Cloak & Dagger The Assassins' Guild - Week 7 News


Monday, 28 November


[18:00 PM] Cornelius Grey has some strange experiences in the run-up to the Duel

Cornelius Grey reports:

Strange things had happened here... the inventor had tried to take his old job back... he'd tried, and he'd failed. Something called him back here, no matter how hard he tried to escape it. He'd glimpsed something in this different world, something that he couldn't just walk away from.

For some reason, that tower was the key to some of this.

So, Cornelius had begun to research it. Occasionally, reports of the antics of his automation reached his ears, but mostly, he worked in isolation. There were far too many things left for him to do in this world before he could simply walk away. Twitch would die in his place, then he'd have to go on and find a solution to this mess.

This mess... this damn slaughter that took place three times every year, a bloodbath that seemed to warp time around it, taking place three times every year, but often those three times were in different years and different universes...

The power of that tower wasn't meant to be understood by men... fortunately, Cornelius had never really cared what he was 'supposed' to do. He hadn't been supposed to survive the first attempt on his life... the incompetent inventor hadn't been 'supposed' to be the last of his friends still alive. He wasn't meant to have made it this far, but he had. So, why did he have to start doing what he was 'supposed' to do now, hmm?

The Gentleman had also trod this path... and it had ruined what was left of him. Yet still, he strode on, watching the world around him, fulfilling some purpose that only he and whatever consciousness was behind the dark tower would truly understand.

Well, that wasn't going to be his fate. He already had had nothing to live for... he'd lost his reason before he had entered the great 'game', not during it. And during the game, he'd picked up a new one.

He might not yet understand that power well enough to do anything meaningful, but he could do one small thing.

The spirits of those he'd killed would be here... still trapped within this vortex of energy that he damn well couldn't get any readings off of. Well, they had known what they were getting in for, wandering into this 'game', but that didn't make their deaths any less Cornelius' responsibility. And because of that, their current states were his fault.

He could at least do something about that.

The first... a marquess, a noble woman who had carried a defective gun, a prototype that had failed to match Cornelius' own design.

“What are you doing here?”

“I'm here... I guess to say hello? How have you been doing?” He extended his hand towards the spirit. For a moment, they hesitated, then slowly, their form became more physical and they shook it. Cornelius smiled and continued.

“Well, I would say I was sorry, but I wouldn't be being honest... I do apologise for your current state though.”

She looked thoughtfully at him.

“Here.” He handed her a small pebble, nothing truly important, but it acted as a connection to the physical world. “You shouldn't be here... I don't know if you deserve to be free, but you shouldn't be here. Nobody should be here, but I can't help them all.”

Her frown deepened as she failed to comprehend what he had said.

“Look, I'm giving you a way out.” He adjusted a small innocuous looking set of wires and cogs that he had been holding in his left hand. “Just turn and leave... well, if you could wait until...” He watched a spring within the device compress and decompress, the frequency of its oscilation increasing steadily until it was almost a blur, then suddenly, it stopped, “ok, now, you have a ten second window. Its power won't follow you if you leave now.”

She asked no questions... she simply turned and left. Grey allowed himself to smile. Even in all of this carnage, at least the tower would take nothing from him... he would at least take responsibility for what he and his creation had done.

The second he found within the vortex was not the second that he had killed.

“You... I know you, you're... socks? You used that name, right?”

The figure turned.

“What are you doing here? You don't belong here, you aren't dead.”

Grey smiled.

“No, no I'm not... I don't suppose you would be so kind as to direct me towards Broccoli and Viceroy Sir Rupert would you?”

“What else do I have left to do? Sure... how have you been, anyway?”

Was this dead man truly asking for how Cornelius had been? Somehow, that seemed rather ironic.

“Alive... yourself?”

“Not so alive. Here she...”

She wasn't there. Grey scowled and then placed a small cog on the floor.

“When you see her again... tell her to take this and hold onto it for a day. She is not to let go of it for that time.”

He then handed a similar cog to the man named 'box of socks'.

“This is for you... do the same and you can leave... now, where is the Viceroy?”

