PART IVMature

 

 

The dark streets and dim alleys of Myris were desolate and barren. Night would soon turn to day, and time was running out for poor Iren. She was tied down to the bar and weeping softly to herself, while Grigg and his heinous subordinates ceaselessly mocked her current plight. Now more than ever she wished she had never stepped foot onto Arneid, and though her mind was filled with grievous despair at the idea of being subjected once again to the torment of fiends, she lifted her woeful spirit in memory of her undying promise, in hope that the Earthian would in fact return to rescue her. She was uncertain if she could place her faith in a total stranger, though what alien would be ever so trusting under Iren's circumstances? However, if she would have changed her previous wish of never landing in the city Myris into that of being saved by Blu that night, then perhaps the details that follow would have been considered the miracle of Myris.

He swiftly traversed back to the tavern without delay. Unsure if the casualties of his last encounter had been discovered, Blu decided to take a different route to Grigg's, though it was a roundabout path that took longer than expected. He hastened with great speed for Iren's sake, and the toil caused the Earhian's fresh shoulder wound to reopen. He could feel the warm blood slowly sliding down his back when he had finally arrived within an earshot of the tavern.

Blu was no fool himself, and his mind was keen to plans of action, especially during that dreadful night, which seemed to span a far greater length in time than its actual measurement. He perceived that it would be much less difficult if he were to eliminate his foes in small groups, like crushing clusters of nuts, rather than opposing the entire force singlehandedly; with no less than a samurai sword and baby blue scarf.

He remained across the street from the shoddy tavern for a minute while he planned away, then moving closer, he ducked behind a large garbage receptacle and began surveying the exterior of the tavern. As he raised his eyes from under the brim of his hat, he noticed three security guards were stationed at the entryway, and they were scanning the darkness awaiting either signs of the Earthian's return, or for more vile instructions issued by Grigg. At that moment, though it was muffled from his distance, Blu heard a shrill scream erupt from within the tavern. He could only imagine what dark and terrible things may be happening to Iren; he knew that every second he delayed, the poor Felisian's tormenting nightmare exacerbated to pitiful proportions.

Blu could do nothing for the tortured bar maiden from across the street, so his first idea was to secure the entryway being blocked by Grigg's private soldiers. He stood erect behind the dumping container, and with little time to flinch or cringe from the grotesque and bizarre accumulation of foreign alien waste, Blu rolled up a sleeve and plunged a hand deep into the garbage receptacle, then he withdrew a bulbous bag of unwanted and rancid trash. He batted the sleeve of his coat against it to dust off the unidentifiable pollution and pungent waste that clung to the bag, then he approached the tavern from the shadows; his night of violence and murder was about to continue.

"Look, fellas. It's the cowboy."

One of the security guards roused the attention of his comrades, and their weapons were quick to target Blu. "Say, what's with that bag you got there?" The three soldiers crossed from the stoop of the entryway toward him, but still they kept a cautious distance. Blu remained standing in the dimly lit street, his eyes were trained upon the soldiers with a cold malice.

"It's the reward your boss wanted. I'm here to deliver to him, personally." The last word lingered in the air with a wicked and dark indulgence. The soldiers felt the tingling of fear in the back of their minds. 

"No tricks then, toss it here!" One of the aliens lowered their weapon and extended their hands, as if gesturing to catch the bag. Blu contently complied to the demand and threw the container of trash into the arms of the soldier. By chance, the alien that seized the flying bag from the air was from a distant planet known as Sotalia, which is to say he was born without olfactory nerves and lacked a sense of smell. The guard slumped the lumpy sack of trash to the ground, then he grasped each side firmly and ripped it open.

To Blu's delight, the effect of his scheme worked to an almost perfect ploy. Not one or two, but all three of the security guards peered at the bag with curiosity, and they turned their attention away from their target momentarily. When the soldiers discovered the contents of the trash container, which was after pungent and filthy waste scattered upon the ground, they were enflamed with irritation. "What the hell is this, some kind of jo-"

The sentence was cut short, literally. The time that elapsed between the soldier's attention being diverted, and of their discovery of being duped, was a measurement of miniscule proportions, though it proved more than sufficient for Blu. After the bag was tossed and the hostile eyes of his enemies were directed off of him, the Earthian rushed at the group of aliens with deadly speed. He mechanically dropped a hand down to his belt, and he placed it upon the sheath that housed his masterwork sword, then with only his thumb he flicked the cross-guard and slightly exposed his blade. When he was upon the suddenly startled guards, the vigilante drew his sharpened katana and swung it with precision, facing the cutting edge upward. The steady and accurate motion of the blade slicing vertically caught one guard in the face, which split open; a geyser of blood gushed from the fatal laceration.

