World of Zim: Act I
Vampire Piggy Hunter Online Saga chapter 3
"Enter Glaive's Caste"
The Shadow Hunter drew her dark cloak around her as she slowly crept through the frozen wasteland the lead towards Glaive's courtyard. Sharp and focused she remained, already putting the cataclysmic battle with the Irken's Fistknight behind her. Light, soundless are her steps. Hardly any trace of her presence is left as she silently prowls. With every shadow she passes, she is briefly joined and then she continues to move, as if for that instant she was the shadow itself.
A light dusting of snow starts to fall around her, echoing the light muffling sounds of each snowflake's decent. Her eyes scans left and right through the ice-covered spiraling rows of thorn bushes that she passes They each looked as though they once flourished lovely in mid-bloom at some point, that was until an artic blast blew through capturing them all forever in a crystallize prison.
Ignoring the spectacle, the Shadow Hunter instead narrowed her eyes. There is a slight lazy hiss of steel scrapping upon leather hide as G slowly eased her slender blade from its sheath. The Shadow Hunter realizing instantly that everything has suddenly become eerily quiet. …Too quiet.
Then it sounds…
(Music Cue: Saw Soundtrack: "Saw Theme Song")
A slight rustling echo followed by a light, tap, tap, tap. G's amber eyes continue to pan the horizon, following the repeated sound. From out the corner of her eye she could have sworn she saw a small dark shape dash into one of the icicled bushes, but it was gone the next second. The Valkyrie Shadow Hunter continued at a slow pace, the hilt of her blade rose up, leveling to her shoulder in a tight guard. More of the light tapping sound joined the first. Every time G, turned thinking she could have caught a glimpse of the agile shape, all that would be left were a faint jostling of a bush just disturbed.
Through the scurrying, through the movements, suddenly a spine-chilling howl erupted through the yard. G turned on her heels, from out the blackness the howling continued to bellow from all around her, but yet nothing was in sight. Round and round she turned but yet still nothing approached; then from behind G heard a deep rumbling growl that sounded more like rolling thunder.
G spun around finally catching sight of the beast. It was hunched down on all fours; body easily tripling her hundred and thirty-five pound weight. Its fur, if you could even consider it that, was transparent laced with icicles and frost. It seemed to shimmer in the dark moonlight never being solid and yet never being ethereal either. Two sets of eyes were perched on either side of its head, each the color of violet embers. But that wasn't what was impressive, that wasn't what was most frightening.
Another reverberating growl hauled from its throat. Its then face seemed to split apart at the hinge. The bottom part of its muzzle dropped, it's salivating jaws elongating till they were almost as big as the rest its frozen skull. Two rows of six-inch razor sharp fangs ringed round its hideous mouth. A black reptilian type tongue slivered from within, lacing its jaws with a fresh coat of saliva before retracting inside.
G regarded the wolf cautiously. Its body was tensed, coiled, as if ready to pounce at any moment. Gaz recalled hearing about the mob from one of the Developer's post. It was a Frostmaul, a spectral elemental beast that roamed the lands around Glaive's realm. She had been fortunate to never come across one, as she was making her way here, only easily felled Zombie Hogs and the occasional group of pOrkZ.
G eased into her step, her mind already deciding on how to handle the hound when she heard a chorus of grumbles sounding from behind. She turned to see eight more grizzly faces and in that moment Gaz recalled another statement the developer wrote, 'Frostmauls always roam in packs.'
Zim blinked several times as he looked at his computer monitor. It had been ten minutes since the hellion Gaz-monster entered Glaive's gates. To this moment he couldn't' recall why exactly he allowed her to go before he, the act was clearly detrimental to his path to the almighty l33t. But he shrugged after awhile, it was probably apart of an incredible brilliant plan he concocted but simply forgot the details to.
Either way, the Irken Invader/Gamer was bored and he couldn't shake the thought of, 'I should be PWNing something right now.'
Zim leaned back in his console chair, giving a good stretch, the rhythmic sounds of bones that had been idle for far too long started cracking and popping as he flexed all over. Deciding he was a bit parched, he flipped up his character's "AFK" flag and left his console to go in search of caffeine, a Gamer's fuel.
