A blue paw turned another page of the book, revealing three paragraphs of text in an ancient script which only one person in all the universe could read. That person was Princess Eva Earlong, wife of Jazz Jackrabbit, soon-to-be-ruler of Carrotus, and owner of the blue paw. Eva always wore a very short pink dress, with no straps, just long enough to be decent. Although married to Jazz, she had to fulfill her duties as a beautiful princess, and that included turning the heads of anyone who passed her by. Eva's lovely long hair hung down behind her back like a vast golden river, defying gravity in its futile attempt to climb up her neck and nestle with ears. Not for nothing had Eva been voted "hottest female on Carrotus" five times running, an accomplishment which she could easily prove by drawing old magazine clippings out of her dress at a moment's notice.
Eva studied the page before her, mentally translating each line of otherwise unintelligible gibberish into a language which anyone could understand. Except the turtles, of course, because everyone knew that turtles were too stupid to understand anything. The general consensus was that that one turtle, Devan Shell, had only pretended to have a brain in order to make himself look cooler. Any other theories on the subject were absurd!
Soon reaching the fourth line of the strange language, Eva gasped. She had not expected anything as strange as this to be hidden in the ancient book! The rabbit princess' gasp alerted her sister in law, Lori Jackrabbit, a muscular yellow female who had just turned 18 a few days ago. Lori, for reasons she had refused to make public, wore as little as possible, confining her clothing to a small top and some exercise shorts, both dark purple. Her enormous hair was tied up by a pink ribbon, forming a mass of hair thick enough to knock unsuspecting men unconscious should she turn around too quickly. Lori had long bare legs which she worked out with in the gym every day, and was completely single, believing that boys would think her ugly. As a result, she was constantly on the lookout for anyone glancing her way, as she knew that women could not be complete without a male around to drool over them. Since first appearing out of nowhere on Carrotus a few years ago, Lori had taken over Eva's role as "hottest female on Carrotus", a victory which both rabbits largely ignored and refused to let injure their friendship.
"What is it, Eva?" asked Lori, gracefully moving her supple body over to Eva's side. "Something new in these old books?"
"Yes," said Eva, showing the book to Lori in a futile gesture. "Using my gift of languages, I've been reading this old volume which was called untranslatable by all the experts, and I've discovered a prophecy!"
Lori's eyes widened. A prophecy! This was important. Everyone knew that prophecies were only made by mystical creatures thousands of years ago, and they always came true. It was their duty as rabbits to read this prophecy and lend whatever help they could towards fulfilling it. "I'll get Jazz and Spaz," pronounced Lori, "and you can read it to us."
Five minutes later, the three Jackrabbit siblings were all seated on a large and comfortable couch, awaiting Eva's reading of the prophecy. Lori sat in the middle, watching Eva eagerly. On the left sat Lori's brother, Spaz Jackrabbit, a skinny red rabbit about the same age as Lori. Spaz had probably never heard of the word "cleanliness", as his unwashed fur took the form of spikes jutting out in every direction, and his enormous bloodshot eyes indicated little tolerance for sleep. His mouth was by default open and drooling. Officially, Spaz had a slight mental problem, but most people saw him as little more than a dangerous nuisance and expressed their relief that Lori was nothing like her brother by buying swimsuit calendars.
On the other side of the couch was the oldest Jackrabbit sibling, and Eva's husband, Jazz. Jazz was a large green rabbit who wore no clothes other than a pair of wristbands, much like Spaz but without the mental excuse. Jazz was famous for having defeated some turtle a few times, but everyone knows that turtles are stupid, so it probably wasn't all that hard. In any case, he always carried a big blue gun around. Eva had been quoted as not being particularly pleased with her husband, and was careful to be on the lookout in case someone better should come along and take notice of her somewhat impractical outfit.
Eva cleared her throat and began to read from the prophecy. She had taken the time to rewrite the text slightly so it flowed perfectly in the more modern language, but the content was almost exactly the same as it had been in the original.
"There will come a man,
to the planet Carrotus
and the man will have very
The man will be found
by two of the three
and brought to the one
like a zero.
The man will be fought
by his own anti-man
in two thousand years
(give or take)."
When she was finished, the Jackrabbits were speechless. This fit all the qualifications of a prophecy - it was strangely sing song, annoyingly vague, particularly useless and yet somehow important sounding.
"When was this great prophecy written?" asked Spaz, his voice full of wonder.
"About two thousand years ago," said Eva, "give or take."
