Chapter 3: Purple Haze
“So then Nacho and the Doctor took the new sniper rifles and set up overwatch in the skywalk while Munchies and I waited in the van by the garbage truck we were using as a roadblock a few hundred yards down the road. Before long, we heard sirens and crap. Turns out, someone had tipped the bank off and they hired mercenaries to escort the armored truck! Coming around the corner, we spotted a pair of ridiculously old white vans that said 'free ice cream' on the sides. Doctor went over the radio called for backup from the rest of the clan, then told us to hold the mercenaries down until help arrived. They slowed down and parked right under the skywalk, ruining any chance of using the snipers. After a couple seconds, like 30 friggin' clowns climbed out--I kid you not, they were all in their underwear and pajamas wearing mostly nothing but face paint, red rubber noses, and bright poofy wigs! Clowns! We were being attacked by a bunch of damn clowns with guns!”
“The scariest thing I’ve ever seen,” chimed in Munchies.
Ryssa continued, “Nacho and Doc were both totally in way over their heads behind enemy lines already, when a bus came around the corner. It pulled up behind the vans and I couldn’t even count how many clowns poured out of that thing. The last clown that came out was the scariest of all. He was wearing oversized pink sneakers, white boxers dotted with pink hearts, a long red cape, a nazi armband, sloppy face paint, a blue rubber nose, a glow-in-the-dark green M16, and a Hitler mustache/combover combo!”
“Nazi clowns, bartender! We had to fight Nazi clowns!” Munchies wailed in agony of the torturous memory.
“Realizing that the bank had just declared war on the FOC, Doc went over the clan channel again and told everyone to go dark on the radio, rendezvous at the emergency safe zone, and go on lock down. That was the last we heard from either Doc or Nacho. We knew were out of time as watched the Hitler clown climb on top of the bus with a vintage 1940s microphone in his hand. He waited a moment, then he was like, ‘We have you now, Super Stoners of San Puerto! CHAAAAAARGE!!!!!’ and all of his clowns started screaming and laughing manically and running at us like rage zombies.”
“That was our old clan name; it’s been retired for almost a year now!” said Munchies.
“We bailed out of the van and fled down a back alley, but we were ambushed by clowns throwing balloons filled with napalm. We turned back to the roadblock and ran behind the garbage truck as the horde of clowns descended on our position like vultures on a corpse, firing bullets and confetti into the air. They were everywhere, we had no choice. Eventually, we fought our way off the street and pushed south until we made it to the river where we escaped. That was about five hours ago and we still haven’t heard anything from the other two.” Ryssa looked down at her drink, clearly troubled.
“Oh sweetheart, don’t be so frowny. Would a balloon animal cheer you up?” The vampire asked trollishly, revealing himself after sneaking into the bar unnoticed.
“What the f--”
Ryssa was about to tear the vampire a new one, but she stopped when she saw him. Munchies turned and had a similar reaction. Both stared in abject horror, not sure whether to be overcome with rage, be emotionally traumatized, or feel some sort of new, undefined emotion that only arises in such a situation. Sporting a large orange wig, vivid blue suspenders, Juggalo face paint, shiny red shoes, and a matching squeaky red nose, the vampire stood there offering a pink balloon giraffe to Ryssa. Seeing their petrified response, or, more accurately, lack of a response, he sighed.
The bartender could only shake his head. He was not surprised. He had seen this vampire try to sell drugs to a man whose wife of 7 years died of an overdose just a few hours prior. When the man sobbed “go away, you horrible creature” through a torrential downpour of tears, the vampire responded by saying, “It’s what she would want. Literally. She would want this,” then smiling warmly with feigned benevolence.
The vampire quietly sat down at the bar, back in his trademark black cloak. Munchies and Ryssa coldly stared daggers at the underworldly creature. Much to their dismay, the vampire was either oblivious or a grandmaster of not giving a crap.
“Bartender, what’s the special for today?”
“Awkward silence, I suppose,” he replied with a chuckle.
“I don’t know why they’re so pissed. Their friends are totally fine; I helped them get away. Nacho is an old buddy of mine since before even SSSP. He called me when things went south and they went to the top of the parking garage. They held off the clowns until I got there to clean up the circus. Where do you think I got these stupid clothes?”
“What?! Where are they now?!”
“I don’t know. I’m not their mother. Who’s ready for a story?”
