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A young man with tied, sanguine hair and a bloody face marched towards the barracks like a mounting storm. A lone guard stood at the entrance, trembling, extending his lamp to examine the stranger. The boy was barefoot, wearing ragged cloth, and dirty bandages tied around his arms and legs; unarmed, just a child, but a fiend from nightmares.

The guard recoiled and mumbled warnings, but the creature did not relent, its eyes looking straight through him. He fumbled his sword from its sheath and rushed the devilish boy, stabbing him through the chest. Having never stabbed a person before, the guard expected streams of blood, but the sword stuck in the boy like a stick in mud. He pulled, but the blade was trapped.

I emerged from the shadows, and my doppelganger collapsed into a mound of dirt. Before the guard could react, I crushed his head with a stone, spreading red flecks and skull dust through the air, leaving a crater in his mind. 114th Method: Sunless Shadow.

I moved through the entrance of the barracks, clearing half the room before the two guards noticed me. The first guard was stocky, showing off my sheathed sword to the other guard, who was lanky, staring in awe at the design. Stocky looked into my eyes, or tried to, and shouted. I kicked him in the knee, snapping it inward, and he cried out. As he crumpled, I grabbed the hilt of my sword, drew it, and sliced open Lanky’s belly with a single movement.

A third guard rushed in from a side room, blade at the ready, and I kicked Lanky’s guts at her. She staggered, and I stabbed her through the thigh as she fell backward, tearing through it, blood streaming across the ceiling. I looked back from the door as I left, seeing them quivering and crying, and chanted a prayer.

I sprinted across the village to the mausoleum, discarding all thoughts and emotion. My concerns, ideas, dreams, and nightmares flowed like leaves on a stream, moving far away and disappearing. I closed my eyes, let myself slip into nothingness.

My body moved up the steps to the mausoleum on its own. Guards approached but arrows struck them from the dark. Cila. The dogs were waiting at the entrance and howled at the sight of me. The sound crawled in through my ears, nostrils, mouth, but found no mind to be tampered with. They persisted for some time but went silent one by one.

I woke. The dogs circled around me warily and began to shift into grotesque forms. Arrows skewered them, and I cut to pieces those that tried to flee. A dog that was half-corpse lashed at me with its tongue, but I kicked it down the steps.

I moved deep into the mausoleum, past the carvings, down more stairs. A familiar sickness manifested in my stomach. I waded through pure blackness until no steps were below me and I tumbled into the abyss. Falling, I saw a light and let it overcome me.

A false king sat before me, weeping. Only his upper torso was visible, poking out from the ground like a miserable weed. There were cracks in the ground, and through them, I could see his true body. It was scaled and endless, coiled like a mountain of the abyss. Its bloated belly was almost transparent, and I could see eggs pressed against the inside. Disgust overwhelmed me.

He hugged an egg in his arms, and it began to hatch. A naked creature emerged from the egg, half-dog, and half-lizard, and stared at me.

“I was blind, but I can see you now,” a voice spoke into my mind.

I stepped in for the kill.

“You will doom these people,” he said. “Below me, in my stomach–”

I removed his head, and it rolled to the ground.

“You fool, you–” I stomped it.

I tore it apart. Everything.