The Dualists: Fight Scene (Sneak Peek)

Ivy stepped through the door into what looked like coliseum. Her friends stood on top of the wall that enclosed her, at least 15 feet off the ground. They were looking down at her. Though their voices continued, their mouths were still. In the middle was a black, featureless humanoid statue. As soon as the door behind her shut, her friends all closed their eyes, and the room went silent. Six unblinking eyes opened on the statue’s torso. They weren’t arranged in rows or columns, but randomly scattered about. She could tell from the irises that they belonged to her friends. Just when she thought it couldn’t get any more terrifying, a seventh eye opened. Did it belong to her mother? Then an eighth. A ninth. More and more eyes opened, until she couldn’t stand the sight of it any longer. She closed her eyes, pinched herself, and willed herself to wake up, but to no avail. When she opened her eyes again, her gaze was met by a giant pair of eyes on the statue’s torso that were unmistakably her own. The entire surface of the statue was covered with eyes, except for three areas on its face: its mouth, and, ironically enough, where one would expect to find eyes. She looked to her friends for help, only to find that they were now facing away. She tried to call for help, but she was paralyzed by fear.

 
“It is as I suspected.” A mouth opened on the statue’s face, and began speaking with Regina’s voice. “She’s completely dependent on others. Cooperation is important to a team, but if we always have to bail her out any time she’s in trouble, she’ll only slow us down.” A second mouth chimed in with Clover’s voice, “Look at her, just standing there. Too afraid to reach out to others. That’s why she has so few friends. She feels so alone, but she feels even more afraid.” A third mouth, glossed with black lipstick, spoke with Coco’s voice, “There’s nothing wrong with not being a hero, but she’s not even a coward. She isn’t strong, nor is she weak. She isn’t smart or dumb, extroverted or introverted, good or bad. She is nothing. I would’ve been better off alone than friends with her.” “Shut up!” Ivy couldn’t take it anymore. “You can insult me all you want, but don’t you dare put those words in her mouth!” “You think you can stop me?” Coco’s mouth said. Ivy’s fear was replaced with anger. “I don’t know who or what you are, but this is my dream. As long as I’m lucid, I can do anything!” It was a bluff, but hopefully one convincing enough that her subconscious would believe it. She charged at the statue, and punched the largest eye on its torso. Unlike her real eye, the statue’s eye was hard and unyielding; the injury to her hand was made even worse by the ring that she forgot she was wearing. The three mouths of the statue laughed, but its body was eerily still. As she examined her finger to make sure it wasn’t cut or broken, she noticed that her ring’s diamond was black. The ring… of course! In that one dream, she used it to fight. But how did it work? She pointed the ring at the statue, and exclaimed “Ring, Activate! Power of Black Diamond, Go!” She totally made that up. But, surprisingly, something happened. The ring emitted a bright flash of light. The light began to coalesce into a solid shape, which fell into her arms with surprising weight.

Ivy penultimate draft
Art by @thebloodtypeV

It appeared to be a very large gun, almost like a bazooka. The mouths stopped laughing. Ivy did her best to take aim at the statue. “Not so tough now, are you? Let’s see you like- eek!” While she was talking, the statue suddenly moved to strike her, and she flinched by reflex. But the blow never connected. “Huh?” She opened her eyes, and saw the many eyes on the statue’s fist gazing back at her, inches from her face. “Ah!” as she recoiled away, her opponent was launched backwards. “Wait, did I do that?” The statue stood up, and leapt from halfway across the arena to attack her, but stopped in mid-air. Ivy held him there with her mind. “Telekinesis? Now this is more like it! Hold still for a second…” She aimed her weapon at the monster and pulled what she hoped was the trigger. The gun’s recoil nearly knocked her off balance, as it shot a projectile which exploded on impact, cracking one of the golem’s giant eyes. One of her eyes. But it wasn’t enough to defeat it. Its mouths kept berating her, voices overlapping in an incomprehensible cacophony. “I’ve heard enough out of you!” she quipped, flinging the abomination out of the arena. She saw no reason to go through the ordeal of firing her grenade launcher again.

 
She celebrated her triumph for a moment, but it was short lived. “What happens now?” she wondered aloud, “Am I supposed to wake up? Can you guys hear me? Coco? Regina? Clov-” Her voice was drowned out by the sound of something heavy slamming into the ground behind her. “Did you think our battle over? We’re only getting started!” She turned to find that the monster that she thought she’d defeated had returned transformed. It was now at least twice as large as before, but more than that, it was shaped differently. Less human. Its head had disappeared, leaving its three mouths strewn randomly across its torso, and its arms and fists were much larger, proportionally. Before, it was just meant to frighten her, but now, it was clearly designed to crush her. Though its body grew, its eyes all remained the same size; hundreds, maybe thousands had opened to fill its surface completely. The time she spent looking it over would’ve been better spent trying to stop it as it charged towards her, but she was paralyzed with fear. Right before it hit her, she snapped out of it, and used her telekinesis to try to push it back. She tried as hard as she could to repel it, but… WHAM! She was overpowered, and the golem’s fist knocked her off her feet, at least a yard backwards onto the ground. Though the blow surely would have killed her in real life, she managed to stand up. “Is that all you’ve got?” she bluffed. The monster’s mouths laughed. “I could see through that bluff even with a thousand eyes closed!” “Then I guess I’ll just have to close them for you!” Ivy shouted. She fired her gun. The grenade exploded against the golem. Nothing. The golem remained utterly still, except for three smug smirks on its face.

