Red X Oscura Ch 17 (In The Case Of Alex Arkham)

Ch17 In the Case of Alex Arkham

This fiction will be rated FR21 just incase. Beware sexual content and stuff like that. Readers discretion is advised.

Many of the characters seen are HumanX adaptations of characters from the various DC Comics animated series. HumanX holds no rights to characters such as Red X and Johnny Rancid (he only tweaked them for this story).

Let's get to the story already

The last hallway is decorated in extravagant paintings of hellish destruction and horrors. The scenes on the walls grant me some relief in not bringing the others this far. These depictions of hell alone could drive someone mad. Luckily I don't have to worry about madness. I've already seen hell so this is just a reminder. I reach the final door. It is made completely of gold and jewels. Crispin truly is a showman. He likes to make things flashy while pretending to be humble. But I can taunt him about it later. Right now I just want to open this door and kick his a**.

I place my hand against the golden door and push it open.

---

"I've been waiting for you." When I come through the door Crispin is seated in a large chair at the opposite end of an oversized well decorated table inside of a room which appears to have been stollen from a fancy rich guys house. The carpet is crimson with gold diamonds sewn through and the walls and table are the colour of dried blood. Crispin himself looks out of place, his hearty body squeezed into an expensive black suit with a red tie. His hobo-like head oozes out from the tight collar. Golden cufflinks too. Incredibly gigantic painting are hung on each wall exactly ninety three centimetres apart. There are three at the end where Crispin is sitting. The one in the middle is hung over a gothic fireplace and depicts a heroic knight slaying a dragon. There's a rabbit on the left one and Dionysus is displayed on the opposite side. On my side there are no picture, to make room for the door. Dionysus is the Greek god of whine and madness among other things where as the rabbit represents insanity. As for the the picture in the middle, a knight slaying a dragon is supposed to represent a force of good triumphing over a force of evil.

"When I first met you I had an idea of what the stage would look like when we fought." I tell him, walking to my seat at the opposite end. "I thought there'd be more red."

Crispin chuckles and holds out his hand. My chair moves on its own as if to invite me to sit in it. I oblige.

"I'm impressed as alway." Crispin drinks some red wine from a glass and wipes his lips with a handkerchief. "You where the only one to make it this far, but I do not think I can approve of leaving your poor friend Anthony behind the way you did. That was a rather cruel trick."

"It's good for people to learn the cruel truths of the world. Otherwise how can one move closer to adulthood?" I make small talk with him, playing his gentleman game for now. I have a few things I'd like to set in motion before this fight begins.

"Agreed." Crispin lifts his knife and fork then digs them into the steak on his plate. The steak pushes out under the knife before giving in and splitting apart, allowing its blood to drip down its scorched flesh. Human beings are disgusting when they eat. That's why people on food commercials don't actually eat there product. The constant movement of the mouth mutilates the face, creating expressions most people wouldn't dare to create in public. Their cheeks fill and expand like chipmunks and their lips glisten with the grease. The highest class of princess could have her grace ruined simply by the act of satisfying her hunger. "But you must admit that your methods are rather cruel. You brought all of your friends along with you, created a ridiculous plan that would lead them into believing that you would face me together and left them behind one by one. And here your friends trusted you so unconditionally. You should be ashamed."

"Why would I feel shame for their trust? You're not making any sense." I pick up the glass of wine he has set out for me and swirl the contents around while holding it in one hand. "It was there choice to listen to my plan. If they truly wanted to face you themselves they would have taken matters into their own hands and predicted my actions. After all I have a very untrustworthy nature."

"It's a shame that the two of us always have to be at odds in opinion. I see so much potential in you. If only you could understand that potential. Your thoughts and ideals, though interesting are a mystery to me."

Crispin himself has many obscurities about him. He has the look of a homeless man but speaks with all of the grace and refinement of a duke or royal monarch. His eyes are what give him away. His eyes are those of a true killer. In those piercing eyes lies the venom of a snake. No wonder he's able to control the Depraved in this area.

"You're also a mystery." I place my cup back onto the table without taking a sip and look into those poisoned snakes eyes. "I still don't know whether to kill you or try to reform you."

"I have been wondering the same thing myself." Crispin folds his handkerchief and sets it back onto the table. "You could be so much but a human being who wastes his potential is nothing more than dirt."

"And how would you have me use my potential?" I ask him, picking up the knife on the table and holding it up to the light of the chandelier hanging from the ceiling.

"I would make you my second in command of the Depraved and if you do well I would have you replace me and lead my church to its ultimate goal."

"The destruction of the world."

"Destruction?" Crispin asks me, a new light brought to his bearded face. "What we are trying to achieve is liberation. The human being is a creature which craves destruction down to its base elements. They are a masochistic creation meant for nothing but fulfilling their own whims. Only by showing this basic truth to the world can they be truly free."

I cut into my own steak and lift it off the plate, allowing the blood from the piece on my fork to drip into the puddle on my plate. "You say "they". Does that mean that you are not a part of the human race, or are you just not part of the equation?"

"I am a part of the eventual outcome." Crispin watches me as I wave my hand in front of my face. After that I open up my other hand and look at it. "I am one of the beings chosen by the almighty Shekari who will lead this world to its freedom. Through the spread of Xenotope and the activities of our Depraved members we are able to give power to the common man. From the first exposure a human becomes more like the creatures they where truly intended to be."

