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The Silver Elite

by Mister Void 9 months ago in Fantasy
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Mal Means Evil

Our favorite gryphon finds himself trapped in a dimension where he can't die, but he's with a psychopath.

An all-too-familiar zapping sound rang out in a parallel dimension, interrupting a feeling of tranquility. Malvagio and Xarxazeroth were building something, but Mal instantly destroyed it after he heard the sound. Gryph was falling to the ground a few meters away. Mal scoffed. Zero kept staring at the destroyed whatever-it-was, which was now just a pile of dust in what looked like a Zen garden.

"Oofgh," Gryph cried, hitting the ground hard. He winced and remained there, silently inspecting his surroundings. He'd just teleported to another dimension. Everything here looked tinted blue, but ultimately the same as before. He had so many questions, but was critically out of breath and the weight of his chest felt unbearable. He felt so weak. Drained.

Malvagio walked up to him. His approach forced Gryph's ear to flit. They were all in their gryphon forms. Gryph looked up at Mal, disoriented.

"Kkgh," Gryph gasped, unable to form any words with his chest feeling so tight.

Malvagio leaned over. "What are you doing here, Gryph?" He tipped his head to one side, his eyes peering directly into Gryph's, ready to detect any lie.

"Rrgh," Gryph struggled to get up and shook his head wildly. "I was shot." His mind raced. "Sikal shot me." His eyes widened a bit, knowing he was probably dead right now and more pissed about it than anything else. "Sikal shot me! ...That asshole!!" He pounded a fist into the ground and stood all the way up on 2 legs. He raised his head as high as it would go, towering over Malvagio, who remained on all fours and sat back quietly in response to what honestly felt like sheer intimidation.

"Good," Mal replied sharply. "You needed that."

"WHAT?!" Gryph hissed, arching his head like an irate cobra. The bullet wound on his chest appeared to be burning itself away from his body, slowly turning into dust and disappearing. He hadn't noticed it yet, but it definitely caught Mal's attention. The bullet hole was being uncreated.

"...You said you were shot, right?"

"YES!"

"Then show me!"

"It's right HERE!" Gryph motioned both hands to his chest, then stared down at what he remembered to be a bloody hole. His eyes widened in surprise. "What is this sorcery!?"

"It's not sorcery. It's science. You can't die here."

"Wait, so that's real?"

Mal narrowed his eyes at Gryph. "It's definitely real." His voice was dark and sadistic. Evil.

Gryph shivered at the sound of that response, his ears dropping. Those words were sobering.

"You must have so many questions..." Mal broke the silence. He completely disregarded how scary he sounded and how it might have made Gryph feel.

"...Did I... teleport here?" Gryph asked, genuinely curious.

"Mmhmmm," Mal responded sweetly.

It was at this time Zero walked up beside Mal and stared at Gryph.

"Are you okay?" Zero asked in her most sincere voice.

"My chest hurts. It feels like I had the wind knocked out of me," Gryph replied.

"That's normal. You'll get used to it," Mal stated.

"You're lucky! I don't get to feel it at all! I'm jealous of you," Zero confessed.

"...It's not a nice feeling, Zero!" Gryph rolled his eyes.

"Would you rather be dead?" Mal remarked gravely.

"I feel dead," Gryph said with a sigh, finally starting to get over the side effects of having the device in his chest basically turn him inside out.

Mal laughed. "Wait until Bane hears about this!"

"Wait! X-2 is top-secret. You guys shouldn't even know I got the implant!" Gryph panicked.

"Well, that's less fun, but I suppose we can keep a secret. Knowing you, you'll give yourself away anyway!" Mal laughed.

Zero also laughed. "SO true!"

"Hey, that's not funny!" Gryph shook his head and surveyed the area again. "So, this is the shadow realm, huh?"

"Yep! Always has been. Always will be. Pretty sure, anyway. I haven't figured out how to destroy it yet," Mal confessed, looking around the place as well. "...Not that I'd want to! I love this place."

