Dreamkeepers: Hell Hybrids (Chapter 10/FINAL)

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Dreamkeepers: Hell Hybrids (Chapter 10/FINAL)

Postby Pulse&Paradox on Mon Aug 06, 2012 9:04 pm

It would seem that Nightmares were the only targets on Trident's list of pests to be exterminated besides Jerome. Dark Dreamkeepers were not on that list, apparently.

Seconds after Jerome entered the antechamber, strands of pink thread wrapped tightly around his arms from above. More strands went around his legs at the ankles.

Instantly, he felt a burning sensation from each strand of hair that touched him. Jerome knew this all too well.

'Tinsel!'

From the top of a pillar that once held up the ceiling came Tinsel Nanaja.

She was dressed in a formal secretary's office uniform, colored black. Most of her hair was tucked in a bun while she left some loose to use with her Power.

Landing athletically on the soaked red carpet, she stood straight and faced Jerome. From the light of the storm clouds, Jerome could see her face.

Not a single hint of emotion. Completely blank. Possessed by Trident's Power just like the rest of them.

Jerome smirked, unamused. 'Figures. He never was interested in the ladies, Tinsel or otherwise. Though, I wouldn't have been surprised if he turned her into his own personal whore, like Viscount Calah did.'

Jerome winced as the burning intensified. Willing his Power, Jerome shook and his limbs phased through the hair. Landing on both feet, he noticed two more individuals appearing.

Ravat, the hitman, stepped from the shadows of the same pillar, fumbling a knife in his right hand.

Out of the floor came one of Nabonidus's former followers, the psychopathic Wisp.

The Dark Dreamkeepers walked forward to stand by Tinsel's side. Their expressions were blank as well.

'You've got to be joking,' Jerome thought nervously. 'I thought those 'heroes' took care of Ravat and Wisp long before now. As for Tinsel, that 'Vick' character from the Troika took her out about two months ago. Looks like there really isn't a limit to what Trident can do with the Halo. I just didn't think he'd hide himself from me like this. He must really have lost his mind to not face me directly.'

Jerome's eyes darted towards Ravat, who held out his right arm. His red halo appeared as his arm glowed a bright red. Suddenly, an energy beam shaped like a clawed hand shot out at Jerome.

The warrior flashed out of the way as the energy hand slashed at the air. Ripples of energy flew out and made deep cuts in the floor.

From behind a fountain, Jerome chanced a peek to see if the Dark's are on to him.

They weren't; Ravat and Tinsel looked around frantically, trying to spot their target.

'Wait! Where's the psycho?'

That's when he looked down at the floor to see Wisp and five of her split personalities phasing through at his feet.

The Wisp's flew up and charged at him, claws at the ready.

Power still active, Jerome remained still. The Wisp's went straight through Jerome's form and back into the floor. At that moment, Ravat and Tinsel were aware as Tinsel's hair and Ravat's energy beams swirled around the fountain, trying to surround him.

As the attacks attempted to pin him to the fountain, he narrowly missed each one by falling through the floor. Tinsel's hair smacked into the fountain, then was ripped to shreds by Ravat's beam. The fountain, too, was reduced to rubble by the hitman's mutilation powers.

Within the floor, Jerome attempted to spot Wisp. She was down below, now heading back up. She was coming at Jerome minutes earlier with such velocity, she kept going down for many many floors. Now, she spotted him and was heading straight for him with even more speed.

Jerome looked up to see Tinsel and Ravat, eyes on the floor, waiting for Jerome to reappear.

The Dreamkeeper looked back at the incoming Wisp and decided to finish her off first. At least, in this case, she'll be somewhat buried if she dies in the stone floor of the antechamber. Jerome was already convinced that the true Dark's are dead. These Dark's are either duplicates or illusions.

Pulling out his revolver, Jerome aimed. Wisp was currently altogether, but then she broke apart as she spotted the weapon.

Jerome smiled. She broke into six separate fragments, but he already saw the real one as she broke apart. The eyes always give her away.

