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Part 6 --Alleyway Outside the Grand Arena, Verse City. Our blood-soaked Hero of Gallowmere swung his mighty sword, cutting off the head of the Meat-monster-man. It gave a blood-curdling screech as it’s head flew into the air and splattered onto the ground. Well done, Sir Daniel! The creature’s body went limp for a moment, then ejected another head from it’s neck. “Uhhh oh!” (Uh oh!) Daniel mumbled. It seems he’s not yet vanquished. No time to waste, Fortesque. Finish him! Daniel looked around frantically for what to do next. With mere moments to spare before the Meat-monster-man would be ready to strike, he grabbed the monster and flung him into the wall. A splat sounded on the brick and the creature slid behind the dumpster. Sir Daniel felt relieved that he'd won, but the creature stood back up. This medium-rare monstrosity just won’t stay down. Perhaps it is best if you-- Sir Daniel pushed the dumpster against the wall, crushing Meat in-between. This felt more like a win with the monster letting out a whisper of defeat and dissolved back into a fleshy-flesh puddle. Well, that didn't go as expected. But what is a victory without a little unexpected tumultuousness? Daniel wiped his skeletal hands clean of the blood and garbage and retrieved his things. To his delight everything seemed to be in order. The question now was, what to do next? He certainly didn't like the way they treated him in the arena, throwing out his bones like yesterday's trash. But looking at the structure, it would be quite a task to get back in there. So if not there, where? Back home to Gallowmere? How would his fellow heroes feel about him coming home empty-handed? After all, he took this quest for the ultimate chance at an eternal wish. And he remembered something about monetary compensation for failure. Who had told him that? Daniel couldn't remember. And with no other options, he left the alleyway and strolled the sidewalk of the vast city. According to the signs, he was in someplace called Verse City. The sites and sounds were nothing like he'd ever seen before. Daniel was mesmerized by the different kinds of people he saw. Some wore outfits that looked incredibly uncomfortable and revealing. Others weren't even people, just strange animals or magical beings. It was a lot to take in for just one eye. Fortunately, he didn’t stand out in this crowd as others walked by without so much as a glance. Daniel had his fair share of trouble for one day and was glad for the anonymity. A wailing sound from above caught his attention which caused him to look up. He saw the blue sky was peppered with flying objects. Many of them were made of metal and carried people. Many of them were just people. But the sound came from a metal behemoth, flashing red and blue lights as it raced through the air waves. It looked to be in pursuit of someone… a woman. She bounced off the tall buildings and flowed as seamlessly as the tassels on her back. Had he seen her before? Daniel narrowed his eye, but she turned a corner and the flying behemoth followed close behind, out of his view. There went his chance to remember, Daniel supposed. He continued on until he reached the end of the sidewalk. Before he was a concrete crossroads filled with its flashing lights, busy people and metal carriages. Perhaps Daniel could find new glory here instead of returning to his crypt? It seems our Hero has a dilemma before him. Return home a failure, or seek new prestige in this new land? Sir Daniel Fortesque considered his options. There was the Verse City Pawn Shop. A sign plastered on the door read: Under New Management. Not there. Verse City Pets and Where To Find Them? Nope. Foley's Van Repair? Daniel didn’t even know what a van was. The Carlton Club? Or perhaps the Welcome Wagon Deli and Bistro? It had been decades since he tasted a fine brew. If only he’d had a bottom jaw. Then a sign for The Omni-Mega-Mall caught his attention. The sign continuously flashed with words bigger than he was tall. Now that he noticed, there were a few more signs and posters for this place and arrows were embedded on the building sides that pointed to it’s direction. Not a bad place to start, eh Fortesque? Before Daniel could make the decision, another sound came from behind him. Something between the squeal of a baby and a kitten. When he turned to look, he was greeted by a blue haired little girl. She stood near a foot shorter than him and wore a schoolgirl’s attire. Her hands were pressed against her mouth and she looked at him with the most adorable glossy eyes. She made the sound again, causing Daniel's bones to rattle. “Waht r uh ionng?” (What are you doing?) Daniel asked. She answered immediately with an “Oh my goodness!” then continued to gawk at him. “You're so cute!” Daniel noticed this girl was alone. Where were her parents? He tried to ask, but she didn’t seem to understand his garbled speech. She did, however, reach out to touch him. Daniel politely stepped back, only for her to repeat her action. “Mr. Skeleton man,” She said. “I wanna put you in my house for decoration.” If Daniel had a heart, it would have stopped from the shock of this girl’s audacity. “Noh aay (No way.) "You're so cool looking, though" She swung her arms in a circle, as if to get her point across. "Seriously, a total creepy vibe. That’s, like, my thing." She continued to advance until Sir Daniel found himself backed into a wall. He attempted to pull his sword, but thought better of it. It wasn’t in him to harm this girl, no matter what she intended. He needed a way out of this. It appears that our dubious knight has been trapped by a little fan-girl. How will you proceed, Fortesque? The girl inched forward, grasping at his bones when he pulled out his shield to block her. She obviously didn’t expect that because now she was holding it instead of him. She looked at the shield, perplexed. “Huh? This shield has your face on it. Pretty cool--HEY!” She saw her would-be decoration racing down the street in utter panic. “Come back here!” She said as she ran after him.
