Chapter 5: Sunglasses at Night
A loud hissing sounded from the bathroom followed by gagging, possibly crying, and impressive death metal growls. The vampire stormed out furiously and plopped down on his regular stool at the bar.
“Your ‘Orange Cream’ hand soap tastes nothing like orange cream! It tasted like... like... like soap! It was gross!” he scowled.
“I’m... sorry?” The bartender was clearly not sorry.
Ryssa spoke up. “How long has he been here?”
“He came in around 9:30 wearing his sunglasses at night like always. He was covered in blood and green paint, so I told him to go clean up.”
“It’s half past midnight! He’s been in there for three hours?”
“I’m going to be honest,” said the vampire. “I was cleaned up within the first ten minutes. I got distracted by my handsome reflection and after that I just kind of stared at the soap, daring myself to try it. I regret that decision greatly.”
“I thought vampires don’t appear in mirrors.”
“HONK! HONK! SUBJECT CHANGE! HONK! HONK! Bartender, your pineapple is a great kisser.”
The awkward silence that followed was so overwhelmingly awkward that both humans completely forgot what they were talking about. This was clearly the vampire’s intent and he enjoyed the stillness thoroughly as he sipped on an Appletini to rid his mouth of the horrifyingly inaccurate soap flavor.
“Since neither of you are saying anything, I’ll continue with that story.”
Khvarikx did not know if the wizard was still waiting at the temple, but at this point, he did not care. The wizard wasn’t a threat. Xijan Ol was the only thing standing in his way and, after absorbing his white twin’s power, even the demon goddess of annihilation was nothing more than an inconvenience. He spread his wings and pulled down, launching him into the sky and obliterating the ground beneath him with the wind of a thousand hurricanes. He extended his wings and pulled forward again, ripping through the very fabric of space and tunneling through the dark antimatter which humans cannot perceive. His warp came to a stop as he crashed through the moon like a gigantic bullet, splitting it in half and sending shards outward into a miniature orbit around the long-dead rock.
The dragon turned and floated lazily, watching the earth. Closing his eyes, he began to draw on the potential powers hidden within the corners and pockets of the universe. Black energies arced out wildly as they overflowed from his body. He opened his eyes, which were now sunken holes, doors to an empty void despite radiating a soft yet harsh and rugged glow. Then, all was quiet. His eyes returned to their respective red and purple hues and the energies receded. If the universe had a heartbeat, in that moment you could’ve heard it, softly beating like a drum of war.
His jaws sprung open, unhinging and baring his teeth. A beam of black plasma exploded from within the dragon and sliced through the earth like an enchanted ice arrow through a large block of watermelon or lime-flavored gelatin snack food. The beam extended many light years, smashing through several stars, asteroids, flying saucers, minor planets, and even one space unicorn. Finally overwhelmed by Khvarikx’s Ultimate Mach 4.23 x 1087 God Form Dragonbreath, the earth shredded itself and ripped itself apart. Every electron, proton, and neutron was obliterated into millions of tiny fragments. So thorough was the devastation, that even time was halted in the immediate area. From the aftermath of the cataclysmic eradication of all the subatomic particles that once composed earth, she appeared. Xijan Ol in all her power had come to earth to posses Khvarikx and fulfill her only purpose. There wasn’t an earth with any sort of life for her to end at this point, but that’s irrelevant to the story right now, so stop being a smart-ass.
“Time for a math lesson!” exclaimed the vampire. “Let me show you exactly how powerful and how fast that dragonbreath attack was.” He somehow had found a chalkboard, a pink stick of chalk, dorky oversized glasses and one of those weird suit coats that professors wear with the odd little elbow patches. “His attack was measured at Mach 4.23 times ten to the eighty-seventh power. It lasted roughly 17.4 seconds. Considering the fact that the speed of light is approximately Mach 881 thousand, his black plasma was traveling at 4.8 x 1081 times the speed of light. If you multiply that by 17.4/31536000 (how long the attack lasted divided by the number of seconds in a year), you’ll see that his attack traveled 2.65 x 1075 light years. Last I heard, the furthest star that humans can see is theoretically only 55 million light years away. Khvarikx literally tore through the outer reaches of our universe.”
Ryssa shook her head. “If it’s actually plasma, then it has mass and that means it can’t phsyically travel faster the speed of light without warping.”
