Phillip woke up that morning feeling better (but not much), though he knew full well that he’d be deep in the THRONGS OF DEPRESSION by the end of the day, the eternal cycle of MISERY and SLIGHTLY LESS MISERY continuing.
He remembers when he wasn’t filled with a never ending sadness. He remembers when orifices did not drip blood, so much that it would pool around his feet. He - no, EVERYBODY - remembers when the world was normal, when everything wasn’t so fucking weird.
-REMINDER: THINGS WILL NEVER BE THE SAME-
That was the proclamation throughout the provinces a few days after the Great Change occurred. Reactions were mixed. Some people fell into despair and became WANDERING HOODLUMS. Some people were like “well, I guess I’ll have to deal with my ceiling leaking blood now” and tried to make the best of it. Some people broke out into VIOLENCE, because, well, THAT’S HOW PEOPLE ARE.
On the day the proclamation was issued, Phillip, in his new form - a pink man with a wide frown and baggy yellow pajamas - cried for the first time.
And he has been crying ever since.
“Son, you gotta stop crying. Don’t express your EMOTIONS and morph all of that into TOXIC MASCULINITY instead.” His father had once said to him; his form resembles the green bleeding heads that dotted the landscape, except with HIGH CLASS BUSINESS ATTIRE and NERD GLASSES. “Be violent, SPORT. Crying is for people who aren’t violent.”
“Honey, don’t tell our son that.” His mother had said in response. His mother was… he actually had NO FUCKING IDEA. She looks like a blob in a robe with a ponytail coming out of it. He thinks.
But of course, he couldn’t help but cry. The Great Change had instilled in him a great emptiness. All he could do is cry and think of worst case scenarios. However, nobody could understand that he simply couldn’t stop.
“Everyone gets a little depressed sometimes,” some FUCKWIT once said to him.
“Just think about being happy and somehow your depression will vanish away,” a PERSON WHO IS PERFECTLY HEALTHY AND DOESN’T UNDERSTAND HOW DEPRESSION WORKS said to him in one instance.
People just don’t understand that he can’t stop. It was the state of the world that was causing all this, the fact that nothing will be the same ever again, the fact that they all have to adjust to a more frightening world.
Then, ONE DAY… actually, the time of the present, when Philip just woke up:
“Your mother and I think you should leave.” His father said to him as he got out of his SLEEP COFFIN (oh how he missed beds). The statement was quick and to the point, the bloody face looking at Philip with such a serious expression that Philip could tell it wasn’t a joke.
“M-Mom?” Philip choked through his eternal tears.
“Eat your greens.” She offered as motherly advice, but was otherwise advocating kicking him out of the house.
Philip would be breaking into tears if he wasn’t always crying. “Why? W-why are you guys kicking me-”
“We can’t deal with your DEPRESSION anymore, son.” Father said, cutting him off. “You must understand how your depression hurts US NEUROTYPICAL PEOPLE.”
“Yes, think about how we feel, for once.” Mother said, presumably nodding.
The pajama clad boy could not believe what he was hearing. Are they calling him a BURDEN for what he can’t control? That certainly seems to be the case. Looking at them through his tear-induced blurry eyes, Phillip allowed his eyebrow to furrow, making his expression look ANGRY. He rose his hand up in their direction, letting them revel at the sight of HIS MIDDLE FINGER.
Without another word, the young man left his house.
The Scum Village looked as it always has since the Great Change. The buildings, the structures of which looked like huge heads with gaping maws for doors and empty sockets for windows, are excreting blood like they do every morning, like the morning dew of the past. Spikes rise up from the ground, the substitute for trees ever since LIKE FOREVER. The SKULL BRICKS look nice and red that day, forming around gardens of CABBAGE HEADS (and you can probably guess that they are literal heads). The SAD STREETLAMPS reflected Philip’s eternal feelings, though they were turned off as the morning sun rose up, a HUGE STREETLAMP IN THE SKY. There used to be a MOON that rose like the sun, but that was gone, the Great Change simply removing it all together. Phillip, standing on the doorstep of his old home, looked upon it all and its malformed residents: the STRANGE BLOOD OCTOPUS, the SHADOWY HELL DOGS, and A WEIRD THING THAT HE’S NOT SURE HOW TO DESCRIBE (AS DO I AS THE NARRATOR).
Phillip hated it all. He hated it so much. He feels his tears getting hot on his face. It all needs to stop. It all needs to change.
Then, he remembers his current predicament: kicked out of his house by his own parents. Part of his hate is redirected to them instead. He had nowhere to go. Nothing to do. He is just a LOSER IN PAJAMAS.
But then, he realized.
If he had nothing to do, what if he could use his NOW CONSIDERABLE FREE TIME to SAVE THE WORLD?
SPACE FUNERAL: THE NOVELIZATION
Original Game by thecatamties
Lousy adaptation and various liberties by HyperInuyasha/LordHyper
Chapter 2: Blood Blood Blood
0: BLOOD BLOOD BLOOD
“Ha ha ha! There is a wizard on that cliff!” The strange thing that was previously mentioned said to Phillip, as he passed by. Phillip looked up at the higher levels of the village; he knows that there have been many immigrants to the village in the recent years, so the wizard might be a new arrival.
So what if… “Can that, sniff, wizard help me?” Phillip had to ask.
“Ha ha! But it’s too late for you! It’s too late for any of us!” The strange thing laughed psychotically. It bounded away from him, CACKLING all the while.
What a rude person. But it technically didn’t say NO.
However, before Phillip could set off for the wizard like a FANTASY CLICHE, he realized - he had no NECESSITIES. He had no RUBLES (the standard world currency) or any EQUIPMENT (save for his pajamas). He can’t hope to survive out there without anything decent - it’s basic JRPG LOGIC.
He gulped, deciding to go back inside his house, entering through its mouth.
“I thought we told you to leave.” Father said when Phillip walked in, sounding more annoyed than anything.
Phillip FLIPS THE BIRD AGAIN, opened up a chest in which the family kept their savings, took the rubles inside, and scrammed.
The family home is silent for a second in the wake of Phillip’s kinda-theft.
Then: “Only gone for half a minute and he’s already a THIEF.” Father growled. A tear (not an emotion tear but a MANLY TEAR) formed behind his glasses. “I am so proud.”
“He may not make us proud, but he may make someone proud one day.” Mother said.
“Now you’re just giving him too much credit.”
Little did they know, Phillip was eavesdropping on the other side of the front door, trying to hold back his tears so his parents wouldn’t hear him. On one hand, he was touched by the FATHERLY APPROVAL. On the other hand, FUCK THEM.
Phillip stepped away from his former home, his eyes set on the building on the hill. He walked up the stairs that led up to it, feet dragging on every step.
Like most peaceful (for lack of a better word) villages, the Wizard’s house was unlocked, allowing Phillip inside. The abode is not yet properly furnished, with only a basic table, a chair, a few skull boxes that contained VALUABLES and a shelf full of WIZARDY KNICK-KNACKS. In the middle of the room, the Wizard stood; he certainly looked the part of a wizard, with his magnificent purple robes and a long stereotypic beard. “I am the Wizard of Scum Village!” He yelled at Phillip.
“Um, hello.” Phillip squeaked. “Do you have any advice for…”
The Wizard laughed, pointing a shaky bony finger at him. “I know what you’re asking! Many people have tried to consult me in the past, in many places! It’s too late for you!” He cackled gleefully.
Phillip felt a bit discouraged; if other people had come asking before, was it truly too late for him, for all of them? “What happened to the other people?”
The Wizard halted in his laughter. Instead, he stared ahead at Phillip with bloodshot eyes, an expression of the utmost seriousness on his face. “They’ve all tried to go to the PERFECT CITY.”
“The Perfect City?”
“Yes.” He nodded, willing to give some answers despite the FUTILITY OF IT ALL. “It is said that there is a PERFECT CITY. A divine construct from which derives all things in this world. All things are manifestations of this one thing. All cities are aspects of this city.”
Then, he threw up his arms dramatically. “But it has been corrupted!” (Phillip could swear that he heard THUNDER when that was said.) The Wizard continues his spiel. “You are already doomed. WIZARD GRUM lives in the BLOOD CAVERN. He is your only hope of finding this city and restoring the world. But as I said, other people have tried to go to him and go on their own journeys - and they all PERISHED! The road to the BLOOD CAVERN is dangerous. You’d better find a weapon; but it is too late for you. You either ACCEPT YOUR FATE or DIE LIKE A DOG.”
Phillip gulped, trying to visually picture the BLOOD CAVERN before scrubbing it away from his mind; no matter how he imagined it, it felt frightening in his mind. If what the Wizard had claimed was true, then everyone that tried to pursue the PERFECT CITY is most likely dead. The road to ridding the world of its corruption would indeed be dangerous and Phillip would most likely die.
Thank god he had NOTHING left to lose.
“How do I get to BLOOD CAVERN?” Phillip asked, feeling a little bit brave despite his eternal misery.
The Wizard is taken back by this question - he fully expected that Phillip would back away from the idea of fixing the world. Then, he made a long sigh - if he decided that he was going to DIE LIKE A DOG, than so be it. “If you head NORTH, there is a boat that can take you to the BLOOD CAVERN. You QUIXOTIC FOOL.”
Nodding a thanks, Phillip left the Wizard. First thing on the agenda: if he wasn’t to die horribly, he needed to buy those PROVISIONS.
He found the SHOP that he frequented for years; he remembers that it used to look like something more wholesome, with posters advertising goods and outside market stalls, but it now looked like a giant head like anything else. Inside, there is a girl (or someone that had taken the form of a little girl) wearing a blue dress that reminded Phillip of an OLD NEWSPAPER COMIC he used to read.
“Good grief, good grief, are you another one of those people journeying up NORTH?” The girl asked; evidently, Phillip wasn’t the first one that ordered a RUSTY KNIFE and several MEDICINAL BLOODS (in the SMALL variety) from her shop.
“Hmm.” Phillip grunted.
“Did you know that it’s too late for yo-”
“Yes.” He was really tired of hearing that phrase.
“...Oh well. Your RUBLES are always good here, whether you die or not.” She said almost cheerfully. Phillip handed over the currency that he had taken from his old home in exchange for the supplies. He heard that there was some sort of cave to the EAST where he could get this for free, but for the sake of a LINEAR NARRATIVE, Phillip doesn’t have to go to optional places that would be wasting YOUR TIME AND PATIENCE AS A READER.
When he stepped outside, before he could leave the village, he found himself accosted by three villagers: all of them look like short men with an ever-flexing arm, showing off muscles.
Hoping that they weren’t here to BULLY him with their intimidating musclely forms, Phillip asked, “Could you guys, erm, get out of my way?”
“Not yet! We heard that you’re on your way to the BLOOD CAVERN!” One of the muscled creatures said; there must be some sort of radar for people that wanted to go on a quest to the damned place. “We are here to give some MUSCLE BOUNDED ADVICE."
“Yes! I am MUSCLE HEDONIST! Do you have what it takes to become a champ!?" One of the beings introduced themselves. “When you’re out there in the world, don’t be afraid to DISTRACT your enemies! Introduce MORAL skills to them to make them take a temporary vow of pacifism to keep them from attacking you! Be a COMBAT PRAGMATIST and victory shall be yours! Listen to my muscles, for they bring me happiness!"