Needless to say the two other security guards were completely surprised by the assault. One of the aliens lifted his firearm in the frantic and sudden confusion, but before he could pull the trigger the blade swept downward effortlessly; the hands of the wretch were cleanly cut from his body, though they remained clinging desperately to the weapon as they fell to the concrete. He cried aloud from the excruciating pain. His comrade was next to react.

The third security guard lifted the barrel of his weapon in readiness for his attack, but a strong force collided with it, and before he had time to shoot the firearm, it fell off to one side of the street. The miscreant stood little chance of survival, so he drew his last breath to shout and warn the others inside, but his scream only welled up to the back of his throat before he was swiftly decapitated. Blu's face remained emotionless and meditative as he turned toward the remaining alien who was writhing in pain.

"No - don't kill me," he whimpered over and over as he waved his bleeding stumps back and forth. His request was met with the blade of the slicing sword piercing his abdomen, and the wretched cretin died almost instantly as his guts and innards spilt onto the ground below him, bathing his own feet in a mess of entrails.

Blu used the garments of one of the dead security guards to wipe down the blade, and he cleaned off the scarlet and olive colors that had splattered upon his own face. As he was doing so, another terrible and frightening shriek came from within the building. The Earthian hurried over to a window and peered into the exterior of the tavern.

Iren was crying out and struggling with a valiant effort; two aliens were at her arms, and another two were positioned at her feet. The despicable subordinates were restringing the Felisian's rope, tying her to the bar in a fashion more detestable than before, constricting her in erotic bondage. The minutes were ticking away, and within a matter of minutes Blu's time would be up, so Grigg had ordered some of his mindless minions to bind the woman in a way that would hurt her and grant easier access to her body, thus she was stooped and bent over the bar, legs being spread, and the heinous fiends were hollering wildly in anticipation for their promised entertainment. Even Grigg was bellowing out in twisted excitement, sharpening a crude torturing instrument while standing behind the bar.

Blu was deeply dismayed at this sight, but he breathed a sigh of relief in the same moment. Though Iren was being tormented and her clothes were torn to shreds, he perceived he had arrived just in time; she was not completely stripped of her clothing, she was still hurt but not suffering from fatal injuries, and to the Earthian's greatest relief, she was still unsullied and alive. He had not a second to spare, and quickly his mind began to race with thoughts of attempting a harrowing rescue.

Just then a noise rattled out and broke the stillness of the atmosphere outside. Blu was startled by the sound; a clanging and banging came from inside a garbage receptacle leaning against the tavern's outer wall several feet away. He was uncertain if more security guards remained alive and ready for action, so he crept silently toward the container with his samurai sword drawn. He gradually lifted the lid of the receptacle and braced the hilt of his weapon, then he poised to deliver a fatal strike.

The katana sang out as it cut through the air once more, and it dove through the humidity of Myris like a knife through butter to meet its target, but before the blade could pierce any flesh or draw blood, it stopped. Blu stood in silence as his body remained unmoved, and his sharp sword rested softly, poking the epidermis of a dingy looking vagrant.

"P-please. I'ma lowly and pathetic nobody," he cried out in fright," no need to kill me, I didn't see nothin`. I'll jus` cross the stars!" The homeless alien was trembling and terrified, nearly soiling his raggedy trousers, and while he stared into the dark craters that were the vigilante's eyes, he could feel the blade of the katana readying its vicious bite.

The sword was sheathed once Blu discovered that the vagrant had no ties with Grigg, or his dastardly subordinates. "I reckon you look down on your luck, friend. Feel like making a little money tonight?" He had a smug look on his face as a plan was taking form in his mind.

Of course anyone in that alien's particular circumstances would be hard pressed to decline the offer of financial gain. The city of Myris is a spectacular beauty, but its ghettos are cruel and unforgiving, and any chance of fortune is better than none at all. Blu spent a moment reciting and repeating his newly acquired lackey's instructions again and again, then he finalized the preparations necessary for infiltrating the tavern, which included tying the blue scarf to the hilt of his deadly katana.