Zero stepped forward. "Wait, you said X-2? As in Xarxazeroth-2?"

"That's the one."

"So, then, I'm inside you?"

"ZERO!" Gryph barked and looked directly at her, blushing hard.

"I'll take that as a yes?" Zero smirked.

"We named it that because it gives me some of your abilities!"

"Ohhhh? Some of my abilities, huh?" She posed sweetly and looked immediately at Mal, putting her hand on his chest. "Do you hear this guy?"

Mal's ears dropped. He stared down at her hand, then at her, speechless. This was no conversation he wished to have in front of Gryph.

Zero kept staring at Mal in complete silence as if looking at a delicious snack.

Mal knew he was in dire straits. Panicked, his eyes darted away from Zero, to find anyone else, which was unfortunately only Gryph, who was equally embarrassed right now. "AHEM," Mal cleared his throat and slowly pushed Zero off his chest. "YOU MUST HAVE SO MANY QUESTIONS, GRYPH!" Mal motioned at Gryph, both hands raised, ready to receive any question that meant he didn’t have to answer Zero.

Gryph leaned back a bit, trying to give himself more space to process his current predicament. "I think she likes you, Mal.”

"GRYPH!" Mal barked, blushing hard.

Zero laughed and walked away victoriously. Every chance she had to make those two flustered, she took it.

"I do have one question," Gryph remarked, trying to change the subject.

Mal waited in anticipation. He needed the distraction.

"...How do I teleport?" Gryph asked, curiosity piqued.

"Hah! That's a skill like any other skill, Gryph. You have to train hard to master it!"

"Well, you're not doing anything. Can you teach me?"

"EXCUSE ME?? I'M NOT DOING ANYTHING??!" Malvagio looked over his shoulder at Zero, who was completely gone at this point. He grumbled a bit and looked back at Gryph. "I was having a fantastic time until you popped in!"

"Sorry! You're right. How insensitive of me!" Gryph waved his hands up in front of him as a way of an apology. "I'll just go."

"No, wait," Mal replied. "I'll teach you. I can't have you dropping in unexpectedly on me all the time, after all."

"Great! That's fantastic!" Gryph smiled in excitement. "I can already tell this is going to be fun."

Mal grinned. "Fun... Yes, all sorts of fun..."

"Nice."

"Well, Gryph, it's not fun. In fact, it's the exact opposite!"

"Oh..." Gryph frowned.

"You have to be afraid."

"Oh..."

"You have to be terrified!"

"...Oh..."

"Are you sure you're ready, Gryph?"

"I... guess??" Gryph looked up at Mal, who stared back at him as if he were a delicious snack.

"What are you afraid of, Gryph?"

Gryph thought about the question. There were so many things. As his thoughts raced in his head, one thing kept popping up above everything else. "I suppose... I'm afraid of... the sentinels??"

"Mmmm... The sentinels..." Mal looked above his head and pointed at three strange floating footballs that went unnoticed until now. "Do you mean these sentinels?"

Gryph swallowed a knot in his throat and looked up at the sentinels. They hovered quietly and shone a bright metallic silver. They looked like the same three units that he fought in Sikal's simulation way back when. "...Yeah..."

"Well, Gryph, if you want to beat them, you need to be afraid," Mal reminded Gryph. A familiar zapping noise pinged out from overhead and suddenly the 3 sentinels had become 6 sentinels.

Gryph's eyes widened as the numbers grew.

"You need to be deeply afraid," Mal continued. Another zap, and there were 12 sentinels floating above the gryphons.

Gryph felt his heart sink in his chest as the numbers kept growing.

"You need to be terrified!" Mal's voice started to become unrecognizable. More zaps. More sentinels. 30 sentinels floated above the gryphons.

Gryph's talons flexed into the ground beneath him as he felt the weight of his fear press down on every part of him. No one can defeat 30 sentinels without an EMP. This wasn't a fight Gryph could win by any stretch of the imagination.

"I'll give you a head start," Mal remarked.

