'I wonder why its like this.' Keng thought as another Earth rune flew past him. The runes didn't take long to show up. They were glowing and came out of nowhere. Most of the runes made no sense to him. He would occasionally see a few he understood, but the string and string of runes that passed didn't quite make sense.
He walked the city for a while, hoping to spot Manny.
"It's strange." Keng whispered. "Nobody's here except for the runes… It's like…" A strange feeling grew inside of Keng. It was telling him to stop and turn around. Keng's foot planted on its spot as he turned himself around.
"Well, well, well…." Manny smirked. "What're you doing here, Lee Seng? I thought nobody roamed these streets 'cept me." The runes buzzed around Manny, tightly. They looked like moths drawn to a flame. Manny took a couple steps forward before the runes began to make a strange hissing noise. "Seems like they don't like you, either." Manny sighed. He took a couple steps back to his original spot and tried to flick one of the many runes away.
Keng watched as the rune moved away from Manny, but instantly was pulled back to its original spot.
"They do this every time I try to remove them." Manny told Keng. "I've tried to get rid of them, but they won't…"
"Do you know why they're on you?" Keng asked. Manny stopped what he was doing and looked up. His arm went down to his side as his hardened eyes studied Keng.
"I have a theory, but it's absurd." Manny answered. He looked back at the runes and started to play with them, again.
"Involves a dead man coming back from the dead and cursing me with these runes." Manny motioned at the runes. "Absurd, right?" Manny looked at him. Keng agreed. Manny cracked a smile and looked back at the runes. "See, I knew you'd understand. You were always understanding of me… Well, I guess you were then… Maybe now? Nah, you probably hate my guts for the fact I couldn't tell you anything."
"Tell me what?" Keng asked. Manny stopped and stared at the rune for a while. He contemplated whether or not he should tell "Lee Seng" the truth and shrugged.
"What're they gonna do to me in here?" Manny grinned. He looked at Keng and waddled side to side in his spot. "They can't kill me because you're just a figment of my imagination." Keng agreed with that.
'I'll play along.' Keng thought. Manny stuck his hands into his pockets and stopped waddling in his spot. His hardened eyes focused on Keng as Keng waited for Manny to speak.
"That Summer your mom died your dad – no, the Creator – told me – well, not told, ordered – and Sara we couldn't be near you, again." Manny told Keng. Keng grew confused and Manny chuckled and motioned at him. "I know right? The Creator forced us to keep our mouths shut and threatened us, basically, of our 'rightful places' as the next generation of Numbers if we didn't follow along. And this has been following me ever since."
Manny motioned at the runes all around them. Keng looked up and noticed a lot of runes were circling them. It was as if they were watching and listening to Manny talk to the conjured image of Lee Seng in front of him.
"The Creator did this, then?" Keng asked.
"Dunno." Manny shrugged. "Last I checked, the Creator wasn't capable of even writing a single rune." He kicked a rune by his foot and watched it sail onto the street. It hit a street light pole and then flew straight back into its place.
"What do you want me to do with that?" Keng asked. "Aren't I just a… Figment of your imagination?" Keng's form shifted, revealing his true self to Manny. The five fox tails billowed behind him as his Fox ears twitched. Manny took a step back, shaking his head.
"Y-you…! How are you here?" Manny stuttered. The runes began to glow red, buzzing louder as they turned to Keng. "Y-you don't know what you've just done!" The runes fired straight for Keng, erupting everything around him in smoke. Manny flinched, turning away as the runes shrieked. "N-no, please! Stop it!"
[Energy Blade has been triggered.]
Water hissed under the immense heat of the runes as Keng pushed away. His tails fluttered as a burning sphere of water circled him. Keng stabbed one of the runes inside with him as the others dived for him. Keng deflected the rune as another went for his side.
Keng's tail moved, shimmering with colorful energy, as the two energies collided. The barrier went up in smoke as the city block shook. Manny shrank as the runes forcefully embedded themselves into him.
"!$! #@$%@!" The runes made a strange set of noises at Manny. They forced Manny up as Keng stabbed the last rune inside the sphere. The runes garbled so more before they flew into Manny. Manny screamed in pain as the runes continuously entered his body.
'His energy is disappearing.' Keng's head shot straight for Manny. 'It's like the runes are snuffing him out and forcing him to be a doll… I gotta stop this before it doesn't end well.'
"You… Aren't supposed to be here…" Manny and the strange garble of runes spoke in unison. Manny's head forcefully looked up as his body was hunched forward. "We will… Exterminate you…"
"Wouldn't be fun if you didn't!" Keng smiled. The sphere of water fired outwards as Keng twirled the dagger in his right hand, a Displacement Mark appearing below him. Runic Manny rushed at him as runes began to write themselves into existence. A runic sword appeared in Manny's hands as Keng swung at Manny. Manny deflected the attack and rushed in for a swing of his own.
'He's quicker.' Keng thought, dodging to the right. The sword flew upwards and quickly turned to strike downwards. Keng jumped away, watching as runes burned into existence. 'I can't read these even though I entered. Do I need to possess the rune hivemind, themselves?' Flames flew at Keng like a flamethrower.
Hydrosphere's jewel shimmered as water flew outwards. Keng dropped from the steam as Manny rushed at him. The sword went down, diagonally as Keng blocked with both daggers. Keng pushed Manny away, spinning a kick at Manny.
"Hm." Runic Manny smiled. Runes burned brightly as Manny was kicked away. A loud explosion shook the city as Keng flew backwards into the railing. His tails shot and grabbed the railing. Keng felt his body continue to fly backwards as gravity built up in his back. Keng blasted himself forward, releasing his tails on the railing as he sailed through the air.
Runic Manny muttered as runes of different elements grew all around him.
'They're trying to get rid of me…' Keng thought. 'Judging from the way I could pierce the runes themselves; I should be able to push possession, again. I'll have to make this work then.' Manny lifted his hand up towards Keng and smiled.
"You should've just let him die. You cannot beat us." Runic Manny spoke. "Now die!" The four elements fired at Keng, swirling together. Keng gritted his teeth as Hydrosphere's jewel shimmered brightly.
"Let's do this!" Keng shouted. "Displacement!" Keng disappeared as the elemental energy engulfed Keng's silver light into nothingness. Keng smirked as he marked his blade. "Over here!" Manny turned and watched as Keng launched a dagger straight for him. Manny deflected the blade as Keng's lips curled into a bright smile. "Got you! Displacement!"
Keng flashed, appearing in front of Manny as the dagger scattered to the side. Keng pushed his right hand straight towards the Runic Manny as his eyes shimmered bright silver.
"Possession!" Keng shouted. His hand connected with Manny, instantly invading him as he searched for the Runic energy. Manny flew backwards, slamming into the concrete as Keng's body disappeared.
"Argh!" Manny gasped. The strange energy had suddenly disappeared from him, and he was left to take all the damage Keng had inflicted on him. Silence washed over the city as Manny slowly lifted himself out of the concrete engraved with his body in it. "What's… What happened?"
Manny looked everywhere but noticed nothing. He didn't want to say it was over. He knew better than that. He couldn't feel anyone's presence – not the runes nor Keng's.
'That rune thing was always here…' Manny thought. He stood up and brushed the road dust off of him. Rocks fell as he shook himself clean. He scanned the buildings. Nothing. 'It pulled me to Keng in an instant thinking it was another Lee Seng… But it wasn't.'
"Where did you go, doppelganger?" Manny whispered. "What are you doing inside my own head?"