Stars dotted the dark sky, and the moon was in full view. Hellion stared at the moderately sized building residing at the bottom of the hill he stood on. The combination of the darkness of night and the trees around him kept him fairly well hidden and inconspicuous. Pretty soon it wouldn't matter, however. He didn't plan to engage them indirectly.

The Guild of Heroes was well known for being the defenders of Earth 2's people. In addition to this, they seemed like the epitome of benevolence, showering the world with genuine kindness and compassion. They held innumerable fundraisers for charity, and harnessed technology that allowed people to use their powers to provide electricity, heat, and other forms of energy to areas all around the world for people who couldn't afford such things, and people who lived in areas that didn't have such luxuries. The Guild of Heroes also provided as much food as they could accumulate to the world's hungry, and saved innumerable people and families from starvation and disease. They also founded the world's first free hospital for people with financial troubles. The Guild of Heroes pay the physicians' salaries with their own money generated from fundraisers.

Then, there was the Guild of Villains, who simply wanted to conquer Earth 2 and enslave everyone, though this description sounds far more threatening than their true intentions. While it's true that they want to make everyone their slaves, they have no intention of being brutal tyrants. Families will not be separated, no one will be forced to do too much work, and discretion will be used when assigning each person to their labors. They, also, will do no harm to the people they will rule over. Special precautions will be made to keep people in line, but pain and excess fear were things they were unwilling to employ to keep their slaves obedient. They deem every person to be valuable to them, and are aware that excessive force would hinder their slaves' ability to work hard. Also, they have no real desire to be cruel to them in the first place. In addition to their strangely compassionate world domination design, the Guild of Villains adhere to strict rules. Killing is frowned upon in the organization, even if it's a hero that is killed. Their reasoning for this is that people are far more valuable alive. And torture is absolutely condemned. The Guild of Villains partially hides behind the reasoning that sadists, like psychopaths, could not be trusted. Thus, allowing such people into their organization would result in immense mutiny and backstabbing that would eventually drive the Guild of Villains into the ground. However, it's evident, for the most part, that they Guild of Villains refuses sadists and psychopaths mainly because they, too, hate them for their cruel ways.

And then, there was the Third Faction: an organization of supervillains filled with sadists, psychopaths, and the like. They were denied acceptance into the Guild of Villains, and formed their own alliance. In comparison to the Guild of Heroes and the Guild of Villains, the Third Faction was, ultimately, a joke. They had far less manpower, and far less resources, mainly due to the fact that they were cold-shouldered by most organizations that could help them obtain more power. No one wanted to help such cruel, atrocious people carry out their dark wishes. Regardless, the Third Faction seemed rather resilient for a party that appeared to be hanging on by a mere thread.

Hellion glared viciously at the building, knowing just what kind of people were inside. "The lowest of the low," Hellion thought, his blood-red eyes fixated on the edifice very closely, as though he were trying to see through it, and look directly at the remorseless monsters that reveled in cruelty.

They'd hidden their base here, in an unfrequented valley hidden by surrounding woods.

With a semi machine gun strapped to his back, and his powers of energy manipulation, he was sure he could pull this off. The only thing he was worried about was other members of the Guild of Heroes showing up to stop him. The Guild of Heroes did organize raids against the Third Faction. However, the villains were only ever imprisoned in maximum security supervillain prisons. They were not killed. The majority of the Guild of Heroes was made up of normal heroes, not anti-heroes like Hellion. And even most of the anti-heroes it did have were not as extreme as Hellion. Still, it did have other heroes like him. But they were the smallest class within the Guild of Heroes.

Imprisoning members of the Third Faction seemed fairly ineffective to Hellion and the other killer heroes, as roughly ten percent of those imprisoned managed to escape each year and wreak more havoc. Killing them was the final solution in Hellion's eyes. These were dangerous men and women who honestly seemed to delight in being evil. Their endgame was to bend the world to their will, enslave all people, and torment them for their own pleasure.

Hellion knew that these people, obviously, had serious problems with their brain chemistry, some being born this way, and others falling into it. But Hellion also knew that most of them fully embraced their disease, instead of trying to seek help for it. The Guild of Heroes was currently working with various pharmacologists around the world to produce a medication that could correct their brains' imbalances. But it was far from complete...

