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Robot Girls

Level 5 Roland - (19/50)
Level 12 Blazermate (Holding 3 level up) - (116/120)
Level 7 Susie - (15/70) - (Holding 4 level up)
Location: Midgar- The Guardian
Word Count:

Being on the half of the group that was still standing, Susie and Roland were doing what they could. Although needing to take Tycoon's attacks alongside its gravity well clipping her business suit, Susie wasn't looking so good. Roland meanwhile was probably one of the healthier of the group somehow. His fighting style, with Sandalphon and Blazermate giving him heals before their untimely demises, was at least keeping him up. But things weren't looking good, he'd need to do something to turn the tides or think about running himself.

Karen wanted a piece of Roland and wanted to clash, which Roland was all for. He'd take this one down at least for how annoying hes been for the whole fight while their healer was occupied. Karen was ready for Roland's lance strike however, and countered with his own move to knock Roland back to the ground. Having gotten Roland off him, Karen now turned to deal with Pit, Sakura, and Karin. With Sam free Roland decided to focus on him. While Sam's sword was strong, Roland had a few strong blades of his own and broke through a defensive flourish from Sam using his massive two handed sword, Sam surprised the huge hunk of metal wasn't sliced apart by his blade.

Sam retaliated with a slash of his own, which Roland guarded against taking reduced but still fair amounts of damage. However with that, Roland's emotion leveled up and due to their losing position, he gained Mountain of Corpses, with a chorus of voices from some undead creature echoing. "Don’t fall off… Get together again… We are one…". As he did, he absorbed the pain and suffering in the air from his injured allies and defeated allies and gained immense strength, speed, and durability. He also gained the EGO page Mimicry. This also reduced Roland's HP enough to trigger his Claws of Savagery, which caused some strange fog to obscure Roland's actions for his next blow.

A next blow he'd be using right away as the page wisps appeared again, turning the area into an overrun containment unit as Roland donned Mimicry, turning into a horrifying abomination and struck at Karen from the shadows, using Pit's distraction and his own invisiblity to smack him with a buffed, fast swipe with his scythe, a demonic "GooDBYe" coming from it as he swung dealing massive damage and left a massive amount of bleeding behind and Roland healing himself for a large amount on top of that. A very nasty combination that left Karen reeling from the attack. And without Mephisto, who had been finished by Pit, there wasn't much left for Karen then to do a few extra moves before he bled out, each attack he did accelerating his bleed out.

While Roland was doing that, Susie had been dealing with Tycoon this whole time. Having taken many hits from the giant robot, alongside her previous battles and its AoE wells hitting her business suit, it wasn't doing super well. Even that was an overestimate, the thing was on the verge of falling apart at this rate. Something that Sam, having lost track of Roland, capitalized on. Coming from behind, he slashed at an exposed component of the business suit, causing it to finally give in and explode, knocking Sam back and Susie upwards.. Only to get spiked by Tycoon. And without her suit, she wasn't as durable anymore with the guardian doing some serious damage with its slap. Sam, not wanting to lose an opportunity as Roland had just struck Karen with a vicious move, the fixer looking like a monster himself, used this opportunity to move to, and finish off, Susie with a quick slash to her oversized head.

This left him in a weird position though, as now he was the focus of Tycoon. And since Susie had been tanking the guardian's punches and was now gone, Sam had to deal with these punches. Punches and slaps that hurt, a lot, as Sam would find out when one connected on him. It got even worse when Roland fired at him from behind with his guns, forcing Nox to come to Sam's defense against the fixer after dealing with Pit. Roland had been studying Nox, and knew his shield would be a problem.

Level 11 Sectonia (holding 4 level up) - (84/110)
Location: The Under - Hollow Knight
Word Count: Less than 750

Sectonia let out a bit of annoyance as her Antlers, while controlling a lot of space and offering cover for others with their bulky bodies, were falling to the corruption seeping out of the hollow knight as it used its own ichor to attack. Well, there was time to deal with them before they turned, and she did just that by throwing her Rings of Light to not only deal some damage to the hollow knight itself, but the Antlers as well as they were starting to lose control of themselves to dispose of them. Dodging the globes herself was annoying, with her trying to strike at them with her axe to knock them away. This ended up just having them splash off her axe, but at least she didn't get hit by too much of the horrid stuff.

It didn't take long for their opening to the REAL guardian to come about. As they had weakened the hollow knight, it started to stab and mutilate itself to get at whatever it was containing inside of it. And soon after that, the org member from before came and held its head open with their keyblade. Well, that was apparently what they were waiting for as Kamek used the Dreamcatcher and sent everyone into this things... dream?

Much like before, they were in some heavenly looking place with a big battle arena. Unlike before though, this place was unnantrually bright. And the center of that brightness would form into a giant moth. "Hmm... Something like this is the guardian of the whole underground here? Its a lot more pleasant than the other things down here, curious." Although that thought would have to be put on hold as now was the time to fight.

Much like its illumination would suggest, this thing used light magic, something that both Kamek and especially Ganondorf seemed to hate. Sectonia was pretty neutral on it all things considered. But not having a weakness to this magic didn't make it any less painful. Much like Bowser, avoiding these rain of attacks not to dissimilar to her own style of firing out multiple projectiles wasn't easy for her size. But unlike the koopa king, she could teleport and blink between the sword volleys as they seemed to come in a very predictable pattern. While Ganon and Bowser had to swipe or tank the attacks, she could gracefully teleport through them. Even the large beam of light that spread across the platform was something she could handle, although since the rest of her group had a very hard time dealing with that, it seemed like she'd need to help them with what she could.

Those close to her, at least before she blinked to the other side of Radiance's spells, would have some resistance to her magic thanks to her pipe's aura. She could also give her team a bit of a shield thanks to that that would absorb some of the damage coming their way. But it seemed with the lack of them able to hit this thing, Sectonia would have to step up being one of the few fliers in the group. Antlers would just be wiped out by the constant barrage of light swords and light beams, so short of the golden ones to take a hit for someone, they were out of the question. But she had her own powerful spells to throw at this 'light goddess'. She started by summoning her Chaos Heart shield to absorb some of the damage she'd no doubt take during this fight, as while some attacks were made for her to dodge, her big size made others, such as the light balls, the beams of light emanating from Radiance, and the sword burst difficult to dodge.

She would use the opportunites of being unable to dodge to hit Radiance with her Dark Lightning, letting her pipe of insight shield and her chaos shield absorb the not insignificant damage. Sectonia noticed that much like herself, it would be difficult to tell if they were even damaging this thing as it didn't react much at all to being attacked. Well, even if it had insanely high defense, Sectonia swapping to her void globules would bypass that. Although it was up in the air of this thing would be weak or heavily resistant to the void.

Level 11 Sectonia (holding 4 level up) - (82/110)
Location: The Under - Hollow Knight
Word Count: Less than 750

"Hmph. I suppose I should see what this staff you wanted to make so badly did..." Sectonia said, grabbing the blue gemmed staff from the ashes of Rubick. As she did so, she found that this caused his spirit to disappear, as if the weapon was tied to his very essence with how much he valued it.

Sectonia gained

Sectonia wasn't disappointed though, it gave her the same power Rubick had shown, the ability to summon Golden Antlers. She could only summon 2 at a time unlike Rubick's 3, but this was quite an interesting ability. She did find that she had to hold the scepter to have these buffs, but that was quickly remedied with her trinket smelter. From what she could gather from how joined it was to his spirit, whatever spell he stole, this scepter upgraded it so that it'd be better than the person he stole it from. Now she saw how he got that title. Although his lack of power in this world was ultimately his downfall.

Sectonia couldn't help but agree with the others distaste of F. "Considering P ran as well, it seems so far these Consuls are cowards that let others take care of things for them. But that also means they give up ground as they run. Annoying." Well, before them was the source of this 'infection' coming from behind the sealed door. As they moved through the temple, Sectonia could see what Bowser was about, this had some proper flare at the very least. "Could use more color." Sectonia said, giving her own criticism but not denying what Bowser and Nadia had said.