"The xenothium decomposition process." I confirm what he's saying as I lean back in my chair, balancing it. "You believe that the side effect of xenothium based drugs sending people insane is actually the person returning to their original form and becoming what your Shekari has meant them to be and that this insanity is actually a person's true self. You also believe that the power they gain is a way for them to achieve freedom from their mortal bonds."

"If you have to make it sound inelegant then you are correct. Do you disapprove?"

"Quite the opposite. It's an interesting theory. Do you have any change?" Crispin walks over to me and hands me a quarter. I thank him flipping it into the air a total of eleven times as I talk. "I think I've mentioned it before but there was this study once where a guy took a bunch of normal every day people with no signs of mental illness and made some of them prisoners and others guards. They'd rotate between who was a prisoner and who was a guard and other than that left them on their own. The result was that the people who where the guards at the time would become sadistically cruel and force the prisoners to do strange things like press there head against a bat, take off all there clothes and spin in a circle. It's not even that they where being cruel. The things they did where just weird. Eventually people started going insane. Looking at this example where a group of "ordinary" people simply given some control over others become like mentally ill criminals then I can easily support your theory that humanity is at there base nature a bunch of jerks."

"A bunch of jerks." Crispin smiles. "That's a very amusing way of putting it. But is it really their fault? If that is human nature then isn't it simply how we should live?"

"Maybe the only way human kind can advance is to defy our nature." I decide to do one last thing and whistle, smirking at the sound before brining my attention back to Crispin.

"And what is an advancement? For all of the "advancements" humanity has achieved we still have not succeeded in ending world hunger or curing all disease." Crispin really gets into the conversation now. His eyes widen and his arms reach out as if to simply cause a dramatic spectacle of himself. "When we look at all the "achievements" of our modern human society do we find a society free of pain and suffering? No. What has developed most in this time is technology. Don't you see anything wrong with a world where coming out with a new version of a game comes before feeding starving children. If we simply took all of the money that is wasted on technological advancement and used it for something more worth while don't you think that we could actually do something great!?"

"Why would we?" I ask him with a cold glance from ice filled eyes. "As you said before, human kind is worthless trash. These starving people should be used by the more fortunate and killed as we see fit. Isn't that the point of the Depraved?"

"Yes!" Crispin loses his calm gentlemanly demeanour. "I knew you'd understand! The world is filled with filth and human kind are the worst of it all!"

"Then why not use your influence to change human kind?" That's the question he didn't want me to ask.

"Because they don't deserve it! In the end human's care only for themselves! They sit in luxury while there own kind suffers and still have the nerve to complain about what they have!"

"So, in order to punish the world for creating suffering you're going to cause suffering?" I tilt my head and sigh. "Seems a little counterintuitive."

"You don't understand do you?" Crispin grips the sheet on the table.

"I understand completely and I agree." I toss the coin he gave me onto the table. "Human kind is generally negative. Just look at the state of the world or the people in it. The fact is that we're selfish and needy, absolutely worthless and by all means we should be wiped off the face of the earth. I happen to be a prime example of a useless potential. I could easily make this world better simply by going back to Gotham and curing some mental cases. Scarecrow, Poison Ivy, the Joker. I've had the ability to do it for years but I just didn't feel the need. There's no way around it. Humans suck. But I don't think that mass murder is going to help. Who knows, maybe in a couple hundred generations one of us may be able to discover some awareness but until then we just have to work with what we have. And that's a whole race of self-destructive, self-absorbed idiots. Besides, you're only looking at the majority."

"Majority?"

"Exactly." I think about all the people I've met until now. "The majority of humans are selfish. We say things like "I'm a humanitarian" or "I'm a good person" but in the end when it comes down to it most people wouldn't give up everything they have to someone else and leave themselves with nothing. For many people five cents a month is the limit of their generosity. But in between these hordes of selfish people there are ones like Natalya who work behind the scenes to keep the world and its people from destroying themselves. There are people like Romulus and his friends who choose to fight against those who make people suffer and defend them. Romulus himself is trying to do it without taking life. Charlotte's incapable of hiding how she really feels but when she's truly happy her smile becomes contagious. Johnny always defends people who are weaker than him and Mary pushes herself past her limitations, refusing to give in to the circumstances pushing her down. And they inspire others to do the same."

"But are these few good qualities able to outweigh the majority of human kind?"

"I dunno." I bob back and forth in my chair and then try some of the steak. "It's not like I know everything. All I know is humans are capable of good and bad. Just because we waste our potential doesn't mean we should all die. It's like that saying about bad apples. You shouldn't throw all of them out just because most of them are rotten because there are still good ones. Most people suck but we do have our moments where we suck just a little less. The point is to lessen the amount of bad apples by being a good one yourself."

"It's like talking to a four year old." Crispin cringes, tearing the tablecloth under the strain of his hands. "How can you put so much faith in humanity?"

"I don't put any faith in humanity." I tell him, grabbing a vile of red liquid from my belt. "I just think it's a shame to throw out the whole barrel just because of a few bad apples. especially since I fall under that bad category."

The emotion on Crispin's face turns to defeat before fading away all together. "I see. It seems I was wrong. I can't talk to you. Someone who wont listen to reason. You're simply choosing to look the other way. How can you do something like that? It's evil."

"Don't you think it's time to end this?" I ask him, holding the vile above my head. "We've done our little back and forth but in the end it will all come down to mortal combat. So why don't you drop this illusion."

"What are you talking about?" Crispin looks me dead in the eyes.

"Fine." I let the vile drop from my hand. "I'll do it for you."

