|An Unlikely Alliance part 3|
High atop an endless void sits the throne of the universe. The center of the Kingdom of Zeal where the almighty Queen overlooks all of existence. The throne itself is elaborately carved in red and gold, and much like the fabled kingdom, the platform on which it rests hovers over that ghastly darkness below it. To give the illusion of walls, large woven tapestries hang from the high ceiling and tie to the rear of the floating platform. Leading away from the throne is what appears to be a long red carpet suspended on nothing, and quite sturdy to the touch. Behind the throne is a small set of floating steps leading down to the only other platform allowed over the void...
Even as the air begins to be sucked out of the royal chambers and the decks below continue to fall deeper into the abyss, the Magus simply floats with his arms crossed over his chest. "Johnny, my dear boy, there is so much that you do not understand," he begins. There is a slight smirk across his features but it is not easily through the darkness. "None of you understand. It is not destruction that I want. Everyone thinks I am some malicious ruler bent on taking this world over, destroying everything in my path and making it my own... but nothing is further from the truth. No... I want something greater than that, and this dagger is but one of the keys. I do not value it as much as you do... yet, at the same time, I can not help but laugh at your ineptitude without it. How sad it is that you must have this dagger to validate yourself... when I could just as easily toss it to the alien below and let him have it... what would you do then?" The dagger is hanging languidly in the mage's hand, like he is serious about his threat.
Johnny continues to hover in the spot where he kicked the platform. He stares up at Magus, one eye twitching as the mage speaks. "You don't know what rests in your hand. You don't know what it can do. I don't FUCKING CARE what you have in mind, but I need that dagger. It's a part of me, and I won't let it continue to be TAINTED by scum like you..." His arms seem to relax at his sides and he raises upwards towards the floating 'Demon King'. "I know the true nature of this world. Of all worlds... and I intend to see it all destroyed so I can get the FUCK OUT OF THIS NIGHTMARE! You feed it to La Vos and I'll simply go get it. Awakening him doesn't scare me, jack ass. I'VE BEEN WANTING TO DO IT ANYWAYS!!" As he screams the shadows overhanging the other floors begin to bleed darkness. A thick black darkness that spreads over every inch of the massive palace making it appear to be nothing but the void itself. Only the Mammon Machine seems untouched. "I know your fears... I know your nightmares..." Smiling again, the maniac looks down at the sleeping form of Schala below, "...shall I make them come to life?"
The mage looks down briefly to the form of Schala laying at the foot of the Mammon Machine. Quickly, before the darkness gets a chance to envelope her, he floats to her level and moves to stand in front of the coffin that holds her. "All you have to do is walk away and this will be all over. Why must you destroy everything? Because of your own personal vendetta? You would make everyone suffer simply because it is what you want? How selfish..." Like The Magus is one to talk about being selfish, but hey, this is his house, not Johnny's. "I do not believe you should have this dagger back... at least, not yet. In fact... I'll give you an ultamatim." He grins. "... Let me use it for what I need to do. After that? I do not care what happens to the dagger. My deed will be done. You can have it back and savor it as I am sure you intend to do... but until that point, let me do what it is that /I/ need to do. Let me keep this 'verse from being destroyed... what you speak of is simply unnecessary. If I can accomplish my goal, I will see to it that you get it back..." The words are cold, but there is a finality to them. He seems genuine in his claim...
Johnny's form vanishes and in an instant he appears out of the shadows on the platform infront of Magus. His eyes white, but the glare still visible upon them. "...keep it destroyed from -what-? I've seen this planet's history. I know it's future... what is there to save it from?" He guestures towards the 'casket' behind Magus. "A part of her has seen all of it with me..." He lifts his black dagger and tilts it's blade to make it shine in the remaining light cast off by the Mammon Machine. "I've been bringing people back from the dead with these. I don't think she enjoys sleeping." Slicing the air around him, he lowers his dagger back to his side, the air seems to bleed from the guesture. Of course, it bleeds more darkness... Stepping through it he stares at Magus almost face to face. "What's your goal, then? You have my attention."
"Simple enough. If this world is doomed, why must it be destroyed? The mistakes of the past should not doom the inhabitants of the present, should it? We were not the ones that made the mistakes. But that is not the point. I wish to create a new world... one in my image. Not to destory, but to reimagine. Give this world a fresh, new start. Marle, myself, Lynx... we all have the same goal in mind. To create our utopia. All people have to do is want it, and we shall let them have it. That, my friend, is our goal. With this dagger and by the use of other devices, we can make it happen. All we need is time." Such a central element in this universe, time... and The Magus intends to use it.
Johnny riases an eyebrow at his words and laughs. "Your an idiot. You can't control the people, but the places is as simple as painting a picture. What do you think I've been doing? Why do you think time was broken??" As he laughs the darkness withdrawls around them. The damage to the palace has been restored. "This is a world of dreams, and for too long I thought I was apart of that dream. Once you awaken, you realise how easy it is to change the fabric of things. All you need is the power to do so." Shaking his head he points at Schala's sleeping form. "Here's the deal. I'll awaken her, make her listen to you. You tell her how you want things to look, and she'll fix it for you. Like a living construction site. Best part is you get a comatose sister back instead of a dead one." With a shrug he shakes his head, "She might need to rest between 'paintings' but that's about it. All it'll cost you is giving me back that dagger first so I have the means to do so, and you can just do whatever the fuck to this world. She won't let you change the multiverse but you'll be free to fuck this world up to your hearts content. What d'ya say?"
The Magus's reply is simple. "Why does it matter so much to you? This 'dream'? The dagger? Why are you so dependant on it?" The mage leans back against the coffin, looking from Schala to Johnny as he waits for the answer.
Johnny doesn't hesitate to answer, "Because they draw power in. As long as you know how to use that power they make things a hell of alot easier. With that I won't grow weak anymore. I won't need the Lavos' down there to abuse as a battery, like your mother did. They where made for me, I know what they can do. They make me complete. I want to find the center of this universe, this... multiverse.. and I want to find the things in charge and demand they let me go home. I'm tired of the bullshit. I'm tired of the lies. I'm tired of the abuse. I'm locked in a dream I can't awaken from and each time I fall asleep here it gets harder to find the truth." Relaxing himself he reseaths the plain dagger into it's sleave with a *ca-chink* "This world you seem to love so much doesn't mean shit to me anymore. I'd rather never see it again, but I'm bound here without that dagger to cut myself free. So there you have it. We come to an agreement. You get your world in your image, I get my dagger, and you'll never have to cross paths with me again..."
Johnny smiles, "...what's your decision?"
The mage takes a moment to think upon this. "... I shall tell you this. If this world is, in fact, your dream... then I wonder perhaps how much I can truly accomplish, if it belongs to you. Nonetheless. Give me a few days. This is not a decision I wish to make alone. I shall need Marle... As much as perhaps I have neglected the poor child, she is as much a part of me now as are my abilities. She needs me, I need her, and... she would be devastated if I made this decision without her. ... Whether or not you care about her emotions or my choice, it does not matter to me... grant me this request and you will have your answer soon enough. You have my word." The Magus sheathes the dagger into his own pocket before taking off his glove and extending his hand towards Johnny. "Nothing funny, I promise you. We will discuss this and you will have our answer."
Johnny takes his hand and shakes it. "I never said it was my dream." He nods his head and begins to vanish as the darkness pours away from him. "You have a week, mage. Then, one way or another this comes to an end..." With those words he's gone without a trace.