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"You're a disease, and I'm the cure."

It was the cold of night. The sun had set over Steel City over three hours ago. The outskirts of town were pitch black, lit only by occasional flashes of lightning as the rain poured down and thunder rumbled in the distant skies. On the old road approaching a dairy farm, a patch of road was dimly lit by the flaming wreckage of a motorcycle. The dim light revealed a masculine figure laying nearby. Shot in the back, the uniformed policeman lay face down in a muddy puddle of blood and water. His right hand clutched the handle of a Mauser CP6 pistol, while the left hand clutched the handle of a Bowie knife.

The symbol engraved on the blade almost appeared to pulsate with a soft glow in time with the flashes of lighting and flickering of the nearby flame. A haunting wind whispered its way across the scene, washing over the surely dead man. And when mixed with the pattering and splashes of raindrops, one could swear a distant voice could be just made out among the blowing wind.


After moments of nothing happening, a bolt of lighting struck much nearer than any previous. The accompanying thunder roared alongside the now-howling wind. The distant whisper became a closer, more sharply-toned command.


Hector's eyes shot open and he bolted upright in his cot. He looked around at his surroundings, confirming that he was indeed in the abandoned barn that he had repurposed into a hideout. It was spacious enough to park his bike inside of like a garage, and located outside of town where he would be allowed solitude and privacy. Hector wiped cold sweat from his face and stood upright. Sunlight peaked through the occasional cracks and spacing between planks, informing him that it was daytime - though he wasn't sure what time it was specifically. Even so, he set about his usual wake up routine.

He grabbed a bucket and used it to draw water from a nearby well outside. Then hung the barrel onto a simple pulley system he constructed in order to dump it on himself so that he could wash and clean himself. He turned on the radio of his bike, allowing himself to listen in on SCPD radio chatter while he went about getting dressed. At this time he picked up on some dispatch chatter, officially being labeled as a "drunk and disorderly" incident but with a certain code number attached to it that Hector recognized. It meant that there was a possible Doctor Death connection to this incident that the police were keeping quiet from the public until further investigation.

Hector had heard that name before, as anyone might have. And while he had yet to encounter Death personally, Hector had been diligent in trying to keep the reports of his activities on his radar. Perhaps Doctor Death was just another psychotic freakshow... or maybe he wasn't. Hector had been investigating his "awakening" on the side, trying to piece together how and why he was able to survive something he surely shouldn't have. And there was a possibility - however slim - that this Doctor Death character had an answer. Or, if not that, a clue at least.

In the next moments, Lawman was suited and burst out of the main doors of his barn/hideout aboard his motorcycle. Going on "rides" like this during the day wasn't his usual M.O., but he was willing to buck his own patterns if it meant getting a shot at Doctor Death. With his bike's engine giving its signature haunting roar, he sped into Steel City en route to Kirby Park.

Sector 7 Slums

Word Count: 255
Level 5 Roxas: 21/50
Exp: 1
NEW EXP Balance--- 22/50

That... did not go well. They didn't know him - which Roxas half-expected - but they also didn't know Sora, which made no sense at all. Didn't they both fight off Heartless alongside him at Hollow Bastion? How could they forget that? Susie suggested it might have had something to do with Galeem... and maybe she was right, but something about this was off. More than that though, Roxas was just plain embarrassed, practically humiliated. He made himself look like a complete idiot back there, but that wasn't even the worst part. He'd thought for sure he found someone he knew, but he was still alone in this World of Light for the time being after all.

Roxas spent the rest of the search keeping quiet. Between what happened last night and his earlier embarrassment, the Keybearer was definitely feeling pretty dejected. He stayed off to the side the entire time the Seekers were recruiting help to halt the Machine attack. And once everyone was rolling out the main gates aboard a pair of trucks, Roxas just sat in his seat and stared silently out the window. He heard Susie ask something about scrap, but Roxas had no answer he could offer. He didn't know the first thing about machines and salvage, so all he could reply with was a small shrug accompanied by more silence.

Home of Tears

@Scarifar Rubick

Word Count: 406
Level 4 Ganondorf: 13/40
Exp: 1
NEW EXP Balance--- 14/40

As he exited Vamos' shop, Ganondorf caught sight of a familiar magus: Rubick, "Indeed... Rubick, I believe?" he replied, exchanging greetings with his fellow Seeker. The magus brought up the adventures both groups had experienced in their time separated from one another, "If you consider nearly drowning in a tidal wave of blood to be an 'adventure'..." the Gerudo muttered, not exactly keen to recall that place, "...but unfortunately, the only real stories I have are..." he appeared to hesitate momentarily, careful to choose his wording wisely, "...war stories, as it were. I wouldn't want to bore you with any of those."

