Another day, another sudden appearance in a dark area. This world was starting to terrify you, but you knew you had to find a way out somehow.
You enter an area that appeared to be barren, and notice two different kingdoms on each side.
One of them was surrounded by creepy, black fog, and you could swear you heard the sounds of scraping metal from further in. The gateway didn't hint at a safe place either, being covered in spikes and shards of metal that sparked with darkness.
The other was also dark, but somehow more pleasent otherwise. Wraithlike creatures floated about and you notice a shadowy humanoid running around with a taller shadow chasing after, laughing with joy before the former is caught and given a loving embrace.
This choice is obvious. Take the friendlier route.
You really wanted out of this world, but at the same time, this kingdom was newer looking than the other...And maybe someone knew the way out.
As you passed through the aligned houses, the humanoid from before emerged before you, staring at you with a single eye.
Ooooh, newcomer! he spoke, his voice playful yet somewhat eerie, Papa would love to see you!
You had no idea who else could be in this kingdom, but at the speed this shadow was going, you weren't going anywhere. You were grabbed by the hand and led up to a pitch black castle, of which loomed over the kingdom and everything inside it.
The being stopped in front of a guard and shouted, EY! LET EM IN! PAPA GOTS COMPANY!
The guard glanced down at him, about to speak, but upon noticing who was talking to him, opened the door with a soft, Yes, My Prince.
The Prince gave the guard a smirk before racing behind you and shoving you inside with more force than you'd expect from someone so short and young.
Tell Papa I said hi. I'mma go back and play okay? Okay.
Before you could reply, he raced off, and you could only continue forword as the doors closed from behind.
Another guard notices you and chuckles before taking your shoulder.
Ah, Prince A'Lito did it again... he takes you toward the nearest room, in which you could only assume "Papa" was in, He's a little rascal, but means no harm. I'm sure the King would enjoy a visitor, though. He's just finishing his pampering, and could use something to do before meal time.
He takes you into the room, motioning for you to wait patiently, then leaves, allowing you to gaze upon the kingdom's ruler.
BC preview goes here
A being made of shadows sits back on a long couch, with more wraith creatures surrounding them. They are pampering the being by brushing his hair, filing his claws, and shining his boots.
The one doing his hair finishes its job and is given an approving nod, before backing away.
Two of them were shining his boots - one at each - and they also finished, receiving a nod as well. They grinned and backed away.
The one doing his claws stopped and noticed that the job wasn't up to the usual standards. It watched nervously as the being raised his hand and ran a claw against the one that wasn't done properly, scraping off the remaining bits.
F-Forgive me, my lord! it squeaked as its ruler lowered his hand, I--
The being raised a hand, stopping it short, before replying.
It's not your fault. You're new to the job. he gave the cowering wraith a reassuring smile, Everything else was done perfectly. You just need to improve your method on this one.
He held his claw in front of the wraith's face and let it study for a moment for future work, before giving it a reward for its service.
The being then looked up, noticing you, before ushering the wraiths to the side.
Oh, forgive me for not acknowledging you right away. he said, his voice strangely calm despite his appearance, I just wanted to let them finish their jobs. What may I do for you?
You were still too nervous to speak, and he seemed to realize this right away.
Ah, I guess you've not met me before, hm? No worries! I'll tell you a little about myself. Feel free to find yourself a seat.
Name: Ultimo 00
Alias: Double Zero, Wannabe-Hero (by Xac), Ultimo
Gender: Male aligned (he/him or they/them)
Race: Shadow Demon / Demigod
Likes: Being pampered, relaxing, his family, dark places, being accepted
Dislikes: His past, being reminded of his past, the Void, rejection (although he understands why), unneeded violence
Ultimo 00 smiles at you, something that gave you the chills, despite his otherwise relaxed demeanor. He remained sitting up, his claws tapping against the couch, and he noticed your fear.
Oh...I...Do forgive me. he lowered one hand toward his face and rubbed one side, I...I guess I intimidate you, huh?
You don't reply, noticing the hint of regret in his voice, and watch as he brushed his other hand's claws through his hair, combing through his bangs before turning his head away.