Soon they found the bound form of the Hollow Knight. Something felt a bit off about this though as when they freed the thing, it began to fight them. She summoned her new Gold Antlers, which took up a fair amount of space and were bigger than Bowser thanks to her BFF trinket. They were slow, but would smack the hollow knight with their maces if he got close.

As the fight went on, Kamek flipped through his book and learned something that had confused Sectonia, confirmed something for her, and also made her a bit uneasy. They had to somehow get inside this thing's dreams to deal with the true guardian, as this was just one more seal. "Hmph, so weaken, but don't kill so we can restrain it and find the true guardian. This'll be a bit annoying, but I'm sure the two kings can hold it down when the time comes. The question will be, when will we know the time has come to enter its dreams?" Sectonia said as she cast Slow on the hollow knight to slow it down and fired off some void globules as to not damage it too much, but give it some steady damage.


Robot Girls

Level 5 Roland - (17/50)
Level 12 Blazermate (Holding 3 level up) - (114/120)
Level 7 Susie - (13/70) - (Holding 4 level up)
Location: Midgar- The Guardian
Word Count: 1205

Well, it seemed that the Consul was better at what he was doing when he had an army. Once he got cocky and started to want to eat everything, he went down with a fair amount of difficulty. Being the first Consul that these three had beaten, Blazermate was confused as to why he didn't drop a spirit. "Dang, I figured he'd drop a strong spirit or something." Susie noticed what he had said about Mobius, and while she didn't know what it meant, both her and Roland said, although in their own ways, that perhaps whatever power he had over the others of this world meant he no longer dropped a spirit upon death.

Given some time to rest and heal up before they approached the guardian itself, and the secret under Midgar. Blazermate took this time to turn Armstrong into a striker, beating Susie at a game of rock paper scissors over the buff boy as the two small ladies had a thing for big buff boys.

As they entered past the doors they saw the Guardian. It was some huge robot, monitoring portals all around it. It looked... very cobbled together for a word, but in a professional way. It was operated by what looked like steam, and it seemed to ignore the seekers for the moment. And as if to make the situation even worse, the other Consul C appeared and brought his own group that wanted what this guardian could do as well. Apparently it could control time? Something that only Roland had any experience with, if only second hand. Still, from what he knew from T corp and Angela, nothing good came with meddling with time.

He even voiced as such, saying. "So what is your plan then? Use this thing's power to reverse time to... what? There isn't a past to go back to if that Galeem thing was so powerful to erase and combine multiple dimensions together AND this thing is his guardian, thus under his power. At best you'll cause a loop and we'll just be here, again and again..." Hm... Could this be the case and he has been here before? He wouldn't know if that was the case at any rate.

Goldweis was the first to rush into battle, and it was clear that this guardian wasn't the only one with time powers as the mummy Nox, the one most interested in using this power, took out Goldweis in a flash using some time stopping power. Considering how tanky the vet had been so far, that was a bit of a shock. But with that, the battle began.

Blazermate was on healing duty as ever, but this time as she had turned Armstrong into a striker, summoned the big boy. The striker Armstrong and Sam locked eyes, and almost as if it was a magnetic pull from two opposite forces, Armstrong charged Sam with the former cyber ninja looking a bit apprehensive about the man running towards him but not floundering in his resolve as he wasn't alone this time. Roland was ready for a fight, and reminded of that, he gained the powers of the Floor of Language. And with that, he engaged with Armstrong and jetstream Sam, clashing with Sam to open him up for the senator. A clash that Roland didn't have a chance of winning causing him to get pushed back and injured from Sam's swipe but giving Armstrong a bit of an opening to tackle him.

This upped his emotion level and gave him Claws of Savagery, a savage voice saying "What sharp claws I had, the better to fill the role I was born for…" This wouldn't actually give him any benefits for a while though. While Roland and Blazermate were doing their things, Susie engaged with the guardian itself. While her business suit wasn't in prime condition, she could at least use it to try to guard the Guardian from the other enemies and deal some damage herself. Her high defense in her business suit softened the blows from the giant mech that could only do some heavy, but half handed punches her way. After having a bit of a boxing match with Susie, it began to start to use its abilities. Spawning portals around the room in a + pattern, it fired lasers out of them. Lasers that would be immediately stopped by its time powers. It was clear to anyone paying attention where the lasers would go once released, it just wasn't clear when Tycoon would release them.

Seeing Roland injured and her other allies, Blazermate went to heal them. The enemies around weren't dumb though, and upon seeing Blazermate heal her allies, those not distracted at the time made it their mission to deal with her. And unlike Y's clone army, these were much stronger opponents. Mephisto took their opportunity to engage with the medabot, shooting his special bullets at her. Blazermate was used to projectiles aimed her way, and blocked them with her suffering shield arm. Their damage was lower than even she thought, although after a few shots he had managed to build up some kind of debuff on her. Before she could swap to herself to cleanse her own debuff though, Sam had broken away after beating Roland in another clash and using his superior speed to get away from Armstrong whom despawned with his target out of range and deal with the medic, attacking her from behind as she was busy dealing with the shots from the front. This did bonus damage since she was weak from the back, and it wasn't often that people blindsided her.

Roland, taking over from what Zenkichi had done, moved to smack Karen with his hammer and parried his next move against Zenkichi. This leveled up his emotions again, and gained him Vampirism, with a noble voice saying "Chew it all up! Imbibe to the last drop!". Now his attacks would heal him if he succeeded in winning clashes a little bit. Using his hypervelocity and duplicate powers, Karen sent a duplicate to break Roland's counter, before attacking him and pushing him away so he could deal with the target that his other allies were targeting the healer. It'd use up a bit more of his power than he'd like, but getting rid of their healer would be paramount to winning this fight and claiming the guardian, so there wasn't much choice. Using the tail end of his hypervelocity, he moved to intercept Blazermate as she fell from the sky after a followup leg kick from Sam sent her to the ground and punched her into the line of Tycoon's laser.

To keep the medabot from getting back up in hope to keep her in line with Tycoon's laser, he hit her with his cryokinisis, freezing her momentarily in place. Sam slammed down on Blazermate with his sword to deal what damage he could before he moved out of the way as Tycoon's laser was let loose from its stasis, hitting Blazermate and with the damage caused by Sam and Karen's CC and shoving her into Tycoon's laser, overwhelmed Blazermate's parts and finally caused the medabot to eject her medal in defeat.

Level 11 Sectonia (holding 5 level up) - (78/110)
Location: The Under - Dirtmouth
Word Count: Less than 750

Sectonia wasn't much for this 'camp' food as it were, but with a bit of creativity, she could at least flavor the bland meat with something to subsist with. She wasn't happy though, not at all. This just reminded her of how she was a 'hobo queen' at this point and that just wasn't something she wanted to think about.

Unlike many of the others, the question of how to get down the chasm wasn't really a hard one for Sectonia. She was one of the resident fliers, and had flown down the chasm before. The only problem would be another ambush from F, but that seemed unlikely. She even offered to carry one of the lighter team members down, as long as they didn't make a fuss or mess, since it was quite a long ways down. What she wasn't expecting was the appearance of a strange warrior-miner, sorta deal. But she had already descended the chasm to worry too much about them. From what little she heard, they offered another way down that seemed... to waterlog you. Not a pleasant way to do things.

Upon reaching the bottom, Ganondorf showed himself to be... useful and giving information? Did he fuse with a spirit to make him more chatty or was this something else? Nor did she expect him to give away something so charitably. Much like the Octopath travelers, she found that was... unexpected. Well, she was a bit like that earlier before she got to know people, so perhaps it was the same for him? Or the seeds of some power grab? Well... time would tell, but that was interesting at least.

"The only thing I know about this guardian, is that it has something to do with dreams. So it could be anything really. A god of dreams perhaps?" Sectonia said, having just as little info as everyone else. "Hmm... if thats the case, do you think it has been watching us as we progressed through this area?"


