What emerged from the ebbing
light of sickly blue was the stuff of Styx's worst nightmares.
Terror overtook her, forcing her to forget her misery at being
soaking wet and cold. It was a large orb of flesh, dominated by
a single blood-red eye and a huge, slavering toothy maw. From
various places around it's circumference sprouted many smaller
tentacles, topped by smaller eyes, with multi-colored irises and
strangely shaped pupils. This thing was a creation of evil, a
perversion of the natural laws of life and death.
"Empress," Diamond began, indicating the hovering orb. "This is a beholder."
Styx involuntarily took a step backwards as the beholder advanced. "Did I _create_ that?" Styx asked, disgusted.
"No," Diamond shook her head. "You summoned it forth, brought it from the Abyss of Nothing."
Styx felt the eyes of her siblings on her. They crouched in a semi-shelter, away from the rain. She felt a mantle of powerfulness settle on her shoulders, and smiled ruefully.
"How many can I summon at once?" she asked.
Diamond shook her head. "Only one beholder.. they do not work well in groups. But there are many, many more things that reside in the Abyss waiting for your call."
"Tell me what they are, and how to summon them. The quicker I have my army, the faster I can rule!!" Her laughter mocked everything living.
"Meanwhile, send the beholder to have some fun..." Diamond sneered, glancing at the toothy orb.
It bobbed as it levitated above the ground. The toothy mouth opened and closed in anticipation. It hadn't eaten a good meal of humanflesh in so long.
Cale, Kayura, Dais, and Thunderstorm
ducked under the canopy of a small shop. The two men were soaked
from head to toe; Kayura and Storm were protected by an umbrella.
Peering out from under the umbrella, Kayura laughed at Cale's appearance. His hair was plastered to his head, running rivulets of water down his nose and dripping onto his face.
"What?" he asked. "Do you really think that this is funny?"
Storm glanced over and joined Kayura in her laughter. Dais glanced at Cale with a dark gleam in his eye. Leaning over, the two of them shook themselves like dogs, spraying the women with water. With an indignant shout, the two shoved the Overlords away, back into the rain. Cale was about to persue his project of soaking Kayura when a rush of humans, shouting and screaming, shoved past them.
Storm and Kayura were caught up in the press of humanity, swept along by the shoving tide. Cale and Dais braced themselves against the rush, remaining stock still even with the shoving and screaming. A young woman tripped falling down among the people and was threatened to be trampled on. Dais pushed his way over to her, and hoisted her up.
"What's the rush about?" he shouted over the screams.
The woman gave a wordless cry and pointed down the street, breaking free and running. Looking in the direction she pointed, Dais could see only the curtain of rain. Then, as if a ghost materilizing, it floated through the curtain into plain sight.
The beholder cast a look around for some tender meat, its ten or so smaller eyes rotating in a macabre dance. It spotted Dais and Cale standing in the center of the street, defiantly facing the monstrosity. It's mouth opened and out hissed a single word, spoken in bastard Japanese.
The two Overlords slipped into defensive postures, raising their fists before them. In his hand, Cale could feel the armor-orb throbbing with power. Battle was seconds away. He didn't need to look to Dais to know the exact second to invoke his armor.
"Armor of Corruption!"
"Armor of Deception!"
The power surged through their limbs, encasing the mortal flesh with immortal steel. The body armors took form first, cool hard steel, green for Dais, red for Cale. The battle urge shook thier minds, nothing rivalled the exhilaration of the armors, no physical pleasure could ever come close to the power. The power continued to surge as the battle armors formed; pure pristine energy lanced through thier bodies, running down their arms. The steel breastplates glittered into view, followed by the other, separate pieces. The helmets materialized in their hands. In unison, the Overlords donned them, feeling at once complete and powerful.
The beholder paused in its advance, warily watching the two armored men with it's large central eye. It's mouth smacked twice, dribbling saliva onto the wet cement. It was heedless of the downpour, intent on only one thing. It spoke again, in a voice like concrete smashing on granite.
Cale drew his Sword of Darkness, narrowing his eyes at the monster's speech. He wondered just how intelligent this thing was. Without a word, he invoked the power of his armor, and began to suck the gray light from the air. Dais glanced at Cale quickly, unwilling to take his eye off the beholder for too long. The beholder turned one of its smaller eyes to Dais. After a brief glow from the ocular appendage, a searing streak of heat and electricty exploded out toward him.
Dais yelped, expirencing a strange rush of fear. Leaping away to the side, he stared as the lightning bolt entered a small, empty shop, destroying everything it touched, and torching the building. Cale jumped at the crakle and snap of the flames at his back.
Someone screamed. With a dread feeling, Cale realized that there was someone still inside...
to be continued...