The blinding refrigerator light washed Zim's amazing eyes in its brilliant gleam as he opened the door. The adjustment from the dim light of his monitor to the awesome light of the food chiller, took a moderate fifteen milliseconds for the alien, then Zim perused the food items with a predator's eye. With in an instant he found his prey, a can of extra caffeinated, 'Poop Cola.'
"MINE!" he greedily cheered, three digit hands seizing the drink. He popped the top, dropped a bendy straw in and sucked down some cola goodness, the action was so smoothly played that it almost seemed rehearsed.
After completing his Caffeine Crusade, Zim kicked the fridge door close behind him and started to make his way back to his lab.
Zim paused while in mid-step, an invisible eyebrow slightly raised as he heard the faint chuckling echoing from behind him. Automatically Zim wheeled around hoping to catch Gir in whatever game the little robot was playing. But when he looked all the Irken saw was the vacant items that were usually present in his base's kitchen. No sign of the chaotic little robot anywhere.
Shrugging his shoulders and taking a long draw from his straw, Zim continued on his way.
"Heeheehee…" he heard it again, although this time with reflexes that border-lined pure thought, Zim tossed up his drink into the air. The Irken then spun around, his soda-hand now freed, reached into his Pak for his Matter-Rearranger ray that had its dial already set to: 'OMGWTFPWN!!'
Zim's ruby eyes glared through the thin crosshairs, as he steadily panned the weapon from left to right. For five seconds he waited, seeing if anything was going to jump at him. Because for some reason, the monsters in the movies wait exactly five seconds before they pounce on you. Go look it up, Scout's honor!
(Disclaimer: The Author of World of Zim was never affiliated with the Boy Scouts or anything of Scout's nature!)
After deciding the coast was clear and declaring another victory in his honor, Zim's hand snapped out, he plucked his discarded soda on its return trip to the ground an instant before it hit. The Irken popped the straw back into his mouth and continued his merry way back to his game.
In the back of his mind he did recall reading somewhere that a few misspent hours behind the computer screen tended to do things to a person's senses. And since this was going on his twentieth marathon hour of playing, it would be expected that things would be a bit off.
…Even in a mind as amazing as his.
Satisfied with that reason, Zim filed the incident away in his, oh so uber brain. The battle for the l33t still had to be fought, which was entirely more pressing. The incident was almost altogether forgotten; he even decided he was going to ignore the fact the chuckle sounded strangely like his own voice.
The couch elevator or the elevator that sprouted from the couch, descended to the computer lab floor. Sounds of deep soulful slurping could be heard as Zim the Irken Invader exited. Poop Cola, despite the name was some good cola. I mean it had to be, with a name like that!
Anyway, stepping with a lighter step than his usually Irken March, Zim strolled through, passing the many beeping and whirling machines in his laboratory. He even passed a very curious looking dark section. Normally he wouldn't have given it any thought, there were several places in his lair that held dark creepy sections, but the sudden switching of two stage lights drew his attention. He paused in step, taking another slurp of Poop, (Yeah that sounded nasty to me too…) slightly puzzle.
Through the extra loud sound speakers that brewed through his home, the light scratching sound of a record player could be heard followed by a slight riff of a Banjo being strummed.
(Yeah, Someone is gonna hate me for this next part. :D )
Not a moment later, his moronic sidekick Gir slid under one of the lights and fell over. Quickly returning to his feet, the dopey robot had an open-mouth grin that could put the sun to shame. Soundlessly, Minimoose, Zim's other henchmen and apparently Gir's accomplice sailed on down under the other spotlight's center.
Zim, raising one non-existent eyebrow, and was about to ask, what in humanity was the pair up to when suddenly through the sound speakers a voice echoed, "Hello boys and girls! This is your ol' pal, Stinky Wizzleteeth. This is a song about a whale, NO! This is a song about being happy!" At this statement Gir's grin was even bigger; it was possible, while Minimoose maintained his constant blank face. "It's the Happy, Happy, Joy, Joy song!" Stinky continued.
(Music Cue: Ren & Stimpy: "The Happy, Happy, Joy, Joy Song")
"Happy, Happy, Joy, Joy" "Happy, Happy, Joy, Joy"
"Happy, Happy, Joy, Joy" "Happy, Happy, Joy, Joy"
"Happy, Happy, Joy, Joy" "Happy, Happy, Joy, Joy"
The song continued on with the pair docedoing and spinning around and around, well namely Gir was. Although stricken with limit movement, Minimoose still was able to rhythmically sway back and forth to the tune, while Gir was slapping his knee and promenading across the floor. For three long renditions the pair carried on, till finally they drew a curtain call.
