Hellspawn's Legacy
Tuesday, Oct. 14 
The walking, skinless corpse that was Desutoroia was alone upstairs in Desu Mansion when his wife ran in. 
"What's the matter?" he asked. Princess calmly tried to explain about Rev. Lazarus and the incidents the night before which quickly received wide coverage via radio and TV. 
"The Mods chased him to Mt. Rodan in the Kenji Sahara desert. He's supposedly dead." Desutoroia didn't seem to be surprised. 
"Ol' Lazarus was always a nut case. For someone who's in his early 50s, you'd think he'd have better things to do than run around terrorizing towns and committing the most unbelievable crimes a man has ever done. Still, we have bigger issues to worry about, Princess. Like healing me completely." 
"I'll find somebody... soon." 
Morgoth was carefully studying the ancient text of Necromancer: The Book of the Damned Dead when he got a mysterious phone call. 
"Hello... Mr. Laurence. So good to hear your voice." Unlike the rest of Roostville which practically knew the entire story, Morgoth was unaware of what had happened earlier. 
"Morgoth. I know it may be late but meet me at the Museum of Monsters. And bring the book, Necromancer." 
"Very well, Mr. Laurence. Meet you there in about fifteen minutes." 
"I'll be waiting." Laurence hung up. "Now, voice mimicker," he directed. "Mimic Morgoth's voice and call Saruman the White, Sauron and Melkor, the other three Dark Lords. Tell them to come to the Museum of Monsters. Alone. And don't ever tell anyone of this or I'll cut out your heart." The mimic proceeded to do so. 
Rado Goji, Minsc and Boo had returned to their apartment, albeit exhausted. 
"That is DEFINITELY something you don't see every day!" exclaimed Rado. He put the Z-Saber on the charger he had made for it and went into his room. "Well, guys, I'm taking a long nap! Minsc, if anyone calls for me, I'll get back to them." 
"Right, boss," replied Minsc who flipped on the TV. The news was all about Mt. Rodan and he was surprised at what he saw. "BOO! COME HERE! WE'RE ON TV!! RADO! WAKE UP!" An exhausted Rado mumbled something inaudible. "We are on TV! Look!" Rado saw himself on TV but was too tired to be excited. 
"Tape it." He went back to bed. 
"He'll be excited later, Boo," Minsc figured. Just then, the phone rang. "RMB Mercenary Service. This is Minsc. How may I help you?" He scribbled down notes. "Thank you. I'll be right there." He hung up. "Old Man Jenkinson needs some grocery shopping done so I'll be back shortly." Minsc left to do his task. Soon, the phone rang again. Boo scurried into Rado's room to wake him but he was sleeping like a rock. The little hamster got nervous as the phone continued to ring. With Minsc gone and Rado asleep, the only one left to answer it was him. This being the only alternative, Boo removed the handset and squeaked into the receiver. 
Wednesday, Oct. 15 
A looong day had finally ended, including an extended League™ meeting that afternoon. The assembled Mods, mages and monstrosities (now equipped with the Phishy One's Personal Anti-Psi Field devices) had gratefully departed. 
Agreeing on an extended crash at the Geeky Lair, Miyako and Uber noticed a set of rather eclectic conferences the Dark Lords® had apparently been holding on Level 180D (one of the City-Buster’s many compartments below River level) in their absence while going over the last several days’ surveillance tapes. Since the conferences included many rather questionable attendees (Orcish generals, Simian commanders and Kenny himself, to name a few) but nothing that seemed directly connected with Hellspawn or their experience at the Duel of the Fates™, they decided to let Sheriff Jaguar call this one when time allowed. 
Curling up together on a couch, the pair watched a graying eastern sky and felt the City-Buster’s upper levels vibrate as Ancalagon shifted in his slumber. This drew a groan from Miyako. 
“Did we ever figure out what he was doing out there?” Half asleep, Uber mumbled through a mouthful of cushion. 
“The Funky Voice™ mentioned something ‘bout a Phoenix, Dragon and a Tortoise…“ 
“Three guesses who that last one is…” 
“…so I think Anc’s the Dragon. Oh, hell.” 
“Lemme guess. The Funky Spirit Behind the Voice™ recruited you as one of a Guardian© Three-pack-“ 
“Fine, four-pack. And you're gonna be working with him against… What's his name, Hellspawn?” 
“Bleh… Well, I am famed for the Funky Alliance Angle™ hereabouts and this would certainly put me in the upper echelons.” 
“Hmm… Anyone mention one of those Komajutsu complexes, where you can't have more or less than four Guardians?” 
“Uh… no...” 
“Then count me in.” 
“Groovy…” With that, the thoroughly burnt out were-Kaiju succumbed to Full Bluntal Narcolepsy®. 

9:25 AM: 

"Yo, Geek!" 
Rubbing an armored forearm across his face, Uber opened his mouth to respond and was suddenly struck by a chilling thought. 
"When did you learn to work my comm system?" 
"Please! I lifted the specs while you were touring the Leviathan™ a month ago," crackled Melkor's response. 
"Get to the point." Miyako winced as she worked out a crick in her neck. 
"I was hoping Gamera Boy could give me a ride back out to Mt. Rodan. Check out the Black Rodan's digs, make sure it's in an OK mood… You know the drill." 
"Riiiight. You guys wouldn't need anyone else along, I take it?" 
"Nope. I'm sure the Geek and I will be back in time for the League's next bull session." 
"Well, too bad because you're not the only one with some questions, Mel. We'll be right out." 
Bill stood on Destoroyah Drive, watching as Matthew Laurence entered Desu Mansion through the back door. He was puzzled and headed toward the house to see what he was up to in his brother's house. Bill thought about calling the Mods but felt it wasn't necessary and started along the path. As he reached the door, he heard a faint scream from inside and froze, hesitating to enter. He decided he had to do this and quietly stepped inside, heading upstairs. Half way up, the screams and cries stopped. Bill continued upward, surrounded by a graveyard hush. 
Down the long corridor at the hallway's end, Laurence pulled open the door and flung himself from the vile room, his flesh hanging off his face and eyes bulging in terror. He reached out his hand to Bill who stood before him, hoping it was someone who could save him from this deadly fate. Desutoroia appeared, caught Laurence by the neck and dropped the corpse to the floor as death claimed it. 
"Oh ####!" Bill backed off a little. 
"Bill. It's Desutoroia. Your brother." 