"You sure this is goin` to work? What if they suspect me, or try to shoot me?" The wandering vagrant was already doubting the Earthian's plan. Fear, mixed with staggering uncertainty, plagued his thoughts and muddled his courage.

"If my guess about the scum bag's greed is as right as I think it is, the plan will work. And nobody is going to shoot you." Blu was reassuring the alien he had conned into collaboration.

"How do you know I'ma not gettin` shot?"

"Because I reckon they'll be shooting at me," he replied casually.

The time for discussion had ended when Iren screamed out again, this time it was a blood-curdling shriek, and she was weeping as the disaster of her past was beginning to multiply with exponential damnation. All of the other security guards were watching on and hollering excitedly as the poor woman's dress was ripped and torn even more so, and her voluptuous Felisian physique was exposed to the crowd of molesting miscreants.

"Let's have us a taste," one of the aliens said, and he gripped her hair and wrenched Iren's head backward, then he ran his slimy tongue along the nape of her neck. She shuddered and cried aloud. Immediately he was swatted away by two others, and they were shouting, "Me first," and, "No, me!" while groping feverishly.

This caused a commotion, and the soldiers that surrounded Iren began to dispute and argue amongst themselves. For another brief moment, the wretched torment of the young woman was postponed by the envy of her captors; they pushed and shoved each other like wild and stampeding beasts.

There was a dingy golden bell hanging above the bar, that until now had gone unnoticed, and just as the depraved deviants were tussling with one another, it suddenly rang out with a loud dinging noise. Grigg set up the device to alarm him if any alien, whatsoever their current financial situation, would by chance find interest in the business of his crooked counting-house during nonbusiness hours, such as this exact hour.

The bell's tone startled the security guards, and even Grigg found surprise in its ring. He was unsure if this was some secret ploy of the Earthian, so he dispatched two soldiers to investigate the source of the commotion. The pair quickly returned and reported that a rather unkempt and disheveled vagrant wanted to talk business. The tavern owner seemed disinterested at the request, and he was preparing to dismiss the alien rather crudely, but then one of the soldiers mentioned the currency the shabby business prospect was seeking to trade. Grigg's mind was again teeming with delight at the thought of cheating a helpless individual. His eyes widened with terrible glee.

"He wants to trade what for gubuls?! Why the hell didn't you say so before? You, come with me." Grigg and his most trusted body guard crossed over to the entryway separating the counting-house from the tavern, but before the tavern owner disappeared into the other chamber he turned and faced the bar. "The cowboy's time is up. Looks like he ran out on this ugly whore. I can't say I blame him. No sense in taking turns men; she's got more than one hole, you know, but mind those pretty little teeth of hers...and don't kill her until I come back! I want to give her a fitting punishment before killing her myself." He bellowed out another cruel laugh and slammed the door closed. In unison, all of the remaining aliens slowly fixated upon the nearly naked Felisian with wicked interest.

Iren's heart was crushed by the words, and her spirit once again sank into unknown depths. Her eyes were filled with tears, and they streamed down her cheeks pooling onto the bar. She did not want to accept this as her final moment of existence; with dismay she faced the reality of the terrible and unspeakable acts that her hellish tormentors prepared to carry out upon her. She could barely retain her consciousness as a wave of absolute misery washed over her, and she woefully stared on as a handful of treacherous and menacing aliens crowded around her; their eyes glowing like that of hungering wolves looming over wounded and helpless prey. They were ready to dig into her.

That's when another noise interrupted the atmosphere inside the interior of the tavern, although this time it was not the bell of the counting-house. A loud crash thundered out as Blu leapt through one of the tall windows, and a wall of glass shattered, littering the floor beneath the newly created opening.

In a single and mighty bound, Blu bound into the air and swiftly planted his feet upon the surface of a table; two security guards were slouching around it and awaiting the entertainment to commence before it was their turn. The entire force of brutes were caught off guard, and all of them were equally surprised to see the Earthian standing erect and proud upon the tabletop, with a long blade clutched firmly in his grasp.

