Crucible 5.17: Carter

“Lightning Bee!” Raina shouted, ecstatically happy to see me.

 

It was unusual, but based on the situation, but I could see why she’d react that way. A crazy psycho who’d kicked my ass, his partner who was likely just as deadly, and what appeared to be a turncoat Del had just been standing over her, and she looked like she was about to drop dead.

 

And then there was Takato. While approaching this room, I’d heard what he’d said. He wanted to help destroy the world. Raina had broken him, and whatever happened to Badrah may have made him irreparable.

 

But I still had to try and help him one last time. I owed him that much.

 

“Takato, you’re a good kid,” I said. “Don’t do this.”

 

“Shut up!” He responded. “You don’t even deserve to call yourself Lightning Bee. You’re no hero! You’re just Carter Myers, horrible sinner!”

 

Damn it Takato! You just put everyone I cared about in danger!

 

I sighed.

 

He had every right to hate me, but that was going too far.

 

“I know what you’re thinking,” Edwin said. “You’re worried that now that we know who you are, we might kill people you care about. Don’t worry though. We plan on killing everyone.”

 

Taking a fighting stance, I said “You’re not going to be killing anyone. I’m ending this right here.”

 

China leaped to her feet, but before she could take any action, Edwin put his arm out, gesturing for her to stop.

 

“Has the world been kind to you Carter?” Edwin asked. “As I recall, during our last encounter, I informed you of all the atrocities humanity has committed throughout its relatively short existence. Things that should be common knowledge and yet no one seems to care. So what has the world done for you to make you have such faith in it? Did you have amazing parents?” No. “Have you always had lots of friends?” No. “Do those so called heroes from the past really inspire you enough to believe that humanity as a whole isn’t selfish?!”

 

Yes.

 

“How about instead of answering your questions, you answer one of mine,” I said, trying to sound tough. There was no way I was beating Edwin in a fight, especially since I had no idea what China could do, so I was gonna have to do this the way I got out of most situations: With words and a lot of luck. “Who hurt you Edwin? Who filled you with all this rage?”

 

Edwin smiled.

 

“There is a reason that I don’t believe in heroes. Even in my youth, I was never blind enough to  believe that anyone with  power who put on a costume was automatically a paragon of justice. But like I’m sure you still do, I believed in the Guardianship.” Oh no. Where was this going? “You’ve no doubt noticed the resemblance between my power and the power of the late Punchline. 20 years ago, he noticed it too. Made me his apprentice.”

 

“You…were a hero?” I asked, stunned.

 

“Not quite. Punchline was a strict man. Didn’t want me going into battle until he was positive that I was ready. He only became more stern after he got membership in the Guardianship. Despite my wanting desperately to go help him, I was happy. Then one day, he started acting all depressed. I asked him what was wrong and he said, “Nothing.” This went on for weeks, each day I ask again, and each day I’d get the same response. “Nothing.” Eventually though, he broke. And crying, he revealed to me that he was dating, and working for, a monster of a woman who was out to take over the world, and to prove his loyalty, he’d had to kill all of the innocent prisoners that she was keeping in her prison camp.”

 

“Liar!” I shouted. “Punchline wouldn’t do that!”

 

“I didn’t want to believe it either. But then it turned out that the only reason he’d finally told me wasn’t guilt, but that his boss had decided that she wanted him to kill me.”

 

‘Liar,” I shouted again, tears starting to form.” “You’re lying!”

 

“Carter, don’t let him get to you,” Raina said.

 

“Don’t interrupt!” Takato screamed, smacking Raina in the face.

 

“Raina!” I screamed, a blast of lightning involuntarily firing from my chest, striking Takato head on.

 

“Ahhh!” he screamed.

 

“Takato! I’m sorry, it was an accident.”

 

“No it wasn’t! You’re evil just like her! And I’m gonna kill you both along with the rest of the world!” Despite the anger in his voice, he was sobbing while saying these things.

 

“Enough,” Edwin said. “Del, take Takato to where the ceremony is set up. China and I will make sure these two don’t get in the way.”

 

“No! Takato shouted. “I want to kill them!”

 

“And you will,” Edwin replied. “We’ll just incapacitate them. Now go. Time is of the essence.”

 

Del helped Takato up and the two started running toward me. I charged up my hands , getting ready to attack Del, but China leaped into the air and kicked me square in the face, sending me to the thankfully carpeted floor.