"No! This isn't possible. This can't be happening!" 
"There was a time when I used to tell myself that. I pretended I was dreaming all the pain." The LaMent Configuration, the gateway to Hell, was laying on the hallway floor. Bill, for some unknown reason, grabbed it. 
"Give that to me, brother!" 
"You want this thing so bad? Then come and get it!" Bill ran off as fast as he could to escape the monstrous creature. No matter what, he refused to believe it could be his brother. Something told him that the creature, not having its own set of skin, wouldn't follow him outside. Bill turned back to look at the house before running from Desu Hill. 
Back inside, Desutoroia stood in the shadows, smirking and wearing a new shirt. 
"He's going to tell everyone. Sheriff Jaguar, Raptor, Uber, Melkor, everyone..." Princess cried. 
"I don't think so. Either way, no one will believe that I'm alive, except maybe Phish. But Bill doesn't know him or many others in Roostville. There's really no one he can tell who won't call him crazy." 
"Maybe we should just leave?" she suggested. 
"Like this? Look at me! Like this?" 
"Well, we can't just stay here..." 
"I need a skin. Then we leave." 
Bill entered a hotel room. Coincidentally, it was the same hotel Desutoroia and Princess had stayed in their first night together. He dropped the puzzle box on the bed and sat down. When he picked it up, the lid  opened a little wider. He opened it further and the echoing tune coming from it became more complex. 
From somewhere inside, a bell began to ring. Bill started to work the final mechanism and the bedside light flickered and went out. The bell continued to ring and light poured from the box. He dropped it to the floor as the light came on again but the bell was still ringing and there was a foul smell in the air. Bill looked around and saw he was no longer alone. 
Standing across the room, lit by a strange phosphorescence that had no visible source, were four extraordinary beings. Each was horribly mutilated by hooks and pins and the garments they wore were elaborately constructed to marry with their flesh, laced through skin in places and hooked into bone. 
The leader of the quartet had pins driven into his head at one inch intervals. At his side stood a woman whose neck was pinned open like a vivisection specimen. Accompanying them was a creature whose mouth had been wired into a gaping rectangle, the exposed teeth sharpened to points. A fat, sweating monster whose eyes were covered by dark glasses completed the group. Bill stared in amazement but he was also very afraid as he wondered where on Earth could these creatures have come from? 
"The box... you opened it. We came." The lead Cenobite, Pinhead (a.k.a. Xipe Toltec) spoke to him. 
"Wh-what? It's just a Chinese puzzle box!" 
"Oh, no. It is a means to summon us." 
"What are you? Who are you?" 
"Explorers, in the further regions of experience. Demons to some. Angels to others." 
"I didn't mean to open it! You can go back to wherever you came from." 
"We can't. Not alone." The female Cenobite said. 
"It's time we were off," Pinhead said. 
"Leave me alone, will you?" 
"Oh, no tears, please. It's a waste of good suffering." 
"No time for argument." 
"You did this before, right?" 
"Many times." 
"To a man named Desutoroia?" 
"Oh, yes," the female Cenobite replied. 
"He's alive. He's escaped you!" 
"Nobody escapes us." 
"He has. I've seen him." 
"Impossible," the fat Cenobite insisted in a very deep and inhuman voice. 
"I swear it!" Bill cried. "He's alive." 
"Suppose he had slipped us. What significance has that?" 
"You could take him back instead of me." 
"Perhaps we'd prefer you," said the female. Pinhead then lifted a finger into the air. 
"I want to hear him confess himself. Then maybe... MAYBE. But if you cheat us, we'll tear your soul apart!" 

Taking Back Desutoroia: Arrival of a new Foe 
Bill rushed back to Desu Mansion where he was greeted by Mrs. Khandejifer who tried to calm and reassure him that Desutoroia was dead and couldn't possibly be alive. 
"Couldn't be alive? C'mon, Princess! You must've known your husband has been lurking upstairs for who knows how long!" Bill was about to make some crazy accusation against her when he turned to see a figure hidden in the shadows of the stairs that led up to the attic. Desutoroia took Bill upstairs for a little discussion. 
"Take me, Desu! Use me to help restore you completely. I've got nothing left to lose..." Desutoroia wasn't too sure about this. "Listen, Des. Zax has a bounty on my head! I'm in debt. My ex-wife and kids hate me... I'm broke with no cash at all. Just end my life. Set me free and make me happy..." After about an hour, Mrs. Khandejifer went upstairs to find Desutoroia standing over a skinless corpse, restored fully. Desutoroia explained how Bill willingly wished to heal him. She was joyful that her dead husband could now be free to live a normal life again and they could be together until the end of their days. She looked at Bill's corpse and saw the LaMent Configuration. She picked it up and put it in her pocket. 
"Yes, this is Desutoroia. And I'm here to stay!" As he spoke, the bells within the box began to toll again and he hesitated to touch his wife. "What the Hell is that?" A light poured from the walls. 
"...No..." Desutoroia realized what was going on and moved quickly towards the door but it was too late for him. The Cenobites were moving through the light towards him. The Chatterer was already standing in his way and Pinhead approached from behind. 
"We had to hear it from your own lips," the female Cenobite said in a deep and cold whisper. The pattern of light in the room started to become more elaborate. 
"This isn't for your eyes!" Pinhead informed Mrs. Khandejifer. She crossed towards the door as Desutoroia roared behind her. Within striking distance, the air became filled with the whining sounds of chains and hooks piercing through his body as he screamed in agony. In his arms and legs, in his back and sides, his neck and temples. They plowed through his flesh as he tried to reach for his wife but with a gesture from Pinhead, the chains started to haul him in. Desutoroia flung back his head, yelling. 
"Out!" Pinhead screamed at Princess. 
She watched as her husband mouthed the word "no" and was hauled towards the room's center. Stepping out onto the landing, she heard Desutoroia continue to howl in pain. Hooks in a hundred places in his body were pulling at his flesh. He fought like a crazed animal to get free as the chains pulled tighter. Desutoroia looked up one last time at his wife before they tore him apart... literally. 
"Oh, my God! No! Desu!" But it was too late as the Cenobites had acquired both Bill and Desutoroia's soul. 
In the depths of Hell, the Cenobites took Desutoroia's spirit down a long corridor with intersections every few yards on both sides. They turned into a vast open space which appeared to be desert-like in its expanse, vanishing into infinity at its furthest reaches. The place was criss-crossed by catwalks and beside many, the ground fell away into mile deep, dark abysses. 
