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Old Friends Meet Again[]

January 2796. Kezoreg left Kithworto's team after spending nearly 2 years fighting the Dominion of the Xhodocto. Having discovered certain details about his conception, he had grown tired of adventuring and wanted some time for himself, to train and think of what to do next. Being taken by Kicathian authorities back to his residence, he found out he had been invited to spend some time at the Indoctrinate Collective capital of New Draka by the Spinker advisor Windey Spinkarius. Kezoreg had not visited New Draka since he was two years old, and that was the place where he had met the first person who ever had considered him a friend. Calling for Brood escorts and a personal vessel to allow him transportation, much to his grizzled father's dismay, Kezoreg was swiftly delivered to the Milky Way in order to be deposited to New Draka - the one place other than the battlefield where he felt comfortable. The journey took several days at most, through which he spent much of his time sleeping and recalling pleasant memories, or memories he at least found pleasant anyway.

Upon his arrival, Kezoreg immediately saw the clean blue skies of Realitia, the capital of the planet. A warm breeze of air hit him as he left the spaceship, ad waiting for him at a distance was Windey herself, accompanied by Jerkon, the Dracogonarious Royal Marechal. Kezoreg approached Windey and the Royal Marechal with a smile on his face - not of spite or mischief, but of comfort and genuine glee. He had certainly grown since he had last set foot upon this world, having gained various scars and minor aesthetic defects caused by battle, yet he still maintained a youthful look in his eyes.

  • Windey - Welcome to New Draka! I'm glad you accepted my invitation. I see you've grown a lot since I last saw you.
  • Kezoreg - Bah, I missed the blue skies here. Everywhere else is either a miserable pit or a graveyard, it's nice to have some change.
  • Windey - Aren't you gonna greet Kezoreg, Jerkon?
  • Jerkon - ...Hm? Salutations. I am busy.
  • Kezoreg - Busy? Busy with what?
  • Jerkon - Terrorist attacks. I am here to resupply my ship and leave as soon as possible.
  • Kezoreg - Heh. Terrorists, eh? Well don't you worry your pretty little head, Marechal, since New Draka just received one of the biggest badasses in the entire Gigaquadrant at its doorstep.

Jerkon looked at Kezoreg with a raised eyebrow, before turning and walking away.

  • Windey - J-just ignore him, Kezoreg. I didn't call you here to worry about military things. I called you here because Maryah is in need of some company.

Kezoreg turned towards Windey, his wide grin vanishing and replaced with an expression of concern, a slight frown. He approached a step closer, resting a hand at the back of his head to scratch, raising an eyebrow.

  • Kezoreg - She is?
  • Windey - Yes. She is devoted to her role of being empress, but...she's overextending herself. She is growing ill, and she has no friends but you. So I was wondering if you could help her.
  • Kezoreg - Gah, idiot. I told her she'd grow up to be some ponsy glorified secutary if she stayed inside all day.
  • Windey - ...I'm afraid you're right. I didn't even warn here you were coming to make her a surprise, and the last time I saw her, she had locked herself in her room to study a mountain of documents.
  • Kezoreg - How long ago has it been since then?
  • Windey - A few hours.
  • Kezoreg - Time to pay a visit, in that case! Just show me the way!
  • Windey - Just follow me.

Windey led Kezoreg to the way of a flying car. At this point, Jerkon was already nowhere to be seen. As the made their way to the imperial palace, Kezoreg could look down at the heavily populated city. In front of the palace itself was the statue of a mighty angelic giant, something Kezoreg himself was not familiar with. As they landed and made their way inside, Windey led the way to Maryah's chamber, and Kezoreg could look around and recognize the halls and corridors he went through on his first visit to the planet long ago. Kezoreg, not one for the finer arts and tastes, had grown somewhat tired of such royal displays although he nonetheless appreciated the efforts placed into arrangement and layout of the decorations that adorned and brightened these hallways. There was something about the atmosphere of this grand home that made him feel different, something that made him feel more... relaxed.

As they arrived to the doors of Maryah's chamber, Windey put her hand on an identification device located next to it to get it open. Not bothering to wait for the device to register and identify Windey's genetic imprint and code, Kezoreg stepped forward and launched a foot towards the doors. The force of his kick devastated the magnetic gadgetry that kept the doors locked, throwing them outward and almost completely unleashing them from their hinges with a loud thud.

  • Windey - ...Don't do that.
  • Kezoreg - Sorry, Mrs. S. I just feel a little... eager.

With the doors open, they could both see Maryah with her head on a desk while being surrounded by large piles of data pads. Kezoreg marched forward, observing Maryah with her head against the desk she was sat at. The room was indeed messy and disorganized, and it appeared to have been this way for a while, although Kezoreg liked it that way somewhat. With a wide smirk across his face as he made his approach, he slammed his hands loudly on the desk and yelled as shockingly as he could.

  • Kezoreg - Wake up, idiot!!

Maryah jolted up, and barely conscious of her surroundings, sent her hand at Kezoreg and delivered at slap at his cheek. Kezoreg was taken off-guard and was sent to the floor from the surprising strength of her swipe, although he quickly regained what composure he had and stood up as fast as he could, touching the cheek she had attacked while chuckling to himself. Maryah shook her head in confusion for several moments until she looked at Kezoreg again, finally recognizing him.

  • Maryah - ...Kezoreg?
  • Kezoreg - Welcome back to real life, sweetheart!
  • Maryah - Eh?...How...when...?
  • Kezoreg - That's what I wanted to ask you, bozo.
  • Windey - I'll leave you both alone now. When you're hungry, Maryah can show you the royal kitchen.
  • Maryah - Mother, wait!

Windey closed the doors behind her as she left. Maryah looked at Kezoreg with a worried look. She did not know how to react or talk to him. Kezoreg took a large step forward and placed his hands on the desk again, smiling widely at Maryah with narrowed eyes. While to anybody else this would have looked threatening or intimidating, Maryah had already seen this glare several times and knew not to fear it.

  • Maryah - I...I have work to do...
  • Kezoreg - That's it? No "how are you", no "what have you been up to", no "why the fuck are you in my office"?
  • Maryah - Uh...uh...sorry...
  • Kezoreg - Gah, what's the matter with you? Koda got your tongue? Speak up!
  • Maryah - I-I don't know...!
  • Kezoreg - Baah! You make me wanna explode!

Maryah cowered herself and let out a yelp. Kezoreg grunted and grasped ahold of Maryah's shoulders before pulling her forward, looking her straight in the eyes.

  • Kezoreg - Well? What's all this? Aren't you gonna tell me what your work is?

Maryah looked deep into Kezoreg's eyes for several moments until she finally managed to speak again.

  • Maryah - I...I missed you...
  • Kezoreg - Heh, I missed you as well, princess...
  • Maryah - Actually, it's queen now...
  • Kezoreg - Princess, queen, whatever. I still missed you. ...How come you haven't been calling me?!
  • Maryah - I don't...really know where you live now...and I've been busy...being queen and all.
  • Kezoreg - That's no excuse, princess!
  • Maryah - Yes it is...and it's queen! Not princess!

Kezoreg leaped onto the desk, kicking off various gadgets and devices with his feet while he folded his arms, looking down at Maryah with a hot-blooded stare, wearing a grin. Maryah could now see Kezoreg to his full extent, dressed in a hybrid of Zazane-Kicathian armour with his Kicathian blade suspended in a sheath upon his side.

  • Kezoreg - Oh yeah? What're you gonna do about it, pinch my cheek?!
  • Maryah - My stuff! What the hell is wrong with you?!
  • Kezoreg - Take a good long look, princess! While I've been out fighting the worst the Gigaquadrant and beyond has had to throw at me, you've been inside, lazing about and pushing pens all day for the past decade!
  • Maryah - I have an empire to lead! I was created to do this!
  • Kezoreg - That's not an excuse! You're a person, not a machine!

Maryah put her head down and held on it, as if she was in pain.

  • Maryah - I need to do this...the people need me...
  • Kezoreg - Who the hell do you think you are?! The Marechal?! Why's everybody a goddamned workaholic in this empire?!
  • Maryah - I am the queen...it's my responsibility to lead. If I don't do a good job at that, then I'm worthless for my people.

