Nex stood in the mouth of the cave. Glaring into the distance; he was perfectly still, like a statue. Four figures were a little bit behind him, their eyes glowing red in the dark.
"Lord...?" One of them asked. He was an exact replica of 1, save for the fact that he looked and sounded much younger than his counterpart. One of his hands were broken and there was a nasty burn on his side. A long, sharpened needle was tucked into his side, work thin from constant sharpening: -1.
Nex shook his head "10 is coming" he said.
"Isn't that good though?" Another one asked, His body was severed from the waist down. Instead of legs, he was sitting on a stool-like object, using picks to move around. The number -2 was on his back.
"You wanted her to comeback didn't you?" -2 asked. Nex shook his head.
"She's bringing an army" He told them, the Negatives' eyes widened and they got in a 'Ready for battle' pose. They already lost -6 to one of them, they weren't planning on losing anymore of themselves.
"Don't worry; they're small, they're weak. But don't let your guards down!" He warned them "Scatter around. cover any ground they can enter from, I don't want them escaping"
They nodded and disappeared.
The stitchpunks walked slowly into the mouth of the cave. Going almost painfully slow. No one was really prepared for what they were going up against.
10 shut her eyes and started breathing heavily, trying to ignore the heavy vibe around her that was pressing against her chest. Like it was trying to suffocate her. Her wings twitched and the barbs of her fingers made small holes in her arms.
"Are you okay 10?" 5 asked timidly as he rested his hand on her shoulder. She shrugged it off violently.
"I'm fine!" She said more harshly than she intended. 5 jerked his hand back in surprise.
"I'm fine" She repeated, calmer "it's just..." She sighed and shook her head "Let's just go"
She led the seven stitchpunks into the cave. It was much stuffier inside than it was outside: The air was hot and the walls themselves felt like they were breathing, the walls were wet and dripping water. Shuffling could be heard behind the walls.
10 skimmed the walls. Seeing the shine from the thin black coat of goop that seemed to be sprayed just about everywhere: The floor, the walls, the ceiling...
"This isn't a cave..." 7 commented.
It was true. Just one quick look around, anyone could see that they were in the ruins of a jailhouse; the opening they came through was just the rubble of what was left of the outside of it. The inside, however, was still somewhat intact: the cell bars were rusted like paint peeling off a wall. There were bodies in the cells, still wearing orange jumpsuits. Some of them were simply dried up, starting to rot. Others were skeletons. It was a rare thing to see skeletons nowadays.
There was also almost no light too; their only light source was the sun outside, which was already starting to set, casting everything in a yellow glow, it would have been pretty if it weren't too creepy. There was also 9's new light staff, but they didn't want to waste the battery just yet.
10 wasn't helping to the atmosphere either: She would jump and stop the group if she heard any small noise. She was too jittery, like she was expecting something to jump in front of them and attack.
9 was right behind her. Turning on his light staff for a few seconds, then turning it back off, which was also what made 10 jump.
"Do you even know where Nex could be?" he asked, 10 nodded.
"Yes, vaguely. It's like I can almost sense him, like there's a...a...what did humans call those small disks? The ones where they saw a line spinning around and then a red dot every now and then?"
"Yes, yes! Like a radar. It's like Nex is that little mark and we're the sensor thing. Or...I'm the sensor... I know where he is, I just need to find him"
"I hope it's soon..." 3 mumbled.
"It will be Sweetheart.."
Above them, something was knocked over and crashed to the floor. There was a small whisper-like sound and the sound of running feet. 10's eyes widened. She whipped around and started giving orders.
"We're splitting up!" She said "7 and 9, you two are together, 5 and 2, 8 and 1. 3, come with me"
3 scurried to her side and the eight stitchpunks split up.
-2 and -5 walked along the cells of the jailhouse. Watching their counterparts below them, -5 growled in disgust as 5 dropped his new crossbow and got startled by the noise echoing on the walls.
"Idiots" -5 snarled, -2 patted his shoulder.
"Patience 5" He said "I know it's tedious but we just need to wait"
"For what? We're strong, we can take them out, just the two of us"
"Yes, but remember, they still have 10 on their side. That's like walking into a fully armed battleground" -5 nodded. He absentmindedly fingered the hole in his eye patch. It hurt, but it was comforting too, like it was a reminder of who he was: a negative. The body the other 5 had down there, he was fake, he didn't know what pain was. -5 did. he was the one who had his soul sucked out of him, not that imposter down there. He was the real stitchpunk. He knew -2 felt the same.
He worshipped Nex like he was a god. He allowed him to live again, not only that but he heightened his senses as well. He felt like he could see farther than ever, hear the farthest needle hit the floor, feel the faintest brush. It was like the five of them had gotten millions of upgrades.
