The sun shone brightly through the buildings of New L’Manburg. The aesthetic of the wooden houses on stilts along with the flags decorating the place in blue, red, white, and yellow very appealing to the eye. The light was just starting to set, casting everything in an orange glow. And now that there was no longer a wall built up around the country… it was gorgeous.
Exotic fish swam through the old TNT crater turned lake and the coral brought colour to the once drab nation.
One might argue, that Wilbur pressing that button was the best thing that could’ve happened to the place.
It was silent, not one citizen out of their homes and walking around. Mostly due to the majority of them were getting out of boats on the dock, with a traitor in bindings, but also because one remained shut inside his own home. Wings clipped, ankle bracelet equipped. No end in sight… No exit allowed.
Some would say the empty was peaceful, but the half piglin only felt dread as their boat stopped and the president of this great nation got to his feet. His eyes were glued on a rather tall structure that stood where his wanted poster once had… that wasn’t there before.
Was that for him?
They said he’d have a fair trial...
Techno stepped out of the boat before anyone had the chance to push him onto the dock and make him lose his footing, Tubbo grabbing a hold of the rope that tied his hands together just to make sure he didn’t try running anywhere. Not like he’d dare. Not with Quackity still manhandling Athena to his right.
He’d tried asking several times for them to tie his hands in front of him again and let him hold Athena properly, but he was shot down each time. He had even offered to show Quackity how she liked being held but he didn’t listen. It seemed as if he was enjoying her cries of upset… or maybe he was just enjoying Techno’s distress at hearing them.
She’d quietened down a little now. Honestly, the poor baby had probably just exhausted herself from screaming or hurt her vocal cords so badly that she couldn’t continue rather than her actually calming down. Now she was just sniffling and letting out the occasional whimper.
At least it was a little warmer here than at his cottage so she hopefully wouldn’t catch a cold.
They stepped onto the grass just before L’Manburg and Quackity stopped them all, still holding Athena like she was some sort of trophy. Like she was proof that they won. Techno pulled against Tubbo a little bit and felt the president hold on a little tighter.
The energy in the air was all kinds of just… wrong.
“Fellas… Fellas, stop. I just want everyone to gather around.” His grin turned feral. “Technoblade! This is the day. This is the night in which… you’re finally brought to justice. So much fucking pain you have brought to our country…” He held Athena tighter. “And now it’s time to end it all.”
There was silence among the rest as Quackity let out a small chuckle, Techno snarled lowly.
“Technoblade, I’m sorry, but I’m just so excited. I’m just so excited to finally- ” He squeezed Athena a little as he spoke “- be able to make you pay for what you have done. To this nation. To me… You deserve everything that’s coming for you.”
Almost all of them started to talk over each other then and Techno just continued to snarl, his loose long hair a mess as the wind started to pick up. It was such a shame. It was such a nice day too.
“Home sweet home.” Quackity grinned as they walked onto the wooden planks that decorated the nation. He was the only one however that seemed to be so giddy of their victory. In fact, Techno hadn’t seen Ranboo crack so much as a smirk the entire time. Almost like he didn’t want to be involved.
Techno walked in the place he had been banished from months ago, back pocket full of blue and a totem dangling in front of his chest. It didn’t feel like enough when surrounded by the group in full netherite armour. After all… he didn’t even know how they worked… what he did know for sure, is they only worked once.
They could kill him more than once if they tried hard enough.
And Athena didn’t have a totem at all…
“Let me just put Athena down over here.” Quackity set the child down on one of the chairs set in front of the cage he assumed was made for him and the piglin hybrid shivered at the concept of them forcing his-... Them forcing Athena to watch. Even if she didn’t understand.
“You actually got him.” Came a quiet but angry voice from Techno’s left and, though they were both in sorry states, he was just happy to see Phil okay. The man stood on his balcony, ankle bracelet attached to his foot and wings in the full and angry display. His flight wings had been clipped. It would be weeks until they grew back. He’d been grounded. Literal house arrest.
That’s why he couldn’t come to help them.
“Shut up, old man!”
“Phil, what did they do to you?!” Techno cried out in anger, trying to pull away from his bindings properly for one of the first time. Tubbo pulled back.