Robot Girls

Level 5 Roland - (5/50) Learned

Level 12 Blazermate (Holding 3 level up) - (102/120)
Level 7 Susie - (1/70) - (Holding 4 level up)
Location: Midgar- The bridge
Word Count: 808

Roland, being more mobile in general with his fighting style, kept up the maneuvering jumping from platform to platform. Susie and Blazermate, being more defensive though, ate a powerful laser. Both robots had shields of various make, and Susie had her business suit, but this beam did some good damage to the two even through all that, even breaking Blazermate's projectile shield. This taught the two to be mobile like everyone else though at least, although Blazermate could only heal. And her sentry gun had gotten destroyed, but that at least ate one of his attacks.

Seeing these big attacks coming their way, the seekers unleashed their own big attacks. Roland acting like Goldlewis now and striking at Y with his large two handed sword in melee range, using his jumping momentum to slash into him, before using his body to jump back to the platforms. Blazeramte was busy healing, and Susie was busy dodging, so there wasn't much to do here.

Although things took a spicy turn when Y was tired of all the relative knats swarming and biting his form, so he decided to pull his trump card. Opening up his chest cavity, he put out enough suction force to devour all the platforms and the seekers upon them. This was... Well, it wasn't good considering what he did with those clones.

Being sucked up wasn't the end though, instead it seemed that, to 'assimilate' his pray, Y had to expose his core. Of course this wouldn't be easy, as Y was well aware of his own weakness and unleashed a varying barrage of attacks. Most were just strikes with some purple energy manifesting as various kinds of spears and lances in various formations in both melee and ranged variants. Alongside that he summoned some minions with the same kind of scheme.

Susie went on to deal with the Wireframes, whirling her fists to more move to dodge the barbs going her way as she barreled towards one of the wireframes, stopping to grab it and use it as a shield from a second wave of barbs heading her way. Her business suit had taken enough damage now, and she'd have to stop using it soon, but before that she'd use its strength to at least cause some chaos and the wireframes made excellent shields in the meantime. With Midna's assistance, she could also use a few Wireframes as body missiles to throw at Y's core, but that wasn't really all that effective.

Roland meanwhile clashed with the lances and barbs flying his way. He could deflect the purple barbs with his swords without much issue, but for now he could only clash with the purple spears, not gaining much ground for now. After a couple clashes though, he reached Emotion level 4, and gained Power of the Past, with the same womanly voice from before saying "I’ll be the one to take things away this time…" This made Roland a bit slower, but much, much stronger. He also gained the EGO The Homing Instinct. This one he decided to use when he got the chance.

As the white area turned into a grass field with a yellow road leading to a distant city of emerald, Roland donning a classy suit as he got ready to snap his fingers. Seeing what was happening, and needing a Kritz target to get this fight done as fast as possible, Blazermate decided to kritz Roland since she knew a big move was coming. Sure it wasn't the best of the EGO to Kritz, but a glowing electric blue house dropped onto Y's core dealing a massive amount of crushing damage to him and any wireframes nearby the landing area as well as giving all of his allies a slight damage boost. Roland's Rake ability now triggered, leaving Y locked out of using his Circuit Lance Stab and making him easier to approach as a bonus.

Not wanting to waste the kritz, Roland went in to smack the heart, the Kritz allowing him to overpower the lance attacks coming his way and allowing him to smack Y for some good damage. What was even better, when Y tried to attack Roland when he wasn't clashing, his Counter activated, and while under the power of Power of the Past and Blazermate's kritz, that just lead to Roland overpowering and striking Y's core a few extra times on each Counter, greatly punishing him for using a flurry of light attacks instead of one huge get-off-me move if he wasn't taking Roland seriously.

Eventually though Roland would need to retreat as his weapons started to flicker, signifying the end of Kritz. Seeing this, he retreated as he left a final parting shot with his crossbow, getting back to get into a more evasive stance for whatever came next.


Robot Girls

Level 5 Roland - (3/50) (Level up!)
Level 12 Blazermate (Holding 3 level up) - (100/120)
Level 6 Susie - (59/60) - (Holding 3 level up)
Location: Midgar- The bridge
Word Count: 848

As the clones and their nearly invisible partners approached the group, Roland moved up to deal with one of them taking the flank, clashing with his hammer in a defensive flourish to get a feel for the opponent's power. He soon found the clones themselves individually weren't much of a problem, it was their collective might and their invisible partners that were the real issue. From his first clash however, Roland's emotion level went up and he got the power Rake, with a chilling, yet silly voice saying. "I’ll scrape your wisdom…" He then moved to the next clone in line, not staying in one place for too long to allow their invisible partners to counterattack him as he laid into the next clone with his swords.

Susie had stayed in the backline alongside the healers, acting as a bit of a mobile defense platform. She was assisted by Blazermate's sentry gun, whom would soon eventually reach level 3 as all the clones were commanded to go after her and Sandalphon. Being the mindless constructs they were, they ignored the stationary gun shooting them to go after the healers, which at least gave the two some relief from its sheer firepower and pushing power slowing down some of the clones rushing them.

Seeing the backline getting assaulted, Roland went in to help them. Using his lance to clash with a clone that was charging in with his weapon and intercepting and overpowering him. This leveled his emotion to 2, giving him Timber, as a metallic large voice said "I want to be warm… I need something stronger…" Although this wouldn't actually help against the clones as Roland was already stronger than them in most regards it seemed. Of course putting him in the main brawl around the healers.

Blazermate, seeing all the ranged attackers try to go after her, summoned her projectile shield to protect herself. She also lowered herself to try to fry a few of them and defend Sandalphon as well, as some of the melee attacks that didn't fully pass through the shield were negated by it as well. Susie also coming to the healer's aid by using her mech to throw people around and scatter them, which in turn allowed both the sentry gun and Roland to pick off the ones far off. Still, with so many clones coming at once, it was a bit of a tricky situation. Susie then had an idea, they were targeting the healers at Y's command, but did he know she had one as well? And with that she summoned her Striker whom started to throw potions at Sandalphon and Blazermate as they got damaged while placing down a seal on the ground which ended up rooting a fair amount of clones as they didn't have the self preservation to dodge the slow move, giving the healers a bit more of some breathing room.

Relief from the assault came when a newcommer came, and through a series of events caused Y to reveal his true plan. A disgusting plan according to Roland, to devour everything. And he started with the clones, eventually turning into a giant monster and shattering the bridge he was standing on. "Another one? Come on, thats not fair!" Roland said, echoing Goldlewis' distaste of the situation. Blazermate meanwhile mentioned. "He ate a lot of weak spirits, What does that actually mean though? Is he strong or weak now? Well whatever he is, he is sure tanky." Susie had to think about what was going on herself. She didn't fully understand what all of this was, but considering he used Moebius as a proper noun to refer to himself... well there were a lot of things that word could mean. But for now, they all had to fight this giant creature.

Blazermate had been gaining a steady amount of Uber during the clone fight, with Roland having clashed a few more times with the clones before they were absorbed, at least leaving him partway through emotion level 3 and giving him the power "Oblivion", and a womanly voice saying "Staying alive is all I can do in a life like this…". And he was sure that this buffed Consul was stronger than him, so Timber was in effect as well. In addition he gained an EGO page "False Throne", which he saved to use for later as it was more for utility than raw damage. For now though, Roland could only unload on Y with his ranged weapons such as his crossbow and shotgun.

Susie didn't change up her tactics much either, turning to the now mutated Y and firing her missiles at him. Blazermate's engineer spirit had vanished at this point, but he did leave behind a half full level 3 sentry and a level 3 dispenser for the moment, so there was some damage output coming from her as well for the time being. She was mostly waiting to see what this guy would do next as she healed and overhealed people as she had an uber ready and waiting to be deployed.

Robot Girls

Level 5 Roland - (1/50) (Level up!)
Level 12 Blazermate (Holding 3 level up) - (98/120)
Level 6 Susie - (57/60) - (Holding 3 level up)
Location: Midgar- The bridge
Word Count:

Roland had been given a bit of time to himself to rest, while Susie and Blazermate had to fight their own battles. Having his perception blocking mask on really helped him sometimes as while there were shinra forces, most of them didn't know who Roland was and just percieved him as 'oh him? he works here." and ignored him for the most part. Much like the others, he found the healing stations littered around and cursed Shinra for hiding something that would revolutionize things, but then the same could be said for K corp, and they were a wing that did horrific experiments, so...