The third muscled creature pushed him aside. “I am WISE MUSCLE! Don’t listen to that other guy! CRIMINALS are a cowardly and superstitious lot! They are weak against BIBLES! ANIMALS are easily confused! You can throw them off with MAGIC EYE PICTURES! GHOSTS are very sentimental! They are easily affected by OLD MOVIES. Listen to my words… my brain muscle is the greatest of all!"
"I am the SECRETIVE MUSCLE. I know much but I shall say little..." The initial Muscle said. "Do you know of your MYSTERY power?"
"My what?" Phillip questioned quizzically.
"The MYSTERY power. It commands the CORRUPTION within yourself to manipulate the CHAOS around you. It is a wild card, as the outcome could either be BENEVOLENT or MALEVOLENT!"
Phillip had to admit: such a power is awe-inspiring. "How do I use it?"
"Oh, looks like the time for EXPOSITION is up!" The Secretive Muscle announced. "We MUSCLES believe in EFFICIENT TIME USAGE."
"Yes, we are off to hit the GYM!" Muscle Hedonist declared.
"So long, and try not to DIE too quickly!" Wise Muscle said. The three muscle creatures leave to get even more RIPPED than they already are, leaving a pouty Phillip behind - that MYSTERY power would have been helpful...
Phillip approached the northern gate of the village. One of the villagers was eyeing him, snickering to themselves, perhaps mocking Phillip’s maybe-lost cause. Standing at the threshold, Phillip looked back on the village. He tries to picture what it used to be: green grasses, actual buildings made of wood, the only fluids that ever leaked was water, humanoid residents, an actual sun and moon. He imagined that it must have been what it used to be for the rest of the other towns in the rest of the world; he imagined that the PERFECT CITY may have been like this too, except better.
He turned his back on the village. He’s going to change it all back, or he’ll die trying.
It’s a win-win for him, actually.
Chapter 3: 7 and 7 Is
1: 7 AND 7 IS
To the NORTH of Scum Village is a forest, of trees whose leaves created expressions of ETERNAL GRIMACES; Phillip could very much feel those trees, having walked through the woods in the past to share in their misery. Pools of pink liquid are dotted through the forest; the same liquids belonged to the swamp that laid east of Scum Village, aka, the swamps that are being skipped in this adaptation to maintain a LINEAR NARRATIVE.
He walked through the forest and came across a bridge of pink bricks crossing a stream, which is where he found his first threat: a BLOOD WOLF.
The dark canine growled at him, inadvertently spilling blood from their mouth, the fluids pooling around their paws. Phillip had only one experience with a blood wolf in the past and he is confident that the experience had ended in him ESCAPING BATTLE; god, did they freak him out, definitely a representation of everything wrong with the world. However, the blood wolf was in his path, so a fight was inevitable.
Phillip gripped his rusty knife with both hands and charged at the adversary, letting out a battle cry that sounded like a yell and an actual cry. Likewise, the blood wolf lunged. Phillip struck first, slashing at the wolf, who bit back, creating a WOUND OF MINOR CONCERN. Phillip screamed again, plunging his knife forward -
The blood wolf cried out and disappeared. No dead body, it's simply GONE, save for the blood it left behind as well as some rubles that the creature was carrying. For some reason.
Phillip took a few seconds to collect himself, this being the first fight he'd ever been in; not bad for a ROOKIE IN PAJAMAS. He wiped his sleeve with the tears on his face and rubbed the knife against the fabric - nice and clean. He allowed himself a brief moment to feel PROUD of himself.
Then a bunch of SKULL SPIDERS jumped down from a nearby cliff and attacked Phillip, interrupting his good feelings and actually freaking him out even more. Damn, that sucks for him. The green bleeding skulls struck at him with their spider legs that poked him rather uncomfortably. Phillip lashed back in fear; thankfully, the skull spiders were much weaker than the blood wolf and they went down pretty easily.
Phillip realized that he was a bit beat up from his encounter and needs to fake some blood. He fumbled around in his pockets and pulled out a PACKET OF SMALL BLOOD and -
He stopped. He actually has no idea how to apply it. Does he DRINK it? Or maybe INJECT it? He knows that the local town guard took SMALL BLOODS to heal their injuries, but he never used one himself.
Oh phooey. He can save it for later. He pocketed it and proceeds through the forest. The forest is absolutely filled with blood wolves, a great bloody pack - maybe they're... BLOODHOUNDS? Heh heh, I apologize for that. Anyway, Phillip moved through the forest, fighting any loathsome creature that got in his path; with each CRUSHING VICTORY, Phillip gains more and more EXPERIENCE, as well as more and more wounds he did not know how to fix. However, no amount of COURAGE he gained would stop his sadness and he sometimes found himself missing strikes due to his eyes being blurred from the crying.
He ascended up a hill to another level of the forest, where he comes across a peculiar sight.
There is a MASSIVE CANINE, unlike any other blood wolf found in the forest, with cold dead eyes that projects the essence of death. In front of it, is a MESS OF LIMBS - however, upon closer look, the limbs all belonged to one being. The limbs are all legs, connected and twisted with each other, with one bloody stump sticking out, as if it’s the head. The LEG CONGLOMERATE lashed out at the massive dog before it, kicking it with one of his many legs.
However, before the creature could press on with his offensive, two blood wolves appeared from the side, interrupting his fight. “You WORMS! You SLIME!” He kicked at one of the dogs. “Your barbaric ways are no match for the LEG HORSE!”
The dogs start BARKING INCESSANTLY as their apparent leader recovered from the attack. “My Thirst For Bloodshed Remains Voluminous.” He declared in a deep voice. “I Am The MURDER DOG, Or Crime Pooch Or Slaughter Pup. Most Importantly I Am Your End.”
Phillip couldn’t help but let out a STARTLED GASP in the presence of Murder Dog. Unfortunately, it grabbed the attentions of all parties involved. The bloody stump that acted as Leg Horse’s head rotated to look at Phillip and he stamped one of his natural feet. “You CRINGING PUS! Join me or die! There is NO other way!”
Phillip wanted to run away. However, with how things were going, the CANINE GANG would most surely kill the weird horse thing and move onto Phillip, and that WOULDN’T BE GOOD. The only way to really survive is to join forces with the horse and somehow beat them…
Ah well. Phillip rushes into the fray!
He sliced at one of the blood wolves harassing Leg Horse, but then, Murder Dog made a lunge for them, clawed paws outstretched. He failed to hit Phillip head on, but one of his claws managed to scratch through Phillip! Thankfully, the world works on JRPG PHYSICS rather than REAL WORLD physics, so Phillip did not flat-out die - it still hurt like hell though.
“You CURS! You must pay for your crimes of laying a finger on me!” The Leg Horse threw his legs all around, as if STAMPEDING his enemies from multiple directions. The blood wolf that Phillip had sliced went down, but it only hurt the other one and Murder Dog - barely scratched, in the case of the latter.
“My Only Crime Is My Love For Absolute Chaos.” Murder Dog declared. As he said that, Phillip and Leg Horse could see the EYES of more blood wolves appearing in the darkness around them. He let out a punch in Leg Horse’s direction, sending the poor horse thing flying back, into one of the many trees.
“Urgh. You! SNIVELLING WHELP!” The sprawled out creature called out.
“Huh? Me?” Phillip said, panicked, trying to keep the other wolf off of him.
“Yes you! Save your SUPERIOR this instant! Tap into your SECRET POTENTIAL or perish!” Leg Horse said almost threateningly.
The heck was that thing talking about.
Then, Phillip recalled: “The MYSTERY power. It commands the CORRUPTION within yourself to manipulate the CHAOS around you. It is a wild card, as the outcome could either be BENEVOLENT or MALEVOLENT!", the Secretive Muscle told him.
He needs to harness that power. Or he’s TOAST. BURNT TOAST rather than some decent toast lathered up with BUTTER.
Phillip pushed the blood wolf back and tried to focus. Tried to focus his thoughts on bringing forth the MYSTERY POWER. He closed his eyes, feeling the tears flowing down his face, face scrunching up in fear, knowing that if this doesn’t work, they’re all fucked. He heard the sound of paws on the ground - Murder Dog was circling him, taunting him, toying with him in his last moments.
But, before Murder Dog could get bored with his activites, Phillip felt HIS BLOOD BOILING. HE FELT A GREAT HEAT INSIDE OF HIM, HIS HEART BEATING QUICKLY, A HIDDEN POWER THREATENING TO RELEASE ITSELF.
Then, REALITY bended to PHILLIP’S SHEER WILL.
A DELICIOUS MEATY BONE appeared in Murder Dog’s hands.
“What.” Was all Murder Dog could say to that. He sniffed the bone, too preoccupied by it to MURDER. Yes. It indeed smelled DELICIOUS and MEATY.
That wasn’t lost on the blood wolves.
The blood wolf backup that had arrived starts forming a circle around Murder Dog, a circle of blood flowing around him. They all stared up at the bone as if it was the HOLY GRAIL.
And they really fucking wanted that GRAIL. LOYALTIES and FEARS of Murder Dog were forgotten as all the blood wolves in the vicinity pounced onto the Murder Dog, trying to bite at him or the bone. The Murder Dog growled, immediately trying to MURDER EVERYTHING IN SIGHT. The massive creature took down his former subordinates with relative ease - however, the constant biting from all directions really took a toll on him. When it was all over, when all the blood wolves were dead/scampered off with the bone, Murder Dog was worn down, TOO TIRED TO MURDER.
“Here’s our chance!” Leg Horse exclaimed, shakily getting back on his feet. Phillip nodded, shaking, still a bit shocked by the MYSTERY that he had unleashed. They ran at the Murder Dog, who was too tired to defend himself, and they strike simultaneously.
Murder Dog let out one great roar before falling to his knees and fading away.
THE MURDER DOG HAS BEEN SLAIN.
Phillip and Leg Horse take a breather, reveling in the GREAT ACCOMPLISHMENT. Then, the leg monstrosity turned to Phillip and said, “Hmm.. I suppose I underestimated you.”
“I guess?” Was all Phillip could say in response, because he too underestimated himself. “Um, my name’s PHILLIP.”
“Your name’s PHILLIP, eh? I am LEG HORSE. From now on you shall obey my every command!”
Leg Horse didn’t appear to notice Phillip’s confusion, trotting a bit toward NORTH. “You will accompany me to the BLOOD CAVERN. There is a certain WIZARD that I must meet. The fate of the world depends on it!”
That got Phillip’s attention, his hesitance disappearing. They must be pursuing the same GOAL. Perhaps they can succeed in NUMBERS. “Oh, I was going there to-”
“Did I say you can speak?” Leg Horse snapped; evidently, Phillip had to follow him regardless of whether they had the same goal or not.
“No.” He whimpered.
“Then let’s get going, PHILLIP, do not dwadle!”
