Steve didn’t have to look far to find the Night Retcher. He found her in a grassy patch of land in the direction Davy had indicated.
She called out to Steve as he approached. “Hey, Steve,” she grunted. “It’s Steve, right? Davy’s friend?”
“Yeah,” Steve answered. He saw that she was lying face up on the grass, her arms and legs extended in different directions. It didn’t look to Steve like she had moved at all since landing on the ground. Her face conveyed less pain and more major discomfort and she did not look at all happy to be experiencing it.
“As you can probably tell, I’m not exactly in the best mood right now,” the Night Retcher continued. “I was having such a great day too. And then some jerk-face, dime-store, Nostradamus wannabe turd-monster decides to throw all the magic lightning at me then throw me off a building. I mean, who does that!”
“Someone that I think we’ve all gotten sick of,” Steve replied.
The Night Retcher slowly lifted her right arm and held up her index finger. “One second, buddy. This is going to be unpleasant for everybody.” She held both of her arms straight up in the air in fists. Slowly, she forced herself to sit upright, making a single, protracted wheezing groan as she did so. She exhaled in relief once she was sitting up. “That’s so much better,” she grunted. “I don’t even have muscles on a one hundred percent consistent basis, and all of them are still so sore.” She looked at Steve and asked, ” So what did I miss?”
Steve scratched the back of his head, not sure he wanted to give the full rundown. “Uh, well,” he began. “So me and Vulcan Hephaestus, we shut down the weather device, but then Vulcan sacrificed himself to save me from the villains who were working for Mother Martyr and came back to kill us. Also, Mother Martyr said she was going to kill everyone in the city with her lightning powers, since we shut off the storm, so Davy’s up there trying to keep her busy until we can get help. I don’t think we have much time until Mother Martyr outright kills him, but I don’t know what to do next.”
The Night Retcher had managed to get to her feet while Steve was speaking and was now in the middle of some upper body stretches. “Thanks for the update, Steve,” she said. “But don’t worry about getting help. I’m taking this lady down myself.”
“But what about before?” Steve asked. “With the lightning?”
Steve saw a grin begin to form on the Night Retcher’s face. “Let’s just say she caught me off guard. Surprise lightning will do that to you. But I guess you could also say I was holding back. I wasn’t ready to tap into my full potential. But if someone is going to try and kill my friend, then–man oh man–I am going to go to maximum power so fast, you would think I was made out of sunlight itself.”
Steve looked down and noticed the Night Retcher was changing. Tendrils were coming out of her arms and legs and wrapping themselves around her.
“I used to think that I needed to keep myself in check. That I needed to make sure I didn’t do anything too weird that would keep me from fitting in. But I’ve learned tonight that there’s nothing wrong with being weird, as long as I’m being myself. If anyone has a problem with that, then that’s on them, not me.”
The Night Retcher looked at Steve with a wide, manic grin. Her head had grown, and Steve could see rows and rows of razor-sharp teeth inside. “I guess you haven’t really seen my powers in action yet,” Olivia told him, as Steve saw her mass begin to grow and additional eyeballs form on her face. “Well, Steve,” she continued. “You’re about to get one hell of an introduction to what the Night Retcher can do. And it is awesome.”
Davy knew what Mother Martyr was going to do next. He ran full force at her, but at the last second, just before Mother Martyr was able to reach out and grab him by the throat again, he jumped to the right and rolled past her. It hurt a lot, but was too happy that it actually worked to care.
“An A-rank level feint from Davy!” he shouted to himself. “And the crowd goes wild.”
“Stupid child,” Mother Martyr shouted she turned around. “There is no crowd here. There is only you and I.”
“I think you might be missing the point,” Davy chided. “So you said a reptile from another world have you this device,” he continued, pouting at the structure. Davy had a hunch that we wanted to follow up on since Steve said Mother Martyr knew about their quest. “Did he give you anything else?”
“How dare you speak of the reptile from another world!” Mother Martyr shouted back. You are not worthy!”
Davy took a step back. “Well, Um, you’re going to kill me anyway. Why not, don’t you think after all of your years of toiling, that at the very least you deserve some satisfaction in telling someone how clever and resourceful you were?” This false flattery felt sour coming out of Davy’s mouth. Not so much because of the lying or the sucking up, but just because he felt that it was so obvious what he was doing. He expected to get zapped any second now.