Roland was one of the first at the location, just waiting around for the rest of the group. Coming in groups, it didn't take too long for everyone to eventually make their way back here, although some of them looked a bit different. He also heard mumblings of who they had fought, and he found it... interesting that one of the groups had fought and beaten Armstrong? Guess all those muscles were for show, all the strong people in his world weren't all that well built due to not needing it.

Well, that would have to wait as they encountered the Consul, who upon being encountered on what was quite the crazy bridge, summoned some ghosts behind him. Ghosts Roland, Susie, and Blazermate couldn't see, and soon understood they were chimeras and legions. However, they also saw a few people they could see, and they would have to be the ones they fought. Blazermate assisted her allies like she normally did, healing them and summoning her engineer to set up a turret and dispenser, while Susie hopped into her business suit and shot rockets. Roland knew that there was something... wrong with all of this, but he'd need to work a bit before he went after the big guy.

All this talk about working with his new friends reminded him of the Floor of Social Sciences, and he started by opening fire with his X gun upon one of the stand users, much like Susie was with her missiles. This wouldn't give him any emotion level just yet though, but until he understood the chimera/legion situation, he wasn't going to dash into what could be a massive blender.

and Nadia.

Level 11 Sectonia (holding 5 level up) - (74/110)
Location: The Under - Dirtmouth
Word Count: 2310

Having had enough of the prison, Sectonia let the others explore it and find what they will, she wasn't keen on getting trapped in another mirror or another weird dream. She waited until she was informed that the group had found the item they were looking for, the Dreamcatcher. Curious, but considering all the stuff that had been going on so far, Sectonia was a bit too tired to deal with any shenanigans that came with it at the moment.

Sectonia was happy to get out of not only the jail, but the underground as a whole as Nadia, having made friends with some strange creature, pointed the group to some sort of strange transit system where they rode large stag beetles. Being the big lady she was, she took most of the seats of her transit, meaning that one of the smaller party members had to ride with her, if they even wanted to.

Upon reaching the surface and being told the houses were abandoned by the elderbug, Sectonia decided to take one for herself as everyone else debated on who got what, taking the fanciest looking of the group. She wasn't pleased about having to be this 'squatter queen' as it were, and the looks of the abandoned house didn't help matters much. So she summoned some of her antlers and got herself ready to sleep, at least until an ally came looking for help.

Once of the first of Sectonia's teammates to start seeking shelter among the empty ovoid huts of Dirthmouth had been the crew's original cat burglar, Ms Fortune. For a while now she'd been longing for an escape from the inhospitable confines of the underground, but as much as she appreciated the chance to fill her lungs with fresh mountain air, the Charm's surroundings weren't exactly warm or comfortable. Pretty soon she began to poke around the quaint little houses, trying to find somewhere she could tuck in for some much-needed rest. A former alley cat wasn't picky when it came to places to hole up for the night, but she never liked sleeping with one eye open. Plus, her room the Mizzenmast back in Limsa Lominscuttle Town had kind of spoiled her, and Habbo Hotel hadn't been half bad, either. Determined to seize the best lodging she could before anyone else took it, Nadia soon made her choice. One of the huts had once belonged to a weaver, and that artisan had left behind plenty of scrap cloth that could made into blankets. Once Nadia laid down her heavy jacket, belt, and various weapons though, she still had one glaring issue. And as tired as she was, this one couldn't wait until morning.

ust as Sectonia was settling into her own hut (the biggest and fanciest of the bunch, though realistically that wasn't saying much) she received a visitor. Nadia poked her head in, a cheeky grin on her face. "Hiya Toni. You got a minute?" After her guest stepped in, Sectonia could get a good look at her, not to mention an idea of how she'd changed. Down to the bare essentials of jet-black leotard and modified Mantreads, Nadia possessed a silhouette dominated by a huge amount of voluminous snow-white hair, a cape of curls all the way down to the base of her tails. "You might have noticed, but a buncha the spirits I've fused with had something in common." Grinning, Nadia flipped her hair for dramatic emphasis. "I mean, it 'locks' good, right? I knew it'd be handful, but I figured it'd be a small price toupee. After all that fighting in the prison, though..."

Nadia threw her hands up. "It's such a pain in the ass! It's SO heavy, I'm constantly distracted. It's always flying everywhere, getting in the way while I'm doing stuff, and it blocks my equipment. As if covering my left eye all the time wasn't enough. Plus, all kinds of crap gets tangled in it! I mean, look." She ran her fingers through her hair for a moment, and to her own dismay pulled out a root sprig several inches long. "I mean, comb on." After flicking it away, she crossed her arms. "So I figured I better get rid of it. Hair today, gone tomorrow, right? A shoulder-length bob works just fine. And I figured, well, nobody does style like Sectonia. You're not just any royal after all, you're the 'hair apparent', nyahaha!" She clapped her hands together pleadingly. "So whaddya think, Toni? Hairdo a girl a solid?"

Sectonia, having to make the best of a bad situation, was about ready to get to bed. A few Antlers could be seen cleaning the place as the queen laid on a bit of bedding from her camping set. She wasn't expecting anyone to come to anyone after the day they had all had. But considering the advice that was being asked, it made sense Nadia would come to her, the true eminence of beauty, to maker herself more beautiful.

Nadia would see a bit of a snicker on Sectonia's face before she got up, saying. "Well, its good you came to me. Outside of perhaps Primrose, none of the others really understand beauty. " She then looked at Nadia's hair, and could only shake her head. "Welll, you are right. There is far too much hair here to do much, and keeping it proper would take quite a bit of effort." She ran her hand through Nadia's hair and pulled out a few pebbles, shaking her hand clean in disgust.

Grabbing one of her ice Antler who was cleaning, she said. "Well, we should get started then. Although I do think I can do better than a simple bob cut." Sectonia then went to work. Seeing how extremely volumetric Nadia's hair was, she decided the first round of curating this issue would probably require something a bit stronger than scissors. A pair of swords used as a large set of scissors would work though, and Sectonia summoned both of them and got to work.

First Sectonia used her swords as large makeshift shears, making sure Nadia's tail was out of the way before shearing the back of her hair down quite a bit so that it was more managable. She then picked up her ice antler and used its ice powers on their 'warmest' setting to mist wash Nadia's hair and get rid of the gunk in it, pulling out a brush to comb out all the icky part, knots, and just random junk that this mane of hair had all around it. "I suppose its a good thing the downsides of your fusions can be handled with a simple haircut. Its a good problem to have." Sectonia said, as she pulled out what were fairly large scissors by Nadia's standards and started to clean up the relatively neater mess she made.

The steady stream of cool air made Nadia shiver, causing goosebumps to crop up all across her skin, but after being stuck underground for so long she could take it. That went double if it meant getting clean, or at least, cleaner. Nonstop adventuring -and exercise- in all sorts of bizarre environments tended to leave a mark on someone, be it physical matter or just a good pong. Even if the others were in the same boat and would probably understand, Nadia wanted to be presentable. As Sectonia got busy cutting the feral's hair down to size, she idly wondered if she'd always felt this way. A poor orphan had more vital things to worry about, after all, and someone she fused with could have very well made her more self-conscious. Then again, even if she'd always been the rough-and-tumble, tomboyish type, the Fishbone Gang had always called her a diamond in the rough. Nadia Fortune, thief of hearts and wallets, robbing you blind and looking good while doing it--that would never change. Providing Sectonia's aesthetic sense wasn't too dissimilar from her own, of course.

