Description: Sealed away in the vaults for 80 years, the lost episode of Daniel Jack Investigates is finally released to the public. Banned by the Hays Code, the legendary return of The Butcher has finally been released in special edition. Daniel Jack finally confronts the dreaded Butcher, the cruel monster that had violated his allies. Staring down in the most incredible battle between good and evil, the question sits in the back of everyone's mind. Will Daniel survive this blood-chilling and epic confrontation? Or will he face a gory and gruesome demise when... The Butcher Returns? (The cover shows Daniel dressed in an orange Zoot Suit, outlined in a spotlight against a brick wall. In one hand, is a M3 Grease Gun, lovingly drawn. In the other? A beautiful woman in a strapless red gown, clinging to his arm. A hairy, long-fanged Butcher is leaping down towards the spotlight, dressed like a Hobo, with piercing red eyes and claw like hands. Daniel looks with disgust, as he readies the gun to perform some Sleuth Diplomacy) (45 cents)
It was haunting.
Daniel Jack didn't remember the last time he was in a motel room. He remembers the dingy 10-cent apartment that he doubled as an office he stayed in, over the chinese laundry. He remembers that, in that city. He had just gotten on the trail of the Ladykiller, and ended up in the clutches of a demon. Morgan. That was her name, Morgan. She haunted him, twisted his mind. But he broke free, consumed. He escaped from her clutches, and she even killed The Ladykiller for him. He escaped, he escaped back into his city.
But this wasn't his city.
This was Sapporo, in northern Japan. Daniel didn't know how he got here, why he got here. Was this part of Morgan's manipulations? He can't remember. But if Lord Dohma was here, if the hostess was here, is Ayame was here, well. It wasn't hard to have money, he didn't remember where he found it. It was a credit card, a business card from Interpol? It had his name on it, but- but he wasn't Interpol, was he? The detective checked in, and took off his Zoot Suit in the impossibly cramped motel room. He just had to sleep. He just needed rest. He had a bed made, he had his underwear and undershirt on, and he even got to take a nice shower.
Every mirror was newspapered over, of course.
Daniel almost broke the damn things. But the cleaning staff might cut their foot on the mess, needless to say he might not be looking forward to additional charges. Because when he settled in, ready to start his investigations on the pimp Lord Dohma, on the insidious nightclub hostess, on the backstabbing Ayame, there was a figure peering in from the mirror. It had the face of the Ladykiller, the shape of the Ladykiller, the face of death that was found dead at the very hospital. Dead on Arrival. And yet, he stared in, peering in, nearly crawling in. And he mouthed those words silently.
Wake up, Daniel.
Daniel couldn't even sleep, tossing and turning, rolling under the covers. As long as they were covered, they wouldn't say anything. But the reflections were everywhere, in the windows, in the glare of the digital alarm clock. Mere shadows, but the shadows had words. Wake up. Wake up. Everything had to be covered, concealed. Daniel wrapped the pillow over his head, trying to drown out the noises in his head. He fades into the hungry dreams of the women, dragged in and out of reality. Just enough sleep to feel tired, not enough to feel refreshed.
This night could not get any worse.
This scent... it's familiar. The only one left, from when last he was awake in this world. It appeared as if from nowhere, but there's no mistaking it. More than anything, his grand disappointment in overtaking Makai was realizing this individual did not seem to still be alive...!
It has taken some time, and a significant detour. With the Ainu relic sword bound in cloth and slung over his back, the time pressure to utilize weakened barriers from the destroyed mountain appear almost inconsequential. The Taishokan can wait. This is...
Following the aura of Daniel's distinctive chi, Makai has maneuvered himself at last in the depths of night to Sapporo. He is crouched atop the building where Daniel Little rests, taking a moment to just inhale deeply. Dead eyes slightly roll within his mask. A slow exhale wafts miasma around him. He's here. It's him. Savour it... savour it like one does a steak, meticulously prepared. A hand pulls up his mask, revealing his beareded mouth. Seals unlock, before insectoid pinchers slowly press out, spreading his lips and jaws. Then disgorges a surprising volume of viscous green liquid, splattering around a meter area and beginning to hiss and sizzle.
The acid eats quickly. A dark spot appears on the ceiling of Daniel's motel room, hissing before peeling back. Muted splats as it begins to drip to the floor beneath. And then, with strange silence, the solemn spectre of the countless demons drops in, landing in a crouch. His aura is wrapped about body and clothing, preventing the demonic acid from affecting him. Slowly rising up, he begins to approach, footsteps soundless, the restraint on his essence beginning to falter...