After the song concluded its run, Zim closed his eyes, took a very long deep breath and continued his trek back to his computer console. After seven and a half years of his ownership of Gir, such sights became almost commonplace in his lair. Zim only question was how the zany Robot found the time to rehearse those numbers?
A stream of violet hair trailed behind Valkyrie Shadow Hunter G as she tore rings around the coiling frozen brush maze in Glaive's courtyard. Her feet continued to pump rapidly as she heard the frothing, snarling growls and howls of the six remaining Frostmauls that followed closely behind her. …And were gaining.
Somewhere in the 'real' world, Gaz Membrane kept her character in Auto-run, while she skimmed through her character's spell book. The youngest Membrane sibling was having a hard time figuring out how to conquer the icy mutts. A harsh bark, from her console drew the teen girl's attention.
In the game world, one the drooling Frostmauls gained ground passed the others. He darted forward and leapt into the air, six-inches of snarling fanged horror, sought to claim the Shadow Hunter's life, but at the last possible moment she reacted. With a quick snap, her PWN-Blade whipped into her grasp, G then quickly pivoted on her heels, her blade weaving a slick cleaving cross. The Shadow Hunter could feel the steel's edge as it slid through the ethereal flesh of the Frostmaul. The hound seemed to shimmer for a second as it fell to the ground then slowly it started to rebuild itself. In no time it was whole again, but the break was long enough to buy the Shadow Hunter more ground.
"AH HA!" Gaz cried out loud as she finally found the spell she was looking for. Triggering the small, "Do you want to Memorize?" button that appeared on her screen, she quickly drew the incantation.
There was a split second delay reaction from Gaz Membrane filling in G, the Shadow Hunter, but that was all the time needed. At the drawing of a dead end, G's heeled-boot swung around to face her pursuers. The Frostmauls packed into that small corridor, snarling fangs, panting bad breath, all eager to feast on this delectable quarry. But they knew not the true terror that was a Valkyrie Shadow Hunter.
In flash G, stance parted way, her blade cast before her as in display. Her tone intensified, as volumes of magic started to spew from her mouth and a red as flame glyph appeared underneath her. G cast her blade in front of her then spoke three powerful words of magic, her palm gliding over her blade's shadowy steel as her hand moved a valley of flame drew behind it, till its whole edge was engulfed.
With a two-fist grasp, G drew her blade of fire in front of her. A devious grin spread across her full lips, while her face was captured in the embers of an inferno, "Valkyrie Shadow Hunter Sorcerery: EN-Flame!"
The Frostmauls stared on unfazed. As if the situation hadn't changed. As if they weren't aware they each were now staring at their own destruction. They simply attacked. But there was no more running for the Shadow Hunter.
Thundering a roar of her own that seemed to shake mountains, G dove into the fray, her blade of fire connecting surely. Only this time when her Phantom Warrior's Night-Blade met the ethereal flesh of the Frostmaul, it didn't dissolve through like water passing through a strainer. The icy mutt's head flew from its body as if it was sheered through with a torch.
The decapitated Frostmaul continued on, making two more steps oblivious to it own destruction before ultimately falling to the ground seconds before drifting into nothingness. All of the remaining members of the pack ears seemed to perk up from this latest development. And Gaz knew it had to be a glitch in the system. Gaz knew it had to have been a bug, but why did it seem the Frostmauls were less hesitant to approach than a moment before.
The brief hesitation only served to goad the Shadow Hunter more, her bright amber colored eyes flashed viciously. "Sucks for you, don't it?" she grinned, and then G proceeded to tear through the Frostmauls like sin tearing through innocence. Her blade flashed out in vengeance two more times and two more of the frozen hounds sank to the abyss.
The remaining three Frostmauls all surrounded her in a final attempt. The Shadow Hunter crouched low; her eyes swam around in a circle keeping tabs on the three. She noticed how the muscles of each of their four legs clenched tightly preparing for their assault.
Before she could even blink two of the hounds were airborne, leaping toward her like a snarling nightmare. Swiftly G lunged forward her blade seemed to glide forward stabbing fast. G then drew back, her blade swimming across in a circular arc, a semicircle of fire trailing around her.