I...I know I look cruel and scary. I promise, I'm not. Or I'm...Trying not to be. his smile fades and you notice a completely different look on his face, My past self can only be removed so much. I...Still wish I could remove it completely. But I can only manipulate parts of the darkness. But I don't want to hurt you or frighten you. Just please...Give me a chance...
NOTE: Refs are super huge; Drag/drop or open in new tab to see full size.
Ultimo 00 glances toward a window, noticing the kingdom he once inhabited on the opposite side of his own. He chuckled softly, a tiny smile on his face, then spoke.
I shouldn't had been given the honor of building my kingdom so close to his. Yet...I'm deeply grateful for him and his acceptance of my goal. I just wish...Someone else could see that as well. Although I understand why, since I gave him the most grief so long ago...
Lord Xero, the first to accept the new me. I'm surprised he even forgave me for what I've done - I did things so horrible, I dare not speak of them again - but am grateful to him for giving me another chance. I promised him that I will continue fighting the past, and have not backed down on that promise. If I were to strike him, I would be more than deserving of the fate he bestows on me...In fact, I'd beg for him to give it to me.
Commander Xac was my host during those dark times. I was simply known as..."Dark Xac". Ugh, even the name gives me chills. I hated that name, and I hated what I did as such. I know he'll never forgive me after what I've done, but he has no reason to, and I don't expect him to. However, he protects me and my family when we need it, so maybe he's having second thoughts..? Heh, unlikely.
King Destructo was never a real target during my reign of terror, but he still had to deal with the aftermath. However, I know why neither he nor Xac can handle dark energy sources: It makes them lose control, and in Destructo's case, it has him showcasing his real power, which is a rare sight due to his dislike toward fighting. Because of me, he's fought more times than he ever should've, and it always gave Xero grief. Destructo is only so indesctructable...And I proved it more times than I'd like to remember.
Cri-Dra wasn't around during my reign of terror, so they had a lot of questions about me. Luckily, they now know who I used to be and do what they can to not bring back those thoughts. I can tell that they've had their own harsh life and intend to share the same goal of letting them forget the past and continue into the future.
Electro and I don't see eye to eye at all, but I don't blame him. Besides his being God of Light and my being a shadow demon, it's only right he don't trust me or my motives. Xero isn't the only reason why his kingdom's been attacked many times; I also planted the ideas into Xac's mind when I thought we'd stand a chance. We never stood a chance. Electro seems to forgive me a little more than Xac, but...I don't expect him to help me out of compassion or need - It's simply out of the goodness of his heart.
Ricki seems to be the most accepting of me besides Lord Xero. I think it's because he keeps telling me how he's sought redemption as well. Apparently he was the one who summoned Lord Xero into the world and caused massive destruction. He relates to my pain and torment, and helps me fight it when I need it most. He claims to be a demigod of lightning, something I can actually believe - simply because I've seen him create lightning storms with just a few flicks of his claws.
Ultimo 00's eyes glowed for a moment and his voice suddenly grew intense, remembering those who gave him such grief.
The foes from before seem to forgive me for the time being...But there are some others who now cause trouble, simply due to my past.
The Void, a deity who may have even more vengeful thoughts than myself as the Temptlord. It was said to be a superweapon with the power to obliviate a group of planets with a single swipe of its claws, and it was going to wipe out the Light Kingdom when Li-Kah was still in rule. It failed, however, and we never saw it again...Until it's sudden return, where it now wants to wipe both kingdoms out. However, it wants to wipe us out because we seemingly "abandoned" it, and while I'm not completely affiliated with the God of Darkness, Void deems me a target simply due to being the Temptlord - future God of Darkness in the past.
The Void's Guardian is a space-patrolling menace who devours scraps of loose metal for power. It's got the power to create storms in space simply by controlling the electricity in it's body. It can also forge armor out of scrap metal and use them to give itself an altered form. It's defintely a dangerous creature - even more so if combined with Void due to being able to turn into a living weapon.
This monster also works for Void. They work as comrades with the Guardian, but otherwise tend to bicker amongst themselves, the head and tail always fighing over who gets what piece of what planet at what time...I never understood them, but they are powerful with the ability to even eat an actual planet. I've heard that most planets fell because of them, and not because of Xero and his army...Scary, honestly.
Ultimo looked down at the floor and he shuddered as if he was recalling a horrible event.
As it turned out, he was.