---

I drop the vile of red liquid and it shatters on the ground. The liquid turns to smoke and fills the room. As it does the walls crumble and contort, eventually fading away, leaving only Crispin and me sitting across from each other in rusting metal chairs. The expensive looking room is now only a dark stone room, easily the size of sixteen soccer fields. There's almost nothing in here. It's completely empty.

"Now this is a final boss' dungeon." I look around the room. "All you need now is some magma and creepy statues."

"How did you break my illusion?" Crispin asks me, his suit now revealed to be ripped jeans and a soot covered hooded shirt. He really looks like a homeless man now. "I've never seen anyone do that."

"While we where talking I was preforming a series of tests." I explain with a grin. "I had a feeling ever since I touched that gold door. But what really got me started was the room. It was exactly the way I had imagined it. That's why the room was so detailed. Before I opened the door I imagined every picture on the wall and made certain they where symbols I would recognize. That's how I knew the illusion wasn't something you created but an image within my own mind. I know that you wouldn't create an illusion in which surrounding you where symbols of insanity or good triumphing over evil. You don't believe you are insane and you don't believe that you are a knight for good, but a demi god. After that I was certain that the world we where in was an image in my mind. Bu after that I wanted to test its limits so I swirled the wine in my glass, making note of how it moved and it was flawless."

"Thank you." Crispin tells me, regaining his gentleman role.

"The thing is you where able to mimic the flow of water but not the reflection of light. I held my knife up to the light and noticed that only the chandelier reflected, not the fireplace. Looking around now the only light in this room are on the ceiling, not behind you. You can't mimic light with your ability. You did do well in making the blood that fell on my plate appear real. It remained there for three whole minutes."

"You remembered where it was?" Crispin asks me. "But that would make the illusion-"

"Keep it in place, I know." I scratch my cheek. "But the place I imagined it after three minutes wasn't the place it had landed."

"You had it move on purpose."

"And in so doing I knew that I could manipulate the illusion myself. But how far, and how much of it was real. I knew that I was real when I waved my hand in front of my face and it didn't multiply. After that I wanted to know if I could change thing on my body so I opened it and imagined a number five on my palm. The five appeared so I made the discovery that your ability can't cause something that is generally impossible to happen, such as my arm splitting into two arms because I waved it. But it is possible that i would have a number five written on my hand. I found out my chair was real by leaning back and feeling the anxiety of leaning back in the chair, but I didn't figure that out completely until I imagined that the food in front of my was poisoned and tried some. When I didn't die or get any feeling from it I knew you couldn't control my sense of danger. The food didn't set me off because it wouldn't kill. It wouldn't kill me because it wasn't real. I also made it taste like butterscotch."

"And the coin toss?"

"You didn't notice?" I grin. "I tossed the coin a number of eleven times but caught it ten times. That means that I threw it in the air one extra time. That's because I decided for that last time to stop believing the coin existed and it faded from the illusion. Then I believed in it again and it reappeared in my hand so I could throw it on the table. I'm surprised an attentive person like you didn't catch that one. In the end I learnt that your illusions are based on my minds images, they can't make the impossible happen, they only work on sight, hearing, smell, taste and touch but not intuition, they can't imitate light and that they only work if I am open to the illusion as a possibility. In other words if I don't believe it wont happen."

Crispin claps his hands, applauding my deductions. "That is exactly right. You saw though my every weakness. But what about that vile?"

"That was a flammable chemical agent meant to make my escape from your illusion dramatic and end this stupid thing right here." I take out on of my X's from my belt and toss it in front of Crispin. "The chemicals that have been sinking into your body this whole time will feed any flames that come near it, burning whatever they're attached to until it is nothing but a pile of cinders."

I snap my fingers, activating the X and it explodes, lighting the chemicals cover Crispin on fire but leaving me untouched.

"You where covered in the chemical too!" Crispin's burning mouth calls out to me from the flames. "You're suit may protect your body but what about your face?!"

"My face?" I remember that I ditched my helmet while fighting that girl from before. "Oh, yeah. Before I came here I had this all planned out. You see, first I ditch the others because I promised not to kill people in front of Charlotte anymore and Romulus doesn't have what it takes to kill a person. Secondly I find my way to you and cover your body in the fire chemicals. It's a simple plan but in order to get it done I had to make some preparations. I covered my body in a flame resisting sister chemical to the one I covered you with. This one erodes the effects of the first chemical and leaves e fire proof. Took me a whole three hours to make the darn things."

"It's too bad all that work had to go to waste." Crispin stands up straight and smiles through the fire. He's completely unaffected by the fire. "I can see now that you will never join the Depraved. That's truly unfortunate. Now I will have to show you why I am considered a demon."

---

Crispin raises his hand into the air and the flames surrounding his body turn from brilliant crimson into murky black. His eyes fade into glowing white light and his body grows to twice its original size. He rips away his hooded shirt and fires a blast of flames towards me. I swing my cape out, wrapping it around myself in time to block the demonic flames but before I can make a move Crispin's fist slams into my stomach, nearly shattering my defensive armour. He's fast and strong. This form increases his size but doesn't decrease his speed. His reflexes are fast, but mine are faster. I'm able to weave out of the way when he tries to grab me. All he needs is to get me in his grip and it's all over. I was hoping I could take him by surprise and kill him off before the fight got serious but it seems I'll have to work for this.

