Chapter 32: The Culmination
Finale Part II
In the middle of a large, smoking field surrounded by smoldering ruins sat a rabbit.
The rain made the smoldering ruins hiss.
The rabbit was also very sad. A sad, sad, sad little rabbit.
You may have heard this scenario before, but this was not an emperor rabbit.
This rabbit was a sad little rabbit, stating it redundantly.
This rabbit was also Zub.
But before we can tell you that story, first we must tell you this story.
“What a dramatically long and ominous pathway to our doom,” the Author mused as they marched.
“Oh yes, so dramatic. We’ve been walking for two hours now and are only now reaching the bridge,” Death said irritably.
“And it’s been so dramatic!” insisted the author.
It is here that we at Zub: The Adventures of Stuff welcome you to the last chapter, the grand finale.
Unless we decide to divide it into more parts.
“It really is quite tedious,” said Lavie supportively.
“And that’s my fault how?” the Author demanded.
“No one insinuated that it was your fault.”
Throughout its entirety, Zub has been fun to narrate. And today will be the day it all ends
“Oh, yes you did.”
Ran sighed. “You’re oddly paranoid.”
Whether everyone dies horribly, or they succeed, or it turns out to all have been a dream, will all be revealed today.
Dramatic, isn’t it?
The Author scowled. “Can you blame me? I want to kill this jerk that stole my spotlight!”
This is the part where you agree with the narrator and say, “Yes, it is.”
Zub was oddly silent throughout all this. Or at least that’s what I would say, were he to be able to speak. As this is the final chapter, I feel inclined to reiterate the fact that he has Clichedprotaganitis, a horribly ailment that causes him to not only follow an excessive amount of overused clichés, but also causes him to be mute.
“You were really more of a minor character before,” drawled Death listlessly. “You really didn’t affect the plot nor did you help us at all, really.”
The Author made an offending gesture that we could not reproduce due to not only its offensiveness but also its poor taste, but said nothing in his defense.
“And you left a lot of things go in lack of memory,” Death continued. “Like Miror B.’s shiny Rayquaza, Eff Ecks’ giant Registeel-“
“I get the point,” the Author said icily.
“I’m sure,” agreed Lavie. They had conversed so long they were now at the far island, the end of the bridge. Before them sat a massive grey tower, size easily being triple of Unova’s infamous Unity Tower.
“Who’s ready to hopefully not die?” the Author asked reassuringly.
Bel, Matrin, Ashleigh and Rath stood on a balcony overlooking the front of the stormy, grey island, having escaped the exploding Miror Battleship offscreen.
“This is it,” whistled Bel cheerfully. “Either they die or we do.”
“Man, I love the smell of the potential to be maimed horribly in the mid-afternoon,” Matrin said pleasantly.
Ashleigh climbed onto Rath’s shoulder-mounted command chair. “I wonder how Justy is doing now?” she swooned.
“Auuurghabbbadabbs,” Rath said poetically, somewhat ruining the moment.
Matrin peered through his spyglass. “It looks like they’re doing a dramatic recap of the story thus far. It might take a while,” he noted dejectedly before slumping against the cold metallic railing lining the balcony.
“Anyone up for a game of Scrabble while we wait?” Ashleigh asked, kicking out a Scrabble board and resting it on Rath’s back, who was apparently now on all fours.
“Don’t you dare play ‘philanthropy’ again,” Bel growled as she drew out her lucky Scrabble tile stand.
“Don’t hate the playah, hate the game!” grinned Ashleigh cheekily, eyeing her tiles.
“I hate the player,” Ran snarled. “If we were in a video game or something, I mean.” He pointed to a stack of crates. “He’d probably make me break all those!”
“I know what you mean,” rumbled a voidless voice that rumbled like the strum of an acoustic guitar.
“Who’s there?” asked the Author nervously.
“I am - - -.” stated - - - with majestic grace. “Another of Its hired meat and lord of video game antagonist clichés.”
“Shouldn’t your title be capitalized?” asked Lavie.
“Hold up a sec,” said Death. “Is that pronounced hyphen-hyphen-hyphen or dash-dash-dash or-“
“You are overthinking it,” said - - -. “It is pronounced just as - - -.”
