Author's Note: Hello All! First off, no, this is not the promised sequel to Consequences. I'm sorry to keep you all waiting so long, but I'm still having writer's block there. I haven't given up on it, but it isn't ready to start posting. I really do appreciate your patience there. And even though my creative juices seemed to have stopped flowing with that story, they seem to be flowing quite well with this one. Hopefully it'll be enough to give you a few moments of reading pleasure. I do have to warn you that this fic is a little darker than my previous one, but it's in line with the current Halloween season, so I'm sure it won't be too out of place. But anyway, I'll quit babbling and let you get to the actual story. Enjoy!
Disclaimer: I do not own Darkwing Duck or any associated characters. All are used without permission for non-profit purposes.
"For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and forfeits his soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?" Matthew 16:26
At last! Complete, unadulterated power! Negaduck stared possessively out over the city, his city, the capital of his newly acquired domain, and reveled in the sight. How hard he'd worked for this, how long he'd waited! And now, it was finally his! His eyes roved over the view, hungrily drinking it all in, before settling his gaze on a large building just barely visible in the settling dusk.
A terrible smile spread across his face as the events surrounding that building replayed themselves in his mind. It had needed quite a bit of expanding in light of his recent financial acquisitions, and the old geezer who'd owned it before had been less than willing to part with it and its contents. The smile widened. He'd taken quite a bit of pleasure in persuading that antique of a miser to change his mind.
The building needed to be moved closer though, to where he could keep a better eye on it, and where he could feast his eyes on its contents each morning. Besides, it was a symbol of his newly acquired control, and should stand next to his headquarters as a symbol of his power.
He now only had one thing left that he needed to do, and he relished the thought of finishing that little task. When that was done, he would have unchallenged authority to do whatever he wanted, when he wanted!
But then what? the thought suddenly sprang unbidden into his mind, causing his smile to drop into a frown. You already had complete control in the Negaverse, but that wasn't enough; you had to cross over to this world and conquer it. Where will you go when you grow bored here?
Negaduck angrily shoved the unwanted thought from his mind. He didn't want to waste his time on introspection when he should be savoring the sweet taste of tyranny. Besides, he still had that one task to finish.
"I am the terror that flaps in the night!"
The smile reappeared on his face. Speak of the devil…
"I am the activist who single-handedly overthrows your empire!"
Negaduck turned away from the window and folded his arms across his chest, waiting for the mallard to finish his overly dramatic entrance. The idiot always did have a penchant for overdoing things.
"I am Darkwing Duck!" the masked hero exclaimed, flourishing his cape amid a rapidly dissipating blue cloud. He whipped out his gas gun and pointed it at the villain. "Your reign of terror is over Negaduck! I'm going to send you back to where you came from!"
Negaduck snorted at the mallard's overconfidence. "It's about time you showed up," he said, lazily taking a few steps closer to his arch nemesis. "I was beginning to wonder if you'd lost what little nerve you had."
He watched with some satisfaction as Darkwing ground his teeth in irritation. The knob had also always been ridiculously easy to get a reaction out of. "I'm not here to play your games, Negaduck" the hero said, his anger only thinly masked.
"Oh, but you're going to have to," Negaduck replied coolly. "Do you see where you're standing?"
Darkwing looked down, and saw with some shock the metal plate he was on top of. Negaduck had known that the hero wouldn't have been able to resist the picturesque drama of being silhouetted by the rapidly setting sun, and there was only one location in the penthouse that would have accommodated both that and his trademark entrance. And Darkwing would of course, be totally oblivious to the fact that he was literally stepping into a trap. The villain smiled. He knew his nemesis better than the handle of his chainsaw.
"The plate you're standing on is pressure sensitive," Negaduck explained, quite enjoying the alarmed expression growing on Darkwing's face as he lowered his gas gun, "and it's wired to a bomb set just beneath the floor there. Your weight has activated the bomb, and any change in the weight on that plate will set it off."
Darkwing visibly paled, only increasing the villain's pleasure. "You can't be serious!" the masked mallard squeaked, even as he took pains to remain as still as possible. "If that bomb goes off, it'll take you with it too!"
"It would, if I intended to stay here," Negaduck smirked, calmly approaching his helpless prey. "But I've decided that Canard tower could use some, shall we say, remodeling. And aren't you the lucky one!" Negaduck said, clasping his hands together in mock excitement. "While I temporarily relocate to City Hall, you get to be the one to start the process off!"
