Perfect Insanity is back! The storyline has been changed at the times that I didn't pay attention to the story and focused on others. I guess my mind has no idea what it exactly wants. The point is: I've "G-Zero'ed" this story. Putting more character and emotion into the characters. To make them more relative compared to what I first wanted it to turn out. This chapter is an example of it. Enjoy.
11-6-2014: Thanks to Zewing, the French portions now have translations. Sorry for those unable to understand it before.
Chapter 7: Sanity versus insanity
The cocky smile he had on his face has disappeared completely. Wandering the packed streets of East-Papetoon City has made him kind of depressed. Maybe because there's no destruction around him. Temptation to cause some isn't there. With a bowed head, he walks on. The target hotel is nowhere to be found. Lost and not himself at all, he stops on a corner. Crowds of people simply walk by him. They might as well run him over for all he cares. Cars and trucks drive by, traffic lights go from green to red. Just daily business around him. As if the ravage a kilometer away never happened. Just casual carelessness of the general population. Doing their thing, day in, day out. Any disturbance is either a pleasure, surprise or love, or a cause for panic. How he many he wouldn't kill to get that back…
*My sanity… versus… my dearest insanity.*
He looks down at his paws. His claws have withdrawn and the flame on his finger is smoldering weakly. The nail that burned away seem to recover.
*The choice is simple. Just destroy and you'll live. Bring me the souls according to the demands of the symbols. The symbols will give me the strength I need to take on Satan himself, once more. This time… I'll win children. I will, that's a promise.* he cites inarticulately with The Gatekeeper's voice.
*Allow me to smother your pain a little Délarbé. In exchange, that's all I ask for. * spooks through his head. It puzzled him a little that The Gatekeeper spoke of children, as Délarbé and his brother in suffering were the only two. The deal.
'Of course I accepted the deal.' he whispers to himself. 'Pain was my pleasure. Empowered by the powerless. Estranged from pure reality and wrangled in a trinity of lies (Love, Moral and Goodness)'
But long ago, he wasn't like this. He was a child, a person like so many around him. Two symbols and four hosts on… that had to come back to him sometime.
A sudden thought, a very unusual one, shoots through his mind.
It would make everything better. Finally, his suffering would be over. That of certain others as well.
*Don't even think that for a single second!* transmits the being furious from his backpack. Délarbé reacts shocked that he's still alive. He shouldn't be. The Gatekeeper wasn't breathing anymore when he was done with him. Did the Russians mess with him when the backpack was left unattended in the café?
*How are you…*
*Shut up! Start walking. Around this corner.*
Without a choice or other option, he does as The Gatekeeper commands him. The crowd here starts to thin out and finally, after a minute or so, the streets look all but full. The backpack opens on its own and the spiked ball on the end of The Gatekeeper's tail comes out. When Délarbé is close to an alley, the spiked ball stomps him in the stomach. Délarbé cringes, gasping for air, while the dragon-like tail starts to wring around him. It's a choking grip, where he can't escape from.
*You will do my bidding!*
The Gatekeeper flings Délarbé into the alley, where he slams against a wall. Almost through the wall; a large bulge is seen on the other end. His bow and arrows, under the collective name Spawn, makes it even more afflictive. On the ground, trying to hold the pain to himself, he looks up to see The Gatekeeper in his serpent-dragon form. About three to four meters long, crimson red and with the head of a dragon. The fox-head was apparently not threatening enough. Its mouth is that of a snake, but it opens horizontally with two enormous fangs on both sides. The tongue might be the worst looking of them all; a mess of jellyfish tentacles with the snake-like split ends.
'Trying to scare me to death? Ugly… asshole.' laughs Délarbé before he coughs up some blood. It partly spatters on his right paw. He looks at it and notices that black particles swim in it.
'Look. I know you're pissed because I tried to rid you. And put you in a backpack. And left you with those Russians. Hopefully they didn't try to make Borscht out of you.'
It gives Délarbé a nice laugh in a dire situation. The sight of The Gatekeeper, shrunken to the size of a thick roulade and then put into the Russian way of making Borscht, namely with meat in it.