Such was the majesty of Eva's words, and the gorgeous impracticality of her outfit, that her audience could not help but doubt her. And yet, the males were stupid and boring and decided to forget about the prophecy and go about their business. Lori and Eva stared helplessly after them before turning back to the prophecy in hope of finding some new meaning in the text.
A very short while later, Jazz and Spaz were walking through the gardens of Carrotus castle, talking blandly of matters which were doubtless very important to people with nothing better to do than ruling the planet. Suddenly, the story got a lot more interesting as the sky blazed with the power of a thousand suns. Jazz and Spaz pointed towards the sky with wonder and almost burned their eyes out trying to see.
"Whoa!" cried Spaz. Suddenly, the intensity of the light diminished, and a fireball could be seen falling from the sky. In seconds, it had hit the ground a few feet away from the two rabbits, and created an enormous crater.
"A meteor!" cried Jazz, grabbing his gun from where it had been leaning against a carrot. "Come on, let's check it out! Meteors are always full of money and precious stones!"
Lori and Eva were intently studying the new prophecy when their reverence was broken by shouts from outside. A few seconds passed, and Jazz and Spaz reappeared, carrying a large box. It appeared to be made of metal, but no metal that Eva or Lori were familiar with, as it was light enough for the rabbits to carry with no difficulty at all despite the size.
"This box just landed in the gardens!" explained Jazz, pointing to the box for effect. "It was inside of a meteor, and was completely unharmed by the entry and landing!"
"Open it," Eva commanded, and the Jackrabbit brothers pried open the box. Inside was a handsome brown rabbit, taller than even Eva's three foot nine. He wore a brilliant white headband, in which was tucked several throwing knives, seeming to give off some sort of strange aura. He had gray combat boots and a heavy black vest, which looked weighed down by many unidentifiable objects contained inside of its pockets. Eva felt her heart quicken at the sight of him, and a glance towards Lori showed that the reaction had not been hers alone.
"Weird," said Spaz, "a rabbit." He poked the brown rabbit with a stick. "Seems dead," he announced, even as the brown rabbit stirred and blinked its eyes. And such beautiful eyes...
"Where am I?" asked the newcomer blearily, beginning to rise from the box.
"...this is Carrotus Castle," replied Eva, trying to keep the awe out of her voice. "On the planet Carrotus."
"Carrotus..." murmured the brown rabbit, getting out of the box and looking around at his spectators. "Great. I was supposed to land on Nubitis." His muscled chest rose and fell as he breathed in air from the new surroundings, and Eva barely resisted staring at it as he continued to talk.
"My name is Psyde Psychrabbit. I am the last survivor of the planet Angstus, where I worked as an assassin ninja bounty-hunter double-agent, masquerading as a shape-shifting loner pirate spy for the corrupt monarchy, using incredible powers gained during my quest for justice after my parents were slaughtered by a dark army. One day, I was patrolling the post-apocalyptic style ruined streets with the rest of my super-hero team, when my attention was drawn by a glowing green light. Reassuring my team that I could handle this on my own, I glided down towards the light on my jet pack, which is so small that it fits into my left ear.
"As I neared the green light, I realized that it was inside one of the ruined buildings which composed the nearby landscape. Mentally changing dimensions, I phased in through one of the walls and walked into the green light. I could feel its power engulfing me, and then everything went black.
"When I woke up, I felt different. I could tell that I was 5.62 times more powerful than before! Also, standing over me was a black form, shaped like a rabbit. I effortlessly leaped to my feet and shot the black form with lasers from my fingertips, but it was unaffected, so I gathered it to be an important person. 'Who are you?' I asked.
"The black form told me that it was my evil half, unleashed by the power of the green light. It didn't make clear exactly what it had in common with me, or if I had lost anything from the separation, but it was still an evil version of myself, Dark Psyde. Dark Psyde revealed that he had no motivation in the world other than killing me, as I guess until that point my unconquerable virtue had angered him.
"We fought for a few hours, and eventually Dark Psyde announced that we were evenly matched, and it was time to take the battle to a new plane. His image shuddered, and I could tell that he was effortlessly using powers which I had never even dreamed of trying to unleash. I felt the ground shudder.
"Dark Psyde laughed at me, and said that the planet was undergoing great stress, and would explode in a matter of moments. 'Survive this one if you can, Psyde Psychrabbit!' he cried, and vanished in a puff of red smoke which burnt the floor which he had been standing on. Fortunately, I was able to encase myself in a metalium box hidden inside of a meteor, and launched myself off the planet, even as everyone I had ever known or loved died in an instant. Dark Psyde will know that I survived, and I must have my revenge against him for killing everyone!"
