Me and Marley lead the charge into the streets of San Francisco, Carnage’s minions already painting the town red.
They crawled out of the woodwork and attacked, turning any fluffies they could, killing most humanoids in their path, and forcing those they briefly spare to paint the words “CARNAGE RULES!” in blood on the walls before killing them too.
In hindsight, going into the sewers might have been the best idea.
I hate to say I told you so, but yeah, I FUCKING TOLD YOU SO. We’ve reached complete fan shittification in record time.
You’re not going to stop saying that word, are you Niv?
Not until it’s in Webster’s Dictionary! Remember, ALL words are made up!
You’re not wrong, Niv, but I think you mean Merriam-Webst–
Guys! Not the time for your usual silliness!
Carnage has plenty of enemies standing in his way. The ChaotiX has portaled in to help the local authorities protect the Golden City from becoming the Scarlet City.
And I’ve received word from my old friend General Lucas that the military is on the way to lend assistance too. They should be here soon.
I’m in Luminary Form and barking out orders to both my squad and the ChaotiX members working on the evacuation.
“LEAVE THE FIGHTING TO THE SQUAD, TEAM!!! FOCUS ON GETTING THE BYSTANDERS OUT, THEN HELP US FIGHT!!! AND REMEMBER, VAL WANTS US TO CAPTURE A FEW OF THEM ALIVE, SO HOLD YOUR LITERAL FIRE FOR NOW!!! SQUAD, MAKE SOME NOISE!!!”
I want the enemy to hear that.
You see, if Carnage’s forces are focusing on trying to stop us from evacuating, they won’t be turning fluffies.
We’ve already seen how they’re doing it. The Carnage fluffies are forcing regular fluffies to eat bits of their biomass.
God, it’s the Forces of Nature, but worse. At least the fluffies that Floris the golem turned into garden fluffies couldn’t turn other fluffies.
Time to fix this.
I pull my sonic cannon out of my bag, and fire it just as the rest of the squad does the same, unleashing rippling blasts of sonic shockwaves at the Carnage fluffies.
Taarn, having six arms to work with, is using three cannons at once, allowing him to fire in three directions at the same time, and Sarul’s taking care not to fire in Venom’s direction.
Danny and Reilly are fighting back to back, firing their cannons at the enemy, Ghost and Mayday backing them up with ecto blasts and webs respectively.
Yes, Danny has one of those things too. The ghostly wail is more of a “for emergencies” power, because it leaves Danny and Ghost wiped after one use.
Maybe me and Marley should have copied that.
I mean, we could probably get a couple of uses out of it before we’d have to take a breather.
As Dave opens fire too, Slayer scares the hungry hordes off just by leering at them, blowing kisses, and enfing the air.
Venom’s swinging away, leading a bunch of the bastards towards the Transamerica Pyramid, and Drake, Diablo and Dexter are wreathing themselves in flames and following Venom.
I know I said to hold back on the flames for now, but unlike me and Mar, those three can’t fly if they’re not all Jim Hammond’d up.
Or Johnny Storm’d up, if you didn’t get the reference.
Goddamnit, that uncomfortable feeling is back.
Get a grip, Cal, you’ve got bigger fish to fry.
Victor has a shit-eating grin on his scarred face as he finally gets to use his new dubstep cannon.
“I once met a guy with a badass metal arm at the Inn, and he said that dubstep is for pussies! IF ONLY HE COULD SEE THIS SHIT!!!”
WUB WUB WUB WUB WUB
As those Carnage fluffies recover, Scarface moves to attack them.
“BANG-A-WANG DEM MUMMAHFUKKAHS, VICTOW!!!”
When one of them tries to stab Scarface’s eye out with a tendril, the little moron unwittingly goes for the cybernetic eye, and the tendril just bounces off.
“HA!!! NICE TWY, YU FUKKIN DUMMEH!!!”
That thing’s got all of the same vision modes that Pierre’s eyes do. It can see in both absolute darkness and blinding light, it can scan things and display data to Scarface on a HUD, it can see what’s really there, and it has thermal vision, infrared vision, and X-ray vision, which doesn’t use actual X-rays.
