In the first flight
Tweek's hand on Craig's arm had become a familiar sight during the last few months. Summer was long gone by now, as was the uncomfortable squirm the blonde used to feel upon having to touch his partners' skin. Countless lessons and training exercises had taken care of that. Only the sight of the thin black circle on Craig's wrist with all its' lines, little symbols and ancient illegible letters still ignited his curiosity whenever he laid eyes on it. Tweek's fingers only slid over the mark for a moment before it had disappeared, sucked into a spiral of transforming flesh and lost in its' new makeup. They had trained a lot to make the transformation as natural and effortless as possible and Tweek thought they might be able to do it in their sleep by now. Self-assured he gripped the handle of the weapon that was meant to be wielded only by him.
The slender, cool metal handle was nearly as long as his entire arm, clearly made to be held by both hands. The upper part was longer than Tweeks' torso and a crude looking thing. It was shaped like a cross between a huge meat cleaver and a saw, he'd thought when they first mastered a proper transformation, since instead of having a straight blade its' edge ended in a row of deadly looking saw teeth.
Tweek swirled the massive blade around with no visible effort on his part to bring it into battle position. His gaze focused on the unwavering eyes of his sparring partner. Clyde's warm brown eyes stared back at him, his weapon Token, an elegant looking sleek longsword you could imagine a knight in the King Arthur saga to wield, was held in front of his chest in a defensive position. The brunet looked good in his uniform, he thought briefly. All students – Meister or Weapon- had been given their school uniforms and have visibly become a part of the student body. A short grey jacket and grey shorts that ended well above the knee were the standard uniform, with a black shirt and tight black pants underneath and laced up grey boots. For a training fight or real battle they were also required to wear some light protective armor consisting of a breast plate to be worn underneath the uniform jacket, as well as shin and forearm protectors that ended just were the fingerless black gloves began. A thick belt with attached pockets that contained useful things like a first aid kit was slung around his middle.
Tweek had not yet entirely gotten used to the armor to in the few weeks since they started to participate in mock fights with their fellow students and it slowed the blonde down a bit. But he managed to run at Clyde and firmly placed a hit with his Weapon that Clyde could only just block a second before it sliced his shoulder open. In a surprisingly elegant movement Clyde's blade swirled around in his hand, turning to angle the sharp side towards his opponent. Tweek dodged the blow with a swift step back, carefully widening the space between him and the deadly metal weapon that had been a calm gentle young man just a few minutes ago.
The square field they stood on was about the same size as the front yard of his parent's home, just long enough to run a few strides but not long enough to really try and escape your opponent. The platform was higher than the ground their teacher and the other student pairs stand on, so they could only see Mr. Adler's head as he shouted his commands at them but Tweek could barely hear him. What he heard instead was his partner's voice speaking softly to him from the back of his mind. "Dodge!" Craig shouted at him, when another blow of Clyde's sword swished past his head way too close for comfort. But even more than hear him, Tweek could somehow feel Craig's will from the points where his skin and the metal handle touched, up into his brain and throughout his whole body.
A few minutes of continuous attacking, dodging and blocking later, neither of the two pairs were obviously superior. The shrill sound of a whistle finally broke the pairs apart.
"That wasn't bad at all boys. All four of you are ready for your first mission." Mr. Adler's nasal voice cut through the silence as he scribbled a remark on his clipboard.
Tweek was breathing hard but slowly let his arm sink and dissolved the magic that kept Craig in the shape of a weapon. There was a light around Craig's form as it shifted and without having to look at him Tweek could feel the moment when his partner was standing beside him in his human shape again. Craig's fingers lingered around his hand for a moment longer before he retracted his arm to gently rub at the spot on his shoulder where he had been hit by Token.
A small proud grin was on his lips. "You heard that? We'll get our first mission soon." He commented, grinning down at his smaller partner. Tweek gave him a shy smile back as they made their way down from the platform.
Stan, Kyle's Weapon passed them on the way down. "Not too shabby…" commented the dark haired male with a challenging grin, his blue eyes twinkling mischievously. His Meister was just behind him, giving an appreciative nod towards Tweek and Craig that made his auburn curls bounce. Tweek had developed an easy friendship with the smart redhead. Kyle was something of a genius. Incredibly clever, fierce, talented and born with a confidence that Tweek could only envy him for. The only weakness he seemed to have was his unbelievably bad temper that could change him from a calm, collected person into a raging volcano in a matter of seconds. Thankfully, that demon-like temper had never been directed at him but was usually saved for Eric Cartman, who was another Meister in their class (and easily the most voluminous and most unpopular at the same time). Between Tweek's and Kyle's weapons however, something of a rivalry had started to bloom since the moment they first met each other in class. Maybe it was because they looked alike?
