(To make this story somewhat easier to comprehend, the words are in bold when Arthur is in his opponent’s body)
Ah, hello there. I was starting to think you wouldn’t show up. My name is Arthur Twindragon, though I’m sure you already know that from all of the stories you’ve heard of me. I am the world’s greatest vigilante after all! Or at least, I was back then. Back when my bones didn’t creak and my muscles didn’t ache with every movement I took. Ahh, to be young again. But you haven’t come to hear an old man moan about lost years, no, you came for a proper story, didn’t you? The one story I kept hidden away for so many years despite everyone yelling at me to give it away. Well, with time ticking away, I figured it was finally time to let loose the story that makes every other story of mine seem beyond trivial. You already know this of course, but I have a rather unique ability of which I abused oh so frivolously in my years of vigilantism. I have the power to swap my consciousness with anybody who is near me. I could even swap my mind with a young person like you if I so desired, allowing me to extend my life for a few extra years. There would be nothing you could do to stop me. But what fun would that be? No, I exclusively used my power for good, and of course a little for my own entertainment. What is the point of having a special power if you can’t have a bit of fun with it every now and then, right? Now, in the case of using my power for good, I chased the baddest of baddies. Those who even the best police forces dared not face. Though for them it may have been a death sentence, for me it was nought but a little burst of adrenaline. All I had to do was get close to my foe and then boom! I would swap bodies and beat them up with their own fists, only swapping back to my body to finish them off and drag them to the nearest jail. Groups of enemies were always far more entertaining, leaping from body to body to make them destroy themselves from the inside one by one, while somebody sat in my own body and stared in shock as their friends fell apart like dominos.
That all became so dull after a while though. For all the joys there are in being able to do something nobody else can, it gets rather boring when there’s no competition. That’s why I was so excited when he came. My nameless nemesis who appeared from the shadows to challenge me. Me! I was shocked at first. Normally criminals would cower in fear at the very whisper of my name, but this man sought me out for a challenge! A fair fight as he said, with no back up on either side, no weapons, just our fists and our wits. Having been bored out of my mind from the repetitiveness of the common thugs and drug lords, I did not hesitate at all to reply. Perhaps this would be the one to finally give me a bit of a challenge after all of these years. And that was exactly what he gave me. My nameless nemesis, the man I could have never predicted. We met in the middle of the night, on a long since abandoned street. Houses with shattered windows, streetlamps flickering as the last of the town’s power drained away, cars rarely existing in more than half of their original form as their parts had been stolen long ago. An eerie battlefield if ever I saw one, yet still not enough to frighten me! Him though. I will never forget those cold, dead eyes of his.
There he stood in the centre of the road, silent as a lion stalking its prey. He stood completely still, staring into my soul as I walked towards him. I felt a shiver down my spine. Was this fear? How could I be afraid? Even when I stopped walking, he moved not an inch. He just kept staring, as if trying to figure me out purely based on my appearance.
“So you’re my mystery date? Honestly, if I knew this is where you were taking me, I’d have dumped you before we even met!” I joke, trying to ease the tension.
Nothing changes. His lips remain motionless, neither smiling nor frowning.
“No words finding your tongue? You were the one who wanted this, not I. Can I at least get a cheeky wink?”
He finally moves, raising his arm and holding it out in front of him. He wants to shake hands. But surely if he invited me here, he must know of my abilities? Or perhaps he is just another daft fool trying to make a name for himself.
“Ah, some contact at last. I knew it wouldn’t take long to win you over. I’m always good with the strong, silent types”.
I walk towards him slowly, apprehensively. I know I have to time this right. One wrong move and I could end up dead. I’d done this well over one hundred times already by this point, but this one still felt different. I think it was his gaze. That cold, calculating stare, like an abyss of despair. As I walked towards him it grew ever colder, as if I were a villain of his past who he had such an irredeemable hatred for. Yet I still don’t know who he is, nor do I really have any clue. All I know at this point is that he is my enemy. I grasp his hand and shake it. The deed is done.
