Post by Carro Hofferson on Nov 24, 2019 23:56:15 GMT -6
NO TRAINING ITEMS IN USE
"No, no, no, please--" Charred shoes bolted across the charred earth. Raging ki tore the skies, the reports confirmed in fear. Carro could smell the crackling ashes. The closer he drew to the epicenter, the stronger that churning smell of blood grew. His heart hammered in his stomach, his mind was screaming to save himself the sight and turn around, but his feet kept moving.
The day had started normally enough. He'd woken up, checked to make sure his Dragon Ball was still safe, and left home to give LEO a much-needed oil change. He was going to meet with his parents for a movie night, buy something nice for Sulfur, and sleep easy. He couldn't sense energy- he could barely grasp his own ki. But when a flood of fear-filled emergency calls flooded the company lines like a wildfire, Carro could feel something die. Or someone.
Emerald hate snuffed out a golden ember of hope. Even with the vague reports of very distant witnesses, it didn't take a rocket scientist for Carro to know the culprit. He was one of the first on the scene- and in spite of LEO's worried demands otherwise, the President had rushed to find what remained. Who could have been on the recieving end? What even caused that damn demon to tip again?... Did he even care what caused Sensoa to break anymore?
The stench of death grew stronger. Carro froze the moment pried away at the bloodied foliage.
There was a body. A child's body.
Tarch was dead.
Carro brought a hand to his mouth, holding back the gurgling vomit in his throat before turning around and fumbling to lean against a tree. He couldn't look at the corpse's lifeless eyes.
"...I should have killed you." Carro muttered to himself, burying his face into his hands. He barely knew this kid. But from what little he saw, he knew enough about Tarch to know that he wouldn't have harmed a damn fly. A child, his mind jeered again. Dead and gone because he held onto hope for someone who had long lost it. Tears welled up in his eyes as his mind raced. What of the poor kid's family? What could he have possibly done to earn that wretched hole in his gut?
A hand, wrapped around his stomach, brushed against a small sphere in his pocket. Carro's palm gripped the smooth surface of the sphere. He didn't have proof, but he had enough of a hunch to know the culprit. "STUPID THING--!!" He shouted, chucking the seven-starred sphere onto the ground in growing ire. What else could it possibly be?! What else could drive someone to do something like this aside from the promise of a miracle?! Carro kicked the Dragon Ball into a tree, breathing heavily. He wanted to crack the trouble magnet under his foot, to be done with the war they brought once and for all. But no matter how hard he kicked it, Carro knew it wouldn't break.
He winced, prying his eyes back to the mess left. He had to force his body forwards- Carro felt like he was wading through quicksand as he approached Tarch's body. With painstaking gentleness, Carro knelt down and raised the dead child's head. A sword had been driven through his stomach and pried his life out, if the wound was any indicator. But at the same time, it seemed that the kid went down fighting...
His mind still mocked him. If he took his chance and killed Sensoa back at Central City, a family would still have their son. If he could have tracked down the demon, he could have swayed him before this happened. He could have come faster, fought harder, done better, and maybe, just maybe, there wouldn't have been a life lost... And more was going to be lost if this didn't stop.
He could already hear the demon's mocking voice. Sensoa would probably try to taunt him for failing to save him from himself. He would gleefully separate Carro's head from his shoulders...
"...No." Carro muttered. He tried. He gave Sensoa many chances- the warbringing monster had more than enough opportunities to turn away. He did all that he could- the person responsible wasn't Carro, it was the one that went and drove a blade through a kid's heart. Hadn't Kayen said she was going to keep him and her people in line, too? Wasn't it her responsibility to keep her soldiers in his line, just as it was his to defend Earth from harm? Some alliance this was- the Kingdom was doing a poor job at what Kayen promised him.
"I didn't know you well." Carro stepped back and wiped his face, finally gazing into Tarch's lifeless eyes. "But I'll make sure none follow you to the afterlife by his hands." Not one, as long as he breathed. The mere thought of killing Sensoa still made Carro feel sick, but the thought of his people falling made him even sicker. He knelt down, picking up his dirtied Dragon Ball. "...We'll use these cursed things to bring you back home, where you belong." Carro turned away. "I promise, over my dead body."
That evening at King's Castle was quiet.
"...How was it?"
LEO's solemn gaze trailed her pacing pilot. Carro was deftly welding metal into place. He didn't bother to meet LEO's eyes, but she knew everything from the aura of pain exuding from him. The memories of the lifeless body made LEO shudder again. "Are you sure about fighting him?"