"Let's see how you do in your fight." Craig bit back at the other weapon, secretly but not very discreetly wishing him to fail.
"Hopefully a bit better than you. Your defense could use some work, you know?" Stand replied with a cheeky smile, lightly slapping his own shoulder hinting at the heavy blow Clyde and Token had landed on Craig before.
Craig's eyes narrowed at him but he let it go at Tweeks' insistent glance. "Good luck" he whispered to his redheaded friend before leaving the arena with partner in tow. They could hear the teacher shouting at some other pair to get into the arena and stop being cowards.
"Tch, he gets an easy fight." Craig muttered moodily while the two of them sat down in two empty seats in the stands around the arena, lazily watching Kyle and Stan the scythe hunt a terrified Kevin Stoley around the arena. Tweek held his hand in front of his face so no one would see him giggle. It wasn't that he disliked Kevin or thought the boy was not good enough a fighter- but against Kyle he wouldn't stand a chance. It had actually been quite unfair of their teacher to pit them against each other. "They are a pretty good team, aren't they? Kyle and Stan I mean."
Craig nodded begrudgingly and made some noncommittal grunting noise. He turned his head to look at his blonde Meister, who was watching the uneven match play out on the platform. The bright green eyes were focused intently, his lips in a small smile. His blonde mane was swiped away from his forehead in an unconscious gesture, making the small dusting of light freckles on his cheeks visible.
'He's gained some confidence.' Craig thought to himself, not without a little pride at his partner's progress. The dark haired male had no problem admitting to himself that Tweek was a good student. A bit shy sometimes still, and not very outspoken, but eager to learn and to do his best. And quite pretty, too. "Wait, what?"
"Padon?" Tweeks head turned and big green eyes looked up at him. Oh no, had he said that out loud!?
"Errr… nothing. Just talking to myself."
"Oh…" Tweek said, his gaze lingering on Craig's face a moment longer as if in doubt before turning back to the match when the crowd let out a collective shout at a particularly vicious attack of team Kyle.
Craig didn't care too find out if Stan had just ended his match or not. His eyes didn't stray from Tweeks' blonde head for a few more minutes. 'Let's not go there…' he ended his train of thought before forcing his head to turn into a different direction, away from the oblivious Meister next to him.
Their first mission confirmation arrived not a week later. It was just a small slip of paper in a friendly bright yellow envelope that someone had slipped underneath the door of their shared apartment. Tweek's eyes widened as he read the contents of the note in the morning, the towel falling from his head to the ground, leaving his still damp hair exposed to the cool morning air.
"Craig!" he shouted in the direction of the bathroom where he assumed Craig to be. A second later the tall boy appeared in the doorway, swiftly making his way to the living room where Tweek stood fixated on the note in his hand. The toothbrush was forgotten in Craig's mouth as he stared over the shorter one's shoulder to read. A big warm hard clasped around Tweek's shoulder after a minute of silent reading and he was crushed against Craig's chest from behind in a show of excitement. His cheeks flushed in embarrassment at the sudden closeness but before he could make up his mind whether he should say anything Craigs' body heat was already gone, leaving the spot where his hand had lingered warm and oddly tingly.
Their whole class was in an excited disarray that morning since most pairs had signed up for their first missions and had gotten their confirmation that morning as well.
"Tweek!" Kyle exclaimed as he secured the spot next to his friend in the classroom.
"Have you guys received your confirmation, too?"
Kyle was practically beaming with joy, Tweek could tell. He managed a mostly convincing smile for his friend. "Yes, our first mission is tomorrow."
"Already? You must be so happy! Stan and I have to wait for another week!"
'Happy is not how I would describe it…' Tweek thought to himself but forced out a horribly fake little laugh that Kyle didn't seem to notice in all his excitement. 'How about nervous instead? How about petrified?' he thought.
Thankfully Kyle didn't expect a proper answer from him but instead started chatting amiably about what their mission would possibly entitle and how he was planning to go about it.
Both of them ignored the starring match that had already begun between their respective Weapons.
That day and the next went by shockingly fast for Tweek. It felt as if one moment he was in the classroom, receiving a last few tips from their teachers (None of which they hadn't hear a hundred times before), the next moment he was on the train and the next he was creeping though a small town in the middle of the night, about to begin his first mission. It was a nice little town, probably. It would have been in daylight, Tweek thought as he silently crept though the narrow streets. The cobblestone pavement looked as if it had never been renewed once since the middle ages and the houses were pressed closely together, not leaving any space between them at all. Not leaving any escape routes.
'Stop panicking Tweek. We can do this!' The blonde boy tried to encourage himself. 'We've won the majority of our fights easily. We're prepared for anything.'