Then Daniel might feel something familiar. A deep, full-body chill and numbness that he only felt once before, years prior...
The scent is both ways.
The heavy presence comes, the miasma coming almost as a sensation to wrap and imbibe. Daniel's very essence seemed hungry for Makai's, a deeper yearning and desire for the very essence. The detective tosses and turns harder, the sweat building on his body. He jolts awake, words on his lips as he recalls the sensation.
Daniel sits up, gripping his head. It was a dream. It was just a dream. The maw full of teeth. The chill, of his soul being devoured. That consuming numbness. That grinning face. What happened to Mallone, all dreams dragging heavily on him. The sensation was intensifying. Daniel swears he hears a tapping on the mirror glass. The acrid stench sweeps around him, pulling at him.
And he hears the plop of the slime.
The sensation of the caustic chemical fills him, nearly overwhelming him. Daniel feels himself almost melting away as he rushes to a stand. He stares through the darkness, seeing the shapes as clear as daylight. When the figure drops in, he freezes. Staring. Watching. And listening for nothing that was there. The yearning was pulling at him, as the scratching comes from behind the mirrors, behind the newspapers. It was coming out. It was coming out.
"Well, scuzzy." Daniel says, the tapping sensation intensifying from every reflective surface around him. He stares at the figure, hands out. "If you're looking for an ambush, you are gonna be disappointed." Daniel looks at the figure and... and doesn't remember. IT blocks out, as the tapping becomes a hammering in his head.
"Who sent you?" Daniel growls.
"Sent me...?" comes a male voice Daniel has never heard. The man opposite is smaller, slender, not particularly athletic. A cloak is wound around his form. There's a hint of crimson from some sort of strange mask. "Nobody sent me. I'm simply coming to check on you..." A hand reaches up and grasps his mask, slowly pulling it up and off. The crimson oni features are dropped with a clatter beside. And then his left hand raises, bursting into a strange purple flame. It glows brightly, although casting everything in a muted violet.
Tanned features with deep brown hair, nearly black. A hearty beard, although groomed well. Whether Daniel would recognize an Ainu or not is questionable, but he would come straight out of a picture book of the race. "Do you not know who I am...? Ah. Is it this mortal? Masaru... Masaru Akahouki he is named. Of course you wouldn't recognize it. I change my host regularly, after all... but this is my first time in one so unique."
His gloved hand raises, golden forearm guard strapped to it, still churning out that fire. Fingers pluck the end of the glove and peel it off unscathed, revealing a bare hand. Makai then slowly sweeps it over his features. There's a ripple, before the next time he grins, his mouth is filled to the brim with shark-like teeth, lips stretching a bit too far.
"If you did any research on me at all, you would know I'm more immortal than most. Although I bit off more than I could chew, with the Ichijo and Hayabusa clans seeking me out when I made too much noise in Southtown... yet it was not all a loss. Since you still yet live...!!"
The situation may reveal itself to The Butcher.
Daniel looks with his brown eyes, only the shimmer of gold flickering. Twitching his mustache, the memories are clouded in the delusions of dreams. As the violet flame comes up, Daniel bursts in his own inner chi, orange light mustering upwards. ANd yet, the faint presence of coiling black miasma pours on the ground around the detective. He did not recognzie Ainu; not even a slightly hairier Honoka. And yet, as he explains himself... Daniel shuts his eyes, a spasm running over him. The thoughts locked away in his trance were trying to break free. The violet flames coil around as he looks away.
The burn of fire erupts around, the newspapering on the mirror rustle, slipping. Daniel could feel the call, the clawing towards it. Screaming, holding now, hammering its fists against the glass. It wanted out, it wanted to reveal itself before it's own kin, it's own father. Daniel could hear the cacophony. "I don't... I don't know what you are talking about..." Daniel can only sputter. He tries to drown out the noise. But for the Butcher, the only sound he may hear is from within Daniel himself, a very familiar voice calling out.
Teeth grind together, a dull and terrible noise. His eyes are dead white, unseeing, but seem to shimmer with purple energy all the same. Darkness looks heavier about him. Yet although the forefront might be familiar, that of the Butcher, interwoven with it is countless strange, alien energy leylines. If one wished to simply destroy monsters, fully undoing Makai might be enough to last a hundred lifetimes.