Gryph's jaw dropped as he looked down at Mal, then back up at the sentinels. "You're serious!?"

"10..."

Gryph's ears dropped and he looked down at Mal again. The situation looked impossible. He inched backward and started to come up with a plan.

"9..."

At this point Gryph had turned completely and darted off, to put as much distance between himself and the sentinels as he possibly could.

"8..."

Gryph could still hear Mal's count-down, even from this far away. His senses were on high alert and adrenaline pumped excessively through every fiber of his being.

"...1..."

The sentinels took off in waves, rushing in Gryph's general direction with explicit instructions to tear him apart or die trying. The good news for Gryph was that he already knew the terrain–it was the same, just blue. He's fought sentinels out here before and he's confident he can do it again. He'll at least take out three. He needed to at least take out three! Even if there were a million, he owed it to himself to take out three.

"THIS IS SO NOT FAIR, MAL!" Gryph panted as he ran into the woods. He knew from experience that he was more mobile in the woods than the sentinels were because they required line of sight for most of their attacks. His biggest regret was there were not enough trees to save him from 30 sentinels, and at any moment any number of sentinels could teleport directly behind him and it would all be over, just like that.

"YOU CAN RUN, BUT YOU CAN'T HIDE, GRYPH!" Malvagio shouted from the clearing right outside the woods. He knew there was no sense chasing after Gryph. Not yet. Sooner or later, Gryph would default teleport back to this very spot, and Malvagio would be ready.

The sentinels zoomed through the woods in search of Gryph. Their biggest disadvantage was that they couldn't smell their quarry. To be fair, however, they themselves had no smell and would be equally as difficult to track by scent. The sentinels made up for their lack of scent with their teamwork. If any sentinel found Gryph, the rest would teleport to that location.

Gryph ran as fast as he could. Mal's voice echoed in the distance. Gryph heard the sound of insects swarming behind him–a distinct mechanical insect sound indicative of a swarm of flying sentinels. He knew he had no time to look back. He needed to stay out of sight and try to pick them off without being detected.

How in the world am I going to do that while I'm running?

Gryph's mind barked in frustration as he kept running into thicker and thicker woods until the sound of the sentinel swarm grew soft.

Good, they're splitting up.

Gryph slowed down to listen closer. He could hear how many were behind him now. There were three.

Of course, there's three!

He shook his head and kept going, farther and farther, until he could barely hear the sentinels behind him.

Two? ...No... One sentinel. I know it! I know it's one!

He remained still in the brush, pressing his form flat against the thickest tree.

The sentinel hovered meters away. It was scanning the area as it went, just to be sure it didn't pass the target. It was, after all, its only set of eyes out here at this point, being all alone as it was. The sentinel was well aware of this weakness and proceeded with caution, being mindful of its distance to obstacles that Gryph might be hiding behind. All it needed to do to win was broadcast Gryph's position. It needed line of sight to do this. All Gryph needed to do to win was attack directly under it in its blind spot after it passed overhead.

It passed over. Gryph won! Gryph had a sentinel's reaction time memorized at this point. He needed to tear it in half immediately after grabbing it and it wouldn't be able to attack at all or broadcast its position. It would simply shut off and melt itself until it disappeared.

It shut off and disappeared.

Piece of cake! I don't see how assassinating thirty sentinels is going to–

Thunder cracked. That familiar zapping noise boomed out much louder than before as the entire swarm of sentinels popped into existence directly above Gryph.

Gryph's eyes widened. This was so unexpected. He knew his execution was perfect and here were the reinforcements anyway.

WHAT!?

Gryph cursed and ran instinctively back through the woods. Since they all teleported in, he knew it didn't matter which direction he ran so long as he moved faster than them. The problem, however, was that they had line of sight now. The sentinels started their attacks immediately. Just like before, their faces mutated into large spikes which stretched forward hundreds of meters at a time to impale their targets from afar. Just like before, the ones that didn't have line of sight teleported to nearby locations and tried to acquire line of sight. The sentinels had other attacks, but this was by far their favorite. Unfortunately for them, it wasn't as effective in the woods. They needed to chase Gryph out of the woods or get very lucky.

