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About Literature / Student Core Member Dustin MartinMale/United States Groups :iconsonic-writers-club: Sonic-Writers-Club
 
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Deviant for 7 Years
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Literature
End of the Universe: Chapter 20
Chapter 20- Nightmare Reborn
We raced down the mountainside and across the tundra in one of the vehicles as fast as possible. Hours passed before we saw the Thunder Mountain range and when we reached the army, the signature rain of the area was already coming down fast and steady. They had made camps as close as they dared with the storms and we were led into a large tent where the general and one of the foreign dignitaries waited for us.
“My scout places the ship here,” the general said, pointing to a map of the ridge on a table. “But in this weather, it’s impossible for us to get closer.”
“What about his ground forces?” Blaze asked.
“Already dealt with,” the general said. “We’re picking off the last of them now.”
“No further sign of Nega?”
The general shook his head. “No. Either he already found the emerald by now or he’s been destroyed by the storms. Whatever the case, there’
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Literature
End of the Universe: Chapter 19
Chapter 19- Ahead of Schedule
We were packed and ready to leave the town before first light. The planes had been repaired and scattered among the various convoys to provide air support. Thankfully, Gardon and a choice pair of soldiers accompanied ours. Additionally, Blaze had unveiled three large vehicles for each group, courtesy of earlier battles with Nega and spacious enough to move small forces. The plan was that two of the three vehicles and the planes would scout ahead of each army, clearing the way and reporting any danger. Once the vehicles off-loaded their first transports at the site of a Sol Emerald, they would return to the marching army for more passengers, ferrying them quickly to the site, while those left behind at the Sol Emerald would prepare their defenses and begin their search.
As I checked our supplies and the wheels of a vehicle, I spotted Blaze by the driver door, discussing their intended path with a dignitary. The conversation ended and I caught her eye
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Literature
End of the Universe: Chapter 18
Chapter 18- Happy Together
I was immediately rushed to the infirmary at the castle once the plane stopped and I sank in and out of unconsciousness. I remember being surrounded by other wounded soldiers and frantic faces. Within the day, I was left alone in a separate room to slowly take stock of the situation.
On the bright side, I wasn’t mummified in bandages this time and most of the external injuries would heal quickly. But internally, I ached with every move. The experience was surreal as I sat up and lowered one foot, then the other to the floor, like I was re-entering my body after a long time and realizing what had occurred, or the little bits I could piece together.
I shuffled to the door, refusing to be confined to a bed again, and headed down the hall. A nurse crossed my path, her eyes widening at the sight of me. I suppose I did look a mess. Dressing here and there and my fur sticking up at odd ends all over. I’m sure my haggard appearance reflected the so
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Literature
Catch of the Day
Catch of the Day
“This stinks!” May said for the umpteenth time that day as she dangled her empty fishing line and hook in front of her sisters. “There’s nothing here!”
“Eh, quit your bellyachin’,” Lee said. Although she too was disappointed with their fishing spot. They had been in their little rowboat for hours without so much as a nibble. Lee had refused to call it quits right away and had made May and Marie paddle the boat further out from shore to any spot she deemed suitable enough.
Yet as she reeled in her own pathetic line with a grubby worm hooked to it, she was starting to have her doubts. She pondered over the water, leaning over the side and raising some of the mass of red curls dangling in front of her eyes. The lake should be teeming with fish this far out. Where were they today?
“Marie,” she said, casting her line out again, “throw another stick in.”
With a stick of dynamite already between he
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Literature
End of the Universe: Chapter 17
Chapter 17- The Power of the Emerald
When I woke up, the entire airship was moving, lifting off. I sat up, rubbing my sore head, and surveyed my surroundings. A cold, gray metal cell, with no windows and one securely shut door. Seeing no one else around, I guessed that Blaze and the others were in their own cells as well. So we were completely cut off from each other.
The only furnishing was a television screen in the corner, that blinked on as the ship settled into a smooth course and unknown direction.
Nega appeared on the screen, staring hungrily at the three Sol Emeralds he now possessed: the purple emerald from Blue Mirage, the golden yellow gem from Chateau de Pumken, and a cyan emerald, as pure as a cloudless sky, that I assumed came from the White Jungle temple. He circled the glass casing protecting the jewels, sneering at the camera.
“Thank you, Your Highness, for this most lovely gift,” he said. “In return, I shall give you one. You must be terribly
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Literature
Cornered for Dinner
Cornered for Dinner
Carmelita paced in front of the map of Paris on the wall, scrutinizing the colored tacks ringed with matching string. Her eyes traced every city street, running through the different buildings in her mind and the sites that each of the tacks indicated. At the top of the map were mugshots of two hardened criminals: a bulldog with a large underbite and scarred jowels, and shifty-eyed crocodile, his face a never-ending smile of amusement as he glanced off to the side. Then two more photos of unknown associates, with generic silhouettes.
Picking up an open folder on the desk, Carmelita thumbed through the pages. Numerous reports on the jewel thieves listed the priceless gems and cut stones that they had swiped from major cities around the world. And they were already very active in Paris. Ten places in two weeks, including museums, art galleries, and jewel shops, all culminating in a net worth beyond any amount Carmelita would ever see in her life.
As she reached
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Literature
Joys of Parenting: A Little Crush
A Little Crush
“Ruby, did you unpack your clothes?” Rouge called. No answer. “Ruby!” She counted silently to herself, irritably tapping her fingers on the bannister. Moving itself was bad enough. Not that Rouge didn’t mind a change of scenery from time to time and she enjoyed having more space to re-arrange her belongings.
But two things prevented her from re-locating often. One was her stash of ill-gotten goods over the years. She was still paying them off piece by piece to reduce the pressure from authorities worldwide and sold some to GUN in exchange for more valuable favors, such as pardons from sticky situations. But her hoard seemed to grow with a beautifully cut gem here, a priceless vase there, and soon she was back to square one.
So she had to use her black market connections to hide her treasure in certain locations and move it one at a time. Frankly, it exhausted her and she made empty promises once again to off-load some of it for good.
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Literature
Chemical Ed-traction: Chapter 6
Chapter 6- My Secret Ed
The return to his previous standing with Marie wasn’t as immediate as Edd had hoped, but the gesture had re-opened her door and she let him in. “Pretty smooth with the fire crackers,” she had commented.
“I had some inspiration,” he said, rubbing his neck.
It took a couple of weeks until Edd felt like they were back on solid ground and where they had been before. Marie continued acting coy and flirtatious in public. Yet in private, well, the thoughts of her more intimate and personal demeanor always made his cheeks burn and blush.
Still, Marie had been the first to invite him in when this all started. And while he had accepted and they had grown close, there was a nagging sensation that he hadn’t quite met her level of commitment, that she had bared more of herself to him than he had to her.
One last grand gesture formulated in his mind to resolve this itch. Perhaps too grand, as the thought alone made him more anxious a
