Fan Fiction - Hero's Nightmare: Chapter Five, by Digi-Dolphin
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Awakening in his own room in Giant Palace rather than in the captain's room of the ship in Pirates Island was a bit disorienting for Billy. He sat up groggily, rubbing his head as he tried to recall what had happened to him. He remembered racing around on the beach, then there were several gaps in his memory, then there was Rolly talking nonsense, more gaps, then water, then nothing. Shutting his eyes as his head pounded with pain, he ran both hands through his hair, holding his skull together as his brain attempted to break out and escape the migraine. Briefly he wondered over his condition; if he'd fallen into water, what got him out and why was he now dry?
There was a soft knock at his door and even that seemed to thud into his head like a punching bag for sound-waves to work on. Billy groaned once and tried to ignore the intrusion, but the knock returned a few moments later. Sighing in resignation, he climbed out of bed, glanced at the Rooster Suit's cowl resting on the bedside table, and opened the door.
"What do you want-?" he began to gripe and narrowed his eyes further at his 'guest', "Corvo?! What the hell-?!" The dark wizard seemed to grin for a split-second before the beak pulled into a frown.
"My deepest apologies for intruding on the great General's rest." he seemed to drip with insincerity as Corvo spread his arms and bowed flamboyantly, his scepter held out and away to prove his 'submission'. Billy leaned against the doorway, arms folded over his chest in disdain. Since he was named General of the Crescent Crow Army, the blonde had been given authority over all the crows that followed Dark Raven. Save for the Dark King himself, every crow that lived and breathed was under Billy's direct command, and his power could only be overridden by Dark Raven's. Corvo, as Dark Raven's former right-hand man, was immediately stuck under the boy's command, and the decision never sat well with him.
There was a running bet among the lesser crow soldiers over who would kill the other first; Corvo over Billy to regain his lost power, or Billy over Corvo to get him to just shut up. Obviously, Billy held the greater share of the pot, with proof to the others in the form of Corvo flapping away from each confrontation with more injuries than could be counted.
"Cut the crap and spit it out already. What do you want?" the boy hissed, "I'm not in the best of moods right now, so unless you want to become my target for training today, deliver your message and get out!"
"Our Lord and Master, Dark Raven, summons you to his glorious presence, Oh General." Corvo cooed in a syrupy sweet voice, "I was given the highly prestigious and most glorious honor of escorting you to his throne room." Billy made a face at him and returned to his room to grab the missing piece of his suit. The Crescent Crow Egg rolled back and forth by the bed, almost nervous in its slow path. The blonde paused to watch it, puzzled by the weapon's motions, then slipped on the helmet and headed out.
"You try kissing up again and I'll shove your beak into your tail-feathers." he spat at the wizard who only bowed mockingly again and led the way down the hall. Billy followed at a leisurely pace, his mind wandering to the gaps in his memory and that strange tug in himself that seemed to insist that things weren't quite right. Corvo looked back at him once and he scowled. "Stop staring at me. I don't even need an escort. Why don't you make your lazy ass useful and dust the cobwebs out of my room?" the blonde growled.
"I wouldn't dream of abandoning our poor, injured General. I'm such a loyal and obedient servant of the great and powerful Billy Hatcher, that not even a command given in the throes of pain will drive me from his side!" the wizard cooed in response, grinning viciously at the blonde's fierce scowl.
"I'll show you 'throes of pain' when I knock you clear off this stupid palace!" Billy hissed back, ignoring the pain in his leg that reminded him of the injury he refused to sit and let heal. Corvo spun around and hissed loudly, spreading his wings and cloak as he lifted the scepter into the air. The boy immediately went into a defensive posture, face quickly hiding the momentary startled expression. Summoned by Dark Raven, yeah, right; this had to have been another of the wizard's tricks to try to isolate and eliminate him. "Don't you ever get tired of your stupid assassination attempts?" Billy sneered and darted aside as Corvo fired a beam of magic from the wand, blackening the silver marble floor and sending a plume of violet smoke into the air. The wizard launched a barrage of magical shots, covering the hall with scorch marks as Billy easily evaded the attacks, spinning, dodging and flipping over the beams before landing heavily on a nearby banister. His heart pounding, leg screaming in pain and his breath coming to him in short, ragged gasps, the boy was starting to worry a bit about the battle. It was difficult trying to maintain the illusion of being all in one piece with his knee ready to give out on him.
