Chapter

8

> JOHN: Zap to your final destination.

Where the hell are you?

DAVE: where the hell are we

DAVE: i cant see shit

JADE: shhh!

It’s dark. Not like “someone turned out the lights out” dark. More like “someone destroyed the concept of light at its very source” dark. It’s a darkness that fills up your skull. Jake puts this more eloquently, as always:

JAKE: By golly it is indeed dark as fuck.

ROXY: shoosh!!!

Jade breaks off from the group. She moves through the air gracefully, ears twitching as she sniffs through space like a bloodhound. “There!” she exclaims, and points down. All the way down.

> Look down.

All the way down beneath you there is a light source. Gray, focused—like a spotlight, except that it’s folded over the curvature of the space beneath it. At the center of it stands teenage Lord English, all decked out in his ostentatious god tier jammies. Gamzee’s there too, for some unfathomably stupid reason. There’s a robot bunny chilling out on top of a chest, lookin’ cool and kicking its cute little bunny legs back and forth. You hope that neither of these unexpected dramatis personae will play a role in the coming battle, because it wouldn’t feel right whaling on either of them at this point.

Lord English is holding something that looks like... Lil Cal? It’s definitely Lil Cal, and Lord English is definitely waltzing around with it in his little spotlight in the middle of the nowhere, swinging the puppet around by both its floppy arms. Well, rather, he was waltzing around. He stopped the moment you looked at him.

> Behold your adversary.

JOHN: ...

CALIBORN: ...

JOHN: ...

CALIBORN: ...

JOHN: ...

CALIBORN: ...

JOHN: ...

CALIBORN: ...

JOHN: ...

CALIBORN: WHO THE FUCK ARE YOU?

You simply refuse to answer his question. Instead, you do something so much better. Something that will make both his inevitable fate and your regard for his character incontrovertibly clear.

> Give him a thumbs-down.

It’s a textbook thumbs-down. Better, actually. The kind you can’t really teach. Lord English drops the puppet. For a moment he looks shocked, maybe even a little afraid, but it passes quickly. He starts laughing.

JOHN: uh.

CALIBORN: NEVERMIND. I KNOW WHO YOU ARE.

CALIBORN: IT WAS FORETOLD. BY THE MASTERPIECE I MADE. WHEN I WAS BUT A BOY.

JOHN: what?

CALIBORN: BE QUIET.

CALIBORN: I’LL HAVE YOU KNOW THAT YOU JUST INTERRUPTED A GROUNDBREAKING INTERPRETIVE ART PIECE.

CALIBORN: IT WAS THE FIRST OF ITS KIND. PERFORMED ONLY ONCE. AND MADE MORE VALUABLE FOR ITS RARENESS.

JOHN: wow.

CALIBORN: I SAID SHUT UP. IT’S RUDE TO TALK THROUGH THE OVERTURE.

CALIBORN: BUT DON’T WORRY. ALTHOUGH YOU MISSED MY VERY IMPORTANT DANCE DEMONSTRATION.

CALIBORN: WHICH WAS AN UNPRECEDENTED ACT OF GENIUS. AND NOT AT ALL EMBARRASSING.

CALIBORN: NOW YOU WILL PARTICIPATE IN SOMETHING EVEN MORE IMPORTANT.

The young Lord’s face begins to distort. The unhinging of his jaw reverberates in the empty space. He laughs through the remainder of his nefarious soliloquy, which he has possibly prepared in advance for this moment.

CALIBORN: BY NOW, SURELY MANY HAVE WITNESSED MY MASTERPIECE.

CALIBORN: AS IT HAS CIRCULATED THROUGH THE BLACK VEINS. OF THE DARK WEB.

CALIBORN: TRILLIONS HAVE WITNESSED ITS MAJESTY. HATERS AND FOOLS ALIKE.

CALIBORN: AND THEY HAVE BEEN RENDERED *AGOG*.

CALIBORN: BY MY ART VIRTUOSITY. MY CLAYSMANSHIP. AND MY WRESTLING MOVES.

CALIBORN: BUT NOW. THE TIME HAS COME.

CALIBORN: FOR EVERYONE TO SHUT UP ABOUT HOW GREAT MY MASTERPIECE WAS.

CALIBORN: AND THE TIME IS NOW AT HAND...

His laughter turns into a low, cracked gurgle. It spikes towards you in waves, distorts and pitches low. He is beyond pleased with himself, and with the line he is about to deliver.

CALIBORN: FOR YOU ALL TO *BECOME* MY MASTERPIECE!

> ==>
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