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PostPosted: Tue Jul 27, '10, 6:50 pm
Chapter 7

Mieu walked across the dusty wasteland with a sense of purpose—more purpose than she had ever felt in her existence. The wind howled in her cybernetically-enhanced ears and the thick clouds of dusts threatened to obscure her near-perfect vision. Nonetheless, by this point, it would take more than wind and noise to hold her back.

“So this is the Netherworld,” she thought. She stared at the rocky outcroppings spread out all over the ground. “Just a bunch of rocks and a dust.”

Like the other realms that she had walked through to arrive, the Netherworld was completely barren and devoid of life. Nothing stirred. Nothing. The unnatural silence, which must have lasted about a day or so—Mieu had paid little attention to the time monitors in her internal computers—brought her mind back to the swamps of the Hollow World when she and her friends had gone to battle against the Burrower, some time before. Once again, she found herself descending into the depths of Hell itself in order to fight against evil. This time, however, she was alone.

After what seemed like hours, Mieu spotted a lone figure standing amidst a number of small boulders some hundred yards—one-hundred and seven yards, according to Mieu’s sensors—in the distance. Mieu adjusted her vision to get a better look at the creature, whatever it was, as she came closer. It looked like a man, a simple man. The man said nothing nor made any gesture to welcome her or get her attention. He simply stared at her with a rather sinister, inviting smile. The dull, red light of the Netherworld shined unearthly off of his pale, bald head.

Mieu came to face the stranger. She stopped in front of him and took a deep breath. With a few swift, yet graceful movements of her hand, she wiped the dust out of her magenta hair and off of her red armored vest and one-piece battle suit. “And now it begins,” she thought. She glared into the man’s eyes, waiting for the next move.

The man finally spoke, “Welcome Mieu, to my glorious abode.” Mieu remained silent. “I know why you’ve come. Come, let’s us discuss this arrangement!” He spoke with a mock tone of cheerfulness.

Mieu stood her ground and clenched her fists. “No!” she said defiantly. “The deal is this: You restore Corg to me and I’ll walk out of here without so much as a backwards glance.”

“Do you think you can just waltz into here and take my new little trophy? You seem rather determined for an insignificant creature that doesn’t even have soul. Why would something like you care for the soul of another?”

Mieu’s claws sprang forth from her knuckles. “Corg always felt that I had a soul and treated me as such. “ She composed herself. “One good act deserves another. Now, let us cease this pointless conversation and get to business: Are you going to give me my frien…my son…in spirit, back? Or am I going to have to take him?”

The man bellowed out loud. “Neither of the two, my petite red friend. I’ll tell you what I’m going to do. If you can best me in personal combat,” the man paused for a second and looked at Mieu, eying her from tips of toes to the top of her head. “Without the use of your claws, I’ll do a fair trade with you.”

Mieu sheathed her claws. “And if I lose?” she asked, rather curiously.

“The rusted remains of your body will lay down here for all eternity.”

The cyborg stepped forward and stared intently into the man’s eye. “I accept your proposal.” She put one foot back and lifted her hands into a fighting posture.

The man laughed out loud, so loud, in fact, that it echoed all throughout the boundless realm of the Netherworld. Smoke began to pour out of the bottom of his robes, enveloping his person. Soon there was a huge pillar of smoke, like a giant cloud, where he had once stood. His voice, now raspier than it had been, boomed from the mist, “I shall show you, you pitiful robot, what it means to defy the great Neff, Lord of the Underworld!”

The smoke cleared and Neff revealed his true form to Mieu. Mieu stumbled back at her new foe. In front of her stood a huge creature nearly seven feet tall. Its hide was a grayish blue hue and seemed thicker than that of any dragon she had seen in the Hollow Valley. It wore a bright gold suit of armor. Its head was not human; instead, it was a long snout with two large horns jutting out at the end. The monstrous Neff stepped forward and clenched its fists. “Are you ready to die, fair damsel?” bellowed the creature.

“I always have been and always will be, demon!” Mieu screamed.

Neff lunged and her and smashed into Mieu with his shoulder, sending the cyborg sprawling to the ground several yards away. Immediately after, it jumped in the air and tried to smash her with its hoof-like feet. Mieu quickly rolled to the side and avoided Neff’s landing, which shattered the rocky ground and left two deep hoof prints as a deadly landmark. Mieu kicked up to her feet and started punching the horned beast in the face repeated. The monster did not flinch.

With a mighty heave, the monster grabbed Mieu by the throat and flung her through the air. The beautiful fighter struck a rock outcropping headfirst and plopped to the ground. “Dang it,” she thought, waiting for her internal computers to come into focus again. “I can’t use my claws against him.” Her thoughts were interrupted by the charging beast, who seemed intent on goring her with its front horn. Mieu quickly came to her senses and performed a backflip over Neff’s head, striking him with her two feet on her way down. The monster went crashing into the rocky structure ahead of him.

It quickly spun around and came at her again. Neff wildly swung his fists at Mieu, trying to punch her. Mieu was ready this time, however. She bobbed and weaved and was able to guess the angle and speed of his punches using her sensors and internal computers. Dodging a series of more than ten punches, Mieu slid under the monster’s legs and leapt back to her feet in a spin kick and that struck the monster in the back of the head. It lurched forward, but maintained its balance.

