Immediately following Reloaded XII…
The scent of charred flesh and burnt hear preceded the arrival of the LSD Champion Maximillian Kael. Forgoing the eMpire locker room Max Kael was instead taken into darkened conference with the help of several North Kaelrean soldiers. Attempts by the medical team had been denied by Max’s guards who instead insisted they had their own medic standing by.
They did not.
Between screams of pain after being fished out of a flaming dumpster Max had demanded a camera set up so he could address his injuries immediately. His followers, loyal soldiers that they were, ensured that as the Lord Supreme Dictator his camera was ready and already recording. His still smoking body was eased down into a chair set in front of the camera while a cool, wet cream colored towel was placed over his head obscuring his face.
“..I might.. Have underestimated you High flyer.” Max’s voice weezed from beneath the towel. His voice was harsher than normal, had a gravelly quality to it, much like you’d expect from a heavy smoker. “..it’s been.. Awhile since somebody managed to almost kill me. You know the last man to burn him like this? Professor Keller.. Heh-heh..”
His low chortle was cut off by a spasm of pain that wracked Max’s body. A hiss of agony cut through his lips while small dots of red started to appear on the wet towel covering his face. His hands were singed, the skin cracked and bloody in spots, the ringers trembling from the pain he was in.
“If you are under the impression that.. This attack is going to keep me from making it to ICONIC you are sore mistaken. As I said, the last time this happened..it was Professor Keller, I’ve been burned before. I just need a little.. Time..” He barely whispered the last word as his hands reached up and grasp the towel covering his head smearing soot and scrabs across its moist surface.
Yanking down the towel Max exposed his face to the camera for the first time, though it was still cast in dim light. Steam rose from his face as though he were still on fire, his expression stretched tight into quiet anguish. The flesh around his metal eyepatch was the worst of it, black cracks spidered out from it, deep, oozing wounds crimson wounds peaking out where the skin broke open.
“A thing.. I had not considered when having metal placed on my body.. Was out it would react to things like.. Heat.” Pushing himself up out of his chair Max stumbled forward, his wild blue eye staring into the camera. As he got closer additional damage to his face became apparent. His mouth, his lips in particular were burnt, the metal teeth inside likely having burnt the lips from the inside out. Indeed as his lips parted the guns of Max’s mouth were swollen and blistered, another intense source of pain for the Lord of Kaelsalvania.
“..it’s fine though. It’s fine. I’m.. the number one ranked wrestler in High.. Octane.. Wrestling. I am the LORD…SUPREME.. DICTATOR..” Max snarled before he let out a harsh cough where in blood and puss splattered across the screen. His blue eye grew wide as he took in deep ragged breaths followed by another fit of coughs. “..I.. I’m.. Max..m..ill..ian.. K..k..”
The blue eye rolled upward as his body gave out. In one large heap Maximillian Wilhelm Kael collapsed and did not move. It took a few moments before North Kaelrean soldiers rushed forward realizing suddenly that this was not a bit.
It takes a few moments longer for the video to end as Max Kael’s body is rolled over, blood oozing out of his mouth as he doesn’t appear to be breathing..
Out of the void of his mind he felt a rush of icy cold water washing over his face. From whatever fevered dream he had found himself previously he now found himself sitting on a hard stone floor dripping wet. As his blue eye adjusted to the bright light surrounding him a particular smell slithered into his nostril triggering a memory.
“..it smells like burnt flesh and soiled pants in here.” Max said as the world around him came into sharp focus. The light he had thought was daylight was actually an intense fire that burned in the far distance shining through towering broken stained glass windows. Five seats, all of them in various states of destruction filled the circular room he found himself in.
Despite its current state Max recognized the room he stood in. The Chamber of the Council of Kaels.
“What happened here?” Max muttered to himself as he slowly rose from the shattered marble floor. “And who threw a bucket of water on me?!”
“What happened here is you, fuckin’ bruh.” An angry voice snapped at Max from the shadows. His blue eye turned toward the direction of it as a pink polo wearing Max Best limps toward the Lord Supreme Dictator. “You somehow got us fucked! What happened?!”
Max Best, the son of Lee Best and brother of Michael Best, at least how Max envisioned himself as such in the early part of the last decade. He wore a pair of broken aviator sunglasses with long, greasy black hair pulled back over his ears giving him a very 80ies Miami Vice villain of the week look. To complete the look he sported a belt buckle with his own face on it which still managed to glitter in gold, probably the only thing on Best that wasn’t damaged or burnt.
“I.. I don’t remember, I was.. I think I was on top of All State Arena directing the fine soldiers of the North Kaelrean Army and then.. I was falling..” He narrowed his eye as he tried to remember any additional details. “I think someone hit me in the back with a bat and I.. I fell into a dumpster fire.”
“Dumpster Fire.. ptth.. Classic HOW.” Max Best sorted as he collapsed into one of the five chairs in the chamber. “We just need to wait for Wilhelm, he’ll know what’s happening, bruh. Always trust the old, mean fuck.”
Max Kael arched his eyebrow at the mention of Wilhelm. The last time Max got burned badly it was Wilhelm, at least that personality, his cousin Elenore had tried to implant over Max’s own personality. Using massive doses of ketamine Wilhelm Kael had managed to usurp control for a time. Despite despising his attempt to take over Max had always respected Wilhelm’s intelligence and viciousness.. Clearly he wasn’t the only one here to agreed.
“He should be here shortly. It’s always the longest trip for Wilhelm.” A small voice echoed from behind Max’s back. Turning his blue eye peered down at a small boy with a pale face and two dark brown pools for eyes. Max immediately recognized his younger self, probably shortly after his parents had been killed. “He’s not really one of us so the mind wants to rejected him..but he’s willful.”
