"On The Open Road" by NobodyAtAll

Guess who, dear readers?

It’s been another couple of hours, and I’ve got bad news this time.

So, I just got a call from General Lucas.

He and Private Jones had left their military base for an important task, and when they returned…

The entire base was destroyed. Burned to the ground. Everyone in the base was killed.

So President Wilson is sending people to Arizona to investigate. To sift through the ruins and find out what happened, and who did this.

I can probably guess who did it. Deedee. But I can’t tell you how he’s moving so quickly, Cal. I mean, if he’s not using his demon powers, he’s not FLYING.

And if the Dark Demon-- snrk-- is in fact the perpetrator, the motive behind this gruesome attack is obvious.

God, that’s such a shitty codename.

I know.

But Fi is right. Deedee probably wanted to get Magnus Frater and that hoverboard back. I wouldn’t be surprised if he snagged one of those soldiers as a host, too.

I mean, soldiers are pretty fit. So one of them would probably last a demon a while.

Or a bodybuilder would. All aboard the Gain Train to Hell! Choo-choo!

…I’m gonna laugh at that later, Niv.


Then there’s the Gurus. I had Valerie send some drones their way. Pierre’s usually got a few drones monitoring Blueberry’s Forest, so he didn’t mind Valerie borrowing a couple.

When the drones got to the motel, we saw the Gurus packing their bags rather quickly. Those things can see through walls, remember.

So they know that we know they’re there, or at least they suspect that, and they’re obviously moving out.

And we have a drone tailing them, wherever they’re headed. It looks like they’re driving towards the city.

They’re up to something. There was some kind of dismantled device on the table, and we don’t know what it does.

How about we just surprise them? Slap a temporal stabilizer on, and Gaspar won’t be able to swooce out of there like he did in the military base.

But you’re forgetting that we don’t know what Melchior and Belthasar can do. And if we show up unannounced, they’ll know for sure that we’re tracking them. They’ll be more careful.

Okay, you’ve got a point. But then what ARE we going to do? We don’t know what that doohickey does, either. It might be a weapon of some kind.

I’d suggest that it’s a device for siphoning Vulcanus’ power, but they most likely know that Vulcanus is dead.

It looked a bit like an old-timey streetlight to me. You know, the ones that used gas.

Yeah, I know. When the magical neighborhoods were opened up to the normos, they were so disappointed to see regular streetlights all over the place.

I think at least half of them were expecting magical torches. Those are a thing, though.

Getting back on topic, there’s too many unknown variables here for us to make a move right now.

Yeah. Plus, we’ve got Deedee to worry about.

He is most likely heading our way too. We may be looking at a three-way battle, gentlemen.

Assuming the Gurus don’t somehow convince Deedee to join them. And that’s why they empowered Scotty in the first place, isn’t it?

Pretty sure that’s it. They need an Omega Class to restore Ad Laun Dyz.

But Deedee betrayed them like five minutes after they stuck Scott in that machine, so I think an alliance is unlikely.

To be sure, we should probably keep Deedee away from the Gurus.

Honestly, I could beat him in five minutes.

I copied Miles’ power to turn to silver.

It’s about time that I actually used it.

And I recently copied another power that could be combined with a silver body rather easily…


Right now, I’m at the School’s meeting room with Marley, General Lucas and Private Jones.

Lucas insisted on meeting with me, saying he’s got important strategic information.

“So what’s this about, sir?”

General Lucas smiles at me.

“I think we’re far past that sir crap, Korkea! If anything, I should be calling you sir! Please, just call me Michael!”

“Alright. And please, call me Cal. Everyone does.”

Like we don’t know ENOUGH Michaels. This guy, the Archangel, Void’s fluffy…

It’s not an uncommon name, Niv.

I cringed hard when I realized which Michael Void’s fluffy is named after.

Now shh, guys.

“But what this is about… well, after the last time your brother ran off with Project Magnus Frater, I had the eggheads add a little something-something to it!”

“Dat nu weawwy am daddeh bwuddah nu mowe, mistah Mike-uw. Am jus da bad hawf of Skawt.”

“Wait, that can happen! By God! How does that work!”

“Daddeh? Ess-pwain it, pwease.”

“The Death of Humans did it when he reaped them, Michael. Do you mind if I call you Mike?”

“Let’s not get crazy!”

“Alrighty then. But yeah, souls can be split. My buddy Jack knew a guy who had that done to him. Our thin friend cut the one good part of that asshole out and sent the rest of him Down There. So what’s the something-something you mentioned?”

Michael chuckles.

“A tracking device, Cal! And the eggheads are ashamed that they didn’t put that in the suit to begin with!”

“Yu meen dey wuz ashamed. Dey went foweba sweepies tuu, wite?”

“Well, yes! Oh, when I find who did this, they’re going to pay for killing my men!”

“Wait, su da dee-mun Skawt nu did dat?”

Private Jones shakes his head.

“There was one survivor when we got back. He didn’t last very long, but before he died, he said something about a skeleton with a burning head.”