“- - -,” repeated Death. “Huh. You think the readers will have any trouble announciating that?”
Ran and Lavie glanced at you before simultaneously saying, “Nah.”
“Well alright then,” said Death. “To the stairs!”
As they reached the stairs however, the stairs all exploded. Zub drew a Pokéball and stared at - - -, who shrugged. “It’s all in the script,” he said pointedly in his defense.
Zub squinted suspiciously.
Death, however, was incredulous. “A script?! We once tried reading that junk once before, and it didn’t work!”
- - - shrugged. “It did for me, it seems.”
Death was now furious. “Gemini, destroy this creep!” he yelled before Zub could throw his own Pokéball. Zub instead went and sat in a corner.
“Czy zabicie czasu? Oh, mam więc nadzieję, że tak jest! Mój krwiożerczy wąsów ból do morderstwa!” Gemini shrieked in delight.
“You said you would stop doing that,” scowled Death. “Regardless, Shadow Claw, now, on that fool!” The Sableye grinned deviously, extending a claw. The talons emanated a hellish purple aura as they grew out. In a second, he leapt at - - - and struck.
- - - seemed to take the attack rather well, however. “Is that all you have?” he asked, picking up the Gem Pokémon by the scruff of its neck. “Begone!” it cackled as it hurled Gemini into Death.
Scrambling back to his feet, Death garbled a drunken slur, something that translated vaguely to “That all you got, chicken lad?”
“No,” shrugged - - -. “Ultimate Attack That Involves Shouting Names With Many Capitals That is Super Awesome Mega Death-Defying Death-Bringing Flaming Awesome Mega Radical Heartbreaking Damaging Doom-Bringing Armageddon-Sounding Punch With an Excessive Amount of Adjectives!” cried out - - - as his fist was coated in a pristine coat of white flame. With great force, he brought it forward into Zub, the only mortal character left, who was still moping in the corner.
“Overkill and out to kill,” muttered Ran.
“The narration is right; we have an oddly wide range of immortal protagonists….” the Author took to note.
“Is that so wrong?” groaned Death as he attempted to nurse his aching side. Lavie watched tentatively from a distance.
“I’d help, but you know….” she shrugged. Death gave a crooked smile before collapsing.
Zub raised a shaking arm dramatically into the air before collapsing. This was a very insignificant event, and in fact nobody paid it any attention, but I just thought you might find it interesting. Or maybe you don’t. Nothing can be helped.
“Oh, a quick idea I saw while reading your origin,” the Author smiled as he picked u Ran, creating a corpse or two in the process. With a few tweaks to Ran’s Cossack Blaster on his arm, he threw Ran towards - - -.
Ran exploded in a fiery inferno if imminent destruction and chaos.
At this, - - -‘s eyes turned a brilliant hue of crimson as they were enveloped in flame. His previously pale skin turned a shade of red so bright it almost glowed. His muscles began rippling as he let out an infernal roar.
“I’ve seen this before!” exclaimed Death, rising steadily. “This means he’ll either explode, become twice as hard to beat, or restore health points!” Deciding the last one was most likely, Death ran forward and bit the newborn monstrosity, which I will now refer to as ‘Muscle - - - of Doom’ for clarity’s sake.
Upon noticing there was now a pair of teeth now firmly clamped to his upper bicep, Muscle - - - of Doom picked up Death and hurled him into the stone wall hard enough to smash through it.
“Ow….” he moaned as he checked for broken bones. “What is this wall made of, antimatter?”
“Ebonstone,” grunted Muscle - - - of Doom as he charged to his death.
Oh, I see. Ha ha. Stop laughing Germaine, it’s not funny.
Regardless, Muscle - - - collided into Death with such force, some of the fire spilled out of his eye socked and onto his flesh.
“Remember when I mentioned that everything was made of Explodium?” the Author chuckled. “This is what I meant.”
- - -, whom had returned to normal state, was thrown into the air, convulsing and hideously twitching.
Then he exploded in a shower of food, missiles, ammo, and small bouncing yellow triangles.