Jerome fired once and nailed her right in the heart. Her personality fragments returned to her true form as she suddenly vanished from Jerome's x-ray sight. She was dead.

He looked up and saw that the other two were still unaware of his location. He swam through the floor until he was underneath, then shot upwards.

On the surface, Ravat kept his Power active, both arms glowing. He didn't react at all when a crescent knife shot up through his foot from the floor. He attempted to move it, but his foot was stuck tight. The knife was stuck in the floor.

Jerome jumped out of the floor just as Tinsel turned in his direction. His gun already aimed, he took the shot and nailed her between the eyes.

Showing no sign of pain, Ravat carelessly tore his foot into ribbons trying to free himself from the knife. As he turned to face Jerome and Tinsel, Jerome was already in front of him. Jerome's gun was against his throat.

"Go back to your grave, you useless prick."

Jerome pulled the trigger, blowing Ravat's brains out from the jaw.

As the last bogey fell, Jerome couldn't help but think of this distraction. Jerome had studied these three individuals. They should've been much more ruthless than this. This battle was all too easy.

'Well, it seems he intends to face me, after all,' Jerome concluded.

Jerome looked to the doors of the Viscount's office. As soon as he did so, the doors leading to the hallway slammed shut by themselves.

'I guess this is it,' Jerome thought. 'It's time to settle this, Trident. You going to come out or do I need to drag you out here myself?'

Jerome waited for either the doors to open or some kind of response.

He got a response, but not the one he was hoping for.

A piece of the fountain destroyed from earlier floated up and sailed towards Jerome. The stone fragment simply phased through his body.

'Alrighty then. Have it your way.'

Jerome knew he was probably whistling in the dark. He was about to face a man who not only possesses an object of immeasurable power, but that same man was not in the right state of mind. Jerome predicted he might turn into a puff of smoke as he opened the doors or turn into a puddle of plasma. Or he just might wink out of existence as easily as a wink itself.

Of course, none of these possibilities made Jerome pause as he approached the doors.

One way or the other, Trident would have to face Jerome. And it would be their final battle.

Jerome reached for the door handles and prepared to embrace the inevitable.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The doors swung open and Jerome was met with blinding white light. He forced himself to look through the glare, but he didn't see anything else. Within seconds, his eyes adjusted and he took in his surroundings as he entered.

Nothing but an endless white world, full of nothing.

Not wanting to be trapped here, Jerome turned to the doors. They were gone.

"Oh, ****," Jerome moaned. He looked on at the empty realm he stood in.

"Hello? Trident? Are you here? Anyone? This isn't funny, you know."

Jerome turned around and suddenly found himself facing a new set of doors, made of solid gold.

"Okay, well, this is much better," Jerome spoke out loud, trying hard not to be shocked. Trident was obviously listening and leading Jerome somewhere.

Jerome pushed on the gold doors and they swung open. He was met with even more blinding light.

"UUGGH, enough with the light, *******!"

Jerome rubbed his eyes and looked at what he now faced. What he saw made him gawk.

The world he entered was a field of grass full of bright, colorful flowers of different varieties. Hills covered in grass shone in the light of the sun as gusts of wind flattened the grass in different patterns. The sky was mostly clear with bright white clouds.

Scattered about the flowery fields shocked Jerome even more. Nightmares of all sizes and appearances lay scattered in the grass, their glowing eyes wide open.

They were all breathing fast, but not moving a muscle or making a sound.

'Strange.'

Jerome heard the voice in his head. It was Tridents', but he sounded different. Like he had experienced an epiphany of some sort.

'Strange that these creatures don't understand what true beauty is. So strange....'

Jerome pinpointed his position: just on the other side of a small hill right next to him. Jerome took twenty steps up the hill to the top.

Sitting on a metal throne colored cyan, Trident twirled the First Halo on one finger. His mask, helmet and goggles were gone, showing his healed, normal features. Around the throne and stretching as far as the eye could see lay more Nightmares, all motionless except for their heavy breathing.

