The Darkest Corners: A Modern Fantasy RP (Interest Thread - Closed)

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"And you are hunted by your own kind? You think that is bad? I don't even know my own kind!"

"You say that like it is a bad thing," John grimly thought, memories of spells going past his head going.

John was surprised as Theon thrashed around. Fighting off spells A werewolf (a fully willing werewofl at that), a level two animorph, AND had magical mental defenses? John's anger abated (a bit) , replaced by curiosity.

"That right there was the last time you pull anything like that. If you ever cast a spell on me again for your own personal gain.. I will rip you in pieces myself. I might not be good in magic like you, but you overestimate your own abilities mage. Still you really show your true colors, when you are using spells on people below 18, John."

"I won't, fair enough, you seem to be more powerful than any werewolf I never said I was anything but a low powered mage in most scenarios, I am only half blood, and I have no idea what you mean by, below 18," John said in a single breath, "I do have one question for you though, are entirely sure what you are? I have seen a werewolf or an ani... full transformer able to do anything you can do, and I have sh-een many of both. Are you sure your not something else?"

"I turned 250 before setting out on this little outing, why do you ask?"

John turned to Lucia.

"250?" John said, "Isn't that extremely young for a dragon?"

"250?" John said, "Isn't that extremely young for a dragon?"

Fromanzio chimed in gleefully at that. He had been loosely following the conversation and hoping for one of the two to kill each other. It never came, but Fromanzio could still get a good laugh.

"Master is only at the age of eighteen if you can believe it. Fromanzio remembers the good ol' days with Lucia though! Fromanzio watched her grow up under the wonderful oppressive boot of a slave master! The things Fromanzio remembers. Don't you miss the old master Lucia?"

Lucia was about to reply to John with some hand wave excuse, since for some reason she didn't lie about her age like normal, when Fromanzio opened his mouth.

" Fromanzio remembers the good ol' days with Lucia though! Fromanzio watched her grow up under the wonderful oppressive boot of a slave master! The things Fromanzio remembers. Don't you miss the old master Lucia?"

Lucia shot Fromanzio a look of utter disdain and hate in its purest form "The only reason I would want to see that worthless, inbreed, slow witted, no talent side show freak again is so I can skin him like a deer before peeling the flesh from his bones layer by layer before leaving him in the woods to be eaten alive somewhere" Lucia said with barely contain rage, few things angered her at all let alone quickly, this subject was one of them "Don't laugh to hard slave, I'll do the same to you given the opportunity" she added with an ever growing level of contempt

"Fromanzio remembers the good ol' days with Lucia though! Fromanzio watched her grow up under the wonderful oppressive boot of a slave master! The things Fromanzio remembers. Don't you miss the old master Lucia?"

John glared down at the jester. Such obvious lies, who would enslave a dragon, a platinum at that? Where is the punchline for this joke...

"The only reason I would want to see that worthless, inbreed, slow witted, no talent side show freak again is so I can skin him like a deer before peeling the flesh from his bones layer by layer before leaving him in the woods to be eaten alive somewhere. Don't laugh to hard slave, I'll do the same to you given the opportunity" she added with an ever growing level of contempt."

..."She was a slave?" John thought, looking back at Lucia, "Who could possibly enslave a dragon... Who could enslave a dragon? Leave him in the woods to be eaten implies what is in most woods would be able to eat her old master... human? Goblin?"

John looked back into her face of murderous rage and decided that letting this conversation go any further would end BADLY.

"So, anything we need to discuss before we go after the Lich?" John said, turning to Lucius, "The sooner the better."