Levitating high above and dominating the huge space was the master of Hell's labyrinth, LEVIATHAN, a monumentally huge, white, multi faceted diamond, spinning on its own axis and unsupported by any physical means. 
Apart from its very immensity, the most unsettling thing about LEVIATHAN are the beams of black light that shine from the corners of its many facets. Due to the fast spinning, these beams shoot and swoop around the chamber like a laser display of dazzling complexity. The sound in the corridors is magnified, the sound of LEVIATHAN breathing. 
Pink limbs fly out and seize Desutoroia. A sort of elevator-like chamber rises up from the depths of the labyrinth, sore looking purple flesh appearing to compose its walls. They peel apart and open in various places to reveal blades, hooks and needles at the end of vestigial limbs. Those holding Desutoroia draw him back inexorably into the chamber to be held within its walls. He lets out a furious scream as one of the tiny needle-tipped limbs sews his lips together with heavy blue wire before he can utter another. His eyes widen in agony and horror. The chamber closes and descends far beyond where any human sight could ever see. 

Mrs. Khandejifer sat alone, crying her eyes out. What she saw happen to her husband had been one of the most traumatizing things for anyone to have ever witnessed. 
All the while, where the LEVIATHAN floated above the ongoing labyrinth, the elevator chamber reappeared and stopped at one of the catwalks. A door opens up but it's too dark to see inside. A new Cenobite steps out, its eyes closed. Like a newborn child, it is stained and soiled with amniotic fluids and blood. Desutoroia is no longer a human anymore. His skin now entirely blue and his head bald, his features are threaded and distorted by wire and his eyelids stapled open. 
"And to think... I hesitated." He was enjoying what he had become. LEVIATHAN started to spin wildly and a myriad of black beams shot out as energy and power were re-directed to something else. 
A fat, dirty pink and segmented limb like a vast earthworm appeared over the catwalk behind Desutoroia. The end of it peeled back to reveal a cruel metallic and rapidly spinning surgical saw that smashed down into the back of his skull. A distressing whirring noise was heard as it seated itself. He began twitching and dancing involuntarily as LEVIATHAN took over what little of his mind still remained. The two beings were now linked as one. 
Friday, Oct. 31 
There was a celebration going on at the docks that comprised Roostville's Boardwalk where fireworks and other festive diversions were taking place. Mrs. Khandejifer attended but she wasn't feeling the best. The memories of watching her husband being torn apart were becoming too much for her to handle. She looked down at the box she held and felt the need to begin solving the evil puzzle. 
The RMB golf cart was once again on the move, this time to the Museum of Monsters. At first, it seemed to be driverless but upon closer inspection, the hamster, Boo, was piloting it. The rodent was on a solo mission since Rado Goji was being lazy and Minsc was grocery shopping for the elderly. 
Although the place was empty, Boo noticed something had definitely happened here earlier. Things were knocked over and there was blood on a statue. The back door was standing open. Boo deduced that someone was running away, but who? 
Outside, a shadowy figure noticed the golf cart and entered the museum, saying to himself, "Idiots!" Boo squeaked as he heard someone behind him and turned to see an indiscernible figure. 

"We asked you nicely to heed our warning, rodent," said the figure. "Now I will have to show you what we do to those who defy us!" 
Melkor and Ubergeek were at Mt. Rodan, just outside the entrance to the Black Fire Rodan's lair. 
"You can feel it, too?" 
"Yes, Uber. Yes, I can. Something evil's in there... I can sense it's dark presence..." 
"Yah. Me and the Count also felt an evil presence here. The Blue Devil is what it was. But now, I can feel something else... Another evil is also on this mountain..." 
"Well, Uber, what do you say we go in and check this place out for ourselves?" 
"Me and the Count already had our look around but another one couldn't hurt." They went in and Melkor was immediately drawn to the lava pit where Garland had gone to his doom. 
"That's where the Elf died," Ubergeek explained. The expression on Melkor's face was one of disgust. 
"That was no Elf." 
"What do you feel, Melkor?" Uber was becoming rather nauseated himself. 
"The force of a twisted, sickening, psychopathic evil beyond any that I've ever encountered. Garland was definitely no Elf but a demonic presence of evil. You and the Count were lucky he fell to his doom or..." 
"Or what?" Melkor saw images of the strange, diabolical, twisted and mad tortures Garland would have performed. 
"You don't want to know. What the...?"  Ubergeek had rushed over and looked down into the lava pit. 
"Garland?" Uber asked. His bones reconstructed themselves into skeleton form. 
"Only something of pure, demonic evil could do that," Melkor stated. A beam of light knocked them back as a humanoid creature with bat-like wings and horns raised up from the pit. 
"Oh, my! This can't be!" Uber exclaimed. Melkor made eye contact with the creature and was stricken with fear. He was more afraid than ever before, even during his last encounter with Hellspawn. 
"How on Earth?" Melkor asked. "I banished you to eternal exile..." The bright light disappeared and Hellspawn was floating over the lava pit. 
"I shall not be denied my destiny." Uber was shocked. 
"You mean that Garland was really Hellspawn?" 
"Afraid so, thy sir!" Hellspawn declared. "And now you shall witness your people's termination first hand." Hellspawn blasted a beam of negative energy at the wall of the cave. The ooze that Uber and the Count had seen earlier spilt out. A blue orb flew out and addressed them 
"Thy Blue Devil has been reborn." It was the Count's arch nemesis and supposed son of Lucifer. Hellspawn launched another beam at the Blue Devil, causing its appearance to change. A strong body and fierce armor appeared. Huge spikes came from its shoulders and instead of eyes, it had a red visor. 
"Come, my friend, the Spawn of Hell. We must end the world so it may be reborn into a place of eternal darkness and forever night." Hellspawn and the Blue Devil flew off together. 
At the docks, Mrs. Khandejifer had finished solving the enigmatic puzzle box. Suddenly, all the lights went out but soon came back on. Everyone watched as the water in the river began to make weird movements. Desutoroia, now the Kilokhan Cenobite, rose from the depths of Hell. He floated through the air with LEVIATHAN's earthworm-like tentacle connecting them together. His face contorted into a grin of manic glee as he landed. 