By this point the two of them had begun to walk together. And it was here that Ganondorf attempted to change the subject before he could pressed any further about his 'war stories', "Actually, I was thinking of returning to The Thorn to give these new infusions in my weapons a... test drive of sorts." he gestured to his newly upgraded swords, "Perhaps you'd care to try your hand there, yourself? The fights are not to the death, and they keep clerics on standby to treat injuries in between rounds." he offered, in case the magus might be interested in a little amusement, "The money you win is quite good too, of course. I was told you could even bet on matches as a spectator if being a combatant doesn't interest you."

Whether Rubick accompanied Ganondorf or not was obviously up to him. As for Ganondorf, he made his way back to the Amusement Park district and to where he remembered the entrance to The Thorn was. Whether he was alone or if Rubick was in tow, the Gerudo King would be greeted by the familiar figure of the woman who had first beckoned him down into the underground arena.

"Ah, you've returned. Back for more blood are you, Stranger?" Red Lucy asked with her usual seductive tone.

"For a couple of more rounds, yes." The Gerudo answered, indicating his intention to fight, though not quite as much as he had the previous evening. With those greetings done, Ganondorf climbed down into the tunnel that would lead to The Thorn and its infamous Pit.
∞ Activity

starring Mewtwo, word count 4344 (+5)

All too soon it became clear that she couldn’t stay here any longer. That terrible symphony of destruction, orchestrated from impassioned voices, the relentless percussion of well-made instruments, and reverbs that shook the building itself, was getting too close for comfort. Revolver clenched in one hand and long-range radio in the other, she gritted her teeth and dashed out into the flickering lights of the hallway, headed still further away from the chaos. An especially loud rumble rattled the entire superstructure, nearly throwing her to the ground as the floor tilted beneath her feet. It wouldn’t be long now. “Bloody ash,” she growled through gritted teeth, her accent pronouncedly Scottish. She half-stumbled, half-sprinted along until she reached the end of the hallway. A dead end, although it did have a window, though it had been shattered. The wind whistled through the jagged gap, disturbing the bloodstained ashes that lay on the floor here. A shadow passed over the window, and with a gasp the girl darted inside the room opened with her precursor’s last breath. She dared to give one last furtive glance over her shoulder, then slammed the door closed.

This was the vehicle bay, she realized. Of course, that name rang hollow without any vehicles to deploy. It had been of no use to the defenders, and she couldn’t see how it would be of any use to her. She took a shaky breath, then furrowed her brows and turned on the radio. “I’m in the damn room, and there’s nothing here!” she barked. “Where the spark are you? They’ll be here any second!”

“I’m here.” The voice echoed through the empty darkness of the room. Though normally calm, it sounded a bit strained, as if in pain.

“About bloody time.” The girl gave a gasping laugh, her relief palpable. “But what the spark are you playin’ at? Those bastards of yours took shots at me! Dyin’ with the rest of ‘em wasn’t part of my plan!”

“They’re not mine. This was not my intention.” The man approached through the dark, allowing the girl a better view. In person she could really get a sense for how tall he was; she might be short for her age, but he positively loomed over her, nearly half again as tall. Still, he was rather spindly, and he looked too anguished to be imposing. “Tis the blasted fiends. I did not consider that they might take such drastic action so soon.”

Throwing her hands up, the glowering girl swung her arms as she shouted at him. “I don’t give a spark about the particulars! Are you gonna get me outta here or not?”

Her contact seemed to switch gears, his face tightening. “I will. But first, you must do something else for me. I cannot allow everyone here to be lost. The consequences would be far too dire.” The man offered the girl a list of names, many of them familiar to her. “You need to find them. Tell them you found an emergency escape route, and bring them here. When you do, this teleporter will be online.” Stepping aside, he pointed out a device hidden in a corner of the hangar. “Once you’re through, destroy it behind you.”

“The spark?!” the girl shrieked. “Haven’t I done enough for you!? Chances are I’ll get shot to death before makin’ it out!”

The man did not flinch. “Spare me your outrage. You are a traitor, lowest of the low, and traitors always get their comeuppance in the end. So consider it a test of your worthiness to keep on living.

After a brief moment, her face twisted into a mask of rage, the girl snatched the list. “Damn you! You’d better come through for me.” She pushed open the door, and raced back the way she came.


Even over the din of battle, the mighty cry rang out across the wartorn atrium. A massive, point-black blasts of earth energy crumpled the MAX unit’s heavy armor plating and blew him clean off his feet. He flew a couple dozen meters before crashing through a row of burning foliage and carving a furrow through the earth in a spray of dirt and grass. The victor stood there for a moment, panting with his fist held out. Sweat trickled down his face, and blood seeped from the bullet wounds in his musclebound torso. Around him lay the disintegrating bodies of a half-dozen friends and who knew how many foes. But he’d done it. He’d won.

Then a noise from above drew his attention, and he looked up to see yet another drop pod violently crash through one of the few remaining glass panes of the domed atrium roof. He gritted his teeth, putting on a grim smile. More reinforcements. It hurtled directly at him, and in his condition he could barely move. Instead of throwing himself to the ground to buy himself just a couple more seconds, he clenched his fist and pulled back his arm, the flex of his muscles only just contained by his skin. “Power…” As the drop pod descended, he unleashed his fist into the ground, his jaw stretched wide and his veins popped with the sheer force of his exertion. “GEYSEEEEEER!”