“He’s just under house arrest, Techno!”
“They put these ankle bracelets on me and clipped my wings-”
“YOU GUYS LEAVE PHIL ALONE!” The piglin turned and barred his teeth at them, causing at least Fundy to flinch a little. He pulled hard enough and managed to pull out of Tubbo’s hold for a moment. “LEAVE PHIL ALONE. LET HIM GO. JUST TAKE ME IN-” In his anger he threw his foot out and kicked Ranboo’s armour, only to be met with intense pain. Seems like the kid had enchanted it with thorns. He’d never actually felt the pain caused by thorns before.
Tubbo pushed him forward when he doubled over in pain and knelt on his back, keeping him down as Techno groaned in pain. He tasted blood from his lip where he’d bitten it during his bought of pain and the voices went into a frenzy.
“So that’s what it feels like to punch me…”
“Let him go!” Phil yelled from the balcony, reminding Techno what drove him into that frenzy, to begin with. “He-“
Suddenly the voice cut off, but Techno couldn’t see anything but the floor from where he was lying.
“YOU BASTARDS! LET HER GO!” Suddenly came a yell. It seemed like Philza had just realised the cause of Techno coming so calmly to his own trial. “SHE IS A BABY! SHE IS INNOCENT IN ALL OF THIS!”
Techno snarled and started to try and get up again, but Quackity came over and put his foot over his head, holding him down with his boot.
“Stay the fuck down, pig freak.” Techno couldn’t see what Quackity was doing, but he was almost certain he heard him pulling his axe back off of his back. “Tubbo. Grab his hair.”
“What are you-“ Techno was cut off when Tubbo grabbed at his long pink hair tightly. It wasn’t in a braid today, he didn’t have time and he’d hoped that Phil would do it before they left. He was so much better at it than Techno was.
It would be smarter to learn how to maybe it better himself, but he admittedly liked the excuse.
The long hair fell down the whole of his back when left untouched, it was sometimes inconvenient but he wouldn’t have it any other way. He saw it as a sign of strength. As a show of pride.
It seemed like Quackity knew this.
The only warning he got was Phil screaming out before his head suddenly felt a whole lot lighter and a long handful of hair was dumbed right in front of him. The back of his neck felt cold.
His breathing hitched.
“What are you now, huh?” Quackity grinned, stepping off of Techno’s head and grabbing his now short hair to force the hybrid to look up at him. The look on his face was probably pitiful but all the other man could do was laugh.
Suddenly Tubbo was off of his back and Techno was pulled onto his feet. He felt numb. Athena was screaming, the voices were echoing, and Philza was yelling and he felt numb. Over a few strands of hair no less. He was pathetic.
He’d been growing that hair since before he was 16. Since he decided he was going to be a strong warrior like the ones that decorated his history books. The ones who used their long hair as a show of strength. How could he be strong without it…
It was a silly thing to rely on. His strength didn’t actually come from his hair, but… it was still a blow to that almost childish nature inside of him that had taken so many hits. That had been shattered again and again.
It had been so long.
It would take him so long to grow it back… if he survived that was.
The hair that now laid sadly on the ground was probably the last that remained of anything pure that was his own. Now all that was left was a man that had been fought with again and again.
Before he realised where he was being led to, his mind still in an autopilot haze, he had been trapped into an iron cage with two panes of glass on the front and an open roof. With his hands tied behind his back, it would be near impossible to swiftly climb out… besides, Athena was right over there next to Fundy.
He wouldn’t be able to get to her before any of them did.
Sure, he could probably run and get out of here no problem but he’d rather die than leave Athena behind. She didn’t deserve this. She didn’t deserve any of this. It was his fault. It was all his fucking fault.
Quackity laughed at him in his cage but Tubbo looked emotionless like he was forcing himself to be professional and not show the clear doubt over his features. Techno could see it in his Fundy consistently seemed torn between looking like Quackity over the situation to looking like Tubbo. Techno had a feeling his Nephew was doing this as a twisted way of avenging his father, despite the fact Wilbur would’ve never wanted this. Techno didn’t even have a part in his death… but Fundy was just a kid. Techno understood he needed to blame someone, he just wished it wasn’t him. And then Ranboo. Honestly, Ranboo looked like he hadn’t been apart of this plain originally, staring at this all as if he had just been invited that very morning to hunt him down.