-Lucius-

Lucius ignored John's comment, and looked around the motley assortment of 'warriors' he had - but nonetheless, things must get underway. He straightened his sash, and spoke, "Yes, we must get moving, I suppose. First on our itinerary would be my old archives in wales - I'll get us there soon. I'm afraid to say, you'll all be disarmed on arrival. And reverted to natural forms, where appropriate - Lucia, if the Dragon side is natural, you'll appear apart from us, I'm afraid. Not in my control, the archives defenses are impossible to change. Any objections?", Lucius paused for almost a full second - he really hadn't the energy to field objections - before continuing, "Good, lets go." Lucius crushed the spell trigger in his fist, releasing the energy - crimson tentacles curled rapidly out, appearing to ensnare the members of the group. Maybe a couple of seconds later, the group blinked out of existence in the Ritz, and appeared, half a moment later in Lucius's old map rooms, the walls covered in maps - the UK, Wales, Cardiff area, all a millennium or more in age, and labelled in Latin calligraphy...

Lucia missed every thing John and Lucius said, she was fixated on Fromanzio, to say she was 'upset' with him would be a gross understatement. The magic Lucius used caught her attention and was going to resist when she felt it pulling her some where else. Some where else sounded good so she let the spell do it's thing.

Lucia appeared in a large room, smashing a table and some chairs on arrival, the spell forcing her back to her dragon form. She shoved the destroyed furniture a side, and the rest into a pile in the far side of the room, her wing numbs bumping the roof supports as she did this, if she still had her old wings, she'd probably have torn the roof down, as it was though it was just mildly annoying.

After she'd cleared a space big enough, she just lay down and waited.

John tried to jump towards the counter in the hopes of making an Anchor charm, but wasn't able to reach it before being grabbed by the tendrils.

John briefly felt his various weapons being taken away. The problem was, the spell is dependent on what a person thinks they consider a weapon. John has thought long and hard (and used) just about everything on him as some means to hurt and/or kill a lot of things, including his keys (place each key between each finger, have a fist full of pretty dull knives), wallet (stuff all contents down in their mouth, stuff the wallet in, hold the nose till asphyxiation) and pants (see jacket example).

John came out of the transportation only his boxers, although his near nakedness was not much of a concern. The wiring that normally covered John's body, which John used as his "wand" (wandless magic for human mages tended to be far more power intensive and chaotic) was also removed. Problem was, it was partially/totally embedded in John's skin, from his back, up all his limbs, up right to the nails of John's fingers and toes. Forced to his knees by the pain, John screamed in agony.

Zaheer/Fromanzio

Any objections?"

Zaheer laughed and said "None at all. Fromanzio, prepare yourself. This could be bumpy." In fact, bumpy was the least of what Zaheer could have said. For him, going through this would eviscerate the skin suit he had made for himself and while that itself didn't hurt, being dragged out into his regular, more powerful, ascended form did a tiny bit. Still, no pain no gain, this archive had to have some nice spells inside. Fromanzio on the other hand, was already in his basic true form and simply laughed as the tentacles grabbed and dragged him to another dimension. Not too unlike what his normal days in planescape were like.

John seemed to have gotten it worse than anyone else. Fromanzio didn't know how, but it was hilarious. "Oh Johnny boy! Seems the Lich got you good! Hahahahahhahahahaha. If you wish, Fromanzio could make the pain stop, but that would mean he makes you into a demon yourself." Fromanzio was only half kidding about making John into a demon. It would be interesting to see what the kid would do with the power. Zaheer was standing in a glowing cascading blue humanoid looking form of energy. Electricity was crackling over every inch of his body for a moment, but he quickly brought it into control and stabilized.

"...Any objections?" Lucius asked after explaining the defenses of his archives. He paused for a second, but then carried on, giving no one anytime to voice any complaints, which made the question rather pointless. "Good, lets go." He then crushed something that held in his fist, and then in a flash of light, a mass of writhing crimson colored tentacles appeared, snaking their way towards everyone. Seras tried using her Shadowflight ability to teleport away, but one of the tentacles grabbed her leg before she could finish the spell, and was being dragged into the light.