The vampire foresaw this argument and was ready with a response. “That is correct. There are two theories on how this is possible. Both involve the individual particles of the plasma. The first theory is that the particles stay under the speed of light while periodically warping in an alternating pattern with the other particles so that the illusion of a steady blast is created. The other theory is that they pass in and out of the spiritual realm where physics are less strict--”
The bartender had enough of the nerds’ chatter, so he loudly set a tall glass of whiskey in front of the vampire. “So Xijan Ol is back?”
Remembering the humiliating defeat in his alternate life, Khvarikx immediately phased out of his body when he saw Xijan Ol appear. Due to the immense boost in power, his spirit form was actually slightly bigger than hers and completely black, blending into the darkness of space. Assuming that the empty body was a sacrificial gift to her, she reached out to catch it as it floated through empty space. Khvarikx had other plans. He reached out and seized her by the throat, snarling viciously. With one quick snap of his jaws, the demon’s body shut down completely aside from a few death twitches. He spun and threw her gigantic, lifeless body at the sun. Stars were the only things that co-exist in both planes of reality. When she touched the surface, it would reduce her spiritual body to dust and/or absolute nothingness.
Khvarikx turned back to the empty void where the earth used to be. He concentrated deeply, focusing on the shredded atoms. He gathered them all into his mind’s eye and accelerated the charging of his crown chakra. He spread wings and folded his claws together, activating his sacral chakra, now beginning to visualize how the earth was. He reached with his mind and seized hold of all the particles in the void. He folded his wings forward, pushing the fragments into one another. He clapped his claws together, causing a blinding flash of light, like the birth of a star.
There it was. Just as it had been before he had annihilated it in a cocky display of power. He had easily won the battle with Xijan, but he needed to do one more small thing before he could rest in peace while his empire grew into a mighty shrine to his unholy power. He re-entered his body and then warped down to the temple where the wizard had been hiding and plotting his next moves. When the dragon arrived, he found the wizard dazed and confused, just as anyone who had been ripped apart and put back together would be. He regained some clarity quite quickly when he saw his gargantuan reptilian visitor.
“You! Foul beast! I know the truth about you! How you killed Aevynha and blamed the other dragons to start the war!”
“I will avenge her!”
“Uh huh. Sure.”
There was a large statue in the back of the temple depicting Aevynha holding a mighty sword. Khvarikx smiled at the evil plan it gave him.
“For centuries afterward, the statue stood on top of the temple holding a sword up to the sky, impaling a slightly newer statue of the wizard. On some days, travelers would visit the temple and see fresh blood dripping down the sword, revealing the truth.”
Ryssa and the Bartender were equally shocked by the story.
“After dealing with the wizard, Khvarikx slowly became the magical equivalent of a black hole. He had grown so powerful, that everywhere he went, he automatically absorbed all of the spiritual energies from the earth around him. Soon, the overdrive started to damage his body, disintegrating it temporarily and forcing him to stop and repair himself. During one incident, his entire body blinked out of all known spectrums of reality for nearly three weeks. When he returned, he created a large spherical barrier that would not permit higher concentrations of magic to pass through. This way, lesser creatures could be brought to him as sacrifices and he could interact with his minions, but no pure magic could be absorbed from the world anymore. Eventually, his body would stabilize and adjust. He clawed off a large portion of the scales on his arm and cast them down, creating a new breed of dragons. These were not the beautiful, intelligent creatures that Aevynha made so long ago. They were monsters. Bloodthirsty slave drivers to govern his human subjects. The world plunged into a thousand years of darkness while its king slept quietly in his lair.”
“That sounds horrible!” exclaimed Ryssa.
The bartender and the vampire shrugged in unison.
“If I was king of the world, I’d be pretty lazy too,” said the bartender.
“Right?” agreed the vampire.
“You two are horrible people. That can’t be how the story ends!”
“Unfortunately, there is more,” the vampire replied with a tired smile. “I don’t know most of it though.”
“Wake up, you lazy wyrm!” A voice called out to Khvarikx.
“Wake up! You have work to do! If you don’t wake up right now, I’ll burn you even crispier than you already are!”
He opened his eyes and stared in shock. Aevynha was sitting a few feet away, smirking playfully.
“How are you alive!? I killed you!!”
“I just created another body. I’ve died like 40 times. The only way to actually kill me is when I’m in my spirit form. Your twin did this to my sister after you went and meddled with the streams of time. My original plan was to let her destroy earth and then I would rebuild it after a few hundred years. That’s how we girls do things. Willow is the odd one out. She just kind of screws around, doing drugs from every time period in between the stone age and the unforeseeable future.”