"The doctor... is in!" he proclaimed but his voice was twisted, deep and demonic. He let loose a laugh which like his voice, was far from human. His palms erupted into a writhing mass of tentacle/snake like limbs as his head tipped back to emit a wide band of LEVIATHAN's black light into the sky, accompanied by more inhuman laughter. 
Desutoroia had been too enraptured of his newfound powers to pay attention to his wife and summoner and made no move to stop her fleeing with the rest of the crowd. Instead, he started towards another citizen of Roostville. 
All the while, Super Jet Jaguar had sensed a great force of evil, coming from both the mountain and the town. The entities were familiar ones he had encountered before so he headed to the docks and the closest disturbance. 
Desutoroia had quickly made his way to the center of town, collecting as many worthy (sinning and desiring) souls as possible for LEVIATHAN. 
The Count transformed into Afiag, the greatest and most powerful of the vampires. He now had pure black eyes and wings; silver armor, claws, heavy musculature and long black hair. He appeared before Desutoroia in the middle of the street and addressed him. 
"Desutoroia!? My God, is that you? I thought you were... dead." Desutoroia let loose another laugh. The mouths of the snake-like limbs coming from his hands opened up and out came knives, daggers and other sharp tools for cutting and torturing. Hellspawn and the Blue Devil landed next to him. 
"I shalln't be denied my destiny. Melkor, nor any human, will ever keep me from it!" Hellspawn roared. He looked at Desutoroia. "Didn't I tell you that our destinies would have us fight together, side by side one last time?" 
"We must exterminate Afiag," the Blue Devil said, each word spoken with a different evil and inhuman voice. 
Electric energy fed into Desutoroia's skull and a black shadow came from his mouth. It took the form of Lord Desutoroia Khandejifer, the Gridman villain but it was the Lord of Hell, LEVIATHAN. He opened his hand and fused Hellspawn with the Blue Devil, their appearance slightly modified. Hellspawn's face remained as he was more in control. Around his head was a helmet and a blue collar with a matching crystal on it encircled his neck. His body and boots were also blue. 
"Rise, my great warrior and behold Apocalypse!" Now the great battle between the forces of good and darkness was ready to begin. Melkor and Uber were racing as fast as they could to join the struggle. 
At the Museum of Monsters, Boo was nearly cornered by an EDCOLE agent when he noticed something going on near the docks. He scurried past the villain and into the golf cart, flooring it (don't ask how). 
Minsc had just dropped off the groceries when Boo pulled up. He got on board and they headed to their  apartment, which was near the docks. 
With all the commotion outside, Rado Goji had woken up and looked out the window to see evil stuff going on. Horrified, he grabbed the Z-Saber (luckily, it was fully charged) and met his team mates outside. They made it to the docks before Uber and Melkor had arrived. 
"Hey, evil ugly dudes!" yelled Rado. "You may not know me but I'm Rado Goj and my friends and I don't like your type around here!" 
"I second that!" roared Minsc. "I am Minsc! It is time for butt-kicking... FOR GOODNESS!" 
Boo had a robotic suit about the size of a human that Rado had built for him called the BooBot. He squeaked at the evil ugly dudes. 
"Boo doesn't seem to like you either!" shouted Rado. 
"Prepare yourself to go back to whatever hell you came from!" declared Minsc. Luckily for the RMB Mercenary Service, Apocalypse had bigger fish to fry than them. Sheriff Jaguar and Raptor quickly corralled and hustled them into the shadows of a nearby warehouse. 
"What the heck are you turkeys trying to do - get yourselves killed?!" the Sheriff hissed. 
"Not really," Rado tried to explain, suddenly realizing what he had done was rather risky at best. Boo didn't have any pretenses about interrupting the lawman's chewing out and squeaked loudly. JJ took immediate notice of his urgency. 
"What was that you said about the Museum of Monsters?" he asked. Boo repeated himself at a calmer pitch and took off toward the Museum. 
They watched as Afiag got ready for the battle about to take place. Apocalypse just smiled. 
"Destiny, Count. Destiny. Shalln't be denied my destiny." His voice sounded like multiple inhumans speaking the same thing simultaneously. 
"Super Jet Jaguar. Come. I have a new world of puzzles for you to explore. A whole new world of pleasures to endure," Desutoroia offered. Afiag knew that whatever his true intentions were, they would be sick and evil. 
"I'm not afraid of you!" he replied. Apocalypse gazed into Afiag's eyes. 
"Oh, but you will be..." 
Morgoth was still disturbed by Matthew Laurence tricking him and the other Dark Lords into being pawns for his plan to reenact the Blood Mass. The ceremony had been brought up throughout his life. His most unforgettable memory was his friend from school performing it by himself. He was found dead the next day. The results weren't as devastating as Hellspawn's but just as grizzly. 
He had the Mods searching the city for the treacherous bastard. 
"Mitch Laurence, Michael Lazarus. I don't care who he really is! Just find that man!" 
Morgoth heard about the disturbance in Roostville and rushed to the scene, praying and hoping the trouble was being caused by Laurence so he could personally wring his neck. Instead, a great duel between the forces of good and evil, thousands of years in the making, had begun. 
"This is it, puny human. The end of your species and the beginning of our breed," Apocalypse declared. He lunged straight at Afiag who quickly dodged. Desutoroia shot from his palm a snake-like limb that nearly ripped through his arm. 
"Time for an operation, Afiag! You're going to need brain surgery!" Desutoroia's voice was wicked and sinister. Sharp surgical objects came out of the mouths of the hideous appendages. Most of Afiag's body was pierced or cut by them as Morgoth watched from a distance. 
"My God! Is that Desutoroia? But he's been dead months..." Desutoroia's face was still a bit recognizable, even with the Cenobite changes by Leviathan, now known as LORD KILOKHAN who stood watching as his minions fought with Afiag and the forces of Good. 
"You know, I have always hated those eyes of yours. I could never tell what you were thinking; if you were frightened or defiant. That's why I am going to rip them out!" roared Apocalypse. As he reached back, a strange light showed in Afiag's eyes. He rose his free claw and fired a stream of hellfire at Desutoroia, blasting him into some buildings. 
"Now lets rock!!!" Afiag screamed as he flew at Apocalypse, punching and sending him backwards. "I am not the same creature you once knew. I hath grown in strength. Once I helped you kill innocents but never again! NOW YOU SHALL FALL!!!" Afiag's leg came down, knocking Apocalypse into a building. Suddenly, a blue energy beam came from the diamond in his opponent's collar. Afiag dodged but the beam caused two entire blocks to be destroyed. 