Yet another giant explosion shook the park, sending metal shrapnel far and wide and blowing some of the last few remaining leaves from the trees not yet mowed down by gunfire. When the smoke cleared and he risked a peek above the barricade, Vandham saw nothing that resembled a hero among the debris. “Dammit…” he breathed. He then ducked as a volley of bullets clanged off the barrier, fired by the enemy soldiers. Even here, with all the fighters still standing, pulled back to the high ground at the very top of the staircases in Alcamoth’s atrium near the Great Hall, the enemy pushed in relentlessly. They’d proved themselves to be a deadly military force, their different classes of troops from light assault to engineer to medic fully kitted out and working together. The ones in red specialized in massive output both in terms of quantity and speed, while the ones in purple employed futuristic weapons that ignored all sorts of hindrances from reloading to bullet drop. While they commanded no superpowers, they possessed the power of real bullets, enough to kill an ordinary person in just a couple well-aimed shots. They arrived in handfuls of drop pods, or appeared from inside the bulky Galaxy dropships parked in defensible areas around the atrium park and Alcamoth in general. No matter the positional disadvantage, or the losses incurred against Smash City’s generally superior fighters, the combined forces enemy just kept on coming.

“Oohoohoo, and there he goes! Finally, after a whopping eighty-one confirmed kills, Terry Bogard the Legendary Wolf goes down! That one’s gotta sting for our brave heroes, how many more losses can they take!?” The snide, gleeful voice rang out across the battlefield from on high, drawing Vandham’s bitter gaze. Floating in the air outside Alcamoth were two gigantic airborne carriers. Standing on the edge of the purple-colored one were two unfamiliar figures in cherry-red armor, one a woman and the other a man. Their arrival over Eryth Sea, flying in together from the north and northwest, had heralded the beginning of the end. Once deployed, their troopers and vehicles laid waste to everything and anything in their paths as they made for the engineering sector beneath the Great Hall, and when a number of fighters rallied to protect it the enemy branched out throughout the city to cull both pockets of resistance and support systems. Since the moment he arrived that absolute asshole had been using some sort of speaker system to project his voice over the chaos like some demented sports announcer. He sometimes called out targets for his troops, but mostly taunted Alcamoth’s defenders. On top of all the carnage wrought already, his sadistic showmanship was unbearable.

Grenades flew over the barricade to explode among the defenders, forcing them to scatter. A fresh wave of enemies then surged to the top of the stairs, opening fire the second they caught a glimpse of the defenders. “RAAAGH!” Vandham roared as he charged, his Blade partner Roc flying right behind him. He whirled his hand scythes in a storm of wind ether, deflecting enough bullets to let him get close. Once near enough, Vandham then launched a gust of air with a mighty revolution, blowing a handful of troopers right off the balcony to fall to their deaths, just as he planned when he cut the railings earlier. A Light Assault turned on her jetpack to fly back up, but the big man had already moved on to her squadmates. His weapons felled soldier after soldier with two strokes apiece, and when he reached the last one he slammed together the butts of his kamas together to make the a double-bladed polearm, which launched the Heavy Assault into the air and then slammed him back down, pinned by a blade through the torso into the ground. Behind him, the Light Assault took aim at his head, but Roc descended upon her. His first flying crescent kick knocked the rifle from her hands, and his second slashed through the straps of her jetpack. A final flap of his wings knocked the soldier off again, never to rise.

The others had taken out the wave as well. Dante and Cerberus’ return fire blew through the shooters, while Sol crushed anyone foolish enough to get too close, supported by Jack-O’s servants. A handful of other surviving Mercenaries and civilians helped out as best they could, like King Dedede and Sora with their weapons, Max Howard with his invisible Axe Legion, and Mona with her hydro magic, while Caesar’s furious barking kept everyone’s blood pumping. There weren’t a lot of them left, but those who were wouldn’t be going down any time soon if they could help it. Together both Driver and Blade hurried back toward cover, but as before they reached it Vandham heard the dreadfully familiar whir of an alien engine. He looked up at another Scythe fighter moving in, perfectly timed to catch him off guard with its nose-mounted Maelstrom Turbo Laser. He’d already seen what those guns could do against Wii Fit Trainer and Ghalt. End of the line…

Or at least it would’ve been. All of a sudden, the Scythe fighter became coated with a bluish outline of sorts: the telltale sign of a psychic hold. The vessel was too heavy to be thrown outright, but it could be moved in a jerking motion. That motion threw off the Laser’s aim resulting in a near-miss. Immediately after, the purple and white figure of Mewtwo teleported into view, positioning himself between the enemy vessel and Vandham. <Go!> He told Vandham, telepathically. Then he cupped his three-fingered hands together behind and began to charge up a Shadow Ball. <I’ve got this one.>

Well obviously the Scythe fighter wasn’t going to just sit there and let Mewtwo blast them. And so it locked on and fired its Turbo Laser. But before the shot could hit the mark, the Pokemon suddenly vanished with a small flash. A moment later, Mewtwo reappeared directly above the craft’s cockpit shield and hurled the now fully charged Shadow Ball directly down onto it. The shielding and reinforced glass absorbed most of the blast, but the window now had cracks forming where it was impacted. And that was when Mewtwo used Psychic to grip the now-damaged cockpit glass and ripped it clean off, exposing the pilot within.