'Craig probably is, yes. But are you?' asked a mean little voice from the back of his mind. 'It's no thanks to you that you've won your fights. If we're honest, wasn't it all him? Don't be so confident. You can still fail miserably. And you probably will.'
'I'll not lose…I can't lose. Everyone would be so disappointed…'
Craig, in his weapon form was resting on his shoulder, the saw teeth shining in the dim yellow glow of the street lights. He could feel that Craig was focused on their surroundings and did not pay attention to Tweek's inner rant. He couldn't fail, absolutely couldn't. Craig would hate him for it.
He grabbed the handle a little bit tighter. There was something close, he could feel it. It was weak from where he was at the moment, but clearly something tainted and malicious.
Tweek felt sick to his stomach as he took the first steps into its' direction.
"… and then I'll step to the right and we'll hit it just above the shoulder, yeah? If it has shoulders I mean. If not, we might be able to go straight for the neck." The brunette boy said enthusiastically, swinging his hands as if holding a sword to emphasize his point.
"Yes, Clyde…" sighed his weapon walking next to him. The tall black boy was only half paying attention to his excitable master. He could feel that there was a tainted soul not too far away. But which direction…?
"We should try a backflip or something. Can you do cartwheels?"
Tokens dark eyes stared at him in puzzlement for a moment.
"Why…. Don't we keep it simple for our first mission…?"
"Ah…fine. Next time then." Clyde pouted. He was just about to turn the corner when Token's hand clasped around his arm firmly, holding him back.
"Can't you feel it?"
"Feel what..? Oh. Wait, yeah. A tainted soul."
"I think we should…" but Token never got to finish his sentence. Clyde's hand had already touched the seal and triggered the transformation. His sword heavy in his hand, Clyde grinned excitedly before he took off, hunting his first target.
"Let's do it, Token!"
"It must be just around the corner now…to the right" Craig's voice directed him. Tweek's legs were carrying him quickly down the broad stone steps towards the place where he could clearly feel its' presence. The saw was in his hands, ready to be brought down on their target in an instant. He turned left into a small street and there it was. It was hovering on the wall, a few inches above the ground like a giant spider. It had more legs then Tweek could count at that moment. Its' skin was mostly black. The humanoid head that now turned their way had a blotchy white pattern resembling a skull. The eyes were red and glowing faintly in the night.
Tweek raised the saw, holding it above his head as he charged towards it without another thought in his head. The beast grinned – yes grinned- at them, showing rows of sharp white teeth before it decided to try and attack them first. Its' many legs gave it an incredible speed as it came crawling towards them on the wall. Its' now vertical grin had a cold shudder run down Tweek's back as he realized that it was fast, much faster than anticipated.
"Shit, it's fast" Craig echoed his thoughts. "Tweek, block!"
The saw was swung around just quick enough to block the teeth snapping at Tweek's middle before they could tear his stomach out. The blunt side of the saw trembled with effort of holding the enemy at bay. Their eyes met – Tweek's terrified green orbs met malicious, insane red eyes that stared at him as if he was a piece of raw meat. The beasts' teeth were still tightly biting down on the blade, salivating all over it.
Adrenaline and panic coursed furiously though Tweek's bloodstream. He could hear his heart racing in his chest. Then, from somewhere far yet near there was a small sound that he had never heard before. It was a gasp. A pained gasp that Craig hadn't been able to suppress.
'He can't bear it any longer!' was Tweek's only thought before he let go of the saw with one hand and then brought his fist down in his blind panic straight into the beast's face.
It let out a shrill scream as Tweek hit it's eye and let go of the blade. It quickly crept a few steps away and then disappeared over the brick wall into another alley.
Craig's form shifted for a moment, but only his upper body manifested, leaving a handle in Tweek's hands from the waist down. He was breathing hard for a few moments and Tweek could see his uniform ripped across his arm where the teeth had grabbed him.
His eyes however didn't waver, they were fiercely concentrated on the spot were the tainted soul had crossed over the wall.
"Shit… we can't let it escape!"
"Ah.. are you okay to go on?" Tweek's voice asked meekly. Craig finally looked at him.
"Don't worry about me." the Weapon replied calmly. "I'll be okay. Let's go now."
Craig transformed back into a weapon and Tweek quickly ran after their target.
"There it is!" Clyde shouted as he spotted the spider like creature crawling over a wall just well into their path. It was stumbling a bit as it reached the ground and reached up into its' grimace with its' legs.
"What is it doing? There seems to be something wrong with it." Remarked the sword in his hand.
"I don't care. Just makes it an easier target then."
Though the creature had trouble seeing him it clearly heard Clyde's heavy footsteps on the uneven pavement. It hissed at him and beared its' teeth as it jumped out of the blades reach. It wasn't quite quick enough to escape the tip of the sword though as it grazed its' thick body, drawing putrid smelling purple blood.
