The Super Wizard From Space #31

"To Hell And Hell And Hell And Hell And Hell And Back Again, Part 7" by

Black glass and brittle shale and oddly shaped boulders all bashed against each other in the tornado ferocity of the space between conceptual realities. Every small piece was both nonexistant and an immense solidity to itself, dragging and throwing and colliding with its surroundings as the entire mess fell through infinite layers of fractal shells.

The spaces between layers widened and widened until one of the spaces was large enough to accommodate and entire universe within it. The emptiness was replaced by angry clawing atmosphere, whizzing past as the hypothetical tumbling became a literal plummet from a dizzying altitude. The sky was red, the clouds were grey, streaked with blue lightening, and the rapidly approaching ground was a crumpled mountain range. Every surface, every peak, every valley, it all was covered in an ancient, endless labyrinth.

The massive statue of Megadusa crashed down first, the ash and charcoal of its form bursting into an explosion of black rocks upon impact. Like a hammer through paper, the flung pieces tore through the maze, flattened corridors in a vast area. One jagged portion stabbed into the ground with a dull thunder, a massive crack splitting across the mountain surface. A plume of dark dust covered everything, only to then be pelted by the other stone and glass debris hurtling down.

The yellow cab, on the other hand, slowed its plunge gently, its momentum bleeding away until it was coasting easily toward the coal filled crater. The uncontrolled fall down between underverses had played havoc with the Devil's inner ear, leaving him barely recovering from a fit of dry heaves. The unexpected calm gave him a moment to recover his senses and a chance to untangle his limbs from themselves.

Curious about the slow descent, he looked out the back window and saw the car encased in a bubble made of pale light. The wizard had been outside the vehicle when everything went sideways; thankfully, he had caught the car and was lowering it within a projected shield.

Eventually, the bubble popped and the vehicle landed with a hard thunk to its aged shock absorbers. The Devil clamoured out of the back seat, a red handkerchief over his face, trying not to breathe in the charcoal dust while also trying not to cough up a lung. They were near the new gaping crevasse, a viscous metal-tingled fluid oozing up from it, like the mountain itself was bleeding from the wound.

The Super Wizard From Space floated down beside the car, and leaned on it. He looked worse for wear, the trip between the two Hells having exasperated his condition. He was more ghostly like than ever, the Devil able to see right through him easily. His blue and gold uniform actually had more substance to it than he did. It was looking at a bottle of wine; there and yet transparent, with only the density of its container giving the illusion of opaqueness.

The wizard placed a hand on the car to help stand. He looked tired. Exhausted. The part that could be seen had a worn-out appearance, like having run too long a marathon. But his expression was fixed in an angry, determined defiance. He would refuse help if the Devil was of the mind to offer it. He would refuse it to the bitter end.

The scrapping sounds of rocks against rock. Licks of green fire jutted out of the charcoal pieces around them. Jumping to other nearby pieces, the long lines of flame acted like string, dragging the broken statue together. Fingers connected to hands, joints to limbs, the blacken Megadusa coming together as a colossuses, picking itself up after a fall.

"What? No! How the me is it managing to bodge together so fast?" the Devil exclaimed in frustration, throwing his hat to the ground and stamping on it. "It just went through the between places... twice! It should be up the lurgy so hard that it makes me sick!"

"I tried to warn you," the wizard said, pointing to the jade fire stitching the coal and ash back into form. "I know what that is. I've seen it before. It's space-greed."

The Devil looked at the wizard incredulously. "That's not possible."

"I've seen it before. Not like this, not the visible idea of it, but I've seen it before. I had to annihilate an entire planet because of it." { The Super Wizard From Space #1 }

"That's. Not. Possible." the Devil insisted, his disbelief turning into anger.

A pair of huge hairy hands came out of the red ooze, clutching at the edge of the crevasse, followed by another pair. A monstrous four-armed humanoid pulled itself out of the blood hued stream, its coarse fur damp and terrifying. It was covered in leather armour made of the hides of its enemies, and had the head of a charging bull.

It stood to its full eight-foot height, snorting loudly and stamping its hoofed feet in challenge. "Who dares invade the ancient labyrinths of Terta-Hell, home and prison of Asquaterion The Minochataur?" it bellowed.

The Devil turned around and spit out, "Bugger off! Can't you see we're trying to have a row, here?" He raised one leg and slammed a kick right in the center of the monster's chest, a ring of infernal power detonating when his well-polished spats connected. A stench of brimstone and sulfur, the force of a wrecking ball, and the hapless thing was sent flying back into the crevasse.

The Devil took a moment to slow his breathing. He snatched up his hat and shook it until it found its proper shape. He ran a hand through his hair to properly slick it back, put his hat back atop his head, and counted to ten to regain his composure.

