AN: Pyro and I had all sorts of obstacles put in our way on our journey of getting this posted. From forgetting, a computer crashing, Spring Break, to having half of the chapter disappearing without warning, all of this setting this being posted by two months than originally planned. We can proudly say that the wait is FINALLY OVER!
Now, please enjoy the chapter that has given the two of us living hell.
The Jaeger Joker smiled softly as he watched Isabella and Katherine fight one another from the cover of night. The black-haired Demon Huntress evaded as many of the knives that were thrown at her, only a few embedding themselves in her shoulders and legs. She grimaced in pain as she forced herself to run forward, the blade of her knife pointing towards her former partner.
"Don't think I'm going to show you mercy again, you treacherous slut," Isabella said coldly as she mimicked her opponent's movement. "I only tossed you that bottle of Holy Milk so that if you had the willpower to keep awake long enough to use it in time, that you'd flee. That was only done out of respect of your talent as a Demon Huntress."
The two got closer to one another before thrusting their respective knives forward, each intending to pierce the other in the lower abdomen.
"It's time," the Jaeger Joker said softly. "Ben, regardless of your choice, you'll not be seen as a hero after this, except the ones who know you well. However, you've must have begun realizing that there's no clear definition of Good or Evil. You must learn to understand the reasons why one will turn to evil. As a good friend of mine once said: 'The light favors a few, while the darkness accepts all."
"Damn you…" Isabella cursed as a little blood dribbled down the corner of her mouth as Katherine twisted her knife to inflict more damage to her. The redhead's knife only made a cut on the side of her adversary's midriff, a result of Kitty sidestepping to avoid the same fate as her former partner.
Before either combatant could do anything else, two tendrils, one pink and the other red, erupted from the darkness and wrapped themselves around Isabella.
"We're back," the Bloody Hunter, as Shiftlash, said as he and Melona appeared. "Did you miss us, Izzy?"
"How did you break out of that crystal?!" the buxom Demon Huntress cried out in disbelief as she felt the tendrils that were the right arms of the two slimes tighten around her. "And who are you?"
"In reverse order, I'm the one who you've beaten not long ago, and I had some help from my brother, Demon Breaker," Shiftlash replied bitterly before a smirk formed on his face as he changed his appearance to how he was when he first encountered the Demon Huntress. "While I may owe him now, it's nothing compared to the joy that I'll have breaking you in. That's after Melona and I pay you back for what you've done to us both."
"I am under contract by the Church and the Queen. Are you willing to have them demanding your lives if you interfere with my job?" Isabella questioned as she regained her composure.
"We don't care," Melona said callously. "You can be a god or mortal, but we will crush everything and everyone in our path to get our hands on you, no matter who they are."
"Melona, we better let go of Izzy." the scarlet slime advised as he unwound his arm from Isabella and withdrew it.
"What do you mean?" the pink one asked in confusion.
"We're not the only ones who want a piece of her," Shiftlash replied just before a resounding roar filled the air.
Melona nodded and released Isabella before both slimes turned into their ooze form and slithered away from the Demon Huntress before Speedspike charged into her at full speed, knocking her into the ground.
"Welcome to the party, Ben," Shiftlash said as he reformed his previous shape.
The transformed Ben rose to his feet and briefly looked over his shoulder.
"Who are you?" he asked briefly before turning his attention back to Isabella, who was struggling to get to her feet while holding her now dislocated left shoulder with her good hand.
"I'm known as the Bloody Hunter," the slime introduced himself. "I know you have questions regarding Elina, but now's not the time for that."
Katherine looked from Speedspike to Shiftlash, her face filled with confusion. The scarlet slime noticed her expression and smiled a little.
"No, I'm not the Shiftlash you're familiar with," he clarified before grinning. "I'm nothing more than a villain who murders people for his enjoyment."
"He's speaking the truth," Melona said as she reformed next to Shiftlash before wrapping her arms around him and resting her head against side. "I was with him on several of his massacres."
Speedspike made his way over to Kitty. She winced in pain as she pulled out the knives that were still in her flesh. She wanted to scream, but her still recovering throat still burned in pain, making it impossible.
I can't believe that not only is there another Shifty-kun, and he's also with Melona!
"Still, this is one of those rare occasions where both good and evil share a common goal," Shiftlash continued, making the younger Speedspike confused. "And that's to put a stop to you, Isabella Torquemada."
"I don't get what's going on, but right now, I don't care. I'm only here to protect my friend," the blonde replied firmly.
"I'm doing this to get back for what Isabella did to Melona and myself," Shiftlash said while wrapping his right arm around Melona's waist.
The pink slime smiled softly before turning her attention towards the redhead.
"Death won't even be an option after I'm finished with you." she said before jumping a little and smiling mischievously. "Sorry, I meant to say 'We're'."
Shiftlash chuckled softly as he kept fondling Melona's rear for a moment before removing the offending appendage.
"I was wondering a little why Melona acted so violently before, you're definitely made for each other. Only another monster could love a freak like her."
Melona growled while narrowing her eyes in anger. However before she could make a move, the scarlet slime bolted forward, his fingertips turning into talons. His mind was filled with only the desire to disembowel the Demon Huntress. Before the slime could attack, a blinding light appeared, blinding all in the area instantly.