"Urgh. That's disgusting." complained the brunette boy as he jumped out of the way of a swiping, clawed leg, leaving a few meters between him and the beast.
"Token! What the hell?" bellowed a male voice from somewhere behind them.
Clyde recognized the voice instantly and he made a face at the typical harsh, unfriendly tone of Craig Tucker.
Craig was again halfway in his human form, glaring dangerously at the duo ahead of them. Tweek's blonde mane was windswept as he ran up to them, carrying the disgruntled weapon in his hand.
Token, upon being shouted at, also came out of the sword halfway, meeting Craig's angry eyes calmly.
"Excuse me? I don't know why you think you need to interrupt our mission like that, but-"
"Your mission? That's our target!"
"No, it's not. We've been following this creature for a while now."
"Well, we got to it first. We already injured it. Go find your own target."
"It's true" Tweek seconded. "We were already fighting it."
"Then I guess whoever slays it first wins?" Clyde said grinning. "Ah well… first we have to catch it of course." He added just as the last leg disappeared over a tall metal fence lined with barbed wire.
There was a moment of silence between the four boys. Then both teams started their hunt. Craig in his saw form hacked a dent into the fence just big enough for them to fit through. After a few moments of running the two teams split up again, each sprinting down a different alley in their pursuit of the beast.
"It doesn't make sense" Tweek remarked while he ran down the alley, his senses fixated on his target. "They shouldn't set up two teams on the same target. There must be another one here."
"Can you feel a second one?"
"Well, no… I can't…"
"Perhaps they did it on purpose. To compare us to Clyde and Token in a real battle situation?"
"Yeah… I guess that must be it…"
Tweek couldn't really tell why, but to him it felt that something was clearly wrong and he resolved to keep his eyes open just in case there really were two tainted souls in the area.
They caught up to the beast quickly enough. It seemed to have shaken off the earlier blow to its' eye and it appeared even more aggressive now as it hissed at the from its' spot on the ground. It was trapped in a dead end now, the only way to escape was over the walls again, but Craig's reach would most likely be wide enough to catch it if it tried to climb. It roared at them shrilly before attacking but this time Tweek could anticipate its' speed better and met its' advancing legs with a swift stride. The saw's teeth cut through two of its' legs like butter. It screamed hoarsely before stumbling a few paces back. At that moment Clyde's feet landed behind it, having jumped the wall from the other side. His sword cost the creature yet another leg.
The spider turned around in circles in a panic now, trying to defend itself against two enemies at the same time. Now it was just a matter of how was faster. Tweek and Clyde both saw their chance at victory at the same time. Weapons cursed through the air at the same time and then it was over.
The saw teeth were deeply ingrained into the stocky black body, a river of smelling purple blood rushed down its' front. The creature froze for a moment, its'unseeing eyes starred up at the night sky. Then it dissolved, crumbled into dust and was taken away by a light breeze.
Only the soul was left, gently floating in the air, emitting a soft, almost serene purple glow.
Clyde and Token watched from the sidelines as the saw turned into a man again.
Craig stood in front of the soul, carefully extending his hand, as if expecting to somehow break it if he touched it too roughly. It fit into his hand nicely and it was slightly warm against his skin. It was so thin that Craig briefly thought that this must have felt the same as touching a cloud up in the sky.
He looked back at Tweek for a moment, before a huge grin broke out on his face. Proudly he brought the soul to his face, bit into its' gauzy texture before swallowing it whole.
Tweek smiled, relieved that it was over and that their first mission had been a success. He could hear Clyde cursing softly and letting his frustration out on Token who couldn't quite find the right words to appease him. The blonde boy was looking forward to going home, drawing a bath and then to lay down and give his still trembling legs some much needed rest before handing in his report. He was looking back at Craig about to say something when he noticed that Craig's face stared stonily at something up on the wall. He followed his partner's gaze and saw something entirely unexpected.
Up on the wall there was a blonde boy with disheveled hair and a thin black sleeveless hoodie. He was perched up in a crouch looking quite comfortable and not at all disturbed by what he had just witnessed. Then Tweek noticed the purple glowing soul in his hand.
The boy smiled down at them, not breaking eye contact with Craig.
"They're quite tasty, aren't they?" he asked before snickering quietly to himself and joyfully shoving the soul in his mouth and eating it. Then, quicker than any of them could have seen his movement, he jumped and had disappeared into the night, leaving behind four bewildered boys staring into the darkness.
It's been a while! There have been many major changes in my life during the last year but I always wanted to continue this story. The major plot twists etc are happening later in the story (of course all the major characters are going to play their part), so I skipped straight to the first mission to keep it moving :) Please leave a review :)