Chapter Three, Page Seven, The city of Locked DoorsMature

As their soldiers fought their battle, Alucard dashed to the side, flinging a volley of Shadow-Knives at Noir with one hand while the other used a tendril of shadow to hurl one of the surrounding lamps. The knives were swept aside by a shadow tendril and the lamp fell short to explode on the ground before Noir. Alucard cursed and raised both hands, gathering shadows to him, "Shadow Law: Prison!" His shadows coalesced upon Noir and solidified, binding his arms and legs and then forming the intractable walls of a prison. He grinned and slammed his hand unto, "Shadow Law: Crush!" The walls of Noir's prison compressed with sudden, fatal, brutality and exploded outward, leaving him untouched, his hand still buried in their pockets.

Noir stepped forward, a tide of shadows extinguishing the lamp flames, "You Shadowmancy lacks form, technique, and, most of all, vision, Alucard. You are no more fit to be the master of an Academy then I am to be a nurse maid- Oh, shut up."

So be it, I'll show you true power. Alucard gathered more shadows to himself and bent over his compressed arms. He looked up, his eyes black with Shadow-Leech, "Shadow-Law: Eradication!" There was a single instant of coalescing power, a single instant for Noir to retaliate or defend himself, and then every shadow in the vast room collapsed up him. It was a storm of half-formed creations connected by a sea of undefined spells. It was the strongest law in Alucard's arsenal and almost guaranteed to obliterate its target. This monstrous amalgamation of Shadowmancy collapsed upon Noir and devoured him utterly.

Alucard threw back his head and laughed, reveling in the raw power he displayed. The floor beneath Noir began to crack and splinter, hurling shards of shadow into the air. The cracks spread outward, reaching, and scaling the walls.

Then the eradication spell ended, leaving the room in crack shambles and Noir untouched, his hand still in their pockets. "Are you only capable of brute force?" He marched forward, kicking aside Shadow-Debris.

Alucard drew back, tumbling into the throne, "I'm not done yet, Noir, not even close." Alucard reached into his robes and extracted a Shadow-Prism. It was his final recourse, his ultimate card. He crushed it in his hand and flung the Shadow-Debris at Noir, "Shadow Thrall: Demon." The Shadow-Debris spun and swelled, gathering about itself and multiplying. Noir drew back as the demon took shape, a towering entity of spikes, baleful wings, and black fire. It finished forming and crashed to the ground with a bellow, its body fully eighteen feet of muscle, power, and sorcery. Alucard righted himself from the chair and pointed at Noir, "Kill him." The demon growled and straightened to its hind legs, four Shadow-Blades materializing in its hands.

"So you are actually capable of Shadowmancy that befits a Proctor." Shadows coalesced into a churning pool before Noir and began to thicken as he molded them. The shadow demon howled and thundered forward, each stride causing the floor to shudder. The shadow before Noir exploded upward, vomiting a swarm of grotesque humanoids. They crawled, tumbled, and vaulted across the floors, their bodies still in the process of forming.

The demon collided with this frenzied horde and crashed through the front ranks, smashing the half-sized creatures into Shadow-Debris. Yet, for every two he struck down another four emerged from the pool and joined the teeming swarm. The demon's charge slowed to a halt as it spun in place, smashing the nameless shadow creatures beneath its four cloven feet and slaughtering them with a sweep of its blades. The shadow creatures moved swiftly, dashing through its legs, evading its sweeping strikes, and opening a thousand wounds with small, poisonous knives. The demon howled and its body flared up, scattering scores of shadow creatures in a burst of black energy. It extended its blades, two toward Noir, and two to either side. Shadows coalesced beneath the extend blade, forming into two lesser versions of itself and into two roiling masses of Shadow energy. The shadow creatures immediately collapsed upon the lesser demons, but, in doing so, they cleared the greater demon's path.

Flinging the shadow spells before it, whereupon they were immediately batted aside, the demon charged forward, crossing the distance between it and Noir in the space of a heartbeat. Yet, even as it moved to strike, the shadows coalesced into a dart before Noir and shot into the demon's gut. The collision arrested the demon's impetus and drove it back a step. It held that pose for a instant, then slowly curled in upon itself, a thousand fissures opening in its form. "The problem with cheaply made Shadowmancy, Alucard, is that it is easily unmade." Noir stepped forward and through the shadow demon as it imploded into Shadow-Debris.

Alucard stumble back with a gasp and desperately reached for the poison in his blood, calling for the monster in his veins to rise. Four tendrils of shadows erupted from Noir's back and skewered Alucard through the shoulders and knees. He cried out and released the final locks on his Hyde. Yet, it did not rise, the poison in his blood continued to roil, but it effected no change on his form. There was no flood of brutality and feral power, nothing but a searing pain, "What did you do?"

"Nothing much, I just injected you with a little of my blood to prevent you from releasing your Hyde."

Alucard stared at Noir in horror and then, with every recourse exhausted, he fled, smashing through the ground with a bolt of Shadowmancy. Alucard landed on the Undercity's grate floor with a crash and sprinted off into its mazelike depths as a multitude of whirring, white, electric lights blinked on.

He heard Noir drop down after him and turned sharply around a corner only to crash into a wall of sleek Shadow-Steel. He bounced off it, spun, and dashed the other way as Noir strode after him. Twisting, Alucard flung a volley of shadow shards down the way he had come but they were just scattered with lash of a seemingly autonomous shadow tendril. He cursed and turned down another corridor, desperately recalling all he could of the Undercity. He needed to reach Grim's palace and hoped desperately that the Proctor would aide him. Surely, the two of them could defeat Noir.

Alucard pulled to a violent halt but not soon enough to avoid crashing into another wall of Shadow-Steel. He drew back, panting with one hand on the wall before. He glanced back and, to his horror, realized that another shadow wall had formed behind him. There was only one other road and it led away from Grim's palace. Alucard cursed again and leapt away from the wall, hurling a ball of shadows at it. The roiling sphere exploded upon contact with enough force to fling Alucard onto the ground, but left nary a scratch on the wall. Alucard scrambled to his feet and fled down the open road just as Noir phased through the wall behind him.

He sprinted down the corridors, crashing against the walls and stumbling in his haste. The lights flickered constantly overhead and the exhaust pipes burst as he dashed by, coating him in steam and water. Time and again, he found walls of Shadow-Steel blocking his path, inexorably herding him in the direction Noir desired. He fought to release his Hyde, hoping that its enhanced physical abilities would give him the opportunity to outrun Noir, but every attempt met with failure.

Sobbing now, he turned the final corner and crashed up against a wide grate. He crushed himself against, reaching his hands desperately through the bars, fighting to squeeze himself out into the open city beyond. He heard a footstep behind him and spun. Noir strolled around the corner, his long, white coat flapping gently in the breeze. Alucard lowered himself to his knees, hands raised in supplication, "Please, spare me. I can tell you everything you want, everyone who's plotting against Lock and Key, everyone who killed Alighieri."

Noir knelt before and gently cupped his cheek, "That is not the law that governs us, Alucard; it's an eye for an eye, blood for blood." his hand tightened digging iron fingernails into Alucard's cheek, spilling blood, "There are no words for the pain you caused me, no restitution or forgiveness. But, the night is young, and I have nowhere else to be until morning."

The End

106 comments about this story Feed