“Why did he have food and missiles inside him?” asked Lavie in disgust. “Even a pristine roast beef dinner?”
“He did say he was Lord of Video Game Antagonist Clichés…” muttered Ran.
“She played ‘philanthropy’ again!” screamed Bel in rage.
“Not my fault,” pouted Ashleigh. “I only had the letters to play this and this only.”
“You could’ve easily played ‘phil’ or ‘ant’ or ‘happily’ or even just the word “I!” came the harsh reply.
“I seriously doubt those are even words,” Ashleigh said condescendingly.
“And Rath, please stop playing the word ‘grah,’ it’s not even in the dictionary,” asked Matrin politely.
“GRAH!” roared Rath in an effort to show he understood one word of that sentence.
“No grah!” Matrin shouted hopefully.
“GRAAAAH!” came the reply.
“NO GRAAAAH EITHER!” Matrin said in exasperation. “Adding extra letters does not make it a new word!”
“GRAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!” disagreed Rath very politely. “GRAH GRAH grah GRAAAH!”
“That was uncalled for!” the magician pointed out in an upset tone.
“Grah,” replied the dumb muscle smugly.
“Would you both please shut up?” asked Bel sincerely. “That way I won’t have to kill you.”
“Grah,” said Rath in disappointed sadness. Matrin merely shrugged and played ‘lemon’ for one-hundred and eighty points.
“I despise you,” Ashleigh threw out helpfully.
“The feeling is mutual,” Matrin replied sincerely. “I’m here for only the hats.”
Death, Lavie, Ran, and the Author sped up the stairs.
“We’re not forgetting anything, are we?” panted the Author.
Death thought for a moment, then replied as he gasped for air. “I highly doubt it,” he gasped.
Somewhere, at the bottom of the tower, an unconscious Zub shed an unconscious tear that was promptly rushed to the emergency room and treated for many months until it was relieved of its coma. Zub, however, remained forgotten.
“Yup,” Death corrected. “Definitely not.”
The Author shrugged and continued running.
Slowly but steadily, they reached the second floor, which was, inconveniently, a massive three hundred feet above the base floor. The chamber was unmarked save for a small doorway cut into the rock; no stairs nor decoration were present in any form.
“Tricky,” said Lavie. “Clearly there is some kind of puzzle to unlock the stairs.”
The Author nodded. “Could it be some sort of hidden lever that would cause them to slide out of the wall?”
Ran glanced around. “If there is, it seems like it will be a lot of effort to find,” he sighed.
Lavie began to interject when she was cut off by Death. “Or we can go see what’s out there.”
The rest of the party shrugged and followed him out, where they came face-to-face with a ragtag group of rugged mercenaries. The first one seemed like an ordinary teenager, sporting the latest in fashion trends and long, blended pink hair She had two straps bound over her adorable blouse, one holstering a variety of mysterious poisons and elixirs, the other carrying potent Pokéballs and grenades.
The one next to her was a living wall of meaty muscle, each rippling with sheer strength. His face displayed only stupidity and also pure lust for destruction. He moved with aggression and swiftness, the intent to kill.
Across the table from him, another was decked out in a luxurious suit, piercing blue eyes complementing his sandy blonde hair perfectly while also reflecting a sinister disposition from within. He hid his inner motivations and deep inclinations behind a façade of fake emotions, most notably the warm, broad smile he held.
The last toted twin swords and had platinum blonde that was alluringly dangerous. Her cold, calculating eyes seemed to pierce right through any soul contemplating your weaknesses and how to easily destroy you.
They all sat threateningly, all completely enveloped in their ultimate challenge…
A game of Scrabble.
To make this far more intimidating I will call it…. Scrabble.
TO THE DEATH!
“What should we do?!” gasped Lavie in despair.
“Stall them. I have a plan,” whispered Death as he slunk into the shadows.
Bel finally noticed the newcomers. “You again!” she spat.
“You’re trying to distract us,” Ashleigh said edgily as she played ‘philanthropy’ again.
“Us again!” confirmed Lavie happily.