"NOW I HAVE THEE!" Apocalypse roared as he fired again, hitting Afiag square in the chest. A huge explosion came forth. "Are you dead yet?" he mocked. From the dust came two streams of Hell Fire, causing the devil to utter an inhuman cry. 
"I hath yet to begin!" The evil and massive inferno of Apocalypse, standing tall and proud in the heat of battle, fired a bolt of negative energy Afiag was not able to dodge and lay on the ground, weakened by the shock. As they made eye contact, the fierce Vampire became stricken with great fear. 
"I see it in your eyes, Afiag. For once in all your miserable existence you know fear. You can feel it all round you. Taste it in your mouth. Fear!" Weak, battered and nearly torn apart, Afiag spat upon Apocalypse's shining boots. 
"I fear nothing! And the fear you are experiencing is a mere shadow. Fear has a face! I AM FEAR!" Apocalypse let loose a monstrous laugh that seemed to come from all around him. Afiag realized he was no longer up against the Blue Devil or Hellspawn but a new entity of pure demonic force, so evil that both Hellspawn and the Blue Devil were like puppy dogs compared to its rage. Could there be a way to defeat such a creature he wondered? Either way, it seemed hopeless as Desutoroia's surgical limbs came closer to Afiag's face. 
"Time for that operation!" A tear ran down Afiag's face as the twisted evil around him made him feel fear that no one had ever experienced before. He wanted to let all his feelings out but he couldn't show any sign of weakness. He lay weak on the ground as Desutoroia started to cut open his skull, laughing the most inhumane laugh ever heard by man. With a hole in the back of Afiag's skull, Desutoroia was ready for his brain. 
"And after your brain surgery, I'll eviscerate your intestines!" Afiag struggled to free himself but he couldn't escape. 
"Why resist? You enjoy this as much as I. After all, you were once one of us, Afiag. There are worlds out there waiting to yield to us. So much flesh and innocent souls. So many twisted pleasures we could enjoy!" Apocalypse had spoken the true words of Satan as Afiag continued to struggle. The harder he tried to concentrate on forgetting about what was going on and pretend it was all a dream, the harder Desutoroia found it to continue. He soon could no longer cut and Afiag was free. 
"Now, let's kick some Lucifer ass!" Lord Kilokhan waved his hand in the air, causing Afiag to temporarily freeze on the spot. 
"The souls of thou Earth shall be mine. Nothing can stand in the way of that destiny. Not even thou, Afiag!" Leviathan said, sounding like thousands of evil, twisted demonic voices speaking at once from all around the city. Apocalypse charged at Afiag and with one blow, knocked the Vampire warrior to the ground, smashing him hard and face first into the pavement. Afiag's head started to bleed insanely and ache really bad. 
"You see, Afiag, not only am I fear in its true form, I AM PAIN!" Afiag watched in disgust as the creature floated about. 
"You're nothing, you scum!" he declared and spat at Apocalypse again. 
"Wrong, Super Jet Jaguar! I am the Beginning! I... AM THE WAY!" Apocalypse let loose hellfire, sending Afiag flying back and smashing into more buildings and leveling another section of town. 
"C'mon Uber and Mel! Where ARE you two?" he muttered under his breath before Apocalypse's fist came pounding down on him. 
After convincing the Mods to let them fight, the RMB Mercenery Service returned to the battle. 
"Hey, evil ugly dudes!" shouted Rado Goji as Apocalypse slammed his fist into Afiag. "Did you miss us?" Rado used Twin Dream to create a holographic "clone" which sent four warriors charging into the fray. Minsc swung the Two-Handed Sword +3 and the BooBot came in low, swinging a laser whip upwards. Rado and the clone came downward with two Quake Blazers. 
"Have you yet to learn your lesson?" Thousands of demonic voices of the Leviathan called to Rado and his companions. 
"Thou shall bow down before my image!" Apocalypse declared. "Desu. Terminate thou weaklings... NOW!" 
Desutoroia and those nasty snake limbs moved closer. Rado was becoming very nervous and didn't know what to do. 
"This is it," he thought. "We're all going to die..." He closed his eyes as Desutoroia floated two feet away from him. Suddenly, a fierce warrior holding a dagger in his hand cut one of the appendages from Desutoroia's hand. It was none other than Morgoth, the Dark Lord and Supreme Necromancer. 
"Only human!" Apocalypse sneered as he prepared for the destruction of Afiag, Rado, Boo, Minsc and Roostville's former Mayor. 
Unfortunately, one of the snake limbs was not severed and crashed right through the cockpit of the BooBot, impaling Boo to a nearby wall. He let out a loud squeak of pain. Minsc could hardly believe what he had seen. 
"Boo..." Boo was his companion, his partner. His friend. The berzerker snapped. "Fear not, Boo!" Minsc went into a berzerker rage. "Like Dynaheir before you, you shall be AVENGED!!!" Minsc lost all rational thought and charged toward Desu with his sword but the Cenobite backhanded him aside. 
Rado shouted, "No, Minsc!! Get a hold of yourself!" to no avail as Minsc couldn't be reasoned with. No matter how many times he was thrown back, he relentlessly kept charging to avenge his hamster. 
Noticing an opportunity to strike, Rado saw Apocalypse watching Minsc and laughing. He leaped into the air and came down with his C-Flasher technique. Blasts launched themselves from all sides of the mercenary. Apocalypse merely absorbed them and shot back negative ones, ten times more powerful. 
"Thy shall teareth you apart and send your rotting corpses into oblivion!" Apocalypse pushed Rado aside. "On second thought, thou is nothing but a rookie and like Melkor, is not worth fighting by a being as powerful as I." 
Desutoroia looked at Rado Goji who was the assistant manager of their Club For People Who Currently Feel Unloved and Neglected. 
"Perhaps I'll play doctor with you," he said in a cold whisper. Gliding through the air, he made his way towards the rookie warrior. Afiag jumped to stop him but Apocalypse grabbed the Vampire and knocked him to the ground. 
"Has thou to learn things the hard way?" He threw Afiag far down the street. 
"Now," Desutoroia said. "Prepare for an evisceration! Hahahahahahaha!" 
He did not notice someone closing in on him. Morgoth attacked from the side but the snake limbs from Desutoroia's left palm reached out and flung him away. Rado closed his eyes, ready to accept the fate awaiting him. 