"Theon! Help!" Seras shouted out as she valiantly attempted to grab a hold of Theon, but it was too late, and she soon disappeared. She could briefly see what was happening to the others as she went through. John's clothes were vanishing, and what looked like wires were being ripped out of him. Lucia was reverting back to her dragon form. Zaheer's skin was being peeled away, revealing a blue humanoid looking form comprised of electricity, reminiscent of Doctor Manhattan from the Watchman graphic novel.

Seras arrived in the map room with the others, but ended up crashing into a nearby table. It took a few moments for her to regain consciousness and she slowly began to stand up, all the while stumbling to help regain her balance. Finally Seras managed to stand up straight, but still was in some form of pain as she let out a moan.

"Ow! That kind of hurt. How is everyone else holding up?"

John calmed down enough, screams subsiding to heavy breathing as he held his arms. Thankfully, most of the wires were only in a few layers of skin, so there was no bleeding on his limbs, only on his back. Still, John was coherent enough to notice Dr. Manhattan.

"Ow! That kind of hurt. How is everyone else holding up?"

"Fine, just peachy," John said through gritted teeth, "It barely tickled."

"Oh Johnny boy! Seems the Lich got you good! Hahahahahhahahahaha. If you wish, Fromanzio could make the pain stop, but that would mean he makes you into a demon yourself."

"SHUT UP HELL BEA-"*BOOM* John shouted, before a wall exploded. John turned at the wall, then looked down at his hand. Without the wires, John's magic was unfocused, uncontrolled, chaotic.

Dangerous.

"Can I please have my... wand wires back before I collapse this building?" John said, trying to ignore the pain or quell strong emotions, "Or my pants."

-Lucius-

The aged Lich looked around the room, as the members of their group started to materialise - the first being john, clearly still having a bad life. Lucius held back a laugh, seeing the technomage stripped, and looking half-flayed. He knew, in the split second before Zaheer's pet arrived that the demon would love this. ""Can I please have my... wand wires back before I collapse this building? Or my pants?" - The agent made a reasonable point, he guessed - unrestrained magic could be dangerous. As the thought crossed his mind, what he assumed to be Zaheer's natural form arrived, glowing blue and crackling with energy. Lucius smiled - this was much more entertaining than he'd anticipated. The once-roman looked at John, and muttered a few words - Clothes appeared in front of John - the height of fashion, 2000 years ago - and wires began to coil into John's flesh, filling the gaps his own had made. "I apologise for the pain - I didn't expect you'd consider so much to be a weapon - these wires should focus a little better for you, heighten the power, but it'll hurt at first if you overdo it".

Lucius took his seat at the head of his map table, and mentally searched his archives for life forms - he assumed the dragon-girl would be somewhere around. Having located her in Mustering Hall B, he summoned an automaton - a seven foot tall mess of metal and weaponry - to collect her.

Roland had flown onto a nearby lamp when John had challenged the demon. Mostly to stay out of the way but also to have a good view point. The rest of the meeting he remained there and mostly quiet the entire time until the meeting ended.

And then out of nowhere tentacles appeared grabbing everyone, almost like in some cheap Japanese horror movie. Roland tried to flee and was almost out of the window when one grabbed him and first pulled him back into the room and then seemingly out of existence. Roland had no idea what happened next and if anyone would ever ask him about it, he'd be only able to describe it as "something weird".

For a short moment he felt like almost himself again - his old self, but before he could even begin to hope he reappeared in the map room, falling onto his back on top of a pile of maps lying on a table. The teleportation had left him feeling very dizzy and nauseous so he just stayed like that for the time being or until the world stopped spinning.

Before John could say anything, a different set of wires forced themselves into John's skin. Instantly healing over the wires was about as painful as ripping them out (only avoiding screaing by biting down on his fist) , particularly because the material was slightly different, it felt... wrong, but John would live with it, for now. The central computer system on John's back hadn't been replaced, but again, John could work without it. The senatorial robes were just as uncomfortable as the wires (John now understood why it had to be a Roman law for senators to wear these things) although it was warmer than the alternative.

"I apologise for the pain - I didn't expect you'd consider so much to be a weapon - these wires should focus a little better for you, heighten the power, but it'll hurt at first if you overdo it".

