Irregular Bane: Part Eight
Art by saro_the_legendaerie
Bane turned on trembling legs to face the Halloween Bori leaning casually against the wall of the Tomb.
No. Not you.... Anyone but you...
The Ice Hissi chuckled as he slid out of the shadows. "I'm sorry for spoiling it for you, Danterion, but I couldn't resist."
"You." The Cybunny's voice was as hard as he could make it, trembling as he was. Even as he struggled, his voice broke and so did his temper, and he launched himself at the Bori. "Why? How could you, Danter?!"
He slashed viciously at the Bori with his Fire sword. Danter dodged it with grace and ease, careless smirk visible in the light from the Cybunny's blade. "You were doomed anyway. I didn't think you'd mind if you died for a noble cause."
"Noble? You're insane!" Bane attacked once more, Danter ducking and rolling out of the range of Bane's spinning slash, kicking the legs out from under the Cybunny as he moved, continuing talking without a blink. "In exchange to helping him kill you, I get to be second-in-command. I can change the Irregulars to the way you, Lyce, and I always dreamed. If that's not a good cause, I don't know what is."
Choking behind tears of stress, hurt, and fury, Bane lashed out at the Bori again with his Fire Sword. "Rancru would never give you that kind of power! He's playing with you!"
There was the sound of a bottle uncorking, and both Halloween and Darigan pets turned to see Rancru standing at the end of the passageway, holding the Morphing potion in one hand and the Ghostkerbomb in the other. "He's right, you know. I run the Dark Irregulars just fine on my own. Looks like that second-in-command position is.... closed."
The Hissi drank the potion, light surrounding him in a cocoon. As his body morphed, he threw the Ghostkerbomb at the base of the support pillar.
Bane started to run, but Danter caught him smoothly, ivory talons digging cruelly into the Cybunny's shoulder.
"Bane, don't you want to see the grand finale?" He chuckled.
The explosion was tremendous, shaking the ground all three stood on, and as the dust cleared, Bane saw the veins of cracks work their way up and down the support pillar. The Cybunny thrashed in Danter's iron grip, and the Bori turned around back the way he came, addressing Rancru over his shoulder.
"You know me, Rancru. You know I always keep something in my back pocket. Well, here it is!
"Frilexis, I found him," he called in a vicious sing song that made Bane shudder.
The whole tomb echoed with a roar that put every other noise in the history of Geraptiku to shame. A flash of light lit of the tomb as a Ghost Draik came hurtling around the corner, eyes aflame with vengeful fury.
"Rancru! You thought a new color and species could hide you from me?! Egg eater!" the Draik bellowed as she smashed into Rancru with the force of a tidal wave, sending them both into the base of the pillar, where they melted into the floor to continue their duel out of sight, in the way that only two ghosts could fight.
A deep rumbling noise gripped the tomb, the sound of falling rocks and crumbling stone. Danter tore off back the way he had come, but his path was quickly blocked by Bane, who slashed viciously at Danter with tears in his eyes. The Bori was knocked off his feet from the force of the blow, skidding on his back across the cracking floor.
"I trusted you! I thought you were my friend!" The Cybunny slashed downwards in a mighty stroke with his Fire Sword, only to have it blocked by Danter's Thief Dagger.
Bane's opponent's ice blue eyes were cold. "You were my friend, Bane. Then you had to go and throw it all away. You got careless, signed up for that Shopkeeper job and I had to hide you." Pushing back, the Bori got up slowly, then lunged forward and head butted the Darigan in the stomach with incredible force. The Cybunny fell to the ground and gasped for air as Danter stood coldly over him, the hint of a smirk covering his face.
"So I had to show my hand, as it is. I've been planning to take Rancru down for a while now, but you set things into motion before I was ready. I had to do some improvising, yes, but it's all worth it now. The Dark Irregulars are mine- Frilexis won't let Rancru escape."
Bane trembled with helpless fury. "So... I was just a puppet in your grand scheme," he concluded bitterly.
The Bori laughed, the sound almost drowned by the sound of breaking rocks and falling stone. "Oh, don't feel bad. You all were."
Then he thrust his Dagger at the Cybunny, and Bane's world went black.
Pangs of pain lanced through Bane’s body in time with his heartbeat.
Wh... where am I? He forced his eyes open. Around him were cracked stone walls, his back scraping against pebbles as he was being drug across the stone floor. It was dead quiet, and pitch black save a faint glow from his rescuer.
He tried to turn around, but a glowing paw pushed his head back around.
"Don't move too much, Bane," a female voice panted. "He got you pretty bad."
"Lyce!" Bane gasped, then tried to look around again. "Danter! Where's Danter?"
Lyce stroked the top of Bane's head. "We can't find him. We can only hope he got away. If it wasn't for him, Rancru would have killed you, right?"
She didn't know Danter's plan... No one knew. Bane peered into the darkness of the tunnel, and pondered the Bori. Should I tell her who he really was? Or should I let her hail him as a fallen hero instead of a missing villain?
"What did I miss?" he murmured.
He sensed Lyce smirk. "Well, once they heard the tomb go down and saw your little Ghost Draik buddy, all the other thieves took off, along with that Alien Aisha. So I ran in here and saw you lying just outside where the tunnel collapsed."
She smiled warmly down on Bane. "You did it. Rancru's gone and the Dark Irregulars are safe."
"Is Saosis gonna be ok?"
"She's just fine. You just gotta take care of yourself now, Bane. Just hold on until I get you to the Healing Springs."
"Who’s gonna be the leader now?" Bane murmured as soft, thick darkness tugged at him.
"Surka, probably. But... that doesn't matter to me."
Bane let his eyes drift closed as the Usul dragged him out into the sunshine, pondering one simple question. I was much deeper in the tomb than here. Someone must have dragged me to safety. Did Danter save me? Or did Frilexis?
About a week later, Bane peered into the darkness of The Lair. "Lexy?"
The darkness stirred, and a shape arose from behind the pile, blinking violet eyes and shaking frost out of her hair. "I've been expecting you, Bane."
"O... kay." Bane took a seat on the cold floor, only to have the Draik push a cushion over for him to sit on. "Thanks." He blinked, a little surprised.
She sighed. "It's nothing. What did you want to ask me?"
Bane bit his lip. "Who... who pulled me to safety back in the Tomb? Was it you or Danter?"
Lexy shrugged. "Does it matter what he was in the end? It should only matter who he was- especially to you? I think if you weigh his good traits against his bad, you'll figure it out for yourself."
Bane scowled, completely unsatisfied. "But-"
"No buts. Get moving, Bane- your shop needs to be opening soon." Moving back over to her original spot with a quiet swish, Lexy folded her legs underneath her and yawned. "Go."
He smirked, darting forward and snagging a White Snowball Plushie as Lexy snapped back awake. "Not without this!"
"Bane! Give that back!"
Falling through the portal and rolling across the floor with the force of his jump, Bane brushed frost and dust out of his fur as he priced the Plushie, then opened the door to his shop and took a deep breath of Mystery Island air.
Across the lane, a Ghost Usul was opening her shop as well, and she waved warmly to Bane.
"Good luck today, Bane. See you for lunch?"
"You know I wouldn't go without you, Lyce." He smiled back before turning around and seeing the Broken Heart Keyring his Employer had stocked last night. Danter...
Danterion, his mind called to the Bori, someday I'll decide whether you were my friend or my enemy.
But until then, I'll believe in the good that I know must have lived in you.
The door opened, the bell pealing out happily as the Cybunny smiled. "Welcome to Raided From the Lair. Can I help you with something?"