Hellion took a few stretches, limbering up. He'd decided it was time to move in. He descended the hill, moving towards the building. He unstrapped the semi machine gun from his back and held it firmly. He made his way to the front door, opened it as quietly as he could, entered the building, and closed the door behind him. He knew the layout of the building, and knew that on the other side of the door, at the end of the long hallway he was in, was a large room where the Third Faction members usually congregated. There were doors to the left and right of him as well, containing others, but he wanted to take out the largest group first.

Moving as silently as he deemed possible, Hellion walked to the other end of the hall to the door. He turned the knob very slowly, then, slowly pushed the door slightly open, peering in. There were several people in the room, just as there should have been. Hellion did a quick scan, and deemed there to be roughly twenty of them in the room. He recognized some of them, having seen them before. They were fully garbed in what one might consider to be "classic supervillain costumes" with jet black capes, masks, and the like.

"So....our plan is to kidnap the mayor and torture him with our prized laser ray-gun until the dear citizens can't take it anymore and agree to obey our every order? Hmm....I like it," said one man, sitting on a couch, holding what appeared to be a glass of water in his right hand.

"Yes," replied a woman standing off to the right-hand side of the room. "We're to capture him tomorrow afternoon. Apparently the people of the city are quite fond of him for his various acts of nauseating do-goodery. Cleaning up parks, funding schools to provide better education....just thinking about it makes me want to wretch."

"I second that," said another man standing near the center of the room, close to the man on the couch.

Hellion's glare deepened with rage. "You're all rotten motherfuckers....," he thought with bitter contempt. He could see that most of them had their backs to the door that Hellion was hiding behind. That was good, and to Hellion, a green-light.

He gripped the semi machine gun with both hands, kicked the door wide open, and opened fire. Many of them were hit in the back and others turned around only to get shot in the front. Continuously firing his gun, Hellion pivoted his torso from the left side of the room to the right side, gunning down every villain that was in the room.

Then, when he was certain they were all dead, he ceased fire, moved further into the room, and closed the door behind him, using the door as a slight barrier between him and the other villains in the building that would no doubt be charging into the room any minute. Hellion moved towards the couch, and crouched behind it, pointing his gun at the door. He took a moment to glance around the room, noticing the large blood stains on the walls and floor. It looked as though someone had carelessly splashed buckets of dark red paint all around the room. The dead villains continued to bleed out, the pools of blood on the floor becoming larger with each passing second.

Hellion smiled at all the blood. Possessing a bloodlust himself, this was quite the treat for him.

Then, when he heard shouting and movement outside the room, he returned his attention to the closed door. Soon, the door burst open, and another supervillain stepped inside the room, his eyes widening in horror at the gruesome scene. Hellion gunned him down, as well as a few other villains that had been standing behind him in the hallway, as Hellion had a clear shot on all of them.

Next, beams of energy began to fire into the room Hellion was in, and he ducked behind the couch to avoid being hit. He, then, moved and flattened himself on the floor next to the couch, holding his gun out in front of him, pointing the gun up, assuming the position of a sniper.

Finally, the firing of beams stopped, and another villain stepped cautiously into the room. The moment he did, however, Hellion filled him full of holes. After this, rays of lightning and ice beams began to fire into the room. Hellion pressed himself as far against the floor as he could, but he knew that the supervillains didn't know where he was in the room, and thus, didn't know what to aim at.

The firing continued for a slightly longer period of time than the last barrage of power beams, but, finally, it ceased. Two villains, then, stepped into the room. Hellion pulled the trigger to fire...and realized to his great dismay that he'd run out of bullets. He dropped the gun, and jumped to his feet, his body beginning to emanate a red aura. This alerted the villains to where he was; they had been looking all around the room, and hadn't noticed him hiding to the side of the couch.

Instantly, they began firing their powers at him, one shooting lightning, the other shooting ice beams. Hellion raised a red barrier, protecting him from the beams, and began to form several sharp, red energy spikes in the air above him. Then, he shot the red spikes at the villains, and they were impaled in several places, the red spikes penetrating so deep, the tips protruded from the villains' backsides. Blood spilled out from them, causing Hellion to smile again.

He dissipated the energy spikes, and the villains fell to the floor, dead. Hellion kept his barrier in front of him, and readied more red spikes in the air above him. However, a long time passed, and he could hear nothing else from inside the building other than the sound of blood dripping to the floor.