It’s called that for convenience’s sake, Doc wouldn’t go around blasting radiation out of his eyes.
Because Scarface doesn’t have the cybernetics to change modes with mental commands, like Pierre does, Erwin designed the eye so that Scarface can operate it with voice commands instead.
Valerie did say that it was designed specifically for Scarface.
And Victor said that Pierre’s upgraded his own eyes a lot.
Unfortunately, Carnage’s Klyntar seems to have built up a tolerance for sonic attacks, as Sarul speculated. We’re weakening its hold over those fluffies, but we’re not breaking it.
One silver lining is that several of the infected fluffies have already found the sonic traps, and the bubbles those fluffies are sealed in are being portalled out to Valerie’s lab to be studied in peace and quiet.
The Nerd Squad is there, most of the squad working double time on putting more sonic cannons together to arm anyone who still doesn’t have one yet.
With portal and blipper tech, getting those cannons to the battlefield won’t be any harder than getting those quarantined fluffies to the lab is.
But we need to try harder to get that gunk off.
“HIT 'EM AGAIN!!! HIT 'EM HARDER!!!”
Everyone turns up the juice, firing again.
WUB WUB WUB WUB WUB
There’s a dial on these things, and yes, it does go up to eleven, but Valerie warned us not to dial it to the max unless we have to.
Which all but guarantees that we will have to use it at some point.
Narrative causality is a bitch.
Okay, all of these fluffies look pretty much the same with that red crap on! How are we supposed to know which one is the REAL Carnage?
For all intents and purposes, they’re all Carnage. He must be controlling them through the unique symbiotic bond. But the original host is the queen-- or rather, KING of this hivemind.
That’s Madam Valerie’s hypothesis, alright. Depending on how many of her theories are accurate, I think we will KNOW when we’ve unmasked Patient Zero.
Venom and Bellikose have told us a thing or two about what the Klyntar can and can’t do, so there’ll be one obvious clue.
And once we’ve found the source of the Klyntar outbreak, we can put an end to this bloodbath.
Not without too many casualties, we hope.
But the real Carnage could be ANY of these little bastards! It’s like trying to find a needle in a big stack of needles!
Niv, you’re supposed to be able to figure shit out before I do. Don’t you see it? Don’t you see what’s happening here?
This is a shell game, but with a lot more cups. I don’t know where Carnage learned about shell games, but we can ask him when we find him.
His minions don’t seem to be very chatty.
Judging by the look on Victor’s face, he’s figured it out too.
“MAYBE THEY SHOULD START CALLING ME KILLEX!!!”
WUB WUB WUB WUB WUB
But he’s Victor. Of course he’d know his scams.
You gotta try hard to scam him, and he’ll probably end up scamming you, to punish you for thinking you actually could scam him.
What I’m saying is, Carnage isn’t here. At least, he’s not out fighting. He’s hiding away and letting his flunkies keep his enemies distracted, and away from him.
Haven’t we seen that so many times?
However, for once, I’m not the villain’s main target.
Point is, as long as we stick close to Venom, we’ll find the real Carnage sooner or later.
We don’t have to go looking for him. He’ll practically come to us.
Cal, who knows what he’s up to while he’s hiding? He could be turning more fluffies as we speak!
You’re right. But the ChaotiX has their orders, so they’ll be getting anyone the Carnage’d up fluffies can turn out of range.
And it looks like the local police have gotten with the program, so there’s that.
If we can keep the horde away from fluffies to turn and humanoids to kill, we can stop this horror show from going out of control.
Yeah, if this red crap spreads across America, we might as well call it Carnage, U.S.A. or some shit. United States of Carnage? Iunno.
That’s the worst case scenario here. The best case scenario, unlikely as it is, would be eliminating every last scrap of Carnage’s biomass.
I’ve still got multiple people working on a solution back home.
Let’s see if any of them come through for us.
You don’t think that killing the leader will end this immediately, do you?
That has happened before, Niv. Like how Bertie had dead man’s switches implanted in his forces.