*I see you haven't lost your humor. I got some too. Look at YOUR wrist first, before you command some mortal to that for you.*
It ruins his laughter. Hateful, Délarbé lifts his left wrist up and sees an iron clamp appear around it. A chain runs from it and ends somewhere underground. The chain seems to go through the ground like through water.
*You're mine! That's… what I call funny. And don't look at me like that; you're dead without me within your vicinity. We're connected… forever…*
'Grrr... Go fuck yourself.' He tries standing up but The Gatekeeper's stare somehow keeps him down. The similarities between him and The Gatekeeper become clearer. Where his stare just burns, the other can actually hold people down.
'HEY! Cut it out will ya? I'm just… just a little out of rhythm, okay? Just… urgh… give me some sanity back and then I'll…'
Délarbé covers his ears at the deafening scream and shuts his eyes. Useless, as it's in his head. He opens one eye, holding the other painfully closed. The eyes of The Gatekeeper, those venom green spots in the blackness, focus on Délarbé's heart. The spiked ball is slung towards it before stopping just a micrometer before impact.
*I will NOT be blamed for something you done to yourself! Understood?*
Délarbé nods as anything else will cause him to die.
*You want your sanity back?* he gestures dangerously close at his heart. *Then you will roam my Hell forever. In search for something, you'll never ever find.*
The gaping mouth comes closer as the tentacles begin to tap his face on every spot. He can't wave them away, knowing that more will come.
Délarbé's eyes open wide. The mentioning of his family crosses too many borders. Even those he thought never to break. In pure anger, the claws come out of this left paw as the fire shoots up in the air. He stabs them into The Gatekeeper's head, making it scream in pain. He pulls them out after forcing them further in and runs off through the maze-like alleys of Papetoon City. The tears of blood on his cheeks start to water, another unexpected drawback on his insanity. Like blue fireflies, they fly away. Unfortunate, as they leave a trail for The Gatekeeper to follow. He quickly wipes them away as fast as he can and remains on the run. One good thing is, that the further away he is, the less able he is to pull out his claws.
'I'M COMING FOR YOU!' is shouted from behind him as The Gatekeeper recovery is incredibly fast. He gives Délarbé chase, after the tears. The tears instantly vaporize the moment he hurls himself on. But he loses Délarbé as ahead of him are three crossroads leading various directions. Just around the right corner of the second crossroad, stands Délarbé. He keeps his breathing on a low level to maintain his hiding place. The Gatekeeper puts his nose up in the air and starts to sniff.
'Rrrr… I can smell your fear child. You'll never be able to escape me. I'll always need to be in your vicinity. Otherwise… you die!'
With a loud roar, he turns the wrong way. Délarbé can happily exhale elaborate once his claws withdraw on their own. With his back against the wall and a little dizzy from all the commotion, he slides down.
'Fuck… that was one… gehehehe… HELL of an ordeal.' He sits down nicely and shrugs indefinite. 'Gotta love myself some puns here and there.'
Talking some power and trust into himself. Another reminder of who he was. He sat like this before. Back against a wall behind him and talking some sense into himself. Almost like then.
'My house. The forest and the wide open grass fields around it.' he remembers. Putting his index and middle finger underneath the second symbol, it forms a flat, yellow glowing hologram the moment he lifts the fingers off. He hurls the symbol into his other paw as it begins to form into something. After the process is done, the forming turned into a small painting. Displayed on it, is a mother, a father and a young boy. The boy seems incredibly familiar. Grayish hair, cyan blue eyes and an innocent smile on his face.
'Where did it all go... so wrong?' The pentagram formed in his irises begins to change into the same color as on the picture. 'Why didn't I... help them?'
'Because you were weak.' is whispered in his ear.
He looks up startled and sees The Gatekeeper in front of him. In shock, he tries to flee. But with a smack of The Gatekeeper's tail he is kept on his spot.
'You're going nowhere Délarbé. Your insanity is too valuable to me.'
He eviscerates towards The Gatekeeper but only punches him. It doesn't work at all without his claws.
'Argh!' he exclaims painful. 'That hurts!'
The Gatekeeper's scales are hard as a rock.
