Two warriors engage in battle. One with the power to move superhumanly fast, and the other with the ability to slow down time. They’re both a little confused when it seems like their powers don’t seem to be working.
“Annnnnnnd stop right there,” the man said, snapping open his pocket watch. Reality snapped and bucked at his control, but after a few lethargic jerks, he stepped out of time.
He stepped forward lazily and walked through the crowd in front of him, approaching the tower in the distance. Lightning crackled less like a force of nature and more as a languid constant, a long line of fire piercing the sky.
He wasn’t here for the Ordeal, he was here for something else.
“Uh… What the hell?”
Chronos paused, flicking his eyes down to his watch, then back towards one of the heroes he’d left behind.
Their eyes met, and Chronos blinked, slipping the chain around his watch to keep it from closing.
“I…” the hero said, and Chronos cocked his head to the side, squinting at him.
“How are you moving?”
“How are you moving!?” The hero hissed, not that sound travelled fast enough for him to hear, Chronos could read lips, and the hero slammed himself forward. A strange blur effect, Chronos noted, a bit of heft to his eyes, a glow hidden underneath of the surface.
A power to counteract his. A problem.
Chronos had never cared for problems, and problems rarely bothered him for long.
But this one, this one might be different.
The hero raced to his side. It was awkward, seeing someone that fast kept in the slow time, but Chronos nimbly stepped to the side as he ran by at a more human speed.
The hero slid to an awkward halt a few meters down the line, and then braced himself. Time rippled under the strain of the watch being open, and Chronos ignored it. He’d already slipped to the worlds between worlds where he drew power from, and their whispers couldn’t claim him.
“Can’t let you get near that facility,” the hero said, looking at the watch. Unknown capabilities, but suicidal zealotry.
Chronos hated career heroes.
“Then, I’m afraid, I’m going to have to remove you. I need access to that secure room.”
The hero cracked his knuckled and slammed his feet against the ground. A cloud of dust that would’ve been less pretty if it didn’t unfurl in that strange place in between time, where seconds melted into minutes.
It didn’t stop Chronos from taking the first blow to the face when the speedster abruptly sped up even faster.
The second one caught him across the chest, his suit distorting with a splash of black from the speedster’s painted armor. The third caught him across the knees and the fourth—
The fourth didn’t matter, because his reaction time kicked in.
His hands clenched around his watch, and reality screeched under the power of it and time slammed shut into a deeper cooler time, where entropy crawled to a halt.
Which just barely let him duck the second blow, and slam his free hand into the speedster’s gut. Then up with the elbow into his chin, spin around the next blow, and drive the heel of his boot into the speedster’s spine.
The watch bucked once under the strain, and time slid at a normal speed, slipping out of his control, and the speedster went flying. Head over heels, his speed warring against the aberrations done to physics, limbs locked together.
The other heroes scattered around, confused, trying to figure out exactly where the strange man had gone, then stared at the speedster.
Chronos grinned at them, waving jauntily, then frowned.
The watch-man brought a hand to his face and tasted blood. His watch hand clenched, and time stilled again.
He spat on the ground as bullets whizzed by his position, rattling out of guns in slow motion, like pretty pebbles throw through jelly.
A blink, less than a heart beat, and Chronos stared at the fist as it whirred closer to his head than he’d ever seen it. A killing move, at that speed.
Heroes could kill, if they wanted to.
Chronos smiled down against the hero, and clenched down on his mechanism.
The watch face cracked. The hands stopped in place, with only the urgent ticking of the gears inside to tell him that it was still working.
Too hard on this model. He’d have to try and figure out how to overcome the limitations of the design. The beautiful equations written across the fabric of space in the hall without meaning.
He’d get another one. He always would.
The hero’s eyes went wide, or rather, started the muscular contractions to make them go wide.
Even speed faltered against the power of a stopped clock.
Now, it was time to take care of his problem so he wouldn’t have anyone chasing after him after all.
He reached into his coat.
The speedster deserved a more personal touch.
Chronos drew his pistol, pointed it against the hero’s head, and pulled the trigger. The chemical reaction played out on a scale of minutes instead of instants, but he was nothing but patient, listening to the slow tick of the watch thrashing about against strained gears in his hand.
He wrenched it away when the bullet just started to dig into his flesh, a strange paradox of speed against the background of stillness.
He spun the gun in his hand, wiped it off with a cloth, and examined it for damage. Nothing. Impeccable as always.
Then he turned away, not wanting to see the first moment of fear starting to trickle across the hero’s face. It wasn’t good to think about those things for long.
Then walked off.
It’d be fifteen minutes, by his own time, before the bullet would splatter out of his skull.
Enough time to get to where he needed to go.
Enough time to order flowers for a funeral.