"See, I was talking to someone about this, Primrose I think," Nadia mentioned, continuing the thread of conversation that Sectonia began. "The changes from fusion, they're purr-etty serious, right? Say I just stuck to humans, or catgirls for that matter. Even then a teeny-tiny change in my face or voice should be super noticeable. Uncanny, even. But when I looked at my reflection, it's just...me. My voice doesn't sound weird to me. Nothing seems like a problem, I guess." She paused for a moment. "But that's kinda weird, too. It's like I'm numb to it. I only noticed the hair thing 'cause it got so annoying." Upon reflecting, though, Nadia gave a sheepish laugh. "Sorry, I guess you can't relate, huh? Not a lotta people like you around after all. The pickings must be pretty slim."

Sectonia paused for a bit upon Nadia self reflection. "Yes, the lack of beauty is quite noticeable... and yes beautiful insect spirits are quite rare as well. Considering we are in a place full of them. Especially those of any real power." Sectonia said, before she went back to her work. As she cleaned up Nadia's bangs to get that hair out of her eye, Sectonia continued. "I suppose when you gain power and it changes your form that can be a concern. but you seem to have realized the key to it, your still you. Sectonia said, moving to another section before continuing, musing a bit herself. "Its caught me off guard a bit with some of the strange things I've had to deal with. If you have concerns about your looks because of a fusion, I can make you presentable. And if I can't, Kamek has that item that will make it possible. That and that orb are honestly why I've been looking at other avenues of power. Although so far they seem... lacking."

As Nadia heard this, she couldn't help but give a wry smile. She'd used both the items that Sectonia mentioned already, and in fact, she'd been the one who discovered the orb. Did they really have to little to talk about that they both needed to go over stuff they already knew? An extrovert like her ought to be able to do better. They did have one pressing concern at the moment: whenever Sectonia tried to trim back the bangs over Nadia's left eye (bringing her massive scissors rather close to her face in the process) she found that the hair grew back immediately. "Don't worry about that," she advised after a few attempts. "I think it's stuck that way 'cause I fused with that assassin chick. Like it's her curse or somethin'. I woulda gotten rid of it already if I could. It's not that bad though, and it makes me look all mysterious. So 'eye' don't mind."

The feral shifted her posture slightly to get more comfortable, making no sudden movements that might result in an errant clip. "That whole prison was super freaky, huh?" she asked after a moment. "Not just the horrible monsters, either. All those poor people stuck in a trance. Blurring the line between dream in reality..." Though she wasn't about to share it, her unreal encounters with Minette and Black Dahlia weighed on her most heavily of all. Instead, Nadia laughed helplessly. "After all that, I just wanna black out 'til morning. Gimme some sweet, sweet oblivion."

"Very well. I suppose a hair clip will also solve the issue." Sectonia said, giving up on dealing with the bangs and finishing her work. Sure Nadia wanted a bob, but that was plain... but an egyptian bob... Now that was fancy. Even if it was just a bit of jewelery in the hair that could be easily taken out...

"Much of this area has been horrid. That prison was weird, agreed. You were fortunate you weren't locked in a magical mirror for an undisclosed amount of time. And with your doubts earlier, I assume it played with your mind quite a bit. Perhaps thats why I ran into that mirror instead, hm....." Sectonia said. She ignored the oblivion comment, only partially. "It'll be easier to sleep without that mane of hair, I'm sure."

After a few more snips, Sectonia was almost done. All that was needed was the final touches. Summoning one of her fire antlers, which she was about the same size of now, she had it use its heat on its 'coolest' setting like a hair dryer to finish up. "I will say, after fusing with that last spirit, and that item we found yesterday, its a bit awkward to be smaller than my own summons. So I suppose we have something in common there."

Even after getting cut short, Nadia's locks remained quite thick and prone to fluffing up. Rather than try and force a certain kind of hair into a shape it wasn't suited for, the expert aesthetician could modify the original vision to make the style suit the hair, rather than the other way around. Once the drying completed, the final results were in: a rather short but poofy bob. After getting a look at her reflection with the flat of a blade, Nadia looked pleased. "Hey, not bad! Cute, yes purractical." She grinned at Sectonia. "You're a real cut above, Toni!"

"Yes, well, naturally." Sectonia said. "If the bangs get into your eyes remember a few hairclips can help." Sectonia then let out a silent yawn, her work being done. "Now if only the others would come to get beutified. Either way, its getting late. Careful with your dreams, mine have been weird as of late." and with that, Sectonia lazily shooed Nadia off and went to sleep when her antlers had cleaned the place to her liking.
Vs. Senator Steven Armstrong, DespoRHado Enforcement LLC Majority Stakeholder

Blazermate’s @Archmage MC, Midna’s @DracoLunaris, Roxas’ @Double, Giovanna

Word Count: 5859 (+6 xp)

”We don’t have time for your petty revenge or your awful ideology, so please, do one good thing for this city-” Midna said she formed a massive shadowhand before driving it forwards in a massive punch as she concluded her request with ”-and die quickly!” in a pretty clear indication that she was dropping her avoiding of killing plan for this man.

”Great…” said Roxas. He too wasn’t exactly hiding his irritation, ”...Just what we needed.” He quickly aimed the palm of his right hand gauntlet in the direction of the Senator as Midna threw her punch and began charging. Once her attack was done he let off a charged shot from his newly-acquired RockGun. He figured he may as well get in some practice using his new gear.

”You know, I like muscle guys, but you took it wayyy too far.” Blazermate said, trying to find something the others didn’t say. This guy was a complete loon. Well, either way, he probably hit like a truck so time to overheal.

For a moment, Giovanna hung back. The low-key secret agent lacked Midna’s short temper, and when faced with Armstrong, one all-important question had come to mind. When the senator boasted about killing Shinra, he’d very suddenly revealed true colors that even Gio couldn’t have imagined, but she hadn’t known whether or not to take him at his word. Then, when he pounded his fist, she could help but wonder: could this guy actually fight?

So she let Midna charge in to find out, and Armstrong did not disappoint.

“Hmph!” His tie flapped in the wind as a sudden burst of air pressure accompanied the rapid deceleration of Midna’s punch. Despite a solid attempt to deck Armstrong, the Twilight Princess had failed to lay him out flat–in fact, he’d barely even moved. With coal-black fists he’d caught her shadow hand in his grip, and now he wasn’t letting go. “Cocky little shit, aren’t you?” Seeing Roxas charging his RockGun, he put his incredible strength to work and yanked Midna off her feet by her hair. He swung her around in a circle, using her to catch the charge shot for him before hurling her at Roxas and Giovanna. “You’re going down!”

By that time, Gio was already running. She slid under the living projectile, then came to a stop in a tensed crouch and leaped into the air. After a somersault she cannoned down with a divekick, only for it to slam into Armstrong’s crossed arms. A jolt went through her body; that felt like kicking a wall of solid steel. She bounced off and flipped to the ground, where she immediately pivoted around into a barrage of side kicks with Rei for support. They struck fast as lightning, several ramming into the senator’s unprotected chest per second. Unbelievably, he didn’t even budge. After a moment Gio’s fight or flight reflex activated, and she spent half her tension on a purple Roman Cancel to stop herself short and slide backward. The next second, Armstrong’s huge hand swiped through the air where her neck had been an instant prior, and his grab barely missed. Giovanna dashed backward, wincing at her aching leg. “...What are you?”

Armstrong laughed, pushing up his glasses with a smirk. “Why don’t you stick around and find out?”

Unfortunately for Roxas, he didn’t have enough time to react before the body of the Twilight Princess came crashing into him. It of course knocked the wind out of him and sent them both sprawling, but after a moment the Nobody pushed himself back to his feet, ”Ugh, did someone get the number of that speeding tram?” he asked as he recovered from the sudden and unorthodox projectile attack. He shook his head and then redoubled his efforts.

Not yet ready to give up on his ranged weapon, Roxas decided to run a circle around Armstrong and pelt him with rapid energy shots from his RockGun. But despite the attacks appearing to connect, if they were doing any damage then it was impossible to tell. ”Jeez, what’s this guy’s deal?” Roxas questioned as he activated the StepSword on his left gauntlet while summoning his black Keyblade in the other hand. Then he shot forward at Armstrong with a dashing-slash of the energy blade. And with his Keyblade already out he could instantly follow up on that with another slashing attack.