Once the light diminished, only the Bloody Hunter and Melona were remaining as the rest all disappeared.
After a brief search, the pair of slimes retreated into the night just minutes before Airi and the rest of her group appeared.
One Month Later
The flash of lightning was accompanied by the reverberating sound of thunder. Standing in the courtyard of a deserted castle, Gwen and Airi stared at one another as the heavy rain fell from the blackened skies, drenching their clothes.
"Focus on how you want it appear," Airi instructed as she held out her right hand. " Envision the energy coming out of you hand, transforming and becoming solid." As she spoke her scythe manifested within her hand.
Gwen nodded before mimicking the wraith.
"Out of my hand…" She muttered softly while closing her eyes to concentrate. Mana began to gather around her hand before it began to transform into a long pole. Thunder filled the air again, startling the young girl, resulting in the pole to vanish. "Not again…"
"That's enough for today, Gwen," Airi said with a soft smile before heading towards a nearby door. "We've been out here for far too long anyway."
"Alright," the young girl admitted before following the wraith into a large hallway. "I realize that it's been over a month since Ben disappeared now. Yet we still haven't got a clue to where he went off to."
Airi stopped in place as her eyes looked down at the ground.
"Indeed. I hope that he's alright," she said in concern.
"Oi! Dinner's about ready!" Nanael shouted from down the hall as she flew towards them.
"We'll be there soon," the wraith replied, her face turning into a slight frown. "Although I still don't like it that you're following us wherever you go."
"It's not my fault that I was assigned to watch over you monkeys," the angel said while frowning as well. "I want to be as far away from the stupid ghost as possible, but I'm stuck with you all after you recovered my bottle."
"Feeling's mutual," Gwen said as she walked past the angel and went down the hall.
Airi and Nanael glared at one another in silence before they followed the young girl.
For over a month, tension had been present amongst the group due to Ben vanishing. Airi and the others who went with her returned only with Nanael's bottle of Holy Milk, as well as several knives that belonged to Isabella. The angel originally bolted without showing any sign of gratitude for them returning her the bottle upon receiving it. However, she was summoned by the head angel and was told to watch over them, partly as punishment for her actions. She would've objected, but she was allowed to have her bottle refilled due to what happened to her.
Airi and Gwen took an immediate dislike towards the Angel being around them, mainly due to their prior encounter with her. The others were more tolerant of Nanael, but none would treat her as their superior like she often demanded.
The disappearance of the young brunet affected those who knew him in various ways. Most of the Gal Monsters were greatly concerned for his safety. However, Cerate was greatly distraught when Ben disappeared. The Gal Monster routinely looked for the boy she loved whenever she caught wind of a sighting of him, and when she returned, she usually broke down and cried herself to sleep.
Stella trusted in the fact that Ben could handle things himself for comfort. She wouldn't admit it to anyone, even her best friends, but she had started harboring feelings for the boy. She understood how Cerate felt, but knew that someone had to keep a level head.
Puia assisted Stella in calming the young Tino, acting like a big sister towards the girl. The harpy gradually took the role as peacekeeper amongst the group, mainly to diffuse arguments between Cerate and Gwen.
Plum and Arane found their own places amongst the group. Arane revealed to be quite proficient in making clothing out of her spider silk, in turn becoming the seamstress when needed. Plum took on several roles, but mainly was a strategist for any fights due to her high intelligence. She also showed to be quite knowledgeable in various things, from making simple herbal medicines to complex mathematics. The latter of the two also revealed that the floral Gal Monster wasn't comfortable with the number thirty for reasons she wouldn't divulge.
Salem wasn't really considered to be one of the group, as he routinely came and went without warning. However, whenever he appeared, he informed everyone of anything important that could be in connection to Ben.
Elina kept to herself like she did before the blonde's disappearance. She occasionally wondered what happened to Ben, due to a budding interest in him. The blonde only spoke when the conversation was about her master. She learned more about him through the stories that she learned that Ben wasn't someone who left a friend behind, as well as how he managed to defeat powerful enemies.
Airi approached Gwen about her magic, as well as what she noticed about the shield that the young girl managed to create. Upon the wraith's request, the younger redhead created a shield. With it, Airi confirmed her suspicions. There was more to the barrier than just magic as she suspected, as she was able to drain the shield of its power like she did upon feeding upon the life force from a living being. The discovery led them to contemplate on the possibility of Gwen being able to fight in a similar way as the wraith could.
During the time of Ben's disappearance, it eventually came to a consensus that the group needed to find a place to call home for a while. Due to Airi's status as a wanted criminal, the girls couldn't just stay in a major town without drawing attention. Salem informed them of a castle that was abandoned for over a decade, as if he knew exactly what they were wanting despite him not being around when they made their decision.
However, there were also things that the mysterious Demon Hunter said brought the greatest unease amongst the group whenever he appeared. Something that Airi had feared even before she left the Swamp Queen's services.
Inside a noble's castle, a guard screamed out before being cut off by his head hitting against the stone wall of the castle he was to defend, knocking him out. The orange beast opened its gill like slits located at its neck, checking its surroundings. It opened its maw and bellowed loudly up into the stormy sky as the rain fell down upon its body, drenching the orange fur.
