“Is it working? Can you hear me?”
The voice of the Herald Sub-Marquis Bentley Tennyson Farthington-Primrose chimed out as his pale, youthful face came into view. His bright eyes stared forward quizzically before a look of satisfaction crossed his face accompanied with a crooked smile.
“It is working! I can see the little red light blinking, MAXKAEL Jr.! Okay, okay! Are you ready?!” the Herald said as he scrambled backwards, his bell riddled cap jingling merrily. He hurriedly pulls on his feathered cap and smoothed out his multicolored tunic as his goofy grin never leaves his face. “..where are you?”
His expression breaks into concern for a moment as his eyes widen, his head swiveling back and forth. Slowly appearing behind him comes the stoic and stern face of MAXKAEL Jr. who wore a frown so hard hard it might as well have been chiseled out of marble. Bentley catches the cold visage of MAXKAEL Jr. and flinches slightly, still not entirely used to how the brick shithouse that was Max’s replacement could move so quietly.
“Oh there you are! Excellent! So.. we’re.. I mean specifically I am about to cut a promo for us, you just.. Do what you do and hang out in the back and let moi do aaaalll the talking! Trust me, there’s no one alive who can do this better than me, you’d know if you ever got on twitter!..alright.”
The Herald slapped the solid chest of MAXKAEL Jr. with a low thud before he turned his cheerful expression back toward the camera. With a clearing of his throat the Herald of MAXKAEL Jr. began.
“PEOPLE OF HIGH OCTANE WRESTLING!.. And more specifically the so called “High Flyer” Jack Harmen! It is I, The Herald of Worthiest Chosen MAXKAEL Jr., Sub-Marquis Bentley Tennyson Farthington-Primrose! You might have thought it shocking, all those things I said about you on twitter! You might have been gobsmacked at the pure power and brutality of MAXKAEL Jr. on last week’s Refueled! You might have soiled your pants when you heard you were up to face the most dominant UNDEFEATED wrestler in High Octane Wrestling.. MAXKAEL Jr.! You might have!.. But you seem to me like you’re too stupid to do any of those things!”
The Herald’s face is overcome with a large smirk as his beedy, bright eyes narrowed at the camera while his arms frantically waved toward the statuesque MAXKAEL Jr. who simply stared forward, his thick tree trunk like arms folding over his chest.
“This Man.. this Legacy Carrying Legend, hailing from the extremely dangerous Little Tokyo District of Kaelsalvania, is a man to be taken serious! He is the physical embodiment of the Right and Regal Maximillian Kael, First of his Name, Long May He Maim, here in the land of High Octane and you best know that is no trifling thing! So as you make your little jokes, as you do your weird little things.. Remember that after this Friday, the only person who’s going to be laughing.. Is ME! It’s me, Jack Harmen! HAhaHaha.. That’s what you’re gonna be soaking up in those stupid ears of yours!”
The Herald turns and slaps the arm of MAXKAEL Jr. once again who seems to regard the Herald with a look of disgust, that hardened frown lifting into tight sneer. Bentley doesn’t seem to notice though as his eyes remained fixed forward, his stupid smirk painted of his face. It was one of those smirks that made you want to slap him, even if you had no idea who he was. The kind of smirk you expect to find on a Pharmaceuticals executive who raises the price on life saving AIDS medication to turn a monster profit for himself.
“You know.. This could have ALL been avoided, High Flyer! This could have been totally and completely bypassed if you hadn’t.. If you had not..” the Herald’s lip trembles a little as he seems to be reliving some recent trauma. His smirk vanishes as a deep anxiety crept over his face. “..hadn’t kidnapped me! Hadn’t forced me to go out on that stage, in front of all those people, in front of the Glorious and Good Maximillian Kael, FohN, LMHM, and HERALD FOR YOU! You almost broke the sacred bond between Herald and..and..Heraldee! And now MAXKAEL Jr., my personal instrument of Kaeltastrophe, is gonna hurt you! He’s gonna hurt you because he HATES YOU TOO!”
