Droplets of blood fell on the crisp white snow as red booted foot staggered slightly with a crunching sound.
High up in the snow-covered mountains, the bright blue sky stood in stark contrast to the clean white of the plateau, making each colour pop with vibrancy as a red cape fluttered in the brisk breeze.
Looking down at his side, he pulled his hand away from the tear in his dark blue suit to see blood covering his bare hand; it had been so long since he had seen his own blood, it seemed foreign and unreal.
He did not need his supersonic ability to hear the foot falls behind him; just as he did not need to turn around to know who it was that stood there.
"I knew you would come." He announced plainly as he stood straight, ignoring the burning that radiated from his wounded side.
He turned to look upon his enemy and saw the familiar crazed look of malice in the bloodshot eyes as the twisted figure stood crookedly, holding a jagged knife made out of what looked to be carved purple gemstone. The blade was covered in blood; his blood.
He took an unsteady step toward his arch enemy, who jerkily took a hurried step back, unsure of what to do now that the fatal blow had been struck.
Though, seeing that his foe was now slowly becoming more unsteady, the green-suited maniac stood his ground a bit more confidently, gripping the knife hilt tighter just in case.
"I knew you would never stop." He told his eternal nemesis. "You will never stop. As long as there is me, there will always be you. No matter how many times we fight, and how many times I stop your mad schemes, our battle will never end. I know this now."
The twisted smile of the villain spread across his scarred face and a mad chuckle slipped out as he started slowly to circle around his wounded foe; his erratic movements contrasting the lanky grace of his long lithe limbs.
"I must protect the planet against your evil, and all others like you." The strong, still youthful-looking man said in a voice of one who is much older; much more fatigued. "But in the end, I fear that I will fail the people of this world; that I have failed them."
Another sadistic laugh escaped the mad man's lips as he almost danced around the hobbled hero, their footfalls crunching resoundingly in the sunny calm of the mountain top.
The hero looked up into the clear azure sky above.
"I have travelled to the far reaches of the globe, and I have seen the good in its people." His voice carried over the images of a woman making her way through a crowed market square; a man riding the bus home from work; a young college student sitting in a cafe with her computer.
"I have seen it in the eyes of woman in the bombed ruins of a spice market" He continued as the images played out, "The eyes a man on a crowded bus careening wildly out of control through a busy city street; a young woman in a cafe that was being held up. Even in a young boy whose family was trapped in flames as he watched the fire consume their home."
The image of a young boy with tears streaming down his dirty face as the flickering light of flames reflected upon him.
"I have seen the will in them, the potential to help defend the world against the evils set upon it, evils like you; if only they had the strength, the ability to match their willingness to be champions."
He looked back down at his enemy and the mad man stopped his crazed jig as fear crept back into his eyes.
"I know now," muscular hero in the blue and red suit stated in a once more powerful voice, "what I must to do."
In one blurred movement, he lunged at his foe, grapping the alarmed mad man in his steel-like arms and flew up into the cloudless sky.
Speeding further and further up, his enemy tried to struggle from the tight grip but to no avail, even the continued stabs of the purple blade had no effect on their assent toward the shining sun.
"Nrghaaa!" The squirming villain exclaimed shrilly as he continued to try to break free of the vice-like arms that held fast. "Let me go you fool! You can't do this! I've killed you! I've won!!"
"No." The hero said as he slowed to hover high up in the cold, thin air above the mountain peaks. "It will be our sacrifice that will save us both. Let me show you the light."
With his enemy still kicking and screaming to be let loose, the caped hero began to spin around and around, faster and faster, until the two men were only a blur of colours spinning in the glare of the sun's light.
Pulsating waves radiated out from them with the booms of sonic sound, while their multicoloured blur melted into pure, shimmering light, which became blinding until one final wave exploded out, obliterating them from existence.
Across the skies the light travelled, passing over small villages on arid plains; over bustling cityscapes of massive metropolises; farms, war-torn deserts, snow-covered settlements in the north, fishing towns on the shores of the vast oceans, and steamy, sprawling cities of the south.
Wherever it passed, a person was suddenly struck with the light that then glowed within them; the woman in the spice market, the man on the crowded bus, the student in the cafe, and the sad boy sitting alone on an orphanage cot.
They all were lifted off the ground and filled with the light that shined brightly in their eyes.
All over the world, random people were simultaneously filled with the same light; the light to help safeguard against the darkness that threatened to overtake the planet, and they were given the strength and ability to match the heroic spirit that had always been there.
The light faded and the world when on as it ever had; only now, instead of its one hero, it had many.
In the bright blue skies above the snow-covered mountains, all was calm once more.