Graham stood on a large open wasteland. The Dalki leader felt uncomfortable, as he still had no clothes to wear. He himself didn’t know why, but it felt like everyone could see right through him when he didn’t wear clothes, and without it whenever others laid their eyes on him, he wanted to snap at them.
However, at the moment there was no one but him. It was just an open land with several craters, but after waiting a while he could see them in the distance. A group of other Dalki was heading his way, and in the background, in the distance the Dalki castle could be seen.
‘It looks like they are finally here. Hmmm, there’s around fifty of them. I guess he wasn’t lying when he said they were able to improve the creation process.’ Graham smiled.
As he waited for them to arrive, he continued observing them. The new set of Dalki looked undisciplined. They weren’t walking in a single file, and most of them continued to butt heads with each other as they walked. It looked like some were about to go into a full scuffle, while others had already fought and were bleeding.
There was one in front was a three spiked Dalki who had a digital tablet with him, and by his side there were two more three spiked Dalki, all stood away from the group.
“It’s hard to blame them for their behaviour since we were the same when we first came to be.” The one on the left commented. “I just hope Graham won’t mind their unruliness.”
“Indeed, I believe in some cases we were even worse. Fortunately, they were all smart enough to listen and follow us.” The one on the right added.
“Alright!” The one in the centre said turning around. “I know you all must be confused. After all, you have only been awake for a couple of hours, and we have yet to tell you much about what is going on. Right now, we are taking you to Graham, one of our leaders. He has just returned from a major battle and he isn’t in the best of moods, so it’s in your own interest to show him the respect he deserves!”
It was then, that a larger Dalki out of the group, a four spiked pushed past the others and walked out in front.
“I came along because I was interested in this Graham character you’ve all been praising, but this is starting to become a pain! Why should I listen to someone who is clearly weaker than me?” The four spiked questioned the one in the middle with a challenging look.
The three spiked leaders felt nervous. There was one universal truth that all Dalki were aware of, without the need to fight. ‘Those with more spikes than them were stronger’. It was only those with the same amount of spikes who would fight amongst themselves to establish a hierarchy.
Out of the new batch, there were a few four spikes that had been created from the mutant DNA strand. From the moment of their birth they had already surpassed the three spiked leaders, without ever having evolved on their own.
Before a fight could break out, Graham landed between the two parties, having jumped over.
“Then, will you listen to me?” The Dalki leader asked as he turned slightly to the side to show off the five spikes on his back. It was at this point that the four spike’s ego took a hit, yet he still felt like he deserved more respect.
“You seem unhappy with your treatment. Don’t worry, you will all get a chance to show off your worth.” Graham looked in the sky. “The reason why I called you all over is because I want all fifty of you to take me on at the same time. As long as you survive I will bestow you a position befitting you. I swear that you will get all the respect and recognition you believe you deserve, so I want you to fight as hard as you can.”
Graham then walked over to the four spiked Dalki, that had been so outspoken just moments ago.
“I wasn’t joking. Part of you should already know that you were born into a dog eat dog world. If you can’t prove your worth, you will all die here.”
The four spiked looked down and he could see that Graham’s arm had pierced right through his stomach. He hadn’t even seen him move, yet the next moment the Dalki leader stood before him with an evil grin plastered on his face, his eyes showing no remorse.
The Dalki lifted its hands, trying to rip off Graham’s head, but with his other single hand free the five spiked Dalki just hit them away, and pierced the other Dalki’s stomach once again.
“I said try harder!” Graham shouted, punching out multiple times, causing large holes to appear on the Dalki’s body. When he eventually stopped, the four spiked lifeless body fell to the ground. The others didn’t know what to do, and when just standing there, Graham went to the next one.
Now knowing that their lives were on the line, the three spiked and four spiked Dalki, all fought together trying to take down Graham. Although none of them had the individual strength to take him down, with so many Dalki attacking him at once it was impossible for the Dalki leader to get out unscathed.
While everything was going on, the three Dalki had moved off to the side out of the fight that was going on.
“Those Dalki, they’re some of the strongest members of our race despite just having been created. I thought Graham was just going to beat some discipline into them, so why is he choosing to kill them all?!” The three spiked Dalki on the right was shocked.
“I have been with him as long as you have. Do you think I would have any clue?” The one on the left shrugged his shoulders as they continued watching the Dalki leader fight.
They were happy to see that Graham hadn’t chosen to kill everyone as they had feared. None of them doubted that he could easily kill off the three spiked Dalki with a single hit, yet so far he had chosen to hit all those he fought against in non vital areas.
Seeing this, they thought that Graham might have just killed off the first one to shock the others and get them to behave. From the looks of it, he seemed to be trying to make them evolve now of all times, yet that quickly turned out to not be the case.
Graham had injured his opponents to the point that they would get a massive power boost, but when he noticed that they still couldn’t finish him, he started striking back and finishing them off. It would have been more useful to bring them back to the lab to heal their wounds, giving them more of a chance to evolve, yet today he seemed to lack patience.
“All of our hard work…” The Dalki in the middle felt awful. It didn’t take long for the massacre to unfold, with not a single one being kept alive. All fifty or so of them had perished, yet the Dalki leader was only close to being out of breath.
“It’s still not enough.” Graham muttered to himself, as he looked over to the old generation Dalki. “Fifty is not enough, bring over a hundred next time!”
The three gulped, still not understanding Graham’s actions. Even during the fight, he had allowed the stronger four spikes to hit him, and now he was asking to go through the process again?
However, they were in no position to argue. If they dared to, they knew it would just end with them being on the chopping block next. When they finally had a new hundred subjects they were sent out to Graham to repeat the process. When the three Dalki returned, they were surprised to see that all of the Dalki bodies had disappeared. Only with Graham picking at his teeth with his claw.
‘Did he…eat them?’ One of them wondered, it was the only thing they could think of.
Even hundred or so Dalki didn’t fare any better than fifty. The same thing happened again, with a similar outcome. After killing off more than half of them, something finally happened to Graham’s body.
The Dalki leader suddenly stopped and distanced himself from the survivors. There were already five large spikes running down his back, ran from the top of his back to his tail. There didn’t seem to be room for anymore, but then, next to the largest spike at the top, another one could be seen forming out by the side.
Graham let out a scream as it grew out. He had evolved once again.
‘This makes me the first official six spiked Dalki! … but this is still not enough!” It was then, that a ship out form the castle had landed, and three Dalki came out urgently searching for graham.
“Graham, we have some bad news! It’s about the Vampire World. It seems like Arthur, along with all the others, failed their task. We have tried to contact them multiple times but there is no report whatsoever.
“We can only assume he has betrayed us, been killed, or gone back to the other side.”
From the interactions Graham had with Arthur, he couldn’t imagine the Punisher betraying them, not unless he was sure they could win, which was an interesting thought in itself, but from the daily reports they were getting Arthur had launched a full scale attack against the vampire settlement not long ago.
Graham couldn’t think of anything that would make him suddenly turn, which could only mean that they had failed.
“Well, I didn’t expect that. It looks like I really have to do all things by myself.” Graham let out a sigh. “Looks like the rest of you are in luck.”