Chapter 34: The Death of Bloody Guenther [Unedited]


[Keys] The flat-screen back here is covering the latest mass shooting, "The level of inaction meets the definition of insanity. Codify these as terrorist acts so we can pursue preventative measures," former CIA Analyst Ann Fells tells WZZZ's news anchor, Sem Slacy. #Constructs3

[Keys] Sem asks, "That definition will untie law enforcement's hands?" Ann wholeheartedly agrees, "Yes. Red flag laws don't work because radical extremists, disgruntled employees, and kids whose parents miss signs need to be stopped at or before gun acquisition." #Constructs3

[Keys] She offers a da-ning statement, "Laws that kick in after the act occurs are useless. Combating this effectively means we deal with things prior to any teeth needing to be applied." I know I'm tired of looking over my shoulder when I go to the fu--ing store. #Constructs3


[Keys] I notice the text at the bottom of the screen refers to Ann as a former CIA Analyst, but she sure seems to use a lot of 'we' and 'us' when discussing her ideas. Either there wasn't a clean break and somebody's still smarting from the parting of ways, or.... #Constructs3

[Keys] This is possibly the greatest clandestine cover in the history of espionage - willfully outing yourself. Nobody would believe Ann's still active because her face and identity are constantly splashed across the news. If she had a family, they'd be targets. #Constructs3

[Keys] And that's precisely why it works. Wow! Ann's backbone (a term for the muscle she has backing her up) must be powerful. Kinda reminds me of Sam - completely random yet compelling entrants into my story who'll be getting their own. Anyway, back to mine. #Constructs3


[Keys] I watch what used to look like a metal file revert back to something I one day hope Mahagony will want to put a ring on. Fate must sense my distraction and whispers, "Brenda is a princess from the planet Bruton - enemies of the Pillorian Regime," for focus. #Constructs3

[Keys] "Planet or moon is up for scientific debate as this has become one of those Pluto-type things," she adds, "but the war's subsided in the last few centuries. Nobody quite knows why. All that's known is the Brutonians have increased in influence and reach." #Constructs3

[Keys] Crouched, Brenda sifts through the contents of the safe before returning to standing. Royalty. By whose authority other than genetics or the lottery of luck? A beneficiary of social (status) and hierarchical circumstance. I don't get all into the pomp. #Constructs3


[Keys] Two more keys to use. Two more circumstantial locks to open. Two more chances to turn back before Bloody Guenther is unleashed. Everybody wants me to do this. My enemies, their supposed enemies, and even the enemies of those enemies! But what do I want? #Constructs3

[Keys] "This what you wanted?" As Brenda hands a small box to the keeper of my soul, Fate notices my attempt at dodging eye contact. Not like she can't read my mind, sense my feelings, or interpret my thoughts; her go-to is professional, "I don't want any of it." #Constructs3

[Keys] Not even me? Fate gives me the 'don't do this right now' look while understanding my needy, codependent behavior is due to her influence and triggered by what she said earlier about not caring - but doesn't let Brenda in on our esoteric tiff, "Thank you." #Constructs3


[Keys] "Now you have five minutes to get out of my store before I call the police," Brenda warns as she doesn't see the need to waste Ethereal abilities on something lower beings can handle. And after our previous run-in with the authorities, we decide to bounce. #Constructs3

[Keys] Outside I opt for an isolation play when ordering, "El Muerto, have Sweet Charles take you back to the NSF and let them know the Brutonians are a player. Tevatron, you need to get back to class." This vigilante shi- is fine and good, but education first. #Constructs3

[Keys] "You're worse than my parents," Tevatron complains before teleporting away. I'm pretty sure they don't know about the special abilities. El Muerto isn't much for words in his original form, nods, and takes his leave. "So what's in this box?" I ask Fate. #Constructs3


[Keys] "Say what's on your mind," Fate urges, "so I don't have to invade your thoughts." Her discretion here is new. "That stuff you said earlier," I'm wondering, "did you mean that about me?" She answers honestly, "I've been down this path umpteen times before." #Constructs3

[Keys] Expanding, "You were nowhere near the first," Fate tries her best not to freak the shi- out of me, "and if this doesn't work, you won't be the last," and fails horribly. She adds, "Goliath actually took out quite a few, so you do have that going for you." #Constructs3

[Keys] We take our time walking through the mall. I kinda relish the views we get. We're nowhere near a couple, but the thought of people thinking of us in that manner is boosting to my ego. "You're lucky Goliath isn't the jealous type," Fate claims. Yeah right. #Constructs3