The Gatekeeper wraps his tentacles around Délarbé's face as the vertical mouth closes around him. Desperate and painful murmuring is all one can hear from the outside. On the inside, numerous wound are made on Délarbé's face. Some tentacles even go into his mouth, damaging his gums, the split tongue and even further down, irritating the throat and finding their way into the Larynx. The threat of the spiked ball stabbing through his heart is almost enough to hold him down. Almost...
With difficulty, he manages to grab an arrow from the quiver. Unable to see where he's stabbing it, he stabs the tip in The Gatekeeper's ear. He lets go off Délarbé's face, leaving it scarred all over.
'Cough... Fucking throat-raping piece of shit!' he insults still beaten down. The Gatekeeper doesn't take that kindly and wraps tail around Délarbé and squeezes him tight. His claws just won't extent, no matter how hard he tries. Breathing gets harder as he was already short on breath when the tentacles left his Larynx.
*At this rate... I'll spit out all of my organs. But... he wouldn't kill me... would he?*
'I can easily replace you Délarbé.' answers The Gatekeeper. 'So don't think about trying to rid off me!'
He throws Délarbé right through the wall he once sat against. His back scrapes across another merciless abrasive alleyway before hitting his head hard against a dead-end. His vision turns blurry. His stomach start to rumble and the acid begins to well up instead of him. Swallowing hard, he hopes to keep it in. In the blurred vision, he sees The Gatekeeper coming closer at an improbable speed.
*Let's put this thing to use instead having it as a...* He pauses to grab Spawn of his back and lays an arrow. *...a pique!*
With instant precision, he fires an arrow at The Gatekeeper. He can barely react before it punctures into his right eye. Exclaiming in agony, he crashes on the ground and slides towards Délarbé. He stops just before touching Délarbé's toe.
'It's... not dead.' exhales Délarbé ambiguous. It's absolutely great that The Gatekeeper is KO again but it didn't kill him. Tension flows away and makes way for relief. The Gatekeeper shrinks in size; the size of a roulade. He puts The Gatekeeper back in his backpack. Still unable to get rid off him forever. All because of a clamp around his left wrist. A constant reminder, that he has to do The Gatekeeper's bidding.
'Where did it go wrong?' he repeats to himself. A flashback, a rather long one appears in his vision. The vision of a younger version of himself in town. Children running everywhere while he's just sitting in a corner in between two houses. His clothes worn out and nobody wanted to play with him. He had grown strong on his own. His father being his best friend. 1439 in France. A past that seems so far, yet so close.
A day later, they moved to a much more pleasant future. His father, being the local blacksmith of the town, he made an impressive sword for Joan of Arc's companion: Gilles de Rais. Thanks to a tremendous victory that Gilles himself holds his sword responsible for a few years ago, he promised a better life for the blacksmith and his family. It took him long enough; about 7 years later they were able to move.
Délarbé wasn't called like that. His name was Loic Remond and he was about 10 years old. His mother's name was Candace and his father's Aldéric. Their family had a motto called the Trinity of Truth. Moral, Love and Goodness. Gilles, according Aldéric, had all of them. If it was all up to Aldéric, Gilles was to be Loic's uncle. Gilles was so thankful that he actually accompanied the relocation. He sat on his horse and rode alongside the carriage that he hired for them. Loic wanted to be just like Gilles. A knight in the French Army, serving under the King and gain overwhelming victories. This father and mother weren't particularly happy with it but 'Uncle Gilles' sure was. He thought him all sorts of sword fighting techniques. Coming real close to Loic. When Loic asked him why he waited 7 years, Gilles rubs softly through his hair.
'Because you weren't grown up ma petit bonhomme.' he answers with a sensual smile on his face.
"Ma petit bonhomme". My little chap. Looking back on it, he should have known something was up with uncle Gilles. The moving had one catch; Gilles sometimes stayed in that house too. He had his own room, where weird things always happened. He sometimes brought along his servant.
One time, he took a peek inside that room. He saw the back of uncle Gilles. He sat on his knees and held someone on the ground. With his right arm, he made a rubbing movement. He spewed some kind of white fluid all over the thighs and legs of a person. The person was small, so it wasn't an adult. He stood up, cleaning himself up and putting his pants back up. The person was indeed a child, but he wasn't alive anymore. It's belly had been cut open, revealing the inner organs. Gilles proceeded to talk to someone unseen. Its voice... The Gatekeeper's.