But this is much, much different. If even one piece of that red crap escapes, Carnage will survive, and we’ll be doing this again later down the line.
What we need is a way to drive all of these little bastards to the same place, and keep any of them from leaving San Francisco.
And that, dear readers, is something we’ve planned for. We’ve got plenty of tricks in store for these slimy red fuckers.
First, we seal the fuckers in.
MIKA, any word from Valerie and Jack yet?
It should be going up in about a minute, Cal.
Tell Val to have it up in half a minute.
Venom scales the Transamerica Pyramid, fighting the Carnage fluffies the whole way up.
As they reach the top, Venom sees a massive force field, spreading to cover all of San Francisco.
“Otay, wut am dat?”
Drake, Diablo and Dexter follow Venom up, all three pyrokinetics wreathed in flames, and Drake uses his sonic cannon to send the Carnage fluffies falling back to the ground before they reach Venom at the top.
“It’s a specialized anti-Klyntar force field, Venom! Nothing with Klyntar DNA can pass through it!”
“Su, we am twapped in dis sitty wif awwa deez bas-tuwds?”
Dexter grins maliciously.
“Nu. Dey am twapped in dis sitty wif us.”
“Yu haf bin wait-in tu say dat, haf-unt yu.”
“Yu knu it, Diabwo.”
As more Carnage fluffies try to get to the top of the Transamerica Pyramid, Drake lets them have it again.
“Keep in mind, Little V, that all of us can still pass through it! I’m not sure if Cal and Niv can, but they can bypass it, and we can help you do the same! So just stick to the plan! Get moving, and let all of us clear a path for you! This is your party!”
Drake is deliberately not mentioning the fact that Sarul can’t pass through the force field either.
There’s a lot of Carnage’s minions in earshot.
Venom looks down at the streets far below.
They’ve made this jump before.
“Wite. Hewe we come, Cawnage.”
They leap off, and once they’re near the ground, they swing away on a black web.
Meanwhile, Michelle hides in her office, under her desk.
The door has been barricaded with all of the other furniture in the office.
She doesn’t think it’s enough to keep the monsters currently attacking San Francisco out, but she hopes that it will delay them, if only for a few minutes.
Right now, she’s not sure that she’ll see the end of the hour, let alone the end of the night. She considers every second that she’s not being eaten alive a blessing.
When the Carnage fluffies began their attack, Michelle immediately fled back to her workplace, simply because it was closer than her apartment.
She’d love to run away, but she’s under instructions to stay in the city, and the instructor didn’t specify that there was an exception for this.
Michelle also isn’t sure what she’s going to tell the police or the ChaotiX, if they find her hiding in here and attempt to evacuate her.
Not the truth, obviously.
Frankly, she has no idea what the fuck to do anymore, other than not get killed.
She’s trying to make a call on her phone, but whoever she’s calling isn’t answering.
“Come oooonnnn… pick up, pick up! Don’t leave me hanging now! Fucking typical. Korkea comes to town, and everything goes to Hell five minutes later. Did he get bored of his own city being trashed?”
Just as Michelle gives up and disconnects, she sees a text message arrive from the very number she was trying to call.
Dear Michelle, do not panic. I am occupied at the moment, but I am aware of the situation in San Francisco and I am already doing what I can. Everything is going exactly as I have foreseen. So have no fear, this nightmare will not last, and the radiant Light of Peace will shine upon San Francisco yet. I have not forgotten our deal. Stay in your office, keep the curtains closed, draw no attention to yourself, and open the door for no one. Regrettably, I must also ask that you keep the lights off. You will be safe from the events unfolding outside your workplace as long as you stay where you are and follow my instructions, I promise, and I will contact you again when it is safe to leave. Please do not attempt to contact me until then, I am, unfortunately, very busy. Peacefully yours, Lucian.
Michelle swears softly as she bumps her head on the desk while crawling out from under it, and as she gets up, she rubs her head before she slowly tiptoes over to the light switch.
“What’s with that last part? It’s a text, not a letter. Man, that guy really is old. He seems like a hunt-and-peck kinda guy, no wonder it took him so long to type that.”
