The world was going to hell, and it was the greatest fucking thing ever. EVER. Okay, it was ONE of the best things ever. Mr. Shadow had actually come across some rather fun things since leaving his original reality. After his original defeat at the hands of the Fifth Element of his reality, a being had awakened him from his stasis and gave him a chance to escape his endless cycle of defeat. Yjarl, the self proclaimed Father of the abyss had given him a body, and the ability to travel to different realities. In exchange for working for him, Yjarl had promised him many things, and the Father of the abyss seemed quite adept at delivering on those promises. One such promise had been allowing Mr. Shadow a chance at true victory over his eternal enemy. Shadow sat in a large, comfy black leather chair in the middle of what seemed to be an empty office. The floor gleamed with an eerie, ghostly blue light, almost an exact match for his own strange glowing eyes. In front of him large plate glass windows revealed that he was in a tall high rise building overlooking a city in ruins. His building was the only one left standing whole, the rest of the city’s structures a broken, flaming mess. The sky was a dark red, as if the sun itself was dying, no longer able to illuminate the world as it once had.
There were various kinds of air crafts and ships streaking through the blood-like sky destroying each other in some apocalyptic final battle. This war, in fact, had been going on for three hundred years now, and had spread across the entirety of the planet earth. This city had long been the last bastion of hope for humanity, but that illusion had been shattered a year ago as the final states of the war had reached its threshold. The building Shadow sat in seemed to be untouched by the destruction, however, and stood tall and complete, a beacon in its own right. That beacon was not one of bright hope, but instead dark despair. If he’d had a bowl of popcorn, Shadow would be enjoying himself even more right about now. With his eyes he could see everything that was going on in the world at that moment. At the former base of the Federate Territories, High Admiral Linberg, who had been President Linberg in Shadow’s original reality, had just been slain along with General Munro at the hands of Aknot, the God King of the Mangalores. In Shadow’s reality the Mangalores had been scattered to
the far outlining planets of the solar system after a failed war against humanity and political infighting. They had been a joke worthy of only a minimal distraction at best, and they had even failed at that.
However when Mr. Shadow had entered this universe a thousand years ago, keeping to the shadows, no pun intended, he had guided them to become a force to be reckoned with. He had kept them on the outskirts of the solar system, and had curbed their desire for pointless war. instead he had built them up over time to be a truly supreme race of warriors; smart, dangerous, and capable of both physical, and mental evolution. Their ability to shape shift had deepened, and he had forged them into his secret army. God King Aknot had grown into a supreme beast of war, making Mr. Shadow proud in this great war. Just as he had predicted, his Mangalore army had made short work of the Federate Territories and had them cornered for years until today, landing the fatal blow to the last vestiges of High Admiral Linberg’s forces. They had put up a valiant fight, but had been outclassed from the beginning. The only reason they had lasted this long was because Mr. Shadow had wanted them to.
In another part of the world, Mr. Shadow’s forces laid waste to the last remnants of the Earth Federation, shattering their defenses from the inside thanks to the shape shifting Mangalores, wiping them out completely. All across the world, earth’s forces were being pushed over the edge and into oblivion. There were only a few chess pieces left to be moved, and one of them, the great champion themselves, had just stepped onto the top floor of his building.
“Sir, she is here. Shall we capture her and bring her to you?”
Mr. Shadow heard a voice behind him, causing him to turn his chair away from the windows to face the one who had been his right hand man for the last forty years. Jeane-Baptiste Zorg. The mercenary had almost been a great tool in his original reality, but had ultimately failed. In this reality, Shadow had found him early, just as he had the Mangalore. The man was still as intelligent and shrewd as ever, but far stronger, more ruthless, and a hundred times as competent as he had been back then. Physically he was less gaunt and had maintained all of his body parts. He was a genius when it came to weapons development, and Shadow had made sure he had unlimited resources to spread his business throughout the system. Shadow did not rise from his chair, instead he just shook his head and waved for Zorg to join his side.
“No, let her come. She’s sacrificed so much to get here. How can I disappoint her now?”