"It is the humans who call me the Butcher..." he almost purrs out. "Due to what my victims look ilke. I do not need to devour one entirely to eat the soul. And human flesh is... disgusting. They also call me the Shinigami of the Mist... my normal powers are much different, although I cannot say I am fully dissatisfied with this human's skills..." He glances at his hand with that, flexing it a few times. "Yet other Darkstalkers have another name. 'The Gourmand.' Or in my darker days, 'The Ravenous Glutton.' My soul is constantly burning away like a candle... and the only way to stave it off and keep living..."
An inhuman tongue slurps out, before his impossible grin stretches further. "Is cannibalism. Devouring the lifeforce of my own kind. But... in time... I could not eat enough to find a net gain. Even if every second of every day was spent tearing them apart and feasting, I was still growing weaker..." His arms spread with a laugh, flicking away his purple fire then.
"So... do you know what I discovered?! How I still lived for two centuries beyond?! Think hard...!!"
What was this.
Staring into Makai, Daniel could feel the enormous pressure around him. This creature, this monster... was not alien to him. Was not strange. Was not impossible. Devouring souls, why did that matter? Consuming flesh, and pain? These were the vices of -him-. Not just this creature. But he was dead. Daniel was preparing to fight, he was preparing to challenge, and battle. But the hammering comes louder and louder, as the distorted creature reveals his maw. Daniel trembles, shaking.
And Daniel actually collapses.
Falling to his knees, he grips the side of his head. The howls from on the other of the side of the mirror roar into a cacophony, the shapes and shadows warping and twisting. The screams erupt from the mirror, as Daniel covers his head. What did he discover. What did he uncover. What was this shape, what was this being, what was this creation? The dam was breaking, the peace was yielding. Daniel clings to the image, the memory, the shape of a heroic detective, as the pressure of the motel rooms wraps tighter and tighter around. He tries to think, tries to muster, tries to understand. But the endless cacophony within his soul, his mind, drowns in the illusion of the bound mirrors.
"The Ladykiller... I..." Daniel murmurs aloud, his eyes transfixed to the floor.
Although Daniel might be revving for a fight, calling in the mixed depths of his chi, there is nothing of the sort from that unnatural grin of the Butcher. Before, he was a large and well-built man with bleached tipped hair... yet his mouth was identical to this man, even with a different voice and vacant eyes. Plus that long-healed wound might begin to throb in his presence now, as the pair's chi seems to... resonate.
Instead Makai slowly crouches down in front of Daniel, tilting his head to the side. "The Ladykiller? Is that what you named it?" he whispers, sounding almost curious. "Well. It manifests different for each person. I'm a gardener, you see." Suddenly Makai's mouth opens, and he seems to disgorge something. Grasping in his bare hand... a shimmering essence. One that's woefully familiar. The one tore out of him, long ago. "Does this look familiar...? It's what I took from you, long ago... and I replaced it... with a piece of myself. You're a seed... a sprout. A /harvest./ My essence is parasitic, after all. It replaced your missing soul, and began to slither it's roots throughout you. Turning you into something else. Something... edible."
His abnormal tongue slurps across those shark teeth, almost drooling. "Each time I wake, I plant new seeds, and harvest the old ones. When my gifted soul grows and expands in another... only then, when I eat it, can I truly survive. But my previous yield was cut short by those meddlesome ninjas. You are precious to me. My only remaining meal... and I am *starving...!*"
It was prey.
Daniel was trembling, the toxic energy poisoning him, sapping his strength. Daniel was listening to the words. They had no meaning, and yet, had only meaning. He couldn't understand them as a detective. And trapped, bound in the helpess state, he couldn't escape. He only glances enough to see the piece of... what was it? What could it be? What can it be? Something was writhing inside him, twisting and turning. Daniel looks idiotically at the essence, unable to comprehend. The screams from beyond the mirror suddenly turn violent. Wake up, Daniel. There is a cracking sound, as Makai looms over him.
And the glass shatters.
The mirrors explode around, the newspaper ripping, as the chi seals shatter with screaming force. Power surges over him, Daniel stares at the infinite shards, as from each one, The Ladykiller, emerges. Grinning with pearly white teeth, reaching for him. A thousand hands, wrapping around his neck. And they whisper to him. To revive him. To save them all.
And Daniel wakes up.