Despite his height, it was clear he was a kid too. They all were… except Quackity. Quackity seems to have manipulated them all into thinking this was a good idea. That this would fix things.
Even if Techno lost all three of his lives here today, in this tiny little cage without getting to say goodbye to his daughter, they all must know this would fix nothing.
There would be no celebration for that victory.
“I’m starting to get the feeling this isn’t actually a trial.” Techno sighed, any hope for a peaceful reconciliation out the window. He stared up to his right at Phil as he stood there. His feathers were ruffled and his face full of silent rage. He nearly laughed to himself. He pitied whoever tried to even try to interact with Phil after this.
They’d not be met with a very warm reception.
“That you’ve already-”
“Technoblade.” Qauckity interrupted him.
“Already determined the outcome.” Techno finished, looking up at the tall tower above him. As he did, everyone else seemed to as well, as if they all just suddenly decided to notice the looming elephant in the room.
“Technoblade, this isn’t actually a trial.” Quackity grinned and Tubbo agreed, making his way over to the bottom of the looming tower. There was a lever there and his hand was dangerously close to pulling it. Techno kept his face totally void of emotion. “If you look up, you should see an anvil-”
“Actually from my angle, I just see some wood, so-”
“Well, there is an anvil there, Technoblade.” Quackity interrupted sharply. His eyes had rage hidden within them. He was not taking any of Techno’s joking remarks today. Not now. “And upon pulling that lever, it will kill you. We are going to kill you, Technoblade.”
“This is an execution,” Tubbo confirmed as Techno stared over at him.
The piglin hybrid was full of dread, wishing his hands were not tied so he could at least hold his totem of undying in his hands. He was full of so many nerves that his knees were actually shaking a little and his eyes kept darting around, trying to find something to focus on. He’d never used a totem before… how did they ever work? How much would this anvil hurt him? It stopped him from dying, but what state would it leave his body in after?
An anvil dropping wasn’t as simple as a stab wound.
What if it didn’t work? What if he did something wrong and it didn’t work?
He didn’t want to die. What would they do to Athena if he did?
“Tubbo, please do the honours of explaining to everyone here, what exactly is going on here.” Quackity smiled, gently patting the horned man on the shoulder before returning back to the seated area. The president stood taller and Techno watched him with bated breath.
“Technoblade has robbed our country.” The man- no, the boy started. “Robbed it of everything that made it special. Of everything that defined what it was. He stepped in when he shouldn’t have. He created chaos! He ruined the governments-”
Snowballs flew into the wooden area from off on top of the houses and everyone turned to look, confused. Tubbo spoke first.
“Punz is throwing fucking- right- uh.”
And before anything more could be said, Punz jumped into the area with TNT in one hand and his sword in the other and everything went crazy. Techno watched in total and utter shock, panicking a little when he placed TNT around them. Athena couldn’t run if he set that off and Techno was trapped. He didn’t care if he was saved if Athena couldn’t be.
He scanned his eyes through the busy crowd as a fight broke out, everyone yelling at each other, but Athena was nowhere to be seen. He could’ve sworn she had been right in that seat to the far left… had someone taken her? Where? When? How hadn’t he noticed?
Techno felt the panic start to well up inside him, especially as Quackity and Tubbo started to scream for someone to pull the lever. No. No, where was she?! Who had her?!
“Technoblade,” Ghostbur spoke from the right of the caged piglin and Techno’s head snapped over hopefully. Unfortunately, Athena was still nowhere in sight. Instead, Ghostbur showed the piglin hybrid the sheep he’d brought back from outside of Techno’s cabin with a bright grin. “I’ve named him Friend.”
Despite the timing, Techno couldn’t find it within himself to be mad at the ghost. “That’s fantastic, Ghostbur, that’s fantastic.” He sighed, turned away from the floating back and back towards everyone yelling and fighting. He continued to look for Athena as he did so. “I’m about to die, Ghostbur.”
Tubbo turned away from Punz and raced to the lever. It felt like time went in slow motion as he pulled it down and Techno looked up. It felt like it took too long for the block to pull back and reveal the anvil that had been sitting on top of it. It even seemed like for a second it was just floating there.