Nex had given them one mission: get 10 back from the imposters and the knowledge and , like a game humans used to play: capture the flag.
They had sent -6 to find the knowledge, or 3 and 4 in other words, but the substance keeping all five of them alive, Nex's essence as he called it, brought him back with his head sliced off. They mourned. -6 was the most level headed out of them all (Although -1 would bare to differ) nothing like the other 6, the one Nex has sleeping along with 4 back at base. That 6 was insane and unstable, like a bomb. Who knows what type of things he might be thinking in his sleep.
When -5 awoke, Nex told him about 9, 7 and the twins. How they brought them to the Fabrication machine and let it suck their souls out. He remembered it too. Living his last few seconds before becoming a negative. None of them did a thing to help him. They didn't want to help him. It made him furious thinking about it. Nex told them they would have to terminate them in order to get 10 and 3. That part he liked. He wanted to watch 5 suffer the way he had.
And he'd enjoy every minute of it.
They had made it to ground level when -2 stopped him. 5 and 2 weren't far ahead, certainly they'd attack when they saw them.
They were in the other room, not far behind. A wall separated them. -5's eyes glowed red and he growled when he saw them.-2 hushed him, harsher this time. He and -2 were a team, but -2 was very cold and had a very twisted sense of humor. Not that he minded anyways.
-5's eyes caught the other's attention. It was 5 who investigated he was holding a club-like chunk of wood. -2 planned on "greeting" him.
-2 slowly wheeled against the wall, careful of his stool squeaking. He lifted up both picks, ready to use them as weapons. When 5 rounded the corner, -2 shrieked and raised both his picks, ready to stab them through him.
Instead, 5 swung his makeshift club in a panic, it collided with -2's optics, knocking him back and off his stool.
-5 screeched and charged, tackling 5 to the ground. He yelped in surprise and tried to wrestle him off, but -5 was unbelievably strong for his frame type. -5 roared and brought a clawed hand down, leaving four visible scratches on 5's eye patch. 2 came from behind and whacked -5 on the back of his head with the butt of his makeshift spear. It stunned him for a while. But that only gave time for -2 to attack. 5's club had smashed his optics to pieces, all that was left of them were a few wires.
-2 grabbed 2s ankle, he gasped and tried to shake him off, -2 dug his fingers into his legs and ripped a few holes. Taking this chance, 5 grabbed his crossbow, loaded it and pointed it at -2. The arrow hit him in his side. He gasped and let go of 2's leg.
"2!" -5 cried once he was out of his shock. He ran to the injured stitchpunk and dragged him to a piece of debris.
"let's go" 2 said, 5 nodded and the two left the other two be.
"2!" -5 sat -2 up to help him with the pain. The arrow was deep in his side; around it, oil and black goop were oozing out.
"5?" -2 mumbled. -5 couldn't bear to look at him, his eyes crushed, blind, dying. All in less than 10 seconds.
"Go to the others" -2 said "leave me here..."
"What?! No! I can get it out!" -5 gripped the arrow and tugged it; -2 shouted in pain. The arrow was in too deep, maybe in his spine.
"Leave it" -2 demanded "It'll only make things worse if you take it out"
"But the arrow-"
"I said leave it!" He let out a shaky breath and -5 could see him shaking a bit, he looked down. More ooze and oil was gushing out. He was fading fast.
"2... don't leave us" -5 begged "Don't die...not again...!"
"I'm sorry 5...I can feel it..."
"Don't say that! I'll carry you! I'll do anything. I won't let you die!"
"Just...hear me out...Don't let them take 10 away. Do everything you can to take her away from the others. There are only three of you left..." He sighed shakily "Make the best of yourselves..."
He bowed his lead and his body relaxed.
He didn't respond. -5 pulled the arrow out, a thin stream of ooze spilled out and started to cover -2's body, he watched as the ooze coated him in a thin layer of ooze, watching it shrink into the ground then melt into the part concrete part dirt floor. Taking -2 with it.
"No..." -5 mumbled "No...this can't be happening..." He hugged his shoulders, digging his fingers in them, wanting to feel the pain. This was all 5's fault. He was the one who shot the arrow! The bastard!
"I'll get you for this you disgusting little maggot! Because of you 2's dead!..." -5 said, dragging his claws into the dirt. He twitched and doubled over, gripping his top button. In a heat of rage, he ripped it off. It felt good, painful, but comforting at the same time. He needed to feel pain. He felt the loosened stitches of his tattered eye patch and ripped it off. ripping off his burlap skin underneath as well. He looked at the patch, save for the large hole in it, it looked just like 5's. No need to have it anymore.
"You won't get away with this..."