accomplish that.”
“Then that’s what I’ll do I’ll endure that voltage.”
Jabberwocky looked at Neko’s face to see if she was bluffing, he could tell that she was dead serious even from the distance apart. Sick of the half-demon confidence, he sent one of his hornacles forward. Neko caught one with a bare-handed blade bloke of sorts.
She stood there with the electric Aura flowing through her with the water beneath her feet helping to conduct it. Suddenly she shouted at the top of her voice in exertion and threw the spike into the air.
Jabberwocky, who moments ago thought Neko would get electrocuted to death, was caught completely off-guard and stood transfixed as a result.
While it was in the air she grabbed the electric charged horn-tip and stabbed it into the wet ground, she then pounded it in a few times to nail it in.
Once he came back to his senses, Jabberwocky tried to pull the hornacle out, realising it was stuck he deactivated the Aura to conserve power. Confused and frustrated over the turn of the events Jabberwocky increased the Aura into his remaining hornacles increasing their voltage; he then sent them after Neko.
Neko Maneki eventually managed to dodge, grab, and then impale each of the horns into the walls, floor and ceiling.
Eventually all the horns were imbedded into the ground, walls and or ceiling “How did you survive such an amount of voltage, half of that was enough to kill any regular demon, so a half-demon...”
“I already told you, I said I would endure.” On closer inspection, Jabberwocky realised that the voltage had left Neko’s skin bright red, swollen and had tiny burn scabs here and there “One of the advantages of being a half-demon is that you learn to endure pain.”
Jabberwocky snarled in a beastly fashion.
“Don’t get so mad, after all you and your lackey’s help contribute to my extensive history of enduring.” Neko Maneki then clenched her fists “Let’s see if you can take it as well as you can dish it out.” She then charged forward.
Jabberwocky deactivated his hornacles electricity, then pulled hard essentially sling-shooting him forward.
Once they clashed they got into a furious close ranged fist-fight. Neko Maneki’s blows were fast and relentless, but Jabberwocky’s thick scaly body made it hard for her to do any real damage. Jabberwocky’s attacks on the other hand although comparatively slower and easier to dodge did great damage the few times they did hit.
Neko’s fist collided with his palm.
Jabberwocky’s other fist collided with Neko’s palm.
For a while they tried to overpower the other by pushing the others fists, their sense of bravado edging them on. The fight quickly turned to Jabberwocky’s favor as he slowly started to overpower Neko.
“And here you thought up-close and personal would give you an edge,” Jabberwocky mocked “I guess this means I got you beat at both long range and short range.”
Neko Maneki said nothing.
“Finally realised you never stood a chance huh!”
Neko Maneki said nothing.
“What’s the matter got nothing smart to say half-breed whor...” before he could finish Neko Maneki jumped back, this caused Jabberwocky to stumble forward, before he could regain balance Neko Maneki jumped forward grabbed Jabberwocky by the frill and head butted him.
The resulting impact shattered the gem on his forehead and even dug some small shards into him.
The blow to the head left them both woozy, but Neko Maneki through sheer force of will manage to attack Jabberwocky with a barrage of half-blind attacks in spite of her wooziness. The onslaught of attacks managed to push Jabberwocky back. When she regained her senses her attacks become more focused and stronger. She ended her assault with a punch to the neck.
As a reflex Jabberwocky grabbed his throat and started to breath heavily from the attack.
As he stood hunched over, winded and struggling to breath, Neko Maneki pulled back her left hand and concentrated her Aura into her palm; this caused glowing yellow patches to show up on her palm, the glowing patches looked like paw-pads. Once her Aura was significantly charged she hit Jabberwocky in the chest with a glowing palm strike.
The attack left a small but powerful explosion that sent Jabberwocky flying backwards, he flew back so fast that it dislodged his horns from where-ever they were imbedded.
He then landed on the wet floor semi-conscious with his hornacles in heap.
Neko Maneki stood holding her throbbing left arm “The recoil on that attack is a real bitch.”
“WOW so that’s your power!”
Neko startled, looked to the source of the sound to find it was Harry who spoke. Harry had no visible injuries though his fur could have been covering his injuries.
“When did you get here Harry?” Neko asked somewhat embarrassed at being caught by surprise.
“Right before you blasted Jabble-jibbel-jubble-jabble, whatever. I never would have guessed your power was that you could shoot energy blasts.”
“That’s not a power that’s a skill.” Neko informed, with her adversary defeated she no longer felt any sense of urgency.
“What’s the difference?” Harry asked.