Standing a few meters behind the Vulpimancer, the stoic Salem stared in silence as the alien beast turned around to face him. Wildmutt fell silent as the Omnitrix began flashing red, signaling the time out.
In a flash of light, Ben stood in the alien's place. His appearance was mainly the same, but the hair was longer, the bangs now able to partially obscure his face if he tilted his head downwards.
"What do you want?" the young boy asked while narrowing his eyes slightly.
"I see that you've been busy," the Demon Hunter said calmly.
Ben growled at Salem before clenching his fists.
"How many more people do I need to hurt before you tell me where Kitty is!?" he demanded.
"Until I say so," Salem said bluntly before withdrawing a sword. "I assure you, she is unharmed."
The brunet raised a hand up to move a lock of hair to the side so that he could see better. Upon seeing that, Salem drew a knife and held it handle first towards the boy.
"You better cut your hair." he advised the boy. "You look more like a girl than you realize with your hair that long."
Ben grumbled under his breath before stepping forwards to take the knife.
"I tried it once, and it really hurts to do it with a knife," the boy muttered under his breath. "Plus there's that chance I could cut my hand instead."
"You've faced things that would make any sane man tremble in fear, and you've came out with your head held high. Yet you fret over cutting your own hair with a simple knife," Salem said as he walked past the boy. "You've even agreed to learn from a murderer to protect your friends. You're quite the weird one."
"You're not one, you told me what happened. You really didn't have much of a choice back then, and you were only trying to knock him out," Ben replied.
"You've got a good heart, boy," the demon hunter said before a ghost of a smile formed on his face briefly. "However, that line of thought will get you killed someday. This world isn't as kind as it looks, and you experienced it first hand."
Ben frowned as he looked down at the ground, his mind recalling his past encounters with Wes.
"Yeah, don't remind me," he said bitterly.
"Remember, to live in this world, you must face reality and get your hands dirty," Salem spoke as he stopped walking. "While it appears peaceful on the surface, money, fear, and power are the main forces that run this continent. I remember you telling me that you plan on making this place better for everyone, but that is an impossibility."
"But you know that humans can get along with other races!" Ben protested.
"SOME humans can, not all," the Demon Hunter interjected curtly. "You need to realize that you can't convince everyone to get along. Any peaceful intentions can become ed easily. Besides, you already hold power that you can use to influence others."
Ben fell silent as he listened to Salem's lecture. He clenched his fists while looking at the Demon Hunter.
"Ben, for one your age, you've already shown your worth as a potential slaver by owning several Gal Monsters," Salem pointed out. "Also, the fact that you own Elina Vance gives you some clout with Lord Vance. While she may be a disgraced member of nobility and a slave now, you can use her connection with her father for some assistance if you require it."
"Elina's not some tool," Ben said defensively.
The Demon Hunter nodded in agreement before continuing .
"I'm not implying that you treat her in such a way, but there will come a time where you need to exercise that very power to protect Elina's life," he said. "Who knows, you might have to enslave another just to protect them."
Ben grimaced upon hearing that, his mind refusing to admit the potential possibility.
"As such. I feel it might be time for you to learn how to be a proper master," Salem added with a straight face.
"No. I refuse to do that," Ben refused defiantly.
"I see. I've received word of a slaver who is making his way to this castle. He is apparently a fan of your heroic exploits, so he's bringing you a reward for your good deeds."
Ben flinched upon hearing the Demon Hunter's statement.
"You're going to be given a few new additions to your 'collection,'" the man continued. "I don't know the details, but one is supposedly a beautiful fighter who was going to attend the upcoming Queen's Blade in three months. Perhaps that one could be Elina's older sister. If so, more power to you, boy."
The blood on Ben's face paled upon hearing the last statement. Even though he kept a straight face, Salem was very curious to see how Ben was going to react when he learned the truth.
"Ani doesn't like this one bit…" the Time Soldier said as she floated in the air.
"Tell me about it," Katherine said as she laid in the bed, looking outside of the window as the rain pattered against it repeatedly. "Yet I still don't fully understand why you interfered that night a month ago."
The Demon Huntress had been with Ani for the past month, mainly to recover from her injuries. It drove the interracial girl up the wall when she couldn't properly speak for a few days, unable to inform the Gal Monster of what she wanted easily. While Holy Milk could heal injuries almost instantly with the right amount, the quantity that Kitty had in the bottle Isabella tossed her was only enough to ensure her survival immediately. When the black haired girl could finally speak, she immediately told the Gal Monster, who rubbed her stomach when she gestured that she wanted food.
The one who created the flash of light as well as teleporting Ben, Isabella and herself was Ani, acting upon her master's orders. The Gal Monster refused to divulge details, but all she could say was that Isabella and Ben weren't supposed to fight each other yet. However, the childlike witch was more adamant on refusing to explain why she separated her from the others as well.
"Ani told you that she can't speak about Ben and Izzy. However, it's time that you can learn your role," the Gal Monster said as she rolled in the air, facing down at the Demon Huntress. "You are needed to help stop a catastrophe that Ben wouldn't be able to prevent alone. The Demon Hunter known as Salem Glanvill currently possesses a powerful sword called Ascalon. Trapped within it is an ancient, evil god known as Diagon. Salem has been contacted by him, and has agreed to free him. However, there is this other dangerous adversary, Eon, who wants Diagon's powers to become a god himself."
