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Politics, Pt. 2


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The Legendary Living Hellfire descended from the heavens over Sharkhead Isle, leaving a trail of orange flame in his wake. He slowed his descent, the pressure wave from the broken sound barrier collapsing returning to his ears the snapping of his shredded cape and the crackling of his flaming trail as it ripped the sky apart behind him.

 

Casually performing a low-and-over over The Crush he noticed the guards for the Cage Consortium reaching for their radios as opposed to their weapons. Not one to fire first, Liv let them be but noticed that one guard in particular was smirking slightly as he finished his exchange over the air. As Liv descended a little more, testing the tolerance of the guards he noticed that the smirking guard wasn't looking at him so much as past him.

 

2,500 hundred pounds of scorpion shaped cyborg smashed down on top of The Man on Fire, sending him tumbling and twisting through the air. The first thing he heard was his spine snapping and the second thing he heard the was Black Scorpion's rumbling laughter and  the hissing, hollow sound of Ghost Widow's voice "You'd best pray you didn't kill him..." Everything went black.

 

***

 

He awoke strapped to a table, staring at the ceiling of what could only be a laboratory or workshop of some kind. He looked down at himself. He was still armoured, his cape bundled up behind him as a makeshift pillow. His wrists and ankles clamped tightly with an all too familiar looking metal ore. In fact, the entire gurney upon which he lay seemed to be constructed with it which would explain why it wasn't already ashes. He caught a glimpse of himself in the reflective surface of a surgical tray that had been propped up. Long, burnt red hair, disheveled and splayed across his face, twin flames capering and dancing, one in each eye-socket.

 

"Ah, good, you're awake, Mr. McRae" said a light, effeminate and somewhat frenetic sounding voice. "I see you've come to understand your predicament quite well." A goggled face with wild black hair leaned over him. He giggled. "Oh, not to worry, Mr. McRae I think you'll find your bindings quite secure, quite secure indeed! No need to try to burn through anything, even if you wanted to which I understand is often not the case, but that's a conversation for another time." That manic giggle again as he tapped the bindings on his prisoner's wrist. "Yep, you guessed it, Infernite, harvested from the very shores of the Lake of Perdition itself! And don't think I'm not also aware of that little key in your chest, you know the one I mean." One magnified eye winks grotesquely "What do you call it, again? Ah, yes... the key to The Room of Many Doors. You won't find any shadows to pop through here, Mr. McRae, no you will not!"

 

Liv dropped his head back onto his cape/pillow, sighing, wishing Black Scorpion had just killed him. This would be vastly easier if that had been the case. "Doctor Feckin' Aeon... what is this about then, ye gobshite." He coughed the last word, feeling a stabbing pain in his chest. Clearly it wasn't just his back that was broken. He still couldn't feel his legs.

 

"Oh, I'm not your adversary, Mr. McRae, not at all, nope, nope, nope!" The madman capered about his lab, fiddling with this tool or that. "At least not this time. This time, I'm just the delivery man. It would seem that you've caught the attention of- " he pointed up. Liv stared at the ceiling, confused.

 

"Y'mean, Upstairs?"

 

Aeon paused, "Upsta... no! Lord Recluse! He wishes to speak with you!" A light flashed on a panel "Ah, it would appear your ride has arrived." With that the door to the lab hissed open admitting five young women in green, skin-tight fatigues, swords strapped to the backs and swagger in their steps. Knives of Artemis. Mercenaries and glorified murderers.

 

"This him?" asked The Hand.

 

"Yes, oh, yes! Secured and ready for transport!"

 

The Hand waved the four Blades forward before Dr. Aeon blurted "Ah... just one thing... don't kill him. Whatever you do, do not kill him."

 

"Yeah, yeah, doc we know Lord Recluse wants him alive."

 

"That's... not exactly what I mean, just... don't kill him."

 

The Hand waved him off and out the door they went, hauling The Legendary Living Hellfire strapped ignominiously to a gurney.

 

***

 

It's a short flight but a long drive to Grandville from Sharkhead Isle. The armoured truck bounced and jiggled its way to the ferry, sending stabbing pain into the top half of Liv's body, the only half in which there was any sensation whatsoever. Futilely he continued to try to channel Hellfire through the Infernite bindings but to no avail. He realized that the only way out of this was to die. He briefly considered engaging the Knives to see if he could provoke them to kill him but discarded the idea, largely because he was curious about what it was that would make Lord Recluse go through all this trouble.

 

More bouncing, more jiggling until finally the truck rolled to a stop, the rubber tires hissing their submission to the blacktop, the squeak of air as the parking brake engaged.

 

Without a word and with the professionalism of any EMT the Knives kicked open the back doors and rolled the gurney out, the legs expanding and locking into place with a soft click. This was the back entrance of Recluse's tower, in the alley on the North side of the building, opposite Grandville square.

 

He remained silent as the young women wheeled him through a service entrance, down a hall and into a commercial elevator which then hummed as it climbed the tower.

 

"Y'know what?" Asked The Hand as she leaned over her prisoner "After all my sisters that you sent to Elysium I should actually kill you." she hissed at him.

 

"Ach, would ye be so kind, lass? Please do the honours, it would make all o' this quite a bit easier on both of us." He grinned.

 

She snorted "Not like this. If you survive what happens next I will find you on the battlefield and I will take your head."

 

"Have it yer way, lass." He winked one flaming eye.

 

The doors dinged open, another hall, another set of doors until finally they reached the throne room. He was wheeled to the centre of the room, feet first towards an enormous throne upon which sat Lord Recluse himself. He was a big man, well over six feet tall, burly and encased in armour. His six cybernetic appendages folded into the themselves as the tyrant lounged casually.

