Glorious, Falk thought, glorious!
Falk watched Neyrk approaching from the balcony he had installed in his personal cabin, which was situated at the front of the flying machine he had invented. With every plane in the planet having been destroyed, and every other dirigible out of commission, he was the only one with the technology to take to the skies.
They never saw this coming, Falk thought.
He looked down on the city, fully conscious of the fact that all residents were looking up at the beacon of hope that was his ship, which was why he had installed spotlights. Mostly to see at night but also to be seen upon his arrival.
The people down there were looking up at their only source of salvation, their only semblance of hope, at the magnificent Falk Goldschmidt, scientist extraordinaire. Inventor unparalleled.
When they threw him in jail, expecting him to rot in failure and shame, had they ever imagined to be in that position? Did they even remember doing that to him?
Did they still consider how he might be plagued by scorn and a vengeful will to destroy them all? Did it occur to them that the Beasts were simply the first in line?
His metallic hand slightly crushed the rails of the balcony as he squeezed his grip. The anticipation, the feeling of anticipation, it had been on a constant rise. Slowly, yes, inch by inch, but he could feel it growing. If ever there was any relevant reason to calling him mad, it was with how he had been feeling.
The Tech Guild was destroyed. Led by Anarchy was dismantled and left to die at the hands of the Beasts, whatever was left of them. And the Beasts had suffered so many casualties and certainly realized, already, the error of being his enemy. Of challenging his intellect.
However, they would still have hope. They would come for Neyrk with all their hope and strength, and he would crush them there as well.
And then he would turn around and end what was left of humanity.
Everything would end down in that city, there was nothing anyone anywhere could do to stop him. Every improbable variable had been de-scoped during the battle at the House of Magni. It was smooth sailing from there on out.
Falk grinned heavily.
Like sailing the winds, he thought, gladly.
He felt the airship turn, starting its descent, and almost at the same time, Falk heard a knock at his cabin’s door.
“Yes!” Falk welcomed, “come in, feel free!”
“Doctor,” the voice called out from the entrance, which was unseen from where he was on the balcony. “You said to warn you once she’s up.”
“Ah,” Falk looked back, “superb timing if I do say so myself. I will see her presently.”
The door closed and Falk moved into the actual room. He retrieved the jacket and the hat, and exited.
Many people had met and experienced his mercy, not because he actually had any to dispense, but due to the good state of his mood. The exhilaration of plans unraveling as expected, and that of seeing his enemies destroyed, it all made him more willing to endure the silly antics of those beneath him.
The Shadow was one such individual. She had actually not killed Amanda, the foolish girl, she had no idea of the level of risk such an action signified. A few others around the ship had slighted him as well, in ways he would usually punish immediately by ridding the world of them, but again, his mood was good. Morale was at the highest.
They’ll all die eventually, anyway.
However, one individual who would not receive such a benefit was Amanda. She was special. Despite that, she was still not that far beneath him that it didn’t tug at his curiosity to know what she would have to say.
Another reason to talk to her was, of course, to bask in his laurels.
Falk opened the door to find her properly tied up. Her wrists were pulled above her head, tied apart, her feet were tied to the ground, also apart, and, for good measure, her waist was tied to the wall behind her.
Amanda turned her scarred face towards him.
“You must be so happy,” Amanda said.
He grinned happily.
“You know very well that yes, I am,” Falk said.
“Seeing me defenseless like this, submitted,” Amanda added as if he was afraid of her.
“Oh no, not that part, my dear,” Falk said kindly, closing the door behind him, “I wanted you to stay behind. Get acquainted with your dear beloved Beasts.”
He stood a few feet away from her. He wasn’t afraid but he wasn’t stupid.
“You’re the only beast I know, you bloody coward,” Amanda spat.
“Coward?” Falk asked, amused, “I invited you into my own house, despite your treachery. I faced the Beasts in person, thrice now, you call me a coward?”
“Treachery? What treachery?!” Amanda asked, angry and confused.
Really? Falk asked himself in his head, before shaking it in disappointment.