Kezoreg made a gesture with his hand as Maryah spoke, almost mocking her as she did before jumping from the desk and landing on top of her, knocking her to the floor while he sat up and looked down at her, his arms still folded. Maryah yelped and her eyes widened as she found herself pinned down.

  • Kezoreg - Just because you're a queen doesn't mean you can stay inside and write 'yes or no's' all the time, princess! Screw the damn people!
  • Maryah - N-no. I'm here to serve the people...get off of me!
  • Kezoreg - Not until you admit to how much of a lifeless dork you've become, princess! What does all these things say anyway?

Kezoreg went to grab some of the datapads and read through them, grunting as he did as he was quickly bored of the subjects that had been issued onto them, throwing them across the room once he was done with them.

  • Kezoreg - Anti-cloning petitions, food activists, animal petitions, new spaceship designs, additional residential appliances, blah blah blah! Look at all this!
  • Maryah - I-it's my duty as queen! Get off of me now!
  • Kezoreg - I didn't come all the way here just for you to go back to writing papers! I'm not getting off unless you make me!
  • Maryah - Nnngh! Get off...of me!

Maryah grabbed Kezoreg by his arms and threw him to her side, causing them both to roll over the floor until Maryah was on top of the Zazane herself. Kezoreg grunted as he was pinned to the ground and looked up at Maryah, his eyes widening as he looked up at her curiously.

  • Maryah - I am queen. Queen! You best remember that!
  • Kezoreg - Hehe, what was that, princess? I think I've forgotten already!
  • Maryah - Ugh! You're a pain!
  • Kezoreg - Kiss my ass! You wanna take this outside?!
  • Windey - How are you two getting along, kids?

Windey returned, opening the doors to see the messy room and Maryah standing on top of Kezoreg on the floor. The Spinker advisor looked at the scene in silence while Maryah froze in place. Kezoreg turned to Windey with a surprised expression, blushing black across his face as he looked upon Maryah's mother. He too had frozen where he laid. After seconds of awkward silence, Windey closed the doors and walked away.

  • Windey - Perhaps this wasn't such a good idea.

You Need Manners[]

The following day, Kezoreg had been awoken early by special request from Maryah, sending him a message via automated drone to come to the dining hall that overlooked Realitia. Having dressed in minimal clothing so as to remain somewhat decent, Kezoreg had indeed followed the instructions he had been given. It took him several minutes to arrive at the aforementioned hall, having gotten lost multiple times, but when he did he saw that Maryah was residing at a particular table positioned near the colossal windows, with royal-quality portraits and artistic pieces established upon the wall behind her. Somewhat still tired from having been awakened so early, Kezoreg took a seat that was placed on the opposite end of where Maryah was sitting, so they were looking at one another face to face.

  • Maryah - What took you so long?
  • Kezoreg - In case you haven't noticed, it's morning. I'm never up in the morning.
  • Maryah - So you're a lazy bum then.
  • Kezoreg - Says you who never goes outside.
  • Maryah - For your information, I do off-world visits very often. We talked about this already.
  • Kezoreg - You go from one office to another, that doesn't count as going outside.

At this moment, small droids entered the hall, bringing multiple plates of high class Dracogonarious meals to Maryah, and Zazane meals for Kezoreg. Maryah nodded to the droids, as if she was thanking them for their job, and they promptly left the room. Kezoreg observed the Zazane food on his plate and raised an eyebrow, smirking as he glared at it with bloody red eyes. He reached for it with a bare hand, his tongue dangling from the side of his mouth in a most animalistic manner.

  • Maryah - ...Why are you grabbing it with your hand?
  • Kezoreg - Huh? What'd you mean?
  • Maryah - Can't you see the forks and knives next to your plate?
  • Kezoreg - ...Yeah? Aren't they for decoration?
  • Maryah - No? People use those to eat.

Kezoreg looked at the cutlery set with confusion, unsure of how to use them. From assumption, he grabbed ahold of his knife and observed it before plunging it into a slice of meat and raising it, with the meat chop impaled on the end of the knife. He brought it to his mouth and ate it from there, taking a moment to enjoy the flavours of the food while glancing at the knife awkwardly.

  • Maryah - ...No, you big dummy. You use that to cut the food, then you use the fork to put the food in your mouth.
  • Kezoreg - Cut the food? But... Aren't you supposed to bite into it and tear chunks from it?
  • Maryah - That's what animals do. We're civilized royalty, so we use tools.
  • Kezoreg - Well, you're civilized royalty.
  • Maryah - And so are you.
  • Kezoreg - Where'd you get that from?
  • Maryah - Well, you're the son of the emperor of the Brood of War. That makes you a prince.

Kezoreg scoffed at Maryah's remark and raised his fork, looking at it with interest, before jabbing it into part of his larger meat steak and using his knife to attempt cutting through it. As he did, the two of them heard a loud, high-pitch sound of shattering; he had sliced through his steak and through his plate, creating cracks in its design while some of it simply fragmented and fell off.

  • Kezoreg - ...I'm not a prince.
  • Maryah - You don't have the manners of one alright.
  • Kezoreg - Oh yeah, princess? I can still remember the day you thought farts and calling people fat was funny.
  • Maryah - I did because I was a child. I am an adult now. And so are you. You need to start acting as the prince you are.
  • Kezoreg - Prince, shmrince. I'm not ruling anything anytime soon.
  • Maryah - But you will one day. And you can start acting like one by not eating like a piggie.
  • Kezoreg - The fuck's a 'piggie'?
  • Maryah - You say I don't leave my home when you don't even know what a baby swine is.

At this moment, another individual entered the room. It was a Zazane woman, likely on her 30s, who wore royal ornaments and golden-coloured glasses. As she arrived, she greeted Maryah, who nodded back at her with a smile.

  • Telda - Good morning, my queen.
  • Maryah - Good morning to you, Telda.

Kezoreg turned towards the Zazane woman and raised his eyebrows with interest, looking her over before letting out a sly whistle, having caught a good glimpse of her form, particularly enjoying those glasses of hers. With a grin, he called out towards her.

  • Kezoreg - Well, hello gorgeous.
  • Telda - ...Excuse me?
  • Kezoreg - Now this is what I call a breakfast! Maryah, you prepared all this for me? I'm flattered!
  • Maryah - ...What?
  • Telda - Who is this...person, my queen?
  • Maryah - A guest...

Kezoreg stood up and looked at Telda once more with a rather captivated stare, licking his lips and jaws slowly as he approached the Zazane. He reached out a hand and took ahold of hers, bringing it to his face before he allowed his tongue to lick the back of her palm, sliding up her forearm shortly after.

  • Kezoreg - You taste delicious.

Telda looked at Kezoreg in surprise and confusion, while at the other side of the table, Maryah glared at them both with eyes narrowed and blush appearing on her cheeks.

  • Telda - What...do you think you're doing?
  • Kezoreg - Name's Kezoreg, but you can just call me "sir" if you don't mind, missy.
  • Telda - Do you have any idea who you're talking to, boy?
  • Kezoreg - Telda, Maryah already said. But frankly, names don't really matter when it all comes down to the core.
  • Telda - I am Telda Laonda, Supreme Advisor of the Zazane. I lead the Zazane in the Collective, boy.

Kezoreg grinned wider and moved his tongue further up her arm, before retracting it and leaning inwards, pulling her forwards slightly. His tail curled around his body to touch hers, and she could not help but glare into Kezoreg's demonic eyes, which hinted something akin to a desire for destruction rather than a seductive addiction.

  • Kezoreg - Then I'm sure you'll know how to handle me, missy.
  • Maryah - Uuugh!

Maryah got up from her seat and walked over to the duo. She grabbed Kezoreg by the neck of his clothing and pulled him away from Telda, dragging him away with her. Kezoreg gasped as he was dragged away and folded his arms, narrowing his eyes as he growled quietly.

  • Kezoreg - What was that for?!
  • Maryah - Y-you're my guest! Not her's! Let's go do something else somewhere else!

As she watched the two leave, Telda looked at them with a raised eyebrow in confusion as she cleaned her hand by rubbing it against her clothing.

  • Telda - ...What was that all about?