Chapter 4: One-Eighty-One
Phillip and his companion (or as he prefers, SUPERIOR) Leg Horse continued through the forest. With their powers combined, most encounters were of little concern. The blood wolves went down easily, or fled, recognizing them as the slayers of THE SLAUGHTER PUP. They also encountered GROUND SHARKS, great red sharks that were, well, in the ground, but those guys were also COMPLETE SCRUBS before their might.
While on their way, Phillip learned many things. First, he gained more experience with MYSTERY - the power came more easily to him with consecutive uses, the dizziness and shock that accompanied each use lessening. As the Muscle had warned, the effects were BENEVOLENT and MALEVOLENT. In some instances, he suddenly found himself punching blood wolves in the face and DISORIENTING them, urged on by the MYSTERIOUS BLOOD POWERS to do so; in some instances, the MYSTERY power caused a ground shark to appear behind him, frightening the poor boy into taking a fetal position. (To be fair, if a great red shark popped out of the ground behind you, you'd be PRETTY FUCKING SCARED too.) Additionally, Phillip found that he could only use MYSTERY once per encounter, as his blood can't seem to get worked up consecutive times.
One other thing to note is that Phillip learned how to use SMALL BLOODS. At one point, the boy had collapsed, the exhaustion and piling injuries too much to take. Leg Horse turned to look at him and the bloody stump head somehow looked UPSET.
"Phillil you OAF, why aren't you taking your BLOOD? You're slowing me down!" He shouted, one of his feet stomping angrily.
Phillip groaned while his tears mingled with the dirt of the ground. "I don't know how..."
"You're supposed to drink it, you CASUAL!"
Phillip reached into his pocket and pulled out of the SMALL BLOODS. He tried not to gag, as you can probably guess that a bag of blood looks UNAPPETIZING. However, as he begrudgingly poured it into his his mouth, his eyes lit up - it tasted like SUNNY D! Praise the SUN!
Phillip drank as much of the stuff as he needed and found the strength to get up again and they continued on their way.
Finally, they reached a different part of the area. The pink pools turned into RED, the red that made Phillip's stomach churn and encouraged his sadness. Leg Horse trotted, looking ahead. "The BLOOD DOCK is just through here! We can get a ship into the heart of the BLOOD CAVERN. Hurry up, you oaf!"
And so, they hurried. It didn't take long for them to reach the BLOOD DOCK. As the name implies, it is a dock on the edge of a body of blood. A boat (actually more or less a huge RAFT) floated there with a SHACK on the edge where one could get TICKETS. A few people are milling about, waiting for the departure time.
A large imposing man with a HUGE UNIBROW greeted them. "I am TEAR-THE-BONE. I am heading north to MALICE to join up with RIP-THE-BLOOD."
Phillip wasn't sure why, but Leg Horse seemed to get angry at the mention of that name. The horse asked, "Will it be stopping at the BLOOD CAVERN? Answer me, damn you!"
"Aye, we will." A nearby BLOODY OCTOPUS CREATURE that heard the conversation said. "But if you're going there, you listen to this old sea rogue. There is NO RETURN from BLOOD CAVERN! You'd better go prepared!"
With that, Phillip and Leg Horse went into the shack. Inside is a SLEEP COFFIN for weary travelers as well as a SHOPKEEPER that looked suspiciously like the one from Scum Village.
"You rest, I can't have you collapsing on me!" Leg Horse commanded; Phillip nodded and wandered over for a quick nap while Leg Horse went up to the counter. "We need tickets to BLOOD CAVERN, the LEG HORSE demands it!"
"Good grief! A ticket to the BLOOD CAVERN? That's dangerous!" The shopkeeper exclaimed. She thinks about it. "Oh well, give me your rubles."
Leg Horse paid up for two BOAT TICKETS, as well as for more provisions and equipment - another knife for Phillip and BOOTS for him for GREATER KICKING PROWESS. After getting everything he needs, Leg Horse kicked the side of the sleep coffin, waking Phillip up. "That's enough, we're leaving soon!"
Phillip sat up groggily, feeling better but not much. For a second, he thought that he was back at home, but then he remembers that he's not, it's not his home anymore, and his PARENTS CAN GET BENT.
Outside, people are starting to gather around on the raft. The SKULL PIRATE CAPTAIN was ready to set out. Leg Horse gracefully galloped to the raft while Phillip stumbles after him. Before the captain’s mate could throw them off for being STOWAWAYS, they quickly presented their tickets. Satisfied and with no one else waiting to get on the raft, it set out.
The ride is a mixture of serenity and grossness to Phillip. The ride itself? Very relaxing. The fact that the raft is floating down a RIVER OF BLOOD? Nauseating. It is honestly as bad as the blood spewing wolves and it made him want to SHED SOME (more) TEARS and VOMIT. The other passengers were milling about, holding conversations: Phillip heard some more talk on RIP-THE-BLOOD and a LION talking about the LION CODE and the STOCK TRADE. Leg Horse, however, is at the side of the raft, looking at the river; Phillip wishes that he could figure the guy out and what he feels aside from ARROGANCE, but the horse’s complete inability to make facial expressions made that hard.
Then: “Look, coming down the BLOOD RIVER.” Leg Horse urged him to come take a closer look.
SOMETHING is coming down the river. However, whatever the thing was, it could not be discerned. Its shape is constantly changing, continually morphing, never settling on a stable appearance. It looks like a COMPUTER GLITCH. It bobbed down the river without any real incident.
“What is that?” Phillip questioned; it felt more otherworldly than most of the things he’s come across, which says a lot.
“What is it, you say? I heard an old man once refer to it as an ERROR.” Blood Horse faced him, speaking in a quieter, more solemn voice. “No one knows what they were originally. Something which broke or couldn’t be translated in the GREAT CHANGE… In the world we’re in now, we cannot even imagine what it might have been. That shape no longer exists.”
For a moment, Phillip felt a GREAT UNDERSTANDING for his companion. His words carried sadness and frustration at the state of the world, the same feelings that Phillip’s been having for a long time. Maybe he’s got Leg Horse wrong. Maybe his ABRASIVENESS is his reaction to the world, much like Phillip’s CONTINUAL DESPAIR -
“What? What? Why am I telling you this!? Get out of my sight!” Leg Horse shouted.
Or maybe Leg Horse, or whatever his name used to be, was a dick before the GREAT CHANGE. Phillip quickly backpedaled away from his kicking range. With that, Leg Horse continued staring at the flowing blood beneath their raft, Phillip watching him from the distance.
And then. “Next stop: BLOOD CAVERN.”
Chapter 5: Spleen
Phillip didn’t like BLOOD CAVERN.
The raft stopped in an area of perpetual darkness. The only light radiated from the POOLS OF BLOOD that flowed all over the place as if the cavern itself is a body with the flow giving it life. The smell of IRON and DECAY is everywhere, bubbles of blood bursting into the horrible stench. Worst of all though is the WHISPERING. A woman’s voice spoke out a recitation in a monotone inflection, words flowing much like the blood:
“When the low heavy sky weighs like a lid on the spirit, aching for the light,
And when embracing the horizon it pours on us a black day sadder than any night…”
“This place sucks.” Phillip gulped, shaking in his one-piece pajamas.
“Silence! I will not have your COMPLAINTS!” Leg Horse said, not shaking at all. He pushed Phillip off the raft and jumped onto the dark earth of the cavern. Before Phillip could MUTINY, the raft quickly disembarked, not wanting to stay in the shitty place.
Might as well deal with it.
They headed north, the only direction that they could go. The smell only seemed to get WORSE as they went deeper, the poetry getting louder and creepier.
However, as they passed BLOOD POOLS and BLOOD WATERFALLS, it occurs to them that there didn’t even seem to be anyone else in the cavern - aside from the VOICE, of course. In the first area, they expected something to jump out and attack them, like a SHITTY JUMP SCARE; however, nothing had attacked them thus far and the VOICE still seems far away. Phillip feels relieved (though not much).
“Don’t drop your guard. The vile BLOOD BEAST is in this cavern and she is likely the one that we are hearing.” Leg Horse advised.
“T-the BLOOD BEAST?” The pajama protagonist stuttered.
“Yes. One of the VILE RULERS of this new world.” His words seemed to turn into a snarl. “This used to be a KINGDOM, do you remember?”
Phillip thought back. He tries to remember the days before the GREAT CHANGE. Beyond Scum Village (which used to be called something else but the original name had been lost to time) he knew that there was a castle that belonged to royalty. One figure he remembered was a man named PRINCE HORACE. With that, Phillip nodded.
“You’ve been loyal to me so far, so I shall grace you with EXPOSITION.” Leg Horse said; that didn’t sound particularly exciting, but the creature started his diatribe anyway. “After the GREAT CHANGE, that KINGDOM fell apart in the panic - it was all they could do to spread the word that the change couldn’t be reversed. Or so they thought. To fill in the power vacuum are the VILE and POWERFUL: the MURDER DOG, the BLOOD BEAST, RIP-THE-BLOOD, the 20TH CENTURY BOY, and the last, a MAN THAT DRINKS BLOOD.
“In making this world right, one of my goals is to topple these figures. You see, the only thing that’s kept these beings from waging CIVIL WAR and rending the country apart is that the GREAT CHANGE had instilled problems into this world; they are much too distracted with these problems and keeping the CHAOS under control to fight one another. When we fix everything, however, those problems will be gone. And they will start a WAR and create their own kind of chaos. Because people are stupid. Except for me. And maybe you.”
DId he just compliment Phillip?
“I made sure to hunt down the MURDER DOG before coming here. While we’re here, we’re going to fight the WRETCHED BLOOD BEAST and we will be victorious!”
Phillip tried to think of what to say to this. He felt like pointing out that Leg Horse actually complimented him and used “WE” instead of “I”, but decided not to in case he takes it all back. Instead, Phillip asked: “Who will rule after things go back to normal?”
“The ROYAL FAMILY.” Leg Horse answered.
“Where are they?”
“What? None of your concern! I’ve already given you too much EXPOSITION, be grateful!” Ah, back to his normal self.
They tried to filter out the creepy background poetry as they go through the cavern. Eventually, they reach a large open area with a few shacks - and standing in the center of it all is a WIZARD.
Leg Horse stepped in front of Phillip before he could go on ahead. “Get back, you fool! I must speak to the WIZARD alone! It is of GRAVE IMPORTANCE.”
Phillip stood where hs is as Leg Horse trotted ahead. Leg Horse and the Wizard exchange words that he could not hear, though he saw that the former was STOMPING HIS FEET ANGRILY. After a few minutes of conversation, Leg Horse came back.
“Er.. how was it?” Phillip questioned.
“Fine.” He huffed. “WIZARD GRUM is ready to see you.”
Wizard Grum looked similar to the Wizard back in Scum Village, Phillip noted as he got close, though there seem to be bloodstains in his ROBES that he hoped were from the local pools. “Heh… heh… heh… I am the WIZARD GRUM.”
“Uh. I’m Phillip.”
“Yes. I understand you have a question for me… However, it is too late for you.”
“I’m tired of hearing that…”
“I sense a MYSTERIOUS FATE in store for you… Yes, I can feel the energies of MYSTERY flowing through you, boy.” Wizard Grum stroked his beard - Phillip gulped when he sees RED SPECKS IN HIS MAGNIFICENT BEARD HAIR. What he asked certainly didn’t help: “I will tell you more if you let me DRINK YOUR BLOOD.”
