[personal profile] cassberry posting in [community profile] mindcracklove
It's been a while but here is chapter one of "Pushed Too Far".

Chapter One – Pushed Too Far

He had always succeeded in correctly laying redstone before, but in the darkness that was the crawlspace there was nothing he could do but guess where the next piece would go. The dull red light of the redstone didn’t help in the slightest, but at least it was something. There was no reason for it to be dark; he could simply have asked for torches to light the way, but those days were over. People didn’t ask for things anymore without the fear of being punished for speaking out of place and Etho wasn’t going to be the exception to the rule.

Tugging the mask higher over his nose, the quiet ninja leaned against the wall, out of breath and sick of breathing in the same choking air. The windowless passage didn’t offer any source of fresh oxygen and having been built very recently, it was filled to the brim with saw dust. He was just thankful that he had a mask to filter the air slightly otherwise this job would have been impossible.

Bending down to the floor again, he continued to place the glowing dust in the hopes of making the circuit work. Exhaustion filled the tall man as he placed more and more. Redstone had filled his life before the incident, but now he couldn’t stand the sight of it. Day in, day out he was forced to create more and more elaborate contraptions, all in the hope to fully automate BdoubleO’s new castle. Luckily today’s task was just to make a door open and close but that didn’t make it any easier on him. Darkness and the inability to breathe properly were causing major problems but Etho knew if he didn’t finish the task soon he would have bigger issues to deal with.

Inserting the last repeater, he waited for the tell-tale sign of a working redstone signal. Instead he was greeted with the same dull glow that he had been working with for hours. He groaned.

“Dammit.”

Following the dull trail, Etho stopped next to the only opening the passageway had. Fresh air greeted him like an old friend and he welcomed the feeling of a slight breeze. Lowering the mask, he took in a deep breath and set about to find the problem and looking straight down, he found the issue immediately. He was sure that he wouldn’t have missed this obvious piece of redstone dust but he already had a hunch on who had taken it. The Irrita, the “Endermen” from the strange portal, were fooling around in his wiring again and that was something that he never took kindly.

Etho was starting to miss regular endermen. At least they only got angry if you were rude enough to look at them and they didn’t take important pieces of building projects on purpose. But the Irrita didn’t behave by the same rules as their Endermen brethren and it was starting to irritate and anger the normally calm man.

For all intents and purposes, the Irrita looked the same as regular Endermen but there were several differences that Etho has noted in the last week. Being capable of human speech was the first thing that was obvious, that and they didn’t get angry if you looked them in the eyes. Angering the Irrita was still an easy process though. Don’t do what they say immediately and they punished you there and then or even worse, you were taken straight to BdoubleO.

It was bad; the Irrita weren’t meant to be in this world. It was getting to a point that being in the castle was extremely unhealthy; Etho could feel the corruption in the air. Shuddering, the ninja could only imagine how Guude was feeling through all this. Guude’s connection with the land must be making the green shirted man’s life hell. The grounds outside the castle was already darkening from the void corruption and if you stayed still too long and just listened, it was like you could already feel the land giving up and dying.

Replacing the missing redstone dust, Etho finally smiled as the door opened and closed on his command. Checking the redstone again, he deemed the door satisfactory and as such closed the passageway. Bones aching, Etho sunk to floor enjoying his first break in days. Admiring the wood and stone work that surrounded him, there was no doubting that Arkas had done a fantastic job on the castle. High arches, long sweeping windows, tapestries at every turn completed the extravagant look that Bdoubleo had put in place. The breeze hit his face again and slowly Etho could feel himself drifting off to sleep.   
Footsteps suddenly rang down the hallway breaking the silence that hung in the air. Pulling his mask back on, Etho leapt to his feet and turned to face the interloper. Emerging from around the corner the yellow helmet marking the head of Adlington shined dully in the opened hallway. Spotting Etho, he hurried over, adjusting his faded overalls on the way.

Adlington’s face showed the same tired look at Etho. Being one of the youngest in the community Bdoubleo had decided that Ads was one of the easiest to mould to his will and had made the young man literally his minion. Constantly running around the town and castle, Adlington was looking like he had reached the brink of exhaustion. Watching the young man sway before him in weariness, Etho was furious.

“Hey man. What’s up?” said Etho. Gently, he led Adlington to a bench nearby and sat him down. Sighing gratefully, Etho could see the tension in the young man’s shoulders slowly releasing.

“Hello Etho. Not a great deal honestly. Just running around after Bdubs, you know how it is.”