Having Fun Outside[]

The sun was beginning to set beyond the horizon, the sky lit orange as it began to descend from its prime. Kezoreg leaned against the ultra-dense glass window that was installed at the far end of the dining hall, the same one that they had eaten within much earlier, and looked over the populous industrial society with bored eyes. The Zazane hybrid sighed to himself, waiting eagerly for some expected company. He groaned, placing his attention onto his wrist device to analyze the time and date. His tail tapped against the glass, and his eyes narrowed in slight annoyance. Maryah walked into the room, reading on a datapad. As she arrived, she looked at Kezoreg before putting the datapad away.

  • Maryah - You're not mad at me for making you put a suit on, are you?

Kezoreg eagerly turned towards Maryah and chuckled, licking his left chop with his tongue before looking back towards the window to observe the city down below.

  • Kezoreg - Well, a little. Cramps my style. What took you so long?
  • Maryah - I had to check on messages left by the Supreme Advisors.
  • Kezoreg - Boooring! Come over here, the view from this place is amazing.

Maryah walked over to the window, standing by Kezoreg's side. She looked down at the city below with a smile. Even only only three days had passed, it was obvious that she was opening more and more to Kezoreg's presence. Kezoreg smiled widely as she stood beside him and pointed towards the city with his arm stretched outward.

  • Kezoreg - How often do you visit the city down there?
  • Maryah - Not that often. It is mandatory for me to visit Realitia at least once every month, so that I can make my presence known.
  • Kezoreg - Hah! Do you ever enjoy those visits?
  • Maryah - Well...not really. I got nothing to do out there.
  • Kezoreg - No shopping? Watching movies? Setting things alight?
  • Maryah - I have everything I want here, I can watch movies from my personal computer...why would I set thing alight?
  • Kezoreg - Man, you're boring. A princess and being unable to appreciate anything in the city.
  • Maryah - Oh, and what do you do for fun then, prince? Roll around in the dirt?
  • Kezoreg - Not a bad idea, but I gotta much better one.

Kezoreg clenched a fist and launched a punch towards the window while standing in front of Maryah, who heard the window shatter into millions of shards and pieces from the impact. With several shards of glass stuck into his hand, Kezoreg turned back to Maryah and opened his arms. Maryah's eyes widened and she jumped back, startled.

  • Kezoreg - What's that look for? You're royalty, it's probably insured.
  • Maryah - What are you doing?!
  • Kezoreg - Living, you should try it some time. Now come over here, I'm not gonna bite you.

Maryah raised an eyebrow and slowly approached Kezoreg, unsure of his intentions. Kezoreg grabbed ahold of Maryah in a tight embrace and smiled, his body feeling surprisingly pleasant and warm despite his initial appearance. Maryah could feel the mutant radiate with warmth and a bizarre sense of comfort. Lifting Maryah up so he was carrying her in his arms, he chuckled.

  • Kezoreg - Hold on tight.
  • Maryah - O-oh dear.

As Maryah wrapped her arms around Kezoreg's neck, the Zazane launched himself from the shattered window with a startling leap, momentum placed in his step as he made a starting run prior to jumping. His launch allowed him to leap far from the castle, an amazing amount of strength in his jump, and Maryah could feel the wind pass over them as they slowly began to descend towards the city. Maryah yelped, startled by what was happening. She put her head against Kezoreg's chest ant closed her eyes. Several seconds passed and Maryah heard the sound of an impact; Kezoreg slammed into the metallic tiles of the city's floor, causing debris to become uprooted and sending various unsuspecting civilians off their feet, knocking them to the ground although causing no major injuries. Kezoreg stood upright and placed Maryah onto her feet within the crater that Kezoreg's drop had inflicted unto the ground.

  • Maryah - W-why...w-what are we doing here?
  • Kezoreg - What else? We're gonna have some fun, princess!
  • Maryah - Y-you're crazy!

Kezoreg laughed and flexed his muscles, allowing his torn flesh and wounds which had been sustained from the impact to regenerate and heal almost instantaneously. After a second of healing himself, he took a moment to observe the crowds, who happened to have been giving scared or extremely agitated looks, before looking to Maryah.

  • Kezoreg - So, whatcha wanna do, sweetheart?
  • Maryah - Go back to the castle, we're not supposed to be here!
  • Kezoreg - Bah you're such a bore! Hmm, what to do, what to do...
  • Maryah - We go back, that's what we're gonna do.

Kezoreg reached for a pack on his waist-belt and placed his hand inside, before pulling out once more. In his hand, he had pulled out a transparent, bubble-like sphere and grasped it comfortably in his palm, and reached out so that Maryah could see it

  • Kezoreg - Here, squeeze this.

Maryah looked at the sphere with a raised eyebrow before squeezing it. As she did, the sphere exploded in a burst of immensely cold water, and Kezoreg leaped back while giggling and laughing.

  • Maryah - Nnnngh! Too cold!
  • Kezoreg - Bah-hah! Come on, let's go find somewhere to hide and we can use these, I have plenty.
  • Maryah - Why would I want to use anymore of those?
  • Kezoreg - Because it's funny! Come on, don't be a spoil-sport. You can still have fun, can't you?
  • Maryah - Well...yes...
  • Kezoreg - Gah, look. If you want, we can go back to the castle and you can go back to being boring, signing documents, all that boring ponsy stuff you do. Or we can stay out here for a few hours and have some fun doing stuff together.
  • Maryah - I...I guess we could stay for a while...at least until someone notices we're gone...
  • Kezoreg - That's the spirit!

Kezoreg grabbed another sphere from his belt-pack and passed it to Maryah for her to hold while he grabbed one for himself alongside. With a grin, he looked towards a crowd of unsuspecting strangers and threw the ball at them before grasping ahold of Maryah's hand and running as the ball exploded into icy water. The guests were all taken by surprise and started looking around for the responsible. Maryah's face showed worry as they ran away from them. Kezoreg ran into an alley-way nearby pulling out another ball of water. He watched as the crowd beyond the alley continued to move onward without noticing them being there, hiding, and he turned to Maryah as he gently held the water bomb.

  • Kezoreg - You gonna throw that?
  • Maryah - I don't wanna cause trouble.
  • Kezoreg - Hardly trouble. Come on, I'll throw with you if you want me to.
  • Maryah - Alright...

Kezoreg chuckled and looked out into the crowd, and spotted several families with young children. With a grin, he threw his ball of water while looking at Maryah, staring at her for a moment. The cold water hit the family, causing them to screech out in surprise. One of the children started crying, and the father started looking around in anger.

  • Maryah - This isn't fun...this is being a jerk.
  • Kezoreg - ...You may be right. Come on, princess, let's find something else to do. Sorry, I shouldn't have forced you into this.

Above the duo, a large, winged silhouette jumped through the rooftop of the homes. Maryah yelled in surprise and took Kez's hand.

  • Maryah - W-what was that?

Kezoreg narrowed his eyes and raised a clenched fist, although he was taken by surprise as Maryah grabbed his hand and took a moment to glance at her hand holding his, raising his eyebrows. The silhouette jumped through the rooftops again, coming closer to the duo's location. It was clearly going at their direction.

  • Kezoreg - Keep close!
  • Maryah - Aaah!

The unknown entity then jumped into the alley, falling in front of them. Both Maryah and Kezoreg were knocked backwards, with Maryah falling on top of the Zazane. As he fell, Kezoreg took ahold of the ball of water that Maryah had been holding and threw it in the direction of the entity, growling before slamming onto the floor and grunting as Maryah landed on him. The ball exploded on the individual, who did not even flinch at it. As they got back up, they could see this entity was a well-armored Bonio warrior. Supreme Admiral Herquie. Maryah froze in place as she saw the Bonio, who delivered a glare at both of them. Kezoreg shuddered slightly as he laid his eyes upon the Bonio and took a step back, his eyes widening while he faked an unconvincing chuckle.

  • Kezoreg - Oh, h-hey there, Herquie... D-Didn't see you there.
  • Maryah - Un-uncle Her-
  • Herquie - You two. You're in big trouble.
  • Kezoreg - Oh, w-we are? If it's about the w-window, I can pay.
  • Herquie - You will pay. You will also pay for the crater you created.
  • Kezoreg - Oh, t-that? That was a stray comet! W-Wasn't it, Maryah?
  • Herquie - Property damage? Vandalism? I could kill you right here and right now as a criminal.
  • Maryah - N-no, Herquie, he didn't mean to!
  • Herquie - Silence. You might be queen but I am still your caretaker. You both come with me right now.

