Gonna miss you, Dippy. I’m sorry, I know I was kinda dismissive towards you and such when you were alive, and we only knew each other for a couple of minutes, but you were a perfect little minion while you lasted. Spelled ‘Slaaneshi’ right and everything, like a fudging ace. You didn’t misquote me either, from the looks of things, which is pretty great. At the very least, I’ll always have the blood you splashed all over that one page of the journal to remember you by, though. Maybe, if I ever get home to the MagCave, I could always start cloning y-
Oh right, nevermind. It wouldn’t really be the same, would it? What with your brain reduced to tiny little lumps of bloody meat all over the Clockwork Fortress walls, getting your memories and level of discipline and scribe skills into the clones wouldn’t be easy. I’ll try to contact your next of kin when this is all over instead, maybe. You might have a son who’d make a great Dippy II, if he’d be willing to follow in your footsteps. Preferably with less brain goo, though. This magical journal thingy can probably only withstand so many bloodstains before pages start getting all stuck together and junk.
Anyways, for those of you just tuning in and too dumb to flip back a few pages to the beginning, (like you’re supposed to when reading this sort of thing instead of just picking an entry at random like a silly dunce), we last left off with Dippy the imp scribe and I, onboard the Clockwork Fortress just as it was unexpectedly attacked and invaded by rabid invertebrate bug demon things! As always, I was completely calm and totally cool under pressure. Even as the airborne fortress quaked and shuddered beneath us (thrown off-balance by what I later found out was a giant chain of the horde beasties wrapped around the aircraft, anchoring us to the ground with their combined strength), I was doing my utmost best to reassure Dippy that everything was going to be alright with me around to protect him. Playing up the war hero image, and definitely not screaming in terror and asking fate to take Dippy’s life instead of mine. I don’t do that sort of thing, absolutely not.
If I had prayed for such a thing, which we’ve already made clear that I didn’t, it would’ve seemed as if the gods themselves had answered such a plea, because despite all my very real and not at all fictional reassurances that Dippy would pull through and we would get through this whole mess alive, I was wrong. Wrong, and covered in Dippy’s blood. The wall beside us exploded, a brass pipe stabbing right through the poor imp’s skull, and leaving me quite uncharacteristically free of harm. I wasn’t about to let that stroke of good luck go to waste, so with a fearsome war cry (No, I wasn’t screaming like a little girl in gut-wrenching terror, it was a war cry. Shut up.) I wrested my journal out from the cold, dead fingers of my dear friend Dippy, and hightailed it out of there as fast as I could. It was plain to see that I was needed elsewhere, and I wasn’t going to be doing anyone any favors if I showed up late because I was wasting time mourning some smelly little imp.
I could hear shouts in the air behind me, indecipherable jabbering approximately around the area where Dippy took that pipe to the skull. Looking back now, my best guess is that wall had been smashed through by the bug swarm in order to make a new entrance into the fortress, and Dippy was just unlucky enough to have been in the way at the time. Then again, maybe they were aiming to capture me, and thought I’d be too busy freaking out over the death of my new minion to make my daring escape. Doesn’t really matter, though. The important thing is I got away and I’m alive (unalive? Re-alive? Anti-alive? What do you call a dead clone’s soul who hasn’t been extinguished, anyways?). Little details like that wouldn’t start to matter until hours later, and even knowing what I know now, I’m not sure I would’ve done anything differently.
I’d successfully put several hallways, thick security doors, and trigger-happy imps between myself and Dippy’s corpse, when twelve additional alarms went off throughout the compound. According to the magical directory map thingy I gave a cursory glance whilst mid-sprint, the Clockwork Fortress was being hit from all sides, little holes being jabbed across its entire outer surface, as if some drunk acupuncture doctor deity had decided his godly medical license really didn’t matter too much anymore, and went to town on Morgana’s prized warship for kicks and giggles. Our forces were doing a fine job of keeping them out, but we were spread so thinly, it’d take only one good push for the infernal insects to get through and start pouring in like locusts.
As grim as things seemed right then and there, they were only going to get so much worse, so very soon. In fact, had I any notion at all of what awaited me in the next few minutes, I would’ve found myself the nearest window, thrown a hapless, unsuspecting imp through the sheet of infernal glass, and I’d have just taken my chances with the ground below, instead of the almost certain death that awaited me within that clockwork tomb. At least if I jumped, there’d be a chance that the harpoon or a pile of dead bodies would break my fall or something.
