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The pain was excruciating. Evina immediately ceased his breathing and everything went numb. The neon green glow faded away to black. There was no thought, feeling, or emotion. There was neither real nor unreal. Evina didn't physically exist anymore. He had no body. He was nowhere. He just seemed to float alone in a world of empty nothingness. He could not be happy or sad. He could not hurt or feel comfortable. He could not be one place or another. And there was no time. He was nowhere, forever.
Then, all of a sudden, he came back to his senses. He still had his mind. He was starting to feel sadness and worry. He could feel his body tingling. He wasn't really gone. In fact, he hadn't melted at all. Was this all just another stupid dream? How could that even be true?
It wasn't quite as awful as he feared it would be because the pain only lasted for a moment. He felt strange inside like he was sick. It was like he was cold and dark. Maybe that was from being unconscious, but now he felt the need to breathe again. He moved his hands around the tub. There was a lid on the top, and he pushed it off.
Carefully, he climbed out of his container. He was feeling very weak and lightheaded. He opened his eyes but could barely see anything. The glowing, green slime dripped slowly off his black suit. He sat down in a corner and breathed slowly until he felt a little better, although still a little funny. After a minute, his vision became clearer, and he could see that there was a dim lightbulb flickering above his head.
He examined his surroundings and noticed he was standing in a dusty storage room filled with dozens of boxes and crates. The tubs were lined up in a corner of the room.
Evina started to wonder what was really in their tubs if it wasn't dip. It must've just been plain water with a glowing solution added to it. He laughed to himself. He was so happy to be alive. All the adrenaline and fear turned to glee. He had no idea how it had happened, but something miraculous had occurred. The cogs made a huge mistake. This was going to be something that the toons could laugh about for a very long time.
Evina walked up to another dip tub and removed the lid. But surprisingly, there was nothing inside except the thick, green liquid with some small items on the bottom. He put his hand inside and felt around, but there clearly wasn't anything in there except the objects that he pulled out. It was a black suit and a pair of gloves.
"They must've escaped," he whispered, trying to keep from worrying. A thought occurred to him, but he instantly ignored it, even though he couldn't explain why the toons would leave without saving him, and without taking their suits.
After taking off the lids from several other tubs, he found that they were also empty except for suits and gloves. I wonder where they went without me, he wondered. The thought in the back of his mind kept trying to come back, but he refused to allow it. The dark emptiness grew inside him. He had never felt a sickness like this before.
Next, he walked over to the door of the storage room and tried to open it, but it was locked up tight. His breathing increased as he ran back to the glowing tubs, feeling completely perplexed. "Where did they go if the door was locked?" he whispered, trying to make sense of it all.
There was only one tub that still had a lid on. Evina was certain that this was the one Catman had been dropped into. He went over to it as fast as he could and ripped the lid off.
It was just like the others but with something else. A robotic skelecog arm was lying on the bottom. There was nothing more. Evina reached his hand inside and pulled it out. There was no doubt it was Catman's robotic arm, and the rest of him was gone.
The fear returned instantly, and he knew that this nightmare was no nightmare; it was reality. His mind was racing. He couldn't react. He began screaming inside his head. The other toons were all dipped! They're gone! They melted! They died, but I am still alive! Is this supposed to be my punishment? Am I to remain here forever to be tortured for what I have done? I know I shouldn't have brought them here to Cog Nation, but why wasn't I melted? It's just a simple thing to ask for! Why can't someone just finally die? The dip hurt me before, so why can't it hurt me now? Why do I feel so dark inside?
He dropped the robot arm, and it clanked on the dusty floor. This couldn't be real. He knew this wasn't a dream, but it was just too cruel to be true. The realization of this horror began to overcome him, and tears welled up in his eyes again. He hated the cogs now more than ever before. He hated the president. There was no other explanation. The toons were actually dipped. He was completely alone. He had lost everyone he loved, and now he would never see another toon's face ever again.
Evina was so angry that his entire body tightened. He felt ready to explode. Ever since he had been in Cog Nation, his anger had grown stronger, but this was different. This was a strange kind of darkness that was growing and spreading like a disease flowing through his veins. It was using the anger as a catalyst to change him. Rage completely filled his body, a type of burning that he had never felt before. It overcame all of his sensations. And then, just when he thought he couldn't take it anymore, he literally felt something click. It finished and stopped. Something had permanently changed inside him. He felt like another species. He was a whole new being. He felt cold, unnatural, and empty. His eyes opened, and he could see things with so much detail. He knew he was a monster. Everything he had been before was gone. Now he only thirsted for vengeance. He was determined to destroy the president. There was no more pain and no more fear. He didn't care whether he lived or died because there was nothing more he could lose.