“How am I alive? I thought I died.
“Oh yeah. You died hard. I’m not sure if I should call it suicide or whatever it is you call punching a mirror to death. I found your severed head stripped of most its memories...” She pointed to a decaying skull plugged into various tubes and wires. “...but I pieced most of them back together. I totally could’ve saved your body, but this is much more hilarious. Henceforth, you shall no longer be known as Khvarikx, the mighty dragon lord. You are now my knight, Sir Bacon.”
Aevynha was cackling hysterically. She sounded like a hyena that got incredibly baked and discovered a new pun. She skipped off into another room and returned shortly, holding a large mirror.
“See? Sir Bacon!”
Sir Bacon screeched in horror. He stared into his reflection. He had gone from being significantly larger than a T-Rex to being a 6-foot tall strip of bacon with scrawny, crispy arms. The worst part is that the only thing he hated about his old body was still present. The eyes retained their mismatched blue and red color scheme. Avyhna was now laughing so hard that she was failing to make any sound at all. She rolled on the ground clapping her hands and struggling to breath.
“Why would you do this to me?”
“Well, the other you got too powerful and now he’s ruling over my humans quite unfairly through his minions. You need to put a stop to that. As incentive, you get your original body back when you kill him."
“How can I kill him like this?”
“You can’t! You can’t kill anything like that! At best you’re a snack!”
“I hate you so much right now.”
“Cry me a river! ...and don’t worry, I have the solution for that problem. Willow’s spirit world was created from her journeys through time. The future has a lot of impressive weaponry. Let me show you.” She opened a box and removed an odd metal object. “This is a gun! More specifically, the DE Infinity Handgun. It uses your magical energies to create projectiles that travel faster than the speed of sound.” She then revealed what seemed to be a Japanese katana. “This is the most powerful blade that the world has ever known. I call it Steve. Say hi, Stevie!”
The blade responded coldly, “My proper title is Styvronikas Atialyis Maxtrogitone, you filthy, dirty whore of a goddess!”
“What about ‘Atialysis?’ Can I call you that?” asked Bacon.
“That’s cool, I guess.”
“Shut up, tramp!”
“Wow,” remarked Bacon. “This sword really doesn’t like you.”
“I had a better blade based on this one that I was building in secret for you, but Stevie--”
“--killed it one night out of jealousy.”
“It was an inferior blade made by a traitorous harlot!”
“I’LL NEVER FORGIVE YOUR TREACHERY!”
“You don’t need any training for the sword, it swings itself for the most part. The DEI might be some trouble until you get used to the recoil. Otherwise, it’s as easy as pointing and pulling the trigger there.”
“So...what am I doing exactly?”
“Killing dragons! Now go get to work! Eventually you’ll find Kvharikx and kill him...hopefully...probably...I don’t know. You’re my last-ditch attempt. I am quite figuratively scraping the bottom of the barrel here. The only real chance of killing him was my sister, but you just had to give your evil twin an upgrade. He straight-up sucker punched her too. So not cool.”
Bacon was shooed out the door quickly and kicked onto the street. He looked around at the unfamiliar surroundings. The architecture had advanced greatly in the time between his death and mad scientist resurrection. Cities were now filled with tall, ornate buildings in every direction. He had always had a natural fascination with the art of architectural design. However, as always, he was interrupted by creatures wishing to do him harm. Two strange looking dragons landed in front of him, growling gleefully.
The sword spoke from within his sheath, “Let me kill them. Just hold onto me and let me do the work until you get the hang of things.”
Bacon had never used a sword before, so he obliged. The blade flew out of his sheath and slipped out of Bacon’s hands as it rocketed towards the larger dragon. Barely trying, the dragon swatted it away, embedding it in a wall.
“Ok. I admit. That was probably my bad. Use the DEI!” it shouted, muffled by the wall.
Bacon drew the handgun, pointed, and pulled the trigger. One of the dragons screeched and died, coughing up gallons of blood. Meanwhile, the gun had flown backwards behind Bacon and slid under an abandoned horse carriage.
“Now you’re screwed!” observed the sword, changing his title to “Captain Obvious”.
Bacon growled. If he survived, he would eventually kill Aevynha and make sure she stayed dead. However, considering the fact that everybody loves bacon (especially dragons), he was probably going to end up as a tasty dinner. He turned and ran...sort of. It was more of a rapid floppy stagger than anything. The dragon pounced on Bacon quickly and opened his foul-smelling mouth to devour his crispy treat.