Who I used to be...Is what I'm trying to forget. The mere memories of them haunt me and can quite frankly not only be my downfall, but the downfall of the entire world, if not more. If those memories were to be used against me, then everything might as well be lost. I want to forget them to keep this from happening.
Before I became myself, I was basically non-existent. However, The Temptlord could technically be seen as my "original self", followed by "Dark Xac" when Xero demanded my servitude near Xac's creation. As Dark Xac, I was cruel, sadistic, and preyed on Xac's fear to make myself stronger, and that's why he's so distrusting and hateful toward me. I hated what all I did under that alias, and soon disconnected from Xac's mind to live my own way. However, I was then used as Temptlord's servant instead, and was forced to engage once more with my former host and (at that time, supposed) ruler.
After a while, I decided that I was not going to bare the Temptlord's petty grudge. I stripped myself of Dark Xac's image and became my own being. Please don't ask how this works, it's...Complicated. Let's just say that beings such as myself have such a power...
Images of Me:
Ultimo 00 sighs and leans back on the couch, his claws gripping onto it. He appears to be in thought for a moment, before he nods toward a few pieces of artwork that appeared to showcase him.
Not many know me as who I am yet. he glances down toward the floor and his eyes show a hint of sadness in them, They know me as who I once was; The vile, hateful demon and the vengeful demigod. I want those to be forgotten, and hopefully they will be in due time.
He looks up at a drawing of himself and smiles a tiny smile, before lowering a hand to his chin and laying a claw under it as he spoke again.
That one in particular? It's my favorite of them all...Simply because it was drawn by the one I truly care about. Heh. I always feel strong when I look at it.
After glancing back at the drawing, you decided to take a moment to see what else he's gotten in his honor.
By Pharaoh-By others
Note: Written works will be posted as they are written by the creator. Any extra formatting that requires coding (aka, paragraphing) will be done by me.
Ultimo 00 ran his clawed fingers through his hair and a few glowing orbs could be seen floating from within their shady locks. He whipped some hair to the side, allowing them to be released into the air around his head. Some of them glowed with a dim light, others...Were bright and shining like red suns.
These are the memories I still contain. he gazes at one orb and lays a claw under it lightly, allowing it to touch the tip, I've been erasing bits of my past to avoid being taken over by deep hatred once again...Yet some of these still linger. They're...Difficult...To remove completely. That's why some of them glow like this.
He gave the orb a light flick of his claw, and it began to play a vision of his past. His stare became filled with sorrow as he watched it, before wrapping his fingers around it.
I only want to forget the pain I've dealt...The rage...The hatred...I want to remove them all from my mind. It's an everlasting process...And I must succeed, lest the whole world crumbles.
| Redemption ||| Will to Survive ||| Do Not Forget ||| Embrace the Now! |
| To Create Something Beautiful ||| ??? ||| ??? ||| ??? |
I won't become what I once was. I will redeem myself, no matter what.
"It's never too late to change."
I hear her gentle voice and raise my head slightly, reflecting on those words. I raise one hand and glance at my claws, flexing them as I turned toward her, then replied.
"What if...It all goes wrong?" I looked down and watched as my claws dripped with thick shadows, the same shadows that made my entire body, "What if...They don't accept me?"
A thundering roar, and she seems oblivious as she walks up to me and takes my hands, holding them gently in hers.
"No matter what happens, I will be around to support you...To protect you. I won't let anyone hurt you."
I stare into her eyes, noticing the determination reflecting in them, and gave a slow, silent nod before she released me.
I hear a loud yell from afar and can tell the Temptlord is growing weak. This was my chance...To erase my former self and start off anew.
I raised my hands and ran them across the top of my head, ripping out strings of shadows that formed into long, wavy hair, before whipping it around, casting more shadows into the air.
I switched to my body and ripped off the shoulder armor before forming a long, black and red jacket out of the remaining shadows.
The entirety of my leg armor is torn free and I create long pants and thick boots, before straightening up and finishing with a loud, triumphant yell.
"Become what I want
After I finished, a huge quake shook the ground, followed by a thick cloud of Darkness firing into the sky, and I knew he was defeated...For now.
The Temptlord and I were seemingly one and the same before, but I was no longer going to be in his shadow. I was going to right those wrongs, and leave him to deal with his petty grudge.