"If we die..."
For once, LEO was the worried one. Carro sighed and slumped again. "I... I really don't know, to be honest. I haven't touched this thing since last time he was threatening to wipe out the universe." He turned the machine in front of him. It's form was humanoid, still riddled with layers of dust on half-finished arms and legs. "I was ready to die. I think I still am." He'd heard some tales of what the Afterlife wrought. A nice home in Heaven probably had his and LEO's names on it! But the coldness, the people he'd leave, the world that could crumble behind him and his mistakes... His invention would fix that. Maybe. He'd returned life with mechanics before. If the worst came, could he restore his own?
"We're taking him with us, at the very least." Carro sneered. "Your Blutz Generation is still functional, correct?" LEO nodded. Before she could say anything, Carro quickly returned to his work, flipping away at stacks upon stacks of papers. "...Carro, there's no telling how this will clash with the Link, you know. You came up with this idea before that." LEO quickly rebutted, lowering her head to her sleep-deprived pilot's level. "I know. But I can't just... leave- even if..." The mech felt his surge of emotions and worries. He imagined Sulfur's pain as she held his lifeless corpse. He imagined horrors taking the opportunity to steal his empty throne for their vile purposes, and the pain that would befall all after. "...Even if we fall," LEO forced a small smile. "I think they will be able to handle themselves."
"After all, hadn't we taken the lesson from last time to trust our allies to heart?" Sulfur, Van, Banshee, many others were willing to risk everything to protect their home, just as he had. More would rise to fight for their universe if his life was the sacrifice he had to pay. But he couldn't leave everything he loved. "I suppose..."
Carro's thoughts were still a mess. He had resolved to take Sensoa down once and for all, but everything else was fighting in his mind. "Ugh, I'll think about this later." He groaned, picking up the robotic husk of a body and shoving it back into the supply closet. "But we need to act soon. I'm not going to let anyone die because we're twiddling our thumbs." LEO nodded, still stern and solemn. "Good." They had a few final things to clean off their plate first. "For starters, Chime wanted to meet with you again, correct? That Makaimorph fellow went out of his way to make an appointment with us, too." Carro tiredly raised his gaze with an affirmative mumble. They would cross this bridge when they got there, as soon as that would be. "Y-yeah. First things first..." Carro trailed off. His mouth curled into a sneer. He was tired, scared, just wanted to sleep everything off, but he wasn't going to take anything else standing down. "...But I'm NOT going to let him do this EVER again."
This was his planet, his people, his home. They believed he could protect them, and he was going to follow through with that promise until his dying breath. "We'll protect them." LEO affirmed. "The Earth was right to choose you to lead. Just don't worry," She smiled, genuine this time. The feline rested her head close to Carro, resting the tip of her chin in his tiny palms. "I'll be with you every step of the way." Carro couldn't help but to feel calmer too. They could do this.
His eyes flashed orange before light overtook his vision.
The light faded. Carro pried his hands away from his eyes, but an orange glow still seeped through the corners of his eyes. They were coming from his hands- now newly clawed in an eerily familiar set of armor that looked as if it was welded to his skin. "W-what?!?" Carro stuttered, quickly dashing off to the second-story bathroom in a split second. Looking in the mirror, he found himself staring back at the visage of a familiar form. "Lifeblood?" LEO's voice rang in his head. They'd only ascended to this form twice before. Instead of the piercing orange and green eyes of LEO, Carro found his own docile pupils looking back at him. It didn't hurt to be in the form.
"Is... Is it stable?" He clenched and unclenched his armored claws in anticipation. "...Considering the last circumstances, this form does tend to arise when we have a great need. But there's no drain this time..." LEO ran the scans again and again. Carro could see the data pop up in his shared vision. They were synchronized enough for the form to stick, it seemed. He still took in his reflection, pulling at his mouth to see the rows of fangs fastened inside. He didn't even need the step-stool anymore to look in the mirror.
The unified desire to protect their world was what first triggered the Lifeblood state, and now here he was again. "This will be useful later. But we don't really need it right now--" Carro's train of thought froze as realization struck. "...How do we turn it off?"
Carro sighed. This new predicament and revelation was jarring, but he couldn't forget what he had to fight for. "We're fixing this, Earth." He proclaimed again to the mirror, his voice mingling with LEO's. "We're fixing this or we'll die trying."
WORD COUNT: 1,845
Again, NO TRAINING ITEMS ARE IN USE! This is a quick solo to plot for what's to come.