 

Takato and Del made their getaway as China grabbed me by my collar, and threw me into the air, where Edwin launched a massive punch at me, sending me back across the room, this time knocking me into and through the drywall.

 

“Raina,” I moaned. “Get out of here.”

 

“I can’t just leave you,” she said softly, standing up straight.”

 

“You have to,” I cried. “Ignoring the fact that you couldn’t even beat Captain K.O  in a fight right now, you’re the only one who can save Takato from himself,” I finished, re entering the bedroom, my healing factor already getting to work on the damage done to me from Edwin’s last attack.

 

“She’s not going anywhere,” China said. She sped over to Raina and grabbed her face.

 

“Ahhhh!,” Raina screamed. It looked like China was pulling her damn face off!

 

“Stop that!” I shouted, firing blasts out of my hands at China. Edwin, however, managed to punch my lightning out of the way from across the room. Apparently his power also enabled him to punch freaking plasma.

 

Raina had fallen to the floor. She was getting skinnier, and her platinum blonde hair was becoming more gray.

 

“Yum,” China moaned. “The pretty ones always taste good.”

 

“What are you doing to her?” I asked angrily, running at her, getting ready to throw a punch.

 

“Can’t you tell?” she asked rhetorically, kicking me in the face without even looking at me. She then turned her head slightly, and smiling, said, “I drink people.”

 

“C….ar…t….help.”

 

“Damn you! She’s just a kid!” I screamed, my entire body being completely engulfed in lightning.

 

Before I could make another move, I was hit back by another one of Edwin’s punches, this one hurting even more than the last few.  Even so, I managed to keep my stance.

Tears were flowing down my face like a river. I was scared, in pain, and confused. I just needed it stop.

 

Or not.

 

“I don’t know what your story is you crazy bitch,” I said. “And I don’t care what lies you believe about Punchline. I won’t let your hurt her!”

 

And with that, all of the lightning around me turned white, and it was all sent at China and Edwin.

 

To my amazement, the attack actually worked, both of them getting blasted back through the wall, and out of the house.

 

Even more surprising? Using an attack like that usually exhausted me, but in this case, I was just feeling more pumped.

 

“You okay Ray?” I asked

 

Her only response was a series of breaths.

 

“Raina, tell me you’re alright.”

 

“Carter,” she whispered, shaking her head.

 

“No!” I screamed. You’re gonna be okay.”

 

She closed her eyes for a moment…and then smiled.

 

“Duh, I’m me,” she coughed. “But I’m not gonna be any help. You have to stop all of them. Of course you suck so I’m really banking on the hope that you called Malcolm and Shay before you came here.”

 

With a warm smile, I nodded, and grabbed her hand.

 

“You gonna be okay here?”

 

“Yeah, just put me on the bed please.”

 

With some difficulty, I picked up Raina, who I doubted was over 90 pounds, and put her down on the soft mattress.

 

“Not gonna lie. Stopping the world from getting destroyed by an army of demons? Huge pressure.”

 

“Don’t worry Snipey. You’ve got this.”

 

With a final nod, I rushed out through the gaping hole I’d made in the wall.

 

Outside on the street, China stood alone. No doubt anyone else in the area had been scared off by all the noise we’d been making.

 

But where was Edwin?

 

“Where is he?” I asked.

 

“We know you have more allies,” she answered. “Allies you may have contacted. He went to go make sure nothing goes wrong.”

 

“And he left you here to stop me,” I said. “Sorry to say, but you two may have been able to double team me, but I’m pretty sure I can take just you,” I lied. In reality, I was scared out of my mind. This lady fucking drank people!

 

Just then, I noticed a clear goop around where she was standing.

 

“What’s that stuff?” I asked.

 

China laughed.

 

“It used to be a person.”

 

“What?!”

 

“I do more than just drink people. I absorb them. I gain their strength, and whenever I would die, I simply lose the strength of one of them, their bodies leaving me and becoming a gelatinous substance.”

 

“So what you’re saying is…”

 

“So long as I have people in me, I am unkillable. And I have drank many, many people.”

 

“Well,” I said. “Good thing I don’t kill people.”

 

I clapped my hands together, charged up a ball of lightning in my hands, and threw it at China with as much force as I could.

 

She didn’t even try to dodge it, just allowing the sphere the hit her in the face. She didn’t even flinch, seeming to enjoy the pain as the clear goop seeped out of her.

 

“Hm,” she smiled.

