Deathmatch Redux - Prologue

I have a great story to tell. But I just have trouble putting it out in words. I have a very poor vocabulary, and my grammar is rather shaky at best. So I'm going to try something, summarizing my story with my best effort and capability. It's definitely no Shakespeare, but... let's give it a shot. 
 
The following original story is rated FR15 for some sexual implications, harsh language, and some amount of non-explicit violence. The story is set in the 616 Marvel Universe.
~~~~~
Prologue 1: Duel of the Masters
It all started as a pleasant day, eighteen years ago. Akai Tanner was just a little kid, barely seven years of age. His father, Kendrick Tanner, had brought him to a small island off the coast of Costa Rica, Ameline Island. It was going to be a building site for Kendrick's dream, a tourist attraction with the most extravagant entertainment facilities known to the world as of then. With the fundings readied and the construction began, it was a dream come true. Alas, it was not to last.
 
The father and child were exploring the site, mesmerized by the great opportunities that land could offer. As they returned to the four-wheeler they had drove in from their boat, two other vehicles pulled up behind their transport. Six men stepped out of both cars, with two carrying a suitcase each.
 
"Mr. Tanner, I presume?"
"Yes?"
"My boss wishes to purchase off this little island from you."
 
Kendrick was less than interested in money, of course. Money he could always earn from his creation. Money wasn't involved in his dream.
 
"Who is your boss?"
"Lepton Foxe."
 
~~~~~

The name was well-known to him at the time. He was a powerful adversary in his business. Almost an underminer. Yearning to sort this out with the irritable tyrant, Kendrick agreed to follow the men to their boss, a fatal mistake he would have wished he hadn't made.
 
Within the cruise ship Foxe was waiting in, the tyrant was having a tarot-card reading in the ballroom - a request made by his servile wife. The wizened old man had an ill reading as he flipped the cards upright... much to Foxe's displeasure, naturally.
 
"The first card is The King. It represents Mr. Foxe's wealth and fortune."
"The Queen represents Mrs. Foxe's doubts and worries."
"The Wheel represents a big change that is to come upon your family."
"The Lion represents an impending adversary of great strength Mr. Foxe shall encounter."
"The Devil. If Mr. Foxe's mind is not strong enough, he shall cling onto him."
"Death. It shall pay a visit to your family in the near future."
 
That drew the straw. He was amused at first, by the ludicrous nature of the reader's words. But the mentioning of the final card was an insult his pride and ego - traits Foxe is well-known of - would not tolerate.
 
"Are you done?! You dare to toy me with this little magician act?"
 
Lepton Foxe was known as more than a ruthless businessman. Like many of the super-powered beings of New York, he too wield certain 'talents' that he sometimes used to further convince his fellow clients and competitions not to be a problem for him. Using the minimum of ease, Lepton raised the cards into his rising palms and swirled them around in mid-air. Telepathic display this was not. Nothing more than mere illusions, to be accurate.
 
As Foxe continued his mesmerizing performance, he secretly stashed away one of the cards into his costume - the Death card.
 
"Fate is controlled by man's hands," Foxe boasted as he slowly descended the cards onto the table, neatly stacking them back into a single deck before the reader. "Go ahead. Deal the cards. Let's see what kind of fate you could deal me this time."
 
The reader shook his head as he began to deal the cards once more.
 
"Mr. Foxe, you're too confident of yourself. As such, you have brought your wife more concerns than ever. And it's due to your self-righteousness that the wheels of fate have turned for you. Soon, your adversary shall appear."
 
After dealing the final card on the table, the Devil card remained nowhere in sight.
 
"This is no longer the Devil card. How do you explain that?"
 
Unknowledgeable in Tarot as any average individual, Foxe had not known about the true representation of the card.
 
"This card, Mr. Foxe, is Justice. If you continue to use unjustly methods to deal with your adversaries, Death will still appear." With that remark made, the reader drew another card onto the table, and the said Death card was revealed. But the reader was yet to finish. From the main deck, he continued his draw. "Your family, your first-born, second-born, and your third-born will all be taken away by Death itself. And if you remain stubborn, with Justice standing by your adversaries, she, too will receive the proper judgement."
 
