"We have been walking FOREVER." Coronus said irritably. He hated the desert, almost as much as he despised the cold.
“You will live.” Jak said without turning around.
"As you always say..." Coronus muttered. It was easy to talk, but not so easy to actually carry out the action.
Alex growled at Coronus. "Quit griping and just walk."
“Or I’ll make you regret it.” Jak added.
Coronus grumbled and continued walking, the hot sand scalding his bare feet with each step.
As the group continued to walk, they came upon a small building. The ground around it was made of glass, and the walks of baked mud. The darkness inside was absolute, as if the rays of light shining in couldn’t pierce the shadows.
"Looks like a perfect hiding spot for a being of darkness." Alex said, a smirk on his face.
Jak walked up to the doorway, then stood, unmoving. After a few seconds, the veil of shadows lifted slightly, revealing an old room, desks, tables, and chairs scattered around, dust covering the floor. In the center of the room was a gaping hole, the shadows unrelenting within.
"Where do you suppose that leads?" Coronus asked, looking down the hole.
“Underground ruins, long since forgotten.” Jak said, peering into the shadows. “And our adversary.”
"Great." Alex said, looking down. He tried to make something out, anything, but couldn't. Not even his eyes could pierce the darkness.
“The shadows will not disappear for you, Alex. Only beings of darkness can dispel the magic.” Jak said, then jumped into the hole. As he dropped to the ground, the shadows retreated from him.
Alex and Coronus dropped with Jak, making sure to stay within the area where the shadows had parted.
Jak walked forward and the shadows retreated further, but closed in once again from behind the group. Before the shadows closed upon Alex and Coronus, Jak stopped. “It would be best to stay out of the shadows. They are hungry for flesh and they do not fear you.” He said over his shoulder.
"I don't like shadows anyway..." Coronus said. Still, he inched away from the darkness a little bit more, just to be safe.
Jak walked forward, Alex and Coronus following, down the corridor that was slowly appearing as the shadows retreated ahead of them, and closed again behind the three.
Alex furrowed his brow after a few minutes of walking. "How do you know where you're going? What if we're going the wrong way?"
Jak looked over his shoulder, a sly smile on his face. “The darkness shows me the path, as it showed me the path to Zeroth.” He said, then looked forward again.
"Interesting..." Alex said. "I don't suppose you could twist this thing's own darkness against it, can you?"
“I could, but that would be the easy way out.” Jak said.
"Aren't we supposed to look for the easy way out?" Coronus said, slightly irritated by Jak's "me-first" personality.
“Our job is to end the dark creatures life. How we go about that is our business.” Jak said, irritation creeping into his voice.
Coronus sighed. "It would be faster..." He muttered. But he stopped the argument there. Jak had made it clear that Coronus would be royally boned if he got in the way, and Coronus was also pretty sure God wouldn't be able to stop Jak.
As they walked, they eventually came upon a large door, ancient runes carved along the sides. The shadows were really reluctant to remove themselves from this place, but as Jak moved closer, they fled. “He is here.” Jak said quietly.
"Then let's go kick his ass." Alex said darkly, cracking his knuckles.
Jak waved his hand and the doors groaned, then opened. Within was a large cathedral-like room, with a small pit in the center. The impenetrable shadows soon attempted to fill the room, but Jak waved his hands again and the shadows retreated from the room.
"Talk about dreary." Coronus said, keeping his voice carefully neutral.
“No doubt perfect for our dark enemy.” Jak said, walking to the center of the room, where the pit was.
"You dare disturb my home?" A whispery voice said from the pit.
“Your home means nothing to me. You, however, I have come to see.” Jak said coldly.
A long silence followed. "How did you get past my shadow barrier?" The voice asked, curling around Jak's intentions.
“Your shadows fear me, and as I moved forward, they fled from my sight.” Jak said.
"Impossible." The voice said. "My shadows fear nothing."
"And yet we are here." Coronus interjected.
“I am a force to fear.” Jak said maliciously..