"So, this is what Az meant when he said the Nightmares are gone," Jerome commented. "And I suppose this is Bralgu, refurbished. Not what I was expecting, naturally."

"It doesn't matter what Azrael told you before you arrived here! It does you no good. This will aaaaaaaaaall be over and you won't remember a thing! You have no idea what this ring is capable of! If you resist me, I'll destroy you so completely not even Nethers will remember he created you! If you surrender, I promise you, you'll have a very prestigious and luxurious lifestyle awaiting you in our new lives, in our new world."

"Why, Trident? Why are you doing this? There's nothing wrong with who we are! We're just like everyone else! We're people! We don't need to be changed! You can still stop this! Just use the Halo to reverse everything that has happened and we'll work together to stop the Nightmares the right way! This is what Nethers wants! This is what-"

"INSOLENCE!!!!!" Trident screamed, shoving his right arm forward.

Jerome flew backwards from a psychic blast and crashed into a wall. Cuffs binded his arms at the wrists and his legs at the ankles. He opened his eyes and in as little as two seconds, they were in some sort of a room.

Jerome suddenly recognized it as the basement of Trident's safehouse, his hideout in the Dune Sea.

"WHO are YOU to say that Nethers does not want this?! WHO are YOU to say that this is wrong?! 'I' am the Lord of All! 'I' am the one who knows what is right and what is wrong! 'I' will bring about the end of this endless cycle of warfare between Dreamkeepers and Nightmares; An endless cycle that we have been born to endure! One way or the other, I will not fail! I can't fail! You will see that MY way is the RIGHT way! Whether you like it or not, you will see it and you will know that I was right! You will see that I... AM... RIGHT!!!"

* * * * *

Setting aside his journal once more, Azrael keeps his glasses on as he overheard the raging Trident down in the basement.

'If my calculations are correct, they will proceed to the antechamber very shortly.'

Azrael closed his eyes and waited. 'Might as well get ready.'

* * * * *

Jerome closed his eyes and lowered his head, seeing that it was just impossible to get through to Trident.

Several minutes passed after Trident finished his lecture. He stood with his arms crossed, facing away from the suspended Jerome.

Finally, Trident glanced over his shoulder, then turned around to face his son.

"By the way, you were calling me by my name earlier. What ever happened to 'Father' or 'Daddy' or 'Pop?'"

Jerome slowly looked up with his most determined sneer.

"You... are NOT... my father. The father I once had is gone. You're nothing more than a figurehead, chosen by fate to take his place. All you ever taught me to do was kill. If it weren't for my early curiosity, I'd be an antisocial freak who wouldn't know anything except how to wipe my *** and stab people to death. There's no telling how my life would be right now if my parents had kept me. Maybe I'd be disguised as a Dreamkeeper, going to school and getting my first job. Maybe I'd be on the run just like our people during the massacres. Maybe I'd be dead. But, one thing I'm certain about is... I'd rather accept some other hell than the hell that I've had to live beside you.

"And I sure don't want to be anywhere near you in this 'new world.' A world which isn't going to happen because I'm going to stop you."

Trident's left eye twitched at the statement. "You're right. Maybe I should've done more than teach you how to kill. I should've taught you how to fear me. If you think I'm going to let some delinquent overthrow me and ruin everything that I've done for the sake of humanity in this world... then I'm afraid you're in for a rude awakening in the new world."

In a blue flash, they were both in the antechamber atop the Sabbaton Towers. Jerome was free from his bindings.

Seconds later, the deadly storm intensified.

"You will die here, Jerome, and you will never come back. NEVER! I will wipe you from the face of reality for your treasonous actions! YOU HEAR ME?! GET READY TO DIE!!!"

Trident brandished a black-colored longsword, swinging it in skilled, fluent motions.

"Oh, what do you know? You don't have a sword of your own? Now, what good is a sword fight if you don't have a sword?"

With a snap of his fingers, a short object formed above Jerome's head. He looked up and the object took form. Falling from the air, he grabbed it.