“Tell me about it. What did you need?”

“BdoubleO is summoning you to the throne room immediately for an urgent matter.”

Rolling his eyes discreetly, the term ‘throne room’ sounded pretentious to Etho but he didn’t say anything. He didn’t want to upset the young man beside him.

“Do you know what for? Is it another redstone project?”

Adlington looked down and shook his head swiftly. “I didn’t ask. You know how he is. I didn’t want to get him angry.”

“Yeah.” Sitting silently for the moment, the emptiness of the castle reverberated around them, the unnatural quiet seeming to settle in their bones. For all its beauty, the castle had an unhealthy feel about it.

“Hey Adlington, sorry to ask you this but how’s Genny?”

Adlington grimaced, still not quite meeting his eyes. “He still hasn’t woken up. Doc and Jsano say that his wound is healing nicely but they don’t know why he won’t wake up. They’re doing the best they can though.”

“I don’t doubt they are. Well, how are you then? Feeling okay?”

“I’m doing fine. Fine… Better then Pause at least but that’s not saying much.”

Remaining silent, Etho turned away wondering where his friend was now. Horror was overcoming Adlington’s features as he took in Ethos gaze.

“Oh Etho I didn’t mean it like that! I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to sound insensitive. Please forgive me!”

Blabbering nonsense out Adlington started breathing heavier than before, almost to the point of hyperventilating. Etho could see the fear in his eyes as he stared at Etho. A fear he most definitely understood. The unofficial rules that BdoubleO had put in place were really taking its toll on Adlington and he didn’t know how long the young man could take it. Steely determination cemented itself in Etho’s stomach. He had to change something about this situation quickly.