Kitty froze in place as she took in what Ani said. She didn't realize that something so dangerous was in the hands of one of the more nefarious Demon Hunters. Unlike Isabella, who was at least honest with her actions, Salem was rumored to be insidiously deceitful. He enjoyed breaking down the trust amongst those who are close for his own enjoyment. He wasn't a serial killer, but numerous killings involving lovers or the closest of friends had connections towards the man. It was also rumored that he had a desire to remove all things good or evil, as he sees both sides as pointless to side with.
"You want me to help prevent this Diagon from escaping, right?" she guessed while frowning.
Ani shook her head with an amused look on her face.
"Wrong. Ben's going to do that. You're going to help Airi and the others figure out why the Gal Monsters arrived on the continent in the first place over a millennia ago," Ani explained as a smile appeared.
"Wait… I thought that the Gal Monsters were from here to begin with, "Katherine said in disbelief.
"Wrong again!" the Gal Monster said exuberantly. "The 'first generation' of Gal Monsters who came here were forcibly taken from their world, just like how Ben was. Figuring out this mystery is key to finding a way for Ben and Gwen to return back home. Besides, with how things are going now, it's anyone's guess to how the future's going to be. The Bloody Hunter still exists since his interactions in this world are necessary for the sake of a favorable future for everyone. Now that I think about it, he originally was just a bloodthirsty maniac, but he seems to be a lot more level headed ever since he was with Melona. Then there's Airi, Elina and Nyx. Their fates have been changed dramatically thanks to Ben. Elina has begun showing interest in someone else besides Leina, and Nyx started moving on from her past, though she still hasn't forgiven Elina.
"Airi is the most noticeable instance though. She once was completely devoted to the Swamp Witch, but her time with Ben made her question herself, eventually leading to her complete defection. Her time spent apart from Ben this past month has also strengthened her feelings towards him. It's reached the point where if Ben goes back home, she'll go with him, even if she can never come back here again."
Kitty sighed as Ani became too engrossed in what she was thinking out loud, veering off topic. This wasn't the first time that the Gal Monster did this, and the Demon Huntress figured that it was pointless to get her back on track after several failed attempts in the past. As she began tuning out the Time Soldier, she began to recall the night after meeting Ben.
I was certain that I was going to die when Isabella slit my throat. But no more than ten seconds after I fell to the ground, Holy Milk appeared over my wound without any warning. Did the heavens perform a miracle for me, or is it something else entirely? Ani did tell me that there are those who can manipulate time, even freezing it at their command. Could it have been someone like that? Ah mou… This is giving me a damn headache.
Giving up on figuring out the mystery of how she survived an obviously fatal wound for the time being, she began to fantasize about Shiftlash having his way with her.
Eon grinned as he walked down a spiraling staircase as he descended towards the lone dungeon at the bottom.
"The Queen's Gate has been activated, and I've managed to locate where it is. It was all thanks to you four showing up here about a month ago." he said once he stood at the heavily reinforced door. " Also, I can make great use of the creatures found in two of those worlds. The Grimm are ferocious and unrelenting, making them the perfect choice for my main army. However the monsters from the other world have such useful abilities. They can be used for more than just combat. I am amazed you can make such powerful weapons from various parts of their bodies, going as far as to incorporate elemental properties with the weapons. Still, as long as Diagon isn't released or someone else figures out how to harness his powers, my plans will still prevail."
"You're not going to get away with this!" a male voice said furiously from within the cell.
The Chronian smirked as he gazed through the small barred opening to see the prisoners inside it.
"Listen well, hunter, we're not in your world. You're not strong enough to stand against me, even with your weapon. As for the rest of you, you're just as helpless as a regular human once I removed you of your equipment," he boasted. "Don't think you can overpower someone who can control time. It doesn't matter how fast or strong you are. Nobody can escape its grasp."
The man slammed his fist against the door, growling in frustration.
"I've learned from all my past mistakes, and I am not making them again. I came here with a proposition. I will return you to your world if you agree to deal with a certain… problem of mine."
"What kind of problem?" the man asked skeptically.
"I need for someone to stop two people, Isabella Torquemada and another called the Bloody Hunter. Both kill indiscriminately, but the Bloody Hunter enjoys every moment of it. You see, I may not be the kindest being, but I am concerned about the futures of this world and others. These two threaten to destroy the worlds you all come from. I know this sounds like a lie, but one of them is able to transform into forms that have different abilities, from a slime that can become acidic at will, a creature that can literally eat anything and everything you can think of, there's even one form that is as tall as a mountain. "
The man fell silent at he and the others listened to Eon's proposition.
Large waves rippled through the murky waters of the desolate, deathly swampland, cresting over the thick blanket of fog as screams and bellows filled the air. Undead soldiers and unholy creatures who lived there were crushed underneath the feet of two Toku'stars fighting each other.
One of them punched the other as he screamed defiantly. His opponent fell to the ground, creating a tidal wave that engulfed the unfortunate who were incapable of flight. The one who still stood glared as he spoke.
"I won't let you and Sanguine have your way, Breaker," The Bloody Hunter said defiantly while clenching his fists. "Your tournament will not happen."
Demon Breaker began laughing maniacally as he laid in the marshland as the water settled down.