Part 4 --Inside the Grand Arena, Verse City. The crowd cheered for Sir Daniel Fortesque the moment he stepped into the ring. Of course, how could they not? He was the Hero of Gallowmere! But if Sir Daniel was honest with himself, his opponent standing before him looked pretty intimidating. He had evil in his eyes. An evil only a wizard could have! Shock and gasp, Sir Daniel! Is this another one of Zarok’s minions? I suppose you need to let him have it, eh? Sir Daniel nodded. “Vvllle illlnn!” (Vile villain!) I can see you’re serious. “Imm ahhmm.” (I am.) “Who are you talking to?” The evil eyed Shang Tsung asked. "Your focus should be here, in this fight." “Bwwng iddon!” (Bring it on!) Sir Daniel mumbled. He brought a shield to his chest and unsheathed his long sword. “You will die again, Skeleton.” Shang stood tall, then stretched his arms into a fighting stance, ready for battle. It seems he’s also taking this seriously. Be careful Sir-- Sir Daniel charged forward, putting his meanest face on display and raising his sword to strike. Shang dodged the first attack. Then the second. Then a third and fourth and every single attack after. He made a show of just how easy it was, sidestepping or flipping over each swing of the blade. Finally, he got in close and delivered a kick to Daniel’s midsection, sending him across the ring. The Hero of Gallowmere seems to be in trouble. But never fear, see that he rises to--- Oh- A green energy lifted Sir Daniel off his feet, strangling him. The same aura shrouded Shang Tsung’s hands. “You’re not even worth the warm-up.” The Hero of Gallowmere seems to be in dire trouble. But he is confident and courageous and--- Oh- Daniel’s eye began to whiten as Shang Tsung slowly tore the soul from his skeletal body. The pain was agonizing, like being ripped apart. But before Daniel lost consciousness, Shang used his power to throw him outside the ring. Claiming a swift victory. Sir Daniel’s body crumbled, a mound of bones and armor piling outside of the ring as Ainz Ooal Gown raised Shang Tsung’s hand to the crowd. They cheered for the sorcerer. “Well that’s that, folks. Not the slobberknocker we were hoping for,” said the black hatted announcer. “But, we have an official winner! Shang Tsung moves on to round two.” *** I’m sure our hero expected those cheers would be for him. But alas, he was defeated. The arena janitorial staff had to get a mighty dustpan to sweep Daniel up and into the garbage chute. Daniel’s lifeless bones rattled down the chute until finally landing in the alleyway outside the venue. In a dumpster, no less. Such disrespect to our once gallant hero. From laying to rest in the Hall of Heroes, to being discarded like yesterday’s tra--- What’s this? Life came back to Sir Daniel's eye! He seems disoriented. He must be fine. Get yourself together now, Hero of Gallowmere. I’m starting to get queasy from all of this garbage. Climb, yes, climb! Daniel’s hand found his arm, which found his torso, then his neck and skull. He pulled himself together bone by bone and finally broke free of the dumpster. Nice work. Now find your legs so we can get along. One by one, he reattached his legs and put his armor and sword in place. All that was missing was his other arm. Where was it--- Ah Ha! There, in that nasty flesh puddle. Go and grab it. He moved and the puddle formed into a skinless man. He held the detached arm between his teeth. Shock and gasp, Sir Daniel! Is this ANOTHER one of Zarok’s minions? I suppose you need to let him have it, don't you? No, not the arm! I meant a wallop. “Ghvve dhaat arrck!" (Give that back!) Daniel mumbled his demand. Despite not having a bottom jaw, he looked quite serious. The man of meat chewed on the bone, only further frustrating our unlucky hero. With one arm left, Sir Daniel lifted his sword and charged. A Back Alley Battle of Undead Losers Begins...