Surprisingly, Mother Martyr took the bait. “Very well,” she conceded. “The reptile from another world. Not only did he bestow this weather device to my care, but he also gave me this veil.” She gestured towards the black veil she was wearing. “It is the source of my newfound powers. An ancient garment from a world completely separate from our own. It is one of several powerful relics that must not fall into the hands of the Steward. For if the Steward is able to acquire all of the relics then he will be able to stop the righteous destruction of our world at the hands of the great reptile.”
Mother Martyr cackled to herself. “But this will not come to pass,” she continued. “I have met the Steward, and he is a meager welt. He will not take my veil, and his life shall be extinguished on this night. Right after I extinguish yours.”
Davy was a little dumbstruck. That was a lot more information than he was expecting. It was nice to learn more about what he was doing, though he wasn’t looking forward to having to deal with the reptile from another world. Davy then saw Mother Martyr raise her hands and point her palms at him. He remembered that he should probably figure out how to not die from electrocution before worrying about any reptiles.
Before he could react, Davy felt the roof shake beneath his feet. Mother Martyr apparently felt it too, as she lowered her hands and began to look around. A moment later Davy heard a low rumble as the roof quaked again. Suddenly, something swung over the side of the roof, landing behind Mother Martyr.
It was a tentacle.
Only, the tentacle was huge. It was at least fifteen feet long and as thick as street lamp. It was a pale gray color with hints of purple. The tentacle constricted as another one swung out from the side of the building onto the roof, this time between Davy and Mother Martyr. It was about the same size and color as the first one.
Mother Martyr looked at the tentacle in front of her in disgust, but mostly in fear. “What is this abomination!?” she exclaimed in confusion.
Davy looked in the direction where the tentacles came from. He smiled as he watched a gargantuan grey mass rise up from the side of the building. It looked more or less like a formless blob, grey flesh arranged into one shape with no sense of order. There were tendrils and tentacles of all different shapes and sizes erupting from the mass, some gripped to the side of the building, some writhing aimlessly I the air. Perhaps most notable were the scores of eyeballs and mouths covering the mass. Some of the mouths had teeth, some were open, making gurgling noises, and some were shut tight. Every eyeball, however, was focused straight on Mother Martyr. Davy grinned, knowing his friend was okay.
Davy watched a mouth visibly take form out of a previously featureless patch of flesh. It was far larger than any other mouth. “Foul beast of eyes and teeth, am I right?” the mass said in a voice that was still distinctly Olivia’s.
“It’s a pretty cool look,” Davy replied.
“I know right,” Olivia chirped back, all eyes on Davy. “But I kind of prefer just having the eyes. My depth perception is all kinds of messed up right now.”
Every single one of Olivia’s eyes looked back at Mother Martyr. “You’ve been a bad fake nun,” she said with every single one of her mouths.
Mother Martyr took a step back. “You heathen monster!” she shouted. “You’re supposed to be dead!” She raised her arms and shot lightning bolts at the mass in front of her.
Davy could see many of Olivia’s eyes wince in pain, but she held her from together. A tentacle rose up from the side of the building and wrapped itself around Mother Martyr, who began to shriek uncontrollably. Olivia lifted Mother Martyr off the roof and held her in front of the largest mouth. All the eyes looked at her.
“I think you’ve endangered my friends long enough,” the largest mouth stated.
Mother Martyr’s shrieks became mixed with sobs. “Why are you allowed to exist! You’ve completely ruined my destiny! Tonight was the night of my salvation!”
Olivia narrowed all over her eyes. “No,” she said. All of the eyeballs retracted from Olivia’s body except for the one closest to the largest mouth. “You know what tonight is?” She held Mother Martyr inches away from the remaining eyeball.
“Tonight’s the Night of the Night Retcher.”
Mother Martyr began to pound at the tentacle ensnaring her, as if she was throwing a tantrum.
“I have not forced myself to suffer for all of these years only to fail now!” she screamed.
All of Olivia’s mouths chuckled in unison. “Oh, I’m sorry. You think you’ve suffered?” they all said. The large mouth smiled and added, “Because that was all nothing compared to this.”
And with that, the tentacle flicked Mother Martyr directly into the large mouth. Davy saw a fear that he had never seen before in Mother Martyr’s face as she flew past rows and rows of jagged teeth into a black abyss.