Neko slapped her forehead “You city demons, it really says something about their education system that I who has never been “formally” educated know more than a demon that has been “fully” educated.” Neko then looked over Harry “You are fully educated right; you’re not still in elementary school are you.”
“Make jokes all you want because I’ve got...” Harry then lifted up the Shrink-Ray which he was carrying beneath his arm the whole time and showed it to Neko like a trophy “TA-DA HAIL THE CONQURING HERO NA NA NA NA NA...”
Neko shut Harry up by placing her fingers on his lips “I trust you have the codes too.”
“Yep!” Harry said proudly as he drew the piece of paper with the codes on them from... somewhere.
“Wait a minute last I checked Carpenter had the codes, that means...” Neko looked at Harry in awe “You defeated Carpenter, YOU!”
“Yep, and after I looted his unconscious body I used the codes to deactivate the magnets keeping the Shrink-Ray in place then rushed to find this place, so now all we have do is open the vault grab Gale and then the three of us will be in Mirabilis before you know it.”
Neko was silent for a moment “You want me to come to Mirabilis with you and Morphan?”
“Of course!” Harry answered in a very casual way, completely unable to read to atmosphere.
“And BOTH of you would be OK with having a BANDIT as a traveling companion?” She asked, now more sceptical then hopeful.
“I can see the flaw in that logic, but then ever since I first came into the Canyon I haven’t done a lot of “logical” things, then again coming into Labirinth Canyon in the first place was not very logical.” Harry Crax then focused his gaze back on Neko “So to sum up yes I will be fine with you as a traveling companion, and even if I wasn’t I’m a bus driver, it’s kind of my job to get people where they want to go.”
Neko chuckled lightly to herself “I suppose Morphan would want me around, what with the two of us being half demons.”
“Actually I don’t think that’s the issue.” Harry said with a thoughtful face “From what I’ve seen of Morphan he seems to be the type of guy who helps people just for the sake of helping.”
“WHAT A FOOL!”
Neko and Harry looked to the source of the voice to find that Jabberwocky had found his second wind and was currently getting up.
“Helping sapients for the sake of helping, what utter nonsense such a philosophy will only lead to being abused and taken advantage off.” Jabberwocky continued, his hornacles poised for battle.
“Sapients?” Harry asked.
“Don’t you know anything?” Neko asked frustrated “Ever heard the term sapient life form?”
“By the abyss, Sapient is the general term used for sentient beings.” Neko answered in a frustrated tone, she could tell be the look on Harry’s face that he still didn’t quite get it “You know Demons, humans, half-demons and all the other intelligent life forms across the Omniverse.”
“Ohhhh got it!” Harry Crax then took the codes and hid them somewhere on his body while gently placing the Shrink-Ray down “So I take it we’ll still have to deal with this clown before we can leave.”
“Planning on double-teaming me huh?” said Jabberwocky “For me two opponents means two corpses to bury, even in the wrecked state I am in now I can easily take on ten of you.”
Neko Maneki struck a battle ready pose only for Harry to move forward “Don’t worry I’ll take it from here.” He bragged.
“SO you think you’re a brave knight saving a helpless princess are you.” Neko scolded, un-willing to accept his help and put himself in danger.
“Actually I think of myself as friend helping a friend out.”
Neko was briefly shocked by his kindness.
“No offense but you look and smell like a burnt tomato,” at Harry’s comment Neko sniffed herself out of curiosity “I doesn’t take a genius to figure out that you had quite the struggle, so take a load off you’ve earned it.”
“Marshmallow Mode Activate!” at his command Harry’s fur puffed up to become afro-like.
“You actually think any of that is going to make a difference.” Jabberwocky asked sceptical about his newest opponent’s abilities.
“Laugh at me if you want, but in the end I shall have the last laugh for you see this is the mood in which I defeated Carpenter in. TAKE THIS!” Harry Crax then bounced causing his springy fur to propel him forward in an epic pose.
Before Harry could get close, Jabberwocky wrapped one of his hornacles around Harry stopping him. Harry now as helpless as a mouse in the grip of a serpent was completely silent in awe and humiliation over how easily he was subdued.
“It was foolish of you to put me and Carpenter in the same league.” Jabberwocky said smugly.
“Squeeze me if you like but as long as I am in my Marshmallow mode you can’t hurt me.”
“Scratch that you can hurt me! But at least you won’t be able to break any bones!”Although his tone was brave but his eyes were bulging and his voice was squeaky making him look and sound quite comical. Although one could not tell because of his fur his face was quickly turning purple. Plus the barbs poking him were adding to the pain, it was only thanks to his fur puffy state that prevented them from piercing his flesh.