Further accusations against Gilles were that of sorcery and demon summoning. He send out messengers to try to find participants. All from Loic's house. More children kept coming in along with other weird figures. His father always held his mouth shut. He didn't knew what happened in there, but whatever it was, he knew that he would be kicked out if he were to find out about it. No reaction came from his face as he stared into the burning furnace while Gilles preformed his rituals. His mother on the other hand was always reluctant towards Gilles' room and forbid Loic to ever come close to it. She often had conversation with Aldéric to ditch Gilles. To no extent.
Around the turn of the year, uncle Gilles told Loic that he had a surprise for him. His mother was in town, getting groceries as no help for her was to be expected. He turned 11 a few days ago. According to Gilles, the right age. Ignorant about what was going to happen, he followed uncle Gilles into the room blindly. Even when his mother clearly forbid it. That's when things turned for the worse. Before he knew it, he was pressed against the ground. Loic screamed for his father to help. But nothing came from him.
The words uncle Gilles spoke still sting. He told him that he loved to cut open children's bodies for sacrifices. To masturbate that the sight of the inner organs. To sit on the children's stomach's and laugh at them while they die. Unwillingly, Loic received a load of white fluid too. This time, all over his legs instead of his thighs. Gilles stood up and grabbed Aldéric's sword.
'Finally.' he says while he pulls the sword from its scabbard. He holds it in front of him, like looking down the sights of a weapon. He strokes his fingers through the fuller of the blade. It gives him an arousing feeling. A pleasant shiver runs through him before he turns his attention to Loic.
'The perfect child to give my master his powers back. So he can rule the Underworld.'
Just like the surgeon at the Holy Maria Hospital saw, The Gatekeeper circles around Gilles. It whispers something in his ear before disappearing. Gilles holds the hilt with two paws and stand over Loic.
'Préparez-vous à rencontrer votre créateur enfant.' (Prepare to meet your maker child.) he speaks.
Loic closes his eyes, ready for impact. But the sound he hears is not the one of a blade cutting through flesh. It's the shattering of a bottle on Gilles' head. When Loic opens his eyes, he sees Gilles on the ground, yammering. His father saved him. In the leftover rush he still has, he grabs the sword and lifts Loic of the ground over his shoulder. He runs outside and puts Loic down on the ground. He blocks the front door with whatever he can find around the house. Wood, dirt, whatever. Once he's done with that, he kneels down before his son. His face is sweaty and his breathing is heavy. His right paw, the one he used to swing the bottle, has a fragment of glass in it. But he doesn't care for his own health. He pulls a bucket full of water closer to him. He dips his left paw in it and cleans up Loic's dirty legs and face.
'Hey Grand Champion. Comment êtes-vous?' he asks while caressing his son's cheek.
How is it going... A question to which Loic has no answer to. Stricken with fear. The sight of his uncle ejaculating over him. How he spoke with a demon and was really trying to kill him. To cut him open and to sit on his stomach. The laugh... he can almost see it for himself.
'Allez. Nous devons trouver votre mère.' (Come. We have to find your mother.)
He lifts Loic back on his shoulder and mounts his horse.
'Aller! Vite, vite!' (Come on! Quick, quick!)
The horse speeds off towards the town. Aldéric eventually found his wife on the town square and drew all attention towards him. Showing his son as a shining example of Gilles' tyranny and lechery, he managed to rally an entire uprising. Torches are lit and by night the mob stormed over to Aldéric's house. While Loic and the rest where long gone. The house was torched but Gilles escaped.
Around October of 1440, his father received the news that Gilles was to be executed by hanging in Nantes. The family was exceptionally relieved. Never before had Loic given his mother and father such a tight hug. It was all over.
But The Gatekeeper had other plans. Loic had moved to an abandoned cabin near a lake and a great, open grass and flower fields. Being left out and since it was empty for years seemingly, Aldéric and Candace thought of it as the perfect place to start all over.