Waving the young man’s concern away, Etho slowly stood up. Holding his hand out to Adlington, Etho pulled him to his feet.  “Come on we better go. We don’t want to keep BdoubleO waiting.”

~~~~~

Walking silently through the halls was a comfortable feeling for Etho. Observation was his speciality and being unnoticed went hand and hand with that skill. Trying to walk as quietly as the ninja but his footsteps being noticeably louder, Adlington glanced around nervously as the number of Irrita increased the closer they got to the throne room.

Zisteau and Anders stood guard by the door to the throne room. There was no need for either of the warriors to be there, it was just another show of control from Bdoubleo. Everything was and would be perfectly calm outside especially with the dozens of Irrita wandering around and everyone knew that. Keeping the two out of trouble was the main reason for their posting there and the constant clenching and unclenching of their hands was enough to show that both the Pigman and Viking were itching for something to do.

Nodding to the pair, Etho waited for Anders to formally open the door. Entering first, Adlington rushed forward before stopping at the throne. With a light cough Adlington announced the newcomer to the hall, his small voice echoing around the room.

“Here he is Bdoubleo, Etho, at your request.” Bowing quickly, Adlington retreated to a recess next to the side of the throne. Etho stepped forward quickly and lightly, observing the room as he went.

Built of solid gold and diamond, the extravagant throne was directly in the centre of the hall and seated on it was the black haired Mindcracker that had taken control of the land. Bdoubleo was dressed in an extravagant crown and cape, made of the highest quality fleece, which covered the white shirt and jeans that he normally wore. The overindulgence would have looked misplaced normally on Bdoubleo but the haughty expression on the man’s face showed that he believed he had the right to be there and he wanted everyone to know it.

Chained to the wall adjacent to the throne was Guude. Arms hung up straight by his sides, the blonde haired man’s head was resting against his chest. He seemed so small and defenceless against the vast wall that held him and, as if adding to the list of things ripping Etho up inside, Etho could see the dried blood that was still present on Guude’s clothes from the last beating. As if he felt him watching him, Guude’s eyes swung up to meet the black and red ones of Etho’s. Still eerily white, the sparkling green of Guude’s eyes still couldn’t be seen but it wasn’t his eyes that scared Etho the most. The absolute lack of any emotion but pain on the man’s face terrified him, and Etho struggled to keep the despair off his own face.

Leaping down off the throne, Bdoubleo walked over to where Etho stood and slapped his hand on his shoulder, “Etho! So glad you made it. You have to see this new toy that the Irrita have given me!”

Pulling Etho closer to a wall next to the chained Guude, Bdoubleo presented a variety of weapons and tools that the ninja had never seen before. Ranging from glowing swords to what he assumed were magic wands, the items that were on display were beyond anything he could comprehend and they all looked incredibly dangerous.  

“It’s called a ‘mining laser’ and boy can it mine. I punched through several blocks before they knew what hit them! The Irrita got it from ‘The Beast’ world or something. Isn’t that neat?”

Masking his emotions, Etho made no movement to acknowledge Bdoubleo’s apparent happiness. As much as it ached inside him, he knew that the Bdubs that he had known wasn’t present. There was a cunning and cruel undertone to all of the man’s words and any slipup by Etho meant that someone got hurt.

“Good afternoon BdoubleO. What can I do for you?”

Bdoubleo waved his hand dismissively at Etho’s words. “Oh away with the fancy talk, we’re all friends here. I just have a little, how would we say, proposition for you. It’s quite simple really, but I think you will love it.”

The air seemed to cool around the two standing there.  Etho’s gut was screaming at him not to say anything but to run away as quickly as he could.

“Look, come into my office and we’ll have a chat okay. There are far too many ears out here.” Leading the way through the empty throne room, Bdoubleo opened a door next to where Guude was hanging. Etho offered a weak smile to the silent Mindcracker in the hopes of at least some comfort for the chained man and then cursed silently when the white eyes met his own.

“Sit down, sit down! Let me just flip old Guudekins here around and we’ll get started shall we?” At the flip of a switch, the sound of pistons echoed through the room, and a dishevelled Guude appeared in the office.  Scrunching his face in despair, Etho hated to see Guude thrown around like a puppet and he hated it even more so that he had done the redstone to allow Guude to become one.

“Ah that’s better. Can’t let him get too far away or he might get up to trouble.” Bdoubleo laughed, the sound raising the hairs on the back of their necks.  Eyebrows rising at the sight of the still standing Etho, Bdoubleo whispered. “Etho, I thought I said sit down.”

Practically diving into his seat, the chair beneath him felt hard and wooden, seemingly out of place in the large, lavish room.  Strolling around the edge of the large table that dominated the space, Bdoubleo stared at the uncomfortable warrior before seating himself in an equally large chair.

“Now, let’s get down to business. As you are probably aware I am in the need of a right hand man at the moment. I would ask Guude over there but being blind I doubt he could satisfy what I need from a partner and well Generikb is a little indisposed at the moment.” Laughing softly, Bdoubleo looked pointedly at Etho before continuing.
 
“So anyway, I racked my brains trying to think who I could trust in this crazy world that would do whatever I say and still give me honest advice.  And then it hit me; Etho! OOGE wouldn’t have been the same without you baby! So what do you say? I bet you are honoured to have this prestigious role, aren’t you?” Smiling expectantly, the crowned man leaned back in his chair fingers resting under his chin as he waited for his answer.

Mind blank, Etho couldn’t believe it. Did Bdoubleo actually believe that this was an honour to work for him? Was he not aware of the things he had done to his so called ‘friends’? A million questions tumbled around in his head, all adding to the fire in his stomach. He felt like he was going to explode.

“What exactly would this job require me to do?”

“Well, basically you would agree with whatever decisions I make, simple as that. Actually, that and I will require information occasionally about the other Mindcrackers. Don’t want them getting up to mischief, now do we.” That was it; the final straw. A week of terror and watching his friends get tortured around him burst out of the ninja violently.

“What are you crazy?! No of course not! I’m not going to betray my friends.” As soon as the words exploded out of his mouth, Etho knew he was in trouble. The air started crackling around Bdoubleo and streams of light appeared to running from his fingertips. Guude moaned in pain in the background and as quick as he dared, Etho shot him a quick glance. The lights weren’t coming from Bdoubleo it seemed; they were actually coming from Guude’s body and were causing him intense pain in the process.