There was a dark mirth in his voice, which was deep, but seemed to carry his words from his lips in a melodic tone, always smooth on the ears. Zorg gave a nod and said nothing more as he moved to stand beside Shadow’s chair. With no resistance, Shadow’s guest made her way into the ‘office’, only slightly surprised that there was nothing there but Mr. Shadow, Zorg, and the chair Shadow sat in. The intruder was a tall woman with red hair cut short just below her ears. She wore a strange white body armor that seemed not of this world, and she was armed to the teeth. Her complexion was pale, though it seemed unnaturally so, as if years of struggle and strife had weighed heavily on her. this didn’t take the edge off of her presence, however, and she had the aura of a formidable foe, a champion. Mr. Shadow smiled and stood from his chair. He had an air of calm about him that was unsettling, especially when you took into account everything that was going on.
He was dressed in a simple black business suit, complete with a white dress shirt beneath his black suit jacket, and a black tie. his complexion was also rather pale, but it seemed absolutely normal for him. He had smooth, youthful features that gave him the look of a male in his early twenties. His hair was black and cut short above his ears, and neatly trimmed. He gave off no aura of power, and seemed to be just a man until you looked at his eyes. his eyes were a pair of ghostly blue orbs that seemed to hold back some vast, unimaginably horrible, ancient, and dark power. One couldn’t even begin to imagine the scope of it.
He reached up with his right hand to straighten his black tie a bit, shifting his collar into a slightly more comfortable position before his hand fell back to his side. A small, almost mischievous smile curled the edges of his lips upward.
“Ah, so we finally meet Leeloominaï Lekatariba Lamina-Tchaï Ekbat De Sebat, or shall I just call you Leeloo like your comrades do?”
The woman froze, her eyes widening as Mr. Shadow spoke her true name. Not many outside of the Mondoshawan, or the people of the 50th Parish knew of her true name. She didn’t remain ruffled for long, and Shadow had to admit that she was impressive. But then, almost all versions of her were. She was his eternal enemy after all, his antithesis.
“You are the one behind this infernal war, and I’ve come to stop you. I don’t know why you’ve done all of this, but you are not my true enemy. the true enemy is The Great Evil coming our way. This war is meaningless! All of this will be destroyed if the Great Evil isn’t stopped! Why can’t you see that?!”
Her eyes blazed as she glared at both Mr. Shadow and Zorg standing beside him. Neither of them seemed taken aback. In fact they both seemed to smile, Shadow with his mouth, and Zorg with his eyes, his other facial features remaining neutral.
“Ah, yes, this Great Evil that you and the Parish have been preaching about all these years. The enemy of all life in the universe wasn’t it? On it’s way, as we speak, to snuff out the true light of the universe and send it into a state of entropy, decay, and finally ultimate destruction. That Great Evil?”
Mr. Shadow chuckled after the words had left his lips, causing Leeloo to grimace, trying her best to hold back her rage.
“Yes! If you know of it, why did you start this war?! it only hastens the Great Evil’s plans! Are you working WITH it?! Has it gotten to you?! Answer me!”
Shadow couldn’t help the malicious grin that suddenly spread across his face, his ghostly blue eyes finally letting just a little bit of that absolute dread past the seal that kept his antithesis of life in check.
“Now my dear Leeloo, if I were working with this Great Evil of yours, would I have left your precious Parish alone as they worked with the Mondoshawan Guardians to gather the elemental stones of power? Those are the only things that can destroy this Great Evil, aren’t they?”
Leeloo’s eyes finally lost any sense of control, and her composure finally broke. How did he know about the stones? if he was capable of being behind this great war, surely he would have gone after the stones had he been a tool of the Great Evil. He was correct, she and the Parish had worked with the Guardians known as the Mondoshawan to gather the stones, and be ready to stop the Great Evil once this war was over. However they were running out of time, so much so that they had to hatch a near suicidal mission to end this war in time to be able to put the stones to their destined use. Many Mondoshawan had sacrificed themselves to get her into this building, arming her with their technology, and even developed weapons, which was against their creed. It had been a sacrifice they had been willing to make for the greater good. Leeloo was about to speak, but was interrupted by Mr. Shadow’s loud laughter.
“Just kidding, I’ve killed all of your precious priests and guardians as well.”