"STOP THIS NOW!!" roared Afiag, summoning up his true power. He started to laugh. 
"Why does thou laugh?" wondered Apocalypse. 
"You are and will never be NOTHING!" yelled Afiag. He shot forward at the devil, only to be blasted by negative energy. A great bellow drew forth that made Apocalypse feel something he had never experienced: fear. 
"Hahahahahahaha! So this is what you call 'fear', eh? Well, I'm lovin' it!" Apocalypse screamed. Afiag was shocked as something unexpected had happened. Apocalypse not only fed off fear but enjoyed it more than anything. 
"Do I make you feel great fear, oh Count?" 
Desutoroia was too caught up with his own work and too arrogant to realize that Morgoth was more of a threat than he had thought. The Dark Lord clung to his back as Desutoroia began flying about like crazy to shake the Supreme Necromancer off. This gave Rado Goji a chance to escape before Desutoroia could begin his evisceration. 
Lord Kilokhan the Leviathan watched and was not entertained, satisfied or amused. He too, like his wondrous creation, Apocalypse, used fear as food to power himself. As great as Afiag's fear was, it was not enough to fill the Leviathan's black heart with large amounts of negative energy. 
Afiag and Apocalypse lunged at each other, the Count fearing for his life while the demon felt nothing. He was too evil to feel any sort of human emotions, whether fear, love, anger, etc. Apocalypse and Afiag continued exchanging hits, punches and energy blasts but the vampire started to tire and soon became exhausted. 
"Is thou going to be giving up so soon? The war still has yet to begineth!" A long, sharp-edged sword appeared in Apocalypse's hand. It was huge and far too heavy for any mortal, even Afiag, to wield. "Good bye, thou worthless warrior! May your fear increase my strength!" Apocalypse took a swing at Afiag who barely dodged the blade, nearly losing a limb. 
"Join us. Join us, Afiag." The vampire Count floated above Apocalypse, looking down and straight into his evil eyes. Their pure wickedness was proof enough that he was far more twisted than necrophilics, rapists, perverts, homicidal maniacs and other twisted minorities that plagued the Earth these days. It made Afiag sick and fearful. 
"You helped us kill innocents before. Thou should join us again!" Thoughts of the past and the slaughtering of innocents made Afiag even more stricken. Apocalypse smiled. "Yes. Give in and let your fear power me!" A blue energy in the form of multiple spirit like entities left Afiag's body and entered the mouth of Apocalypse. It was fear itself from inside him. 
"Temptation is only bitter sweet!" Afiag became weak for without fear, he could not show courage because there was nothing to overcome. He slumped to the ground. 
"Thou enjoyed the lusty pleasures of desire and sin once. Thou shall enjoy the pains and pleasure again!" Afiag started to scream in agony as memories from long ago plagued his mind, creating a new sense of fear. 
"Elizabeth. Her pain and suffering. And the lusty, sinning, desire you had for her soul caused you and her a lot of pleasure. And the both you, mostly her, though. Lots and lots of PAIN!" Apocalypse circled him. 
"Pain... Pleasure... There are no limits to where you can go." Afiag saw frightening and grizzly images that seemed to cause him to remember what real fear and pain felt and tasted like. It gave him a sick feeling of indulged appetites and satisfying pleasures beyond the mortal experience. He felt a lusting desire for the sinning images that were before his mind. 
"Thou now sees you are still one of us. The same sensations that we enjoy, you still do as well." Afiag's eyes turned a blood red; his muscles increased and his emotion was released. 
"You hath changed, back into my warrior of darkness!" roared Apocalypse. 
"No, you are wrong," declared Afiag in a voice so cold it was not even human. "You have caused your own downfall. For without fear, I. Have. No. Emotion. And no emotion means no pain. There is nothing you can do to stop me." Apocalypse just smiled. 
"Quit lying to yourself." A cold, feminine voice whispered inside Afiag's head. Apocalypse knew the truth. He could see it in his eyes that Afiag was not being truthful and that deep inside, he could feel pain. 
"I can read you like a book. Returneth to the dark side of pleasure." Afiag gave him a stern look. 
"I don't feel emotion." Apocalypse laughed sadistically. 
"That be not the truth! Join us! You still enjoy the suffering of innocents and the agony of friends. Indulge in that pleasure again. Be part of a great future or face the destruction of your breed. Soon, Lord Kilokhan the Leviathan and the Council of Death will rule the world of flesh!" Apocalypse dematerialized and appeared behind him. "Remember what true pleasure tastes like?" Afiag blasted a powerful bolt of energy at him but it went straight through, decimating another city block. 
"Are you going to throw your life away so recklessly instead of joining the dominators?!" Afiag low-kicked him and got the giant in a head lock but it wasn't enough as Apocalypse broke free rather easily. He then grabbed Afiag and began beating him to death. 
"If you will not be turned to the dark side, you will be destroyed! This Leviathan commands!" As Apocalypse beat on Afiag's head, blood spattered everywhere. 
"You are not worthy to fight such a great creature as me but I'm still going to indulge in the satisfying pleasure of personally killing you and every one of your forgotten species!" 
Afiag was becoming weak again and he feared for his life, afraid of fading away and being forgotten instead of going out with a bang and being remembered. If he were to be remembered and Apocalypse not be defeated, he feared it would be as a weakling coward killed in a great struggle he should've stayed out of. 
"I can feel what you feel. I know what you are thinking. There will be no future for you to be remembered in!" Apocalypse threw him to the ground and began kicking him like crazy! He was enjoying the sweet pleasure of watching Afiag suffer and laughed maniacally. This was too much fun for him. Fun, fun, fun! 
"Cheers to a miserable death, you vampire disgrace! Count Dracula himself would prove to be a much better foe! Good bye, Afiag!" Apocalypse's voice was surreal, cold and evil. 
"You... will be stopped. If not by me then... someone... else will..." Apocalypse laughed and fed off the fear which had developed during his terrible beating. Morgoth raced to help but Desutoroia wasn't finished with the oldtimer. 
"Don't want to miss your surgery now, do you?" 
"I don't care if you were Desutoroia! You and that spawn of Hell must be stopped. I will not fail. I am the Supreme Necromancer!" Morgoth was fast and agile, avoiding the deadly appendages from Desutoroia's palms. But could he stop this threat alone? 