After she reluctantly turns the light off, plunging her office into darkness, and starts tiptoeing back towards the desk, using her phone’s flashlight mode to light the way, Michelle realizes something again.
“But how did he know that I’m in my office?”
As I drive a dozen of the Carnage fluffies away from a feral mare, I see our five humanoid nephilim members land, all in nephilim form.
Marley teleports away with the mare.
And I turn to Scott.
“Holy fire barricades, now please!”
“Better use it while I still HAVE it. You heard him, guys!”
The nephilim get to work, blocking streets off with walls of holy fire, too tall to swing over.
The only people it’ll burn are people who deserve to burn. So, all of the bystanders can get through without the Carnage fluffies following them.
If they CAN’T get through, they’re hiding some serious skeletons in their closets.
Perhaps that holy fire can purge the Klyntar from those fluffies without harming the hosts.
That’s assuming they haven’t been completely assimilated, Fi.
And assuming we can get them through the fire. And the flames, sorry, HAD to say it.
On that note, where’s Edward?
He’s evacuating too, MIKA. You should know that, you can keep track of every team member’s position.
And Erdrick’s on Magicca, in Dragonheart Palace, because we don’t want Carnage to infect him.
That would make Erd, what, a Klyntar dragon or something? Right, like THAT’LL ever catch on! What’s next? Combining nanotech with a Klyntar?
Well, my design IS partially inspired by Klyntar biology.
That doesn’t mean that Carnage can infect YOU, does it?
Do you really think that Cal would be wearing the Endo-Klyn Suit right now if Carnage COULD do that, Niv?
So… what happens if Carnage tries?
If he’s smart, he won’t find out.
Marley returns from evacuating the mare. We’ve got safe zones set up north, south, and east of San Francisco, outside the force field.
Obviously, not west. Not a lotta dry land that way.
“How manee fwuffies am weft, daddeh?”
I blast another dozen of the bastards coming at us.
“If we keep evacuating, we’ll run out of unturned fluffies sooner or later!”
“An whewe am Venom?”
“Getting into position!”
“Shud we nu gu af-tew him? Dem? Wuteba.”
Heh. Me and Mar are often on the same wavelength.
“We will! But we want Carnage to think that Venom’s alone! If he knows about the ChaotiX, he won’t attack Venom if we’re with them!”
“…Yu meen, if he see us wif dem.”
“You’re catching on! Follow my lead, buddy!”
I call to the next group of motherfuckers.
“HEY!!! CARNAGE!!! IT DOESN’T MATTER IF YOUR FLUFFY FLUNKIES CORNER ME AND MAR, WE CAN TELEPORT!!! COME AND GET US IF YOU’VE GOT THE BALLS!!!”
Instead of blasting them, I run away, Marley following me, the Carnage fluffies chasing us.
The two of us can easily outrun them, but I don’t want them to lose us.
We need to keep them at the optimal distance.
As we turn left into an alleyway, fortuitously being a dead end, I revert to base form, and put the sonic cannon back in my bag, getting something else from it.
“You see where I’m going with this, Mar?”
“Mawwey fink su, daddeh.”
“Good, because every second counts and I don’t have time to explain.”
Just as the Carnage fluffies chasing Calvin and Marley reach the alleyway their quarry ducked into, they hear a sound.
When the Carnage fluffies enter the alleyway, Calvin and Marley are nowhere to be seen, and nowhere to be smelled. The scent trail ends in the alleyway, as if they suddenly disintegrated.
Carnage did, in fact, hear Calvin’s taunt, through the ears of the forces chasing the Omegas.
So he’s drawn his conclusion regarding where they’ve gone, and commands the fluffies he sent after them to continue the search elsewhere.
Unfortunately for him, his conclusion is inaccurate.
One minute after the Carnage fluffies have left the alleyway, a disembodied voice snickers.
“Hook, line, and stinker.”
Having turned invisible, I smirk at Marley, even though he can’t see it.
I slipped my Ring of True Seeing on before doing this, so, despite the fact that Marley is currently invisible too, I can still see him.
