People ask me why I drink; my responses vary according to my current level of sobriety; if I'm tipsy, I glare at them. If I'm drunk, I laugh at them; if I'm completely hammered… I order another and knock it back, sometimes before knocking the glass over their head, depends on how I'm feeling.
I unscrewed the cap to the flask I kept around my belt; I knocked back the glorious, burning ambrosia and let out a satisfied sigh, I try to tell myself sometimes that it just tastes really good.
The real reason?
"Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn."
The cultists below continued their chant, oblivious to the hooded figure lurking in the shadows on the cliff overhead. A large tentacle rose from the water and slammed onto the shore, a single ghastly green eye began to rise, it blinked slowly in the pale moonlight.
I shuddered and took another long pull from the flask, reluctantly I screwed the cap back on and went through the plan again. I had waited up until now, but it looked like only the big bastard in the middle of the ritual circle spoke the old tongue with any kind of decency. I would have to move fast, but if i took him out, then presumably big and ugly would go back into the deeps from whence it came. As it would have no mortal soul to beckon it to the virgin sacrifice that was struggling and screaming on the big stone altar that would give it sustenance that would allow it to have an anchor in the mortal realm. I nodded, satisfied, and pulled out my sword, I was about to jump down when suddenly a figure on the right side of the circle began taking up the chant, then the one opposite them began chanting… then the one next to them. Suddenly, the whole group was chanting in a rising crescendo, no doubt they thought it was super fancy and dramatic as their flabby, tentacled sushi overlord made its way into the mortal realm.
Well damnit, Plan B? Maybe go in, take out big bastard first? I began categorizing threats, there was a guy with a wicked-looking knife, maybe him next? Then again; there were two thugs with the rifles, maybe them and then go for the rest of the chanting cultists...
A crooked obsidian beak emerged from the water and let out a deafening screech, breaking my train of thought.
You know what? Screw it, I was too drunk for this. I pulled out my sword and leapt off of the overhang, my weapon already transforming.
The cultist bastards never knew what hit them, the big one suddenly cut off his chant, and his expression was perplexed as he fell to his knees. I continued the arcing slash to take out two more of the cultists mid-chant, my cape fluttered wildly and I stood up like a vengeful spirit.
I stood up and grinned viciously, twirling my scythe, I beckoned at the thugs who were simply standing there, jaws dropped, guns held loosely in their arms.
"C'mon -hic- get some!" I yelled at them. They recovered themselves and raised their rifles. Nailed it.
The one on the right looked uncertain as he struggled to get a clear shot… his companion didn't have the same trigger discipline and mashed down the trigger, his rifle churned as he sent the rounds down range. I smirked and lazily leapt high into the air, the cultists below jerked and writhed as the bullets tore into them. His companion turned to the side and put a single round into the man's head, ending the fusillade as he dropped limply to the ground, leaving only a single cultist whose chanting held a panicked edge to it as he desperately called to his twisted god to get over here and eat me already.
Or at least I think that was the gist of it, my old tongue isn't great and I was slightly drunk. I landed a few yards away from the remaining gunman, who tossed the rifle to the side and pulled out a long katana, which he held in a guard position.
I frowned and with an effort of will, began to transform my scythe back into a sword. I whirled it around a bit, getting a feel for the change in balance.
The thug spoke, "And now, shall you be cleansed unbeliever," he leapt forward and slashed at me with deadly quickness, I parried it nimbly and we began to circle each other.
"I shall destroy you with the power granted to me by Tep ho'amon" he intoned and struck at me again, our blades clashed and locked.
I grinned, "So that's old tongue for 'fried squid', that waitress was giving me a weird look last night."
The thug growled and leaned forward, and I grunted as the pressure increased, damn this guy was strong. I disengaged from the clash and jumped back, he followed me, too fast for me to react and he kicked my leg out from under me. I rolled, dodging his blade as it crashed into the sand where it stuck fast.