“Come on, a little sip wouldn’t hurt.” He said, chuckling.
Well… “O-okay… but, will it hur-”
With the confirmation, Wizard Grum immediately stabbed Phillip and stuck a STRAW through the wound. Phillip stammered, shaking as the Wizard takes a few sips through the straw as if it was the MOST REFRESHING SOFT DRINK. After having his fill, Wizard Grum stepped back, smacking his lips. “Ahh! There… Although I did detect some minor ambiguities… Perhaps if I could take another sip…”
Phillip felt a bit light-headed, but aside from the QUICK STABBING, it wasn’t really painful at all. With a nod of consent, Wizard Grum sips up some more of Phillip’s blood. But then… “There’s some more than needs to be cleared up…”
Phillip’s mind felt hazy. He felt like dropping any second. He tries to hold on to a thought, on why he came here.
Then he remembered that other people had come to BLOOD CAVERN before, and with the bloodsucking mage in front of him, he could see A PRETTY GOOD REASON WHY THEY NEVER CAME BACK.
“N-no.” Phillip weakly stammered.
The man expected the Wizard to ignore him and go on drinking his blood. However, unlike many GROSS PEOPLE, Wizard Grum acknowledged consent. “No..? Oh well, can’t blame an old man for trying…” He let out a small laugh. “Now listen: your quest leads NORTH, to the CITY OF FORMS.”
“The PERFECT CITY?”
“Yes. Continuing through this cave leads to the town of MALICE. From there, head EAST to the MYSTERY FOREST. Heading NORTH through the GHOST FOREST leads to the WASTELANDS. You may meet an old friend of mine… heh heh… And to the north of that, who knows? You’ll probably be DEAD by then anyway.” He took Phillip by the shoulders and turned him around, toward the EXIT. “Now of you go, you’ll get no more help from me! ...I like things like this. Heh… heh heh…”
“Okay… Hey, Leg Horse!” Phillip called out.
His companion did not move. He appeared to be brooding on what the wizard said.
Phillip shrugged and prepared to go on ahead, but then: “Wait!” Leg Horse, after taking a few seconds to debate his next move, galloped toward Phillip. “I have decided to travel with you to the CITY OF FORMS! Don’t think about disobeying!”
“I-I didn’t mean to-”
“I am LEG HORSE! Besides… if the world’s going to be changed back, I will be there to make sure you do it right! I’m not letting a FOOL like you be this world’s decider!” With that, Leg Horse is now taking the lead. “And anyways, there is still the ACCURSED BLOOD BEAST to worry about!”
“Are.. are you sure that WIZARD GRUM isn’t the beast?” asked Phillip.
“No. But he’s still a FREAK.” The cavern around them got darker as they proceeded. The cave is QUIET, allowing Leg Horse to continue with his ranting. “He licked at my BLOODY STUMP - nobody’s allowed to lick the LEG HORSE! Ever!”
“...Did the NARRATION just say that it’s… quiet?” Phillip stopped in his tracks, tears of FEAR beginning to flow.
“Yes, can’t you READ and BREAK THE FOURTH WALL properly?” said Leg Horse in annoyance.
“I do but… what happened to the p-poetry?”
“...Oh…” Leg Horse looked around wildly before locking onto something ABOVE THEM. “Well.”
Phillip followed his gaze and fell over in fear, at the DISEMBODIED EYES AND TOOTHY MOUTH looking down on them.
It is the BLOOD BEAST. She spoke:
“Sometimes it seems my blood spurts out
in gobs, as if it were a fountain’s pulsing sobs.
I clearly hear it mutter as it goes yet cannot
find the wound from which it flows.”
Claws appear at her side.
“Before I met you baby
I didn’t know what I was missing.”
Then she DESCENDED. Leg Horse had a little initiative and ducked out of the way. Phillip unfortunately wasn’t as lucky and felt one of the BLOOD BEAST’s claws rake through him, making the poor boy CRY EVEN MORE THAN USUAL. Scrambling to his feet, Phillip, feeling his (significantly lessened) blood boil inside of him, trying to bring out MYSTERY.
Phillip then inexplicably found himself making creepy faces from STANLEY KUBRICK movies. Jack Torrance, Alex, you name it.
Phillip shook as he did so. This power was FUCKING USELESS.
The Blood Beast did not look impressed AT ALL.
Thankfully, the monster was too pre-occupied by his terrible impressions to notice the Leg Horse behind her. Taking advantage of the distraction, Leg Horse went in KICKING. Despite appearances, the Blood Beast did indeed have a body - it just happens to be PURE DARKNESS. And so, Leg Horse struck at the nothingness in between the Blood Beast’s teeth and claws. After getting a few hits in, the Blood Beast turned:
“I am a cemetery the moon abhors,
Where, like remorses, the long worms that trail
Always the dearest of my dead assail.”
With claws outstretched, the Blood Beast is prepared to attack…
When Phillip, crying yet courageous, struck the Blood Beast in the back!
The Blood Beast whirled around, but then Phillip attacked her exposed back.
It occurs to the Blood Beast that getting in the middle of two assailants was a TERRIBLE IDEA.
So let’s wrap this fight, Phillip and Leg Horse COMPLETELY WRECK the Blood Beast.
Ironically, the Blood Beast finds herself coughing up blood:
“To extract from him the tainted element,
And in those baths of blood come down from Roman times,
And which in their old age the powerful recall,
He failed to warm this dazed cadaver in whose veins
Flows the green water of Lethe in place of blood.”
Then the BLOOD BEAST disappeared.
“Ugh. I’m sick of POETRY, let’s leave.” Leg Horse declared. “...Phillip?”
After having laid the last hit on the Blood Beast, Phillip had fallen over, the blood loss and injury finally taking its toll…
Chapter 6: My Marie
4: MY MARIE
He dreamed of the world of the past.
The townspeople of the village whose name he no longer properly remembers are gathered at the village’s entrance. He stood next to his parents, back when they too were human and still caring toward him, as the procession began to stroll in. There were horses, pulling along a carriage of the visiting royal that decided to grace the village with his presence.
“Hail Prince Horace!” People exclaimed. Phillip knew that name. Phillip was a well-loved prince, stern and a bit abrasive, but he passed laws for the people - the kingdom was prosperous and happy under him. Prince Horace was most likely sitting in the carriage, along with his brother Dag; Dag followed Prince Horace wherever he went, acting as a bodyguard, being unfit for ruling himself.
And then everything dissolves.
Everybody dissolved into blood. Have you watched the ending of the End of Evangelion? Yes, think about that. Phillip found himself standing in a field of blood, the world morphing into a deranged mess. A hand touched Phillip’s shoulder. He looked up and sees his father, now in his current form.
“We can’t deal with your depression anymore, son. You must understand how your depression hurts us neurotypical people.”
It occurred to Phillip that there are tears on his own face.
Phillip got up feeling worse.
He noticed, however, that he was no longer in the BLOOD CAVERN, thank goodness. He wiped the tears on his face and climbed out of the sleep coffin that he had been placed into. The floor is sandy and Phillip worried that he’d sink through it.
Phillip went outside.
He’s in a completely different place. He’s in a DESERT town, full of TALKING PIGS, CRIMINALS, and BIRD PEOPLE walking about. The buildings are all decaying, cracked - but in the distance, Phillip could see a FORTRESS that was well-maintained, greater than any other building in the city. There seemed to be a tension in the air - especially around the CRIMINALS.
Phillip approached the closest person, a pig wearing a SILLY HAT. “Er, where am I?”
“Oh, you’re in MALICE! We have MANY GOODS and CRIMINALS!” The pig responded.
So they’re on the right track. Leg Horse probably brought him and plopped him in a sleep coffin. Speaking of which… “Have you seen a horse made of legs?”
“Oh, him?” The pig got a shifty look on his face, tugging on the collar of his shirt. “He was… bugging the men of RIP-THE-BLOOD earlier. That thing is charging into RIP-THE-BLOOD’S DEATH FORTRESS as we speak.”
“It’s too late for you. Well, to save him. So you might as well get used to living here. Maybe take up STEAK FARMING or maybe get a PET MUMMY.”
Phillip had no idea WHAT THE HELL THAT MEANT. In fact, in context, it still didn’t make sense.
However, what he did know is that Leg Horse is in DANGER.Sure, Leg Horse is a bit of a jerk, but Phillip knew that there’s more to him and knew that Leg Horse dragged him to MALICE and saved his life; regardless of how much he viewed his own life, it meant a lot to him. So now, it’s his turn to do the RESCUER.
Phillip started running to the CASTLE, which was, of course, large as hell and hard to miss. The CASTLE’S foundation was built in the middle of a HUGE MINING PIT. A long curvy path led down toward the entrance, with a few SHACKS dotting the way down. As Phillip descended, he passed by an unconscious CRIMINAL - Leg Horse has definitely been through here.
On the way though, he decided to stop inside one of the shacks, to see if there were any valuables. He nearly did a DOUBLE-TAKE when he saw who was inside: a carbon copy of his father.
Before his heart could SEIZE WITH EMOTION, he notices that the zombie man had a quizzical reaction to the tears streaming down his face. He reassured himself that the man isn’t his father, just a man whose form had been changed to a similar appearance by the GREAT CHANGE.
Seeing the boy calm down, the man decided to share his own emotions. “I’m mad as hell and not going to take it anymore. The DEATH FORTRESS of RIP-THE-BLOOD has many TRAPS AND MONSTERS.”
“They keep people from rising up against him. RIP-THE-BLOOD’s men have trapped us here to do slave labor to dig up the DJINN he’s seeking. He needs the DJINN to uphold the SUPREMACY OF CRIME.”
“You shouldn’t be scared anymore though… the men outside were beaten up.”
The zombie business man ran out and let out a gasp when he saw the beaten up criminals. “I can’t believe it. There’s HOPE after all. I need to tell the others!”
Phillip followed the man around, who’s running around to the other shacks (which is where all of RIP-THE-BLOOD’s labor are held), letting people know of their liberation. Soon, Phillip found a small crowd of people standing in front of him, excited and happy (UNLIKE HIM).
“Who’s the person that beat up the CRIMINALS?” One of the rescuees, a lion, roared.
“It was LEG HORSE.” Phillip stated, eyes darting toward the castle. “He’s my friend… I think. He’s gone to face RIP-THE-BLOOD, but… I’m worried about him.”
“Say no more.” The initial zombie man said. “If he helped us, we’ll help him. Because of him, we can rise up against the CRIMINAL MENACE!” The others nod in agreement, including the WALKING BEHEADED PERSON SOMEHOW.
“We can use the MUMMIES that infest the UNDERGROUND RIVERS on them.” Another shopkeeper type person suggested.
There’s those MUMMIES again. “What MUMMIES?” questioned Phillip.
“They were the local FAUNA after the GREAT CHANGE, blockhead. We used to be able to beat them back until RIP-THE-BLOOD took over… so, let’s sick them on him.”
“Yes!” A bird man exclaimed. “For the IRONY! For the HAMARTIA!”