He gets lucky and snatches my cape out of the air while I try to jump over his head. He pulls down on it and slams my body into the ground. He grabs my arms and lifts me back into the air. I feel my tendons start to stretch as he pulls my arms in opposite directions. His grip is incredible. I had Charlotte bring out this old model of my suit because my fight with Red Claw showed me some vital flaws in it so right now I don't have an invincible suit of armour protecting me. The only thing on me that is left of the old suit is the cape. If he keeps pulling my arms like this they're going to rip.

The X on my chest glows with red energy and fires a beam of light, making Crispin loose his grip and fly backwards. Crispin's not only stronger and faster but that fire around his body isn't just for show. He nearly melted straight through my forearm guards. If he damaged the equipment I would have even less of a chance.

"I'm sure by now you're regretting have come here alone." Crispin taunts me, getting up from that last attack. "As you can see that beam of yours had no effect. I can take anything you throw at me."

"Even liquid nitrogen?" I toss a few X's from my belt and they explode, freezing a portion of Crispin's arm. It only takes him a second to defrost it with his flames but that second is all I need ot enter Bangong Fang She and make some distance.

"Running away?" Crispin calls over to me from across the room. "Do you think I don't have any long range abilities?"

"I just don't want to be too close when this hits." I hold my hands in the air and charge my gauntlets with xenothium power. A ball of red energy appears between my hands. "Red X rip off move! WarGreymon's Terra Force!"

The energy balls grows until it is half the size of my body and I toss it at Crispin. He stands perfectly still and the blast misses him by a centimetre, hitting the ground behind him and engulfing hi half of the room in a blast of destruction.

"Yeah!" I laugh in victory. "Suck my digital co-"

A hand reaches out from the destruction and grips my throat. Crispin slams my body into a wall and with his free hand punches me in the gut.

"What the hell was that supposed to do?" He asks me, his palm pressed against my wind pipe. "I didn't even feel it."

"Try this one." I place my hand against his face and it glows as I release a blast of pure xenothium energy. It isn't enough to make his loosen his grip but it is enough to blind him while I use Tie Xiong Zhao to find the pressure points in his arms which control his grip. I dig two of my fingers into his arm and he lets me go. "All that extra muscle will do is make it easier Tie Xiong Zhao techniques to take control of you."

As Crispin gets his sight back I take a very familiar stance and unleash another powerful blast from the palms of my hands.

"Hadoken!" The blast is powerful enough to push him away from me but not knock him off his feet. That's fine because I rush in at him, jumping into the air and deliver seven mid air kicks to his face before dropping to the floor and landing on my left hand. I use that hand to spin on the ground and cut a kick across his legs, taking him off balance and knocking him onto the floor. I stand straight up and look down on Crispin. "I can help you, you know. I'm a psychiatrist. The Shekari creature you thought had chosen you for some great destiny was just a creature your mind made up inn order to deal with the things you've done. It's a scapegoat you can blame for all the horrible things you've done. Just look at you. If you really where a demo sent to destroy the world would I be able to humiliate you like this? You can't even kill one man and you think you're worthy of leading the earth to its end. You're only human Crispin. You're a level five xenothium infected human. That's all."

"No." Crispin's hand clenches against the ground. "That's not all. I'm a demon."

Crispin's body beings to produce black smoke. I step back when I realize what's about to happen. His body ignites the entire room in a blaze of flames. I cover myself with my cape just in time to avoid being burt to death. When the flames die out I look out from under the protection of my cape and see Crispin standing in the middle of the room. The flames around his body are intense and completely black. He's grown wings and a tail swell as two horns from the temples on the sides of his head. He's completely silent and standing still. It's like I'm looking at a soulless statue.

"Crispin." I call out to him. His glowing eyes twitch as if he just noticed my presence and he turns to face me. A shock wave collides with my body as his turns, tossing me like a toy doll and slamming my body into the far wall. My ribs nearly crack under the sheer force. That's just what happens when he turns? He raises a hand and I see a small flame appear in front of him. I cover myself in my cape before the flame bursts out and crushes me under its intense heat.

---

The smoke clears away. I look up at a blackened stone rooftop. The flame blast had melted through the stone wall and sent me into this next room, which appears to be some sort of extension of the last one. The cool air in this room is welcoming in comparison to the inferno I just survived. My cape is the only thing that protected me, but I was a little late in using it. I can't feel my left arm. I didn't expect his flame to me able to breach my armour without even touching it. The pure heat had melted through my platting before the flames could touch me. Amazing. I've felt this feeling before. My arm's too far gone to be of any help. He burnt it to the point where I can't get it to budge but why didn't he fallow me in here? I get it. That must be the draw back. He's been able to reach a new xenothium infection level. Level six. The b*****d's been able to reach a level I didn't think anyone on earth had the potential to reach yet. It seems that the issue is that he suffers from a temporary loss of his mind after releasing this state. The question is, does that remain the entirety of his time while in the form of a level six, does it fade after a certain time or does he retain some small form of control at all times? It's clear that his muscle size in no longer an accurate indication of his physical power. Could it be a form of tactile telekinesis amplifying his physical strength without any physical change, or maybe this is a new illusion ability and I'm imagining it all. Level six. With only a movement it was able to nearly crack my spine in half. It's flames must have been somewhere around the same heat as molten magma. Just by releasing that form he was able to render all of my resistance useless and even kill off my left arm. And this is just the beginning. The creature he is now isn't even comparable to the Crispin I've been facing. I've been playing this like a game, thinking that I knew everything about what the Depraved had to send against me. I knew that level six was an option but I didn't think someone like him could reach it. This is completely new territory.

My nearly collapsed lungs pulsate as I chuckle to myself. My mouth twists into a sadistic grin as my eyes spark to life. "This is going to be so much fun."