He looked away and crouched a little, lifting his arms from where they were tied behind his back. Catching the anvil was very unlikely to actually help but… he had to give himself the best chance. For Athena. If he had more time to think, perhaps a better option would’ve arrived rather than ‘catch the anvil on your back but it was all he could do.
His eyes squeezed shut as everyone continued to fight around him. No one was even paying attention to him. Which worked perfectly if the totem worked and he lived, it meant he could make a break for it, but if the totem didn’t work…
Did he really want to lose his first life surrounded by so many people yet feeling overwhelmingly alone?
He didn’t want to lose his first life at all.
What would it feel like? Would it be cold? Dark? How long would it take to come back? Would it just feel like a nap? Would it hurt?
Where would he wake up? What would they do with Athena whilst he was out?
The slam of the cold and hard anvil against his hands and back knocked the wind out of him as Techno was knocked headfirst into the iron bars. His legs stuttered but stayed strong as he tried to push the anvil up. However… It was a losing game. He squinted one eye closed as he started to bleed from his head wound and his back cracked in pain as his bones broke under the weight and pressure of the anvil he was carrying out of pure adrenaline alone. He cried out, sight starting to go dark as his body started to give in. Until suddenly there was a massive surge of heat in his chest… right where the totem of undying was tucked between his shirt and his chest.
It felt molten hot suddenly, a sharp contrast from the icy metal before, and Techno lost his breath just as the totem practically exploded with energy. It hurt. Oh, fuck did it hurt. He felt the heat against his chest go from warm to scorching. Practically felt his chest scaring. His back ached, his main hand shook, his head bled, his neck was cold, and his chest was on fire. But with the flood of adrenaline, he suddenly felt he didn’t notice. He didn’t notice any of it.
He lost his grip on the anvil suddenly, his energy finally giving out, and he panicked, but the feeling of being crushed never came. The bleeding from his head wound stopped, his broken bones clicked unnaturally back into place, and the anvil just… fell right through him. Like, as if for a moment, he’d been transparent. Like a ghost. It just fell through him. Was this what Ghostbur felt like when he moved through walls? He stepped on top of the iron anvil and he seemed to become solid again. He had no idea how it worked.
He shook breathlessly for a moment, feeling absolutely numb as shouting continued around him. Then he caught sight of a familiar masked man off by a hole in the wall to his far left, holding what looked like a bundle of blankets from this distance…
He knew that’s where he needed to know. Dream had practically handed over the totem that had just saved his life, had probably sent Punz in as a distraction, and most definitely was holding his little girl in his arms. He had no idea why, and it didn’t sit right with him, but he had no time to argue with it.
He owed that man both of their lives and he needed to go.
On unsteady legs, he climbed over the iron bars and took off in a sprint, ignoring the shouts of anger from behind when they realised both that he wasn’t dead and that he was escaping too. He just needed to get to Dream.
The moment he got into the lit-up cave, Dream blocked up the path behind him so the others wouldn’t follow with his spare hand, still holding the whimpering bundle of blankets in the other, and Techno uncomfortably shifted from foot to foot as he waited. He considered just pulling Athena from his grasp, but angering another person helping him right now would end poorly.
Luckily for him, it wasn’t much longer before Dream handed the baby over. “Here you go. Safe and sound.”
Techno let out a sigh of relief, holding Athena properly with both arms and tucking her against his chest. Her crying stopped just as his eyes started to well up. “Oh, my baby.” Showing so much vulnerability in from of Dream felt dangerous, but at least the smiley face mask turned away to give them some privacy. Techno moved the blanket away to kiss her head once, then twice, and then again. He peppered her little tear-stained cheeks in all the kisses that he’d ever held back from giving her before.
“Daddy’s got you.” He whispered as he held her against his chest again. “Daddy’s right here. He’s got you. Those bad men are far away from you now and I won’t let them take you again. Daddy’s so sorry.” He was sorry for letting them take her, yes, but he was sorry for so much else. “I’m sorry for not telling you I was your Daddy before but I was scared. I’m telling you now though. I’m Daddy. You can call me Daddy.”