It was a five-bladed weapon no longer than four feet.

'A flanged mace?' Jerome thought in disbelief. 'This thing hasn't been used for centuries. It's not even a sword!'

Jerome and his brethren had trained themselves in the use of all sorts of weapons from different time periods. He knows how to use a mace, though he doesn't use it often.

'Guess I don't have a choice. Trident is losing his grip. Don't know why. He was acting fine a few minutes ago. I guess my defiance is pushing him over the edge. Tough! This is what he gets for pulling a crazy idea like this.'

With another snap, Trident looked up to the churning sky. In a flash, the First Halo appeared, spinning slowly above the antechamber ruins.

"It's almost time, sonny boy!" Trident snarled. "Let's have one last little spar for old times sake... before I completely DESTROY YOU!"

Jerome steadied himself, waving his mace. "Sorry, but you're going down, 'Pops!'"

With a psychotic scream, Trident flew at Jerome.

The battle for the Dreamworld has begun.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Sword and mace met in a thunderous clank as Trident glided over to Jerome. Their blades sent sparks flying as they ferociously struck at one another, each blocking their attackers' strikes.

But, Jerome knew that wouldn't last long. 'He may be crazy, but he'll no doubt be using the Halo to gain the upper hand. I'm gonna have to think fast and use my Power to keep my distance.'

Five minutes passed and the combatants were swinging blades throughout the whole chamber. Trident suddenly backed into a pillar.

Rearing his mace back, Jerome took one hard swing, aimed at Tridents' head. Trident vanished and the mace sunk into the stone. Jerome blinked, then turned at a strange sound. Trident reappeared in the center of the chamber.

'****! Teleportation! Things just got serious, now!'

Trident holstered his blade and held out his arms by his sides. A ball of orange light formed in each hand. He slammed his hands together and the balls fused. Raindrops from above hit the ball and turned into steam instantly.

'A fireball!'

Jerome abandoned his weapon and ran to his right. As he stopped, Trident released the fireball.

Summoning his Power, Jerome crossed his arms. The giant fireball went straight through his body and tagged the remains of a wall. The wall slowly turned into magma where it was hit.

'Great! The Halo is giving him additional Powers!'

Jerome normalized his body. Just as he did, he was smacked by a psychic blast. His feet slid across the rain-drenched floor as he slid towards the magma puddle.

Using his Power again, Jerome slid through the melting wall and kept on going through the ruins of the Tower. He stopped himself with his ability to levitate, then flew towards a lower level.

'If I can get behind him from below....'

Jerome glided through several floors before shooting through the chamber floor. Trident was still in the heart of the chamber floor, still facing the scorched wall.

Taking on a runner's stance, Jerome planned to use his speed.

'Let's see what a lightning fast kick to the skull can do to a guy.'

In a split second, Jerome charged. But, Trident moved faster, turning his body and holding out a leg. Jerome tripped and went tumbling into a pillar.

By some miracle, not only did he survive the impact, but he barely avoided being impaled by the mace, still embedded in the pillar.

Jerome pulled himself up, feeling his back, which was what hit the pillar. With his left hand, he grabbed his mace and weakly pulled it out of the pillar.

"No," Trident said.

He snapped his fingers. Jerome froze and looked. The mace was gone.

"I'm through playing games."

Faster than the mind can think, Trident was across the chamber floor and wailing on Jerome with his bare fists.

Jerome attempted to counter many times, but the madman's skill and strength, fueled by the Halo, was too much.

With a few quick strikes to the face, Jerome fell to the floor in a large puddle.

Trident, somewhat exhausted from the beating, looked down at his former prot�g�. He smiled, then laughed. He walked away, laughing as he spun around in circles, looking up at the First Halo.

Jerome, coughing blood, slowly attempted to lean forward. Trident came to a stop and went silent. He was looking up at the Halo, then he brought his arms up.

"Rejoice, Jerome. It is time. Time to embrace victory. The Nightmare's are done. The war is over. Time to finally embrace... peace."

