280 The day of fate
"It's a beautiful day outside... Isn't that right, Dria?" asked a man with wild white hair, orange eyes, and dressed in a red leather jacket, a white t-shirt underneath it, and with black pants and boots.
"Y- Yes, sir... Very beautiful..." replied a young-looking girl with green skin, clothes made of leaves, and deadlock hair made of vines.
"Mmm... Just breathe in this fresh air!! Aaahh... It feels so good... So liberating..." the man whispered.
The girl just raised an eyebrow as she gazed at him opening his arms to take in the light of the sun over his body while she carefully stood behind him with her hands behind her back.
"You seem to be in a good mood, sir..." she commented.
"The best mood!! I'm finally gonna get rid of all my problems, once and for all! I can't wait!!" Knucker replied while trying to contain his giggles.
"I see..." the green girl responded as she analyzed her surroundings. The two were in the middle of a giant stadium with a crowd of people staring at the two nervously from the bench with men in black robes that looked exactly like Knucker holding knives at their necks.
Behind Knucker and the girl, stood seven dragons, each with its own size, color, and variation on the number of horns in its head.
Not too far from them, much closer to the bench, stood the four rulers of the world, the kings and queens of the kingdoms of the north, south, west, and east, all sweating and staring at the gate entrance trying to contain their non-stop shivering.
"They should be here any minute now... Aaaaany minute now..." Knucker commented while hoping in place due to his excitement.
"Is this really okay, sir? You have everything to your advantage... Why not just kill them when they get here?" the girl wondered.
"I want to, Dria, trust me... But I still need my power to see the future in order to find all the people of this land with blood from another world... Like it or not, I still need that girl alive..." Knucker explained, "But that doesn't mean I need her in one piece..."
Dria looked down for a moment and suddenly began to feel the light of the sun being blocked by a strange pair of shadows in the middle of the sky.
"What the...?" she mumbled.
Suddenly, a golden portal in the shape of a claw mark appeared in front of them, and from it, walked a woman with dazzling long black hair and chocolate skin carrying a baby girl in her arms, one other girl that looked just like her but much younger, and a strong-looking bald man.
Next, another portal appeared, this one made of dark shadows and in a circular shape, and emerging from it, a woman with silver hair and blue eyes wearing silver armor, a man with brown hair carrying an infant with him riding a huge black lion with red eyes, a beautiful woman with blond hair and chestnut skin wearing a white robe, and a younger-looking girl, also with chestnut skin, curly hair, amber eyes, and dressed in a similar white robe.
Finally, the two figures from above descended, two griffins, one orange and the other golden.
The golden griffin was carrying an older woman with long blond hair, a young girl with long black hair, and a young boy with short blond hair with a frog toy above his head who seemed to be alive and doing its best to not fall off.
The orange griffin carried a young woman with long red hair and another with short messy black hair.
Once the two beasts finally landed on the ground, its passengers reunited with the rest of the visitors and began to stand side-by-side as one united front while glaring daggers at Knucker and Dria all at once.
"So you finally came..." Knucker whispered, "Crossbow family..."
The crowds began to react at Knucker's words, they all started to look at Evlin and her group and whispers started to appear. They all seemed like they were starting to recover the little bit of hope they had lost of getting out of this situation alive.
On one side, Evlin and her team of mages, beasts, and warriors, and on the other, Knucker and his army of dragons, staring at each other without flinching.
Evlin looked at the crowd, more than a thousand individuals, all being used as hostages by Knucker's clone army.
"You like it?" Knucker asked, "I set this stage just for you!"
"..." Evlin did not say anything and just kept glaring at him.
"I have to say, I almost wondered if you were going to show up... But then I remembered, of course she will show up, she's the hero! The hero always comes to rescue those in need!"
"And let me tell you, there are a lot, A LOT, of people who need you right now..."
"I kinda want to kill half of them right now, just for funsies, to see how you would react... But at the same time, I don't wanna be too mean... Or do I?" the white-haired man wondered while smirking, "Tell me, Evie, would you say that you get more in the mood to fight when you do it for revenge, or when you do it to protect the innocents? I really wanna know, the mind of a hero just fascinates me!!
But I guess you wouldn't really lose that much sleep if I just gutted a few people you never met before... No..." he continued while studying her team, "It will hurt much more when I do it to people you love..."
"Come on!! Give me some good ol' good guy, bad guy trash talk!! Something cool like 'I came here to end this, Knucker!!!' or maybe something cliche like, 'You will never get away with this!!', or perhaps something funny like, 'Excuse me, I need to use the bathroom, can you hold on for a moment?', anything? The banter between heroes and villains is always the best part of any story!"
Evlin continued to gaze at the man, and suddenly, her glare began to vanish, almost as if her rage had been replaced by disappointment.