As Khvarikx entered what the now-dead creature referred to as world 12, he felt gravity suddenly take effect on his body again. The reality of this next universe formed around him as his spirit shifted perspective. He felt cobblestone under his feet and wind on his face. He closed his eyes to let his mind catch up. The physics here were completely different from anything previously encountered; it was shaking his concentration and destabilizing his mental clarity. He took a deep breath to calm and center himself. Voices faded in to full volume as his mind began to recognize vibrations in the air of world 12 as sound waves. They were all screaming--screaming in terror, just like the voices which awoke him from the only pleasant dream he ever had and brought him into the nightmare.
He opened his eyes, praying that it would stop the screaming again, but unfortunately, it did not. He looked around at the hordes of people fleeing in terror. Looking up, he surveyed the surrounding area. It appeared to be the outer courtyard of a colossal, elegant castle with guard towers reaching to the heavens.
“DRAGON!!!” A soldier wearing scrappy iron armor shouted to his cohorts.
“What level is it, SouperDood43?” A voice from the wall called out.
“IT’S OVER 9000!” The soldier shouted.
A knight wearing dark teal armor jumped from the wall and landed in front of Khvarikx in a stereotypical tripod pose, his jet black cape rippling from the force of the impact. He slowly and methodically stood up, removing the impractically oversized longsword from its place on his back. Khvarikx coiled his neck back with a startled hiss and rumbling growl as the knight suddenly moved the weapon with blinding speed. Defying gravity and the limits of physical strength, he held out the blade with one hand, pointing it directly at Khvarkix, the tip wavering slightly only a few feet from the dragon’s piercing red and blue eyes.
“Hear me, oh foul beast, ye defiler of lands and slaughterer of innocents! The blade I swing is as black as the soulless hearts of evil doers I have smitten down! By the gods above and below me, I, PwnageMaster69, swear upon an oath, thy blood shall adorn my weapon and paint the ground before me! I swear to death, I shall smite thee down for the hon--”
Khvarikx cocked his head slightly to the left to avoid the sword and struck like a viper after a mouse, engulfing the top half of the knight and sinking an armada of diamond daggers through the armor protecting his abdomen. The serpentine demi-god tightened his jaws and moved his body forward coiling his neck again. He whipped his head up to sky and snapped his jaws open, releasing the knight and sending him soaring on a course to the clouds. He was on a quest to save humanity, but he was still a dragon. The entrance fee for a direct challenge with such a creature is death and/or an obscene quantity of gold. Additionally, these weren’t his humans. These were inferior rip-offs who talked funny.
As a number of warriors gathered in the courtyard, he stretched out his wings and smiled playfully. However, seeing a dragon smile (playful or not) is basically the most unnerving visual sensation ever. It is the quintessential opposite of a sunset over the ocean being viewed from a lawn chair on a sandy beach in Costa Rica.
“We must avenge PwnageMaster69!” shouted a knight wearing similar teal plate armor. “ThunderGuy14 and Gamergurl45678, spam it with your magic! LastTacoVendor, Whalekreme, and pewpewpew7, cast healing spells! WargasmTheFrog, BeefTurtle, GhostSpoon96, and Supersword4, stay back and charge your ultimate attacks. Legoless and Fisheye43--”
The knight who was apparently named Leroy charged at Khvarikx wildly swinging a warhammer which did not seem like much more than a carpenter’s hammer for various woodworking projects.
“FUUSSSS ROOOO D--”
Leroy barely made it halfway to the dragon before being crushed by the falling body of PwnageMaster69 which had finally returned to earth. Khvarikx was shocked by the sheer incompetence of these warriors. Suddenly, he felt guilty about so mercilessly slaughtering PwnageMaster69. It was like a flock of sheep trying to kill a wolf pack using psychic abilities and black magics despite the fact that sheep (especially the specifically aforementioned sheep) posses neither of these skills. On top of that, the wolves are actually legendary werewolves using semi-automatic enchanted crossbows that fire explosive bolts. Khvarikx was the one-wolf pack that these sheep were hunting and he wasn’t hungry enough to eat them...all of them anyways. He shook his head. He needed to end this before his stomach seized control of his mind.
“I need to find Willow. Where is she?”
“Sounds like an admin.”
“Or a haxor.”