“You get it, buddy? Now, if we suddenly disappear, Carnage will assume that we just teleported away.”
Delightfully devilish, Cal!
I wasn’t sure if this would work, but let’s see how long the ruse lasts.
Probably longer than Hans’ ruses on Devil Island lasted, at any rate.
Hey, why should Bellikose be the only ones giving Carnage a ride on the Ruse Cruise tonight?
Speaking of, I also sprayed some scent suppressant on both of us, so Carnage couldn’t sniff us out. I’ve been keeping a few cans in my bag ever since the Primal Earth mission.
“It wuz pwetty im-pwess-if, how daddeh made da tewe-powt soun.”
I make a popping sound with my mouth.
It sounds exactly like the sound Spacecake’s teleportation power makes. There’s a subtle difference between that and the sound teleporting with Zum makes, y’know.
“I’ve always had a bit of a knack for impressions, Mar. In hindsight, it might have been a hint about what was to come. Here, listen to this.”
I do a passable impersonation of Umbra’s deep, raspy voice, with an exaggerated whiny tone.
“Blah blah blah, I alone deserve to rule, blah blah blah, the future refuses to change, blah blah blah, Slayer, please stop cornholing me!”
“Gud wun, Mawwey aw-mos fowt dat Umbwa wuz ack-shu-awwy hewe. Uh, su speek-in of Swayew, wut du yu fink he am up tu?”
We watch a few soldiers run past the alleyway. Ah, looks like the army’s here.
“Probably searching the city for Carnage with Dave and a throbbing hard-on. Okay, let’s move.”
We take flight, leaving the alleyway behind.
Kirk, having borrowed a truck from the military, drives down one of San Francisco’s infamously steep streets, a big grin on his face as he chases several dozen Carnage fluffies and honks the horn frequently, a makeshift sonic attack.
The Carnage fluffies are frantically swinging away on red webs, but every honk of the horn disrupts the Klyntar’s bond enough to send them falling to the ground.
However, they recover and swing away again before they land.
Kirk doesn’t know how exactly this idea occured to him, and he was lucky enough that the military has already arrived to help evacuate and fight, and was willing to lend him one of their vehicles.
After he explained what he was going to do with it, they quickly agreed, on the grounds that it would be really funny to watch.
When General Lucas saw the ChaotiX logo on Kirk’s chest, he preemptively decided to give Kirk whatever he was about to ask for, and ordered his men to listen to the ChaotiX.
Seeing as General Lucas has worked with the ChaotiX before, he’s the military’s go-to guy for handling ChaotiX-related matters now, and the military’s liaison with the ChaotiX. He’s not a Fluffy Cabal member, but he’s as good as.
One of his daughters just had another baby, and he’s secretly hoping that he’ll get the chance to show Calvin a picture.
He thinks Calvin will get a good laugh out of the camo pattern diaper.
Anyway, the idea of a large army truck chasing someone down the sloping streets of San Francisco just resonated deeply with Kirk, for reasons he simply couldn’t explain.
He can’t shake the notion that San Francisco would have been a better stage for his first encounter with Calvin and Marley, either.
And he has no idea why he keeps looking for rails to grind on.
It’s not like he has a skateboard on him.
On the Golden Gate Bridge, people storm across the bridge, through the force field halfway across it, fleeing north to Marin County.
A few of those people were able to save their fluffies from infection, and are carrying them out.
And a horde of the Carnage fluffies is chasing the fleeing masses, but the force field is working as intended, keeping the attackers from following their prey out of San Francisco.
When one of the Carnage fluffies attempts to penetrate the force field, his hoof passes through, but the red Klyntar biomass is stripped off, the monstrous stallion shrieking in pain, his biomass bubbling.
As the Carnage fluffy quickly pulls his hoof back, the red slime covers it again, just as quickly.
Then the ferocious fluffies hear a wooshing overhead, and see Dew the goblin, riding his bat-shaped glider and packing a goblin-sized sonic cannon.
The sound of a second wooshing heralds the arrival of Tapping on an identical glider, also packing a goblin-sized sonic cannon.
