"So we're after Excalibur's scabbard," Harry Potter said. "And we have to get to it before Voldemort."
New quest! 'Jimminy Crickets!'
Defeat or kill.
Success 1: 40 000xp, Kama sickles
I closed the window. I didn't want to know.
My armpits were sticky.
"We never paid you back properly, did we?" Cricket croaked through her artificial larynx.
I swallowed, lips smacking on dry tongue.
"If you don't come down here and fight me I'm going to go," she gestured vaguely to the area hidden behind the screen where the families still escaped. "And cut some civvies before I get back to slicing up those fucking chinks."
My feet felt heavy like they were made of clay.
Cricket scoffed, made into a staccato growl by her voice modulator, and a flutter of nausea wormed up in my belly. Her power, or my cowardice? She shook her head in disgust and stalked off around the stage.
We can't let her do this.
I know. And I know we're supposed to go down there and fight her, deliver some smug one-liner about how racism is bad, and save the day.
So we do it.
Our legs won't move, retard.
Then how about…
The sudden jolting electrical pain shot over my skin bright and sharp, into my heart, bringing with it a huge rush of adrenaline. It was fight or flight, and both Gregs were saying 'fight!'
I turned to where Cricket was making her slow, deliberate way around the screen and jumped, landing in front of her.
She chirped. "Thank god."
I didn't say anything, I just moved into the fighting stance Jiraiya made feel natural. Cricket twirled her Kamas, settling into her own showy stance, a sinister smile peeking out from in between the bars of her facial cage.
One punch. I could finish this in one punch.
I moved, boosted, the single-step closing me in on her in a fraction of a second and my stomach turned, my head spun and I whiffed the punch as she juked to the right. Cricket's sickle lashed out, finding a gap in my armour.
I barely even felt it.
"First blood!" she crowed, dancing away as I spun back to face her, spitting the taste of bile out of my mouth. "Rat Boy ain't shit."
Mana smoke leaked from me, covering us both, but she just laughed.
Mana Beam plus Arc Flash.
My hand shot out, fore and middle fingers extended, a bolt of lightning bursting from their tips. I gagged and retched, lighting beam spitting and crackling as it burnt a black line through the grass to Cricket's left. My eyes blurred with tears, world spinning. I heard her coming.
Spinning Mana Shield plus Arc Flash.
Blazing white lighting erupted from my skin, churning through the air to meet Cricket's incoming blades. She flinched back, slipping on the night-damp grass to narrowly avoid being fried.
Cricket made a buzzing sound in her throat, pacing defensively around the dark circle my power had drawn. My vision spun again-
You have gained 'Sound effect resistance'!
-as I struggled to stand, breath catching in my throat in harsh pants.
"Why can't you just fuck off!" I sobbed, voice nasal. "Leave me alone you, you fucking…"
Old Greg stirred in my mind, feeble fingers reaching, grasping. They settled around my ankle and an old familiar feeling of edgy memes flowed through me.
"You fucking nigger!"
Cricket stopped pacing, her surprised expression in the fading smoke one of having heard a terribly funny joke.
I retched again as she laughed.
"Nigger!" she jeered. "Nigger, nigger, nigger!"
Cricket cackled, the sound spilling me onto the grass.
Sound effect resistance has increased!
"Oh," she sighed, the sound discordant and harsh. "It feels so good to laugh. You know what, kid, you're alright. I'm still going to cut you up though."
She took a step forward and I burst into lightning again, then cast a wild hand out toward her that spewed a torrent of sparks. She evaded again, almost easily. The files said Cricket could dodge bullets, and I didn't even have a gun.
"Just let me cut you a bit," she said, blasting me with even more gut-wrenching power than before. "It'll be over quick."
I choked on sour hot dogs, half-digested mustard burning my nose through the tang of my lightning's ozone. Lumps of half-digested food dribbled from my lips, plopping onto the burnt grass. I heaved, another fresh wave of nausea forcing the last of my dinner out.
I just wanted it to be over. Cuts would heal in minutes. I hung my head.
Cricket stepped in.
Other Greg and I switched.
Our hand lashed out.
Mana Beam plus Arc Blade. Speed Enhancement.
There was no time for her to dodge, the sword of brilliant lightning took her in the hip and continued on through up out her armpit.
It was like cutting through rice paper.
+Echolocation skill book
Quest 'Jimminy Crickets' complete!
Success 2: 80 000xp, High-Grade Kama Sickles, Acoustic Blast skill book
You have levelled up!
Both halves of Cricket toppled to the ground, a dark red mess slowly seeping from the burnt, cauterised gizzards bringing with it a thick iron tang.
I dry heaved, heaved until my body ached. I equipped my phone, cold fingers fumbling over the display until it started ringing.
"I killed her."
"I'm on my way," Colin sounded panicked, harried. "Don't move."
"I killed Cricket."
"Don't move, Greg. I'm coming."
"I killed her, Colin."
"I'm almost there, just stay calm."
"I," my stomach churned again, cutting off my words. "I will."
"Good lad, can you stay on the line with me?"
"Yeah. I'm just gonna… go sit down."
"That's good," Colin soothed tersely. "Have a sit-down, we're coming for you."
I crawled over to the side of the stage, sitting on the grass against it. I turned away from Cricket and closed my eyes.