The dreams of detectives, of men, of women, and those who betray them fade away as the truth surges back like a scream. He remembers. He remembers the Butcher, the creature that began this entire corruption. The effects of devouring, that had rotted him from the inside out. How Fio Tessitore saved him, replacing the essence, creating an artificial replacement. She suppressed the creature, the seed. And then, ultimately damned him. The transformation, the madness, the reckless power, how Ryu Hayabusa found him, and... and the dreams. Daniel stared at his hands.
He was returning to his natural state.
"I... am so hungry..." Daniel growls, his own shark like teeth bared in a visage black as ink. Yellow burns, as his face twists into a snarl. Coiling, black mist tears around him, the detective shifting like a shadow amongst the mists. The results of the Butcher's seeds not simply blossomed, but twisted and transformed as the detective's mind, body, and soul. The parasite supressed by Majigen power, corrupted by it's eldritch magic and science, and then ultimately, awakened. But Daniel, claws tips, glares at Makai with hostile madness, the pressure no longer a pressure, but a concordance. The senses surge over the detective, as the pounding, suppressed hunger floods him. "... H-h-hungry..." It was not subserviant.
But hostile, as a rival predator.
"How naive they were..." The Butcher whispers softly, as the glass erupts and shifts out. "To think that foul piece of soul was all of me. By then, I was everywhere. Such a shame... they delayed you being ready. Delayed you returning to me." The manifestation is familiar. The Shinigami of the Mists, yes. That is another term the humans used on him. He has planted countless corruptions in his time, yet none have born fruit like this... an amazing vessel, indeed...!!
"Good... you're finally ready... ready to finish growing. The ingredients are finally prepared. Now you need only to cook..." He then opens his maw, drawing the piece of Daniel's missing soul back into his mouth, swallowing it. The key to his salvation, the one thing capable of purifying him. But the Butcher needs it. Needs it to track him. What good is a meal he cannot find? Of course, there's a touch of underestimation here.
After all, if a planted piece of his soul ate him back, wouldn't it become the Butcher, instead?
Makai lazily backs up, mouth cracking and popping a few times as the teeth rescind. His own soul is heavily suppressed. He still cannot bring forth his true powers. Compared to his normal form, the careful amassing of power over countless slumbers and awakenings, he's a shadow. But there might be more hope to rekindle than he thought. "You won't be feeding on me... I've no interest in you yet. No... no matter how savory, you cannot rush an undercooked meal. But soon...!!"
Daniel tenaciously clings to humanity in the face of salvation.
Madness had seized Daniel, the feral, hungry instincts for souls, for suffering, for pain and misery, the desire to desecrate and devour. It was the very madness. He wanted to be the prey, the predator, to be part of a pack, to be consumed, to consume. The instincts rattle in him like bones in a cage. And yet, Daniel struggles, staring as his battle within howls. He doesn't even register the light of his soul at first, shuddering in mindless hunger.
Because he wanted to be like him.
The desire to fulfill those desires. The means to be those means. To hunt and consume and seed and grow. To take what you wish, and foster and grow your food when the time comes. The sensations, the security, the cruelty within pulls at him. Kinship and predatory dominance meet hand in hand. And in his awakened perception, he could see it more clearly than before. To sleep, to hide away the darkness. To wake up, and let it fill and consume. That was the monster he was.
That was the nature of the Ladykiller.
And yet, as he glares across at Makai, he grips that illusion of sanity. He grips and refuses to become the monster, refuses to become the predator like he saw. Because he saw that end, for better, or for worse. Dark desires to be fulfilled. Watching the soul be devoured, the sensation overwhelms him to -let it be-. After all, if he consumed The Butcher, wouldn't he be Daniel again? The hammering delusions drown around him.
And Daniel seizes something.
A delusion, a madness still. But stability. The fangs retract, the visage changing, a force of control. The resolve of the detective finally forces through, into the vague shapes. His claws still extended, his eyes still burning, his form shifting to and fro mist. "What are we?" Daniel chokes. "Men, monsters... You're hiding something." The detective steps back. "Secrets, innuendo. I'm closer to you than I've ever been, scuzzy. Your sensations, your hungers. You're..." Daniel suddenly sense it. The flicker. The sensation. "You're incomplete. A shadow." The urge overwhelms him, as he grips own face with one hand.