"In my field of work, it pays to improvise," John said flatly, glad he never considered ways to kill a person with his boxers and forcing down any thoughts to how they could be. A small arch of magical lightening went between John's fingers as he tested the magic. The clanking of the weapon covered automniton distracted John.

"Why didn't you mention you had magic robots?"

-Italian Alps-

"It's almost like monarchy is a bad idea," Bowl thought, although didn't say it aloud.

"Why were we going to reseal him then?" Bowl asked, "If it is agreed that Cichol was unjustly held by a poor leader, how would resealing him solve the problem?"

"150 years does narrow down who let him out a bit," Bowl thought, "Several religious orders had major power back then, although only the Inquisition of Christ had real influence here so close to Italy. The Order of Magic could also of sprung him to gain the dragon's powers, or the University of Mahkra as an experiment. Does your report indicate "which way" the original seal failed?"

Theon noticed that Seras let go of his hand, and John responded with "I do have one question for you though...not something else?" His face betrayed a bit of shock, he didn't know how to respond. His mother had been a shape shifter at least that us what he was told, though most shape shifters couldn't take on any form they wanted. Lucius was meanwhile explaining something, and then closed his fist. Suddenly a flash of light filled the room, as all kinds of colored tentacles grabbed him. He was just about to cut loose, when he saw one of them grabbing Seras. "Theon! Help!" Seras shouted as she tried to grab his hand.

Something inside of him burst, as he formed multiple arms with claws and cut a few tendrils in half. But he then saw Seras vanishing, and grabbed the nearest tentacle. He would follow her, he couldn't leave her! He was then teleported, landed on the cold floor. he stood up and looked around for Seras. She was standing near a broken table, and said "Ow! That kind of hurt. How is everyone else holding up?" he sighed relived, he was very happy to see that she was mostly unhurt. He quickly walked over to her, and saw John being injured out of the corner of his eye. He stopped right in front of her, and then asked looking worried. "Seras are you okay?"

"Fine, just peachy." John said through gritted teeth "It barely tickled." Lucius then appeared and conjured up some replacement clothes for John, which probably wasn't what John was expecting, given that they were Roman era robes; though it appeared as though he was adjusting to them well enough.

"Well, I'm at least glad to see that you came out of it alive John; the whole wire thing must have been very painful." Seras said showing concern for the agent. A few moments later, Theon suddenly appeared on the floor, finally having been taken by the tentacles. He looked around for a moment before finding her and walking over, a look of worry on his face. "Seras are you okay?" He asked. Seras wrapped her arms in for a hug, but also to act as support for a moment before regaining her bearings.

"I'm fine Theon, it's just some bruising I'll have to deal with, I can feel that nothing has been broken. Glad to see you made it out in one piece." Seras said with a smile before letting go of Theon.

---Italian Alps---

"Why were we going to reseal him then? If it is agreed that Cichol was unjustly held by a poor leader, how would resealing him solve the problem?" Bowl asked

"Lack of proof." Zal'Teer started "Grendal might have been a poor leader, that however we can not simply disregard all her acts as the work of a fool, and simply release all those she imprisoned. Some deserved to be locked up, and in Cichol's case, we did not, and do not have enough reason to consider him a non threat, all his silence means is he's a reduced priority"

---Mustering Hall B, Lucius's compound---

Lucia heard an explosion fairly close, but ignored it, figuring Fromanzio was around, and wrecking things. Then she heard a loud metal clanging, that was getting closer. This sound revealed it self as some kind of metal golem, which seemed to stare at her Must be one of compound defenses or something" she said as she got a little closer to it to have a better look at it.

Fiona, seeing what the Lich was up to, sighed and turned around. She placed her money on the table - leaving a sizable tip because there wasn't time to make change - and grabbed her coffee for the road. Thereafter she disappeared into the aether. After what could have been anywhere from a nano-second to a million years, she reappeared in an an ancient looking room covered in ancient maps. She recognized some of the Latin labeling of said maps, but couldn't make out everything they said - her Latin was a bit rusty after nearly 2000 years.