“Th-then let’s do it! Let’s save Leg Horse!” Phillip shouted, to the BATTLE-CHEERS of many. They all seem nice and happy; Phillip was a bit jealous of them, but if he can’t be happy, it doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t be too. Putting on a FAKE SMILE OF CONFIDENCE on his face, he led the MALICE POSSE toward the castle; however, his fellows were insistent on taking a DETOUR to a RESERVOIR - as well as getting something good for dealing with COWARDLY and SUPERSTITIOUS lots...
Meanwhile, inside the fortress proper, things weren’t looking good for Leg Horse.
He is completely surrounded. CRIMINALS are at all sides, even blocking the exits in case he tried to make a dash for it (as if he would), BOMB DOGS yipping at their sides with the AUDITORY GLANDS in their BOMB HEADS. Standing before Leg Horse is their leader. He looks similar to every other CRIMINAL, but he wears a cape, a medallion, and a crown like a TOTAL DOUCHEBAG. The man took a puff of his cigarette, and a word forms out of the smoke:
KING OF CRIME
“Alright tough guy, looks like you’re fucked.” The KING OF ALL CRIME, RIP-THE-BLOOD, said to him.
LEG HORSE found it hard to stand up to him; fighting through several men solo and going through SILLY TRAPS can do that to a person. Not that he’s going to let it stop him. “How dare you! How dare you speak to me that way, WHELP?”
“You callin’ me a whelp when you’re surrounded? You’re a funny guy.” Rip-The-Blood paused, taking another drag of smoke. “...You know, my men say that you brought some KID into town with you, what’s his deal?”
“He’s innocent - a WHIMPERING MORON, but innocent! Stay away from him - I WILL protect my subjects, even if they’re BUFFOONS!”
“Subjects? The only one who should be having subjects is ME.”
“Shut up! You’re just a FALSE KING of this CORRUPTED WORLD, NOTHING MORE AND NOTHING LESS!”
“And what are you?”
“I am PRINCE HORACE.” Leg Horse declared. Several of the CRIMINALS gasped, memories of the past world coming to mind. “I am making CLAIM TO WHAT IS MINE.”
“What is yours? This isn’t a world now, but an ANARCHIST WASTELAND.” Rip-The-Blood pointed out. “I, the KING OF ALL CRIME, may be the KING OF ALL CRIME, but I brought ORDER to this land! And, as soon I get the DJINN’S LAMP, I will wish for a world of CRIME AND ORDER.”
“That is completely CONTRADICTORY, you IDIOT KING.”
“Don’t you silence me!”
“Whatever. I’m getting tired of you. I don’t care that you were PRINCE PHILLIP. I’m the KING OF MALICE AND CRIME, and soon, THE WORLD. We will dump your body LIKE IN ALL THE GOOD CRIME MOVIES and maybe we’ll get the KID working in our MINES to help us dig up the DJINN’S LAMP.” Rip-The-Blood finished with his smoke, throwing it aside. “Alright men, let’s ice this fucker.”
And then the MUMMIES BURST IN.
The criminals and bomb dogs closest to the entrance of the throne room were quickly overwhelmed by the SHAMBLING HORDE. As the rest of Rip-The-Blood’s gang prepare to fight them off, they are surprised by the second wave of reinforcements: PHILLIP, leading the residents of MALICE. Most of the residents aren’t well suited for combat, but their initiative gave them the upper hand against their FORMER OPPRESSORS.
“What the hell??” Was all Rip-The-Blood could say about the sudden proceedings.
“Phillip! You aren’t completely useless after all!” Leg Horse exclaimed.
“Thanks, I think.” Phillip said; he decided that it’s best to take it as a compliment.
Rip-The-Blood watched as his CRIMINAL EMPIRE falls before his eyes. His gang members were getting REVENGED ON by the residents of Malice, either by their own hands or by the mummies. He can probably guess that the same proceedings might be going on in the town proper. It was all going south for him. He had two plans: either GO OUT IN A COOL WAY LIKE THE ENDING OF A COOL CRIME MOVIE, or, TAKE THE HORSE DOWN WITH HIM.
He was a petty man, so he decided on the latter.
“You fucking horse!” Rip-The-Blood screeched, rushing at Leg Horse. But before he could reach him, Phillip stepped in the way.
Before he and his VENGEANCE POSSE came to the castle, he remembered to get one thing. Do you remember BLOOD BLOOD BLOOD? Yeah, that was a while ago, but there’s a bit of FORESHADOWING that is now being brought to light.
Phillip, through his tears, swung the holy book at him - while embellishing it with his MYSTERY power. As it connected with Rip-The-Blood, the voice of SAMUEL L. JACKSON radiated from it:
“The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the inequities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men. Blessed is he, who in the name of charity and good will, shepherds the weak through the valley of darkness, for he is truly his brother's keeper and the finder of lost children. And I will strike down upon thee with great vengeance and furious anger those who would attempt to poison and destroy my brothers. And you will know my name is the Lord when I lay my vengeance upon thee.”
And as MYSTERY commands it, the BIBLE summoned several HOLY BULLETS that pierce Rip-The-Blood multiple times.
Without having laid a single finger on either Leg Horse or Phillip, RIP-THE-BLOOD fell over, his corpse disappearing.
With its job done, the BIBLE INEXPLICABLY DISAPPEARS. Nice. Phillip turned to Leg Horse, meekly handing him some medicinal blood for his wounds before asking, “Why did you go off on your own?”
“You were resting and RIP-THE-BLOOD needed to be dealt with - and it’s good that I made my move as quickly as I did.” Leg Horse gestured toward the door at the end of the throne room.
Beyond the door is a small cavern. At the very back of it, something GLOWED behind the dirt wall. Phillip, on Leg Horse’s urging (for he is still too good for MANUAL LABOR), dug out the dirt and recovers:
AN OLD LAMP.
“He was so close to getting the DJINN. You and the rest of the world should be grateful that I’ve bought all of you TIME!” Leg Horse stated.
Phillip looked at the lamp curiously. Allowing his tears to drop onto the antique, he used the liquid and his sleeve to rub it down, rub rub. Then, the lamp turned hot in Phillip’s hands, making him drop it. Blue smoke emits from the lamp and from it formed the GREAT DJINN, good grief! He is stereotypically blue, due to the standards set by ALADIN. Unfortunately, he didn’t seem to be as friendly as that movie’s GENIE, folding his arms and looking down on them with arrogance that could give Leg Horse a run for his money.
“Greetings, I am the DJINN OF THE LAMP. I will grant you your FONDEST DESIRE.”
Leg Horse stepped forward, looking up at him. “F-fondest desire? You mean you could…”
“Remain still whilst I read thy brain.” The Djinn then goes through the more time consuming task of reading Leg Horse’s mind instead of letting him speak his DESIRES. Then. “Hmph. I see. I cannot return you to your TRUE FORM, Leg Horse. That is your true form now!”
“What? But… but…”
“To regain your original shape you must travel to the source of the corruption, at the CITY OF FORMS!”
Leg Horse sighed. “So absolutely nothing’s changed. Come, PHILLIP. There used to be CRIMINALS barring the way to the MYSTERY FOREST, but now that we’ve beaten their king, they must be running and hiding like WORMS.”
Before they turned around, the Djinn stuck his hand out. “WAIT! The FAT BOY has yet to make his wish!”
“...Am I really fat?” whimpered Phillip.
“Yes. Choose thy desire.”
Phillip found himself in his mind, thinking of what to wish for. He could do the stereotypical wishes. He could wish for POWER. He could wish for MONEY. In fact, MONEY could BUY POWER, so forget about wishing for power. However, the EMPTINESS and SADNESS in his heart brings itself up in his thoughts, and he realized that there was something important to wish for.
“I just want to be happy.” Phillip said to the Djinn.
“I am PLEASED with your request and it has been granted.” The Djinn snapped his fingers.
A book appears in Phillip’s hands:
“Crossing the Rivers Of You: Actualizing Your Self-Potential in 30 Days Or Less” by Paul Scudd PhD
“This isn’t what I had in mind.” The depressed boy said.
The mystical being ignored him. “And now, time for your SUITABLY IRONIC PUNISHMENT.”
With another snap of his fingers, Phillip transformed into a FLOUNDERING BLUE FISH. The Djinn laughs, retreating back into his lamp.
Leg Horse decided to bury the lamp back where they found it and picks up Phillip, who was flopping all over the place, and heads back to MALICE. On the way back, he sees the MALICE POSSE fighting more criminals, burning down parts of their former tormentor’s castle, and melting down his statues to make UTENSILS. Another menace down, the man that was Prince Horace thought.
Leg Horse, with a flopping Phillip in tow, went to the local Wizard of Malice; for whatever reason, there’s some agreement where every settlement as some WISE OLD FIGURE, and Wizards were never short in supply. The Wizard stood in the middle of a bunch of PENTAGRAMS, but he still looked more friendlier than WIZARD GRUM.
“I am WIZARD YORM, welcome to my grimy cave. What business do you seek?” He questioned.
Phillip plopped onto the floor, bouncing around helplessly. If it weren’t for the constant tears that he excretes, he would have died of the heat by now.
“Hmm… Looks like you LOST YOUR FORM.” The Wizard said, an observation that anyone could make. “I can change you back… for a price that is, heh heh heh! That’ll be 200 RUBLES, heh heh!”
Leg Horse threw a bag of money into his face. “Fix this.”
“No need to be so rude.” Yorm said to him. Then, to Phillip, “Hold very still, so as not to EXPLODE.”
The Wizard extended his arms and the fish on the floor was bathed in LIGHT. Standing up from the floor is Phillip in his PINK PAJAMA’D FORM, feeling better but not much.
“Djinn suck.” Was all Phillip could say about his experience.
“Hmm. I can see your inner yearning, HORSE MAN.” Wizard Yorm said, turning his attention back onto Leg Horse. “You’ll have to go to the CITY OF FORMS if you want the TRUEST FORM. Rumors say that it lies to the NORTHEAST, and now that RIP-THE-BLOOD is gone, you may pursue those rumors freely.” The Wizard strokes his beard discreetly, gathering up the fallen rubles.
“Alright, let’s stock up on supplies and get going, Phillip.” said Leg Horse.
Chapter 7: Tamariu
After buying some much needed supplies, they begin heading EAST. By then, the FORTRESS of RIP-THE-BLOOD is completely on fire, the residents of MALICE gathered around and roasting MARSHMALLOWS. Good for them.
Crossing the border of lands, the environment inexplicably changed, the sands quickly giving way to PURPLE GRASS, ANGRY TREES, and TREES WITH DROOPY LEAVES THAT LOOKED SAD. MUSHROOMS grew out of the grass along with FLOWERS and the pools were an odd ORANGE color. The MYSTERY FOREST sure was living up to its name.
Shortly after arriving, they are engaged by one of the realm’s local monsters, a VENGEFUL GHOUL, a giant floating skull with BAD 80’S HAIR. Cackling, it floated toward them, muttering “despair” in between its laughter.
Using MYSTERY had become a natural talent for Phillip, easily letting the powers loose. The vengeful ghoul suddenly becomes aware of the universal human connection and its vengefulness dissolves, causing the skull to disintegrate in agony. NICE.
