The Archer and the Databi — 1


Three arrows whizzed through the air in quick succession. Their target: an unusual Databi looking nothing so much like a giant, inverted jellyfish, hovering unsettlingly near a now-vacant park. Clink. Chink. Crack. The first arrow simply bounced off and faded away. The second arrow struck the same spot and struck off a small chip of the Databi's glassy body before it, too, faded away. The third arrow then struck the weakened spot and sent crazed cracks racing outward from it.

Ooowooooaaoaoooooaowoooooaaaaaarghhh! The beast's scream was almost more felt than heard, and its tentacles stretched and flailed, searching for the source of its torment. But the archer was already on the move. Leaping upward and back with a superhuman agility augmented with wings of light, she landed atop a nearby telephone pole and once more took aim.

However, before she could fire, she was once more on the move, leaping across the street to land with perfect grace atop a street light, the translucent pink ribbons streaming behind her. Here, she could take aim at the weakened spot where the previous arrows struck. The Databi's thrashing had taken it out of the line of fire afforded by her previous perch.

Once more, three arrows of light arced through the air, one by one appearing as she drew the bowstring back and flying free with supernatural force. She led the target, anticipating its moves, and the first arrow missed, but only barely. The second struck the weakened spot and pierced through the hardened shell. As the arrow faded, a steady drip of ichorous green ones and zeroes oozed out of the wound, sizzling and smoking where they struck the asphalt of the street below.

The third arrow did more than just create a lattice work of cracks this time. With seemingly impossible aim, it struck through the wound and pierced the pulsating, black, faceted orb that functioned as the Databi's brain or heart or core – whatever it was that they had.

Once more an agonized scream, but this time it was cut short. Struck dead, the Databi collapsed to the ground, the cracked surface of its glassy shell losing its lustre and dimmed to a dull grey. Its tentacles lay lifeless and harmless, some stretched out, others collapsed into spiraled piles, and one or two shattered into innumerable fragments when they struck the ground hard.

The archer lightly hopped down from her overhead perch, wings fluttering to control her descent, and she landed next to her fallen foe. The gaudy, pink recurve bow in her hand shimmered and shrunk in on itself, transforming into a pink-handled duster with a voluminous mass of brilliant white feathers. Three additional, smaller feathers depended from a short chain fastened to the base of the duster, and closely resembled the feathered chains at the tips of the bow she had just held. The duster itself looked almost like a toy: light pink handle with a plastic sheen and adorned with columns of darker pink, sphere-cut, glassy gems.

Ears twitching, she pointed the feathery end of the duster at the felled Databi and spoke. “Wretched creature from beyond the void, this world is not yours. Fade to dust, and dust to nothing. Exe Schism!

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