Kezoreg turned to Maryah with a smile and placed his hand in hers, and she could once more feel the heat from his flesh, particularly the warmth of his palm.

  • Kezoreg - Sorry for dragging you into this.

Before Maryah could say anything, Herquie grabbed her by one of her ears and grabbed Kezoreg by the one of the tips of his crest. Dragging them, he took them all the way back to the castle. It was already night when they arrived, and both got locked into Maryah's room, grounded for the rest of the day. Maryah sat on her bed, holding on her ear which had turned red from being pinched so much. Kezoreg was splayed across the floor, chuckling to himself as he looked up at Maryah's ceiling. He was rubbing one of the ends of his crest, the one which Herquie had grabbed earlier, and sat up slightly to look towards Maryah with an affectionate smile.

  • Maryah - Hmm...Kez?
  • Kezoreg - Yeah, princess?
  • Maryah - Despite everything that happened...I had fun today.
  • Kezoreg - Oh? I thought you said I was being a jerk.
  • Maryah - You were...but you're not a bad jerk.

Kezoreg blushed, his cheeks darkening with black, and he tilted his head towards Maryah. His smile grew wider and he looked out of Maryah's window, looking over the city below which had been lit up with industrial and urban light sources, and the night was made brighter by the stars in the sky.

A Talon Between Us[]

A full week had passed since Kezoreg's arrival. It was the night of the seventh day, and Kezoreg could not seen to find Maryah anywhere, no matter where he looked. Kezoreg had patrolled the hallways of the residence, looking through multiple rooms such as the dining hall, the royal restrooms, Windey's quarters, and various others, yet he could not catch a glimpse of the young queen. While under any other circumstance he would become irritated and annoyed, he expressed something other; worry. Before Kezoreg could continue, however, a voice was heard. And a spherical being launched itself at his direction at tremendous speeds.

Kezoreg screeched as he heard the voice and threw forward a clenched fist as a first reaction, the small entity's auras disturbing his own polar manifest of dark. Mimi stopped exactly in front of Kezoreg's fist, just enough to not touch it. A tentacle-like tendril came out of her being and she poked the Zazane on his chest with a wide smile on her face.

  • Mimi - Hi! Hi! Hi!

Kezoreg growled as her tentacle prodded his chest and bared his teeth, narrowing his eyes in frustration as he lowered his arm but took a step forward towards Mimi, his tail swaying in an agitated manner.

  • Kezoreg - What do you think you're doing, bozo?
  • Mimi - I'm saying hi! Hi! It's been...how long? I don't remember. A long time since we talked!

Mimi wrapped two tendrils around Kezoreg in a hug, rubbing her own face against his while giggling. Kezoreg groaned and let out a heavy sigh, although he did nothing to stop her. While he could feel his flesh burning as her energy compromised his, he continued to speak with disinterest, folding his arms.

  • Kezoreg - I expected you to be the least of all people who'd miss me.
  • Mimi - Why? I miss all of my friends when I don't see them!
  • Kezoreg - I'm not your friend, bozo! ...I'm a friend of a friend.
  • Mimi - You're my friend too, "bozo"! No matter how much painful hugging you is, and boy, does it hurt!
  • Kezoreg - So why hug me then if it hurts you so much?
  • Mimi - I like you, that's why!

Kezoreg smiled slightly as Mimi responded, before shaking his head and grunting as he redeemed his seemingly uninterested expression.

  • Kezoreg - Another question; you have any idea where princess is?
  • Mimi - Maryah? She always stargazes at the balcony this day of the week.
  • Kezoreg - Stargazing? On the balcony? ...Why, may I ask?
  • Mimi - She enjoys it.
  • Kezoreg - Well, what are you waiting for? Take me there!
  • Mimi - Okay!

Mimi wrapped a tendril around one of Kezoreg's arms and blasted herself forward at frightening speed. Kezoreg saw himself being swung up, down, left and right as Mimi made her way through the Imperial Palace, all while giggling to herself. Kezoreg became dizzied and his sight distorted although he took the moment to enjoy himself and let out an eager "whoo!" as they traveled.

  • Kezoreg - Aww yes!

After a few moments, the duo arrived at the balcony. The Imperial Palace's balcony was a garden by itself, with a large path of grass visible. The skies were clear and starry, with both moons of New Draka being visible. Maryah was sitting on the grass, looking up and not even noticed Mimi and Kezoreg had arrived. Kezoreg batted Mimi's tentacle away as they had arrived and approached behind Maryah, looking upwards to take a glance towards the stars. He was welcome with a celestial sight, and a smile crossed his face as he stepped towards the queen. As he came up behind her, he kneeled onto his knees and wrapped his arms around her shoulders. Maryah turned to him with a smile of her own, while Mimi flew over to the grass and began rolling around it.

  • Maryah - Oh. Hello. I didn't think you would be interested in this.
  • Kezoreg - Ow, that hurts, princess. I'm not just a simple brute, you know, heh.
  • Maryah - Oh, you aren't? I thought you called yourself "one of the biggest badasses in the entire Gigaquadrant". I didn't think you would enjoy stargazing.
  • Kezoreg - I'm not. Well, wasn't. But... I guess there's always a first for everything. Ain't that right, princess?

Maryah turned her head back up and let out a sigh. Not a saddened one, but one that showed satisfaction.

  • Maryah - When I'm bored or not feeling well, I like looking at the stars.
  • Kezoreg - Well, the stars are kinda pretty, I guess. Not that I ever met one up close, mind you.
  • Maryah - Even though I'm queen of an empire, sometimes I like to think. When I was a child, I never knew those shiny bits in the sky were actually full of life. Entire worlds, entire civilizations all exist on those tiny lights. People like you and me, all around the infinity of the universe. Makes you feel small.
  • Kezoreg - Heh, I guess it does, especially when you put it like that. But... when you're out there, fighting threats that can level entire universes with ease, it changes your perspective. You don't feel so small anymore, you start to realize that without me-- us, all these nations and civilizations would be gone. Wiped away.
  • Maryah - Feeling greedy, aren't we?

Maryah bumped Kezoreg's shoulder playfully. Kezoreg giggled as Maryah punched his shoulder and he held onto her tighter, gently pulling her closer so she could rest her head against his torso.

  • Kezoreg - I can tell you know, princess, that despite all of the people and the civilizations and all that crap that lives out in the stars, you're certainly not a small influence. Not to me, and not to your people.
  • Maryah - You think so?...Sometimes I wonder if I'm even seen as competent. As worthy of having the genes of the greatest Dracogonarious emperor of all time.
  • Kezoreg - Certainly better than my genes, princess.
  • Maryah - Why do you say that?
  • Kezoreg - I'm the son of the universe's angriest Zazane, an alien reject, and...
  • Maryah - ...And? And what? You can only have two parents, silly.

Kezoreg looked down with closed eyes and an expression came over his face; one of struggling, of concern and worry. He opened his eye once more and loosened his grip on Maryah's shoulders as he spoke quietly, whispering into her ear.

  • Kezoreg - ...I was cursed before birth. With the blood of... an Xhodocto.
  • Maryah - ...What?
  • Kezoreg - My mother... the reject, she had invoked a punishment. ...Theruskrayathos. Angazhar.
  • Maryah - Is that why you have these protrusions? Because you have...Angazhar's blood?
  • Kezoreg - I dunno, maybe? Where'd you think I get that hot-headed, dastardly temperament of mine?
  • Maryah - ...Kezoreg, there's something I want to show you.
  • Kezoreg - ...W-What is it?

Maryah turned her body to Kezoreg and took down part of her chest armor, revealing her skin to Kezoreg. A large scar, impossible to be seen when covered, went from Maryah's chest all the way though her right shoulder and then through part of her back.

  • Maryah - When I was a year old, Angazhar attacked New Draka. He went after me, and did this to me.

Kezoreg observed the scarring and approached, reaching out a hand and placing it on the scar, passing over it gently. His face showed worry, frightened that he may have upset or scared the young queen with the reveal of his secret. Touching the scar, he felt... almost ashamed, guilty, and suppressing an itching violence within.