The leisurely shift to leave is stopped dead by the rather unexpected response from Daniel. He should be lost, at this point. That he resisted this long in the Butcher's absence alone is unfathomable, yet to catalyst his sleeping spark and then retain some semblence of sanity...? Yet a bristle is felt, the anger of the truth, visible rippling through his slender form even as it pulses within a shared bond. "Watch yourself...!" he hisses out. "No matter how good the cake might be, too much temptation, and you might eat all the batter..."
A slow twist faces himself towards Daniel, slowly reaching down to grasp his crimson mask and plant it back on his features. "You must understand something about our kind. It is a cursed one. We are all incomplete, flawed beings. Because... we are... ..." He seems to taper off there, opting not to continue that line of deliberation. "Do you know... how the mighty Darkstalkers got to where they are? The Succubi Queen... The Romanian Vampire... Jedah himself... it is turning this weakness, this AFFLICTION that destroys ninety-nine out of a hundred and forcing it into strength!! You stand before me as proof. You are much more powerful than when I struck you down long ago... do you think that your own ability? Or the gift of my corruption? But I've no delusions of comraderie... like many Darkstalkers, like you, this power was forced upon me. And now... my kin are nothing more than cattle on which to feast."
A lazy laugh follows, somewhat breathless. "You are understanding, though...! Yes!! Eat or be eaten! That is the life you now live, until the day you die!! Do not spend too much time lamenting what you are leaving behind, former human!!"
The barest of an edge.
Daniel clung on to the shreds of humanity deseperately. The cost was great; the detective's tormented state left him barely able to defend himself. Not that he would show otherwise; the flow and ebb of chi was chaotic, yes, but still powerful. Attacking Daniel now would be like hitting a hornet's nest. Even the pulse is met with equal measure of yearning and rage. Gritting his teeth, he struggles to force down the razor-sharp maw. He was ready to snap.
And take down whatever he could with it.
"There has to be... Lord Domha..." A noble title; in his ravings he remembers them, the ones he could be around and feel some sense of control, of sanity. "Morgan..." Just names in the ether. "Eliza.... all c-c-cursed." It was an affliction. He just needed to find a way to control it. He just had to focus, like with his own delusions of the Ladykiller and the Detective. "Ryu Hayabusa told me that I could break it; before I struck him down... I just need to control it... I just need to control it..."
And he fixes his eyes on Makai.
There is a blur, a rush. Daniel surges into shadow and mist, rushing at his counterpart in blistering speed. There is a whisper, and a hiss as he reforms at his flank. An aggressive move, but his hand stays. Instead, he grips the vanity dresser, struggling to keep upright. "H-how can you control it? How can you keep yourself normal? You were able to disguise in public! You could act, normal. You can keep your mind! To sneak on me, to not be consumed by the hunger!" The vanity dresser splinters in his grip, as lashes of miasmic shadow snap and slither at Makai, testing his aura like serpents. For all his bravado, he turns back to The Butcher.
"Tell me scuzzy, or I'll..."
The motion is quick and impressive, but Makai himself is prepared for possible conflict. His stance is strangely loose, not seeming like a traditional martial one, more reactive and balanced. After Daniel manifests where he is vulnerable, it takes a second to twist and face him once more. "How...? Ha... hahaha...! Two ways. One...! I shed my old body like a snake's skin. It grew too corrupted. Too foul. Your vessel always will, in time. You can accept it... or you can move on to a new one... But the other...?"
Makai suddenly shifts, forming a seal. And then something seems to tear out of his chest, bursting through wound sealed gauze. No blood comes with, but a feral-seeming monster on all fours with quills like a porcupine crashes down before him. "And the other... is to be full. You don't need to eat humans; I did such only to partake in pure souls, like wine. Or to plant my seed in another. These..."
A hand gestures to the weakened Darkstalker, struggling to get back to all fours, growling. Animalistic, mindless, hateful. "Are your true feast. If your soul is starving, you cannot control it. Go on..." Arms spread, beckoning, inviting.
Daniel thought he could restrain himself.
Certainly, he could resist it when it was rattling in his head, screaming and twisting. As Makai identifies the first way, fear rattles in Daniel. To lose himself, his image, his shape... it was horrifying. But the detective soon realizes it is the least horrifying as the figure bursts from Makai's chest. Not to attack, as he soon realizes.
But to feed.