“You’re missing some people,” noted Matrin, not looking up.
“Says you!” countered Ran ecstatically.
“Says me,” agreed Matrin.
“I don’t believe you,” Ran said simply, crossing his arms.
Matrin sighed a resigned “You wouldn’t,” and played ‘enharmonics’.
Then the balcony exploded, sending the four tumbling below.
“I was about to win!” cursed Ashleigh as she fell.
“How convenient,” Ran said. “What are the odds of that happening?”
Death suddenly appeared. “Not high,” he admitted.”
[center]~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Time passes as they climb more stairs~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~[/center[
The four of our heroes cascaded to the top floor, a spacious and air chamber. On the far side a hallway extended, presumably to Its chamber. The hall they were currently in looped around the chamber, forming a donut.
“Wait,” noted Lavie. “Whatever happened to Nob and all those who said they would help us?”
“Oh, they are,” promised the Author, coming up with something that totally wasn’t a lie made up on the spot at all. “They are laying waste to Lilycome again, so our army is defending it.”
With that out of the way, the heroes burst into Its chamber.
A large velvet chair on the far side of the room looked into a big TV screen made to look like a window. It had a frame around it, something rather stupid for a TV dressed as a window. Slowly, the chair spun around to set the mood for drama, and a fish with scales of solid gold gleamed in the chair.
“Hello darlings,” It said suavely. “Here to stop me, are you?”
“Yes,” Death said bluntly, avoiding the pre-battle battle of wits that would accompany the final duel in any work of fiction but this one.
It glared at him. “I like the battle of wits,” he growled.
“That’s nice,” said Ran nonchalantly. “Look, can we get this over soon? I have a date at nine.”
It glared at them all before sighing. “Whatever. I have been working on a way to resurrect me in my true form; something impossible were it not for all the seals placed on highly powerful creatures.”
“Highly powerful creatures….?” asked Lavie.
“But of course. The same ones you defeated for me.”
“Dog gonnit,” swore Death.
It somehow managed to draw a Pokéball and throw it at the heroes. Death attempted to smoothly dodge it, and succeeded, but was promptly blasted in the face, forcing him into a wall. “Gotcha,” It hissed evilly.
“Now where did It get a cheesecake launcher from?” Death wondered dazedly.
The Author blinked guiltily.
Lavie had meanwhile drawn a Pokéball and thrown it to counter whatever It had thrown at them. Ran, doing likewise, summoned Ranshao the Magmar to assist Lavie’s Togekiss.
Dear reader, if I were you, I’d put on some coolio music, because we saved the entire budget of the series for this fight. THIS IS WHY WE’VE BEEN SO POOR, RIGHT HERE FOLKS.
Togekiss and Ranshao stood in opposition of the newly called forth Salamence and the Hydreigon that had previously only been alluded to. The Hydreigon let out a shrill call of a roar, sharp and high but still powerful. The Salamence leaned forward and let forth a barrage of Dragonbreath, not taking the time to even introduce itself. How uncouth.
Togekiss swiftly dodged this, gallantly gliding into the spacious chamber. A simple finger wag beckoned Salamence forth. Salamence, who could not simply ignore a taunt, took off flying after Togekiss.
Meanwhile, Ranshao was dealing with Hydreigon, who was repeatedly spamming Surf. As they were in high elevation, the water he summoned did not arrive, but still somehow Ranshao took damage.
“Ranshao, what are you doing?” cried Ran in desperation.
Ranshao quacked and shrugged.
Meanwhile, Death and the Author were not faring so well against Its cheesecake bonanza. Creamy desserts flew in every direction as the two nimbly attempted to avoid the incoming cheesecake.
“This seriously sucks and is kinda embarrassing,” wept Death.
“I know!” exclaimed the Author. “Why don’t we take out his cannon? Then he can’t shoot anymore?”
Death admitted this was a god idea, and charged at the golden fish, who, upon realizing what was happening, fired more rapidly. Death and the Author endured, however, and finally captured the fish, punting him away from the launcher just as his two dragons were inexplicably defeated. In a final gambit, It pulled out a small greyn box with a single button, pressed it, and grinned.