[Keys] "The only thing Goliath has done more than battle you is love you," I tell her. There'd be a creepy domestic violence vibe to their situation if it wasn't so romantic. Real emotion. Them setting aside their differences must be encouraging for my prospects. #Constructs3

[Keys] Fate doesn't seem to be keeping up with the 'respecting my private thoughts' thing and speaks on my assertion, "You're pretty cool for a carjacker, but I can't allow myself to get attached. I won't. In the savage scheme of things, you're a rounding error." #Constructs3

[Keys] "But you want to," I prod, "because the keeper of a soul can't help but covet the vessel as much as the husk cherishes the control. Self-preservation in normal sense - twisted and extended. This isn't True Love. It's perverse, but I love you deeply still." #Constructs3


[Keys] "Love - no matter its origin makes loss that much harder," Fate explains, "and I've lost so many over centuries that the pain is almost never-ending. I'm cold because it insulates me from the warmth." With every fiber of my being, I say, "Let's end this." #Constructs3

[Keys] Since my 'being' is in her hands, the statement was overly emphatic. She announces, "To win my freedom is to resurrect Goliath's nemesis. To refuse is to be bound to the Brutonians for more of eternity, so believe me, I'm keenly aware of your situation." #Constructs3

[Keys] "Why are you in this dilemma?" I ask. Her response is telling, "I defied them. The only way David could beat Goliath was with Brutonian help - by Ethereals intervening and thus cheating. I interceded to change Goliath's fate and the outcome of the story." #Constructs3


[Keys] We pass by a sweet-smelling pastry shop, and I'm close to offering Fate something with her being so forthcoming. But isn't that her very nature? "Exactly," she agrees with the sentiment yet clarifies the context, "but back then, I could alter the present." #Constructs3

[Keys] "No shi-?" That sounds wild to me. "Yeah, sure could," she smiles proudly. I reiterate, "So you could alter the present in order to ensure the future you sought." Only, "I crossed the wrong faction, and they took away a part of my ability," Fate admits. #Constructs3

[Keys] "Be that as it was and shall be - yes, it's not like I couldn't see my own future," Fate explains, "my love for Goliath ran into a violent disinformation campaign. Long-held beliefs are often ideas from forced ideals. Bloody Guenther was their messenger." #Constructs3


[Keys] "I get all that," I stress, "and Ethereals using brutal means, wicked ambassadors, and even holidays to oppress or seduce lower beings doesn't surprise me. What I can't figure out is why, after saving Goliath, he went so hard against you all these years." #Constructs3

[Keys] "Because of the part that followed which isn't written in any stories," Fate replies. I'm on the edge of my seat. She goes into it, "Despite Bloody Guenther essentially bringing the celestial level of existence to a sword fight, Goliath still held his own." #Constructs3

[Keys] Dude's a fu--ing beast! "The visual is still fresh in my mind: Bloody Guenther's hand glowed purple as he drew back the sling with a rock infused by the Pillorian Regime's energy signature. With a quiver of rocks, he flung them in rapid-fire succession." #Constructs3


[Keys] "No fool, my love, dove for cover initially, but the energy wound up being perverse. Seeking. There was no cover. Nowhere to hide, and he began to take very real damage by mere proximity alone." Like horseshoes, grenades, and WMD - close always counted. #Constructs3

[Keys] "More than you realize, Keys," Fate adds, "because Goliath, as any fighter would in his position, opted to get inside where he could exploit the sling's range. But although Bloody Guenther couldn't fling anymore rocks, the savage energy signature persisted." #Constructs3

[Keys] Shi-. :( "Each blow would normally take a fatiguing toll from the expenditure of stamina needed to fend the attacks off and counterattack, but the Ethereals' very power was on loan to Bloody Guenther as they sought to use him to make an example of Goliath." #Constructs3


[Keys] Sounds serious, so I question the meaning, "Make an example - for what? He seems like the 'leave me the fu-- alone' type. Like his day consists of gaming, online shopping, and telecommuting." Fate laughs, "That visual of Goliath is on point but so wrong." #Constructs3

[Keys] "Hold up, he games?" Let me guess, "He's into fighting games isn't he? I can't see him playing any shooters." Fate says, "You might be right about that because Goliath misjudged the bidirectional nature of the sling as a projectile weapon while grappling." #Constructs3

