Chapter Seventeen: Outskirting
Where am I?
"Welcome to my private hell."
Collapsed tiles stained gray from time scattered across the floor. Powerful technological marvels lay unusable covered in soot and surrounded by rubble. Empty shafts which once held elevators now were useless, and tall spiral staircases formed a rapidly spinning path to a tapering peak. What once was a grand hall of sightseeing and the greatest tourist attraction of the city was now nothing but a dark ruined manmade cave where corrupted creatures hid in moldy corners and monsters that preyed on humans called home.
Alex opened the front door, and I slid through the front window, shattering the last pane left intact in the front of the building. Because honestly, what other chance would I get to do that? About three of the unique fauna of the building took notice and ambled, scuttled, and crawled (respectively) towards us. She swung with vigor, and the corrupt zombie really had no chance in the first place against her. Meanwhile I took on some strange crab thing and a weird spider that clung to the ceiling at the same time. I rolled to the side to avoid the spider dropping from the ceiling, driving my sword into the claw of the crab, but nothing happened. I swung the sword and threw it into a wall, then spun as the spider jumped, slashing through it. I attacked again, but it jumped and bit me. When it sunk in its fangs, I stabbed it and killed it. Only one eye, but still as tough as before. I turned to fight the crab.
Alex yelled "It's invulnerable to swords, hit it with this!", and tossed me a pickaxe made of a bluish stone.
I swung at the crab and cracked its shell, then hit it again and killed it. I followed Alex up the stairs as we headed up to the fifteenth floor. Keaton, as he had told me was his name, had split with us and gone pursuing Herabrine, while we focused on finding our teammates. We met with a double team of corrupt skeletons on the staircase that we individually killed. At the eleventh floor, all coherent attempts by the building to form a staircase were in vain, so we killed the monsters on that level and started building upwards.
At the thirteenth floor, we encountered some giant made out of oil with one burning yellow eye. Ha, join the club man. We dodged its powerful fists as the purple film of corruption wriggled under our feet. It pounded into the ground, but we were faster, and we took it down together with an insanely strong double sword attack. We climbed broken vine-covered walls and fallen floors and eventually we were at the fifteenth floor, where Alex's bridge to the top of the wall was. It was one block wide and formed out of forgotten floor planks, but it was good enough. We walked across the newly corrupt pathway (Alex helped me across) and were above and beyond the entire town. Day had broken and the light shone over the open plain where the base was.
"Come on," Alex yelled, "Let's get down."
There was a tunnel leading down through the wall into freedom, and we took it two steps at a time.
A rolling star slid into a populated crossroads of mobs, exploding and driving shrapnel into their bodies. Keaton The Pursuer rolled into the open from the back alley he had been cowering in, casting another rolling star ahead into the next group. He sprinted through the broken group with potion-coated feet. He saw, two blocks ahead of him, the female Omnibrine piece leaping from building to building. She cast blue lightning behind her but Keaton dodged out of the way easily. He thought for a fleeting second as the air cast past his face that the chase might even be fun.
She performed an exo-energetic technique, leaping into the air and causing the building roof underneath her to explode out. She backflipped and landed on the street in front of Keaton, sending shockwaves across the gravel and cobblestone. He skidded to a halt and drew a steel longsword as she pulled energy from the air to form a crackling lightning sword in her hand. The blocks landed piece by piece, and particles lifted up around her as the air around her body crackled with static electricity. She slowly looked up at him, her gleaming white eyes shining.
"Stay... back," he yelled with a tremor in his voice, brandishing the sword. She snickered and rushed him, clashing his barely prepared strength to her magical weapon. In a deft movement she swung it from his hands, and it clattered to the ground. She stepped forward, moving her hands back and dissipating the sword, and blasted him with an electric wave. He flew backwards with insane speed, hitting his back on a fountain and collapsing into the water. She moved her hands and the water rose out of the fountain. She jumped forward extremely far, landing and casting lightning into the water, electrocuting him. She dropped him from the water, kicked him in the head when he hit the ground, formed another sword, and drove it through his back. He had been defeated in the span of about half a minute.
What do you mean, your... personal hell?
"This is my domain," Muriminus replied to the male Omnibrine piece. "It is small, but from here I am master of dimensions. From here I converse with the eldritch gods of this universe. From here I lead armies, rule worlds, and control nations.
You are tweaking forces beyond your control, destructive one. Nothing you think you are doing makes sense, and you know it too.
"You are quite mistaken," rebuked Muriminus. "I have much more experience with the inner threads that tie this place together than you think. The monsters you would hide from are my friends."
As he said the word "friends", a deep echoing roar pervaded the dimension, and the Omnibrine piece caught a glimpse of a giant wing flapping up and down.
I am not the mistaken one here. I know you feel it. I know you understand it. The deep, unsettling wrinkle in your viewing mind. The pebble in your iron boots. The bug in your system.
The Omnibrine piece which called itself Herobrine smiled, gripped the bars of the material cage he resided in, and gazed deep into Muriminus' eyes.
I am the wrinkle, Fratier.
A brunette girl awoke in a city hospital, surrounded by people wondering about the health of the newcomer. She asked slowly where she was, but the language they responded in was alien to her.
She looked around for a second, but resigned herself to where she was. She turned her head to the side and only thought, It shouldn't be possible for me to feel like this. She looked at the human in the room with her and only thought, It shouldn't be possible for me to be like this. She turned and faced the ceiling and thought, I'm a player.
We bridged across the river separating the Corruptis from the plain where our base was held. We ran and found at the end of the beach what used to be our base. It was now in ruins, our structures dripping lava and broken into shreds. I didn't see a single one of Keaton's mobs, so it was obvious that Jennifer and Samuel had put up quite a good fight, but neither were in sight: they had been ultimately defeated by Keaton's Deconstruct Sword. Alex dropped to her knees. I rushed to her side and held her as she wept.
"What if they're... permadead?" she whispered. "What if we truly lost?"
I remembered the man with the name of Keaton and his pleading eyes, his final request, his extreme guilt at his actions. He asked me for forgiveness. He asked me to forgive him for... this. He wasn't a killer looking for redemption. He was an attacker with a wrong goal. He wasn't looking to kill anyone but me.
"They can't be dead," I told her in a low voice.
"You don't know how it feels..." she said softly.
"No, I mean it." I said, my mood changing from melancholy to hopeful. "There's no way. Keaton wouldn't have killed them, he was only coming for me." I stopped, then continued. "They have to have left the base and gone somewhere else. If they did, they'd give us a signal, right?"
"I... I guess so..." Alex spoke softly.
"Then..." I trailed off, looking around. Suddenly my expression went from puzzlement to confidence and I pointed a single finger westward. "There."
On the ground, forty blocks away, a single block of white wool.