Even without Phillip making quick work of the ghouls with his wild card powers, the ghouls were otherwise pretty easy to beat. They walk through the forest, making for a NORTHEAST direction. There was an alternate route where they could take to the local LION VILLAGE, where they could have gotten more TIME WASTING EXPOSITION from the lions and learned about the LION STOCK TRADE or they could have hunted down ELVES to confront FNIR the King of Elves. However, these things are sort of out-of-the-way and not required and I couldn’t really figure out how to fit these things into a LINEAR NARRATIVE. So screw that.
Eventually though, they come across something odd (well, odd in relation to the forest). In the midst of the forest is an OLD BUILDING. It had long since collapsed, bricks lying everywhere, being overtaken by nature. By the rate of things, the inside may have been corrupted as well, looted of valuables on top of everything else.
Leg Horse stepped ahead, forlorn. “This.. this was my home.”
“Phillip…” The horse turned to look at him. “I was not always… Leg Horse.” Well duh, a horse made of legs before the GREAT CHANGE would have been fucking weird. “Before the change, I was PRINCE HORACE.”
“Oh, I knew that.”
“What? What?” His sadness is suddenly overtaken by annoyance at the DRAMA being interrupted. “Who told you? I’ll have their head!”
“Uhh… you did, actually. We heard you talking to RIP-THE-BLOOD.” The boy admitted. He didn’t want to admit it, but he and the MALICE POSSE were waiting behind the door of RIP-THE-BLOOD’s throne room because they wanted to pop out at the most dangerous time possible to make the rescue seem even COOLER, because everyone knows that the best rescues are the ones at the VERY LAST SECOND.
“Oh. Well.” Leg Horse goes back to his dramatic mode. “Anyway, before the change, I ruled this land with my brother, DAG. I… like to think I was a just prince then… And then… In one terrible day, our peaceful kingdom changed into a NIGHTMARE WORLD, and I into the form you see now.”
Phillip’s suspicions in the BLOOD CAVERN were confirmed. Leg Horse was much like him - deeply affected by the GREAT CHANGE. He knew now that without a doubt that Leg Horse’s attitude was a result of the world, much like his own depression. Sympathetic, Phillip reached out and pet Leg Horse’s neck.
Leg Horse accepted his sympathy, not showing anger at the move when he definitely would in other circumstances. “As for DAG, I never… wait!” Leg Horse pulled away, alarmed by something. “Did you hear that?”
A GUITAR STRUM echoes through the forest.
A shadow rushed past Phillip and Leg Horse as another SWEET RIFF played.
Then, it stopped in front of them.
The figure was turned, wearing a SWEET JACKET.
“What on earth... “ Leg Horse gasped. Then, he realized. “It’s the WILDMAN… it’s… the 20TH CENTURY BOY!”
“In the moon light, fightin’ with the night…” The 20th Century Boy played another guitar scum. He turned dramatically, guitar in tow, finger pointed toward the sky. “IT’S A RIP-OFF!”
Phillip stepped back, yet, Leg Horse stepped forward. “You! Your very existence is an INSULT! How dare you be on the grounds of my ANCESTRAL HOME? This must be avenged! En guarde!”
And so he charged. The 20th Century Boy, dodging Leg Horse's tackle, swung at him with his guitar, a loud riff playing from it as it hit. Phillip, on the sidelines, used MYSTERY, and suddenly, he felt very MUSCLED - the MUSCLE people back at the village would have been so proud. Stronger (but as sad as ever), Phillip went for a lunge at the HOSTILE ROCKSTAR IMITATOR, a strong punch connecting to his face while Leg Horse jabbed him in the stomach.
However, despite the assault, the 20th Century Boy did not let go of his guitar. Bleeding, yet unfettered, the 20th Century Boy began SHREDDING. He started a sweet guitar solo, fingers moving all HELTER SKELTER, the powers of rock and roll pushing Phillip and Leg Horse back. Phillip cried out, falling to his knees, covering his ears as the kick-ass solo assaults his ears.
However, Leg Horse did not have ears and thus lacked the CONDUCTION that would have been damaged by the noise. He leaps at the 20th Century Boy, pushing back against the physical soundwaves. Realizing that Leg Horse is resisting his sweet tunes, 20th Century Boy started shredding harder, the noise being unbearable, his fingers blistering under the intense playing.
Leg Horse wouldn't have that. And so, he shouted, a shout so loud that it could be heard over the wicked guitar playing: "SILENCE!" The 20th Century Boy faltered, allowing Leg Horse to get near. Standing on his back legs, he kicked out with his front legs. The strike broke the guitar, ending the musical assault. He also kinda broke the 20th Century Boy's spine.
The man was fallen on the floor, coughing up blood, on his deathbed. Leg Horse turns away from him and sees Phillip recovering. “My family’s honor has been maintained… come, Phillip! We must…”
Then, he heard the man behind him: “H-Horace…”
The former prince spun around and approached the dying man. Speaking in a soft instead of an accusational tone, he asked, “How do you know my…”
The 20th Century Boy interrupted with a few coughs. “Horace… don’t tell me you don’t recognize your own brother…”
A sense of dread filled the horse’s ROYAL HEART. “Dag!?”
“Yes Horace…” He seemed to be wheezing. “After the GREAT CHANGE… the ruin of our kingdom… My new form… I couldn’t take it.” His eyes wandered, looking at the old ruin. “I lost my mind… began obsessively protecting the house for your… return…”
The man that was Dag began coughing violently. He didn’t have much longer. Leg Horse was at his side. “Dag…”
“Horace… don’t blame yourself… I can see things so clearly now…” Horace tried to put up a SMILE. “Continue your quest, Horace. Destroy the cancer at the heart of the kingdom and… avenge… me…”
And so, Dag breathed his last.
Leg Horse felt Phillip’s hand patting his neck, in an effort to comfort him. He did not shy away from his sympathy, accepting it full-heartedly. They took a moment in the name of DAG, staring at his body - which had not disappeared, much like the other terrors that ruled the land.
“He wants us to bury him.” speculated Phillip; perhaps, in his last moments, Dag resisted being dragged into the aether so that he may receive a proper burial.
“I believe you’re right. Well… come along Phillip, the NORTHERN WASTES await.” Leg Horse turned away from the scene, trotting along.
“Huh? But… but what about…”
“When I bury my brother, he will not be buried as the 20th Century Boy. He will be buried as DAG.”
With that, they marched toward the NORTHERN WASTES, their resolve to get to the CITY OF FORMS stronger than ever.
Chapter 8: V. Mescherin
6: V. MESCHERIN
The FRIGID WINDS of the NORTHERN WASTES makes Phillip shiver as they stomp through the snow, walking through a land of various shades of whites and blues that is often stereotypical for SHITTY ICE LEVELS. Ordinarily, Leg Horse would be yelling at Phillip for being a wuss, but he’s held his tongue; either Leg Horse has truly developed a respect of sorts for Phillip, he’s still hung up over the death of his brother, or both.
After they entered the wastes, they went into the shack that had a SHY FRANKENSTEIN’S MONSTER. “You can use that thing in the corner if you think it will help… It probably won’t…” He offered when they came by, in a simultaneously helpful and unhelpful manner, referring to a SLEEP COFFIN that Phillip slept in. Leg Horse had gently woken him up before going on their way.
The way forward was fraught with ICE and HERDS OF SNOW FROGS. They hop toward the journeying duo, thinking of themselves as an INTIMIDATING GANG OF DELINQUENTS. These idealistic gangs would easily get pummeled, as all Leg Horse had to do was stampede over them.
Physically, the journey was cold and exhausting but otherwise fine. Emotionally though, Phillip could tell that Leg Horse is still broken up. Daring for a TONGUE LASHING, Phillip again tried to comfort him in spite of his own misery. “I’m sorry about your brother.”
Leg Horse thankfully wasn’t annoyed by the question. “Yes, a tragedy indeed… but I am STRONG. I will keep marching in the name of DAG. When everything is back to normal, he’s getting the ROYAL TREATMENT. A parade to honor him, a funeral for all to attend. Dag WILL be remembered!”
“Er… what about the rest of your family?”
“...I don’t know. Lost track of them all after the GREAT CHANGE. As far as I know, I’m the last member of the royal family left.” He said bitterly. “But what about you, Phillip? How’s your family? Go ahead, use the PRIVILEGE I’m granting you to talk about yourself wisely!”
“They… disowned me.”
“What? What? Say that again!”
So Phillip gave him a bunch of EXPOSITION WE ALREADY HEARD as they continue walking through the wastes. By the end of it, Leg Horse was aghast.
“What? How dare they! They will be stockaded and paraded around the kingdom as the WORST PARENTS!” The horse said, outraged.
“Th-that’s a bit extreme!” Phillip said (though internally admitting that it would be great).
“They threw you out, my best servant! Nobody hurts me or my servants - they shall rue the day...”
“...TAXES! They will be TAXED extra and I will give the proceeds to clinics to help people with psychological problems! I will be doing a service to EVERYONE if I did that!” Leg Horse ranted. Then, he noticed that Phillip’s just standing there. “What’s wrong? Is my punishment not severe enough, speak up!”
Phillip offered a shaky finger, pointing in one direction.
The whites and blues were contrasted with splotches of RED, and given this game’s and the novelization’s track record, you could PROBABLY GUESS WHAT THE RED IS. Ordinarily, blood was a common sight due to being a natural element of the changed world, as natural as WATER and the LAWS OF PHYSICS, but this blood was clearly spilled; assorted body parts are in the puddles, which were next to a raft that had crashed into a sheet of ice.
“This must be the work of the BLOOD SUCKING FIEND!” speculated Leg Horse. “We must have his head while we’re here, but we must remain vigilant, Phillip!”
“Don’t make noises, Phillip, are you daft? You could attract their attention!”
“Uh… It wasn’t me.” Phillip said.
So they looked behind them and saw a PACK OF MOME BEASTS. They were a vicious lot, with yellow striped beast hides (much like Phillip’s own clothing; his pajamas must be made from MOME SKIN), angry red eyes, sharpened tusks, and SMALL YET TERRIFYING CLAWED HANDS.
“This lot is weak to MAGIC EYE PICTURES!” Leg Horse shouted; this was another piece of advice that Phillip recalled. He tried to fish into his pockets to see if he had any, but sadly, he had none - he did not pick up on the MUSCLE BASED FORESHADOWING.
Phillip, crying out, used MYSTERY, and…
...he found his wounds to suddenly be stitched. Huh. That’s good. Well, it would be good in any other instance, and facing down a stampeding pack of mome beasts wasn’t one of those instances.
“Shit.” Was all Phillip could really say as they closed in.
And so, Phillip found himself dreaming again.
It was night time in the kingdom before the Great Change. Phillip was sleeping in, not a sleep coffin but, a bed in his pleasant village. Night had fallen, and he was about to sleep when he saw a curious sight outside of his bedside window.
The moon was gone.
For the past nights, he could see the moon over the land from his window, but on that night it was gone.
“Where is the moon, mom?” Young Phillip asked his mother before he went to sleep.