[Keys] "The perceived advantage from wrestling's top position was merely the fodder of bait for Bloody Guenther who clawed after any pebble he could find to load the sling. The story you're familiar with picks up here, but I'll explain the 'example' part first." #Constructs3


[Keys] "Do you believe in Ethereals?" Fate asks as we make it outside the mall. "Do I believe they exist?" I request some clarification. "Exactly," Fate answers. "Huh?" I'm confused. She says, "Even after meeting Brenda or me, your answer should've been yes." #Constructs3

[Keys] "Ethereals have two main weaknesses," Fate explains: "Lack of faith and each other. Your unemphatic response is the reason many Ethereals on Earth no longer hold sway when once they influenced all. Ethereals thrive from lower beings' willful subordination." #Constructs3

[Keys] "Being part of something larger than oneself is comforting," I admit, "but isn't there also a component of fearing their superiority?" Fate nods, "You see that's the dirty, little fallacy. An Ethereal can't use their power for fear of another using theirs." #Constructs3


[Keys] "But didn't Brenda...," just try to crush me via telekinesis? Fate counters, "She didn't follow through. It was mostly posturing. Even if she did, we're under the Brutonians' jurisdiction, so it wouldn't have mattered." Well shi-. Can I request a trade? #Constructs3

[Keys] If you thought the mall was ginormous, the parking lot is even more ridiculous - which would make sense when you sit and think about it. The only thing I'm thinking of however is, "If you're not an Ethereal, then what are you?" She replies, "I don't know." #Constructs3

[Keys] As I stand here, I couldn't tell you how I fit into the existential scheme of things. What's wild is, "You kinda put a damper on the whole all-knowing, all-powerful narrative." Fate adds, "If you knew everything, what decision would you make?" #MindBlown #Constructs3


[Keys] "Anyway Goliath was a lot like you in many ways," Fate says before offering a backhanded compliment, "except for him being a brick of a man with deftly chiseled features - yum and those deep, beautiful, sad, yet honest eyes." For fu--'s sake, get on with it! #Constructs3

[Keys] "He was everything you're not," Fate is a fu--ing as- hole, "and the Ethereals hated him for it. How he stood there and didn't need them, didn't attribute his success to them, and although he acknowledged their existence - he didn't fear them. That's why." #Constructs3

[Keys] That's why I've loved him for what seems like ever. That's why Impetus, Sumo Jo, and El Muerto follow him. That's why his armies stood strong with him always and behind him back then. We believe in him without all the fables. The Ethereals were envious. #Constructs3


[Keys] "The ability to inspire and lead without corporate bullshi- and fear?" I can see how that quality would be in such high demand by those who might seek to understand it for the purposes of its exploitation. "So simplistic and petty a yearning," Fate laments. #Constructs3

[Keys] "After taking the power of creation to the face," she picks up where the story left off, "Goliath was blasted backward to an unconscious, defenseless crumple. But this isn't a game. Bloody Guenther wouldn't be satisfied with that and needed to make sure." #Constructs3

[Keys] "Having lost his other armaments during the scuffle," I can tell she's becoming unusually conflicted, "he pulled Goliath's sword from its sheath as my love's armies watched on." Reminds me of those crazy people who stand on the sides of golfers teeing off. #Constructs3


[Keys] "It wasn't a fair fight to begin with," Fate reminisces, "so my response could not be said to've been unfair. As Goliath lay on his back, I threw myself on top of him from head to torso. In begging for mercy, I dared Bloody Guenther to strike us both down." #Constructs3

[Keys] She goes on to announce, "Our love outed. Not that it mattered in the moment so much as the Ethereals' scheme of things. But if it meant they could appropriate my abilities, they were willing to take this loss and eat their cake too by rewriting history." #Constructs3

[Keys] I wonder what Bloody Guenther's motivations were here. Move Fate out the way and chop off Goliath's head. Decapitate Goliath and take Fate as his own. Kill them both. Her take on this is, "He way considering all the above, and his hesitation did him in." #Constructs3


[Keys] "What was Bloody Guenther's decision?" I wonder. "Well," Fate, "we're both still alive," has a roundabout way of saying she doesn't know. And her rebuttal, "Ha. I wouldn't advise asking him if I were you. He's not about to make the same mistake again." #Constructs3

[Keys] "It was so painful the first time around," Fate claims. I'm all ears, "Armor can do nothing for internal injuries sustained through this type of battle, but time heals all wounds. My earnest display of sorrow (read: feminine wiles) purchased a few seconds." #Constructs3