A nobleman... he had killed two nobles and been allied with another. Well, wherever Kenway and Wells were right now, they weren't his responsibility... they had been his friends, but he hadn't been the one to kill them.

The Viceroy... their interchange was short, but the two made their peace and Cornelius walked away with a slightly lighter heart. He hadn't been here asking for forgiveness or absolution, he had been here to simply do what he could to make some things right... but he had found forgiveness anyway.

“Hey, Cornelius, Twitch, wait!”

Twitch?

Oh, so his creation had kept the name.

Cornelius turned around, the scene around him was one of a dark alleyway at night, the only light being cast was from a single dimly burning lantern hanging loosely from a far off building.

He turned around to see the woman known as 'steamed broccoli' behind him.

“Yes?”

“Thankyou...”

She showed him the cog now tightly clasped in her left hand.

“You're welcome?”

“No, you didn't have to-”

“I know...”

There was a pause, and then the two began laughing. For a few minutes, they discussed their past experiences of the 'game', then another awkward silence descended on them.

“So...”

“Yes, right... I should let you go... good luck, try not to end up here too.”

Grey nodded and turned away, the world disappearing around him the moment its purpose had been fulfilled. Their encounter was over.

The fourth...

Ah, the one his automation should not have killed... the one who truly was more than his match...

“Good day Thadeus.”

Thadeus... was that right? Somehow, that seemed both right and oh so wrong... had it been Thadeus that Twitch had killed, or had it been somebody else? It was difficult to tell, and since his perception of this place was based on what was expected, he simply saw... ah, it was unimportant... Thadeus would act as a proxy for whoever had truly been killed by Twitch.

“I'm not here to apologise... I'm here to make a few amends and then help you pass on.”

Cornelius shivered as he felt something start to work its way up his back... apparently the tower had become aware of his meddling. That didn't give him much time left to complete his work. He checked his contraption of wires, cogs and springs once more.

“I'll keep this brief... could you direct me to Lord Deathstone?”

Thadeus simply nodded and turned away, leading Cornelius into a swirling void of colours. Exactly where one colour ended and the next began wasn't totally clear to the inventor, so he chose not to dwell on it.

“Here we are.” It was Cornelius who had spoke. Somehow, he had ended up being the one leading the way. “Just walk straight on from here, you can't miss it.”

He pointed a gun at the swirling colours and fired three times until they dissipated, leaving Thadeus with a clear path out of this place.

Lord Deathstone... another noble.

Before the past month, he'd never met a noble... now he had killed three.

“I think you have something that belongs to me, correct?”

The figure nodded and handed over a large repeating shock rifle.

“Thankyou... you've taken good care of her.”

He then shot the phantom three times and offered the gun back to them. They took the barrel as Grey started to walk away.

He wasn't done yet... but this was a start.

The other two, he never saw in person, but he ran the calculations and made sure that their ways out were ready for them when they needed them. He then walked from the tower, the spirit still holding the gun behind him.

“You should leave now.”

Cornelius nodded.

“That I should... good day Deathstone.”

With that, he turned and walked away. At least he could do this much... at least the tower would gain no sacrifice from him.

He would not become like the gentleman... the gentleman had become little more than a shell of what he had once been. Instead, Cornelius intended to find a way to fix this mess. But to do that... he'd need to walk a similar path to the one the gentleman had, and try very very hard not to get lost on the way.

Friday, 2 December


[12:00 PM] The Duel! Andrew Darby (Cornelius Grey AKA He AKA Twitch) wins the game.

The Gentleman reports:

The Duel took place starting around mid-day at Cherry Hinton Chalk Pits. Weapons were pooled in a central raised area, and the duellists selected one primary, one secondary and unlimited tertiary weapons in a random order (the order for the primary weapons being reversed for the secondary). Alice, Georgia and Lewis took a water primary, while Andrew favoured a dart Spinsanity. They were then placed in the four corners: Andrew and Georgia were closest to the cliff, Lewis and Alice further away. The alliances here were clear: Alice and Georgia facing off against Lewis and Andrew.