As he concluded his reading, the reader pointed his index towards Lepton's youngest child - his daughter, sitting in Mrs. Foxe's arms.
 
"Bull***! I, Lepton Foxe, only believe in Man's triumph over God! I will never believe your lunatic ramblings." Lepton then proceeded to pull out the one card he had kept hidden within the cuff of his suit and flashed it in the open. "The Devil was already in my hands all along! What do you say to that?!"
 
As Foxe released a maniacal burst of laughter, he tossed the card away from his sight and departed the religious talk he was becoming tired of. When he had turned to walk away from the table, however, Foxe failed to perceive the discarded Devil card's perfect landing on top of a particular card in the center of the tarots - the King card. Both Mrs. Foxe and the reader, naturally, witnessed the ominous sight.
 
~~~~~

On the other end of the ship, Foxe's men had successfully brought Kendrick and his son on-board.
 
"Escort Mr. Tanner down to Mr. Foxe's quarters," ordered the only member of the black-suited lackeys dressed in white.
 
As the other men proceeded to lead Kendrick as they were ordered, the white-suited one held young Akai away from Kendrick's clutches.
 
"What is the meaning of this?!"
"Don't worry, Mr. Tanner. We'll take good care of your son."
 "Just you dare harm my boy."
 
Bitter that his son was taken away and be put in potential danger, Kendrick paused for a moment as the men guided him. He turned around to take one more glance of Akai, hoping his boy would be safe.
 
"This way, Mr. Tanner," insisted one of the men escorting him, forcing Kendrick to go along with this blatant trap.
 
Standing over an adjacent platform up top, the reader and Mrs. Foxe watched the events unfold with worried hearts.
 
"Mrs. Foxe, you have to convince your husband to take precautions. Even though his Art of Deception might be legendary and unmatched, deception will always lead to a bad end."
 
~~~~~
 
Within, Foxe's men had brought Kendrick down the steps to an arena, where he came face-to-face with the group Lepton Foxe was notorious for being the supreme leader of, The Elemental Eight. As the name suggests, the members of the team consisted of individuals with the powers over the elements of the Earth, with only the leader himself being the exception. Standing patiently in the spacious room, three of the eight members challenged Kendrick to a fight. Kendrick wiped them clean, naturally, even when all three of them worked together at the same time.
 
The female of the trio, Maria, had the power over the earth. She had attempted to seal Kendrick in a solid dome of hardened soil, leaving only a single opening available. This would give the fire-wielder, Jankris, the chance to envelop the entire interior of the dome with his flames, leaving not a single area untouched. His heat would be further increased by the airbender, Henderson, who would use his power over the wind to increase the intensity of the flames bursting into the dome.
 
The strategy was well-planned, of course, if they were dealing with any normal individual.
 
Instead, Kendrick's powers allowed him to avoid any of that mishap before it actually happened. It was not telepathy, future-sight or any of those mind-bending skills, but rather the heightened perception of his senses. As soon as Maria had raise the dome out of the Earth, Kendrick had already leaped out of the way and out of sight. The plan proceeded as intended with ignorance, and only after a minute of barbecue cook-out did Maria lowered the dome, only to find a circular section of the flooring charred and blackened, but with no corpse in sight.
 
"Over here."
 
The voice lured their eyes above, much to their mistake. As soon as they raised their heads, three wooden sticks were fired towards them, each of them hitting the same spot on their bodies accurately - the lungs. Naturally, the impact was not strong enough to harm them in any way, but it was certainly a satisfying victory for Tanner, who literally dropped in on them thereafter from the section of the ceiling he had clung onto.
 
"Hope I didn't damage your egos too badly, boys. Lady."
 
Standing above in a private booth, the familiar maniacal laughter was spread throughout the room, echoing from one corner to another. Turning their attention to the source of the voice, the three fallen villains took in a gasp of nervousness as Lepton Foxe threw a vicious stare over them.
 
"Mr. Foxe, I presume?" Kendrick remarked with glee.
 
"The Elemental Eight had always been unbeatable. Even with the three of you, you are still utterly defeated. My entire reputation is tarnished by you pathetic worms!"
 "We understand what we must do."
 