“Wait a min-it. Daddeh, dat soun wike–”

“The guy we’ve been hearing rumors about. The fluffy-killing skeleton. So they weren’t just rumors. But what was he doing there?”

Maybe he teamed up with Deedee? That WOULD explain how “Big Bro” is moving so quickly.

Well, there’s one way to find out.

“Michael, do you have the frequency of the tracking device or whatever we need to pinpoint the Dark Demon’s location?”

Michael’s one of the few people outside the ChaotiX who knows about Scott’s split personality.

Well, literally split now.

He nods.

“If you can contact Dr. Valentine, I think we can manage!”

“Alright. Lemme just get my phone…”


Meanwhile, Gaspar drives the Gurus’ inconspicuous van towards the city, Belthasar riding shotgun, and Melchior reluctantly sitting in the back with their cargo.

Gaspar grumbles.

“I don’t know how these Earthbound Ones can stand cars that stay on the ground.”

Yes, they had flying cars in Ad Laun Dyz.

Belthasar consults the map, tut-tutting.

“And powered by petroleum, too. They really are a bunch of savages, Gaspar. We’ll be doing them a favor by wiping them from existence, and we’ll be doing the planet a favor too.”

Melchior nods.

“We weren’t planning to leave the surface a blackened wasteland, after all. New life would be born from the bloodstained ashes. An entire new world just for the Enlightened Ones. Ah, it’ll be good to finally make that happen.”

Gaspar chuckles.

“Perhaps we could find a way to bring the Emperor back, too. To wrest him out of the jaws of Oblivion.”

“…Gaspar?”

“Yes, Belthasar?”

“You have temporal powers. You could simply pluck him out of any point in the past he was still alive, couldn’t you?”

“Not without creating a massive temporal paradox, Belthasar. Something like that would ruin our schemes. Plus, if it’s an era of time that Clockson exists in, he’ll notice my meddling, and probably intervene, even if he doesn’t recognise me yet.”

“What if it’s a point of time before Clockson achieved Enlightenment? Then he wouldn’t be able to intervene.”

“That still doesn’t resolve the paradox issue, Belthasar. If a temporal paradox shreds the space-time continuum, we’ll never get to go home. There has to be another way.”

Melchior, feeling a bit peckish, helps himself to some of the snacks the Gurus bought before hitting the road. He opens a bag of Jellenheimers, the inexplicably red, vaguely fluffy-shaped gummy candies, and digs in.

“I don’t think om nom Empress Eve will nom nom be happy when she nom nom hears about what happened to her husband.”

Gaspar sighs.

“Melchior, what have I told you about talking with your mouth full?”


Elsewhere in America, two fluffies stand at the side of the road. A stallion and a mare, several foals on the mare’s back.

The mare looks left and right, a hesitant expression on her face.

“Mummah nu fink dis am a gud ai-dee-yuh.”

The stallion smiles reassuringly at his mate.

“Nu woh-wee, speciaw fwend. Daddeh wiww gu fiwst, su yu an babbehs can see how safe it am.”

The stallion bravely waddles onto the road, his partner watching him.

When he’s halfway across, the stallion turns around, grinning at his mate.

“See? Nuffin tu woh-wee abowt–”

VROOM

Then he’s run down by a motorbike, leaving nothing but a red smear and a few bits of fluff and bone.

And an eyeball, which bounces off the mare’s face.

“…Speciaw fwend? Speciaw fwend?!? SPECIAW FWEND!!!”


Further down the road, the skeletal biker laughs, as he too drives towards the city so many of the ChaotiX call home.

"Roadkill."

He’s wearing his helmet again, and he’s got something new to play with. A black chain, currently wrapped around his left forearm.

His, ah, benefactor gave that to him in exchange for the souls of everyone killed in that military base.

The Dark Demon, now in that one soldier’s body, and clad in his familiar black armor, descends on his black hoverboard, flying above the biker.

“Ha! I saw that! Nice one, buddy! Hee hee hee!”

"Thank you."

“But I’ve been thinking! You know what you need? A codename! Like me! Haha! I mean, you can’t really impress people with a lame name like… wait, what did you say your name was?”

"My name WAS Fred McComas. But Fred is DEAD. You have a point, however. I need a name that strikes FEAR into the hearts of my enemies. How about… Dark Rider?"

“Nah. It’s too much like Dark Demon. Hee. Ooh, I know! How about Black Skull?”

"Too on the nose. What about Night Rider, then?"

“Hee hee! You’re driving a motorbike, not a car, and you ain’t no David Hasselhoff! Hee hee hee!”

"No, NIGHT Rider. Without a K."

“Still too derivative, I think. Evil Knievel, maybe? Hahahaha!”

The skeleton just groans.

“So no puns, then. Hee. Your loss. Ooh, I’ve got a good one!”

"Lay it on me."

“Well, you’re working for a guy whose whole shtick is insatiable hunger. You’re like a one man Uber Eats! Hee hee! So I was thinking… Hungry Rider.”

The skeletal biker mulls it over, and eventually nods.

"Yes. That will do."

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