The Duel started with everyone making a rapid movement towards the cliff, Andrew taking the opportunity to hide a bag he was carrying behind a rock. Georgia gained the high ground first, but was gradually pushed off it onto a plateau just below it, where Andrew and Lewis took pot-shots at her from above and below. Alice was unable to engage due to being at the bottom of the stairs. Fortuitously for Georgia, Andrew's weapon jammed, and he was pushed back on to the top of the cliff, drawing his secondary. The duellists moved up to the cliff, Alice being able to link up with Georgia. They held these positions for a while, before Andrew used a water balloon to take out Georgia's legs. Lewis' sniping with a pair of pistols then caught Georgia in the back, and she fell.

Following her companion's death, Alice charged directly at Andrew, managing to very nearly get him with her water gun. Andrew, retreating from this managed to fall off the several-feet-high cliff [Everyone had been SPECIFICALLY TOLD TO AVOID THE EDGE OF THE CLIFF, AND TO RELOCATE IF NEED BE]. Gameplay was paused while the Umpire's heart started again and we confirmed Andrew was unharmed. The battle then moved towards the ammunition area as Andrew attempted to replace his primary. Judicious usage of water balloons plus certain weapons from the arsenal took out Alice, leaving only Lewis and Andrew standing.

Clustering of spectators slowed re-engagement until they were cleared, and the final phase of the duel was begun by the dramatic throwing of a bowler hat (labelled 'razor blade hat') from Andrew, which Lewis dodged. They exchanged fire a little, Lewis dual-wielding pistols, while Andrew used a semi-automatic Nerf gun. Lewis stylishly dodged darts while Andrew was running low on ammo, and then (when Andrew requested a clip be reloaded), picked up said clip to prevent its use, sending Andrew running for the cliff, with Lewis in hot pursuit. But no- it proved a ruse for Andrew to retrieve his bag, which contained more ammunition. The two reached the cliff top and in the brightness of the sun, exchanged fire once more. Lewis dodged and weaved, firing his weapons cautiously, as Andrew held his range and relied on his superior capacity. Then it happened. Andrew was down to his last clip- his last few shots, when a round caught Lewis in his shoulder, and the game was Andrew's.

(I declared Andrew M.A., Michael Warman B.A. and we had a general melee afterwards before going to the pub- an excellent end to an excellent game!)

Twitch reports:

'So...'

So, indeed. The automation sat there, huddled in the back of a horse drawn carriage and trying not to inwardly despair. After all of this, after everything he'd been through, here was where he died. He had no allies left, he had no tricks left up his sleeve and nowhere left to run. If he kept going, he was going to be shot by the alliance that he knew to be between two of the other duelists. If he stopped, the umpire would strike him down without a second thought.

'Please stop looking so defeated... it's hardly becoming of a face such as mine.'

What? When did-

Twitch turned to his left, cursing inwardly. When exactly did his creator manage to get inside the carriage?

'The look on your face is, however, quite amusing.'

A brief moment of silence passed between the two, then Twitch dived forwards, knives flashing towards the man who he knew to be his creator. Cornelius Grey, the man whose life he had to take. Grey simply grasped one of Twitch's limbs, then with a casual flick of his wrist, knocked the knife out of the hand of the other.

No... it wasn't going to be that easy, he wasn't done yet.

The automation with his now unoccupied hand grasped his creator's weapon and pointed it directly at Grey's head.

'I'm going to die anyway... I have nothing to lose.'

Grey's hand flashed forwards, scraping a thin line down the side of the weapon. Twitch scowled, then pulled the trigger. The weapon's chamber simply rotated, but no bullet had left it.

'And everything to gain... you are incredibly close, so don't you dare give up now.'

Grey released his creation's wrist and pushed the automation against the far wall.

'I am here to assist you.'

'How did you-'

'Get inside the carriage? Excellent question... how would you have done it?'

Well, assuming he could find out which carriage the automation was in, he would have simply crawled under it before it set off and then held on for some time, then probably he would have silently carved a hole in the bottom of the carriage and-

Twitch looked. There was no hole around...