The katana was quickly lodged into the head of one of the security guards sitting at the table, and he instantly fell to the ground as a dead mass. The other guard drew the sidearm that was holstered to his hip, and he aimed up at Blu ready to dispatch him, but the weapon was kicked out from his hand.

What happened next was a sight unimaginable; the Earthian skillfully disarmed his nearest opponent and caught the weapon as it sailed through the air, then with unmatched speed he aimed the barrel downward, and with two shots the soldier toppled over and lay fatally wounded upon the tavern floor, choking on his last few breaths. In a moment all of the other security guards had regained their senses, but not before the Earthian rapidly shot and killed another despicable deviant from across the room. They targeted the vigilante within their crosshairs, and the soldiers steadied their trigger fingers. Blu shifted his weight toward one end of the table's surface, and he dropped to the ground as the piece of sturdy furniture tipped over, then he shielded himself behind the makeshift barricade. A hail of ammunition thundered out from the weapons of his enemies, colliding with the barrier, peeling large splinters away with every direct hit. The air of the tavern was deafened by the immutable sound of gunfire and the terrified screams of the defenseless Felisian woman.

Blu dared not expose himself while volley after volley of piercing bullets were shredding the table into inevitable deterioration. He lifted the sidearm over the top of his barricade and responded to their attack with rounds of suppressive fire, but after only a few shots the weapon clicked, signaling its emptiness.

The initial surprise and uproar of the battle dimmed the senses of the remaining security guards, and just before the table was rendered completely useless for shielding Blu, the clapping sounds of weapons firing was replaced by the familiar clicking of empty gun chambers. In the maddening confusion and assault upon the intruder, not a single dimwitted guard thought to spare their rounds of ammunition, and all at once the entire force was frantically beginning to reload their firearms at the same time.

Blu sensed his moment of opportunity. He darted out from his barricade and swiftly ran toward the closest subordinate. The frightened soldier screamed aloud, and the unmerciful sting of the katana cruelly claimed another victim. The Earthian reached out and unsheathed a knife dangling from the hip of the dying alien, before the wretch fell backward, and with perfect precision he flung it at the alien who had ran his nasty tongue along the fair Felisian captive's neck; the result was an instant kill.

The remaining aliens cocked their weapons ready as their firearms were freshened with more ammunition. The Earthian was more than a blade's length away from the nearest guard, and it seemed the battle was about to cease with his utter demise. Fortunately for Blu, the scarf still remained attached to the sword from his earlier preparations; he threw the katana at another brute, it pierced the despicable scoundrel's abdomen, then he pulled with all of his might as the security guard was forcibly yanked toward him.

More thundering shots rang out; a hail of bullets filled the air once again. This time Blu shielded himself using the meaty physique of the security guard, holding on to the cretin tightly while the wretch was being blasted away, gunned down by his own comrades. Some of the stray shots whistled and whizzed past Blu's ears; his cheek was grazed by one bullet, then his arm was tagged by another.

He dove behind the bar after his fleshy shield toppled over dead, and it was there he found his custom-made pistol idly resting upon a countertop. Again the security guards unloaded their weapons until they clicked empty, but this time they turned over tables of their own and shielded themselves as well.

The Earthian stood up from behind the bar, and his eyes flashed with the look of devilish intent, then his sidearm rang out, displaying one of its more unique properties. The rounds that were fired were not necessarily aimed at the barricades, but rather at the walls and ceiling of the tavern; the barrel unleashed several bullets that ricocheted around, like brutal rubber balls bouncing from surface to surface, and one by one the remaining aliens fell dead upon the dingy tavern floor. The last guard limped out from behind his barricade, raised his weapon to fire it, and had his brains paint the far wall.

A thick wall and considerable spacing separated the tavern from the counting-house; thus  the deafening sounds of battle were initially muted, and Grigg was completely unaware of the situation escalating within the bar. His mind was engrossed by his insatiable greed when had finalized the transaction of trade. He felt he did exceptionally well in deceiving and cheating the lowly vagrant. Grigg vaguely wondered in curiosity why the miserable fool left his counting-house in such high spirits, but unknown to the tavern's proprietor, the gubuls he departed with were a fortune more than the wandering alien had to his name, that is at least until promising the Earthian to distract Grigg as long as he could manage. The vagrant's acting debut was over, and he was all the richer for it.