  • Kezoreg - ...I can feel it. The pain, the experience. I can feel... all of it.
  • Maryah - So...I guess you and I are more similar than we thought.
  • Kezoreg - Princess, I... I'm sorry...
  • Maryah - Sorry? For what?
  • Kezoreg - I don't know, but I feel... that I should apologize.
  • Maryah - For this? This is not your fault...if anything, you being here makes me feel much better about myself.

Kezoreg scratched his head in confusion, although his cheeks blackened delightfully. He leaned his head forward, placing his snout and against hers, and smiled. Maryah's own cheeks went rosy as she smiled, holding on Kezoreg's hands. On the ground, Mimi watched them both with a wide smile, holding on her own cheeks with two tendrils.

  • Kezoreg - You know... Whether you're a hybrid or not, I don't give a shit. I'll lo-- I'll appreciate you for who you are, princess.
  • Maryah - And I don't care if you're the son of Angazhar or not. Even when we were babies, I knew you would be there for me when I needed you...and what was that you were gonna say, hm?
  • Kezoreg - Huh? What'd you mean?
  • Maryah - Don't try to sneak yourself out of this, prince.
  • Kezoreg - I-I didn't say a-anything!
  • Mimi - Yes you did!
  • Kezoreg - Fuck off, bozo!

Maryah giggled at the scene, before putting a finger in front of Kezoreg's face. It had a tiny scar on it.

  • Maryah - I have more, you see. This one? I gained it when you bit me when we were babies, you big dummy.

Kezoreg looked at the scarred finger and tilted his head, blinking for a moment before he grinned wide. He gently grasped Maryah's hand and placed the tip of her finger into his mouth, licking the scar with his tongue.

  • Maryah - O-oh dear...
  • Kezoreg - What's the matter, princess?
  • Maryah - N-nothing...would you like to lay down in the grass with me?
  • Kezoreg - Lay in the grass? ...Hehe, why of course, princess.

Maryah laid down on the grass, inviting Kezoreg to join her by her side. Kezoreg, a smirk positioned across his face, laid beside Maryah and wrapped an arm around her shoulder and one of his hands upon the scar that she had shown him before, the one that extended from her chest. Again, Kezoreg's body radiated with a warm, comfortable aura. Maryah wrapped an arm of her own around Kezoreg's neck, while Mimi cuddled on her free hand. The three of them could all see the stars, in complete silence. Kezoreg's tail wrapped around Maryah's lovingly, and he placed the tip of his snout against Maryah's cheek before extending his long, slithery tongue and allowing it to slide up her cheek warmly. Maryah was caught by the surprise by the lick and let out a quiet yelp, but did nothing to stop Kezoreg.

  • Kezoreg - I like it when you squeal like that, princess.
  • Maryah - I'm not your squeaky toy, you know...
  • Kezoreg - Is that right? Well when you stop squeaking I'll stop teasing, got that?

Kezoreg licked Maryah's cheek once more, although this time he made sure to run his tongue across her neck, getting closer in their stargazing embrace. Maryah let out a moan as she felt Kezoreg's tongue, but before anything else could be done, a sound was heard. A Thunder-class Dracogonarious shuttle, coloured in orange and brown as opposed to the usual red plating of Indoctrinate ships, appeared at the balcony. Its doors opened, and out of it, a figure leaped at the Palace, landing in front of the hybrids and causing a loud thud. Kezoreg leaped to his feet, grasping ahold of Maryah tightly as he watched debris ascend into the air following the figure's descent.

As the dust settled, they could all see the figure was in fact a Zazane with purple scales. Notably, he had four arms, all of them cybernetic. His legs and even his tail were all cybernetic in nature, and he appeared to lack wings. On one of his hands, he held a weapon similar to a stunstick, and as he looked at the trio, he smirked.

  • ??? - This is gonna be a piece of cake.
  • Maryah - W-who are you?!
  • ??? - Does it matter? I don't think so.

Kezoreg grinned and stepped towards the Zazane figure, clenching his fists tightly as he stepped in front of Maryah in order to defend her from potential danger. He placed one of his hands at the sheath for his Kicathian blade, while his scales leaked with Descension energy.

  • Kezoreg - The lady asked you a question. I suggest you answer.
  • ??? - Eh. You're the ugliest kid I've ever seen. Did you survive an abortion or what?
  • Kezoreg - ...Could say that. Anyway! Name, now!
  • ??? - Demanding, aren't we? Well, okay. I am Skato Wolrein, but you may refer to me as Lieutenant Talon.
  • Maryah - Lieutenant Talon...no.
  • Skato - Yes, "empress". I come from the Vengeful Claw.
  • Kezoreg - Well listen here, you ugly mug! The asshole standing in front of you, the one challenging you right now, is Kezoreg Breek; one of the Gigaquadrant's largest and most accomplished badasses! ...Who the fuck is this "Vengeful Claw"?
  • Maryah - They are terrorists who want to overthrow me and the Supreme Advisors and get their own leader in charge of our people!
  • Skato - So much of a badass, I never heard of you. Shut your damn mouth, brat. I'm here for the scum girl, and I will have her.
  • Kezoreg - ...Scum?

Kezoreg prepared a combat-ready stance and drew his blade quickly, grinning widely with his eyes frenzied as he glared towards Skato, a mass of Descension energy gathering in the palm of his free hand.

  • Kezoreg - Who the fuck do you think you're calling scum?!
  • Mimi - Get away from my friends!

Mimi charged ahead of Kezoreg at Skato's direction, but before she could attack him, he swung his stunstick and hit the Thoi'olerthae, sending her into the floor. Mimi's body appeared unstable and almost liquid, as if the attack had interfered with her Essence. Kezoreg glared towards the injured Mimi with a raised eyebrow, his grin beginning to transition into a frown, and then a scowl as he turned towards Skato once more.

  • Kezoreg - Anti-Essence tech.
  • Mimi - Nnnh...nnng...
  • Maryah - Mimi! No!
  • Skato - I knew this angel blob would be here. We of the Vengeful Claw already have our experiences with Essence-based enemies.
  • Kezoreg - Oh yeah? Who?
  • Skato - The Corruptus, brat. I bet you don't even know who they are. Hell, why am I even talking to you? I ordered you to get out of my way!

Skato took out three more similar stunsticks, each on one of his hands, and charged at Kezoreg's direction. Kezoreg raised his Kicathian blade and charged towards Skato, laughing wildly as he did although he kept his eyes focused on the four arms that extended from Skato's artificial body. As he charged, he through a psychokinetic blast towards the Zazane, roaring.

  • Kezoreg - I'm not very good at following orders!

Skato grinned as Kezoreg charged, and in a leap, he jumped over the Zazane hybrid's head and landed in front of Maryah. The queen let out a scream as the lieutenant delivered a blow to her head, knocking her out cold into the floor. Kezoreg spun himself around as Skato delivered his assault and threw his Kicath blade towards the Zazane cyborg, allowing it to penetrate through the back of Skato's side although not striking any particularly major components. As he did, Kezoreg ran towards Skato with clenched fists.

  • Kezoreg - Leave her alone!

Skato let out a grunt as he felt the blade, and using one arm, he took it out of his body. With another hand, he grabbed Maryah and put her in front of him, with Kezoreg's blade against her neck. Kezoreg stopped where he stood, glaring at Skato as he held his own blade against Maryah's neck. Twitching angrily, his eyes ignited with an overwhelming hatred, Kezoreg merely observed Skato, watching his moves carefully.

  • Skato - Nice knife.

As Kezoreg stopped, Skato charged forward and began assaulting him with his two other hands, which held stunsticks. Each blow made Kezoreg's body feel more and more numb. Kezoreg grunted and roared as Skato's anti-Essence prods slammed against his flesh, distorting his dark aura and causing him to become dizzy and severely uncomfortable, unable to strike back as he could not feel his muscles or tendons as they were struck. The lieutenant chuckled to himself as he struck the Zazane repeatedly. To finish him off, Skato slammed both of his weapons against Kezoreg's head, to send him into the floor crashing. Kezoreg's body slammed against the ground, uprooting debris and dirt as he was launched across the balcony. His body contorted as it rolled across the grass, and soon came to a weak stop, with Kezoreg unable to move or step to his feet. While it was unclear, Kezoreg was either knocked unconscious, or rendered severely weak. Skato let out a laugh as Kezoreg fell, grabbing him by one of his horns and dragging him into the same shuttle the lieutenant had arrived.

