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"MEGAMAN:TWILIGHT"

CHAPTER FIVE--COLD GRIP OF DEATH

By: Tomm Hulett

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The blue streak bolted onto the scene. Megaman looked around at his surroundings. He appeared to be in a city, albeit a city encased in ice. "Sickle Man's place," the robot scowled as he surveyed the remains of this town. He leapt off the building he was on and landed roughly on the street below.

Megaman noticed that the sidewalk was lined with ice-cocoons. Inside each one were metallic peices formed to resemble human skeletons. Upon closer inspection, the android realized they weren't robots--but real human skeletons. He averted his eyes in disgust. Sickle Man had encased this entire city in ice, as well as mutilating the human residents and causing them to share the fate of their homes.

"I'm coming for you!" Megaman shouted and shook his fist, looking into the sky. Hearing a sound, he turned around just in time to see a large chunk of ice flying directly at him. The hero slid away just in time, leaping to his feet to face his attacker. A large skeleton shaped robot stood atop a brick wall. It's upraised hand was already gathering more moisture to form into another ice chunk. The robot was similar in design to an older model that generated crystals. Megaman dodged the second projectile.

Two plasma bursts errupted from the Mega Buster. They cut through the icy air and smashed into the ice creating robot. It chirped threateningly and struggled to form another weapon. Three additional shots made sure it wouldn't.

The blue robot balanced his weight. Testing his mobility from side to side, Megaman paused a moment. No matter how many ice themed Robot Masters he fought, he would never get used to walking on frozen ground. His feet almost slid out from beneath him as he moved to dodge a small droid charging at him via a set of ice skates. Smashing into Megaman's shins, it circled around for another pass. The attacker wasn't much larger than a hand vacuum--and it resembled one slightly. The blades of it's 'skates' scraped slits in the icy street. Threatening binary squealed as the droid charged anew.

Megaman strained his slightly damaged suspension system and jumped over the small robot. After a remotely rough landing, he destroyed the robot with a few shots. "Argh," he growled. "It's gonna' be a lot harder to walk on this ice if my legs don't get repaired." Unfortunatly the droid hadn't left behind any energy. Megaman struggled to stand and ended up falling flat on his face. He grumbled and eventually regained his standing position. "I'm guessing the Robot Master is in the City Hall," he deduced. "Which would be...that way." The blue robot travelled in the direction of the large building.

* * *

A penguin shaped bomb exploded next to Megaman. He leapt to one side, landing awkwardly and tumbling to the ground. His legs were still damaged, and he was now faced with another Ice-Thrower and a large cannon lobbing Penguins. An idea came to the robot, so he switched to Samurai Man's weapon. His blue armor changed to a dark red and grey pattern. He pulled the Katana up to bare and rose to his feet.

Megaman began his coast along the ice towards the Ice-Thrower. He slashed the chunk of frozen water in half and continued towards it's origin. Destroying the enemy, Megaman picked up the resulting energy capsule and used it to repair his legs. His armor became blue again as he switched back to the Mega Buster. The robot deftly leapt an incoming Penguin and began charging his weapon. He followed this move with a slide; another penguin buzzing just above his head.

The plasma blasts were reflected by the cannon's armor. "Wha?" Megaman paused a second. The cannon lifted up off the ground revealing two large rounded feet and two gigantic eyes. It moved to the left a little and then slammed back down under it's covering. The penguin barrage continued. Megaman realized he would have to destroy the robot when it had uncovered it's eyes--probably it's weak spot. He continued to dance away from the missles, and moved towards the assailant. Again it lifted from the ground.

"Tag--you're it," Megaman fired a charged shot at the cannon. It recoiled slightly and looked surprised. A few more shots connected before it got far enough away and dropped back to the ground. The blue robot spent a few more minutes sliding and jumping away from explosives shaped like Antarctic bird life. The next time the cannon lifted it's head resulted in four buster shots to it's face, and a large explosion. Megaman used the left over weapon energy to refill his 'Katana Slash'.

The hero was immediatly faced with a problem of a different nature, however, in that a brick wall blocked his path. He frantically searched for a way over it; even HE couldn't leap that high. Noticing a fire escape on a nearby building, Megaman leapt up to it and began climbing. The frost lining the metal burned into his armor and his pain receptors went off. "That is REAL cold," he stated the obvious. It became a chore to lift his hands off the gripping ice to move to the next rung. Soon the trial was over, though, as Megaman leapt over the wall and to the street below.