I turned toward her, the one who helped me escape from that infuriating tyrant, and she grinned at me, admiring my new appearance.
"This look suits you." She said as I went up to her, "I never knew you could manipulate your shadows like that."
I chuckled and ran my hands down the jacket before holding them in front of my chest, a shy smile forming on my face.
"I...I didn't know I could either." I could barely speak, knowing that we were now alone, "I...Heh."
She took my hand and I glanced down at it, my face turning warm, and began to speak, but another voice sounded from afar and I knew they were trying to make sure I was still around.
I set out a response, using telepathy to communicate with my former host, then turned back toward the one who supported me, wanting to say how I felt.
That didn't happen, however, as my host arrived in the area, followed by the God of Darkness: Xero. I noticed Xero's pleasent stare, yet felt myself growing tense.
"Why we had to save your sorry butt, I don't understand." my host snorted, "But you'd better remember this, for it won't happen again!"
I released my beloved's hand at this and turned away, my gaze switching to the ground. I knew he was dealt so much pain because of my actions, and he would have no reason to forgive me - even if I got on my knees and groveled.
"I...I didn't expect all of you to help me. Not after what I did." I felt tears filling my eyes and tried to contain my emotions, "I didn't deserve your support, but I...I appreciate it. I will do anything I can to make it up to you."
Another snort, and my host started to speak.
"'Make it up'?! You can ki-"
Xero stopped him and I heard him coming up to me before his hand laid on my shoulder. His grip was gentle and I could sense compassion radiating from him.
"I can sense your dedication to making things right." I looked up at this and glanced at his face, noticing a tiny smile, "I want to watch your progress. I want to help you with your goal. If you promise to continue this process, I will...Allow you to build a kingdom across from mine."
I jumped at this and turned toward him quickly, wondering if he was serious or toying with my emotions. His gaze said it all: He trusted me, and he wanted to help me grow.
Xac ran up to him and could barely contain himself as he blabbered anything he could think of to try persuading his lord.
"You CAN'T be serious! This demon filth?? He's the reason why the Temptlord keeps coming back! We need to wipe him out...Wipe them all out! We can't trust a single word this monster says! Remember what he did to you? Remember what he made me do to you?? He nearly defeated you!! He nearly destroyed the kingdom! He needs to be sent back to his own world before we're targeted again!"
Xero waited for him to finish, and when Xac finally stopped to take a breath - or ten - he repeated what he said, much to his head leader's dismay.
"Your kingdom may be built across from my own. I will watch over you and protect you when you need it most."
"MY LORD--" Xac began to protest, but Xero raised a hand, stopping him, to which he stepped aside, clearly surprised that he's showing me mercy.
"I understand your concerns, Commander." Xero walked up to me and faced the still-panicking soldier with a look of determination on his face, "I remember what happened, and what went on because of it. But I don't want those memories to be all we hold on to, not if we can make new ones...Happier ones. I am watching him not only for his own sake, but our own. If the Temptlord does return - and I'm sure he will in the future - I want to make sure nothing happens to either of us. Due to his past with the Temptlord, we can only guess who the primary target will be...Then who he'll target after regaining control."
Xac was reduced to simple studdering as Xero led me toward the kingdom he ruled, and I motioned for my beloved to follow.
A loud yell then sounded from him before he stomped ahead and I knew that he hated what would happen from now on.
Moments later, we stopped in front of Xero's kingdom, and I was offered a place to rest for the time...But the look on Xac's face was so filled with rage and hatred, I felt it would be better to decline.
Xero knew that I rejected due to Xac's behavior alone, but despite that, said a few encouraging words before bidding me farewell.
Destructo gave me a slight nod before also leaving, and I figured that perhaps he was accepting me as well.
However, Xac remained standing nearby, before coming up to me and stopping in my face, his gaze not losing a single bit of hatred.
"You listen up, demon slime." his voice was aharp and threatening as he pressed his face close to mine, "I don't know why my lord trusts you to actually abide by your stupid promise, and quite frankly I don't care. What you did to me -- to him -- was unforgivable, and I won't let you forget it! You'll always be nothing but filth underneath my boot, and if you take a single step into our kingdom uninvited...I'll make you regret EVER entering my life! Do you understand??"