Well, there went that idea.

'That is unimportant... What is important is that I have this for you.'

Grey pushed a weapon into his creation's hands... a fairly small weapon, all things considered, but an effective one by the looks of it. Sheila's mechanism had been modified, shrunk down and placed into three rotating chambers which could be switched out for one another.

'Her name is Hope... treat her well.'

Hope? Somehow, that seemed appropriate.

Grey then handed his creation a handful of small ticking objects.

'And these are for the legs... throw them at the ground.'

Still, he was outgunned, outclassed and was fighting three against-

'Two against two... One of them, the male, he has agreed to help you until the other two are dead... so long as you do not approach him.'

Two against...

He looked back at the weapon in his hands.

Hope...

'Oh, and one more thing.'

Grey started ruffling through his pockets, cursing every so often when he emptied one out and found nothing but an assortment of pens and knives.

'Ah, finally.'

He pushed a small writhing mass of flesh into Twitch's hands.

'I don't know how helpful it will be, but my... research has brought me to find it... it will not harm you so long as you hold it, but the moment it leaves your hands, it will kill whatever it touches. It can be stored for now... it senses the intent to kill in its user and is only activated by that.'

Twitch very very carefully placed that into a pocket.

'Yes, do be quite careful with that weapon.'

Twitch glanced around himself... something deep within his being still wanted to kill this man, but something else told him that this man had maybe just given him his only chance to survive this duel.

'Jiro Twitch... if you survive this, we will have much to discuss... until then, I bid you adieu.'

With that, he simply disappeared... His shadow still remained for a moment more, then that too was gone. Twitch blinked a few times, then cursed, then looked at his weapons.

Hope...

-----------------------------------------

Name: Cornelius Grey

Known allies: The deceased Corpus Mafia

Gender: Male

Designation: Assassin, inventor, creator of Twitch

Probability of match: 99%

Suggested action: Kill... no, accept help.

Threat level: High

Chance of successful kill: 50%

Chance of being killed: 60%

Known weaponry: He invents many things, arsenal changes frequently, favours rapid fire ranged weapons.

Known bounties: None that you can claim... one for betrayal by other members of the deceased Mafia

Known aliases: None

The rest of the journey passed uneventfully. Twitch slowly stepped out of his carriage, payed the driver, then stepped towards the place where he was to die.

Primary objective: Survival

He stepped towards the place where he would have to work very hard to keep living.

The umpire was speaking... his ally was saying something... the other two were exchanging glances... he vaguely watched the weaponry that the others picked up, mumbling to himself as they did so... he didn't even understand the words, but they felt right coming from him. They felt... right.

Everything about this situation felt wrong, he shouldn't have been here... the incompetent inventor wasn't meant to make it this far... he was no assassin. He was no...

His left leg twitched to the side and he grinned.

He had been no assassin... but this 'game' had turned him into one. He had killed the most dangerous man in all of Cambridge, damn it... one way or another, at least it would be over after today.

Primary objective: Survival

Conditions necessary for primary objective: Elimination of the alliance between Mikasa and the noble woman.

Elimination of the last remaining obstacle.

In that order...

'So...'

So... the umpire raised three fingers into the air and Twitch grinned, smoke starting to escape from behind his head... yes, maybe it would be worth looking into that little defect when he had the time.

Two fingers

One finger

Alright, move.

Twitch turned and ran, discarding a few of his weapons as he did so... yes, they were most effective when he had them on him, but he currently needed to move, and they would impede his movement.

His feet slipped a few times as he attempted to fall away from the other three, which was irritating, but thankfully they seemed to be having similar issues. Alright, so his first priority was to take the high ground... from there, he could at least plan out his next move.

This would be over quickly... a few shots exchanged, but only one winner... and it would take a few minutes at most... or so he thought.

Half an hour later, he was rethinking his position as the three duelists had tentatively tried to work inside each other's ranges and failed repeatedly to do any real damage. He had thrown the creature at one of the others, but the ability of the others to move in and out of range was really becoming a bit of a-

'For the legs...'