Even as his words rang painfully in Leeloo’s ears, her attention was drawn to the large windows behind Mr. Shadow and Zorg, which had suddenly turned into a holoscreen that took up the entire space of the windows and wall. On the screen appeared a scene of absolute destruction. Leelo’s eyes widened even more, and tears began to stream from them when she recognized the place as the hidden Temple City of the Parish. No one was supposed to know it’s location. Many Mondoshawan had sacrificed themselves to create a soul shield that blocked them from being viewed by the enemy’s satellites, or reached by Shadow’s forces.
But they HAD reached them. On the screen, Leeloo could see a large force laying waste to Temple City. At their head was the dreaded Dark Diva Plavalaguna, who’s song of destruction drove anyone who heard it mad, causing them to self-destruct. She had been another piece Mr. Shadow had found early enough to turn to his cause. When Shadow left this place, he would take her with him, along with Zorg and a select few other toys he’d grown fond of. As the scene played out before them, Shadow turned his gaze to Leeloo once more.
“All you have done is for naught my dear Leeloo. You see, all this time you haven’t been fighting one Great Evil, but TWO Great Evils.”
Finally Mr. Shadow’s eyes seemed to lose the seal that bound his dreaded power, the antithesis of life held deep within him. He was not in his true form, but he didn’t need to be. The moment the wave of dread spread out from his eyes, Leeloo knew he was telling the truth. Though it was different from what she felt from the Great Evil approaching from deep space, the power of life within her shrank away from Shadow’s power in the same way. She was the Fifth Element, the supreme being, and she would always know her enemy, no matter what form it took. Leeloo took a step back, but was able to remain mostly in control of herself.
“How can this be? How can there be two Great Evils?! This….this….”
She trailed off unable to continue. She needn’t worry though, Shadow would give her answers.
“That’s simple. I am a Great Evil from another reality. Believe it or not, I have danced this dance with you before, or rather, my reality’s version of you. That version of you was not nearly as strong as you are now, but she still defeated me. She gathered the stones, and activated her power as the Fifth Element and stopped me from destroying her universe. It was infuriating to say the least. I was so sure I would win that time. Alas, I was like any other Great Evil in the story books, meant to be defeated by the protagonist in the end.”
Mr. Shadow had a mock look of defeat on his face, a light shrug of his shoulders given as if to say; “you win some, you lose some”.
“However she did not destroy me, merely sealed my antithesis of life away, causing my true form to become dormant. I was trapped within myself, forced to wait until it was my time to dance the endless dance again with the next Fifth Element. I’d probably just lost again, but that all changed when a power greater than even my own reached out to me and gave me a body, as well as access to the emotional spectrum. It also gave me the power to travel between realities, allowing me to leave my own behind. I traveled to many different realities, and watched our battle play out over and over again. Each time the Great Evil was defeated by ‘you’, the Fifth Element. I was baffled as to what I did wrong each time.”
Shadow turned to the screen, which was showing a rather ludicrous scene. Dark Diva Plavalaguna had reached the great temple, and was facing off against, of all people, Ruby Rhod. Was he challenging the Dark Diva to a dance off?! Was he Peter Quill now?! This caused even Shadow to laugh softly to himself. Soon Ruby was killed along with High Paladin David, the last champion of the Parish. Finally the scene showed High Priest Vito Cornelius being gutted by Plavalaguna, and the last of the Perish’s people being overrun and destroyed by her forces. Shadow smirked softly and waved his hand, causing the scene to change. The destruction of Temple City was replaced by the picture of a single man, a smiling soldier of the Federation holding a laser rifle across the back of his shoulders with his right arm hooked over the front of the weapons long barrel, clutching a helmet in his gloved left hand. The moment Leeloo saw the soldier, something deep inside of her lurched. It felt as if the very power of life, her Fifth Element was reaching out towards the male in that picture. She had never seen him before in her life, but in that moment it seemed as if she’d known him forever. The dread in her chest was so deep that it took her breath away and caused the tears in her eyes to fall more heavily than before.
“You’re asking yourself why seeing this man, a man you have never met in your life, is making you feel the way you are, right? I’ll tell you. This man’s name is…”
Before Shadow could finish speaking, Leeloo’s lips parted and she spoke out in a broken whisper.
Zorg’s eyes widened, but Mr. Shadow only laughed, his hands clapping together in some dark, twisted glee.