There was absolutely nothing to apologise for, the kid had probably never even noticed, but Techno had. Techno had been trying to be her father whilst also avoiding the serious fatherhood names and, therefore, the roles. That wasn’t how this worked. That wasn’t how any of this worked. He had to commit. Show her that he cared enough to commit. And it almost took them both losing a life but…
Dream cleared his throat and Techno looked back up from where he’d nuzzled his face into Athena’s short and soft pink hair, growling a little out of instinct as he called at the smiley. Dream, of course, didn’t react.
“We don’t have a lot of time. Follow this tunnel down to a room with chests and open the one with your name on it. You will get some stuff to help you get home and then you need to follow the sewers out.” The masked man pointed down the tunnel and then nodded back at Techno.
The piglin hybrid’s sour expression didn’t change. “Why are you helping us? You helped me get the totem of undying too. Why?”
Techno was certain that Dream was smiling even under the mask. “You know why.”
And with that, Dream ran out and was gone as quickly as he showed up, leaving Techno protectively holding Athena with both arms. He held her a little tighter. He did know. He knew exactly why. He’d just been really hoping that he’d been wrong…
He pulled back a little to look down at Athena and relaxed somewhat. She sniffled, her cheeks tear-stained, but still managed to look happy to see her Daddy again. Whatever Dream was planning… it did not matter. The truth was, Techno owned Dream his life. Possibly her life too. And because of that, Techno owed him.
Whatever that favour would be, Techno would do it. No questions asked. If not for his morals, then for Athena.
His head snapped up again at shouts from beyond the one block thick cobblestone wall and he remembered that it was not over yet. He was still in L’Manburg. He needed to get out. Holding Athena close, he ran as fast as he could to that room Dream directed him towards, a blackstone room full of chests that he’d never seen before.
There was a sign before he entered. ‘The final control room’ it read. He wrecked his mind for what it was since the name seemed familiar, but he couldn’t remember. It was fine. It was either not worth remembering or he would remember it later. He had other things he needed to do.
It was interesting… All of the chests here that had a name on them seemed to be a block apart except from one. The one with his name on it.
Carefully, he put Athena down and leaned her against one of the blackstone walls so she could stay sitting up. She let out a whimper and he froze, not wanting to make any noise and accidentally alert the butcher army, but she quietened again. Thank the Gods for that.
He looked at the chest that stood out from the others. Out of curiosity, despite the urgency of the situation, Techno took a moment to open up one of the other chests. They were covered in a layer of thick dust and obviously been untouched in a long time before his own. The whole room had been. The chest was empty and when the half man half piglin brushed off the dirt from the sign it revealed Wilbur’s name.
Something didn’t sit right with him about that… Something about this room didn’t sit right with him. But they didn’t have time to worry about that. He turned to the cleanest block in the room, his own chest, and opened it up.
Unlike the other chests, it was full, however not full of things he’d been hoping for.
Sure, there were a couple of golden apples, some potions, they were nice, but instead of the netherite armour he’d been wearing before, it was full of weak armour. And instead of any weapon, inside was only a netherite pickaxe. A netherite pickaxe? Really? What the hell was he supposed to do with that? He’d have preferred a sword, an axe, anything!
Still, it was better than nothing and his bare fists he supposed.
Quickly, he struggled to pull on the iron armour, hopping on one foot as he looked down a thin dark tunnel that seemed to show light on the other side. He supposed that was the direction he was supposed to be heading in.
Well, it certainly wasn’t behind him, was it?
He turned to look at the old room again only to find an ender chest too. Oh! Perfect! He opened it up and pulled out a couple more potions before hesitating at the sight of his spare totem of undying. He thought of the pain he was starting to feel in his chest, the clicking of his bones being placed back together… nonetheless, he picked it up. It was more important to stay alive than his discomfort.
He shoved it in his pocket, he’d need to carry Athena with his spare arm and swing the pickaxe with his other. It would be harder to fight with his hands full, but he would do it if he had to. He’d always do what he had to do for her.
He heard a whimper from Athena behind him and someone who was certainly not his daughter clearing their throat, filling him with absolute dread.
