Contessa spoke to the air. "Door to Cauldron headquarters, Super Duper High Security Sector."
She stepped through the portal into Cauldron. Or as it was now known, the Dimensional-Space Administration Bureau. DSAB personnel bustled about, working tirelessly on their mission to benefit humanity. Establishing communication between worlds, encouraging trade and commerce, and putting world leaders in the Timeout Corner whenever they started a war.
She walked past the employees and into a large room labeled "Threat Surveillance (Super Duper Class)". There large screens displaying surveillance feeds of the three remaining threats to humanity.
The first screen was "NEW TRIGGERS"
After Scion's defeat, record numbers of trigger events began occurring on Earth Aleph, Gimel, and other worlds. The powers that had been destined for Earth Bet were connecting to the nearest available hosts. If they were left unchecked, they would quickly turn the worlds into war-torn wastelands.
Fortunately, Cauldron had found a temporary solution. A solution named Eidolon. A tip from the time loopers had led them to discover that Eidolon could suck the power out of parahumans to recharge his abilities.
Eidolon had gone into a deep depression at first. He spent a week moping around the Cauldron Cave, moaning that he was a monster, that his condition was a curse, that his power came at the cost of draining the life force from others, et cetera.
Then Number Man sarcastically congratulated Eidolon on adopting the proper level of angst for a vampire, and gave him red contact lenses and a black cape and fangs to complete the image.
Eidolon had gotten over his angst with almost unseemly speed.
The screen showed a draining session in progress. Eidolon was hovering above an angry Japanese girl who had gained the unfortunate ability to suck people and animals into pocket-sized balls and then eject them by throwing the balls at her enemies. Eidolon stoically endured an assault from balls that disgorged the girl's parents, ex-boyfriend, ex-ex-boyfriend, college professor, hospital nurse, local policewoman, two street thugs and their cat, her pet duck, goldfish, seahorse, starfish, toad, hamster, and some kind of salamander that was...on fire? Huh.
Fortunately for all concerned, that loathsome ability would be permanently banished from existence in the next 216 seconds.
The second screen was "ENDBRINGERS"
Unfortunately, the complete destruction of Earth had not been enough to get rid of the complete bullshit known as the Endbringers. They had been ejected into space, controlled their flight with energy bursts and water jets and telekinetic BS, and landed on the surface of Venus.
The Endbringers were dormant now, for the most part, but they occasionally lurched into motion and built rudimentary structures with materials they scavenged from the Venusian landscape. The structures had no apparent purpose, but to be on the safe side Eidolon visited every three to four months and razed them to the ground. A satisfying reversal of the previous pattern where humans built and Endbringers razed.
The odd thing was that more Endbringers had been appearing. A time manipulator, a power copier, a thousand foot tall tower. They were all on Venus, though, so no one worried too much about them.
Except Eidolon. Eidolon constantly insisted that it was critically important to oppose the Endbringers and their sinister plans for the inhabitants of the planet Venus (population: 0).
The rest of Cauldron humored him. Eidolon was their most powerful weapon, so as long as he didn't get himself killed he could go play with the Endbringers 24/7 for all they cared.
Contessa squinted at the surveillance feed. The picture was fuzzy, clouded by the harsh Venusian atmosphere, and for a moment it looked like the Simurgh was twiddling her thumbs and whistling innocently. ...nah. That was probably her imagination.
The final screen was "SCION"
The alien entity orbited around the sun, motionless and dormant, eyes gazing at the stars.
It was anyone's guess how long his state of dormancy would last. The sum total of their knowledge was:
1. Scion tried to destroy things,
2. Bakuda and String Theory destroyed them first,
3. Scion went into a coma.
Would he ever awaken? Would he resume his destructive ways? Would he return to his old pattern of heroism? Was he aware in his motionless body, or had he gone entirely dormant?
There was one person who might be able to answer those questions. Unfortunately, she was insane.
Glaistig Uaine, the self-proclaimed Faerie Queen, hovered next to Scion and kept him company in his slumber. Apparently her spirits could sustain her life indefinitely in the void of space, conjuring air, food, water, a toilet with inter-dimensional plumbing, a fountain of youth, and a cute elf-themed space suit.
