Chapter IX : The New World I

Chapter IX : The New World

“ Dance of the Immortals ”

Awash with Black Blood, Errol’s iris and retina were completely black. One could assume that it was just one of the effects of a defensive mechanism which was triggered by Five’s attack, for her appearance, though similar to when she synchronized with Hunter, was strikingly different from how she looked like before. The black thorn-like markings on her body moved every now and then; it gave off the illusion that rather than being permanent marks on her body, they were moving parts that surfaced only when needed.

“ I don’t know why the Mechanism created such imperfect trash, “ Eight glanced at the pile of flesh which used to be Seven, “ But they made things easy for me. “

The long-haired girl ran her fingers through her black strands as Errol tossed the red ball of thorns at her. The vine snake put its head over its creator; numerous spikes emerged from the beast and it impaled the ball, and then the snake tossed the red weapon aside. More spikes appeared around the snake’s head and along where its spine should be. Once the transformation was done, Eight’s pet looked more like ancient Earth’s mythical beast, the dragon.

“ I can do this, see? “ the eighth copy taunted her opponent, “ But all you have is that filthy mutant. And them.“

Linnorm ignored the statement even as Eight nodded at its direction. The old snake had lived through so many moments and rebirths; such a childish remark would not provoke it. In front of Eight, Errol remained expressionless and fixated on her target’s face. If one looked through the Overlord’s eyes, what would they see? Darkness? Colors? Maybe red?

Within Errol’s head, there were many voices. Through her eyes, she saw nothing but black and white. The World was black and it was littered by many small white specks. Those specks moved… and they spoke to her. They asked many questions; they questioned her motives- they asked her what she wanted. The only other creature that could hear the many small voices was Puppy, whose antennae pointed at Errol’s direction. At a frequency which was inaudible to humans or animals, the ancient, minuscule extremophilic tardigrades spoke to Errol and to their gigantic descendant.

“ What I don’t understand… “ Eight suddenly broke the silence, “ … is why… I can’t control them. “

Her voice sounded cross as she looked at Errol.

“ I will not accept this imperfection! “ she pointed at the true Overlord, “ I will take all that you have, and I will rule them all! “

“ Ah, cannibalism. One of the most barbaric of ancient practices, “ the Overlord finally spoke up, still expressionless. Her voice sounded hollow, “ You wish to eat your enemy’s heart to gain her strength? “

Eight didn’t explain any further. Vines from her dragon beast grabbed the girl’s body and pulled her into its neck. She vanished behind the spikes and thorns, and the creature itself lunged at Errol. The latter could hear the voices that warned her of the impending attack before it happened. Despite Eight’s control over their counterparts from a far corner of space, she could not control their kind which resided in the World. For the ancient tardigrades which populated the whole World, the original Overlord was the only creature of a different species which was worthy of their power.

With the strength of her will, the true Overlord guided life on the planet through the Age of the Sun. Despite the pattern of her blood which allowed her to communicate with the Ancient Ones, as the Overlord, she did not use her abilities all the time. Just like every other living being on the forsaken rock which was slowly crumbling away due to the sun’s heat, she had filthy, blistered hands and feet. Over time, in addition to her natural ability to command the minuscule tardigrades which were unseen by humans, she also gained their respect and trust. But Black Blood did not come without a price; as she spent more time with the Ancient Ones, she felt more disconnected with other creatures of the World.

Despite their hesitation, the ancient tardigrades encouraged the Overlord to live her life amongst the humans. We’re always here, they said, even though you can’t see us with your human eyes. Extremophiles of an unmatchable level, ancient tardigrades never die. They merely multiply and occasionally drift off the planet to settle on another one. The Ancient Ones of the World found it tragic that their brothers and sisters who arrived from the sky, on-board the heavenly body that was aptly called Apocalypse, were of a different opinion. Through the effort of the Apocalypse tardigrades, they created eight copies of the Overlord, each one based on a part of her, each one closer to perfection than the one before it. Eight, whose figure signified immortality and an unending loop, was their perfect creation… or so they thought.

The vine dragon crashed onto the ground, controlled by the Apocalypse tardigrades under Eight’s control. Its movements overturned soil and stone. Without any pity for the corpse of her comrade Seven, Eight sent her dragon to crush Errol at any cost. Whatever was left of the charismatic man’s body scattered between dust and dirt. With simple sprints and dashes, Errol avoided the massive creature. Eight was indeed powerful; the World tardigrades told the Overlord about how that little girl single-handedly raised the Citadel from the depths of the sea. However, she was also constantly depressed, was oversensitive, and easily lost her temper. There was strength in numbers, but Eight did not know how to work with her comrades. Seven was the one who tried to pull the group together, albeit with twisted words and inane beliefs.

Both immortals stopped on their tracks when a large shadow moved across the ground from the far side of the Desert Beyond. They looked up and stared at what seemed to be a heavy, dark grey mass that floated in the air high above them. It did not look like a plant or an animal. While many tiny voices rejoiced and repeatedly said Rain! Rain! Rain!, Errol took that opportunity to swipe her bone knife from the ground. She recreated her great sword, her weapon of choice when she was the Overlord, and with all her strength, she brought her sword down upon the head of the dragon.

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