Oh yes, that was a thing, wasn't it?

He fell back to where he had stored his weapons and removed two of the ticking objects.

Two ticking objects... he missed with the first, but the second did at least manage to take out one of his opponent's legs. Alright, so that left the other one with two options... leave them to die or try to cover for them.

They chose the second. For a while, Twitch was convinced they were going to cover their ally until their limb recovered, then a shot from his own ally from behind took out the injured one.

Alright, so that only left-

Oh [Censored] they were coming right at him. He turned and started to shoot... then felt nothing under his feet.

Well... that was unexpected.

He toppled backwards, the world flipped around him. He was vaguely aware of a stream of electricity moving through the spot he had just occupied before he had other things on his mind...

Until that moment, he hadn't been aware that he had a gyroscope built into his system. However, that was the only explanation for the fact that he knew instantly which way was down and compensated for it.

His left arm dug into the ground, slowing his descent for a moment, which was enough to make his collision with the ground fairly harmless.

Ok, he was about to get shot unless he moved.

Twitch instantly turned and sprinted away from his opponent... one was down.

And apparently he was still alive.

So, where had he left the rest of those ticking things?

It took the rest of his stash of explosives to remove the limbs of the last remaining enemy... again, his ally flanked them and took them out with a well placed shot. Hmm, maybe this guy was a little too competent.

Well, that left only him as the one to take out.

Twitch rolled to the side, scooped up Sheila and fired six times in the man's general direction... a ploy which didn't work out too well as he effortlessly dodged the bullets and replied with two of his own which Twitch had to scramble away from.

Alright, this was not going to be easy.

Especially since the guy was charging straight towards him.

Well, damn. Twitch fumbled around with the clip of yet another weapon and cursed as it became clear that his opponent was going to catch him before he could reload.

Well, there was nothing for it then.

Twitch half turned, removed the hat from his head and flung it in the man's general direction.

It was meant to be a distraction, but Twitch had at least taken the time to tip the edges with razor blades, blades that were barely visible to the naked eye, but which would easily kill a person if they hit them.

The hat went wide, but it did at least make his opponent slow down enough for Twitch to push his next clip into his weapon.

Alright... it was about time they ended this.

He tossed an empty clip aside and looked at the number left in his original one...

Ok... that wasn't ideal. Fortunately, the umpire had arranged for those around to reload weapons that were brought back to the start of the battle arena. That would do. He made a run for it and tossed the clip aside as he passed it, then turned and fired three times at his opponent, who seemed a little too good at dodging. Alright, so now he just had to keep that guy away from him while his clip was reloaded.

Seconds passed... a minute passed. The two idly shot at each other, neither willing to get within range of the other.

And then his opponent collected Twitch's clip.

Damn.

Well, that meant that he'd have to rework things.

Twitch turned and sprinted in the other direction, ducked behind a rock, then grinned as he saw his salvation. One last thing from the weapons he had earlier scattered around.

A clip with exactly 12 bullets in it... all that the umpire had allowed him to start with.

He was going to have to conserve ammunition a bit... but this would do.

He turned once again, his opponent almost on top of him, and their dance resumed once more.

It became fairly clear that Twitch was not going to be able to outrun his opponent, but it also became clear that their ranges were roughly equal... so, that meant that...

Twitch removed his clip for a second and swore under his breath.

Four...

Well, that complicated matters.

'So... do you have any ideas?'

None... he had four shots.

'Then make them count.'

One...

The bullet passed by the man's shoulder and Twitch grimaced and stepped backwards. Seeing his opportunity, his opponent started to advance and Twitch's finger compressed the trigger once more.

Two...

And his opponent fell.

Well...

'So... congratulations... you've survived.'

â?¦

That wasn't meant to happen.

He was meant to die, wasn't he? An incompetent inventor wasn't meant to...

'Come find me later... we have much to discuss.'

Much to discuss?

'This is mostly over... the dangerous part, anyway... but there are also some... interesting things related to all of this that need to be investigated, and I'd like you to join me in investigating them.'