[Keys] "Goliath didn't even need full functionality - just a moment to clear out the cobwebs plus ascertain or somewhat right his bearings. Once accomplished, he kicked a savage right foot outward pushing Bloody Guenther's kneecap the completely wrong direction." #Constructs3


[Keys] Graphic - I cringe at the visual, but Fate says, "Your reaction is premature. Bloody Guenther stumbled backward out of instinct but toppled forward upon a crippled leg that could no longer support the weight of his body. We were nowhere near done with him." #Constructs3

[Keys] After how I was introduced to Fate and then Goliath, I've never considered the prospects of them combining efforts - even after they recently set aside significant differences. "Oh it was glorious," she boasts as our own partnership is on natural display. #Constructs3

[Keys] What do I mean by that? We're being followed, and we both know it but don't let on in keeping to the sidewalk and our conversation. Her story doesn't miss a beat, "On his harrowing path to the ground, Bloody Guenther could no longer hold onto the sword." #Constructs3


[Keys] Somehow we both knew it was coming. It's why I sent El Muerto away with Sweet Charles in our only ride. There was a small indiscretion at the end of Chapter 31. It's also why we turn down one of the mall's alleyways rather than head toward the parking lot. #Constructs3

[Keys] To get it out the way before we free Bloody Guenther whose story Fate continues, "I may've had something to do with the hilt of the sword falling perfectly into Goliath's grasp, but I don't mind getting the credit when there was sure to be plenty of blame." #Constructs3

[Keys] "In a feat of irony only I could truly appreciate, a fluke impaling occurred on Bloody Guenther's way to the ground," she tells me, "so I backed away. Goliath pulled him close and twisted the sword in the wound to make it larger - that much harder to heal." #Constructs3


[Keys] We're stopped in our tracks by the Associate who greets, "Ma'am. Mister Davis. Mister Allis would like to have some words with you about what was recovered from the spaceport." My response is, "I'm on my smartphone all day. He could've called or texted." #Constructs3

[Keys] The Associate disagrees, "That's so impersonal and informal when we really need to gauge forthrightness." I do admire how Fate has no fear based off knowing the outcome, but I make a play for her safety anyway, "Leave her out of this," to keep up our guise. #Constructs3

[Keys] The Associate declines, "No it seems like she was telling you quite the tale, and I'd like to hear the end of it during our drive. As you probably gathered when turning down this alley, the car is back that way," and holds out a hand to illustrate the point. #Constructs3


[Keys] We can see the dark outline of a shoulder rig holster as the Associate's extended arm drapes his suit coat open enough for its intentional reveal. Hints aren't necessary, but clarity is useful: You shouldn't flash it if you're not going to use it though. #Constructs3

[Keys] The car is cramped. Two suits packing obvious heat underneath sit on either side of me as I chill in the back middle seat with that busted lap belt (only). Fate is stuck up front in the passenger seat. These silly sexists must not see her as any threat. #Constructs3

[Keys] When in fact she's the entire threat. The Associate gets in behind the wheel again and drives off while admitting, "I didn't take you for the religious type, Mister Davis. But there I found you with this woman - I'm sorry?" Her response is simply, "Fate." #Constructs3


[Keys] "Fate?" The Associate asks, "Is that foreign?" She snickers, "Oh yeah, it's foreign." Whereas he may think they're flirting with one another (at gunpoint), I believe she's licking her lips via deviously smiling eyes at a next potential mark. #GameKiller #Constructs3

[Keys] That'd also mean I would've failed, but Fate doesn't seem so anxious to discard me when saying, "I have a long-term, vested interest in the men in my life. Could you make such a commitment?" The Associate responds, "Honestly no, and those men are lucky." #Constructs3

[Keys] He's real yet guarded. "One such man couldn't commit either," she adds, "but decided so at the wrong time." The Associate had caught the tail end of our conversation and confirms, "Bloody Guenther?" Fate nods, "Goliath ripped the sword from him as proof." #Constructs3


[Keys] With rush hour out the way and the scene at Plaza Verde cleared, we're heading back the way we came which puts us on path of Palatine. If the name sounds familiar, it's because the most notorious crime family in the Midwest is from there: The Palatine Triad. #Constructs3

[Keys] And I gather we're driving right into their clutches. "At this point, I backed away," Fate says of all the blood pouring from Bloody Guenther. More irony. "You couldn't be more than forty," the Associate interjects, "and Goliath is a historical figure." #Constructs3

