The Indigo Light (3)
SugarMan was more horrible than I could have imagined. Bigger and heavier than a quin-sugo wrestler. And tall. As tall than the GM.
He looked like a beach ball with fangs, razor-sharp teeth, 4 arms, and a tongue that looked like an extra appendage. If you could have genetically combined a Terran crocodile, a crab, a hedgehog, a viper, and a goat, you might be close.
SugarMan fell to the arena floor and slobbered. I don’t know if he always slobbered, but he did at that moment. He looked at me and turned away, like a child holding a stolen piece of candy. I flew up in the air for a better look. He turned back around with a battle axe in one hand, and a war hammer in the other. He let out a piercing screech. The he vanished.
Or at least he looked like he vanished. I scanned the arena with the ring. SugarMan was still there, but I couldn’t see him. The ring showed me a unique bio-energy output. That had to be him. I landed for a close look. I put up a force shield just to be on the safe side. The ring said I was standing directly in the spot where he should be. But he wasn’t there. I looked closer. He was there. On the ground. Just 1/2” tall. That’s when things got ugly.
He popped up to full size and grabbed me with his tongue, pulling me into his mouth. He was too fast. I should have been expecting an attack, but I let my guard down and he grabbed me with that horrible, blistering-fast tongue. He pulled me in and started chewing on me with his razor-sharp teeth. (Fight results here).
I looked down at SugarMan. He was not moving. I wondered if he was dead. I couldn’t have killed him. Not on purpose. I wouldn’t have. But I didn’t have any choice. I looked at Grandmaster. "His psyche- was like a dark cave. But not dark. Lightless. Not a blip of light anywhere. And cold. Cold that froze you to the core. A cold, wet, completely dark hole." I looked back at SugarMan. He was still not moving. "Walking through his mind felt like damp, thick serpents coiling around my feet, with leather-winged birds dive-bombing my head at every second."
“What did I do?” Grandmaster looked hard at me. “What had to be done. You believe that compassion is always acting in benevolence toward the person in front of you. That’s is not correct.” Grandmaster gestured toward SugarMan. SugarMan shimmered and disappeared. Grandmaster turned to me. “He’s not dead.” I started at the spot where he was. “He looked dead. He looked like I killed him.”
Grandmaster looked up to the sky. “Incorrect.” “What?” I said. “I was telling you how I thought he looked, and you say incorrect? You’re just a-” Grandmaster turned back to me. “Try to understand ring-bearer.”
“The intensity of the ring’s psychoplasmic attack is based on what?” I thought for a minute. “The pain that a person has caused to others.” “And that is correct Indigo Lantern. SugarMan is in the state he is in not because of your attack, but because of the pain he has willingly inflicted on other individuals. He never once considered the repercussions of his own choices and actions. All at one it came back to him, and the reality of it overloaded what he could process. Now, he may recover in the future, or he may remain is his current state, for years. Decades. But know this, he is the person who did this to him. Not you.”
I swallowed. “But this set up, you bringing him here, him facing me and me facing him. You knew. You knew that if I had the guts to act what would happen to him.” “Yes,” he said. “If you had the guts to act.” I screamed at him. “But that’s not compassion! He didn’t hurt me! His attacks weren’t affecting my force shield! There could have been another way!” His voice was flat. “You are welcome to give me back the ring and quit at any time.”
I pulled the ring off. My indigo suit vanished. I held the ring in my hand and looked at it. Grandmaster and I stood quiet for a long time. Then he spoke. “What would have happened if you hadn’t fought him?” I looked up from the ring. “What? I don’t know.”
“I can tell you”, he said. “SugarMan would have gone on looking for mutants to place in death camps. Perhaps in this timeline, perhaps another. In the future, or possibly now. But, be assured, he would have done it. He has been a malevolent, brutal sociopath. I do not see any indication that his methods or goals would have had any necessity for alteration. No one knows how many more individuals would have been hurt, or how much pain would have been inflicted. Now, you could have killed him, had that been your objective. But it was not, and you did not.”
Grandmaster looked at me and I gave him a blank stare. He responded. “You’re still not convinced. Then consider this ring-bearer: if he had inflicted less pain on others, would that have affected how much pain he experienced today?”
I didn’t answer. I just looked at Grandmaster, then the ring, then him, then the ring. I finally decided I wasn’t done, that whatever I was headed toward was probably better than what I came from. “OK,” I said. “I’ll keep going.” I slipped the ring back on, hoping that somewhere in the Universe there wasn’t a giant tally sheet keeping track of how much pain I just dished out.