“No one knows, but there’s rumors going around. You see, some people believe that there is a person on the moon and the moon’s reflections of light from the sun is that person trying to imitate the sun’s natural beauty.” Mother explained. “So, the same people believe that the person came down to our world to look at the natural beauty of our world.”
“That’s ridiculous.” They heard father say; he was sitting down, reading a tabloid magazine. “This here says that the moon was blown up by a mad scientist in a space colony, and that he’ll be pressing demands on our world to become its ruler in the coming future.”
“Now that’s ridiculous, don’t confuse our son dear.”
And indeed, Phillip was confused. The moon did not show up in the days after. And it did not show up after the Great Change either.
“Phillip! Phillip! Wake up, I ask you of it!” He heard the voice of Leg Horse echoing through his dream.
Phillip woke up in a place that’s unfamiliar to him. He’s inside an old yet COMFORTABLY FURNISHED room; he himself was laying down on a fine red carpet and he could see a piano and several bookcases. The indoor room was strangely warm in contrast to the cold, roaring winds, which he could hear outside. Leg Horse was at his side, nudging him in the arm.
“Get up, we must leave!” He hissed.
“Did.. someone rescue us?” Phillip asked groggily.
“Yes, but it was -”
“It vas me!” A voice said in a STEREOTYPIC TRANSYLVANIAN ACCENT.
A blue skinned man in a posh suit walked in, carrying a wine glass in his hand. He sipped it before tossing aside in ‘VAT IS A MAN’ fashion.
“It’s the fiend.” Leg Horse hissed to Phillip. “He’s taken our weapons and we aren’t at full strength - not even I can take him in my state, and I’m LEG HORSE.”
“I can hear you.” The newcomer said, sighing. “Good evenink. I am COUNT DRACULA.”
With the formal introduction out of the way, he had Phillip’s full attention. Already being at somebody’s mercy was bad, but that somebody being a copy of or actually being THE DRACULA? They needed to talk their way out of it. Fighting WASN’T AN OPTION.
However, the boy gulped. He knows that Leg Horse would be too abrasive for a formal conversation. It was all up to him.
He tried to think of something. Something that could save their lives. And then, “How are things, Dracula?” he asked nervously.
Leg Horse would facepalm if he had any HANDS. Or a PROPER FACE for that matter.
Dracula tilted his head, smiling. “Things are… very good! Yes!”
“Would you like some wine?” He asked nervously.
“I do not drink… vine.” Dracula answered darkly; the stuff in the wine glass wasn’t wine, then.
At a loss of things to say, Phillip looked around. Then: “Is that your piano, Dracula?”
“Yes! I haff… many pianos! I like to... play them… in the evenik.”
“Do you know any songs, Dracula?”
“Goddamnit Phillip…” muttered Leg Horse.
However, the VAMPIRE LORD liked playing along. “No. I simply… make it up, ha ha ha!”
“...I guess you could say, “vamp”.” Phillip said, in a lame attempt for humor.
But that had Dracula cracking up. “Ha ha ha ha! Very good! Yes!”
Phillip wasn’t sure if they were on Dracula’s good side or not - he seems like a giggly person to begin with. “What do you do Dracula?”
“I am DRACULA.”
Okay, now he’s just screwing with them back. Insistently, Phillip asked again, “What do you do Dracula?”
“I like to drink the blood.”
Phillip nervously laughs at this. He sees Leg Horse shaking his head at him. “Anything else?”
Dracula put his hand on his chin, trying to think. “Well…”
There is an awkward silence, their captor trying to think of what else he did in his lonely abode. Phillip tried thinking of something to suggest and something came to mind and he blurts it out - unfortunately it was the WEIRDEST THING TO COME TO MIND: “Do you smoke weed, Dracula?”
“Phillip, you FOOL! You just don’t ask people that!” Leg Horse hissed angrily.
But to their surprise, Dracula was laughing. “Yes! Ha ha ha! Very good! Yes! I like to drink blood… and smoke the weed!”
Phillip and Leg Horse looked at Dracula in SHEER DISBELIEF as the man was doubled over, laughing.
“You two. It’s veen… so long since I’ve properly talked to someone. You two I like, yes! Don’t fear, your blood is safe, yes!”
Phillip and Leg Horse relaxed. Through COMPLETE BULLSHIT, they somehow avoided a hostile situation. Though, Leg Horse still seemed a bit uneased. He approached Dracula, now confident that he could freely talk without getting their blood drained. “You! We are heading to the CITY OF FORMS! Do you know of the specific direction?”
“Yes! There is… a raft not too far from here that will take you there.” He admitted, smiling. “But… I don’t think anyone that vent there… came back, yes.”
“Well, none of those people were us! And furthermore, I see that you’re unhostile! But! When we change the world back, I demand that you swear your loyalties to PRINCE HORACE!” He declared; Dracula would be only one potential threat after the world is changed back to normal, so fighting him would seem like a waste (if they were capable of fighting him, anyway) - plus, the dude just seems chill enough to agree to a peace treaty within reason.
“Hmm… vill weed be legal?”
“Then yes! I swear loyalties to the future prince, assuming you two survive, ha ha! I’ll even sign it in paper, yes!”
While Dracula was writing up a PEACE TREATY that swore loyalty to Prince Horace, Phillip and Leg Horse took a proper rest. As they were finishing up with their nap, Dracula had finished, signing his name in BLOOD. Leg Horse read over it, found the terms agreeable, and signed his birth name and his post-GREAT CHANGE name. Dracula shook one of Leg Horse’s feet and one of Phillip’s hands and led them out of the mansion, handing back their weaponry and supplies on the way out, waving them off as they stepped outside.
“He seems nice.” Phillip commented.
“Yes! But don’t you see Phillip! With that, we’ve SUBJUGATED all of this world’s MAJOR TERRORS!” Leg Horse declared.
“Technically you signed a peace treaty with him.”
“Countries can subjugate through peace treaties, don’t believe in everything you learn in history, don’t be a DUNCE!” Leg Horse looked ahead. “This world will be a peaceful world when we get to the CITY OF FORMS.”
“If we survive.” Phillip had to add.
“Silence! I will not have naysaying! Believe in yourself, Phillip! We can do this!”
They continued on until they found a staircase that led down to the coast. After descending, they find one of the squid pirates. “I am OUTCAST O’ BONES. I hunt SEA DWARVES along the coast.” He introduced himself.
“Uh, hi, we’re going to the CITY OF FORMS.” Phillip said.
“The CITY OF FORMS? I know it. It is a place of GREAT EVIL.” The wizened old pirate shivered. “I can take you there.”
“Bring us, I command you!” yelled Leg Horse.
“Are you sure? There is no going back.” He warned.
Knowing that the chance to end the nightmare world was so close, that the chance for his tears to finally stop is ahead, Phillip gave a confident: “Yes.”
The pirate shook his head, as if already writing them off to be DEAD. “Then let’s proceed.”
Chapter 9: City of Forms
7: CITY OF FORMS
“This is not a good place, Phillip.” A stunned Leg Horse said, at the city’s entrance.
The trip to the CITY OF FORMS was short, but eventful. As Outcast O’ Bones steered the raft toward their direction, the murky water below the raft gradually changed shades into a pure, eyesore green. A familiar sight greeted Phillip and Leg Horse as they passed by - ERRORS. At first, the ERRORS were few, but as they got closer and closer, they were NUMEROUS, many things whose forms were forgotten by the GREAT CHANGE.
They reached a cliff soon after that; Outcast O’ Bones suggested that they climb up the cliffside, wanting to get himself as far away from the place as possible. Phillip and Leg Horse made their way up and their transport sailed away from the accursed place. At the top of the cliff were blue grasses with trees up purple bark and red leaves - however, the trees were an ECOLOGICAL MESS. Trees were separated in different pieces, laid all over the place, some overlapping each other in odd places - in fact, the grass sometimes overlapped the trees, despite being under said trees. Ahead, the grass turned into yellow and pink. The whole thing was a DAMN EYESORE.
They continued, and here they are now, at the entrance. What might have been a RESPECTABLE CASTLE WALL had been corrupted to the fullest extent, made up of bricks of various colors and designs, of standard brick, skulls, and dirt; some objects even poked out of the walls, such as the sad streetlamps from Scum Village and haphazard furniture. As if all this wasn’t an OMEN ALREADY, two giant green heads sat at the sides of the entranceway, spewing blood.
It is all sickening. The extent of the CORRUPTION, the extent of RUIN, made Phillip fall to his knees, crying, mourning for the old world. The sight of the corrupted CITY OF FORMS was too much to take - for his emotions and for his eyes.
Leg Horse gently poked him. “Phillip. I understand. But we can fix this. We can fix all of this.” He reassured him. “The DEMON that caused all of this has to be in the city. We will end this ONCE AND FOR ALL.”
It took a while for Phillip to be willing to continue on, though Leg Horse stayed by his side until he was ready.
The inside is actually even worse, the nightmare of INTERIOR DECORATORS everywhere. Like… it’s such a fucking eyesore that I can’t narrate it properly. It sucks. Just take my word for it, it all fucking sucks.
But thankfully, they go out to a courtyard-like area, which is still bad, but can be described properly. The floor is made up of green bricks, with an area set aside for a pool - which actually looks like tiles painted to look like sand and water. A random pile of red skulls sat in the corner ominously, near a black void with a door in the middle of it.
Then, Phillip saw them.
It was the creature that looked like his mother and two creatures that looked like his father.
They could have been other people. But Leg Horse walked past them, as if they weren’t actually there.
The sheer chaos of the corrupted city had driven him to HALLUCINATIONS.
“Just do your best.” One of the father figures said.
“Just do your worst.” The other said, honestly much more in line with his father’s current personality regarding him.
“Come on in, the water’s fine.” The mother said, standing on top of the water tiles; as usual, she has a blase attitude toward the father’s attitude toward their son.
Phillip hurried ahead, not wanting to look at the hallucinations any longer.
He refused to let the sadness keep him down.
Beyond the void and its door is a HALLWAY OF STATUES. Statues of every SINGLE SPECIES OF CREATURE THAT LIVED AND BREATHED IN THE NEW WORLD. Phillip and Leg Horse marched. They saw FRIENDS. They saw FOES. Leg Horse hurried on when he saw the statue of the 20TH CENTURY BOY.
“Vengeance will be had, brother.” Phillip heard him say.
At the end of the STATUES, at the end of the world, they pass through the final door.
The room is less of a room and more like a VOID, of pink, blue, and yellow colors. The floors and walls couldn’t be differentiated from each other - if there even were walls anymore.
However, the colors made the final enemy easy to see.
Something blue and red approached - however, their form was completely indistinguishable because they were CONSTANTLY CHANGING. Their form never settled on anything stable, bending out of shape, shifting to another and another. In a voice that came out as an electronic warble, they greeted: “Greetings, my friends. Welcome to the CITY OF FORMS, now formless.”
“What? Who are you?” Leg Horse questioned aggressively.
“I am the MOON. It is I who have corrupted this city.” They declared. They pace about, chuckling. “Many years ago… time passes so queerly… I was an artist.