Glancing around, she noted the others were in varying states of disarray - including one who had apparently lost his pants in the process - though otherwise unharmed. She noted that some of the others had yet to arrive, but figured they either appeared in a more suitable location or resisted the teleportation and were still back in London; nothing to be too concerned about.

Feeling around with her magic, she found a few ancient - but still living - seeds embedded in the floor of the chamber. Pouring some magic into them, she asked them to grow. The seeds quickly germinated and grew, forming an immobile chair of vines in the middle of the chamber. Sitting down, she took a sip of her still warm coffee and said. "So, now that we are in your... lair?-" she said, sub-textually asking where they were "-I believe we were going to make a plan of some kind?"

Lucia watched the the golem for a bit, which in turn watched her, she sat up then, it dawned on her and she reverted back to her human form, at which point the golem turned and started walking away, Lucia followed. The halls where decidedly dull to look at, mostly Roman in design, She never cared for Roman architecture.

Fortunetly she didn't have long to worry about it, as the golem lead them to the room every one else was gathered in "You really need a better decorator, it's boring in here" she commented as the golem went back to where ever it was from and she just sat down by Fiona, and gave a little wave to John and Seras.

"Guilty till proven innocent," Bowl shook her head.

"You know why dragon's have been denied a seat in the U.N. or even the ability to sit as a non-nation entity?" Bowl said, "Beside fear of your kind, moderate nations do not like hereditary forms of government, since rank is based on birth rather than actual ability. Of the three goblin states that have a seat, two them are democracies, the third is a constitutional monarchy."

"Although one of those republics is "in theory" more than practice," Bowl thought grimly.

"Innocent till proven guilty, means to appeal bad rulings, all these things are standard practices so we don't imprison those who never committed a crime," Bowl went very close to Zal'Teer, "And when the person does get out, they won't have a reason to take revenge for how much of their lives were lost."

Bowl walked back to the portal, waiting till her replacement stepped out.

"The UN is free to disagree with how we run our world, but that's really all they are allowed to do. We have a system that works for us, you have on that works for you, and from the reports I've read, your system isn't really better, just different." Zal'Teer commented as he went over the data sent by one of the dragons investigating Cichol's false seal.

"Also, it's not a matter of guilt before innocence, it's a matter of an escaped criminal that has covered their tracks to evade detection. We have no evidence to even suggest the charges made against him where false, so I see no reason to treat him as anything other the an escaped prisoner. Besides, whom is he to take revenge on? Zal'Teer dispelling the magics around him he'd been using to study the data given "Assuming he was falsely imprisoned, the only real target would be the Queen or Princess, but since the Queen was barely a hatching when this happened it would be foolish, as she had as much to do with him being locked away as you did."

A-Lucia coughed in that 'drop it' manner If I have to step in and put my foot down here, I will. Find him, find out what he's up to, if he's dangerous, then put him down, if you find out he's harmless, leave him to do what ever mundane task he's been doing, I don't want a fight breaking out between the Inquisition and a Platinum. It''d be bad for every one"

-Lucius-

Lucius looked around the room. Well, most of the group had arrived, he decided to start back up. He clicked his fingers to gather attention - you've got to breathe to cough, right? "Right, now we're here. I have a map of Arzhela's complex", Lucius waved casually at one of the old charts on his table, "As it was a millenium ago. Probably not too accurate any more, but the best we've got, I think. Add into that that my nexus here can teleport us anywhere I point it with no magic signature, I think that sorts our initial assault out. Lucia, Demon pet, Zaheer", Lucius paused again, thinking, "You'll likely be able to hit hardest and fastest. Any objections to being the Vanguard? If I teleport Lucia somewhere above the base, and the two of you", He gestured to Zaheer and Fromanzio, "Just inside the entrance, it ought to provide a distraction, at least, whilst the rest of us teleport in deeper. Unless anyone has a better plan?"