Unfortunately, both attacks similarly didn’t appear to do much damage to the man that Roxas could see. Even more unfortunate was when Armstrong’s big hand managed to snatch the Nobody by his wrist mid-attack, “You’ll have to do a hell of a lot better than that, kiddo!” said the Senator as he wrapped his other massive arm around Roxas’ body. He then seemed to lift the kid up only to whirl him back down and slam him back-first onto his knee. After letting Roxas hit the ground he then lunged forward and kicked the downed Nobody, which sent him careening off a fair distance, “Don’t fuck with this senator!” He made a show of the giant punt, as if he could hear the crowd cheering from the bleachers. The sight made Giovanna balk. “I played college ball, you know,” Armstrong admitted with a cracking of his neck and knuckles. Of course, there was no way football alone was an adequate explanation for his apparent superhuman abilities.

Somehow not deterred by being used as a flail, the princess rushed past the punted Roxas, hands empty of weapons till she got close and flicked one out into reality with a crescent moon slash. The supernatural strike seemed to work for just a second, only for the second of Zanzo’s cleavers to break just like the first, shattering when it impacted with the senator’s skin, leaving the princess holding just a handle.

“Nice knife” the senator taunted.

”That was my bad one!” she retorted as she flicked second sword into reality, in this case Mao’s longsword he’d hand-me-downed to her, only for a hand to grab it before it could even strike.

“Nice trick, but you can’t fool me twice,” Armstrong told her, before squeezing the blade as she watched in horror, steel buckling under his grip before this well made blade broke just like the terrible one. Midna, who had been trying to wrench the blade free, fell back when the blade snapped in half, which was the only thing that prevented her from having her face punched in. Instead she landed on her back, and had to scrabble back once on all 6 limbs like a bug to avoid being stomped like one.

Then using skywave launched herself up into the air and, she hoped, out of harm's way for a moment. As she fled, Giovanna made her move. Shrugging off blows and snapping swordblades were no mean feats, and she’d seen that before each clash Armstrong’s skin turned black, like the pigment of a cuttlefish or octopus, in anticipation of contact. But what if she took him by surprise? When she unleashed Seismic Hammer to rupture the ground beneath him, however, he barely reacted. “Huh?” Was he not controlling the ability like she thought? Either way, she’d have to worry about it later. Armstrong barreled toward her with his arms spread wide in a humongous running bear grab. She leaped up into the air to avoid it, only for him to spring after her, his meaty mitts like crocodiles lunging for their prey. Only with an airdash did she manage to escape his grasp, and the senator fell heavily to the floor.

When she touched down, Gio turned in a flash and zipped toward him. Her mobility, she knew, was her key to victory. Before Armstrong could round on her, she extended her leg to strike the side of his knee. In the sporting world this was an illegal move thanks to its tendency to cripple people, but here her shoe stopped short against rock-hard skin. “Oh, come-!” The senator turned with a mighty backfist that struck Gio’s jaw, making her see stars as she spun around. She fell to her knees facing away from him, a hand on her poor chin, and Armstrong unceremoniously kicked her in the butt to send her sprawling face-first on the ground. “Guh!”

As people got knocked back and away and someone else distracted Armstrong, Blazermate could heal them up and overheal them as they were picking themselves up from being thrown. ”Man, this is going to be a long fight.” Blazermate said as she healed Roxas. She then got an idea, and as Midna went up to bat, then Gio, she took that time to zoom over a bit to summon her striker, the engineer, to make his equipment before going somewhere else to continue to heal people and generate her resources.

Once recovered, Roxas was back on his feet and already moving to take another shot at Armstrong. He deactivated his energy blade and replaced it with Oathkeeper - his second Keyblade. Clearly this was not the kind of fight for him to be experimenting with his new weapons or abilities, so from this point he would be fighting with his more familiar abilities and tactics. Roxas first turned into a streak of light that zig-zagged at Armstrong with blinding speed. As soon as the light touched him, Roxas instantly reappeared to hit him with a powerful Cross Slash.

Similarly to Gio’s attacks, Armstrong’s skin seemed to turn black at the spots where the Keyblades’ struck him, as if in reaction to the imminent damage that was incoming. But the Keybearer’s assault didn’t end there. He continued forward with a flurry of rapid Keyblade strikes. But each time, the blades were met with the same blackened spots that appeared on Armstrong’s skin. The Senator sweeped his arm and attempted to catch Roxas with a sweeping lariat. But Roxas was quick and able to jump back to avoid the hit. Then he had an idea, ”I need your help, Burn Rooster!” the Nobody said as he summoned the striker. But before the reploid moved, Roxas appeared to target him for attack, ”Freeze!” he called, casting the Blizzaga spell at his own striker. The tactic certainly seemed to surprise Armstrong, who tilted his head and cocked an eyebrow.

But that ice spell - despite damaging Burn Rooster and Roxas by extension - had an interesting side effect. Taking ice damage caused Burn Rooster to explode with a strong, fiery aura that boosted the power and damage of his fire attacks. He then unleashed that on Armstrong in the form of his fire breath attack. In response, the Senator held up both arms to cover his face. The skin on those arms blackened and were able to blunt much of the fire damage he otherwise would have taken, ”What? How is that even possible?” Roxas demanded in disbelief.

The senator then barreled forward as Burn Rooster disappeared and managed to catch Roxas in a choke-hold, “Nanomachines, son!” he yelled before spinning around and putting momentum into hurling Roxas away from him and careening into Gio.

”Ugh.” Roxas groaned, having the wind once again knocked out of him, ”Nano…what?” he finally said when his breath came back to him.

”I don’t know but rushing in one at a time clearly isn’t working!” Midna pointed out as she landed a fair bit away from the big guy, having been caught by her Flygon after launching herself. She slipped off its back and launched a pair of autopistols she’d stolen from the Commando into her hands, gripping each with two hands to steady them better before opening fire with a hail of small arms fire interspersed with more dangerous phase rounds.

The peashooters weren't much on their own, but with a call of ”Blast him!” the princess dipped a hand into every other pool of firepower she had, summoning arrow penetrating psychic spear throwers and ice javelineers to her side, while her flygon unleashed its dragon breath, and she herself formed a twilight volley bomb to slap down at her foe. Her remaining striker not on cooldown, she kept on reserve.

As the barrage of projectile attacks rained down on him from Midna and Blazermate’s turret, Armstrong breathed in deep, filling his lungs. Giovanna and Roxas had both picked themselves up to rush the senator down again, but hearing Armstrong suck in air -and seeing a huge magic bomb from Midna- made Gio hesitate. A second later, the big man yelled, and the nanomachines throughout his body released stored-up energy in an omnidirectional yellow wave. While it lost its repelling power beyond melee range, its sustained output was enough to crumple bullets, shatter ice, thwart mental energy, and detonate the volley bomb. It didn't protect him from everything by any stretch, but it made quite the statement.

With no other ranged attacks, Gio helped with what she could: a heavy Seismic Hammer. Armstrong laughed it off, then concentrated stored energy into his fist. “That's all you got?” He then aped her, slamming his fist into the ground. A glowing fissure ripped through the arena’s surface, spreading like a bolt of lightning beneath the Seekers and the turret. “Go big or go HOME!” Gio instinctively dashed to safety, and the next moment Armstrong pushed his arm even deeper, detonating the fissure–and with it the annoying turret.

Midna’s strikers were at least all gone by the time the explosive wave, so it was only her and her flygon that had to dodge out of the way, each of them leaping to either side to avoid getting blasted.

”Does nothing phase this guy,” Midna complained as she ditched the two guns she’d been using into portals, and tried to plan, before deciding, simply ”I’ll just have to hit him hard enough that he’ll feel it.”

Rather than follow up on this statement right away however, she instead started dancing. Dragon dancing. The princess stepped and spun with rhythmic grace, building up more and more power every few seconds, power which was visible as a gradually intensifying royal purple aura. As she did this, her flygon hovered nearby, ready to swoop in to defend its mistress if need be.