“Probs a haxor lol”
“shut up ur a haxor”
Two archers began to shoot each other with arrows at point-blank range. Neither seemed to be even remotely aware that they were both completely filled with arrows. After a few seconds of mind-numbing violence and insults about "haxors," one suddenly died without warning. The victor shouted a few things about his fallen foe’s mother and began to rummage through the possessions of the dead guy.
Khvarikx spread his wings and took to the sky. World 12 was much too weird for his tastes, but he needed to find Willow. He looked down at the earth, bustling with people. In a split-second, it changed from a world of open pastures, castles, and sword-wielding goons to an expanse of metallic landscape with buildings made entirely of steel and dotted with lights of all colors and many behaviors: some constant, a few strobing, most of them were erratic in frequency while moving around rapidly, and one never turned on. Khvarikx didn’t know how he knew it was there or how he knew that it was a light, he only knew he should not trust it.
Nevertheless, he was still curious and intrigued by this area. Khvarikx dove down and landed on the cold surface of the earth. He scratched at it, creating a ear-piercing screech and confirming that it was indeed metal. World 12 continued to be stranger and stranger with each passing moment. Hearing heavy footstep, he looked up and his piercing blue and red eyes rested on a soldier wearing bizarre green armor and holding an even more bizarre item.
A small flare erupted from the front of the object and searing pain sent shocks through the dragon’s nervous system. He instinctively reacted with a torrent of dragonfire and flared his wings, pushing him upwards and away from the soldier. A flash of purple light blinded him for an instant. His eyes refocused and he found himself in a cave with a young woman standing in front of him, a purple haze clearing from in between them after such a surprising use of dimensional magics.
“Khvarikx, you really need to stop messing with my world.”
“About time! I’ve been searching for you!”
“Are you trying to kill me too? I’m the youngest of the three sisters but I am the most powerful. I could kill you, go back five minutes to before I kill you, and then kill you again. Then, I could go back ten minutes, decide not to kill you, wait ten minutes, and then kill you anyways. Bam! You’d be dead.”
“No, I need your help!”
“You need help killing Xijan Ol.”
“I don’t think I can kill Xijan. I only want to stop the summoning.”
“That’s what they all say.”
“Well I wasn’t lying. You’re the only one who’s actually gotten this far. None of the other dimension 5 modifiers have the power to destroy planets on a whim. Normally, when a player or a D5M breaches zone boundaries, I just send them home.”
“So can you help me or not?”
“Of course. Follow me.”
Khvarikx was unnerved. Willow was unstable, probably due to her constant tampering with temporal values and concepts. He had only seen a fraction of her world and it was twisted and scattered. Unfortunately, she was his only choice; he followed her deeper into the cave. She opened a small door to a back chamber, went through, and then hesitated. She came back out, shut the door, and then opened it again. This time it was much more massive in size than the first.
“Now you can fit through!”
On the other side of the door was a solid black space. While the sense of sight was completely nullified in the room, the other senses were being activated excessively. The air smelled like lavender and tasted like blueberries. It sounded like a mixture of violins, harps, and violent wind spirits dancing in preparation for war. The air felt colder than a penguin’s front lawn, but with occasional waves of heat as if a lighthouse’s rotating light was present somewhere in the room, but only giving off radiating heat because some unnatural powers were so dedicated to cancelling out any light that they no longer cared for the problems of logic that they created in the line of duty.
“Time is like a spiral helix always flowing upward,” Willow said.
“I can easily go back and (with a little more effort) forth through time as I please because...well...I’m the time goddess. It’s kinda my thing. Everyone else either rides the current up as is the natural way or they come here. Right now, you are on the edge of a cliff. If you want to go back, you must take a leap of faith. I don’t even know where you’ll end up. If you don’t get back far enough, come find me again. I must warn you: travelling through time does affect you greatly. My brain is mostly fried and I’m a goddess. You are...less than that. You’ll probably end up doing some weird stuff that you’ll either regret or be puzzled by at a later date and time. Anyways, fly, birdie!”
Willow lunged at the dragon and tried to push him off the cliff. Being an enormous reptile coated with dense, armored scales, Khvarikx didn’t even budge. He stretched his wing behind Willow and swept forward. She flew off the edge, screaming, “I TOTALLY DESERVED THAT!” Khvarikx grinned at his sweet revenge for a couple brief moments before he suddenly realized that he still needed Willow. He blindly dove into the darkness to catch her before she met an unfortunate ending with the bottom of her odd little chamber and ended his noble quest forever.