They attempted to eject, but their seat was also caught by Mewtwo’s psychic grasp before it could fly too far. The Pokemon coldly stared at the now-helpless pilot before flinging him straight down where he would have much less time to deploy a parachute, resulting in a harder landing. They’d live, but they probably wouldn’t be able to walk for a while. The Pokemon used teleport to quickly position himself back above the out-of-control fighter and used Psychic to grab onto it. With some exertion, he was able to halt its forward momentum, which allowed him to then drop it straight down. That at least would prevent it from crashing into any buildings. After that Mewtwo teleported himself to Vandham’s bastion before the Great Hall.

<How many of us are there left?>

“Not enough,” the hulking Aussie replied bitterly. “Those guns are the real deal, and there’s just no bloody end to them.”

“Projectiles are bullshit!” Sol chimed in.

He watched as a pair of Heavy Assault Troopers opened fire at Dante and Cerberus. The triple demon scattered, but with her superhuman durability Dante withstood the gunshots long enough to hurl Round Trip at them. One soldier rolled away, but the other got caught in the blades vortex. Switching to Trickster, Dante teleported above her foe and came down with a Meteor from her Balrog gauntlets, then caught the spinning blade and launched the soldier with High Time, splitting him in half. A charged shot struck the other soldier, staggering him long enough for Dante to pierce his body armor with Stinger, then hurl his corpse down the stairs as she retreated toward cover in a storm of gunfire. While she fought, an Infiltrator had used her cloaking field to sneak past, and she almost reached the Great Hall before Cerberus sniffed her out and put a quick stop to that.

“I could do this all day,” Dante called cheerfully. “But I’m not everyone, and I can’t be everywhere at once. Sooner or later, they’re gonna break through, or find another way in.”

As it turned out, ‘sooner’ might be more accurate. Vandham spotted Prowler main battle tanks on the move through Alcamoth park. Right now they couldn’t get a bead on the mercenaries’ bulwark, but if allowed to roll up Melfica Road to them things would go sour fast.

“Help!” a female voice called out. “I’m pinned down!”

As if things could get any worse, Vandham spotted a young woman with pigtails and camo carb a ways off, hiding behind a broken statue. “Shania!?” Vandham wheezed. A handful of Vanu troopers were advancing on her position, and with just her handgun for self-defense she wouldn’t last long. He glanced at the others. “Can anyone help her?”

<I can.> Mewtwo said, telepathically - vanishing before he received any reply.

The Pokemon reappeared in front of the statue that Shania was hiding, hands outstretched. He used Psychic and telekinetically grabbed a hold of the Vanu troopers and crashed them into one another. Then Mewtwo reached behind him and telekinetically pulled Shania closer to him. <Grab hold of me!> He told her through telepathy. The girl jumped and grabbed onto his shoulders, wrapping her arms around his neck. As soon as she did he teleported them both back to Vandham. But he didn’t stay long, as Mewtwo immediately used Teleport and vanished once again.

When he appeared again, Mewtwo was floating just above the Prowler. Using Psychic, the Pokemon used his telekinesis to grab the double-barreled cannon and was able to rip it right off the vehicle with enough exertion and then flung it hard into the cannons of another nearby tank.

“Mewtwo’s running rampant!” the Consul exclaimed over his megaphone “You’re not gonna let him do that to you guys, are you? Get that bitch!”

The troopers riddled Mewtwo with bullets as he attempted to take the fight to the entire battalion on his own. Other tanks opened fire, but though Mewtwo was quick on the draw with his Teleport, the Prowlers were surprisingly fast and the Shadow Balls Mewtwo did get off weren’t enough to stem the tide. Stopping long enough to rip off more cannons would be fatal. Though very powerful in his own right, the Pokemon could only do so much against an onslaught, essentially providing a distraction while Shania reunited with the other fighters.

Her disappearance when her allies needed her would have rightfully been cause for reproach, but Vandham said nothing of the sort. “Good to see you’re still alive, lass,” he told Shania, clapping a massive hand on her shoulder.

“Y-yeah,” she panted, her cloudy expression tinged by guilt. Her eyes quickly roved around the survivors as she ticked off a mental checklist. Good enough. “Listen. I found an emergency escape route in the vehicle bay. Some engineer must’ve set it up, but got shot through the window before makin’ it back to all of ya’s. This battle’s hopeless. We need to get movin’ now!”

Vandham pursed his lips, his expression grim as he glanced around the battlefield. “Much as I hate to admit it…you’re right, lass. I’m going to order a retreat.”