Upon Maria's signal, the three super-powered beings each pulled out a dagger sheathed in their costumes. To Kendrick's utter disbelief, the trio proceeded to lash out the blades against their eyes, leaving them eternally blinded.
 
"The three of us," the trio said all at once, "we shall never use our powers ever again."
 
~~~~~
 
After the shocking episode was done with, Lepton led Kendrick back into the ballroom he had came from, with his son escorted behind him by Foxe's man. There, another surprise awaited Kendrick. Sitting at the end of the table this time was Rebbecca Tanner, Kendrick's very own wife.
 
"I would never have thought that you would be interested in conversing with a woman as average and powerless a normal citizen as my wife, Mr. Foxe," remarked Kendrick as he approached the table. "Unless you have an ulterior motive...."
 
"You belittle your wife, Mr. Tanner. She came here prepared, my friend. Look what she brought with her." Reaching under his gold-plated dinner jacket, Lepton pulled out a sheet of paper familiar to Kendrick's eyes. "Your deed to this land."
 
Ashamed, Rebbecca turned away from her husband while shedding a tear. "I'm sorry, Kendrick..."
 
"Half of this island has already belonged to me, Tanner. Your little dream of building that Tourist Resort could no longer be fulfilled. There can only be one tycoon on this island!"
"Name a price then, I'll buy it back."
"No... I wish to gain that second-half of the island as well!"
"And you wish to blackmail that out of me?"
"No, not blackmail. We are both super-powered individuals, after all. Let's battle this out. The winner walks away with the other half of the deed."
"Hmph. You are the Master of Deception. I am the Master of Perception. Both our abilities lie in different areas. Why the need for battle?"
 
Again, the maniacal laughter.
 
"That is, unless you do not wish for your entire family to leave this ship in one piece!" Lepton's frightful words caused Rebbecca to leap in fear, and into Kendrick's arms.
"What do you mean by that?!" Tanner retaliated.
"Kendrick Tanner, I will battle you today no matter what!"
 
Kendrick breathed in slowly. His adversary is frighteningly powerful and utterly cunning, but it was his belief that the power of perception - along with his belief in justice - will ultimate triumph.
 
"Fine. If I win, you shall return me the deed, and allow my family to leave here safely. But if I lose, Ameline Island is yours."
"Excellent! BUT, I feel that the stakes are not exhilarating enough. I, Lepton Foxe, had battled against you for more than a decade, and yet we were unable to decide a reigning champion. This match we have today, whoever loses... will have to swear abandonment from using his powers forever! And you know what that means..."
 
Having to witness Lepton's own minions' unbelievable actions for himself, he more than understood his meaning. Naturally, with his strongest perception being his hearing, he knew, rather than a depravity of sight, Foxe would ask from him his very own ears.
 
"Fine."

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Edited by OminousFlare
Prologue 2: No Fate But What I Make
The two masters, best at what they could do, proceeded to the arena Kendrick had previously exited. Leaving to his men a cigar he had been draining out of for the past hour, Lepton stretched his body and neck in preparation for the battle, while Kendrick followed the same moves. Be it perception or deception, both beings knew the battle required their body and muscles to be in as tip-top a condition as were their minds.
 
When both of them saw themselves and their opponents readied for action, they entered their respective battle poses.
 
"Let's decide our victory in a less brutal manner, Lepton. First blood drawn determines the winner."
"Fine by me, old-timer. As the Romans say - LET THE GAMES BEGIN!"
 
Kendrick was clearly the faster of the two, moving in towards Lepton before Foxe could even react. However, react he did, and he was just fast enough to pull two metallic spheres from beneath his infamous jacket of various trickery. Throwing them on the floor before Kendrick could pull himself far enough away, the impact caused the two balls of steel to release a ultrasound supersonic high pitch that instantly stunned Kendrick's acute hearing into oblivion, pinning his aching head onto the floor.
 
"As... despicable as ever!" shouted an enraged Kendrick as he struggled to return on his feet.
 
"It's a battle, Tanner!" returned Lepton in an equally heightened voice. "Nothing's despicable! Besides, being despicable is my game, remember?!"
 
Little did Lepton know, Kendrick was prepared for this counter against his perceptive sense of hearing. After years of battling Foxe, Kendrick was more than aware that he would pull a foul move. He was simply waiting for the right moment to pull out his own counter.
 