“Come now. We’re at an end, you have no need to feign anymore. I know you were spying on me, and feeding my information to the Tech Guild.”
Amanda’s eyes opened wide. Wide enough to slightly crack her burned skin, such was the power of her realization. Her voice surged in a tone of surprise.
“What’re you talking about?!” Amanda asked in distress. “Is that why you attacked me?? You think I was a spy?”
Falk eyed her in silence, judging her words and demeanor.
Does she expect forgiveness? Falk asked himself, a bit perplexed, it would be the only way out for her, wouldn’t it?
“You do, don’t you?! HA!” Amanda convulsed, leaning her head back to laugh. Instead, she yelled, “YOU IDIOT!”
“Hey,” Falk called out, not appreciating her demeanor.
Amanda lunged her head forward.
“YOU ABSOLUTE MORON!” Amanda screamed. “You found out the Tech Guild had info on you, and I came to save you, so you assumed I was…YOU…LOOK AT ME, LOOK AT WHAT YOU DID YOU UTTER–”
Falk was having none of that, he interrupted her, “I would warn you against–”
Amanda, however, wobbled her head and spat with every strength she had left in her, interrupting him in turn. It hit his hat. She followed it with a very crass curse.
“You think you know everything, but you don’t!” Amanda yelled. “You don’t! I didn’t betray you, I was going to betray LBA! I didn’t want to die, it was much more fun to live with you!”
Falk had to admit that considering all expectations he had walked into that room with, well, what was happening didn’t meet any approximation of them.
Not even by a little bit.
“I told you so!” Amanda yelled further, “but you thought I was lying…” she trailed off, to laugh some more in the midst of a total lack of emotional control.
“You stupid paranoid bastard,” she added in-between breaths.
There had been three choices for a traitor, someone who knew the information that the Tech Guild had acquired. He had expected her to mess up and say she was going to betray the Tech Guild to be with him, but she hadn’t fallen for it? Had he really picked the wrong one of the three?
Falk went through all the interactions in his mind, all the moments that had clued him to the fact it was her. Meanwhile, Amanda continued raving.
“Pathetic,” Amanda said, “it didn’t make sense to you, did it? That someone actually liked you?”
That was beneath him. Ego issues such as those? Clouding his judgment? Never.
Perhaps I have erred… he conceded, in the privacy of his mind, but not for those reasons.
No, it was all a ruse. He was convinced of it, she was trying to play him, and it wouldn’t work. Falk smiled at her, unaffected.
“And how do you like me now?” Falk asked.
Her face turned ravenous. She bit her lip with such aggression and hate that it bled.
“Look at me. Look at what you did…” Amanda whispered, “you stupid little man.”
“I see you’re aware that I will kill you,” Falk said, for no other reason could there be for Amanda, of all people, to be insulting him like that.
“What else to expect?” Amanda asked, glaring at him wishing hate could kill. “You’re pathetic. Predictable. You can’t trust me, not after what you did. And if what I’m saying is true n’ you had no reason to do this to me, then all the more reason for me to hate you.”
“Well put,” Falk conceded.
“It might hurt your plans. I might screw something up,” Amanda explained.
Falk nodded in agreement, smiling with ease.
“You always were very smart,” Falk said, pointing his mechanical arm at her head. It whirred into action as it propped up the small cannon out of his wrist. “That’s why I liked you,” he added.
“I liked you too, Falk,” Amanda said, and her voice cracked in wrath even though her eyes were crying of regret and sadness. She really did look like someone betrayed, Falk had no idea she was such a good actress, but then again, she had fooled him before.
“If ever I did a mistake…” Amanda continued, “it was believing you were the man I thought you were.”
The Mad Genius pursed his lips in curious confirmation and gave a slight nod with his head.
“Yes, everyone seems to make that exact mistake,” Falk told her, shrugging. He smirked patronizingly at her and added, “but I am ever, and always, so much more.”
Falk’s arm clicked, and a small portion of the gunpowder within it snapped, lighting its half-loose hinges for a second, and before that second was done, Amanda’s skull cracked twice in one singular sound, putting an absolute end to their relationship.