Whatever kind of attack Roxas had planned was cut short by the literal explosion that Armstrong caused around him. Unable to get close while that happened, Roxas did the opposite and backed off. He hoped that by putting some distance between himself and Armstrong - and if Armstrong continued to pay more attention to the other Seekers - Roxas could prepare another plan of attack without being noticed.

And so after he backed off and found a spot he could squat behind and be out of sight, Roxas retrieved the unused spirit of Fortune from his person and looked intently at it, ”I think we’re gonna need your help here, Miss Sniper. Hope there’s no hard feelings.”

The sudden retreat of both Roxas and Midna moments after the Twilight Princess said that everyone should attack together left only Giovanna standing before Armstrong as he stood to his full height. Taken aback, the secret agent briefly glanced between her allies before refocusing on the man in front of her. “Uhh…” He took off, picking up speed like a charging bull. Gio tensed up, ready to dodge, and when the moment came she ducked under Armstrong’s clothesline haymaker. She got clear rather than trying to attack, but even avoiding one of the senator’s felt like an achievement. When she turned to face him, however, Gio saw that he’d kept right on going. His true target wasn’t her at all. Instead he stampeded toward Midna, arms pumping. “Think you’re cute?”

Waiting for just this moment, her flygon dove down on its own. Armstrong had seen it on guard duty, of course, and when it acted predictably, the senator was ready. He cannoned off the ground and intercepted the pokemon mid-dive. His shirt gained some fresh clawmarks, but nevertheless he snatched the flygon by its long neck, then returned to the ground in a chokeslam strong enough to shake the arena. After kicking it onto its belly in Midna’s direction, he raised his fist and struck the ground to send a chain of flame geysers toward the pair.

In response the princess stepped onto the sliding form of her minion in what seemed an absolutely callus move, only to use the motion of leaping off of it to also kick it down into a twilight portal out of harm's way, followed by slamming her shadowhand down onto the ground and narrowly tossing herself over the wall of flames that only got a few licks on her. Then she kept dancing.

Then he summoned her. She wasn’t like other strikers, who typically went for their attack immediately. Instead Fortune stayed put and leveled her big railgun to take aim at Armstrong. Then she started charging the weapon. Seeing how it worked up close, Roxas now understood why she had earlier elected to stay hidden and take shots at them as a sniper. Clearly that was the safer and more strategically sound use of her rail cannon. If he wanted this to go off without a hitch, then Roxas was going to have to offer himself up to Armstrong as a decoy.

He moved away from his hiding spot and then took off in a run, specifically choosing to circle around so that the Senator would be in between himself and his striker, ”Hey, Senator Blockhead!” Roxas shouted with a taunt, even hurling a Waterga spell at Armstrong for good measure, ”Are all those muscles of yours compensating for something?”

Armstrong stood, turning from the havoc he’d sent toward Midna to give Roxas a sneer. He put up his arm to soak up the Waterga, then casually brushed the droplets off his shoulder. “Gotta work on your mudslinging, son. I’ve heard way worse.” Gio approached from a different angle, and for a brief moment Armstrong debated the options before him. “Still…” Launching forward, he made a beeline for Roxas anyway to send him flying with a mighty side kick. Gio dashed in after him. “I’m gonna knock you out!”

Blazermate could only really help with her healing for the first part of the fight, but once her striker’s turret got destroyed and he despawned, she had another idea. She could heal two people using her healing drone and her healing beam, but that wasn’t her plan. She’d be the annoying ranged person that hid behind her team, moving from purgatory crack to purgatory crack to summon ghosts that zoomed in and exploded on Armstrong.

Now if they did damage was anyone’s guess, but that was some damage she could do until she got an uber or a good chance to use her shield. Considering how threatening Armstrong was in melee, she really didn’t wanna get close to him with her shield, at least not yet. But it didn’t take too many ghosts until Blazermate got unlucky and a crack spawned under Armstong, leaving her back on healing duty but with her shield ready to use. Now the question was… offensive or defensive? She’d know after Armstrong’s next move.

Unfortunately for Armstrong, Roxas had learned his lesson, and he was clearly more agile. He first dodge rolled out of the way of the Senator’s incoming kick. Then, remembering what happened moments ago, he kept his distance and proceeded to pelt the man with a few Firagas. They didn’t seem that much more effective than the Waterga was, but at least it gave the Nobody a means to keep Armstrong’s attention on him. One thing Roxas remained paranoid about was keeping himself out of the man’s reach. He really did not want to get flung around and punted again like earlier.

Meanwhile, from her hidden spot out of sight, Fortune kept her rail cannon trained on Armstrong. It was almost finished charging up, so she began to look for an opportunity to take a clean shot at the Senator, preferably while his back was turned. They’d soon be able to learn just how good his nanomachines were at blocking a fully charged rail cannon shot from behind.

Roxas was fast, but he was not infallible. He was playing a dangerous game, and before his number came up, Giovanna was determined to help. Just after the Nobody slipped out of the grasp of one of Armstrong's big grabs, Gio struck from behind with a grab of her own. In a flash she was in the senator’s shoulders, her legs locked around his throat in a vice grip. Nanomachines might harden in response to physical trauma, but a squeeze was a little different. By the time they stiffened, Armstrong was already being choked. Rei joined in, chomping the big man’s wrist in an attempt to distract him. Finally, Gio slammed her fists into his head, discharging a massive amount of electricity from her gloves to make sure there really was nothing between his ears.

It was an incredible feat, and most incredible of all, it seemed to work. “Raaaaaaaaaagh!” Armstrong bellowed, struggling against Rei and pawing at Gio’s legs. After just a couple precious seconds, however, he clenched his teeth and sent Rei flying with a sweep of his arm. He reached up to grab Giovanna, but she managed to lean and duck away from his grip. A moment later, though, her wild ride came to an end. Armstrong jumped up, fell backward, and as he crushed the agent beneath his weight the air filled with the awful sound of cracking bones.

”Get off of her!” Midna shouted at the man, having arrived, glowing with power, and once again lashing out with her shadow hand. Not to punch this time, because that would end poorly for Gio, but instead the princess took a leaf out of the agent’s book and tried to grab the man with her mighty mitt. To haul him up. And then to hurl him as far as she could from the source of the move’s inspiration. Her boosted speed and strength allowed her to lift Armstrong off Giovanna, then throw him away from her wounded ally.

Blazermate’s scanners informed her of Giovanna’s now injured state as the massive meat man landed on top of her, only to be thrown away by Midna. ”I’m coming!” Blazermate said as she zoomed up to start to heal Giovanna, the same sickening bone snapping sounds happening, but in reverse as the bones knitted themselves back together. It was probably painful, but healing wasn’t always painless. Stil, Armstrong wasn’t a dumb guy even though he was a mountain of meat, so Blazermate kept her eyes on him and she had her shield ready for if he did anything.

Roxas admittedly froze up for a moment. Not only at the sickening sound of Gio’s severe injuries, but also because he knew he was partially to blame for it. He’d gotten a bit too overzealous in attracting Armstrong’s attention, and she was obviously the one who now paid the price for it. But after that moment of guilt, Roxas sprang back into movement. He ran past where Blazermate was healing Gio in order to put himself between them and Armstrong. As was becoming the norm, the Senator was already back on his feet and was now barrelling toward Roxas.

It was now or never, ”Freeze!” Roxas suddenly cried out. He shot the Blizzaga from the tip of his Keyblades, but it was aimed slightly low. He wasn’t aiming for Armstrong’s body, but rather his legs. And even though the nanomachines in his skin protected him from the damage, they weren’t able to stop his feet from becoming momentarily stuck to the ground. He had still managed to get close enough to slam Roxas with an uppercut that knocked him back to the spot nearby Blazermate and Gio. After that he had no choice but to tend to getting himself unstuck. With a giant yank, he broke one leg loose in a spray of ice shards, then went to free the other.

And that was all Fortune needed. She had a clear shot now, and so she squeezed the trigger and let loose her mighty rail cannon shot.