Gryph heard tree branches cracking behind him as spears tore into bark and made an absolute mess of the place. Then he heard another zap. This one was dangerously close to him. The sound was immediately followed with a soft whirring sound of the sentinel transforming, which could only be heard if...

IT'S DIRECTLY BEHIND ME?!

Gryph turned around and smacked his wing as hard as he could into the side of the sentinel. He felt several of his bones break, but it was worth it. He knew he broke its line of sight. He can't outfly them anyway. He quickly pulled his wing back and thrust his entire body in that direction, uppercutting the sentinel and slamming its body into the side of a large oak tree. He winced as shards of metal lodged in his hand.

Still worth it! I've got many more bones to break! I'll get my three!

Gryph smiled, excited. His ears flit in the direction of the next zap.

Of course, there's another zap!

Gryph turned his attention to the zap. He expected all the remaining sentinels to pop in, just like last time, but it was just one.

...What??

Gryph was stunned.

First, they all popped in, and now just one? Why??

It wasn't even attacking. It was just staring.

"..."

Gryph stared back, as if in a trance. He just didn't understand his opponent. He needed more time to assess the situation.

That was time he did not have.

The rest of the zaps suddenly cracked directly behind Gryph as the swarm teleported in. The sound was chilling to the bone. Nearly instantly, an army of spikes forced Gryph to the ground. A rush of electricity pulsed through his body. His trance was suddenly, violently broken, and the pain of the attack finally weighed on his mind. He tried to look up at that one strange sentinel, but he didn't have the energy to move at all. His mind went black. Suddenly, he felt his chest tighten again. He was reminded of the gunshot he'd experienced earlier that same day. It wasn't his best day, to be sure. He couldn't see, but he felt the ground below him disappear. He didn't know where he was, but he knew he'd experienced the sensation of weightlessness before. His chest felt so heavy.

I'm... falling now? Below... the ground? Where am I? Gryph thought to himself and opened his eyes to see Malvagio rushing past him. No... He was rushing past Malvagio, to the ground, just like before.

"Wh... What??" Gryph asked weakly, collapsing on the ground, his eyes trained on Mal.

"There is only one outcome to this fight, Gryph," Mal stated, raising his hand.

Above Malvagio were both of the sentinels Gryph remembered tearing apart. They still looked damaged, but barely. The damaged parts appeared to be burning away, being undone. Nothing could die in the shadow realm, as Mal said. No matter how many sentinels he tore apart, they'd always respawn here and heal themselves and continue to fight until the end of time.

However, these two sentinels had a different task now. They merged into one another and reshaped their form to resemble a massive sword, which Malvagio gripped tightly.

Gryph watched in terror as Malvagio brought the sword crashing down to his location. Something deep inside him begged for a reaction, but Gryph was frozen. All he could think about was what that sword was about to do to him and how much it was about to hurt. He blacked out.

LATER THAT DAY

Gryph appeared in Sikal's lab, back on Earth, having a basic understanding of how to use his equipment to access the shadow realm.

"You're back! Did you have fun?" Sikal asked, loading another round into his gun.

"Fun... Yes, all sorts of fun..." Gryph told a familiar lie.

Sikal aimed the gun at Gryph and fired another shot without a second's warning. Gryph's consciousness didn't even have time to register the threat, but his implant had a mind of its own and instantly made his body disappear and reappear in the same spot. From Sikal's perspective, Gryph never moved and the bullet passed right through the same space.

"Stop shooting me!"

"I just needed to be sure it's working."

"It's working. Stop shooting me!"

"Alright... Welcome to the Silver Elite."

Fantasy

About the author

Mister Void

I like gryphons :)

Previous project: Have a look at my original animation, based on my Vocal story: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LSUAtVCQaTg

Current project: Another OA based on this: https://vocal.media/fiction/the-silver-elite-v4g8gx0urz

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