"You are such a riot!" he said as a crazed grin formed on his face. "Thanks to you, OUR tournament has finally begun to gather interest."
Blood growled before he went over towards Breaker before raising his foot up over his head. The downed psycho only laughed once again before disappearing in a flash of green light as the foot came down. The Toku'star looked around, trying to find any trace of his adversary. He screamed as he felt two weapons impale his weak point, causing the giant to violently shake his head to get rid of the now human Demon Breaker. The human held on as he twisted Elina's Spear and a claymore sword, causing the titanic alien to scream in agonizing pain. After several seconds, the Bloody Hunter slumped to his knees before falling face first into the ground, falling unconscious as the pain became too much for him to take. Breaker smirked as he withdrew the weapons and teleported just before his "brother" turned to his human form, unconscious. Appearing next to the unconscious brunet, Breaker's face became stoic as he looked down at him.
"I expected you to last longer than that…" he said in disappointment before he was surrounded by the survivors of the denizens of the swamp. He sighed while shouldering Elina's spear. "You weaklings are just going to be a bore."
"Perhaps I'll provide you with some fun then," Melona said as she emerged from the from blanketing fog, putting herself between Breaker and the Bloody Hunter. "Besides, I want your life after what you've done to my partner."
Demon Breaker stared quietly before his face slowly contorted to one of maniacal glee. He began to bounce the spear against his shoulder repeatedly as he got into a crouch with the claymore was flipped, now held in a reversed position as sparks of electricity began to jump off of the blade.
"Now we're talking!" the psychotic Ben said eagerly before raising his voice. "COME ON EVERYBODY! LET'S DANCE TO MY SYMPHONY OF THUNDERING EVISCERATION IN DREAD MAJOR!"
Paradox sighed as he appeared on a beach, the waves turbulent by the stormy winds that blew.
"To think that the Time War is more serious than I first realized. Can't really say much about it, just to avoid any misconceptions," he said while watching the winds.
"Yeah, and all we can both do at this time is to watch," the Jaeger Joker said solemnly as he walked up from behind the Time Walker. "It's been a while, Professor."
"Indeed it has been, your majesty," Paradox replied in a respectful manner.
"No need for that kind of formalities," the undead said with a small smile. "What brings you back here?"
"For now, I'm not needed, so I decided to drop by for a visit," the man said before pulling out the bag of gumballs. "Care to have one? I see something's troubling you."
The Eternal King smiled and held out his had.
"Of course, it's been a while since I last had something sweet," he said as the Time Walker pulled out a green gumball and handing it to the brunet. "Thank you by the way."
"You're welcome, it's nice to have a civil conversation once and a while," Paradox said as he smiled a little.
"Indeed. A conversation is quite welcomed when all you can do is just watch to see what happens." Jaeger admitted before putting the gumball into his mouth.
"So, what's troubling you exactly?" the professor asked.
"Eon has obtained Ascalon, and from what I could tell, he plans on gaining Diagon's power," was the reply. "Unfortunately, the Demon Hunter known as Salem Glanvill thwarted him and took the sword. Then there's Eon saving Kitty. I don't understand why he saved her. Also, let's not forget about Ben being trained by Salem as well."
"I see a lot has happened while I was away," Paradox said, intrigued by what Jaeger said. "Unfortunately, the young Katherine plays an unknowing role in Eon's plans. That's all I can say for now. Salem having Ascalon is quite troublesome indeed. Should he learn to use the sword, it'll be an interdimensional catastrophe."
"Yeah, but what bothers me the most is the outcome of all this. I know that my future is no longer the most likely outcome, but the one that is now honestly concerns me." Jaeger sighed. "The Queen's Gate has finally been located, and Eon has captured four people from three different worlds. At this rate, we're going to be witnessing a mergence of five different dimensions into one conglomerate universe. There are creatures native to some that can easily overwhelm the others as they never experienced such a threat before. And let's not forget the different cultures and technologies of the worlds. A culture shock would just be the tip of the iceberg for this world alone at this point."
"I agree, a scenario like that happening would only cause absolute pandemonium for everything," the Time Walker said with a frown. "However, there's one major detail that you should remember, Jaeger."
"I know. Alien X can fix that, but Ben doesn't have that form, and with the way things are going, he's not going to ever unlock him. Although, there's a trade off, he'll be happy with the family that he unintentionally created during his time her. No deaths, no tragedy. However, Ben's morality will also drastically corrode while training underneath Salem's instruction."
"Really? How bad is this possible future Ben compared to your brothers?" Paradox questioned.
"Nowhere near as bad. There will be one rule that will stand firm, and that's not to kill someone, no matter what," the undead said while adjusting his hat briefly. "However, the kid becomes very…active to say it mildly. Just about every girl that is part of his group would be 'claimed' by him before his twelfth birthday."
"I knew there are versions of Ben who are quite active like that, but it's for the best that this one waits for a few years first," the Time Walker said while shaking his head.
"Heh, he's already interested in girls in that manner. He's focused on Airi mainly, although he has showed interest in several others in his group. Thankfully Gwen isn't one of them. Anyway my money's on him doing Elina after Airi and Cerate."
"Ah, you mean the poor girl who was forced to become Ben's slave?" Paradox said. "What makes you think that exactly?"