  • Skato - Get us out of here, the Collective are most certainly on our tail by now.

The doors closed, and the shuttle blasted itself off, making its way out of New Draka's atmosphere. In a swift strike, Maryah and Kezoreg went from stargazers to prisoners of the Vengeful Claw.

All Hope Lost[]

Many hours had passed since then, and Kezoreg slowly woke up to find himself in a small cell chamber. Outside, a well-armored Dracogogavil could be seen patrolling from side to side, and by his side, Maryah was curled into a ball in a corner, weeping quietly. They appeared to be in a spaceship, and by the emblems on the walls, it could be seen they were clearly in a Vengeful Claw ship. Most specifically, Lieutenant Talon's dreadnought. Kezoreg awoke discomforted, his head and body aching from where he had been struck earlier. He glanced towards Maryah once more after caressing his cranium with his claws and approached, kneeling down to her with a lowered brow, his voice quiet.

  • Kezoreg - ...P-Princess?

Maryah let out quiet weeping sounds to herself, not responding to Kezoreg's call. Outside the cell, the Dracogogavil soldier saluted before Skato himself appeared, looking inside the cell with a smirk.

  • Skato - Our little friends are awake, it seems.

Kezoreg turned towards Skato with a scowl and rose to his feet, marching towards Skato as he stood outside of their cell. His eyes were narrowed towards the Zazane cyborg and his fists were clenched at his sides, his tail swaying in an agitated manner. He strolled towards Skato and placed his face against the restraints of the cell as much as he could to glare upon the Talon.

  • Kezoreg - Motherfucker.
  • Skato - I spoke to the boss, turns out you're the son of some Andromedan emperor. I can only imagine the huge cash bounty I can get by keeping you as a hostage...or even turn you into my personal soldier and errand boy.
  • Kezoreg - Good luck with that! And I'm not just the son of "some Andromedan emperor" - you're messing with a saviour of the entire goddamned universe!
  • Skato - Yeah yeah, whatever. Say your goodbyes to the scum queen while you can, because once we get to the base, you two ain't gonna see each other anymore.
  • Kezoreg - What'd you mean by that, shitface?

Skato grinned and with a finger, he mimicked a knife cutting through a throat. Kezoreg growled as he did so and attempted to pull the restraints that kept them sealed apart, closing his eyes and tensing his muscles as he did so but with no evident success. He could feel his body begin to ache again - it was clear that he was not yet free of the influence of the Vengeful Claw's anti-Essence technology. Skato laughed and walked away from the cell, making his way back to his own chamber. Kezoreg, his effort futile, leaned back and let go of the restraints. He sat against the wall, his eyes focused on Maryah as he watched her weep. He was overcome, a solemn expression spread across his face.

  • Kezoreg - Princess... Maryah, talk to me.
  • Maryah - ...I failed, Kezoreg...
  • Kezoreg - This isn't your fault, stupid. ...I failed in trying to protect you.
  • Maryah - If I was paying attention...none of this would've happened...
  • Kezoreg - Don't be a dumbass, if you had been paying more attention he still would have attacked.
  • Maryah - I can't defend myself...I can't defend my friends...I can't defend my people...
  • Kezoreg - Urk... This place pisses me off.

Kezoreg stood once more and approached the entrance to the cell, placing his hands on the bars once again. They were an impressively-dense alloy, with traces of metallic substances such as Shidium to be found in their structure. Kezoreg attempted to pull at them once more, tensing his muscles which continued to ache, the agony increasing with each moment he tried to pull. The Dracogogavil soldier hit Kezoreg's fingers with the butt of his gun to keep him off the bars.

  • Dracogogavil - Shut up in there, will ya?

Kezoreg glared towards the Dracogogavil after retreating his fingers away from the bars, gasping out as they now ached as well. Glaring towards the bars and the soldier on the other side, he threw himself against the restraints and attempted pulling them asunder once more. His veins and scales began to blacken and he groaned in severe discomfort as he tried to tear apart the bars.

  • Maryah - Why can't I do anything right...I'm worthless...I'm sure the Collective can...*sniff* find a better leader...
  • Kezoreg - Princess... You were born to rule! You were born... to lead!
  • Maryah - I failed at that...I can't rule anyone...

Kezoreg's grip upon the bars began to tighten, to the point that his palms and fingers started to bleed. Still tortured by the treatment of anti-Essence, Kezoreg's growls grew louder, and Maryah could hear a quiet, metallic creaking sound that came from Kezoreg's direction.

  • Kezoreg - Princess... Do you wanna know... what I was born for?
  • Maryah - ...Huh?
  • Dracogogavil - The hell are you doing?
  • Kezoreg - I was born... to PISS THE ENTIRE FUCKING UNIVERSE OFF!

With those words, Maryah could feel Kezoreg's aura shift in an extreme, rapid motion; fire and vapour of onyx black and bloody crimson erupted from his body, and Maryah could feel the raw, unrestrained sense of violence and destruction in the atmosphere. His muscles expanded as they tensed, and his body deformed, growing larger while further protrusions erupted from his flesh. Kezoreg's eyes darkened to a pitch, almost chaotic, black, as if his were the eyes of dread and doom. His wings twitched and spasmed uncontrollably before they erupted into shreds of flesh, replaced by appendages equipped with spine-like extensions. His appearance shifted from a mere hybrid to something far more daunting, something far more terrifying, and Maryah could feel the scar across her chest begin to hurt once more. It was almost as if Angazhar himself had been standing within this very room.

  • Dracogogavil - WHAT THE HELL?!
  • Maryah - ...Kez...?

The Vengeful Claw soldier fired his rifle at Kezoreg while an alarm roared through the ship, caused by the cell being broken. The bars were liquified, melting to the ground into a puddle of hot, evaporating elements. The demon that stood before them took a step forward, his foot delving into the puddle of hot metal, and he glared horrifyingly towards the soldier. Initiating a charge, a lone spike burst forward from the demon's forehead, piercing through the soldier's chest and through his back. The Dracogogavil gasped as he was hit, and died immediately after. Maryah kept herself in the corner of the cell, her sorrow now being replaced with sheer fear of what she was seeing.

As the soldier's corpse was suspended from the demon's forehead protrusion, it was reduced to little more than ash and dust. The reality surrounding the demon began to twist and contort, with the walls and floor melting and merging into one another, their colour being deprived to reduce them to little more than bizarre, alien formations of monochrome. The demon said nothing, yet all upon the dreadnought could hear their ears become flooded with repeating, crazed mantras that grew louder with each minute, intensifying in volume as they spoke in alien words, lingual structures describing death and inevitability that outright assaulted comprehension. Maryah covered herself with her own wings and also covered her ears with her hands, trying to make the mantras stop.

The creature proceeded onward, following the steps that Skato had taken prior, its hands twitching spastically as it desired death. Killing, the ending of life. It moved in such a way that it required no need for walking; its arms were positioned to its sides, with vital fluids dripping from its scales onto the distorted floor, and it seemed to almost levitate as it moved forward.

  • Destroying Angel - Rend.

Come Back to Me[]

The entire vessel creaked loudly, screaming as its metallic insides were churned and reshaped from within by the malignant presence that had been birthed within it. The Destroying Angel was unbound from the standard laws of reality and physics, allowing it to effortlessly move through solid materials such as walls as it trekked the ship, dripping with steaming blood, levitating. Alarms still roared through the ship, and as the dreadnought's crew saw the monstrous figure, they aimed their weapons and fired a barrage of blasts at him, in an effort to take him down. The demon towered over the soldiers that sought to combat it, the floors, walls, and ceilings of the ship shifting and physically contorting in order to accommodate for its presence. Before blasts of energy dissipated as they came into contact with the aura of the Destroying Angel, while bullets and other forms of kinetic ammunition vanished from reality.