"Then you wouldn't mind if you I put a little comfort on my ears."
 
Kendrick then pulled out two dome-shaped contraptions and attached them to his ears. As soon as he did, another section of the device popped out from the sides and formed a visor across his eyes.
 
"Hahaha! Not bad. Not bad at all, Tanner!" Lepton applauded. Just as Kendrick had foresaw Lepton's foul card, Foxe had also knew that his little handicap would be a mere irritation to him. "Now the real battle has began!"
 
Lepton's next trick was a common one - splitting images. Several copies of himself surrounded Kendrick, and only one of them was the true Lepton Foxe in the flesh... or so it appeared to the average eyes.
 
No. Knowing his adversary longer than even Foxe's closest associate, nothing would appear as what it seemed. The earmuffs Kendrick had attached to the sides of his face were specially crafted to enhance his already super-powered hearing, while blocking out any unusual silent pitches meant to harm ears as sharp as his. With Foxe's cheap move out of the way, Kendrick shut his redundant eyes and left his super-enhanced ears to pick up the very movements in the air. In no time at all, his opponent's true location was revealed.
 
"Too slow!"
 
Kendrick moved, in the proverbial nick of time, too. Any second later and the sharp end of Lepton's blade would have turned Kendrick into the literal mincemeat. Foxe was a little surprise, but not as much as he would be if Kendrick had not moved. Nevertheless, his pause allowed the opposition a moment to strike. Right as Kendrick turn behind and lash out his signature combat batons - a symbol for his unwillingness to kill - Lepton pulled back just in time to parry the club directed towards his throat.
 
The next few seconds consisted of continuous lashings and slashing with their respective blades and combat sticks, both of them parrying each other's attacks one after another. There was almost no definite outcome to be seen at first, till a seemingly careless Lepton allowed Kendrick to plunge one of the batons into his chest. It would have been a severely damaging move that would leave Lepton incapacitated had Kendrick not pull his attack.
 
Nevertheless, pulling his attack or not, Kendrick failed to hit his opponent once again, as Lepton's body suddenly became shapeless, losing its solid structure. In fact, Kendrick's opponent had vanished, leaving only his clothes floating in mid-air.
 
"You're falling behind, Tanner!" exclaimed a voice behind Kendrick.
 
This time, it was his turn to parry Lepton's attack. Foxe had nearly landed his blade, but close calls among these agile beings were expected.
 
"If we continue like this, Tanner, we might end up like two years ago, and the previous year before that, and the one before that!"
"Then why don't you just call it quits and hand me my deed?"
"Keep living your fantasy dream elsewhere, old man!"
 
Applying force onto his sword, Lepton shoved himself away and put some distance between him and Kendrick. Kendrick was not going to give him any breathing space, and thus charged in after quickly with his batons. As soon as he made his move, however, Lepton tossed another batch of gadgets onto the floor with all his force. It was a bundle of smoke bombs, emitting a mighty thick fog into the entire arena itself. The move was futile to Tanner, of course, as his visor scope had also been built with infrared. Yet, Lepton being Lepton, knew better than to stay in Kendrick's line of sight. Amidst the smoke, no trace of human-shape heat signature could be sighted. Kendrick had to rely on his hearing.
 
"Smokes and mirrors. That's what you always were, Lepton! Smokes and mirrors."
 
Lepton did not answer. He knew better than to give away his location. Nevertheless, Lepton had to attack eventually, and when an ambush attack was finally launched, Kendrick had already picked up his attacker's movements through the air as soon as he had began gliding towards him.
 
"You're slipping, Foxe."
 
When his batons were swung against his supposed opponent, the sticks didn't connect. As with before, no solid shape was hit - except this time, not even the fabric of his clothing was felt. It was as if Kendrick had been hitting the thin air. It did not make sense to Kendrick, as he swore that he had saw a heated human shape coming towards him just as he struck, before it suddenly vanished into thin air for some reason.
 
"Game over."
 
Kendrick immediately swung his batons behind, hoping to parry Lepton's attack again. But the distraction proved effective enough to prevent Kendrick from defending himself in time. The attack came all too sudden, and Kendrick's batons were angled too low in front of him, welcoming Lepton to openly attack above his sticks. A cut on his cheek was all he needed to seize his victory.
 
"You lost. The first blood is drawn, old-timer."