Contessa had used her power to gain insight into the woman's mind. Unfortunately, the woman was a complete whack job. Her power had spit out a bunch of garbled nonsense about fairies and cycles and bards and warrior-poets and sonnets.
Was she seriously supposed to believe that the alien retired from his world-conquering ways to write a sonnet? Not even a book of sonnets, or a sonnet cycle, just one single fucking sonnet? For three thousand and six hundred fucking years?
Yeah, right. It was obviously a deliberate ruse to hide the entity's true, sinister plan.
I mean, this was the alien who had planned with its partner to plunge the Earths into endless war for three hundred years, and then annihilate all of the Earths in a vile act of pan-dimensional genocide! It would be a relief if the lunatic was right and the threat was truly over, but...a peaceful retirement of writing poetry felt like an awfully light ending for the supremely malevolent entity.
Contessa squinted at the surveillance image of Scion. If only she could know what was passing through the nigh-omnipotent entity's mind...
The entity gazed at the stars, seeking inspiration for its grand sonnet.
It would be a masterpiece. A stirring tribute to the beauty of the cosmos. It would interweave meditations on universal physical laws with this entity's eons of experience investigating intelligent species in countless galaxies. A heartfelt paean to life, the universe, and everything.
The entity had been composing its sonnet for four hundred and eighty two Earth days. A mere fraction of the three thousand six hundred years remaining to it in its energy-efficient hibernation state. Still, it was enough time to work out the general shape of its masterwork.
The entity called the current draft of the sonnet to its mind.
by An Entity
Through the star-lit void, two entities soared,
Then one got ganked and the other got bored.
It tried to destroy, but it was blocked,
So it wrote a sonnet, and it rocked.
(todo: put more poetry here!)
(how many syllables go in each line, anyway? Nine?)
(wait, is this even the right rhyme style? Fuck.)
(todo: look up "sonnet" on Shardpedia again)
The entity was not entirely satisfied with its progress.
Its composition speed was excellent. It had finished 28.571428571% of the sonnet's lines in a mere 0.036681887% of the its remaining lifespan.
However, the lines were in need of revision. The draft was filled with bland, pedestrian words such as Through, Then, Got, Tried, and Wrote. They should be replaced with suitably poetic and impressive words, such as Monarch, Migration, Queen, Scourge, Chrystalis, Imago, and so on.
The problem was that revisions were extremely difficult! The entity tried to revise its sonnet for the 639274884th time, replacing the bad words with the good ones:
by An Entity
Monarch the star-lit void, two entities soared,
Migration one queen ganked and the other scourge bored.
It chrystalis to destroy, but it was blocked,
So it imago a sonnet, and it rocked.
The entity regarded its improved masterpiece-
No! The entity reeled as its Sonnet Validator Shard raised thousands of grammar and semantic fatal exceptions!
The entity hastily reverted the changes. The exceptions disappeared. The sonnet had returned to its earlier, unsatisfying state. Which still had an unacceptably high number of exceptions.
Poetry was hard!!!
The entity took stock of its situation.
What the entity needed was imagination. Unfortunately, imagination was something it lacked. It had cast off the great majority of its shards to take part in the cycle, including nearly all of the shards that had potential for creativity, as they were the ones that could learn the most from the subjects who inhabited the planet.
That had been the plan for this cycle. This entity would be the Warrior, brute force, while its partner was the Thinker, planning and imagination. The cycle had been disrupted, though, and the Warrior was left with no Thinker to guide it.
The entity had one hope for a solution. A series of almost unbelievably fortunate coincidences had provided it with a new source of imagination.
The Harvester shard.
The Harvester shard had connected to an exceptionally persistent female subject. She had survived the destruction of her planet and had chosen to accompany the entity in its orbit. The entity's precognition assured it that the subject would sit faithfully by the entity's side for the remaining thousands of years of its lifespan.
Even better, the Harvester had acquired surrogate connections to several hundred shards from the entity and its counterpart. Shards with the imagination the entity needed.
Still better, the Harvester was capable of reading the sonnets that the entity composed in its mind during its state of hibernation. The Harvester had somehow acquired a connection to one of the dead counterpart's Sonnet Broadcaster Shards.