"I have the powers of night magic in my hands!" Corvo squawked in a fury, "Why should I bend my knee to a pathetic little human brat like you?!" Billy managed a grin despite the pain and the urge to flop over and cry.
"Because if you don't obey me, I'll just kill you." he replied cruelly. "Like I did at Sand Ruin." his own mind added and Billy froze, startled by that thought. What did that mean? He couldn't have killed Corvo in Sand Ruin; the wizard was standing right there, scowling at him! Besides, Sand Ruin was under Dark Raven's control, and had been since....
Here Billy furrowed his eyebrows together in confusion. Since when did Dark Raven have control of that region? Before Billy joined him? But, wasn't he always with Dark Raven, right from the start? He searched his memory quickly, watching Corvo stare at him in suspicion. His earliest memory... was elusive. Billy tried to pin it down. He was there when Giant Palace fell, he was there when Dino Mountain was retaken... wait....
How did they lose Dino Mountain in the first place?
"Ungh...." Billy groaned softly, pressing a hand to his forehead as his thoughts began to grow hazy and the whisper in the wind tentatively reached for him. If he had always been with Dark Raven, and he always won against the Heroes of Morning Land, then why did they lose Dino Mountain? And Pirates Island? Wouldn't those regions have remained under their power if Billy had been there both times to take over the lands?
Something... wasn't... right....
"Face me, you little rat!" Corvo shrieked, bringing Billy away from his puzzling thoughts to the here and now, "Die!" The wizard fired another blast of magic and Billy lifted an arm to shield himself, crying out as the beam slammed into him and threw him from the banister.
"Aaahhh!" the blonde yelled as he fell from the palace of silver and marble, the wind rushing by him as he plummeted towards the world down below. There was a sudden flap of wings and he felt claws grab onto his arms. An overpowering demand that he shut his eyes and not look at anything slammed into his mind, scattering his thoughts as he quickly obeyed. The flapping sound continued and Billy could feel himself being lifted higher into the sky, presumably back to the palace. Silently, he berated himself for being stupid enough to leave himself open to attack. What kind of General gets shot off the palace by a worthless minion?
His boots tapped the stone floor beneath them and he gratefully sank down in a heap, uncaring of who saw him. His leg felt as though it were lead and he was tired, so tired. He couldn't even bother with opening his eyes to see who or what saved him, though he could recognize Dark Raven's voice as he raged at Corvo for his idiocy.
Had he been thinking about something? No... nothing important. All that mattered was that he, Billy Hatcher, was General of the Crescent Crow Army, had an appointment to kick Corvo's tail a few times, and was no closer to finding the Giant Egg than he had been the previous day.
Oh, yeah; and he needed to kill the Heroes of Morning Land. Couldn't forget that.
"Chick! Get back here!" Bantam yelled out as King Cipher rushed to fly alongside Queen Rabbish, "You don't know what you're doing!" Chick glared at him, but refused to move off course as the two flying creatures dove for the Sand Ruin. "What the heck is he up to?" Bantam muttered aloud. Rolly gasped as she stared down at the giant pyramid set in the center of the region.
"The Rainbow Gate! He's gonna try to get through it to Giant Palace! That's where Dark Raven must have taken Billy!" she cried in alarm, "We've got to stop Chick before he does something to hurt himself or Billy!" Bantam frowned as King Cipher touched down by Queen Cipher, whose rider had already leaped off and was racing towards the pyramid steps.
"It's sealed. Dark Raven put a seal on the gate so we wouldn't be able to reach Billy or Giant Palace. What makes Chick think he can get through it?" he murmured as the two of them dismounted and ran after the boy, "Chick! Get back here, you idiot!"