To say that the railgun’s payload finished Armstrong’s job for him was an understatement. The sheer force it communicated was enough to throw the man a couple dozen feet to the floor, and that was just from the aftershock of its absurd kinetic energy. That magnetically-propelled projectile simply moved too quickly -and struck too suddenly- for the nanomachines to fully absorb the immense damage. His shirt had been blown off, and the shot left a gruesome wound in his chest. Even after the fact his nanomachines did not recede from the impact site, as if their presence was needed to hold them together. Still, not even a shot that would have turned an average man into mist took the fight out of this Senator. After gritting his teeth, his face contorted in pain, he began to laugh.

“Hahahahaha!” he chortled, rising. “That one hurt!” When he stood, the others could see something unusual about his bare chest. It was covered in healed scar tissue, especially around the left side and radiating outward in streaks like swollen veins, too clean to be the result of injury. With no glasses to hide them, Armstrong’s pupils were glowing red.

Extensively healed by Blazermate, Giovanna picked herself up gingerly. Shaken by the traumatic pain of grievous injury and treatment that felt no better, it took a lot of effort just to face Armstrong once more. The Seekers’ foe looked more menacing than ever, but they could all see they were making progress. These next few moments might be the toughest yet, and Gio certainly couldn’t fight at her best, but this was the final round. Only so many seconds remained on the clock. One way or another, this was about to be decided.

”Together?” Midna asked, preparing one final joust against their bulwark of a foe.

”Yep.” Roxas said, ”All for one.” he then added in spite of himself. Sora really had rubbed off on him, not that any of the other Seekers would know that. He brandished Keyblades and gestured with both of them toward the nearby Gio and Midna, ”Light!” And on that command, he spent the last of his MP and shared his light with the two of them, empowering their abilities.

Gio took a deep breath. “Yeah.” Rei manifested beside her. When she ran forward, she’d build up the last bit of tension she needed to max out and cause her passive to kick in, turning her eyes white as her skin and hair began to glow with the power of a damage and defense buff. She couldn’t spend any tension without losing the boost, but as long as the four of them were working together, there was a chance they could win. And Roxas was sprinting right behind her. Seeing her allies on the attack, Blazermate also decided to join in as her kritz was almost charged and she still hadn’t gotten a use on her shield.

The three of them rushed Armstrong together. Both of their mobilities enhanced by Gio’s built up tension and Roxas’ light, they assaulted the Senator with a blitzkrieg of lightning fast kicks and Keyblade strikes. Blazermate was able to keep up thanks to the properties of her medibeam as well. And while they did that, Midna used her shadowhand to begin charging a super large Volleybomb. Armstrong’s nanomachines struggled to keep up with the speed and aggressiveness of his attackers, but he was at least able to shrug off some of their blows as they came. His fists met his opponent’s keyblade and kicks again and again, giving as good as he got, although he had no real answer to Blazermate’s damaging shield, as the speed inherited from Gio and Roxas made her incredibly difficult to even touch as she evaded his moves and kept her shield on him. As Roxas and Gio became little more than vicious streaks of gold and green, however, the output of Armstrong’s artificial heart finally reached its limit. “Grrrrrah!” he roared, reeling in an explosion of brilliant sparks. “You little shits!”

”Done!” cried Midna, leaping up above and readying herself to hurl the Volleybomb she had charged up. But she didn’t do it alone. Gio and Roxas both backed off from their onslaught and leaped up to join her, with Blazermate latching her medibeam onto Midna to give her a dose of kritz to make this vollybomb really hurt. They helped spike the bomb down at the Senator still standing there on the ground, now recovered enough to clench his teeth and tighten his fists. He crouched, muscles bulging, then leaped upward, one jet-black fist extended to pit his strength against the Seekers’ head-on. The next second, his megaton punch met Midna’s amped-up magic, and for a moment everything disappeared in an explosion of orange and teal.

When the light died down and the smoke cleared, Armstrong was down on one knee, his entire body grievously wounded. Over half of his right arm had been destroyed, and he was breathing heavily, no doubt in great pain. Nevertheless, he managed to raise his head and glower at the Seekers. “Huh…huh…not bad.”

”You wanna know what the sad part is?” Roxas asked the man as he dispelled his Keyblades, ”I couldn’t really disagree with you in all honesty. You were right when you said the city was rotten. We’ve all seen that for ourselves by now. But it didn’t look like your methods were making things any better. Are money and politics really the only things people care about here? Seems like a pretty sad way to live your life if you ask me.”

”Seemed like more of a might makes right type, which works all well and good till a hero comes along to stop you” Midna commented matter of factly, before gesturing to the spirit of the man Armstrong had used his might to usurp, asking ”Which took, what? An hour this time? Minutes?” before preparing to move, seeing as it had taken ”Too long for my tastes either way, seeing as we have a city to save”

Armstrong had no choice but to let his enemies’ smugness wash over him as he fought to compose himself, though at this point no amount of catching his breath would give him a second wind. “You still don’t understand,” he grumbled. “It was never about money. It’s about freedom, damn it. The freedom to live as we see fit, without anyone getting in our way!” He clenched his fist. “Do you know how long it’s been? Fighting for causes we don’t believe in. Dying for reasons we don’t understand. Midgar can’t be saved. But if they’re strong enough, its people can save themselves!” Armstrong faltered, but still he laughed. “You know it, too. You’ve taken things into your own hands. You’re dismantling things, piece by piece. Making things change, not letting legal bullshit get in the way, and if it costs a few lives? So be it.”

”Don’t give me that!” Roxas shouted, ”You may be okay with sacrificing lives to get what you’re after, but we’re not! And unlike you, we’re intending for everything and everyone to go back to their lives when this is all over, including the ones who were lost along the way!” He crossed his arms and turned away, no longer wanting to look this guy in the face, ”You may have been right about the rot in the city, but you’re dead wrong about everything else after that. You may have thought you were taking things into your own hands, but you weren’t, and what happened at the debate stage should have been your first clue.” he said, in reference to the Consul who had all but hijacked the debate and made it crystal clear that he was the one pulling much of the strings.

”A fully militarized society is ridiculous anyway. The ‘weak’ forge the soldiers’ arms and armor, they bake the bread that feeds them and build the walls they guard. Your ideas will result in ruins lorded over by starving brutes armed with scrap metal” Minda replied dismissively.

”I mean, you're not wrong, but you don’t have the whole story. Ever wonder why all of this was happening? Well the sun there is actually some super powerful seraphim ball angel thing named Galeem and it destroyed and remade every world and mashed them together, then gave ya false memories to trap ya in a never ending cycle of, this. If you wanted true freedom, you had to figure that out.” Blazermate said. She then remembered. ”Oh right, while under their control you can’t even understand that concept unless you're really introspective or something… huh..” She then looked at the ground for a bit, mumbling so that Armstrong couldn’t hear. ”Why did the super muscle guy have to be evil….”

“You prattle and prognosticate, but at the end of the day, you don’t know jack,” Armstrong declared. “There’s no such thing as good or evil. Just dead, or alive.”

Until now, Giovanna had kept quiet. She didn’t care much about post-victory proclamations, and she didn’t have much in the way of principles she could preach about. She more or less saw all that as a waste of time, and it sure felt that way now, so when Armstrong said something portentous she spoke up. “Right, yeah, that kind of leads in to how this is gonna end,” she said off-handedly. “Soo…”

”Your right, this is a waste of time” Midna agreed, being reminded in this moment of what should have been her last meeting with Zant, before slamming her shadow hand forwards, purple claws glowing at its fingertips. It plunged into the chest of the man who would tear down what little kindness Midgar had in the name of his animalistic definition of freedom, and then ripped out his monstrous heart.

”Brutal.” Blazermate said at Midna’s finisher. Giovanna narrowed her eyes, her lips pursed, and turned away. After calling out Rei, she climbed aboard and began to ride her wolf spirit across the devastated computer garden, toward the huge set of stairs leading toward Arahabaki’s center. Blazermate went over and picked up Armstrong’s spirit. She’d figure out what to do with it later, and went with the rest to the center.
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