When Psyde's incredible and saddening story was complete, Eva and the Jackrabbits stood there in awe, mouths hanging open far past what would be thought possible. They were obviously in the presence of a true hero, one who had probably saved the universe multiple times without even noticing. Jazz and Spaz looked down at the ground, their paltry achievements seeming like nothing compared to Psyde's sheer awesomeness. Lori, once recovered from amazement, looked as if she was struggling with the urge to sing his praises right then and there, and Eva quickly felt all affection she had had for Jazz draining away. Obviously, there was no reason to settle for second best with someone like Psyde around.
"Wait a minute.." exclaimed Lori, coming out of her trance. "You're the 'man'!"
Eva's eyes widened. Of course! How had she missed it before? Come to Carrotus, with great power... and he was quite a man...
"Which would make Dark Psyde the anti-man," continued Lori. Eva nodded. "Don't worry, Psyde. I have a feeling you're going to fight Dark Psyde soon enough."
Over the next few days, Psyde Psychrabbit made himself at home in Carrotus Castle, even winning the normally-mistrustful Queen over to his side. Lori had asked him if he wanted to join her in some blaster practice soon after his arrival, and Psyde had agreed, saying that the best thing he could do while waiting for Dark Psyde would be to hone his fighting skills. Eva sat on a window ledge overlooking the practice area and watched as Lori presented Psyde with a gleaming white blaster, so new that Eva was sure she could still see where the price tag had once been.
"Ever seen a gun like this before, Psyde?" asked Lori, obviously happy to be so near and friendly with his manly form.
"Once... in a museum, I think. Angstus was much more advanced than this planet of yours. You don't even seem to have vast areas of ruined city all over the map."
Eva smiled, wondering what strange definition of "advanced" Psyde used, before noticing his comment about the blaster. "Psyde," she asked, raising her voice a little to be heard from the window ledge, "do you think you could teach us any of the advanced technology from Angstus?"
Psyde looked up from the blaster and waved at Eva, who felt her face go hot in response. "Maybe..." he began, slowly, "...if I am able to defeat Dark Psyde. Until then, my energies must be diverted solely towards training for the battle. He already knows everything I knew prior to our split, so my victory must rely on anything new that I can learn on this planet. He may also have an army to vanquish - evil entities usually seem to have a few about for safety reasons."
"Jazz and Spaz can take care of that," assured Eva. "They've had plenty of experience fighting mindless armies in the past."
Psyde smiled. "Good. Now, though, I should practice with this 'blaster' of yours." He returned his attention to the gun in his hand, bouncing it up and down a little to get a feel for the weight, before taking aim at a target on the other side of the courtyard and firing. A bolt of white hot energy spewed forth from the blaster's muzzle, streaking across the yard and hitting the energy-resistant target straight in the center. Lori gasped at Psyde's exceptional aim. "...what do you need me for?" asked the yellow rabbit, still staring at the smoke particles rising up from the target.
"Well," explained Psyde, "I can't expect Dark Psyde to stand motionless for the entire time it takes for the blaster shot to reach him. I need some practice with aiming at moving objects. Does this blaster have a 'stun' setting of any kind?"
"There's setting 3..." explained Lori, probably coming to terms with being referred to as a "moving object". "...setting 3 will fire 'Frostbiter', which coats your target in a layer of harmless ice. Or there's 'Slime', which will stick your target's feet to the ground, or 'Magnet Missile', which..."
"Enough," said Psyde, instantly comprehending the blaster's control panel and changing the selected weapon. "Frostbiter will do nicely. Do you have a firearm handy? I see you do. Ready?"
"...ready," Lori replied, instantly taking cover behind a target as a bolt of ice came flying her way. Psyde certainly didn't waste any time with pleasantries once the battle had begun, observed Eva, watching as the tall brown rabbit took off in pursuit of Lori, expertly dodging each freezing volley she unleashed behind her. The battle quickly began a game of cat and mouse, with Lori relying on her long legged agility to narrowly avoid each attack, while Psyde dodged Lori's counterattacks without even seeming to notice them, effortlessly matching her otherwise incredible pace. Eva could see from the windowsill that Lori was quickly tiring from the madcap race, although Psyde showed no signs of fatigue, and she was not surprised when Lori sought temporary refuge among the monkey bars.
"How does that help you?" asked Psyde from below, aiming the white blaster towards Lori's tense form. "Your movement is restricted."