 

"Ah, Mr. McRae, so good of you to join us. Ladies, your payment awaits, please see Arbiter Finch on the way out." The Hand of Artemis nodded curtly and motioned for her lieutenants to follow, the door hissed closed behind them as Lord Recluse rose to his feet. "I do apologize for this, Mr. McRae but sometimes Mr. Rodriguez can be a little... over-zealous, shall we say?" The villain smiled sympathetically.

 

Liv rolled his head left to find Black Scorpion leaning his shoulder against the wall. The cyborg pressed his hand to his lower back and winced in pain, mocking the injury.

 

"Aye, well he an' I'll have our own palaver about that at some point, but I- " He coughed blood as he spoke, it spackled and smeared against his cheek and beard "I would like tae say that the gentle, guidin' hands o'Ghost Widow were most appreciated." He rolled his head right to take in the undead woman "E'en if she does look like a refugee from a Type O Negative concert. Tell me, are they still big with the kiddos? How much traffic is yer Myspace account gettin' these days?" The woman hissed at the insult.

 

A deep, rasping voice from behind him shouted "FIRE MAN BE NICE TO MISTRESS!"

 

The Legendary Living Hellfire paused.

 

Wretch. Wretch was in the room. A plan began to form.

 

"I think that's enough pleasantries for now, Mr. McRae, would you like me share with you why I've gone through this enormous expense and effort to bring you here, as my guest?"

 

"I couldnae give a shite, Stevie." This time the blood was a deliberate projectile, landing about eighteen inches from Lord Recluse's feet. It sizzled and smoked as it burnt through the exquisitely polished marble. The Tyrant's eyes flashed with anger as he worked his jaw, mastering his rage at the insults both in his ears and marring his floor. "Good luck buffin' that out, ye wanker!" Liv chuckled, sending him into another fit of bloody, wet coughs.

 

"ENOUGH!" Raged The Spider King, descending from his dais. "Your insolence does you no service, Mr. McRae! We know you've been in contact with the Freedom Phalanx and that they've offered you membership!" He took a breath, once again controlling his anger. "You will divulge to me what they offered you, as well as your answer." The predatory smile returned to his face "Before, of course, you hear my counter-offer."

 

"I told'em the same thing I'll tellin' ye. Are ye ready?" The man on the gurney, surrounded by arch-villains grinned. "Go feck yerself... Stevie."

 

"My Lord," Began Ghost Widow, her voice like wind through dead leaves, "He will not cooperate, we must contain him, we have the chamber prepared. It will sustain his life without ending it and he will no longer be a threat." Recluse held up a hand for silence, his rancor at Liv's impertinence almost palpable..

 

"Nay, Stevie, she's quite correct, I'll nae cooperate with ye, ye'd best let the trollop take me tae me room without supper!" He rolled his head right to address Ghost Widow directly "That is what ye do when the men in your life disappoint, aye? Ye enslave'em, like poor Paolo? Insae that right... Belladonna?"

 

Ghost Widow hissed and darted forward only to stop suddenly, her mouth a perfect 'O' shape as she stared down at the blade impaling her.

 

The thing about Infernite is that it counter-acts Hellfire, but it's useless against Celestial Fire. It's as though someone has hit a 'pause' button as everyone takes a moment to register what's just happened.

 

Belladonna Vetrano, also known as Ghost Widow stares down at the six feet of Celestial Gladius so named LightFire running her through. She follows the flaming blade up to the hilt, staring at the hand of the man who has just wounded her so grievously. He releases his grip on the hilt of the Heavenly blade and it extinguishes, forcing her to collapse. She'll "survive" such as she does, the way any undead being "survives" any wound. She knows it, The Legendary Living Hellfire knows it and so does everyone else in the room.

 

With one exception.

 

"FIRE MAN HURT MISTRESS!! RAARRGH!!"

 

Five things happen, very quickly and in the following order. Black Scorpion identifies the landscape of the situation and ducks quickly out of the room. Lord Recluse reaches out, seemingly in slow motion, his mouth forming the word 'no'. Ghost Widow collapses and dissolves into ether, passing through the floor to heal. Wretch charges the Infernite gurney, bringing his enormous fists down upon his target, shattering the entire assembly. Finally, The Legendary Living Hellfire grins and dies, smashed to a pulp.

 

***

 

"You imbecile!" Screams Lord Recluse. Wretch looks up at his king, his massive fists dripping with blood and viscera. "Have you any idea what you've just done?!" The Spider King flicks open a panel on the wall behind his throne and slams his hand against the button revealed. The tower erupts into alarms.

 

"FIRE MAN HURT MISTRESS?"

 

"Yes, 'fire man hurt mistress'" Lord Recluse mocked "And now 'fire man' is going to hurt us all!"

 

Wretch is confused, staring down at the gooey mass at his feet. He has only a moment to register the embers that burn to cinders that flicker to life as the remains of his victim turn slowly to ash. He looks up, hoping to find some answer from his Mistress' Master but finds nothing but a hidden door closing behind the massive throne as Lord Recluse flees. Wretch steps back, whimpering "Mistress?"

 

The throne room is immediately ablaze as The Legendary Living Hellfire rises from the ashes, whole and uninjured. The concussive force of his resurrection blows Wretch out the enormous, gaudy stained glass window on the South side of the building and he lands as a pulpy, blackened mess in Grandville square. Pedestrians and on-lookers look up, witnessing the angry inferno engulfing a room that most if not all have never seen, but that all know is the throne room of their ruler.

 

Glass and molten rock shaken loose by the explosion rain down on the citizens of Grandville, forcing them to find cover as a streak of burnt orange Hellfire rockets into the heavens, the sonic boom shattering glass and eardrums alike.

Edited by Living_Hellfire

-The Legendary Living Hellfire

"The newest person in the room is always the most important person in the room"

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