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Literature
End of the Universe: Chapter 16
Chapter 16- The Widow’s Brood
Torches lined the walls of the tunnel, long since snuffed out. Blaze lit them as we passed, adding a little color to the earthy walls and floor. Eventually, the floor gave way to solid stone and we anticipated that we were close.
Unfortunately, we were very sure we were close when we started coming across skeletons lying on the floor. The first two were propped up against either side of the wall, their jawbones dangling from their hinges and their bodies broken apart by time and decay.
“Hold,” Blaze said, stopping all of us from proceeding. She looked back and forth between the bodies in thought, then asked for a helmet from one of the soldiers. She held the helmet before her, perfectly in line with the bodies.
Sshnk! Rusted, metal spikes burst out of the wall, passing within inches of one another. They pierced the helmet clean through, pinning it to the wall. Slowly, the spikes retreated, caked dust and rust crumbling off o
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Literature
Chemical Ed-traction: Chapter 5
Chapter 5- Take Ed Back
Edd planned accordingly and set aside enough money to buy a decent suit while still having money left over for the rest of his plan. No doubt Eddy and Ed had gone all out to the extreme with their attire, but a nice, red suit jacket and slacks, and a white dress shirt were all he needed. Nothing too fancy.
His next stop was the local store. There were still old Fourth of July fireworks heavily discounted and stacked in a pile, so Edd stocked up on as many firecrackers as he could carry, as well as cheap glass bowls. Once he dropped those supplies off at home, he raced back to the junkyard, digging through every pile of trash he could find for old fishing poles, spool, and thread. In the end, he gathered together fourteen fishing poles, armfuls of spool and thread, and left a decent amount of money at the closed front office in an envelope in their mail slot.
By the time he finished, it was well into the afternoon. He considered readying the last component
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Literature
End of the Universe: Chapter 15
Chapter 15- Metal Ghosts
The chateau was still and quiet, with nary a soul around. I slapped myself for my poor word choice. Each room we checked was the same: abandoned rotting furniture, old portraits and belongings, cracked trinkets on mantles and bookshelves, and the slime coating drenching it all. In fact, the deeper we went, the more thick and viscous the slime became, worse than the mud outside.
I jerked my foot forward, instantly plopping it down into the goo. “This stuff is going to slow us down,” I said. “You think you can burn it?”
“I can try,” she said, holding a fireball in her palm close to the goo. It receded a few inches, but it was slow going. And this method would take far too long.
“What about setting it on fire?”
“Even though the sea slime would burn, the carpet and wood panels beneath these areas would catch fire,” she said, gesturing to the ground and walls.
“Well, we could fly,” I sugg
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Literature
Chemical Ed-traction: Chapter 4
Chapter 4- Sorry, My Ed
Later that day, Edd swung by the nurse’s office, hoping to find Marie being tended to by the nurse. Unfortunately, he was too late. “No need to worry,” the nurse assured him about her injury. “A bruise and some swelling, but as long as she takes it easy for a few days, she’ll be fine.”
That was one burden off his chest and he searched high and low for Marie the rest of the day with no luck. Therefore, he resolved to come into school tomorrow during detention and catch her. She won’t be able to lose me in there.
Sure enough, early Friday morning she was in the Advanced Chemistry class, her chin in her hand while the teacher was engrossed in work on his computer. The classroom was dead empty otherwise, and completely quiet. As soon as she saw him, she tightened a fist, giving him second thoughts of approaching her. Still, they had to confront this head-on. The longer he allowed this incident to fester, the wo
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Literature
End of the Universe: Chapter 14
Chapter 14- Chateau de Pumken
A couple of hours from morning, the road gave way to wet, muddy grass and there were lakes and bodies of water as far as the eye could see, sliced here and there by narrow trails of tall weeds and grass. I shook Blaze awake. “We’re here,” I said.
We exited the vehicles, stepping out first onto the soft ground. The soldiers followed, waking up one by one. I dug my toes around in the mud, noting how after only a few inches, water pooled into my toe-made hole. Out in the marsh, dozens of trails disappeared into the distance, with a couple abruptly ending at the water’s edge. Beside me, Blaze was flipping through the history book, a flashlight clenched between her teeth.
“I don’t suppose there’s a map that could guide us through?” I asked.
“There’s a rough map of the terrain. But it’s very old, before this place was a marsh, so we can’t fully rely on it,” she said, sighing.
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Literature
Chemical Ed-traction: Chapter 3
Chapter 3- Do You Deny Ed?
“Double Dee!” Eddy shouted a third time, yanking on Edd’s beanie.
His train of thought derailed, Edd pulled out of Eddy’s hold and straightened his trusty hat. “I’m sorry. Yes?”
“I asked if you did the math homework already. I need to write them down, copy them, and sell the answers before last period,” he said. Eddy had made them a tidy profit lately, scouting out those more willing to part with cash than put in the work of doing their homework for good grades. They had a pretty good system going, as Eddy had accrued an unusually high number of clientele that demanded their work. Edd figured he must have been working himself harder than normal, pitching their offer to as many classes as possible.
Edd’s only contribution was to do his homework and let Eddy handle the rest. “It’s simple. Do your homework a day early so everyone else can copy it,” Eddy had said. The one area th
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Literature
Chemical Ed-traction: Chapter 2
Chapter 2- Study Ed, Play Ed
Over the month, Edd’s enthusiasm for coming to school didn’t diminish in the slightest. If anything, it only increased. Yes, there was the mental challenge and friends to look forward to, but the one thing that topped his list and set his feet racing through the halls to another day of learning was the Advanced Chemistry class. Each day, Marie displayed more of a side he never knew that stimulated a connection between their minds, almost as if he had found a fellow peer that shared his love for the subject.
Yes, there were still the barrage of flirtatious remarks from Marie. She continued to do her best to whisper suggestive things that made him hot under the collar or approach him in ways that ripped him out of his element and placed him far outside his normal comfort zone.
One particular instance, in showing him how she measured out the exact sample for a corrosive compound, she had stood behind him, with her arms wrapped around his wai
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Literature
End of the Universe: Chapter 13
Chapter 13- Air Superiority
Okay, the shield is holding, the shield is holding. I repeated the mantra to myself, wanting it to be true and knowing it wasn’t. The cracks were healing too slowly and my mind felt like it was about to snap in two as I gave my all to repair the damage. Another plane dived from the sky above, battering us with bullets and reset my hard work, lengthening the breaks in the shield.
“Listen, everyone head to the forest and spread out!” Blaze said, ordering pairs of soldiers in different directions. “On my word, run as fast as you can and meet back at the vehicles!” Then she leaned in to my ear. “How long can you keep this up?”
Judging from the shield’s thin, almost transparent width, I shook my head. “Not much longer.” Sweat dripped down my eyelids, watering my view of the shield and the planes raging above. The flashes of crimson from the biplanes speeding by and the booming shots from the flags
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This week's most voted piece is A shelter for the soul by fear-sAs by :iconfear-sas:! Congratulations! So this week, we'll be choosing some from their favorites!