"The bars here are reflective," called Lori, leveling her own gun at a nearby bar for demonstration. "Shots bounce off of them." Pulling the trigger, Lori leaped away through a space between bars as the ice flew through the air and hit the bar. There was a strange noise as sparks leapt out from the bar, and the ice flew off in another direction, hitting another bar, and then another, before finally redirecting itself to head straight towards Psyde's exposed chest. Psyde grabbed a bar in the air above him and swung himself up into the air, narrowly missing the incoming frostbiter. "Dangerous," he remarked, firing off several blasts by way of experiment and watching as they bounded back and forth between the many bars. "This will be something of a challenge."
The battle began again, this time with the added dimension of height. Both combatants fired less regularly now, knowing that if they were not careful, they could be hit by their own ice as easily as their opponent's. Finally Lori grew overconfident, jumping up to the top of the monkey bar structure, aiming freezing blasts down into the maze beneath. Faster than Eva would have supposed possible, Psyde climbed up through the network of bars and was up on top with Lori, pulling the trigger on his blaster before Lori could fully understand his being up there. Lori took off running a moment too late, and the frostbiter hit her in the back, causing a light blue glow to surround her body before quickly solidifying into ice.
"Checkmate," pronounced Psyde, before looking his defeated opponent. "Oh no... Lori!" Friction removed by her icy encasement, Lori was still traveling through the air at high speed, soon to smash into a castle wall. Taking to the air - although Eva saw no means of propulsion that would allow him to fly - Psyde sped towards Lori in a blur faster than Eva's eye could begin to track. Somehow, he caught her just before the collision, and the two rabbits floated slowly down to earth together as the ice melted.
"Wow..." said Lori, eyes still wide from her narrowly avoided crash. "My hero." She smiled demurely, acting for all the world as if she did not hold a gun which she had been shooting at him with only moments earlier. "You're supposed to kiss me now, I think."
"..." Psyde leaned his head forward uncertainly, and Lori absolved worries by happily taking his lips in her own. Above, Eva fumed silently. Little man-thief! Obviously she was not paying enough attention to him, not putting enough effort into it. This would have to change.
Her chance came the next day, when Eva chanced upon him sitting in a large armchair, studying the white blaster curiously. Quickly judging the size of the chair to be big enough for two, Eva climbed in next to him, snuggling up a little to fit.
"Hey," she said, in response to his evident surprise, "whatcha doing?"
"This blaster..." Psyde began, and stopped as if searching for the right words. "This blaster is a very well made device. It only lacks power."
"Yes. If it was as powerful as I am, say, I could conceivably hurt Dark Psyde with it. It focuses the energy used into a small point, which is ideal for combat, rather than wider attacks which end up being mostly dispersed harmlessly around the target. If I could transfer my power into this gun, my chances of defeating Dark Psyde would be greatly increased."
Eva smiled. She understood the urge to have more and better power. "So why don't you?"
"I would have to use the full force of my telekinetic energy to transfer my power into this blaster, and I would be unable to move or otherwise interact with the world around me until the process was complete. I do not want to spend long periods of time defenseless."
"Defenseless?! I'm hurt." Eva reached up and tousled Psyde's hair, subtly rubbing against him with her leg while he was distracted. "I'm here, aren't I? I can make sure you're not disturbed."
Psyde thought about this for about a minute, looking at the blaster without really seeming to see it, before responding, "...all right. It is risky, but I must take any chance I can get to defeat Dark Psyde and avenge my dead friends and planet." Eva blinked, having forgotten about his dark and tortured past as he never actually seemed to mention it. "The grief and misery caused by Dark Psyde is a constant drain on my happiness. I must destroy him at all costs."
Changing moods at the blink of an eye, Psyde grinned at Eva, who leaned forward slightly and smiled back. "I shall begin now," he said, rotating the blaster carefully in his paw. "I hope you are comfortable like that."
Eva responded that she was, and was about to demonstrate when she noticed that he was no longer paying attention to her, instead staring intently at the blaster, eyes half closed. The air around her got slightly colder and she felt a breeze picking up her hair and tossing it about. Watching Psyde silently channeling his vast powers into the blaster before him, Eva prepared for a long and interesting wait.
"So... what do you think of Psyde?" asked Lori. She and Jazz were walking along the outer edge of Carrotus Castle, scanning the nearby grounds for intruders, as they did at least once a day, every day. This patrol was also essential for finding crippled travelers or other such incidents which could herald the start of new adventures.
"He's incredible," said Jazz, removing a bush from his path by blasting it. "When you listen to him talk, you see visions of all the things he's done, and you can really believe anything he says - I feel like a fraud next to him. He's so strong, and so powerful, and I've just shot at a turtle a few times."
"And he looks really cool, too," said Lori.
"Yeah... probably the handsomest guy in the world, and he's not even from this world. It's amazing how well he controls grief and misery from losing everyone he had ever known."