Our consciousnesses are swapped and we each have control of the other’s body. All I have to do now is beat myself to a pulp and then switch back to my true body, just like every other time. But as you may have guessed, this was not like the others. Nobody else ever suspected what I would do. This man knew. Before I could even lay a finger on myself, he starts punching me in the face over and over again. That’s when I realise. He doesn’t care which body he ends up in. All he cares about is destroying my soul. I quickly switch back, and now I am the one punching. I strike as hard as fast as I can, knowing that I can’t give him any advantage. And then he fights back. He steps to the side of my punch and grabs it, kicks my stomach, kicks the back of my knee, then throws my hand away and spins to kick me across the jaw with the back of his heel, knocking me down to the ground. I stare up at the black sky for a moment, completely dazed. It had been so long that anybody had actually hit me that I had almost forgot what it felt like. No time to think, his fist was coming towards my face. Change! Now I am the one who is punching my own body on the ground. But he predicted that. Now in my body, he grabs the punch and directs it to the ground. Surprisingly, the impact hurt a bit. He must have put this body through some amazing training. What did hurt was when he kicked me in the groin and used his legs to flip me over onto my back. I quickly get back to my feet and get some distance between us. I need to think of a strategy fast. There’s no time. He’s already walking towards me again. Fortunately, I now own the stronger and less wounded body. He strikes towards my vitals, obviously going for a quick kill, but he can’t punch fast enough while in my body. I easily deflect all of his attacks, then go for a counter. I grab his shirt and push him into a car, then go to punch his head into the glass. He dodges, my hand becomes covered in blood as the window shatters. He turns and slams my head into the door. My ears ring. Change! I relentlessly punch him, but again he turns it around. My face back into door, his fist striking my shoulder, dislocating it with a deafening crack. Change! I need to get away from that car. He is clearly too skilled for me to fight him there. I back off, he cracks his arm back into place with a look of terrifying satisfaction on his face, the first and perhaps only demonstration of emotion he gave me that night. I have to fight seriously now. He clearly won’t stop until one of us is dead, and I have no intention of being that one. He walks towards me with that haunting look in his eyes. Looks like he is going to be serious now too. He punches first, I catch the fist under my arm and pin it. I punch back and he does the same. We are locked together. We both rams our knees into each other’s ribs, I feel mine breaking. Change! We separate, I kick, he grabs and begins to throw me. Change! I throw him to the ground, he rolls back up to his feet and punches me in the stomach. Change! Following the momentum of his last punch, I move forwards and strike towards his chin. As he falls backwards, his foot glances across my chin. We both fall. We look at each other, both panting, both hurting all over. The fight isn’t over. We continue. Punches thrown, blood lost, bones breaking, neither of us know what is hurting anymore as we constantly change, change, CHANGE! He is in my body and I am in his. He stops fighting. He walks backwards. Is he afraid? Am I finally winning? I feel my muscles turn to jelly; all semblance of control is lost. I fall face first to the floor and writhe in agony as every cell burns white hot. I open my eyes just long enough to see the men in uniform surround me. He had put in an anonymous tip to the police before our fight, pretending he was me. He never wanted me dead. He wanted somebody to take the fall for his crimes. A body swapper like myself was perfect for that purpose, especially one as arrogant as I was back then. The last thing I saw was that stare, so much more haunting coming from my own eyes. I blinked. Total darkness. The only light was the one above my cell, flickering away, almost as lifeless as I was. I had no energy to move, nor the willpower. Not that I could anyway as the straitjacket they had me in was excruciatingly tight. With this body too broken to escape and no body around to steal, I was completely stuck. For the first time in my life, I had been beaten. I would have to serve his sentence while he gallivanted around in my body, free to do whatever he liked. To me, this was a punishment worse than death. And there was nothing I could do about it…
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