“I can keep this up all day, how long can you keep up that... what did you call it Marshmallow mode. And even if I can’t crush you I can still suffocate you, or fry you with my Aura.” He gave Harry a quick zap as a demonstration, and then Jabberwocky put on a mockish thoughtful expression “So how to kill you, crush you, choke you or fry you. Thing is I do those all the time, NO in honour of the recent “ordeals” I have been though I feel a special form of murder is required.” As Jabberwocky monologue he kept his hornacle wrapped around Harry tight enough to cause him pain but not tight enough to cause him to suffocate (as much) “Time to show you my secret skill, the skill that allowed me to become the bandit lord I am today.” At his command one of his hornacles started to cackle with a high amount of Aura then a small dagger sized blade of pure yellow Aura appeared at the tip.
Harry’s already bulging eyes opened even wider at the sight “Aura Manifestation? To be able to make Aura into a solid stable form? That should only be possible for demons with that specific power? Is this his true power if so what was all stuff before?”
“I can see in your eyes that you are quite confused by what you see, I call it my Vorpal Blade, no more explanation then that is needed after all what good is that knowledge to a DEAD DEMON!”
He then threw Harry to the ground and then stepped on him keeping him in place. Harry who was too dazed from the near suffocation could only lay gasping for air beneath his foot.
Neko Maneki jumped towards Jabberwocky to try and stop him.
Jabberwocky used the moment for a sneak stab directly through Neko’s gut.
In a loud but brief instant Neko was completely fried by the Vorpal blade. Jabberwocky threw her charred body where it landed a distance away in a heap. He then slowly walked towards her, till he was standing over her, he looked down on her body undisturbed by the smell of blackened skin, opened wounds and burnt organs.
Drunk on victory he started to laugh maniacally and started to stomp her body repeatedly.
“Not so high and mighty now are you! Even with the teachings of Siberian Jesus a half-demon is nothing but a half-demon!”
Harry was so shocked by the turn of events that he lost control of his “Marshmallow mode” causing his fur to revert to its original state. He lay for a while on his hands and knees with his soaked fur watching as Jabberwocky laughed manically.
When he was done he turned to Harry and swung his Vorpal blade in an intimidating manner before saying “Your turn.”
Overcome with grief and fury Harry charged towards Jabberwocky swinging his fists wildly, roaring profanities such as “Archangel” and other such derogatory terms.
Jabberwocky just stood and took the blows, knowing in advance that his attacks were too weak to be worth dodging or defending, all the while taking pleasure in his enemy’s helplessness.
Harry just continued to punch Jabberwocky till his fists were numb, soon his anger turned to sorrow and he started to sob while hitting Jabberwocky with feeble attacks.
“Tell me why are you so upset?” Jabberwocky asked, there was no sympathy in his voice only curiosity and contempt.
“You killed my friend what kind of demon wouldn’t be sad? (Sniff) (Sniff)”
Jabberwocky was perplexed by Harry’s answer “How long have you known that half-breed?”
“Since this morning, I guess.”
Jabberwocky stood blinking for a few moments before bursting out laughing “You mean to tell me that you are actually sad for a half-breed you haven’t even known for a day!”
“A day is all you need to make a friend!”
“You actually consider that thing a friend!” Jabberwocky started to laugh even harder.
“Go ahead and laugh, what do you know.”
“What do I know you ask? You seem to forgot that the half-breed was my subordinate I have worked with her on many occasions so I in-fact know more about her then you do. For example I know she probably dragged you here with some poorly thought out, selfishly motivated plan that would probably leave you screwed in the end.”
Harry was about to deny it, but when he thought it over he realised that was pretty much what happened. Refusing to give Jabberwocky satisfaction he remained silent.
“I can tell by your face that is exactly what happened.” Jabberwocky continued “So even though she got you mixed up in all this madness you still consider her your friend?” He then started to chuckle some more “The only reason I can think of is that you are someone who is desperate for friendship, so desperate and lonely that you’re even willing to befriend a half-breed now that is truly laughable.” Jabberwocky laughed some more for emphasis.
“Oh you think so HUH!”
Jabberwocky stopped laughing.
Harry Crax stood up before continuing “Well I know of a few things myself, I can tell what kind of demon you are, if I am desperate for friendship then you are equally desperate for power.”
“Really?” Jabberwocky sighed and deactivated his Vorpal blade before crossing his arms “I’m guessing this is supposed to be the part where you tell me some sort of enlightening speech so go on humor me.”
