Volume Two, Season Two
Underworld is Underway
By Cole Bezotte
Last time, Mr. Ash tricked Kratos into signing a contract to make him forever ruler of the Underworld. Will Kratos ever escape the peril? Is he doomed?
No matter how sophisticated Los Angeles downtowners may be, when the noble figure of Ratchet walks the streets, you can be somewhat certain he will receive more than a passing glance. "There he is!" one man exclaimed as he pointed at him. "If only I had my camera!"
Once over their initial feeling of awe and astonishment, the passerby soon mustered up enough nerve to crowd around the Lombax, plying him with endless queries.
"There's been a lot of talk about you running into Kratos on the coast, Ratchet," a pedestrian spoke up.
"What happened to Kratos?" said another. "Where is he now?"
As Ratchet attempted to break his way from the crowd, he thought deeply about the situation: "It is best that they do not learn that Mr. Ash has tricked the proud god into replacing him as ruler of the Underworld—forever."
"Why did you return here?" another man asked. "Is there trouble brewing?"
"Hey!" a crazed fan shouted. "Let's see you do some tricks with that jazzy wrench of yours, huh? Come on, show us what you can do!"
"Please stay back!" Ratchet begged the crowd. "You're really wearing me out!"
"Who does he think he is?" someone else said. "We've got a right to say what we want!"
"Wait, Ratchet!" a woman spoke. "I want your autograph for my kids!"
"Quick!" the crazed fan shouted. "Tear off some hairs of his fur—for a memento!"
Ratchet kept on running until he found the nearest taxi cab to escape in. "You've GOT to take me far away from here!" he begged the driver.
"Where to, pal?" the driver asked as he drove away with Ratchet. "You name it—I'll get you there."
"Take me to the Midtown Suburbs," Ratchet answered in reply.
"Sure. I know the place. Sit back and relax, curly. I'll have you there in no time. You've got to excuse those rubber-necks, mister. They don't realize that you Lombaxes can get sick of crowds just like any ordinary John Doe. The way I see it, you aren't much different than a guy like me. You wield a nutty wrench and carry a robot on your back, while I drive me a hack and wear a button in my cap. But I'll bet you worry about dames, and politics, just like me and everyone else."
"You are quite a philosopher, my friend," Ratchet exaggerated in reply.
"Sure," the cab driver continued. "But, I've been around too. I caught myself a bullet at Anzio, in the Vietnam War."
"Then you too have done your share for freedom."
"Yeah, just like you. I read plenty about you, pal. In spite of those big ears, you're an A-1 John Doe in my book."
Ratchet finally arrived at his destination: the mansion of the League of Heroes. He stepped out of the cab and thanked the driver for the assistance, then walked inside.
As the driver watched Ratchet go inside the house, he thought deeply: "He's a real swinger, that guy. He and I are buddies. He takes my hack whenever his wrench is on the blink. But he's not an ordinary fare. He clean forgot about paying me."
But that was a long while earlier. Let us return to the present and see what was happening.
Kratos was in great peril as Mr. Ash's legions seized him and began to drag him down to the Underworld below. "Prepare yourself, Kratos!" Ash exclaimed as Kratos came closer to his doom. "You have signed the Olympian contract—now you must pay the price! After all these ages, I am freed at last—while you shall serve in my place—till time itself vanishes!"
Kratos wished that he could take on all who opposed him, but it was hopeless. "Your strength is useless now!" Ash continued. "Since signing the parchment, you are forbidden to strike a single blow! Only another may do battle on your behalf. But, none would be so foolhardy! Prepare yourself then—to yield!"
"No!" Kratos thought. "Somewhere—somewhere in the vast, limitless universe there must be one—one who will heed my call-!"
Once Kratos fully entered the Underworld, Mr. Ash laughed triumphantly. "It is your own accursed power which has proven to be your undoing!"
"Not so fast!" a sudden voice exclaimed. "There is one who will fight for the god of war!"
"Impossible!" Mr. Ash thought. "There is NONE who would dare-!"
"Bring out all your best warriors!" Ratchet said as he stepped forward. "I shall save Kratos!"
"Consider well, Lombax!" Mr. Ash replied. "If you should find defeat at the hands of my subjects, then you must take Kratos' place as ruler of the dreaded Underworld—for all eternity! The son of Zeus is already trapped within the Underworld, and now I shall send you to join him! Though he is forbidden to do battle for his freedom, you must fight every inch of the way. Never has a cause been more hopeless.
"And now—away with you! The entrance to my realm lies there—at your feet. One step further, and you shall enter the portals of blazing energy—to never return!"
"I shall enter…" Ratchet replied. "And I shall RETURN!"
"Remember, son of Kaden—whatever fate befalls you—you have brought it upon your own head! Let that be the last thought you shall carry with you—into abysmal defeat!"
Ratchet stepped down into the portal which led to the Underworld. Slowly, savagely, the unseen elements of infinity altered their endless pattern—and then, without warning—the mists cleared—and Ratchet beheld the dreaded realm.