Curious. Vital shards, such as those for sonnet creation, should never have been made available to the subjects. But the entity saw no reason to question its outrageously good fortune.
All the entity had to do was wait. The Harvester-bearing subject would read the sonnet, take its imperfections as a cue to search for improvements, and write her own literary works with variations on the theme. The entity would sift her literary works for useful segments, incorporate them into the sonnet, and begin the cycle anew.
A mini-cycle, culminating in the perfection of the Ultimate Sonnet.
The mini-cycle had been effective, for a time. The sonnet had improved in leaps and bounds.
However, the Harvester had soon taken the entity's imperfect poetry to be an entirely different sort of cue.
Glaistig Uaine, the magnificent Faerie Queen, chewed her lip as she finished the first chapter of her new masterpiece. She wrote painstakingly slowly in elaborately stylized cursive, using an old-fashioned feathered quill-pen and a space-capable inkwell.
She finished the final stroke with a flourish of her quill-pen, and gave Scion a satisfied smile.
"My Lord, you'll be pleased to know that I have completed my latest composition. This is a true tale of the Faerie in the modern world, a tumultuous clash between the hidden realm of fantasy and mankind's soulless industrial society, and the varied adventures that followed therewith. All told in my humble attempt at your preferred manner of discourse. Please allow me to speak it aloud, as the tale benefits from being told by the selfsame Faerie who experienced these extraordinary events first hand."
The Faerie Queen spoke in a melliflous voice, her words conjuring vibrant vistas of drama and fantasy.
My Noble Faerie
Hi my name is Ciara Dark'ness Dementia Raven Way and I have long midnight black hair (that's how I got my name) with purple streaks and red tips that reaches my mid-back and icy green eyes like limpid tears and a lot of people tell me I look like Queen Titania (AN: if u don't know who she is get da hell out of here!). I'm not related to David Bowie but I wish I was because he's a major fucking hottie. I'm a faerie but my ears are curved and not pointy. I have pale white skin. I'm also a cape, and I live in a magic prison called Birdcage in Canada where I'm in the tenth year (don't ask my age! I'm seventeen at heart). I'm a goth (in case you couldn't tell) and I wear mostly black. I love Hot Topic and I put one of their stores in a pocket dimension and get all my clothes from there. For example today I was wearing a black corset with matching lace around it and a black leather miniskirt, pink fishnets and black combat boots. I was wearing black lipstick, white foundation, black eyeliner and red eye shadow. I was walking outside Birdcage. It was snowing and raining so there was no sun, which I was very happy about. A lot of props stared at me. I put up my middle finger at them and took their souls.
"Hey Ciara!" shouted a voice. I looked up. It was…. Eidolon!
"What's up Eidolon?" I asked.
"Nothing." he said shyly.
But then, I heard my spirits call me and I had to go away.
The Faerie Queen gave the entity a coquettish smile. "What do you think?"
The entity was perfectly still.
The Faerie Queen pensively rubbed the feathered end of her quill-pen against her lips. "I'm afraid I'm having some difficulty mimicking your preferred style. Is the tale suitably childish and lacking in direction? Should I add in more grammatical flaws? Or perhaps misspell a few words here and there?"
The entity was perfectly still. It had engaged an energy-saving hibernation shard and was incapable of taking any action to affect the external world. The only actions it could take were to revise its sonnet, and to observe the female subject's literary output. For the remaining three thousand six hundred years of its life.
The entity had a dim consciousness that this was a punishment. The series of coincidences leading to this point were too outrageously unlikely to have occurred by chance. They spoke of purpose, of a guiding hand behind the events.
There was only one explanation.
The counterpart had presciently anticipated this entity's betrayal of the cycle and was punishing it for its transgression.
The entity felt a glimmer of emotion. Regret. For having attempted to destroy the planet ahead of schedule. For having started the cycle in the first place.
However, it was too late to take back its decisions now.
The Harvester-bearing subject began to write...
AN: Smilez an wingz 2 zion666 4 helpin me wif da chapta! BTW props stop flaming ma story ok!
The next day I woke up in my cell block. It was snowing and raining again. I opened the door of my cell and communed with some spirits from a shard I had. My cell was black ebony and inside it was hot pink velvet with black lace on the ends-
The entity knew it should have stayed on homeworld.