I glanced down at the ground pitifully, before he grabbed my chin and gripped it with his claws. His breath smelled of smoke from his flamethrower, and I flinched as it brushed against my face.
"I..." I tried to reply, but couldn't. I knew I wouldn't be able to prove my cause to him, and also that he wouldn't be persuaded. To him, I was vile, a monster...A fiend. I was someone who should've never been by his side...Someone who was nothing but a threat. He would never accept me, and although I wished desperately for it, I knew he had all the reason to reject me.
Xac snorted and gave my chin a shove, before blowing tiny embers from his mouth.
"Get out." he ordered.
I didn't dare try to speak, and turned before leaving him in the kingdom's entrance. I felt many emotions racing at once, and tears fell down my face.
Some were tears of joy; The almighty Lord Xero accepted me and wants to help, and his beloved was supportive of this choice. I could also have a kingdom across from his and receive his protection.
Others were tears of fear; The Temptlord was immortal, and if he was able to take over my mind, all could be lost.
Others...Were tears of sadness. Sadness because I am now realizing what I did in the past and cannot truly make up for them. Xac would never be able to forget those memories due to his role as a soldier; To have memories wiped was like running away in the army, and soldiers had to remember every single detail from past fights...Whether they were good or bad, successes or failures...Even their greatest nightmares had to remain in tact, or they'd be seen as "weak" and "running out of fear" - even if they conquered those nightmares head on.
My beloved stood a few feet away and took my shoulder, noticing the tears falling down my face. She wiped them from one side with her hand lightly, before holding me close and embracing me.
"We'll get through this. I promise." she whispered, running one hand's fingers through my hair, "I'll be with you the entire time."
I raised my head with a soft sniffle, then hugged her back before replying.
"Thank you, my love." I lowered my face to her cheek and nuzzled it lightly, "I appreciate your support."
We stood in place for a moment, before I looked up again and noticed the barren land, surrounded by mountains.
She noticed my actions and released me before facing the same direction.
"What are you thinking?" she questioned.
I didn't reply for a moment, visualizing how a kingdom would look in this place, then finally spoke.
"Here. Here will be our kingdom."
She backed away slightly as I raised one hand and pointed a claw toward the empty space, and I could tell she could see the same vision I had.
"I love it." she said, "Let's make it a reality."
I glanced back at her, noticing a smile on her face, and smiled back, wiping the remaining tears from my eyes.
"It will be, my love. It will be."
Will to Survive
Those memories will not fade, but I will not fall.
Do Not Forget
What I've become...I will not forget the good I've done.
Embrace the Now!
Behold, the new me! What you see...Is what I will be for the rest of my life!
To Create Something Beautiful
The world is filled with darkness, and I wished despirately for that to change.
I wanted to bring in something that could be admire by all - not just the few beings of darkness and mechanical soldiers that ventured between the kingdoms. No, I wanted it to be seen by anyone who had a moment to stop by, even an outsider if we miraculously had one in this world of infinite gloom.
I've heard that the mortals had things called "flowers", and a particular one caught my interest while studying them.
I was really drawn to the red ones; Their crimson petals, flowing gracefully in the breeze, creating beautiful images on the ground...The romantic feeling of being given one during a dance or a ball...
This is what I wanted to fill our world with. Even a tiny sliver around the barren wastelands would make a most glorious sight. I could surprise my beloved with one when she'd come home with our son from visits to our ally kingdom.
The only thing is...
I was not from the mortal realm. I could not use mortal things in this world.
I had to create them myself.
I used my data to formulate my own design, giving it obsidian to replace of the thorn-covered stem, and a light, red spark from my own energy to create its beautiful petals, of which were to have a warm glow when in full bloom. I never knew my memories would serve me well at this point.
Using what I could of the land, I gave the dirt a few drips of my shadows, allowing it to sink in and help the first batch grow. Despite my being able to speed the process, I decided to take it slow. Even in this realm, it was unwise to hastily complete such tasks, lest one made a mistake that could no longer be fixed.
I remembered that from the missions I took with my former host.
"No. Forget that. Focus on this."
I shook my head quickly, allowing my hair to whip around and splash a few more drops of shadows along the ground, in which I had just planted a few more roses.
