I wonder if we will be able to pick the bad guy from subtle hints just like the last few years? =D

Lex: The funny thing is, I haven’t played .//Hack myself yet, I’m winging it from what I know about the series plus some common sense. I hope I don’t have any major errors. :stuck_out_tongue:

NBK: Next part comes Monday; hopefully after that I’ll get the Monday-Wednesday-Friday posting schedule I was aiming for. BUT that’s subject to change. K?

Shalc: Maaaaybe… :wink:

I’ve only seen the series as well. I never knew it was a game until I finished the series.

Very nice Wil.

Can’t wait to see who is attacking that village. Well who/whatever it is, I’m sure our band of heroes can deal with it.

Same here. .hack has such good music. Very exciting so far Wil, I can’t wait till more people start showing up.

Very, very nice. Diffinately a fine intro and second chapter. I also like that idea of you linking to the sentient being. It reminds me of that movie Short Curcuit.

That made me smile. :slight_smile:

Awesome! Very exciting Wil!

Weiila, Wil, Lugia and Kiro ran down RPGC castle’s corridors as fast as they could.
-“What kind of creature is it, Weiila?” Wil hurriedly asked.
-“No idea. It’s…hard to describe” she responded. “You’ll see it for yourselves. It’s on TV right now.”

The quartet soon reached the main RPGC waiting room, where they immediately noticed a figure standing there, watching the TV set: a young blonde woman, whose armor and athletic body they immediately recognized, even without seeing her face.
-“Val!” Wil called out to her. “When did you get here?”
Valkyrie Esker turned around to see the group enter the room. “I just arrived” she explained. “But never mind me- look at that!” she said, pointing at the TV screen.
Something huge and dark could be seen there, but not enough that it could be told what it was. Whatever it was, it had many eyes, and its form seemed to shift from moment to moment. Just looking at it inspired a feeling of dread, even on the heroes of RPGC.
-Oh, God, I hope that’s not an Elderspawn Wil silently worried, thinking about the horrible servants of the Elder Gods.
The voice of a female TV news anchorwoman could be heard as well: “… the damage to property is tremendous, and the numbers of victims isn’t clear yet. Police have already cordoned off the area. Although there is no confirmation yet that this another Neo-Mitochondrial Creature manifestation, The New York unit of the Mitochondrial Investigation and Suppression Team has already been alerted, but will not arrive on Baldwinsville for at least a half hour-”
-“What do you think, Wil? Is it an NMC?” Lugia asked.
-“Cannot tell” Wil said, worried. “Even if it is, that thing could kill a lot of people before the MIST team gets there. Let’s go there and stop it, then worry about its origins. I’ll teleport us there. I need the coordinates of Baldwinsville, quick!!”
-“I’ll get them!” Kiro said, dashing for a nearby PC.
-Baldwinsville… that sounds familiar. Where have I heard that name before? Damn, can’t remember. Wil thought.
-“HUH?” Wil gasped aloud.
Wil stared into space, shock visible on his face. “Wil?” Lugia asked.
Weiila and Val now turned around to look at the blank-faced hero.
Kenneth Rountree
Aliases: Genericangstyposter, used online
Occupation: Writer/Student/Seafood clerk. Currently taking a degree on Creative Writing at SUNY Oswego. Minors on Philosophy.
Location: Baldwinsville, Onondaga County, New York, USA
Age: 22
Gender: male
Appearance: Human. Short brown hair. One green eye, one blue eye. Wide nose.
Powers: Reality Manipulation by means of Chaos Magic; limited control.
Skills: Writer, Piano Player, Singer, Saxophone Player

-“WIL!” Val snapped at him.
-“Huh? What?” he said, coming back to reality.
-“You spaced out for a moment there. Are you alright?
-“Yes, but I-”
-“Hey!” Kiro suddenly shouted. “The PC already did a search? And found the place, too. Hey, look who lives there!”
-“Rountree” Wil stated flatly, before Kiro could.
-“Hmm? Oh, that’s right, I’d forgotten” Weiila admitted. “You think there’s a connection?”
Shaking off his momentary confusion, Wil said “No time for guesses. Off we go! Kiro, you stay here. It might be too dangerous.”
-“Um, sure” the catgirl said. She didn’t feel like fighting- whatever THAT thing was, anyway.
Wil then turned to Val. “Uh, VE, you might want to sit this one out, too.”
-“WHAT?” she snapped. “Why? Are you afraid that now that I’m mortal, I might get killed??”
-“Umm, no offense, but yes.”
She gave him a really nasty stare. “I’m a VALKYRIE! Death has always been a part of my life! I have a THOUSAND years of combat experience! And if I’m to die myself, let it be in battle!!”