Mieu leapt to grab a hold of the monster’s shoulders, but it thrust its leg back, striking Mieu in the stomach and knocking her several feet back. Mieu leapt high into the air to dodge the hammering fist of her enemy. She landed on its head and grabbed onto hits horn and started striking Neff repeatedly in the temple with the ridge of her hand. His tough hide felt like rock to her.

“Monster!” she screamed in desperation. “Why won’t you just die?”

Neff reached out with one of his hands and pulled Mieu off his horn. Thinking quickly, she grabbed the hand with both of hers and twisted it. Using all of the strength her cybernetically-enhanced muscles allowed her, she threw the monster over her shoulder and onto the ground. It felt like the entire Netherworld shook on impact. Mieu scrambled onto Neff’s back and again started pounding into back of his head with her fists, screaming with each blow.

Neff began to stir and soon was on his feet, knocking Mieu off his body with a great shake. The creature let out a hideous laugh and ran towards Mieu. Picking her up by her leg, he tossed her aside the same way a baby throws a doll on the ground. He repeated the same action, but this time held firmly onto Mieu’s leg and he smashed her body repeatedly into the ground and then threw it against a small boulder nearby. Mieu stopped moving for a few moments.

Mieu could feel the damage. The laconium in her bones felt dented. The wires were getting frayed. Information transmitted to her brain and eyes via her internal computer was out of showing lots of static. She could feel some of her oil valves ruptured. She struggled to get her balance back. “Dang it, Mieu. Think. Think! Don’t give up! Corg gave up everything for you and everybody else. Don’t give up on Corg” she mumbled to herself. Neff began to walk slowly, but arrogantly toward Mieu. Mieu looked up and saw him. “Come on, Mieu. Think! What would Corg do?” She searched her memory banks for every single memory of Corg that she had. In a split second, the right memory played back in her head.

Mieu stumbled a bit, but stood up. She shook her arms a bit but lifted them up back to her original defensive posture. She twisted her head a bit, cracking the metallic vertebrae in her neck. She took a deep breath. “Like I said, I’m always ready to die,” Mieu said, cooly.

Neff’s eyes narrowed and he took charge at her again. At the last moment, she stepped aside and struck him with the palms of her hands, sending him crashing to the ground. Neff pounded his fist into the dirt and got up. He ran at her again, but she kept her feet firmly where she stood. She maneuvered the rest of her body, however, and bent forward and to the side, grabbing Neff’s left hoof and lifting him off the ground. She tossed him against a rock with the same ease he had done to her before.

Neff screamed in fury and ran towards her, fists clenched. Neff threw a punch at Mieu that Corg had referred to as a “Mississippi Haymaker.” Mieu quickly grabbed his wrist with one hand and the pivot of his elbow with the other, and caused Neff to strike himself in the face several times. She then twisted his arm, pushed down on his shoulder, put her leg in front of his foot, and threw him down once again. While Neff struggled to get up, Mieu began to search her memory banks for anything else she could use. Her search brought her to some obscure references to films that Corg had mentioned to her before. She had another idea.

As Neff got up, Mieu performed a series of cartwheels to close the distance between monster and machine and flipped onto his shoulders. She locked her legs around his neck and mentally sent a message to her internal systems that her legs retain said position. She quickly ran her fingers against the tips of one of Neff’s horns, ripping the skin off and exposing her metal-laced fingers. She then grasped the large horn at the base of large horn at the tip of Neff’s snout and began to pull.

The monster screamed and roared. It desperately tried to pry Mieu off its shoulders, but her strength grew with each attempt. He slammed his body against numerous boulders, trying to rid himself of his opponent, but Mieu’s grip remained true. Blood-red ichor began to seep out from beneath the horn and Mieu continued to pull. The bloodcurdling sound of flesh being torn at filled both Mieu’s and Neff’s ears. The monster screeched in agony, but Mieu was deaf to it. She pulled and pulled and pulled some more. Finally, with every last ounce of strength, Mieu ripped the horn out of its place.

Gore spewed out of the hole in Neff’s snout and its roars of agony soon became but a light whimper. Neff began to stumble and stagger, unable to run or ram itself anymore into whatever structure lay near. Mieu, out of energy, but not lacking a whit of determination, jammed the sharp end of the horn into Neff’s skull. With her fist as a hammer she pounded on the horn, which soon dug deep into Neff’s brain. With a loud shriek, Neff toppled forward with a resounding thud. He ceased to move.

“Corg called that one the ‘Executioner of Shaolin’,” said Mieu disdainfully to the motionless monster.

Mieu pried herself from his body and got up, nearly toppling over in the process. She gasped for breath and did her best to remain standing, staring at the motionless monstrosity sprawled out before her.

She looked into the barren vastness of the Netherworld. It was then that she saw a glowing blue orb floating toward her. She forced a smile from her fatigued lips. Her systems were beginning to shut down. She slowly stepped forward to receive the orb into her arms. She felt slight warmth in her body. Nonetheless, there was no more energy left in her to make the return trip. “I need to rest,” she whispered to the orb. She pushed the blue object against her cheek and sat down. Her sensors and internal computer switched off.

Mieu smiled as she slept. She felt nothing. She did not even notice that her body was being lifted and carried through the air by invisible hands.

Last edited by H-Man on Tue Jul 27, '10, 9:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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