Nearby, Zelda furrowed her brows, her teeth clenched. “Who are you to make that call? We’re the only thing between them and the engineering sector. If they make it in, they’ll drop the entire city into the Eryth Sea. Everyone hiding around the city will die.”

“Don’t you see we can’t win here?” Vandham questioned her, his voice curt with pain. “They’ll drop it sooner or later. It’s just a matter of time. How many more of us have to die before we make a run for it? By that time there might not be anyone left.” He took another peek and saw that Mewtwo had been forced to retreat, too low on health to risk more fighting, and on his tail came another platoon of soldiers. “I en’t afraid to die a hero, but only if it ensures that others live on. We can’t waste this chance.”

“Well, then,” Dante swept by breezily. “You’d better get a move on. If we’re gonna split, and you’re making a break for it, I think I’ll take a crack at cutting off the snake’s head.” She looked up through the smoke, flame, and shattered glass to the carrier ships, and the Consuls who stood atop them. “If all their troops are down here, who’s protecting them up there?” Summoning her Devil Sword Dante, she plunged it into her chest and transformed in an infernal flare into her fearsome Sin Devil Trigger form, ready to take wing.

Cerberus jumped on her, two of them clinging to her arms and the last hitching a piggy-back ride. “We’ll come with you!”

Coming to a consensus, Sol and Jack-O stepped up as well, the latter enlarging her pumpkin-hobble to ride it up into the air. “I ain’t gonna let you have all the fun,” Sol growled. “Those bastards have earned themselves one hell of a beatdown.”

Jack-O glanced at Mewtwo, who her Servants had been helping to patch up with one of the survivors’ last medkits. “You should come too. We could use your help.”

<Very well.> He pushed himself to his feet and used his powers to fly up after them.

With the enemy almost here and no time to waste, Dante, Mewtwo, and Jack-O took off, with Sol hanging from the pumpkin’s chain. As they sped through the atrium toward the carriers, the remaining fighters abandoned their position, running like bats out of hell toward the vehicle bay with Shania at the front and Vandham bringing up the rear. Their fortifications blew apart behind them as the Prowlers unloaded their cannons.

“What’s this?” the Consul’s voice rang out. “Our so-called heroes are making a break for it! Light ‘em up, mooks!”

The enemy troopers quickly caught on to their targets’ retreat, and bullets whizzed across the battlefield. A Mii Gunner went down while trying to return fire, and when Heavy Assault troopers pulled out their rocket launchers to wreak havoc, Zelda teleported in front of her allies to reflect the explosives with Nayru’s Love. After a couple repetitions, however, a sniper bullet hit its mark at the exact moment her reflector went down, and the princess stumbled, clutching her shoulder. Before hitting the ground, she teleported away..

“Sniper! Keep your heads-!” Val, the team’s own medic sniper, took a headshot in the middle of her callout. Falco avoided a similar fate in the nick of time with his own reflector, but an explosive shell from one of the Prowlers as it pulled into view sent him flying into a nearby wall. Immediately, Steve began laying down cobblestone walls to protect the team as they ran, and Max Howard pulled up a bubble shield using his Axe Legion, but the tanks destroyed their barriers as quickly as they made them.

Up in the air, Dante realized that she’d gained another passenger. She looked down to see Nero hanging from her leg, his wire wound around her ankle. “The hell are you doing?” she called down.

“I’m coming too!” the devil hunter yelled. “I can’t let them get away with this!”

Dante growled. “Nero, go! You’re just dead weight!” Kicking her leg, she sent him flying back down to the ground. He landed with a roll and an anguished shout, but seeing the others in trouble, he ran to help the other survivors evacuate. At this point Mewtwo began charging up a Shadow Ball. That way he would have a fully charged one ready to pop off as soon they reached their destination.

A few at a time, the fighters made it to the hallway, disappearing into the cover provided by the building itself. Caesar led the way beside Shania at a gallop, Wario rode in on his bike, V surfed in atop Shadow, Yennefer used her portals to escape to safety, and Mona surged across the ground as a submerged ripple, leaving taunting phantasms in her wake that helped draw fire from her allies. Leon, Guile, and Ashley escaped, but not without a cost. Dedede sustained heavy wounds, but made sure Luigi and Ness got out alongside him. Nero, Max Howard, and Sora all made it while protecting others, despite the anguish and survivor’s guilt that weighed on their hearts.

“RRRRRAGH!” Jigglypuff fell to Vandham’s right, and Chrom to his left. Bullet holes pockmarked his back. But with a final herculean effort he smashed the control panel to smithereens, irreversibly slamming shut the hallway door behind the last survivors. Panting, he slowly turned around to see several dozen troopers fanned out into a crescent-shaped firing squad, their rifles trained on him and Roc and two Prowlers behind them. “You…” he muttered, his grip on his hand scythes tight. “You all better live…”

Then the troopers opened fire, only to find all their munitions stopped short by a radiant barrier of magic. Vandham blinked in astonishment, lowering the arms he’d thrown up in front of his face, and stared eye-to-eye at the figure who’d appeared beside him as his wounds rapidly closed. “...Who the hell are you?”