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Chapter 20- Nightmare Reborn

We raced down the mountainside and across the tundra in one of the vehicles as fast as possible. Hours passed before we saw the Thunder Mountain range and when we reached the army, the signature rain of the area was already coming down fast and steady. They had made camps as close as they dared with the storms and we were led into a large tent where the general and one of the foreign dignitaries waited for us.

“My scout places the ship here,” the general said, pointing to a map of the ridge on a table. “But in this weather, it’s impossible for us to get closer.”

“What about his ground forces?” Blaze asked.

“Already dealt with,” the general said. “We’re picking off the last of them now.”

“No further sign of Nega?”

The general shook his head. “No. Either he already found the emerald by now or he’s been destroyed by the storms. Whatever the case, there’s not much we can do.”

“We can’t march our armies in this weather,” the dignitary said. “They wouldn’t make it.”

He was right, they wouldn’t. “I’ll go,” I said, exiting the tent and heading into the storm, grabbing a walkie-talkie on the way.

Blaze was quick to pull me back. “Are you crazy? You barely survived last time.”

“That’s because I was coming off of just being shot,” I said.

“And this time?” Her onceover reminded me that my wounds hadn’t completely healed and the Sol Emerald blast had left me a little more weary than normal.

“We can’t afford to wait,” I said. “If he summons Iblis—”

“Then I’ll go with you,” she said. I opened my mouth to refuse and she tightened her grip on my arm. “This is not up for debate. This is a direct command from the Princess.”

The others had joined us and Gardon begged her not to go. She was steadfast and waited for my answer, with bright burning eyes that clearly said wherever I went, she was going by my side. My chest and resolve swelled and I nodded.

“Follow us, no matter what,” she told the others. “Once the other armies have finished, have them join us. We don’t know what Nega is planning and it may take all of us to stop him.” She embraced Gardon, surprising him, and lingered for a few moments as he returned it. When she broke from him, she took a walkie-talkie from another soldier and asked, “Okay?”

Gardon was on the verge of questioning her, then nodded instead. “Yes, Your Highness.”

Together, we pushed up through the rain in a bubble and soared toward the mountains. Like last time, the higher I went and closer I got, the more the rain pounded on my makeshift shield. It was soon blinding and the lightning struck very close, blowing rocks off of the cliffs.

I peered into the dark, black clouds, hoping to catch sight of Nega. What I didn’t expect was the large shape slicing through the rain and making a beeline toward us.

“Watch out!” Blaze yelled and we spun wildly to the side to avoid the large flagship that appeared out of the storm. Nega’s ship nearly blindsided us from the heavier parts of the storm.

Judging by the damage to its hull, I was relieved we hadn’t had to enter the storm ourselves. Scorch marks painted the outside, as the ship had been one gigantic lightning rod for the entire mountain range, and many of the guns on it were destroyed. A few smaller ships limped along its side, trailing smoke and fire, and the flagship itself seemed to be slower, like a large, wounded animal trying to escape.

“He couldn’t have found the emerald,” Blaze said, reassuring the both of us.

“We’ll find out,” I said, flying faster. We caught up with the ship in seconds and landed on the deck. I expected a fight, but the crew posts were abandoned, leaving behind only robotic arms and legs in a few scattered areas. The turrets surrounding this end of the deck were also blown to smithereens. Charred black husks and gaping holes that exposed wiring underneath were all that were left.

I took stock of the weapons. Did I do this? Or was part of it the storm? There was little chance to ponder that. Blaze was already sprinting ahead to a door and I went after her. We entered a dark passageway and climbed down a flight of stairs, using the light at the end to guide us.

Near the bottom of the steps, a squad of robots marched past. We froze, holding our breaths, still mostly in the dark. Thankfully, they didn’t notice and moved past. We started to move again, but I suddenly jumped when Nega yelled over the intercoms in the hallway.