As Afiag faced death, he remembered all the good times he had with his friends in Roostville. The memory he felt he had to hold on to the most was that time at THE ROOSTVILLE DANCE. But all his memories were important to him as he thought long and hard on his past in Roostville. A tear ran down his face, exciting Apocalypse like a little child! He felt like screaming in great joy because of Afiag's sorrow. Only a being of pure evil would find such things to be pleasing. 
"Say 'hi' to Elizabeth for me when you reach the other side, eh Afiag?" More tears ran down his face. 
"You're a sick creature, Apocalypse..." 
"Sick?! Sick doesn't even begin to describe how twisted and sadistic I am. I am far beyond SICK. But then again, the same sick pleasures that I enjoy, you do, too. Give in and you may live." 
Another tear ran down Afiag's face as he cried, "Never!" 
"Very well. Prepare for termination." Apocalypse opened his hand above Afiag's head, so huge and massive, he could not see past or around it. 
Memories. His memories had shown Afiag why he should never give up: To protect his loved ones. 
"As long as you draw breath, I SHALLN'T EVER GIVE UP!!!" Afiag roared with a blaze of hellfire coming forth from his body. His claws burned and eyes were black again but this time, they held no emotion. His wings were ablaze with power. Apocalypse fired five blasts but not one affected him for Afiag had finally conquered his fear. He realized that only love could defeat such hate and evil. The love he felt for his friends and loved ones in Roostville was enough to shield him from Apocalypse's black magic. 
"How pathetic. Hate will always crushe love... This world of flesh is waiting to yield to us, Afiag. Give in to your darker side and let loose your desires!" 
"Silence, demon! Nothing you say can convince me now!" Apocalypse became furious and screamed, letting loose a blast powerful enough to destroy Afiag's spirit, body and mind for all eternity but a burst of hellfire suddenly came forth, shielding him from the devastating bolt. 
"As long as you draw breath I shall live. No matter what!!!" roared Afiag. 
"You really have no clue as to who or what kind of creature you are dealing with! This is laughable!" Apocalypse raged but Afiag was not going to give in to this psychopath. He would sacrifice his very life if it meant the survival of the human world. "You fear me more than anything, Afiag. You are afraid of becoming me. Afraid of power..." 
"Silence, you Evil Beast!" Afiag interrupted him. 
"There is no Good and there is no evil. There is only flesh and to which we submit it! And power! And those too weak to seek it!" Afiag could feel his confidence slowly being drained but it was the opposite for Apocalypse whose resolve was increasing by the second. 
"Oh, DESU!" Apocalypse shouted. Desutoroia forgot about the attacking Morgoth and scattered RMB members and approached Afiag and Apocalypse. "I think that thou and thy art ready. 'Tis time to raise the stakes and take them to a far greater level!" Apocalypse grabbed Desutoroia and the two fused into one. 
From Apocalypse's shoulders and elbows came huge spikes and his face remained that of Hellspawn, his head hidden by a fierce metal plate. Sharp spikes grew from the side of his legs. 
"Hellspawn the Apocalypse has been reborn!" three different, twisted voices called out together. 
"Ubergeek wouldn't stand a chance against this monster," Morgoth thought. "He's never battled the combined form of three demons before..." 
"No, but I have!" Afiag informed him telepathically. He flew at the beast before him and opened his left hand. A mystical blade of energy appeared which Afiag swung, cutting the devil in half. 
Rado Goji watched in disbelief. No way could this be happening, he thought. Even for a weird town that didn't know it was one, this was beyond the usual. 
"Is this it? Art thou dead? Is it over, have we won?" Rado asked. 
"I like to think that it's over," Afiag replied. Morgoth wasn't too sure. There was a bit of movement in the lower half of the corpse. The upper part with the head, chest and arms had vaporized upon being cut from the body. Afiag blasted what remained and it too vaporized. 
Everyone had forgotten about Lord Kilokhan. His eyes began to glow blood red as he flew about. Afiag realized he was bleeding, as were Morgoth and Rado Goji. Hellspawn the Apocalypse raised up from Hell's depths, the many dark abysses and corridors used to enslave the sinning world of man. He had yet another modification added to his form with devilish bat-like wings. 
"Did you all miss me?" he asked. Afiag tried to strike upon the demon with his mighty sword and take him down but mortal weapons could not affect him. He made one last attempt to destroy Apocalypse and save his precious Roostville and jumped onto the back of the massive monster. Afiag opened his palm and readied a blast to decimate the crystal on its collar. 
Apocalypse was no fool and countered his attacks, sending Afiag flying to the ground. As he lay wounded, he stepped on his chest, crushing the warrior like a bug. Blood spattered everywhere as the demon looked deep into Morgoth's eyes. He was next as Apocalypse made his way towards him, taking all the time in the world. 
"Flesh is but a way to tempt desire. I speaketh the words of Kronos of the Wises," Apocalypse said. He turned to see Minsc aiding his injured friend, Boo. "Maybe I will enjoy the much sweeter pleasures of watching the innocent and the weak die rather than forcing the great Morgoth of Middle Earth to know what true pain really is!" 
"Minsc! Boo! No!" Rado shouted. Minsc picked up the hamster and tried to run for it but to no avail. 
"Satan doesn't exist... You are the Devil." Minsc said in a cold whisper. 
"Glad you see things my way!" Apocalypse pushed Minsc to the ground. 
"Boo will be next besides Afiag to feel great fear and true pain like no one before. You will feel the pleasures of the sinful desires of man and you will enjoy them!" Boo lay on the ground immobile. The entire area went pitch black, the only light being the red eyes glowing through Apocalypse's metallic face plate. A beam shined down on Boo. 
"NO!" Minsc cried out as he jumped in front of Boo, only to be hit by a powerful blast of negative energy. Minsc was gone. 
"No! You monster! How... How could you do such a thing? Minsc never did anything bad and never hurt anyone. And how he's..." 
"He's what? Dead? Thy is afraid so, Sir Rado." Apocalypse let loose another sadistic laugh. 
"Wai... Wait..." A faint voice called out. Everyone turned to Afiag, barely alive as he raised up. "Morgoth," he commanded. "There's only one person who can bring back Desutoroia to us. You know who that be. Retrieve the poor soul immediately. I'll take care of Hellspawn and the Blue Devil." Morgoth nodded and made his getaway. 
Apocalypse scoffed. "I'll have much more fun torturing your soul than anyone else's." A tear came down Afiag's face as he remembered the horrid decades of serving the Blue Devil. The tragedy between him and Elizabeth and the wickedness of the past few months since Desutoroia's murder. 