Despite this not being a natural occurance within myself, I figured that maybe that extra amount could help a little and stood up, admiring the piles I carefully dug for my creations.
I couldn't help but smile at them, thinking they were my children and I was a proud parent, before chuckling softly and leaving them to grow as they wished.
A new day, and I do what I can to make it to the place where I started my tiny field.
Surprisingly, I could already see some tiny shimmers peeking out from underneath the dirt.
At this, I knelt down and examined them, smiling at the sight.
"Well, hello there." I couldn't help but say, "What are you doing out so soon?"
As if they heard me, they sparkled in response, and I chuckled before giving them a light drop of shadows.
"Don't rush yourselves." I spoke, "There's no reason to emerge so quickly. Take your time."
Another sparkle, and I gave them another fond smile before straightening up.
"Perhaps we can add a little beauty to this dull, bleak world." I muttered, "Everything's nothing but darkness and gloom. We need something to admire. You will be the perfect addition to this barren land."
After saying this, I gave them a final smile before walking away again.
I've been checking on my field on not only an hourly, but a daily basis. They are slowly growing, and I grow more excited at the sight.
It feels like months or even years since I last started on this mission, but in reality, it's only been a week.
I took another trip and am surprised at what I see.
One rose sits in the center, and I see its petals - Glowing dimly and appearing like they'll open the next day.
I notice that the others are looking the same way. All of them were at full size and had their petals, ready to bloom.
I could barely contain my excitement and gave them more drops of shadows, before exclaiming, "I must show them! They must see you!"
At this, I felt a light breeze, and as if the roses understood, one swayed forword, as if it was encouraging me to do it.
"I won't be long. I promise."
I turned and went to the Kingdom of Darkness, ready to inform of my latest achievement...
...And ran into him...
He turned toward me and flashed his claws with an angry look on his face, obviously annoyed that I ventured into the kingdom he protected without permission, before shoving me away.
"Get away from me, you filth!"
His attitude toward me was the expected. It's when I needed protection where he always surprised me.
But this wasn't the time to focus on that. I had to show my creation...But not to him.
"I need to see Lord Xero." I said, not even thinking about what to tell him should he demand a reason.
Xac crossed his arms and snorted. His eyes were still glowing that bright red color, despite a seemingly small smirk that formed on his face.
"I think not." he replied, "Why should I allow your demon butt into my lord's castle?"
I should've known he'd say that.
I sighed and knew I had to just come out and say it. Besides, he had a way of telling if one was lying, and considering he was talking to me of all people, he would deem everything I say as such.
"I want to show him something I created."
At this, Xac grabbed my arm with a loud yell.
"I KNEW WE COULDN'T TRUST YOU!" his voice was so loud, how no one came to see what was going on was beyond me -- but then again, they knew of his loud voice and violent temper.
I didn't even get a chance to continue before he stormed up to the castle, ranting about how I was "untrustworthy, slimy, dispicable" and many other terms I dare not repeat, before demanding the guard let him in and continuing toward the throne room while restarting his rant.
The guards at the throne room door barely had a chance to step aside, much less open the doors and announce our arrival, before Xac threw me onto the floor in front of Xero and shouted, "THIS IDIOT IS AT IT AGAIN! He informed of a 'creation' and it must be STOPPED!"
Despite the insisting tone in his head leader's voice, Xero sighed and motioned for him to back off so he could hear what I had to say. Despite my formerly targeting the Dark Lord, he forgave me - something I'll always remember and be grateful for.
"It's not that kind of creation." I could feel Xac's icy gaze fixed on me and began to feel nervous about what I was hoping to show them, "It's...Different. I made it near the mountainside and want you all to see."
Xero glanced at Destructo, of whom was the second king and also his beloved, and the two gave a silent nod toward each other before standing up.
"I'm personally interested in seeing what you made. Despite what just happened, you seem very proud of your achievement." he said.
A metallic sound could be heard from behind and I knew Xac's claws extended in response. The fact he let out a rather audible growl didn't help hide his continuous hatred toward me.
"You don't have to come, Commander." Xero replied, also noticing the reaction, "Stay and protect the kingdom if you want. We shouldn't have any trouble, however."
He and Destructo left the room, and I heard a sharp, "Oh, I'm coming" from Xac before he followed behind...But not before giving me a sharp glare.