“Squads three and four, get down to the engine room!” he yelled. “Help those miserable rust-buckets of an engine crew get this ship going faster. And if any of them lag behind, throw them overboard. We have to get moving!”

The robots that had just left ran past us again, double-time, and were in too much of a hurry to notice us. After they rounded the corner, we scrambled across the hall and into an empty room.

“So, what are you thinking?” Blaze asked.

“I’m thinking my nerves are going to be shot by the end of this,” I said, bending over with my hands on my knees. “I’m also thinking there’s five decks of this ship to search. No way he would keep the emeralds on the bridge again.”

“Good point,” Blaze said. “We can’t fight our way through. It would raise an alarm and there’s too many. Split up and cover more ground?”

I hated the thought of leaving her side in this place. To be honest, I hated the thought of leaving her side in general, but especially here. However, if we wanted to find the emeralds before Nega’s diabolical plan came to fruition, we would need to search fast. “Yeah,” I said. “I’ll start at the bottom, you start here, and we’ll meet in the middle.”

“Sounds good,” she said and turned to the door.

“And Blaze.” She glanced back at me. “Please be careful.”

She smiled and planted a kiss on my lips. “You too.” Then she was gone. Although her kiss stayed with me, strengthening and reviving my energy. I stole through the doorway when the coast was clear and dashed to the stairs and to the bottom floor.

*  *  *

It was a good thing we chose to split up. The search was slow going with all the robots around. Nega had doubled the patrols in every corridor and the windows to sneak past them were very brief. I thought about disabling a guard here or there, but all it would take is one broken robot to be found and the whole place would be on high alert. So I stuck to the shadows like a thief and darted from corner to corner, room to room, finding no sign of the emeralds.

I did stumble upon the engine room, where large gears, machines, and electronic equipment of all kinds towered above me. Any other day, the area would have been astonishing. Today, the gears were missing many teeth, the machines were coated in oil and little fires in their cracks had to be put out constantly, and the electronics fizzled nonstop, going haywire before blowing fuses and screens. The place seemed to barely be holding together with string and paperclips and there were no more of either to keep the machines running smooth. It was a cacophony of squealing engines, heavy stamping of metal, and general mayhem that hurt my ears.

The robotic engine crew ran to and fro, putting out fires and repairing the systems as best as they could. Every now and then, one would move too slow for a soldier robot’s liking and would get a swift kick to their backside.

One engine crew robot in particular was caught in an explosion on a larger machine. When it sat up checking its systems, it whirred loudly at its missing legs. Then it gazed into the eyes of a taller soldier robot, who made a quick calculation in the legless robot’s efficiency. The smaller robot attempted to stand and get away and beg for mercy, but found none in the soldier’s red eyes. It was tossed like garbage out an open hatch. Then the soldier turned on the rest of the engine crew, as if silently warning them of a similar fate if they didn’t stay on top of the situation. The engine crew picked up the pace, moving faster than before.

I rose to a tall machine that didn’t move much, surveying the scene. While disabling a robot would raise a red flag, certainly a little sabotage in an already failing engine room wouldn’t hurt?

I scoured the area and found one engine that kept catching fire. Large pistons pumped up and down, slamming the metal floor underneath at a rapid speed. Robots surrounded it, aware of the fire and damage and doing their best to keep it contained, but not paying attention to the control panel on its side. I flew over to a perch above the control panel and peered at the settings.

The temperature reading was well past the safety limit and the screen kept flashing a heat overload warning. Reaching carefully with my power, I pressed the appropriate keys to push the engine to run faster, and watched the temperature climb higher and higher.

Alarms started going off around the machine and the robots ran about, fleeing from it. The soldiers tried to maintain order and knock some of the engine crew back, but they dodged the blows and scurried far away from it. I dialed the settings back down, as it was already too late for them to stop the oncoming explosion.

Fire leapt out between the metal plates on the machine and I dove out of the way as the explosion rocked the ship. The smoke quickly cleared, revealing the gaping hole where the machine used to be and the clouds passing beneath us. The wind dragged parts and components out into the open sky.

The soldier robots, unprepared like the engine crew, snatched at anything to hang onto. There wasn’t much and they tumbled toward the hole, squealing and whirring as they were ripped out of the ship. One managed to grab a railing, but one twist of my wrist and the railing jerked up, failing him. He joined the other soldiers who fell out the hole.

On an intercom, Nega was yelling to be updated by the engine crew. By then, I was out of there and on my way to the next floor.

“Silver,” Blaze called on my walkie-talkie. “What was that?”

“Let’s just say I slowed Nega’s ship a little. How are things coming?”

“Not good,” she said. “There’s no sign of Nega or the Sol Emeralds. I expected him on the bridge, but he’s nowhere to be found.”

We needed to pick up the pace. “Right. I’ll hurry up on the second deck and meet with you soon.”

*  *  *

The second deck was clear, as was my half of the third by the time I ran into Blaze. “Anything?” she asked and I shook my head. She wiped her face, frustrated and her eyes closed in thought. “Okay, he must be here somewhere.”

As if to confirm it, Nega ordered the workers to slow the ship to half-speed. Given it’s already lumbering pace, it may as well have stopped. “And we’re at wherever he’s headed to,” I said. “Which means we don’t have much time.”

“Did he maybe have a secret room on his ships? Some sort of panic room or shelter that you ever noticed?”

I shrugged. “It’s possible. But the ships Gardon and I explored were so broken down and mostly buried in sand, I can’t say for sure.”

“Well, I know we’ve checked every room here inside the ship from top to bottom and he’s not here.”

Nega’s voice droned on through the intercom, re-deploying his troops to different areas of the ship where we had been spotted. My eyes wandered to the ceiling and my jaw dropped. “He’s not inside the ship,” I said.

“What?” Blaze asked, but I didn’t take the time to explain. I grabbed her hand, bolted down the hall to the nearest emergency hatch, and threw it open. Although the flagship was much slower, we were still high up and the wind ripped through my quills. Below, the ground was barren and brown, spotted with black ash. In front of the ship was a towering black, craggy volcano. Its center was aglow with orange flame, as if a portal to hell itself.