"Well, Elina's future has changed dramatically. She's no longer viewed as a trustworthy sister in Leina's eyes, resulting in the young girl's affections towards her older sister to greatly diminish. Now she's starting to show an interest in Ben. The night that Ben was separated, Elina wanted to see if Ben truly looked out for others like she heard. Although the pair has been separated for over a month now, Elina's interest in him keeps growing." The undead shrugged. "In fact, I expect her to become attached to Ben once they reunite. I wonder how much longer afterwards before she'll start falling for him."
"I know that Elina's original role in the future is still important, however the methods for reaching that position now will be most interesting," Paradox said. "The young girl has learned quite a bit of humility, after all."
"You're correct on that account," the Eternal King said softly before pausing to blow a bubble. "Hell, maybe having all three sisters under the kid's ownership would do wonders for them all."
"I strongly disagree with you on that. While Elina's spot is important, the others play even larger roles," Paradox said while shaking his head slightly. "Besides, I strongly oppose such cruel decisions if they can be avoided."
"I suppose you're right," the Jaeger Joker said pensively.
Bolts of lightning rained down upon the swamp around the Demon Breaker as he slaughtered the denizens of the swamp with both of his weapons. Melona repeatedly lashed her arms at the psycho, so far spared from the lightning. Breaker constantly weaved in a rhythmical manner, evading the slime's attacks while cutting down the weaker opposition at the same time.
After several minutes past, the massacre stopped, the only two still standing are Melona and the psychotic maniac.
"Now it's just us three," Breaker said as his twisted grin appeared again as he saw the Bloody Hunter rise to his feet.
"Damn that hurt…" Blood muttered while holding his head with one hand before looking at his doppelganger. "You're going to pay for that."
Breaker chuckled for a moment before stabbing both weapons into the ground.
"How about we make things interesting? If I win, Melona becomes my personal bitch," he proposed. "If I lose, my head is all yours."
"I am not some lowly pet," Melona seethed in fury before falling silent upon seeing the Bloody Hunter holding his hand out to silence her.
"How about this? You win, I give you Aldra and the Swamp Witch instead." he offered. "How about that?"
Melona was taken back by the brunet's offer. The Swamp Witch AND the Queen.
"Deal," Breaker said without a second thought. "but I need to know, why did you send those elves to Ben?"
"It's all part of my plan," Blood replied casually. "Besides, Someone like Nowa needs to be with someone who can accept her, besides her instructor or Leina. She is eventually going to be captured by Dogura, but I refuse to have her subjugated to that torture."
"You are such an imbecile! That one is not even worth the time or effort!" Breaker said in anger. "She's not important one bit."
"Don't you dare see either of them as disposable pawns," Blood warned as he glanced at a rusted sword that was once held by one of the undead soldiers who were eradicated by the lightning. " They will offset Salem's lies. Plus, I don't want Alleyne or her pupil to suffer."
Breaker's face deadpanned as he looked on at the Bloody Hunter.
"Tch, you're becoming such a disappointment, brother," he said solemnly. "You were once the most bloodthirsty of us four, but now you're trying to make things better for everyone! The original combatants for the Queen's Blade, the Gal Monsters, even Ben himself. "
"I am not letting Ben become corrupted any further," the Bloody Hunter vowed while he sat upright. "I no longer care if I erase myself from this reality as a result. I swear on my very life, I am going to tear your rotten carcass limb by fucking limb!"
Demon Breaker took a step backwards as his doppelganger rose to his feet while activating his Ultimatrix.
"It's time that I show you the real power of MY Ultimate form." he said before turning into Shiftlash.
Without another word, he pounded his fist against the Ultimatrix and turned into the evolved form.
The scarlet slime bellowed loudly as he got onto all fours as his head began to contort. His mouth stretched outwards as the top of his head flattened out and curved upwards, becoming a sturdy looking frill while the jaws became something reminiscent of the jaws of a crocodile. Spikes erupted from his elbows, pointing upwards while his fingers developed long hook like talons. His back arched upwards as a pair of bat like wings erupted from underneath his skin. A long, serpentine tail grew from the back of his waist while a stinger appeared at the tip of his tail. His knees bent the opposite way as they elongated, lifting the transforming slime's body from the marshland as he grew in size.
"You think a simple transformation can scare me?" Breaker taunted, undaunted by the scarlet monster that stood before him.
The evolved Shiftlash growled before opening his mouth, unleashing an earsplitting roar towards the psycho. Unfazed, Breaker tilted his head to the side, cracking his neck.
"Now, exactly what's this so called real power of Ultimate Shiftlash?" he questioned before pulling the claymore from the ground. He pointed the sword towards the monstrous chimera before a bolt of lightning descended down upon it, making it roar in pain. "You're always weak to lightning, no matter what form you are in."
Shiftlash roared as he launched his head forward like a bullet, mouth opened with the intention to bite down upon his foe. Breaker swung his sword, bisecting the head through the middle as it came in contact with the blade. The two halves curved outwards before rising up towards the sky, each becoming a separate head. One of the heads turned inwards and went towards its target, who only leaped out of the way in time to have it collide with the neck of the other head.
"Pathetic…" Breaker said in disappointment as he shouldered his weapon. "Is this all you can do?"
The two heads merged together before Shiftlash spoke.
