All’s Fair in War
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I gasped at the nightmarish scene hanging on the wall before me.

My hands moved with an insistence to free my comatose brother from the hard-light links that kept him bound.

"War." My voice choked back tears at the sight of his naked body lacking his usual muscle tone and the thinning of his hair.

His cheeks were slightly sunken. The skin around his hands was papery with protruding veins, resembling an elderly man's.

War's arm was linked to a skrit, which was curled up on the floor at his feet. It was also in a comatose state.

"He'd be heavily dehydrated since the skrit link is boosting the feeding process," Wilfred soberly commented.

He grabbed my hands before I could touch the links. "Don't touch the links, or you will be bound to them as well."

"Let me go! I must break the links. Break him free!" I was losing my rationale.

I received a punch to my gut from Jensen in response.

"You do that - you're as good as a shadow puppet!" he hissed with his fist raised to knock some more sense into me.

"You don't get it. MY BROTHER'S UP THERE!" I cried out, feeling both my desperation and pain from the hard punch.

Yes, his beloved brother was caught within the juxtapositioner's clutches.

Famine's thoughts were looping through useless solutions on breaking him free. His brain wasn't intelligent enough to come up with a plan.

The memory walls weren't recalling anything that he could use to snap War out of the trance that bound him.

The juxtapositioner's eyes opened. Its attention was fixed on me. Its bubble of blue light had dissipated when it broke out of its trance.

I sensed its immense animosity.

The blue book closed. The situation had become dire.

"Shit!" Wilfred cursed as he raised his steel gun at the demon.

He fired bullet rounds, but the attack didn't deter the demon's advances.

I yelped, feeling pain from the fell swoop of the demon's extraordinary long arm.

Another strike had sent me flying into the wall near the lieutenant colonel who was still trapped in a coma next to War.

The wall behind the men burned with a fierce white light. Black silhouettes stepped out of the light and stood before us as solid as living beings.

"Shadow Puppets," Jensen cursed as he unhooked a pair of sais from his belt.

He advanced upon the rushing horde of human and animal silhouettes that were hell-bent on one will - to kill us.

The shadow puppets attacked with speed and skill of the creature impression it silhouetted.

Wilfred and Jensen were able to dissipate the advancing numbers, but they kept coming at a constant pace.

The smell of iron and sensation of heat was compacting the air.

Famine saw that the knights were running out of stamina. He couldn't dodge and narrowly miss the enemy horde for much longer either. The lair became crowded with silhouettes.

The stupid boy saw his hopeless situation, but he kept dodging and doing his best to live. His heart couldn't bear to see his brother suffering up there.

"Aah, but you do not understand little lamb!" The juxtapositioner smirked. "I am God of this lair! "

The demon effortlessly grabbed the stupid Famine's throat and lifted him into the air, feeling a glorious moment of conceit.

He held the struggling Famine next to his brother.

"Now watch as I suck out every bit of his intelligence, will, chi," the juxtapositioner gloated.

The wall behind War shimmered.

A memory was played of War watching Famine entering a kitchen hall and cursing at the absence of his favorite food from the food tables.

"So cute. I love dat stupid, beautiful, git." War thought fondly of his baby brother. "I love him."

Famine blinked with surprise at the unexpected revelation.

It also made Jensen and Wilfred pause their defense for a brief moment. The knights cursed. They recovered from a shadow puppet offense that had almost taken their lives.

"I get it War! So... snap... out... of... it!" I spat out with all my might as I struggled against the demon's hold. "I love you too!"

The memory recall had caused the hold around my neck to loosen. I was able to free myself.

I landed on the floor with a body roll and saw another memory being played out behind Leinard.

A chance.

"Jensen!" I shouted and pointed to Leinard.

Jensen fought his way through silhouettes to get close to Leinard.

He pulled a talisman paper strip out of his overcoat pocket, threw it into the air, muttering a spell at the same time.

It called up a protective field around himself and Leinard that was able to deflect shadow puppet attacks for the time being.

I needed to do something that would buy him time to break Leinard out of the coma.

I ran, dived and dodged the shadow puppet attacks with all my might.

Doing my best to keep the demon's attention focused on myself.

My breath was labored, my limbs were cramping up. I couldn't keep this up much longer.

The juxtapositioner demon smelled his moment of truth. Famine's back was pressed against a wall by surrounding shadow puppets.

He was trapped with no strength or smarts to fight his way out.

"I have you now stupid creature!" The demon bellowed.

Famine's eyes bulged with a truth that his life was about to be over.

His arms instinctively covered his head as the shadow puppets and the demon rushed their advance.

"Furin, hautsi egiten dut!"

The sound of Leinard's voice, cutting across the lair with a deep and fierce bellow, rekindled my spirit.

The charged atmosphere became intense, stirring a ticklish feeling across my skin.

I watched mini tornadoes sweep the lair free from shadow puppets, so the demon stood alone.

"It's over demon. You've one chance to leave, live another day," said Leinard coolly to the pouting demon.

The demon laughed at the man's bravado. The man held no threat over him. He had already seen the weakness of his heart.

"Revert to null, idiot!" The demon cried out.

He called upon a fresh horde of shadow puppets from the walls.

The men had exhausted their strength. They wouldn't last against a fresh shadow puppet onslaught.

What could I do? I had found War and had come so far. Do I give up now? Was this the end of my life?

No! I was stupid to give in now!

I grabbed the gun I saw on the floor, went as close as I could to the demon and aimed the skinny barrel at the closed book.

"YOU'RE THE IDIOT DEMON!" I fired on the book with all my might.

The juxtapositioner reeled back with obvious pain.

The lair's atmosphere became heated. Static energy was charged to an extreme level. My skin throbbed and tingled crazily.

I glanced at the demon and gasped at the sight of shadow puppets being pulled into it.

"The lair is being sucked it! The demon gonna implode!" Wilfred shouted into my ear.

His words fought against howling winds, which came about from the initiated implosion.

I forced my way to War who was finally free from the links and skrit. He was as a lifeless heap on the floor.

"Hold on to me!" Leinard called out to me with his arm extended.

I wrapped one arm around War's waist and held Leinard's hand tight with my other hand.

The torque from the impending implosion was pushing against my weight. It was forcing me towards the point of destruction.

Leinard and Wilfred closed their eyes. They used every bit of their focus and strength to draw a third eye cakra symbol into the air. The glowing blue cakra symbol smashed an opening into a wall.

"GO!" I heard Leinard order.

I felt my body yanked through the opening with War in my arms.

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