The Dark Knight Lives (FOURTEEN)

The first thing Robin felt was the cold. The terrible, terrible cold that seeped into his bones. The second thing he noticed was the incessant bark of birds that seemed to surround him, their calls echoing in his ears. And the third and most distinct thing he noticed was the putrid smell of what was clearly humans’ waste.

His eyes flashed open and he immediately knew he was somewhere that he wasn’t supposed to be.

He was lying on a wet rock in a massive cavern filled with ice, soldiers clad in black masks with white circles over where their eyes should have been walked to and fro holding military-style guns, small buildings lined the walls pouring forth warm light, a brown river flowed through the cavern and Robin didn’t want to think what it consisted of, but what was most bizarre were the penguins. There were penguins everywhere, waddling and honking as if this was their native habitat.

His eyebrows scrunched.

“What the hell?” he whispered.

“Good, so you’re finally awake,” he heard a woman say behind him.

He whirled, his fists raised to attack but he stopped as he beheld the woman. She was the most beautiful person he had ever seen with long chestnut-brown curly hair that flowed down her back and a skintight green suit that revealed every one of her curves.

Out of the shadows next to her stepped a pallid woman who was a pop of color with her blue lipstick, pink hair, and blue and pink clothing that seemed way too light for such a cold area. In her hand was a bat that read the word HARLEY on its front.

Robin stepped back as if ready to run when he felt something prod in the small of his back. He turned and found himself face to face with a tall, slender man in a dark brown suit with a dark blue shirt and a matching tophat and wielding a brown cane. His face was rather plain beside his beaklike nose that protruded forth from his face, giving him a distinct look.

“Well if isn’t Blake Lively, the orphan-turned-cop-turned-Gotham-hero?” The man sucked his teeth. “It’s a shame you didn’t let the city know your true identity. You would’ve been an even greater inspiration.”

Blake gasped as he suddenly realized his mask was gone. That was one defeat. He was keen on making sure there wouldn’t be another.

“You’re him, aren’t you? The one they call The Penguin.”

The man’s eyebrow raised. “And how did you figure that out?”

Blake’s eyes flitted to the waddling birds that filled the cavern. “The penguins.”

This made the pale woman behind him guffaw. Even The Penguin cracked a smirk.

“Very intuitive, I see. Well yes. I am The Penguin.”

Robin knew he was outnumbered but if he attacked now he would catch his captors unaware and maybe, just maybe, he could find a way out of here and let the city know of this small army that was being built beneath their very feet.

He lunged forward as if to punch The Penguin directly in his nose but was brought to a sudden halt as something that felt like a rope wrapped around his arms and legs. He strained hard, looking down at his arms to find that they weren’t wrapped in rope but what looked like ivy. The Penguin smiled as Robin was brought to his knees, unable to resist the power of the ivy that the brown-skinned woman behind him seemed to control.

“If I wanted to I could’ve had you killed when you stepped into that bar,” The Penguin told him. “But I wanted you to see what I have been creating beneath Gotham’s foundation to show you how futile your plan to stop me really is.”

“People like you were defeated before,” Robin said through clenched teeth.

The Penguin nodded. “Yes, they were.” He leaned toward Blake with a cunning smile. “But that was when Batman was around,” he whispered.

“And now Batman is gone!” the pale woman exclaimed before cackling joyfully.

Robin choked as ivy wrapped around his throat, slowly squeezing the life from him. He couldn’t move, he couldn’t fight back, he could only stare at The Penguin’s smug expression as his vision began to cloud.

“You are no Batman and you will never be,” The Penguin said.

Then everything went black.

As Robin’s body slacked underneath Poison Ivy’s control she released him and he fell facefirst onto the wet rock. Bounding forward, Harley Quinn bent down and prodded his body with her bat.

“Is he dead?”

“No,” Poison Ivy obliged. “I rendered him unconscious.”

As Harley Quinn smiled and raised her bat to finish him off The Penguin blocked her swing with his cane.

“No!” he barked. “There’s no need for that. He’s already half-dead. Just dump him into the river where he’ll never be seen again.”

Harley seemed disappointed but she pulled her bat away. She still kicked him in the side though, just for good measure. The Penguin glared at her. With a wave of his hand, a few members of The Flock rushed over, grabbing Robin between them and dragging him over to the gushing river that flowed through the cavern.

As they dumped him into the water Harley Quinn squealed excitedly. “Bye-bye, Mr. Lively!” she exclaimed, waving as his body disappeared in the frothy water.

Yes, Robin was on the cusp of death but he wasn’t out of it yet. He had fallen unconscious, yes, but only enough to convince his captors that he was nearly dead. He had even absorbed Harley’s kick to his ribs, a blow that he was now beginning to regret.

He had gleaned that it was the only way to escape their lair, that is, if they had done as he hoped they would and dump him in the river, never to be found again.

Unfortunately, in his injured position, fighting to stay afloat against the roiling current of the rancid water wasn’t proving to be very easy. Not to mention the fact that the water was ice-cold as well. If the river didn’t kill him the cold would.

Things were looking pretty dismal for Robin but he had gotten out of tight spots before. He could only hope there was a bit of luck on his side today.

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