As the two goblins scream insults in their native nutcracker language, they open fire, driving the Carnage fluffies back to the south.
Still invisible, me and Marley fly over San Francisco City Hall, seeing three quarters of the Swole Patrol blasting Carnage fluffies with sonic cannons on the lawn.
They’re all strong enough to dual wield sonic cannons, so they’re doing that.
You probably don’t need to be told which member of the Swole Patrol is missing, dear readers.
The one who doesn’t have hands.
“Dat kinna wook wike da Pweh-sih-dent housie.”
“Well, it’s not. The White House is closer to the East Coast, Mar. Of course, in a year or two, we might be calling the White House Jeremy’s crib, instead.”
He said it’s never too early to start campaigning. It’s important to get his name out there, and in the heads of voters.
“Yu fink dat he am gunna weh-noh-vate if he win, daddeh? Cuz Mawwey gutta be awn-est, Mawwey fink dat Jewemy mite paint da pwace bwack. He awways dwess in bwack, him fwuffy am bwack, if he knoo kah-wah-tee, he wud be a bwack bewt wike Weinew, but Jewemy gee wud be bwack tuu.”
“Ha! The White House would look good in black, buddy. Okay, let’s focus on the mission.”
We’ve got stealthed drones following Venom, so we won’t lose track of their position in the city.
And they’re the main target, so wherever they are is the most likely place for the real Carnage to make his grand entrance.
But I know a lot of things that Carnage doesn’t.
Narrative causality makes certain demands at times like this, and I’m going to play along.
I mean, the big rematch between Venom and Carnage is coming. If we’re doing this, we’re doing this properly.
See, a fight like that… it deserves an appropriate arena.
Mmm, no, I don’t think ARENA is the right word.
It’s close, though.
Perhaps the right word is “boss room”?
Not really, Memories. It’s not like there’s gonna be a suspiciously convenient pile of healing items waiting for us, outside a big door that is GUARANTEED to ominously slam shut behind us.
And, perhaps, a shortcut back to the start of the dungeon. I mean CITY. I mean… fuck it, you get the point.
Perhaps you can guess what the right word is, dear readers?
It shouldn’t be very hard.
Meanwhile, in an alleyway in Chinatown…
Chaos suddenly appears, in jester form.
And he’s not alone.
He’s accompanied by an average-looking man, wearing a hideous sweater.
The man is wielding a sonic cannon, looking at it with hesitation like it might explode in his hands any second now.
“So, uh, what’s the point of this little field trip? I haven’t earned enough points to buy my way here yet, so I’m a bit confused that you’d let me come here. What the fuck do I need this thing for? And what’s making all that noise? Do I want to see what’s happening outside this alleyway?”
That sonic cannon is the very same one which Chaos requested from the Nerd Squad, and he has painted it in rainbow colors.
“Probably not. I’ll give you the straight answers to your questions free of charge: we’re going to be doing something similar to a thing I once did with Goldilocks, back during the World Revolution. Or rather, you’re going to do it, boyo.”
“I don’t know who Goldilocks is, or what the World Revolution was, and I don’t think this is a good time for that story, so please, Chaos, just get to the point.”
“For the record, it’s a really good story, and Yours Truly plays a starring role, but if you insist, I’ll save it for another day. The point, my sweater-wearing friend, is that tonight, you’ll be playing a bonus round of our little game.”
“So… what’s the laser gun for? Do you want me to fry some abusers?”
“For the last time, it’s not a laser gun, it’s a sonic cannon. So you can’t fry anyone with it.”
“But then what is this sonic doohickey for? Am I supposed to deafen abusers with it? Because, uh, well, fluffy voices can be kinda annoying sometimes, deafening abusers might just be doing them a favor…”
Chaos pats the sweater-clad man on the shoulder with a gloved hand, speaking up in his usual cheerful, flamboyant voice.
“Are you familiar with the Klyntar, boyo?”
“Vaguely-- ohshit. I’m not here to…”
“You are. You see, a rather nasty Klyntar has infested a lot of dear little fluffies here, and tonight, you can earn some extra points by saving those fluffies.”