Bdoubleo stepped forward; menace and fury clear in his eyes. White void energy swirled around his fingers and the power that he was oozing into the room was clearer than ever before. Bdoubleo was not a man to get upset.

“Who do you think you are? Do you really think you are that important that you can refuse me? But no, I’m not going to punish you Etho, you would accept that fate. How about Beef, or Nebris or even little Vechs, I’ve heard you’ve been getting close to him late-“

~CRACK~

The air around Etho filled suddenly with blue particles. Squinting through the dust, Etho could just make out the tall, thin shape of an Irrita body and a small bundle next to the Void creature. Etho could feel his stomach drop through the floor again as he realised who it was on the ground.

“Pause!” Bdoubleo crowed, “I’m so happy you could make it back from the Snowy Mountains. How was your latest vacation?”

The natives’ skin, instead of its normal warm dark colour, was tinged with blue. Snow and ice coated the headdress that was always adorned on Pause’s head and the rest of his body wasn’t any better. Barely breathing, the Indian didn’t move to acknowledge either Etho or Bdoubleo. The only movement he made was to curl tighter around himself, as if trying to get away from the room he was currently in.

Etho couldn’t believe it. He had known the nearly shirtless man was on another “vacation” but he had never seen him come immediately back from one before. It was always the day after or a day before he left for his next one. He felt like he was going to vomit. He couldn’t do this anymore. Etho couldn’t even help the man in front of him and he felt so useless.

Smiling happily, Bdoubleo asked again, “Pause, how was your vacation? Did you have a good time?”

Through the chattering Pause replied curtly to the unexpectedly ecstatic Bdoubleo, “It was fantastic. Thank you for sending me.”

“That’s what I like to hear! A little respect is all I ask for.” Turning his head swiftly, a dark look came over Bdoubleo’s handsome face and he addressed the still present Irrita, “Go get Beef. He’ll fix up this pathetic waste of space.”

Nodding, the Irrita teleported out of the room in a haze of blue particles but before anyone could react; it was back again this time with Beef in tow. Blinking with confusion, Beef held up his hands in defeat, dropping the pickaxe he was holding neatly on the ground.

“Hey Beef. Guess what? Pause is back from another vacation, isn’t that great! He seems to have gotten sick on the way though. Could you please take him to Doc and see what he could do? That would be great.” Bdoubleo grinned manically at the stunned butcher.

Wide eyed, Beef nodded before bending down and gathering the still trembling Indian into his arms. Turning to face the still shocked Etho, Beef looked a million years older than he should have. Stress lines aged his face and with the familiar ease that Beef picked up Pause, Etho could only guess how many times he had made this trip with Pause to the hospital. A feeling of compassion rushed through the ninja and he nodded slightly at the bearded man.

 Listening to the door close behind them, Etho turned to Bdoubleo half expecting pain to run down his body but instead he was confronted with Bdoubleo arguing quietly with the Irrita who was still in the room. Although Etho had become accustomed to the gravelly voices of the Irrita, it still raised goose bumps along his arms every time they spoke.
“You are needed elsewhere sir.” The Irrita towered over the Mindcracker but that didn’t cause Bdoubleo to back down. Standing straight, he glowered at the enderman hybrid before sighing and turning around to face Etho.

“Well it looks like you’ve been lucky again Etho old boy. I have to leave shortly with my associate here and that has given you an hour to think over my proposal. Choose the right answer this time, won’t you?” Etho, quickly jumping to his feet, nodded in understanding.

Smirking, Bdoubleo started gathering the void energy again, this time in larger amounts. Behind him, Etho could hear the laboured breaths of Guude as Bdoubleo pulled more and more energy into himself. A swirling mass of light surrounded Bdoubleo and finally he teleported away, taking the energy and Irrita with him.

A low shriek resonated around the room as soon as Bdoubleo teleported away, one full of pain and grief. Bounding over to his former leader, Etho scrambled on his hands and knees to see if Guude was alright. Lowering the chains completely, Guude started to swing forward onto his hands and knees but not before Etho caught him and held him upright against himself. Smiling slightly, he couldn’t help but feel a slight twinge of déjà vu at the familiar situation. Waiting for the man to stop whimpering, Etho stared off into the distance not wanting to embarrass Guude any further. Previous experience has always taught Etho that Guude hated being shown as weak. Finally stopping, Guude stared up at Etho’s face and smiled.

“Hey man thanks. Arms were getting mighty sore hanging up there for so long.”
“It’s okay Guude. Sometimes even the most fearless leader needs help.” Guude chuckled, sitting up straight and stretching his cramped limbs. Unable to focus on anything, Guude’s new white eyes roamed carelessly around the room. Watching their progress, Etho felt another stab in his gut watching his former commander act so defenceless around him.

“So are you going to except Bdoubleo’s request or not? In my opinion, that would be a damn stupid thing to do if you refuse his offer.” Not one to mince words, Guude jumped into the heart of the problem.

Sitting silently Etho didn’t know what to do. He could simply accept the offer and have, what he assumed, would be an easier life than what he had now but to do that would be to accept the distrust and hatred of the other Mindcrackers. On the other hand, certain death for him or someone he cared about would certainly happen if he refused, so he was more confused than ever.

“I don’t know Guude, I just don’t know. What if he ends up mind controlling me or something? I could never live with myself if I hurt one of you guys. Who knows what powers he has?”

Narrowing his eyes Guude shoved the ninja away from him in disgust. “Now listen here, I know for fact that Bdoubleo does not have access to those powers so calm yourself down. Also I know what he is like. He liked to play games with people before he went bat-shit crazy so I really doubt he would go the easy route and use ‘mind control’ powers on you.”

“But-“

“No, no ‘but’s’. You will be accepting that job whether you like it or not because, honestly, it’s the only way we can keep more people from getting hurt then there needs to be.”

Etho swallowed nervously and nodded. “Okay Guude. I promise I’ll do the best I can.”
“Damn right you will, just promise me one thing.”

“Anything guy, just say it.”

“Don’t lose yourself to him okay. Please try and stay true to what you believe in and don’t let him get in your head. You are stronger than that.”

“I’ll try Guude, I’ll try.”