"He's holding in all his rage and longing to use against Dark Psyde," explained Lori, and they fell silent for a while, continuing their patrol. "I... I think I'm in love with him," she finally confessed, staring at the ground.
"...he kissed me yesterday."
Jazz gave a start of surprise. "Congratulations! Lori, you've got a man there who any girl I know would kill over."
Lori smiled happily at Jazz, but the peaceful scene was suddenly destroyed as the sky turned black with rain and thunder. The birds around them flew away screeching, and the plants withered and died as the two rabbits watched in growing horror.
Spaz ran out from the castle and shielded his head from the rain. "What's going on?!" he cried.
The three rabbits stared mutely as a red robed figure descended slowly from the tumultuous sky with nothing obviously holding it up. Landing, the figure strode ominously towards the Jackrabbits, stopping a few feet away to stare at them, its eyes burning fiercely even below its hood. Lori's forehead wrinkled as she tried to place the figure, which carried a strange air of familiarity about it.
"who.. who are you?" quavered Spaz, holding his green blaster in front of him protectively.
The figure laughed and threw aside its robe, which was caught by the winds and blown far away. Beneath stood a tall black rabbit with burning eyes, adorned with a red headband the color of glowing blood. It wore large boots and a vest, and seemed so very familiar...
"...Psyde?" asked Lori, in horror. "...what happened to you?"
"Oh, I am not the Psyde Psychrabbit that you know, little girl," responded the figure, drawing a glowing silver knife from its headband. "Who am I? I am malignancy, I am evil incarnate, I am... DARK PSYDE!"
The rabbits' eyes went very big. "He's come for Psyde," whispered Lori in fright, casting a scared glance back towards the castle. "And Psyde's back in there doing nothing... he can't be ready for this!"
"He'll have to be," said Spaz, stepping in front of his siblings. "Jazz, Lori, you two get in there and get Psyde out here. I'll hold Dark Psyde off."
The green and yellow rabbits took off in search of Psyde, even as his darker half threw the glowing knife, which shimmered out of existence and reappeared an instant later embedded deep into the castle wall several feet away.
"Psyde! Psyde, where are you?!" cried Lori desperately, the two rabbits running at top speeds through the castle corridors. And then, "oh..." as they finally found him, skidding to a stop after bursting into a seemingly random chamber. "Psyde has got some explaining to do when this is all over," muttered Jazz. Lori bit back a tear. There in front of them was Psyde, sitting calmly in a chair, staring at the white blaster Lori had gotten for him the day before, seeming not to notice the darkness or thunder all around them. Eva was happily asleep beside him, head tucked into his lap, arms around his chest.
"C'mon," instructed Jazz, and the two rabbits came across to the motionless form of Psyde and Eva. Psyde was as stiff as granite, and they were unable to make him move a muscle. His unblinking stare continued to fix itself rigidly onto the white blaster, which was glowing with an unearthly light. Eva was merely unconscious, but in a very advanced state, as neither Jackrabbit was able to rouse her at all.
"I don't think Psyde is coming back anytime soon," said Jazz, hefting his blue gun nervously. "Looks like we'll have to fight Dark Psyde by ourselves for the time being."
"Looking for me?" asked a sinister voice, and one of the chamber walls collapsed, revealing behind it a path of destruction and desolation which stretched out to the outer edge of the castle. In the midst of the debris stood Dark Psyde, holding a limp and mangled red body in one hand. Dark Psyde tossed the body over towards Lori, who instantly recognized it as the destroyed form of her other brother.
"You'll pay for this..." she whispered silently, before bringing her gun up in a graceful arc and firing towards Dark Psyde. Three red missiles streaked from the gun at incredible speeds, each aimed for a vital organ in Dark Psyde's body. "Pathetic," laughed the villain, raising one hand towards the missiles, "BLOCK." The missiles suddenly appeared to hit an invisible forcefield, instantly reversing direction and flying back the way they had come. Lori dived for cover, and the missiles dug a deep hole into the floor she had been standing on.
"I had expected better from you," announced Dark Psyde, walking slowly forwards towards Psyde's immovable body. "I have only come for the brown rabbit, Psyde Psychrabbit. Leave now and your lives may yet be spared."
