By Emperor_von_Doom 30 Comments
Their power alone could stop the galaxy, but only together could they bring the omniverse to its knees. The endless studies of Doom probing the subject of these elusive gems lasted for several hundred lifetimes in his libraries, where time stood still. Despite even this impressive array of information, he could only confidently say he had two of such jewels in his possession. However, tonight this minor expansion into cosmic immortality stood an infinitesimal challenge, for the brilliance of Doom had finally unlocked the location of not only one gem, but two: Power, and Time.
Arguably the least useful out of the remaining four, the stones he pinpointed were still extremely prominent in the overall efficiency of the Infinity Gauntlet. The Power Gem, obviously, fed the productivity of the device, augmenting the other gems considerably while displaying its own innate ability to bind them in place. Meanwhile, the Time Gem controlled every aspect of progress or recession in the fabric of the universe, whether it be aging, speed, or otherwise. The clock meant nothing as long as the wielder of the Time Gem had free reign.
Of course, the obstacles to obtain these crystals were legendary in scale.
For ultimate power, Doom had to contend with the indomitable will of a monstrous celestial who dwarfed planets. Finding the creature proved no easy task in of itself, because with the raw power of the jewel he had in his possession, the celestial could wander through the fabric of reality, tearing clumsy holes between dimensions and disappear or reappear on a whim. Doom managed to track the beast and stood upon his exit from traveling through cosmic barriers, issuing a challenge that none could refuse.
The contest lasted for less than a second in regular time, but it warped space around it much like a wormhole or other anomaly, turning light years into inches and back again, twisting entire solar systems apart and remaking them, changing the course of stars, puncturing the womb of the universe and giving birth to terrifyingly massive black holes only to snuff them out again. But in the end, Doom stood triumphant, and the celestial hovers to this day a lifeless shell, every ounce of cosmic power drained once the gem removed itself in order to attach to its new master.
Time, however, proved a curious departure from the brute friction provided by the keeper of the Power Gem. Doom traveled to the very edge of the cosmos, journeyed into the nothingness between universes, and beyond even that desperately cruel undertaking. Time stood as little more than a marker for one's sanity at this point, the perfect centerpiece for the keeper of Time as a whole. The crystal begged to be taken, but not by pure strength.
Time itself had a riddle for Doom to solve, a riddle that pried into the hearts of mortals and made them fear the night sky.
"What is the meaning of all?"
The ultimate question combined all other aspects of curiosity. Life, religion, essence, mortality, morality, existence, the universe...everything. In his many journeys to outside the projected sphere of the universe, Doom had answered most - if not all - of these separate little inquiries. As he pondered his rebuttal, vines started to grow along his body, intent on enveloping him if he could not answer. Time had built a forest of such interlopers, monuments to challengers of his question who could not see the truth.
The monarch of Elysia almost joined these statues of living death before he confidently replied.
"Explain," Time begged, intrigued by this latest progress.
"It all adapts to suit the ultimate need for structure. Time is a keystone in maintaining that balance, but you have adapted to living beyond its boundaries as keeper of the Time Gem, have you not?"
But all he spoke to was a hollow stump, the crystal already in his grasp.
"I thought so."