LNH20: Smash Comics! Featuring Corporation-Smasher #4: "The Burning"

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Drew Nilium

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Mar 31, 2022, 11:15:07 PMMar 31
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The dragon had come in the night.

And she had found the penthouses where the CEOs lay slumbering, and she had
slithered her head in thru the windows and eaten them whole. And she had moved
on to the directors of various boards, and had managed to devour most of them
before the alarm was sounded. She ate CFOs and CIOs and all kinds of CXOs, and
when they began to run, chased them down thru the streets, alighting atop cars
for a moment to finish one meal before moving on to the next.

But it was not long until she could hear the rumbling of tanks in the distance,
and the screaming of jets, and she knew that the power she had disturbed was
readying all its forces to strike back; and she knew it would be the end of her,
but she was ready.

What she was not ready for was for one of the tiny figures, standing on a
rooftop, to wave to her.

Perching on the rooftop, the dragon leaned in to look at the human. She was a
black woman in her forties, wearing a red bodysuit with a gold belt and a gold
hooded cloak. She had a hammer in gold on her chest, and smiled up at her, with
an unexpected warmth - deeply unexpected, for even those humans the dragon would
never harm were panicked by the powerful's alarms.

"Good evening, ma'am," said the human, "and I hope I can bid you good night,
that you might leave before the army comes."

The dragon laughed, and it echoed off the skyscrapers and spooked the great
managers into greater heights of fear. "You are brave and kind, to face me in
hope of sparing your countrymen my wrath - but they are the tools of the kings
and governors of this land, and the lords must pay! Now go, lest I decide to
turn my wrath upon YOU!" And she beat her wings, once, such that it would knock
down a strong man.

But the human was unbowed. "Then may I be permitted to make two points, before
leaving?"

The dragon could leap into the air and drive herself down upon the army in a
minute's flight; but she had thought there was no human who could stand to her
words and voice, let alone to her strength; and so she said, "Only two, then."

"Very good!" And it seemed, almost, from the tone, that this was some form of
praise for the dragon; and she felt, almost, the cheerfulness of doing a good
job; but no human's word could sway her heart. "The first is that there are a
number of poor young people down there who signed up for a paycheck and a way
up the ladder, who are trapped in serving the lords one way or another and chose
a way that seemed like potential escape."

And the dragon frowned; for this human had somehow spied upon her heart. "Why
would I care, daughter of man?!"

"You have taken pains only to hurt those directly in the chain of command;
allowed servants, onlookers, even friends and allies of your targets to leave,
swallowed husbands and left wives. You have struck with the precision of a
surgeon cutting out a cancer. Which leads my to my second point."

The dragon froze; had she been that obvious, that clear in her intent, despite
the monstrous bluster? "And that is...?"

"I would not allow a comrade to perish, if I could help it."

The dragon blinked. "...you would consider one who devoured your species, your
kinfolk, your leaders to be a sister in arms!? Your heart is that full of fire
and rage and kindness and hope?"

And the human spread her arms, and the dragon looked into her heart; and she
saw a flame as pure as hers, burning with righteous fury and a warmth that
longed to embrace her.

And the dragon was awed, and thought, for a moment, that she was looking on
another of her kind in disguise - and she realized, yes and no; another of her
kind not in body but in heart.

And the dragon said, "There is but one way for me to escape now - shed my skin,
and walk in the skin of a human for a year and a day until my power comes
again."

And the human said, "Then walk arm in arm with me."

And the dragon shed her skin, and left it upon that rooftop; and when the
missiles and the cannons came, and knocked down the great skyscraper, the lords
heaved a sigh of relief, for they knew the dragon was dead.

But still, they looked to the skies with worry...

Drew "a vent story" Nilium
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