But no, as always, I took the stupid, reckless, completely suicidal route. I was in something vaguely resembling a throne room, and just when I was on my way right out the door, my path was blocked by a pair of tanned, muscular gentlemen in speedos.
Behind me lay the path guaranteed to spell my doom, a quest that could only end in the eradication of anything and everything I hold dear (Me, myself, and absolutely nothing else, for those of you who weren’t paying attention). I took a deep breath, braced myself for my own destruction-
"Magtok, you know it’s very rude to ignore your queen when she’s speaking to you. Everyone else in the hallway dropped what they were doing and bowed down in proper reverence of their beloved queen. Why, pray tell, haven’t you done the same?"
-and turned around to face the Archdevil herself, Lady Morgana. As I’ve said before, if ever there was a devil in the entire Nexus with a strong lust aura, it was this one. Seriously, the aura’s so strong, I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s the reason she made Archdevil in the first place, and not just one of the perks. Gods help us all if she were to ever get bored of the Hells and try to take over the Nexus; the army of drooling, sex-crazed idiot monkeys that would flock to her would completely unstoppable. I don’t know what she’s trying to hide behind that mental fog, or who she’s trying to impress with it, but it wasn’t doing her any favors with me right then and there. I’d built a nifty little lust aura-gauge into my arm only a few days before, so I knew exactly how much of this was real, and how much just phony magical pheromone nonsense.
Kneeling down to try to keep my legs from buckling any further, I eyed the ground before her feet, adamant on looking anywhere but upon that mind-violating tyrant. I haven’t forgotten the pledge I made when I came here, and I’d be damned before letting some dumb magical perfume stops me from putting that goal first and foremost above all else. I just had to keep telling myself that it was an invisible magical cloud making her seem so attractive, not anything about the woman herself.
…Okay fine, she’s got a pretty good figure too, but shut up. That’s not even close to relevant, and it’s not like she’d be anywhere near the first Nexus woman to have a ridiculously perfect body, either. She was the enemy, pure and simple, just another oblivious fool I was obligated to eventually destroy in order to take over Hell for myself and become the most awesome post-death Maggy to ever post-live. Sure, I may have accidentally given her super-fantastic god powers too, but nobody ever said life, in this world or the preceding one, was easy.
"Apologies, your majesty. I hadn’t heard you over all the explosions and alarm klaxons going off everywhere, and I-"
"I wasn’t asking for excuses, was I?"
"No, your majesty. I just-"
"What I want from you is results."
Oh, perfect. It was just as I feared; somehow she wanted me to pull some sort of miracle out of my butt, and magically banish all these freaky Dalachrech-looking monsters right back to wherever they came from. I didn’t have a liver’s chance in Trog’s of getting through this alive, much less producing the sort of results Lady Morgana was expecting of me. I told her so, in the most sycophantic and unassuming manner I could, and her response was anything less than predictable.
"No, you listen to me, mister Magtok-with-a-harpoon-sticking -out -of-his-chest. You’re going to go out there, you’re going to find the leader of this little swarm of filth, and you’re going to talk them out of this attack, you hear me? You’re going to do that, and it’s going to work. Would you like to know why?"
I nodded slowly, quaking in fear as she pulled my chin up to meet her eyes. This was it, I guess. Another pretty face thinking she has all the answers to my problems, only to make everything worse for everybody. If Libby had spared herself some torment and had just left me to die in that stupid cave, none of this would’ve happened, nobody worth mentioning would’ve died, and nobody would’ve gained a single fudging inch of territory in that stupid gods-damned hell war. I’d have been killed nice and quick-like, instead of being sent to be eaten alive by ants. Ol’ Harpoontok’s story would have ended a loooooong time ago, and I wouldn’t have been watching the scry-screens in horror as some six feet tall ant monster lady with harlequin-themed black and red skin ran amok, cutting heads off with a sword in one hand, and shooting holes through my comrades with the bio-pistol attached to the other.
"Wait, was that just-"
"It’s going to work, pay attention Magtok, because the leader of this ridiculous swarm of demon-ants you’re going to talk to is none other than your fiancée from the Nexus, the ant-woman you call Pat."