Slowly, he dissipated the red spikes, and then, lowered his barrier. He waited for about a minute, and still, heard nothing. He nodded slowly, assuming that all the villains in the building were dead. However, just in case, he left the room he was in, and looked into every room in the building. He found them all to be empty.

Satisfied, he began to search for the laser ray-gun the villains had mentioned, wondering if they had been holding the weapon here. After searching for a short while, he found it in one of the rooms near the front entrance. It was encased in glass, and looked fairly high-tech, with a pulsing blue light coming from the pointed barrel of the odd-shaped gun. He covered the gun with a red barrier, and generated an explosion within it, destroying the gun completely.

Then, thrilled with the experience, yet still quite tired from it, Hellion stretched, and rubbed his fatigued eyes with his right arm. He strapped the emptied semi machine gun to his back, and stepped out of the now blood-soaked building, into the fresh air.

He could hear the sound of crickets chirping, and wondered precisely what time it was. He shook his head, desiring only to go home, and began to walk across the field, back towards the hill.

Suddenly, Hellion felt as though he was falling, and thought he had taken a step into a ditch he hadn't seen before. He looked down, and could see that he was falling down a glowing red shaft. He yelled in surprise, and continued to plummet down. He had no flight ability, and could not simply fly upwards.

The shaft took a turn, and Hellion fell onto a large slide, beginning to slide down very fast, twisting and turning.

Finally, he fell into an armchair in a dim, red room, unharmed. "What the fuck?!" he bellowed, getting up from the armchair, a red aura surrounding him.

"Now, now, take it easy," said a voice that sounded somewhat remote. The room brightened a bit, and Hellion could see a young man about his age, dressed in all dark purple, with a dark purple cape. He looked about Hellion's age; sixteen.

"Who the hell are you?!" Hellion demanded, a fair amount of hostility in his voice.

The young man smiled and held his hands up, as if trying to calm Hellion. "I come in peace! My name is Specter."

"What do you want?"

Specter lowered his hands. "Quite simply, I want to help you."

"With what?"

A smirk crossed Specter's face. "Wiping out the Third Faction."

Hellion raised an eyebrow, his aura of power disappearing. "Are you....a killer hero?"

"No..." Specter replied. "I'm actually.....from the Guild of Villains."

Hellion glared ferociously, his red aura of power surrounding him. "What?! What makes you think I won't hesitate to kill you too?!"

"Nothing, really. But I won't be nearly as easy to kill as those incredulous freaks, I assure you."

"Wasn't expecting you to be..." Hellion said ominously, his eyes beginning to glow red.

Specter raised his hand in the air, trying to make Hellion stop. "Just hear me out, Hellion. If you still want to kill me after I've made my proposal, you're free to try. And aren't you at least a little curious about my offer?"

Hellion's pulsating aura slowly faded, and his eyes returned to normal. He crossed his arms. "Fine," he spat out, bitterly.

Specter lowered his hand, his smirk widened, and he chuckled a bit. "I understand your hostility towards me, being a member of the Guild of Villains. Our homestead organizations are at war, after all. However, there's also no denying that our organizations have a common enemy in the Third Faction." Specter shook his head, grunting with contempt. "Those mental-case wretches are a blight on us all..."

Hellion could hear the genuine disdain in Specter's voice. He knew that the Guild of Villains honestly loathed the Third Faction, and for the right reasons, even. Not even the Guild of Villains could tolerate the abhorrent cruelty of sadism and psychopathy.

"Those miserable, disgusting parasites deserve nothing less than total annihilation," Specter continued.

Hellion could see that he was blowing off steam, and actually felt a sliver of kinship with Specter over his hatred of the Third Faction. Still, he didn't fully trust Specter; he couldn't. Specter was, after all, from the Guild of Villains, an association bent on world domination.

There were some villains that wanted nothing to do with the Guild of Villains and their agenda of taking over the world and enslaving people. They refused to become official members of the Guild of Villains, and used their powers to commit crimes to benefit themselves only. Many so-called "anti-villains" fell under this group, and these villains were even more benign, preferring to never harm innocent people in their crimes.

Specter, however, did not appear to be one of these villains. It was true that there actually were anti-villains in the Guild of Villains, and Hellion could never understand how these generally more gentle villains could reconcile their compassionate beliefs with the Guild of Villains' over-arching goal. But it didn't matter. By declaring their allegiance to the Guild of Villains, it was clear that they desired what the guild desired: world domination, and enslavement of the world's people. And this put a definite rift between Hellion and Specter. Whether Specter was an anti-villain or not.

