A gift request for Cliscia, who was wonderfully kind enough to do fanart from my story 'Mastery'. Hope you like it, Cliscia!
Title inspired by the Lords of Acid song, Undress and Possess.
If it was possible for a ghost to be anymore miserable than they already were being DEAD and all, then Skulker was SURE he had hit that low point very few managed to sink to.
Normally, he didnt care about the whole being dead thing. Sure, he didnt have a real body to call his own and he had to schedule weekly visits to his perverted mechanic Technus, but on the whole, death wasnt so bad. He had a strong, fit mechanical body he possessed (that functioned PERFECTLY in every aspect, thank GOD), his own home on his own island, had good benefits from working for the elder halfa Plasmius, and a girlfriend.
All in one.
Just THINKING about the younger halfa put his metal teeth on edge in ways nothing else could. He HATED the arrogant little brat with every nut and bolt in his body, and the only thing keeping him sane was the thought of that day when he would finally have his divine retribution, when he would get the reparation he was due.
As the years ticked by, however, the sanity seemed to slip even more as Phantom grew stronger.
It was only natural that as the arrogant pissant grew older, he would get stronger. But the rate at which it happened was fucked RIDICULOUS. At age sixteen, he was already close to being right on par with Plasmius; and Skulker knew that it was because Phantom had mentors in the Far Frozen to help hone his skills with his ecto-ice.
The boost in power only seemed to give the boy a boost in ego, and every ghost that crossed the border into Amity Park felt that ego hit them like a five-alarm bitch, whether they were friend or foe.
It was a power play, Skulker knew all too well. Ghosts constantly had power play in the Ghost Zone, always squabbling in territorial pissing matches over land or quadrants. New ghosts who felt they were entitled to that area were always trying to usurp from the current 'owners'. And like those ghosts, Phantom had claimed Amity Park as his own domain, imbibing in the basic ghostly instinct to defend his territory from any and all intruders.
At first, it was a game to Skulker. It was fun to watch the brat get his arrogant greenhorn ass handed to him by older, seasoned ghosts, ESPECIALLY Plasmius. But in the past couple of years, the game began to shift into a one-sided farce that left many ghosts looking for a challenge or some fun leaking ectoplasm from one of the boy's rabid defense attacks.
As Plasmius put it once, 'Ghost instinct and teenage testosterone do NOT mix'. And he was right. The boy's cocky attitude and heroics had turned into avaricious, mad-dog tactics that left many of Skulker's friends and associates scarred in more ways than one.
Which came right back around to Skulker's current demeanor. He was absolutely MISERABLE.
And it was all thanks to the thrice-damned halfa.
He felt his chance to capture Phantom had passed; he should have been dead serious when the boy was fourteen and fresh to his new powers instead of playing cat-and-mouse. Now two years later, his prey had become almost too deadly to pursue, let alone touch. He was too feral, too free.
And it put him on edge in ways that shouldnt.
He was a HUNTER, for the love of the gods. A feral beast shouldnt bother him in the least. He recalled being alive and taming adult wolves as PETS. For FUN. But wolves didnt have deadly ice powers and a voice that could level buildings if given reason to.
...on the other hand, wolves had teeth and claws. Weapons are weapons, were they not? And animal is as animal does. Skulker had long ago cast aside the territorial instinct most ghosts had in lieu of simply keeping to his own island; he felt himself above the instinct-driven animals most ghosts were. Him, and only a handful of others.
Even so, those 'others' had zero luck in castigating the feral out of the boy, not even Plasmius; but Skulker had an inkling that the elder halfa's lack of really trying would result in most lost than gained.
Regardless, life was quickly becoming a living Hell when most of the ghosts couldnt even poke their heads out of the man-made portals without fear of having it lopped off. The Zone was becoming too crowded with half-formed shit-ghosts Skulker was growing bored of thinning out, and the fellow ghosts he actually LIKED were getting hurt.
And recently, it became personal.
During the Christmas Truce, of all days, apparently something had put Phantom in a hell of a mood, because when a few ghosts crossed into the mortal world to spread a little cheer and friendly scares to the citizens of Amity Park, the resulting insult to both the Truce and the holiday season reached an all-time low when even Walker didnt dare attempt to incarcerate Phantom after Technus was manually downgraded and Ember nearly lost an eye.
His best friend/mechanic and his girlfriend.
Phantom had crossed the line.
So there Skulker was, sitting in his living room, contemplating his trophies, his weapons, and methods of ending this madness that had been wrought upon them by Phantom.
Point to Consider One: Phantom was a mad dog that needed to be put down, or at very least, caged until civilized even by ghost standards.
Point to Consider Two: Phantom had become too powerful to just barge in and take on head-first and cocksure. That had been attempted before, and he didnt want to wait a week for Technus to build him a new body.
Point to Consider Three: Phantom had reached the psychological level-equivalent of Alpha Wolf. In other words, the most basic of ghost primitive instinct.
Point to Consider Four: Skulker was an expert in dealing with primitive creatures.
Point to Consider Five: Skulker was also an expert in breaking primitive creatures.
His fingers contemplated the knife he had considered using to skin the arrogant halfa, then paused.
Why kill what he could simply break? He would be doing the Ghost Zone a favor doing either, but he would garner more RESPECT if he could break the halfa of his primitive habits.
Not to mention Plasmius would crush his ectoplasmic form underfoot if he killed Phantom.
He put the knife down and walked into the back end of his home, where he kept the skinning room, the pelt-treating room, and most importantly, the collection room. Ghostly animals of rare or Earthly-extinct forms and strange, unusual spectral creatures reacted to his presence in various degrees. Most hissed and yowled at him. A few curiously contemplated him. A tiny handful he could count altogether on one hand made sounds of greeting to him in eagerness to be given attention.
As he hand-fed those few who had grown to trust and obey him, he felt a smirk cross his features.
He could do this.