Wil stared at her silently for a moment. Val hadn’t been the same since her homeworld, Midgard, had undergone a major change, reducing her powers, and worse, leaving her without a true home. Wil couldn’t help but worry about how this had affected her. She had been volatile –more than usual, that is- since then.
But she was right. She was a warrior, and it was up to her to decide what risks to take.
-“Very well- but follow my directions, OK? Don’t charge into battle half-cocked” Wil said to her, then turned to Weiila. “Weii, can you ask Galloway to come along?”
-“Sorry, Wil, but he just left.”
-“He- what?” Galloway leaving his guard post? Now that was unusual!
-“He said he was tired of just staying here without ever finding out anything about his true past, so he’s taking a sabbatical. I have no idea where.”
-“Darn, I was hoping to have his Saiyan power along for this battle. Let’s hope we don’t need it” Wil stated. “OK, everyone who’s coming, stand next to me” he said, while looking at the computer to get the coordinates for Baldwinsville. Then he closed his eyes and began to concentrate.{{Teleport!}} he said, in some magical language, and suddenly green sparks exploded out of his body, and enveloped Val and Lugia as well; then, in the blink of an eye, they were gone.


Several men and women, all wearing business suits, were sitting down at a round table. It would have looked like any normal corporate business meeting, except that the lights were strangely dim-

-and no one had a face!

Whether it was due to masks, an illusion, or if they were really faceless, was not immediately apparent.

A dark skinned man, wearing a black suit, who was sitting at the head position of the table, then spoke:
-“Let’s begin right away. Mister B, your report on the operation to retrieve the Killmore unit, please”
Another faceless man, this one Caucasian and wearing a grey suit, stood up. “Our agent within the CC corporation confirms that Killmore’s sentience was indeed located within The World online game, as per the information we were given. However his attempts to datadrain it were halted by three members of RPGC.”
-“Has our involvement been revealed?” the first man, Mister A, asked.
-“Unknown as of yet. However, it is not likely- the agent used his cover story as a World Administrator. Their presence there could just have been a coincidence.”
-“Try to find out for sure” Mister A said. “What about Killmore?”
-“It’s no longer within the game. It is unknown if it will ever return after this incident.”
-“Continue searching for it. Its technology is too advanced for us to allow it not to be under our control.”
-“Yes, sir” Mister B said, sitting down.
-“Mister C” Mister A then said, turning to a faceless Asian man, also wearing a black business suit. “Your report on our operations in Japan, please.”


Baldwinsville could be considered your typical American town: originally a farming town, it is currently considered more of a bedroom community. A nice, quiet place to live.

Until now.

The Thing had crawled out of the Seneca River, a Lake Erie affluent that passed right through the town. Its mere presence and large size –it kept shifting form, but was at least 30’ tall- caused terror in the local residents, who ran away screaming on sight of it, and with good reason- it left only destruction on its wake, decaying everything it touched. Slowly, it crawled its way uptown. Eyes kept appearing and disappearing on its black surface, looking both at people and at nothing, both of which only made it more frightful. But there was more to it than its appearance- something about its existence struck fear on all but the bravest people, as if nature itself abhorred its presence.

The local police tried to stop it, shooting it, hitting it with their patrol cars, even using fire extinguishers on it (inspired by an old movie) but nothing worked; they just gave it more toys to consume. Finally they had no choice but to let it rampage across town, clearing people off its path, and madly calling every New York state authority to come help destroy it.