---

My damaged body walks out from the melted hole in the wall and I face Crispin once more. He's far more in control now. I guess the mind loss is only a temporary effect of level six. I see that I'm not the only thing feeling the effect of his last attack. The stone on all of the walls looks as if it was melted by that last attack. The floor under Crispin's feet appears to be melting underneath him. I can't let him touch me. If he does I'm going to be burnt alive by his hands. I have to be careful of his three new limbs too. He has only a little room to fly in this underground arena but I doubt that he will be able to make use of it.

"I'm sorry." I call out to him. He raises his head, looking in my direction. His shoulders tighten into place as he tries to suppress his new power. "That transformation caught me off guard. I underestimated you completely. Maybe it's all this time I've been playing around, but I seem to have gotten soft. But now I will fight you seriously."

I see Crispin's face smile through the black flames covering his body. "Then we can finally get started."

Crispin's hand moves to attack me but using Bangong Fang She I'm faster than him and I make it under his arm in time. I activate my X cutters and slice a cut across his stomach, rushing backwards with Bangong Fang She once more to avoid being caught. The wound on his body seals itself and disappears in exactly 2.896 seconds. His instant regeneration is incredibly powerful. I punctured several organs and clipped his pelvic girdle. The bones should take longer to regenerate if at all, but I can see from his movements that it's already back to normal. As for his reaction time, he's slow. That's only because Crispin doesn't have full control yet. I move in and attempt to even the score from earlier by lopping off his arm. He catches me and brings down his fist. I throw up my cape, wrapping it around his arm and using it to swing to safety. It's too hot to stay this close to him. It's time to reveal the second use of that flammable chemical from before. I press a button on my suit and the floor begins to glow dark red.

"What is that?" Crispin asks.

"You don't think one of my plans would be as simple as setting you on fire do you?" I ask him, holding out my good arm towards the floor beneath him. "My plans always involve layers in order to account for situations like this. That flammable chemical was actually just the first part in case I got lucky, but just in case you had a fire controlling ability I made sure that the chemical had a second usage. As you recall it filled up a large portion of the room before. That's because this chemical also sinks into the ground, fabrics and any other substance, deep into its cellular structure. All I need to do is trigger it with a little sonic vibrations set to the right frequency and I can trigger another rip off move."

I trigger the frequency to fire from my hand and the area around Crispin turns from dark red to blue.

"Once triggered by the frequency this substance which is much like liquid nitrogen but four hundred times colder is created. This gives it a similar effect to an attack by Rukia Kuchiki's Sode no Shirayuki." I watch as the blue light erupts into gallons of liquid nitrogen, which then forms a pillar of ice all the way to the roof. "Some no Mai, Tsukishiro."

Crispin breaks free of the ice pillar and crumbles it to pieces with his flames. "Do you think that man made ice can stand up to hellfire?"

"No." I run in at him wing Bangong Fang She. "But it will put it out for a bit."

I duck under his legs and kick him twice in the lower back, spinning as I reach up and elbow his shoulder before punching him in the spine. Crispin regains the use of his fire and blasts me back across the room.

I realize he's not bleeding out from the inside like I had hoped. "Why didn't Tie Xiong Zhao work? Is it because his durability is blocking the effect? If that's true then that means his powers are still growing and he's getting them under control."

I trigger all of the chemical in the room and use a grappling hook to swing to a safe place. Half of the room freezes over but I know it's just a matter of time until Crispin breaks free. This is ridiculous. Even if I had the invincible armour we'd only be at a stalemate. His skin is too thick to penetrate and if I recklessly get too close while using gentle strikes I could be killed by his flames. It's not worth risking it because his regeneration will undo the damage anyway. His xenothium infection is really covering him on all bases. I'll have to use that guys help. I take out a small receiver from my belt and hope that it wasn't damaged.

---

Some of you may not remember this far back but just outside of town in an abandoned observatory is the run down hideaway of one of my good friends. He's busy watching a mouse in a cage. He drips some of the chemical on the mouse and it stands still for a moment. The mouse screams out as its body mutates and explodes.

"Hm…" The doctor writes this reaction down. "I have failed at creating a cure for cancer but I seem to have succeeded in creating a new home defines system."

The doctor hears his phone ring and picks it up.

"Hello?" He answers the phone. "You want me to use that? Oh no, I'm not busy. Anything for a customer. By the way, I found out how to keep those teenagers from making out on my lawn."

---

"They're just trying to enjoy the stars…They're kids." I finish talking. "Look, just don't put it in your sprinkler system until I get back alright? So you'll have the machine ready? Cool."

Crispin breaks free from the ice and this time his fire isn't effected. I was right about him growing stronger. I hope my next plan works.

"Last chance to surrender." I tell Crispin as he walks out from the melted ice. "I'm about to become far more formidable."

"You have nothing Arkham." Crispin glares at me. "I broke your arm." He runs in and punches me so hard I fly into the wall. "I melted your ice." His elbow dig into my stomach and I feel it straight through the armour platting. "And now I'm going to kill you. So take comfort in the fact that after you're gone I'm going to come after Romulus and his friends. I'll torture the men for years before they die and I'll sell the girls as h**rs, but not before I have them passed around by my men for a few months. As a special bonus I think I'll tear off your arms and legs so you can still be alive to watch. Yes. I think that would do nicely."

I kick him in the face but I don't have enough strength to breach his skin. He grins, knowing that he's gotten to me.