It was the 30th of October, four days after Gilles' execution. Loic was running around in the grass fields. The joy of having no more fear of his uncle led him to become more one with nature and anti-war. The medieval equivalent of a hippy so to say. The winds blowing through the tall grass as his paws gently move over the flowers. He plucks a dandelion and blows the pollen all around him.
He's at peace. He allows himself to fall into the grass, making a bed for himself. He exhales deep and looks at the baby blue sky. The sun isn't too bright and it's pretty cool outside. But Loic doesn't care.
Inside of the cabin, Aldéric was busy cleaning up Gilles' sword while sitting on a chair near the burning furnace. He looks away from it. He kept it, as a reminder that no matter how important the person is, his family goes first. He stands up and places the sword on the floor. He joins his wife at window. Together, they stare at the sight of a darting Loic, dancing around in the grass and flowers.
'Vous avez bien Aldéric.' (You did well Aldéric) complements Candace. Aldéric grabs her around the middle and kisses her on the cheek.
'Nous avons bien Candace.' (We did well Candace.) answers Aldéric.
Behind them however, a less than pleasant black, gooey shadow forms above the furnace. The jellyfish tentacles protrude out of the goo and reach out for the couple.
Startled, Loic turns his attention to the house. It's a big spot in the distance, but he can see a dark aura surrounding it. The sky turns gray and gets darker with every step he sets closer to the house. When he's at the door, it seems more intimidating and bigger than it normally is. He can barely reach for the lock to open it. When he does, he enters a wrecked house. Tables and plates smashed and the furnace is out. A cold, soul-reaping voice starts to echo all over. It's talking in a cipher language. In hindsight, nothing more than modern-day English.
'Maman? Papa? Où êtes-vous? J'ai peur...' (Mom? Dad? Where are you? I'm scared...)
When Loic peeks around to see into the living room, his face turns horrid. He wants to scream but he can't. Before him, he sees the lifeless bodies of his father and mother, tightly gripped in constrict by The Gatekeeper. He turns to Loic, who is completely anchored to the ground, and looks vile at him
'This is your fault Loic! Take a good look child. This is what happens when I don't get what I want! Now that I've lost my contact here in Lylat, I might as well take you!'
He flings Loic's parents in the black goo and comes closer to the child. Loic's eyes move over to his father's sword. He wants to slash The Gatekeeper's head off, but his whole body is paralyzed. Tears spring out of his eyes. He feels the disgusting breath of The Gatekeeper on his face.
'Weakling.' he calls out. 'Frozen because of cowardliness. Worthless mortal. No worry though. I'll knead you to perfection.'
Darkness followed and a second later, Loic was part of a mechanism at Hell's Gate. He regularly tried to escape, which led to stronger and more painful measures to hold him. One of which was to wrap barbed wire around his lower legs to hold him where he is. The more pain he took in, the more sanity flowed away. Every escape attempt was another sip out of the chalice of insanity. Expecting different results by doing the same thing, over and over again.
The memory disappears again. The Loic he once was, is no longer there. Realizing that some wounds will not heal after eight-hundred-something years, instead becoming scars, he needs to find a new identity. He rises from the ground and walks out of the alleyways, into the streets again. The crowds start to build up again as he walks up another hill.
*A new identity. Who could possibly...*
An idea, maybe a long shot, but still possible.
*FOX! Of course. What better way to get your identity from someone you inherited his inner evil from? But... he hates my ass. Yet... he is a part of me. He has to acknowledge that much. I'll leave him a message. Nah, rather an invitation.*
Only five minutes later, Fox's being joins Délarbé.
'You said something about eliminating all that messed up my life? I'm in. Temporarily of course.'
'Glad you could join me Fox.'
'Who is our first target?'
Délarbé snickers evil. 'That my dear Fox... is a surprise. Just stay in the background till I give the signal.'
Behind Délarblé, is the ever shining moon. The Sons of Plunder appear out of the shadows to follow their master. The light burns and they flee for it, hitching a ride on Délarbé's body, covering every single bit of it. Transparent to everything now, he simply walks right through the hill. But he doesn't come out of the other end. He's gone. On to his latest target...
Who is Délarbé's new target? How will Fox aid in eliminating that target? Till next time.