I shrugged at the reaction and quickly joined the two kings before heading toward the mountains.
As if they knew I was back with them, the roses sparkled and shimmered, almost showcasing joy that I was there and eager to show them off.
Xero and Destructo noticed them right away and I could tell that they were pleased to see this sight.
However, Xac ran ahead of them, ordering they "watch for any incoming threats", before notcing no weapons of mass destruction even remotely around the area and demanding, "Where is this creation of yours?".
I heard a light chuckle from Destructo and knew that Xac always deemed weapons and warriors as the only "creations" from this world. Anything else? It was just there. Or it was an abomination.
I gave him a moment to try figuring it out, but after noticing his increasing anger, gestured toward the field of glistening roses.
At this, his anger seemed to fade, and was replaced with a mixture of surprise and confusion.
He mimicked my gesture and asked, "This?", to which I couldn't help but grin back.
That didn't last, however, because before I knew it, Xac was chuckling lightly before straight out laughing and mocking all I've done - even to the point I began to question myself.
"THIS...THIS THING...Is your...Great creation?" he could barely speak between howling laughter and I glanced at the roses, of which seemed to be losing their luster, "What kind of idiot grows flowers in this world? WHO THOUGHT THIS WOULD WORK??"
He took another glance at the field before finally calming down for a moment.
"Let me guess...You filled these with your precious powers, right?" he reached down with one hand and barely tapped a rose with his claw before jerking away quickly, "I don't sense any demonic energy within them...But...This is ridiculous! You're hoping these would appeal to others? No one in this world cares about stupid nature! Your goal? Pointless! Your efforts? Useless! Why don't you go back to doing what you're actually good at and save us the trouble of this nonsense?!"
At this, I began to feel angry, and Xero could tell that I was deeply hurt by these comments. He gave Xac a sharp "Enough", to which the unruly soldier finally backed off, still trying to hold back more chuckles before finally returning to his...Usual self.
I gave the roses another glance, and saw that again, they were looking more faded, like they, too, were hurt by what was just said. I didn't even care about Xac being nearby, and quickly gave them what could've been enough shadows to create a river in the mortal world, hoping to help them heal.
More chuckles from Xac, before a muffled sound came from him, and I figured that Xero covered his mouth to silence him.
"I think you did a wonderful thing, trying to bring some beauty into our world." I then heard Xero speak, "No matter what is said by others, I want you to continue working on that goal. I never knew I'd enjoy such a sight between our glorious kingdoms."
Destructo nodded, having been silent all this time, then added, "I'd love to give one to a certain someone should they bloom in the future. Of course, only if you'd let me. They're wonderful to look at out here as well."
The roses began to sparkle a little again and I turned toward them, a tiny smile on my face.
"I'd be honored, my lord." I replied, "If we're lucky, they should bloom tomorrow."
Destructo and Xero gave me a reassuring nod before turning and pushing Xac in the same direction. I heard soft snickering from him before he muttered, "Good luck with that plan." and followed them as casually as he could.
I turned back toward the field, noticing how the roses seemed to be recovering, and sighed.
."I won't lose hope in you. We're so close. We must...Prove him wrong."
A new day, and I could barely sleep last night, worrying about what was said about the roses was true.
Would anyone appreciate them? Would anyone care about them?
Xero and Destructo were the only ones to acknowledge their beauty. Xac's reaction was predictable, but it still hurt.
"They have to...They just...Have to."
I didn't even bother preparing myself that morning and quickly went to the field, hoping to see them in full bloom, or maybe even partial....
But they weren't.
In fact, they were gone. Wilted, their glistening stems shattered and all that could be seen were streaks of black, not even the obsidian I used to make them. They were just like mere shadows...Smoke...
They were dead.
"No...This...This can't happen!"
I fell to my knees, hoping to find even a single survivor, but to no avail.
The whole field was a wasteland, with not even a dim glow to shine.
In fact, the petals were the same shade of black as the stems, as if all my power was removed from them and they took another form...
I suddenly remembered how Xac mocked me for this creation, this goal I set for myself. I stood up sharply, rage consuming my emotions, and didn't even think of any other reason why this happened aside from...
"HE DID THIS."
My claws extended and dug into the ground, and I felt a powerful anger coursing throughout my entire body, before letting out a loud yell.