Still, given the nature of the Third Faction, it was clear that the Guild of Villains was the lesser of the two "evils." Hellion decided he would consider Specter's offer. "So, what? You wanna' help me kill them or something?" Hellion inquired.

Specter's contempt vanished, and he smiled, happy that Hellion was considering his help. Then, his smile turned to a slight frown. "Well, I was thinking something more along the lines of helping you from the shadows. It's not that I have an ethical problem with killing these cockroaches myself, but I think it would be best if I stayed behind the scenes. At least, most of the time. You see, Hellion, you and I both have a problem with simply imprisoning these people from the Third Faction. Many wind up escaping from prison and moving on to spread their filthy, senseless mayhem, simply picking up where they left off before they were put behind bars. You and I think that extermination is the only permanent solution." He sighed slightly, and continued, "But, alas, we are the minority. Killer heroes are the smallest class in the Guild of Heroes, and villains like me, who want to kill the vermin of the Third Faction, are also a small group within the Guild of Villains. Killing is disfavored in both of our guilds, so...I believe it will take renegades from both sides to completely crush the Third Faction." Specter paused, giving Hellion a moment to think.

Hellion contemplated what Specter had told him. "Could he be right?" Hellion thought. "Could the killer heroes not be enough?"

"Also, Hellion..."

Hellion looked up at Specter.

"The problem I have with stepping out into the light is that it would expose the renegade division of my guild that wants the Third Faction dead. We are a small circle within our guild, just as you killer heroes are. However, the Guild of Villains doesn't know that we exist. The Guild of Heroes, obviously, knows that killer heroes exist, and the other heroes always seek to stop you from doing what you do. But the renegade cell within the Guild of Villains has the advantage of being a secret. We are unopposed because no one within our guild knows what we're up to. Killer heroes are opposed at every turn, because your existence is no secret at all. It's not your fault, certainly not. Killer heroes never wanted to work from the shadows in the first place. They wanted to send a clear message of terror to all supervillains, and that surely couldn't be done indirectly. Nothing wrong with that, but that made it impossible for killer heroes to keep their operations a secret from other heroes. It isn't difficult for my renegade cell, because no one is aware of our existence. And this is because we always work from the shadows to achieve our goal of destroying the Third Faction. So....while you may not want our help, you have to admit that we have an asset that you don't." Specter smirked.

Slightly angered that Specter seemed to be forcing him into an alliance, Hellion's glare deepened, and he said, "And what if we refuse to accept your help?"

"You're free to do just that. However, our help is going to be offered whether or not you want it to be. Although.." his smirk widened. "There may be times when we won't allow you to refuse our help. This is because....we want a piece of the Third Faction, too."

"Hmm..." Hellion muttered.

"But, like I said, most of the time, our help will merely be offered. You don't have to accept it, though we certainly encourage you to." Specter walked closer to Hellion; Hellion took a slight step back. Specter extended his hand to Hellion. "So, what do you say? Do we least a partial alliance? We really can help you destroy the Third Faction much faster."

Hellion looked into Specter's eyes, hesitating.

"I understand if you don't trust me. Trust is something that must be earned. But come, now. What do you have to lose from this team-up?"

Hellion thought it over, contemplating Specter's wish for them to join forces in an effort to demolish the Third Faction. Then, he grimaced, and said, "It doesn't really matter if I agree to it or not, because you're going to force your damned assistance."

Specter half-smiled. "Only sometimes. Most of the time, it will merely be suggested that you accept our help. I just want to know if you're willing to consider cooperating with us at least some of those times, or if our offered back-up will always be ignored."

"Oh..." Hellion sighed.

"So? Partial-alliance or not?" Specter asked, smiling.

Hellion sighed. "Alright." He raised his hand and, grudgingly, shook hands with Specter.

Specter beamed, and said, "Thank you, Hellion! You won't regret this! Now, I suppose you want out of here, yes?"

Hellion grimaced again. "What do you think?"

Specter laughed good-naturedly. "Very well, then. Until we meet again, farewell for now, Hellion."

Then, a flash of dark purple light covered Hellion completely, When it dissipated, Hellion was surprised to see that he was standing outside his house. He sighed with relief at the sight of his home, eager to get some sleep as soon as possible. He entered his home, thinking about the events of the evening and how they would impact his continuing fight against the Third Faction.


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