Wil and company materialized in a burst of green sparks within sight of the monster. They, too, were immediately hit by its “fear effect”.
-“Wil! Is it-” Val gasped.
-“An Elderspawn?” Lugia finished for her.
-“Feels like it… but we can’t be sure yet” Wil responded. “Ok, this is what we’ll d-"
-“YAAAAHH!!” Val suddenly screamed!
She made a motion as if drawing a sword from a sheath, except she wasn’t wearing any.
In truth, she was reaching into “katanaspace”- an extradimensional pocket where she kept a store of weapons. She drew out a heavy saber, which to onlookers might have seemed as if had appeared from thin air. She then ran right at the monster.
-“Val, NO!!” Wil screamed.
Val quickly reached the fetid, gurgling mass, and began madly slashing at its tendrils. “DIE, ABOMINATION! YOU WILL NOT TAKE THIS WORLD!!”
She kept slashing furiously for several seconds, but her sword just sank into the mass, and the cut off tendrils just vanished before they hit the ground, only to regrow almost instantly.
Suddenly a huge, yellowish, cat-like eye popped out of nowhere on the thing’s side, its stare causing Valkyrie to pause momentarily. Then, a tendril became a huge claw, and slashed at her, drawing blood and knocking her to the ground.
-“Damn, I was afraid of this! Lugia, help her, while I cast my magic!”
-“Got you, Wil!” Lugia said, as Wil began chanting and gesturing furiously. It ran in front of the monster’s path, hoping to draw its attention away from Val, who was still knocked down.
-“Hey, Elderthing! You think you’re the most fearsome thing around? Well, take a look at ME!” Lugia shouted.
With that, Lugia stretched out its arms, threw back its head, and roared. Its long hair stood on end, as if blown by a strong wing, and then its body blazed in a pink light.
Its form shimmered, and, in the blink of an eye, expanded and reformed, assuming its Lugia form, which resembled a pink dragon with wing-like front legs.
-“GROOOAR!” it roared again, and, with a mighty flap of its wings, took off straight up, and- flew away?

The move apparently succeeded, as the thing stared at it with at least several of its eyes (while others continued to stare at space) and stopped reaching for the wounded warrior.
Val struggled to get up, but a sudden green glow surrounded her- one of Wil’s protective spells, she realized. She looked at him, and saw him glowing as well. He continued to make casting gestures, and suddenly a thick fog rolled out, covering the streets around them. This was Wil’s way of keeping people from spotting them; not that she cared, but Wil and Lugia had lives on Earth that they didn’t want disrupted by the publicity of their heroic acts.

A whooshing sound, almost like a jet plane breaking the sound barrier, was suddenly heard above the area. The heroes looked up, in time to see a glowing Lugia, twisting in the air with a grace that belied its huge bulk, suddenly diving from the sky at the monster.
-“SKREEEEE!” it shouted, as a bolt of powerful, glowing energy shot out of its open jaws, striking the monster and literally blowing it to pieces. KWOOM!!
Seconds later, pieces of black, disgusting stuff began to rain all over the area. And then suddenly-
-they disappeared!
-“Huh?” Wil, who was in the middle of casting a powerful destructive spell at the thing, gasped.

Both he and Val looked around, trying to find the monster’s remains. Wil allowed the fog to clear, but even so, nothing of it could be spotted. Even the sick feeling of its presence was gone. The damage it had caused on its way through the town was still very evident, though.
-“Huh! Some Elderspawn! One shot and it blows apart? Bah” Val spat out.
Then she looked behind her, to see Wil standing there. He looked furious.
-“Dammit, V! Didn’t I tell you NOT to charge without a plan??” he snapped at her
-“I told you, I’m a Norse Warrior! This is how we fight!” she snapped right back.
-“There’s dying nobly in battle and there’s dying stupidly in battle. That was STUPID!!”
Valkyrie almost said something, but seemed to think better of it, then turned her back to him.

-“…Look, sorry I snapped at you, but…” Wil tried to apologize.
-“No, you’re right” she admitted, her back still to him, but her tone softer now. “I should’ve realized that my weapon wouldn’t do much good against that kind of creature… it’s just that- its presence was so disturbing-”
They were interrupted by Lugia, who landed next to them, its wingbeats blowing up a gale that messed up its friends’ hair, and the ground shaking under its weight. It then began to change back to its humanoid form, again glowing pink, but without all the fuss its previous change had caused.