And then, the next thing he knew, the umpire was pointing his fingers at him.

'You... Cornelius Grey... Twitch, whatever your name is. You win, congratulations and all of that.'

He'd... survived?

'Yes you have.'


[23:59 PM] An epilogue from Andrew Darby (Cornelius Grey AKA He AKA Twitch), as his story this game finishes

Cornelius Grey reports:

Name: Cornelius Grey

Status: Alive... very much still alive

Position: Creator, target

Relation to primary objective: Last obstacle remaining

Suggested action: Oh [censored], how the [censored] did he pull out a gun that quickly? Ok, just play it cool and...

Grey sighed as he watched his automation's obvious inner turmoil. So, Twitch still wanted to kill him, eh? Perhaps that was understandable... after all, he'd been willing to step into this mess to get his old life back, to prove to the world that his theories had been wrong, that he had indeed known what he was talking about... one more kill to achieve that end didn't seem like too much of a step further.

Still, his automation had a lot to work on... severely damaged after the duel, defecting already and all but falling apart, Twitch was in no condition to take on his creator, a creator who had only grown more experienced since their first encounter, when he had been forced to flee.

Grey idly pulled the trigger twice with the same expression that a man might wear while idly swatting at a fly. Twitch was sent staggering backwards with both shots, each one taking an arm from him, leaving it hanging uselessly from his side.

Grey lowered his weapon with another sigh.

'So... while you are disarmed, I'd appreciate it if you would-'

With a snarl, Twitch charged forwards, kicking off his shoes mid stride and scooping up a knife between his toes. Cornelius couldn't help but grin... apparently something of his own personality had trailed down to his automation... specifically, his unconventional methods. Still, he couldn't let his automation continue like that. Another shot blew off Twitch's foot, and another took his mobility from him entirely by wedging itself in the knee of the other leg. This time, the automation fell forward, unable to move any further.

'... So... if you are quite done, maybe you could listen.'

'Just kill me... it's over, isn't it? I've done what you built me for, I'm no use to you any more, and you know I'll just keep trying to kill you, keep trying to take back my old life... your only chance to take back your life now is to eliminate-'

'If you want your life back, take it... you can be Cornelius Grey if you want to.'

Twitch was silenced.

'I'll repair you first, then if you want to be Grey, you can just take his life... if I wanted my life, I'd shoot you now, so you don't have to worry about me trying to take it back.'

'... What is the catch? Why are you just handing me-'

'There is no catch, but as somebody who is also Cornelius Grey, I believe that I have an offer that will interest you more than your old life.'

Twitch was really starting to get annoyed by the way his creator kept interrupting him, but it wasn't as if he was in a position to complain about being polite... besides, between the two of them, they'd killed ten people, four of whom had been nobles, somehow, manners no longer seemed quite as important as they once had, and Cornelius had never been the most polite of people. He had been an inventor, but had never really had the time to engage in social graces. Slowly, the automation managed to push himself into a slumped sitting position, which was the best he could manage in his current state.

'And this offer is?'

'Help me... discover what is really going on here... we've done some terrible things, Mr Twitch... but even worse things happen around here, behind the scenes, dimly seen as shadows conceal what truly goes on. We can go back to our old life, continue to invent, die an inventor who was able to make enough money to sustain himself, but never achieved anything... or we can do what you and I know we are truly good at.'

'And then what? We kill more people? How will that make anything-'

'We make amends... we move forward. We've spent too long clinging onto things in our past, and it's about time we let go. Our old life is there if we want it... but even if we went back to it, it wouldn't be the same any more... the things we've done, the things we've seen, we'd never be able to truly just be an inventor again, would we? Instead, I suggest that we begin to investigate this shadowy world... learn what truly goes on, and maybe, just maybe, we can do something about it... few will ever know we existed, few will ever acknowledge us, but we might be able to do something actually worth while.'

'We'll have to kill some more...'

'Yes... perhaps we can't right everything... perhaps we can't do the completely right thing... but at least we can try to do... shall we say, better?'

The automation considered this.

'I'll need some new limbs.'