Negaduck could see a thin film of perspiration appearing on Darkwing's face as the hero realized he was in earnest. "Oh and don't worry," Negaduck continued, looking his nemesis in the face with another smile. "I've had a few cameras put in that'll be sending me a live feed. I wouldn't miss your final moments for the world."
Darkwing was trying to put on a bold face now. "You won't get away with this, Negaduck!" he growled. "I'm not alone you know! You'll never get past the elevator!"
"Oh, you mean your sidekick and that brat that follow you around?" Negaduck asked, nonchalantly glancing at his watch. He loved making Darkwing squirm. "I've been watching them through the security feed ever since they entered the building." He reached into his cape and pulled out a shotgun, then gave his opponent a vicious smile. "They should be coming through the stairway door any second now, right?"
Darkwing physically blanched. "You wouldn't!" he gasped.
Negaduck chuckled. "I would."
Suddenly, a door burst open across the floor, and Negaduck turned to see Darkwing's burly pilot framed in the doorway leading to the stairs. He raised the barrel of his shotgun and lined up the sights.
"Launchpad, look out!" Darkwing cried out behind him. Instead of diving out of the way though, the pilot froze, his expression comically similar to a deer caught in the headlights. Negaduck wanted to laugh with sheer delight at his easy victory as he squeezed the trigger, but suddenly he was struck heavily from behind, knocking him forward and sending the shot wide. He was just able to register the purple sleeves gripping him around the middle before his world erupted into a hot, blazing inferno. There was intense, burning pain, a sensation of something tugging at him, then nothing.
The first thing that hit Negaduck when he came to himself was the overwhelming darkness. Never in his life had he ever been anywhere so dark. It seemed to smother him, weighing down on him like a suppressive blanket. He had to physically reach up and touch his face to make sure his eyes were open and that he wasn't staring at the underside of his eyelids. As he did so though, he felt a wave of fear wash over him. Instead of feeling the silky fabric of his mask, his fingers met with the soft feathers that covered his face. His mask was gone!
With that realization came the panic of feeling exposed. Without the mask, people could see his face! He hadn't allowed anyone to see him without his mask for as long as he could remember! He wanted to bury his face in his hands or cover it with his cape, anything to replace the protection his mask had given him. But as the initial bout of panic subsided, Negaduck realized that there was no one around to see. Besides the overwhelming blackness, a crushing silence also hung in the thick air, a silence so strong that it negated even the possibility of someone else being there.
Despite that, the little known sensation of fear churning his stomach was making him nervous. He hated being helpless, and he hated the fear that that feeling brought. He needed to get out of here! The mallard reached his arms out, trying to find something, anything, that would give him a clue to where he was. His hands though met with nothing but empty air. Now that he thought about it, Negaduck realized that he really couldn't even feel the ground he was supposed to be sitting on. He could feel absolutely nothing. A little alarmed, the mallard tried to see if he could smell or even taste anything in the air, but even those attempts were met with nothing. Negaduck felt the urge to scream rise up strongly in him. There was absolutely nothing for his senses to latch onto, and it was beginning to drive him mad!
Desperately, Negaduck sought to distract himself by figuring out how'd got there, trying to replay the events leading up to his loss of consciousness, but he now found it was difficult to even think straight. Had he hit his head when Darkwing had tackled him? His thoughts were disjointed and fragmented, he couldn't focus on his train of thought for more than two minutes at a time. What the heck was wrong with him?
Just as Negaduck thought he would go insane with fear and frustration, he felt a wave of frigidly cold air wash over him, causing goosebumps to raise on his skin, and an eerie sort of deadness saturated the area. Until now, his world had been devoid of any physical sensation, and while he was relieved to at last be feeling something, he did so with a great sense of trepidation. There was something terribly wrong about this. As if cued by his thought, he felt a presence appear, something darker and more evil than he'd known to be possible. A shadow became visible against the blackness, a wispy shadow faintly backlit by a dull crimson light. It glared at him with smoldering red eyes that seemed to burn through his soul, paralyzing him in its predatory gaze.
After a moment though, Negaduck managed to find his voice, and in a tone much more unsteady than he would have liked, asked, "Who are you?"
It was a moment or two before the shadow answered, but at last, in a cold and hate-filled whisper that chilled Negaduck to the bone, it replied, "I am Death."