"Never!" cried Lori, jumping back into a fighting stance, "Psyde is our friend!" So saying, she unleashed a flurry of white hot flames from her blaster, which sneaked menacingly towards Dark Psyde's back while Jazz fired a steady stream of fizzing time bombs. "SHIELD OF ANCIENTS!" cried Dark Psyde, and the rabbits' attacks disappeared into nothingness shortly before reaching him. "You leave me no choice," said the black rabbit, and turned slowly towards Jazz, who was intently scanning his control panel for any weapons which might conceivably fire through shields. "EVIL BEAM!" Five brilliant threads of yellow light flashed forth from Dark Psyde's open mouth, hitting Jazz in the heart and burning a hole through Jazz's torso the shape of an upside down pentacle. Jazz collapsed to the ground, a final scream dying unspoken on his lips, as Dark Psyde once more resumed his approach towards Psyde.
"Can you feel the tempest, Psyde, in the realm which you have trapped yourself in?" intoned Dark Psyde, raising both hands now to aim towards Psyde's unaltered face. "Can you sense that I am here, do you know that you are about to die? Will you feel the pain when I destroy your very being, or have you retreated to a coward's paradise?" Dark Psyde paused, examining the motionless bodies before him. "It matters not. Say goodbye, Psyde. MERCILESS THUNDER!"
"NO!" screamed Lori, flinging herself across the room to stand protectively in front of Psyde. Bolt after bolt of blinding green lightning shot from Dark Psyde's fingertips, striking Lori in Psyde's place, burning her beautiful body in a heartbeat. Somewhere, a dog howled mournfully, and Psyde Psychrabbit snapped back to the land of the living, white blaster glowing more brilliantly than ever before.
Psyde blinked rapidly as all his senses returned in a rush. The sense of nearby evil returned last, but so forcefully that Psyde instantly leapt up from his seat and spun around, the unconscious body of Eva slipping to the side and landing back in the armchair. There in front of him was his evil half, Dark Psyde! And... around him...
"You monster," whispered Psyde, pointing an accusing finger towards Dark Psyde's malignant form. "That's TWICE now you've killed everyone I've known and loved!"
"The blue rabbit girl isn't dead yet," responded Dark Psyde, shifting into a combat stance, "but that's easily remedied."
"Over my dead body!"
"I knew you'd say that," remarked Dark Psyde dryly, and withdrew a round sphere from his vest, which he threw casually at Psyde. Faster than the eye could see, Psyde aimed his blaster at the sphere and fired, a lightning fast ray of pure white light enveloping the incoming threat and destroying it utterly.
"A new toy?" inquired Dark Psyde, showing not the least sign of surprise.
"Better than that," answered Psyde, aiming the blaster at Dark Psyde's head. "This blaster acts as a focus for my power. While before all I could do - and all you CAN do - was impractical, chaotic attacks, this blaster channels everything I have into a single force!"
"A force," laughed Dark Psyde, "which takes limited forms. By storing your power in that little thing, you have lost your direct access! MERCILESS THUNDER!"
The green lightning erupted forth towards Psyde once more, who merely pressed the trigger on his blaster and cried "MAGNET MISSILE!" A pulsating horseshoe object flew out of the white blaster, drawing the green lightning into itself and flying towards Dark Psyde with renewed energy. "TWISTED DESIGN!" countered Dark Psyde, and the missile split into a thousand tiny pieces which flew away in all directions.
The battle continued on in this same fashion, with each version of Psyde yelling out new attacks, and blaster fire countering strange evil powers at each interval. "FROSTBITER" was consumed by "FLAME OF DESTINY", followed by the stalemate of "TITAN'S ARM" vs. "TRINITROTOLUENE". After a long duel the two rabbits stood facing each other over a circle of multi-colored destruction, each panting despite their normally indomitable energies.
"You can't win, Dark Psyde," announced Psyde Psychrabbit, holding his white blaster aloft. "Since the split... since you came into being, I've learned new things, things which you know nothing of."
"It is you that will lose," Dark Psyde answered, the fire in his eyes burning more intently than ever. "All that I am is you, all that I am is part of you, and you can not hope to defeat me if you can not even accept yourself. You are not putting your whole self into this fight, and that reserving shall be your downfall. SEVENTH STRIKE!"
These last words caused two intense fireballs to blast forth out of Dark Psyde's eyes, one towards Psyde and the other veering off in the direction of the ceiling. An extra-powered Frostbiter obliterated the first fireball, and Psyde was readying his next attack when the second fireball hit the ceiling above. "ELECTROBLA --" Psyde screamed as the enormous stone block fell down upon him.
In the armchair, Eva Earlong stirred and woke from her deep sleep.
The next thing Psyde knew, he was floating in a sea of whiteness. There was no scenery of any kind for as far as he could see, which could really have been any distance in the world due to the lack of landmarks. "Am I... dead?" he wondered aloud.
"No," came an unearthly voice, "you are merely having an out-of-body experience."