Two puffs of steam signaled those Frostmauls end, while the third one moved. G then instantly snapped her blade up, inches in front of her face. Not a moment too soon either, because that final Frostmaul came crashing into her fiery edge, but the wolf didn't dissolve, nor did melt, he simply evaporated right before her sights. The hiss of the steam surrounded G as she continued to walk forward, the tails of her dark cloak following her.
Chilling artic winds started to brew again as G finally made her way out of the courtyard. Every breath she took fogged the air around her as the last trances of the spiraling labyrinth of frozen bushes abandoned her. Her eyes then gazed up as she looked to the mountainous tower of stairs that lead to Glaive's front door.
G allowed her amber eyes to scan around cautiously as she made her ascent up the stairs. PWN-Blade clutched tightly in her grasp, the Shadow Hunter was anxious to see what else the Swine King's realm could throw at her.
The further she went more of the castle was seen. G saw the ancient cobblestone rocks that fortified the medieval-styled fortress. On and on the castle went disappearing into the clouds with its height. Her eyes noticed a series of towers floating by some power of their own as well as some of the towers that were connected to the castle itself. The top of the stairs leveled out to a large platform that was easily half the size of a football field. As G continued to look further she noticed there laid two gigantic metallic doors that marked the castle's entrance. The doors were each adorned with thick steels rings that looked as though you needed a juggernaut to pry them open.
For a fleeting second Gaz, briefly thought of a certain Irken that did posses such a colossal character, but just as quickly she KO-ed that thought, she'd rather sit and forever play "Hello Kitty Adventure Island" then ask for that moron's help. She would endure this like she did everything else, on her own.
On either side of the door two large looming stone statues stood, each looking as though they were guarding the entrance. One was armed with a bladed pole arm with a jagged spike protruding from its peak, while the other held a wicked looking battleaxe close to his chest.
G narrowed her eyes and sighed. Given the set-up most likely the two statues would come alive after she reached a certain distance to the door. Accepting that consequence, the Valkyrie Shadow Hunter decided she wanted to look around a bit more before she decided to make her trek towards the castle.
Above the two Guardian statues, she noticed two stone gargoyles much like the ones that were mounted on the iron gates at the start of the zone. Large granite stone fangs, small beady eyes and large outspread wings, they both looked like a formidable pair. Which made G pause in thought, 'Would the attack come from the statue guardians or the Gargoyles?' she pondered.
After a few more minutes of deliberation, Gaz let out exasperated sigh, "Only one way to find out," she said out loud to herself and moved her character forward.
Cautiously the Shadow Hunter began. She kept herself low in her stance, slowly moving, not a sound emanating from her steps. G kept her blade in a lowered guard offensive stance, its tip angled toward the ground for a quick rising upward thrust if needed. Her amber eyes moved along with her, constantly scrutinizing ever sound, every detail from the area around her for the slightest disturbance.
Then she heard it, a slight crumbling sound. Her eyes looked up as a few pebbles fell down to the ground in front of the door, but what drew her attention was the fact that one of the stone Gargoyles was missing. Instantly G's eyes widen as she looked up, she heard an earsplitting screech! The Shadow Hunter was spared a few seconds seeing the large stone fanged face of gray bodied Gargoyle with flashing blood red eyes. She reacted, trying to draw her blade to her side but the stone beast was too fast, it crashed devastatingly into her body driving her to the floor.
The Shadow Hunter gasped in anguish as she impacted hard to the ground. And in a second she was hit with the stark realization, the gargoyle hit almost as hard as Zim's Fistknight! But G only had half a second to relish the pain, because she quickly twirled to the side, a second before a long stone dart embedded itself into the concrete were she just lay. Her eyes widened again and she leaped forward tucking her head in fast for a roll, as two more stone darts struck.
G counter twirled her blade in front of her as she met another one of the drilling stone darts head on! Sparks of steel danced in around her in twilight as the dart tried to coil and spin its way through her PWN-Blade's steel, her feet slide back inch by inch from the driving power of the projectile, her muscles continued to brace against the force.
Her eyes continued to swim around her, but she could barely keep track of the gargoyle, its flight speeds seemed impossible. One moment she believed she had a lock on it, then the next instant it flashed to another spot.