I roared and swung my blade, but it was cut short as he reached up and grabbed it with his bare hand. Blood seeped around it as he clenched hard.
"Fool." he whispered, "As our lord emerges, I grow stronger." Suddenly he blurred and I felt a massive blow connect with my stomach, sending me rolling. I got unsteadily to my hands and knees, looking up, I saw black ink beginning to writhe across my opponent's skin forming alien runes that made my brain ache just looking at them.
He smiled, and I saw that the black ink was oozing from between his teeth and dripping down his gums. "Yes, unbeliever, you shall perish, your soul shall be among the first to be fed to our lord. Behold!" he turned, and pointed.
I looked past my opponent and retched a little, it was a massive and rubbery thing, with four tentacles splayed out on the beach, all covered with rapidly blinking green eyes and open mouths with needle-like teeth. Its chest was scaly and oozed with the same black ink that covered the man in front of me, its single eye leered; scanning the beach hungrily. It fixated on the screaming woman on the altar, and its beak lolled open and long fibrous growths began to emerge to begin curling down towards her.
"YES! YES!" The man in front of me screamed, "Soon, ALL of Remnant will cower before the might of our lord! NONE shall be able to oppose his might! ALL will come to know his terror and the unworthy shall be a feast for his-." Suddenly a single crack echoed through the night, and the final remaining cultist pitched forward, minus his head. The zealot stood there for a moment, his mouth wide, he whirled around to see me with the shotgun mode of my weapon active, the barrels still smoking.
I gave him an apologetic grin, "Yeah, no… I eat sushi, sushi does not eat me."
The man stared at me, then looked at his hands, which had begun to bubble and ooze. He screamed as the oozing flesh began to fall steaming into the sand.
"Ooohhh, you made one of those deals huh? Man, sucks to be you." I watched as the man's form degraded rapidly, and soon he was nothing more than a steaming puddle of black ink. There was a screech and I looked up to see the massive creature desperately trying to dig its tentacles into the beach, but it was to no avail. It slide inexorably back into the water, as a whirlpool formed around its trunk that was still submerged; soon, there was nothing left of the creature but the calmly crashing waves.
It would've been peaceful, but the woman on the altar was still screaming her head off, struggling at her bonds.
I sighed and walked up to the altar. "Jeez, shut up already."
The woman stopped screaming and looked at me, eyes wild.
"That's better, now, I'm going to cut these ropes, but first we need to go over a few things; you are NOT going to try to brain me with some rock, you are NOT going to try to shank me with that knife on the ground over there; in short, can you please just NOT attack me? I know you've had a stressful night, and I know that your sanity has gone a little bonkers, but I take those kind of things poorly. Now I want you to look at that," I pointed over at the corpses that littered the beach. "Then ask yourself if you want to be on my good side… or my bad side. Are we clear?" the woman nodded desperately. "All right."
I took my sword and sawed at the knots that held her to the altar, in short order the woman was free, although she just laid there, staring at me.
I frowned at her, "What is it?", she said nothing and just stared levelly at me "Is there something on my fac-?" The woman suddenly shot up and her mouth opened to reveal razor sharp teeth and my vision filled with those pearly whites. However, I had been at this far too long to be killed by some frickin' monster virgin, and my blade sent her head flying across the sand to land a few feet away. I closed my eyes and leaned my head back, letting out a sigh.
This happened far more than I cared to admit; although the sacrifice being a monster or something was a new one. Normally the virginal sacrifice were a tad twitchy, their sanity shattered by maltreatment, and… you know, being the sacrifice to an Elder Thing. I sighed and looked down at the head, who was looking at me with condemning eyes as it lay on the beach; suddenly it's mouth opened, "They didn't feed me anything for a week you know," it said sullenly.
I groaned and rubbed my face wearily. "Damn it, and my night just gets weirder." I looked back at the body that was still sitting upright on the altar, I poked it and it flailed a little before falling back flat on the altar.
