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When You're Evil and Dead
By: Sforzie

Chapter 11: The Underlayers of Hell, part 2

"Ungh, my head...."

Kuja managed to open her eyes a few minutes after regaining consciousness.

"What the hell?" her voice echoed in the strange looking room. She sat up, looking around.

The room was darkly lit, with rounded walls that eliminated any corners.

"Where am I? What happened?"

There was a smell to the room. One that Kuja dimly remember from times past. One of pain and screaming and other things that had used to have been quite the turn on...

"The rack?" Kuja whispered in wonderment, squinting as she looked around. That was the smell. It was one from the Desert Palace... of a torture room.

 

"Where's my sword?!" Sephiroth wailed. "Where's my Kuja?!"

"Your Kuja??" Kefka glared at the distraught bishounen.

"Maybe she just wandered off for a few minutes," Flaure suggested.

"Shouldn't we wait for her?" Kefka wondered, suddenly anxious.

"No, we need to press on," Flaure said, opening the gate to the third underlayer. "Now, move it!"

Kefka looked at her uncertainly, but nodded. "Okay..."

They proceeded on to the third layer. It was pitch black, lit by flames in places.

"Lovely," Kefka said dryly. Sephiroth whimpered.

 

"What the ding-dong is going on?" Kuja wondered. She rubbed a spot on her forehead that throbbed faintly. The last thing she could remember was following Flaure and the men through the swarm of boy bands. Sephiroth had been hacking a few of the crooners aside, and then there had been a flash...

"Well, hello there, Ms. Kuja...." a deep voice rumbled behind her. Kuja's tail bristled as she turned quickly.

"Kurshplat?!" Kuja jumped to her feet. "What's going on? Where am I? What am I doing here?"

"So many questions," Kurshplat said, clucking his tongue as he hopped toward her. Kuja backed away a few steps. "I suppose you want answers for them?"

"I wouldn't have asked if I didn't want answers!" Kuja said nervously.

Kurshplat gave her a lecherous look. "I don't think you can handle all the answers."

Kuja paled, "Aiya..."

 

"What's this layer for?" Kefka wondered as they followed Flaure.

"It's a storage level..."

"Do they store swords and Genomes here?" Sephiroth asked hopefully.

"No..."

"Then what?" Kefka wondered.

"It's where darkness is stored..." Flaure said mysteriously. "Where the universe's darkest fears and desires are kept."

"Kinky," the blonde said, but it sounded halfhearted.

"Indeed..."

 

"Well, at least tell me what I'm doing here!" Kuja said.

Kurshplat continued to advance on her, and she continued to try to keep a distance between them.

"Oh, I'm sure you can guess that," he chuckled. Kuja swallowed nervously.

"The last time someone came at me looking like that, they just wanted to see my socks," she said. "But I get the feel that that's not what you're after."

Kurshplat chuckled again. "How very astute of you."

Her back hit the wall. "Uh...well... where are Kefka and Sephiroth?!" She tensed suddenly. "They're still with that...that...woman!"

"Yes, they are," he smirked. "And soon they'll be part of her collection."

"C-collection?"

"Flaure is a soul collector," Kurshplat said, looming over Kuja.

"A what?!"

"She collects souls," he smirked. "Puts them into little glass bottles."

"But... why would you send us with a guide that was just going to...uh...collect us, if you wanted someone to find your whatever it is?!"

"Only worthy souls may enter the deeper underlayers of hell," Kurshplat said. He was trying not to be obvious as he looked down her shirt. Kuja flushed angrily and crossed her arms over her chest. "If they can escape the soul collector, then they're worthy."

"You rotten bastard, sending us into a trap like that!" Kuja snapped.

Kurshplat shrugged. "Really I was just going after you... their disposal is inconsequential."

"They won't think so!" Kuja glared at him. "I know all about toying with souls! I used to do it professionally." She slid along the wall, trying to get away from goat-bunny demon. He turned, watching her.

"What do you think you're doing?" he looked amused. "Trying to get away?"

"Uh, duh, yeah!" Kuja darted away to the other side of the room. "Getting away seems like a really good idea!"

Kurshplat laughed. "Silly girl, you can't get away."