"You must realize, fool..." The voice said, crawling out of the pit. It looked like a five legged spider, with a bright red cluster of energy for an eye and long tendrils sweeping down it's long body. "That I fear nothing."
“And today, you shall learn what fear is. Zeroth, your brother, died by my hands. You are next in line.” Jak said coldly.
"Zeroth died?" The creature said. "Not surprising. He was absolutely worthless. I have no idea why our Emperor spawned him anyway."
“Your Emperor will fall, just like Zeroth, as well as you. Your soul belongs to me.” Jak said icily, Lucifer’s Scythe appearing within his hand.
"Our Emperor is immortal." The creature said as it slammed its scythe like legs into the ground. "But I, Garoth, will destroy you before you even meet his magnificence!"
Jak smiled slyly. “Your death will be pleasing, and your key will be mine.”
"Not a chance in the multiverse." Garoth said as several portals of light opened. "You see, I'm one of the few Ing that can harness light to do THIS!" As he uttered the last word, the portals each fired a beam of light, one per hero.
In the blink of an eye, Jak flickered and vanished, appearing between Alex and Coronus, then flickered again, taking the two with him. He reappeared a moment later in front of Garoth, Alex and Coronus on the other side of the room. “Your powers are pathetic.” Jak said.
"You've seen naught but a fraction." Garoth said darkly, and tried to slash at the group. In an instant, Coronus had slashed with his staff, cutting Garoth's leg off. Garoth studied the stump for a moment, and then with a dark laugh, regenerated it. "Fools. All of you." Garoth muttered.
Jak stepped forward, his eyes glittering maliciously. His scythe vanished and he reached for Garoth. Shadowy hands reached from the floor and grasped Garoth. “Your soul belongs to me, Garoth.”
"Not quite." Garoth said. "This isn't over yet." Garoth's body melted into a puddle of black, inky fluid. It moved along the floor and to the ceiling, where Garoth reformed.
Jak looked up, smiling. His eyes flashed and spears of darkness shot towards Garoth. Not one of them hit him, but struck around him instead.
Garoth tried to move out of the spears, but found he couldn't. He was trapped like a rat in a cage.
Jak’s eyes flashed again, and electricity arced from the spears, targeting Garoth. “You cannot escape from me so easily.” Jak said coldly.
"You will pay for this." Garoth said in an icy tone.
“Highly doubtful.” Jak said as his scythe appeared in his hand. He gripped it with both hands and the blade started to emit black sparks. “Your life has come to an end.” He said, the swung the scythe. A wave of energy sliced through the air, heading straight for Garoth. The wave crackled, full of energy.
Garoth melted himself back into his puddle form and seeped into the ceiling, moving through the rock and metal towards the heroes.
Jak smiled slyly, the struck the stave of the scythe onto the ground and a wave of dark spikes shot in and out of the ground, travelling towards Garoth.
Garoth reacted too slowly and was impaled on the spikes as he came up out of puddle form. Alex and Coronus both jumped at him and slashed in a frenzy, spilling purplish blood onto the floor.
Jak walked to the impaled body of Garoth. “You are a fool, Garoth, to have even thought that you could defeat us. You don’t deserve to live.” Jak said, and plunged his hand into Garoth, pulling the key from his body. “And now your soul belongs to me.”
"The Emperor will destroy you..." Garoth said as his breath left his body and his blood cooled on the floor. His body burst into a flash of light and disintegrated, leaving nothing behind.
Jak smiled slyly. “Another soul for my collection.” He said, as a bright orb appeared from the ground and floated to Jak. He reached out and grabbed it, the orb vanishing as it was absorbed into his body.
Alex sighed. "Too bad we didn't get to do much else but sit and watch." He said dryly.
Coronus nodded. "It's his way of doing things. He doesn't like having other people get in his way."
Jak turned to the two. “It is time to move onto the next in line, and fine the third key. Soon, we shall meet this ‘Emperor’, and he will regret existing.” Jak said coldly, a devilish grin on his face. “He shall feel the fear of darkness.”