“The Molten Wasteland!” Blaze said. “What’s he doing here?”

This was it, I realized. This is where it all happened last time. And now there was only the finishing touch left.

I lifted Blaze and myself out of the hatch and up onto the roof of the ship. Some of the gun turrets were intact. Including one where a round, fat man sat ducked down in his seat, a radio in his hand that he used to relay orders to his subordinates inside.

“Nega!” I shouted over the gusts.

He immediately turned the gun turret’s barrels on us and fired. We leapt out of the way, taking cover behind a destroyed turret that he barraged with laser blasts.

Timing the shots, I rose and crafted a shield for myself and Blaze. The brunt of the laser blasts nearly tore through it on the first go, and I wobbled on my legs, reeling from the impact. Blaze saw me struggling and lobbed a fireball around the cover at Nega, hitting his arm. He yelped, flailing and patting out the flames, and fell from his seat. Beside him, a handful of colored emeralds fell from the turret and rolled around on the ground.

“The Sol Emeralds!” Blaze said. I counted three of them, the newest a silver-colored jewel. Then he had found the Sol Emerald hidden in the Thunder Mountain range.

Blaze dashed for the emeralds. Nega was quick though, and drew a pistol, firing at her. She ducked behind another turret and I growled, throwing my fading shield at him with all my force. He tumbled down to a lower deck, the emeralds falling with him.

Brilliant, I chided myself, and knelt beside Blaze. “You okay?”

She nodded and rose to her feet. “Quick, the emeralds!” She charged ahead and I followed right behind. By the time we reached the lower deck, Nega was at the far end and the flagship had neared the volcano. We were close enough to see the spurting magma from the hot center blast down the side. Smoke rose nonstop from the center, choking the air and making our eyes water. The whole volcano groaned, as if a beast was shifting from its slumber, woken by the battle above.

Or by the emeralds.

Blaze sensed it too. “What’s happening?”

“This is it,” I said. “This is where he woke Iblis.” The sky above had become an unnatural blood red and the very air tasted like ash and decay in my throat. The volcano loomed all the larger every second that we wasted. “We need to stop him! Right now!”

Nega held the emeralds high above his head, as if sacrificing them to the volcano. “Mighty Iblis,” he said, and the wind seemed to silence itself in reverence at the being that he summoned, allowing his voice to be heard strong and clear. “I call upon you with the power of the ancient emeralds of old. Rise, destroyer of kingdoms, harbinger of doom. Rise and serve me.”

We stopped short as the world became still. Even the engines of the flagship were muffled, reduced to only a faint sense of trembling in my legs. The volcano bellowed smoke, pondering Nega’s request as lava continued to ooze from the fissures at its lips.

“Silver,” Blaze said quietly and her frightened eyes alerted me to the floor. The trembling engines were now shaking violently and I realized that it wasn’t the ship. It was the whole land, the very vibrations in the air violently rocking us back and forth, and they set my heart to racing.

Then I saw it. At the tip of the volcano, a solid mass of flame and fire started to form and rise from the center. The molten lava and rock fashioned into digits and I caught a glimpse of an all too familiar shape rumbling in the center, slowly rising as it gathered itself into one being.

I didn’t want to believe it. I couldn’t believe that it was happening all over again. The very thing I had sought to escape had found me once again, chased me to another dimension. Despite my inner refusals that I wasn’t seeing this, my heart crumbled in despair at the truth before me: we had failed.

To cement it, Nega glanced over his shoulder, his face bathed in fiery light, and laughed. “Behold, Iblis! My redeemer and your death.”

Property of The Pen Vs The Sword. Please do not use without permission. Thank you.

End of the Universe: Chapter 20
Well, this is getting close to the end.

Sword: But then that means we would have to stop writing the story!

Pen: Then let's get this over with. Hurry!

Patience. We'll get there.

Sword: Yeah! Calm your ink!

In the meantime, thank you all for reading. We'd love to hear from you on what you think so far.

Silver, Blaze, and all related material belongs to Sega. The story, Sword, and Pen belongs to me. Please do not use without permission. Thank you.

Chapter 1: A Dead World
Chapter 2: One-Way Trip
Chapter 3: Back in Time
Chapter 4: Jewelry Heist
Chapter 5: Answers and Evidence
Chapter 6: Bed Rest
Chapter 7: Scene of the Crime
Chapter 8:
 Homecoming
Chapter 9: Emerald Hunt
Chapter 10: The Jewel of the Sea
Chapter 11: The Serpents' Lair
Chapter 12: Pricey Exchange
Chapter 13: Air Superiority
Chapter 14: Chateau de Pumken
Chapter 15: Metal Ghosts
Chapter 16: The Widow's Brood
Chapter 17:
 The Power of the Emerald
Chapter 18: Happy Together
Chapter 19: Ahead of Schedule
Chapter 20: You are here.
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LOL Leesin! by HeeWonLee LOL Leesin! by HeeWonLee Disney Infinity Hulk (early concepts) by Artsammich
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Chapter 19- Ahead of Schedule

We were packed and ready to leave the town before first light. The planes had been repaired and scattered among the various convoys to provide air support. Thankfully, Gardon and a choice pair of soldiers accompanied ours. Additionally, Blaze had unveiled three large vehicles for each group, courtesy of earlier battles with Nega and spacious enough to move small forces. The plan was that two of the three vehicles and the planes would scout ahead of each army, clearing the way and reporting any danger. Once the vehicles off-loaded their first transports at the site of a Sol Emerald, they would return to the marching army for more passengers, ferrying them quickly to the site, while those left behind at the Sol Emerald would prepare their defenses and begin their search.

