This Week's Article
|Quentin Quire/Kid Omega : Possessed by the Shadow King, Quentin makes a uncharacteristically heroic last stand.
Jean maintained eye contact with the Shadow King. Both Jean and Quentin were the same height, so they stood eye to eye. She clenched her fists, lifting her chin. The thought of him taking her over again terrified her, but she was prepared this time. She knew it was coming. She could fight back.
"Not just him. For all of them. Do we have a deal?" she said.
The Shadow King roared victoriously, its cry reverberating and piercing deep into their minds. "Deal!" The manifestation of psychic energy lunged forward, a predator attacking its prey, but was pulled back before it could make its way to Jean. Quentin breathed it in like smoke.
"Fuck you, you fucking fuck," he said. "And you." He looked at Jean. "The hell's wrong with you? You're gonna let this thing in you to save me? Are you actually legitimately insane? God damn." He looked down at the puddle of ooze and astral blood at his feet, and let us a harsh laugh. "This thing's fucking killed me already. I'm not taking you with me, you dumbass."
Jean was startled at first when Quentin reasserted his control, but clenched her fists.
"Why do you have to be so--I know what I'm doing. Let me save you!" she said. She refused to believe it. His body was falling apart but they could figure out something.
"You can't. And there's no time to 'find a way' or whatever. Look at me. I'm actually melting. This fuck's pushed my power too far . . ." Quentin's trademark sneer faded, and he looked at Jean with something approaching deference for the first time. "How embarrassing would it be if someone else died for me? I could never live it down. Let me have this, Jean. Hey, witch." He turned to Amanda, still slumped over from Shadow King's earlier telekinetic attack. "Wake up. Wake up!" He sent a small telepathic slap to rouse her, about all the extra energy he could muster while still tamping down on the parasite.
"Bugr off," came the mumbled reply, before Amanda opened her eyes blearily and took in the scene. Quentin, melting, check. Haller, curled up in a ball, check. And Jean, about to...
Behind the blocks Xorn had installed in the survivors' minds, fiery wings opened and immolated the world. The Shadow King, wearing Jean's body, with access to her powers...
"NO!" Amanda cried out and cast her shielding spell. Not around herself or even Quentin's decaying form, but around Jean herself. The translucent bubble of light cut the red-head off from the rest of the room, locking her away from the Shadow King for precious moments.
Jean was stopped in her tracks. The world shimmered behind the bubble. It took her a moment to realize what had happened, and even then she was still stunned. She looked between Amanda and Quentin, torn between rage and panic.
"What are you doing?!" she screamed, beating on the bubble as hard as she could.
"LET ME OUT!"
She soon threw a telekinetic blast at it, but it ricocheted off the shield and knocked her off her feet.
"No! NO! DON'T DO THIS!"
"Oh, don't be so melodramatic," Quentin castigated her. He sighed and closed his eyes, and began drawing his power inward. The Shadow King raged in its makeshift prison in Quentin's head. The bars rattled and threatened to dislodge and free the beast. Quentin had to be fast if he were to slay the monster and save the day.
Save the day. Quentin Quire. Who the fuck thought up this reality?
He opened his eyes and looked at Jean and Amanda. "Hey, do me a favor, though. Tell Gabriel . . . he's a pretty good lay."
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