Looking over his shoulder at Jerome, he smirked. "Shame you won't be here to see it."

With a flick of his arm, the Halo came down and levitated in front of Trident.

Jerome fell back to the floor, knowing that he had failed.

'I lost. I just... lost. How could I have let him beat me? No one else could've stopped him but me. I... lost.'

Trident grinned, baring his teeth as he pressed his fingertips to his skull, as if concentrating. He closed his eyes.

A moment passed.

Trident opened his eyes.

Nothing happened. The Halo was there, the antechamber was there, the storm was there, Jerome was there; everything was still there.

"What?" he barely whispered. He practically stumbled forward, approaching the Halo.

"You're... disobeying me? Why? Why are you disobeying me? I took care of you. I took GOOD care of you. And,... you won't do as I say? Why?"

In a single move, he gripped the ring with both hands. "WHYYYYYYYYY? FIX THE WORLD, you damned, defiant, delinquent, demented, demonic TOOL! FIX IT! FIX IT NOW! I COMMAND YOU!"

Falling to his knees, he began smashing the ring into the floor, shaking the whole top part of the Tower.

Jerome, shaking the cobwebs from his head, dragged himself across the floor to the safety of a pile of rubble.

Trident yelled with each smash, tears pouring from his eyes.

"I'm doing this for the world! I'm trying to save us all! And, you're trying to doom us? Why? Just do it! DOOOO IIIIIIIIT!"

He slowed down, his swinging becoming weak. He released the Halo on the last swing and it clanked against the decimated floor and rolled towards a pillar before falling over.

Trident stayed on his knees, sobbing in denial. Jerome, resting on the rubble, just couldn't understand.

'What the hell just happened? He can't do it?'

Trident looked up, a surprised look on his face. He then looked over at Jerome.

'Oh, crap.'

"You...."

Trident rose to his feet and slowly advanced on Jerome. The Dreamkeeper stumbled to his feet, using the rubble for support.

"You're responsible for this, aren't you? You're controlling it, aren't you? I'm going to kill you as slowly and indescribably as possible. You will-"

'Shame.'

Trident stopped dead in his tracks. He looked over his shoulder at the First Halo.

'Shame that you can not do what you have worked so hard to do.'

A figure walked from behind the pillar where the Halo rested.

'Shame that you must pin the blame of your failure on someone who has worked much harder than you.'

Lightning flashed, revealing the pained face of Azrael.

Trident put both hands on his head, grimacing in agony. "Shut up! I can do it! I WILL do it! It's the only way! It-"

'And, yet, the Halo ignores you. Shouldn't that tell you something? I hardly doubt the boy is the cause of its dysfunction. The Halo was created by Nethers to do his bidding. I'm afraid you are not Nethers.'

"You LIE! Why is it here, then?"

'It is a test. A test to see if those who find it can resist its temptations. Something that Serapis could not do.'

Trident shook his head. "But... I was going to use those temptations for good! For the sake of the Dreamworld and all of mankind!"

'I suppose... this is Nethers's way of saying, "You failed the test."'

"NO! It can't end like this! It wasn't supposed to end like this! Why?! WHY?!?!"

Jerome looked on, completely surprised by Azraels' appearance. He was not expecting the old man to get here anytime soon. Apparently, Azrael was speaking to Trident telepathically, but he was talking back out loud. He must've also somehow tapped into the Halo so he could be teleported here, as well.

Trident thrashed about, keeping his hands to his head. Jerome could feel the Tower rumbling again.

Trident must've done some damage to the already weakened structure. Something was about to give.

If Trident had come back to his senses, he may have suspected the floor of the chamber to give way.

Near the spot where he planted the Halo multiple times, the floor caved in. Trident screamed as he was caught in the collapse. The sound of crashing debris went on for nearly a minute. Azrael and a weak Jerome cautiously stepped to the lip of the hole.

The collapse went on for dozens of floors. Trident was nowhere in sight.

Jerome looked at the damage, wide-eyed. "Is... is he-?"