“That’s right! Korben Dallas. Even though you’ve never met him, you know his name, or rather your soul knows his name. In every reality I visited I could only wonder why you defeated me each and every time we faced off. Surely the Fifth Element couldn’t win EVERY time right? There had to be some kind of balance! Then I found it, the one reality where the Great Evil won. It came to me then, the thing I had been missing, the reason why I had always lost to you. Korben….Fucking….Dallas!”
Shadow reached for a gun that was strapped at Zorg’s hip, releasing it from it’s holster and aiming it at the holoscreen. He pulled the trigger and shot a beam of crimson light between Korben’s eyes, shattering the holoscreen where his face was. Leeloo reached out and screamed before falling to her knees, completely lost in her dread and loss now. Her once firm shoulders were shaking as she sobbed into her gloved hands. she was barely able to lift her head to meet Shadow’s triumphant gaze.
“In each of those goddamned realities where I lost to you, it was because THIS man was at your side. It wasn’t just a random lover who helped you awaken your power as the Fifth Element to stop me, it was always, ALWAYS him! Each and every goddamned time, except for one reality. In this reality, by some long shot chance, Korben died in a hover car accident before he could meet you. In reality you fought well, but you didn’t have Korben there with you to awaken your power. You lost because you didn’t have his love.”
When he said the word love with such disgust and disdain, Leeloo gasped at the truth that rocked her to her very core. She could feel her power of the Fifth Element begin to shrink in on itself, becoming only a shade of its former glory. It was true. All this time she had felt something was missing. She knew what she had to do, the High Priest and the Guardians had made sure of that. But she had never felt confident that it would work out in the end, even if they COULD stop the war. Oh she fought with everything she could muster, but now she knew what she had been missing. Love. HIS love. She shuddered there, kneeling in complete defeat, unable to gather even a small portion of her will power any longer.
“So I had my man Zorg here hunt him down and kill him long before you had even been awakened by the Parish and the Federate Alliance. There was no chance you would meet him this time, and because of that, you have lost.”
He was right. It was all over. Leeloo could feel it in her shrinking soul. She finally raised her head, her eyes meeting his once more. They had lost all light, a dulled copy of their former selves. She was utterly defeated.
“So now what? The other Great Evil is still coming. What are you going to do now?”
Mr. Shadow smiled, and instead of answering her, he turned to face Zorg. He held up his right hand as a small black cube with glowing strains of gold spider webbing across its surface appeared floating above his palm.
“Take this. It will transport you to a set of predetermined locations. Gather the Dark Diva and the Mangalores. Once they are with you, it will automatically transport you all to a place outside of this universe. I will take you all with me as promised when I leave here. We’ll all have so much fun together.”
The way he spoke the words, he seemed like a gleeful child. Zorg smiled with a nod and took the cube, disappearing with it. Shadow then turned to face Leeloo, slowly walking towards her.
“Ah, no need to worry about my counterpart. I will let it have victory here. The universe will be destroyed as all life within it is snuffed out by it’s power. Then I’ll have a little chat with it before I leave this place myself. As for you my dear Leeloo….”
He finally reached her and looked down at her broken, defeated form. The world began to shake around them, and he knew that the version of him from this reality had sensed the power of the Fifth Element shrivel, causing it to speed up it’s advance. It was almost there now. He sensed that Zorg had done his duty and transported Shadow’s chosen few away from the imminent destruction of the universe. Shadow let his hand fall to settle beneath her chin, gently lifting her face to meet his gaze.
“I’ve always admired your fire Leeloo. It’s a shame that we couldn’t be friends. I am even of a mind to stay with you to the end and make sure your last moments are peaceful.”
He watched her facial features shift a bit, almost as if she had a small spark of hope left. Shadow’s face changed drastically in that moment. Gone was the youthful, gentlemanly facade. Those ghostly blue eyes flashed with pure malicious intent, and within them, she could only see death.