As I checked our supplies and the wheels of a vehicle, I spotted Blaze by the driver door, discussing their intended path with a dignitary. The conversation ended and I caught her eye. A small smile graced her lips and her cheeks heated up like mine. I fumbled my hand around the tires, pretending to still check them, but leaned too far into empty space. I face-planted into a pile of grass.

Before anyone could see, I hopped up and noticed her shaking her head. She reached up for the door, feeling her way for the handle and missing by several inches, banging on the door instead. She finally grabbed the handle, tucked her chin into her chest in embarrassment, and crawled into the front seat.

“You know,” Gardon said, slapping my back and leaning against the wheels, “I don’t think I’ve seen teenagers as giddy as you two.” He raised a hand as I opened my mouth. “Save it. It’s plain on your face. If the Princess if happy, then I’m happy for you two. Goodness knows she could use something bright in her life.”

That makes two of us, I thought, looking at her door.

Then Gardon’s expression became serious. “But I’ll tell you the same thing I tell all my infatuated recruits when they find love. They’ll be time for all this later. Right now, your head needs to be in the here and now.”

“Right,” I said, nodding. “See you there.”

“Watch yourself,” he said and I climbed into the vehicle. Before I shut the door, he added, “And Silver.” I caught his amused grin. “I’m glad it was you.”

“Me too,” I said.

*  *  *

The drive was slow-going and hours passed by in silence. The soldiers talked very little and the dignitary in the front seat beside Blaze asked questions about Nega’s forces now and then. I sat behind her, with nothing much to do, but watch the landscape slowly freeze as we trekked further north. Frost tipped the trees and grass, and chilly air covered the window at first, then soon snow blew down from the steep mountains of ice and slush.

Several times, it almost seemed like we wouldn’t make it. The vehicle would stall in snow, digging its wheels into the ground furiously. I flicked my wrist and the wheels would lurch forward enough that we shot up the mountainside, nearly missing rocks, sharp drop-offs, or more dangerous inclines.

We wormed our way through narrow passes and around blockades of snow until we arrived at a flat clearing. Everyone bundled up in coats, scarves, wool boots, and anything else to keep them warm before exiting the vehicle. Nearby was a cave where the Sol Emerald in this area was supposed to reside. We quickly unloaded our gear, and hurried into the cave and out of the snowstorm.

Blaze dug a walkie-talkie out of one sack and radioed the vehicles to move on and bring back more troops. Then she called Gardon. “How is it up there?”

On the other end, I heard clicking static, then realized it was actually chattering teeth. “C-C-Cold. N-No sign of N-N-Nega.”

“Why don’t you fly up higher above the storm?” I asked.

“And m-m-miss this lo-lovely weather?” He gave a shivering laugh. “B-Besides, N-N-N-Nega may co-come in low-ow-ow.”

“Then come down to the cave. It won’t do us any good if you all freeze to death up there and crash. Land the planes at the clearing and come in,” Blaze said. “The snowstorm will mask our presence. If Nega comes, you’ll have time to take off.”

“R-Roger that.”

By the time the planes landed, the soldiers had already built a roaring fire in the cave that everyone crowded around. Gardon and the other pilots rushed in, with so much frost and snow clinging to their faces that they looked like snowmen pilots. I stepped aside to let them warm themselves and they flopped beside the fire, heating every inch of themselves and all but throwing their limbs into the white hot flames. Blaze had also taken her leave, joining the dignitary and a few captains in reviewing the history tome.

“We’ll give them some time to warm up,” she said, nodding to the soldiers. “Then we can split up. According to this, it should be deeper within.” The captains cast some doubtful looks at the dozen tunnels leading further into the cave. Each tunnel was made of pure ice, blues and greens that mixed and flowed together in all sorts of patterns beneath the clear surface. And all of them appeared to be the exact same, with no clear difference to distinguish one from another.

“Right, we’ll get the troops sorted,” the dignitary said and ordered the captains to their squads. I took the opportunity and sidled up beside her, whispering in her ear.

“Guess who,” I said.

She shook her head. “A rather naïve hedgehog?”

“That’s not what you were saying last night,” I said and she stuck her nose deeper in the book. I glanced up at the ceiling of the cave, my mouth dropping in awe. “Speaking of last night.” I pointed upwards.

High above us, the ceiling was packed with hard snow and ice, forming a watery spread like sunlight hitting the ocean. Thousands of glittering ice pieces winked back at us and I understood the meaning behind the name. “They look like hundreds of diamonds.”

“Yes,” she said and then surprised me with a peck on the cheek while no one was watching. “Now, let’s stay focused,” she said, clearing her throat.

Little chance of that now and I snuck a kiss back in, earning a playful elbow and a muttered, “Silver.” Yet there was no hiding the delighted look in her eyes

Fifteen minutes later, we had separated into two groups to explore the tunnels. Blaze and I had paired off, but Gardon volunteered to accompany us with a few soldiers. “No telling what could happen to the Princess in there,” he said, giving me a long look, as if reminding me of our mission.

The tunnel we chose was long and snake-like. Each group was assigned a soldier who doubled as a cartographer that sketched out the layout of the tunnel as we explored it. There was no sign of anything as far as we could tell. Ice, ice, and more ice that glowed in the light of Blaze’s fireballs, and only one lonesome, solitary path

As the tunnel curved around and straightened again, we bumped into the other group exploring an opposite tunnel. Blaze halted our group and asked, “Was there only one path for you?”

“Yes, Your Highness,” one of the soldiers said. They produced their sketch of their tunnel and we compared it to ours. It connected perfectly. The tunnel merely looped around into two ends.

“Alright,” Blaze said. “Let’s head out and try another.”

Unfortunately, the next tunnel we selected turned out to be no better. Once more, we ran into the other group and determined that the tunnel looped. So it was for every tunnel after that until we had exhausted our options. The soldiers, Blaze, and the dignitary looked over the maps, studying them for any clue to set us on the road to the Sol Emerald.

“Is there anything in the book?” the dignitary asked.