"You're pretty fond of your friends, aren't you. Then I'll take that bratty teenaged one Agent captured and I'll kill her myself. That will be after I torture her day after day. What do you have to say about that?"

"3463 west, 64999 north, 3 miles underground." I whisper.

"What is that?" Crispin asks. "Have you gone crazy already?"

I look up at him confidently grinning as red light comes up from underneath us. "Look down a** f**k."

Bellow the both of us is a big red X. Crispin looks at me as I begin to laugh. The X explodes, knocking Crispin away from me. The smoke around me clears away and I wipe the blood from my forehead.

"I got caught in it too, but that was pretty sweet." I take a moment to lick the blood off my hand before looking down at Crispin who has fallen on his back. "And here you where talking about doing all that nasty crap to my friends. As if I'd let you lay a hand on any one of them. Do you have any idea who you're talking to?"

"What did you do?" Crispin asks me, getting to his feet.

"It was a satellite." I tell him, pointing towards the sky. "A satellite built my my friend Doctor Chang. It doesn't send down a lazier from the sky or anything like that. We're way to far underground for something like that to be effective. Instead it utilized several different technologies developed by Lex Corp and myself to ignite an explosion in a given area. For instance, area 3463.99999999999905 west, 64999.9999999999999999991 north and 3 miles underground."

As soon as I finish speaking another X appears under Crispin and explodes. He flies a few feet and I make another command.

"3463.99999999999001 west. Keep the depth and north." Another X in Crispin's location appears and explodes.

Crispin punches the ground and gets to his feet. "You cocky little b*****d!"

"Desperation." I enjoy the moment of victory. "I see that this little toy is getting under your skin. Does that mean that those last couple of explosions caused you pain?"

"Shut up!" Crispin charges at me and I name his position.

The X appears just as he runs into the area I named and it explodes into his stomach, forcing him to fall on his knees.

"You doing okay?" I ask Crispin as he coughs up blood. "That one was four times the strength of the others. The next will be forty. After that four hundred. You think you can handle it?"

Crispin reaches up and grabs me by the face, lifting me into the air.

"Fire again. Same location." I command but this time when the X explodes he absorbs it.

"I can control fire and lightning." Crispin tells me between breaths. "You can't kill me Alex Arkham. I'll just absorb your attacks."

"You hear that?" I tell the doc. "I wont be needing your help anymore."

"Cocky little-" Crispin starts squeezing my head with his hand. His other hand reaches for my right arm. "I'm going to take everything from you." His hand tightens on my arm crushing the bones. "Starting with this arm."

I scream out in pain as he laughs victoriously. My screams turn to laughter. Crispin squeezes my head harder, until it begins to bleed.

"Why are you laughing?" He asks me.

"You forgot one important detail." I tell him, my body almost completely limp. "You where able to crush both my arms. You're a giant evil demonic freak and you've been able to counter every one of my movements with one power or another. I can't believe you got me this close to death just to let it slip away because you couldn't see this one little detail."

He punches me in the gut with his free hand. "What is it? What am I forgetting?"

"It's the simplest of things really. You forgot that you can't beat me." My one eye looks at him through his blood stained fingers, starring deep into him, filling him with doubt. "Because I'm Alex Arkham."

"What the hell is that s**t?" He reaches back to punch me again but I flip my legs up, pressing the tips of my toes into his arm. His hand loosens its grip on my head and I drop to the ground, spinning on my head and sweeping his legs out from under his feet. He falls on his back and I hope up, landing on his chest before doing a backflip to and landing on the ground. "What did you do?"

I chuckle at ho pathetic he looks now.

"Stop laughing and tell me what you've done to me!" He demands so I decide to oblige.

"If you mean what I did with my feet, that was Tie Xiong Zhao. I used it earlier with my hands. It forces your hand muscles to relax and you lose your grip." I walk up to him smiling down with a cold sadistic glare in my eyes. "But Tie Xiong Zhao wasn't supposed to work on you, right? Your durable skin should protect you from a physical thing like pressure points. Look at your hand for a moment."

Crispin stares down in shock at his hand. "Blood? It's mine. But."

"Shouldn't your healing factor have taken care of that by now?" I ask him, my grin giving away my innocent voice. "Remember when I cut open your stomach? I wasn't just seeing if I could cut you. My X cutters where actually laced with a special enzyme which nullifies certain abilities, such as regeneration and stuff like that. You where still trying to take control so you probably don't remember to well. When you first transformed into a level six you knocked me through a wall. To you that must have seemed like it took only a moment but in actuality it took seven minutes. That's because it took me two minutes to get up, three minutes to climb out of the whole and two minutes to adapt my xenothium antidote to the DNA I got from your blood. You probably don't even remember me taking the blood, do you? It was when you passed me the quarter during your illusion at the beginning of our fight. I used a very small needle but it was able to take enough of your blood to determine your abilities."

"An Antidote?" Crispin asks.

"Yeah. The same kind I used on Romulus to help him gain control of his wolf side, except that this one is much more powerful. It wasn't Romulus' fault that he was attacking people so I gave him a very diluted version which caused a mutation and pushed his body to undergo transformation into a level five. On the other hand I didn't have much of your DNA to work with so you have a very high level of the antidote inside of you. To be honest I didn't really know what the effects would be. I thought it might kill you, or even have no effect at all. I've never had the chance to use it on a level six before, so thank you for being my guinea pig."

"So this whole time you where just…" Crispin is cut off as his body writhes in pain.