“I’m sorry…darling.”

With a massive crash, the greatwyrm Brunhilda collapsed to the tarmac. Her flame-red scales covered in dozens of wounds, and poison coursed through her veins. In front of her, the squad of Terran MAX units that flanked Consul H lowered their dual chainguns. L waved her hand dismissively, allowing her summoned Nihilego and Naganadel to relax. Only one opponent still stood before them, after all. Barely a foot in height and clutching an injury in his side, Olimar did not look like much of a threat. He’d been the least imposing of the handful of fighters who rode up here on top of Brunhilda in a desperate attempt to wipe out enemy command, and now nothing but ashes remained of Louis, Shovel Knight, or Athena. With his other hand he grasped the stem of a final red Pikmin and pulled it from the stone, glowering as H fixed him with his helmet’s permanent cocky smile.

“Close, but no cigar,” he grinned, hoisting his golden submachine gun onto his shoulder. “Weeeell, not that close, not at all really, but hey, points for trying!”

L rolled her eyes. “Just finish him off, would you?”

That was when Mewtwo teleported himself onto the top of the carrier. He appeared in between H and Olimar and immediately let his fully charged Shadow Ball fly right toward the grinning Consul. “What the!?” he yelped, throwing up his arms in self-defense. Then Mewtwo tried to use Psychic to grab the pair of Pokemon-like beasts and throw them into L in an attempt to knock them all off the ship.

Though the move was super-effective on both Ultra Beasts, L was fast enough to dodge the blow. Her eyes narrowed at the Legendary that had appeared. “How interesting…”

<Hurry, Dante!> he telepathically communicated. Mewtwo had gotten here first thanks to his Teleport. It’d be another moment or two before the others caught up with him. <I can’t stall them forever!>

Even then he was having to teleport himself and Olimar around to avoid being shot at by H and the MAX units. And naturally, the two beasts were able to prevent themselves and L from being thrown overboard. And now both of them were attacking. The jellyfish-like one spewed a purple and poisonous liquid that Mewtwo recognized as a Venoshock attack. And the second beast charged up and fired a sort of energy shockwave attack that Mewtwo similarly recognized as a Dragon Pulse attack.

The Pokemon teleported himself and Olimar out of the way of the Venoshock, and then he let the Dragon Pulse attack hit him in order to protect Olimar from being further harmed. These beasts, they had to be Pokemon, but they were not like any Pokemon that Mewtwo had ever seen or encountered before. But if they were Pokemon, then that would make L a Pokemon Trainer. Mewtwo had to be especially wary with her, since at any time she could try throwing Poke Balls in an attempt to capture him.

Neither of the Ultra Beasts kept up their assault, however. L dismissed them into wormholes so that Mewtwo couldn’t continue to take advantage of their shared poison typing with his psychic moves, and just as they disappeared the others arrived. Dante shot up over the carrier’s edge with Cerberus still clinging to her. Upon arrival she unleashed The Luce, blanketing the whole area containing both Consuls with a barrage of infernal arrows. When she turned human, all four landed a few meters away from the edge. Right on their heels came Jack-O, and once Sol jumped down the red-haired contortionist descended after him. While the demons descended behind them, Sol charged headfirst into the smoke toward the silhouette of Consul L, but rather than her face his savage fist left a dent in a heavy, solid surface. “Volcanic Viper!” Gritting his teeth, Sol canceled into his trademark uppercut and blew away the smoke, revealing and almost knocking over the Ultra Beast Stakataka.

Several of the MAX units had been destroyed, but the two that remained opened fire on Sol as he descended, unable to halt the momentum from his uppercut. In the nick of time, however, Jack-O saved him with a servant she kicked his way, which blocked the bullets with its shield. One of the MAX units turned its chainguns on Jack-O, but the Cerberus with nunchucks slammed the ground to create a wall of ice for defense, and the next moment the grappling hook from Dante’s Kalina Ann lodged in the MAX’s armor and yanked it off its feet, perfectly positioned for Mewtwo to deal the finishing blow. Without any hesitation, Mewtwo used Psychic to grab the unit and fling them off the side of the ship.

Not wanting to let off of the heat - Mewtwo spun around and shot another Shadow Ball in H’s direction. Rather than take the blow himself, H yanked the last MAX unit by the arm into the way, using him as a human shield. Seemingly surprised, the MAX unit slumped to the ground, reaching a plaintive hand toward H, but H just kicked it aside. A double charged shot from Dante’s pistols then struck him, but they bounced off a thick energy shield, so he just laughed them off. “About time someone with some balls showed up!” he snickered. “And here I thought it’d be a curb-stomp from start to finish.”

“You’ve got a lot to answer for,” Dante told him, her tone much less carefree than usual. “I hope you’re ready to pay up.”