[Keys] "The way you avert your eyes when they fall my direction," she states, "tells me you don't need much of any convincing. Explain." Unlike me, "I am religious," the Associate claims, "and unlike what constitutes offside in soccer, this makes perfect sense." #Constructs3


[Keys] Sense made perfect. I'll reserve my judgment about how somebody in organized crime might be hesitant about one day being made to atone for certain unscrupulous actions because there are much worse, amoral individuals who aren't concerned about such things. #Constructs3

[Keys] The Associate states, "Goliath is a well-known and well-respected mercenary. His skills are legendary, so I just never put it past him that he was the living personification of documentary evidence. Since this story is true -" Fate interrupts, "It's not." #Constructs3

[Keys] "You're so thirsty," she assails, "as if unshakable faith in the face of facts that disprove your own case will curry favor with the Ethereals. The fact Goliath's even alive flies in the face of everything you were taught from a story you didn't fully read." #Constructs3


[Keys] "Who are you?" The Associate questions Fate's veracity. "I'm the one that knows how it all ends," she replies. He thinks the reference has to do with the story but misses the connection with her name entirely, "Please enlighten me. How does Goliath fare?" #Constructs3

[Keys] "He used all the force from ripping the sword out to twirl into chopping off Bloody Guenther's head," Fate paints the visual, "so you see that little part most neglect to tell kids about Bloody Guenther AKA David decapitating Goliath is factually reversed." #Constructs3

[Keys] The Associate refutes her assertion, "Don't fault me for wanting - needing to believe in something larger than myself to help sort this madness called existence out." Fate can and, "I do (fault you) for your callous indifference toward self-enlightenment." #Constructs3


[Keys] Fate goes on to say, "Those very same Ethereals da-ned me. Goliath couldn't have known, but as Bloody Guenther fell, they ripped away a piece of myself - a piece I've been trying to recover ever since back then." Her core ability to manipulate the present. #Constructs3

[Keys] She empathizes, "He couldn't have comprehended my loss. It's like losing the functional use of your hands - something you've known all your life, but being told there's a way to get the ability back. You'd do almost anything to be made whole again." #truth #Constructs3

[Keys] "I was so esoterically crippled by function but blinded as a result of stark unfamiliarity that I just collapsed. Goliath showed concern, but I brushed it back telling him to continue. He proceeded to dismember Bloody Guenther into nine additional pieces." #Constructs3


[Keys] "Head, hands, arms, feet, legs, and torso for a total of ten body parts - Goliath expressed no pleasure in the act. Doused in blood and other bodily fluids, this was necessity. To scatter the remains would make it that much harder for them to be revived." #Constructs3

[Keys] "And Goliath's generals did just that. The locations died with them which only solved the problem of lower beings seeking the remains out. The Ethereals cut through such limitations by forcing me to reunite the incorporeal volume." Enter my part in this. #Constructs3

[Keys] "I'm sorry," the Associate tells Fate. "Oh?" She questions. His response is more a fair critique of himself, "Without real empathy, most won't ever internalize the wrongdoing of those they support until they personally know someone being affected by it." #Constructs3


[Keys] That apology seems to assuage Fate's angst toward the Associate. Sincerity in those apparently go a long way. In this never admit fault, deflect, and deny day and age, I wouldn't know. Despite the previous tension, we're making good time on decent roads. #Constructs3

[Keys] Sounds like she answered his questions satisfactorily, but what about mine? "What am I missing? You. Goliath. Your love." Don't leave me hanging here. "Yes that. He'd love me with or without my full abilities, but Bloody Guenther was a mass murderer." #Constructs3

[Keys] "Goliath wouldn't - he shouldn't allow Bloody Guenther's resurrection. And I couldn't - I can't function without those abilities. Being under the thumb of Ethereals is ruinous torture. The games they play pitting us against one another. The brilliance." #Constructs3


[Keys] We pull into a corporate park. I should've known. Why would I expect organized crime to be run out of anything other than an office building? The Associate peers at me through the rearview mirror and asks, "Did you ever wonder who solicited your services?" #Constructs3

[Keys] Actually, "No. As long as the money's right, I'm cool with Sweet Charles handling things." The Associate admits, "We were too," before a cloth bag comes out, all goes dark, handcuffs get slapped on, and the car drives around so I lose my sense of direction. #Constructs3

[Keys] I don't know where the fu-- I am. I don't know what the fu-- is going on. All I know is I have a key for these handcuffs. Hands free, hood off. Fate is standing before me - swinging her own cuffs and asks, "What took so long? Fall asleep under there?" #Constructs3

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