"Just waiting for the antidote to kick in." I look around the room. "Lucky it did, or my cute face would probably look a lot like what happens to a pumpkin when someone forgets to throw it out after halloween. But now you're beaten. Unfortunately I can't use either of my arms so I can't kill you."

"Liar." Crispin grinds his teeth as his eyes stare up at me, filled to overflowing with tears and hatred. "You can still kill me. You could do it the whole time, you b******d! You where just playing with me!"

"I was trying to save you a bit of pride, but yeah." I admit. "I could have killed you off easily after the antidote took effect. I just felt that the final battle would be boring if it ended that quickly."

"You b******d." Crispin grips the ground. "SHEKARI! My master! Help me!"

"You're power's are almost completely sealed. Isn't that enough to…" I stop for a moment and realize what I'm up against now.

"Master!" A dragon that looks like something from Tim Burton's nightmares rises from Crispin's body. It's a structure made of Crispin's black flames. It isn't real, but a part of his xenothium abilities. I didn't think he'd have enough of his powers left to pull something like this off. "Bring this place down on there heads! Kill them all!"

The dragon lifts its head to the roof and roars. It dives into the sky and the room begins to shake.

"Well…" I look up at it, not wanting to admit what I'm seeing. "That happened. What's going on Crispin?"

"Idiotic non-believer." Crispin looks up at me. "I may die but the mighty Shekari will destroy you all. It's destroying the structures keeping the roofs from falling. Once it's done you will all be crushed under three miles of earth and stone."

"Forgive me for not sticking around for that." I run off to meet with the others.

---

I look up at the huge golden door I came in through and pout. "Kinda wish I had arms right now."

I'm about to think up something brilliant when when the door swings open and Romulus bursts through with an unconscious woman draped over his shoulder.

"You've got some nerve you scrawny little freak!" Romulus grabs me by the cape and looks me right int the eyes. "I didn't expect you to do something so deplorable."

"The wolf man carrying an unconscious naked girl around is calling me a deplorable freak?" I grumble. "Whatever. Let's go."

"Go where?" Romulus asks.

"Look around." I point at the shaking landscape. "A demon dragon is trying to burry us underground so we need to find the others and get to safety. Oh yeah, and my arms are broken so I need you to open doors and stuff."

"Are you serious?" Romulus asks me.

"Come one. Let's go find the others." I push him out the door with my head. "Go on puppy. Go fetch."

"Maybe I should just leave him here." Romulus grumbles.

---

Romulus and I run through the collapsing tunnels as fast as possible. We met up with Johnny and Pandora a little further back and Johnny's been carrying Pandora on his back.

"We just need to pick up Charlotte and we can get the hell out of here." I tell the others.

"What about Baby Doll?" Johnny asks.

"Mary is already back home." I tell him.

"So, you did call someone to come pick her up." Romulus smiles back at me. "I knew you couldn't let her fight on her own."

"Shut up." I tell him. "Yvette and El Dorado should be fine since they're outside and El Dorado has his teleportation ability if necessary."

"Now all we need if Charlotte." Johnny finished for me.

We find Charlotte looking around a room like she's a lioness hunting a poor baby deer.

"Where'd that little geek run off to?" She asks herself. "I'm gonna rip his eyes out of his skull!"

"Come on crazy." I pick her up by coming up behind her and slipping my head between her leg, lifting her onto my shoulders.

"What the hell are you doing?!" She yells at me, grinding her knuckles into my temples. "This is sexual harassment!"

"No time to talk have to run." I ignore her and keep running.

"What's going on!?" She asks Johnny.

"Well." He tries to straighten it out in his own mind first. "In a nutshell a fire demon is trying to burry us and we have to escape before we all die."

Charlotte looks back at him for a few moments before digging her knuckles into my temples again. "Tell me what's really going on!"

"Just shut up or I'm going to leave you behind!"

Romulus stops move for a moment. "We have a problem."

"Don't tell me…" I grumble.

"Hotwire and El Dorado where fighting some Depraved people and somehow destroyed the exit."

There is a long pause.

"Well….f**k." Charlotte drops off my shoulders and hits a button on her gauntlets. "I'll use my echolocation device to find an exit…There seems to be a naturally formed series of tunnels leading to the outside. Fallow me."

---

"Hi everyone. My name is Paul. I've been trapped in a naturally formed subterranean tunnel for quite some time now. Could it have been three…no four years. I've suffered many trial but now I am finally free. I can see the sunlight at the end of the tunnel. It's been so long and it's so beautiful. Now I can return to the world above and finally reveal what I have found in these tunnels to the world. With this miracle antidote I created during my time here I can singlehandedly cure cancer. And with this new type of rock I can provide a cheep energy source which will never run dry and eliminate the need for fossil fuels completely. Finally I can show the world this, an ancient scroll detailing the true meaning of life. With these three items I can bring humanity to a new world. But most of all I will be reunited with my true love, whom I was tragically torn from when the accident which locked me away down here occurred. But now I can finally-"

Paul is cut off when my foot slams into the back of his head.

"Alright! The exit!" I call back to the others. "Hurry up! It's almost collapsed!"

The other catch up to me, not noticing that they're trampling a human underneath them. We jump out into the blinding light, falling into the river bellow us. The cave opening closes, trapping Paul inside.

"NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!"

"PAUL!" I call up after him from the river.

"Who are you talking to?" Charlotte asks me.

"It's not important." I laugh it off and enjoy the fact that I'm not squished.

---

A few days later we've almost all finished recuperating. By almost I mean that I'm the only one who's still hurt. Since everything with the Depraved caused a lot of problems we're celebrating Christmas a bit later than usual. Romulus and the others decided to stay with us for a bit and celebrate taking down Crispin's army.