~~~~~

“So Etho have you made up your mind?”

“I would be beyond honoured to be your right hand man, Bdoubleo.”

“Excellent, I know you won’t disappoint me. Now first things first, I have a new uniform for you but I think it would look best without that little mask of yours…”

-----
Thank you all for the kind words last time. It is super exciting to think that others are actually reading this, let alone commenting.

This chapter has a lot less action then the prologue but don’t worry the action is coming back! You must be patient young grasshoppers. 

<3 CassBerry

Prologue!

Date: Wednesday, August 14th, 2013 03:51 pm (UTC)
elfowlgirl: (Default)
From: [personal profile] elfowlgirl
I like where you're going with this! Looking forward to more :3

Date: Wednesday, August 14th, 2013 03:56 pm (UTC)
squidney87: Me and Etho. <3 (Default)
From: [personal profile] squidney87
I love this! I can't wait for the next chapter!

Date: Wednesday, August 14th, 2013 04:16 pm (UTC)
jack_unicorn: (Default)
From: [personal profile] jack_unicorn
Really good! Keep going!

Date: Wednesday, August 14th, 2013 04:23 pm (UTC)
voufreail: (Default)
From: [personal profile] voufreail
Oh dear Guude what has he done to you? :( an Etho's suppose to lose the mask... I wanna see how he reacts to that :P love the story keep it up <3

Date: Wednesday, August 14th, 2013 04:45 pm (UTC)
halcyonlioness: Two of my personal characters are in the avatar, and may be arguing. Left to interpretation. (Default)
From: [personal profile] halcyonlioness
*impressed*

You've greatly improved since the Prologue! :D That's really good to see.

Now we get to see a little more about this world and the effects of insane!BdoubleO's hostile takeover. Needless to say, it's ... heart-wrenchingly depressing. At the least, Guude's still got enough internal clout to be a wise leader in the state he's stuck in.

Hopefully, Guude and Etho made the right decision.

The story is still young, though. Anything can happen now. :3

It's been worth the wait. Take your time and keep polishing these gems until they shine. I look forward to the next chapter!

~Lioness

Date: Wednesday, August 14th, 2013 05:24 pm (UTC)
anonymousrose: Just an anonymous flower :D (Default)
From: [personal profile] anonymousrose
Oh my gosh. This extremely interesting. Wow... I can't wait for the next one!

Date: Wednesday, August 14th, 2013 06:29 pm (UTC)
mewbladexxx: (Default)
From: [personal profile] mewbladexxx
... I want more. This is really good. Etho! Without his mask! XD

Bdubs, why? Why you do dis? Why? XD And I like the concept of Irrita. Sounds cool! Keep it up, Cass!

Date: Wednesday, August 14th, 2013 06:29 pm (UTC)
mewbladexxx: (Default)
From: [personal profile] mewbladexxx
... I want more. This is really good. Etho! Without his mask! XD

Bdubs, why? Why you do dis? Why? XD And I like the concept of Irrita. Sounds cool! Keep it up, Cass!

Date: Wednesday, August 14th, 2013 11:00 pm (UTC)
bluetwilight: (Default)
From: [personal profile] bluetwilight
Love it! Evil BdoubleO is really creepy, and the idea of a subspecies of endermen is interesting. Can't wait for the next chapter!

Date: Thursday, August 15th, 2013 12:09 am (UTC)
theropod: (Default)
From: [personal profile] theropod
Don't take his mask, noooo!

Loving this :D

Date: Thursday, August 15th, 2013 01:58 am (UTC)
mcmiaou: (Default)
From: [personal profile] mcmiaou
I am enjoying this a ton!! It kills me to hear the condition of some of the guys and imaging how the rest are doing... Oh god that hurts.

Can't wait for more!

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