"Sounds fine, I'll play the role of 'Battleship' and pound the base, as well as take pot shots at any important looking targets as the show up" Lucia said look over the outdated map briefly, she was already marking the towers as targets, then turned to Zaheer "If you pet clown holds any value to you, keep him on a short leash. I've no intention of holding fire if he's in the way" She said bluntly.

"Magical teleportation without a signature?" John asked in disbelief, "How can you possibly have a device that could transport us miles away without even the slightest magical signature? The energy needed to move one body miles away instantly is extremely high, let alone teleporting a group plus a giant dragon. Are you sure that your device is a true teleportation device and not a big copy machine that makes a body on one side but deletes the one on the other?"

"As for your plan," John said looking around, "Why not send in your fleet of magitech robots in as a distraction that does not risk our lives while the rest of use our strength and explosives in strategic places to bring down the roof onto of both her and her army? It won't totally destroy her body, and as she crawls out of the rubble it will be easier to capture her without legions of corpses shooting at us."

Seras wrapped her arms around him and hugged him, as he responded in kind. "I'm fine Theon, it's just some bruising I'll have to deal with, I can feel that nothing has been broken. Glad to see you made it out in one piece." Seras said, as she let go. Just as he was about to respond, when Lucius suddenly snapped his fingers and said, "Right, now we're here. ..Unless anyone has a better plan?" He agreed with the plan, it sounded pretty good.

John then began to speak with disbelief and doubt in his voice. "Magical teleportation...and as she crawls out of the rubble it will be easier to capture her without legions of corpses shooting at us." Theon didn't really know what to say, he wasn't a mage or anything so he didn't know much about it. He turned back to Seras "I am very happy to see you as well, and I am even happier to see you relatively unharmed." He said with a relieved smile.

"You'll likely be able to hit hardest and fastest. Any objections to being the Vanguard? If I teleport Lucia somewhere above the base, and the two of you"

Fromanzio was the first to chime in before Zaheer could even react. "Oh...Fromanzio can...oh...this is going to be glorious! Splendid even! Oh think of all the ways master! Fromanzio can decapitate, stab, murder, maim, desecrate even! Master, you have to let Fromanzio do this, you have to!"

Zaheer himself was confident in his abilities to take on Arzhela himself. He had a few ideas in mind on how to draw her out and then, simple combat could trap her in an unending tomb. Which he would then use to utterly break her and gain a fancy new servant. "If I serve as the opening blow, then you will need to let me capture her my way once this is all done. If you do that, I will flood her whole base with my own armies. She has spent more time preparing, but with you guys helping, it's unlikely she will stand much of a chance."

Zaheer was going to let Fromanzio lead the charge in his army, it's not like he had much of a choice on the matter anyway. Best to let the creature do what it wanted in battle. It would hopefully kill more of Arzhela's forces than his own. Still, Zaheer had an ace in the hole he had been considering using for quite some time.

"How subtle does this need to be? I have a number of demons under me that could help, some much bigger than others."

John turned to Zaheer like he was a mad man.

"That was not part of the deal," John said, walking right into Zaheer's face, "We agreed that you would have access to her achieves once she as defeated. We discussed nothing about you keeping her as your slave or pet. I will not allow you to add the specidial mad Lich to serve you."

John ran and jumped onto the back of one of the automitons walking around, sticking several of the wires down into a gap between it's neck to connect with the wires running within. While there have been very few machines directly powered by magic like this, a robot was still little more than a machine with a computer in it. John expected by how oxidized it was, it could not be based on much more complicated computations than Charles Babbage original theories on computers, and should be fairly easy to change who it accepts commands from, or take direct control of it's command functions.

If nothing else, the thick metal magically enchanced body should give greater protection from Zaheer's spells then the toga.