 

China ran at me. I charged up my hands so hitting her might actually have a chance at damaging her, but as I took my stance, she struck each of my forearms with her knees, and then proceeded to spin around, and hit either side of my face with each of her elbows.

 

She was definitely a Demigod with that kind of strength, her attack easily knocking me down.

 

I tried to get up, but before I could, she grabbed my face with both of her hands, holding me down, and starting to…

 

“AHHHHHH! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK!”

 

She was seriously drinking me, and it somehow hurt more than getting impaled.

 

“Edwin started telling you his story, so let me tell you mine,” China said sadistically. “He was looking for people to join his cause, but he just couldn’t locate anyone who was interested. So he contacted me, a contract killer. And boy oh boy, the idea of killing everyone? I didn’t believe it was possible, but trying certainly sounded fun.”

 

I wanted to say, “You’re insane”, but I was too busy having the little muscle I had being drained from me.

 

If I could just get away from her, I could focus on finding where the ceremony to destroy the barrier was being held. But I couldn’t hurt her.

 

My only hope was to taze her. Unfortunately for me, I still hadn’t perfected that technique. Didn’t have any choice but to try though. The world needed saving, and I had…

 

I’d said it earlier, but that had been in the middle of a tender moment. It was really dawning on me. The fate of the world…was in my hands.

 

On the ground, all of my hair now gray, and most of my muscle and fat gone, I grabbed her arm and began discharging.

 

“That’s good,” she said. “It’s better if you fight back”

 

I was still just tingling her. I needed…I needed to stun her. Paralyze her. I needed her out of my way.

 

My heartbeat was slowing. I was losing all the feeling in my limbs. Didn’t have much time left. It had never worked before…but I had to. I had to beat her, and go save Takato. I had to save the world.

 

“COME ON!” I screamed through the pain.

 

The lightning in my hands turned white, and gel began flooding out of China. Damn! It was killing her over and over again, but it still wasn’t tazing her.

 

“Not enough, Bee. You’re what I’ll never be! Dead!”

 

I could barely…platypuses are cute…focus. But…did I pick up my comics this week….I had an idea. From..bees…what she’d said.

 

“You’re right!” I screamed. “You’re basically immortal!” My lips and tongue completely dried out, I laughed. “But you’re still human!”

 

Out of muscle, but filled with fear, my arms fell to the ground, at which point, with China still standing over me, I blasted lightning at the ground, and subsequently China into the air.

 

I only had a moment to breath as that was the amount of time China’s hands left my face, but that was all I needed to get an ounce of my strength back.

 

“I can’t kill you!” I screamed. “And I wouldn’t want to!” China grunted as I continued to bring us to an even higher altitude. “And since I’m too much of a pussy to taze you, I’m only left with one option!”

 

“Grrr,” China grunted, getting frustrated that I wouldn’t just die.

 

“I was once pushed off of Mt. Bluejay! And I went into a coma!”

 

“No,” she muttered.

 

Barely still able to speak, keep my eyes open, or move at all, I whispered, “Let’s see what happens when you fall from the same height.”

 

And with that, I used the last of my lightning to roll in mid-air, causing both of us to start falling from super high up.

 

Come on healing factor, come on healing factor, please save me healing factor!

 

I needed a good scare to bring it into overdrive.

 

With my strength slowly returning, I stared down.

 

Yeah, that did it.

 

White lightning began surging through my veins, restoring my muscle, fat, blood, and even hair color.

 

“Yeah baby!” I shouted, approaching the ground.

 

Shooting lightning downward, I propelled myself back toward China. She tried to grab onto me again, but I kept her out of reach, up until the moment we were seconds from the ground…at which point I hit her head with my own, sending her into the concrete, a massive crater forming from the impact.

 

I softly dropped to the ground, and saw that the crater I’d just helped form was filled with a pool of China’s goop.

 

Taking a deep breath, it pained me to do it, but there was still one thing I had to do before I went after Edwin.

 

There was a chance China could drown in that pool, so I slid down into the crater, and while it wasn’t easy, I pulled her up.

 

She was definitely out cold. Maybe unconscious, maybe in a coma. Either way, I’d won.

 

I took a few steps…and fell over.

 

I’d won…but I was exhausted. Even if I found Edwin, I wouldn’t be able to take more than a hit from him, let alone win.

 

Pulling out my phone, I texted Shay.

 

The man who attacked me recently is preparing a ceremony using Takato. He’s gonna summon an army of demons. Raina and I are down.

 

It’s up to you.

 

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