Once it was done, it said, “Was that really an Elderspawn? I expected it to put out more of a fight.”
-“Yeah, me too.” Wil thought out loud. “And it wasn’t an NMC, either, there are no solid remains at all” he added.
The sound of approaching vehicles could suddenly be heard.
-“We had better hide, this place will be crawling with police, reporters and onlookers in a matter of minutes” Wil then said.
-“Hide? We aren’t going back to HQ?” Lugia asked.
-“I’m not leaving this place until I find out just what the hell that thing was, or why it showed up here of all places. And I think we all know someone here who should know something about it.”

NEXT: Desperately Seeking Ken

STORY NOTES: MIST and the NMCs are from Parasite Eve II; the Elderspawns are just a generic name I’m using for all the Cthulhu rip-offs there are in various games.

I feel so used—in a good way. I’m enjoying the way this is going.

I have this feeling that I know the identity of da’ Blob. But I’m going to keep my mouth shut until more clues start appearing. That or until someone gets a pot goin’.

Originally Posted by Wilfredo Martinez
-and no one had a face!

Man, that’s worse then just having no nametag. It was fortunate that they didn’t invite Austin Powers’ Father over or they would have had to K.O. themselevs as soon as he walked into the room.

Hmm … interesting. An evil secret society already. Wonder if they have … mm … nah, I’ll wait before revealing anything I may or may not know. :wink:

Nice update Wil. Very nice indeed.

Now I’m really begining to wonder what that blob was, and who this organisation is. Although I have an idea or two, but I want to see what happens next.

Great job Wil, people are theorizing. That’s always a good sign. xD

Yeah, I wanna know too, can’t wait for chapter 4. :slight_smile:

The plot thickens. Faceless people always need to be watched. Good job Wil. And nice pace once again. Really enjoying it.

How exciting! We’ll probably be seeing more of the blob in the future.

… Excellent. Nothing says interesting then a secret corporate meeting.

Keep it up, Wil.

I can’t wait to see what happens next (even though I have an inkling). I just hope that everything goes… smoothly. Hehehe…

Several minutes later, the heroes, hiding in a nearby alley, watched as a MIST team –that did not include the babealicious Aya Brea, Wil quickly noticed- did indeed arrive in the area, and promptly cordoned off the area the monster had damaged and began investigating it with their equipment. Meanwhile, policemen were busy holding news-hungry reporters at bay, and calming the local citizens.

Turning invisible with one of his spells, Wil approached them unnoticed, and soon realized the team was having no more luck determining just what the thing had been than they had.

He walked back to the alley and willed himself to reappear before Lugia and Val.
-“Looks like they are clueless too. They could tell it wasn’t a Neo-mitochodria infection, however” He said.
-‘Well, at least we don’t have to worry about that” Lugia said, relieved.
-“Let’s find Rountree, and see if he has any information” Wil said.
-“Shouldn’t he have done something about the attack?” Val asked. “I mean, if my home village were attacked by something like- that, I would definitely drop anything I was doing and run to its defense.”
-“Yeah, that’s suspicious too…” Wil wondered. “Let’s call him.”

They walked to a pay phone, and Wil dialed his phone number.

But no one picked up.

-“…No answer” Wil said, with a worried tone.
-“You know, he might just not be home. Wasn’t he attending College or something?”
-“Yes, the State University of New York at Oswego. His RPGC file doesn’t have a number to reach him there, though.”
-“…How do you know that, Wil?” the blonde warrior asked, suspiciously.
-“Err, I must’ve heard Weiila say it, sometime” Wil lied. “Come on, let’s move away before someone spots us and starts asking us questions. You two need to disguise yourselves, too, if you’re going to hang around here with me.”