Lucia's gaze narrowed as Zaheer spoke "Fantastic, Fromanzio's handler is just as untrustworthy as he is." she thought "I'm not here to 'capture' anything, and I'm not about to trust anyone who uses demons for the majority of they're leg work with a Litch." Lucia said leaning back in her seat, not impressed with how this was already setting up to go.

-Lucius-

"NO-ONE KEEPS ARZHELA ALIVE. SHE DIES.", Lucius lost his control for longer than he'd have liked at the suggestion that his enemy might be allowed to survive this - completely forgetting John's doubt at his teleport. He glowered at Zaheer for a few moments, before starting back up, "No, she will stay in existence no longer than it takes to find her Phylactery. And John, get down before you hurt yourself - you can have armor when we gear up."

Looking around, Lucius considered what use he could best put the others to. John could likely distrupt any technology she was using, perhaps any magic. The shapeshifter had more potential than it probably realised, but how best to tap that... And the Vampire half-breed. Lucius was less sure there - perhaps support back at base would be best for her. And Fiona, the druid. Lucius recalled that Arzhela's base was in a forested area, but that could have changed. Still, nature was everywhere, so she'd come into some use. Not to mention she was the only one of the group Lucius even came close to trusting to accompany him in person. Birdman, if he turned up, was best suited to recon, Lucius decided.

"That was not part of the deal," John said, walking right into Zaheer's face, "We agreed that you would have access to her achieves once she as defeated. We discussed nothing about you keeping her as your slave or pet. I will not allow you to add the specidial mad Lich to serve you."

"Worms." Zaheer had saved John not because he cared much about him, but because he was under orders. That, and John was mildly interesting. Now, John was purposely putting himself in Zaheer's way. Zaheer wasn't going to waste an iota of his time on John or the dragon who had some stigma against demons. A small glow appeared near Zaheer, a shade who seemed more than a little intimidated by Zaheer's presence. It spoke up in a small voice at John and Lucia.

"Ehm...sorry but...uhhh." It stammered a bit and continued. "Master Zaheer is busy. Would you mind scheduling an appointment to voice your concerns?"

"NO-ONE KEEPS ARZHELA ALIVE. SHE DIES."

"Yet, you do not know the location of her phylactery. What do you intend to do with her while she is defeated? Entrust the humans with her? Their incompetence knows no boundaries. I can find some use for her once she is entirely broken. I have people for that, the jester kind."

Lucia snickered "Yeah, cause, that work real well on me" she said, clearly trying to keep from going into a full laughing fit. "Tell me Fromanzio, just how badly did 'the old man' punish you for failing to bring me to heel, not to mention failing to stop me from escaping. Estates aren't cheap to fix, and fire damage is a bitch when library's are a light" she said with a fairly evil grin.

John frowned when there were no higher processing power in the hunk of metal. It's brain was somewhere else. Even if John was able to make a shield, figure out what the magical signal is, there is no computations to rewrite. Making a golem wouldn't work either, the conflicting commands would only cause the thing to rip itself apart.

"NO-ONE KEEPS ARZHELA ALIVE. SHE DIES."

It appears that trying to hack the thing also is pointless. For once, Lucius was on John's side (sort of).

"Yet, you do not know the location of her phylactery. What do you intend to do with her while she is defeated? Entrust the humans with her? Their incompetence knows no boundaries. I can find some use for her once she is entirely broken. I have people for that, the jester kind."

"Yes, because you shown utterly great competency and iron clad control over just one demon under your control," John said with heavy sarcasm, getting off the robot, "Or how about when you tranced right in the middle of a battle? What about when you healed my arm but left all the plastic under my skin untouched? Or how about how you didn't do anything to save the plane, help Lucia back on the plane, or even lift a finger to help Richard as he laid in a crater half dead? Your so blinded by your own power to see your own hypocrisy!"

"We humans have made plenty of mistakes," John said with a grin, "But we have managed to keep at least one Lich buried, contained where he cannot hurt anyone, let alone be a lap dog to you. We still are looking for that phylactery, still trying to rid of the world that threat. You want to make her your secretary by giving it to your insane demon jester!"