Daniel tries to drown the sensation, the rush. The fueling hunger, the lust to salk his tastes. He tries to ignore the smell of weakness, the sensation of a lesser. He tries to ignore a truth he had long understood, an urge that he removed all restraint from. You only needed to feed on the living, after all. Not humans, not people. But mere living things. Daniel tries to resist. Tries to look away. But the fact was.
Daniel couldn't control it.
The detective descends on the weakened creature, finally succumbing to the predatory instincts that were driving him on. And yet, the motions were not natural. A palm strike with the left, a hand chop with the right. The bread and butter, followed by a surge of chi to stun. From there, Daniel would move to the fastest, easiest way for him to consume. Slowly, twisting the limbs, unleashing the torment. Not to simply play with the food, but to season it, to make it wet with misery and suffering. Pain was a satiation, inflicting was sweet nectar. It might almost seem pathetic how Daniel did not even seem to know how to feed on souls, only to twist out the pain, to bring more and more, and take the mere vapors of it, to feed on the howls and screams.
As a monster would.
Watching Daniel feast, Makai tilts his head in an almost curious manner. This is a creature of false flesh, simply dense energy that can be torn apart, consumed to the barest trace. For someone who spent so long denying that aspect of himself, fleeing from it, shackling it, the potential addiction in the debase efforts might be ecstatic. Each mouthful of essence is like a thrum of pleasure beyond what a mere mortal shell can ever manage. Power would surge, satiation, a fulfillment that transcends into the core of the spirit. This lasts until the last traces are done... and then only the horrible yearning of an unfulfillable glutton. Yet it would be better now, than prior. Although the hunger might be kindled, it is no longer as overtly ferocious in demands.
"...You might be one of the few. Who can transcend the barrier of 'monster'." Makai finally murmurs, tone neutral instead of antagonistic. "I intended you to be a sheep. Fattened by the madness of my gift. Found and eaten, disgusting but vital to regenerate my wounded soul. Such is why I prey on humans; to cleanse my palette from the foulness of eating my own soul. You have spoken much... with people who do not understand what you have become. People who want to help you, but do not truly know how..."
Slowly Makai crouches, resting his forearms on his knees. "Would you like to know? How to become like me? ...How not to lose yourself to the Darkstalker's curse, and make it into your own power...? Or did that feast erase that lingering trace of your humanity once and for all?"
It was mere scraps.
But it was what he desired.
Consuming, crawling consumption was what Daniel desired. The estasy rushes through Daniel, an erotic high that he could only experience by feeding, and in dreams. The hedonistic devouring was only a shadow, a taste. But as he takes in that energy, that suffering, he feels the twitch, the high. Gasping over his victim, he feels... he feels the hostility ebb. A clarity, a cleanness. And then, the offer from Makai.
Never become like him. Daniel would rather die, a fate he had been fighting again and again. Attack him now, before the corruption becomes complete. Resist. Struggle, fight back! Daniel locks eyes up at Makai. Resist, escape. You can solve this on your own. You can figure this out without him. You will become a monster, Daniel, if you follow his path.
"Yes" Daniel says, the word escaping his lips.
"...you must accept what you are." Makai mulls softly, crimson mask close to the monstrous figure crouched where the Darkstalker once laid down. "Your soul is changed. Forever. None have ever undone this. Some Darkstalkers are parasitic, after all. Vampires. Werewolves. Zombies. ...me. You have two options. Fight, and lose. This is what most do. Only these failed measures have let you last this long. But you know more than anyone, deep in your heart, that this is not a fight you will win."
Makai twists his neck to the side, until there's a dull pop. "So you must not flee. What you see... this Ladykiller... it is you. The infection takes your darkest, most hidden traits and magnifies them a hundredfold. It is a monster. You have two choices. Let Daniel Little die... or consume. Consume the monster within you!!" Slowly Makai stands up in earnest, trying to pull the torn bindings back across his chest.
"The weak are eaten by the strong. This is the world you live in. The first fight for all of us... is the one you are in now. But by devouring the Ladykiller, they will become one with you. Forever entwined. You will lose part of yourself forever, and be replaced with what it is. Yet then, the corruption stops. Whatever remains is you. Forever changed. Never again human. And if you succeed... you will have the control you desire."
He steps backwards, into the beam of light from the melted hole in the ceiling as overcast stars finally shed silver light once more. "That is your choice. It will grow forever, grow until it is too large, grow until it consumes you instead. Are you strong enough? To choose to become a monster, instead of choosing to die? And to retain yourself enough to not become your worst nightmares when you finish? I'm curious to see...!!"