I'm sitting on the couch, both my arms in casts and a couple of bandages on my face and body. Yvette is sitting on my left side, snuggling up against my shoulder.

"I still don't believe you where the only one who got that badly hurt." Charlotte smirks at me from the hair across from me. "I guess the invincible Alex Arkham isn't as great as he thinks he is."

"I can still beat your butt into the ground, even with these casts." I tell her.

"Of course you can." She gives me a cocky look. "Just keep telling yourself anything you need to so you can keep sticking to your macho ego."

"Speaking of things that stick to Alex, are you going to cling like that all day?" Mary asks Yvette who gives her a nasty look.

"It's a lover's duty to help the healing process in any way she can." Yvette snuggles in closer. "That is what is called l'amour."

"Lovers?" Mary cocks an eyebrow and scoffs as she picks up a mug of hot chocolate from the table. "I bet a little girl like you hasn't even kissed a guy before."

"I have too." Yvette leans over too far and I feel a sharp pain run through my arm. "I've kissed plenty of guys."

"So, what you're saying is that you're easy?" Mary gives her a devilish smirk, having led Yvette into a trap.

"You wanna go l'enfant?" Yvette's hand sparks with electricity.

"I'm not a child, but I'll take you on any time." Mary pulls a gun out from her jacket pocket.

Before they can start something I push them both back with my casts.

"Let's try to get along on belated Christmas, please." I ask them but they both push me back against the couch.

"Stay out of it." They both tell me at the same time.

"I'm glad I'm not you." Johnny tells me and downs his sixth bottle of beer.

"I have to agree with you there." Romulus sighs.

"You can both just suck my-Beach Umbrellas!" I feel something awesome plant against the back of my head.

"Oops. Sorry about that." Panzer apologizes as she walks around the couch and places some cookies on the table.

"Good looks, watermelons the size of watermelons and cooking skills." I try to pick up a cookie but with my casts that's a bit of a problem. "Lucky you decided to leave the Depraved and join Romulus' group."

"Must be my animal magnetism, no?" El Dorado grins happily, only to be knocked out of his chair by an embarrassed Panzer's punch.

"That looked painful." Johnny says, walking to the fridge to get another beer. "You want some ice?"

"I am good." El Dorado laughs it off. "That's just how she shows love."

Panzer blushes pretty hard.

---

When everyone is distracted by other things I slip my coat on and head out to the roof. It's calm out here as opposed to inside, where Johnny and Pandora have started a drinking contest. The snow is falling gently on the city. Even though it's night by now the city is still alive, but peaceful. I start to wonder what Natalya is doing right now and I think about my master. My master doesn't like to celebrate things like Christmas, unless it's an excuse to drink. The thought of it makes me smile.

"You had to get some fresh air too?" I look back and see Charlotte standing by the door to the roof. She smiles and walks up to me, two cups of hot chocolate between her gloves.

"Come to check on me?" I ask her. "Maybe you're worried about me because you have a little crush-"

"I'll have you know, I came up here to be by myself." She huffs.

"Then why two hot chocolates?"

She blushes but tries to ignore it and sits down on the ledge of the roof. "Maybe they're both for me."

"You'll get fat that way." I keep teasing her.

"Just butt out." She drinks her hot chocolate.

I sit down beside her and pick up the other cup. "Thanks."

"No problem." She looks out at the city and smiles. "The city looks really nice from up here. I've never been up here before."

"Why not?"

"I'm a little afraid of high places." She giggles. "You'd think I'd've gotten over it by now but lately I've been able to handle them a bit more. It's like I stopped being afraid of them."

"When did that happen?" I ask her.

"Are you going to try to psycho analyse me?" She asks.

"If I did you'd be getting first class therapy for free."

"I'm not sure I want you inside my head." She sticks out her tongue and makes a face which looks like she's going to gag. "But I'll tell you anyway. I stopped being afraid of highest around the same time I met you."

Thinking back, the second time I met her she had gone to the roof of a building and told me to catch her when she stepped off the side.

"I guess that I thought if I do fall then…" She stares into her hot chocolate and smiles. "You'd grab my hand."

We sit silently for a moment before I give in and laugh.

"What's so funny!?" She snaps at me. "That's the last time I open up to you!"

"I have to admit." I settle down and pat her on the head. "You can be pretty cute sometimes."

"Whatever." She turns away from me, her face too red to look at me with. She waits a few minutes then speaks again. "It's cold."

"Then lets go inside." I get up and hold my hand out to her. I smile a genuinely warm smile as she reaches up and takes my hand.

Preview Time!

Johnny: "Aw. That was cute."

Alex and Charlotte: "Shut up!"

Red Claw: "I can't believe Red X is over. I didn't get enough scenes. I feel like a side character."

Mary: "It's not over."

Alex: "What do you mean?"

Mary: "Red X Oscura is completed but the next series is going to start soon."

Charlotte: "We get another series!?"

Mary: "Mmhmm. Red X Oscura was the first year Alex came to Oscura and started his training hours as a psychiatrist."

Alex: "Though I really didn't do much psychiatry stuff in these chapters I still learnt a lot behind the scenes."

Charlotte: "Well, isn't that convenient."

Mary: "The second series, Red X Japan will be about your second year on training hours. It takes place one year before you went to Gotham and fought Batman."

Alex: "Oh yeah. I forgot about that."

Mary: "Please look forward to the next series everyone."

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