"YOU have failed to prove your trust worthy enough to own a dog, LET ALONE ARZELA," John said, power ripping through the wires, making himself angry, "You may be powerful, but you still be killed, and we can still stop you."

Fromanzio

"Tell me Fromanzio, just how badly did 'the old man' punish you for failing to bring me to heel, not to mention failing to stop me from escaping. Estates aren't cheap to fix, and fire damage is a bitch when library's are a light"

"Hm?" Fromanzio looked confused. "Oh! Fromanzio let you live believe it or not. Master wanted you dead, Fromanzio tracked you to where you slept after your fit, decided another dragon in the world was more interesting, killed a woman on the streets and brought master your heart. There was also the deal your mother made with Fromanzio for your life. That helped." Fromanzio's thoughts were wandering at this point. He was too excited about the prospect of killing things to lie or make fun of anyone.

Zaheer

"YOU have failed to prove your trust worthy enough to own a dog, LET ALONE ARZELA,"

"You sure do get riled up over tiny creatures, human." Zaheer had gotten the dragon to drop the subject and start berating Fromanzio, which meant one down. John was still pretty persistent about getting the lich to his organization though. Zaheer began considering options for what to do with the guy. Locking him with a hellhound for an hour could probably straighten him out, but Zaheer wasn't in the mood for that. A bigger prize with more potential was on the horizon.

"The Lich is of little threat in the grand scheme of things. I soon will have enough power to bring Azazel to his knees, including his entire army. Fromanzio's rants, your arm and Richard's fate are meaningless to me. I am here because Lucius promised power and because the ascended want to make sure the humans aren't eradicated. She is of more use to me alive than dead and I can make her no longer a threat to anyone. But, if you want to kill her, give me the continent her phylactery exists on, I can level the whole thing and be done with it if that's what you wish."

John crossed his arm.

"Yes, she is only a minor threat in the whole scheme of things," John said, "But YOU are a much bigger threat if your allowed to just build up your own personal army. The contract which you are bound by the relevant authority here, which is ME might I remind you, only stated you get her archives as payment to help us hunt her down. How well do you think other races are going to work with you if they caught wind you broke contract? None of the fair folk, no goblin, not even most demons (well, the saner ones anyway) work with those that don't keep their word."

"I also know your bluffing," John said simply, "You may have the power to level a city, most likely losing control of what ever elderich thing is giving you your powers, but destroying a continent? Not happening. Even if you could, the other ascended would be ontop of you in an instant. How did you put it, To make sure humans are not eradicated?"

Zaheer started laughing himself. He hadn't met a human in a long time willing to stand up against him but this was amusing. "Human, I never made any contract. I was simply offered power and have followed to see that through. The thoughts and considerations of Goblins does not concern me. I already have an army, by the way, I just need a more reliable commander than Fromanzio. Arzhela seems to be reasonable enough for me. I am already famous in the demon world, most are afraid when I come knocking, as they should be and if you don't think I can level a continent, try my patience and see for yourself. I don't answer to your influence or authority. I might be willing to compromise on a bit of her soul, which I could then turn into a fun weapon for one of my other commanders, but then I might require something out of you."

Zaheer was a hard one to bother, and John had yet to crack him yet. Zaheer had dealt with people like him before, though he typically banished them to a year with the flame imps. They usually came out more agreeable. Damned orders kept him from killing John though. Taking Arzhela's soul, or part of it, would allow Zaheer to access a portion of her power for the sake of an item. Perhaps when he enslaves Azaezel, he could give it to the demon smith to make some use of it.

Lucia sat there a moment, she'd wondered why she'd never had to fight Fromanzio off "What deal?" She'd always wonder why her mother stayed behind, Lucia had the Tear, she could have made her mother a dragon as well. "What deal did she make with you Fromanzio, Why did she stay behind with that human waste?!" Lucia said with a calm fury, restraining her self from smashing the table.

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