Kuja looked around the room as Kurshplat hopped toward her again. A glint of something metallic behind a table caught her eye.

"What's that?" she whispered to herself. Kuja moved in the direction of the object. Kurshplat was talking as he pursued her.

"Oh yes, Ms. Demona told me that her little pet Garland talks about you sometimes," Kurshplat said. "Said that you were a lovely little toy..."

"I'm no one's toy anymore!" Kuja hissed. She moved behind the table and looked down. At her feet rested a long familiar object.

'Sephiroth's sword!' her brain shrieked joyfully. She crouched a bit.

"Ah, but you're my toy now..." Kurshplat said, facing her at the opposite side of the table.

 

The fourth layer looked a lot like the main layer's lava pits. It was mostly that--lava pits. The path to the fifth floor gate was pretty straightforward, but about halfway across the layer, Flaure stopped.

"Why'd we stop?" Sephiroth wondered, looking around. He remembered the time they'd accidentally knocked Kuja into a lava pit. He wondered where she was now.

"Yeah, I thought you said we had to keep moving!" Kefka said.

"Oh, we do, we do..." Flaure chuckled. "At least, I do..."

"What?"

"You see, boys.... your trip ends here."

"Huh?!" Sephiroth and Kefka stepped back in surprise.

Flaure threw her arms wide, laughing wickedly. She began to change form, growing nearly twice as tall. She turned into a huge black demon, long horns sprouting from her forehead and a long tail curling from her rear. The rest of her body remained fairly human in shape, except for becoming bulky and furry and really not as cute as before.

"Eep!" Kefka squeaked, trying to hide behind Sephiroth. The bishounen was trying to hide behind Kefka.

"Mommy!" Sephiroth wailed.

"Do something!"

"I can't, my sword's gone!"

"Fools!" Flaure roared, breathing a mass of flames at them. The men shrieked and did their best to run away.

"Ice3!" Kefka attacked Flaure, but it didn't have any effect on her. "Uh...ur....shit! Run away!"

"We can't get back through the gate without a passcard!" Sephiroth wailed as they neared the gate.

They turned back to face Flaure. She loomed large over them, cackling in a terrible voice.

"I am the Soul Collector!" Flaure snarled, pulling two small glass jars out of thin air. "And now I shall collect you!"

Flaure cackled in triumph as Kefka and Sephiroth let out a pair of fairly uncharacteristic screams.

 

"I told you, I'm no one's toy!" Kuja picked up the sword and swung it at the demon. She missed terribly, but did manage to cut clean through the table. "Shit, no wonder Sephiroth is so in love with this damn thing!"

Sword in hand, Kuja hopped away from the demon with agility that would have made her little brother proud.

"Oh, now what have you there?" Kurshplat chuckled.

"Let me go!" Kuja shouted, brandishing the sword. "I have to go save my friends from that blonde bitch!"

"I'm afraid I can't let you go," he shrugged.

Something echoed in Kuja's mind. A scream. A very weird one at that.

"Kefka! Sephiroth!" Kuja blinked. She pointed the sword at Kurshplat. "They're the only people in the whole damn underworld who give a fuck about me! I can't let them become part of someone's collection!"

"And just how do you plan on saving them? They're in the fourth underlayer."

"I..." Kuja thought. "I need a passcard! Give me one!"

"Silly girl, I'm not letting you leave, let alone go and try to save them from one of the bitchiest demons in hell." He reached out quickly, knocking the sword from her hand and effortlessly throwing her to the floor. "Now..."

"No!" Kuja gritted her teeth as she tried to get back up. Kurshplat held her down easily with his paw.

"Time to play."

"I said NO, dammit!" Kuja shrieked angrily.

"Hey!" Kurshplat quickly pulled his paw away as a flash of bright blue light burned it.

Trance Kuja bounced up from her fallen position and tackled Kurshplat, sending him flying.

"What the hell?!"

"Never underestimate a lady with a tail!" Kuja snapped. She picked up the sword. "Come, Masamune, we've got work to do!"

Kuja made an exit in the wall and disappeared through it.

Kurshplat sighed.

"Why are the pretty ones always such bitches?"

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end chapter 11

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