Bronn is a sellsword, not a manservant. Name your price, fancy pants…
What’s all this? Bah… Fine.
I’ve seen a bit of my old self in Bronn,
my learnedness, love of books, and abilities in Rupert “Ripper” Giles,
and my social graces in Ron Swanson.
Maybe it was one what belonged to your bloody rich boy, prep school friend from Gotham. Where is old “pointy ears” now? I’ll go give him what for…
Archer - is this one of your loonies? Keep your fancy rogues the hell away from me. I’m no trust fund patsy. I earned my fortune the old fashioned way: by living a bloody long time!
Continued from Dangerous Minds
J’onn found himself hunkered down with Etrigan in an abandoned and crumbling building on Apokolips. Swarms of parademons, all with murderous intent, flew overhead searching for the pair. Things seemed bleak - very bleak.
But the Martian had learned long ago, when you are a member of the Justice League you do not give up on hope.
And right on cue, hope came in the form of familiar minds. J’onn could sense and feel Guy Gardner and Kyle Rayner. The Lantern partners’ thoughts were even tinted green, which made J’onn smile. And sensing the third mind made him smile as well. Kal-El was here. “Etrigan” he said. “I think we may have a way out of this foul place after all.”
“Good” the Demon replied. “It is about time. And Martian, I have something that’s hard to say.”
J’onn turned to look at Etrigan. “Go on.”
“I’m sorry I caused all this trouble for you” Etrigan said. “I owe you a debt, I promise I’ll pay.”
“Thank you” J’onn said. “We can talk about all that more when we get back to the Watchtower and debrief. But right now we’ve got to find the Lantern with two tickets back home.” He looked up towards the hole in the roof of the building and saw a green streak in the distance. “Kyle” he sent telepathically, “we are here. Darkseid’s forces do not know where we are, but they are still everywhere, surrounding us. Do you have a plan?”
“I have a plan” Etrigan said, answering J’onn’s thoughts. “I’ll create a diversion. They’ll come after me, get to the green light. Whenever you’re able to make you way out, get gone, my green friend. Make booms and take flight!”
“What about you?” J’onn asked as the Demon busted through a wall. “How will you survive?”
But Etrigan did not answer. He ran out into the open streets, found the nearest parademon and opened up with his hellfire, burning it to a crisp. That was enough to gather the right attention as the nearby squadron turned its attention his way.
The Demon scrambled up the side of a building, dodging a barrage of laser fire. At the top, Etrigan spread his leathery demonic wings, bellowed a roar of defiance to grab the attention of any parademons that weren’t already on their way, then took to the polluted skies of Apokolips.
“The coast is clear” Etrigan’s voice echoed inside of J’onn’s mind as the Green Lantern dropped through the open building. “Flee from here!”
The Demon soared up, then banked right gathering as many followers as he could manage. The bolts sizzled as they flew by him. The shots were getting closer and closer. Etrigan would have to make his move soon. He only hoped he had given the Martian and the crab-faced boy enough time.
Flapping his wings hard, Etrigan took one final upwards burst, then turned into a steep dive heading straight for the nearest fire pit. The parademons, closing in on their prey, followed. Etrigan flew fast, but his pursuers gained on him. The nearest one reached out, grabbed the Demon’s ankle, and pulled spinning Etrigan off course.
But it did not matter. The momentum carried the squadron of parademons straight into the fire pit with him, as Etrigan had intended all along. And his gamble paid off. Darkseid’s troopers began burning and popping. Their squeals as they left existence sounded almost pleasurable. They were either happy to die for their Master or happy their death meant they were rid of his yoke.
The Demon landed hard outside the fir pit. Pity. He had hoped to test for himself whether or not the fire pits of this world were any different than the one he was formed in. Another day perhaps. Etrigan covered himself in his cloak, muttered some words in an ancient language, and disappeared in a flash of hellfire and sulphur smoke.
For Sale: One Hoodie
I found it abandoned in the Watchtower library and claimed it as mine. I own it now, but it does not fit me. So if anyone is interested, I will offer it for sale. $20 obo. Will also consider trades.
The creature roared angrily and advanced on J’onn. But the Martian Manhunter fell to his knees and did not move. To those watching above, he appeared to be mumbling something to himself.
“I am sorry” J’onn whispered. “I am so, so sorry.” As his failure bore down on him, the Martian Manhunter made his peace with himself and his ancestors. He prepared himself to meet H’ronmeer.
The amalgamated creature bellowed in anger as it ran towards J’onn. It shared one thought within itself: “Kill the one who abandoned us!”
J’onn looked up from his knees and faced the monstrosity. “I am sorry” he whispered.
The stone wall behind the Martian turned red and began to soften. With a tremendous blow, the wall burst showering heavy rocks at the creature and driving it back. Standing in the rubble where the wall once stood, Etrigan, demonic wings spread wide behind him, opened his mouth wide.
The Demon let loose a torrent of hellfire, burning the combined Martian creature. The fire caused the creature to scream in pain and fall back. “J’onzz!” Etrigan yelled. “Let’s move!”
The Martian Manhunter looked back at Etrigan as Darkseid’s creature began to fall apart into five distinct entities. “I am so sorry” he said.
“Sorry for what?” Etrigan asked before blowing another blast of hellfire in the direction of the murderous Martians. “We’ve got to get out of here!”
J’onn shook his head clear, then leapt to his feet. “Yes!” he said. “Of course! But… how did you survive the -”
“Never mind how, Martian!” Etrigan snapped. “Just move!”
“Stand straight maggots!” the parademon commander shouted. “Or you’ll burn in the fire pits!” The ranks all snapped and growled, but eventually came to attention. The large door down the corridor opened and the Master Torturer Desaad walked in.
“Where are they?” Desaad asked the commander.
“Over there, sir” the commander answered, gesturing to J’onn and Etrigan. “They joined with us following the skirmish.”
“Take me to them” Desaad ordered.
J’onn could feel Etrigan’s anger rising. “Keep calm” J’onn told him telepathically. “They only think we are survivors of the fight. Just answer his questions and we should be fine.”
“I won’t rip this throat, though I’m so inclined” Etrigan thought back. “And I’ve told you before, stay out of my mind!”
“You two” Desaad said, approaching them. “Step forward and report. I’m told you survived the battle with the invaders. How did you escape and what did you see?” Etrigan looked at J’onn, who returned his gaze. “Speak!”
“We attacked the invaders en masse” J’onn reported. “We had them pinned down, but they somehow escaped our grasp. One of them was wounded badly. They are likely in hiding sir. Let us go back out and find the interlopers for you. We will make them die for Darkseid!”
“Interlopers?” Desaad asked, skeptically. “Where did you learn such a word?”
“I…” J’onn stammered. “I overheard it once. I learned it… when…”
“Liar” Desaad accused. “You stole this attire. Guards! Take this one and throw him in the -”
“Fire?” Etrigan interjected. The Demon opened his mouth wide and spewed forth a torrent of hellfire as J’onn jumped back and took to the air. Desaad grabbed a nearby parademon and threw the unlucky soldier at the incoming flames. His face and head were burned to a cinder as the Master Torturer ran for the exit.
“Attack the invaders!” the parademon commander shouted. “Kill for Darkseid!”
Etrigan tore the parademon uniform off of him and crouched low in his demonic posture. “Go!” he shouted to J’onn as energy bolts shot all around them. “This is your chance!” Etrigan, claws and fangs flashing, launched himself at the approaching horde.
J’onn whispered an intercession for good luck in his old Martian language, then turned away from the fighting and phased through the nearest solid wall he could find.