“You once knew me to be reflective of the sun’s beauty. But it was not perfect. I needed more. I needed to see the world. Cultures. People. I needed life as the best portraits are the ones that reflect life. I sought perfection in all things. So, seeking to be inspired, I descended to this world and traveled to this city, a place of pure form.
“It was perfect. It destroyed me.”
Their form began flickering even more violently than before. “Nothing could be created which was not a pathetic mockery of the objects of the city. The finest works paled in comparison. In the face of such beauty I felt corrupted, an animal. The world meant nothing. The solar system meant nothing. We were all graceless, creatures of slime." They ranted. “I was practically comatose for months when I realized what I had to do.”
“So you turned the city and world into a grotesque mockery of itself.” Leg Horse spat.
“You did all of this… for art?” Phillip questioned incredulously.
“It’s not just about art anymore, don’t you see?” Moon said. “The perfection of the city left us impotent. We have to destroy so that we can build again! It's still not enough, you know. Even now I can feel echoes of that perfect world, in the chance permutations of our broken copy." They take another deep breath, their form becoming that of a red hell hound. “Perhaps another GREAT CHANGE… Yes… And more, until it becomes self-perpetuating… A ceaseless chaos of forms… Perhaps I already have. Perhaps we’ve had this exchange many times, you and I, with places exchanged…”
Leg Horse stepped toward him. “Perhaps. But it stops here.”
Then it was Phillip that stepped up, courageously standing up to the terror that was the MOON despite his woes. “This world is already awful, and we won’t allow you to make it worse!”
Moon laughed, shifting, settling into the form of a blue and red skull. “Heh. Better to reign in Hell than serve in Heaven… motherfuckeeeersss!”
Suddenly, the skull grows a body, with many limbs attached to it, a blue and red mass that looked closest to a giant reptile with a skull head, but even that’s debatable.
Moon went for a massive swing with a flickering CLAW, which Phillip and Leg Horse managed to dodge.
However, Leg Horse ended up getting caught by a second claw.
Then Phillip gets kicked by one of Moon’s many legs.
But they didn’t want to have that.
Guzzling down the medicinal bloods that they’ve obtained over their adventure, they begin fighting back. Phillip took pauses, gathering energy within himself - but not fully unleashing MYSTERY - to make himself stronger, landing blows onto Moon’s flickering body. At the same time, he brought out his full REPERTOIRE of weapons - the various KNIVES he’s collected over his journey found themselves getting buried into Moon, Phillip taking aim at their face with a ZORG CANNON, a weapon that he had bought in Malice. Aiming was difficult with his tears, but the shrieks that Moon made told him that he hit his mark.
While Moon themselves have turned into a many limbed beast, Leg Horse had limbs of his own. Each of his feet were armed with every SWEET BOOT that he had obtained on their journey, kicking into Moon’s body, while swiftling dodging the flickering legs. “Swine! I am the prince of this kingdom! NEIGH, I am its king! We will restore this kingdom to how it should be!”
“You don’t understand.” Moon growled. “To live, we must change. To become perfect, PERFECTION ITSELF must be destroyed.”
The reds in Moon’s body began to glow; then, it begins to drain out of their body, bleeding onto the ground.
Then everything begins rumbling.
Leg Horse stepped back. “Phillip, cease!” He sounds PANICKED. “He… he’s starting another GREAT CHANGE!”
“What?” Phillip cried back.
Suddenly, the void changes, from its stripes of three colors to STATIC, the world rumbling around them. Then, Phillip let out a scream as he was knocked over by an unseen wave. He tried to scramble back onto his feet and he looked down at himself - his pajamas had changed colors to red and black, how awful.
But that was minor in comparison to what happened to Leg Horse.
Phillip looks at where his companion previously stood and gasped.
The minor change had turned Leg Horse into an ERROR. Flickering. Dead silent.
Hot tears flow down Phillip’s face as he felt a rage build up inside of him. He looked at the perpetrator. They were now a flickering blue orb with craters - their form as the actual MOON to be precise - all the blood had drained out of them, flowing among the static.
“My blood will be the lifestream of the new world - as it was before. What happened to your friend was only a localized instance - the SECOND GREAT CHANGE has yet to happen.” Moon declared. Looking ahead, at the angry boy, they propose, “For the sake of sounding stereotypical, I want you to join me. I would have asked the same of your friend, but he just didn’t get the big picture. Together, we will ride the tides of the new change. You seem like a sad person. We can create a world where it’s possible for you to be happy.”
“The… the reason why I’m not happy is because of you!” Phillip shouted, pointing at them accusingly. “The world before was fine!”
“Yes, but we were all grotesque in the light of perfection. To live we must change, and I will give this world life, fucker.” Moon said rather eloquently. “Will you truly be happy as just an abomination?”
“The world as it is is an abomination!” Phillip screamed. He stepped forward. “I… I just want the old world back! So… so what if I won’t be PERFECT? I was happy with how I used to be!”
“Then you too will have to be changed.”
Phillip gasped, feeling a sharp pain inside of him. Not in his bones, not in his organs, but in his very MOLECULAR STRUCTURE itself. He cried at the pain, at the idea of being changed again, perhaps into an ERROR, something forgotten.
But he wouldn’t want to let that happen. Phillip began walking toward Moon, feeling his insides burning - at the same time, however, he could feel that familiar essence inside of him, flowing, trying to counteract the decay within him.
“What are you doing? It’s too late for you.” The electronic voice of Moon questioned. They were firmly planted where they were - they couldn’t move while the process of the GREAT CHANGE was taking place.
Closer and closer.
A paradoxical feeling was deep inside of him. He felt like he’s DYING, the EMPTINESS OF DEPRESSION threatening to consume him.
Yet, he feels ALIVE, a HOPEFUL MYSTERY emerging within him.
Passing by the ERROR that was his FRIEND, he reaches Moon.
Phillip draws back his fist.
“The fuck is this social justice bullshit?” Moon said, completely baffled that Phillip managed to get close to them, let alone survive transforming.
“Guess what?” Phillip questioned.
He puNCHES MOON, THE MYSTERY POWER ENHANCING IT. THE ENERGY FLOWED OUT WITHIN THE PUNCH, CARRYING PHILLIP’S DESIRES AND DESPAIRS, HIS HOPE AND HOPELESSNESS.
The punch carried the weight of not PHILLIP’S STRENGTH, nor even the STRENGTH of a HEAVYWEIGHT BOXER, but the STRENGTH of the HOPES and DREAMS of the old world, for not just PHILLIP, BUT FOR EVERYONE THAT STILL LIVES AND BREATHES ON THE PLANET.
“PERFECTION IS OVERRATED, DUMBASS!” Phillip screamed.
Moon went flying back.
They were defeated. Because REALITY said so.
They were stuck in a single form, a mess of blue, with an indistinguishable shape.
But soon they began to regain the red. The blood that they had poured out onto the Earth began flowing back to them, their body reabsorbing it. The static that signaled the SECOND GREAT CHANGE went away, back to the pink, yellow, and blue stripes. The pain in Phillip’s body ceased, spared from Moon’s changes.
But the void is still rumbling.
“I… I thought I beat you…” Phillip commented.
“You did.” Moon coughed. They made no other move, having been completely WRECKED. “It will change back. It’s collapsing as we speak. Sliding back into the entropy of perfection.” They continue coughing violently.
The rumbling gets more violent. Phillip looked at the ERROR that used to be LEG HORSE and grabbed him, hurrying back the way they came.
“Enjoy… your perfect world…” Was the last thing Phillip heard from Moon before the great flash came.
Blue skies. Perfect bunches of clouds floating by, a proper sun shining through.
Green grass. Perfectly trimmed, a few flowers here and there for variety.
The city walls are made up of bricks, layered perfectly, stainless glass windows set in them. The heads that used to be side by side the exit were gone, replaced by more contemporary, marble pillars.
Phillip is human. His skin was no longer the unnatural pink color. His pajamas were replaced by proper armor.
And so is Prince Horace, no longer a horse, with only two normal legs. He wore a cape around his body, looking very regal.
In wonder, they go by the cliff and look at the seas and the world beyond.
Chapter 10: Epilogue
On the first day, there was a celebration, of the return of the old world, of the City of Forms being back in its perfected state. The region of what used to be the northern wastes indeed swore loyalty to Prince Horace, the man that used to be Dracula keeping his promise.
That night, the moon was in the sky. They had accepted the state of the world.
On the second day, there was great mourning. Dag’s proper body had been recovered and a grand funeral had been held throughout the funeral.
On the third day, however, Phillip was still under depression.
While circumstances are better, depression doesn’t just disappear overnight.
“Are you still suffering?” Prince Horace questioned. He took it upon himself to visit the boy, who had been staying in an inn at what used to be the the Lion Village.
“Yes.” He admitted. It’s just that…the world is back to normal, but my life isn’t either. I can’t go back home. After how my parents treated me.”
“Are you sure you don’t want me to punish them? They surely deserve the worst! My offer remains on the table.”
“No…” said Phillip, though it was kinda tempting. “I just need a safe place to be. To get proper therapy, you know...”
Prince Horace thought. “Say no more, Phillip.”
They set out, a royal guard accompanying them to the City of Forms; the former royal castle couldn’t be rebuilt, so they laid claim to the City instead - the prince himself was the land’s guardian, to prevent it from being changed ever again. When they got there, Prince Horace led Phillip around to the side of the entrance and the boy nearly screamed when he saw what he was showing him.
It was one of the giant head homes, from the corrupted world.
“I thought everything was back to normal!” Phillip exclaimed.
“True perfection is overrated, Phillip. I’ve let that building stay there, it gives a little color to this place.” Horace said. “Don’t worry, the inside is fine.”
Indeed, the prince told the truth. Inside, the building vastly contrasted with the exterior, having normal home furnishings. No blood. No skulls. No sleep coffin. Just proper furniture.
“You’re welcome to stay here for as long as you need. Rest as much as you like, Phillip. Come talk to me if you want someone to talk to and demand food from the chefs if you’re feeling hungry.”
“I’m not one for demanding…”
“Well, do what you think is right, then.”
And so, Phillip had a new home.
At first, the grotesque exterior of the house creeped Phillip out. However, he came to like it. It added uniqueness to the world, the imperfection being special in contrast to the perfect yet monotonous land it rested on. He still remembers the world of the past every time he sees it, the world that was just a corpse of its former self, floating through space in a procession, a space funeral. That world was horrific - but it was its own thing. Striving for perfection is good, but differentiating from it occasionally is just as good.
Phillip begins adjusting to his new life. He visits Horace often. He steadily finds the strength to go out and explore the world. He sometimes found strange remnants of the old world, but rather than being flat-out horrified, he became fascinated (though the blood still makes him queasy). He steadily works, overcoming his depression, enjoying the peaceful monotony and the strange uniqueness.
Happiness may be difficult for him to go back to, but it didn’t mean that he can’t stop striving for it.
Space Funeral - Original game by thecatamties
Murder Dog - Character from Murder Dog IV: The Trial of Murder Dog, another game by thecatamites
Blood Beast’s Poems - Poetry by Charles Baudelaire
Ezekial 25:17 - The Bible and Pulp Fiction
Thanks for reading!