"Do I disgust you?" Apocalypse asked as if he cared. "Tears are a sign of weakness. Giving in." 
"No, Apocalypse," Afiag said fiercely. "They are not. This I shall prove when I rip you to shreds!" Apocalypse smiled as snake-like limbs pierced through the skin of his palms to attack Afiag, covering him in eternal darkness. 
"Why must humans be so weak?" he asked with satisfaction. Afiag fell to his knees. "Oh. Bowing down before your master, Afiag? Finally some respect for the one who taught you everything you know?" 
"No, Hellspawn! You never taught me anything. The Blue Devil showed me the path to damnation. And I will never forgive him for what he and I did to this Earth decades past. As evil as the Blue Devil seemed, you, Hellspawn, are far more evil and twisted than any sentient being I have ever encountered. You are nothing like my teacher!" 
"Very well." Apocalypse fired dozens of negative energy blasts, too many to avoid as Afiag was weakened and felt his spirit falter. 
"This will be your final chance. Join us in the slaughter of living flesh." Maniacal laughter could be heard all around as Apocalypse left him to choose between his friends and his desires. 
"You... you perverted bastard..." Apocalypse burst out in laughter. It would never work as he knew no love, no emotions. What he knew was hatred, wickedness, perversion and malevolence. 
"I am malicious. Yes, I am perverted, oblique, twisted, evil, wicked and sick. I am the face of darkness. I am the face of evil." Afiag detested and loathed the horrendous demon with all his heart. "I am guessing you have chosen your friends over me. Remember what you... correction, what WE did and how much fun it was?" He was messing with Afiag's head, taunting and playing him, trying to turn him against his precious beliefs. 
"I... am sorry, Hellspawn... You may have a sick fascination but... that's something I, and even the Blue Devil never had." 
"Will you join me in the great crusade?" 
"Yes, Hellspawn. I will be a part of the great crusade... But not yours!" 
"You will be crucified! Your soul will burn and rot on the cross!" Rado Goji watched, stunned as he hovered over Boo and Apocalypse tormented Afiag. It was like witnessing a bully pick on a weaker, smaller kid but Apocalypse was much stronger and far worse than any schoolyard thug. As he watched, Rado felt more and more helpless. 
"There... has to be something... that I can do to... help..." Minsc's spirit appeared before him. 
"Don't ever give up on your friends, Rado. And don't ever surrender. You've got to have faith when the odds are against you. Apocalypse has a weakness and you'll find it but you have to keep strong. Don't let what he says get to you." The spirit then vanished. 
"Minsc is right. I can't give up... I have to fight. But I can't leave Boo here to die. What do I do?" Rado asked himself. 
Apocalypse's taunting was becoming worse and too much for the weakened Afiag to handle. 
"You know, even as an adolescent, I, Hellspawn, never much cared. I was born evil, a pathway set for me from the dawn of time. I got in fights, made fun of many peers and told off my teachers. They thought I was nothing more than a problem child with learning disabilities." Afiag was too weak to fight back and soon collapsed to the ground. 
Magically, a huge cross flew up and Afiag levitated into the air to be nailed to it. 
"You... must have a serious... obsession with... death on the cross... This isn't the first time you've used crucifixion in your games." Apocalypse just laughed. 
"It is the symbol of the heavens. An emblem of faith. It is the exact opposite of everything WE stand for. I use it as an ironic weapon of evil! A weapon against you for OUR amusement." Afiag passed out, blood dripping from his very lips. Rado Goji was horrified. 
"Don't worry, Rado... You'll be next! Hahahaha!" 
"Jesus prayed on the cross, 'Father, forgive them for they do not know what they are doing.' Two robbers were hung on crosses, one at His right side and the other at His left." Boo and Rado Goji magically were nailed to crosses on either side of Afiag. 
"One of them said to Jesus, 'Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom.' And Jesus answered him, 'Amen I say to you. This day you shall be with Me in paradise.'" Afiag and Rado repeated the words but not of their own free will. The reenactment was being manipulated by Hellspawn The Apocalypse and he continued to read. 
"Standing by the cross of Jesus was His mother and beside her was John, the disciple whom He loved the best." A demon in the form of Afiag's mother appeared by his side, along with his best friend from childhood. 
"Other women besides His Mother were there; His Mother's sister and Mary Magdalene. Jesus wished to give His Mother into the care of John and said to her as He looked from her to John..." 
"'Women'," Afiag began, "'behold your son.'" 
"In the middle of the afternoon when Jesus had endured three hours of terrible pain on the cross, He cried out..." 
"'My God, My God,'" Afiag shouted, "'Why have You forsaken Me?'" 
"After this He spoke again, saying..." 
"'I thirst.'" 
"Someone dipped a sponge into a cup of vinegar and put it upon a reed and gave Him a drink of it. Then Jesus spoke His last words upon the cross..." 
"'It is finished. Father, into Your hands I give My spirit!'" Afiag shouted as he died. 
"And Jesus died. God died that we sinners might live! At once a great darkness came over the city of Jerusalem. The earth shook. The rocks split. The tombs opened and the dead walked about. At that moment, the veil of the Temple between the Holy Place and the Holy of Holies was torn apart by unseen hands from the top to the bottom." 
The area around Hellspawn the Apocalypse crumbled as he spoke. Boo and Rado Goji appeared to be dead. He wasn't positive but he was sure of Afiag's demise. 
"Never again... will any human stand in my way. For those who try to stop me will pay the ultimate price, surrounded by the people who hate and despise them the most. My destiny will not deny me!" Energy shot from high above the heavens, filling Apocalypse with great power, eradicating any kind and caring feelings Desutoroia may have had before being fused with him. Apocalypse felt rich on power and conquest of the flesh world would soon be at hand. 
"My destiny fulfilled will grant me a seat at the Council of Death and I will be the great ruler of all the universe! Hahahaha! Nothing or no one will ever dare challenge me! I'll see to it that Melkor lives a thousand years, tortured by his feelings for a certain married woman. Hahahahahaha!" His hate for Melkor and Desutoroia's jealously were his reason for wishing eternal torment be bestowed upon the Dark Lord. 
"Kronos. My master. You promised me when the Blood Mass was performed that Armageddon would engulf the world and consumed it should have been. Now, begin the countdown to extinction for this measly, wretched world of flesh!" 


CHAPTER 7: Apocalypse