"Now, where were we," he said, much more calmly. "Oh. Oh yes, space-greed." He waggled a finger accusingly. "The immortal Super Wizards From Space wiped out all the Great Space Crimes. They immunized the sodding universe when they imprisoned the eighth super-civilization. Your race did that."

The wizard didn't respond. Refused to respond.

A giant fist of coal and ash slammed down between them. A crashing migraine of wrathful malice struck deep within their skulls. The pair of them were driven to their knees in sudden stabbing pain.

"Scampering murine! Lilliputian imbroglio!" The jagged jade fire engulfed the charcoal gorgon. The folded triangles with it arced madly with cosmic lightening. The statue rose to one knee, looming over the pair. "I am not some obeisant mongrel for you to educe along at your convenience... I am a covetous god! And you..." the revulsion and frustration was wet stickiness, "...you are contemptible arthropods whose stings I refuse to exculpate any longer!"

The Devil made a weak grasp toward the towering statue, trying to bring some amount of his demonic force to bear, but he couldn't focus. His target was a massless unfocused shape, his thoughts were being unravelled and stamped on. The statue lifted splayed open on hand and brought it palm down upon the Devil, crushing him to the ground.

The wizard lashed out, just as unsuccessful. Starlight flared out thinly, blindly. Pieces of coal and bunches of ash broken off the statue, but the Language barely acknowledged it.

"And you, you miserable solid disagreement," its tone thickening with disgust, "I would have exultantly abrogated you if the rest of the astro-aristocracy was puerile enough to trust me with the enterprise. Feel free to flail and fling fusion for however long you are inclined to... all your acrimony and puissance cannot harm me! I am a living idea! A forceful paradigm! An unstoppable zeitgeist!"

"You're plagiarism at best," the wizard spat back.

The massive simulacrum roared in anger. The fat burning cinders in the charcoal head cracked deafeningly. A tidal wave of green flames spilled out. The Secret Living Language brought its other hand slamming down flat on the wizard, knocking him down with a thunderous boom.

The cosmic crown clinging above the wizard's head erupted with energy.

The folded triangles embedded in the coal and cinders exploded with power.

A series of fearsome blue arcs lashed out from the artifacts, folding and bending together into loops and loops of electric chains. Each link dragged with it a million potential moments, weighed a million quantum possibilities. The reality of Tetra-Hell warped backwards and away instinctively from the celestial manacles.

The chains snaked at the folded triangles, then flung themselves around the hulking charcoal statue of Megadusa.

The Language yelped in surprise. The green flames were squelched, then they blazed along the cosmic links. It just wrapped and tightened more aggressively. Its hands grabbed at the chain lengths and tried to pull them off. The lengths snapped back, sawing through the brittle embers and ash of the statue's form.

"Did you forget the Rules?" the wizard shouted, wanting to be heard overtop the crackling of energy and breaking of coal. "Or did you think you were above them? I'm in the middle of a Challenge, you're only here as a Witness... you cannot touch me!"

The Devil hacked and coughed. The pressure was off him, but the only thing he could breathe was ash and dust and smoke as the chains bound the Language, shredding its stolen material form in the process. The grinding sound and blowing particle debris was a stinging black hurricane. He couldn't make out anything, he couldn't hear anything,.

A hard grip on his arm hauled him to his feet. The wizard's own crown was aglow, protecting him from the brunt of the chaos. "Did you mean to do that?" the Devil yelled at him, incredulously. "Tell me you meant to do that! 'Cause that was bloody brilliant!"

"We have to get out of here," the Super Wizard From Space yelled back, inches from the Devil and yet barely audible. "Its obvious the crowns don't see the mental invasions as interference. The Language will retaliate."

The Devil pointed repeatedly at crevasse. Or at least in the general direction the crevasse was before he lost it in the tossing ashen winds. "What's his face... the minochatuar!"

The Super Wizard From Space didn't bother with subtleties. The fusion fire within him blasted forth. A spiralling solar flare unraveled blindly, the scale of the mountain range itself. Hundreds of peaks burnt away like dried bark. Valleys curled and broke. The bedrock liquified and boiled.

A vicious gouge was torn in the fabric Tetra-Hell, and like a listing ship, it tilted and emptied its contents into the void underneath.

Author's Notes

This issue probably needs another read-over and another solid round of editing, but fuck it, I'm posting it anyway. This arc is charging to its conclusion, I was satisfied that this scene didn't drag out to two posts. I want to work on keeping momentum on these adventure stories, especially when heading toward the end.

Should I have named it "Quadra-Hell" instead? It sounds a little better, flowing into "Quinto-Hell". I decided against it because I had already used the "quatra-" and "chatur-" prefixes in wordplay with the minotaur's name. That, and i had already referenced it as "Tetra-Hell" in the previous issue. And twitter posts. And everywhere.

And finally, another bonus if you happen to be reading this on my RACC website. Guess who? :P