H shrugged. “See, that’s the thing. The others all have crazy superpowers, but me? All I’ve got other than my rugged good lucks is money. But money…” He raised his hand and snapped his fingers. Behind him, a Constructor machine began to digistruct a bipedal mech, which H promptly teleported into. “Makes the world go ‘round!”

At the same time, L opened more ultra wormholes, her eyes sneering at Mewtwo. “Given the circumstances, I think we can dispense with the typical handicap, no?” The portals promptly divulged another four Ultra Beasts: Guzzlord, Xurkitree, Celesteela, and Blacephalon, all hand-picked for their lack of a psychic-type weakness. L held out her empty palm, then span it to reveal Kartana between her fingers with sleight-of-hand.

Cerberus quavered, but Dante grinned. “Looks like one hell of a party. Buckle up, you two, ‘cause once we’re done playing with your toys, you’re next!”

Behind them, Brunhilda reared up onto her hind legs. Fighting through her poison, she unleashed a torrent of covering fire at the enemy Consuls, and Alcamoth’s finest charged. Dante and Sol bulled forward at the head of the pack, Jack-O advanced with a mob of servants, Cerberus joined hands to fuse into their monstrous demon form, and even Olimar found a second wind. As for Mewtwo, he was still rightfully wary of L, and the strong likelihood that she had some empty Poke Balls on her person. That in mind - he decided on a slightly different tactic. He teleported directly in front of the Trainer, clearly intending to focus on her rather than her Ultra Beasts.

Sector 7 Slums

Word Count: 388
Level 5 Roxas: 20/50
Exp: 1
NEW EXP Balance--- 21/50

Most of the machine-talk went over Roxas's head, but he managed to get a vague notion of what they were looking for. It effectively amounted to looking for the toughest-looking people they could find - as they would likely be the kind of salvage crew they were looking for. That part he understood well enough. Seemed like the Slum had no shortage of scrappy-looking people. But unfortunately Roxas couldn't really tell who would be the most likely people to as for help. Eventually they figured that the person they really needed to look for was someone named Isaac Clark. Well, that would narrow the search down at least.

That was about when Roxas heard Tora mention sightseeing. Roxas couldn't imagine what would be worth sightseeing in a place like this, but he tried looking over at where the little mechanic had been staring. There... didn't seem to be anything particularly nice over there. But it wasn't long before Roxas spotted a familiar head of spikey-hair, "Is that really...? I've gotta find out!" Roxas blurted out as he suddenly took off in the direction of the building that the spikey-haired mercenary disappeared into.

Roxas picked up the pace, going into a full sprint in time to burst through the doors of the Beginner's Hall. He looked around - panting and out of breath, "Come on... where'd you go...?" He glanced around and eventually spotted who he was looking for.

"Cloud! Tifa!" Roxas called out to them. He jogged over and looked up at them. And it was only then that he realized that these two never actually officially met him before. In fact he only knew of them thanks to having been in Sora's Heart for a portion of the latter's interactions with them, "You've... never met me face-to-face before, but... I'm Roxas." He told them, but got little in the way of a reaction. "Um... Sora's Nobody?" He finally said after an awkward pause, maybe hoping Sora's name would ring some bells. And suddenly he was beginning to feel really foolish right now.

Sector 7 Slums

@Lugubrious Giovanna, Tora & Poppi | @Yankee Pit | @Archmage MC Susie | @MULTI_MEDIA_MAN Zenkichi

Word Count: 511
Level 5 Roxas: 19/50
Exp: 1
NEW EXP Balance--- 20/50

Well, that went well Roxas thought to himself during the train ride. His idea hadn't exactly gone over well. Maybe he didn't get the idea across clearly? Maybe it was his age? Or maybe this machine attack was simply more urgent. Either way, he wasn't gonna get to do what he wanted, at least not yet. One thing he was insistent on was that he didn't want to go back to Sector 5. He'd rather not have to put up with Psych-OSF today if he could help it. And so he switched teams, as it were, and was now with Giovanna's half of the Seekers. Roxas wasn't the only one. Pit, Blazermate, Benedict, and Geralt had all elected to do the same.

Now that he was thinking about it, Roxas realized he hadn't really gotten a chance to get to know this half of the team that much yet. So maybe this was a good chance to do that, at least in between all the machine fighting they would be doing. And when they eventually arrived in the slums... well it definitely earned its moniker. The was a dump... literally in a lot of places. How anyone could stand to live like this without starting riots was beyond him. Maybe the Shinra was just that powerful? Either way, this place was just plain depressing to look at. At least Suoh had been clean, if a bit rigid in its ways. Here, well garbage and junk littered the ground everywhere you look. Some of that junk had been repurposed into shanty town shacks and whatnot, while the rest of it remained piled up like what one would see in a junkyard.

"...Just when you think this city can't get much more depressing." he muttered aloud. Honestly it was almost impressive how consistently terrible and oppressive Midgar as a whole was proving to be. Would defeating the guardian and freeing everyone from Galeem's influence even clean the city up that much? The more he saw of it, the more Roxas was convinced that this place was dirty and rotten to its core.