 

“Is that all you’ve got?” it asked, echoing her words in her voice. Then, with a speed that seemed unreal, it charged at her; she just barely managed to jump to the side to avoid its upward punch. She was surprised by how high she jumped; the ring must have augmented her strength. While she was still in mid-air, the golem’s fist shot off its body, heading straight for her. “Let’s see you dodge this!” She tried to move herself telekinetically, but to no avail. Even in her dream, some semblance of physical laws applied. If she couldn’t push herself, she’d have to push something else. But what? An epiphany hit her moments before the fist would have. She fired a grenade sailing over the walls of the arena, using her telekinesis to push it even faster than the gun shot it, so that the recoil knocked her out of harm’s way. Unfortunately, this also knocked her off balance. As she tumbled to the ground, the golem’s snapped back to the end of its arm. “Impressive,” Regina’s voice admitted, “but you can’t dodge forever. I’ll hit you eventually, and you have no way of defeating me before that happens!” Its gloating gave Ivy enough time to stand up, but not enough to retort. The golem performed the exact same attack, and Ivy dodged the same way, jumping out of the way, and using the recoil of her weapon to avoid the follow-up attack. As before, she was too focused on her telekinesis to land on her feet. Her foe took advantage of this, and punched its right fist directly down at her. She barely managed to roll out of the way in time. As she stood up, he swung his left fist at her, then shot it at her after she jumped over his attack. As before, she used her recoil to dodge. Unlike before, the golem’s right fist burst out of the ground before she landed. He must have shot it into the ground during his attack earlier. Before she had a chance to react, it hit her leg. She spiraled out of control and slammed headfirst into the ground. Her leg felt broken, and her scalp seemed to be bleeding. She couldn’t dodge another attack. This was over. “I must admit, you put up a hell of a fight. You’re a lot tougher than I expected,” Clover’s voice said. Regina’s voice continued, “But you’re still the same loser you always have been. That you always will be.” As it made its way over to Ivy to deliver the final blow, she smirked.

 
“You’re a really crappy monster, you know that?” Ivy said. “What the Hell’s that supposed to mean?” the Coco asked, “certainly not as crappy as you, who lost to us.” “Oh, so you killed me in a dream. Big deal. You defeated an opponent who’s never fought in her life. It’s like winning a chess match against someone who just learned the rules five minutes ago.” She said. “If you’re attempting to stall, it’s pointless. No one’s going to save you. You lost,” the Coco’s voice sneered. “Did I? I lost this fight, but that’s not important to me, and I don’t think it’s important to you,” Ivy said, “you want to scare me. Get in my head. Make me feel insecure about my friendships. And in that respect, you’ve failed, because I believe in my friends. I know they don’t believe what you’re having them say. You kill me now, I wake up, and you lose. But I’m a gracious winner. So I give you one last chance. One last chance to say something that’ll haunt me even when I wake up. Make it count.” The golem chuckled ominously. Its three voices spoke as one. “How wrong you are. You have lost for the precise reason that you claim you have won: you believe in your friends. You do not believe in your own strength. Instead, you rely on others. You think that your friends, your trinkets will bring you strength, but they betray you. I admit, you showed some ingenuity, but it was not enough. You are not enough. That is why you are weak. And that is why you had no hope of defeating me.” It cackled maniacally as it raised its arms over its head for one final strike. “hahahaHAHAHAHAHAH-?”

 

It stopped laughing abruptly. “What was that? Did I just… swallow something? ” “Three somethings actually,” Ivy said, “When I used the recoil of my gun to avoid your attacks, did you think it odd that the shots I fired never exploded? Or do you focus so much on your eyes that you can’t hear?” “But I didn’t see them. I see all!” the monster shouted, “I see right through you. I’m calling your bluff. That was probably just some debris from when I broke through the ground earlier!” “Tsk, tsk,” Ivy said, “I know you can’t see through me. Because you couldn’t see through my friends.” Every eye on its body widened. “You used your telekinesis to hide them behind your friends? No… Impossible! I-” Ivy braced herself and shot the golem one last time, causing the grenades within it to explode. The monster shook violently for a bit, then was still. Smoke began to rise from its gaping mouths. A clear fluid began to flow from the giant eye. Was it… crying? The other eyes followed suit, until its entire body was slick with tears, flowing down its body and pooling onto the ground. The tears began to dissolve its body, then seeped into the ground, eroding it until eventually nothing remained.

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Author: havocmantis

I am Havoc Mantis, Skullmaster (like a headmaster but spookier) of The School of Havoc. I am a scholar of mathematics, mysticism, and memes, as well as the intersection of all three.

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