A few minutes later, with Val having changed in a public restroom into a t-shirt and jeans (which she kept stored in Katanaspace; she also stuffed her armor there) and Lugia hiding his pink hair beneath a conveniently discarded hat, the trio sat at a local park bench. Wil had grabbed a copy of a local newspaper from a garbage can and was reading it leisurely.
-“Well?” Val asked, anxiously. “What are we going to do now?”
-“First, we’re waiting until the furor over the incident dies down. It makes our work more difficult” Wil explained. “That might take a few hours, though.”
-“And we’re just going to sit here, doing nothing, in the meanwhile?” she said, annoyed.
-“We ARE doing something. We’re trying to figure out how to find Ken.”
-“Really? Because it looks to me like you’re doing the crossword puzzle” she said, bitingly.
Wil grumbled. “I’m looking for clues. AND trying to relax a little. We all were pretty shook up by that thing, admit it.”
Val fumed, but said nothing.
-“By the way, how are you? That thing slashed you-”
-“I’m OKAY, thank you. It was only a flesh wound” she snapped.

Wil sighed. He and Val were old friends; he knew her better than anyone else at RPGC, and could see beyond that short-tempered facade of hers. He knew she was a good person, but also that she tended to keep many pains to herself. And that wasn’t good. He had to have a good chat with her over what had happened at Midgard, he decided. But right now wasn’t the time.

Lugia kept silent, preferring not to get between those two. Though it also was getting bored.

Wil continued to read the paper looking for any news of strange activity in Baldwinsville. But so far, everything was infuriatingly mundane.

And he also was mentally doing the crossword puzzle. He couldn’t resist such challenges. Though this one was particularly hard:
-…No. 14 across: 8 letter word, name of a marine mammal, sounds like a synonim for ‘goal.’ Wil silently read. Arrgh, I have no idea. Bloody crossword-
-“HUH??” Wil gasped aloud, causing Val and Lugia to look at him.
-“It’s- it’s happening again!” Wil stammered.
-“What is happening again?” Val asked, worried.
-“Could it be…?” Wil wondered, then looked again at the puzzle. “P-O-R-P-O-I-S-E- yes! It fits!!” he laughed.
-“Wil, what are you-“Val tried to ask.
-“Wait, let me check out something!” Wil said, brushing her off.
He tried to think of stuff he didn’t know. The Capital of Uzbekistan…
-The scientific name of the common Puerto Rican tree frog!
-Pamela Anderson’s current measurements!!
*** 36" - 22" - 34" ***
-“HAH!!” Wil laughed out loud.
Val and Lugia stared at him.
-“I have a NEW POWER!!” he told them, victoriously.
-“Uhh, you do?” Val said, still baffled.
-“Yes! I can contact the Internet- WITH MY MIND!!”
Val and Lugia stared blankly at him for a moment.
-“I’m serious!! It happened earlier before, but I wasn’t sure about it, but I just tried it again, and it works!!” he sounded positively elated.
-“Does it have something to do with your rapport with Killmore?”
-“Most likely, yeah” he explained. “You see, my mind is already a channel for unnatural energies- magic, to be specific. I guess my brainwaves just happened to be in the same frequency as Killmore’s, and that linked us. We’re not connected now, but the “channel” we used, so to speak, is still ‘open’. And I can use it to access the Internet- without a computer!!”
-“Could you use it to contact Killmore again?” Lugia asked.
-“Probably. Let me try…” Wil closed his eyes, and focused again. He felt his new power activating.
-“Killmore?” Val asked.
Lugia then explained to her what had happened earlier to them in the VR game, while Wil did a mental online search for Killmore.

However, a few minutes later, he opened his eyes and said, “No answer. Guess its offline now. And after what happened, I can’t blame it.”
-“How about using your fancy new power to locate Ken, then?” Val said.
-“Hmm, that might work. His file said he works as a Seafood Restaurant clerk. I should be able to locate any such places in Baldwinsville so we can check them out.”
-“So, you DID spy on Ken’s file” Val smirked.
-“Uhh, it was an accident!” Wil mumbled. “Anyway, let me get started on that search, already.”

Jose Nieves is the owner of his own grocery-seafood eatery combination in Baldwinsville. A muscular, if slightly pudgy, middle aged Latino man with a goatee, Jose was not having a good day. When that indescribable thing –which he figured must have been one of those weird monsters that attacked New York City ten years ago- appeared, he ran away like everybody else, taking his family with him. However, as soon as the cops said it was safe, he returned to see if his business was still there. Thankfully, it was. But now, there were no clients; everyone had either left town, or were hiding in their houses.