The smaller boy ignored them, scrambling up the steps towards the sealed gate that hid the path to Giant Palace. Upon reaching the open doorway, he raced in and began leaping up and down on the rainbow-colored platform within, yelling for Billy to 'show his back-stabbing self and get what's coming' at the top of his lungs. Bantam huffed and puffed tiredly as Rolly reached the top step far ahead of him and raced for Chick. When he finally reached the Rainbow Gate himself, the most he saw of the obvious argument that must have taken place was Rolly slapping Chick over the head and yelling at him.
"...insane little mutant! I'm telling you, there's a better way of dealing with Billy than just writing him off like this!" she fumed. Chick scowled as he rubbed his head.
"Yeah, like what?" he jeered, "C'mon, Rolly, we've tried taking the ball away, and we tried getting him away from Dark Raven! Nothing worked!"
"Well, Billy said something before Dark Raven took him away. That ball that keeps following him... there's got to be more to it than we think." Rolly pressed on as Bantam finally caught his breath. She turned to him with a puppy-eyed expression. "Please, you guys! I have one more idea on what to do about Billy!" she begged, "Just listen to me on this one; I just know it will work!" Bantam gave her a hopeless look, then turned his gaze to Chick. The smaller boy scowled and folded his arms over his chest.
"Maaan... two against one ain't fair!" he protested and huffed, his breath flipping his rust-red hair up. "Fine." he finally relented, "But this will be the last time, okay? If this plan doesn't guarantee Billy comes back to our side, we do this my way!" Rolly turned a tearful smile at her friend.
"Thanks, Chick! Now, here's what we do...." she told the boys and began explaining her new plan to them as they huddled together and listened closely.
This was getting old, fast. The blonde glared up at the ceiling of his room as one of the Larpees tended to his injuries. Gauze was wrapped around the arm that had blocked the magic attack and the medicine to dull the pain in his leg was not only making him drowsy but grouchy as well. The Larpee looked nervous, and with good reason. The mood Billy was in now, if he could get his hands on the Crescent Crow Egg at that moment, the crow wouldn't be able to count his final seconds on one wing.
"Aren't you done yet?" he growled at the Larpee and it squawked in fright before nodding eagerly, "Finally!" Billy sat up and rubbed his head, trying his best to stave off the sleepy feeling. He glared at the crow. "Why are you still here? Get out!" he snapped at it and ignored the flapping bird as it eagerly escaped his room.
All of these annoyances; they were the fault of the Heroes of Morning Land, he knew it. If there was just some way of wiping them all out in one fell swoop without having to bother with confronting them, which usually ended in him having a major headache because of something they did or said, he would jump for it. As it was, the only way Billy would get some amount of relief was if he just ignored them for the moment and focused on getting his thoughts back in order. Whatever that strange voice was that kept whispering to him whenever Dark Raven wasn't around was even more annoying than the Heroes.
And yet, there was that nagging feeling that he knew the owner of that voice.
"I need some time to work out." Billy sighed and shook his head, "Stupid chickens and stupid crows. Why am I even involved in this whole stupid mess?" He headed for the door, leaving his room as the Crescent Crow Egg rolled along after him in mindless obedience.
Only an hour into a stress-relieving game of 'Anter Dodgeball', in which the Anters were failing miserably, Billy found himself interrupted by the sudden arrival of an unchanged crow. It flew into the training area and landed on the rail surrounding the field, hopping about and cawing urgently at him. Billy scowled and folded his arms over his chest, striding up to it.
"What the hell are you doing here?" he growled between clenched teeth. The crow cawed out a report and the boy snorted in return. "You interrupt my training session to tell me that the Heroes of Morning Land are sitting right outside the Rainbow Gate, playing cards?!" he snapped. The bird nodded. "And you stupid crows are to afraid to attack! Fine! I'll kill them all this time, here and now!" the blonde snarled at the crow, "Just leave me alone!" The crow took off with an angry caw and Billy raced for the entrance to the Giant Palace, the Crescent Crow Egg bouncing up and into his arms as he dashed by.
Fully prepared for battle and intent on ignoring all recommendations against fighting on his injured leg, Billy raced down the Rainbow Gate, the Crow Egg tucked underneath one arm. This time, he wasn't going to fail. This time, he was definitely going to kill those pests.