Accept what you are.
Daniel had every reason to reject what he was. He was a person, forced into darkness. Possessed and twisted into unnatural, hedonistic desires. His hungers for women in his life, his violence and sadism. His indifference, his betrayal, his selfish usage of Fio Tessitore. His predatory assault. This was all the Ladykiller. It was all of them. It wasn't him. It couldn't be him. Because that would mean...
"Consume the monster."
Daniel repeats back the phrase mindlessly, as he feels the mist congealing around him. Accept it. It was impossible, wasn't it though? Daniel stares at the figure in the light. This was... no, this is not how this encounter should be. Fight off the monster, fight off the monsters, and return to your beautiful dream. The dream of detectives, and heroes, and villains, and stories, beautiful noir stories, without the Ladykiller to ruin it. Because what is it without the Ladykiller?
And Daniel casts his gaze to a nearby shard of mirror.
Staring into it, he sees the Ladykiller. An African American, skin tone leaning more towards brown than black. Broad shoulders and sinewy arms and legs. Under his nose is a sinister, thick, black mustache, carefully groomed to not extend too far outside the lips. He stares back with brown eyes, a look of fear on his face. The monster, the true monster.
But that isn't the Ladykiller.
He can see the true Ladykiller, as his features change. His face is an abyss, a deep black shadow that consumes his entire features. The noseless face burns with yellow eyes, as rows and rows of pure white teeth are lines like the jaws of a shark. Black mist and miasma flows, as the monstrous shadow glares in rage into the reflection. The monster, the true monster.
But that isn't the Ladykiller.
Daniel stares into an endless sea, as he stares into it all. And the reflection forms. Of him, of it. And he reaches for it. 'If you take me' the voice says from the reflection. 'You will bear the burden of everything. Every mistake, every one you have hurt. Everything will be yours.' Daniel stares, and nods. Fear seizes his heart, as his body trembles. He could walk away from this water. He could walk away from this fear. And he could forever live in the beautiful comfort, free of the guilt, of the shame, of the responsibility of being a monster. It could always be the Ladykiller, not him. He could live with that. But would he live with that?
And Daniel steps into the water, to meet the Ladykiller.
Every desire of the Ladykiller was Daniel's. Every urge, every instinct, every shape, every want and need. Everything was not the Ladykiller, the Butcher's corruption, Fio Tessitore's corruption, Morgan's corruption. Everything was not a possession. Everything was Daniel. The full weight, the hate, the pain, the suffering, the nightmares, the agony. Betraying his friends, his allies. Attacking. Everything was real, on the far side of it. His lusts, his selfish lusts. What he wanted to do with Fio Tessitore, what he wanted to force her into. What he wanted to force from Honoka, from every woman who spited him, every enemy before him. Every sin hangs before him, another knife into his body.
He always was the Ladykiller.
The features blend away, relaxing into a balance. Daniel's abyss of a facade fades away. His teeth retract, half-formed into razor sharp canines and molars. His eyes keep that yellow light, far dimmer than before. He turns back to Makai, face still contorted in terror. The full weight of his crimes unleash on him. He felt sick. He spits up some black ichor. This was the alternative to madness. Not feral predators, not insane ramblings, but an unyielding pain and guilt, wrapped like a noose around his neck. "What have I..."
"What have I done?!"
Makai simply observes, arms crossed before his chest. Not with his eyes; he is blind to the light of this world. But the auras. How Daniel confronts the growing darkness within him. They are roughly on par, he would guess. It could go either way. If he succumbs to it, becomes some simple brute that is merely an echo of the Butcher's soul, then his meal is ready. There's little point in allowing it to rampage, where another might slay it and ruin the bounty of his own long postponed feast. The boil of darkness intermingled, like oil and water. Yet then slowly it blends... until instead, it's a single shade.
So he did it.
"What have you done...?" The Butcher states, matter of factly. "You chose life. That is all any of us have done. Now you see why we are all monsters. The corruption of our souls either becomes us, or we become it. None of us are pure or noble. None of us are innocent. ...except the pure." Makai states this with a scathing hatred. "There are some, darkstalkers born of darkstalkers, who are free of this hell. Those who are born with the corruption stable. People trying to form... /communities/... reaping the benefits of this power with none of the pain." There's almost a growl to Makai's voice at that.