He fucking knew he shouldn’t have put her down. Gods, why did he put her down. No. No, he should’ve picked her back up immediately, held her close. Or kept a closer eye on here. Not got distracted. He was practically begging to turn around and see Phil or Wilbur, hell, even Dream would do. But when Athena let out an unhappy shriek like she was being manhandled, he knew who it was.
He turned around, murder in his eyes, as Quackity stood there, looking cocky as he held his daughter for the second time that way. He held her in one arm, pressed far too close against his body, and with the other spare hand he held a diamond axe. Techno gripped his pickaxe tighter with both hands. How was he supposed to avoid hitting Athena with something as huge and clumsy as a pickaxe?
“Didn’t think I’d be lucky enough to get ahold of her twice today.” The man leaned forward with a smug grin that Techno wasn’t to absolutely ruined.
“Quackity-“ he growled but was cut off.
“What the fuck is this, Techno?” Quackity stepped forward, obviously trying to corner him. Techno could just run down that hall, yes, but… he stares at Athena. He had failed for the second time today. “What the hell are you doing here? How the FUCK- how the hell did that anvil not kill you?”
Techno made a conscious effort not to make any motion towards the totem in his pocket, just continuing to stand his ground. He actually laughed at the question. Even with Quackity in front of him with the obvious higher ground, the obvious difference in armour, weapons, and the fact that he held Athena was in his arms, Techno was still in charge of the situation. He stepped forward and, this time, Quackity stepped back.
Oh. He was scared. Techno’s look of concern turned into a wicked grin.
“Oh? You really thought you could kill me that easily?”
“How- How did you do it? What? How did you even do that?”
The tables had turned so quickly. Techno knew that Quackity was afraid of him. Afraid of his power. His ability to stay alive. Techno pushed it harder. “You think death can stop me, Quackity?” He stepped forward again. “You know what? You know what, I have a lot to say. I was going to say it at the trail but we got a little bit interrupted, Quackity.” He rested his pickaxe on his shoulder, making it look like he wasn’t concerned, that he was casual about the whole thing when in reality he was just waiting for an opening. “You know I tried conceiving you guys that government was not the answer.” Another step. “That government was the cause of all your problems, alright?”
There was silence in the room besides Athena’s soft sniffles. It made Techno uneasy, but he pushed on.
“I tried fighting alongside you as brothers, and you just cast me aside.” His voice started to get louder. Another step forward, another step back from Quackity. “You used me! I tried to use force, but you STILL formed a government. AND THEN when I went into hiding, when I RETIRED! When I swore off violence! WHEN I JUST WANTED TO RAISE MY DAUGHTER IN PEACE.” He was pushing Quackity back into the tunnel he came through now. “ You hunted me down . You hurt my friends. You hurt my family. ” Techno growled lowly, voices in his head practically streaming.
BLOOD. BLOOD. GET HER. HES HOLDING HER. LOVE. DAUGHTER. KILL. BLOOD FOR THE BLOOD GOD.
Techno wasn’t going to let Quackity get away with this. Even if he was going to have to tear him apart with his pickaxe piece by piece.
“You don’t understand, Techno. You don’t understand what we’re trying to build here, Techno.” Quackity’s hands tightened on his weapon and Techno’s own daughter and the piglin hybrid snarled. “This is not-”
“You’re trying to build your own power-”
“This is not a simple anarchy thing.” Quackity stepped forward, trying to lower his voice and come out on charge again. Techno didn’t budge, refusing to back down. If Quackity raised his hand against Athena, he’d lose a life. And if he took one of hers…
He’d lose all three left.
“This is what you don’t understand, right? Techno… you really think I give a shit about the withers ? No.” This statement, Techno would admit, threw him off for a moment. He… What? What was all of this about then if not the battle of Manburg? Why else would he be being executed? Unless… Techno straightened a little. Quackity really was using Tubbo as the president to get his way. He’d told him that Techno needed to pay for the withers. He’d lied. “You are on the hitlist, Techno. You’re on the fucking hitlist. And you know what, so is your kid.”
Techno growled but was equally angry coupled with his confusion. Why was Quackity even talking about… “What hitlist?” They weren’t safe here. They needed to go. What if Quackity was just stalling for time?