Psyde attempted to spin around, but found himself unable to do anything besides float in place in the whiteness. Fortunately for him, the speaker materialized in his line of vision. A tall white rabbit appeared, without so much as a single ounce of fat, and long perfect black hair reaching down to her waist. She had purple eyes, lips the color of blood, and dark bat wings protruded from her back, about thirty feet in length. She wore little more than a chain-mail bikini, and held a shining sword in one hand which had the look of a sword that could cut through any material in existence. Two redundant machine guns hung at her hips, although what they were suspended by was unclear.
"Gothygurl3056..." muttered Psyde in astonishment, "my old teacher!" The white rabbit nodded, and Psyde struggled to understand. "But I thought you died years ago heroically sacrificing yourself against the Dark Goddess to save my life!"
"Yes," responded Gothygurl3056, "but I returned a week later as a hypnotized servant of your former best friend after he was inexplicably turned to the dark side by an unidentified gemstone which arrived for him in the mail, remember?"
"Oh yeah... but didn't my sidekick later accidentally stab you with his flaming lance while lashing out against the cruel world he lived in while you were attempting to console him?"
"Then the Orange Druid magically brought me back to life after you fetched him the five golden amulets of Exoticus, and of course I helped you foil his plans to take over the world using the amulets."
"Fine," countered Psyde, "but you must have died when my dark half released by an unknown energy destroyed the entire planet, right?"
Gothygurl3056 shrugged. "I can't argue with that, but I doubt it'll be permanent. Like you, I'm just too much of an awesome character to stay dead for very long." She blinked once, and a chair appeared behind her which changed colors depending on how you looked at it. She sat down, and looked Psyde in the eye. "In any case, I'm here to teach you one last time before you surpass me forever."
"Ok... but won't that be dangerous? Wouldn't you get jealous of my power and try to destroy the universe as a form of revenge?"
"Probably, but I'm sure you'll stop me in a last ditch attempt in which you call upon hitherto unknown caches of power while the world burns around you. In any case, I'm here to tell you how you can defeat Dark Psyde 'once and for all', as if he won't return a few months later to mess up your life some more."
Psyde nodded wisely. "Ok, tell me how."
"You see," explained Gothygurl3056, "you have been unable to defeat Dark Psyde because you have only been fighting with part of yourself."
"He said something to that effect, but I didn't understand him at the time."
"Yes. You are only fighting with the good and virtuous part of your power, and while that is much larger than practically anyone else's, it is not all of you. You are denying that Dark Psyde ever came from you, and in so denying, you are ignoring the darker part of your power. All the hate and grief that has built up over the last few days will be wasted if you can not come to terms with it and use it against him."
"But wouldn't that make me no better than he is?"
"Not if you can control it! Dark Psyde is so evil because he is nothing but the bad part of you. But accept that he is a part of you, and yet a small part which can be reigned in at will, and he will no longer pose a threat."
"All right," said Psyde, "I can do that. Except... I don't have the bad part of me inside me anymore."
"She's still alive," responded Gothygurl3056, "just find your body again and take it all back. And don't forget to apologize when this is all over and done with."
"I will," promised Psyde. "Thank you, Gothygurl3056. Thank you for everything."
"No problem!" answered the white rabbit, fading slowly away into nothingness once more. "Gotta go now, though. I'm way overdue on mourning my nonexistence and contemplating suicide because some random jerk doesn't like me."
Psyde tried to wave, but found that he was no longer in the whiteness, and was lodged under a giant stone block. Summoning up his incredible strength, Psyde threw the block aside and leapt to his feet, scanning the room for Dark Psyde. Who was not hard to find.
Eva stared in confused horror at the scene around her. A rabbit who looked like Psyde was standing tall in the center of the room, surrounded by marks of destruction, and laughing in the direction of a fallen stone block from which a single brown rabbit foot protruded. In various parts of the room laid the dead and mutilated bodies of both Jazz and Spaz, and there was a pile of ashes in front of the arm chair with a familiar pink ribbon on top.
"Psyde?" Eva whispered, not daring to speak any louder for fear of what might become of her control, "what... what have you done?"
"Psyde has done very little, dark princess," responded the rabbit, turning around and revealing eyes burning with the fire of intense hatred. "Psyde has done very little besides putting up a pathetic fight and getting his little friends killed."
"You're not Psyde," said Eva, still trying to come to terms with the situation. "You're... oh my, you're Dark Psyde, aren't you?"
"Perceptive, dark princess. Yes, I am Dark Psyde, thought I might as well be Psyde himself now. There is no one else to claim the title, am I wrong?"