Azrael looked down with a plain face. He then looked at the Halo. Slowly, it stopped glowing. "Yes. I believe it is safe to assume he is."

Bewildered, Jerome looked around at the once-familiar chamber. He looked towards the Viscount's office. Feeling his legs, he gingerly walked into the office.

Looking out the office's window, he looked out at the once-familiar city. Smoke billowed from many locations. Screams of death and insanity had turned into screams of pain, fear and confusion.

"Time will tell," Azrael said calmly. "Only time will tell as to what happens next."

"How can you say that so calmly?" Jerome said. "Look at it! How will anyone be able to recover from all of this? Not to mention every other location where his influence had reached! What do we do now? Where do we go from here?"

Jerome looked to Azrael. He was gone.

"Az?"

He looked in the chamber. Azrael had vanished. Suddenly, he looked around and the room began to light up slowly. It wasn't the lightning, either.

Jerome turned around slowly to look over the city once more. A wall of white light coming from the horizon was engulfing everything in sight. Soon, the mountains were gone and Alchera Ocean. Then, the north part of the city.

Jerome threw his arms up as the light engulfed him and the entire Tower.

Nothing else happened for a long while.

* * * * *

Jerome woke up to find himself floating in a world of utter blackness. Despite this, he was completely calm, not caring about the situation.

Suddenly, a bright light pierced the darkness. The light began to overtake the darkness and Jerome simply looked on as the light was now everywhere.

* * * * *

Jerome woke up yet again, this time finding himself in a dingy, old apartment.

He jumped up from the worn out bed he laid on and looked around.

'What the hell just happened? Where am I?'

He looked out a dirty window to find himself in a slum. He was in a three-story apartment.

In Anduruna. Completely normal, as if the chaos from just a few moments ago never happened.

'No way. But, how?'

Jerome turned and saw himself in a mirror on a dresser. He walked over to the mirror and saw that he was still a Dreamkeeper. But, his injuries from the battle with Trident were gone. Even his years worth of scars were completely non-existent.

He touched his face as he slowly took in his surroundings.

'What's going on here?'

Then, something caught his eye. A flat, light-blue object rested on a nightstand next to the bed. Jerome rushed over and grabbed it.

It was a piece of paper with bright blue text written on it, like it was written with the snow of Starfall.

'Jerome,

You have done well, my son. You have defied the evil of your mentor and brought about true peace. Because of this, you have passed one of many tests. All has been restored to a time where all of this will soon begin once more. The Hell Hybrids no longer exist and neither do all those that once cared for you. However, you still have the ultimate test ahead of you and your fellow brothers and sisters. To conquer the Nightmares and bring peace and prosperity for generations to come. You have a new life and a new beginning. Now, you know what to do and where to go. Be strong, my son.

Nethers'

As soon as he read 'Nethers', the paper vanished from his grasp.

The Dreamkeeper known as Jerome stood in the middle of this strange room, more confused than he has ever been.

Of course, as the moments passed, he felt no confusion. In his mind, this was a gift from Nethers: To start the Third War of Anduruna anew, as a Dreamkeeper. To defeat the Nightmares the righteous way. Without the interference of the First Halo and a fanatic's thirst for victory.

Jerome looked at himself to see his current attire: a blue, long-sleeve sweater with a turtleneck and faded jeans.

He looked at a clothes hook on the back of his apartment door. A brown jacket hung on the door.

Grabbing it, he looked it over. A large version of the Troika's crest was sown into the back.

Staring at the door, he put the jacket on and grabbed a wallet from the nightstand.

He looked through it and found a citizen's ID: Jerry Forza.

Nodding, he slipped the wallet into his back pocket.

Looking out the window, he thought, 'Goodbye to my former life. Hello to my new mission.'

It'll be tough to forget all that has happened in his old life, but because of the changes in his new life, he has no choice but to forget.

Knowing that he will have to learn about everyone and everything he 'knows', Jerry walked out the door.

A new journey for young Jerry Forza had begun.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
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