Harry was briefly insulted with the way his enemy completely disrespected him but was so pumped for his speech that he got over it and continued “I know all too well where a pursuit of fame and power leads, you spend so much time and effort to obtain it and then it is gone so easily...”
“The same can be said for friendship, as I so recently proved.”
“I thought you were going to let me speak!” Harry yelled annoyed.
“You are lucky you’re not already dead.” Jabberwocky sighed “My apologies please continue.” The lack of genuine remorse verified that he only wished for Harry to finish up.
“OK answer me this when you feel sad and lonely does your power comfort you, does it try to make you happy, when a miserable demon obtains power they become a powerful miserable demon.”
“So you think I am un-happy?” Jabberwocky asked.
“You’re the type that focuses on making others un-happy that is the first sign of a seriously un-happy demon.”
“You know something what you said was really touching.”
Harry Crax smiled pleased with the apparent results of his speech, believing that he had reformed the evil bandit lord.
“Or it would be if the opinion of someone like you held even the tiniest bit of significance.” Jabberwocky then punched Harry in the face.
The blow sent him rolling backwards till he landed on his back, as Harry lay on his back woozy, Jabberwocky reactivated his Vorpal Blade “Well you managed to kill a few minutes so now it is time to kill you!”
Harry gasped in horror as the Vorpal blade moved slowly towards him, in actuality it was moving very fast but only appeared to move slowly in his mind due to the terror.
Jabberwocky roared in anguish as he held what was left of his hornacle, when the pain subsided enough that he could see properly he saw that his hornacle was cut almost in half and that the area that was cut was instantly cauterised it leaving his ends a steaming burnt stub.
He looked to the source trying to find out who did but was left in complete shock when he found it was Neko Maneki!
Neko Maneki who a few seconds ago was a burnt corpse was now standing in front of him complexly unharmed with her claws covered in a yellow Aura. The Aura gave her the appearance of wearing glowing claw gloves, as well as making her claws a good deal longer and sharper.
“You are not the only one who has tricks up the sleeve!” Neko Maneki boasted “When I die in battle I can revive myself!”
“What impossible the amount of Aura required to use such a power would be phenomenal. No way a half demon could posses that level of Aura!”
“So tell me Jabberwocky...” Neko Maneki activated her Aura; the yellow Aura seeped off her body and caused the room to heat up and the water near her to boil till it was steaming. The Aura previously around her claw grew till it what almost half her size. Harry and Jabberwocky watched in shock at the amount of power she was showing off “...How do you explain this?”
Then she stopped and grinned triumphantly.
“You have been holding back ALL this time, WHY!”
“If I told you assholes my awesome power you would try to find a way to counter it. Besides my power is most useful when it is a surprise. What better time for a sneak attack then when your opponent think you are dead.”
“Hold on a minute I’m confused?” said Harry “If your power is that you can come back to life, then what about the energy blasts and the energy claws.”
“A power is something that is unique to the demon and the demon alone; a skill on the other hand can be learned by anyone with the talent for it. His Vorpal blade and my cat paw cannon are examples of skills. I told you before how I was an expert on Aura control, when you’re as good at controlling Aura as I am stuff like that comes easy to you.”
“Of course how could I have forgotten, they say experts on Aura control can do those sorts of things?” Harry then looked at Neko “Aura blasts, Aura manifestation, Blood Oaths! This girl is some sort of Aura control master!”
Neko Maneki reactivated her Aura claws in much smaller forms “Attack names are sacred to demons, so as a true bandit I will steal your attack name... from now one I shall call these... VORPAL CLAWS!” she then swung here newly dubbed Vorpal claws about in a dramatic fashion before striking a battle ready pose.
Jabberwocky roared in fury allowing his yellow Aura to go berserk “IT’S...OFF...WITH...YOUR...HEAD!” at the word “head” he concentrated his Aura into the rest his hornacles creating Vorpal blades for each of them.
Neko Maneki and Jabberwocky charged forward, her Vorpal claws clashed furiously with each other. The blade fight was fast and furious with both sides trying desperately to get a fatal blow onto the other.
Neko Maneki managed to cut off one of Jabberwocky’s hornacles, the intense pain that followed only further angered Jabberwocky and made him all the more ferocious in his assault.
Neko Maneki managed to cut off four more hornacles, eventually she managed to cut off all of his hornacles. Once she was done Jabberwocky looked in furious horror at the smoking end of his hornacles and could do nothing but roar in desperation.