With an air of duty, the body guard escorted his employer from the counting-house back to the tavern, but as he reached for the knob to turn its handle the door suddenly flung open from the opposite side, and the loud sound of a singular blast echoed out. He stumbled back and leaned against the wall behind him. Two more shots rang forth from Blu's barrel; his body dragged downward before slumping onto the ground, leaving a long trace of oozing blood. Grigg frantically reached for the sidearm he kept close and holstered, but his speed was too sluggish. Blu swiftly aimed at the last remaining foe, his eyes were undetectably shrouded in shadow.

"Drop it, scum bag." The tone of his voice was raspy and hoarse. The vigilante's body was fatigued from toil and blood loss; the look of cold and devilish intent permeated itself upon his face.

The treacherous Grigg had no other choice but to comply, and he let his weapon fall onto the floor with a weighty thud; the sound made Blu's cracked lips curl into a crazed smile. He crudely grabbed the walrus-man by the sides of his head, then he forcibly wrenched Grigg's face downward, and it collided into one of the vigilante's powerful knees; a string of dribbling blood shot out of a nostril.

Iren was still petrified with confusion and disbelief. She surveyed the bar stained by the river of tears that she had shed, and massacred corpses that were scattered about the tavern. Her senses were still reeling in a frantic terror from the hellish torment she had endured, and she was still lightly whimpering, mostly because she remained tied down and her rather appealing assets were still well exposed in erotic bondage.

Blu returned from an entryway he had disappeared into momentarily, and he was cruelly manhandling Grigg when he arrived. He dragged and shoved the cretin into the bar, then with his mighty strength he plunged the alien's ivory tusks into a wooden countertop; they punctured through it with little resistance. The wretched walrus-man was stuck, and he could do nothing to escape his justifiable fate.

Once Grigg was pacified, Blu wasted no time in aiding the release of Iren; he cut her free with his sharpened sword in careful and steady sweeps, then he draped his black coat over her, covering her gentle curves with his garment. The Felisian woman instantly felt a renewed sense of safety and warmth as soon as the coat fell upon her shoulders, as if being blanketed in a shroud of pure shelter. When she looked to the Earthian with her auburn gaze, she noticed bullet wounds from the fight, and as he turned his back to Iren she also observed a copious amount of scars from previous, and countless, battles.

Blu had a deadened seriousness in his eyes, and he said harshly, "Apologize to the lady, now."

Grigg hesitated for a moment, then he spat upon the vigilante and said, "As if I would apologize to that wench. She is a whore, a bitch! She is filth - no, she is less than filth; she is nothing." Then he turned to Iren with a look of seething hatred in his eyes, and he added with atrocious satisfaction, "you should have died, just like your damn mother!"

The statement struck a deep chord in the Felisian, and she was grievously heartbroken from the unkind words. She stared at him with more tears in her bloodshot eyes than ever before, as she discovered that the true source of her unending misery had been the villainous Grigg the entire time.

"The reason I told you to apologize to the lady is simple; if you would have said you were sorry, I would have executed you quickly and painlessly - now you have to die slowly."

He began searching the liquor shelves and cabinets until he came across an old looking bottle of whiskey. It was covered in dust and teeming with antiquity. "Finally, a drink. I'm parched! You know, hunting scum bags across the universe is more tiresome than you'd think. I reckon that when I retire, I'll open my own brewery. Wouldn't that be something?" He was speaking so casually it was as if he had entirely forgotten about, or overlooked, the cadavers littering the tavern floor or the copious bullet holes that seemed to be everywhere.

Popping the cork from the neck of the bottle, he tipped it back, taking a long and heavy swig of alcohol. He cringed with satisfaction as the whiskey burned its way to his stomach like a ball of fire, then Blu stopped drinking from it and held the bottle out toward Iren's direction. "Want some?"

Iren was never much of a drinker, nor did she care for the taste of alcohol, but the experiences she endured came with a heavy burden; she politely sipped from the container of whiskey. After the first mouthful she coughed in disgust, but in a moment her cares began to flee from her her mind as the intoxication was taking effect. Her cheeks blushed a rosy hue.