Max continued to stare down at his youthful doppelganger in awe as the small boy shuffled past him and took his own seat among the five. Max continued to stare at the boy who leveled his own dead gaze back at the Lord Supreme Dictator.
“Okay, what am I doing here though? Last time I was here everyone made it clear that I needed to go back out there and fight.. And I’ve been fighting… and.. Wait. We’re missing someone else..”
His eye widened as he turned and looked around the room counting up who he saw. In the chamber proper there was Young Kael, Max Best and himself, Maximillian Kael. Wilhelm was on the way so that just left..
“Where is the Minister?”
The younger Kael and Max Best exchanged pained expressions before turning their eyes toward the ground.
“You failed so staggeringly that our body is currently dying. In light of that we all decided our best chance for survival wasn’t you.” The deep, resonating voice of Wilhelm Kael joined the conversation. Blue eyes met as Wilhelm and Max immediately honed in on each other. Wilhelm’s expression was stalwart, composed and thoughtful, a juxtaposition compared to his tattered clothing and smoldering wounds.
Max was quick to meet Wilhelm’s gaze and match it with his own fierce glare. He might have respected qualities of Wilhelm but the man himself was still dangerous, like the Minister personality always looking for an opportunity to seize control.. Part of Max wondered if all this wasn’t Wilhelm’s fault secretly.
“..Him?! You.. you thought HE was the best chance for our survival?!” Max said as he sank to his knees, his fingers wrapping over the top of his bald head. His plans.. All of his plans were in jeopardy now, his entire system of power in the hands of a literal madman.
Wilhelm’s posture broke as Max spoke, his shoulders slumped forward and for perhaps the first time in his life he appeared tired. He took a few steps to stand next to the kneeling Maxmillian and sat on the ground looking out of the shattered windows toward the burning fields and mountains beyond.
“Nobody here wants him running things but the truth of the matter is it doesn’t look good regardless. He won’t likely even be fully conscious, we’ve suffered.. A lot of damage. It’s likely we won’t survive let alone wrestle a match at ICONIC. Putting him up there it’s.. More of a mercy for us. He can endure pain and suffering.. He won’t feel lonely, he won’t express regrets or fear at the possibility of death.” Wilhelm said in a steady voice, a sense of the acceptance of his own mortality danced between his words.
“In short, bruh, we won’t look like a pussy bitch. I’d cry, I’m not even going to pretend like I wouldn’t.” Best said with a hand over his heart with the other raised.
“We’re going to die?” Young Kael says suddenly, perking up as he looks at the others.
“Yeah, probably.” Max said off hand before realizing he was talking to his childlike self. He grimaced as his shifty blue eye turned toward the frightened face of Young Kael. “..uh I mean no, no, we’ll be just fine! Cause.. Good old.. Minister is in charge now!”
It was a weak attempt, the kind that might have worked with Michael or Cecilworth but against his own mind, it wasn’t going to fly.
Tears began to tumble down the ash smeared cheeks of Young Kael.
“..we’re going to die..”
The first sounds he heard were distant, more like indicators of sound rather than the full thing. Thudding in the distance though impossible to identify. Voices, he assumed, muffled and foriegn, not loud enough or discernable enough to identify. Then the vagaries of light and shapes started to appear to his eyes.
As he slowly learned to hear and see he too was adjusting the body he found himself in. It was heavier than he remembered it, bigger, more muscular. It was painful as well, just existing in it was agony on all fronts. The flesh felt like it was constantly being held against a hot iron. His mouth was filled with metal and constantly tasted like copper.
He didn’t know how much time had passed when he finally was able to see with any clarity from a single eye. From what he could tell from his surroundings he appeared to be in a hospital where everyone wore a uniform with the North Korean Flag emblazoned upon them. He tried to speak however his mouth was covered with a strange sort of mask, various tubes shoved up his nose and down his throat providing him what he assumed was air and food. Thankfully a nurse noticed his eye movement and it was then that the Minister met his gracious host.
“[My Favorite Number One Wrestler.. Maximillian Kael.. almost killed!]” Kim Jung Un hemmed and hawed in Korean, his hands set at his hips as he stared down into the Minister’s face. “[But it’s okay because I’ve got my top military doctors ready to do whatever it takes to get you ready for ICONIC! You down, buddy!?]”
The Minister didn’t understand Korean and so simply stared up at the Supreme Leader’s face with his dark brown eye until he heard him say ICONIC, a word that was associated with High Octane Wrestling. His head slowly canted to the side as he tried to smile. He.. remembered.. Max was talking about him before he fell over..
He had a match at ICONIC..
He slowly nodded his head, if anything perhaps more details about High Octane Wrestling would come up.
“[Okay, great buddy, real, real good! I got my doctors ready and waiting, best friend. They’re telling me that that our best scientists and engineers are going to make you super bigly the best.]” Kim said as he waved his arms around his head excitedly, his fat lips stretching out into a blubbery smile. “[And then I’ll send you back across the Sea to wage war against the terrible American Dogs in High Octane Wrestling that keep you tethered there.. Then return here to be our full time Champion!]”
The Minister reads the man’s excitement and continues to nod his head. Kim’s joy was infectious and the Minister, despite having no idea what the man was saying, believed his path to ICONIC was through this fat despot who appeared to have a soft sport for old Maximillian Kael.
As the tubes did not permit him to pleasure of a laugh so he simply closed his eyes and imagined it..