Neko Maneki ended the fight with one final punch in the face.
As Jabberwocky fell to the ground his mind drifting in and out of consciousness time seemed to slow as his mind raced. He wondered how he the Bandit Lord of Labirinth Canyon, leader of elite Wonderland Circus bandit troop could have lost to a half-demon. He wished that he had killed her when he first met her instead of taking her under his wing, then he remembered why he hired her in the first place how he hoped that as the last remaining member of Siberian Jesus gang she would know his secrets. Then he remembered how she would tell him his secrets but how they were nonsense about; friendship, trust, and fun, he dismissed such notions as ridiculous and would demand she give him the real secrets. He could remember the looks of contempt and disappointed she would give him.
Jabberwocky laughed at himself mentally “All this time I boasted how I could steal anything I want, yet what I truly wanted was right in front of me all along, it was within my grasp and I refused to acknowledge it.”
Jabberwocky then landed unconscious.
For a while there was a moment of silence broken only by the Neko Maneki’s heavy breathing.
“ALL RIGHT!” Harry gleefully shouted as he wrapped his arm around Neko’s shoulder “You WON, I guess you really are the best bandit in Labirinth Canyon.”
“Was there ever any doubt!” Neko boasted.
“It is a little early to celebrate.” They looked to the source to find it was Morphan as he walked onto the scene.
Neko grinned widely before walking up to him and playfully punching him in the shoulder “And here is Lobster-boy bringing the mood down with his glass-half empty philosophy.”
“Glad to know I was missed!” Morphan said while smirking.
“Well do my eyes deceive me or are you actually smiling?” Neko asked in a playful teasing manner.
“I guess I am!” Morphan stated in a factually manner, he then went into his usual neutral face “So everything all-right on your end.”
“YUP!” Harry Crax said proudly “After I defeated the Carpenter, you know the Carpenter the elite bandit who likes to look down on people, that elite bandit the Carpenter. Right after I defeated him I took the Shrink-ray and the codes.” He presented both objects proudly for emphasis.
“What did you do with our big fat oyster loving friend?” Neko asked seriously.
“If you mean the Walrus, he is crippled, defeated, and alive but not an immediate threat.” Morphan stated, he then looked at Jabberwocky unconscious on the floor with his large tentacle like things cut up with burnt ends and the other halves littered about “I don’t think any explanation is needed for Jabberwocky.”
“All-right now that we are all up to speed, you just give me the codes and...” Neko reached over to grab the codes from Harry only for him to pull them out of her reach.
“NONONONO I got this.” Harry boasted “In one day I helped pirate an airship, I snuck into a fortified lair, helped drive a top level bandit group out of their own base, defeated one of their elites in single combat. AND to top it all off I am pretty sure I just helped free a group of slaves, I am on the roll of my life and I aint stopping now!”
Neko annoyed with Harry’s behaviour, turned to Morphan silently asking for his help. Morphan merely shrugged and gestured to let him continue “Fine knock yourself out.” She conceded.
Harry gleefully typed in the code from the sheet before rushing into the vault; the vault was about the size of a small room and was filled to the brim with treasure, a single piece of the more valuable treasure could have set him up for life. He ignored all the other treasure as he searched for his bus. He quickly found it and rushed out to show his friends. Harry stroked the bus against his cheek like a kid with his favorite toy, which was actually quite accurate because the shrunken bus now had the size and appearance of a toy car.
Suddenly Neko marched past Harry carrying Jabberwocky and then dumped his unconscious body into the vault before shutting the door with a violent slam.
Morphan and Harry stared at Neko for a while.
“WHAT?” she asked “Do you want him to regain consciousness and then stab us in the back.”
Morphan and Harry remained silent.
“How do we know he won’t just walk out of there?” Harry asked.
“It is a VAULT they are not meant to be opened from the inside!” Neko stated, she was quiet for a moment before continuing “But it would not surprise me if he installed some sort of secret passageway for just such a situation. And if not then I doubt anyone would lose a lot of sleep over him.”
Morphan walked up to the vault door and stared at it “You know it is almost humorous, a demon who devoted his life to avarice could very well die surrounded by his so called treasure. I wonder how long it will be before he is willing to give it all up just to escape.”
Neko stared at the vault just as intently “Knowing Jabberwocky it may be too long before he wishes that.”
Harry stood awkwardly, disbursed by his friend’s subtle but visible malice. Harry decided to change the subject “SOOOOOO... is that it did we win?”
Morphan looked towards Harry and smiled before saying “Yes we won!”
To be continued...