"Those are the ones I truly hate. Ones who do not understand being alone in the dark with nothing but fear and dread, of something worse than oblivion. And that purity..." There's a slurping noise behind the mask, flash of glowing purple aura from his eyes. "...is just as delicious as a human's. So many were hidden by the seals oF Mt. Fuji. So many. But now that is gone. Yet you... I think you are better suited to eating the rats. Those who have gone mad and feral. Those who would be destroyed, one way or another."
He leans forward slightly, as if to whisper a secret. "But that pleasure will fade. Eventually, it will taste like ashes in your mouth. Every bite will make you feel like vomitting. And it will no longer satisfy your being. What decision will you make then? When you must step further into your cursed darkness, or slowly fade away? Hmmhmmhmm... no matter. You won't have to make that decision for a time yet...!!"
Life was frightening.
Daniel considers the dreams that Morgan took him into. Those lusts, those shapes, those hungers. The dark power that he wanted. Dark reflections of himself that he had to face. Delusions were a comfort. But to be awake, to truly awaken to the face of shadow and light... was to be trapped in a world where every action was your own. He imagines those sinful, corrupted dreams.
And with a fresh twinge, the beastial hunger within wanted that as well.
But Daniel listens to the shadow of envy, of hate, of peace, of chaos. And he understands, closer than he had ever before, what it meant between humanity and monstrousity. There was a great evil within this man, this creature, this demon; the same evil within Daniel right now, made even worse by the diabolical hunger. How long has he endured this state? He said hundreds of years, but is the abyss of time that shallow? When was humanity forgotten, if ever? Daniel had absorbed one reflection; Makai was another, a shape like his own, a future like his own. But like him, he had a choice. He could choose. For now, Daniel did not have the rush of envy, of hate, or rage. But he had hunger. And soon, soon he knew, they would come to take his life. He had to stay alive. He had to to the right thing. And he had to eat. He had to live.
On the border between chaos and order.
"I need to feed, one way or another." Daniel says with confidence, with realization. "Not the beast, not the Ladykiller, but me. I need to eat, and my diet is suffering, misery, and souls." Daniel gets a brief glimmer of doubt, before drowning it. "But a man has to eat, doesn't he? And it will be me making that decision. Not the Ladykiller. I will choose." Daniel shuts his eyes, and forces a disgust out of him. "I-" He sputters, before swallowing it. And finally, he opens them, his resolve boiling forth.
There is a pause of silence.
"... What happens now?"
"Tch. What happens now? Now you find out how to live." Makai states, almost dismissively. "I had every intention of you becoming a mindless beast. For my implanted soul to draw in energy from you, and what you consumed, until you would sustain me. Do not think me benevolent; every woe and pain you go through is due to me. And that may yet be the case... as I said. In your new world, the weak eat the strong. But... I have given you something new. Immortality. And endless power, if you know how to amass it. When you stop growing, Daniel the Ladykiller... that is when I will come again to rip you asunder, and feast. I have an army of demons. And I have a link to your soul. There is no fighting me... you will lay paralyzed on the ground as I savor each bite of your essence. Hopefully that... will be sufficient motivation..." And then Makai leaps straight up; intent on bursting out of the hole in the ceiling and landing on the rooftop, to vanish with nary a sound into the night...
How you live.
Daniel did not think of him as benevolent, not in the least. But what he saw was that flicker of humanity. That glimpse of desire to find another like him. Certainly, he expected chattled, hence Daniel's hesitation. But that's the misery of the detective, the very start of his entire experience with the Butcher after all: a show of compassion towards the most vile of people. Yes, he saw that glimpse of weakness, of humbleness from Makai. A chance to escape the loneliness. Or kill him, to consume all his accumulated power.
Yeah, Daniel's not gonna look forward to the next meeting.
And like a whisper, he was gone. Daniel steps forward, and looks up through the hole. There was no sign, now of the feeling vessel. The weak eat the strong, huh? Well, Daniel didn't think he was weak. But he was still hungry. And as he fattened himself on the weak... well, Makai would come again. Taking in the moonlight, he looks around at the wreckage of the room, hands on his hips, as he takes in the first moments of his true new life. And he pieces together something very important. "The credit card I had was my credit card." He says aloud. "That's my credit card I gave them at the front desk." He looks back up at the hole in the ceiling.
Log created on 13:22:44 11/01/2017 by Daniel, and last modified on 20:56:16 11/06/2017.