The Seekers talked about whether to wait or to seek out the machines. The consensus so far seemed to be to looking for them, "Works for me." he said, casting his vote for the seek-them-out plan. That plan would potentially allow them to wrap things up quicker than if they just waited. And Roxas doubted any of them wanted to spend any more time here than they had to. Just looking at this place made Roxas even more convinced that something had to be done about Shinra if there was ever going to be any real change in this city, though how exactly one could go about that was a mystery to him for now.

City of Tears

@TruthHurts22 Ichiban Kasuga | @DracoLunaris Koopa Troop | @Archmage MC Queen Sectonia

Word Count: 950
Level 4 Ganondorf: 11/40
Exp: 2
NEW EXP Balance--- 13/30

After he left the smith's shop, Ganondorf began to wander without much aim. Now he needed lodging, and he didn't exactly know where to start looking. And then he remembered something else that he had nearly forgotten about. He fished for and retrieved the Blastocyst Spirit from his belongings. He'd been holding onto this spirit since just before the battle against It Lives and Ganondorf was certain he didn't much time remaining before it would fade away, "You and your kind gave me no end of headaches in that Basement dungeon. So you'd better be ready to do the same to my enemies in the future." he muttered to the spirit, almost as though he were threatening it.

"Hey!" shouted a strange voice from somewhere behind Ganondorf, "You! Big guy!" whoever this was they were obviously addressing Ganondorf, which made him wonder if he'd done something against this city's law or maybe something else.

He turned around and saw what looked like some kind of blue-scaled fish woman. She had dark red hair tied into a ponytail, wore dark metallic armor, and also appeared to missing her eye. Must have been some kind of warrior or soldier, "Did I do something... wrong?"

"What? Nah, nah, nothing like that." she said, "You're a new face around here, and that cat-lady person asked me tell any new people I see that 'Misfortune awaits them at the Habbo Hotel'. Heh, not sure why anybody'd wanna go where bad lucks waits for 'em, but whatever! Message delivered, so stay outta trouble, or next time you see me I won't be so pleasant." and then she stormed off to look for other newcomers.

"'Misfortune', eh?" Ganondorf muttered to himself. Well, she was obviously talking about Nadia, that much was clear to him. So Nadia had managed to secure lodging for everyone? Well that was at least one thing the Gerudo wouldn't have to worry about then. He continued to wander a bit, but this time he at least had a destination he was looking for. And eventually he did find it and checked himself in. He didn't stay awake much that night, instead electing to get some much needed sleep in an actual bed.

The Next Morning

Breakfast that morning looked especially appetizing. Not that the food Toriel cooked was bad or anything, but she did tend to use abnormal ingredients. Usually meat such as bugs and snails, or something similar. This was probably the first "normal" meal Ganondorf had had in a long time. And he enjoyed it. A generous serving of eggs, some breakfast meat on the side, and a dark black drink that someone called 'coffee'. The drink had a bitter flavor, but was surprisingly good.

Also in the area was the man in red suit from yesterday. Shoveling food in his mouth and even pocketing some of it for later. The telltale signs of someone who was poor and not always used to eating well. At least in Ganondorf's experience anyway. But the King of Evil passed no judgment on the man, after all he himself was born into a race of desert bandits so who was he to cast the first stone?

Not long after, Ganondorf could hear the sound of familiar voices rumbling in the lobby. Ah, so the overgrown lizard was still alive after all? Pity. Then again, Bowser was the kind of fool who was too stupid to die so easily. With a shrug, the Gerudo finished off the last bits of his breakfast and made for the lobby. By that point the Koopa Troop was no longer in the hotel, having left with Sectonia - not that Ganondorf himself was actually aware of that.

"Hmph. Time to go see a skeleton about a sword."

About fifteen or twenty minutes, Ganondorf found himself entering the shop of Vamos again. The skeleton looked up from his hammering when he heard his door open, "Ah, there you are. You're weapons are right over there, finished and ready for you as agreed." the skeleton pointed to a nearby rack where both of the Gerudo's weapons were propped up on. Ganondorf couldn't really tell much difference just by looking at them, but he could certainly tell once he picked them up. They felt quite a bit weightier, apparently heavier now due to the infusions. Not too heavy for him, but other people would probably have a very hard time swinging them if they picked them up.

With this business completed, it was time to meet back up with the rest of the Seekers. Ganondorf decided it was best to look for Sectonia or Bowser, since either one of them would stick out the most and be the easiest to spot compared to anyone else.
<Snipped quote by Double>

Cobra is my favorite Stallone movie not tied to Rambo or Rocky LOL. Didn't even have to Google that shit. I think we just became bros or something...

"Rambo's a p***y."

Also from a Stallone movie, and even said by Stallone specifically in fact.
Added a character quote to my Lawman CS that I totally did not steal from a Stallone movie. <_<
Lawman's in.
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