“I have extracted that essence to return me to full power fully and deposited it into the bottom of the pit that’s opening behind me,” It smiled warmly, full of confidence.
The floor of the middle of the round chamber finished silently sliding open, and at the very bottom Death could vaguely see a misty purple substance.
“Not on my watch,” Lavie said heroically as she withdrew a stapler from her fanny pack and stapled It to the ground.
It smiled. “Is this all?” It laughed. It flopped around for a bit. “Kinda snug, come to think of it…. but it won’t be enough.”
“Says you!” exclaimed Lavie as she ran down the stairs, confident of having won.
“Says me,” smiled It.
Suddenly, Zub flew out of no where, and in a triumphant return, kicked It directly in the face with the base of his shoe, instantly defeating It and catapulting It….
…Right into the pit.
“Oops,” gasped Death.
“Oops,” agreed Ran with beef.
“How do you agree with beef?” Death wondered. Nobody knows, Death.
The Author had fallen silent, agape.
Then it happened. Or, more precisely, It happened.
A single organic blade shot out of the abyss, connected into a fattened, fleshy tentacle. The blade itself was adorned with smaller spikes and curved to resemble a scythe or scimitar.
Another bladed tentacle propelled itself into the chamber, embedded itself into a wall as the first one had, and inhuman noises could be heard. Two more tentacles shot out, until they could be visibly seen flexing, desperately trying to pull something out.
And they succeeded.
They strained themselves to oblivion, and just when it seemed they would be shaken loose of their footing (so to speak), a titanic fleshy monster rose out of the abyss. Its entire was too horrible to speak of, so I won’t mention it. However, it did have a multitude of smaller tentacles, and two large hands that ended in what seemed to be crab claws. Small beady eyes and a large toothy mouth grinned down on the heroes. “Hullo,” It said pleasantly.
Everyone stood solemnly, agape and in horror.
“I’ll be quite honest, I think you definitely should not have gotten this far,” It said in a distinct British accent (of which no one had heard of) as It donned a monocle and top hat.
“I’m not quite sure what you’re getting at,” admitted Ran.
“Don’t you see?” asked Its true form. “You weren’t supposed to work! You could not have worked!”
“What do you mean?” Ran asked, slightly taken aback by the sudden outburst.
It rounded on him. “You fail to realize, Cossack, that I was the one who sent you here to kill them, knowing that it wouldn’t work. You failed, like I planned. And you joined them, as I suspected. But to have gotten along with them? It was impossible!”
“But-“ Death interrupted before befalling the same fate himself.
“And, Death. Poor old fellow,” It snarled. “You were supposed to have killed Zub. But it seems I did not count on you forgetting what happened before you died… your bottled anger would have made you kill him on the spot.”
“What do you mean?”
“Does the name… oh, what was it again? Alyx Pulchra? Does that name ring a bell?”
Death collapsed. “What… how did you… who is she?” he practically screamed. It ignored him and moved to Zub, his mirrored figure moving elegantly. “And Zub… have you ever wondered why you’ve never met anyone else with your… ah, unfortunate disease?”
Zub stared into his eyes, for once not even drinking any lemonade.
“Perhaps because it was, maybe, all destroyed long ago. Making it the disease that no longer exists…”
Zub continued to stare, unsure where this was going.
“…The kind of disease that could only be acquired if it was manually injected into you upon birth?”
Zub stared at him. Emotion didn’t come to him. He was numb.
“You see now, why this was doomed to fail!” It roared at the three gathered. “I sent countless things your way! I tore holes in the fabric of this fanfiction itself! But it didn’t work! Do you know why it didn’t work?!”
Everyone gathered watched his next words.
“Because you were all failures. You couldn’t even do what you didn’t realize you were supposed to do right” It said in barely more than a whisper. “The only reason you made it this far is because you could never do anything right!”
It used a claw to hastily rip open a wall. Down, far below the tower laid scenes of destruction; the admins of Them were collapsed and strewn about; dozens of drones and their Pokémon were either destroyed or unconscious beyond help, despite the fact they were not present in this chapter nor area until now. Buildings from a once beautiful city were in wreckage.