"It is here I shall give Kratos his freedom…" Ratchet thought as he walked through the path, "…or lose my own—until the end of time. There's no turning back now…"
Meanwhile, Kratos was helplessly taken by the savage creatures to where he was to be crowned. "I'll never remain captive here!" Kratos exclaimed. "I will fight my way to freedom, as I have ever done throughout the ages!"
"Not so this time, son of Zeus!" the creature Minion replied as he held his captive by the arms. "By signing the Olympian contract, your own strength has been all but sapped away!"
Another creature, known as Black, came forward with the dreaded crown that was to be placed upon Kratos' head. "Cease your struggles, Kratos!" he demanded. "Once this crown is upon your head, this world becomes your domain—and PRISON as well—until time itself shall exist no more!"
"NO!" Kratos screamed. "I am a warrior born! If I must know defeat, let it be in battle! Let it be at the hands of a more powerful foe! But not THIS! By the towering spires of Olympus—not THIS! I cannot rule the dregs of the universe!"
But then, a booming command thundered through the great chamber as Ratchet finally appeared. "Stay away from him!" Ratchet shouted. "I now strike on his behalf!"
"Ratchet!" Kratos exclaimed excitedly. "Then, there IS one willing to risk all for me!" But, before the powerful god could advance a step, he was suddenly stopped in his tracks by the enchantment of the pact he had signed. Powerful bolts of energy engulfed him completely, shocking him with tremendous pain.
"Desist, Kratos!" Black demanded. "It is forbidden that you lift your hand in battle! Only another may do so for you!"
"Ratchet…" Kratos said. "Though I have power to shake the universe—it is you who must strike in my behalf! I pray that you are strong and true!"
Many creatures gathered around and formed in a huge band to attack Ratchet. Ratchet was not helpless himself; he used his Omniwrench to attack and defend like he had done throughout his life. Even now, he was still strong enough to strike with it again, toppling whatever enemy that threatened him. But threats did not stop him; he continued to fight like the hero he truly was.
The more Ratchet fought, the more the creatures of the Underworld feared him. Many of them scattered about, trying to find other ways to fight him. Eventually, Minion drove his tank towards him and fired his secret weapon. "No one can withstand a cosmic cannon shell!" Minion thought as he opened fire. "It is specially designed to enfold someone in a cosmic sleep for a century! The battle is ours!"
But, before the fatal blast could strike its target, Ratchet swiftly used his wrench to gather many stray creatures and used them as shields against the deadly cannon. The shell ended up striking its own wielders, putting them to heavy sleep.
"Now to strike back!" Ratchet thought as he threw his powerful wrench at the tank, blowing it up into many pieces. The wrench hit the main fuel system which powered the vehicle, causing a powerful explosion.
Suddenly, the floor beneath Ratchet opened, and he fell downwards. He landed into a glass-like cage with what seemed like no way out at all.
"Prepare to be rendered helpless, doomed one!" Black shouted at him. "For you are finally trapped—within a shatterproof turbulence chamber! We shall feed you artificial wind pressure designed to slay anything that lives!"
Ratchet felt the heavy winds blow up from the powerful vents below him. The very strong force lifted him up to the top of the cage, trapping him there until the turbulence would end and leave him lifeless.
"I must escape and free Kratos!" he thought as he struggled to use his wrench and break his way out. "I must…overcome gravity!"
Ratchet pushed his wrench so hard against the cage, pressing with extreme force. Eventually the cage broke, and he managed to free himself. The wind was still blowing; its powerful force blew all surrounding creatures everywhere. They could not even try to stand up on their feet.
"ENOUGH!" boomed a voice. "Let the combat cease!" Mr. Ash came forward to chew Ratchet out. "Within a matter of minutes, you have torn down what it has taken me ages to create! I can witness no further destruction to the realm I have ruled since the dawn of time! My subjects would fight to the end of I wish it—but your power is too great! It would avail me NOTHING!"
"Your place is here, Ash," Ratchet replied. "You would NEVER find contentment in the world above anyway."
"You are right. I know that now. I shall free the god of his fate!"
Kratos stepped forward and said: "Then, Ratchet has triumphed?!"
"Yes," Mr. Ash replied. "The ordeal is ended! I shall remain lord of the Underworld!" With that, he tore the contract into many shreds.
"I am FREE!" Kratos exclaimed in triumph. "FREE! Already, my strength is returning to me! Kratos is the god of war once more! But what of HIM?" He turned to point towards Mr. Ash. "Is the evil Ash not to feel the terrible vengeance of Kratos?"
"Have a care, son of Zeus," Mr. Ash replied. "In the Underworld, it is my power which is supreme."
WHAT A STORY! BUT WAIT A MINUTE! ARE WE FORGETTING SOMETHING? OF COURSE WE ARE! RATCHET STILL HAS THAT VOICE IN HIS HEAD THAT HE CAN NEVER GET RID OF! WE SHALL SEE MORE OF THAT IN THE NEXT CHAPTER! UNTIL THEN, SEE YOU SOON!
If you would like to see what's new on YouTube, go to my channel! I am known as Coleiosis Delose.