New in town
This man was known by many names. He had not yet chosen which name to use for his new position. He would soon need to correct that in order to complete his transfer paperwork, but he had more pressing duties today. These duties currently consist of relaxing at a cafe while reading a newspaper article about the impending Y2K crisis. Many people, including his superiors, would not see these things as critically important and it would be to their detriment. His predecessor had not understood this, and it resulted in his early… retirement. The Man Who Was Known by Many Names had no intention of making this same mistake. Thus, he was reading a paper and enjoying this bitter black drink.
He found this drink – coffee, as it was called by the locals, to be fascinating. According to his research, it contained a chemical that was highly toxic to insects, but it acted as a stimulant to humans who imbibed. It appeared to have an addictive property as well, which created a surprising level of dependency. A few grams of the undiluted chemical would cause human heart tissue to malfunction, and could lead to death; but smaller, more dilute doses appeared to have very pleasant effects, and this drink was, in fact, thoroughly enjoyed by many humans.
In the neat penmanship of a librarian, The Man Who Was Known by Many Names began to record his thoughts in a leather-bound journal next to him. “Research upper limit of tolerance and dependence. Could it be advertised as an all-day drink? Energy beverage? Performance-enhancing drink?”
This was really just an idle thought for The Man Who Was Known by Many Names, he needed to get back to his true goal. His focus returned to the paper. It would be more accurate to state that his eyes were aimed at the paper, but in reality, his mind was observing through the eyes of one of his agents down the street. His agent, who was referred to by the name “Tom,” was observing this true goal.
The goal was a subject dressed in bright clothing of the style often used by “Heroes.” His pants and shirt were a green and pink concoction, accented with black. He also wore a matching cape. With one hand he wielded a massive ax that appeared to be made of crystal and carved wood and he was making short work of a dozen large slime creatures summoned for this test. Overall, he looked quite ridiculous.
No, parts of that were incorrect. The Man Who Was Known by Many Names checked his journal. The subject’s name was Licorice Whip- according to every report, he had the absurd power of absolute control over… candy. With this information in mind, The Man Who Was Known by Many Names updated his appraisal of the subject. The ax blade appeared to be composed of green rock candy, with a handle seemingly made of twisted licorice vines. It moved through the air as if it were weightless but judging by the carnage left after every swing it must have immense momentum. The subject’s clothing was closer in texture and appearance to that of a fruit chew but seem unphased by the acid discharged by the rapidly dying slimes. This juxtaposition of raw violence and garish outfit made the subject seem even more ridiculous than the intelligence reports had led him to believe, but, as The Man Who Was Known by Many Names had learned, items that are written on paper are not an absolute law. That is why the greatest library in existence kept a collection of souls in addition to written works.
The candy ax blade rendered the last of the slimes with casual distaste. The Man Who Was Known by Many Names checked his watch- thirty-four seconds. A respectable term for the defeat of twelve unknown opponents. It was time to begin phase two of the test.
The defeated slime creatures began to melt and flowing to re-form into one massive, oozing creature the size of a large bus. The subject’s reaction was immediate and overwhelming violence. He summoned several large sheets of rock candy out of thin air, embedding them into the ground to form a coliseum containing only himself and the slime monster. In his second hand appeared green and black mati-barreled rifle that would have been better suited to be bolted to the deck of a naval vessel. Bracing the massive weapon against his hip, he racked back the slide to load the first of many, many rounds of cinnamon candies. The subject let loose with a relentless stream of flaming cinnamon treats that ripped through the slime igniting it. Many of the rounds cut completely through the creature, and ricocheted off the rock candy confinement, to return and strike the slime once more. Some of those ricocheting candies also struck the subject himself, though he did not seem to notice, or perhaps he was immune to his own powers? More notes flowed into the journal in a precise hand.
Soon the clear cage was filled with only fire and the subject. The Man Who Was Known by Many Names checked his watch- forty-three seconds. This was to be expected from someone who was said to have such great power- but there was truly nothing special about the subject, and that was the problem.
The Man Who Was Known by Many Names sensed nothing from the subject. There were none of the tell-tale signs of a magic caster, nor did there seem to be any disturbance of the EM spectrum that would imply advanced technology. The Man Who Was Known by Many Names adjusted his senses to search the light spectrum- from radio all the way through gamma, he could see nothing abnormal. Normally, The Man Who Was Known by Many Names would assume that whoever was able to dispatch his predecessor would be attached to a spiritual patron- as was tradition. Yet no evidence of such a presence existed. This left The Man Who Was Known by Many Names with only two possible conclusions. Either there was a flaw in his test process, or even his own senses- for someone with as much experience and power as he had, this was a troubling thought, but nothing compared to conclusion two.
This man known as Licorice Whip was something… new.