“ I’m building a country here, Techno. What we have out there is a country. And what we need here is an organisation of power.” Qauckity stepped forward again and this time, before he could stop himself, Techno stumbled back into the dimly lit room. He could see Quackity’s smirk under his helmet. “And I don’t care how long it fucking takes me, or what I have to do to get you , Techno. I’m going to fucking kill you. ”
The tension in the room was so thick, you could slice it with a knife. Not even Athena dared to make a noise.
“ I’m going to kill you, Technoblade. Maybe if you come easily, your little freak here will -” The other man said, but was cut off before he spoke again
T“I just have one question for you, Quackity?”
“What do you have?”
“ Do you think you are enough to kill me?” Techno spoke lowly, voice flat. He showed no sign of emotion when he spoke, though it seemed to be enough to throw Quackity off for at least a moment. He stepped forward and pushed Quackity back again, nearly getting them both into the entry tunnel again. “Even unarmed, wearing iron armour, and holding my daughter hostage, do you really think you can take me?”
“Oh, I do.” Quackity willingly backed up, Athena still pressed against his cold netherite armour. It was clear he wasn’t putting her down. He was low enough to use an actual baby… as a shield . “You know what… You fucking come find out YOU SON OF A BIT-”
Without hesitation, Techno raised past him and into the hallway, building a one-block wall behind him quickly to give him the opportunity to use his splash potions and eat a golden apple as Quackity swore at him and mined through. He considered eating the god apple Dream had left him too… but when he turned around, Quackity was headed for him with his axe out and he had no time. He grabbed his own pickaxe with both hands and started swinging.
His heart was caught in his throat, voices causing his head to pound every time he narrowly missed Athena, Quackity using her to protect his chest. It was a strategic move. Techno could get his limbs, but not his torso for a finishing blow…
Luckily the torso wasn’t the only place to aim for a killing blow.
“GET OUT OF HERE! GET OUT OF HERE, LEAVE ME AND MY DAUGHTER ALONE.” Techno raised his pickaxe higher, his brain running through all of the opportunities he had before he grinned in feral realisation. He blocked and dodged yet another swing of Quackity’s axe. “I HAVE A PICKAXE AND ILL PUT IT THROUGH YOUR TEETH. ILL PUT IT THROUGH YOU TEETH, QUACKITY! ” He spat as the other tried to talk over him. Techno wasn’t letting himself be interrupted again.
As Techno started to direct his pickaxe towards Quackity’s face, which was still too close to Athena for comfort, Quackity started focusing more on using his armoured forearms to block the pick from his face, landing fewer hits. Yes. Yes, this was going just as planned.
Quackity’s voice broke when he yelled back, his anger and frustration finally properly coming out. “YOU HAVE DONE SO MUCH FUCKING DAMAGE TO EVERYTHING WE’VE BEEN BUILDING ALL A FUCKING LONG, TECHNO.” He tried another blind swing at him that Techno easily dodged, grinning at himself all the more. His swings were getting desperate. Were getting sloppy. “IF THERE IS ONE FIGHT THAT IM PLANNING TO WIN IT IS THIS ONE. SO DON’T EVEN FUCKING-”
Techno did not hesitate when the perfect opportunity arose to slam his pickaxe right through the bottom of Qauckity’s jaw. The sharp end of the echantanted tool piercing the skin and needing to be forced through the muscle and bone. Techno pushed the pick through with force that not only succeeded in breaking Quackity’s jaw in two… but also pushed through his skull and into his eye socket. Techno watched with a twisted skin and the curve of the tool cause the sharp end to take the man’s eye out with it, all the movement knocking off his helmet so the half piglin had the most perfect view of it as his face way sprayed with blood.
He laughed and laughed and laughed. The timing, the feeling, the success… he’d known Quackity was too weak. He should have never even tried. He held him up by the pickaxe for a moment, enjoying the look of horror on his face as blood ran down the pickaxe handle over onto his arm. His hands painted red was almost a direct comparison to Quackity and his axe before.
For a moment, all, Techno could see was the blood.
And then, all he could hear was the crying.
He snapped back at reality, remembering Athena, and was full of panic as he nearly dropped the pickaxe. No. No it was the only thing keeping the dying man up, keeping Athena up. He slowly moved one arm so he could hold the pickaxe with one hand and grabbed his daughter. Quackity was too weak to keep a hold of her.