It turned around and gave them all a surprisingly warm smile. “But I must thank you,” It said earnestly.
“For what?” asked Death, trying with all his might to hold a straight face.
“For destroying the only three things that prevented me from escaping sooner,” It grinned.
“What are you talking about?” Death began before he was cut off by a wave of Its hand.
“This is oddly serious,” noted the Author.
“That is not important,” It grinned as it gained in size. “Do you know what is important though?! Do you yet realize you’ve come this far just to die?! Your demise is here, imbeciles! This is the moment your entire life has been leading up to, your destruction! What matters to me now is nothing but your lives ending. And end they shall.”
It, now a constantly growing monster, had by now cascaded out of the roof. Its eyes morphed into one as the top of its fishy head grew out long spiked tentacles. Layers upon layer of grotesque fat oozed out of its body as It roared.
“Gross,” Death said pointedly.
That was when the moment ws interrupted. Zubbot Steelpants came to the ir rescue in the form of a flaming meteor that smashed into Its side.
“Owie,” complained It.
Zubbot landed neatly and cracked a metallic grin. “New target acquired, Infidel” it said steely.
Dr. Zubious appeared next to Zubbot. “Excellent work, my metallic machine of metal,” he grinned.
It smiled. “Oh, I was waiting for this,” It grinned as it stumbled to get up, destroying a wall of they grey tower in the process. “I thought you might be a bit late, but this is ridiculous.”
The two newcomers stared at him. “What-“ was all they managed to say before a large swollen tentacle shot out of It, grabbed the to, and retreated to the recesses of flesh of the monstrosity.
Immediately It began to change. It seemed better built all of a sudden, flesh taking on a metallic sheen. It was sharper now, more streamlined, more sleek. It also seemed an infinite amount wiser, so prominent it was a physical change.
It had successfully absorbed Zubbot Steelpants and Doctor Zubious.
“Initiating laughter application; Initialization complete. HA. HA. HA. HA.” cackled the robotoicized It.
Death, acute senses of a dead person, noticed a small heating duct by some miracle. “We need to seal that up,” he muttered. “Some kind of cloth….?”
“How do you know?” Ran whispered back in skepticism.
“Saw it in a movie.”
“Works for me,” Ran shrugged.” Anyway, I’m a robot, so no clothes here.
Zub shook his head, as nudity, especially for the main character, is frowned upon in all 48 of the contiguous United States and Canada.
“I will make a sacrifice,” said Death solemnly, withdrawing his favourite Pikachu suit from within his robes. Taking careful aim, he through it at the duct.
The cloth was sucked into the intense heat and sparked a fire immediately. This blew off most of the Its armour, revealing a pristine, yel much weaker shell underneath.
“AHAHAHAHA!” Robo-It cackled. “Nothing can stop me now, now that I have my shell of no flaws, not even your best Dues Ex Machina!”
“Is that a challenge or a threat?” Death asked, raising something kind of like an eyebrow… maybe? I think?
“BOTH!” It cackled.
Death reacted strongly. “NEEEEEEEEEVVEEEEEEER!” he screamed.
Then he exploded and everything turned to mist around Zub.
Zub was also now a rabbit.
The entire Ebonstone tower had been decimated in the explosion, even the flooring, leaving nothing visible but Zub the very sad bunny surrounded by a smoldering, if not pleasant, meadow.
Zub wasn’t sure why he was sad, though. He just was.
Then It formed itself again. “Ow,” It admitted as It rubbed its head with a bladed tentacle.
Zub frowned and took the chance to throw a rock at it in vengeance for the terrible inconvenience and ultimate waste of two weeks of his life.
The previous explosion was not Its baited Deus Ex Machina; the fact that Zub had somehow managed to hit the monster’s one and only very specific weak spot that would revert it back to its fish form and render it immobile for an oddly specific 1,123,581,321 hours.
It groaned and hazily flopped about in the ruins of Its once great tower. Dr. Zubious and Zubbot were nowhere to be seen, mysterious as that is. It definitely won’t come up later as a plot point, so don’t count on that, of all things.