Blaze was ahead of him and already flipping through the history tome. “It says we must find the cave in the tallest mountain and climb up to find the Sol Emerald. In the heart of the highest peak, we will find the jewel of the north.”

“That’s what we’ve done,” Gardon said. “This is the tallest mountain and we found this cave by climbing up. Is there perhaps a higher cave?”

“Not that I can think of,” she said, checking outside. “This is high up to begin with. And there’s no path in the tunnels leading up.”

“Maybe we have to scale the peak of the mountain,” the dignitary suggested. “It could be located in the middle of the peak, the ‘heart’, as it were.” Murmurs spread throughout the group, as many declared it far too cold outside to brace another climb.

I zoned out and stopped paying attention, instead focusing more on the tunnels themselves. Since I wasn’t needed, I headed back into the first tunnel, taking a torch with me.

Scouring the ice high and low, I didn’t see anything except my own reflection in the walls. And like before, there were no forked paths anywhere. Just the single tunnel loop.

“Find the cave in the tallest mountain and climb up to find the Sol Emerald,” I repeated to myself. “In the heart of the highest peak, we will find the jewel of the north.” Climb up to find the Sol Emerald. In the heart of the highest peak. Something about the phrasing of that nagged me. Climb up, heart of the peak, climb up…

The flickering flames of the torch directed my eyes up to the ceiling. Like the ceiling in the main cavern, there were sparkling snow all around. But there seemed to be a gap above the ice, where the twinkling lights were high and far above me.

Excited, I floated up and held the torch to the ice. The ceiling began to melt, one slow drop at a time. This wouldn’t work. Ditching the idea, I raced back out to the cavern, nearly slipping several times on patches of especially slippery ice.

Once out of the tunnel, I cupped my hands to my mouth. “Bla—Er, Your Highness!” Everyone looked up and I beckoned them over. “This way! I think I found it.”

Within minutes, everyone had gathered around the spot that I pointed to. “See? Up there. It’s a hole.” Several people looked unsure, peering at the dark corner.

Blaze gestured for everyone to stand back. She crafted a fireball and shot it into the ice. Shards broke apart, collapsing on the ground, as the fire seared through the icy ceiling and up into the center of the mountain. We checked the spot again and sure enough, there was a tunnel leading upwards. It seemed never-ending, stretching to the very top of the mountain.

“In the heart of the highest peak,” Blaze said, reciting the text. “This has to be it.” She flashed a smile at me. “Good find. Let’s get going.”

Due to the narrow size of the tunnel, there was only enough room for one person to squeeze through at a time. Blaze took a hammer, rope, and a bag of pitons that she strapped around her waist. A few of the soldiers that were going with us took the same items, including Gardon. Everyone attached a harness to themselves, as we weren’t sure how far the tunnel led. We would need to hook ourselves regularly to the pitons just in case.

Once we were ready and fed a connecting rope through all of our harnesses, I lifted the group into the air one by one. Blaze started hammering pitons in one by one on our way up with another soldier. The others tied the ropes through the pitons, allowing the ends to dangle down to the ground for any other soldiers who followed.

Every now and then, we hung to the wall, taking a short break so my energy could recharge. But we made good time through the darkness and eventually reached a ledge at the end of the tunnel.

I set everyone on the ledge, then plopped onto the ground myself. Carrying others sure takes the wind out of you, I thought. No time to rest though. Blaze and the others had their harnesses unhitched and were delving further into the upper cave. I loosened my harness and followed the guiding light in Blaze’s hand.

Surprisingly enough, the path was rather straightforward and soon opened up in a round chamber, as large as a theater, with no openings whatsoever. “This is it?” Gardon asked.

“Maybe there’s another secret tunnel,” I said. “Let’s spread out.”

While they each took a different section of the circular room, I floated up, checking the ceiling and curves of the wall. This all seemed too easy. I had expected a guard or something dangerous by now. I hit my forehead. Don’t jinx it, I told myself.

“See anything?” Blaze asked.

It was difficult to see much beyond the ice with a teal orb of light. “Not really,” I said.

She sighed and nodded. “Okay, bring me up then.”

I lowered down to her side, taking her hand, and we rose to the ceiling together. She seemed less nervous of the height now. Not completely unafraid, as she never once glanced at the floor, but a little calmer. She held my hand in a bone-crunching grip that I suffered through as she cast flames all along the ice, temporarily lighting it up.

“There!” I said, pointing to one spot near us. “There, light that area up again!”

She did and I was sure I saw a flash that time. A red twinkle like the snow. We moved closer to it and I could just make out a small shape buried deep in the ice. “I think this is it.”

Blaze held her hand up to the ice, heating it up. It quickly melted and evaporated before her power and her arm sunk deeper into the frozen ceiling until she suddenly stopped. The fire died down and she grunted, tugging at something inside. It clinked and shifted around until she finally freed it.

I held a teal orb up to the prize. A ruby red Sol Emerald. Blaze and I looked at one another. We had actually done it.

“This is about the time where something tries to kill us,” she said, eyeing the only exit. “Or a trap activates.”

“I don’t think so,” I said. The others gathered beneath us in curiosity. “I think this time, we got off easy.” At least that’s what I wanted to hope. It that was going to happen, it would’ve happened by now.

We floated back to the ground and showed the emerald to the others. The soldiers gaped in awe at it, unused to seeing a jewel of that size and splendor. It still impressed me as well, even after we had found others.

“So this means we’re already finished?” one of the soldiers asked.

“I,” Blaze hadn’t thought about it. Neither had I. “I suppose so.”

*  *  *

We returned to the rest of the army in triumph and the soldiers and dignitary congratulated Blaze on locating the emerald so expediently. “We just got word from one of the vehicles that they will be arriving soon with another load of soldiers,” the dignitary said. “Should be any minute now.”

“Too bad they’re already late to the party,” Gardon said. “May as well get packed up and start heading out as soon as they get here.”

Blaze agreed. “Yes, we need to get this back to the castle, then see if we can assist the others. No doubt Nega will have his eye on one of the other emeralds soon enough now that we have this one.”