He lifted her body from the floor with just his hand beneath her chin, showing a limitless strength and control as he lifted her until her feet were dangling above the floor. He held her there a moment, the world starting to quake around them as destruction finally came for it. Just before the windows blasted inward from the shock waves of the Great Evil’s arrival, his left hand thrust into her body just beneath her rib cage. He felt for her heart, gripped it, and ripped it out as life fled her body. Her body went limp and he dropped her to the floor. Time seemed to slow down, the shattered glass from the impact filling the room and floating slowly around him as he held up Leeloo’s ‘heart’. It was not a true heart, but instead the final stone, the stone of love and the True Fifth Element. It had taken him so long to truly understand that his true enemy wasn’t just life, but love. How could life truly exist and flourish without love? With a chuckle, he crushed the stone and absorbed it’s energies into his body. Under most circumstances this would have been dangerous for him. It was his antithesis after all. However Yjarl had allowed him to overcome that weakness a long time ago.
He was quite fine, even enjoying the feel of the Fifth Element’s power being absorbed into his being. With this final task done, time resumed its normal speed, and the world was destroyed around him. Leeloo’s body turned to dust along with everything else. It wasn’t long before the entire earth was completely destroyed. The Great Evil hadn’t truly come for the earth itself though. It was just the planet’s bad luck that it had formed atop a vast galactic leyline, its core being created from the energy of that leyline. Once that core was destroyed and the leyline laid bare, the Great Evil’s antithesis of life would corrupt it, spreading death and entropy throughout the universe using the leyline as a guide to snuff out life completely. With entropy reigning in the wake of that power, there was no hope of a new spark of life awakening. In the space that earth once occupied, the moon sized body of Great Evil floated like a triumphant black star.
After a few moments, however, Mr. Shadow appeared in front of his alternate self. This caused the Great Evil to speak out, it’s voice a force of complete domination and power. Not many beings could withstand this voice for long, as it caused them to break down on a cellular level from the inside out. Even trying to withstand it for a short time caused the body to begin bleeding from the brain down. Mr. Shadow remained completely unfazed as it spoke to him.
**Who are you? I have sensed your presence for some time now. It seems….familiar. I would like to know how you survived earth’s destruction, and how you are able to face me now.**
Instead of answering his counterpart’s question, Mr. Shadow just grinned and spoke using the exact same primordial voice the black star had used to speak it’s own words.
**How does it feel to win? I now watching you win has brought me great satisfaction, though you would not have won had it not been for me.**
The Great Evil was silent for a long moment before it’s voice rang out once more.
**I see. You are me, but not me. However, I do not understand your meaning. I have won because I am meant to win. The Fifth Element was never strong enough to stop me.**
Shadow sighed and shook his head. He hadn’t expected his counterpart to be surprised at Shadow’s presence here. It was not human, and did not have access to the emotions Shadow had gained along with his body. It only knew its purpose and that it could not be stopped. Except in almost every other reality, that is exactly what happened to it. Shadow gave a light shrug of his shoulders, his body, even his clothes completely unaffected by the vacuum of space.
**That is untrue, but it doesn’t matter. You have won, and this universe will die. I do, however, find it a shame that you can not truly enjoy this moment, so I will help you by allowing you to become a part of me. Once that happens, you will know true joy and satisfaction.**
Shadow could almost imagine a huge question mark appearing above the black star, but before it could speak, Shadow reached out and let the absorbed power of the Fifth Element radiate from within him. The black star could not draw back from him, though it gave off the impression that it was trying to do just that. Shadow had completely absorbed and integrated the power of this reality’s Fifth Element into his being. He could easily manufacture the emotion called love needed to activate it, allowing him to use what had long been his greatest weakness.
As the power was gathered and released, it blasted into the black star, and much like what had happened to him so long ago, the star began to die, it’s energies being sealed by the Fifth Element. This time around, however, Shadow didn’t just seal the Great Evil’s power away, he absorbed it into himself, truly causing the destruction of the black star, the Great Evil of this reality. He made its power his own, giving Mr. Shadow a dual victory. As he finished absorbing the power of his counterpart, Shadow floated there in the void facing a crumbling black star. With its power truly gone, there was nothing holding it’s form together, and soon it became dust much like the earth had. Shadow gave a deep sigh that should have been impossible within a vacuum, but he seemed to defy those physics. He gave one last sweeping gaze to the dying universe around him, enjoying the final dredges of his victory before willing himself away and to another place. There was just so much more fun to be had.