Blu busied himself opening bottle after bottle of alcohol, and one by one he poured their contents all over the tavern and Grigg, soaking everything in potent smelling liquids. The last remaining bottle was the whiskey, and he swigged from the container once more before dipping his bloodied handkerchief into it. He then gently placed an arm around the Felisian woman; she did not shudder like she had done so many times before, and he said with hint of playfulness in his voice, "Shall we?" One arm swept nonchalantly through the air as he motioned toward the door.

As the pair exited the tavern, Grigg was crying and shouting profanities the entire time, before finally begging for leniency. Blu slammed the door to the establishment shut, thinking to himself, "The bad ones are quick to deal out death and punishment, but when it comes time for their turn, they all beg for their pathetic lives. In this game of fox and hound there is no such thing as mercy, only winners and losers. Tonight, justice wins."

Iren was escorted into the middle of the street; she was startled when she stumbled upon the gruesome scene of corpses laying lifelessly outside the building. The pair crossed into the road until they were at a fair distance, then they stopped their gait.

"If I may," he said politely, then Blu reached into the trench coat Iren had draped over her shoulders. For some strange reason she felt completely at ease as he withdrew a match and another smoking device from a pocket.

The match was struck and a wild flicked into creation, then he lit the capsule that he had placed between his lips and took a long drag of astro turf. "You know, I reckon I've killed enough aliens for one night," he said lightly in a raspy and fatigued tone, then he handed the bottle of whiskey to Iren. With the match still in his hand, he generated a small fire that gradually consumed the handkerchief, which filled the neck of the glass container of alcohol.

"Give it a good toss whenever you're ready, darling." A wispy cloud floated from his mouth, rising into the humid atmosphere.

Iren held the bottle in her hand as she glanced up at Grigg's tavern for the last time. In that moment she recalled the memories of the vileness, the torture, and all of the wicked deeds that were once housed within the building's walls. The sorrow that filled the Felisian's life had been immense, but she felt a heavy burden lift from her spirit. The road to justice is a lengthy and rough journey at times, but Iren traveled its path, all for the sake of keeping the promise made to her deceased and dear mother.

"This one's for you, mother," she shouted out, and with surprising accuracy she hurled the fiery cocktail through the broken window that Blu had previously leapt through during his infiltration. The tavern instantaneously began to glow as flames spread, swiftly consuming the building. Grigg screamed out in horrid pain as he slowly burned alive within his own tavern. The reek of the death became more and more potent with each passing minute.

"Who would have guessed the lady had an arm? She could have played ball." Blu said to himself jokingly, as if unstirred by the unsettling events that took place in such a short span of time.

The beautifully illuminated lights of Myris will never compare to the radiance of Grigg's tavern aflame and burning to the ground; at least in the eyes of Iren, and though the moon moss shined on spectacularly as night slowly turned into day, the real light show was happening in the darkness and gloom of the city's ghettos.

Blu began to stagger in the direction of his spacecraft, wobbling slightly from his fatigue. "Where are you going?" Iren asked him as she obediently remained by her rescuer's side, still wearing his long black trench coat to cover herself.

"To my cruiser. I have to buzz Gully...tell him what happened." The strength of his voice was wavering, and his injuries were beginning to cause him immense pain.

"Gully? Who's Gully?" Iren hoped the Earthian and his comrade would be kind enough to aid her in the process of relocating somewhere other than the ghetto, or Myris for that matter. As the pair went along, she did her best to support his massive weight with her slender feline frame; it looked similar to a wood plank desperately endeavoring to hold up a leaning house.

The mounting fatigue and alcohol muddled Blu's senses, making his tongue more loose than usual, so he answered the Felisian's curiosity. "Lieutenant Deninn Gultheszra, commander of Ranger Battalion 4-0-7, and highly decorated hero of the New Age. Don't let him fool you though, most of his awards of service are a crock of shit. These days, they'll award any alien who can tie their bootlaces correctly. Still, he's an old battle buddy and good friend - he can be trusted."

Blu, accompanied by Iren, approached his spacecraft in staggering lunges, however by the time they had arrived he was using the poor bar maiden as a crutch to prop himself up, mostly because of the immense amount of blood he had lost. With blurred vision he typed in the passcode to unlock his cruiser, but that is the last thing he remembered that day, as he fell face first onto the bare ground and lost all trace of consciousness.

 

In the next installment, Iren and Blu part ways.

 

 

 

The End

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