G gritted her teeth in fury as she screamed, tossing off the driving spear then her PWN-Blade whipped three times in front of her, sending three purple blades of energy into the sky. But the Gargoyle was long gone before they even left its tip. He flashed behind her rushing into her a second time, tumbling her forward.
Within two breaths G was back onto her feet, but her whole body froze as she heard the silent crumbling behind her. She looked over her shoulder noticing the second gargoyle was missing from its perch. Another piercing screech called through the sky as another gargoyle was in flight. The second one barreled rolled in the air and flapped its wings hard, sending a volley of stone darts G's way.
G managed to throw her self into another roll barely missing being skewered, but then she was tossed back like she was bashed in the head by a cement brick, the original Gargoyle managed to outflank her and barreled its body into her with another blitzing run.
Gaz glanced to her monitor's right. She was losing hit points fast. Those Gargoyles hits were like trucks and she had used most of her magic power from her fight with Zim and the Frostmauls from before.
There suddenly was a loud clang, followed by a series of jiggling steel. On some wild instinct G threw herself back so far; her spine was nearly parallel to the floor. It was a good thing too because just inches in front of her face a blade attached to gleaming set of chains soared overhead. Their flight ended then snapped back to their source.
G threw a hand down dropping the weight on her side and twirled around to her feet. She stared on as one of the Statue Guardians came to life, drawing the chained projectile back to his spear. Its eight foot and a half body shimmered into an emerald green as words appeared above his head:
A gravelly screech above drew G's attention above again, as two more smashing runs cracked her body, knocking her completely off her feet. Her blade danced in the air for a moment before it landed somewhere down on the descending stairway. G was having a hard time focusing. Her sights were dizzying. The gravelly screeching from above kept drawing her attention. The lumbering Gatekeeper that was moving towards her, steel spear gleaming. And each hit of those gargoyles continued to take chunks of out of her life.
In heart of such a calamity, at home Gaz drew a sadly realization, "…I can't win."
There was a crack above like a piercing scream as over a dozen stone darts rained upon her nailing her to the ground. Her body ruined, leaking a pool of blood, staining the granite beneath. She could only look helplessly, as Gatekeeper Kilamar drew his bladed spear above his head, casting the finishing blow.
For a brief second the screen went black and then the next instance G was outside at Glaive's gates, Zim's Fistknight sitting patiently beside her.
Gaz stared on at her monitor in open disbelief.
The teen girl had been playing Vampire Hunter Piggy Online for weeks now. Hours upon, hours she sat with her console, slaying and adventuring all over the land. But today, this marked the first time she ever was completely defeated. A weary hand raked through her violet hair, absentmindedly avoiding the hairclips.
She hadn't even reached a save point yet, so that meant all her effort for the day. The defeat of the Frostmauls, reaching Glaive's door wouldn't count.
"FUCK! FUCK! FUCK!!" she cursed out loud, wanting to hurl the wretched game across the room and cursing her own failure.
The Fistknight stared questionably at the Shadow Hunter, who suddenly appeared right next to him. He was puzzled at first but it didn't take long to put the pieces together.
In a flash he was on his feet his finger pointing accusingly to the Shadow Hunter. When she didn't comment, it only prompted him more to unleash the tide, "BWHAHAAHAHAHAAAAHAHAHAHAAAAAHAHAHAHAHAAHAHAH!!" ZimAlmighty whooped with laughter while throwing his head back and clutching his sides. "Little Gaz, Mighty one!" he taunted, "Or should it be Noob-Gaz? The devourer? The Punish lady? BWHAHAAHAAHAAHAAAAA!" he continued on for sometime. When it almost seemed that he would get himself together, he'd take one look at the Shadow Hunter then he'd be forced to start again.
G felt her fist tightened in rage. Her amber eyes just glared diamond-edged daggers at the Fistknight. She stood to her feet, ready to dispatch him. Ready to unleash all her fury from her frustrations of it all!
But for some reason she just sank down to her feet. He was right. He was totally right. She was a complete and utter failure. All her boosting, all her bragging, and she still failed. Video Games were the only thing she had ever been good at, if she didn't have that she was nothing. She had nothing.