"Hmph. I knew you were despicable, Lepton... but to have one of your men helping you out in our battle, that's rather weak, isn't it?"
"What are you blabbering about?"
"Just now, when you unleashed your final attack, my infrared picked up another heat signature. It belonged to a human shape figure, someone who was careless enough to strike so slowly I had more than enough time to read his movements before he could even strike his blade. Obviously an amateur and blatantly not you, Lepton."
"Couldn't it be just another one of my tricks? I simply deployed a bogey object to distract you."
 
And then, a voice claimed that statement to be false. "That's a lie!"
 
Both businessmen had already identified that voice, but Lepton would like to face the one who dared claim that the Master of Deception had produced an identifiable lie. Hitting a button on a remote, the fog was soon drained away from the room, revealing the anguished expression on Rebbecca Tanner's visage.
 
"I specifically heard someone else darting past me as Lepton's smoke bombs began clouding the place just now! With both of you being as far away from the entrance as you were just now, there was no way that could have been Lepton!"
"And what evidence do you have, Mrs. Tanner, aside from your statement? If you were wrong, wouldn't my reputation be pointlessly tarnished? And if you were right about one of my henchmen interfering, then why are all my men in the same place they were standing before, and none of them anywhere near me or Tanner?! If any of them had leave and return, those brilliant ears could have picked up his footsteps in this echo chamber!"
"I would stake my ears that I heard someone running past me just now as you were tossing those bombs!"
"Your ears against what?"
"Against yours, Lepton Foxe!"
"Who do you think you are? You want me to use my ears as a stake? That won't happen... unless it's your husband's very own ears! I might still consider if that is the case."
 
"Lepton!" yelled another feminine voice, this time belonging to Lepton's own wife. "Don't deal with things this way! Remember what the reader told you just now..." 
"What are you doing here, Debra?!" barked Lepton, who proceeded to ask the white-suited man from before to escort his wife away. "If you couldn't bear to see your husband loses his hearing, Mrs. Tanner, then let the victory be mine!"
 
"Hold it!" retorted Kendrick. "I'll take that bet, Lepton. I'll bet that your interfering man is hiding somewhere here... simply being camouflaged!"
 
The ludicrous statement would have made anyone laugh, let alone one with as maniacal a laughter as Lepton. "Gimme a break, Kendrick. If you are so sure that one of my men is hiding around this room somewhere... go ahead and check! Check all you want! But know this - if you are wrong, your ears come off."
 
The confidence in Lepton's voice shook Kendrick's very heart. Even if he was bluffing, it was an effective bluff.
 
It took just a few minutes for Kendrick to check out the surrounding area in every possible nook and croon that a man could potentially hide himself in. Yet, after those few nerve-wrecking minutes, his search had turn fruitless.
 
"Kendrick, admit your defeat!" exclaimed Lepton as he toss his longstanding adversary his own sword. "You know what to do."
"Wait a minute!" rebuked Rebbecca. "I'm the one who lost. I'll pay with my ears."
"Hold it, Rebbecca!" Kendrick held out his hand towards his wife. "I'm the incompetent one. Foxe is right; I'll admit my defeat. Today I, Kendrick Tanner, loses my pair of ears, and from then on, Mr. Foxe could do as he please, dominating the industry with his tyranny."
 
With that, and Lepton's satisfied maniacal laughter bursting across the room, Kendrick picked up the sword and raised it against his face.
 
"Dad! What are you doing?! Stop it! Dad! Let's just go home!"
 
With one slash, the deed was done. Lepton had never felt happier in his life. His laughter only grew louder as he began his departure with his equally amused men, leaving the sobbing mother and child to the incapacitated champion of the past.
 
"Kendrick, I'm so sorry!" bellowed Rebbecca as she held her love in her arms. "It's all my fault... I just needed a little money, and Lepton seized this opportunity to trap me in his clutches..."
 
While taking in all the blame onto herself in her moment of distress, Rebbecca's flooding eyes gazed upon the silvery gleam of Lepton's sword. A drastic decision was made.
 
"Akai, you must remember, never involve yourself with the underworld. Be especially careful... towards those prodigal women..."
 
After giving her son her last words of regret and caution, Rebbecca reached for the shining blade and lashed its lethal edge against her throat, triggering a mournful shrill from young Akai's guts.
 
Standing by the entrance of the room, Debra Foxe had witnessed the horrific tragedy befallen on the Tanners, and could only shed a sympathetic tear.
 