Without so much as raising a hand, the alien mantras that resonated from the malevolent entity intensified, and the soldiers that fought against it felt their blood and innards beginning to boil. The soldiers screamed and agonized as their innards were incinerated by the Angel's mere presence, being incapable of fighting back. Soldiers who were farther away decided to simply turn back and run away, not wanting to waste their lives. The Angel proceeded onward in slow, inevitable pursuit of the fleeing soldiers, while the soldiers that had once tried to fight it either exploded or were reduced to puddles of liquified remains as the incarnate of death approached. Nonetheless, whichever path of death they succumbed to, their blood and vital essences were drawn to the flesh of the Destroying Angel, the mantras chanting louder with each litre.

  • Destroying Angel - I am nemesis. I am quietus.

As the Angel chased them, he eventually arrived at a larger chamber of the dreadnought, where soldiers had barricaded themselves and fired their weapons at him from behind cover. The Angel glared upon the barricaded soldiers, one of its hands twitching more than the other before a familiar silhouette had materialized, stretching outward from its palm; the Kicathian blade that had been gifted to the one called Kezoreg. Raising it above its head, it made a downwards slash; various soldiers, despite being nowhere near the blade, were vertically sliced in half by an invisible force. Arriving from a corridor was Skato himself, looking for the source of the commotion, only to find his soldier cut in half vertically. Upon noticing the Destroying Angel, his eyes widened and his face went pale.

  • Skato - What in Kashou'Rakta's name...
  • Destroying Angel - I am paradise. I am oblivion. I am incarnate extinction.
  • Skato - Bloody hell...you're that kid, aren't you...

The Angel did not respond or retort to Skato's comment, instead glaring towards him with its accursed eyes. If Skato were to stare into them, he would see nothing but an eternal void, consuming both the light and dark. The Angel allowed its feet to touch the floor once more, its footprints radiating with black fire as they incinerated matter, and took a step towards Skato, the mantras resonating louder, faster.

  • Skato - Urk...yelling at me ain't gonna work, brat. I'm more than strong enough to fight a Zazane in Demon Form!

Skato took out two pairs of vibroblades, one on each of his hands, and braced himself, though he made no eye contact with the Angel. The Destroying Angel raised its blade once more from its side and made a horizontal slashing gesture, standing upright before it began to engage levitation once more. Skato roared and charged forward, slashing all four of his blades at the demon in quick succession, but the Angel endured the attacks effortlessly, looking past the Talon as his vibroblades came into contact with its skin, causing little more than scratches that seemed to disappear within microseconds of being made. Raising a hand, the Angel thrusted its entire arm forward in an instance; it had slammed into one of Skato's shoulders, annihilating it into little more than mechanical debris.

Skato let out a pained scream and was swung forward, being thrown into the floor like a ragdoll by the attack. He grunted as he tried to get up, but as he saw the Angel in front of him, he gulped and remained on the floor. The Angel glared down at Skato, watching him struggle and writhe on the ground. The Talon could feel his mechanical assets beginning to melt, his metallic armour starting to bubble and liquify as the Angel proceeded to inch itself closer, the voices of the mantras now screaming and yelling until it all became distorted. Skato's arms cracked and began melting into the floor, the Destroying Angel watching as steam and smoke from his mechanized torso.

  • Maryah - Kezoreg!!

From the same direction the Angel had arrived, Maryah walked in, calling out for the Zazane who had turned himself into the demon. The Angel's glance remained upon the devastated Zazane that writhed in agony upon the floor, although it had responded to the hybrid in an ethereal and daunting, almost furious tone.

  • Destroying Angel - Khaghrah-Xyk'Ala. There is no Kezoreg.
  • Maryah - There is! There is my Kezoreg! Kezoreg Breek!

The Destroying Angel, Khaghrah-Xyk'Al, turned its gaze upon Maryah slowly, shifting its haunting, chaotic form in a semicircle to observe her. As Maryah saw the front of the Angel, the scar that had been caused by Angazhar began to burn, blackening and corrupting the flesh around it.

  • Khaghrah-Xyk'Ala - Khaghrah-Xyk'Ala, I. There is no Kezoreg.
  • Maryah - I know he's in there! And I know he can listen! Kezoreg is always there for me no matter what!

Maryah held on her scar, grunting in pain, but remained adamant, facing Khaghrah-Xyk'Ala. Skato, meanwhile, used the opportunity to crawl away from the demon while he was turned away from him.

  • Khaghrah-Xyk'Ala - There is no Kezoreg. Khaghrah-Xyk'Ala. Khaghrah-Xyk'Ala. The Angel That Destroys, Khaghrah-Xyk'Ala.

It was then that Maryah finally began to understand at least part of the mantra that was amplified by the Angel's presence and form; it was its name, repeated over and over, furiously in bloodcurdling screams. As Skato attempted to crawl away, the Angel's protrusion-tipped tail slammed itself into the end of his own tail and into the floor like a nail. The Zazane cringed and yelled as his tail was struck, while Maryah fell to a knee. She tried to stand up against the Angel, but felt weakened by his presence. Tears formed on her eyes as she tried to force herself not to cry, but failed to do so.

  • Maryah - Please...come back to me, Kez...

The Angel watched Maryah burst into tears, her resolve broken, her hope nearing its demise. With its indifferent expression, it raised its Kicathian blade once more, pointing towards Maryah with a merciless lack of hesitation. Saying nothing more, it thrusted its arm forward... The blade lodged itself into the distorted floor beside Maryah, penetrating deep into the framework of the under-layers. The Angel had missed by mere centimeters, its horrifying visage now face-to-face with Maryah, staring silently if one were to cast aside the continuous screaming mantras. Maryah looked at the demon's face, her eyes reddened from her tears. Skato could only watch from a distance, unsure of what was happening.

  • Khaghrah-Xyk'Ala - Stand aside. Princess.

The Angel reared itself upright, its clawed hands still twitching and shaking vigorously, violently before they were thrusted upwards, plunged their nails and fingers deep into the indestructable flesh of the Angel's chest, golden liquid leaking from the wound. The mantra continued nonetheless, yet they appeared to say something other, something... bizarre. "Princess", repeatedly, yet still somewhat chaotically.

  • Skato - Hm, right, fuck that. I'm out of here!

Skato managed to get up and quickly ran out of the room, while Maryah took a step back as she watched the Angel attack his own chest. The Angel groaned, but not like in any normal manner - it was more akin to armour being strained. Instead of the otherwise expected moist, wet sounds of blood and innards being torn, there was only metallic creaking as the Angel began to open a crevice into its chest, exposing bare, naked flesh before it had dropped onto a single knee with a crashing thud. It glanced towards Maryah once more.

  • Khaghrah-Xyk'Ala - Cast the spear... unto the wound.

Maryah looked at the wound before looking at her side, seeing Kezoreg's Kicathian blade. She grasped it with both hands, having some difficult due to its weight. She stared at the demon's eyes for some moments before closing them shut and barring her teeth, using all of her strength to impale the angel at his chest. The mantras stopped, and there was only silence aside from Maryah's breathing. After some moments, she heard an overwhelming *crack* as the Angel's flesh fragmented and shattered like shards of glass, falling to the ground where these remnants of his shell dissolved and evaporated into vapour. All that was left beneath the Angel's indestructable hide was a familiar Zazane, his body covered in enraged black veins, panting heavily with the Kicath blade impaled through his chest.

  • Kezoreg - ...D-Did I do i-it...? A-Are we... f-free, yet?

Maryah smiled as more tears formed on her eyes, but not from sorrow. She cried of happiness instead, and hugged Kezoreg tighly, putting her face against his. Kezoreg smiled weakly as she wrapped her arms around him in a tight, warm embrace, and he used what remained of his strength to drag the sword out from his wound and tossing it to his side for him to retrieve later. Gasping for breath and bleeding, he closed his eyes and calmed himself with the sound of Maryah's heartbeat and her joyous crying.

  • Kezoreg - You won't... believe this d-dream I had...
  • Maryah - It was no dream. But it's over now.
  • Kezoreg - M-Maryah... I... I-I wanted to say b-back there... I... I-I love y--

Kezoreg let out a heavy sigh before his head slid and fell onto Maryah's shoulder, his eyes closed. He had fallen unconscious, severely weakened from the execution of his greater power and persona. He was bleeding heavily from most of his orifices, although Maryah could make out faint traces of his own heartbeat as the ship, distorted and reshaped, was strangely overcome with silence. Maryah looked at Kezoreg with worry before the sound of an explosion interrupted the silence. Soldiers appeared, but they did not have the sigil of the Vengeful Claw. Instead, they wore the emblem of the Indoctrinate Collective's Royal Guard. Leading them was Admiral Herquie, who ordered his soldiers to patrol the area while he ran at Maryah's direction.