Chaos points at the man’s sweater, and a big glowing “X2” appears on the front of it.
The rest of the sweater turns gold and silver, and while the wearer thinks that it’s awfully gaudy, he suspects that it’s merely a temporary indicator of something.
As he looks down at his ugly, now gaudy sweater’s front, his suspicion is rapidly confirmed.
After a couple of seconds, the X2 starts fading away, one little sliver per second, starting from the top, much like a photograph of someone who accidentally traveled back in time and prevented his parents from falling in love.
Chaos puts a pair of comically thick, round glasses on over his harlequin mask, pulls out a pointer, and points it at a chalkboard that wasn’t there five seconds ago.
The board is black, and bears three cartoonish chalk drawings, separated by vertical lines: the sweater-clad man firing the sonic cannon at a Carnage fluffy, the Klyntar, emitting wavy stink lines, slithering away from its host, and a caricature of the sweater-clad man’s head, a big grin on his face and a X and a 2 in his left and right eyes, his head surrounded by little hearts, flowers, and fluffy heads.
Naturally, the chalk is rainbow-colored.
“You’ll get double the points you’d usually get for helping each fluffy, until the sun rises. And this fabulous toy I’ve loaned you will help you with that. I’ve, ah, given it some upgrades, it’ll serve you well, and I think you’ll be able to figure out what to do with it, it’s very user-friendly. Of course, I am going to need that back when you’re done with it. I can’t let you keep a toy that powerful.”
The sweater-clad man glances at his sleeve.
“And I can’t say that I don’t need those extra points. But what about Electra?”
“Don’t worry, I’ve got someone keeping an eye on her for you, and that someone is me. Yes, I can be in more than one place at the same time.”
“I’m not going to survive this, am I? Is this another trap, Chaos? Are you trying to get me killed?”
“And end the game so soon? Oh, no. I give you my word that if you make an honest effort to save as many fluffies as you can, you’ll return to your hotel room safe and sound by the end of the night. No tricks, no traps, no I didn’t say that yadda yadda yadda weasel word shenanigans. And as a little treat, you’ll find that your sweater will not itch for as long as you are in San Francisco. I don’t want you being distracted by the itching.”
“Gee, thanks. If I die tonight, at least I won’t die itchy.”
“That’s the spirit! Good luck, boyo! And have fun! I’ll be back to pick you up after your playdate.”
“Wait, you’re not staying?”
“I think I can trust you to behave while you’re here.”
The sweater-clad man looks up.
“There’s a force field covering the city.”
Chaos does the same, replying as casually as if the sweater-clad man had just said that it looks like it’s going to rain.
“My, there is a force field!”
“Did you put that there? Is that there to keep me from running away?”
“Not everything is about you, y’know. So no, I think that’s there to keep the Klyntar from running away.”
“So, I can run away, but they can’t. Good to know!”
“Oh, by the way, if you attempt to flee, your sweater will become one million times itchier the moment you leave city limits.”
“…Never mind. Shoulda seen that one coming…”
“See? You’re learning.”
With that, Chaos vanishes, taking the chalkboard with him, and the sweater-clad man sighs.
“Y’know, I always wanted to go to Frisco too. Never thought it would be like this.”
He peeks out of the alleyway, seeing the battle unfolding.
When he sees Kyle in his tie-dye battle suit, tricking Carnage fluffies into attacking illusionary fluffies, the sweater-clad groans, shaking his head and murmuring to himself.
“Tie-dye, Kyle? Really? And a big alien head on the back? Man, they’ve got no taste in the ChaotiX.”
He grits his teeth, steeling himself.
“ChaotiX members everywhere… monster fluffies tearing shit up… and fucking Korkea’s probably somewhere out there. This is insane. I shouldn’t be here. But I shouldn’t be in Korkeaopolis either. Welp, it’s this or hot chocolate time. If I’m lucky, I can get through this without running into Korkea.”
Then, Ugly Sweater Guy, as he’s come to be called, joins the fray with extreme reluctance.
“Electra’s right, though. I can’t run away from him forever. I just hope he’s too busy to talk…”