She’d been so close to the pickaxe, meer centimetres, if he’d been any further left… He hadn’t been thinking. The move paid off, but it nearly happened. He dropped the pickaxe, and thus Quackity, before holding Athena close with both arms this time. He was leaving blood stains against her clothes, but it was fine, these were just her sleeping clothes anyway. Besides, the blood from his jaw had already stained her hair, as had Techno’s own blood from earlier, so she was due a nice long bath.
Techno almost took the time to bolt there and then, but he wasn't done.
He pulled the pickaxe out from Quackity’s jaw, watching as blood pooled out from behind it, and held Athena against his chest so she wouldn’t see. Luckily for him, it seemed like she’d missed her Daddy enough for her to not want to let go.
Quackity tried to speak, but no words came out, and with one hand Techno raised his pickaxe.
BLOOD FOR THE BLOOD GOD. BLOOD FOR THE BLOOD GOD. BLOOD FOR THE BLOOD GOD. BLOOD FOR THE BLOOD GOD. BLOOD FOR THE BLOOD GOD. BLOOD FOR THE BLOOD GOD. BLOOD FOR THE BLOOD GOD. BLOOD FOR THE BLOOD GOD. BLOOD FOR THE BLOOD GOD. BLOOD FOR THE BLOOD GOD. BLOOD FOR THE BLOOD GOD. BLOOD FOR THE BLOOD GOD.
“Tell the others. Take her from me again, touch her again , and a lot worse than this will happen. I’m coming out of retirement.” He grinned, that feral look back in his eyes. “The blood god… it’s hungry .”
The man screamed as the final blow was delivered.
Unsurprisingly, Athena slept all the way home. The day has been a long one and the tedious walk home had been just enough to send her to sleep. She clutched at his shirt collar that peaked out of his armour for comfort as she did so, it being the only thing she could grab. Usually she went for his hair or his cape, but he hadn’t taken his cloak with him today, and his hair…
He shook it off. It was just hair. He shouldn’t let it upset him so much. He’d nearly lost something far more precious today too many times, one almost by his own hand. He could deal with a bad haircut.
Athena shivered and he held her closer. They were nearly home now, but that also meant it was freezing, especially during the night. He needed to get them home soon and by the fire or else they’d both get the cold.
Techno… he hurt all over. There was nothing he wanted more than a nice and warm sleep right now. His chest felt scarred and hurt to breathe, though the totem healed his bones after the anvil they still ached his every step, his head ached from where he’d split it open, and it seemed like he could not stop his right hand from shaking from when he’d sliced it open, especially now they were in the cold. He hoped that wouldn’t be a permanent problem.
‘There was at least one good thing that came from today,’ he thought as the weight of gold felt heavy in his pocket.
Even though he was definitely not willing to use one against any time soon if he could prevent it, no one else seemed to know about the existence of totems… Quackity was shocked to find out that not only he survived, but also that he was standing…
That anvil wouldn’t killed him, even after he caught it. But he was alright.
Athena sniffled and he smiled.
They were alright.
He came over the final hill that rested between himself and their home, feeling relief wash over him as he walked before the bright cottage that was obvious in the dark and snow, only for dread to quickly wash over him. The door was open.
Why the fuck was the door open?
Logically, it was probably the butcher army from when Quackity had grabbed Athena and Techno just hadn’t noticed, but he had a bad feeling. He pushed on faster despite his legs protesting, moving faster when he saw a figure. It had wings. Was that Phil? But Phil’s wings were clipped, even if he had managed to get out and walk, he would not have possibly gotten there before himself. That meant...
Was that? No fucking way.
He sped up, but no longer because he thought the figure was a threat. Why the fuck was he here? He had made it very clear his option on Techno. It was a miracle that the man, or should he say boy, hadn’t already noticed him. He watched as he exited his house and Techno ended up having to grab him by his shoulder.
“What are you doing at my house, Tommy?” His voice was low, threatening but not loud enough to wake up the baby. His brother looked a state, but it wasn’t his priority right now. Tommy visibly gulped at the death glare he was giving him. “And you better have a good fucking excuse.”
Welp. There went his long sleep by the fire, huh...