'Quite... and a new body that no longer defects... I've adjusted the design somewhat. I'd also like to take a copy of your consciousness so as to reuse it in other automations. After all, we cannot be everywhere, so I'd like to have a few copies of ourselves able to cover where we cannot.'

'Are you implying that this will lessen the effect of death? Because from my perspective, I'd still be very, very dead. I'm damn well not going to run suicide missions just because you can make another version of me.'

'Hmm... I wonder, if you took a person apart and then reassembled them, would it count as the same person? We discussed whether a person was the consciousness, but...'

'That's a question for philosophers... but I'm not letting you take me apart.'

Grey smiled.

'Of course not... actually, I was only thinking of being able to cover more ground and do more things in a short space of time. Yes, it would also mean that if the worst happens, we could be sure that somebody else would be continuing our work, but that was only a secondary thought.'

The inventor placed the satchel that he had been carrying with him on the ground, dusting some chalk off of it as he did so.

'This might hurt somewhat... when you tore out your limiter, you removed my ability to shut off your nervous system, so you are going to feel the pain of your limbs being cut off. Still, they are easier to replace than to fix.'

He removed a whirring circular blade from the satchel with a sadistic grin and continued.

'You also removed some of the area of your mind associated with logic, which probably lead to defects in later weeks.'

He brought the blade down on Twitch's arm, meaning that the automation's screams cut off any potential reply.

'Now now, calm down... this really is your own fault, you realise... So... I don't suppose you've heard the joke about the assassin who walks into an inn, have you?'

It was some time later that the screaming died down and Twitch was able to inspect his new body.

'Now then, Mr Twitch... it is time to decide... will you become Cornelius Grey, or will you help me as Jiro Twitch?'

Twitch's mind was still in a state of shock as he tried to gather some coherent sense out of what he had just been asked... pain was technically unnecessary to an automation, but he had required some way to know when he was being damaged, and although sometimes his defects had numbed out the pain, this time, he had thoroughly felt each of his limbs being sawn off and then felt the new replacements being welded back on... all the while, his creator was reminding him of how if he'd just been willing to listen in the first place, then he wouldn't have had to go through with all of this.

Still, it was nothing... nothing important anyway. The pain would fade, leaving nothing but memories behind... and he already had enough memories to scar his mind horribly. Another one of just pain would hardly add anything to what had already been done.

'I... I...'

'Who are you?'

'I... I am Jiro Twitch.'

Cornelius grinned.

'Thankyou, Mr Twitch... now, follow me. We have much to discuss. Firstly, I believe that I have deduced the location and timing of the next so called game and would like you at my side as we investigate it. I also feel as though my research into the dark tower could yet be quite lucrative in terms of the information that it could provide... oh, and there are multiple shadowy figures who I wish to investigate. Most will likely come to nothing, but there are a few in particular who I believe will have quite a few answers for us if we search him out. The first we should hunt down is the gentleman himself... the dark tower will soon be done with him, thus ending his deal. Once that is the case, I intend to make a similar pact myself and then we should question him about the power of this tower.'

Twitch slowly pushed himself to his feet and tried out his new limbs.

Of course, they hurt... but for once, he didn't feel an urge to twitch anything on his body.

'Excuse me... Grey?'

'Yes?'

'There's something I'd like you to fix... these limbs have a slight defect.'

'Oh?'

'Yes... they don't suit me any more.'

Cornelius smiled once more.

'I see... well, in that case, I will first reinstall parts of your mind that allow me to remove your sense of pain. Then we will adjust those limbs and return your defect to you if it really means that much to you.'

'It just feels... wrong without it.'

'I understand.' Grey motioned for his creation to follow him. 'We have much work to do, Mr Twitch. Firstly, we are going to have to-'

The next day, a small article at the end of the newspaper covered the death of Cornelius Grey... the madman had jumped off of a cliff and broken his neck. Nobody had attended his funeral. The body had been fairly badly twisted by the impact, but the identity had been confirmed by an autopsy.

Two shadowy figures had left the clinic after reading the autopsy report.

'-disappear.'


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