MAXKAEL Jr.’s lips part slightly as he stares at the back of the Herald’s head, his disgust mingling with a little bit of confusion.
“MAXKAEL Jr. has told me all the things he thinks about you! He thinks you are weak! He thinks you’re over the hell! He thinks you’ve been doing this TOO LONG and it’s time to quit! He told me.. He told me he is going to drag you to the center of the ring, okay! He’s gonna drag your stinkin’ carcass to the middle of the ring, he’s gonna lift you up into the air.. And….” The Herald’s body becomes animated as he mimics the act of lifting another human into the air, though in a manner that no human could possibly be lifted. It’s almost as if the Herald had no idea who physics or wrestling work. “..AAAAAND He’s gonna plant you in the center of the ring with the MAXKAEL Jr. Spinning Special Driver ‘19! Nobody.. Absolutely NOBODY kicks out of the MAXKAEL Jr. Spinning Special Driver ‘19!”
Bentley’s bells jingle loudly as he mockingly slams an invisible opponent onto the ground, complete with wooshing sound effects compliments of the Herald’s own mouth. MAXKAEL Jr. continues to stare daggers into the back of the youthful Farthington-Primrose’s head, his growing disbelief widening his mouth while his jaw continues to grow more lax.
“Then it’s just.. One.. two… three! The crowd will climb up to their feet and shower praise and adulation upon MAXKAEL Jr. and, of course, upon his Herald, the man who helped lead this monster of a man to the ring and helped guide him into being the greatest fighter in the world! And then, because he hates you so much, MAXKAEL Jr. is going to break your neck! HAHA! That’s right, he’s gonna end your career because his whole purpose and goal is your Defeat! The END is coming, High Flyin Jack Harmen! THE END! HAH-HA! IT’s gonna-”
Before the Herald can finish a hard, calloused hand slaps over his mouth, the fingers locking down like a tight vice over the youths face. Shock washes over Bentley’s face as his pale skin flashes red. His eyes turn to see MAXKAEL Jr. glaring down at him, his almond shaped eyes locked on the Heralds as he lifts his other hand to his lips offering a gentle “shh”.
“…I.. do not hate.. Jack Harmen-san.” MAXKAEL Jr. grunts, his voice heavily accented, the R in Harmen rolled deeply, almost like a low growl. “..but.. I will do what I must.. To get to my true goal.”
The Herald’s fingers reach up and start crawling at MAXKAEL Jr.’s massive hand which continues to cover both his mouth and nose depriving the young man of his capacity to breath. Still, even as the Herald struggles he seems incapable of breaking free of the iron grasp of the Chosen of Max Kael.
“..Jack Harmen-san we will face each other, I hope you are more prepared than Crash Rodriguez was. I.. am not here for games nor to suffer the whims of..” His eyes turn toward the Herald whose face is turning an off shade of purple. “..children. I am here to see Maxu Kael’s Legacy defended or as likely.. Avenged..”
He releases the Herald’s face as the young man collapses to the ground taking in deep gulps of breath as the purple hue of his face slowly bleeds back out to a healthy red. MAXKAEL Jr. disregards the Herald with a disgusted shake of his head while his eyes remained locked forweard.
“..Daniel Ryan-kun.. You dishonored Maximillian Kael.. you are a thankless bastard. I swear that you will pay for your dishonorable attack on my name-sake.. It is my duty.. It is my charge. Whatever you may do.. Whatever your goals may be.. Wherever you may go .. Be aware.. MAXKAEL Jr. is coming for you, Ryan-kun bastard!”
Growling his final words out the Worthiest Chosen, MAXKAEL Jr. cast a final, dismissive glance down at the Herald before stepping away leaving nothing but the sad, retching cough of young Bentley behind.
“So… what exactly is the problem?”
Max stared at the tear filled face of the Herald that occupied the screen of his I-pad. Max sat on the floor of his luxury cabin, his back up against a wood panel wall while a tangle of black and gray hair draped over his head. He looked, worn out. His face was paler than normal and his thin lips were pulled across his face in a low and lazy frown.