  • Maryah - Herquie!
  • Herquie - Empress. Are you well?
  • Maryah - I am...but Kezoreg...
  • Herquie - ...He's bleeding too much. Come, let's take you both back to New Draka.
  • Maryah - Okay...

My Demon[]

His eyes fluttered, opening and closing in slow succession. Kezoreg was laying down, his torso and lower body beneath a bed sheet and his head resting upon a pillow. Sitting himself up slowly, he rubbed his head, groaning for a moment as he attempted to accustomize himself to his immediate surroundings. He looked around, shifting his head from left to right, barely noticing the bandages that were wrapped around his chest. Kezoreg could see that he was in a medical bay, being taken there by Herquie the previous day. By his side was Maryah, who was asleep in a chair with her arms crossed. She had spent the night watching over him, refusing to leave his side. Kezoreg looked towards his princess with a bewildered expression for a few moments, before a warm smile passed over his face. Leaning towards the hybrid, he reached out a hand and prodded the tip of Maryah's snout, and spoke towards her to stir her sleeping state.

  • Kezoreg - Wake up, idiot.

Maryah's eyes fluttered open. She saw Kezoreg awake and well, and a smile formed on her face.

  • Maryah - Good morning.
  • Kezoreg - Is this real life, sweetheart?
  • Maryah - Indeed it is. I'm glad to see you well. I was worried you would bleed out.
  • Kezoreg - Me? Bleed out? Who the hell do you think I am? Kezoreg, the greatest saviour of the universe, doesn't die easy-- Ouch!

Kezoreg placed a hand upon his chest and he groaned, caressing himself in order to ease the aching pain that was emanating within his torso from where he had been stabbed. His cheeks blushed with blackened shades and he turned his head, embarrassed, away from Maryah. Maryah let out a giggle as the doors opened. Herquie entered the room and walked to them, looking down at Kezoreg. Kezoreg turned his face towards Herquie before quickly looking away, folding his arms. He felt outright ashamed to appear weakened and vulnerable in front of such a warrior, and he looked to the furthest wall to his left to avoid eye contact.

  • Herquie - I see you're awake.
  • Kezoreg - Yeah, well, I couldn't sleep forever.
  • Herquie - I'd be bad for us if you did. If we hadn't arrived, you would've probably died in there. Stabbing a sword through your own chest? Strange, to say the least.
  • Kezoreg - Dead? Pfft, that was nothing. I've survived worse without medical... But thanks, I appreciate it.
  • Herquie - You better. Skato Wolrein managed to escape, despite our best efforts to track him down.
  • Kezoreg - Dumb bastard, if he knows what's good for him he won't be coming back.
  • Maryah - Let's not worry about him for now. What matters is that everyone is safe again.
  • Herquie - Hm. Yes.

Kezoreg suddenly groaned as he shifted his body, pushing back the bed cover and turning himself around so he could rest his feet onto the floor. He proceeded to stand, albeit unsteadily and with a struggle, and walked a few steps before almost falling onto his face. Maryah immediately got out of her chair and grabbed Kezoreg, wrapping a hand around his neck and helping him stand up. Kezoreg chuckled as he stood, still blushing as Maryah rescued him from falling. Taking the opportunity, he turned his head towards her and let his wet tongue to affectionately pass itself over her cheek, as a canine would have done.

  • Herquie - Hm. I have to go now. You two should be able to take care of yourselves.
  • Maryah - And I'll take good care of this prince.
  • Herquie - Feh.

Herquie turned around and left, being annoyed by their combined sweet-talking. Holding on Kezoreg, Maryah took him to her bedroom, where she let him sit on her bed. Kezoreg splayed himself across her bed, letting out a content sigh as he threw himself onto it. He rested his head upon one of her pillows and closed his eyes for a moment, taking a deep breath of fresh air. Kezoreg felt a lump below his pillow, and a girly giggle was heard.

  • Kezoreg - ...What the fuck?

Squeezing herself from below the pillow was Mimi. She wiggled her tendrils and giggled happily.

  • Mimi - Hiiiii!
  • Kezoreg - Hey, bozo. I thought you died back there. A shame, really.
  • Mimi - Awww, you don't mean that!
  • Kezoreg - Heh, course I'm not, bozo, it's called sarcasm.

Mimi giggled more and approached Kezoreg, putting herself against his cheek for a friendly kiss. Unlike before, her touch did not really hurt Kezoreg nor burn his skin, but instead caused minor itching at most. Kezoreg blushed as she kissed his cheek and his eyes widened for a moment, before his brow lowered and he narrowed his eyes towards Mimi, a tone of embarrassment in his voice.

  • Kezoreg - Hey hey, who said you could kiss me, huh?!
  • Mimi - I do what I want!
  • Kezoreg - Baww, you make me wanna explode sometimes, you know that?!
  • Maryah - Mimi?
  • Mimi - Yeah?
  • Maryah - Can you leave me and Kez alone for a while?
  • Mimi - Oh? Okay, sure! I'll see you guys later!

Mimi hopped out of the bed and flew out of the bedroom. Kezoreg chuckled to himself as he leaned his head back on the pillow, a gleeful smile on his face. He had clearly missed the old days, before the years he had spent fighting the Dominion and their masters. He passed a glance towards Maryah, raising an eyebrow. Maryah got on the bed herself, laying down next to Kezoreg. She had a sincere smile on her face, and her cheeks were rosy.

  • Maryah - I'm so happy you're here with me.
  • Kezoreg - When did you get all romantic, huh? I thought that was supposed to be my job, heh.
  • Maryah - When you turned into...that...I thought I had lost you.

Kezoreg looked down, glancing away from Maryah for a few moments. He had only a few memories from what had happened, and they caused his head to ache whenever he had thought about them, screwing his face up to show his discomfort. He spoke quietly to Maryah.

  • Kezoreg - I... I-I wanted to get us out... I wanted you to be safe.
  • Maryah - I know you did. When I confronted the demon, it did not attack me. I knew you would never hurt me on purpose.
  • Kezoreg - I would have to kill anybody that did. I'll pound anybody who lays their shitty claws on my girlfr-- friends.
  • Maryah - You don't have to hide your feelings, Kezoreg...I feel the same.

Kezoreg looked to Maryah with a surprised expression, his eyes widened as he turned to face her. His cheeks were blushing more, darkening his face by several shades, and he remained quiet for several moments.

  • Maryah - Having you by my side makes me feel good. It makes me feel like I am capable of everything.
  • Kezoreg - Y-You... You really feel that way, princess?
  • Maryah - I do...I don't care if you're the most horrifying demon in the universe. You are my demon.

Kezoreg smiled affectionately and leaned close to Maryah's face, pressing his nose against hers and one of his hands onto her back, bringing her a little closer to him in order to engage an embrace. His tail wrapped around one of her legs and he closed his eyes slowly, nuzzling Maryah softly. Accepting his embrace, Maryah put her body against Kezoreg's, an act she had never done to anyone in her life. She put her lips against his, delivering a passionate kiss. Tears came out of her eyes, but as before, they were tears of happiness as opposed to sadness. It would be impossible for the hybrid queen to feel happier than now.

  • Maryah - I don't want you to ever leave my side. I want us to stay together for all eternity.
  • Kezoreg - Is that all? Heh, I'd want to stand by your side for a hundred eternities!
  • Maryah - Hm hm hm. I wouldn't mind that either...

Kezoreg, a grin emerging across his face, tugged on some of Maryah's clothing with his hand eagerly, sticking his tongue out in a suggestive manner. His tail coiled itself around her leg a little tighter than before, and he returned a kiss to her. The two of them laid upon her bed, entangled and embracing lovingly, out of sight from anybody. It would seem that the queen of this expansive kingdom has now found something worth her love and leisure, and the beast she had tamed had at last found something truly worth fighting for.

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