But Jose was a stubborn man. He wasn’t going to let any 50’s monster movie reject ruin his business. He had decided to keep the store open, in the odd chance someone who needed groceries would stop by. However, the day was getting late and nobody had come in.

Until now.

Three persons –a Latino man, a young blonde woman, and some weirdo in a hat and a trenchcoat- entered, and walked up to him.

-“Excuse me” Wil asked. “Does a Ken Rountree work here?”
-‘Who wants to know?” he asked defensively. In fact, Ken did work there, and was a good friend of Jose’s. But he was smart enough not to volunteer information to strangers.
-“We’re friends of his” Wil said.
-“Oh, really? And how do I know that?”
-“Well, you can ask him yourself” he responded.
-“That’s not good enough” Jose said. “If you’re his friends, how come you don’t know where he works?”
-“Ah, we haven’t contacted him in some time. We just were passing through town and decided to pay him a visit. But he’s moved since the last time we were here, and can’t find his address now.”
Jose still eyed them suspiciously.
-“Sniff! Sniff!” Pink Lugia suddenly said. “What smells so good?”
-“Deep fried groper” Jose explained.
-“Great! I’ll have 20 pounds, please” the magical being smiled.
-“Twenty…?” Jose said.
-“Err, to go, of course. We have a bunch of hungry friends back home” Wil quickly added.
-“Money’s no problem” Lugia said, flashing several 100$ bills.

Jose was still slightly suspicious of the trio, but he was a businessman, and odds of more customers coming in today were slim.

-“…Okay. They won’t be ready for a few minutes more, though.”
-“That’s Ok, we’ll wait” Wil said, smiling.

  • “And serve us one fish here, OK? The rest to go.” Lugia said, hungrily.

The trio sat down at a table, while Jose went into the kitchen.
-“Well, I’m glad at least Lugia is getting something out of this” Val complained.
-“Look, if we don’t find out anything here, I’ll teleport you back to HQ” Wil, tired of Val’s complaints, said. “But I think we’re onto something here.”
-“How do you figure?” Lugia asked.
-“The guy’s hiding something” Wil explained. “I’m pretty good at ‘reading’ people, and he’s concerned about strangers asking about his friend. He knows Ken.”
-“Even if so. How do we get him to tell us where he is?” Val asked.

However, at that very moment, a tall young man, with short brown hair, and wearing shades, a leather coat, jeans and boots, and carrying some bags, entered the store.
-“Rountree!!” Lugia suddenly said, getting off its chair.

The young man froze in place, and Lugia walked up to him and hugged him, almost causing him to drop the bags. “Good to see you’re OK!” Lugia exclaimed.
-“Uhh, thanks” Rountree managed to say.

Wil and Val also got up and walked up to him. “Ken, we’ve been looking up for you.” Wil said to him. “Do you know what that thing-”
-“Hey!” Jose, who had come out of the kitchen, suddenly shouted. “Ken! These guys’ friends of yours?”
-“Ah, yeah”
-“Ah, good!” the intimidating man said, suddenly all smiles. “Any friend of Ken’s is a friend of mine, too! Here, sit down, all of you, the food’s almost ready!”
-“Ahh, Boss, where do I put the stuff you asked me to get?” Rountree asked.
-“In the kitchen” Jose said. “And see if he fish is ready, bring it out if it is.”

Ken headed into the kitchen. As soon as he was inside, Jose turned around and spoke to the three heroes:
-“You know, I’m glad you people showed up. Ken’s been acting a little odd of late, I guess the stress of college is getting to him. He could use talking with old friends.”
-“Odd?” Wil asked, raising one of his thick eyebrows. “How so?”
-“Well… it’s hard to explain” Jose admitted. “He has developed strange little habits of late. Why, the other day he came in wearing blue contact lenses. When I asked him about it, he said he was tired of people staring at his eyes. Because of his one green eye, you know? Which is odd, because it never bothered him before. Maybe some college punks have been making fun of it. And since then, he’s been wearing shades, too.”

Wil and Val exchanged suspicious stares.

Ken came out of the kitchen, bearing a plate of smoking, just-fried grouper.