“So much for his plan of gathering all seven,” I said.

By the time we returned to the front of the cave, the next load of soldiers had already arrived. We informed them of the situation and Blaze proudly presenting the emerald for all to see. While the soldiers cheered and celebrated, the driver pulled Blaze aside. Gardon and I followed.

“There’s a call from the Thunder Mountain army, Your Highness,” he said, opening the vehicle’s door for her.

Blaze hopped into the seat and pushed the talk button on the console. “This is Princess Blaze,” she said.

A general responded. “Your Highness, we have engaged with Dr. Nega.”

“Dr. Nega?” She gave me a confused look, but all I could offer was a shrug. I was as lost as she was. Why would Nega turn his attention to their group?

“Yes, some of his troops started to attack. We’re fending them off and are close to victory.”

“That’s good then, isn’t it?” she asked.

“Not exactly,” he said. “The force attacking us is too small to be a true threat. They’re meant to delay us.”

“Delay you for what?” Gardon asked.

“That’s why I’m calling,” the general said. “One of our scouts reported a few minutes ago that Dr. Nega’s main fleet entered the Thunder Mountain range. They’re going after the Sol Emerald there.”

“The Thunder Mountain emerald? Why?” Gardon turned to me. “That’s the most difficult one. Even we can’t reach it.”

No, we couldn’t. The army heading there had planned to defend the range as best as possible against Nega. The other emeralds were much more accessible for us and Nega. But he was aware of that. He knew we would be expecting him in the other areas. True, if he wanted all seven, eventually he would have to head to the Thunder Mountains. Yet his fleet was damaged and it was far from the easiest to obtain. So why seek it out first?

Unless, he wanted to find it first, even if he lost half of his fleet in the process. He was desperate to get this emerald first and add it to his current collection. For what reason though? Then the answer popped into my head and dropped into my throat, forming a lump that choked off any air. “He’s moved up his time table,” I said in a hoarse whisper.

Blaze tilted her head. “What?”

“He knows he can’t beat us to the other emeralds. So he’s grabbing the Thunder Mountain emerald now. He’s going to wake Iblis with three Sol Emeralds!”

Property of The Pen Vs The Sword. Please do not use without permission. Thank you.

End of the Universe: Chapter 19
This is running longer than I expected it to.

Pen: Story of my life.

Sword: Ooo, maybe we should write about that.

Let's not and say we did. Thank you all for reading so far and we'd love to hear what you think. Thank you all for your feedback on the previous chapters so far.

Silver, Blaze, and all related material belongs to Sega. The story, Sword, and Pen belongs to me. Please do not use without permission. Thank you.

Chapter 1: A Dead World
Chapter 2: One-Way Trip
Chapter 3: Back in Time
Chapter 4: Jewelry Heist
Chapter 5: Answers and Evidence
Chapter 6: Bed Rest
Chapter 7: Scene of the Crime
Chapter 8:
 Homecoming
Chapter 9: Emerald Hunt
Chapter 10: The Jewel of the Sea
Chapter 11: The Serpents' Lair
Chapter 12: Pricey Exchange
Chapter 13: Air Superiority
Chapter 14: Chateau de Pumken
Chapter 15: Metal Ghosts
Chapter 16: The Widow's Brood
Chapter 17:
 The Power of the Emerald
Chapter 18: Happy Together
Chapter 19: You are here.
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This week's most voted piece is A shelter for the soul by fear-sAs by :iconfear-sas:! Congratulations! So this week, we'll be choosing some from their favorites!

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Alien Study by Long-Pham King of the Jungle by Loopydave Practice paintings VI by sakimichan
BoneKiller - recent concept by velinov RED DAWN VS AMERICAN AVENGER by isikol Icarus 2 - Sunshine by FacundoDiaz
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ThePenVsTheSword
Dustin Martin
Artist | Student | Literature
United States
Name: See up top.
D.O.B.: 03/27
Sex: Male

So I came here from fictionpress and fanfiction. Just thought I'd post some of the stories here and see what people think of them. If you guys like them or just want to read more, let me know and I'll post some more Perhaps even earlier stuff. Might also add some drawings if I can ever improve well enough to draw something decent.

Yes, I do take requests for certain prices. If you want, just let me know what you want me to write/draw and I'll try to charge accordingly.

I'm only on deviantart, fictionpress, and fanfiction. Any other people with the same name are someone else entirely.

Current Residence: FL
deviantWEAR sizing preference: M
Print preference: Unsure
Favourite genre of music: 90's rock and 80's pop music
Favourite photographer: Unsure
Favourite style of art: Sketches I suppose
Operating System: Windows 7
MP3 player of choice: iPod
Wallpaper of choice: A beach setting
Favourite cartoon character: Pinky because I can do his voice
Personal Quote: A lot. Ask and I'll tell you some.
Interests

With Daniel Craig saying Spectre is his last Bond movie, who is your favorite Bond? 

53%
8 deviants said Pierce Brosnan
27%
4 deviants said Daniel Craig
7%
1 deviant said Sean Connery
7%
1 deviant said George Lazenby
7%
1 deviant said Roger Moore
0%
No deviants said Timothy Dalton

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Avairo Featured By Owner Jun 20, 2017  Hobbyist General Artist
Thanks for the llama badge :D (Big Grin) Love Chew 
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You're welcome! :)
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Lovew00t! :happybounce: 
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:la:
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Thank you for the llama <3
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You're welcome! :)
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Thank your for meep llama! :33333
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You're welcome! XDDDDD
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bear48 Featured By Owner Apr 23, 2017  Professional


www.youtube.com/watch?v=bHNczN…



:squee: :squee: :headbang: :squee: :squee:



Thank you for the fine Camelidae



:llama: :llama: :llama: :llama: :llama:


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ThePenVsTheSword Featured By Owner Apr 23, 2017  Student Writer
You're welcome! :la:
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