"Hey! Quit it!" the head said indignantly from the ground.
I sighed and shoved the body onto the beach, where it writhed blindly; I sat down on the altar and turned my gaze back to the head.
"Look, just stop moving! No, stop, don't get up!" the head was yelling, her eyes fixated on the headless body that was trying to get onto its feet; the head's gaze turned to me.
"Can you just like… tie it down or something please?"
I raised an eyebrow and casually leaned back.
"Jerk," the head muttered.
I shrugged, "You're the one who tried to eat me after I rescued you. Aren't sacrifices supposed to be virginal, mortal souls only?"
The head rolled its eyes, "Look, I'm a half breed; half mortal and half-Rokurokubi."
The head glared at me balefully, "It's a kind of monster that can detach its head and float it around, but since I'm a half-breed, I can do the separation part, but not the floaty part." It looked back at the body, which was now on its feet and was staggering down the beach.
"Look, can you please just make sure it doesn't get too far away… I'll make it worth your while…"
I snorted, "Yeah, sure; saving you from crazy sushi cultists gets my face eaten off. I don't want to see what happens when I get you and your body re-aquainted, I'm going to hazard a guess that it's round 2."
She looked desperate, "I have information that you'll find valuable."
I stood up and brushed off my pants, "Look, I've gone on that song and dance before; tell me how to kill you, and I can make it quick and painless. Otherwise, I have to start experimenting." I hefted my sword, and began walking toward the head.
"It's about the next Devorahk."
I stopped dead in my tracks, and I ground my teeth.
The head smiled at me, "You can feel it, can't you? You know it's coming."
"What do you know about that?" I demanded, leaning my blade against my shoulder.
The head rolled it's eyes, "Hello? Half-mortal still, remember? It's coming, but you have no clue when or where it's going to happen, do you?"
I set my blade into the sand, "All right, how do you know that?"
"Because they've obfuscated it this time; they're getting ready to strike, and they don't want anything to stand between them and the Chosen." the head smiled sweetly at me.
"Let me guess, because you're also half monster, you've got it on your radar." She said nothing, but just kept smiling at me with her pointy teeth. I sat down again, rubbing my temples as I considered my options.
It was true that I had felt it, all of those that are sensitive can, there was going to be a Chosen, someone who could wield the power of anima. It was going to happen soon, but by all accounts, we should have also known when and where it was going to occur, that kind of thing was felt by both sides. It was kind of a convergence, there would be a big throw down, but because of the Chosen, mortals would win, monsters would go home, lick their wounds, and plot again.
This time though, something was different, and what this thing roku-thing just said confirmed what Ozpin and I had been afraid of for some time now. When anima intervened directly in the mortal world and selected its champion, there would be no one to stand beside them, and all of the monsters would know it and would be right on time to have a big old happy fun time.
I looked at the head, and made a decision, I got up, kicked the stumbling headless body down into the sand, grabbed it by the arm, and began dragging it back toward her. The head looked at me smugly as I approached. Then it frowned and winced slightly as I flipped the body up on the stone surface and began tying it down again.
"What are you doing?" it asked, bewildered.
"Creating insurance," I finished tying down the body and turned to the head, kneeling down to look it in the eyes.
"This is how it's going to work; I can't trust you, but this is too big to just leave as is. So, I'm going to take you with me, and if you're telling me the truth, then I re-unite you with your body. If you're lying to me, we go back to Plan A."
I picked up the head by its long, black hair and flung it over my shoulder.
"Ow! What the hell!? So you're just going to leave my body here out in the open?!"
I shrugged, "I'll hide it someplace, I know a guy."
She paused at that, "You have a guy…"
I shrugged slightly, "Yeah, a kind of banker; won't ask too many questions; owes me a favor."
I felt the head shift a little on my back, "You are a very weird man."
I sighed heavily, I just called weird by a talking head that I was taking hostage to save the world… I was getting hammered tonight.