* * *

Six Ice-Throwers, two cannons, and a dozen vacuum bots later, Megaman reached the entrance to the City Hall. Upon entering it, he noticed that the floorplan had definitely been changed. The floor had been dug out and replaced by row upon row of sharp ice spikes. A series of platforms spanned the upper half of the vaulted chamber. He quickly grasped a nearby ladder and scaled up to the platforms.

Beginning with a run, Megaman began sliding along the ice bridge that served as a platform. He effortlessly glided along; it was much easier than walking. He turned his attention to the ceiling of the room. He grimaced, noticing that the city's officials hung from the ceiling, encased in ice. Some of their flesh was eaten away to reveal bones. Suddenly the ice crusted roof seemed to get further and further away...Megaman was falling!

His gaze upwards had distracted him as the ice bridge had come to an end. The hero had slid right off of it without noticing. He flailed his arms, hoping to grasp onto the platform before it was too late. Unfortunatly he watched as the platform he was once on got smaller and smaller.

All of a sudden the robot's fingers caught on a cold chunk of platform. He struggled to pull himself up, as he hung inches away from the spikes. His fingers started to slip. Thinking quickly, he charged his Mega Buster and fired a forceful shot downwards. The jolt gave him the push he needed to reach a standing position on the platform. "That was close," he uttered, again stating the obvious. Megaman negotiated the series of platforms and ladders and eventually found himself on the opposite side of the room by the large hydrolic gate. Turning to veiw the spikes again, the hero saw that they weren't just spikes--they were sharpened human bones frozen in ice. "This guy is sick," he muttered. "I'm putting him away for good."

After a short jog down the hallway, and another gate, Megaman stood face to face with Sickle Man. The grim robot's head was a skull, and the ice that encased him was shaped to resemble a cloak. He floated several feet off the floor.

"Your Angel of Death has arrived, Megaman," the Robot Master said in a grim voice.

"Wait...I found YOU," Megaman smiled. "I thought I was the one who arrived."

The robot ignored these quips and continued his speech. "The Blue Bomber will at last fall this day..."

Blue Bomber. It was a silly name; someone had used it during his first battle with Wily and it had stuck. Megaman really didn't mind it, althought it WAS awfully silly. It was better than several alternatives, such as 'Titanium Titan'.

"Make peace with yourself and prepare for your doom," Sickle Man swung his weapon threateningly and brought it to bare.

Megaman turned crimson and grey as he switched to use of the 'Katana Slash'. "I'm ready for my doom," the robot scowled. "But are you prepared for yours?"

Ignoring him, Sickle Man dove towards his opponent, swinging his scythe in a wide arc. Megaman powerfully blocked it with his Katana. Sickle Man's thin, bonelike arms strained as the two blades clashed. They broke the lock and both retreated a few feet. 'This is a duel if I've ever seen one', Megaman thought to himself. "Better get the upper hand, quickly," he said aloud. The robot threw his Katana at his opponent. It served as a distraction--just as planned--and ricocheted off of the frozen sickle.

Megaman leapt and caught the blade in midair, falling in Sickle Man's direction and slashing with the sword. The Robot Master was knocked back a few feet, and his eyes began to glow red. The hero decided now would be a good time to get behind his attacker, so he slid underneath him. The manuever was cut short, however, by Sickle Man's next attack.

The reaper robot extended his icy cloak down into the ground. Megaman collided with the frozen coloumn in mid-slide. The Robot Master extended his arms out sideways and coursed power through his own circuits. Jagged peices of ice appeared and ran like waves along the icy floor of the room. A few of these 'waves' struck Megaman and he tumbled backwards. He stood up and clutched his head. His brain circuits were beating his pain sensors on and off repeatedly. "Blast," he growled. "Do all these robots have second winds in their programming?"

"As you can see, whelp," Sickle Man again brandished his scythe. "The end comes to us all."

A scowl ripped across Megaman's features. He raised his katana and slashed downwards, smashing the sickle into many peices. He reverted to blue as a fully charged buster exploded directly into the Robot Master's chest cavity. Ice pieces scattered across the chamber, and a metallic skull landed with a dull 'thud'.

"Unfortunatly," Megaman spoke to the now-dead robot. "It appears I'm cursed to live. My doom is to forever fight for a goal that, if acheived, defeats my purpose completely." He turned to leave, but stopped. "Perhaps my true meaning is to find a reason to live...a reason beyond the paradox that has so recently come into question." Megaman shut his eyes tightly and sighed...and then was gone...

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