"You're wrong!" cried a voice from elsewhere in the room, and both Eva and Dark Psyde turned to see who had spoken. Psyde Psychrabbit was standing where the giant stone block used to be, pointing the white blaster towards Dark Psyde's confused face. "You're wrong," he continued, "You're not Psyde, I am. I've come back from the land of the not-quite-dead to reclaim that which was mine!"
"I beat you once," answered Dark Psyde, "and I can beat you again. What makes you think the outcome will be any different this second time around?"
"Because I know what I did wrong last time!" cried Psyde, and as suddenly as it had returned, Eva felt her incredible admiration drain away to be replaced by a more natural feeling of vague incredulity and sadness at the death of her family.
"I see you that have stopped holding back. It matters not. I am still Dark Psyde, I am still your superior. TRANSIENT WASTE!"
"GRAY LASER ROCKET!"
A twisted flow of hatred flew forth from Dark Psyde, changing form as it flew first to malice, then to despair, jealousy and all the other markings of the darker side of emotion. At the same time, a huge rocket launched from Psyde's blaster, surrounded by blinking white lights, with black tendrils wrapping their way around it as well. The rocket changed direction in midair, readjusting its flight pattern to hit first Dark Psyde's attack, which was disintegrated, and then Dark Psyde himself. Dark Psyde fired overpowered attack after overpowered attack at the incoming missile to no avail, and with a final cry of anguish, was scattered to the winds in a million shards of evil upon contact. Outside, the thunder and rain ceased, as the weather returned to what would be considered normal daytime.
Rising slowly from the armchair, Eva crossed over to Psyde, who stood panting amidst the carnage. "Is it over?" she asked in a tremulous tone.
"Yes..." he responded, turning troubled eyes to her, "it's over. All over. I have achieved my revenge. The dead citizens of Angstus may rest in peace this night." He paused a moment, before closing his eyes as if making a decision. "Eva... I must make an apology to you."
"When I first came here," explained Psyde, "I hated myself for the evil within me that could have created Dark Psyde. Wanting no part of it, I thrust the darker half out of my mind, where it floated around before becoming a part of you. You grew cold, distant, selfish... in short, I caused you to become drastically out of character, and I apologize for that."
Eva nodded once, not exactly understanding, although it was true she no longer thought herself in love with the tall brown rabbit. "And... and what of Jazz? And Spaz, and Lori?"
"I shall take care of them now, before I depart. Here. Hold this," he instructed, handing Eva the white blaster, "I will not need it again."
Eva took the white blaster and watched as the exhausted rabbit furrowed his brow and recited the words to some ancient incantation. A puddle of white light grew from his feet, slowly expanding until it filled the entire room with glittering whiteness so strong that Eva's eyes hurt even while closed. When the whiteness was gone, Eva chanced a look around the room. Everything in the room, save for the inhabitants, was exactly like it had been before she had gotten into the armchair with Psyde an eternity ago. Jazz, Spaz and Lori were all alive, rising slowly from the floor with various stages of confusion on their face. And Psyde laid motionless on the ground, eyes cast up to the ceiling.
"Lori..." instructed Eva, summoning up whatever courage she could muster, "how is he?"
"He's not breathing," gulped the yellow rabbit after a few seconds of inspection. "He's dead!"
The funeral was held later that evening, with Eva crying softly into Jazz's protective shoulder as he held her close, and Spaz not exactly understanding the proceedings but seeming somewhat saddened anyway. He had lost his cold and serious edge since the revival, causing Eva to guess that Psyde's tossed off darkness had not affected herself alone, but she did not tell anyone of his apology or her suspicions. Lori, it had been decided, would perform the task of actually burying him in the strange metal coffin he had arrived in only a few days ago.
"Ashes to ashes," intoned the Queen dryly, "dust to dust." She and the rest of the castle's inhabitants had been found to be alive and well shortly after Dark Psyde's defeat, and completely unaware that they had apparently disappeared for the duration of the battle.
Lori stood as the lid of the coffin was slowly closed upon Psyde's motionless form. She had resolved not to cry, but a single teardrop forced itself from her eye, falling away from her face and striking Psyde's uncovered fur. The spot where the teardrop had struck glistened briefly, and the brown rabbit jerked.
"Psyde?!" exclaimed Lori, hardly daring to believe what she was seeing before her.
"...Lori?" asked Psyde, his eyes opening to stare up from the box. "Oh, Psyde!" Lori cried, shoving aside the lowering lid and jumping into the box beside him. Happily letting fall the tears which she had tried so hard to keep in only moments before, Lori Jackrabbit held Psyde Psychrabbit close, determined to never ever let him go.