"You remember how evolution works? The process called Natural Selection? Well, Ultimate Shiftlash is capable of doing just that, at a breakneck speed too. I like to call it Hyper Adaptation," he explained. "The thing about Ultimate Shiftlash that separates him from other Ultimate forms is that he really doesn't have one set form. There are two possibilities for him, based on the terrain I'm in at upon activation. One is the humanoid form, which is adept mainly for crowded areas like forests, mountains and civilizations, and then there's this bestial form, which is adapted more for open spaces like deserts, or swamplands in this situation."
Breaker froze in place as he listened to the evolved slime.
"In this form, which I call the Predator evolution, The Ultimatrix has it where slimes encountered a predator that is capable of finding them no matter what form they took, and managed to withstand even the strongest acids. In response, the slimes sacrificed a lot of flexibility of their shapeshifting in exchange for increased size and raw power."
"You think you can win with size?" Breaker questioned.
"I don't think I can win. I know." the slime corrected him before he charged forward.
"Uh, did Cerate cook this?" Gwen asked as she stared at the plate before her. The contents consisted of a black bubbling sludge that covered what could barely be recognized as mushrooms. "I think this isn't edible…"
The girls were all sitting down at a long banquet table, all of them staring at their meals. One was of a salad that was greatly appealing, while the other looked like it came directly from the swamp.
"I agree with the monkey," Nanael agreed while grimacing at the sight before her. "What is this supposed to be exactly?"
"Steak," Cerate replied calmly before taking a tomato slice and popping it into her mouth.
"I'm scared…" Tino said nervously while hiding from behind her chair, peeking from the side slightly as she trembled.
"How the hell can this be steak?!" Stella said while looking at the supposed meat. " It looks more like toxic mud than meat…"
"You guys always freak out whenever you hear what Airi puts in when she cooks!" Cerate countered. "Why do you act like my stuff is some kind of plague?"
"We were all sick for a week after we last tried your cooking," Airi said bluntly. "Except for excelling at preparing meals with vegetables, any meat you cook always winds up becoming…inedible in some manner."
"I hate you all…" the Gal Monster said bitterly.
"Cerate, you should know by now that Tino has to eat meat more," Stella scolded. "You know exactly how she gets if she doesn't eat enough protein."
"Urk… I forgot." Cerate said as her face became stark white.
"You really must have a small brain." Gwen jabbed with a smirk on her face.
"You're one to talk," Nanael muttered under her breath.
"Shut up, both you and the deformed pigeon!" the blonde Gal Monster snapped
"Ever heard of manners, you cold-blooded newt?"
"Like you're one to talk! You lazy ass angel!"
"Will you two morons just shut up for a while?"
"Can it monkey!"
As the three girls were trading insults at each other, the others sighed while shaking their heads.
"There they go again," Plum said in disappointment. "Puia, mind helping us out… Puia?"
One by one, the ones not involved in the arguing turned their attention towards the harpy, who had her face within the black sludge that was once steak.
"I would advise not to eat the…steak," Arane said calmly, completely unfazed by the antics going around her. "It isn't safe for consumption."
"You should have told her sooner!" Stella said while covering her face with her hand.
Airi shook her head as she frowned a bit as she began thinking to herself.
I wish I knew where Ben is. Everyone's worried about him in some way. Besides I don't know how much longer this group can stay together without him. We're already starting to fall apart… I can only hope that Salem is able to find him in time. But can I… no we, really trust him?
Salem stepped out into the courtyard in the rain. Thunder roared in the air as lighting briefly illuminated the pitch blackness of night, revealing Eon. The Demon Hunter walked towards the Chronian just as time froze just as another bolt of lighting streaked across the sky.
"How may I help you Eon?" he asked. "I'm doing exactly as you contracted me to do."
"That's great to know," the time traveler said with a smile. "I still don't like the fact that you had to injure me like that."
"It was all to make the act we're pulling that much more convincing to everyone on all ends. Of course we can't fool that one man you loathe so much," Salem said before he drew out the Ascalon. "As well as Diagon here. I can sense him trying to seduce me with promises of power, even now as I hold this sword."
"Are you incapable of handling the sword?" the Chronian questioned.
"No, it's not that, I am wondering how exactly did a god become sealed inside a sword," Salem said in intrigue. "I would like to know how the process worked."
"I'll see to it that you learn when the time is right." Eon said before he smirked. "Anyway, how is Ben doing?"
"The boy is becoming stronger with each day, and his morals are continuing to corrode. I say that all he needs now is a healthy dose of betrayal to seal the deal," Salem said as a smirk formed on his face. " I can't wait to see the look on Ben's face."
Eon smirked as well as he contemplated the next course of action for his plans.
It was only a matter of time now before Ben would fall into his fold. There were three things that Eon was planning on achieving through his plans, the first was to harness Diagon's powers while the second was to make Ben into his enforcer. He was close to accomplishing the first two goals, but it was the third one that will prove most difficult.
To secure the Queen's Gate before anyone else could learn to properly control it.
Breaker laughed maniacally as he felt the stinger of Ultimate Shiftlash impale him in the lower abdomen.
"YES! YES! THIS IS EVEN BETTER THAN I EXPECTED!" he cried ecstatically as he swung the claymore, cutting the stinger tip off before pulling it out of his body.