Unfortunately, all the gags in his gag bag were useless against the monstrous robot, and he had eaten every throw gag except for one birthday cake. He stood up and kicked the door several times. To his surprise, he broke off the doorknob successfully. Maybe, somehow, I am stronger now.
With this new feeling of invincibility, he crept out into a hallway. He looked carefully for a familiar landmark, anything to remind him where he was, but he finally admitted to himself that he was lost.
There were broken pieces of cogs, and goons scattered around on the hallway floors. It was evidence that Goopy's work had been a success. But he couldn't afford to think about the lost toons now, because he needed to destroy the president, and the robot was nowhere to be seen.
Evina sprinted down the hallway easily. His movement felt so smooth and effortless. He was becoming aware of his new, enhanced senses. He could smell the oily chemicals in the air. He could feel the vibrations in the floors and the walls. They were clues to him. He was not far from the president's chamber.
Then at that moment, he spotted an air vent ahead. He ran over to it, and with a creaking noise, he broke the grate open and climbed inside.
He crawled forward on his elbows. It was very dark and dusty in the vent, and in some places, it was also slippery. He couldn't see anything, and he was unable to stop himself from sliding. He had no more control over where he was going down the slope. He slid faster and faster and around sharp corners. He did not know where it would take him, but there was no amount of fear inside him. Finally, he hit another vent cover that led into another room. There was a booming voice outside.
"Are you sure it's ready?" the president asked. Evina looked through the grate and saw the two weasels standing by the fully loaded rocket.
"I guarantee this thing is flawless. It's all ready for launch," the boss weasel confirmed.
"You better be right!" the robot shouted. "If anything goes wrong—"
"I swear on my life," the weasel interrupted with a sickening grin.
"Thank you," the president said dully as he walked over to the main computer. "You have been very useful these past few weeks."
"But... what about our pay?" the large weasel asked.
The president turned around with an evil smirk. "Oh... you want your pay?" There was a flash of intense laser light. Evina could feel the radiant heat of the flames, and when they cleared away, there was nothing left but a couple black spots.
The robot was about to turn back to the computer when a small metal panel on his leg fell open. "What? I thought I had this thing fixed years ago." He closed it and turned his attention back to the controls. "Computer, initiate the launch sequence."
"Launch sequence engaged," the computer announced.
"No!" Evina shouted, bursting out of the air vent.
The president spun around and glared down at him. He was stunned. "This isn't possible! How could you survive the dip?" But after a moment, his anger faded away. "Oh, it doesn't really matter anymore, because you're too late. Toontown will be destroyed in the blink of an eye!"
Little lights on the rocket flashed, and smoke began to pour out from the bottom.
"I can't allow you to do that," Evina said calmly. He darted forward at full speed.
The president looked amused. "What... you actually think you can stop me?"
Evina grinned. "I used to doubt it too. But now I finally understand that nothing is impossible."
"Well, forget it!" the robot bellowed ferociously. "This is my world now!" A line of laser shot from his eyes, and it missed Evina by inches. "It's over! Surrender now or suffer my wrath!" He fired more of his laser.
Evina felt as light as a feather and as fast as lightning. The bright flames rose from the trail of laser chasing him from behind. He dodged every one of the president's attacks easily, feeling the exhilaration of the chase and acutely aware of every tiny movement the robot made. His anger was much stronger than any fear.
"You can't run forever!" the monster thundered, not aware that the panel on his leg had fallen open again.
It was a slim chance, but Evina knew exactly what he was meant to do, and it was the only chance he would ever have. He pulled out his last birthday cake, his last hope, and made his aim carefully. "This is for Harry!" he shouted. "THIS IS FOR TOONTOWN!" With his new senses, he hurled the birthday cake forward with high speed and perfect accuracy. It spun magnificently through the air and splattered into the exposed wires inside the president's leg. A large red wire and a blue wire broke apart, and sparks flew everywhere.
"You need to conquer some other world, not ours," Evina finished. "But for now, it's time for you to retire."
The president opened his mouth slowly. He was beginning to malfunction. His body was emitting sparks and metallic noises. "I don't know how you did it! You have defeated us! But don't celebrate just yet because we will return! I will come back to rule the world that I rightfully deserve! Now, my master approaches!"
There was a terrible earsplitting noise of ripping metal. The floor trembled, and the dip rocket exploded. Glass shattered, and glowing fluid flew in every direction. There was a blinding flash followed by a shockwave. Huge clouds of flames erupted from the robot, and everything fell apart. Evina was suddenly gone. He remembered no more.
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