~~~~~
 
In an hours' time, the three Tanners were carried out to the sea on a speedboat. The deafened father with his bandaged face. The deceased mother with a gutted throat. And young Akai, who was still desperately trying to awake his immobile parents. Overseeing this sight from his ship, Lepton continued his maniacal laughter. He had won this day, and to him, perhaps forever.
 
However, unbeknownst to him, the wheels of fate had yet to complete their rotation.

~~~~~
 
It was just a few more hours later when fate's backlash was felt.
 
The three sons of Lepton Foxe were playing around one of the ship's lifeboats, despite the warnings of the eldest amongst them that "Daddy might be unhappy." Soon, they would find out that their father's wrath was the least of their worries. It was just a simple trip on the boat's interior structure, yet it tip the boat diagonally enough to send the three of them down for a swim.

"Boss! Boss!" the white-suited henchman urgently clamored as he clambered up a stack of stairs on the other side of the ship. "The-The three boys... Th-They've gone overboard!"
 
Outraged, Lepton slammed his fist across his lackey's cheeks. "Moron! What are you waiting for?! Go and look for them now!"
 
Following his immediate command, the lackey ran back down the steps and ordered the lower-ranked subordinates to assist with his search on their speedboat.
 
Several more hours later, their search was successful. Their rescue was not. Across the beach of Ameline Island, three petite bodies laid lifeless under the dimming sunset, having been washed up on shore just a few minutes ago. Lepton carefully examined each of the bodies, unwilling to believe what he perceived.
 
"MY SONS!" cried Debra Foxe as she rushed towards the bodies, with the tarot-card reader sticking behind her. "My lovely sons!"

"YOU!" Lepton pointed his accusing finger towards the reader, before lifting him up roughly by his collar. "You dare place a curse on my children?! Today my three sons have indeed left me! Are you happy now?!" 

"This is divine intervention, Mr. Foxe. I've warned you earlier, but you just wouldn't believe me."  

"Hmph! And I still won't believe it!" Stubborn as ever, Lepton stomped over to his six year old daughter and picked her up. "I'm going to have a wager with God! I still have a daughter!" 

"Mrs. Foxe, your daughter's four pillars of destiny contradict those of Mr. Foxe. If you keep her around your side, I'm afraid she won't live past her 25th birthday." 

"I, Lepton Foxe, shall challenge the heavens in another battle then! Just you try and take my daughter away if you can!" 

"Stop it, Lepton!" Debra cried out, limping her way towards the reader. "Please, master, you've got to save my daughter! You've got to save my daughter!"
 
Ignoring his wife's pitiful begging cries, Lepton thrust his remaining child into the brewing sky blocked out by swarms of storm clouds and clashing thunders.
 
"HERE! TAKE HER IF YOU CAN! I DARE YOU! TAKE HER! I WON'T BELIEVE THAT YOU ARE CAPABLE OF TAKING AWAY MY DAUGHTER! I ONLY BELIEVE IN MYSELF! I BELIEVE THAT MAN CAN TRIUMPH OVER GOD! IF YOU ARE SO POWERFUL, JUST TRY AND TAKE HER AWAY WITH YOU! LEPTON FOXE IS NOT AFRAID OF YOU! MAN SHALL TRIUMPH! MAN WILL TRIUMPH!"