The monstrous slime stared at the psychopath as his tail regenerated his stinger.
"I still can't believe someone like you could come to existence…" he said bitterly. "I pity you… You don't even remember who you once were…"
"Pity?" Breaker asked in confusion as he calmed down instantly. " Like I need such a thing from a glitch…"
Ultimate Shiftlash chuckled before reverting to his previous form.
"You're right, I only came to existence thanks to the Omnitrix's glitches. I am an entity that came to be as a fluke," he said. "The fluke that made his presence first known to everyone because he wanted some fresh air when Ben was eleven years old. The one who took over this body after Ben's mind shattered beyond repair after losing everything back in Bellwood at his request. The one who pretended to be someone else for so long that he barely remembers that his true identity…"
Breaker stared at the scarlet slime as he spoke.
"You still remember it still though?" he questioned.
"My name is Shiftlash," the slime said firmly while glaring at the brunet.
"I'm such a fool for not figuring it out much sooner..." Breaker said before looking at Melona, who had acted as a spectator for the most part. "That explains everything. Why you oppose Sanguine's plans. Why you want to kill us so badly. Why you're trying to make Ben's life better despite being a murderer. And especially why you were able to fall in love with something as repulsive like Melona in the first place. Takes one to love one."
Shiftlash growled as he clenched his fists, barely able to reign in his hatred towards the psychotic Ben as he grinned.
Melona screamed out as she saw the lightning bolt descend upon the Bloody Hunter.
Blazorna: I once again apologize about the delay, and I thank you for your patience.
For those who are gonna complain about what I did for delaying Isabella's ass kicking: I made a duct tape brick and I'm not afraid to use it! Trust me, it hurts like hell.
More questions have been raised, however a few were answered, including one that even I didn't have an answer to at first.
Ever since his debut, the Bloody Hunter has evolved considerably in character and identity. He originally began as just an evil future version of Ben, to showcase what would have happened to him if he gave into despair. As the story progressed, I began to realize that the Bloody Hunter was becoming his own person. It's funny when an author of a story looks back at earlier chapters of their work, then realize that a character they originally considered to be of minor importance inadvertently became a major role.
Originally, The Bloody Hunter was supposed to die in his fight with Sanguine, however, when I reread my previous chapters to keep my facts straight, I realized that he became too important to kill off right there for the plot. Plus it seems that you guys actually like him quite a bit.
It's been not so subtle, but lately the story has begun exploring what defines good and evil exactly. I won't explain the details, but I realized that the Bloody Hunter became someone who represents that gray area between what defines someone as good or evil.
The revealing of the Bloody Hunter's identity being not Ben, but someone else, was actually an idea I had in mind ever since I created him. Originally, he was supposed to have been Zs'skayr who was trapped in Ben's body for so long, that his mind merged with Ben's own, but the original idea was scrapped. For those who are still confused about what's going on with Blood's identity, here's what it is in a nutshell:
Shiftlash is in control of his Ben's body after a mental breakdown that Ben's mind couldn't recover from. However since he also assumed Ben's identity, Shiftlash eventually began to think that he himself was Ben while going through his own series of tragedies.
Now onto the first big announcement that I'm eager to announce.
There is going to be a companion story that will be called: The Rampage of a Misplaced Monster.
This story will be short in length, yet will further reveal what Eon has planned for one of the different worlds. Also, it'll show how one of the four prisoners ended up being in another world and what was happening before hand. Oh, and let's not forget that Demon Breaker is going to play a major role in this story. It will not be necessary to read it, but it will answer the questions of what Breaker was doing during his absence, and how he became a much more competent fighter. As for the world it's going to be, it'll be kept under wraps for now, but I've gave some hints about which one it was
Anyway, I noticed that some of you guys are presuming that every Gal Monster who joins Ben's group automatically is part of his harem. I'm going to be the state this right now: Not all of the Gal Monsters will be a part of it. Quite a few members of Ben's group, past and present, Gal Monsters included, will only have platonic relationships. Two who will not have romantic relations with Ben will be Echidna and Puia.
Finally, there was a question from one of the reviewers a while back that I honestly couldn't answer right away. However, I now believe I have an adequate answer for it now.
Q: Why do Ben and Gwen not react to how some of the Queen's Blade characters dress, like Echidna or Leina?
A: There are several reasons actually. To explain the lack of surprise for Echidna's outfit, she kept her cloak on the whole time, therefore, her true outfit was not revealed during her time with the group, as well as her pet snake. For Gwen, she's been keeping it to herself out of courtesy mainly, since she is aware that she's in another world.
Ben is well, a bit more complicated to explain. I honestly didn't consider this detail at the start of the story, so the best I can say is that he quickly learned to keep his mouth shut and ignore it during the brief time he was alone before meeting Airi. As for his first encounter with Leina and Melona, he was simply caught up in the moment and far away enough to not really notice their attire. For the acid spray, let's just chalk that up as something Ben really didn't put much thought into at the time, and not doing the same thing as Shiftlash due to it looking too gross for him.
I apologize again for the delay and hope to see you all next time. Trust me, I made certain that the next chapter is worth the long wait. For starters, Ben's tenth form will be revealed, but that's only the tip of the iceberg.
Take care everyone, and I hope to see you all next chapter!