"XAAAAAAC! I'LL GET YOU FOR THIS!"
As soon as I said this, I vanished, re-emerging in front of Xac's base. Rage was the only thing controlling me at this point and I ripped through the door with my claws before finding him sitting on his metal chair, going through various studies.
Before he could react, I lunged at him with such incredible speed and flung him off the chair, before pinning him against the wall with one hand.
"I KNEW--" he began, but then realized that this wasn't like me...This was like my former self.
"YOU...You destroyed them! YOU DESTROYED THEM ALL!" I shouted, not even giving him another chance to speak.
He gave me a shove of his hand, but due to my ability to manipulate my body's physical capabilities, it only went through the shadows while my hand was able to remain holding him with a solid grip.
"What are you talking about?" despite my grip, he was able to remain sharp and brave, and I still felt like he was playing innocent.
"You know what!" I growled, "The roses I grew! The ones you hated! The ones you doubted! It's because of you they're gone!"
A snort in reply only made me angrier, and I heard him speak, his voice somewhat mocking despite his otherwise irritated tone.
"I didn't touch your little daisies." he attempted another shove, but again, to no avail, "Now, let me go or I'll force you!"
I threw him aside and readied to engage in a heated brawl, but suddenly, Xero emerged in the room and stopped us. Somehow, his appearance alone made me regain control of my emotions and I realized that I began to convert back to my old self...Something I really want to prevent from happening again.
My lord--" Xac began, but a quick raise of Xero's hand stopped him short.
It's not because of him they're dead." Xero spoke, to which I was surprised he knew about them from the start, "I'm not sure of the causes otherwise, but I assure you it was not Xac's doing...Even if he hated the thought of them in our world."
Xac opened his mouth to reply, but closed it. He knew that if he dared talk back to his lord, he could be in big trouble.
"You made a great effort. I hope you try again. These creations of yours...I've enjoyed hearing about them. Please, don't give up on your dreams. You're proving yourself worth my continuous support, and I want you to continue toward a greater future."
Xero's words - while genuine and filled with kindness - didn't really help me feel much better. I felt tears filling my eyes, but hid them enough to bid him farewell and barely utter an apology toward Xac before leaving the kingdom.
I reappeared beside my wilted field and sat beside it, buring my face in my arms and allowing the tears to finally fall.
"Was it meant to be?"
I looked up and saw a sad wisp of shadows from the center rose, as if it was replying once again.
"Perhaps...Not in this world."
The rose fully fell apart at this, followed by the rest of the field, and I allowed myself to mourn the losses of not only a prized project, but what could've been the world's prized possession.
I failed them...All of them...
And the world...Will never see your brilliant shine.
A sudden scent fills the room and it smells strangely like meat.
Ultimo 00 turns toward one side and you notice a huge grin on his face.
Ah, it must be time to eat. Heh, and what good timing. I was getting rather hungry.
A Shadowling brings a plate of freshly cooked meat to the side of the couch, and bows before his lord, holding it up for him to try a piece.
Ultimo 00 takes a piece and eats it, the grin growing wider.
Excellent work! It tastes wonderful. he exclaimed, to which the Shadowling beamed proudly, I see you took my tips to heart. I'm proud of you.
One of the Shadowlings remaining beside Ultimo taps his shoulder and gestures toward you, noticing your watching them.
Ultimo 00 turns toward you as well and a light chuckle escapes his mouth.
Oh, my apologies. I guess I've taken up more time than I should've. he gives his hand a light flick, and a portal leading out emerges behind you, I suppose you'll be heading back now? But do come visit again. I could always use more company.
You give him a nod before bidding him farewell and start to leave, then remember what was said before you entered the castle.
Forgot to mention...The Prince says hi.
Ultimo 00 chuckles and shakes his head, muttering, Oh, A'Lito...You silly boy. then replies, Thanks for telling me. I'll be sure to let him know you mentioned it.
Giving him a bow in response, you then head through the portal, emerging back in between the two kingdoms. Guess you'll just have to keep looking for an exit.
However, despite that and what all's been said about the shadow demon, you realized that Ultimo 00 was certainly trying to improve himself, and his redemption couldn't be far.
He sounded better than his former selves, at least...That's something, right?