ZimAlmighty frowned at seeing the uncharacteristic like brooding from the Shadow Hunter. From all the years he's known her, he was so used to hearing all the various ways she would 'doom' his wretched existence whenever he step out of line, this voluminous silence was unnerving. …Very unnerving.
At once the Fistknight collected himself. He spared her one small glance then looked away. He took a step towards the gate ready to finally make his venture into Glaive's realm when he suddenly stopped, "There is an old Irken saying," he began, taking a breath, "In the wake of a great defeat, an Invader does not reflect on depth of his failure, but instead he thinks of the height of elation he will receive for his eventual victory."
A cool breeze drew a silent breath as the remainder of his words echoed in the distance. G looked over to the mighty Fistknight, his powerful back was still towards her but she couldn't help but reflect on what he said.
"Zim…" she began, but she drew up short as he continued to walk on.
"HAHAHAAA! Impotent worm-baby," he called to no one in particular, "Bask in the amazingness of Zim as he PWNZ that pathetic pork lamerz into canned Noob!" he cried while marching boldly through the gates.
Five minutes later…
G head finished assessing the losses she took from today's outing. She would have to go to a nearby zone to restock in one of the towns there. While getting to her feet she cast one glance towards the gate. For a moment the girl character tilted her head to the side, she saw what was approaching, sighed then took a step to the side.
"AHHHH! GET IT OFF!" A moronic Irken's Fistknight cried while high-tailing it through the gates. He currently had five Frostmauls dangling from his body and a six running behind him barking furiously. "GET IT OFF! WHY DOES IT HURRRRT!" he continued to bellow, asking for mercy from his Tallest to rid him of the devilish things.
After a few more yards away from the gate, the Frostmauls released ZimAlmighty and retreated back into the gate, returning to their spawn point. Recovering fast, after seeing they were gone, ZimAlmighty zoomed to the front of the gates, fist swinging threateningly, "You damnable face-weasels! YOU WILL RUE THE DAY YOU DECIDED TO MEDDLE WITH THIS l33t IRKEN INVADER!
G sighed, she'd had enough for the night, "Whatever, Zim. I have to log off. It's getting late," Gaz said through the voice chat, her hands already typing the commands to log out. G eyes then snapped up dangerously, "I hope I won't see you again ever."
ZimAlmighty barely looked as if he was paying attention, "Yeah, yeah…Shoo Gaz-human, Shoo from Zim…" he waved his hand dismissively, before logging out himself.
Gaz Membrane stretched tiredly as she got to her feet. She briefly looked at the clock and noticed it was a little after midnight. Leaving her Converse sneakers in the living room floor, the girl left a trail of clothes around the house as she headed upstairs for a quick shower.
It was a little before one in the morning before her head finally rested on the pillow in her room and the lights were off. The house was quiet as usual this time of night, with her dad away inventing or destroying something and Dib in college.
It was only the sound of her breathing that echoed in the darkness. A darkness that seemed to intensify as well as the random thoughts that started to brew in her head when the lights were off and she realized she again was alone in this big house.
"Dammit," she cursed out loud, her anxiety was setting in again. Her eyes softened as she noticed her cell phone charging on the nightstand. It was well after one, but she knew he'd be up. Snatching up the phone she quickly dialed the all familiar number all the while cursing her own weakness.
"Hello Rek? It's Gaz…" she said into the receiver.
Meanwhile across town, Zim was his fortress of solitude in the middle of some deep deliberation, "The Dib-human's sister has proved to be a very worthy adversary," he honestly admitted, "Even more so then her stink-beast brother."
Gir ever the one to help out his misbegotten Master viciously waved a hand in earnest, "Maybe the two of youse should join together!" he suggested innocently. Although Gir was suggesting the two of them start a mud pie bakery together, but I don't think Zim realized that. Nor does the author understand where the thought came from.
"Quiet Gir! I'm plotting…" Zim admonished, while his 'great' mind continued to turn. After a few more moments, he snapped his fingers in conclusion, "THAT'S IT! It's INGENIUS! MWHAHAAHAHAHAAAAA!!" he cried diabolically, with Gir laughing right along with him. The robot didn't know what he was laughing about but it seemed a good enough reason as any.
To Be Continued…
Next Chapter: "Fellowship"
Disclaimer: Invader Zim and its characters are the property of Jhonen Vasquez and Nickelodeon. The author of this story claims no right or ownership to said property.