And upon seeing him land in the room in Sand Ruins, the three Heroes ran out of the area, laughing as they dashed with their eggs. Billy gave chase, kicking his ball ahead of him as he raced to catch up to them. He'd only gone a few yards from the Rainbow Gate room when he heard a large explosion. Billy looked back and blinked in astonishment. A pile of rubble covered the entrance to the room, blocking his way back to the palace and Dark Raven's way to Morning Land. King Cipher hovered nearby, smoking from the massive fireball that had caused the destruction.
They had just sealed the only entrance to the Giant Palace and left him stranded in Morning Land.
"You are so DEAD!!!" Billy shrieked upon realizing he'd been duped yet again. He continued the chase, so furious with the recent turn of events that he no longer thought rationally. He ran blindly after the laughing kids, never knowing that he was being led straight into a trap.
"Keep it up!" Bantam yelled over his shoulder as he and Chick continued running from the enraged General chasing after them, "I think we've actually got him!"
"If I didn't know any better, I'd say he had us!" Chick snapped, "How did I get suckered into this?!"
"Araaagh!" Billy suddenly yelled and kicked the metal egg hard, driving it at them with the full brunt of his speed-enhanced power. Billy's specialty in soccer, his greatest move and the apple of his coach's eye; the Hatcher Drive. Now it was nothing less than a deadly missile coming straight for the two of them!
"Rolly!" Bantam cried in a panic as Chick dodged to the hard right and headed back while Billy dropped to one knee, glaring at them hatefully. That was what they had been counting on; getting him mad enough to use the Hatcher Drive and render him incapable of moving anymore on that injured leg.
Rolly Roll had broken away from the group while Chick and Bantam distracted Billy to begin the next phase of her plan. Calling on Queen Rabbish to deliver a steel cage from Circus Park, she held her place over the battlefield and watched the events unfold, riding on the queen's back as the huge creature held the cage in her talons.
"Now!" Rolly cried and Queen Rabbish released the cage, dropping it miraculously on the speeding egg as the bottom snapped shut on it, trapping the Crescent Crow Egg as it slammed against the bars and tumbled across the ground from the force.
"King Cipher! Get the cage! Take it to Ponee and tell her my message!" the girl added as the other royal creature swooped in to collect it, flapping away as the egg bounced around inside of it crazily. Rolly watched him fly away and looked down at Chick and Bantam as they began to close in on Billy. "Chick! You're the fastest among us! Tie up Billy before he tries anything else! Bantam! Contact King Recky! We need a fast ride back to Forest Village ASAP!" she yelled out orders as Queen Rabbish began her descent. Shrieks suddenly sounded from the boys and Rolly gripped onto the white fur tightly, staring down in shock as she tried to make sense of the frenzy of activity going on down below.
Billy had made a leap at Chick when the smaller boy got near enough to wrap him up with vines, attempting to either take him prisoner or just strangle him with his bare hands. Unwilling to go down and still infuriated with him, Chick fought back and the two were little more than a mass of shouting, cursing bodies rolling across the earth in a struggle for power. Bantam raced up to them to stop the fight, yelling and shaking his fists in an effort to gain their attentions. Just as he reached them, however, there was the sound of something metallic being sprung, then a sharp cry of pain and Chick leaped back and away, a look of horror on his face.
"It was an accident!" he blurted out as soon as Rolly touched down and met them, face pale as she and Bantam took in the scene before them. Chick swallowed, mouth dry and dusty, and looked down at his hand, the once bright blade of his pocketknife now a brilliant shade of crimson. He dropped it quickly, as though it were a venomous object and looked over at Billy. "I was only trying to scare him, honest.... But he didn't see it... he was moving too fast... I tried to block and I forgot and...." he stammered out tearfully, stumbling over his words as he alternated between explaining and professing his innocence. No one said a word; only stared down at the blond lying so very still on the ground, one hand covering a growing red stain on the side of the white coat of the Master Rooster Suit.
"...I didn't mean to stab him...."