Disappointment that someone so childish, so cowardly, and so pathetic, was the root of all her problems.
"You're so lame..." she finally whispered.
"... ... ... Excuse me...?" Knucker gasped.
"Everything you do... Everything you say... They are all the kinds of things that a third-grader would have come up with when trying to act as a villain..." Evlin sighed.
"Well, now I just feel insulted... Could I be at least a fourth-grader...?"
"Knucker..." Evlin started to say while lifting her head and looking directly at him.
"You're probably the most boring enemy I ever faced... I keep thinking about all the people that tried to take me down in the past... Xadi, Boris, the demon-hunters, the dryad, Chuck, Mia... They all had some kind of bigger motivation, something driving them to do what they did... Be it money, glory, fame, recognition, resources, or even just trying to find peace... But you?
You're just a coward scared of a bunch of kids..."
Knucker finally dropped his smile and began to glare at Evlin, "Am I really more pathetic than a guy called 'Chuck'??"
"Then let me ask you this..." Evlin began while returning a bit of her glare, "Why did you kill Gustav?"
At that moment, all the glares of Evlin's team intensified. Dria looked at them and began to think about her final words from when she finished off their friend, 'Let's see how many will remember you...' she asked.
"Guess everyone remembered him..." she whispered in a low voice.
Knucker looked up and crossed his arms before replying, "I have my reasons..."
"Yeah... And I bet they are all as lame as you are..." Evlin continued, "I came here today to face what could possibly my biggest enemy... But when I look at you... All my energy starts to vanish, and I just get this desire to get this done with so I can go home...
You're not my enemy... You're just some pain in the ass that I need to deal with..."
Knucker began to rub his chest, "Ouch! I might be a dragon but I still have feelings, you know?"
"Mmm... Seems like conversation time is over... Very well then... Let's just get this started already!" Knucker stated as he snapped his fingers.
All the dragons behind him opened their wings and began to fly away and took a seat on top of the walls of the stadium.
"Here are the rules of the game... I'll send my dragons, one by one, gonna make this fair and all, you pick one of your buddies over there and the two of them fight until one of them dies... You kill all seven, and you get to face me, my real me, all by yourself... Sounds cool?"
"... Sure..." Evlin mumbled. She wasn't sure why Knucker didn't just send all his beasts to attack at once but she didn't want to push her luck. Still, if this was his suggestion, there must be some kind of hidden meaning underneath it.
"Let's get started then!!" Kucker claimed while clapping his hands.
He then gazed at one of the dragons, one with red scales, and asked him to return to the field.
The dragon did as he was told and suddenly began to shrink until he took the shape of an old bald muscular man with a thick grey beard and eyebrows.
"Wrath! I choose you!!" Knucker yelled while he and Dria moved away from the spot and took their seats next to the kings and queens as if they were judges from American Idol.
Evlin turned around and gazed at the woman with long blond hair behind her, "Detra, you ready?"
The woman stretched her arms and legs and placed three metal rings on her fingers, "Sure, why not..."
The rest of Evlin's group stepped away as well, all with the exception of a girl with black hair tied up with ponytails.
Knucker stared at her and he began to feel a boiling rage building inside of him. That girl was one of the three kids he had seen killing him in the future.
"The rules said one on one..." he shouted.
"The rules also said that I could use any weapon I wanted..." Detra replied while grabbing Dia's hand, "This... Is my weapon..."
The girl suddenly began to glow and change into the shape of a metal mage staff.
"I see... Fair enough, carry on..."
Detra began to spin her staff around a little to get a taste of its weight. It was perfectly balanced as if it was made for her.
[Little miss, are you ready?] Detra whispered in her mind as she felt a burst of power crawling over her being.
[Yes! You can count on me!] Dia replied.
Wrath took this time to stretch his arms and legs as well and the loud noise of his bones cracking could be heard.
"Excuse me, little lady..." Wrath said as he moved closer to Detra, "Would you happen to know where the temple of the west is?"
Detra at that moment just aimed her staff at him and blasted the old man away with the biggest icicle she could summon, "No... I don't..."
The old man observed the giant crystal coming at him and lifted his arm to smack it with its fist, shattering into pieces.
"That's a shame... Guess I'll have to kill you then..." he responded.
"Be my guest... You're not the first loser who tries to come after my head..." Detra replied while waving her staff again and commanding the shattered pieces of ice to fly around Wrath and stab him.
"Ugh!!!" the man cried as he could feel the woman's magic actually hurting him and stabbing his skin, "How is this possible??"
Wrath then gazed at the shards and noticed that there were engulfed in a weak flame of terminal energy.
Knucker realized what was going on and couldn't help but smile, "Oho... This is gonna be fun..."