Wil walked up to him, and said, “Hey, Ken, nice shades. Can I try them on?”
-“Thank you” Wil said, smirking, as he grabbed the shades off Ken’s face.
Surprised, Ken froze in place.
Lugia then looked close at his face. “Those aren’t contact lenses” he stated. “BOTH of his eyes are blue!”
-“Aha!” Wil said. “That means this isn’t Ken, but a-”
-“DOPPELGANGER!!” Val suddenly screamed.
Suddenly, “Ken” tossed the hot fish plate on Val’s face, momentarily stunning her, and bolted towards the exit.
-“GET HIM!!” Wil screamed, and the three of them followed him outside.
-“Hey!! What’s going on??” Jose shouted, but the heroes were already laving the store.

“Ken” ran down the street, only to realize too late that he had ran towards the area closed off by the authorities, Desperately, he looked for another way to escape, and ran into an alley, only to find that it was a dead end. Before it could escape, Val, who ran faster than her friends, caught up to him.
-“Raargh!” Val screamed, as she pulled her sword out of katanaspace.
-“Val! We need it alive!” Wil, running a short distance behind her beside Lugia, shouted.
But it was too late. Before they reached her, she slashed at him. “Ayiiiie!” it screamed, its blood splattering the sidewalk- and burning it, causing it to hiss and smoke!
-“Whoa! That thing’s not remotely natural!” Lugia gasped.
Val grabbed the creature by the collar and slammed it against a wall. Its features then began to fluctuate, as pain made it lose control of its form. Val raised her saber, ready to strike it again.
Wil caught up to them, and said “Val, I said we n-” but then was shocked when she turned around to look at him. Her eyes were bloodshot, a clear sign of a berserker rage.
WHACK! Val knocked Wil to the ground with the back of her sword.
Lugia was stunned by the sight. Before it could do something, they heard a shout behind him:
-“Hey!! Stay away from Ken!! I’m warning you!!” It was Jose, brandishing a meat cleaver.
Val then dropped the doppelganger, who fell limply to the floor, and dashed for the Latino man.
-“VAL!! What-” Lugia tried to say, and tried to grab her, but she was too fast for it.
SLAASH!! Her saber tore through Jose, knocking him down.
-“VAL!! NOO!!” Wil screamed, but he was still getting up from the ground.
Val, seemingly not even hearing her friends, was about to strike the man again, but Lugia caught her from behind, pinning her arms back. She struggled and screamed like a wild animal, but wasn’t strong enough to break free from Lugia’s superhuman grip.
Wil then caught up to her, touched her on the face, and said, {{SLEEP!}} Val suddenly went limp on Lugia’s arms, deeply asleep.
On the ground, Jose moaned in pain. Wil checked him out. “Damn, he’s badly hurt!! Lugia, can you heal him??”
-“I think so” Lugia said, as he gently but quickly placed Val on the ground, then reached for Jose, and began casting a healing spell.
The blood on Jose’s body magically disappeared, and his breath returned to normal. He was stunned, but appeared to otherwise be Ok.

Relieved, Wil turned around, to see the doppelganger begin to get back on its feet. Before it could, Wil grabbed him.
-“YOU! This is your fault! Who are you, and where is the real Ken??” he demanded.
The being just stared at him.
-“Answer, or I swear I’ll wake HER up and let her loose on you!” Wil bluffed.
-“NO!! Keep her away from me!!” it screamed.
-“Where is Ken??” Wil repeated.
-“I-In the book!”
-“Book? What book??”
-“The one he’s writing! It’s a horror novel!”
Realization dawned on Wil. “Did he use his magic to- make it real??”
The doppelganger nodded.
-“I don’t know!! I’m just a character from his book. When he was sucked into it, I found I could get out, so I took his place.”
-“And that monster- did it come out of the book too?”
-“Yes. But, I had nothing to do with that! The portal to our world is still open, and things keep coming in and out!”
That explained a lot, Wil thought. The “Elderspawn” was just an imaginary monster that Ken’s Chaos Magic had temporarily made real.
-“Take us to that portal. NOW!” he told the creature.


Story Notes: Jose Nieves is a real person, and is indeed Ken’s Boss.

I can already see several problems that will arise with having isntant access to the Internet. Namely, finding out the Internet isn;t always correct… or somethign you want to look at.