“He almost killed me!” the Herald cried loudly, his piercing voice cutting through the skype call like a knife across a porcelain plate. Max winced and gave a low shake of his head.
“I’m sure he didn’t mean to kill you, if he did you’d probably actually be dead right now and I’d be on the phone with your parents demanding a refund.”
“You’re focusing on the wrong things here, my dearest Herald. Listen, MAXKAEL Jr. is a warrior, a fighter.. One of the best in the world. I’m talking, this guy could have been in Street Fighter or, like, if he had magical nunchuck guns he could have been in Mortal Kombat! He understands violence and brutality, the warrior’s path, all that business! Plus he idealizes me so how the hell am I going to get angry at him?” Max says, for a moment, a little bit of joy touches his face as he lets out a low giggle. The concept of anyone idealizing him always entertained him and naturally it was good for the ego. Though as soon as that bit of joy is there it quickly vanishes, his sad, pathetic appearance returning.
“..so.. “ the Herald says, sniffing as he wipes a few tears from his face. “..what you are saying is.. I need to kill someone in front of him to gain his respect?”
“Yeah.. I mean NO!” Max says, the Herald’s actual words finally registering just a moment too late. “I mean, listen. Obviously yes, MAXKAEL Jr. would probably be impressed if you managed to kill someone right in front of him. And if this was Russia I’d say give it a try but we’re not there yet. So maybe try something a little less.. I don’t know, final. Maybe just.. Kick the shit out of someone to prove to him you know how to fight?”
“..but I don’t know HOW to fight.” moaned Bentley as tears started to fill up his eyes once again. Max groaned as he rolled his blue eye upward as he tried to think up a solution. And then.. There it was. Like a flash in the darkness Max had an idea. It wasn’t a good idea, it was far from foolproof idea.. But it was an idea and that was all he needed to get the Herald off Skype.
“Ask John Sektor. I know that sounds dumb but.. You know.. I have his daughter. He’s gotta kinda do what I say or.. Well.. I mean there are implications here. Look at what happened to Sutler, and I actually did kinda like him! I’m a terrible father! If he just lets her stay with me and lets me raise her.. Well, let’s just say I don’t think Sektor wants to look over his shoulder his entire life knowing he might have a deranged daughter looking to cut off his nipples or something because.. Yeesh, I’m a MESS of a human being.” Max said, shaking his head more to himself as he reflected on how poorly young Sutler turned out.
“Just.. go up and ask him?” The Herald managed to weeze out, once again drying his tears as a little flicker of hope appeared behind him.
“..yeah I mean, just to tell him you need training to learn how to fight or, I don’t know.. Max Kael is gonna raise your daughter on a Vegan Diet. If he turns you down again tell him I’m going to try using only essential oils to treat any of her medical issues.” Max said as he scratched his chin thoughtfully.
“OKAY! MAXKAEL Jr. is going to respect me! I’m going to be WORLD CHAMPION someday!”
“Yeah, I don’t think so. Good luck now.” Max said as he stared down at the image of the Herald waving his arms in the air as though he had a title in his hands. With a flick of his finger Max disconnected his fall to his Herald, the screen of his pad flashing to darkness as he tossed it away.
He slowly pulled himself up to his feet, the bathrobe he was wearing looked like it hadn’t been removed in days. His posture was terrible as his shoulders hunched forward, his head dipping low while his ratty hair covered his face. His sandals dragged across the floor as he walked toward the door of his cabin, his pale face seeming to become more haunted as he approached.
His fingers curled over the knob of the door turning it before the sound of the lock disengaging could be heard. Slowly he pulled it open, the hinges creaking loudly as he did so. HIs blue eye peered through the opening carefully scanning the void carefully until they fell upon that which he had been dreading.
“Keep the door Closed.”
A cold, militaristic voice chimed out at Max who immediately slammed the door shut, spinning around to brace himself up against it.
They were still out there.
This was really happening.
Had finally come for him.